Afternoon Edition: March 3, 2022

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

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Mayor Lori Lightfoot speaks to reporters during a press conference at City Hall Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2022.

Tyler LaRiviere/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 partly sunny with a high near 35 degrees. Tonight will be mostly cloudy with a low around 26. Tomorrow will be partly sunny with a high near 42.

Top story

Leader of Italian American group demands apology from Lightfoot over crude remarks alleged in lawsuit

A civic leader is demanding that Mayor Lori Lightfoot apologize for the obscene and derogatory remarks a lawsuit alleges she made about Italian Americans during a phone call to discuss the statue of Christopher Columbus removed from Arrigo Park.

That statue was taken away on Lightfoot’s orders in 2020 after it became the target of protests and vandalism but was the property of the Chicago Park District. A lawsuit was filed against the park district by the Joint Civic Committee of Italian Americansseeking the statue’s return.

The comment that incensed Ron Onesti, president of that Italian American group, was made during a video call the mayor had on Columbus Day with several people, including two park district attorneys, after she killed a deal the park district had made with Onesti’s groupto allow the statue to be displayed at the Columbus Day parade, according to the lawsuit.

That deal was described in the lawsuit filed yesterday by one of the park district officials on the video call, former deputy general counsel George Smyrniotis, who alleged he was given 10 minutes notice of the call with the mayor, which occurred the night after the parade.

On the call, according to the lawsuit, Lightfoot berated Smyrniotis and park district general counsel Timothy King.

Fran Spielman has more on Lightfoot’s alleged profane remarks here.

More news you need

  1. A city inspector’s report indicates that a meth lab was discovered inside a West Ridge building that doubled as a gambling den and was recently demolished after being raided by law enforcement. “METH LAB BUSTED” was written into a Buildings Department report obtained by the Sun-Times, although federal officials would not confirm what exactly took place inside the former barbecue shop.
  2. A Round Lake couple have been arrested on felony charges accusing them of kicking a Chicago police officer after an American Airlines employee ordered them to leave a secure area at O’Hare Airport because they appeared to be drunk. Listed as a teacher and a roofer, the pair are charged with aggravated battery to a police officer, which is a felony, and misdemeanor charges including criminal trespass, resisting arrest and battery.
  3. Marilyn Hartman, the so-call “serial stowaway” for her penchant for sneaking past security at airports and getting on flights, was sentenced today for trespassing at O’Hare in 2019. Hartman, 70, pleaded guilty to felony counts of criminal trespass and escape from electronic monitoring, saying in a written statement she read in court that she was “happy to move on with my life.”
  4. Thousands of financially struggling residents across the suburbs will be able to apply to take part in a guaranteed income pilot program that will be funded by $42 million in federal COVID-19 relief funds. Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said the county’s guaranteed income program is the largest of its kind in the country.
  5. Amazon is confirming it’s closing all of its bookstores as well as its 4-star shops and pop-up locations as the online behemoth reworks its physical footprint. Amazon has a bookstore in the Lake View neighborhood and 4-star shops in Oakbrook Center and Westfield Old Orchard in Skokie. Amazon also has a pop-up store in Old Orchard.

A bright one

Deeply Rooted Dance Theater, long a home for Black dance, comes to the South Side

Deeply Rooted Dance Theater co-founder Kevin Iega Jeff grew up in New York City, watching old musicals starring the likes of Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire and the Nichols Brothers.

So it was no surprise he fell in love with dance — a passion he continued to pursue through time studying at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center and The Juilliard School in New York. He would later go on to perform on Broadway.

In the mid-1990s, Jeff was hired as the artistic director for the Joseph Home Chicago Dance Theater. Around the same time, he decided he wanted to create a new space to show “the power of dance and how it can entertain audiences but also transform lives.” So he co-founded Deeply Rooted Dance Theater.

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Kevin Iega Jeff, Co-founder, Creative/Executive Director of Deeply Rooted Dance poses for a portrait at the Mayfair Arts Center at 8701 S. Bennett Ave in Calumet Heights last week.

Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

For 25 years, it’s been a company where he says the Black aesthetic can thrive through Black dancers —combining modern, classical, American and African American traditions in dance and storytelling.

“We don’t have many institutions that uphold the traditions of Black dance or Black theater,” Jeff said. “So those traditions can quickly fade away if we don’t grow institutions to hold the information and to pass it on.”

Deeply Rooted Dance is based downtown at 17 N. State Street, but most of its programming has been on the South Side. Now, the company has begun offering workshops at the Mayfair Arts Center, 8701 S. Bennett Avenue. in Calumet Heights on the South Side.

Cheyanne M. Daniels has more on the growth of Deeply Rooted Dance Theater here.

From the press box

Your daily question ☕

What’s your most memorable Chicago concert experience? 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: What’s the first official sign of spring in Chicago?

Here’s what some of you said…

“Daffodils and tulips and dyeing the river green along with Spring Training for our baseball teams.” —Chris Alt

“When the snow melts and you find out where everyone’s been walking their dogs.” —Dave Tracz

“Robins — and potholes that your car will fall in.” — Crystal Verduzco

“The unofficial start of spring in Chicago is when Rainbow Cone on Western opens.” —Adam G. Hernandez

“In days of yore, when we had spring, windows were opened day and night because the air felt so good. And the first chirping of birds. We could smell the aromas from the neighborhood bakeries.” —Julie Mitchell

“The St. Paddy’s Day parade and dyeing the river green!” —Carolyn Tomecek

“Kids on their bicycles and softball practice in the parks.” —Jill Reilly White

“The first snow after the first 70-degree day.” —Patrick Laurence McGowan

“Seeing a lot of boots on car tires after street cleaning starts up again.” —Allison Fairbanks Kendall

“When you see people wearing shorts in Chicago, you know spring is about 3-4 weeks away. #Thirsty.”— Tricia Grant

“Allergies so intense that my eyes randomly leak tears, but joy that I can stop wearing my big babushka coat every day.” —Kait Murphy

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

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