Chicago to Elect School Board
In a rare act of bipartisanship and in response to fervent protests and speaking out from citizens in Chicago, the State House of Representatives finally approved a measure to allow the Chicago Public School Board to be elected rather than appointed in a near-unanimous vote this week.
Previously, the Board of Education was appointed by the Mayor, a move that was seen as counter-intuitive and not in the best interests of the general public after Emanuel and the Board moved to close a large number of public schools early last year. According to the Sun-Times: "Chicago’s Public Schools would be overseen by 21 democratically elected members of the public rather than the seven the mayor alone chooses."
While the bill made it through the House with a 110-4 vote that will now find it's way to the Senate floor where a fix to the State's budget woes continues to keep lawmakers tied up.
Chicago Drinking Water in Question
Drinking water has been at the center of many conversations since the story of Flint, Michigan's botching of clean water locally attracted news crews from across the country and put the issue of less-than-ideal drinking water front and center in the national lexicon. With that in mind, Chicago has found it's way into the fold as the municipality with the most lead pipes in the country begins to find itself under fire for their handling of potential issues.
The issue of drinking water locally revolves around reports that lead content in drining water can be affected when construction happens near homes, disrupting pipes and the gentle chemistry that happens inside of them. The city's water supply, like most across the country, is supported by a lengthy network of lead-based pipes that are safe when city officials "add corrosion-fighting chemicals to the water supply that form a protective coating inside pipes." When that balance is upset by roadwork or miscellaneous construction, lead can become prevalent in the pipes. In Flint, officials stopped adding protective agents that resulted in elevated lead levels.
While we're yet to find Chicago in a similar predicament to the residents there, the recent reports have raised eyebrows around the city, especially because of the chance of deterioration of the brain due to interaction with the chemical.
Chi-Town Jazz Festival Returns
Perhaps nothing truly sums up the spirit of Chicago as much as giving back and playing Jazz music and this Sunday locals get a little of each as Rev. John Moulder's ChiTown Jazz Fest returns for it's seventh consecutive year.
The festival, which began in 2009 as a collaborative effort between club owners, promoters, publicists and various other sides of the city's music scene to come together for a good cause. Proceeds from the annual event go to fighting hunger in the city and last year's event brought in $46,000, bringing its total to $178,000.
Slated to perform at this year's festival features talented locals such as Tammy McCann, Howard Levy, Frank Catalano and many more at iconic Chicago venues like Jazz Showcase, Green Mill Jazz Club and Andy's. Check the festival website for full lineup and details.