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Millions of Homeowners Who Need Flood Insurance Don’t Know It — Thanks to FEMA

It is FEMA’s job to warn homeowners about major flood risks, but its approach is notoriously limited. In Cook County alone, researchers found about six times as many properties in danger as FEMA estimated. Look up your address with a new tool.

I’ve Reported on How Chicago’s Ticketing System Has Hurt Black Residents. Now, the Conversation About Reform Is Changing.

The killing of George Floyd by police has sparked a reexamination of other systems in this country that are also weighted against Black people. Ticketing is one of them.

Slavery Existed in Illinois, but Schools Don’t Always Teach That History

Schools often teach the Civil War in terms of “free states” and “slave states.” Illinois complicates those definitions. We spoke with a historian and high school teacher about slavery’s legacy in Illinois.

A Sundown Town Sees Its First Black Lives Matter Protest

Most people I met in Anna, Illinois, wish the racist lore behind the city’s name would go away. Some say Anna’s first Black Lives Matter protest is a step toward real change. But what is next?

Senior Citizens in Subsidized Housing Have Been Dying Alone at Home, Unnoticed Because of Coronavirus Distancing

The patchwork system of well-being checks in some of Chicago’s public and subsidized housing was not enough to prevent deaths in heartbreaking circumstances.

Overdose Deaths Have Skyrocketed in Chicago, and the Coronavirus Pandemic May Be Making It Worse

Opioid-related deaths in Cook County have doubled since this time last year, and similar increases are happening across the country. “If you’re alone, there’s nobody to give you the Narcan,” said one coroner.

Bill to Ban Seclusion and Face-Down Restraints in Illinois Schools Gets Sidelined After Pushback From Administrators

After months of debate, lawmakers did not vote on a bill that would have banned the use of seclusion and restraint in Illinois schools. Administrators argued meeting with families for each incident burdens school workers.

More Than 1 in 5 Illinoisans Living in State Homes for Adults With Disabilities Have Tested Positive for the Coronavirus

In Illinois, at least 355 people who live in state-run homes for adults with disabilities have tested positive for the coronavirus. “They don’t know why their family has stopped coming to visit,” a relative said.

A Nurse With One Lung Had COVID-19. Other Nurses Saved Her.

In the coronavirus era, nurses are called heroes. Sometimes, the lives they save are those of other nurses.

Families of Special Needs Students Fear They’ll Lose School Services in Coronavirus Shutdown

In letters to parents of special education students, some Illinois school districts are asking them to accept scaled-back remote learning plans or waive their rights to “free appropriate public education.”

What Experts Say About Narrowing COVID-19 Racial Disparities

Our latest digital discussion addressed why the coronavirus has disproportionately struck communities of color and potential pathways to change.

COVID-19 Killed at Least 25 Residents of One Illinois Nursing Home. The Family of One Victim Has Filed a Lawsuit, Alleging Negligence.

The family of a Bria of Geneva resident who died from the coronavirus in April claims in the lawsuit that the nursing home failed to adequately test residents and staff, and didn’t isolate infected residents in time to protect others.

The Big Empty: How Corporate Headquarters Have Abandoned America’s Suburbs

As companies increasingly relocate to urban centers, sprawling, once-trendy corporate campuses like Sears’ and Kmart’s have been left crumbling in the suburbs.

Sears Helped Build a Giant Entertainment Arena. Now, a Suburb Pays Millions to Keep It Running.

A Chicago suburb is on the hook for millions to operate the Sears Centre arena — an amount that in some years accounts for as much as 14% of its budget.

Nearing Bankruptcy, Sears Claimed Fast-Food Workers and Baristas as Employees to Keep Tax Breaks

Politicians who helped draft Sears’ tax deals said they were designed to retain thousands of corporate jobs. Contractors, landscapers and temporary employees who worked in Sears’ buildings were never meant to help the company qualify for tax breaks.

The Sears Headquarters Deal Cost Taxpayers $500 Million. 30 Years Later, There’s Little to Show for It.

Was the multimillion dollar deal to keep Sears in Illinois worth it? An economic study commissioned by ProPublica and the Daily Herald suggests it wasn’t. Here’s why.

Sears’ Headquarters Was Supposed to Turn a Sleepy Suburb Into a Boomtown. It Never Happened.

To lure Sears into a Chicago suburb, officials crafted the largest tax break package ever awarded to a company in Illinois. It resulted in revenue shortfalls, disappearing jobs and unexpected tax burdens, a Daily Herald and ProPublica review showed.

How We Reported on the $500 Million Sears Deal

To investigate the Sears deal, ProPublica and the Daily Herald reviewed thousands of pages of records, court filings and internal Sears documents. We also commissioned an economic study to examine the long-term effect of the tax deals.

Families Were Grieving and Planning Funerals. They Still Wanted to Share Their Stories.

We spoke with families and friends of 22 victims of Chicago’s first 100 recorded deaths from COVID-19. Here’s how we kept reporting, and what those families want you to know.

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