Recent Articles
  • Coastin’ The Country: Coney Island Cyclone celebrates 90 years

    June 26, 1927 -a date that made the corner of 10th St. and Surf Ave. a part of history. I’m talking about the Coney Island Cyclone. As a young coaster enthusiast, it was always one of my “bucket list” rides –  the coaster that almost always sat near the top of the list of “Greatest Wooden Roller Coasters On Earth.” This week, it’s celebrating 90 YEARS, a remarkable achievement for any amusement attraction. Over the weekend, I made my first […]

  • The Joker 4D free-fly roller coaster opens at Six Flags Great America

    It’s fitting the new roller coaster at Six Flags Great America is named The Joker. From the moment you roll over the top of the lift, it’s nearly impossible to avoid a fit of laughter. Located right next to Batman: The Ride, The Joker is what the manufacturer, Utah-based S&S Worldwide, refers to as a 4D free-spin coaster. The trains position riders on the outside of the track, with nothing above or below. The cars spin as you move along the track, flipping […]

  • Coastin’ The Country: Mystic Timbers opens at Kings Island!

    The long wait is over – we now know #WhatsInTheShed! Today, Kings Island unveiled their brand new wooden roller coaster to the world. It’s called Mystic Timbers- 3,265 feet of Southern Yellow Pine twisting around many of the other attractions in the park. The first hill is just 109 feet, but you hit a top speed of 53mph at the bottom and the ride never lets up throughout. All together you are sent out of your seat 16 times, which is […]

  • Coastin’ The Country: Dollywood’s Lightning Rod is world’s fastest wooden coaster

    It’s the big debut of my “Coastin’ The Country” segment on WGN Morning News! To kick things off, we went down to Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee to ride their record breaking wooden roller coaster “Lightning Rod.” Lightning Rod isn’t just the fastest wooden roller coaster in the world, it’s also the world’s first LAUNCHING wooden coaster. When the train leaves the station, riders are sent up the first hill at 45 miles per hour. That helps you reach a top […]

  • Coastin’ The Country: Gatlinburg remains strong after devastating wildfire

    “The best way to help this area….is to visit.” A few weeks ago I made my first trip to Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Last year, a devastating wildfire swept through that region – Gatlinburg was hit particularly hard. One way you can help the people of the region recover  –  plan a trip there this summer. I spoke to Dollywood’s Pete Owens about how the recovery was going and what the people of Gatlinburg / Pigeon Forge need moving forward.

  • Coastin’ The Country: Full ride on LIGHTNING ROD at Dollywood

    It was one of the most anticipated roller coasters of the 2016 season – LIGHTNING ROD, the world’s first LAUNCHED wooden roller coaster. Rocky Mountain Construction is the team behind the record-breaking creation that opened at Dollywood last season. It sends riders up a 45-degree first hill at 45 miles per hour. It’s like being shot out of a cannon, dipping in one “false drop,” before hitting a 160-foot drop that takes you into the Smoky Mountain terrain. There you hit […]

  • Coastin’ the Country: Pigeon Forge Alpine Coasters

    PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. — About 2.5 million come to Pigeon Forge to visit Dollywood every year. They have some of the best roller coasters in the country…but getting your coaster fix doesn’t end within the park’s borders. I’m talking about Pigeon Forge’s Alpine Coasters. What is an Alpine Coaster? It’s kind of like a bobsled. You get in your own personal car on a track that takes you up to the top of the mountain. YOU control the speed with two […]

  • Coastin’ The Country: Dollywood here I come!

    It may look and feel like winter outside – but ROLLER COASTER SEASON HAS BEGUN. If you are a regular viewer of the WGN Morning News, you know that I have an unhealthy obsession with coasters. This season, I plan to travel to a few parks that are a nice driving distance from Chicago and profile some of the biggest and baddest rides. Along the way, we’ll visit some cool places and meet some interesting people. Tomorrow I will be […]

  • Celebrity dog Jiff entertains WGN Morning News anchors

    Remember internet star Jiff the adorable Pomeranian? This pup from the northern suburbs of Chicago is now a full blown celebrity! WGN’s Marcus Leshock interviewed Jiff about three years ago, just when he was starting out. He now has over 2.5 million Instagram followers and tons of celebrity pals. He was even in one of Katy Perry’s music videos. Here’s how you can follow Jiff: Facebook jiffpom: Instagram @jiffpom: Snapchat: jiffpom

  • Protecting social media accounts in death: Experts offer advice

    Think about how much time you spend on social media. Think of all of your photos, videos, memories. All of those posts, notes you’ve written, tweets you’ve tweeted. Have you thought about what should happen to them when you’re no longer with us? Experts say that question is becoming more and more important. Evan Carroll is the author of Your Digital Afterlife. His mission is to get people talking about what they want to see happen to their digital domain. […]

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