Alderman Willie Cochran at a Chicago City Council meeting Wednesday morning Credit: Santiago Covarrubias/Sun-Times

Welcome to the Reader‘s morning briefing for Thursday, December 15, 2016.

  • Weather: Be careful in the cold

It will be an extremely cold Thursday, with a high of ten and a low of six, but temperatures are expected to feel subzero all day. Stay inside as much as possible and cover up if you have to go outside. [AccuWeather]

  • Alderman Willie Cochran indicted on wire fraud, bribery, and extortion charges

Twentieth Ward alderman Willie Cochran has been indicted by a federal grand jury on wire fraud, bribery and extortion charges. Cochran allegedly shook down a liquor store manager in order to get his political support and “stole tens of thousands of dollars from a charitable ward fund intended to help seniors and children in his impoverished community,” according to the Tribune. “Numerous aldermen tried to discredit and undermine our work and ethics oversight in Chicago,” former Chicago legislative inspector general Faisal Khan, who turned over the information about Cochran to the federal authorities, said in a statement. “But despite the roadblocks put in place by Chicago politicians, effective oversight can happen in Chicago.” [Tribune]

  • Rahm appoints top lobbyist Anna Valencia as city clerk

Mayor Rahm Emanuel has appointed Anna Valencia, the 31-year-old director of the mayor’s Office of Legislative Counsel and Government Affairs, as city clerk. Emanuel passed over the recommendation of former city clerk Susana Mendoza, now state comptroller, for the job, her top aide Carina Sanchez, as well as the choices of the City Council’s Latino Caucus. Valencia used to be Emanuel’s assistant before she became his top lobbyist. “I’m about promoting another generation of leadership for this city. . . . I’m not threatened by that,” Emanuel said. “I actually want to promote that. As a millennial who happens to be Hispanic, she’s the next generation of leadership.” [Sun-Times] [DNAinfo Chicago

  • Illinois is the worst state in the U.S. at solving homicides

Illinois had the lowest percentage of solved homicides in the U.S. in 2015, according to the Murder Accountability Project. Just 37 percent of the 756 homicides have resulted in charges or an arrest. “Illinois is badly underperforming when it comes to catching killers,” the project’s chairman Thomas K. Hargrove said in a statement. “But since few people realize this, there is little hope that the public will demand change or that city, county and state leaders will monitor the problem and effect solutions.” [DNAinfo Chicago]

  • Kanye discussed Chicago violence during his meeting with Trump

Kanye West met with president-elect Donald Trump for 15 minutes Tuesday morning at Trump Tower in New York and they discussed Chicago’s violence epidemic, the rapper said on Twitter. “These issues included bullying, supporting teachers, modernizing curriculums, and violence in Chicago,” the Chicago native wrote on Twitter. “I feel it is important to have a direct line of communication with our future President if we truly want change.” [Reuters]

  • This winter won’t be as cold as miserable 2013-2014 “Chiberia”

The polar vortex has meant rare, brutally cold temperatures the last few years, but meteorologists don’t foresee the rest of this winter being as cold, and certainly not as brutal as the infamous 2013-2014 “Chiberia” winter, the coldest four months recorded in Chicago. “Meteorologists at the Climate Prediction Center in Maryland have determined the next few months in Chicago will only be about a degree lower than last December, January and February,” according to the Tribune. [Tribune]