Sacking of Northwestern coach shocks campus, Lincoln Square motel to aid those in need and more in your Chicago news roundup

Today’s update is about an eight-minute read that will brief you on the day’s biggest stories.

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Northwestern University head football coach Pat Fitzgerald was fired Monday after an investigation into hazing in the university’s football program.

Nam Y. Huh/AP file

Good afternoon, Chicago. ✶

Chicago has a lot of things going for it. Star-gazing is not one of them.

It was exciting to see Jacquelyne Germain report the Northern Lights might grace the skies of Chicago starting Wednesday night into Thursday morning. I’m a native Southerner and recent Chicago transplant, so I’ve never seen the aurora borealis. I missed them when they made an appearance in April and resolved afterward that I wouldn’t let another opportunity pass me by.

Then I tried to figure out where I would even be able to see the lights.

The view of the sky from my South Side apartment is nothing like the view from my parents’ place in rural North Carolina. And there’s a bigger obstacle than mere light pollution this week. The National Weather Service says showers and cloudy skies are likely Wednesday night.

Even if you can’t see the aurora this week, you can still see the latest headlines from the Sun-Times below.

⏱️: A 7-minute read

— Ellery Jones, audience engagement specialist (@elleryrjones)


Northwestern students respond to firing of football coach Pat Fitzgerald, hazing allegations

Reporting by Jacquelyne Germain

Coach fired: On Friday afternoon, Northwestern University quietly announced it would suspend football coach Pat Fitzgerald for two weeks without pay — an announcement columnist Rick Telander called ”classic information suppression.” But after the Daily Northwestern published details of the alleged hazing, the university backtracked and fired Fitzgerald late Monday.

Campus reacts: As students process the implications of the hazing reports and dismissal of Fitzgerald after his initial temporary suspension, the campus community is questioning what will happen next, how the football program and culture may be redefined and how the larger conversation about hazing in college athletics may shift.

Allegations of racism: The Daily Northwestern also on Monday published a story about three former Northwestern football players’ experiences navigating a “culture of enabling racism” within the team. “I hope all those Black and non-white football players live life and get better,” said one student.




The Diplomat Motel, 5230 N. Lincoln Ave., could serve as bridge housing, taking people from being unhoused to finding jobs, 40th Ward Ald. Andre Vasquez said.

Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

  • Revamp of Lincoln Square motel will aid those in need: A City Council committee approved a plan to buy the Diplomat Motel and use its 40 rooms to help people with mental health and substance abuse issues.
  • Tylenol poisoning suspect said anyone could have done it: In the summer of 1987, former Editorial Page editor Tom McNamee interviewed James Lewis at the federal penitentiary in Danbury, Connecticut.
  • Charges filed in fatal car-CTA bus crash: Charice Rush, 37, had been out early Sunday with friends after celebrating her birthday when a car she was in drove the wrong way on DuSable Lake Shore Drive, colliding with a CTA bus. Her friend, 29-year-old Dontrell Biggs, who was behind the wheel, has been charged with aggravated DUI, reckless homicide and reckless driving, Chicago police said.
  • The case against a former Madigan aide: In documents filed Tuesday, four weeks before the federal trial of Timothy Mapes, former chief of staff of indicted Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, prosecutors said that Mapes made an “intentional effort to withhold information” from a federal grand jury in 2021.
  • Conyears-Ervin poised to challenge Rep. Danny Davis: In April, Chicago Treasurer Melissa Conyears-Ervin launched an exploratory committee, saying she would run for Congress only if Davis retires. She has changed course, even as Davis seeks another term.


SoloSam, rapper/producer and chef


SoloSam hosted his first B-EATS events combining hip-hop and food this year.


Reporting by Alejandro Hernandez

Food and hip-hop have always had a long, but underrated love affair. Think Wu-Tang Clan’s Ghostface Killah sprinkling gastronomic rhymes like “ziti” and “strawberry kiwi” into his lyrics. Or MF DOOM releasing an entire rhyming album called “Mm… Food.”

In Chicago, rapper/producer and chef SoloSam sits at the intersection of food and hip-hop, and his new bimonthly dance party, B-EATS, has become a sellout affair, hitting max reservations within hours of each event’s announcement. On June 29, he headlined a free concert at Navy Pier’s Wave Stage.

SoloSam is a man on a mission. Chicago is home to world-renowned food and music cultures, and he acts as a liaison bringing the two worlds together with events that are affordable, and he hopes, accessible to as many people as possible.

“It started off as just me bringing the world of food and music together,” said the hip-hop chef, 30, whose given name is Samuel Akainyah. “ You could come party, have good food, have good drink and enjoy yourself. It’s like creating a multiverse where people are able to experience a physical space of my mind.”

Earlier this year, SoloSam hosted his first B-EATS and named it after a radio show he hosts on Amazon’s radio hosting platform AMP. He partnered with a pop-up restaurant, Taco Sublime, which often operates out of Marz Brewing in Bridgeport, to create two limited edition signature dishes that paid homage to his mixed Ghanaian-Korean heritage.




Site superintendent Tony Spizzirri speaks to F.H. Paschen interns and Ald. Walter Burnett (27th) at the Damen Green Line stop that is under construction.

Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

CPS engineering scholars tour L stop project, ponder possible careers

Reporting by Michael Loria

A group of Chicago Public Schools graduates who visited a still-under-construction station on the CTA’s Green Line recently couldn’t board any trains there just yet, but their tour guides hoped they would still be able to see how an engineering career could take them places.

The students were graduates of George Westinghouse College Prep, where they participated in the school’s Paschen Engineering Scholars program. They visited the site of a nearly $70 million Green Line station project that’s called for everything from civil and electrical engineering to architectural design.

“A lot of people think that it’s all just hard hats and hammers,” said Alan Osinski, assistant vice president for F.H. Paschen, the company overseeing the project, who was there for the tour. “But there’s a whole professional side with modeling and design.”

The Chicago-based construction company has sponsored the engineering program at the West Side school since 2015. Scholars have special engineering courses during the academic year and internships at the company during the summers.

Paid internships are available to scholars in college. This year, for the first time, they’re available for scholars between high school and college.



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