Afternoon Edition: March 2, 2022

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

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Then-Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan speaks at a news conference at the Capitol in Springfield, Ill. in July 2017.

Justin Fowler/AP

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 54 degrees. Tonight will be mostly cloudy with a slight chance of rain and a low around 26. Tomorrow will be mostly cloudy with a high near 33.

Top story

Former House Speaker Michael Madigan indicted in political corruption probe

Former House Speaker Michael Madigan has been indicted on criminal charges as part of an ongoing federal political corruption investigation, sources said.

Madigan is now one of the most significant politicians in Illinois history ever to face criminal charges, despite having left office more than a year ago. The news is the culmination of one of the most significant, expansive public corruption investigations Illinois has seen in years, already leaving an indelible mark on state politics by knocking Madigan out of power in January 2021.

The powerful Southwest Side Democrat had held his seat in the state House of Representatives since 1971 and served as speaker for all but two years between 1983 and 2020.

We first revealed in 2019 that the feds had recorded Madigan as early as 2014 at his private law firm, during a meeting with then-Ald. Danny Solis and a developer hoping to build a hotel in Chinatown. In a 2016 federal court affidavit exclusively obtained by the Sun-Times, an FBI agent alleged that Solis agreed to use his public office to provide “private benefits” to Madigan.

Solis later went on to become a secret government cooperator until his work with the feds was first revealed by our reporters.

Still, it wasn’t until July 2020 that federal prosecutors finally implicated Madigan in a bribery scheme involving ComEd, giving him the moniker “Public Official A.” That development would eventually lead to the end of Madigan’s tenure as the longest-serving state House leader in U.S. history.

Jon Seidel has more on Madigan’s indictment here.

More news you need

  1. A girl was shot and critically wounded while out celebrating her 12th birthday with family in West Englewood last night. No one was in custody as of this morning, according to police. Chicago Police Supt. David Brown vowed today the “full brunt of every resource we have” will be used on the gangs he believes could be responsible.
  2. Troy LaRaviere, the head of a group representing CPS principals, said today their push for legislation granting them collective bargaining rights is altruistic. A bill to allow Chicago principals to unionize passed the Illinois House yesterday and is expected to come up for committee debate in the Senate later this month.
  3. Two Chicago nonprofit executives were charged with embezzling $1.8 million intended to support underprivileged youth, federal prosecutors said yesterday. Tony Bell, executive director of the Center for Community Academic Success Partnerships, and project manager Barbara Harris were charged Monday for taking money intended for after-school enrichment programs.
  4. Steve Murphy and Javier Peña are the real-life federal Drug Enforcement Administration agents portrayed by actors in the TV series “Narcos” on Netflix. Ahead of their appearance at City Winery on Friday, the pair spoke with our Frank Main about their story and what Netflix got right and wrong.
  5. A historic Kane County home that will be demolished unless a new owner is found may have at least one person seriously interested. Though the home is set to be leveled in order to make way for an industrial development, the developer is allowing anyone who can move the home to have it for free.
  6. Chicago-born singer-actress Jennifer Hudson can add one more job title to her resume: talk show host. The Oscar, Emmy and Grammy Award winner will be hosting “The Jennifer Hudson Show” on Fox-owned stations this fall, it was confirmed today.
  7. Commuters lined up at Metra stations and some CTA L stations to receive ashes on their foreheads today as many Christians marked the beginning of Lent. Bernadette Gibson, director of pastoral care at Old St. Patrick’s Church, said people at Union Station were re-engaging with the practice this year as worries and restrictions over COVID-19 have eased.

A bright one

Ellie Goulding, Chelsea Handler set for new ‘women-powered’ Versa fest in Chicago

Versa Festival, a new entry in Chicago’s summer festival lineup features a packed, women-centered lineup and is set for June 11-12 in Lincoln Park.

The festival boasts a roster of performers ranging from pop star Ellie Goulding to comedian Chelsea Handler to author Gloria Steinem.

Organizers describe the fest as “a place where we can celebrate at full volume, where we can dance and laugh with artists and visionaries who reflect the world we live in. Where we’ll discover that we can fight the good fight and have a great time, all at once.”

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Jamila Woods performs at the Blue Stage at Pitchfork music festival at Union Park, Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021.

Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times

Also set for the musical stages are Kali Uchis, Kim Petras, Monica, Liz Phair, Mon Laferte, Jamila Woods, Young M.A, Ingrid Andress, Yuna, Big Freedia, Yendry, Laura Jane Grace, Salem Ilese, Deb Never, Madame Gandhi, Lila Ike, Adeline, Vagabon, Coco & Breezy, Lillie Mae and Tia Wood.

Other comedians lined up include Ilana Glazer, Fortune Feimster, Patti Harrison, Aida Rodriguez, Dulce Sloan and Sydnee Washington. A lineup of more than 50 speakers is promised as well, including Steinem and performance artist Alok Vaid-Menon.

A Versa Ball will celebrate the ballroom scene, and Gail Simmons of “Top Chef” will spearhead a menu of dining options from “celebrated female chefs from Chicago and beyond.”

Darel Jevens has more info on the festival here.

From the press box

Your daily question ☕

What’s the first official sign of spring in Chicago?

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: How would you describe what paczki tastes like to someone who’s never had one?

Here’s what some of you said…

“A thicker chewier jelly donut so heavy that is like a brick.” —Rebecca Swain Swenson

“A doughnut made without reading the recipe. Good but kind of off.” — Suzanne Setterstrom Moller

“It’s a heavy version of a jelly filled donut, using more butter and Sugar. The tradition started by using all the leftover butter and sugar from Fat Tuesday.” —Catherine Anne

“Imagine the best doughnut you ever ate with fruit or custard where the hole used to be.” —Richard Andrewski

“A delectable fried donut minus the hole and a fruit filling in its place.” —Carol Wortel

“Like love. Like powdered sugar-covered, fudge-flavored love.” — Brad Kupiec

“Orland Bakery’s are pure heaven — fantastic light dough, delectable fillings. A filled pillow of joy!” — Jill Reilly White

“Fluffy fruit-filled little pillows of dough rolled in powdered or granulated sugar. Heavenly.” — Barbara Conrad Hippler

“Think of your favorite food — these are better!” —Norb Rozanski

“A little slice of Polish Heaven.” — Sherry Ciecierski

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

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A morning fishing with Matt Mullady on the Kankakee River was good for catching smallmouth bass on topwaters (and other ways), to listen to and watch the birds, and to catch up on family and life.