Stories by Amanda Vinicky

As Deadline Looms, Assault Weapons Registration Rules Still Unresolved

Illinois State Police acting chief legal counsel Suzanne Bond told lawmakers the agency has listened to gun owners’ concerns and made changes to the rules that were first proposed in September. (Capitol News Illinois)

Firearm owners in Illinois will have to wait at least another month before knowing exactly what items they must register with the Illinois State Police under the state’s assault weapons ban, even as the deadline for submitting those registrations is less than three weeks away.

WTTW News Explains: Why is Chicago’s Pension Debt So High?

You may have heard Chicago has a pension problem … to the tune of more than $35 billion of debt. Pensions affect nearly everyone — even if you’re not a public employee. Taxpayers have already been footing the bill to alleviate the pension debt.

Mayoral Forum Reaction: Bridgeport Residents Seek Answers on Environmental Justice, Plans for High School

Bridgeport residents watch the WTTW News mayoral forum. (Eunice Alpasan)

Bridgeport residents watched the WTTW News mayoral forum live Tuesday. Some expressed concern over environmental justice issues, while others looked to business issues and the ongoing fight to establish a community high school with an ESL program.

UIC Faculty Begins Strike Tuesday With No Contract in Place

Faculty members at University of Illinois-Chicago walk the picket line on Jan. 17, 2023. (WTTW News)

University of Illinois-Chicago faculty striked Tuesday after union and administration officials were unable to come to a contract agreement during a “contentious” 12-hour bargaining session Monday.

‘Chicago Tonight’ In Your Neighborhood: Holiday Happenings in North Lawndale

(WTTW News)

Poverty and violence are part of the West Side community area’s story. But community members say there’s much more to it, and residents are making new traditions. 

‘Chicago Tonight’ in Your Neighborhood: Trauma’s Toll In East Garfield Park

A mural on the side of a building in East Garfield Park. (WTTW News)

Fourteen people, ten of whom from the same family, were shot in East Garfield Park on Oct. 31. The victims had been holding a vigil for a relative who’d recently passed away when a car drove by and opened fire. We visit the community dealing with the aftermath. 

Chicago Tonight In Your Neighborhood: Plan for New School on Near South Side Runs Into Opposition

Site of a planned new high school on the Near South Side. (WTTW News)

A new high school is slated to be built at 24th and State streets, with the recent blessing of the Chicago Board of Education. It was a tight 4-3 vote, an indication of how controversial the plan is considering that residents of Chinatown, the South Loop and surrounding communities have been asking for a new school for decades.

‘Chicago Tonight’ in Your Neighborhood: Bears Make First Pitch to Arlington Heights Residents

Arlington Park Metra station in Arlington Heights. (WTTW News)

The Bears hosted a community meeting Thursday in north suburban Arlington Heights about their plans for a new stadium and entertainment district, and there’s no shortage of opinions.

‘Chicago Tonight’ in Your Neighborhood: Milwaukee

Milwaukee is set to host the 2024 RNC. What that could mean for local businesses and more. (WTTW News)

Chicago is waiting to see whether Democrats will choose it above Atlanta, Houston and New York as the host city for the party's 2024 convention. But Republicans have already made their selection: Milwaukee.

‘Chicago Tonight’ in Your Neighborhood: Lincoln Park

(WTTW News)

The Lincoln Park community area lies just west of its 1,200-acre namesake park. It’s one of the city’s most affluent and tony communities, but an uptick in crime has residents concerned, prompting some areas to hire private security.

‘Chicago Tonight’ in Your Neighborhood: Woodlawn

(WTTW News)

Construction of the Obama Presidential Center is underway in Jackson Park, and residents on the South Side are bracing for what it will mean for their communities — benefits or displacement. 

Gov. Pritzker Signs Law Guaranteeing COVID-19 Sick Leave For Vaccinated Teachers

(WTTW News)

"It ensures that if a teacher has done their part to keep their classroom safe for their most vulnerable students, they won’t have to worry for a second about their pay or their paid time off if they get COVID,” Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Tuesday.

‘Chicago Tonight’ In Your Neighborhood: Revisiting West Lawn

(WTTW News)

The Southwest Side is a mostly residential community with many restaurants and some small businesses. It was hard hit by COVID-19, but today it’s among the areas with high vaccination rates. And it’s home to the now-indicted former house speaker Michael Madigan.

‘Chicago Tonight’ in Your Neighborhood: Ukrainian Village

(WTTW News)

As a potential Russian invasion of Ukraine looms, residents in the neighborhood are feeling the impact acutely. Many have family still living in Ukraine and feel limited in what they are able to do to help them.

J.B. Pritzker: Order Halting School Mask Mandate ‘Cultivates Chaos’

Gov. J.B. Pritzker speaks Monday, Nov. 1, 2021 at a press conference. (WTTW News)

“Judge Raylene Grischow’s ruling is out of step with the vast majority of legal analysis in Illinois and across the nation,” Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Monday at an unrelated press event in Chicago.

‘Chicago Tonight’ in Your Neighborhood: Skokie

The Village of Skokie, a northwest suburb, located 16 miles northwest of downtown Chicago and 12 miles east of O’Hare International Airport, could soon be home to Illinois’ newest auto-vending machine. (WTTW News)

We go to Skokie, where some residents are upset about a potential new neighbor coming to town: a car dealer, with an untraditional model for displaying their wares.

‘Chicago Tonight’ in Your Neighborhood: Joliet

Residents call the Joliet area a mini Chicago. There’s a large train station; a couple of colleges; a theater, the Rialto; a baseball team, the minor league Joliet Slammers; and a successful football team at Joliet Catholic High School. (WTTW News)

The southwest suburb is home to several racetracks and is the birthplace of Dairy Queen. The area also has two prisons – one of which closed in 2002 and recently opened as a haunted house.

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.