Afternoon edition: February 14, 2022


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 cloudy with intermittent snow showers and highs near 26 degrees. Tonight it will be mostly cloudy with a low around 19. Tomorrow it will be mostly cloudy with a high near 38.

top story

Together at last: a marriage that has been in the making for 50 years

They first met 50 years ago.

But it wasn’t until the end of last year that Steve Watts had the courage to ask Jeanne Gustavson the question.

She thought she had heard wrong. So she made him repeat it.

“Well, of course, I will marry you!” she told him.

Now the couple who met so long ago as students at Loyola University Chicago, but had their love thwarted decades ago by a mother’s hatred, are planning their marriage.

Watts, an amputee who had two strokes, lived in a nursing home in the southern suburbs, thinking he had been forgotten by the outside world.

Then, last June, he heard from Gustavson. She had found her first love after 42 years of separation. Eventually, she took him home outside of Portland, Ore.

They may have married a long time ago, when Gustavson fell in love with the tall “hunk” who was president of German club Loyola.

At first it was a secret love because Gustavson is white and Watts is black, and Gustavson’s mother believed that black people should only come into their house to clean or make repairs.

But Gustavson couldn’t keep it a secret. She told her mother, who she says went “ballistic.”

They tried to make things work. But the demands of college life, and then trying to navigate the world, led to their breakup after seven years.

Each married someone else, with both marriages ending in divorce.

Gustavson and Watts plan to wed in the fall. Read the rest of Stefano Esposito’s story here.

More news you need

  1. Jurors began deliberating in Ald’s federal tax trial. Patrick Daley Thompson this afternoon after closing arguments. Jon Seidel and Tim Novak have more from Dirksen’s federal courthouse.
  2. With a $20 million donation announced this morning, billionaire Ken Griffin formalized his support for Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin’s primary campaign for Governor of Illinois. The big outlay comes as Griffin, Illinois’ richest man, seeks to unseat Governor JB Pritzker, who is also a billionaire.
  3. Development plans are coming fast and furiously for Fulton Market, the city’s busiest real estate market. But large projects raise questions about how dense the area can take, reports David Roeder.
  4. Mary Ann Thebus, a respected Chicago stage actress who also played the mother in “Rudy,” died last Friday at her Andersonville home at the age of 89. Read Maureen O’Donnell and Madeline Kenney’s obituary for Thebus.

A bright

Park Ridge 6th graders win NASA contest with alligator-shaped space junk collector

Aim for the moon and you might land among the space junk.

At least that was the case for five 6th graders at St. Paul of the Cross School in Park Ridge.

The all-female team designed an alligator-shaped space junk collector, complete with magnetic teeth to gnaw through space junk. The project was among the winners of a national NASA competition.

“We didn’t think we would win,” said 11-year-old team member Renata McCoy. “We thought we had no chance. … The whole class went crazy. We were in shock.

NASA’s first TechRise student challenge aims to inspire a deeper understanding of space exploration and expose students to careers in science, technology and space exploration.

The winning team of 6th graders from Saint-Paul de la Croix. From left to right; Mary Anne Gleason, Keira Demes, Abby Bomely, Professor Karl Ochsner Lily of Tagyos, Renata McCoy.
Courtesy of Karl Ochsner

The win comes with $1,500 project funding for the girls and a space ticket for the space junk collector they will build.

“We are absolutely thrilled and so proud of our students,” Principal Erika Mickelburgh said. “We are so excited to see what they are building. We are so excited to see it blast off into space.

The girls’ project was among 57 winners chosen from nearly 600 entries and the only selection from Illinois. The competition was open to middle and high school students; the Park Ridge girls were among the youngest winners.

NASA announced the results Jan. 21 on a live stream as the entire school watched.

Read the rest of Josephine Stratman’s story here.

From the press gallery

Your daily question ☕

Who would you like to see play in a future Super Bowl halftime show?

Email us at and we might feature your response in the next afternoon edition.

On Friday, we asked you: Where’s the best place to go on a date in Chicago? Here’s what some of you said…

“Any of the museums – especially the Art Institute, Grant Park, Navy Pier, a good restaurant, a walk along the shores of the lake, the possibilities are endless.” — Beverly Brown

“Field Museum. Then walk along the lake. —Marc Nash

“Grocery… inflation is an MF right now.” —Brian Althimer

“Millennium Park Summer Concert by the Grant Park Orchestra, then dinner at Shaw’s!” —Carol Hafer

“Visit the Bahai Temple along Sheridan Road in Wilmette, as well as the adjacent harbour. Vibrant spot for a picnic, followed by dinner and a movie at the New 400 Theater near Loyola University’s lakeside campus.” —Bert Freeman

“Gibson Steakhouse and stay at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel and head to the Signature Room on the 96th floor for a drink.” —Bernard Maddox

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