All posts by SB Anderson

Assistant Professor, Medill School of Journalism | Managing Editor, Medill Reports

Winter Water Wonderland, by boat


Even though the temperatures are dropping, Chicago’s water taxi service is in full swing. These 5 gems along the Chicago River await you.


By Jacqueline Lumley
Medill Reports

FRiver Logo
or the first time in almost a decade, the city of Chicago will extend river taxi service past Thanksgiving through mid-December in 2017. For less than $10, you can purchase a day pass and ride from the Loop to Chinatown and beyond, taking in Chicago’s storied architecture along the way. That makes now the perfect time to welcome winter with Medill Report’s guide to a full day of snowy riverboat rides and delicious food.

Morning: Coffee at The French Market
Start your day with some fresh brew from Chicago’s French Market. Located in the Ogilvie Train Station, this market hosts space for more than 30 artisan food vendors, with choices ranging from high-end charcuterie to fresh-baked croissants to ice cream. It’s the perfect spot for a grab-and-go breakfast before embarking on your riverboat adventure.
Route: Turn right after exiting Ogilvie Train Station and head toward the river down Washington Avenue. Walk down the staircase and wait for the 10 a.m. water taxi at the Ogilvie/Union (West Loop) stop. You can purchase your ticket on board or ahead of time online.
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Medill Newsmakers: News from around Chicago

The latest editions of Medill Newsmakers:

How virtual reality is changing our lives

In this segment of Medill Newsmakers, we provide an introduction to virtual reality and how it impacts education, business and social applications.

Chicago Police and restorative justice

In this edition of Medill Newsmakers, we examine the findings of former Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s recent report detailing practices of excessive force, lax discipline and poor training within the Chicago Police Department. We also examine solutions to heal Chicago’s broken justice system, including the use of restorative justice.

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This just in: Election-day updates from around Chicago

At this time, the final presidential results are still being tallied. But plenty of Illinois and Chicago races have been decided. Check out our full wrap-up of the races.
We have also updated our photo gallery, which you can view here.

Evening turns somber as LGBTQ viewing party awaits election results

By Teresa Manring (Mariah edited)

The mood has changed drastically at the Hillary Clinton viewing party at Sidetrack Bar in Boystown, as Donald Trump wins state after state. The night started as a raucous, festive pre-celebration of Hillary Clinton’s expected victory. But the evening has turned into a heavy, anxiety-filled and completely stunned atmosphere.

Hillary supporters have filed out of the bar, expecting defeat, and the viewers who remain have their eyes glued to the TV screen. Every once and a while, shouts like “Seriously, America?” and “I’m going to have a heart attack!” break the silence.

“I thought it was going to be close but I definitely thought that Hillary was going to win,” said Marc Szulc-Cieplicki, a high school teacher who lives in Lakeview and voted for Clinton. “But I think it’s over now.”

Even Sam Chepulis, a market researcher who voted for Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson, said he thought Clinton would win. He wasn’t following the election closely earlier in the evening but when he entered Sidetrack, the depressed atmosphere revealed the tide had turned.

“Hillary had her firewall,” he said, referencing the argument that Clinton would need to win the states of Michigan, Wisconsin, Virginia, Colorado, and New Hampshire, in order to win the election. Trump is currently leading in Wisconsin, Michigan, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania, and Clinton has won Virginia. “But apparently that was about as secure as her email server,” he added.
Posted at 12:12 a.m.

Schneider wins 10th district seat

By Shahzeb Ahmed
Democratic candidate Brad Schneider emerged victorious in the race against his three-time rival Republican Rep. Bob Dold to clinch the north suburban 10th district seat for Congress. Dold first won the seat in 2010, lost it to Schneider in 2012, before winning it back in 2014.
Posted at 11:13 p.m.

Voters in Boystown aren’t buying Trump’s pro-LGBTQ statements

By Teresa Manring

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump held up a rainbow flag that said “LGBT for Trump” last week, and earlier in his presidential campaign suggested that he was a better candidate in terms of LGBTQ issues.

“Ask the gays,” he said. We did.

And some voters in Chicago’s LGBTQ community aren’t buying it.

“Donald Trump has tried to make pro-LGBT statements throughout this campaign,” said Bradley Balof, the general manager of Sidetrack The Video Bar in Boystown, which is hosting an election viewing party in support of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. “But he surrounds himself with people like Mike Pence.”

