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Reviewing the Events that Shaped Chicago in 2023

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CHICAGO — As the brand new yr looms, pressing issues that dominated headlines in Illinois within the yr 2023 range from significant strikes to devastating storms and drastic changes within the sports scene.

Over the course of the last 12 months, when it got here to crime in Chicago, homicides trended down. While a victory for town’s police department, robbery and thefts spiked, and stolen vehicle reports skyrocketed by greater than double.

For Mayor Brandon Johnson, 2024 will probably be the primary test of his latest crime-fighting strategy, unveiled at yr’s end.
WGN Exclusive: Migrants, crime, investment in people: Brandon Johnson’s first 6 months as mayor
COVID-19’s official end as a public health emergency got here in 2023, closing a chapter three years after it began.
WGN’s Medical Watch

“Normal” was not the operative word when it got here to Chicago politics. For the primary time in 40 years, the incumbent mayor lost their run for re-election. Mayor Lori Lightfoot became a one-term mayor after losing to runoff contenders Paul Vallas and the progressive, former Chicago Teachers Union organizer who would turn into mayor, Brandon Johnson. His first and tallest challenge was an inherited one and one in all the largest stories of the yr: the migrant crisis.

Despite guarantees of plans, Chicago migrant crisis gets worse Bus after bus arrived from the Texas border, bringing asylum seekers from South and Central America. Suddenly town needed to make room for 26,000 latest residents. Most were immediately housed at Chicago’s police stations and at O’Hare Airport. Nonetheless, the crisis was marked by fighting amongst neighborhoods unwilling to tackle the chance and burden.

Turnover wasn’t just confined to the mayor’s office. The longest-serving secretary of state, Jesse White, left office. After a months-long search, Larry Snelling became the everlasting CPD superintendent. And sometimes-embattled Cook County State’s attorney Kim Foxx announced she wouldn’t seek one other term. Jesse White
CPD Supt. Larry Snelling
Cook County SA Kim Foxx

Meanwhile, town mourned the lack of six first responders within the line of duty. Chicago lost two CPD officers: Andres Vasquez Lasso and Areanah Preston. The town poured out in grief and respect for the fallen officers and the 4 firefighters who died within the line of duty.
32-year-old Andres Vasquez-Lasso CPD officer Areanah Preston
Corruption was determined in two high-profile cases. ‘The ComEd 4,‘ close associates of former Illinois house speaker Mike Madigan, were convicted of bribery. Once probably the most powerful man in Chicago politics, Ed Burke became the thirty ninth city alderman convicted of a criminal offense. In December he was found guilty of racketeering conspiracy.
The ComEd 4,‘
thirty ninth city alderman convicted of a criminal offense
Extreme weather also hit hard in 2023. In May, a blinding dust storm downstate caused a 70-car pile-up on I-55 in Springfield. Eight people died. Then, the skies over Chicago turned orange in late June. Smoke from wildfires in Canada drifted south, briefly causing town to have the worst air quality on this planet.
Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP
Throughout your complete yr, Illinois saw more tornadoes than every other state; 119. Greater than a dozen hit the Chicago area in a single July day.
Tornado touches down near O’Hare Airport amid severe weather warnings

That very same month, heavy rainfall poured into South Side homes and in Cicero, costing thousands and thousands in damage, and cries from residents who felt town didn’t do enough. That very same storm created a water-logged inaugural run for NASCAR’s Street Race around Millennium Park on the 4th of July weekend.
Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images
Big crowds for some huge live shows: Taylor Swift’s three-night engagement at Soldier Field for her ‘Eras Tour’, and Beyonce’s placed on a show for her ‘Renaissance Tour’ for 2 nights the following month.
Beyoncé vs Taylor Swift vs NASCAR: Who’s been the largest boon to Chicago?
Come fall, after years of debate, patrons finally poured in when Bally’s opened its temporary casino at the previous Medinah temple in River North.
Photo/WGN

The yr 2023 was also one for labor disputes and union strikes. In May, Hollywood writers staged a strike, followed later by SAG/AFTRA actors, halting productions and sparking protests in Chicago. The automotive industry also got here to a screeching halt as local UAW employees hit the picket lines against Ford, GM, and Stellantis. Healthcare employees also went on strike at Howard Brown Health and Loretto Hospital. Educators walked out as well at Chicago State, University of Illinois Chicago, Governor’s State, and Columbia College.

On October 7, Hamas fighters stunned the world by launching an attack on Israeli civilians, killing 1,100 people and taking lots of hostage. A devastating response from Israel followed in Gaza.
Israel and Hamas Conflict
Among the many kidnapped: an Evanston teen and her mother. They spent two weeks in captivity before returning home.
Raanan Family via AP
Eight American hostages remain. Meanwhile, the United Nations says greater than 20,000 Palestinian individuals are dead.
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Teen takeovers brought unrest and concern on several weekends around downtown Chicago while crash and grabs became a preferred mode of theft in Chicago. And a mystery still stays over a shooting at a White Sox game in August, which left two women injured. Police still haven’t confirmed if the bullets got here from outside or contained in the park.
Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

The town’s sports world also saw its justifiable share of turnover.
AP Photo/Matt Slocum, File
Two stunning, unexpected moves from town’s baseball world. The White Sox fired vice chairman Ken Williams and general manager Rick Hahn.
Chicago White Sox fire executive vice chairman Ken Williams and general manager Rick Hahn
Meanwhile, the
Cubs shocked fans when it fired manager David Ross and hired rival skipper Craig Counsel from the Milwaukee Brewers.
Cubs hiring Craig Counsell to interchange David Ross as manager

Evanston was rocked by two big controversies. One was the fight over a proposal for a brand new Ryan Field, ultimately approved, and the hazing scandal that resulted within the dismissal of head coach pat Fitzgerald and his resulting lawsuit. Lastly, the pervasive migrant crisis and the steps to alleviate the issue. Fieldhouses, shuttered schools, and empty lots were put forth as possible solutions but were met with staunch opposition from residents.
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Notably, the tent city in Brighton Park is now scrapped over environmental concerns. Of the numerous unknowns that await 2024, with the Democratic National Convention headed to Chicago next yr that, not less than, is evident: Republican leadership will be sure that more migrants find their technique to the ‘Sanctuary City.’
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