Welcome to the Reader's morning briefing for Thursday, June 30, 2016.
It's hard to believe it's already the end of June, but Mother Nature is ending the month with a great day. There's an expected high of 81 and a low of 61. The only downside is a chance of some rain in the evening. [AccuWeather]
When news broke Tuesday that presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump would be bringing in sports stars like Bobby Knight and Mike Ditka to appear at the upcoming Republican National Convention, it was the first time Ditka had heard about the appearance. "No one's ever talked to me about it," the legendary Bears coach told the Tribune. "I have no idea where it's coming from." Despite the surprise, "da coach" is willing to give a short and "to the point" speech at the convention. [Politico]
Update: Ditka has now delclined the offer to speak at the RNC. [Sun-Times]
It's the final day for 18-, 19- and 20-year-olds to buy tobacco products in Chicago. The age requirement for buying cigarettes and other items with tobacco jumps to 21 on Friday. Other cities, including New York City and Boston, and states like California and Hawaii have already raised the age requirement to discourage teens from smoking. [Associated Press via ABC News]
The Illinois General Assembly and Governor Bruce Rauner are down to the final hours to reach a stopgap funding deal. The senate Democrats' proposal asks for $700 million more to fund school districts based on their poverty rates but does not specify how the state should pay for it. Advocacy group Stand for Children has broken down how the money would be distributed, including the per-pupil gains by district. Schools outside of the Chicago area would see the biggest gains in funding per pupil, but Chicago Public Schools would get the most money. [Politico]
The Chicago Police Department's reputation took a hit when the Laquan McDonald video was released. Now the head of the local Fraternal Order of Police chapter is speaking out about the issue. "The perception of a lot of police officers in the city of Chicago is that nobody has their backs," FOP president Dean Angelo said in a speech. Officers are constantly dealing with confrontation and " a level of disrespect we have not seen," Angelo said. [DNAinfo Chicago]
Urban agriculture and farming has boomed over the past few years in Chicago and nationwide. There are an astounding 821 urban farms in the city, which is putting Chicago at the forefront of the trend. [Eco Watch]