The Indiana Governor, who is also the Republican nominee for vice president, has consistently opposed marriage equality and has advocated for the use of conversion therapy to try to change people’s sexual orientation.

“He’s just doing it to pander to a minority group for votes,” agreed Christian Lum of Rogers Park, a manager at an import shop who was at Sidetrack’s election viewing party.

“Donald Trump has made it clear that he wants to overturn the Supreme Court’s ruling which made gay marriage legal,” said Alan Bamberg of Lakeview, a flight attendant who was also at the viewing party, referencing Trump’s statement in an interview earlier this year that he would “strongly consider” appointing justices who would overturn the court’s ruling. “So I really don’t understand how he’s pretending he is an ally.”

Trump took the lead in electoral votes Tuesday night midway through election eve until a CNN projected win in California at 10 p.m. gave Clinton 190 electoral votes to Trump’s 171. But the cliffhangar race promised a long night.

“If Trump wins, this place is going to burn down,” said Jerome Brzezinski of Lincoln Park, a web and publications designer for a Chicago-area university.

Donald Trump wins Florida, North Carolina

By Shahzeb Ahmed
Republican candidate Donald Trump managed to clinch victory in key state, North Carolina and Florida – the biggest swing state in the presidential election – Associated Press reported. With 29 electoral college votes, the state wields significant electoral clout and could make or break a presidential candidate’s chances.

Posted at 10:03 p.m., updated at 10:17 p.m.

Voting concludes in Chicago polling places

Aileenyn Chuang and Hammad Sarfraz

Correction: An earlier post erroneously suggested that voting in 60 percent of Chicago precincts concluded. We have updated this post with correct information.

Voting in 66 percent of Chicago precincts concluded by around 7.30pm, according to the Board of Elections spokesperson Jim Allen.

Allen said that they were expecting an overall turnout of at least 70 percent.

In 2012 the Election Board recorded a turnout of 75.41 percent, and 73.87 percent in 2008.
The largest demographic in today’s elections was the voters aged 25 and 34, with 239,000 votes cast their votes so far, said Allen. The breakdowns of voter demographics are as followed:

25-34 yrs 239,000 votes
35-44 yrs 189,319 votes
45-54 yrs 178,000 votes
55-64 yrs 175,000 votes
65-74 yrs 117,000 votes
18-24 yrs 94,000 votes
75 up 73,000 votes

Posted at 9:45 p.m.

A list of all our recent stories on Election Day 2016

Medill Reports has been covering Election Day in Chicagoland. Here is a list of the most recent posts on various local races and aspects of the election.

Tales from then ‘Overseen’: East Chicago residents line up to vote
Election update: What happens after election day?
Medill Electioncast: Before the numbers come in
Push volunteers keep a watchful eye on polling places and voters on election day
Millennial voters: Don’t count them in, don’t count them out, either
The economy is a top issue for voters in Chicago’s Western suburbs
Chance the Rapper uses Twitter to rally fans for massive parade to the polls
Native Americans see visibility in their vote

Duckworth unseats Kirk in senate race

Duke Omara and Hammad Sarfraz

Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth has unseated U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Illinois, ABC News projected.

Mood in the basement of the Renaissance Hotel, in Northwood, Ill, where Kirk’s supporters have gathered, changed precipitously as the results were acknowledged by the incumbent senator’s supporters, who had virtually prepared for the dismal outcome.

In his concession speech, the Republican leader thanked his campaign staff, adding that he had called Duckworth to congratulate her over her victory.

“I hope opponents can bury the hatchet,” he said.

Earlier in the day, the GOP leader acknowledged that he was fighting an uphill battle against his opponent, U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill.

Medill reporter Duke Omara was in Highwood in the morning, where GOP Sen. Mark Kirk of Illinois cast his vote. Breaking away from tradition and party norms, Kirk voted for Gen. David Petraeus for president instead of his party’s nominee, Donald Trump or Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

Posted at 8:25 p.m.

Hillary scores comfortable victory in Illinois

By Shahzeb Ahmed
The Associated Press just announced that Hillary Clinton won the presidential race in Illinois by a significant margin. According to the unofficial results, Hillary clinched over 69 percent of the popular vote, with Trump trailing far behind at 26.47 percent. With this victory, Hillary will clinch all of Illinois’ 20 electoral college votes at stake, increasing her chances of winning the election.

Posted at 8:19 p.m.

