Stories by Paris Schutz

Illinois Lawmakers to Demand Billions Back from Health Insurers Due to COVID-19

A WTTW News exclusive

(WTTW News via CNN)

The state pays billions of dollars into the Medicaid program. WTTW News has learned that a group of lawmakers plans to demand billions back from the private health care companies that run that program. Can it work?

Why Residents Across Chicago Are Not Getting Their Mail

(WTTW News)

Mail service has been sporadic at best in many parts of Chicago this holiday season. We visit two areas that have been hit hard to find out what’s going on, and what can be done to fix it.

Final Push for Chicago Census Participation

(WTTW News)

According to census numbers, Chicago is currently performing at a 59% response rate. But the city risks an undercount, especially in predominantly African American and Latino neighborhoods.

What Voters Need to Know About the ‘Fair Tax’ Amendment

A billboard in Chicago promotes voting in favor of the so-called fair tax in the November election. (WTTW News)

In the November election, Illinoisans will be asked whether or not to change the state’s income tax system to a graduated tax — but there’s still a lot of confusion about the proposal.

Thousands of UIC Hospital Workers Walk Off the Job

UIC hospital workers strike on Monday, Sept. 14, 2020. (WTTW News)

They’ve been on the front lines in the fight against COVID-19. Now they’re on the picket lines. Why University of Illinois and UIC health care workers, including about 800 nurses, are on strike.

Postal Service Warns Illinois Some Mail-In Ballots Might Not Be Counted

A mailer sent from the Chicago Board of Elections for the March 2020 primary. (WTTW News)

Under Illinois law, a voter can request a mail-in ballot up to five days before Election Day. But the USPS warns that voters who wait until that deadline are at high risk of being disenfranchised, due to the Postal Service’s delivery capabilities.

COVID-19 Across Chicago: Chinatown

Restaurants and businesses in Chinatown prepare to reopen on Thursday, June 24, 2020, the eve of Chicago’s transition into phase four. (WTTW News)

It was the first neighborhood to feel the economic impact of COVID-19. Months later, on the eve of the city’s move into phase four, the enduring message is that Chinatown is still here, and it is open for business.

COVID-19 Across Chicago: Elgin

A protest outside of Elgin City Hall on Wednesday, June 24, 2020, over the fatal police shooting of Decynthia Clements in 2018. (WTTW News)

The west suburban city is preparing to ramp up its reopening as the state moves into phase four on Friday. At the same time, Elgin is facing unrest of its own over a police-involved shooting in 2018. 

COVID-19 Across Chicago: Oak Park

(WTTW News)

Oak Park was the first town in Illinois to issue a stay-at-home order when a cluster of COVID-19 cases was found in mid-March, just days before the statewide shutdown. Months later, it has started to come to life again.

COVID-19 Across Chicago: Wicker Park

(WTTW News)

Like many other commercial corridors across the city, Milwaukee Avenue suffered extensive damage just as businesses were about to start welcoming shoppers inside once again.

COVID-19 Across Chicago: Woodlawn

(WTTW News)

Low-income communities across the city are bracing for what could be a large number of evictions once a statewide moratorium is lifted. In one of those communities, a fight over housing has been brewing for years as a large tenant prepares to move in. 

COVID-19 Across Chicago: Portage Park

Communities across Chicago have staged demonstrations in support of Black Lives Matter, and not all of those areas have been Black and Brown. We visit a predominantly White community that held a rally last week.

COVID-19 Across Chicago: Bronzeville

(WTTW News)

All across Chicago, communities are rebuilding from the twin crises of COVID-19 and property damage. We speak with residents, business owners and officials in the historic heart of black Chicago culture.

COVID-19 Across Chicago: Evanston

Downtown Evanston (WTTW News)

As part of our ongoing series, we speak with local officials and activists about Evanston’s reopening and recent calls for police reform in the near north suburb.

COVID-19 Across Chicago: Back of the Yards

The Southwest Side neighborhood has been hit hard by COVID-19 and saw some looting last week. As part of our series, we speak with business owners and community leaders about the path forward.

COVID-19 Across Chicago: South Chicago

Retail businesses in South Chicago sustained property damage during recent incidents of looting. (WTTW News)

On the Southeast Side, a community deals with the aftermath of property damage and looting against the backdrop of ongoing concerns over COVID-19 and environmental pollution.

MLK Once Called it Home. How North Lawndale is Coping with Racial Injustice Today

(WTTW News)

Chicago is an important city in the history of segregation and civil rights. How one neighborhood in particular is grappling with events from more than 50 years ago as it reacts to fallout from George Floyd’s death.

Tensions Ease as Community Leaders Work to Change Narrative on Southwest Side

A solidarity march in Little Village on Wednesday, June 3, 2020. (WTTW News)

There was a message of unity Wednesday as solidarity marches replaced fears of racially motivated violence. We visited Pilsen, Little Village and the suburb of Cicero for a view from the ground.

Residents Assess Damage in Aftermath of Looting on South Side, Loop

Pastor Cornelius Parks of the First Bethel Missionary Baptist Church speaks with “Chicago Tonight” on Monday, June 1, 2020. (WTTW News)

Chicago is cleaning up from a weekend of protests, violence and looting. We check in with residents, business owners and officials on the South Side and in the Loop to talk about recovery efforts and more.

COVID-19 Across Chicago: St. Joseph, Michigan

A scene from St. Joseph, Michigan, on Thursday, May 28, 2020. (WTTW News)

Summer in Chicago means escaping to some of the beach towns around Lake Michigan. But how has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted those areas that rely on tourist dollars?

COVID-19 Across Chicago: Chicago Lawn

(WTTW News)

It was the site of a 1966 race riot where Martin Luther King Jr. was attacked. Today, the Marquette Park neighborhood in the Chicago Lawn community is staring down one of the worst COVID-19 outbreaks in the city.

COVID-19 Across Chicago: Edison Park

(WTTW News)

The far northwest side neighborhood is home to city workers, like first responders, teachers and trades workers. We visit Edison Park to see how residents, businesses and others are coping with the pandemic.

COVID-19 Across Chicago: Quad Cities

Davenport, Iowa. (WTTW News)

Iowa has begun to partially reopen restaurants and other businesses, while Illinois remains mostly shut down. As part of our series, we bring you stories from both sides of the Mississippi River.

COVID-19 Across Chicago: Englewood

(WTTW News)

One of the city’s new testing sites is about to open in Englewood. It’s a community that has been hit hard by disinvestment and high rates of crime over the years.

David Brown’s ‘Moon Shot’: Less Than 300 Homicides Per Year

Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown speaks with WTTW News on Wednesday, May 20, 2020.

He’s been on the job for about six weeks, taking over at a time when homicides are up slightly over 2019 and a global pandemic has shuttered businesses and caused unemployment to spike. Still, David Brown is optimistic.

COVID-19 Across Chicago: Logan Square

Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood (WTTW News)

The Northwest Side neighborhood has been transformed by development in recent years, yielding dozens of trendy businesses and new homes. But the influx of wealthier residents has led to significant displacement of longtime residents.