Stories by Heather Cherone

Head of Police Oversight Agency Defends Operations After Critical Audit

(WTTW News)

The head of COPA said the agency had “never intentionally withheld” information from the public after an audit by the city’s watchdog found it had failed to release video and audio recordings of use-of-force incidents within 60 days.

Systemic Racism to Blame for 9-Year Life Expectancy Gap Between Black, White Chicagoans: Report

(Goodfreephotos_com / Pixabay)

Mayor Lightfoot called the life expectancy gap between Black and White residents “unacceptable,” as the Chicago Department of Public Health issued a new report that found systemic racism pervades nearly every aspect of civic life.

Here’s How to Cut $55M from the $1.7B Chicago Police Budget: Office of Financial Analysis

(WTTW News)

The office designed to help aldermen keep tabs on how the city spends tax dollars detailed a proposal on Thursday that finds savings by cutting “perks” and things that are “nice to have, but need not have.”

Progressive Aldermen Lay Out Plan to Build More Affordable Housing for Black, Latino Chicagoans

(WTTW News)

“This is an opportunity to get this right,” said Ald. Byron Sigcho Lopez (25th Ward), who vowed not to allow developers to dominate the discussion.

Pritzker Extends Ban on Evictions Another Month, Once Again

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

Pritzker has extended the ban on evictions three times since he lifted the stay-at-home order at the end of May, when the state began to make significant progress in slowing the spread of the coronavirus.

Chicagoans Log 230K Rides In First Month After Scooters Return to Chicago

(WTTW News)

While initial demand is lower than last year’s pilot program, city officials say they are encouraged by data and anecdotal accounts that the lock-to-cable requirement has reduced the number of instances of scooters blocking sidewalks. 

Officials Are Failing to Release Video, Documents Swiftly After Police Use Force: Watchdog

(WTTW News)

The agency charged with investigating allegations of police misconduct has failed to promptly release video and audio recordings of use-of-force incidents, as required by city law, according to a new audit by Chicago’s watchdog.

Chicago is Making ‘Definite Progress’ in Coronavirus Fight as Utah Joins Quarantine Order

Dr. Allison Arwady, the commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health, provides an update on the city’s quarantine order on Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020. (WTTW News)

The Midwest is now the center of the coronavirus pandemic, Dr. Allison Arwady said Tuesday, but Chicago has begun making “definite progress” against a surge of infections among young adults and Latinos.

Lightfoot Calls on Investigators to Finish Probe Into Officers Who Lounged, Napped in US Rep. Rush’s Office as Looting Swept South Side

A screenshot from a video shown to the media on Thursday, June 11, 2020 shows a Chicago police officer lying down inside the office of U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush. (WTTW News via City of Chicago)

It is past time for investigators to complete their probe into the conduct of 13 officers who lounged, slept and snacked in the burglarized office of U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush as unrest swept the city in June, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Monday.

Effort To Track COVID-19 Infections With New Workforce Behind Schedule

(Andrés Rodríguez / Pixabay)

A push to build a first-of-its-kind workforce to conduct community-level contact tracing is months behind schedule, even as health officials brace for a surge in infections at the start of the traditional flu season.

Chicago Must Build More Affordable Housing That Black, Latino Chicagoans Can Actually Afford: Task Force

(WTTW News)

The city’s Affordable Requirements Ordinance created just 1,049 homes in 13 years by requiring some developers to set aside units for low- and moderate-income Chicagoans, but that has barely dented the city’s affordable housing gap, according to a new report.

Eric Trump to Mayor Lightfoot: ‘We Truly Appreciate You’ Amid Unrest: Texts

(Quinn Kampschroer / Pixabay)

Eric Trump, the president’s son, twice texted Mayor Lori Lightfoot to thank her for taking steps to protect Trump Tower in downtown Chicago after violent protests.

2,145 New COVID-19 Cases in Illinois, 32 Additional Deaths

(WTTW News)

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases remained steady in the two regions of the state where officials have increased restrictions after a surge in infections. The statewide positivity rate is 3.9%, officials said Friday.

