Hello! Nicole Cvetnic here with the most important things happening in Chicago. We’ll cover these stories and more:
But first, today is the autumnal or fall equinox, marking the point when daytime and nighttime are roughly equal in length.
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Some sun, breezy and cooler. High: 63 Low: 54.
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Top 5 stories in Chicago:
1) ‘Shocking’ levels of toxic lead in Chicago tap water. One in 20 tap water tests performed for thousands of Chicago residents found lead, a neurotoxin, at or above US government limits. And one-third had more lead than is permitted in bottled water. This means that out of the 24,000 tests, approximately 1,000 homes had lead exceeding federal standards. Experts and locals say these results raise broader concerns, because there are an estimated 400,000 lead pipes supplying water to homes in the city, and the vast majority were not tested as part of the program. Moreover, they say the city is not moving fast enough to eliminate the potential danger. The analysis found that nine of the top 10 zip codes with the largest percentages of high test results were neighborhoods with majorities of Black and Hispanic residents. One home, in the majority-Black neighborhood of South Chicago, had lead levels of 1,100 parts per billion (ppb)—73 times the Environmental Protection Agency limit of 15ppb. Chicago has an estimated 80% of homes with water connections made of lead, more than any other city in the nation. Yet efforts to remove it from the ground and drinking water seem to be stalled in bureaucratic gridlock.
The Guardian US
2) City Council protects abortion right, declares Chicago ‘bodily autonomy sanctuary city.’ Residents of other states descending on Chicago for the abortions and “gender-affirming” care outlawed in their home states can soon rest assured they will not be further victimized by becoming targets of investigation. At least not with the cooperation of Chicago police or city officials. The City Council made certain of it by approving—without a word of debate—the Bodily Autonomy Sanctuary City Ordinance championed by Ald. Rossana Rodriguez Sanchez (33rd) and progressive colleagues. It prohibits the Chicago Police Department or any other agency of local government from cooperating in investigations that seek to criminalize women who come to Chicago seeking abortions and other reproductive care. It also shields those seeking gender-affirming care in Chicago, medical providers who treat those patients and others who help, such as by providing information, transportation and housing.
Chicago Sun-Times
3) Underground Railroad site in Chicago to be honored at historic dedication ceremony. A Southeast Side site that was part of the Underground Railroad will host a sign dedication event this Saturday. The Jan and Aagje Ton Farm was the first Underground Railroad site in Chicago to be recognized by the National Park Service’s Network to Freedom project. The farm, run by Dutch immigrants and abolitionists Jan and Aagje Ton, helped formerly enslaved people on their journey North. A sign marking that history will be unveiled and dedicated at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Black-owned Chicago’s Finest Marina, where the farm once stood. At the event, people can hear about the history of the site, which is managed by the Little Calumet River Underground Railroad Project, a volunteer-run organization that researches the history of the underground railroad in Chicago’s Calumet region. Rep. Robin Kelly will speak.
Block Club Chicago
4) Lightfoot proposes new, improved—and permanent—outdoor dining program. An outdoor dining program that began during the pandemic would be made permanent—and expanded into the curb lane—under a mayoral plan proposed yesterday. Last year, City Council agreed to extend a program through the end of 2022 that allowed restaurants and bars to place tables on sidewalks, in private parking lots and in the street to serve patrons skittish about dining and drinking indoors. The city ultimately issued hundreds of permits to as many as 700 different restaurants and bars. If the council approves the new program, the Chicago Department of Transportation will establish an “outdoor dining street permit” valid from May 1 through Oct. 31. The new permit would allow restaurants, bars and so-called “consumption on premises incidental activity liquor” license holders to “expand operations into the street” while also setting up tables in curb lanes “where the adjacent sidewalk is not wide enough to accommodate a sidewalk café.” Full street closures would continue to be allowed for groups of “three or more” businesses, and the curb lane would be used for more tables.
Chicago Sun-Times
5) Star Chicago chef spotlights Ukrainian cuisine to support war victims. When the war in Ukraine began, Parachute and Wherewithall chef Johnny Clark wanted to do something to help. Clark hatched an idea for a semi-permanent showcase of Ukrainian culture inside Wherewithall’s detached private dining space. Anelya, a weekend pop-up that starts Friday, pays tribute to Clark’s grandmother, Anelya Ochatchinskiya, who arrived in America in 1946. The team created a homey space for Anelya featuring a 12-seat communal table. Guests can enjoy a cocktail hour and zakuski (hors d’oeuvres) before sitting down to a dinner of shared and individual plates. With the exception of opening weekend, the menu will feature five dishes that change each week to highlight different regions of Ukraine. Diners have the option to linger longer for post-dinner drinks or tea while enjoying the space. Clark says it’ll be easy to feel connected to the culture amidst the dining room’s artwork—he partnered with the Ukrainian Museum of Modern Art to receive works from several Ukrainian artists, all of which will be available for purchase. The pop-up runs through Dec. 3.
Eater Chicago
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Thanks for following along and staying informed! I’ll be back in your inbox tomorrow with another update.
— Nicole Cvetnic
About me: I’m a Midwesterner and very happy to call Chicagoland home. I love the outdoors—especially hiking, performing arts, photography, good food, travel and gardening. You can often find me reading to my two-year-old daughter, watching a tv series with my husband or cuddling with our special needs dog.
Have a news tip or suggestion for an upcoming Chicago Daily? Contact me at chicago_il@patch.com

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