Kinzinger’s Allies Launch Super PAC to Defend Republicans Who Impeached Trump

Plus: ‘Chicago Tonight’ one-on-one with U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger

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Illinois U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger. (Kevin Dietsch / POOL / AFP / Getty Images / FILE)

Allies of Illinois GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger have launched a super PAC to support Republicans in 2022 who stood up to then-President Donald Trump after a mob of his supporters attacked the U.S. Capitol in an effort to overturn the 2020 election.

March 2, 2021 - Full Show

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Watch the March 2, 2021 full episode of “Chicago Tonight.”

Chicago Opera Theater’s Scorching ‘Taking Up Serpents’ Captures America’s Pentecostal Fervor

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Leah Dexter and Michael Mayes in “Taking Up Serpents.” (Sean Su / Chicago Opera Theater)

While most of this country’s major opera companies are suffering the painful slings and arrows of the pandemic scourge, Chicago Opera Theater continues to soldier on. And its latest production is another example of its musical, theatrical and thematic daring.

Chicago Zoos Reopening After Winter Hibernation. What to Know Before You Go

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Meet Brookfield Zoo’s new mother-daughter Mexican wolves, Sibi and Lorena. (Jim Schulz / Chicago Zoological Society)

After self-imposed winter breaks, Lincoln Park Zoo and Brookfield Zoo are reopening to guests, with a number of safety precautions in place due to the coronavirus. Here’s what to expect.

Chicago Man Freed 3 Decades After Wrongful Conviction Suing City

Robert Smith claims Burge detectives beat false confession out of him

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(WTTW News)

Robert Smith spent decades in prison on a wrongful murder conviction. Now, he’s suing the city and several Chicago Police Department detectives who worked under notorious Area 2 Commander Jon Burge, claiming they beat a false confession out of him.

Official: Merck to Help Produce Rival J&J’s COVID-19 Vaccine

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This September 2020, file photo provided by Johnson & Johnson shows a pharmacist preparing to give an experimental COVID-19 vaccine. (Johnson & Johnson via AP, File)

The announcement comes as the White House looks to speed the production of the single-dose vaccine. Officials have said J&J faced unexpected production issues with its vaccine and produced only 3.9 million doses ahead of its receiving emergency use authorization on Saturday. 

Aurora Church Hosts COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic for Black Residents

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The second doses of the Pfizer vaccine in Chicago were administered at Norwegian American Hospital on Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2021. (WTTW News)

The Cathedral of Grace St. John AME Church hosted a coronavirus vaccination clinic for Black suburban residents as part of a larger effort to vaccinate communities disproportionately impacted by the virus. 

As Harris, Kelly Scramble — Why Does it Matter Who Leads the Illinois Democratic Party?

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Ald. Michelle Harris (8th Ward), left, and U.S. Rep. Robin Kelly (D-Chicago). (Courtesy of Harris and Kelly)

The next chair of the Illinois Democratic Party — the first in nearly a quarter century — will be either Ald. Michelle Harris (8th Ward) or U.S. Rep. Robin Kelly (D-Chicago). Whichever candidate emerges victorious will be charged with leading the party into a new era as its first Black and first female chair.

Thousands More CPS Students Return to In-Person Learning

Some principals concerned over staffing shortages

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(WTTW News)

Tens of thousands more Chicago Public Schools students returned to their classrooms Monday, many for the first time in nearly a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as the district continues its school reopening plan.

Pandemic Exorcisms as Finessed by the Joffrey Ballet and Cabinet of Curiosity

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Anais Bueno with Brooke Linford and Christine Roca (Courtesy of the Joffrey Ballet)

Two thrillingly dramatic works — one by way of dance and another by way of radio theater — now serve as vivid evocations marking the one-year “anniversary” of the pandemic, and all the physical and psychological dislocations it has engendered. 

Chicago Mail Delays Creating ‘Unbearable’ Burden for Residents

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(WTTW News)

Residents of Chicago have been experiencing mail delays for months. Some of those delays are simply irritating, but others can be far more consequential. What’s going on at the U.S. Postal Service?

Lightfoot Cracks Down on Speeding Violations as Traffic Fatalities Rise

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(WTTW News)

Starting Monday, the city of Chicago is jacking up fines for speeding violations near schools and parks — and that has the mayor at odds with some aldermen. Carol Marin and students from DePaul University’s Center for Journalism Integrity and Excellence have the story. 

Crain’s Headlines: Orrington Hotel Faces $50M Foreclosure Lawsuit

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The Orrington hotel in Evanston. (WTTW News)

Trouble for a prominent Evanston hotel. United Airlines increases its Boeing 737 Max order. And a commercial truck company looks to Bolingbrook. Crain’s Chicago Business editor Ann Dwyer has details.

March 1, 2021 - Full Show

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Watch the March 1, 2021 full episode of “Chicago Tonight.”

Are You Ready for March Mammal Madness? It’s the Wildest Tournament Around

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Chimpanzees and red kangaroos are among the competitors in March Mammal Madness 2021. (Simon Bardet / Pixabay; Pierre_Rigou / Pixabay)

Forget Duke versus North Carolina. This annual contest raises the rivalry stakes, pitting species against species in this annual winner-takes-all online tournament that’s as educational as it is weird.

