Stories by leslie hurtado

Segregation, Disinvestment Impact Neighborhood Violence, Community Leader Says

(WTTW News)

Everything about one’s experience of living in Chicago can be traced back to segregation and race, according to community leader José Rico, executive director of Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation Chicago.

Proposed State Bill Would Help Sexual Assault Survivors Opt Out of Revealing Medical Information in Insurance Documents

(WTTW News)

Revealing that they’ve been the victim of a sexual assault is a frightening task for any survivor.And if a private insurer is billed for the cost of treatment, family members may learn about the attack through insurance documents.

Advocates Call for City Support to Shelter Homeless Amid Winter Storm, Pandemic

(WTTW News)

As snowfall pelts the region, outreach workers in Chicago are working to provide supplies and shelter to the homeless community. Advocates are calling on the city for support as shelters deal with limited bed capacity in the pandemic.

New City Initiative to Grant $14.4M to South, West Side Businesses

(WTTW News)

The initiative aims to provide up to $14.4 million dollars in support to businesses recovering from the pandemic. Business owners will be able to utilize funds for building renovations, energy efficient supplies and more.

Changes to Felony Murder Statute Exclude Some: Injustice Watch

(WTTW News)

A change made by state lawmakers in January 2021 to a sweeping criminal justice law removes the possibility of prosecutors charging defendants with murder in cases when a third party is responsible for the killing. But criminal justice groups are lobbying for further changes.

UIC Researchers Create Interactive Map to Track Pollution

(UIC)

Chicago Public Schools students in predominantly Latino communities are being disproportionately impacted by pollution emitted from industrial sites across the city. 

Illinois Dentists Report Worker Shortages Due to COVID-19 Pandemic

(WTTW News)

As dentists across Illinois experience staffing shortages and an increased demand for dental appointments, they are asking state officials to consider teledentistry and other services to help fill the demand. 

Illinois Schools Reduce COVID-19 Isolation Time from 10 to 5 Days

Illinois schools cut quaratine time in half, following new CDC guidance. (WTTW News)

According to district data from Chicago Public Schools, over 12,818 students are in quarantine, and 2,355 adults are also staying home due to a positive case.

Illinois House Speaker Emanuel ‘Chris’ Welch on His First Year

Illinois House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch appears on “Chicago Tonight” on Jan. 11, 2022. (WTTW News)

Illinois House Speaker Emanuel Chris Welch reflects on his first year on the job. Welch’s historic win followed Michael Madigan’s decadeslong hold on political power in the Illinois House. 

Doctor Offers Tips for Regaining Sense of Smell After COVID-19 Infection

(Foundry Co / Pixabay)

A common indicator of COVID-19 is the loss of taste and smell, which can last for months after infection, according to recent research.

Chicago’s Top Doctor On How to Prepare for a Winter COVID-19 Surge

Officials are urging the public to get vaccinated and get tested — but many people are reporting challenges in finding tests. (WTTW News)

Officials are urging the public to get vaccinated and get tested — but many people are reporting challenges in finding tests.

Local Business Owners React to Proof of Vaccination Requirement

(WTTW News)

While some business owners say requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccination will limit spread of COVID-19, others worry about how it will impact their business – and how patrons will react. 

Multiple Downtown Stores Hit With Retail Theft Crimes

At the height of the holiday season, retail stores in Chicago and across the country are experiencing a rash of thefts. (WTTW News)

Multiple in-store thefts have been reported recently on the Magnificent Mile amounting to millions of dollars in stolen merchandise. But retailers say it’s not just about lost revenue — it’s about safety — and they’re calling for city officials to put more protections in place for businesses.

US Surgeon General Warns Parents of National Youth Mental Health Crisis

A public health advisory from the U.S. Surgeon General’s office details how the pandemic has disrupted the lives of children, teens and young adults — causing them to inherit anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts. (WTTW News)

A public health advisory from the U.S. surgeon general’s office details how the pandemic has disrupted the lives of children, teens and young adults, causing them anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts.

