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Axios Chicago

Happy Wednesday! Today is the 55th anniversary of the 1967 blizzard. It still stands as the largest snowfall on record in the Chicago area — 23 inches.

🥶 Today's weather: Still dangerously cold with a high of 12. We can handle it, but it's going to remain below zero until mid-morning. Take care of yourself.

Today's newsletter is 800 words — a 3-minute read.

1 big thing: Bears hire a new GM

Ryan Poles takes his team headshot in 2008. He's now the new GM of the Chicago Bears. Photo: Getty Images

The Bears have hired Ryan Poles as their new general manager.

Why it matters: The Bears fired Ryan Pace after seven seasons and will now rely on Poles to hire a new head coach and manage an aging roster with a young quarterback.

  • Chicago Twitter was buzzing yesterday morning when video surfaced of Bears president George McCaskey walking with Poles at O'Hare Airport.
  • Before Poles could get on a flight to interview with the Minnesota Vikings, the Bears hired him.

Background: The 36-year-old Poles was most recently the executive director of player personnel for the Kansas City Chiefs, where he worked for 13 years in several different front office positions.

  • Fun fact: Poles was part of the team that moved up to draft Patrick Mahomes.
  • Not so fun fact: This, after the Bears drafted Mitchell Trubisky ahead of Mahomes.
  • Another fun fact: Poles actually played for the Bears in 2008. He was an undrafted offensive lineman who didn't make the team.

The intrigue: Poles was part of a front office that brought a Super Bowl to Kansas City. The organization is preparing for its fourth-straight AFC Championship game this week.

  • He worked for three different GMs, a rarity in NFL front offices, and was promoted by current Chiefs GM Brett Veach.
  • Notable draft picks during his time in Kansas City: Travis Kelce (3rd round), Chris Jones (2nd), Tyreek Hill (5th), and Creed Humphrey (2nd). Oh yeah, and that quarterback in the State Farm commercials.

What's next: Head coach candidate Jim Caldwell was also at Halas Hall yesterday, per ESPN.

💭 Justin's thought bubble: I ask two things of the front-office leader: Do you have experience rebuilding a franchise and do you talk to the media? The last GM didn't do either. Also, maybe Poles can lure Kelce or Hill to Chicago from Kansas City? 😉

2. Chart of the day: Rent or buy in IL?
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Data: ATTOM; Map: Jared Whalen/Axios
3. Tips and hot links

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

👩‍⚖️ A Sangamon County judge will rule this week on whether or not to block COVID-19 mitigation efforts in Illinois schools. (Daily Herald)

🚸 Chicago principal: "Our kids are not okay." A stirring op-ed about what school is like during the Omicron surge. (Sun-Times)

🦷 Illinois dentists are reporting worker shortages. (WTTW)

🌆 The Little Village arch is expected to get landmark status today.(Tribune)

🍺 Actor Michael Shannon penned a love letter to Chicago bars. (Chicago Magazine)

🍕 A sad day for Chicago pizza lovers: Nancy Palese, the namesake of Nancy's Pizza, has passed away. (Sun-Times)

Wake up to a brighter future

Finding, Connecting, Building Success with our Job Board.

  1. SVP, Experience at Mosaic.
  2. Account Director at Reputation Partners.
  3. Senior Product Marketing Manager, Investment Management at Morningstar.

Want more opportunities? Check out our Job Board.

Hiring? Post a Job.

4. Tips for warmer remote work

Monica's dog stays close to her heating pad and implores her human to turn up the thermostat. Photo: Monica Eng/Axios

👋 Hey, it's Monica. Yesterday I shared a couple of tips for staying warm during another pandemic winter of remote work.

  • And, yes, I know this beats waiting for the bus in January, but my old condo is drafty!
  • So I was delighted to get some great reader tips.

🧦 Andrew H. lives in a Portage Park bungalow "where squeaky floors and cold drafts live comfortably."

  • He recommends: "Wool socks, cashmere joggers and an oversized sweatshirt and hoodie."
  • He intentionally bought one pair of unattractive joggers because they're "incredibly warm" and so ugly "I will never wear them outdoors, therefore I’ll have to change from time-to-time. The struggle to avoid becoming a hermit is real."
Courtesy of reader Andrew H., who says there's, "Nothing better than watching my four-legged home office mates in front of the heat register from my desk."

🍲 Madeleine B: "My new favorite thing while working from home this winter: The "simmer pot" recipe from Williams-Sonoma. It smells so incredible all day and adds some much-needed moisture to the air in my very drafty and dry apartment."

🏃 Will C: Tips to stay warm without "insane heating costs" include:

  • Work in a room you can close off and use a standing oil heater.
  • Wool layers. Thick socks and good slippers. A cap or hoodie, too.
  • Get up and move! Do a few reps of an exercise: pushups, jumping jacks, lunges, squats, sit-ups, curls or even walking up and down the stairs. It doesn't take much time to get the blood pumping.
  • Lap cats. It's a symbiotic relationship, keeping each other warm.

🛀 Final tips: Put a heating pad on your office chair and in your dog's bed.

  • Consider working in your tub if your bathroom stays warm like mine.
Monica tries out working in a bathtub with layers and a warm pet. Photo: Monica Eng/Axios
5. Where in the world is … Justin

Another mystery location! Photo: Justin Kaufmann/Axios

📫You know the drill! If you can name where Justin is, you could win some Axios swag.


  • It's below the tracks, once close to your heart.
  • There are plenty of entrances, but no exit.

And thanks to everyone who took Monday's address quiz. It was harder than usual and nobody got them all right! Phil V. came closest by just missing on Planet Hollywood.

The answers:

  • 646 South State Street (Pacific Garden Mission)
  • 633 North Wells Street (Planet Hollywood)
  • 3175 West Madison Street (Edna's Soul Food Restaurant)
  • 4220 South Halsted Street (International Amphitheatre)
  • 423 East 43rd Street (Checkerboard Lounge)

Editor's note: Today's 1 big thing on new Bears GM Ryan Poles has been updated to remove incorrect information about the Bears giving the Chiefs future draft picks to hire Poles. The NFL, not the Bears, will give those compensatory picks to the Chiefs.

Our picks:

🥑 Monica is among the many people baffled by that Hinsdale guy who left a Chipotle because his burrito cost a dollar more. But, then again, she always gets the guac.

🌯 Justin now wants Chipotle.