Stories by Heather Cherone

Lightfoot Holds Off Revolt on CPD Oversight as Allies Block Vote on Elected Board

Supporters of the Empowering Communities for Public Safety plan call for more police accountability during a rally April 21, 2021. (WTTW News)

A long-stalled plan to put an elected board of Chicago residents in charge of the Chicago Police Department remains mired in limbo after a razor-thin vote Friday.

Blue Angels Set to Soar, Even as Air and Water Show is Canceled

The Blue Angels are a fan favorite of Air and Water Show observers. (Courtesy of Blue Angels)

The U.S. Navy’s Blue Angels will perform from noon to 1 p.m. on Aug. 21 and Aug. 22 after practicing from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Aug. 20. 

Lightfoot Dismisses Bears’ Bid for Arlington Racetrack as ‘Negotiating Tactic’

(WTTW News)

Mayor Lori Lightfoot dismissed the announcement Thursday by the Chicago Bears that the team was seriously considering leaving Soldier Field, where they are locked into a lease through 2033. 

Feeling Lucky? Get Vaccinated to Win Cash or Scholarships

Gov. J.B. Pritzker receives the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine on Wednesday, March 24, 2021 at a mass vaccination site in Springfield. (WTTW News)

Every Illinois resident who has gotten at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine will be eligible to win one of 43 cash prizes — including three million-dollar jackpots — and 20 scholarship awards starting July 8, Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced Thursday. 

Aldermen Advance Plan to Cut Off Liquor Sales at Midnight

A bartender mixes a drink at the Chicago restaurant 14 Parish. (WTTW News)

The measure, which would ban the sale of alcohol at stores after midnight, is part of a part of a massive package of initiatives Mayor Lori Lightfoot said was designed to help Chicago businesses recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lightfoot Declares Racism a Public Health Crisis

(Goodfreephotos_com / Pixabay)

Black Chicagoans die more than nine years sooner than other Chicagoans, a gap caused by systemic racism that is only growing, according to a report released this week by the Chicago Department of Public Health.

Alderman Drops Push for Open Hearings into Cybersecurity to Probe Mayor’s Stolen Emails

Members of the Chicago City Council meet on Wednesday, May 26, 2021. (WTTW News)

“We don’t want to provide a road map” for others who seek to obtain the city’s data, Ald. Gilbert Villegas (36th Ward) said.

Aldermen Advance Mayor’s Pick to Serve as City’s Top Lawyer

(WTTW News)

Celia Meza has served as the city’s top attorney since December, replacing former Corporation Counsel Mark Flessner, who resigned amid a furor over the mayor’s handling of the revelation that Chicago police officers handcuffed a naked woman during a mistaken raid in February 2019.

Aldermen Advance Measure Designed to Stop Wage Theft

The Renaissance Chicago Downtown Hotel (WTTW News)

Wage theft costs Chicago workers $400 million a year, according to the mayor’s office.

Lightfoot Agrees to Midnight Cutoff on Liquor Sales After Pushback on 10 p.m. Curfew Proposal

(WTTW News)

Mayor Lori Lightfoot will introduce a measure Thursday that would ban the sale of alcohol at stores after midnight, dropping her effort to set an earlier cutoff. The mayor called the revised proposal “a reasonable compromise.”

No States Covered by Chicago’s COVID-19 Travel Order Until at Least July: Officials

(WTTW News)

The city’s travel order has been suspended since June 1, when seven states moved from the orange tier to the less-restrictive yellow tier.

Lightfoot Asks State Lawmakers for ‘More Time’ as Pivotal Elected School Board Vote Looms

Supporters of an elected school board demonstrate in April 2019. (WTTW News)

As state lawmakers prepare to return to Springfield for a pivotal vote on whether Chicago Public Schools should be run by an elected school board, Mayor Lori Lightfoot asked members of the Illinois House to delay a vote approved by the Illinois Senate.

