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 be mostly cloudy with showers likely and a high near 48 degrees. Tonight will be rainy and breezy with scattered snow showers and a low around 29. Tomorrow will be mostly cloudy with scattered snow showers and a high near 37, while Sunday will be sunny with a high around 38.
Lightfoot to waive 3-cents-a-gallon gas tax hike until Dec. 31 to ease pain at pump
Mayor Lori Lightfoot will roll back her 3-cents-a-gallon gas tax increase until Dec. 31 to provide relief for motorists squeezed by skyrocketing gas prices, even though an influential alderperson warned the temporary break would be viewed as a “political stunt.”
Ald. Michelle Harris (8th), the mayor’s City Council floor leader, acknowledged the break that will be up for a vote at Monday’s Finance Committee meeting is a drop in the gas tank when prices are hovering around $5 a gallon.
“Every little bit helps when people are struggling. … If it’s 3 cents on a gallon, that’s 3 cents on a gallon I ain’t got to pay,” Harris said. “She’s not eliminating it altogether. She’s just saying that, while things are so horrible financially, she wants to reduce it temporarily.”
The city’s gas tax, currently 8 cents a gallon, generates $64.9 million a year for snow removal, street pavement, bridge maintenance and related personnel costs. Forfeiting the 3 cents a gallon increase for the remainder of the year would cost the city roughly $18 million.
Lightfoot’s 2021 “pandemic budget” raised the taxby 3 cents a gallon, or 60%, on Jan. 1, 2021. The increase had been authorized by the General Assembly when the state’s gas tax was doubled to bankroll Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s $45 billion infrastructure program.
More recently, Pritzker proposed a gas tax freeze.
Fran Spielman has more on Lightfoot’s move here.
More news you need
- Chicago has been granted an extra three years to comply with sweeping court-ordered police reforms, extending the total to eight years. Mayor Lightfoot defended the extension today, saying the previous timeframe was “unrealistic” for massive changes she expects will have a price tag of at least $50 million.
- After more than 120 days living on a rooftop in Woodlawn to raise money for a new anti-violence resource center, Corey Brooks has temporarily come down to be with his family. The pastor received a call that his mother, battling cancer, had been hospitalized early Monday.
- For all the awful things the coronavirus pandemic has wrought on Chicago, you can add one more: brazen rental scams. Local housing experts say the scams picked up speed after the pandemic shutdowns began in the spring of 2020. Vacant properties, including foreclosed apartments and houses, weren’t being closely watched — and scammers pounced.
- The 15th edition of Chicago Restaurant Week kicked off today and will run through April 10, giving you plenty of time to check out some restaurants that might be on your to-try list. More than 343 restaurants spanning 35 Chicago neighborhoods, including 33 suburban eateries, are serving up specially priced and curated menus.
A bright one
Chance the Rapper unveils new song, artwork collaboration for ‘Child of God’
Nearly three years since the release of his debut studio album “The Big Day,” Chance the Rapper has officially begun his full-on return to the music sphere.
The Grammy Award-winning musician gathered hundreds of friends, family, art collectors, musicians and other industry members to the Museum of Contemporary Art on Wednesday night for an invite-only premiere of his newest project, a song, video and supplementary art piece titled “Child of God.”
Standing before the crowd on a small stage in the museum’s grand first-floor hall, Chance and visual artist Naïla Opiangah introduced the project, which was projected onto a towering curtain extending from the floor to high above the crowd.
The idea for the “Child of God” project was born during Chance’s recent trip to Ghana with fellow Chicago rapper Vic Mensa, Chance explained during a late-night interview with the Sun-Times in the museum’s Bergman Family Gallery.
“The song to me is all about keeping that voice in your head that allows you to know that you could do it, that you could finish it,” he said. “Whatever your work is, whatever your job is, whatever your purpose is, that you could do it — you just gotta start and finish.”
In Ghana, Chance landed “in the arms of this awesome art collective,” he said. Among the artists he met there was Opiangah, 27, who was born and raised in Gabon, later moving to Chicago to study architecture at the Illinois Institute of Technology. She now splits her home time between New York City and Accra, Ghana.
The release of this song, whose video debuted last night on YouTube, is part of an album rollout that will similarly feature new songs and collaborations with artists. The goal is to bring the artists front-and-center, make their work more accessible, and celebrate experiencing art in a communal space.
Read more from my interview with Chance and Opiangah here.
From the press box
- Rick Morrissey, like those of you watching at home, knows that the Big Ten is having another pathetic NCAA Tournament showing. Here’s why.
- An update on White Sox reliever Joe Kelly, who’s working his way back into game shape after getting over a nerve issue in his elbow that bothered him last season.
- Kris Bryant on his future in Colorado and wishing the Cubs well.
- The Bulls’ ongoing downward spiral could shake up their offseason plans, Joe Cowley writes.
- With the trade deadline now in the rearview mirror, the Blackhawks’ Dylan Strome can relax and wait for the offseason to get more clarity on his future in the NHL.
- In need of a defensive-minded fourth-line center after trading Ryan Carpenter, the Hawks will first turn to Reese Johnson.
Your daily question ☕
What is the greatest rom-com of all time? Tell us why.
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 long would you wait in line for free gas?
Here’s what some of you said…
“I got in line at 5:30 a.m. (my car was on E). When I pulled into the gas station it was 8 a.m., that’s how long I waited for free gas! Thank you, Dr. Willie Wilson.” — Linda Hudson
“Thirty minutes is probably my limit. Time is valuable as well.” — Edwin Cardenas
“If I have to lose gas to get gas, then it’s not free. Would have been better to give out gas cards and let people go to any gas stations at their leisure.” — Sandra Wiley
“Until my phone dies, of course.” — Chris Denayer
“Everybody's situation, needs and desperation are different! People don’t know what they would or wouldn’t do until they’re in a situation.” — Sammie T. Shields
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