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The most thorough coverage of Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Chicago's city council, including analysis and news from veteran City Hall reporter Fran Spielman.

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CPS says change in COVID case reporting wasn’t intended to mislead public

A CPS dad who has been tracking COVID data pointed out on social media this week that thanks to discrepancies in the district’s figures, the number of infections at individual schools appeared lower than was actually the case.

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Merchandise Mart owner plans residential tower nearby, city council member says

Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd) has told constituents Vornado Realty Trust has a plan to build at the southwest corner of Kinzie and Canal streets.

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CTU VP Stacy Davis Gates

Chicago Teachers Union Vice President Stacy Davis Gates wouldn’t say if she’ll challenge Mayor Lori Lightfoot, whom she has said is on a “kamikaze mission to destroy” Chicago Public Schools. But she offered a blistering critique of Lightfoot’s tenure.

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Omicron anguish: Cook County records 14,000th COVID-19 death as worst surge wanes — but fatalities rise

The state has averaged 107 deaths per day over the past week, a stretch that saw Cook County lose a total of 425 residents to the virus — the worst week since mid-November 2020.

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CPD Supt. Brown touts successes, pushes back on malcontent command staff

Brown says brass who criticized him are unhappy with his efforts to reform CPD.

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Wiping away tears, man who says he was Burge torture victim gets innocence certificate

Keith Walker’s murder conviction in the 1991 fatal shooting of an Arlington Heights teenager was vacated in August 2020.

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Mayoral allies call off confirmation vote on new COPA chief to avoid embarrassing defeat

Public Safety Committee Chairman Chris Taliaferro (29th) made the decision after it was clear Andrea Kersten’s nomination lacked the votes to pass. Kersten has been under fire for recommending a three-day suspension for slain Chicago Police Officer Ella French.

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City Hall wrongly OK’d Pilsen tavern The Giant Penny Whistle’s liquor license, inspector general finds

In a new report, it says the Lightfoot administration and former Corporation Counsel Mark Flessner had no legal authority to agree to license the bar without lifting a 1995 moratorium.

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Suburbs, warmer cities step up efforts to lure cops away from Chicago

Some Chicago officers want to get away from a demoralized police department. Now, the law also lets them transfer up to 5 years of service to suburban pension plans.

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Lightfoot condemned as ‘name-calling ... bad boss’ who can’t get along with anybody — not just CTU

Chicago Teachers Union Vice President Stacy Davis Gates wouldn’t say if she’ll challenge Mayor Lori Lightfoot, whom she has said is on a "kamikaze mission to destroy" Chicago Public Schools. But she offered a blistering critique of Lightfoot’s tenure.

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Lightfoot strongly backs top cop David Brown despite police supervisors’ lack of confidence in his leadership

"Supt. Brown is trying to change the culture of a police department where the status quo served a lot of people, but frankly didn’t serve the residents of the city in keeping them safe," the mayor said in a Zoom call from Washington D.C.

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Peak may be over, but pain is not: Illinois suffers third-worst daily COVID death toll of pandemic as Omicron surge slows

While cases and hospitalizations are falling, Illinois is still losing 109 lives on average each day. About 14 of every 109 live in the city, the vast majority unvaccinated. "Let me be very clear: There are still more than 200 Chicagoans being newly admitted [to hospitals] every day with COVID-19," said Chicago Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady.

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City Hall is falsely claiming it can’t release damning report on Little Village implosion, groups say

The Lightfoot administration maintains it cannot legally release a report by the city inspector general on the bungled Crawford implosion that left the neighborhood covered in dust.

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City Council committee moves — again — to dry up market for stolen cell phones

The ordinance boosts fines and penalties for secondhand dealers, pawnbrokers and bogus phone repair shops that buy and sell stolen cell phones. The maximum penalty would rise to $10,000 for each illegal sale, up from $2,000.

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Another $14 million settlement tied to Burge torture era

Corey Batchelor and Kevin Bailey were teenagers when they were beaten into confessing to a murder they did not commit after being tortured by detectives trained by disgraced Chicago Police Cmdr. Jon Burge.

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Lightfoot slams Republicans running for governor over making Chicago crime a campaign issue

"Vilifying the economic engine of your state just strikes me as a really foolhardy strategy," Mayor Lori Lightfoot told the Chicago Sun-Times.

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Legal fees — or not? State’s top court asked to stop pols under scrutiny from using campaign funds to pay defense lawyers

Justices heard arguments hinging on whether the high-priced criminal defenses that so many Illinois officials have had to pony up for amount to "personal" expenses prohibited by campaign financing law.

