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Afternoon Edition: Nov. 13, 2020

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

John Sprinkle and his sister Rose Sprinkle.
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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.

Happy Friday! This afternoon will be sunny with a high near 39 degrees. Tonight’s low will be around 30 degrees. Tomorrow will be rainy with a high near 49 degrees, followed by sunny skies and a high near 48 degrees on Sunday.

Top story

He went to the hospital in the morning. By mid-afternoon, he was dead from COVID-19.

John Sprinkle of Evergreen Park observed his 36th birthday Nov. 4. He didn’t celebrate because he had been feeling sick, but he went on Facebook the following day to thank everyone for wishing him well.

The next morning, having trouble breathing, he called 911 to take him to the hospital. He was able to walk to the ambulance and waved to a neighbor. A couple of hours later, he texted his sister from the emergency room, saying he was feeling better.

But by 3:38 that afternoon, Sprinkle was dead from acute respiratory failure caused by COVID-19.

The toll from the coronavirus pandemic is mounting again, much like it was in the spring, and columnist Mark Brown has decided to return to what he was doing then: telling the stories of the victims.

John Sprinkle was a simple, good-natured soul. He lived at home with his parents and worked at a gun shop in Crete. He loved animals and target shooting.

But his main interest was his involvement with a pair of veterans service organizations: the American Veterans Motorcycle Riders Association for many years and more recently with American Warriors Motorcycle Association.

Sprinkle was neither a veteran nor a motorcycle rider. But his grandfather served in the Navy during World War II and inspired Sprinkle to believe in the importance of honoring military service. The motorcycle groups gave Sprinkle the opportunity to take an active role in showing his respect.

He enjoyed carrying the flag in the AVMRA color guard at ceremonies and selling merchandise at events to raise money for veterans homes.

Nobody worked harder than Sprinkle to support the group’s efforts, said his friend Billy Neyen, 63, of LaGrange, a Navy veteran: “He would dive into anything he could get his hands on to help veterans.“

On holidays such as Veterans Day, Sprinkle typically would be at a commemoration somewhere, dressed in his color guard uniform. His motorcycle vest bore his self-bestowed nickname: Bubba.

Between such engagements, Sprinkle was there to help everyone else, letting them borrow his truck, feeding his sister’s cat, babysitting Neyen’s dogs, driving a friend to a doctor’s appointment.

“You could call 100 people right now, and they’d all say he had a heart of gold,” said his sister Rose Sprinkle, a hospital administrator who used to work in Barack Obama’s Senate office. “It sounds so cliché, but he would do anything for anyone at any time, and he never had a bad thing to say about anybody.”

The afternoon he died, she raced to the hospital to be with her younger brother. She knew from her phone conversations that the situation was dire. But, when she entered his room wearing full PPE, doctors already were trying to resuscitate him.

“I held his hand. I told him how much we loved him. I said I was sorry I couldn’t take care of him and fix it.”

Read Mark Brown’s full column here.

More news you need

  1. Illinois’ exponential coronavirus explosion took yet another record-breaking step up today as public health officials announced 15,415 more people have tested positive for COVID-19. While leaders have issued stay-at-home advisories in Cook County, Gov. J.B. Pritzker has said a full-on stay-at-home order for the entire state “seems like where we are heading.”
  2. A developer who made secret recordings for the feds of former Ald. Danny Solis and House Speaker Michael Madigan pleaded guilty to wire fraud today. See Y. Wong only helped the feds because he hoped a judge would go easy on him one day for the alleged scam.
  3. Rapper King Von’s killing has put a spotlight on what authorities say is the continued involvement of Chicago street gangs in violence in Atlanta. The 26-year-old had been affiliated with O Block, a faction of Chicago’s Black Disciples street gang, police say.
  4. As of Tuesday, more than three-quarters of Chicago’s 9,500 hospital beds were full, according to city figures. COVID patients are using nearly 20% of intensive care beds and more than 10% of the rest. But that’s rising rapidly.
  5. The union representing rank-and-file Chicago police officers alleges the city and CPD are endangering officers’ safety by disregarding COVID-19 protocols during training sessions. The Fraternal Order of Police contends officers who attend mandatory in-service training “have the potential of becoming superspreaders of the virus.”
  6. With many colleges sending students home before Thanksgiving and not inviting them back until mid- to late January, experts say it’s important those students quarantine at home to keep their families safe. Here’s what to do.

A bright one

If only in a mural, Oprah Winfrey is back in the West Loop

Oprah Winfrey’s popular daytime talk show, filmed in the West Loop at her Harpo Studios, came to an end in 2011, but she’s back in the neighborhood in the form of a new mural that pays tribute to her influence.

The mural, completed in October, is about 300 feet long and 26 feet tall. The focal point is a portrait of Winfrey, looking rather regal, painted by artist Shawn Michael Warren, a Chicago native who was among the artists collaborating on the piece.

“It’s almost like planting a flag of a person that has claimed the territory,” said Warren, 33. The West Loop “was her territory long before it went through this major evolution in terms of being a go-to destination in the city of Chicago.”

A new mural on the Porte Apartments, 855 W. Madison St. in the West Loop, is all about Oprah Winfrey, who for years taped her syndicated talk show nearby.
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The building that provided the canvas for the mural is Porte Apartments Chicago, 855 W. Madison St., a new development that includes townhomes, 585 apartments and retail space.

When Winfrey saw the mural, she recorded a video message to thank the artists, especially Warren for his portrait of her.

“When I saw it, it took my breath away,” Winfrey said in the video. “I was so impressed by Shawn Michael Warren’s artistry, the creativity, the way he was able to capture a feeling of hope and inspiration and strength.”

See more photos of the mural and watch Winfrey’s video here.

From the press box

The Bears’ season is teetering on collapse, but coach Matt Nagy is remaining upbeat as his team prepares for Monday night’s game against the Vikings at Soldier Field (7:15 p.m., ESPN, WCIU-26).

Our experts have made their predictions for the game, and Patrick Finley, Jason Lieser and Mart Potash preview the must-win matchup in this week’s Halas Intrigue podcast.

Jose Abreu, the White Sox’ newly-minted AL Most Valuable Player, says he will support controversial new manager Tony La Russa.

Elsewhere, Major League Baseball broke a new barrier when the Miami Marlins named Kim Ng MLB’s first woman general manager. Ng is a former Sox executive and a University of Chicago graduate.

Your daily question ☕

Now that a stay-at-home advisory is going into effect in Chicago and suburban Cook County, are you changing your Thanksgiving plans? Tell us how, if you are.

Email us (please include your first name and where you live) and we might include your answer in the next Afternoon Edition.

Yesterday, we asked you: Did you think the pandemic would last this long, and be worse now than ever? Here’s what some of you said…

“Yes. Americans are independent thinkers and thus do not choose to conform to rules. The result is that this pandemic will never go away by itself until ALL start to smarten up, wear masks and keep social distancing until a vaccine is found.” — Pam Munson Steadman

“No, in the beginning I didn’t think things would be THIS bad.” — Jackie Waldhier

“I expected it to definitely go well into 2021, but I didn’t expect for the months of quarantine to basically be meaningless. We are now seeing record daily cases higher than when we were forced to quarantine, but live every day life like it’s nothing.” — Robert Rodriguez

Thanks for reading the Chicago Afternoon Edition. Got a story you think we missed? Email us here.

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