Stories by Andrea Guthmann

Jackson Park (WTTW)

Geoffrey Baer Celebrates More of the City in ‘The Most Beautiful Places in Chicago 2’

Since no one program could contain every beautiful place in town, its high time for the sequel. “The Most Beautiful Places in Chicago 2” debuted Monday on WTTW.

(WTTW News)

Retailers Cheer Increased Holiday Spending This Year as Legos, Hot Wheels and Barbies Likely Big Toy Winners

Much of the country was back at work Monday after the long holiday weekend. But along with whatever else they were doing at their job, there’s a good chance they were doing something else ... shopping.


Cook County on Pace to Surpass Fatal Opioid Overdose Record as Fentanyl Use Spreads

The rise in opioid deaths is largely due to the increase in synthetic opioids like fentanyl, says law enforcement officials. 

Goodman Theater. (WTTW News)

From Dwindling Audiences to Increased Costs, Report Spotlights a Crisis for Chicago’s Theater Community

Live theatre attendance in Chicago has dropped by 60% in the last four years, according to a recent report commissioned by Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events contains alarming data.

Former U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh on Oct. 2, 2023. (WTTW News)

Former Congressman Joe Walsh on Republican Efforts to Oust House Speaker, Trump’s Hold on the Party

Former Illinois Rep. Joe Walsh, a Republican, says the battle over House Speaker Kevin McCarthy is an example of where the national Republican Party is right now.    

(WTTW News)

As Delta-8 Cannabis Products Gain Popularity, Chicago and Illinois Officials Debate How to Best Regulate the Substance

Products made from delta-8 promise to deliver a milder marijuana-like high. But unlike marijuana, which is strictly regulated and can only be sold in licensed dispensaries, delta-8 can be sold in convenience stores and cafes, and there are no age minimums for purchase.

Bally's casino opening day on Sept. 9, 2023. (WTTW News)

Hopes High as Bally’s Opens Chicago’s First Casino at Medinah Temple

After three decades and several mayors pressuring Springfield, Chicago’s first casino officially opened its doors on Saturday. Hopes are high for a big economic boost. 

Chicago Police Department Headquarters, 3510 S. Michigan Ave. (Michael Izquierdo / WTTW News)

Examining the Chicago Police Department’s Progress on the Consent Decree Almost 5 Years Into the Process

The court-mandated oversight was prompted by the 2014 murder of teenager Laquan McDonald by a Chicago police officer. Almost five years later, the department is in full compliance with just over 5% of the requirements.

(Credit: Chicago Police Department)

With Carjackings on the Rise, Illinois Looks to Curb the Growing Crime

There’s been an increase in carjackings nationwide, but Chicago is reporting more incidents than any other city in the U.S.

(WTTW News)

Architects, Community Advocates Say Investing in Public Spaces Can Make Neighborhoods Safer

Public transit and amenities like theaters, parks, libraries and grocery stores make neighborhoods more livable and appealing. But do they actually make them safer?

(WTTW News)

Anti-Violence Programs Aim to Keep the Peace By Stopping Conflicts Before They Occur

The city, state and federal governments have allocated millions in funding for anti-violence programs — ones that hire local residents at high risk of being shot or shooting others. 

(WTTW News)

Media Matters When It Comes to the Public’s Perception of Crime and Violence

Recent data shows that the murder rate in the U.S. is experiencing one of the largest decreases ever. Yet that good news doesn’t always make the headlines. Instead, mainstream media is often accused of furthering a narrative about rampant crime.

(Andrea Piacquadio / Pexels)

Teen Summer Jobs a Public Safety Priority, Johnson Administration Says

Research shows a correlation between youth unemployment and crime. Mayor Brandon Johnson has made teen employment a public safety priority. He’s pledged to double the number of jobs in the city’s youth employment program.

(WTTW News)

Hidden Scars of Violence: How Exposure Impacts Mental Health

Exposure to violence is traumatic for everyone involved and can cause both immediate and long-term psychological damage. That damage can lead to depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, sleep and substance abuse disorders and even suicide.

