David Schaper

Based in NPR's Chicago bureau, David Schaper covers breaking news in Chicago and around the Midwest, as well as a broad range of important social, cultural, political, and business issues in the region. His reports can be heard on NPR's Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and Weekend Edition.

Schaper has recently profiled service members killed in Iraq, as well as members of a reserve unit returning home to Wisconsin. He has also 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 tornados, storms, blizzards, and floods in the Midwest.

Schaper brings more than 15 years of experience in radio news to NPR. Prior to joining NPR in December 2002, 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 also 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. He was also 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 also worked at commercial stations WMAY-AM (Springfield, IL) and WIZM-AM and FM (La Crosse, WI), and in Illinois at public stations WSSU-FM (now WUIS) and WDCB-FM.

Schaper was born and raised in Chicago's western suburbs. He earned a B.S. at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, and an M.A. from the University of Illinois-Springfield. Schaper and his wife Kathy, live in Chicago with their three children.

Pages

12:26pm

Thu December 29, 2011
It's All Politics

At Romney Rally, Iowa's Moderate GOP 'Silent Majority' Voters Start Talking

Originally published on Mon January 2, 2012 6:26 am

A young Mitt Romney supporter holds yard signs Thursday at a campaign event at J's Homestyle Cooking in Cedar Falls, Iowa.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Another strong turnout this morning for Mitt Romney at a restaurant in Cedar Falls, though the small place wasn't quite as packed as yesterday's breakfast stop in Muscatine. Romney spent a lot of time shaking hands and posing for pictures with customers, supporters and restaurant staff, after he spoke for about 20 minutes. He usually takes a couple of questions from the crowd but did not today, preferring to spend more time than usual glad-handing.

Read more

8:58am

Thu December 29, 2011

6:13pm

Wed December 28, 2011
It's All Politics

Romney Jabs Rival, But Says He'd Take A President Paul Over Obama Part 2

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney took a swipe at GOP rival Ron Paul and his isolationist foreign policy positions while campaigning in Iowa Wednesday, but he later told reporters he would support the outspoken Texas congressman if he were the Republican Party nominee for president.

Read more

9:13am

Wed December 28, 2011
It's All Politics

In The Hunt For Votes, Romney Heads East To 2008 Iowa Stronghold

Originally published on Wed December 28, 2011 10:18 am

Mitt Romney speaks during a campaign stop Wednesday at Elly's Tea and Coffee in Muscatine, Iowa.
Chris Carlson Associated Press

On Wednesday morning, Mitt Romney was getting an early start to campaigning in eastern Iowa, meeting and greeting voters having breakfast or just getting a caffeine boost at Elly's Tea and Coffee in Muscatine.

Read more

8:55am

Wed December 28, 2011
It's All Politics

Immigration Emerges As Key Issue For Some Iowa Voters

Originally published on Wed December 28, 2011 10:33 am

Texas Gov. Rick Perry speaks at a campaign event at Clark Electric Co-op on Dec. 27 in Osceola, Iowa. Perry's stance on immigration has troubled some Iowa voters.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Campaign buses loaded with Republican presidential hopefuls and their entourages are rolling across Iowa as the candidates hope some face time with GOP voters will help boost their chances in the Jan. 3 caucuses.

The main issue for many Iowa voters is the economy. But there's a sleeper issue emerging: immigration reform.

Iowa's Hispanic population is surging and Republican candidates are struggling with how best to deal with voter concerns.

Read more

5:37pm

Fri December 2, 2011
Business

Sears Considers Leaving Illinois For Better Tax Deal

Originally published on Fri December 2, 2011 7:00 pm

Sears Holding Corp., parent company to Sears and Kmart, is considering a move from its corporate headquarters after a tax incentive package failed to pass the state House of Representatives. More than 6,000 employees work at the Hoffman Estates, Ill., campus.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Thousands of jobs are on the line in a competition between states over the corporate headquarters of Sears. Several states are offering tax incentive packages to try to lure the company away from Illinois, including one bid from Ohio that's worth up to $400 million.

The Sears Holding Corp., parent company to Sears and Kmart, says it is seriously considering the offer after Illinois lawmakers failed this week to approve a package of tax incentives aimed at keeping Sears and another corporate giant from leaving.

