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Stories by Nick Blumberg

What's Next For Chicago Pension Reform?

Illinois Supreme Court (Alanscottwalker)

Last week, the Illinois Supreme Court dealt Mayor Rahm Emanuel a huge blow, overturning reforms to two pension funds for city workers. The city argued reforms guaranteed previously unsecured retiree benefits, but the state’s high court wasn’t having it.

Former Chicago Police React to Superintendent Pick

How will rank-and-file police officers react to the mayor's unexpected appointment of CPD veteran Eddie Johnson? Two former Chicago Police officers share their perspectives on Emanuel's pick and to aldermen inserting themselves more into the selection process.

CTU President Karen Lewis Explains 1-Day Teachers Strike

Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis said the newly approved April 1 walkout is not about contract negotiations with CPS. “If it were a contract strike, it would be illegal,” Lewis said to Eddie Arruza. “This is an unfair labor practice strike.”

Segregation and Racial Barriers on Chicago's South Side

A group of girls walk in Englewood. This building is across the street from one of 50 Chicago Public Schools that closed in 2013. (Photo by Bill Healy)

A new book by Natalie Moore about the South Side blends personal history with investigative reporting to tell the story of a segregated city and misunderstood neighborhoods.

Nabisco Layoffs and Chicago's Manufacturing Future

Three hundred workers at Chicago's Nabisco bakery faced layoffs on Monday, with more cuts looming. We take a look at how the neighborhood is coping – and the future of manufacturing in Chicago.

Incumbents Safe, Few Surprises in Illinois’ US House Races

As expected, no incumbent congressman in the Chicago metro area appears to have been knocked off the general election ballot by primary challengers.

Forum: Cook County Circuit Court Clerk Candidates

Democratic candidates for Cook County Circuit Court Clerk pictured in ballot order, from left: Jacob Meister. Dorothy Brown, Michelle Harris.

Dorothy Brown faces the Democrats vying to replace her in next week's Democratic primary.

Illinois’ 11th Congressional District Candidates

| Meredith Francis

Hear from two of the three Republican candidates running on March 15 to unseat 11th District Democratic Congressman Bill Foster.

Gurnee Native Amanda Majeski on Starring Roles at Lyric, Met Operas

Amanda Majeski (Credit Cory Weaver / Lyric Opera of Chicago)

She has been bringing her distinctive soprano voice to operatic roles on stages in the U.K., Spain, Germany and Switzerland. Closer to home, she'll soon return to a role in Mozart's “The Marriage of Figaro” at The Metropolitan Opera in New York. Soprano Amanda Majeski talks about her ascending opera career.

Judge Diane Wood on Supreme Court Vacancy, Immigration Debate

With Antonin Scalia's death leaving an unexpected opening on the Supreme Court, we talk with a judge who was once considered for the high court on how she was vetted and why she thinks it's bad to have a long vacancy.

Friends of the Parks Sounds Off On Lucas Museum Lawsuit, Backlash

Rendering of the proposed site for the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art (Courtesy Lucas Museum)

Earlier this month, a judge denied the city of Chicago's motion to let Lucas Museum construction begin on its proposed lakefront site. We speak with the head of Friends of the Parks, the nonprofit which filed the lawsuit.

Apple vs FBI: Should Privacy Rights Outrank a Federal Investigation?

| Meredith Francis

The FBI wants Apple to unlock an iPhone belonging to one of the people behind December's mass shooting in San Bernardino, California. Apple says it's taking a stand for privacy rights, while the FBI says it's merely trying to conduct the most thorough investigation possible.

Music Mogul L.A. Reid Talks Industry, Artists He's Discovered in New Book

L.A. Reid with Mariah Carey. (Courtesy L.A. Reid)

Avril Lavigne. Mariah Carey. Outkast. Usher. Rihanna. You've heard these names and many others made famous by music mega-mogul L.A. Reid. The current CEO and chairman of Epic Records has not only scouted star talent, but also penned quite a few top 10 hits himself. Reid tells us about his new memoir.

Toni Preckwinkle Warns of a Trickle-Down Budget Crisis in Cook County

Toni Preckwinkle appears on "Chicago Tonight" on Feb. 17.

Reaction to Gov. Bruce Rauner's second budget address from Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, who says no state budget means layoffs are around the corner.

Obama Library Finalist Meets With South Side Community Leaders

David Adjaye

“Buildings can transform. They can change places. They can change the perception of places." That was architect David Adjaye’s message to a group of about 20 community leaders he met with on Tuesday at the DuSable Museum of African American History.

Peoples Gas, CUB Discuss Gas Main Replacement Program

| Kristen Thometz

The Citizens Utility Board and Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan have accused Peoples Gas of deliberately misleading regulators about the ballooning cost of a huge program to upgrade gas lines around Chicago. Tonight, we discuss the safety upgrades, the program's estimated cost and the claims about the company's actions with representatives from CUB and Peoples Gas.

Obama Urges Bipartisanship in Address to Illinois General Assembly

President Barack Obama addressed a joint session of the Illinois General Assembly on Wednesday afternoon—nine years to the day after he announced his run for the White House on the steps of the Old State Capitol. In a return to his old stomping grounds as a state senator, the president invoked many of the same themes from his 2007 speech.

CPS Denies Arts Program At Gallery 37 Faces Chopping Block

(Courtesy CPS Advanced Arts Program at Gallery 37)

Chicago Public Schools denied Friday that about 150 students from around the city could lose a widely celebrated magnet arts program at the end of the current semester, despite statements made earlier this week to the contrary.

Chicago Teachers Union Gets ‘Serious Offer’ from Chicago Public Schools

Earlier this evening, the union announced a possible breakthrough in contract talks after the day's bargaining session wrapped up.

Saving Illinois' Pension System

After the Illinois Supreme Court ruled a pension reform plan unconstitutional, lawmakers have failed to come up with a solution to a problem that worsens with each passing day. Could some form of federal bailout or bankruptcy restructuring be the answer for Illinois? 

Robert Gates Shares His ‘Passion for Leadership’

New Book Highlights Lessons Learned in 50 Years of Public Service

Robert Gates (Eleanor Gates)

To say that former Defense Secretary Robert Gates has seen a lot is undoubtedly an understatement. He's served under eight presidents of both major parties (2006-2011), led the CIA and Texas A&M, and been awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Now, he’s the president of the Boys Scouts of America. He joins us to talk about his new book.

Chicago's Crisis-Management Challenges

As Gov. Bruce Rauner and Mayor Rahm Emanuel face crises at the state and city level, crisis management specialists tell us about the importance of leadership and image.

Lawmakers Discuss Governor's Pension Proposal, Democratic Response

Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner on Thursday announced a pension deal to reform Illinois' troubled state retirement system, but Democratic leaders in the legislature quickly pushed back on the plan. A panel of lawmakers discusses the proposal and whether it has any chance of passing the General Assembly.

How the Chicago Defender Shaped American History

Ethan Michaeli (Jason Reblando)

Founded in 1905, the Chicago Defender gave a voice to black Americans during the Jim Crow era and helped along the careers of politicians from JFK to Richard J. Daley. Former Defender editor and reporter Ethan Michaeli spent years conducting research and interviews for his extensive new history book.

Crain's Roundup: Ricketts Buying Rooftops, Walgreens Outsourcing Wellness

| Sean Keenehan
Ann Dwyer

The owners of the Cubs are buying three more rooftops with a Wrigley Field view. Joining us with more on that story and other local business news is Crain’s Chicago Business deputy managing editor Ann Dwyer.