Stories by Evan Garcia

Chicago Community Trust Raises $20 Million for COVID-19 Efforts

Dr. Helene Gayle, president and CEO of the Chicago Community Trust. (WTTW News)

A Chicago community foundation is raising millions for dozens of local nonprofits on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic. We speak with Dr. Helene Gayle, president and CEO of the Chicago Community Trust.

Chicagoan in Italy Discusses Everyday Life Under Quarantine

Florence, Italy (Paolo Palazzi-Xirinachs / Facebook photo)

Paolo Palazzi-Xirinachs was about four weeks into his post-retirement studies at the University of Florence when Italy went into full quarantine. Now he’s stuck in a country with the highest reported coronavirus death toll in the world.

Chicago Animal Shelters in Need of Space Plead with Public to Foster

The Anti-Cruelty Society Chief Program Officer Lydia Krupinski holds a kitten in the Chicago shelter’s kitten nursery. (Evan Garcia / WTTW News)

Many animal shelters are temporarily closed to the public under the state’s stay-at-home order, but they’re still offering essential services — and they’re bracing for an uptick in need as pet owners get sick and lose paychecks.

Olympic Dreams Deferred: Chicago-Area Athletes Look to 2021

The Olympic rings are seen Monday, March 30, 2020, in Tokyo. (AP Photo / Jae C. Hong)

The coronavirus pandemic has caused organizers to postpone this summer’s Olympic Games and Paralympic Games. We discuss the delay with three Olympic athletes from the Chicago area.

Street Medicine: Treating Chicago’s Homeless During the Coronavirus Outbreak

Stephan Koruba, a nurse practitioner with nonprofit The Night Ministry, speaks to a woman at a homeless encampment on Chicago’s West Side. (Evan Garcia / WTTW News)

For many homeless people in Chicago, staying safely sheltered and isolated during the coronavirus outbreak simply isn’t an option. How one nonprofit is helping people in need.

The Week in Review: Schools Closed, Events Canceled as COVID-19 Spreads

President Trump declares a national emergency as the coronavirus prompts event cancellations and school closures across the city and state. And primary races are down to the wire as Illinois voters head to the polls Tuesday.

The Week in Review: Lightfoot Endorses Biden Ahead of Illinois Primary

Illinois’ top Democrats coalesce behind Joe Biden in the presidential primary. Bernie Sanders plans a Grant Park rally. A sixth person tests positive for the coronavirus in Illinois. And the police union votes for a new leader.

Not So Sweet: Illinois’ Maple Syrup Producers Grapple with Climate Change

Maple syrup is bottled piping hot in the Funks Grove fishing room. The Funks say the hot liquid sanitizes the container. (Evan Garcia / WTTW News)

For generations, a small family business has relied on predictable weather patterns to produce thousands of gallons of maple syrup each year. But climate change is now threatening the industry – and filling the family with uncertainty about the future.

The Week in Review: Blagojevich Returns Home as ‘Freed Political Prisoner’

Former Gov. Rod Blagojevich is boisterous and unrepentant as he returns home, singing the praises of President Trump. Meanwhile, Gov. J.B. Pritzker pushes a progressive tax in his budget address.

Chicago Food Policy Summit to Focus on Food Justice, Sovereignty

(evita-ochel / Pixabay)

A free public event Friday will focus on food inequality across Chicago’s 77 community areas. We discuss the event with Rodger Cooley, executive director of the Chicago Food Policy Action Council.

Chicago-Area Curlers Slide and Sweep Stones in Former Government Office

Sweepers follow a curling stone down a sheet of ice at the Windy City Curling Club in Villa Park, Illinois. (Evan Garcia / WTTW News)

Beijing’s Winter Games – and that singular sport, curling – won’t awe and inspire spectators for another two years. But there’s plenty of curling happening now in Chicago’s western suburbs.

Smash Away Your Stress at Chicago’s Only Rage Room

Visitors to the rage room on Chicago’s Near North Side pay to smash things up. (Evan Garcia / WTTW News)

Joe Lupa, the owner of Chicago’s first and only rage room, boils his business down to a simple consumer demand: people like smashing stuff. We visit Escapades Rage Room on the city’s Near North Side.

