Afternoon Edition: Sept. 21, 2021

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

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Benet Academy in Lisle.

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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 cloudy with a high near 66 degrees and gusts as high as 20 mph. Tonight will be mostly cloudy with a low around 58 and a 40% chance of showers. Tomorrow will be partly sunny with a high near 64 and also a 40% chance of showers.

Top story

Benet Academy reverses itself, offers coaching job to gay woman after public outcry

A west suburban Catholic school has reversed itself and offered a coaching job to a woman who had initially been turned down when the school learned she was married to another woman.

Benet Academy offered Amanda Kammes the job of girls lacrosse head coach and she accepted. The reversal was decided after a meeting last night by the school’s board.

“The board has heard from members of the Benet community on all sides of this issue over the past several days,” the school’s board of directors said in a statement.

“Going forward we will look for opportunities for dialogue in our community about how we remain true to our Catholic mission while meeting people where they are in their personal journey through life. For now, we hope that this is the first step in healing the Benet community.”

A veteran lacrosse coach, Kammes was offered the head coaching position at the school about two weeks ago, but the school turned her down after learning she was married to another woman.

Kammes previously coached lacrosse in Pennsylvania, leading a team to two state titles, and most recently coached at Montini Catholic High School in Lombard while also running the Lakeshore Lacrosse program in the Chicago area.

Students and parents protested outside the school yesterday, handing out rainbow masks to fellow classmates.

Read the full story here.

More news you need

  1. A man faces a misdemeanor charge after allegedly attacking Ald. James Cappleman last weekend as he responded to a resident’s text about “a group of intoxicated individuals.” The man struck Cappleman on the head with a blunt object, police said.
  2. A 32-year-old man was stabbed several times this morning while inside a River North restaurant. He was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital with several lacerations and was listed in fair condition, police said.
  3. The former CEO of Wood Dale-based Power Solutions International Inc. has been acquitted of all charges in a federal case that accused him of inflating revenue reports by $24 million. James Winemaster and two other former employees named in the case were found not guilty on all counts.
  4. A spike in cases of respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, is driving a recent burst in visits to local emergency rooms by nervous parents. The common respiratory virus has prompted local health officials to issue a gentle reminder — unless it’s a true emergency, visit your pediatrician, not the ER.
  5. A statewide hotel group says the Biden administration’s plans to ease COVID restrictions for foreign travelers offer the industry a glimmer of hope. Travelers will be required to show proof of vaccination and a negative COVID test before boarding, beginning in November.
  6. Guinness has tapped Fulton Market to be the home of its second U.S. brewery. The Irish brewer is expected to open a beer house and brewery in the Pennsylvania Railroad Terminal Building, per Crain’s Chicago Business.
  7. The Fugees — Ms. Lauryn Hill, Wyclef Jean and Pras Michel — have announced they’re reuniting for a world tour, which will include a Chicago stop this fall. Hill’s previously scheduled Ravinia Festival performance this Saturday has been postponed to 2022 to accommodate the tour.

A bright one

Music, culture, family celebrated alongside heartache in ‘American Mariachi’

Playwright Jose Cruz Gonzalez grew up with mariachi music, as his parents were avid listeners.

And it was that music that many years later he would learn to play, an experience that would inspire his play “American Mariachi,” which is making its Chicago debut at the Goodman Theatre in a co-production with the Dallas Theater Center and as part of the Chicago Latino Theater Alliance’s Destinos Festival.

Gonzalez is the first to admit he didn’t “have any kind of musical talent in his body” but he did have the desire to learn, and became proficient on the guitarron after taking lessons for 10 years while he was a professor at California State University Los Angeles.

He also studied the culture of mariachi, how it is traditionally passed down from father to son and why it’s an important aspect of the Mexican American community and how it’s the soundtrack of many lives.


Tiffany Solano (from left) Molly Hernández, Amanda Raquel Martinez, Gloria Vivica Benavides and Lucy Godínez are shown in a scene from “American Mariachi” directed by Henry Godinez at Goodman Theatre.

Liz Lauren

One day a fellow player mentioned to Gonzalez that she and her group had performed for an elderly woman on her birthday: “She described how when they played a certain song this woman would just come alive and sing along. This idea of music as memory stayed with me.”

“American Mariachi” would grow out of this idea. Set in the 1970s, the story revolves around a young woman Lucha (Tiffany Solano) caring for her mother, Amalia (Gigi Cervantes), who is suffering from dementia. One day, she plays an old record of mariachi songs which sparks her mother’s memory, which in turn inspires Lucha, against her father’s wishes, to create an all-female mariachi band — something unheard of in the ’70s. The cast also features Lucy Godínez, Amanda Raquel Martinez, Molly Hernandez, Gloria Vivica Benavides, Eréndira Izguerra and Christopher Llewyn Ramirez.

The play is infused with mariachi music and includes members of the Chicago group Sones de Mexico performing on stage along with the actors who learned instruments for their roles. Sones co-founder Victor Pichardo serves as music director.

Mary Houlihan has more on the “American Mariachi” backstory here.

From the press box

Your daily question ☕

How do you feel about the recent trend of restaurants forgoing printed menus for QR codes?

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: How do you feel about restaurants that have adopted no-tipping policies and fixed service charges? Here’s what some of you said...

“They won’t retain the best servers. It will work itself out and hopefully, chain restaurants will just go away.” — Bridget Lattanzi

“I would gladly be a patron to a restaurant that did away with tipping, as long as they paid their staff appropriately. I would rather an employer of any kind pay their staff a fair wage than force any individual to depend on the kindness of strangers to help them make enough money to survive the week and/or month.” — Ashley Lewis

“I desire to pay for the value of the service rendered. Not a fixed amount developed to equalize value of work whether it is good or bad. I want to encourage high performance by service staff and I will do that by a higher tip.” — Philip H. Kaplan

“I think this is fine. In other countries (like Japan), tipping is not a tradition. To be employed in the serving industry just means that you have to give good service. If you give bad service, you can be fired (since you’re not meeting the job requirements).” — Daryl Patrick Yao

“Tipping to offset pathetic wages is a cruel sham to both customer and labor.” — Benjamin Johnson

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