David Schaper

David Schaper is a NPR National Desk reporter based in Chicago.

In this role, he covers news in Chicago and around the Midwest. Additionally he reports on a broad range of important social, cultural, political, and business issues in the region.

The range of Schaper's reporting has included profiles of service members killed in Iraq, and members of a reserve unit returning home to Wisconsin. He produced reports on the important political issues in key Midwest battleground states, education issues related to "No Child Left Behind," the bankruptcy of United Airlines as well as other aviation and transportation issues, and the devastation left by tornadoes, storms, blizzards, and floods in the Midwest.

Prior to joining NPR, Schaper spent nine years working as an award-winning reporter and editor for Chicago Public Radio's WBEZ-FM. For three years he covered education issues, reporting in-depth on the problems, financial and otherwise, plaguing Chicago's public schools.

In 1996, Schaper was named assistant news editor, managing the station's daily news coverage and editing a staff of six. He continued general assignment reporting, covering breaking news, politics, transportation, housing, sports, and business.

When he left WBEZ, Schaper was the station's political reporter, editor, and a frequent fill-in news anchor and program host. Additionally, he served as a frequent guest panelist on public television's Chicago Tonight and Chicago Week in Review.

Since beginning his career at Wisconsin Public Radio's WLSU-FM, Schaper worked in Chicago as a writer and editor for WBBM-AM and as a reporter and anchor for WXRT-FM. He worked at commercial stations WMAY-AM in Springfield, IL; and WIZM-AM and FM in La Crosse, WI; and at public stations WSSU-FM (now WUIS) and WDCB-FM in in Illinois.

Schaper earned a Bachelor of Science at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and an Master of Arts from the University of Illinois-Springfield.

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Around the Nation
11:15 am
Tue April 15, 2014

The Long Wait On Safety Rules For The 'Soda Can' Of Rail Cars

Safety advocates have been pressuring Canadian and U.S. officials to create new safety standards for tank cars and to make old DOT-111s like this one more puncture-resistant.
Nati Harnik AP

Originally published on Tue April 15, 2014 12:29 pm

Freight trains roll through the Chicago suburb of Barrington, Ill., every day, many pulling older tank cars known as DOT-111s. They're known as the "soda can" of rail cars, says village President Karen Darch, because their shells are so thin.

Many of the DOT-111s are full of heavy Canadian tar sands crude oil. Some carry ethanol. And more and more of them are loaded with light Bakken crude oil from North Dakota.

Read more
Sports
12:39 am
Fri April 4, 2014

Chicago Celebrates A Century Of Baseball At Wrigley Field

The view inside Wrigley Field during a 1959 Cubs game. The stadium was built in 1914 and celebrates its centennial this year.
AP

Originally published on Fri April 4, 2014 3:22 am

When the first pitch is thrown between the Chicago Cubs and the Philadelphia Phillies on Friday, it will mark the start of the 100th professional baseball season at iconic Wrigley Field.

The ball park on Chicago's North Side, known as the Friendly Confines, opened as the home of the Chicago Federals 100 years ago this month.

The Cubs moved there two years later, and in all that time the Cubs have never won a World Series. There hasn't even been a World Series game played at Wrigley since the end of World War II.

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Sports
12:51 pm
Wed March 26, 2014

NLRB Sides With College Football Players Hoping To Unionize

Originally published on Wed March 26, 2014 3:24 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel.

A ruling by the National Labor Relations Board today could really shake up big-money college sports. The board took the first step in favor of allowing Northwestern University's football players to unionize. A regional director for the board ruled that these college athletes meet the definition of university employees under federal law.

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News
11:13 am
Thu March 20, 2014

Off Australia, Searchers Find Possible Clues To Airliner Mystery

Originally published on Fri March 21, 2014 1:20 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Robert Siegel.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish.

As morning breaks over the Indian Ocean, crews are searching for objects in the water that could be debris from a missing Malaysian Airlines jet. Australian satellites spotted two objects: one that appears to be almost 80 feet long, the other about 15 feet long. They were located way out at sea in an area of the ocean about 1,500 miles southwest of Perth, Australia.

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Business
11:31 pm
Wed March 19, 2014

FAA Review Finds Dreamliner 'Fundamentally Sound'

Originally published on Thu March 20, 2014 1:37 am

A review by the Federal Aviation Administration and Boeing has concluded that the troubled 787 known as the Dreamliner is safe.

Around the Nation
1:35 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

A Terrible Winter Wreaks Havoc On Roads, Pipes And City Budgets

Potholes on Chicago's Lake Shore Drive, one of which is about half-a-car-length long and at least a foot deep. The city of Chicago says it has filled an estimated 240,000 potholes this winter, 100,000 more than last winter, at a cost of more than $2.8 million.
David Schaper NPR

Originally published on Thu March 13, 2014 1:43 pm

Bitter cold has returned to parts of the Midwest, mid-Atlantic and Northeast, following another heavy snowstorm that left 1 to 2 feet of snow from Ohio to New England.

