Stories by Kristen Thometz

Ald. Willie Cochran Indicted, Charged with Fraud, Extortion, Bribery

| Brandis Friedman

Charges were announced Wednesday as the South Side alderman, a former Chicago police officer, attended the final City Council meeting of the year.

Northwestern Researchers Rewire Cells to Attack Cancer

Method Could be Used to Treat Other Diseases

Northwestern University synthetic biologists have developed a technology for engineering customized immune cells to build programmable therapeutics. (Credit: Image by Joshua Leonard and Kelly Schwarz, Northwestern University. Cell image by NIAID/NIH via Flickr)

A new study offers a possible look at the future of fighting cancer and other diseases that suppress the immune system.

City Wants Your Feedback on New Streetlights, Ahead of Installation

(Leefon / Wikimedia Commons)

Early next year around 270,000 streetlights in Chicago will be replaced with energy-efficient LED lights. Before the massive project begins, residents are being asked to give feedback on samples installed in seven neighborhoods. 

IHSA to Limit Baseball Pitchers to 105 Throws per Game

Starting this spring, high school baseball pitchers will be limited to throwing 105 pitches in a game, according to guidelines adopted by the Illinois High School Association.

Experimental Alzheimer’s Drug Fails in Large Study, But Hope Persists

Disappointing results from a clinical trial released late last month by Eli Lilly, but the drug is still being studied as a potential therapy for those who are at risk for memory loss.

Study: Treating Malnutrition Shortens Hospital Stays, Decreases Readmissions

Addressing hospital patients’ malnutrition can reduce patient stays by nearly two days and decrease hospital readmissions by nearly 30 percent, according to a new study.

Addressing hospital patients’ malnutrition can reduce patient stays by nearly two days and decrease hospital readmissions by nearly 30 percent, according to a new study.                       

Hairdressers to Help Recognize Signs of Domestic Violence

(Dean Wissing / Wikimedia Commons)

Starting next year, cosmetologists working in Illinois will be required to learn how to recognize signs of domestic violence and sexual assault.

Share Your Squirrel Stories with Chicago Researchers

A fox squirrel (Toadberry / Wikimedia Commons)

Next time you see a squirrel, take a picture. That photo, along with additional location and observation data, can help Chicago researchers better understand the local urban ecosystem.

Emanuel Creates Legal Fund with $1M to Protect Immigrants, Refugees

Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced Friday the creation of a legal protection fund to help thousands of immigrants and refugees threatened with deportation and pledged $1 million to start the fund.

Teenage Binge Drinking Can Affect Future Children, Study Says

Binge drinking as a teen could affect the brain function of your future children, according to a recent Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine study.

Mother Inspires Hope, Raises Awareness of Rare Infant Seizure Disorder

Ellen Wehrman and her son, Charlie, spend his first birthday preparing for an EEG. Wehrman, a former Loyola University Chicago student activities coordinator, will receive an award this week for raising awareness of infantile spasms, a rare disorder. (Courtesy Ellen Wehrman)

Only 2,500 children are diagnosed with infantile spasms in the U.S. each year. Meet one family that is sharing their story to raise awareness of the uncommon disorder.

Chicago Runners: Get Safety, Self-Defense Tips at Upcoming Event

The Chicago Area Runners Association is hosting a free safety and self-defense seminar for runners on Thursday. (Ed Dunens / Flickr)

In light of attacks on runners earlier this fall, the Chicago Area Runners Association is hosting a free safety seminar on Thursday. 

What You Need to Know About Food Allergy Labels

(Hustvedt / Wikimedia Commons)

What does it mean when a food label says it “may contain” peanuts or was “processed in a facility” that also uses peanuts? A local pediatrician explains what these labels mean and why consumers should be wary of them.

Study: Spending on Activities, Not Possessions, Inspires More Gratitude

Tempted to buy yourself a gift this week? Consider buying tickets to a show rather than a new pair of shoes. Not only will you be more grateful for the experience, but that gratitude can lead to more generosity, according to a recent study.

Watch Out for These Recalled Toys, Children’s Products

The Illinois Attorney General’s office is warning parents that hoverboards can overheat and catch fire in the recently released 2016 Safe Shopping Guide.  (Urbanwheel.co / Flickr)

‘Tis the season for holiday shopping. As consumers make their holiday gift lists, they’re being urged to check them twice for toys that have been recalled over the past year. Find out which items should be left on the shelf.

Elderly with Superior Memory Found to Have ‘Hallmarks’ of Alzheimer’s

(Alan Levine / Flickr)

Several 90-year-olds with superior memory were found to have the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease yet never developed dementia in their lifetimes. Scientists are now researching what protected these individuals from acquiring the disease.

O’Hare Airport Workers to Strike After Thanksgiving

Heading to O’Hare International Airport this week? You can breathe a sigh of relief: Airport workers announced Monday they won't walk off the job until Nov. 29.

Bryan Bickell, Former Blackhawk, Diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis

Former Chicago Blackhawks forward Bryan Bickell was recently diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. (Credit: Chicago Blackhawks / Facebook)

Late last week it was announced that former Chicago Blackhawks forward Bryan Bickell has been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. A local neurologist talks about the disease. 

Chicago Poet, Professor Daniel Borzutzky Wins 2016 National Book Award

| Dan Andries
(Courtesy of Brooklyn Arts Press)

Poet Daniel Borzutzky has won the 2016 National Book Award for his collection, “The Performance of Becoming Human.” The awards were announced Wednesday night in New York City.

Newton Minow Named Presidential Medal of Freedom Recipient

President Barack Obama announced Wednesday the former WTTW Chairman and 20 others will receive the nation’s highest civilian honor at a ceremony later this month.

The Microbiome’s Role in Precision Medicine

Pictured are E. coli bacteria, one of the many species of bacteria present in the human gut.

Inside the human body lives a community of microorganisms, bacteria, viruses and fungi known as the microbiome. Local professors talk about the importance of understanding the microbiome and the potential implications it could have on health and disease.

Ed Vrdolyak, Former Alderman, Indicted on Tax Evasion, Impeding IRS

The former Chicago alderman was indicted Tuesday on charges of income tax evasion and impeding the IRS. He is expected to be arraigned before Thanksgiving.

‘PBS NewsHour’ Host Gwen Ifill Dies at age 61

Gwen Ifill

On Monday, the co-anchor and managing editor of “PBS NewsHour” died at the age of 61 following several months of cancer treatment.

Hillary Clinton Concedes, Calls Loss ‘Painful’

Hillary Clinton speaks with supporters in Iowa in January. (Gage Skidmore / Flickr)

“I know how disappointed you feel because I feel it too, and so do tens of millions of Americans who invested their hopes and dreams in this effort,” Hillary Clinton said to supporters Wednesday during her concession speech. “This is painful and it will be for a long time.”

Cubs World Series Parade, Rally Set for Friday

| Brandis Friedman
Cubs fans line Waveland Avenue for a chance to see the World Series champs Friday morning. (Evan Garcia / Chicago Tonight)

The 2016 World Series Champions will celebrate their historic win on Friday. Here's what you need to know.