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.

He was considered a model police officer — a devoted family man and a mentor to the young people in the small Illinois town of Fox Lake, near the Wisconsin state line. The death of Illinois police Lt. Charles Gliniewicz on the morning of Sept. 1 sparked a massive manhunt involving hundreds of his fellow officers from around the region, where he was known to many as "GI Joe." Law enforcement officers from coast to coast came for his funeral to honor a man many believed to be a hero, who became...

Stepping off his recent flight from Boston at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport, education consultant Debashis Sengupta looked a little surprised. "The flight today was actually quite nice," says Sengupta. "No problems at all, in fact — not something I was expecting from United." This frequent flier says an uneventful, on-time flight on United is the exception, not the rule. "I'm not a fond customer of United at all," says Sengupta, 53, of West Newton, Mass. "I've never had a good flying...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript AUDIE CORNISH, HOST: There's a big shake-up at United Airlines today. The chief executive officer and two other high-ranking officials at United Airlines abruptly resigned in the midst of an internal and federal investigation. The airline is being investigated by the U.S. attorney's office in New Jersey over whether it improperly tried to sway senior officials at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. NPR's David...

Illinois lawmakers set aside their bitter partisan bickering Wednesday to override Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner's partial veto of bill addressing the state's heroin crisis. Illinois has one of the highest rates of heroin overdose deaths in the country, and the Chicago area has led the nation in the number of emergency room visits related to heroin. And as we've recently reported , the heroin crisis has been growing worse as state funding for treatment programs has been cut. The comprehensive...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript DAVID GREENE, HOST: And let's return to a story we first told last week about a crisis in Chicago. There's been a stunning increase in the number of people dying from using heroin, and yet, at this moment, the state of Illinois is cutting funding for heroin treatment. Critics are attacking the Republican governor of Illinois, Bruce Rauner, who vetoed part of a bill funding treatment programs. The governor says he is...

After Hurricane Katrina's massive storm surge annihilated tens of thousands of homes on the Gulf Coast, many families tried to quickly rebuild. Ten years later, some are still trying, while others are losing hope. Tiny Pearlington, Miss., sat unwittingly in the center of Hurricane Katrina's path of devastation. They eye of the storm passed directly overhead, and a 30-foot storm surge nearly obliterated the town. Bill Griffin, 78, has lived here his entire life — the past 50 years amid the...

When Hurricane Katrina slammed into the Gulf Coast 10 years ago, the eye of the storm made landfall near a tiny speck of a town at the mouth of the Pearl River on the Louisiana border with Mississippi. To say Katrina — one of the deadliest and costliest hurricanes in U.S. history — nearly wiped Pearlington, Miss., off the map isn't entirely true. The fact is, Pearlington was so small that it wasn't even on many maps. As a result it took a couple of days for search-and-rescue teams to reach...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript STEVE INSKEEP, HOST: Water levels in the Great Lakes are rising from record lows. Lakes Huron and Michigan are 3 feet higher than a year ago. Here's NPR's David Schaper. DAVID SCHAPER, BYLINE: Walking over the foredune towards the sparkling blue-green waters of Lake Michigan at Central Avenue Beach in the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, you'd expect to find a long, gradual, sandy descent to the water's edge. But instead....

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST: Highways across the country are already busy and the lines are starting at airports. Welcome to the Independence Day weekend. AAA predicts nearly 42 million Americans will be traveling at least 50 miles from home - the most since 2008. And NPR's David Schaper reports from Chicago a growing number of travelers, and the businesses that rely on them, worry about the condition of the nation's...

The federal government's new rules aimed at preventing explosive oil train derailments are sparking a backlash from all sides. The railroads, oil producers and shippers say some of the new safety requirements are unproven and too costly, yet some safety advocates and environmental groups say the regulations aren't strict enough and still leave too many people at risk. Since February, five trains carrying North Dakota Bakken crude oil have derailed and exploded into flames in the U.S. and...

The federal judge overseeing the criminal case of former House Speaker Dennis Hastert will continue to preside over it, even though he made campaign contributions to Hastert, as neither the prosecution nor the defense see it as a conflict of interest. During Hastert's arraignment Tuesday, Chicago U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Durkin acknowledged that in 2002 and 2004, he contributed $500 and $1,000 to Hastert's campaign through his law firm, but he said he had never met the speaker. Durkin...

Many investigators say Positive Train Control (PTC), an automated safety system, could have prevented last month's Amtrak train derailment. Amtrak officials have said they will have PTC installed throughout the northeast corridor by the end of this year, which is the deadline mandated by Congress. But the vast majority of other commuter railroad systems, which provided nearly 500 million rides in 2014, won't be able to fully implement positive train control for several more years. On the...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST: A bombshell of an indictment was announced late today by the U.S. attorney in Chicago. Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert is charged with bank fraud. Hastert is the longest serving Republican House speaker in history, holding the post after Newt Gingrich stepped down in 1999. Hastert represented an Illinois congressional district west of Chicago for two decades, and joining us now from Chicago with...

National Transportation Safety Board investigators say Positive Train Control — a system of satellites, communication towers and complex software that makes sure trains' safely follow their routes — would have prevented Tuesday's Amtrak train derailment in Philadelphia, which killed eight passengers. Mandated by Congress after a head-on 2008 crash in Southern California killed 25 , the system recognizes when signals turn red and where speed limits drop, and automatically will slow down or...

