MEXICO CITY SUBWAY COLLAPSE: DEATHS NOW NUMBER 26

Consolidated Press News File

May 7, 2021

MEXICO CITY — The number of fatal casualties has risen to 26 of 80 people injured in an elevated train collapse in Mexico City.

Monday saw the deadliest rail disaster in Mexico City which operates one of the busiest subways in the world.  Experts are questioning the structural integrity of the system, yet no official statement has been released on the condition of other sections of track.

80 victims suffered injuries from the incident and 33 are currently receiving medical care in local hospitals.

MAYOR LIGHTFOOT ANNOUNCES SUMMER EVENTS ACROSS THE CITY — THE NEXT PHASE OF THE MAYOR’S “OPEN CHICAGO” INITIATIVE

City of Chicago, Office of the Mayor

CHICAGO, May 5, 2021 – Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot, the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE), Choose Chicago, and Chicago’s cultural community today announced “Open Culture” — the next phase of Open Chicago, the Mayor’s latest initiative to safely and fully reopen the city. 

Summer cultural events for Chicago residents and visitors alike will include a variety of activities. Music lovers will get a chance to experience “Chicago In Tune,” a new citywide festival celebrating Chicago’s diverse and legendary music scene and the 2021 Year of Chicago Music, as well as concerts at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion featuring the 2021 season of Grant Park Music Festival. Fans of dance will enjoy performances in Millennium Park by American Ballet Theatre presented by the Auditorium Theatre, Dance for Life presented by Chicago Dancers United, and partake in neighborhood-based Chicago SummerDance lessons and live music. New public artworks by Nick Cave, Bob Faust, Andrea Carlson, and other celebrated artists will be on display. Chicagoans and visitors can also mark their calendars for the return of Chicago City Markets including, the historic Maxwell Street Market, Taste of Chicago To-Go community meals, and more. The City will welcome dozens of other free and affordable, in-person, and hybrid cultural activities throughout the summer. Most DCASE events will have limited capacity and require advance registration. All summer events will adhere to the latest public health and safety guidelines.

“Despite the unimaginable challenges that were thrown our way last year, we were still able to persist and come together to slow and stop the spread of this virus and put our city on the right path toward a safe reopening,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “Open Chicago — including Open Parks, Open Streets and now, Open Culture — is not only the direct result of these efforts, but it also serves as the latest step in our mission to fully restore a sense of normalcy within our city by bringing back and reimagining some of our favorite summer- and fall-time activities. I am grateful to every City, arts, community, and business leader who partnered with us on this incredible initiative as well as our residents, who continue to follow public health guidance and keep our COVID-19 metrics low enough to launch efforts like these.”

City officials are also highlighting upcoming vaccination events for the arts community at The Promontory (5311 S. Lake Park Ave) on May 20 at 12-7 p.m. and Theater Wit (1229 W. Belmont Ave) on May 21 at 12-7 p.m., plus mobile vaccinations at many City-sponsored summer events. Additionally, arts workers are invited to attend seven virtual information and drop-in sessions to engage in conversation about the Arts 77 arts recovery plan — starting with a 2021 Neighborhood Access Program Info Session on May 5 at 4-5 p.m. To learn more, visit Chicago.gov/Arts77.

“Chicago’s arts landscape has been devastated by the pandemic. We all must do our part to support the recovery of this vital sector, which is so necessary to our economy and our sense of belonging,” said DCASE Commissioner Mark Kelly. “I am also excited to know that the arts will be on the leading edge of the city’s reopening as our music clubs, theaters, and festivals come back to life and energize Chicago. There is so much to be excited about as the arts return. During this Year of Chicago Music, our “Chicago In Tune” festival will emerge as a joyous month-long celebration of Chicago’s amazing music scene. Our Chicago Presents and Chicago Band Roster programs will animate our entire city with music, theater, and dance. The arts may have suffered greatly, but the arts will also bring us back into the public realm.”

DCASE is currently reviewing Special Events applications for outdoor festivals, street and art/craft fairs, and athletic events. Events must follow the State of Illinois Outdoor Markets and Festival Guidelines. Permit approval is conditional on improved public health metrics. All events must follow guidelines in place at the time of the event.

