Stories by alexandra silets

CPS Parents Demand More COVID Testing, Remote Learning Option

(WTTW News)

Most Chicago Public Schools students have now been back in the classroom for over a week, but some parents, teachers and students say they don’t feel safe from COVID-19 in school buildings — and they’re demanding access to remote learning. 

Cook County Kicks Off 3rd Annual Racial Equity Week

“We've committed to strategies and measurable outcomes that hold us accountable to the public. It's not enough just to talk about equity. We must act,” Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle said.

Chicago Bears Season Preview With James ‘Big Cat’ Williams

The NFL season officially kicks off Thursday, but the Bears have to wait until Sunday for their prime-time matchup with the Rams. James “Big Cat” Williams, former offensive lineman for the Chicago Bears from 1991 to 2002, offers his take on the season.

Survivor of ‘Gay Conversion Therapy’ Writes Book About Experiences

A still image taken from a scene with Julie Rodgers in the Netflix documentary “Pray Away.” (Credit: Netflix)

A one-on-one discussion with Julie Rodgers, the first openly gay chaplain at Wheaton College who is featured in the Netflix documentary, “Pray Away.” She’s also the author of the new book “Outlove: A Queer Christian Survival Story.”

The Week in Review: Indoor Masking Returns

In this file photo, a young student wears a mask indoors. (WTTW News)

A surge in COVID-19 infections prompts indoor mask mandates. Democrats and Republicans campaign at the Illinois State Fair. Officer Ella French is laid to rest. And a chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan has President Joe Biden on the defensive. 

Spotlight Politics: Intrigue at the Illinois State Fair

U.S. Rep. Lauren Underwood speaks at Governor’s Day at the Illinois State Fair on Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2021. (WTTW News)

Democrats have their day at the Illinois State Fair. Our politics team weighs in on that story and others — and crunches some City Council committee spending numbers — in this week’s roundtable.

The Week in Review: Ella French and Her Partner Shot During Traffic Stop

Chicago police Officer Ella French (@TomAhernCPD / Twitter)

The killing of a Chicago police officer highlights tension between police and the mayor. Chicago’s budget deficit shrinks. Census numbers show population growth. CPS announces a vaccine mandate.

How Straw Purchasers Contribute to the Flow of Illegal Guns

(WTTW News)

Many guns involved in Chicago crimes are bought by straw purchasers. Just who are they — and can the flow of illegal guns be stopped?

The Week in Review: Delta Variant Surge Brings Vaccine, Masking Mandates

Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced a mask mandate for all pre-K through 12th grade students and staff at public and private schools, along with day cares, as the delta variant of COVID-19 continues to surge across the state and the country, Aug. 4, 2021. (WTTW News)

The governor institutes a full pre-K through 12 mask mandate. The city’s casino process gets delayed. The governor’s race could get a new entrant. And fire sale Cubs take on the surging Sox.

The Week in Review: Delta Variant More Transmissible, Masking Returns

Fears spike that Lollapalooza will be a super-spreader event, with thousands of locals and tourists attending amid surging delta variant cases. (WTTW News)

Fears spike that Lollapalooza will be a super-spreader event, with thousands of locals and tourists attending amid surging delta variant cases. Meanwhile, masking mandates make a comeback. Illinois Republicans battle each other over the Jan. 6 committee hearings. And the Cubs shed their World Series stars.

The Week in Review: Merrick Garland Visits Chicago to Tout Gun Trafficking Strike Force

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland toured Chicago Thursday visiting a local police precinct and church and meeting with Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Police Superintendent David Brown, July 22, 2021. (WTTW News)

The U.S. attorney general targets illegal guns. City Council approves civilian police oversight as shootings soar. Lollapalooza goes on despite rising COVID-19 cases. Gov. Pritzker makes it official.

The Week in Review: Buttigieg in Chicago to Boost Infrastructure Plan

Sec. of Transportation, Pete Buttigieg, tours the 95th/Dan Ryan Red Line station with Mayor Lightfoot, CTA President Dorval Carter, Sens. Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth, and Democratic members of Illinois’ congressional delegation to promote President Biden’s infrastructure plan, July 16, 2021. (WTTW News)

A possible compromise on civilian police oversight. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg takes a Chicago infrastructure tour. And legislators whiff on ethics. 

The Week in Review: Summer Violence Persists with More Law Enforcement Shot

(WTTW News)

A war of words ensues as the mayor and police chief blame the courts for the city’s violence. Joe Biden’s first stop in Illinois as president. The list of alderpeople under indictment grows. And the city pension debt swells.

Is a Move to Arlington Heights in the Bears’ Future?

Arlington International Racecourse (WTTW News)

The Chicago Bears are seriously bidding to buy the plot where Arlington Park has been for decades. What the sale could mean for the Chicago area.

