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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Six weeks ago, Abraham Bolden hung up the phone and drank a glass of water at his Auburn Gresham home as he absorbed the news he’d waited decades to hear.
He received a presidential pardon.
President Joe Biden issued it nearly 60 years after Bolden, the nation’s first Black Secret Service agent to serve on a White House detail, was convicted on trumped-up bribery charges in retaliation for blowing the whistle on the racist and unprofessional behavior of fellow agents.
“It just felt as if a ton had been lifted off my shoulders,” Bolden, 87, said after a ceremony today in the Loop where he was honored by Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and County Commissioner Stanley Moore.
“It was indeed a trial and tribulation to suffer for a crime I knew I didn’t commit,” he said.
He faced charges in 1964 for allegedly accepting bribes from counterfeiters.
His first trial resulted in a hung jury. He was convicted in a retrial that relied on witnesses who later admitted lying at the prosecutor’s request.
Bolden, who served on the protection detail of former President John. F.Kennedy spent more than three years in federal prison.
“This presidential pardon was a long time coming but finally what we have known has been so true and proven, that you, sir, are worthy of trust and confidence,” Moore said today.
More news you need
- A 3-year-old girl riding a bicycle with her mother died this morning after a semi hit their bike in Uptown and dragged the child, according to authorities. The bicycle was traveling in the same direction as the truck when the mother apparently lost control and collided with the semi’s cab, police said.
- A children’s gymnastics coach in Downers Grove has been charged with sex abuse and producing child pornography in what authorities called a “heinous” case. Wyatt Kopka, 30, faces 11 counts of child pornography possession and a count of aggravated criminal sexual abuse of a victim between 13 and 16 years old, according to court records.
- Almost two years after voters dumped Cook County judge Jackie Portman-Brown in the wake of video that showed her locking up her 6-year-old grandniece to teach her a lesson, she’s back on the ballot. Portman-Brown is running in the June 28 Democratic primary for a vacancy on the bench from the fifth judicial subcircuit on the South Side, Injustice Watch’s Maya Dukmasova reports.
- The McHenry County state attorney’s office has determined that a sheriff’s deputy was justified in fatally shooting a man who fired at him, despite blood tests showing the deputy had “inhalants” in his system. Deputy Nicholas Arnold fatally shot Nicholas Sebastian, 43, while responding to a report of a man threatening to kill his family in their home on Jan 11 in Port Barrington, according to the state’s attorney’s office.
- Sen. Bernie Sanders is endorsing the primary bids of Democratic congressional candidates Delia Ramirez and Jonathan Jackson, Lynn Sweet reports. The Vermont Independent will be in Chicago next week, where he is expected to appear with Ramirez and Jackson to leverage his endorsement.
- The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol kicks off its first prime time hearing tonight at 7 p.m. with the next sessions Monday and Wednesday at 9 a.m. In a recent column, Sweet charts Rep. Adam Kinzinger’s path from a party-line GOP conservative to one of two Republicans on the panel.
- In Humboldt Park, a new wellness center aims to address major neighborhood health risks like obesity, diabetes and depression. Set to open in 18 months, the Humboldt Park Wellness Center is being built at Division and Richmond streets — across the street from the park.
A bright one
Summer Guide: ‘It Came from Outer Space’ musical, inspired by cult classic film, touches on timely topics 70 years later
Before there was “Alien,” before there was “Star Trek,” before there was “Star Wars,” there was “It Came from Outer Space.” The 1953 sci-fi film may look cheesy by today’s standards but that, and its Ray Bradbury pedigree, has only added to its status as a cult classic.
Now Joe Kinosian and Kellen Blair, the musical theater team behind the hit show “Murder for Two,” have met the challenge of transforming the film, which was based on a Bradbury story, into a stage musical.
Yes, Kinosian (book and music) and Blair (book and lyrics) have been spending a lot of time thinking about aliens. “It Came From Outer Space” is a flying saucer tale that examines society’s fear of outsiders. When a spaceship crashes by accident into the Arizona desert, the aliens inside are benevolent and mean no harm, but the small-minded citizens of Sand Rock feel otherwise and form a posse to hunt them down.
The musical makes its world premiere at Chicago Shakespeare Theater June 22 under the direction of Laura Braza. The Sand Rock couple determined to help save the aliens — scientist John Putnam and schoolteacher Ellen Fields — are portrayed by Christopher Kale Jones and Jaye Ladymore. The remaining cast — Jonathan Butler-Duplessis, Veronica Garza, Alex Goodrich and Sharriese Hamilton — each portray multiple characters, both human and alien.
Kinosian (from Milwaukee) and Blair (from Seattle) met at the BMI Musical Theatre Workshop in 2008 (“It’s basically speed dating for musical theater writers,” Blair says with a laugh.) It was here where they teamed up to create the Jeff Award-winning musical “Murder for Two,” which premiered at Chicago Shakespeare in 2011 and went on to a successful Off Broadway run.
The amiable duo agrees the first draft of “It Came from Outer Space” was the best first draft they’ve ever written.
From the press box
- The Cubs and catcher Willson Contreras avoided arbitration today by agreeing to a $9.625 million salary for the 2022 season. The move bucks the club’s usual “file and trial” policy to avoid an unusual in-season hearing scheduled as a result of the lockout.
- Eloy Jimenez will take a break from his rehab assignment with Triple-A Charlotte due to “normal leg soreness,” general manager Rick Hahn said today.
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Yesterday we asked you: If you were in charge of your favorite Chicago sports team for a day, what’s the first thing you’d do?
Here’s what some of you said…
“I would attempt to convince Jason Hayward to retire so I wouldn’t have to designate him for assignment.” — Richard Goldberg
“Send the Fire back to Bridgeview. It’s a better stadium for the sport.” — Michael Thompson
“Make it affordable for parents to take their children to a Cubs game whenever they wanted to.” — Mark Lellig
“If I were in charge of the Bears, I would trash the idea of moving the Bears out of Soldier Field to Arlington Heights.” —Pete Baker
“I would make the games available on regular TV for everyone to enjoy.” —Jackie Waldhier
“Sell the White Sox to Mark Cuban. Build a multipurpose, retractable-roof stadium on the Lakefront with open-air views of downtown. The stadium can be for the White Sox, Bears, Super Bowl, final fours, etc.” —Jeff Keane
“I would fire Tony Larussa.” — Jamie Ladendorf Benson
“Get different ownership for bears.” — Walter Malacina
“I would open up Wrigley field for a Kids Only Day, allowing those who have never been able to attend a game (for whatever reason) to include free concessions, choice of a take-home souvenir i.e., T-shirt, baseball, etc. And an autograph session (1-hour pre-game) with all the players then have the owners pay for it all. Just for one day!” —Karen Connelly
“Get Benny the Bull a statue. One of him dunking with one hand and spilling a popcorn bag with the other hand.” — Victor Jimenez
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