Stories by Paris Schutz

WWII veterans Myron Petrakis and Marvin Elman meet in a nursing home in Evanston, Ill. (WTTW News)

Pen Pals for More Than 60 Years, WWII Veterans Linked by Deadly Ship Explosion Meet for First Time

Two local WWII veterans associated with a deadly ship explosion off the coast of Japan met in person for the very first time last week in Evanston. Myron Petrakis is just shy of his 102nd birthday; Marvin Elman is 97.

Eileen O’Neill Burke and Clayton Harris. (WTTW News)

Cook County State’s Attorney Candidates Look to Highlight Sharp Differences as Election Day Approaches

Two Democrats are vying to replace outgoing Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx. The attack ads are flying and money is flowing in as the two candidates are attempting to highlight their differences.

Students at Lane Tech High School staged a walkout on Jan. 30, 2024, in support of a cease-fire in Gaza. (Paris Schutz / WTTW News)

US Department of Education Opens Civil Rights Investigation Into Chicago Public Schools, Area Universities Over Gaza Protests

Neither CPS officials nor a spokesperson with the Department of Education would comment on the nature of the investigation, but a CPS source says the probe stems from complaints of antisemitism filed with the DOE’s Office of Civil Rights leading up to a Jan. 30 student walkout.

Troy LaRaviere appears on “Chicago Tonight” on Oct. 1, 2019.

Chicago Principals Association Leader Calls for Accountability After CTU President’s ‘Concerning’ Comments, Union’s ‘Divisive Campaigns’

The president of the union that represents Chicago Public Schools principals and administrators says he’s concerned about recent comments from CTU President Stacy Davis Gates and other “incendiary language.”

Chicago Teachers Union President Stacy Davis Gates appears on “Chicago Tonight” on Aug. 22, 2023. (WTTW News)

CPS Principal Files Police Report Saying Chicago Teachers Union President Made ‘Very Concerning’ Comments

According to a copy of the Jan. 26 police report obtained by WTTW News, William Hozian, principal of Stevenson Elementary School reported that Stacy Davis-Gates spoke to attendees at a union meeting and said, “In talking to my Stevenson brothers and sisters, I told them they should punch their principal in the face.” 

Students at Lane Tech High School staged a walkout on Jan. 30, 2024, in support of a cease-fire in Gaza. (Paris Schutz / WTTW News)

CPS Students Hold Walkouts in Support of Gaza Cease-Fire

Students from Ogden International High School and Walter Payton College Preparatory High School marched to City Hall, carrying signs and chanting slogans such as “Viva Vida Palestina” and “our tax dollars are being used to commit war crimes.”

The migrant shelter at 2241 S. Halsted St. is pictured in a January 2024 photo. (WTTW News)

City Releases Unredacted October Emails Detailing Unsanitary Migrant Shelter Conditions, Says Chicago Officials Were ‘Aware of Issues’

Mayor Brandon Johnson’s office responded to a Tuesday WTTW News report that members of his administration were made aware of concerns about unsanitary conditions at a migrant shelter in Pilsen weeks before a 5-year-old-boy fell ill at the shelter and later died at a hospital.

A photo submitted to WTTW News shows a sewer cover next to beds at a migrant facility in Pilsen. (Submitted photo)

Emails Show Johnson, City Officials Notified About Sewage, Roaches and Illnesses at Pilsen Migrant Shelter Almost 2 Months Before Boy’s Death Highlighted Problems

Emails from late October exclusively obtained by WTTW News shine new light on the timeline of when Mayor Brandon Johnson and his administration were made aware of conditions at a migrant shelter in Pilsen and what exactly those conditions were. 

Ambassador Rahm Emanuel and officials from IBM and Japanese universities announce a new quantum education and research program. (Credit: U.S. Embassy in Japan)

University of Chicago, IBM Strike Quantum Computing Education and Research Partnership

The announcement of the “tri-lateral” agreement took place at the residence of the U.S. Ambassador to Japan and former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

A rendering of a planned new Ryan Field in Evanston. (Credit: Northwestern University)

Evanston Residents Sue Over Northwestern’s Ryan Field Deal

The group filed a lawsuit to invalidate the Evanston City Council’s recent vote to change the city’s zoning law to allow the renovated stadium to host as many as six concerts per year.

A post on the social media site X from U.S. Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel. (USAmbJapan / X)

Japanese Ambassador Rahm Emanuel Takes Aim at China: ‘Their Economic Power Has Been Shrinking’

Former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has taken his brash, sometimes controversial style to his current role as U.S. ambassador to Japan. His recent critical remarks about Chinese President Xi Jinping have made waves across the Pacific and here in the United States.