And when all this snow finally melts, it'll expose the physical toll of this brutal winter: potholes, broken water mains, collapsed catch basins and other infrastructure problems.

"This winter's crazy, crazy busy," says John Polishak, a foreman for the Chicago Department of Water Management. "Everybody's been working 16 hours a day, seven days a week. It's exhausting."

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Business
10:22 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

Amtrak Fights Big Oil For Use Of The Rails

Amtrak trains on the Empire Builder route, which stops in Williston, N.D., have been facing long delays.
Shannon Stapleton Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 7:03 am

Oil business in North Dakota is creating some big headaches for Amtrak travelers. Trains on the popular Empire Builder route between Chicago and the Pacific Northwest are often delayed for hours.

One reason for the congestion is an influx of trains hauling crude oil across the Northern Plains.

The delays are becoming so bad that a passenger group now wants the U.S. transportation secretary to intervene.

Frozen Before Ice Fishing

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Around the Nation
1:41 pm
Fri January 24, 2014

String Of Oil Train Crashes Prompts Push For Safety Rules

A fireball goes up at the site of an oil train derailment in Casselton, N.D., in December.
Bruce Crummy AP

Originally published on Fri January 24, 2014 2:29 pm

The National Transportation Safety Board is calling for the swift enactment of tough new standards on trains carrying crude oil. And in an unprecedented move, the NTSB made its recommendations jointly with the Transportation Safety Board of Canada.

With the huge increase in oil shipped by train across North America, the agencies warn another major disaster could be looming.

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Law
12:28 pm
Tue January 21, 2014

Documents Reveal Decades Of Child Abuse Among Some Chicago Priests

Originally published on Tue January 21, 2014 2:55 pm

Papers documenting allegation of sexual abuse by priests in the Chicago Archdiocese were released to the public today by victims' attorneys. The documents cover only 30 of at least 65 priests for whom the Chicago church says it has substantiated claims of child abuse. The papers, put online, were made available through settlements between Church and victims' lawyers. Church officials said most of the abuse occurred before 1988, none after 1996, and that all were ultimately reported to authorities.

Environment
2:12 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

The Upside Of The Bitter Cold: It Kills Bugs That Kill Trees

Tom Tiddens, supervisor of plant health care at the Chicago Botanic Garden, displays bark with beetle larvae.
David Schaper NPR

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 2:19 pm

While many of us may prefer to never again see temperatures drop below zero like they did earlier this week across the country, the deep freeze is putting warm smiles on the faces of many entomologists.

That's because it may have been cold enough in some areas to freeze and kill some damaging invasive species of insects, including the tree-killing emerald ash borer.

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Around the Nation
11:21 am
Fri December 27, 2013

Oil Company Looks To Great Lakes As Shipping Demand Booms

A company proposes shipping crude oil by barge across Lake Superior to keep up with the booming supply from North Dakota and Canada.
Jack Rendulich AP

Originally published on Fri December 27, 2013 2:15 pm

North Dakota and western Canada are producing crude oil faster than it can be shipped to refineries.

Rail car manufacturers can't make new tank cars fast enough, and new pipeline proposals face long delays over environmental concerns. So energy companies are looking for new ways to get the heavy crude to market.

One proposed solution is to ship the oil by barge over the Great Lakes — but it's a controversial one.

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Around the Nation
12:33 pm
Sat December 7, 2013

N.Y. Train Crash Spotlights Push For Automatic Safety System

A police officer stands guard at the scene of a Metro-North passenger train derailment in the Bronx borough of New York on Dec. 1.
John Minchillo AP

Originally published on Mon December 9, 2013 6:36 am

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U.S. Commutes: The Way We Get To Work
9:46 pm
Thu November 28, 2013

Epic Commutes Face Those Caught In Public Transit Puzzle

It takes Chicago resident Sarah Hairston two hours to go 15 miles to get to her part-time job.
David Schaper NPR

Originally published on Fri November 29, 2013 6:42 am

It's a sign of the times: More people are commuting for more than an hour to get to work, and many of the longest commutes are at least partially on public transportation.

Take Sarah Hairston's commute from her apartment on Chicago's South Side to her part-time job at a shelter for homeless teens on the north side of town.

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Around the Nation
11:44 pm
Tue November 19, 2013

Early Warnings Saved Lives In Weekend Storms

Originally published on Wed November 20, 2013 2:34 am

The death toll from Sunday's tornado outbreak across the Midwest stands at eight. Many of those who witnessed the devastation say they're shocked that number isn't higher. Early warnings delivered by text message may have helped limit the casualties.

