Steady rain throughout much of the spring led to the state’s worst flooding in more than 25 years, according to the Illinois Emergency Management Agency. More than two dozen counties can now apply for federal funding to help with recovery efforts.
Stories by Alex Ruppenthal
27 Illinois Counties Eligible for Federal Aid After Near-Record Flooding
Sep 23, 2019 | Alex Ruppenthal
House Committee Votes to Boost Funding for Great Lakes Restoration
Sep 20, 2019 | Alex Ruppenthal
The bill, which still needs approval in the full House and the Senate, would expand a 10-year effort to clean up toxic pollution, restore fish and wildlife habitat, manage invasive species and reduce runoff pollution in the Great Lakes.
Field Museum Joins Youth Climate Strike in Chicago
Sep 19, 2019 | Alex Ruppenthal
The Field Museum will be at the center of Chicago’s youth climate strike Friday as activists across the globe hold what is expected to be one of the largest environmental demonstrations in the history of the planet.
Ald. Leslie Hairston Stands By Comment That Nature Sanctuary is ‘Dead’
Sep 19, 2019 | Alex Ruppenthal
The fate of a 6-acre nature sanctuary on the city’s South Side is at the center of a debate over Tiger Woods’ $30 million plan to transform two golf courses. And it’s health is also in question. We go for a visit.
In Joliet, Commercial Fishers Join the Fight Against Asian Carp
Sep 16, 2019 | Alex Ruppenthal
If Asian carp invade the Great Lakes, experts say the fish would have a devastating effect on the marine food chain and the region’s $7 billion fishing industry. We get a look at efforts to keep them out of Illinois waterways.
10,000 Cabbages Growing in Garfield Park for New ‘Living Exhibit’
Sep 13, 2019 | Alex Ruppenthal
A pair of Danish architects hope to make a statement and spark conversations about food production with their new exhibit that’s part of the Chicago Architecture Biennial.
Protest Planned Ahead of Sean Spicer’s Visit to NEIU
Sep 12, 2019 | Alex Ruppenthal
A group of Northeastern Illinois University students, faculty, staff and alumni plan to protest a sold-out event Thursday featuring former Trump White House press secretary Sean Spicer.
52 Endangered Blanding’s Turtles Released in DuPage County
Sep 11, 2019 | Alex Ruppenthal
After spending their first year at Chicago’s Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, dozens of endangered Blanding’s turtles were released into the wild as part of a preservation effort that started more than 20 years ago.
Group Calls on Illinois, Great Lakes States to Take Action on ‘Forever Chemicals’
Sep 10, 2019 | Alex Ruppenthal
The National Wildlife Federation warns that pollution from PFAS chemicals – often called “forever chemicals” because they don’t break down over time – could be one of the most serious threats facing the Great Lakes region.
Humans Have Been Altering the Planet for at Least 3,000 Years, Study Finds
Sep 9, 2019 | Alex Ruppenthal
Humans in many areas of the world were farming, burning forests, grazing their animals and causing major changes to the environment some 1,000 years earlier than previously thought.
Could Illinois Be the Next State to Ban Balloon Releases?
Sep 5, 2019 | Alex Ruppenthal
Five U.S. states have passed laws regulating the intentional release of balloons amid growing concerns over the risk they pose to wildlife. Illinois could be one of the next states to take action.
New Illinois Law Boosts Funding for Clean Water Infrastructure, Jobs
Sep 4, 2019 | Alex Ruppenthal
The new Clean Water Workforce Pipeline program will train workers for water-related jobs, such as those required for treating wastewater and replacing lead pipes.
From Tunnel to Tap: Field Exhibit Explores Hidden Beauty of Water Systems
Sep 3, 2019 | Alex Ruppenthal
Chicago photographer Brad Temkin offers a rare look at the hidden network of tunnels and infrastructure designed to deliver water, including Chicago’s 109-mile Deep Tunnel.
New Initiative Aims to Bring Solar Energy, Jobs to Chicago’s South Side
Aug 30, 2019 | Alex Ruppenthal
Chicago nonprofit Blacks in Green is partnering with Sunrun, the country’s largest residential solar company, to expand access to solar opportunities on the city’s South Side.
Amid Lax Enforcement, New Bill Aims to Crack Down on Negligent Animal Dealers
Aug 29, 2019 | Alex Ruppenthal
Legislation proposed by U.S. Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi seeks to reverse a trend of declining enforcement of animal welfare laws under the Trump administration.
The Beauty of Coral Reef, Captured on 89 Giant LED Panels
Aug 28, 2019 | Alex Ruppenthal
A new installation combining art, architecture and technology provides an immersive look at the underwater world of reefs.
EPA Consent Order Requires General Iron to Reduce Air Pollution
Aug 27, 2019 | Alex Ruppenthal
New rules for a scrap metal yard on the city’s North Side require the facility to reduce emissions of potentially cancer-causing compounds after it violated federal air pollution standards last summer.
Amazon Fires ‘Heartbreaking,’ But Global Outcry Offers Hope
Aug 26, 2019 | Alex Ruppenthal
News of a spike in wildfires in the Amazon led to an international outcry aimed at Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who responded over the weekend by authorizing the deployment of 44,000 military troops to put out the fires.
Shedd Sea Lion Dies After Complications from Acute Liver Failure
Aug 23, 2019 | Alex Ruppenthal
Ty, an 18-year-old California sea lion, had been living at the aquarium since 2005. Animal caretakers and veterinarians began monitoring him last week after noticing an uncharacteristic decline in his appetite.
Field Museum, Evanston Brewery Introduce Beer Inspired by 1893 World’s Fair
Aug 22, 2019 | Alex Ruppenthal
A new dry-hopped cream ale is made from the same types of barley and corn found in the museum’s original collections from 1893, the same year more than 27 million visitors flocked to Chicago for the World’s Columbian Exposition.
Study: Pollution Linked to Depression, Bipolar Disorder
Aug 21, 2019 | Alex Ruppenthal
Living in areas with poor air quality increases one’s likelihood of suffering from depression, bipolar disorder and other mental illnesses, according to a new study by University of Chicago researchers.
New Law Allows Illinois to Set Own Restrictions on Greenhouse Gases
Aug 20, 2019 | Alex Ruppenthal
The state had been prohibited from settings its own emissions targets for more than 20 years. Lawmakers are now expected to focus on an aspirational clean energy bill with the goal of moving Illinois to 100% clean energy by 2050.
Artificial Light is Changing Animal Behavior in Chicago, Study Finds
Aug 19, 2019 | Alex Ruppenthal
Using satellite images and data on wildlife activity, scientists determined that artificial light levels found in more than a third of the city are altering the circadian rhythm and behaviors of animals throughout the city.
Rescued Sea Otter Pups Make Behind-the-Scenes Debut at Shedd Aquarium
Aug 16, 2019 | Alex Ruppenthal
No makeup was necessary for a pair of fuzzy sea otter pups the aquarium showed off to the media this week. “They get cuter every day,” said Tracy Deakins, a senior trainer of otters and penguins.
Pritzker Signs Bill Redefining ‘Local Foods’ in Illinois
Aug 15, 2019 | Alex Ruppenthal
The new law is expected to help Illinois-based food producers and manufacturers compete for contracts that prioritize locally sourced foods.
How the Weakened Endangered Species Act Could Impact Illinois
Aug 14, 2019 | Alex Ruppenthal
The Trump administration’s move to effectively weaken protections under the landmark law could have stark consequences for the 480 plant and animal species classified as endangered or threatened within Illinois.