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Afternoon Edition: Nov. 5, 2020

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

Gov. J.B. Pritzker, House Speaker Michael Madigan and Cook County Democratic Chair Toni Preckwinkle.
Sun-Times Staff

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 warm weather continues this afternoon, which will see sunny skies and a high near 70 degrees. Tonight’s low will be around 47 degrees. Tomorrow: sunny, with a high near 71 degrees ahead of more summer-like weather this weekend.

Top story

Campaign scorecard: Pritzker, Preckwinkle, Madigan — big winners or big losers?

It might take days to know who will control the White House, but the winners and losers in Illinois are already fairly obvious — and it’s not just the candidates who gave their victory or concession speeches the night before on Zoom.

Some of the state’s biggest political players won some, while others lost some.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker lost big. So did state House Speaker Mike Madigan. Cook County Democratic Chair Toni Preckwinkle did a little of both.

Preckwinkle wasn’t ready to concede defeat in her effort to deny Judge Michael Toomin another term on the bench. But the Cook County Board president said she was thankful for her protégé Kim Foxx’s landslide win in the state’s attorney’s race.

“I’m grateful that that great work got affirmed by the voters,” Preckwinkle said.

One of the biggest losses was handed to Pritzker with the failure of his coveted “Fair Tax” amendment.

Republicans and others who campaigned against the proposed move to a graduated income tax delivered the Democratic governor his first major loss since he took office in 2018.

Pritzker campaigned on changing the state’s tax structure to allow different tax rates based on income levels and dropped $58 million of his own fortune into the official committee supporting the proposed amendment’s passage.

As election results continue trickling in, you can follow live results here.

But when the dust settled Wednesday morning, unofficial results showed the proposed amendment to the state constitution garnering just under 45% of the vote — far short of the 60% needed to pass.

Pritzker and its other backers conceded defeat, although the Democratic governor wasn’t abandoning his campaign spiel. In his first daily briefing on the coronavirus after Election Day, Pritzker took a sharp tone toward the “billionaires who lied to you about the Fair Tax.”

“There will be cuts, and they will be painful,” Pritzker said.

In a blow to Speaker Mike Madigan, who saw more losses than wins on election night, the four House Democrats —Diane Pappas of Itasca, Mary Edly-Allen of Libertyville, Monica Bristow of downstate Alton and Nathan Reitz of Steeleville — all appeared to have lost their re-election bids.

Democrats who received funding from Madigan-backed committees were apparently able to oust two Republican representatives — Grant Wehrli of Naperville and Allen Skillicorn of East Dundee. Wehrli was one of the Republicans serving on a special legislative committee investigating Madigan’s dealings with ComEd.

Madigan lost his effort to oust Republican state Rep. Bradley Stephens, who doubles as mayor of Rosemont. The speaker spent more than $900,000 in campaign funds on behalf of unsuccessful Democratic challenger Michelle Darbro.

But the highest-profile loss for the powerful Southwest Side Democrat came in the apparently failed bid to retain state Supreme Court Justice Thomas Kilbride, a 20-year incumbent, who received $550,000 from the Madigan’s Democratic Party of Illinois political fund.

Read Rachel Hinton’s full analysis here.

More news you need

  1. State health officials reported 9,935 new COVID-19 cases today, a record high that shattered the previous high of 7,899 on Oct. 31. The state also reported 97 additional deaths, the highest since June 4, when there were 115.
  2. One person was dead and another was injured after a car struck them this morning on the Near West Side, police said. Two occupants of the car ran from the scene of the crash and were last seen running on an expressway.
  3. Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s pandemic budget includes no funding next year for Taste of Chicago or the Air and Water Show, generating $9 million in “potential savings,” a top mayoral aide said today. “We have not canceled Taste. But we don’t have funding at this time,” said Cultural Affairs and Special Events Commissioner Mark Kelly.
  4. The mayor is offering $10,000 grants to “independent bars and restaurants” who have been forced to stop serving indoor patrons amid the coronavirus surge. She’s also seeking a temporary cap on the fees restaurants pay to third-party delivery services.
  5. Ventilation and air quality in the vast majority of Chicago Public Schools classrooms have been deemed safe for students and staff after district-wide inspections in recent weeks, officials said this week. The district said its facilities evaluation shows there are more than enough safe classrooms to return to in-person learning.

A bright one

Pies and PPE: Local pizza shop uses ovens to make face shields

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March, Dimo’s Pizza owner Dimitri Syrkin-Nikolau knew business was going to be tough. Fewer customers meant fewer pizzas, and a lot of people in need of personal protective equipment.

“We do have these ovens that are quite useful,” Syrkin-Nikolau recalled thinking at the time. “If we can find another way to put them to use, they’re going to help people, especially in this tough time.”

His solution: Baking acrylic face shields. Since March, Dimo’s has been making face shields at its Wicker Park shop, selling them on their website and donating them to hospitals, nursing homes and others in need of PPE.

Tara Kline checks on acrylic after molding it into face shields being made for a bus driver who ordered 50 of them at Dimo’s Pizza in Wicker Park.
Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

To make them, an acrylic panel is heated in a pizza oven reserved for face shields. When it’s warm and moldable, it’s placed around a curved, metal sheet to cool and harden. Then, strips of foam and velcro are attached so they are wearable.

Syrkin-Nikolau said he doesn’t have an exact number of how many face shields they’ve made, but it’s “between thousands and tens of thousands.”

While making face shields has been physically different than making pizzas, he said the idea behind the two are actually quite similar.

“Pizza is not a pretentious food. It’s a food of the people. It’s cut into slices and built to be shared,” he said. “Making the face shields has that same sort of feeling. This is for the masses, this is for the people that need to stay safe.”

Read Michael Lee’s full story here.

From the press box

The Bears sent all of their players home today as a precaution after a second player – reportedly Cody Whitehair – tested positive for COVID-19 this week. The team already put Jason Spriggs and Germain Ifedi on its reserve list after Spriggs tested positive two days ago.

And Mitch Trubisky may be sidelined from his role as backup QB after suffering a potentially significant shoulder injury in his only snap against the Saints last Sunday. Trubisky was in L.A. today to be evaluated by renowned orthopedic surgeon Dr. Neal ElAttrache.

Your daily question ☕

Non-stop Christmas music returns to Chicago’s Lite FM tomorrow, so we want to know: What’s your favorite Christmas song?

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: How are you feeling about the presidential election as it stretches on? Here’s what some of you said…

“I really didn’t expect it to be this close. I’m not sure what it says about the values of the American voter.” — Chris Vaughn

“Every vote must be counted! I’m perfectly OK with waiting. This is what democracy looks like!” — Kimberly Ann

“It’s like it’s the bottom of the 9th, two outs, 3-2 count and they keep going to commercial.” — Brendan Murphy

“Regardless who wins, what these politicians did to integrity of our election by creating this mess is a disgrace.” — Felix Esteves

“I am feeling positive. We all knew it would take longer but I see a light at the end of a tunnel. America, we will be okay! We will all be winners.” — Sharon Hunt Gonzales

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

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