Voters trade strategic votes using mobile app

By Jordan Gaines

The #NeverTrump app allows voters to trade votes in order to increase Hillary's chances of winning while allowing others to vote their conscience.
The #NeverTrump app allows voters to trade votes in order to increase Hillary’s chances of winning while allowing others to vote their conscience.

Citizens found another innovative way to make their vote count: by trading votes with those who are in states where they are needed most.

The #NeverTrump app allowed people across state lines to pair up and vote their conscience, without allowing their votes to take a toll on the overall result.

The idea was simple: If a voter in swing state, Florida, wished to cast a ballot for Jill Stein or another third-party candidate, the app would pair that person with someone in a safely Democratic state where the loss of a single vote would not seriously impair Hillary Clinton’s chances.

In this case, the voter in Florida would vow to vote for Clinton in exchange for the other person’s promise to vote for the candidate of his or her choice.

Voters simply downloaded the app, answered four questions, and joined a chat room. The app, which is available on iOS [] then gave users a vote trade match immediately.

Posted 8:08 p.m.

In Chicago, Latinos take issues with sexism and xenophobia to the polls

By Alex Ortiz

At a Little Village polling location, Latino residents cast their ballots. (Alex Ortiz / MEDILL)
At a Little Village polling location, Latino residents cast their ballots. (Alex Ortiz / MEDILL)

A popular metaphor used to describe the Latino vote says it is the sleeping giant of electoral politics. It seems this year, the giant woke up.

And it is not happy.

While some Latino voters in Chicago came out to vote for Hillary Clinton, many also came out to vote against Donald Trump.

Blanca Sanchez of Little Village is a stay-at-home mom of three girls. She says she’s never paid attention to politics and she’s never voted, but this election has motivated her to vote for the first time.

“I don’t want somebody that’s going to treat our people like we’re trash,” Sanchez said, referring to GOP presidential candidate Donald J. Trump. “Bashing us as women, that’s not OK.”

Some Latino voters have also been paying attention to Trump’s xenophobic rhetoric. A survey taken in August by Latino Decisions found that 74 percent of Mexican-Americans thought Trump makes the GOP more hostile to Latinos and only 9 percent said he makes it a more welcoming party.

Marcelino Villalobos, 38, of Little Village, says she disagrees with his policy of mass deportations and that immigrants greatly benefit her community and country.

“There’s a lot of people here that do jobs that nobody else would do,” Villalobos said. “I don’t think this place would be as good as it is if it wasn’t for that.”

Even some local elected officials showed up to the polls and spoke out against anti-immigrant policies.

“All politics are local and if you want to build a walk it better be built around a candidacy that talks about inclusion,” said Alderman Ricardo Muñoz (22), who was at the Lázaro Cárdenas Elementary School in Little Village.

Posted 6:50 p.m.

Polling places in five states affected by 2013 court ruling

By Hammad Sarfraz

The Texas Tribune reported today that five Texas counties rank among the top 10 nationwide for closing the greatest percentage of their polling places since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a portion of the Voting Rights Act in 2013.

The Tribune reported that Texas leads the nation in the number of polling places that have been closed since ruling.

The Court effectively struck down the heart of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 by a 5-to-4 vote, freeing nine states, mostly in the South, to change their election laws without advance federal approval.

In terms of total polling places closed, Texas closed 403 polling locations, followed by Arizona, which closed 202 polling places. Louisiana holds third place, with 103 poll closures, the Texas Tribune reported. The news account was based on a report by the Leadership Conference Education Fund

Posted 6:31 p.m.

Voters in Naperville sound off in final hours of Election Day

By Anna Foley and Emily Olsen

Though there were few people voting in the final hours of Election Day at the Naperville Municipal Center, some voters had strong opinions about their choices.

Mark Kauffmann voted for Hillary Clinton. He said it would be impossible for him to consider voting for Donald Trump.

“To think that there are so many people of that ilk that would vote for Donald Trump…it’s unbelievable,” he said.

Mariann Levins called herself a “political junkie.” She said she made her decision “a very long time ago.”

“It’s a woman and I think it’s time,” she said.

Posted 6:25 p.m.

The presidential election has made Rep. Jan Schakowsky a ‘nervous wreck’

By Lauren Ball and Hannah Moulthrop

Illinois Representative Jan Schakowsky (D-9th) said this presidential election has made her a “nervous wreck.” (Lauren Ball/MEDILL)

Representative Jan Schakowsky of Illinois’ 9th district, who’s running for re-election this year, is among the millions of Americans  anxiously awaiting the outcome of the election.

