End of the beginning / The poop on COVID / Gas stove alert

The end of the beginning. This edition marks the completion of Chicago Public Square’s first five years of existence. And we’ve sifted through the more than 1,200 issues published since January 2017 to create a 50-question news quiz spanning that half-decade.

You can take it here—for a chance to win a Chicago Public Square cap. Thanks for reading. And now, the news:

The poop on COVID. Or vice versa. Axios Chicago salutes the first release of Chicago’s wastewater-derived data on the pandemic’s spread.
California’s poop signals are promising.

‘Silence the BS from these fake news outlets.’ Employees of the now-shuttered and disgraced Center for COVID Control chain of testing centers have been sharing contact information for staffers at Block Club and USA Today, which helped break the story.
Politico reports that The New York Times’ email pundit, David Leonhardt—“arguably the most influential of the COVID influencers”—is under fire for “irresponsible and dangerous” reporting that critics consider too upbeat about the pandemic’s dangers.
Headed your way: A new COVID variant, BA.2.
The Washington Post checks in with 81-year-old Dr. Anthony Fauci and finds him perplexed by his critics: “Has something been smoldering in their lives? Something that’s sociologically evasive to me?”
The Sun-Times: The Cook County assessor’s decision to cut homeowners’ property values based on jobs he thought neighborhoods would lose in the pandemic proved “a wild miscalculation” that worked out well for Mayor Lightfoot—but not so well for others.

Lower Wacker shootout. Three men have been arrested after a confrontation with Chicago police in the heart of the city Wednesday night.
Ch. 7 has the video.
Prosecutors say the teenager charged with an 8-year-old girl’s murder was on probation for two carjackings at the time.

‘Our system does not permit the accuser to be the judge.’ Cook County Circuit Court Chief Judge Tim Evans says his efforts toward bail reform aren’t driving increases in violent crime.
A Cook County judge is retiring under a cloud of accusations that he mistreated women in his domestic violence courtroom.

‘It would be nice to have at least one justice … who's had to ask the Walgreens guy to unlock the shampoo shelf.’ The Daily Show’s Trevor Noah cheers President Biden’s vow to pick a Black woman for the Supreme Court.
Jimmy Kimmel’s lobbying for Anita Hill: “She marches in, sits on the bench …, cracks open a can of Coke. She’s like, ‘Hey Clarence! How’s your weekend, bitch?’”
A Tribune editorial calls Justice Stephen Breyer’s retirement “good for the stability of our democracy.”

‘Local school boards have begun to lose their minds.’ Esquire’s Charlie Pierce reacts to a Tennessee board’s decision to ban Art Spiegelman’s acclaimed graphic novel, Maus.
Block Club: Students’ posting of a racist YouTube video have prompted parents to sound an alarm about Lincoln Park High School’s “toxic culture” of bullying and bigotry.
Another Trib editorial, on the disintegration of a plan to provide high school staffers with racial-equity training: “Strange week for Hinsdale.”

Gas stoves alert. A new study concludes that they leak climate-threatening methane even when they’re off.
Citing “totally flawed greenhouse gas emissions modeling,” a federal judge has scratched the Biden administration’s plan to lease millions of acres in the Gulf of Mexico for offshore oil drilling.

Candy rap. The Sun-Times’ Neil Steinberg mourns the shutdown of Chicago’s Mars Wrigley plant: “Chicagoans don’t seem to care about their candy capital status.”
The fate of the West Side plant—formerly part of a golf club—and its 280 workers was unclear.

Five days left. The Reader’s Best of Chicago poll is near its climax. Cast a vote or four for Square, won’t you?

Correction. Yesterday’s Square (again!) messed up a link to Eric Zorn’s email dispatch, recapping “The Week in Stupid.” Apologies to Eric and thanks to reader Bob Back, first to report the error.
Chris Koenig and Mike Braden made this edition better.

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