Updated at 1:30 p.m. ET. The city of Chicago has become the first in the nation to create a reparations fund for victims of police torture, after the City Council unanimously approved the $5.5 million package. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel says the abuse and torture of scores of mostly black, male suspects in the 1970s, '80s and early '90s by former police Cmdr. Jon Burge and his detectives is a "stain that cannot be removed from our city's history." "But," Emanuel says, "it can be used as a...

Officials at SkyWest Airlines and federal authorities say they still don't know what caused three passengers to lose consciousness on a flight that then made an emergency landing in Buffalo Wednesday. Earlier, the airline said one passenger was affected. The SkyWest plane, operating as United Express flight #5622, was flying from Chicago's O'Hare airport to Hartford, Connecticut with 75 passengers on board. Some passengers say part way into the flight, they started having trouble breathing,...

Pushed to the brink in an unprecedented runoff election, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel used a huge campaign war chest and a softened image to survive the threat and win a second term in office. Emanuel defeated Cook County Commissioner Jesus "Chuy" Garcia, who had championed the city's poor and disadvantaged in hopes of becoming Chicago's first Latino mayor, in a race that mirrored divisions between the "Wall Street" and the liberal/progressive wings within the Democratic Party nationally. In...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript SCOTT SIMON, HOST: This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. German authorities now say the co-pilot who investigators believe intentionally crashed a Germanwings plane this week concealed a mental illness from his employers. They say he may have been told he was not fit to fly. NPR's David Schaper reports the crash that killed 150 people is raising concerns about the mental health screening of pilots. DAVID...

One of the nation's savviest politicians is in an unexpected fight. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, President Obama's former White House chief of staff, is in an unprecedented runoff election next month. The challenger, Cook County Commissioner Jesus "Chuy" Garcia, contends that Emanuel favors the rich and powerful over working-class Chicagoans. But Emanuel is firing back, attacking Garcia for having no plan to deal with the city's deep financial problems. Emanuel is the first incumbent Chicago...

Some startup entrepreneurs are leaving the high tech hot spots of San Francisco, New York and the Silicon Valley for greener pastures in a place that actually has greener pastures: Lincoln, Neb. In fact, one of the secrets to the economic success of Lincoln, a city with one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country, is a surprisingly strong tech startup community that is part of what some in the region are calling the Silicon Prairie. One of the, shall we say, middle-aged startups is an...

Instead of fighting like cats and dogs, Congress appears to be coming together for a change, and maybe it's because of our feline and canine friends. In a rare bipartisan vote, the House Wednesday approved an Amtrak funding bill that will keep the trains running for another four years, and allow some pets to ride along on the intercity passenger rail service . The Passenger Rail Reform and Investment Act passed on a vote of 316-101 (132 Republicans joined 184 Democrats in voting for the bill;...

At 2.5 percent, Lincoln, Neb. , has one of the lowest jobless figures in the country. But that's nothing new — the city has ranked at or near the top of the nation, with one of the lowest unemployment rates for years, even during the Great Recession. But on a recent visit, it's clear that Lincoln is not resting on its laurels. It's working hard at keeping and drawing talent to this city of nearly 300,000. Lincoln is not an economic utopia — but it might be close. It never really had the...

The United Nations' aviation organization is endorsing a new standard meant to keep air traffic authorities and airlines from losing track of a jetliner, such as Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. That plane disappeared into the Indian Ocean almost a year ago with 239 people on board. Under the new policy, commercial airliners would be required to transmit their location every 15 minutes and every minute if in distress. Air safety investigator Anthony Brickhouse says whenever there's a horrifying...

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

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

It's been a good year for commercial airlines. With the economy recovering, more people are getting on planes and flying for both business and pleasure. And the cost of fuel, one of the airlines' biggest expenses, is dropping. But as anyone traveling for the holidays can tell you, airfares remain high. And many frequent fliers at Chicago O'Hare International Airport say they wouldn't give the airlines perfect grades this year. Tanya Lawson, an attorney on her way home to Miami, says she doesn...

With President Obama beginning the process of normalizing relations with Cuba this week, many may envision soon soaking up the sun on a warm Cuban beach, sipping a refreshing rum drink. In reality, that's not likely to happen for quite a while. But just the increased opportunity for travel between the two countries has those with longtime ties to Cuba already thinking about the possibilities it will bring. Tom Popper is thinking about it. As president of the New York-based travel company...

Gasoline prices are at their lowest level in four years. The price at the pump in many states is almost a full dollar cheaper than it was last spring. So some politicians think this is a good time to raise gasoline taxes. Several states are tired of waiting for Congress to fix the federal highway trust fund, so they're considering raising gas taxes themselves to address their crumbling roads. Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder is trying to sell that state's legislators — especially those in his own...

With gas and oil prices plunging, among those benefiting are airlines. With fuel prices down, profits are up, but that doesn't mean you'll be able to find cheap airfares, especially over the holidays. The airline industry is predicting more people will take to the skies over Thanksgiving than any year since the start of the recession. The weather in Chicago is not quite frightful yet, but the snow and cold is coming; so warm weather destinations for the holidays sound appealing. Those are the...

Imagine Manhattan under almost 300 feet of water. Not water from a hurricane or a tsunami, but purified drinking water — 2.1 trillion gallons of it. That's the amount of water that researchers estimate is lost each year in this country because of aging and leaky pipes, broken water mains and faulty meters. Fixing that infrastructure won't be cheap, which is something every water consumer is likely to discover. In Chicago, fresh water is drawn into water intake cribs in Lake Michigan and piped...

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