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Stories by Kristen Thometz

Chicago Hotel Workers Reach Agreement with 7 Hotels

Workers picket in front of the Hyatt Regency Chicago on Monday, Sept. 17, 2018. (Chicago Tonight)

After nearly two weeks, the union representing striking workers announced that a contract agreement had been reached at seven hotels. Workers will continue to strike at 19 others.

2018 Chicago Fall Festival Guide

Oktoberfest Chicago (Special Events Management)

Fall officially begins this weekend, but the changing of the season doesn’t mean the outdoor fun has to end. Gear up for fall festivals, nature walks, art shows and more. 

Illinois to Receive $43.5 Million to Fight Opioid Crisis

(The Javorac / Flickr)

The state of Illinois is getting a boost in its efforts to combat the opioid epidemic, thanks to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 

10 Things to Do This Weekend: Sept. 20-23

Little Kids Rock (Courtesy of DCASE)

Young artists, apple pies, dashing dogs and craft beer usher in the fall weekend. Here are 10 things to do in and around Chicago.

Olympic Gymnast Aly Raisman: ‘We’ve All Been Through Something’

Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman, right, speaks with Chicago Tribune columnist Heidi Stevens on Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2018 during the Chicago Foundation for Women’s 33rd annual symposium. (Kristen Thometz / Chicago Tonight)

When survivors of sexual abuse share their stories, the gold medal-winning gymnast hopes everyone will “actually listen to them, hear their story and understand how common abuse is,” she said.

No End in Sight for Chicago Hotel Workers’ Strike

| Eddie Arruza
Workers picket in front of the Hilton Chicago on Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2018. (Chicago Tonight)

Chicago’s biggest ever hotel strike is now in its 11th day. What workers want – and where things stand with their demands.

Physician: ‘We Can All Do Something’ to Address Gun Violence

Northwestern University medical students and professors pose for a picture Monday, Sept. 17, 2018 following a panel discussion about gun violence. (Kristen Thometz / Chicago Tonight)

All health care providers can play a role in addressing the epidemic, says Dr. Dan Evans. “I’m an average primary care doctor. I’m here to say it doesn’t matter what you are or what you’re going to do, we can all do something.”

2018 Chicago Summer Festival Guide

(Courtesy of Wicker Park Fest)

Up next: 312 Block Party, World Dumpling Fest, Apple Fest, Windy City Blues Fest, World Music Fest, Harvest Pow Wow and more.

Despite Setbacks, Hope Remains for Alzheimer’s Drug Treatments

(stevepb / Pixabay)

In the last two decades, only four drugs have been approved to treat Alzheimer’s symptoms, according to a new report. “I’m very optimistic that within 10 years we’ll have a breakthrough,” said Dr. Doug Williamson of biopharmaceutical company Lundebeck.

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

(Courtesy of Chicago Turkish Festival)

Punk rock bands, tons of tacos, cultural celebrations, butterflies and yoga usher in the weekend. Here are 10 things to do in and around Chicago.

Caregivers, Researchers Recount Toll of Alzheimer’s, But Remain Optimistic

Speakers at The Atlantic’s “Disrupting Alzheimer’s” event on Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018. (Kristen Thometz / Chicago Tonight)

Despite the prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease, researchers, caregivers and advocates are optimistic about the future. “I see a treatment, it’s going to happen,” said William Klein, a professor at Northwestern University.  

UIC Cutting Men’s and Women’s Gymnastics Teams

| Evan Garcia
(Courtesy of the University of Illinois at Chicago Men's Gymnastics Team)

After a 70-year run that has resulted in multiple NCAA championship titles, the gymnastics program at the University of Illinois at Chicago will cease to exist once its current season wraps up.

CDC Issues New Guidelines to Diagnose, Treat Youth Concussions

(cegoh / Pixabay)

New guidelines recommend youth who have experienced a concussion return to non-sports activities sooner than previously advised because it can aid in the recovery process.

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

(Throwback Music Fest / Darkroom Joe's Photography)

Retro tunes, barbecue bites, historic homes and feline films usher in the weekend. Here are 10 things to do in Chicago.

New Guidelines to Identify, Treat Depression in Perimenopause

(silviarita / Pixabay)

Women are at an increased risk of depression before menopause, even if they don’t have a history of the mood disorder. New guidelines seek to help clinicians identify and treat women during this “window of vulnerability,” said UIC professor Pauline Maki.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel Not Seeking Re-election

“Now with our three children in college, Amy and I have decided it is time to write another chapter together,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2018 with his wife Amy Rule by his side as he announced he would not seek re-election.

“As much as I love this job and will always love this city and its residents, I have decided not to seek re-election,” Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Tuesday.

Study: 1 in 12 Kids Taking Multiple Meds at Risk of Harmful Interactions

(David Kessler / Flickr)

Researchers say adverse drug events are a leading cause of injury and death among children and adolescents, yet there has been a lack of information about how this population uses prescription medicine.

12 Things to Do This Labor Day Weekend: Aug. 30-Sept. 3

Chicago Fringe Festival (Photo by Sarah Larson)

Jazz, comedy, DJs, ethnic dishes and lowriders usher in the long holiday weekend. Here are a dozen things to do in and around Chicago.

UIC to Study Teen Depression Prevention Programs

(Free-Photos / Pixabay)

Researchers will study an online intervention program and in-person group therapy program designed for teens to see which is better at helping them cope with tough situations and feel more hopeful. 

6 Labor Day Weekend Ideas for a Summer Road Trip or Chicago Staycation

A waterfall in Starved Rock State Park. (Arturo Hurtado / Flickr)

The holiday weekend is almost upon us. Still haven’t made plans? We share our favorite local activities and weekend getaways. 

John McCain, US Senator and Veteran, Remembered by Illinois Politicians

(U.S. Sen John McCain / Official Senate Photo)

Reflections on the life of the late Arizona senator, Republican leader and two-time presidential candidate who died Saturday from brain cancer.

Rauner Vetoes Tobacco 21 Bill


The legal minimum age to purchase tobacco products in Illinois will remain 18 after Gov. Bruce Rauner last week vetoed legislation that would have raised the age to 21. 

Experts Revise Recommendations on Cervical Cancer Screenings

(snicky2290 / Pixabay)

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force is revising its recommendations on cervical cancer screenings for some women. A local doctor talks about what that means for patients.

New Laws Boost Treatment of Opioid Abuse, Mental Health Access

Gov. Bruce Rauner says a suite of new laws will “dramatically improve” mental health and addiction treatment in Illinois as part of a larger effort to address the state’s opioid crisis.

Mother’s Book Reminds Readers: Kids with Special Needs Are Still Kids

(Illustration by Yip Jar Design)

In honor of her late son, Elizabeth Gerlach wrote a children’s book featuring a protagonist who uses a wheelchair. “I would like to be able to reduce the stigma of kids with disabilities,” she said.