Stories by Marissa Nelson

‘Chicago Tonight’ in Your Neighborhood: Grand Boulevard

Located on Chicago’s South Side, the Grand Boulevard community is home to several historic institutions. (WTTW News)

The area includes part of the Bronzeville neighborhood. And it has a rich history, from its churches to its hospital. We spoke with community leaders about that and efforts to bring people together this holiday season.

Chicago’s COVID Response Corps ‘Ready for The Next Challenge’ Ahead of Winter, Holiday Gatherings

(Andrés Rodríguez / Pixabay)

Earlier in the pandemic, the program began by focusing on contact tracing. But it has since expanded to meet other needs – like scheduling vaccine appointments and working the city’s COVID-19 hotline. 

Chicago Small Businesses Deal With Supply Chain Issues, COVID Economic Impact

Some small business owners say they hope the holiday season will provide a much-needed boost to revenue as retailers large and small face supply chain issues and inflation more than a year and a half into the pandemic. (WTTW News)

The holiday shopping season is underway and U.S. sales are on track to surpass spending records. Some small business owners say they hope the season will provide a much-needed boost to revenue as retailers large and small face supply chain issues and inflation more than a year and a half into the pandemic.

Omicron Variant Raises Concerns of Vaccine Equity

(WTTW News)

A growing number of states and countries are detecting the omicron variant, though it has yet to be identified in Illinois. Some say the mutation raises concerns about vaccine equity across the globe.

‘Beyond Chicago from the Air’ Premieres on WTTW

The Mississippi River from the air, as seen in Geoffrey Baer’s new special, “Beyond Chicago from the Air.” (WTTW News)

Geoffrey Baer’s latest special, “Beyond Chicago from the Air,” explores Illinois’ landscape and landmarks from the air — using drone footage to take viewers across the state.

‘Black Voices’ Community Conversation: Black Small Businesses

(WTTW News)

Brandis Friedman and a panel of guests talk about how Black-owned small businesses are navigating the holiday shopping season amid supply chain issues and labor shortages. Watch the discussion now.

How Inflation, Supply Chain Issues Are Impacting Food Insecurity in Chicago

(WTTW News)

Food insecurity continues to be far above pre-pandemic levels. Advocates say supply chain issues and inflation are worsening this problem — higher grocery bills make it even harder for some to afford food.

‘Chicago Tonight’ in Your Neighborhood: Washington Park

Washington Park is nestled between Hyde Park, Woodlawn and Englewood. It’s home to the DuSable Museum of African American History and to the former Schultz Baking Company. (WTTW News)

Washington Park is nestled between Hyde Park, Woodlawn and Englewood. It’s home to the DuSable Museum of African American History and to the former Schultz Baking Company. Now closed, the building is on the National Register of Historic Places and there are plans to turn it into a data center.

Behind ‘The Great Resignation’ of Americans Quitting Their Jobs in Record Numbers

(WTTW News)

In September, 4.4 million people left their jobs, according to the latest data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Some say workers have spent the pandemic reevaluating their priorities and values, leading them to leave their places of work or demand more from their employers. 

Tribune Report Reveals Sexism in Chicago’s Radio Industry

Women in Chicago’s radio industry are speaking out about the sexism they’ve faced. (WTTW News)

The Chicago Tribune published a scathing 10-month investigation into what women face in the male-dominated industry. The reporters spoke with dozens of women in radio about their experiences. WTTW News spoke with three of those women to hear about what they have faced in the industry. 

‘Chicago Tonight’ in Your Neighborhood: Washington Heights

Washington Heights is tightly knit, with high rates of homeownership but a relatively low COVID vaccination rate. And home to a branch of the Chicago public library that's visited by scholars from around the world. (WTTW News)

The predominantly African American community on the Far South Side has high rates of homeownership but a relatively low COVID-19 vaccination rate.

West Side Grocery Store Closure Highlights Food Inequities in Chicago

Aldi shuttered its West Garfield Park location in October 2021. (WTTW News)

The recent closure of an Aldi in West Garfield Park leaves residents with one less grocery store and points to a larger issue of food insecurity across the city, particularly in low-income and Black and brown communities that have faced decades of disinvestment, according to advocates. 

FDA Proposes Plan to Make Hearing Aids Available Over the Counter

People with mild to moderate hearing loss may soon be able to get hearing aids without a medical exam or fitting by an audiologist. (WTTW News)

Hearing aids may soon be available over the counter. Last week the FDA issued a proposal to allow hearing aids to be sold directly to consumers, without a medical exam or fitting by an audiologist.

