Stories by heather cherone

Elimination of Library Fines Pays Off, Library Officials Tell Aldermen

(Kimberly Farmer on Unsplash)

Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s decision to eliminate library fines in order to coax patrons back to the Chicago Public Library has paid off in spades, aldermen heard Wednesday.

Another Ratings Agency Sounds Alarm About Chicago’s Budget

(Regina Shanklin / Pixabay)

A second Wall Street ratings agency sounded the alarm over Chicago’s budget on Wednesday as aldermen continued weighing Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s $12.76 billion spending plan for 2021.

Lightfoot: I Didn’t Ask For ‘Special Treatment’ from Pritzker During COVID-19 Surge

Mayor Lori Lightfoot speaks in Pullman on Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2020. (WTTW News)

Mayor Lori Lightfoot says she spoke with Gov. J.B. Pritzker for about an hour on Wednesday, a day after the serious split between the officials leading the effort to stem the pandemic spilled into public view.

Lightfoot Pushes Back After Pritzker Suspends Indoor Dining, Drinking in Chicago

Mayor Lori Lightfoot talks about rising coronavirus cases at a Monday, Oct. 19, 2020 press conference. (WTTW News)

Mayor Lori Lightfoot pushed back late Tuesday on Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s order to suspend indoor dining and drinking in Chicago, the latest sign of a serious split between the officials leading the effort to stem the pandemic.

Florida Added to Chicago’s Quarantine Order as COVID-19 Surge Continues

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

City officials added Florida to Chicago’s COVID-19 quarantine order as confirmed cases of the coronavirus continue to surge in Chicago, Illinois and throughout the nation.

Aldermen Balk at Plan for Property Tax Hike, Layoffs To Fill Budget Gap

(WTTW News)

Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s plan to close a projected $1.2 billion budget gap by hiking property taxes and laying off employees got a cool reception Monday from aldermen, who pleaded for other options amid a raging pandemic.

GOP Challenger Uses Top Cop’s Criticism of Kim Foxx in Campaign Ad

A screenshot from a campaign ad from former Cook County Judge Pat O’Brien shows a quoted phrase from Chicago police Superintendent David Brown. (Pat O’Brien for State’s Attorney / YouTube)

The latest television ad from the Republican challenger running for Cook County State’s Attorney uses a statement from Chicago police Superintendent David Brown to blast incumbent Kim Foxx.

Push to Boost Investment on South, West Sides Starting to Pay Off: Lightfoot

(WTTW News)

A year after the fanfare-filled launch, city officials said the program had begun to show results — with $70 million in public funds attracting $300 million in private investments.

As Chicago Budget Hearings Start, Ratings Agency Sounds Alarm

(Regina Shanklin / Pixabay)

As Chicago grapples with a second wave of the pandemic, a Wall Street ratings agency fired a shot across the bow as aldermen prepared to start a month of hearings on Mayor Lightfoot’s spending plan.

Flossmoor Trustee Resigns So He Can Keep Lobbying Chicago City Hall

(Manne1409 / Pixabay)

Mayor Paul Braun said he and the Flossmoor Village Board were “extremely disappointed” that Gyata Kimmons resigned his seat.

Chicago to Return to ‘Scoop-And-Toss’ Borrowing, Chief Financial Officer Acknowledges

(Jürgen Polle / Pixabay)

“There are points in time when scoop and toss is appropriate” and that is now the case since Chicago is facing a $1.2 billion budget gap, Chief Financial Officer Jennie Huang Bennett said.

Lightfoot Orders Bars to Stop Indoor Service, Businesses to Close at 10 p.m. Amid Coronavirus Increase

Mayor Lori Lightfoot announces new restrictions Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020 to curb the spread of the coronavirus. (WTTW News)

“We are taking these measures to avoid potential catastrophic impacts later,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Thursday announcing new restrictions in the wake of an increase coronavirus cases.

Pritzker, Lightfoot Split on Approach to Bars, Restaurants During COVID-19 Surge

(Photo by Lightscape / Unsplash)

As officials scramble to cope with a significant increase in the number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus, Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Mayor Lori Lightfoot are at odds over the role that bars and restaurants are playing in fueling the spread.

Lightfoot Proposes Slashing Positions, Hiking Taxes to Help Fill $1.2B Budget Gap

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

Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s plan to close a projected $1.2 billion budget gap in 2021 would hike sales and property taxes by $76.4 million, eliminate 1,921 city jobs and dip into the city’s rainy-day fund.

