Patriotism Is the Theme of Christmas at the White House

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A decorated tree stands next to the portrait of President George Washington in the East Room during the 2019 Christmas preview at the White House, Monday, Dec. 2, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo / Alex Brandon)

“It is with great joy that our family welcomes you to the White House this holiday season as we celebrate the Spirit of America,” President Donald Trump, the first lady and their son, Barron, say in the signed introduction to a souvenir book visitors will receive as a holiday keepsake.

The Week in Review: Eddie Johnson Out

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Mayor Lori Lightfoot fires top cop Eddie Johnson weeks before his retirement. Are the feds eyeing House Speaker Michael Madigan? Legal pot hits a roadblock. And Mitchell Trubisky shines in a Bears win over Dallas.

Taking Stock of Chicago Theater as 2019 Draws to a Close

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Nondumiso Tembe in “Lindiwe,” left, Kelvin Roston Jr. in “Oedipus Rex,” center, and Christina Hall in “Always … Patsy Cline.” (Photos by Michael Brosilow)

It would be all but impossible to survey the many great, good and sometimes disappointing productions of the past 12 months. But three recent shows suggest the great variety of work produced in Chicago – and the immense amount of talent here.

Andrew Bird Takes Flight in 2001 – A Deep Dive into the WTTW Archives

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Andrew Bird in 2011 (WTTW News)

On Sept. 5, 2001, indie rock songwriter Andrew Bird invited WTTW into his Wicker Park home for a raw rehearsal with his band Bowl of Fire. As Bird prepares for a run of sold-out shows in Chicago, we revisit this archival footage.

Officials List Pot Vape Brands Reported in US Outbreak

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In this Aug. 28, 2019, file photo, a man exhales while smoking an e-cigarette in Portland, Maine. (AP Photo / Robert F. Bukaty, File)

Health officials investigating a nationwide outbreak of vaping illnesses have listed, for the first time, the vape brands most commonly linked to hospitalizations.

US Flu Season Arrives Early, Driven by an Unexpected Virus

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In this Feb. 7, 2018 file photo, a nurse prepares a flu shot at the Salvation Army in Atlanta. (AP Photo / David Goldman)

The U.S. winter flu season is off to its earliest start in more than 15 years, and there’s a decent chance it could peak much earlier than normal, health officials say.

Uber Reports More Than 3,000 Sexual Assaults on 2018 Rides

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This Wednesday, June 21, 2017, file photo shows the building that houses the headquarters of Uber, in San Francisco. (AP Photo / Eric Risberg, File)

As part of a long anticipated safety report, the ride-hailing company revealed that more than 3,000 sexual assaults were reported during its U.S. rides in 2018.

Brendt Christensen Moved to Kentucky Prison to Serve Out Life Sentence

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A memorial stone engraved with Yingying Zhang’s name in both English and Chinese on the campus of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in June 2019, two years after her disappearance. (Photo by Mark Van Moer) Inset, top: Yingying Zhang (Courtesy University of Illinois Police Department). Bottom: Brendt Christensen (Courtesy Macon County Sheriff’s Department).

In June, Brendt Christensen was convicted of kidnapping and killing University of Illinois Chinese scholar Yingying Zhang. This week, he was sent to McCreary United States Penitentiary, a high-security federal prison that houses some 1,500 convicts in southern Kentucky.

R. Kelly Charged with Paying Bribe Before Marrying Aaliyah

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This combination photo shows singer R. Kelly after the first day of jury selection in his child pornography trial at the Cook County Criminal Courthouse in Chicago on May 9, 2008, left, the late R&B singer and actress Aaliyah during a photo shoot in New York on May 9, 2001. (AP Photo / File)

Federal prosecutors are accusing singer R. Kelly of scheming with others to pay for a fake ID for an unnamed female a day before he married R&B singer Aaliyah, then 15 years old, in a secret ceremony in 1994.