Lightfoot Won’t Commit to Up-Or-Down Vote to Rename Lake Shore Drive for DuSable

(WTTW News)

While celebrating the full reopening of Chicago on Friday morning as the COVID-19 pandemic wanes, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said she does not support the push to rename Lake Shore Drive, again calling it an “iconic” name with national recognition.

‘It Is a Great Day’: As COVID-19 Cases, Hospitalizations Plunge, Illinois, Chicago to Reopen

(WTTW News)

All businesses will be allowed to operate at full capacity and gatherings of all sizes will be permitted, according to the new rules.

Watchdog Probing Outage at Roseland Pumping Station as ComEd Rejects Blame

(Holger Schue / Pixabay)

ComEd officials said they were not responsible for the outages on May 6 and May 25 at the Roseland Pumping Station.

Aldermen Unmoved as ComEd Officials Tout Reforms

The firm also vowed to fight climate change and reduce shut-offs

(WTTW News)

Several aldermen are unconvinced that the city should ink a new franchise agreement with ComEd — and Chicago may have other options, officials said.

Illinois Republicans Ask Judge to Toss New Legislative Maps

Plus: Our Spotlight Politics team on that and more

(Meagan Davis / Wikimedia Commons)

The state’s top Republicans asked a federal judge Wednesday to appoint an eight-member commission made up of four Democrats and four Republicans to craft the maps with census data.

Highly Contagious COVID-19 Delta Variant Present in Illinois: Officials

(WTTW News)

At least 15 cases of the COVID-19 Delta variant were identified in Chicago through Tuesday, city officials said. 

Commission Gets to Work on Redrawing City’s Ward Map, But Uncertainty Looms

A map of Chicago includes boundaries for some of the city’s 50 wards. (WTTW News via Google Maps)

The 13-member Chicago Ward Advisory Redistricting Commission is charged with drawing a ward map “that is truly reflective of the diversity of Chicago,” organizers said.

Key City Panel Endorses Plan to Build Boys & Girls Club at Redesigned Police, Fire Training Academy

The Boys & Girls Club set to be built as part of the new police and fire training facility is the first new club to be built in Chicago in a generation, officials said. (Credit City of Chicago)

Construction quietly began on the $95 million facility in West Garfield Park in January and is set to be completed in the fall of 2022, officials said.

While ComEd Negotiations Remain Stalled, Lightfoot Extends Deadline for New Proposals

(WTTW News)

Firms have until July 30 to submit their pitch to operate and manage the electric distribution system that serves residents and businesses in Chicago, officials said. 

Our Democracy is in Peril, Obama Tells Economic Club of Chicago

Former President Barack Obama addresses the Economic Club of Chicago, June 4, 2021 (Credit Economic Club of Chicago)

Former President Barack Obama warned Chicago’s business leaders Friday afternoon that American democracy is imperiled by persistent economic inequality and structural racism, and said corporate America has a responsibility to call out voter suppression efforts.

Outreach Workers to Go Door-to-Door in Neighborhoods Where COVID-19 Vaccinations Are Lagging

(WTTW News)

City officials are targeting the 13 Chicago neighborhoods that have the lowest rate of vaccination as part of a push to bring the life-saving shots directly to those most at risk of falling ill and dying from COVID-19.

Effort to Greenlight Scooters Permanently in Chicago Hits Pothole

Chicagoans took approximately 540,000 rides on electric scooters during a four-month second trial run in 2020, officials said. (WTTW News)

A push to make electric scooters a permanent part of the city’s transportation system stalled Thursday, with several aldermen telling transportation officials that the two-wheelers would create a nuisance on Chicago’s streets and sidewalks.

Effort to Landmark Muddy Waters’ North Kenwood Home Advances

Plans are in the works to preserve the North Kenwood house Muddy Waters bought as a museum, recording studio and more. (WTTW News)

The landmark designation would preserve the legacy of African Americans in Chicago and ensure that future generations recognize Muddy Waters as the father of the blues, supporters said.

Chicago to Fully Reopen June 11, Lightfoot Announces

(WTTW News)

Amid a steep decline in the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, Chicago officials will lift all restrictions on businesses and gatherings next Friday, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said.