Stories by Kristen Thometz

10 Fall Color Destinations in Illinois This Month

Peak fall foliage is expected during the last week of October at the Garden of the Gods, located in the Shawnee National Forest in Herod, Illinois. (Courtesy of the Illinois Office of Tourism)

Autumn is upon us, and soon Illinois will be awash in fall foliage. Here’s your guide to when – and where – you can spot those red, orange, yellow and purple leaves during their peak throughout the Land of Lincoln.

10 Things to Do This Weekend: Oct. 10-13

(Courtesy of The Great Highwood Pumpkin Festival)

Jack-o’-lanterns, historic homes, cured meats and elite runners usher in the weekend. Here are 10 things to do in and around Chicago.

Parkinson’s Disease Not Slowing Down Runner’s Marathon Goal

Wilmette resident Bill Bucklew, right, ran in the Berlin marathon on Sept. 29. Bucklew, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease at 43, will run in the Chicago marathon on Sunday, Oct. 13. (Courtesy of Bill Bucklew)

The Oct. 13 race is just one of six marathons Bill Bucklew is running in single a year to raise funds for Parkinson’s disease. The 49-year-old was diagnosed with the progressive neurological disorder seven years ago. 

Survey: Stress, Drug Abuse Top Issues Facing Chicago Youth

(natureaddict / Pixabay)

Stress, drug abuse and depression are among the top 10 health issues facing Chicago youth, according to a citywide survey of adults.

102 Cases of Vaping Illnesses in Illinois, Health Officials Report

(Vaping360 / Flickr)

More than 100 Illinois residents are among 1,080 people across the country who have been hospitalized for severe breathing illnesses related to vaping, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday.

Researchers Develop Blood Tests to Detect Diabetic Complications, Cancer

(Belova59 / Pixabay)

The scientist who invented blood tests that can detect diabetic complications and liver cancer sees the tool becoming part of annual blood tests in the future. “That’s the grand picture,” said University of Chicago professor Chuan He.

10 Things to Do This Weekend: Oct. 3-6

(Couleur / Pixabay)

Fall flavors, a community art project, pumpkin patches and a scary film series usher in the weekend. Here are 10 things to do in and around Chicago.

‘Help is Here’: Statewide Campaign Aims to Reach People Who Use Drugs

(Freestocks-photos / Pixabay)

Illinois residents open up about their experiences with addiction and recovery in a new statewide video campaign that seeks to connect people who use drugs with services. 

CDC Study Links Vaping Illness in Illinois, Wisconsin to THC Cartridges

(Vaping360 / Flickr)

Interviews with nearly 90 patients in Illinois and Wisconsin reveal that the use of products containing THC may play a role in the outbreak of vaping-related illnesses, according to findings from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

20-Mile Horse Ride Through Loop Shines a Light on Veteran Suicide

Veterans ride through Washington, D.C. on Sept. 7, 2019 as part of BraveHearts’ “Trail to Zero” campaign. (Courtesy of BraveHearts)

Every day, 20 veterans commit suicide, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. This weekend, 14 veterans will ride 20 miles through Chicago on horseback, with each mile representing a life lost to suicide.

10 Things to Do This Weekend: Sept. 26-29

(Photo by Special Events Management)

German brats and beers, aerial acrobats, monster trucks and a bungalow tour usher in the weekend. Here are 10 things to do in and around Chicago.

Find Pumpkin Patches in Chicago and the Suburbs

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Sure, you could go to your local grocery store and grab a gourd – but what’s the fun in that? We share a bounty of spots for plucking a pumpkin.

Health Officials: 69 Hospitalizations Linked to Vaping in Illinois

(Vaping360 / Flickr)

Nearly 70 Illinois residents are among 530 people across the country who have been hospitalized and diagnosed with vaping-related breathing illnesses, according to federal and state health officials. That’s up from 380 a week ago.

