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Afternoon Edition: June 25, 2021

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

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 cloudy with a chance of rain and a high near 80. A flash flood watch is in effect until 7 a.m. tomorrow as more rain and thunderstorms are expected tonight. This weekend will bring even more rain with a high around 83 each day.

Top story

Illinois law says ex-pols can keep campaign cash for personal use. One just pocketed $392,606.

Former Cook County Sheriff Michael Sheahan is the latest Illinois politician to cash out his campaign fund by pocketing the balance.

Sheahan, who also once was 19th Ward alderman, paid himself $392,606 in January out of his Citizens for Michael F. Sheahan campaign committee before closing its books nearly 15 years after he last held public office.

It’s a dubious practice that’s completely legal under Illinois law.

Former President Barack Obama once called the practice “legalized bribery.”

The Illinois Legislature voted in 1998 to ban the practice — but only for all future politicians in the state, exempting themselves along with anyone else who already had a campaign fund.

Since then, government officials and former officials have been allowed to cash out an amount equal to whatever money they held in their political accounts on June 30, 1998. The only requirement is that they must pay income taxes on the money.

Mark Brown makes his argument for why this shouldn’t be legal here.

More news you need

  1. After a chemical explosion at a Rockton plant, the task of protecting the nearby Rock River from gallons of oil stored at the facility has been handed over to its owner, Lubrizol. That “defies logic,” says Angela Fellars, a Winnebago County Board member.
  2. Six months into a historic vaccination campaign, more than six million Illinois residents are now fully vaccinated against COVID-19 — or slightly more than 47% of the population. And with a case positivity rate of 0.6%, those numbers are as encouraging as they’ve been since the pandemic hit.
  3. The family of Katie Wilson, a pregnant mother severely injured during this week’s tornado, is raising money on her behalf. A tree landed on Wilson when it broke through her home, injuring her and killing her unborn child.
  4. As part of a sweeping election bill recently signed into law, candidates with young children will be able to use their campaign funds for child care expenses. The new campaign finance rule aims to make politics more family friendly.
  5. Oversight of Chicago’s public schools could soon see its most significant shift in decades after a meeting yesterday between Lori Lightfoot and a group of legislators who passed a bill creating an elected Chicago school board. The measure, which would be a major check on the mayor’s power over CPS, is now likely to head to Gov. Pritzker’s desk.
  6. Ald. Brendan Reilly introduced an ordinance today that would effectively establish a minimum wage for Uber and Lyft drivers — even if it raises prices for riders. This comes after the downtown alderman proposed a cap on ride-hailing surge fees to rein in what he called “predatory” charges.
  7. A potential class action lawsuit filed this week against the private company that operates Chicago’s parking meter system alleges its exclusive contract with the city amounts to an “unreasonable 75-year monopoly.” The complaint says the deal with the city has brought increased parking rates and restrictions on other forms of travel.
  8. In a 53-40 vote, the Senate confirmed Candace Jackson-Akiwumi yesterday for a seat on the Chicago-based 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. She will be the only person of color on the panel and the second Black judge in its history.
  9. South Side-born Alice Clark Brown was one of the first Black women to work as a showgirl, dancer and aerial acrobat with Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. Read Maureen O’Donnell’s tribute to the trailblazer, who died June 6 at 68.

A bright one

Nigeria-born artist puts his style into his murals, his name on them and his dogs in them

Chicago muralist Uprizn Ikpemi grew up around dogs and always enjoyed painting them.

So when the artist moved to Chicago four years ago from Lagos, Nigeria, and saw how artists signed their work, he had an idea.

He would put his name to his work, like other artists do. And, when he could, he’d also include his dogs in them, finding a way to get his 3-year-old bullmastiff Peppo or his 2-year-old American bulldog Risky somewhere in the mural.

“Most artists out here have a unique style or have a unique symbol or have something that they’re known for,” Ikpemi says. “I could just be the dog guy who paints the dogs.”

Artist Uprizn Ikpemi has made his dogs a signature element in the murals he’s painted around Chicago.
Provided

Over the years, featuring a dog became his signature element as he got better at drawing them.

He started doing that after noticing that other artists often develop a signature element they often feature. So he decided that his dogs would be his personal symbol.

Ikpemi has worked on murals across Chicago, most of them on the South Side.

Ikpemi says his style is influenced by his African background, with bold color and abstract elements as seen in the mural at 63rd and Racine.

He’s also partial to using a graffiti-like technique known as wildstyle that interweaves shapes.

Lu Calzada has more on Ikpemi’s art here.

From the press box

Your daily question ☕

Who’s the biggest celebrity you’ve spotted in Chicago? Tell us where and when you saw them.

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, we asked you: Say you have a friend visiting Chicago for the first time — where will you take them to get the full experience Here’s what some of you said…

“A day at the Shedd Aquarium and water taxi to Navy Pier. Water taxi from downtown to Chinatown. Go to The Signature Lounge for a drink and a stop at the women’s restroom with an amazing view of the City. Lincoln Park Zoo, Chicago History Museum and then the J. Parker.” — Kate Gronstal

“For the full experience, it would have to be the top of one of the buildings, so they can see it all at once. Only then would I start taking them around to the obvious: Navy Pier, the Bean, the Magnificent Mile, Wrigley Field, etc.” — Sandy Gulliver

“1. An old school neighborhood tavern (I like Stanley’s at 43rd and Ashland). 2. Take the brown line to the end of the line so they get a birds-eye view of like 10 different neighborhoods. 3. Take the pink line to Ashland and walk around Pilsen to see the murals — pop in one of the many great Mexican restaurants around there.” — Paul Mulchrone

“For the perfect day, head over to Hyde Park and the University of Chicago where you can walk the campus and appreciate the amazing architecture and vibe. Then just a stone’s throw away is the wonderful Medici on 57th restaurant for a fabulous breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Finally, end your afternoon with an awesome browsing experience at 57th. Street Books. You will not be disappointed!” — Patti Joyce

“Get an all-day water taxi pass — it’s a relaxed way to see different parts of the city, with unlimited on-off privileges, so you can hop off if an area looks interesting. Up to Goose Island; out to Navy Pier; Michigan Avenue; and always end the day in Chinatown, so that you’re getting back to where you started while the city is all lit up.” — Carolyn Leeb

“Mostly South Side stuff: Rainbow Cone, DiCola’s Seafood Beverly, Vienna Beef at 38th and Morgan. Weber’s Bakery on Archer. Nick & Vitos on Pulaski. A breaded steak from Ricobenes on 26th. That should hold em for a while.” — John Czerwiec

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