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  • Tragedy to Triumph: The Willis Family, 20 years after the van crash claims 6 of 9 children

    “I’m Jada, I’m Jaeger, I’m Joy, I’m Jamie, I’m Julie, I’m Jazz, I’m Jedi, I’m Jack, I’m Jet, I’m Jen, I’m Jair, I’m Jess, I’m Brenda, and I’m Toby. And we are the Willis Clan!” Two parents, twelve kids; a talented family with Irish musical roots straight from the South side of Chicago.    Toby Willis is the older brother of the six Willis children who died in a fiery van crash near Milwaukee 20 years ago this Saturday. And as […]

  • Morton, Illinois; The Pumpkin Capital of the World

    Pumpkins are a 33-million dollar industry in Illinois. And as our Steve Sanders reports in tonight’s Cover Story, an area around Morton, Illiois grows more pumpkins than all 49 other states combined. “It’s a big deal for Morton,” says Tom Laatsch. “Pretty much everybody knows, Morton’s the pumpkin capital of the world!” Laatsch has spent most of his 62 years on farms. And from seed to harvest, you’d be hard pressed to find anyone more knowledgeable about pumpkins. “The most […]

  • What one Illinois plant is doing about the Asian Carp invasion may surprise you

    The state is getting more help from the private sector in battling the still out-of-control invasion of Asian carp in Illinois waterways. As WGN’s Nancy Loo reports in tonight’s Cover Story, a new plant near St. Louis aims to get rid of the fish faster, and is churning out products people want. Work starts early at the American Heartland Fish Plant in Grafton; a rural town north of St. Louis on the Mississippi River. This innovative business opened just a […]

  • This Illinois town has more Asian carp than any place else on earth

    The state of Illinois’ response to the Asian carp threat has involved everything from electric barriers in rivers, to removal by commercial fishermen, to investments in creating new markets for this invasive species. And it’s all working. But, as WGN’s Nancy Loo learned on a recent fishing trip on the Illinois River, Asian carp are more abundant in Havana, than any place else on earth. “This is Ground Zero. Ya, we’re here.” For more than two decades, state experts have […]

  • Garrett Popcorn Shops turn 65

    65 years ago on September 18, 1949, the Garrett family opened it’s very first popcorn shop in Chicago. As WGN’s Steve Sanders reports, nobody does salt and sweet quite like Garrett. Garrett Popcorn Shops have one thing in common. You can smell them before you see them. Cook, scoop, shake; that’s how Garrett keeps customers coming back for 65 years. We met Devon at the counter, who moved from Evanston to Nova Scotia when he was four years old. “It’s […]

  • A look back at Little League in Chicago

    In 2008, the Chicago Cubs and White Sox had just played their home openers when Producer Pam Grimes and Photojournalist Mike D’Angelo took front row seats to the bright eyes enthusiasm of a  Little League Sluggers class at the White Sox Training Academy in LaGrange.  Play ball!  This story won a Peter Lisagor award.   In the spring of 2005, steroid hearings on Capitol Hill cast a dark cloud over the start of the major league baseball season. So with […]

  • ‘Dark Skies’ in Indiana: Beverly Shores is Seeing Stars

    If you want to see stars, head for Beverly Shores, Indiana. Beverly Shores is one of only eight communities in the world to be honored for reducing light pollution. And as our Tom Skilling reports, it’s a simple case of power to the people. “We’re right on the lake shore, the south end of lake Michigan. This is like a little oasis. It’s quiet, there’s nature. It’s like a portrait you know.” Beverly Shores, Indiana is about an hour from […]

  • “Treasure hunters:” What are people with metal detectors really looking for?

    It’s not unusual to be at the beach or in a park and see people sweeping the ground with metal detectors. What are they looking for? And more importantly, what are they finding?  We asked Chicago firefighter and long time treasure hunter, “Chicago Ron.” Ron’s fiancé, Gretchen Edwardson is now hooked on metal detecting too. If Ron looks familiar you may have seen him on the Travel Channel or National Geographic channel. His little hobby has made him something of […]

  • Rosie the Riveter meets the Blue Angels

    Two Chicago sisters were granted their “Wish of a Lifetime” this morning in Gary, Indiana, when they met the Blue Angels, the Navy’s elite flying team returning this weekend to the Air and Water Show.  One of the sisters was a real life “Rosie the Riveter” during World War II. And as WGN’s Steve Sanders reports, it’s hard to say who was more starstruck; the ladies, or the Blue Angels. The Blue Angels showered the sisters with gifts; framed and […]

  • Asian Carp vs. Commercial Fishermen: 2.5M lbs now out of Illinois

    It’s been four years since the discovery of an Asian carp between the electric barriers and    Lake Michigan. That’s when the state went into emergency mode. They hired a select group of Illinois commercial fishermen.  And as our Nancy Loo reports, they’ve  now taken two-and-a-half MILLION pounds of Asian carp out of Illinois waterways. In the backwaters of the Illinois River near Starved Rock State Park, there are fewer Asian carp jumping this year. “We’re doing this kinda different today,” […]


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