Governor Bruce Rauner speaks at a news conference in Chicago. Credit: AP Photo/Tae-Gyun Kim File

Welcome to the Reader‘s weekday news briefing. Have a great weekend, and happy New Year!

  • Judge blocks last-minute conservative attempt to prevent new abortion law from taking effect Monday

On Thursday a judge blocked a conservative attempt to prevent a law legalizing publicly funded abortions from taking effect Monday. Catholic group the Thomas More Society had asked for an injunction on the grounds that some state taxpayers have a “sincere moral objection” to paying for state employees’ and Medicaid recipients’ abortions, as the new law requires. State rep Peter Green, a Lombard Republican who also serves as legal counsel to the society, argued that the law, signed by Governor Bruce Rauner despite conservative objections, had been passed too late in the year to go into effect January 1, and that the appropriate funding hadn’t been appropriated. Associate circuit judge Jennifer ruled that these are “political” questions a judge shouldn’t intervene in. Breen said he would appeal the ruling at the appellate court in Springfield Friday. [Tribune]

  • Alderman Howard Brookins Jr. running for Cook County judge spot

Alderman Howard Brookins Jr. is “running for the Cook County judge vacancy left by Valarie Turner, who was forced into retirement earlier this month for letting a clerk put on her robes to preside over traffic court,” according to the Sun-Times. Brookins says he won’t resign from the City Council unless he’s elected, adding, “I always figured that there would be a point where my career would end in public service. I didn’t think that opportunity would be there at this point in time. But I think it’s time.” [Sun-Times]

  • How Lincoln Park Zoo keeps its animals warm in the bitter cold

Lincoln Park Zoo goes to great lengths to keep its animals cold during the winter, especially the bitter, at times subzero temperatures hitting Chicago currently. The zoo’s main curator, Dave Bernier, took WBEZ’s Curious City on a tour of the zoo to explain how it takes care of its warm-weather animals. [WBEZ]

  • Analyzing Rahm Emanuel’s rocky/lucky 2017

Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s 2017 was “not a great recipe for an embattled incumbent trying to persuade an angry electorate to give him a third chance,” but the mayor “accomplished plenty and got a few lucky breaks in between,” according to the Sun-Times. As the 2019 mayoral race begins to take shape, Emanuel got extremely lucky when longtime congressman Luis Gutierrez retired and immediately endorsed Emanuel’s former mayoral challenger Jesús “Chuy” García to replace him. Without García in the race, Emanuel’s path to a third term looks much more certain. [Sun-Times]

  • Report: Grace restaurant had turned into a “kitchen nightmare”

The sudden closing of Grace, a rare restaurant with three Michelin stars,  shocked Chicago and the outside culinary world, but behind the scenes the restaurant had had secret problems. The Sun-Times reports that the fine-dining destination restaurant had been fined by Chicago Health Department inspectors due to food poisoning complaints. [Sun-Times]

  • How a costume designer re-created south-side fashion for upcoming TV drama The Chi

Costume designer Patrik Milani was tasked with dressing the cast of Showtime’s upcoming south-side drama, The Chi, without ever having spent time in that area of the city. “I’ve gone there for the museums and I ended up going there for social events, but I didn’t really know Chicago that well,” Milani said. “And it’s such a nice city. It’s such a cosmopolitan city. It can be so sophisticated.” Milani studied south-siders from a perch at the Currency Exchange Cafe near Washington Park to get ideas for dressing his cast. He ended up purchasing many outfits from Family Thrift stores. “Family Thrift, I swear, I just love them,” he said. “I’d say 50 percent of the costumes come from Family Thrift.” [Fashionista]