Little Village residents alarmed by latest Hilco plan, SAFE-T Act cash bail provision ruled unconstitutional 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.

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A protest sign is seen during a demonstration against Hilco and the increased truck traffic on the corner of 33rd St and S Pulaski Rd in Little Village, Monday, July 26, 2021.

Anthony Vazquez/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 cloudy with a high near 56 degrees. Tonight will see scattered showers and a low near 40. Tomorrow will be cloudy with a high near 44.

Top story

Little Village residents worried about latest Hilco plan near Target warehouse

A plan to develop semi-trailer parking for a massive Target warehouse in Little Village has community members worried it will bring more diesel truck pollution into an area already suffering from poor air quality.

Hilco Redevelopment Partners is proposing to turn 20 acres at 3307 S. Lawndale Ave. into a parking and storage yard for trucks hauling loads to and from the retailer’s 1.3 million-square-foot warehouse.

Company officials and Ald. Michael Rodriguez (22nd) say the parking area will alter truck routes and ease traffic around the area, which draws hundreds of large diesel-fuel vehicles daily to the Target site. Diesel fumes contribute to air pollution in the area.

But residents at a recent community meeting held virtually weren’t buying it, asking specific questions about the total number of trucks visiting the warehouse at 3501 S. Pulaski Road daily and whether Target has any plans to switch from diesel-engine vehicles to electric models.

Last week, Hilco Vice President Nicholas Pullara said the project won’t increase traffic along Pulaski or through residential streets, though when asked specific questions about overall truck traffic he said he’d have to confer with Target.

“We don’t trust or believe what Hilco says based on their track record,” José Acosta-Córdova, environmental and research organizer for Little Village Environmental Justice Organization, said in an interview.

The warehouse is so contentious that when Target held an opening celebration in July 2021, it did so indoors while Chicago police stood guard outside the gates of the facility. Dozens of community activists held a peaceful protest outside.

Brett Chase has more on the latest Hilco plan here.

More news you need

  1. Buffalo Grove police responded to 14 domestic-related calls involving the Kisliak family, the bulk of them in the months leading up to the gruesome discovery of five bodies in their Acacia Terrace home, according to reports released yesterday. The village posted the police reports on its website, but neither police nor village officials offered a statement, the Daily Herald reports.
  2. Loved ones and fellow creatives are mourning the loss of artist Jon Veal, who died suddenly last week due to complications from cardiac arrest, according to his family. Veal, 30, helped start an organization that aimed to transform Chicago through art.
  3. A Kankakee County judge has ruled that the portion of the state’s controversial SAFE-T Act that ends cash bail is unconstitutional. The judge’s ruling late last night came just four days before cash bail was set to be abolished across Illinois as part of the massive criminal-justice reform law.
  4. St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church has raised over $11,000 in the days after someone stole money from the church’s safe and collection bin. The break-in occurred at the Lincoln Park church sometime between Monday night and Tuesday morning, according to Chicago police.
  5. Southwest Airlines said today it expects to return to normal operations tomorrow, the Associated Press reports. The news comes after the airline slashed about two-thirds of its schedule in recent days, including canceling another 2,350 flights today.
  6. And, the city is again offering an environmentally friendly fate for that old Christmas tree — the annual tree recycling program, which returns Jan. 7, and lasts two weeks. Live trees can be dropped off during normal park hours at any of the 26 locations set up by the city.

A bright one

As their star rises, Cameron Esposito still makes it ‘a priority’ to return to Chicago, where it all started

When Western Springs native and stand-up comic Cameron Esposito learned that their sister would be visiting their folks from Argentina this Christmas, the current Los Angeles resident booked a trip to join in the family fun.

Of course, no reunion in their old town would be complete without visiting old friends, and Esposito made sure to set some time aside for their longtime pal Chicago comedy. Esposito will be performing at the Den Theatre tomorrow and Saturday — long before midnight, because Esposito didn’t want to disrupt New Year’s Eve plans.

Esposito’s trip home occurs during a break in shooting the ABC drama “A Million Little Things,” on which they play the love interest of main character Katherine (Grace Park). Esposito can also be found in the ABC crime procedural “The Rookie: Feds,” the forthcoming second season of the Prime Video romantic comedy “With Love” and on hundreds of episodes of Esposito’s superlative LGBTQ-centered podcast, “QUEERY.”

Esposito, who uses she/her and they/them pronouns interchangeably, says they could not have imagined their identity driving so much of her career, largely because, when they were grinding the Chicago comedy scene in the mid-2000s, there was a lack of LGBTQ representation both on television and in live comedy.

The 2020 MAKERS Conference - Day One

Cameron Esposito attends The 2020 MAKERS Conference in Los Angeles in February 2020. They’ll be performing at the Den Theatre tomorrow and Saturday.

Rachel Murray/Getty Images

Performing in Chicago at local showcases like the Lincoln Lodge, Chicago Underground Comedy and Comedians You Should Know — and later starting the popular Cole’s Wednesday night open mic — meant accepting that they likely would be the only queer-identifying comic and the only (or, rarely, one of the only) non-cis-male comics on the bill.

Though they faced abuse and harassment from other comics, Esposito says the deck was actually stacked in their favor. “I have always felt that I had more faith in my comedy than some other comics because I was going to be one of the first people talking about that life experience [onstage],” they told the Sun-Times.

“In Chicago, I still feel a connection to the scene because there is a lasting legacy there for me that I feel proud of,” Esposito said.

Steve Heisler has more with Esposito here.

From the press box

Your daily question☕

What is your new year’s resolution?

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

Yesterday we asked you: Are you going out or staying in for New Year’s Eve this year?

Here’s what some of you said...

“In 1981, I met my husband in Hoffman Estates, where I was living. He was from Michigan and was visiting my neighbor. It was the weekend of the ‘Big Game.’ He was a Michigan alumnus, and I was an OSU alumnus. We were married 4 months later. Guess what we will be watching on television on New Year’s Eve?!” — Amy Jackson

“Although we are in our 70s, we are keeping a streak of 40+ years alive by going out on the town on NYE. This year, we’re seeing a John Oliver show and then having late dinner seating at Siena Tavern. That said, we are unquestionably relieved to learn it will be a benignly balmy weather night this year!” — Douglas Hurdelbrink

“Staying in, yeah! Neighborhood casual annual party got canceled. It doesn’t feel like the year for leaving the house. Now I can start the year with a little more sleep.” — Pat Ruch

“It’s my birthday, New Year’s Eve. So, I always feel like I should go out. We are going to the Morton Arboretum, and then to our favorite Mexican restaurant, Maria’s.” — Lisa Alwin Newberry

“I’m going to stay in. People act too outrageous; the clubs, bars and lounges charge way too much to get in and for watered-down drinks; and I don’t care for the cold.” — Jenny Johnson

“Going to a wedding, seriously who gets married on NYE.” — Jeff Vaughan

“Staying home because I’m old now.” — Mimi Vee

“Going to Kingston Mines WOOT!” — Tom Mattson

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

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