Stories by Paul Caine

Pandemic Takes Toll on Children’s Emotional and Mental Health, Survey Finds

(WTTW News)

The mental and emotional health of Chicago children has been hit hard by the pandemic, according to researchers at Lurie Children’s Hospital, who surveyed more than 1,500 parents across the city—including all 77 community areas—about the impact of the pandemic on their child’s behavior.

Federal Funds Seen as Key to Reviving Public Transit

The coronavirus pandemic and mitigation measures to control it have led to a huge drop in ridership on public transit. As more and more people get vaccinated and the economy reopens, are riders going to come back? (WTTW News)

The coronavirus pandemic and mitigation measures to control it have led to a huge drop in ridership on public transit. As more and more people get vaccinated and the economy reopens, are riders going to come back?

New Burns and Novick Documentary Explores the Life of Ernest Hemingway

A still image of Ernest Hemingway from the new Ken Burns and Lynn Novick PBS documentary “Hemingway.” (Courtesy of PBS)

The life of the Oak Park native is the subject of Ken Burns and Lynn Novick’s newest PBS documentary. The six-hour, three-part series explores the writer’s complex life behind the carefully cultivated public image as well as his influence on generations of writers who followed him.

Northwestern Study Says 1994-2004 Federal Assault Weapons Ban Worked

Mass shootings in Atlanta and Boulder, Colorado, have once again brought questions of gun control to the fore. One possibility with Democrats in power in Washington is a revival of a federal assault weapons ban. (WTTW News)

The last assault weapons ban expired in 2004, but a new study finds that had that ban remained in place, as many as 30 mass shootings could have been prevented. We speak with the study's lead author, Lori Ann Post, and Richard Pearson, executive director of the Illinois State Rifle Association. 

Puerto Ricans May Soon Get Say on Island’s Long-Term Territorial Status

Marilia Gutierrez and Edilberto Cheverez join WBEZ's Michael Puente to discuss Puerto Rico’s future status. (WTTW News)

The Puerto Rico Self-Determination Act calls for the creation of a “status convention” of delegates elected by Puerto Rican voters to determine the island’s long-term territorial status, whether that be statehood, independence, or perhaps a variation on the current arrangement.

Chicago Has More Lead Service Pipes Than Any Other US City, Illinois the Most of Any State

(U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Alexxis Pons Abascal)

Illinois may have as much as a quarter of all lead service pipes in the country, according to U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth, who is leading the push for a bipartisan infrastructure bill to rebuild the nation’s water systems. We discuss what else is being done to address the issue.

Chicago Business Owners Optimistic with Full Reopening in Sight

Many Chicago businesses have not survived the pandemic and many more are only just hanging on. News that a full reopening is on the horizon is offering hope for struggling businesses. (WTTW News)

With the announcement Thursday that the state could soon begin easing restrictions as more people get vaccinated, there’s hope for struggling businesses. Business owners from across the city tell us how they’re staying afloat and share their hopes for a better year ahead.

The Environmental Impact of Bitcoin ‘Mining’

University of Chicago paleontologist Neil Shubin appears on “Chicago Tonight” via Zoom on Wednesday, March 17, 2021. (WTTW News)

The soaring price of Bitcoin has many environmentalists concerned. University of Chicago paleontologist Neil Shubin has more on that and other science stories making headlines around the world.

After a Year of Remote Life, New Anxiety Emerges: Returning to Work

(WTTW News)

One year ago, the World Health Organization declared the spread of the COVID-19 virus a global pandemic. With that announcement the whole world changed. Now, as the pace of the vaccine rollout quickens, a new fear is emerging for many people who have been able to work from home.

COVID-19 Relief: What the Massive Package Could Mean for Illinois

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, March 10, 2021. (WTTW News via CNN)

President Joe Biden’s signature $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package is expected to bring roughly $13 billion in aid to Illinois. We ask four state senators about the American Rescue Plan.

Dr. Seuss’ Literary Estate Embroiled in ‘Cancel Culture’ Controversy

Six Dr. Seuss books will no longer be published. (WTTW News collage)

The work of the beloved children’s author is at the center of a controversy over racist and stereotypical depictions. Dr. Seuss Enterprises, which manages the author’s legacy, announced that six books would no longer be published because they “portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong.”

