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Afternoon Edition: Feb. 25, 2021

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

A chair sits in a shoveled-out parking space as a “dibs” on West Arthington Street near South Monitor Avenue in Austin on the West Side, Thursday afternoon, Feb. 4, 2021.
Ashlee Rezin Garcia/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 with a high around 39 degrees. Tonight will have a low near 22 degrees with patches of fog between 1 and 5 a.m. Tomorrow, more sunshine is in the forecast, and the high will be around 43 degrees.

Top story

Move ’em or lose ’em: ‘Dibs’ objects to be removed by trash crews starting Tuesday

You’ve been warned: Trash crews will start clearing streets of objects used as “dibs” for parking spots Tuesday.

Crews will pick up unclaimed items along their daily garbage collection routes with special attention given to address 311 complaints, the Department of Streets and Sanitation said today.

“Dibs” is a controversial practice popular in Chicago in which motorists claim parking spots cleared of snow. The practice has led to confrontations between neighbors, including an Andersonville man who found his car window smashed with a “dibs” chair earlier in February.

A whopping 34 inches of snow that fell on Chicago over the past three weeks started melting Sunday when the city finally exited a stretch of freezing temperatures.

Residents were encouraged to remove their chairs, cones and other objects so they won’t be thrown away.

“Our crews have been working around the clock to address snow and ice and ensure Chicago’s streets are safe and passable for residents,” DSS Commissioner John Tully said in a statement. “At this time, we ask residents to be neighborly and help our crews clear streets of debris by picking up any items they may have on the street.”

Despite crews working extra hours, garbage collection remained delayed across the city due to the heavy snowfall over the last week, according to the department’s statement.

Read David Struett’s story here.

More news you need

  1. Taking their second crack at naming a successor to Mike Madigan, Cook County Democratic Committee members chose Angelica Guerrero-Cuellar to fill the 13th Ward seat today. She replaces Edward Guerra Kodatt, who resigned three days after being sworn in over allegations of “questionable conduct.”
  2. Two men convicted of killing Chicago police officers decades ago were granted parole today. Johnny Veal, 68, and, Joseph Hurst, 77, were separately paroled by the Illinois Prisoner Review Board.
  3. With more than 130,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine shot into arms yesterday, Illinois set a new one-day record for vaccinations administered. The new mark was a 37% increase on the previous record of 95,375, set on Feb. 11.
  4. A Chicago gym was the site of a summer COVID-19 outbreak in which two-thirds of participants in a series of exercise classes contracted the virus. The CDC says 55 people got sick as a result of classes held from Aug. 24 to Sept. 1 at an unnamed gym.
  5. The outbound Kennedy Expressway will be reduced to one lane over the weekend while crews remove the last parts of the Montrose Avenue bridge for reconstruction. At 9 p.m. tomorrow night, outbound traffic will be reduced to a single lane starting at Diversey Avenue.

A bright one

Historic speeches are given voices in Chicago actor’s audiobook project

Last July, Oak Park-based actor Kevin Theis was en route to Jewel when Frederick Douglass came on the radio. Not, obviously, the actual 19th-century abolitionist who escaped slavery and became an internationally known orator. Theis was hearing Douglass’ descendants on National Public Radio, marking Independence Day by reading passages from Douglass’ 1852 speech “What, to the Slave, is the 4th of July.”

Theis had read the speech before, but in the middle of a summer of global social unrest, it hit harder. When he got home, he set to finding another audio version of it, assuming there would be “dozens.” He couldn’t find a single one.

The experience sent him down a rabbit hole. What other history-making speeches only existed as words on a page? There were many. From Jane Addams to Robespierre, Theis found many of the best speeches history has to offer simply weren’t available in spoken form. So Theis decided to do something about that.

Actor and director Kevin Theis is photographed in his basement recording booth.
Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times

Under his Fort Raphael Publishing Company imprint, Theis is releasing two new audiobooks featuring a total of 14 notable speeches, Douglass’ 4th of July oration among them. History’s Greatest Speeches Vol. 1 and 2 are available on Audible.com, with four more seven-speech volumes in the works.

“Letting these speeches sit on the shelf unheard and unheralded is just tragic to me,” Theis said. “I feel so proud that the artists on this project are giving people the chance to hear them.”

Read Catey Sullivan’s full story on Theis’ ambitious project to share historic, previously unheard speeches with a fresh audience.

From the press box

Seahawks superstar Russell Wilson hasn’t demanded a trade yet, but the Bears are among four teams on the shortlist of franchises he’s willing to be moved to, ESPN reported this afternoon. Dare to dream, Bears fans?

And you can’t say that White Sox outfielder Eloy Jimenez lacks confidence in himself: “I think one day I’m going to be the MVP,” the 24-year-old told reporters. “I don’t know what year, but I think soon.”

Your daily question ☕

Did falling ice or heavy snow damage your property over the last two weeks? Tell us how.

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 delays in U.S. Postal Service mail delivery impacted you recently? Tell us how. Here’s what some of you said...

“Yes, on my block we sometimes go up to two weeks with no delivery. Last Friday at 10:45 p.m., a large pile (two weeks worth) of mail was dropped through the door slot. We had two weeks without delivery in January as well.” — Kim Ziyavo

“It took me three weeks to receive a letter from a town that’s less than 20 minuted away. Now anything that was sent to me last week is suddenly MIA/lost. Something needs to be done.” — Frank Stafford

“I have only received four pieces of mail in three weeks. Did not receive my W2 that was mailed to me at the end of January.” — Dawn Skoda

“Yes. Lost three outgoing checks. Never found. Had to pay two late fees for them! Lost one incoming check! One First Class card took 14 days to arrive! We seniors depend on the USPS for our prescriptions as well as much of our business mail.” — Kenneth Miller

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