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Welcome to the Reader's morning briefing for Thursday, December 29, 2016.
It will be colder Thursday, with a high of 36 and a low of 24. Snow flurries are possible in the afternoon, and it will be windy again. [AccuWeather]
The Chicago Police Department is stepping up its efforts to recruit minority officers as it prepares to hire nearly 1,000 new cops. The department hopes to hire more black and Hispanic officers, and to that end is hosting open houses in minority neighborhoods. "Growing up I was kind of always out and being bad and stuff," potential recruit Fabiola Camacho, a 21-year-old Latina, told the Wall Street Journal at a recent hiring open house. "After a while you kind of grow out of it. I decided I wanted to help girls that were in my exact situation." [Wall Street Journal]
It's a residential area with a day care center, but the 4400 block of West Monroe in Garfield Park has been the most dangerous block in the city in 2016. There have been eight shootings there this year, leaving ten people wounded and one person dead. "I don't think it's safe here any time," a landlord on the block told DNAinfo Chicago. Chicago Police superintendent Eddie Johnson attributes the violence on the west side to drugs. [DNAinfo Chicago]
CPD is fast-tracking its body-camera program, and all cops will be wearing them by the end of next year. The program launched in January 2015; now all officers will have them a year ahead of schedule. "Body cameras, while not a panacea, are a win-win for officers and the public," Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a statement Wednesday. "They provide a firsthand look at the dangerous situations officers encounter on a daily basis, and improve transparency while building trust." [Reuters]
Studying music for at least two years can change teenagers' brains by improving their focus and ability to process sound, according to a new study from the Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory at Northwestern University. Researchers studied students in band or choir at several local high schools for five years. "What is really kind of stunning is that these ingredients that are important for language are also the same ones that are strengthened by making music," neurobiologist Nina Kraus told WBEZ. [WBEZ]
The highly anticipated Apple Store near the Riverwalk at 401 N. Michigan could be a game changer for Michigan Avenue retail, according to the Tribune. The most-coveted Magnificent Mile spots had always been farther north, with Water Tower Place as the "center of gravity." "There's a very big expectation that Apple will be a major driver of traffic and in turn, retail will want to surround it," David Stone, president of Stone Real Estate, told the newspaper. "The question is when and if (those expectations) will be realized." In recent years Dylan's Candy Bar, Ghirardelli Chocolate, and Peet's Coffee have moved into the area. Ulta Beauty is also planning a 11,500-square-foot store nearby at 430 N. Michigan. [Tribune]