Stories by heather cherone

Chicago, Suburban Cook County Officials Allow Indoor Dining, Drinking to Expand

(WTTW News)

Officials also announced the loosening of restrictions on the alcohol sales and increased capacity for indoor fitness classes, performance venues, movie theaters and personal services. 

As Harris, Kelly Scramble — Why Does it Matter Who Leads the Illinois Democratic Party?

Ald. Michelle Harris (8th Ward), left, and U.S. Rep. Robin Kelly (D-Chicago). (Courtesy of Harris and Kelly)

The next chair of the Illinois Democratic Party — the first in nearly a quarter century — will be either Ald. Michelle Harris (8th Ward) or U.S. Rep. Robin Kelly (D-Chicago). Whichever candidate emerges victorious will be charged with leading the party into a new era as its first Black and first female chair.

Aldermen Approve Lightfoot’s Plan for COVID-19 Relief Funds After Delay

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)

Aldermen voted 37-10 on Friday to approve Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s plan to spend federal COVID-19 relief funds after a 48-hour delay prompted by fierce criticism of her decision to use $281.5 million in funds to cover the cost of salaries and benefits for Chicago Police Department officers.

No New Cases of More Transmissible COVID-19 Variant Found in Illinois

(WTTW News)

No new cases of two COVID-19 variants believed to be more transmissible have been discovered in Illinois in the past seven days, according to data released Thursday by the Illinois Department of Public Health.

Mass Vaccination Site to Open March 10 at United Center

The United Center. (Facebook / United Center)

Federal and state officials will open a mass vaccination site at the United Center on March 10 that could administer an additional 6,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine per day, officials announced Friday.

Ald. Tunney Fined $2K for Defying Indoor Dining Ban

Ald. Tom Tunney, 44th Ward, speaks with “Chicago Tonight” on April 9, 2020. (WTTW News)

The Lakeview alderman, who owns the restaurant Ann Sather, admitted he flouted the ban on indoor dining in December by allowing a “very limited number of our regular diners to eat inside the restaurant.” He faced a maximum fine of $10,500.

41 Problematic Monuments Flagged by City Commission Identified

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 commission charged with reviewing Chicago’s more than 500 public monuments as part of a “a racial healing and historical reckoning project” released on Wednesday a list of 41 monuments that are problematic for a variety of reasons, officials announced.

Aldermen Block Lightfoot’s Plan for COVID-19 Relief Funds, Prompting Expletive from Mayor

Mayor Lori Lightfoot presides over the city’s first virtual City Council meeting on April 15, 2020. (@chicagosmayor / Twitter)

Aldermen blocked a Wednesday vote on Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s plan to spend federal COVID-19 relief funds, prompting the mayor to utter an expletive caught on a hot mic during the meeting.

With Mayor’s Backing, Progressive Aldermen Propose Demolition Fee to Slow Gentrification

(WTTW News)

Property owners and developers who want to demolish existing buildings in Pilsen and near the 606 trail would be required to pay a fee that would be used to fund affordable housing projects across the city, under a proposal introduced Wednesday by two progressive aldermen and Mayor Lori Lightfoot.

Chicago Ranks No. 1 — Again — In Corruption: Report

Illinois comes in at No. 3, according to the UIC ranking

(DesignOil / Pixabay)

The rankings from the University of Illinois at Chicago are unchanged from 2018 — but big corruption trials are on the horizon.

Chicago’s Top Federal Prosecutor to Stay in Office, For Now: Durbin, Duckworth

U.S. Attorney John Lausch appears on “Chicago Tonight” on Nov. 13, 2019. (WTTW News)

U.S. Sens. Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth announced Tuesday that President Joe Biden has agreed to keep John Lausch, Chicago’s top federal prosecutor, in office until a permanent replacement is confirmed.

Plan to Transform Morton Salt Building Into Music Venue, Office Space Advances

A proposed rendering of a renovated Morton Salt building. (Credit: Chicago Department of Planning and Development)

The metamorphosis of the land along the North Branch of the Chicago River from an industrial powerhouse into Chicago’s newest community area is poised to take another giant step forward at Wednesday’s full City Council meeting.

Fully Vaccinated? City’s Travel Order Doesn’t Apply to You: Chicago’s Top Doc

Chicago’s travel order. (Credit: Chicago Department of Public Health)

Visitors to Chicago who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 do not have to quarantine for 10 days or record a negative test for COVID-19, the city’s top doctor said Tuesday.

