Illinois Set to Hike Minimum Wage to $15, Highest in Midwest

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Illinois state Rep. Will Guzzardi, D-Chicago, testifies before the Labor and Commerce Committee on Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2019 on his proposal to increase the minimum wage to $15 by 2025. (AP Photo / John O’Connor)

Illinois legislators moved quickly Thursday to deliver one of new Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s top campaign promises, a gradual hike in the statewide minimum wage from $8.25 to $15 an hour.

UIC Study of High School Cliques Finds Some Disturbing Trends

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On the first anniversary of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, we examine the role of cliques and alienation in high school life – and what lessons may be learned.

1898 Silent Film Represents Earliest Depiction of On-Screen Black Love

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A still image from the 1898 silent film “Something Good-Negro Kiss.”

How a recently discovered film shot in Chicago more than 120 years ago still makes a powerful statement – without saying a word.

Activists Denounce Mayor Emanuel’s Renewable Energy Plan

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Kimberly Wasserman, executive director of the Little Village Environmental Justice Organization, speaks during a press conference Thursday in response to a new renewable energy plan unveiled by Mayor Rahm Emanuel. (Courtesy Little Village Environmental Justice Organization)

Mayor Rahm Emanuel announces a plan for transitioning Chicago buildings to 100 percent renewable energy by 2035. But community advocates say the plan ignores existing environmental threats in some parts of the city.

Joffrey Ballet’s World Premiere ‘Anna Karenina’ Fit for the Silver Screen

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Alberto Velazquez and Victoria Jaiani in the Joffrey Ballet’s “Anna Karenina.” (Photo by Cheryl Mann)

This haunting, visually fascinating interpretation of Leo Tolstoy’s massive 1877 novel serves as the latest evidence of the unique ability of the Joffrey to turn dance into riveting, multi-dimensional theater.

DEA Launches Digital Billboard Campaign Against Opioid Use

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Robert J. Bell, U.S. DEA associate special agent in charge of the Chicago field division office, announces Thursday, Feb. 14 the launch of a yearlong digital billboard campaign against the opioid epidemic. (Kristen Thometz / Chicago Tonight)

As part of its ongoing efforts to combat the opioid epidemic, the Drug Enforcement Agency announced Thursday it’s launching a yearlong digital billboard campaign across the Chicago area.

Jason Van Dyke’s Wife, Attorneys Demand Answers After Prison Beating

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Tiffany Van Dyke, wife of former Chicago police Officer Jason Van Dyke, speaks during a news conference at attorney Daniel Herbert’s office in Chicago on Thursday, Feb. 14, 2019. (Ashlee Rezin / Chicago Sun-Times via AP)

“The next time this could happen they could kill him,” Tiffany Van Dyke told the media through tears at a press conference Thursday. “I cannot bury my husband.”

Lawsuit Means Chicago Obama Library Plan No Sure Thing

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This illustration released on May 3, 2017 by the Obama Foundation shows plans for the proposed Obama Presidential Center with a museum, rear, in Jackson Park on Chicago's South Side. (Obama Foundation via AP, File)

Odds may still favor the eventual construction of the Obama Presidential Center in Jackson Park, but it’s no longer a sure thing in the face of a formidable legal challenge by a parks advocacy group.

Police Questioning ‘Persons of Interest’ in Smollett Case

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In this May 20, 2016 file photo, actor and singer Jussie Smollett attends the “Empire” FYC Event in Los Angeles. (Richard Shotwell / Invision / AP, File)

Detectives are interviewing two “persons of interest” who surveillance photos show were in the area of downtown Chicago where “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett said he was attacked last month, police said Thursday.

Mayoral Candidate Forum: Fioretti, Joyce, Kozlar, Sáles-Griffin

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In less than two weeks, 14 candidates will appear on the ballot for mayor of Chicago. The first in our series of three mayoral candidate forums kicks off with four of those candidates.

