Cook County Board president Toni Preckwinkle speaks in April. Credit: Maria Cardona/ Sun-Times

Welcome to the Reader‘s morning briefing for Friday, August 11, 2017. Have a great weekend!

  • Cook County soda tax could lead to Illinois losing $87 million funding for food stamps

Illinois is at risk of losing $87 million in federal funding for food stamps because of the Cook County penny-per-ounce soda tax, according to the Tribune. “While Cook County has informed retailers that purchases made with federal food stamp benefits are exempt from the soda tax under federal law, it’s also allowed retailers to tax those purchases and provide refunds as a workaround for stores that haven’t been able to properly update their point-of-sale systems,” the newspaper reported. The Illinois Department of Human Services received a warning from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Services that its funding for the state’s food-stamp program could be withheld if this continues. [Tribune]

  • Hobos gang leader sentenced to 40 years in prison

Gregory “Bowlegs” Chester, the alleged head of the Hobos street gang, was sentenced to 40 years in prison Thursday. Chester and five other alleged leaders of the gang were convicted on “racketeering conspiracy charges alleging the gang carried out eight murders over a decade,” the Tribune reports. The prosecution was seeking a life sentence for Chester, but his defense team argued that he wasn’t the gang’s triggerman. U.S. district judge John Tharp called it a “tragedy” that Chester hadn’t used his skills, ambition, and “entrepreneurial spirit” to help others. Instead, “he made the choice to use those talents to advance the cause of evil. [Tribune]

  • J.B. Pritzker selects state representative Juliana Stratton as running mate

Democratic gubernatorial candidate J.B. Pritzker has chosen state rep Juliana Stratton as his running mate in the 2018 election. Stratton, a south-side native and criminal justice advocate, was elected to the Illinois house in 2016 after beating incumbent Ken Dunkin in a heated Democratic primary. “Juliana hasn’t been shy about standing up to Bruce Rauner or Donald Trump,” the billionaire businessman said at a news conference Thursday. [Sun-Times]

  • CPS students, teachers protest budget cuts and “reckless” borrowing

About 100 Chicago Public Schools students (with two dozen desks) and teachers gathered on the 606 Thursday to protest the district’s budget cuts and “reckless” long-term borrowing deal. “Programs are being cut. Teachers are being let go,” Schurz High School student Priscilla Tito said. “No one should be deprived of resources when there’s more than enough money to go around. Rahm and Rauner need to start using the money wisely and start investing in our future by bringing revenue into our city.” [DNAinfo Chicago]

  • Senators Durbin, Duckworth approve Trump’s nominee for U.S. attorney in Chicago

Senators Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth sent their official approvals of John Lausch, President Donald Trump’s nominee for U.S. attorney in Chicago, to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday, a “necessary thumbs-up from a state’s home senators crucial to the confirmation of a nominee, according to the Sun-Times. Lausch is expected to be approved by the Republican-controlled panel before being confirmed by the Senate as a whole. [Sun-Times]

  • Chicago just sent Rachel Dratch a ticket for a 1997 parking violation

Comedian Rachel Dratch just received a parking ticket from the city of Chicago for a parking violation that occurred when she was part of Second City in 1997. “Chicago does not f around,” she posted on Twitter Wednesday with a picture of the ticket. “I received this parking ticket in the mail today. Look at date. It’s from TWENTY years ago.” The former Saturday Night Live favorite allegedly parked her car illegally at 150 W. North on December 8, 1997. [Chicagoist]