Looking back at 2014
From the fear of Ebola spreading to Chicago, to Riot Fest taking over Humboldt Park and Pat Quinn losing to Bruce Rauner, 2014 has been a busy year.
So we put together the top five favorite newspaper covers, top five news story picks, top five concert photos, top five sports photos and top ten film reviews of 2014.
Moreover, for our top five reader picks, we took a look at our website’s traffic and picked the top five most viewed stories over the past year.
So before jumping into 2015, take a moment and join EXTRA as we close out the holiday season by reminiscing over everything we covered this year.
Top 5 staff picks
1) O’Hare begins Ebola screenings
When people began to be diagnosed with Ebola in the U.S., the nation’s medical experts began to quickly curtail any fear about the flesh-eating virus by informing the public about how to prevent its spread. In Chicago, Dr. LaMar Hasbrouk, the director at the Illinois Department of Public Health, held a press conference to talk about how officials were screening O’Hare Airport for the virus and were working with the CDC to help curtail the largest Ebola epidemic in history.
2) Mother’s Day
EXTRA profiled seven mothers for its Mother’s Day issue in May. Five of them were working to break the silence that often goes hand-in-hand with Chicago’s street violence. They are mothers who have lost sons to violent shootings and created Parents for Peace and Justice to help break the street’s code of silence.
3) Beating cancer with a sense of humor
EXTRA interviewed Veronique Martinez, aka “Miss Nikki,” in April. She shared her story of overcoming cancer with a sense of humor and how a conversation with a nurse during her treatment inspired her to use her talent for humor to inspire and bring hope to people facing cancer.
4) A Safe Haven gives people a second chance
A Safe Haven is an organization that EXTRA profiled in August. It serves over 5,000 people a year and has 34 locations throughout Chicago. Jose Hernandez shared his story of how the organization helped him overcome a 25-year addiction to heroin and restore his relationship with his family. Once he got clean, he joined A Safe Haven to help others facing challenges similar to what he was able to overcome.
5) Undocumented mother in Little Village is still waiting for a humanitarian visa
For almost half a year after the news a deportation order against her was suspended, Beatriz Santiago Ramirez was being sheltered in a church. The undocumented mother, 32, is an expatriate of Veracruz, Mexico and told EXTRA about her struggle to stay in the country. She continues to seek refuge with her two children, ages nine months and 3 years old, both U.S. citizens, in hopes of being granted a U.S. visa which will allow her to temporarily work and stay with her family.
>> Best films of 2014 by Chris Zois
Top 5 covers of 2014
>> Best of sports 2014 by Michael Bacos
Top 5 Concerts of 2014
Top 5 Reader Picks
1) Lela Loren breaks stereotypes in “Power”
To start off our reader picks, EXTRA interviewed actress Lela Loren when the Starz series “Power” debuted over the summer. Set between the glamorous nightlife and gritty streets of New York City, the series focused on a nightclub entrepreneur living a double life as drug kingpin. Loren stared as Angela Valdes, the kingpin’s long-lost love interest who also might be the key to his demise.
2) Pros and cons of the new immigration reform
Immigration reform finally gained traction when President Barack Obama signed an executive order after the midterm elections. The reform was met with both praise and criticism by people on both sides of the immigration debate, with conservatives saying the president overextended his powers and reformers saying he didn’t do enough to fix America’s “broken immigration system.” However; before the order was signed, readers latched onto a story about a proposed bill that died in the Republican-controlled House that would have created a new temporary worker program among other reforms.
3) Local school council makes waves at Orozco Academy
On Nov. 20, the Local School Council voted 9-0 to fire current Orozco Community Academy Principal Nancy Paulette-Aguirre. One council member was not present during the evening’s meeting while another one resigned because she disagreed with the vote. Paulette-Aguirre (who is also a member of the council), did not vote at all. The Chicago Public School is one of Chicago’s top performing fine arts schools and the story blew up on social media once it went live.
4) Teri Gender Bender of Le Butcherettes
Teresa Suárez, commonly known by her stage name Teri Gender Bender, is an American-born Mexican singer and musician. She’s known primarily as the founding member, lead singer and guitarist of Guadalajara-based rock band Le Butcherettes since 2007. EXTRA interviewed her in June and readers were mesmerized by the intense young woman, whose musical mix of garage, punk, rock and psychedelic, accompanied with sharp lyrics and intense visuals, have set her apart from other performers.
5) A local family dies in a tragic incident in Mexico
The final reader pick is a sad one. On Jan. 3, Jorge Casillas set out to take his family to Valle de Guadalupe, Michoacan, in Mexico for a nine-day religious holiday the city hosts in honor of the Virgin Mary. The family wanted to present Jorge’s grandson, Noah, to the Virgin Mary so she could look out for him. On Jan. 5, at around 11 a.m., the Casillas were in a car accident four hours away from Valle de Guadalupe. Jorge was killed in the crash, but the passenger, his wife Hortencia Casillas, 56, daughter Mayra Casillas, 28, son-in-law Rolando Santoyo and 1-year-old grandson Noah survived the crash. EXTRA talked to the family after the tragedy and readers shared in mourning the loss of the young.