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Afternoon Edition: Oct. 22, 2021

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

Democratic secretary of state candidate Alexi Giannoulias speaks to striking Cook County workers in June.
Democratic secretary of state candidate Alexi Giannoulias speaks to striking Cook County workers in June.
Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times file

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 55 degrees. Tonight will also be mostly cloudy with a low around 38. Tomorrow will be sunny with a high near 56.

Top story

4 involved in failed Broadway Bank backing Alexi Giannoulias’ run for secretary of state

Former Illinois state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias saw his political career derailed 11 years ago by the collapse of his family’s Broadway Bank, whose failure cost the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. more than $383 million.

Now, Giannoulias, who’s trying to get back into politics with a run for Illinois secretary of state, has taken campaign money from four top officials of the Chicago bank.

Among them are his two brothers, who ran the bank, which federal regulators shut down over losses that included more than $100 million in bad loans made to 17 failed commercial projects from New York to Los Angeles.

Giannoulias has accepted $24,000 in campaign contributions from the four former Broadway Bank officials, campaign finance records show.

He got $6,000 contributions Jan. 20 from each of his brothers — Demetris Giannoulias, who was president and chief executive officer of Broadway Bank when it failed, and George Giannoulias, who was chairman of the bank’s board of directors.

The same day, the former state treasurer got $6,000 contributions from two former bank board members — businessman Steven Dry, who was on the board when it was shut down, and real estate magnate Sean Conlon, who left the board more than a year before the bank failed.

He also got $6,000 contributions from Demetris Giannoulias’ wife and Dry’s wife.

Giannoulias’ brothers, Dry and Conlon were among nine Broadway Bank officials the FDIC sued, trying to recover the $100 million-plus the bank lent to the 17 failed commercial projects.

Read more from Tim Novak and Robert Herguth on Giannoulias’ campaign fundraising here.

More news you need

  1. Chicago would gain two majority Latino wards at the expense of majority African American wards under a new map drafted by the City Council’s Latino Caucus. The first of several maps to be filed with the city clerk’s office also creates a new ward that is 49% Asian American by merging Chinatown with Bridgeport.
  2. More than five months after putting a controversial scrap-metal operation’s permit review on hold, the city is preparing to reveal its analysis of possible environmental and health threats to nearby residents. On Nov. 4, the city will hold a public meeting to reveal its assessment related to the proposed opening of the relocated, rebranded General Iron car-shredding operation along the Calumet River.
  3. A coalition of advocates yesterday launched a new initiative called the “Immigrant Health Academy” aimed at helping suburban immigrants access health care options. The two-year pilot project will develop suburban immigrant leaders who will spread information about how these communities can access health care options regardless of immigration status.
  4. Family, friends and former students are remembering the life and legacy of dancer and renowned teacher Mildred “Millie” Cruzat, who died in July at age 94. In interviews with our Maureen O’Donnell, they recalled a woman who was chic, vivacious, age-defying, regal and charming.
  5. Christkindlmarket Chicago announced today that it is returning Nov. 19-Dec. 24 to Daley Plaza and Wrigleyville for its 25th anniversary, bringing with it all the sites, sounds, food and drink. And yes, the official collectors’ mugs are also back.

A bright one

YMCA’s new CEO hopes to bring back organization’s message

Many who know Dorri McWhorter say she has “incredible energy.”

She laughs easily, gestures a lot and is not afraid to share her thoughts.

All that is especially clear when the CEO of the YMCA of Metro Chicago is asked about revamping the 163-year-old organization.

“I just really want us to be recognized as the largest provider of human services and that we are engaging with communities in such deep ways,” said McWhorter, 48. “I don’t know that people really recognize how much work we do.”

McWhorter has been CEO since Aug. 2; before that, she was CEO at the YWCA of Metropolitan Chicago for eight years. She is the first woman and the first Black executive of the Chicago YMCA.

Her first weeks in her new job already included challenges. Membership decline over the years led to drastic financial losses and forced three locations to close permanently in 2020.

New YMCA CEO Dorri McWhorter at the Crown Family YMCA Center, 1030 W. Van Buren St., photographed on Monday, Sept. 13, 2021.
New YMCA CEO Dorri McWhorter poses for a portrait at the Crown Family YMCA Center at 1030 W. Van Buren in Near West Side.
Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

McWhorter said she’s now looking at “how many communities we actually divested from over the past few decades.”

Many already have reached out to her, “saying ‘Hey, we really miss having a YMCA here,’” she explained. “That’s one of the first things I’m asking for, from a data perspective: how our footprint has evolved over time, because it’s no secret that that footprint hasn’t been in Black and Brown communities.”

McWhorter blames a membership-driven business model for that divestment.

Membership fees vary by location, age and household size. For instance, members of the South Side YMCA, 6330 S. Stony Island Ave., pay $24 a month from ages 11 through 18, then pay $27 a month starting at age 19 through age 26. But when someone turns 27, the fee jumps to $51 a month.

“Unfortunately, that particular model doesn’t always allow us to participate in communities that can’t afford those fees,” said McWhorter.

But in focusing on the lost membership — and with it, the loss of revenue — McWhorter said the YMCA lost its way.

“We got caught up in the ‘what’ and forgot about the ‘why,’” she said.

Cheyanne M. Daniels has more on McWhorter’s approach to the Y here.

From the press box

Your daily question ☕

As a Chicagoan, what do you want new residents to know about living here?

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: How would you describe what it’s like to be a Chicago sports fan to someone from out of town? Here’s what some of you said…

“It’s a continuous test of loyalty.” — Michael Oelrich

“Like when you have to sneeze and you do the anticipatory ‘ah, ahhh, AHHHHH’ but then the ‘CHOO’ never comes. Or like you’re forever at the bus stop, stepping out into the street to peer down the road to see if the bus is anywhere close. But it’s not. And maybe it’s raining too. Of if you’re a Chicago Sky fan, it’s really f’n great.” — Cheryl Wisniewski

“It’s a comedy but no one is laughing.” — Kevan Davis

“Have you ever seen any of the ‘Saw’ movies? It’s kind of like that. Jigsaw is all the owners rolled into one.” — Christopher Bouloukos

“It’s like constantly having lemon juice squeezed on a paper cut.” — Peter J. Gallanis

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