Stories by Evan Garcia

The Week in Review: Feds Defend Solis Deal, State Budget Passes

(WTTW News)

Lightfoot lays out her case for a possible second term. Gubernatorial candidates spending big before primaries. Mask confusion as the transit mandate goes away. And does Com Ed need that rate hike?

The Week in Review: Former Ald. Solis Pleads; Willie Wilson Runs

(WTTW News)

The race for mayor grows by another candidate. Springfield lawmakers tackle budget and crime. Some city council members barely show up for work. And hundreds of police officers forgo vaccine mandate.

New Head of Chicago’s Tourism Bureau Aims to Rebound Industry After Pandemic Decline

(WTTW News)

On May 9, Lynn Osmond will begin her four-year contract as CEO and president of Choose Chicago. The agency promotes leisure and business travel to bring revenue to the city’s attractions, events, hotels, restaurants and convention centers, most notably McCormick Place. 

How a Chicago Mom Turned Dumpster Diving into a Full-time Job

Professional dumpster diver Angel Williams looks through a garbage can in Chicago’s Roscoe Village neighborhood on April 1, 2022. (Evan Garcia / WTTW News)

Angel Williams was introduced to dumpster diving about 10 years ago by a woman at her church. Since then, the mother of four has parlayed the pastime into a business and mission.

Spring Trout Fishing Starts with a Small Splash in Illinois

Fisherman Vic Basil nets a rainbow trout he caught from Rock Creek, March 20, 2022, the second day of Illinois’ spring trout catch-and-release period. (Evan Garcia / WTTW News)

Rain Friday and Saturday created less-than-ideal fishing conditions for catching rainbow trout at Rock Creek ahead of a statewide, two-week catch-and-release period for a select few bodies of water that began Saturday.

Chicago Medical Student with Family in Ukraine Organizes Relief Effort

Dmytro Mysak, a first-year medical student at Rush University pictured on March 17, 2022, was born in Ukraine and still has family living in Lviv. (Evan Garcia / WTTW News)

Rush University medical student Dmytro Mysak left Ukraine with his parents when he was 3 years old, but still has family living there. Now, he is organizing a relief effort for refugees of the war. 

Turning Chicago’s Dead or Invasive Trees into Works of Art

Artist John Bannon works on his tree sculpture “Y Knot” on March 4, 2022, in Hollywood Park as part of the Chicago Tree Project program. (WTTW News)

The overall number of trees in the region has increased, according to a 2020 tree census conducted by Morton Arboretum.  But not all trees are seen as equals. Some are invasive and prevent native trees and plants from flourishing. 

Study: Getting More Sleep Reduces Caloric Intake, Could Help Fight Obesity

Dr. Esra Tasali, director of the UChicago Sleep Center, says her study showed getting a full night’s sleep could help one lose weight. (WTTW News)

Getting a full night’s sleep could help one lose weight, according to a recent study by University of Chicago and University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers.

Bears Chairman Denies Report of Impending Head Coach Firing Before Team Faces Lions

(WTTW News graphic)

Whatever takes place on the field Thursday is dwarfed right now by the confusion surrounding the entire Bears organization. Various reports paint a picture of a head coach about to be out of a job, and questions of whether there is any competence at all in the upper management of the organization.

Violence at University of Chicago Prompts a Search for Solutions to Ensure Safety

The University of Chicago (WTTW News)

While University of Chicago officials promptly indicated they’d increase off-campus patrolling following the recent death of a graduate, some members of the Asian community are calling for systemic change instead of increased surveillance or police presence.

Chicago’s First Physical NFT Gallery Drops Digital Art

The NFT gallery imnotArt hosts the NFT drop for “Souvenir” by artist Brendan Fernandes on Nov. 12, 2021. (WTTW News)

A special kind of art gallery in Chicago is emerging as a brick-and-mortar trailblazer in the digital art world. The art space imnotArt in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood bills itself as the city’s first physical NFT gallery and one of the first of its kind in the world.

Korean Cultural Center Hosts ‘Squid Game’ Event in Chicago

The Korean Cultural Center of Chicago hosted 120 participants Saturday to play a local version of Squid Game, featuring children’s games featured in the survival drama. (Courtesy Korean Cultural Center of Chicago)

The Korean Cultural Center of Chicago hosted 120 participants Saturday to play a local version that included games featured in the survival drama like tug of war and traditional Korean games like ddakji and squid game, the show’s namesake.

In ‘For the Left Hand,’ Pianist Overcomes Paralysis to Perform

The Chicagoan’s unwavering journey to his orchestral debut at the age of 79 is the subject of the film  “For the Left Hand” airing Friday, November 5 at 9:00 pm and Sunday, November 7 at 4:00 pm on WTTW. (Courtesy Kartemquin Films)

Norman Malone never abandoned his dream of becoming a concert pianist – despite a violent attack by his father that left his right side paralyzed at the age of 10. A new documentary chronicles the Chicagoan’s path from child prodigy to high school music teacher to his orchestral debut at age 79.

