Third Coast Today

Welcome to Third Coast Today, our curated, of-the-moment rundown of the latest news in Chicago politics, education, business and finance. We'll cover Chicago, the state of Illinois and other news of interest to our arts-and-culture fiend readers. Catch it here for updates every weekday or check it out on our home page--in the first right-hand column.

Alderman Introduces Ordinance to Ban Loud Music East of Michigan Ave

Alderman Brendan Reilly introduced an ordinance that would ban broadcast or live music at venues east of Michigan Avenue that serve alcohol. Reilly’s ordinance is a response to noise complaints the alderman has allegedly received from residents in Streeterville. “I introduced this ordinance to hang over their head like the sword of Damocles to make sure that they behave,” Reilly told the Chicago Tribune. Current city rules limit noise to 50 decibels and must end by 8:30pm, but Reilly said “a couple” businesses have not followed them. (Chicago Tribune)

Three US Gymnastics Leaders Resign Following Larry Nassar Victim Statements

Larry Nassar’s victims continue to come forward with their stories, and resignations of three US Gymnastics leaders were announced Monday. That’s after two-time U.S. Olympics women’s gymnastics team captain Aly Raisman gave her statement Friday, during which she explained that complaints of abuse to adults in the organization were ignored. Chairman Paul Parilla, vice chairman Jay Binder and treasurer Bitsy Kelley resigned from their positions (Chicago Tribune).

Michigan Man Arrested After Threats to CNN Traced to Family Phone Number

CNN received 22 calls over the last two days that traced back to the family of a Michigan man threatening to travel to Atlanta and gun down “Fake News.” Other calls that trace back to the Griesemer family threatened a Michigan mosque. Brandon Griesemer, 19, has been arrested with $10,000 bail (Chicago Tribune).

Illinois Democratic Gubernatorial Candidates To Have 1st Televised Debate Tuesday

Democratic gubernatorial candidates will verbally spar live Tuesday evening in the first of several televised debates to take place before the March primary. The debate will be moderated by NBC5 political editor Carol Marin, and is sponsored by the network, as well as Telemundo, the Chicago Urban League and the Union League Club of Chicago. All six gubernatorial candidates – Chris Kennedy, JB Pritzker, Daniel Biss, Tio Hardiman, Bob Daiber, and Robert Marshall, are scheduled to appear. In addition to the network carrying it live, the debate will also be streamed online at this link. (US News & World Report/Tribune)

How Does the Government Shutdown Affect Chicago and Illinois?

During the government shutdown, U.S. mail will still be delivered, Social Security and Medicare payments will be made, VA hospitals will operate, and you’ll be able to travel from O’Hare or Midway ( National parks also will be open.

Illinois is the 8th most impacted state in the government shutdown–that is, 44th on the list of states (and DC) most affected. The following list shows where Illinois stands on various aspects of the government shutdown. (

Impact of the Government Shutdown on Illinois (1=Most Affected, 25=Avg.):

  • 40th – Share of Federal Jobs
  • 35th – Federal Contract Dollars Per Capita
  • 39th – Small Business Lending Per Capita
  • 27th – Real Estate as a Percentage of GSP
  • 49th – Access to National Parks
  • 23rd – % of Children under CHIP


“March to the Polls” Draws 300,000 and Hundreds of Signs Criticizing Trump Presidency

Saturday marked the one-year anniversary of Donald Trump’s presidency, alongside the one-year anniversary of the Women’s March. The march was held peacefully in cities across the world, the Chicago march drawing 300,000. Signs explored themes of the Trump administration, like his misspelled tweets and his admitted objectification of women, while others embraced the togetherness symbolized by Saturday’s march (Chicago Tribune).

This Year’s Chicago Women’s March A ‘March To The Polls’

Tens of thousands are expected to turn out Saturday morning for the second Women’s March on Chicago. Organizers say this year’s theme is a “march to the polls,” to encourage women and allies to vote. “As we approach local, mid-term, and gubernatorial elections in 2018, it’s even more critical that women are engaged and involved,” said organizer Jessica Scheller in a statement. “If we want to see progress in this city, state, and country we need women’s votes, voices, and leadership.” The rally begins with music and videos at 9:00am at Congress and Columbus in Grant Park. A speaking program is scheduled to begin at 11:00am, and attendees will march to Federal Plaza around 12:30pm. (NBC)

Comedian Tom Arnold: Ari Emanuel Has Dirt on Donald Trump

Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s brother, Ari, owns WME, an entertainment agency that formerly represented Bill Cosby. Comedian Tom Arnold said that the mayor’s brother has expressed embarrassment about having once represented the disgraced actor, and is not interested in exposing President Trump, even though Arnold says he has embarrassing footage about Trump. Ari Emanuel’s spokesperson says they no longer represent Trump and denies that Emanuel had such a conversation with Arnold (Chicago Tribune).

