House Passes $1.9T Pandemic Bill on Near Party-Line Vote

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Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., meets with reporters before the House votes to pass a $1.9 trillion pandemic relief package, during a news conference at the Capitol in Washington, Friday, Feb. 26, 2021. Pelosi is flanked by Rep. Katherine Clark, D-Mass., left, and Rep. Pete Aguilar, D-Calif. (AP Photo / J. Scott Applewhite)

The House approved a $1.9 trillion pandemic relief bill in a win for President Joe Biden, even as top Democrats tried assuring agitated progressives that they’d revive their derailed drive to boost the minimum wage.

Highlights of the COVID-19 Relief Bill Advancing in Congress

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., speaks during a news conference at the Capitol, Thursday, Feb. 11, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo / Manuel Balce Ceneta)

The House passed a $1.9 trillion pandemic relief package early Saturday, 219-212, that includes $1,400 checks for most Americans and billions of dollars for schools, state and local governments and businesses.

The Week in Review: Michael Madigan Fills His House Seat Twice

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Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan (WTTW News)

The fight is on to replace Michael Madigan as Democratic Party chair, while his legislative successor steps down after three days on the job. And Chicago City Council erupts over COVID-19 spending. 

Aldermen Approve Lightfoot’s Plan for COVID-19 Relief Funds After Delay

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Mayor Lori Lightfoot speaks to the media following a City Council meeting to vote on her budget, which passed, on Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2020. (WTTW News)

Aldermen voted 37-10 on Friday to approve Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s plan to spend federal COVID-19 relief funds after a 48-hour delay prompted by fierce criticism of her decision to use $281.5 million in funds to cover the cost of salaries and benefits for Chicago Police Department officers.

US Advisers Endorse Single-Shot COVID-19 Vaccine from J&J

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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)

U.S. health advisers endorsed a one-dose COVID-19 vaccine from Johnson & Johnson on Friday, putting the nation on the cusp of adding an easier-to-use option to fight the pandemic.

No New Cases of More Transmissible COVID-19 Variant Found in Illinois

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(WTTW News)

No new cases of two COVID-19 variants believed to be more transmissible have been discovered in Illinois in the past seven days, according to data released Thursday by the Illinois Department of Public Health.

United Will Pay $49 Million to Settle Air Mail Fraud Case

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In this Oct. 14, 2020 file photo, United Airlines employees work at ticket counters in Terminal 1 at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago. (AP Photo / Nam Y. Huh, File)

United Airlines will pay more than $49 million to avoid criminal prosecution and settle civil charges of defrauding the U.S. Postal Service in the delivery of international mail. 

Mass Vaccination Site to Open March 10 at United Center

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(WTTW News)

Federal and state officials will open a mass vaccination site at the United Center on March 10 that could administer an additional 6,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine per day, officials announced Friday.

Ald. Tunney Fined $2K for Defying Indoor Dining Ban

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Ald. Tom Tunney, 44th Ward, speaks with “Chicago Tonight” on April 9, 2020. (WTTW News)

The Lakeview alderman, who owns the restaurant Ann Sather, admitted he flouted the ban on indoor dining in December by allowing a “very limited number of our regular diners to eat inside the restaurant.” He faced a maximum fine of $10,500.

41 Problematic Monuments Flagged by City Commission Identified

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Courtney Johnson, a South Side resident, stands in front of a vandalized statue of Christopher Columbus in Grant Park on Saturday, June 15, 2020. (Evan Garcia / WTTW News)

A commission charged with reviewing Chicago’s more than 500 public monuments as part of a “a racial healing and historical reckoning project” released on Wednesday a list of 41 monuments that are problematic for a variety of reasons, officials announced.

‘Chicago Tonight’ in Your Neighborhood: Greektown

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(WTTW News)

As restaurants in Greektown work to recover from the coronavirus pandemic and its restrictions, the neighborhood is hosting its inaugural Greektown Restaurant Week. 

How a Chicago Artist is Working to Help Musicians in Need

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(WTTW News)

A Chicago artist is working to make sure no musician is left behind with a community organization dedicated to Black musicians in Chicago.

Evanston Mayor, Former State Lawmaker Daniel Biss on Tackling National Issues at the Local Level

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Daniel Biss (WTTW News via Zoom)

One of Chicago's most populous suburbs is soon to have a leader who’s familiar statewide. Former state legislator and gubernatorial candidate Daniel Biss won the election for mayor of Evanston this week with nearly 74% of the vote. 

22nd District Gets 3rd State Representative in a Month

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For 50 years, Illinois’ 22nd state House district on Chicago’s Southwest Side was represented by one man: former Speaker Michael Madigan. Two months into 2021, the district has had three representatives in the span of a week.

February 25, 2021 - Full Show

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Watch the Feb. 25, 2021 full episode of “Chicago Tonight.”

Ask Geoffrey: The Hawthorn Mellody Dairy Farm

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What does a 20th century electricity baron have to do with a spitting llama at a suburban petting zoo? Geoffrey Baer is here with the story of the Hawthorn Mellody dairy farm in this week’s Ask Geoffrey.

Chicago’s Top Doctor Optimistic City Can Move into Next COVID-19 Vaccination Phase in March

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(WTTW News)

With the federal government ramping up its vaccine distribution efforts and a third vaccine potentially becoming available next week, Chicago could begin vaccinating more groups of residents in March, according to Dr. Allison Arwady.

