Stories by Heather Cherone

A still image from a video taken of the demolition of the Crawford Coal Plant smokestack, April 11, 2020. (Alejandro Reyes / YouTube)

Official Who Greenlighted Botched Little Village Smokestack Implosion Set to Lead Buildings Department

During the more than hourlong confirmation hearing, Marlene Hopkins was not asked about what she did as the top official from the city’s Buildings Department charged with overseeing the implosion of the smokestack at the former Crawford Power Plant in Little Village.

Melissa Conyears-Ervin is pictured in a campaign photo. (Credit: Campaign photo)

Chicago City Treasurer Melissa Conyears-Ervin Fined $60K for Violating Ethics Ordinance

The board found Conyears-Ervin committed 12 total violations of Chicago’s Governmental Ethics Ordinance for violating her fiduciary duty to the city, for the unauthorized use of city property and prohibited political activity.

Mayor Brandon Johnson speaks at a news conference Wednesday, March 20, 2024. (WTTW News)

Key City Panel Advances Plan to Spend $70M More to Care for Migrants in Chicago

The City Council’s Budget Committee voted 20-8 to advance the proposal to the full City Council, which could vote on it as early as Wednesday. The panel also agreed to accept $48 million in federal and state grants to care for the migrants.

(WTTW News)

Chicago Police Lieutenant Who Failed to Investigate Sergeant Accused of Sexual Assault for 5 Years Should Be Fired, Watchdog Says

A 2016 probe by the U.S. Department of Justice found that Chicago police officers were rarely held accountable for misconduct because of badly broken systems as well as a “code of silence” among officers that allowed them to act with impunity. CPD has fully complied with just 6% of the court order known as the consent decree designed to require the police department to change the way it trains, supervises and disciplines officers.

Left: Chicago Police Superintendent Larry Snelling appears on “Chicago Tonight: Black Voices” on Oct. 18, 2023. Right: Andrea Kersten, chief administrator of Chicago’s Civilian Office of Police Accountability, appears on “Chicago Tonight” on June 28, 2023. (WTTW News)

Breach Between Top Cop, Misconduct Agency Widens Amid Probe of Shooting Death of Dexter Reed

Superintendent Larry Snelling’s remarks come nearly two months after the first sign of deep tension between CPD and COPA emerged, and reflect a widening breach between the two agencies, sources told WTTW News.

Mayor Brandon Johnson speaks at a news conference Wednesday, March 20, 2024. (WTTW News)

Mayor Brandon Johnson Asks Chicago City Council to Fill $70M Gap to Care for Migrants

The City Council’s Budget Committee is set to consider the request at a meeting Monday, six weeks after the mayor pointedly declined to join Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle when they announced an agreement to set aside an additional $250 million to care for migrants.

(WTTW News)

Proposal to Borrow $1.25B to Fund Economic Development, Affordable Housing Projects Gets Civic Federation Blessing

Civic Federation President Joseph Ferguson called the complicated proposal to phase out the city’s decades-long reliance on tax increment financing districts, known as TIFs, “sensible” and “responsible.”

Chicago Police Department Headquarters, 3510 S. Michigan Ave. (Michael Izquierdo / WTTW News)

When Can Chicago Police Officers Use Force? Here’s What to Know

The rules that govern when — and how — Chicago police officers can use force against members of the public are complicated and subject to interpretation, despite years of efforts to make it less likely that an altercation between an officer and a Chicagoan turns deadly. Those rules face new scrutiny after officers shot and killed Dexter Reed on March 21.

(WTTW News)

Key City Panel Advances Measure to Keep E-Scooters Speeding Through Chicago’s Streets

Two firms are set to get licenses to keep their 3,000 scooters speeding through Chicago until June 2026. And for the first time since shared e-scooters hit Chicago streets five years ago, city rules will allow the motorized two-wheelers to be ridden between midnight and 5 a.m.

(WTTW News)

Johnson Misses Deadline to Nominate Permanent Chicago Police Oversight Board

It is not clear when Mayor Brandon Johnson will make his pick from among 15 people nominated by members of Chicago’s police district council members and send those seven names to the City Council for confirmation to serve four-year terms.

Protesters and police officers wearing riot gear have a standoff near Daley Plaza on Saturday, May 30, 2020. (Evan Garcia / WTTW News)

Reform Groups Say CPD’s Plan to Handle Protests Around DNC Violates First Amendment, Consent Decree

A federal judge is set to decide whether to force changes to CPD’s proposed mass arrest policy as the city prepares for the Democratic National Convention from Aug. 19-24.

(WTTW News)

Chicago Police Continued to Target Black, Latino Drivers With Flood of Traffic Stops in 2023: Report

The vast majority of the more than 537,000 traffic stops made by Chicago police in 2023 were based on dubious evidence of minor violations that took direct aim at Black and Latino Chicagoans but spared White Chicagoans, according to a new report from Impact for Equity, a nonprofit advocacy and research organization that has helped lead the push to reform the Chicago Police Department.

LaSalle Street in Chicago. (Michael Izquierdo / WTTW News)

Johnson Picks 4 Developments to Launch Effort to Transform Chicago’s Financial District

“Like many cities, we are in the process of recovering from the impact of the pandemic, resulting in vacancies, particularly our storefronts and offices,” Mayor Brandon Johnson said. “We have to respond to these changes. As a city, we have to do it in a creative and collaborative way.”

