Stories by Quinn Myers

Ask Geoffrey: The Old Kenwood ‘L’ Line

Chicago’s “L” lines are today operated by the centralized Chicago Transit Authority. But for many years, private companies actually ran and managed individual branches. Geoffrey Baer has the story of one of them.

Debating Illinois’ Proposed Graduated Income Tax

Gov. J.B. Pritzker speaks with Amanda Vinicky of “Chicago Tonight” on Friday, Jan. 10, 2020. (WTTW News)

Supporters argue a new tax structure proposed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker will even the playing field between the wealthy and everyone else. But opponents say it could drive more residents and businesses out of Illinois.

Ask Geoffrey: A (Brief) History of Fulton Market

Fulton Market was once an integral part of Chicago’s meatpacking industry. (Courtesy of the Chicago History Museum)

Fulton Market in Chicago’s West Loop is home to some of the city’s trendiest restaurants – and its highest rents. But the area’s history as an economic powerhouse is anything but new. Geoffrey Baer takes us back.

Draft Executive Order Would Make ‘Federal Buildings Beautiful Again’

“Flamingo,” a sculpture by Alexander Calder, looms over Federal Plaza in Chicago. (WTTW News)

Details on how a proposed Trump administration order could limit the design of future federal buildings.

At The WasteShed, One Person’s Trash is Another’s Inspiration

The WasteShed in Chicago’s Humboldt Park neighborhood. (WTTW News)

When it comes to recycling, Chicago doesn’t have the best track record. But one nonprofit on the city’s West Side is working to change that – and in the process, offer a wide range of art supplies and materials at an affordable price.

Unofficial Name Change Reignites Debate Over Douglas(s) Park

(WTTW News)

Signs for Douglas Park on Chicago’s West Side have received an unofficial update in recent weeks: a second “s.” The change comes after years of activisim in North Lawndale to rename the park.

Field Museum Exhibit Honors First African American Taxidermist

Carl Cotton (Courtesy of the Field Museum)

Taxidermy – the process of preserving animals – isn’t usually classified as fine art. But the Field Museum is challenging that idea by shining a light on the artist behind many of the museum’s own examples. 

Ask Geoffrey: ‘The Unicorn Song’ and Its Chicago Origins

Shel Silverstein, left, performs on “Soundstage” at WTTW in 1979. (WTTW News)

What does a song about a mythical creature have to do with one of Chicago’s most prolific – and unusual – artists? Geoffrey Baer explains.

Could Springfield Pass the Clean Energy Jobs Act This Session?

(Tom Shockey / Flickr)

Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Illinois lawmakers are signaling they could be ready to pass legislation that eventually moves the state to 100% renewable energy. A look at how that might happen.

Ask Geoffrey: Brutalism in Chicago

55 West Wacker Drive, originally the Blue Cross Blue Shield Building, is an archetypal example of brutalism. (WTTW News)

Love it or hate it, the architectural style known as brutalism has left its mark on cities all over the world. So what’s the story of brutalism in Chicago? Geoffrey Baer weighs in.

A Look Inside Bridgeport’s Ramova Theatre Ahead of Proposed Renovation

A rendering of the proposed renovation of the Remova Theatre in Bridgeport. (Credit O’Riley Office LLC)

For decades, the Ramova Theatre has languished in neglect. But after years of neighborhood activism and a new redevelopment proposal, the old movie house could soon be transformed into an updated version of its former self. 

Doomsday Clock Moves 20 Seconds Closer to Midnight

The Chicago-based Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists announced Thursday that the clock will now be set at 100 seconds to midnight. (Lexey Swall Photography / Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists)

The world is closer to global catastrophe today than at any point since World War II, according to a group of international nuclear and climate scientists.  

Development Freeze Aims to Slow Displacement Near 606 Trail

Chicago’s popular 606 elevated trail. (WTTW News)

Chicago’s popular 606 trail has led to skyrocketing property values in the surrounding area. Several aldermen now say they want to hit pause on some development because it’s leading to displacement of longtime residents. But the plan has its critics.

Illinois Lawmakers Spar over Property Tax Relief

(Stephen M. Scott / Flickr)

A bipartisan task force was established last spring to tackle the issue of the state’s high property taxes. But that task force is now being attacked by Republicans, who say their ideas and contributions have been ignored. Is that the case?

Ask Geoffrey: Chicago Tribune – The Original Google?

Before search engines and Wikipedia, where could Chicagoans go when they needed to know something fast? Geoffrey Baer serves up the story of a popular information service.

New Collection of ‘Climate Fiction’ Explores the World in 2040

What will the world look like in 20 years if climate change goes unchecked? That’s the premise of “2040 A.D.,” a new collection of short stories that fall under an emerging literary genre known as climate fiction. 

Secretary of State Jesse White Talks Tumblers, Real ID and More

Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White appears on “Chicago Tonight” on Dec. 10, 2019. (WTTW News)

This month marks the 60th anniversary of one of Chicago’s most popular performance groups: the Jesse White Tumblers. Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White joins in conversation to discuss that group, the Real ID rollout and more.

Hundreds of Thousands Could Lose Food Stamps Under Federal Rule Change

(kc0uvb / Pixabay)

A Trump administration rule change could leave almost 700,000 people without food stamp benefits by mid-2020. How those changes could impact Illinois residents.

Deputy Gov. Dan Hynes on Pension Consolidation, Ongoing Funding Woes

Deputy Gov. Dan Hynes appears on “Chicago Tonight” on Nov. 26, 2019. (WTTW News)

Earlier this month, the Illinois legislature voted to consolidate almost 650 suburban and downstate police and fire pension funds into just two. How exactly will it impact the state’s beleaguered finances? 

The Shifting Political Messaging of Impeachment

 Former White House national security aide Fiona Hill returns from a break to testify before the House Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Nov. 21, 2019. (AP Photo / J. Scott Applewhite)

How has the impeachment testimony of former National Security Council adviser Fiona Hill and other witnesses impacted political messaging on both sides of the aisle? Jason DeSanto, a senior lecturer at Northwestern’s Pritzker School of Law, weighs in.

New Book Critiques the ‘Myth of Journalistic Objectivity’

Author Lewis Raven Wallace appears on “Chicago Tonight.” (WTTW News)

For decades, the concept of journalistic objectivity has been a central value of the mainstream news media. But does objectivity actually exist? And if so, who and what does its pursuit serve? Author Lewis Raven Wallace joins us to discuss “The View from Somewhere.” 

Ask Geoffrey: The Oliver Typewriter Company

Geoffrey Baer shares the story behind a unique Chicago-made typewriter and the ornate 1907 building that served as its headquarters. 

Housing Department Launches Affordability Task Force

(WTTW News)

For the first time in over a decade, Chicago has a stand-alone Department of Housing dedicated to providing affordable options for city residents. How that department plans to increase affordable housing and fight segregation. 

How Can Data Inform Violence Prevention Efforts in Chicago?

(Brett_Hondow / Pixabay)

Northwestern sociology professor Andrew Papachristos has a striking idea when it comes to thinking about shootings in Chicago. He and local advocate Franklin Cosey-Gay tell us about their work with data and research.

Temperatures in Chicago Expected to Hit Record Lows Overnight

Cold and snow blasted Chicago on Monday, Nov. 11, 2019. (WTTW News)

While it’s still technically fall for another six weeks, you wouldn’t know it by looking outside. WGN meteorologist Demetrius Ivory tells us what’s ahead.

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