Illinois

Planned increased security for the Lunar New Year celebrations, the latest Illinois Assault Weapons Prohibition Challenges, and more in your roundup of the Chicago news

Good afternoon. Here’s the latest news you need to know in Chicago. It’s about a five-minute read that fills you in on today’s biggest stories.

– Matt Moore (@MattKenMoore​​​​​​​)

Expect some more snow this afternoon – with a possible 2 to 4 inches – and a height of almost 34 degrees. Snow showers are likely tonight with a low near 29. Expect scattered snow showers tomorrow with a high near 32.

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The Chicago Police Department, organizers to bolster planned security for the Lunar New Year parades

Chicago police and organizers of local Lunar New Year celebrations are taking extra precautions after two mass shootings in California in recent days.

The Chicago Police Department will increase scheduled security for Saturday’s New Year’s Parade in Uptown and Sunday in Chinatown.

“Our volunteers, like the police, will be on heightened alert and very aware of our surroundings,” said Gene Lee, founder of Chicago Chinatown Special Events, which organizes Chinatown’s annual Chinese New Year parade. This weekend marks the 111th year of the parade.

Lee and other organizers have met with CPD officials, and plainclothes officials will attend the parade, Lee said. Chicago Chinatown Special Events also hired private security officers who will work independently. Organizers will use the parade’s public address system to remind guests to watch out for suspicious activity, Lee said. While CPD declined to give details, the department said in a statement earlier this week that it will be communicating with members of the community as planned security increases.

The heightened precautions come after a gunman killed 10 people at a dance club on Saturday night during Lunar New Year celebrations in the predominantly Asian-American town of Monterey Park on the eastern edge of Los Angeles. In another shooting in Half Moon Bay, California, on Monday, a gunman killed seven people and seriously injured another. Some of those victims were also Asian, officials said.

The Chinatown Parade begins Sunday at 1:00 p.m. on Wentworth Avenue, heading north from 24th Street to Cermak Road. Before being paused due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the parade attracted around 20,000 people each year, Lee said. He expects the same this year.

Uptown, 2,000 to 3,000 people are expected for Saturday’s New Year’s Parade, which begins at 1 p.m. on Argyle Street and Winthrop Avenue.

“Of course we are aware of and saddened by what is happening in California,” said Gregg Carroll, director of partnerships and events at Uptown United, which hosts the annual parade. “But I think we feel good that we’re still offering a chance for people in our area to celebrate.”

Ilana Arougheti has more here ahead of the weekend’s celebrations.

More news you need

  • One person died and several others were injured when an extra alarm fire climbed several floors of a high-rise building near Lake Shore Drive in Kenwood this morning, officials said. We have the latest on this developing story here.
  • Relatives struggle to understand a South Shore attack that killed a woman and her mother. Unique Banks, 20, and Alexsandra Olmo, 43, were killed while three others were seriously injured when gunmen opened fire at an apartment. “No one just walks up to your house and just starts killing people,” Banks’ father, Omar Burgos, told the Sun-Times.
  • Family members and community activists gathered in Belmont Cragin yesterday to seek tips on the murder of 32-year-old Ramiro Mendez, a father of two girls. Mendez was shot dead outside his home in the early hours of Saturday morning, shortly after he and his wife returned home from a family reunion. “I’m scared, but I’m out here because I want justice for (Ramiro),” his wife Maria Zambrano said.
  • Two Second Amendment attorneys who helped win a landmark U.S. Supreme Court case that struck down a New York City concealed-carrying statute are now challenging the constitutionality of Illinois’ assault weapons ban — with the help of the National Rifle association. Our Tina Sfondeles has more to challenge here.
  • The Chicago Department of Housing is pushing for the creation of affordable, permanent, supportive housing for those recently released from prison, survivors of gender-based violence, and those on the brink of homelessness. The department begins seeking proposals for the low-income housing tax credit program, which will help fund affordable housing development.
  • Although Marshall Walter Taylor was known as “Major” Taylor, his athletic achievements have not received widespread recognition, some local leaders say. A group of supporters and cyclists want to change that with a three-pronged plan to spread the word about Taylor’s achievements in cycling.
  • CTA’s board of directors in November approved a $1.8 billion operating budget for 2023 that avoids fare increases and aims to address customer concerns. The approved budget is slightly larger than last year’s $1.7 billion budget, but relies on $390 million in federal aid to fill a shortage as driver numbers remain low.
  • CHA CEO Tracey Scott was deafened yesterday over everything from shabby conditions and lax real estate managers to her agency’s decision to lease CHA land to the Chicago Fire to build an $80 million training center. As part of Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s efforts to improve her relationship with the city council by having the CEOs of all local government agencies appear before city councillors, Scott assumed her role on the city council’s hot seat.
  • Online auto dealer Carvana admitted to violating Illinois law regarding the timely issuance of vehicle titles and registrations and has agreed to follow stricter rules to protect consumers, Illinois Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias said yesterday. The agreement ensures Carvana can continue to do business in Illinois and ends a legal battle that began last May when the US Secretary of State suspended his business license.
  • And the James Beard Foundation today announced the list of semi-finalists for its 2023 Restaurant and Chef Awards. Eleven Chicago restaurants/chefs received semi-finalist status for the coveted awards. Our Miriam Di Nunzio has more about the nominations here.

