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Afternoon Edition: Aug. 16, 2021

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

Chicago Park District Supt. Mike Kelly announces on Monday disciplinary steps taken in the wake of female lifeguards getting sexually harassed and assaulted.
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 sunny with a high near 81 degrees. Tonight will be mostly clear with a low around 65. Tomorrow will be mostly sunny with a high near 84.

Top story

Two top Chicago Park District managers suspended in wake of sexual harassment and assault of female lifeguards

The head of the Chicago Park District today announced the “emergency suspension” of two “high-level” district employees, as well as seven others, in the wake of an investigation into a long-standing culture of sexual harassment and assault targeting female lifeguards.

Without naming them, Chicago Park District Supt. Mike Kelly said the high-level district employees are the assistant director of beaches and pools, and the beaches and pools manager. Both were placed on suspension Aug. 13, based on information Kelly said he received from Park District Inspector General Elaine Little.

In total, the district has taken disciplinary action against 42 employees since an investigation began in March 2020.

“I understand the frustration with the time it has taken to look into these complaints,” Kelly said, talking to reporters at the South Shore Cultural Center. “Investigations never happen fast enough, but I assure every person who has been impacted by this case that this is top of mind to me.”

About six female lifeguards at park district pools and beaches were sexually harassed and assaulted by male co-workers, with some of the harassment taking place in front of children, according to an internal investigation made public earlier this summer.

The explosive allegations, including an attempted rape, were in a report that hints at a cover-up.

Read Stefano Esposito’s full story here.

More news you need

  1. Fifty-six people were wounded, eight of them fatally, in citywide shootings over the weekend. Read more on the recent gun violence here.
  2. An off-duty Chicago police officer exchanged gunfire with a group of men who shot at him after following him into a parking lot today in Portage Park, authorities say. Police also said no one was injured.
  3. Months after he was vaccinated against COVID-19, state Senate President Don Harmon said he’s recovering from what he described as “mild symptoms” of the disease. Read more about the first breakthrough case of the virus revealed by a state senator.
  4. Not every Chicago building can be a testament to architectural brilliance. This local guide uses what he playfully calls “ugly” buildings in River North for an architectural tour that serves up lessons ... and the occasional zinger.
  5. Fall Out Boy, Green Day and Weezer came together at Wrigley Field last night for the stadium’s first concert since the summer of 2019. By all accounts it was a rockin’ show – read Selena Fragassi’s review of the three-part pop punk show here.

A bright one

Bud Billiken Parade returns to South Side: ‘We are all here to have a good time’

The Bud Billiken Parade, a beloved end of summer and back-to-school tradition, returned to Bronzeville Saturday after a one-year hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Thousands of Black Chicagoans of all ages lined a shortened parade route through the South Side neighborhood to watch the city’s youth put their talents on display under a scorching sun.

Adults tried to beat the summer heat by lounging in lawn chairs under shady trees, umbrellas and tents, while children slurped their snow cones out of styrofoam cups as the sound of drums, music and the crowd’s cheers echoed down the streets.

Geek Squad performs during the Bud Billiken Parade in the Bronzeville neighborhood, Saturday, Aug. 14, 2021. The parade, which was cancelled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, is now on its 92nd year.
Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

“For me, it’s just the music, the bands, the groove,” Stephanie Hall said as she bounced to the beat. “… [Some people] might be from 79th [street], they might be from 87th, from 51st — we don’t know each other. We all are here to have a good time. That’s what I like.”

The Bud Billiken Parade, the oldest and largest African American parade in the nation which has been going on for more than 90 years, is a must-attend event for many Black Chicagoans, who have passed the tradition down from generation to generation.

“I’ve been coming here since I was a baby, and I just keep the family tradition going,” Tiny Reed said. “This means a lot to me.”

Read Madeline Kenney’s full story from Saturday here.

From the press box

Your daily question ☕

It’s time to start harvesting vegetables planted in the spring. Which ones have you been enjoying from your garden?

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

On Friday, in honor of it being Friday the 13th, we asked you: What’s one superstition you have? Here’s what some of you said...

“I have worked in a nursing home for 11 years and my superstitions are based on experience. Death comes in threes, never use the word “quiet” and people really do get crazy during a full moon.” — Kristi Silence

“Putting your purse on the floor.” — Kristine Uwainat Rhee

“When you’re going on or off a baseball or softball field you don’t step on the chalk! Ever!” — Phil Hardison

“Being in the room when a Chicago team is playing; it’s a no no.” – Elizabeth Fukawa

“I knock on wood all the time.” — Heather Lensink McBride

“I knock on wood. It’s in the DNA.” — Katherine Konopasek

Thanks for reading the Chicago Afternoon Edition. Got a story you think we missed? Email us here.

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