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Stories by Kristen Thometz

Trump Hotel Chicago Transforms Elevator into Gingerbread Express

The Trump Hotel Chicago transforms one of its elevators into the Gingerbread Express each holiday season. Pictured is the 2015 elevator. (Kristen Thometz / Chicago Tonight)

Gingerbread cookies and houses are synonymous with Christmas, but one Chicago hotel takes the seasonal staple to the next level with the Gingerbread Express—an elevator dressed head to toe in gingerbread. 

Northwestern Researchers Discover Ebola-Fighting Protein in Human Cells

(Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

There is no cure for Ebola, the severe and often fatal illness that killed more than 11,000 people between 2014 and 2016. But researchers believe their discovery could pave the way for the development of an effective treatment.

IDPH Reports 6 New Cases of Hepatitis A, Urges Vaccination

(valelopardo / Pixabay)

Within the past week, the Illinois Department of Public Health has identified six new cases of hepatitis A, including two in suburban Cook County. Health officials say the newly infected individuals are among those at greater risk for the illness.

10 Things to Do This Weekend: Dec. 13-16

(Credit: Cirque Dreams)

Circus acts, break dancing mice, brightly lit trees and Christmas carols usher in the weekend. Here are 10 things to do in and around Chicago.

Chicago to Host James Beard Awards Through 2027

Rick Bayless, center, poses with his wife and business partner, Deann, and Dave Hardie, director of San Pellegrino. (Credit: Huge Galdones)

The Windy City will continue to serve as host to the annual awards event that dishes out honors to the best in the food and restaurant industry.

Analysis Links Black Residents’ Exodus from Chicago with Unemployment

| Paul Caine
(Giuseppe Milo / Flickr)

An analysis by the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning posits economic conditions likely played a role in the yearslong exodus of black residents from the Chicago region.

10 Things to Do This Weekend: Dec. 6-9

From left to right: Ryan Jendrycki, Kianna Rose, Jonathan Rooney Taylor, Jordan Golding and Darnell Jordan. (Photo credit: Tyler Core)

Holiday trains, festive fairs, cutting-edge choreography and ice skates usher in the weekend. Here are 10 things to do in and around Chicago.

7 Illinois Hospitals Among Best in the Country, Watchdog Group Says

(Kristen Thometz / Chicago Tonight)

The 2018 Leapfrog Top Hospital award recognizes 118 hospitals across the nation, including four in Chicago. Find out which ones made this year’s list.

Chicago Bulls Fire Head Coach Fred Hoiberg

In this Oct. 22, 2018, file photo, Chicago Bulls head coach Fred Hoiberg questions a call during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Dallas Mavericks. (Michael Ainsworth / AP File Photo)

“Decisions like this one are never easy to make, however I felt this was the right choice for our organization at this time,” said John Paxson, Chicago Bulls executive vice president of basketball operations, in a statement.

Survey: Adults Say Drug Abuse, Obesity are Top Health Issues Facing Chicago Youth


Adults in Chicago think drug and alcohol abuse, obesity and depression are among the top 10 health problems facing the city’s youth, according to a new citywide survey.

10 Things to Do This Weekend: Nov. 29-Dec. 2

(Courtesy of Chicago Bar Association)

Political parodies, holiday songs, craft fairs and beer yoga usher in the weekend. Here are 10 things to do in Chicago.

Northwestern Program Offers Local Teens Medical School Experience

Pathologist Dr. Wendy Ward, left, and Zack Whitaker in the laboratory at Northwestern Medicine Huntley Hospital. (Courtesy of Northwestern Medicine)

Learning how to read MRIs and inspect cell tissues are lessons typically reserved for students in medical school, not high school. But some suburban teens are doing just that, thanks to a newly expanded youth residency program.

10 Things to Do This Thanksgiving Weekend: Nov. 22-25

Christkindlmarket (Copyright: Jim Prisching)

A Thanksgiving Day parade, holiday markets, sing-a-longs and sleights of hand usher in the holiday weekend. Here are 10 things to do in Chicago.

Report: Slime, Other Popular Toys Pose Threats to Children

Kangaroos Original Super Cool Slime was found to have high levels of boron, a chemical commonly used in pesticides and glass manufacturing, in a new report by the Illinois Public Interest Research Group Education Fund. (Kangaroo Manufacturing / Facebook)

With the holiday season upon us, consumer advocates are warning shoppers about hazardous toys. Find out which products to leave on the shelf.

10 Things to Do This Weekend: Nov. 15-18

(The Magnificent Mile / Facebook)

Twinkling lights, new toys, barrel-aged beer and holiday markets usher in the weekend. Here are 10 things to do in and around Chicago.

City to Sue 8 Online Retailers for Selling E-Cigarettes to Minors

(Diedra Laird, MCT Campus)

The city of Chicago plans to file a lawsuit Tuesday against a handful of retailers caught illegally selling e-cigarette products to an underage Chicago resident as part of an undercover sting.

2018 Chicago Fall Festival Guide

Coming up: Lincoln Park Zoo Holiday Market, Hinsdale Christmas Walk, Caroling at Cloud Gate and more.

Survey Finds E-Cigarette Use Soaring Among Illinois Teens

(nomz / Pixabay)

While fewer teens are using traditional cigarettes, more are turning to e-cigarettes. The trend “sets youth tobacco control programs backward more than 10 years,” said researcher Scott Hays.

Study Asks, Why Do Mothers Stop Breastfeeding?

Despite documented benefits of breastfeeding, only about half of American mothers breastfeed their infants through the first six months of their life. A new study seeks to find out why. 

10 Things to Do This Weekend: Nov. 8-11

(Courtesy of Ballet Folklorico)

Mexican dancers, neighborhood bites, a murder mystery and funny films usher in the weekend. Here are 10 things to do in and around Chicago.

Study: Online Program Helps Prevent Teen Depression

(Free-Photos / Pixabay)

A new study finds an online program that teaches teens coping skills is effective at reducing depressive symptoms, especially among those with more severe symptoms.

Noninvasive Wearable Device Monitors Brain Shunt Performance

Band-Aid-like wearable shunt monitor, as seen on woman's neck. (Courtesy of Northwestern University)

More than 1 million Americans live with brain shunts and the constant threat of their failure, which can be fatal. A new, noninvasive skin sensor can detect whether a shunt is working in minutes.

Emanuel Opposes Tax on High-End Real Estate to Address Homelessness, Lead

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel speaks to the media on Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2018.

The mayor said he understands the seriousness of homelessness and the city’s lead pipes, but he doesn’t think homeowners should be treated “as an ATM machine.”

10 Things to Do This Weekend: Nov. 1-4

(Courtesy of Feld Entertainment)

Monster trucks, improv comedy, global artists and Greek eats usher in the weekend. Here are 10 things to do in and around Chicago.

3 Bar Associations Rank Cook County Circuit Court Judge Candidates

Next month, voters will be tasked with electing Cook County Circuit Court judges. To help navigate the options, three local bar associations screened and ranked each candidate. Here are their recommendations.