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Afternoon Edition: March 17, 2021

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

A person receives the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine in a vaccination site at Chicago Vocational Career Academy in the Stony Island Park neighborhood, Friday morning, March 5, 2021.
Pat Nabong/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 near 40 degrees. Tonight will bring some rain and a low around 36 degrees. More showers are in the forecast for tomorrow, along with a high near 39 degrees.

A lakeshore flood advisory will also be in effect from 4 a.m. tomorrow through 11 a.m. Friday with waves up to 13-feet high expected.

Top story

Chicago to expand vaccine eligibility to most residents March 29

Most Chicagoans will be eligible to sign up for COVID-19 vaccination appointments starting March 29, the city’s top doctor said today.

Chicago Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady outlined the city’s plan to expand vaccine eligibility to city residents 16 and up with chronic health conditions, plus additional groups of essential workers.

That means “a major increase” in the pool of eligible recipients, which will soon include the majority of Chicago’s 2.7 million residents, Arwady said.

“Most Chicagoans will actually be eligible to be vaccinated beginning March 29, but just because you’re eligible, it doesn’t mean you’re going to be able to be vaccinated right away. It’s all going to depend on vaccine supply,” Arwady said.

Residents 65 and older will remain the city’s priority. About half the city’s seniors have gotten a dose so far, Arwady said.

The soon-to-be-eligible Phase 1C recipients are more likely to start receiving doses through April and May.

That group includes people with underlying conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, obesity and sickle cell disease, among others. Newly eligible workers will include those in transportation, hospitality, food service, finance, media, information technology and others “with a focus on those who can’t work from home,” Arwady said.

Read Mitchell Armentrout’s full story here.

More news you need

  1. Mayor Lori Lightfoot strongly condemned the violence in Atlanta last night that left eight dead, including six Asian American women, calling it a “hate crime against our entire Asian and Pacific Islander communities.” The mayor said CPD assured her they have no intelligence of specific threats against the Asian community in Chicago.
  2. James Levine, the former music director at Ravinia and The Metropolitan Opera, has died at age 77. Both organizations severed ties with Levine several years ago after he was accused of sexual misconduct dating back to the 1960s.
  3. A clash over the overwhelming breadth of the U.S. Capitol breach investigation and individual trial rights has surfaced in the case of a Quincy couple charged with breaking into the building Jan. 6. The feds said they are working on a system to produce to defense attorneys the massive amount of evidence gathered.
  4. “Serial stowaway” Marilyn Hartman faces a new misdemeanor for criminal trespassing after being arrested at O’Hare Airport yesterday. Hartman was wearing a GPS ankle bracelet while on house arrest for another trespassing charge.
  5. The city’s effective date for a slate of stricter regulations on the home-sharing industry dominated by Airbnb is set to be pushed back from April 1 to June 1. The ban on single-night rentals intended to crack down on party houses has already taken effect.
  6. Sister Jean’s trip to this year’s March Madness is cause for celebrating with a new bobblehead. When the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum sold a bobblehead of her in 2018, it sold over 17,000 units.

A bright one

Sometimes, love is spelled L-A-S-A-G-N-A

The aroma of lasagna has seeped through the Sieracki household for a good part of the last three months. “My family is a little tired of it, I’m not going to lie,” Marci Sieracki said in jest.

But the cheese and noodle-layered dish that Sieracki has been whipping up sometimes more than twice a week since December isn’t necessarily for her family’s consumption.

Sieracki is the regional director of the Midwest branch of Lasagna Love, a nonprofit organization that provides warm meals — primarily lasagnas — to people in need.

Marci Sieracki is the regional director of the Midwest branch of Lasagna Love, a nonprofit organization that provides warm meals — primarily lasagnas — to people in need.
Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

“I’ve always felt like food is kind of my love language, it’s a good way to express that I care about somebody,” Sieracki said. “When I heard about [Lasagna Love], I felt like this was something... I wanted to be a part of.”

Blogger Rhiannon Menn came up with the idea of Lasagna Love last March when she saw how the pandemic caused food insecurity for some communities. She began making lasagnas for her neighbors in need in San Diego and documenting it on social media.

It has since blossomed into a national social-media campaign and is currently active in more than 1,000 cities in all 50 states and Puerto Rico.

Read Madeline Kenney’s full story here.

From the press box

The Bears and Seahawks’ general managers reportedly discussed a massive trade for Russell Wilson before Seattle coach Pete Carroll got wind and put a kibosh on the talks. The offer? Three first-round picks, a third-round pick and two starters from the Bears’ roster.

Given how predictably the Bears’ pursuit of big-name QBs went before they settled on Andy Dalton, our Rick Morrissey asks: Wait, you really thought the Bears were going to get Wilson or Deshaun Watson?

Your daily question ☕

If you’re among Americans receiving the $1,400 stimulus check, what do you plan to do with it?

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: If you could travel back in time to the start of the pandemic, what would you do differently? Here’s what some of you said...

“Invest sooner in a quality office chair for working at home.” — Joan Palmquist

“I’d bet everything I had on Tampa to win the Super Bowl.” — Ron Hitzler

“Move somewhere warm.” — Cindy B. Swis

“Nothing, really. I was and still am safer at home. Looking forward to brighter days.” — Barbara Leigh Johnson-Wood

“I would have changed up my desk/work area in the beginning...and made a better effort to structure my day...so many blurred boundaries with working from home.” — Crystal Campbell

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