Biden Lifts Trump-Era Ban Blocking Legal Immigration to US

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President Joe Biden closes the folder after signing an executive order relating to U.S. supply chains, in the State Dining Room of the White House, Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo / Evan Vucci)

President Joe Biden on Wednesday lifted a freeze on green cards issued by his predecessor during the pandemic that lawyers said was blocking most legal immigration to the United States.

Another Wave of Fans Returning to Sports Despite COVID-19

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Fans cheer the New York Knicks coming out to warm up for an NBA basketball game against the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021, in New York. A limited number of fans were allowed to attend. (Wendell Cruz / Pool Photo via AP)

Socially distant seating, mask mandates and temperature checks will be in place at many venues, but some experts remain concerned about community spread and the threat of more contagious variants of COVID-19. 

Time’s Up on Dibs, City Says. Clear Your Stuff or It’ll Get Tossed

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The city will begin hauling away dibs placeholders on March 2. (WTTW News)

It’s time to get those chairs, buckets and frozen pants out of the street. The unofficial grace period for the unofficial practice of dibs is officially over March 2, according to the Chicago Department of Streets and Sanitation.

Nearly $20M Proposed for Improvements to Chicago's Parks, Including Camp Sites at Big Marsh

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(Courtesy Friends of Big Marsh)

The projects, proposed by Mayor Lori Lightfoot at Wednesday's City Council meeting, would largely be funded through Tax Increment Financing dollars.

Manhattan Prosecutor Gets Trump Tax Records After Long Fight

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In this Dec. 12, 2020, file photo President Donald Trump walks on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington before boarding Marine One. (AP Photo / Patrick Semansky, File)

The Manhattan district attorney’s office enforced a subpoena on Donald Trump’s accounting firm within hours of the Supreme Court’s ruling on Monday and now has the documents in hand, a spokesperson for the office said Thursday.

US Jobless Claims Fall to 730,000 But Layoffs Remain High

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In this Feb. 9, 2021 file photo, a passer-by walks past an employment hiring sign while entering a Target store location, in Westwood, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)

Applications for benefits declined 111,000 from the previous week to a seasonally adjusted 730,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. It is the lowest figure since late November.

Star Farm Planting Brick-and-Mortar Roots With Local Foods Co-Op in Back of the Yards

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Star Farm has purchased the building at 5256 S. Ashland Ave., with plans to transform it into a local foods co-op. (Background image: Star Farm; inset: Google Streetview)

Like a lot of urban growers, Stephanie Dunn of Star Farm sells her produce at farmers markets around Chicago. Now she’s about to start up a different kind of farmer’s market: her own food co-op housed in a building she is preparing to renovate thanks to a grant from the Neighborhood Opportunity Fund.

To Hell and Back: Chicago Musician Recovers from Severe Depression

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Erwin Helfer in 2001. (Credit: Paul Natkin)

There are many ways the COVID-19 pandemic has turned people’s lives upside down. This is the story of the emotional devastation — and recovery — experienced by beloved local musician Erwin Helfer.

Archdiocese of Chicago to Release Names of Religious Order Priests Accused of Abuse

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The Archbishop Quigley Center in Chicago. (WTTW News)

The Archdiocese of Chicago said Wednesday it plans to publicly list the names of “credibly accused” priests belonging to religious orders after questions over the archdiocese’s transparency.

Graduated Tax Redo? Speaker Suggests Tying Revenue to Pensions

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A billboard in Chicago promotes voting in favor of the so-called fair tax in the November 2020 election. (WTTW News)

Illinois voters in November rejected a constitutional amendment that would have allowed the state to overhaul how it taxes income. Now one of Springfield’s top leaders is suggesting another swing at the effort. 

Violent Conflict in Myanmar Reverberates in Chicago’s Refugee Community

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Nasir Zakaria (WTTW News)

Rohingya have fled persecution and genocide and sought refuge on Chicago’s North Side. But now, military conflict back home is causing new fears.

Dr. Arwady: Chicago May See J&J Vaccine ‘As Soon as Next Week’

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(WTTW News)

Chicago could start receiving Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose COVID-19 vaccine in early March, Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said Wednesday.

Chicago’s Lakefront is Under Siege, Landing on Preservation Chicago’s ‘Most Endangered’ List

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South Works. (Eric Allix Rogers / Preservation Chicago)

The lakefront is arguably Chicago’s crown jewel, but that status is threatened, according to Preservation Chicago, which placed the lakefront on its annual endangered list for 2021, citing threats including development of the Obama Presidential Center in Jackson Park and erosion from rising lake levels.

CPS Board Approves Policy Requiring Employees to Disclose COVID-19 Vaccination Status

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(WTTW News)

The Chicago Board of Education has approved a new measure allowing Chicago Public Schools to track which teachers and employees have gotten a COVID-19 vaccine. Down the line, it would allow the district to require vaccinations.

FDA Says Single-Dose Shot From J&J Prevents Severe COVID-19

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This Dec. 2, 2020 photo provided by Johnson & Johnson shows vials of the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine in the United States. (Johnson & Johnson via AP)

Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose vaccine offers strong protection against severe COVID-19, according to an analysis released Wednesday by U.S. regulators that sets the stage for a final decision on a new and easier-to-use shot to help tame the pandemic.