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Welcome to the Reader's morning briefing for Thursday, March 16, 2017.
Illinois house speaker Mike Madigan has an approval rating of 28 percent, making him slightly less popular than his rival Governor Bruce Rauner, who has an approval rating of 31 percent, according to a new poll from the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University. About 61 percent of registered voters polled disapprove of the job Madigan is doing, while about 58 percent disapprove of Rauner's work. Madigan has high disapproval ratings across the state; Rauner, though unpopular in Chicago, had slightly better numbers among downstate voters. [Sun-Times]
Chicago Police Department superintendent Eddie Johnson has released a "road map" of reforms for CPD. There aren't many deadlines or details for the proposed changes to police training, supervision, and discipline, according to the Tribune. Still, Johnson told the crowd during a news conference, "Make no mistake about it, we're not just saying we're going to reform—we're showing that we're reforming." Police critics have been concerned that CPD won't make the changes recommended by the Department of Justice under the watch of new attorney general Jeff Sessions. [Tribune]
More Chicagoans will have access to a lawyer after a judge ruled that the poor should have access to a free attorney while in custody. Fewer than 1 percent of people in police custody in Chicago have a lawyer visit them, but that should change after Circuit Court of Cook County chief judge Timothy Evans ruled that anyone in lockup should have access to a public defender or a designated private attorney, according to the Huffington Post. "Until a judge appoints a lawyer [to an indigent defendant], you don't see one," Alan Mills, director of the Uptown People's Law Center, told the news site. "You can't get a lawyer until your first court appearance. And that dramatically changes the outcome of your case." [Huffington Post]
The James Beard Foundation announced the finalists for its coveted annual awards Wednesday, and Chicago's top restaurants weren't forgotten: Topolobampo was nominated for Outstanding Restaurant, Greg Wade of Publican Quality Bread was nominated for Outstanding Baker, Kevin Boehm and Rob Katz of Boka Restaurant Group were nominated for Outstanding Restaurateur, and Jenner Tomaska of Next was nominated for Rising Star Chef of the Year. [DNAinfo Chicago]
Three Hispanic students at Lake View High School have penned an open letter in Billboard thanking Chance the Rapper for donating $1 million to Chicago Public Schools. "After you gave CPS the push that was needed to help give us students what we deserve, you encouraged other celebrities such as Derrick Rose to do so as well," they wrote. "If this goes on, CPS could be saved and our schools could receive the best educational experience we are worthy of. You are one of the reasons this can be made possible." Chance is one of the few celebrities from Chicago who gives back to the city, and fame han't changed him, according to students Alex Rojas, Alondra Cerros, and Annelisse Betancourt. "All of the things that you do for our city never go unnoticed," they wrote. "All of the free concerts you host and all the time you spend here in the city really show you care. We notice it." [Billboard]
This year's lineup for the Ravinia Festival, running June 3 through September 17, features not just legends like Aretha Franklin and Stevie Nicks but popular artists including John Legend, Common, and OneRepublic. Almost every genre of music is represented in the diverse lineup, which also includes 18 performances by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, returning to the Highland Park festival for its 82nd summer. Even movies soundtracks made the cut, with the score of La La Land to performed by the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra during a screening of the film. [Sun-Times]