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.
This afternoon will bring snow, heavy at times, with a high near 30 degrees. There will be more snow tonight, mainly before 9 p.m., with a low around 11 and up to four inches of total accumulation by the end of the storm. Tomorrow will be sunny with a high near 31.
A federal judge today declined to toss federal charges against four members of ex-House Speaker Michael Madigan’s inner circle, rejecting arguments in a key ruling seven months ahead of a scheduled trial.
U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber announced his decision in a 25-page opinion that nevertheless required the feds to identify false statements made amid an alleged eight-year scheme prosecutors say was designed to curry favor with Madigan.
Charged in the 50-page November 2020 indictment were Madigan confidant Michael McClain, ex-ComEd CEO Anne Pramaggiore, ex-top ComEd lobbyist John Hooker and Jay Doherty, the former president of the City Club. The four were accused of arranging for Madigan’s associates and allies to get jobs, contracts and money in order to influence Madigan as key legislation worked its way through Springfield.
Madigan has not been charged and has denied wrongdoing. The scandal ended his record-setting tenure as Illinois House speaker, though, and he has repeatedly been referred to in charging documents as “Public Official A.”
Doherty asked Leinenweber in May 2021 to toss part of the indictment, calling the prosecution “shaky at best.” His lawyer questioned if the grand jury that handed it up considered whether the jobs at issue were “bona fide” or in the “usual course of business.”
Attorney Gabrielle Sansonetti wrote that one of the federal laws Doherty was accused of violating “prohibits any prosecution where the object of the bribe is a bona fide job in the usual course of business.”
But Leinenweber wrote today that the group allegedly “offered, or intended to offer, financial incentives as a bribe to a public official to influence state laws governing the public corporation that employed them.”
More news you need
- A man accused of stalking Mayor Lori Lightfoot was arrested yesterday after allegedly firing a weapon as police trailed him just over a mile from the mayor’s home. The 37-year-old was charged with three felony counts of stalking and another for reckless discharge of a firearm, according to the Cook County state’s attorney’s office.
- A man has been charged with fatally shooting 15-year-old Caleb Westbrooks while he waited for a bus last month in West Town. The 18-year-old was arrested yesterday in Calumet City, police said.
- Another 15-year-old boy was shot and critically wounded this morning, this time in West Englewood. He was outside around 9:10 a.m. when a black Chevrolet drove by and someone inside opened fire, police said.
- Two Crest Hill residents have written letters to a federal judge apologizing for their role in the U.S. Capitol breach and discussing the reading they’ve done to pursue a “greater awareness of the world.” The letters, written by John and Amy Schubert, were filed yesterday in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., ahead of the couple’s March 8 sentencing.
- A Brazilian citizen who lives in Indian Head Park is the latest Illinois resident to face criminal charges for allegedly taking part in the U.S. Capitol breach. Leticia Vilhena Ferreira, 32, allegedly sent someone a text message the day after the breach that asked, “Do you think they will go after all the people walking in the capitol area?”
- Retiring Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White has announced his support for City Clerk Anna Valencia in the Democratic primary battle to replace him. This gives Valencia the most coveted endorsement in a heated race against former state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias and Chicago Ald. David Moore.
- Under a new proposal, the Civilian Office of Police Accountability’s chief administrator could, in some instances, alter reports requested under the Freedom of Information Act. The Better Government Association argues the reports are public records and cannot be redacted or revised after the fact.
- Seven months after the feds first leveled charges against the former principal of a North Side elementary school, prosecutors yesterday alleged yet another scam there and revealed charges against two additional ex-administrators. An indictment said the administrators helped cheat CPS out of $250K by submitting bogus orders and invoices for school supplies.
- Family, friends and longtime patrons are mourning the loss of Steve Cunneen, who operated his namesake tavern for just shy of 50 years until his death on Feb. 2. Read Maureen O’Donnell’s full obituary for Cunneen, whose bar served regulars ranging from factory workers to well-known authors.
- A new documentary out tomorrow on Netflix argues that Boeing’s greed led to the crashes of Lion Air Flight 610 in October 2018 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 less than a year later, causing the deaths of 346 passengers and crew. Our critic Richard Roeper calls “Downfall: The Case Against Boeing” a “scathing indictment” in his three-star review.
