Trump to America’s Schools: Reopen or You May Lose Federal Funds

President Donald Trump listens as Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador speaks during an event in the Rose Garden at the White House, Wednesday, July 8, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo / Evan Vucci)

Determined to reopen America’s schools despite coronavirus worries, President Donald Trump threatened on Wednesday to hold back federal money if school districts don’t bring their students back in the fall.

#BlackBotanistsWeek Honors Field Museum Scientist Who Died from COVID-19

Chicagoan Lynika Strozier was honored by her peers during #BlackBotanistsWeek. (Field Museum / Corrie Moreau)

Following social media campaigns like #BlackBirdersWeek and #BlackHikerWeek, a group of Black plant scientists from around the world is creating a community around — and celebrating — Black people who love plants.  

Mobile COVID-19 Testing Teams to be Deployed to Hard-Hit Communities

New statewide COVID-19 totals: 149,432 cases, 7,099 deaths

(WTTW News)

A dozen new mobile testing teams will offer drive-thru and walk-up services across the state, free of charge.

Mural With a Message Promotes Mental Health Awareness, Optimism

A mural by Myron Laban on Chicago’s West Side. (WTTW News)

“You deserve to be happy.” That’s the message artist Myron Laban believes people really need to hear in the midst of today’s uncertainties. We check out one of his latest murals on Chicago’s West Side.

Flower Power: Farm-to-Vase Movement Takes Root on Chicago’s South and West Sides

Eco House’s Englewood farm site. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

Eco House is planting the seeds for a homegrown flower industry on vacant lots in Englewood, Woodlawn and West Garfield Park. We learn about the mission behind this slow flowers movement.

Northside College Prep LSC Votes to Pull School Resource Officers

Northside College Prep (Facebook)

A Chicago public high school on the Northwest Side has voted to remove its school resource officers amid a nationwide push to rethink police in schools following the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

New Rules: Foreign Pupils Must Leave US if Classes Go Online

In this Aug. 13, 2019 file photo, students walk near the Widener Library in Harvard Yard at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass. (AP Photo / Charles Krupa, File)

International students will be forced to leave the U.S. or transfer to another college if their schools offer classes entirely online this fall, under new guidelines issued Monday by federal immigration authorities.

July 8, 2020 - Full Show


Watch the July 8, 2020 full episode of “Chicago Tonight.”

United Sending Layoff Notices to Nearly Half of US Employees

In this March 25, 2020 file photo, United Airlines planes are parked at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston. (AP Photo / David J. Phillip, File)

United Airlines is warning 36,000 employees — nearly half its U.S. staff — they could be furloughed in October, the clearest signal yet of how deeply the virus pandemic is hurting the airline industry.

AP Exclusive: ‘Strike for Black Lives’ to Highlight Racism

In this June 19, 2020, file photo, people demonstrate in Chicago, to mark Juneteenth. (AP Photo / Nam Y. Huh, File)

A national coalition of labor unions, along with racial and social justice organizations, will stage a mass walkout from work this month, as part of an ongoing reckoning on systemic racism and police brutality in the U.S.

Wanna Beat the Heat? Some Splash Pads Are Open, But Check Before You Go

The Park District has opened some of its splash pads during the heatwave. (Chicago Park District)

The Chicago Park District has turned the water on at some, but not all, of its splash pads.

Gov. Pritzker: ‘We Need a National Masking Mandate’

Gov. J.B. Pritzker testifies Wednesday before the U.S. House Committee on Homeland Security. (Courtesy U.S. House Committee on Homeland Security)

Testifying before a U.S. House committee on Wednesday, Gov. J.B. Pritzker outlined steps the federal government can take to respond to the worsening coronavirus pandemic, including a mandate on wearing face masks.

City Allows General Iron to Partially Reopen After Explosions That Rattled North Side

General Iron’s metal-shredding operation in Lincoln Park. (WTTW News)

Five weeks after two explosions rattled General Iron, city officials allowed the North Side metal recycler to partially reopen June 24 — but its shredding facility remains shut down as investigations continue into the May 18 blasts.

Small Business Aid Went Beyond Hard-Hit Companies, Data Show

In this June 30, 2020 file photo, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin testifies during a House Financial Services Committee hearing on the coronavirus response on Capitol Hill in Washington. (Tasos Katopodis / Pool via AP, File)

A federal program designed to soften job losses from the coronavirus also benefited wealthy, well-connected companies and some celebrity owned firms. Which companies benefited in Illinois?

Activity in Services Sector Shows Record Rebound in June

(ryanhidajat / Pixabay)

Activity in the U.S. services sector rebounded strongly last month, but those gains are now being threatened by the resurgence of coronavirus cases in many parts of the country. Local economists weigh in.

