Stories by Paul Caine

City Council Prepares to Vote on Extending Inspector General's Powers

The City Council is expected to vote this week on whether to extend the powers of city Inspector General Joe Ferguson to cover the activities of the City Council itself. More than 30 aldermen are said to be supportive of the measure, but key alderman are trying to dilute the powers that Ferguson may be given. A panel of aldermen tells us what they think will happen.

Chicago Aviation Commissioner on O’Hare Noise, Expansion

| Rebecca Palmore
Ginger Evans

The expansion of O'Hare Airport will move forward with a new runway in an agreement announced by Mayor Rahm Emanuel. But noise issues and no new terminals leave critics of the plan confounded. The City's Aviation Commissioner is here to explain.

What Went Wrong in Flint?

| Meredith Francis

Michigan Gov. Rick Synder is facing calls to resign over his administration's bungled handling of the contaminated water crisis in Flint. A former high-ranking official at the Environmental Protection Agency tells us what she thinks went wrong.

Calls for Police Accountability Grow

Chicago Tribune Investigation Shows Problem Officers Face Little Discipline

A recent Chicago Tribune investigation revealed that just 1 percent of Chicago police officers are responsible for almost a third of all misconduct lawsuits. Joining “Chicago Tonight” to discuss what it will take to hold police officers truly accountable are Lori Lightfoot and Sergio Acosta.

Field Museum to Unveil Hyena Diorama

Project Nearly 90 Years in the Making

(Courtesy Field Museum)

The onset of the Great Depression stalled a nearly complete diorama project conceived in the 1920s. Emily Graslie, the Field's chief curiosity correspondent, made it her mission to complete it nearly 90 years later. She joins us to discuss the project.

Caltech Scientists Find Evidence of Distant 9th Planet

| Kristen Thometz
This artistic rendering shows the distant view from Planet Nine back towards the sun. The planet is thought to be gaseous, similar to Uranus and Neptune. Hypothetical lightning lights up the night side. (Caltech/R. Hurt/IPAC)

Evidence of a distant ninth planet in our solar system, electronic implants that can monitor brain injury then melt away, and how more sleep may reduce diabetes risk. Rabiah Mayas of the Museum of Science and Industry is back to review some of the hottest stories in the world of science.

Examining North Korea’s Alleged ‘Success in First H-Bomb Test’

| Sean Keenehan
(babeltravel / Flickr)

Earlier this month, North Korea claimed to have successfully detonated its first hydrogen bomb as a "self-defense against the U.S." While it was known that the secretive, totalitarian dictatorship had atomic weapons, the assertion to have successfully tested a far more powerful hydrogen bomb has been greeted with skepticism.

State Universities Under Strain as Budget Stalemate Enters 7th Month

Governors State University (Daniel X. O'Neil / Flickr)

With the state budget standoff in its seventh month and little apparent urgency from Springfield, we talk with the presidents of Governors State and Northeastern Illinois Universities as the funding crisis deepens.

Commercial Space Race Propelled by Musk vs. Bezos Rocket Competition

| Sean Keenehan
SpaceX's Falcon 9, left, and Blue Origin's New Shepard. (SpaceX / Flickr, Franke360 / Wikimedia)

Last month, Elon Musk's SpaceX successfully landed one of its Falcon 9 rockets back onto its launch pad. In November, Jeff Bezos’ company Blue Origin landed its sub-orbital capsule New Shepard. Space enthusiast and Fermilab physicist Don Lincoln recently wrote a column on the Musk versus Bezos competition and shares his insights.

Fossilized Jaw Bone Reveals Early Evolution of Mammals

| Sean Keenehan

A new high-tech analysis of the fossilized jaw bone of Haramiyavia clemmenseni, one of our earliest ancestors, is shedding new light on the mammalian family tree. University of Chicago paleontologist Neil Shubin was one of the lead authors of the study and he joins us in studio to talk us through the findings.

Chi-Town Rising on New Year's Eve Brings a Little NYC to Chicago

| Sean Keenehan

John Murray is hoping to create a New Year's Eve tradition in Chicago that will rival the annual Times Square party in New York. Murray joins us to provide an inside scoop on Chi-Town Rising.

