David Schaper

One year after an Amtrak train derailed in Philadelphia, killing 8 passengers and injuring scores of others, a key question remains unanswered: Why was the train going so fast?

Illinois lawmakers may soon vote to eliminate the state's statute of limitations on child sex abuse crimes.

The move comes in response to the 15-month sentence given last month to former House Speaker Dennis Hastert. Although Hastert admitted molesting teenage boys he coached decades ago, he could only be sentenced for a financial crime related to his efforts to pay one of his victims millions of dollars in hush money to cover up the crime.

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Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

In Chicago, one neighborhood's rat problem is about to get a lot worse.

Crews are preparing to tear down an old hospital and when the wrecking ball starts swinging, the rodents living in and underneath the aging structure will scurry.

The city and the developer are setting poison baits and traps to help control the problem, but some residents are turning to one of the rats' worst enemies instead — cats.

Construction On Old Buildings Worsens Rat Problem

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MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Chicago is having a bloody year.

Already since January, more than 100 people have been murdered in the city — double the number of homicides in Chicago during the first two months last year. The number of shooting incidents is also up by 120 percent compared to the first nine weeks of 2015.

The spike in violent crime comes at a time when the police in Chicago are under increased scrutiny for misconduct.

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KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

One of the country's most passionate advocates for health care reform has died. Dr. Quentin Young was a civil rights activist in Chicago and a personal physician to city's first black mayor, to a governor and to Martin Luther King. David Schaper has this remembrance.

Amid low gas prices and a stronger economy, Americans are driving more than ever before, with new federal government figures showing traffic volumes are at an all-time high.

However, there is a downside to this resurgence of driving: increased traffic congestion and pollution.

New data from the Federal Highway Administration show that Americans drove a record 3.15 trillion vehicle miles last year — that's the equivalent of traveling from Earth to Pluto and back 337 times.

Ask anyone "How was your flight?" and you'll likely hear some kind of complaint: It was late, my luggage was lost, there was no legroom.

And it appears that more airline passengers are not just sounding off to friends and family, but are filing official complaints with the government.

New figures from the U.S. Department of Transportation show a large increase in the number of consumer complaints against airlines last year, even as the airlines are showing slight improvements in on-time performance and how well they provide other services.

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MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

A growing number of Americans are driving less and getting rid of their cars.

The trend is gaining traction in middle-aged adults, to the point where fewer of them are even bothering to get or renew their driver's licenses, but it's been prominent among younger adults — millennials — for years now.

"Honestly, at this point, it just doesn't really seem worth it," says 25-year-old Peter Rebecca, who doesn't own a car or have a driver's license. "I mean, I live in Chicago, there's really good access to, you know, public transits for pretty cheap."

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Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has reached a long sought-after agreement with two major airlines — United and American — to build a new runway at O'Hare airport. The $1.3 billion project will increase capacity at the congested airfield in hopes of reducing delays.

However, the deal does not include an agreement with the airlines to increase terminal space and add new gates, which some travel industry experts say is critical to reducing congestion at O'Hare, an airport notorious among frequent fliers for delays.

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The snowstorm predicted to dump up to 2 feet of snow on parts of the East Coast is also expected to bring just about every mode of transportation but sleds to a standstill. Airlines are canceling thousands of flights from the Carolinas to New England. Washington, D.C., is shutting down the Metro, while roads and rails are expected to be completely impassible. And those who didn't plan ahead may wind up stranded.

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Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Editor's note: This report contains graphic descriptions of torture.

The Chicago Police Department is the latest force in the national spotlight for a controversial shooting of a young black man, but the issues raised by recently released videos showing police shootings are not new in Chicago.

The incidents, critics say, are evidence of what they call a long history of Chicago police using excessive force on minorities in the city.

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Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

Scores of protesters took to the streets of Chicago after the release of a video showing a white Chicago police officer shooting and killing a black teenager.

(SOUNDBITE OF PROTEST)

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KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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He was considered a model police officer — a devoted family man and a mentor to the young people in the small Illinois town of Fox Lake, near the Wisconsin state line.

Stepping off his recent flight from Boston at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport, education consultant Debashis Sengupta looked a little surprised.

"The flight today was actually quite nice," says Sengupta. "No problems at all, in fact — not something I was expecting from United."

This frequent flier says an uneventful, on-time flight on United is the exception, not the rule.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

The CEO of United Airlines is out of a job, along with two other top executives.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Illinois lawmakers set aside their bitter partisan bickering Wednesday to override Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner's partial veto of bill addressing the state's heroin crisis.

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