A bright one
The dog days of winter are upon us —that time of the year where our spirits can dim, to say the least.
Offering a brief respite from the turmoil is Chicago’s theater scene, which boasts a stacked lineup of shows you can catch in the week ahead.
Here are some current and upcoming options to inspire and get you through.
Invictus Theatre presents Lynn Nottage’s“Ruined,”a drama first commissioned by the Goodman Theatre in 2008 that would go on to win a Pulitzer Prize. It’s the story of women caught in the civil war in the Democratic Republic of Congo who find a kind of refuge with Mama Nadi (Tekeisha Yelton Hunter), a brothel owner who takes victims of sexual violence under her wing, profiting from them but also safeguarding them. Ebby Offord directs. From Feb. 17-March 20 at Reginald Vaughn Theatre, 1106 W. Thorndale. Tickets: $30. Visit invictustheatreco.com.
“Come from Away”
Irene Sankoff and David Hein’s Tony Award-winning musical“Come from Away”tells the true story of a small Canadian town (Gander, Newfoundland) that welcomed nearly 7,000 stranded passengers from flights grounded there after the Sept. 11 attack. Directed by Christopher Ashley. From Feb. 22-March 6 at Cadillac Palace Theatre, 151 W. Randolph. Tickets: $35+. Visitbroadwayinchicago.com.
“The Simon & Garfunkel Story”
Thischronicles the journey of the folk-rock duo via video projection photos and film footage; a live band performs the duo’s classic hits. From Feb. 22-27 at CIBC Theatre, 18 W. Monroe. Tickets: $21+. Visitbroadwayinchicago.com.
Chicago Theatre Week
The League of Chicago Theatres’Chicago Theatre Week,the annual celebration of the local theater scene, runs Feb. 17-27. A wide array of performing arts groups offer tickets for $30, $15 or less. For a list of participating theaters, visitchicagotheatreweek.com.
From the press box
- With the Bulls off the next few days thanks to the NBA All-Star break, Joe Cowley writes about how the days off will be welcomed by a group that’s been pushed hard by head coach Billy Donovan through a first half full of injuries.
- Alex Caruso could begin basketball activity in as little as a week as he works his way back from a fractured wrist.
- Blackhawks goalie Marc-Andre Fleury on the trade rumors: “If I move, I would love a chance to win.”
- Today was supposed to be the second day of spring training. Instead, the labor conflict between MLB and MLBPA has no end in sight and the regular season looks increasingly unlikely to start on time.
- The Sky are bringing back guard Allie Quigley on a one-year contract.
Your daily question ☕
What is getting you through the dog days of winter?
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 one now-demolished Chicago building you miss?
Here’s what some of you said…
“Comiskey Park.” —Omar Ramos
“Midway Gardens. I would have loved to have seen it. Also, Comiskey Park and my childhood home in Oak Park.” — Danielle Anastasia Mio Sogno
“Sabatino’s on Irving Park.” —Donna DeMilio
“Prentice Hospital at Northwestern. It was designed by Bertrand Goldberg (best known for Marina City)!” —Emily Ralph
“Does Riverview Park count? Closed over 10 years before I was born but I’d give anything to experience it for just one day.” —Cheryl Wisniewski
“The International Amphitheater. Concerts and AWA wrestling!” — Todd Schiltz
“The church off the expressway on 55th. I used to visit my godmother when I was a little girl, and once I saw that church getting off the expressway, I was all smiles. It was my landmark.” —Shanee MsEspn Hayes
“The Garrick Theater (AKA the Schiller Building) on Randolph Street. I never even saw it with my eyes, just photos. It was beautiful.” —Craig Barner
“660 W. Division—Cabrini Green. Glad we made it out, but all my childhood memories are from there.” —Jadae Harmon
“The Edgewater Beach Hotel. Such an iconic building.” —Karen Gnagni Garbe
“The Sun-Times building on Wabash—especially walking past it on the way to/from Michigan Avenue and feeling the vibration of running presses.” —Michael Esposito
Thanks for reading the Chicago Afternoon Edition. Got a story you think we missed? Email us here.