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The Spin: Illinois at ‘make or break moment’ on COVID-19, Pritzker says | NYT: Kanye West met with Jared Kushner | Kinzinger weighs in on QAnon

In this file photo, Kanye West makes his first presidential campaign appearance, Sunday, July 19, 2020 in North Charleston.

In this file photo, Kanye West makes his first presidential campaign appearance, Sunday, July 19, 2020 in North Charleston. (Lauren Petracca Ipetracca/AP)

Wear your masks and keep your distance — that’s still considered the best way to reverse the recent upward trend in Illinois coronavirus cases that has alarm bells ringing and threatens a return to stiffer COVID-19 restrictions, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said today.

Meanwhile, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced the formation of a committee to review the city’s monuments following the recent removal of statues honoring Christopher Columbus.

And, the New York Times is reporting that rapper Kanye West met with President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, in Colorado last weekend as the celebrity tries to file paperwork in some states to run for president.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker at a news conference at the University of Chicago's Harper Center on July 23, 2020.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker at a news conference at the University of Chicago's Harper Center on July 23, 2020. (Antonio Perez / Chicago Tribune)

From the Tribune’s Jamie Munks: With coronavirus trends in most of Illinois moving in the wrong direction, Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Wednesday again warned that the state might reimpose stricter measures to slow the spread of the highly contagious disease.

Pritzker repeated a plea for local officials to “impose greater mitigations on a targeted basis to bring down the number of infections or the positivity rate.”

“Otherwise, it will only be a matter of time before the state will be forced to step in and roll things back on a regional basis, something none of us wants,” Pritzker said.

While offering up that sober warning, Pritzker also announced the release of $46 million in grants to small businesses across the state whose operations have been severely impeded by state shutdown rules aimed at curbing the spread of coronavirus. Read the rest of the story here.

Kanye West makes his first presidential campaign appearance, in North Charleston, S.C., on July 19, 2020.

Kanye West makes his first presidential campaign appearance, in North Charleston, S.C., on July 19, 2020. (Lauren Petracca/The Post And Courier)

“The meeting took place in Colorado, where Mr. Kushner was traveling with his wife, Ivanka Trump, those familiar with the meeting said. Mr. West had been camping in Colorado with his family, and afterward flew to Telluride to meet with Mr. Kushner and Ms. Trump, but was not accompanied by his wife, Kim Kardashian West, those with knowledge of the meeting said,” the newspaper reported. Read the rest here.

West tweeted a response Tuesday night: “I’m willing to do a live interview with the New York Time about my meeting with Jared where we discussed Dr Claude Anderson’s book Powernomics.”

As the Tribune’s Rick Pearson recently reported, West filed paperwork in an attempt to get on Illinois’ ballot. But a preliminary check “indicates the rap artist may fall far short of the required number of signatures.”

“To make the ballot, West had to file 2,500 valid signatures from Illinois voters. He submitted 3,218 signatures, but a state elections board review Friday found that 60% of them, or 1,928, were invalid.”

“The Chicago-raised rapper and businessman’s late bid for the White House is viewed as an attempt to take Black votes away from Democratic candidate Joe Biden. Forbes reported that West acknowledged as much in an interview published Thursday.

“News outlets have reported that West appears to be getting help from Republican operatives, some allied with President Donald Trump, to get on the ballot as an independent presidential candidate in some states.”

U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger speaks during a gun violence hearing on Oct. 3, 2019, at Kennedy King College.

U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger speaks during a gun violence hearing on Oct. 3, 2019, at Kennedy King College. (Antonio Perez/Chicago Tribune)

Illinois Republican U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger, of Channahon, weighed in on QAnon today, after Georgia Republicans nominated a vocal supporter of the conspiracy theory to run for a seat in the U.S. House.

Kinzinger did not mention Marjorie Taylor Greene, who’s running for Georgia’s 14th Congressional District seat, by name. But in a tweet, he said, “Qanon is a fabrication. This ‘insider’ has predicted so much incorrectly (but people don’t remember PAST predictions) so now has switched to vague generalities. Could be Russian propaganda or a basement dweller. Regardless, no place in Congress for these conspiracies.”

Crews remove the Christopher Columbus statue in Grant Park in the early hours of July 24, 2020, in Chicago.

Crews remove the Christopher Columbus statue in Grant Park in the early hours of July 24, 2020, in Chicago. (Armando L. Sanchez / Chicago Tribune)

From the Tribune’s Gregory Pratt, Blair Kamin and Kori Rumore: “Nearly three weeks after ordering the removal of Christopher Columbus statues in Chicago, Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Wednesday announced the formation of a committee to review the city’s monuments as part of “a racial healing and historical reckoning project.”

“The Lightfoot administration also said it will commission ‘a series of temporary public artworks that focus on a broader range of topics around COVID-19, inequality and racial reconciliation.‘”

“The panel’s co-chairs will be Mark Kelly, who heads the city’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events; Bonnie McDonald, president and CEO of Landmarks Illinois; and Jennifer Scott, director and chief curator of Jane Addams Hull-House Museum.

In making the announcement, Lightfoot referred obliquely to her middle-of-the-night removal of the Columbus statues in Grant Park and Little Italy, a move she has insisted was temporary and based on public safety concerns. She later ordered the removal of a smaller Columbus statue in South Chicago.” Read the rest here.

Corbett Wilkinson climbs on a downed tree in Rogers Park on Aug. 11, 2020, after a powerful derecho storm tore through the area the previous evening.

Corbett Wilkinson climbs on a downed tree in Rogers Park on Aug. 11, 2020, after a powerful derecho storm tore through the area the previous evening. (Erin Hooley / Chicago Tribune)

From the Tribune’s Katherine Rosenberg-Douglas: “The National Weather Service on Wednesday said the agency confirmed four more tornadoes spawned by a derecho storm system Monday, bringing the total number of tornadoes during the destructive storms to 10.

“The weather service had confirmed six tornadoes on Tuesday, but Wednesday forecasters said there were four others during the storm, which left hundreds of thousands without power across northern Illinois and northwest Indiana.” Read the rest here.

* From the Tribune’s John Byrne: The city will cancel street cleaning tickets for cars in areas with storm damage after at least one ticket for street cleaning was issued on a street where the car owner said downed trees made it impossible to move the vehicle.

Northwest Side Ald. Ariel Reboyras, 30th, said he complained to the city Revenue Department after a resident, former Tribune reporter Mary Wisniewski, tweeted that she got a ticket Tuesday even though “we couldn’t move the car” because of downed trees on the block following Monday’s storm.

“It’s unbelievable,” Reboyras said. “There’s nowhere to park because of all the tree damage, and they’re adding to the stress by issuing tickets? Come on.”

Revenue Department spokeswoman Kristen Cabanban said in a statement: “For streets where street cleaning was impacted due to fallen debris caused by Monday’s storm, the City will work to identify those locations and dismiss any tickets that were issued in error.”

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