Axios Chicago

Picture of the Chicago skyline.

September 20, 2022

🎉 Happy Tuesday! Today is the first anniversary of Axios Chicago! Thank you for making us part of your daily routine. It means a lot.

  • Also, no need for gifts. Your eyeballs are more than enough.

🎂 And a very happy birthday to our Axios Chicago member Todd Bittner!

⛅️ Today's weather: The heat is back. Partly sunny with a high of 89.

Today's newsletter is 870 words — a 3.5-minute read. Edited by Everett Cook and copy edited by Rob Reinalda.

1 big thing: Depaving Chicago

Workers laying asphalt

Workers lay down asphalt. Photo: Daniel Karmann/dpa via Getty Images

The storms that damaged basements, stranded cars and popped sewer covers into the air last week reminded us that Chicago is not immune to climate-driven weather problems — specifically, heavy storms and floods.

Why it matters: A new organization called Depave Chicago aims to chip away at a major component of our flooding problem — asphalt.

How it works: The group wants to identify underused paved areas that could be broken up to create green spaces like pocket parks, gardens and play areas.

  • Instead of sending surface water into overtaxed sewers, these spaces can soak it up while creating shade and moisture to cool urban heat islands.
  • One great example is the Waters Elementary School educational garden, which was a huge slab of asphalt until former ecology director Pete Leki led its transformation.

Zoom in: Part of a national network started by Depave Portland, Depave Chicago staffers have been holding listening sessions this summer to understand local needs, ideas and resources.

  • The organization says, "only 10% of Chicago is designated as parkland, while climate research suggests that 30-50% of land should be in some form of protected or conserved status."
  • They hope to start breaking up asphalt next spring and are calling for proposals on where to begin.

What they're saying: University of Illinois' Mary Pat McGuire runs Water Lab, which works on policy to combat urban flooding.

  • "While we’re working at a planning and policy level around making green infrastructure much more the norm in Chicago, we really needed a program that says, ‘Hey, we need to take out some asphalt,'" she told WTTW.

2. Work-from-home hotspots

Data: U.S. Census Bureau; Chart: Simran Parwani/Axios

Recently released census figures show the number of people working primarily from home tripled from 2019 to 2021.

Zoom in: Though Chicago didn't make the top 10 WFH cities, Axios crunched the numbers to find that the city did see significant remote work.

  • More than 20% of workers over 16 years old in our metro area reported working primarily from home in 2021.

Yes, but: Workers are steadily heading back to the office — at least occasionally.

3. Tips and hot links

Illustration of a humongous Willis Tower looming over the earth and sending out small lightning bolts from its antennas.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

🧑‍⚖️ A jury ruled in favor of a Willowbrook woman who sued Sterigenics over emitting cancer-causing toxins. The jury awarded the plaintiff $363 million, which is the largest amount given to an individual in state history. (ABC 7)

🏡 Lombard's Mark Frerichs is returning home after being abducted in Afghanistan in early 2020. The civilian contractor and former Navy vet was part of a hostage swap with the Taliban. (Sun-Times)

📺 Chicago native Chris Redd is the latest SNL cast member to exit the show before the new season begins in October. (Tribune)

4. 🍞 Your favorite local bread

Artisan bread loaves on a shelf

Fresh loaves at Hewn Bakery in Evanston. Photo: Monica Eng/Axios

We fought over our favorite artisanal bread last week.

🥖 As usual, you filled our breadbox with lots of your own fresh suggestions:

Julia T.: "My favorite bread actually comes from Bungalow by Middle Brow. Every two weeks I get a fresh, creative new loaf of bread on my doorstep along with a fun four-pack or bottle of funky beer that I never would have tried on my own!"

  • "My last delivery came with a country round with sweet corn, polenta, and parmesan and some India pale ale with 'enigma and barbe rouge,' which we've been enjoying all week!"

Jim P.: "My favorite Chicago bread is a hyperlocal loaf from Oak Park. My neighbor Tim at Lyman Ave. Bread bakes up a country sourdough every Wednesday and delivers by bike in a 20 block radius. Other OPers pick it up from his porch."

Lucy G.: "The sliced black sesame loaf from Tous les Jours Chinatown location is always a treasure. Enjoy it toasted with a little butter and a cup of tea anytime of day."

  • "Or untoasted with a sun/nut butter spread brings out the spongy texture."

Barbara M.: "I have to vote for Katich Breads from Aurora. Their German seeded rye and roasted raisin walnut and English muffins are the best I’ve eaten."

Veronique T.: "Best baguette, hands down: Verzenay."

  • "La Boulangerie on Wilson (next to Lycée Français) is pretty good too."

All your bread picks

Seeking employment?

🎾 The ball is in your court. Check out these opportunities.

  1. Practice Development Manager at Holland & Knight.
  2. Regional Manager- Experience Management at JLL.
  3. Services Sales Principal at Hitachi.

Want more opportunities? Check out our Job Board.

Hiring? Post a Job.

5. Smart Brevity: Buy the book

Several copies of the Smart Brevity book

Axios' new Smart Brevity book. Courtesy of Axios

📚 The first Axios book, "Smart Brevity: The Power of Saying More with Less" comes out today, showing you how to communicate more crisply and efficiently.

Why it matters to you: It's got chapters on Zooms, emails, speeches and social media — all helping you punch through the noise.

  • It's basically a playbook on how we write this thing every day.
  • Plus, our bosses wrote it! So, guess what we bought for holiday gifts!

We'd love for you to buy a copy through local stores like:

Thank you!

6. Where in the world is ... Monica?

Woman in front of a WWI statue

Photo: Monica Eng/Axios

Where's Monica this week? Here's a hint:

  • On this park that spans 500 acres
  • Lived a newspaper mover and shaker
  • Often known to his staff as the Colonel
  • He ran a conservative journal

📬 Reply and you could win some Axios swag!

👖 Monica is getting her eating pants ready for Chicago Gourmet this weekend. How can it already be that time of year again?

🥎 Justin is sorry to report that the Axios softball season is over. His plucky squad lost 7-1 to the undefeated Audacy team. Audacy will take on WGN Radio in the Kup Media League Finals next Monday night.

  • Anyone want to play fall ball?

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