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Afternoon Edition: Nov. 24, 2020

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

If you’re sharing Thanksgiving Day moments with family over the internet, Zoom, Skype, Google Meet, Houseparty and others are all offering free video chats.
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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.

The snow from this morning has all turned to rain this afternoon, which will see a high near 42 degrees. Tonight’s low will also be around 42 degrees. Tomorrow will be another rainy day, with a high near 48 degrees in the forecast.

Top story

Staying home this Thanksgiving? Here’s how to celebrate

Just because Thanksgiving might look a little different this year, that doesn’t mean it can’t be just as fun or memorable as years past.

As local leaders continue to discourage physical gatherings this holiday week amid a recent surge in coronavirus cases, we’ve got plenty of ideas for your party of one, two or a few.

For those of us sharing Thanksgiving Day moments with family over the internet, Zoom is removing the company’s 40-minute time limit imposed on free meetings from 11 p.m. tomorrow through 5 a.m. on Nov. 27. So fill up your plate with turkey and stuffing and tell your loved ones to do the same before hopping on a video call for a meal that can at least include your regular Thanksgiving dinner guests, even if it’s virtual.

There are other options beyond Zoom, too. Skype, Google Meet, Houseparty and others all offer free video chats.

If scaling down your usual green bean casserole or mac and cheese recipes seems a little too daunting, consider supporting some of your favorite Chicago-area restaurants, many of which are offering Thanksgiving meals that can be picked up or delivered for the holiday. Whether you want something fancy, homey or vegetarian, we rounded up some spots offering Thanksgiving Day meals that serve from two people to six.

For those who want to cook, remember that making a turkey is an art that takes multiple days, from thawing to cooking it to the perfect temperature. And this might be a bit controversial, but experts recommend cooking the stuffing outside the bird to avoid contamination by bacteria. Here are more expert tips on avoiding Thanksgiving dinner disasters.

If you’re into weed, a good way to work up an appetite would be to take advantage of “Green Wednesday.” Tomorrow’s unofficial industry sales event offers a break on the state’s high weed prices just before Turkey Day, and Illinois marijuana dispensaries are offering all sorts of deals on recreational and medical products.

After you’re nice and full, why not cap off your evening with a classic, like “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving,” which is available free for non-subscribers who visit AppleTV+ from tomorrow until Friday.

For a lot of people, the day after Thanksgiving means shopping for a Christmas tree. This year, the country’s largest retailers Home Depot, Lowe’s, Walmart and Williams Sonoma are offering delivery of fresh live trees, so you don’t even have to mask up and leave the house. Some are even offering the service of installing Christmas lights.

Want more ideas? Check out our full roundup here.

More news you need

  1. After a string of uncharacteristic concessions, Mayor Lori Lightfoot muscled her $12.8 billion “pandemic budget” through the City Council today in a vote closer than Chicago has seen in decades: 29 to 21. The most divisive issues were the mayor’s plan to raise property taxes by $94 million, followed by annual increases tied to the consumer price index.
  2. Four 16-year-old boys and a 15-year-old girl face charges after allegedly trying to carjack a man in the Loop yesterday evening, pointing a replica gun at him before beating, choking and biting him when he refused to give up his car. The teens each face a felony count of attempted vehicular hijacking, while the boys also each face a misdemeanor battery charge.
  3. The coronavirus has spread to 9,469 more Illinois residents and claimed 125 more lives across the state, public health officials said today. Though the statewide testing positivity rate has decreased to 10.4%, officials worry Thanksgiving gatherings will wipe out any marginal progress.
  4. Naperville Mayor Steve Chirico was publicly shamed by a family member after attending his daughter’s wedding in Florida just a week after warning his constituents that a mask mandate might be in order to combat a surge of the coronavirus. His niece tweeted that she was “fuming” after learning her uncle attended the 50-guest wedding.
  5. Mayor Lori Lightfoot is throwing a bone to the billionaire family that owns the Cubs after a 60-game season without fans in the stands at Wrigley Field that cost the team more than $100 million. Lightfoot proposed delaying the team’s annual $250,000 payment to the Cub Fund, which bankrolls neighborhood infrastructure improvements, until 2024.
  6. An annual suburban pilgrimage that draws thousands to the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Des Plaines has been canceled this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. Religious leaders are encouraging people to celebrate the feast day at home or in their home parishes.

A bright one

This difficult year, we asked Chicagoans: What are you most thankful for this Thanksgiving?

During what’s been an extraordinarily tough year for many, we asked our readers what they’re thankful for this Thanksgiving. The answers were wide-ranging.

Daniel James said while many are struggling to stay employed, it’s his job he’s most thankful for: “The ability to stay employed in a work-from-home role. Can’t imagine how bad things would be without it.“

For Mary Jane Tala, it’s helping the world get closer to a coronavirus vaccine.

“I have been part of a vaccine study that is successful, and I believe I have already received that successful vaccine,” she said. “I can’t ask for more right now.”

Moving clockwise from the top left: Daniel James, Amy Nieves and her family, Lauren Elizabeth, Cindy Duval’s son and his wife, Mary Jane Tala, Gloria Warshaw and her rescue kitten, Mike Danahey, Christina Brearley Nagrant. They all told us what they’re thankful for this year.
Provided

Amy Nieves said she’s thankful for technology, which has kept her and her kids sane during this difficult time.

“Without the Internet and Zoom, this whole pandemic could be so much worse,“ she said. “It’s bad enough, but at least the kids are getting some kind of an education. All of our educators are superheroes!”

For Deborah Fuller Tobias, who has an eye on the holidays coming up, it’s the little things she’s appreciating.

“Elastic-waist pants: too much nibbling during pandemic,” she said.

Read more of the things Chicagoans are thankful for this year.

From the press box

Why are the Bears having such a problem figuring out how to best use tight end Cole Kmet? Columnist Rick Telander has a few ideas.

One thing that’s looking up for the Bears: If running back David Montgomery returns for Sunday’s game against the Packers, they’ll have someone who should help a rushing offense that is among the worst in the NFL.

As for the Cubs, new president Jed Hoyer is taking over a team that has to figure out how to keep winning while still making long-term plans including what to do with core players Kris Bryant, Javy Baez, Anthony Rizzo and Kyle Schwarber.

Your daily question ☕

What’s your favorite Thanksgiving tradition? Tell us why it’s so special to you.

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

Yesterday, we asked you: How do you feel about Chicago’s first real snow of the season possibly arriving tomorrow? Here’s what some of you said…

“Not looking forward to shoveling driveway again. And again. And again.” — Daniel Bassill

“Let it snow! This year has been the worst! Snow can only make it better. Well in my eyes.” — Javier Martinez

“Just don’t say vortex… Hope its just a dusting.” — Constance Reibeling

“I don’t care for the snow at all.” — Kristine Antoinette

“Excited!” — Julee Stevens

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

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