Afternoon Edition: June 15, 2022

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

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A closed pool at Cornell Square Park in Back of the Yards yesterday.

Anthony Vazquez/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 sunny and hot, with a high near 96 degrees – potentially record breaking – and heat index values as high as 101. Tonight will be increasing cloudy with a chance of showers and thunderstorms and a low near 71. Tomorrow will be sunny with a high near 91.

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Afternoon Edition
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Top story

As temperatures soar, City Council members angered by closed Park District pools

With temperatures soaring for the second straight day, City Council members today demanded to know why Chicago Park District pools remain closed while lakefront beaches are open.

The Park District manages 49 outdoor pools, 28 indoor pools and works with the Chicago Public Schools to operate school pools for community use in neighborhoods without a park pool.

The effort to open the pools has been hampered by a nationwide shortage of lifeguards and exacerbated locally by a Park District lifeguard scandal that forced Mike Kelly to resign as parks superintendent.

Attempts to lure lifeguard applicants with $500 bonuses apparently haven’t helped.

In response to a Freedom of Information Request, the Park District revealed there remains a 91% vacancy rate among seasonal lifeguards and 73 percent among “all lifeguard positions district-wide.”

Mayoral challenger Ray Lopez (15th) represents a ward that includes West Englewood, Back of the Yards, Brighton Park, Gage Park and New City.

Lopez argued the three pools in his ward remain closed because the new Park District regime did not gear up soon enough to aggressively recruit lifeguards and because people are “still afraid to work for” the district due to “unresolved issues from the sex scandal” that took Lightfoot swept under the rug.

“She never confronted the issue. She never reassured our families that it was a safe place for children to work. And now, here we are, struggling to get lifeguards and focusing all the ones we are able to get on the lakefront at the expense of the neighborhoods,” said Lopez.

Fran Spielman has more on the response to closed pools here.

More news you need

  1. An estranged father drowned his three young children in a bathtub while they visited his Round Lake Beach home over the weekend, then left a note for his wife that said, “If I can’t have them neither can you,” Lake County prosecutors said in court today. Jason Karels — charged with murdering his three children, ages 2, 3 and 5 — then tried to kill himself before leading police on a chase across the Chicago area Monday, prosecutors said.
  2. Chicago police have released new video footage from the hours before Kierra Coles went missing on Oct. 2, 2018. Coles, then 26 and three months pregnant, was last seen leaving her apartment later that night.
  3. A woman who commandeered a police SUV earlier this week in West Garfield Park — dragging a Chicago police officer who tried to stop her — has been charged with attempted murder and a host of other charges, Cook County prosecutors said today. But a private defense attorney described the 34-year-old as a hardworking mother whose actions were completely out of character, and said he had “reason to believe” she was sexually assaulted prior to the incident.
  4. Giveaways have long been a staple of Chicago and Illinois politics, but the stakes are rising with the inflationary times. Spielman looks at how federal stimulus funds have enabled public officials like Gov. J.B. Pritzker to up the ante this election season.
  5. Suburban Cook County voters can now cast ballots early for the June 28 primary at Union Station. Illinois’ upcoming election marks the second time the station served as an early-voting site for suburban voters — the 2020 presidential election was the first.
  6. Workers at a Starbucks in Bucktown became the coffee chain’s fifth store in the Chicago area yesterday to vote in favor of union membership — tallying 15-1. They will become a separate bargaining unit of Workers United, part of the Service Employees International Union.
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A bright one

Cook County’s new flag is revealed

For years, the Cook County flag was considered by flag enthusiasts to be a bit of a dud — known in the flag world by the derogatory acronym SOB: seal on a bedsheet.

That all changed yesterday with the “big reveal” of a new county flag that was the result of a design contest that was open to students from the county’s 500-plus high schools.

The winning design came from Drew Duffy, a senior at Glenbrook South High School.


Cook County’s new flag, revealed yesterday, was designed by Drew Duffy, a student at Glenbrook South High School who took part in a flag design contest.

Cook County

A Y shape that symbolizes the Chicago River’s split at Wolf Point anchors the new flag. Its green outline symbolizes riverbanks, nature and the county’s forest preserves.

Six red stars on the flag symbolize the founding of Cook County, founding of Cook County Health, founding of Cook County Department of Public Health, founding of the Juvenile Temporary Detention Center, and the importance of townships and local government. And the color of the stars represents the color of social change.

The new flag will replace the current bland flag, which was designed in 1961.

Mitch Dudek has more on the new flag here.

From the press box

Your daily question ☕

Have closed public pools impacted your neighborhood in any way? Explain.

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

Yesterday we asked you: Where do you prefer to stay while on vacation — a hotel or Airbnb?

Here’s what some of you said…

“Hotels, particularly in big tourist cities, since I’m concerned that Airbnb contributes to the scarcity of reasonably priced housing.” — Chris Mayer

“It depends where we’re going. When visiting small towns on road trips, I prefer Airbnbs, especially because there are some pretty unique places to stay. Flying to big cities, I prefer hotels/resorts.” — Erika Hoffmann

“Hotel amenities — they offer are a lot better than an Airbnb.” — Steve Price

“Airbnbs are pricing themselves out of my consideration. The additional fees they charge generally double the cost of a stay.” — Dennis Novak

“Hotel — too many restrictions (pets and kids) and house rules in Airbnb.” — Arlene Carter Kimbrough

“Just for cost savings, Airbnb cannot be beaten! But if there are all-inclusive resorts, that wins every time!” — Candy Bucyk

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

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