Stories by Evan Garcia

How Parents of CPS Students Are Coping With Canceled Classes

For the third day, parents across the city had to figure out what to do with their children who attend Chicago Public Schools. We check in with four parents of CPS students who joined us last week ahead of the expected strike.

The Story of Mold-A-Rama, Chicago’s Very Own Souvenir Machine

Paul Jones of Mold-A-Rama Inc. checks on a souvenir machine at Lincoln Park Zoo. (Evan Garcia / WTTW News)

For more than 50 years, vending machines scattered throughout Chicago-area zoos and museums have sold visitors souvenirs made of melted plastic. Meet the man keeping the vintage technology alive.

The Week in Review: Chicago’s Teachers on Strike

Chicago teachers take to the picket lines. Will the city delay the start of legal pot sales? A federal probe into ComEd widens. And the Bears try to bounce back against the Saints. 

Parents of CPS Students Sound Off on Teachers Strike

“Chicago Tonight” speaks with four parents of CPS students who have different opinions about the negotiations between the city and its teachers union. 

Columbus Day or Indigenous Peoples’ Day? Chicago Groups Weigh In

Statue of Christopher Columbus (Kenneth C. Zirkel / Wikimedia Commons)

In the wake of criticism directed at Columbus and his treatment of indigenous people, a movement to supplant Columbus Day with another holiday – Indigenous Peoples’ Day – has emerged.

The Week in Review: Teachers Strike Looms, McDonald Records Released

A teachers strike could be just days away. Illinois Republicans break from President Trump over Syria. New details on federal raids of the suburbs. And the Bears lick their wounds after a loss in London.

There’s Plenty of Time for Play at Arcade-Themed Rescue The Catcade

Catcade co-founder Chris Gutierrez shows off one of the rescue shelter’s free arcade games. (Evan Garcia / WTTW News)

In Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood, there’s an animal shelter with a twist. We visit an arcade-themed cat rescue and lounge that’s helping foster feline friendships.

The Cases for and Against Horse-Drawn Carriages in Chicago

(Harry Pujols / Flickr)

A debate in Chicago over horse-drawn carriages has raged between animal activists and industry professionals for years. We hear both sides of the debate.

Growing Giant Pumpkins ‘A Tough Hobby’ for Illinois Enthusiasts

Joe Adkins of Wheaton, Illinois prepares to weigh a giant pumpkin he grew. At 1,258 pounds, the gourd took first place in a contest on Saturday, Sept. 28, 2019. (Evan Garcia / WTTW News)

Inside a barn about 60 miles southwest of Chicago, six giant pumpkins are hoisted by forklift onto an industrial scale and weighed, one by one, so their growers can claim cash prizes for the heaviest – and bragging rights.

The Week in Review: Lightfoot Gets Blowback for Pot Plan

The mayor proposes to exclude marijuana sales in the Loop. A proposed ban on e-cigarettes leads to a testy debate in City Council. Climate change prompts a massive walkout. And the Cubs’ playoff hopes are on life support.

Should Chicago Increase Its Minimum Wage to $15 by 2021?

According to Bureau of Labor Statistics data, workers in food preparation and serving-related occupations made up the bulk of workers earning minimum wage or less in 2013, the Pew Research Center reports. (delo / Pixabay)

At a City Council hearing on Tuesday, committee members discussed a proposal to raise the city’s minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2021. Activists say it’s long overdue. But could it hurt small businesses? We debate the issue.

After Nearly 100 Years, Chicago Stock Yard Kilty Band Marches On

Members of the Chicago Stock Yard Kilty Band rehearse before competing at the Wisconsin Highland games in Waukesha, Wisconsin, on Aug. 31. (Evan Garcia / WTTW News)

As pipe major of the Chicago Stock Yard Kilty Band, Matt McKee carries on the tradition of a pipe band that started nearly 100 years ago. We go for a look, and a listen, as the band competes at a Wisconsin festival.

The Week in Review: Lightfoot Identifies Chicago’s Massive Budget Shortfall

Mayor Lightfoot unveils an $838 million budget gap. Chicago Public Schools approves its budget despite threats of a teachers strike. The Bears begin the countdown to opening night against the Packers.