Author Tommy Orange is pictured on Nov. 15, 2023. (WTTW News)

Tommy Orange, Author of Latest One Book, One Chicago Selection, on Contemporary Native American Stories

Tommy Orange’s novel, “There There,” has been chosen as the latest selection for the Chicago Public Library’s One Book, One Chicago program. The book, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, tells the story of Native American life, not as it existed centuries ago, but as it does now.

A rendering of a planned new Ryan Field in Evanston. (Credit: Northwestern University)

Evanston Delays Vote on Ryan Field Renovation, Additional Concerts Amid Push for More Community Benefits

The move to table the measure until next Monday allows more time to negotiate and consider a community benefits agreement with the university. 

Each morning, a group of volunteers and migrants sheltering at Luther Memorial Church in Lincoln Square prepare meals and hot coffee to go. (WTTW News)

Lincoln Square Church Shelters Migrant Families: ‘We Had the Space, We Saw the Need’

There are still more than 3,000 migrants living in or around Chicago’s police stations and airports. As the city struggles with how to find temporary shelter for everyone, Mayor Brandon Johnson has called on places of worship to assist.

Anti-Defamation League Condemns Chicago City Council Member’s Use of Controversial Phrase She Says is Call for Palestinian Liberation

Ald. Rossana Rodriguez Sanchez (33rd Ward) posted a tweet Thursday morning to X, formerly known as Twitter, that read: “From the River to the Sea, Palestine will be Free.”

(WTTW News)

North, Northwest Suburban Cook County Homeowners See Largest Property Tax Increase in 30 Years: Study

The median homeowners in Cook County’s north and northwest suburbs saw their property tax bills rise 15.7% this year, according to a new study just released from Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas’ office.

(WTTW News)

Chicago Program That Encourages Drug Treatment Over Arrest Shows Signs of Success, Research Says

The Narcotics Arrest Diversion Program, an initiative launched in 2018, offers those arrested for low-level drug offenses who meet certain criteria a chance to have their charges dropped if they agree to meet with a drug counselor.

Bret Baier appears on “Chicago Tonight.” (WTTW News)

Ahead of Chicago Appearance, Fox News’ Bret Baier Talks Donald Trump and New Book on George Washington

Brett Baier co-authored the new book “To Rescue the Constitution: George Washington and the Fragile American Experiment.” Baier will discuss the book this weekend as part of the Chicago Humanities Festival.

Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago pictured in October 2023. (WTTW News)

An Ornate Lobby to Shredded Cash, Take a Look Inside the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago

This weekend, visitors can learn all about the Federal Reserve and get a rare glimpse at an historic and heavily fortified building more than 100 years old.

(WTTW News)

Debate Continues Over Plan to Raise Real Estate Taxes on High-Priced Homes to Fight Homelessness in Chicago

Mayor Brandon Johnson recently announced a new proposal dubbed “Bring Chicago Home,” which would raise about $100 million dollars to fight homelessness by raising taxes on all sales above $1 million, and then an additional hike on sales of more than $1.5 million dollars.

A car with a destroyed key start is pictured in August 2023. (WTTW News)

Motor Vehicle Thefts in Chicago Have Jumped by 139% in 3 Years, While Only 4% Are Solved

Adding to the problem, the Chicago Police Department has linked several recent robbery sprees to stolen vehicles. That comes as carmakers Kia and Hyundai face scrutiny for failing to provide adequate security systems for their cars.

(WTTW News)

Cook County Sees Opioid Overdose Record in 2022 With Fentanyl Contributing to 90% of Deaths

There were 103 overdose deaths attributable to fentanyl in Cook County in 2015. That number shot up to a record 1,825 in 2022, according to statistics from the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office. That accounts for more than 90% of all opioid-related deaths in the county.

(WTTW News)

‘Underground Climate Change’ Causing Loop to Sink: Study

July is shaping up to be the warmest month on Earth in recorded history. But that heat isn’t just impacting the atmosphere — it’s having an impact on the ground beneath our feet.

Nekenya Hardy and Les Jenkins work as violence interrupters in the Austin neighborhood. (WTTW News)

Chicago Street Outreach Workers Use Own Experiences to Reach Others in Their Neighborhoods

Violence prevention workers say the job begins by reaching out to young people who might one day become victims or perpetrators of gun violence and giving them guidance.

Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering on June 30, 2023. (WTTW News)

Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering Reflects on Parade Shooting

Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering was marching in last year’s Fourth of July parade when gun shots began to ring out. In the year since, she has seen the town come together in its time of need.

(WTTW News)

How a Group of Highland Park Volunteers Played a Vital Role in Responding to July 4 Parade Shooting

Highland Park’s community emergency response team, or CERT, made up of residents from all walks of life — doctors, businesspeople, scientists — had a vital role to play in response to the mass shooting.