A gun store display is pictured in a file photo. (WTTW News)

The Politics of Gun Control: Debating Illinois’ Assault Weapons Ban

Since the mass shooting at last year’s Fourth of July parade in Highland Park, Illinois has moved swiftly on gun control measures. The most controversial has been the ban on so-called assault weapons.

(Thomas Ulrich / Pixabay)

After Surgeon General’s Mental Health Warning, Chicago-Area Author Provides Tips on How Teens Can Safely Use Social Media

Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy recently issued a warning that social media presents a “profound risk of harm” to kids’ mental health. He’s calling on families to set limits on social media use and for lawmakers to issue tougher standards on technology platforms to protect kids.

Inspector General Deborah Witzburg appears on "Chicago Tonight" on May 30, 2023. (WTTW News)

Inspector General Report Finds Chicago Police Department Allows Dishonest Cops to Stay on the Job

An audit by Inspector General Deborah Witzburg reveals the Chicago Police Department has allowed more than 100 officers who filed false reports to stay on the job. Some were even promoted after being found to have lied.

Dr. Allison Arwady, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health, appears on "Chicago Tonight" on March 20, 2023. (WTTW News)

Dr. Allison Arwady on 3-Year Anniversary of COVID Closures, Dangers of Lead Paint

Throughout the pandemic, Dr. Allison Arwady, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health, led Chicago’s effort to fight the deadly virus. On this third anniversary of the pandemic, Arwady reflects on lessons learned and whether she would have done anything differently. 

Buckingham Fountain in Grant Park. (David Mark / Pixabay)

Grant Park Summer Closures Raise Questions About Access, Priorities

Grant Park could potentially be closed to the public for 40 days for July's NASCAR Chicago Street Race, including event setup and teardown. That's just one of many events blocking free access to the park this summer.

(WTTW News)

Advocates Hopes Chicago’s Next Mayor Puts Focus on Environmental Justice Issues

Crime has dominated much of the local and national media coverage around Chicago’s mayoral election. But environmental justice activists contend that environmental issues also have a significant impact on quality of life for residents.

(WTTW News)

Candidates Compete for Seats on Newly Formed Police District Councils

Each of Chicago’s 22 police districts will now have a three-person civilian oversight council made up of people from that community. 

Orlando Mayorga delivers a talk as part of FIRSTHAND: Life After Prison. (WTTW)

Justice Advocates on How Trauma Impacts Those Who Have Been Incarcerated

Thousands of restrictive laws govern people who have been released from prison in the United States, making it difficult for them to find housing, employment and to restart life after they have done their time.

A rendering of a proposed dome on Soldier Field (Credit: Landmark Chicago Interests LLC)

Developers Work to Sell Chicago Bears on Plans for Improved Soldier Field

Mayor Lori Lightfoot and a prominent developer are trying to sell the team on some dazzling new changes to Soldier Field in a Hail Mary attempt to keep the team in Chicago.

(WTTW News)

With a Renewed National Focus on Homelessness, Advocates Say Local Action Also Needed

On Monday, President Joe Biden unveiled his plan to cut homelessness by 25% by 2025. While the president is promising federal aid to help solve the crisis, advocates for the homeless argue there are local strategies that must be implemented as well.

The Metropolitan Correctional Center in Chicago is pictured in a file photo. (WTTW News)

New U. of C. Report Finds Federal Judges Jailing Defendants Awaiting Trial at Increasingly High Rates

A new report from the University of Chicago Law School’s Federal Criminal Justice Clinic shows that locking up pretrial defendants has become the norm in federal court, rather than the exception, as required by law.

(WTTW News)

How Will Inflation and Online Holiday Shopping Impact Michigan Avenue and Downtown Retailers?

Online shopping hit record levels last Friday, despite consumers’ concerns about the economy being at the highest level since the 2008 Great Recession.