Stories by Andrea Guthmann

Grading Local Government: City Bureau Releases ‘Open Gov Report Card’

Chicago City Hall (Ken Lund / Flickr)

How transparent is local government? See which agencies made the grade in a new report from nonprofit journalism lab City Bureau. Reporter Sarah Conway tells us more.

Shedding Light on Sundown Towns: ProPublica Illinois Investigates

The city of Anna. (Whitney Curtis, special to ProPublica Illinois)

The term “sundown town” is familiar to many African Americans. A new ProPublica Illinois story examines the legacy of one sundown town in Southern Illinois named Anna.

He Was Convicted, Then Exonerated. Now, He’s An Attorney

Mario Casciaro appears on “Chicago Tonight” on Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019.

A wrongfully convicted man shares his journey to becoming an attorney and his thoughts on the judicial system. Meet Mario Casciaro, who will be sworn in as an attorney this week.   

Is Time Running Out for the Seasonal Clock Change?

(skeeze / Pixabay)

The Illinois Senate is scheduled to take up a bill next week to make daylight saving time permanent. And it’s not just politicians who want to beat the clock. A local sleep expert sounds the alarm on why we should end the seasonal time shift.

‘No Crying in Newsrooms’: Former Sun-Times Editor Shares Stories of Women in Journalism

(StartupStockPhotos / Pixabay)

Julia Wallace, the former managing editor of the Chicago Sun-Times, talks about women in journalism in her new book, “There’s No Crying in Newsrooms: What Women Have Learned About What It Takes to Lead.”

Cook County Assessor’s Office Criticized Over Pace of Reforms

Fritz Kaegi appears on “Chicago Tonight” on Oct. 22, 2019.

Cook County Assessor Fritz Kaegi has promised to fix a broken property tax system and end political patronage hiring. But a recent report found that the assessor’s office is not complying with a series of federal court orders. Kaegi joins us to discuss that and more.

Powerful Writing: Presidential Speechwriters Discuss Their Craft

President Bill Clinton gives his inaugural address on Jan. 20, 1997. (Renee Humble / Wikimedia Commons)

Former speechwriters for Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush discuss the current state of presidential messaging. 

Is It Time to Reopen Chicago’s Shuttered Mental Health Clinics?

This file photo from 2015 shows a protest over mental health care in Chicago. (WTTW News)

Will Mayor Lori Lightfoot keep her campaign promise to reopen the six mental health clinics closed in 2012 by her predecessor? Or is there or is there a better approach to treating mental illnesses?

Cannabis Tourism: Will Legalized Marijuana Bring Reefer Madness to Illinois?

(SeaweedJeezus / Pixabay)

The Jan. 1 legalization of recreational marijuana in Illinois brings with it many dizzying questions. Could the Land of Lincoln become the Midwest mecca for marijuana tourism?

Former Lake County Politician Aaron Lawlor Discusses Addiction, Recovery

Aaron Lawlor appears on “Chicago Tonight” on Sept. 24, 2019.

He was a fast-rising Republican politician whose career came crashing to a halt last year. Now sober, Aaron Lawlor says he has given up politics but regained his life – and he’s eager to tell his story.

One of Lightfoot’s Loudest City Council Critics Speaks Out

Ald. Anthony Beale appears on “Chicago Tonight” on Sept. 23, 2019.

In a recent op-ed published in the Chicago Sun-Times, Ald. Anthony Beale outlined his frustrations with Mayor Lori Lightfoot. Beale joins “Chicago Tonight” in conversation.

New Technique for Repairing Old Water Lines Could Save Neighborhood Trees

Water line repairs can be a costly mess. But what if there was a way to fix old water mains without tearing up streets, and old trees? There actually is, and Chicago is dipping into the waters of this technology with a pilot program. 

As Newark Deals With Water Crisis, Another Look at Lead Levels in Chicago

(Steve Johnson / Flickr)

Elevated lead levels in Flint, Michigan, and Newark, New Jersey, have made national news, causing growing concern over water safety in Chicago. Should residents be concerned about lead levels in Chicago’s water?

Southwest Side Bungalow Provides Shelter from Street Violence

A group of young men have chosen to escape street violence by living together in an innovative safe house. We discuss the program with the two Chicagoans who started it: Liz Dozier and Rami Nashashibi.

Gun Control Proponents Demand Action in Wake of Mass Shootings

After a weekend of mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, as well as nearly 60 people shot in Chicago – seven of them fatally – gun control proponents are once again calling for action.

‘An Arm and a Leg’ Podcast Tells Alarming Stories of Health Care Costs

(rawpixel / Pixabay)

As political candidates spar over health care, a local journalist gathers startling personal stories about medical costs. We speak with Dan Weissmann, host of a podcast about the high cost of health care. 

Chicago on Fast Track to Vehicle Ticket Collection Reform

Vehicle fines are driving thousands into debt each year. City Clerk Anna Valencia gives us the road map to changes in parking fees and fines.

In 3 Wards, Chicago Voters Oust Incumbents, Opt for Newcomers

We meet three political newcomers who upset longtime aldermen – plus a fourth candidate who won an open seat in Tuesday’s election.

Head of Chicago Police Union Sounds Alarm on Consent Decree

Kevin Graham appears on “Chicago Tonight” on Feb. 7, 2019.

Are Chicago police officers ready for the reforms ordered by a new consent decree? We hear from Kevin Graham, president of the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police.  

New Illinois Program Offers Medical Marijuana as Alternative to Opioids

(Martijn / Flickr)

In the wake of a new study showing Americans are more likely to die from an opioid overdose than from a car crash, Illinois is trying a new approach to curb opioid addiction: medical marijuana. 

Chicago Teachers Union Weighs in on Race for Mayor

A conversation with Stacy Davis Gates, vice president of the Chicago Teachers Union, on the mayor’s race, charter schools and upcoming contract negotiations.

Reporters Without Borders Documents Threats to Journalists Worldwide

Maryam Banikarim

2018 was a deadly year for journalists, with more than 50 killed worldwide. We hear from the press freedom group Reporters Without Borders about threats to journalists at home and abroad.  

It’s the Season of Giving. How to Choose Charities Wisely

(Pexels)

The Trump Foundation announces it’s shutting down. A Northwestern University economist shares his strategies for smart charitable giving.

AARP Illinois Survey Shows Voter Anger Over State Fiscal Crisis

(Ken Teegardin / Flickr)

Nearly three-quarters of registered voters lack confidence that Illinois’ recent budget deal will reduce the state’s long-term fiscal problems, a new poll shows.

What Global Warming Could Mean for Lake Michigan

A United Nations report warns catastrophic consequences from global warming could come as early as 2040. Local scientists share their perspectives.