1,953 New COVID-19 Cases in Illinois, 28 Additional Deaths

Summer during the pandemic: A cyclist wearing a mask rides along the 606 trail in Chicago. (WTTW News)

Nearly 2,000 new cases of coronavirus and 28-virus related deaths were reported Thursday by state health officials, as Gov. J.B. Pritzker said eight Illinois regions are making progress in slowing the spread of the virus.

City Rolls Out Plan to Slowly Replace Lead Service Lines Shown to Contaminate Tap Water in Homes

(U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Alexxis Pons Abascal)

Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Thursday unveiled a plan to replace the lead service lines responsible for contaminating the tap water in thousands of Chicago homes “over multiple decades” that relies on federal and state funds.

Lightfoot Blasts Barr’s ‘Victory Lap’ as ‘Factually Inaccurate’

(WTTW News)

Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Wednesday blasted Attorney General William Barr for claiming that President Donald Trump’s decision to send approximately 100 federal agents to Chicago was responsible for a drop in homicides.

Plan to Keep Woodlawn Residents In Their Homes Near Obama Center Approved

Chicago’s Woodlawn community. (WTTW News)

The City Council on Wednesday approved a $4.5 million package designed to prevent the planned Obama Presidential Center in Jackson Park from supercharging gentrification in Woodlawn.

Aldermen Approve Scaled-Back Ban on Flavored Tobacco Products

(haiberliu / Pixabay)

The Chicago City Council voted 46-4 Wednesday to ban the sale of most flavored liquid nicotine products in Chicago, after an effort to prohibit the sale of all flavored tobacco products failed to advance.

Effort to Expand O’Hare Cargo Operations With City Borrowing Stalls Amid Questions About Diversity Goals

(WTTW News)

An effort by city officials to finish a project to expand cargo operations at O’Hare Airport by borrowing $55.6 million stalled amid objections from aldermen angry that the company that would benefit from the funds failed to hire enough Chicagoans.

Chicago Adds Kentucky to Quarantine Order; Removes California, Puerto Rico

(veerasantinithi / Pixabay)

Starting Friday, Chicago’s quarantine order will apply to 21 states, but visitors from California and Puerto Rico will no longer be required to quarantine for two weeks, officials announced Tuesday. 

Aldermen OK New Contract for Chicago Firefighters

(WTTW News)

Aldermen advanced an agreement Thursday that would give Chicago firefighters $95 million in back pay, but puts off fraught negotiations over how fire stations should be staffed.

Aldermen Agree to Pay $6.65M To Settle 4 Police Misconduct Cases

(WTTW News)

Aldermen agreed Thursday to settle four lawsuits that alleged police misconduct, including two lawsuits prompted by the deaths of two Black men shot by Chicago police officers.

Aldermen to Weigh Scaled-Back Ban on Flavored Tobacco Products

(Lindsay Fox / Pixabay)

Spurred by a surge in vaping by teens, the measure set for a vote by the City Council’s Committee on Health and Human Relations would ban the sale of all flavored nicotine products — except those that taste and smell like tobacco, according to the proposal.

Sending National Guard Troops to Chicago Could Make Residents ‘Feel Less Safe’: Former General

An Old Navy store in downtown Chicago is boarded up Monday, Aug. 10, 2020 after a night of looting and unrest. (WTTW News)

“The unintended effect may be that people will feel less safe,” Alicia Tate-Nadeau, former brigadier general of the guard, said of deploying troops to Chicago. “It could stigmatize areas of the city for years to come.”

Burke Unlikely To Face Trial in Mid-2021, Judge Tells Lawyers

Ald. Ed Burke (WTTW News)

“I'd like to give you all a trial date, but I'd like to give you one we think will stick,” Judge Robert Dow said Wednesday, noting delays caused by the pandemic as well as a massive amount of evidence to sort through in this case.