Afternoon Edition: Dec. 8, 2020

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

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April Ibanez, 29, and her 3-year-old daughter, Ruby, in the room they’ve been living in together for about three weeks at the Jaslin Hotel in Chinatown.

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.

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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 cloudy and windy, with a high near 38 degrees. Tonight’s low will be around 33 degrees. Tomorrow will start out cloudy and gradually become sunny, with a high near 50 degrees expected.

Top story

Nearly half a million in state will lose unemployment benefits without new federal aid package

April Ibanez didn’t expect to be out of work for long when she was furloughed from her Downtown restaurant job at the start of the pandemic.

The single mother thought it would be temporary, just until the curve was flattened, and she would be back serving people with her gracious smile. Then the call came: She’d been laid off.

Like many, she filed for unemployment. That also would be temporary, she thought. She’d find work. Eight months later, she still hasn’t.

Now, she is at risk of losing the $260 biweekly unemployment check she has depended on to help with rent, groceries and other essentials for herself and her 3-year-old daughter, Ruby.

That money runs out the day after Christmas.

She isn’t alone. According to the Illinois Department of Employment Security, over 447,000 Illinoisans will lose unemployment benefits the day after Christmas if a new federal relief package with safeguards for the unemployed isn’t passed by then. An additional 40,000 workers will likely exhaust their aid by the end of January.

Nationally, 16.4 million people could lose benefits by the end of the year as COVID-19 deaths are peaking, a national eviction crisis looms and the job market remains troubled.

“The government should be more supportive in helping people get back on their feet,” Ibanez said. “They should understand people have bills to pay, children to look after and we just can’t do it right now.”

In Illinois, workers who lost jobs due to the pandemic were able to receive standard unemployment benefits for up to 26 weeks. The CARES Act, passed in April, included money to extend those benefits. It also provided new benefits to self-employed workers impacted by the pandemic.

Those federal aids will expire the day after Christmas in Illinois.

Top Democrats in Congress have shown an interest in supporting a $908 billion relief package with more unemployment benefits. That’s significantly less than the revised $2.2 trillion Heroes Act Democrats passed in the House in October, but more than the $500 billion relief plan put forward by Senate Republicans, which includes a one-month extension of unemployment benefits.

For the last three weeks, Ibanez and Ruby have lived in a Chinatown hotel.

She has job offers to work second and third shift at some warehouses but “I can’t take those jobs because daycares are closed when my shift would start and I have no one to watch her,” Ibanez said.

Ibanez has mostly worked in the hospitality industry but those jobs are hard to come by, too, with businesses at skeleton staff levels.

“I’m always very worried and I try to clear my mind but it’s hard,” Ibanez said. “I can’t even go on a walk without thinking about what I need for my daughter or debating if I should spend money on something like a bag of chips. It’s nerve-wracking.”

The story doesn’t end here. Read Manny Ramos’ full report.

More news you need

  1. The coronavirus has killed an additional 145 Illinoisans and spread to 7,910 more people statewide, public health officials announced today. Those figures are slightly below average for the state. Hospital numbers have trended slightly downward, too, since reaching record highs over the end of November.
  2. Chicago police have released surveillance video of the shootout during a carjacking attempt that left a 65-year-old retired firefighter dead last week in Morgan Park. “You can see how horrific a crime this was, and we’re trying to bring these offenders to justice and give the family some peace,” police said.
  3. Ald. Tom Tunney’s Lake View Ann Sather Restaurant and a Wicker Park club that held a party with 142 mask-less patrons were among the latest businesses to be cited by the city for violating the city and state’s indoor service ban. Since March, the city has investigated 6,994 instances of COVID-19 violations and cited 344 businesses.
  4. A pot shop proprietor’s plan to open a second dispensary in the heart of the South Loop is facing stiff opposition from neighbors and parents raising concerns about the proposed store’s close proximity to an elementary school. The planned weed store at 1420 S. Michigan Ave. is less than 10 feet beyond a city-mandated 500-foot buffer from Old St. Mary’s School.
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A bright one

Timuel Black celebrates 102nd birthday waving at well wishers in car caravan

Historian and civil rights activist Timuel Black celebrated his 102nd birthday yesterday with family, friends and well-wishers cheering him on from a car caravan traveling past his Bronzeville apartment.

“I am glorified that so many of you younger people came together to help celebrate the 102nd birthday of this old man,” Black said while seated on a lawn chair on a grassy median next to his wife, Zenobia Johnson-Black. “Thank you so much.”

Black also pointed out that his birthday wish came true this year: “Part of my birthday has been rewarded with the non-election of Donald Trump,” he said. “That’s a wonderful birthday wish.”


Historian and civil rights activist Timuel Black celebrates his 102nd birthday with family, friends and well-wishers cheering from a car caravan traveling past his Bronzeville apartment.

Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times

Black waved to dozens of supporters in vehicles decorated with balloons and signs during the drive-by parade organized by The Timuel D. Black Educational Foundation and the University of Chicago’s Civic Knowledge Project and Alumni Association.

Joseph M. Harrington, who helped organize the event, referred to Black as a “remarkable individual” and touted his accomplishments, including his work with Dr. Martin Luther King and role in the historic presidential election of Barack Obama.

“He has been telling our story, but he’s a part of our story.” said Harrington, the secretary for The Timuel D. Black Educational Foundation. “He’s living history.”

See more photos of the celebration here.

From the press box

The White Sox are bringing back outfielder Adam Eaton on a one-year, $7 million contract four years after trading him to the Nationals. Eaton, 31, struggled last season with a .226 batting average, .285 on-base percentage and four home runs in 41 games with Washington. 

The move comes less than 24 hours after the Sox acquired veteran pitcher Lance Lynn from the Rangers in exchange for prospect Dane Dunning. Lynn led the leagues in innings pitched last season and finished in the top six in American League Cy Young voting the last two years.

Your daily question☕

What’s the best thing you’ve read during the pandemic, and what’s next on your list?

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: If Congress doesn’t step in with a new stimulus package, what will it mean for you to lose your unemployment check?Here’s what some of you said…

“Loss of home, health and the little security I have left.”— Sherrie Berry

“Foreclosure, eviction, no food, lack of medicine and healthcare, no utilities, etc. People will be living in ruins.”— Randy Wooding

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