Family reunites after waiting 5 years for asylum, state ban on book bans hits Gov. Pritzker’s desk and more in your Chicago news roundup

Today’s update is about an eight-minute read that will brief you on the day’s biggest stories.

SHARE Family reunites after waiting 5 years for asylum, state ban on book bans hits Gov. Pritzker’s desk and more in your Chicago news roundup
Frank Sandoval hugs his 21-year-old daughter Massiel Sandoval as his wife Carolina Alemán watches Friday near the American Airlines baggage claim at O’Hare Airport.

Frank Sandoval hugs his 21-year-old daughter Massiel Sandoval as his wife Carolina Alemán looks on Friday near the American Airlines baggage claim at O’Hare Airport.

Tyler Pasciak LaRiviere/Sun-Times

Good afternoon, Chicago. ✶

Did you get a chance to spend some time outside over the weekend?

After sending out Monday’s Special Edition newsletter, I linked up with some friends at Loyola Beach for some much-needed time at the lake.

But before I kicked back on the sand, I tried my luck looking for a decent parking spot. That’s a fool’s errand, I know, especially during Memorial Day weekend, when we’re all just trying to enjoy the weather. I struck out, parked pretty far away, accepted the universe’s sign that the car was not necessary — then just took it easy and enjoyed the tree-lined walk along Pratt.

We all know parking can be scarce in Chicago, but what do you make of so-called summertime dibs? While not as widespread as the deeply controversial winter pastime, my colleagues and I have been scratching our heads at a photo a Reddit user shared Monday showing two camping chairs claiming two parking spots at Montrose. One Redditor commented, saying they saw something similar there and moved a couple of chairs and a cooler from spots. All is fair in summer and parking, or is this a little too much?

Regardless, let’s keep you parked right here while we break down the news you need to know this afternoon.

⏱️: A 7-minute read

— Matt Moore, newsletter reporter (@MattKenMoore)

TODAY’S TOP STORY

Venezuelan family reunited in Chicago after 5 years waiting for asylum case to be accepted

A long-awaited reunion: Just before 2 a.m. Friday, Frank Sandoval, of Lockport, was reunited at O’Hare Airport with his wife Carolina Alemán and daughter Massiel, who’d spent 24 hours traveling from South America. It was a reunion five years in the making, made possible when the whole family was finally granted asylum in the U.S. Frank Sandoval fled Venezuela five years ago for political reasons.

Context: The family is among more than 7 million Venezuelans who in the last decade have left the South American country rocked by political and economic instability. That exodus has reached Chicago in the last year, with thousands of immigrants, many from Venezuela, making their way to Illinois to seek asylum. Many were bused to Chicago from Texas on the orders of Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott. Immigrants seeking asylum don’t always fare as well. Over the last year, judges in Chicago’s immigration court denied 429 asylum cases, about 36% of them, according to a Syracuse University analysis.

Key quote: “This country is giving us the opportunity to start over again,” Alemán said in Spanish. “We are thankful they are embracing us so well and opening their arms to us.”

More on the family and their experience seeking asylum from our Elvia Malagón.


WHAT ELSE IS GOING ON?

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Chicago police officers respond Saturday afternoon to Hotel Chicago, 333 N. Dearborn St., after an off-duty Michigan police officer discharged a gun inside a hotel room, striking himself and another person.

Tyler Pasciak LaRiviere/Sun-Times

BRIGHT ONE ✨

Louise Morrison, 11, kicks a ball during a soccer clinic Friday for visually impaired youth at Midway Plaisance Park in the Hyde Park neighborhood.

Louise Morrison, 11, kicks a ball during a soccer clinic Friday for visually impaired youth at Midway Plaisance Park in the Hyde Park neighborhood.

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

Park District partnership seeks to bring more sports programing to visually impaired athletes

A group of kids kicking around soccer balls on a sunny day wouldn’t be a particularly unusual sight in Chicago — except that on Friday morning, the group at Midway Plaisance Park all wore blindfolds.

The group was part of a free soccer clinic put on through a partnership between the Chicago Park District and the U.S. Association of Blind Athletes that is helping introduce visually impaired players to blind soccer and other sports.

The blindfold “basically puts you on the same playing field, and it makes you have equal vision to the other players” 17-year-old participant Adrian Sanchez explained, noting that the players have varying levels of visual impairment.

During the clinic, players learned to use specially adapted soccer balls, which have bells inside, to complete passes and score goals.

Halfway through the clinic, the players huddled up to do a cheer:

“Building blind soccer!” they yelled.

More on the clinic from our Mariah Rush.


SUN-TIMES STAFF SUGGESTS 🌱

Drink at Bernice’s Tavern

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Inside Bernice’s Tavern

Ellery Jones/Sun-Times

I talked with Sun-Times audience engagement specialist Ellery Jones, who recommends stopping by Bernice’s Tavern in Bridgeport for a drink. Open for nearly 60 years, this dive is a neighborhood institution, Ellery told me.

“Cash-only, funky decor and always friendly with a little dash of the founder’s Lithuanian heritage,” Ellery said.

“The last time I was there, in the middle of a snowstorm in February, the owner made us a mixed drink with some European liquor that I’d never heard of before, and it was exactly the thing I needed.”

📍 Bernice’s Tavern, 3238 S. Halsted St.


YOUR DAILY QUESTION ☕️

Many food and household products have shrunk in size — but stayed the same price in stores. What products have you noticed are part of the “shrinkflation” phenomenon?

Email us (please include your first and last name and where you live). To see the answers to this question, check our Morning Edition newsletter. Not subscribed to Morning Edition? Sign up here so you won’t miss a thing!


Thanks for reading the Chicago Sun-Times Afternoon Edition.

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