Delta Variant, Disinformation Leads to ICU Shortage in Southern Illinois

Hospitals in southern Illinois are facing a critical shortage of available ICU beds. (WTTW News)

Hospitals in southern Illinois are facing a critical shortage of available ICU beds. The highly contagious delta variant of COVID-19 and low vaccination rates have combined to create a perfect storm that has overwhelmed hospitals and staff for the last month.

An Astronomical Twofer This Week: Harvest Moon and Fall Equinox

A full moon. (Lim Yaw Keong / Pixabay)

Two harbingers of autumn — the harvest moon and fall equinox — are occurring within days of each other this week, which will make for some interesting sunsets and moon rises. And keep an eye out for “Chicagohenge.”

Options Shrink for Haitian Migrants Straddling Texas Border

U.S. Customs and Border Protection mounted officers attempt to contain migrants as they cross the Rio Grande from Ciudad Acuña, Mexico, into Del Rio, Texas, Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021. (AP Photo / Felix Marquez)

Options narrowed Tuesday for thousands of Haitian migrants straddling the Mexico-Texas border as the United States government ramped up expulsion flights to Haiti, and Mexico began flying and busing some away from the border.

Holiday Shoppers to Contend with Supply Chain Disruptions

From shortages of microchips to coffee: what’s driving the current supply chain disruptions? (WTTW News)

As the holiday shopping season approaches, several economists are warning consumers about higher prices and delays for shipments due to a shortage in everything from microchips to coffee to the supply containers for transporting goods.

House Races to Vote on Government Funding, Debt as GOP Digs In

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., smiles as he and the GOP leadership speak to reporters after a weekly GOP policy meeting, at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2021.  (AP Photo / J. Scott Applewhite)

The federal government faces a shutdown if funding stops at the Sept. 30 end of the fiscal year, midnight next Thursday. At the same time, the U.S. risks defaulting on its accumulated debt load if its borrowing limits are not waived or adjusted.

CTU, CPS in Standoff Over COVID Safety; Union Wants More Than ‘Contrition’

According to the CPS website’s COVID tracker, since the start of school, 350 students of the more than 340,000 who attend CPS have had what the district calls “actionable” — meaning confirmed — COVID cases. (WTTW News)

The Illinois State Board of Education has declared that students must be taught in school this year, except for those with certain medical exemptions. But in Chicago, there’s still a standoff between the mayor’s office and the teachers’ union over what that should look like during a pandemic. 

September 21, 2021 - Full Show

(WTTW News)

Local congress members on the debt ceiling showdown. How many Chicago police officers are vaccinated? Downstate struggles with a shortage of ICU beds. And more on the harvest moon and fall equinox.

Biden Promises ‘Relentless Diplomacy’ to Skeptical Allies

President Joe Biden delivers remarks to the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2021, in New York. (AP Photo / Evan Vucci)

President Joe Biden summoned the world’s nations to forcefully address the festering global issues of the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change and human rights abuses in his first address before the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday. 

Lawyer: R. Kelly Unlikely To Take Stand in Trafficking Trial

This photo from Friday May 9, 2008, shows R. Kelly arriving for the first day of jury selection in his child pornography trial at the Cook County Criminal Courthouse in Chicago. (AP Photo / Charles Rex Arbogast, File)

The remark Tuesday by attorney Deveraux Cannick, made with the jury out the courtroom, came as the defense wound down its case at the trial in federal court in New York City. 

Misdemeanor Charge Filed After Ald. James Cappleman Attacked in Uptown

Ald. James Cappleman, 46th Ward, appears on “Chicago Tonight” from Uptown on March 31, 2020. (WTTW News)

According to Chicago police, 58-year-old Tony Landers has been charged with a single count of aggravated assault stemming from the Saturday night incident near Racine and Leland avenues.

3 CPS Schools Honored as 2021 National Blue Ribbon Award Recipients

(WTTW News)

Disney II Magnet High School, Prosser Career Academy and Walter Payton College Prep are among the 325 schools recognized nationally for their “overall academic excellence or their progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups.”

