Stories by Amanda Vinicky

Illinois’ House Speaker Emanuel ‘Chris’ Welch on Energy Bill and More

(WTTW News)

A massive energy bill became law this week and among other things, it aims to get Illinois carbon-free by 2045. Meanwhile, Illinois COVID vaccination rates slow as the delta variant surges. And the legislature’s veto session is coming up in a month.

‘Chicago Tonight’ in Your Neighborhood: Oak Lawn

The First Responders Memorial is right on the Oak Lawn Patriot Station Metra stop. The memorial’s spires are partially made with beams from the World Trade Center. (WTTW News)

Oak Lawn is a southwest suburb bordering parts of Chicago. Along with surrounding suburbs, it has a strong Muslim community. And its fire and police departments sent members to support New York firefighters after the 9/11 attack. 

‘Chicago Tonight’ in Your Neighborhood: Garfield Ridge

On Chicago’s Southwest Side, Garfield Ridge is home to Midway Airport. It has a significant first responder population and many senior citizens. (WTTW News)

On Chicago’s Southwest Side, Garfield Ridge is home to Midway Airport. It has a significant first responder population and many senior citizens. We talked with community leaders about the pandemic’s continuing health and economic impact — and one organization using wrestling to empower youth.

ShotSpotter Alerts ‘Rarely’ Lead to Evidence of Gun Crime: City Watchdog

Adwoa Agyepong of the Chicago Democratic Socialists of America speaks at a rally to end the city’s use of ShotSpotter technology on Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021. (WTTW News)

Fewer than 1 in 10 ShotSpotter alerts between 2020 and 2021 resulted in evidence of a gun-related criminal offense being found, according to a new report from Chicago’s independent watchdog.

CPS Says Equity, Student Supports at Center of $9.3B Budget Proposal

(WTTW News)

The school district on Tuesday released its budget proposal for the 2022 fiscal year, which includes $672 million for priority facility investments throughout the city and more than $1 billion in federal funding for student supports.

‘Chicago Tonight’ in Your Neighborhood: Revisiting North Lawndale

This week the area welcomed two new projects —  one bringing affordable homes and the other bringing jobs. We talk with community leaders about how these initiatives will strengthen the neighborhood and help residents build wealth. 

‘Chicago Tonight’ in Your Neighborhood: Lisle

Although they look like wood, Daniel Popper's sculptures in the Human + Nature exhibit are made of concerete. (WTTW News)
Nestled between Wheaton and Naperville in the western suburbs, Lisle is home to the Morton Arboretum, the North American Pizza and Culinary Academy and the Bavarian Lodge. As part of our community reporting series, we check in to see how Lisle is recovering from the pandemic.

Elected Chicago School Board Bill Passes Illinois House, Now on to Pritzker’s Desk

Supporters of an elected school board demonstrate in April 2019. (WTTW News)

The Illinois House on Wednesday approved legislation that will turn the current seven-member appointed board — the lone appointed school board in the state — into a 21-member body with elections beginning in 2024. Mayor Lori Lightfoot has strongly opposed the bill, calling it “very ill-constructed.”

‘Chicago Tonight’ in Your Neighborhood: Logan Square

Blocks from the Mayor’s house in Unity Park, the Logan Square Neighborhood Association and other groups held an action calling for an elected school board. May 20, 2021 (WTTW News)

It’s been two years since Chicago got a new mayor when Lori Lightfoot was sworn into office. For the latest in our community reporting series, we visit Lightfoot’s neighborhood on the Northwest Side.

ISBE Passes Resolution Calling for In-Person Learning in Illinois Schools This Fall

(WTTW News)

The Illinois State Board of Education on Wednesday unanimously passed a resolution in support of an upcoming declaration that will make it a requirement that schools reopen their doors in the fall, with only limited options for remote learning.

High Schoolers Return to Classrooms Monday After CPS, CTU Reach Deal

(WTTW News)

The fourth quarter of the school year has begun for Chicago Public Schools. And on Monday, nearly 26,000 high school students were expected to return to their classrooms to resume in-person learning for the first time in more than a year.

Little Village Community Responds to ‘Excruciating’ Police Shooting Video

A flyer with the name and face of Adam Toledo, the 13-year-old boy who was fatally shot by a Chicago police officer on March 29, is shown on a lamppost in the Little Village neighborhood, where he lived and died. (WTTW News)

Feelings about Adam Toledo’s killing are particularly raw in Little Village, where Toledo’s family lives. We spent the day talking with residents and local leaders about their community, and the fatal shooting of the 13-year-old who called it home.

‘Chicago Tonight’ in Your Neighborhood: Bridgeport

The White Sox home opener at Guaranteed Rate Field was a rainy affair on Thursday, April 8, 2021. (WTTW News)

For the first time since 2019, fans are back at Guaranteed Rate Field to watch the White Sox in person. As part of our community reporting series, we visit the area to see how fans are settling in — and how the area is faring one year into the pandemic.

