Stories by Blair Paddock

(WTTW News)

Week in Review: Top Business Stories of the Year

Inflation, gas prices, retail — we take a look at the top business stories of the year and look into our crystal ball for 2023.

(WTTW News)

Spotlight Politics: Democrats Come Up Big in Illinois; Chicago Mayoral Race Heats Up

Gov. J.B. Pritzker has a big night as Illinois Republicans scramble to rebuild. Our politics team weighs in on that story and more.

(WTTW News)

Illinois Voters to Decide If Workers’ Rights Amendment Will Be Added to State Constitution

The so-called “Workers’ Rights Amendment” aims to codify in the state constitution the right to form a union and collectively bargain over a host of issues. It would effectively prohibit any future anti-union legislation, like right-to-work laws.


Chicago Police Decision Highlights Growing National Concern About Law Enforcement Ties to Extremist Groups

Earlier this fall, the Anti-Defamation League released a report identifying over 370 people it believes currently work in law enforcement nationwide that were included on a leaked far-right Oath Keepers membership list. 

(WTTW News)

Week in Review: Senate Candidates Face Off, New Mayoral Challenger

Chicago Teachers Union candidate Brandon Johnson enters race for mayor. Candidates for statewide offices tussle in debates as election nears. Mayor Lori Lightfoot gets rebuke in City Council. And the suddenly hot Bears head to Dallas.

Spotlight Politics: City Council Members Rebuke Lightfoot Pick

In a rare move, City Council members rejected the mayor's attempt to name an ally as a committee chair. Our politics team weighs in on that story and more.

Thomas DeVore and Kwama Raoul appear in a candidate forum on Oct. 25, 2022. (WTTW News)

Candidate Forum: Incumbent Attorney General Kwame Raoul, Republican Challenger Thomas DeVore

While a large part of the job for Illinois’ attorney general involves consumer protections, the election comes at a time when there are pivotal legal issues are playing out within the state and nationwide.

(WTTW News)

Reuben Jonathan Miller, Who Studies Long-Term Impacts of Incarceration, Awarded MacArthur Fellowship

Reuben Jonathan Miller, a sociologist, criminologist and social worker, whose work studies the long-term impacts of incarceration on individuals and their families, was awarded a MacArthur fellowship. 

(WTTW News)

The Week in Review: Another Indictment for Michael Madigan

Michael Madigan indicted again. Pritzker racks up endorsements as polls show Democrats pulling away in Illinois. The House January 6 Committee wraps up testimony. And bumbling Bears lose third in a row in Thursday night snoozefest.

(WTTW News)

Spotlight Politics: Lightfoot’s Progressive Pitch, Cash Flows into Race for Governor

Mayor Lori Lightfoot uses her 2023 budget to show off progressive policies, despite being at odds with Chicago’s progressive political community. Our politics team weighs in on that story and more.

After Years of Planning, National Public Housing Museum Breaks Ground in Chicago

The museum has been in the making for some 15 years and will be the only cultural institution devoted to telling the story of public housing in the United States, according to museum organizers.

(WTTW News)

In Pandemic Year, Number of HIV Diagnoses in Chicago Reaches Lowest Level Since 1987

HIV diagnoses in Chicago during 2020 were the lowest reported since 1987, according to the Chicago Department of Public Health’s latest HIV/STI data report.

Permanent Punishment Conversation: Companies Find Value in Employing Individuals Re-Entering Workforce After Prison

There are more than 500 employment laws, policies and sanctions that prevent people with criminal records from accessing employment in Illinois. While those barriers exist in many industries, some employers focus specifically on hiring people who are re-entering society after prison.

(WTTW News)

After Supreme Court Ruling, Telemedicine Abortion Exists in Legally Confusing Territory in Some States

After the Dobbs Supreme Court decision, the legality of telemedicine abortion in some states isn’t clear for providers and patients.

