Illinois house speaker Mike Madigan Credit: AP Photo/Seth Perlman

Welcome to the Reader‘s weekday news brief.

  • Speaker Mike Madigan fires aide for alleged sexual harassment

Illinois house speaker Mike Madigan has fired longtime aide Kevin Quinn, brother of 13th Ward alderman Marty Quinn, for alleged sexual harassment. Kevin Quinn allegedly sent a woman inappropriate text messages and made “unwanted advances” toward her before she came forward with her story in November, according to a statement from Madigan. Attorney Heather Wier Vaught investigated the woman’s allegations and “recently came to the conclusion that the individual engaged in inappropriate conduct.” [Sun-Times]

  • CPS alters plans to shut down three Englewood high schools over the summer, will phase them out instead

Chicago Public Schools is backtracking on its controversial decision to shut down three Englewood high schools at the end of the 2017-’18 school year and now says it won’t close them until the current freshmen graduate. Harper, Hope, and TEAM Englewood high schools will be phased out over the next three years, and a fourth high school, Robeson, will likely close over the summer, according to CPS chief executive officer Janice Jackson. “Englewood students deserve a state-of-the-art high school and a world-class education, which is why we’re excited to build an $85 million campus that will rival the city’s best schools,” she said in a statement. “At the same time, we want to honor current students and their families, and we’ve heard that many of them want to be able to stay and graduate from their current schools.” [Tribune]

  • Garry McCarthy: “Wait a couple of weeks, and let’s just see how fake my candidacy is”

Former Chicago Police Department superintendent Garry McCarthy insisted that his possible mayoral candidacy is serious during a fund-raiser Sunday. He told naysayers to “wait a couple of weeks, and let’s just see how fake my candidacy is.” It sounds like McCarthy is leaning towards a run after seeing positive polls. “We are catching momentum,” he told WGN TV in an interview. “It’s ironic, because I did not start this, as you know, people came and formed a committee.” He also addressed his 2015 firing by Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “I don’t think it was handled the way it should’ve been handled, but that’s not the point here,” McCarthy said. “This has nothing to do with me and the mayor. I’m disappointed that I am living in a city that has a 70 percent increase in the murder rate since that time.” [Sun-Times] [WGN TV]

  • George, Amal Clooney sponsoring an Iraqi refugee University of Chicago student

George and Amal Clooney are sponsoring Iraqi refugee Hazim Avdal and his education at University of Chicago. Avdal is Yazidi, a Kurdish religious minority suffering at the hands of the Islamic State, and escaped minutes before ISIS took over his hometown. He and his family ended up in a refugee camp in Turkey, and he was never able to start his studies at the University of Mosul. He eventually met human rights attorney Amal Clooney and University of Chicago doctoral student Matthew Barber, who were able to connect him to the university, which accepted him as an undergraduate student in computer science in May 2017. The 23-year-old recently appeared on an episode of David Letterman’s Netflix show My Next Guest Needs No Introduction and stays at George Clooney’s Kentucky home during breaks from school, but he wants the spotlight to shine on Iraqi issues and not on him. “I want people to know about what’s happening in other parts of the world, particularly in my experience, what happened in my part of the world,”he told the Tribune. “On the other hand, I also want to live my life as a student here at the University of Chicago, just quiet and have my own privacy. So it’s like a trade-off. I will have to find a way to make a balance after (Letterman’s) show comes out.” [Tribune]

  • Pioneering ABT ballerina Ruth Ann Koesun passes away at 89

Ruth Ann Koesun grew up in Chinatown and went on to become one of the world’s most famous ballerinas, even dancing at the White House for President John F. Kennedy and First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy in 1962. With the American Ballet Theatre, Koesun danced at London’s Royal Opera House as the city was recovering from World War II in 1946. “Ruth Ann Koesun pioneered with ABT in its early touring days, traveling everywhere with the company to cities and towns across the globe,” ABT artistic director Kevin McKenzie said. “As an early member of Ballet Theatre, she set an example of dignity and perseverance for many generations of ABT artists.” Koesun returned to Chicago and was living in a Lake Shore Drive apartment at the time of her death. [Sun-Times]