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Stories by Kristen Thometz

Risk of Getting the Flu Remains High in Chicago

City health officials remind residents it’s not too late to get the flu vaccine. “This is a serious year,” said Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Julie Morita.

Doomsday Clock Moves Closer to Midnight

| Alexandra Silets

For first time since the height of the Cold War, the hands of the Doomsday Clock, a symbolic indicator of how close we are to a global catastrophe, have been moved to 11:58 p.m. This is the closest the clock has been to midnight since 1953.

Teen Smoking Rate Drops to Historic Low in 2017, City Says

Fewer Chicago teens are smoking cigarettes, according to city data. But the mayor and city health officials want to reach a “tobacco-free generation,” said Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Julie Morita.

Steve Bannon Accepts Invite to Speak at U of C, Students Protest

Steve Bannon (Gage Skidmore / Flickr)

Students at the University of Chicago protested early Thursday in response to news that former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon had accepted an invitation to speak at the school.

Tide Pod Dare Linked to 6 Illinois Poison Center Calls So Far in 2018

(Austin Kirk / Flickr)

In the first 22 days of 2018, the Illinois Poison Center says it has received 31 calls related to people ingesting Tide Pods, with six of them associated with a dangerous social media trend.

10 Things to Do This Weekend: Jan. 25-28

(Courtesy of Austin Calderone)

Monster trucks, prix-fixe menus and an overnight bookstore bash usher in the weekend. Here are 10 things to do in and around Chicago.

Struggling to Lose Weight? These 5 Myths Could be to Blame

If you’re looking to shed pounds, you’ve likely done some Googling. But beware: Not everything you read online will help you reach your beach bod goals. Local dietitians debunk diet and exercise myths and share tips.

What Would a Nuclear Threat Alert Look Like in Illinois?

How would Illinois residents be notified of a nuclear threat – and where should they seek shelter if an alert was issued? We speak with the Illinois Emergency Management Agency. 

10 Things to Do This Weekend: Jan. 18-21

(Chicago Polar Bear Club, NFP / Facebook)

An icy dip in the lake, a massive gathering in the Loop, personal stories and Mexican pastries usher in the weekend. Here are 10 things to do in Chicago.

Durbin Grills Homeland Security Chief on Trump’s Use of Vulgar Language

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said Tuesday she “did not remember” the specific vulgarities used by President Donald Trump in a meeting last week, saying profanity was used by almost everyone in the room. 

Study: Brain MRI Predicts How Well Deaf Children Learn Language

Researchers have created a tool that can predict language learning in deaf children after they receive a cochlear implant. Prediction is just the first step, says Dr. Nancy Young. “We’re trying to create precision therapy.”

Safety Tips for Exercising Outdoors in Winter

Don’t let frigid weather derail your outdoor exercise routine. With the proper precautions and gear, you can keep it up all winter long, says orthopedic surgeon Dr. Diego Villacis.

Chronic Pain Advocacy Group Seeks Revision of CDC Opioid Guidelines

Are chronic pain patients losing access to opioids? One advocacy group says yes, and now it’s pushing for “more reasonable” guidelines from the CDC on opioid prescriptions.

10 Things to Do This Weekend: Jan. 11-14

Rubens Barbosa won the 2017 Professional Bull Riders’ Chicago Invitational. (Andy Watson / Bull Stock Media)

Free fitness classes, bull riding and craft cocktails usher in the weekend. Here are 10 things to do in and around Chicago.

Celebrate MLK Day 2018 in Chicago with These Events

(Chicago History Museum)

Tribute concerts, storytelling, films and artwork commemorate the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. on Monday. Here are eight ways to mark the holiday.

Women’s March to the Polls Route Released

(Maya Miller / Chicago Tonight)

Get updated details for the Jan. 20 event from the organizers of last year’s Women’s March on Chicago, including rally information and the planned route through the Loop. 

Anatomy Class ‘More Memorable’ With Knitted Eyeballs, Organs

(Courtesy of Daniel Lam)

Anatomy is at the heart of medical school. To help fellow students remember lessons he struggled with, University of Chicago student Daniel Lam picked up his knitting needles.

Making Faces Could Result in More Youthful Appearance, Study Finds

Parents have admonished children for making funny faces since about the dawn of time. But a 30-minute facial exercise routine can erase some signs of aging in middle-aged women, a new study finds.

Wilmette Man Walking Across US for Parkinson’s Disease

Bill Bucklew (center) is walking 2,500 miles across the country to raise funds and awareness for Parkinson’s disease. (Courtesy of Bill and Heidi Bucklew)

Bill Bucklew is walking 2,500 miles across the country to raise awareness of Parkinson’s disease and funds to find a cure. It’s a condition he knows well: In 2012, he was diagnosed with the disease at the age of 43.

10 Things to Do This Weekend: Jan. 4-7

A winter trek, silent DJ party, improv comedy and oodles of dance classes usher in the weekend. Here are 10 things to do in and around Chicago. 

Prolonged Cold Weather Could Tie Chicago Record

Chicago ushered in 2018 with a record-setting high temperature of 1 degree on New Year’s Day. With cold temperatures expected to persist, the city could tie a different record by the end of the week.

‘Hamilton’ Star Begins ‘My Shot at Epilepsy’ to Raise Awareness, Funds

“Hamilton” star Miguel Cervantes and a group of children demonstrate the “My Shot” pose used in the viral campaign started by Cervantes and his wife, Kelly, to raise awareness and funds for epilepsy research. (CURE: Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy / Facebook)

Inspired by the song “My Shot,” from the blockbuster musical, actor Miguel Cervantes is challenging the public to take their “shot” and help raise awareness and funds to find a cure for epilepsy. 

18 New Illinois Laws to Know in 2018

More than 200 laws go into effect Jan. 1, 2018, ranging from health care and criminal justice to animal welfare. We give you the rundown.

10 Things to Do This Weekend: Dec. 28-Jan. 1

(Stage Photographic)

Belly dancing Wookiees, a magical scavenger hunt, New Year’s Day bike ride and a massive blanket fort party usher in the weekend. Here are 10 things to do in and around Chicago.

Details for Women’s March to the Polls

(Alexandra Silets / Chicago Tonight)

In less than a month, Women’s March on Chicago organizers will mark the one-year anniversary of their inaugural march with another one designed to empower women voters. Here are the details for the event.