Here are recaps of the week's stories (Sunday, Feb. 26 through Friday, March 3) to catch you up on what's been happening.
Tornadoes, severe storms strike Illinois
An EF3 tornado touched down in Naplate, Ill., and an EF1 tornado struck in Oregon, Ill., during a day of severe weather in Illinois on Tuesday, which saw three people killed, several others injured and dozens of buildings and homes destroyed.
Two fatalities occurred in Ottawa, about 3 miles northwest of Naplate. Wayne Tuntland, 76, and David Johnson, his 31-year-old son-in-law, were killed when a tree fell on them, authorities said.
The two were racing to take cover in Tuntland's basement when the wind uprooted a giant tree, which struck both of them, killing Tuntland. Johnson died of his injuries a day later.
A 71-year-old man was killed in far southeastern Illinois near the Indiana border when a twister struck a small building near a house in the Crossville area.
Gov. Bruce Rauner toured Naplate on Wednesday, saying "This could have been way worse. The warning system worked well."
A shorter school year for CPS students?
Chicago Public Schools CEO Forrest Claypool said in a letter to parents that the district may be forced to end the school year almost three weeks early if it didn't get a favorable court ruling on school funding.
Summer school programs could also be cut, but Claypool said the district didn't come to any final decisions.
The move is the latest effort to spur Rauner and state legislators to help the financially strapped district.
Attorney general and Chicago's consent decree
Trump's attorney general, Jeff Sessions, vowed to "pull back" on federal civil rights investigations of police departments, casting doubt on how much change will come to Chicago's department, which the Obama administration deemed systemically abusive.
Sessions declined to commit to a federal consent decree in Chicago, which could leave control of police reform solely in the hands of Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
In other Chicago and suburban news:
Jackson Park, future site of the Barack Obama Presidential Center, made Preservation Chicago's list of the seven most endangered sites in the city.
The Cook County state's attorney's office is looking into whether a former Chicago cop convicted of corruption tainted more convictions than the three people he's already been held accountable for framing. The investigation could affect hundreds of cases.
Chicago saw no snow on the ground in January and February for the first time in 146 years.
Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx said prosecutors will no longer oppose the release of some detainees on nonviolent offenses just because they can't afford to pay cash bonds of up to $1,000.
NBC-5 news anchor Rob Stafford announced he will undergo a bone marrow transplant and chemotherapy to treat a rare blood disease, called amyloidosis.
Irish butter fans in Wisconsin have to cross state lines to buy the product, thanks to a decades-old law in the dairy state.
Trump gives restrained speech to Congress
The president called for a hike in military spending and an overhaul of the health care system and defended his early decisions in office in a unusually dialed-down initial address before Congress.
While Trump displayed a different tone in the speech, he gave few details about how he would fulfill his promises, seemingly leaving that up to Congress.
He also made false or misleading claims on many topics, such as jobs, immigration and Obamacare.
He targeted Chicago and its violence problem yet again, saying it was essential to "break the cycle of poverty" by breaking "the cycle of violence."
On Wednesday, U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush said he invited Trump to come to Chicago and that the president said he would, though the White House didn't confirm the two had even spoken.
Sessions under fire for testimony on Russia
Justice Department officials said Attorney General Jeff Sessions spoke twice with Russia's ambassador to the U.S. during the campaign, but didn't disclose the encounters when asked during his Senate confirmation hearing.
Democrats called for Sessions to resign or for a special prosecutor to be called to handle allegations of Trump campaign ties to Russia.
Sessions, under fire from Republicans as well, recused himself on Thursday from any investigation related to the presidential campaign. Trump, meanwhile, accused Democrats of "overplaying their hand" and called their attacks a "total witch hunt!"
In other nation and world news:
The Indy Star broke the news that former Indiana Gov. Mike Pence used a private AOL email account for state business and that the account was compromised in early 2016.
Former President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama each secured book deals, which could be worth tens of millions.
A judge in the case of Casey Anthony, who was acquitted of first-degree murder charges in the death of her 2-year-old daughter, said Anthony may have killed the girl by accident when she tried to quiet her with chloroform.
White Sox's Jose Abreu tells jury he ate fake passport on way to U.S.
When Jose Abreu was on a plane to Miami after being smuggled from Cuba to Haiti, he knew he had to destroy the fake Haitian passport he was traveling on before his flight landed.
"I went back to my seat, I ordered a beer — a Heineken beer — and then, little by little, I swallowed that first page of the passport," Abreu testified Wednesday.
Abreu was testifying in federal court in Miami in the trial of baseball agent Bartolo Hernandez and trainer Julio Estrada, who have pleaded not guilty to allegations they were heavily involved in the world of illegally smuggling Cuban baseball players to the U.S.
On Thursday, Abreu testified that he was extremely close to Estrada and that he gave the trainer and his wife money and even bought a $500,000 house in the Florida Keys for him to live in rent-free.
Abreu said he paid Estrada's firm more than $7 million for helping him get to the U.S. but is not sure if he'll pay the $5 million he still owes.