Read more

12:01am

Wed November 30, 2011
Hard Times: A Journey Across America

A Steel Town Looks At Its Future, And Sees Rebirth

Originally published on Wed November 30, 2011 12:07 pm

The old Granite City Steel Mill is now owned and operated by US Steel.
David Schaper NPR

Part of a monthlong series

The Great Recession has hit the industrial Midwest especially hard in recent years, from big cities to small factory towns. But now, in at least one small Illinois city, local leaders believe the worst is finally behind them.

Sitting across the Mississippi River from downtown St. Louis, Granite City, Ill., has certainly seen better days. In its downtown, there are more boarded-up and empty storefronts and vacant lots than there are businesses.

Read more

12:01am

Thu November 17, 2011
Hard Times: A Journey Across America

When Hard Times Means Leaving A Career For A Job

Originally published on Thu November 17, 2011 12:40 pm

After a long job search, Alice Eastman, a once highly paid professional, now works at Target. "I've climbed to pretty much the top of the one ladder, and now I'm starting at the bottom rung of a different ladder. It's a job. It's not a career," she says.
David Schaper NPR

Part of a monthlong series

Alice Eastman, a single mother living in Wheaton, Ill., is one of many Americans who, after losing her job, tried to make ends meet on unemployment while she hunted for a job in her field. Then after a long, fruitless search, she took a lower-paying job in retail.

Eastman had a pretty good job making $75,000 a year at the park district in the Chicago suburb of Bolingbrook, heading up its Department of Natural Resources.

Read more

4:00am

Fri November 4, 2011
Business

Airline Prices Stay Up Despite Fewer Travelers

Originally published on Fri November 4, 2011 10:20 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

The sluggish economy means fewer travelers will be heading home for Thanksgiving this year, although it hasn't brought down prices. And as NPR's David Schaper reports, those who do fly will still find their flights packed.

Read more

2:54pm

Fri October 21, 2011
Around the Nation

Chicago's 'Congestion Fee' Gets Chilly Reception

Originally published on Sat October 22, 2011 2:05 am

Motorists in Chicago navigate the morning rush hour as they make their way toward downtown.

Scott Olson Getty Images

Chicago recently ranked as the city with the second-worst traffic congestion problem in the country, but it doesn't have a lot of money to invest in other transit options. Mayor Rahm Emanuel's solution? A $2 "congestion fee" on weekday parking in public lots and garages downtown.

Other cities have had some success with congestion pricing for parking, but some Chicagoans are skeptical of the plan.

Read more

3:02am

Sat October 15, 2011
Sports

Being Bartman: 'Catching Hell' Tells Cubs Fan's Story

As the Chicago Cubs' Moises Alou made a leaping attempt at a pop foul during the National League Championship Series, Steve Bartman (in Cubs cap and dark sweater) was among the fans reaching for the ball. While one image suggests he acted alone, the second photo tells another story.

Elsa Getty Images

We fans of the Chicago Cubs rarely hear good news in October, so there's a little buzz of excitement around Wrigley Field these days about the possibility of Boston Red Sox GM Theo Epstein reportedly coming to Chicago to take over a similar or expanded role with the hapless Cubs.

In 2004, Epstein helped guide the Red Sox to their first World Series title in 86 years and to another title in 2007. In Chicago, he'd be trying to end a Cubs' championship drought dating back to 1908; the Cubs haven't even been to the World Series since 1945.

Read more

12:01am

Mon October 10, 2011
2 Languages, Many Voices: Latinos In The U.S.

West Liberty Is Nation's First Majority Hispanic Town

Originally published on Tue August 7, 2012 3:42 pm

Jose Zacarias lives in an old farmhouse flanked by corn and soybean fields near the edge of town. The Mexican-born immigrant came to West Liberty more than 25 years ago.

Benjamin Roberts

(This report is part of the Morning Edition series "2 Languages, Many Voices: Latinos In The U.S.," looking at the ways Latinos are changing — and being changed — by the U.S.)

One place the Hispanic population is growing is in the overwhelmingly white state of Iowa. The latest census figures show the Hispanic population, while only 5 percent of the state, has almost doubled since 2000.

And one small town — West Liberty — is the first in Iowa to have a majority Hispanic population.

