Stories by amanda vinicky

Pot Entrepreneurs Get Another Shot From the State

(Photo by Jeff W on Unsplash)

Illinois’ already-delayed marijuana expansion is on pause, but many of the entrepreneurs trying to be part of the industry are hoping that good things will come to those who wait.

Celebrating Mexican Independence Day Amid the Pandemic

(Courtesy @theMariague via Twitter)

Mexican Americans didn't let the pandemic stop their celebrations. Was there a better way?

Madigan Under the Microscope: Special Investigative Hearings Begin

(WTTW News)

Six state representatives – three Democrats and three Republicans – got to work Thursday tackling whether Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan engaged in conduct “unbecoming” of a legislator. 

Uproar Over Winners, Losers in State’s Marijuana Expansion

(WTTW News)

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Illinois is already months behind in awarding licenses to new marijuana dispensaries. But now, legislators want to further delay the process. 

21 Finalists to be Entered into a Lottery for 75 New Illinois Cannabis Dispensaries

(WTTW News)

Twenty-one finalists are now vying for the highly coveted licenses that will add 75 new cannabis dispensaries throughout the state, which will hold a lottery sometime this month to make it final.

‘Chicago Tonight’ in Your Neighborhood: Near South Side

Mercy Hospital (WTTW News)

The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted both the importance of access to health care and disparities in access to it, which is why residents who live near Mercy Hospital and Medical Center say they’re furious about its plans to close next year.

House Speaker Madigan Focus of Special Investigative Committee

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan (WTTW News)

At the behest of a trio of Republican state legislators, a special Illinois House committee will investigate whether Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan has engaged in conduct that would warrant discipline.

Black State Officials Unveil Their List of Legislative Demands

Illinois’ Black legislators plan to capitalize on the intense focus on inequalities instigated by the killing of George Floyd to push forward this fall a robust policy agenda to root out systemic racism.

Tipped Workers Call on Officials to Scrap Tiered Wage Structure, Businesses Push Back

(Robert-Owen-Wahl / Pixabay)

Illinois’ minimum wage increased from $9.25 to $10 in July, despite a request from business owners to delay the hike during a pandemic. But for employers whose take-home pay is largely dependent on tips, the minimum wage is $6.

So You Need to Renew Your Driver’s License …

(WTTW News)

Even before the pandemic, Illinois Secretary of State offices in Chicago saw long lines as people sought Real IDs ahead of a fall deadline. That deadline and others have been pushed back. Here’s what you need to know.

How Race Has Had a Starring Role at Both Party Conventions

Georgia state Rep. Vernon Jones, a Democrat, speaks at the Republican National Convention on Monday, Aug. 24, 2020. (WTTW News via RNC)

We take a closer look at the role race has played in the political conventions — especially at the opening night of the Republican National Convention.

As the RNC Kicks Off, A Look at the GOP in Illinois

President Donald Trump has the fundraising advantage on Democratic nominee Joe Biden, but in Illinois, Republicans are the underdogs when it comes to both power and cash.

State Lawmaker Contemplates Suing CPD After Gun Charge Dismissed

Now that he’s no longer fighting a gun charge, state Rep. Curtis Tarver is considering suing the Chicago Police Department for violating his rights.

Navy Pier Closing After Labor Day Because of Coronavirus Pandemic

After weeks of being closed, Navy Pier prepares on Tuesday, June 9, 2020 for its partial reopening. (WTTW News)

Unlike the pier’s shutdown for several months in the spring due to government orders driven by the coronavirus pandemic, directors of Navy Pier are this time choosing to close the cultural attraction for economic reasons.

Officials Question Police Tactics Following Clash Between Cops and Protesters

A weekend protest that turned violent has spurred calls for answers from top cop David Brown — and even a call for his resignation. What’s next after the latest skirmish between law enforcement and those who want to defund the police?

Senator Charged with Tax Evasion as Colleagues Promote Ethics Package

State Sen. Terry Link, a Waukegan Democrat,  is charged with tax fraud.

A group of lawmakers proposes a new ethics package as another member of the Illinois General Assembly is charged with a federal crime.

Is Illinois Prepared for Mail-In Voting Boom? We Ask County Clerks

(WTTW News)

November’s election is sure to be unlike any other — and not just because of who is on the ballot, but because of how people are expected to cast their ballots.

Looting, Unrest Give Way to Another Phase of Recovery in Chicago

Windows at a Sephora in downtown Chicago are boarded up following looting on Sunday, Aug. 9, 2020. (WTTW News)

Businesses and residents are bracing for the possibility of future upheaval following widespread theft and property damage on Sunday night. How police are responding — and what else is being done to address systemic issues.

Crestwood Mayor Lou Presta Indicted in Red-Light Camera Bribery Scheme

(WTTW News)

The mayor of south suburban Crestwood is facing federal bribery charges, according to an indictment made public Friday. He’s also charged with filing false income tax returns, and lying about it to the IRS.

Clean Energy Advocates Hope to Capitalize on ComEd Backlash

(WTTW News)

A major clean energy package had been one of Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s goals for 2020, but that got pushed aside because of the pandemic, and waylaid after a bribery scheme involving Commonwealth Edison came to light.

US Rep. Rodney Davis Tests Positive For COVID-19

U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis appears on “Chicago Tonight” via Zoom on July 21, 2020. (WTTW News)

A central Illinois congressman who’d planned to spend all week touring communities across his district will instead finish it in self-isolation after testing positive Wednesday for COVID-19.

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.