Chicago news roundup: Pharma funds Illinois pols, ‘Sister Jean’ turns 103, Honest Chicagoans talk Air and Water Show and more


Good afternoon. Here’s the latest news you need to know in Chicago. This is an approximately 5 minute read that will educate you on today’s biggest stories.

This afternoon will be mostly sunny with a high near 85 degrees. Tonight will be mostly cloudy with a chance of thunderstorms and a low around 67. Tomorrow will also be mostly cloudy with showers likely, a risk of thunderstorms and a high near 78. Sunday will be partly sunny with a risk of thunderstorms and a high near 77.

Afternoon Edition

The most important Chicago news of the day, delivered every weekday afternoon. Plus, a bonus number on Saturday dives into the city’s history.

top story

Illinois Senate President Don Harmon and other politicians continue to take money from drug companies involved in the opioid crisis

In 2017, the Ohio Attorney General sued Johnson & Johnson and other drugmakers, claiming they had “misled prescribers into believing that opioids were not addictive, that addiction was a easily overcome or that the addiction could actually be cured by taking even more opioids.

In 2019, Oklahoma government lawyers called Johnson & Johnson the “pivotal” of the opioid crisis, likening the pharmaceutical giant to a Mexican drug cartel.

In 2021, New York’s top law enforcement official said opioids “have wreaked havoc in countless communities” and that Johnson & Johnson “helped fuel that fire.”

But Illinois politicians are continuing to take campaign money from Johnson & Johnson and other companies paying $26 billion to settle lawsuits that accuse them of fueling the opioid crisis, according to court filings. campaign financing.

Illinois Senate President Don Harmon, D-Oak Park, is the most prominent of them. Harmon accepted these corporate-related campaign contributions that have been portrayed by government lawyers across the country as corporate villains in the opioid crisis:

  • $2,000 last September from a Johnson & Johnson political action committee.
  • $2,000 in 2020 from a Johnson & Johnson fund.
  • $2,000 in December from Fidelity Consulting Group LLC, a Rosemont lobbying firm that lobbies for Johnson & Johnson.
  • $7,500 over the past two years from companies lobbying on behalf of Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, a Washington, DC trade group to which Johnson & Johnson and other opioid sellers belong.

Robert Herguth has more on Harmon and other pharma-funded Illinois politicians here.

More news you need

  1. Jurors in R. Kelly’s latest federal trial were due this afternoon to see snippets of the alleged graphic child pornography at issue in the case. U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber ruled the videos should not be viewed by the public, but he resisted calls from prosecutors to clear the courtroom.
  2. A city panel today recommended that Chicago permanently remove its three Christopher Columbus statues and the Balbo monument in Burnham Park, and consider altering or removing nearly 40 other monuments. It’s unclear whether the city will follow the recommendations — Mayor Lori Lightfoot in May strongly hinted that they should be ignored.
  3. Mayor Lightfoot today responded to GOP gubernatorial candidate Darren Bailey’s latest reference to Chicago as “hell” by defending the city and calling Bailey’s campaign a “dumpster fire.” . The mayor made his pointed remarks on Twitter after Bailey called out Chicago during a rally at the Illinois State Fair yesterday.
  4. The Chicago Police Board has voted to fire an officer accused of beating and choking a man during an arrest – five months after a judge acquitted him of the charges. The commission found that Louis Garcia also failed to secure the man in the police cruiser, failed to record the full arrest on his body camera, and accused Garcia of lying in a report on the arrest.
  5. CPS officials still support a COVID-19 vaccination mandate for students, but say the first action must be taken at the state level, which has not been done. Illinois now requires K-12 students to provide proof of vaccination against a dozen diseases, including diphtheria, tetanus, polio, measles, rubella and mumps.
  6. A 13-year-old girl survived a lightning strike in Garfield Park earlier this month after a parent sprang into action, performing life-saving CPR at the scene. She was rushed to Stroger Hospital, where doctors said she was lucky to have received a quick response from a family member, as lightning knocked down the young girl in cardiac arrest.
  7. The Chicago Air and Water Show kicks off a two-day stay in town tomorrow, with all branches of the military and the Illinois National Guard set to stage a demonstration for spectators. Navy fighter jets began training yesterday, with piercing aerobatic rehearsals continuing today.
  8. Once crippled after a boating accident on Lake Michigan in 2003, Chicagoan Rob Heitz continued to defy odds today – he swam from Alcatraz Island to the San Francisco shore. Stefano Esposito tells more about Heitz’s great achievement here.
  9. After last year’s scaled-down celebration, Ruido Fest will be in full effect starting this afternoon, with a stacked lineup boasting headliners like Cypress Hill and Cuco. The annual alternative Latin rock festival will feature nearly 50 bands performing on three stages over three days in Union Park.

