Ariel Parrella-Aureli

Ariel is a reporter with Block Club Chicago covering the far Northwest Side. She previously was a freelance journalist who wrote for the Chicago Reader, WTTW News, Streetsblog Chicago, Eater Chicago has been published in Insider, Chicago Tribune, Latino USA, Univision Chicago, Curbed, Newcity and more. Originally from New Mexico and a first-generation Italian-American, her reporting focuses on communities, social justice, arts and culture, immigration, equity, food and more. She attended Columbia College and graduated with a bachelor's degree in multimedia journalism. Outside of journalism, she loves to bike, cook, read and say hello to other people's dogs.


Northwest Side Rescue Raises Funds For Ollie The Dog's Recovery After He Was Beaten By Ex-Owner

ORIOLE PARK — A Far Northwest Side rescue is helping an older dog recover — and is raising money to pay for his medical care — after he was beaten by his ex-caregiver. Ollie, who is 15, is unable to walk on his own after the attack because his injuries are so severe, according to The Garrido Stray Rescue Foundation, a volunteer-run nonprofit started by police Lt. John Garrido. He’ll need special care to recover.

After Fire Temporarily Closes Jefferson Park's Brigadoon, Bartenders Raising Money To Support Staff: 'It's Been Tough ... Anything Helps'

JEFFERSON PARK — The staff at neighborhood pub Brigadoon is asking for the community’s help after an accidental fire damaged the Northwest Side pub, forcing it to shut down for repairs. Brigadoon, 5748 W. Lawrence Ave., closed last week after an exterminator placed a rat smoke bomb outside of the building and it rolled toward an exterior wall and caught on fire, said longtime bartender Ursula Kot, who witnessed the accident and called 911. “It was out of this world, like out of a movie,” Kot s

Show Off Your Dog's Style And Tricks At This Virtual Talent Show To Benefit Local Rescue Shelters

CHICAGO — You can show off your pet’s jaw-dropping tricks and exceptional fashion sense during a virtual talent show that will support local dog businesses and shelters. The Dog Days of Summer Talent Show on May 18 brings together Chicago dog parents eager to show off their pup’s style and tricks or photos of them exploring the city, all while raising money for local shelters and dog businesses that have struggled during the pandemic.

Jefferson Park Polish Catholic Church Appeals Archdiocese's Decision To Combine Northwest Side Parishes

JEFFERSON PARK — A Polish Catholic church in Jefferson Park is protesting an effort to merge with a nearby church. St. Constance Parish and School, 5843 W. Strong St. is slated to join with St. Robert Bellarmine Parish and School at 4646 N. Austin Ave., in July. The move is part of a broader effort to consolidate parishes throughout the Archdiocese of Chicago. The combined parish will have a new name, which has yet to be determined. Both buildings will stay open to host Mass for the unified gr

Some City Workers Have Hesitated To Get Vaccinated — But They Should Be Setting 'The Example' For Chicagoans, Lightfoot Says

CHICAGO — Officials are trying to push city workers to get vaccinated against coronavirus — even as some are hesitating. The city, state and country have seen a slowdown in vaccine demand in recent weeks, though the majority of people have not been fully vaccinated. Hesitancy has been seen among city workers, too — though Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Monday they should be leading the pack in getting the shots. “We’re not where we need to be when it comes to vaccines, so we’ve got more work to do," Lightfoot said.

Cooking For Mom On Mother's Day? This Jefferson Park Chef Can Help

JEFFERSON PARK — You can make your mom a delicious meal while supporting two Northwest Side businesses this Mother’s Day. Fearless Cooking, 4410 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Jefferson Park, is offering two Mother’s Day packages that include a menu, shopping list, pre-recorded instructional video for a brunch or dinner meal, a chocolate treat from the store’s expanded sweets section and a flower arrangement from Dahlia Blooms in Portage Park. “What mothers don’t want to do is cook on Mother’s Day,” said owner of Fearless Cooking.

Anthony Alvarez's Family Marches To Demand Justice For Portage Park Father Shot By Police: 'They Killed A Part Of Our Family'

PORTAGE PARK — More than 100 people marched alongside Anthony Alvarez’s family in Portage Park Saturday, memorializing the young father and demanding criminal charges for the Chicago police officer who shot and killed him March 31. The rally and march was organized by Alvarez’ relatives, Centro Autónomo de Albany Park, ANSWER Chicago and other social justice groups in the wake of police footage of the shooting being released to the public.

This Jefferson Park Paleteria Almost Called It Quits Due To The Pandemic And A Robbery — But It's Back Thanks To Neighborhood Support

JEFFERSON PARK — El Sabor la Michoacanita saw a difficult year of business due to the pandemic and an armed robbery that temporarily closed the Jefferson Park ice cream shop — but it’s finally seeing increased foot traffic thanks to community support and nice weather. The Mexican paleteria, or ice cream shop, at 4442 N. Milwaukee Ave. is a favorite for families and people who want a fresh fruit or ice cream snack. It opened in 2019 and is owned by Ana Romero and her husband, Jorge Gonzales, who

A Wild Turkey Is Roaming The Far Northwest Side And Neighbors Are Loving It

SAUGANASH — Why did the turkey cross the road? To get to the other side. That’s according to Sauganash resident Tracy Seglin, who saw a wild turkey crossing the street at Peterson and Kostner avenues Saturday evening while driving in the neighborhood with her husband. “It made it to the median with no cars [hitting] it,” said Seglin, whose husband was turning left onto Peterson. “The turkey waited for us to go. It seemed to understand traffic.”

