Stories by patty wetli

Harold Washington’s Speeches Can’t Be Heard, But Now They Can At Least Be Read

Chicago Mayor Harold Washington speaks during the commissioning of the nuclear-powered attack submarine USS Chicago in September 1986 in Norfolk, Virginia. (The U.S. National Archives)

The Chicago Public Library has filled a gap in the legacy of former Mayor Harold Washington by digitizing scores of his written speeches, available to the public in a searchable online collection, library officials announced this week.

Yelp Reviewers Vault Garfield Park Conservatory to Top Garden in the US and Canada

Garfield Pak Conservatory's greenhouse and outdoor gardens are described as "serene and enveloping." (Garfield Park Conservatory / Facebook)

In a listing of the top 25 botanical gardens in the U.S. and Canada, as compiled by Yelp, the conservatory claimed the top spot. The Chicago Botanic Garden, also made the list, coming in 12th.

The Chicago Riverwalk is Now Open for Business

(Richard Schneider / Flickr)

Riverwalk bars, restaurants and other recreational vendors will open on a rolling schedule throughout the coming weeks, starting Friday with full service expected by the end of May, city officials said.

’Tis the Season for Unnecessary Baby Wildlife ‘Rescues’

Learn when to step in, when to back off

Well-meaning good Samaritans often mistake baby animals left alone as being abandoned. (James D Long / Pixabay)

Just because a baby animal is spotted on its own doesn’t mean it’s been abandoned or orphaned. Before “rescuing” the critter, call the experts.

More Room for Plovers as Park District OKs Expansion of Protected Montrose Dune Natural Area

A section of open beach is being added to the protected Montrose Dune Natural Area. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

Conservationists are celebrating a big win for wildlife along Chicago’s lakefront, where the expansion of a “treasured” natural area will give more room to some high-profile occupants: a pair of endangered Great Lake piping plovers, Monty and Rose.

Waste Management Out of Blue Cart Recycling Program, City Awards New Contract to Lakeshore Recycling

(WTTW News)

The Department of Streets and Sanitation is turning a page on its beleaguered Blue Cart recycling program, issuing the first new collection contract in nearly a decade. Recycling advocates are cautiously optimistic about the change.

Chicago Transportation Agencies Angle for Piece of Biden’s Infrastructure Spending Pie

The CTA is among the agencies hoping for a windfall from a proposed infrastructure spending bill. (WTTW News)

With $2 trillion up for grabs in President Biden’s proposed infrastructure bill, Chicago’s transportation leaders are making a case for urgent repair needs and forward-thinking programs — all requiring the type of major funding infusion only the federal government can supply.

Don’t Be Tempted By the Warm Weekend Forecast, Gardeners

Mid-to-late May is the safest bet for most planting in Chicago. (Lukas / Pexels)

It’s easy to forget the cruelest April Fool’s joke: The season’s last frost is likely several weeks away, meaning it’s far too early to put most plants in the ground.

CTA’s New Bright Blue Electric Buses Are a Down Payment on a Green Future

CTA electric bus, at a charging station. (Courtesy of Chicago Transit Authority)

If the trial is successful, CTA will order 17 more buses, bringing the transit agency “one step closer to its goal of having a 100% electric fleet by the year 2040,” said CTA President Dorval R. Carter.

MWRD Dubs April ‘Overflow Action Awareness Month.’ Time to Have a Talk About Wastewater

Heavy rains can overwhelm Chicago's sewer system. (Roman Grac / Pixabay)

The past few springs, Chicago has notched record-breaking rainfall totals. All that water has to go somewhere, and when it overwhelms the city’s sewers, untreated wastewater winds up in the Chicago River.

Help Clean Up the Plovers’ Other Favorite Chicago Beach

A plover parent and chick at Montrose Beach in 2019, courtesy of the Shedd Aquarium. (Credit: Susan Szeszol)

Shedd Aquarium is hosting a pair of cleanup and habitat restoration days at 63rd Street beach, where 12 acres of dunes have attracted piping plovers, among other bird species.  

Climate Change Has Reached the Very Bottom of Lake Michigan, New Study Says

Lake Michigan. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

When it comes to what scientists know about the effects of climate change on the Great Lakes, research to date has only scratched the surface. A new study shows that Lake Michigan is warming — even its greatest depths. “This is a large effect, not just something superficial,” scientists say.

Here’s How to Get Your Hands on Some Elusive Native Plants

Native plants have a lot of environmental benefits, but can be hard to find at nurseries. (Sqraz / Pixabay)

Sales sponsored by Openlands and the West Cook Wild Ones chapter are now both taking orders online for native plants, including some that are hard to find at area garden centers and nurseries. 