WHO: ‘Premature,’ ‘Unrealistic’ COVID-19 Will End Soon

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In this Monday, Feb. 24, 2020 file photo, Michael Ryan, left, Executive Director of WHO's Health Emergencies program, next to Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, right, Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO), addresses a press conference about the update on COVID-19 at the World Health Organization headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. (Salvatore Di Nolfi / Keystone via AP, File)

A senior World Health Organization official said Monday it was “premature” and “unrealistic” to think the pandemic might be stopped by the end of the year, but that the recent arrival of effective vaccines could at least help dramatically reduce hospitalizations and death.

Chicago Police: Carjacking Totals Fell in February, While Shootings Increased

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(WTTW News)

February saw fewer carjackings in Chicago compared to the previous month amid historic snowfall totals and increased policing efforts, while the number of shootings and homicides recorded last month remain on par with totals from February 2020.

It’s the 1st Day of Meteorological Spring. What Does That Mean?

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Spring is here, at least meteorologically speaking. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

The spring equinox is still a few weeks away, but meteorologists mark March 1 as the official start of spring. Someone forgot to tell March. 

Trump Calls for GOP Unity, Repeats Lies About Election Loss

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Former President Donald Trump speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) Sunday, Feb. 28, 2021, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo / John Raoux)

Taking the stage for the first time since leaving office, former President Donald Trump on Sunday called for Republican Party unity, even as he exacerbated intraparty divisions and trumpeted lies about the election in a speech that made clear he intends to remain a dominant political force.

Chicago Tonight: Black Voices, Feb. 28, 2021 - Full Show

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A sweeping criminal justice bill becomes law in Illinois. The history of social reformer Ada S. McKinley. Black Voices Book Club checks out “BeBop Fairy Tales.” Plus, a throwback with Sammy Davis Jr.

Rewriting History: Recognizing Black Trailblazer Ada McKinley

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Ada McKinley (Courtesy Ada S. McKinley Community Services, Inc.)

A Chicago-based community organization established more than 100 years ago serves more than 7,000 people annually, but the story of its founder has largely been erased. 

Criminal Justice Law Will End Cash Bail, Mandate Body Cameras

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(WTTW News)

Gov. J. B. Pritzker signed a criminal justice bill Monday that is massive both in its size – 764 pages – and scope. We discuss the the coming changes and what concerns the bill raises for opponents.

Notes on Jazz: ‘Bebop Fairy Tales’ Riffs on History

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Jazz is the foundation of Mark Ruffin’s entire career as a music historian, journalist and broadcaster. In this week’s Black Voices Book Club selection, the principles of jazz composition also inspired his fictional takes on topics of race and intolerance.

‘Our People’ 1968 Interview: Sammy Davis Jr.

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Sammy Davis Jr. appears on WTTW’s “Our People” in 1968. (WTTW)

In this recently rediscovered interview, the Grammy Award-winning actor talks with “Our People” host Jim Tilmon about how media representations affect popular perceptions.

Fraud Overwhelms Pandemic-Related Unemployment Programs

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A man walks past a “Now Hiring” sign on a window at Sherwin Williams store, Friday, Feb. 26, 2021, in Woodmere Village, Ohio. (AP Photo / Tony Dejak)

With the floodgates set to open on another round of unemployment aid, states are being hammered with a new wave of fraud as they scramble to update security systems and block scammers who already have siphoned billions of dollars from pandemic-related jobless programs.

What’s in an Adjective? ‘Democrat Party’ Label on the Rise

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In this Feb. 24, 2021, file photo, a sign directs Republican and Democrat legislators to their parking areas as a N.H. State Trooper watches the flow of traffic prior to a New Hampshire House of Representatives session held at NH Sportsplex, due to the coronavirus in Bedford, N.H. (AP Photo / Charles Krupa, File)

Amid bipartisan calls to dial back extreme partisanship following the insurrection, the intentional misuse of “Democrat” as an adjective remains in nearly universal use among Republicans. Propelled by conservative media, it also has caught on with far-right elements that were energized by the Trump presidency.

J&J’s 1-Dose Shot Cleared, Giving US 3rd COVID-19 Vaccine

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This September 2020, file photo provided by Johnson & Johnson shows a pharmacist preparing to give an experimental COVID-19 vaccine. (Johnson & Johnson via AP, File)

The U.S. is getting a third vaccine to prevent COVID-19, as the Food and Drug Administration on Saturday cleared a Johnson & Johnson shot that works with just one dose instead of two.

Day Laborers Face Increased Difficulties Amid COVID-19

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(WTTW News)

How Chicago’s day laborers, many of whom are undocumented, are finding — and not finding — work during the coronavirus pandemic.

Chicago Tonight: Latino Voices, Feb. 27, 2021 - Full Show

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How the pandemic has interrupted an income source for day laborers. Reviving the debate over a $15 minimum wage. A hospital chaplain offering spiritual support. The last word on bridging cultures.

La Ultima Palabra: Anyiné Galván Rodríguez

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Anyiné Galván Rodríguez (WTTW News)

From Cuba to the Dominican Republic to right here in Chicago, millions of Afro Latinos speak their culture through their language and wear their African heritage on their bodies, especially in their hair texture.

Fight for Transgender Rights Plants its Flag on Capitol Hill

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(MotionStudios / Pixabay)

This week illustrated how far the U.S. has come in the battle for transgender rights and representation — and how far the country still has to go. 

Judge Approves $650M Facebook Privacy Lawsuit Settlement

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This March 29, 2018 file photo shows the Facebook logo on screens at the Nasdaq MarketSite, in New York’s Times Square. (AP Photo / Richard Drew, File)

A federal judge on Friday approved a $650 million settlement of a privacy lawsuit against Facebook for allegedly using photo face-tagging and other biometric data without the permission of its users.