Stories by matt masterson

Erica Reddick Becomes 1st Woman to Oversee Cook County’s Criminal Court Division

(QuinceCreative / Pixabay)

Erica Reddick, a longtime public defender and judge, is replacing Judge LeRoy Martin Jr., who has been assigned to serve as an appellate court justice.

Some CPS Teachers Not Returning to Schools as In-Person Learning Set to Resume

(WTTW News)

More than 5,800 Chicago Public Schools employees were due back in their classrooms Monday to prepare for students’ return next week. But not all of them showed up.

Illinois Records Another 133 COVID-19 Deaths as Year Marred by Pandemic Comes to an End

The first doses of the Pfizer vaccine in Chicago were administered at the Loretto Hospital on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020. (WTTW News)

The Illinois Department of Public Health on Thursday announced an additional 8,009 confirmed and probable coronavirus cases, the highest single-day total in two weeks.

Local School Council Passes Resolution Seeking to Prevent School Reopening

CPS says councils don’t have authority to do so

(ArtisticOperations / Pixabay)

Representatives of a Portage Park high school on Tuesday unanimously approved a measure saying students and staff will not be allowed into the building following winter break “until it is safe to return to in-person learning.”

CPS: Majority of Pre-K, Cluster Program Teachers, Staff Returning for In-Person Learning

(WTTW News)

Chicago Public Schools on Tuesday announced that 5,833 of its 7,002 pre-K and cluster program staff members will be heading back to schools when in-person learning resumes for those students on Jan. 11.

Police Seek Help in Identifying Vehicle From Double Fatal Hit-And-Run

(WTTW News)

The police department late Monday issued a community alert seeking information about the Dec. 23 incident that resulted in the deaths of Araceli Gutierrez and 12-year-old Giovanne Bucio in the Gage Park neighborhood.

Jail, Prison Populations Must be Among First to Get COVID-19 Vaccine: Advocacy Groups

(WTTW News)

“We ask that IDPH acknowledge the high risk of COVID-19 exposure for people living in all forms of state custody and the staff who work with them and prioritize them for vaccinations,” dozens of groups wrote in a letter to state health officials.

CPS Expects to Get $800M in Funding From Federal COVID-19 Stimulus Bill

(WTTW News)

“We extend our sincere gratitude to leaders in Washington — and especially our Chicago delegation — who have prioritized the needs of public school students throughout the country,” CPS CEO Janice Jackson said in a statement.

Anjanette Young’s Lawyer Could Face Sanctions For Raid Video Release

Keenan Saulter, the lawyer representing Anjanette Young, speaks during a press conference Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2020. (WTTW News)

Despite Mayor Lori Lightfoot and city attorneys backing off their request for sanctions, the lawyer representing Anjanette Young may still find himself in hot water with a federal judge.

CPS Expanding Tuition Reimbursement Program to Fill Special Education Vacancies

(Brandis Friedman / Chicago Tonight)

Through the program, the school district will provide $310,000 in tuition reimbursement for educators who will work to earn a special education endorsement at one of four Chicago-area universities

Alleged Getaway Driver Charged in Murder of Retired Chicago Firefighter

(WTTW News)

Dwain Johnson, 18, is the second person to be charged in the Dec. 3 murder of ex-Chicago Fire Department Lt. Dwain Williams.

Chicago Police Union President Could Be Fired Over Social Media Posts

Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 7 President John Catanzara appears on “Chicago Tonight” via Zoom on May 14, 2020. (WTTW News)

Fraternal Order of Police President Lodge 7 John Catanzara faces possible termination from his position with the Chicago Police Department over multiple inflammatory social media posts.

3,500 Illinois Health Care Workers Have Already Received COVID-19 Vaccine

COVID-19 in Illinois: 8,828 New Cases, 181 Additional Deaths

City officials administered the first COVID-19 vaccines Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020 at The Loretto Hospital. (WTTW News)

Gov J.B. Pritzker said the state's first vaccine shipments have been distributed to 77 hospitals across Illinois, and on Thursday, another 43,000 additional doses arrived in Cook, Lake, Madison and St. Clair counties.

State Labor Board Rejects CTU Request To Delay School Reopening

(WTTW News)

The Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board issued a 2-1 vote denying the teachers union’s request for an injunction to halt Chicago Public Schools’ plan to reopen schools for in-person learning early next year.

