Stories by Brandis Friedman

Citypak Provides Cover, Storage for Those With No Place to Call Home

Designed with the homeless, for the homeless: How a durable, simple backpack is meeting a basic need.

CPS Announces Plans for 2 New Elementary Schools

Several days after announcing proposed school closures and mergers, Chicago Public Schools is touting plans to offer two new elementary schools, while enhancing three others.

Cardinal Blase Cupich Visits Hurricane Survivors in Puerto Rico

An overhead view of Puerto Rico in late September, following damage caused by Hurricane Maria.

In a Facebook post Sunday, Cardinal Blase Cupich said it was “painful” to see the destruction up close, and that he was there to “reassure our Puerto Rican brothers and sisters that the Holy Father cares about them and prays for them.”

New Round of Chicago Public School Closures Looming

A day before the Chicago Public Schools system is set to confirm which schools it plans to close next year, teachers say they’re already getting word. And the Chicago Teachers Union is pushing back. 

Burst Pipe at Chicago State University Moves 170 Students Off Campus

About 170 Chicago State University students are being shuttled between hotels and campus after a pipe burst in the school’s only residence hall, leaving the dorm and the student union without heat and hot water.

Iconic Johnson Publishing Building Has New Owner

Developer 3L Real Estate has acquired the 46-year-old landmark office building and plans to turn it into 150 rental apartments while maintaining its character by keeping the iconic Ebony/Jet sign on the building.

City, State’s Attorney Join Forces to Steer Uber Into Court

Local government is going after a major ride-sharing company for not only failing to protect customer and driver data during a massive 2016 data breach—but also for failing to disclose it, as required by law.

Todd Stroger to Challenge Toni Preckwinkle

The field to take on Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle is growing. Todd Stroger, who formerly held the post, is announcing plans to run for his old office next year.

Hiplet Is Not Your Grandmother’s Ballet

(Courtesy of Nordstrom)

They’ve strutted across high-end runways and for fast-fashion TV commercials. Now, the Hiplet dancers are showing Chicago Tonight how they’ve worked for their success.

Digging in the Dirt with Tech Entrepreneur Kimbal Musk

(Courtesy of Square Roots)

A tech billionaire with a famous name talks about bringing his “real food” movement to the Windy City. 

Simulating Military Life Preps CPS Students for Life Beyond High School

Students Tori Neealy, left, and Leah Nunez in a flight simulator at Air Force Academy High School.

The city’s military academies help some Chicago Public Schools students reach new heights. We visit Air Force Academy High School.

State Rep. Jeanne Ives Collecting Signatures for Governor’s Race

Is Gov. Bruce Rauner about to get new competition in the Republican primary? 

How CPS is Hoping to Bridge Another Achievement Gap

High school students who take advanced classes are more likely to enroll in college. But Chicago Public Schools says that not enough minority students are getting access to this more challenging coursework.

More Details Emerge About Chicago’s Bid for Amazon’s HQ2

Just what are the city and state willing to do to bring an online giant to Chicago?

Apple Takes a Bite Out of Chicago Riverfront

(Courtesy of Apple)

After almost 14 years on the Magnificent Mile, the Apple store is making a move to the Chicago River. We get a preview of the new space.

Chicagoan Recounts Quest to Bring Aid to Parents in Puerto Rico

(Courtesy of Sonia Bell)

As FEMA and other groups have slowly brought aid to Puerto Rico, some family members living abroad have embarked on private rescue missions. Meet one Chicagoan who recently returned from a trip to visit her parents.

CTU President Karen Lewis, Brain Cancer Survivor, Reveals Stroke

Karen Lewis appears on “Chicago Tonight” on Sept. 5.

Recovering from what she describes as a “slight stroke,” Chicago Teacher’s Union President Karen Lewis on Tuesday revealed that she’s been in the hospital for the past week.

In Woodlawn, a Ground-Up Approach to a Healthier, Safer Community

A group of residents is getting back to its roots—literally—by partnering with the Morton Arboretum to harness the positive impact of trees on everything from the crime rate to the business community.

Report: Illinois Bill Backlog Keeps Growing

(Meagan Davis / Wikimedia Commons)

Though the state of Illinois finally got a budget this summer, it still has billions of dollars in unpaid bills, and the amount keeps changing.

Ahead of Tuesday Vote, Opponents Urge Commissioners to Repeal Soda Tax

Cook County commissioners are scheduled to take another vote Tuesday on the county’s so-called soda tax. Opponents of the tax were pounding the pavement Monday, hoping to convince a few more commissioners to support a repeal.

Writing Memoirs at Cook County Jail Helps Detainees Earn New Label

(Courtesy of Cook County Sheriff’s Office)

In one of Cook County Jail’s maximum security units, some detainees are given access to pens for the towering task of writing their memoirs. How these men are earning a new label: authors.

Retired Judge Patricia Banks to Serve as Interim COPA Chief

Just weeks after its relaunch as the Civilian Office of Police Accountability, the agency is officially looking for a new chief administrator.

Chicago Police Data Shows Reductions in Homicides, Shootings

The Chicago Police Department says that for the second month in a row, homicides in Chicago were lower than they were during the same month the year before.

What’s Cooking with Christopher Kimball? New Milk Street Book, TV Show

Foodies who may be missing the bow-tied former host of “America’s Test Kitchen” don’t have to wait any longer to find out what he’s been cooking.

Despite Dip in Enrollment, No Budget Cut for Some CPS Schools

Chicago Public Schools principals learned this week that they won’t lose money if enrollment figures following the first two weeks of school were below projections made when budgets were estimated in July.