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Stories by Alexandra Silets

Chicago Pride Parade’s Safety, Future

| Charles Jefferson

Chicago celebrates its 46th annual Pride Parade on Sunday. We talk with the man behind the parade and Ald. Tom Tunney about the history, security, and future of one of Chicago's largest parades.

Cullerton on Budget Showdown

| Steffie Drucker

Illinois Senate President John Cullerton joins Carol Marin to talk about the Springfield summer session's budget showdown.

Sister Rosemary on “Sewing Hope”

| Kristen Thometz
Credit: Jamie Moncrief

Named one of Time’s 100 most influential people last year, Sister Rosemary Nyirumbe, a Ugandan educator, joins us to talk about her advocacy for women and girls who have survived years of kidnappings and violence at the hands of the Lord’s Resistance Army warlord in Uganda.

Lawmakers Head Back to Work

Some have described the atmosphere in Springfield as toxic. Will lawmakers and Gov. Rauner move beyond the ugliness to get a deal done on the budget? Two lawmakers join us to talk about what's ahead.

A Closer Look at the Charges Against Dennis Hastert

| Charles Jefferson

The charges against former U.S. Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert include perjury and using a complicated series of financial maneuvers to hide a $3.5 million payoff to someone from Yorkville, where he taught high school decades ago. We take a closer look at the legal issues behind the indictment and the possible ramifications.

Hedy Weiss: Theater Reviews

| Kristen Thometz

Chicago Sun-Times Theater Critic Hedy Weiss reviews five shows being staged around Chicago.

Debating the Prevailing Wage Law

| Kristen Thometz

One way Gov. Bruce Rauner has proposed cutting spending is to repeal the so-called “prevailing wage” law. So what is the prevailing wage and why is it on the books? Our experts debate the pros and cons of eliminating the prevailing wage the state pays for public construction projects. 

Rabbi Rethinks Theology

Rabbi Herman Schaalman turned 99 years old this year. After a life spent studying religious texts and the Torah, he’s starting to doubt the existence of God. We'll talk with the rabbi about his own evolution.

The New University of Illinois President

The University of Illinois’ new president is a geophysicist who studies the earth’s atmosphere. But his focus now will be on moving the state’s huge university system forward. We’ll talk with him about possible budget cuts, tuition costs, and his vision for the future.

New Aldermen Sworn In

There are 13 new members joining City Council today. We talk to four of them about their priorities and the fiscal challenges that face Chicago in the next four years.

Amphibians Invade The Shedd Aquarium

| Kristen Thometz

A new special exhibit opens on Saturday with 40 species of amphibians. We talk with the Shedd Aquarium's Special Exhibits manager about the "ribbiting experience."

Obama Presidential Library Coming to Chicago

It's official. The Obama Presidential Library is coming to Chicago. What will it mean for the South Side? We'll hear more details about the city's triumph.

Unpacking the Supreme Court’s Pension Ruling

On Friday, May 8, the Illinois Supreme Court found the state’s 2013 pension reform law unconstitutional, affirming the ruling made six months earlier by a lower court. In its ruling, the Supreme Court said “crisis is not an excuse to abandon the rule of the law.” We discuss the decision with a panel of lawmakers.

The Most Unexpected Journey

A Tinley Park man, who suffers from muscular dystrophy and has had five heart surgeries for his atrial fibrillation, was in Nepal to climb Mount Everest when the deadly earthquake struck. We'll hear about his emotional journey.

New College of DuPage Board Takes Action

| Kristen Thometz

There's a new board chairwoman at the College of DuPage, and she wasted no time making changes. In a contentious first vote on Thursday, April 30, the new majority of reform trustees voted 4-3 to put the school's controversial president, Robert Breuder, on paid administrative leave. 

The State of Chicago Trees

| Linda Qiu

One in five parkway trees in Chicago is threatened by the Emerald Ash Borer beetle. So what can people do to stop the shrinking of the region's tree canopy? The Morton Arboretum's CEO, Gerry Donnelly, joins us to talk about reversing tree loss.

US Supreme Court Hears Same-Sex Marriage Arguments

| Kristen Thometz

U.S. Supreme Court justices were deeply divided during oral arguments on the issue of same-sex marriage. The key question: Does the Constitution guarantee gay and lesbian couples the right to marry? Four former clerks weigh in.

Legislators on Budget Cuts

| Hunter Clauss

State lawmakers are reconvening this week in Springfield to work on the budgeting process for next year. We'll hear from legislators from both sides of the aisle. 

Bridging the Divide Between Youth and Police

| Hunter Clauss

African-American teenagers are talking about how standard police practices like stop and frisk affect them in the long term, and the police are listening. We hear about the groundbreaking work to bring kids and police together to hear each other's experiences and to make changes.

What’s Next for CPS?

Chicago Public School has appointed Chicago Board of Education Vice President Jesse Ruiz as interim CPS CEO, replacing Barbara Byrd-Bennett who is taking a paid leave of absence amidst a federal investigation of a $20.5 million no-bid contract. What are the implications of this on CPS contract negotiations with the Chicago Teachers Union? Carol Marin and her panel discuss the latest CPS news and the future of the district.

America's Test Kitchen

"The Complete Vegetarian Cookbook"

Jack Bishop from the hit PBS television show America's Test Kitchen talks about the newest book, The Complete Vegetarian Cookbook. Bishop will give us some recipes to try as well as talk about the 15th season of the hit series.

Walgreens to Close 200 Stores

Walgreens is closing 200 stores in the U.S. -- the most the company has done at once. The cost-cutting move comes as a result of the merger with Boots Alliance. Crain's Chicago Business retail reporter Brigid Sweeney has the latest details.

The New Faces of City Council

Aldermanic Winners and Hopefuls

| Kristen Thometz

We talk with some aldermanic winners about beating the incumbents, as well as their priorities for the wards they represent and working with a new City Council.

State Watchdog Stepping Down

The state's Executive Inspector General Ricardo Meza is stepping down after nearly five years on the job. He joins us to talk about Illinois' corruption problem.

Battling Great Lakes' Invasive Species

The EPA has awarded more than $8 million in grants to combat invasive species in the Great Lakes. We talk with the Shedd Aquarium's Phil Willink about the $100 million a year invasive species problem.