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.
This afternoon will be cloudy, with a chance of flurries, and a high near 35 degrees. Tonight’s low will be around 28 degrees. This weekend will be cloudy; Saturday’s high will be around 35 degrees and Sunday’s high will be near 32.
Chicago-area CEO and suburban tattoo artist among those arrested at Capitol
The CEO of a Schaumburg-based technology company and a west suburban tattoo artist are among those charged with unlawful entry of the U.S. Capitol during Wednesday’s riot, police officials said.
Bradley Rukstales, 52, of Inverness, was arrested by Capitol police and David Fitzgerald, 48, of Roselle, was arrested by the Washington Metropolitan police. Fitzgerald also was charged with a curfew violation. Officials didn’t say whether the men entered the building or the restricted area around it.
Rukstales is the CEO of Cogensia, according to the firm’s website. He gave $5,000 to Trump’s campaign in October and is a regular contributor to Republican candidates and committees, according to the Federal Election Commission.
In a statement last night, Rukstales apologized for his actions. “In a moment of extremely poor judgment following the Jan. 6 rally in Washington, I followed hundreds of others through an open set of doors to the Capitol building to see what was taking place inside,” he said.
“My decision to enter the Capitol was wrong, and I am deeply regretful to have done so,” Rukstales said. “I condemn the violence and destruction that took place in Washington.”
Rukstales’ company put a statement on its Facebook page saying, “We have been informed that our CEO, Brad Rukstales, participated in the recent Washington, D.C., protests. Mr. Rukstales’ actions were his own; he was not acting on behalf of the company nor do his actions in any way reflect the policies or values of our firm. He has been placed on leave of absence while we assess the situation.”
Fitzgerald could not be reached for comment. His wife, Jeanette, said her husband, a disabled veteran, never went into the Capitol building itself. “I have no idea why he went there,” she said of the Trump rally.
The first known federal charges stemming from the riot were unsealed Thursday afternoon in a court in Washington, laying out an official account of the chaos that interrupted the Electoral College vote count.
Chicago U.S. Attorney John Lausch’s spokesman, Joseph Fitzpatrick, said, “Should we determine there is a legal nexus between the crimes committed at the Capitol and our jurisdiction here in Illinois, we will not hesitate to investigate and prosecute the individuals responsible.”
More than 90 people have been arrested by police in Washington and more arrests are likely. U.S. attorneys from across the country have vowed to find and bring to justice any residents who participated in the insurrection aimed at thwarting the peaceful transfer of power.
More news you need
- The professional fallout came quickly for a few Chicagoans who attended the “Stop the Steal” rally in the nation’s capital that later devolved into chaos and violence. A real estate agent was publicly fired, a tattoo shop was savaged on social media and a Vietnamese restaurant was bombarded with negative online reviews.
- Chicago Public Schools will move ahead with its plans to reopen classrooms Monday, and staff who are supposed to report to schools but don’t show up will not be paid, Mayor Lori Lightfoot and her schools chief said today. “We look forward to seeing you on Monday,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot told teachers and staff.
- Freshman Rep. Mary Miller, R-Ill., apologized today after gaining national attention for praising Hitler during a pro-Trump rally and sparking calls from Illinois colleagues in Congress to resign. “I sincerely apologize for any harm my words caused and regret using a reference to one of the most evil dictators in history,” she said.
- The president of the union that represents Chicago police officers also apologized today for comments he made earlier this week in which he sympathized and defended the actions of the mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol. “My statements were poorly worded,” FOP President John Catanzara wrote.
- Illinois hospitals are treating the fewest coronavirus patients they’ve seen in over two months as public health officials announced today the virus has killed an additional 126 residents and spread to 9,277 more. The infections were detected among 118,655 tests, keeping the state’s seven-day average testing positivity rate at 8.5%.
- As the second round of pandemic stimulus checks trickles into Americans’ bank accounts, undocumented immigrants shut out from receiving $600 are instead left to rely on family or community groups for support. “For families living paycheck to paycheck, a dollar here or there could be the breaking point,” said one Albany Park resident we spoke to.
A bright one
If your live Christmas tree is about to hit the curb for trash pickup, consider going a little greener this year instead: You can recycle the tree for free at any of 25 locations across Chicago.
The city’s annual Christmas tree recycling program kicks off tomorrow and runs through Jan. 23 — for those who want to hang on their holiday firs or pines just a few weeks more.
All trees must be clear of all decorations, lights, flocking, tinsel, ornaments, garland and stands. If you’re transporting the tree in any kind of plastic bag or wrapping, that has to be removed, too, before depositing your tree in the special recycling bins at each location.
The recycled trees will keep on giving once they’re ground into mulch (great for your spring gardens), which will be available free for pickup (first-come-first-served, while supplies last) beginning Jan. 12 at six recycling locations.
From the press box
The Bears are the league’s biggest underdog in this weekend’s NFL playoffs. That’s OK with them: ‘‘We know everybody is overlooking us,” quarterback Mitch Trubisky said. “We don’t have anything to lose.’’ They face the New Orleans Saints at 3:40 p.m Sunday on CBS-2. If you want a different type of Bears broadcast, Nickelodeon will have kid-friendly coverage of the game.
Our NFL experts make their predictions (spoiler alert: there’s a reason the Bears are underdogs).
The Bulls wrap up their West Coast trip Sunday against the Los Angeles Clippers (3 p.m., NBC Sports Chicago).
Blackhawks goalie Malcolm Subban is working to give himself an edge in the competition to be the team’s starter when the season begins Wednesday.
And finally, the Fire announced it will dump its logo after this season. The badge had been loathed by fans since its introduction in 2019.
Your daily question ☕
It’s been a stressful week: What do you plan on doing this weekend to relax and unwind?
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: What do you do to decompress after a difficult news day? Here’s what some of you said…
“Watching Bob Ross paint.” — Genaro Cobian
“Work out, do yoga, turn the TV off and put the phone down. Unplug.” — Peggy Bailey Bigoness
“Listen to Mozart.” — Cathy Bingham
“Rewatch ‘The Golden Girls.’” — Teresa Battaglia
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