Photo of sunrise on Lake Michigan.

Climate change in Chicago, Illinois Gov. Pritzker pushes for environmental relief

Audrey RichardsonWaves crash along Lake Michigan’s shoreline during sunrise at Tower Road Beach in Winnetka, Illinois on April 22, 2021. Climate in Chicago 

As summer approaches, Chicago residents will likely be heading straight to the beaches that surround the city. Unfortunately, they will also have to prepare for extreme heat. 

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, one of the most devastating effects of climate change is extreme heat in cities caused by the urban heat island effect. This phenomenon describes the intense warming in cities that occurs when dark surfaces like buildings and concrete absorb and retain heat, increasing temperatures significantly. 

Clinical Associate Professor for Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences at University of Illinois in Chicago Susan Buchanan said the impact of climate change on Chicago is most evident in the extreme heat and flooding. 

Senior Illinois Clean Energy Advocate for the Natural Resources Defense Council J.C. Kibbey echoed concerns with Chicago’s extreme heat. Referring to the 1995 Chicago heat wave that caused over 700 heat-related deaths in the city.

Outside of OSI Industries building in Aurora, Illinois.

OSI Industries continues to mitigate labor shortages

Audrey RichardsonThe outside of the OSI Group office in Aurora, Illinois on March 12, 2022. Recent turnaround

President at OSI Group, a global supplier of food products to the world’s leading foodservice brands, David McDonald said that in the last six months, “food service has largely come back.”

OSI Industries, one of the largest privately held companies in the U.S., provides food services worldwide to Chipotle, Starbucks, McDonald’s as well as many other well-known brands. To ensure that customers around the globe are satisfied with their eating experiences, OSI has over 20,000 employees, who design manufacturing and supply chain solutions for big-name food brands. With the numbers of people eating out increasing again, OSI has had to continuously adjust.  Worker shortages have impacted all sectors of the company’s responsibilities. McDonald said it “has been difficult to keep up with demand.”

McDonald said that worker shortages have created a lot more uncertainty in day-to-day operations. 

“Many times I’m spending time firefighting as opposed to really some longer term strategic things.”

OSI implications

Pat Peterson, OSI Industries Senior Vice President of Finances in North America, describes the issue with hiring new people with less experience as tedious.

New Trier adjusts to mask-optional environment

Noticeable downside

While the change to a mask-optional environment celebrates the community’s hard work to mitigate the impact of COVID-19, new problems emerge. 

New Trier English Teacher Daniel Kim said he now has to think about more mundane things like group work and seating arrangements. 

“If you have students in your class who still want to wear their masks you know you don’t want to alienate them,” Kim said. 

Along with classroom implications, New Trier senior Mary Huber said there has been “judgment from both sides.” 

Kim said this judgment was expected. 

“You give someone the option to do something, it’s going to say something about who they are.” Kim said. 

Kim said the timing of the decision could play into issues surrounding the lifting of the mask-mandate. 

“I wish they would have waited for the end of the year,” Kim said. “It just seems like just in the middle of the semester it’s a little awkward, and I don’t think everyone was ready for it.” New Trier Director of Communications Nicole Dizon said students were prepared for the change in their adviser rooms. 

“All students discussed the change in their adviser rooms (like a home room) the day before the change to mask optional, with an emphasis on respecting each other’s choices,” Dizon said. 

Audrey RichardsonA New Trier student sits outside of campus on March 2, 2022. This student has chosen to continue to wear a mask despite the school moving to a mask-optional environment. Kim said he is hopeful that the issues that arise with the freshness of the decision will subside in the future. 

“Hopefully it kind of blows over and becomes another normal thing,” Kim said. 

Audio from interview with New Trier English Teacher Daniel Kim 

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The decision 

On Tuesday Feb. 27, the New Trier Township Board of Education voted to make masks optional on campus and on Wednesday, students were able to make the choice whether to wear masks or not.

Map of River Trail Nature Center with Rocky the coyote's cage placement.

In Chicago, River Trail coyote debate heats up

Board meeting recap

At the Cook County Forest Preserve board meeting on Feb. 8, 2022, the major issue was the coyote, Rocky, held at the River Trail Nature Center in the Forest Preserves of Cook County, in Northbrook, Illinois near Chicago

After a social media frenzy, involving a video of Rocky pacing around his small cage, Rocky’s habitat is under scrutiny. Some residents have proposed that Rocky be moved to the Wildlife Animal Sanctuary in Colorado, which has expansive and elaborate habitats for rescued animals, featuring bridges, caves and playpens. In response, 10 speakers said that the coyote is in perfect health, and there is no need for him to be moved.

The board of Commissioners heard from River Trail employees, professionals in the wildlife field and residents.

Trash in Chicago drain

Chicago implements single-use plastic ordinance

Audrey RichardsonSingle-use waste wraps around S. Canal Street in Chicago on Feb. 6, 2022. The single-use plastic ban is an attempt from Chicago government officials to prevent further rise in Chicago’s carbon footprint. Ordinance opinion

Cook County Commissioner for the 12th District Bridget Degnen said this ordinance is a “step in the right direction” while restaurant owners said they weren’t aware of the new ordinance. As of Jan.