Chicago News Roundup: A damning review of Cook County Juvenile Jail, Biden’s student debt forgiveness plan, the Fatal River North stabbing, where to birdwatch in Chicago


Good afternoon. Here’s the latest news you need to know in Chicago. This is an approximately 5 minute read that will educate you on today’s biggest stories.

This afternoon will be mostly sunny with a high near 85 degrees. Tonight will be partly cloudy with a low near 67. Tomorrow will be partly sunny with a risk of thunderstorms and a high near 83.

Afternoon Edition

The most important Chicago news of the day, delivered every weekday afternoon. Plus, a bonus number on Saturday dives into the city’s history.

top story

Cook County Juvenile Jail locks children and teens in their cells most of the day, scathing review finds

In a scathing report, a group of juvenile justice experts say the Cook County Temporary Detention Center for Juveniles – a five-story West Side fortress with courtrooms and a public school that can house up to to 175 young people – should be permanently closed and replaced. with smaller community facilities focused on rehabilitation.

The report comes from a committee convened last year by Cook County Chief Judge Timothy Evans, whose office oversees the detention center, which is the nation’s largest freestanding juvenile prison. Evans asked the committee to assess procedures at the detention center, particularly regarding the length of time youths are confined to their cells.

The committee found that the detention center, known as the JTDC, is “isolated and private”, rather than rehabilitative. Most children and teenagers there – the vast majority of those held there are black – spend at least 13 hours a day locked in their small cells – including an hour when the facility is locked down during shift changes and 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. daily for what prison officials call “sleeping hours.”

The committee noted that no healthy teenagers sleep during this time and said prison staff often discipline young people by confining them to their cells for several additional hours.

“The semantics do not diminish the harsh reality that JTDC youth are locked in their cells most days, every day,” the committee wrote. “No parent would be allowed to do this to their child.”

Evans received the committee’s report in May, but his office only released it yesterday – a week after Injustice Watch obtained a copy and interviewed the Chief Justice’s office.

A spokeswoman for Evans said the chief justice is forming another committee to implement the recommendations, but did not provide a full list of its members or answer questions about when work will begin or how. the recommendations the judge plans to follow.

Injustice Watch’s Carlos Ballesteros and Jonah Newman have more on the review here.

More news you need

  1. An apparent rush-hour traffic conflict in downtown Chicago turned deadly last night when two drivers got out of their cars and one stabbed the other in the neck. The injured driver refused help from witnesses and drove five blocks to North Michigan Avenue, where he stopped near a patrol car and an ambulance was called, police said.
  2. Federal authorities have arrested and charged two Chicago-area brothers — Daniel and Joseph Leyden — for assaulting officers and helping to remove barriers during the breach of the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021. They are among at least 30 other Illinoisans who have been charged with the offense.
  3. R. Kelly’s trial continued today, with Kelly’s attorneys questioning a man he allegedly hired to piece together child pornography recordings featuring Kelly with underage girls ahead of his 2008 trial. Andy Grimm and Jon Seidel have all the details on today’s proceedings here.
  4. President Joe Biden today announced a plan to erase $20,000 in federal student debt for Pell Grant recipients and eliminate $10,000 in federal student loan debt for other borrowers. Our Lynn Sweet breaks down eight things you need to know about the new plan.
  5. City council members face a Sept. 2 deadline to decide whether to accept a 9.62% pay rise that will take their annual salary to $142,772. The raise represents a political dilemma that could impact their re-election chances, our Fran Spielman explains in her latest article.
  6. Some CPS special education students with disabilities are enduring nearly two-hour bus rides as transportation issues continue in this new school year. Our Nader Issa has more with some concerned students and families here.
  7. For the past few years, Alejandra Frausto has advocated with city officials to address high levels of lead in paint covering overpasses stretching along Central Park Avenue in her Southwest Side neighborhood. But yesterday Frausto discovered city workers were clearing overpasses, sending paint chips flying into nearby grass, yards and sidewalks where children play — and she can’t get answers, reports our Brett Chase.
  8. Kroger Co., owner of Mariano Stores, opened a new warehouse in Maywood yesterday to make home grocery deliveries to people living in the Chicago area. You can shop directly from the Kroger warehouse when ordering from Mariano’s website, instead of using third-party delivery options like Instacart.
  9. An invasive Mottled Lantern that has swarmed the East Coast was recently seen in Indiana – and it could be heading to Chicago next. Because spotted lanterns destroy hops, grapes, and all sorts of other fruits, the USDA has ordered everyone to kill the insect when they see one.

