Stories by Acacia Hernandez

(Courtesy Archer Aviation)

Taking a Flight to Your Flight? New Air Taxi Service to O’Hare Coming in 2025

United Airlines is partnering with Archer Aviation to offer flyers an air taxi service from Vertiport Chicago on the Near West Side to Chicago O’Hare International Airport.

Former U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel appears on "Chicago Tonight" on March 23, 2023. (WTTW News)

Former US Defense Secretary Hagel on Future of Liberal Democracy Amid Ongoing Russia-Ukraine War

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is now more than a year old with little sign of any resolution in the near future. Meanwhile, the U.S. has supplied billions of dollars’ worth of military aid and supplies to help push the invading Russians back. Many wonder how much more might it take.

(WTTW News)

Cook County, Bad Neighbor: Addressing Smog Pollution in Latino Communities

Cook County is the worst neighbor in the country when it comes to smog, according to new data from the EPA. Health-damaging smog can travel hundreds of miles to neighboring counties and states.

(WTTW News)

How Illinois State Police Are Addressing Gun Violence on Expressways Amid Recent Deaths

Despite a recent shooting on I-57 that killed two teenagers and an infant, Illinois State Police say tactics to reduce gun violence on expressways are working.

A tornado is captured in Champaign, Illinois, on Feb. 27, 2023. (Courtesy of Andrew Pritchard)

At Least 2 Tornadoes Briefly Touch Down in Chicago Suburbs

At least two brief tornadoes touched down in the Chicago suburbs Monday — one in Joliet and another on the far north side of Naperville. 

The “Mom, I Don’t Want War” exhibit is part of a joint Polish-Ukrainian project, featuring children’s art made in Poland during World War II and the German occupation from 1939 – 1944, compared to children’s art from Ukraine created during its current war with Russia. (WTTW News)

Local Museum Portrays Russia-Ukraine War Through the Eyes of Children

The “Mom, I Don’t Want War” exhibit compares children’s drawings during the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict to Polish children’s art made during World War II and the German occupation.

(WTTW News)

‘Chicago Tonight’ in Your Neighborhood: Refugees Find Safety in Ukrainian Village One Year Into War

Friday marks one year since Russia invaded Ukraine. Millions of people have since fled the war-torn country, some seeking refuge in Chicago.

Pilsen homes. (WTTW News)

County Officials to Host Workshops As Longtime Pilsen Homeowners Demand Property Tax Relief

Teresa Fraga of the Pilsen Neighbors Community Council has been a homeowner in Pilsen for the last 43 years. She said she was expecting a $2,500 bill in December but instead received one for $14,279.

Logan Square residents watch the WTTW News mayoral forum live from Palenque LSNA. (Acacia Hernandez)

Mayoral Forum Reaction: Some Logan Square Residents Feel A Disconnect with Candidates

Logan Square residents watched the WTTW News mayoral forum live Tuesday. Some in the audience said they felt a disconnect from candidates, while others said candidates were giving talking points — not real answers.

(WTTW News)

What’s the Human Role in ShotSpotter Gunfire Detection System? CEO Explains

ShotSpotter alerts law enforcement to potential gunfire with the goal of reducing gun violence in Chicago. Critics say it's ineffective and contributes to overpolicing in Black and Latino communities.

(WTTW News)

ChatGPT: What to Know About the New AI Technology

Some school districts have banned the chatbot, which can answer questions, generate essays and even write scientific papers from a short prompt.

(WTTW News)

Warmth Can't Last Forever: Frigid Temps to Hit Chicago Next Week

With temperatures averaging in the mid to high 30s, Chicago is seeing its fourth warmest January on record. Climatologist Trent Ford said the only years that were warmer were 1880, 1939 and 2006.

(WTTW News)

Bill Awaiting Pritzker's Signature Would Allow CPS Principals to Unionize, Advocates Say Move Overdue

Chicago principals could soon have a seat at their own bargaining table. The bill would allow principals to unionize but not strike.

(WTTW News)

Average Chicago-Area Driver Spent 155 Hours Waiting In Traffic in 2022, Report Says

Chicagoans are all too familiar with having to sit in traffic. A recent report shows that the average Chicago-area driver spent 155 hours in traffic last year. That's the highest number in North America and second highest in the world.

