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The latest news and featured stories from WBEZ Chicago.


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The latest news and featured stories from WBEZ Chicago.




Chicago State University’s president is on a mission to get more Black Chicagoans college degrees

College enrollment among Black students in Illinois has declined more than a third in the past decade. Chicago State University President “Z” Scott is on a mission to change that. Host: Mary Dixon; Reporter: Lisa Philip


Despite horror stories and deaths, will Illinois keep expensive prison health care company?

For the last decade, Illinois has paid the private company Wexford Health Sources more than a billion dollars to provide medical care to people in the state’s prisons. During that time, a federal judge determined the state’s medical care in prisons was so poor it violated the US Constitution. Now that Wexford’s contract has expired, experts are worried the state won’t make a change. Host: Mary Dixon; Reporter: Shannon Heffernan


Skateboarders shred in Chicago’s Grant Park on Go Skate Day

On the longest day of the year, hundreds of people came to downtown Chicago with skateboards, scooters, and roller skates for Go Skate Day 2023. This audio postcard brings you to Grant Skate Park, to hear boarders stick some tricks and muse on what skating means to them. Host: Melba Lara; Reporter: Lauren Frost


Highland Park remembers the victims of last year’s 4th of July parade shooting

A year has come and gone since a gunman killed seven people and injured dozens more at the Highland Park 4th of July parade. Residents paid tribute to victims' memories on Tuesday as the city strives to move on with mixed emotions. Host: Mary Dixon; Reporter: Michael Puente


Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering reflects on leading her community through tragedy

This July 4 marks one year since an event that many Highland Park residents never thought they’d witness: a mass shooting in their north shore community. Leading the city through that was Mayor Nancy Rotering – a lifelong resident who wanted to be in local politics, but now finds herself using her voice to help a national movement. Host: Mary Dixon; Reporter: Alex Degman


Sunday’s rain couldn’t spoil Chicago’s NASCAR parade

It rained, rained and rained some more through most of Sunday but it wasn’t enough to spoil Ramero Jaris’ experience in Chicago. The Miami resident says all in all, NASCAR’s street race around Grant Park was a resounding success. Host: Mary Dixon; Reporter: Michael Puente


What is NASCAR like as an attendee?

The first-ever Grant Park 220 NASCAR street race is scheduled for this afternoon in downtown Chicago. The race is the capstone event of a weekend of racing festivities in and around Grant Park. WBEZ’s Michael Puente has been down at the event this weekend - and he’ll be at the race later today. Host: Araceli Gomez-Aldana; Reporter: Michael Puente


Highland Park after the mass shooting: A new film highlights the resilience of its residents

Jon Siskel’s 20-minute documentary features 13 people reflecting on the parade where gunfire erupted on July 4, 2022 and the Highland Park community. Host: Araceli Gomez-Aldana


Former Ebony magazine food editor Charla Draper on preserving Black culinary traditions

The founder of National Soul Food Month happens to live in Chicago, so we sent producer Cianna Greaves to the Chatham neighborhood for a recipe and a culinary lesson for every family. Host: Melba Lara; Reporter: Cianna Greaves


Abortion bans fuel a rise in high-risk patients heading to Chicago hospitals

When a lot of people think of abortion care, they think of a Planned Parenthood clinic. But many pregnant people need to get abortions in a hospital because their medical conditions put them at high risk. And as states ban or heavily restrict abortion — even if they have exceptions to save the life of the mother — hospitals they are turning high-risk patients away. Host: Mary Dixon; Reporter: Kristen Schorsch


Northwestern Professor calls affirmative action ruling ‘end of an era’

Professor Anthony Chen expects schools to explore using proxies for race after Thursday’s ruling striking down race-conscious admissions policies. Host: Mary Dixon; Reporter: Lisa Philip


Cook County evictions reached a four-year high in May

Evictions are back on the rise in Cook County as many pandemic-era protections for tenants have expired. Last month, the number reached a four-year high when over 800 people were evicted from their homes. Host: Lisa Labuz; Reporter: Amy Qin


Things are still bumpy for Illinois’ recreational cannabis industry

Illinois’ foray into the world of legal recreational cannabis is still slow and bumpy. The people trying to enter into it have been clamoring for changes, including ways to make it easier to get started and also ensure they don’t run out of capital before they open their doors. Host: Mary Dixon; Reporter: Alex Degman


Downtown Chicago prepares for NASCAR

Downtown Chicago is well on its way to welcoming some of the quote- “biggest names in racing” for the 100-lap NASCAR event this weekend. Host: Mary Dixon; Reporter: Mariah Woelfel


Hazardous lead paint remains in Chicago schools

A WBEZ review of Chicago Public Schools records shows long delays at some schools between when paint was identified and when it was removed. Host: Mary Dixon; Reporter: Nereida Moreno


Catholic abortion doulas fight for reproductive rights

Catholic doulas navigate between religious belief and their commitment to maternal reproductive health, including abortion care. Host: Mary Dixon; Reporter: Mawa Iqbal


Madigan-connected lobbyists retain their clients

The “Magic Lobbyist List” included former House Speaker Michael Madigan’s preferred lobbyists. They still represent some big clients. Host: Mary Dixon; Reporter: Dave McKinney


Ibram X. Kendi to headline Right to Read Rally in Chicago

Kendi is a National Book Award-winning author and wrote the New York Times bestselling book “How to be an Antiracist.” He is in Chicago this week for the American Library Association’s national conference. Host: Melba Lara; Producer: Lauren Frost


Chicago migrants rental help program overwhelmed

The need for rental help in Chicago grows with an influx of asylum seekers. But finding landlords and money to help is hard. Host: Lisa Labuz; Reporter: Tessa Weinberg


Are guaranteed income programs in Chicago working?

Cash pilots give Chicago area residents $500 a month. Researchers say they are a cushion but not meant to propel households to the middle class. Host: Lisa Labuz; Reporter: Esther Yoon-Ji Kang