Afternoon Edition: Aug. 19, 2021

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

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The lifeguard stand at North Avenue Beach remains empty on June 22, 2020 in Chicago, Illinois.

The lifeguard stand at North Avenue Beach along the Lake Michigan shore in Chicago.


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 chance of thunderstorms and a high near 86 degrees. Tonight will be mostly clear with isolated showers and thunderstorms and a low around 70. Tomorrow will be mostly sunny with a high near 87.

Top story

Chicago Park District’s deputy inspector general says he was suspended illegally to ‘whitewash’ lifeguard abuse investigation

The Chicago Park District’s deputy inspector general said today he was placed on “indefinite, unpaid emergency” suspension last week in what he called an illegal attempt to whitewash an investigation into rampant sexual assault, sexual harassment and physical abuse among the district’s lifeguards.

Until he was walked out of Park District headquarters last week, Nathan Kipp led the internal investigation of lifeguards at Chicago’s pools and lakefront beaches that has implicated Park District Supt. Mike Kelly in an alleged cover-up.

One of only two investigators assigned to the probe, Kipp had spent a year as acting inspector general. He was a candidate for the job that went to Elaine Little, ex-wife of State Rep. Curtis Tarver (D-Chicago).

Kipp said he was given no reason for his suspension. He called it “shocking,” “meritless” and “illegal,” since it was not ordered by Little and, he added, only the inspector general has the “authority to recommend discipline” for her staff.

Nevertheless, Kipp said he has no doubt about the motivation behind his suspension.

“This meritless action is a clear attempt by Park District officials to impede and obstruct a devastating investigation into widespread sexual assault, sexual harassment and physical abuse throughout the District’s Beaches & Pools Unit,” Kipp was quoted as saying in a four-page statement.

The investigation by the park district’s inspector general “is not independent, as Mr. Kelly falsely assures. Instead, the Park District and its Board of Commissioners have repeatedly and unsuccessfully exerted improper influence over the OIG [office of the inspector general] with the apparent goal of ending the investigation prematurely and as quietly as possible.”

Fran Spielman and Lauren FitzPatrick have more on the disfunction with the city’s Park District here.

More news you need

  1. Thousands of mourners gathered today for the funeral of Chicago police officer Ella French, who was killed during an Aug. 7 traffic stop. In a speech during the service, French’s mother, Elizabeth, said she was there with only “half a heart” since one of her children is gone.
  2. Four police officers and a teen standing outside the church where Officer French’s funeral was being held suffered possible heatstroke. They were all taken to hospitals, a fire official said.
  3. A former Melrose Park cop today became the latest gambling defendant in Chicago’s federal court to avoid prison time when a judge ordered him to serve six months in home detention. Amabile pleaded guilty in April to running an illegal gambling business with a bookie with purported mob ties. 
  4. A key accuser at R. Kelly’s sex-trafficking trial returned to the witness stand today in Brooklyn. She testified that she was told to follow “Rob’s rules” — restrictions on how she could dress, who she could speak with and when she could use the bathroom.
  5. Opioid-related deaths are still high in Chicago as the West Side remains the epicenter of the crisis, Block Club Chicago reports. Reporter Francesca Mathewes caught up with a local task force of residents who work to prevent and respond to overdoses.
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A bright one

10 to see at Ruido Fest, scaled back but still packing plenty of star power

After losing its 2020 edition due to the coronavirus pandemic, Ruido Fest returns this weekend for its annual three-day run in Chicago.

“Ruido” means “noise” in English, and there will be plenty of musical exuberance tomorrow through Sunday at Union Park, once again the site for this alternative Latin music festival, with appearances by powerhouses such as Cafe Tacuba, Caifanes, Ivy Queen and Panteon Rococo.

The three locally-based promoters of Ruido Fest — Metronome Chicago, Riot Fest Presents and Star Events — have scaled down the event this year due to COVID-19. Instead of the usual 50-plus acts on three stages, there will be 31 acts on two stages. Attendees will need to provide proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test (within 72 hours prior) for admittance.

If you decide to go, here are some must-see artists to add to your list:

Cafe Tacuba


Rubén Albarrán of Cafe Tacuba performs during the Grito Latino Fest at Parque Viva in Alajuela, Costa Rica, on March 31, 2019.

Ezequiel Bercerra/Getty Images

Over its 32-year run, the Mexican quartet Cafe Tacuba has thrown virtually every traditional Mexican style — son, norteno, ranchera, bolero, cumbia — into its alt-Latin mix, layered over a foundation of guitar rock.

Ambar Lucid

SXSW Presents Wednesday Night at Stubb’s

Ambar Lucid performs at SXSW in Austin on March 13, 2019.

Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for SXSW

Born in New Jersey, the singer-songwriter has arrived like a comet, with Pitchfork, Rolling Stone and the New York Times singing her praises. At 20 years old, she plays with the skill of a seasoned performer on her EP “Get Lost in the Music.”

Ivy Queen

Univision’s 33rd Edition of Premio Lo Nuestro a la Música Latina - Show

Ivy Queen performs onstage during Univision’s 33rd Edition of Premio Lo Nuestro a la Música Latina at American Airlines Arena on February 18, 2021 in Miami.

Rodrigo Varela/Getty Images

Hailed as “The Queen of Reggaeton” ever since she emerged on the scene in the late ’90s, the New York-reared diva stands tall (even without her trademark stilettos) in a male-dominated genre.

See Laura Emerick’s full list of can’t-miss artists performing at Ruido here.

From the press box

  • Bears fans can calm down. Quarterback Justin Fields returned to practice Thursday and the team expects him to play in Saturday’s preseason game against the Buffalo Bills. Coach Matt Nagy held him out of Wednesday’s practice because of a groin injury.
  • Marist, which is No. 6 in the Sun-Times’ high school football preseason rankings, doesn’t return many starters from the spring season, but the RedHawks have two of the top talents in the area in quarterback Dontrell Jackson Jr. and offensive lineman Deuce McGuire.
  • After suffering an ankle injury Tuesday against the Wings, Sky’s Candace Parker is “day to day,” said coach and general manager James Wade. It is her second injury to her left ankle this season.

Your daily question ☕

What’s one touristy activity that you, as a Chicagoan, have never done?

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 is the best TV show set in Chicago? Tell us why. Here’s what some of you said...

“‘Chicago P.D.’ — so many recognizable places. Love the real snow and cold weather where you genuinely see their breath as they talk. It’s so good to watch a show that is actually filmed where it portrays.” — Linda Kuhel Jones

“I’m torn between ‘The Bob Newhart Show’ and ‘Good Times.’ Both are iconic Chicago series with wonderful title sequences of the city.” — Meg Rhem

“‘Kolchak the Night Stalker.’ Carl missed a World Series game between Cubs and Red Sox to chase a UFO! Darren McGavin was one of the greats.” — Joe Burns

“‘Early Edition.’ Not only did it feature the Sun-Times every episode but it was a feel good show that my whole family enjoyed watching and it showed many areas of Chicago — not to mention the cute cat.” — Becky Weber

“‘The Chi’ or ‘Southside’ for sure. Shame on Shameless for moving away and phoning it in.” — Anthony Gino Manderino

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

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