Stories by Brandis Friedman

Helping Adults with Disabilities Achieve Independence

Brandis Friedman profiles a Park Ridge organization that helps adults with disabilities achieve independence.

Repurposing Flowers

When you think of something having a "sell by" date, it's often food. But most grocery stores apply similar dates to their flowers. Tonight we meet a local resident who finds a new use for those flowers before grocery stores throw them out. 

Navigating the Adult World of Health Care Needs

La Rabida Children’s Hospital Offers Vital Program

Students with special health needs have had parents do everything for them such as manage doctors’ appointments and answer health insurance questions. But as those students grow up, they must learn to care for themselves. La Rabida Children’s Hospital has a program designed to help both teens and their families make a smooth transition.  

Web Extra: On The Table with Brandis Friedman

As part of the Chicago Community Trust’s #OnThetable2014, Chicago Tonight's Brandis Friedman hosted a dinner with area residents where they shared their thoughts, concerns, opinions and hopes for the region's future. Read her blog of the event and watch videos of what participants had to say.

Talking Weight Loss with Chef Graham Elliot

Acclaimed Chicago chef, restaurateur and TV personality, Graham Elliot has lost more than 100 pounds. Brandis Friedman finds out how he did it and why. 

Fashion Forward at the Art Institute

For 80 years, the Fashion Design Department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago has been training future designers, stylists, and artists. Brandis Friedman goes behind-the-scenes for a peek at this year’s annual The WALK fashion show and fundraiser. 

Empty Lots for Sale in Chicago

Vacant plots of land are selling for $1 in Englewood. Brandis Friedman explains why. Read an article and view a map.

Chicago's Violent Weekend

After a violent weekend in Chicago, Police Supt. Garry McCarthy talks about recently seized firearms and penalties for gun crimes. Brandis Friedman has the details. Read an article and watch the full news conference.

Building Credit from Scratch

In a post-recession economy, many people are fearful of credit and credit card debt. But one program is helping people with poor or no credit get credit cards. Brandis Friedman explains why this program is actually helpful. Read an article and watch a web extra video.

Zombie Properties

Like the name suggests, zombie properties are often abandoned homes with no one living in them. Banks have foreclosed on them, but didn’t follow through with completion. Brandis Friedman takes a look at why that happens, the impact on the community, and what can be done. Read an article, watch a web extra video, and view a map of zombie properties in Chicago.

Sandwich Me In

A Lakeview restaurant has the recipe for being green. Find out how Justin Vrany’s restaurant, Sandwich Me In, produced less than eight gallons of trash during two years of being in business. Brandis Friedman has the story of this eco-friendly eatery. Read an article, check out one of Vrany's recipes, and view a slideshow.

Long-Term Unemployment

People who have been out of work for more than six months have a harder time getting hired again. Brandis Friedman has the story of a Chicago-based nonprofit ahead of the curve in helping those workers get back to work, and the support it’s getting from the White House. Read an article.

Buffett Place

The Lakeview neighborhood has a unique new place for people who are homeless, and suffer mental illness or disabilities, to call home. Brandis Friedman takes a look inside. Read an article and watch a web extra video.

Tutoring & Mentoring Show Significant Results for High School Students

New research shows that the combination of mentoring and intensive tutoring can make up for three years' worth of lost learning for 9th and 10th grade boys who were previously at risk of dropping out down the road. Brandis Friedman has the story. Read an article and watch a web extra video.

Drill Music

A new phenomenon in hip hop music, called drill music, is unique to Chicago and gaining in popularity. We talk with one of the genre’s rising stars and examine the criticisms of the music’s lyrics. Read an article and watch a web extra video.

Lathrop Homes Redevelopment

Plans to renovate Chicago Public Housing project Lathrop Homes on the north side have been in the works for years. We take a look at the redevelopment’s progress and find out why the community is fighting some changes. Read an article and view a slideshow.


Though the Affordable Care Act, also known as ObamaCare, has only gone into effect this year, some parts of the new law have already gone into effect in Cook County. We take a look at the early Medicaid expansion called CountyCare. Read an article and watch a web extra video.

Boot Camp Labor Put to Use in Community

Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart plans to eradicate abandoned and blighted homes throughout the county, using county boot camp labor. What community is he starting with? Brandis Friedman has the story. Read an article and view a slideshow.

Special Education Shortage

School districts across the country are reporting a shortage of special education teachers. We take a look at Chicago Public Schools' shortage and find out how districts and universities are working to fill the void. Read an article and watch a web extra video.

Local Hospital Notifies Patients of Potential Bacteria Exposure

Patients at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge may have been exposed to antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Read an article.

Training for Concealed Carry

Gun owners fill firearms training classes required to apply for their concealed carry licenses—which went into effect Jan. 5. We go inside the class to find out what students are learning and what they think of the law’s requirements. Read an article.

Concealed Carry Application Process

Illinois State Police demonstrate the concealed carry application process in advance of the law going into effect on Jan 5, 2014. Brandis Friedman has the details. Watch a web extra video.


Crime numbers in Chicago are reportedly at their lowest levels in decades. We take a look behind the scenes at the Chicago Police Department to see what strategies police leadership believe are working. Watch a web extra video.

Concealed Carry Complications

Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart is raising concerns about local law enforcement's ability to object to certain concealed carry applicants. Brandis Friedman has the details. Read an article.


From building a website to building the computer itself, students from the Woodlawn neighborhood are getting hands-on technological experience under a new program called Artifice. The programs founders, who are affiliates of the University of Chicago, say they hope the program will provide the students with skills that will eventually turn into careers or small businesses. Read an article.