City residents can expect many exciting summer events and cultural activities across Chicagoland — including Open Parks and Open Streets events announced last week, new Millennium Park and other DCASE programming summarized below, plus:

  • The return of Chicago Symphony Orchestra concerts at Symphony Center including “Fanfare” opening on May 27
  • Hyde Park Art Center – Planting and Maintaining a Perennial Garden: Shrouds by Faheem Majeed open May 3 – July 24
  • Rosa’s Lounge – Melvin Taylor & the Slack Band on May 7 
  • Pivot Arts Festival: Reimagining Utopia – A Performance Tour: Live, Multi-Arts Experience from May 21 – June 5
  • Chicago Latino Theater Alliance – Sola en la pandemia está cañón at Joe’s on Weed Street on June 19
  • The South Side Jazz Coalition – Jazzin’ On The Steps on May 23 
  • Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago – Tuesdays on the Terrace kicking off June 1 
  • Old Town Art Fair on June 12 & 13
  • Art Institute of Chicago – The Obama Portraits from June 18 – August 15
  • Pride in the Park on June 26 & 27
  • Goodman Theatre – School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play reopening in August 
  • Court Theatre – Othello in October
  • Southport Art Fair on July 10 & 11
  • Smart Museum of Art – Toward Common Cause: Art, Social Change, and the MacArthur Fellows Program at 40 on view July 15 – December 19
  • Chinatown Summer Fair on July 17 & 18
  • Jazz Institute of Chicago – Chicago Latin Jazz Festival on July 23 & 24
  • Printers Row Lit Fest on September 11 & 12
  • Hyde Park Jazz Festival on September 25 & 26
  • Lyric Opera of Chicago 2021/22 season including opening night featuring an all-new production of Verdi’s Macbeth on September 17 
  • Broadway In Chicago – Six at the Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place running October 5, 2021 – January 30, 2022 

For these and other upcoming events, including many more to be added throughout the spring and summer, visit ChooseChicago.com/events and Chicago.gov/DCASE for DCASE summer programming details including its artist lineups and ticketing (free advance registration), which will be available in the coming weeks. 

Through Chicago Presents, DCASE will provide up to 100 grants ranging from $5,000 – $30,000 to activate cultural programs that comply with public health guidelines in neighborhoods throughout Chicago in Summer 2021. Emerging and established cultural presenters are invited to submit proposals for free live, in-person concerts and events, spanning all music genres, performance, and dance that activate Chicago’s streets, plazas, and parks. Additionally, presenters may select up to two solo musicians and/or bands from the Chicago Band Roster to play at their event. 

The Band Roster is a new resource listing over 200 Chicago-based musicians of all genres — created as part of the 2021 Year of Chicago Music. Chicago Presents is an initiative of Arts 77, Chicago’s arts recovery plan. Applications for July 1 – August 14 events are due May 7 at Chicago.gov/Music.

Chicago In Tune (August 19 – September 19) is a new citywide festival celebrating Chicago’s diverse and legendary music scene and the 2021 Year of Chicago Music. This month of music will bring iconic neighborhood venues, presenting organizations, and musicians from across the city together to celebrate all music genres and forms — with both free and ticketed events at clubs, concert halls, and beyond. DCASE will present four special evenings at Jay Pritzker Pavilion presented by the Millennium Park Foundation honoring music born and innovated in Chicago: Gospel music (September 3), Jazz (September 4), House (September 11), and Blues (September 18) — all at 5:30-8:30 p.m. Venues, organizations and artists may submit Chicago In Tune events by visiting Do312.com/ChicagoInTune. 

Millennium Park summer programming — made possible in part by the Millennium Park Foundation — will include pop-up music, theatre, and dance performances throughout the Park starting in June; the 2021 season of Grant Park Music Festival (Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, July 2 – August 21 at 6:30-8 p.m., GPMF.org) featuring 21 classical music concerts at the iconic Jay Pritzker Pavilion; plus 10 more genre-defying concerts as part of the Millennium Park Summer Music Series (Mondays, August 2 – September 13 at 6-8:30 p.m., and Thursdays, September 2-16 at 6-8:30 p.m., MillenniumPark.org). 

