Stories by Erica Gunderson

‘Black Women’s Equal Pay Day’ Spotlights Persistent Wage Gap

(WTTW News)

According to census data, women in the workplace, especially Black women, make far less than white men on average. Cherita Ellens, president and CEO of Women Employed, a nonprofit advocacy group for working women, talks about how to close the pay gap.

Ask Geoffrey: Chicago’s Coach Houses

Geoffrey Baer shares the history of Chicago’s original tiny houses – coach houses – in this installment of Ask Geoffrey. 

State Rep. Calls for Pause on Teaching History in Illinois Schools

(WTTW News)

Is it time to abolish, or radically alter the way history is taught in Illinois schools? A debate over how the subject is taught.

Large Nonprofits Struggle to Provide Services While Locked Out of Pandemic Aid

(Courtesy of the YMCA)

Their size and reach allow them to get assistance quickly and efficiently to people in need, but nonprofits with more than 500 employees cannot apply for forgivable loans under the CARES Act.

Free Craft Project by Local Artist Lets Kids Build Their Own Blocks

(Courtesy of Matt Bergstrom)

Chicago artist Matt Bergstrom wants kids across the city to get to know the homes that make up their neighborhood blocks by building them with their own hands, one free printable model at a time. 

Red Onions Linked to Multistate Salmonella Outbreak

(stux / Pixabay)

Nearly 400 people in 34 states, including 10 in Illinois, have become ill with a strain of the bacterial disease linked to red onions from a major California producer, according to a food safety alert from the CDC.

5 Things to Know About Chicago’s Quarantine Order

(veerasantinithi / Pixabay)

Ready to hit the open road? You might want to rethink those travel plans. Even a simple day trip to Wisconsin could cost you two weeks at home — or a possible fine.

Ask Geoffrey: What’s the Chicago Parental School?

Geoffrey Baer on the reform school that was once WTTW’s neighbor.

Where Next, Columbus? Fate of Temporarily Removed Statues in Question

An empty pedestal in Grant Park where a statue of Christopher Columbus stood recently. (WTTW News)

Mayor Lori Lightfoot ordered the temporary removal of two Christopher Columbus statues in Chicago last week following protests that turned violent. Now, activists are hoping to make their removal permanent — but the debate isn’t over.

Eerily Quiet, Wrigleyville Still Offers Cubs Fans ‘Something to Cheer For’

Game day in Wrigleyville on Sunday, July 26, 2020. (Erica Gunderson / WTTW News)

In any other year, a parking spot near Wrigley Field on a game day would be a mirage or a miracle. But on the third day of the 2020 baseball season, parking spots were easy to find, and the cheek-to-jowl lines were nonexistent.

Need a Quick Fix for Your Bike? Six Corners is the Spot

A Dero Fixit bike repair station near Milwaukee and Kilpatrick avenues in Portage Park. (Erica Gunderson / WTTW News)

For cyclists, there’s never a good time for a slipped chain or flat tire, but there might be a good neighborhood for running into those hiccups: Portage Park. Here’s why.

Ask Geoffrey: Revisiting Chicago’s Drive-ins

Geoffrey Baer serves up some fast food history with a side of super signs in this week's Ask Geoffrey.

Black Restaurant Week: A Look at What’s on the Menu

(WTTW News)

Friday marks the start of Black Restaurant Week, a nationwide showcase of Black-owned restaurants now in its fifth year. Here’s a look at what to expect.

‘Party is Over’ for Downtown Landlords as Leasing Dips, Vacancies Rise

(WTTW News)

The gleaming skyline that makes Chicago an architectural wonder is primarily made up of office towers. But those glassy marvels have been largely empty since March. A look at the prospects for downtown commercial real estate.

Protesters Gather Near Mayor’s Home Following Clash With Police in Grant Park

Protesters and police gather in the Logan Square neighborhood on Saturday, July 18, 2020. (@soit_goes / Twitter)

Hundreds of protesters gathered near Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s Logan Square home late Saturday, continuing calls to defund the police, end police presence in Chicago Public Schools and implement remote learning in the fall amid the pandemic.

For 105 Days, Kenwood Couple Made Their Front Porch a Stage

Married musicians and educators Yakini Ajanaku and Jean-Paul Coffy kicked off the daily concert series in March as a way to help their block stay connected through the long days of quarantine due to COVID-19. 

Ask Geoffrey: Chicago’s Vanishing Water Tanks

(WTTW News)

They’re rare now, but rooftop water tanks once stood sentinel atop every large building in the city, keeping them safe from threat of fire.

Lessons of Deadly 1995 Heat Wave Echo in 2020 Chicago

Mayor Richard M. Daley shares his skepticism about heat-related deaths in the summer of 1995. (WTTW News)

A look back at Chicago’s deadly heat wave — and how it compares to the coronavirus pandemic — with Eric Klinenberg, author of the 2002 book, “Heat Wave: A Social Autopsy of Disaster in Chicago.”

Chicago’s ‘Top Teen’ in 1962 Recalls Hardships That Led to Life’s Work

Diane McCoy Lee (Facebook photo)

When Diane McCoy Lee was named “Top Teen in Public Housing” in a 1962 Chicago Housing Authority contest, she was a straight-A student. But just a few years later, she was a college dropout in an abusive marriage.

Artists Nick Cave and Bob Faust Ask Community to Make #AMENDS

Handwritten messages on yellow ribbon comprise the installation “Dirty Laundry” on the lawn at Carl Schurz High School. (Erica Gunderson / WTTW News)

On Milwaukee Avenue in Chicago’s Irving Park neighborhood, reflections on race and racism adorn bright yellow ribbons that rustle in the breeze across from Facility, the creative space and gallery behind a community-based art project.

Ask Geoffrey: The Scoop on Chicago’s Brick Ice Cream

Geoffrey Baer has the scoop on some Chicago ice cream history.

Youth Sports Come Out Swinging (Safely) for Summer

(KeithJJ / Pixabay)

After a long spring indoors, many kids are ready to get back outside. But the pandemic means this year, the boys and girls of summer are practicing social distancing along with catching and hitting.

The Best Chicago Film Archive You’ve Never Heard Of

If you’ve ever marveled at archive footage of old Chicago in a WTTW documentary, chances are good it came from Walt Keevil’s north suburban basement.

New Analysis Shows Large Swaths of Chicago at High Flood Risk

A flooded Riverwalk along the Chicago River. (WTTW News)

This spring, Chicago saw record rainfall for the third May in a row – and with it, the return of flooded streets, parks and basements. A new analysis finds many more Chicago properties are at risk of flooding than previously thought.

Ask Geoffrey: When Ida B. Wells Met Frances Willard

Geoffrey Baer shares the story of a clash between women’s suffragists and anti-lynching activists.