Stories by Jennifer Cotto

Hadiya Pendleton’s Mother Continues Fight to End Gun Violence

Cleopatra Cowley-Pendleton appears on “Chicago Tonight” on Sept. 27, 2022. (WTTW News)

Nine years after Hadiya Pendleton’s death, her mother, Cleopatra Cowley-Pendleton, is still fighting to end gun violence. She founded Hadiya’s Promise – a nonprofit organization dedicated to ending gun violence through education.

As Interest Rates Rise, What’s In Store for Chicago’s Real Estate Market?

(WTTW News)

The Federal Reserve’s latest rate hike means higher potential costs for things like credit card payments, bank loans and mortgages. It will also have an impact on the real estate market.

For Many, Split R. Kelly Verdict Is Long-Awaited But ‘Bittersweet’ Moment

In this Sept. 17, 2019, file photo, R. Kelly appears during a hearing at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse in Chicago. (Antonio Perez / Chicago Tribune via AP, Pool, File)

For survivors of sexual assault and their advocates, it has been a long road as a federal jury yesterday convicted singer R. Kelly of six counts of producing child pornography and enticing girls for sex. The conviction comes more than two decades after the crimes took place.

Illinois SAFE-T Act Becomes Campaign Issue. What Does It Actually Do?

(WTTW News)

The Safety, Accountability, Fairness, and Equity Today Act — better known as the SAFE-T Act — was signed into law by Governor J.B. Pritzker in 2021. It has now become a campaign talking point. 

Lack of Young Farmers a Concern for Agricultural Industry

Students at work at the Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences in Mount Greenwood. (WTTW News)

The number of farmers in Illinois is declining and the most recent census data shows the average age of a farmer is nearly 60.

Local Organizations Join Together in Push for Equity in Illinois Marijuana Industry

(WTTW News)

Three local organizations are banding together in an effort to bring more equity to the Illinois marijuana industry.

CPS School Years Begins with New Guidelines

School is about a week and a half into session and CPS students have seen some changes around campus and in their classrooms. (WTTW News)

School is about a week and a half into session and CPS students have seen some changes around campus and in their classrooms. Also different this year - COVID protocols, which no longer require someone to quarantine if they've had an exposure. After two-plus years of work stoppages and labor disputes, will students finally get to enjoy a fully uninterrupted school year?

Racial Segregation Still Prevalent in Church Communities

(WTTW News)

According to the Equal Justice Initiative, 86% of American churches have no significant racial diversity. The Pew Research Center reports that 57% of churchgoers attend a predominantly White congregation.

Law Caps Monthly Insulin Cost for Medicare Users, But Cost Remains High For Others

President Joe Biden signs the Inflation Reduction Act into law at the White House on Aug. 16, 2022. (CNN)

President Joe Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act into law this week, which among other things, puts a $35 cap on insulin prices. But that will only apply to Medicare recipients, leaving the rest of Americans who depend on the life-saving medication to continue paying huge prices.

New State Health Director Starts Tenure with Challenges Around COVID-19, Monkeypox and Polio

Dr. Sameer Vohra took over the Illinois Department of Public Health earlier this month. (WTTW News)

Dr. Sameer Vohra took over the Illinois Department of Public Health earlier this month.

One-on-One with Mike Andrade, Indiana’s Only Latino State Representative

Indiana State Rep. Mike Andrade appears on “Chicago Tonight: Latino Voices” on Aug. 13, 2022. (WTTW News)

According to the Indiana Latino Institute, undocumented immigrants contribute nearly $100 million to the state’s economy. Yet when it comes to their representation in the general assembly the state has a single Latino representative.

Chicago Rideshare Drivers Push for Safety Precautions, Improved Working Conditions

(WTTW News)

With high gas prices and carjackings a growing job risk, gig workers from companies like Lyft, Uber and DoorDash are demanding more from their employers.

