Stories by nick blumberg

Chicago Businesses on Bracing For the Winter, Hopes for the Coming Months

(Free-Photos / Pixabay)

With loan and grant money starting to run dry for some businesses—and what’s likely to be a difficult winter fast approaching—we check in with some familiar faces to ask how they’re coping with the coronavirus.

Andrew Bird on New Holiday Album, Acting Debut on ‘Fargo’

Andrew Bird appears on “Chicago Tonight” via Zoom on Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2020. (WTTW News)

He’s a talented violinist, singer, songwriter — and whistler. Chicago-area native Andrew Bird has long been celebrated for blending styles. And he recently added a new skill to his resume: acting.

Some Catholic Schools May Move to Remote Learning After Thanksgiving

(WTTW News)

The Archdiocese of Chicago has announced schools will have the option to transition to remote learning after Thanksgiving, but says it’s not yet clear how many schools will choose to do that. 

‘It’s About Time’: City Outlines Comprehensive Plan to Tackle Infrastructure Backlog

(WTTW News)

A newly released five-year plan to invest in Chicago’s roads, bridges, bikeways and other infrastructure needs is a welcome shift away from short-term, less comprehensive projects, some analysts and city officials say.

CTA ‘Cautiously Optimistic’ About Second Round of Transit Stimulus Money

A passenger wearing a face mask boards a CTA bus in Chicago. (WTTW News)

The Chicago Transit Authority’s Board of Directors approved the agency’s 2021 operating budget of $1.645 billion on Wednesday, but CTA staff warned of drastic service cuts without another infusion of cash from Congress.

Joe Walsh: ‘We Can’t Normalize’ President Trump’s Behavior

President Donald Trump speaks in the Rose Garden of the White House on Friday, Nov. 13, 2020. (WTTW News via CNN)

President Donald Trump has aggressively promoted misinformation and disinformation questioning the results of the election, which he lost. Former Illinois U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh, a fierce Trump critic, weighs in.

Food Insecurity Still High Amid Pandemic in City, Suburbs and Rural Areas Alike

(WTTW News)

One of the many devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic over the past several months has been a dramatic increase in food insecurity. 

CTA Hopes to Start Next Phase of Red Line Extension Planning ‘Very Soon’

A rendering of a planned CTA Red Line station at 103rd Street. (Courtesy of the Chicago Transit Authority)

Plans to extend the heavily used train line south of its current endpoint at 95th Street have been discussed as far back as the 1950s. But the project has been steadily moving from idea to reality in recent years.

‘Chicago Tonight’ in Your Neighborhood: Geneva

West suburban Geneva has been under tightened coronavirus mitigations for nearly two weeks, with some business complying with the rules and others defying them, including serving diners indoors.

‘We Paid a Heavy Price’: Durbin on Madigan’s Leadership, the Presidency and the Senate

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin says embattled House Speaker Michael Madigan’s leadership of the Illinois Democratic Party hurt Democratic candidates and causes statewide in Tuesday’s election.

Kim Foxx Wins Reelection as Cook County State’s Attorney

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

State’s Attorney Kim Foxx has declared victory in her contested bid for reelection against Republican challenger Pat O’Brien in what was likely the most contentious race on the Cook County ballot.

‘Chicago Tonight’ in Your Neighborhood: Kenosha

Kenosha, Wisconsin, just over the Illinois border, became the epicenter of violent unrest this summer after the police shooting of Jacob Blake. A few months later, Kenosha is in the midst of early voting – and it’s a hotly contested county.

New Documentary Series ‘City So Real’ Profiles Chicago at a Crossroads

Filmmaker Steve James appears on “Chicago Tonight” on Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2020. (WTTW News)

For more than a year, documentary filmmaker Steve James and his collaborators fanned out across Chicago at a pivotal moment. James tells us about the resulting five-part series that premieres this week on NatGeo and Hulu.

New App Lets Cyclists Report Bike Lane Obstructions, Hazards

(WTTW News)

The coronavirus pandemic has given rise to a cycling boom in Chicago, but many riders face on-street bike lanes that are blocked or in disrepair. An advocacy organization wants to combat the problem with its new mobile app.

