City Clarifies Outdoor Dining Guidelines: Fire Pits Are Not Permitted ‘Heaters’

(Tom Swinnen / Pexels)

The city’s guidelines for 2020’s unprecedented outdoor fall-to-winter dining season allow for several types of heaters, but fire pits aren’t one of them.

As Summer Turns to Fall, Extreme Weather Wracks US

Trees crashed onto cars and into streets during storms in Chicago on Aug. 10, 2020. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

As Chicago gets ready for cooler weather, many parts of the country are being hit by wildfires, hurricanes and the aftermath of last month’s destructive derecho. We learn more with atmospheric scientist Scott Collis.

Illinois Tech’s New Innovation Hub Leader Aims to Make Entrepreneurship Accessible to All

Maryam Saleh speaks with “Chicago Tonight” via Zoom on Monday, Sept. 21, 2020. (WTTW News)

Maryam Saleh, an entrepreneur and Chicago-based computational neuroscientist, tells us about her new role leading the Ed Kaplan Family Institute for Innovation and Tech Entrepreneurship at the Illinois Institute of Technology.

September 22, 2020 - Full Show


Watch the Sept. 22, 2020 full episode of “Chicago Tonight.”

Chicago’s Top Lawyer Warns Aldermen to Be Careful When Pushing Diversity Goals

(Manne1409 / Pixabay)

The city’s top lawyer bluntly warned aldermen to be careful when demanding that firms do more to meet goals set by city officials designed to encourage them to work with firms owned by female, Black and Latino Chicagoans.

Next Cook County Circuit Court Clerk Must Improve Public Access, Accountability, Legal Groups Say

Cook County Circuit Court Clerk Dorothy Brown speaks with WTTW News on Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2019. (WTTW News)

With Dorothy Brown deciding not to run for a fifth term, Cook County will have a new circuit court clerk this fall for the first time in 20 years. And legal advocates have some recommendations for whoever wins that seat in November.

Chicago Set to Order Visitors From Wisconsin to Quarantine, Again

Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Leroy_Skalstad / Pixabay)

Wisconsin’s infection rate is now averaging 31 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents, per day, over seven days. A minimum of 15 cases per 100,000 residents triggers Chicago’s quarantine order.

Preckwinkle Urges Residents to Register, Vote in ‘Most Important Election of Our Lifetimes’

(WTTW News)

“If you’re not registered to vote, it’s not too late,” Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said Tuesday as she urged people to participate in the November election.

Set Your Sights on the ‘Chicagohenge’ Equinox Sunset

Chicago's east-west streets are the best place to view the fall equinox sunset. (Patty Wetli / WTTW)

During the fall equinox, the sun rises due east and sets due west, creating an effect dubbed “Chicagohenge” (in reference to Stonehenge), when the sunset is strikingly framed on east-west streets by the city’s skyscrapers.

‘Dreadhead Cowboy’ Arrested for Riding His Horse on a Chicago Highway

The “Dreadhead Cowboy” is seen on the Dan Ryan Expressway in Chicago. (Courtesy Vashon Jordan Jr. / @vashon_photo)

The Dreadhead Cowboy, a local celebrity whose real name is Adam Hollingsworth, said he rode down the Dan Ryan Expressway in support of the #KidsLivesMatter movement.

High Court Front-Runner Hailed By Right, Feared By Left

Amy Coney Barrett (WTTW News via CNN)

Amy Coney Barrett, a devout Catholic, is a federal appellate judge in Chicago who has established herself as a reliable conservative on hot-button legal issues from abortion to gun control. 

Chicago Architect Uses City as Backdrop for Virtual Drawing Class

Joel Berman speaks with “Chicago Tonight” via Zoom. (WTTW News)

Chicago architect Joel Berman is using his love of design to teach the next generation of artists in a new virtual drawing class. We recently joined the students to learn more.

Community Sends Message of Peace, Unity Amid Rising Gun Violence in Albany Park

Community members take part in a peace walk in Albany Park to address gun violence on Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020. (Annemarie Mannion / WTTW News)

About 200 people took part in a peaceful walk Sunday in Albany Park to bring attention to a recent increase in gun violence in the Northwest Side neighborhood, where last week at least seven people were shot, including two teens.

‘No Silver Bullet’: Aldermen Start Confronting Massive Budget Shortfall

(Jürgen Polle / Pixabay)

Chicago’s chief financial officer warned aldermen Monday that taxing big firms and financial transactions would not help dig the city out of a massive budget hole caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Food Insecurity On the Rise Across US, Chicago Amid COVID-19

(Courtesy of the Greater Chicago Food Depository)

A recent poll found that 17% of households in Chicago can’t afford to pay for both their food and bills. How COVID-19 has impacted food security in Chicago six months into the pandemic.

We Discovered a Legit Way To Spend a Day at a Chicago Beach: Join a Cleanup

Volunteers are needed for daily beach cleanups through Sept. 26. (Courtesy of Shedd Aquarium)

It might not be the day of your Coppertone dreams, but you can get a little sand between your toes by signing up for one or all of this week’s volunteer beach and shoreline cleanups.

