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Welcome to the Reader's weekday news brief.
The controversy over a newly released wiretapped conversation between Democratic gubernatorial primary front-runner J.B. Pritzker and then-governor Rod Blagojevich has been good for candidate Daniel Biss. Billionaire businessman Pritzker and state senator Biss are in a "dead heat" with just a few weeks until the election, according to pollster Victory Research. In survey of 1,209 likely Democratic voters taken Tuesday and Wednesday, Pritzker has 27 percent of support, Biss has 23.7 percent, and Chris Kennedy has 17.3 percent. A lot could change between now and Election Day, March 20, because 27.5 percent of the likely voters are still undecided. [Sun-Times]
Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau visited Chicago for the first time as prime minister Wednesday and made several stops. During a speech on free trade at the University of Chicago, Trudeau emphasized the importance of the North American Free Trade Agreement but was careful not to criticize NAFTA foe President Donald Trump despite David Axelrod's aggressive pushing. When asked by Axelrod why Canadians' approval of the U.S. government has dropped significantly over the past year, Trudeau remained admirably diplomatic, saying, "I'm not going to wonder about things!" [Tribune]
The National Weather Service is warning Chicagoans about a winter storm arriving late Thursday and continuing all day Friday, saying, "travel will be very difficult to impossible at times. Meteorologists say the snowfall could vary widely around the Chicago area, but everyone should be especially careful during the Friday morning commute. Schools are closed, and many companies have declared it a snow day. [Tribune]
The Norge Ski Club in Fox River Grove has produced three of the four members of the U.S. Olympic men's ski jumping team despite its location in flat suburban Chicago. Described as the "American Mecca" of ski jumping by Yahoo Sports, Norge had a coaching staff of parents and/or volunteers until current Olympian Michael Glasder's parents hired its first official coach, American Ski Jumping Hall of Fame member Scott Smith, who also trained at Norge. [Yahoo Sports]
The nation's largest vegetarian chain, Veggie Grill, will open the first of its planned five Chicago locations next week. The Lakeview location at 614 W. Diversey is slated to open February 15. [Eater Chicago]