“I have to tell you, this [presidential] election has made me a nervous wreck,” Schakowsky said. “I don’t understand at all how it can even be close for president of the United States. The most qualified person, probably ever, to run for president, is up against someone who simply cannot win.”

“He shouldn’t win – he’s unfit in every single way to be president. This man cannot be a role model for our children. He’s dividing our country and demeaning so many people – people with disabilities, Muslims, Mexicans, immigrants, African Americans, it’s just incredible to me,” she said.

With this election Schakowsky, hopes to push forward her bill that would create a public health insurance option for the Affordable Care Act. The act has caused premiums to increase for her constituents in Illinois, she said.

“I’m nervous,” admitted Schakowsky. “This is an unpredictable election. No one predicted that Trump would win the primary, and frankly, I don’t think anybody predicted that it would end up being a close race at all. I think [Clinton] will probably win the popular vote, but still, it’s going to take a lot of healing and a lot of work in order to bring our country back together again after the things that have been said out loud.”

Posted: 5:40 p.m.

Live Presidential Election Results: 2016 Electoral Map

By Meredith Francis

It takes 270 votes in the electoral college to win the presidency.

The following map is based on the Five Thirty Eight election forecast. We’ll update it as official results come in after the polls close.

Red means Donald Trump is likely to win that state, and blue means Hillary Clinton is likely to win.

Keep an eye on the following battleground states in purple: North Carolina, Florida, Ohio, New Hampshire and Nevada. Polling suggests some states that were once considered swing states, including Colorado and Pennsylvania, are currently leaning in favor of Clinton.

Posted: 5:22 p.m.

Photos: Duckworth active on campaign trail on Tuesday

Rep. Tammy Duckworth, Illinois Democrat running for U.S. Senate, stops in Chicago's Pilsen neighborhood on Election Day. (Marianna Brady / MEDILL)
Rep. Tammy Duckworth, Illinois Democrat running for U.S. Senate, stops in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood on Election Day. (Marianna Brady / MEDILL)
Rep. Tammy Duckworth sits down with Sen. Dick Durbin and local elected officials this afternoon in Pilsen. (Marianna Brady / MEDILL)
Rep. Tammy Duckworth sits down with Sen. Dick Durbin and local elected officials this afternoon in Pilsen. (Marianna Brady / MEDILL)

Posted 4:59 p.m.

Voter turnout low in Naperville

By Anna Foley and Emily Olsen

At the Naperville Municipal Center, voter turnout has been lower than expected (Anna Foley / MEDILL)
At the Naperville Municipal Center, voter turnout has been lower than expected (Anna Foley / MEDILL)

Voter turnout has been lower than expected so far, said Technical Judge Alton Mitchell at the Naperville Municipal Center polling place.

He estimated turnout was around 50 percent, but 25 percent of all voters at this polling location turned out for early voting instead of waiting until Election Day. Early voting lines were open at the municipal center until 11 p.m. last night, he said.

“I think people just can’t wait for it to be over,” Mitchell said.

Posted 4:46 p.m.

Over 70 percent voter turnout expected in Illinois

By Shahzeb Ahmed

At least 930,884 (57.6 percent) registered voters in Chicago had cast their vote by 4:26 p.m., according to the Chicago Board of Elections spokesperson Jim Allen. Authorities are expecting the overall turnout to meet or exceed the 2008 and 2012 elections when over 70 percent of registered voters had cast their vote.

The surge in voters in Chicago is largely led by millennials, with 176,174 voters between the ages of 25 and 34 having cast their vote by 1:45pm, DNAInfo Chicago reported Chicago Board of Election Commissioners Chairwoman Marisel Hernandez as saying.

Moreover, over 400,000 votes had already been cast in Chicago at early voting stations or by mail before polling even commenced on Tuesday.

There are more than 8 million registered voters in Illinois, even more than the 7.8 million who were registered before the 2008 presidential election, the previous high since 1970.

Posted 4:35 p.m.

Students at Benedictine University say country is ‘desperate’

By Anna Foley and Emily Olsen

Benedictine University in Lisle, Ill.
Benedictine University in Lisle, Ill.

Kellen McCullum, a junior at Benedictine University in Lisle, Ill., voted for Hillary Clinton three weeks ago. As a political science and business major, he felt Clinton’s financial proposals were best for the future of the country. He was less impressed with Donald Trump.

“I just think Donald Trump is 100 percent unqualified in every single area,” he said.

