Stories by Jay Shefsky

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

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


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. 

The President’s Table

When French President François Hollande visited Washington in February, President Obama gave him a hand-crafted table. We meet the Chicago-area craftsman who designed and built the table, made in part with wood from George Washington’s Mount Vernon. Watch a video and view a slideshow.

U.S. Sled Hockey Team Wins Gold Medal

This past weekend, at the Paralympic Games in Sochi, the U.S. sled hockey team won the Gold Medal. Two members of that team -- Brody Roybal and Kevin McKee -- were from Chicago and were featured in Jay Shefsky's profile. Watch the video and read an article.

Irish Music Elders

Malachy Towey and Kevin Henry are two of the elder statesman of Irish music in Chicago. Towey, age 93, plays the bodhrán, an Irish frame drum. Henry is 85, and plays the flute. For more than 50 years, they have been part of a vibrant Irish music scene in Chicago. Recently, Jay Shefsky stopped by at their weekly music session at Lanigan’s Pub on 111th Street, and has a profile of these two longtime musicians and friends. 

A Love Story Born from Adversity

When Juanita met Antonio at a nursing home, he was recovering from a gunshot wound that left him in a wheelchair. Sixteen years later, he's an accomplished painter and she is the love of his life. Jay Shefsky has this remarkable love story.

Elder Portraits

Arlene Marks stopped painting several years before she moved into assisted living. But when she arrived, she found new inspiration. We revisit Jay Shefsky's profile of a suburban artist rediscovering her art and painting charming portraits of her neighbors. Read an article and view a slideshow.

Notebaert Nature Museum Turns 157

To mark the 157th anniversary of Chicago's first science museum, we take a look at some surprising specimens - including a Chicago rattlesnake.