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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U.S.
4:24 am
Thu July 23, 2015

After Cold, Icy Winters, Lake Michigan Is Rising Rapidly

Originally published on Thu July 23, 2015 7:40 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Water levels in the Great Lakes are rising from record lows. Lakes Huron and Michigan are 3 feet higher than a year ago. Here's NPR's David Schaper.

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Around the Nation
3:32 pm
Thu July 2, 2015

Busy Travel Weekend Raises Concerns About Transportation Infrastructure

Originally published on Thu July 2, 2015 4:35 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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U.S.
1:30 am
Fri June 19, 2015

Battle Over New Oil Train Standards Pits Safety Against Cost

Oil trains sit idle on the BNSF Railway's tracks in Chicago's Pilsen neighborhood.
David Schaper NPR

Originally published on Fri June 19, 2015 1:30 pm

The federal government's new rules aimed at preventing explosive oil train derailments are sparking a backlash from all sides.

The railroads, oil producers and shippers say some of the new safety requirements are unproven and too costly, yet some safety advocates and environmental groups say the regulations aren't strict enough and still leave too many people at risk.

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The Two-Way
4:01 pm
Thu June 11, 2015

Parties Say They Trust Hastert Judge's Impartiality

Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert this week pleaded not guilty to breaking banking laws and lying about the money to the FBI. The federal judge in the case will preside over it after the parties declined his offer to recuse himself.
Christian K. Lee AP

The federal judge overseeing the criminal case of former House Speaker Dennis Hastert will continue to preside over it, even though he made campaign contributions to Hastert, as neither the prosecution nor the defense see it as a conflict of interest.

During Hastert's arraignment Tuesday, Chicago U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Durkin acknowledged that in 2002 and 2004, he contributed $500 and $1,000 to Hastert's campaign through his law firm, but he said he had never met the speaker.

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U.S.
1:48 am
Wed June 3, 2015

Most Commuter Rails Won't Meet Deadline For Mandated Safety Systems

Despite Congress mandating all railroads be equipped with a Positive Train Control system by the end of the year, Chicago's Metra system isn't expected to reach that goal until 2019. Most commuter trains won't meet the deadline.
M. Spencer Green AP

Originally published on Wed June 3, 2015 5:59 am

Many investigators say Positive Train Control (PTC), an automated safety system, could have prevented last month's Amtrak train derailment. Amtrak officials have said they will have PTC installed throughout the northeast corridor by the end of this year, which is the deadline mandated by Congress.

But the vast majority of other commuter railroad systems, which provided nearly 500 million rides in 2014, won't be able to fully implement positive train control for several more years.

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Law
4:59 pm
Thu May 28, 2015

Former House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert Indicted By Federal Grand Jury

Originally published on Thu May 28, 2015 7:01 pm

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U.S.
6:46 am
Sat May 16, 2015

Red Tape Slows Control System That Could Have Saved Speeding Train

Officials attend the launch of a Positive Train Control system for Los Angeles' Metrolink commuter trains in February 2014 at Los Angeles Union Station. Congress mandated the technology after a Metrolink engineer ran a red light while he was texting and crashed head-on with a freight train in 2008.
Damian Dovarganes AP

Originally published on Sat May 16, 2015 5:35 pm

National Transportation Safety Board investigators say Positive Train Control — a system of satellites, communication towers and complex software that makes sure trains' safely follow their routes — would have prevented Tuesday's Amtrak train derailment in Philadelphia, which killed eight passengers.

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Around the Nation
2:53 pm
Wed May 13, 2015

NTSB Continues Investigation Into Derailed Amtrak Train

Originally published on Wed May 13, 2015 4:56 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

The Two-Way
4:04 am
Wed May 6, 2015

Chicago Creates Reparations Fund For Victims Of Police Torture

Stanley Wrice pauses in December 2013 as he speaks to the media with his lawyer, Heidi Linn Lambros (left), and his daughter, Gail Lewis, while leaving Pontiac Correctional Center in Pontiac, Ill. Wrice was released after serving more than 30 years. He claimed for decades that Chicago police detectives under the command of then-Lt. Jon Burge beat and coerced him into confessing to rape.
M. Spencer Green AP

Originally published on Wed May 6, 2015 11:43 am

Updated at 1:30 p.m. ET.

The city of Chicago has become the first in the nation to create a reparations fund for victims of police torture, after the City Council unanimously approved the $5.5 million package.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel says the abuse and torture of scores of mostly black, male suspects in the 1970s, '80s and early '90s by former police Cmdr. Jon Burge and his detectives is a "stain that cannot be removed from our city's history."

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The Two-Way
5:54 pm
Thu April 23, 2015

SkyWest Now Says Several Passengers Were Ill On Diverted Flight

SkyWest Airlines says three passengers lost consciousness on a plane, operating as United Express, that made an emergency landing in Buffalo on Wednesday.
Gary Wiepert AP

Officials at SkyWest Airlines and federal authorities say they still don't know what caused three passengers to lose consciousness on a flight that then made an emergency landing in Buffalo Wednesday. Earlier, the airline said one passenger was affected.

