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Afternoon Edition: May 17, 2021

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

Gov. J.B. Pritzker speaks about the current COVID-19 rates and the outlook on future restrictions during a COVID-19 update at the James R. Thompson Center in the Loop, Thursday, May 6, 2021.
Anthony Vazquez/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 mostly cloudy with a high near 71 degrees. Tonight the low will be around 58. Tomorrow rain is expected with a high near 68.

Top story

Pritzker announces federal grants to help make rent payments, coming end to eviction moratorium

Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced new help for state residents seeking housing and rental assistance today, offering grants of up to $25,000 thanks to federal funds set aside for that purpose.

The new dollars were just one part of Pritzker’s housing assistance announcement. He also said the state will end its eviction moratorium in August with a “gradual phase-out over the next few months.”

“It was clear when we implemented last year’s housing relief programs that the need was far greater than the dollars allocated to our state,” Pritzker said at the Segundo Ruiz Belviz Center in Chicago.

“The Illinois Rental Assistance Program is a testament to how good government can make a life-changing difference for people when our dollars … follow our values,” Pritzker said. “This program expansion will allow us to take that impact to new heights for tens of thousands of Illinoisans.”

Struggling homeowners will also be able to tap into $400 million in mortgage assistance starting later in the summer, Pritzker said.

The one-time, $25,000 grant will cover missed rent payments as far back as June 2020 and for pre-payments through August 2021, or until all of the funds are used.

Read Rachel Hinton’s full story on the rent payment grant program here.

More news you need

  1. Gun violence is up sharply from last year as 48 people were shot, including six fatally, over the weekend in Chicago. Read more after a violent weekend that saw the highest number of shooting victims so far this year.
  2. Despite CDC guidance that fully vaccinated adults no longer need to wear face coverings, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said today she plans to continue wearing a mask in public. Lightfoot joined other public officials who’ve argued that the CDC’s quick about-face on masks raised more questions than it answered.
  3. Illinois health officials reported less than a thousand new daily cases of COVID-19 today for the first time in two months. The state also posted its fewest deaths related to the virus in 49 days.
  4. An off-duty Chicago police officer was killed when he crashed his SUV after speeding away from a traffic stop in Arlington Heights this morning. Authorities, while noting the vehicle’s speed, said “impairment was also suspected but not confirmed” as a factor of the crash.
  5. Federal prosecutors have charged two more people from Illinois with entering the U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6 breach. At least eight Illinoisans are among the hundreds that have already been charged in what prosecutors say will likely amount to one of the largest criminal investigations in U.S. history.
  6. Phoebe Bridgers, St. Vincent and Erykah Badu will headline Pitchfork Music Festival at Union Park this year. Pitchfork, which usually takes place in July, also announced it’ll be held Sept. 10-12.

A bright one

Jeremiah Paprocki, 21, becomes Cubs’ first African American public address announcer

Many fans dream of having their voices echo around historic Wrigley Field while reading the names of Cy Young Award winners, MVPs and future Hall of Famers. One lifelong Cubs fan is getting his shot to do just that.

There’s going to be a new booming baritone voice heard around Wrigleyville and it belongs to 21-year-old Jeremiah Paprocki. The Cubs have hired Paprocki to be their new public address announcer, making him the first African American to hold the position in team history and one of the youngest in MLB.

He’ll make his Wrigley Field debut on Monday when the Cubs take on the Nationals.

Jeremiah Paprocki is the Cubs’ first African American PA announcer and at the age of 21 also becomes one of the youngest in baseball.
Photo courtesy of the Chicago Cubs

“Who’s ever heard of a 21-year-old PA announcer?” Paprocki told the Sun-Times. “That truly means the world that the Chicago Cubs, my hometown team, the team that I love, is taking a chance on me.

“To be able to sit in that chair behind the microphone at Wrigley Field of all places, it’s truly an honor. I’m looking forward to that opportunity.”

Read our full story from Cubs beat reporter Russell Dorsey here.

From the press box

As Candace Parker returns to Chicago, she brings with her an excitement for Sky basketball that even Elena Delle Donne and Sylvia Fowles couldn’t establish. Read Annie Costabile’s full story on what makes Parker different from the Sky’s past superstars.

Former Cubs Kyle Schwarber and Jon Lester will make their first appearance back at Wrigley Field as members of the Nationals tonight (6:40 p.m. CT, Marquee).

And seven high schools across the area recently hired new boys basketball coaches, including De La Salle, which is bringing former St. Rita coach Gary DeCesare back to the Catholic League to lead its team. Subscribe to our high school sports newsletter for more updates.

Your daily question ☕

If you’ve been fully vaccinated, do you still plan to wear a mask at times?

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

On Friday, we asked you: Which of Chicago’s summer festivals are you most excited to attend again? Here’s what some of you said...

“Old Town Art Fair a great start to the summer.” — Maureen Chiricotti

“Riot Fest, so excited to see Nine Inch Nails again for the 25th time and happy to hang on to these Early Bird tickets from last year.” — Doug Mroz

“Chicago Gourmet is, easily and by far, the best foodie event in the city. I look forward to attending Chicago Gourmet this September if Chicago Gourmet comes back.” — Mike Crenshaw

“The Cuban fest is my favorite.” — Betsy Garcia

“House music picnic.” — Yahudiah Gita Chodosh

“None because the pandemic is not over.” — Sheri A. Mendez

“Are any allowing only the vaccinated? Otherwise, nope.” — Nicole Boylan

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