Facing Dueling Crises, Lightfoot Set to Unveil Plan to Fill $1.2B Budget Gap

(Daniel Dionne / Flickr)

Mayor Lori Lightfoot will face the biggest test of her time in office on Wednesday when she details her plan to fill the massive budget shortfall caused in part by the coronavirus pandemic.

Wilmette Library Trustee, Lobbyist Sues City Over Ban on Lobbying by Elected Officials

“We remain committed to ethics reform,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said at news conference following a vote by the City Council’s Ethics and Government Oversight Committee on Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2020. (WTTW News)

A member of the Wilmette Library Board of Trustees who also works as a state lobbyist sued the city of Chicago, seeking to overturn a ban on elected officials from outside Chicago from lobbying city officials.

Supporters of Plan to Create Elected Board to Oversee CPD Vow to Push for Vote

(WTTW News)

Mayor Lori Lightfoot and two of her closest allies on the Chicago City Council remain at odds over long-stalled efforts to put an elected board of Chicago residents in charge of the Chicago Police Department.

Colorado, Ohio, Delaware, West Virginia, Texas Added to Chicago’s Quarantine Order

Denver, Colorado (skeeze / Pixabay)

In all, the city’s order warns residents against travel to 30 states and Puerto Rico.

Lightfoot: ‘We Are in the Second Surge’; Warns of New Restrictions

Mayor Lori Lightfoot talks about rising coronavirus cases at a Monday, Oct. 19, 2020 press conference. (WTTW News)

Mayor Lori Lightfoot warned Chicagoans that the city is experiencing another wave of the coronavirus pandemic, with confirmed cases rising sharply across the city to levels last seen in late May.

‘We Are In a New Wave of COVID-19’: Pritzker

Gov. J.B. Pritzker speaks on Friday, Oct. 17, 2020. (Gov. J.B. Pritzker / Facebook)

Gov. J.B. Pritzker warned Illinois residents Friday that the entire state is seeing a surge in confirmed cases of the coronavirus, as the state set a single-day record for new infections and reported 38 deaths linked to the virus.

Pritzker Extends Ban on Evictions for 7th Month

A residential street in Wicker Park in Chicago. (WTTW News)

Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced on Friday that Illinois’ ban on evictions would be extended until Nov. 16, as state officials continue to send grants to Illinois residents struggling to make ends meet.

7 Officers Broke CPD Rules After Top Cop Found Drunk, Unconscious Behind Wheel: Watchdog

Body camera footage released Monday shows Chicago’s former Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson, right, asleep behind the wheel of his vehicle on Oct. 17, 2019. The incident led to his eventual termination by Mayor Lori Lightfoot. (City of Chicago)

Inspector General Joe Ferguson’s report details several instances when Eddie Johnson got special treatment after being discovered unconscious behind the wheel of his vehicle near 34th Place and Aberdeen Street last year.

As COVID-19 Cases Rise 32% in a Week, Chicago’s Top Doctor Voices ‘Grave Concern’

Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady talks Thursday, Oct. 15, 2020 about rising coronavirus cases in the city.

“This has not been a good week in Chicago,” said Dr. Allison Arwady, urging people to avoid gatherings, wear masks and keep 6 feet of distance from others. 

Preckwinkle Vows to Protect Provident Hospital as Union Blasts Layoffs

Provident Hospital (Google Maps Streetview)

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle plans to consolidate two clinics into Provident Hospital and change its full-service emergency room to a stand-by emergency department. “We are strengthening Provident Hospital. It is here to stay. Period,” she said.

Preckwinkle Unveils Plan to Close $410M Budget Gap in 2021 Without Raising Taxes

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle appears on “Chicago Tonight” via Zoom on Monday, Sept. 14, 2020. (WTTW News)

The economic collapse caused by the coronavirus pandemic presented an “extraordinarily challenging” set of circumstances to the county’s finance team, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said a day before unveiling her $6.9 billion spending plan.

As Property Tax Hike Looms, Officials Expect Surge in Those Who Don’t Pay

A residential street in Chicago’s Albany Park neighborhood. (WTTW News)

In a typical year, approximately 3% of property owners do not pay their taxes, according to Chicago officials. But in 2021, a projected 10% of property owners won’t pay their tax bills, which would cost the city $65.2 million.