Stories by heather cherone

Ald. Derrick Curtis Fined $1K for Using His City Email to Tout Lightfoot’s Reelection Kickoff

An image from 18th Ward Ald. Derrick Curtis’ ward newsletter. (Provided)

Ald. Derrick Curtis (18th Ward), a Lightfoot ally, sent an email on June 2 to residents of his Far South Side ward that included an advertisement for the mayor’s re-election kickoff event at the Starlight Restaurant on June 8. 

2 Years Ago, Lori Lightfoot Vowed to Confront Chicago’s Racist Monuments. Nothing Has Happened.

An empty pedestal in Grant Park in July 2020, where a statue of Christopher Columbus stood recently. (WTTW News)

Mayor Lori Lightfoot vowed two years ago Friday to confront the “the hard truths of Chicago’s racial history” by using the city’s public spaces to memorialize the “city’s true and complete history.” That promise remains unfulfilled, 729 days later.

Ald. Sophia King Announces Run for Mayor, Promising ‘Collaboration’ Not ‘Confrontation’

A shot from a new campaign video released by Ald. Sophia King. (Friends of Sophia King)

Hyde Park Ald. Sophia King (4th Ward) announced she will run for mayor, promising to lead Chicago through collaboration — not confrontation — in an attempt to draw a clear distinction with Mayor Lori Lightfoot who has touted her combative approach while in office.

COVID-19 Risk Drops Across Chicago, Cook County: Federal Officials

(Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

Chicago Department of Public Health officials continue to recommend that residents wear masks indoors and on public transportation to reduce their risk of contracting COVID-19 and ensure they are up to date with their COVID-19 vaccines.

Chicago Faces $127.9M Budget Shortfall in 2023: Lightfoot

Mayor Lori Lightfoot unveils the forecast for the 2023 Chicago budget on Aug. 10, 2022. (WTTW News)

Chicago’s financial picture has been buoyed by the city’s red-hot real estate market and nearly $2 billion in federal aid designed to help the city withstand the ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Push to Use Downtown Property Taxes to Fund Far South Side Red Line Extension Faces Uncertain Future

(WTTW News)

Ald. Pat Dowell (3rd Ward) said the plan would be a “bad deal” for residents of Bronzeville and set a bad precedent. The proposal from Lightfoot’s administration would create a new tax-increment financing district along the southern branch of the CTA Red Line to generate $950 million for the project. 

17 People — Including Lightfoot’s Zoning Board Chair — Apply to Fill Vacant 43rd Ward Chicago City Council Seat

(WTTW News)

Seventeen people applied to replace soon-to-be former Ald. Michele Smith on the Chicago City Council and represent the city’s 43rd Ward, including Timmy Knudsen, Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s handpicked chair of the city’s Zoning Board, the mayor’s office announced late Friday.

Officials Announce Deal to Power Chicago Facilities with Solar Energy by 2025


Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Gov. J.B. Pritzker said the agreement would strike a blow against climate change that scientists say has already begun to cause disasters such as floods and strong storms.

Backed by Pritzker, Hernandez Wins Bruising Contest to Lead the Illinois Democratic Party

State Rep. Elizabeth “Lisa” Hernandez. (Provided)

U.S. Rep. Robin Kelly dropped out of the contest Friday afternoon, acknowledging her bid to serve a full four-year term as chair of the Democratic Party of Illinois, known as the DPI, “will come up just shy of the necessary majority.”

Illinois to Use $760M from Opioid Settlements to Fund Treatment, Prevention Programs: Pritzker

(WTTW News)

The agreement represents the second largest national settlement in U.S. history, dwarfed only by the agreements with tobacco firms reached in the 1990s.

Lightfoot Bans Chicago Police from Investigating People Seeking Abortions or Their Doctors

Mayor Lori Lightfoot signs an executive order Thursday, July 28, designed to protect abortion access in Chicago. (Provided: Chicago's Mayor's Office)

The move backs a push from progressive members of the City Council to enshrine those protections into law. Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s announcement came one day after several progressive members of the City Council urged their colleagues to protect those crossing state lines to get reproductive and gender-affirming health care in Chicago.

Chicago School Board Won’t Fire 2 Teachers Who Protested Metal Scrapper’s Move from North Side

Protests against General Iron's relocation to the Southeast Side have been ongoing for months, including a march on the mayor's house in November 2020. (Annemarie Mannion / WTTW News)

The board voted 6-0 to reject the recommendation from Chicago Public Schools CEO Pedro Martinez that teachers Lauren Bianchi and Charles “Chuck” Stark be terminated for violating safety rules involving protests and a trip to Cambridge, Massachusetts. Instead, they each got a warning and were directed to undergo training.

Google Buys Thompson Center, Will Preserve Much Loved, Loathed Loop Landmark

The James R. Thompson Center is pictured on July 12, 2022. (Michael Izquierdo / WTTW News)

Google’s announcement that it would take the Helmut Jahn-designed structure off the state of Illinois’ hands caps a years-long effort to figure out what to do with 1.2-million-square-foot building at Randolph and LaSalle streets with its distinctive red-and-blue accented steel frame.