Special events at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion include The Auditorium Theatre presents ABT Across America featuring American Ballet Theatre (July 8 at 7:30 p.m., AuditoriumTheatre.org); as well as Dance for Life (August 26 at 6:30 p.m., ChicagoDancersUnited.org) presented by Chicago Dancers United. Jay Pritzker Pavilion events will be limited capacity and require free advance registration for both the seating bowl and lawn. Additionally, the Millennium Park Summer Workouts (Saturdays, July 3 – August 28 at 8:30 a.m. – 12:15 p.m., MillenniumPark.org) will return in person on the Great Lawn featuring Tai Chi, Yoga, Pilates, and Zumba.

The beloved Chicago SummerDance (ChicagoSummerDance.org) series returns this summer at parks throughout the city, during August and September. Dancers of all ages and skill levels are invited to take part in introductory dance lessons by professional instructors followed by live music and dancing. Schedule, locations, and other details will be announced in the coming weeks.

The Chicago Riverwalk (ChicagoRiverwalk.us) will welcome a new series of five large-scale banners near Michigan Avenue, scheduled to be installed by late May. Artist Andrea Carlson’s You are on Potawatomi Land will replace the current series of work by artist Ebony G. Patterson. Art on theMART (ArtontheMART.com) continues to project its spring program nightly, exhibiting works by the Adler Planetarium and select images from current exhibitions at the Art Institute of Chicago. Hope is a Light: Select Works from the Chicago Public School Class of 2021 launches on May 20 and three new commissions in alignment with the Year of Chicago Music will launch the summer program on July 5. Vendors in the Riverwalk concession program began operating earlier this month and will be followed by Pier 31 on the Riverwalk and the Community Marketplace opening in mid-May. 

Another new public art project, Ways and Means is a Facility Artwork conceived and created by Nick Cave and Bob Faust (FacilityChicago.org), presented by DCASE and the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), late May through late June on the CTA Green Line. The project consists of eight fully wrapped CTA railcars and focuses on “ways forward and the myriad means we use to get there.” The interior of the railcars will also immerse riders in kaleidoscopic pattern created from Cave’s artwork, as well as the project statement. 

Chicago City Markets presented by Humana (kicking off May 15 with Division Street) sell fresh seasonal produce, flowers, prepared foods, unique Chicago-made products, and rare finds — at Chicago’s longest-running farmers market on Daley Plaza (Thursdays beginning May 27); the historic Maxwell Street Market (reopening June 6 with a new schedule: 1st and 3rd Sundays at 9 a.m. – 3 p.m., MaxwellStreetMarket.us); more City Markets in Austin, Bronzeville, Englewood, Pullman, Roseland, and West Humboldt Park; and dozens of independent markets operated by community organizations and chambers of commerce in neighborhoods across Chicago. For the complete schedule and the City’s latest health and safety guidelines, visit ChicagoCityMarkets.us. 

Taste of Chicago To-Go (TasteofChicago.us) will return this summer with special events around the city in July, August, and September — including pop-up cooking demonstrations, the return of the “Community Eats” community meals program, and other special events promoting Chicago’s amazing restaurant industry. 

Previously announced, the Chicago Cultural Center (ChicagoCulturalCenter.org) will reopen on June 2 with new visitor amenities and new exhibitions “Jeremiah Hulsebos-Spofford: League of Nations” and “what flies but never lands.” Soon after, “CHICAGO: Where Comics Came to Life, 1880–1960” will open on June 19. 

As the city reopens to with more in-person activities for the summer, we urge residents to continue to be safe, social distance, wear their masks, and get vaccinated. As of April 19, all Chicago residents over the age of 16 are eligible to be vaccinated and can schedule an appointment or learn more about the City’s vaccination efforts at chicago.gov/covid. 

City of Chicago, Office of the Mayor

GOV. PRITZKER URGES ILLINOIS TO ‘START SEEING MOTORCYCLES’

Office of Governor J. B. Pritzker

May 6, 2021

SPRINGFIELD – Gov. JB Pritzker has proclaimed May as Motorcycle Awareness Month in Illinois, joining the Illinois Department of Transportation, Illinois State Police and motorcycle safety advocates to remind all users of the road to Start Seeing Motorcycles.