‘Momnibus’ Bill to Support Moms Who Served in the Military Signed into Law

The Protecting Moms Who Served Act, introduced by Rep. Lauren Underwood and championed by Sen. Tammy Duckworth, requires the Department of Veterans Affairs to invest in quality maternal care for mothers across the country. (WTTW News)

The Protecting Moms Who Served Act, introduced by U.S. Rep. Lauren Underwood and championed by Sen. Tammy Duckworth, requires the Department of Veterans Affairs to invest in quality maternal care for mothers across the country.

‘The People’s Map’: Organizations Create Ward Maps Made by Communities

Courtesy CHANGE Illinois)

The deadline for a city ward map is Wednesday. CHANGE Illinois believes that map should be independently made by community members who reflect the city’s population and not by alderpeople. 

Illinois Surpasses Delta Variant Surge Before the Holidays

The increase in cases in Illinois this fall has now surpassed last summer’s delta variant surge. Health officials are urging residents to take extra precautions as they make plans to gather with family members who may or may not be vaccinated.  (WTTW News)

The increase in cases in Illinois this fall has now surpassed last summer’s delta variant surge. Health officials are urging residents to take extra precautions as they make plans to gather with family members who may or may not be vaccinated. 

Naperville Mayor: ‘Lift the Illinois Mask Mandate’

People wearing masks line up for a food drive in Brighton Park on Chicago’s Southwest Side on April 23, 2020. (WTTW News)

Naperville Mayor Steve Chirico said that he supports Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s mitigation efforts but still believes Illinois should follow the other 44 states that do not have a mask mandate. 

New Student Loan Changes Create Barriers for Borrowers

The student loan debt crisis is now up to $1.7 trillion. Many federal loan borrowers were temporarily relieved of repayments during the pandemic, but they’re set to resume Feb. 1.  (WTTW News)

The student loan debt crisis is now up to $1.7 trillion. Many federal loan borrowers were temporarily relieved of repayments during the pandemic, but they’re set to resume Feb. 1. And there’s no movement on canceling student debt.

Illinois Creates New Office to Combat Gun Violence

A file photo shows a crime scene blocked off by the Chicago Police Department. (WTTW News)

“Our goal in public safety is to have children no longer think about being shot at,” said Chris Patterson, who was tapped to lead the newly created Office of Firearm Violence Prevention. “Communities don’t feel safe because of the violence.”

Chicago Homeowners Owe $421M in Water Debt: WBEZ

A report from WBEZ reveals that homeowners collectively owe up to $421 million in debt, and that includes penalty fees and water taxes. 60% of those homeowners make up the city’s majority-Black ZIP codes.  (WTTW News)

A report from WBEZ reveals that homeowners collectively owe up to $421 million in debt, and that includes penalty fees and water taxes. Sixty percent of those homeowners make up the city’s majority Black ZIP codes.  

As Daylight Saving Ends, Sleep Specialists Say Standard Time Better for Health

(Rachel Nelson / Pixabay)

“It is much healthier to get more of that light in the morning than in the evening,” said Dr. Sabra Abbott, a sleep medicine specialist at Northwestern Medicine.

ProPublica Report Finds Immigration Center Staff Ill-Equipped to Care for Afghan Youth

Some Afghan youth at a local immigration center are traumatized after fleeing their country, according to a recent report by ProPublica. We hear from the reporter who broke the story.

Hundreds March to Demand Justice for Jelani Day

(Courtesy of the Day family)

The Illinois State University graduate was last seen in late August, and his body was found last month. On Monday, the LaSalle County coroner said Jelani Day drowned to death, but his family is asking federal agencies to get involved.

‘An Electrical Outrage,’ Thousands in Puerto Rico Left in the Dark

(WTTW via CNN)

Thousands of Puerto Ricans are taking to the streets to protest massive blackouts. The island’s antiquated power grid has long been unreliable, and it was decimated by Hurricane Maria in 2017. This summer, officials hoped the privatization of the power grid by LUMA Energy would help.

Disruptions in Supply Chains Cause Delays, High Prices

As the holiday season approaches, products overseas have been backlogged and prices for products have increased, causing those operating small businesses to scramble through their inventory. (WTTW News)

Small-business owners in Illinois are experiencing an unprecedented demand in supplies and goods, but inventory is limited at stores due to supply chain issues nationwide.