Stories by blair paddock

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

(WTTW News)

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.

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

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

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.

Monkeypox Disproportionally Affecting People With HIV, Researchers Find

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)

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.

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

(WTTW News)

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.

Study Details Extreme Heat Belt from Illinois to Texas

(WTTW News)

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.

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

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

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.

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

(WTTW News)

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.

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

(WTTW News)

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.

Scammers Target Latino Residents in Wake of Highland Park Mass Shooting

(WTTW News)

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.

Chicago Releases First City Plan in More Than 50 Years

(WTTW News)

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.

Wisconsin Doctors Team With Plan Parenthood of Illinois to Provide Abortion Care

(WTTW News)

Teaming up with Planned Parenthood of Illinois, Wisconsin doctors and their patients are traveling to Illinois for abortion care.

One-on-One with Sen. Tammy Duckworth on Guns, Abortion Rights

Sen. Tammy Duckworth appears on “Chicago Tonight” via Zoom. (WTTW News)

U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth, alongside Sen. Dick Durbin, met with residents and members of March Fourth, a gun safety advocacy group, Tuesday to hear more about their experiences as well as discuss policy solutions.

New Academic Journal Plans to Combat Misinformation on Trans People

(Lena Balk / Unsplash)

Researchers say the lives of trans people haven’t been well-represented in existing journals. The Bulletin of Applied Transgender Studies plans to change that. It’s launching as the first academic journal to have an entirely trans editorial board.

How Onslaught of Bills on LGBTQ Rights Affects Young People

(WTTW News)

Over 300 bills affecting LGBTQ rights are being introduced this year in the U.S. according to the Human Rights Campaign. And more than 130 of them specifically target transgender people. Mental health professionals say this is having a significant impact on LGBTQ youth’s access to care and their wellbeing.

Candidate Forum: Three Republican Candidates for Governor

Republican candidates for governor Paul Schimpf, Gary Rabine and Max Solomon join “Chicago Tonight” for a candidate forum ahead of election day, June 21 2022. (WTTW News)

Six candidates are vying for the Republican nomination for governor, to take on incumbent Democrat J.B. Pritzker. The campaign has been marked by a handful of billionaire supporters who have competing interests and are battling not only for the direction of the state, but of the Republican party itself.

Atmospheric Scientist Talks This Week’s Wild Weather

(WTTW News)

The week started off with a tornado in the western suburbs. Then, the Chicagoland area was hit with an excessive heat warning. It ended up being our warmest stretch of days in 10 years.

Candidate Forum: 4 Democrats Running in Redrawn 3rd Congressional District

Illinois’ 3rd Congressional District. (Google Maps / WTTW News)

Early voting is underway in Chicago and primary election day is less than three weeks away. Voters in Illinois’ newly drawn 3rd Congressional District will have four candidates to choose from in the Democratic primary. There is also one Republican candidate running. 

How Gun Violence Affects Chicago’s Youth

(WTTW News)

In 2020, the murder rate with handguns was the highest in 25 years, with over 10,000 gun-related deaths of children and adults younger than 24. Firearm-related murders increased by 35% among children and young adults, from 2019 to 2020. And it has a significant impact on young people’s mental health.

How COVID-19 Vaccines May Advance HIV Treatment

(WTTW News)

Medical advances made while fighting the COVID-19 pandemic may have valuable applications in fighting another epidemic. 

What To Know About Chicago Entering High COVID-19 Risk

(WTTW News)

At the end of last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention elevated the threat level from medium, meaning there's also a high potential for straining the city's health care system.

One-on-One with CTU President-Elect Stacy Davis Gates

CTU President-Elect Stacy Davis Gates joins “Chicago Tonight” via Zoom, May 24, 2022. (WTTW News)

The Chicago Teachers Union has elected a new president: Stacy Davis Gates. Davis-Gates will be moving up from her position as vice president when current president Jesse Sharkey steps down July 1. 

Child Care ‘Unavailable, Unaffordable’: Report

(WTTW News)

A recent report from the Illinois Child Care for All Coalition, which includes the Service Employees International Union Healthcare Illinois, argues that child care in the state is “unavailable, unaffordable and unsustainable.” According to the findings, child care is the largest expense for parents of children ages 4 to 8.

Illinois Lawmakers Weigh in on Future of Abortion Access and More

(WTTW News)

Governor J.B. Pritzker has emphasized that Illinois will remain a safe state for people to access abortions even if federal abortion protections are removed.

Director of Illinois Department of Children and Family Services Faces 9th Contempt Charge

Marc Smith, director of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services appears on “Chicago Tonight” via Zoom. (WTTW News)

House Republicans are calling for an audit of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services. And the agency's own director, Marc Smith, has been held in contempt of court nine times.

Illinois Infrastructure Gets Graded a C-minus

(WTTW News)

A report from the Illinois Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers has graded the state on everything from roads to drinking water. The last time the report was released was 2018.