Stories by Marissa Nelson

(WTTW News)

Ask Geoffrey: Ivanhoe Theater

The Binny’s Beverage Depot at the intersection of Clark Street and Wellington Avenue in Lakeview is marked by its medieval exterior. The design isn’t a creative technique to make the liquor store stand out among other retailers in the area, but a reminder of the building’s history, which spans as far back as the 1920s.

(WTTW News)

‘Black Voices’ Community Conversation: State of Voting Rights

“Chicago Tonight” co-host and “Chicago Tonight: Black Voices” host Brandis Friedman moderated the latest edition of our “Chicago Tonight: Black Voices” community conversation series in a discussion focused on the state of voting rights.

(WTTW News)

Under Revised Equal Pay Law, Some Illinois Businesses Will Start Reporting Workforce Data

An amendment to the Equal Pay Act means new requirements are coming for some Illinois businesses.

(WTTW News)

With Inflation Up, Low-Income Communities are Especially Vulnerable to Rise in Prices

While the increase in the cost at the pump — or in the check-out line — impacts everyone, those who were already operating on a tight budget may be feeling the impact most acutely.

(WTTW News)

‘Chicago Tonight’ In Your Neighborhood: Revisiting West Lawn

The Southwest Side is a mostly residential community with many restaurants and some small businesses. It was hard hit by COVID-19, but today it’s among the areas with high vaccination rates. And it’s home to the now-indicted former house speaker Michael Madigan.

(WTTW News)

The Week in Review: Michael Madigan Faces Federal Charges

The feds nab Madigan on 22 corruption counts. Lightfoot's provocative statements. Arne Duncan says no to mayoral bid. And President Biden gives State of the Union amid Russian invasion of Ukraine.

(WTTW News)

Spotlight Politics: What Michael Madigan’s Indictment Means For Illinois Politics

What do new federal charges mean for Illinois’ Democratic Party, public trust in state government, and for Michael Madigan himself? Our politics team weighs in on that story and more.

A battery of Nike missiles was installed at Belmont Harbor in the early 1950s. (WTTW Archive)

Ask Geoffrey: Old Nike Missile Sites in Chicago

Geoffrey Baer joined “Chicago Tonight” for this week’s Ask Geoffrey, about old Nike missile bases in Chicago.

Minnie Miñoso. (WTTW News)

‘Latino Voices’ Community Conversation: Afro-Latino History

From pioneer professional baseball players Roberto Clemente and the White Sox’s Minnie Miñoso to “Queen of Salsa” Celia Cruz, Afro-Latinos have made a significant impact on American history. Our latest community conversation dives into Afro-Latino history in Chicago, while touching on the nuances of multi-racial identities.

(WTTW News)

‘Chicago Tonight’ in Your Neighborhood: Ukrainian Village

As a potential Russian invasion of Ukraine looms, residents in the neighborhood are feeling the impact acutely. Many have family still living in Ukraine and feel limited in what they are able to do to help them.

(WTTW News)

Why the Real Estate Industry Has Seen an Increase in New Agents

The housing market has been hot throughout the pandemic and so is the industry itself, with more people getting into the business. Membership at the Illinois Realtors Association is up 15% in the past five years and the past two years have seen the most significant growth.

A rendering of the upcoming Forty Acres Fresh Market. (Provided)

Two Locally Owned Grocery Stores Underway on West Side

After decades of disinvestment, two new grocery stores are being built on Chicago’s West Side — something residents have long awaited as other grocery store chains closed up shop. We spoke with two local owners about their investment in the community and what lies ahead on the road to development.

(WTTW News)

‘Chicago Tonight’ In Your Neighborhood: Leading Community in North Lawndale

In the fall, UCAN announced Christa Hamilton would be the first female and first Black person to lead the organization. More recently, lifetime resident pastor James Brooks became the CEO of the Lawndale Christian Health Center.

(WTTW News)

Laquan McDonald’s Family Responds to Release of Jason Van Dyke

We spent the day in North Lawndale — the neighborhood Laquan McDonald grew up in — and spoke with family members and the community about Jason Van Dyke’s release as part of our community reporting series.

