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.

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 Among the disgruntled customers are ice fishers trying to get to...

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. Just last month, in North Dakota an eastbound train carrying light Bakken crude oil hit a grain train that had just...

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...

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. After their eggs are laid in the bark of ash trees during late summer, the larvae of these beetles start to bore. They feed on...

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. Crews are working around the clock in North Dakota, where there's a lot of oil...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GIsQuoFXwe4 A commuter train crash that killed four passengers in New York is raising questions about whether a high-tech safety system could have prevented the derailment. The train was traveling 82 miles an hour on Dec. 1 as it went into a curve where the speed limit is 30. The safety system, called positive train control, or PTC, can automatically slow down a train that is going too fast. But most trains don't have it. "For more than 20 years, the [National...

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. Hairston, a 25-year-old graduate student, begins her trek at 4 a.m. by walking to a nearby bus stop, in the hopes of catching a bus to the L train. But if Hairston misses...

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.

Scores of tornados touched down across the Midwest on Sunday, leveling homes and killing at least eight.

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. "It's a seminal moment for skyscrapers," says Antony Wood, the council's...

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. Rix is one of many on the roads driving a reverse commute from the city to the suburbs. Over the...

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...

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. Last winter, when the city opened the bidding process in what would have been the first commercial airport to go private, six investment...

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. DAVID SCHAPER, BYLINE: The more than 200 folding chairs set up in the community center in suburban Willow Springs were not nearly enough to accommodate the overflowing crowd that turned out...

Transcript ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST: From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel. AUDIE CORNISH, HOST: And I'm Audie Cornish. Oh, what a day to be a hockey fan in Chicago. The city is celebrating its Stanley Cup champions after last night's thrilling come-from-behind victory over the Boston Bruins. The Blackhawks stunned the Bruins and all of Boston by tying the game with just a minute and 16 seconds left in the final period. Then, just 17 seconds later, the game-winning puck...

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. DAVID SCHAPER, BYLINE: I'm standing on the Wabash Street Bridge over the Chicago River looking up 1,200 feet to the top of the 92-story Trump Tower. And the only thing I can think is...

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...

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. Chicago is crazy about the Blackhawks right now. One of the dinosaurs...

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

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. Advocates of LGBT rights had hoped to make Illinois the first Midwestern state to legalize same-sex marriage legislatively (in Iowa, the...

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. Plaza Towers was obliterated by Monday's powerful twister , and seven children died beneath the rubble there. Students whose schools were destroyed were able to meet up Thursday with their teachers in other...

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 . The famously short-tempered Emanuel may be growing...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MHBK-v4LSco A major artery that feeds Chicago's downtown business district has been temporarily cut off as crews work around the clock this week to replace half of the 91-year-old Wells Street drawbridge. The bridge carries not just cars, buses, bikes and pedestrians but elevated trains, too, making the project so complicated that one Chicago transportation official compares it to open heart surgery. 'Complicated From Every Point Of View' As an engineer, Johnny...

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. PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Because it's very hard...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H62W9iLfKv4 Illinois' pension-fund shortfall is by far the largest in the nation, and the clock is ticking for the state's governor and lawmakers to tackle the problem before a new Legislature is sworn in next week. So far, their proposals have stoked frustration from state employees and retirees. Simply put, Illinois' unfunded pension liability is massive. Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn says the $96 billion of liability has been accumulating for decades, with the...

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. The Monroe Congregational Church is helping prepare for the...

At an oceanfront park in Long Branch, N.J., Tim Dillingham looks out over the beach in awe of how much the pounding waves and high waters of Hurricane Sandy have changed the Jersey shore. Dillingham is the executive director of the American Littoral Society, a coastal conservation group. Before the storm, he says, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers spent years building up the beaches by pumping sand onto them. But that shouldn't be a solution to restoring the shore, he says. "We need to design...

A month after Hurricane Sandy pounded the New Jersey Shore, Atlantic City is back in business. Even though most of the casinos and restaurants sustained very little damage in the storm, they're now suffering from a lack of visitors. But the city has launched an effort to change that. As three young boys roll their skateboards down the "World Famous Atlantic City Boardwalk," it's proof that it is still here, fully in tact, and that rumors of its demise were greatly exaggerated. "Conditions...

It's an old problem and an old code — "don't snitch." And it exists everywhere. But in Chicago, where homicides and shootings are up significantly this year, that old code is leaving a rising number of violent crimes unsolved. Chicago Police Department statistics show arrests are being made in about 30 percent of shooting homicides, while close to 80 percent of nonfatal shootings are going unsolved. When police can't find and arrest the perpetrators, they worry that the shooters will soon...

Democratic Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin's sexual orientation was never really a factor in her victorious campaign against Republican former Gov. Tommy Thompson. Advocates for gay rights see that as a watershed moment for the movement. Baldwin won a seat many thought she couldn't, defeating one of the state's most successful politicians in the process. The celebration Tuesday night in Madison was euphoric. The enthusiastic crowd was never louder than when Baldwin acknowledged making history. "I...

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