Afternoon Edition: Aug. 31, 2021

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

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Supporters of President Donald Trump climb the west wall of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

Jose Luis Magana/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.

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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 mostly sunny with a high near 82 degrees. Tonight will be partly cloudy with a low around 64. Tomorrow will be mostly sunny with a high near 78.

Top story

Former suburban CEO becomes first Illinoisan to plead guilty in U.S. Capitol breach

The former CEO of a Schaumburg tech firm tossed a chair toward U.S. Capitol police officers who were “dozens of feet away” and had to be dragged behind a police line to be arrested during the Jan. 6 breach that interrupted the Electoral College vote count.

Those details surfaced as Bradley Rukstales, 53, of Inverness, today became the first known defendant from Illinois to plead guilty to his role in the breach. He entered his plea during a video conference before a federal judge in Washington, D.C.

Rukstales told the judge he did not mean to hit anyone with the chair that he tossed.

Rukstales then pleaded guilty to parading, demonstrating or picketing inside a Capitol building, for which he faces up to six months behind bars. U.S. District Judge Carl J. Nichols set Rukstales’ sentencing hearing for Nov. 12. Rukstales has also agreed to pay $500 in restitution to help make up for the estimated $1.5 million in damage done to the Capitol building, according to his plea agreement.

Federal prosecutors have charged 12 additional Illinoisans in connection with the riot, which has led to what they say will likely be the largest criminal investigation in U.S. history. Rukstales was the first Illinoisan to be charged, and he apologized in a statement in January.

Jon Seidel has more on the charges facing Rukstales and other Illinoisans at the insurrection here.

More news you need

  1. According to an internal audit disclosed today, Chicago continues to deposit millions of tax dollars in banks that engage in predatory lending practices. That’s because the Department of Finance is not using the tools at its disposal to stop those practices, the audit found.
  2. Surveillance video captured last weekend in River North shows two men getting beaten and robbed in the middle of the street as onlookers danced and cars drove by. Police responded about six minutes after the altercation began early Saturday, but by then both men were lying on the pavement and had been robbed.
  3. After a series of egg attacks, a Facebook group called Chicago Egg Hunters worked to find who was responsible. The group’s founder now says they’ve cracked the case, something he hopes shows how a community can fight back.
  4. CPD yesterday backed off its decision to keep two officers in 24 high schools that had voted to remove at least one of them. The department’s initial decision to keep the cops in the schools angered students, teachers and school board members and appeared against the wishes of CPS officials.
  5. DuPage Med­ical Group yesterday announced it will mail letters to­ 600,000 patients notifying them their personal information may have been compromised last month when its computer network was hacked. DMG is the largest independent physician group in Illinois.
  6. Advocates of removing the state’s lead service lines said yesterday a newly signed law moves the state closer to addressing the issue and ensuring all Illinoisans have clean water to drink. It’s estimated that Illinois has about an eighth of all known lead service lines in the country, State Rep. Robinson said.
  7. Kanye West fans were wowed last week when the artist’s “Donda” listening experience centered on a replica of his boyhood home. But the fake home was only built after the city denied him permission to go through with his initial plan — move the real thing from South Shore to the center of Soldier Field.
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A bright one

Pilsen reform school receives grant for youth development, restorative justice programs

Carina Gutierrez always considered herself a “troubled youth.”

At 17, she was incarcerated. On her 18th birthday, she was ordered to enroll in school or face re-incarceration. But it was the middle of the semester, and most schools refused to admit her.

Then her mother told her of a school not far from their Little Village home: Pilsen’s Instituto Justice and Leadership Academy, an alternative school focused on restorative and social justice.

“Without hesitation, they took me in,” Gutierrez said.

Yesterday, the school’s dedication to Gutierrez and other students in similar situations was recognized with an $80,000 grant through Cook County’s Justice Advisory Council.

School staff member Carina Gutierrez poses for a portrait at the Instituto Justice and Leadership Academy at 2570 S. Blue Island Avenue in Heart of Italy, Monday, Aug. 30, 2021.

School staff member Carina Gutierrez poses for a portrait at the Instituto Justice and Leadership Academy at 2570 S. Blue Island Avenue in Heart of Italy, yesterday.

Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

When she graduated in 2009, Gutierrez wanted to remain part of the school’s community and help youth facing the same struggles she had. In 2014, she applied for a position in the registrar’s office.

Now, Gutierrez is entering her seventh year working on enrollment, attendance and program coordination for the school at 2570 S. Blue Island Ave. The school offers a two-year program for students 15 to 21 years old.

The grant is part of a $1.5 million investment in community-based organizations through the Justice Advisory Council, said Toni Preckwinkle, president of the Cook County Board.

The council aims to reduce the population of Cook County Jail and Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center through criminal and juvenile justice reform and public safety policy development.

The Rudy Lozano Leadership Program will benefit most from the grant, covering staff stipends, case management and mental health services, college and career counseling, and restorative justice training.

Cheyanne M. Daniels has more on the grant and its projected impact here.

From the press box

Your daily question ☕

If you got to rename any building in Chicago, which would it be and what would you call it?

Email us (please include your first name and where you live) and we might include your answer in the next Afternoon Edition.

Yesterday we asked you: What fictional place would you like to visit most? Here’s what some of you said...

“I’ll limit myself to three (fictional universes) 1. Hogwarts, HogsMeade, Ottery St Catchpole, Godric’s Hollow, etc. 2. St. Mary Mead, Woodleigh Common, Much Benham & Market Basing etc. 3. Osiris, Persephone, Bellerophon and Beaumonde, etc.” — Kassandra Veritas

“Kin-iro Mosaic High School.” — Will Cerne

“The Smoke Ring, from Larry Niven’s books of that name and ‘The Integral Trees,’ a gaseous ring, around a star, fully habitable and all in nearly free fall. Given the author, I presume theoretically possible, if unlikely.” — Carey Schug

“Brigadoon! The mythical village in the old-time musical.” — Jean Ceithaml

“Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory! Having seen the original movie, I would know how to behave. I’d have countless sweets, and I’d interview Willy and the Oompa Loompas about their lives and working conditions for a human interest story or potentially an expose.” — Paul Lockwood

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