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Afternoon Edition: July 28, 2021

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

Steam rises from the cooling towers at Exelon’s Byron nuclear power plant in 2011.
AP

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 partly sunny with a high near 90 degrees — heat index values could be as high as 97. Some showers and severe thunderstorms are possible tonight with a low around 74 degrees. Tomorrow will be partly sunny with a high near 86 degrees.

Top story

Exelon moves to close Byron, Dresden nuclear plants, citing Springfield failure on energy deal: ‘We have no choice’

Citing the lack of a deal on clean energy legislation, Exelon Generation plans to file decommissioning plans for its Byron and Dresden nuclear power plants.

The filings, which company officials said they plan to submit to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, are among the final steps in retiring the plants, which have been in operation for decades.

Byron would close September, followed by Dresden in November.

The company also plans to issue job reduction notices to employees — staffing at the energy plant hovered around 1,500 people when plans to retire the facilities were announced last August. That figure could drop as low as 30 to 40 employees over the next 10 years, according to a news release announcing the plans.

Without legislation, the company could also close its Braidwood and LaSalle nuclear facilities sometime in the “next few years,” according to the company statement.

Rachel Hinton has more on the closings here.

More news you need

  1. A U.S. Marshal’s Task Force shot and killed a man wanted for a 2019 Chicago murder after he allegedly pulled a gun as officers tried to arrest him yesterday inside a Calumet City restaurant, state police said. Two CPD officers were part of the task force.
  2. A former federal prosecutor was appointed today to investigate the Cook County state’s attorney’s office and a former employee who allegedly lied on the witness stand during the trial of a man eventually cleared of murdering two CPD officers. This marks the second time the state’s attorney’s office has been investigated under Kim Foxx’s leadership.
  3. After a year of turmoil, Illinois is finally on the verge of dishing out precious new permits to operate recreational pot shops. The first of three lotteries for 185 total dispensary licenses is set for tomorrow, with the others scheduled next month.
  4. Beginning next week, anyone who goes inside an Illinois DMV will have to wear a mask, officials announced today. This follows the new CDC mask guidelines released yesterday that urge covered faces in some suburbs.
  5. Students with special needs who turn 22 while in school will be able to finish the academic year under legislation signed into law today by Gov. Pritzker. Before, students with disabilities were only eligible for services until the day before their 22nd birthday.
  6. Mayor Lightfoot’s administration is counting on a massive refinancing to bankroll more than half the cost of a $600 million police contract. The contract gives rank-and-file officers a 20% pay raise over eight years, more than half of it retroactive.
  7. Lollapalooza returns to Grant Park tomorrow for what will be the largest public event to date held in Chicago since the start of the pandemic. We’ll be on the ground covering the festival, but before the gates open, here’s everything you need to know about this year’s iteration.

A bright one

Jewel at 94th and Ashland reopens with new facility for South Shore Drill Team

Auburn Gresham residents have waited more than a year for their Jewel-Osco at 9400 S. Ashland Ave. to reopen.

The store was getting “a little gray,” as local Ald. Howard Brookins (21st) put it, even before it was looted during the citywide unrest that followed the murder of George Floyd last summer. It was high-time for, what Brookins called, “a third iteration.”

Today, the remodeled store reopened to the public, but with a partnership that will provide local residents with more than just a local place to buy their groceries and pharmaceuticals.

Members of the South Shore Drill Team performed at a ceremony today to reopen the renovated Jewel-Osco at 94th Street and Ashland Ave.
Screenshot

The store includes a 2,200 square foot “community room” for Chicago’s iconic South Shore Drill Team. With lockers, cushioned flooring, refrigerator, microwave, free Wi-Fi and a wireless video and audio projection system, the room will serve as a second rehearsal space.

It will allow a group that has grown from a “small troupe of four twirling rifles” to 250 members to serve even more young people on the South Side.

The newly remodeled store includes an upgraded check-out area, expanded deli, meat and seafood counters, “refreshed” produce and a Drive Up & Go area where customers who buy groceries online can pick up their orders.

Fran Spielman has more on the store’s reopening here.

From the press box

Your daily question ☕

With August right around the corner, what’s something you want to do before summer ends?

Reply to this email (please include your first name and where you live) and we might feature your answer in the next Afternoon Edition.

Say you’ve been tasked with writing a show set in Chicago — who’s the main character? What parts of the city will be featured? Here’s what some of you said...

“Archer to Sox Park, a Chinese American meets an Italian American in the 1960s and are separated by the highway destructions of three blocks in between where they live and their families. They manage to meet later at Chicago Fest, fall in love and open a business in the old neighborhood.” — Pat Mapes

“A show about a group of friends who take Metra into the city daily for various careers in banking, insurance, law, non-profit, etc. Basically set on the Metra, drinking coffee on the morning train, drinking beers on the evening train and having random conversations.” — Mackenzie Currans

“I would base it on a kid who was supposed to get a scholarship to play football in the SEC, but decided to carry the ball one more time in an all-star game and broke his leg, costing him his scholarship and he ended up going to law school. I’m guessing it would be in an unrealistically huge office, while he fights for the little guy pro bono because he’s secretly a wealthy superhero. A combination of Jeff Bezos, Batman, and My Cousin Vinny.” — Kyle Davies

“A delivery driver, and highlighting his interactions with people in all areas of the city. All the neighborhoods deserve their day in the sun.” — Laura Canales

“Pick all families who’ve been devastated by losing a loved one who was killed with no ties to drugs, guns, domestic violence or involved in anything nefarious. This may help them understand their grief and shine the light on the unsatisfactory behavior of organizations whose purpose is to help them with trauma and resources.” — Rosie McCallister

“A die-hard Cubs fan and the story of her up and downs being a die-hard Cubs fan for over 30 years and how being tested by the Cubs and learning to be loyal in the face of adversity has shaped her personality. Wrigleyville of course!” — Helen Good Petit

“A stand-up comic featuring Hyde Park/Woodlawn, Old Town, South Shore, Lakeview and Edgewater.” — Bejay Outla

“The main character would be a small business owner in the Loop faced with all the challenges of the past year and a half from COVID to race relations to the struggle to stay open and to at least break even. Featured parts of the city would be downtown (where the business is), and South, West, and North sides (where the owner and her workers/customers live). It would have to be a drama, of course, but hopefully with occasional humor to provide hope for the main characters. I’d call it ‘Chicago Hope’ if that title hadn’t already been used.” — Paul Lockwood

“From Perishing to Clark, 39th Street to 125th. The story of a former teacher turned educational admin observing and fighting the corruption within the CPS. From test cheating, patronage and selective student appointments, to collecting votes and dollars for your bosses to the closure of 50 schools and the suffering along the way. ‘Nuff said.” — Katherine Konopase

“‘The Women’ — set in the late 19th century, this dramatic series centers on Ida B. Wells, Jane Addams, and Frances Willard and their cooperation and conflicts in their struggle for racial and gender equity. Can’t get more iconic Chicagoans than these women! And we need more historic Chicago dramas!” — Toni Gilpin

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