Stories by acacia hernandez

(WTTW News)

What’s the Human Role in ShotSpotter Gunfire Detection System? CEO Explains

ShotSpotter alerts law enforcement to potential gunfire with the goal of reducing gun violence in Chicago. Critics say it's ineffective and contributes to overpolicing in Black and Latino communities.

(WTTW News)

ChatGPT: What to Know About the New AI Technology

Some school districts have banned the chatbot, which can answer questions, generate essays and even write scientific papers from a short prompt.

(WTTW News)

Warmth Can't Last Forever: Frigid Temps to Hit Chicago Next Week

With temperatures averaging in the mid to high 30s, Chicago is seeing its fourth warmest January on record. Climatologist Trent Ford said the only years that were warmer were 1880, 1939 and 2006.

(WTTW News)

Bill Awaiting Pritzker's Signature Would Allow CPS Principals to Unionize, Advocates Say Move Overdue

Chicago principals could soon have a seat at their own bargaining table. The bill would allow principals to unionize but not strike.

(WTTW News)

Average Chicago-Area Driver Spent 155 Hours Waiting In Traffic in 2022, Report Says

Chicagoans are all too familiar with having to sit in traffic. A recent report shows that the average Chicago-area driver spent 155 hours in traffic last year. That's the highest number in North America and second highest in the world.

(WTTW News)

‘Chicago Tonight’ in Your Neighborhood: Logan Square Residents See Property Tax Hikes

Some longtime Latino residents in the Logan Square community say they don’t know how long they will be able to keep paying property tax hikes, maintain a home and survive.

Acacia Hernandez, Joanna Hernandez, Nick Blumberg and Amanda Vinicky recap a year spent in local neighborhoods. (WTTW News)

‘Chicago Tonight’ in Your Neighborhood: Looking Back on 2022

In 2022, WTTW News visited 33 Chicago community areas, some more than once, plus 10 Chicago suburbs. We even ventured up north to take the pulse of Milwaukee. Take a look back through our In Your Neighborhood series. 

A home sale sign is picture on Dec. 27, 2022. (WTTW News)

To Buy Or Not To Buy? Looking Toward Chicago’s Housing Market in 2023

A look at the Chicago residential property market as we head into 2023 after a year of interest rate hikes. 

A resident walks down a snowy sidewalk in the North Park area on Dec. 22, 2022. (WTTW News)

‘Chicago Tonight’ in Your Neighborhood: North Park Adjusts Plans For Winter Storm

Local leaders are advising people to avoid travel when possible, and to check in on friends, family and neighbors who may need a helping hand. In Chicago’s North Park neighborhood, people are adjusting quickly during a busy holiday season while bearing in mind vulnerable community members. 

(WTTW News)

As RSV Peaks and COVID Cases Rise, Illinois Hospitals Face Limited ICU Availability

Illinois reported 3,314 new COVID cases Tuesday, leading to about a 7% increase from last week. Meanwhile, data shows RSV cases are on a steady decline and the virus could finally be peaking.

U.S. Attorney John Lausch appears on “Chicago Tonight” on Dec. 8, 2022. (WTTW News)

U.S. Attorney John Lausch on Recent Convictions, Gang Cases and Political Corruption: ‘Always Open For Business’

U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois John Lausch on the high-profile cases his office is currently working through. 

The village of Robbins water tower is pictured on Dec. 1, 2022. (WTTW News)

‘Chicago Tonight’ In Your Neighborhood: Robbins Calls For Federal Help to Fix Aging Water Infrastructure

Over Thanksgiving week, hundreds of Robbins residents were left with dry homes following two water main breaks. It is just part of a long history of water infratructure problems in the town. 

U.S. Rep. Jesús “Chuy” García appears on Chicago Tonight” on Nov. 22, 2022. (WTTW News)

US Rep. Jesús ‘Chuy’ García Ramps Up Campaign for Mayor: ‘I Want To Come Back Home’

U.S. Rep. Jesús “Chuy” García is mounting a campaign for mayor of Chicago and says the city needs a new leader who can bring people together. 

‘Chicago Tonight’ in Your Neighborhood: Impact of Obama Center Construction on Woodlawn

The Obama Presidential Center has been the source of excitement and anxiety for residents in the South Side Woodlawn community, who are eager to benefit from the major development but are concerned about being priced out. The’re also raising concerns about the difficulty of getting around the massive construction site. 

