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Stories by Alexandra Silets

Rebuilding Notre Dame a ‘National Project’ for France

Debris seen inside Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris on Tuesday, April 16, 2019. Firefighters declared success Tuesday in a more than 12-hour battle to extinguish an inferno engulfing Paris’ iconic cathedral. (Christophe Petit Tesson, Pool via AP)

A fire has devastated the 850-year-old cathedral in Paris. What will it take to rebuild the iconic structure? Chicago Tribune architecture critic Blair Kamin joins us in discussion.

Best-Selling Author Shares Planner for Life’s Biggest Eventuality: Death

Author and journalist Katy Butler tells us about her new book, “The Art of Dying Well: A Practical Guide to a Good End of Life.”

Chicago School Board: Better to Elect or Appoint?

There’s a grassroots push for an elected school board in Chicago, but how would a move away from an appointed board impact students? We discuss the pros and cons with Jesse Sharkey and Rufus Williams.

Loyola Basketball: A History of Remarkable Ramblers Teams

Longtime Chicago sportswriter Fred Mitchell tells us about his new book as we look back at the Loyola Ramblers’ magical season – just one year ago – when they went all the way to the Final Four.

New Biography of Ernie Banks Goes Beyond Legend of Mr. Cub

Behind the good cheer, Ernie Banks hid a melancholy and lonely man. We talk with Ron Rapoport, the author of “Let’s Play Two,” a new biography about Mr. Cub.

Hometown Architect Jeanne Gang Lands O’Hare Project

The O’Hare expansion proposal from Studio ORD (Chicago Department of Aviation)

A new global terminal at O’Hare will be filled with light, wood and trees. We take a closer look at the winning design and discuss the future of airport travel.

Mayoral Candidate Forum: Lightfoot vs. Preckwinkle

 Mayoral candidates Lori Lightfoot, left, and Toni Preckwinkle appear on “Chicago Tonight” on May 14, 2018 and Oct. 16, 2017, respectively.

Mayoral candidates Lori Lightfoot and Toni Preckwinkle join us for a special edition of “Chicago Tonight” moderated by Phil Ponce and featuring a live studio audience. Watch the full video online.

Web Extra, The Week in Review: College Admissions Scandal

Eddie Arruza and guests discuss the college admissions scandal that has ensnared some of the nation’s top schools and dozens of parents.

The Week in Review: Mayoral Candidates Rack Up Endorsements

Lori Lightfoot and Toni Preckwinkle battle for votes ahead of the runoff election. Mayor Rahm Emanuel gets his way on two controversial projects. CSO musicians trade instruments for picket signs. And Boeing’s very bit 737 problem.

16th Ward Candidate Forum: Incumbent Ald. Toni Foulkes

Aldermanic candidates for the 16th Ward: Stephanie Coleman, left, and incumbent Ald. Toni Foulkes.

We launch our aldermanic runoff forums with a reprise of the 2015 matchup in the 16th Ward between Stephanie Coleman and incumbent Ald. Toni Foulkes.

Web Extra, The Week in Review: Pritzker’s ‘Fair Tax’ Plan

Brandis Friedman and guests discuss the details of Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s graduated income tax plan, as businesses and Republicans cry foul at higher taxes for millionaires.

The Week in Review: Mayoral Runoff Election Heats Up

Mayoral candidates Lori Lightfoot, left, and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle participate in a televised forum on NBC 5 Chicago on Thursday, March 7, 2019. The two will face off in a runoff election April 2, 2019. (Courtesy of NBC 5 Chicago)

Sparks fly in the first mayoral runoff forum. Courts deliver bad news for politicians and R. Kelly. Former U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock beats his charges. And the Lincoln Yards development nears a full City Council vote. 

Chicago Planning Commissioner David Reifman on Making Big Plans

Affordable housing, neighborhood overcrowding and transparency over TIF funds are dogging the massive Lincoln Yards proposal. The latest on that and other big development projects.

Web Extra, The Week in Review: Impact of Mayoral Forums, Media Coverage

Eddie Arruza and guests discuss whether the dozens of mayoral forums hurt or helped voters make decisions.

The Week in Review: Lightfoot, Preckwinkle Head into Historic Runoff

Lori Lightfoot and Toni Preckwinkle will face off in a historic mayoral runoff. Surprises in several aldermanic races. And what role will identity politics play in the election?

Illinois Joins Lawsuit Against Trump’s Emergency Wall Declaration

Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul appears on “Chicago Tonight” on Feb. 21, 2019.

Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul has joined his counterparts in 15 other states in a lawsuit against the Trump administration for declaring a national emergency to build a wall on the southern U.S. border. 

Mayoral Candidate Forum: Daley, Mendoza, Preckwinkle, Vallas, Wilson

Join us Monday at 7 p.m. for the second of three mayoral candidate forums, moderated by Phil Ponce. Watch on WTTW11 or live on our website, Facebook and YouTube.

FDA Assessing Risks of Vaginal Mesh Amid Thousands of Lawsuits

(valelopardo / Pixabay)

More than 100,000 women are suing manufacturers over painful complications from surgical mesh, which is implanted in the vaginal wall to treat urinary incontinence and other health issues. 

Illinois Lawmakers Debate Financial Steps Amid Pritzker Deficit Report

State Rep. Greg Harris, D-Chicago, center, and State Rep. Tom Demmer, R-Dixon, right, joined Carol Marin on “Chicago Tonight” on Feb. 11, 2019.

From tax increases to sports betting to recreational marijuana, Illinois lawmakers weigh changes to address the state’s overwhelming financial problems. 

Mobile Carriers Tout Upcoming 5G Networks. How Fast is That?

(Free-Photos / Pixabay)

Blazing speeds are reportedly coming to your devices with 5G. Chicago Tribune technology reporter Ally Marotti tells us what to expect – and when.

Political Messaging in the Age of Deeply Partisan Politics

President Donald Trump delivers his State of the Union speech Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019.

The season for political messaging is in swing, but how can politicians – especially those running in highly competitive races for Chicago mayor or alderman – break through? 

Russia Vows New Missile Systems as US Withdraws from Nuclear Treaty

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks at a news conference at the State Department in Washington, Friday, Feb. 1, 2019. Pompeo announced that the U.S. is pulling out of a treaty with Russia that's been a centerpiece of arms control since the Cold War. (AP Photo / Andrew Harnik)

Russia’s announcement that it plans to build two new land-based missile launch systems follows the U.S. decision to withdraw from a decades-old nuclear treaty. 

Congress Back to Work Despite State of the Union Delay

“When the president stays out of the negotiations, we almost always succeed,” Sen. Chuck Schumer said Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2019.

Congress looks to avoid another shutdown. “PBS NewsHour” correspondent Lisa Desjardins reports on a very busy day on Capitol Hill – that doesn’t include the State of the Union.

Meet New WBEZ ‘Morning Shift’ Host Jenn White

We catch up with Jenn White, who took over hosting duties earlier this month after former “Morning Shift” host Tony Sarabia signed off.

Senate to Vote Thursday on Dueling Bills to End Government Shutdown

Yamiche Alcindor of the “PBS NewsHour” brings us the latest on the longest partial federal government shutdown in U.S. history, now in its second month.