RIP the real blues brothers
Chicago lost two legendary blues brothers this month. Not those Blues Brothers (from the cult classic), but the real ones—guitarists Jimmy Johnson and Syl Johnson, both of whom contributed to putting Chicago on the map as a city of blues in the 60s and 70s. Chicago blues came about during the Great Migration of African Americans to the north and was inspired by gospel and the Delta blues of Mississippi. It was developed on the streets, such as the Maxwell Street Market, and in blues bars in the South and West sides. Syl became one of the most sampled artists in hip-hop history, according to the American Blues Scene, his songs appearing on tracks by artists like Wu-Tang, Kanye West, Jay-Z, Public Enemy, and Kid Rock. In 2002, they both produced an album with the title Two Johnsons Are Better Than One. Up until recently, Jimmy still played regularly at Blues on Halsted. Sam Lay, the first Chicago blues drummer elected to the Blues Hall of Fame, also passed away.
Snow plow inequality
After a recent snowstorm, Chicagoans noticed the City’s apparently biased plowing trends. Residents of South Side neighborhoods pointed out their streets were the last to be plowed, while trucks were busy clearing the streets downtown and parts of the North Side. Chicagoans took to Twitter to recall how swarms of snow plows are weaponized by the City during large protests and gatherings, as the Weekly reported last summer, but are seemingly nowhere to be found when it actually snows. In a viral video posted by actor Lisa Beasley on Instagram, she shared how the City’s snow plow tracker had a prominent gap in their routes, specifically in Black neighborhoods like Englewood, Auburn Gresham and Greater Grand Crossing. Streets next to Chicago Public Schools had also been notably missed by snow plow trucks, a CPS parent pointed out with data from the City. Over 300 schools–nearly half of CPS–were left unplowed on February 2, when kids were expected to show up to class. The next morning, there were 131 schools that still hadn’t been plowed. Many residents went to neighborhood Facebook groups to vent about the chaos outside and the way unplowed streets aggravated “dibs.”
Cook County spay/neuter rebate
The Cook County Department of Animal and Rabies Control announced a new effort to spay and neuter pets at a discount during Spay and Neuter Awareness Month. More than 200 veterinary clinics throughout Cook County are participating in the program. Residents who want to take advantage of the discount should first confirm that their vet offers the discount before making an appointment. No coupon is required, but the pet owner must live in Cook County. The County covers up to $40 off spaying and neutering per pet with a limit of two pets per household. During the pandemic, long wait lists in low-cost vet clinics had pet owners waiting almost a year to get their pets fixed.