Afternoon Edition: Jan. 31, 2022

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

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Jasmine Dunston, with her father Shawon after the Giants defeated the Royals in the 2014 World Series.

Courtesy Jasmine Dunston

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 partly sunny with a high near 34 degrees. Tonight will be mostly cloudy with a low around 30. Tomorrow will be mostly cloudy with a high near 43 before a winter storm enters the area in the evening. The National Weather Service, which has issued a winter weather watch, estimates at least 6 inches of snow for the Chicago area by the time the storm ends Thursday.

Top story

Jasmine Dunston takes the baton

When Jasmine Dunston informed her father that she would be the White Sox’ new director of minor league operations late last year, he was overcome with emotion.

Shawon Dunston wasn’t surprised that his daughter was moving up in the baseball world and accomplishing life goals, but to land a job of this stature after just one year in the industry with the Cincinnati Reds came as a bit of a shock.

“He cried like a baby, oh my goodness,” Jasmine Dunston said. “I had to repeat the title to him like five times. He was so shocked and stunned because people in baseball don’t get a director role after one year. So he was just proud.”

Shawon Dunston, a No. 1 draft who played 12 of his 18 seasons in the major leagues with the Cubs, including two as an All-Star, has four adult children with Tracie, his wife of 34 years. Shawon Jr. was drafted by the Cubs in 2011.

Jasmine, 31, was a scholarship softball player at Tennessee State who grew up around major league baseball, attending Cubs games at Wrigley Field when Shawon was the North Siders shortstop beginning in 1995. While attending law school at John F. Kennedy University, Jasmine celebrated three World Series championships during her dad’s tenure as a Giants coach from 2009-2019.

She came to the Sox with an impressive resume, having received a masters degree in sports administration from Valparaiso, interning for All Pro Sports & Entertainment in Denver, working for the Raiders of the NFL and as a law clerk. She landed her first baseball job as a specialist in the Reds’ player development department a year ago.

“I am thankful to Cincinnati Reds for my first opportunity in baseball and taking my development seriously after getting my foot in the door,” Jasmine said. “Nick Krall, Eric Davis, Shawn Pender, Cam Bonifay, Walt Jocketty, they took me seriously. No question was dumb. They talked baseball with me day in and out.”

Dunston is taking over for Grace Guerrero Zwit, who is easing into retirement after 40 years with the Sox. Hired by Roland Hemond and Dave Dombrowski when Tony La Russa was managing the Sox in 1982, Zwit was ahead of her time as an assistant in player development and scouting. A daughter to Mexican immigrants, she was the first woman to work in Sox baseball operations and passes a meaningful baton to Dunston.

“They say I blazed a trail,” Zwit said. “I hoped I would be replaced by a female minority. I’m glad that they did it. It’s a good move.

Read the rest of Daryl Van Schouwen’s story here.

More news you need

  1. Several synagogues and Jewish businesses in West Rogers Park were targeted with spray-painted swastikas and broken windows over the weekend, just days after Holocaust Remembrance Day. While police declined to describe the graffiti painted on a North Side synagogue, a local group that tracks antisemitic attacks in the Chicago area says they were swastikas.
  2. Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s latest state budget proposal will aim to ease the “pinch of inflation” for Illinois residents by providing almost $1 billion in tax cuts, freezes and rebates. Among the proposed measures are a suspension on the state’s 1% grocery tax and delaying a gas tax increase that’s set to kick in this summer.
  3. Drummer Sam Lay, a Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee who played with blue legends and backed Bob Dylan when he went electric at the Newport Folk Festival, has died at age 85. Read Maureen O’Donnell’s full obituary for Lay, who as a member of the Paul Butterfield Blues Band helped to bring Chicago blues to a wider audience.
  4. Chicago’s spring and summer concert slate is starting to come together with big names like The Black Keys and Marco Antonio Solis slated to visit the city. Here’s a look at some of the acts coming to Chicago later this year.
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A bright one

World Comedy Expo piling on the laughs for inaugural event in Chicago

It’s been said laughter is the best medicine, and organizers of the World Comedy Expo are hoping the four-day event, slated for Chicago this spring, will help all of us find something to laugh about amid all the stress, hardship and sadness of a pandemic world.

The expo, running March 25-27, will bring together more than 170 stand-up comics and sketch/improv troupes from Chicago, across the country and across the globe for 27 comedy showcases. The shows will take place at Laugh Factory, The Annoyance Theatre, Den Theatre and two Second City venues: Up Comedy Club and Donny’s Skybox.

“I came to Chicago from Japan as a young stand-up because the city is known as the comedy capital of the world,” said festival co-founder and artistic director Saku Yanagawa, via statement, about the festival’s Chicago locale.

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The 1ZS improv quartet, part of the lineup for the World Comedy Expo, features (clockwise from top left) Stephanie Courtney (Groundlings alum and “Flo” from Progressive TV commercials); Jaime Moyer (“Modern Family,” “Parks and Recreation,” Second City); Susan Messing (Second City, iO), and Celeste Pechous (Second City, “Work in Progress”).

Courtesy World Comedy Expo

The expo will include more than 90 stand-up comics and 25 ensembles — artists from 18 countries and five continents.

Individual tickets are $20, per showcase. Each stand-up showcase will feature eight to 10 comics doing 10-minute sets, while sketch and improv showcases are double-billed for an hourlong show. Showtimes are staggered, with performances at 7, 9 and 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 7 and 9 p.m. Sunday.

Miriam Di Nunzio has more on the comedy showcase coming to the city in the spring.

From the press box

Your daily question ☕

What’s something you always make sure to do before a snowstorm?

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

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On Friday, we asked you: Where’s the best place to go sledding in Chicago? Here’s what some of you said...

“MT trashmore in Evanston right outside Chicago city limits.” — Shawn McGovern

“Oak Park has that huge hill off Lombard.” — Kimberly Martin

“Cricket Hill, at Montrose and Lake Shore Drive.” — Jose T. Cortez

“Logan Monument or the Soldier Field Sledding Hill!!” — Angela Fitzpatrick

“Dan Ryan Woods years ago. Palos toboggan slides is where we went also!” — Janet Maxwell

“Not in Chicago, but Wood Oaks Green Park in Northbrook has an awesome sled hill.” — Nick Esposito

“If we’re only saying the city then it’s the hill at Henry C. Palmisano Park.” — Valentin Galvan

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