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.
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.
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They first dated 50 years ago.
But it was only late last year that Steve Watts got up the nerve to pop the question to Jeanne Gustavson.
She thought she misheard. So she made him repeat it.
“Well, of course, I’ll marry you!” she told him.
Now, the couple who met so long ago while students at Loyola University Chicago but saw their love thwarted decades ago by a mother’s hatred are planning their wedding.
Watts, an amputee who has had two strokes, had been living in a south suburban nursing home, thinking he’d been forgotten by the outside world.
Then, last June, he heard from Gustavson. She had tracked down her first love after 42 years apart. Eventually, she brought him back to her home outside Portland, Ore.
They might have married long ago, when Gustavson fell in love with the tall “hunk” who was president of the Loyola German club.
At first, theirs was a secret love because Gustavson is white and Watts is Black, and Gustavson’s mother thought Black people should come into their house only to clean or make repairs.
But Gustavson couldn’t keep the secret. She told her mother, who she says went “ballistic.”
They tried to make things work. But the demands of college life and then of trying to navigate their way in the world led to their breakup after seven years.
Each married someone else, both marriages ending in divorce.
More news you need
- Jurors began deliberating in the federal tax trial of Ald. Patrick Daley Thompson this afternoon following closing arguments. Jon Seidel and Tim Novak have more from Dirksen Federal Courthouse.
- With a $20 million donation announced this morning, billionaire Ken Griffin made official his support for Aurora mayor Richard Irvin’s GOP primary campaign for governor of Illinois. The big expenditure comes as Griffin, the wealthiest man in Illinois, looks to unseat Gov. J.B. Pritzker, who is also a billionaire.
- Development plans are coming in fast and furious for Fulton Market, the city’s busiest real estate market. But the big plans raise questions about how much density the area can take, David Roeder reports.
- Mary Ann Thebus, a respected Chicago stage actor who also played the mother in “Rudy,” died last Friday in her Andersonville home at age 89. Read Maureen O’Donnell and Madeline Kenney’s obituary for Thebus.
A bright one
Shoot for the moon, and you may just land among the space junk.
At least, that was the case for five 6th graders at St. Paul of the Cross School in Park Ridge.
The all-girl team designed an alligator-shaped space junk collector, with magnetic teeth to chomp down on space trash. The project was among the winners in a nationwide NASA competition.
“We didn’t think we’d win,” said team member Renata McCoy, 11. “We thought we had no chance. … The whole grade went crazy. We were in shock.”
The inaugural NASA TechRise Student Challenge is intended to inspire a deeper understanding of space exploration and expose students to careers in science, technology and space exploration.
The win comes with $1,500 in project funding for the girls and a ticket to space for the space junk collector they’re going to build.
“We are absolutely thrilled and so proud of our students,” said Principal Erika Mickelburgh. “We’re so excited to see what they build. We’re so excited to see it blast off into space.”
The girls’ project was among 57 winners picked from nearly 600 entries and the only Illinois selection. The competition was open to students in middle school or high school; the Park Ridge girls were among the youngest winners.
NASA announced the results Jan. 21 on a livestream as the whole school watched.
From the press box
- For your afternoon commute, listen to the latest episode of our Bears podcast, Halas Intrigue, in which Jason Lieser and Patrick Finley discuss lessons the Bears might take away from watching the Rams’ Super Bowl win last night.
- All eight classes of Illinois high school football will use 1-32 seeding for their playoff brackets this fall, the IHSA announced today. The move will bring Classes 1A through 6A to the same system that Classes 7A and 8A already had been using in recent years.
- Get more Chicago-area high school sports news in your inbox every Monday with our weekly newsletter from Michael O’Brien. Here’s a look at today’s edition!
Your daily question ☕
Who would you like to see perform in a future Super Bowl halftime show?
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On Friday, we asked you: Where’s the best place to go on a date in Chicago? Here’s what some of you said...
“Any of the museums - especially the Art Institute, Grant Park, Navy Pier, a good restaurant, a walk along the lake shore, the possibilities are endless.” — Beverly Brown
“Field Museum. Then walk along the lake.” — Marc Nash
“The grocery store ... inflation is a MF right now.” — Brian Althimer
“Millennium Park summer concert by the Grant Park Orchestra, then dinner at Shaw’s!” — Carol Hafer
“Visit Bahai Temple along Sheridan Road in Wilmette, along with the adjacent harbor. Dynamite place for a picnic, followed up with dinner and a movie at the New 400 Theater near Loyola University’s lake shore campus.” — Bert Freeman
“Gibson Steakhouse and stay at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel and go to the 96th floor Signature Room for drinks.” — Bernard Maddox
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