Stories by Alexandra Silets

Battling Great Lakes' Invasive Species

The EPA has awarded more than $8 million in grants to combat invasive species in the Great Lakes. We talk with the Shedd Aquarium's Phil Willink about the $100 million a year invasive species problem.

Battle Intensifies in 43rd Ward

43rd Ward Aldermanic Runoff Forum

| Evan Garcia

First-term Ald. Michele Smith is fighting to keep her Lincoln Park aldermanic seat in a bitter battle with challenger Caroline Vickrey. They go head to head.

Barney Frank on Life, Love and Politics

Former Congressman Barney Frank has a new book out about his remarkable life as an outspoken politician made even more remarkable by his coming out as a gay man. He joins us.

Lawmakers Push Budget Patch

| Yasmin Rammohan

A House Committee has passed a temporary fix to the state budget shortfall so day care providers and prison guards will be paid. Chicago Tonight Springfield reporter Amanda Vinicky has the details.

Rough Run in 31

31st Ward Aldermanic Runoff Forum

| Evan Garcia

Support in the predominantly Hispanic 31st Ward is splitting between longtime Ald. Ray Suarez and former TV reporter, Milly Santiago. They meet on Chicago Tonight to talk about the issues.

A New Voice for 24th Ward

24th Ward Aldermanic Runoff Forum

| Evan Garcia

The 24th ward will have a fresh face representing the Lawndale neighborhood in City Council. Will it be the son of the former president of the Chicago Board of Education or a businesswoman who worked her way up from receptionist to vice president of a tool distributor?

Runoff for Foulkes in New Ward

16th Ward Aldermanic Runoff Forum

| Evan Garcia

Ald. Toni Foulkes was mapped out of her 15th ward and decided to run for alderman in the 16th ward. She now faces Stephanie Coleman in a runoff.

Sandi Jackson's Replacement Faces Challenge

7th Ward Aldermanic Runoff Forum

| Evan Garcia

The 7th Ward race pitted incumbent Ald. Natashia Holmes against seven challengers. A runoff resulted between Holmes who won 25 percent of the vote and Gregory Mitchell who garnered 20 percent of the vote. We hear from both candidates.

Homan Square Police Facility

| Kristen Thometz

We explore the controversy over the Homan Square police facility and Chicago Police Department interrogation tactics.

McDonald’s Menu Changes

| Kristen Thometz

McDonald's is making some sizable changes to its menu hoping to lure more health-conscious consumers. We hear the latest from Crain’s Chicago Business reporter Peter Frost.

Blair Kamin on Pullman Historic District

Chicago Tribune architecture critic Blair Kamin talks about the Pullman Historic District's designation as a national monument.

Aldermanic Winners

Proco "Joe" Moreno won 50.9 percent of the vote in the 1st Ward in Tuesday's election, but his challenger Anne Shaw won’t concede until all the absentee ballots are counted. Ald. Nick Sposato won 54 percent of the vote in the 38th Ward; and Carlos Ramirez-Rosa won 67 percent in the 35th Ward and was the only candidate to oust an incumbent. The three winning aldermen join us.

Coldest February Ever?

| Yasmin Rammohan

It's cold. Really cold. WGN's Chief Meteorologist Tom Skilling tells us if we are heading towards record-breaking weather.

State of the Budget

| Kristen Thometz

Gov. Bruce Rauner is preparing for his first budget address. We get a preview from Illinois Public Radio's Statehouse Bureau Chief Amanda Vinicky.

“The Italian Americans”

There's a new PBS documentary exploring the Italian American experience. We talk with the filmmaker.

ACA Deadline Approaches

On Sunday, open enrollment for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act closes. We get the latest on the looming penalties in year two of ObamaCare.

Restaurateur Rich Melman Gets Lifetime Achievement Award

The James Beard Foundation is honoring Chicago's own restaurateur Rich Melman with a Lifetime Achievement Award. We talk with him about the honor and his recipe for success.

"Corrupt Illinois"

| Travis Cornejo

A new book takes a comprehensive look at the patronage, cronyism and criminality in Illinois politics -- from stolen elections and crooked courts to corrupt congressmen, governors and aldermen.

Divorce Smarter

With divorce a reality for half of all marriages, we take a look at the financial realities of moving on.

CTA President Forrest Claypool

We take a look back at the CTA's 2014 and what's around the corner for customers in 2015.

Spring Legislative Session

| Kristen Thometz

The spring legislative session is in full swing now that the 99th General Assembly has been sworn in along with Gov. Bruce Rauner. We hear from both sides of the aisle about what the legislative priorities are in both chambers.

Inspector General Joe Ferguson

Inspector General Joe Ferguson joins us with the latest on government oversight in Chicago.

Appointed vs. Elected School Board

| Travis Cornejo

Should Chicago have an elected school board? The issue separates Mayor Rahm Emanuel from his challengers. And voters from 38 wards will have a chance to weigh in on Feb. 24 when they can vote on an advisory referendum. We take a closer look.

Springfield Special Session

Illinois lawmakers met in Springfield for a special session to decide how to fill the vacancy created by the passing of Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka.

Treasurer Mike Frerichs

| Kristen Thometz

Mike Frerichs won the hotly contested treasurer's race in November. He joins us to share his vision and what he thinks about consolidating his office with the comptroller's post.