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Week in Review: Brandon Johnson’s First Year; Embattled CTA Chief Facing Calls to Quit

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One year into Mayor Brandon Johnson’s administration. Campus encampment cleared at DePaul. And will Springfield help Chicago Public Schools close its deficit?

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Taking a Bite Out of Thanksgiving: Playwright Talks Native Humor, Chicago Audiences and Steppenwolf Run of Broadway Show

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Larissa FastHorse. (Courtesy of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation)

Larissa FastHorse is the first Native American woman to have a play produced on Broadway. “The Thanksgiving Play” is now onstage at Steppenwolf Theatre. It’s a satire about earnest theater folks who attempt to stage a historically accurate Thanksgiving play. Mistakes are made, and political correctness, wokeness and virtue signaling get carved and stuffed.

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Larissa FastHorse. (Courtesy of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation)

The CSO and Pianist Martin Helmchen in a Knockout Beethoven Performance: Review

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Martin Helmchen in a performance of Beethoven’s First Piano Concerto with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and conductor Kazuki Yamada. (Todd Rosenberg Photography)

In a recent performance with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, German pianist Martin Helmchen displayed fabulous speed-of-light fingering at one moment and lyrical grace the next, writes WTTW News theater critic Hedy Weiss.

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Martin Helmchen in a performance of Beethoven’s First Piano Concerto with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and conductor Kazuki Yamada. (Todd Rosenberg Photography)

Tick Season Has Arrived. Protect Yourself With These Tips

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FILE - This undated photo provided by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows a blacklegged tick, also known as a deer tick. (CDC via AP, File)

Another mild winter and other favorable factors likely means the 2024 tick population will be equal to last year or larger, some researchers say.

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FILE - This undated photo provided by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows a blacklegged tick, also known as a deer tick. (CDC via AP, File)

6 Charged in Fraud Scheme Accused of Staging Fake Robberies in Effort to Help ‘Victims’ Obtain US Visas

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The Dirksen Courthouse is pictured in Chicago. (Capitol News Illinois)

Six people are accused of staging fake robberies at various restaurants and businesses in and around Chicago in an effort to help make the purported “victims” eligible for U.S. visas.

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The Dirksen Courthouse is pictured in Chicago. (Capitol News Illinois)

Sueños Music Festival Returns to Grant Park Over Memorial Day Weekend for 2 Days of Latin Music and Culture

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(Credit: Sueños Music Festival)

And for the third consecutive year at Grant Park’s Hutchinson Field, the Sueños Music Festival is set to celebrate reggaeton and Latin music artists during the Memorial Day holiday weekend.

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(Credit: Sueños Music Festival)

2024 Chicago Summer Festival Guide

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Chicago Pride Fest, 2022. (Steven Koch / Northalsted)

Get ready for fun with this guide to neighborhood street fests, art shows, outdoor concerts and cultural celebrations of all sizes across Chicago and the suburbs.

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Chicago Pride Fest, 2022. (Steven Koch / Northalsted)

Chicago Tribune Journalists Suing Newspaper Over Alleged Pay Discrimination

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The Chicago Tribune Freedom Center printing complex is pictured in a file photo. (WTTW News)

The journalists filed a class-action lawsuit against the Chicago Tribune, the Tribune Publishing Company and Alden Global Capital, alleging they’ve faced pay discrimination based on gender, race and ethnicity as a result of the defendants’ “centralized policies and practices.”

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The Chicago Tribune Freedom Center printing complex is pictured in a file photo. (WTTW News)

Chicago Police Dismantle Pro-Palestinian Encampment at DePaul University

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Chicago police personnel keep watch while crews disassemble the pro-Palestinian encampment in the quad at DePaul University's Lincoln Park campus in Chicago, Thursday, May 16, 2024. (Ashlee Rezin / Chicago Sun-Times via AP)

Officers and workers in yellow vests cleared out tents and camping equipment at the student encampment, leaving behind yellow squares of dead or dying grass where the tents had stood. Front-loaders were being used to remove the camping equipment.

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Chicago police personnel keep watch while crews disassemble the pro-Palestinian encampment in the quad at DePaul University's Lincoln Park campus in Chicago, Thursday, May 16, 2024. (Ashlee Rezin / Chicago Sun-Times via AP)

Chicago Tonight: Latino Voices, May 16, 2024 - Full Show

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What’s behind the city’s joblessness rates among Black and Latino youth. Meet the powerful women of an ancient Mexican civilization. And Sueños Music Festival returns.