Neighbors Worry Latest Six Corners Development Plan Could Bring The Suburbs To Portage Park And Hurt Local Businesses

PORTAGE PARK — A proposed commercial shopping development at the former Peoples Gas site near Six Corners has neighbors worried it could bring a suburban feel to the community and hurt local businesses that have already struggled during the pandemic. The proposed “Shops at Six Corners” at 3955 N. Kilpatrick Ave. would house an Amazon Fresh grocery store, a Burlington clothing store, a Panera Bread restaurant with a drive-through facility and up to 36 residential apartments, according to updated renderings.

Former Congressman Luis Gutierrez Demands Kim Foxx Take Immediate Action To Fix Botched Handling Of Adam Toledo Case

DOWNTOWN — Former Rep. Luis Gutierrez wants Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx to apologize to the Latino community after video of Adam Toledo’s shooting contradicted statements a prosecutor made in court. At a Sunday news conference Downtown, Gutierrez criticized Foxx, saying her office perpetuated a false narrative when Assistant State’s Attorney James Murphy said Toledo was shot during an “armed confrontation” and had a gun when police officer Eric Stillman shot him.

Local Puerto Rican Veterans Form Their Own American Legion Post To Provide Greater Representation Of Latino Community

HUMBOLDT PARK — Growing up in Humboldt Park, Marcos Torres never saw Puerto Rican veterans represented in annual neighborhood pride parades or learned about his culture’s contributions to the United States military. “How sad is it that we almost act like they are not part of the Latino community?” said Torres, whose uncle served in the Army, received a Purple Heart and was a victim of Agent Orange during the Vietnam War. “We do a poor job of representing our veterans.”

Thousands Gather in Chicago to Honor Adam Toledo, Advocate for Change and Healing

CHICAGO — Through tears, hugs, prayers and chants, 13-year-old Adam Toledo was honored this past weekend in Chicago, where thousands from all over the city poured into the streets and to his memorials to remember the teenager who was shot and killed by a police officer in March. Toledo was shot in the early hours of March 29 near his home in Little Village on the city’s Southwest Side, a predominantly Latino neighborhood also called La Villita. According to police, officers responded to alerts

This Northwest Side Bus Stop Is Among The Worst In The Country. Congrats?

FOREST GLEN — Wedged between a highway onramp with no crosswalk, no sidewalk and a busy arterial road intersection, a Northwest Side bus stop is getting a bad reputation nationwide. The northbound bus stop at the intersection of Cicero, Winnemac and Elston Avenues for route 54A, which goes along Cicero Avenue north to Skokie Boulevard, has been named one of the worst bus stops in the country by national transportation news site Streetsblog USA.

The future of CBD is female

"The reality is women actually run the world," Ida Nelson told me over the phone last week, which got me laughing and clapping at the same time. Women know this statement as fact, but we still have to prove ourselves and our worth within mostly white, male-dominated industries. Nelson is using the hustle from the pandemic to change that and showcase her strength in entrepreneurship within the cannabis industry, which has grown tremendously in Illinois since the state legalized recreational marijuana.

Kyōten Chef Opening Sushi Restaurant Hinoshi Sushiko Thursday In Bucktown

BUCKTOWN — The chef behind a critically acclaimed Logan Square sushi spot is opening a dual-concept sushi restaurant in the Elston Avenue corridor in Bucktown Thursday. Chef Otto Phan, known for sushi spot Kyōten, is opening Hinoki Sushiko at 1465 W. Willow St. on Thursday at half capacity, per the city’s coronavirus guidelines. The restaurant is opening as the area is undergoing massive redevelopment, with new projects breathing life into the area’s old industrial spots.

Toddler Shot On Lake Shore Drive Is In Coma, On Ventilator As Doctors Fight To Save His Life

CHICAGO — The 21-month-old boy shot in his head Tuesday while in a car on Lake Shore Drive remains in critical condition. The boy, identified as Kayden Swann, has been placed on a ventilators and is in an induced coma to protect his brain, officials said during a Wednesday news conference outside Lurie Children’s Hospital, where the toddler is being treated. The boy is being treated in the hospital’s Pediatric ICU, where he’s getting “full critical care support,” officials said.

Meet the founders of Masa Madre, a bakery blending Mexican and Jewish flavors

On a bright Chicago spring morning, longtime friends and business partners Tamar Fasja Unikel and Elena Vasquez Felgueres ventured out from their Southside home to the northwest side of the city to view a rental space. It’s the first one of many that they planned to visit, as the two are in search of a permanent home for their Mexican-Jewish bakery Masa Madre, which has grown quickly in the city and suburbs since launching in February 2019.
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