Axios Chicago

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☀️ Happy Monday! Are you ready for Earth's greatest magic trick? First you see the Sun, now you don't! Voilà!

Situational awareness: Cook County Clerk Karen Yarbrough died yesterday after being hospitalized last week. She was 73. Yarbrough was the first Black woman to hold the office.

Today's newsletter is 962 words — a 3.5-minute read.

1 big thing: Mayor wants more migrant work permits

New arrivals outside the city's large shelter in Pilsen on Halsted. Photo: Monica Eng/Axios

As President Joe Biden visits Chicago today, he's likely to get an earful from local leaders about the city's need for more federal help, specifically on work permits for new immigrants.

Why it matters: Less than 10% of new arrivals have obtained work permits, making it harder for them to exit shelters and making it legally perilous for employers to give them jobs — even those desperate for workers.

Driving the news: Last week, Mayor Brandon Johnson joined with local migrant advocates to again call on Biden to expand work permit eligibility to allow for more permits, including for those who have been here for many years.

The big picture: The difficulty new arrivals face to secure legal work permits is just one challenge ahead of a summer when officials predict a surge of buses from Texas to disrupt Chicago ahead of the Democratic National Convention.

State of play: State officials have helped migrants file 5,329 applications for work permits as of March 28.

  • But, so far, only 2,258 have been granted.
  • Officials tell Axios they continue to screen new shelter arrivals for work permit eligibility — based on their nationality and arrival date — but reckon less than 10% will qualify.

By the numbers: Here's a breakdown of other current migrant crisis metrics based on city and state data:

Total new arrivals since 2022: 38,624 as of April 5

Total resettled: 15,763

Total living in shelters: 9,680, which is down from 11,795 in March

Total awaiting shelter at a police station: 1

  • Airport: 0
  • Landing zone: 83

Total open shelters: 20, down from 23 in March

Payments to Favorite Healthcare Staffing: In 2023, the city paid $195.3 million to the Kansas-based company for shelter staffing, at rates of up to $200 per hour for some employees. More recent data is unavailable.

  • Favorite has refused to tell Axios how much money it keeps versus how much it shares with workers.

What we're watching: City and state officials are reporting an increase in some diseases in migrant shelters.

  • The number of measles cases in Illinois has risen to 58, with most concentrated at the shelter in Pilsen.
  • Chicago Department of Public Health officials stress that migrants contracted rather than brought measles here and say vaccinations are now required for shelter entrance.

Plus: Last week the CDPH confirmed a small number of tuberculosis cases in shelters.

Keep reading

2. Spring's a ruff time for allergic pets

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

More pets in Illinois, particularly dogs, are being treated for itchy skin and allergies.

Why it matters: Seasonal allergies can be terribly uncomfortable for furry friends, and they can snowball into secondary issues, including skin infections.

By the numbers: Pet insurance company Trupanion reports a 27% increase in allergy claims for insured pets in Illinois in 2023 compared with 2019, with the data adjusted and measured on a per-1,000-pet basis.

  • That's lower than the national average of 45%.

What they're saying: It's hard to say whether allergies are more prevalent or whether we're just "better at finding it and our pet owners better at seeking treatment," says American Veterinary Medical Association president Rena Carlson.

Between the lines: Skin problems in pets are "absolutely the No. 1 issue we see with allergies," Carlson tells Axios.

  • Allergies can also show up in the ear canal, which "is actually just an extension of the skin," she says.
  • And with environmental allergies, the itchiness can appear seasonally.
  • The itching could also be caused by a parasite-related skin problem or a food allergy.

3. Tips and hot links: Revised O'Hare proposal

An airplane takes off from O'Hare in January 2022. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

✈️ Mayor Brandon Johnson has proposed a change to the O'Hare rebuild plan following negotiations with airlines. (Tribune)

🚨 A new report shows Chicago police continued to target Black and Latino drivers in traffic stops in 2023. (Block Club)

🎧 Internationally acclaimed DJ Marshmello threw a surprise concert from the roof of the Wieners Circle on Saturday. (ABC 7)

🏀 Former Bulls coach Doug Collins was selected for this year's NBA Hall of Fame class. (Sun-Times)

4. 🔥 Hot property: Cassidy on Canal

Photo of a building
Cassidy on Canal building at 350 N. Canal. Photo: Courtesy of Habitat

The newest downtown high-rise near the Chicago River is lining up renters for next month's opening.

Context: The Cassidy on Canal building (350 N. Canal) is a 33-story mixed-use glass building that jets up 375 feet into the air from the Fulton River District, spitting distance from the Kinzie bridge.

By the numbers: The project, developed by Habitat and others, cost $139 million.

  • It will be a mix of studios ($2,550) to two-bedrooms ($5,660).
  • The penthouse will cost you $10,810 per month.
Photo of a table in a apartment
The interior of an apartment inside Cassidy on Canal. Photo: Courtesy of Habitat

The intrigue: The sleek building plays homage to its previous tenant, Cassidy Tires. The Chicago mechanic operated a small shop in that location for almost 50 years.

  • The building torn down to make room for this tower had been there since 1908.
  • The new tower isn't just paying homage with the name. It also used some of the bricks from the demolished building to create the new facade.

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We're grateful for your trust and continued readership.

5. 🕶️ Photo of the day: The 2017 eclipse

People react as the solar eclipse becomes visible through the clouds in Daley Plaza in downtown Chicago on Aug. 21, 2017. Photo: Alexandra Wimley/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

😎 Are you ready to have your mind blown like these folks did in 2017?

Today, the eagerly anticipated solar eclipse is slated to reach peak coverage at 2:07pm.

If you snap some good eclipse photos, send 'em our way! We'll put them in the newsletter.

Edited by Emma Hurt and copy edited by Matt Piper and Yasmeen Altaji.

🌞 Carrie is excited to watch the eclipse today from the Adler and looks back fondly on seeing the 2017 eclipse with Monica and her other WBEZ buddies.

🕶 Monica is trying to find her glasses from the last eclipse. If she doesn't, she just may stay in and work. Womp, womp.

🎸 Justin is choosing his eclipse playlist wisely. Instead of playing just one song, he's going to play "Total Eclipse of the Heart" by Bonnie Tyler and "Total Eclipse" by Iron Maiden at the same time.

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