‘In The Zone’ Highlights Chicagoan’s Education Efforts at Home and Abroad

Terrance Wallace appears on “Chicago Tonight” on Feb. 5, 2020. (WTTW News)

A West Side native is lifting kids out of poverty and into better school zones. We meet Terrance Wallace, whose InZone Project is the subject of a 2018 documentary premiering in Chicago this week.

The Week in Review: Sandoval Pleads Guilty, Top Cop Shakes Up CPD

A guilty plea has reverberations throughout the state. Coronavirus concerns spread in Chicago. A massive restructuring of the Chicago Police Department. And Catholic schools get a financial lifeline.

Big Shoulders Deal Directs $92M to 30 Catholic Schools in Chicago

Children of Peace School on the Near West Side is one of 30 Catholic schools that will be funded through the newly announced deal. (WTTW News)

A 10-year deal between a local nonprofit and the Archdiocese of Chicago will pour millions into 30 Catholic schools on the city’s South and West sides.

Chicago Releases 2019 Electric Scooter Program Data

(WTTW News)

The city’s four-month pilot program saw more than 820,000 electric scooter trips and reports of nearly 200 scooter-related injuries. What else the data tells us as the city gears up for a new scooter program.

Warm Winter Doesn’t Halt Illinois Snow Sculpting Competition

Snow sculptor George Burnette works on his sculpture “Don't Look Under the Bed” on Friday during the Illinois Snow Sculpting Competition in Rockford, Illinois. (Evan Garcia / WTTW)

Every year, artists meet about 80 miles northwest of Chicago to sculpt works of art from an unusual material. We take a look at their frozen creations at the 34th annual competition in Rockford.

Cook County Jail Inmates Turn Vegetable Oil into Diesel Fuel

Cook County Jail inmate Harris Coteus, standing, fills the biodiesel processor with used vegetable oil from the jail’s officer dining hall. (Evan Garcia / WTTW News)

A small group of detainees are learning how to make biodiesel fuel from reclaimed cooking oil. Hundreds of gallons have so far been produced – and thousands of dollars saved – but officials also tout the program’s rehabilitative value.

How Should Chicago Handle a ‘Climate Emergency’?

(Roman Boed / Flickr)

Ald. Matt Martin recently introduced a resolution in City Council declaring a state of climate emergency. The plan calls for citywide budgetary measures and policies to reduce carbon emissions, but some worry about its economic impact. 

The Week in Review: Pritzker Urges Madigan Aide to Cooperate in Federal Probe

Pritzker gets heated over Madigan aide. Hurt feelings between the mayor and City Council over LGBTQ language. Preckwinkle’s Cook County Health power play. And a new national newscast out of Chicago.

Interim Top Cop Charlie Beck on the Future of Policing in Chicago

Interim Chicago Police Superintendent Charlie Beck appears on “Chicago Tonight” on Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2020. (WTTW News)

It’s a temporary job, but a big one: Chicago’s interim police superintendent talks about restructuring the police force, parallels between LA and Chicago and the search for the city’s next top cop.

Englewood Aldermen Address Political Divisions at Historic Town Hall

Ald. Stephanie Coleman, 16th Ward, speaks to Paris Schutz of “Chicago Tonight” at a town hall for the Englewood community on Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020. (WTTW News)

Can one Chicago neighborhood overcome its political divisions to exert more influence in City Council? Five aldermen representing portions of Englewood held a historic town hall Tuesday to try and do just that.

White House Releases Guidelines for Artificial Intelligence Technology

(Photo by Franck V. / Unsplash)

As artificial intelligence becomes more widespread, the White House lays out best practices for developing and using the technology.

US Stocks Surge Amid Easing Tension with Iran, Imminent China Trade Talks

The closing bell of the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday, Jan. 9, 2020. (WTTW News via CNN)

The U.S. stock market closed at record highs Thursday, indicating investor confidence as relations between the U.S. and Iran appear to cool down. Ed Stuart and Michael Miller share their thoughts on current economic conditions.

Trump’s Threat to Attack 52 Iranian Sites Draws Criticism, Concern

President Donald Trump speaks during an “Evangelicals for Trump Coalition Launch” at King Jesus International Ministry, Friday, Jan. 3, 2020, in Miami. (AP Photo / Evan Vucci)

An expert on Iranian culture says he was “appalled” by President Donald Trump’s threat to attack dozens of Iranian sites. We speak with Matthew Stolper of the University of Chicago’s Oriental Institute.