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Afternoon Edition: Sept. 13, 2021

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

Veronica Wolski gestures to drivers as she protests with banners on a Kennedy expressway overpass in 2017.
Sun-Times file

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 82 degrees. Tonight will be mostly cloudy with a 20% chance of showers and thunderstorms and a low around 71. Tomorrow will be partly sunny with a 40% chance of showers and thunderstorms and a high near 87.

Top story

QAnon backer at center of ivermectin flap with Northwest Side hospital dies

A QAnon backer from Chicago died early this morning following a public battle with COVID-19 that recently prompted a coordinated harassment campaign against a Northwest Side hospital that declined to treat her with an unapproved and potentially dangerous drug.

Veronica Wolski, 64, of Jefferson Park, died at 12:44 a.m. at Amita Resurrection Medical Center, the Cook County medical examiner’s office reported. She died from pneumonia due to COVID-19 with hypothyroidism as a contributing factor, according to the medical examiner’s office.

Wolski had been hospitalized for weeks, according to posts on the messaging app Telegram, where her supporters had mobilized. Fellow QAnon adherents ultimately began targeting the hospital last week with a small protest and a flood of phone calls after doctors refused to give her ivermectin, a drug that’s been touted by the vaccine-averse and those on the far-right as a groundbreaking treatment for COVID.

While approved for treating parasites in both humans and animals, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has warned that ivermectin hasn’t been proved effective against coronavirus, or approved to treat it.

A flyer for a protest last Monday at Resurrection explained Wolski had been hospitalized there for two weeks with “Covid pneumonia.” The flyer, circulated on the messaging app Telegram, claimed a doctor who initially agreed to give her ivermectin later backtracked because the hospital sided with public health experts who “do not advise its use in COVID-19 cases.”

Read Tom Schuba’s full story here.

More news you need

  1. Labar “Bro Man” Spann faces trial starting with jury selection this week in what is perhaps the most significant street-gang trial at the Dirksen Federal Courthouse since 2016. Spann has declared himself head of a gang tied to at least nine murders since 2000, including the 2003 killing of Latin Kings boss Rudy ‘Kato’ Rangel, authorities say.
  2. Chicago’s latest mass shooting happened as a birthday party was breaking up in West Pullman on the Far South Side, authorities say. Shootings are up in West Pullman this year despite City Hall’s efforts to target gun violence in that neighborhood.
  3. A proposed ordinance banning Chicago restaurants from handing out single-use utensils unless asked by the customer looks poised for approval by a City Council committee. Compliance would be voluntary as the council tries to curb “plastic pollution” in a way that beleaguered restaurant owners can swallow, Fran Spielman reports.
  4. A different City Council committee, meanwhile, approved a proposed ordinance that would require greater transparency regarding mortgages and home equity loans from banks holding Chicago tax dollars or vying to become municipal depositories. Spielman has more on the proposal, which is intended to reverse longstanding lending inequities.
  5. A new statewide task force will be charged with investigating organized retail theft in Illinois, the state’s attorney general announced today. AG Kwame Raoul said Illinois businesses lose $45 billion annually from the problem.
  6. The ’90s are making a comeback with TLC set to perform in Tinley Park on Wednesday as part of a national tour to commemorate the girl group’s hit sophomore album. Our Nichole Shaw spoke to the TLC members T-Boz and Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas about their goals for the highly anticipated tour.

A bright one

From Patti Smith to Slipknot to Run the Jewels, Riot Fest 2021 must-see lineup an eclectic mix

Just when you thought you had seen it all at Riot Fest — a John Stamos sculpture made of butter, a circle pit breakout at a Village People set, and that current petition to nab ABBA for next year — festival organizers have gone and upped the ante yet again, adding a fourth day for the first time ever to help usher in the anticipated return of the Chicago music extravaganza.

As one of the nation’s remaining truly independent festivals (still with ever-humble founder Mike Petryshyn at the helm), Riot Fest organizers can do whatever they want. And they do it really well.

Patti Smith performs onstage at Pappy & Harriet’s last month in Pioneertown, California. She headlines Riot Fest on Thursday night.
Getty

Head to Douglass Park early on Thursday for the fest’s kickoff at 2:30 p.m. — with proof of full vaccination or a negative COVID test within 48 hours required for entry on all days — and get a first look at the 2021 edition of the festival. The day includes a headlining set by Morrissey, with additional sets by Patti Smith and Her Band, Alkaline Trio, Joyce Manor, WDRL and Kristeen Young, free carnival rides, sideshow performers, Thursday-only merch, a crack at an ‘American Idol’-style singing competiton and, for those so inclined, a walk down the aisle at the Riot Fest Wedding Chapel.

The remaining three days will be just as entertaining with a stacked lineup including homegrown heroes, tomorrow’s up-and-comers and every music genre possible (where else could you see NOFX, Devo and GWAR?).

Read Selena Fragassi’s full preview of the 10 acts you need to see at Riot Fest this weekend.

From the press box

Your daily question ☕

If you could master a new language in 24 hours, which one would you choose? Why?

Send us an email at newsletters@suntimes.com and we might feature your answer in the next Afternoon Edition.

On Friday, we asked you: Where’s your favorite place to watch a Bears game? Why? Here’s what some of you said...

“My living room. So that I can change the channel in the third quarter when they get down by 20 points.” — Matt McKenzie

“At home, with access to blankets, the couch, a beverage of my choice, and the remote.” — Robert Lisowski

“Home...the beers are cheaper.” — Bob Selmer

“At home, so I don’t have to hear noise around me and I can scream at the TV!” — Karen Madden

“I like to listen on the radio, in my kitchen, while I cook!” — Jason Betke

“At Spratt’s Tap in Hennepin, Ill.” — Tim Gaines

“Draft Picks bar in Naperville – great food and lots of TVs – great atmosphere!” — Patty Kopitas

“At my brother’s house with family.” — Darrin McMath

“At my brotha’s garage.” — Francisco Javier Rocha-Zamudio

“At home because I can turn it off.” — Blake Rogers

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