Calls for Police Reform, Training Intensify After Fatal Shootings

After two more fatal shootings by the Chicago Police Department over the weekend, calls for urgent police reform and better training of officers have grown louder. What, if anything, could police have done differently to de-escalate the situation, and is more training the answer? We discuss the issues with our panel.

Suspended Wheaton College Professor Addresses Religious Statements

| Sean Keenehan

Wheaton College's decision to place a tenured professor on paid leave after she declared she was wearing a Muslim headscarf to express her solidarity with Muslims facing hostility has created national and international headlines. Larycia Hawkins joins us to discuss her position.

Sparks Fly Over National Security at 5th GOP Debate

| Sean Keenehan
(DonkeyHotey / Flickr)

Last night's GOP presidential debate hosted by CNN set off some fireworks as candidates did all they could to make an impression in a crowded field. Political communications specialist Jason DeSanto joins "Chicago Tonight" to give his take on the heated discourse.

Argonne National Lab Simulation Tracks the Evolution of the Universe

| Sean Keenehan

Simulating the evolution of the cosmos. A local physicist is here to talk about using supercomputers to delve into the mysteries of the universe.

Donald Trump's Call for a Muslim Ban Provokes Heated Reactions

| Sean Keenehan

Despite recent statements that sparked outrage in many quarters, presidential candidate Donald Trump is still popular among Republican voters, according to some polls. We get reactions from Azam Nizamuddin, president of the Muslim Bar Association of Illinois; and Ed Lasky, founder and news editor of the conservative web magazine American Thinker.

Donna More Shares Vision for Cook County State's Attorney's Office

Donna More

Donna More is one of two candidates looking to unseat Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez in a March Democratic primary. As Alvarez fends off calls for her resignation in the wake of the Laquan McDonald shooting and subsequent criticism over the pace of the investigation, we ask former state and federal prosecutor More what she might have done differently.

Analyzing the Media's Coverage of Laquan McDonald Shooting Video

| Kristen Thometz

With the release of a graphic video depicting Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke fatally shooting black teenager Laquan McDonald 16 times, we examine how the media has covered this case. Two longtime Chicago media professionals join us to discuss the issues raised by the release of the disturbing dash-cam footage.

Ministers and Community Activists Respond to Decision to Charge CPD Officer with Murder

| Kristen Thometz

With news that Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke is charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of African-American teenager Laquan McDonald, we talk with activists and faith leaders about the charge and what reactions they expect from their communities.

Dominic Pacyga Shares History of Chicago's Stockyards in 'Slaughterhouse'

They closed some 44 years ago, but Chicago's Union Stockyards profoundly shaped the development of the city and the modern world. Dominic Pacyga, a local historian and former stockyard worker, tells the story in his new book "Slaughterhouse.” Pacyga joins us tonight.

Laquan McDonald Police Video Release Stirs Mixed Reactions

| Sean Keenehan

We speak with two members of the black community as a Cook County judge orders the release of dashboard video footage of the fatal police shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald.

Examining the Syrian Refugee Crisis, Response Following Paris Attacks

| Kristen Thometz
Police and emergency crews respond to terrorist attacks in Paris last Friday.

In the wake of the deadly terror attacks in Paris, many Republican governors are saying they are unwilling to allow Syrian refugees to be settled in their states, among them Illinois Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner. Our panel discusses the refugee crisis and response.

Cleaning Up the Garden

| Kristen Thometz

Winter is coming, which means it’s time to clean up the WTTW organic garden. The Organic Gardener Jeanne Nolan helps us prepare the garden for winter and plant one last crop.

Physicist Lisa Randall Connects Dark Matter to Dinosaur Extinction

| Sean Keenehan
Lisa Randall

Dark matter: we can't see it, but it's believed to make up 85 percent of all matter in the universe and without it we almost certainly wouldn't be here. Particle physicist and New York Times bestselling author Lisa Randall joins us to discuss her new book "Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs: The Astounding Interconnectedness of the Universe."