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Afternoon Edition: Dec. 17, 2021

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

Tina Lynn comforts her daughter Carnisha Lynn as she gets ready to receive the vaccine at a turkey and laptop giveaway event Sunday, Nov. 21, 2021 at Little Angels Daycare in Englewood.
Tina Lynn comforts her daughter Carnisha Lynn as she gets ready to receive the vaccine at a turkey and laptop giveaway event Sunday, Nov. 21, 2021 at Little Angels Daycare in Englewood.
Anthony Vazquez/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 partly sunny with a high near 39 degrees. Tonight will be cloudy with a low near 35 and the potential for rain, possibly mixed with snow. There is also a chance of rain and snow tomorrow with a high near 37, while Sunday will be sunny with a high around 34.

Top story

Vaccinating Englewood: Community groups step in to improve 42% COVID vaccination rate

Last June, community organizers worked with Chicago city officials to host a COVID-19 vaccination event in Englewood.

It drew more than 100 people. But the city workers providing the shots showed up two hours late. By then, many who’d been waiting gave up and left, said Justin Morgan, the operations director for Something Good in Englewood, one of the organizers.

“The city of Chicago needs to do a better job getting the vaccine to the people of Englewood,” said Morgan, whose group also hosted a vaccination drive before Thanksgiving with the help of another nonprofit and health clinic and another one Friday.

Chicago health officials don’t dispute his assessment.

Morgan’s organization is among community groups that have been organizing mass inoculations on the South Side and the West Side, where the risks of infection are higher because of the high number of unvaccinated residents.

As North Side neighborhoods have reached fully vaccinated rates approaching 80%, some South Side ZIP codes still show fewer than half of residents having gotten their first shots. That’s an alarming statistic, particularly with another wave of infections expected soon and the highly transmissible Omicron variant raising fears of more deaths and hospitalizations.

In September, Mayor Lori Lightfoot came to Englewood to announce a plan to get more Chicagoans vaccinated by year’s end, aiming to get at least one shot — which doesn’t even fully protect against the virus — in the arms of 77% of all city residents 12 and older.

But Englewood hasn’t reached anything close to that level of immunization: Only 42% of all residents in Englewood’s 60621 ZIP code are fully vaccinated, leaving the community especially vulnerable.

Brett Chase and Cheyanne M. Daniels have more on the effort to get Englewood vaccinated.

More news you need

  1. Amid those ongoing efforts in Englewood, Illinois’ top doctor today issued her latest plea for residents to get vaccinated and take basic precautions as the state weathers its latest brutal COVID-19 surge during the heart of the holiday season. Troubling figures released by the Illinois Department of Public Health showed the number of hospitalizations, cases and deaths up across the board for a seventh straight week.
  2. A Chicago cop who was involved in a pursuit that killed a 2-year-old girl now faces dismissal over two years later. The development comes after a member of the Chicago Police Board overruled Supt. David Brown’s recommendation for a lighter punishment.
  3. This morning, a Cicero firefighter was taken to the hospital after falling through the floor of a house fire in the western suburb and suffering first- and second-degree burns. The firefighter, Pat Phillips, was pulled up and out of the home by his fellow firefighters and is expected to fully recover.
  4. Immigration advocates gathered today at Federal Plaza in the Loop, urging Illinois Sens. Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth to disregard the recent Senate parliamentarian decision to remove immigration reform from the “Build Back Better” bill. The advocates argue that Durbin and other Democratic leaders should still push ahead toward creating a path for immigrants to one day obtain naturalized citizenship.
  5. A divided state panel today turned down a controversial request from the corporate owner of Arlington International Racecourse to keep operating its off-track betting parlors even though it’s sold the storied oval to the Chicago Bears. The bid from Churchill Downs Inc. failed under a 5-5 vote from the deadlocked Illinois Racing Board.

A bright one

Chicano Batman making exciting new strides following release of ambitious album

Los Angeles-based Chicano Batman is soaring fearlessly into new sonic hemispheres following the release of their ambitious 2020 album “Invisible People” and recent singles. For multi-instrumentalist member, the “Invisible People” sessions felt like the moment “when the caterpillar sheds its skin and becomes a butterfly.”

After releasing several albums oozing with an adoration for ’70s soul and funk music, the band members realized they needed to shake things up, that they weren’t “beholden to this sound.”

“The band is just continuing on this journey of just trying to make music that we want to hear, that feels fresh to us. And there’s no rules on how it gets made or who makes it and what it sounds like. It feels good,” Arévalo said.

Chicano Batman — Bardo Martinez (from left), Eduardo Arenas, Gabriel Villa, and Carlos Arévalo — headline Concord Hall tonight.
Chicano Batman — Bardo Martinez (from left), Eduardo Arenas, Gabriel Villa, and Carlos Arévalo — headline Concord Hall tonight.
George Mays

While its sound has grown more ambitious, the band remains committed to using music to provide important social commentary. The album’s title track is a reflection on what it’s “like to be a person that is ignored or not paid attention to by society, but you exist, and you live, and you thrive despite being viewed or not viewed in that way,” Arévalo said.

The band hopes to start working on its next album following the current tour. Arévalo expects the new material to continue the momentum of the band’s recent releases.

Tonight, the band will take the stage at Concord Music Hall (2051 N. Milwaukee Ave.) for a sold-out show kicking off at 8 p.m.

Joshua M. Miller has more on Chicano Batman and the quartet’s evolving sound here.

From the press box

Your daily question ☕

As the pandemic continues, how are you feeling about gathering with family for the holidays this year?

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 book about Chicago?

Here’s what some of you said…

“‘The Devil in The White City.’ Although the title is unglamorous, it is a great story about the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, about a serial killer H. H. Holmes and the beginning of the great Chicago city and lakefront planning designs.” — Femia Penaredondo Rakstang

“‘The Pharoah.’ It’s about the original Mayor Daley. It truly tells why and how the city landscape is laid out as it is and how ‘The Machine’ greased its political wheels.” — Justin Dudek

“‘Never a City So Real: A Walk in Chicago’ by Alex Kotlowitz. Beautiful vignettes of different neighborhoods. That’s what it really means to live in Chicago.” — Sejal Shah-Myers

“‘The Warmth of Other Suns’ by Isabel Wilkerson tells the story of the Great Migration and Chicago as a destination city.” — Elizabeth Seyfarth Yohn

“Mike Royko’s ‘Boss’ is the best book about 20th century Chicago, and it still exemplifies the way many Chicagoans feel about the city and the identity of its residents. No book has yet emerged to explain what Chicago has become and will be in the 21st century (and potentially beyond). That project awaits its author.” — Frank Valadez

“Just to keep things current and positive — I will suggest ‘Southern Exposure’ written and photographed by Lee Bey.” — Fred O’Neal

“‘My Bloody Life: The Making of a Latin King’ by Reymundo Sanchez .” — Nino Rojas

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