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Afternoon Edition: Dec. 16, 2021

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

Students and parents waiting to enter Evanston Township High School watch as an Evanston police officers walks toward the building, which was placed on lockdown this morning after two guns were found inside the school. 
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 and breezy with a high near 41 degrees and wind gusts as high as 35 mph. Tonight will be mostly clear with a low around 26. Tomorrow will be mostly sunny with a high near 36.

Top story

Evanston Township High School lockdown lifted after 2 guns found. ‘This is really a strain on the community.’

Evanston Township High School was placed on lockdown this morning and eight students were detained after two guns were found inside the school.

The incident unfolded after a school resource officer was alerted of students smoking weed in a bathroom about 9:30 a.m., Evanston Police Commander Ryan Glew said at a news conference near the school.

The officer detained two students in the bathroom, and an investigation led to the recovery of two handguns, Glew said. The school was placed on lockdown shortly after.

Further investigation showed that six other students were in the bathroom at the time and they were also detained, Glew said. No shots were fired and no injuries were reported.

The lockdown was lifted and students were dismissed by 1 p.m., Glew said.

Nene Shelton said she got a text from her 14-year-old son, a freshman, saying “mom I’m scared. They have us barricaded.”

Shelton, a special needs teacher in Skokie, tried calling her son but he wasn’t answering her many phone calls. “I didn’t get an answer so I was very nervous,” she said.

When she left work and headed to the school, she was crying and embraced a friend who is also a parent. Their sons are friends and play football together.

Shelton, 33, was relieved when a short time later she got a phone call from her son, saying they were safe.

“Next week was supposed to be the last week, but I think today will be his last day until the new year,” she said as she waited for the lockdown to be lifted. “I have to make sure he’s okay mentally.”

Emmanuel Camarillo and Ashlee Rezin have more from the scene in Evanston here.

More news you need

  1. Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin’s name has popped up as a potential candidate in the 2022 gubernatorial race, with Sun-Times sources adding that the second-term mayor would have Ken Griffin’s backing. However, Griffin — Illinois’ richest man — attempted today to quiet the rumors that he has found his candidate to push out Gov. J.B. Pritzker.
  2. Two men from the Danville area have been sentenced to two years of probation and 60 hours of community service for their roles in the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol breach. Douglas K. Wangler and Bruce J. Harrison each pleaded guilty in September to misdemeanor parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol building.
  3. The Chicago Police Department wants to expand its SWAT team, launching a new hiring process for cops to become SWAT officers. The process will allow officers who fall short of passing all the requirements to provide “heavy weapon support” while they work to meet the remaining qualifications.
  4. Determined to reduce childhood obesity, Mayor Lori Lightfoot has moved to stop Chicago restaurants from automatically serving kids meals with sugary, high-calorie drinks. At yesterday’s City Council meeting, Lightfoot introduced an ordinance that would prohibit Chicago restaurants from serving or marketing pop and other sugary drinks as the “default beverage” with kids meals.
  5. Casino developers will show their cards today in Chicago’s long game to open a big-city gambling center. You can watch the bidders make their pitches in the first round of public presentations hosted by Mayor Lightfoot here.

A bright one

Roger Bennett of ‘Men in Blazers’ is a ‘Chicagoan trapped in an Englishman’s body’

According to family legend, Roger Bennett’s great grandfather fled Eastern Europe in the 1910s intending to move to Chicago. He was a kosher butcher, so living in the city Carl Sandburg dubbed “Hog butcher for the world” made sense. But the journey to Chicago via New York didn’t go as planned.

“The myth of our family is that the boat docked in Liverpool [England] to refuel,” Bennett said, “and he saw the one tall building on the Liverpool skyline and, like other low-IQ individuals on the boat, was like, Hey, we’re in New York, everybody off.”

Thus began the Bennett family’s existence in Liverpool, and with it a multigenerational longing to be elsewhere.

“I always told myself in Liverpool I was a Chicagoan trapped in an Englishman’s body,” Bennett said.

Roger Bennett is joined by actor Matthew McConaughey, who also is part of MLS club FC Austin’s ownership group, on NBCSN’s “Men in Blazers.” Provided
Provided

Bennett is co-host of “Men in Blazers,” which began in 2010 as a podcast about the Premier League and turned into an eclectic, energetic TV show in 2014 on NBCSN. Bennett and co-host Michael Davies tackle much more than soccer, bringing on stars who range from media to movies to sports.

But when there were no sports last year during the lockdowns of the pandemic, Bennett turned to a different medium. He wrote his fifth book, “(RE)BORN IN THE USA: An Englishman’s Love Letter to His Chosen Home,” in which he explains the influence Chicago and American culture played in his life.

Bennett, 51, is now an American citizen living in New York. But a trip to Chicago in the summer of 1986 to visit a friend in the north suburbs became a life-altering experience.

Jeff Agrest has more on Bennett’s affection for Chicago here.

From the press box

Your daily question ☕

What’s the best book about Chicago? Tell us why.

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 the best Christmas movie of all time?

Here’s what some of you said…

“It would have to be ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ and ‘A Christmas Story.’ ‘A Christmas Story’ reminds me of my life growing up.” — Amy Hensley

“‘It’s A Wonderful Life’ because it has all the elements we need at this time of year: love, ambition, family obligations and finding out how we all truly can and do make a difference — even when we haven’t witnessed it.” — Christine Bock

“‘It’s a Wonderful Life!’” Great acting, a small town that looks authentic and it’s a great script.” — Frank Kirkaldy

“‘The Muppets Christmas Carol.’” — Timothy King

“‘National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation’ because it makes you laugh and laugh. And who doesn’t need some good old honest-to-goodness laughter in their life?” — Carol Wortel

“The 1951 British movie ‘Scrooge (A Christmas Carol).’ Scottish actor Alastair Sim conveys the anguish, regret and repentance of the title character better than anyone ever did.” — Craig Barner

“‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’ — the songs and Oogie Boogie.” — Dennis Novak

“‘Home Alone’ 1 and 2 and ‘Christmas Vacation’ because they are set in Chicago and just because they are funny.” — Jackie Waldhier

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