He was also troubled by Trump’s effect on the country. McCullum argues Trump’s rhetoric didn’t create more racism in America, but rather brought it to the surface. He called Trump’s language “charged” with implicit biases.

Juan Garcia, who also studies political science at Benedictine, agrees. Though he describes himself as a “soft Republican” who supported John Kasich in the primaries, Garcia vowed not to vote for Trump.

“I’m a Mexican, so he’s against me,” Garcia said. “He doesn’t have the qualities to be president.”

Though he cast a vote for Clinton, Garcia saw other millennial voters turning to third party candidates instead of casting a vote for Trump or Clinton. McCullum said the surge in third party support about younger voters was particularly telling about this election.

“People are desperate for something else,” McCullum said. “Legitimately desperate.”

Posted 3:21 p.m.

Charter schools also on the ballot for some Chicago residents

By Alex Ortiz and Meredith Francis 

Amid the nationwide anxiety over who will win the presidency, some voters in Chicago neighborhoods are looking at an issue that’s farther down the ballot.

Paul Pater has been trying to get out the vote against a ballot initiative for new charter schools in Pilsen.

“We want to show the city that the people don’t want new charter schools,” said Prater, a spokesman for a progressive organization promoting housing fairness and police accountability. “We want to fund the schools that we already have.”

Jolie Jimenez is also concerned about the expansion of charter schools. She taught jewelry making in after-school programs in Chicago Public Schools. But with budget cuts she lost her job.

“For kids not to have such programs that’ll help them out maybe in the future – that’s kind of sad actually,” Jimenez said.

Read our previous story on people trying to get education issues on the ballot in Chicago.

Posted 3:19 p.m.

Large number of Latinos cast their ballot in Pilsen

By Alex Ortiz and Meredith Francis

Before a voting location at Cooper Dual Language Academy in Pilsen even opened today, poll workers were already on site before 6 a.m. There were already some logistical hurdles to tackle – like missing cards with information about the candidates.

But some of the problems started at the door: election judges had to build a small makeshift ramp to make the polling location accessible to voters with disabilities, as required by federal law.

Still, poll watchers like Rebecca Rivera, 56, have seen large numbers, especially Latinos, coming out to vote.

“Since 6 o’clock this morning they have not stopped,” Rivera said. “These judges – usually they’re calm. They can sit a little bit between a little rush here, a little rush there, and they haven’t been able to sit at all.”

Rivera is concerned that those with disabilities won’t be able to vote. She had a stroke, which affected her vision, so she needed to have the ballot read to her when she voted. Two judges, one Republican and one Democrat, had to be present to help her fill it out.

Rivera and other female voters say they were motivated to cast their ballots because of sexist remarks by Donald Trump.

“My thing with Trump is the way he is with women,” Rivera said. “Hillary, I think she needs to be worked on a little bit, but I’d rather go with her than him.”

Others were just as enthusiastic about voting for Hillary Clinton.

“Oh my god, that’s empowering,” said Jolie Jimenez of Pilsen. “It’s amazing for me … because she’s a woman. It’s always been men.”

Posted 3:17 p.m.

Sen. Mark Kirk casts his vote for Petraeus instead of Trump

By Duke Omara and Hammad Sarfraz

Republican Senator Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) addresses media after casting his ballot in Highwood, Ill. Nov 8
Republican Senator Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) addresses media after casting his ballot in Highwood, Ill. Nov 8 (Duke Omara/MEDILL)

Medill Reports reporter Duke Omara is in Highwood, where GOP Sen. Mark Kirk of Illinois cast his vote. Breaking away from tradition and party norms, Kirk voted for Gen. David Petraeus for president instead of his party’s nominee, Donald Trump or Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

Kirk, who suffered a stroke a few years ago, walked unassisted from his car to the polling booth although he was using a cane. His voice sounded strong and he cast his vote.

Defending his vote for Petraeus, Kirk said his choice was better than Clinton or Trump. The GOP leader said his aim was to take the most moderate voice to Washington.

The 57-year-old Republican senator said he has been flexible enough to break from his party to advance Illinois interests.

On Petraeus, the senator said he wanted to set an example by voting for someone who was honorable, a military leader, successful and much better than Trump or Clinton

When reminded the former general had had personal troubles of his own Kirk said as a lawyer he had not been able to distinguish the case against Petraeus from the one against Clinton

“I think there is a lot of explaining to do by the Justice Department to explain how they treated both case differently,” Kirk said.

