Family members of the nearly 780 people lost to gun violence in 2016 marched on Michigan Avenue December 31. Credit: Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

Welcome to the Reader’s news brief for Thursday, January 5, 2017.

  • Gun violence in Chicago is basically a disease

Antiviolence activists like epidemiologist and Cure Violence founder Gary Slutkin have long advocated for treating Chicago’s gun violence problem like a disease to be cured. Now, a study from researchers at Yale University gives new credence to this kind of public health approach. Parsing Chicago arrest and shooting data from 2006 to 2014, researchers found that gun violence “can ripple through social networks and communities just like an infectious germ,” according to Ars Technica. Using modeling tools similar to those used to predict how contagious diseases spread allowed researchers to explain more than 60 percent of shootings during the period studied. [Ars Technica]
  • Honey Butter Fried Chicken puts “sanctuary” on the menu

Avondale’s Honey Butter Fried Chicken was one of two-dozen eateries nationally to declare themselves as “sanctuary restaurants” Wednesday. Alluding to the status of Chicago and other major metropolises as “sanctuary cities” that offer protections to undocumented immigrants, “sanctuary restaurants” are those that intend to welcome immigrants, Muslims, and any other group of people likely threatened by the predicted policies of the incoming Trump administration, according to a statement released to the press. “What we’re trying to say to [employees] and to our customers is that we’re a safe haven,” says co-owner Josh Kulp, “and we’re a restaurant committed to putting our neighborhood and our community and our staff first.” According to the Pew Research Center, restaurants and other businesses in the leisure and hospitality industry employ more undocumented workers than any other American sector. [Tribune]
  • Ouch! Man says River North bedbugs tried to “eat him alive”

Allen Brown got more than he bargained for during a visit to Chicago in August: Brown says he was severely bitten by bedbugs while staying at the Courtyard Marriott at 30 E. Hubbard. Brown switched rooms after he reported the attack, but was also bitten in his second room, according to a complaint filed in Cook County circuit court last week. “The hotel clearly had a bed bug infestation that they failed to address,” attorney Tyler Kobylski told DNAinfo Chicago. “When the Marriott contacted my client after his stay they brushed off his injuries by suggesting that ‘all hotels have bed bugs.’ This is a rather low bar for one of the largest hotel chains in the world.” [DNAinfo Chicago]
  • Four Danish ideas for making Chicago winter more tolerable

Chicago offers plenty of opportunities for outdoor social gatherings during the summer—think free concerts in Millennium Park and an endless slew of street festivals. But staving off isolation and depression and finding excuses to leave home can be a real challenge for many of us in the winter. Chicago could learn a thing or two from Copenhagen, and its concept of hygge, which is often translated as “coziness.” By incorporating warmth, light and color, access to nature, and public gathering places into everyday life, Denmark keeps its people happy, even on days with frigid temperatures and less than seven hours of sunlight. Are you paying attention, Chicago city planners? [City Lab]