Plan to swap lakefront tracts with a billionaire sparks tension – Chicago Tribune

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Vivian Kisliak was a child who took charge. When her friends all tried to pile into her family’s golf cart, she’d maintain order, determining whose turn it was to take a spin in it and begging one of the adults to drive it.

Once the ride would start, Vivian was thrilled by the adventure. Neighbor Liliya Dzhorayeva remembers the 7-year-old egging her on as she drove the cart with shouts of “Go faster!”

Moments like this were part of this community’s “fun and easygoing” summers in Buffalo Grove, Dzhorayeva said. As soon as the weather warmed up in the spring, a group of “mom friends,” including Dzhorayeva and Vivian’s mom, Vera Kisliak, would gather at the park, sharing snacks and toys with the playing children. They spoke about their kids’ activities, family trips and home remodeling plans.

But this summer, Vera wasn’t around as much, and when she was, she was quiet and kept to herself, Dzhorayeva said.

While it might have appeared that the Kisliak family had a “perfect life,” Dzhorayeva said, with a beautiful remodeled home and daughters with bright smiles, behind closed doors, the truth was far more dangerous. Vera began confiding to friends about fears for her life as she sought a divorce from her husband, Andrei.

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At left, three homes purchased by Justin Ishbia along the lakefront, adjacent to Centennial Beach in Winnetka, and a fourth home, at right, Nov. 2, 2022.

In a tony North Shore suburb, a showdown is taking place over a controversial plan to carve up a public beach and swap part of it with a billionaire private equity executive assembling a private estate.

Justin Ishbia has spent nearly $40 million acquiring four mansions along the Winnetka lakefront over the last several years. In 2020, he struck a deal to swap one of those mansions for a parcel controlled by the local park district, an exchange that would give him more land to create a dream estate for his family. The arrangement would also make it possible for the park district to improve the Winnetka lakefront, part of which is closed because of erosion, and open it up to crowds of beachgoers.

Chicago mayoral candidate Willie Wilson (center) has a laugh with supporters after accepting an endorsement from the Polish American Congress Illinois Division at the Copernicus Center in Chicago’s Jefferson Park neighborhood on Nov. 15, 2022.

When Willie Wilson finished his remarks before the Illinois Polish American Congress in November, the lull in the room lasted long enough for the audience to begin awkwardly fidgeting. But then Wilson clapped his hands to the blues classic “Sweet Home Chicago,” and a row of people behind him matched his beat and swayed, producing faint ripples in a giant flag of Chicago hanging onstage. The crowd of about 100 mostly white Chicagoans danced along with Wilson, who beamed.

The scene at the Copernicus Center on the Far Northwest Side would’ve been unfamiliar territory for Wilson, a 74-year-old Black businessman and minister, during his last two runs for mayor, when he mostly focused on campaigning in the city’s African American neighborhoods.

The Satanic Temple of Illinois' 2022 holiday display is pictured on the Illinois Capitol rotunda. It consists of a crocheted snake sitting on a book and a pile of apples crocheted by Temple members.

Minister Adam of the Satanic Temple of Illinois looked ready for the holidays. He was dressed in a black suit accented with a pair of Satanic symbol lapel pins, his flowing blond locks recalling Robert Plant, circa 1971. He smiled benignly, taking in the Satanic Temple’s latest seasonal display, installed in the rotunda of the Illinois State Capitol, alongside a two-story Christmas tree, a large menorah and a traditional Nativity scene.

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For the fourth time since 2018, the Satanic Temple of Illinois — a statewide chapter with about 100 members, part of a religion boasting half a million followers internationally — was in Springfield on an early December morning, not to worship a devil or perform a ritual sacrifice. The holiday ceremony, for instance, did not include goat sacrifices. No one condemned the nation to hellfire. The message was religious diversity.

Sam Bankman-Fried, the founder of the collapsed crypto exchange FTX, speaks to Andrew Ross Sorkin virtually at The New York Times’ DealBook Summit 2022 at Jazz At Lincoln Center in Manhattan, Nov. 30, 2022.

When the FTX.US headquarters opened in a gleaming new Fulton Market tower in May, Mayor Lori Lightfoot and her retinue stopped by to officially welcome the cryptocurrency exchange to Chicago, a city positioning itself as a financial center for the booming digital assets.

It was supposed to be the start of something big. Six months later, FTX imploded in a massive bankruptcy and Chicago’s would-be crypto flagship was just another empty office.

Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields (1) walks on the field during an early warmup for a game against the Green Bay Packers at Soldier Field in Chicago on Dec. 4, 2022.

Who said a last-place season couldn’t be any fun? Chicago Bears fans have found new fulfillment in losing this season, with many unfazed by the team’s 3-10 record and another skid that has lasted more than a month. All this was part of the disclaimer after the organizational reboot in January, right? An NFL rebuild sometimes requires acceptance of a total teardown and the accompanying debris.

After a Week 14 open date, the Bears return to Halas Hall on Monday with four games remaining, four more weekends with plenty of significance and entertainment value folded in. With that in mind, here’s our viewing guide of 10 things to watch before Bears players clean out their lockers on Jan. 9.

The dac biet bahn mi sandwich with Viet ham, fried pork roll, head cheese, char siu and house sauce at PhoLicious in Bloomingdale.

Before Tribune critic Nick Kindelsperger devoured his favorite banh mi in the state, he’d like to pause and truly admire its beauty.

Glance at it from the side, and notice how the many sliced types of meat — ham, head cheese, pork roll and roast pork — are proportioned so exactly that you’re contractually guaranteed a taste of each with every bite. Then spot the shock of green from the fresh cilantro, cucumber and jalapeño, along with a pop of orange from the pickled carrots.

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