The SkyWest plane, operating as United Express flight #5622, was flying from Chicago's O'Hare airport to Hartford, Connecticut with 75 passengers on board.

Some passengers say part way into the flight, they started having trouble breathing, and felt dizzy and nauseous.

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The Two-Way
8:41 pm
Tue April 7, 2015

Chicago Mayor Emanuel Keeps His Job In Tough Runoff Election

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel shakes hands at a campaign office Tuesday, as voters gave him a second term. He won a runoff election against Cook County Commissioner Jesus "Chuy" Garcia.
M. Spencer Green AP

Originally published on Wed April 8, 2015 4:24 am

Pushed to the brink in an unprecedented runoff election, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel used a huge campaign war chest and a softened image to survive the threat and win a second term in office.

Emanuel defeated Cook County Commissioner Jesus "Chuy" Garcia, who had championed the city's poor and disadvantaged in hopes of becoming Chicago's first Latino mayor, in a race that mirrored divisions between the "Wall Street" and the liberal/progressive wings within the Democratic Party nationally.

In official totals, Emanuel won nearly 56 percent of the vote to Garcia's 44 percent.

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Europe
5:39 am
Sat March 28, 2015

Safety Experts Question Mental Screenings For Pilots

Originally published on Sat March 28, 2015 8:56 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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The Two-Way
8:42 pm
Wed March 25, 2015

Midwest Town Braces For More Steel Layoffs

U.S. Steel's Granite City Works in 2011.
David Schaper NPR

Originally published on Wed March 25, 2015 11:40 pm

U.S. Steel will be shutting down a steel mill in southern Illinois, laying off more than 2000 workers. The company says in a statement that it will consolidate its North American flat-rolled operations and temporarily close its Granite City Works plant, which is across the Mississippi River from St. Louis.

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It's All Politics
4:49 pm
Wed March 18, 2015

Chicago Mayor's Race Reveals Deep Divide In Democratic Party

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel failed to capture a majority of the vote last month, forcing him into a runoff. It's highlighting a divide among Democrats playing out nationally.
Charles Rex Arbogast AP

Originally published on Wed March 18, 2015 5:39 pm

One of the nation's savviest politicians is in an unexpected fight.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, President Obama's former White House chief of staff, is in an unprecedented runoff election next month.

The challenger, Cook County Commissioner Jesus "Chuy" Garcia, contends that Emanuel favors the rich and powerful over working-class Chicagoans. But Emanuel is firing back, attacking Garcia for having no plan to deal with the city's deep financial problems.

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All Tech Considered
4:08 pm
Thu March 12, 2015

Silicon Prairie: Tech Startups Find A Welcoming Home In The Midwest

Lincoln, Neb., is home to several startups, which use the city's low cost of living and high quality of life to attract workers.
Nicolas Henderson Flickr

Originally published on Fri March 13, 2015 5:50 am

Some startup entrepreneurs are leaving the high tech hot spots of San Francisco, New York and the Silicon Valley for greener pastures in a place that actually has greener pastures: Lincoln, Neb.

In fact, one of the secrets to the economic success of Lincoln, a city with one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country, is a surprisingly strong tech startup community that is part of what some in the region are calling the Silicon Prairie.

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Business
4:00 am
Thu March 12, 2015

Improving U.S. Economy Boosts Spring Air Travel

Originally published on Thu March 12, 2015 5:37 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Get ready for longer airport lines. Airlines are forecasting a big increase in air travel this spring. Profits are up as well. But as NPR's David Schaper reports, do not expect airfares to drop anytime soon.

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The Two-Way
9:42 pm
Wed March 4, 2015

House Approves Amtrak Funding, Rewrites Rules To Allow Furry Riders

Amtrak conductor Michael Laubauskas talks on a radio Feb. 19 as his train departs Trenton, N.J., for Washington, D.C. The U.S. House passed an Amtrak funding bill Wednesday that splits Amtrak's high-ridership Northeast Corridor line that runs from Boston to Washington from the less profitable part of the system.
Mel Evans AP

Originally published on Fri March 6, 2015 12:12 pm

Instead of fighting like cats and dogs, Congress appears to be coming together for a change, and maybe it's because of our feline and canine friends.

In a rare bipartisan vote, the House Wednesday approved an Amtrak funding bill that will keep the trains running for another four years, and allow some pets to ride along on the intercity passenger rail service.

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U.S.
1:58 am
Mon March 2, 2015

A Nearly Recession-Proof City Is Not Slowing Down

Lincoln has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in revitalizing its downtown, a historic area called Haymarket, to create a more culturally vibrant urban center that is helping the city keep and attract young adults.
David Schaper NPR

Originally published on Mon March 2, 2015 6:15 am

At 2.5 percent, Lincoln, Neb., has one of the lowest jobless figures in the country. But that's nothing new — the city has ranked at or near the top of the nation, with one of the lowest unemployment rates for years, even during the Great Recession.

