Funding for Red Line extension approved, straw purchaser of gun used to kill Officer Ella French sentenced 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 Funding for Red Line extension approved, straw purchaser of gun used to kill Officer Ella French sentenced and more in your Chicago news roundup
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A Red Line train by the 95th Street station, currently the end of the line. But the Chicago City Council on Wednesday approved a major piece of the funding needed to extend that line south to 130th Street and add four new stations.

Tyler Pasciak LaRiviere/Sun-Times file

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 rainy with a high near 45 degrees. A mix of snow and rain is expected tonight with a low near 35. Tomorrow will be partly sunny with some snow showers and a high near 38.

Top story

Richard J. Daley talked about it, Lightfoot delivered: City Council approves mass transit TIF to help bankroll Red Line South extension

Former Mayor Richard J. Daley talked about extending the Red Line South to 130th Street.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot can now say she helped deliver the $3.6 billion extension that will finally provide mass transit service to the only part of Chicago without it.

With only one dissenting vote on five companion ordinances, the City Council made it happen today, creating a new transit tax-increment financing district to bankroll $959 million — 26% — of the cost of extending the CTA’s Red Line from 95th Street to 130th Street, with four new stations along the way.

Those stations will be at 103rd; 111th Street near Eggleston Avenue; along Michigan Avenue near 116th Streets; and the new terminus, at 130th Street near Altgeld Gardens.

“This was a promise to our community 50 years ago. I remember as a kid growing up talking about the extension. That was a buzz throughout the community. People were saying, `When will we get ours?’ “ said Ald. Anthony Beale (9th), whose Far South Side ward would benefit the most, said as he opened debate.

The new TIF district is controversial because it isn’t in the area where the money will be spent — Beale has called it a “rob-Peter-to-pay-Paul” approach. The district covers a half-mile on either side of the Red Line, from Madison Street south to Pershing Road. Property tax growth over the next 35 years in that area will fund part of the $3.6 billion Red Line extension further to the south. As a result, five wards nowhere near the Far South Side (the 3rd, 4th, 11th, 25th and 42nd) will bear the burden even though their residents are unlikely to benefit from the new service.

The new mass transit TIF is similar in concept to the one created to bankroll the Red-Purple Modernization project on the North Side. At the urging of then-Mayor Rahm Emanuel, alderpersons hastily authorized the earlier TIF to provide $622 million in local matching funds. They were racing at the time to nail down $1.1 billion in federal funds before then-President Barack Obama left office.

CTA President Dorval Carter Jr. has acknowledged the opposition to the Red Line TIF. But, he argued this week there is no other choice to provide the required local matching funds to access as much as $2.2 billion in federal funds.

“I wish I had other places I could go,” he told alderpersons earlier this week. “I’m happy to talk to you about where I went. But right now today at this moment, I need the help of the City Council to make this project a reality. … This community has waited over 30 years to get this. You have the opportunity to give it to them — finally.”

Carter framed today’s vote as a matter of mass transit “fairness.”

Fran Spielman has more on the Red Line extension here.

More news you need

  1. The straw purchaser of the gun used to kill Chicago Police Officer Ella French and seriously wound her partner was sentenced today to 2.5 years in prison by a federal judge. The Indiana man is the only person convicted so far in connection with French’s death.
  2. Four men arrested after a police chase and a fiery crash in Ravenswood have been charged with a series of armed robberies, and Chicago’s top cop said today they’re suspected of committing “dozens” more. The men — ages 19 to 21 — were taken into custody following Monday’s crash and charged with four armed holdups earlier that day in Budlong Woods, North Center and Bucktown, Supt. David Brown said.
  3. Racist and anti-semitic graffiti was found in a bathroom and a classroom at Edgebrook Elementary School on the Northwest Side, according to school officials. Administrators sent out a letter last Friday notifying the community, saying they were addressing the issues with students through talking circles, lessons, readings and disciplinary action.
  4. In more City Council news, Bally’s $1.7 billion River West casino got its final zoning approval from city alderpeople today. This puts the city’s 30-year quest for a casino and entertainment complex — which officials are counting on to bail out police and fire pension funds — in the hands of the Illinois Gaming Board.
  5. Eight of the 11 candidates vying to be the next mayor of Chicago discussed everything from taxes to the environment at a forum on the Northwest Side last night. But they spent much of their time talking about crime in the city, often veering back to the topic when answering questions on other matters. Our Emmanuel Camarillo has more on how the candidates explained their platforms here.
  6. And, after nearly 10 years, construction on the Jane Byrne Interchange is “substantially complete” — and expected to reduce traffic congestion by 50%, state officials announced today. Reconstruction of the interchange that connects the Dan Ryan, Kennedy and Eisenhower expressways was originally slated for completion in 2018 but suffered a series of delays.

A bright one

Mom’s empty taco shop fills with customers after daughter’s TikTok post

Business was light. Maybe 10 to 20 customers a day.

