Chicago police get OK to tow drag racers, Illinois couple admits to entering Capitol on Jan. 6 and more in your Chicago news roundup

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

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Chicago police are shown in early Jan. 26, 2022, investigating a shooting involving an officer in the 200 block of East Lower Wacker Drive, near the site where street racers created a ring of fire around spectators.

Tyler Pasciak LaRiviere/Sun-Times file

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 mostly sunny with a high near 88 degrees. Tonight will be mostly clear with a low near 70. Tomorrow will be sunny with a high near 92 and a chance of showers.

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Afternoon Edition
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Top story

City Council OKs towing crackdown on vehicles used in drag racing, drifting

Daredevil drag racers and drifters who drive in circles and figure-eights around a crowd of spectators and get their kicks by posting video of their stunt driving on social media may soon be sealing their own fate.

The Chicago City Council today handed the Chicago Police Department a new tool to combat the antics some Chicagoans say endanger spectators almost every weekend and disrupt the sleep of area residents.

The ordinance championed by downtown Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd) would empower police to impound vehicles used in such stunts — whether or not the vehicle’s owner is present.

Prior to the final vote, Reilly noted daredevil stunt driving “skyrocketed during the pandemic.” While most people were “stuck at home, these people were taking advantage of the wide-open roadway and surface parking lots” to showboat.

Noting that stunt-driving events and the crowds that surround them can be “organized super quickly using social media,” Reilly said, “these people are cruising the city waiting for the summons to a point, certain to do their thing.”

Fran Spielmanhas more on the ordinance here.

More news you need

  1. Family members of Chicago police officers who died by suicide were joined by several alderpersons today to draw attention to a proposed ordinance that would allow cops to decline working excessive hours. Demanding shifts contribute to mental health issues in the department, the families said.
  2. Chicago’s speed camera threshold will stay at 6 mph over the posted limit after a City Council vote today on the contentious issue. The result allows Mayor Lori Lightfoot to dodge a defeat that would’ve set the stage for her first veto.
  3. And City Council also approved an ethics ordinance after it was watered down to help Mayor Lightfoot’s allies. The Chicago Board of Ethics now can levy fines as high as $20,000 — quadruple the current maximum — “plus the entire amount of the ill-gotten gains” against alderpersons in violation.
  4. A southern Illinois couple pleaded guilty today to charges alleging they entered the U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection — and now each faces a maximum of six months in jail. The day after the attack, Tina Logsdon wrote on Facebook, “Yes we stormed the capitol. We tried to do it peacefully but they wouldn’t listen maybe now they will.”
  5. Comcast announced today it will invest $500,000 in Chicago’s YMCA facilities to help make the internet more accessible to residents. The company will, over three years, create tech hubs with public computers and internet access in six YMCAs in Irving Park, Humboldt Park, Lake View, Logan Square, Little Village and Woodlawn.
  6. Chicago cabdrivers squeezed by skyrocketing gas prices may soon get some relief — at the expense of their dwindling pool of riders. Mayor Lightfoot is proposing a surcharge of $1 for fares up to $20, $2 for fares as high as $30 and $3 for tabs over $40.
  7. Broadway in Chicago announced its 2023 season lineup today, touting an impressive rundown of Tony Award-winning productions. Among the hit shows heading to Chicago are “Tina — The Tina Turner Musical,” “Jagged Little Pill,” “MJ” and more.
  8. Director Jordan Peele’s latest film “Nope” is a masterfully audacious, wickedly funny and utterly outlandish sci-fi horror fable. That’s how Sun-Times critic Richard Roeper describes the film in his four-star review of the new move, which opens locally tomorrow.
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A bright one

Art Institute’s iconic bronze beasts — now ‘shinier’ — return home

The Art Institute of Chicago’s iconic bronze lions returned to their pedestals yesterday after getting their first deep-clean in nearly 21 years.

After spending a month in Forest Park getting steamed and treated with wax, the pair were returned shortly after noon to their home outside the museum via flatbed truck and placed back on the perches they’ve occupied along Michigan Avenue almost uninterrupted for nearly 130 years.

But with the sculptures — which were first unveiled during the museum’s inaugural year —weighing between four and five thousand pounds, moving them is no small task.

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Crew members of Conservation of Sculpture and Objects Studio reinstall one of the Art Institute of Chicago’s famous lion sculptures outside the Art Institute of Chicago yesterday.

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

“Moving something that huge — and the fact that they’re such a symbol of Chicago and of the museum — it feels like an enormous responsibility,” said Rachel Sabino, the Art Institute’s director of objects and textile conservation.

Sabino was in charge of overseeing the cleaning, which she said will last them for many years when paired with additional, smaller wax treatments that will be made to the sculptures “as needed.”

Along with the lions, two time capsules they’ve been guarding were also returned. One is from a cleaning in 2001, but the other is “much older,” Sabino said.

Zack Millerhas more on the lions’ return here.

From the press box

Your daily question ☕

It’s National Hot Dog Day so we want to know — is a Chicago-style hot dog the best type of hot dog? Explain.

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 feel about the city hosting a NASCAR race downtown?

Here’s what some of you said…

“It’s awesome revenue for the city. We already seeing street races in the city might as well have NASCAR.” —Noel Tapia

“Can’t pave the damn streets for its residents but will for some stunt for reelection. BULL.” —Armando Silva

“What the heck? We need fresh money and things to do, so why not?” —Christine Bock

“At least with the Marathon or the Tri there is an amount of local engagement where a friend or a neighbor might be participating as an individual or part of a team. I don’t think any of my neighbors can afford to take part.” —Danielle Rue

“Always thought the city would be a premiere street racing town. While this is all good, let’s go for F1!” —Daniel French

“The streets are too narrow and corners too tight for this sport. Is the interruption to traffic really worth the potential hazards?” — Robert Silvestri

“Have you driven the city or the expressways lately? It seems like we already do on a nightly basis.” —Ken Churilla

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

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