Stories by Heather Cherone

Lightfoot Says Ethics Board Acts As ‘Judge, Jury, Executioner’ in Defense of Changes She Demanded

Mayor Lori Lightfoot addresses the news media Monday, July 18, 2022. (Chicago's Mayor's Office)

Mayor Lori Lightfoot criticized the Chicago Board of Ethics on Monday for acting “as judge, jury and executioner” when investigating officials for violating the city’s ethics ordinance.

Chicago Set to Pay $11.2M to Settle 3 Police Misconduct Cases

(WTTW News)

Armando Serrano and Jose Montanez, who were released in 2016 after serving 23 years in prison for the murder of Rodrigo Vargas, would each get $10.25 million if the settlement is approved by the City Council. 

Effort to Crackdown on Drag Racing Advances After Viral Videos

Chicago City Hall. (Heather Cherone/WTTW News)

So-called “sideshows” have popped up all over the city in recent weeks, where hundreds of people gather to watch cars spinning “doughnuts” — sometimes in a ring of gasoline set on fire.

Push to Tighten Chicago’s Ethics Rules, Boost Fines to $20K Clears Key Panel

(WTTW News)

The Ethics and Government Oversight Committee unanimously endorsed the reworked version of the proposal authored by Ald. Michele Smith (43rd Ward), the panel’s chair, and backed by the Chicago Board of Ethics. A final vote by the full City Council is set for Wednesday. 

City Panel Calls for Lightfoot to Release Full Probe of Botched Smokestack Implosion

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

A summary of the results of the probe conducted by former Inspector General Joseph Ferguson was released in January, as required by city law. However, Lightfoot has rejected calls from Little Village residents and environmental justice organizations to release the full results of the investigation into the implosion at the former Crawford coal power plant, which sent a plume of dust over six blocks of homes in April 2020.

Ald. Harry Osterman Announces He Won’t Seek 4th Term Representing Edgewater on Chicago City Council

Ald. Harry Osterman, 48th Ward, appears on “Chicago Tonight” in October 2016. (WTTW News)

Ald. Harry Osterman (48th Ward) announced Friday that he will not run for re-election to represent Edgewater on the Chicago City Council in 2023. Osterman is the third member of the Chicago City Council to announce they will not run for re-election next year, joining Ald. James Cappleman (46th Ward) and Ald. Carrie Austin (34th Ward). 

Revised Proposal to Tighten Chicago’s Ethics Rules to Face Crucial Test Friday

(WTTW News)

The Ethics and Government Oversight Committee is set to meet at 3 p.m. Friday to consider a reworked version of the proposal authored by Ald. Michele Smith, the panel’s chair, and backed by the Chicago Board of Ethics. With the committee’s endorsement, a final vote could come on Wednesday.

COVID-19 Risk Rises Again Across Chicago, Cook County, as Cases Jump and Hospitalizations Rise

(Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

Chicago Department of Public Health officials recommend that residents wear masks indoors and on public transportation to reduce their risk of contracting COVID-19 and ensure they are up to date with their COVID-19 vaccines.

Progressive Groups Notched Victories in June Primaries. Now Their Focus Shifts to Chicago’s 2023 Elections

(WTTW News)

A slate of progressive candidates prevailed in Democratic primary contests across the Chicago area, despite facing concerted criticism for backing criminal justice reform efforts. Their success has the potential to reshape the 2023 Chicago municipal elections.

Ald. Ed Burke Set to Stand Trial Nov. 6, 2023 — Nearly 4 1/2 Years After Indictment

Ald. Ed Burke is pictured in a file photo. (WTTW News)

If Ald. Ed Burke decides to run for re-election in February 2023, he will do so before being brought to trial on charges he has faced for more than an entire term on the Chicago City Council.

Chicago Police: We Didn’t Advise WNBA to Close Outdoor Chance the Rapper Concert to Public

(WTTW News)

The Chicago Police Department did not advise the WNBA to limit outdoor events held Saturday and Sunday in conjunction with the league’s all-star game, including a concert by Chicago-native Chance the Rapper, a department spokesperson told WTTW News.

