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Afternoon Edition: Jan. 10, 2022

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

Evaleen Garza, a social emotional learning teacher at Josefa Ortiz De Dominguez Elementary School, and other Chicago Teachers Union members on Monday signed up Chicago Public Schools students for COVID-19 testing.
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.

This afternoon will be sunny with a high near 15 degrees. Tonight will be mostly clear with a low around 1 and sub-zero wind chills. Tomorrow will be sunny with a high near 29 and wind chill values as low as minus-9.

Top story

CTU union head accuses mayor of being ‘relentlessly stupid’ in her position on reopening schools

Chicago Teachers Union President Jesse Sharkey today accused Mayor Lori Lightfoot of being “relentlessly stupid” in her dealings with the union and in trying to reach a deal to restart schools.

“We feel like we’re at a point where we don’t have enough at the table to be able to go back to the people who, frankly, have sacrificed a lot at this point, and confidently say, ‘This is something that can help us ensure our safety,’” Sharkey said. “The mayor is being relentless, but she’s being relentlessly stupid, relentlessly stubborn.”

CTU and Chicago Public Schools officials negotiated until about 10 p.m. last night without reaching a deal.

In the escalating war of words, Sharkey also said: “The mayor is saying she is going to be relentless in prosecuting a case, but the mayor is not a prosecutor and I’m not a criminal being prosecuted. Our members are not people who’ve done anything wrong.”

“Bargaining is at serious phase; that’s good news, but what’s not good news is that we still remain apart on a number of key features that we need to restart our stalled schools,” Sharkey said outside Spry Elementary in the Little Village neighborhood.

CTU presented a revised proposal Saturday that called for remote classes most of this week and a return to in-person classes the following Tuesday. Lightfoot told union leaders “you’re not listening” and demanded teachers return to classrooms.

With classes called off today and the rest of the week hanging in the balance, Lightfoot and the teachers union continued to publicly take shots at each other.

Stefano Esposito has the latest on the ongoing dispute between CPS and the CTU over COVID-19 protocols.

More news you need

  1. Chicago’s first civilian-led police oversight panel now has its first executive director: Adam Gross, an attorney and longtime police reform advocate. Mayor Lightfoot, in a press release announcing Gross’ appointment, called the new board “a critically important piece of our city’s police accountability infrastructure.”
  2. Community organizers and Ald. Rossana Rodriguez want federal authorities to investigate the city’s use of COVID-19 relief funds, including the decision to allocate money to pay down debt instead of helping residents as intended. Manny Ramos has more on the calls for greater scrutiny of how City Hall has used the $1.9 billion it received through the American Rescue Plan.
  3. Some businesses on Chicago’s South and West sides say they’re seeing significant drops in customers since the city recently implemented a vaccination mandate. Elvia Malagón spoke to business owners in neighborhoods such as Bronzeville and Little Village about the new challenges they’re facing.
  4. A class-action lawsuit recently filed in federal court claims a “cartel” of elite universities that includes Northwestern, University of Chicago and Notre Dame conspired to restrict financial aid for needy students. The lawsuit alleges a group of college presidents set up admissions policies that limited options for needy students and shrank their aid packages.
  5. If you’ve never heard of Robert Colescott, now’s your chance to learn more thanks to a touring retrospective of the influential, late painter who helped set the stage for countless contemporary Black artists. “Art and Race Matters: The Career of Robert Colescott” will be open at the Chicago Cultural Center through May 29.

A bright one

South Side church looks to develop hub for Black life

The Apostolic Church of God has been in Woodlawn for nearly 70 years. Now, it’s looking to use some of its property to create a hub of Black life, culture and entertainment for the community.

Developed by the Network of Woodlawn and led by the church’s pastor, Rev. Byron Brazier, and his son, developer J. Byron Brazier, Woodlawn Central, as it is called, would be an “indigenous location” for Black culture.

“Even in the face of gentrification, the best way to develop the Black community is from the inside out,” said J. Byron Brazier. “We want to share our experiences and our unique perspectives with the world, just like every other culture gets the opportunity to do.”

The Woodlawn Central Master Plan would transform church-owned parking lots into hubs of Black life, creativity, businesses and entertainment.
Sherwood Design Engineers

Spanning eight acres of church-owned property near 63rd Street and Dorchester Avenue, the plan includes a technology center, a hotel, commercial business spaces, a theater and private residential buildings.

Black business ownership falls behind Asian, Latinx and white business ownership across the country, he said, and “based upon our contributions to this country, we should be at least 25%” ownership.”

To fight those disparities, the Woodlawn plan will have a program on Black business infrastructure development and cultural competency. That program will take “a significant portion of the overall investment” and re-invest into emerging and established Black-owned businesses to then bring onto the campus, Brazier said.

Cheyanne M. Daniels has the full story.

From the press box

Your daily question ☕

How do you feel about the Bears’ future after the team fired Matt Nagy and Ryan Pace?

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

On Friday, we asked you: What’s the best way to stay warm during a Chicago winter? Here’s what some of you said...

“Dress in layers and stay inside as much as possible.” — Harlin S. Neal

“[Wear] 100% wool socks and three layers on top and long johns/ leggings before pants for the bottoms!” — Brittney Douglas

“Find someone you really like and crawl under the covers with them!” — Sandy Tyszkiewicz

“Bourbon or Hot Chocolate, or both combined.” — Robert Lisowski

“Stay in the house, watch TV and chill with a cold one in front of a fire.” — Kim Lamberg

“Move to Arizona and wait for spring training to start.” — Chris Leng

“Stay at home where it’s nice and warm. Don’t go out unless you really, really have to. Drink hot fluid, make homemade soup, keep a warming blanket.” — Pamela Walker

“Get under the covers, turn up the heating blanket and read a book.” — Craig Barner

“Dress warm. I moved here from Rio de Janeiro 12 years ago and love Chicago winters!” — Erika Hoffmann

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