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Afternoon Edition: Aug. 20, 2021

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

Karie Valentino poses for a photo with her car in the Ravenswood neighborhood yesterday.
Karie Valentino poses for a photo with her car in the Ravenswood neighborhood yesterday.
Pat Nabong/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 partly sunny with a high near 89 and a chance of thunderstorms. Tonight is expected to be partly cloudy with a low around 72. Tomorrow will be partly sunny with a high near 88 and a chance of showers.

Top story

Car insurers’ pandemic windfall could have paid Illinois drivers $99 more per car in ‘coronavirus relief’ refunds

With people driving less during the COVID-19 pandemic, automobile insurers came out ahead an estimated $29 billion last year compared to previous years, according to a new analysis by two consumer groups.

Some insurers made a show of sharing those savings by sending refund checks to drivers more than a year ago. But they kept much of the coronavirus windfall for themselves.

That’s according to an analysis by the Consumer Federation of America and Center for Economic Justice.

At our request, they also looked at the amount of money automobile insurers took in last year from Illinois drivers, the amount that was refunded and the additional revenue resulting from fewer accident claims because more people were working from home.

In Illinois, they found that the insurers’ coronavirus windfall amounted, on average, to what could have been an additional refund of about $99 per car for 2020, says Douglas Heller, an insurance expert for the consumer federation.

With the onset of the pandemic, “They were using premiums that had no relationship to the world as it existed,” Heller says of car insurance companies.

The analysis found that auto insurers nationally ended 2020 with “windfall profits of at least $29 billion” based on the premiums they took in and claims they paid compared with the average of four previous years.

Stephanie Zimmermann has more here.

More news you need

  1. A 9-year-old boy and a 22-year-old man were wounded in a drive-by shooting this afternoon in Roseland, police said. The boy is at least the fourth child to be shot in the city this week.
  2. The Illinois General Assembly is expected to return to Springfield on Aug. 31 for a special session to amend recently written legislative maps after the release of new census figures. In the spring, Democrats passed the maps into law based on population estimates instead of waiting for the official census data.
  3. Two people arrested after allegedly speeding from the scene of a deadly shooting of a retired school teacher Tuesday have been released without charges. There is no one else in custody for the murder of Denise Huguelet, police said this morning.
  4. Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed a package of legislation today aimed at combatting domestic violence. The legislation was sparked in part by the death of 18-month-old Colton Miller, whose father shot him before turning the gun on himself two years ago.
  5. Edgewater’s Epworth United Methodist Church — a landmark for more than 130 years — is up for sale, an old and increasingly common story in Chicago. The church also serves as a men’s homeless shelter, creating uncertainty for those served by the facility.
  6. Three people were killed in a wrong-way crash on the Stevenson Expressway early this morning, including a father from Oak Lawn remembered as the “backbone” of his family. A driver going the wrong way entered I-55 at Cicero Avenue and collided head-on with another car around 12:35 a.m., police said.
  7. A local non-violence program is helping Chicagoans who dropped out of high school receive their diplomas while offering resources like therapy and job training. Creating Real Economic Destiny, or CRED, held a graduation ceremony for several participants yesterday.

A bright one

Former cake decorator brightens Southwest Side viaduct with a mural

Anne Heisler didn’t learn the intricate painting skills she uses as a muralist the traditional way.

She picked them up working for about 15 years as a cake decorator after dropping out of college.

She put that to use on a recent mural commission that brightens a viaduct at 47th Street and Archer Avenue in Archer Heights on the Southwest Side. Hired by a neighborhood group, she designed the 113-feet-wide by 14-feet-tall mural and painted it with others from Provoke Culture, a group of artists headed by Sam Kirk.

Anne Heisler’s mural as seen painted on a viaduct at 47th Street and Archer Avenue in Archer Heights on the Southwest Side.
Anne Heisler

The Archer Heights mural is Heisler’s first big mural. It took about a month to design and a week to paint, thanks in part to disruptions from pigeons that kept flying around her concrete canvas.

The mural features four portraits. Heisler, who grew up in Evanston, says she has always loved drawing people.

Heisler says she was trying to reflect the neighborhood with the viaduct mural.

Lu Calzada has more on the story behind the mural here.

From the press box

Your daily question ☕

What is your favorite mural in the city? Tell us why.

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’s one touristy activity that you, as a Chicagoan, have never done? Here’s what some of you said...

“Been to the Bean, stood on the ledge of the Sears Tower, or ridden the Ferris wheel at Navy Pier.” — Steph Villagomez

“Never took a Riverfront boat ride or visited the Willis Tower. Embarrassed to say that I visited the Chicago Art Institute for the first time recently, and I’ve lived here for over 30 years!” — Lori Hill

“I often get dragged for this, but I’ve lived here 8 years and never had Portillo’s.” — Meg Thomas

“I have never been to Wrigley Field, the Art Institute, and have never been on a river boat tour.” — Ashley O’Connor

“I’ve never eaten dinner at the Signature Room on the 95th Floor of the Hancock Building.” — Tricia Fitzgerald

“Gone to Frank Lloyd Wright’s Home and Studio and Hemingway’s childhood home, both in Oak Park. Even though I grew up in Chicago about a mile and half away, never had any desire to go to either.” — Tim Moran

“I don’t think I’ve ever been at a beach on Lake Michigan. Navy Pier a bunch, but never at the beach. Also, I’m a jazz/blues musician who’s never been at any of the festivals: no Lollapalooza, Blues Fest, Jazz Fest, Grant Park Festival — not even Taste of Chicago.” — John Connolly

“I have never visited the Adler Planetarium, gone to the dyeing of the Chicago River or to either St. Patrick’s Day parade.” — Melissa M. Lipton

“Never been in a water taxi or on the Spirit of Chicago.” — Barbara Buckner

“I’ve never eaten a hot dog without ketchup.” — Diana Garcia

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