Afternoon Edition: July 14, 2021

Today’s update is a 5-minute read that will brief you on the day’s biggest stories.

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The exterior of the W Lakeshore Chicago Hotel at 644 N. Lake Shore Dr.

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Good afternoon. Here’s the latest news you need to know in Chicago. It’s about a 5-minute read that will brief you on today’s biggest stories.

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Afternoon Edition

Chicago’s most important news of the day, delivered every weekday afternoon. Plus, a bonus issue on Saturdays that dives into the city’s storied history.

This afternoon will be partly sunny with a high near 86 degrees. Tonight will be mostly cloudy with a low around 72. Showers and thunderstorms are likely tomorrow with a high near 82.

Top story

Prosecutors so far offer no proof that Iowa mechanic may have been planning mass shooting, as Chicago mayor and top cop claimed

Keegan Casteel has been accused by Chicago’s mayor and top cop of possibly planning a mass attack on Navy Pier crowds from the window of his hotel room over the Fourth of July weekend.

But police and court filings so far detail no such plans. And prosecutors offered nothing new today when Casteel briefly appeared in court over Zoom for his second hearing.

Documents in the case only describe how a housekeeper at Hotel W alerted police July 4 to room 1208, where officers found a loaded semi-automatic rifle with a laser scope, five ammunition clips and a loaded .45-caliber handgun.

The records do not detail how much ammunition was found, saying only there was “lots.” They also don’t contain any mention of any statement by Casteel, even whether he made one.

And there is nothing about why he was in town or whether there was anyone staying in the hotel room with him, though some media reports say he was visiting here with his girlfriend and two children.

Matthew Hendrickson has the latest.

More news you need

  1. At least five people were wounded after gunfire broke out this afternoon in Gresham — the second mass shooting of the day after a previous incident in West Garfield Park. The group was on a sidewalk when a car pulled out of an alley and three gunmen got out, police said.
  2. A Chicago man has been sentenced in federal court to three years of probation after he admitted he set fire to a police vehicle during the May 2020 protests downtown. The sentencing appears to be the first in Chicago’s federal court to directly address the downtown unrest that followed the murder of George Floyd.
  3. A federal grand jury has accused a former CPS principal of collecting overtime pay from school employees that she said would be used to pay school expenses — but allegedly went to her bills. She faces 10 counts of wire fraud and was due in court today following her arrest.
  4. An off-duty Chicago police officer was found dead in an apparent suicide this morning near Hale Elementary School in Clearing. This is the third such death by a member of the department this year.
  5. A sweeping proposal unveiled today aims to lift the nationwide prohibition on cannabis and create new federal regulations. Like Illinois’ legalization law, the measure looks to address the harms of the drug war and to bolster equity in the weed industry.
  6. Gov. Pritzker was among eight mayors and governors who met with President Biden in Washington today. The meeting was part of a White House drive to rally support for a bipartisan infrastructure plan.
  7. A new app aims to help people find leftover food that restaurants, bakeries and grocery stores want to sell off at the end of each day. Starting today, around 100 restaurants are able to sell their excess foods at a discount using the Too Good To Go app.
  8. Part traditional car showcase and part street fair, the Chicago Auto Show returns to McCormick Place tomorrow and runs through Monday. This year’s twists include outdoor action like test drives on city streets, food trucks and live music.
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A bright one

Pair of 15 year olds from South Side crowned fastest kids in Chicago at Gately Park competition

Treyshun Green was anxious when he got to the starting line last Saturday for the final race of the Fastest Kids in Chicago competition at Gately Park Indoor Track and Field.

Green said he worried about tripping in front of the crowd of several hundred, which included Mayor Lori Lightfoot, the Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. and six-time Olympic medalist Jackie Joyner-Kersee.

But all the nerves vanished as soon as he heard the crack of the starting pistol.

Green, 15, made it look easy: He didn’t even break a sweat as he clocked the fastest 60-meter dash of the meet, finishing in a time of 7.84 seconds.


LaToya Pitner adjusts her son Treyshun Green’s medals after the “Fastest Kids in Chicago” final at the Gately Park Indoor Track and Field.

Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

Meanwhile, Symone Frison, 15, was the fastest girl of the day. She won her heat with a time of 8.02 seconds, the third fastest time of the day.

“I was a little nervous, but I just knew if I ran my best that I could do it,” Frison said.

About 265 children and teenagers, ranging from incoming fifth graders to high school seniors, were invited to participate in the Fastest Kids competition over the weekend.

They came from a pool of more than 3,000 participants who registered to take part in the summer track-and-field program offered by the Chicago Park District in partnership with the mayor, Chicago Public Schools and Operation Rainbow Push.

Madeline Kenney has more on the competition here.

From the press box

Your daily question ☕

What do you think of the new pilot program that will have some 911 calls for mental health emergencies handled by mental health clinicians instead of cops?

Reply to this email (please include your first name and where you live) and we might feature your answer in the next Afternoon Edition.

Yesterday, we asked you: In honor of National French Fry Day today, we want to know: Here’s some of what you said…

“Gene and Jude’s. Wait — Portillo’s. Nah, hold up — Lucky Dog!” — Nick Ternoir

“Superdawg has always been my favorite Chicago fries. crinkle cut, never cold.” — Mary Stefani

“Raymond’s Tacos on Damen and Blue Island. Old school fries hot in the brown paper and bag. Only old schoolers know what I’m talking about.” — Monica Savage-Lee

“Portillo’s. The flavor is great and never taste like they are fried in old oil.” — Patty Murray

“Mr. D’s Shish Kabobs has the best fresh cut fries in town. Diced, blanched in lemon juice and water, double-fried, salted and dunked in ketchup or mustard. #PotatoParadise.” — Walter Brzeski

“Luke’s on Jackson in downtown Chicago. They give you a full bag of fries that you can share with your coworkers, but unfortunately, they are too good to share so you end up eating the entire bag all by yourself.” — Charlotte Yolanda

“Susie’s Drive-Thru. Best cheese fries served in a crispy flour tortilla bowl. Amazing.” — Robert C. Estes

“Ricobene’s and Mr. Submarine garlic fries.” — Jenna Marie

“Zeus Restaurant in Greektown. Portillo’s and Jimmy’s for the fresh cut.” — Jonathan Turner Segal

“My thighs said it’s too many to name!” — Tina Hammond

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