All posts by paintermiles

Adding Sound: The difference ear implants can make

by Miles Painter

Six-year-old Liam Powell’s life would be very different today had he not received cochlear ear implants. The device translates sound into electrical signals to be interpreted by his brain, allowing him to hear.

At the age of three, Liam was diagnosed with profound hearing loss. This short documentary explores the impact the ability to hear has had on Liam’s development and how it has changed his parents’ hopes for his future.

Photo at top: Liam works with his father to build a propane fire pit. (Miles Painter/MEDILL)

Lincoln Park Knitters Join National Pussyhat Movement

By Miles Painter and Nicole Kelly

Sister Arts Studios was one of many production hubs for the knitting of thousands of hats on display over the weekend during the Women’s March on Washington, D.C.

Donna Palicka, owner of Sister Arts, has organized a squad of crafty ladies that usually meet at the store for a weekly “knit night.” Together they made nearly 200 hand-made pink “Pussyhats” for the protest – some as custom orders and others to give away for free at the march.

“It’s a way of reclaiming our femininity,” Palicka says as she knits furiously. “We have women ages 20 all the way to 70 working together.”

Photo at top: Donna Palicka winds a skein of pink yarn for a customer. (Miles Painter/MEDILL)

Plan for $1.1 billion in federal funds to rebuild North Side CTA stations criticized

By Miles Painter

In the final days of his presidency, President Barack Obama approved more than a billion dollars of federal grant money to overhaul and improve four stations on the North Side Red Line.

The funds will be used to reconstruct the Bryn Mawr, Berwyn, Argyle and Lawrence stations. All four stops are nearing 100 years in age, and will be receiving elevators in addition to new platforms, tracks and support structures.

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Calls for reform as bond courts place heavy burden on Chicago’s poorest citizens

By Miles Painter

South Shore resident Lavette Mayes says she never thought much about the criminal justice system before her arrest in 2013.

“I only ever went down there for jury duty,” Mayes said during an interview in her Aunt’s home on South Chappel Avenue. A 42-year-old single mother of two, Mayes says she was completely unprepared for the reality of pretrial detention when she received a $250,000 D-Bond for a charge of aggravated battery.

Unable to pay the $25,000 required by her bond, Lavette spent 14 months in Cook County Jail. Eventually her bond fee was reduced to $9,500, and she was able to get out with the assistance of the Chicago Community Bond Fund, a non-profit legal organization that covers bond costs for people who cannot afford them, advocates for cash bond reform and attempts to humanize defendants by publishing their stories online.

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Election Update: The Latino vote

Reporter Miles Painter speaks with Medill Reports writer Alex Ortiz, who has been spending the past week interviewing members of Chicago’s Latino Community.

Published at 10:00 p.m.

Photo above: Screen capture of Medill Reports video coverage on Election Day, Nov. 8th. (MEDILL)