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Afternoon Edition: May 13, 2021

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

Ald. Patrick Daley Thompson.
Ald. Patrick Daley Thompson.
Colin Boyle / Sun-Times file

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 67 degrees. Tonight’s low will be around 47 degrees. Tomorrow will be mostly sunny with a high near 69.

Top story

Ald. Patrick Daley Thompson pleads not guilty to federal indictment during heated arraignment

Ald. Patrick Daley Thompson pleaded not guilty to federal criminal charges related to a failed Bridgeport bank during an unusually contentious arraignment today.

Lawyers argued during the hearing — held by telephone before U.S. District Judge Franklin Valderrama — about whether Thompson should have to turn his passport over to the government while awaiting trial.

The condition is routine for defendants charged in federal court. But defense attorney Chris Gair called it “just punitive.”

Gair also asked the judge about a trial date after repeatedly saying he wants to clear Thompson’s name.

Meanwhile, Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian Netols told the judge Thompson had declined to be interviewed by court personnel ahead of the hearing, telling the judge the alderman “doesn’t want to participate in the process” and “made your job more difficult.”

Gair retorted: “We’re the ones who want a trial, and want it now.”

Keep reading this story from Jon Seidel here.

More news you need

  1. Dick Kay, a no-nonsense, incisive inquisitor who had one of the longest political reporting careers in Chicago, died today at 84. He worked at the NBC station WMAQ-TV for 38 years.
  2. Today was the first day kids in the 12-15-year-old age group were eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. “It’s like a light at the end of the tunnel,” one 12-year-old said.
  3. The CDC is easing indoor mask-wearing guidance for fully vaccinated people, allowing them to safely stop wearing masks inside most places. The agency also said fully vaccinated people don’t need to wear masks outdoors in crowds.
  4. Gov. Pritzker today announced Six Flags Great America is offering up 50,000 free tickets to newly vaccinated residents. It’s the state’s latest effort to incentivize getting the COVID-19 shot.
  5. One of Mayor Lightfoot’s closest allies wants to know why there have been no health guidelines released, no applications processed and no block party permits issued with just over two weeks to go before Memorial Day. It’s “frickin’ almost summer,” Ald. Tom Tunney said.
  6. A small plane made an emergency landing on Interstate 355 near New Lenox this morning, injuring four people. The pilot and three passengers were taken to a hospital with injuries not considered life-threatening, police said.
  7. Chicago Public Schools plans to move 31 schools back into the district’s control after 15 years of private management by a not-for-profit organization that used controversial “turnaround” strategies. CPS said it would phase out its partnership with the Academy of Urban School Leadership over the next three years.

A bright one

Two Magellanic penguin chicks hatch at Shedd Aquarium

Say hello to Chicago’s newest fuzzy friends. Two Magellanic penguin chicks just came to town, and the Shedd Aquarium is giving everyone a first look at how the little guys are doing so far.

Earlier this spring, Magellanic and rockhopper penguins started their annual breeding season in the Polar Play Zone exhibit. The first hatchling arrived on April 29, and the second hatched on May 5.

Magellanic penguin chicks are full-grown after two to three months, but until then, the animal care team said they will be looking to monitor activity, hydration levels and more. | Shedd Aquarium/ Brenna Hernandez
Shedd Aquarium/ Brenna Hernandez

Though the Shedd Aquarium has been back open since January, these penguins are staying behind the scenes for now. The two are being reared by adult pairs who will keep the chicks warm and fed as they continue to grow, the aquarium said.

The animal care team is keeping an eye on the chicks, collecting weights and monitoring for any developmental milestones, but otherwise, they are keeping their distance to let the hatchlings bond with the adults.

Read Katelyn Haas’ full story here.

From the press box

The Cubs and White Sox will increase fan capacity at their stadiums to 60% this month after getting the green light from city and state officials. The Sox are also offering a $25 gift card for in-stadium use to fans who get vaccinated at Guaranteed Rate Field before games.

After the release of the Bears’ full 2021 regular-season schedule last night, our beat reporters predict the team’s record, the best matchups and when Justin Fields will make his pro debut.

And remember Derrick Rose? Against all the odds, the 32-year-old former Bull is now thriving with a Knicks team on its way to the playoffs, Rick Morrissey writes.

Your daily question ☕

Where is your favorite place to see springtime flowers in the city?

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

With the weather slowly warming up and swimmers already taking to Lake Michigan, yesterday we asked you: When is the lake warm enough for you to swim? Here’s some of what you said…

“When I was little, my grandparents used to take the grandkids to Lake Michigan in Two Rivers, Wisconsin on the first day of summer every year. And we swam. Now, I never think it’s warm enough but I’m old.” — Kristl Laux

“After a week solid of 90s.” — Maria Vazquez Ramos

“As long as the shelf ice isn’t in the way, it’s always a good time for a dip.” — Erik Angyus

“65-plus degree water.” — Jeff Hornstein

“Late June. My dog loves the dog beach. Since it was closed last year, we can’t wait to go this summer.” — Angela Goffrier Valentin

“When it runs from my hot water heater to my faucet into my bathtub.” — Phyllis Hahn

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

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