Stories by Blair Paddock

Week in Review: Pritzker Calls for CTA Changes; City Council Approves $70M More for Migrant Care

Gov. J.B. Pritzker puts his foot on the gas pedal calling for changes at the CTA. And what’s in store for the Chicago Sky as WNBA ticket sales soar.

Howard Brown Health sign. (WTTW News)

Howard Brown Health, Union Workers Reach Tentative Contract Agreement After 1.5 Years of Negotiations

It comes after about 1.5 years of negotiations, two strikes, a ruling from the National Labor Relations Board that found merit in charges of unfair labor practices, and the layoffs of 61 unionized workers — some of whom were subsequently brought back on due to an NLRB recommendation.

“Disillusioned: Five Families and the Unraveling of America’s Suburbs” by author Benjamin Herold.

New Book ‘Disillusioned’ Explores Racial Inequity, Tension in American Suburbs

Author Benjamin Herold shares the story of five families, including the Adesina family in Evanston, in “Disillusioned: Five Families and the Unraveling of America’s Suburbs.”

Prison file photo. (WTTW News)

Proposal Would Demolish and Rebuild 2 Illinois Prisons a Review Found Not Suitable for Use

Housing at Stateville Correctional Center is “not suitable for any 21st century correctional center.” Logan Correctional Center is “inefficient, ineffective, and unsuitable for any population.”

Yvonne Welbon, founder and CEO of Sisters in Cinema, has been documenting the history of Black women filmmakers for decades. Sisters in Cinema has grown from an online database to the Sisters in Cinema Media Arts Center, 2310 E. 75th St. (Blair Paddock / WTTW News)

Sisters in Cinema Celebrates Visibility and Representation in Filmmaking at New South Shore Media Center

A nonprofit celebrating the work of Black women and gender-nonconforming media makers opened its doors Friday. The Sisters in Cinema Media Arts Center, 2310 E. 75th St., will offer screenings and workshops to the community.

Howard Brown Health sign. (WTTW News)

Howard Brown Health Hit With Complaint From National Labor Board

The move comes seven months after the NLRB found merit or partial merit in the Howard Brown Health Works United’s allegations. This complaint reiterates those allegations, including declaring an impasse and refusing to bargain over layoffs.

Week in Review: Lawmakers Approve Hybrid Elected School Board; Measles Reported at Migrant Shelter

State lawmakers overwhelmingly approve a hybrid elected school board for Chicago. More trouble at an embattled migrant shelter in Pilsen. And the race for Cook County state’s attorney heats up.

A rendering of the Invert on the Southeast Side. (Courtesy of the Invert)

Proposal to Allow Mining in Chicago Raises Environmental, Public Health Concerns on Southeast Side

Developers have a massive underground warehouse dream for the Southeast Side. But for some, the project is potential environmental and public health concern.

(WTTW News)

While Many in Illinois Prisons Need Medication for Opioid Use Disorders, Advocates Say System Slow to Provide

Cook County Jail provides medications for opioid use disorder to incarcerated people. Where frustration comes from advocates — and local officials — is the limitations of the Illinois Department of Corrections’ medication programming in prisons.

Attendees gather around the drawings of five Prison+Neighborhood Arts/Education Project participants. The organization had a grand opening of its gallery and community space, Walls Turned Sideways, 2717 W. Madison St., on Jan. 27, 2024. (Blair Paddock / WTTW News)

New Gallery, Community Hub Links Incarcerated Artists to Chicago Communities: ‘We Use Art as Connective Tissue’

The West Side gallery is in line with work the Prison + Neighborhood Arts Project has been doing for over a decade: connecting teaching artists and scholars to incarcerated students through classes, workshops and lectures.

(WTTW News)

Despite ‘Lack of Progress’ Toward Consent Decree, IDOC Awards New $4B Contract to Same Private Health Care Provider

The Illinois Department of Corrections has awarded a new contract to the controversial Wexford Health Sources, the same private health care provider that’s been handling medical care in the state’s prison system since 2011.

(Credit: Cottonbro Studio via Pexels)

As Illinois Officials Push Back Against Book Bans, Some Advocates Wonder About Actual Impact on Prison Libraries

The Illinois secretary of state’s office, which oversees a number of library grant programs, said the new law does apply to prison libraries as they are eligible for grants.

Week in Review: Burke Convicted in Landmark Trial; Migrants Sent to Chicago on Private Plane

Once powerful Ald. Ed Burke now a convicted criminal. A proposed shelter site on the Far South Side may be contaminated with pollutants. And Texas’ governor flying migrants to Chicago on a private plane.

