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
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
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
🧑⚖️ 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
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."
5. Smart Brevity: Buy the book
📚 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:
- Unabridged Bookstore, Lakeview
- The Book Cellar, Lincoln Square
- 57th Street Books, Hyde Park
- Seminary Co-op, Hyde Park
- Bookends and Beginnings, Evanston
6. Where in the world is ... Monica?
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!