Stories by patty wetli

This Year’s Harvest Moon Has Company. Look for Mars To Pay a Visit

(WikiImages / Pixabay)

Thursday’s full moon is the harvest moon, coming closest to the autumnal equinox. It will have some celestial company on Friday in the form of Mars, when the two will rise together and stay paired throughout the evening, according to experts.

Forget the Monsters of the Midway. Meet Da Fat Bears

Holly, the 2019 Fat Bear champ, is looking to defend her crown. (Katmai National Park & Preserve / Facebook)

It’s Fat Bear Week. No, we’re not mocking Matt Nagy’s squad, we’re talking about the annual competition to crown the beefiest brown bear in Alaska’s Katmai National Park. Here’s how to get in on the action.

Tips for Cutting Food Waste and Loss to Mark UN’s International Campaign

Composting is one way to reduce food waste. (Herb007 / Pixabay)

Tuesday marks the first ever International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste, so let’s talk about the produce that spoiled in your refrigerator and the unopened cans you trashed because they were past their “expiration date.”

Illinois Records 2,500 New Coronavirus Cases as Infection Total Continues to Climb

Pedestrians in Chicago’s Northalsted neighborhood on a September day. (WTTW News)

State health officials also reported 25 coronavirus-related deaths, including seven in Cook County.

Officials Urge Residents to Get Flu Shot as State Reports 2,257 New Cases of COVID-19

(WTTW News)

With thousands still becoming infected with the coronavirus daily, health officials are urging Illinoisans to get a flu shot in order to avoid a dangerous co-infection.

City Extends Dates for Several Farmers Markets to Expand Access to Fresh Food

(Chicago City Markets / Facebook)

City-run farmers markets in the Austin, West Humboldt Park and Bronzeville neighborhoods have been extended further into fall in order to expand access to fresh food, officials said.

Cook County Forest Preserves Has Loads of Fun Planned for National Public Lands Day

Celebrate National Public Lands Day on Sept. 26 by taking part in activities at select Cook County Forest Preserves. (Forest Preserve District of Cook County / Facebook)

Visitors can choose from a slew of free activities at more than a dozen sites Saturday. Among the options, you can take a nature walk, learn the basics of camping, build a toy boat, meet some critters or join a scavenger hunt.

City Clarifies Outdoor Dining Guidelines: Fire Pits Are Not Permitted ‘Heaters’

(Tom Swinnen / Pexels)

The city’s guidelines for 2020’s unprecedented outdoor fall-to-winter dining season allow for several types of heaters, but fire pits aren’t one of them.

Set Your Sights on the ‘Chicagohenge’ Equinox Sunset

Chicago's east-west streets are the best place to view the fall equinox sunset. (Patty Wetli / WTTW)

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

We Discovered a Legit Way To Spend a Day at a Chicago Beach: Join a Cleanup

Volunteers are needed for daily beach cleanups through Sept. 26. (Courtesy of Shedd Aquarium)

It might not be the day of your Coppertone dreams, but you can get a little sand between your toes by signing up for one or all of this week’s volunteer beach and shoreline cleanups.

RBG Memorial Pops Up in Edgewater, Which Has a Surprisingly Strong Tie to the Late Justice

A small memorial for Ruth Bader Ginsburg, outside the Edgewater offices of Cedille Records, owned by the son of the late Supreme Court justice. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

People have been leaving notes and flowers outside the Edgewater office of Cedille Records, a classical music label owned by James Ginsburg, son of the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Want To See a Really Big Bird? Pelicans Are Enjoying a Layover in Chicago on Annual Migration

The wingspan of the American white pelican is second only to the California condor. (Skeeze / Pixabay)

Join a hike Sunday in Will County, where a flock of American white pelicans, one of North America’s largest birds, is hanging out during its annual fall migration.

How a Piece of Plumbing Hardware Threw a Wrench Into Chicago’s Urban Ag Movement

A Reduced Pressure Zone valve, attached to hydrant, is designed to prevent backflow, but it also prevented many gardeners from accessing water this growing season. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

Community gardens and urban farms were left scrambling to comply with a new city policy related to hydrant access that left some without water throughout the entire 2020 growing season. 

Monarchs Are on the Move. Catch One Last Colorful Look Before They Flit Away

Monarch butterflies have started their 2,000-mile migration south to Mexico. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

The annual migration of monarch butterflies is currently at its peak in the Chicago area. Several roosting sites have been spotted around town as the creatures use the city as a pit stop on their 2,000-mile journey to Mexico.

