Stories by Kristen Thometz

Jack Bishop

America’s Test Kitchen’s Jack Bishop stops by with a new book, The How Can it Be Gluten Free Cookbook. We discuss the some of the book’s recipes and food trends for spring. Check out recipes. 

Crain's Corner

Will Walgreens & Cosi Move from Illinois?

We take a closer look at whether Deerfield-based Walgreens will move to Switzerland due to pressure from a block of investors. And could Cosi, the struggling restaurant chain also based in Deerfield, be moving out of state? Brigid Sweeney from Crain’s Chicago Business gives us the details. View a timeline of Walgreens' history.

Matt Taibbi on “The Divide”

Matt Taibbi is arguably one of the most influential journalists of his age. He's perhaps best known for his work covering the financial crisis as a contributing editor for Rolling Stone magazine. Taibbi has a new book out called The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap. He joins us. Read an article and a book excerpt. 

Chicago Pensions and State Outcomes

Last week, state lawmakers passed Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s plan to cut retirement benefits for some city workers. Even though the bill left out a controversial property tax hike provision, Gov. Pat Quinn has yet to sign the legislation. We discuss the effect Chicago’s reform could have statewide, and other topics, with our panel of Illinois lawmakers. Read an article.

Chicago in Running for "Star Wars" Museum

George Lucas’s Star Wars museum could land in Chicago. Married to Chicago investment executive Mellody Hobson, Lucas has called Chicago his “second home” and Mayor Rahm Emanuel is rolling out the red carpet in a bid to capture the new museum. We discuss Chicago’s chances. Read an interview with Don Welsh, Choose Chicago CEO and President.

ACLU President on "Taking Liberties"

Susan Herman, president of the American Civil Liberties Union, joins us to discuss her book, Taking Liberties: The War on Terror and the Erosion of American Democracy. Read a book excerpt and view a timeline of laws designed to prevent future terrorist attacks.

Advocates Rally Against Charter School Bills

The state’s capital was filled today with advocates rallying against charter school bills under consideration. President of Chicago International Charter Schools David Chizewer and Legislation Coordinator for the Chicago Teachers Union Stacy Davis Gates join us with details. Read an article.

Transforming Cook County Health & Hospitals

Cook County Health & Hospitals System interim CEO Dr. John Jay Shannon stops by to discuss his new role, transforming the health and hospital system, and the redevelopment of Stroger Hospital Campus. Read his bio, read an article, and view a map of Cook County Health & Hospitals System locations.

Web Extra: CountyCare Enrollment for Detainees

Last year, Cook County Health & Hospitals System began enrolling people in CountyCare, a Medicaid program for uninsured adults in Cook County. CCHHS has been enrolling individuals at 138 locations, including the Cook County Jail. Read an article.

CTU Blasts CPS Decision to Turn Around 3 Schools

The Chicago Teachers Union blasts plans to turn around three underperforming schools. But Chicago Public Schools says it has turned around under the nonprofit management firm Academy for Urban School Leadership (AUSL), which consistently outperforms comparable neighborhood schools. Elizabeth Brackett has the story. Read an article and view an interactive map of the three schools.

Affordable Care Act Update

More than 7 million Americans signed up for the Affordable Care Act. But who exactly signed up for ObamaCare? How many are paying into the health insurance system? And what happens to the people who missed Monday’s sign-up deadline? We go in-depth with Forbes health care and policy reporter, and author, Bruce Japsen. Read an article and a book excerpt.

The Real Physics Behind Star Trek

For the last 50 years, Star Trek has captivated audiences as the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise explored the galaxy using technological advances – warp drive, wormholes, beaming technology, holodecks – in order to do so. Dirk K. Morr, a professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, joins us to discuss the scientific ideas behind Star Trek technologies. View a graphic and read an interview.

Transit Task Force Recommendations

A new report from Gov. Pat Quinn's transit task force is recommending a shake-up to the structure of the RTA, Metra, CTA and Pace systems to streamline operations and budget woes. The blue-ribbon transit study commission is also recommending ethics reforms. Carol Marin gets the details of the report from the co-chairs of the Northeastern Illinois Public Transit Task Force, George Ranney Jr.  and Ann Schneider, and the Task Force’s Ethics chairman, Patrick Fitzgerald. Read the full report, and view a graphic of the current structure of the RTA, Metra, CTA and Pace.

Gov. Quinn on 2015 Budget

One day after telling Springfield legislators they face a stark choice between making the “temporary” income tax hikes permanent or slashing spending on education and social services, Gov. Pat Quinn joins us to discuss the tough choices facing the state, and how he plans to defeat Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner in the November election. Watch Quinn's budget address, view graphics of his budget breakdown, and read an article about how the state budget would be impacted if the income tax increase were allowed to expire as scheduled in 2015.

Analysis of Quinn's 2015 Budget Speech

Making the income tax increase permanent, a property tax relief, and adding $50 million to a monetary assistance program for college students in Illinois will all be addressed during Gov. Pat Quinn budget speech. Carol Marin talks with Sen. Kirk Dillard from Springfield, and then analyzes the budget address with her panel of guests. View graphics of Quinn's 2015 budget.

Web Extra: A 17-Year-Old's First Voting Experience

Seventeen-year-olds in Illinois had the ability to vote in the March Primary Election. Neli Farahmandpour helped to get the law passed that gave 17-year-olds this opportunity. Read an article.

Web Extra: Local Ukrainian Reaction

As Russia continues to assert its influence in Crimea, concern grows among the Chicago Ukrainian community. Read an article.

Reaction to Federal Reserve Chair's Remarks on Economy

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said the Fed may start  raising rates around six months after quantitative easing—ahead of what experts were expecting. We take a closer look at how the markets react to her comments at her first live press conference, and how her first policy meeting may affect the economy. Read an article, watch Yellen’s full press conference, and read a transcript of her remarks.

Low Voter Turnout in Chicago for March Primaries

Voter turnout in Chicago is expected to be around 16 percent for the March Primary Election, according to the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners. The low turnout benefited the debut of electronic poll books in Chicago's precincts. Read an article.

Illinois Residents Vote in Primary Election

Voter turnout for Tuesday's March Primary Election has been low, and less than 9 percent of registered voters in Chicago have cast ballots as of 6:00 pm. Voters today will determine who will appear on the November ticket for Republican and Democratic races ranging from governor to the state legislature. Read an article.

Nearly 3,500 17-Year-Olds Register to Vote in Primary Election

For the first time in Illinois, 17-year-olds will be able to vote in Tuesday's March 18 Primary Election. Nearly 3,500 teens have registered in Chicago. Read an article.

Web Extra Blog: GOP Gov. Post-Forum News Conference

Republican gubernatorial candidates  -- Bruce Rauner, Bill Brady, and Kirk Dillard – gave a brief news conference following the GOP Governor Forum. Read an article.

Chicago’s Board of Election Commissioners Introduces Electronic Poll Books

At the Tuesday, March 18 Primary Election, the Board of Election Commissioners for the City of Chicago will use electronic poll books to check in voters instead of paper poll books. Read an article.