(WTTW News Graphic)

‘Black Voices’ Community Conversation: The Legacy of Emmett Till, Mamie Till-Mobley

On Monday, “Chicago Tonight” co-host and “Chicago Tonight: Black Voices” host Brandis Friedman moderated the latest edition of our “Chicago Tonight: Black Voices” community conversation series in a discussion focused on the legacy of Emmett Till and Mamie Till-Mobley.

(WTTW News)

Pandemic Worsening Existing Teacher Shortage in Illinois

Illinois is facing a teacher shortage — and a new survey shows school leaders fear it is getting worse.  The survey was conducted last fall, before the highly contagious omicron COVID-19 variant, which poses added challenges to schools as some struggle to keep buildings staffed enough to host in-person classes.

(WTTW News)

Pilsen Pet Boutique Brings Handmade Mexican Designs to Chicago Pet Owners

A Chicagoan took the extra time the pandemic provided as an opportunity to start her own side hustle. Now, she’s the owner of a shop in Pilsen that connects its customers and their pets with handmade designs from Mexico.

(WTTW News)

Boost in Funding Moves Invasive Carp Barrier Forward: ‘This Money Can’t Come Soon Enough’

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has allocated $225.8 million to the Brandon Road Lock and Dam invasive carp barrier. The funds will complete the planning and engineering phase of the project.

(WTTW News)

‘Chicago Tonight’ in Your Neighborhood: Harvey

In recent years, Harvey has faced financial issues and political infighting, and it’s grappling with poverty, unemployment and crime. But officials and community leaders here say they're working to turn it around. And residents say even with the challenges the suburb faces, they feel proud of where they come from. 

(WTTW News)

Rank-and-File CTU Members Vote on New COVID-19 Mitigations

Rank-and-file members of the Chicago Teachers Union are in the process of voting on the deal reached by the union and the city on new COVID-19 mitigation efforts. Chicago Teachers Union Vice President Stacy Davis Gates said she expects the vote to be complete by the end of the week. 

The Clearing community on the Southwest side of Chicago is home to many city employees and families and the southern portion of Midway airport.  (WTTW News)

‘Chicago Tonight’ in Your Neighborhood: Clearing

The Clearing community on the Southwest Side of Chicago is home to many city employees and families and the southern portion of Midway Airport. We spent the day talking to people about how the neighborhood is adapting to all the changes throughout the pandemic.

(WTTW News)

Sun-Times Report Finds Sexual Assault Reports Nearing Pre-Pandemic Levels

Reports of sexual assault in Chicago appear to be returning to pre-pandemic levels, and the Near North police district — which includes River North — reached a 20-year high, according to a recent report in the Chicago Sun-Times.

In Illinois the COVID vaccine distribution got underway, and Illinois fully reopened in June. But, vaccine resistance, the delta variant, and later omicron caused cases to surge again. (WTTW News)

The Week in Review: Another Year Marked By COVID, Political Tensions

From the shocking events of Jan. 6 to COVID’s dip and surge, a changing of the guard in Springfield, to high crime rates and political battles in City Council. We recap the year’s biggest stories.

COVID is surging across the country and public officials warn residents to be cautious during New Year’s celebrations. (WTTW News)

Spotlight Politics: CDC Director Explains Altered Isolation Guidelines

COVID-19 is surging across the country and here in Illinois as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention faces criticisms for changing its isolation guidelines. Our Spotlight Politics team has that and more.

(WTTW News)

How to Deal With Grief, Stress During The Holidays

Holiday music, decorations and commercials say it’s supposed to be the most wonderful time of year. But not everyone experiences the holidays as merry and bright.

(WTTW News)

‘Latino Voices’ Community Conversation: Latino Holiday Traditions

The holidays are typically marked by family gatherings, delicious food and joyful music. We talk with community leaders about celebrating this holiday season amid the coronavirus pandemic and concerns about the omicron variant. Watch the full discussion.