Afternoon Edition: Oct. 8, 2021

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

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Mayor Lori Lightfoot.

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 partly sunny with scattered thunderstorms and a high near 71 degrees. Tonight will be mostly cloudy with more scattered storms and a low around 62. Tomorrow will be mostly sunny with a high near 79.

Top story

Chicago city workers not vaccinated by next week will be placed on ‘no pay status,” but can opt to be regularly tested

Chicago city employees who fail to report their vaccination status by Oct. 15 will be placed in a “non-disciplinary, no-pay status,” but there will be a testing option for those who haven’t gotten the coronavirus vaccine.

After weeks of confusion and united opposition from police unions, Mayor Lori Lightfoot finally announced the testing option that Fraternal Order Police President John Catanzara told his members about one week ago.

“Employees who are not fully vaccinated by October 15, 2021, including employees who have received an approved medical or religious exemption, must undergo COVID-19 testing on a twice weekly basis with tests separated by 3-4 days,” the policy states.

“Employees are responsible for obtaining those tests on their own time and at their own expense, if any, and for reporting those results to the city,” it says. “The testing option will only be available through December 31, 2021. Thereafter, employees will be required to be fully vaccinated unless they have received an approved medical or religious exemption.”

To comply with the new policy, employees must provide information about the type of vaccine received. They must also upload either a scanned copy or a photograph of their vaccination card.

Fran Spielman has more on the policy here.

More news you need

  1. Today marks the 150th anniversary of the Great Chicago Fire — an event that changed the city in manifold ways. To commemorate the blaze, we’ve published a wide range of coverage taking a look back at its impact and exploring how our city rose from the ashes.
  2. Despite public pronouncements to the contrary, embattled Chicago Park District Supt. Mike Kelly still has a golden parachute contract through 2022, making it more difficult and costly to fire him. Some City Council members have demanded his ouster, but Lightfoot has said she’s waiting for results of the investigation into alleged sexual harassment and abuse of lifeguards.
  3. In a report released today, Maggie Hickey — independent monitor of a consent decree requiring the Chicago Police Department to reform its policies on use of force, discipline, training and recruiting — says CPD blew about half its deadlines between January and July. But she’s “encouraged” by the department’s most recent efforts.
  4. Two-sport pro legend Bo Jackson is trying his hand at the gambling game with a stake in a development group vying for a license to open a new casino in Chicago’s south suburbs. Jackson has become an equity partner in the proposed Southland Live Casino, which is looking to open in Calumet City.
  5. A Chicago firefighter has died from COVID-19, the fourth member of the department to die from complications of the virus. Michael Pickering, 45, joined the department in 2003 and was a father of three, officials said.
  6. An oil spill from the U.S. Steel plant in northwest Indiana forced the closure of nearby Lake Michigan beaches yesterday for the second time in less than two weeks. It’s unclear if the oil spill was fully contained to prevent it from spreading further into Lake Michigan.
  7. A security detail exchanged gunfire with a carjacker outside the Hyde Park home of Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle last week. But neither Preckwinkle nor other officials would release details of the attack yesterday, including whether the robber was shot.
  8. When her character was diagnosed with breast cancer on this season’s “The Chi,” it started actress Yolonda Ross’ real-life journey to support Black women dealing with the disease. Maudlyne Ihejirika reports that Ross will unveil a photo exhibit and partnership donating $100,000 to three Chicago organizations at an event in Bridgeport.

A bright one

Have a ball in the mall: Empty Macy’s at Water Tower Place becomes Dr. Seuss wonderland

Fans of Dr. Seuss get their chance to walk into and interact with several imaginary worlds from the beloved children’s books beginning today.

An interactive exhibit called “The Dr. Seuss Experience” opens at Water Tower Place after successful runs in Toronto and Houston and will run through Jan. 2, although it may be extended depending on demand, company officials said.

From the “Circus McGurkus” carousel (inspired by “If I Owned a Circus”) that can be seen through the corner window at Michigan and Pearson, to the maze of balloons from “The Lorax,” to a 3,500-pound “Thromdimulator” — the machine Herbie broke in the book “Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are?” — visitors can do more than just walk through and look.

In another room, inspired by “There’s a Wocket in My Pocket,” kids can go on a scavenger hunt and seek out the 32 characters, some in plain sight like the Bofa on the Sofa — and some hiding, like the Jertain in the Curtain.


People dressed as Thing 1 and Thing 2 play on a swing in a room based on the book “The Lorax” at the Dr. Seuss Experience at the Water Tower Place yesterday.

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

And of course, there’s a room inspired by Dr. Seuss’ best-known book, “The Cat in the Hat,” where kids can interact with an electronic Cat In The Hat character equipped with a hidden camera and microphone and manned by the team member behind the scenes.

The interactive exhibit is a partnership between Kilburn Live, a Los Angeles-based entertainment company, and Dr. Seuss Enterprises, the company started by Audrey Geisel, the widow of Dr. Seuss (Theodor Geisel).

While families are the target demographic, organizers also expect a lot of tech-savvy adults: “Because it’s very Instagrammable-photo-friendly, we’ll get a lot of millennials and Generation Z coming in.”

After Chicago, the exhibit will move on to a yet-to-be-announced city and will travel until 2024.

Bob Chiarito has more on the pop-up exhibit here.

From the press box

Your daily question ☕

What’s the best way to avoid rush-hour traffic in Chicago?

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: Have you ever been scammed? Tell us what happened. Here’s what some of you said…

“Someone tried to scam me claiming to be my cousin. I knew it was a scam so I gave them a supposed transaction number and they kept trying to find it in their ‘system.’ Had them trying to find it for two days until I finally sent them a message saying joke was on them!” — Vicky Lugo

“Someone sent me a check from a real company. Luckily I looked them up on the internet. I informed them about the check. It was a scam to get your banking information. Just last night someone said that I had won. They said they were my insurance company. When they wanted my information. I told them they should already have it. He hung up.” — Dave Martinez

“Yes, I — unbeknownst to me — dated a professional criminal briefly. He tried to take everything I had. He didn’t, but he took advantage of many people. Also, once when I was desperate for work I answered an ad to be a part-time personal assistant and it did not go well.” — Bridget Montgomery

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