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Wonder Women of the Ancient World Visit Chicago in ‘Goddesses, Warriors and Governors’ Exhibit

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“Ancient Huasteca Women: Goddesses, Warriors and Governors” runs through July 21 at the National Museum of Mexican Art. (Marc Vitali / WTTW News)

Femme fatales and goddesses play for keeps at a new exhibit at the National Museum of Mexican Art. These deities and grande dames — etched in rock or molded from clay — are in Pilsen through July.

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“Ancient Huasteca Women: Goddesses, Warriors and Governors” runs through July 21 at the National Museum of Mexican Art. (Marc Vitali / WTTW News)

Mountains of Muscle in the Land of Lincoln — A Trip to the Illinois Bodybuilding Championship in Chicago Illuminates a Dedicated Subculture: Column

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Contestants in the Illinois State Championship of the National Physique Committee are pictured on May 11, 2024. (Marc Vitali / WTTW News)

Mighty men and well-toned women paraded through the lobby of the Copernicus Center in Jefferson Park last Saturday, crossing paths with fans, supporters and vendors. The muscled masses were competitors in the Illinois State Championship of the National Physique Committee.

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Contestants in the Illinois State Championship of the National Physique Committee are pictured on May 11, 2024. (Marc Vitali / WTTW News)

‘We Were Not Dropping Acid’: The Story Behind the Making of DuPage Forest Preserve’s Viral Cicada Video

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The Forest Preserve District of DuPage County’s video has humans act out periodical cicadas’ lifecycle. (Screenshot)

“Nature education is a big part of what we do here, but you gotta find a way to make it interesting so that people actually watch it,” said Jonathan Mullen, part of the team behind the viral video.

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The Forest Preserve District of DuPage County’s video has humans act out periodical cicadas’ lifecycle. (Screenshot)

Suspend 8 CPD Officers Responsible for Woman Who Died in Chicago Police Custody for No More Than 2 Months Each: Misconduct Agency, Top Cop Agree

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The partly obscured window of the holding cell at the Grand Crossing (3rd District) Police District where Irene Chavez died in December 2021. (Civilian Office of Police Accountability)

The final agreement calls for 11 officers to serve suspensions totaling 275 days for their conduct that led to the death by suicide of a 33-year-old woman in December 2021, records show.

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The partly obscured window of the holding cell at the Grand Crossing (3rd District) Police District where Irene Chavez died in December 2021. (Civilian Office of Police Accountability)

Justice Department Moves to Reclassify Marijuana as a Less Dangerous Drug in Historic Shift

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FILE - Cannabis clones are displayed for customers at Home Grown Apothecary, April 19, 2024, in Portland, Ore. (Jenny Kane / AP Photo, File)

A proposed rule recognizes the medical uses of cannabis and acknowledges it has less potential for abuse than some of the nation’s most dangerous drugs. The plan approved by Attorney General Merrick Garland would not legalize marijuana outright for recreational use.

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FILE - Cannabis clones are displayed for customers at Home Grown Apothecary, April 19, 2024, in Portland, Ore. (Jenny Kane / AP Photo, File)

Illinois Moving Back to ACT as Required Exam for High School Graduation

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A student writing on paper. (WTTW News)

The Illinois State Board of Education on Wednesday awarded a six-year, $53 million contract to the ACT, Inc. organization, meaning high schoolers statewide will shift back to the ACT after taking SAT exams for most of the past decade.

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A student writing on paper. (WTTW News)

Chicago Teachers Union, CPS Leaders Travel to Springfield to Lobby State Lawmakers for More Funding

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The Chicago Teachers Union and Chicago Public Schools traveled to Springfield May 15, 2024, for a joint lobbying day. (WTTW News)

Chicago Public Schools teachers and administrators aren’t shying away from Mayor Brandon Johnson’s claim the city’s schools are “owed” $1 billion from the state. But they dramatically scaled back their immediate demands during a rare joint CPS and Chicago Teachers Union lobbying trip to the state Capitol on Wednesday.

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The Chicago Teachers Union and Chicago Public Schools traveled to Springfield May 15, 2024, for a joint lobbying day. (WTTW News)