Stories by Paul Caine

Beloved Rogers Park Restaurant Demolished

The iconic Heartland Cafe, which for more than 40 years sat at the corner of Glenwood and Lunt avenues in Rogers Park, is being torn down. We look back at its history as a community hub.

Lightfoot Takes Aim at Aldermanic Prerogative

In this March 24, 2019 photo, Chicago mayoral candidate Lori Lightfoot participates in a candidate forum sponsored by One Chicago For All Alliance at Daley College in Chicago. (AP Photo / Teresa Crawford)

Mayor-elect Lori Lightfoot says aldermanic prerogative is at the heart of many corruption scandals emanating from City Hall. Two aldermen give us their take on the issue.

Former Illinois Legislative Inspector General Says Office is ‘Broken’

Former Illinois Legislative Inspector General Julie Porter called the office she used to run “broken” and said without changes the legislative inspector general is “a powerless role.”

Developer Wants Obama Presidential Center to Spur South Side Regeneration

This illustration released on May 3, 2017 by the Obama Foundation shows plans for the proposed Obama Presidential Center with a museum, rear, in Jackson Park on Chicago's South Side. (Obama Foundation via AP, File)

Ghian Foreman, a South Side resident and developer, says the Obama Presidential Center can benefit all residents in Jackson Park and beyond. 

How to Ready Your Garden for Spring Planting

Before you dig in and start planting, give your garden some tender, loving care. The team from the Organic Gardener helps us prepare our soil for spring planting.

Johnson Publishing Company Leaves Behind Rich Legacy

After 77 years, the founding company of Ebony and Jet magazines will soon cease to exist. We talk with two former writers and editors about the history and legacy of Johnson Publishing.

Astronomers Take First-Ever Picture of a Black Hole

This image released Wednesday, April 10, 2019, by Event Horizon Telescope shows a black hole. Scientists revealed the first image ever made of a black hole after assembling data gathered by a network of radio telescopes around the world. (Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration / Maunakea Observatories via AP)

Ever since Einstein’s theory of relativity first predicted them, black holes have captured the imagination of the public and scientists alike. We speak with two local astrophysicists about this scientific breakthrough.

Neil Shubin Hunts Fossils in Antarctic ‘Graveyard’

(Courtesy of Neil Shubin)

Renowned University of Chicago paleontologist Neil Shubin recently returned from an expedition to search for fossils in Antarctica. He tells us about his trip.

Economists Differ on Prospects for City, State Under Progressive Agenda

Gov. J.B. Pritzker discusses his graduated income tax proposal on March 7, 2019.

With Gov. J.B. Pritzker seeking a state graduated income tax and Mayor-elect Lori Lightfoot rethinking tax subsidies for controversial city projects, two economists offer their take on the local and national economy.

Melissa Conyears-Ervin Easily Wins City Treasurer Runoff

City Treasurer-elect Melissa Conyears-Ervin appears on “Chicago Tonight” on April 4, 2019.

State Rep. Melissa Conyears-Ervin on Tuesday easily defeated 47th Ward Ald. Ameya Pawar in the runoff election for city treasurer. She joins us to discuss her victory and plans for the office.

Vasquez Vanquishes O’Connor in 40th Ward

Aldermanic candidate Andre Vasquez appears on “Chicago Tonight” on April 3, 2019.

Veteran Ald. Patrick O’Connor is taken down by democratic socialist and former battle rapper Andre Vasquez in the city’s 40th Ward. Vasquez joins us to talk about his victory and his aldermanic plans.

Preckwinkle Questions Lightfoot’s Progressive Credentials

Mayoral candidate Toni Preckwinkle joins us as her campaign goes after the progressive bona fides of her challenger, Lori Lightfoot.

Lightfoot Accuses Preckwinkle Campaign of Spreading False Rumors

Mayoral candidates Lori Lightfoot appears on “Chicago Tonight” on Feb. 27, 2019.

Mayoral candidate Lori Lightfoot tells Carol Marin on “Chicago Tonight” that the Preckwinkle campaign had previously tried to “take her out” by spreading a rumor that she would quit the race.

What to Make of This Extraordinary Chicago Election

Fourteen mayoral candidates? A possible runoff? Political reporters and political scientists give us their take on this unprecedented election.

Record Number of Mayoral Candidates Leaves Voters Spoiled for Choice

Chicago voters may want change, but with so many mayoral candidates to choose from, what are they to think? We get election analysis from political reporters Craig Dellimoreo, A.D. Quig and Greg Hinz.

Brookfield Zoo at Forefront of Fight to Save World’s Most Trafficked Animal

David, a young male pangolin, is part of Brookfield Zoo’s “Habitat Africa! The Forest” exhibit. (Credit: Chicago Zoological Society)

Researchers estimate that more than one million pangolins have been taken from the wild over the past decade as demand has soared for their meat and scales. What one local institution is doing to save these scaly anteaters.

Officials React to Pritzker’s State Budget Address

Gov. J.B. Pritzker delivers his first budget address on Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2019 to a joint session of the Illinois House and Senate at the Illinois State Capitol building in Springfield. (E. Jason Wambsgans/Chicago Tribune via AP, Pool)

State and local politicians and officials weigh in on Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s first state budget address. 

Pritzker to Unveil State Budget Proposal, Facing $3B Deficit

Gov. J.B. Pritzker answers questions about Senate Bill 1, a bill to raise the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025, after it passed the Illinois Senate on Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019. (Justin L. Fowler / The State Journal-Register via AP)

Gov. J.B. Pritzker unveils his first annual budget proposal amid an estimated $3.2 billion deficit and billions more in unpaid bills. Watch the address and get complete coverage throughout the day.

UIC Study of High School Cliques Finds Some Disturbing Trends

On the first anniversary of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, we examine the role of cliques and alienation in high school life – and what lessons may be learned.

Of Mice and Men in Space: Chicago Researchers Helping NASA Prepare for Mars

NASA has sent a group of laboratory mice into orbit to study the physiological effects of living in space. (Courtesy NASA)

An ongoing NASA study aided by Northwestern researchers sent mice into orbit with the goal of learning more about the physiological effects of living in space. 

Inspector General Decries ‘Keep Your Mouth Shut’ Culture at City Hall

Amid a stunning corruption scandal that includes government raids, undercover moles, Viagra and massage parlors, Joe Ferguson has called for reform of the City Council’s culture.

School Discontent Prompts Calls for an Elected School Board

In this file photo, Board of Education President Frank Clark speaks during an August 2017 board meeting. (Chicago Tonight)

As calls grow for an elected school board, we examine whether more democracy can help bring about better schools.

Former Federal Prosecutors Expect More Charges in Burke Probe

In this May 4, 2011 file photo, Chicago Ald. Ed Burke speaks at a City Council meeting. (AP Photo / M. Spencer Green, File)

A bombshell report about secret recordings of embattled Ald. Ed Burke. We discuss the latest developments in the corruption probe.

Activists, Local Business Leaders Push Back Against Lincoln Yards

An artist’s rendering of the Lincoln Yards master plan released in January 2019. (Courtesy Sterling Bay)

A master plan for the $6 billion Lincoln Yards development is released. The developer says it has taken community concerns to heart, but critics say the plan is being pushed too fast.

Heartland Cafe in Rogers Park Prepares to Close After 42 Years

After more than four decades, a beloved Rogers Park restaurant is shutting down – possibly for good – at the end of the year.