Stories by Jay Shefsky

World’s Most Expensive Spice Puts Afghan Farmers, Chicagoans to Work

Ninety percent of the world's opium originates in Afghanistan. In Chicago, three war veterans are hoping to give Afghan farmers a viable alternative to growing poppy for opium. Learn how their business, Rumi Spice, is connecting farmers to the international marketplace.

Company that Helped Rebuild After Great Chicago Fire Now Closing Doors

Next month, one of the Chicago area's oldest manufacturers will shut its doors after 145 years. Haeger Potteries, a fourth-generation family business, played a key role in helping the city rebuild after the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. Jay Shefsky takes us inside.

Vivian Maier Legal Tangle May Be Resolved Soon

Self-Portrait of Vivian Maier (c) Vivian Maier / Maloof Collection

A settlement appears to have been reached over the celebrated photographs of the Chicago-area nanny whose stunning street photography came to light only after her death.

A Behind-the-Scenes Tour of Chicago’s Largest Prop House

A giant Bridgeport warehouse is home to the city's largest collection of vintage props for movies and TV. Jay Shefsky takes us inside.  

Local Crafting Group Knits Refugees, Immigrants Together

Bahra Puskar

Immigrant and refugee women find joy, companionship and healing in knitting. Jay Shefsky takes us to their workshop.  

Upscale Resale: Glencoe Shop is Designed to Donate

Jay Shefsky visits an upscale consignment shop on the North Shore that has generated nearly half a million dollars for charity by selling designer clothes, accessories and furniture.

Inside the New Chicago Cubs Clubhouse

The Cubs have a new clubhouse, and it's one of the biggest and fanciest in all of baseball. Jay Shefsky takes us inside the the state-of-the-art facility.

Chicago Veterans Aim to Cultivate Peace in Afghanistan Through Farming

Could a spice help rebuild Afghanistan? Could it decrease the production of poppy for opium? Meet three Chicago war veterans who have started a business with these goals in mind.

Book Uncovers Story of Spreading Hate Across America

In 1920, the Ku Klux Klan was a small, disorganized group with just 3,000 members in Alabama and Georgia. Then a public relations firm saw an opportunity to make a bundle by building the Klan. Dale Laackman's book, "For the Kingdom and the Power: The Big Money Swindle That Spread Hate Across America" tells the little-known story.  

Curt's Cafe Serves Up Job Training, Food for Thought

Every discussion of crime, poverty or high incarceration rates points back – in part – to jobs. For the last three years an innovative restaurant job-training program in Evanston has been providing support and practical experience to young men and more recently, women. Jay Shefsky went to Curt's Cafe to learn more.

A Look Inside Chicago's Largest Prop House

A giant Bridgeport warehouse is home to the city's largest collection of vintage props for movies and TV. Jay Shefsky takes us behind the scenes.  

China's Ancient Terra-Cotta Army Invades the Field Museum

Terracotta Warriors (© Shaanxi Cultural Heritage promotion Center and emperor Qin Shihuang's Masoleum Site Museum)

One of the greatest archaeological finds of the 20th century comes to Chicago: ancient soldiers from an army of Chinese terra-cotta warriors.

Evanston Artist, 97, Mixes Passion for Social Activism with Painting

Peggy Lipschutz is passionate about painting. She is perhaps best known as a painter of social and political causes. This past fall an exhibit at the Noyes Cultural Center showcased her decades-long career. We revisit Jay Shefsky's tour of the exhibit and talk with this prolific painter.

Chicago Accordion Club Plays to Keep the Music Alive

There was a time in Chicago when the accordion was everywhere—and not just for polkas. These days, the accordion is not the powerhouse that it used to be, but there is at least one place where the instrument is still going strong. Jay Shefsky went to check it out.

Photographer Captures Magical Fare at Elizabeth Restaurant

Capturing the delectable dishes served up by Chicago’s finest chefs is an art. Jay Shefsky recently got a behind-the-scenes look at a very tasty photo shoot. We go back for another serving of this mouth-watering piece.

What is it about Zambonis? We Meet a Zamboni Driver

The best strategy for dealing with Chicago winters, some say, is to embrace it and get outside for some winter fun, like ice skating. Last winter, Jay Shefsky laced up his skates and hit the ice ribbon at Maggie Daley Park, where he met the Zamboni driver. We revisit his time on the ice.

Inside the Mind of Richard Nickel, Legendary Rebel

Chicago's Crusader for Architectural Preservation Focus of New Book

Photographer Richard Nickel lived–and died–to save Chicago's architectural treasures. A new book takes us inside the mind of this legendary rebel by sharing his letters, drawings, notes and breathtaking images. Joining us to discuss the book and the man at the center of it are the authors, Richard Cahan and Michael Williams.

Local Photographer Captures Magic of Culinary Creations

Michelin-Starred Restaurant Showcases Artist's Work

(Monica Kass Rogers)

In this food-loving town we have everything from hot dog stands and McDonald’s headquarters to the culinary artistry of Grant Achatz's Alinea. And they all need photography. Jay Shefsky offers a behind-the-scenes look at a very tasty photo shoot. 

Chicago's Original Sears Tower Reborn as Community Center

Mayor Rahm Emanuel was on hand Tuesday morning to reopen the newly developed Nichols Tower at Homan Square. Jay Shefsky got a sneak peek at the tower on Monday. We bring you his report.

West Ridge Nature Preserve Offers Urban Oasis Along Western Avenue

Along a busy stretch of Western Avenue on the North Side of the city is the newly opened West Ridge Nature Preserve. The 20-acre park includes woods, wetlands, walking paths and a 4.5-acre pond. Jay Shefsky goes for a tour. 

Evanston Artist, 96, Paints for Justice, Equality and Peace

Peggy Lipschutz is passionate about painting. She is perhaps best known as a painter of social and political causes. A new exhibit at the Noyes Cultural Center showcases her decades-long career. Jay Shefsky takes a tour of the exhibit and talks with this prolific painter.

West Ridge Nature Preserve Offers Urban Oasis Along Western Avenue

Along a busy stretch of Western Avenue on the North Side of the city is the newly opened West Ridge Nature Preserve. The 20-acre park includes woods, wetlands, walking paths and a 4.5-acre pond. Jay Shefsky goes for a tour. 

Chicago's Other River: Exploring the Calumet by Kayak

Jay Shefsky goes kayaking where paddlers rarely go – the busy and industrial Calumet River. See what he discovered while tagging along with a couple of local kayakers who regularly venture into the hard working river.

Thinking Big About Sewage: Thornton Reservoir Nears Completion

| Linda Qiu

As the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District cuts the ribbon on it's new sewage reservoir, we revisit Jay Shefsky's visit in May to the bottom of the Thornton Quarry.