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Precipitous peak: Omicron surge shows signs of easing — but officials warn in weeks ahead ‘hundreds more may die’

"We are not out of the woods, and we need people to be very careful over these next few weeks," Chicago Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said. Gov. J.B. Pritzker observed, "I am cautiously optimistic about this decline, but there are an awful lot of people still battling for their lives in hospitals across Illinois."

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Reilly settles for watered-down crackdown on pedicabs

Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd) had proposed banning pedicabs altogether from the River North entertainment district after 6 p.m. and prohibiting pedicabs from using amplified sound. On Wednesday, Reilly settled for a whole lot less.

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CTA ripped after transit agency president a no-show at City Council hearing

A usually routine transfer of funds to the CTA turned into a gripe session, as Council members slammed the agency, then held up approval of a $26.1 million windfall from the CTA’s portion of the real estate transfer tax.

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CPD leaders say they’ve lost faith in Supt. Brown: ‘I can’t think of one member of the command staff that is willing to back him’

"The department has been in a constant state of reorganization since Brown arrived, which is evidence that he has no strategy and doesn’t know what he’s doing," one police supervisor said.

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Light at the end of the tunnel? Drop in COVID-19 deaths, hospitalizations leaves some experts ‘cautiously optimistic’

Nearly 700 fewer COVID-19 patients were hospitalized in Illinois Monday night than the state’s all-time record of 7,380 set on Jan. 12. Deaths dipped, too. Although hopeful, Northwestern Medicine’s Dr. Sajal Tanna warned, "I wouldn’t let my guard down."

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Lightfoot escalates war of words with former watchdog she inherited, then pushed out

The mayor criticized Joe Ferguson’s surprise decision to write a letter to senators considering the appointment of former Mayor Rahm Emanuel as U.S. ambassador to Japan emphatically stating that there is no evidence that Emanuel covered up the police shooting of Laquan McDonald.

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Lightfoot announces first 7 winners of Chicago Works Challenge

Four parks, two Chicago Public Schools and one branch library are in line for $10 million in improvements with the $1.5 million-apiece grants.

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Lightfoot back in action — with a mask — one week after COVID-19 diagnosis

The mayor said COVID-19 "kind of felt like a cold — a bad cold." Lightfoot said she "luckily recovered quickly" and feels strong enough to attend the annual meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors in Washington, D.C.

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Gold Coast space that once housed Maxim’s Restaurant gets new lease on life

The City Council’s Housing Committee agreed to sell the city-owned space and its companion parking area to local resident Adam Bilter and his 24 E. Goethe LLC for an appraised value of $680,000.

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Cop who bungled homicide case involving Daley’s nephew promoted to lieutenant

Sam Cirone was reprimanded for his role in the investigation which initially cleared then-Mayor Richard M. Daley’s nephew in David Koschman’s 2004 death. A Sun-Times investigation changed that.

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Ald. Burke was secretly videotaped inside his City Hall offices as part of federal corruption probe

New details of the investigation emerged Friday from an unsealed 160-page affidavit that had been filed to seek permission to raid Burke’s City Hall and ward offices.

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Patrick Daley Thompson can show jurors his amended tax returns, judge rules

U.S. District Judge Franklin Valderrama made the ruling at a hearing Friday, where it appeared Thompson’s trial is on track to begin Feb. 4.

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CPS students walk out of class, rally for better COVID-19 safety measures, remote learning option

"I want everyone to like not die because COVID is really bad right now," said a freshman at one North Side high school.

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Jason Van Dyke to be released from prison Feb. 3

Former Chicago police officer spent more than three years in prison for the 2014 murder of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald.

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City watchdog issues damning report on how mayor’s office, CPD and other agencies handled botched raid on Anjanette Young’s home

City Council approved a $2.9 million payout in December to settle Young’s lawsuit.

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City official gets slap on wrist for botched implosion that left Little Village covered in dust

An investigation by the city’s watchdog recommended one official be fired and two others disciplined for 2020 debacle.

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Four Omicron myths: Dispelling misguided and ‘flat out harmful’ theories about the still dangerous variant — and that part is no myth

With coronavirus hospitalizations at an all-time high across Illinois, experts say it’s critical for residents to continue following basic precautions — and to stop dismissing the most infectious variant yet as "mild."

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Pilsen metal shredder could become next big environmental battle in Chicago

Sims Metal Management faces scrutiny as it applies for a new permit from Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s administration and two additional approvals from Gov. J.B. Pritzker.