Stories by Heather Cherone

Jonathan Jackson Declares Victory in 1st District Race to Replace Retiring Bobby Rush

Jonathan Jackson (WTTW News)

Jonathan Jackson, the son of famed Civil Rights icon Jesse Jackson, emerged from the crowded field to win the Democratic nomination in the 1st Congressional district to replace U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush.

Fritz Kaegi Defeats Kari Steele in Bid for a 2nd Term as Cook County Assessor

Fritz Kaegi, left, faced Kari Steele in the June 28 Democratic primary for Cook County Assessor. (WTTW News)

Cook County Assessor Fritz Kaegi defeated challenger Kari Steele in his bid for a second term in what was the county’s most expensive and high-profile Democratic primary contest on Tuesday.

Delia Ramirez Defeats Gilbert Villegas in 3rd Congressional District Race: AP

Delia Ramirez, right, defeated Gilbert Villegas in the June 28 Democratic primary for the U.S. House. (WTTW News)

Delia Ramirez will face the lone Republican in the race, Justin Burau, in the November general election.

More Than Half of City’s Summer Lifeguard Jobs Are Still Vacant: Chicago Park District Data

The Chicago Park District’s River Park, located in Lincoln Square. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

More than 55% of the department’s 587 seasonal lifeguard positions were vacant as of Thursday, according to Chicago Park District data, eight days after officials announced the city’s 49 outdoor pools would not open on schedule — leaving Chicagoans to swelter during a record-breaking heat wave.

Cops Lied About Why They Dragged 5 People from Their Car Near Brickyard Mall, Used Racist, Sexist Slurs: Misconduct Agency

(WTTW News)

The agency charged with the investigation recommended two Chicago Police officers should be fired and seven disciplined for their role in an incident that injured a woman’s eye after she was pulled from her car at the Brickyard Mall during the unrest that swept the city after the police murder of George Floyd.

As Monkeypox Cases Rise in Chicago, Health Officials Start Vaccinating Those Exposed

This electron microscope image shows mature, oval-shaped monkeypox 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)

People identified as close contacts to someone suspected or confirmed with monkeypox are being offered the vaccine, as well as treatment with antiviral medication for those with more severe illness, according to city health officials.

Gov. Pritzker Calls Special Session After Supreme Court Overturns Roe v. Wade

Gov. J.B. Pritzker condemns the decision by the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade on Friday, June 24, 2022. (WTTW News)

Abortion will remain legal in Illinois, thanks to a law signed by former Gov. Bruce Rauner in 2017 that rolled back a measure that would have automatically banned abortion in Illinois if Roe v. Wade, decided in 1973, was overturned. 

Negotiations Underway on Stalled Ethics Reform Package, Lightfoot Says

(WTTW News)

An effort to overhaul Chicago’s ethics rules will remain stalled for at least another month, even as Mayor Lori Lightfoot said she has begun negotiating with Ald. Michele Smith, who introduced the measure in April. 

COVID-19 Bounces Back to ‘High’ Risk Across Chicago, Cook County, Even as Cases Drop

(Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

One week ago, federal officials lowered the risk warning level to high for Cook County. But even as confirmed cases of COVID-19 continued to drop, hospitalizations rose just enough across Cook County to trigger an increase in the warning level by federal officials.

Cook County Officials Unveil Rosy 2023 Budget Outlook

Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle announces the launch of the Building Healthy Communities initiative Tuesday, April 12, 2022. (WTTW News)

Cook County budget officials will only have to close an $18.2 million budget shortfall in 2023, the smallest gap in a decade, avoiding tax hikes and layoffs. Thebudget has been boosted by sales taxes, corporate income taxes and revenue generated by the construction boom. 

Vote to Roll Back $35 Tickets for Drivers Snapped 6 MPH Over the Limit Blocked by Lightfoot

(WTTW News)

Ald. Jason Ervin (28th Ward) led the push to prevent a vote on the measure Wednesday, using a parliamentary procedure to delay a vote until the City Council’s next meeting, scheduled for July 20. That tactic is often used by members of the City Council to push back an up-or-down vote when the outcome is uncertain.

After 3-Year-Old Dies in Crash, City Council to Weigh Plan to Step Up Bike Lane Enforcement

(WTTW News)

Authored by Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd Ward) and Ald. Andre Vasquez (40th Ward), the measure would give employees of the Department of Finance — not just members of the Chicago Police Department — the authority to order the vehicle blocking the bicycle lane to be ticketed and towed.

Effort to Roll Back $35 Tickets for Drivers Snapped 6 MPH Over the Limit Advances Despite Lightfoot’s Objection

(WTTW News)

The proposal now heads to Wednesday’s meeting of the full Chicago City Council, where its prospects are uncertain at best.

