Stories by Paris Schutz

In Chicago, Former Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko Talks Putin, Poisoning and the Need to Combat Russian Aggression

Former Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko speak with “Chicago Tonight” on Sept. 19, 2023. (WTTW News)

In an interview with WTTW News, former Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko gave an assessment of the challenges Ukraine faces as the war with Russia continues. 

Dangerous Heat That Could Feel Like 115 Degrees Hits Chicago, Here’s How To Keep Your Cool

(Michael Izquierdo / WTTW News)

Cooling centers and splash pads are open to help people cope with oppressive heat that will feel like 115 degrees.

‘Chicago Tonight’ In Your Neighborhood: Mixed Reactions to Northwestern’s Proposed Ryan Field Makeover in Evanston

(WTTW News)

Northwestern University is proposing to give its more than 100-year-old Ryan Field a major makeover. The change is said to make the field accessible for people with disabilities, offer green spaces and — to some community members’ dismay — have the option for concerts and similar events.

Cook County Assessor’s Office Closes Probe of Vallas’ Tax Break at Palos Heights Home

Paul Vallas fields questions from the news media on Feb. 7, 2023, after the WTTW News mayoral forum. (Michael Izquierdo / WTTW News)

Chicago mayoral candidate Paul Vallas properly claimed a home in south suburban Palos Heights as his legal permanent residence, entitling him to tax breaks, according to the results of a brief probe by the Cook County Assessor’s Office.

Vallas Faces Questions About Whether He Lives in Chicago as Officials Launch Probe of Tax Breaks

Paul Vallas fields questions from the news media on Feb. 7, 2023, after the WTTW News mayoral forum. (Michael Izquierdo / WTTW News)

Vallas, who has been registered to vote in Chicago at an apartment in Bridgeport for less than a year, declined to answer questions about his residency directly from WTTW News.

‘Chicago Tonight’ in Your Neighborhood: Altgeld Gardens

Altgeld Gardens (WTTW News)

The approval of TIF money to fund the southern expansion of the Red Line could have a big impact on the historic public housing community of Altgeld Gardens.

Police Official Tasked With Overseeing Consent Decree Reforms Let Go From CPD

(WTTW News)

Robert Boik, who served as executive director of the CPD’s Office of Constitutional Policing and Reform, is no longer with the department, a police spokesperson confirmed Tuesday afternoon.

‘Chicago Tonight’ in Your Neighborhood: Morgan Park

(WTTW News)

More and more communities are turning to private security to help combat higher crime. In the Morgan Park community on the city's far south side, a new pilot program employs private security guards to watch over local businesses. Morgan Park is located just south of Beverly and just north of suburbs like Blue Island on the southern edge of the city.

‘Chicago Tonight’ in Your Neighborhood: River North

City Council members and residents are scrambling to figure out more about plans to move a giant temporary Chicago casino into the historic Medinah Temple. (WTTW News)

City Council members and residents are scrambling to figure out more about plans to move a giant temporary Chicago casino into the historic Medinah Temple. It's located in the heart of the fashionable River North neighborhood - home to tourism, commerce and lots of residential units.

Ken Griffin’s Trading Firm Tied to Company Aided by Richard Irvin: Report

Scientel Solutions, pictured in March 2022, relocated to Aurora after plans for its tower were approved in 2018. (Paris Schutz / WTTW News)

WTTW News previously reported that communications company Scientel Solutions and its employees have given more than $135,000 to Richard Irvin’s mayoral campaign, a PAC run by his mayoral campaign manager, and his former private practice law partner Brittany Pedersen’s judicial campaign.

‘Chicago Tonight’ in Your Neighborhood: O’Hare

(WTTW News)

It’s a neighborhood, not just an airport, and unofficially the second hub of Ukrainian Americans in Chicago. We get the latest on efforts locals are making to assist in Ukrainian defense back home and on preparations to welcome refugees.

‘Chicago Tonight’ in Your Neighborhood: Harvey

(WTTW News)

In recent years, Harvey has faced financial issues and political infighting, and it’s grappling with poverty, unemployment and crime. But officials and community leaders here say they're working to turn it around. And residents say even with the challenges the suburb faces, they feel proud of where they come from. 

Kenosha Prepares for Rittenhouse Verdict As Third Day of Deliberations Closes

Kenosha County Sheriff David G. Beth, who has become a well-known figure to observers of this case, spent the day outside the courthouse providing demonstrators with cookies, pastries and coffee in hopes that the friendly gesture would calm tensions. (WTTW News)

Jurors in the trial of Antioch native Kyle Rittenhouse have now completed three days of deliberation and still no verdict. This comes as demonstrators made their voices heard outside the Kenosha County Courthouse again, and as the outspoken judge in the case admonished a member of the news media. 