Architecture
10:03 pm
Thu November 7, 2013

Size Does Matter, At Least In The Tallest Building Debate

The view from the Willis Tower, formerly known as Sears Tower, in Chicago.
FleishmanHillard

Originally published on Fri November 8, 2013 9:20 am

There's a question that's looming over the new skyscraper at the World Trade Center site in New York: Should it count as the tallest building in the country?

The developers say yes. But by some measures, the Willis Tower in Chicago — formerly known as Sears Tower — can still lay claim to the title.

Now, an obscure organization known as the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat is preparing to settle the debate.

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U.S. Commutes: The Way We Get To Work
9:55 pm
Mon October 28, 2013

Reverse Commutes Now Often A Daily Slog, Too

Reverse commuters, include Kathy LeVeque (in the foreground), wait for an approaching outbound Metra commuter train at the Mayfair neighborhood stop on Chicago's northwest side.
David Schaper NPR

Originally published on Wed October 30, 2013 2:49 am

It is still as dark as night as Jim Rix steps out of his red brick Chicago bungalow and gets into his car, parked on the street. It's 6 a.m., and the 53-year-old engineer is getting an early start on his 35-mile commute out to Argonne National Laboratory in Chicago's southwest suburbs.

"Depending upon weather and time of day, it can take 45 minutes to two hours to get to and from work," Rix says.

Read more
All Tech Considered
12:47 pm
Mon September 30, 2013

FAA May Stop Making You Power Off Those Electronics

An expert FAA advisory committee has recommended that airline passengers be allowed to use most personal electronic devices below 10,000 feet.
Leonardo Patrizi iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon September 30, 2013 5:09 pm

It's news many airline passengers have waited to hear: The Federal Aviation Administration may allow smartphones, tablets and other personal electronic devices to be used throughout an entire flight — including takeoff and landing.

Frequent flier Barbara Reilly, a health care consultant from Atlanta, is like many airline passengers: She boards her flights with a laptop, an iPad and a cellphone, and "I used them all ... continuously, until the very moment I had to turn them off. And the second I could turn them back on, they were all back on," she says.

Read more
Business
10:29 pm
Sun September 29, 2013

Chicago's Privatized Parking Meters Sour Airport Lease Deal

Originally published on Mon September 30, 2013 2:47 am

Close to 19 million passengers come through Chicago's Midway Airport each year, and many will spend a lot of cash here — on food, drinks, books, gum, parking and rental cars — not to mention the landing fees and gate fees paid by airlines.

There are a lot of opportunities to make money in a bustling hub airport like this, and the city was hoping to cash in.

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Around the Nation
12:20 pm
Fri September 6, 2013

Tensions Over Syria Run High In Two Chicago-Area Districts

Originally published on Tue September 10, 2013 12:20 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Defending national security is one of the core arguments President Obama is using in his bid to strike Syria. Congress is expected to vote on military action next week. NPR's David Schaper takes us now to two Chicago area districts where passions on Syria are running high.

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Around the Nation
11:49 am
Thu June 20, 2013

Rogue Jumpers Parachute From Top Of Chicago's Trump Tower

Originally published on Fri June 21, 2013 6:19 am

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Finally, a big jump and a mystery in Chicago. Police are searching for three men who jumped off the top of the 92-story Trump Tower late last night with parachutes. They managed to land and escape before police arrived.

NPR's David Schaper has been gathering reaction in Chicago.

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Business
11:34 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

Founder Of Men's Wearhouse Fired By Company's Board

Originally published on Thu June 20, 2013 2:07 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And let's report on some changes in the American clothing world. George Zimmer, of Men's Wearhouse, might still like the way he looks, but we can guarantee he doesn't like this. The famous face - and gravelly voice - and founder of the company, is out. The company gave no reason for the abrupt firing. But Zimmer is speaking out, as NPR's David Schaper reports.

DAVID SCHAPER, BYLINE: His graying beard is instantly familiar. And he speaks with that signature deep, gravelly voice when delivering this famous tagline:

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Sports
12:20 pm
Wed June 12, 2013

Hockey's Hottest Teams Hit The Ice In Stanley Cup Finals

An oversized Chicago Blackhawks hockey helmet sits on one of the lion sculptures outside the entrance to the Art Institute of Chicago in celebration of the team's upcoming appearance in the Stanley Cup Final in Chicago. The Blackhawks host the Boston Bruins in Game 1 on Wednesday.
Scott Eisen AP

Originally published on Wed June 12, 2013 2:03 pm

The National Hockey League's Stanley Cup championship gets underway in Chicago Wednesday night, with the Chicago Blackhawks and the Boston Bruins facing off in the first game of the best-of-seven series. It's a classic matchup between two of the NHL's original six teams.