Rules Committee Rubber Stamps Lightfoot’s Pick of Monique Scott to Fill 24th Ward Seat

Monique Scott appears before the Chicago City Council's Rules Committee on June 21, 2022. (City of Chicago)

Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s second appointment to the Chicago City Council advanced Monday on a unanimous vote of the City Council’s Rules Committee during a meeting that lasted less than five minutes.

Measure to Require Apartment Complexes to Keep Residents Cool After 3 Women Died Clears Key Panel

(WTTW News)

The proposal was prompted by the deaths of three Rogers Park women, who died after temperatures in their apartments rose to dangerous levels during a mid-May heat wave. The revised measure, which is set for a final vote at the full City Council meeting scheduled for Wednesday. 

Former State Sen. Tom Cullerton Sentenced to 1 Year in Prison After Pleading Guilty to Embezzlement

(Illinois state Sen. Tom Cullerton / Facebook)

Former state Sen. Tom Cullerton will spend a year in prison after pleading guilty to embezzling funds from a labor union. The DuPage County Democrat was charged in 2019 with one count of conspiracy to embezzle from a labor union and employee benefit plans, 39 counts of embezzlement from a labor union and one count of making false statements. 

Lightfoot Picks Monique Scott to Fill 24th Ward Seat Left Vacant by Brother’s Resignation

(WTTW News)

Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s decision to bless the creation of another City Council familial dynasty comes as she is running for re-election.

Final Tally: More Than 1,750 Chicago Police Officers Won’t Have to Get Vaccinated

(WTTW News)

Officials granted double the number of COVID-19 vaccine exemptions to members of the Chicago Police Department than they did to members of any other city department, according to a WTTW News analysis of data provided by the mayor’s office.

Chicago Pools Will Open At Least 11 Days Late Because of Lifeguard Shortage, Officials Say

The Chicago Park District’s River Park, located in Lincoln Square. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

Chicago Park District officials acknowledged to WTTW News that it had not been able to hire enough lifeguards to allow its 49 outdoor pools to open as scheduled on June 24, blaming a “national shortage” and “several other factors.” 

COVID-19 Poses ‘Medium’ Risk Across Chicago, Cook County, Down From ‘High’: Health Officials

(Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

COVID-19 posed a high risk in Chicago and Cook County for 21 days, but neither state, county nor city officials imposed new restrictions designed to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Chicagoans should consider the CDC’s medium level of risk warning as “a yellow light of caution,” Dr. Allison Arwady has said.

Chicago Police Officers Guilty of Misconduct Face Inconsistent, Unfair Discipline: Watchdog

(WTTW News)

Chicago Police officers found to have committed misconduct face “inconsistent” and “unfair,” discipline, according to an audit released Thursday by the city’s watchdog.

Candidate Forum: Cook County Board President Candidates Talk About Strategies for Curbing Violence

Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle, left, debates lawyer Richard Boykin on "Chicago Tonight" on Wednesday, June 15. (WTTW News)

Cook County Board of Commissioners President Toni Preckwinkle and Oak Park lawyer Richard Boykin clashed over whether Preckwinkle’s efforts to reform the county’s criminal justice system is fueling the surge of crime during a debate held Wednesday evening on “Chicago Tonight.”

Ja’Mal Green Joins Race for Mayor, Becoming 2nd Progressive Challenger to Lightfoot

A shot from a new campaign video released by activist Ja’Mal Green. (Credit: Go Green Chicago)

“We’re in a state of emergency,” Ja’Mal Green told “Chicago Tonight” on Tuesday. “This city is in huge disarray.” 

Ethics Board Won’t Punish Ald. Sposato For Violating Ethics Ordinance With Facebook Photo

The Chicago Board of Ethics found probable cause that Ald. Nicholas Sposato violated the city’s Governmental Ethics Ordinance by posting this photo on his Facebook page. (Facebook)

The Chicago Board of Ethics will not punish Ald. Nicholas Sposato (38th Ward) for violating the city’s Governmental Ethics Ordinance by appearing in photographs used on his social media page on city property.

Pass Effort to Tighten Chicago’s Ethics Rules Immediately, Ethics Board Chair Says

(WTTW News)

Chicago Board of Ethics Chair William Conlon said the package of reforms — which has been stalled since April without Lightfoot’s backing — should be “swiftly” passed by the City Council and signed into law.

Lightfoot Defends Overhaul of Chicago’s Mental Health System Despite Refusal to Reopen Closed Clinics

Mayor Lori Lightfoot Lightfoot discusses mental health care at an event at Access Community Health Network in Back of the Yards. (Chicago Mayor's Office)

Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Monday that her strategy to fill the “significant gaps” in Chicago’s mental health care system that she inherited by expanding city funding for nonprofit organizations — but not reopening city-run clinics — is succeeding.