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🏅 Cheer on these Chi Special Olympians

By Sidney Madden | @sidney_madden_

🏅 Local Special Olympians

Dozens of athletes from Illinois are competing at the Special Olympics USA Games in Orlando, Florida, this week — more than 50 years after the first games were organized and played at Soldier Field.

Black-and-white photo of children marching with a sign on a track at a stadium. A woman in a dress walks behind them.
Eunice Kennedy at the Special Olympics at Soldier Field in 1968. (Bettmann / Getty)

Before Anne Burke was on the Illinois Supreme Court, she was a Park District physical education teacher who went to DC to ask for funding for a city event for kids with disabilities. 

Eunice Kennedy Shriver, a supporter of similar causes, backed the 1968 event and is credited with helping scale the games and organization.

Group of 30+ people posing in matching red shirts at an airport terminal.
Illinois athletes at O’Hare airport Saturday. (Special Olympics / Flickr)

Today’s games will see more than 5,500 athletes compete, including several from Chicago. Here are some of the Chicago Special Olympians to cheer on. 

🏋️ James Naughton is a 58-year-old powerlifter who has been part of the Special Olympics since 1978, when he got started at Blackhawk Park. After the program got shut down at the Belmont Cragin park, the longtime librarian began training at Shabbona Park in Dunning.

🏈 Cory Williams, a 30-year-old Kenwood Academy football coach and former Unified Air Force quarterback, has participated in the Special Olympics for 14 years. He’s playing for Illinois’ flag football team.

🏊 Matthew Danaher is a 25-year-old swimmer, Northside Learning Center High School graduate, and Big Time Rush fan who’s trained at Independence Park in Irving Park. 

🤾 Kenneth Ogden is a 25-year-old bocce player who’s been active in the org since joining a Vittum Park recreation program in Garfield Ridge in 2010.

Learn more about other local athletes competing. Livestream the games on ESPN3 or the ESPN app.

Trivia Q: Who is Anne Burke’s husband? Hint: He’s a local elected official. Email with the right answer, and you could win City Cast swag!

✊ The Jane Collective

With the Supreme Court’s summer recess at the end of the month, the decision to overturn Roe v. Wade could soon be coming. 

But before the landmark abortion rights decision, women had to take dangerous measures to end a pregnancy. A group of women in Hyde Park created a service that provided everything from counseling to rides to appointments. You called a number, and you asked for Jane. 

🎧 Laura Kaplan was part of the group. She tells us about the experience and her book “The Story of Jane: The Legendary Underground Feminist Abortion Service.”

📺 Watch “The Janes” on HBO Wednesday at 8 p.m.

Sponsored by Active Transportation Alliance: Register for Bike the Drive Presented by Fifth Third Bank

Active Transportation Alliance is excited to announce that registration for the 21st annual Bike the Drive presented by Fifth Third Bank is officially open! 

This year’s ride on a car-free DuSable Lake Shore Drive will be Sept. 4 at 6:30 a.m. — instead of 5:30 a.m. Youth tickets are $18, and adult tickets start at $48. 

🚲 Register at today before prices rise! 

📰 Newsfeed

Lightfoot’s labor report card. The first-term mayor has publicly had contentious relationships with the Chicago Teachers Union and Fraternal Order of Police, but has also helped push for a fair workweek, minimum wage hikes, and the right-to-return-to-work ordinance. [Tribune]

Hack with City Cast! Tell us how you consume local news, and we’ll tell you what we’ve learned in our first year in your inboxes and pod feeds. Join us at the Civic Opera Building at 6 p.m., or stream online. [Chi Hack Night]

Chicago dogs do attack postal workers. This Dog Bite Awareness Week, the U.S. Postal Service ranked dog attacks on workers by city: Chicago came in No. 8 last year 😬 [WGN]

Introducing our state rock. Dolostone, underneath much of Illinois, was the cause of an early 19th century mineral rush to Galena. [NBC Chicago]

💙  Rom-Coms in Chicago

Looking to add to your summer reading list? Author Natalie Caña is out today with her book “A Proposal They Can’t Refuse.”

The rom-com follows a Puerto Rican chef and an Irish American whiskey distiller whose grandfathers get them to fake an engagement, all in the gentrifying Humboldt Park neighborhood. 

This will be the first in a series about Vega family love stories. 

I’m a sucker for a rom-com, on screen and in a book. And Chicago is home to a decent number of rom-coms! (More on that later.)