Chicago News Roundup: Inside the scene of the Chicago street takeover, a reporter details the discovery of an R. Kelly tape in a mailbox, etc.


Good afternoon. Here’s the latest news you need to know in Chicago. This is an approximately 5 minute read that will educate you on today’s biggest stories.

This afternoon will be mostly sunny with a high near 75 degrees. Tonight will be mostly clear with lows near 60. Tomorrow will be mostly sunny with highs near 82. Sunday will be partly sunny with a chance of showers and highs near 87.

Afternoon Edition

The most important Chicago news of the day, delivered every weekday afternoon. Plus, a bonus number on Saturday dives into the city’s history.

top story

Takeovers on the Streets of Chicago: They’re Secret, Dangerous, Illegal, and Have a Devoted Audience

The Dodge Charger revved its V8 Hemi engine, the deep growl echoing through the Ford City Mall parking lot as smoke billowed from the rear tires.

Draco slammed on the gas and spun the wheel, sending the Charger spinning—or drifting—in a tight circle to the applause and cheers of over 100 people.

“It’s an adrenaline rush – it’s hard to explain – but you feel free in the moment,” said Draco, the name the 21-year-old uses on the street roam circuit. “You know, it’s one of the few times I feel like I’m in control of my destiny.”

Sun-Times reporter Manny Ramos and photographer Ashlee Rezin have spent several weekends at the encounters, which have long sparked complaints about noise, disruption and danger.

They are often organized in minutes via a social network that taps into street racing culture. Often, people leaving a police-dispersed encounter will drive around until they get contact details for another encounter the same evening.

And despite a recent crackdown that could cost participants their cars, there is no shortage of drivers and spectators.

Ramos and Rezin have most of their weekends in Chicago meet here.

More news you need

  1. Prosecution witness Lisa Van Allen, R. Kelly’s ex-girlfriend who has been among his most visible critics for years, collapsed on the witness stand today during a flurry of questions barbed wire from Kelly’s attorney. Andy Grimm and Jon Seidel have full details of the trial, which today marked the end of its second week.
  2. Much of the prosecution case during the first two weeks of R. Kelly’s trial focused on a 26-minute, 39-second videotape that allegedly shows Kelly sexually abusing a young girl from 14 years old. Former Sun-Times pop music critic Jim DeRogatis recounts the day in 2000 an anonymous source sent him the tape — and what happened after — here.
  3. Nearly two weeks after her feet were severed in a boating accident at the downtown Chicago “Playpen,” Lana Batochir expects to be out of hospital by the end of the week. In a video released from her hospital bed, Batochir said she had not seen her children since the accident and had not yet told her 6-year-old daughter that both of her legs had been damaged. amputated below the knee.
  4. A sign declaring a Lake View church’s unwavering support for abortion rights was damaged Wednesday by two people throwing rocks. Video of the incident, captured by a neighbour, shows one of the stone throwers shouting: “I sent a message”.
  5. Tenants of a struggling South Side building have filed a lawsuit in Cook County Circuit Court seeking monetary compensation for poor living conditions at the Ellis Lakeview apartments over the past three years. Three residents who live in the apartment complex filed a lawsuit yesterday after living with mould, rodents and plumbing problems.
  6. Tributes are pouring in for Harold Lucas, a beloved Bronzeville organizer, activist and historian, who died at 79. “Harold was one of the freedom fighters,” Reverend Jesse Jackson said of Lucas.
  7. A collection of 600 vintage license plates and tags from early 20th century urban vehicles went up for auction this week. The “holy grail” among the collection: what is believed to be the first automobile license plate issued in Illinois in 1904.
  8. Business incubator EG Woode opened its first small business center in South Chicago to house four black-owned businesses. Yesterday, the organization held a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the new Englewood property, where Powell’s Barbershop, consignment shop Marie | Wesley, Momentum Coffee and the design company where Beehyyve will operate.

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A bright

At the El Paseo Community Garden in East Pilsen, neighbors connect with nature, with each other

The El Paseo Community Garden in East Pilsen spans the length of a city block, between Cullerton and 21st Street.

It didn’t always look so green. Much of the land was once “brownfield”, with high levels of lead contamination. Today it is home to over 20 vegetable gardens, a meadow with native plants, a permaculture site, beekeeping, and community classes and gatherings.

The change did not happen overnight. El Paseo Garden has been around since 2009 – around the time when environmental activists and residents of Pilsen were organizing against pollution in their community. Much of this advocacy called for the cleanup of toxic waste left behind by a former metal smelter.

Some community residents also wanted a small plot of land for gardening – and got it.

Community garden El Paseo.

Community garden El Paseo.

The original space was expanded with the help of Neighbor Space, a non-profit urban land trust for community gardens that helped secure the land and provides financial management support, technical expertise and a access to resources.

Paula and Antonio Acevedo have been volunteers at the garden for over 10 years. They took over the management in 2015, when the founders left. They have undertaken projects including two murals and the addition of solar power to the garden, a beekeeping program and a permaculture site.

“It’s the community,” says Paula Acevedo. “Not a barren park that could be in any part of town. We want it to really identify and show the community, the culture.

WBEZ’s Adriana Cardona-Maguigad has more on the garden here.

From the press gallery

Your daily question ☕

What’s it like owning and raising a dog in Chicago?

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

Yesterday we asked you: if you could become an alderman for a day, what would be the first thing you would do for your parish?

Here’s what some of you said…

“Repave the streets because they are in a horrible state.” —Glinda North

“I would put money back into public programs and schools to prevent future crimes. No more police. Especially in the small village. … Why can’t Little Village have better streets, sidewalks and street cleaning? —Arturo E De Leon

“I would build tiny houses for the homeless and provide them with the services they need. I would build tiny houses similar to those in Detroit if you know what I mean. —Aidan Hughes

“Encourage businesses to be in the neighborhood. Too many empty windows. — Jackie Waldhier

“Pave the streets, community safety committees, try to reduce property taxes, eliminate red light cameras, parks committee, neighborhood night.” —Greg Najarian

“Connect with voters. It seems like once in power for a while, you take your constituents for granted. Go out and see what people need; an investigation can go a long way. —Carlos Ocasio

“Visit it and ask people to find out what the most urgent needs are.” — Hector L. Torregrosa-Ramos

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


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