Stories by Amanda Vinicky

Van Dyke Case: Protesters Call for Justice as Murder Trial Begins

Protesters gather outside the courthouse at 26th Street and California Avenue on Sept. 5, 2018, day one of the murder trial of Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke. (Chicago Tonight)

Four years after the fatal shooting of Laquan McDonald, the trial of Chicago police Officer Jason Van Dyke, who is charged with his murder, is underway. Scenes from day one of the trial.

Mayor Emanuel Won’t Run for Re-election. What That Means for Candidates.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel appears on “Chicago Tonight” on June 28, 2018.

Winning a third term wasn’t ever going to be easy for Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. But the dynamics of the race quickly went topsy-turvy with Emanuel’s announcement that he won’t be on the 2019 ballot.

12 Arrested After Attempting to Shut Down Kennedy Expressway

For the third time this summer, activists used major roadways in an effort to shine a light on the violence plaguing Chicago’s South and West Sides. 

Will Protesters Defy Police and Shut Down the Kennedy Expressway?

The Rev. Gregory Seal Livingston on July 24, 2018 announces plans for an anti-violence protest Aug. 2 along Lake Shore Drive. (Chicago Tonight)

Police say there’ll be no tolerance for traffic disruptions this Labor Day, despite a planned protest to shut down portions of the Kennedy Expressway on Monday.  

Employee Accuses Pritzker Group of Union-Busting

A docent for Seadog Cruises is pushing to unionize, but he says Seadog’s parent company, Entertainment Cruises, is trying to quash the effort.

How Illinois is Spending its VW Settlement Windfall

The state is set to receive more than $100 million in a settlement from Volkswagen after the automaker admitted to cheating on emission tests.

Pot as a Painkiller: New Law Aims to Curb Opioid-Related Deaths

A law signed Tuesday by Gov. Bruce Rauner opens access to cannabis to a new raft of patients—anyone who would otherwise be prescribed an opioid.

The Battle for Union Members Begins

It’s been two months since the U.S. Supreme Court came out with its landmark Janus v. AFSCME decision. Now, on to the next front in the battle over the future of public employee unions.

Why Chicago’s Hedging on a City-Owned Casino

Chicago’ and Illinois’ budgets could both use extra padding – money for schools, and to pay pension debts. One option? More gambling. But just what are the chances? 

2018 Governor’s Race: Fundraising Nears $250 Million

(Ken Teegardin / Flickr)

Total fundraising in the Illinois governor’s race approaches a quarter-billion dollars. What that means for both parties.

Democrats Fire Up Their Base at Annual State Fair Rally

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan addresses the crowd at a Democratic Party breakfast in Springfield on Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018.

Democrats are on the attack as they campaign at the Illinois State Fair. We have a live report from Springfield.

Rauner Uses State Fair to Compare Opponent to Swine

Gov. Bruce Rauner (Chicago Tonight file photo)

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner on Wednesday slammed Democratic challenger J.B. Pritzker’s spending on political advertisements. “You know what? You can only put so much lipstick on a barrow,” Rauner said.

Precious Meddling: The Impact of Trump’s Tariffs on Steel

Gone are the days of leaving it to the World Trade Organization to deal with allegations of “dumping” and other disputes – President Trump is using tariffs instead. A local steel company weighs in.

Gov. Rauner Ratchets Up Anti-Madigan Rhetoric

Gov. Bruce Rauner: “I hope he’s been doing something illegal and I hope he gets prosecuted.”

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan has long been a political target of Gov. Bruce Rauner, but the governor ratcheted it up a notch Monday.

Railway Apologizes for ‘Bait Truck’ Operation, Vows to Stop Practice

(Courtesy Norfolk Southern Surveillance Camera)

Norfolk Southern Railway is backing up from a controversial practice following backlash sparked by viral videos.

Police ‘Bait Trucks’: Legitimate Sting Operation, Or Unfair Setup?

(Courtesy Norfolk Southern Surveillance Camera)

Once again, police are in the crosshairs due to social media posts that have gone viral. This time, videos show police using a so-called bait truck in Englewood.

IIT Construction Unearths ‘Mecca’ of Chicago History

(Courtesy of the Chicago Architectural Preservation Archive)

Construction on the Illinois Institute of Technology campus recently exposed a slice of Chicago’s buried past.

NASA’s Mission to ‘Our Star’ Named After UChicago’s Eugene Parker

Retired University of Chicago astrophysicist Eugene Parker speaks with Chicago Tonight on Tuesday, July 31, 2018.

Next week, the retired University of Chicago astrophysicist, 91, will watch as a probe named in his honor is launched from the Kennedy Space Center and catapulted to the sun’s corona.

Emanuel Challenger Lightfoot, Police Union Tear Down Consent Decree

Fraternal Order of Police Chicago Lodge 7 President Kevin Graham

The Chicago Police Department is one step closer to making reforms, but a draft consent decree is drawing criticism, and the police union has vowed to sue. We speak with FOP President Kevin Graham.

The ‘Buzz’ Behind Beekeeping: Colonizing a New Hive

(PollyDot / Pixabay)

If you’re not ready to raise chickens in your backyard, you could try your hand at another popular trend: urban beekeeping.

How Transparent and Accountable Are Chicago, Cook County Governments?

Chicago Inspector General Joe Ferguson takes questions from the media on July 18, 2018. (Chicago Tonight)

Chicago and Cook County have sometimes-spotty reputations when it comes to how they run government operations. But they have taken steps to clean up their acts.

New Law Keeps Guns Away from Those Deemed ‘Dangerous’

“I want to commend members of the General Assembly for working on a bipartisan basis. They passed, and today I will sign, House Bill 2354,” Gov. Bruce Rauner said Monday, July 16, 2018. (Chicago Tonight)

Illinois police will be able to temporarily confiscate guns from individuals found by a court to present a danger to themselves or others, under a law signed Monday by Gov. Bruce Rauner.

Gov. Rauner’s Answer to Chicago Violence

Gov. Bruce Rauner speaks to the media Monday, July 9, 2018. (Chicago Tonight)

The governor’s solution to violence touches on a common theme: reducing burdens on businesses and lowering property taxes, which he says will grow economic opportunities and jobs.

In Wake of Janus Decision, What’s Next for Public Unions

Unions – and their foes – are fast on the heels of a landmark Supreme Court ruling issued last week on Janus v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, a case with Illinois roots.

Judge Orders Asylum-Seeking Mom Reunited with 9-Year-Old Son in Chicago

U.S. District Judge Manish Shah wrote in an order issued Thursday that continued separation of the mother and child “irreparably harms them both.”