Stories by Paris Schutz

(WTTW News)

Nearly Half Million Suburban Cook County Homes at Risk for Toxic Lead Paint

Toxic lead-based paint was banned in 1978, but the threat of poisoning persists. In suburban Cook County, officials say as many as half a million homes have lead paint hazards that present enormous health threats for young children.

(Chicago Police Department / Twitter)

Chicago Police Officer Aréanah Preston Laid to Rest: ‘A Bright Light Taken Away From the City’

Officer Aréanah Preston died after she was shot during an attempted robbery May 6. She was memorialized as being the best of what the Chicago Police Department had to offer: a passionate public servant whose bright future was abruptly taken from her.

(WTTW News)

Ousted Chicago City Council Finance Committee Chair Says He’s ‘Disappointed’

Ald. Scott Waguespack (32nd Ward) is speaking out about Mayor-elect Brandon Johnson's plan to remove Waguespack as chair of the Chicago City Council Finance Committee.

Newton Minow. (WTTW)

In His Own Words, the Life and Work of Newton Minow: ‘Ideas Last Longer Than People’

Newton Minow may have done more to improve the quality of television in the United States than any other person. “I saw using this medium certainly for entertainment, but also for education in the large sense, for stimulation, for ... I would hope, inspiration,” he said.

(WTTW News)

From Leopold and Loeb to Gacy: Cicero Facility Houses Millions of Criminal Records

Criminal history in Cook County is long and sordid — from Al Capone to Leopold and Loeb to John Wayne Gacy. The historical figures may be long gone, but the physical documents and evidence pertaining to their cases are still around.

WTTW News Explains: How Would Ranked Choice Voting Work in Chicago?

What if there were a different way? What if you could rank your choices in order of your preference? Well, there is a system like that and it’s already being used in some jurisdictions. It’s called ranked choice voting. It has its backers as well as detractors.

File photo. (Michael Izquierdo / WTTW News)

Chicago Public Schools Teacher Charged With Stalking Mayor Lori Lightfoot

A 36-year-old Chicago Public Schools teacher is charged with two felony counts of stalking after a confrontation with officers outside of Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s home earlier this week.

(WTTW News)

CTU Members Take Legal Action Against Union for Political Spending

A group of teachers has filed legal action against the CTU, alleging union leaders are wrongly spending dues money on political organizations supporting Brandon Johnson for mayor. They said it’s not about politics, but about their contention that their own union has deceived them.

(WTTW News)

Lead Paint Is Still a Problem in Chicago Apartments, but Expanded Screening Is a Costly Proposition

Recently, a young child was poisoned in his Belmont-Cragin apartment and now faces a host of health problems. It’s spurred a debate on whether the city can do more to fix the problem before another child is affected. 

Jedi Rucizka, 2, of Chicago, was hospitalized for lead poisoning. (WTTW News)

Posing a Danger for Children, Majority of Chicago Homes Contain Hazardous Levels of Lead Paint, Health Officials Say

Paint containing lead has been outlawed in Chicago since 1978, but a WTTW News investigation has found the vast majority of Chicago’s housing stock still contains potentially toxic levels of the substance.

(WTTW News)

State Scraps Plans to Move Migrants to Shuttered Kmart on Chicago’s Southwest Side

A shuttered Kmart will no longer serve as temporary housing for 658 asylum seekers currently living in Illinois. A source close to the situation said some of the migrants have found places to live independently while others will continue to stay at hotels, mostly in the south and southwest suburbs.

(WTTW News)

Chicago Teachers Union Under Fire From Within for Campaign Spending

The Chicago Teachers Union is under fire from within, and the union has been forced to make changes to its election filings or risk violating state law. The union has been front and center with its support of one of its own, Brandon Johnson, as a candidate for Chicago mayor. The big bucks and election actions are now causing some CTU members to speak out.

(WTTW News)

New Legislation Aims to Curb Controversial Cook County Tax Sale

If homeowners are delinquent more than a year on making property tax payments, they’re at risk of owing large interest payments to private investors who buy up that debt. “It’s the poorest people paying the richest people,” Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas said.

(WTTW News)

State Planning to Move 658 Migrants to Vacant Kmart on Chicago’s Southwest Side

Sources told WTTW News the migrants — mostly asylum seekers — will be relocated from the suburbs, where they are currently staying at hotels. The 100,000-square-foot Kmart has sat vacant at the corner of 71st Street and Pulaski Road since 2016.

Supporters of Joe Dunne march with the Peirce Elementary School contingent during the Jan. 28, 2023, Lunar New Year parade in Uptown. (Credit: Uptown United)

Aldermanic Candidate Apologizes After Supporters Campaign With CPS School Marchers at Parade

Supporters wearing campaign gear of an aldermanic candidate in the 48th Ward marched with an official contingent from Peirce Elementary School in a weekend parade. 

