Stories by Evan Garcia

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.

10 Things About Chicago Beaches You Might Not Know

(gezelle rivera / Flickr)

Chicago’s beaches – all 26 of them – are now open for the 2019 season. Here are 10 things you may not know about the city’s sandy side.

Chicago Police: Facial Recognition Software is ‘Seldom Used’

(Nitram242 / Flickr)

As police departments across the U.S. weigh the use of facial recognition software, several communities are raising concerns about privacy.

Web Extra, The Week in Review: Boardroom Diversity Bill

Paris Schutz and guests discuss a state bill that would direct publicly traded companies in Illinois to boost their boardroom hiring of women and people of color.

The Week in Review: Lightfoot Meets with Ivanka Trump in Washington

Mayor-elect Lori Lightfoot visits Washington, D.C. Legalized pot and a progressive income tax face hurdles in Springfield. And Cubs fans boo the return of Addison Russell.

Chinese Trade Negotiators Head to Washington After Trump’s Tariff Threats

In this July 5, 2018, file photo, a jockey truck passes a stack of 40-foot China Shipping containers at the Port of Savannah in Savannah, Georgia. For months, the U.S. economy has shrugged off the tariffs slapped by America and China on tens of billions of dollars of each other’s goods. (AP Photo / Stephen B. Morton, File)

Following President Donald Trump’s threats of increased tariffs on roughly $200 billion worth of Chinese goods, Chinese negotiators plan to talk trade in Washington.

Chicago is Getting Electric Scooters – But Are They Safe?

WTTW News takes a test ride on a pair of electric scooters by the company Lime.

Chicago is rolling out an electric scooter pilot program this summer, but a recent government study of the shared scooter system in Austin, Texas, underscores the importance of riders wearing helmets. 

Legalizing Marijuana in Illinois: A Good or Bad Idea?

(7raysmarketing / Pixabay)

Some state lawmakers are scrambling to pass a bill legalizing recreational marijuana this month. Others are urging for a slowdown. We debate the pros and cons of legalization.

Boeing CEO Faces Tough Questions at Shareholder Meeting

Boeing Chief Executive Dennis Muilenburg speaks during a news conference after the company’s annual shareholders meeting at the Field Museum in Chicago, on Monday, April 29, 2019. (AP Photo / Jim Young, Pool)

It’s been more than a month since the FAA grounded Boeing’s troubled 737 Max aircraft. This week, the head of the Chicago-based company addressed shareholders and reporters.

The Week in Review: Pritzker Reportedly Under Federal Investigation

J.B. Pritzker faces a federal investigation into his property taxes. Mayor Emanuel brokers a deal between striking musicians and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. 

Eating the Parks: Foraging in Chicago’s Urban Landscape

Manijeh Bonshahi forages flowers from a maple tree in Lincoln Park. (Evan Garcia / WTTW News)

Tours like Dave Odd’s “Eat the Neighborhood” in Lincoln Park introduce Chicagoans to local plants that are edible or can be used for medicinal purposes. 

Bob Dylan’s Legendary Electric Guitar on Display in Chicago

The first electric guitar Bob Dylan played live in performance – a legendary instrument which sparked uproar – is on public display at the American Writers Museum. We go for a look.

Report: Amazon Employees Are Listening to Alexa Conversations

(Rich Bamford / Flickr)

Would you forgo your privacy for more effective technology? Owners of voice-activated home devices may need to start asking themselves that question.

How Guano Islands Helped Build an American Empire

The U.S. empire stretches farther than you may think. The new book “How to Hide an Empire” details America’s acquisition of foreign land.

Bright Idea from Longtime Professor Brings Neon Art to Rogers Park

Neon artist Audra Jacot lights up one of her works at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s Light Lab.

Have you ever wanted to make your own neon sign? You may soon be in luck. Neon artists, led by a 30-year veteran of the School of the Art Institute, plan to offer art classes and studio space on the North Side.