Stories by Natalie Valdes

Hunt for Organic Deodorant Leads Chicago Man to Kitchen

| Steffie Drucker

Nathan Morin says he stopped wearing deodorant because he was "lazy and cheap." But when he moved to Chicago and became a bicycle commuter, he rediscovered the need for some type of odor protection. That's when his search for a certified organic deodorant led him to an unlikely place: the kitchen, where he began concocting his own recipe.

Analyzing Gov. Rauner's Latest Pension Plan

Is Gov. Bruce Rauner's newest pension proposal constitutional? How will it impact city and state employees? John Tillman, CEO of the Illinois Policy Institute, and Ralph Martire, executive director for the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability, analyze the plan.

Possible Hike in Chicago Property Taxes

According to a Crain's Chicago Business analysis, Chicago police and fire pensions could drive up property taxes by more than 30 percent. Crain’s senior reporter Thomas A. Corfman joins us to explain the analysis.

Cook County Commissioner, CFO on Sales Tax Hike

The Cook County Board will soon vote on whether or not to increase the sales tax, as proposed by Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle. Cook County Commissioner Bridget Gainer and Cook County CFO Ivan Samstein join us tonight to share their thoughts on the proposed tax hike.

“The Fabulous Future? America and the World in 2040”

Inspired by Fortune Magazine's 1955 publication of The Fabulous Future in America in 1980, this new collection of essays opens a dialogue about what the U.S. and the world could be like in 2040. Will we live happier, longer lives? Where is higher education headed? How will journalism transform? We talk with the editors of the new book.

Looking Ahead at This Week in Springfield

The Illinois State Board of Education has identified $450 million to fund CPS' pension contribution. Meanwhile, budget talks continue as Illinois faces a potential shutdown. Amanda Vinicky joins us tonight from Springfield while Paris Schutz has reaction from local lawmakers.

Five Final Cases for SCOTUS

| Steffie Drucker

The United States Supreme Court has five final cases to decide, including same-sex marriage. Does today’s decision give us any clue as to how the judges will rule on the remaining cases?

Illinois House Rejects CPS Pension Payment Bill

The Illinois House failed to approve a bill that would have delayed CPS’ massive pension payment due at the end of the month. Chicago Tonight Springfield reporter Amanda Vinicky has the latest on that and why the Governor’s office skipped a House and Revenue Finance Committee meeting.

Report Shows Link Between Lower Income and Test Scores

Daily Herald and WBEZ Series Focuses on Education and Poverty

Credit: Daily Herald

In the first of a four-part series, Daily Herald reporter Melissa Silverberg and WBEZ's Linda Lutton take a look at poverty and education in Illinois. Their studies of state testing over the last decade revealed that the schools with the most low-income students performed the worst. Silverberg and Tim Broderick, data analyst and graphic designer for the project, join us tonight to share their results of the state Poverty-Achievement gap.

Mayo Clinic Doctor on Women's Health

| Kristen Thometz

We speak to Mayo Clinic's Dr. Jacqueline Thielen about developments in women's health including some of the best treatment options for menopause.

Gap to Close 175 Stores

Once the world's largest specialty apparel chain, Gap Inc. will now be closing 175 locations nationwide. Why will it shut down a quarter of its fleet? We talk with Crain's Chicago Business reporter Brigid Sweeney.

How Will Rauner Attack Ads Impact Budget Talks?

Gov. Bruce Rauner has launched attack ads against House Speaker Michael Madigan and Democrats, which have started circulating on the Internet. Chicago Tonight Springfield reporter Amanda Vinicky discusses what that could mean for budget talks.

Poet Elizabeth Alexander

Elizabeth Alexander wrote and delivered the poem, Praise Song for the Day at President Barack Obama's inauguration in 2009. Three years later, her husband died suddenly of a heart attack - four days after his 50th birthday party. Her new book is a touching memoir about her love and deep loss.

The Wright Brothers Take Flight in New Biography

Wilbur takes wing in the 1902 glider soon after the brothers’ return to Kitty Hawk in 1903. Their camp and shed stand alone in the distant wind-swept sands. Courtesy of Special Collections and Archives, Wright State University.

David McCullough is an author, narrator, historian, and lecturer. He’s received two Pulitzer Prizes, the National Book Award, and nation's highest civilian award, The Presidential Medal of Freedom. In his new book, The Wright Brothers, McCullough takes us back to 1903 when two unknown brothers from Ohio changed the course of history.

Blair Kamin on The 606

| Charles Jefferson

This Saturday, The 606, park and trail system will officially open. Chicago Tribune Pulitzer-prizewinning architectural critic Blair Kamin shares his thoughts about the trail ahead of its opening.

New Biography Aimed at Cult Favorite Chicago Actor Robert Ryan

| Kristen Thometz

Robert Ryan was an Oscar-nominated actor best known for roles in The Wild Bunch and The Dirty Dozen. The Chicago Reader’s J.R. Jones’ new biography of the Chicago actor looks at the political activism behind the actor’s tough-guy onscreen persona.

Newest Part of Chicago Riverwalk Opens

| Kristen Thometz

Over Memorial Day weekend, a new part of the Chicago Riverwalk opened from State Street to Clark Street. Carol Ross Barney has been leading the Riverwalk design for more than a dozen years. We sit down with her to talk about the project. 

The Human Calculator

Scott Flansburg is in the Guinness Book of World Records as the “Fastest Human Calculator.” Flansburg correctly added a randomly selected two-digit number (38) to itself 36 times in 15 seconds without the use of a calculator. Flansburg shares his gift and love of math with children all around the world. He joins Chicago Tonight to put our own calculator to the test.

“The Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets”

We dive into sugar and spice and everything nice, or not so nice. In The Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets, editor Darra Goldstein shares the powerful ways sugar has played a role in our world, both good and bad.

Rauner Questions Constitutionality of Pension Proposals

For the first time, Gov. Bruce Rauner discussed his concerns over the constitutionality of his and Senate President John Cullerton’s pension proposals. The governor also spoke about taking several of his turnaround agenda items “off the table,” but he wouldn’t say what those items were.

Springfield News with Amanda Vinicky

Hearings on pension funding and Amtrak funding are happening in Springfield today. We discuss these issues and more with Chicago Tonight Springfield reporter Amanda Vinicky.

Should Chicago Bank on a Casino?

Mayor Rahm Emanuel has been lobbying hard for a Chicago casino ostensibly to help tackle the city's pension and budget woes. Meanwhile, state Rep. Bob Rita is sponsoring two bills that would create as many as five new casinos in Illinois, one of which would be a mega casino in Chicago. How would a casino in Chicago impact the city? And how would it affect existing state casinos? 

"Welcome to Me" Director Shira Piven on Women in Hollywood

Shira Piven, director of the new film, Welcome to Me, joins us to talk about female directors in Hollywood, working with Kristen Wiig, and the film's portrayal of mental health.

Aldermen React to Rauner’s Address

For the first time in recent history, a sitting governor addresses the Chicago City Council. We’ll hear from several aldermen about their reactions to Gov. Bruce Rauner’s speech. 

Springfield News with Amanda Vinicky

Legislators have begun meeting in working groups to work on the budget and a compromise to Gov. Bruce Rauner’s turnaround agenda. And budget cuts remain a concern, as the Responsible Budget Coalition discusses all revenue options available. We discuss these issues and more with Chicago Tonight Springfield reporter Amanda Vinicky.