Voters hit the polls for the midterms, man sues Chicago cop he claims forced false confession and more in your Chicago news roundup

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

SHARE Voters hit the polls for the midterms, man sues Chicago cop he claims forced false confession and more in your Chicago news roundup
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Ksenia Kulik, 30, votes in the midterm elections while her dog Beau, 4, waits at the Chicago History Museum in Lincoln Park today.

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

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

This afternoon will be mostly sunny with a high near 56 degrees. Tonight will be mostly cloudy with a low near 45. Tomorrow will also be mostly sunny with a high near 66.

Top story

Voters hit the polls in Chicago, suburbs for the general election

The 2022 U.S. midterm elections are happening across the country, and in Illinois, Sun-Times and WBEZ reporters and photographers are out reporting the latest from the polls.

Since the polls opened at 6 a.m. this morning, turnout has been slow but steady in Chicago. Citywide turnout by noon was at 27.1% with 417,286 ballots cast, according to city election officials. There are 1,540,821 registered voters in Chicago.

Sandy Williams had no trouble voting at the same place he’s always voted at, but issues arose when he took his 92-year-old mother Katherine Williams to her polling place. After taking her to city field house, her “historic” polling place, he was told her new polling place was at 901 E. 95th St. It was there he was once again informed his mother’s polling place was at a different location. Instead of driving to McDade Elementary School, which he said is “right behind” where she lives, poll workers had her fill out a provisional ballot — two hours after they’d initially set out to cast her vote.

“It’s very aggravating,” Williams said. “I’ve never seen it happen like this.”

Williams said his mother’s residence switched to the ninth ward during redistricting, though she was never notified her polling place would be changed. An election worker at a polling place on the South Side, who didn’t want their name used, said people going to the wrong voting site had been an issue since the day started.

Alex and Claire Cockrum, also Portage Park residents, were voting for many reasons – especially to protect women’s rights.

But before they could vote, they were turned away at St. Constance Church because they were at the wrong polling place.

They’ve always voted at Prussing Elementary School, just down the street from the church. But ahead of Election Day, their alderperson, Ald. Jim Gardiner (45th), sent out a flier to the couple and their neighbors saying their precinct had changed to St. Constance Church.

Jazmin Bandera, a poll worker at St. Constance, said the Cockrums weren’t the only ones dealing with this mix up. She has been sending people showing up to vote at the church over to Prussing and has talked with people who were sent to St. Constance from the school. Those voters were either at the wrong place because of Gardiner’s flier or because their voter registration card had the wrong location, Bandera said.

For the latest updates from the polls and election results, head to our live blog here.

More news you need

  1. A man was charged today in the fatal stabbing and dismemberment of a person whose remains were found over five days in alleys close to the suspect’s home in Austin. The 56-year-old was charged with multiple felony counts, including first-degree murder, court records show.
  2. A man who claims a Chicago police detective framed him for a Northwest Side murder — resulting in 13 years behind bars — has filed a lawsuit against the city and several detectives. The city has spent more than $75 million of taxpayer money paying for wrongful convictions caused by that same officer, former police Detective Reynaldo Guevara.
  3. A federal judge today refused to dismiss a money-laundering case against the wives of alleged Sinaloa cartel-connected Chicago cocaine dealers Margarito Flores and Pedro Flores. The judge said he doesn’t believe prosecutors gave Vivianna Lopez and Valerie Gaytan a free pass to collect and spend their husbands’ drug proceeds after the twin brothers got locked up.
  4. Back in April, the EPA ordered Sims Metal Management in Pilsen to install high-grade air monitors to determine if the scrap yard may be releasing harmful levels of toxic metals and other pollution. Though the airtesting draws interest from the community, the readings of hazardous metals, including lead, mercury, chromium and cadmium, can’t be trusted, the EPA said. And the data is also potentially flawed for large particle pollution.
  5. Family, friends, former colleagues and fans are mourning the loss of longtime WGN meteorologist Roger Triemstra, who died last week at 92. Triemstra blended scientific know-how with folksy humor in his reports, becoming one of the most trusted radio and television personalities in the Chicago area.
  6. As Illinoisans continue to cast their ballots today, WBEZ’s Dave McKinney looks back at the heated gubernatorial race he describes as short, but not sweet. The 19-week tangle between Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Republican state Sen. Darren Bailey was shaped by fights over abortion, political extremism, crime and the economy. Insults flew from the onset.
  7. Want a reserved seat when NASCAR hosts two days of races here next summer? It’ll cost you at least $465 for two-day reserved tickets and nearly $4,300 for the priciest option when they go on sale Thursday. Two-day general admission tickets, which start at $269, will go on sale later.
  8. In his three-star review of “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” Sun-Times critic Richard Roeper praised the film, calling it a rousing new adventure. The film also succeeds as a tribute to the late Chadwick Boseman — a wonderful actor who was taken from this world decades too soon, Roeper writes.

