Stories by heather cherone

Unvaccinated? ‘Don’t Travel,’ Chicago’s Top Doctor Urges as Travel Advisory Expands

(WTTW News)

Chicagoans who have not been vaccinated against COVID-19 should not travel, Dr. Allison Arwady announced Wednesday, as officials expanded the city’s advisory designed to stop the spread of the still-surging virus to every state and territory in the U.S.

Key City Panel Endorses Proposed Police Union Contract

(WTTW News)

A final vote is set for Sept. 14 on an eight-year deal that offers more than 11,000 Chicago police officers annual average raises of approximately 2.5% — while imposing new rules on officers suspected of misconduct.

Affordable Housing Battle Brews on Far Northwest Side

(WTTW News)

The Chicago City Council may be forced to confront the role its decades-old tradition of giving aldermen the final say over housing developments in their wards has played in creating a hyper-segregated city rife with racism and gentrification. 

Ald. Waguespack Demands Apology from Ald. Gardiner Over Profane Texts

(WTTW News)

Ald. Jim Gardiner, elected in 2019, has been surrounded by controversy since he took office after defeating former Ald. John Arena. In 2023, he was elected to serve as the 45th Ward’s Democratic committeeperson, making him one of the leaders of the Cook County Democratic Party.

Chicago Officials Offering $100 Gift Cards as They Work To Hike Vaccinations

(WTTW News)

Chicagoans who get vaccinated by the Chicago Department of Public Health starting Saturday will get both a lifesaving inoculation against COVID-19 and also a $100 gift card, city officials announced.

Spring Break Caused COVID-19 Outbreak at Chicago University, CDC Officials Announce

The University of Chicago reported a COVID-19 outbreak at the beginning of April. (WTTW News)

Students at an unidentified Chicago university who traveled over spring break sparked an outbreak of COVID-19 that sickened 158 people, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released Thursday.

Chicago Starts Sending Mental Health Professionals to Some 911 Calls for Help

(WTTW News)

The two-year, $3.5 million pilot program represents the first time in Chicago’s history that the city’s emergency dispatch system will send someone other than a sworn and armed police officer to a call for help, officials said.

Gold Coast Dessert Bar 1st to Open Under New Rules Designed to Cut Red Tape

Scoops Dessert Bar will serve vegan and gluten-free boozy milkshakes, ice cream sandwiches, muffins and mini-doughnuts. (Credit: Brittany Gumbiner)

Scoops Dessert Bar is the first restaurant in Chicago to open as part of the city’s Expedited Restaurant Licensing Pilot Program, which is designed to help fill restaurants shut down by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chicago’s Travel Advisory Updated to Include Every State Except Vermont

(WTTW News)

The city’s travel advisory now covers 48 states as well as Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam and the Virgin Islands, officials said Tuesday.

COVID-19 Surge ‘Could Hinder’ Chicago’s Economic Recovery, Financial Officials Warn

(Jürgen Polle / Pixabay)

While Mayor Lori Lightfoot contends Chicago is “fiscally bouncing back,” Chicago’s top financial officials made it clear at a hearing Monday that the city’s finances are still mired in the deep hole created by the economic catastrophe of the coronavirus pandemic.

Chicago Officials Sue DoorDash, Grubhub, Allege Firms Hurt Restaurants During COVID-19 Pandemic

(Photo by logan jeffrey on Unsplash)

The lawsuit accuses both DoorDash and Grubhub of advertising delivery services from restaurants without their consent, damaging the restaurants’ reputations and forcing them to scramble to resolve complaints.

City Workers Must Be Vaccinated Against COVID-19 by Oct. 15, Lightfoot Announces

(WTTW News)

The mandate is likely to trigger a legal battle with the Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge 7, which represents the city’s 12,000 rank-and-file officers.

Tread Carefully While Extending Program Earmarking Contracts, Alderpeople Warned

(Jürgen Polle / Pixabay)

City officials will have to move cautiously to extend the city’s program that earmarks a portion of city contracts for firms owned by Black, Latino and Asian Chicagoans as well as women in the face of hostile courts, officials warned the Chicago City Council.

