Stories by Nick Blumberg

Spotlight Politics: Another Illinois Politician Pleads Guilty

Another Illinois politician pleads guilty. The Cook County Democratic Party turns its back on a long-serving judge. Our politics team weighs in on those stories and more.

Metra Promotes Health and Safety Efforts Amid Massive Drop in Ridership, Revenue

(WTTW News)

Commuter rail agency Metra has seen the largest passenger decline of any of the Chicago-area transit systems. How the agency is working to reverse the slump.

Chicago’s Sustainability Officer on Legacy Pollution and Neighborhood Priorities

Chicago’s Southeast Side. (WTTW News)

We speak with Angela Tovar, the city’s recently named sustainability officer, about a new air quality ordinance and improving Chicago’s environment.

James ‘Big Cat’ Williams on the Bears Opener and the Season Ahead

(WTTW News)

Football is back. The Chicago Bears are set to kick off the regular season Sunday against the Detroit Lions. It’ll be the first time the Bears face an opponent this year, since the NFL skipped the preseason due to COVID-19.

CPS CEO on First Week of School, Helping Seniors Plan Their Future

Chicago Public Schools CEO Janice Jackson appears on “Chicago Tonight” via Zoom on Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. (WTTW News)

Chicago Public Schools students are back in the classroom this week — virtually, that is. CPS CEO Janice Jackson tells us more about that and the results of the district’s “Learn. Plan. Succeed.” program. 

Restorations and Revelations at a Far South Side Tavern Headed For City Landmark Status

(WTTW News)

Inside a 1907 tavern once owned by Schlitz that's being restored by new owners and heading for city landmark status.

Illinois Congressmen on Trump’s Kenosha Visit and the Coronavirus Pandemic

U.S. Reps. Danny Davis, Brad Schneider and Rodney Davis talk about the president’s visit to Kenosha and the next round of coronavirus relief from Congress.

Stopping the Spike in Opioid-Related Deaths

(Bruno /Germany via Pixabay)

Monday is Overdose Awareness Day, an annual event aimed at reducing drug-related deaths and the stigma of substance use disorders. And it comes this year amid a dramatic spike in opioid-related overdoses and deaths in Chicago.

What the City, Park District Are Doing to Shore Up Infrastructure Along Chicago’s Lakefront and Beyond

Runners enjoy Chicago’s lakefront trail. (WTTW News)

Chicago is facing a lot of unfunded infrastructure needs in the coming years, according to officials. And it’s not just roads, bridges and streetlights that need work. The city’s lakefront is grappling with another year of high lake levels.

Regional Census Director: ‘It’s Not Too Late to Participate’ in 2020 Census

U.S. Census Bureau Chicago Regional Director Marilyn Sanders appears on “Chicago Tonight” via Zoom on Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2020. (WTTW News)

Parts of Chicago’s South and West sides are at risk of being significantly undercounted in the 2020 census. We discuss efforts for a complete count with Marilyn Sanders, the Chicago regional director for the U.S. Census Bureau.

Mini Therapy Horses Take Their Visits Virtual

While in-person visits are a lot tougher these days, the fact that Mane in Heaven can do virtual visits means the minis get to connect with people from all across the country.

‘Chicago Tonight’ in Your Neighborhood: Milwaukee

(WTTW News)

Thursday marks the final night of the 2020 Democratic National Convention – and nominee Joe Biden is in Delaware instead of Milwaukee, which had been chosen as the party’s host city.

How Community Input and COVID-Era Changes Can Inform Chicago’s Transportation Future

A screenshot shows Chicago Department of Transportation Commissioner Gia Biagi giving a speech to the City Club on Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2020. (City Club of Chicago / YouTube)

Chicago’s streets can have an impact on much more than the way we get from one place to another. That was the message from Chicago Department of Transportation Commissioner Gia Biagi in a speech to the City Club on Wednesday.

‘Chicago Tonight’ in Your Neighborhood: Englewood

(WTTW News)

After a tumultuous week, neighbors tell us what they think is good in Englewood.

City Hopes 2nd Scooter Pilot Can Boost Transportation Equity

(WTTW News)

Love ‘em or hate ‘em, electric scooters are back on Chicago streets. What you need to know about this year’s program. 

Alderman, Restaurant Owner React After Unrest Turned to Theft and Violence

Gene & Georgetti’s restaurant is “hanging off the edge of a cliff by our fingernails,” co-owner Michelle Durpetti said. (WTTW News)

The unrest that followed a police-involved shooting Sunday in Englewood was a blow to many areas of the city that were still recovering from protests earlier this summer and the economic fallout from the pandemic.

Coronavirus Pandemic Not Slowing Pedestrian Deaths in Chicago

So far this year, 21 pedestrians have been killed by drivers, according to city data and media reports. That puts Chicago on pace to match last year’s 40 pedestrian deaths

CPS Planning All-Remote Learning For Fall, Sources Say

(Brandis Friedman / WTTW News)

Sources tell WTTW News that CPS will announce an all-remote learning plan for the fall as soon as Wednesday, reversing plans for a hybrid model of at-home and in-person learning. Two Chicago aldermen weigh in on this and more.

Chicago Rowers Made History as First All-Black High School Crew in US

The Manley Crew on the water. © 1998 Heather Stone. Courtesy of Tribune Content Agency

The new documentary “A Most Beautiful Thing” tells the story of Manley High School’s rowing team on Chicago’s West Side. We speak with some of the men featured in the film.

Critics Say Chicago Police Need to Rethink Tracking Gang Members, Curbing Violence

(WTTW News)

After a mass shooting outside a funeral home in Auburn Gresham last week, Chicago’s top cop said the city’s problem with gang violence is huge in scope. But do numbers tell the full story?

‘Watergate Girl’ Jill Wine-Banks on Her Pioneering Role Investigating Richard Nixon

(Courtesy Jill Wine-Banks)

She broke many barriers as an attorney in a male-dominated arena, but perhaps her greatest battle was as a tough-questioning prosecutor in the Watergate case. We speak with Chicago native Jill Wine-Banks.

Attorney to Sheriff Dart: Protect Jail Detainees, Not Your Reputation

Cook County Jail (WTTW News)

The Cook County sheriff says an advocate for detainees is lying about what the jail has done to curb the coronavirus. She responds on “Chicago Tonight.”

Grant Park Infrastructure is Crumbling, Advisory Council Warns

Grant Park in Chicago. (WTTW News)

With more than 300 acres in a prime downtown location, it’s no wonder Grant Park is sometimes referred to as Chicago’s front yard. But if you ask the leaders of the Grant Park Advisory Council, some yard work is in order.

New Mural — and Push For Bike Lanes — To Commemorate Boy Killed By Hit-and-Run Driver While Cycling

Demonstrators call for bike lanes following the death of Issac Martinez, who was cycling along Lawndale Avenue in June when he was fatally struck by a driver. (@bikelaneuprise / Twitter)

The family of Issac Martinez and members of Chicago’s cycling community announced plans to gather Saturday to remember the 13-year-old killed last month and to push for safer conditions for cyclists.

Illinois Reports 1,276 New Coronavirus Cases, 18 Deaths, and Sets New Testing Record

(WTTW News)

Saturday marks the state’s fourth consecutive day in which more than 1,000 new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed. After falling below 1,000 new cases per day from June 6 to July 8, this month has so far seen seven days above 1,000.