The Week in Review: COVID-19 Restrictions Return to Chicago

(WTTW News)

COVID-19 rollbacks hit Chicago and the collar counties. Tax hikes, borrowing and layoffs are in Mayor Lightfoot’s budget. A state supreme court race gets political. A recap of the final presidential debate.

North Lake Shore Drive’s in Line for an Overhaul, and Planners Want Your Input

(Courtesy Redefine the Drive)

Lake Shore Drive is iconic, but with that status comes aging infrastructure. Transportation officials have come up with potential ways to overhaul the Drive and they’re looking for feedback.

Transportation Advocates Seek Guarantee Transit Won’t Shut Down In Event of Post-Election Unrest

(WTTW News)

With a heated election drawing to a close and concerns about possible post-election unrest, transportation advocates are calling on the Lightfoot administration and Chicago-area transit systems to pledge they’ll continue operations during protests.

Candidate Forum: Fricilone, Newman Vying to Replace Lipinski in 3rd District

For the first time in decades, a candidate with a name other than Lipinski will represent Illinois’ 3rd Congressional District in Congress. We hear from Republican Mike Fricilone and Democrat Marie Newman.

‘Fair Tax’ or Tax Hike? Debating the Graduated Income Tax Amendment

A billboard in Chicago promotes voting in favor of the so-called fair tax in the November election. (WTTW News)

Perhaps the most hotly contested race on Illinois ballots this year isn’t between two candidates. It’s a fight over income tax rates. We hear from both sides of the hotly contested measure.

The Week in Review: Virtual Trump-Biden Debate Canceled

President Donald Trump, left, and former Vice President Joe Biden at the first presidential debate Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2020, at Case Western University and Cleveland Clinic, in Cleveland, Ohio. (WTTW News via CNN)

After the president refuses to participate in a virtual debate, it is canceled by the Commission on Presidential Debates. The city faces a nearly unsolvable budget problem as federal stimulus talks break down. And the “fair tax” fight heats up.

New Funding to Bring Mental Health Care to Homeless Shelters, Encampments

(WTTW News)

Chicago officials on Tuesday announced $8 million in grants for expanded mental health care services across the city, including for some of Chicago’s most vulnerable residents: those experiencing homelessness.

Head of FBI Chicago Office on ‘Critically Important’ Work to Ensure a Fair Election

Early voting for the Nov. 3 election is underway at Chicago’s Loop “super site,” with another 50 locations set to open Oct. 14. (WTTW News)

The COVID-19 pandemic has many Americans rethinking how they’re going to vote this year, with huge numbers applying for mail-in ballots. Emmerson Buie Jr. talks about the FBI’s priorities, and what steps they’re taking in Chicago.

New Biography Examines Jimmy Carter’s ‘Epic’ Life, ‘Surprisingly Consequential’ Presidency

Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter’s wedding photo. (Courtesy the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library)

Jimmy Carter, who served just a single term in the White House, is widely seen as a model ex-president but largely unsuccessful president. Now, the 96-year-old is the subject of a full-length, independent biography.

The Week in Review: Trump Tests Positive for COVID-19 Days After 1st Debate

President Donald Trump speaks during the first presidential debate Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2020, at Case Western University and Cleveland Clinic, in Cleveland, Ohio. (WTTW News via CNN)

Fallout from the shocking announcement that President Trump tests positive for COVID-19. Michael Madigan gets a challenger for Speaker. Chicago endures a deadly September, and Nick Foles takes over for the Bears.

Spotlight Politics: A Chaotic Presidential Debate

President Donald Trump, left, and former Vice President Joe Biden at the first presidential debate Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2020, at Case Western University and Cleveland Clinic, in Cleveland, Ohio. (WTTW News via CNN)

The first Trump-Biden debate. A fiery hearing on corruption in Springfield. Chicago’s loosening COVID-19 restrictions. Our politics team tackles those stories and more in this week’s roundtable.

‘Left For Dead’ No More: Officials Celebrate Renovation of Former Cook County Hospital Building

(WTTW News)

After sitting empty for nearly two decades, the old Cook County Hospital building has been given a new life. Leaders are touting the $140 million project as a sign of hope amid an economic downturn.