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Afternoon Edition: May 12, 2021

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

Though Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s office says no final decision has been made on someone to take over the top job at the Civilian Office of Police Accountability, reform advocates think they know who’s going to get the job — and they’re not happy about it. 
Rich Hein/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 sunny with a high near 61 degrees. Tonight’s low will be around 42 degrees. Tomorrow will be sunny with a high near 67.

Top story

Police reform advocates want to stop apparent Lightfoot nominee for top COPA job

Police reform advocates are mobilizing behind the scenes to stop Mayor Lori Lightfoot from appointing the chief operating officer of the Public Building Commission to run Chicago’s Civilian Office of Police Accountability.

Lori Lypson’s only experience in investigating police wrongdoing was more than 20 years ago when she spent a year as supervising investigator for the Chicago Police Department’s Office of Professional Standards.

The chief administrator of OPS at that time? Lori Lightfoot.

Lightfoot and Lypson teamed up again in May 2005 at the city’s Department of Procurement Services.

At the time, Lightfoot and longtime friend Mary Dempsey were sent into Procurement Services by Mayor Richard M. Daley to clean up the mess after the Hired Truck and minority contracting scandals.

Read the full story from Fran Spielman and Frank Main here.

More news you need

  1. Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s health team is pumping $225 million into a rapid COVID-19 testing program for students returning to middle and high schools statewide this fall. The covidSHIELD saliva testing system will help ensure a more normal looking school year for younger kids, officials say.
  2. If students plan to return to Northwestern University’s campus in the fall, they’ll need to be vaccinated, according to an email sent to students today. Northwestern joins a growing list of Chicago-based colleges requiring their students be vaccinated.
  3. Former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is poised to be named President Joe Biden’s U.S. Ambassador to Japan. Read Lynn Sweet’s rundown of what you need to know about the expected nomination.
  4. A Chicago real estate agent who lost her job with @properties because of her ties to the U.S. Capitol riot in January is suing over an MSNBC report in which she claims the network wrongly told viewers she had been criminally charged, court records show. The lawsuit claims Libby Andrews “had no notoriety of any kind” prior to a Jan. 10 broadcast, though her name appeared in multiple news reports after her firing.
  5. Taverns across the state would be able to reward patrons who can prove they got a shot of the COVID-19 vaccine with a free beer — or other alcoholic beverage — under a bill introduced by state Rep. Mike Zalewski. The bill would limit the promotions to one free alcoholic beverage.

A bright one

Raised bike lanes to be installed in Chicago to better protect cyclists

If Copenhagen can install raised bike lanes to prevent motorists from invading space reserved for cyclists, why can’t Chicago try it?

Transportation Commissioner Gia Biagi asked essentially that question during a virtual address to the Rotary Club of Chicago yesterday, then answered it in a way that delighted her fellow cyclists.

Biagi noted Chicago’s cycling plan is “a decade old.” It’s high-time to “update the technology, think differently about it and get some of those measures and policies in place where we can do the carrot and the stick at the same time,” she said.

Chicago wouldn’t be the first city to copy Denmark’s bicycle lanes. This is a “Copenhagen style” bike lane in Melbourne, Australia.
Wikimedia Commons

“Our curb management planning will be taking on these issues. Whether it’s enforcement. Whether it’s some street design that we can do. How do we set the conditions so we’re actually creating places where pick-ups and drop-offs — there’s a way that it’s less of an impediment,” the commissioner said.

“We’re also experimenting with raised bike lanes, by the way. You see those in Copenhagen, one of my favorite cities to cycle around,” Biagi said.

“We’re not Copenhagen,” she added, but the city is exploring ways to “embed into the infrastructure” bike lanes that keep cars out. It also makes enforcement easier: “It’s very clear: I don’t have to be here to ticket you. You can’t even use this space.”

Read Fran Spielman’s full story here.

From the press box

The Bears’ full 2021 regular-season schedule won’t be unveiled until tonight, but our reporters have been tracking early details coming out about the games. The team will have at least three matchups on national TV, including the Sept. 12 season opener against the Rams on “Sunday Night Football.”

The Bears getting primetime treatment for Week 1 has fueled speculation that the team could be pressured to turn to Justin Fields sooner than later. “I think we’ll all know when it’s Justin’s time to go win a football game,” QB coach John DeFilippo said today.

And after Blackhawks star Patrick Kane spent the 2020-21 season battling an undisclosed injury, he’s hoping to spend the summer getting back to 100% for the fall.

Your daily question ☕

As the weather slowly warms up, some swimmers are already taking to Lake Michigan. When is the lake warm enough for you to swim?

Reply to this email (please include your first name and where you live) and we might feature your answer in the next Afternoon Edition.

Yesterday it was National Eat What You Want Day, so we asked you: What are you having for dinner tonight? Here’s some of what you said…

“New York strip steak, broccoli, baked potato, and fresh green salad.” — Thomas Gregory Ray

“Mixed vegetables, broccoli, orange, yellow peppers, garlic, thin slice of lemon, ginger thin slices, and shrimp stir-fried. And on the side, white rice, soy sauce and fish sauce with cayenne pepper!” — Ivan Ruíz

“Filet mignon, baked potato, sautéed mushrooms, corn, and garlic bread!” — Judy Fish Freshley

“Six Pack Of Beer And A Package Of Oreos!” — Leroy Altman

“I just had cereal for lunch, breakfast was a scotch egg and dinner will probably be pizza, considering I’m making the dough for it right now.” — Leslie Kollene Warren

“I don’t care, what do you want?”— Judd Fox

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

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