Increased security planned for Lunar New Year celebrations, the latest on Illinois’ assault weapons ban challenges and more in your Chicago news roundup

Good afternoon. Here’s the latest news you need to know in Chicago. This is a five minute read that will fill you in on the biggest stories of today.

—Matt Moore (@MattKenMoore​​​​​​​)

Expect some more snow this afternoon, with 2 to 4 inches possible, and a high near 34 degrees. Snowfall likely tonight with a low near 29. Expect scattered snowfall tomorrow with a high near 32.

outstanding story

Chicago police and organizers to beef up planned security for Lunar New Year parades

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

The Chicago Police Department will increase security planned for the Lunar New Year parades in Uptown on Saturday and in Chinatown on Sunday.

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

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

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

The Chinatown parade will begin Sunday at 1 p.m. on Wentworth Avenue, heading north from 24th Street to Cermak Road. Before it was halted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the parade drew about 20,000 people each year, Lee said. Expect to see the same this year.

In Uptown, 2,000 to 3,000 people are expected to attend Saturday’s Lunar New Year parade, which begins at 1 p.m. at Argyle Street and Winthrop Avenue.

“Of course we are aware of and saddened by the events that have taken place in California,” said Gregg Carroll, director of partnerships and events for Uptown United, which organizes the annual parade. “But I think we feel good about continuing to provide an opportunity for people in our area to celebrate.”

Ilana Arougheti has more ahead of her weekend celebrations here.

More news you need

  • One person was killed and several people were injured when an additional alarm fire climbed several floors of a high-rise apartment building near Lake Shore Drive in Kenwood this morning, authorities said. We have the latest on this developing story here.
  • Loved ones struggle to understand an attack on the South Shore 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 in an apartment. “Nobody just goes to your house and starts killing people,” Banks’s father, Omar Burgos, told the Sun-Times.
  • Family members and community activists gathered yesterday in Belmont Cragin to request information about the murder of Ramiro Mendez, 32, the father of two girls. Mendez was shot outside his home in the early hours of the morning Saturday, shortly after he and his wife returned home from a family gathering. “I’m afraid, but I’m here because I want justice for (Ramiro),” his wife María Zambrano said.
  • Two Second Amendment lawyers who helped win a landmark US Supreme Court case that struck down a New York concealed-carry law are now challenging the constitutionality of Illinois’ assault weapons ban, with the help of the National Rifle Association. Our Tina Sfondeles has more information about the challenge here.
  • The Chicago Department of Housing is advocating for the creation of permanent, affordable supportive housing for people recently released from incarceration, survivors of gender-based violence, and those on the brink of homelessness. The department is beginning the process of seeking proposals for the Low Income Housing Tax Credit program, which helps finance affordable housing development.
  • Although Marshall Walter Taylor was known as “Major” Taylor, his sporting achievements have not garnered wide recognition, some local leaders say. A group of fans and cyclists wants to change that with a three-pronged plan to publicize Taylor’s cycling achievements.
  • The CTA board of directors approved a $1.8 billion operating budget for 2023 in November 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 relief funds to help cover the shortfall as ridership remains low.
  • CHA Executive Director Tracey Scott was filled yesterday with everything from shoddy conditions and negligent property managers to her agency’s decision to lease CHA land to the Chicago Fire to build an $80 million training center. Scott took his turn in the City Council seat 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 councilmembers.
  • Online auto retailer Carvana has admitted violating Illinois law on timely issuance of auto titles and registrations and has agreed to follow enhanced rules to protect consumers, Illinois Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias said yesterday. The agreement ensures that Carvana can continue to do business in Illinois and ends a legal dispute that dates back to last May when the secretary of state suspended its business license.
  • And the James Beard Foundation today announced the shortlist of semifinalists for its 2023 Restaurant and Chef Awards. Eleven Chicago restaurant/chefs received semifinalist status for the coveted awards. Our Miriam Di Nunzio has more information about the nominations here.

bright one

‘Miraculous.’ A quintet of nurses at the Berwyn birthing center expecting their own babies

In a moving announcement, a quintet of nurses at the MacNeal Hospital Birthing Center said they are expecting babies of their own in the coming months, a serendipitous baby boom that Berwyn hospital staff called “miraculous.”

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

Chávez, along with Vanessa Martínez, who was the first nurse to announce her pregnancy, are due to give birth at the end of January. Not far behind, Jannet Ávalos is due to give birth in February, Carolina Echeverría is due to give birth in March and Alisha López in July.

All of the pregnant women, with different areas of expertise at the maternity center, have supported each other throughout their shared pregnancies, Chávez said.


Jannet Ávalos, Carolina Echeverría, Vanessa Martínez and Heather Chavez were photographed together at a surprise baby shower hosted by staff at the MacNeal Hospital Birthing Center. Alisha Lopez, right, is expecting a baby girl in July.

MacNeal Hospital Maternity Center

“We all work on the same floor, but one is in labor, one is in the nursery, one is postpartum, one is in labor,” she said. “We have different specialties, and when one has questions about childbirth or postpartum or, you know, we can ask each other.”

At MacNeal Hospital, the birthing center is a unit staffed by a team of obstetricians, pediatricians, neonatologists, and medical personnel with training and experience in the labor and delivery process. It takes a town, said Ávalos.

Chávez, who is expecting her third child, said she remembers the first time she announced a pregnancy at the hospital six years ago. The director of nursing said she helps other mothers-to-be feel comfortable with the care they receive at the birthing center by sharing her own experience giving birth there.

“I can go in with that experience of making deliveries here and say I know the staff work very hard and they’re going to be taken care of,” Chavez said.

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

From the press box

Your daily question☕

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

Email us at [email protected] and we may include your response in the next evening edition.

Yesterday we asked you: What’s the best way to make the most of winter in Chicago?

This is what some of you said…

“Take a walk right after a snowfall and enjoy the beauty.” — cute jena fisherman

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

“To play in the snow.” — Roxane Snowden

“Write and read books. I do my best reading and writing in the long winter months.” — craig barner

“Order a good Chicago pizza and eat on the couch.” — jay voegtle

“Ice skating at Ribbon or Millennium Park, going to any of our great museums, Planetarium or Shedd Aquarium, Lincoln Park Zoo, any of the conservatories, Navy Pier or dining at any of our great restaurants, including the Signature Room at 95th John Hancock.” — Barbara Crowley

“Running outdoors”. — Violeta Vasquez Rucci

“Eat out! Chicago has AWESOME restaurants!” — scott barliant

“Store plenty of groceries and have plenty of weed to smoke when you’re home.” — essence of jay

“Enjoy the lake shore. Stay out!” — Steve Goldberg

Thanks for reading the evening edition of the Chicago Sun-Times. Do you have a story that you think we missed? Email us here.