Stories by Heather Cherone

A rendering of the planned Chicago Fire Club practice facility on former Chicago Housing Authority land. (Courtesy of Chicago Department of Planning and Development.)

Groups Sue to Block Plan to Build Chicago Fire Practice Facility on Chicago Housing Authority Land

Federal officials failed to conduct a required civil rights review to determine whether the deal would meet the Chicago Housing Authority’s obligations under the federal Fair Housing Act, according to the lawsuit.

A rendering of an aerial view of the Chicago Bears property in Arlington Heights. (Courtesy of Hart Howerton / Chicago Bears)

As Plan for New Stadium in Arlington Heights Stalls, Bears Start Considering New Options

Building a stadium on the former Arlington Heights racetrack “is no longer our singular focus,” said Scott Hagel, the Bears senior vice president of marketing and communications.

An aerial shot of the newly constructed Southside Recycling, 11600 S. Burley Ave. (Courtesy of Reserve Management Group)

Johnson to Fight Ruling That Could Force City Officials to Allow Metal Scrapper to Operate on Southeast Side

A judge’s ruling could force Chicago officials to issue the final permit sought by the parent company of General Iron to operate a metal shredding and recycling operation on Chicago’s Southeast Side.

Members of the Chicago City Council at a meeting Wednesday, May 31, 2023. (WTTW News)

City Council Votes 34-13 to Spend $51M to Help Care for Migrants After Tension Between Black, Latino Chicagoans Boils Over at Meeting

In all, city officials expect to spend $112 million through the end of June from a combination of state, federal and local funds to feed and shelter the migrants. More than 4,000 recent arrivals from Texas are living in city shelters, leaving another 500 people to sleep on the floor of police stations across the city.

A residential street in Wicker Park in Chicago. (WTTW News)

Bill Designed to Revamp Property Tax Sale System That Fueled ‘Urban Decay’ Headed to Governor’s Desk

Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas called the legislation “the most significant property tax reform legislation the General Assembly has approved in decades.”

(WTTW News)

Outdoor Dining Set to Become Permanent Under Proposal That Strengthens Aldermanic Prerogative

“This was one of the silver linings to come out of the pandemic,” Ald. Matt Martin (47th Ward) said.

(kaboompics / Pixabay)

Outdoor Dining Set to Outlast Pandemic Program That Opened Up Sidewalks, Streets to Food Lovers

Restaurants, bars and cafes would be allowed to serve customers outdoors permanently under a plan backed by Mayor Brandon Johnson. The plan would make the rules designed to help restaurants stay afloat amid the COVID-19 pandemic an enduring part of Chicago’s food scene.

(WTTW News)

More Than 100 Chicago Police Officers Who Lied Were Not Fired, Despite Vows of Zero Tolerance: Watchdog

The audit documented a lack of accountability that undermines efforts to rebuild trust in the Chicago Police Department, Inspector General Deborah Witzburg said.

Mayor Brandon Johnson presides over his first City Council meeting on Wednesday, May 24, 2023. (Heather Cherone/WTTW News)

Vote on Plan to Spend $51M to Help Care for Migrants Blocked

Approximately 784 men, women and children are living on floors in Chicago police stations across the city as of Tuesday, officials said.

Mayor Brandon Johnson takes the rostrum in the Council Chambers for the first time on Wednesday, May 24, 2023. (Heather Cherone/WTTW News)

Chicago City Council Votes 41-9 to Ratify Johnson’s Picks for Leadership Team

The vote represents a reversal from March 30, when nearly two-thirds of the Chicago City Council voted to approve a declaration of independence — five days before Mayor Brandon Johnson defeated former Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul Vallas in the runoff.

Chicago City Hall. (Michael Izquierdo / WTTW News)

Mayor Brandon Johnson Faces Trial by Fire at 1st City Council Meeting

When Mayor Brandon Johnson picks up the mayor’s gavel for the first time, he will have been in office for just 10 days — and if he had a brief honeymoon, Wednesday’s meeting of the City Council will signal its end.

This electron microscope image shows mature, oval-shaped mpox virions, left, and spherical immature virions, right, from a human skin sample associated with a 2003 prairie dog outbreak. (Cynthia S. Goldsmith, Russell Regnery / CDC)

Chicago Health Officials Sound Alarm as Mpox Cases Increase

Officials with the Chicago Department of Public Health have documented 29 cases of the virus that can cause intensely painful lesions between April 22 and Tuesday, after recording just five cases between Jan. 1 and April 15, according to city data.

Ald. Carrie Austin (34th Ward) stands to speak at the Dec. 14, 2022, Chicago City Council meeting. (WTTW News)

Indicted Former Ald. Carrie Austin Collecting More Than $114K Annual City Pension, Records Show

Former Ald. CarrieAustin is now receiving more than $9,500 per month in pension payments for the rest of her life, according to records obtained by WTTW News from the Municipal Employees’ Annuity and Benefit Fund of Chicago. If Austin is convicted, she could lose her pension, since her conduct occurred as part of her official duties as an alderperson.