CPS: 77K Students Have Opted-In for Return to In-Person Learning

(WTTW News)

CPS CEO Janice Jackson and school leaders say 77,343 students plan to return to schools beginning in January and February 2021. That’s about about 37% of eligible pre-K through eighth grade students.

6 More Men Have Convictions Tossed in Cases Tied to Ex-Chicago Police Sergeant

(Thomas Hawk / Flickr)

In all, 80 men and women, who were sentenced to 256 total years in prison across more than 100 cases tied to ex-CPD Sgt. Ronald Watts, have had their convictions dismissed over the past three years.

As Vaccine Rollout Begins, Officials Warn of Potential COVID-19 Scams

(WTTW News)

Be on the lookout for phony treatments and phishing messages, according to the Better Business Bureau, as scammers look to take advantage of pandemic angst and the public’s desire to get vaccinated.

Illinois Tops 14,000 COVID-19 Deaths

COVID-19 in Illinois: 9,420 New Cases, 190 Additional Deaths

(WTTW News)

More than 1,000 Illinoisans have died of the coronavirus this week alone, during a time in which the U.S. has repeatedly set single-day records for COVID-19 fatalities.

With COVID-19 Vaccine on the Way, IDPH Chief Says ‘Finish Line is in Sight’

COVID-19 in Illinois: 11,101 New Cases, 196 Additional Deaths

Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike speaks during Thursday's press briefing. (WTTW News)

“We’ve come very far,” Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said Thursday. “Let’s keep going and let’s get everybody to the end of this marathon and get back to normal altogether."

Police Tracking Public’s Trust in Department Through New Dashboard

(WTTW News)

“Chicagoans are only as safe as they feel, and this tool gives the Department an actionable metric to measure the health of the relationship between the city’s residents and its police department,” Police Superintendent David Brown said in a statement. 

‘Dreadhead Cowboy’ Ordered to Have No Contact With His Horses

The “Dreadhead Cowboy” is seen on the Dan Ryan Expressway in Chicago. (Courtesy Vashon Jordan Jr. / @vashon_photo)

A Cook County judge on Wednesday granted an order from prosecutors amending the bail of Adam Hollingsworth, who now must turn over any horses he owns to the Cook County Sheriff’s Office while his criminal case plays out.

Woman Charged With Dragging Chicago Police Officer After Traffic Stop

(WTTW News)

Jasmine Smith allegedly attempted to flee a traffic stop and dragged a Chicago police officer for several downtown city blocks Monday afternoon. She is being held on $50,000 bond.

CTU Joins Other Unions in Outlining What They Want in New Education Secretary

(WTTW News)

CTU President Jesse Sharkey signed on to an open letter sent to President-elect Joe Biden on Tuesday from 16 local teachers unions and organizations, calling on Biden to appoint “one of our own” as his chief advisor on education.

Kim Foxx Sworn In For Second Term as Cook County’s Top Prosecutor

Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx appears on “Chicago Tonight” on March 18, 2020. (WTTW News)

A little over a month after she won reelection, Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx was officially sworn in. Following the ceremony, she reflected on the challenges of 2020 and looked ahead to the next four years.

Pritzker: Too Early to See COVID-19 Surge From Thanksgiving Gatherings

COVID-19 in Illinois: 8,691 New Cases, 90 Additional Deaths

Gov. J.B. Pritzker speaks during his daily COVID-19 briefing on Dec. 7, 2020. (WTTW News)

Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Monday said officials are still “still watching and waiting” to see if there will be a surge statewide in the number of coronavirus cases and hospitalizations stemming from holiday gatherings.

Pritzker: Blood, Plasma Donations Desperately Needed in Illinois

COVID-19 in Illinois: 10,959 New Cases, 192 Additional Deaths

A Red Cross blood donor rolls up a sleeve to give blood during the COVID-19 outbreak at the Rockville Donation Center in Maryland. (Photo by Dennis Drenner / American Red Cross)

As Illinois continues dealing with its deadliest stretch of the coronavirus pandemic to date, state health officials are calling on those who’ve had COVID-19 to consider donating plasma as it may help those who are actively fighting the disease.