Happy Friday! On this day in 1942, the first controlled self-sustaining nuclear reaction happened under the grandstand of Stagg Field at the University of Chicago.

💨 Today's weather: It's warming up! Windy with a high of 50.

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🎂 Happy birthday to Axios Chicago member Ann Cassidy!

Today's newsletter is 867 words — a 3.5-minute read. Edited by Everett Cook and copy edited by Rob Reinalda.

1 big thing: Carjackings fall

Data: Chicago Police Department; Chart: Axios Visuals

Reports of local carjackings fell dramatically from November 2021 to November 2022 and in recent months, according to city data.

Why it matters: These high-profile crimes skyrocketed locally and nationwide during the pandemic. Their decreasing numbers may finally signal some success for prevention efforts.

By the numbers: As of Nov. 23, carjackings last month checked in at fewer than half of what they were in Nov. 2021.

  • Reports of the crime have dropped more than 30% since August.

Yes, but: We're measuring these improvements against some of Chicago's worst carjacking numbers ever.

  • This year's "improving" numbers are still three times higher than they were a decade ago.

What they're saying: Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart credits the "tireless" work of the Vehicular Hijacking Taskforce for the drop in carjackings countywide but says the 1,600-plus so far this year are still too many.

  • Dart applauds the County Board for recently approving $11.4 million for a new helicopter that he says will significantly increase the department's ability to recover stolen vehicles "while reducing the risk of potential harm to the public."

Yes, but: CPD spokesman Tom Ahern says recent months have brought a "significant" rise in regular auto theft "as people leave their keys in the vehicle, leave it running, or have vehicles that are easily accessible."

State of play: This week the task force arrested and charged three teens with multiple carjackings on the South Side.

Of note: Dart launched a program this fall aimed at reducing carjackings by placing stickers indicating tracking ability on cars.

  • His office tells Axios nearly 6,000 vehicle owners have signed up so far.

2. Wrigley wins best downtown building tournament

Wrigley Building. Photo: Raymond Boyd/Getty Images.

After a week of hard-fought tournament matchups, the Wrigley Building has triumphed as your favorite downtown building in Chicago!

  • The terracotta beauty built by a chewing gum magnate in the 1920s withstood challenges from all sorts of architectural gems, including the Willis Tower, Tribune Tower and Carbide and Carbon.
  • In other words, it earned this victory.
Bracket: Axios Visuals

Thanks for playing! We saw record voting this week and will conjure a fun new tournament in early January.

  • In the meantime, go explore all these great buildings!

3. Eat Their Lunch: Green Bay Packers

David Montgomery runs against the Packers at Lambeau Field this year. Photo: Michael Reaves/Getty Images

This Sunday will mark the 206th time the Bears have played the Green Bay Packers.

  • Both teams are underperforming this year, but the winner of this intense rivalry will become the franchise with the most NFL regular season wins of all time.
  • Today we turn to Axios CEO Jim VandeHei — who grew up in Oshkosh rooting for the Packers — for Wisconsin tailgate picks to help us eat the Cheeseheads' lunch.

First course: "Start with charcoal-grilled Johnsonville brats. Boil them and then bathe them in Point beer. Add onions."

Deep fried cheese curds on a table.
Deep-fried cheese curds from Cheesie's. Photo: Monica Eng/Axios

Second course: "Deep-fried cheese curds."

Third course: "Wash it down with some beer cheese soup and a side of Spotted Cow."

  • "It's nutritious and delicious."

As for the game, Jim is hoping his Packers make a run despite Aaron Rodgers' rib injury.

  • The Bears, on the other hand, are now playing to lose — which would mean better draft picks next year.

4. Tips and hot links

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

The Illinois General Assembly approved changes to the SAFE-T Act during the veto session. No Republican legislators voted for it. (Tribune)

In a massive legislative package, Illinois Democrats are proposing a ban on assault weapons. It could go to a vote in January. (WBEZ)

South Loop residents are looking to ban marijuana dispensaries from opening. (Block Club)

Do you see yourself with a new career?

Check out our Local Job Board.

  1. Director, Brand Strategy at Merge.
  2. Associate Director Payer Engagement at SCA Health.
  3. Senior Account Executive - Government Contracting at Bloomberg Industry Group.

Want more opportunities? Check out our Job Board.

Hiring? Post a Job.

5. Best Day Ever: Neil Steinberg

Neil Steinberg's new book. Photo: Justin Kaufmann/Axios

Sun-Times columnist Neil Steinberg has come out with yet another book, this one called "Every Goddamn Day," in which he presents 366 vignettes keyed to the days of the year.

What they're saying: "I included moments in city history that fascinate me," Steinberg tells Axios. "But I kept finding stories that I had no idea about until forced to find something to match a specific date."

  • "For instance: The first public showing of videotape was in Chicago."

Steinberg, who lives in Northbrook, has been writing his blog and a Sun-Times column for decades, so he's well-versed on a perfect day in Chicago:

☕️ Breakfast: "Lou Mitchell's on Jackson. Hot coffee, thick Greek raisin toast — honestly that's enough, but we can celebrate with a mozzarella and spinach omelet, well-done ..."

🏢 Morning activity: "Stroll over to the new Sun-Times newsroom at the Old Post Office. The building was an abandoned white elephant for so long, it's great to see it restored and pristine; really, it's like working in a Bruce McCall illustration."

🥗 Lunch: "Over the summer, I like meeting people at the Cliff Dwellers Club — eating on their capacious deck, overlooking Millennium Park."

The rest of Neil Steinberg's Best Day Ever

6. Chicago still loves Juice WRLD

The Juice WRLD mural off the Kennedy expressway in 2021. Photo: Justin Kaufmann/Axios

Spotify Wrapped is still a viral phenomenon, just judging by our own Instagram feeds.

Chicago's top artists of 2022 on Spotify:

  1. Bad Bunny
  2. Drake
  3. Taylor Swift
  4. Ye (Kanye West)
  5. Juice WRLD

The intrigue: That the late Juice WRLD made this list is extraordinary.

Our picks:

🚢 Monica is excited for the return of the Christmas Tree Ship on Friday and Saturday at Navy Pier, where the crew will unload trees for local families and offer free ship tours from 1:30 to 3:30pm.

🎹 Justin has always wanted to hear the Charlie Brown Christmas music performed live, and he'll get his chance this Sunday at the Studebaker Theater downtown!

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