Afternoon Edition: Dec. 1, 2021

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

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Copies of a proposed City Council ward map were passed out at Wednesday’s Council meeting at City Hall.

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

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Top story

Showdown vote on Chicago ward map called off

Lacking the 41 votes needed to avoid a costly referendum, the chairman of the City Council’s Rules Committee today called off a showdown vote on a new ward map — dragging the once-a-decade struggle to craft new boundaries past the Dec. 1 deadline.

Ald. Michelle Harris (8th), Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s Council floor leader, introduced the citywide ward map crafted by Mike Kasper, who served for decades as the election law expert for deposed Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan.

As expected, the map includes 14 majority Hispanic wards, one short of the number demanded by the Latino Caucus, in order to preserve 17 majority African-American wards.

The precise percentages of those and other wards was not immediately known.

“We are going to demand the actual data. We can’t make any analysis without the data,” said veteran political operative Victor Reyes, who is advising the Latino Caucus.

“At first look, there’s a big difference between the number of Latino wards, where they place the new white ward and the Latino percentages of fourteen Latino wards they do create. There’s a number of North Side Latino wards that they dilute in order to benefit or protect white wards. It also appears that they create a new 14th Ward for Ed Burke that excludes the home of Aaron Ortiz, who beat him for committeeman.”

After distributing copies of the proposed map and declaring her intention to hold two public hearings next week, recess for the Christmas and New Year’s holiday and hold more public hearings in January, Harris moved to adjourn the special meeting.

That will allow for public input while negotiations continue in hopes of reaching the 41 votes needed to avoid a referendum, Chicago’s first in 30 years.

Fran Spielman has more on the ward map situation here.

More news you need

  1. On the third day of Jussie Smollett’s trial, two Chicago police detectives testified that Smollett had originally identified one of his attackers as white before later changing his story. Matthew Hendrickson has more on today’s developments from Leighton Criminal Courthouse.
  2. A man in his mid-30s died yesterday after he fell roughly 30 feet to the street from a CTA train platform in Logan Square, according to police. Authorities say the man had climbed over a railing and fell while standing on the outside of the stairs at the station.
  3. At least one patient at Chicago’s Jesse Brown VA Medical Center has died from COVID-19 complications after an outbreak at the hospital that’s seen at least 18 people test positive. The hospital’s chief of staff, in a memo to employees, called the situation “horrific and disturbing.”
  4. A former Chicago Park District lifeguard supervisor already charged with sexually assaulting a teen girl is now accused of a second sexual assault. The man was arrested yesterday while out on bond for the earlier assault case, police said.
  5. With Chicago’s overnight winter parking rules now in effect, tow trucks had a busy morning towing nearly 200 cars that violated the annual ban, which will run from 3 a.m. to 7 a.m. every morning through April 1. The city reported that 192 vehicles were towed this morning – a 17% drop from last year when 232 vehicles were towed in the hours after the ban went into effect.
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A bright one

Holiday Movie Preview: ‘Matrix,’ Spidey, ‘West Side Story’ among our 12 films of Christmas

We’re going back to the future.

Among the major releases coming our way in December, we’re getting a biopic about a couple from the 1950s who changed television forever; an update of a seminal American musical from 1961; two nostalgia-steeped stories set in the 1970s; a franchise origins story that takes place in the early 20th century; a psychological noir thriller set in the 1940s — and for the first time in 18 years, Neo aka Missssster Anderson is returning to the world of the Matrix.

Here are the 12 films you can’t miss this holiday season.

‘West Side Story’ (Dec. 10)

Reviewers getting an early look at this film are asked to “refrain from revealing spoilers and detailed story points.” Given Steven Spielberg is updating a 1957 musical that was turned into a 1961 film inspired by “Romeo and Juliet,” this seems a little like a spoiler alert for “Titanic” asking critics not to mention the ship or the ocean.

But hey, the Broadway production and the movie were some 60 years ago, and maybe not everybody knows “West Side Story” is Shakespearean-inspired, and perhaps Spielberg and screenwriter Tony Kushner have some fresh takes in store for us. So let’s put a cap on the cynicism and acknowledge we’re pumped to see the new Tony (Ansel Elgort) and Maria (Rachel Zegler) have their own “Tonight.”

Check out the other 11 new movies that Roeper’s excited to watch this month.

From the press box

Your daily question ☕

Have you decided to get a COVID-19 booster shot yet? Why or why not?

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

Yesterday, we asked you: What is a uniquely Chicago holiday tradition? Here’s what some of you said...

“Putting the Christmas wreaths on the Lions at The Art Institute.” — Brenda Dianne

“Taking the El into the loop to Christmas shop with my Mom. We would look at the windows and shop after we would meet my Dad at Berghoff’s for dinner. Always looked forward to this day, plus a day off of school.” — Mary Sears

“Taking the train into Chicago to Marshall Fields to the Walnut Room! Seeing all the decorations!” — Kay Marschall

“The Walnut Room and Marshall Fields windows.” — Tina Niblett

“I remember always going to State Street and looking at the windows so alive and animated absolutely breathtaking I will never forget!” — Rachel Clendening

“Christmas around the World at the Museum of Science and Industry and Suzie Snowflake on TV.” — Elaine Rodgers

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