Events that shaped Chicago: 2022 Year in Review
CHICAGO — If 2021 was the year to start the exit from Covid, 2022 was the year of realization that, in one way or another, the virus would always be with us. Something to manage, something to build from.
Chicago began January with fatigued optimism. But the Chicago Teachers Union went on the picket line out of concerns about Covid-19. Affecting some 340,000 students, it lasted five days.
Mid-month, Oak Park celebrated one of its own with Betty White Day, two weeks after her sad and surprising death on New Year’s Eve at the age of 99.
Another fresh start with the new year, the Bears hire a new general manager, Ryan Poles and head coach Matt Eberflus.
On Feb. 3, despite a protest with calls for federal charges, Jason Van Dyke left incarceration after less than four years for killing teen Laquan McDonald in 2014.
Later in the month, Illinois Governor Pritzker lifted mask mandates and other Covid restrictions.
On Feb. 24, a global conflict hit home for Chicago’s Ukrainian community. After Russia’s forces invaded, Chicago came together, rallying and praising Ukraine and its heroic president who inspired the world.
Courtroom drama in March as Chicago actor Jussie Smollett was sentenced for staging what he described as a hate crime. The Empire actor stuck to his story and was sentenced to 150 days but released during his appeal.
Also in March, federal charges came down for former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, accused of a racketeering conspiracy during his decades in Illinois politics.
St. Patrick’s Day made a triumphant return as the city again enjoyed the spectacle of the South Side Irish Parade for the first time since the pandemic.
In April, cries of despair echoed throughout Englewood, where the historic Antioch Missionary Baptist Church caught fire and could not be salvaged.
The Bulls made the playoffs for the first time in five seasons but lost to the Bucks in five games.
And then another loss for the city — Dinkel’s Bakery ended its 101-year run on the city’s North Side.
To start the month of May, one ending and one beginning. Boeing announces it’s leaving Chicago and the city chooses Bally’s for a new casino, set to call River West home.
A month that sent a shockwave through America. The U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe V. Wade, sparking a rebuke from politicians across the state as clinics across Illinois prepared for an influx of out-of-state patients.
The ruling became a key factor for Illinois’ primary election throughout the month.
At the top of the ticket on June 28, Republican state Senator Darren Bailey, who upset early favorite and Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin to set up a contentious race with Pritzker.
July saw the horror of a mass shooting right at home. The patriotism and family fun of a Fourth of July parade in Highland Park was shattered when a gunman on a roof took random aim at spectators below. Seven people lie dead and dozens more were wounded.
The attack served as a rallying moment, compelling survivors and others, including families of Uvalde victims, to push for national gun legislation.
In August, The Playpen, a popular summer hangout, became the scene of a terrifying accident that seriously wounded two women and saw one of them amputated.
R. Kelly’s Chicago trial got underway and the following month, a federal jury found him guilty of child pornography and other sex crimes.
On the last day of the month, a bus full of migrants, shipped here by Texas Governor Greg Abbott, arrived at Union Station. Nearly 4,000 more would follow.
As football season kicked off, the Bears unveiled a piece of its future, showing the public its plans for a new stadium in Arlington Heights.
Then, Chicago mourned alongside the rest of the world as England’s longest-reigning monarch Queen Elizabeth II was laid to rest.
The work to undo or overhaul the controversial SAFE-T Act at the statehouse began with the first lawsuits filed to change the legislation.
In the first week of October, the trial for the suspect in the Waukesha parade tragedy began with wildly erratic behavior from the defendant frustrating the judge. He was found guilty on all counts.
On the night of Halloween, 14 people were shot at a holiday gathering in Garfield Park. One fatality was reported, along with three children injured.
Election Night kept Gov. Pritzker in Springfield for another term as Democrats cemented their leadership statewide.
While Chicago mayoral candidates kept their eyes on the next election, officially submitting their petitions to run.
Notably absent in the city council races, Chicago’s longest-serving alderman Ed Burke unceremoniously retired amid a federal indictment.
A December birthday party became the scene of tragedy when police say a Chicago man killed three people execution-style during a fight and severely injured a fourth.
December also marked the end of the Jan. 6 hearings. Illinois congressman Adam Kinzinger and the rest of the panel ultimately recommended criminal charges for former President Donald Trump.
As the year drew to an end, so too did a notorious construction undertaking, the Jane Byrne Interchange Project, which was completed after nine years — way behind schedule and severely over budget.
As Chicago looks to a new year, still grappling with inflation and fears about public safety, it’s with a sense of hope for stability that 2023 is the comeback from the bounce-back year.
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