GOP Hopeful Supreme Court Battle Will Help Shift Election

The flag flies at half-staff at the Supreme Court on the morning after the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 87, Saturday, Sept. 19, 2020 in Washington. (AP Photo / J. Scott Applewhite)

Just 44 days before President Donald Trump’s reelection will be decided, Republicans are looking to a Supreme Court nomination fight to unite a deeply fractured party as it faces the very real possibility of losing the White House.

Crain’s Headlines: Old Post Office Debuts Massive Rooftop Park

Chicago’s Old Post Office on Oct. 21, 2019. (WTTW News)

Could the pandemic affect the Old Post Office’s leases with high-profile tenants? Crain’s Chicago Business reporter Danny Ecker joins us with the stories behind the headlines.

City Announces New Bus-Only Lanes to Reduce Crowding on 2 Busy Routes

A person wearing a face mask boards a CTA bus in Chicago. (WTTW News)

Despite concerns over using public transportation during the coronavirus pandemic, many essential workers and residents without cars have been relying on the Chicago Transit Authority to get around.

RBG Memorial Pops Up in Edgewater, Which Has a Surprisingly Strong Tie to the Late Justice

A small memorial for Ruth Bader Ginsburg, outside the Edgewater offices of Cedille Records, owned by the son of the late Supreme Court justice. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

People have been leaving notes and flowers outside the Edgewater office of Cedille Records, a classical music label owned by James Ginsburg, son of the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

September 21, 2020 - Full Show


Watch the Sept. 21, 2020 full episode of “Chicago Tonight.”

City Sets Rules for Cold-Weather Outdoor Dining Amid Pandemic

(Free-Photos / Pixabay)

To mark summer’s official end, city officials on Monday released new guidelines designed to help restaurants and some bars keep serving diners and drinkers outside once temperatures drop.

Teachers Want More Say in Remote Learning Plan: CTU Leaders

(ArtisticOperations / Pixabay)

Chicago Teachers Union leadership and members said CPS needs to better tailor student schedules to reduce screen time and allow clinicians to do more work from home to limit the number of people who are in school buildings on a daily basis.

US Household Wealth Hits Record Even as Economy Struggles

In this Jan. 3, 2020 file photo, the Wall St. street sign is framed by American flags flying outside the New York Stock Exchange in New York. Stocks are falling early on Wall Street Thursday, Sept. 17, as the late selling from the previous day carries over. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)

The Federal Reserve said Monday that Americans’ household net worth jumped nearly 7% in the April-June quarter to $119 trillion. That figure had sunk to $111.3 trillion in the first quarter, when the coronavirus battered the economy.

As Democrats Balk, Trump to Make High Court Pick by Saturday

President Donald Trump wraps up his speech at a campaign rally at Fayetteville Regional Airport, Saturday, Sept. 19, 2020, in Fayetteville, N.C. (AP Photo / Evan Vucci)

President Donald Trump said Monday he expects to announce his pick for the Supreme Court on Friday or Saturday, after funeral services for Ruth Bader Ginsburg and just days before the first presidential election debate.

Douglas Statue Comes Down, But Lincoln Had Racist Views, Too

(Adam Jones / Flickr)

With the nation racing to come to grips with centuries of racial sins, officials plan to remove the Capitol lawn statue of Stephen A. Douglas, whose forceful 19th century politics helped forge modern-day Illinois but who also profited from slavery.

Biden to GOP Senators: Don’t Jam Through Ginsburg Nominee

Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at the Constitution Center in Philadelphia, Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020, about the Supreme Court. (AP Photo / Carolyn Kaster)

Joe Biden on Sunday slammed President Donald Trump and leading Senate Republicans for trying to jam through a replacement for the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Chicago Tonight: Black Voices, Sept. 20, 2020 - Full Show


Chicago’s top doctor on closing the life expectancy gap between Black and White residents. A nonprofit takes stock in local youth. A father and son duo takes us on a tour through “Boarded Up Chicago.”

New Book ‘Boarded Up Chicago’ Explores Mural Movement Amid Unrest

A mural in Chicago featured in the new book “Boarded Up Chicago: Storefront Images Days After the George Floyd Riots.” (WTTW News)

A father and son documenting the city’s reaction to the police killing of George Floyd turn their images into a new book.

How a Chicago Native is Helping Kids Put Stock Into Themselves

Rendel Solomon speaks with “Chicago Tonight: Black Voices” via Zoom. (WTTW News)

Rendel Solomon tells us about his nonprofit initiative One Stock One Future, which aims to turn one million youth into public company shareholders via workshops and donated funds. 

COVID-19 in Illinois: 1,402 New Cases, 14 Additional Deaths

People wearing face masks walk in Chicago’s Albany Park neighborhood on Friday, Sept. 18, 2020, where a spate of recent shootings have added to concerns about public safety. (WTTW News)

New cases of the coronavirus reported Sunday by state health officials bring statewide totals to 274,258 cases and 8,450 deaths since the first infection was reported in Illinois in late January.

Trump Backs Proposed Deal to Keep TikTok Operating in US

In this July 21, 2020 file photo, a man opens social media app TikTok on his cell phone, in Islamabad, Pakistan. (AP Photo / Anjum Naveed, File)

President Donald Trump said Saturday he’s given his “blessing” to a proposed deal that would see the popular video-sharing app TikTok partner with Oracle and Walmart and form a U.S. company.