Stories by Amanda Vinicky

You’ve Got Mail: 5 Things to Know About Voting by Mail

(WTTW News)

Voting by mail in Illinois isn’t new, but amid the pandemic, the state is encouraging voters to cast their ballots by mail rather than in person. But how do you go about that — and is it safe? Here’s what you need to know.

Is Campaign Money From Speaker Michael Madigan ‘Dirty’?

(Ken Teegardin / Flicker)

It’s about the time of year when your mailbox may start to fill up with glossy brochures, pitching you not on a product — but on a candidate. What impact the ComEd bribery scandal might have on the coming election.

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan: ‘No Plans to Resign’

(WTTW News)

“I have no plans to resign,” Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan said Thursday in a statement as a growing number of Democrats encourage him to step down due to his entanglement in Commonwealth Edison’s bribery scandal.  

Police Officer Suicide Sounds Mental Health Alarm

(WTTW News)

On Tuesday, a high-ranking chief in the Chicago Police Department is believed to have committed suicide — and research shows the suicide rate for Chicago officers is higher than the national average.

Could ComEd Customers Get Reimbursed for ‘Wrongfully Inflated Rates’?

(Ken Teegardin / Flickr)

Commonwealth Edison must pay a $200 million fine to the federal government as part of its deal with the U.S. attorney’s office. That fine will go to federal coffers — not ComEd customers. But a lawsuit is seeking to change that.

Does Mayor Lightfoot’s Air Quality Plan Go Far Enough?

Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s new report on air quality shows that while air pollution is a problem across the city, it’s worse in some neighborhoods than others. What her administration is planning to do about it.

Christopher Columbus Statue Removed from Grant Park

Courtney Johnson, a South Side resident, stands in front of a vandalized statue of Christopher Columbus in Grant Park on Saturday, June 15, 2020. (Evan Garcia / WTTW News)

A towering likeness of Christopher Columbus no longer stands in Chicago’s Grant Park after Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot ordered for its “temporary” removal.

Chicago Pastor on Mass Shooting: ‘I Haven’t Seen a Scene Like This’

Pastor Donovan Price (WTTW News)

Chicago police say Tuesday’s mass shooting is a chilling example of gang revenge and retaliation — a cycle that needs to end. They are pleading with witnesses for help, while residents deal with the trauma.

What Does ComEd Bribery Deal Mean for Your Electricity Bill?

(WTTW News)

ComEd is set to pay a $200 million fine as it seeks to get a bribery charge dismissed. Where will the money come from?

ComEd Charged with Bribery; Madigan Implicated But Denies Wrongdoing

In this July 26, 2017 file photo, Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan speaks at a news conference at the state capitol in Springfield, Illinois. (Justin Fowler / The State Journal-Register via AP, File)

Longtime Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan denies having done anything criminal or improper despite being implicated Friday in court filings that charge utility Commonwealth Edison with bribery.

The Holdup Delaying People of Color from Profiting from Legal Pot

(Photo by Add Weed / Unsplash)

A new set of 75 dispensary licenses, judged in part on social equity factors, was to have been awarded by May 1, but has been indefinitely delayed due to the coronavirus.

9 Steps to Take If You’ve Hung Out with Someone Who Has COVID-19

Chicagoans try to beat the heat along the lakefront trail in early July. (WTTW News)

Even if you practice safe habits, there’s always a chance you’ll come into contact with someone who has COVID-19. There’s no guarantee you’ll get it too, but there’s also no guarantee you won’t. So what then?

An Exit Interview With Police Department’s First Deputy Superintendent

First Deputy Superintendent Anthony Riccio speaks with “Chicago Tonight” on Tuesday, July 14, 2020. (WTTW News)

Anthony Riccio, the Chicago Police Department’s second-in-command, is retiring. The move comes as police departments nationwide are under the microscope — including in Chicago.

Video Gaming Kingpin ‘Not a Target’ of Federal Probe

(WTTW News)

A partial release of Illinois companies that received loans from the Paycheck Protection Program has turned up some big names, including some who are politically connected — and some connected to ethics scandals.

As Tollway Transactions Dive Nearly 28%, Drivers Given Latitude on Skipped Tolls

(Michael Leland / Flickr)

Before the coronavirus pandemic, the Illinois Tollway projected its revenues in 2020 would reach $1.5 billion, a 3% increase from 2019. But with people staying at home, that means fewer drivers on the roads – including the tollways.

How COVID-19 Has Affected Spending, Revenues in Illinois

(Ken Teegardin / Flickr)

It was clear as soon as the coronavirus was classified as a pandemic that it was going to take a heavy toll on the finances of many individuals and businesses – and therefore on their governments’ finances, too.

Judges Make Opposite Rulings on Pritzker Executive Orders

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker announces a shelter-in-place rule to combat the spread of the Covid-19 virus, during a news conference Friday, March 20, 2020, in Chicago. (AP Photo / Charles Rex Arbogast)

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker takes a win and a loss in court, as separate judges make opposite rulings on his executive actions during the coronavirus pandemic.

5 New Laws to Know in Illinois

(Adam Jones / Flickr)

July 1 marks the start of Illinois’ new fiscal year, which ushers in a bushel of new laws. Here are a handful that may come in handy.

State Rep. Ford: Illinois ‘Dropped the Ball’ on Contact Tracing

(WTTW News)

The governor has talked about three T’s when it comes to stopping the spread of the coronavirus: testing, treatment and tracing. Has Illinois made progress on its contact tracing goals?

Gambling Gets a Green Light in Illinois

(WTTW News)

Come Wednesday, Rivers Casino and others across the state will once again be able to open their physical doors to gamblers, although with COVID-19 precautions in mind, like masks and social distancing.

‘Black Lives Matter’ Wine? Teddy Bears? Trademark Law Shows You Can’t Always ‘Just Do It’

Protesters gather in Chicago on Saturday, May 30, 2020 following the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police. There are now several pending attempts to trademark the phrase “Black Lives Matter.” (Hugo Balta / WTTW News)

Black Lives Matter is a burgeoning cultural and political movement — and it appears that people are ready to cash in on it.

Illinois to Begin Screening Newborns for Rare Genetic Disease

(Free-Photos / Pixabay)

By the time parents notice anything out of the ordinary – their baby is “floppy” or isn’t able to roll – it’s too late to reverse the damage done by spinal muscular atrophy, or SMA.

‘Reclaim Pride’ March Honors Roots of LGBTQ Movement, Sets Goals for Future

(nancydowd / Pixabay)

Chicago’s 51st annual Pride Parade was canceled, but LBGTQ activists and allies took over the streets of Boystown on Sunday for a community-driven march organizers described as a “protest, not a party.”

Landlords Sue Pritzker Over Illinois’ Ban on Evictions

(Stephen M. Scott / Flickr)

Gov. J.B. Pritzker is again facing legal action for allegedly exceeding his executive authority in reaction to the coronavirus crisis. 

As Lakefront Trail Reopens, Edgewater Eyes City’s Next Phase

A cyclist rides along the lakefront trail on its official reopening day, Monday, June 22, 2020. (WTTW News)

Chicago’s lakefront trail officially reopened Monday after the city closed it down in March in an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19. We visit the lakefront and see how the Edgewater community is gearing up for phase four.