“We want all riders and motorists, whether they’re traveling a short distance or long distance, to reach their destination safely,” said Acting Illinois Transportation Secretary Omer Osman. “Warmer temperatures mean that more motorcyclists will be on the road so remember to always be alert for motorcycles and share the road.”

The Start Seeing Motorcycles campaign is important because while motorcyclists represent only 3 percent of total vehicle registrations in Illinois, they account for 14 percent of traffic fatalities. There were 1,010 traffic fatalities in Illinois in 2019, – 137 were motorcyclists, and in 2020, there were 1,193 traffic fatalities – 153 were motorcyclists, an increase of 16 from 2019. (2020 data is provisional as of May 4, 2021)

“As drivers and riders, we all have a responsibility to each other as we share the road, especially when we operate our vehicles near highly vulnerable roadway users such as motorcyclists and pedestrians,” stated Illinois State Police Director Brendan F. Kelly. “Understanding these vulnerabilities and operating with an increased awareness of each other, combined with good choices behind the wheel and handlebars is good for everyone involved.  We should all be doing our part to increase roadway safety.  Whether our knees are in the breeze, or we are wrapped comfortably in our vehicles, we all want to return to our loved ones at the end of each and every trip.”

Motorists should always:

• Look twice before changing lanes or merging. Use your mirrors and look over your shoulder to be sure it is safe.

• Allow appropriate distance. Traffic, weather, and road conditions require motorcyclists to react and maneuver differently. Drivers should allow motorcyclists enough space to maneuver and enough time to adjust.

• Use care when driving near a group of motorcyclists. Sharing the road with organized motorcycle groups requires patience and communication. If a driver needs to change lanes or reach an exit, they should signal their intention and wait for the riders to create space. Do not merge in between groups or riders unless there is enough space to do so safely.

Riders are urged to take precautions:

• Wear DOT-compliant gear with bright colors and retro-reflective strips or decals, over-the-ankle boots, gloves, a protective jacket, pants and a properly fitted helmet with face shield or protective eyewear.

• Get regular maintenance and take advantage of IDOT’s free motorcycle safety courses.  Visit startseeingmotorcycles.org for more information.

• Give yourself space and time to react. Allow space for emergency braking and for avoiding a crash. Make lane changes gradually and expect the unexpected.

• Ride Sober. Motorcycle riding, alcohol and cannabis don’t mix. They slow your reaction time, affect your balance, coordination and vision, and may increase your risk of crashing.

Start Seeing Motorcycles is made possible by the teamwork among IDOT, ISP, Gold Wing Road Riders Association, A Brotherhood Aimed Towards Education (ABATE) and other organizations that promote motorcycle education, awareness and safety.

During the riding season, Start Seeing Motorcycles banners and yard signs will be on display throughout the state, reminding the public to always stay alert for motorcycles.

Office of Governor J. B. Pritzker

FIRE FIGHTING GOATS EMPLOYED TO PROTECT REAGAN PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY

Consolidated Press

SIMI VALLEY, May 4, 2021 — The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library & Museum recently deployed 350 fire fighting goats to help clear brush surrounding the campus to limit the threat of wildfire.

This is not the first-time goats have been used to create a firebreak between the surrounding nature area and the presidential library located in fire prone Southern California.  In 2019, the goats’ natural appetite for brush was credited with saving the facility and allowing firefighters space to effectively fight the raging wildfire.

A series of wildfires have ravaged California in recent years and unnamed sources in the US Forest Service indicated that simply clearing the dried brush and felled wood would help prevent these fires.  One source said:

“The debris lays there like fuel ready to burn all through the dry forest and open fields.  Many local counties in other states actively clear brush and conduct controlled burns to prevent wildfires.  I assure you clearing felled wood will not harm the forest, but rather save it.”

The Ronald Reagan Library & Museum is taking a great step forward by employing the goats to naturally alleviate the threats of wildfire.

Air Force One Pavilion, Ronald Reagan Presidential Library & Museum