It's Friday. On this day in 2014, Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke murdered Laquan McDonald.

🌤️ Today's weather: Partly sunny with a high of 60°.

🎧 Situational awareness: Axios' Niala Boodhoo is hosting a new weekly podcast that digs deep with leaders in business, politics and culture on the ideas shaping our world. "1 big thing" launches Nov. 2. Congrats, Niala!

🎂 Happy birthday to our Axios Chicago members Benjamin Bullock, Steve Reinhart and Joanne Trumbull!

Today's newsletter is 936 words, a 4-minute read.

1 big thing: Midwest is best

Share who say they live in the Midwest
Data: Middle West ReviewEmerson College Polling; Note: Includes 22 states traditionally considered part of or surrounding the Midwest; Map: Axios Visuals

There's no question that Illinois is a Midwest state, but a new survey shows people as far as Idaho and Pennsylvania also consider themselves Midwesterners.

Why it matters: Despite the U.S. Census Bureau's input, defining a Midwesterner is still under debate. But this survey suggests that a large swath of the U.S. agrees it's best to be Midwest.

Driving the news: Emerson College Polling and the Middle West Review recently asked 11,000 people from 22 states if they think their state is part of the Midwest and whether they identify as Midwesterners.

By the numbers: Unsurprisingly, 93.8 % of those surveyed in Illinois say they live in the Midwest. Most people in other states we often associate with the Midwest — including Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin — said so, too.

The intrigue: A large share of Oklahoma and Wyoming residents consider themselves Midwesterners. So do some in Colorado (42%), Kentucky (30%), West Virginia (13%) and Pennsylvania (9%).

  • More than 25% of Idaho residents surveyed think their state is part of the region.

What they're saying: "I think one of the big findings of this study is that American regions are still alive. And people still identify with regions," Middle West Review editor Jon Lauck tells Axios' Linh Ta.

  • "Midwestern identity is very strong. I think a lot of people have a sense that it's weaker here or people don't really connect to their states or region as much as, say, the South," Lauck says. "But that is clearly untrue."

📣 Tell us: Which of these states is NOT in the Midwest? Vote here.

2. Chart of the day: 💘 Divorce rates down

Data: U.S. Census; Chart: Axios Visuals

Marriage rates rebounded last year after dropping to a 10-year low in 2021, while the divorce rate continues to decline.

Meanwhile, more U.S. adults say they're open to signing a prenup, Axios' Carly Mallenbaum reports.

3. Tribune runs editorial about Hamas

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The Chicago Tribune and 65 other Alden Global Capital-owned papers ran an editorial this week urging the news media to describe Hamas as a terrorist organization, Axios' Sara Fischer reports.

Why it matters: This appears to be the first time the Tribune has been compelled to run an editorial sent down from its corporate leaders since the hedge fund purchased Tribune Publishing in 2021.

  • The decision was made by Alden's MediaNews Group and Tribune Enterprises leadership, not the editorial boards of each individual newspaper.

State of play: Some newsrooms that are avoiding the term argue it's become too politicized. Others say "terrorist group" accurately describes the group or that avoiding it normalizes Hamas' actions.

Details: The Trib ran the editorial at the bottom of its editorial page on Wednesday, with a line indicating it came from "MediaNews Group/Tribune Publishing" rather than from the Tribune editorial board.

  • The following day, the paper changed how it refers to Hamas.
  • The Trib's executive editor didn't respond to a request from Axios and its editorial page editor declined to comment.

Go deeper

4. Tips and hot links

Illustration: Lindsey Bailey/Axios

⛺️ Police are investigating allegations that Ald. Julia Ramirez (12th) and members of her staff were swarmed and assaulted by protesters angry over a proposed migrant tent encampment in Brighton Park yesterday. (Block Club)

🏛️ University of Chicago students have been expressing support on campus for victims in the Israel-Hamas war, and some plan to walk out today. The protest comes amid a flurry of university demonstrations nationwide over the conflict. (Axios)

🚌 The CTA's $2 billion budget contains no fare hikes and aims to draw back riders by restoring service that was curbed during the pandemic. Still it's short on details. (Tribune)

🐰 Bad Bunny is hopping to Chicago in late March, but registration for tickets ends Sunday. (Axios)

5. What to know about QB Tyson Bagent

Tyson Bagent reacts after a touchdown last week at Soldier Field. Photo: Quinn Harris/Getty Images

Bears backup quarterback Tyson Bagent is lined up to start in place of the injured Justin Fields this Sunday, and Bears fans haven't been this excited since the Chad Hutchinson era.

Reality check: Wait, Tyson who? The undrafted rookie backup's name is pronounced BAY-gent.

  • It rhymes with agent, like, "This kid must have a great agent, since he's the only Division II quarterback currently playing in the NFL."

Where's he from: West Virginia. He played at Shepherd University, where he won the Harlon Hill award.

  • Harlon Hill was a star on the Bears in the '50s and '60s.

Winning culture: His father, Travis Bagent, is a 17-time arm wrestling world champion.

Non-football plans: The Athletic asked him about what he'd be doing if he didn't sign with an NFL team.

  • "I was going to basically just CrossFit my life away, get as ripped and jacked as I possibly could and be a teacher at Martinsburg High School."

Share this story.

Stay booked and busy

📅 Upcoming events around the city.

ROOF Halloween: Saturday Dead Disco at ROOF on theWit on Oct. 28:

  • ROOF, set 27 stories above it all, will be transformed into the ultimate Halloween experience.
  • Enjoy costume contests for the best zombie/dead costume. Standard dress code or Halloween costume presentation is strictly enforced and purchasing a ticket does not guarantee admission. Anyone not dressed to impress will be refused entry.

Hosting an event? Email [email protected].

6. 🚤 Luxe lakefront tailgating

Fans tailgate at Burnham Harbor before the game against the Broncos on Oct. 1. Photos: Justin Kaufmann/Axios

👋🏻 Hi, it's Justin.

This Bears season is shaping up to be another losing affair, but don't tell that to the thousands of fans who tailgate before games at Soldier Field.

What's happening: The parties aren't just happening on top of the Waldron deck. Several beaches and nearby empty lots are transformed into makeshift pregame festivities.

  • This includes a small strip of grass just west of Burnham Harbor, where Luke LaLonde and his dad have been hosting parties for over 20 years.

What they're saying: "We love the Bears, we love the tailgate, we love to cook for people," LaLonde tells Axios.

Luke LaLonde and his wife, Nicole, prepare lamb chops for their tailgate.
Lamb chops on the grill at 10am.

State of play: This isn't your standard hot dogs and burgers tailgate. LaLonde was serving grilled lamb chops when I visited, and they had lobster and filet mignon on the menu earlier in the season.

The bottom line: LaLonde says he usually gets down to reserve the spot by 7am on game days. "I've missed two games in 21 years because of the birth of my children," LaLonde says.

  • "We'll keep tailgating till we die."

Join the party

people in lawnchairs watching football
What's a pregame tailgate party without watching the pregame show on TV?

Edited by Alexa Mencia and copy edited by Rob Reinalda and Keely Bastow.

Our picks:

🎃 Carrie is excited to check out the Arts in the Dark Parade tomorrow for the first time!

💧 Monica is intrigued to learn how Chicagoans can keep their basements dry during floods on the latest episode of "Curious City."

🤣 Justin enjoyed comedian Paul Thomas's one-man show "Intimate and Appropriate" last night at The Den Theatre in Wicker Park.

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