Hearing Set on Stalled Effort to Tighten Chicago’s Ethics Rules

(WTTW News)

The Ethics Committee plans to hold a hearing, and potentially a key vote, on Wednesday to consider a proposed overhaul of the city of Chicago’s Governmental Ethics Ordinance, without giving members of the public or the news media a chance to review its provisions.

$500 Payments Start to Flow in Chicago’s Guaranteed Basic Income Program: Lightfoot

(benscripps / Pixabay)

The first payments began to flow nearly nine months after the Chicago City Council approved the program’s funding as part of its 2022 budget.

Chicago Leaders to Kick Off Budget Season Weeks Before Officials Are Set to Detail Deficit

(Regina Shanklin / Pixabay)

Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s office will host three “budget engagement forums” on July 21, July 23 and July 30 to give Chicago residents a chance to “share their priorities regarding city services” and “have a dialogue” with the mayor, budget director and other city officials.

Showdown Set Over Effort to Roll Back $35 Tickets for Drivers Snapped 6 MPH Over the Limit

(WTTW News)

A push to roll back a law hitting drivers who zip past Chicago parks and schools monitored by speed cameras traveling between 6 mph and 9 mph above the limit with $35 tickets is set to get an up-or-down vote by the Chicago City Council on July 20, according to records obtained by WTTW News.

COVID-19 Risk Drops Across Chicago, Cook County, Even as Hospitalizations Rise

(Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

The threat of COVID-19 eased across Chicago and Cook County Thursday, as federal officials lowered the warning level to “medium” after two weeks at “high,” according to Centers for Disease Control data. However, Chicago Department of Public Health officials continue to recommend that residents wear masks indoors and on public transportation. 

Former Ald. Patrick Daley Thompson Sentenced to 4 Months in Prison for Lying, Cheating on Taxes

Flanked by relatives and friends, former Ald. Patrick Daley Thompson (11th Ward) arrives on July 6, 2022 at the Dirksen Federal Courthouse Wednesday for his sentencing for lying to federal agents and filing false tax returns. (WTTW News)

Daley Thompson, 53, was convicted on seven charges in February, forcing his removal from the Chicago City Council. U.S. District Court Judge Franklin Valderrama also imposed a 12-month term of supervised release.

Despite Threat, High-Powered Rifle Used in 4th of July Highland Park Shooting Bought Legally: Officials

Downtown Highland Park is pictured on July 5, 2022, a day after a mass shooting occurred at the Fourth of July parade. (WTTW News)

The gun law enforcement officials said was used to kill at least seven people and wound more than three dozen more during the Independence Day parade in Highland Park was purchased legally, officials said. In all, the man charged in the attack purchased five weapons, including a shotgun and a pistol, legally over the course of the past year, police said. 

Special Session Called After Supreme Court Overturned Roe v. Wade Delayed

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

A special session of the Illinois General Assembly called by Gov. J.B. Pritzker after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, ending constitutional protections for abortion, will be delayed, officials announced Tuesday.

Probe Underway of Off-Duty Chicago Police Sergeant Who Pinned 14-Year-Old Boy to Park Ridge Sidewalk

A still from the video posted on Facebook by Nicole Nieves, the teen's mother. (Provided)

The agency charged with investigating misconduct by Chicago Police officers is probing the actions of an off-duty police sergeant who was captured on video pinning a 14-year-old boy to a Park Ridge sidewalk with his knee Friday evening.

Ald. James Cappleman Announces He Won’t Seek 4th Term Representing Uptown on Chicago City Council

Ald. James Cappleman, 46th Ward, appears on “Chicago Tonight” from Uptown on March 31, 2020. (WTTW News)

Three candidates have already joined the 2023 race for the 46th Ward seat on the Chicago City Council. Ald. James Cappleman was first elected in 2011. 

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.