A light one

‘Wonder.’ A quintet of nurses at the Berwyn Birth Center are expecting babies of their own

In a heartwarming announcement, a quintet of nurses at MacNeal Hospital Birthing Center’s birth center said they are expecting babies of their own in the coming months, a fortuitous baby boom that Berwyn hospital staff described as “wonderful”.

“I was surprised and happy,” said Heather Chavez, director of nursing at the center. “It’s really exciting that we’re all going to have kids growing up together.”

Chavez and Vanessa Martinez, who was the first nurse to announce her pregnancy, are both due in late January. Not far behind is Jannet Avalos in February, Carolina Echeverria in March and Alisha Lopez in July.

All of the expectant nurses with different specialties at the maternity center supported each other during shared pregnancies, Chavez said.

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Jannet Avalos, Carolina Echeverria, Vanessa Martinez and Heather Chavez were photographed together at a surprise baby shower organized by staff at MacNeal Hospital Birthing Center. Alisha Lopez, right, is expecting a girl in July.

MacNeal Hospital Maternity Center

“We all work on the same floor, but one is giving birth, one is in kindergarten, one is in postpartum, one is in delivery,” she said. “We have different specialties and if you have questions about childbirth or postpartum, we can just ask each other.”

The Maternity Home at MacNeal Hospital is a department staffed by a team of obstetricians, pediatricians, neonatologists and medical staff with training and expertise in the birthing and delivery process. It takes a village, said Avalos.

Chavez, who is expecting her third boy, said she remembers the first time she announced pregnancy in the hospital six years ago. The head nurse said she helps other expectant mothers feel comfortable with care at the birth center by sharing her own experiences of giving birth there.

“I can go with this experience of delivering here and say I know the people work really hard and they’re going to be taken care of,” Chavez said.

Allison Novelo has more with the moms-to-be here.

From the press box

Your daily question☕

What do you think is missing from the conversation about crime in Chicago?

Email us at [email protected] and we may publish your response in the next afternoon issue.

Yesterday we asked you: what’s the best way to enjoy winter in Chicago?

Here’s what some of you said…

“Take a walk just after a snowfall and enjoy the beauty.” — Linda Jena Fischer

“Make a big pot of chili!” — Byron Jordan

“Playing in the snow.” — Roxanne Snowden

“Write and read books. I read and write best in the long winter months.” — Craig Baerner

“Order a good Chicago pizza and eat on the couch.” — Jay Voegtle

“Ice skate at Ribbon or Millennium Park, visit one of our beautiful museums, the planetarium or Shedd Aquarium, the Lincoln Park Zoo, one of the conservatories, Navy Pier or dine at one of the fine restaurants including the Signature Room at 95 des John Hancock.” — Barbara Croley

“Run outside.” — Violet Vasquez Rucci

“Go out to eat! Chicago has AWESOME restaurants!” — Scott Barliant

“Save lots of groceries and smoke lots of weed when you’re home.” — Jay Gist

“Enjoy the lake shore. Stay outside!” – Steve Goldberg

Thank you for reading the afternoon edition of the Chicago Sun-Times. Got a story you think we missed? Email us here.

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