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A bright

At 103, ‘Sister Jean’ is gearing up for another year at Loyola

Throwing the first pitch at a Cubs home game. A new figurine in his honor. The unveiling of a plaque bearing his name at Loyola University’s “L” stop – on a day when thunderstorms are expected.

“Perhaps it will be the orchestra of heaven making a racket up there,” says the center of all attention, a small, angel-faced woman. Or as his father used to tell his nervous children, “the angels roll the barrels of beer.”

Forgive Sister Jean Dolores Bertha Schmidt, the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary — or Sister Jean, as she’s better known to legions of Ramblers basketball fans — if she doesn’t remember all of this very well. which is expected in the days surrounding his 103rd birthday, which is Sunday.

But don’t ask her how she’s going to do it — like our Stefano Espositodid in a recent interview with Sister Jean.

“Hmmm?… Oh, I’m sleeping well,” she says, a hint of surprise or perhaps irritation at the question.


Less than a week before her 103rd birthday, Sister Jean reflects on life, love and basketball during a chat with the Chicago Sun-Times at Loyola University yesterday.

Three years into its second century, Sister Jean, the men’s basketball team chaplain, walks the aisles and plazas of Loyola with a walker or wheelchair over longer distances. She broke her hip a few years ago and is in therapy twice a week. Is she considering slowing down a bit? No chance.

She is often asked to pose for photos – with small children, big children, parents.

“When journalists want to talk to me, I never say no. When people want to take pictures, I never say no,” she says. “If what I do makes someone happy and if it’s good for the community and Loyola, I always say yes.

Esposito has more with Sister Jean here.

From the press gallery

Your daily question ☕

What does Chicago do better than anywhere else?

Email us at [email protected] and we might feature your response in the next afternoon edition.

Yesterday we asked you: As a Chicagoan, what do you think of the Air and Water Show?

Here’s what some of you said…

“Ever since I was a child, I have always loved the spectacular spectacle. Used to living on our boat in the harbor and always lived the week before the show with all the practices.” —Harry S Brinker III

“It’s great for some people but, meh. The best thing about the Air and Water show is that fall is coming. However, let people have fun if that’s what they like. For the most part people from Chi-town, we’re not going there. I’m just saying. —Vicki Trinity

“It’s an iconic summer event and the drivers are blessed with the most beautiful American skyline.” —Erika Hoffman

“It always hurts me for vets and other people with PTSD. Personally, it baffles me and I dread this time of year every year. —Rah Easton

“It’s mostly fun for the pilots, everyone just watches to go home with a neck cramp.” —Krystali Ramrz

“It’s fabulous. It’s a tradition. Chicago has a beautiful lakefront and the air and water show celebrates this part of our great city. — Peggy Freitag

“It’s absolutely awful. He makes warplane entertainment. It traumatizes pets, veterinarians and other members of the community with great anxiety. Something that drops bombs on one group of people shouldn’t be entertainment for another. — Heather Dhamo

“It’s fun to watch the planes fly over Lake Michigan and around town. It makes you lose your breath.” —Maurice Snell

“It’s iconic. I love it. —Sheri A. Mendez

“A billion dollars worth of social programs whizzing past us at supersonic speeds and deafening decibels. Technological marvels to amaze us as the horrors of war and the blatant waste of funds remain hidden in plain sight (from plane ?) “. –John Donnel

“I love the sounds of airplanes and seeing them practice.” — Caroline Cohrs

“I think it’s a phenomenal waste of money (especially given record fuel costs) that only serves to further the fetishization of the military.” —Laurie Alfaro

“A day when we can all FLY HIGH while respecting our military and our great country.” —Stanley Richard

“I still have mixed feelings about it. I admire the technological know-how on display, but I wish it was geared towards something other than fighter jets. —Denis Fritz

“It’s noisy and scares my cat. It sucks. — Rob Samuelson

“I love it, but it’s sad because it marks the end of summer.” —Nancy Kinsch

Thanks for reading the Chicago afternoon edition. Think we missed a story? Email us here.


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