Petraeus, a former CIA director, disclosed classified information to his biographer. Petraeus pleaded guilty in 2015 to a misdemeanor charge of mishandling classified information.

On the polls, Kirk insisted that he was only two points behind although most polls show him behind by double digits.

When asked how he could run the campaign differently, he admitted that he shouldn’t have disparaged his opponent’s family record of military service

“That’s a regret of mine,” the GOP leader said.

Posted 12:50 p.m.

CNN reports Donald Trump files early voting lawsuit in Nevada

By Meredith Francis

CNN is reporting that lawyers for Donald Trump have filed a lawsuit against the Clark County registrar of voters over an early voting dispute.

According to CNN, the lawyers claim that the registrar kept early voting locations “two hours beyond the designating closing time” around Las Vegas, where precincts have a higher minority population.

A county spokesperson told CNN the locations didn’t extend their hours, but just “processed” voters who were already in line at closing time.

We’ll update this story as we learn more.

Posted 1:51 p.m.

Chicagoans voice their concerns about LGBTQ issues in the election

By Mariah Quintanilla

Pride Action Tank, part of Aids Foundation of Chicago, posted a dialogue on how LGBTQ issues should be addressed in today’s local election.

CAN TV host Maxx Boykin and Casimiro Peña of Chicago Votes’ Democracy Cup Fellow stressed the need to elect Chicago officials that will uphold the civil liberties of the LGBTQ community.

“There are economic policies that are being created that determine how people’s gender expression is going to be considered in the political infrastructure,” said Peña said on CAN TV.

The LGBTQ community would benefit from local policies addressing anti-discrimination in the workplace, as well as continued LGBTQ advocacy from elected officials, he added.

Posted 1:30 p.m.

A list of all our recent stories on Election 2016

Medill Reports has been covering the election leading up to Election Day. Here is a list of the most recent posts on various local races and aspects of the election.

Mid-day polling place updates

By Muna Khan

Residents in Illinois headed to the polls this morning to cast their ballots for president and other state positions. According to the Chicago Board of Election early Tuesday morning, roughly 325,000 had voted in Chicago.

Medill reporter Christen Gall sent us this image from 15 W. Washington Street, considered a “super polling station” in the city. She was there approximately this time yesterday and the line was around the block.

A spokesperson from the Chicago Board of Election said they planned to keep six to seven polling stations in different parts of the city open past the 7 p.m. deadline. However, he did not identify the polling stations and did not say when they would stay open till.

Chicago Tribune also reported a midday lull, saying there were few voters at Farragut Career Academy in Little Village.

Christen Gall contributed to this report

Posted 12:55 p.m.

Frustrated by ‘non-choices,’ some campaign for Jill Stein

By Anna Foley, Emily Olsen and Meredith Francis

Medill reporters Emily Olsen and Anna Foley are in the Chicago suburbs talking to people as they get ready to vote and participate in last-minute campaign efforts. Many of the people they’ve talked to today aren’t on board with Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump.

Mike Durschmid is campaigning for national Green Party candidate Jill Stein, as well as Senate candidate Scott Summers and Illinois Comptroller candidate Tim Curtin. He’s a long term Green Party supporter. As he stood outside a Naperville polling place, Durschmid said this election is “a submersion of democracy.”

“The choices are non-choices,” Durschmid said. “The social issues that candidates talk about are just window dressings… We want change, not window dressings.”

Durschmid called the Republican Party “cowards” for continuing to back Trump. Though he said he supported Bernie Sanders for several months, Durschmid said he continues to align himself with the Green Party.

“The two parties run the lesser of evil candidates,” Durschmid said. “That’s reprehensible. It’s a form of coercion.”

Posted 12:50 p.m.

For students at Wheaton College, enthusiasm for candidates has gone stale

By Anna Foley, Emily Olsen and Meredith Francis

Allison Bassett, a sophomore at Wheaton College, is one of the independent voters that presidential candidates have been trying to attract in the final push towards election day.

“Generally I don’t want to be tied to a certain candidate,” Bassett said.

Bassett voted absentee in Colorado, a much sought-after swing state with 9 electoral votes. She ended up casting her ballot for Hillary Clinton, but doesn’t think either candidate was the best choice.

“I’m not going to say I voted enthusiastically,” she said.

Junior Cameron Van Beek thought the mood during this election cycle was “very negative.”

