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Afternoon Edition: May 24, 2021

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

Father Michael Pfleger poses inside St. Sabina.
Max Herman/For the 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 mostly sunny with a high near 88 degrees. Tonight will be mostly cloudy with a low around 71. Tomorrow there’s a chance of thunderstorms with a high near 85.

Top story

Cupich clears Pfleger to return to St. Sabina after investigation into allegations of sex abuse

Cardinal Blase Cupich announced today that Rev. Michael Pfleger is being reinstated early next month as the senior pastor of St. Sabina Parish after the Archdiocese of Chicago cleared him to return following an internal probe into allegations of sexual abuse.

In a letter to St. Sabina’s congregation, Cupich said the archdiocese’s independent review board “concluded there is no reason to suspect Father Pfleger is guilty of these allegations.” Cupich noted Pfleger will return to his position starting June 5.

“I have asked Father Pfleger to take the next two weeks to prepare himself spiritually and emotionally to return, realizing that these months have taken a great toll on him,” Cupich wrote. “He has agreed to do so.”

Pfleger was removed from active ministry at the Auburn Gresham parish in January after he was accused of sexually abusing a minor more than 40 years ago. Later that month, the brother of Pfleger’s first accuser came forward with a second allegation.

The men, who are in their 60s and now live in Texas, said at a news conference that Pfleger molested them dozens of times, starting in the 1970s. It allegedly began when they were in the choir at Precious Blood Church on the West Side and continued for years at the Mundelein Seminary as well as two other churches, including St. Sabina, where Pfleger has served as pastor since 1981.

Then in March, a 59-year-old man came forward to bolster the brothers’ claims, alleging Pfleger molested him in the rectory at St. Sabina.

Pfleger didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment Monday. Neither did a spokeswoman for his accusers.

Read Tom Schuba’s full story here.

More news you need

  1. In the aftermath of unrest over George Floyd’s killing, local business owners have worked to salvage what they can and rebuild where possible. Read Manny Ramos’ full story — and watch the video above — on how they view Floyd’s death and the protests a year later.
  2. Cook County Commissioner Stanley Moore wants the county to delay a vote to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Moore, who said he is a direct descendant of a Choctaw Freedman, called for the vote to be delayed until certain tribes acknowledge their own historic racism.
  3. Mayor Lori Lightfoot today earmarked $80 million in federal relief funds for a third round of rental assistance. The move comes ahead of the expected end of a statewide eviction ban that has protected renters during the pandemic.
  4. A Chicago developer hopes to disrupt the local real estate industry by using what he calls an “apartment hotel” strategy with his company’s properties. The long-term approach to the buildings includes “higher-end amenities and finishes,” Jonathan Holtzman, CEO of City Club MDA Apartments, said.
  5. Season 4 of Showtime drama “The Chi” kicked off on the cable network last night. Read Evan F. Moore’s spoiler-filled recap of the season premiere here.

A bright one

Red Line becomes fashion runway to support My Block, My Hood, My City

As a Red Line train rolled south over the weekend it wasn’t picking up and dropping off passengers — unless you count the models that strutted and danced down the aisles of the privately chartered train to hit songs by Dua Lipa, Beyoncé and others.

My Block, My Hood, My City was hosting “Railways,” a crosstown fashion show to promote the youth-led, community-minded organization’s summer clothing line of branded gear.

Spectators lined a CTA two-car train that traveled between the Howard to 95th/Dan Ryan Red Line stations as models displayed T-shirts, letterman-style jackets and hoodies while singing and performing spoken word poetry.

Models prepared for their runway stroll in one car, while attendees of the show sat in another.

My Block, My Hood, My City models walk a Red Line train runway Saturday to show off the organization’s summer clothing line and raise funds for its programs.
Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

Jahmal Cole told the crowd his inspiration for founding My Block came from his time as a volunteer at the Cook County Jail.

Many detainees at the jail had never been downtown, taken a taxi or rode in an elevator, said Cole, 37. He made it his mission to help people from under-resourced areas of the city get out and about.

Read Mary Chappell’s full story here.

From the press box

It’s been a good May for the Cubs’ offense, and some of that can be credited to manager David Ross’ message finally hitting home with his players, Russell Dorsey writes. Those recent adjustments could hopefully lead to more consistent run production than in years past.

The Packers-Aaron Rodgers saga continues as the QB skipped the team’s first voluntary organized team activities today. Rodgers isn’t required to report for camp until June 8, however.

And with four players set to hit unrestricted free agency this offseason, the Bulls face some tough questions. Read Joe Cowley’s update for the latest on the futures of Garrett Temple, Daniel Theis, Denzel Valentine and Cristiano Felicio.

Your daily question ☕

How much has your daily routine returned to “normal” since being vaccinated?

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: City aldermen are attempting to corral rogue tow truck drivers. What do you think about the tow truck industry in Chicago? Here’s what some of you said...

“Tow truck drivers (sharks) have been circling city streets (water) for years. If I can pay for my tow in something other than cash and get a real receipt, I’m floored by it. It’s time for the city to regulate the sharks.” — Walter Brzeski

“Lived in the city for over 25 years and never had an issue with any of them. Staying on the right side of legal helped, I’m sure.” — Christine Bock

“After decades of hearing how City Aldermen are going to address the problem with rogue tow truck drivers, I think most have lost confidence that they’re ever going to effectively address this problem beyond a press release.” — Paul Elkins

“I have told my kids their whole lives: there are two kinds of tow trucks — the ones that come to help you when you need it, and the ones that come to steal your car away and hold it for ransom, deserved or not.” — Michael R. Butz

“Wise move! Massive abuse, empowered by Chicago ordinances!” — John Paul Jones

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