Chicago news roundup: Ghost buses and trains haunt Chicagoans, Illinois say no to Pritzker for president 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 cloudy with a chance of flurries, potentially mixed with rain, and a high near 40 degrees. Tonight it will be mostly cloudy with a low near 32. Tomorrow it will be mostly cloudy with a high near 44.

top story

Buses and trains continue to scare commuters

It’s been two months since CTA Chairman Dorval Carter Jr., speaking to the City Club of Chicago, pledged to address reliability issues plaguing one of the nation’s largest public transit systems. .

But the problem continues to escalate, causing commuters to miss appointments, arrive late for work or get stuck in the rain as they wait for a bus or train that appears to be arriving soon – but disappears then from the CTA’s online tracker. And although the agency has said it will fix the problem, which commuters have dubbed the buses or trains “ghosts,” some say it’s not fixing it fast enough.

“We commend the CTA for trying to resolve the issue, but they are nowhere near solving the problem,” said Micah Fiedler of Commuters Take Action.

“The fact is that the number of ghost trains and ghost bus complaints has remained the same since this plan was announced.”

Fiedler is an organizer with the Commuters Group, a coalition of passengers who are fed up with inaccuracies and inconsistencies in CTA bus and train schedules. Launched almost five months ago, the group has received thousands of complaints from bus users and has tracked the number of trains running – or not – on the Blue Line.

Carter’s announced plan, titled “Meeting the Moment,” is intended to highlight CTA’s efforts to address reliability issues. But Fiedler said complaints from crowdsourced racers have remained steady since that announcement; around 2,500 bus complaints have been reported to the group since the CTA plan was published.

“Our goal is to hold CTA accountable” and force the agency to update its transit tracking app so that it accurately shows where buses and trains are on their route, Fiedler said. . “People rely on public transit to get to work, to get to the doctor and for other important things. It’s heartbreaking to wait for a bus and be ghosted twice.

CTA spokesman Brian Steele said the service had been improved with temporary changes to some train timetables, which should mean more reliable tracking information. But these changes will not be permanent.

Our Manny Ramoshas more on the state of the CTA here.

More news you need

  1. A 13-year-old boy who was shot and killed Friday night in a West Ridge park was “in the wrong place at the wrong time,” according to his family. Lavell Winslow was hanging out in Lerner Park with friends when a shot rang out, police and his family told the Sun-Times.
  2. Prosecutors dismissed a domestic violence case against a Cook County judge after the woman who filed the complaint decided not to pursue the charges, officials said. Our Sophie Sherry has more on the charges dropped here.
  3. A new Sun-Times/WBEZ poll has asked Illinoisans whether Gov. JB Pritzker should consider running in the next presidential election — and many said he shouldn’t. Our Tina Sfondeles and Dave McKinney from WBEZ know more about what voters think of Pritzker, President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump here.
  4. Besieged Northwest Coast Ald. Jim Gardiner (45th) today gave up a secure promotion to lieutenant CFD – and a once-a-decade chance to take the captain’s exam. Instead, Gardiner will run for a second term on the Chicago City Council, reports our Fran Spielman.
  5. Grammy-winning superstar Lizzo came to Chicago last night to bring her “Special” tour to a sold-out United Center. It was an electric and dazzling performance and a defining moment for the artist, writes Selena Fragassi in her review of the concert.

A bright

Interrupted Chicago romance ends in marriage 43 years later

On the morning of his wedding, half a century after first meeting the love of his life, Stephen Watts lay anxious in bed.

It wasn’t the typical pre-wedding jitters. Watts has had two strokes and is an amputee who has been homeless before. Due to his frailty, he had barely left his room last year. He had only been out once. But elsewhere in the house, amid the whirlwind of activity, the love of her life, Jeanne Gustavson, was putting on a pale blue dress, checking her makeup and getting ready for a day she had wanted for 43 years.

Watts, 72, and Gustavson, 69, tied the knot on Saturday, 43, after breaking off a relationship that began when they were both students at Loyola University in Chicago – a decision she regretted all his life. It took six people to lift Watts into a wheelchair and roll him down a ramp into the couple’s sunny yard in a suburb of Portland, Oregon, where the couple now live. Gustavson came next. After all this time, Gustavson wanted it done the right way – so the groom hadn’t seen her in the blue dress. He couldn’t take his eyes off her. She shook his hand. He leaned down beside her. The eyes of the guests misted.

“You are my soul mate, my best friend, and I want to spend eternity with you,” Gustavson said while reciting her vows.

“The first time I saw you, my heart whispered, ‘It’s her.’ My heart was so right,” Watts said.

Stephen Watts, 72, and Jeanne Gustavson, 69, who first fell in love at Loyola University in Chicago 51 years ago, finally tied the knot on Saturday at their home in Beaverton, Oregon.

Jaime Valdez/For the Sun-Times

Gustavson first met Watts in 1971, when they were both students at Loyola. She fell madly in love with the tall “hunk” who was president of the college’s German club. But there was a problem: he’s African American and she’s white. She lived in Mundelein with her mother and grandmother, who did not allow black people into the house unless they were there for work. The romance therefore had to remain secret. Gustavson couldn’t keep it a secret and eventually told his mother, who went “ballistic,” Gustavson said.

The mother’s racism and Gustavson’s hectic life as a nursing student doomed a relationship that had lasted seven years. So Gustavson broke up. Watts was devastated. They married other people, both divorced and had no children.

Gustavson moved to Oregon in 1987, caring for his mother, who died in 2012. But Gustavson never forgot his first love. After some considerable searching, she found him 42 years later in a retirement home in the southern suburbs. He was a shadow of the man she had known in college: he had been shot twice, one leg amputated just above the knee. And he was all alone, having lost his mother and his sister. But the love had not weakened. So Gustavson, now a retired nurse, brought Watts back to live with her in Beaverton, a hilly suburb of Portland.

“Miracle is a word people throw around, but it was a miracle,” said a good friend and neighbor.

Stefano Esposito tells more about Watts, Gustavson and their amazing story here.

From the press gallery

Your daily question☕

What is Chicago’s greatest gift to the world?

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

Yesterday we asked you: what is your spiciest recipe in Chicago?

Here’s what some of you said…

“Chicago’s deep dish is less pizza and more casserole” –Susan Clark

Condiments for hot dogs! Can’t everyone just put whatever you want on these things and enjoy them without the drama? —pat dicke

“You can like both deep dishes and pub-style pizzas.” — Steve Sprengel

“A good Italian sausage is better than a good Italian beef.” — Stone troughs

“The deep dish isn’t all that.” — Rahmaan Adedoyin

“Ketchup belongs to hot dogs. Ridiculous that some places don’t even serve ketchup. Madness!” — Tom Nicholopoulos

“The deep dish is for tourists, and no true Chicagoan eats it willingly.” — Anthony Arce

Good beef doesn’t need giardiniera. —maximum energy

“Although I like deep pizzas, thin crust is better.” —mike walsh

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


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