Mitchell Trubisky Helps Bears Beat Cowboys 31-24

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Chicago Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky (10) throws during the first half of an NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys, Thursday, Dec. 5, 2019, in Chicago. (AP Photo / Charles Rex Arbogast)

In a matchup between disappointing teams that made the playoffs last season, the Bears (7-6) came away with their fourth win in five games after dropping four in a row. The Cowboys (6-7) have lost seven of 10 since a 3-0 start.

Inside Odd Obsession: Chicago’s Volunteer-Run Video Library

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(WTTW News)

Remember the days when watching a movie at home required a trip to the video rental store? Blockbuster is long gone, but there are still a few places to rent movies in Chicago, including this well-stocked shop in Bucktown.

Hundreds of Thousands Could Lose Food Stamps Under Federal Rule Change

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(kc0uvb / Pixabay)

A Trump administration rule change could leave almost 700,000 people without food stamp benefits by mid-2020. How those changes could impact Illinois residents.

Democrats Move Toward Impeaching Trump, With Scant Grumbling

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Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., responds forcefully to a question from a reporter who asked if she hated President Trump, after announcing earlier that the House is moving forward to draft articles of impeachment against Trump, at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 5, 2019. (AP Photo / J. Scott Applewhite)

House Democrats are charging toward impeaching President Donald Trump but not without pockets of division, as lawmakers who began the summer divided largely rallied Thursday behind Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s cry that his actions leave them “no choice but to act.”

CDOT: ‘Please Don’t Stop Reporting Bike Lane Issues to 311’

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(WTTW News)

The Chicago Department of Transportation on Thursday acknowledged the frustrations cyclists have faced when submitting bicycle-related issues to 311, but said the system has been improving and called on everyone to keep those service requests coming.

Survey: Half of US High School Students Report Having Tried a Tobacco Product

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(Vaping360 / Flickr)

More than 50% of high school students and nearly 25% of middle school students in the U.S. have tried a tobacco product in their lifetimes, according to the latest National Youth Tobacco Survey. “It’s really disappointing,” a local pediatrician said.

‘Memory Unearthed’ Shines Light on a Dark Chapter of WWII

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Ghetto residents happily strolling, 1940-1944. (Courtesy of the Art Gallery of Ontario, Gift of the Archive of Modern Conflict)

The recovered photographs of Henryk Ross reveal complex stories of life in the Lodz ghetto. We visit an exhibit at the Illinois Holocaust Museum in Skokie.

Crain’s Headlines: United CEO Oscar Munoz Stepping Down

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In this May 2, 2017 file photo, United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz prepares to testify on Capitol Hill in Washington, before a House Transportation Committee oversight hearing. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP File Photo)

United Airlines President Scott Kirby will take the reins in May, capping a turnaround effort at an airline that had become an industry laggard after a rocky merger with Continental Airlines as well as a national PR nightmare.

Chicago Police Board to Hear Public Comment in Search for New Top Cop

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(WTTW News)

Three public listening sessions will be held next week as the board seeks a permanent replacement for Eddie Johnson, who was fired as police superintendent earlier this week.

House Will Draft Trump Impeachment Articles, Pelosi Says

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Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., makes a statement at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 5, 2019. Pelosi says the House is drafting articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump.   (AP Photo / J. Scott Applewhite)

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Thursday that the House is moving forward to draft articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump.

Police Chief Firing Puts Spotlight on Cops Who Let Him Go

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In this March 26, 2019, file photo, Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson speaks during a news conference in Chicago. (AP Photo / Teresa Crawford, File)

When fellow officers discovered former top cop Eddie Johnson asleep behind the wheel of his car, they did not conduct any sobriety tests and let their boss drive home – a decision that has thrown a spotlight on what happens when one officer confronts another on patrol.

African American Aldermen Try to Halt Sale of Legal Pot in Chicago

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Sales of recreational marijuana will begin in Chicago – and across the state – on Jan. 1. Or will they? A group of aldermen on Wednesday explained why they want to put the brakes on pot in Chicago.

