Afternoon Edition: Sept. 17, 2021

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

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Ald. Jason Ervin (28th) speaks during a Chicago City Council meeting at City Hall, Wednesday, July 21, 2021.

Ashlee Rezin/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.

This afternoon will be sunny with a high near 87 degrees. Tonight will be mostly cloudy with a chance of thunderstorms and a low around 65. Tomorrow will be mostly sunny with a high near 76.

Top story

Black Caucus Chairman Jason Ervin delivers early endorsement of Lightfoot reelection

Mayor Lori Lightfoot has said it’s “not a gimme” that she will seek reelection. But, if she does run for a second term, she’ll have a powerful political ally in her corner.

Ald. Jason Ervin (28th), chairman of the City Council’s Black Caucus, said he expects Lightfoot to run again, and when and if she does declare her candidacy he’ll be among those standing beside her.

“We’ve had a lot of challenges in our city. But the intensity and directiveness that the mayor has had towards some of our most challenging communities is something we’ve seen no mayor do,” Ervin said today.

Earlier this week, Lightfoot helped Ervin leapfrog over Vice Chairman David Moore (17th) to become chairman of the City Council’s Committee on Contracting Oversight and Equity. He replaced indicted Ald. Carrie Austin (34th), who resigned under pressure from Lightfoot.

But Ervin said that’s not the reason he’s returning the favor.

Instead, he pointed to the mayor’s war on poverty, her signature Invest South/West plan and Lightfoot’s efforts to plug what he called the “doughnut hole of the West Side” otherwise known as West Garfield Park.

Last year, Lightfoot famously threatened members of the Black Caucus who dared to vote against her 2021 budget, “Don’t ask me for s---t” when it comes to choosing projects for her five-year, $3.7 billion capital plan.

But Ervin said the mayor understandably flashed her hair-trigger temper in the heat of battle and it was only words. He has heard “no complaints” about Lightfoot doing anything to make good on that threat.

“If somebody is coming at you, this is a business where you don’t back down. … With certain individuals, it goes from zero to 100 real quick. … In the heat of a particular situation, a lot of things are said that truly are not meant,” Ervin said.

Read Fran Spielman’s full conversation with Alderman Ervin here.

More news you need

  1. Ten people were shot over four hours in Chicago overnight, half of them in the downtown neighborhoods of Near North, Lincoln Park and South Loop. All three neighborhoods have seen more shootings than from this time last year.
  2. The ground was broken yesterday for Casa Durango, a new affordable housing development in Pilsen — the neighborhood’s latest effort to fight gentrification. It’s the fifth development from the Resurrection Project, which was established in 1990 by Pilsen residents.
  3. A city ordinance that goes into effect in January gives domestic workers the right to a written contract that covers such things as hours to be worked, wages and job responsibilities. Arise Chicago, a workers rights organization, plans to offer training sessions to inform workers of their new rights.
  4. The Federal Trade Commission has been trying to get refunds for apartment-hunters who say they were duped into unwanted (and recurring) charges for credit monitoring, and a recent ruling by a federal judge in Chicago has resurrected hopes that may happen. The new ruling gives the FTC back some power after the Supreme Court ruled in the spring the agency was using powers it didn’t explicitly have.
  5. Last night, rock band Guns N’ Roses took the stage at Wrigley Field for a three-hour set in front of thousands of adoring fans. In addition to playing the usual hit parade, the band covered The Stooges, Muddy Waters and more. 
  6. A new coffee shop called Southside Grinds opens tomorrow in Bronzeville’s Boxville Marketplace. The business was initially a mobile coffee bar popping up at events before owner Ebony Blue set up shop at 330 E. 51st St.

A bright one

‘Eyesore’ garage behind a fast-food joint in Beverly is now a haven of street art

Paul Branton, 48, began painting when he was 14, hoping to design album covers someday.

Phil Cotton, 71, grew up in Buffalo, N.Y., immersed in jazz and rock thanks to his bartender-father.

Won Kim, 41, started his graffiti career because he was obsessed with lettering.

Along with street artists Max Sansing and Ruben Aguirre, they worked to turn a garage behind a fast-food joint on the South Side, Nicky’s of Beverly, into an homage to blues music, hippies and street art.


The murals at Nicky’s of Beverly are a mesh of blues music, hippies and street art.

Brian Rich/Sun-Times

For 23 years, owner Paul Kostopanagiotou has served up Chicago-style hotdogs, burgers and veggie versions at Nicky’s. When he moved from 103rd Street to 10500 S. Western Ave. in January, Kostopanagiotou wanted to improve the vibe, starting with the “eyesore of a garage” behind the new place.

He asked the Beverly Area Arts Alliance for someone who could paint the garage. Sal Campbell, co-founder of the group, got him five artists to do the job with style. When she sent the artists to the restaurant, Kostopanagiotou already had a theme in mind: the blues.

As soon as the artists got to work, people started showing up to watch. First, they’d slow down as they drove by. Then, they’d stop and ask about what was going on. Many ended up sticking around, watching and taking photos as the murals took form.

Cheyanne M. Daniels has more on how the murals came to fruition here.

From the press box

Your daily question ☕

What’s the longest you’ve ever waited in line? What were you waiting for?

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 bar or restaurant do you think is Chicago’s best-kept secret? Why? Here’s what some of you said...

“Paterno’s. Everyone knows your name. The pizza is top-notch and the beefs are incredible.” — Tim O’Donnell

“Billy Goat Tavern, under Michigan Ave. Local watering hole for reporters, celebrities, and sports figures. Just don’t order a coke or french fries.” — Deborah Fuller Tobias

“Lalo’s because everyone loves tacos.” — Ricardo Del Angel

“Scofflaw. Should be talked about more. Love the drinks. Great place overall.” — Valentin Galvan

“Happy Lamb Hot Pot.” — Andrea NaTay

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

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