Indigenous Artist Builds and Floats Birchbark Canoe on Lake Michigan

Birchbark canoe builder Wayne Valliere, left, and others carry a birchbark canoe to Lake Michigan from Northwestern University in Evanston on Oct. 29, 2021. (WTTW News)

Wayne Valliere, a member of the Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe in northern Wisconsin, said he’s one of only six birchbark canoe builders among the Anishinaabe, an Indigenous collective in the Great Lakes region which includes the Ojibwe.

Survey Claims to Highlight ‘Mispronounced’ or ‘Misused’ English Words

(Timur Repin / Unsplash)

A survey of 2,000 Americans highlighted what some respondents claimed were the most commonly misused phrases and words they encounter – with “I could care less,” “would of,” “anyways” and “irregardless” claiming the top four spots.

Northwestern’s ‘Super Ager’ Research Receives $20 Million Grant

(Alexandra Marta / Unsplash)

Researchers at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine are studying adults in their 80s and up with high-functioning cognitive abilities.

Legal and Financial Assistance Available Following End of Illinois’ Eviction Ban

(WTTW News)

Nearly 70,000 Illinoisans said they’re “very likely” to leave their home due to eviction within the next two months, according to a recent U.S. Census Bureau Household Pulse Survey.

Scientists Recreate the Mighty Punch of the Mantis Shrimp in a Robot

A mantis shrimp grabs a mollusk shell at the Shedd Aquarium on Sept. 20, 2021. (WTTW News)

There are hundreds of species of mantis shrimp — crustaceans measuring anywhere from 1-12 inches long. The peacock mantis shrimp, indigenous to the waters of Indonesia, has a specific trait that humans are trying to replicate. 

Analysis: Mayor Lightfoot’s $16.7 Billion Spending Plan

Mayor Lori Lightfoot presents her budget proposal for 2022 to the Chicago City Council on Monday, Sept. 20, 2021. (WTTW News)

The 2022 spending plan relies on hundreds of millions of dollars in federal COVID-19 relief funding to shore up Chicago’s budget gaps, increases police spending and invests in ward-by-ward community programs. Is it too reliant on federal COVID-19 funding?

Holiday Shoppers to Contend with Supply Chain Disruptions

From shortages of microchips to coffee: what’s driving the current supply chain disruptions? (WTTW News)

As the holiday shopping season approaches, several economists are warning consumers about higher prices and delays for shipments due to a shortage in everything from microchips to coffee to the supply containers for transporting goods.

‘Chicago Party Aunt’ Prepares To Make Netflix Debut

“Chicago Party Aunt,” which starts streaming on Sept. 17, follows the adventures of Diane Dunbrowski, the boisterous namesake of the series, and her nephew Rory O’Malley, who’s taking a gap year before attending Stanford. (Courtesy Netflix)

She’s our local bad influence: the Chicago Party Aunt debuts this week on Netflix. We check in with writer and actor Chris Witaske, the creator of the notorious Twitter account-turned-animated series.

The Creator Economy: How Social Media Influencers are Gaining Audiences, Earning Money

(Erik Lucatero / Pixabay)

Even if you haven’t heard of the creator economy, you’ve likely encountered it. About 50 million people worldwide consider themselves creators, with the majority – about 46.7 million – calling themselves amateurs, according to a report. 

Terrorism Experts Reflect on 9/11 Attacks 20 Years Later

The terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 have changed the world in ways both “subtle and profound,” said DePaul University history professor Thomas Mockaitis. (WTTW News)

Saturday marks the 20th anniversary of the deadliest terrorist attack on U.S. soil. Local experts join us to discuss what we’ve learned about terrorist threats since then — and how safe we are today.

Northwestern Study Underscores Importance of 2nd COVID-19 Vaccine Dose

A new study by local scientists sheds light on the efficacy of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines as well as the importance of receiving both doses of the vaccines. We discuss the findings with Northwestern University professor and biological anthropologist Thomas McDade.

Study Finds Large Cities Promote Lower Rates of Depression

A new study suggests large, urban environments promote lower rates of depression among city residents, in comparison to suburbs and towns, due to the increased daily social interaction cities and the built environment facilitate. (WTTW News)

A new study suggests large, urban environments promote lower rates of depression among city residents, in comparison to suburbs and towns, due to the increased daily social interaction cities and the built environment facilitate.

Illinois’ Vaccine Portal Raises Privacy Concerns

Amid the unveiling of Illinois’ Vax Verify system, concerns are raised about the security of the vaccine verification portal. (WTTW News)

Could Illinois’ vaccine verification portal — known as Vax Verify — leave residents’ personal information vulnerable to hacking? We discuss privacy concerns surrounding the newly unveiled portal.