Futuristic ‘Miracle House,’ Once a Raffle Prize, Set to Be Named Chicago Landmark

Built in 1954, the innovative Miracle House with its distinctive steel arms was the grand prize in a church raffle. (WTTW News)

With a pair of giant steel arms jutting from its frame and a nearly all-glass exterior, Galewood’s “Miracle House” looks as futuristic in 2021 as it did when it was built in 1954. And it has an origin story as quirky as its appearance.

Garfield Park Conservatory’s ‘Saturation’ is a Technicolor Sight for Winter-Weary Eyes

Garfield Park Conservatory's "Saturation" exhibit. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

After months of staring at Chicago’s bleak and barren winter landscape, Garfield Park Conservatory’s spring show is a bit like landing in Oz.

Alderman Throws Support Behind Request to Increase Protected Plover Habitat at Montrose Beach

Great Lakes piping plovers, like the one pictured, need more protected habitat along Chicago's lakefront, advocates say. (Vince Cavalieri / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

Ald. James Cappleman has joined the chorus of supporters lobbying the Chicago Park District to set aside a section of Montrose Beach as protected habitat for Monty and Rose, Chicago’s beloved pair of Great Lakes piping plovers.

Great Lakes’ ‘Wildebeests’ on the Move as Spring Migration Starts

A group of suckers on the move in Door County, Wisconsin, during a previous migration. (Courtesy of Shedd Aquarium)

Shedd Aquarium researchers are eagerly anticipating the spring migration of sucker fish, a species that could tell us about climate change.

The Spring Equinox is Here, and That Means Another Chance to View ‘Chicagohenge’

“Chicagohenge” during the fall 2020 equinox. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

During the fall and spring equinoxes, the sun rises due east and sets due west, creating an effect dubbed Chicagohenge (in reference to Stonehenge), when sunset is strikingly framed by the city’s east-west streets.

Million Gallon Challenge Encourages Chicagoans to Shrink Their Water Footprint

(Rudy and Peter Skitterians / Pixabay)

The second annual event offers simple ways to conserve water in advance of World Water Day.

‘Surprise’ Plan to Add Metered Parking at Montrose Harbor Has Been Hiding in Plain Sight

The view from Montrose Harbor is free, but soon the parking won't be. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

The plan, which was approved by the City Council in November, has drawn outrage from residents and organizations who say the cost of metered parking will limit access to the lakefront. A petition against the meters has gathered thousands of signatures.

Native Plant Gardens Keep Getting Ticketed as Weeds. Is a Native Garden Registry the Answer?

Native plants are highly beneficial for the environment, but they often get mistaken for weeds. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

The ongoing battle to legitimize native gardens in Chicago is about to go another round, with the introduction of an ordinance to establish a native garden registry. But gardeners want to know why they’re bearing the burden of erroneous weed law enforcement.

City Has Identified ‘Concerns and Questions’ in General Iron’s Permit Application

Protests against General Iron's relocation to the Southeast Side have been ongoing for months, including a march on the mayor's house in November 2020. (Annemarie Mannion / WTTW News)

The Chicago Department of Public Health has requested additional information from General Iron’s parent company regarding the “cumulative impact” of its proposed Southside Recycling facility.

A Double Dose of March Migration Madness, These Tourneys Are for the Birds

Birding enthusiasts are piggybacking on the March Madness format. (Courtesy of Forest Preserve District of Will County)

Is birding a sport? That’s up for debate even within the birding community, but you can’t say the activity isn’t competitive. There’s not one, but two March Madness-style tournaments involving birds underway.

Snow and Pretty Much Every Other Kind of Precipitation on Tap Monday

Spring snow expected in Chicago. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

A system carrying moisture from the Gulf of Mexico will hit the area late Monday morning through early afternoon, bringing with it rain, sleet, freezing rain and snow.

Folk Legend John Prine Wins Pair of Posthumous Awards at the Grammys

John Prine appears on “Chicago Tonight” on May 12, 2010.

John Prine’s “I Remember Everything” won Grammys for best American roots song and best American roots performance. The singer-songwriter died in April 2020 from the coronavirus.

Get Ready to Spring Forward This Weekend. Yep, We’re Still Doing Daylight Saving Time

Springing forward, versus falling back to standard time in November, typically results in lost sleep. (Marcus Aurelius / Pexels)

The annual shift to daylight saving time happens this weekend, with clocks jumping forward an hour at 2 a.m. Sunday. While loads of digital devices make the switch automatically, the process of resetting biological clocks is still a chore.