Afternoon Edition: Feb. 4, 2021

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

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Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot removes her face mask before speaking during a press conference where she demanded the CTU to reach a deal with CPS on a reopening plan.

Pat Nabong/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.

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Afternoon Edition

Chicago’s most important news of the day, delivered every weekday afternoon. Plus, a bonus issue on Saturdays that dives into the city’s storied history.

This afternoon will serve up to five inches of snow through the evening, with a high near 37 degrees. Tonight the temperature will plunge to a low of 9 degrees. Tomorrow, a dangerous cold stretch begins, with flurries likely and a high around 15 degrees.

Top story

Mayor says she’s run out of patience with the CTU and wants a deal on reopening schools ‘today’

Mayor Lori Lightfoot says she has run out of patience with the Chicago Teachers Union and wants an agreement to reopen schools “today.”

“The ball is in the CTU’s court,” she told reporters this morning.

“Despite a series of productive exchanges between CPS and the CTU leadership on Monday and Tuesday that should absolutely have led to a comprehensive agreement, we are deeply disappointed to announce we still have not reached a deal. Yesterday, there were a series of steps backwards that were simply not productive.”

Lightfoot said that after “80 plus” meetings between the two sides “we are out of runway.”

She said CPS has “bent over backward” to accommodate CTU’s issues and concerns.

“We waited for hours last night — hours — and still did not receive a proposal from the Chicago Teachers Union leadership,” Lightfoot said. “And as of this morning, we are still waiting, but to be clear, not patiently — not anymore.”

As a backdrop to the negotiations, Lightfoot noted the citywide COVID-19 positivity rate has fallen to about 5%.

Read Stefano Esposito’s full story here.

More news you need

  1. Mayor Lightfoot also said today that Chicago voters gave her a “mandate to change the status quo,” not to “win a popularity contest with the City Council.” Lightfoot’s defiant comments came two days after a change in floor leaders as a result of Ald. Gilbert Villegas’ resignation.
  2. Nearly 257,000 people in Illinois are now fully vaccinated against the coronavirus after the latest update from public health officials. Roughly 1.2 million of the 2.2 million doses given to the state by the federal government have been administered so far.
  3. Cardinal Blase Cupich’s private meeting with Pope Francis in Rome last week is fueling rumors that he may be considered for a new high-profile job at the Vatican. There’s speculation that Cupich could be appointed a new prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.
  4. Linda-Denise Fisher-Harrell, an accomplished dancer who got her start with Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, will return to the company next month as its new artistic director. She will replace Glenn Edgerton, who stepped down in 2020 after 11 years with the company.
  5. Eight Illinois artists, including seven from Chicago, received $50,000 grants this week as members of the 2021 class of United States Artists Fellows. WBEZ reporter and Sun-Times contributor Natalie Moore is among the fellowship recipients.
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A bright one

Teen snowboards down Chicago Ave. while being towed by car in viral video

Daniel Zablotskiy was having a quiet Saturday night at his Ukrainian Village home when a friend texted him about the massive snowstorm barreling through the city.

Zablotskiy, a graduate of Lake View High School who now studies graphic design at DePaul, was buried in his books and hadn’t even noticed how much snow had already blanketed the streets. About an hour later, that same excited friend called over with a plan that sparked a viral moment.

“He goes like, ‘Yo, take your snowboard, let’s go skiing outside. I’ll pull you on my car,’” Zablotskiy, 19, recalled in an interview with us earlier this week.

As Zablotskiy and his friends were preparing to shoot the video, he told them he had one goal: “I want to get on the news with this.” That mission was accomplished Monday night, when a reporter from ABC7 included Zablotskiy’s Instagram video in a news report.

But the video’s reach has gone much further than local news. Instagram accounts with huge followings, like Barstool Sports and The Shade Room, have collectively racked up millions of views by posting the clip.

Though Zablotskiy is basking in the online fame, he’s also glad the video has brought other folks some joy.

“That’s what feels the best,” he said. “A lot of people are happy from this. Because this is in Ukrainian Village and most people don’t even know of Ukrainian Village. I’ve had probably like 40 comments that are like, ‘You’re putting Ukrainian Village on the map.’”

Read Tom Schuba’s full story here.

From the press box

Bulls rookie Patrick Williams had admittedly never seen two more physical games as he did against New York in recent days. Good news for the Bulls? The 19-year-old came out wanting more.

How does a little receiver from Barrington High School – one who couldn’t score a Senior Bowl or NFL Scouting Combine invitation two years ago — make a game-changing catch to help get his team to the Super Bowl? The Buccaneers’ Scotty Miller will be one to watch for local football fans Sunday.

The Bears ultimately passed on hiring Mike Singletary as defensive coordinator after an interview, but the Hall of Fame linebacker says he’s “absolutely” interested in returning to the NFL after four years on the sideline.

And White Sox executive Chris Getz gave a vote of confidence that 2019 first-round pick Andrew Vaughn will be ready to handle duties as the team’s designated hitter soon. While the team added elsewhere, Vaughn remains in line to be the team’s primary DH.

Your daily question ☕

What are your plans for an extremely chilly Super Bowl Sunday?

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: Is it fair to call “dibs” on a parking spot you dug out after a snowstorm? Here’s what some of you said...

”Absolutely! People have worked hard to create that space, and deserve it. It’s also the ‘Chicago Way.’ Ever since I was born at least. No need to change it.” — Brice Notardonato Ellett

“Back in my younger days, if you cleaned out the parking spot and sat a chair there, it was yours. If somebody moved that chair and parked there, they would come back to four flats on their car!” — Jeffery Bryant

“I don’t think so. I shoveled out 3 parking spots and never claimed any of them. I don’t own the street.” — Felicia Bay

“If I shovel three hours and someone takes it, boy, I’ll put all the snow back on the car that takes it. I did it once I’ll do it again.” — Midge Cotto

“I do not care how you slice/rationalize, ‘dibs’ on a public street is not/should not be a thing.” — Deborah Pogue

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