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10 Great Stories to Read Right Now

The attorney that city finance officials love to hate, a downtown development flop, a history of bikes in Chicago, and more

Attorney Jon Loevy (center) is joined by plaintiffs suing over the actions of ex-CPD Sgt. Ronald Watts and his team.   Photo: Terrence Antonio James/Chicago Tribune

1. What’s the Price of Justice?

Attorney Jon Loevy is known in Chicago’s justice circles for taking the cases of the city’s wrongfully convicted — and often winning big. Despite securing multi-million dollar awards for his clients, Loevy would love to be out of business. His critics agree, but for different reasons. For Chicago, Mark Caro sketches a fascinating profile.

2. Chicago’s Cityfront Center

Developers had lofty ambitions for the roughly 60 acres between Navy Pier and the Chicago River. But instead of a stunning transformation starting in the early aughts, the results are “a cautionary tale for Chicago’s next round of mega-projects.” Chicago Tribune architecture critic Blair Kamin explores the transformation that wasn’t.

3. “We Will Keep on Fighting for Him.”

This spring, ProPublica Illinois investigated a $3 million UIC clinical trial aimed at helping children with mental illness that in reality endangered its young subjects. Now, one of the families affected by the trial has provided a unique and powerful perspective in the form of a personal journal chronicling the experience. ProPublica Illinois has the wrenching, stunning read.

4. Chicago Inside Out

Cook County has one of the largest municipal operations in the U.S., and also one of the most dynamic when it comes to re-envisioning the role of local government in residents’ lives. The latest installment of the Places Journal series, “The Inequality Chronicles,” focuses on the country’s third-largest metro area.

5. Explore Chicago’s Role in Bicycle Culture at New Design Exhibit

The Design Museum of Chicago has curated a new exhibition that focuses on the city’s unique role in boosting the popularity of pedal-powered transit before cars ruled the road. Curbed Chicago previews the newly-opened pop-up exhibition.

6. Same City, Different Opportunities: Study Maps Life Outcomes for Children from Chicago Neighborhoods

How much does the neighborhood you’re born in predict your future? A new study finds that the impact can be significant. Chicago Tribune sizes up Chicagoland’s data.

7. Eve Ewing Still Believes in Chicago’s Public Schools

The massive closure of more than 50 CPS schools in 2013 has left a lasting mark on the affected neighborhoods of Chicago, which Ewing examines in her much-anticipated new book, Ghosts in the Schoolyard. Chicago Reader talks with the multi-talented academic, author, and activist.

8. HOPE Court, Created to Keep Probationers out of Prison, Shut Down Amid Problems

A Cook County Circuit Court program aimed at helping probationers stay out of state prison recently lost its funding despite an encouraging track record. Supporters of the HOPE Court say the efforts were undermined by the very judge in charge of overseeing the program, and describe a promising idea undercut by disinterest, spite, and vindictiveness. A partnership between City Bureau, Injustice Watch, and the Sun-Times investigates.

9. How Vacant Chicago Storefronts Rise from the Dead as Halloween Costume Stores

For the past several years, a certain type of store pops up in the city’s once-vacant storefronts just as fall arrives. What’s up with those temporary Halloween shops? WBEZ’s Curious City answers the timely question.

10. Twelve Blocks: Snapshots of a City

How do you capture life in a city as big and ever-changing as Chicago? Block by block, of course. Some of the city’s best writers, poets, and thinkers immortalize their own special patch of pavement in Chicago.

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