WTTW News Explains: How Does Chicago’s Grid Street System Work?

How exactly are streets organized in Chicago? WTTW News gives you a guided tour of the grid system that organizes the city’s streets and addresses. 

Architect Carol Ross Barney speaks with “Chicago Tonight.” (WTTW News)

Chicago Architect Behind Riverwalk, CTA Stations and Eye-Catching McDonalds Designs Awarded Prestigious Medal

Chicagoans not familiar with the name Carol Ross Barney almost certainly have experienced some of her work. From the Chicago Riverwalk to CTA stations, her designs are part of everyday life in the city. 

(WTTW News)

Property Tax Investors Exploit Loophole, Add Financial Burdens to Struggling Cook County Homeowners

Delinquent properties are eligible for the Cook County Tax Sale, which is administered by the Cook County treasurer’s office. That’s where a private investor buys the debt and can make a big profit off of it.

Spring Lake Forest Preserve, Cook County. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

Cook County Voters to Weigh Forest Preserves Tax Increase in Upcoming Election

It's rare when newspaper editorial boards and fiscal watchdog groups recommend that residents vote to increase their property taxes. But that's exactly the case as Cook County voters face a binding question on their election ballot: Do you want to pay a little more to help fund the Cook County Forest Preserves?

Pastor Brian Phillips, Darren Bailey and Cindy Bailey at the Grove Fellowship in Poplar Grove on Aug. 21, 2022. (Credit: The Grove Fellowship / Facebook)

Darren Bailey, Republican Candidate for Governor, Campaigns with Pastors Who Were on US Capitol Grounds During Insurrection

Darren Bailey, Republican candidate for Illinois governor, has campaigned with two pastors who were on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol during the riots on Jan. 6. Bailey appeared on stage with one of them during a service last Sunday.

(WTTW News)

A Giant Marina to Attract Boaters Was Approved at Navy Pier. Why Hasn’t It Been Built?

In 2016, Navy Pier officials asked City Council to approve an update to the pier’s planned development, authorizing, among other things, the construction of a transient marina on its north side, where boats could dock for the day. The project is now the subject of a lawsuit. 

Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin, a candidate for governor in the Republican primary, holds a news conference on May 9, 2022. (WTTW News)

GOP Gubernatorial Candidate Richard Irvin Called Donald Trump ‘Idiot,’ ‘Bigoted Racist,’ Text Messages Show

GOP gubernatorial candidate and Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin has carefully attempted to veer away from any conversation about controversial former President Donald Trump. But text messages written by Irvin in 2018 appear to show he has very strong feelings about Trump, and they are not positive.

ShawnTe Raines-Welch is running for a judge seat on the Cook County subcircuit court. (Campaign Photo)

Illinois House Speaker Gets Fellow Lawmakers to Donate More Than $200K to Wife’s Judicial Campaign

Much of judicial candidate ShawnTe Raines-Welch’s campaign cash comes thanks to the largesse of Democratic elected officials who work under the political leadership of her husband, Illinois House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch.

The former site of Copley Hospital in Aurora will include senior living residences, as depicted in this rendering, along with a medical facility and school administrative building. (Courtesy of Fox Valley Developers)

Richard Irvin’s Ex-Wife Hired by Development Firm Receiving Millions in Aurora City Incentives

Web of Politically-Connected Companies Involved in $128M Hospital Redevelopment

The ex-wife of Aurora Mayor and GOP gubernatorial candidate Richard Irvin works with a development team that stands to receive up to $15 million in Aurora city incentives, with the potential for millions more to redevelop the former Copley Hospital site.

Developers involved with Pacifica Square in Aurora, which opened in 2021, donated $25,000 to campaigns connected to Mayor Richard Irvin. (Paris Schutz / WTTW News)

Developers That Donated to Gubernatorial Candidate Richard Irvin’s Mayoral Campaign Received Tens of Millions in Aurora Incentives

A WTTW News review of public records has also found that Aurora taxpayers are on the hook for tens of millions in tax incentives to two other development companies that have donated thousands to Richard Irvin and political funds connected to him.

Scientel Solutions, pictured in March 2022, relocated to Aurora after plans for its tower were approved in 2018. (WTTW News)

Aurora Company that Donated Big to Richard Irvin’s Mayoral Campaign Received Millions in City Contracts

A review of state campaign filings and Aurora public records shows that a company that donated more than $135,000 to political funds connected to Richard Irvin also received millions in city contracts. That same company was also the beneficiary of legislation pushed by Irvin that could prove lucrative.