Lightfoot Accepts Indicted Ald. Austin’s Resignation as Committee Chair; Austin Will Remain on City Council

A file photo shows 34th Ward Ald. Carrie Austin at a Chicago City Council meeting. (WTTW News)

Ald. Carrie Austin’s resignation as chair of the City Council’s Committee on Contracting and Oversight Equity comes nine days after WTTW News reported that the committee spent more in 2020 than nearly all other City Council committees while meeting only three times.

General Iron Owner to Pay $500,000 Federal Fine to Resolve Lincoln Park Clean Air Act Violations

General Iron’s metal-shredding operation in Lincoln Park. (WTTW News)

The parent company of a now-shuttered metal recycler on the North Side will pay a fine as part of an agreement to resolve charges that the firm’s operation violated the Clean Air Act, Environmental Protection Agency officials announced Wednesday.

Ethics Board Warns Chicago Officials: Think Twice Before Creating Legal Defense Fund

(WTTW News)

Beleaguered members of the Chicago City Council facing sky-high legal bills should think twice before asking members of the public to contribute to a defense fund, according to an opinion from the Chicago Board of Ethics.

As COVID-19 Surge Continues, Chicago Travel Advisory Now Includes 43 States

(WTTW News)

Chicago officials added four states to the city’s COVID-19 travel advisory on Tuesday as the number of cases continues to spike with the spread of the delta variant of the virus.

Lightfoot Won’t Demand that Indicted Ald. Austin Step Down as Committee Chair

(WTTW News)

Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Monday declined to demand that indicted Ald. Carrie Austin (34th Ward) step down as chair of the City Council’s Contracting Oversight and Equity Committee or resign from the City Council. The committee is poised to convene a subject-matter hearing at 1 p.m. Tuesday.

Vaccine Mandate Coming in ‘Days’ for City Employees, Lightfoot Says

Mayor Lori Lightfoot talks about a vaccine requirement for city workers on Monday, Aug. 23, 2021. (WTTW News)

City workers will “absolutely” have to be vaccinated against COVID-19, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Monday, promising a formal announcement in “days.”

Analysis: Lightfoot Appointments to Key Posts Did Not Keep Pace with Growth of Latinos in Chicago

(Goodfreephotos_com / Pixabay)

Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s picks for key city posts during her first two years in office failed to keep pace with the growing number of Latino Chicagoans, according to an analysis by WTTW News.

Cook County Employees Will Have to be Vaccinated Against COVID-19 by Oct. 15, Preckwinkle Says

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

The order covers all of the employees who work for the office of Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle as well as those covered by Cook County Employment Plan, officials said.

Rahm Emanuel Tapped by Biden as Ambassador to Japan

Mayor Rahm Emanuel appears on “Chicago Tonight” on Monday, May 13, 2019.

The high-profile diplomatic post for Chicago’s famously profane and brusque mayor is sure to be jeered by the progressive wing of the Democratic Party as well as those who believe his handling of the murder of Laquan McDonald should have disqualified him from public office.

Chicago Reimposes Mask Mandate as COVID-19 Surge Shows No Sign of Slowing

A bartender mixes a drink at the Chicago restaurant 14 Parish. (WTTW News)

Everyone in Chicago, regardless of their vaccination status, must wear a mask indoors starting Friday, Chicago’s top doctor announced Tuesday. The mandate comes amid the city’s fourth surge in COVID-19 infections, driven by the more transmissible delta variant.

Chicago Pharmacist Arrested for Selling Vaccination Cards for $10: Feds

(WTTW News)

Tangtang Zhao, 34, of Chicago, sold 125 authentic Centers for Disease Control and Prevention COVID-19 vaccination cards to 11 different buyers for approximately $10 per card, according to a statement from the Department of Justice. 

City Council Committee Led by Indicted Ald. Austin Spends More, Does Less than Nearly All Others

(WTTW News)

More than 45 days after Ald. Carrie Austin (34th Ward) was indicted on charges of bribery and lying to federal officials, Mayor Lori Lightfoot, who picked Austin to lead the Committee on Contracting Oversight and Equity, has yet to call for Austin to relinquish her position. 

Despite Lightfoot’s Optimism, Projections Show Dark Financial Clouds on Horizon

(Jürgen Polle / Pixabay)

Before the pandemic, Chicago finance officials projected that the city would eliminate its longstanding imbalance between revenues and expenditures and reach structural balance in 2023. In all, the pandemic cost the city $1.7 billion, complicating those efforts.