‘Chicago Tonight’ in Your Neighborhood: Wrigleyville

The Cubs home opener at Wrigley Field on Thursday, April 1, 2021. (WTTW News)

The Cubs may have lost their 2021 home opener, but fans consider it a win. For the first time since 2019, some 10,000 people were able to watch the game inside of Wrigley Field. We have this look at all things opening day as part of our community reporting series.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker Reflects on COVID-19 Pandemic, One Year In

Gov. J.B. Pritzker appears on “Chicago Tonight” via Zoom on Monday, March 15, 2021. (WTTW News)

It’s been a full year since Gov. J.B. Pritzker took the extraordinary step of issuing an executive order to halt dine-in service at bars and restaurants across the state. Five days later, the stay-at-home order was announced. The governor joins us to reflect on the past year and discuss what’s ahead.

Opening of United Center Mass Vaccination Site Marred by Confusion Over Eligibility

(WTTW News)

Even as the first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine were administered Tuesday morning at the United Center, confusion swirled over how many appointments remained available, who was eligible for those slots and when they would open for thousands desperate for the life-saving shot.

Pritzker Signs ‘Transformative’ Education and Workforce Equity Act Into Law

(WTTW News)

Proponents of a new bill signed into law Monday by Gov. J.B. Pritzker say it will “change the face of education” in Illinois by improving access and equity across the state’s education system through an expanded early intervention program, annual readiness assessments and more.

‘Chicago Tonight’ in Your Neighborhood: South Deering

(WTTW News)

The industrial community once marked by steel mills is now lined with other plants, and the proposed opening of a metal scrapping company has become a point of controversy on the Southeast Side and across the city.

‘Chicago Tonight’ in Your Neighborhood: Jefferson Park

(WTTW News)

The Northwest Side community of Jefferson Park is known as the gateway to Chicago, in part because it’s a transit hub. The area’s thought of by some as typical “bungalow belt” Chicago. It’s predominantly middle class, but recently there’s been an uptick in homelessness. 

3 New Laws to Know in 2021

(Meagan Davis / Wikimedia Commons)

The new year usually brings with it hundreds of new laws in Illinois. But like everything else in recent history, the coronavirus pandemic has changed that up, too. On Jan. 1, 2021, only a trio of new laws will take effect.

Health Officials Urge Residents to ‘Spread Joy, Not COVID’ Amid Vaccine Excitement

US Surgeon General Pays a Visit to Chicago

U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams speaks Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020 at a press briefing on the coronavirus with Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady and Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike. (WTTW News)

Just days before Christmas, a trio of high-profile doctors, including U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams, made a plea for people to follow public health measures designed to stop the spread of COVID-19, even as two vaccines are being distributed across the U.S.

All Police Officers Involved in Mistaken Raid Placed on Desk Duty: Lightfoot

A still image from a Chicago Police Department body camera video shows a police raid at the home of Anjanette Young in February 2019. (WTTW News via Ja’Mal Green)

Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced Monday that all of the officers involved in the February 2019 raid that left a Chicago woman handcuffed and naked have been placed on desk duty.

High Court Front-Runner Hailed By Right, Feared By Left

Amy Coney Barrett (WTTW News via CNN)

Amy Coney Barrett, a devout Catholic, is a federal appellate judge in Chicago who has established herself as a reliable conservative on hot-button legal issues from abortion to gun control. 

Unrest in Kenosha: A Live ‘Chicago Tonight’ Report

Kenosha residents and activists Brian Little and Diamond Hartwell speak with WTTW News on Thursday, Aug. 27, 2020. (WTTW News)

Protesters have returned to the streets of Kenosha every day since a police officer shot 29-year-old Jacob Blake seven times. We visit the city to speak with residents and officials about the shooting and unrest that’s followed.

An Exit Interview with Senate President John Cullerton

Outgoing Illinois Senate President John Cullerton appears on “Chicago Tonight” on Jan. 13, 2020. (WTTW News)

After 41 years in public service, Illinois Senate President John Cullerton is stepping down. He reflects on recent headlines, his life in politics and what’s next.

Lightfoot Fires Top Cop Eddie Johnson for ‘Intolerable Actions’

Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson announces his retirement during a press conference at police headquarters on Thursday, Nov. 7, 2019. Less than a month later, Mayor Lori Lightfoot fired Johnson during a surprise announcement on Monday, Dec. 2, 2019. (WTTW News)

Mayor Lori Lightfoot makes a bombshell announcement: Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson is terminated, effective immediately. Lightfoot says an inspector general’s investigation revealed Johnson “repeatedly lied” to both the mayor and the public.