Afternoon Edition: Feb. 9, 2021

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

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Larry Hoover during an appearance in front of a review board.

Sun-Times file photo

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 be sunny with a high near 14 degrees. Tonight’s low will be around 2 degrees. Tomorrow, more snow is in the forecast, with a high near 17 degrees.

Top story

Coded message shows Gangster Disciples founder Larry Hoover should stay in super-max, feds say

Federal prosecutors who are fighting Gangster Disciples founder Larry Hoover’s bid for a break on his prison sentence say a “board member” of the street gang tried to communicate with him through a coded message in super-max prison in which he referred to Hoover as “chief.”

In a new court filing, Assistant U.S. Attorney Grayson Walker said the 2015 message shows Hoover is still a “revered and inspirational leader” in the gang who shouldn’t be given a break on his life prison term.

“Granting Hoover a discretionary reduction in his sentence would send a shockwave through the community and embolden gang members who still look to Hoover as their inspirational leader,” Walker said in the court filing yesterday.

For more than a year, Hoover has been trying to convince a federal judge in Chicago to give him a break on his sentence under the federal First Step Act, a law signed in 2018 by then-President Donald Trump that allows people convicted of crack-cocaine offenses to challenge their sentences in light of subsequent changes in federal sentencing guidelines. Other high-ranking members of the gang have been released from prison under the same law.

U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber has yet to rule on the request.

The court filing marks prosecutors’ latest effort to keep a man prosecutors have called “the most notorious gang leader in Chicago’s modern history” locked up for life in a prison that’s been likened to a modern-day Alcatraz.

Read Jon Seidel and Frank Main’s full story here.

More news you need

  1. While President Joe Biden will reportedly ask for the resignation of nearly every U.S. attorney appointed by Donald Trump, Illinois’ senators want Chicago-based John Lausch to stay on the job. Sens. Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth say Lausch should keep the position to conclude “sensitive investigations.”
  2. Illinois public health officials reported 2,082 new cases of the coronavirus today, keeping the state’s seven-day positivity rate at a four-month low of 3.3%. The number of people to be vaccinated yesterday was nearly 28 times higher than the number of new cases.
  3. R. Kelly’s federal trial in New York has been pushed back to Aug. 9 due to the coronavirus pandemic, a federal judge in Brooklyn said today. The singer, who’s repeatedly been unsuccessful in requests for bond, had been scheduled to go to trial on April 7 until the latest delay.
  4. Luis Alonso Sandoval-Oliva, a former professional soccer player whose career included appearances for multiple prominent clubs in Mexico, was arrested on drug charges in the north suburbs last week. He was allegedly found with one kilogram of cocaine during a traffic stop in unincorporated Waukegan, according to the Lake County sheriff’s office.
  5. If you watched the Super Bowl on Sunday, you likely saw the ads for the new CBS drama “Clarice,” which our Richard Roeper calls a”promising yet uneven effort with some intriguing storylines.” Read Roeper’s full review of the new take on the “The Silence of the Lamb” character here.
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A bright one

Michelle Obama teams up with puppets for children’s show encouraging healthy eating habits

Michelle Obama is launching a Netflix children’s food show with a pair of puppets “to bring a bit of light and laughter to homes around the world.”

The new show, called “Waffles + Mochi,” a collaboration with Partnership for a Healthier America, launches March 16 and will be “all about good food: discovering it, cooking it, and of course, eating it,” the former first lady posted on Instagram today. The 20-minute episodes will combine live-action and puppets, and Obama will be a series regular.

The show centers on two best puppet friends who dream of becoming chefs. They travel across the world looking for ingredients and making dishes “alongside renowned chefs, home cooks, kids and celebrities,” according to a press release from the show.

“Kids will love it, but I know that adults will also get plenty of laughs — and some tips for the kitchen,” Obama wrote. “In many ways, this show is an extension of my work to support children’s health as first lady — and to be quite honest, I wish a program like this had been around when my girls were young.”

Read the full story here.

From the press box

Winter high school sports — including basketball, bowling, badminton, boys swimming and competitive cheer and dance — can begin in the city Thursday, the sports director of Chicago Public Schools said today.

Despite rumors swirling on social media about the ongoing absence of Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews, the team continues to insist it’s not withholding additional information about his health. “All we know is he’s not ready to play right now,” GM Stan Bowman said Sunday.

Kris Bryant, despite admitting recently that the trade rumors around him in recent years bothered him at times, seems to be in “a really good place,” Cubs GM Jed Hoyer said yesterday after speaking to the former NL MVP.

And the 2021 Big Ten men’s basketball tournament will be moved from the United Center to Indianapolis, the home of this year’s Final Four, the conference announced today.

Your daily question☕

In honor of National Pizza Day, what’s your favorite Chicago pizza place? Tell us why.

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: How have you changed your shopping habits during the pandemic? Here’s what some of you said...

“I arrive just when the doors open. Out in 30 minutes. No longer do I roam or just look. I hit three stores and I’m usually home two hours after I left.” — Maria Guerrero-Suarez

“Fewer big box stores like Petco, Target, or Walmart. More online purchases like Amazon or Chewy. Bulk buying at Costco is nice to cut down on trips out. Been buying monthly shares of meat for pickup and weekly bread for delivery. Ordering out once a week to keep local restaurants alive.” — Jeff Niebres

“A lot more Amazon and no store browsing, just in and out quickly. I miss the casual browsing!” — Beverly Hajek Cooper

“My daughter does all the shopping, so it worked out really well for me, who is in the high risk group. I can’t wait until it’s safe enough to go back out.” — Jo Ann Fields

“Ihaven’t. I still go to the store like I normally would.” — Jackie Waldhier

“Get in and get out. Purposeful. No browsing. List in hand. No more than twice a week if possible.” — Delores Graham

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