"Things have changed," Abreu said.
In other sports news:
Johnny Oduya is hoping he can make a few more special memories in his second stint with the Blackhawks, who acquired him before the trade deadline for the second time in five years. The first time worked out pretty well — the Hawks won two Stanley Cups with Oduya.
The atmosphere at Northwestern was electric Wednesday night, and the Wildcats responded with a crazy 67-65 victory over Michigan that ended with a pile of purple-clad students and players on the court. With 1.7 seconds left, Nate Taphorn fired a full-court pass that center Dererk Pardon collected near the basket. His layup for the win led to an uproarious celebration.
Former Cubs catcher "Grandpa" David Ross, who has gone from backup catcher to Chicago cult hero to national celebrity in a few short years, now takes his act to prime-time TV as a competitor on the upcoming season of "Dancing With the Stars."
The Warriors announced early Wednesday that Kevin Durant suffered a Grade 2 medial collateral ligament sprain and tibial bone bruise and will be re-evaluated in four weeks. For the second time this season, the Bulls were trying to hand the Warriors their first two-game, regular-season losing streak since April 2015.
After years of scrutiny, authorities raid Caterpillar's Peoria headquarters
Authorities from three agencies, including the Internal Revenue Service, conducted a raid Thursday at Caterpillar's Peoria headquarters and two nearby facilities.
Initially only confirming the raid, Caterpillar later in the day acknowledged it was tied to the same issue that has dogged the company for eight years: its use of a parts subsidiary based in Switzerland and tax-saving practices that sparked a Senate investigation, shareholder lawsuits and a $1 billion penalty.
In 2014, a Senate investigation found the company had used its Swiss affiliate to take advantage of a corporate tax rate it negotiated and avoided paying at least $2.4 billion in U.S. taxes. Soon after, shareholders filed lawsuits against the company and its accounting firm.
The raid is a further blow to Peoria, which learned in January that the maker of mining and construction equipment plans to move its headquarters from its longtime home there to an undetermined location in the Chicago area.
In other business news:
A Chicago man lost his job as a principal at Liberty Advisor Group after an insulting tweet he posted during President Trump's address to a joint session of Congress. Daniel Grilo apologized for the tweet targeting the widow of a Navy SEAL who was killed in action.
McDonald's unveiled an ambitious plan to win customers back by giving diners the option of ordering and paying by mobile phone and picking their food up curbside. McDonald's mobile app, which the company has been encouraging downloads of, figures prominently into the plan.
Chicago-based lender Guaranteed Rate will hire an additional 280 employees in Chicago as it aims to take on mortgage giants Wells Fargo and Quicken. The higher profile of the company includes the 13-year naming-rights agreement signed with the White Sox for Guaranteed Rate Field.
Recent heavy rains in California have caused flooding of farm fields that will spill over into price hikes on produce. As a result, Chicago-area shoppers could see price hikes in March and April on items including lettuces, greens, broccoli, cauliflower, celery and strawberries.
Electronics retailer Hhgregg announced Thursday that it will close 40 percent of its stores. The 88 closings include Illinois locations in Schaumburg, Bloomingdale, Arlington Heights, Niles, Springfield and Champaign.
The award for best screwup goes to ...
Sunday's Academy Awards ended in chaos as presenters Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway were given the wrong card for best picture and announced the winner as "La La Land." It turns out, after a few awkward moments with producers milling about onstage, that "Moonlight" was the actual winner.
Here's a minute-by-minute breakdown of the most shocking moment in Oscar history and how it happened. The film academy took steps to ensure it doesn't happen again, announcing that the two PricewaterhouseCoopers accounts responsible for the fiasco won't work at the Oscars show again.
It's 'Gary from Chicago's' 15 minutes
In a stunt pulled by Oscars host Jimmy Kimmel, tourists on a Hollywood tour bus were tricked into walking into the live telecast at the Dolby Theatre.
The tourists found themselves hobnobbing with Hollywood stars in the front row and Gary Alan Cole, who announced himself as "Gary from Chicago," quickly became an internet celebrity after he and his fiancee, Vickie Vines, found themselves mock-married by her favorite star, Denzel Washington.
Cole, with his newfound fame, is hoping for a Hollywood ending to his own life story, reports the Tribune's Tracy Swartz and Stacy St. Clair.
Cole, 59, was in prison for 20 years under California's "three-strikes" law, and was released just three days before the awards show.
“I want to show people if you don’t give up on yourself, anything can happen,” Coe told the Tribune on Tuesday. “People let public opinion crush them, but I served my time. I’m a changed man.”
In other entertainment, lifestyles and dining news:
Fans of baked goods lined up for their last fix from Swedish Bakery, which closed for good on Tuesday after 88 years in Andersonville.
But pizza fans got good news as Burt's Place was set to reopen on Friday, bringing back the caramelized-crust pan pizza created by the late Burt Katz.
Stephen Colbert and his "The Late Show" have rebounded from so-so early ratings to overtaking "The Tonight Show." Live shows reacting to Donald Trump are behind the recent success, writes Steve Johnson.