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A bright

Birdwatching Around Chicago: Some Unconventional Tips

In a built-up city like Chicago, one could say that the transition between the seasons brings little change to the urban landscape. But what changes dramatically from summer to winter are the birds that make the city their home.

Migration patterns bring all kinds of birds to Chicago for short and long periods. In the spring, you’ll find indigo buntings and all kinds of warblers. August is a great time to watch shorebirds before they head south.

These birds bring birdwatchers — bird watchers — often to familiar viewing spots, such as Illinois Beach State Park in Zion and the North Park Village Nature Center. The Chicago Audubon Society maintains a list of favorite places.

Our WBEZ colleagues Andrew Meriwether and Maggie Sivit have rounded up some unexpected birding sites – and approaches.


A black-crowned night heron at River Park (left) and avid birder Jorge Garcia taking bird photos (right).

Jorge Garcia, Maggie Sivit/WBEZ

  • Don’t underestimate the view from your window

When Uptown resident and birdwatcher Mia Park moved into her current building, the rules were strict: nothing hung in the windows, which meant there were no bird feeders. But Park discovered a workaround that would bring the birds right to his window.

“I keep this plant by the window so the birds think there’s nature inside,” she says. “I take a scoop of birdseed – I actually like to pour [it] as close to… where the window is because they’re jumping up there, and I can see them better.

Edward Warden is president of the Chicago Ornithological Society and co-founder of the Chicago Nighthawk Project, which works with volunteers to count nightjars around Chicago and find ways to maintain their numbers.

When Warden and other volunteers go looking for nightjars on summer evenings, they often go to unexpected places, like Little League fields.

  • Check out this Costco retention basin

According to Bob Fisher, communications coordinator for the Bird Conservation Network, the retention pond next to the Costco in Orland Park is an ideal space for birdwatching.

“You wouldn’t normally say, ‘Let’s go to Costco for bird watching,’ but it works for certain types of birds, especially because of those holding tanks,” says Fisher. “You have a habitat they can use.”

You can find more birding tips from our WBEZ friends here.

From the press gallery

Your daily question ☕

What do you think of President Biden’s new student debt cancellation plan?

Email us at [email protected] and we might feature your response in the next afternoon edition.

Yesterday we asked you: if you could reconnect with a CPS teacher who positively impacted you, what would you say?

Here’s what some of you said…

“I had two very impactful teachers in my youth and if I had the chance I would say, thank you for your efforts and the lessons you provided. They made learning an engaging experience and I n would not have succeeded academically without them as I did.” —Chris Finley

“I attended Benito Juarez Community Academy high school, although he was not technically my teacher, he always encouraged me to do my best and achieve my goals. I want to thank Steve Vidal for having encouraged his past and present students to achieve their greatest successes!” —Maurice Snell

“Mark Sheridan’s teachers have not only had a positive impact on my children, but on our entire family! I am grateful for the 13 years with CPS! A big shout out to the headmaster too, Mr. O’Connell. He is the best!” – Erika Domalewski Vazzana

“Dear Chefmo Morris and Georgia Johnson of Tilden – thank you for nurturing my culinary gift. Not only for showing me the wonderful opportunities life has to offer, but also for supporting me and believing in me throughout way. I appreciate you so much. Your impact on my life will resonate for generations. —Iysha Mitchell

“John Catomer – he had an impact on all of his students. When I was being bullied, he told me that they see the light in you and that’s why they try to put you down! Don’t let them! He showed me how to be a leader and got me through times when I wanted to die. —Sonia Aguilar

“Mrs. Valentino and Mr. Esposito – thank you for taking the time to help me along the way, for being kind and for noticing me. — Ella Bella Mtnz

“I would say thank you for believing in the potential I had and encouraging me to believe that anything was possible for me.” —Chris Vaughn

“I am a proud product of CPS and grew up in Woodlawn. I thank all my teachers from kindergarten to high school who encouraged, motivated, inspired and convinced me that I could achieve anything I wanted with hard work and determination. — Yvonne Colman

“Thank you. Thanks to you, I am. —Catherine Franshonn

Thanks for reading the Chicago afternoon edition. Think we missed a story? Email us here.


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