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Your Wednesday afternoon briefing

Chicago Sun-Times Afternoon Edition
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.
— Matt Moore (@MattKenMoore)

This afternoon will be cloudy with showers likely and a high near 72 degrees. Tonight will see scattered showers and thunderstorms with a low around 66. Tomorrow will be mostly cloudy with more showers and a high near 73.
Top story
Gov. J.B. Pritzker at a 2020 news conference. | Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times file
Gov. J.B. Pritzker at a 2020 news conference. | Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times file
A day after 19 children and two teachers were murdered in a small-town elementary school, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott today pointed to Chicago’s gun violence as proof that stringent gun laws are not the solution.
The apples to oranges comparison didn’t fare well with some of the state’s top Democrats, with Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker tweeting, “Shame on you, @GovAbbott.
“You are lying about Chicago and what actually perpetuates gun violence,” the Democratic governor wrote. “The majority of guns used in Chicago shootings come from states with lax gun laws. Do better. You have 19 kids and two teachers who deserve our best.”
Ald. Gilbert Villegas (36th) was even more pointed, referring to the Republican governor as an @sshole” on Twitter, and telling him to” keep our city’s name out of your mouth.”
According to authorities in Texas, Salvador Ramos, 18, used an AR-15-style semi-automatic rifle in the massacre that has once again devastated the country. He is believed to have legally bought two rifles just days prior to Tuesday’s shooting, soon after his 18th birthday.
And the mass shooting, again in Texas, has once again brought to the forefront a partisan split on how to react to such horrific events. Democrats favor more stringent gun bills, while the National Rifle Association has said the shooting was at the hands of a “lone, deranged criminal.”
During a news conference today, Abbott, a Republican governor running for reelection, said there are “quote real gun laws in Chicago” and New York and California.
“I hate to say this, there are more people that are shot every weekend in Chicago than there are in schools in Texas,” Abbott said. “So, if you’re looking for a real solution, Chicago teaches that what you’re talking about is not a real solution.”
More news you need
  1. A young girl died after a fire broke out in an apartment building this morning in Roseland, according to the Chicago Fire Department. The child was found under debris in the bedroom of a second-floor unit of a courtyard building, officials said.
  2. A 75-year-old man was critically injured when he was doused with a flammable liquid and lit on fire on Lower Wabash Avenue on the Near North Side early this morning. A security officer from a nearby building used a fire extinguisher to put the flames out, police said.
  3. Less than three weeks after Mayor Lori Lightfoot put her chips on Bally’s $1.7 billion River West bid, City Council today authorized Bally’s to build a permanent casino in Chicago and open a temporary casino in River North. The vote came after a 90-minute debate that, at one point, devolved into a screaming match between Lightfoot and Ald. Byron Sigcho-Lopez, a casino critic.
  4. In federal court today, a judge sentenced an Oak Forest man today to two years in prison for firing a gun he was not legally allowed to possess during the May 2020 protests and unrest in downtown Chicago. The 30-year-old was arrested after police monitoring protests heard gunshots at 1:26 a.m. on May 30, 2020, records show.
  5. Nimkii Curley was preparing to walk across the graduation stage at Evanston Township High School on Sunday when he was told to lose the beads, stole and eagle feather or sit out of the ceremony. Curley, who is Ojibwe and Navajo, said letting go of the adornments wasn’t an option — so school officials barred him from walking.
  6. Ex-state Rep. Luis Arroyo is set to be sentenced today, nearly seven months after he admitted his role in a bribery scheme. But today, his defense attorney argued in a filing that “Mr. Arroyo was not the recipient of a bribe but rather a conduit.”
  7. Hundreds lined up and streamed into Cermak Fresh Market in the Belmont Gardens neighborhood this morning as mayoral candidate Willie Wilson gave away $25 grocery vouchers to residents. The event – part of a planned week of giveaways – was “humanitarian,” not political, Wilson insisted before reporters could ask the question.
A bright one
When Kahleah Copper opened the box and gazed upon her first WNBA championship ring before the Sky’s 95-90 victory against the Indiana Fever on Tuesday at Wintrust Arena, her face said it all.
With a wide stare and her hand covering a childlike smile, Copper skipped around center court, then met Candace Parker to share their admiration for their new hardware.
Chicago’s first WNBA championship ring, created by William Levine Fine Jewels, is emblematic of the Sky’s journey to the title and the city in which it was won. The ring’s face is engraved with the Willis Tower in 10 full-cut diamonds. The sides feature other city landmarks, players’ names and the second half of the team’s huddle chant: “4-5-6, family.”
The Chicago Sky players and coaches celebrate their 2021 WNBA championship with a ring and banner ceremony before taking on the Indiana Fever at Wintrust Arena last night. | Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times
The Chicago Sky players and coaches celebrate their 2021 WNBA championship with a ring and banner ceremony before taking on the Indiana Fever at Wintrust Arena last night. | Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times
After Copper accepted her ring, the team met beneath their banner, which featured the names of every member of the 2021 team. In the center, it reads “2021 WNBA World Champions, Chicago Sky.”
The ceremony also was proof that the team has taken a firm place on the city’s sports landscape. When WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert hopped in a cab from O’Hare Airport early in the day, she said she was pleased when the driver asked, “Is there a Sky game today?”
In the Sky’s 16-year existence, the franchise has fought to establish relevancy. The championship and the celebration are validation of those efforts.
From the press box
Your daily question  ☕
What’s the best way to support Chicago’s youth right now?
Reply to this email (please include your first name and where you live) and we might feature your answer in the next Afternoon Edition.
Yesterday, we asked you: In the spirit of #TIME100, who would you put on a list of Chicago’s most influential people of 2022?
Here’s what some of you said…
“Allison Arwady has to be on that list. She has been a voice of reason, trust and calm over the past two+ years at a time when many voices refuse to follow the science.” — Paul Lockwood
“Neal Francis.” — Matthew Stamm
“Dan Santucci because he is the new president of Saint Patrick HS (the oldest all-male Catholic high school in the city) and he is bringing a lot of dynamic energy to the institution, which is an anchor on the North West side.” — Jim Rafferty
“Andrew Holmes. He is always there to help victims.” — Toni Bernotus
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