Stories by Kristen Thometz

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.

Study on Vision Takes Hard Look at Digital Screens

Americans are constantly connected and staring at digital screens—be they cellphones, tablets, computers or TVs. Many times, multiple devices are being used at once. This constant exposure is taking a toll: more than half of Americans report feeling digital eyestrain—discomfort caused from the use of digital devices. When more than one device is used 75 percent report discomfort.

Study: Excessive Cellphone Use Linked to Anxiety, Depression

Here’s another reason to consider giving your cellphone a rest: Compulsively checking such devices as a way to cope with uncomfortable situations has been linked to anxiety and depression in college-age students.

Consumer Debt No. 1 Consumer Complaint, Says Illinois Attorney General

Attorney General Lisa Madigan

For the eighth year in a row, consumer debt topped Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s annual top 10 consumer complaints list. And for the first year, education-related complaints make the top 10 list.

Lack of Sleep Increases Snacking, Junk Food Cravings, New Study Shows

(Credit traska / Flickr)

“People need to think of adequate sleep as an important aspect of maintaining good health," said Erin Hanlon, Ph.D., lead author of a new University of Chicago study linking insufficient sleep with increased consumption of snacks and high-energy, high-fat foods.

First Zika Case Confirmed in Chicago

(Aedes albopictus)

The city on Monday morning confirmed the first case of Zika virus. The patient, who was identified as a woman in her 30s, visited Presence Saint Joseph Hospital after returning from a trip to Columbia with symptoms consistent with the virus.

Study: Pharmacies that Produce Compounded Drugs in Illinois Not Tracked

The state of Illinois doesn’t track the number of pharmacies that mix, combine or alter the ingredients of a drug or require those that perform sterile compounding to report serious adverse events, according to a new report by Pew Charitable Trusts.

As Lucas Museum Eyes Other Locations, City Pushes for Construction to Begin

The saga continues for the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art. City lawyers say museum officials are considering other cities due to “uncertainty and delay” over the project’s lakefront spot in Chicago.

Celebrating Newton Minow's 90th Birthday

10 Things You Might Not Know About the Former FCC Chairman

Former FCC chairman and WTTW trustee emeritus Newton Minow turns 90 on Sunday. While you may remember that he once famously called TV a “vast wasteland,” you might not know that he’s actually a big “Downton Abbey” fan. In honor of his upcoming birthday, we share 10 things about him that might just surprise you.

Recycling in Chicago: No More Plastic Bags, Says City

New Website Explains What Can and Can’t be Recycled

Starting Jan. 1, items placed in the city’s blue recycling carts must be loose. That means no plastic bags. Learn more about Chicago's rules for recycling.

Trump Hotel Chicago Transforms Elevator into Gingerbread Express

Gingerbread cookies and houses are synonymous with Christmas. The Trump Hotel Chicago takes the seasonal staple to the next level with the Gingerbread Express—an elevator dressed head-to-toe in gingerbread. 

Weekend Events: Ugly Sweater Run, Holiday Markets and Music

Get into the holiday spirit with a Christmas classic on stage, a chance to dine with Santa Claus, a concert of holiday tunes and much more.

Illinois House Bill Would Make Police Videos More Accessible

Proposal Comes in Wake of Laquan McDonald Case

The delay in releasing the dash-cam video that shows the fatal shooting of Laquan McDonald has sparked protests for change in Chicago and a new bill in Springfield that would amend the Freedom of Information Act to require law enforcement agencies to prove an exemption is warranted via a court order.

Chicago Winter Overnight Parking Ban Starts Tuesday

City drivers need to be more mindful about where they park starting Tuesday. The annual overnight parking ban starts this week and runs through April 1, 2016. The ban will be enforced from 3 a.m. to 7 a.m.