Stories by Alexandra Silets

Week in Review: Migrant Crisis Grows; Lightfoot’s Final Days in Office

Migrant crisis hits fever pitch here as Title 42 expires on the border. Brandon Johnson gets ready to take the oath of office Monday. And Blackhawks fans swept up in Connor Bedard mania.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot appears on "Chicago Tonight" on Jan. 3, 2023. (WTTW News)

Spotlight Politics: Lightfoot’s Final Days as Mayor; Selecting Chicago’s Next Top Cop

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot is leaving office as waves of migrants arrive in the city. Our politics team weighs in on that story and more.

(WTTW News)

Week in Review: ‘ComEd Four’ Convicted; Johnson Names New Interim Top Cop

All eyes on Michael Madigan as jury convicts the “ComEd Four.” Brandon Johnson names an interim police superintendent. South Shore residents tussle over migrant shelter. And Matt Mervis makes his debut for the Cubs.

Jeremiah Johnson and his mother, Lamira Samson, climb over a parked freight train on their way to school. (Courtesy of ProPublica)

Hammond Kids Have to Crawl Under Freight Trains to Get to School: ProPublica

It’s the stuff of nightmares for parents: children crawling under and over idling trains in order to get to school on the other side. Two ProPublica journalists spent months reporting on railroad safety and the kids who are risking life and limb to go to school.

Beto O’Rourke appeared on “Chicago Tonight” via Zoom on April 26, 2023. (WTTW News)

Beto O’Rourke on Voting Rights, His Time as a University of Chicago Fellow

For the last three months, Beto O’Rourke has been spending time in Chicago as a University of Chicago Institute of Politics fellow.

(WTTW News)

Week in Review: Downtown Chaos; Johnson Taps Transition Team

Increased security following last weekend’s downtown mayhem. The Bears get a bill boost from Springfield. And as Chicago’s next mayor taps his transition team, Lightfoot and members of City Council bid farewell to City Hall.

(WTTW News)

From Curfew Enforcement to Peacekeeper Presence, Weighing Solutions Following Unrest Downtown

In all, fifteen people were arrested in connection with the unrest, which included crowds of young people jumping on CTA buses and fighting. Now downtown residents, city leaders and community organizers are looking for solutions.

Chicago police Superintendent David Brown talks about city crime rates on Monday, Aug. 23, 2021. (WTTW News)

Chicago Will Get a New Police Superintendent. Here’s How the Process Works.

It’s now the job of the Community Commission for Public Safety and Accountability to lead a search and to nominate three police superintendent candidates for Mayor-elect Brandon Johnson to consider.

(WTTW News)

Week in Review: Brandon Johnson Wins Race for Mayor; City Council Turnover

Chicago chooses Brandon Johnson for mayor. Turnover on the City Council. And former President Donald Trump battles indictment.

(WTTW News)

Week in Review: Vallas, Johnson Race Toward the Finish Line

Trump indictment sets the national political world on fire. Vallas and Johnson race toward the finish line. “ComEd Four” trial peels the curtain back on the Madigan machine. And Cubs and Sox are undefeated.

(WTTW News)

Week in Review: Inside Madigan’s Inner Operations, Voting Opens in the Mayor’s Race

Inside Madigan’s inner operations. Early voting opens in the mayor’s race. And so many cars on the Kennedy.

Chicago mayoral candidates Brandon Johnson and Paul Vallas. (Provided)

Spotlight Politics: Chicago Mayoral Candidates Make Their Case

With less than two weeks before Election Day, the candidates for Chicago mayor are still making their case to voters. Our politics team weighs in on that story and more.

(Courtesy of Lever for Change)

How Social Impact Giving is Shaking Up the World of Philanthropy

When it comes to philanthropy, it’s usually universities, museums and hospitals that get major donations. But there’s a Chicago organization shaking up that paradigm.

(WTTW News)

What Will Policing, Public Safety Look Like Under Chicago’s Next Mayor?

The voters of Chicago have spoken, and the message is loud and clear: The next mayor needs new strategies to reduce crime. The two contenders for Chicago’s mayoral runoff, Paul Vallas and Brandon Johnson, have differing views on how to address crime and violence.

(WTTW News)

Week in Review: Barbs Fly Between Chicago Mayoral Candidates

Barbs fly between the would-be mayors. Chicago police mourn one of their own. And the NASCAR race leaves a bad taste in summer festival plans.

(WTTW News)

Week in Review: Mayoral Runoff Contenders Come Out Swinging

Brandon Johnson and Paul Vallas steam ahead toward the April mayoral runoff, as Mayor Lori Lightfoot suffers historic defeat. CPD mourns the loss of one of its own. And Blackhawks fans get used to life without Patrick Kane.

(WTTW News)

Spotlight Politics: Vallas, Johnson Headed to April Runoff

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot lost her bid for reelection Tuesday. Brandon Johnson and Paul Vallas are now headed to an April 4 runoff election. Our politics team weighs in on that story and more.

(WTTW News)

Week in Review: Accusations, Big Spending in Chicago Mayoral Race

Mayor Lightfoot accuses Vallas of dog-whistle politics as Vallas and Johnson surge. Chicago teachers blast their union over big campaign spending. And Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis takes his anti-woke show to Elmhurst.

Former President Jimmy Carter is pictured in 2014. (Credit: LBJ Library)

Explaining What Exactly Hospice Care Means After Former President Jimmy Carter’s Announcement

What is hospice care and what does it mean that the longest-living American president is foregoing medical intervention? 

(WTTW News)

Week in Review: Dark Money, Attacks in Chicago Mayoral Race

Dark money flows along with the attacks in the mayor’s race. Florida Gov. DeSantis’ visit to the area draws rebuke. The Bears close on the Arlington Heights property. And Pritzker’s budget spends big on education.

(WTTW News)

Spotlight Politics: Mayoral Race Gets Pointed as Election Day Nears

Things got pointed at the final Chicago mayoral candidate debate. Our politics team weighs in on that story and more.

(WTTW News)

Week in Review: Chicago Mayoral Forums Get Tense

WTTW News probes Paul Vallas’ suburban residency as his campaign closes in on the final two weeks. Meanwhile, candidates get testy with each other and moderators at numerous debates this week. And tax breaks back on the table for the Bears.

(WTTW News)

Spotlight Politics: Reflecting on the WTTW Mayoral Forum, Where Candidates Stand Now

Things got heated between the candidates at the WTTW News mayoral forum this week. Our politics team weighs in on that story.

(WTTW News)

Week in Review: Tensions Arise in Chicago Mayoral Race

Gloves come off in the Chicago mayoral debate as Paul Vallas cleans up cash and endorsements. City Council puts the breaks on Mayor Lori Lightfoot's ComEd deal. Migrants arrive in Woodlawn. And the complicated legacy of Blackhawks legend Bobby Hull.

Chicago City Hall. (Michael Izquierdo / WTTW News)

Spotlight Politics: Chicago Mayoral Race Heats Up as Election Day Nears

Tensions rose at this week's Chicago mayoral forum. Our politics team weighs in on that story and more.

Paris Schutz. (WTTW News)

Week in Review: Chicago Mayoral Race Tightens

The footage of a Memphis traffic stop that led to Tyre Nichols’ death has been released. Lightfoot turns up the heat on her mayoral opponents. Assault weapons lawsuits come fast and furious. And remembering a beloved local radio DJ.