Source: Jason Van Dyke Beaten by Fellow Inmates in Prison

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Former Chicago police Officer Jason Van Dyke and his attorney Daniel Herbert, left, attend Van Dyke’s sentencing hearing on Friday, Jan. 18, 2019. (Antonio Perez / Chicago Tribune / Pool)

Former Chicago police Officer Jason Van Dyke was beaten by his fellow inmates shortly after being transferred to an out-of-state prison, a source close to his family confirms.

Spotlight Politics: Mayoral Money Machine Revs Up

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Bill Daley gets a major endorsement for mayor while hauling in big bucks. Carol Marin, Paris Schutz and Amanda Vinicky have details on that story and more in this week’s political roundtable.

Venezuelans in Chicago Hope for Change in Their Homeland

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Luciana Diaz

A growing number of Venezuelans fleeing the turmoil in their country are finding a new life in Chicago. But they’re keeping a close eye on their homeland, with the hopes that change is about to take place.

Behind the Curtain of the Joffrey’s Newest Production, ‘Anna Karenina’

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For the first time in its history, the Joffrey Ballet cues up an entirely new score for its daring new production. We get a peek at the company’s creative process – and personalities.

Candidate Forum: Chicago City Treasurer Hopefuls Face Off

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The Chicago mayor’s race is getting a lot of attention, but it’s not the only contested citywide race in the Feb. 26 election. Meet the candidates running to replace outgoing Treasurer Kurt Summers.

10 Things to Do This Weekend: Feb. 14-17

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Madeline Lauzon, front, with, from left, Shelby Marie Edwards, Allison Taylor and Ricci Prioletti in “Lucky: A Musical,” part of Underscore Theatre Company’s 5th annual Chicago Musical Theatre Festival. (Photo by Evan Hanover)

New musicals, vintage wedding dresses, motorcycles and encased meats usher in the weekend. Here are 10 things to do in and around Chicago. 

Presidential Hopeful Pete Buttigieg Talks 2020, New Memoir

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South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg

The South Bend, Indiana, mayor tells us about his new memoir “Shortest Way Home” – and why his eyes are set on the White House.

Illinois Defies National Trend by Adding 1,300 Solar Jobs in 2018

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(Andrew Kuhn / Flickr)

The U.S. solar energy industry lost nearly 8,000 jobs last year, but Illinois was one of just eight states that saw a significant increase in solar jobs.

In ‘A Doll’s House, Part 2,’ a Provocative He Said/She Said Twist on an Ibsen Classic

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Sandra Marquez and Yasen Peyankov in Steppenwolf’s Chicago premiere production of “A Doll’s House, Part 2.” (Photo by Michael Brosilow)

This sequel to Henrik Ibsen’s groundbreaking play – now receiving its Chicago debut at Steppenwolf Theatre – arrives at a moment when a whole new tsunami-like wave of feminist rebellion has gathered force.

4 More Cleared in Latest Exonerations Tied to Former Chicago Police Sergeant

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Attorney Joel Flaxman, right, stands inside the Leighton Criminal Court Building with Jermaine Coleman, center, and Germain Sims on Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2019. (Matt Masterson / Chicago Tonight)

Four men were exonerated of false drug convictions Wednesday, joining more than 60 others who’ve been falsely convicted and later exonerated in cases related to former Chicago Police Sgt. Ronald Watts.

Theo Epstein: Joe Ricketts Emails Don’t Reflect Cubs’ Values

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In this Feb. 14, 2012 file photo, online brokerage TD Ameritrade founder Joe Ricketts speaks during a ceremonial unveiling of his portrait which will hang in company headquarters in Omaha, Nebraska. (AP Photo / Nati Harnik, File)

“The emails were upsetting to read, and especially upsetting to think that some of our fans were put into a position where they had to consider their favorite team and some of those types of views,” Theo Epstein said Tuesday.