Belhaven Nursing Home and Rehabilitation Center, 11401 S. Oakley Ave., has amassed $118,700 in state fines and more than $879,000 in federal fines over the past four years. (Credit: Brittany Sowacke)

‘It’s a Human Dignity Issue’: Data Reveals Racial, Economic Disparities in Access to Quality Nursing Home Care Across Chicago

A data analysis by WTTW News and the Hyde Park Herald/South Side Weekly found the disparity between access to quality nursing home care for Black and White Chicagoans is stark, with highly rated homes concentrated on the city’s North Side and housing majority White residents.

A rendering of a planned new Ryan Field in Evanston. (Credit: Northwestern University)

Evanston City Council Approves Northwestern’s Ryan Field Renovation, Zoning Change for Concerts

Evanston residents are getting a new neighbor: an $800 million rebuilt Ryan Field. Evanston City Council on Monday voted yes on the field revamp and on a controversial zoning change to allow concerts.

Terri Hemmert, DJ at WXRT, appears on “Chicago Tonight” on Nov. 20, 2023. (WTTW News)

Terri Hemmert, Celebrating 50 Years at WXRT, on the Magic of Radio, The Beatles and Her Pioneering Career

Terri Hemmert is the Queen of Chicago Rock and Roll radio and a proud member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. This year, she celebrates 50 years since she first walked into the doors at WXRT.

Members of the Howard Brown Health Workers United union on strike Nov. 14, 2023. (Blair Paddock / WTTW News)

Howard Brown Workers Continue Push for Wage Increases, Affordable Health Insurance After 2-Day Strike

It’s the second time Howard Brown Health Workers United has taken to the picket line this year. The first strike in January was largely over 61 unionized workers being laid off as management pointed to drastic budget shortfalls.

(WTTW News)

Advocates Push for Illinois Legislation That Would Allow Terminally Ill Adults to End Their Own Lives With Medical Assistance

The name of the practice is debated — “medical aid in dying” to some, and “physician-assisted suicide” to others. Either way, advocates are hoping the issue comes up in Springfield soon.

Week in Review: Chicago’s Paid Leave Policy; Burke Trial Underway

A powerful alderperson gets stripped of plumb roles after confrontation with his colleague. And jury selection underway in the Ed Burke trial as COVID-19 sidelines proceedings for a week.

Week in Review: Seeking Support for Migrants; Chicago Elected School Board Map

Migrants left out in the cold as Chicago officials beg Washington for more money. And previewing the historic corruption trial of former longtime alderperson Ed Burke.

froSkate attendees braved skating on the rain-slick concrete at the Wilson Skate Park, 700 W. Wilson Ave., on Oct. 26, 2023. (Michael Izquierdo / WTTW News)

Chicago Skating Collective Focuses on Inclusivity by Building Bonds, Creating Community

“They make an environment where it’s easy to be a beginner, it’s easy to not know people and find someone to talk to and work on a trick together,” longtime skateboarder Randi Rogers said of froSkate, a Chicago collective centered around women, people of color and queer people.

"We Are Here" performed at Carnegie Hall on Jan. 26, 2023. (Provided)

Concert at Salt Shed Features Songs Written During the Holocaust: ‘They’re Telling the Stories of Their Lives’

The lyrics take on new life with new music and will be performed at the Salt Shed on Nov. 6 by a collection of actors, musicians and local news people, including “Chicago Tonight” co-host Paris Schutz.

Week in Review: Pushback Over Plans to House Migrants; New US House Speaker

The city moves forward on plans to build a tent base camp in Brighton Park despite pushback. And Chicago police Supt. Larry Snelling vows to remove extremists from the department.

U.S. Rep. Delia Ramirez and U.S. Rep. Jonathan Jackson, join “Chicago Tonight” on Oct. 23, 2023. (WTTW News)

Illinois Members of Congress on House Speaker Vacancy, Aid to Israel and Migrant Funding

U.S. Rep. Delia Ramirez, D-Chicago, and U.S. Rep. Jonathan Jackson, D-Chicago, joined “Chicago Tonight” to discuss aid to Israel, the House Speaker race and a growing number of migrants arriving to Chicago from the southern border.

Paris Schutz and guests. (WTTW News)

Week in Review: Protests Over Migrant Tent Camp; Chicago Budget Hearings

An Evanston mother and daughter held hostage by Hamas are released. And immigration protests turn chaotic as a Chicago alderwoman gets physically assaulted.

File photo of a homeless encampment. (WTTW News)

New Reports Examine the Housing-First Approach to Addressing Homelessness

The push for the Bring Chicago Home proposal comes as the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless found an estimated 68,440 people experienced homelessness in the city in 2021. That’s a 2,829-person increase from the previous year.