2021 Chicago Summer Festival Guide

The Taste of Lincoln Avenue returns July 24-25, 2021. (Courtesy of Special Events Management)

Neighborhood street festivals, art shows, outdoor concerts are returning this summer as the Chicago area reopens. Here’s your guide to summer fun. 

‘We’ve Got to Be Bold’: Lightfoot on 2022 Budget

Plus: 4 Chicago alderpeople react to the proposal

Mayor Lori Lightfoot appears on “Chicago Tonight” via Zoom on Monday, Sept. 20, 2021. (WTTW News)

As Chicago emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic, Mayor Lori Lightfoot told WTTW News on Monday that city officials must be “bold and transformative” to address not only the immediate damage caused by the pandemic but also the city’s longstanding woes. 

Lightfoot Bets on Improving Economy, Uses Federal Relief Funds to Balance Budget

Mayor Lori Lightfoot presents her budget proposal for 2022 to the Chicago City Council on Monday, Sept. 20, 2021. (WTTW News)

Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s plan to close a projected $733 million budget gap in 2022 relies on $385 million in federal relief funds and nearly $299 million in savings and efficiencies, but the plan contains “no new tax or significant fee increases” for Chicago residents, she said.

US Officials Defend Expulsion of Haitians From Texas Town

A little girl holds her stuffed animal high above the water as migrants, many from Haiti, wade across the Rio Grande river from Del Rio, Texas, to return to Ciudad Acuña, Mexico, Monday, Sept. 20, 2021, to avoid deportation. (AP Photo / Felix Marquez)
More than 6,000 Haitians and other migrants have been removed from an encampment at a Texas border town, U.S. officials said Monday as they defended a strong response that included immediately expelling migrants to their impoverished Caribbean country.

Crain’s Headlines: Geico Auto Hike Steepest in 6 Years

(Petr Kratochvil / Public Domain Pictures)

Geico customers in Illinois will be paying more for car insurance. Crain’s Chicago Business reporter Danny Ecker has details on that story and more.

Open House Chicago Set To Make In-Person Comeback. Get a Sneak Peek at New Sites

Penthouse at Hyde Park. (Chicago Architecture Center / Anna Munzesheimer)

When it returns next month, the free architecture festival will once again offer in-person, behind-the-scenes access to buildings normally off-limits to the public. Here’s an early look at some of the new sites taking part in the 2021 event.

Police: 9 Killed, More Than 50 People Shot Over the Weekend in Chicago

Chicago police Superintendent David Brown talks about weekend shooting incidents and homicides during a news conference Monday, Sept. 20, 2021. (WTTW News)

A 27-year-old tow truck driver who was was attempting to provide service in the 100 block of West 57th Street was among those fatally shot over the weekend. According to police, there were 45 separate shooting incidents between 6 p.m. Friday and 11:59 p.m. Sunday.

COVID Has Killed About as Many Americans as the 1918-19 Flu

This photo made available by the Library of Congress shows a demonstration at the Red Cross Emergency Ambulance Station in Washington during the influenza pandemic of 1918. (Library of Congress via AP, File)

Like the Spanish flu, the coronavirus may never entirely disappear from our midst. Instead, scientists hope it becomes a mild seasonal bug as human immunity strengthens through vaccination and repeated infection. That could take time. 

R. Kelly Prosecutors Rest; Defense Calls On Singer’s Allies

This photo from Friday May 9, 2008, shows R. Kelly arriving for the first day of jury selection in his child pornography trial at the Cook County Criminal Courthouse in Chicago. (AP Photo / Charles Rex Arbogast, File)

Prosecutors at the R. Kelly sex trafficking trial ended their case Monday after calling dozens of witnesses over the past month who detailed the government’s sweeping allegations against the singer in lurid detail.

