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10 Great Stories to Read Right Now

Our Chicagoans of the Year, the dark side of $1 lots, and the picky eating habits of Lake Michigan Chinook

Glenda O’Neal, mother of Dr. Tamara O’Neal, holds a family photo.   Photo: Zbigniew Bzdak/Chicago Tribune

1. Chicagoans of the Year

The 2018 class of Chicagoans of the Year are makers, doers, thinkers, and creators. The one thing they all have in common? Their work has made this city a better place. See who made the list on Chicago’s annual roundup.

2. Gov. Rauner and the Folly of Hubris

Four years ago, the billionaire businessman swept into office with a pledge to “shake up” the state government, apparently unaware he could do so unilaterally. It’s one of the crucial misunderstandings that doomed Bruce Rauner to being a single term in office. NPR Illinois examines Rauner’s four years, and then downfall.

3. Tamara O’Neal Was Almost Erased From the Story of Her Own Murder

In the aftermath of the Mercy Hospital shooting, much of the news media narrative focused on Samuel Jimenez — the cop who was killed — rather than O’Neal, the ER doctor who was the intended target. HuffPost explores the dynamic that underpins the majority of mass shootings in the U.S.

4. CPS Principal Turns His PTSD Diagnosis into Teachable Moment at Orozco School

When a lifetime of traumatic incidents finally caught up with one South Side principal, he decided to share his struggle with everyone — including his young students. Chicago Sun-Times has Martínez’s story.

5. Alternative Energy Scams Hit Poor Blacks and Latinos the Hardest, Complaints Show

Deregulation of the state’s energy markets was supposed to be a boon for consumers and competitive pricing. Instead, it’s allowed scams to flourish, and target the city’s poorest residents the most. The Chicago Reporter investigates.

6. Portillo’s Founder Tells All!

Tell-alls are typically the arena of celebrities. In Chicago, Dick Portillo certainly qualifies. Crain’s Chicago Business takes a look at the 78-year-old Portillo’s new memoir.

7. ‘African-American Designers in Chicago’ Is an Important Corrective to Art History

The Cultural Center’s ongoing, excellent curation of exhibits this year continues with a new collection exploring the impact of Chicago’s black designers. Chicago Reader has the review.

8. Eater’s Magical Guide to Christkindlmarket Chicago

A short, simple guide to making the most of the holiday treats that hit Daley Plaza once a year. Frohe Festtage! Eater Chicago shares the secrets.

9. The Collateral Damage of $1 Vacant Lots

The city’s “Large Lots” program was supposed to empower homeowners in neighborhoods with little historical development and ease the burden of blighted properties. The reality is a little more complicated. Chicago looks at the unintended consequences of the program.

10. Will Picky Eating Habits Be the End of Prized Chinook Salmon in Lake Michigan?

In this underwater drama, invasive species, a delicate ecosystem, and preferred fish food are shaping the viability of one of Lake Michigan’s tastiest catches. Chicago Tribune checks out what’s happening beneath the water.

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