Illinois Holocaust Museum Opens Exhibit on American Slave Trade

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A watercolor engraving by William Henry Brooke from a slave auction in New Orleans, 1842 (Courtesy of The Historic New Orleans Collection)

Rare objects from a New Orleans historical group are now on display at the Illinois Holocaust Museum. We get an early look at the exhibition “Purchased Lives.”

FDA Assessing Risks of Vaginal Mesh Amid Thousands of Lawsuits

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(valelopardo / Pixabay)

More than 100,000 women are suing manufacturers over painful complications from surgical mesh, which is implanted in the vaginal wall to treat urinary incontinence and other health issues. 

Of Mice and Men in Space: Chicago Researchers Helping NASA Prepare for Mars

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NASA has sent a group of laboratory mice into orbit to study the physiological effects of living in space. (Courtesy NASA)

An ongoing NASA study aided by Northwestern researchers sent mice into orbit with the goal of learning more about the physiological effects of living in space. 

Amid Blackface Scandals, 2 Black Comedians Share Their Perspectives

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This image shows Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s page in his 1984 Eastern Virginia Medical School yearbook, including a picture, at right, of a person in blackface and another wearing a Ku Klux Klan hood. (Eastern Virginia Medical School via AP)

As the fallout over Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s yearbook scandal continues, a look at recent examples of blackface in comedy again raises the question of whether the practice is ever permissible. 

A Window Into Pritzker’s Plans for Illinois

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Gov. J.B. Pritzker answers questions about Senate Bill 1, a bill to raise the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025, after it passed the Illinois Senate on Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019. (Justin L. Fowler / The State Journal-Register via AP)

A series of transition reports unveiled last week provides a look at what new Gov. J.B. Pritzker has in store for Illinois, from potential new taxes to the creation of a statewide infrastructure czar. 

Pritzker Admin Lays Out Financial Woes Ahead of Budget Address

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Gov. J.B. Pritzker addresses a new bill to raise the state's minimum wage to $15 an hour on Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019. (Justin L. Fowler/The State Journal-Register via AP)

As Illinoisans wait for new Gov. J.B. Pritzker to unveil his budget plan, Pritzker’s administration is delving into the perilous state of Illinois’ finances with a series of reports.  

Cracked Lake Shore Drive Bridge Reopens

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A portion of northbound Lake Shore Drive reopened Tuesday after having been shut down for more than 24 hours, raising questions about the condition of Chicago’s other bridges. 

Smollett Says He Redacted Phone Files to Protect Privacy

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In this May 14, 2018 file photo, Jussie Smollett, a cast member in the TV series “Empire,” attends the Fox Networks Group 2018 programming presentation after-party in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini / Invision / AP, File)

Actor Jussie Smollett says he redacted some information from his phone before giving it to Chicago police investigating a reported attack on the “Empire” actor in order to protect the privacy of contacts and people who are not relevant to the attack.

Analysis: $15 Minimum Wage No Windfall for Illinois Workers

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In this Sunday, Feb. 10, 2019 photo, Laquesha Russell, a 36-year-old home health care worker who makes $10.78 an hour, speaks during an interview as she shops for groceries for her four children in Springfield, Illinois. (AP Photo / John O’Connor)

Illinois is poised to join Washington, D.C., and at least four other states with a $15-an-hour minimum by 2025, an 82-percent spike in current base pay. But it may not be the momentous impact on low-wage workers that some supporters expected.

Chicago Sues 27 Online Retailers Over E-Cigarette Sales

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(sarahjohnson1 / Pixabay)

A new report details a rise in the use of e-cigarettes by young people across the country as the city of Chicago files a lawsuit against online sellers it claims illegally sold tobacco products to minors.

Your Weather Photos: Winter in Chicago

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An icy Lake Michigan on Wednesday, Jan. 30. “I couldn’t resist an early morning walk,” said Chicago Tonight’s Jay Shefsky. (Jay Shefsky / Chicago Tonight)

How are you staying warm? What do you see outside? Share your cold-weather photos with us and we’ll add them to our gallery.