‘Latino Voices’ Community Conversation: Dia de los Muertos

(WTTW News)

Dia de los Muertos, or the Day of the Dead, is a two-day holiday that honors dead relatives, remembering loved ones and celebrating ancestors. We talk about the holiday’s meaning, traditions and misconceptions with community leaders.

Ask Geoffrey: The Wrigley Building’s 100th Anniversary

(WTTW News)

The Wrigley Building celebrates its 100th anniversary. The latest edition of “Ask Geoffrey” explores how the Chicago icon transformed Michigan Avenue.

‘Chicago Tonight’ in Your Neighborhood: Joliet

Residents call the Joliet area a mini Chicago. There’s a large train station; a couple of colleges; a theater, the Rialto; a baseball team, the minor league Joliet Slammers; and a successful football team at Joliet Catholic High School. (WTTW News)

The southwest suburb is home to several racetracks and is the birthplace of Dairy Queen. The area also has two prisons – one of which closed in 2002 and recently opened as a haunted house.

New Podcast Explores How Madigan Ruled Illinois Politics

A new podcast from the Better Government Association tells the story of Madigan and how he ran Illinois politics for so long. (WTTW News)

Former House Speaker Michael Madigan ruled Illinois politics for decades. Amid the expanding ComEd bribery scheme investigation, Madigan stepped down from two powerful positions this year: the state speakership and chair of Illinois’ Democratic Party.

Lincoln Square Bakery With a Mission Revamps Space, Expand Hours

(WTTW News)

Dorothy’s Sweet Shoppe offers life skills and job training to adults with disabilities who help keep the shop running from baking to taking customers’ orders and cashing them out.

‘Chicago Tonight’ in Your Neighborhood: Uptown

Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood has been an entertainment destination, dating back to the 1920s. It’s known for the historic Green Mill, Riviera Theatre and the Aragon Ballroom. (WTTW News)

Uptown is one of Chicago’s most diverse communities.  It’s home to a few icons in Chicago’s music scene. But, like many neighborhoods, it also faces gentrification. We talk with community leaders about planned luxury apartments coming to the area and a nonprofit that provides housing for women.

A Nation in ‘Peril’: Woodward, Costa Chronicle Volatile Presidential Transition

A new book gives an insider, blow-by-blow account of one of the most tumultuous and dangerous presidential transitions in American history, from the chaos of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot to a secret six-point strategy to overturn the election results. 

New Fund Aims to Address Inequitable Investment in Black, Brown-Led Nonprofits

(WTTW News)

Research shows Black and brown-led nonprofits receive less funding than their white counterparts. Now, a new program by the United Way of Metro Chicago is working to address this disparity.

‘Black Voices’ Community Conversation: Pullman

A screenshot from the “Black Voices” community conversation on Monday, Sept. 27, 2021. (WTTW News)

Brandis Friedman and a panel of guests talk about Pullman’s role in the Black labor movement and the Great Migration following the recent opening of the Pullman National Monument’s visitor center. Watch the discussion now.

The Week in Review: 2022 City Budget Hearings Begin

Mayor Lori Lightfoot speaks with Alds. Susan Sadlowski Garza (10th Ward) and Emma Mitts (37th Ward) before detailing her 2022 spending plan on Monday, Sept. 20, 2021. (Heather Cherone / WTTW News)

The mayor introduces a big spending plan and voices her frustration with CPS COVID-19 protocols. A rift between the Chicago Bears and the Chicago Park District emerges as a potential deal for Arlington Park looms. And the Sox clinch the division.

The Week in Review: FDA Panel Votes on COVID Booster Shots

(WTTW News)

An ethics investigation into a Chicago alderman. The county assessor's got election competition. The latest on the park district's lifeguard sex abuse scandal. And CPS gets a new CEO.

‘Chicago Tonight’ in Your Neighborhood: Oak Lawn

The First Responders Memorial is right on the Oak Lawn Patriot Station Metra stop. The memorial’s spires are partially made with beams from the World Trade Center. (WTTW News)

Oak Lawn is a southwest suburb bordering parts of Chicago. Along with surrounding suburbs, it has a strong Muslim community. And its fire and police departments sent members to support New York firefighters after the 9/11 attack. 

Health Care Workers on Mental, Emotional Toll of Pandemic

(WTTW News)

Nearly a year and a half into the pandemic, some health care workers are reporting feelings of burnout. We talk with medical professionals about what they’re seeing during the latest surge of COVID-19.