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Stories by Matt Masterson

No Criminal Charges for Retired Evanston Teacher Accused of Sexual Abuse

Evanston Township High School

Authorities say they investigated abuse allegations made by 35 former ETHS students against longtime theater teacher Bruce Siewerth. “The lack of prosecution is not due to lack of evidence,” Evanston Police Cmdr. Ryan Glew said.

Chicago Has State’s Top 6 Public High Schools: US News Rankings

In its latest rankings, U.S. News & World Report tabbed Chicago’s Lane Tech High School as the third-best public high school in Illinois. (Matt Masterson / Chicago Tonight)

Chicago Public Schools once again claims the top spots on an annual list of the state’s best public high schools. Which schools made the cut.

Van Dyke Case: Citing ‘Serious Safety Concerns,’ Judge Seals Courtroom for Witness Testimony

Chicago police Officer Jason Van Dyke attends a hearing for the shooting death of Laquan McDonald at the Leighton Criminal Court Building, Friday, May 4, 2018.  The media was later ordered to leave the courtroom. (Antonio Perez / Chicago Tribune / Pool)

In a 10-page written order, Cook County Judge Vincent Gaughan noted that as many as nine witnesses called to testify Friday “could be exposed to harm” if their names were to be made public.

Mayor: Chicago Fire Department Harassment Claims Taken ‘Extremely Seriously’

(Dayna Bateman / Flickr)

Mayor Rahm Emanuel says there could be “serious consequences” after five Chicago Fire Department paramedics filed a lawsuit alleging ongoing sexual harassment in the workplace.

5 Chicago Paramedics ‘Fed Up’ Over Sexual Harassment, Sue City

(Dayna Bateman / Flickr)

A federal discrimination lawsuit filed Tuesday against the city demonstrates what five women describe as a “culture” of sexual harassment and discrimination within the Chicago Fire Department.

Ex-Police Detective Sued by Man Freed After Wrongful Murder Conviction

(Photo courtesy Andy Thayer)

After spending 22 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit, Thomas Sierra is suing the city of Chicago and the detective he claims framed him for a 1995 murder.

Chicago Man Facing Federal Charge After Near North Carjacking

The 23-year-old suspect is accused of carjacking multiple vehicles last week. He faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted.

WWCI Names Sandra Cordova Micek New President and CEO

Sandra Cordova Micek

Sandra Cordova Micek will take over as president and CEO of WWCI, the parent company of WTTW and WFMT, beginning May 1 following the retirement last year of Dan Schmidt.

Former Lake Bluff Students Sue School District Over Sex Abuse Allegations

Charles Ritz seen following his 2016 arrest, left, and during his time as a Lake Bluff teacher. (Anderson & Associates)

Five former students filed civil suits this week against Lake Bluff School District 65, claiming it knowingly employed a sexually abusive teacher in the 1970s and ‘80s.

CPS Promises Change to ‘Unacceptable’ School Cleanliness Levels

Chicago Public Schools officials say they’re focused on getting their school buildings cleaned after a recent round of inspections revealed “troubling and concerning” issues.

CPS Hopes to Repair Community Trust After Special Education Issues

Chicago Public Schools CEO Janice Jackson speaks about the district budget on April 17, 2018.

Chicago Public Schools CEO Janice Jackson is asking for community support as the district attempts to fix “systemic problems” with its special education programming.

‘Don’t Panic’: Chicago Officials Hope to Save Lives With Safe Haven Law


April is “Save Abandoned Babies Month” in Illinois. Chicago police and fire officials hope to raise awareness of the state’s safe haven law in the hopes of saving infant lives.

Chicago Police Board to Review LeGrier Shooting After Member Sides With COPA

The Chicago Police Board may seek to fire an officer who shot and killed two people during a domestic disturbance call in 2015.

Appeals Court Backs Chicago in Federal Immigration Case

(Gage Skidmore / Flickr)

Chicago won’t have to give up its “sanctuary city” policies in order to receive federal grant money, an appeals court ruled Thursday.

Van Dyke Case: Documents Could be Unsealed, Change of Venue Motion Pending

Jason Van Dyke, left, sits with his attorney Daniel Herbert at his hearing at Leighton Criminal Court in Chicago Wednesday April 18, 2018.    (Nancy Stone / Chicago Tribune / Pool)

The judge in the high-profile murder case could unseal documents not yet seen by the public later this month. A defense expert witness also testified Wednesday about a possible change of venue in the case.

Tribune Tower Site Redesign Could Include Chicago’s 2nd Tallest Skyscraper

Proposal details 1,400-foot tower, 300 new condos

A rendering of the proposed skyscraper on the Tribune Tower site. If built, the building would be the second tallest in Chicago. (Golub & Co. / CIM)

The site of the Tribune Tower will include nearly 300 condominiums and what would be one of Chicago’s tallest skyscrapers under a new redevelopment proposal developers believe will both revitalize and preserve the international landmark.

US Supreme Court Won’t Hear Blagojevich Appeal

(Courtesy NBC 5 News)

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday announced it will not be taking up former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s appeal of his 14-year prison sentence.

Chicago Aviation Officers Sue City, Claim Job Histories Were ‘Erased’

Class action suit comes a year after incident on board United flight

(Courtesy @Tyler_Bridges)

Nearly 300 Chicago aviation officers are suing to reclaim their status as law enforcement officers, a title they lost following a highly publicized incident on board a United plane last year.

Aviation Officer Fired After United Dragging Incident Suing City, Airline

(Raimond Spekking / Wikimedia Commons)

The former security officer claims he was improperly trained and later defamed by the head of the Chicago Department of Aviation.

CPS Students Shrink Achievement Gap, But Overall Progress Remains Stable

The achievement gap between white and minority students within Chicago Public Schools has shrunk, according to a national assessment, but the shift wasn’t caused by higher student scores.

Emanuel: Rauner Abdicated ‘Primary Responsibility’ With Gun Dealer Veto

Mayor Rahm Emanuel speaks about the gun dealer licensing bill during a press conference on March 13, 2018.

Advocates of a bill aimed at strengthening state gun dealer regulations continue pushing for its passage, even after it was vetoed by Gov. Bruce Rauner.

UChicago Student Shot By Campus Police Now Facing Criminal Charges

(Inventorchris / Flickr)

The University of Chicago student shot by campus police this week now faces a felony charge of assaulting an officer, according to the Chicago Police Department.

Van Dyke Defense Seeking New Trial Venue, But Request a Tall Order

Jason Van Dyke, left, with his attorney Daniel Herbert inside the Leighton Criminal Court Building in Chicago on Thursday, March 8, 2018. (Nancy Stone / Chicago Tribune / Pool)

Have Cook County residents been so inundated with media coverage of the Laquan McDonald shooting case as to be incapable of rendering a fair verdict? A look at change of venue motions.

Chicago Top Cop Stands by Letter in LeGrier Investigation

Chicago Police Department Superintendent Eddie Johnson speaks to the press on Monday, April 2, 2018. (Chicago Tonight)

“At the end of the day I don’t have the luxury of basing my decisions on public pressure, political pressure,” CPD Superintendent Eddie Johnson said, explaining why he rejected COPA findings in the death of Quintonio LeGrier.

Chicago Crime Drops for 13th Straight Month

There have been 22 percent fewer homicides and 25 percent fewer shootings citywide in 2018 over the same period last year, according to Chicago Police Department data.