Chicago News Roundup: Belmont Cragin Voters Speak Out, Another Illinois Pleads Guilty After U.S. Capitol Riot, and More


Good afternoon. Here’s the latest news you need to know in Chicago. This is a roughly five minute read that will educate you on today’s biggest stories.

This afternoon will be mostly cloudy with scattered showers and highs near 53 degrees. Tonight will be mostly cloudy with scattered showers and a low near 34. Tomorrow will be partly sunny with a high near 57.

top story

Belmont Cragin voters keep their heads down, say they wish politicians would show their faces sometimes

Politicians don’t stop at Belmont Cragin – ever.

At least that’s what some residents of the Northwest Side insinuate.

Many of them couldn’t tell a reporter who will be on the ballot next month, who their state or U.S. representatives are, or why they should even care to vote, since nothing seems to change.

“Politicians don’t really show up in all the years I’ve lived here,” said 30-year-old resident Melissa Quintana. “I never knew the name of an alderman, I don’t know how many aldermen we have, I didn’t know the wards or our representatives – I literally don’t know anything.”

What residents readily share are their concerns that the obstacles in front of them are becoming increasingly difficult to overcome. Soaring house prices, crime, the quality of education and the difficulties of small businesses make life more difficult.

Nestled on the northwest side, Belmont Cragin is bounded by Grand Avenue to the south, Belmont Avenue to the north, Kenton Avenue to the east, and Nashville Avenue to the west. As voters prepare to cast their ballots in state, county and federal elections next month, the Sun-Times spoke with residents to find out what was on their minds.

Many said they would like their elected officials to do the same. The dozens of people who spoke with the Chicago Sun-Times said the neighborhood’s long history as a working-class community that hangs its head and doesn’t stir the pot contributes to it being so often forgotten.

It should be a neighborhood with more influence given that it is the fifth largest community area in the city and the largest Hispanic population in Chicago.

Of the more than 78,000 people who live in Belmont Cragin, nearly 80% are Hispanic, 14% are white, 2% are black and 2% are Asian, according to the latest US census figures.

Adding to the confusion for residents, the community area of ​​Belmont Cragin is divided among several state representative wards and districts, which means residents of neighboring blocks may have different representatives on the city council or state legislature. State.

The neighborhood is roughly divided into three Illinois House wards as well as the 30th, 31st, and 36th wards, which fit together like the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. This represents half a dozen different local elected officials, all representing different sections of the neighborhood.

Manny Ramos has more with Belmont Cragin voters here.

More news you need

  1. A tenant renting a room in a Northwest Side house killed her landlord and dismembered her body before storing several of the landlord’s body parts in a freezer, Cook County prosecutors said today. Our Matthew Hendrickson has the latest on the case here.
  2. A Chicago man who allegedly wore a “Trump 2020” flag as a cape during the January 6, 2021 attack on the US Capitol pleaded guilty with his father today to a misdemeanor. Matthew Bokoski of Chicago and his father, Bradley Bokoski of Utah, each pleaded guilty to protesting in a Capitol building.
  3. A murder outside a downtown nightclub last weekend could have been avoided had the city shut it down after two previous fatal shootings outside the club, Ald. says Byron Sigcho-Lopez. The alderman, whose neighborhood includes the bar, says he and the area police commander were surprised to learn the club was open.
  4. Yesterday, with Purchasing Director Aileen Velasquez in the hot seat during city council budget hearings, members of the city’s Black Caucus raised concerns about Chicago’s paltry numbers for black contractors. Chicago paid $763 million to prime contractors through July 31, but only 11% — $82 million — went to African-American-owned businesses, according to our Fran Spielman reports.
  5. Lake Forest mega-donors Dick Uihlein and his wife Liz directly contributed more than $6.4 million this election cycle, according to FEC records. Their objective? To help pack Congress with Republicans who either questioned the legitimacy of the last presidential election or voted against certifying the results. Our Tina Sfondeles has more on their efforts here.
  6. Federal prosecutors yesterday asked a judge to sentence former Teamsters boss John T. Coli Sr to 19 months in prison. Coli had pleaded guilty in an extortion case, but later cooperated against former senator Thomas Cullerton.
  7. Metra could keep a pandemic-inspired $100 monthly unlimited travel pass for the foreseeable future after administrators pushed back on a return to a zoned system during today’s budget discussions. The Daily Herald’s Marni Pyke talks more about the future of the Super Saver Pass here.
  8. Workers at the Field Museum in Chicago today made public their desire to unionize with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. The action follows campaigns among employees of the Art Institute of Chicago and its school and the Newberry Library.
  9. A current Art on theMART exhibit is a love letter to 79th Street and black culture, artist Jasmin Taylor told our Mariah Rush in a recent interview. Taylor’s “Trap Moulin Rouge” performance piece is part of the projections shown nightly on the facade of the Merchandise Mart.
  10. More and more victims of “check washing” are speaking out about their experiences as the US Postal Service remains silent on how it deals with increased crime in Chicago. Authorities investigating the check wash cases — USPS and the Postal Inspection Service — again declined to describe what action they are taking to combat the surging program.

