Stories by Alexandra Silets

RTA Overhaul

In light of the recent Metra scandal, Gov. Pat Quinn is looking to appoint a panel of experts to suggest a “fundamental overhaul” of both Metra and the Regional Transportation Authority. Will the task force recommend streamlining the oversight of public transportation? And is it a good idea to completely revamp Metra, Pace, CTA and the RTA? We have analysis.

Lake Shore Drive Redesign

Are you sick of traffic jams and lakefront path congestion on the 7-mile stretch on the north end of Lake Shore Drive? An overhaul of the Drive from Grand Avenue all the way to the end at the Hollywood curve is in the planning phase. Some ideas include reducing driving speeds, easing the Oak Street curve, adding bus-only lanes, relieving traffic pinch points, and improving lakefront access and easing overcrowding on the lakefront path. We have analysis.

Fire Sprinkler Requirements

There’s a battle raging over the Illinois State Fire Marshal’s plan to require all residential and business buildings taller than four stories to be retrofitted with sprinkler systems costing hundreds of millions of dollars. Churches, restaurants, and any building used for gatherings of 50 or more people would also be required to add sprinklers. Opponents say the expense outweighs the fire safety benefits. Eddie Arruza and his guests analyze both sides.

CPS Announces More Layoffs

The Chicago Public Schools have announced more layoffs. This round cuts more than 2,100 people, including 1,036 teachers -- half of whom are tenured. This reduction follows the June announcement of 855 layoffs. Eddie Arruza and his guests examine the latest round of cuts, and how it will impact students and the system’s $1 billion budget deficit. Read the CPS fact sheet.

Controversy Arises Over Plan for Evanston Lakefront Hotel

There’s a battle brewing in Evanston over the proposed sale of the city-owned Harley Clarke Mansion and surrounding lakefront park land to Hyatt hotel heir, Colonel James Pritzker. He wants to convert the property into a high-end boutique hotel. We have the latest on the controversy. Read minutes from closed door meetings about the sale.

IG Says City Stonewalling Garbage Audit

Inspector General Joe Ferguson joins us to talk about his latest audit battle with City Hall. Mayor Rahm Emanuel claims his new grid-based garbage collection system saved Chicago $18 million, but Ferguson, who wants to verify those numbers, says he is being stonewalled and told to reapply for his job. Watch web extra video and read the IG's audit report.

Protesters Demand Removal of Egypt's President

Unrest is sparking fears of a second revolution in Egypt. Thousands have taken to the streets pushing for the ouster of Egyptian president, Mohamed Morsi, who has been in office for a year. But a defiant President Morsi is rejecting the opposition’s call for an early special election. We have the latest on the turmoil in Egypt that has killed at least 16 people and injured more than 600 over the past few days.

Summer Gardening with Eliza Fournier

Are some of the plants in your garden already dying? Or are the top-heavy plants face down in the mud? The Chicago Botanic Garden’s Eliza Fournier joins us. Read her summer gardening tips.

Supreme Court Strikes Down DOMA

The U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act in a 5-4 ruling. The 1996 law blocked federal recognition of same-sex marriages. In a separate case, the court ruled that it could not take up a challenge to Proposition 8, the California law banning gay marriage. Read the full opinions.

The Supreme Court’s Affirmative Action Ruling

The Supreme Court punts a case on affirmative action in college admissions back down to the lower court. Read the decision.

Stock Market Slide

Markets react negatively to Chairman Ben Bernanke’s remarks that the Federal Reserve may taper bond buying in the next year. We take a closer look at the fluctuation in the stock and bond markets, the state of the economic stimulus and recovery, as well as Bernanke’s future.

Iraq Reconstruction

The Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction found billions of dollars wasted from corruption and mismanagement during the war. We talk with him about what went wrong and right with the government's $60 billion effort. Read Stuart Bowen Jr.'s full report.

Karen Lewis

Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis says Chicago has to break its addiction to tax-breaks and find ways to generate revenue for our schools. She joins us to talk about the fate of teachers and students under the new-look CPS. Read Lewis's full statement in response to CPS' proposed five-year action plan and read 11 Things About Lewis you may not have known.