(WTTW News)

Permanent Punishment Discussion: Barriers to Reentry

A record can include everything from an arrest— not necessarily even a conviction — to years spent in prison. But even once that criminal case has run its course in the legal system, oftentimes the punishment continues.

(WTTW News)

High Lead Tests Concentrated in Chicago’s Black and Latino Neighborhoods, Report Finds

One in 20 tap water samples taken from thousands of Chicagoans found lead levels at or above federal limits, according to a recent analysis by the Guardian. It also found that nine of the top 10 ZIP codes with the largest percentages of high test results were in neighborhoods with majority Black and Latino residents.

Damage to Douglass Park is pictured after Riot Fest in 2022. (Credit: Anton Adkins)

Douglass Park Neighbors on Damage Left by Riot Fest, Other Festivals

The latest damage comes after the park has been used for three massive Chicago festivals this summer: Summer Smash in June, Heatwave in July and Riot Fest this past weekend. Riot Fest alone brings some 40,000 attendees to the park each day.

This electron microscope image shows mature, oval-shaped monkeypox virions, left, and spherical immature virions, right, from a human skin sample associated with a 2003 prairie dog outbreak. (Cynthia S. Goldsmith, Russell Regnery / CDC)

Monkeypox Disproportionally Affecting People With HIV, Researchers Find

A recent study from the CDC finds that in a sample of nearly 2,000 people who had monkeypox, 38% also had HIV infection and 41% had an STI in the preceding year. Those rates are much higher than the rates of HIV and STIs in the general population.

(WTTW News)

Chicago Board of Elections Shrinks Number of Precincts by Nearly 40%

The change is a nearly 40% decrease that will put twice as many voters in each precinct. The Chicago Board of Elections has created 1,290 precincts with an average of 1,165 voters per precinct. Previously, the city had 2,069 voter precincts with an average of 550 to 750 voters per precinct.

(WTTW News)

Study Details Extreme Heat Belt from Illinois to Texas

Illinois will soon be part of a cluster of states in an extreme heat belt. That’s according to a recent study that finds a quarter of land in the U.S. is at risk of the most extreme levels of heat exposure, that's temperatures exceeding a 125°F heat index.

Workers, community members, and labor organization Arise Chicago rally at the 26th Street headquarters, Sept. 30, 2021. (WTTW News).

Census Says Volunteering Declined in Chicago, But New Report Highlights Community Organizing Work

Census data says volunteering has declined in Chicago, while new research says previously collected data doesn’t include the wide range of community organizing in the city, oftentimes leaving out the work of Black, Latino and working-class people.

(WTTW News)

Midwest Hit Hard by Heavy Rain: ‘It’s Been a Pretty Rough Few Weeks in Illinois’

Some counties in south central Illinois have seen some of their highest July and August rain totals on record. Recently, Effingham recorded between 10 to 11 inches of rain in a single day.

(WTTW News)

Report: Chicago Police Officers Arresting Many More Black Drivers Than Reported

Chicago police officers are arresting thousands more Black drivers after traffic stops than they report, according to a recent analysis of police data from Block Club Chicago and Injustice Watch.


As Monkeypox Spreads, Attention Turns Toward Jails

There are now 533 confirmed monkeypox cases in Illinois. And one of those cases was confirmed last week in Cook County Jail. Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart’s office said the individual is believed to have contracted the virus in the community prior to being ordered into custody.

(WTTW News)

Scammers Target Latino Residents in Wake of Highland Park Mass Shooting

As Highland Park and surrounding communities continue to grieve over the mass shooting on July 4th, some Latino residents are being targeted for scam calls. Residents say that scammers are calling them pretending to be from the Mexican consulate or offering legal assistance.

(WTTW News)

Chicago Releases First City Plan in More Than 50 Years

Chicago is releasing its first citywide plan in more than 50 years. The draft plan, called We Will Chicago, will lay out a 10-year vision for how the city can address systemic inequities by first acknowledging the policies that created them, then creating goals for the city’s future.