Afternoon Edition: Anyone else notice the dragonfly swarms by the lakefront?

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Millions of common green darner dragonflies are migrating across Lake Michigan on their journey from Canada to the Gulf Coast and looking for a place where their larvae can survive.

John Abbott

Good afternoon, Chicago. ✶

All across the country, Americans are looking back today on 9/11 with moments of silence and tearful commemorations for the victims of the terrorist attacks that day.

Mayor Brandon Johnson and other public officials gathered this morning at Engine 42 in River North for a ceremony honoring the lives lost and the families forever impacted by the attacks.

It was just one of several ways Chicagoans have come together as a community to observe the tragedy that changed the world 22 years ago.

In today’s Afternoon Edition, we’ve got more community news you need to know, plus a few updates on our city’s sports teams and your question of the day — all below. 👇

Thanks for spending a moment of your afternoon with us.

⏱️: A 7-minute read

— Matt Moore, newsletter reporter (@MattKenMoore)


Dragonflies seem to be everywhere along Chicago’s lakefront

Reporting by Juanpablo Ramirez-Franco | WBEZ

Have you seen them?: Swarms of common green darner dragonflies are being seen around Chicago, and they’ll continue to be visible through the end of the month, experts say. That’s because Chicago is a pit stop on their multigenerational, more than 900-mile mass migration across North America, which happens every spring and fall.

Why they’re in the Windy City: Dragonflies typically aggregate the way they have near Lake Michigan for one of two reasons: eating or migrating, according to entomologist Melissa Sanchez Hererra. Dragonflies need to find an aquatic habitat to lay their larvae, which will develop over the winter and spring until they emerge when the surrounding water temperature is suitable. The green darner typically travels to the Gulf of Mexico. Some dragonfly species, like the wandering glider, have turned up as far south as Colombia.

Chicago scientists on the case: About a week ago, Jacob Drucker, a doctoral student studying ornithology at the University of Chicago and the Field Museum, noticed the massive concentrations of dragonflies and began tracking the swarms with weather radar. Displayed in greens and reds, Drucker pulled two maps showing the massive clusters of dragonflies moving across the lake into Illinois. The radar showed how the wind would push the dragonflies back toward the lake, only for them to return to land. According to Drucker, these remote sensing methods can be a tool for better monitoring biodiversity.




Jianan Shi is Chicago’s new Board of Education president. His fast rise from teacher to organizer to overseeing the city’s public schools leaves him as the progressive movement’s hope for education reform.

Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

  • Meet Chicago’s new Board of Education president: The fast rise of Jianan Shi, 33, from teacher to organizer to overseeing the city’s public schools positions him as the progressive movement’s hope for education reform.
  • Trial date for accused Highland Park shooter delayed: A Lake County judge has put off setting a trial date for Robert E. Crimo III, the man accused of killing seven people and wounding 48 others at last year’s Fourth of July parade. In the first hearing in the case since May, prosecutors Monday asked for three more months to finish gathering evidence.
  • Winner picked for Pershing Road project: City planning officials have agreed to work with IBT Group on redeveloping properties that are part of Chicago’s historic Central Manufacturing District in the McKinley Park neighborhood, which has been neglected for years.
  • Permit sought for pot shop in Westside Center for Justice: Criminal defense attorney Brendan Shiller, son of former 46th Ward Ald. Helen Shiller, is the owner of the building. His daughter, Britteney Kapri, is hoping to convert a restaurant in the building into a cannabis dispensary. A City Hall zoning hearing is set Tuesday for the store, called Baked.
  • Chicago’s stand-up history: In the new book “The Perfect Amount of Wrong,” stand-up comic Mike Bridenstine chronicles how he watched a handful of comedian-run Chicago shows in the late ’90s and early ’00s —mostly in the back rooms of bars or unused annex spaces at restaurants — produce a wave of alternative talent still working at the top of their game.
  • Cubs bring up top prospect: The Cubs are calling up outfielder Pete Crow-Armstrong, their top-rated prospect, to join the team in Denver.
  • Bears opening day takeaways: Sun-Times Bears beat reporter Patrick Finley breaks down Darnell Mooney’s and Chase Claypool’s performances, a historic day at quarterback and more.
  • Guide to Chicago’s fall theater lineup: The local theater scene has something for everyone this fall. We break down the productions across the area you need to see.



This house on Central Park Avenue just south of Peterson is lavishly decorated with sculpture and a face painting. Art environments like this can be found here and there around the city.

William Swislow/For the Sun-Times

Reporting by William Swislow

If you ask someone where to go to see art in Chicago, they will likely direct you to the Art Institute, or perhaps to the Daley Plaza Picasso and its nearby cousin, Alexander Calder’s Flamingo in Federal Plaza.

But to the junkyard at 30th Street and Kedzie? Probably not, even though this extravaganza of hand-painted advertising is one of the city’s most glorious examples of public art. To the thousands of stone carvings that line the Lake Michigan shore? Only a bit less unlikely, despite being the city’s most massive repository of outdoor sculpture.

The collection of rock carvings on the limestone stepstones that survive along sections of the lakefront is one of the more awe-inspiring. Starting at the Indiana state line and carved as early as 1930, these range from simple initials and lovers’ hearts to portraits, cryptic messages and elaborate mythological scenes.

Regardless of what adjective you attach to it — folk, outsider, vernacular, self-taught or anything else — we’re talking about art made by people with little or no formal art education, people who mostly don’t consider themselves artists.

Other anonymous creators — sometimes professionals, but most often those who were not intentionally “making art” — have supplied signs and “muffler man” sculptures to promote automotive businesses, like the signs at Frank’s West Side Auto Parts (30th and Kedzie) or the muffler man at 6 Stars Auto (Lawrence near Sacramento). Or lovingly rendered images for fast-food stands, like the gyros fantasy at Nick’s Drive-In (Harlem just north of Touhy). Or prosaic but lively representations of food and shoppers for local grocers, like the one at Al Jou Food Mart (Pulaski at Division).




Authors Ajanta Chakraborty, her husband Vivek Kumar and their son Ruhaan Kumar stand at their table Saturday during the Printers Row Lit Fest.

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

Printers Row Lit Fest brings lovers of the written word together: ‘It’s just inspiration’

Reporting by Violet Miller

Ajanta Chakraborty stood behind a table Saturday at the Printers Row Lit Fest talking to young readers of the books she has co-authored with her husband, Vivek Kumar.

Six years ago, the couple turned to the written word to bring together their passions for dance, children’s stories and Hindu and Muslim culture.

“I saw there was a need,” the self-published author said of the 13 titles they had on display. “I felt that warmth in the people of Chicago where I was like, ‘I think there’s space here to bring this culture and really spread it to the community.’”

They were among the more than 200 authors showing their works this weekend at the five-block street festival, which also features some 100 booksellers. Now in its 38th year, the festival was expected to bring more than 100,000 attendees.

Michaelle Bradford, a Bronzeville resident who has attended the fest nearly a dozen times, came out to get inspiration and advice from some of the featured authors. The magazine writer and editor said she hopes to publish a story based on her time living in Arkansas one day.

“I want to do more on the creative writing side,” Bradford said of attending a discussion by fiction authors. “That’s why I always try to come out, because it’s just inspiration.”



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Editor: Satchel Price
Newsletter reporter: Matt Moore
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