Afternoon Edition: Feb. 18, 2020


Good afternoon. Here’s the latest news you need to know in Chicago. It’s about a 3-minute read that will brief you on today’s biggest stories.

No gray skies today, and this much-needed dose of sunshine comes with a high near 38 degrees. But it could be windy by the time you leave work, with gusts of up to 25 mph on the forecast. The low tonight will be 16 degrees, and the next two days will see similarly chilly temperatures, with highs closer to 25 degrees.

Top story

Trump expected to grant clemency to disgraced ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich: reports

President Donald Trump has commuted the 14-year prison sentence of disgraced former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, setting in motion a process that could free him shortly from a Colorado prison after serving more than seven years behind bars.

In explaining his move, Trump called Blagojevich’s sentence “ridiculous.”

“Yes, we commuted the sentence of Rod Blagojevich,” Trump told reporters Tuesday before he departed on Air Force One. “He served eight years in jail, a long time. He seems like a very nice person, don’t know him.”

Trump’s move brings one of the most bizarre legal dramas in Illinois history to a stunning conclusion. It’s a tale reaching back more than a decade, to the December 2008 early morning arrest of Blagojevich by the FBI at his Ravenswood Manor home.

Our staff report has everything you need to know about today’s major development in the Blagojevich saga.

And columnist Mark Brown writes about how he hopes the rest of the story plays out.

Early voting starts tomorrow in Chicago.File

More news you need

In Chicago, early voting starts tomorrow for the Illinois primary election. If you’re interested in casting your ballot before the big rush on March 17, here’s what you need to know.

TheDream.US, an organization tailored for helping college-bound immigrant students, is doubling the number of scholarships it awards in Illinois from 60 to 120. Find out which schools accept these scholarships.

Two new cases of Legionnaires’ disease have been reported at a senior home in north suburban Vernon Hills, bringing the total to five, including one previous fatal case. Catch up.

No surprise here: Chicago is America’s most corrupt city, and Illinois is the third-most corrupt state, Block Club Chicago reports. Get the details.

Kamala Harris announced her endorsement for Kim Foxx — who has described Harris as a mentor — today, saying the first term Cook County prosecutor is a “national model” for criminal justice reform. Read what else Harris had to say about Foxx.

McDonald’s popular Shamrock Shake is back tomorrow for the first time in three years. See the new drink debuting at the same time — a twist on the original.

A bright one

Movie critic Richard Roeper’s first conversation with Harrison Ford was an in-person chat in 1990, timed to the release of “Presumed Innocent.” He remembers the actor answering very politely, but in extremely brief sound bites.

For decades, the Chicago native and Maine Township High School alum has been famously taciturn when dealing with the media. But recently, Roeper says Ford was quite the chatterbox while discussing his new movie, “The Call of the Wild.”

Harrison Ford attends the Premiere of 20th Century Studios’ “The Call of the Wild” at El Capitan Theatre on February 13, 2020 in Los Angeles, California.Getty

“I read the book when I was in high school, as all of us did,” said Ford. “I found the book to be powerful and really interesting … as a city boy growing up in Chicago, it sort of stretched my ‘ken.’ And my Barbie too, but that’s another story.” Read the full interview.

From the press box

At his first big league spring training, White Sox first-round pick Andrew Vaughn noted he didn’t get this far by paying attention to analytics. “If you think about [launch angle], you start doing weird stuff,” Vaughn said. “You see guys swinging PVC pipes, doing weird stuff with their swings, and that’s just not me.”

Your daily question ☕

Good news: today is National Drink Wine Day. What’s your favorite bottle to imbibe after a long day at work? Email us we might include your answer in the next Afternoon Edition.

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