Afternoon Edition: April 21, 2021

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

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Ald. Ed Burke (14th) attends the Chicago City Council meeting at City Hall on Wednesday, which marked the first in-person council meeting since the start of the pandemic.

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.

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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 won’t feel much like spring with rain and snow expected and a high near 44 degrees. Tonight’s low will be around 31 degrees. Tomorrow, seasonally appropriate weather returns with sunny skies and a high near 56 degrees.

Top story

Feds say Burke made a ‘distasteful’ comment about Jewish people as authorities investigated him

Federal prosecutors allege Ald. Edward M. Burke (14th) made a derogatory comment about Jewish people as authorities investigated him for using his position on the City Council to steer business toward his private law firm.

In discussions about the renovation of the Old Post Office, Burke allegedly made the comment that, “Well, you know as well as I do, Jews are Jews and they’ll deal with Jews to the exclusion of everybody else unless . . . unless there’s a reason for them to use a Christian.”

Prosecutors called the comment “distasteful” but said it was taken to mean Burke would only be hired to do tax work for an individual if Burke could help that person out as an alderman.

The comment appears in a heavily redacted 227-page brief filed by prosecutors as part of Burke’s criminal case in federal court. It alleges that the investigation into Burke revealed him “to be thoroughly corrupt and worthy of prosecution.”

Prosecutors also called recordings of Burke’s phone calls “powerful evidence” of his involvement in criminal activity and said he is trying to keep them from a jury.

It has been nearly two years since the feds hit Burke with a blockbuster racketeering indictment. Burke political aide Peter Andrews and developer Charles Cui were charged along with him.

Read Jon Seidel’s full story here.

More news you need

  1. Mayor Lori Lightfoot clashed with Ald. Byron Sigcho-Lopez — and ruled him out of order — during debate on a resolution honoring the life of13-year-old Adam Toledo today. Lightfoot banged the gavel and interrupted Sigcho-Lopez at the mere mention of a CPD civilian oversight ordinance she promised to deliver in her first 100 days in office.
  2. Chicago Public School students will have the option of returning to classrooms full time in the fall, district officials announced today. Families uncomfortable or unable to return will still be allowed to learn remotely.
  3. Cook County public health officials said they expect to soon resume administering doses of the federally scrutinized Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, as federal regulators appear poised to give providers the go-ahead to do so. The J&J shot was shelved nationwide last week following six reports of rare blood clots surfacing among almost 7 million recipients.
  4. A pair of Cook County mass vaccination sites — one in Matteson, the other in Tinley Park — will now offer vaccines without appointments. The two sites will be open 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday for walk-ins, officials said.
  5. Cook County prosecutors dropped state charges today against a man who already pleaded guilty in federal court after setting fire to a cop car during protests last summer. Jacob Fagundo, 23, already faces a sentence of 8-14 months in federal prison, so county prosecutors decided not to move forward with charges at the state level.
  6. Ald. Scott Waguespack wants City Council to extend an ordinance capping fees on third-party delivery service apps through at least the fall. DoorDash responded to the cap, which is currently set to expire in July, by introducing a $1.50 “Chicago fee” on all orders placed in the city.
  7. A new city program will spend at least $60 million to help support the arts and local artists. Arts 77 will focus on employing creative workers locally, expanding public investments in the arts through policy and increasing involvement in the creative and cultural sector across the city’s 77 community areas.
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A bright one

Jeffrey P. Haydon leading Ravinia into a new era, and a return to live performances amid a pandemic

When Jeffrey P. Haydon took over as president and chief executive officer of the Ravinia Festival in early September, six months into the devastating coronavirus pandemic, he did not have the luxury of a soft landing.

The seasoned arts administrator had to immediately help stabilize the venerable Highland Park event’s shaky finances and begin determining if there were a way it could present much-desired, in-person performances in 2021.

The big news is that Ravinia will present a live season this summer that will have about the same duration as usual but will likely feature 80-85 classical, jazz, pop and family events compared to the 110-120 that typically take place in a normal year. The schedule is expected to be announced in early May.

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Jeffrey P. Haydon decided to seek the position of president and CEO of Ravinia Festival because of his long admiration of the event.

Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times

“The board and I had a very passionate conversation where we all agreed that we wanted to open up Ravinia if it were safe to do so,” Haydon said. “Everyone realized that we have a mission and we need to fulfill that mission by bringing live music to people.”

Ravinia is the longtime summer home of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and a highlight of this year’s season will be a full six weeks of performances by the ensemble, with the maximum number of on-stage musicians capped at around 50 because of COVID-19 safety protocols. Seven concerts will be led by Marin Alsop in her first season as Ravinia’s chief conductor and curator.

Read Kyle MacMillan’s full story on how Ravinia’s new CEO plans to lead the nation’s oldest outdoor music festival into a new era.

From the press box

The White Sox-Indians game scheduled for tonight has been postponed due to weather and field conditions. The matchup will be played as a straight doubleheader May 31 starting at 3:05 p.m.

The Cubs’ Joc Pederson hopes to break out his season-long slump tonight when the team hosts the Mets at Wrigley Field (6:40 p.m.).

NBC Sports Chicago will give viewers the option to watch an alternate betting-focused broadcast of the Bulls-Hornets game tomorrow night. Airing on NBCSCH+ opposite the main broadcast on the main channel, it will give viewers data, analysis and commentary focused on the gambling aspects of the game.

Your daily question☕

Has not going in to the office during the pandemic made you rethink how you view work and/or career goals?

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

Yesterday for 4/20, we asked you: What’s your favorite way to consume cannabis? Here’s what some of you said...

“Personally I like to smoke it early in the morning to the sound of rain before anyone else in my house wakes up ... then walk back in and watch a movie with frosted flakes.” — Jesus Morales

Been partaking since 1973. Mostly smoking but now also enjoy edibles.” — Larry Reno Paganelli

“In a way that doesn’t cost $20 in taxes to the state of Illinois.” — Jeremiah Panagopöulos

“Smoke. Pipe.” — Tom Zielinski

“Gummies.” — Gary Eskew

“You the cops or something? Don’t worry about it, narc.” — Ryan Flynn

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