Isabel Milan and her mother, Joy Milan, who opened a taco shop in Glenview on Oct. 1, had been entertaining themselves by playing UNO and board games between filling orders. The name of the taco shop, Taco-Bout-Joy’s, was a play on words. But not many people seemed to be talking about it. And it began to weigh on her mother.

“I noticed how unmotivated she was and how worried about the store she was,” Isabel Milan said. “And I felt very emotional because she works very hard and deserves recognition and happiness and wealth.”

So on Wednesday evening, Milan, 23, posted a video of her mom at the empty taco shop on TikTok along with this message: “It breaks my heart to see my mom watching the door everyday waiting for a customer to walk in.”

The post got 200 likes in about a minute.

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Isabel Milan holds up the TikTok post on her phone that drew support for her mother’s taco stand in Glenview.

Mitch Dudek/Sun-Times

“I thought ‘That’s strange,’” recalled Milan, who lives in Oak Park.

By the time she woke up, it had 1 million likes. When she arrived to work in the morning, a line of customers was waiting outside the shop at 909A Greenwood Road.

“I got a little nervous because it’s only me and my mom. So we called everyone we knew and, by the end of the night, had 15 friends and family there to help,” Milan said yesterday while taking orders and working the register.

Her mother couldn’t talk. She was too busy working the grill. Lots of orders were still coming in.

The post had received 6 million likes as of yesterday. People were coming to eat and express support for the business from all parts of the Chicago area as well as out-of-towners.

“I really didn’t think anyone was going to come. But I think it’s great. We are like over the moon,” Milan said.

Mitch Dudek has more with Milan and Taco-Bout-Joy’s here.

From the press box

Your daily question☕

What’s your reaction when someone from a suburb says they’re from Chicago?

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 now-closed business in your neighborhood you’d bring back if you could?

Here’s what some of you said...

“Belden Deli. Great food plus they were open all night. They never even hinted that you needed to leave, even if you were only drinking coffee for hours. Those places are missed.” — Howard Moore

“David’s in Bridgeport. Delicious homemade ice cream and candies, plus ever tasty breakfast, lunch and dinner at reasonable prices. OOOO! those caramel apples.” — Bernie Biernacki

“I miss two of the several restaurants that have closed in Edgewater. Nookies on Bryn Mawr and Francesca’s, also on Bryn Mawr. Nookies was great for brunch or lunch; Francesca’s was a great dinner spot in the neighborhood.” — Ron Hirsen

“Busy Bee — a neighborhood hangout. Polish food, poppy seed cake and Sofie’s Queen Bee parking spot.” — Kapra Fleming

“Paris Inn Chinese Restaurant on Clark St. south of Diversey. They had the best Chinese food with ample portions. The people who ran the restaurant were always so warm and friendly and generous.” — Scott L.

“Booker’s Restaurant in the 11000th block of South Vincennes in Morgan Park. One of the best soul food restaurants in Chicago.” — Bob Long Jr

“Marshall Field’s. Just the best department store ever. Outstanding customer service. I once bought a pair of boots and Fied’s paid to have a shoemaker tailor them for me.” — Jo Ann Reksel

“Without question, I would bring back SP Kebab in Rogers Park. I was there nearly once a week from the grand opening to their tragic close in 2019. I have been searching for a place with doner kebab as amazing as theirs ever since.” — Claire Feeney

“I would bring back Zenith, but as a worker or publicly owned company. The remaining plants off of Austin are a painful reminder of what has been stolen from the working people in this city and country. Tens of thousands of people spent their lives building those plants only for a few people to destroy them for their private gain.” — Seth Brecklin

“Ditka’s Restaurant – best pot roast nachos ever as well as chances to meet Da Coach.” — Tom Fritz

“Moo & Oink. They had the best kosher hotdogs, breakfast Sausage, chicken tenders, burgers, ribs, pretty much everything & convenient for the neighborhood. The best meat house in Chicago and the employees loved to work there. I think it was sad they had to find out about the bankruptcy on the news. A lot of employees were heartbroken.” — Lashonia Pennix

“George’s Fruit Stand that used to be on Belmont near Ashland. It was so walkable and the owners personable. I dislike that now groceries are only available from corporations that require driving.” — MV Jimenez

“Rosded Thai restaurant in Lincoln Square. It was right across from the Western Avenue Brown Line stop, and I would stop in after work.” — Craig Barner

“Gately’s department store in Roseland, it was such a treat going there shopping and eating at the lunch counter as a kid!” — Latasha Pritchard

“Parisi’s Drive In just west of Midway Airport on 63rd Street. It was a staple in the neighborhood with great food. It’s not the same to drive down 63rd Street and not able to get a red sauce sandwich. Boy do I miss that place.” — Kathy Curran-Quilty

“Beverly Toy and Hobby 101st Western. The two older women always paid the tax themselves. $0.98 meant $0.98. Great as a kid.” — John Kenney

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

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