Stories by Kristen Thometz

CTU Blasts CPS Decision to Turn Around 3 Schools

The Chicago Teachers Union blasts plans to turn around three underperforming schools. But Chicago Public Schools says it has turned around under the nonprofit management firm Academy for Urban School Leadership (AUSL), which consistently outperforms comparable neighborhood schools. Elizabeth Brackett has the story. Read an article and view an interactive map of the three schools.

Affordable Care Act Update

More than 7 million Americans signed up for the Affordable Care Act. But who exactly signed up for ObamaCare? How many are paying into the health insurance system? And what happens to the people who missed Monday’s sign-up deadline? We go in-depth with Forbes health care and policy reporter, and author, Bruce Japsen. Read an article and a book excerpt.

The Real Physics Behind Star Trek

For the last 50 years, Star Trek has captivated audiences as the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise explored the galaxy using technological advances – warp drive, wormholes, beaming technology, holodecks – in order to do so. Dirk K. Morr, a professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, joins us to discuss the scientific ideas behind Star Trek technologies. View a graphic and read an interview.

Transit Task Force Recommendations

A new report from Gov. Pat Quinn's transit task force is recommending a shake-up to the structure of the RTA, Metra, CTA and Pace systems to streamline operations and budget woes. The blue-ribbon transit study commission is also recommending ethics reforms. Carol Marin gets the details of the report from the co-chairs of the Northeastern Illinois Public Transit Task Force, George Ranney Jr.  and Ann Schneider, and the Task Force’s Ethics chairman, Patrick Fitzgerald. Read the full report, and view a graphic of the current structure of the RTA, Metra, CTA and Pace.

Gov. Quinn on 2015 Budget

One day after telling Springfield legislators they face a stark choice between making the “temporary” income tax hikes permanent or slashing spending on education and social services, Gov. Pat Quinn joins us to discuss the tough choices facing the state, and how he plans to defeat Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner in the November election. Watch Quinn's budget address, view graphics of his budget breakdown, and read an article about how the state budget would be impacted if the income tax increase were allowed to expire as scheduled in 2015.

Analysis of Quinn's 2015 Budget Speech

Making the income tax increase permanent, a property tax relief, and adding $50 million to a monetary assistance program for college students in Illinois will all be addressed during Gov. Pat Quinn budget speech. Carol Marin talks with Sen. Kirk Dillard from Springfield, and then analyzes the budget address with her panel of guests. View graphics of Quinn's 2015 budget.

Web Extra: A 17-Year-Old's First Voting Experience

Seventeen-year-olds in Illinois had the ability to vote in the March Primary Election. Neli Farahmandpour helped to get the law passed that gave 17-year-olds this opportunity. Read an article.

Web Extra: Local Ukrainian Reaction

As Russia continues to assert its influence in Crimea, concern grows among the Chicago Ukrainian community. Read an article.

Reaction to Federal Reserve Chair's Remarks on Economy

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said the Fed may start  raising rates around six months after quantitative easing—ahead of what experts were expecting. We take a closer look at how the markets react to her comments at her first live press conference, and how her first policy meeting may affect the economy. Read an article, watch Yellen’s full press conference, and read a transcript of her remarks.

Low Voter Turnout in Chicago for March Primaries

Voter turnout in Chicago is expected to be around 16 percent for the March Primary Election, according to the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners. The low turnout benefited the debut of electronic poll books in Chicago's precincts. Read an article.

Illinois Residents Vote in Primary Election

Voter turnout for Tuesday's March Primary Election has been low, and less than 9 percent of registered voters in Chicago have cast ballots as of 6:00 pm. Voters today will determine who will appear on the November ticket for Republican and Democratic races ranging from governor to the state legislature. Read an article.

Nearly 3,500 17-Year-Olds Register to Vote in Primary Election

For the first time in Illinois, 17-year-olds will be able to vote in Tuesday's March 18 Primary Election. Nearly 3,500 teens have registered in Chicago. Read an article.

Web Extra Blog: GOP Gov. Post-Forum News Conference

Republican gubernatorial candidates  -- Bruce Rauner, Bill Brady, and Kirk Dillard – gave a brief news conference following the GOP Governor Forum. Read an article.

Chicago’s Board of Election Commissioners Introduces Electronic Poll Books

At the Tuesday, March 18 Primary Election, the Board of Election Commissioners for the City of Chicago will use electronic poll books to check in voters instead of paper poll books. Read an article.

Charitable Contributions by GOP Gubernatorial Candidates

Republican Illinois gubernatorial candidates Bruce Rauner, Dan Rutherford and Bill Brady provide information regarding their charitable contributions. Read an article.

Tax Returns for GOP Gubernatorial Candidates

Republican Illinois Lieutenant Governor candidate Jil Tracy was the last candidate to release her tax return ahead of Tuesday's March 18 Primary. Read an article about the tax returns filed by Republican gubernatorial candidates and their running mates.

Web Extra: Lt. Gov. Post-Forum News Conference

Steve Kim

Republican candidates for Illinois Lieutenant Governor -- Maria Rodriguez, Steve Kim, and Jil Tracy -- gave a brief news conference following the forum. Read an article.