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Ten Stories to Read Right Now

A farewell to “word jazz,” Ed Burke in reruns, and trouble for R. Kelly

Photo: Nuccio DiNuzzo/Chicago Tribune

1. So Close, Yet So Costly

In cities across the Great Lakes, including Chicago, municipal water infrastructure is crumbling — at massive cost to the residents who can least afford it. American Public Media explores what’s at stake.

2. The Aurora Victims’ Stories: Intern’s First Day on the Job, a Family Patriarch, an ‘Incredible’ Dad, a Mississippi State Fan, a Union Leader

Five people were killed in the mass shooting in Aurora, but beyond the headlines are the lives, ambitions and hopes that were tragically cut short. The Chicago Tribune takes a closer look.

3. In 1997, We Profiled Ed Burke. He Was in Trouble Then, Too

History doesn’t repeat itself, but it often rhymes, as the saying goes, and the longtime boss of the 14th Ward is the subject of many familiar refrains. Chicago digs into its archives.

4. Can Chicago Keep a $6-Billion Development From Displacing a 100-Seat Music Club?

Half oral history, half love letter, those with some of the strongest ties to The Hideout discuss the club’s importance in the shadow of the massive Lincoln Yards development. Next City talks to the key players.

5. Hip-Hop Taught Andre Vasquez About Community — and He Wants to Take Those Lessons to City Hall

From underground rapper of yore to Democratic Socialist, Vasquez, who’s running for alderman in the 40th Ward, is one of the more fascinating stories of an already dramatic election season. The Reader brings the profile.

6. Hate Crime or Hoax? The Drama Behind the Jussie Smollett Case, Explained

The case of the alleged racist and homophobic attack on the Empire star gets stranger by the day. Vox has the breakdown.

7. Malört, Chicago’s Celebrated, Foul-Tasting Liquor, Is Returning to Its Ancestral Home

Springing the wormwood-based spirit on unsuspecting visitors is a favorite pastime among Chicago drinkers (just search the term “Malört face”). After half a century, the drink will once again be a local creation. The Ringer has the story on the recent local acquisition of the Carl Jeppson Co.

8. Prosecutors Are Moving to Indict R. Kelly, After the Discovery of Another Videotape

Renewed scrutiny and a disturbing video has many wondering if time may finally be up for the R&B star. Jim DeRogatis, who first broke the Kelly story nearly 20 years ago, has the latest update for The New Yorker.

9. The Soul of a Poet

Chicago broadcast legend Ken Nordine has died at 98. A 2001 profile of the “word jazz” creator reveals his quirky, special genius. Read the throwback story from Nashville Scene.

10. The Chicago River Runs Through the City and, Boy, It Defines Our Lives

Writer Libby Hill examines the city’s famous waterway in her book The Chicago River: A Natural and Unnatural History, making the case for why it’s marvelously underappreciated. Rick Kogan shares his review in the Chicago Tribune.

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