Afternoon Edition: August 2, 2021

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

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Horses trot around the track between races at Arlington Park racetrack in this 2012 photo.

Ramzi Dreessen/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.

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Top story

Football or powerball? Sizing up a Bears move to Arlington Heights

The Chicago Bears have again floated the idea of moving to Arlington Heights. The club has made an offer, competing with several others, for Arlington International Racecourse, a once premier venue whose business is withering and whose owner wants out.

We’ve seen this movie before with Chicago sports teams, including when the Bears in the 1970s talked about Arlington Heights and Mayor Richard J. Daley famously, but probably without basis, said they’d never call themselves the Chicago Bears if they followed through. The Cubs and White Sox also played suburban gambits, and they stayed put, too. Is that going to happen once more?

It’s very early in a process of negotiations, bluster and head fakes, but three questions come to mind.

Are the Bears serious?

The prudent answer is they are, until they aren’t. With Soldier Field needing improvements to keep up with the rest of the league, as the Sun-Times’ Mark Potash has explained, the Bears have incentives to consider a fresh start at the racetrack property.

The site covers 326 acres, slightly more than Six Flags Great America, and it’s in the middle of a wealthy suburban market where the team has a substantial fan base. It could provide all the necessary parking, and there’s even a Metra stop.

Industry consultant Marc Ganis, president of Sportscorp, said based on conversations he’s had with the NFL, he believes the Bears are in earnest. Ganis, who said he has no role in this matter, said the Bears don’t need to purchase such a vast parcel. They could participate as tenants or as part of a group that the seller, Churchill Downs, puts together to develop the property.

Read the rest of business reporter David Roeder’s breakdown of the key questions facing the Bears-to-Arlington Heights move.

More news you need

  1. While we don’t know the effects of Lollapalooza on the pandemic yet, the city says there were fewer arrests, citations and ambulance transports this year compared to 2019. There’s no 2020 data because Lolla wasn’t held in person last year.
  2. Despite the skyrocketing number of mass shootings and the Chicago Police Department’s dismal clearance rate for those cases, CPD says it’s not prioritizing mass shootings over others. Read our special report to learn more about the troubling trend, the causes behind it and authorities’ efforts to address it.
  3. DePaul’s teaming up with Lincoln Park’s Prysm Institute to help students turn their academic ideas into real businesses. The joint effort will offer students access to mentors and investors who can help them become tech entrepreneurs.
  4. Former leaders of the “conversion therapy” movement share their regrets and speak out the harm caused by those efforts in the new Netflix documentary “Pray Away,” which debuts tomorrow. Read Richard Roeper’s review, in which he says, “For all its sobering and poignant moments, ‘Pray Away’ also has its stories of triumph.”
  5. The Taylor Street Little Italy Festival won’t be held for the second straight year due to the pandemic but aims to return in 2022. The head of the organization that typically puts on the event said it’d be irresponsible to do so this year with so many businesses already stretched thin for staff.
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A bright one

Community centers partner to create youth storytelling project on South Side

Myra Hernandez has lived in Back of the Yards all her life, but for years was ashamed to admit it. Violence and crime gave it a reputation as a dangerous, gang-ridden neighborhood.

But Hernandez doesn’t focus on the violence. As an artist, she searches for beauty.

“I know a lot of young people that have a lot of amazing talent and skills and just don’t really have a space or an opportunity to be creative,” Hernandez said.

Hernandez wanted to provide that space for young artists across the South Side, so she went to her team at the Catholic community organization The Port Ministries, where she’s an administrative assistant.


Participants of Chicago Stories on the Block gather around guest speaker Simeon Frierson (center) from Free Spirit Media.

Chicago Stories on The Block and The Port Ministries

They created Chicago Stories on the Block, a three-month-long community arts project on the Southwest Side, with community organizations including the Wilburn LUV Institute, the Firehouse Community Art Center and the ABJ Community Center.

“There’s so much attention to the violence, it’s almost oversaturated and romanticized,” said David Gonzales, executive director of Chicago Stories on the Block. “We keep on talking about stopping the violence and putting the guns down, but we’re really not focusing on what we should be picking up.”

Throughout the 12-week program, which began July 6, 40 people, ages 16 to 24, will create a mix of storytelling, visual and performance art. Through the city’s One Summer Chicago jobs program, the participants are paid $14 an hour for their 20-hour workweek.

Cheyanne M. Daniels has more on the project here.

From the press box

Your daily question ☕

Our Neil Steinberg says an S. Rosen’s bun is the true star of a Chicago-style hot dog. What’s your favorite part of a Chicago dog?

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, we asked you: What’s your favorite memory from the “Bryzzo” era of Cubs baseball? Here’s what some of you said...

“The third out, 10th inning, Game 7 of the 2016 World Series. Bryant slowly picking up Martinez’s grounder, smiling and throwing the ball to Rizzo, who stuffs it in his back pocket. Heaven.” — Susan Brannigan

“All their time together ... they brought happiness and fun to the Cubs ... terrible loss.” — Linda Adler

“When Cubs won in the last game of the World Series. Bryant’s grin while throwing the last out to Rizzo! That was priceless!” — Vicki Trinidad

“Wearing PJs on road trips, or doing some type of themed get up. Priceless times.” — Robert Lisowski

“Seriously? Give me time to process and come to terms with this.” — Jennifer Payton

“Everything before they got traded.” — Mickey Vincent

“Everything! I don’t want to talk about it! I’m devastated!” — Barbara Crowley

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