(WTTW News)

‘Chicago Tonight’ in Your Neighborhood: Logan Square Residents See Property Tax Hikes

Some longtime Latino residents in the Logan Square community say they don’t know how long they will be able to keep paying property tax hikes, maintain a home and survive.

Acacia Hernandez, Joanna Hernandez, Nick Blumberg and Amanda Vinicky recap a year spent in local neighborhoods. (WTTW News)

‘Chicago Tonight’ in Your Neighborhood: Looking Back on 2022

In 2022, WTTW News visited 33 Chicago community areas, some more than once, plus 10 Chicago suburbs. We even ventured up north to take the pulse of Milwaukee. Take a look back through our In Your Neighborhood series. 

A home sale sign is picture on Dec. 27, 2022. (WTTW News)

To Buy Or Not To Buy? Looking Toward Chicago’s Housing Market in 2023

A look at the Chicago residential property market as we head into 2023 after a year of interest rate hikes. 

A resident walks down a snowy sidewalk in the North Park area on Dec. 22, 2022. (WTTW News)

‘Chicago Tonight’ in Your Neighborhood: North Park Adjusts Plans For Winter Storm

Local leaders are advising people to avoid travel when possible, and to check in on friends, family and neighbors who may need a helping hand. In Chicago’s North Park neighborhood, people are adjusting quickly during a busy holiday season while bearing in mind vulnerable community members. 

(WTTW News)

As RSV Peaks and COVID Cases Rise, Illinois Hospitals Face Limited ICU Availability

Illinois reported 3,314 new COVID cases Tuesday, leading to about a 7% increase from last week. Meanwhile, data shows RSV cases are on a steady decline and the virus could finally be peaking.

U.S. Attorney John Lausch appears on “Chicago Tonight” on Dec. 8, 2022. (WTTW News)

U.S. Attorney John Lausch on Recent Convictions, Gang Cases and Political Corruption: ‘Always Open For Business’

U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois John Lausch on the high-profile cases his office is currently working through. 

The village of Robbins water tower is pictured on Dec. 1, 2022. (WTTW News)

‘Chicago Tonight’ In Your Neighborhood: Robbins Calls For Federal Help to Fix Aging Water Infrastructure

Over Thanksgiving week, hundreds of Robbins residents were left with dry homes following two water main breaks. It is just part of a long history of water infratructure problems in the town. 

U.S. Rep. Jesús “Chuy” García appears on Chicago Tonight” on Nov. 22, 2022. (WTTW News)

US Rep. Jesús ‘Chuy’ García Ramps Up Campaign for Mayor: ‘I Want To Come Back Home’

U.S. Rep. Jesús “Chuy” García is mounting a campaign for mayor of Chicago and says the city needs a new leader who can bring people together. 

‘Chicago Tonight’ in Your Neighborhood: Impact of Obama Center Construction on Woodlawn

The Obama Presidential Center has been the source of excitement and anxiety for residents in the South Side Woodlawn community, who are eager to benefit from the major development but are concerned about being priced out. The’re also raising concerns about the difficulty of getting around the massive construction site. 

The Damen Silos are pictured on Nov. 10, 2022. (WTTW News)

‘Chicago Tonight’ in Your Neighborhood: McKinley Park and Future of Damen Silos

The state announced it will enter into exclusive negotiations with MAT Limited Partnership to take over the Damen Silos property. The 23-acre property located along the Chicago River has been vacant for years. 

A mural on the side of a building in East Garfield Park. (WTTW News)

‘Chicago Tonight’ in Your Neighborhood: Trauma’s Toll In East Garfield Park

Fourteen people, ten of whom from the same family, were shot in East Garfield Park on Oct. 31. The victims had been holding a vigil for a relative who’d recently passed away when a car drove by and opened fire. We visit the community dealing with the aftermath. 

Chicago Board of Trade building. (WTTW News)

‘Chicago Tonight’ In Your Neighborhood: City Aiming to Breathe Life Into Financial District

As firms and other businesses have started locating their offices in other parts of town, and with the massive shift in work patterns driven by COVID-19, the eight-block stretch has become home to more vacancies than any other part of downtown. Now, the city has an ambitious plan to spur development.