Stories by Jay Shefsky

A Rowdy Good Time: Drag Boat Racing at Blarney Island

Boats fly by at speeds up to 150 miles per hour on an 800-foot course. There is drag boat racing every Thursday night all summer long at Blarney Island on Grass Lake. Chicago Tonight's Jay Shefsky goes to the races and takes a 94 mph ride on a race boat.

Chicago's Other River: Exploring the Calumet by Kayak

| Steffie Drucker

The Chicago River buzzes with life. There are new sections of the riverwalk downtown, kayaks on the river, water taxis – the city is embracing its river like never before. But what about that other hard working river, the Calumet, on the Southeast Side? Jay Shefsky explores the area with a couple of local kayakers.

Life After Hate

Former Skinhead Leader Reflects on Personal Transformation

| Linda Qiu

Christian Picciolini was once a neo-Nazi skinhead leader in Chicago. Today he runs an organization called Life After Hate. Jay Shefsky tells the story of Picciolini's remarkable transformation.

Extreme Biking in the City

Credit: Velogrrl

Last summer, Jay Shefsky brought us to The Garden, home of Chicago’s dirt jumps. We revisit his story of the hidden treasure found in Chicago’s woods. 

Local Man Creates Miniature Marvels

In May, Chicago Tonight profiled the work of CoRiccio Baskin who has been creating miniature replicas of everyday objects for more than 20 years. We revisit that story. 

Thinking Big About Sewage

| Linda Qiu

When it comes to treating our sewage, Chicago has a history of thinking big from reversing the flow of the Chicago River to the creation of Deep Tunnel. Jay Shefsky visited the Thornton Quarry and went to the bottom of Deep Tunnel to see where the water will flow into the new reservoir later this year. We revisit that story.    

New Lives for Old Bikes

| Steffie Drucker

Each year, Chicago-based Working Bikes collects thousands of used bikes and sends them to partner organizations in Africa and Latin America. There, bike mechanics are trained, bikes are refurbished and local residents get critical personal transportation. Jay Shefsky visited Working Bikes and helped pack a shipping container.

City Goats

| Linda Qiu

Earlier this spring, Jay Shefsky visited a Chicago family that has added goats to the chickens, ducks, and bees in their backyard farm. We revisit that story. 

Lil' Thangz

CoRiccio Baskin has been making tiny, remarkably accurate replicas of everyday objects for more than 20 years. Jay Shefsky has a profile.

Thinking Big About Sewage

| Linda Qiu

Jay Shefsky visits the Thornton Quarry and goes to the bottom of Deep Tunnel to see where the water will flow into the new reservoir later this year.    

Life After Hate

Former Skinhead Leader Reflects on Personal Transformation

| Linda Qiu

Christian Picciolini was once a neo-Nazi skinhead leader in Chicago. Today he runs an organization called Life After Hate. Jay Shefsky tells the story of Picciolini's remarkable transformation.  

City Goats

| Linda Qiu

Jay Shefsky visits a Chicago family that has added goats to the chickens, ducks, and bees in their backyard farm.  

Bison are Back

| Nick Blumberg

There are bison once again roaming Illinois prairies. It's been more than 175 years since the last wild bison died in this state, but as of October they are back, thanks to The Nature Conservancy project in western Illinois called Nachusa Grasslands. Chicago Tribune photographer Anthony Souffle has been covering the new Illinois bison and the restoration of the prairie on which they graze. When he returned recently to see their progress, Jay Shefsky tagged along.

Good Buddies

| Travis Cornejo

As baby boomers age, the rate of Alzheimer's disease climbs steadily. A program at Northwestern University pairs Alzheimer's patients in the early stages of the disease with first-year medical students to add a human dimension to their scientific and clinical studies.

Ice Ribbon Zamboni

The new Maggie Daley Park includes a quarter mile long "ice ribbon" for skaters. We find out what it takes to maintain Chicago's newest ice rink.

Rolled, Stoned and Inked

Chicago Printmakers Collaborative marks its 25th anniversary.

A Stroke at 30

| Taurean Small

At 30, Monifa Thomas was a health and medicine reporter at the Chicago Sun-Times. Not long after she passed a complete physical, Monifa had a stroke and was paralyzed on her right side and had great difficulty speaking. We revisit the story of her recovery and return to her medical beat.

Crane Chasing

www.kKoontz.com

Jay Shefsky takes a road trip to see 15,000 Sandhill Cranes in Indiana. Jay and his Field Museum guide, Josh Engel, get a surprise along the way.

Sky Full of Cranes

| Yasmin Rammohan

Every year at this time, Sandhill Cranes migrate south. But this year, the skies over Chicago seem to be full of them. Field Museum ornithologist Josh Engel explains why.

Slow Roll Chicago

| Travis Cornejo

A new bicycling movement comes to the south and west sides of Chicago.

Exploring Chicago’s Dirt Jumps

Velogrrl

Many of Chicago's favorite places are out in the open -- Millenium Park, Michigan Avenue, and Wrigley Field. But we also like to show you the hidden treasures, even if they're hidden in the woods. Jay Shefksy brings us to The Garden, home of Chicago’s dirt jumps.

A Stroke at 30

At 30, Monifa Thomas was a health and medicine reporter at the Chicago Sun-Times. Not long after she passed a complete physical, Monifa had a stroke and was paralyzed on her right side and had great difficulty speaking. We have the story of her recovery, return to her medical beat. 

Love Story

When Jay Shefsky first came up with the idea for this story he thought it was about a man with an unusual talent.  It turned out to be a remarkable story of love and art. See a photo gallery of Antonio's work. 

Cats and Rodent Control

Like most big cities, Chicago has a rat problem. Exterminators and local municipalities do their best to make a dent, but now there's a new approach to rodent control that is actually quite old. 

Paying His Debt to Society

There are hundreds of yoga studios in the Chicago area. But in the Austin neighborhood on the city’s West Side there is, as far as we know, just one.  Jay Shefsky introduces us to Marshawn Feltus, who learned yoga during his time in prison for murder and is now trying to repay the community he damaged by operating his own studio.