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Afternoon Edition: Sept. 3, 2021

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

Community activist Malik Alim, 28, died in a boating accident Aug. 22. 
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 mostly cloudy with isolated showers and a high near 77 degrees. Tonight will be cloudy with scattered showers and a low around 66. Tomorrow is also expected to be cloudy with scattered showers, along with a high near 76.

Top story

Malik Alim, Chicago organizer and storyteller remembered as a builder of community

For Malik Alim, it seemed possible to change the world.

He was optimistic but in a practical way, searching for a social solution through policy changes, said Kevin Cao, who took a class about the intersection of policy and activism led by Alim at the Roosevelt Institute years ago.

“He was able to see a path forward,” Cao said. “He never gave up. He always stayed optimistic in an environment that really did not want him to be.”

Activists in Chicago have mourned the death of Alim, 28, since he was pulled from Mineola Bay along Fox Lake on Aug. 22. He was last seen struggling in Fox Lake after a tube he was on flipped over. It appeared that he died in an accidental drowning, said Jennifer Banek, the Lake County coroner.

Alim worked as a campaign coordinator for the Chicago Community Bond Fund, organizing more than two dozen events leading to the passage of legislation that will end the cash bail system by 2023. Gov. J.B. Pritzker described the bill as a step toward “dismantling the systemic racism that plagues our communities.”

This week, a resolution mourning Alim was adopted by the Illinois Senate. He was lauded as a community organizer and storyteller who “cultivated and nurtured community where he went; he encouraged people to envision a better world and to unite together to make it possible.”

Elvia Malagón and Evan F. Moore have more on Alim’s life and legacy here.

More news you need

  1. State officials announced today that a fourth lottery for cannabis dispensary licenses will now be held. The goal is to give six applicant groups a chance to win additional permits after they were wrongfully excluded from drawings in an earlier lottery.
  2. With the state’s eviction moratorium set to end in a month, Gov. Pritzker today announced a new staff position and task force to address the number of Illinoisans experiencing homelessness. Under the guidance of the “homelessness chief,” the task force will implement plans with a goal of achieving “functional zero homelessness,” Pritzker’s office said in a news release.
  3. Ald. James Gardiner is on an apology tour of sorts after leaked text messages showed him using profane, disparaging and misogynistic language regarding colleagues. The texts between Gardiner and a former aide were made public by an anonymous blog that bills itself as a Northwest Side political watchdog.
  4. A 24-year-old Chase Bank worker has died one day after she was stabbed in the neck at the bank’s River North branch. She was attacked yesterday “after having a brief conversation” with a man inside the branch’s lobby at 600 N. Dearborn St., police said.
  5. Illinois students will be able to take up to five excused mental health days starting in January, thanks to a bill signed by Gov. Pritzker last month. Students won’t be required to have a doctor’s note and can make up any work missed on the day off, WBEZ reports.
  6. The president of Landmark Development wants all of Chicago to embrace a new neighborhood — his One Central project. It would consist of more than 9,000 homes mostly in high-rises west of Soldier Field, built on 31 acres and covering Metra tracks.

A bright one

Logan Square couple’s space podcast connects kids with NASA astronauts

Space is for everyone. That’s the message a Logan Square couple pushed as they connected with outer space from their apartment closet.

“A lot of astronauts and NASA employees are sharing their stories of how they began and how it’s not just the top people in their class that get to work for NASA,” said Meredith Stepien, podcast co-host, actress and Adler Planetarium content developer. “Space is for everyone. Nobody owns space.”

Stepien and her husband, Brian Holden, co-hosts of “REACH: A Space Podcast for Kids,” livestreamed Wednesday with NASA astronauts Megan MacArthur and Mark Vande Hei aboard the International Space Station. The astronauts are on Expedition 65, and one of their current experiments concerns regolith, the surface of planetary bodies — terrestrial soil, essentially.

(from left) REACH podcast hosts Meredith Stepien and Brian Holden and NASA astronauts Megan MacArthur and Mark Vande Hei.
Provided

Much of the podcast hosts’ mission was to bring attention to the responsibilities people on Earth have to protect the planet but also create more equitable futures for later generations. They found that middle schoolers, those of Gen Z or older Gen Alpha, are interested in the ethics of space travel.

The show has two seasons and over 30 episodes, encouraging kids to find their own sources of information and make smart choices based on real science.

“Thinking about just what is out there and what we are and how we’re all just connected by this sky and by space, it’s just grounding,” Stepien said. “And it’s a really nice place to go, especially if you’re feeling stressed or worried about our Earthling problems.”

Nichole Shaw has more on the intergalactic podcast here.

From the press box

  • Despite being vaccinated, Cubs president Jed Hoyer and manager David Ross tested positive for COVID-19. The team said they are feeling well and will quarantine for 10 days. Bench coach Andy Green will manage the team in the interim.
  • Now that training camp and the preseason are over, reporters Jason Lieser, Mark Potash and Patrick Finley take a look at the questions facing the Bears heading into Week 1.
  • Michigan State handed Northwestern its only regular-season loss last season. The Wildcats hope to get some revenge tonight in their Big Ten season opener.

Your daily question ☕

What Chicago sports team “deserves” a championship more than all the others and why?

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: If you could only pick one flavor of ice cream to eat for the rest of your life, what kind would it be? And from where? Here’s what some of you said...

“Honey lavender gelato from Plush Horse!” — Linda Crabtree

“Caramel butter pecan praline from Blue Bunny.” — Carolyn Jackson

“The Tonight Dough from Ben and Jerry’s.” — Charlie Taffe

“Peppermint from Prince Castle.” — Thomas Wessels

“Blueberry pie from Oberweis in Champaign.” — Cris Lane

“Zanzibar Chocolate from The Chocolate Shoppe in Skokie.” — Theresa Kelly

“Whitey’s chocolate chip.” — Kathy Willman

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