A bright one

Chicago’s solar-powered community fridge puts down sustainable roots in Englewood

Eric and Risa Von Haynes have quite the haul to unload at the Englewood Love Fridge.

On a recent afternoon, the Hayneses carry their usual pickups from food pantries and the Chicagoland Food Sovereignty Coalition to the refrigerator. The South Side community fridge sits inside a colorfully painted wooden structure that has the words “Free Food” in painted pink wooden letters on the front.

As the Von Hayneses stock the fridge, familiar faces walk up, greet them and take their pick of the bounty. “Take what you need, leave what you can,” is the organization’s motto, and visitors follow suit.

There are currently 26 fridges scattered around Chicago that are able to be accessed 24/7, but this one in Englewood, at 6344 S. Morgan St., is special. It’s the first to be “off-grid” — powered by solar panels that have a “robust” power bank, Eric Von Haynes says, making it not only sustainable, but more autonomous.

Risa and Eric Von Haynes started the Love Fridge back in 2020 to help people during the pandemic. The mutual aid organization’s motto is “Take what you need, leave what you can.”

Risa and Eric Von Haynes started the Love Fridge back in 2020 to help people during the pandemic. The mutual aid organization’s motto is “Take what you need, leave what you can.”

Mariah Rush/Sun-Times

According to Eric Von Haynes, this is not only Chicago’s first solar-powered community fridge, but also the first in the Midwest. The only other one he knows of is in Los Angeles.

The duo, who call themselves the “spokes” in the Love Fridge wheel, started the mutual aid group in 2020, in the midst of the pandemic, to share free, fresh food during a time of increased food insecurity.

The Englewood Love Fridge is on land managed by Getting Grown Collective, an Englewood nonprofit focused on aiding food access through agricultural skills. The nonprofit also maintains Libations to the Ancestors Garden — used to teach collective members how to grow medicinal herbs and native plants — at the site. The fridges are refilled by the Von Hayneses and other volunteers multiple times a week.

“It just gives us an opportunity to put these in some spaces that we believe that could be useful,” he said.

Mariah Rush has more on the Love Fridge project here.

From the press box

Your daily question☕

What was your experience voting at the polls today like?

Send us an email at newsletters@suntimes.com and we might feature your answer in the next Afternoon Edition.

Yesterday we asked you: What’s one place in Chicago that makes you feel like you’ve been transported to another country?

Here’s what some of you said...

“Alta Vista Terrace — feels more like a London street than a Chicago street.” — Chris Finkley

“Little Village or Chinatown.” — Benny Little

“The second floor of the Italian Village. Opened in 1927. Hasn’t changed in the over 40 years I’ve been going there and hope it never does.” — Mark Stearns

“O’Hare. It feels like its own country.” — Baylee Steelman

“Little Italy, Taylor Street.” — Jim Catanzaro

Thanks for reading the Chicago Sun-Times Afternoon Edition.Got a story you think we missed? Email us here.

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