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 warm and sunny with a high near 64 degrees. Tonight’s low will be around 38 degrees. Tomorrow will be partly sunny with more warm weather; a high near 63 degrees is expected.
The Cubs and White Sox will play before real fans, instead of cardboard cut-outs.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot gave both teams the go-ahead today to sell 20% of the seats at Wrigley Field and Guaranteed Rate Field, citing the “remarkable” progress Chicago has made toward containing the coronavirus and vaccinating its residents.
“As a diehard sports fan myself, I’m personally excited to have Chicago take its first, cautious steps toward safely reopening our beloved baseball stadiums to fans this season,” Lightfoot, a White Sox season ticket holder, was quoted as saying in a press release.
“We’re able to do that thanks to the commitment of our city’s two great baseball franchises who continue to work in close partnership with Chicago’s public health officials to find solutions that are not only safe, but offer a path forward toward safely increasing stadium capacity as we move closer into our COVID-19 recovery.”
Guaranteed Rate Field has a seating capacity of 40,000. The city’s gradual reopening plan will limit the crowd to 8,122 fans, with at least six feet between parties, starting with the home opener on April 8.
Wrigley Field has a capacity crowd of 41,374. There, the 20% rule allows the Cubs to sell 8,274 seats, beginning with the home opener on April 1.
More news you need
- Chicago Public Schools reached a milestone of sorts today as the district welcomed back sixth graders, seventh graders and eighth graders for in-person learning. However, officials say most parents have opted to keep their kids at home in remote learning.
- Federal housing officials are withholding rental subsidy payments from the owner of a South Side residential building after it racked up numerous city code citations. Residents of Ellis Lakeview Apartments have complained about “inhumane” conditions that include mold and rodents.
- Love it, hate it or walk by it with utter indifference, the Thompson Center is facing a reckoning this year. David Roeder outlines the upcoming decisions that’ll shape the building’s fate and have a big influence on the future of the Central Loop.
- Illinois public health officials today announced 1,182 new cases of the coronavirus as well as five deaths — the lowest one-day death tally in nearly six months. The state’s preliminary seven-day statewide case positivity is 2.3%.
- Students’ mental health struggles have intensified as high schools remain closed a year into the pandemic, experts say. For children ages 12-17, the number of mental health-related ER visits increased by 31% nationwide compared to 2019, according to the CDC.
A bright one
The Bridgeport restaurant Kimski is known for its “pay-as-you-can” meals, part of the Community Kitchen initiative. It’s also becoming known for providing a canvas — its outdoor walls — for artists to create murals.
The walls, like the food, are overseen by Won Kim, the head chef who’s a partner in the restaurant — and, for 20 years now, also a graffiti writer.
During the tumultuous months around the restaurant’s opening in 2016, Kim says he used one of the walls himself as a creative outlet to “keep my sanity.”
Since then, he has invited artists to “create something for fun and experiment” there. In the five years since the restaurant opened, he says more than 50 artists from across the Chicago area and around the country have come to paint a wall outside Kimski.
“I don’t give guidelines,” says Kim, 41. “Do what you’re good at and just have fun with it. That’s how you advance and get better.”
From the press box
With his first-ever All-Star Game appearance now behind him, the Bulls’ Zach LaVine said he’s taking some goals with him back to Chicago for the second half of the season and beyond. One would be a teammate joining him on an All-Star roster, Joe Cowley writes.
The NWSL’s 2021 Challenge Cup will kick off with a rematch of last year’s final between the Red Stars and Dash at BBVA Stadium in Houston on April 9. With the exception of the opener and the final, every other game in the tournament will stream live on Paramount Plus.
Your daily question ☕
Do you plan to attend a Cubs or White Sox game under limited capacity this summer?
Email us (please include your first name and where you live) and we might feature your answer in the next Afternoon Edition.
On Friday, we asked you: What’s your favorite memory from Brent Seabrook’s storied Blackhawks career? Here’s what some of you said…
John Rivera just linked to this video, which … enough said:
“Hoisting the Stanley cup after winning the third one. Also loved his hits.” — Michael L. Lariccia
“That blue line slap shot. Any time any game. Seabs with the BIG blue line slapper for the goal.” — Dennis Kovalcik
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