Stories by Kristen Thometz

10 Things to Do This Weekend: Jan. 24-27

(Chicago Curry House / Facebook)

Special menus, an icy plunge in the lake, winter brews and Mexican sweet bread usher in the weekend. Here are 10 things to do in Chicago.

Survey: 10 Percent of Chicago Parents Refuse Flu Vaccine for Kids

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The flu can keep kids out of school and parents out of work. So why do some parents chose not to get their children vaccinated against it? A new citywide survey offers some insight.

WWCI Names George Preston WFMT Vice President, General Manager

George Preston

George Preston will take over as vice president and general manager of WFMT starting March 1. WWCI President and CEO Sandra Cordova Micek says Preston is “uniquely qualified” for the position.

Officials: Chicago Teen Birth Rate Still Declining

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The city’s teen birth rate has dropped 70 percent since 2000, according to city officials, but African-American and Latina teens are more than five times as likely to give birth than their white peers.

Zoe Mikva, Educator and Activist, Dies at 90

Zorita “Zoe” and Abner Mikva. (Courtesy of Mikva Challenge)

Along with her husband, the late Abner Mikva, Zorita “Zoe” Mikva created the Mikva Challenge more than 20 years ago. She died Saturday at the age of 90.

12 Things to Do This Weekend: Jan. 17-21

Pedro Reyes’s puppet play “Manufacturing Mischief,”featuring Karl Marx, Tiny Trump, Noam Chomsky, Elon Musk and Ayn Rand. (Photos by Sham Sthankiya April 2018)

Puppets, celebrations of Martin Luther King Jr. and thousands of plastic balls usher in the weekend. Here are a dozen things to do in and around Chicago.

What ‘Dry January’ is All About, and Why You Might Want to Try It

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New year, no booze – at least for the month of January. That’s the idea behind the “dry January” trend. 

Report: Americans More Likely to Die of Opioid Overdose Than Car Crash

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

The odds of dying from an opioid overdose are one in 96, while the odds of dying from a motor vehicle crash are one in 103, according to a new analysis by the National Safety Council.

Barbara Gardner Proctor, Advertising Trailblazer, WTTW Trustee, Dies at 86

She launched the first advertising agency owned and managed by an African-American woman in the 1970s. Barbara Gardner Proctor died on Dec. 19, 2018 at the age of 86.

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

Chicago Bears kicker Cody Parkey (1) kicks and misses a field goal during the second half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday, Jan. 6, 2019. The Eagles won 16-15. (AP Photo / David Banks)

Field goal do-overs, an unusual subway ride, sketch comedy and bucking bulls usher in the weekend. Here are 10 things to do in and around Chicago.

Illinois Child Dies From the Flu

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A child in northeastern Illinois is one of 13 across the U.S. who have died from the flu so far this season, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Northwestern Receives $10M to Create Urologic Cancer Institute

Michael Polsky and Dr. Edward Schaeffer of Northwestern (Courtesy of Northwestern Medicine)

A donation from the Polsky family will fund the creation of a new multidisciplinary institute dedicated to urologic cancers, including prostate, bladder and kidney cancers.

Study: 1 in 10 Adults Have a Food Allergy

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More than 26 million American adults are estimated to have a food allergy, with shellfish reported as the top allergen, according to a new study by Northwestern University and Lurie Children’s Hospital.

Ald. Ed Burke Resigns as Finance Committee Chairman

Ald. Ed Burke, 75, departs in a taxi after following his release after turning himself in at the Dirksen Federal Courthouse on Thursday, Jan. 3, 2019. (Brian Cassella / Chicago Tribune via AP)

Just a day after being charged with attempted extortion, the powerful 14th Ward alderman has resigned from the post he’s held for more than three decades.

UIC Researchers Develop Method to Detect ALS

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There is no definitive test to diagnosis the progressive neurodegenerative disease. But that could change, thanks to new research that was able to accurately detect ALS and other neurodegenerative diseases using graphene.

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

(Trina Mae Studio LLC / Facebook)

Pet portraits, model trains, fermented tea and a murder mystery usher in the first weekend of 2019. Here are 10 things to do in and around Chicago.

Study: Mediterranean Diet Linked to Better Cognition in Older Adults

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A new study links higher levels of key nutrients associated with the Mediterranean diet to more efficient brain connectivity and performance on cognitive tests in older adults. 

Mother’s Murder Drives Chicago Cop to Help Domestic Violence Victims

Pictured are Gino Garcia, his mother, Brenda Sexton, and other family members. (Courtesy of Gino Garcia)

The Chicago Police Department fields about 500 domestic violence calls every day. One police officer tries to help victims by sharing his own experiences. “I know what it’s like to need help and not knowing who can help me,” said Officer Gino Garcia.

19 New Laws to Know in 2019

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On Jan. 1, 2019, more than 250 new laws take effect in Illinois, changing rules related to gun control and public safety to animal welfare, education – and possibly your cellphone. We give you the rundown.

Chicagoans Armed with Knowledge, Naloxone to Fight Opioid Crisis

Community health educator Karen Daniels assembles a naloxone kit on Friday, Dec. 7, 2018. (Kristen Thometz / Chicago Tonight)

Dozens of Chicagoans trained to recognize and respond to opioid overdoses in their communities have distributed more than 7,000 naloxone kits across the city since March.

12 Things to Do This Holiday Weekend: Dec. 20-25

Fifth Third Bank Winter WonderFest (Credit: Nick Ulivieri Photography).

Trains, tubas, TV parodies and a winter wonderland usher in the long holiday weekend. Here are a dozen things to do in and around Chicago.

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

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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.