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Afternoon Edition: April 20, 2021

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

Mayor Lori Lightfoot says the city will be ready to deal with any unrest after a verdict is reached in the trial of a former Minneapolis police officer on trial for the murder of George Floyd.
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 cloudy with scattered snow showers and a high near 39 degrees. A freeze watch is in effect for tonight, which will see a low around 33 degrees. Tomorrow, rain is in the forecast, along with a high near 43 degrees.

Top story

Lightfoot warns looters poised to take advantage of Chauvin verdict: ‘Don’t test us.’

Mayor Lori Lightfoot had a warning today for anyone who dares to hijack peaceful protests tied to the Derek Chauvin verdict and use those demonstrations as an opportunity to launch a third round of looting in Chicago.

“Don’t test us. … Don’t test us. … Don’t test us, because we are ready,” Lightfoot told reporters.

“We are prepared and we are ready to arrest and bring to prosecution anyone who would dare to take the dreams of our small businesses by looting.”

Lightfoot said she asked Gov. J.B. Pritzker to activate the Illinois National Guard and send 125 uniformed guard members to Chicago to be on “standby,” keeping them close in the event they are needed to support Chicago police.

She called it one of the lessons learned from last year’s demonstrations, when the Chicago Police Department was “outflanked and underprepared” for riots and looting, according to Inspector General Joe Ferguson.

Ferguson’s scathing 124-page report described mistakes at the highest levels of CPD that “failed the public” as well as rank-and-file police officers who were “left to high-stakes improvisation without adequate supervision or guidance.”

“My responsibility is to learn from every experience that we have and make sure that we are better prepared because of that learning — and we are,” Lightfoot said.

Read Fran Spielman’s full story here.

More news you need

  1. Mayor Lightfoot also doubled down today on efforts to increase vaccinations among Black Chicagoans as cases, hospitalizations and deaths rise in the community. The mayor urged South Side residents to go to Chicago State University to get the “life-saving vaccine.”
  2. Illinois’ coronavirus positivity rate fell below 4% today for the first time in two weeks. The statewide numbers, including in Chicago, have trended in the right direction for eight straight days.
  3. The executive director of the state’s election authority will retire this summer, an abrupt announcement that comes a little over two weeks after board members placed him on administrative leave after he reported being the victim of an online extortion attempt. Steve Sandvoss sent a letter announcing he will retire effective June 30.
  4. A Winnetka man facing price-gouging allegations in federal court allegedly sent texts to a man last March bragging about his profits and asking “Who is going to report me?” Prosecutors revealed the texts from Krikor Topouzian in court yesterday after he was charged last fall with violating the Defense Production Act.
  5. Navy Pier will begin a phased reopening April 30, eight months after it closed due to the pandemic. Polk Bros Park, Peoples Energy Welcome Pavilion, East End Plaza and Pier Park are among parts of the pier set to open next week.
  6. Four Red Line stations on the North Side will be demolished and rebuilt with wider platforms, elevators and other amenities as part of CTA’s ongoing modernization project for its busiest two lines. The work will begin May 16 at Lawrence and Berwyn stations with the Argyle and Bryn Mawr stations also set to be upgraded.

A bright one

New Deal-era mural about ships finds a new life at a Bridgeport museum

A tall-masted schooner, a paddle boat and other antique ships — all sail along a painted river in an 85-year-old mural that’s found new life at the Chicago Maritime Museum at 1200 W. 35th St. in Bridgeport.

The 20-foot-long “History of Ships” mural tells of shipbuilding from the early sailing days to steamships. The five ships it shows are painstakingly detailed and flanked on either side by figures in historic period clothing against a background of rolling hills in the distance.

Little is known about the mural’s history, according to Dylan Hoffmann, the Chicago Maritime Museum’s curator. Most of what’s known is from two pages in “A Guide to Chicago’s Murals,” a 2001 book about the city’s public art.

The 20-foot-long mural “History of Ships” being installed at the Chicago Maritime Museum, 1200 W. 35th St. Commissioned in 1936, the 85-year-old mural was donated to the museum last November.
Provided

Commissioned in 1936 for Lawson Elementary School in North Lawndale, it was one of several murals done by artist Gustaf Dalstrom for the federal Works Progress Administration, the New Deal agency. Among other things, the WPA put artists to work producing a wide array of art.

The mural hung in the halls at Lawson until the school was shut down along with 31 other schools in 1981. It was demolished the next year.

Read Rylee Tan’s full story and check out our ongoing series on Chicago’s public here.

From the press box

When asked about Zach LaVine last night, Bulls coach Billy Donovan couldn’t provide a timetable for his return, but said the star guard is “extremely bored” right now as he goes through health protocol after testing positive for COVID-19.

Our position-by-position Bears draft preview continues with a look at the defensive line.

Wyatt Kalynuk’s hip injury disrupts a breakout stretch for the Blackhawks rookie, who had played in 10 straight games before getting hurt in last night’s game against Nashville.

Your daily question ☕

It’s 4/20! What’s your favorite way to consume cannabis? Tell us why.

Email us (please include your first name and where you live) and we might include your answer in the next Afternoon Edition.

Yesterday, we asked you: What’s the best way to tell that winter in Chicago is finally over? Here’s what some of you said...

“After Mother’s Day. I don’t plant anything or unplug the snowblower until then.” — Tonia Lorenz

“After the annual April snowstorm!” — Kevin Watson

“Walking down residential streets, you can smell charcoal burning, carne asada cooking, and music is blaring from cars and backyards.” — Victor M. Montañez

“My wife yelling my ear off to cut the grass.” — Ryan Flynn

“When I stop wearing my long johns.” — Cynthia Woodard

“We celebrate the 4th of July!” — Randy Goranson

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