Stories by heather cherone

COVID-19 in Illinois: 7,574 New Cases, 66 Additional Deaths

A passenger at O’Hare International Airport on Wednesday, April 29, 2020. (WTTW News)

The pandemic in Illinois reached another sobering mark on Friday, after health officials reported 12,029 total deaths linked to the pandemic and 705,063 infections. 

It Is Not Too Late to Change Your Plans for Thanksgiving: Lightfoot

Mayor Lori Lightfoot gives an update on COVID-19 during a press conference Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020. (WTTW News)

Mayor Lori Lightfoot urged all Chicagoans on Wednesday to rethink their Thanksgiving plans if they include travel or a gathering with those outside their immediate household amid a continuing surge of the coronavirus.

City Council Approves Lightfoot’s $12.8 Billion Budget — With 22 ‘No’ Votes

Mayor Lori Lightfoot speaks to the media following a City Council meeting to vote on her budget, which passed, on Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2020. (WTTW News)

The budget passed despite opposition from two main groups of aldermen: those who represent wards where a property tax hike of $93.9 million will hit hardest and aldermen who favored deep cuts to the police budget.

As Pandemic Rages, Lightfoot Moves to Extend Outdoor Dining Program

(Free-Photos / Pixabay)

Restaurants and cafes could continue to serve customers outdoors through next spring under a proposal set to be introduced by Mayor Lori Lightfoot at Tuesday’s City Council meeting.

As Lightfoot Makes Closing Argument for Budget, Aldermen Take Sides

Chicago aldermen on Tuesday will vote yes or no to raise property taxes by $94 million, along with other budget items. (WTTW News)

Ahead of Tuesday’s vote, Mayor Lori Lightfoot is urging aldermen to support the plan she crafted to close a $1.2 billion budget deficit in 2021. Four aldermen sound off the plan.

Aldermen Cap Fees Charged by Delivery Companies at 15%

(Photo by logan jeffrey on Unsplash)

Delivery services such as Postmates, Grubhub, DoorDash and UberEats can charge fees totaling no more than 15% under a measure approved unanimously Monday by the Chicago City Council.

Juneteenth To Be ‘Day of Observance’ in Chicago After Push To Make It a Paid Holiday

A bronze sculpture by Eddie Dixon is one of five sculptures representing the story of Juneteeth at the George Washington Carver Museum in Austin, Texas. (Jennifer M. Rangubphai / Wikimedia Commons)

Juneteenth, which commemorates the end of slavery in the United States, is poised to become the first official “day of observance” in Chicago as part of the agreement that will approve a $12.8 billion spending plan for 2021.

Defiant Madigan Says He Will Run Again for Speaker Amid Corruption Scandal

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan (WTTW News)

A defiant Michael Madigan vowed late Friday to run again for speaker of the Illinois House despite a swirling corruption investigation around him that has prompted 18 Democratic state representatives to say they will not vote to reelect him.

State to Help 10,000 More Residents Pay Their Rent, Pritzker Announces

COVID-19 in Illinois: 13,012 new cases, 126 additional deaths

(WTTW News)

State officials have nearly completed an effort to send $300 million in housing assistance grants to Illinois residents struggling to make ends meet. The program is the largest in the nation, officials said.

Lightfoot Poised to Claim Budget Victory, As Spending Plan Survives Final Committee Vote

(David Mark / Pixabay)

The Chicago City Council is poised to approve Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s $12.8 billion spending plan for 2021 after the plan advanced on Thursday with a 26-8 vote of the Budget and Government Operations Committee.

Hilco To Pay $370K To Settle State’s Lawsuit Over Smokestack Demolition

A still image from a video taken of the demolition of the Crawford Coal Plant smokestack, April 11, 2020. (Alejandro Reyes / YouTube)

Three firms involved in the botched smokestack demolition in Little Village will pay $370,000 to settle a lawsuit filed by Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul, his office announced Thursday.

Aldermen OK Plan to Borrow $1.4B, Green Light 5-Year Infrastructure Plan

A plan to borrow $1.4 billion to repair Chicago’s crumbling streets, sidewalks, bridges and shoreline during the next five years advanced Wednesday with a 22-10 vote of the City Council’s Finance Committee.

As Lines Grow, City to Expand COVID-19 Testing With $14M From Feds

People wait in line for COVID-19 tests in Chicago. (WTTW News)

Acknowledging that demand for COVID-19 tests has grown exponentially during a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, Chicago officials announced Wednesday that the city will open a new testing site at Midway Airport.

