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Afternoon Edition: Aug. 4, 2021

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

Gov. J.B. Pritzker speaks at the Thompson Center on March 30, 2020.
Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times

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.

This afternoon will be mostly sunny with a chance of sprinkles and a high near 85 degrees. Tonight will be mostly clear with a low around 65. Tomorrow will be mostly sunny with a high near 85.

Top story

Pritzker announces mask mandate for Illinois schools

Gov. J.B. Pritzker today issued a vaccine requirement for some state workers and a mask mandate for students in preschool through 12th grade.

Pritzker’s announcement brings Illinois in line with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which last week recommended that all teachers, students and staff in schools wear masks indoors regardless of their vaccination status.

The mandate applies to both public and private school students.

The state has seen a surge in cases in recent weeks, in part due to the highly infectious Delta variant of the coronavirus. Health officials reported last week a roughly 35% increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations and a 46% increase in state case numbers.

The Delta variant already accounts for more than 20% of new COVID-19 cases across the United States and “is likely to be our dominant strain here in the next couple of months,” according to Chicago Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady.

Rachel Hinton has more on the new rules here.

More news you need

  1. Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx’s office declined to file criminal charges against a Des Plaines cop who shot a budding teen musician in 2019 while pursuing a bank robber. Foxx’s office says the officer was “justified in using deadly force” against the robber.
  2. Cook County, as of yesterday, has recorded 11,000 deaths attributed to COVID-19, a grim milestone that prompted officials to again urge residents to get vaccinated. COVID-19 cases have increased by 30% since June 26 in the county.
  3. Barack Obama is scratching his Saturday outdoor birthday party for “hundreds” on Martha’s Vineyard, having decided to scale back the gala because of Delta variant concerns. The former president turns 60 today.
  4. A Chicago man earlier charged with threatening police officers’ wives and children during the 2018 trial of then-Chicago cop Jason Van Dyke pleaded guilty today to attempting to obstruct the free exercise of religious beliefs. The charge stems from a Sept. 2018 comment he wrote on Facebook, court records show.
  5. Activists today called on Mayor Lightfoot to deny a long-delayed permit for a recycling company that wants to open a controversial metal-shredding plant on the Southeast Side. The company failed to report the partial collapse of a building on the proposed site for the facility, activists said.
  6. James “Jim” Stricklin, who was one of WMAQ’s first Black news photographers and had a 40-year career, has died of COVID-19, according to his wife. The Hyde Park resident, who was 88, became ill despite having been vaccinated, she said.
  7. The 2021 Hyde Park Summer Fest was canceled by festival organizers who pointed to the recent surge in COVID-19 cases. The festival, rebranded from the popular annual Hyde Park Beer Fest, was initially scheduled for Sept. 11-12 at the Midway Plaisance.

A bright one

Bridget Bodo finds second wind in sailboat racing

Before Bridget Bodo found sailing — or rather it found her — Bodo was in a dark place. She sunk into a deep depression after she lost her leg and suffered a brain injury in a motorcycle accident in Lake View in 2003.

“My life was totally, totally turned around,” Bodo, 45, said. “I went from being a very active, single, working person to a disabled, very isolated, very sad person who just sat at home all day not being able to do anything. I couldn’t even walk.”

Bodo was on a ride in the summer of 2003 when a car turned left into her bike near Belmont and Campbell avenues.

The collision caused her to slide across the pavement. Her lower left leg was torn from her body and found nearly 50 feet away from the accident, she said. Bodo suffered facial trauma and a brain injury, too.

The transition into Bodo’s new reality was arduous. She struggled knowing she would need a prosthetic leg. Her sister moved in to help with rent, her dog and wound care.

Bridget Bodo found sailing a saving grace after she lost her leg in a motorcycle accident in Lake View. 
Bridget Bodo found sailing a saving grace after she lost her leg in a motorcycle accident in Lake View.
Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

One day, while Bodo was waiting in a lobby for her ride after a physical therapy appointment in the spring of 2004, a man staffing a booth nearby asked her if she had any interest in sailing. He was with the Judd Goldman Adaptive Sailing Foundation, an organization with programs that teach people with physical disabilities as well as at-risk youths in Chicago how to sail.

Bodo was skeptical.

The first time on the water with the program was a refreshing experience. She said it was great to be out of the house and in the fresh air. Bodo couldn’t help but to return to the harbor at every opportunity. And each time she sailed, she felt more empowered.

Eventually, she found her second wind in sailboat racing, which has taken her all over the United States over the past 17 years. She’s won many races, including two regattas. Recently, her team finished fourth out of five vessels, despite some good showings across the four days.

When she’s sailing, she says, “I’m not thinking about being disabled at all. I feel like I can do everything that I need to do on the boat.”

Bodo now helps to recruit other people with disabilities to join the program.

“The nicest thing about all of this is, again, is community. . . There’s so many people out there in the world that are really, really wanting to help people out.”

Madeline Kenney has more on Bodo’s story here.

From the press box

Your daily question ☕

What’s the best summer job you’ve ever had? Tell us why.

Yesterday we asked you: NYC announced today it will require vaccination proof for indoor dining and gyms. Should Chicago do the same? Tell us why or why not. Here’s some of what you said...

“Yes. We have more to protect than people's feelings. Not being vaccinated is a choice rooted in feelings, certainly not facts or reality. I think it would afford a greater sense of security for a lot of people knowing that everyone around them was less likely to be a virus carrier or spreader. Nowadays I think most people appreciate that peace of mind.” — Chris Vaughn

“Absolutely not! I’m vaccinated and that is my business — no one else’s.” — Madeline Muscia Squiller

“Yes. People may not like it, but the longer they stay unvaccinated, the greater likelihood more variants arise and prolong the pandemic.” – Davin Loh

“Yes. People can make the choice to not get vaccinated, but choices come with consequences.” — Lori McAllester Schultz

“How do you expect businesses to enforce this mandate? Everyone is aware of what happened when stores asked people to wear masks. This is a good idea, but is not realistic.” — Maureen Murphy

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