Both teams are recent champs, which is helping passionate hockey fans and players put the bitter labor dispute that almost iced the season behind them.

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Business
12:34 am
Fri June 7, 2013

Ill. Assembly Called Back To Work On Pension Fund Shortfall

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with pension problems for Illinois.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

MONTAGNE: The credit rating for the state of Illinois has taken another step closer to junk bond status. Illinois already had the lowest credit rating in the nation before it was downgraded again this week by Moody's and Fitch. The state legislature adjourned last week without addressing a $100 billion pension shortfall.

So as NPR's David Schaper reports, the governor is calling lawmakers back.

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U.S.
12:47 pm
Thu May 30, 2013

Will Ill. Legalize Gay Marriage Before Legislature Adjourns?

Activists rally in support of gay marriage on March 25 in Chicago. The Illinois Senate has approved legislation that will legalize same-sex marriage, but it has stalled in the state House.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Originally published on Thu May 30, 2013 2:04 pm

The clock is ticking for those who hope Illinois will become the 13th state to legalize same-sex marriage.

The Illinois General Assembly is scheduled to adjourn its spring session Friday night, and the marriage equality bill still has not been called for a vote in the state House, where supporters are struggling to round up the 60 votes necessary to pass it.

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The Two-Way
1:05 pm
Thu May 23, 2013

After The Storm: Students Gather For One More School Day

Students and teachers from Eastlake Elementary and Plaza Towers Elementary schools gathered Thursday to say goodbye for the summer. This was a chance to reconnect after the devastating tornado brought an abrupt end to the school year at Plaza Towers in Moore, Okla.
Katie Hayes Luke for NPR

Originally published on Fri May 24, 2013 1:08 am

Under cloudy skies and through intermittent showers, 4-year-old Kamrin Ramirez holds in her little hands two cards, one addressed to Ms. Patterson, the other for Ms. Johnson, her two preschool teachers at Plaza Towers Elementary School in Moore, Okla.

"I write thank you so much," she says.

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The Two-Way
10:34 am
Fri April 12, 2013

Goat's Head Sent To Cubs Owner Not From The 'Rahm-Father'

Storm clouds pass over Wrigley Field on July 1, 2011, in Chicago.
Jonathan Daniel Getty Images

Originally published on Fri April 12, 2013 1:54 pm

While many in Chicago immediately thought of the famous "Billy Goat curse," when a severed goat's head was delivered to Chicago Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts at Wrigley Field this week, I immediately wondered if it was a message from the "Rahm-father," Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

After all, Ricketts is in the midst of intense negotiations with Emanuel's administration over renovating the iconic 99-year old ballpark, as I reported last week.

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Around the Nation
11:45 pm
Tue March 5, 2013

Chicago Commuters Brace For Delays During Bridge Repair

Construction on Chicago's Wells Street Bridge is taking place around the clock, as crews replace the south leaf section. The north leaf section will be replaced in the spring. The double-decked steel truss drawbridge was built in 1922.
David Schaper NPR

Originally published on Wed March 6, 2013 6:18 am

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Around the Nation
11:18 am
Fri February 15, 2013

Checking In On Chicago Schools' 'Safe Passage' Program

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Robert Siegel. President Obama was in Chicago today, promoting what he calls ladders of opportunity to the middle class. It's the latest stop of his post-State of the Union tour, fleshing out the proposals from Tuesday night's speech. At a high school near his southside Chicago home, the president said reducing urban gun violence is essential to economic development.

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U.S.
12:26 am
Sat January 5, 2013

Illinois Claws At Mountain Of Unfunded Pension Liability

Illinois union members and supporters rally at the state Capitol on Thursday against legislation that would try to control the state's pension-fund shortfall by, in part, reducing pension benefits.
Seth Perlman AP

Originally published on Sat January 5, 2013 8:45 am

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Shootings In Newtown, Conn.
1:01 pm
Sat December 22, 2012

Near-Replica Of Sandy Hook Made Nearby For Students

A school bus drives past a welcome sign near the Chalk Hill Middle School in Monroe, Conn. Students from Sandy Hook Elementary in neighboring Newtown will attend the school in January.
Lucas Jackson Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Sat December 22, 2012 2:54 pm

The surviving students of Sandy Hook Elementary will not be returning to their school in Newtown, Conn., where 20 first-graders and six educators were shot to death on Dec. 14.

Instead, when classes resume after the holidays, they'll attend a school in the neighboring town of Monroe. Parents, teachers and administrators in both towns are working to make the new school as similar as possible to the one Sandy Hook students left behind.

Read more

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