Stories by Kristen Thometz

Illinois Advocates Call for Universal Child Care, Say Current System is ‘Unaffordable, Unavailable’

(WTTW News)

The Illinois Child Care for All Coalition is calling for publicly-funded universal child care, saying it is unavailable and unaffordable for many in the Prairie State. 

12 Things to Do This Weekend: June 30-July 4

(Courtesy Chicago Loop Alliance)

A pop-up street art festival, summer workouts, circus acts and the sounds of nature usher in the holiday weekend. Here are a dozen things to do in and around Chicago.

2022 Chicago Summer Festival Guide

Do Division Street Fest (Courtesy of West Town Chamber of Commerce)

Get ready for fun with this guide to neighborhood street fests, art shows, outdoor concerts and cultural celebrations of all sizes across Chicago and the suburbs.

Advocates Say Lightfoot is Failing to Address Homelessness in Chicago While Pushing for Permanent Funding Source

A homeless encampment in Chicago. (WTTW News)

The Bring Chicago Home Coalition is calling on Mayor Lori Lightfoot to set up a dedicated revenue source to address homelessness in the city after giving the mayor failing grades in a report card issued Wednesday assessing her progress on addressing the issue during her first three years in office.

10 Things to Do This Weekend: June 23-26

(Photo by Allie Mischen)

Pride celebrations, micheladas, a South Side walking tour and colorful kimonos usher in the weekend. Here are 10 things to do in Chicago.

$20M Expansion of Social Service Agency The Ark Needed to Address Clients’ Growing Needs

The Ark, located in West Rogers Park, recently broke ground on a $20-million expansion. (Courtesy of The Ark)

The West Rogers Park facility is increasing the size of its food pantry fourfold, doubling the size of its community space and creating a dedicated area for its Intensive Day Program that serves adults with mental health challenges.

10 Cases of Monkeypox Confirmed in Illinois, Officials Announce

This electron microscope image shows mature, oval-shaped monkeypox virions, left, and spherical immature virions, right, from a human skin sample associated with a 2003 prairie dog outbreak. (Cynthia S. Goldsmith, Russell Regnery / CDC)

Nine cases of monkeypox have been detected in Chicago while one case has been identified in DuPage County, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health. 

10 Things to Do This Weekend: June 16-19

(RickMajewski / Northalsted / GoPride)

A pride celebration, Juneteenth events, community artwork and an eco fest usher in the weekend. Here are 10 things to do in Chicago.

Ben’s Friends ‘A Safe Space’ For Hospitality Workers Battling Addiction

(Shutterbug75 / Pixabay)

Last month, Ben’s Friends, a national support group for people in the hospitality industry struggling with addiction, began hosting weekly meetings in Chicago.

Backyard Chickens Linked to Nationwide Salmonella Outbreak: CDC

(Jan Kraus / Unsplash)

More than 200 people across the country, including 11 in Illinois, have become ill after coming in contact with poultry in backyard flocks, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  

10 Things to Do This Weekend: June 9-12

(Photo by Chicago DCASE)

Music festivals, artisan markets, a royal experience and Swedish traditions usher in the weekend. Here are 10 things to do in Chicago this weekend.

10 Things to Do This Weekend: June 2-5

(Photo by irws on Unsplash)

Greek eats, music fests, hot dogs and German beers usher in the weekend. Here are 10 things to do in Chicago this weekend.

Chicago Health Officials Watching Monkeypox Closely

Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady speaks Thursday, May 26, 2022. (WTTW News)

More than 100 cases of the virus have been reported globally, including in North America. While city officials are monitoring the situation, “at this point it has not been an explosive kind of outbreak,” said Dr. Allison Arwady, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health.

Northwestern Study: Brain Fog, Fatigue Persist for COVID-19 Long Haulers Months After Infection

Dr. Igor Koralnik, left, examines a patient. (Credit: Northwestern Medicine)

A new Northwestern Medicine study of 52 long haulers, who were not hospitalized and only experienced mild symptoms like cough and sore throat, found that most continued to experience neurologic symptoms, fatigue and compromised quality of life up to 18 months after initial infection. 

12 Things to Do This Memorial Day Weekend: May 26-30

(Courtesy of Special Events Management)

Street fests, live music, craft brews and beach season usher in the weekend. Here are 12 things to do in and around Chicago this weekend.

9 Suspected Cases of Severe Hepatitis Found in Kids: Illinois Health Officials

(valelopardo/ Pixabay)

Of the nine children under investigation for severe hepatitis, two-thirds tested positive for a common virus that causes cold or flu-like illness, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.

Illinois Switching to Automated Alerts for COVID-19 Contact Tracing

(Andrés Rodríguez / Pixabay)

Starting June 1, people who test positive for COVID-19 will receive an automated text message from the Illinois Department of Public Health directing individuals to resources.

Chicago Pilot Program to Provide Easy Access to Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder

(Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash)

Starting Thursday, Chicagoans calling the Illinois Helpline for Opioids and Other Substances can be transferred directly to treatment provider Family Guidance Centers, Inc. to receive immediate medication-assisted recovery. 

Legally Changed Your Name? Here’s What to Do If It Doesn’t Match Your COVID-19 Vaccination Card

(WTTW News)

Proof of vaccination against COVID-19 is no longer required in most public spaces, but some establishments still require it. What should you do if you’ve legally changed your name since getting the jab? Here’s what you need to know.

10 Things to Do This Weekend: May 19-22

(Credit: South Chicago Dance Theatre)

Fancy footwork, art fairs, cultural celebrations and chocolate usher in the weekend. Here are 10 things to do in and around Chicago this weekend.

COVID-19 Pandemic Challenged Harm Reduction Organizations to ‘Think Outside of the Box.’ Some of Those Lessons Stuck.

(Photo by @plqml // felipe pelaquim on Unsplash)

A key tenet of harm reduction is meeting people who use drugs where they’re at. The coronavirus challenged advocates’ ability to do just that, prompting them to think differently about how they provide and deliver services.

With Vaping Up and COVID Lingering, Northwestern Recruiting Millennials for Lung Health Study in Chicago

(valelopardo/ Pixabay)

Nearly 40 cities across the country are recruiting 4,000 young adults ages 25-35 to participate in a study that will track and analyze their lung health over their lifetime to better understand how environment, lifestyle and physical activity impact respiratory health.

10 Things to Do This Weekend: May 12-15

(Credit: Chicago Park District)

An organic plant sale, total lunar eclipse, migratory birds and a writers festival usher in the weekend. Here are 10 things to do in and around Chicago this weekend.

10 Things to Do This Weekend: May 5-8

(Credit: Chicago Park District)

Colorful flowers, cabaret shows, dance performances and circus acts usher in the weekend. Here are 10 things to do in and around Chicago this weekend.

DuPage County Ranked Healthiest County in Illinois for 2nd Year in a Row: Report

(Geronimo Giqueaux / Unsplash)

The western collar county is once again the healthiest in the state and has ranked in the top 6 healthiest counties since 2011, according to a comprehensive report comparing counties’ health statewide. 

10 Things to Do This Weekend: April 28-May 1

(Courtesy of One of a Kind Show)

A unique craft show, sudsy beverages, classical music and an alfresco art fair usher in the weekend. Here are 10 things to do in and around Chicago this weekend.