The Rundown: Rittenhouse is acquitted of all charges

Kyle Rittenhouse closes his eyes and cries as he is found not guilt on all counts at the Kenosha County Courthouse in Kenosha, Wis., on Friday, Nov. 19, 2021. The jury came back with its verdict after close to 3 1/2 days of deliberation. Sean Krajacic/The Kenosha News via AP, Pool
Kyle Rittenhouse closes his eyes and cries as he is found not guilt on all counts at the Kenosha County Courthouse in Kenosha, Wis., on Friday, Nov. 19, 2021. The jury came back with its verdict after close to 3 1/2 days of deliberation. Sean Krajacic/The Kenosha News via AP, Pool

The Rundown: Rittenhouse is acquitted of all charges

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Hey there! It’s Friday, and it is a busy day for news. Here’s what you need to know today.

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1. Kyle Rittenhouse is found not guilty on all charges

A jury today acquitted Kyle Rittenhouse of all charges in the deadly shootings that took place last year during protests for racial justice in Kenosha, Wis. After more than three days of deliberations, jurors found that Rittenhouse acted in self-defense when he fatally shot two men and wounded a third.

The polarizing case sparked a national debate over vigilantism and gun rights. Prosecutors say Rittenhouse was a “wannabe soldier” who instigated the violence by bringing an AR-style semi-automatic rifle to a tense night of protests. Rittenhouse’s defense team said he could have been killed if he had not acted in self-defense.

Rittenhouse was 17 years old when he traveled from his home in Antioch, Ill., to Kenosha, where protests erupted over the police shooting of a Black man, Jacob Blake. Carrying a weapon that authorities said was illegally purchased for the underage Rittenhouse, he joined other armed citizens in what he said was an effort to protect property and provide medical aid. [AP]

2. About a dozen staff members at a Chicago school are accused of sexual misconduct or covering it up

Thirteen teachers and staff members at Marine Leadership Academy in Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood are accused of either committing or covering up sexual misconduct that dates back at least two years, officials at Chicago Public Schools announced today.

One case involved a teacher having a sexual relationship with an 18-year-old student. Another teacher is accused of grooming an 18-year-old for sex after they graduated. The school district’s top watchdog is expected to release more information in a report slated for later today.

CPS CEO Pedro Martinez said 10 adults have been fired or are in the process of being fired from the school. [Chicago Sun-Times]

3. Biden’s social policy and climate change bill narrowly passes in the House

The House voted on near-party lines this morning to approve President Joe Biden’s sweeping expansion of the social safety net and strategy for combating the climate crisis.

The legislation sets aside $550 billion to address climate change through incentives and tax breaks. It also creates universal prekindergarten for about 6 million children, provides subsidies for child care, lowers prescription drug costs for some seniors and improves Medicare benefits, among other things.

Taxes on the wealthy and corporations will cover most of the bill’s cost.

The legislation now heads to the Senate, where changes could be in store as Democrats have a slim majority. [NPR]

4. Got something to say about a casino in Chicago? City officials seek feedback from residents

Chicago residents will soon have a chance to weigh in on the city’s massive plan to build a casino-resort and entertainment space at one of five proposed locations, reports WBEZ’s Mariah Woelfel.

The city plans to hold its first public hearing on Dec. 16 for residents to question the three firms behind the five pitches received last month.

One bid seeks to place a casino across the street from Soldier Field. And two other proposals are eying space near McCormick Place, with one seeking to transform the Lakeside Center, the giant convention space near the lake, into a casino.

City officials today would not estimate when a casino will actually open its doors. But the process goes something like this: Mayor Lori Lightfoot will have to select a final proposal, send it to the City Council for approval and then ask the Illinois Gaming Board to sign off.

The Lightfoot administration hopes to begin the final leg of that process early next year. [WBEZ]

5. A monkey in an uncomfortable situation wins a comedy award

The winners and finalists of the Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards were recently announced, and they do not disappoint.

As NPR reports: “This year’s top prize goes to Ken Jensen. His photo, taken in Yunnan, China, shows a golden silk monkey in a rather uncomfortable position with an appropriately startled look on its face.”

Sorry, changing the desktop image on my work computer real quick.

The people’s choice award went to a photo of a pigeon with a flyaway leaf covering its entire face. It’s captioned, “I guess summer’s over.” [NPR]

Here’s what else is happening

  • Vice President Kamala Harris became the first woman and first Asian American to hold presidential authority as Biden underwent a routine colonoscopy. [NPR]
  • A shortage of substitute teachers in Chicago has become a big problem for schools serving mostly Black and Latino students. [WBEZ]
  • Chicago’s top police misconduct investigator apologized amid an uproar over a report that recommended disciplining a slain officer. [WBEZ]
  • Jessica Watkins will become the first Black woman to live and work on the International Space Station in April. [NPR]

Oh, and one more thing …

My friends over at Curious City get a lot of questions about movies and TV shows filmed in Chicago, so they dug up answers and put together a fun quiz.

For example: How many nights did it take to film the Lower Wacker Drive portion of the chase scene in The Dark Knight?

You can also listen to this week’s episode to find out why certain spots around the city are popular places to film movies. [WBEZ]

Tell me something good …

The weather is steadily getting colder, and I’d like to know: What are your plans this winter?

Donna Granback writes:

“Winter does not change my love of the great outdoors! That’s why I finally bought myself a set of cross-country skis, poles and boots! I want to keep hitting the trails and now I’m actually hoping for snow!”

And Cathy T. writes:

“Looking forward to the cold and snow so I can get outside and enjoy the beauty, peace and mental restoration winter offers. Sure don’t understand why so many Chicagoans hide inside. It’s not cold, you just need to layer the right clothes!”

Thanks for all the messages this week. I’m sorry I couldn’t share everyone’s response, but it was nice hearing from y’all.