Good afternoon! Whether “quiet stop” is one thing, so please consider me the employee of the month in this category. Here’s what you need to know today.
1. Illinois residents could benefit greatly from Biden’s plan to forgive student loans
According to Federal Reserve Bank of New Yorkwhich contains state-by-state figures for 2021.
That means Illinois is among the states that could benefit the most from President Joe Biden’s plan to forgive up to $10,000 in federal student debt and $20,000 for Pell Grant recipients.
Jarod Rhymes, a graduate student at the University of Illinois at Chicago, said he could graduate debt-free under Biden’s plan.
“That money that I would use for federal loans will probably go straight to housing,” Rhymes told the Chicago Sun-Times. [Sun-Times]
Nationally, outstanding federal student loan debt stands at more than $1.6 trillion, according to the Education Data Initiative. In Illinois, borrowers owe a total of more than $60 billion.
2. Just days into the new school year, four teenagers were gunned down in front of a Chicago high school
Four teenagers were injured in a drive-by shooting outside a Northwest Side high school yesterday, an attack that comes just days into Chicago’s new school year and towards the end of a plagued summer to mass shootings across the country.
The teenagers were in the patio of an ice cream shop when they were shot at around 2.45pm, just as students were being expelled from Schurz High School. One of the teenagers was in critical condition at Lurie Children’s Hospital.
The mass shooting raises questions about how Chicago public schools can improve student safety as they travel to and from school.
And it also highlights how school communities that have struggled with gun violence often find a “lack of resources to help children and staff cope with the shooting or murder of a student,” my friends report. colleagues from Chicago Sun-Times.
“Chicago educators and parents envied the traumatic reaction of Highland Park students as they returned to school after the July 4 tragedy in the suburbs.” [Chicago Sun-Times]
3. Chicago’s top public health official has tested positive for COVID-19
Dr. Allison Arwady, who has been a calm and reassuring presence for Chicago during the pandemic, announced today that she has tested positive for COVID-19 and is “experiencing cold symptoms, but I am fine otherwise,” report my colleagues from Chicago Sun-Times.
Arwady attributed her mild symptoms to the fact that she was fully vaccinated and strengthened.
Across Illinois, approximately 69% of residents have completed at least their initial round of vaccines and 54% have received a booster.
More than 3,600 state residents have tested positive each day for the past week, down significantly from 30,000 per day at the height of the omicron wave in January. [Chicago Sun-Times]
4. California should move closer to banning the sale of new gas-powered cars. Is Illinois next?
California is set to ban the sale of new gas-only vehicles by 2035, a major step in the state’s efforts to combat climate change that could have ripple effects in all the countries.
Not only is California the top market for auto sales, but more than a dozen states have followed California’s lead on auto emissions.
The policy, which will be voted on today by the California Air Resources Board, does not eliminate gas-powered cars outright, just the sale of new ones.
As the Associated Press reports, “People can continue to drive gas-powered vehicles and buy used ones after 2035. The plan also allows for a fifth of sales after 2035 to be plug-in hybrids that can run on batteries.” and gasoline. [NPR]
5. The Amazing Illinois State Fair Karaoke Contest
Someone really needs to make this story into a movie, Best of Show.
The New York Times recently chronicled this year’s karaoke contest at the Illinois State Fair. People who want to try their luck at the state fair must win first or second place at county fairs earlier in the summer, and the competitors are true legends in their own right.
There’s Tamika Swisher, a 49-year-old nursing home administrator known as “Tamika Karaoke” and “the Karaoke Diva.” And there’s Tyson Schulte, last year’s champion who sports a full beard and handlebar mustache.
“At one point he lifted his shirt to show an innovation in body hair: he had shaved and sculpted the hair on his chest and abdomen to look like a large fur tie,” said the Time reports.
“It’s more or less for humor,” Schulte said. [NYT]
Here’s what else is going on
About 100 unarmed guards and 50 dogs will patrol Chicago Transit Authority stations under a contract worth more than $30 million. [Chicago Sun-Times]
A Cook County juvenile detention center locks up children and teenagers most of the day, according to a report. [Chicago Sun-Times]
A converted motorhome offers new hope in preventing opioid deaths on Chicago’s West Side. [Chicago Sun-Times]
I already knew that, but it still amazes me that the mayor of Kyiv is a heavyweight champion known as Dr Ironfist. [NPR]
Oh, and one more thing…
- White noise is one of those books that has been on my reading list for years. Sorry, there’s too much to read.
- But I guess I have to go about it because Netflix today dropped the first trailer for a film adaptation of the critically acclaimed book by Don DeLillo.
- The film has no set release date, but it will premiere next week at the Venice Film Festival, reports Pitchfork.
- It stars Adam Driver, Greta Gerwig, Don Cheadle, Jodie Turner-Smith and André 3000. [Pitchfork]
Tell me something good…
Summer is coming to an end. My colleague Bianca is relatively new to Chicago and would like to know what some of your favorite small-scale events or activities are during the summer.
“Take a walk or cycle on one of the suburban cycle paths or in the forest reserves. Fox River Trail, Sterne’s Woods & Fen, Flint Creek and Moraine Hills were a few of my favorites – such beauty to behold!”
Feel free to email or tweet me, and your responses might be shared in this week’s newsletter.