Stories by Nicole Cardos

Jingmai O’Connor, associate curator of fossil reptiles at Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

Birds Are Dinosaurs: How a Family Tree That Spans T. Rex to Pigeons Informs Our Understanding of Life on Earth

Shake any family tree, and a few skeletons are bound to fall out — that’s as true for birds as it is for people. Except that for birds, the wacky cousin lurking in one of those branches is T. Rex.

(Nicole Cardos / WTTW News)

Hundreds Watch Solar Eclipse at Triton College in Western Suburbs

Nearly 2,000 people gathered at Triton College in west suburban River Grove to view the solar eclipse Monday afternoon.

The nonprofit Chicago Filmmakers offers screenings, filmmaking classes and voting. (Nicole Cardos / WTTW News)

From Funeral Home to Comedy Club, Here Are Some of Chicago’s Most Interesting Polling Places

Of the nearly 1,300 polling places across Chicago for Tuesday’s primary election, there will be a few private businesses that offer up their space for voters.

“The Polish Luther” paczki creation. (Credit: Jonathan Surratt)

It’s Been 10 Years Since ‘The Polish Luther’ Was Created. Chicago, How Will You Take Your Paczki This Fat Tuesday?

The paczki many Polish Americans grew up eating, made with plum, rose or raspberry fillings, aren’t the only kind available these days. We take a look at the Fat Tuesday tradition. 

Home baker Agnieszka “Agnes” Hurtado whips up hundreds of paczki every year. (Nicole Cardos / WTTW News)

This Chicago-Area Home Baker Makes Hundreds of Paczki Every Year. Here’s How She Does It

Paczki are fried Polish donuts filled with jam. Residents across Chicago and the Midwest celebrate the donut every year on Fat Tuesday, better known to some as “Paczki Day.”

In her new book, Lauren Viera compiles a list of places to eat, buy food, drink, shop and sleep with a short description of why each location is a “hidden secret.” (Nicole Cardos / WTTW News)

What Are Some of Chicago’s Hidden Secrets? A New Book Lists 500 of Them

In her new book, Lauren Viera compiles a list of places to eat, buy food, drink, shop and sleep with a short description of why each location is a “hidden secret.”

Azadi Brewing makes a lager called Time Pass, a phrase often said in India that means hanging out. (WTTW News)

Azadi Brewing Introduces Indian Flavors, Culture to Chicago’s Craft Beer Scene

Longtime friends Bhavik Modi and Ray “Gator” Schrand have created what might be the only Indian brewery on tap in the American craft beer market: Azadi Brewing Company. The co-founders said everything about each Azadi beer is a lesson in Indian history and culture.

(Kevin Morris / 2022 Bank of America Chicago Marathon)

I Ran the Chicago Marathon Last Year. Here’s What I Wish I Knew

It’s race week for more than 47,000 participants in the 2023 Bank of America Chicago Marathon. We’ve compiled tips from one runner who shares what to expect at this year’s race.

(Courtesy Whitney Bradshaw / “Outcry”)

Photographer’s ‘Scream Sessions’ Aim to Challenge Stereotypes

Since January 2018, Whitney Bradshaw has photographed more than 375 women who participated in her “Scream Sessions.” All portraits are now on display together for the first time in a new exhibit at the McCormick Gallery called “Outcry.”

The starting gate at Arlington International Racecourse. (WTTW News)

Arlington Park Takes Its ‘Final Turn’ Amid a Pandemic as Sale Looms

It’s home to trainers, jockeys and others in the horse racing industry. And during summer weekends, it’s a place for fans to bet on their favorite racehorse. Arlington International Racecourse is officially open for what could be its last season.

Chicago photographer Jeff Dahlgren takes a portrait at Throop Studio. (WTTW News)

Local Couple Recreates Picture Day for Chicago Families

Whether you loved it or hated it, a school picture day was something everyone had growing up. But that isn’t the case for some Chicago-area students during the pandemic. How one local couple is recreating the tradition.

Yingying Zhang, center, takes a photo with her father Ronggao Zhang, left, mother Lifeng Ye and fiance Xiaolin Hou. (U.S. Attorney's Office)

New Documentary ‘Finding Yingying’ Shares Intimate Details About Murdered Scholar

Chinese scholar Yingying Zhang went missing in June 2017 at the University of Illinois. Her story is detailed in a new documentary that goes beyond true crime. We speak with the film’s director and a producer to learn more.