As Rents Rise, Push to Eliminate Illinois’ Ban on Rent Control Grows

(WTTW News)

Rent prices rose 9.4% in 2022, according to data firm CoStar Group. In response, groups of local tenants are unionizing in hopes of pushing for an end to a rent control ban that was passed in 1997.

CPS Teachers Who Are Keeping Their Jobs After Dispute Say Students’ General Iron Activism is Free Speech

George Washington High School. (WTTW News)

The teachers say they were encouraging students to participate in the process of free speech by protesting metal scrap company General Iron, which planned to move into their South Side community.

CTA Service Slowdowns, Crime Issues Make Transit Rides Difficult for Chicago Commuters

(WTTW News)

Riders returning to public transit have seen a noticeable slowdown in service and a breakdown in reliability. In the last three weeks, there have been at least two major stabbing incidents and a host of attempted robberies on city trains.

A Closer Look at Mayor Lightfoot’s Soldier Field Renovation Project

(WTTW News)

The mayor has a new proposal to upgrade Soldier Field, but can it really sway the Bears to stay? 

Financial Columnist Terry Savage on Personal Finance Decisions Amid Interest Hikes, Inflation

(WTTW News)

If you were planning to buy a new home, should you do it before rates rise again?  What if you need to upgrade your car? And is it good to pay off your credit card completely, or should you carry a small balance to boost your credit score?

Domestic Violence Shootings, Homicides Jump 64% in 2021: Report

(Kristina Tripkovic / Unsplash)

During the height of the pandemic in 2021, domestic violence cases saw a sharp increase in Illinois. The numbers come from a new report released earlier this week by The Network an advocacy group against domestic violence.

After Roe Overturned, Researchers Look Toward Impact on Maternal Health

(WTTW News)

Some researchers say the Supreme Court’s move overturning Roe v. Wade could have a negative impact on maternal health.

Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul on Abortion Rights, New Firearm Tracing Database

Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul appears on “Chicago Tonight” on June 30, 2022. (WTTW News)

Incumbent Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul ran unopposed for the Democratic nomination. In November, he will face Republican Tom DeVore, an attorney who successfully fought against Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s mask mandates in public schools.  

Fritz Kaegi to Face Nico Tsatsoulis in November Election

Cook County Assessor Fritz Kaegi appears on “Chicago Tonight” on June 29, 2022. (WTTW News)

Cook County Assessor Fritz Kaegi was able to fight off challenger Kari Steele, putting him one step closer to a second term in office.

Republican Tom DeVore to Face Incumbent Attorney General Kwame Raoul

(WTTW News)

Republican Tom DeVore won yesterday and is looking to replace incumbent Kwame Raoul, who is seeking reelection. DeVore, an attorney, has been behind several lawsuits against the state over mask and other COVID-19 mandates, leading to some tough words from the governor.

New Documentary Explores Lives of Young People With Mental Health Challenges

Courtesy of “Hiding in Plain Sight”

WTTW is premiering the two-part film “Hiding in Plain Sight,” which explores some of the mental health challenges today’s youth faces.

PAWS Chicago Celebrates 25 Years as No-Kill Shelter Works to Reduce Animal Deaths

A PAWS employee plays with kittens at the Lincoln Park shelter on June 20, 2022. (WTTW News)

Paula Fasseas, founder and executive chairman of PAWS Chicago, said she started the shelter as a grassroots organization in 1997 after learning that every year more than 42,000 homeless animals were being euthanized in Chicago.

Supply Chain Issues Lead to Tampon Shortage

People who menstruate are scrambling to find tampons and sanitary pads as manufacturers say securing the cotton and plastic used to make the products is volatile.

Candidate Forum: GOP Secretary of State Candidates Dan Brady and John Milhiser

Illinois Secretary of State Republican candidates Dan Brady and John Milhiser join “Chicago Tonight” June 16, 2022. (WTTW News)

After more than 20 years in office, Secretary of State Jesse White is retiring. We hear from the two Republican candidates vying for his job.