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Afternoon Edition: Nov. 4, 2021

Today’s update is a 5-minute read that will brief you on the day’s biggest stories.

Don Ananías Ocampo with his paletero cart on 18th Street in Pilsen in 2019.
Don Ananías Ocampo with his paletero cart on 18th Street in Pilsen in 2019.

Good afternoon. Here’s the latest news you need to know in Chicago. It’s about a 5-minute read that will brief you on today’s biggest stories.

This afternoon will be partly sunny with a high near 47 degrees. Tonight will be mostly clear with a low around 33 degrees. Tomorrow will be sunny with a high near 51.

Top story

Pilsen residents launch GoFundMe to help longtime paletero

For the last seven years, Don Ananías Ocampo has become well-known in Pilsen, pushing his paletero cart along 18th Street.

But last week, the 77-year-old went into the hospital for knee surgery and his days of selling ice cream — his only source of income — likely are over.

“He’s worried and he’s sad,” said Hilda Burgos, a Pilsen resident, customer, and friend.

“He keeps asking me: ‘When will I be able to sell my ice cream again?’ And I really don’t think he will be able to again, because both knees are so damaged from all those years of pushing the heavy cart. I also think he will probably have to have surgery on the other knee once he recovers.”

Burgos and other Pilsen residents have looked after Ocampo for the past several years — helping him find a place to live, driving him to the doctor, inviting him over for family dinners.

Now they have started a GoFundMe effort for Ocampo to make sure he can pay his rent, and to help with what they fear will be crippling hospital bills.

Ocampo moved to Pilsen from Guerrero, Mexico, almost 35 years ago, Burgos said. That whole time, he had no medical insurance, due to his immigration status.

Then, in January, Illinois became the first state to extend its health coverage to undocumented seniors whose income was below the federal poverty level. Ocampo qualified, and since then, has seen many doctors who finally are tending to his health care needs.

Manny Ramos has more on how Pilsen residents are rallying around Ocampo here.

More news you need

  1. Federal prosecutors want a former Schaumburg CEO who pleaded guilty to his role in the violent Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection to serve 45 days behind bars, telling a judge “there were signs of a violent riot everywhere, and he willingly joined it.” In August, Bradley Rukstales became the first known defendant from Illinois to plead guilty to his role in the breach.
  2. Five more cases tied to disgraced former Chicago Police Sgt. Ronald Watts were dismissed by Cook County prosecutors during a brief hearing today. Another 83 people who claim they were framed by Watts are still seeking to have their convictions overturned, too.
  3. A 24-year-old man claims in a lawsuit that New Lenox police officers left him in a parking lot amid a mental health crisis last year before he was hit by a car and suffered a traumatic brain injury. The lawsuit alleges the officers didn’t follow proper procedures, Madeline Kenney reports.
  4. Amazon opened the latest edition of its Fresh store today in Westmont — featuring a design that lets customers skip the checkout line. You can scan your way in with Amazon’s app, load up your cart and leave, as the company leverages its ability to track visitors and market to them.
  5. A recent craze among cryptocurrency traders over tungsten cubes — tiny, ultra-heavy metal boxes — has brought about a boom in business for a suburban factory that makes tungsten products. Sales of the curiously dense metal cubes have jumped from the hundreds to the thousands for Midwest Tungsten Service in Willowbrook, all thanks to a spike in online popularity.

A bright one

Local chef honors his roots with ‘very personal’ dish, new Logan Square restaurant

Bratwurst and sauerkraut were often on the menu at Sam Engelhardt’s house growing up. It was one of his mother’s many specialties.

Engelhardt moved to Chicago about 12 years ago and has worked in various kitchens across the city. En Passant, a new restaurant in Logan Square, is the first one he can call his own.

And of course, he had to incorporate his take on the old, classic dish his mother used to make.

Sam Engelhardt is the chef/owner of En Passant restaurant in Logan Square.
Brian Rich/Sun-Times

The choucroute garnie, a “very personal” menu item for Engelhardt, has been a crowd pleaser since En Passant opened in April.

Engelhardt’s version includes some ingredients and spices that shy away from the traditional choucroute garnie, including ones that he “bumped into throughout [his] life and kind of thought they could add to the dish.”

“I grew up in a German family and the dish we’re doing here is like Alsatian, which is ... in France now [but] was once German,” he said. “So I guess that’s why [he added it to the menu], because it’s from my family. Reminds me of that.”

Madeline Kenney has more in her latest installment of our Dishin’ on the Dish series here.

From the press box

Your daily question ☕

Where in the city do you think the Chicago casino should go?

Email us (please include your first name and where you live) and we might include your answer in the next Afternoon Edition.

Yesterday we asked you: What is the quintessential Chicago sandwich and best place to find it?

Here’s what some of you said…

“The juicy steak sandwich on french bread and topped with simply a rounded yellow onion and a thick slice of tomato at Mr. D’s Shish Kabobs. Add their fresh-cut french fries and it’s burp good. A hearty sandwich at a Chicago joint with an old-time Chicago atmosphere where you can find lawyers and cops to mailmen and neighborhood kids digging in.” — Walter Brzeski

“Italian sub from The Original Nottoli & Son Deli on Belmont. The very best!” — Betty Jackson

“Ricobene’s Chicago Style Breaded Steak Sandwiches, hands down nothing close, not even Portillo’s.” — Robin Ellefsen

“Gyros, (so many places but I’ll go Athenian Room), definitely underrated as all the talk is usually about the beef.” — Alex Krupa

“Italian beef, from Novi’s.” — Jennifer Laws

“Manny’s pastrami sandwich. The best ever!” — Sheri Johnson

“Jimmy’s Red Hots! Grand & Pulaski.” — Rick Gandy

“Edzo’s Patty Melt hands down.” — Ionut Trestian

“I will have to go with the Italian beef with hot peppers and dipped. Quintessentially Chicago. Stepped out of Chicago and couldn’t find anything like it anywhere! Brought friends to Chicago and they fell in love with the combo which is the beef and a sausage link still dipped. I became a legend with my friends the very moment I introduced it to them!” — Vincent King

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