‘The murder Chicago didn’t want to solve’ / Vaccine surge / Restaurant Week reborn

Chicago Public Square will take Friday off. Back Monday. Meanwhile, get continual updates by following Square on Facebook. And now the news:


‘The murder Chicago didn’t want to solve.’ ProPublica’s Mick Dumke revisits a still-open 1963 case that “illustrates Chicago’s enduring legacy of political corruption, police misconduct and systemic racism.”
A suburban school administrator asked dozens of young Black men what’s driving the area’s carjacking crime wave.

We still don’t know what he (allegedly) did. But now that ex-Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan’s handpicked successor, Edward Guerra Kodatt, has quit for “alleged questionable conduct,” Democrats were set to huddle today to pick the replacement’s replacement.
State Comptroller Susana Mendoza is asking Kodatt to decline the month’s salary he’s entitled to under a law she’s aiming to reverse.
A veteran Chicago and Illinois political insider faces charges he bribed a disgraced ex-alderman and a corrupt ex-Chicago Public Schools official.
A Tribune editorial: “Just when you think Illinois might be turning a corner with … a renewed focus on ethics, you realize the corner is actually a dead end.”

Vaccine surge. Gov. Pritzker predicts Illinois’ supply of COVID-19 vaccines will nearly double by mid-March.
Although the state technically is expanding vaccine access today to people under 65 with underlying health conditions, not so much in the Chicago area.


‘You’ve got to be f__king kidding me.’ An open mic caught Mayor Lightfoot’s exasperation as she got word during a City Council meeting that scandal-scarred Ald. Ed Burke would oppose a quick vote on her pandemic relief fund plan.
With a full-page ad in the Sun-Times, dozens of Chicago’s corporate leaders hail Lightfoot for her “leadership in navigating the city” through the pandemic, racial strife and recession.
The mayor’s acknowledging the concerns of hunger strikers protesting a metal recycling plant’s relocation to the Southeast Side, but she hasn’t embraced their demand that the city deny the permit.
Aiming to slow “urban removal” in the gentrifying neighborhoods along the 606 trail, the mayor’s pushing an ordinance that would slap a big fee on developers who demolish nearby residential buildings.

Lakefront peril. Preservation Chicago puts the city’s shoreline on its annual list of endangered buildings and resources.
Also cited: Roman Catholic churches.

Trump’s treasures. The tax records the former president tried to keep secret for years have been turned over to New York’s district attorney …
 … but they may never become public.

Restaurant Week reborn. Chicago’s foodie fest is coming back for 17 days beginning March 19—with pandemic-driven pickup and delivery options.
The lockdown’s been good to Buona Beef: It’s hiring 500 people as dining comes back.
The Trib’s Nick Kindelsperger finds McDonald’s new fried chicken sandwiches “a huge improvement.”

Unplugged. Fry’s Electronics—a destination for electronics tinkerers for close to four decades—is calling it quits.
In a move that has analysts and consumer groups scratching their heads, ComEd parent Exelon is splitting its nuclear plant operations into a separate company.

About Facebook’s blocking. Updating an item in yesterday’s Chicago Public Square: No comment from Facebook on why it blocked Illinoisans sharing a U.S.-created link in a public Chicago-area Facebook group. But Katrina Aman at The Conversation told Square Wednesday:
“Facebook is blocking Australians from sharing and accessing news content, the result of an ongoing dispute with the Australian government. … The Conversation U.S. is an independent news organization, but because The Conversation was founded in Australia and we share a name, mission and website with the Australians and six other media outlets around the world, we are also being banned. … We are in conversation with Facebook and hoping to see it fixed.”
And, in fact, now that Australia has passed a law requiring Google and Facebook to pay news media, the article that triggered this inquiry now can be shared.
A journalism prof sounds the alarm: “Tech giants are swallowing the web.”

‘I have pursued a commitment to transparency over the antiquated practices of objectivity.’ In a letter to the editor, fired WTTW news director Hugo Balta says he “was wrongfully terminated last week because I don’t hide behind the handicap of objectivity as if journalists can check their humanity at the door.”
He has a point (2017 link).
Chicago radio blowhard Dan Proft is done as a national host.
A new audiobook project from Chicago actor* Kevin Theis gives voice to historic speeches never before recorded.

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