Chicago news roundup: CTA commuters still need those masks — for now


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 partly sunny with a maximum near 47 degrees. Tonight will be mostly cloudy with lows around 39. Tomorrow will be cloudy with showers likely and highs near 54.

top story

Chicago commuters meet continued mask requirement in stride

Riders appeared to meet the Chicago Transit Authority’s mask requirement today even after a federal judge in Florida struck down the nation’s public transportation mask mandate.

A spokesperson for Metra said today that passengers will still be required to wear masks on trains ‘while we assess the situation’. A CTA spokesperson had the same response.

Commuters outside the CTA Brown Line Kimball stop this morning seemed cool with it.

“You know, it’s kind of like walking into someone’s house and they’re asking you to take your shoes off, that’s what you do,” said Jay Berger, 38, of ‘Albany Park.

“It’s common sense because Chicago is one of the biggest cities in the country and a hub of international travel with people coming and going all the time,” said John Overstreet, 52.

“Now if it was a small town like Davenport, Iowa, I don’t think it would be that bad not wearing a mask on a bus or a train,” said Overstreet, who works in the sale of radio advertisements.

Richard Rosario, 45, a security guard at a high-rise in the Loop, said he didn’t always wear a mask on a train. “If there are three or four people in the wagon, I will dismantle it. I am vaccinated and I wear a little too much of a mask,” he said.

U.S. District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle’s ruling allowed airlines, airports and transit systems to make their own decisions about mask requirements, resulting in a mix of responses.

Major airlines have moved to a mask-optional policy, with some drawing cheers from passengers when the changes were announced over loudspeakers. The Transportation Security Administration said last night it would no longer enforce the mask requirement, and Houston and Dallas airports almost immediately scrapped their mandates after the TSA announcement.

Stefano Esposito and Mitch Dudek have more on mask requirements here.

More news you need

  1. A 15-year-old boy has been charged with fatally shooting a man during an argument at West Garfield Park yesterday morning. The teenager was arrested moments after shooting the 43-year-old man, Chicago police said.
  2. After a fire destroyed Englewood’s historic Antioch Missionary Baptist Church on Good Friday, a wall depicting the ascension of Jesus was apparently spared the flames. The mural, on an interior wall of the church, appeared intact after several days of burning, according to the Chicago Fire Department.
  3. Governor JB Pritzker today signed a $46 billion budget package that promises to increase education spending, bolster the state’s ‘rainy day’ fund and further reduce the monstrous pension debt from Illinois.The package also aims to send $50 checks to millions of Illinoisans.
  4. After signing a pair of 90-day extensions, Rosa Escareno today said she would welcome the opportunity to be the permanent replacement for ousted Chicago Park District CEO Mike Kelly. The Park District Board could make a decision on the future of Escareno tomorrow at its regular monthly meeting.
  5. Millionaire businessman and mayoral candidate Willie Wilson today announced plans for a third petrol giveaway. The $1 million giveaway is scheduled for Saturday at yet-to-be-announced locations in Cook County.

A bright

Cubs’ Jason Heyward sees ‘so many opportunities’ for West Side baseball academy

Cubs outfielder Jason Heyward pored over videos of progress being made on the building that will house the baseball academy bearing his name. But he’s still trying to figure out the magnitude of it.

”I heard 40 feet high [ceilings]but I can’t imagine what it looks like in person,” he said.

Heyward plans to visit the site soon.

The Jason Heyward Baseball Academy is part of a sports, education and wellness center in the North Austin neighborhood that opened last summer. The academy is scheduled for a soft opening this winter, with events and possibly a tournament, and a full launch of after-school programming next spring, Heyward told the Sun-Times.

Cubs outfielder Jason Heyward is looking forward to the opening of his baseball academy, which opened last summer.

Quinn Harris/Getty Images

Heyward Academy is a part of the 10-acre campus, working in tandem with By the Hand for Kids, Intentional Sports, Grace and Peace Revive Center, and the Chicago Fire Foundation to deliver sports and community programs.

The academy is also poised to help expand the reach of baseball in Chicago.

Travel-ball teams, for example, are concentrated on the North Side, often serving predominantly white communities. There are a handful of top programs on the South Side, including the White Sox’s ACE program, West Englewood Tigers and Cubs scout Keronn Walker’s BIG Baseball Academy.

Heyward Academy brings premier baseball facilities to North Austin, which is on the West Side. Heyward imagines it becoming a destination.

Maddie Lee talks more about Heyward’s efforts here.

From the press gallery

Your daily question ☕

What is your favorite sports superstition when your team plays?

Email us (please include your first name and place of residence) and we may include your response in the next afternoon edition.

Yesterday we asked you: Illinois’ new tourism slogan is “Middle of Everything.” What would be your tourism slogan for the state?

Here’s what some of you said…

“Illinois: That’s where Chicago is.” — Nick Hussong

“Help! I’ve fallen into a pothole and I can’t get up! — Jen Soto

“Come relax, it’s just a high tax.” — Michael Fioretti

“I’m going to follow Royko’s unofficial slogan for Chicago politicians: ‘Where’s mine?'” –John Müller

“We’re not talking about Blago.” — Stephanie Lyons-Belk

“At least it’s not Florida.” —Lesley Abravanel Andersson

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