Good morning, Chicago.
Hundreds attended a town hall Thursday evening to learn more about the proposal by Bally’s for a $1.7 billion casino, hotel and entertainment redevelopment at what is now the Chicago Tribune’s Freedom Center printing plant in River West. The forum became contentious, the Tribune’s Stephanie Casanova reports, as people’s comments took longer than 90 seconds and their mic was cut off, prompting others to yell out from the crowd. The main theme? As one nearby resident said, “Casinos simply do not belong in residential areas, period.”
In suburban news, the Illinois Department of Transportation has ordered red-light cameras to be turned off at Illinois Highway 83 and 22nd Street in Oakbrook Terrace. The reason given by IDOT, the Tribune’s Joe Mahr reports, had nothing to do with federal allegations the west suburb’s former mayor took bribes to greenlight the cameras, or with threats from a neighboring suburb that it would sue IDOT to get the cameras removed.
And as the Tribune’s John Keilman report last month, students and staff members at Lincoln College in central Illinois had been rallying to try to raise enough money to keep the school going, setting up a GoFundMe page, soliciting foundations and hunting for a wealthy “angel donor.” But in the end, it was too much to raise in too short of a time: The 157-year-old predominantly Black institution is closing today.
Here are the top stories you need to know to start your day.
Illinois’ top financial official has banned local governments from using a state program to collect debt from students who have been ticketed for truancy, eliminating a burden for families struggling to pay steep fines. A number of school districts around the state, meanwhile, have begun to scale back and reevaluate when to involve law enforcement in student discipline, among them a suburban Chicago high school where Black students have been disproportionately ticketed.
The moves come after an investigation by the Tribune and ProPublica, “The Price Kids Pay,” found that school officials and police were working together to ticket students for misbehavior at school, resulting in fines that could cost hundreds of dollars per ticket. When students or their families failed to pay, local governments sometimes turned to the state for help collecting the money.
About 15 hours after a corner in the Back of the Yards neighborhood was sprayed with gunfire Tuesday, leaving one man dead and four others wounded, Chicago police Superintendent David Brown held a news conference to update the public on the mass shooting.
But a review of public records shows that some details Brown related were at least overstated and at worst inaccurate. And, the Tribune’s Annie Sweeney and Paige Fry report, it is not the first time that information provided by the Police Department has been challenged.
A Metra passenger killed when a BNSF train crashed into a stalled truck was a loving grandmother, a mom of three “very, very strong girls” and a devoted sister and friend to many, according to the 72-year-old Downers Grove woman’s son-in-law. Christina Lopez, of Downers Grove, was killed in the Clarendon Hills crash, according to the DuPage County coroner’s office.
Lopez, known as Chris, was the mother of three “very, very strong women” and doted on all five of her grandchildren. She had 10 siblings and was “devoted” to all her sisters, one of whom she was on her way to visit in La Grange when the accident happened. “It’s obviously been an extremely sad and tragic experience,” said Jeff Klonowski, her son-in-law.
The Matt Eberflus era in Chicago officially will begin when the Bears open their season against the San Francisco 49ers on Sept. 11 at Soldier Field. The new Bears coach then will get his first taste of the rivalry with the Green Bay Packers when his team visits Lambeau Field for “Sunday Night Football” in Week 2.
The Bears are slated to play three prime-time games in the first seven weeks of the season — the Packers game, a “Thursday Night Football” contest against the Washington Commanders at Soldier Field in Week 6 and a “Monday Night Football” game the following week against the New England Patriots in Foxborough, Mass.
If it succeeds in drawing moviegoers into theaters, Tribune critic Michael Phillips writes, 2022 might well be on its way to a throwback summer season approaching pre-COVID box office action. Is that a pipe dream? Are people ready?
Bronzeville Winery, the highly anticipated restaurant in the historic neighborhood on the South Side of Chicago, just opened with a modernist vegan watermelon steak and a roasted marshmallow-garnished yam cocktail.
Chef Whitney McMorris, previously at The Aviary and Terzo Piano, makes modern American cuisine inspired by global influences. Her menu features artfully plated fish and meat. She also set out to have one of the best burgers in Chicago, too, with Wagyu beef and smoked Comte cheese.