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Welcome to the Reader's morning briefing for Thursday, June 8, 2017.
Property taxes in Cook County have "created an unequal burden on residents, handing huge financial breaks to homeowners who are well-off while punishing those who have the least, particularly people living in minority communities," according to a investigative report by the Tribune. The county assessor's method of valuing property is "fundamentally flawed," and "residential assessments have been so far off the mark for so many years that the credibility of the entire property tax system is in doubt," the newspaper charges. "From North Lawndale and Little Village to Calumet City and Melrose Park, residents in working-class neighborhoods were more likely to receive property tax bills that assumed their homes were worth more than their true market value," the Tribune reports. "Meanwhile, many living in the county's wealthier and mostly white communities—including Winnetka, Glencoe, Lakeview and the Gold Coast—caught a break because property taxes weren't based on the full value of their homes." [Tribune]
The American Civil Liberties Union has slammed Mayor Rahm Emanuel's new plan to have an independent party monitor the Chicago Police Department rather than put it under a consent decree overseen by a federal judge, calling it a "non-starter" and "hostile to police reform," according to the Sun-Times. The ACLU hasn't yet decided whether it will sue over the matter, "but we are considering every option," said ACLU spokesman Ed Yohnka. "The only real path to police reform in Chicago is through a consent decree overseen by a federal judge. . . . That is what the city committed to when the DOJ completed its scathing report in January," the director of the ACLU's of Illinois Police Practices Project, Karen Sheley, said in a statement. [Sun-Times]
A ten-story Muddy Waters mural at the corner of State and Washington Streets in the Loop will be dedicated Thursday as part of the Chicago Blues Festival, Rolling Stone reports. The Muddy Waters Legacy band, which features two of Waters's sons and his former bandmate Rick Kreher, will perform at the ceremony, which starts at noon. The mural was painted by Brazilian artist Eduardo Kobra for Columbia College and the Wabash Arts Corridor's Big Walls project, and replaced the Go Do Good mural painted by Kay Rosen. "We can't even imagine music today without Muddy's contributions coming out of the Chicago blues scene," Mark Kelly, head of the Big Walls project, told the magazine. "He's a cultural hero and maybe someone who should be better honored and remembered, and what an incredible opportunity to put Muddy Waters up front and center in the middle of Chicago." [Rolling Stone]
Long-awaited trauma services at the University of Chicago Medical Center in Hyde Park will start next year with the opening of an emergency room on January 8, 2018, followed by the opening of a trauma center on May 8, according to the university. It will be the first trauma center on the south side. Hospital administrators originally thought the project would take until 2020, but with the timetable shortened have now hired five of the six trauma surgeons needed. [DNAinfo Chicago]
Buffalo Bills cornerback Shareece Wright was stuck at O'Hare International Airport Sunday night with no available flights to Buffalo that would get him there in time for a voluntary practice Monday morning. He decided to try Uber, and was picked up by driver Hadi Abdollahian. "He told me Buffalo and I thought he meant Buffalo [Wild Wings] grill," Abdollahian, who's 26, told the Washington Post. "So I said, 'Yeah, for sure.'" Even when he found out that Wright meant Buffalo, New York, he didn't change his mind. "I promised him on the phone so I said, 'let's hit the road,'" Abdollahian said. The duo left O'Hare at 10:59 ET made it to the Bills practice facility before 7 AM after making just one stop to refuel. Wright left Abdollahian a $300 tip on the $632.08 bill (now matched by Buffalo Bills sponsor)—and a five-star rating. [Washington Post]
The remains of a child were discovered in the garage of a vacant home in Centreville, Illinois, Monday night, and authorities believe the body may have been there since 2013. Police in Las Vegas were tipped off by a woman who told them that her husband had killed their six-year-old daughter in Illinois and hidden the body. The woman, who contacted police from a shelter, also said that her husband, 34-year-old Jason Quate, had abused their two other children and forced her into sex trafficking. Quate is currently jailed in Las Vegas on charges of sex trafficking and living off the income of a prostitute. The two other children, who are in their early teens and showed signs of abuse, were taken into protective custody. [Tribune]