Centralia voters sound off, former Bulls star sues banker 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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Debra Elling, assistant general manager of the Centralia Sentinel, shares her thoughts about the town and its history. 

Debra Elling, assistant general manager of the Centralia Sentinel, shares her thoughts about the town and its history.

Antonio Jacob Martinez/For the Sun-Times

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 sunny with a high near 85 degrees. Tonight will be mostly clear with a low around 64. Tomorrow will be sunny with a high near 86.

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Afternoon Edition
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Top story

Pulse of the Heartland: Centralia voters say Chicago treats southern Illinois like ‘an afterthought — it’s two different worlds’

CENTRALIA, Ill. — When Bruce Merrell casts his ballot for governor this November, he’ll be thinking about education, COVID-19, roads, transportation and corruption.

Who is he voting for?

Darren Bailey.

Why?

“He’s a Republican,” the 70-year-old retiree said with a laugh.

“That’s about all you need. The Democrats control Illinois. They control pretty much the presidential election and electoral votes. Chicago and northern Illinois controls the state so, you know, I think people that live in southern Illinois, we realize that we’re an afterthought,” Merrell said.

“It’s two different worlds. The viewpoint of a person from Chicago about what the people are in southern Illinois is they’re practically not even human. They consider southern Illinois to be backward,” said Merrell, retired president of Centralia’s St. Mary’s Hospital.

“And I think that’s true throughout the nation. The nation is divided into not only two political parties, but urban and rural, and in general, rural people are Republicans, urban people are Democrats,” he said.

That sense of being left behind, forgotten, not understood comes up again and again when you talk to residents of this historic railroad town in southern Illinois.

Our Tina Sfondeles visited the city 271 miles southwest of Chicago as part of an effort to see what’s on voters’ minds and what might influence their choices in November.

Read Sfondeles’ full story from downstate Illinois here.

More news you need

  1. Former Bulls star Toni Kukoc is suing his former Swiss bank, accusing one of its bankers of working with Kukoc’s personal financial adviser to steal $11 million. WBEZ’s Alex Degman and Dan Mihalopoulos have more on the lawsuit Kukoc filed in Cook County court last week.
  2. Gov. J.B. Pritzker, while standing next to Planned Parenthood leaders, vowed yesterday that “anti-choice” politicians in Illinois will lose in November. “Darren Bailey’s dangerous politics are a threat to women and girls everywhere,” Pritzker said. “This is not a drill. This is an actual emergency.”
  3. It’s that time of year when hybrid striped bass start “busting gizzard shad” on top at Shabbona Lake, in the words of our Dale Bowman. Here’s more on what “The Jumps” phenomena means.
  4. Twenty-five years ago, our Michael Sneed was in England after Princess Diana’s death to cover the outpouring of grief and services for the beloved icon. Sneed looks back at those unforgettable days in her latest column.
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A bright one

Richard Roeper reviews ‘Rings of Power’: There’s some good in this world, and it’s worth watching for

The residents of Current Earth known as Entertainment Journalists tell us the Prime Video fantasy adventure saga “The Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power” is the most expensive television series of all time, with Amazon spending some $250 million just to acquire the rights from the estate of J.R.R. Tolkien and investing somewhere in the neighborhood of $1 billion in a projected five-season run. I mean geez, that’s like 0.5% of Jeff Bezos’ reported net worth!

Having borne witness to the first two episodes, I can confirm this is one of the most expansive, lush and well-photographed projects you’ll ever see — a gorgeous, sprawling and magical albeit somewhat overstuffed epic filled with fascinating characters populating a world that feels like a colorful waking dream (with a potential nightmare lurking around the corner).

“Rings of Power,” with Ismael Cruz Córdova as Arondir, creates lush worlds that feel like a colorful waking dream.

“Rings of Power,” with Ismael Cruz Córdova as Arondir, creates lush worlds that feel like a colorful waking dream.

Amazon Studios

Created by JD Payne and Patrick McKay and set during the Second Age of Middle-earth, thousands of years before the events of the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, “Rings of Power” begins with a voice-over saying, “Nothing is evil in the beginning,” which pretty much tells us we shouldn’t get used to the idyllic tableau we’re seeing right now, because something wicked will be coming.

We had no word for death, for we thought our joys would be unending,” says the narrator, who will become one of the key figures in the stories to come. “We thought our light would never end.”

Read the rest of Roeper’s 3-star review of Amazon Prime’s new “Lord of the Rings” prequel here.

From the press box

Your daily question☕

Princess Diana was a beloved icon before her tragic death 25 years ago today. What do you remember her for?

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

Yesterday, we asked you: When is summer officially over in Chicago? Here’s what some of you said...

“When baseball in the city is over, so is summer.” — Ag Schryver

“Last Sox game in September.” — Lauren Edwards

“When Mario’s Italian Lemonade closes for the season.” — Lisa Rivera

“When the kids go back to school.” — Charlotte Rosso

“It’s over when I have to start wearing shoes and long pants.” — Tony Galati

“Day after Labor Day.” — Ryan Alejandro de Lozoya

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

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