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 sunny with a high near 50 degrees. Tonight will be mostly cloudy with a chance of drizzle and temperatures rising to around 57 overnight. Tomorrow will be cloudy with temperatures falling to about 48 by the late afternoon.
John Catanzara, the incendiary president of Chicago’s largest police union, formally retired from the city’s police force this morning, effectively ending a lengthy disciplinary case that could have resulted in his firing.
Catanzara’s attorney, Tim Grace, confirmed to us that his client submitted the necessary paperwork to retire.
The move comes a day after Catanzara announced his intention to call it quits during the first hearing in his disciplinary case. He was accused of a string of departmental rule violations, including making a series of obscene and inflammatory social media posts and generating false reports against superior officers, most notably former Supt. Eddie Johnson.
Lauren Freeman, the hearing officer overseeing the case, suspended the proceedings after Catanzara’s curveball and announced they would resume this morning.
Catanzara later told reporters that he now plans to run for mayor as he took shots at Mayor Lori Lightfoot, who he has repeatedly butted heads with. “I’m running against the mayor to change this damn city and the direction it’s on,” he said.
Today, Grace announced that Catanzara’s resignation was effective immediately. Jim Lydon, an attorney for the Chicago Police Department, then moved to withdraw the list of charges without prejudice, meaning they could potentially be brought again.
Catanzara wasn’t present for the hearing, which was held via teleconference.
More news you need
- Mayor Lightfoot today handed the interim chief of Chicago’s Civilian Office of Police Accountability the permanent job. The move defied 20 City Council members who wanted Andrea Kersten disqualified for releasing a report recommending a three-day suspension for slain Chicago Police Officer Ella French.
- The co-founder of the music label Audiotree and owner of Schubas Tavern and Lincoln Hall has been accused in criminal charges and a civil lawsuit of setting up hidden cameras to record his nanny and her friend. The lawsuit alleges that Michael Johnston and his wife Kelly Johnston recorded the nanny and her friend while they were undressing or bathing.
- The inspector general’s office is sounding the alarm about hundreds of Chicago Fire Department badges reported missing or stolen by firefighters and paramedics within months of their retirement. It’s a practice driven by nostalgia, sources tell our Fran Spielman.
- The Jeep plant in Belvidere, struggling with reduced demand for its Cherokee model, is facing a layoff of 400 people. Jeep brand owner Stellantis said the layoffs will take effect starting Jan. 14, 2022.
- In other vehicle news, Gov. Pritzker today signed legislation aimed at drawing electric vehicle manufacturers to the state. The Reimagining Electric Vehicles in Illinois Act provides incentives for electric vehicle production across Illinois to help reach a 2030 goal of putting 1 million electric cars on the road.
- Phil Collins and Genesis took the stage at the United Center last night for the first of two concerts in what Collins says will be his final tour with the group. Read Jeff Elbel’s full review of the show.
A bright one
Kool & the Gang, an “American Idol” finalist and the “Whoomp! There It Is” guys will join Mickey and Minnie Mouse at this weekend’s BMO Harris Bank Magnificent Mile Lights Festival.
The 30th annual fest, an adrenaline shot for the Chicago holiday season, returns as a live event after the COVID-19 scare last year limited the festivities to just a TV broadcast.
The two-day extravaganza culminates with the traditional Michigan Avenue parade beginning at 5:30 p.m. Saturday at Oak Street. As the Disney mice light more than a million lights along, the crowd will be entertained by Kool & the Gang (performing their hit “Celebration”), Tag Team (the rap duo best known for “Whoomp!”) and Grace Kinstler, the Crystal Lake singer who finished third on “American Idol” earlier this year.
R&B and Broadway star Deborah Cox will do double duty, performing at a tree lighting ceremony at the Wrigley Building plaza (4 p.m. Friday) and then the next day in the parade, which ends with fireworks at Wacker Drive.
Leading up to the parade will be a variety of free events starting at 11 a.m. at 401 N. Michigan Ave., including pet adoption, a temporary tattoo booth, photos with Santa and DJ entertainment.
Visitors are asked to wear masks regardless of vaccination status.
Highlights from the parade will air in a TV special premiering at 6 p.m. Sunday on WLS-Channel 7.
From the press box
- At the midway point of the Bears’ season, Patrick Finley and Mark Potash answered the nine biggest questions facing the team.
- Illinois football coach Bret Bielema has tested positive for COVID-19. Bielema will miss the Illini’s game Saturday against Iowa.
- Bulls star DeMar DeRozan almost ended up with the Lakers instead. Here’s how close it was.
- A bye week could be just what Bears rookie Justin Fields needs.
Your daily question ☕
Where would you put Chicago’s next cannabis dispensary?
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’s a food/snack you seek out to help keep warm when winter weather hits?
Here’s what some of you said…
“Whiskey and chili.” — Erika Hoffmann
“Hot chocolate or hot apple cider! Both warm me up inside (or is that incider?)” — Paul Lockwood
“Chili and gumbo.” — Tiffany Jones
“Caldo de Res — AKA beef shank soup with veggies and rice.” — Jose A. Rodriguez
“Ben and Jerry’s Vanilla Caramel Fudge.” — Colleen Curry
“Tamales.” — Benitez Jessica
“Roasted chestnuts.” — Delfina Cecchini Centanni
“Malort and chili” — Ikceiwezrd Eimaj
“Mexican red pozole” — James Gonzalez
“Puertorican salchichón con yuca papas with guineo and avacado.” — Anaiz Gutierrez
“Hot men. ” — Debbie Lawryn Korecky
Thanks for reading the Chicago Afternoon Edition. Got a story you think we missed? Email us here.