“It became why you shouldn’t vote for the other person,” Van Beek said. Unhappy with either choice and upset by what he called media bias, Van Beek voted for third-party candidate Evan McMullin

Sophomore Justus Hanson voted for Donald Trump, though his choice for president changed frequently in the Republican primary.

“I was very excited for [this election], but neither candidate was ideal,” Hanson said. “I was for Ben Carson, then I was a Rubio man and then a Cruz man.”

Posted 12:35 p.m.

Funny money

This dollar bill was given out to a customer at a store in Chicago this week.

Dollar bill received at a store in Chicago this week
Dollar bill received at a store in Chicago this week

Posted 12:35 p.m.

China Eastern’s new route brings visitors, ups competition with United, American Airlines 

By Harvard Zhang

When Yan Wang flew with United Airlines from Shanghai to Chicago at the end of November, she found the flight attendants’ Mandarin very awkward. She also realized her “Chinglish” didn’t help the communication.

“I speak some English, but I found it hard sometimes to talk with their crew members,” said Wang, a 40-year-old Chinese doctor who was shopping at the Magnificent Mile after attending an academic seminar in Chicago. “I would rather fly with carriers of my own country if I had the choice.”

Responding to a perceived opportunity, China Eastern Airlines Corp., headquartered in Shanghai, will become the first Chinese carrier to initiate daily flights between Shanghai and Chicago starting March 18 of next year, expecting to bring more Chinese visitors to the Windy City and boost tourism revenues. 

The Chinese state-owned company will compete with Chicago-based United Continental Holdings Inc., parent company of United Airlines, and Fort Worth, Texas-based American Airlines Group Inc., parent company of American Airlines, whose commercial aircrafts are flying the same route.
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For immigrants, cultural values infuse the food at Thanksgiving

By Jenny Zhang

(Additional reporting by Ashesha Mehrotra, Shanshan Wang and Yunfei Zhao)

While families across the U.S. grapple with the usual culinary concerns – to brine or not to brine? Stuffing or dressing? Rolls or biscuits? – in preparation for Thanksgiving, a whole other slew of questions can be asked of American immigrant households celebrating the holiday tomorrow.

Is the turkey served before or after the lasagna?

How sweet should the baklava be?

Does turkey pair better with glutinous rice or hot pot?

When should the yogurt sauce be taken out of the fridge?

Regardless of the answers to those questions, the decisions that families with immigrant backgrounds make when it comes to America’s favorite feast day reveal some of the cultural values that these households assign to daily life and special occasions in the U.S.

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The Laquan McDonald case: A timeline of the past year

By Aryn Braun and Max Greenwood

THE STORY BREAKS — Oct. 20, 2014

Laquan McDonald, 17, was shot and killed by Chicago Police near 41st Street and Pulaski Road around 9:45 p.m. in the Archer Heights neighborhood on the Southwest Side, after a 911 call reported suspicious activity.

When responding officers arrived at the scene, they found McDonald carrying a small knife and slashing cars’ tires, police said. McDonald reportedly punctured a squad car’s front-passenger tires and damaged the vehicle’s windshield.

McDonald allegedly lunged at the officers — a dashboard video released this week seems to contradict that — and was fired upon, according to police. He was pronounced dead just under an hour later at Mount Sinai Hospital near Douglas Park.

An autopsy conducted the following day revealed that McDonald had been shot 16 times. Nine of the shots, the report said, struck the teen at a downward angle.

SETTLEMENT — April, 2015

In early April of this year, before a lawsuit was even filed, the city approved a $5 million settlement to be distributed to the McDonald family. This settlement led to increased suspicions of foul play.


The Chicago Tribune reported Jason Van Dyke as the officer who shot and killed Laquan McDonald last October.
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GOP Debate: Protesters condemn party positions on key issues

By Satvika Khera and Raquel Zaldivar

MILWAUKEE — Protesters descended on the Milwaukee Theatre on Nov. 10 as candidates prepared to take the stage for the fourth Republican presidential debate this year. They rallied against the GOP candidates’ stance on a range of issues including immigration, minimum wage and foreign aid.

Andrea Valerio from Youth Empowered in the Struggle (YES), an organization that supports immigrants’, students’ and workers’ rights, took to the microphone to voice the organization’s grievances.

“We condemn the deportations of millions of people, as [the deportations] only serve to separate families. We condemn and oppress the hateful fascist and racist comments made by Trump and exemplified by the GOP’s rhetoric,” Valerio said. “We are not going to stay quiet while Trump attacks our people.”

