The escalating migrant crisis dominated political news in Chicago this week, with one alderperson pushing back on plans to house asylum seekers in a West Side field house. Meanwhile, WTTW News investigated instances of Chicago Public Schools hiring fired Chicago police officers to work as security guards. NASCAR is returning to the streets of Chicago in 2024, and birders’ joy turned to shock when more than 1,000 birds were killed colliding with city buildings.
Here are five stories you may have missed this week:
Nearly three months after he was fired as Northwestern’s head football coach, Pat Fitzgerald is suing the university claiming he was wrongfully terminated amid a yearslong hazing scandal that allegedly took place under his watch.
The $130 million Fitzgerald is seeking includes $68 million that would have been paid through the remainder of his coaching contract and another $62 million in damages. Read more
The building, intended as an archive facility for the National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture, has been at the center of controversy for more than a year, after neighbors saw it rising with no prior notice.
Objections ranged from aesthetics incompatible with the museum’s main building — housed in the park’s landmarked Receptory and Stable, which the museum leases from the Chicago Park District — to the underhanded manner in which the museum skirted Chicago’s permitting process. Read more
At least two CPS security guards — both former Chicago police officers who had been fired by the department — were suspended last month, raising questions about whether the district’s background check system is operating as intended.
One man, who has been working as a security guard at Lane Technical High School since 2021, was terminated in 2019 by the Chicago Police Department following allegations of sexual misconduct involving a minor, records show. The other is a Kenwood Academy security guard who the police department ousted in 2012 because of a string of domestic violence incidents, according to CPD disciplinary files. Read more
Nearly a month after Mayor Brandon Johnson announced plans to move the thousands of migrants being forced to sleep on the floor of police stations and at the city’s airports into large tents, Chicago officials have yet to identify a location to build what they call “winterized base camps.”
Cristina Pacione Zayas, Johnson’s first deputy chief of staff, said officials were still scouting locations for the massive tents, which could shelter, feed and care for as many as 1,000 migrants in a single location. Johnson and his aides have defended that plan as the best — and only — option available to the city, given the lack of available existing buildings that can be converted quickly into shelters. Read more
Early in the day Thursday, Chicago’s birding community was abuzz about “fallout” conditions, with migrating birds passing over some points of the city at the rate of 100,000 an hour. A combination of high intensity migration and conditions adverse to flying had funneled an overwhelming number of birds toward Chicago’s lakefront where they either came to ground at places like Jarvis Bird Sanctuary or hugged the shore as they continued their southern journey.
The excitement later turned to shock as reports of a different mass birding event began circulating. More than a thousand birds were killed colliding with McCormick Place alone, as shared by Field Museum staff who regularly gather dead birds from the convention center’s grounds. Read more