Rogers Park mac and cheese spot regrouped and reopened

By Mike Davis

Sometimes success forces businesses to take a step back. That’s what happened to the Midnight Mac and Cheeserie in Rogers Park.

After a crazy opening weekend in which owner and chef Antony van Zyl ran out of mac and cheese three days straight, he decided it was time to expand. Since then, he’s doubled the dining area, the kitchen space, and even hired more people.

Van Zyl didn’t anticipate the crowded start from day one.

“You have to build your business, you have to fight to get it going,” van Zyl said. “And that’s the way things normally work…it didn’t quite work that way.”

The Midnight Mac and Cheeserie operates daily from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m.

Photo at top: The Midnight Mac and Cheeserie re-opens in Rogers Park after a busy first weekend. (Mike Davis/MEDILL)

Religious activists’ work in troubled communities escapes media coverage

By Claire Fahey


imberly Lymore, associate minister at St. Sabina, said her place of worship on Chicago’s South Side is “ is not like any other Catholic Church in the archdiocese.”

“A lot of the times, we think about the community as a congregation now and we try to meet their needs in whatever way … because Auburn Gresham and Englewood has the highest unemployment rate in the area,” Lymore said, adding that some of the services include finding jobs and providing food and clothing.

At St. Clement Catholic Church in Lincoln Park, Maggie Hanley, the director of community outreach, said that “there is more work to be done” in communities on the South Side.

Religious institutions, like  Lymore’s and Hanley’s,  are working  to counter systemic issues of crime through a variety of services rarely noticed by mainstream media that frequently target the city for its perpetually high murder rate.
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Chicago cops find solace in God ‘in times of stress,’ growing public distrust

By Allison Ledwon

In the following story, details such as the names and ages of the police officers have been withheld to protect their privacy and personal safety.

A  South Side police officer, like most young adults graduating from college, was looking for a stable but fulfilling career.  He thought he would find it in the role of a Chicago police officer.

“My initial thought was that it would be a rewarding career of helping people,” the officer said.  But after bearing his badge for some time, he made the discovery that the job is not what he thought it would be.

“You thought that you were going to help people and you find out when you get there, not many people tell you thank you” he said. “It’s still rewarding because you know secretly that people needed you and wanted you there, even if they didn’t tell you thank you. However, we’ve come across one of the weirdest times in the United States’ history that we’ve reached the spot where the police are actually the bad guy now.”

According to Pew researchers, 51 percent of police officers nationwide, like the South Side officer, are frustrated by their jobs, while 81 percent say they believe that the public does not understand their occupation. This, according to the study, is likely tied to the recent high-profile fatal encounters between black civilians and police officers both nationwide and in Chicago.
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Construction begins on separate bicycle, runner lanes on Chicago lakefront trail

By Grace Austin

The Chicago Lakefront Trail runs for 18 miles along Lake Michigan, drawing in runners, dog walkers, beach goers, roller bladers and bicyclists. It passes marinas, beaches and public art that includes massive sculptures.

But congestion during the warmer months, especially between bike riders and joggers, has created an outcry for separate lanes. With a $12 million gift from Chicago billionaire Ken Griffin, new construction is beginning that will do just this.

Photo at top: Construction will likely take the whole summer to complete, according to the city. Grace Austin/MEDILL

Fulton Market road construction vexes businesses, customers

By Xufei Geng

The up-and-coming neighborhood Fulton Market is famous for its many restaurants and retailers. However, nowadays, the neighborhood is undergoing a road construction, which brings lots of inconveniences to the customers and make it more challenging for the small businesses. Small business owners hope customers will still choose Fulton Market.

Photo at top: The road construction of Fulton Market will last for about one year. (Xufei Geng/MEDILL)

Local business brings healthy chocolate to Chicago

By Alissa Anderegg

After struggling with depression for several years, Renee Faur knew it was time to make a change. She changed her outlook– and her eating habits– by turning to an all raw, plant-based diet. Faur was amazed by her fast improvement and began experimenting with raw recipes to share with her family and friends. Her most popular was a recipe for a healthier, raw alternative to regular chocolate. After several months of experimenting in her home kitchen, she decided to launch Renee’s Raw Chocolate to bring “chocolate you can eat everyday” to grocery store shelves. Now a family affair, the business brings together four generations of the Faur family to share their product– and lifestyle– with others.

Photo at top: Donna Faur and her three-year-old great-grandson, Jack, mix together chocolate at Renee’s Raw Chocolate’s West Town kitchen. (Alissa Anderegg/MEDILL)

Local musician teaches toddlers about healthy eating

By Alissa Anderegg

As a professional singer and voiceover actress, Jamie Martin has performed at venues across the country. After giving birth to her first child, she transformed this love of singing into a children’s musical act to be able to spend more time with her young kids. Now known as Miss Jamie on the Farm, Martin performs throughout Chicago, using her songs to teach children the values of friendship, compassion and living a healthy lifestyle. Through her performances, she hopes to inspire not only her young fans, but their parents as well and encourage them to continue living their dreams.

Photo at top: Jamie Martin performs her musical act, Miss Jamie on the Farm, at the Roscoe Village Mariano’s.(Alissa Anderegg/MEDILL)

‘Live Music Now’ brings music education to Chicago Public Schools

By Alissa Anderegg

The International Music Foundation is a Chicago-based organization dedicated to providing high-quality musical performances and music education throughout the city. As part of its outreach, the foundation has provided free, music programs to Chicago Public School students for 35 years. Through in-school visits and field trip opportunities, including its performances at Preston Bradley Hall called Live Music Now, the foundation gives arts enrichment to local youth. The 45-minute presentations and demonstrations are free events, where students and visitors can come to enjoy live music that they may not be exposed to otherwise.

Photo at top: The Link Quartet of Roosevelt University’s Music Conservatory program perform for Chicago Public School students. (Alissa Anderegg/MEDILL)

D.J.’s bike doctor will close after seven years in Hyde Park

By Beixi(Bessie) Xu

David Jones, the owner of D.J.’s Bike Doctor won’t be practicing his craft much longer, he is going to close his bike store in the fall after seven years in Hyde Park.​

After working on bikes in this community for 40 years, Jones has decided to leave the city and move to Arizona. His customers say they will miss him. He hopes someone will take over his business before he leaves.

​Photo at top:David Jones is fixing bike in his store.(Beixi Xu/MEDILL)​

McDonald’s workers protest for a higher ‘living wage’

By Stephanie Rothman

Activists and community leaders joined McDonald’s workers in front of its $200 million future headquarters in West Town to protest low hourly wages that they say are not enough to live on. The protesters want a $15 minimum wage.

Under a Chicago City Council ordinance passed in 2015, the city’s minimum wage was raised to $10.50 per hour. Chicago’s hourly wages will rise gradually to $13.00 per hour by 2019.

Photo at top: A worker protest at the construction site for the new corporate McDonald’s headquarters in West Town drew attention to the fight for a $15 minimum wage. (Stephanie Rothman/MEDILL)