Coalition Calls on Governor to Move Nursing Home Residents to Hotels

(Photo by Stefano Ferrario / Pixabay)

Advocacy groups are calling on Gov. J.B. Pritzker to move residents from nursing homes and other congregate care settings into community settings, like hotels, to allow for proper social distancing and to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Chicago Writer, Shooting Victim: Treat Crime Scenes Like Trauma Scenes

Charles Woodhouse Jr. appears on “Chicago Tonight” via Zoom on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. (WTTW News)

As the city mourns victims of gun violence, we talk with Charles Woodhouse Jr., a survivor calling for healing.

How a Community Group is Using Art to Help Children Heal


A community art center is making sure kids have an outlet to express themselves as the pandemic not only limits their activities, but also their resources. We visit the nonprofit SkyArt.

Former Neo-Nazi Christian Picciolini on Combating the Rise of Extremism

Christian Picciolini appears on “Chicago Tonight” via Zoom on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. (WTTW News)

Since 2017, the number of white nationalist hate groups has increased by 55%, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. What’s behind the resurgence? We ask a former skinhead.

Youth Sports Come Out Swinging (Safely) for Summer

(KeithJJ / Pixabay)

After a long spring indoors, many kids are ready to get back outside. But the pandemic means this year, the boys and girls of summer are practicing social distancing along with catching and hitting.

July 7, 2020 - Full Show

(Courtesy of Christian Picciolini)

Watch the July 7, 2020 full episode of “Chicago Tonight.”

No Bond for Alleged Getaway Driver in Fourth of July Shooting That Left 7-Year-Old Dead

Reginald Merrill (Chicago Police Department)

Reginald Merrill will be held in jail on charges of first-degree murder and aggravated battery following his first appearance in court on Tuesday, three days after a shooting that left 7-year-old Natalia Wallace dead and another man injured.

All the Planets Visible to the Naked Eye on View in July

Jupiter is one of the brightest objects in the night sky. Look for it in July. (Hypervel / Flickr)

July is a great month for planet watching. Jupiter, Saturn, Venus, Mars and Mercury will all make an appearance.

Protective Gear For Medical Workers Begins to Run Low Again

In this July 5, 2020, file photo, healthcare workers help each other with their personal protective equipment at a drive-thru coronavirus testing site outside Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo / Wilfredo Lee, File)

The personal protective gear that was in dangerously short supply during the early weeks of the coronavirus crisis in the U.S. is running low again as the virus resumes its rapid spread and the number of hospitalized patients climbs.

As Tollway Transactions Dive Nearly 28%, Drivers Given Latitude on Skipped Tolls

(Michael Leland / Flickr)

Before the coronavirus pandemic, the Illinois Tollway projected its revenues in 2020 would reach $1.5 billion, a 3% increase from 2019. But with people staying at home, that means fewer drivers on the roads – including the tollways.

Children’s Book ‘The Skin You Live In’ Back in the Spotlight

An illustration by David Lee Csicsko for the book “The Skin You Live In.”

There is renewed interest in a children’s book written and illustrated by a couple of Chicagoans. We speak with author Michael Tyler and illustrator David Lee Csicsko.

How COVID-19 Has Affected Spending, Revenues in Illinois

(Ken Teegardin / Flickr)

It was clear as soon as the coronavirus was classified as a pandemic that it was going to take a heavy toll on the finances of many individuals and businesses – and therefore on their governments’ finances, too.

‘Senseless Crime’: The Victims of July Fourth Shootings

A Chicago police officer investigates the scene of a shooting in Chicago on Sunday, July 5, 2020. (Ashlee Rezin Garcia / Chicago Sun-Times via AP)

From San Francisco to South Carolina, a spate of shootings claimed the lives of people celebrating or just taking a drive over the Fourth of July weekend. Chicago saw one of its bloodiest holiday weekends in memory.

The Best Chicago Film Archive You’ve Never Heard Of


If you’ve ever marveled at archive footage of old Chicago in a WTTW documentary, chances are good it came from Walt Keevil’s north suburban basement.

A Virtual Tour of the Illinois Holocaust Museum in Skokie

The Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center in Skokie. (WTTW News)

When Nazis sought to march in Skokie in 1978, they did not get their wish. Residents resisted and six years later opened a storefront museum whose mission remains to “take a stand” against bias.

New Analysis Shows Large Swaths of Chicago at High Flood Risk

A flooded Riverwalk along the Chicago River. (WTTW News)

This spring, Chicago saw record rainfall for the third May in a row – and with it, the return of flooded streets, parks and basements. A new analysis finds many more Chicago properties are at risk of flooding than previously thought.

Lightfoot Orders Visitors to Chicago from COVID-19 Hot Spots to Quarantine for 2 Weeks

(Daniel Dione / Flickr)

Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Thursday ordered those traveling to Chicago from states where confirmed cases of the coronavirus are surging to quarantine for two weeks starting Monday.