Illinois Democratic candidates encourage supporters to get out the vote

By Alex Campbell
Medill Reports

A week ahead of November 6th’s elections, Democrats running for state-wide office gathered in Chicago’s 48th Ward to ask for supporters’ help in the campaign’s final days. The candidates took turns speaking to the standing-room only crowd at the Broadway Armory in Edgewater, headlined by gubernatorial candidate JB Pritzker and attorney general candidate Kwame Raoul. Pritzker characterized this years elections as a “fight” that would only be won with assistance from people like those in attendance. Supporters were energized by the message, and many enthusiastically volunteered to give their time to the campaign effort.

Photo at top: Illinois state flag(Alex Campbell/MEDILL)

Obama Rallies in Wisconsin

By Eric Frazier
Medill Reports

President Barack Obama hit the campaign trail in a last ditch effort to get people in Wisconsin to vote. He rallied in Milwaukee on October 26th with Democratic candidates. People lined up for hours in order to get an opportunity to see President Obama. Medill Reports caught up with some of those voters to find out what they want to see on election day.

Photo at top: Obama rallies with Democratic candidates in Milwaukee. (Eric Frazier/MEDILL)

Larry Antonsen: Healing, helping and speaking out

By Karyn Simpson
Medill Reports

Larry Antonsen wants to do everything he can to ensure no child is ever abused by a priest again. That’s why he works with the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) and attends events like All Survivor’s Day at Holy Name Cathedral Parish. The day is dedicated to drawing attention to sexual abuse by clergy members and demanding justice for the survivors. As a survivor of sexual abuse by a priest and a still-practicing member of the Catholic faith, Antonsen knows how hard it can be to heal from this kind of trauma. He wants to share his story in hopes it can give someone else the courage to come forward and get help.

Photo at top: Members of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) protest outside Holy Name Cathedral on November 3rd. (Karyn Simpson/MEDILL)


Chicagoans urge judges to follow bail laws

By Doug Greenberg
Medill Reports

On October 30, 2018, protesters gathered in front of the Cook County Criminal Courthouse to petition Chicago-area judges to follow General Order No. 18-8A, a measure that implores judges to lower bail in cases where the defendant is financially unable to pay it. In the year since the order was passed, several local judges have refused to set bail at affordable levels in non-violent cases, causing many of the offenders to lose their jobs. Inside the courthouse, a few protestors staged sit-ins as part of the demonstration.

You can learn more about how to get involved with this cause at and

Photo at top: Barbed wire outside of Cook County Jail. (Doug Greenberg/MEDILL)

Love and Curling

By Casey Bannon
Medill Reports

The sport of curling in America capitalized on its Olympic gold medal victory earlier this year with a spike in participation and renewed interest among young people.  No other sport sees a bigger surge in search traffic index during Olympic years than curling, according to Google Trends. The Chicago Curling Club is one of the organizations trying to keep that interest alive when the national stage fades away. Founded in 1948, their Northbrook ice sheet is home to Second City Curling and “Learn 2 Curl” programs, which aim to teach and grow the game around the neighboring Northern Illinois communities.

The game is simple: Get more stones closer to the center of the bullseye than your opponent. Each player throws two of the team’s eight stones while teammates reduce friction on the pebbled ice by sweeping along its path. After eight rounds, the team with the most points wins. At this curling club, that means you have to buy the first round of drinks.

Medill Reports caught up with some members of the curling club on Halloween night and found characters, costumes and commitment.

Photo at top: Adam Miller and Sara Guam get married at the Chicago Curling Club. (Photo Credit/Chris Neseman)


Surge of science professionals on ballot for midterm elections

By Hannah Magnuson
Medill Reports

Scientists and STEM professionals are bidding for political office in  historic numbers this election season, with three Democratic congressional candidates in Illinois among their ranks.

Their campaigns to bring scientific expertise to Washington come in the midst of repeated attacks against science by the Trump administration, most recently on the validity of climate change research.

“The attacks on science, of course, didn’t start with the Trump administration, but it has been a catalyst to getting scientists out of the lab and into running for federal office,” Shaughnessy Naughton, the founder of 314 Action, a political action group advocating for a pro-science agenda in Washington, told the HuffPost earlier this year. “That is one bright spot.”

Naughton’s organization, which promotes science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) professionals running for federal and state office, is endorsing 20 candidates for U.S. Congress this season, including Illinois Democrats Sean Casten (6th District), Bill Foster (11th District) and Lauren Underwood (14th District).

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How to beat the winter blues

By Lauren Robinson
Medill Reports

Vanessa Ford is a psychotherapist based in the Rogers Park neighborhood of Chicago. She treats clients with anxiety, depression, PTSD, addiction and other mental health issues.

Early Sunday, Chicagoans will set their clocks back. They’ll bid farewell to that last sliver of daylight at the tail end of the 5 o’clock hour. Temperatures will drop, and winter will hit, bringing cold, dark and overcast days.

Short, sunless days can prove debilitating for millions of Americans, especially women and young adults. As seasonal depression or seasonal affective disorder (SAD) sets in, those afflicted may encounter symptoms such as energy loss, weight gain or social withdrawal. Fortunately, people who are prone to seasonal depression can take steps now to improve their wellbeing in the depths of winter, says Ford, a licensed clinical social worker since 2000 who has owned her own psychotherapy practice since 2007.

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Northwestern Wins First Game in 47 Days on Senior Night

By Nicholas Hennion

It had been 46 days and 11 games since the Northwestern University men’s soccer team played a winning match.

But Friday on senior night against Division III opponent Concordia-Chicago, the Wildcats ended that winless streak with a 6-0 beatdown of the Cougars in addition to honoring the squad’s six seniors.
Head Coach Tim Lenahan knew, coming into the game, that his side would generate a lot of chances to put the ball in the back of the net.

“Looking at the schedule and how difficult it was all year, we really wanted to have a game where we could have the ball a little bit more,” Lenahan said. “ Continue reading

The battleground in suburbia: Illinois’s 6th Congressional District

By Valerie Nikolas
Medill Reports

The congressional race is tightening in Illinois’s 6th District as Democrats vie for control of the U.S. House of Representatives. Incumbent Peter Roskam (R-Ill.) is fighting to keep his seat against Democratic contender Sean Casten. If elected, this would be the clean energy executive’s first time holding public office.

With the midterm elections barely one week away, a New York Times poll from Oct. 26 shows Casten leading Roskam 45 to 44 percent, well within the margin of error. Casten’s victory is not certain, but this race is closer than any of Roskam’s previous six winning campaigns for Congress.

This race, which echoes battles in suburbs across the country, is one of the most closely watched nationwide. Democrats need a net gain of 23 seats to take control the House for the first time since 2011.

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Northwestern students, community mourn Tree of Life Synagogue shooting victims

By Ashley Hackett
Medill Reports

Hundreds of Northwestern  University students and faculty, joined by community residents, gathered Monday night in a candlelight vigil on campus to mourn the loss of 11 members of the Jewish community who were shot at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh on Saturday.

The Northwestern chapter of Hillel, a worldwide Jewish campus organization, and Northwestern President Morton Schapiro invited the community to come together at Northwestern’s mid-campus monument “The Rock” to mourn the 11 victims and pray for the injured in Saturday’s horrific attack.

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