What CTA Workers Know

Most of the hundreds of thousands of people who ride the L or take a city bus every day don’t pay much attention to transit employees — at least until something goes wrong. When that happens, those workers get an earful, and sometimes worse. They also routinely have to deal with sick passengers, rowdy teen­agers, violent drunks, fare skippers, suicide jumpers, and homeless people desperate for shelter, to say nothing of the demands of keeping trains and buses running on time 24 hours a day...

Dan Bigg Revolutionized Opioid Treatment

Dan Bigg, the longtime harm reduction advocate who challenged the stigma of opioid addiction and saved lives through his efforts to expand the use of the overdose reversal medication, Naloxone, died at his Chicago home on Tuesday. He was 59. The Cook County Medical Examiner said the cause of death is still undetermined. For nearly three decades, Bigg served as the director of the Chicago Recovery Alliance, a primarily mobile support organization that offers education, care, and recovery help f

What Trauma Docs Know

Call it a dubious distinction, but Chicago is one of the best places in America to get field experience as a trauma surgeon. The city’s Level 1 trauma centers — hospitals specially equipped to handle the most severe injuries — treat a staggering volume and variety of patients, including, most notably, victims of so-called penetrating trauma, typically gunshot and knife wounds. In Chicago, such cases constitute nearly 30 percent of all Level 1 trauma admissions, compared with 4 percent nationwide

Friends and Fans of Studs Terkel on Their Favorite Interviews from His New Archive

A recurring observation about Studs Terkel is that he never conducted a boring interview. In the 45 years he spent as a broadcaster with WFMT, Terkel recorded more than 5,600 programs where conducted nearly hour-long, nuanced interviews with everyone from James Baldwin to teenage students at the former Metro High School in Old Town. With help from the Library of Congress, the miles of tape have been gradually undergoing a digitization process in order to preserve them and make them accessible to

BallotReady Is a One-Stop Shop for Candidate Info

The idea:A website that makes it easy to research candidates and issues that will appear on your ballot The aha moment:Alex Niemczewski, a Chicago design consultant, didn’t want to make any bad guesses when voting in the 2014 midterm election. But getting informed proved daunting: “I just remember researching one judicial race,” says Niemczewski, 30, “and when I looked up, four hours had gone by.” Since then:Niemczewski discussed her frustrations with Aviva Rosman, a college friend. Seemingly

Noirefy Links Minority Candidates With Companies Looking to Diversify

The idea:A jobs website that connects employers with candidates of color The aha moment:While browsing the GroupMe messaging app one evening in 2016, Shaniqua Davis, 27, kept noticing missed connections between job seekers and employers looking to hire. “In these large groups, like ‘black professionals in Chicago’ or ‘women’s entrepreneur groups,’ people were saying, ‘Do you know anyone who’s hiring?’ or ‘My company has a job open,’ ” she recalls. The piece that was lacking: someone to bring th

Are Changing Ward Lines a Source of Chicago’s Violence?

The political impact of redrawing voter lines is getting fresh scrutiny thanks to a handful of recent court cases and an upcoming midterm election. A skewed election is the biggest concern that crops up in the wake of redistricting, but University of Chicago sociologist Robert Vargas is looking at another possible outcome: Violence. His results are only preliminary, so it’s too soon to draw firm conclusions, but Vargas says the data thus far shows a correlation between violence and areas with v

With ‘Making Obama,’ WBEZ Charts His Long Path to the White House

“A story like mine could have happened in another city, but my story could have only happened here,” former President Barack Obama says in an excerpt of the new six-part documentary podcast, “Making Obama,” which WBEZ debuts today. The two decades of Obama’s life between his mid-‘80s arrival in Chicago to his star-making keynote address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention are considered by insiders—and Obama himself—to be his most politically and ideologically formative. That period is t

CPS Has a New CEO (Again). Here’s What to Know

It’s a news item that’s becoming all too familiar: Chicago Public Schools is getting a new CEO. The former head of CPS, Forrest Claypool, announced his resignation Friday amid an ethics scandal, and Chief Education Officer Janice Jackson is stepping in as the interim CEO—the eighth schools chief that Chicago has seen in the last 10 years (two of which, excluding Jackson, were interim chiefs). Despite the turnover and the less-than-inspiring reasons for Claypool’s ouster, some in the local educa

You Could Vote for Legal Recreational Marijuana as Soon as March

Legal recreational weed in Illinois has long seemed a pipe dream for marijuana advocates. While public and political opinion over the years has shifted in favor of recreational weed use for adults over 21, Illinois hasn’t been able to muster more than a highly restrictive medical marijuana law. Despite the state’s track record on the issue, Cook County Commissioner John Fritchey thinks the day of recreational weed will come sooner than some might think. “I think it would make sense to do this

What’s Missing from Springfield’s Response to Sexual Harassment?

Illinois lawmakers are scrambling to contain scandal in the capitol more than a week after 200 female legislators, staffers, and lobbyists signed an open letter calling out the pervasive culture of sexual harassment in Springfield. The explosive letter details the myriad ways men have harassed women in the legislative sphere, including lewd comments, inappropriate touching, and unwanted advances made under the guise of business meetings or mentorship. “[Harassment] looks like a committee chair

A Wave of Closures Has Left Some Neighborhoods in a “Pharmacy Desert”

In the openings and closings of local pharmacies, Chicago is yet again a tale of two cities. In well-heeled parts of town, national chains (of the increasingly swanky variety) seem to pop up with the ubiquity of coffee shops. But in less affluent areas, pharmacy closures have reached a level where some neighborhoods are what researchers call “pharmacy deserts.” Dima Qato, a professor in the University of Illinois-Chicago College of Pharmacy, says it’s the same concept as food deserts, except i

Here’s How an Inexperienced Campaign Aide From Illinois Could Impact the Mueller Investigation

After a weekend of anticipation (or dread, depending on your perspective), special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russia’s influence in the U.S. election started Monday with a bang: the indictment of three former Donald Trump campaign officials. The least recognizable name of the trio—which includes former Trump campaign chair, Paul Manafort, and his longtime associate, Rick Gates—is George Papadopoulos, a 30-year-old suburban Chicago native who served as a foreign policy adviser in Trump’

Metra Is Trying Something New to Curb Its Suicide Problem

Early in his career in the 1980s, Paul Piekarski faced the moment every train operator dreads. “I remember it vividly,” says Piekarski, who was working the Union Pacific freight line. “It was a cold January morning. A retired dentist in Broadview. He’s standing alongside the viaduct column, and I think, What’s he doing there? He gets closer, like he’s gonna board the train. And he laid on the tracks.” Piekarski urgently blew his whistle, rang the bell, and hoped the next second would end in a cl

It's Almost Impossible for Inmates to Get a Divorce

CHICAGO—Testifying one recent Wednesday morning that her marriage was irretrievably broken, a young woman told the Cook County court she was waiving her option to collect spousal support or divide any shared assets with her husband; all she wanted was to be free of him. When the woman’s legal representative asked if she’d tried to work out their differences, she paused. “Well, he had an alcohol problem and had been abusive,” she testified. “You can’t really work that out.” Beyond the age of mass
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