The Damen Silos are pictured on Nov. 10, 2022. (WTTW News)

‘Chicago Tonight’ in Your Neighborhood: McKinley Park and Future of Damen Silos

The state announced it will enter into exclusive negotiations with MAT Limited Partnership to take over the Damen Silos property. The 23-acre property located along the Chicago River has been vacant for years. 

A mural on the side of a building in East Garfield Park. (WTTW News)

‘Chicago Tonight’ in Your Neighborhood: Trauma’s Toll In East Garfield Park

Fourteen people, ten of whom from the same family, were shot in East Garfield Park on Oct. 31. The victims had been holding a vigil for a relative who’d recently passed away when a car drove by and opened fire. We visit the community dealing with the aftermath. 

Chicago Board of Trade building. (WTTW News)

‘Chicago Tonight’ In Your Neighborhood: City Aiming to Breathe Life Into Financial District

As firms and other businesses have started locating their offices in other parts of town, and with the massive shift in work patterns driven by COVID-19, the eight-block stretch has become home to more vacancies than any other part of downtown. Now, the city has an ambitious plan to spur development.

(WTTW News)

‘Chicago Tonight’ In Your Neighborhood: Rebuilding in Austin Following Building Explosion

building explosion on Sept. 20 left one person dead and several injured in the Austin community on Chicago’s West Side. With help from neighbors, residents are slowly starting to rebuild. 

(WTTW News)

‘Chicago Tonight’ in Your Neighborhood: Recovery and Development in Hyde Park

The community’s 53rd Street is home to many locally-owned shops, nightlife spots and restaurants. There’s been some turnover during COVID, but a lot of the small businesses have hung on — even though they’re still facing challenges. 

Site of a planned new high school on the Near South Side. (WTTW News)

Chicago Tonight In Your Neighborhood: Plan for New School on Near South Side Runs Into Opposition

A new high school is slated to be built at 24th and State streets, with the recent blessing of the Chicago Board of Education. It was a tight 4-3 vote, an indication of how controversial the plan is considering that residents of Chinatown, the South Loop and surrounding communities have been asking for a new school for decades.

The Veterans’ Home in the Dunning community is pictured on Sept. 22, 2022. (WTTW News)

‘Chicago Tonight’ in Your Neighborhood: Dunning

Many city employees and people of Polish descent call the community of Dunning home, as do veterans, who at long last are beginning to move into Chicago’s newest veterans’ home.

Back in the late 19th century, Dunning was thought of as a scary place.

“Parents used to threaten their children that if you didn’t behave, if you didn’t eat breakfast, they’d send you to Dunning,” said history buff and longtime area resident Dan Pogorzelski of the Northwest Chicago Historical Society.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot unveils the forecast for the 2023 Chicago budget on Aug. 10, 2022. (WTTW News)

Firm Has Filed More Than 100 Lawsuits Against Lightfoot Administration Over FOIA Denials

Since she took office in 2019, Loevy & Loevy has filed 104 lawsuits against the administration for denying access to documents requested through Freedom of Information Act filings, according to Matt Topic, an attorney at the firm. 

Route 66 Park in Burr Ridge. (WTTW News)

‘Chicago Tonight’ in Your Neighborhood: Migrants Arrive at Burr Ridge Hotel

Burr Ridge Mayor Gary Grasso has criticized Chicago and Illinois officials for not informing the village of the migrants’ arrival ahead of time, and said that at this point, his office is actively working with businesses and the school district to assist the families staying at the hotel.

Special ‘Voices’ Community Conversation: Previewing PBS’ ‘Facing Suicide,’ Addressing the Health Crisis

September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month — a time professionals and community voices raise awareness of this stigmatized, and often taboo, topic. A new film explores powerful stories of those impacted by suicide and takes viewers to the front lines of research with scientists whose work is leading to better prevention and treatment. 

Arlington Park Metra station in Arlington Heights. (WTTW News)

‘Chicago Tonight’ in Your Neighborhood: Bears Make First Pitch to Arlington Heights Residents

The Bears hosted a community meeting Thursday in north suburban Arlington Heights about their plans for a new stadium and entertainment district, and there’s no shortage of opinions.

(WTTW News)

‘Chicago Tonight’ in Your Neighborhood: East Side

The neighborhood is an industrial corridor. It has a long history that dates back decades with the arrival of steel mills that drove hundreds of immigrants to move to the area to work and build. We started by talking to a long-time resident who tells us more about the economic impact of the steel mills' shutdown.