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Afternoon Edition: Oct. 14, 2021

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

Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35th) speaks during a press conference at City Hall on Feb. 23, 2021, as Mayor Lori Lightfoot looks on.
Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35th) speaks during a press conference at City Hall on Feb. 23, 2021, as Mayor Lori Lightfoot looks on.
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.

This afternoon will be mostly cloudy with a high near 67 degrees. Similar conditions will continue into tonight with a low around 54. Tomorrow will be mostly cloudy with showers likely and a high near 63.

Top story

Lightfoot spars with Hispanic Caucus over hiring record

A defensive Mayor Lightfoot held a stormy meeting with the City Council’s Hispanic Caucus this week, pushing back hard against their complaints about a shortage of Latinos in leadership positions and the caucus' demands that she roll back part of her property tax increase.

Last year, Lightfoot famously warned members of the Black Caucus who dared to vote against her 2021 budget, “Don’t ask me for s---t for the next three years” when it comes to choosing projects for her $3.7 billion capital plan.

Monday’s hourlong meeting with the Hispanic Caucus was similarly contentious, with one Council member saying it proved again how defensive Lightfoot can be and how unwilling she is to entertain proposals that are not her own.

“It was unnecessarily combative. … It showed that she takes things very personally. I don’t think those are good attributes for a leader to have. … The mayor is approaching government the wrong way,” said Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35th).

“In that meeting, the mayor said over and over again that she didn’t need to change. That she was doing everything correct. That she was the best in Latino hiring. That she was the best in investing in the Black community. I don’t think the data supports that. And I just don’t think that’s the way anyone should approach leadership. You have to be open to hearing other peoples’ suggestions, open to compromise and open to criticism.”

Ramirez-Rosa said he was particularly “shocked and taken aback” when Lightfoot talked about the heat she is getting for her $31.5 million plan to launch a year-long test of guaranteed minimum income in Chicago.

Fran Spielman has more from the contentious meeting here.

More news you need

  1. Officer Carlos Yanez Jr., the Chicago cop wounded during the traffic stop altercation that also led to the killing of Officer Ella French two months ago, was released this morning from a rehab center where he was recovering, his father said. Yanez Jr. lost an eye and still has two bullets lodged in his brain from the incident in West Englewood.
  2. A man arrested yesterday in connection to the murder of 7-year-old Serenity Broughton has been ordered held without bail in the latest development of a case that’s deepened the schism between the State’s Attorney’s office and Area 5 police detectives. Matthew Hendrickson has more on today’s news, and read his Sept. 27 story with Tom Schuba for more background.
  3. A federal judge handed a three-and-a-half-year prison sentence today to the director of a disabled children’s charity who the feds say stole nearly $1 million from the organization. Stuart Nitzkin admitted earlier this year he submitted bogus invoices, receipts and other reimbursement requests to pay for luxury vacations, NBA tickets and other personal expenses.
  4. A new playground at Arnold Mireles Elementary Academy in South Chicago aims to reduce flooding in surrounding homes. It was built using semiporous materials that will allow 200,000 gallons of rainwater to collect underneath the park’s surface instead of potentially seeping into homes.
  5. Friends and family are mourning the loss of Marion Flynn, who died last week at age 69. Flynn, a corporate banker with a passion for community service, was a staunch advocate for women in the Catholic priesthood.
  6. Gov. Pritzker today announced eight science-focused facilities statewide will receive a total of $15.4 million. The aim is to support the development of new research spaces focused on subjects like biology, botany and biochemistry, the governor said.
  7. A new learning lab will give students and educators at Chicago Public Schools and City Colleges of Chicago expanded access to technology training and infrastructure. The Innovation One hub at Truman College features various learning spaces, as well as a podcast studio and a library with tech equipment that students can borrow.

A bright one

Joffrey Ballet celebrates ‘Home’ with debut at Lyric Opera House

The Joffrey Ballet opened its 2021-22 season yesterday with “Home: A Celebration” — an aptly titled program that carried timely meanings.

The first of 10 performances marked the company’s full-fledged return to the stage after nearly 20 months because of the coronavirus shutdown.

There was also another kind of celebration of home yesterday evening, as the Joffrey marked its debut at the Lyric Opera House — a move that was announced in 2017 and delayed by one season because of COVID-19.

The Joffrey Ballet ensemble dances “Under the Trees’ Voices” at the Lyric Opera House.
Cheryl Mann

Unlike the majority of story ballets the company presents the rest of the season, the emphasis last night was less on narrative and more on the movement itself and the skills of the dancers.

The performance featured a range of styles and moods among four works as well as an intermingling of solos, duos and larger ensembles.

It’s a well-chosen, often high-voltage program that may be just the thing for audiences hungry for live dance.

Read Kyle MacMillan’s full review of the performance here.

From the press box

Your daily question ☕

In honor of #NationalDessertDay today, we want to know: Where can the best desserts in Chicago be found? Local businesses only.

Email us (please include your first name and where you live) and we might include your answer in the next Afternoon Edition.

Yesterday we asked you: What is most underrated about your neighborhood? Here’s what some of you said…

“The pizza joints. Obbie’s, Triano’s, Vince’s, Cipriani’s — we got it good here in Clearing/Garfield Ridge.” — Jimmy Davey

“Tryzub Ukrainian Kitchen — a hidden treasure in Ukrainian Village — is a unique ethnic restaurant/museum/art place.” — Nataliya Kupriy

“The rib tips on Roosevelt.” — Rigo Banuelos

“Nueva Italy Pizzeria in Rogers Park.” — Jonathan B. Rivera

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