Stories by marissa nelson

As Eviction Ban Ends, Housing Organizations Say Assistance Programs Will Be Key

In this file photo, houses sit behind metal fencing on a tree-lined street in Chicago. (WTTW News)

Residents and property owners in the city and state are seeking aid in recovering economic losses or securing housing. But for some Latino residents, language barriers and concerns over their immigration status keep them from getting the help they need.

‘Chicago Tonight’ in Your Neighborhood: Ravenswood

The Ravenswood community is neighbored by North Center and Lincoln Square, and there’s much disagreement over where the three neighborhoods’ borders end and begin. (WTTW News)

Eight miles north from the Loop, manufacturing buildings, Victorian homes and small businesses line Ravenswood’s streets. The community is neighbored by North Center and Lincoln Square, and there’s much disagreement over where the three neighborhoods’ borders end and begin.

Cuba Sees Unprecedented Protests Amid Economic Crisis

The Cuban flag. (Paul Brennan / Pixabay)

The island nation of Cuba has seen unprecedented demonstrations amid the country’s worst economic crisis in decades — and nearly 60 years into the United States’ embargo on the nation.

‘Chicago Tonight’ in Your Neighborhood: Revisiting North Lawndale

This week the area welcomed two new projects —  one bringing affordable homes and the other bringing jobs. We talk with community leaders about how these initiatives will strengthen the neighborhood and help residents build wealth. 

Phil Ponce Ends Regular Appearances on ‘Chicago Tonight’

(WTTW News)

After nearly three decades at “Chicago Tonight,” Phil Ponce ends his regular appearances on the program. We reflect on his career in journalism and his leadership role in the WTTW newsroom.

‘Latino Voices’ Community Conversation: Latino LGBTQ Experience

A screenshot from the “Latino Voices” community conversation on Monday, June 28, 2021. (WTTW News)

For our June event, we celebrate Pride Month by highlighting past and current leaders in the LGBTQ movement and the Latino experience within the community. Watch the full discussion.

Legislation to Address Period Poverty Heads to Governor’s Desk

(WTTW News)

Community organizations and state lawmakers are working to make menstrual products more accessible to Illinoisans who need them. We take a look at the issue in our Firsthand: Living in Poverty series.

‘Chicago Tonight’ in Your Neighborhood: Woodridge

Evidence of a tornado that tore through suburban Woodridge is visible June 24, 2021, just four days after the EF3 twister touched down. (WTTW News)

After a major tornado ripped through west suburban DuPage County, community members are picking up the pieces. For some, it will be a long road: more than 160 homes saw significant damage and about 30 were destroyed.

Report: Life Expectancy Gap Widening Between Black, Non-Black Chicagoans

(WTTW News)

Between 2012 and 2017, the life expectancy gap grew from 8.3 years to 9.2 years, according to a recently released report, which found that Black Chicagoans on average live 71.4 years, while their non-Black counterparts live an average of 80.6 years.

Chicago’s Nightclubs Hoping to Rebound as City Fully Reopens

Beauty Bar in Chicago’s West Town neighborhood. (WTTW News)

The COVID-19 pandemic brought Chicago’s nightlife scene to a halt. How businesses are faring — and hoping to rebound — now that the city is fully reopened. 

‘Chicago Tonight’ in Your Neighborhood: Lisle

Although they look like wood, Daniel Popper's sculptures in the Human + Nature exhibit are made of concerete. (WTTW News)
Nestled between Wheaton and Naperville in the western suburbs, Lisle is home to the Morton Arboretum, the North American Pizza and Culinary Academy and the Bavarian Lodge. As part of our community reporting series, we check in to see how Lisle is recovering from the pandemic.

How COVID-19 Has Changed the Dating Landscape

(Free-Photos / Pixabay)

Dating apps now allow users to share vaccination status. The outlook for new relationships as Illinois prepares to reopen.

‘Chicago Tonight’ in Your Neighborhood: Northalsted

Northalsted, formerly called “Boystown,” is known as the center of LGBTQ life in Chicago. As Pride celebrations begin, the community has just started to recover the vibrant character that made it famous following last year’s pandemic and civil unrest.

