Governor Bruce Rauner discusses the overhaul of Chicago State University Tuesday. Credit: Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

Welcome to the Reader‘s morning briefing for Wednesday, January 18, 2016.

  • Rauner creates advisory council to turn around embattled Chicago State University

Governor Bruce Rauner has tapped the man who ran against him in 2014 as former governor Pat Quinn’s running mate to head a new Chicago State University advisory board. Rauner is recommending former Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul Vallas as chairman of a new advisory council to help revitalize the cash-strapped university. The governor also named Vallas to the Chicago State University Board of Trustees last week. The council will help the board with advice, support, resources, and a strategic plan to turn around the school “expeditiously,” Rauner said. “Our objective here is to not only preserve Chicago State but to help transform it into the dynamic university that the community needs,” Vallas told reporters. “Universities are economic development engines, and there’s absolutely no reason why Chicago State cannot be one.” CSU has struggled more than any other state university in Illinois during the budget impasse and had to lay off 300 employees in 2016. [Sun-Times]

  • Axelrod, Emanuel, Bill Daley, and other Chicagoans on working in the Obama White House

President Barack Obama hired many Chicagoans for key White House roles after his election in 2008. Sun-Times Washington bureau chief Lynn Sweet asked some of the former and current White House staffers to reflect on their time working in the Obama administration. Said former White House senior adviser David Axelrod on working with Obama: “One of the images that I’ll remember [is] him walking off to the East Wing with a stack of paper under his arm. . . . I would hear from him at midnight, one in the morning, you knew that he would be up early, until the early hours, you know, making sure that he was prepared for the things that he was going to face the next day to the extent you can be.” [Sun-Times]

  • CPD chief Eddie Johnson: “We are going to reform as an agency”
  • Chicago Police Department superintendent Eddie Johnson wants to make community policing a key component in fighting crime. The police “will focus on training new recruits to build relationships with local business owners and residents who want to reduce crime and violence to build trust in the community,” according to the Tribune. “In the ’90s, we were the leader in community policing throughout the county and we kind of lost some of that luster, but we fully intend on returning to the No. 1 position,” he said. “We are going to reform as an agency. We are going to move forward to be the best.” [Tribune]

    • Wrigley Field renovations will be finished by opening day

    Wrigley Field is torn up for a major renovation that will install a new “high-end stadium club and concession stands under the grandstand,” DNAinfo Chicago reports, but the team says it will be finished by opening day on April 10. The highly anticipated Cubs Plaza, meanwhile, should be ready sometime in the 2017 season. “Maybe not Opening Day but over the course of the summer,” Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts said regarding an opening date during the Cubs Convention. [DNAinfo Chicago]

    • Gibsons Restaurant Group is working on a ‘modern steakhouse’ in the Loop

    The city’s highest-grossing independent restaurant group, Gibsons Restaurant Group, is planning its first new restaurant downtown in 12 years, according to Eater Chicago. Gibsons is working on a three-story “modern steakhouse with authentic Italian influences” featuring a retractable roof inside the River Point office building near Canal and Randolph Streets. [Eater Chicago]

    • Wicked will return to the Oriental Theatre for the holidays

    One of the biggest pop culture phenomenons of the 2000s, the musical Wicked will return to Chicago for a seven-week stretch at the Oriental Theatre later this year. The show will run during the holiday season from December 6, 2017, through January 21, 2018. [Sun-Times]