Axios Chicago

Picture of the Chicago skyline.

September 23, 2022

🍢 Happy Friday! Today is National Snack Stick Day. It's about time, right?

☁️ Today's weather: Cloudy and cool with a high of 65.

ğŸŽ‚ Happy birthday to our Axios Chicago member Rachelle Foerster! And an early happy birthday to Hillary Huffordtucker!

ğŸŽ‰ Situational awareness: To all who observe, we wish you Happy Rosh Hashana this Sunday.

  • We'll send your next newsletter in the new year (5783)!

Today's newsletter is 921 words — a 3.5-minute read. Edited by Everett Cook and copy edited by Rob Reinalda.

1 big thing: Midyear snapshot of crime trends

Illustration of a number sign made out of crime scene tape.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Homicides in Chicago may be declining this year, but rape and robberies are on the rise, according to a midyear survey of large U.S. law enforcement agencies.

The big picture: Chicago is part of a national trend captured in the survey by the Major Cities Chiefs Associations, which shows that homicides are dropping in most major U.S. cities while other violent crimes are increasing.

  • Homicides decreased 2.4% in major cities from Jan. 1 to June 30 compared with the same period last year, Axios' Russell Contreras reports. Meanwhile, overall crime spiked 4.2%.

Zoom in: The survey shows Chicago saw 10% fewer homicides through the first six months of 2022 compared with the same period in 2021.

  • Homicides dropped from 344 to 311 during that period.
  • And aggravated assaults dropped from 8,038 to 7,765.

Yes, but: Certain crimes over the last two years, particularly carjackings, have hit record levels. So far, 2022 is on track to match last year. So even if the pace marginally decreases, that's still not a big victory.

  • Rape cases rose from 860 in 2021 to 914 in 2022, while robberies jumped from 3,261 to 3,910.

The big picture: Crime in the surveyed cities is still way up over pre-pandemic levels, with a 50% increase in homicides and a roughly 36% increase in aggravated assaults compared with the MCCA's 2019 midyear report.

Of note: The survey isn't official crime data. But it's used to gauge crime trends ahead of the release of October's FBI Uniform Crime Report.

2. Oktoberfests in September

Beer and brats and pretzels

German potato salad, sauerkraut, brats, beer and pretzels will all be on offer at Oktoberfests throughout the area this weekend. Photo courtesy of Oktoberfest Chicago

Despite its name, Oktoberfest is mostly a September tradition — and this weekend we're chugging right into the middle of the season.

Why it matters: The German-themed festivals arrive on our first cool weekend since the spring, making it a perfect time to raise a beer and pretzel to summer's end.

  • And my son, who is an avid Axios reader, has been on my case to run an Oktoberfest list for 20-somethings like him.
  • These festivals are for more than just young beer guzzlers, but I get the point.
  • Here are some fun Oktoberfests to check out this weekend:

⛪️ Oktoberfest Chicago offers three days of beer, food and music, including the Bratwurst Brothers and the Polkaholics at Lakeview's historic German St. Alphonsus Church.

🍂 Oaktoberfest in downtown Oak Park on Friday and Saturday features food, drinks, family fun and a music lineup that includes Will Hoge, Scott Ligon's All Stars and Walzer.

🦍 Oktoberfest Brookfield takes place Saturday at Brookfield Zoo. Party animals can enjoy polka music, beer, brats and lederhosen.

Three more Oktoberfests

3. Tips and hot links

Illustration of the Chicago municipal device made out of Chicago-style hot dogs.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

🔥 Gov. JB Pritzker called on Democratic state Sens. Emil Jones III and Michael Hastings to resign. Jones is embroiled in federal bribery charges, and Hastings is accused of abusing women. (Sun-Times)

📊 The Chicago Water Department boasts a huge database of lead levels in home water — but hasn't publicly released an analysis of the data. (Guardian)

💊 Investigators are working with prosecutors to take another look at a suspect in the 40-year-old Tylenol murders. (Tribune)

4. Best Day Ever: David Manilow

Guy in front of a night skyline

Photo courtesy of David Manilow

The creator of the Emmy-winning "Check, Please!" has launched a podcast called "The Dining Table," highlighting Chicago stories driving the business of food.

How it works: David Manilow talks about favorite restaurants and dining news, then interviews food people like this week's guest, chef Michael Kornick.

Context: Manilow's brainchild, "Check, Please!" aired on WTTW Ch-11 for 19 seasons until it was mysteriously canceled in 2021.

  • But his love for eating hasn't changed. He recently told us about his perfect day in Chicago — complete with food recs, of course.

Breakfast: "I try to go to breakfast spots where they make things much better than my wife or I can do at home."

  • "La Catedral in Little Village is always buzzing and has an entire section of their menu dedicated to chilaquiles, 12 in all, and they're fantastic! Get one with a cafe de olla, and you're good to go."

Morning activity: "I like to Divvy around town and explore Chicago. Sometimes electric, sometimes pedal power, depending on my mood."

  • "I recently played tourist for the day and biked to the River Walk, Buckingham Fountain, and then along the lake to the south side. It allowed me to see and love the city in a totally different way."

Lunch: "If I'm feeling super adventurous I'd go to Calumet Fisheries on 95th Street, but that's a long drive for me. It's just a little shack and one of the last smokehouses in the area. Try the sable or any of their smoked fish."

The rest of Manilow's Best Day Ever

Do you see yourself with a new career?

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5. Eat Their Lunch: Houston Texans

Football coach in a baseball cap

Head coach Lovie Smith of the Houston Texans. Photo: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Former Bears and Illini coach Lovie Smith returns to Soldier Field on Sunday, but this time, he's leading the Houston Texans.

State of play: As we prepare for this trip down memory lane, we reached out to our Axios Houston colleagues to learn what a Texans game day spread looks like:

Nachos: We're big fans of Tex-Mex here. And while we don't think people up north can replicate the magic, you can at least try making chile con queso.

BBQ: You can't go wrong with smoked meat. Beef brisket is a game day go-to, but you can also go with pork ribs, sausage, and even vegan meat.

Kolaches: The sausage-stuffed sweet bun is considered a classic Houston breakfast or snack. But you can also go traditional with a fruit jam.

Banh mi: Houston has one of the nation's largest Vietnamese American populations. This sandwich is the perfect combination of bread, pickled crunchy vegetables and meat. Don't forget the cilantro and mayo.

🧑‍🍳 Monica was inspired by how Chicago's culinary community showed up Wednesday to raise funds for refugees of the devastated Tigray region of Ethiopia. Check out some of the food and chefs here.

ğŸŽ¥ Justin is still in LA. He's going to go see his old sketch comedy buddies from Schadenfreude tonight. They'll probably go find where they shot "Lethal Weapon" or "Back to the Future." Don't wait up.

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