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10 Stories to Read Right Now

A swan song for Sears, Trump and Kanye on Chicago, and what happens to the city’s recycling.

A skinned cadaver greets visitors in the lobby of the International Museum of Surgical Science.   Photo: Alex Garcia/Chicago Tribune

1. Tons and Tons of Chicago Recycling Isn’t Getting Recycled. And a Private Company Is Paid for It — Twice.

Conscientious citizens drop their reusable materials into the city’s ubiquitous blue carts instead of trash bins with the hope those items are diverted from the landfill. Turns out it doesn’t matter which bin you toss your refuse in: Much of it is ending up in the same place. The Better Government Association investigates the city’s troubled recycling program.

2. A Chicago Story: How Sears Could Have Avoided Bankruptcy

The once-towering retail giant and Chicagoland institution has filed for bankruptcy protection — but it didn’t have to end that way. The Chicago Tribune editorial board makes the short (and not-so-sweet) argument.

3. Rahm’s Next Act

Chicagoans may not have fancied Rahm Emanuel for another four years as mayor, but there are plenty of industries that will embrace the controversial figure with open arms once he vacates his fifth floor office in City Hall. Chicago looks at the likely next moves for the mayor.

4. Code Name Jane: The Women Behind a Covert Abortion Network

In the days before Roe v. Wade, a network of Chicago women ran a clandestine operation that, by necessity, shared more in common with a spy agency than a health care service. The New York Times reexamines this major cultural story as part of its “Retro Report” series.

5. How Artists Helped Propel Chicago’s Disability Rights Movement

Chicago has an overlooked and often under-appreciated role in the disability rights movement, but the movement’s history has endured through art. Chicago examines the art and the people that have powered the movement.

6. Kanye West, Donald Trump, and the Truth About Chicago

When Trump meets West, it’s inevitable that Chicago gets dragged into the mix. The New Yorker explores Trump’s obsession with hating on Chicago, and how West is helping him along.

7. Citizens Count on the Illinois Freedom of Information Act but Keep Getting Shut Out

The state law is supposed to facilitate (and if need be, force) government transparency. So why have citizens’ requests ended up ignored, or in a backlog? ProPublica Illinois combed through the paperwork to find out.

8. How Chicago Transformed from a Midwestern Outpost Town to a Towering City

Chicago became a hub by jacking itself out of the muck — literally. Turns out, what happens beneath the ground had a big hand in shaping the city’s future. Smithsonian gets down into the dirt with the city’s history.

9. A Nocturnal Facelift for Chicago’s Merchandise Mart

The 1930’s-era icon — which is so large it used to have its own ZIP code — is getting a luminescent 21st-century makeover by becoming something akin to an urban canvas. CityLab takes a look.

10. Chicago’s Creepy Cabinet of Curiosities

Just in time for Halloween, Chicago’s beloved Museum of Surgical Science gets the spotlight for all of its weird, wonderful (and informational) treasures within. The Washington Post visits one of our favorite museums.

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