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10 Best Stories Chicagoans Should Read This Week

A cop killer tries to return home, why CPS schools are dirty, how data guides food inspectors, and more.

Slain police officer John Mathews   Photo: Chicago Tribune archives

1. Can a Cop Killer Go Home Again?

Dean Chavez beat an off-duty policeman to death in Hegewisch. He served less than 11 years—then returned home, where he lived for 15 years, coaching youth baseball. This summer he was asked to step down, opening old wounds. The Sun-Times delves into his story.

2. Could Chicago’s Rahm Emanuel Lose His Re-Election Race?

The mayor’s approval ratings have plummeted, but he still commands a massive money advantage. Al Jazeera America takes the temperature of his bid.

3. What His Years at Dartmouth Reveal About Bruce Rauner

Even at an elite school, the gubernatorial candidate stood out for his intelligence, hard work, and understanding of economics. Chicago discovers how he set his course early on.

4. Down Syndrome and Alzheimer’s: A Double Burden

Now that Down syndrome patients are living longer, more and more are developing the genetically linked disease, placing difficulties on family members who may not outlive them. The Tribune investigates the growing problem.

5. Rehabbing Vacant Buildings, and the Lives of Those Who Fix Them

The Inner-City Muslim Action Network is putting ex-offenders to work by creating environmentally friendly transitional housing. WBEZ profiles the Green ReEntry Program.

6. Can Rahm Clean Up the Mess He’s Made with School Janitors?

Over the years their numbers have dropped and the service has become increasingly privatized. Has it hit a tipping point? The Chicago Reader goes back into the profession’s history in Chicago.

7. Chicago in Books: Readers’ Picks

Richard Wright, James T. Farrell, and Audrey Niffenegger head the list. The Guardian asks fans of the city’s lit for their recommendations.

8. Chicago Teaches Beijing a Lesson

University of Chicago faculty led a drive to kick the Communist Party-run Confucius Institute off campus for free speech issues. Will other American universities follow their lead? The Wall Street Journal explains what was behind the move.

9. In Chicago, Food Inspectors Are Guided by Big Data

The city only has 32 inspectors for 15,000 establishments. Here’s how they use predictive analytics to keep on top of problems. The Washington Post looks at the Department of Health’s initiative.

10. Boomers: Nostalgic for a Lack of Nostalgia that Never Existed

They rail against their children’s obsession with childhood detritus—but they grew up in the age of the nostalgia cult. Chicago unearths the backwards-looking boom of the 1970s.

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