Stories by Kristen Thometz

Western Avenue Corridor Project Enters Phase 2

Traffic reduced to one lane on Belmont Avenue

Rendering of what a typical median will look like once the project is completed. (Credit: Chicago Department of Transportation)

The second phase of the reconstruction project at the intersection of Western, Belmont and Clybourn avenues begins Monday. Find out what that means for drivers.

Illinois Insurers Propose Obamacare Rate Hikes up to 45 Percent

(Credit: HealthCare.gov)

Monday’s release of proposed 2017 health insurance premium rate increases for coverage offered through the state’s Obamacare exchange induced sticker shock among some industry experts, with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois seeking increases from 23 to 45 percent for its individual health care plans.

Northwestern, Lurie Children’s Hospitals Named Best Hospitals in US

Northwestern Memorial Hospital is ranked as one of the top hospitals in the country, according to the U.S. News & World Report’s annual ratings of hospitals.(Credit: Northwestern Medicine)

Northwestern Memorial Hospital and the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago rank among the top hospitals in the country, according to U.S. News and World Report’s ranking of hospitals.

Are You Getting Enough Protection from Your Sunscreen?

A recent study by Northwestern Medicine revealed 40 percent of the top sunscreen products on Amazon did not meet the American Academy of Dermatology’s recommended guidelines. (Joe Shlabotnik / Flickr)

Headed to the beach? You might want to take a closer look at your sunscreen before you it layer it on—it might not be providing as much protection as you need.

'Pokémon Go' Players to Meet at the Bean on Sunday

(Credit: Pokémon GO / YouTube)

The mobile gaming app has taken Chicago by storm: Thousands of Pokémon GO players plan to meet at Cloud Gate—aka the Bean—in Millennium Park on Sunday. Get the details.

Starting July 1 You Must Be 21 to Buy Tobacco Products in Chicago

Increasing the legal age to purchase tobacco products from 18 to 21, the city of Chicago says, will decrease smoking among youth, boost health and save lives.

German Woman Recreating Ancestor’s Journey to America

Chicago One of Many Stops on #Barmen2Bozeman Trip

In 1880, a 26-year-old German leather manufacturer left his hometown for America. Now, his great-great-granddaughter is recreating his cross-country journey in a 1880s Victorian dress.

Chicago Police Department Announces Increased Security for Pride Parade

City officials and law enforcement outlined plans for increased security measures at next weekend's 47th annual Chicago Pride Parade in the wake of the mass shooting in Orlando.

Scientists Discover New Genetic Cause of Parkinson’s Disease

Neuron in tissue culture. (GerryShaw via Wikimedia Commons)

For more than 20 years, researchers at Northwestern University have collaborated with a global network of scientists to try and unravel the mysteries of Parkinson's disease. A study published this month in Nature Genetics shares an important discovery from that research.

Cancer Research Sharing Platform Launches at University of Chicago

Vice President Joe Biden talks with professor Robert Grossman, director of Center for Data Intensive Science at the University of Chicago, and Louis M. Staudt of the National Cancer Institute as they tour the Genomic Data Commons on June 6. (Robert Kozloff)

Cancer researchers will have an easier time accessing, sharing and analyzing information with the launch Monday of a new platform funded by the National Cancer Institute.

Heated Marital Spats Linked to Heart Problems

(Vic / Flickr)

Flying off the handle during a marital spat cannot only escalate the argument, but also increase a person’s risk of developing cardiovascular conditions, like high blood pressure, a new study says. 

Chicago Ranked 12th Fittest City in America

Chicago (Allen McGregor via Wikimedia Commons)

The City of Broad Shoulders measures up to its moniker in terms of fitness. The Chicago metropolitan area was recently named the 12th fittest in the nation.

Study on Aging Challenges Common Perceptions of What ‘Healthy’ Means

Impact of obesity on health contingent on physical, mental health

By most medical standards, being healthy means you’re not battling a major disease like cancer, diabetes or cardiovascular disease. But a new study from the University of Chicago questions this traditional method of measuring health.

Arts Program Engages Alzheimer’s Patients, Caregivers

Local exhibit shines light on artist's progression of disease

A partnership between a local art museum and leading Alzheimer’s disease center allows patients and their caregivers exclusive access to exhibits, including one that documents an artist’s progression of the disease. 

Lucas Museum ‘Seriously Pursuing Locations Outside of Chicago’

Friends of the Parks pauses lawsuit, opposes any lakefront site

“We are now seriously pursuing locations outside of Chicago,” Mellody Hobson, wife of movie mogul George Lucas and board member of the Lucas Museum, said in a statement. “If the museum is forced to leave, it will be because of the Friends of the Parks and that is no victory for anyone.”

Art in Motion Showcases Talents, Progress of RIC Patients

Mouth painter Antonio Davis at the 2015 Art in Motion fundraiser. (Jeffrey Ross Photography)

The 14th annual Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago fundraiser features artwork by 23 of their patients, including art by two mouth painters who will show off their skills during Thursday's opening reception. 

Summer Workouts Return to Millennium Park

Free summer workout classes, including yoga, return to Millennium Park in June. (Courtesy of the city of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events)

Fill up your water bottle, grab a yoga mat and head to Millennium Park, where free summer workout classes begin in June. Get the full schedule.

Loyola Women’s Basketball Coach Sheryl Swoopes Under Investigation

Sheryl Swoopes

The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer is under investigation following a mass exodus of players and allegations of player mistreatment.

Mellody Hobson on Her Career, Marriage to George Lucas

Mellody Hobson, right, speaks with Sally Blount during the Women in the Forefront luncheon on April 15. (Courtesy of The Chicago Network)

“Bravery means that you’re fearful,” Ariel Investments President Mellody Hobson said  to an audience of 1,600 during the annual Women in the Forefront luncheon last week. “You cannot be brave without fear. I think that’s more important than anything else, especially for women.” 

McCormick Place East Proposed as New Site for Lucas Museum

McCormick Place East is being proposed as an alternative location for the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art.  (TonyTheTiger at English Wikipedia)

A new lakefront location for the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art is being proposed in Chicago. Mellody Hobson, wife of movie mogul George Lucas and board member of the Lucas Museum, calls it a “good idea.”

How Does Physical Education in Illinois Measure Up?

New Report Grades States PE Requirements, Policies

(U.S. Navy photo by Senior Chief Mass Communication Specialist Gary Ward / Wikimedia Commons)

When it comes to physical education, a new report shows many states aren’t measuring up to national recommendations, including Illinois. Only Oregon and the District of Columbia meet national recommendations for weekly time in physical education at both the elementary and middle school levels, according to the report. 

Local Author Inspires Kids to ‘Slay Their Dragons’

Pediatric occupational therapist and author Stacey Glorioso wants to teach children how to become dragon slayers. In her book, “Joshua’s Dragon,” the story’s namesake character leads the way and shows how he defeats his dragon—overcoming his fear of loud noises.

Lane Tech Teacher Shows Up for Work: 'It's the Right Thing to Do'

Lane Tech High School (LonleyBeacon)

While many Chicago teachers boycotted going to work today to participate in the Chicago Teachers Union’s day of action, Lane Tech High School teacher Mike DeRoss showed up for work because he felt it was the right thing to do.

Report: DuPage Healthiest County in Illinois

Cook County Not Even in Top 50

DuPage County is the healthiest in the state, according to a recent comprehensive report comparing counties’ health statewide. Cook County doesn't crack the top 50.