Happy New Year 2022: A look back at Chicago's ups and downs in 2021

Wednesday, December 29, 2021
A look back at Chicago's ups and downs in 2021
Happy New Year 2022! Here's a recap of Chicago's ups and downs in 2021, including COVID debacles in public schools, community events and crime.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The year 2021 is quickly coming to a close. ABC7's Alan Krashesky took us through highs and lows.

The year started on the right foot thanks to Cheryl Scott and Terrell Brown and their always energetic New Year's kickoff.

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Just five days into January, Kenosha's top prosecutor announced that Officer Rusten Sheskey would not be charged in the shooting of Jacob Blake. One day after that, insurrectionists stormed the U.S. Capitol. Seventeen people from Illinois were charged with taking part.

In February, Mike Madigan resigned from his Illinois House seat, ending 50 years in the legislature and decades as the powerful house speaker.

It was March when Chicago responded to the police shooting of 13-year-old Adam Toledo, leading to changes in policies regarding foot chases of suspects. Also in the spring, high school athletes were playing their traditional fall sports due to COVID-19 scheduling.

Chicago restaurants opened for indoor dining in stages. Many in Chicago welcomed available vaccines, and then second shots along with boosters. But others have still resisted the shots. And "omicron" is a name everyone has come to know.

A June tornado caused severe damage to homes in Woodridge and Naperville.

Juneteenth became a national holiday.

And also in June, Holocaust survivor Fritzie Fritzshall passed away at 91. She warned that the hatred she personally experienced at Auschwitz must never happen again. But she worried about the future.

The Chicago Auto Show opened for four days in July at McCormick Place, with bigger plans for February 2022.

In August, Chicago Public School students returned to the classrooms for in-person learning. That was also the month Chicago Police Officer Ella French was killed during a traffic stop. Her partner, Carlos Yanez, was severely wounded. He has made a remarkable recovery.

Illinois State University graduate student Jelani Day went missing in late August. Then, his body was found in the Illinois River. The coroner said he drowned, but his family has said it just doesn't make sense.

Chicago solemnly marked the 20th year following the attacks of 9/11.

Officials broke ground for the construction of the Obama Presidential Center in Jackson Park.

Crime remained on everyone's minds this year as carjackings and expressway shootings became more frequent. It was one of the worst years for deadly violence, with more than 800 homicides in Chicago. There were more than 4,300 documented shootings in the city. That was in addition to a wave of smash-and-grab robberies at retail stores in the city and the suburbs.

Chicago's Lake Shore Drive became "Jean-Baptiste Point DuSable Lake Shore Drive" in honor of the Black trader and first non-indigenous settler of what is now Chicago.

In October, Chicago historian and civil rights leader Timuel Black passed away at the age of 102.

The Chicago White Sox made the playoffs, but lost to the Houston Astros in the American League Division Series.

The Chicago Blackhawks sex assault scandal took headlines as former player Kyle Beach went public with his claim of sexual assault by a video coach. The team settled his lawsuit in December.

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The Chicago Sky won its first WNBA Championship.

In November, a jury in Kenosha found Kyle Rittenhouse not guilty in the murders of two protestors and the wounding of a third during the unrest following the shooting of Jacob Blake.

Jussie Smollett was found guilty of lying to police in staging a racist and homophobic attack on himself.

But there is light at this year's end from the glow of Christkindlemarket in Daley Plaza, the Christmas tree in Millenium Park and the Lights Festival on the Magnificent Mile.