Stories by Alexandra Silets

The Week in Review: Cops Fired, Christensen Avoids Death Penalty

Four cops fired over an alleged cover-up. A life sentence for a former U. of I. student. A war of words between Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle. Five casino locations are unveiled. And the Cubs are red hot.

Wild Weather Gardening: How to Garden with Excessive Rain and Heat

It is possible to keep your garden alive when the weather shifts from extreme rain to extreme heat? The Chicago Botanic Garden’s Eliza Fournier has some tips for combatting common problems.

Veterans, Lawmakers Push to Overturn Transgender Service Ban

Jennifer Pritzker appears on “Chicago Tonight” on July 16, 2019.

The House passes an amendment to reverse President Donald Trump’s ban on most transgender people serving in the military. Retired Col. Jennifer Pritzker joins us.

ICE Raids Rattle Chicago’s Immigrant Communities

Immigration raids in Chicago and around the nation stoked fear, but there were very few reports of mass detentions and deportations. We discuss the ICE deportation operations with Ruth Lopez-McCarthy and Randy Ramey.

Drawing History: Chicago Tribune Editorial Cartoonist on Slowing Down

(Scott Stantis / Chicago Tribune)

After a decade commenting on news for the Chicago Tribune, editorial cartoonist Scott Stantis is stepping back from the daily grind. He joins us.

Dueling Economists on Jobs Numbers, Possible Interest Rate Changes


Local economists Michael Miller and Edward Stuart debate the new report on the nation’s big job gains – and where interest rates may be heading.

Judge Pallmeyer Breaks Glass Ceiling at Chicago’s Federal Court

Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer appears on “Chicago Tonight” on July 2, 2019.

Meet Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer, the first woman in the 200-year history of Chicago’s federal court to become chief judge.

New Book Inspired by Howard Reich’s ‘Intimate Conversations’ with Elie Wiesel

Howard Reich appears on “Chicago Tonight.”

After four years of conversations with the Holocaust survivor and Nobel Peace Prize winner, the Chicago Tribune jazz and classical music critic wrote a book. Howard Reich joins us to discuss “The Art of Inventing Hope: Intimate Conversations with Elie Wiesel.”

What is Risk Management, and How Will it Save Chicago Money?

(Ken Teegardin / Flickr)

Mayor Lori Lightfoot has appointed the city’s first “chief risk officer.” What exactly does that job entail – and how will it save Chicago millions of dollars a year?

Former Supreme Court Clerks Debate Blockbuster Decisions

(Joe Ravi / Wikimedia Commons)

On its final day before a summer break, the Supreme Court issues major rulings on a census citizenship question and the very controversial practice of political gerrymandering. Former Supreme Court clerks weigh in.

Even with a Budget, Illinois Still Owes Billions in Unpaid Bills

Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza appears on “Chicago Tonight” on June 25, 2019.

Here to talk about the state’s $6.5 bill backlog is the person who cuts the checks: Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza.

Steven Nasatir Reflects on 4 Decades at Jewish United Fund

Steven Nasatir, CEO of the Jewish United Fund, appears on “Chicago Tonight.”

The head of Chicago’s largest Jewish organization reflects on 40 years of leadership and a renewed rise of anti-Semitism. 

Web Extra, The Week in Review: Looming Property Tax Hikes

Rising property taxes are likely to cause sticker shock in parts of Chicago. Paris Schutz and guests discuss property tax hikes coming to the North Side. 

The Week in Review: Another Alderman in FBI Crosshairs

Carrie Austin becomes the latest Chicago alderman to be raided by the feds. Justice Anne Burke comes under fire over judicial appointments. And the Bulls draft Coby White.

Lonnie Bunch Makes History at the Smithsonian Institution

Lonnie Bunch appears on “Chicago Tonight” on Thursday, June 20, 2019.

The former head of the Chicago Historical Society, who created the Smithsonian’s African American history museum, is now running the Smithsonian itself – and is here to talk about it.

State Supreme Court Justice Anne Burke Angers Some with Judicial Pick

Illinois Supreme Court Justice Anne Burke received blowback from faith and community leaders on Chicago’s West Side for appointing a white woman to fill a vacancy formerly held by a black woman.

Inside Northwestern’s Massive New Biomedical Research Facility

Northwestern University is officially opening its massive $560 million, state of the art research center next week. Get a sneak peek inside.

Mayor Lightfoot Tries to Chart a New Course on Public Safety

“Forty-three people were shot, and five died. So we can’t claim victory, and we certainly can’t celebrate,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said at a City Club of Chicago event on Tuesday, May 28, 2019.

In spite of heavy rainfall that kept many indoors and 1,200 additional police officers on the streets of Chicago, 43 people were shot, seven fatally, over the Memorial Day weekend.

Chicago-Based Netflix Series ‘Easy’ Wraps After 3 Seasons

Chicago-based writer and director Joe Swanberg appears on “Chicago Tonight.”

Chicago-based writer and director Joe Swanberg has been shooting “Easy” in Chicago for the past three years. He tells us about the central theme of the show – and the role the city plays.

Aldermen on Governing with Mayor Lori Lightfoot

As Mayor Lori Lightfoot takes aim at City Council corruption, we talk with four aldermen about how they’ll work with the new mayor.

Pregnancy-Related Deaths on the Rise in the US

(culturarte86 / Pixabay)

Nationally, black women die at a rate 3.3 times greater than white women, but the statistics in Illinois are even more grim.

New Survey of Millennials Focuses on Economic Issues

(nosheep / Pixabay)

A new poll finds the majority of millennials – those born between 1980 and 2000 – are hopeful about their economic future, even though only one-third have career jobs.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel: ‘My Goal Wasn’t to Be Liked’

Mayor Rahm Emanuel appears on “Chicago Tonight” on Monday, May 13, 2019.

With one week to go on the fifth floor of City Hall, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel sat down with Paris Schutz to talk about anti-Semitism, his leadership style, the looming pension problem and his own transparency. 

Former Federal Prosecutors Say Trump Obstructed Justice

President Donald Trump speaks during the presentation of the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point football team in the Rose Garden of the White House, Monday, May 6, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo / Alex Brandon)

Political wrangling continues on Capitol Hill as Attorney General William Barr faces contempt charges and hundreds of former prosecutors sign a letter stating their belief that the president obstructed justice.

Will Hemp be Illinois’ Next Billion-Dollar Bumper Crop?

(chrisbeez / Pixabay)

A flood of Illinois farmers are hoping hemp will be a cash crop for them this summer after Gov. J.B. Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Agriculture opened up licensing last week.