Pfizer Says COVID-19 Vaccine Works in Kids Ages 5 to 11

In this Dec. 15, 2020, file photo, a droplet falls from a syringe after a person was injected with the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at a hospital in Providence, R.I. (AP Photo / David Goldman, File)

Pfizer said Monday its COVID-19 vaccine works for children ages 5 to 11 and that it will seek U.S. authorization for this age group soon — a key step toward beginning vaccinations for youngsters.

The Joffrey Ballet on Fire at Ravinia Festival

(Photo credit: Kyle Dunleavy)

Should you need any additional proof of the adage that “absence makes the heart grow fonder,” the recent one-night-only performance by the Joffrey Ballet at the Ravinia Festival provided all the evidence required.

September 20, 2021 - Full Show


Mayor Lightfoot joins us as she proposes her new budget to City Council — we’ll look at the numbers and get reaction from aldermen. The COVID-19 vaccine for kids. And U.S.-Mexico trade talks restart.

City Council Votes to Allow Marijuana to Be Sold — Legally — Downtown

(WTTW News)

Black Caucus Chair Ald. Jason Ervin (28th Ward) said the City Council should act quickly and loosen the rules because the legal sale of cannabis is “raining hundred-dollar bills” and those hurt by the war on drugs should be able to take advantage of the gold rush.

US Launches Mass Expulsion of Haitian Migrants From Texas

Haitian migrants gather on the banks of the Rio Grande after they crossed into the United States from Mexico, Saturday, Sept. 18, 2021, in Del Rio, Texas. (AP Photo / Eric Gay)
The U.S. is flying Haitians camped in a Texas border town back to their homeland and blocking others from crossing the border from Mexico in a massive show of force that signals the beginning of what could be one of America’s swiftest, large-scale expulsions of migrants or refugees in decades.

On South and West Sides, Business is Blooming for Eco-Friendly Florist

A young flower farmer creates a bouquet at Southside Blooms. (WTTW News)

A fresh floral arrangement is a quick way to brighten up a room, but those buds and blossoms likely came from farms hundreds or even thousands of miles away. A local organization is on a mission to change that.

New Documentary Explores Life, Legend of Muhammad Ali

Muhammad Ali talks with the press after winning back the Heavyweight Championship for an unprecedented third time by beating Leon Spinks at the Super Dome in New Orleans, LA. Sept. 15, 1978. (Courtesy of Michael Gaffney)

At an early age he identified himself as “The Greatest” and backed up his words inside and out of the boxing ring. Filmmaker Ken Burns joins “Black Voices” to discuss the sweeping new four-part documentary “Muhammad Ali.”

Chicago Tonight: Black Voices, September 19, 2021 - Full Show


Solving what may be dozens of cases of missing or killed Black women in Chicago. The epic life of Muhammad Ali with two men who knew him well — in different ways. And helping young people bloom.

New Missing Persons Project To Focus on Women and Girls in Illinois

Angela Martin-Fields speaks about her mother Viola Martin, who has been missing since 2009. (WTTW News)

Black women and girls in the U.S. are disproportionately at risk for abuse, exploitation and homicide. In the Chicago area, an alarming number of Black women and girls have gone missing. Can a new initiative help find them?

Sears Is Closing its Last Department Store in Illinois, the Retailer’s Home State

(WTTW News)

Come fall, Sears will shut the doors on its last department store in Illinois, the state in which its first retail store opened in 1925. The Sears department store in the Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg will close on Nov. 14.

Trailblazing Tourist Trip To Orbit Ends With Splashdown

This photo provided by SpaceX shows the passengers of Inspiration4 in the Dragon capsule on their first day in space. They are, from left, Jared Isaacman, Hayley Arceneaux, Chris Sembroski and Sian Proctor. (SpaceX via AP)

Four space tourists safely ended their trailblazing trip to orbit Saturday with a splashdown in the Atlantic off the Florida coast. 

Chicago Tonight: Latino Voices, September 18, 2021 - Full Show

Alex Hernández of Univision guest hosts the 47th episode of “Latino Voices.” (WTTW News)

The new abortion law in Mexico. Is Illinois’ child welfare agency serving Spanish-speaking children? And celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month, starting with Mexican Independence Day.