Cristina Pacione-Zayas appears on “Chicago Tonight” on May 7, 2020. (WTTW News)

Johnson Taps Cristina Pacione-Zayas as Chief of Staff

Since Mayor Brandon Johnson took office, Cristina Pacione-Zayas has served as his first deputy chief of staff, charged with overseeing the city’s response to the arrival of nearly 38,500 migrants from the southern border.

Ald. Byron Sigcho-Lopez speaks at a special City Council meeting on April 1, 2024. (WTTW News)

City Council Votes 16-29 to Reject Effort to Punish Sigcho-Lopez for Speaking at Protest Where American Flag Was Burned

The Chicago City Council voted 16-29 Monday to reject an effort to punish Ald. Byron Sigcho-Lopez for speaking at a protest in front of City Hall where an American flag was burned. 

(WTTW News)

Key Chicago City Council Panel Slaps Johnson for Canceling ShotSpotter Contract

The measure now set for a final vote by the full City Council on April 17 would require the Johnson administration to provide alderpeople with a host of data generated by the ShotSpotter system before the city’s contract with SoundThinking expires on Nov. 22. 

Eileen O’Neill Burke celebrates her victory in the Democratic contest for Cook County state's attorney at the headquarters of the Plumbers' and Technical Engineers Local Union 130 on April 1, 2024. (Heather Cherone / WTTW News)

13 Days Later, O’Neill Burke Celebrates Victory in Democratic Cook County State’s Attorney Race

University of Chicago lecturer Clayton Harris conceded about an hour after Eileen O’Neill Burke declared victory Friday afternoon after the latest vote count showed her leading by 1,566 votes in a race where more than 527,000 votes were cast.

Eileen O’Neill Burke declared victory in the Democratic race for Cook County state’s attorney. (Provided)

Eileen O’Neill Burke Wins Democratic Cook County State’s Attorney Race: AP

Eileen O’Neill Burke declared victory Friday afternoon after the latest vote count showed her leading by 1,566 votes in a race where more than 527,000 votes were cast. O’Neill Burke said she had a “mathematically insurmountable lead.”

The former industrial building at 2241 S. Halsted St. that has been converted into the city's largest shelter. (WTTW News)

Key City Panel Advances Measure to Require Officials to Track Evictions From Chicago Migrant Shelters

The measure set for a final vote by the full City Council on April 17 would require officials to detail how many people are evicted from city shelters every week. In addition, officials must report on the type and number of complaints filed by shelter residents twice per month, according to the proposal.

Eileen O’Neill Burke and Clayton Harris III. (WTTW News)

Eileen O’Neill Burke’s Lead Narrows Again Thursday to 1,623 Votes in Cook County State’s Attorney Contest

The gap between the two candidates has been essentially unchanged for the past 48 hours.

(WTTW News)

South Shore Voters Endorse Calls to Expand Protection From Gentrification Sparked by Obama Presidential Center

Nearly 80% of voters in two precincts of the 7th Ward endorsed a referendum asking whether Ald. Greg Mitchell and Mayor Brandon Johnson should support “a Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) ordinance to prevent the displacement of renters, condo & home owners in South Shore in light of the impact of the Obama Center and growing development in the area.”

Eileen O’Neill Burke and Clayton Harris III. (WTTW News)

Eileen O’Neill Burke’s Lead Widens Slightly Wednesday to 1,637 Votes in Cook County State’s Attorney Contest

For the first time since Election Day, Eileen O’Neill Burke widened her lead slightly over Clayton Harris III as election officials in Chicago and suburban Cook County counted ballots. The gap between the two candidates has been essentially unchanged for the past 24 hours.

Eileen O’Neill Burke and Clayton Harris III are running for the Democratic nomination in the race for Cook County state’s attorney. (Photos provided)

Eileen O’Neill Burke’s Lead Shrinks Slightly Tuesday in Race to Replace Kim Foxx as Cook County’s Top Prosecutor

A full week after the March 19 election, the contest remains a long way from being settled, with 53,712 outstanding mail-in ballots from Chicago and approximately 35,000 outstanding ballots from suburban Cook County that will be counted as long as they were postmarked or dropped off on Election Day and arrive by April 2.

The former industrial building at 2241 S. Halsted St. that has been converted into the city's largest shelter. (WTTW News)

Measles Outbreak Worsens at Pilsen Migrant Shelter, Prompting Officials to Tighten Vaccination Policy

In all, 31 Chicagoans have been diagnosed with measles since March 4.

Eileen O’Neill Burke and Clayton Harris III are running for the Democratic nomination in the race for Cook County state’s attorney. (Photos provided)

Eileen O’Neill Burke’s Lead Narrows Again Monday Evening in Race to Replace Kim Foxx as Cook County’s Top Prosecutor

Six days after the March 19 election, the contest remains a long way from being settled, with an unknown number of outstanding mail-in ballots that will be counted as long as they were postmarked or dropped off on Election Day and arrive by April 2.

A still image from a video taken of the demolition of the Crawford Coal Plant smokestack, April 11, 2020. (Alejandro Reyes / YouTube)

Deadline for Claims in Hilco Class Action Lawsuit Hits as Anniversary Looms

Edith Tovar, of the Little Village Environmental Justice Organization, said her organization helped approximately 130,000 people submit a claim for damages.