10 Things to Do This Weekend: Sept. 19-22

(Marcelo Ikeda Tchelão / Pixabay)

International artists, lucha libre wrestling, craft brews and cool jazz usher in the weekend. Here are 10 things to do in Chicago.

Allison Arwady Nominated to Become CDPH Commissioner

Dr. Allison Arwady appears on “Chicago Tonight” on Aug. 20, 2019.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot has nominated Dr. Allison Arwady to become the next commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health. Arwady has been serving as acting commissioner since June.

Lightfoot Proposes Citywide Ban on Flavored E-Cigarette Products

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As underage vaping and hospitalizations linked to vaping continue to rise, Mayor Lori Lightfoot is calling for a citywide ban on flavored e-cigarette products. “The dangers are manifesting themselves literally every day. We must act and we will,” she said.

Suburban Teen With Severe Lung Damage Files Lawsuit Against E-Cigarette Maker Juul

Gurnee resident Adam Hergenreder, 18, right, talks about how he began using e-cigarettes at a Friday, Sept. 13 press conference alongside his attorney Antonio Romanucci. (Kristen Thometz / WTTW News)

Adam Hergenreder, 18, looks like a typical teenager, but his lungs tell a different story. “I’ve been told by medical professionals that my lungs are that of a 70-year-old,” the Gurnee resident said Friday at a press conference.

Health Officials: Hospitalizations in Illinois Linked to Vaping Climbs to 52

(lindsayfox / Pixabay)

The number of people hospitalized with a severe respiratory illness linked to vaping continues to grow in Illinois, with 52 confirmed cases since May, according to new figures released by the Illinois Department of Public Health.

Report: Obesity Rates Rising in Illinois, Across the Country

(Tania Dimas / Pixabay)

Nearly a third of adults in Illinois were obese in 2017, compared to roughly 28% seven years ago, according to a new report that offers recommendations to curb the trend – including a sugar-sweetened beverage tax.

10 Things to Do This Weekend: Sept. 12-15

(Photo by James Richards)

Art fairs, rock bands, sweet treats and an early Thanksgiving celebration usher in the weekend. Here are 10 things to do in and around Chicago.

Illinois Attorney General Files Lawsuit Against Opioid Distributors, Manufacturers

(U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Hailey R. Staker)

Opioid manufacturers carried out unfair and deceptive marketing campaigns while distributors flooded Illinois with opioids, according to a lawsuit filed this week by Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul.

Sen. Durbin Calls on FDA Commissioner to Act on Vaping Epidemic or Resign

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin calls on the Food and Drug Administration on Monday, Sept. 9, 2019, to take action to properly regulate e-cigarettes as the number of vaping-related illnesses and deaths continue to rise across the country. (WTTW News)

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin is calling on Food and Drug Administration Acting Commissioner Ned Sharpless to take “decisive action” against the vaping epidemic that has claimed five lives or resign.

Broadband Access Key to Expanding Telehealth in Illinois Communities

(Pexels / Pixabay)

Telehealth, or the virtual delivery of health-related services, is on the rise. State and federal officials gave an update on investments supporting expansion of such services at an annual conference, including a $420 million expansion of broadband services in Illinois.

Parents Sound Alarm on Vaping After Daughter’s Near-Death Experience

New Lenox residents Tim and Ruby Johnson, left, speak at a press conference Thursday about the recent hospitalization of their daughter, Piper, with their attorney Michael Gallagher, right. (Kristen Thometz / WTTW News)

“We hope that our daughter’s life-threatening ordeal can serve as a warning to parents and teens alike. Vaping is dangerous and can kill you,” said Ruby Johnson, whose daughter, Piper, was hospitalized for a week after vaping.

Cook County Maps Story of Opioid Epidemic with New Website

(U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Hailey R. Staker)

A newly launched website seeks to convey the seriousness of the opioid epidemic locally while providing resources and honoring those who have died, says Dr. Kiran Joshi of the Cook County Department of Public Health.