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Afternoon Edition: Jan. 11, 2022

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

Staff members enter John T. McCutcheon Elementary School this morning in the Uptown neighborhood. 
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 sunny with a high near 31 degrees. Tonight will be partly cloudy and breezy with a steady temperature around 31 and winds as high as 35 mph. Tomorrow will be mostly cloudy with a high near 36 and a slight chance of snow and rain.

Top story

Chicago teachers head back to school

Teachers hurried into Blaine Elementary School on the North Side this morning, eager to get out of the cold but reluctant to talk about the bitter dispute between the Chicago Teachers Union and Chicago Public Schools.

“I’m just glad to be back,” said one teacher, who would not give her name.

It was much the same at McCutcheon Elementary, where teachers either declined to comment or referred questions to the school’s union representative.

Teachers were back in their classrooms for the first time in a week after the union’s house of delegates voted 389-226 last night to suspend the work action. The CTU’s 25,000 members are expected to vote later this week on whether to approve the agreement.

Students are expected to return to in-person learning tomorrow.

CPS didn’t offer to reinstate a threshold for district-wide school closures and didn’t agree to an opt-out testing program, two of the union’s most prominent demands. The district also didn’t agree to return to classrooms Jan. 18 as the union had planned.

But officials did offer to increase testing at all schools to at least 10% of their student population. Students registered for testing would be randomly selected each week. All staff would be offered testing this week.

Though the district stuck with an opt-in testing program, it committed to working with the CTU to increase student testing and vaccination to 100% by Feb. 1. CPS would establish phone banks where staff would help call parents. About 20% of students are signed up for testing.

Stefano Esposito has more on the agreement between CPS and the CTU here.

More news you need

  1. A mother charged with first-degree murder in the death of her 6-year-old son had lost custody of her four other children for several years after an investigation by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services in 2014. Read more on the case surrounding the death of Damari Perry.
  2. Advocates are hoping to spread the word about a Chicago ordinance that kicked in at the start of the year requiring employers to provide written contracts to domestic workers. The law covers nannies, cleaners and workers who care for the elderly — regardless of citizenship documentation.
  3. In a lawsuit filed today, Haymarket Center accused Itasca public officials of violating federal civil rights laws when they denied the creation of a 240-bed treatment facility at the site of a former hotel. The 84-page suit accused village officials and residents of pulling “their forces together” to “drive out Haymarket and the people with disabilities.”
  4. Chicago billionaire Ken Griffin’s global market-making firm, Citadel Securities, said today it has received $1.15 billion for minority stakes. The stakes are the firm’s first outside investment and ones that could lead it deeper into cryptocurrency trading.

A bright one

‘Meeting of Styles’ brought muralists together en masse on the Southeast Side

Graffiti on railroad viaducts is nothing new in Chicago. But it’s no everyday occurrence when dozens of graffiti artists get together to all work on train underpasses.

That’s what happened on Ewing Avenue north of Indianapolis Avenue and nearby on the Southeast Side this past fall for the latest installment of a street art event dubbed “Meeting of Styles.”

The 37-year-old South Chicago artist who goes by dTel organized the get-together of artists, which brought together locals as well as people from out of state.

The result: numerous murals and graffiti art creations brightening normally dank concrete.

Some of the murals created in Sept. 2021 by artists who gathered for the “Meeting of Styles” event on the Southeast Side.
Robert Herguth/Sun-Times

“It’s a yearly thing,” says Tusk, 30, a Southeast Side artist who painted at the site. “I believe the first event was somewhere in Europe, the origins. Since I’ve been painting, I’ve only missed one or two.

“It’s a culmination right before it gets cold, the big last hurrah before it gets too cold for us to really paint murals.”

Among those taking part, according to dTel, were the artists who go by King157, komf, Lurk, Chucho, KuazeOne, GAPE ONE, MATR, Knockenofame, EKTA and Uprizn.

You can see more images of the collaborations here.

From the press box

Your daily question ☕

Would you ever quit being a Bears fan? Tell us why or why not.

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 the Bears’ future after the team fired Matt Nagy and Ryan Pace?

Here’s what some of you said…

“With Phillips and McCaskey signing off on whoever they hire as the new GM, who in turn will hire the next coach, I see no reason why da Bears won’t continue their decades-long streak of being mediocre.” — Jeff Hornstein

“Until someone else buys the team, they will just be as they have always been.” — Theresa Murphy

“It depends on what happens next season. My first thought is hopefully they retain Scales, O’Donnell and Santos (at least one of them is a free agent), who were sitting together during the game yesterday. No matter who they hire, they need players who can play well. Even Chuck Noll couldn’t win with a bunch of scrubs.” — Elliott Avant

“Same owners, same problems.” — Lois Bugos

“If only George had also fired himself, we would stand a chance. As it is, we are royally screwed.” — David Sink

“Couldn’t get much worse.” — Nicki Wilken

“I would feel better if they really cleaned house and fired McCaskey and Ted Phillips. Until then, at best, the Bears will be a mediocre franchise.” — Paul Zander

“Skeptical. This is an oft-repeated story with very little in the arena of success to show for it.” — Scott Mesick

“Hopeful!” — Bonnie Ewing Sullivan

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

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