Police investigate a crime scene after two people were shot on the Near West Side on June 15. Credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Welcome to the Reader‘s morning briefing for Friday, July 1, 2016. Have a wonderful Fourth of July weekend!

  • Weather: Cooler and sunny

July starts out cool and sunny, with a high of 71 and a low of 60. It should be a beautiful holiday weekend, with plenty of sunshine and highs in the 70s. [AccuWeather]

  • Chicago experienced the most violent June in at least six years

There were 333 shootings in June, which left 416 killed or wounded, according to DNAinfo Chicago. It’s about a 50 percent increase in shootings from June 2015, when there were 218 shootings and 272 victims. Statistics show it was the most violent June at least since 2010. Gun violence has spiked in 2016, and it’s not showing any signs of slowing down with a holiday weekend coming up. “We have an Orlando every month in Chicago, and no one seems to raise an eyebrow,” local Fraternal Order of Police president Dean C. Angelo said in a speech Tuesday. “I don’t know what the Fourth of July weekend’s going to bring.” [DNAinfo Chicago] [ DNAinfo Chicago]

  • Chicago Public Schools shells out $657.5 million for pensions

The Chicago Teachers Pension Fund received a payment of $657.5 million from Chicago Public Schools Thursday. The district has paid $676 million to the fund and $12 million to the state in 2016, but is still short of the $700 million it owes. CPS, which is facing a dire financial crisis, isn’t saying how much money it has left after the huge payment. [Sun-Times]

  • The Obama Presidential Library now has two architecture firms working on its design

Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects, a small New York-based architectural firm, and Interactive Design Architects, a Chicago-based studio, have been chosen to design the Obama Presidential Library. They will be working together on the reportedly $500 million project. Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects, which designed the Logan Center for the Arts at the University of Chicago, is known for “big, airy, modernist structures with expansive courtyards,” according to Wired, while IDA collaborated with another firm on the Art Institute’s Modern Wing. It has not yet been revealed whether the library will be located in Washington Park or Jackson Park, but it will be one of the two. [Crain’s Chicago Business] [Wired]

  • Residents of areas plagued with crime take back their blocks with Large Lots Program

The city’s Large Lots Program, launched about two years ago, allows residents in poverty-stricken neighborhoods to buy vacant lots on their block for a $1 to deter crime and create community spaces. “I think most of us who have purchased these lots and want to turn them around, we also want to turn around the stereotypes, because not everyone in Englewood, you know, is a drug dealer, is a gangbanger, is a thief,” Englewood resident and Large Lots lot owner Mekazin Alexander told NPR. But city regulations have posed some challenges for many owners— shortly after buying it, Alexander was cited for not having a fence on the lot. [NPR]

  • Bulls center Joakim Noah is likely heading back to New York, but his foundation will reportedly stay here

Bulls favorite Joakim Noah is almost certainly leaving the team to join his hometown New York Knicks, but he reportedly will stay involved in the community through his charity work, keeping his Noah’s Arc Foundation, which sponsors an anti-violence initiative and hosts arts and sports programs for local kids, based in Chicago. “Jo feels this community needs it most, and it’s in his heart,” a source told the Sun-Times. [Sun-Times]