(Photo by Nick Hillier on Unsplash)

Need a Book During Quarantine? Local Bibliophiles Share Recommendations

With Illinois’ stay-at-home order in place through the end of May, some of us are looking to pick up new hobbies — or new books. We asked a trio of book lovers to share their picks.

(Photos courtesy of Terri Chaseley)

Highland Park Resident Describes Experience Living With COVID-19

Patients diagnosed with COVID-19 have described a range of symptoms, and they’ve lived with a fear of spreading the illness to their family and friends. A Chicago-area resident shares her story.

A still image of Aleksandra August from her new series “Flavor of Poland.” (Courtesy of American Public Media)

Host of New Series ‘Flavor of Poland’ Talks Polish Cuisine, Paczki

If there’s one thing Aleksandra August hopes viewers take away from her new show “Flavor of Poland,” it’s that they learn something more about the country than its offerings of pierogi and kielbasa.

(WTTW News)

UChicago Stamp Collection Sheds Light on Everyday Life in North Korea

A new collection of 2,000 stamps at the University of Chicago offers a unique look at North Korea. We stopped by the Regenstein Library to see it – and meet the librarian who acquired it.

Need a Drill? A Sewing Machine? New Chicago Tool Library Ready to Lend

There’s a new library in Chicago and it’s stocked with pretty much everything except books. We visit the Chicago Tool Library in Bridgeport.

(FotoRieth / Pixabay)

12 Book Suggestions for Cozy Winter Nights

If you find yourself snowed in this winter (or you just feel like hibernating by the fire), how about reaching for a good book? Three book lovers join us with their top picks.

“My family and my name have been totally and permanently destroyed by vicious and false additional accusations,” Judge Brett Kavanaugh said during a hearing on Thursday, Sept. 27, 2018.

NYT Reporters Reveal New Details in ‘The Education of Brett Kavanaugh’

A new book from reporters Robin Pogrebin and Kate Kelly offers a detailed look at Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh a year after his tumultuous Senate testimony.

(rawpixel / Pixabay)

Report: 46 Illinois Hospitals Earn Grade ‘A’ in Patient Safety, 4 Earn ‘D’

As many as 440,000 people die every year from preventable mistakes in hospitals, according to national nonprofit The Leapfrog Group. How Illinois hospitals are performing.

Val Camilletti at her record store, Val’s halla, in 2005. (WTTW News)

Oak Park Record Store Val’s Halla Closing its Doors Nov. 30

A legendary record store is closing at the end of the month. We revisit our portrait of this one-of-a-kind shop opened by Val Camilletti in 1972.

New York Times reporter Megan Twohey appears on “Chicago Tonight” on Oct. 15, 2019.

Evanston Native Shares How She Helped Break Harvey Weinstein Story

In a new book, New York Times reporters Megan Twohey and Jodi Kantor detail how they uncovered allegations of sexual abuse by Harvey Weinstein. Twohey, an Evanston native, joins us in discussion.

Thomas Krasnican and Nick Paraiso sit down with former U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri. (Courtesy Thomas Krasnican and Nick Paraiso)

UChicago Podcast Strives to Bridge the Civil-Military Divide

How much do service members and civilians interact? Some say not enough. But a new podcast out of the University of Chicago aims to change that.

Social Worker Shares Intimate Stories from Chicago’s Mental Health System

What is the connection between mental health, trauma and Chicago’s high homicide rate? A new book by Jonathan Foiles aims to answer that question.

New Community Garden Aims to Shed Light on Urban Indians

The First Nations Garden in Albany Park was created by the American Indian Center and the Chi-Nations Youth Council in partnership with the city of Chicago. “It’s become a beacon for native people,” said 17-year-old Adrien Pochel.

Dr. Carl Bell appears on “Chicago Tonight” on July 17, 2019.

Psychiatrist Dr. Carl Bell Dead at 71

Dr. Carl Bell, who grew up on Chicago’s South Side, was a national leader in treating childhood trauma resulting from violence.