But on a recent visit, it's clear that Lincoln is not resting on its laurels. It's working hard at keeping and drawing talent to this city of nearly 300,000.

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Around the Nation
3:20 am
Wed February 18, 2015

W.Va. Train Derailment Raises Safety Questions About Newer Tankers

Originally published on Wed February 18, 2015 5:24 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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The Two-Way
1:16 am
Thu February 5, 2015

U.N. Agency Sets New Standards For Tracking Aircraft In Flight

Originally published on Thu February 5, 2015 6:11 am

The United Nations' aviation organization is endorsing a new standard meant to keep air traffic authorities and airlines from losing track of a jetliner, such as Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.

That plane disappeared into the Indian Ocean almost a year ago with 239 people on board.

Under the new policy, commercial airliners would be required to transmit their location every 15 minutes and every minute if in distress.

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Around the Nation
2:10 pm
Tue January 27, 2015

Winter Storm Snarls Air Traffic Throughout Northeast

Originally published on Tue January 27, 2015 7:20 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

The Two-Way
8:47 pm
Thu January 22, 2015

To Keep Planes From Disappearing, NTSB Urges Constant Tracking

One of many relatives who waited in vain for news of loved ones aboard missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. The NTSB hopes to get faster answers by requiring better technology, especially on planes that fly over large bodies of water.
Andy Wong AP

Originally published on Thu January 22, 2015 10:48 pm

In a response to recent incidents in which large commercial airliners have vanished into oceans, the National Transportation Safety Board is calling for new regulations requiring all passenger planes that fly over large bodies of water to be equipped with more sophisticated flight tracking technologies.

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Economy
3:02 am
Wed January 21, 2015

Illinois' Financial Condition Is Dire, Gov. Rauner Warns

Originally published on Wed January 21, 2015 6:40 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And it's budget time in many states. Most are now projecting strong growth, even surpluses - not, however, the state of Illinois. There, a gaping budget hole appears to be even bigger than previously thought, as NPR's David Schaper reports.

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Politics
3:01 am
Mon January 19, 2015

Private Sector Included In Plan To Finance Infrastructure Repairs

Originally published on Mon January 19, 2015 5:37 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Around the Nation
2:16 pm
Tue January 13, 2015

NTSB: D.C. Metro Incident Highlights Need To Improve Transit Safety

Originally published on Tue January 13, 2015 4:45 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Economy
4:11 am
Thu January 8, 2015

FAA Clarifies Fuel Tax Rule, Municipalities To Lose Needed Funds

Originally published on Thu January 8, 2015 5:44 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Around the Nation
2:29 pm
Thu December 25, 2014

Chicago Officials Spar With South Dakota Over Airport Ads

Originally published on Mon December 29, 2014 10:13 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Around the Nation
1:20 am
Wed December 24, 2014

The Year In Air Travel: Packed Planes And More Perks — For A Price

Originally published on Wed December 24, 2014 8:37 am

It's been a good year for commercial airlines.

With the economy recovering, more people are getting on planes and flying for both business and pleasure. And the cost of fuel, one of the airlines' biggest expenses, is dropping.

But as anyone traveling for the holidays can tell you, airfares remain high. And many frequent fliers at Chicago O'Hare International Airport say they wouldn't give the airlines perfect grades this year.

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Latin America
7:36 am
Sun December 21, 2014

Ready To Hit The Cuban Beach? Americans Still Have To Wait

A couple walks on the beach in the resort area of Varadero, Cuba. Varadero is home to upscale hotels and resorts that cater to foreign tourists, but there aren't yet enough to handle a potential influx of Americans.
David Gilkey NPR

Originally published on Mon December 22, 2014 10:12 am

With President Obama beginning the process of normalizing relations with Cuba this week, many may envision soon soaking up the sun on a warm Cuban beach, sipping a refreshing rum drink.

In reality, that's not likely to happen for quite a while. But just the increased opportunity for travel between the two countries has those with longtime ties to Cuba already thinking about the possibilities it will bring.

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Business
2:32 pm
Mon December 8, 2014

GOP Leaders: Gas Tax Hike Could Fuel Fixes To Bad Roads And Bridges

Thomas Harden of Chicago pumps gas into his truck. He says he wouldn't support a gas tax increase.
David Schaper NPR

Originally published on Tue December 9, 2014 11:57 am

Gasoline prices are at their lowest level in four years. The price at the pump in many states is almost a full dollar cheaper than it was last spring.

So some politicians think this is a good time to raise gasoline taxes. Several states are tired of waiting for Congress to fix the federal highway trust fund, so they're considering raising gas taxes themselves to address their crumbling roads.

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