Plant poachers damage Cook County forest preserves

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A few weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, a 19-year-old woman traveled from Memphis to Chicago seeking an abortion. But medical providers at a local clinic told her the procedure would require hospital care due to scarring from a previous cesarean section.

The unexpected complication added travel days and lodging costs the patient hadn’t planned for, according to officials with the Chicago Abortion Fund, who scrambled to help the young woman find an abortion appointment a few days later at a Chicago hospital. The local nonprofit covered the cost of a hotel room, food and other necessities.

Seeking to address such situations, the state of Illinois in August is launching a service to help connect women seeking abortions who have more complex medical issues and need hospital care with the proper providers when stand-alone clinics can’t provide the necessary services.

It’s the latest effort by Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker to position Illinois as a safe haven for abortion patients and providers, and it comes as a near-total ban on the procedure is set to take effect Tuesday in neighboring Indiana.

Read the full story by Angie Leventis Lourgos and Dan Petrella.

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Activist Corniki Bornds outside a crime victim assistance event in response to a weekend mass shooting in the North Lawndale neighborhood that left one woman dead and another eight wounded, July 31, 2023, in Chicago.

At a corner in North Lawndale, the familiar tune of an ice cream truck rang out as it drove past crowds of community leaders and advocates who wanted to create a welcoming atmosphere for those in the neighborhood affected by gun violence looking for resources.

The gathering at Deliverance Temple Church of the Apostolic Faith was just a few blocks away from where a 21-year-old woman was fatally shot Sunday morning. The mass shooting, which occurred at a birthday party in the 1500 block of South Keeler Avenue, left another eight people, seven of them women, wounded by gunfire.

Paul Roots, a resource technician with the Cook County Forest Preserve, clears away brush and invasive plants along the shores of Baker’s Lake on Monday, July 31, 2023, in Barrington.

When you think about poaching, ramps are likely not the first thing that come to mind.

But as foraging has grown in popularity, plants including ramps, a popular wild onion, and mushrooms such as morels are frequently targeted by poachers to sell to Chicago-area restaurants.

Rush University Medical Center on Jan. 19, 2022.

Rush University Medical Center and Northwestern Memorial Hospital are among the top 22 hospitals in the country, according to U.S. News & World Report — an organization that has come under fire in recent months for its ratings systems.

Rush and Northwestern were the only Illinois hospitals to make the national list this year. U.S. News said the two hospitals tied for best in Illinois, with University of Chicago Medical Center coming in third in the state.

Kids play in a fountain during a "Thursday Night Out” event on June 22, 2023, in Oak Park.

Over the last 50 years, Oak Park has succeeded in transforming itself from a majority-white enclave to a more racially diverse community through a series of policy measures aimed at promoting integration. But new pressures from a lack of affordable housing to sky-high property taxes and lingering racial tensions threaten to undo those gains, some community members and stakeholders say.

“As it stands, we are one of the most integrated communities in the nation,” Village Board President Vicki Scaman said at a recent meeting of the Oak Park board of trustees. “But we could lose that integration if we become less and less affordable.”

Northwestern women's volleyball coach Shane Davis during a game against the University of South Carolina on Sept. 1, 2017, in Durham, North Carolina.

In the wake of the Northwestern University football hazing scandal, a striking but different sort of allegation nearly got lost in the shuffle.

A female volleyball player at Northwestern claims that her head coach punished her by singling her out for harsh drills in front of the team and coaches.

From left, Grace Molloy, student worker Mac Tabuya, project coordinator Matt Fox, Dani Bornstein and Annie Gill take a break from studying African painted dogs earlier this summer in Zimbabwe. Molloy, Bornstein and Gill are area natives and participated as students at Augustana College in Rock Island.

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African painted dogs are a crafty bunch, hunting in packs at speeds of 40 miles per hour while evading people and bigger carnivores.

But they’re also a highly endangered species, and a group of students from Orland Park and Naperville are trying to find out why as part of an Augustana College study to help the remaining wild canines survive.

But first they had to find them.

Chicago Bears defensive end DeMarcus Walker, left, shakes hand with head coach Matt Eberflus at the NFL football team's Back Together training camp event with fans on July 29, 2023, in Lake Forest, Ill.

With a full crowd at Halas Hall on Monday erupting in oohs or ahs during one-on-one passing drills on one side of the field, general manager Ryan Poles intently watched the mano a mano pass-rushing drills going on near the weight room.

You can bet that is where Poles’ attention will be again Tuesday when the Bears hold their sixth practice and first in full pads. It will be the first of six padded practices leading into the Aug. 12 preseason opener against the Tennessee Titans at Soldier Field.

Paul Reubens attends the world premiere of "Pee-wee's Big Holiday" during the South by Southwest Film Festival on March 17, 2016, in Austin, Texas.

Paul Reubens, the actor and comedian whose Pee-wee Herman character — an overgrown child with a tight gray suit and an unforgettable laugh — became a 1980s pop cultural phenomenon, has died at 70.

Reubens, whose character delighted fans in the film “Pee-wee’s Big Adventure” and on the TV series “Pee-wee’s Playhouse,” died Sunday night after a six-year struggle with cancer that he kept private, his publicist said in a statement.