Constitutional Questions Debated in Testy New Phase of Impeachment

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Stanford University law professor Pamela Karlan testifies before the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019. (WTTW News)

The House Judiciary Committee holds its first hearing as it weighs articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump. Local law professors Tom Ginsburg and David Franklin discuss the testimony and what lies ahead.

Crain’s Headlines: Whistleblower Suit Claims Navistar ‘Wildly’ Inflated Prices

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U.S. Army Soldiers with the Field Artillery Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment, get ready to start a convoy during drivers training with mine resistant ambush protected vehicles March 6, 2013, at Hohenfels, Germany. (U.S. Army Photo by Spc. Joshua Edwards / Released)

Illinois-based truck and engine maker Navistar is accused of bilking the Pentagon out of almost $1.5 billion. 

Judge Dismisses Lawsuit in John Dillinger Exhumation Case

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This file photo shows Indiana Reformatory booking shots of John Dillinger, stored in the state archives, and shows the notorious gangster as a 21-year-old. (AP Photo / The Indianapolis Star, Charlie Nye, File)

A nephew of 1930s gangster John Dillinger needs a cemetery’s permission to exhume the notorious criminal’s Indianapolis gravesite to prove whether he’s actually buried there, a judge ruled Wednesday in dismissing the nephew’s lawsuit against the cemetery.

Bears vs. Cowboys Preview: Chicago Hopes to Gain Ground in Playoff Picture

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Can the Bears actually make a playoff push? Former Bears offensive lineman James “Big Cat” Williams joins us to preview their matchup with the Cowboys.

10 Things to Do This Weekend: Dec. 5-8

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(David Wilson / Flickr)

A festive CTA train, winter markets, irreverent attorneys and holiday hounds usher in the weekend. Here are 10 things to do in and around Chicago.

Man Convicted of Shooting ATF Agent Sentenced to More Than 16 Years in Prison

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Dirksen United States Courthouse (Ken Lund / Flickr)

Ernesto Godinez, 29, the reputed gang member convicted of shooting a federal agent in the head last year on the Southwest Side, has been sentenced to more 200 months in federal prison.

Climate Simulations Are Mostly Accurate, Study Finds

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(qimono / Pixabay)

The computer models used to simulate what heat-trapping gases will do to global temperatures have been pretty spot-on in their predictions, a new study found.

Of Founders and Findings: What to Watch on Impeachment

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House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., speaks with reporters after a closed-door session with his Democratic members to prepare for a public hearing Wednesday with legal experts to examine the constitutional grounds for the impeachment of President Donald Trump, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2019. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

When House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler gavels open Wednesday’s impeachment hearings against the nation’s 45th president, he’ll launch the business of actually writing an indictment against Donald Trump. Watch live.

A Radiant Moment in Chicago History Key to Magic of Joffrey’s ‘Nutcracker’

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Yoshihisa Arai and Amanda Assucena of the Joffrey Ballet perform Christopher Wheeldon’s Chicago-themed reinvention of “The Nutcracker.” (Photo by Cheryl Mann)

This highly original reimagining of the classic holiday tale is a monumental production both in its storytelling and its design, yet it manages to beautifully interweave its grand scale elements with human scale emotions. 

Charlie Beck Takes Charge Following Eddie Johnson’s Ouster

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Charlie Beck held his first press conference as interim police superintendent Tuesday, a day after Eddie Johnson was abruptly fired as top cop. What can the city expect from Beck? And what’s next for a department already laboring under a consent decree?

Report: Local Transit Fails to Meet Needs of Disabled, Elderly Riders

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A southbound Metra Electric District train departs 79th Street station. (vxla / Flickr)

A new report outlines barriers faced by the elderly and people with disabilities when using public transportation and makes recommendations for improvements. “Access benefits everyone,” said one disability advocate.

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