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10 Must-Read Stories in Chicago This Week

Who created the forest preserve?, 50 years of publishing on the South Side, and the steep cost of health insurance for farmers.

Israel Garcia, 13, rides a zip line in Bemis Woods, part of the Cook County Forest Preserves.   Photo: Zbigniew Bzdak/Chicago Tribune

1. Chicago’s Bankruptcy Boom

Costly Chapter 13 bankruptcies have been spiking in black neighborhoods in and around Chicago. The cause? Mere traffic tickets. ProPublica investigates.

2. The Long Wait

121 men and women are in Illinois prisons for crimes they committed before 1978. At their age, they’re unlikely to reoffend. But they’re up against an opaque parole system. Injustice Watch explains.

3. My Dinner Party with Grant

What happens when Grant Achatz comes over to help you cook? Chicago magazine finds out.

4. Haki Madhubuti, the Book Publisher on the South Side

60 years ago, his mother made him check out Richard Wright’s Black Boy from the library. It was the beginning of a life in books. The New York Times profiles Third World Press, celebrating its 50th anniversary.

5. The Last Memorial Left to Shirley Ellen Lee, Who Was Loved Very Much

James Lee, a widower and single father, lost his only daughter to a house fire. He memorialized her with plaques around the city—and one still remains. Chicago magazine follows his tributes.

6. Carlos Rosa’s Political Capital

The young alderman talks about his path to politics, the Democratic Socialists of America, and what happened with Daniel Biss. Jacobin sits down with him.

7. Forest Foresight: Who Created the Cook County Forest Preserves?

Dwight Perkins brought a passion for nature to his work as chief architect of CPS, and to his 15-year battle to set aside the area’s natural land. WBEZ tells his story.

8. How Bill Morrison Makes Magic with Found Footage

And what a find: 1,500 reels of film buried for 40 years in a swimming pool in the Yukon. The Reader speaks with Morrison about his career and new documentary.

9. You Think Your Health Insurance Costs Too Much. Try Being a Farmer.

Farm families can pay over $40k for plans—while the average net farm income in the state is $77k. Crain’s explores the problem.

10. The Last Woman to Win a Physics Nobel

Maria Goeppert Mayer was a seventh-generation academic who (literally) unpeeled the layers of the atomic nucleus—and the turning point came at the University of Chicago. Scientific American remembers “the Onion Madonna.”

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