Stories by Nick Blumberg

‘Chicago Tonight’ in Your Neighborhood: Auburn Gresham

(WTTW News)

At the beginning of the pandemic, the Auburn Gresham neighborhood was considered a hot spot for cases of COVID-19. It has recently become a hot spot for some of the city's increasing violence, too.

After City Truck Hits Cyclist, Advocates Warn of Wider Safety Issues

The intersection of Belmont and Milwaukee avenues in Chicago, where a cyclist and city truck collided on Tuesday, June 23, 2020. (WTTW News)

A crash involving a city-owned vehicle and a cyclist this week in Avondale points to larger problems within the city’s biking infrastructure, cycling advocates say.

Black Fathers Face ‘Dual Pandemics' of Coronavirus, Racial Violence

(Photo by Zach Vessels on Unsplash)

The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected people of color in the U.S. But many African Americans say they’re facing two pandemics — not only the coronavirus, but also violence. 

As More Streets Open for Biking, Walking and Dining, One Neighborhood Bows Out

Some streets across the city are closing to vehicles and encouraging pedestrians, cyclists and rollerbladers. (WTTW News)

Despite enthusiasm from transportation advocates and residents eager for more room to roam, some shared streets aren’t ready just yet – and at least one previously announced plan for outdoor dining isn’t happening at all.

Health Insurance Premiums Could Rise Because of Coronavirus

(WTTW News)

As companies start setting their premiums for the coming year, what can consumers expect — and will health care system see lasting changes prompted by the pandemic?

Preservationists Race to Save Historic West Ridge Building

The former Chicago Town and Tennis Club (WTTW News)

The celebrated nonprofit Misericordia is looking to expand its campus by demolishing a historic building next door. Preservationists have a plan to save that building, but the timeline is tight.

Chicago’s History of Police-Community Relations is Complex, Painful

A screenshot from the “Chicago Tonight” archives shows reaction to the indictment of disgraced former Chicago police Cmdr. Jon Burge. (WTTW News)

When it comes to the relationship between Chicago’s residents of color and the police and political leaders who are supposed to serve them, the city has a long, complex and deeply painful history.

Chicago Businesses Start to Reopen — But Not Everyone is Ready

Nonna’s pizza and sandwich shop on Randolph Street in Chicago’s West Loop. (WTTW News)

Despite days of protests, some which turned destructive, Mayor Lori Lightfoot says the message from business owners is clear: they want to reopen. 

6 Chicago Streets to be Closed Off for Outdoor Restaurant Seating

(JamesDeMers / Pixabay)

Some city restaurants will be allowed to create socially distanced, outdoor seating through a pilot program that will allow Chicago residents “a little rest and relaxation in an incredibly stressful time,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said.

Why is My Park Closed? Some Chicagoans Complain of Losing Access to Parks That Should Be Open

A Chicago police vehicle blocks the track at Mandrake Park on the city’s South Side. (WTTW News)

Despite restricted access to the lakefront and its adjacent parks during the pandemic, most Chicago parks are supposed to be open. Why some residents and park advocates are concerned about equitable access to these much-needed spaces.

Chicago Planning to Create Miles of ‘Shared Streets,’ City Data Shows

A cyclist wearing a face mask rides a Divvy bike in Chicago. (WTTW News)

The city appears poised to follow the lead of cities like New York City, Oakland and Seattle by designating miles of Chicago roadways as “shared streets for physical distancing.”

Illinois Traffic Deaths On the Rise in 2020, Safety Group Warns

A crash shut down the southbound lanes of Lake Shore Drive on Tuesday, May 5, 2020. (Courtesy Chicago Police Department)

More people died in traffic crashes in Illinois during the first quarter of this year compared to last year, according to an analysis released Wednesday by the National Safety Council.

Contact Tracing, Curbside Pickup: Keeping Skokie Residents and Businesses Healthy

The restaurant EJ’s Place in Skokie, Illinois. (WTTW News)

The village of Skokie is home to just one of seven state-certified municipal health departments in Illinois, and it has taken a proactive role in addressing the coronavirus. But how are retail businesses and restaurants faring?

Chicago-Area Transit Agencies Still Waiting on Stimulus Cash

A passenger wearing a face mask boards a CTA bus in Chicago. (WTTW News)

Keeping buses and trains running is costly, but public transit agencies in Chicago have yet to see money from the federal stimulus package that passed in late March.

More Public Space? Pay Attention to Communities of Color, Advocates Say

A cyclist wearing a face mask rides a Divvy bike in Chicago. (WTTW News)

Since the city shut down lakefront parks and other public spaces in March, there have been calls for more open spaces. But some advocates say that push overlooks the priorities of communities of color, which have been hardest hit by the coronavirus. 

Slow Down! Speeding, Serious Crashes Spike After Coronavirus Clears Out Traffic

A crash shut down the southbound lanes of Lake Shore Drive on Tuesday, May 5, 2020. (Courtesy Chicago Police Department)

The number of cars on the road in recent weeks has dropped dramatically, but officials and analysts say those who are on the road may not be driving safely.

Waukegan Nonprofit on Serving the Community and Staying Afloat

The city of Waukegan, Illinois. (WTTW News)

The Urban Muslim Minority Alliance has been working to help Lake County residents get out of poverty since 2004 with GED classes, job preparedness training, a food pantry and more.

Keeping Waukegan Residents Safe from Coronavirus, Environmental Concerns

Waukegan Harbor (WTTW News)

The industrial history of north suburban Waukegan has created a legacy of environmental issues for residents. We speak with Celeste Flores of Clean Power Lake County and Faith in Place.

Home Studios, Near-Empty Stations: How Chicago Radio Hosts Are Staying On-Air

(Courtesy Omar Ramos)

Broadcasters around the world have made big changes to stay on the air, and stay safe. We speak with three local radio veterans about how they’re staying connected with their listeners during the pandemic.

95th-Bound Red Line Trains Skipping 3 Edgewater Stations This Weekend

(Eric Fischer / Flickr)

Passengers riding the CTA Red Line toward 95th won’t be able to get on or off at the Granville, Thorndale or Bryn Mawr stops this weekend.

CTA to Pay $3 Million to Man Whose Leg Was Amputated After Bus Crash

The intersection of Madison Street and Pulaski Road in Chicago. (WTTW News)

The Chicago Transit Authority will pay a $3 million settlement to a man whose left leg was amputated above the knee after he was struck by a CTA bus near the intersection of Madison Street and Pulaski Road in 2018.

UIC Student With a Disability Fights to Live Independently in Uncertain Times

UIC student Noah Ohashi speaks with WTTW News.

The rapid spread of the coronavirus sparked the shutdown last month of colleges around the country. But not every student on campus had somewhere to go, or the ability to live without assistance.

Army Corps of Engineers Readies MetroSouth Hospital for Reopening

(WTTW News)

When MetroSouth closed down last year, residents worried about the impact on their community. Now, the hospital is set to reopen as an alternate care facility for COVID-19 patients—and many hope it will stay open for good.

With Summer on the Way, Park Districts Wonder What’s Next

Memorial Park in Blue Island (WTTW News)

Amid stay-at-home orders, park leaders are wondering how to help residents while keeping them safe. Thomas Wogan, executive director of the Blue Island Park District, says he’s trying to stay optimistic.

How Doctors, Hospitals are Keeping Pregnant Women Safe Amid Pandemic

(culturarte86 / Pixabay)

Pregnancy and childbirth are stressful enough, but they’re even more so when hospitals and doctor’s offices are flooded with coronavirus patients. We speak with Dr. Melissa Simon of Northwestern’s Feinberg School of Medicine.