Peoria Clinic Provides Telemedicine Abortions

A Peoria women’s health center provides abortions using telemedicine– medication is administered with a nurse in the room and a physician present via telecommunication. Whole Women’s Health in Peoria administers abortion medication–an abortion induced by two oral ingestions of tablets–at least twice a week. They have administered 630 abortions since the clinic began offering the service in 2016. This type of abortion administration, while a doctor is not in the physical vicinity of the patient, is banned in 19 states. The Chicago-based Pro-Life Action League is trying to make this abortion method illegal nationally (Chicago Tribune).

Suit Against U.S. Steel Nearing Settlement for Toxic Spills in Lake Michigan

The Midwest U.S. Steel Plant has been accused of discreetly spilling toxic chromium in the waters of Lake Michigan, reportedly violating the Clean Water Act. The Surfrider Foundation, a group of Lake Michigan surfers, filed suit against U.S. Steel Wednesday, as the University of Chicago’s Abrams Environmental Law Clinic investigates violations by the plant. The company announced that a settlement is imminent. Records show violations by the plant several times in the last four years, and a spill of nearly 300 pounds of hexavalent chromium last April (Chicago Tribune). 


Chicago in Top 20 for Amazon HQ2 Bid

Amazon announced on Twitter its top 20 nominations in cities’ bids for HQ2, its second headquarters, out of the 238 that applied. Chicago proposed 10 different possible locations for HQ2, which include the old post office, Lincoln Yards and the McDonald’s campus in Oak Brook. Chicago teamed up with Cook County and the state of Illinois with a $2 billion proposal to become Amazon’s newest second home (Chicago Tribune). And spoilsport WBEZ enumerated the reasons we shouldn’t be optimistic.

City Council Votes To Subsidize Presence Health

The Chicago City Council voted 31-18 to approve a $5.5 million TIF subsidy to Presence Health, a move angering many due to the company’s anti-abortion stance and alleged anti-union activity. Proponents of giving TIF money to the Catholic healthcare network say the subsidy will improve access to healthcare for residents on the city’s South and West sides, but opponents did not want to subsidize the company because it does not provide contraceptive, abortion, and other reproductive services to women. “Communities of color have the highest [rates] of diabetes, obesity and unplanned pregnancy,” said Alderman Leslie Hairston, who voted no. “The issue here…is not about that. It’s about using public dollars to support religious institutions that don’t support the right that we, as women, have in this country.” The ACLU called the vote to approve ‘disappointing.’ “We will be tracking this closely and will continue to bring to the light the many ways Presence blocks access to reproductive health care, including contraceptive pregnancy prevention care, tubal ligations, miscarriage treatment and other abortions,” the group said in a statement. (Sun-Times)

Activists Demand Transparency, Community Benefits Agreement for Obama Libary

Activists concerned with how the Obama Presidential Library could affect residents of Jackson Park confronted members of the City Council Black Caucus on Wednesday during a press conference meant to congratulate the contractors, several of which are African American, hired to manage the library’s construction. Activists say they want a community benefits agreement to protect residents in the neighborhood from displacement. “What we need is an in-writing community benefits agreement that says that people who live in those communities will benefit, not benefit in a profiteering way, but jobs, investment in neighborhood elementary schools, transportation infrastructure,” Jitu Brown told the Chicago Tribune. The Coalition To Save Jackson Park (CTSJP) also filed a FOIA lawsuit this week demanding withheld records regarding the library. “The press and the public have a right to know what decisions are being made behind closed doors,” said Gabriel Piemonte, a Coalition member, in a press release.

Rauner Hints at Another Round of Budget Cuts

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner hinted on Tuesday his latest budget proposal could include spending cuts, a move that could make 2018 look similar to his past few years as governor. “It’s essential for the people of Illinois that we have balanced budgets,” Rauner said. “We can’t think that having unbalanced budgets and then ultimately raising taxes as a result to pay for the unbalanced budget.” The governor’s previous budgets have included massive cuts to already struggling social services, and Rauner presided over the longest budget impasse in recent memory. Rauner also said that he’s “proposed a balanced budget every year,” a claim which Politifact rated as ‘pants on fire.’ (State Journal Register)

Google Arts and Culture App Feature Unavailable in Illinois

Illinoisans attempting to use Google Arts and Culture app to find out which 17th century mural matches their face the most will have some difficulty, possibly due to state laws regarding biometric data. The app has been available for about a year and a half but recently gained popularity thanks to a new feature that allows users to upload a selfie and have it matched with a work of art in a museum. Illinois is one of two states that has laws that block the collection of biometric data to protect the privacy of its citizens. Companies must inform users how they plan to use the data and how long they plan to store it, and a person must give them written consent. (Gizmodo)