Stories by Jay Shefsky

Chicago Wrestling Coach Pays it Forward While Building a Dynasty

Bowen High School wrestling coach Ron Wilson

In just a few years, Ron Wilson reintroduced Bowen High School’s wrestling program and turned it into a city and regional powerhouse. Now, Wilson, a special education teacher turned firefighter, continues to lead the Boilermakers. 

Newly Discovered Photos Reveal Childhood of Groundbreaking Journalist

(Courtesy of Jimmy Nuter)

Dozens of old glass negatives found in the attic of a North Side home lead to a surprising discovery, just days before the house was scheduled to be torn down. 

National Park Photographer Completes His Portfolio with Visit to Indiana Dunes

Photographer QT Luong at Kings Canyon National Park in California. (Courtesy QT Luong)

QT Luong is renowned for his photos of all 60 national parks. Now he's come to photograph our newest national park: the Indiana Dunes. 

Chicago Artist Edo Wants to Light Up the World With Color

Chicago artist Edo

From clothing to digital art to painting, Chicago artist Edo sees color in all forms. “Color is my thing,” he says. “I want it to light up a room.”

Richard J. Daley’s Rise to Power Fueled by Ambition, Luck

Richard J. Daley and Eleanor “Sis” Daley vote in the 1946 race for Cook County sheriff. (Chicago Daily News Photo; Courtesy of the Chicago History Museum)

Richard J. Daley’s long climb up the Democratic Party ladder began in the 1930s and was fueled by unfailing loyalty to the party – and an extraordinary series of well-timed deaths.

Discovery of Political Buttons at NEIU Offers Glimpse Into Past

A recently discovered collection of old political buttons may tell us something about the voters of an earlier era.

Chicago Wrestling Coach Pays it Forward While Building a Dynasty

Bowen High School wrestling coach Ron Wilson

In just a few years, Ron Wilson reintroduced Bowen High School’s wrestling program and turned it into a city and regional powerhouse. Now, Wilson, a special education teacher turned firefighter, continues to lead the Boilermakers. 

Refugee Photo Exhibit ‘Designed to Engage You Empathetically’

Ahmednor (James Bowey)

For his traveling exhibit, “When Home Won’t Let You Stay: Stories of Refugees in America,” photographer James Bowey spent time with all of his subjects in order to learn and share their stories.  

Hats and ‘Bracelets’ Gone Berserk: The Wildly Creative Wares of John Koch

John Koch (Jay Shefsky / Chicago Tonight)

He’s been making hats and gloves for 45 years, but they’re not designed to keep us warm. Meet the man behind some eye-catching creations.

Clowning Around as a Kid Leads to Lifelong Dance Career

Randy Duncan

The unlikely story of how a beloved local TV show inspired the career of a beloved dancer, choreographer and teacher. 

Chicago Artist Edo Wants to Light Up the World With Color

Chicago artist Edo

From clothing to digital art to painting, Chicago artist Edo sees color in all forms. “Color is my thing,” he says. “I want it to light up a room.”

‘Jay’s Chicago’: A New Season of Stories About Life in Chicago

Premiering Friday, the show’s fourth season includes stories about interesting people in the city and their talents, passions and projects. Here’s a preview of the season.

‘Angels Too Soon’ Remembers Tragedy at Our Lady of the Angels

Firefighters at the scene of the fire at Our Lady of the Angels on Dec. 1, 1958. (Photo of image courtesy Chicago History Museum)

It’s been 60 years since a fire at Our Lady of the Angels school killed 92 students and three nuns. We revisit the WTTW documentary about that tragedy, “Angels Too Soon.”

The Mystery of Nathan Leopold’s Bird Collection

Left: Nathan Leopold, soon after his arrest. (Chicago Daily News photo courtesy of the Chicago History Museum)

In all the attempts to dissect the Leopold and Loeb story, one mystery remains unsolved: What happened to the vast bird collection that Nathan Leopold had in his Chicago home when he went to prison?

Photographer Donates His Talents to Help Dogs Get Adopted

(Photo credit: Josh Feeney)

More than 6,000 dogs were taken in by the city’s animal shelter last year. How one local animal lover is focusing his lens on the challenge of finding them permanent homes.

Hats and ‘Bracelets’ Gone Berserk: The Wildly Creative Wares of John Koch

John Koch (Jay Shefsky / Chicago Tonight)

He’s been making hats and gloves for 45 years, but they’re not designed to keep us warm. Meet the man behind some eye-catching creations.

Discovery of Political Buttons at NEIU Offers Glimpse Into Past

A newly discovered collection of old political buttons may tell us something about the voters of an earlier era.

Nearly 50 Years Later, Highwood Bocce Club Members Still Having a Ball

You may know it as bocce ball, bocci or bocce. But however you say it (or spell it) this ancient Italian sport is gaining in popularity with U.S. players. We visit north suburban Highwood for a look – and a lesson.

Photographer Donates His Talents to Help Dogs Get Adopted

(Photo credit: Josh Feeney)

More than 6,000 dogs were taken in by the city’s animal shelter last year. How one local animal lover is focusing his lens on the challenge of finding them permanent homes.

Chicago Punk Rock Musicians with Unexpected Day Jobs

The Bollweevils pose after a rehearsal in a Northwest Side basement. From left: Pete Mittler, Daryl Wilson, Ken Fitzner, Pete Mumford. (Jay Shefsky / Chicago Tonight)

The story of one local punk band whose members’ lives have gone in some surprising directions.  

Pilsen Photographer Sebastian Hidalgo Focuses on Longtime Residents

(Credit: Sebastián Hidalgo)

Meet a photographer who captures a “culture under threat” in an area recently named by Forbes magazine as one of the 12 coolest neighborhoods in the world. 

Nearly 50 Years Later, Highwood Bocce Club Members Still Having a Ball

You may know it as bocce ball, bocci or bocce. But however you say it (or spell it) this ancient Italian sport is gaining in popularity with U.S. players. We visit north suburban Highwood for a look – and a lesson.

Live Bait Shop at Montrose Harbor a Relic of Chicago’s Fishing Heyday

Stacey Greene is the owner of Park Bait Shop at Montrose Harbor. (Jay Shefsky / Chicago Tonight)

Once upon a time in Chicago, so many people fished to feed their families that there were bait shops up and down the lakefront. The oldest one has been owned by the same family for 60 years.

Black Sailors in Chicago Chart a New Course

Producer Jay Shefsky and cameraman Felix Mendez pose with the crew of Mise en Place at Jackson Park Harbor.

Sailing is a mostly white, male sport. On the eve of the Race to Mackinac, we visit one crew that bucks both of those trends. 

Behind the Scenes at Vienna Beef on its 125th Birthday

(Jay Shefsky / Chicago Tonight)

The company started by two Viennese immigrants in 1893 makes more than 100 million sausages each year at its Chicago plant. We take a behind-the-scenes tour to see how the sausage is made. 

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