Stories by Brandis Friedman

In Woodlawn, a Ground-Up Approach to a Healthier, Safer Community

A group of residents is getting back to its roots—literally—by partnering with the Morton Arboretum to harness the positive impact of trees on everything from the crime rate to the business community.

Report: Illinois Bill Backlog Keeps Growing

(Meagan Davis / Wikimedia Commons)

Though the state of Illinois finally got a budget this summer, it still has billions of dollars in unpaid bills, and the amount keeps changing.

Ahead of Tuesday Vote, Opponents Urge Commissioners to Repeal Soda Tax

Cook County commissioners are scheduled to take another vote Tuesday on the county’s so-called soda tax. Opponents of the tax were pounding the pavement Monday, hoping to convince a few more commissioners to support a repeal.

Writing Memoirs at Cook County Jail Helps Detainees Earn New Label

(Courtesy of Cook County Sheriff’s Office)

In one of Cook County Jail’s maximum security units, some detainees are given access to pens for the towering task of writing their memoirs. How these men are earning a new label: authors.

Retired Judge Patricia Banks to Serve as Interim COPA Chief

Just weeks after its relaunch as the Civilian Office of Police Accountability, the agency is officially looking for a new chief administrator.

Chicago Police Data Shows Reductions in Homicides, Shootings

The Chicago Police Department says that for the second month in a row, homicides in Chicago were lower than they were during the same month the year before.

What’s Cooking with Christopher Kimball? New Milk Street Book, TV Show

Foodies who may be missing the bow-tied former host of “America’s Test Kitchen” don’t have to wait any longer to find out what he’s been cooking.

Despite Dip in Enrollment, No Budget Cut for Some CPS Schools

Chicago Public Schools principals learned this week that they won’t lose money if enrollment figures following the first two weeks of school were below projections made when budgets were estimated in July.

Chief COPA Administrator Considers Run for Attorney General

Sharon Fairley appears on “Chicago Tonight” on Sept. 14.

Is the head of a new Chicago police watchdog group about to jump ship just weeks into the job? 

Use-of-Force Training Begins for Chicago Police Officers

Mental health awareness, cultural competency and human rights are just a handful of the new training requirements for Chicago police officers as part of the city’s efforts at police reform.

With Amazon in Sight, Rauner and Emanuel Political Foes No More

After being political foes for months, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Gov. Bruce Rauner are back to working together for a common cause: convincing Amazon to build its second headquarters in Chicago.

Governor’s Race: Chris Kennedy Selects Ra Joy as Running Mate

Chris Kennedy, left, appears on “Chicago Tonight” on June 22. Ra Joy is his running mate, Kennedy announced Thursday. (Ra Joy / Facebook)

Addressing violence is at the top of the ticket for a newly minted Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor.

How Arrupe College is Reinventing Higher Education

(Courtesy of Loyola University Chicago)

In 2015, Loyola University Chicago started a two-year college to provide high-quality education to low-income students. Now the school has graduated its first class of students.

Chicago Takes on the Feds Over Plans to Withhold Grant Money

Attorneys for the city of Chicago on Monday hoped to convince a federal judge that plans by the U.S. Department of Justice to withhold federal grant money over immigration enforcement is unconstitutional.

Karen Lewis on School Funding Reform, Scholarships and Budgeting

The head of the Chicago Teachers Union joins us with a report on the first day of school.

Eddie Johnson Recovering Well After Kidney Transplant, Doctors Say

Chicago’s top cop, 57, was already feeling well enough to check a few emails just hours after his surgery, doctors Rush University Medical Center said.

With Education Funding Reform Comes a Squeeze for Chicago Taxpayers

Exactly how much more money can Chicago homeowners expect to pay to fund Chicago teacher pensions?

Developments in Court Oversight for the Chicago Police Department

Chicago has taken its first step toward having judicial oversight of its efforts to reform the Police Department, but not with the federal government. It’s doing it with the state of Illinois.

Rauner Signs Immigration, Voter Registration Bills

Immigrants and refugees in Illinois can now breathe a sigh of relief, and people eager to vote will find it easier to register. The changes come as Gov. Bruce Rauner signed two pieces of legislation Monday.

Barbara Byrd-Bennett Headed to ‘Camp Cupcake’ for 4.5-Year Sentence

The disgraced former Chicago Public Schools CEO reports to prison in just a few days.

Rauner Spokeswoman Confirms Governor to Sign Immigration Bill

Gov. Bruce Rauner may be set to sign legislation limiting cooperation between officials in Illinois and federal immigration authorities.

Crain’s: Cook County Union Lauds Preckwinkle for New Contract

Toni Preckwinkle appears on “Chicago Tonight” on June 22, 2017.

As the fight over the Cook County sweetened beverage tax enters yet another round, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle is getting some praise from one of the county's biggest unions.

Gwendolyn Brooks: Still ‘Real Cool’ at 100

(Courtesy of Brooks Permissions)

The Pulitzer Prize-winning poet also served as the state's poet laureate from 1968 until her death in 2000. Today's poets are finding creative ways to remember her.

Chicago’s Summer Jobs Program Provides More Than a Paycheck

Each summer, thousands hired through One Summer Chicago earn work experience and a paycheck. But the city may be earning something, too.

Efforts to Simplify CPS High School Application Process Draw Concern

An attempt to make the high school application process easier is raising some questions.