Local Doctors Say Equitable Access, Not Hesitancy the Main Issue in Vaccine Distribution

(WTTW News)

Vaccine hesitancy may have been an issue when vaccines were first being developed and rolled out, but now the main issues are equitable access and supply, according to a pair of local doctors.

Dr. Lester Fisher Turns 100, Reflects on 30 Years as Lincoln Park Zoo Director

Dr. Lester Fisher (Courtesy of Lincoln Park Zoo)

Dr. Lester Fisher has led a remarkable life, from taking care of Gen. George Patton’s bulldog Willie during his service in World War II to a more than four-decade association with Lincoln Park Zoo, where he started out as a part-time veterinarian. 

Chicago Mail Delays Creating ‘Unbearable’ Burden for Residents

(WTTW News)

Residents of Chicago have been experiencing mail delays for months. Some of those delays are simply irritating, but others can be far more consequential. What’s going on at the U.S. Postal Service?

Special 3-Month Enrollment Period for ACA Runs Through May 15

(WTTW News)

An executive order from President Joe Biden has created a special new enrollment period for people to get health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. What you need to know.

Deputy IG: Senior Police Leadership Failed Front-Line Officers and Public During May Unrest

The author of a scathing report from the city’s Office of Inspector General says the senior leadership of the Chicago Police Department failed both their front-line officers and the public during the unrest that followed the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer.

Journalists Fearful as Hedge Fund Strikes Deal to Buy Tribune Publishing

The Chicago Tribune announced changes to its print edition to clarify the difference between news and opinion on Tuesday, July 28, 2020. (Rebecca Palmore / WTTW News)

Alden Global Capital seeks to buy Tribune Publishing in a $630 million deal, but the deal has newsroom journalists worried because of Alden’s history of deep cuts at other newsrooms. 

NASA’s Perseverance Hunting for Ancient Life on Mars

This Sept. 21, 2020 image shows the remains of an ancient delta in Mars’ Jezero Crater, which NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover will explore for signs of fossilized microbial life. The image was taken by the high resolution stereo camera aboard the ESA (European Space Agency) Mars Express orbiter. (ESA/DLR/FU-Berlin)

NASA prepares to land a rover on Mars designed specifically to detect signs of ancient life. Local astronomer and space exploration enthusiast Mark Hammergren tells us more about the mission.

Durbin Says McConnell Had ‘Casablanca’ Moment With Complaints Over Partisanship

Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin appears on “Chicago Tonight” via Zoom on Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2021. (WTTW News)

Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin on efforts to get President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 relief plan passed as Republicans decry a “partisan” approach from Democrats.

State and Local Governments Battle Entrenched Poverty Made Worse by the Pandemic

 A still image taken from “Firsthand: Living in Poverty.” (WTTW)

Long before the coronavirus pandemic, communities of color across Illinois and in Chicago were experiencing an epidemic of poverty. We discuss the root causes of poverty and what public officials are doing to address it.

Argonne National Lab’s Key Role in Global Pandemic Fight

(Courtesy of Argonne National Laboratory)

Researchers at Argonne National Laboratory, just outside Chicago, helped fast-track the development of coronavirus vaccines. Dr. Stephen Streiffer, director of the Advanced Photon Source at Argonne, tells us more.

Chicago Doctor on Being the 1st to Receive the COVID-19 Vaccine

Dr. Marina Del Rios receives the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by city officials on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020 at The Loretto Hospital. (WTTW News)

Dr. Marina Del Rios was the first person in Chicago to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 after receiving her second dose of the Pfizer vaccine Tuesday. “I felt reassured that this was safe and efficacious,” she said.

What a Second Round of Stimulus Checks Could Mean for the Economy

(WTTW News)

More stimulus checks will be coming to most Americans after Congress passed a $900 billion coronavirus relief package late Monday. But critics, including President Donald Trump, say it’s not enough.

Bears Need to Win to Keep Playoff Hopes Alive

Former Bears offensive lineman James “Big Cat” Williams previews the Bears matchup Sunday against the Vikings.

State Regulators Vote to Keep Mercy Hospital Open, For Now

(WTTW News)

South Side residents have reason to hope that Mercy Hospital could yet be saved from closure. We speak with three people who are fighting to keep the city’s oldest hospital open.

Bears Desperate for Win Against 4-8 Texans

Former Bears offensive lineman James “Big Cat” Williams previews the Bears matchup Sunday against the Texans.