Lightfoot’s Plan to Hike Property Taxes by $93.9M Clears Key Hurdle

(WTTW News)

The City Council’s Finance Committee advanced Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s $12.8 billion spending plan to the full City Council on a 21-12 vote Wednesday.

Aldermen Advance Measure to Cap Fees Charged by Delivery Companies at 15%

(Photo by logan jeffrey on Unsplash)

Aldermen on Tuesday unanimously advanced a proposal backed by Mayor Lori Lightfoot to cap fees charged by delivery services such as Postmates, Grubhub and UberEats at 15% in an effort to help struggling restaurants.

Aldermen Resist Lightfoot’s Plan to Hike Property Taxes, Imperiling Spending Plan

(WTTW News)

Aldermen from across the political spectrum pressured Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s budget team on Tuesday to come up with a proposal to head off a $93.9 million property tax hike.

‘You Should Not Be Traveling’: Officials Urge Residents to Stay Home on Thanksgiving

Chicago Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady speaks to the media during a briefing on the coronavirus Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2020. (WTTW News)

Chicagoans should not travel to celebrate Thanksgiving with friends and family, the city’s top doctor said Tuesday, warning that the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic is getting worse in Chicago.

Ethics Board Finds Probable Cause Ald. Brookins Violated Ethics Ordinance

In this file photo, Ald. Howard Brookins (22nd Ward) speaks at a Chicago City Council meeting. (WTTW News)

The board voted unanimously to find that there is probable cause to believe the 22nd Ward alderman violated the city’s ethics ordinance by defending clients in criminal cases involving the Chicago Police Department.

Cap Fees Charged by Delivery Companies at 15%: Lightfoot

(tommy pixel / Pixabay)

A proposal from Mayor Lori Lightfoot would cap fees charged by delivery services such as Postmates, Grubhub and UberEats at 15%. Fees can now reach 30% of an order, officials said.

Progressive Budget Amendments Blocked as Budget Proposal Draws Criticism

Mayor Lori Lightfoot speaks during a virtual Chicago City Council meeting on Monday, Nov. 16, 2020. (WTTW News via City of Chicago)

A trio of budget ordinances backed by progressive aldermen failed to advance Monday, as a fiscal watchdog warned that Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s plan to borrow $15 million to avoid layoffs and refinance an additional $1.7 billion was potentially perilous.

Faced with Brick Wall of Aldermanic Opposition, Lightfoot Drops Plan for 350 Layoffs

Mayor Lori Lightfoot delivers her budget address on Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020. (WTTW News)

Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced Saturday she would drop her plan to lay off 350 employees to help balance the city’s 2021 budget after her proposal smacked into a brick wall of opposition from many aldermen.

Pritzker Extends Ban on Coronavirus-Related Evictions, Allows Others to Move Forward

COVID-19 in Illinois: 15,415 new cases, 27 additional deaths

(WTTW News)

Illinois on Friday set a new record for the most COVID-19 cases reported in a 24-hour period, as Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced the state’s ban on evictions caused by the pandemic would be extended until Dec. 16.

Lightfoot Links Protections for Immigrants To Budget Vote

Mayor Lori Lightfoot speaks Thursday, Nov. 12, 2020 at a press conference. (WTTW News via Chicago Mayor’s Office)

Mayor Lori Lightfoot acknowledged on Thursday that she had linked the upcoming vote on her plan to balance the city’s 2021 budget with tax hikes, layoffs and millions of dollars of borrowing with protections for immigrants.

Underwood Defeats Oberweis As Dems Cement Gains in Suburbs

U.S. Rep. Lauren Underwood appears on “Chicago Tonight” on March 19, 2020.

“This was a tough race under some very difficult circumstances, and I want to say thank you to my supporters, the voters, and our elections officials for their diligent work,” U.S. Rep. Lauren Underwood said Thursday.

Stay Home, Lightfoot Says — or 1,000 More Chicagoans Will Die From COVID-19

(Jürgen Polle / Pixabay)

New guidelines imposed by Mayor Lori Lightfoot, set to take effect at 6 a.m. Monday, are advisory and do not include orders for businesses to shut down or require people to stay home, officials said.

Pritzker, Duckworth Celebrate Completion of Long Delayed Veterans Home on Northwest Side

Gov. J.B. Pritzker talks Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2020 at the newly opened veterans home. (WTTW News)

The first home for Illinois veterans in Chicago will welcome its first residents in February 2021 — more than four years after it was scheduled to open, officials announced Wednesday.