Afternoon Edition: May 27, 2022

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

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Rebecca Weininger, director of the domestic violence law practice at the North Suburban Legal Aid Clinic, displays an Apple AirTag. The tracking devices are being used to secretly keep unwanted tabs on and stalk people.

Tyler Pasciak 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.

This afternoon will be cloudy with a chance of showers and a high near 60 degrees. Tonight will be cloudy with a low around 51. Tomorrow will be mostly sunny with a high near 77, while Sunday will be mostly sunny with a high around 86. Similar weather will continue into a sunny Memorial Day with a high near 90.

Note: Afternoon Edition will resume on Tuesday after Memorial Day. We hope you enjoy your holiday weekend and stay safe.

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Afternoon Edition

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Top story

Apple AirTags, touted as a way to find lost keys, purses, also are being used by stalkers

Apple AirTags — introduced last year as an easy way to track down lost keys or wallets — are being used to secretly keep unwanted tabs on and stalk people, records obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times show.

Between July 1, 2021, and March 31, people filed 33 reports with the Chicago Police Department saying AirTags were used to track their movements via a Bluetooth antenna without them knowing, the police records show.

In one case typical of the complaints about the popular tracking devices, a South Side woman told the police in March that an ex-boyfriend “has placed an Apple AirTag on” her sport-utility vehicle.

“Offender has shown up at church, at Petco, at the nail salon, at a park and at a friend’s house,” the report says of the man, who also was caught on a home security camera vandalizing her vehicle.

Americans have bought millions of AirTags since Apple first offered them for sale last year. And reports to the Chicago police of unwanted surveillance or stalking using AirTags followed from all corners of the city.

Domestic violence experts say the tracking devices, which cost $29 and are the size of a half-dollar coin, are an easy way for abusers to exert power and control over a person.

The Chicago police reports mirror what an investigation last month by Vice.com’s tech site Motherboard found in other cities nationwide.

“We condemn in the strongest possible terms any malicious use of our products,” Apple says in response to questions about AirTags being used for stalking.

The company also points to features it has created to help block people from misusing AirTags. They have a notification feature that alerts nearby iPhone users when an AirTag is following them. The devices also chime when separated from their owners, starting after eight hours, offering another chance for people to realize they’re being tracked, the company says.

Stephanie Zimmermann has more on the trackers here.

More news you need

  1. Chicago Public Schools officials said today they plan to replace some “outdated” school security, camera and intercom systems in the wake of the Texas school massacre that left 19 students and two teachers dead. In a call with CPS principals, CPS CEO Pedro Martinez focused on the shooting and the system’s soon-to-be-released capital plan.
  2. In a news conference today, Mayor Lori Lightfoot preached themes of tough love and parental responsibility heading into a Memorial Day weekend that is anticipated to be violent. Earlier this week, a divided City Council agreed to change Chicago’s seldom-enforced curfew law — to 10 p.m. instead of 11 p.m. for young people, despite heavy criticism against the measure.
  3. Adolfo Bolanos — the Chicago police officer who fatally shot 17-year-old Michael Elam Jr. — now faces dismissal more than three years after the encounter. Chicago Police Supt. David Brown unsuccessfully pushed for a 10-day suspension for Bolanos, who shot Michael Elam three times in February 2019.
  4. A Chicago woman has been charged with assaulting and killing her 8-year-old daughter just a day after a state child welfare worker had visited their Uptown home, authorities said. In 2017, the woman was arrested for DUI and child endangerment after crashing on the Eisenhower Expressway with her daughter in the back seat, police said.
  5. The Illinois Prisoner Review Board voted yesterday to parole two men convicted of Chicago-area killings and deny parole to six other inmates. The board was hamstrung earlier this year when state senators rejected two of Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s nominees, claiming the board was being soft on crime.
  6. Rogers Park not only is one of Chicago’s most diverse neighborhoods. It most closely matches the racial and ethnic breakdown of the entire city, according to a Sun-Times analysis of 2020 census data. Our Elvia Malagón and Pat Nabong met with some of the people who make it so diverse.
  7. Little Village community members rallied today to demand the local CVS Pharmacy on South Pulaski Road remain open, after learning it would close June 7. Despite it being a vital place for residents to fill their prescriptions, the Little Village store is among 900 that CVS plans to close over the next three years.
  8. Would-be marijuana shop owners breathed a sigh of relief this morning as a Cook County judge lifted a stay that had delayed state officials from issuing nearly 200 licenses for cannabis dispensary operators. Lawsuits had delayed the issuance of 185 social equity licenses for more than two years.
  9. Some 17 years after Ewan McGregor was last seen in the Star Wars universe, he brings more depth and more of a world-weary wisdom to the role in the new Disney+ series, “Obi-Wan Kenobi.” It’s commanding work, writes Richard Roeper in his three-star review.
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A bright one