Chicago’s Urban Homesteaders Open Up Their Yards For Annual Chicken Coop Tour

The Windy City Coop Tour showcases Chicagoans’ backyard chickens. (Chicagoland Chicken Enthusiasts / Facebook)

Chicagoans are raising chickens, growing food and experimenting with all sorts of sustainable-living practices — all in their urban backyards. See how it’s done during this weekend’s annual Windy City Coop and Eco-Yards Tour. 

EPA Removes 1,000 Tons of Arsenic- and Lead-Polluted Soil From Hegewisch Little League Field

Lead and arsenic were discovered in the soil beneath the Hegewisch Little League field. (Google Streetview photo)

The EPA has completed cleanup of the Hegewisch Little League Field after discovering alarming levels of lead and arsenic in the soil. 

The Open House Chicago Schedule Is Here. Get Ready to Pound the Pavement

First Church of Deliverance in Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood. (Eric Allix Rogers / Chicago Architecture Center)

The revamped Open House Chicago features walking and biking trails and celeb-led virtual tours of the architecture and history of more than 20 city neighborhoods. 

From ‘Nosh Pods’ to ‘Dibs Dining,’ City Receives 600+ Mostly Serious Ideas for Winter Outdoor Dining

Chicago's winter dining design challenges drew more than 600 submissions. (Courtesy of Edward Peck Design)

The city asked for creative winter outdoor dining ideas, and Chicagoans delivered, offering 643 submissions ranging from the practical to the ridiculous. 

Salvation Army Kicks Off Red Kettle Fundraiser in September to Rescue Christmas

(The Salvation Army Chicago Metropolitan Division / Facebook)

The unmistakable sound of the Salvation Army’s bell-ringers could be heard Monday morning along Michigan Avenue as the organization announced an unprecedented September kickoff to its annual Red Kettle fundraiser.

West Coast Wildfire Smoke Reaches Chicago, Creating Hazy Sky

Hazy skies over Chicago are due to smoke from West Coast wildfires. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

Smoke from the West Coast wildfires has drifted into northern Illinois, creating milky white or gray skies over what should be a sunny Chicago, according to the National Weather Service.

Proposed 21st Century Civilian Conservation Corps Could Benefit Chicago’s Economy, Environment

The original Civilian Conservation Corps planted billions of trees. A renewed CCC could do the same. (Openlands / Facebook)

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin is proposing the creation of a modern-day Civilian Conservation Corps as a way to put Americans to work while also directing resources toward the nation’s long neglected conservation projects.

CTA Debuts the Tool We’ve Been Waiting For: How to Avoid Crowded Trains

(rjasso / Pixabay)

A new rail ridership information dashboard, unveiled Thursday, provides data on the average number of seats taken per rail car at each stop along a given line, by time of day and day of the week. 

No Paving of Paradise: North Park Village Preservation Extended Permanently

(North Park Village Nature Center / Facebook)

In a win for nature lovers and fans of open space, the Chicago City Council voted on Wednesday to keep 100-plus acres in North Park protected from development, permanently.

Stephen Douglas Name Officially Removed From Park, But There’s a New Wrinkle To Renaming It for Frederick Douglass

(WTTW News)

After a three-year, student-led grassroots campaign, the Chicago Park District Board of Commissioners voted to officially remove the name of Stephen Douglas from what’s now temporarily known as Park 218. 

Is Chicago’s Historic Building ‘Bible’ Out of Date and Out of Touch?

From left: Emmett Till’s childhood home (WTTW News), Historic Resource Survey cover (courtesy of Preservation Chicago), and Muddy Waters’ house (Ward Miller / Preservation Chicago).

The Chicago Historic Resource Survey, completed in 1995, has been an invaluable tool for preservationists. But it’s beginning to show its age, and the lack of sites of significance to the Black and Latino communities is notable.

Emmett Till’s Family Home Given Preliminary Landmark Status

The former home of Emmett Till and his mother, Mamie Till-Mobley, at 6427 S. St. Lawrence Ave. in Chicago’s Woodlawn community. (WTTW News)

The Chicago Commission on Landmarks unanimously approved preliminary landmark status for Emmett Till’s former home, calling the red brick two-flat a “modest home that is monumentally important.”