Stories by Rhyan Zuercher

Patrick Kennedy & Stigma of Mental Illness

Former congressman and mental illness advocate Patrick Kennedy discusses his life's work, his personal struggle with bipolar disorder and addiction, and why this is one of the most crucial civil rights issues today.

New Archbishop of Chicago

As of Tuesday, Blase Cupich will become the new Archbishop of the Chicago Diocese. We explore the transition process and what can be expected from Archbishop Cupich as he takes on his new flock.

Smoke and Mirrors

As the medical marijuana pilot program gets underway in Illinois, some fear the corruption and cronyism the state is known for will dominate who will be granted the first licenses. We explore the application process and how it will be overseen by state officials.

Architectural Reevaluation

From the now halted construction of the Chicago Spire to the renovated Navy Pier, a moment of reflection may be needed before the City of Chicago undertakes more massive projects.

Cardinal Francis George

Cardinal Francis George is in the process of transitioning from his role as head of the Archdiocese of Chicago. We join him as he looks back on his time in this role, his views on the Catholic Church, Pope Francis, and how he has worked to bring transparency and healing to victims of sexual abuse by Catholic priests.

Early Voting Snafus: Fact or Fiction?

Monday marked the beginning of early voting in Illinois and emotions are running high in this close election. While some machine malfunctions are not uncommon in state races, the Illinois GOP is calling foul over ballot counting procedures in Rock Island and voting machine calibrations in the northern suburbs.

Stock Market Seesaw

The stock market had another wild ride today. Eddie Arruza and his panel take a look at what's behind the volatility.

Political Columnist Roger Simon

Back in Chicago, South Side native and Politico’s chief political columnist Roger Simon talks shop and discuss his past life as a city beat reporter. 

Heartbleed's Impact

The web bug known as Heartbleed has rocked the Internet world. After its discovery last week, Heartbleed continues to threaten personal information and sensitive data transmitted over the web daily. We chat with Alex Hilton, Founder and CEO of FroogaliT, about how the bug can affect average consumers and what people can do to protect themselves. Read an article and view a graphic.

Chicago Crafted

The craft brew industry in Chicago has exploded in the last few years and shows no signs of stopping. Is there a saturation point for Chicago’s market? We revisit a conversation with leaders on the craft brew scene and explore the growing trend. Read an article, view a slideshow, and take a craft brew QUIZ.

"Life is a Wheel"

New York Times obituary writer Bruce Weber was teetering between life and death, and questioning what it all meant in 2011. To cope, he took his second bike ride across the country. We talk with Weber about his ride experience and the book that arose from his meditation. Read an interview and a book excerpt.

Paid Sunday Parking May Return

At the request of five aldermen, Mayor Rahm Emanuel is calling to restore paid Sunday parking on the north and northwest sides of the city. Merchants in these areas claim that parking can be difficult for customers when there is no time limit enforced. We discuss the measure with Ald. Scott Waguespack (32nd). Read an article and view a map of streets with free Sunday parking that could be affected by this legislation.

El Centro Campus Update

The construction of Northeastern Illinois University’s El Centro satellite campus is gaining momentum and attention for its design. The color-changing building will be along the Kennedy Expressway between Addison and Belmont. We talk with Crain’s Chicago Business residential real estate reporter Dennis Rodkin about the “marker” building structure and its significance in the modern architectural world. View a slideshow of campus building renderings.

Fudging Chicago Crime Numbers

Today, Chicago magazine published the first article in a two-part special report, "The Truth About Chicago’s Crime Rates", that details an investigation into Chicago’s dramatic fall in crime in recent years and how crimes are being classified. We talk with the magazine's features editor and series co-author David Bernstein about his findings. Read an article and view graphics on Chicago crime stats.

Comedian Jeff Garlin on ‘Finding Vivian Maier’

In town for standup shows at Zanies Comedy Club, Chicago native Jeff Garlin stops by to chat about his show “The Goldbergs” and his production work on the documentary “Finding Vivian Maier.”

Mayor’s New Pension Plan Spreads the Pain

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan files an amendment that would enact Mayor Rahm Emanuel's new pension reduction plan. The proposal includes a hefty property tax increase while also shrinking pension benefits. Who wins and who loses? 

Fatal Winter for Waterfowl

Brutal winter conditions this year devastated the bird population in the Midwest region. The Field Museum has collected roughly 60 specimens but many more have perished as a result of starvation from limited open water on Lake Michigan. We speak with Field Museum research assistant and ornithologist Josh Engel about the phenomenon. Read an article and view a slideshow.

Chicago Crafted

The craft brew industry in Chicago has exploded in the last few years and shows no signs of stopping. Is there a saturation point for Chicago’s market? We talk with leaders on the craft brew scene and explore the growing trend. Read an article, view a slideshow, and take a craft brew QUIZ.

Changing the Culture of Spending

From Washington to Wall Street to Main Street, the U.S. has a spending problem. The nonprofit MoneyThink is working to change that spending culture by teaching fiscal literacy to youth in urban areas. We chat with 24-year-old entrepreneur and MoneyThink co-founder Ted Gonder about the organization’s mission, his work in Chicago, and his new White House advisory council position. Watch a video.

Building Up Chicago

As spring in Chicago gets underway, so do the building projects. We talk with Chicago Tribune’s Pulitzer Prize-winning architecture critic Blair Kamin about the most recent building projects in the news and what will be coming down the pipeline. Read an article.

Chicagoland: A Tale of Two Cities

The CNN series Chicagoland debuts this week. We talk with series producer Yoav Attias and Pulitzer prize-winning Chicago journalist and co-writer, co-producer and series narrator, Mark Konkol, about the dichotomy of Chicago, and the picture it paints of the city on a national stage. Read an article about the Chicago premiere.

Getting Illinois Covered

As the March 31st deadline for Affordable Care Act enrollment draws closer, we check in with Illinois Deputy Governor Cristal Thomas and director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck, about the number of state residents enrolled and the final month of the program. Read an article.

President Obama Names Chicago New Research Lab Site

Chicago will be the new site for a manufacturing-technology research lab that will focus on turning academic research into profitable, job creating projects in the Midwest. But how much is this costing and will the benefits meet expectations? We discuss the issue. Read an article.

Chicago Architects Lead Chinese Urban Design

We talk with Chicago Tribune’s Pulitzer Prize-winning architecture critic Blair Kamin about the article series, “Designed in Chicago, Made in China” that details the rapid urbanization of China and the role Chicago architects play in the expansion. View a slideshow of China's urbanization efforts.

Calculating Good Life Choices

Wish you could get decision-making down to a science? University of Illinois professor Ali Abbas is a leader in the decision analysis field and has created a social website that breaks down theory and practice for its users to make quality life choices. He joins us. Read an interview.

UIC Faculty Union Threatens Strike

The University of Illinois at Chicago’s faculty union says it is set to strike February 18-19 if a bargain cannot be reached between union negotiators and school administration. We talk with union president Joe Persky and Chicago Tribune reporter Jodi S. Cohen about the matter, and what can be expected in the coming weeks. Read an interview.