Afternoon Edition: Feb. 1, 2022

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

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500 new citizens from 82 countries recite the Oath of Allegiance to the U.S. while being sworn in as U.S. citizens at the Auditorium Theatre on Monday.

Brian Rich/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.

This afternoon will be cloudy with a high near 47 degrees and rain likely. Tonight will be snowy with a low around 18 degrees. A winter storm warning will be in effect from 8 p.m. tonight to 6 p.m. tomorrow, with accumulation of 5 to 11 inches expected, the National Weather Service says. Along with snow, tomorrow is also expected to see a high around 24 degrees and wind gusts as high as 30 mph.

Top story

Chicago welcomes 472 new citizens: ‘My heart is so happy’

Emma Apayart’s father always told her the U.S. was the “land of honey.” Now, the honey tastes a little sweeter.

Apayart moved from the Philippines to the U.S. 10 years ago at the encouragement of her father. Yesterday, she stood in a crowd of hundreds at the Auditorium Theatre to take the Oath of Allegiance to the United States, officially becoming citizens.

“I’m very happy I’m an American citizen, finally!” said Apayart, 28. “I’m very grateful. … America is the land of honey, like my dad said. I still believe in that.”

In all, 472 new citizens were welcomed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker at the naturalization ceremony — the first held in the theater, a National Historic Landmark, at 50 E. Ida B. Wells Dr.

The newly naturalized citizens were from 82 home countries, with India, Mexico, Pakistan and the Philippines among those most represented, according to Julie Hodek, public information officer for the U.S. District Court.

Most of the new citizens waited years, even decades, for this day.

Mosha Kakonge, 38, originally from Uganda, became a citizen Monday after living in Chicago for five years.

“I’m so happy. This is a big day for my life in the United States,” Kakonge, said. “I cannot show you, but my heart is so happy.”

Kakonge, who left family behind in Uganda, said he hopes his journey will show others at home that American citizenship is possible: “Maybe now, my family will come,” he said.

Josephine Stratman has more from the ceremony here.

More news you need

  1. Hate crime charges have been filed against a man accused of spray-painting yellow swastikas on a synagogue and on the grounds of a Jewish high school in Rogers Park last weekend. The 39-year-old from Niles faces four counts of a hate crime as well as charges of criminal damage and defacement.
  2. Two people were killed and another person wounded in a shooting this morning on the 900 block of East 79th Street in Grand Crossing, according to authorities. This follows a shooting two weeks ago on the same block that left a man and a woman wounded.
  3. In another shooting this morning, a 16-year-old girl was wounded in Albany Park after two people approached and opened fire, Chicago police said. She suffered a gunshot wound to the shoulder and her condition has been stabilized, police said.
  4. Gov. J.B. Pritzker issued a disaster declaration for all of Illinois today as the state awaits the winter weather set to arrive later this evening. Pritzker’s declaration activates 130 Illinois National Guard members and deploys 1,800 trucks to plow roads throughout the state.
  5. The NAACP today urged Attorney General Merrick Garland to bring federal civil rights charges against Jason Van Dyke, the former Chicago police officer who fatally shot Laquan McDonald in 2014. Van Dyke is set to be released Thursday, having served three years, three months and nine days of the 81-month sentence handed down after his 2018 conviction.
  6. Statues of Ron Santo and Billy Williams were removed from their homes outside Wrigley Field yesterday to make room for a sports betting site at the corner of Addison and Sheffield. The statues of Williams and Santo will be refurbished before heading to their new home outside the ballpark in an area known as Gallagher Way.
  7. Fans, fellow musicians and loved ones are mourning the loss of Chicago bluesman Jimmy Johnson, who died yesterday in his home at age 93. Johnson’s blistering performances were matched by his wide-ranging musical knowledge and meticulous attention to detail onstage and in the recording studio.

A bright one

Chicago wingsuit flyer’s scientific know-how boosts airborne passion

There are aspects of the life of South Loop resident Alexey Galda that read a bit like a superhero backstory.

Mild-mannered theoretical physicist. Grew up in Siberia. Educated in Moscow and England. Regularly dons a blue wingsuit to jump out of airplanes at speeds north of 200 mph.

Galda, 35, is a competitive wingsuit flyer. He’s stood on podiums with the world’s best. But it’s not something you’d necessarily know, even if you knew Galda.

“I don’t really advertise it that much. If people ask me, I am happy to chat and encourage people to do their first skydive. But it’s not something I bring up. It’s a separate life that I live. My main job is that I am a scientist and that’s who I am. My second life is in the wingsuit,” he said.

He is one of only about 200 people who compete internationally in the sport.

Galda was a kitesurfer and paraglider before getting into skydiving about 10 years ago. He got 200 jumps under his belt — a prerequisite for being allowed in a wingsuit — and never looked back.

Mitch Dudek has more on Galda here.

From the press box

Your daily question ☕

Should the city be responsible for clearing snow off sidewalks? 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: What’s something you always make sure to do before a snowstorm?

Here’s what some of you said…

“Remind my husband that in our wedding vows he stated ‘and to always shovel the snow til death do us part.’” — Carlos R. Torres

“I usually get gas, get groceries full of comfort foods, make a huge pot of chili, and let Mother Nature do her thing.” — Nikki Dub

“Make sure I have lots of coffee and frozen Lou Malnati’s pizza!” — Shevawn Weber

“Look for a chair to put in the street to save your spot/dibs.” — Becky Taft

“Go to the grocery store, fill up my gas tank, and check on those who might need something.” — Jacki Robinson-Ivy

“Make sure faucets won’t freeze — make the drip slowly in the laundry room.” — Brandi Martin

“Make sure my sled is ready.” — Tom Derrico

“As is tradition in this city, make a run to the store and clean out all the bread, milk, and eggs. Then complain how nobody knows how to drive in the snow and how little the plows are doing. If feeling energetic set up your dibs menagerie.” — Scott Krenzer

“Get plenty of coffee and cigarettes, lol.” — Donna Marie

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

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