Ousted CPS Board Member Calls for Probe of New Near South High School Plan

(WTTW News)

Former board member DwayneTruss called for the inspector general of the Chicago Public Schools to probe the deal that would allow the high school to be built at 24th and State streets, once home to the demolished CHA Harold L. Ickes homes. 

21-Year-Old Man Charged in Highland Park Parade Shooting Indicted on 117 Counts

FBI investigators examine the scene in downtown Highland Park on July 5, 2022, a day after a mass shooting occurred at the Fourth of July parade. (WTTW News)

The man charged with killing seven people at Highland Park’s Fourth of July parade has been charged with 21 counts of first-degree murder, three counts for each of the seven people killed in the shooting.

Indiana Man Pleads Guilty to Buying Gun Used to Kill Chicago Police Officer Ella French

Chicago police Officer Ella French and two male officers pulled over an SUV on Saturday, Aug. 7, 2021 near the intersection of 63rd Street and Bell Avenue, shown here on Monday, Aug. 9. (WTTW News)

“While this will never heal the painful wounds of losing Ella, this is a small step toward justice for her family and all those who love her,” Chicago Police Supt. David Brown tweeted Wednesday.

Chicago Makes Its Pitch to Host 2024 Democratic National Convention, Shadowed by Party Chair Fight

Democratic National Committee Chair Jamie Harrison said the city picked to host the 2024 Democratic National Convention will offer a “turn-key” operation. (Heather Cherone / WTTW News)

Chicago is battling New York City, Atlanta and Houston for the right to celebrate the party’s nominees for president and vice president in August 2024, while showcasing the Democratic Party’s pitch to voters.

Lightfoot Makes Pitch to Keep Bears in Chicago With Soldier Field Dome

A rendering of the proposed renovation of Soldier Field. (Provided: Landmark Development)

Mayor Lightfoot unveiled three options to renovate Soldier Field, ranging in price from $900 million to $2.2 billion. The mayor, who is running for a second term, declined to say how much public funding she was prepared to spend to prevent the Bears from leaving the city and moving to Arlington Heights.

Long-Delayed Push to Create Police Oversight Board Stalls Without Lightfoot’s Interim Picks

(WTTW News)

The Chicago City Council voted to create Community Commission for Public Safety and Accountability more than a year ago after a contentious debate between Mayor Lori Lightfoot and alderpeople who demanded the board have real authority over the Chicago Police Department. Every deadline set by that ordinance has been missed.

Chicago Set to Get 18K More Doses of Monkeypox Vaccine — But It Won’t Be Enough, Officials Say

This electron microscope image shows mature, oval-shaped monkeypox virions, left, and spherical immature virions, right, from a human skin sample associated with a 2003 prairie dog outbreak. (Cynthia S. Goldsmith, Russell Regnery / CDC)

“While we are pleased to be receiving these additional doses, we simply need more vaccine in Chicago,” said Dr. Alison Arwady, the commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health.

Officer Who Shot Anthony Alvarez Will Not Be Fired: Police Board

An image from body camera video released April 28 by the Civilian Office of Police Accountability shows Anthony Alvarez, 22, in the moments before he was shot by a Chicago police officer March 31, 2021. (WTTW News via COPA)

The Civilian Office of Police Accountability recommended that Officer Evan Solano be fired for shooting Alvarez in the back and killing him after a brief chase in Portage Park, but Chicago Police Supt. David Brown disagreed with that conclusion. 

Lincoln Park Ald. Michele Smith Resigns from Chicago City Council, Citing ‘Personal Issues’

Ald. Michele Smith’s last day in office will be Aug. 12. (Provided)

Ald. Michele Smith’s resignation will be effective Aug. 12, she said. Mayor Lori Lightfoot must appoint a replacement by Oct. 12 — in the middle of the next aldermanic election

Push to Expand Transit-Oriented Development to South, West Sides Approved 36-10

The under-construction affordable housing project at 2602-38 N. Emmett St. in Logan Square. (Credit: Bickerdike Redevelopment Corp.)

“This brings our city one step closer towards ensuring that every Chicagoan can live in a walkable, affordable community that is connected to transit and all of its benefits,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said.

City Council Rejects Push to Roll Back $35 Tickets for Drivers Snapped 6 MPH Over the Limit

(WTTW News)

The vote capped months of parliamentary shenanigans and came after a concerted effort by advocates for pedestrians and bicyclists to convince undecided members of the City Council the tickets were an effective way to reduce headline-grabbing and heartbreaking crashes.

Chicago City Council Unanimously Passes Ethics Overhaul, Boosts Fines to $20K

Mayor Lori Lightfoot is pictured at the July 20, 2022, Chicago City Council meeting. (WTTW News)

Authored by Ald. Michele Smith (43rd Ward), the chair of the City Council’s Ethics and Government Oversight Committee, and backed by the Chicago Board of Ethics, the package was significantly revised to win the support of Mayor Lori Lightfoot, who blocked the measure from advancing for several months.

‘Urban Decay’ Created by Segregation Fueling Poverty, Population Loss on South, West Sides: Study

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

Many of the barriers erected by elected officials and civic leaders beginning in the 1930s to keep Black Chicagoans, Latino Chicagoans and White Chicagoans from living, working and playing in the same neighborhoods remain unchanged nearly a century later, according to a new study.