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 cloudy with a high near 15 degrees and wind chill values as low as 0 degrees. Snow is in the forecast for tonight, which will see a low near 5 degrees. Tomorrow, more snow is expected; the high will be 14 degrees. And Sunday will be partly sunny, but cold, with a high near 8 degrees.
Karla Taylor-Bauman needed a little extra cash. So she figured she’d tap a clause in her life insurance that allows an early withdrawal if the policy-holder has certain serious illnesses.
One problem: The insurance company told her, “You’re too healthy.” Given what she’s gone through over the past year, she’s totally OK with that: “I got denied because I am healthier than I ever was before,” said Taylor-Bauman, 50.
That would have seemed an unlikely scenario last spring, when the Lake Villa resident was described by her doctor as being “as close to brain-dead as you get without being brain-dead.”
After she contracted the coronavirus, she was so sick that she spent 54 days in hospitals, 21 days of that on a ventilator in an induced coma in a last-ditch effort to help her recover.
“I truly am a miracle, walking and talking,” said Taylor-Bauman, her words punctuated by a nervous giggle.
After her prolonged recovery, Taylor-Bauman, a financial analyst, hasn’t been able to go back to work yet. She’s still doing physical therapy three times a week to improve the condition of her heart and lungs.
In October, we reported: “She got her coronavirus miracle, surviving three weeks in a coma. Then came the hard part.”
That was facing the prospect of foreclosure and losing her home because of the dire financial straits she and her husband Jevon Bauman were left in thanks to her medical bills, mostly from the hospital, Vista Medical Center East in Waukegan, despite having health insurance. The medical bills she was facing came to around $240,000.
After we asked the hospital why, given that she was insured, her bill was so high, Taylor-Bauman got a call from Vista saying it was a mistake and that her insurance had, in fact, covered her tab. She owed nothing. Though that, too, seemed miraculous, the Baumans still faced the foreclosure of their Lake Villa home after falling behind on their mortgage.
What happened next maybe wasn’t as much another miracle as it was an act of kindness and generosity on the part of some business leaders. They were in the process of starting a nonprofit lender to help Illinois residents living “at the margins” and read our story about the Baumans.
“We realized that this story was at the heart of who we wanted to serve,” said Paul Hawkinson, an associate professor of finance and strategy at North Park University who’s one of the founding members of Transform Capital.
Hawkinson and his group negotiated with the Baumans’ lender and helped set them up with a new mortgage with payments they can afford.
“At this point, they are fully the owners of their home, with a new, private mortgage at a market rate,” Hawkinson said. “And the foreclosure risk is gone.”
More news you need
- Two people were killed and two others were injured after their car plummeted more than 40 feet from the Stevenson Expressway early this morning near Ashland Avenue. A speeding driver lost control, hit a concrete wall and went over the side of the elevated expressway, police said.
- A tenth of all Illinois residents have now received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose following a record-breaking day for shots administered statewide, public officials announced today. A total of 95,375 doses went into arms Thursday, shattering the previous daily high of about 75,000 set a week ago.
- Lawyers for Donald Trump defended him against impeachment today by accusing Democrats of waging a campaign of “hatred” against the former president and manipulating his words in the lead-up to the deadly siege of the U.S. Capitol. Their presentation included a blizzard of their own selectively edited fiery comments from Democrats.
- An illegal squatter in Rogers Park destroyed his unit — prying apart electrical wiring, hacking into water pipes, arming himself with homemade weapons and finally using a claw hammer to smash through his neighbors’ bedroom wall. But because of the Illinois moratorium on evictions during the pandemic, the neighbors he terrorized were told he couldn’t be kicked out.
- A manhunt is on for a Massachusetts man wanted for questioning about the shooting death of Yale University graduate student Kevin Jiang, a former Chicago resident who was killed Saturday night blocks from the Ivy League school. Qinxuan Pan, 29, a graduate student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has been charged with unlawful flight to avoid prosecution and interstate theft of a vehicle.
- Every year, Chicago police officers arrest hundreds of people for violating the city’s gun-offender registration ordinance, a law that requires anyone convicted of gun-related violence or illegal gun possession to go to police headquarters yearly and register their home addresses. But it’s rare that anyone is punished for failing to comply with the law.
- For the second time since then-President Donald Trump pardoned Mettawa Mayor Casey Urlacher, one of Urlacher’s co-defendants in a federal sports gambling case has pleaded guilty to a gambling conspiracy and faces time behind bars. Meanwhile, Lake County officials say Urlacher has filed to run as a write-in candidate for another term as mayor.
- Fred Hampton was killed in a police raid seven months after Manuel Ramos, a founding member of the Young Lords Organization, was gunned down by an off-duty police officer in Bridgeport in 1969. Hampton was 21. Ramos was just 20. Read our Manny Ramos’ letter to his grandfather.
A bright one
When most of the world learned in December that Daniel Dumile — the rapper and hip-hop artist known as MF DOOM — had died months earlier at 49, shocked fans went into mourning.
And, in Logan Square and the West Loop, street artists got to work, creating murals memorializing the British American performer.
Added to the vast assemblage of public art that already lined Hubbard Street was a 12-by-70-feet mural that artist Rahmaan Statik says aims to provide a look at the “human side” of the rapper.
“Society changes us into these characters that make our legacy and what we’re known for,” said Statik, 40. “It’s the plight of an artist.”
With his poetic lyrics and samples from movies and other media, Dumile’s style set him apart from other rappers in the early 2000s. Though best-known for his masked persona of MF DOOM, Dumile got his start in music in the 1990s hip-hop trio KMD. Statik, then a college student, has been hooked on his music ever since.
Near Fullerton and Milwaukee avenues is another tribute to MF DOOM, this one by James Spurgeon, an artist who goes by Graffiti Nerd. Spurgeon, 47, said he was a “big fan” of the late rapper and started work on the mural after being contacted by the coordinators of Project Logan — a graffiti-art permission wall in Logan Square with a rotating selection of art.
Besides being an acclaimed rapper, Dumile was a “brother in paint,” Spurgeon said. “DOOM was a graffiti artist himself.”
From the press box
Bulls fans can kick off Valentine’s Day weekend by watching their team face the Los Angeles Clippers at 7 p.m. tonight on NBC Sports Chicago.
Blackhawks rookie Brandon Hagel has been noticeable nearly every night with his persistent forechecking and tireless work ethic. That work ethic has become contagious, spreading from Hagel to the rest of the forward corps, Ben Pope writes. You can catch Hagel and the rest of the team play the Columbus Blue Jackets at 7 p.m. tomorrow on NBC Sports Chicago.
And the Cubs and WSCR-AM announced today that they have renewed their broadcast agreement.
Your daily question ☕
What are you getting your loved ones for Valentine’s Day this year?
Email us (please include your first name and where you live) and we might feature your answer in the next Afternoon Edition.
Yesterday, we asked you: How do you plan on celebrating Valentine’s Day this weekend? Here’s what some of you said…
“Valentine’s Day phone calls to the grands, sipping a glass of wine, eating shrimp cocktail and loving the memories past.” — Tina Rotter
“At home with my four kids watching a few family movies and playing games.” — Jennifer K. Lasenby
“Ordering take out for a candlelit dinner at home. Staying safe and supporting restaurants in Chicago.” — William Bill Bergfalk
“Buying myself flowers and having wine with garlic chicken wings.” — Lillian Maclean
Thanks for reading the Chicago Afternoon Edition. Got a story you think we missed? Email us here.