Stories by Paul Caine

Consultant’s Report Questions Economics of Chicago Casino Plan

(stokpic / Pixabay)

After a Las Vegas consultant says proposed sites for a Chicago casino aren’t financially viable, will state lawmakers change their bets?

New Asian Carp Study Reaffirms Need to Protect Great Lakes

Crews search for invasive Asian carp near Chicago on Aug. 2, 2011, following several recent discoveries of their genetic material in Lake Calumet. No Asian carp were found. (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers photo by Jessica Vandrick)

Asian carp will certainly survive and most likely thrive if they are able to make their way into Lake Michigan, according to a study released Monday by the University of Michigan.

USDA Disaster Declaration Promises Relief for Illinois Farmers

Spring flooding in Illinois (Courtesy Illinois Farm Bureau)

A trade war with China. Springtime floods. And now weeks without rain have combined to create a perfect storm battering Illinois farmers. Will a disaster declaration be enough to save them?

UChicago Empower Initiative Adds Diversity to Student Body

(Quinn Dombrowski / Flickr)

A year after announcing it was dropping mandatory SATs as part of its admissions process and increasing financial aid for low-income and rural students, the University of Chicago is seeing an impact on enrollment.

CPS Teacher Shortage Hits Black and Special Needs Students Hardest

Each year, hundreds of Chicago Public Schools are having to make do without teachers and substitutes because of a teacher shortage. But according to new reporting from WBEZ, that shortfall does not impact all schools and students equally.

Descendants of John Dillinger Get Permission to Exhume His Body

This file photo shows Indiana Reformatory booking shots of John Dillinger, stored in the state archives, and shows the notorious gangster as a 21-year-old. (AP Photo / The Indianapolis Star, Charlie Nye, File)

Descendants of the notorious Depression-era bank robber claim they have evidence that the body in his grave in Indiana may not be his. We examine the enduring fascination with the legendary outlaw.

Chicago Lab Creates Cutting-Edge Bionic Prosthetics

Advances in prosthetics mean that in the not-too-distant future it’s possible that people who have lost a limb could receive a fully functional robotic replacement. And a lab in Chicago is leading the way to the future.

Capital One Data Breach Leaves Millions Vulnerable

(rawpixel / Pixabay)

Another day, another data breach. This time, Capital One admits that more than 100 million of its credit card users have had their personal data hacked.

Harvest Time for Onions, Garlic – and Dandelions

Jeanne Nolan shows us how to harvest red onions, garlic, scallions and edible weeds from our organic garden at WTTW.

Electric Scooters in Chicago: Are They Here to Stay?

Chicago’s pilot program to allow electric scooters on city streets is proving popular – at least with scooter users. We check in on the four-month program.

University Presidents Welcome Illinois Budget Boost

A file photo of Chicago State University. (WTTW News)

A two-year budget impasse had many college students fleeing Illinois. Will a boost in funding now help persuade them to stay?

50 Years After Moon Landing, Billionaires Back Grandiose Visions for Space

An artist’s concept of an O’Neill cylinder. (Courtesy Blue Origin)

Could Jeff Bezos’ vision of giant rotating habitats one day support millions of people in space? We speak with two experts about humankind’s future in space. 

Chicago Life Expectancy Gap Driven by Race, Segregation, Says Researcher

Chicago has the largest life expectancy gap of any big city in America. We speak with a researcher who says that while “there’s no easy answer” to the disparity, the city’s high degree of racial segregation clearly plays a role.

New Film ‘Cooked’ Revisits Chicago’s Deadly 1995 Heat Wave

(Pranav Bhatt / Flickr)

A new documentary from Chicago’s Kartemquin Films revisits an extreme weather event that killed more than 700 people – most of them poor and black. We discuss “Cooked: Survival by Zip Code” with producer Fenell Doremus.

Chicago Defender Ends 114-Year Print Run, Goes Online Only

(A screenshot from

It’s the end of an era for the iconic black-owned newspaper that has told the stories of black America since 1905. Is there a future for The Defender – and black media in general – in this time of shrinking newsrooms?

Climate Scientist Swaps NASA for School of the Art Institute

(Credit: Noa Vigny Billick)

Meet Dr. Mika Tosca, a scientist who traded a job at NASA’s renowned Jet Propulsion Lab to teach climate science to art and design students in Chicago.

Self-Focusing Glasses and Other News from the World of Science

(Courtesy Stanford University)

Could futuristic-looking headware ultimately lead to self-focusing glasses? Rabiah Mayas returns with a roundup of the latest science news.

Supreme Court Gives Green Light to Gerrymandering. Now What?

Illinois’ oddly shaped 4th Congressional District. (WTTW News)

As states prepare to draw new election boundaries after the 2020 census, what can be done to ensure those maps give equal weight to all votes? Behind the practice of gerrymandering and the movement to curb it.

Historian Rick Atkinson Tells Gripping Story of America’s Founding

Rick Atkinson appears on “Chicago Tonight.”

Award-winning historian and former journalist Rick Atkinson spent 15 years researching and writing his highly acclaimed World War II Liberation Trilogy books. With “The British Are Coming,” he turns his gaze to the Revolution.

Neil Shubin on Coyotes, Dog Stress and More from the World of Science

(skeeze / Pixabay)

The University of Chicago paleontologist takes us behind some of the most recent science stories making headlines.

Some Gardens Thriving Despite Cold, Near-Record Rainfall

Near-record rainfall has left many farms and gardens underwater, but some area gardens – including our WTTW organic garden – appear to be thriving. Organic gardener Jeanne Nolan explains why.

Pritzker Announces Help for Flood-Hit Farmers, Aims for Emergency Declaration

(Courtesy Illinois Farm Bureau)

Much of Illinois’ farmland is too wet to seed. Assessing the fallout from excessive rain – and what Gov. J.B. Pritzker plans to do about it.

Illinois’ Gaming Expansion Could Be a Losing Bet for Problem Gamblers

(babilkulesi / Pixabay)

As Illinois prepares to expand gambling to every corner of the state – including slot machines at O’Hare and Midway airports – supporters tout the generation of much-needed revenue to help plug a massive budget deficit. But at what cost?

Remembering Tiananmen Square, 30 Years Later

A May 1988 photo of Tiananmen Square in Beijing, China. (Derzsi Elekes Andor / Wikimedia Commons)

Early on the morning of June 4, 1989, tanks rolled into Tiananmen Square to forcefully suppress protests by students and ordinary citizens who had occupied Beijing’s central square for six weeks. We look back at the events.

Burke Indictment Highlights City Hall Power Shift

“First and foremost, I’m not trying to be the organizer of a resistance against the mayor,” Ald. Raymond Lopez said Wednesday following the first City Council meeting presided over by new Mayor Lori Lightfoot. (WTTW News)

Four Chicago aldermen weigh in on the new power dynamics at City Hall as Mayor Lori Lightfoot takes control – and a longtime alderman is indicted.