Stories by Kristen Thometz

Aretha Franklin, the ‘Queen of Soul,’ Dies at 76

Aretha Franklin performs in a 1985 WTTW production of “Soundstage.”

The iconic “Queen of Soul” died Thursday at her home in Detroit after battling pancreatic cancer. Two of her friends share stories about her life and legacy.

10 Things to Do This Weekend: Aug. 16-19

(Courtesy of City of Chicago, DCASE)

High-flying aerial acrobatics, culinary creations, an eco-friendly beer fest and all things vintage usher in the weekend. Here are 10 things to do in and around Chicago.

Northwestern Memorial Named No. 1 Hospital in City, State

(Courtesy of Northwestern Medicine)

For the seventh consecutive year, Northwestern Memorial Hospital has been named by U.S. News & World Report as the best hospital in both the Chicago metro area and the state.

State Bill on Dense Breast Notifications Signed into Law

Diagnostic radiologist Maj. Sara Michael reviews a mammogram at Blanchfield Army Community Hospital to look for any abnormalities in the breast tissue. (Photo Credit: Maria Yager)

A new state law will require mammogram providers to notify women whose test results show they have dense breast tissue, a risk factor for breast cancer. 

New Law Aims to Improve Medical Care for Sexual Assault Survivors

(valelopardo / Pixabay)

Under a new law, hospitals in Illinois must provide specialized emergency room care to survivors of sexual assault and also treat emotional trauma in the aftermath of such crimes.

Advocates: ‘We Have to Come to Them’ to Address Homelessness

(Kristen Thometz / Chicago Tonight)

“So many people experiencing homelessness won’t come to us,” said Chris Robinson, Heartland Alliance Health outreach manager. “We have to come to them.”

Report: Hospitals’ Religious Affiliations Impact Access to Reproductive Care

Women enrolled in public insurance programs are entitled to receive coverage for comprehensive family planning care, according to federal guidelines. But new research reveals Cook County women may face additional barriers in accessing reproductive health care.

Women’s March Chicago Planning October March, Rally

Crowds gather in Grant Park on Jan. 20, 2018 for the March to the Polls. (Amanda Vinicky / Chicago Tonight)

Ahead of Election Day, organizers behind a January event that drew 300,000 people downtown plan to hold another march and rally designed to inspire voter turnout.

10 Things to Do This Weekend: Aug. 9-12

(Bud Billiken Parade / Facebook)

Hot dogs, a back-to-school parade, news quizzes and classical music usher in the weekend. Here are 10 things to do in Chicago.

How Chicago Hospitals are Addressing the Opioid Epidemic

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

From decreasing access to opioids, to identifying patients at risk of addiction: A look at what local hospitals are doing in the fight against opioid addiction.

5 Medicinal Plants Growing in Chicago You Should Know

The Dorothy Bradley Atkins Medicinal Plant Garden (Kristen Thometz / Chicago Tonight)

More than 200 medicinal plants grow in a garden on the city’s Near West Side, including species that have led to the development of treatments for cancer and congestive heart failure.

Report: Immigrant Deportation, Separation Can Have ‘Lifelong Impacts’

Even if family separations are temporary, “the psychological effects of separation reverberate throughout the community for a long time,” said Dana Rusch, assistant professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago. 

USDA Issues Alert for Salads, Wraps Amid Foodborne Illness Concerns

(valelopardo / Pixabay)

Federal officials are advising consumers to rid their fridges of salads and wraps linked to an intestinal illness that has sickened more than 600 people in Illinois since mid-May.

10 Things to Do This Weekend: Aug. 2-5

(Charles Reagan Hackleman / Lollapalooza 2017)

A massive music festival, local talent, craft brews and thought-provoking plays usher in the weekend. Here are 10 things to do in and around Chicago.

In New Role, Nneka Jones Tapia to Address Mental Wellness of Youth

Nneka Jones Tapia, left, and Liz Dozier (Roger Morales / Chicago Beyond)

The former Cook County Jail executive director will focus on mental wellness, particularly among Chicago youth whose parents have been incarcerated.

10 Things to Do This Weekend: July 26-29

(Courtesy Wicker Park Fest)

Street fests, sudsy beverages, acrobatic acts and printmaking usher in the weekend. Here are 10 things to do in and around Chicago.

New Collaborative Focused on Children’s Health Policy

(Kristen Thometz / Chicago Tonight)

A statewide initiative aims to move the dial on child health policy by addressing issues such as infant mortality, violent injury and death, and barriers to health care.

Cook County Officials Report Measles Exposure in City, Suburbs

The skin of a patient three days after developing a measles infection. (Dr. Heinz F. Eichenwald / Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Health officials are reporting a confirmed case of measles in a Cook County resident who visited a restaurant and grocery store in the city and suburbs earlier this month. 

Study: Resting in Green Space Sharpens Focus – If You Stay Offline

(StockSnap / Pixabay)

Next time you step outside to mentally recharge, leave your phone at your desk. A new study finds using electronics outdoors counteracts nature’s restorative properties.

243 Cases of Foodborne Illness Reported in Illinois

(valelopardo / Pixabay)

A new outbreak this week of an intestinal illness has prompted an expanded investigation of possible sources of contamination.

Sheriff Tom Dart Launches Podcast About Opioid Epidemic

Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart appears on “Chicago Tonight” on July 13, 2017.

“This crisis touches the lives of so many – almost everyone knows someone struggling with an opioid addiction,” said Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart. “I hope this podcast opens eyes and minds to how easily an opioid addiction can happen and how hard it can be to stop.”

10 Things to Do This Weekend: July 19-22

Pitchfork Music Festival in Union Park (Photo by Matt Lief Anderson)

Grammy-winning musicians, indie acts, Mexican fare and superheroes usher in the weekend. Here are 10 things to do in and around Chicago.

5 Tips for Using Emoji at the Office

(Pixaline / Pixabay)

From traditional smileys and beyond, emoji are ubiquitous in today’s culture. But just when are they appropriate for use in the workplace?

Archaeological Dig Begins at Irving Park Home

The Gray-Cloud house in 2017. (Courtesy of David Cloud)

A 162-year-old Chicago home rumored to have once been a stop on the Underground Railroad is now the site of an excavation. What archaeologists are hoping to unearth.

Illinois Health Officials Warn of Rabid Bats After 17 Found in State

(Ann Froschauer / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

So far this year, nearly a dozen bats have tested positive for rabies in Cook and Will counties alone.