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Afternoon Edition: Feb. 2, 2021

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

Rafi Peterson, 63, a supervisor for the outreach team at Communities Partnering 4 Peace, receives his first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.
Ashlee Rezin Garcia /Chicago 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 cloudy with a high around 31 degrees. Tonight’s low will be near 19 degrees. Tomorrow will be sunny with a high around 32 degrees.

Top story

City taps new website to help schedule COVID-19 vaccinations

Chicago is contracting with an online health care service to allow residents to schedule vaccinations at city sites, though there is still an extremely limited number of shots available and users potentially will get no more than a response promising to send an email when appointments open up.

The city says eligible residents, including those 65 and older and essential workers, can sign up through a site or app operated by Zocdoc, a New York-based medical appointment service. It can be accessed at www.zocdoc.com/vaccine or by downloading the app, which is available from Apple and Google app stores.

There is no fee for the service and Zocdoc provides no phone number option for scheduling. City health officials encourage people to first try to schedule vaccinations through their own health care providers.

Two of our reporters tested the Zocdoc site today only to get a message that reads “You’re signed up!” and notes “we’ll send you an email … when we’re available to book vaccination appointments in your city.”

We tested pharmacy websites promoting vaccinations recently only to find them hard to navigate and appointments nearly impossible to book.

City officials said that Zocdoc will be a tool for those eligible to schedule vaccinations at sites set up at City Colleges. However, those sites are currently only being used to vaccinate health care workers. Chicago health officials say they cannot ramp up the pace of vaccinations until the federal government ships more shots to the city.

“We still need people to be patient as the vaccine rollout continues,” Chicago Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said.

Read Brett Chase’s full story on the city’s partnership with Zocdoc here.

More news you need

  1. For the second straight year, Chicago’s downtown and South Side Saint Patrick’s Day parades won’t happen due to the pandemic. Ald. Brian Hopkins said it pained him as a proud Irishman, but canceling the mid-March parades was the only call to make.
  2. A brick wall of the Aragon Ballroom partially collapsed this morning, apparently under the weight of snow on the Uptown venue’s roof. No one was hurt, and the 95-year-old venue’s structure and roof appear to be sound, a fire department official said.
  3. A close associate of the popular yet embattled Chicago rapper G Herbo was killed in a brazen daytime shooting in a South Loop barbershop last week. Gregory Jackson III, more widely known as “Lil Greg,” was at Studio Nineteen when someone walked in and shot him in the face, authorities say.
  4. Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s health team cleared suburban Cook County to return to Phase 4 of the state’s coronavirus reopening plan today, meaning bars and restaurants can serve larger parties indoors. Despite the progress, officials are pleading with residents to keep masking and social distancing.
  5. Dori Wilson, a Chicago publicist who moved through charity balls and cultural affairs with the style and assurance of the fashion model she’d once been, died Monday at age 77. Wilson, who came to Chicago from Mississippi when she was 7, was a fixture of the city’s social scene and a savvy connector of people from coast to coast.
  6. A 22-year-old woman allegedly poured boiling water on her boyfriend while he slept at their Roselle apartment, causing burns that required skin graft surgery. After Alexis Sykes dumped the water on him, she went on SnapChat and described watching his skin fall off his arms, according to the DuPage County state’s attorney’s office.

A bright one

Haymarket Brewery’s Harold’s ’83 Honey Ale to be sold in cans

A Haymarket Brewery beverage named after the year Chicago elected its first Black mayor, Harold Washington, will be available in cans as soon as next week.

Harold’s ’83 Honey Ale – a draft beer consisting of Zuper Saazer hops, Vienna malt and clover honey – made its debut in March 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic and became one of Haymarket’s best-selling beers.

Starting next Monday, expect to see the popular beer at Blue Island’s Rock Island Public House and Wrigleyville’s Nisei Lounge, and on the shelves of the Black-owned liquor stores Hyde Park’s Kimbark Beverage Shoppe and Chatham’s D&J Liquors.

Sam Ross (left) and Jay Westbrook (right) enjoy a Harold’s ’83 Honey Ale at Haymarket Brewing in 2020.
Brian Rich/Sun-Times

For Harold’s ‘83 co-founder Jay Westbrook, the beer’s expanded availability falling during Black History Month makes it extra special.

“This is legitimate Black history,” said Westbrook. “To take a step back and look at it from the outside, and realize the scope and the magnitude of what we’re attempting to do — what we’ve done already. I’m grateful and I’m blessed, but how the hell did this happen in a year? During a pandemic.”

Check out the Harold’s ‘83 can design and read Evan F. Moore’s full story here.

From the press box

Rolling Meadows basketball star Max Christie, the top-ranked player in the state, discussed his “complex” senior season – it’s been nearly a year since his last competitive game – with our Joe Henricksen.

And our prep sports team completed its series of the top 50 high school basketball programs of the last decade with No. 1 Simeon, which won a ton of games and developed impressive talents like Jabari Parker, Kendrick Nunn and Talen Horton-Tucker.

Your daily question ☕

How do you plan on celebrating Black History Month this year?

Reply to this email (please include your first name and where you live) and we might feature your answer in the next Afternoon Edition.

Yesterday, we asked you: Have you found it difficult to get a COVID-19 vaccine? Here’s what some of you said...

“I have tried every day to sign up my age-eligible mother for a first dose appointment. Walgreens, Cook County sites, CVS, Jewel-Osco — nothing. Appointments are never available.” — Lisa Scruggs

“I was easily able to sign my parents up for the first dose with Walgreens two weeks ago, but I’m finding it nearly impossible to get them scheduled for the second dose. It adds a layer of complication because they need the specific vaccine brand the were initially injected with.” — Jamie Gordon

“So far yes. My 87-year-old mother and I became eligible last week – I’m 65. I had registered us both with the Cook County website, but there were no appointments available. I spoke with our doctor today and he is not sure when his office will be receiving the vaccine. We will continue to check as many sites as possible until we can make an appointment.” — Denise Washington

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