Joel Kim Booster, a former Chicago comedian, updates Jane Austen in ‘Fire Island’

The idea for “Fire Island,” written by and starring former Chicagoan Joel Kim Booster and debuting next Friday on Hulu, started “as a threat,” Booster says.

A decade or so ago, Booster and Bowen Yang (pre-“Saturday Night Live”) took their first trip to Fire Island—a popular summer tourist destination for the LGBTQ community in New York. Think Door County, but gay.

Booster, a writer and performer whose credits include “Sunnyside,” “Shrill,” “Big Mouth” and his own Comedy Central stand-up half hour, was reading Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice” one day on the beach and noted just how much the book tracked with his Fire Island experience.

“Specifically, the ways in which people communicate across class lines,” Booster says. “I said, ‘Wouldn’t it be funny if I wrote a gay version of ‘Pride and Prejudice’ set on Fire Island?’ And everyone booed and threw things at me.”

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Bowen Yang (left) and Joel Kim Booster star as best friends on vacation in “Fire Island.”

Searchlight Pictures

In 2018, Booster’s agent encouraged him to adapt an essay he wrote for Penguin Random House, titled “ ‘Pride and Prejudice’ on Fire Island,” into a script. What began as a TV pilot for the erstwhile content platform Quibi turned into a feature-length film after being purchased by Searchlight Pictures.

Booster’s own transformation was accelerated by Chicago. In addition to hanging out at both Montrose and Hollywood beaches — mini versions of Fire Island, he says — he spent two years grinding shows as a stand-up comic and actor.

“Chicago is an incredible incubator for any sort of risks, especially in the performing arts,” says Booster, whose stand-up special “Psychosexual” premieres June 21 on Netflix. “I was able to do so many different things, wear so many different hats and was afforded the space to perform, write and do comedy and theater — and was never asked to pick a lane.”

Steve Heisler has more on Booster and “Fire Island” here.

From the press box

Your daily question ☕

What’s the best part about summer in Chicago?

Send us an email at newsletters@suntimes.com and we might feature your answer in the next Afternoon Edition.

Yesterday, we asked you: How do you plan to enjoy this Memorial Day weekend?

Here’s what some of you said…

“Celebrating my birthday at my first ever cubs game on Monday at Wrigley.” — Alicia Sofia

“I’m in a parade that’s the oldest one in Chicago. Beverly, Morgan Park. I’m lady liberty.” — Katherine Konopasek

“Attending some local Memorial Day tributes. Everything else comes second.” — Lisa Z.M.

“Cleaning the garage and being thankful that I am able to complete the task.” — Marlene Johnson

“I will visit the cemetery where I put an urn of geraniums with a flag to remember my husband Joe’s service in the U.S. Air Force.” — Janice Gehrman

“Edibles and burgers.” — Guy Battista

“Church service and church picnic at the park then a simple meal at home with my hubby.” — Barb Lude

“Food, kayaking, swimming, drinks, visit my Father and Mother’s grave and relaxation.” — Karen Jackson-McGee

“Our annual BBQ on Sunday for about 50 friends and family in Barrington. Been hosting for 25 years. My husband’s from Kansas City so he knows BBQ. We toast the veterans in attendance but sadly they’ve passed on this year. We will hoist one in their memory, instead.” — Mary Ann O’Rourke

“Celebrating my mother’s 99th birthday.” — Dorothy Copeland

“Home relaxing and BBQ with family and friends.” — Kay Boudreau

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

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