Pritzker’s preschool pitch – Chicago Tribune newstrendslive

Good morning, Chicago.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker will propose today $75 million in additional spending to add 5,000 slots to existing state-funded preschool programs, a modest down payment on an ambitious call in his second inaugural address last month to “go all in for our children and make preschool available to every family throughout the state.”

Pritzker’s preschool expansion plan is part of a $250 million proposal to boost services for the state’s youngest residents and their families. It would take the remainder of the governor’s new term to achieve an overall increase of 20,000 seats, which “actually gets us to coverage for every 3- and 4-year-old that’s looking to go to preschool,” Pritzker told reporters Tuesday during a briefing on the plan.

The second-term Democrat is set to unveil the plan, dubbed “Smart Start Illinois,” as part of his $49.6 billion spending proposal for the next budget year. Pritzker will deliver a combined budget and State of the State speech at noon in the Illinois House chamber, marking the first time he has addressed a full joint session of the state House and Senate since before the coronavirus was declared a pandemic in 2020.

Read the full story from the Tribune’s Dan Petrella and Jeremy Gorner.

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U.S. Rep. Jesús "Chuy" García greets supporters before voting early at the Rudy Lozano Branch Library in Chicago on Feb. 14, 2023.

Political committees supporting mayoral challengers U.S. Rep. Jesús “Chuy” García and former Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul Vallas are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars in the final weeks of the race for mayor yet hiding where that money is coming from.

The latest committee to join the fray is the New Leadership for Chicago committee, which late last week reported doling out nearly $200,000 so far on digital media in support of García’s run for mayor, according to campaign finance records. The similarly named Chicago Leadership Committee has spent more than $165,000 on TV and digital ads for Vallas’ mayoral bid.

At Chosen Tabernacle Ministries pantry in Chicago, Johanna Lezama, left, chooses food with the help of Angela Bailey-Lane on Feb. 9, 2023.

Since early in the pandemic, families in Illinois have received emergency SNAP allotments on top of their typical benefits.

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In March, benefits will return to their pre-pandemic levels, though grocery prices remain high, climbing 11.3% in January over the same period the year prior, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Corey Stoll, left, and David Costabile in the Showtime series "Billions."

“Last week Showtime announced that ‘Billions,’ its drama about hedge fund egomaniacs, will be spawning several spinoffs,” writes Nina Metz.

“The original series may be six seasons in, but narratively it ran out of steam somewhere around Season 3. No matter. Like hedge funders themselves, Showtime wants more.”

Bears general manager Ryan Poles, left, and coach Matt Eberflus speak to the media during an end-of-the-year news conference at Halas Hall on Jan. 10, 2023, in Lake Forest.

“There’s no way to sugarcoat the plain truth the Bears were brutal on the defensive line in 2022, undermanned throughout the season,” writes Brad Biggs. “They couldn’t stop the run or pressure quarterbacks, a recipe for disaster.”

“The Bears need to make improvements on the offensive line as well, and while they could look to fortify many other areas of a young roster that gained valuable experience during a 3-14 season — think wide receiver, cornerback, weak-side linebacker — don’t overcomplicate what the top goals should be at Halas Hall over the next month.”

Vanilla custard and raspberry paczki are available at all Beatrix locations.

At the city’s most popular and longest-running bakeries, preorders often sell out and walk-ins can involve waiting in lines that snake around the block.

It’s best to pick your paczki well in advance, choosing from classic flavors like plum and custard and novel varieties packed with tiramisu or peanut butter. Here’s where to get them.

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