Four years of lies, racist fearmongering, and partisan hackery by Donald Trump and his allies culminated, predictably, in a seditious assault on the nation’s Capitol by the former president’s supporters that left five dead, including a Capitol police officer. Several Chicagoans were spotted at the rally that preceded the riot, including employees of Insight Tattoo in Wicker Park, Chicago’s Best Barbershop in Logan Square, Tank Noodle in Edgewater, and real estate agent Libby Andrews; forty-year-old Northsider Kevin Lyons was arrested for his part in the insurrection. The rioters, egged on by Trump and his surrogates, carried “Thin Blue Line” flags as they attacked police and stormed the Senate chamber. Retired and active cops and military members were reportedly among the mob. CPD union president John Catanzara publicly sympathized with the D.C. rioters, but apologized after the National Fraternal Order of Police rejected his statements. The coup ultimately failed and the House swiftly impeached Trump for his part in it. But the cancer of white supremacy was present in America long before Trump instigated the MAGA mob, and it will fester long after he is gone. As a safety precaution, City Hall and the Cook County Building were scheduled to close during President Biden’s inauguration.
Is your CPS school safe?
Between 700 and 900 COVID-19 cases have been counted in CPS schools that reopened this month for in-person learning. CPS is tracking self-reported “actionable cases” on its website. A separate tracker and interactive map by the Chicago Teachers Union, the Illinois Federation of Teachers, and the American Federation of Teachers can be found online at https://tracker.ctulocal1.org. Search your school.
Cancel your water debt
The City is re-upping efforts to encourage residents behind on their water and sewer bills to apply for the Utility Relief Program, which can provide full forgiveness of the debt if participants successfully work to pay down their bills at a fifty percent discount for one year. The program has been underutilized since its rollout nine months ago, with only 8,359 applicants as of January 13, according to the Tribune. Officials estimate more than 20,000 households may be eligible. As Weekly reporter Neya Thanikachalam noted in a September story on water access, communities of color have been hardest hit by the pandemic and its attendant economic stressors. At the time, Community and Economic Development Association president and CEO Harold Rice told Thanikachalam that the URP was meant to “relieve residents of some of the costs associated with their households, especially with the high unemployment rate.” To qualify for the URP, applicants must be the owners in residence of a single-family home or two-flat, and meet the income requirements of the CEDA-LIHEAP assistance program. For more information or to apply click here.