Stories by Kristen Thometz

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. 

Thanksgiving Recipes: Turkey, Side Dishes and Desserts

(jennie-o/Flickr)

Thanksgiving’s so close you can almost taste it. In anticipation of the marathon day of eating, “Chicago Tonight” asked local chefs and foodies for their favorite Thanksgiving recipes. Dig in!

Halloween Safety Tips from the Chicago Police Department

(William Warby / Flickr)

Halloween is here! As you put the finishing touches on your kids’ costumes (or your own—who said grown-ups can’t get into the spirit, too?), we share some safety tips for trick-or-treating.

Budget Impasse a Hairy Situation for Peoria Reporter

#BudgetBeard Campaign Began on May 31

Chris Kaergard on June 1, July 16 and Sept. 25 (Courtesy of Peoria Journal Star)

Illinois’ budget stalemate has created a hairy situation for Peoria Journal Star political reporter Chris Kaergard, who has vowed not to shave his beard until a resolution is reached. “Chicago Tonight” brushes up on the progress of #BudgetBeard with Kaergard. 

Variety Comics Closing at the End of October

Owning the store a ‘dream fulfilled’ for co-owner

Variety Comics co-owners Vin Nguyen (left) and Victor Olivarez. (Photo/Kristen Thometz)

For more than four decades, Variety Comics has anchored the corner of Western and Wilson avenues and attracted comic book fans and the curious alike with its superhero murals. At the end of October, the Lincoln Square comic book store will close.

Surprise! Corpse Flower Blooms at Chicago Botanic Garden

| Chloe Riley

There was no public countdown, no fanfare this time. And yet, a corpse flower is blooming – right now – at the Chicago Botanic Garden. Watch a livestream of the rare event.

Chicago Sells Vacant Lots for $1 as Large Lots Program Returns

The city of Chicago announced it is expanding a program that allows residents to purchase vacant city-owned lots for $1. Starting Tuesday, applications for lots in the Roseland and Pullman neighborhoods will be accepted through Oct. 31. Learn more about the program.

Carnivorous Plant Discovered Along Chicago Lakefront

(Photo by InAweofGod’sCreation)

Lurking in the still waters of the Montrose Beach Dunes is a plant unlike its neighbors. The small, carnivorous plant found earlier this month is not easy to spot, but its discovery marks the first of its kind in the area. 

Forrest Claypool to be CPS CEO

Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced Thursday that Forrest Claypool will be the new CEO of Chicago Public Schools. Claypool, Emanuel’s chief of staff, will replace Interim CEO Jesse Ruiz, who has been serving in that capacity since former CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett resigned in April. Claypool begins his new role on Monday, July 27.

Iran Nuclear Deal Reached

After more than 20 months of negotiations, a landmark deal was reached Tuesday between world powers and Iran that curbs Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for the easing of economic sanctions. The deal reduces Iran’s stockpiles of enriched uranium and the number of its centrifuges by two-thirds. It also prevents Iran from producing weapons-grade plutonium. 

Weekend Events Around Town: 6/12-6/14

Celebrate the Blues in Grant Park; visit The Barack Obama Presidential Library; and sample the best ribs in town. Chicago Tonight has your weekend picks.

Weekend Events Around Town: 5/29-5/31

Engage the left side of your brain with science activities; watch a family drama unfold on stage; and celebrate the arrival of spring with Chicago’s German community; Chicago Tonight has your weekend picks.

Blues Legend B.B. King Dies at 89

B.B. King (Gorupdebesanez / Wikimedia Commons)

The King of Blues, B.B. King, died Thursday at the age of 89 at his home in Las Vegas, according to a message posted to his official website. Earlier this month, the legendary guitarist wrote he was receiving hospice care at his residence.

Weekend Events Around Town: 5/15-5/17

Credit: Shedd Aquarium/Brenna Hernandez

Meet the newest inhabitants at the Shedd Aquriuam; kick off the street festival season; and enjoy a glass of wine while you stroll. Chicago Tonight has your weekend picks.