Read more

11:52am

Sat August 27, 2011
Around the Nation

Insurers Prepare For Flood Of Claims From Irene

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 11:29 am

Chris Pittman (left) and Frank Eckel board up a storefront in Cape May, N.J., in anticipation of Hurricane Irene.
William Thomas Cain Getty Images

As Hurricane Irene makes its way north, insurance companies are scrambling to get claims adjusters and other personnel in place up and down the East Coast and into New England.

Companies will be assessing the damage once Irene is through battering the northeastern states. If the hurricane hits as wide an area as is predicted, insured losses could be in the billions of dollars.

On the boardwalk of Ocean City, Md., Tony Russo Jr. is boarding up the windows of his family's restaurant, Tony's Pizza.

Read more

12:01am

Wed August 10, 2011
Business

Economic Turmoil Rattles Unsettled Housing Market

For most people, their biggest investment is their home. Following Standard and Poor's downgrade of U.S. credit, as well as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, there may be even more uncertainty about buying or selling a home right now.

Russell Zanca, 47, has a three bedroom, one and a half bath vintage brick Georgian house on the market. The anthropology professor's home is on a quiet tree-lined street on Chicago's North Side.

"It's just a nice solid house," Zanca says.

Read more

4:52pm

Mon August 1, 2011
Politics

FAA Debate Puts Subsidized Rural Airports At Risk

Construction crews at a new air traffic control tower at Oakland International Airport were told on July 19 to stop working after the U.S. House refused to reauthorize routine funding of the Federal Aviation Administration.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Construction projects at airports around the country have stopped and 4,000 employees of the Federal Aviation Administration are furloughed, all because Congress couldn't agree on an extension of the agency's authority to operate.

Democratic Sen. Jay Rockefeller, who chairs the subcommittee that oversees the FAA, indicates he will offer a plan as soon as Monday night to end the shutdown. Rockefeller's plan includes cuts in air service subsidies to some rural communities.

Those subsidies keep commercial aviation service in rural areas that would otherwise be isolated.

Read more

4:00am

Fri July 22, 2011
Around the Nation

Heat Wave Opens Cooling Centers, Fire Hydrants

Another hot and muggy day is forecast for much of the country again Friday, as the dangerous heat wave moves to the East. Thirty-two states issued excessive heat warnings Thursday.

11:01am

Wed July 13, 2011
Business

In Ill., Higher Corporate Taxes Threaten Big Business

Some of the biggest corporate headquarters in the country are located along the Chicago River.
David Schaper

Illinois lawmakers are re-examining the state's business tax climate, just six months after raising the corporate income tax rate. The move comes as some corporate giants threaten to move out of Illinois. Some wonder how far the state should go to keep them.

Doug Whitley, president and CEO of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce, says his members aren't happy with the state's approach towards businesses.

"Big-name, household-name companies that are long-standing Illinois businesses have begun to rattle the cage and say, you know, this isn't the best environment," he says.

Read more

8:00am

Sat July 9, 2011
Around the Nation

For Minnesota Shutdown, A Deal Seems Distant

There is still no end in sight to the state government shutdown in Minnesota. Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton and Republican legislative leaders remain far apart on how to balance the state's budget for the next two years. With the shutdown in its ninth day, unemployed state workers are increasingly anxious, and residents who rely on shuttered state services are increasingly frustrated. NPR's David Schaper reports.

3:00pm

Fri July 8, 2011
Politics

In Minn. Government Shutdown, State Parks Suffer

Afton State Park is one of the victims of Minnesota's government shutdown.
David Schaper

In Minnesota, the state government shutdown is in its second week, with no end in sight.

The state's Democratic governor, Mark Dayton, and Republican legislative leaders remain divided over how to balance the budget. The two sides did not meet today and no new budget negotiations are scheduled.

Among the many state facilities that are closed are state parks, in the midst of peak season for camping, fishing and swimming. Outdoor enthusiasts in Minnesota aren't happy about it.

Read more

4:00am

Tue June 28, 2011
Law

Ex-Ill Gov. Blagojevich Faces Lengthy Prison Sentence

A federal jury in Chicago convicted former Ill. Gov. Rod Blagojevich on 17 wide-ranging corruption charges Monday. Bagojevich was accused, among other things, of trying to sell President Obama's former Senate seat for personal gain.

2:16pm

Mon June 20, 2011
Around the Nation

Big Payoff Eyed In Chicago Casino; Some Have Doubts

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is betting a downtown casino would help boost the economy and fill holes in the city's budget.