ABOVE: Video highlights of the protest at the GOP debate.

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During Obama’s visit, doubts about guns – and gun laws

By Morgan Gilbard, Julia Cardi, Marisa Endicott
and Anna Boisseau

Kids in Chicago’s Douglas Park respect local killers more than celebrities.

That’s what a North Lawndale resident named Bryan sees in his West Side neighborhood several weeks after a gunman shot him in the back. The police have made no progress in his case, but the pain persists, as do the questions.

“I can’t even pick my baby up,” says Bryan, who asked that his last name not be used for fear of reprisals. “I don’t look at things the same way.”

President Obama called for smarter policing and stronger gun laws in his speech to the International Association of Chiefs of Police on Tuesday. After meeting with families that lost children to gun violence, he said it is easier in some neighborhoods to buy a gun than to buy a book.

“We’ve got to get on top of it before it becomes an accelerating trend,” Obama said.

For many in neighborhoods such as North Lawndale, where the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. staged his Chicago freedom campaign in 1966, the trend is already clear. Gun violence is a vivid thread in the social fabric, weaving through such persistent problems as poverty, joblessness and poor schools.

Unemployment is North Lawndale is 21.1 percent, sharply higher than the citywide Chicago rate of 12.9 percent, according to U.S. census data from 2008 to 2012. The neighborhood is also poorer than the city as a whole, with 43.1 percent of North Lawndale households living below the poverty line, compared with Chicago’s 19.7 percent.

North Lawndale has recorded 550 violent crimes in the past six months, according to the Chicago Police Department, putting the community second to Austin for the highest totals in the city.

On a rainy late October afternoon in Douglas Park, the mood matched the weather, despite Obama’s call for action.

“It’s easier to get a gun in our neighborhood than a job,” says Bryan, who reports that gun violence has rocked his life since childhood. Several friends and relatives have been shot – or done the shooting. “I was taught I would live longer if I was alone.”

Tykeshia Jones, 19, knows the phenomenon all too well. As she walked through Douglas Park to visit her boyfriend, admitted to St. Anthony’s Hospital with a gunshot wound, she said she has little hope that new gun laws will fix the problem.

She is not alone, in a year that has seen shootings spike. Bryan, his back aching and his job prospects thin, is considering moving to the suburbs. A neighborhood resident named William, who would not give his last name, sees distressing similarities between the 1950s and today.

As for Obama’s push for stricter gun laws, William doubts it will matter.

“Crooks,” he says, “are going to get more guns anyway.”

PHOTO AT TOP: Protest earlier this month in Douglas Park. (Anna Boisseau/Medill)

Addressing police chiefs, President Obama demands gun laws and criminal justice reforms

By Jasmine M. Ellis, Harry Huggins, Enrica Nicoli Aldini
and Raquel Zaldivar

‘I refuse to believe that the only choice we have is to either ignore circumstances of racial bias or make it impossible for police officers to do their job.”

President Barack Obama called for wide-ranging reforms in gun control laws and criminal justice policies Tuesday, speaking to an international gathering of law enforcement leaders in Chicago.

“Police officers often see America at its worst,” Obama said. “But I want you to know that in you, we often see America at its best.”

The conference took place near neighborhoods that have made Chicago the focus of national discussions on gun violence.
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MADE IN CHICAGO: Examining the good, the bad . . . and the Malört

Made in Chicago is a mosaic of stories by graduate students at the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. It was published in June, 2015 and shows what makes this city unlike any other. (Full Made in Chicago site).

The student journalists strove to capture the good, the bad and the Malört.

After hours of reporting, transcribing, writing and coding, they published this collection of what’s been created, grown, enacted and built in Chicago.


Jeppson’s Malort: A search for the origins of Chicago’s liquor

Violin-Making Tunes A Global Beat From Chicago

Citadels of Hope: YMCA outreach workers in Chicago

First Defense Legal Aid: Chicago lawyers
give free counsel in free time


Petro Peril: Shale Oil’s Dangerous Journey Across America

Bungalow: Chicago bungalow says welcome home for over a century

Puerto Rican Restaurateur finds ‘American Dream’ in Chicago


Chicago Public Schools: Financial Woes

Pilsen: Green Dreams, Industrial Roots

Political newcomer defeats the mayor


Black lives tortured: Chicago awards reparations
to survivors of Burge police torture

Midwives: Medical Societies
Overshadow Growing Home birth Movement

Abortion Escorts — ‘Bubble Zones’
bursting with tension