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Afternoon Edition: Feb. 12, 2020

Today’s update is a 3-minute read that will brief you on the day’s biggest stories.

A conceptual rendering of the University of Illinois’ Discovery Partners Institute building at The 78.
A conceptual rendering of the University of Illinois’ Discovery Partners Institute building at The 78.
Related Midwest

Good afternoon. Here’s the latest news you need to know in Chicago. It’s about a 3-minute read that will brief you on today’s biggest stories.

Brace yourself for a rough commute this evening. A mix of snow and rain will be moving through Chicago between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. as temperatures drop below freezing. By the morning, we could have up to 3 inches of snow.

Developing now: Several 9th graders who were acting “bizarre” at Curie Metropolitan High School this afternoon are being treated for possibly overdosing on granola bars that were “laced with something.” Three students were taken to hospitals with “altered mental status.” We’ll continue to update as we learn more. Here’s the latest.

Top story

The 78 megaproject gets backing from U of I

A conceptual rendering of the University of Illinois’ Discovery Partners Institute building at

The University of Illinois and the developer of the 62-acre site south of downtown known as The 78 have reached a deal for a technology center to anchor what’s envisioned as a new Chicago neighborhood.

Related Midwest, which controls the site running southwest of Roosevelt and Clark streets, said the U of I’s Discovery Partners Institute will build a research center at The 78. The deal, announced Wednesday by Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Mayor Lori Lightfoot, gives the massive project a booster shot intended to draw other employers and developers to the property. But it also pushes to the forefront the controversy surrounding tax incentives that support private development.

The 78 — so-named because Chicago has 77 official neighborhoods and this is touted as a new one — covers 62 acres that are in effect a gap between the South Loop and the Dearborn Park and Central Station regions.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot speaks during a news conference about the Illinois Innovation Network and the Discovery Partners Institute’s part in the first phase of The 78 development site, Wednesday morning, Feb. 12, 2020.
Max Herman/For the Sun-Times

More news you need

  1. Chicago “could have a mess on our hands that eclipses some of the worst years of violence” the city has seen, unless police get proactive and use all the tools available to them, Mayor Lori Lightfoot warned today. Read more of what she had to say at a news conference this morning.
  2. Authorities have recovered a vehicle and are speaking to a person of interest in connection with a hit-and-run last week that seriously injured a 12-year-old boy in Deerfield. Here’s what we know right now.
  3. Chicago Public Schools announced today that it will offer millions of dollars in extra support to over 10,500 students who were stripped of needed services during an illegal overhaul of special education, WBEZ reports. Catch up.
  4. The Commercial Club of Chicago, an organization of senior business, academic and nonprofit leaders, has named its first woman leader in the group’s 143-year history. Meet Jennifer Scanlon.
  5. Our film critic, Richard Roeper, didn’t love the new movie starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Will Ferrell, which comes out Friday. Read his review of “Downhill.”

A bright one

A celebrity chimpanzee (who you might recognize from One Direction’s “Steal My Girl” music video) is moving to Chicago this spring, Block Club Chicago reports.

Eli, 11, was living in an unaccredited wildlife facility in California with more than 40 other chimps after he was retired from performance work.

When the facility closed recently, animal care experts arranged for Eli to relocate to Lincoln Park Zoo, along with another chimp trained to perform, 13-year-old Susie.

Eli, left, and Susie, right, at Wildlife Waystation.
Lincoln Park Zoo

The pair will live in the Regenstein Center for African Apes. Welcome to Chicago, Eli and Susie! We hope you love it here as much as we do.

From the press box

White Sox pitchers and catchers officially reported to spring training today, kicking off what could be a very big year on the South Side. Here are five things to watch for at Camelback Ranch this spring.

Your daily question ☕

New Hampshire’s primary numbers rolled in last night, solidifying Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Mayor Pete Buttigieg as the top two candidates for Democrats. Did this outcome surprise you? Who did you think would carry the New England swing state?

Email us and we might include your answer in tomorrow’s Afternoon Edition.

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