New Initiative Calls on Private Sector to Help Achieve Equitable Economic Recovery

A woman paints a Black Lives Matter mural in Chicago. (WTTW News)

A year after the murder of George Floyd — and the corporate statements in support of racial equity that followed — some corporations say they are working toward an equitable economic recovery. We learn about the Chicago Community Trust’s new Move to Action initiative.

The Week in Review: CPD Prepares for Memorial Day Weekend

Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown announced the city’s strategy to prevent violence ahead of Memorial Day weekend, May 28, 2021 (WTTW News)

City officials prepare for summer violence. Lake Shore Drive name change gets a punt. Federal investigation now close to former House Speaker Madigan. And lawmakers down to the wire in Springfield.

How the Past Year Has Impacted the Mental Health of Police Officers

(WTTW News)

Mental health professionals say officer wellness has declined over the past year amid the pandemic, civil unrest and a growing distrust of the police — a job some former officers say is one of today’s most stressful.

‘Voices’ Community Conversation: George Floyd, One Year Later

A screenshot from the “Voices” community conversation on Monday, May 24, 2021. (WTTW News)

“Chicago Tonight: Black Voices” host Brandis Friedman and a panel of guests discuss the murder of George Floyd on the anniversary of his death, and where the racial justice movement stands today. Watch it now.

Child Care, Early Development Industries Hit by Pandemic

(WTTW News)
As child care centers and schools closed at the height of the pandemic, parents were left balancing work and caretaking responsibilities while also navigating economic uncertainty. But as child care centers reopen, some families appear slow to enroll their children.

Colonial Pipeline Attack Highlights Growing Cybersecurity Threats

(Photo by Peter Gombos on Unsplash)

Some parts of the country still face gas shortages related to the Colonial Pipeline ransomware attack, and the incident has drawn attention to the growing threat cyberattacks pose in the U.S. and around the world. We discuss the increasing threat and what to do about it.

‘Chicago Tonight’ in Your Neighborhood: Village of Riverdale

The Village of Riverdale lags behind the rest of suburban Cook County in vaccinations. As part of our community reporting series, we speak with elected officials, community leaders and physicians about the vaccine rollout, and what they’re doing to make the vaccine more accessible.

US Births in 2020 Dropped to Lowest Level Since 1979

(Free-Photos / Pixabay)

U.S. births dropped to their lowest level in more than 40 years in 2020, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. How the pandemic is impacting family planning. 

Still a ‘Vast Wasteland’? Newton Minow Reflects on the State of Television

Newton Minow appears on “Chicago Tonight” via Zoom on Monday, May 10, 2021. (WTTW News)

Newton Minow, a former chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, played a key role in public media. Here’s what he thinks about television today — six decades after his famous “vast wasteland” speech.

Latino Unity Day: Leaders Address Challenges on Many Fronts

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

Chicago’s Latino community has been especially affected by the events of the past year, from the COVID-19 pandemic to the fatal police shootings of Adam Toledo and Anthony Alvarez. We discuss key issues community leaders want elected officials to address. 

FDA Announces Plans to Ban Menthol Cigarettes, Flavored Cigars

(Myriams-Fotos / Pixabay)

Tobacco companies have long marketed menthol cigarettes to Black Americans. The CEO of the NAACP calls a potential ban of such products “long overdue,” but some people are concerned it could lead to further criminalization of communities of color.

How to Be a Mindful Global Citizen if You’re Traveling Abroad This Summer

(veerasantinithi / Pixabay)

While the U.S. is a leader in vaccinating its residents against COVID-19, many of the destinations Americans often travel to, including several Spanish-speaking countries, have much lower vaccination rates. How to protect yourself and the communities you visit this summer.

Illinois Public Officials Create Mamas Caucus to Support Illinois Mothers, Families

The Mamas Caucus says its goal is to make Illinois the most “mama-friendly” state in the country, said state Rep. Avery Bourne, pictured here with her son. (Courtesy Avery Bourne)

Chicago Treasurer Melissa Conyears-Ervin and more than 20 other government officials are joining to form the bipartisan Mamas Caucus. Comprising city, county and state leaders, the caucus plans to tackle issues that impact mothers.