General Interest

How Cesar Izquierdo started a premiere Chicago Peruvian restaurant

By Harrison Liao
Medill Reports

It’s no “fu fu restaurant.” That’s the first thing Cesar Izquierdo tells you about his restaurant, Taste of Peru in Rogers Park.

Irene Ulbrich, owner of Caleo Cafe in Angola, Indiana, and a Peruvian native that frequents Cesar’s restaurant when she visits Chicago, says it’s what makes Taste of Peru so special.

“Other Peruvian restaurants serve these really pretty, very yummy dishes, but the Peruvian food I grew up with is like what Taste of Peru serves,” she says. “A plate full of food and flavor. Lots of food.”

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Pop-up shop in Pilsen supports women with cancer

By Esther Bower
Medill Reports

ELLAS pop-up shop in Pilsen provides apparel for the community at discounted prices, with all funds supporting women with breast cancer.

The thrift shop is located inside The Resurrection Project and is open Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9-5 p.m. ELLAS hopes to extend business hours soon, according to Juanita Arroyo, a shop worker. The shop started on the sidewalk but moved to its current storefront location after strong community support.

All profits at ELLAS go to provide resources, including items  women with cancer need during and after treatment.

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Compulsive loyalty at Starbucks and clues to it from a neurology lab

By Annie Krall
Medill Reports

Starbucks has learned how to make customers keep coming back for more thanks to their rewards program.

And they’re not alone.

Thousands and thousands of businesses use rewards programs to draw customers in and keep them loyal. But why is potentially getting the next stamp or another level up so enjoyable to us?

Talia Lerner, a neurobiologist at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, and her team of researchers are trying to answer that question and many more. Using mice as test subjects they are analyzing the neurological pathways that make compulsive behaviors so difficult to stop, especially when it comes to alcoholism or obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

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Ninja Warrior joins obstacle course racing to set sights on Olympics

By Junie Burns
Medill Reports

Acclaimed athletes such as gymnast Simone Biles and swimmer Katie Ledecky prepare for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. But behind the scenes, Ian Adamson and Bob Clark are hard at work to introduce a new sport to the Olympics: obstacle course racing joined by Ninja Warrior athletics.

Every season of Olympic Games provides an opportunity for new sports to be showcased as demonstration sports, and each of those sports hopes to be selected as an official Olympic event. The 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo will welcome back baseball and softball as Olympic sports while also debuting Rock Climbing.

Ninja Warrior became a phenomenon as a youth recreational sport following the success of the NBC hit series American Ninja Warrior, launched in 2006. The televised Ninja Warrior competition has spread to more than 18 countries, and local gyms are popping up in the Chicago area and all over the world, providing ample opportunities for local competitions.

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Local guitar pick vending machine business donates a share of profits to Planned Parenthood

By Lucia Whalen
Medill Reports

Chicago music venues Gallery Cabaret, The Empty Bottle and Cole’s Bar have new additions to their décor: adult vending machines that, for the price of four quarters, deliver a small plastic container that holds a one-of-a-kind guitar pick and a condom.

The business, Glitter Picks, is owned by local Chicago musician-turned entrepreneur Alen Khan, and 10% of all proceeds are donated to Planned Parenthood. Rock and roll meets safe sex.

According to Khan, the idea for Glitter Picks came to him while in search of a guitar pick at the Gallery Cabaret music open mic in early 2019.

“I went up there to play and no one had a pick, and I’m notorious for never having a pick. So I said, ‘Hey, why don’t places like this have a machine that just has picks?’ And that’s kind of how it started,” Khan explained.

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Northwestern University student dance groups shake up fall dance review

By Selah Holland
Medill Reports

ReFusionShaka welcomed more than 2,000 attendees from Northwestern University and the Chicago area to the annual fall dance review with bold, edgy choreography.

Northwestern student urban dance groups Fusion Dance Company and Refresh Dance Crew, and contemporary dance squad Boomshaka collaboratively performed in Cahn Auditorium on campus. The annual fall show sold out one of its three total performances of the weekend, continuing a yearly pattern of ticket sale success.
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Campus Kitchen back in action amid recent move

By Selah Holland
Medill Reports

Campus Kitchen, a Northwestern University student organization that redistributes unused food to nonprofit organizations and food insecure individuals in Evanston, recently moved into the Great Room kitchen in Great Hallon campus  a few weeks ago.

This relocation, into a 1920s dining hall that later morphed into a café and catering space, keeps volunteers busy revamping the space to match the scale lost with the move from Allison Dining Hall.
Campus Kitchen president Laine Kaehler said the group is gradually working to rebuild its food stock and work volume. Over the summer, the group operated for only two months before coming to a temporary halt early in September when the university chose to relocate them to Great Hall.

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Lake surfers ride the high, frigid waves at Indiana Beach

By Lucia Whalen
Medill Reports

Fall marks the time of year when most people in the Chicago pack away their swimsuits and say goodbye to the beach.

But Lake Michigan surfers aren’t most people.

For surfers who live for the challenges of the lake, fall marks the time of year when waves get bigger and groups clad in wetsuits congregate at various beaches around Chicago and Northwest Indiana to ride the waves in frigid water. As the fall transitions into winter and the air becomes colder than the lake, the wind creates bigger waves due to increased air pressure as the wind blows across the surface of the water. That’s why more lake surfers can be seen out in the fall and winter than in the summer.

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Can Thanksgiving be a healthy holiday? Yes, it can!

By Anne Snabes
Medill Reports

How can you stay healthy on Thanksgiving? For starters, don’t skip breakfast to save room for an extra slice of pumpkin pie.

And have a plan before you fill your plate with food, says Eileen Vincent, assistant director of Clinical Nutrition Research at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine. Vincent spoke with the Medill News Service about how to eat healthier on Thanksgiving, and she said her recommendations can apply to anyone.

Vincent recommended getting a good night’s sleep before Turkey Day and eating a meal in the morning, which both are ways to regulate your appetite. At the Thanksgiving meal, try to “mentally preorder” your food — or decide what to put on your plate before serving yourself. Vincent also recommended substituting some Thanksgiving dishes with healthier options. For example, green beans almondine is a healthy alternative to green bean casserole.
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‘Grandmaster of climate change’ Wally Broecker remembered at climate conference

By Zack Fishman
Medill Reports

Dozens of scientists convene every year  at the Comer Climate Conference to share new research about rising oceans and melting glaciers, both today and in the past. The event, funded by the family of late billionaire philanthropist Gary Comer, has been organized since 2004 by famed climate scientists Wallace Broecker, Richard Alley and George Denton.

But this fall, the conference was overcast by Broecker’s death in January. Colleagues, students and friends shared stories and memories of the influential scientist, who passed away at the age of 87 still actively engaged in climate research. The 2019 conference honored his legacy with the latest findings in global climate science. Continue reading