The Week in Review: Lake Shore Drive Name Change Moves Forward

(WTTW News)

An iconic roadway is renamed after a chaotic City Council meeting. Tornadoes rip through the western suburbs. The mayor says violence is trending down, but the numbers don’t add up. And former Minneapolis cop Derek Chauvin is sentenced.

Mass Exodus from Chicago Tribune as Journalists Accept Buyouts

(Rebecca Palmore / WTTW News)

Dozens of talented journalists are leaving the Chicago Tribune after its new owner, Alden Global Capital, offered employees voluntary buyouts. Among those who have announced their departure are some of the newspaper’s most notable columnists. 

The Week in Review: Civilian Oversight of Chicago Police Stalls in City Council

A line of Chicago police officers watch a demonstration at Division and Larrabee streets on June 2, 2020. (Evan Garcia / WTTW News)

Mayor Lightfoot pushes for changes to the elected school board bill that already passed. City violence spikes again. Aldermen battle the mayor over liquor sales. And renaming Lake Shore Drive.

The Week in Review: City Moves Up Full Reopening to June 11

Lightfoot announced the reopening during an online question-and-answer session hosted by Dr. Allison Arwady, the commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health, June 3, 2021.

Remaps, school boards, ethics, budgets and more: We recap the flurry of activity in Springfield. Chicago is on track for a full reopening this month. Gov. Pritzker is coy about another term.

VA Doctors on the Health Effects of COVID-19 on Veterans

The Edward Hines Jr. Veterans Administration Hospital. (WTTW News)

On Memorial Day, Americans remember and celebrate members of the military who made the ultimate sacrifice. But living veterans have fought another enemy over the past year: the coronavirus pandemic.

The Week in Review: Lori Lightfoot’s Midterm Report Card

Mayor Lori Lightfoot speaks in an empty lot in Auburn Gresham Thursday, May 20, 2021. (WTTW News)

The mayor gets mixed grades on her two-year anniversary and controversy follows her policy of offering interviews based on race. A dreaded Tribune deal goes through. And Lollapalooza will be back in full force for summer.

The Week in Review: Illinois Enters Bridge Phase

Speaking from Six Flags Great America, Gov. J.B. Pritzker gives Illinoisans "more incentive to get vaccinated," as the state moves into the bridge phase of reopening, and venues announce their summer plans, May 13, 2021. (WTTW News)

Illinois enters the reopening bridge phase as summer festivals are announced. Leaked emails spell trouble for the mayor. Rahm may be headed to Japan. And the sudden death of a Chicago star-architect.

The Week in Review: Full Reopening Nears with Warning

Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Mayor Lori Lightfoot detail various re-openings which include the Auto Show and a special concert series for people who are vaccinated. However, the mayor and the governor differ on full lifting of restrictions by about a month. (WTTW News)

Illinois is on track to open fully in June. Cultural institutions prepare for their return. High-profile political corruption cases heat up in court. And bombshell resignations both at CPS and COPA.

The Week in Review: A Current and Former Alderman Indicted

A file photo shows Ald. Patrick Daley Thompson, nephew to former Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley and grandson of Richard J. Daley. (WTTW News)

A current and former alderman indicted. Another police shooting video released. Trouble over renaming Lake Shore Drive after DuSable. And the Bears shock the NFL Draft and land quarterback Justin Fields.

Spotlight Politics: Alvarez Shooting Video Released

The Chicago Police Department is under a federal consent decree and Supt. Brown says there are multiple things happening consecutively, April 28, 2021. (WTTW News)

Another video showing the police shooting death, this time of Anthony Alvarez, is released. It shows Officer Evan Solano making a split-second decision to fire his weapon at the 22-year-old during a foot chase. Our politics team takes on that story and more in this week’s roundtable.

The Week in Review: City Stands Down After Chauvin Verdict

Illinois National Guard officers watch a protest in Old Town on June 6, 2020, one of many in the city and across the U.S. sparked by the death of George Floyd while in Minneapolis police custody. (Evan Garcia / WTTW News)

The Derek Chauvin verdict brings some relief to Chicago. Ald. Ed Burke allegedly makes anti-Semitic statements. City Council meets in person. And Superintendent David Brown addresses the media about shootings.

News Educators Say Journalists Should ‘Slow Down’ on Social Media

Mayor Lori Lightfoot and CPS CEO Janice Jackson addressed students returning to Walter Payton College Prep for the first time in 13 months, April 20, 2021. (WTTW News via NBC)

Unfounded rumors erupted on social media over the weekend about the alleged resignation of Mayor Lori Lightfoot. We talk about how rumors spread on social media and how journalists should cover them.