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Daywatch: Lake Michigan’s dropping levels reveal how much work is needed to repair Chicago’s eroded beaches

Good morning, Chicago.

Children danced and played carnival games outside McCormick Elementary School in Little Village on a recent evening, shooting a basketball, getting temporary tattoos, painting a tiny planter and knocking wooden bowling pins off a stool with a baseball.

Mayra Flores pushed her 4-month-old in his stroller while keeping an eye on her 12-year-old who stood in line waiting to toss rings onto rows of bottles. Flores said she was shocked to see there would be an event at the school, knowing there’s a lot of gun violence on the surrounding blocks.

“I was kind of hesitant to bring him here,” she said of her older son. “But I also have to understand, you know, he also needs to go ahead and socialize.”

New Life Centers hosted the event, with support from the city’s newest violence-prevention office, the Community Safety Coordination Center. Despite crime in the downtown area gaining attention leading into the summer months, city leaders and community organizers through the coordination center are working to create safe spaces within neighborhoods most affected by violence.

Tamara Mahal, who leads the center, said the recent fatal shootings in Millennium Park and at a McDonald’s on the Near North Side emphasize the need to make communities safer and provide alternatives for city youths.

— Stephanie Casanova, Chicago Tribune reporter

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As Chicago battles erosion intensified by climate change on its 26 miles of public lakefront, officials are scrambling to find more money for repairs, scientists are tracking the disappearing sand and environmental groups are seeking ways to protect the fragile resource.

From the North Side to the Indiana border, years of erosion have taken a toll. Sand loss in places like Rainbow Beach revealed old lakefill material, what appears to be cement pieces used as the foundation of houses, and other debris, according to Robin Mattheus, a coastal geology research scientist with the Illinois State Geological Survey.

Daywatch: Lake Michigan’s dropping levels reveal how much work is needed to repair Chicago’s eroded beaches

On a recent rainy Saturday afternoon, Chi Chan sat attentively in a pew of a Chinatown church he’s been a part of for some 15 years and listened to Chicago police Officer Jason Sollis give tips on public safety. Chan was there, he said, because crime has gotten so bad in the community that he is afraid to have his parents, who are in their 70s, come to Chinatown.

Across the country, COVID-19 acted as a catalyst for increased aggression toward Asian American communities after the coronavirus was first reported in China over two years ago. Chicago seemed to have far fewer reported hate crimes than other major cities, like Los Angeles or New York City, but residents in Chinatown say numbers don’t tell the full story.

Daywatch: Lake Michigan’s dropping levels reveal how much work is needed to repair Chicago’s eroded beaches

As Illinois’ only one-on-one face-off between Democratic incumbents, the 6th District race in Chicago’s west suburbs has become one of the most bitter — yet also awkward — in the state. And as the race enters its final weeks before the June 28 primary, Sean Casten and Marie Newman are busy hurling barbs at one another over ethics complaints and their stances on abortion and other issues while also not so successfully trying to avoid the unseemly visual the Democratic Party helped create in which caucus mates are dragging each other into the mud.

Daywatch: Lake Michigan’s dropping levels reveal how much work is needed to repair Chicago’s eroded beaches

Bob Brislan’s single-story house on Prairie Avenue and other midcentury modern homes like it are becoming a vanishing commodity in Naperville. Smaller homes like his are being torn down in the East Highlands to make way for multistory behemoths worth in excess of $1 million.

A Naperville preservation group is planning to catalog remaining homes in the neighborhood built in the 1950s before they all disappear.

Daywatch: Lake Michigan’s dropping levels reveal how much work is needed to repair Chicago’s eroded beaches

Originally, Tribune critic Louisa Chu set out to write a guide to the best Chicago-style plant-based food across the city.

Then came a restaurant boasting big, beautiful flavors transforming deep cuts of iconic dishes. Can’t Believe It’s Not Meat, Chu writes, is the Lizzo of vegan and vegetarian restaurants: Chef, owner and founder Laricia Chandler-Baker “saves vegan cuisine from itself.”

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