Axios Chicago

Picture of the Chicago skyline.

Happy Tuesday! It's International Women's Day, so Monica did not have to wake up at 5:45am today to do the final newsletter edits. Yay!

Situational awareness: Yesterday we wrote about how Chicago was closing in on the all-time record for gas prices. As of this morning, it's happened. The average price here is $4.70, beating the $4.68 record set in 2012.

Today's newsletter is 902 words — a 3.5-minute read.

1 big thing: Who's still masking

Illustration of a mask with an animated "no smoking" symbol over it, with the crossbar extending to different lengths, but never getting all the way across.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

State and local mask requirements were removed more than a week ago, but rules at specific businesses — and who's following them — still vary greatly.

Why it matters: The public still seems confused about where mask rules can be enforced.

  • These misunderstandings can create contentious and even dangerous situations for the immunocompromised and staffers who have to enforce regulations.

Details: Even with relaxed state rules, businesses can still choose to enforce their own stricter standards.

The latest: To help locals navigate place-specific policies, community organizer Cait Guerra released a Google map of local businesses that are still enforcing masks.

  • "I wanted a list of places where I could feel a little more secure eating out or shopping," Guerra tells Axios. "I figured other immunocompromised people and families with young kids would appreciate a map as well."

Monica's experience: On Friday at the Auditorium Theatre, staffers checked vax cards and reminded patrons about mask requirements. Folks in front of me still ignored the rules.

  • On Thursday at the Old Town School of Folk Music, everyone happily followed the rules.

Justin's experience: On Saturday, I went to a boutique grocery store, a restaurant, and a Dairy Queen. I encountered about 50-75 people indoors and was the only one wearing a mask.

  • The Dairy Queen was the only business that had a sign on the door asking customers to wear masks, but the 10 people in line ignored it.

2. Women's history by L lines

Screenshot of a map of several train lines and stops.
A snippet of The Women's L Project. Map courtesy of The Women's L Project

Inspired by a similar New York City map, retired Lutheran minister Janet Volk spent much of last year creating a hypothetical Chicago transit map called "The Women's L Project."

  • The map replaces current station names with those of women who worked and lived near the stops.

Why it matters: International Women's Day offers a great time to reflect on Chicago women's history using the map as a fresh guide.

How it works: Volk tells Axios she partnered with designer Jessika Savage to research and highlight Chicago women who worked in "justice, social work, business, education, medicine, the arts, literature, politics, and science … with little, if any, recognition."

  • The project includes women like Hazel Johnson, Peggy Terry, and Angie Navedo Rizzo.

The surprise: "Women who became 'inadvertent activists,' … because of where they lived, the jobs they had, their race, etc., they courageously led and organized for the good of the people in their communities," said Volk.

Her hope: "People will be intrigued by the map and visit the project website, where they can not only learn about each woman, but find out ways to connect with the women's causes."

3. Tips and hot links

Illustration of a skyscraper extending into space.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

👩‍⚕️ According to the CDPH, 95% of Chicagoans could have some sort of immunity to COVID-19. (Block Club)

✅ Fact-check: GOP gubernatorial candidate Richard Irvin claims he reduced violence by 40% in his first year as mayor of Aurora, but using the same math, violence exploded by 200% in his second year in office. (Sun-Times)

🏈 Former Bears coach Matt Nagy is selling his Lake Bluff mansion. The football decor is pretty over-the-top and also pretty amazing. (Tribune)

Come climb the ladder to success

🪜 One step at a time on our Local Job Board.

  1. Brand Designer at Basis Technologies.
  2. Director, Market Strategy - Consumer Lending and FinTech at TransUnion.
  3. Senior Account Executive at Hawthorne Strategy Group.

Want more opportunities? Check out our Job Board.

Hiring? Post a Job.

4. Sound off: favorite fried fish

A photo of fried fish on a bed of french fries.

Fish and chips from BIG & little's Restaurant. Photo: Monica Eng/Axios

We wrote last week about our love of fried fish from Don's Dock and BIG & little's, and you responded with a boatload of your own favorites.

Monica H: "You can't beat the takeaway fish fry from the Fish Keg in Rogers Park. It's a no-frills spot (with parking!) that consistently serves expertly fried fish."

Mark N: "Mrs. Murphy & Sons on Lincoln has the best fish & chips!"

Bailey Q: "Hagen's Fish Market in Portage Park! Amazing fish sandwich and an on-site smokehouse. Food is delicious and it smells amazing."

Debbie K: "I would highly recommend the Aldi British Fish & Chips … It's as close as I can get from frozen outside the UK and $5.99 a box."

Go deeper for more fried fish picks.

Photo of fried fish and french fries.
On Debbie K's advice, Monica tried Aldi's frozen fish & chips. Delicious even after she burned the fries. Photo: Monica Eng/Axios

5. Local podcast spotlight: Hold Me Back

Photo of two men posing for camera.

Ash and Aidan ElDifrawi host the podcast Hold Me Back. Photo courtesy of Hold Me Back

The podcast: Hold Me Back tries to bridge the gap between Gen Z and Gen X with Hinsdale father-and-son duo Ash and Aidan ElDifrawi gabbing about societal issues and more.

The impetus: Family time during the pandemic found the two arguing and "talking past each other," they tell Axios.

  • "[We wanted] our podcast to be an effective forum to 'model' what a healthy, fact-based, open-minded dialogue between parents and children can look like."

The vibe: Conversational and fun, but also sincere and honest about the generational tensions between father and son.

Episode topics: Swearing, grades, social media, and Tom Brady. They recently tackled the more niche topic of college admissions officers.

Moving moment: The Social Media Divide episode featured a conversation with Aidan's 14-year-old sister Ally, who discussed how Instagram made her feel.

  • "I was looking at these pictures and just comparing myself to them and feeling worse about myself … I was constantly working towards…trying to change my body until I looked like that."

Go deeper.

6. Where in the world is ... Monica

Photo of a woman standing in front of a building.

Guess where I am! Photo: Monica Eng/Axios

📬 Where's Monica? Respond with the correct answer and you could be entered to win Axios swag.

Here's a hint:

Today it's a place to learn gymnastic tricks

But for 60-plus years it served Chicago's sick

The doctors and nurses gave patients free care

But mostly they gave them a lot of fresh air

Our picks:

🇺🇦 Monica is inspired to see all the Chicago restaurants offering ways to support Ukraine through food in this terrific Tribune roundup.

📰 Justin is always excited to see the company he works for profiled in the New York Times. Go Axios!

Want free Axios swag? Refer your friends to Axios Chicago and get cool merch like stickers, totes, hats, T-shirts and more!