Lightfoot: ‘It Makes Zero Sense’ For Biden to Oust Chicago’s Top Federal Prosecutor

U.S. Attorney John Lausch appears on “Chicago Tonight” on Nov. 13, 2019. (WTTW News)

“I have said to the White House it makes zero sense for John Lausch to be replaced,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Tuesday morning at an unrelated news conference. “John Lausch has done a yeoman’s job.”

Lightfoot Signs Law Expanding Protections for Undocumented Immigrants

Mayor Lori Lightfoot signs a law designed to expand protections for undocumented immigrants. (Chicago Mayor’s Office / Twitter)

Mayor Lori Lightfoot signed into law a measure on Tuesday that will expand protections for undocumented immigrants that had been stalled by efforts by former President Donald Trump to increase deportations and punish Chicago for shielding them from immigration agents.

City Set to Settle Wrongful Raid Lawsuit, Despite Warnings it Will ‘Open the Floodgates’

(WTTW News)

The Chicago City Council is poised to pay a Chicago family $175,000 after officers mistakenly raided their apartment in March 2017 while looking for their neighbor.

Aldermen Agree to Pay $400K to Family of Man Killed by Officers During Mental Health Crisis

(WTTW News)

Aldermen narrowly agreed Monday to settle a lawsuit brought by the family of James Anderson, who was fatally shot by police officers in September 2015 while he suffered a mental health crisis.

Lightfoot Fires Back at Critics Over Decision to Use Federal Relief Funds to Cover Police Costs

(WTTW News)

Mayor Lori Lightfoot fired back Friday at critics who blasted her for using $281.5 million in COVID-19 federal relief funds to cover the cost of salaries and benefits for Chicago Police Department officers. “Criticism comes with the job of mayor but this one’s just dumb,” Lightfoot said.

COVID-19 Vaccination Rates for Latino and Black Chicagoans Continue to Lag: City Data

(WTTW News via CNN)

Since the COVID-19 vaccination effort began on Dec. 15 in Chicago, 18% of Chicagoans who got at least the first shot are Latino, while 19% are Black, according to data released Friday by the Chicago Department of Public Health.

Cases of More Transmissible COVID-19 Variant Nearly Double In Illinois: Officials

(WTTW News)

Twenty-two more cases of a COVID-19 variant first discovered in the United Kingdom that is believed to be more transmissible have been discovered in Illinois in the past seven days, according to data released Thursday by the Illinois Department of Public Health.

Progressive Groups, Aldermen Slam Lightfoot For Using Federal Relief Funds to Cover Police Costs

Demonstrators march in Chicago on Wednesday, June 24, 2020 to show their support for removing police officers from schools. (WTTW News)

Progressive aldermen and community groups slammed Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Thursday for using $281.5 million in COVID-19 federal relief funds to cover the cost of salaries and benefits for Chicago Police Department officers.

City Shuts Down Lan’s In Old Town For Hosting Maskless Party

(Photo by Lightscape / Unsplash)

Inspectors found 27 people in the Chinese restaurant on the day before Valentine’s Day not wearing masks or following social distancing rules, according to a statement from the city’s Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection.

Chicago Police Botched Response to Protests, Unrest After George Floyd’s Death: Watchdog

Protesters and police officers wearing riot gear have a standoff near Daley Plaza on Saturday, May 30, 2020. (Evan Garcia / WTTW News)

The Chicago Police Department was “under-prepared and ill-equipped, and thus critically disserved both its own front-line members and members of the public,” according to the inspector general’s report, the first in-depth examination of the police department’s response to the unrest. 

Indoor Dining, Drinking Expands in Chicago, Lightfoot Announces

A restaurant worker in Chicago preps the grill. City officials on Tuesday said rules around indoor dining at bars and restaurants will be relaxed. (WTTW News)

Chicago officials announced Tuesday they will allow indoor dining and drinking at bars and restaurants to operate at 40% of their normal capacity, or no more than 50 people.

Italian American Pride Banners Replace Columbus Statue — Without a Permit

(WTTW News)

Last summer, three Christopher Columbus statues were removed after violent altercations between police and protesters. For months, the sites sat empty. But last fall, a display of Italian American pride banners appeared in place of the former statue in Chicago’s Little Italy neighborhood.

City’s Final Overtime Bill for 2020: $367M

(Jürgen Polle / Pixabay)

Since the city earmarked approximately $180 million in 2020 for overtime costs for all city departments, the final bill is more than double what the city budgeted, according to city data.