A bright

The world-renowned Cuarteto Latinoamericano continues its 40-year mission of showcasing Latin American composers

Most string quartets perform works by famous historical composers like Beethoven, Debussy, Haydn, Schubert or Shostakovich, often adding a lesser-known contemporary selection to programs to give a taste of the present.

A small number focus solely on modern and contemporary repertoire. But few if any others are doing what the Mexico City-based Cuarteto Latinoamericano has done so successfully: specializing exclusively in 20th and 21st century works by Latin American composers.

As part of its 40th anniversary season, the quartet makes an appearance in Chicago on Saturday as part of Hispanic Heritage Month, which ends that day. The event, presented in partnership with the International Latino Cultural Center of Chicago, marks the opening of the Music Institute of Chicago’s 2022-23 season at Nichols Concert Hall in Evanston.

The Music Institute of Chicago kicks off the season with the world-renowned Cuarteto Latinomericano – Arón Bitrán (left to right), Álvaro Bitrán, Javier Montiel and Saul Bitrán – in concert Saturday night.

The program includes works by renowned Argentinian musician Alberto Ginastera and Mexican composer Gabriela Ortiz, as well as two arrangements of pieces by renowned tango master Carlos Gardel. The concert is completed by String Quartet No. 17 (1957), the final work in the form of legendary Brazilian composer Heitor Villa-Lobos, and Essay No. 1 for quartet by Francisco Mignone.

The Cuarteto’s staff remained the same with the exception of Saúl Bitrán, the Cuarteto’s first violinist, who joined in 1986 after the group’s first violinist returned to Uruguay. He and two other members of the quartet are brothers, children of amateur musicians. “We grew up playing chamber music at home,” he said, “so it just came natural to us.”

The founding musicians had known each other since they were students, and they were playing in two different orchestras in the early 80s. At first, the quartet members performed together part-time and kept their main jobs.

“And then they decided to take this scary big leap of giving up orchestras and dedicating all their time to the quartet,” Bitrán said.

The bet is successful. Cuarteto has toured extensively across Europe, North America, and Asia, and won Latin Grammys in 2012 and 2016. Additionally, he is a three-time Chamber Music America/ASCAP recipient. for its adventurous programming.

Kyle MacMillan has more on Cuarteto Latinoamericano and Saturday’s performance here.

From the press gallery

Your daily question☕

Have you been “ghosted” by a CTA bus or train that never showed up despite appearing on the app tracker? Tell us what happened.

Email us at [email protected] and we might feature your response in the next afternoon edition.

Yesterday we asked you: what should be on every Chicagoan’s bucket list?

Here’s what some of you said…

“Kayaking on the Chicago River.” — Anne Surmann Harp

“Graceland Cemetery at Irving Park and Clark. So many famous Chicago people with huge (Palmer) and remarkably modest (Mies van der Rohe) graves/burial sites, tall trees (it’s also an arboretum), and winding paths to walk or bike. We always bring people from outside! — Guillaume Pitsenberger

“Architectural Boat Tour on the Chicago River.” — Teri McCarthy

“Take the South Shore Intercity Line to Michigan City, Indiana and back (from Randolph Station). It’s sort of a “last of its kind” train excursion. — Stacy J Litherland

“Go dance to some good old house music.” — Yvette Hayes

“Mario’s Lemonade on Taylor Street in Little Italy.” — Anthony Barette

“Cycling or walking along the lake.” — Rebecca Hite Dodaro Corlew

“A Giant Margie’s Sunday.” — michelle hassan

“Garfield Park Conservatory. Beautiful, peaceful, surprising, historic, interesting and a real balm for the soul.” —Leora Dowling

“A burger and beer at the original Billy Goat on Lower Michigan Ave.” — Lee Collier

“St. Patrick’s Day Parade.” —Stephanie Swieca

“Jump into the lake in the middle of August!” — Marco Cervantes

“To go see a Second City improv show.” — Bryan Tilman

“Go see the Buckingham Fountain when it’s on.” —Linda Adams Hayes

“A Cubs game at Wrigley Field.” – Hope Katz

“See Buddy Guy. He is a legend and one of the best guitarists of the moment. —Erin Eileen

“The Museum of Science and Industry!” — Nancy Turini

“Take a bike ride on the North Branch Trail.” — Tom Skelton

Thanks for reading the afternoon edition of the Chicago Sun-Times.Think we missed a story? Email us here.


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