Afternoon Edition: Jan. 3, 2022

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

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Chicago police work the scene where a 14-year-old by was shot and killed in the 1100 block of South Karlov Ave, in Lawndale, on June 10, 2021. The teen was one of 70 shooting victims last year in Police Beat 1132, the most dangerous in the city.

Tyler LaRiviere/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.

Following sub-zero wind chills earlier today, this afternoon will be sunny with a high near 22 degrees. Tonight will be mostly clear with a low around 18, while tomorrow will bring increasing clouds with a high near 36.

Top story

Chicago’s most violent neighborhoods were more dangerous than ever in 2021

Angela Hernandez-Sutton, 44, has lived on the same block in West Garfield Park nearly her entire life, but it wasn’t until this past summer that she stopped sitting out on her front porch.

As a child, she played in the spray from a fire hydrant with neighbors’ kids during the summer. In her teens, she ran the streets with neighborhood girls who were regarded as “tough.”

As a mom, she watched her own children like a hawk, until they grew up and moved away, and these days she looks out for her 88-year-old father in the home she grew up in, on West Lexington Avenue east of Pulaski Road.

But one afternoon this summer she raced to shove her dad out of harm’s way as a carload of men sprayed the block with gunfire. Her own car was strafed with bullets that, as far as she knows, were intended for a group of young men on the sidewalk a few houses down.

That’s when Hernandez-Sutton stopped sitting out front.

“I hear gunshots every day,” she said. “I just listen to hear where they’re coming from, then move to the front or the back of the house.”

The block — near the open-air drug markets of the city’s West Side and a border between rival gangs’ territory — has always had its share of violence. When Hernandez-Sutton was in high school in the early 1990s, Chicago regularly saw more than 900 murders per year.

But 2021 seems worse, she says. Far worse.

“It feels different now than it was,” she said. “You used to get a couple weeks, months even, where you didn’t hear shooting. Not anymore.”

Hernandez-Sutton’s intuition isn’t wrong.

Read our complete analysis of Chicago’s violent crime trends in 2021, including deep dives into the stats, the history and the discourse over potential solutions.

More news you need

  1. While the Chicago Teachers Union readies to hold a vote on whether to have members work remotely in defiance of CPS policy, Mayor Lori Lightfoot insisted today that the city’s schools are safe. “Our schools are not the source of significant spread. The issue is community spread,” the mayor said during an interview on CNBC.
  2. One of the area’s largest health care networks, Advocate Aurora Health, says it’s reaching record-breaking levels of hospitalizations while facing staff shortages caused by employee burnout and COVID-19 exposure. More than 90% of the network’s inpatients are either unvaccinated, have only received one dose or are due for a booster, Advocate Aurora’s chief nursing officer told Manny Ramos.
  3. A 12-year-old boy was shot and killed last night in an Englewood home when someone he knew fired a handgun in a bedroom, police say. Marcell Wilson, the victim, always helped his neighbors and had a sense of humor, his family told David Struett.
  4. The second-busiest year on record for the Cook County medical examiner’s office saw increases in opioid and homicide deaths for 2021 while deaths attributed to COVID-19 fell but still accounted for almost 4,500 cases. Read more on the medical examiner office’s 2021 data.
  5. Workers at a downtown Starbucks have become the first in the Midwest to request a union certification vote at the coffee chain. The employees of the 155 N. Wabash Ave. store are the latest to push for unionization after organizing drives at other locations around the country.
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A bright one

Young Stephen Colbert, in rare video, performs improv in 1985

From time to time Stephen Colbert reminisces publicly about his crucial years at Northwestern University, notably during a 2011 commencement address and “Late Show” visits by his old classmates David Schwimmer and Dermot Mulroney. But actual video of collegiate Colbert back in the day has been scarce — until now.

Footage posted last month on YouTube offers a 15-minute look at Colbert in his formative years, paying a call to a public access cable show in Evanston called “The Friday Club” in 1985. He’s there (in a chunky cable-knit sweater and no glasses) with three teammates from No Fun Mud Piranhas, a group that represented Northwestern in an ImprovOlympic college league.

The four teammates — all white males — do an abbreviated, seven-minute improv set riffing on the audience suggestion “rain.” The 21-year-old Colbert plays an ice sculptor in one off-the-cuff scene, and then later plays him again, this time with a previously unheard Italian accent.

He also announces to the audience that rain has seeped into his shoddily stitched boots. “I have wet socks,” he declares. “I’m performing with wet socks.”

Read the full story.

From the press box

Your daily question ☕

What’s one way you hope 2022 is different from 2021?

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

Last Thursday, we asked: What’s your New Year’s resolution for 2022? Here’s what some of you said...

“To survive another surge of COVID and stay healthy!” — Annette Smith

“Not to make the same resolution as last year.” — Deborah Betancourt

“Not to be around drama, don’t discuss politics, religion, or not be around negative people.” — Judy Laubscher

“Be more patient and enjoy what I have and be more grateful! — Barbara Crowley

“Be grateful for what I have been given from God and be thankful each day God has given me.” — Jamie Fitzpatrick

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