Stories by patty wetli

Chicago Park District Catches Pickleball Fever, Will Build 50 New Courts To Meet Growing Demand

(Ben Hershey / Unsplash)

To meet the boom in pickleball's popularity, the Chicago Park District announaced a plan to build 50 new pickleball courts by 2025, including three regional centers capable of hosting tournaments.

Former Arlington Park Owners Putting Family Farm Out to Pasture in Big Win for Conservationists

Hill 'N Dale Farm South, recently acquired for permanent conservation as open space. (Indoor Drone Tours)

The Duchossois family — whose late patriarch, Richard Duchossois, purchased Arlington Park in 1983 — has announced the sale of its 246.5-acre Hill ‘N Dale Farm South property to Barrington-based Citizens for Conservation, ensuring the land’s protection as open space in perpetuity.

Drag Racing Reaching ‘Fever Pitch,’ Chicago Police Say After Weekend Mayhem

(Vova Krasilnikow / Pexels)

The Chicago Police Department's caravan task force, formed a month ago to combat ramped up incidents of drag racing and "drifting," has made inroads against brash street takeovers but isn't going to win the battle overnight, officials said.

5-Year-Old Boy in ‘Extremely Critical Condition’ After Being Shot in the Head in Rogers Park

(WTTW News)

A 5-year-old boy is fighting for his life after being shot in the head Sunday evening, according to the Chicago Police Department.

They Might Be Giants: These Towering Natives Are Late Summer Standouts

The Sawtooth Sunflower, a native perennial species, is one of late summer's towering giants in the Chicago region's natural areas. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

It’s the time of year when some of the tallest native plants are in bloom, coming into their own just as most other flora are on the wane. And by tall, we mean they could easily dunk on LeBron James.

Depave Chicago Joins National Movement to Reclaim Paradise From Parking Lots: ‘It’s Really About a Transformation’

Transformation of a parking lot in Detroit demonstrates what depaving can do. (Courtesy Prince Concepts and The Cultural Landscape Foundation)

As part of a grassroots "depaving" movement, communities are ripping up strips of asphalt and concrete to make way for pocket parks, gardens and nature play spaces. The newly launched Depave Chicago is aiming for a spring 2023 pilot project.

Illinois Is Preparing To Reveal Its Updated State Water Plan, Will It Float?

Illinois National Guard soldiers move sandbags through flood waters at East Cape Girardeau, Illinois, on June 12, 2019, as they construct a sandbag levee to control flooding in the community. (Barbara Wilson / Illinois National Guard)

Illinois officials are about to release a draft of the first comprehensive overhaul of the State Water Plan in 40 years, with climate change among the critical issues the document is set to address.

Missing Man’s Body Found in Lake Michigan; Lightfoot Says City Needs to Educate More About Water’s Dangers

Police and fire department vessels on the water. (Chicago Fire Department Media / Twitter)

After a week that saw multiple people dead from drownings in Lake Michigan off Chicago’s shoreline, Mayor Lori Lightfoot had words of caution for the city’s residents and visitors.

2 Dead, 1 Missing in Deadly 24 Hours on Lake Michigan With Multiple Drownings

(WTTW News)

Chicago police and fire departments conducted multiple water rescues in a less than 24-hour period on Lake Michigan, with at least two people dead.

Another 20K Doses of Monkeypox Vaccine Coming to Chicago, Eligibility Expanded

This electron microscope image shows mature, oval-shaped monkeypox virions, left, and spherical immature virions, right, from a human skin sample associated with a 2003 prairie dog outbreak. (Cynthia S. Goldsmith, Russell Regnery / CDC)

The Chicago Department of Public Health announced that the city will receive another 20,000 doses of monkeypox vaccine from the federal stockpile, to be distributed to clinics across the city next week.

43-Year-Old Man Dies After Being Pulled From Water at Diversey Harbor

(WTTW News)

The man was pulled from the water early Wednesday morning. More than 30 people have drowned in Lake Michigan so far in 2022.

The Next Generation of Environmental Stewards Is Training at Cook County Forest Preserves

Chicago Conservation Leadership Corps crew clearing buckthorn at Sand Ridge Nature Center, August 2022. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

While federal legislation to create a modern-day Civilian Conservation Corps inches its way through Congress, the Cook County Forest Preserve is moving full steam ahead with programs that deploy crews of youth and adults to tackle restoration and maintenance projects across the district’s acreage.

