Afternoon Edition: June 6, 2022

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

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Parents helped raised more than a half-million dollars to benefit Bell Elementary School in North Center.

Kate Grossman/WBEZ

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 showers likely, a possible thunderstorm and a high near 73 degrees. Tonight will bring showers and thunderstorms with a low around 57. Tomorrow will be partly sunny with a chance of showers and a high near 72.

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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.

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Top story

A few CPS schools are raising big money through fundraising. None are in the neediest neighborhoods.

On a hot Friday afternoon, students at Lenart Elementary Regional Gifted Center dance with zest in the parking lot as a DJ plays music. They are excited to get out of their public school classrooms for a walkathon, a fundraiser for the school in West Chatham on the South Side.

Three times around the school equals a mile, and for each mile, students earn money for their school. So far, the kindergarten class is in the lead, pulling in $1,000 in the last hour.

“We are up to $17,000, which is more than we did last year,” says Theisha Perkins-Obafemi, parent of bubbly second grader Grace.

The event is meant to be fun, but it’s also critical for the school. Chicago public schools like Lenart don’t get by on taxpayer money alone.

All CPS schools get a set amount per student to run their buildings, with schools serving mostly low-income students getting extra — but it’s not enough. The state says CPS only has 68% of what it needs in state and local dollars to properly fund its schools.

To make up the difference, schools are increasingly turning to private money. But they don’t all have the same fundraising might. The majority of outside money is collected and spent by a small number of schools where less than half the students are low-income, WBEZ found in an analysis of private fundraising expenditures at district-run schools. These schools are primarily on the North Side in affluent neighborhoods. And the amount they’ve raised has skyrocketed over the last decade.

Read the full story from WBEZ’s Sarah Karp and Natalie Y. Moore here.

More news you need

  1. The woman behind the wheel of the SUV that struck and killed a 2-year-old boy riding a mini-scooter in Lincoln Square last week has not been issued any citations for the incident, according to Chicago police. Ald. Matt Martin said the tragedy underscored the need for investment in pedestrian safety.
  2. Three years after two Chicago police vehicles collided on the West Side, killing an 84-year-old retired teacher, lawyers for the woman’s family say the city has done nothing to try to resolve a lawsuit filed in response to the tragedy. Stefano Esposito has more on the wrongful-death lawsuit.
  3. A Chicago police officer shot last week on the South Side left the hospital this morning to the cheers of dozens of supporters. Supt. David Brown lauded the officer, Fernanda Ballesteros, during a news conference today in which he also called on Congress to pass “some sensible gun laws.”
  4. Dealing a crucial blow to Chicago Ald. Edward M. Burke and his legal team, a federal judge this morning rejected hundreds of pages of defense motions in the once-powerful politician’s criminal case. The move finally clears the way for a potential trial.
  5. The Episcopal Diocese of Chicago is headed back into the property markets in search of a buyer for its Streeterville headquarters. However, the valuable asset may not be easy to unload, David Roeder reports.
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A bright one

Chicago’s Ron Funches finds the funny side of life’s ups and downs

When comedian and Chicago native Ron Funches is onstage, his bright, beaming grin spans the length of the theater, and his delicate, sing-song delivery lulls and entrances the audience like they’re listening to a patient kindergarten teacher reciting a nursery rhyme.

But, like many nursery rhymes, Funches’ comedy occasionally betrays a flash of something sinister. On his 2019 Comedy Central stand-up special “Giggle Fit,” he starts a sweet and endearing story about his teenage son, Malcolm, devouring a piping hot pizza, wearing a shirt but no pants, like Winnie the Pooh. And, just before the tale takes a dramatic and, well, scalding turn, he smiles, turns to the audience and his voice drops a few octaves: “… and then Jesus takes the wheel.”

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Ron Funches brings his Back At It! tour to the Den Theatre in August.

Courtesy WME

This blend of dark and light has remained omnipresent throughout Funches’ career. Almost a decade ago, in Montreal for the Just for Laughs comedy festival, he memorably brightened a dark joke by tossing Skittles into the air.

“To me, funny is lighthearted — it’s twisting, turning and surprising,” Funches says. “Something I always tell myself when I’m writing is, ‘Don’t give them what they want. Give them what they did not know they need.’ … You get a little bit of a twist, but it’s in a positive way that skews what’s going on in your everyday life as opposed to reinforcing your everyday life.”

Read more from Steve Heisler’s conversation with Funches, whose “Back At It!” tour will make a stop at Den Theatre this summer. Also, check out the rest of our Summer Guide to help plan your adventures in the city!

From the press box

Your daily question☕

What’s something about Chicago that picks you up when you’re feeling down?

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

On Friday, we asked you: How would you explain the “no ketchup on hotdogs” dogma to a non-Chicagoan? Here’s what some of you said...

“It can’t be explained. You either get it or you don’t.” — Tony Galati

“We put tomatoes on them instead.” — Matt Kunkel

“Ketchup is not a Chicago thing for hot dogs! Mustard, onions, sport peppers, tomato, relish and celery salt is how we do it!” — Jean Williams

“It’s dramatic, pretentious [and] just plain odd. It’s ketchup. It’s good. The end.” — Jordan A. Scherer

“Go ahead and put sugar on it as well. How about cotton candy?” —Mark W. Johnson

“For those who know, no explanation is necessary. For those who don’t, no explanation is given.” — Rudy Arrona

“I’m from Chicago born, bred, living here and I love ketchup on my hot dog. Am proud of it!” — Jackie Waldhier

“That’s it’s BS...” — Ken Churilla

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

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