Afternoon Edition: March 4, 2021

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

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Crews construct a new mass COVID-19 vaccination site on one of United Center’s parking lots.

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.

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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 partly sunny and breezy with a high near 38 degrees. Tonight’s low will be around 23 degrees. Tomorrow will be sunny with a high near 45 degrees.

Top story

Early problems ironed out with booking vaccine appointments at the United Center

Registration for COVID-19 vaccinations at the United Center got off to a glitchy start this morning, with some complaining they were unable to book appointments online or by phone.

The online problems appeared to have been resolved by late morning.

Our reporters made several attempts to call the phone number provided. Each time, the line was busy.

Chicago Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said that within a few hours of launching a “huge rush of people” had booked up all drive-thru appointments for the month of March. Walk-up appointments were still available.

“Some people weren’t able to get through immediately, and that’s just a sign of how much demand there is for appointments,” Arwady said during an online Q&A. “But within about 20-30 minutes, everything was up again and going smoothly.”

Mayor Lori Lightfoot said by 10 a.m. about 6,000 people had made vaccine appointments.

Read Stefano Esposito’s full story here.

More news you need

  1. In celebration of Chicago’s 184th birthday, we put together a quiz of trivia questions on the city’s history and more. Test your Chicago knowledge here. 
  2. Oops: Mayor Lightfoot was a year off when wishing the city a happy birthday this morning. Lightfoot tweeted a video wishing Chicago a happy 185th birthday, then deleted it after we asked about the mistake.
  3. The union representing Jewel-Osco warehouse workers and drivers is warning of a potential strike that would affect deliveries to the area’s largest grocery chain. Teamster Local 710 said bargaining this week has produced few results with its contract set to expire this weekend.
  4. Mount Carmel president Edward Hughes emailed the school’s faculty and staff last night that the campus and all sports are shut down until March 15. Multiple students at the high school have tested positive for COVID-19 in recent weeks.
  5. A South Shore Line officer shot and critically wounded an unruly passenger he was trying to remove from a train this morning at the Hegewisch station. The passenger became “physically aggressive and a struggle ensued,” at which point the officer shot the passenger in his abdomen, police said.
  6. It’s time to recognize the star power of longtime character actor Frank Grillo, who delivered an impressive turn as the lead in a new Hulu time loop thriller. Read Richard Roeper’s review of “Boss Level,” which premieres tomorrow.
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A bright one

Daily weed sales hit $2.88 million in February, a new high

However you feel about legal weed in Illinois, there’s no question it’s been a boon for the state’s budget.

Illinois pot shops unloaded nearly $2.9 million worth of recreational weed each day in February, outpacing a record set just a month earlier.

Average daily sales in February hit a new high of roughly $2.88 million, up from the $2.86 million a month earlier, according to figures released this week by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.


A jar of marijuana flower at NuEra Cannabis, located at 1308 W. North Ave., is seen in this photo Tuesday afternoon, Oct. 27, 2020.

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

All told, dispensaries sold more than $80 million in recreational pot products last month. That marked a drop from the record $88 million in sales recorded in January, when there were three more days of sales.

In the first full year of legalization, recreational pot sales reached nearly $670 million. Based on this year’s first two months, total sales in 2021 are on pace to eclipse $1 billion. The sales figures are reported separately from medical marijuana tallies, which are reported later in the month.

Read Tom Schuba’s full story here.

From the press box

Longtime ABC7 sports broadcaster Mark Giangreco may be on the way out after he jokingly referred to news anchor Cheryl Burton as “ditzy” during a segment last month. Burton complained to station management, which has kept Giangreco off the air ever since.

And with the Bulls getting a chance to reset during the All-Star break, Joe Cowley hands out his player grades for the first half of the season.

Your daily question ☕

Do you agree with the NBA’s decision to hold an All-Star Game this weekend? Tell us why or why not.

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: What’s your favorite thing about living in Chicago? Here’s what some of you said...

“The beautiful lakeshore and Gold Coast. Festivals and concerts. Museums. And just being able to walk down Michigan Avenue anywhere between Roosevelt and the Water Tower and enjoy the scenery.” — Kenya Newson

Memories of living in the Englewood community when I was a young girl ... Ice skating at the Midway, going to the theaters on 63rd St. near Woodlawn ... Walking across Jackson Park to get to 63rd St. Beach.” — Jolene Danca

In no particular order: the skyline, the lake, the flag, the arts, house music, the food, the river, the history, the sports, the attitude, and the pride.” — Lesley Natividad Cochran

The people, the character of the diverse neighborhoods, the history and cultural venues, public transit, and the beautiful river walk and lakefront.” — J. Fernando Schreck

Thanks for reading the Chicago Afternoon Edition.Got a story you think we missed? Email us here.

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