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Stories by Alexandra Silets

State Lawmakers Preview Upcoming Legislative Session

The Illinois primary is just eight weeks away. Will state lawmakers dodge controversial issues before the March 20 election?

Blair Kamin on Obama Presidential Center Design Tweaks

Obama Presidential Center rendering (Courtesy Obama Foundation)

After many meetings with the community and a lot of pushback, the Obama Presidential Center design has undergone a number of changes. But do the plan revisions make it better? 

Will Changes to the Obama Presidential Center Appease Activists?

Obama Presidential Center campus rendering (Courtesy Obama Foundation)

The Obama Foundation revised its plans for the Jackson Park project after criticism, but activists still have significant concerns over roadwork, traffic and community engagement.

Julia Sweeney Makes Second City Debut with ‘Older and Wider’

The author, actor and former “Saturday Night Live” cast member tells us about her new stand-up residency at The Second City.

Jeff Sessions’ Move Could Blunt Marijuana Legalization

(Chuck Grimmett / Flickr)

Will the attorney general’s reversal of an Obama-era policy give prosecutors free rein to aggressively enforce pot prohibition?

Experts’ Tax Tips on What to Do Before Tax Code Changes

Congress has passed the most significant tax code reform since Ronald Reagan was president. How will the sweeping overhaul impact your bottom line? We get advice and tax tips from two experts. 

Holiday Movies: What to See in Theaters and What to Skip

From the quirky coming-of-age story “Lady Bird” to the latest in the Star Wars saga, we have some holiday movie reviews.

The Week in Review: Mayor Emanuel Starts Re-Election Media Rounds

Mayor Rahm Emanuel blasts President Donald Trump on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.” Cook County Assessor Joe Berrios faces a lawsuit charging racial discrimination in the property tax assessment system. And Cubs announcer Pat Hughes reveals a health scare.

How Stress and Anxiety Are Hurting Children

Kids are feeling more anxiety these days, especially in elite public high schools. That’s according to a recent series by the Chicago Tribune and Pioneer Press. We discuss childhood anxiety and some treatments.

Trump Sets Off Middle East Protests Over Jerusalem Announcement

President Donald Trump’s announcement this week that the U.S. is formally recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital rocked the Middle East. We discuss the future of Jerusalem and the peace process.

North Korea, US ‘In Game of Nuclear Chicken’

White House national security adviser H.R. McMaster believes the U.S. is inching closer to war with North Korea.

The Week in Review: Rep. Gutierrez Sets Off Political Reshuffling

U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez drops a bombshell announcement after 13 terms in Congress. Cook County’s soda tax is dead, but political ramifications linger. Elon Musk is bidding on the O’Hare express train project. And the Bears lose patience with coach John Fox. 

Rick Steves Advocates for Marijuana Legalization in Illinois

Rick Steves speaks at the Edmonds Center for the Arts (Courtesy “Rick Steves’ Europe”)

The host of the popular PBS travel show testifies before a legislative panel on the legalization of marijuana. “I’m not pro-marijuana,” Rick Steves told us. “I’m really anti-prohibition and I’m pro-civil liberties.”

Declining CPS Enrollment Could Lead to More School Closings

With CPS enrollment down by 32,000—and the school-closing moratorium coming to an end—is another wave of Chicago school closings possible? WBEZ reporter Sarah Karp joins us in discussion.

Environmentalist Ma Jun: Millions Exposed to Pollution in China

China’s most prominent environmental activist talks about the country’s pollution crisis.

New Blood Pressure Guidelines a ‘Signal to Take Action’

Many doctors have long believed the threshold for high blood pressure needed to be lower. On Monday, that change was made.

New Book Profiles Chicagoans Who Changed History

(Courtesy of N’DIGO)

From the obvious game changers to the surprising—and controversial—a new book by the publisher of N’DIGO profiles the biggest Chicago icons.

DNAinfo and the Challenge of Hyperlocal News

Coverage of local news took a giant step backwards with the closing of hyperlocal news websites DNAinfo Chicago and Chicagoist. A look at the changing media landscape.

The Week in Review: Chicago Lawmaker Says Trump Impeachment Imminent

U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez says President Trump is “unfit to be president.” Security is stepped up in the wake of a fatal truck attack in New York City. Sex abuse allegations shake up Springfield. And Rod Blagojevich appeals to the Supreme Court.

Otis Wilson’s New Book Offers Stories From Locker Room, Sidelines

Otis Wilson was a key member of the Chicago Bears 1985 Super Bowl team. He joins us to discuss his new book “If These Walls Could Talk: Stories from the Chicago Bears Sideline, Locker Room, and Press Box.”

Intraparty Squabbles Mark Races for Illinois Governor, Attorney General

(Meagan Davis / Wikimedia Commons)

We take a closer look at the race for governor in both parties, and the surprise candidate running for attorney general.

CPS Watchdog Blows Whistle on Hiring Off ‘Do Not Hire’ List

Were children put in danger when Chicago Public Schools charter schools hired 163 former CPS employees on a “do not hire” list? Chicago Board of Education Inspector General Nicholas Schuler joins us.

New Book Focuses on Life, Work of Mysterious Photographer Vivian Maier

(Courtesy the Ron Slattery Collection / Estate of Vivian Maier)

Northwestern photography professor Pamela Bannos joins us to discuss her new book “Vivian Maier: A Photographer’s Life and Afterlife.”

NLCS Game 4: Cubs Try to Avoid Being Swept by Dodgers

A Cubs fan shows off a sign before Game 3 at Wrigley Field. (Chicago Tonight)

The 2016 World Champions face elimination in Game 4 of the 2017 National League Championship Series. 

Toni Preckwinkle on Soda Tax Repeal, County Budget Shortfall

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle on why the soda tax failed—and what’s next.