Stories by patty wetli

‘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.

Bird vs. Building: Migration Season Already Claiming Victims

An American woodcock is being treated for injuries after colliding with a building in Chicago. (Courtesy Willowbrook Wildlife Center)

An American woodcock, one of the earliest migratory arrivals in Chicago, is recovering from a head wound and broken clavicle after colliding with a building in Chicago.

Park District Close to Breaking Ground on $64M HQ Campus That Will Create a New Park on Southwest Side

A rendering of John Ronan Architects’ plan for the Park District’s new headquarters. (Courtesy of Chicago Park District)

The 17-acre former industrial site in Brighton Park will encompass not only the Park District’s new headquarters, but a field house, nature play space, grand lawn, water features and more. “It’s going to be transformative,” said Park District Board President Avis LaVelle.

It’s Going To Be a Windy Day in the Windy City, With 50 MPH Gusts Forecast

A wind advisory is in effect. (Chait Goli / Pexels)

Batten down the hatches, or at least secure lightweight objects outdoors. There’s a wind advisory in effect Wednesday.

March Just Hit a High Note. Enjoy the Record Warmth

It's beginning to feel and look like spring. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

Tuesday’s weather was one for the record books, with the mercury at O’Hare hitting 69 degrees, tying the highest temperature for March 9 set back in 1974, according to the National Weather Service. 

Protect Our Parks Takes Obama Center Case to US Supreme Court

The latest rendering of the Obama Presidential Center tower. (Courtesy of Obama Foundation)

The legal wrangling over the Obama Presidential Center’s construction in Jackson Park is far from over, opponents say. Meanwhile, the Obama Foundation has just revealed a new architectural detail about the center’s tower.

Chicago Park District Dives Back Into In-Person Programs. Register Now for Spring Session

The Chicago Park District's indoor swimming pools are reopening in spring session, which begins April 5. (tookapic / Pixabay)

Registration is open for the Chicago Park District’s spring session, including its aquatics programs and spring break camps for children 6 to 12 years old.

Volunteers Needed to Help Rescue Birds That Run Afoul of Chicago’s Bright Lights and Big Buildings

Migrating birds frequently are injured or stunned colliding with buildings in Chicago. (Courtesy of Chicago Bird Collision Monitors)

Chicago Bird Collision Monitors is recruiting volunteers to help rescue birds injured or stunned while navigating their way through downtown’s maze of confusing lights and glass buildings.

In-Person Bird Hikes Are Back Just in Time to Meet One of Spring’s First Migrants: the Timberdoodle

An American woodcock, aka, timberdoodle. (Flickr / USFWS Midwest Region)

The Chicago Ornithological Society has resumed small group bird hikes. Masks are a must, as is social distancing. 

After 2020 Decline, Global CO2 Emissions Already Poised to Top Pre-Pandemic Levels: Report

A plunge in demand for oil accounted for more than half of the drop in global CO2 emissions. (Life of Pix / Pexels)

Global energy-related carbon dioxide emissions fell in 2020 by the largest annual percentage since World War II due to the coronavirus pandemic. But the drop-off appears to be short-lived, according to a report from the International Energy Agency.

Chicago Zoos Reopening After Winter Hibernation. What to Know Before You Go

Meet Brookfield Zoo’s new mother-daughter Mexican wolves, Sibi and Lorena. (Jim Schulz / Chicago Zoological Society)

After self-imposed winter breaks, Lincoln Park Zoo and Brookfield Zoo are reopening to guests, with a number of safety precautions in place due to the coronavirus. Here’s what to expect.

That Swarm of Cicadas You’ve Been Hearing About? NOT Happening ... This Year

Periodical cicadas are identifiable by their red eyes. (Dan Keck / Pixabay)

Reports that millions of 17-year cicadas will emerge from underground in the Chicago area this spring aren’t true. They’re coming in 2024. 

Are You Ready for March Mammal Madness? It’s the Wildest Tournament Around

Chimpanzees and red kangaroos are among the competitors in March Mammal Madness 2021. (Simon Bardet / Pixabay; Pierre_Rigou / Pixabay)

Forget Duke versus North Carolina. This annual contest raises the rivalry stakes, pitting species against species in this annual winner-takes-all online tournament that’s as educational as it is weird.

It’s the 1st Day of Meteorological Spring. What Does That Mean?

Spring is here, at least meteorologically speaking. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

The spring equinox is still a few weeks away, but meteorologists mark March 1 as the official start of spring. Someone forgot to tell March. 

Time’s Up on Dibs, City Says. Clear Your Stuff or It’ll Get Tossed

The city will begin hauling away dibs placeholders on March 2. (WTTW News)

It’s time to get those chairs, buckets and frozen pants out of the street. The unofficial grace period for the unofficial practice of dibs is officially over March 2, according to the Chicago Department of Streets and Sanitation.

Nearly $20M Proposed for Improvements to Chicago's Parks, Including Camp Sites at Big Marsh

(Courtesy Friends of Big Marsh)

The projects, proposed by Mayor Lori Lightfoot at Wednesday's City Council meeting, would largely be funded through Tax Increment Financing dollars.

Star Farm Planting Brick-and-Mortar Roots With Local Foods Co-Op in Back of the Yards

Star Farm has purchased the building at 5256 S. Ashland Ave., with plans to transform it into a local foods co-op. (Background image: Star Farm; inset: Google Streetview)

Like a lot of urban growers, Stephanie Dunn of Star Farm sells her produce at farmers markets around Chicago. Now she’s about to start up a different kind of farmer’s market: her own food co-op housed in a building she is preparing to renovate thanks to a grant from the Neighborhood Opportunity Fund.

Chicago’s Lakefront is Under Siege, Landing on Preservation Chicago’s ‘Most Endangered’ List

South Works. (Eric Allix Rogers / Preservation Chicago)

The lakefront is arguably Chicago’s crown jewel, but that status is threatened, according to Preservation Chicago, which placed the lakefront on its annual endangered list for 2021, citing threats including development of the Obama Presidential Center in Jackson Park and erosion from rising lake levels.

Cut the Sewer System Some Slack and Conserve Water During the Big Melt

With temperatures soaring above freezing in Chicago, the “big melt” is well underway. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

Postponing activities like laundry, running the dishwasher or even showering will provide maximum capacity in the sewers for snow melt.

Lakefront, Playgrounds Set to Reopen, Officials Say

Nearly a year after lakefront parks were closed due to the coronavirus, officials are set to announce their reopening. (WTTW News)

The Chicago Park District announced Tuesday that lakefront parks and playgrounds will reopen, nearly a year after they were closed due to the coronavirus.