Remember Chicago’s Last Waterfall? It Looks Much Different Now

A black-crowned night heron snags a fish on River Park’s new riverbed habitat, where Chicago’s last waterfall once flowed. (Evan Garcia / WTTW News)

On Chicago’s Northwest Side, a gently sloping riverbed occupies the former site of a small but historically important dam. We visit a popular fishing spot – for humans and birds alike – at River Park.

The Week in Review: Report Cites Harassment, Bullying in Madigan’s Office

A sexual harassment report puts new scrutiny on Springfield. Bombastic former U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh mulls taking on Trump. A teachers union trip to Venezuela causes uproar. And the Cubs close an otherwise strong week with a blowout loss.

Bald Eagles, Owls and Other Birds Rehabilitated at Illinois Raptor Center

This snowy owl was bred in captivity in Canada and brought to the Illinois Raptor Center as a permanent resident. Unlike most owls, which are nocturnal, the snowy owl is active during the day. (Evan Garcia / WTTW News)

About 180 miles southwest of Chicago, a wildlife conservation facility cares for hundreds of injured, sick or orphaned raptors. We go for a look and meet some of these incredible birds of prey.

Meet the YouTube Botanist with a Thick Chicago Accent and Foul Mouth

Amateur botanist Joey Santore examines the flowering plant dalea purpurea, commonly known as the purple prairie clover. (Evan Garcia / WTTW News)

Joey Santore isn’t your typical plant expert, but his colorful style and depth of knowledge have proved popular. We go for a stroll through Wolf Road Prairie, an 80-acre nature preserve in Chicago’s western suburbs.

Social Media Sans Metrics: One Artist’s Quest to Hide ‘Likes’

(terimakasih0 / Pixabay)

Could you imagine life without the “like” button? Ben Grosser, an arts and design professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, tells us about “demetrication.”

The Week in Review: Cullerton Indictment, Dillinger’s Body Mystery

Two big federal corruption cases. Did the feds really shoot John Dillinger outside the Biograph? A former mayoral candidate in legal hot water. And the Cubs wrestle the Brewers.

Fed Cuts Interest Rates for First Time Since 2008 Recession

The Eccles Building in Washington D.C. serves as the headquarters of the Federal Reserve. (AgnosticPreachersKid / Wikimedia Commons)

While the U.S. economy continues its record-breaking expansion, some wonder whether the Fed reacted to softening global markets or perhaps even pressure from President Donald Trump.

Report: Illinois Parents Give Up Child Custody for College Cash

The quad at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. (WTTW News)

Why are some well-off parents in Chicago’s north suburbs giving up custody of their children? An investigation by ProPublica Illinois finds it may be to get college financial aid.

How Exposure to Violence Impacts Young Children in Chicago

(Tony Webster / Wikimedia Commons)

New analysis of Chicago homicide data by the Erikson Institute underscores the effect violent crime can have on young children.

Go Grind! Chicago Skateboard Camp Shows Kids the Basics in City Skate Parks

Attendees of the Go Grind youth skate camp practice tricks on the grass of Piotrowski Skate Park in Chicago. (Evan Garcia / WTTW News)

The Chicago Park District teams up with a local organization to offer youth skateboarding camps and clinics at skate parks across the city. We “drop in” for a look at Go Grind.

The Week in Review: Chicago Braces for ICE Raids

Chicago prepares for stepped-up deportation raids. R. Kelly is nabbed by federal agents. Mayor Lori Lightfoot halts water meter installations over lead concerns. And an alligator evades capture at Humboldt Park Lagoon.

Chicago’s ‘Queen of Tape’ Makes Art with Duct Tape

Artist Anna Dominguez, the self-described “Queen of Tape,” stands before a portrait of tennis player Serena Williams. She made the work of art using thousands of pieces of tape. (Evan Garcia / WTTW News)

When most people see a roll of duct tape, they probably see a drab, everyday object that’s occasionally useful for fixing stuff. Anna Dominguez is different.

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