Afternoon Edition: July 21, 2021

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

SHARE Afternoon Edition: July 21, 2021

Mayor Lightfoot presides over Wednesday’s City Council meeting at City Hall.

Ashlee Rezin Garcia/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.

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Afternoon Edition

Chicago’s most important news of the day, delivered every weekday afternoon. Plus, a bonus issue on Saturdays that dives into the city’s storied history.

This afternoon will be partly sunny with a high near 76 degrees. Tonight will be partly cloudy with a low around 64. Tomorrow will be partly sunny with a chance of showers and a high near 85.

Top story

City Council approves civilian police oversight ordinance

It’s been a long time coming and a rocky road along the way. But civilian oversight pivotal to restoring trust between citizens and police is finally coming to Chicago.

The City Council delivered it Wednesday, clearing the 34-vote hurdle needed to approve any ordinance involving the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners. The ordinance does that by electing three-member councils in each of Chicago’s 22 police districts.

The vote was 36 to 13. A relieved round of applause followed.

Mayor Lightfoot campaigned on a promise to empower a civilian oversight board to hire and fire the police superintendent and be the final arbiter in disputes over police policy and the Chicago Police Department’s budget. She promised to deliver civilian oversight within the first 100 days of her administration.

What she managed to deliver — 26 months into her four-year term — falls far short of that promise.

The final language would empower a seven-member commission to take a vote of no-confidence in the Chicago police superintendent. The commission also could take no-confidence votes for the chief administrator of the Civilian Office of Police Accountability and any Police Board member. Such votes would need the support of at least five of the seven members to pass.

Fran Spielman has more on the historic vote here.

More news you need

  1. City Council also laid the groundwork today for a development team to build a seven-million-square-foot, mixed-used development on the site once occupied by Michael Reese Hospital. It has the potential to generate $3.1 billion in new tax revenue for the city and create nearly 10,000 jobs.
  2. Ald. Walter Burnett today introduced an ordinance that would lift Chicago’s ban on sports betting and establish parameters for the city to issue licenses and profit from them. Legal sports betting arrived in Illinois as part of a massive gambling bill signed into law by Gov. Pritzker two years ago.
  3. The University of Illinois system will require employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 for the upcoming semester. This comes a month after the school mandated that students get shots.
  4. A CPS employee testified yesterday that she grew numb and was in pain after her school’s principal whipped a water bottle at her head last year. The employee said the incident gave her a concussion and left an open wound, forcing her to go on leave.
  5. Metra reported today that it is seeing a large increase in ridership and is recovering from 2020 a little faster than expected. About 70,000 riders a day are using Metra this month, which is still far below July 2019 but ahead of projections, officials said.
  6. All of the homes featured on the HGTV show “Windy City Rehab” have now been sold. The last home to remain on the market sold two days ago for far less than the original asking price.
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A bright one

The South Side’s Original Rainbow Cone is headed to the North Side

North Siders, get ready for a South Side classic: The Original Rainbow Cone is taking its partnership with Buona Beef to the other side of the city next spring.

The northward expansion comes after the two longtime Chicago eateries have seen early success at their recently opened joint locations in Lombard and Darien.

“We plan on bringing this to as many communities as we can,” said John Buonavolanto, one of 15 members of the third generation in charge of the 40-year-old beef sandwich empire.


The Original Rainbow Cone, the iconic South Side ice cream shop, plans to open a North Side shop next spring.

Sun-Times file

The partnership came together just as the pandemic hit last year. Lynn Sapp, a third-generation owner of the iconic sliced-not-scooped ice cream shop, said the partnership allowed her to expand her business while most restaurants were downsizing or closing.

No changes are planned at the original shop at 9233 S. Western Ave., which has been home for 95 years since Rainbow Cone moved to the other side of the street shortly after opening in 1926.

Even as the styling of the locations differ and the partnership evolves, Buonavolanto promised, “The beef is never gonna change. The Rainbow Cone is never gonna change.”

Read Cheyanne M. Daniels’ full story on the North Side expansion here.

From the press box

Your daily question ☕

It’s National Hot Dog Day, so we want to know: Where can the best Chicago-style hot dog be found?

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: What do you think about the Blue Origin launch and the second billionaire in just over a week blasting into space today? Here’s what some of you said...

“He spent all that money for a couple of minutes in space. When he could’ve helped so many families right here on earth. What a waste.” — Bobby Parisio

“I think the contributions by these two men to the furthering of humans getting to space is amazing and incredible. To see people reach a personal goal that will further America in the space race is so exciting! They both deserve the place in history that they have earned.” — Cyndie OBrien

“People are so rich that they’ve run out of things to buy and do, so they’ve decided to joyride to the edge of space. I’m all for advancing science & engineering, but space joyrides for rich people are ridiculous.” — Yvonne Curbis

“Much of the conveniences we all take for granted today were created by people with money who, with their privilege, created things for other rich people and their friends. And now we all benefit from them, think cars, airplanes, electricity and chocolate, to name just a few. I say let them research, learn, and experience. I am confident that we all, at some point, will benefit from this.” — Diane Quitslund

“Some of that could have fed the hungry, and seniors who are living on a fixed income. We are long forgotten.” — Judy Laubscher

“I am ambivalent. Visionaries move the world in a different direction. I hate to think we need to explore outer space in case our planet becomes uninhabitable. Could the funds to make the trip be used to make cleaner air and water on earth? I wish that Bezos would explain in detail why his space travel can benefit mankind, instead of using platitudes. It seems that the trip was more for pleasure, so now I am really confused.” — Laura Elrod

“I think it’s awesome. Advance the technology, bring space tourism, and make very public what can be accomplished through dedication and commitment.” – Michael Linkowich

“I think it’s big boys having too much money! There are homeless, mentally ill, battered women, hungry kids — I can go on into infinity about all that money could have assisted.” — Jeannette Tinnelle

“Simply a big waste of money. It does nothing meaningful. Just a 10-minute carnival ride for the rich and famous.” — Heather Burkhalter

“Just thinking how many people could have been helped by the money spent for this indulgence — perhaps even Amazon workers getting better wages and benefits, working conditions.” — Kate Niedner

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