Afternoon Edition: Jan. 21, 2021

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

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Educators teach outside DeWitt Clinton Elementary School in the West Rogers Park neighborhood to protest Chicago Public Schools’ reopening plan due to COVID-19 safety concerns.

Pat Nabong/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 sunny and mild with a high near 40 degrees, but temperatures will plunge overnight; the low will be around 17 degrees. Tomorrow will be sunny with a high near 25 degrees.

Top story

CTU is proposing an ‘illegal strike,’ CPS says

A decision by the Chicago Teachers Union to refuse in-person work and instead continue teaching remotely because of health and safety concerns would constitute an “illegal strike” in the eyes of Chicago Public Schools officials, the district wrote in a letter to all teachers and staff today.

Though union leaders have been careful not to call their planned action a strike since teachers intend to keep working remotely, CPS human resources chief Matt Lyons said the collective labor action of not returning to schools, as ordered by the district, “is a decision to strike.”

“This vote would cancel in-person learning for the tens of thousands of students who asked to return — and the thousands of pre-k and cluster students who are already learning safely in classrooms,” Lyons wrote.

A CTU spokeswoman said the union’s legal team “vehemently disagrees” with the district’s assessment, and a union attorney is expected to address reporters later this afternoon.

The CTU’s 600-member House of Delegates approved a measure yesterday that would see all union members refuse to work in-person until an agreement is reached with the district on health and safety protocols.

The union’s full membership is voting through Saturday night on the following measure: “In response to serious unfair labor practices and the lack of a safe reopening agreement, do you authorize the CTU to conduct remote work only, starting on January 25?”

Keep reading Nader Issa’s story on the latest developments in the CTU’s dispute with CPS over reopening schools.

More news you need

  1. Hundreds of thousands of Chicagoans and essential workers will be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine next week, but the city only has the supply to give shots to a small percentage of them. The city has been receiving about 34,000 vaccine doses a week from the federal government, officials said.
  2. Indoor service is officially back on tap for bars and restaurants in many of Chicago’s south suburbs. The Will-Kankakee county region improved to Tier 1 of the state’s mitigation plan today, clearing the way for some businesses to reopen.
  3. Chicago police officers “working their tails off” have been waiting nearly four years for a pay raise because their union president has no “sense of urgency” to negotiate a new contract, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said today. But FOP President John Catanzara says if the mayor “felt so bad” about the long wait for a police pay raise, she would get personally involved in talks.
  4. Police are searching for a group of men involved in a series of carjackings and armed robberies in Chicago and the suburbs, including a carjacking yesterday near Willis Tower. In each incident, the men use vehicles taken in previous armed robberies, authorities said.
  5. City officials shut down a nearly 100-person gathering at a Mount Greenwood restaurant over the weekend for violating COVID-19 restrictions. Eleven other businesses were cited last weekend for violating indoor dining restrictions.
  6. A winning Powerball lottery ticket worth $1 million was sold at a gas station in Lake View, lottery officials said today. The winners of yesterday’s Powerball have not been announced yet.
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A bright one

The Mix: Cuban Jazz Festival, Steppenwolf’s ‘Red Folder’ and more things to check out Jan. 21-27

Broaden your horizons beyond the usual Netflix binge and board games this weekend with a variety of options from Chicago’s local art scene and beyond.

There’s a collaboration between Chicago-based HotHouse and Cuba’s Instituto de la Musica for a concert featuring Chicagoan and Cuban artists.

Isaac Mizrahi, known for his work in the fashion world, is putting his skills as a cabaret performer on display for a series of online shows.


Roberto Fonseca is among the performers in “Jazz Plaza: HotHouse Meets Havana.”

Arien Chang

And the Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra continues its season with “Wind Melodies,” a concert featuring IPO’s wind musicians performing Valerie Coleman’s “Red Clay & Mississippi Delta” and Mozart’s “Gran Partita.”

Check out more opportunities to stay entertained and support the local arts scene this weekend.

From the press box

Add a familiar name to the Bears’ wide-ranging interview process for their defensive coordinator job: Hall of Famer Mike Singletary, who spoke with the team about the opening recently, a source told our Patrick Finley.

And the Blackhawks have high hopes for forward Philipp Kurashev, who scored his first career goal two days ago, after pushing him last year to improve his pace of play.

Your daily question ☕

How have you been supporting Chicago’s art scene during the pandemic?

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 the direction of the country after the inauguration of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris? Here’s what some of you said...

“I’m looking forward to a kinder, compassionate president who really is concerned about the American people.” — Brenda Emmerth

“I wasn’t quite sure that Joe Biden was up to the enormous task. However, after watching his great inauguration speech, I am not as doubtful. Plus, it will be great to have decency back in the Office of President of the United States. Our new president has known tremendous heartbreak, which I believe will benefit him in his duties.” — Mary Galvin Garr

“A little nervous, as I do not agree with many of his policies. I pray he makes good decisions for the United States of America and not for a party and a select few.” — Barbara Leigh Johnson-Wood

It feels as if a heavy burden has been lifted off the nation’s shoulders.” — Jonathan B. Rivera

We all lose in the end regardless of who’s in office.” — David Castillo

“Like America can FINALLY be great. While Biden wasn’t my first choice, he understands that ALL people living in America deserve to be treated with class and decency.” — Daven L. Donald

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