Afternoon Edition: Jan. 12, 2021

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

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Trump International Hotel and Tower

Rich Hein/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 with a high near 37 degrees. Tonight’s low will be around 24 degrees. Tomorrow will be mostly cloudy with a high around 41 degrees.

Top story

Massive Trump Tower sign along Chicago River must come down, alderman says

The 2,891-square-foot sign Donald Trump slapped on his 96-story Trump International Hotel & Tower in Chicago would have to come down, if an influential alderman has his way.

Ald. Gilbert Villegas (36th), Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s City Council floor leader, plans to introduce an ordinance at the Jan. 27 City Council meeting that would force the issue seven years after the vanity sign along Chicago’s riverfront touched off a clash of giant egos with then-Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

The ordinance states the sign permit, which must be renewed annually, “shall be denied, or such permit shall be revoked, if the applicant or any controlling person of the applicant … has been convicted of a crime of treason, sedition or subversive activities.”

That means the sign would have to come down if Trump is impeached for a second time and convicted of “treason, sedition and subversive activities” by the U.S. Senate — or if he’s charged and convicted in court of those crimes.

Villegas said the massive sign, which he called an embarrassment, must come down immediately. He cited Trump’s encouragement of those who descended on Washington D.C. to protest the certification of Joe Biden’s election last week, then stormed the U.S. Capitol in a violent siege that left five people dead, including a Capitol police officer.

“We had an insurrection take place right in front of our eyes led by a President who was inciting it. … His speech saying it needs to be taken by force. Having the audacity to say they needed to march down to the Capitol and he would be there, even though he did not lead the charge,” Villegas said.

Read the full story from City Hall reporter Fran Spielman on Villegas’ planned ordinance.

More news you need

  1. A Chicago Heights man has been arrested for allegedly threatening violence at next week’s inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden. Louis Capriotti, 45, allegedly left a member of Congress a voicemail saying “we will surround the motherf---ing White House and we will kill any motherf---king Democrat that steps on the motherf---ing lawn.”
  2. Rep. Brad Schneider, a Democrat representing Illinois’ 10th Congressional District, announced today he tested positive for COVID-19. Schneider is the third House member to test positive since lawmakers were confined together during the attack on the Capitol last week.
  3. A staff member at McCutcheon Elementary recently tested positive for COVID-19, forcing co-workers into quarantine during the first week of reopening. Meanwhile, 145 CPS teachers were locked out of teaching remotely after refusing to show up to schools for in-person learning.
  4. The coronavirus has killed 117 more people in Illinois, health officials said today, while also announcing 6,642 new or probable cases of the virus. However, most of the state’s key metrics took another step in the right direction.
  5. Chicago relaxed and simplified its COVID-19 emergency travel order today as the city potentially turns a corner in the second wave of the pandemic. While compliance is voluntary, the city’s top health official said the travel orders have been “very successful from an education standpoint.”
  6. Chicago contractor Donovan Eckhardt filed a defamation lawsuit Monday against HGTV and the production company responsible for “Windy City Rehab.” Eckhardt’s suit claims the show falsely scripted him as an untrustworthy “villain” who stole money.
  7. Fans of Chick-fil-A’s chicken sandwiches and waffle fries will be happy to know the fast food chain is opening four new restaurants in the Chicago area by the end of the month. Locations in Bucktown and Joliet open Jan. 14, while others in the South Loop and Elgin open Jan. 21.
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A bright one

Plunge in place: Pandemic pushes Chicago Polar Plunge to go virtual this year

Through the years, it’s attracted the likes of Jimmy Fallon, Vince Vaughn and Lady Gaga — as well as thousands of others willing to charge into a frigid Lake Michigan at North Avenue Beach to raise money for charity.

But the organizers of the Chicago Polar Plunge announced today that the annual event — now in its 21st year — is going virtual. Blame the coronavirus. Organizers say it’s the first time in the event’s history that the event had been canceled.


The Chicago Polar Plunge is going virtual this year. Blame the coronavirus pandemic.

Sun-Times file photo

Last year, the plunge raised about $2.2 million, with about 4,800 people participating. The money goes to support the 7,500 participants of the Special Olympics Chicago/Special Children’s Charities program.

“This is the perfect year for those who have not participated in the Plunge in the past, and who may have found the idea of jumping into Lake Michigan during the cold March weather a little daunting,” said Carolyn Daley, president of SOC/SCC. “The Virtual Chicago Polar Plunge allows everyone to participate in whichever manner they choose.”

Learn how to apply for this polar plunge – wherever you plan to do it – in the full story from Stefano Esposito.

From the press box

The Blackhawks further cemented their ongoing direction as a franchise by giving head coach Jeremy Colliton a two-year contract extension today. Colliton, 36, had been entering the final year of the deal he signed with the Hawks after replacing Joel Quenneville.

And last night the White Sox took another big swing for 2021 by signing Liam Hendriks, the best closer available in free agency, to a three-year, $54 million contract. Hendriks posted a 1.79 ERA in 99 games with the Athletics over the last two years.

Your daily question ☕

Do you agree with the proposed ordinance to remove the massive Trump Tower sign along the riverfront?

Reply to this email (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 satisfied are you with the Bears’ 8-8 season and quick elimination from the playoffs? Here’s what some of you said…

“It’s literally the worst possible scenario we could’ve hoped for. No QB reliability. No good draft pick. Next season is shot unless they spend some money.” — Daniel Egan

“Yes, they did actually make the playoffs. They blew some games. I think people are too quick to complain and raise a fuss. I’ve seen and cheered for worse Bears teams than this one.” — David Karst

“They need some major changes! Not just players!” — Tanya Lieb

“This is unacceptable for the flagship franchise of the NFL to continue to regularly have seasons like this.” — Dale Van Duser

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