Stories by Evan Garcia

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.

Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium, by the Numbers

Nickel, a green sea turtle rescued off the Florida Gulf Coast in 1998. (Courtesy Shedd Aquarium)

This massive Chicago aquarium was the world’s largest when it opened to the public in 1930. Today it holds 5 million gallons of water and features a dazzling array of creatures. Learn more fun facts about the Shedd.

Like ‘Biting into a Band-Aid’: Malort Returns to Chicago

CH Distillery employee Nick White sends several bottles of Malort down the bottling production line. (Evan Garcia / WTTW News)

Malort, the Chicago-born liquor both praised (and panned) for its bracing bitterness, is made in Chicago once more. We visit Chicago’s CH Distillery to see what everyone’s wincing about.

The Week in Review: Another Former Alderman Going to Prison

Former Ald. Willie Cochran is sentenced to one year in prison. Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle reverses course on retirement plans. And new details emerge about a toddler struck by a foul ball in May.

Web Extra, The Week in Review: Democratic Debate Takeaways

Paris Schutz and guests discuss the first round of Democratic primary debates ahead of the 2020 presidential election.

Homeowners Across Chicago Brace for Higher Property Taxes

Fritz Kaegi appears on “Chicago Tonight” on June 26, 2019.

Cook County property owners will soon be getting new property tax bills, and depending on where you live, you may see a steep increase. Cook County Assessor Frank Kaegi shares his road map.

Paddle Up! Chinatown’s Dragon Boat Race Hits the Chicago River

Team UCAN, a North Lawndale-based nonprofit, used the chant “UCAN!” (or “You can!”) to paddle in sync with each other. (Evan Garcia / WTTW)

Thirty-four teams competed Saturday in the Dragon Boat Race for Literacy in Chinatown’s Ping Tom Park – the most competitors in the event’s 19-year history. 

Yo-Yo Ma Visits West Side Park to Play Bach, Plant Trees

Cellist Yo-Yo Ma plants a magnolia tree in Chicago’s Unity Park on June 21, 2019. (Evan Garcia / WTTW)

The Grammy-winning cellist stops in Chicago as part of his Bach Project, an ambitious tour of 36 cities across six continents to explore the common language of culture. See photos from the event.

Facebook Jumps into the Cryptocurrency Game with Libra

(rawpixel / Pixabay)

On Tuesday, Facebook formally announced plans for Libra – a cryptocurrency the social network plans to release in 2020. How it’s different, and why some are calling for a halt to its development.

‘16 Shots’ Documentary Examines Fatal Shooting of Laquan McDonald

A still image from police dashcam footage that captured the shooting of Laquan McDonald, center, on a Southwest Side street in 2014.

The murder of Laquan McDonald and ensuing public outrage in Chicago are the focus of a new documentary on Showtime. We speak with “16 Shots” writer and director Rick Rowley.

Beekeeping Behind Bars: Inmates Raise Bees at Cook County Jail

Beekeeper Thad Smith holds a frame of Italian honeybees in Cook County Jail’s parking log. Smith is a former jail detainee who founded the company West Side Bee Boyz after taking part in a job-training program. (Evan Garcia / WTTW)

Behind barbed wire fences, Cook County Jail inmates grow vegetables, flowers, herbs, and – as of May – they’re harvesting honey from two beehives provided by a former inmate.

Juneteenth: A Holiday Honoring the Abolition of US Slavery

A bronze sculpture by Eddie Dixon is one of five sculptures representing the story of Juneteeth at the George Washington Carver Museum in Austin, Texas. (Jennifer M. Rangubphai / Wikimedia Commons)

Next week, a holiday commemorates the abolition of slavery in Confederate states. We discuss Juneteenth and African American history in general.

Grazing Herd Returns to O’Hare to ‘Do What They Do Best: Eat Weeds’

Goats stand on the trailer pen outside Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. (Evan Garcia / WTTW)

For the sixth year, O’Hare International Airport is using a herd of wild animals to manage the airport’s vegetation in an environmentally friendly way.

The Week in Review: Legal Pot Advances, Ald. Burke Indicted

It’s been a tumultuous week in local politics. We break down the Burke indictment and address the fallout. Plus: Mayor Lightfoot’s dramatic first City Council meeting, the deadline dash in Springfield and more.

Former US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Mueller, Foreign Threats

A file photo of former U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel (Photo Credit: U.S. Department of Defense)

Special counsel Robert Mueller says his team did not determine whether President Donald Trump committed a crime or not. Former U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel weighs in.

Web Extra, The Week in Review: Chicago School Board Resigns

All seven members of the Chicago Board of Education stepped down this week. Paris Schutz and guests discuss that and more.

The Week in Review: Mayor Lightfoot Hits the Ground Running

A changing of the guard as Lori Lightfoot succeeds Rahm Emanuel as mayor of Chicago. Some big-ticket items remain on the legislative docket in Springfield. And in sports, the White Sox pull off some impressive and rare moves.

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