Afternoon Edition: Nov. 22, 2021

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

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Marine Leadership Academy, 1920 N. Hamlin Ave.

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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 sunny with a high near 35 degrees. Tonight will be mostly clear with a low around 20. Tomorrow will be sunny with a high near 41.

Top story

CPS knew about sex misconduct claims at school but promoted principal anyway, records show

Chicago Public Schools attorneys and leaders long had knowledge of an investigation into sexual misconduct and failure to report it by the principal at Marine Leadership Academy, despite claiming otherwise two days ago.

And, in the two years that the investigation went on, CPS not only kept the principal on staff but also promoted her, information obtained by WBEZ’s Sarah Karp and our Nader Issa shows.

The school district has fired 10 employees as a result of this investigation. Some of the staff are accused of grooming students or having inappropriate relationships with three separate students. The school district says the others knew about these situations and failed to report them.

One of those terminated was the school’s former principal, Erin Galfer. Her firing on Nov. 6 for failure to report came just months after she was promoted to a high-level role within the district’s college and career success office. She had been principal since 2015 of Marine Leadership Academy, which is in Logan Square on the near Northwest Side.

“The behavior uncovered by this investigation represents a stunning betrayal of trust and colossal failure of judgement and character on the part of far too many individuals,” said CPS CEO Pedro Martinez.

Galfer denies that she failed to report sexual misconduct and says it was CPS officials, not her, that failed to take the sexual misconduct seriously. Galfer’s lawyer issued a statement late Friday saying “the tragic failure at Marine falls at the feet of CPS who long knew about the misconduct and did not take timely steps to protect the students.” The statement does not say what more Galfer thinks district leadership should have done, but says she is fighting her firing and defending her reputation.

Read the full story here.

More news you need

  1. The Obama Presidential Foundation today announced its biggest individual contribution ever: $100 million from Jeff Bezos. The Amazon founder asked for the plaza in the Obama Center to be named after late Rep. John Lewis as a condition of the donation.
  2. Our David Roeder provides an update on a pair of unique development projects in the city: an esports arena near McCormick Place and the conversion of the old Morton Salt building into a music venue. Despite challenges, namely the uncertainty caused by the pandemic, both projects continue moving forward.
  3. The Paramount Theatre’s cast shines brightly in “Cinderella,” but the fairy tale’s dated story hinders a production that’s otherwise opulent to behold and gorgeously sung. Read Catey Sullivan’s full review here.
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A bright one

Felix Maldonado Jr. gets paid now, not scolded, for using walls as a canvas for his art

As a kid, Felix Maldonado Jr. remembers being scolded for drawing on walls. Now, he’s paid to decorate them with his murals.

Among his work: “Bears On Parade,” a mural in the 3400 block of North Ashland Avenue that he completed in October 2020 with the help of assistants Lisa Jones and Omar Marin after more than a year of delays due to construction nearby and the coronavirus pandemic.

Maldonado, 50, of East Chicago, Indiana, was one of six artists chosen from 200 applicants to help beautify the “Low Line” — a small park and pathway beneath the CTA’s Paulina Street Brown Line L stop.


“Bears On Parade” by Felix Maldonado Jr. near the CTA’s Paulina Street Brown Line stop in the 3400 block of North Ashland Avenue.

Zack Miller/Sun-Times

Maldonado — who sometimes works under the name “Flex” — says he chose bears for the nearly 1,300-square-feet-wide project in part as a nod to the Bears and the Cubs but also because he was looking to represent what the area was like in pre-colonial days, when black bears could be found around Chicago.

But he made his bears red because he wanted to feature only the colors you’ll find on Chicago’s city flag — blue, white and red.

The spray-painted mural was Maldonado’s first after his mother Teresa Fuentes Maldonado died of COVID-19, and he sees it as inextricably linked to her memory.

Read Zack Miller’s full story on Maldonado and his work “Bears on Parade” here.

From the press box

Your daily question ☕

What’s the best part of having a long weekend?

Send us an email at and we might feature your answer in the next Afternoon Edition.

On Friday, we asked you: How would you describe winter in Chicago to someone who’s never experienced it before? Here’s what some of you said...

“What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger!” — John Sheehan

“Character building.” — Kevin Quinn

“It’s cold and we drink a lot.” — Clint Walt

“Imagine living in a freezer.” — Chante Monique

“Gorgeous!!! Windy and cold and snowy.” — Karen Reedus

“They could not deal with the weather, the only people who can deal are the ones who were born there or grow up there.” — Maria McClain

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