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Stories by Erica Gunderson

Ask Geoffrey: What Became of Artist Behind These 1970s Murals?

(Credit: LUNA, University of Chicago, George Stahl Mural Collection)

A viewer remembers helping an artist paint vivid rainbow stripes on the walls of Lower Wacker Drive as a teenager, but she can’t recall the artist’s name.

Ask Geoffrey: What Happened to Andy Frain Ushers?

For many years, sports fans in Chicago were welcomed to games by clean-cut and friendly Andy Frain ushers. The story of the man behind the house of ushers in this encore edition of Ask Geoffrey.

New Podcast ‘The City’ Digs Up Dirt on Old Chicago Scandal

We speak with Robin Amer, the creator of a new podcast from USA Today that takes a broad look at the events that led up to the so-called Operation Silver Shovel scandal – and the fallout that continues to this day.

Turnover and Turmoil at USA Gymnastics

In this July 24, 2018, file photo, Kerry Perry, president of USA Gymnastics, speaks during a Senate Commerce subcommittee hearing in Washington. (AP Photo / Susan Walsh, File)

Scandals plague USA Gymnastics in the wake of the Larry Nassar sexual abuse catastrophe. USA Today columnist Nancy Armour has the latest.

Is Rent Control the Fix for Affordable Housing in Chicago?

Chicago voters overwhelmingly favor lifting the state’s ban on rent control, but is it really the way to more affordable housing?

Ask Geoffrey: The History of Houseboats on the Chicago River

Geoffrey Baer floats through a bygone colony of houseboats that once populated our city’s favorite Y-shaped waterway in this encore edition of Ask Geoffrey.

The Promise and Pitfalls of CBD Oil in Medicine

Bottles of cannabidiol (Vaping360 / Flickr)

Cannabidiol, or CBD oil, is increasingly being used to treat a range of ailments, from basic pain to rheumatoid arthritis to, in one Schaumburg child’s case, epilepsy.

Public Health Chief Addresses Lead Contamination in Chicago Homes


The city acknowledges elevated levels of lead in some homes. How concerned should Chicagoans be about the safety of their tap water?

Ask Geoffrey: Why Traffic Reports Mention Thorndale

Chicagoans hear about Thorndale Avenue all the time in traffic reports, and a viewer wonders why. Geoffrey Baer speeds by with the story in this encore edition of “Ask Geoffrey.”

Alpana Singh: ‘It’s Absolutely Wonderful’ to Return to ‘Check, Please!’

After a five-year hiatus, Alpana Singh returns to the weekly restaurant review show. She tells us about the upcoming season that debuts Friday on WTTW.

Ask Geoffrey: Where Are Those 1950s Giant Stuffed Bears?

A viewer remembers a tall and terrifying bear in the former Marshall Field’s building. Was this just a figment of a child’s imagination?

Ask Geoffrey: Neptune’s Follies Make a Splash at Century of Progress

Geoffrey Baer takes a peek at a 1930s burlesque-style show and remembers the Chicago Daily News sporting events of yesteryear in this encore edition of Ask Geoffrey.

Ask Geoffrey: What Happens to a Church’s Artwork When It Closes?

With its ever-changing demographics, Chicago has seen many churches close in the last 50 years. A viewer wants to know what happens to the art and sculptures inside those churches as they near their last days.

Tips for Successful Succession Planting

A colorful fall harvest from the WTTW organic garden.

Organic gardener Jeanne Nolan explains how to manage the arrival of cooler fall weather while still enjoying a bounty of vegetables.

Divvy Bike Thefts a Vicious Cycle in Chicago

A Divvy docking station in the Chicago’s West Loop. (Tony Webster / Flickr)

A rash of crimes committed this summer by people riding the chunky blue bikes has drawn attention to an epidemic of Divvy bike theft. We get the latest from John Greenfield, editor of Streetsblog Chicago.

Ask Geoffrey: What’s Up With These Mismatched Tower Toppers?

A viewer wants to know why the towers atop an iconic Chicago skyscraper have changed height. Geoffrey Baer proves himself equal to the task in this encore edition of Ask Geoffrey.

Should Civilians Have Power to Fire Top Cops?

The Grassroots Alliance for Police Accountability has proposed a seven-member civilian board with the power to hire and fire Chicago’s police superintendent and have final say on police policy. 

New Concussion Testing Uses Hearing to Reveal Brain Trauma

Research conducted by auditory neuroscientists at Northwestern University reveals that studying how the brain processes sound could provide an objective way to diagnose concussions. 

Will Sexual Assault Allegations Derail Kavanaugh Confirmation?

Judge Brett Kavanaugh discusses Roe v. Wade during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2018.

For the second time in U.S. history, a Supreme Court nominee stands accused of sexual assault. What the allegations mean for Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination.

Nearly 20 Years Later, ‘Cha-Cha Slide’ Still Gets People Moving

DJ Casper of “Cha-Cha Slide” fame. (Chicago Tonight)

Meet the South Side native whose line dance became a worldwide phenomenon.

Ask Geoffrey: The Independent Order of Odd Fellows

A viewer spots a Blue Island building with an image of three chain links on its facade. Geoffrey Baer has the scoop on the odd fellows behind that insignia in this encore edition of Ask Geoffrey.

Ask Geoffrey: What Happened to ‘Chicago’s Most Famous Restaurant’?

What became of the Loop restaurant where Mayor Richard J. Daley had his power breakfasts? Geoffrey Baer has the story in this encore edition of “Ask Geoffrey.”

Ask Geoffrey: The Wild West History of Chicago’s Public Street Signs

Geoffrey Baer brings us the history of the Chicago Motor Club and its bygone penchant for posting traffic signs in the public way in this encore edition of Ask Geoffrey.

Ask Geoffrey: How Now, Chicago Cows?

Some 20 years after they stampeded along Michigan Avenue, Chicagoans are still moo-ved by the memory of Cows on Parade. Geoffrey Baer revisits the 1999 art project in this encore edition of “Ask Geoffrey.”

Family Made Tortillas and Pitas Round Out Chicago’s Food Culture

They’re round, flat and hold some of your favorite fillings. We visit the Chicago-area factories where tortillas and pitas are made.