Nature’s Flower Show: Check Out the Swamp Rose Mallow at Sand Ridge Nature Center

Swamp rose mallow at Sand Ridge Nature Center, a Cook County forest preserve. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

The native swamp rose mallow has hit full bloom, its super-sized six-inch blossoms bursting forth in seemingly every shade of pink from the palest blush to saturated fuschia

It’s Official: 10 More Years of Lollapalooza in Chicago

(WTTW News)

The new contract will be in place for 2023 and run through 2032, with the potential for a five-year extension.

Carvana Back in Hot Water With State of Illinois, License Suspension Reinstated

A rendering of Carvana’s proposed 14-story tower in Skokie. (Village of Skokie)

The online used-car dealer has once again had its dealer’s license in Illinois suspended. The company’s construction of a glass “vending machine” for cars remains on hold in Skokie as a result.

Homicides, Shootings Decreased in July But Theft, Carjackings Continue to Skyrocket: Police

(WTTW News)

For the fifth consecutive month, the Chicago Police Department reported a decline in homicides from the same period a year prior, but that hasn’t translated into a reduction in other crimes.

More than 40 People Shot, 5 Killed in Weekend Gun Violence in Chicago: Police

(WTTW News)

A 16-year-old boy fatally shot in Brighton Park early Sunday morning was among five people killed by gunfire over the weekend in Chicago.

Despite Disappointment in Chicago, Great Lakes Piping Plovers Just Had One of Their Best Breeding Seasons in Decades

A file photo of a Great Lakes piping plover parent and chick. (Courtesy of Susan Szeszol)

The 2022 season may have been heartbreaking for Chicago’s piping plover lovers (RIP, Monty and Rose), but the news from across the Great Lakes was among the most encouraging in decades when it comes to the endangered shorebirds.

Captive Coyote at Center of ‘Ambassador’ Animal Controversy Will Remain at Cook County Forest Preserve But Get Bigger Digs

A coyote. (skeeze / Pixabay)

Complaints from animal rights advocates regarding the coyote, dubbed “Rocky,” prompted the forest preserve to review its ambassador animal program. A report was released Tuesday, outlining changes to the program, including a bigger enclosure for the coyote.

Check Out These ‘Victory Gardens’: Winners Announced in Chicago Bungalow Garden Contest

Winner of the Front Garden award, Nestor Rodriguez, Avondale. (Chicago Bungalow Association)

From planter boxes to koi ponds, these Chicago gardeners know how to create an oasis in the city. 

Rusty Patched Spotted During Backyard Bumble Bee Count. Here’s How to Join Buzz-Worthy Community Science Project

The rusty patched bumble bee, pictured here, was the first bee in the continental U.S. to receive an endangered species listing. More bumble bees are now being considered. (Courtesy U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

The bee was logged at the outset of the fourth annual Backyard Bumble Bee Count, which kicked off Saturday and runs through Aug. 1.

Endangered Blanding’s Turtles Given Head Start on Survival Before Cook County Forest Preserve Release

A baby Blanding’s turtle, raised at Shedd Aquarium its first year, awaiting release into the wild, where the state-endangered species' population has been in steep decline. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

Nearly a dozen baby Blanding’s turtles — a state-listed endangered species — were recently released into the swampy waters of a Cook County forest preserve wetland.

‘Shakespeare in the Parks’ Cancels Pair of Shows After Shooting During Thursday’s Performance

A past season of Shakespeare in the Parks. (Courtesy Chicago Shakespeare Theater)

Chicago Shakespeare has canceled its Friday and Saturday shows following a shooting during its Thursday night performance.

Baby Addax Antelope Born at Brookfield Zoo Could Help Bring Critically Endangered Species Back From the Brink

A baby addax calf, born July 2, with his mom, Simone, at Brookfield Zoo. (Jim Schulz / CZS-Brookfield Zoo)

The addax, a Saharan antelope, is threatened with extinction in the wild, where fewer than 100 exist. A baby just born at Brookfield Zoo is part of the species’ conservation plan.

Mane Event: Lions Are Back at Art Institute After Spa Vacation

One of the Art Institute’s iconic lions receiving a “spa treatment.” (Courtesy of Art Institute of Chicago)

After a month-long "spa vacation," the Art Institute of Chicago's lions returned to their posts Tuesday and are once again guarding the museum's Michigan Avenue entrance.

What’s Happened to Montrose Dunes Without Monty and Rose? Park District Says the Area Isn’t Being Neglected

Supporters of Montrose Dunes Natural Area say the site looks neglected, with invasive species taking hold. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

Some people are concerned about what they say are deteriorating conditions at the high-quality habitat where the endangered plovers Monty and Rose raised their three successive broods of chicks between 2019 and 2021.