Chicago Deputy Mayor Jennifer Johnson speaks at a White House event launching a new initiative to fight homelessness. (You Tube / White House)

Chicago to Get Federal Help Fighting Homelessness, Officials Announce

Dubbed the ALL INside initiative, officials with the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, which is made up of 19 federal agencies, vowed to work for two years to get unsheltered people into homes by identifying new funding and bringing together philanthropic and nonprofit groups.

(Michael Izquierdo / WTTW News)

Progressive Group Lays Out Own Plan to Implement Brandon Johnson’s Pledge to Tax the ‘Ultra-Rich,’ Big Corporations

The plan released Wednesday kicks off a debate between progressive political organizations and the mayor they helped elect on how best to achieve the goals they all share.

(WTTW News)

Chicago Ranks No. 1 in Exonerations for 5th Year in a Row, Accounting for More Than Half of National Total: Report

Cook County recorded 124 overturned convictions in 2022, all but two of those were tied to misconduct by two former Chicago police officers, according to the report.

Mayor Brandon Johnson delivers his inaugural address on Monday, May 15. (City of Chicago)

Brandon Johnson Sworn in As Chicago’s 57th Mayor: ‘There Is Something Special About This City’

Capping an improbable rise and carrying the hopes of a political movement determined to remake Chicago as a more equitable place to live, Brandon Johnson was sworn into office Monday as Chicago’s 57th mayor.

Mayor-elect Brandon Johnson takes questions from the news media after meeting with Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Thursday, April 6. (Heather Cherone/WTTW News)

As Brandon Johnson Takes Control of Chicago City Hall, Massive Challenges Await

Mayor-elect Brandon Johnson had just 41 days to put together his administration and lay the foundation to start delivering on his ambitious agenda — the shortest mayoral transition in Chicago history.

(WTTW News)

Brandon Johnson Commits to Reopening Chicago’s Public Mental Health Clinics Closed 11 Years Ago

“We are going to reopen the mental health clinics,” Mayor-elect Brandon Johnson said in an interview with WTTW News, putting it first in a list of his top priorities.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot fields questions from the news media on Feb. 7, 2023, after the WTTW News mayoral forum. (Michael Izquierdo / WTTW News)

Analyzing Lori Lightfoot’s Legacy: A Combative Mayor Whose Reform Push Faltered Amid Pandemic Woes, Self-Inflicted Wounds

Lori Lightfoot ends her historic term as the first Black woman and first out gay person to serve as Chicago’s mayor on Monday, leaving a fractured city still struggling to recover from the ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic that served to spotlight Chicago’s deeply entrenched problems.

(Michael Izquierdo / WTTW News)

53 People Apply to Be Chicago’s Next Police Superintendent: Commission

That represents a significant increase from 2020, the last time Chicago needed a new chief law enforcement officer, when 23 people applied for the job.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot speaks on Chicago’s response to arriving migrants on May 9, 2023. (WTTW News)

Lightfoot Declares State of Emergency as Humanitarian Crisis Posed by Surge of Migrants Accelerates

“We shouldn’t have to come to this point, but here we are,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said. “Even in my final days as mayor it is important that we step up and respond to this burgeoning crisis.”

Mayor Lori Lightfoot delivers a farewell address on May 8, 2023. (WTTW News)

Lightfoot Bids Farewell, Claiming Credit for ‘Breaking up the Status Quo’ and ‘Planting Seeds’

Mayor Lori Lightfoot appeared to acknowledge that she ends her single term as mayor with work undone. At several points, she claimed credit not for accomplishments, but for “planting seeds” that will lead to the city's transformation into a more equitable place to live. 

Fred Waller is introduced as Mayor-elect Brandon Johnson’s choice for interim superintendent of the Chicago Police Department on May 3, 2023. (Heather Cherone / WTTW News)

Johnson Taps Fred Waller, Former High-Ranking CPD Leader, to Serve as Interim Top Cop

Waller will be the third person to lead the Chicago Police Department in less than six months and will immediately be charged with managing the department during the Memorial Day weekend, which typically results an increase in crime and violence.

(WTTW News)

Johnson to Review Lightfoot’s Plan to Turn Vacant South Shore High School Into Immigrant Shelter

Johnson, who will replace Lightfoot in less than two weeks, said he would consult with the South Shore community before making any final decisions on how to address a renewed surge of immigrants being sent to the city from Texas and other states along the southern border.

(WTTW News)

Chicago Police Officer Who Chased Anthony Alvarez Before He Was Shot in 2021 Should Be Fired for 2022 Shooting, Report Says

Chicago Police Officer Sammy Encarnacion resigned Wednesday, the same day that results of the probe conducted by the Civilian Office of Police Accountability, known as COPA, was released, officials said.