Here’s why you need to pay attention to rising water levels in Lake Michigan

By Caley Chelios

Lake Michigan’s water levels have risen significantly since hitting an all-time low two years ago. Levels are three feet higher than they were in January 2013. The resurgence of water has had a positive effect on commercial shipping, recreational boaters and our ecosystems. However, not all the effects have been positive. The increased water levels have led to significant erosion that has depleted Chicago beaches and may damage unprotected shoreline properties throughout the summer.

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Chad the Bird Rants and Raves at the Green Mill

By Brendan Hickey

Actor Josh Zagoren opens up about about his original character “Chad the Bird,” a funny creature from Laguna Beach who is dumbfounded by the stupidity of mankind.

A wacky Bird played by Josh Zagoren rants about popular culture in Chicago’s Green Mill Lounge. (Brendan Hickey/MEDILL)

Tom Perski: A visually impaired pioneer serving the blind at the Chicago Lighthouse

By Hannah Gebresilassie

When Tom Perski turned 19 years old, he noticed something was off with his vision during a baseball practice.

“I saw the ball go up in the air and then it disappeared completely and then reappeared again,” Perski says.

Perski was later diagnosed with a rare case of Stargardt macular dystrophy, a genetic eye disorder which causes progressive vision loss. Today, Perski works at the Chicago Lighthouse serving the blind and visually impaired.

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Fantasy and glass breathe life into art

By Iacopo Luzi

Riverside is a small Cook County village where time seems to have stopped. Street lights powered by gas still line the sidewalks. A small business, that’s been around since 1948, still produces glass art. The studio’s brochure calls it a place where “miracles are done with everyday glass.”

Higgins Glass celebrates it’s 68th birthday this year. Michael Higgins and his wife Frances started the company to make art. Today, their works are sold around the world. Some Higgins pieces are even on display in famous museums around the United States and Europe. But the glass is still sold for every price range.

“Because art must be for everyone”, says Jonathan Wimmer, an artist who works at the studio.

Michael and Frances Higgins passed away years ago, but their legacy is carried on by the Wimmer family. The Wimmers  worked with the Higgins for decades. The original style and glass making technique hasn’t changed.

Some of the Higgins glass artworks at their studio, in Riverside (Iacopo Luzi/MEDILL)

Flying’s not just for the birds at this Chicago school

By Kat Lonsdorf

A small slice of the circus is always in town in at Broadway Armory Park in Edgewater. The massive military-building-turned-public-rec-center is home to Trapeze School New York (TSNY) Chicago, a unique learning environment that teaches students to swing, twirl, and fly through the air.

Apryl Schlueter performs at an animal-themed show open to the public at Trapeze School New York Chicago on May 7. (Kat Lonsdorf/MEDILL)

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Wildcats softball rolls into NCAA Tournament

By Adam Rossow

It was unconventional, but not unprecedented for Northwestern softball.

The Wildcats received their third-straight at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament earlier this week after making a furious late season rally. They won 16 of their final 22 games and vaulted to a third-place finish in the Big Ten.

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Solar powered food truck hits the streets of Chicago

By Caley Chelios

Mobile solar powered pizza is on its way to the streets of Chicago. Marcello’s A Father and Son restaurant, one of Chicago’s oldest pizzarias, is bringing their famous pizzas to Chicago summer festivals and events. A Father and Son owner Billy Bauer and his son Zac created a solar powered food truck in an effort to go green and serve as a model for other businesses to follow.

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Medill Reports Newscast

By Hannah Gebresilassie

Watch the Medill Reports News Update. This week our reporters talk about challenges graduate students face through the eyes of a Loyola University Chicago student. We see how more than 100 veterans experience a special send-off to Washington D.C. through the Honor Flight program. Finally, we get to hear from Reckless Records and how vinyl records are making a comeback.

Photo at top: Music plays in a more traditional manner at Reckless Records, who’s been serving the Chicago community since 1989. (Jasmine M. Ellis/MEDILL)