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Afternoon Edition: April 29, 2021

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

Fans arrive before a Bulls-Celtics game at the United Center. The two teams play again at the stadium on May 7.
Matt Marton/AP 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.

This afternoon will be partly sunny with a high near 65 degrees. Tonight will be partly cloudy with a chance of thunderstorms and a low around 48. Tomorrow will be sunny with a high near 59.

Top story

Fans allowed at Bulls, Blackhawks games as Chicago continues to ease restrictions

With two million vaccine doses administered and health metrics improving, Mayor Lori Lightfoot is reopening Chicago a little bit more — this time to let restaurants and theaters serve more patrons and allow fans inside the United Center for the first time since the start of the pandemic.

“It’s time for the Pier and the city to be open,” Lightfoot said during a celebratory news conference at Navy Pier.

“I’m thrilled to announce that we are able to broadly loosen capacity restrictions across industries starting today, which allows us to welcome back fans to the United Center, reopen Navy Pier and our lakefront beaches, bring back the Windy City Smokeout, our iconic country music and barbecue festival, as well as a number of summer street festivals.”

On the eve of Navy Pier’s phased reopening, President and CEO Marilynn Gardner added, “Welcome to Navy Pier. I can’t tell you how great it feels to finally say those words...After eight long months, we’re thrilled to open our doors and welcome guests back to the peoples’ pier.”

The new Phase Four rules, effective immediately, allow the Bulls and Blackhawks to close their seasons before roughly 5,250 fans per game — 25% of the United Center’s capacity.

Fran Spielman has the full story and learn more about how to get Bulls/Blackhawks tickets here.

More news you need

  1. Mayor Lori Lightfoot said today it’s a “big deal” to strip an officer of police powers and the Civilian Office of Police Accountability needs to provide “good justification” for recommending it for the officer who shot and killed Anthony Alvarez. The mayor also criticized COPA for announcing its recommendation before informing Supt. David Brown.
  2. COPA, in a separate case, says it found “significant deficiencies” with CPD’s policy and training on the serving of search warrants while reviewing the botched raid on the home of Anjanette Young. COPA said it will release the full report’s findings after Brown’s review.
  3. Illinois health officials reported 3,394 new cases of COVID-19 and 38 additional deaths today. The latest cases were among 89,057 specimens tested over the last 24 hours, bringing the state’s positivity rate to 4%.
  4. A new Chicago inspector general report says former contact tracers had access to patient information after leaving their jobs. The IG report found lapses in privacy policy, though city officials insist there was no unauthorized access of information.
  5. An outbreak of coronavirus that led to 23 cases and one death was linked to a luncheon at Midwest Warehouse on Diehl Road in Naperville, according to a federal investigation. The Woodridge-based company faces a fine of $12,288.
  6. Rob Gorodetsky, who was the focus of a 2017 USA Today profile that asked “Is this the future face of sports gambling?” before being caught in a $9.6 million wire fraud scheme, was sentenced to 28 months in prison today. The sentencing hearing at Dirksen Federal Courthouse made for an ignominious ending to the New Trier grad’s career.
  7. English rock band Genesis will kick off its first U.S. tour in 14 years with a show at the United Center on Nov. 15. Phil Collins, Tony Banks and Mike Rutherford announced The Last Domino? Tour today.

A bright one

Glenview’s Charlie Yook excited to lead NFL Network’s draft coverage on site again

Charlie Yook has overseen NFL Network’s draft production since 2014, but he has been a Bears fan for much longer.

At the 2017 NFL Draft in Philadelphia, Yook was watching the proceedings from where he always does, in the production truck. The Bears had traded with the 49ers to move up from the third overall pick to the second. Yook wondered aloud what general manager Ryan Pace was doing, but he tempered his consternation, saying, “As long as it’s not Mitch Trubisky, I’ll be fine.”

A perk of working behind the scenes is knowing teams’ selections before they’re announced. The production crew sets up the graphics and videos for each player to present to the audience. So when the producer sitting in front of Yook learned the Bears’ pick, he uttered, “Uh, oh,” turned around and said, “The pick is in. You’re not gonna like it.

“Mitch Trubisky, quarterback, North Carolina.”

Yook whipped down his headset and broke a monitor.

Rich Eisen (from left), David Shaw, Charles Davis and Daniel Jeremiah are on the set Wednesday in Cleveland ahead of the NFL Draft.
Alika Jenner/NFL

Yook, who graduated from Glenbrook South in 1992, was always a sports nut, but he didn’t develop an interest in TV production until he attended Miami University. As a journalism major, he took a class senior year that gave him hands-on experience in a TV newsroom. Every student performed every job – producer, director, camera, anchor, etc. – and he was hooked.

“We all have that moment we realize, OK, this is something real,” Yook said. “That completely solidified what I wanted to do the rest of my life.”

Read Jeff Agrest’s full story on the Glenview native who will be overseeing tonight’s NFL Network draft coverage.

From the press box

The 2021 NFL Draft kicks off tonight with the first round on ABC, ESPN and NFL Network. The Bears have the No. 20 overall pick, but with GM Ryan Pace facing the highest stakes of his career, it’s possible he tries to trade up for a quarterback.

In addition to our final mock draft of all 32 first-round picks, check out who our beat writers think the Bears should take tonight. Mark Potash, Jason Lieser and Patrick Finley all make their cases.

The White Sox will be without a key piece of their bullpen after lefty Garrett Crochet landed on the 10-day injured list today. The team also activated Luis Robert, who will be ready to play in the second game of tonight’s doubleheader against the Tigers.

Your daily question ☕

What would you like to see the Bears do with their first-round pick tonight?

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: How do you feel about Chicago’s planned “Vax Pass” system to limit admission to select concerts based on vaccination status? Here’s what some of you said...

“I am a big fan. I would love to participate in big concerts with a crowd of people and be comfortable knowing they were all vaccinated like me. Those that choose to not get vaccinated will have to face the consequences of their decision.” — Carole Delahunty

“Just let people live their lives finally! I am vaccinated but would gladly go to a concert where others aren’t. If you’re worried— don’t go or be smart. That simple.” — Makenzie Reigh Thompson

“I think the city is making a wise decision. We are adults and have the ability to make decisions and the brain to understand the consequences of our decisions. If you chose not to get a vaccine, great, but there are consequences.” — Melissa Voss Edwards

“I’m good with it. Vaccinated people deserve to be able to do things again. If you don’t want to be vaccinated I understand, it’s your choice. But people deserve to know who is least likely to be harboring the disease. It’s good public health.” — Heather Burkhalter

“Another idea in which the city will lose revenue! Folks aren’t gonna be forced to get a vaccine they don’t want. They will see the concerts in a neighboring state!” — Lydia Mojzis O’Grady

“Great idea! If people choose not to do something for the common good then the onus is on them.” — Al Kabelis

“So now we are being forced to take a vaccine in order to enjoy our city? Hmmm I see...This will backfire!” — Sata Triplett

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

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