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Afternoon Edition: Nov. 30, 2021

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

Ald. Ed Burke (far left) sparred with Mayor Lori Lightfoot during her very first Chicago City Council meeting, back in May 2019. 
Ashlee Rezin/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 sunny with a high near 52 degrees. Tonight will see increasing clouds with a low around 33. Tomorrow will be mostly cloudy with a high near 52.

Top story

Lightfoot threatens to veto any new ward map that protects indicted Ald. Edward Burke

Mayor Lori Lightfoot is prepared to veto any new ward map that protects her longtime political nemesis, indicted Ald. Edward Burke (14th), her City Council allies have been told.

The mayor’s veto threat is not surprising, given her longstanding political animus toward Burke, her repeated demands for his resignation and the fact that Lightfoot owes her election to the Burke corruption scandal.

But it further complicates an already contentious situation that is going right down to the wire with the Rules Committee abruptly canceling a meeting scheduled for today. Direct introduction of a citywide map to allow for immediate consideration at tomorrow’s full Council meeting would require 34 votes.

The new citywide ward map being crafted for the Rules Committee by Mike Kasper, who served for decades as the election law expert for deposed Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, goes to great lengths to protect Burke.

It would accommodate an explosion of white population downtown and along the lakefront by creating a new downtown ward that takes in “pieces of the West Loop and pieces of the South Loop above the 25th Ward.”

That would protect Burke by keeping his 14th Ward out of Little Village.

For Lightfoot, who touted her reform credentials with a promise to “bring in the light,” both of those incumbent protection maneuvers are abhorrent. So is the Rules Committee’s hide-the-ball failure to disclose a final map with enough time for the public to weigh in, made worse by the abrupt cancellation of today’s meeting.

But, Sun-Times sources said it is the decision to save Burke that sticks most in the mayor’s craw and prompted the veto threat.

Fran Spielman has more on the map drama as tomorrow’s deadline looms.

More news you need

  1. Adam Hollingsworth, the activist known as the “Dread Head Cowboy,” was sentenced today to 90 days in jail on a contempt charge after arguing with a Cook County judge during his animal cruelty trial. The contempt charge lands a day after Hollingsworth quarreled with the same judge over claims that prosecutors had not turned over all their files to him.
  2. Jussie Smollett’s family members presented a united front this morning as they arrived at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse for the second day of Smollett’s trial. The 39-year-old actor’s older brother, Jojo Smollett, told reporters that it has been difficult for the family to watch Jussie be accused of staging a hate crime and lying to Chicago police about it.
  3. During a town hall meeting at Lavizzo Elementary in Roseland last night, parents, police brass and school leaders spoke about the death of student Kevin Tinker, whose mother was fatally shot days later at the spot of her son’s shooting. Lavizzo principal Tracey Stelly was among those at the meeting pressing for answers after losing 14-year-old Tinker and his mother, Delisa Tucker.
  4. Community leaders are asking for help in locating or replacing thousands of dollars worth of donated Christmas gifts intended for local families. Over the weekend, a 53-foot-long shipping container was stolen from an Englewood lot, along with $50,000 in donated toys, clothes and other gifts stored inside.
  5. Mayor Lightfoot will be in Washington today through Friday for a series of meetings at the Capitol and the White House for, among other matters, infrastructure funds for the city. She is set to meet with Sen. Dick Durbin, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and others, our Lynn Sweet reports.
  6. ‘Tis the season — Chicago’s annual overnight winter parking ban begins at 3 a.m. tomorrow on more than 100 miles of city streets. Running from 3 to 7 a.m. every night through April 1, the ban is enforced regardless of snow.
  7. A new exhibit at the Oakbrook Center aims to paint an intimate portrait of Princess Diana through the lens of Anwar Hussein — her lifelong photographer and close confidant. “Princess Diana Exhibition: Accredited Access,” opening Thursday, pairs Hussein’s narration with the images.
  8. Chicagoans will be seeing green next year when “Wicked” returns to the city for an extended fall run. The beloved Tony- and Grammy Award-winning musical will put down stakes at the Nederlander Theatre from Sept 28-Dec. 4, 2022.

A bright one

Youth football team raises money to compete for national championship: ‘A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity’

When the South Side Wolfpack youth football team qualified for the national championships, the players were not sure they could attend. The program was short on money for travel and hotel expenses.

But in a GoFundMe effort, the 13-and-under football team raised over $45,000, surpassing their goal by $15,000. The players are now packing for Kissimmee, Florida, where the team will compete with seven teams from across the country.

The Wolfpack cheerleading team, the Lady Wolves, will also compete for a national championship title in Tampa. The additional money means extra gear and equipment, and a visit to Universal Studios, according to Wolfpack coach Earnest Radcliffe.

Wolfpack coach Earnest Radcliffe thanks the community for donating to help get the team to the national championships in Florida.
Wolfpack coach Earnest Radcliffe thanks the community for donating to help get the team to the national championships in Floria.
Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to go and play in the national championships,” Radcliffe said. “Anytime you can continue to put our student-athletes in a positive environment, it’s going to give them hope and continue to let their dreams flow.”

The team previously caught the attention of former President Barack Obama. In June, Obama visited a team practice during which he congratulated the players on their success and encouraged them to apply their athletic training skills to their academics.

Devon Armstrong, 13, an outside linebacker and a defensive end for the South Side Wolfpack, has been part of the program for eight years. “Most of the team has been together for over four or more years, so we’ve built very good brotherhood. We all go to each other’s houses,” Devon said.

Sneha Dey has more on the undefeated Wolfpack team here.

From the press box

Your daily question ☕

What is a uniquely Chicago holiday tradition?

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: If you could watch behind-the-scenes footage of the making of one record (like the new The Beatles documentary “Get Back”), what album would it be?

Here’s what some of you said…

“Kevin Federline’s unreleased album from like 2000 or something, just because it will be a trainwreck and unintentionally hilarious. I remember MTV showed a clip of his single during an interview and man, that was funny to watch.” — Samuel Saldana

“‘Who’s Next.’ Pete Townshend’s original plans for that concept and album were beyond ambitious.” — Mark Garcia

“Pink Floyd’s ‘Meddle,’ Rush’s ‘2112,’ Prince and the Revolution’s ‘1999,’ Lynyrd Skynyrd’s ‘Pronounced Leh-Nerd Skin-Nerd’ and Foreigner’s ‘4’ just to name a few.” — Jovan Byars

“Queen’s ‘A Night at the Opera.’ Seeing everything that went into recording Bohemian Rhapsody would be epic.” — Kevin Roecker

“Stevie Wonder’s Songs in The Key Of Life.” — Michael Griffith Jr.

“‘Más’ by Alejandro Sanz” — Karinitta Arceo

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