Vacation travel advice, tripledemic advice, expanding Internet access

Erin Allen: Good morning, welcome to Friday. I’m Erin Allen and this is The Rundown.

Ready or not, the holiday season is upon us and I hope your travel plans, if you have any, are together because the turkey extended travel period starts today and doesn’t stop until November 27th. And you all, we are here. The Transportation Security Administration expects airport security checkpoints to be busier than last year and possibly close to pre-pandemic levels. TSA Midwest spokeswoman Jessica Mayle says Tuesday, Wednesday and Sunday will be especially busy at the airport, both nationally and in Chicago. Mayle says checkpoints move faster if passengers pack smart. It’s you, pack your bags. And if you’re traveling with Thanksgiving fixings, gravy and cranberry sauce are considered liquid, so pack them in your checked bags. Or maybe take a chance and buy them after landing? It is up to you.

And the holiday season is also the start of flu season. This year, some healthcare professionals are particularly concerned about what they call a triple demic. Dr. Larry Kociolek of Lurie Children’s Hospital joins public health officials in warning people about COVID, RSV and the flu. There is no vaccine for RSV, but they are urging people to get vaccinated against COVID 19 and the flu before the holiday season. Illinois health officials say we should really be concerned about children due to their lack of immunity and expect infection rates to soar, which will put a strain on hospitals.

Cook County commissioners yesterday approved a budget of more than $8 billion for 2023 without new taxes, but are concerned about expenses related to the sheriff’s office. My colleague Kristen Schorsch knows more.

Kristen Schorsch: Commissioners oversee an extensive justice and prison system. But they overwhelmingly supported redirecting money away from the police after the murder of George Floyd. During a board meeting, Commissioner Brandon Johnson voted against hiring social workers who would handle 911 calls during a mental health crisis. He supports the effort but doesn’t want the funds to go through the sheriff’s office.

Brandon Johnson: I’m having a tough time supporting a measure that will continue to use the approach that for a lot of people in my community they don’t really trust.

Erin Allen: Other Commissioners have promised to find another source of funding, but have also stressed that they want to go ahead and make the program work.

The Illinois State Board of Education voted yesterday to close the downtown campus of Chicago’s once-heralded Urban Prep Charter School. The board said the boys’ school, which was focused on black teenagers, had failed to meet its enrollment goals for years. The Downtown Campus has only 51 students. It will close at the end of the school year and students will be able to enroll at Urban Prep’s other two campuses. Those were recently taken over by the Chicago Board of Education after being cited for mismanagement and financial turmoil.

So you are using the internet to listen to this podcast right now. But you might assume that Internet access isn’t actually that accessible. My colleague Adora Namigadde says churches across Illinois are working on an effort to address this issue.

Love I fell asleep: Comcast donated 200 laptop computers to pastors to promote the federal Affordable Connectivity Program. It can cover up to $30 per month of eligible households’ Internet costs. Pastor Ira Acree of Chicago’s Greater St. John Bible Church says it’s critical that people in poorer congregations benefit from programs like this one.

Ira Acre: And that might not sound like a lot of money to some people, but for the working poor when you can pocket $400 a year, that takes care of some major bills.

Erin Allen: A study earlier this year revealed stark disparities in Internet access in Chicago neighborhoods.

And a few quick puffs before getting to the weather. Former Illinois Governor Pat Quinn says he won’t run for mayor next year. And if you’re into records, the bad news is that Dave’s Records and Lincoln Park will be closing after 20 years, since the building housing the store is slated for demolition, according to Block Club Chicago. The good news is that they have buy one get one free sales on records until next month. And work at the Obama Center has resumed after being halted for the discovery of a noose at the site, but the investigation into the person responsible for the noose is ongoing.

Outside today, a little cooler than yesterday, maximum around 20°C. Some snow this morning and then cloudy skies in the afternoon. Some low cloud around 8pm tonight. And that’s it for this morning, this afternoon: a very special and exhilarating Chicago and we went down to Navy Pier and sat with little me.

Hannibal Buress: Hey wassup, I’m Hannibal Burris, Eshu Tune, and I make music.

Erin Allen: That was Eshu Tune, his music creator nickname, because in case you haven’t heard Hannibal Burres has released a new single. I’ll tell him about that and how he’s been making music for a while now. He’s arriving this afternoon on The Rundown. I’m Erin Allen, he talks to you then.

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