Illinois lawmakers approved a bill last month that would give Chicago a casino and add others around the state, but the plan has hit a snag with Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn, who's threatening a veto.

Meanwhile, many Chicago residents continue gambling across the state line in Indiana.

Read more

4:38am

Mon June 6, 2011
Business

Finding A Disaster's Economic Silver Lining

From Montana to Missouri, thousands of people have had to evacuate their homes and businesses to escape the floodwaters of the Missouri River. Over the weekend, the Army Corps of Engineers closed nearly 200 miles of the river to boating traffic.

The flooded shops and idled vessels along the Missouri are just the latest businesses hurt by weather-related disasters across the country this spring. Violent tornadoes, widespread flooding and even droughts have taken their toll.

Read more

3:00pm

Fri June 3, 2011
Politics

Blagojevich Faces Tough Questions From Prosecution

Transcript

MICHELE NORRIS, host:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Michele Norris.

ROBERT SIEGEL, host:

And I'm Robert Siegel.

This time is different. After several years and one hung jury, former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich has taken the stand for the first time. He began testifying last week in his retrial on 20 federal corruption charges. Blagojevich talked about everything from politics to love. And then, late yesterday, the fireworks began when prosecutors were finally able to cross-examine him.

Read more

3:27pm

Tue May 24, 2011
Around the Nation

Collective Bargaining Curbs Spread Across The U.S.

At a "We Are One" union rally in New York City marking the 43rd anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., protesters called for workers' rights in light of recent "anti-union" legislation in Wisconsin and Ohio.
Mario Tama Getty Images

Wisconsin's Republican Gov. Scott Walker struck a nerve back in February with his bill to eliminate nearly all the collective bargaining rights of almost all public employees in the state.

Tens of thousands of people marched, chanted and protested for weeks. The law passed anyway, but it hasn't taken effect yet because it remains tied up in the courts.

In Indiana and Ohio, lawmakers advanced similar proposals despite similar outrage — and those are now law.

More quietly, several other states have curbed collective bargaining rights, too.

Read more

4:00am

Wed May 18, 2011
Around the Nation

Harsh Spring Hurts Farmers, Businesses, Sun Lovers

This is not the spring to be selling gardening supplies, beer at a baseball park, or renting bicycles in the Upper Midwest. This weather has been unusually cold, wet and raw. And that's kept many who would be buying at home and indoors, and it's impacting the bottom line of many businesses.

12:01am

Thu May 12, 2011
Around the Nation

Memphis Churches Lead In Helping Flood Victims

In Memphis, Tenn., water levels remain near record highs and have only just begun to recede.

Hundreds of people are still living in shelters which the interfaith community of Memphis is leading the effort to provide.

Marcello Gonzalez, 29, stands inside the sprawling Hope Presbyterian Church just east of Memphis. He says the last time he saw the mobile home he owned with his wife and two little boys, it was full of water.

Read more

3:00pm

Tue May 10, 2011
Around the Nation

Memphis Homes Inundated With Water

Water, water everywhere — and there's just too much of the wet stuff. As a big surge of water moves down the Mississippi River, city leaders in Memphis and points south prepare for more flooding.

3:41am

Mon May 9, 2011
Around the Nation

Memphis Residents Brace For Record Flooding

The Mississippi River and its tributaries continues to rise. In Memphis, Tenn., hundreds of homes already are underwater and thousands of people have moved to higher ground. Floodwaters there are expected to crest Tuesday just under the record level set in 1937.

7:49am

Sat April 30, 2011
Around the Nation

Wisconsin's Political Split Hardens Into A Great Divide

No state may be more politically polarized right now than Wisconsin. That follows the effort by Republican Gov. Scott Walker to eliminate the collective bargaining rights of most public workers there. The divide is most apparent between Wisconsin's biggest cities and its smallest towns.

Read more

2:18pm

Mon April 18, 2011
Politics

In Wisconsin, Efforts To Recall Senators Gain Steam

In Wisconsin, the fight over collective bargaining has moved to a new phase: recall elections in several state Senate districts.

On Monday, volunteers and Democratic Party activists filed recall petitions against Republican state Sen. Luther Olsen.

He's now the third Republican in Wisconsin's Senate who will likely face a recall election this summer — and more petitions are expected to be filed against other state senators this week.

Read more

Pages