Stories by Erica Gunderson

Get Your Garden Set for Spring Planting

After a mild winter, spring is springing in Chicago and it’s time to get back into the garden. The Organic Gardener Jeanne Nolan is joining us for a new season of growing in the Chicago Tonight garden. 

Ask Geoffrey: What Happened to Chicago Burger Chain Wimpy’s?

A viewer wonders what became of a Chicago burger chain that borrowed its name from a cartoon moocher. Geoffrey Baer serves up some hamburger history in this encore edition of “Ask Geoffrey.”

Viewer Feedback: ‘Keyboarding Over Cursive? Why Not Both?’

Viewers wrote in with their thoughts on teaching cursive in schools. 

ReptileFest a Chance to Meet Slimy, Slithery Creatures

ReptileFest is back! We welcome some scaly, slinky and slithery friends to our set. 

Cavalia’s Epic ‘Odysseo’ Gallops onto Chicago’s Lakefront

Dominick Gavel (Courtesy of Cavalia)

A big show is brewing under the big top, with a cast and crew of more than 200 – plus 65 horses. We go behind the scenes of “Odysseo.” 

Viewer Feedback: ‘There Are No Plans’

Does President Donald Trump have a plan for Chicago violence? We hear from viewers.

Viewer Feedback: ‘Chicago State is a Proven, Repeated Failure’

Viewers reflect on Chicago State University’s crisis, WBEZ reporter Natalie Moore’s report on the Chicago Housing Authority, and the ethics of zoos.

New Nonprofit Gives Needy Kids Clothes They Can Be Proud Of

“Our model is that quality equals dignity. We want kids on the other end who are receiving these coats or shoes or pants to feel proud to wear them,” said Cradles to Crayons Executive Director Bernard Cherkasov. 

Preservation Chicago Sounds the Alarm Over ‘Flamingo’ Sculpture

Alexander Calder, “Flamingo” (vincent desjardins / Flickr)

This week, a significant work by artist Alexander Calder was dismantled from the lobby of the Willis Tower and is being moved into storage. Ward Miller of Preservation Chicago says a second major Calder work may also be in danger of disappearing.

Ask Geoffrey: What’s With the Out-of-Order Presidents?

(Ken Lund / Flickr)

Geoffrey Baer investigates why the Loop’s streets honoring presidents don’t honor the order of their terms in this encore edition of “Ask Geoffrey.”

Viewer Feedback: ‘These Politicians Will be OK’

Viewers weigh in on Lincoln Park Zoo’s urban wildlife monitoring program, a judge's order to pay Illinois legislators' salaries and state Rep. Will Guzzardi’s proposal to bar financially troubled schools from opening new charter schools.

Viewer Feedback: ‘Good Luck to David Meyers’

Viewers reflect on the closing of Meyers Ace Hardware.

Hardware Store With a Jazzy Past Prepares to End its 95-Year Run

While the end of Meyers Ace Hardware is certainly a loss to its South Side community, it’s also leaving a piece of Chicago’s jazz history hanging in the balance.

Ask Geoffrey: What’s the Plan for Lake Calumet?

Lake Calumet (Tom Kort /

Lake Calumet has changed shape and purpose many times over the years. Geoffrey Baer takes a look at its past and future in this encore edition of Ask Geoffrey.

Wildlife Meets City Life in New WTTW Web Series ‘Urban Nature’

A new WTTW web series peeks into pockets of nature in cities across the country.

Students Give Schurz Food Science Lab a Green Thumbs Up

Visit a Northwest Side high school where a food science lab is growing the next generation of urban farmers.

Preservation Chicago Names City’s 7 Most Endangered Structures of 2017

This year, the group’s annual list of endangered structures sounds the alarm on not just buildings, but also public art. 

Viewer Feedback: ‘What Do You Need Ketchup For?’

It was tough to keep up with all of your comments on ketchup after last week’s Ask Geoffrey segment asking why Chicagoans skip the red stuff on their hot dogs.

Ask Geoffrey: Why No Ketchup on Hot Dogs, Chicago?

Geoffrey Baer explores why hot dogs and ketchup don’t mix in Chicago.

West Side Factory Aims to Beat the Pants Off Apparel Industry

Dearborn Denim and Apparel (Chicago Tonight)

We visit a small company in Garfield Park that is hoping to revive the Chicago apparel industry with a combination of American materials and immigrant know-how. 

Viewer Feedback: ‘A Change is Needed!’

We share some of your reactions to our 4th Ward aldermanic forum.

Ask Geoffrey: The Warrior Walls of General Jones Armory

The walls of a South Side armory tell the history of warriors throughout the ages. Geoffrey Baer shares that story and more in this week’s Ask Geoffrey.

Viewer Feedback: ‘No Human Being Is Illegal’

Viewers had a lot to say about our report on immigration raids carried out in Chicago and around the nation last week.

Ask Geoffrey: What’s With the Out-of-Order Presidents?

(Ken Lund / Flickr)

Geoffrey Baer investigates why the Loop’s streets honoring presidents don’t honor the order of their terms, returns to a North Side bridge to nowhere, and relates the sad story of the “radium girls” of Ottawa, Illinois.

I’ll Have What She’s Having: Shared Plates, Experiences Can Lead to Love

(Simon_sees / Wikimedia Commons)

A University of Chicago Booth School of Business professor talks about how your romantic relationships can affect your decision-making.