‘Chicago Tonight’ in Your Neighborhood: Washington Heights

Washington Heights is tightly knit, with high rates of homeownership but a relatively low COVID vaccination rate. And home to a branch of the Chicago public library that's visited by scholars from around the world. (WTTW News)

The predominantly African American community on the Far South Side has high rates of homeownership but a relatively low COVID-19 vaccination rate.

‘Chicago Tonight’ in Your Neighborhood: West Loop

 The West Loop is known for its trendy Michelin-rated restaurants and lively nightlife scene. (WTTW News)

The neighborhood has changed from an industrial hub to an area bustling with bars and restaurants. And more changes are on the way, with huge new developments under consideration, including a Guinness brewery.

Feds Probe Gardiner for Bribery, Pay-to-Play: Sources

Ald. Jim Gardiner declined to respond to questions from WTTW News about the reports of an FBI probe while at City Hall on Tuesday for a meeting of the Chicago City Council. (WTTW News)

Federal officials are probing allegations that Ald. Jim Gardiner (45th Ward) took bribes and demanded payments before taking official actions, sources told WTTW News.

Watchdog Asked to Probe How Ald. Gardiner Got Court Records on Political Foe

Jim Gardiner appears on “Chicago Tonight” on Feb. 27, 2019, a day after ousting two-term incumbent Ald. John Arena (45th Ward) in the municipal election. (WTTW News)

The watchdog for the Cook County Circuit Court Clerk has been asked to probe whether one of the office’s employees improperly accessed court records and sent them to Ald. Jim Gardiner (45th Ward), who faces allegations that he has used his office to retaliate against political opponents, WTTW News has learned. 

‘Chicago Tonight’ in Your Neighborhood: Bronzeville

Renderings of Katherine Johnson and Gwendolyn Brooks are captured in part of Bronzeville’s “Renaissance Mural.” (WTTW News)

The historic Bronzeville neighborhood on the city’s South Side sits just south of McCormick Place, and has been known for decades as a hub of Black arts and culture in Chicago. Wednesday, City Council paved the way for a massive new development that could reshape the community’s future.

Phil Ponce Ends Regular Appearances on ‘Chicago Tonight’

(WTTW News)

After nearly three decades at “Chicago Tonight,” Phil Ponce ends his regular appearances on the program. We reflect on his career in journalism and his leadership role in the WTTW newsroom.

‘Chicago Tonight’ in Your Neighborhood: Downtown Reopens

Nearly 200 previously furloughed staff members returned to the Chicago Hilton and Towers on Thursday, June 10, 2021, to prepare for the state’s full reopening Friday. (WTTW News)

The city and state’s full reopening is a double-edged sword for many in the hospitality and entertainment industry. They wonder: the crowds may be coming back, but will the labor force return?

‘Chicago Tonight’ in Your Neighborhood: Northalsted

Northalsted, formerly called “Boystown,” is known as the center of LGBTQ life in Chicago. As Pride celebrations begin, the community has just started to recover the vibrant character that made it famous following last year’s pandemic and civil unrest.

‘Chicago Tonight’ in Your Neighborhood: Village of Riverdale

The Village of Riverdale lags behind the rest of suburban Cook County in vaccinations. As part of our community reporting series, we speak with elected officials, community leaders and physicians about the vaccine rollout, and what they’re doing to make the vaccine more accessible.

Community Organizations Want to Help Greater Englewood Get Vaccinated

Part of our ‘Chicago Tonight’ In Your Neighborhood series

The Greater Englewood Area, made up of Englewood and West Englewood, has faced historic disinvestment. Now it’s lagging behind in the percentage of residents who are vaccinated against COVID-19. These community organizations are helping to inform residents about the vaccine and make appointments more accessible.

‘What Are We Going To Have Left In Our Community?’ Aldermen React with Panic, Sorrow to Unrest

A chaotic scene in Chicago on Saturday, May 30, 2020. (Hugo Balta / WTTW News)

As unrest swept the city Sunday, aldermen pleaded with Mayor Lori Lightfoot to help them protect their communities from roving bands of criminals clashing with police and looting businesses.

Before She Was Mayor: An In-Depth Profile of Lori Lightfoot

From humble beginnings in Massillon, Ohio, to a high-powered federal prosecutor – to mayor of Chicago. Our in-depth profile of the events that shaped the life of Lori Lightfoot.

Federal Judge Approves Historic Chicago Police Consent Decree

Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan and Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson discuss steps toward oversight of the Chicago Police Department on Aug. 29, 2017.

U.S. District Judge Robert Dow called the historic decree “an important first step toward needed reforms of the Chicago Police Department and its policies.”