Life at a research lab in Israel’s Negev desert

By Alexis Shanes Medill Reports SDE BOKER, ISRAEL — Two hours south of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, where political drama unraveled amid Tuesday’s Israeli elections, I finished my morning coffee and stepped out into the blinding desert sunshine. I’m spending this month at the Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research, which are part of the […]

Pittsburgh aftermath: Evanston religious leaders consider active shooter responses

By Alexis Shanes Medill Reports The thousands-year-old nightmare of anti-Semitism erupted again on Oct. 29, when 11 worshippers at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue died in a shooting, likely the deadliest attack against Jews in U.S. history. Illinois religious communities, like so many faith groups around the world, recoiled in response, condemning the attack and […]

Illinois farmers torn about health insurance options

By Alexis Shanes Medill Reports Illinois farmers, faced with exploding health care costs, are turning away from the individual health insurance market as they seek solutions to one of several ballooning financial woes. Association healthcare plans could provide an answer, said Christina Nourie, an Illinois Farm Bureau legislative coordinator. Association plans allow small businesses or […]

Schneider wins third term in Illinois’ 10th District

By Alexis Shanes Medill Reports U.S. Rep. Brad Schneider clinched reelection in the north suburban 10th District Tuesday, bringing a tame campaign to an unsurprising close amid a contentious national midterm season. The Associated Press called the race for Schneider just before 8:30 p.m. The Deerfield Democrat defeated Republican candidate Douglas Bennett handily, using his […]

Affordable housing tensions boil over in Logan Square

By Alexis Shanes Medill Reports Ashley Galvan Ramos brought the most impassioned voice to a march by Logan Square residents against housing inequity, the latest in a string of riffs between activists and the city as rents skyrocket in their gentrifying neighborhood. Galvan Ramos, the 20-year-old youth representative for the Logan Square Neighborhood Association, said […]

Obama rips Trump during Wisconsin rally

By Alexis Shanes Medill Reports MILWAUKEE — Former President Barack Obama attacked his successor as a liar during a rally Friday, warning voters about Republican dishonesty and hammering the GOP leadership for undermining health care guarantees as he stumped for Wisconsin Democrats. Obama avoided referring to President Trump by name, but in an impassioned address […]

Winter is coming and Chicago’s urban gardeners are getting ready

By Alexis Shanes Medill Reports Local gardening enthusiasts on Saturday braved freezing winds to learn winter plant management techniques at an urban garden in Uptown, the latest in a series of grassroots workshops aimed at educating city growers. Breanne Heath, the education program manager at Peterson Garden Project, offered participants tips for caring for perennial […]

Analysis: Health care policy in Illinois’ 10th District

By Alexis Shanes Medill Reports Rep. Brad Schneider is likely to win reelection in Illinois’ 10th District, a left-leaning mix of wealthy and working-class communities in Lake and Cook counties, adding to Democrats’ chances of controlling the House and redefining health care policy. The Deerfield representative, who ran unopposed in the March primary, is among […]

10th District candidates debate gun control and climate change among contentious topics

By Alexis Shanes Medill Reports U.S. Rep. Brad Schneider (D-10th) called for crossing the partisan divide on everything from health care to immigration reform during a debate Sunday with GOP opponent and computer consultant Douglas Bennett. Schneider added that he is part of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus to “fight for the values and priorities […]

Brush strokes of support for the Chicago River

By Alexis Shanes Medill Reports Chicago artist Barbara Kay Herring spiked her canvas with vaulting spires and their shimmering reflections emerge from a flurry of sweeping, feathery paint strokes. The Chicago River has long been a source of creative inspiration and community debate, and a partnership this weekend between local painters and long-standing non-profit Friends […]