David Schaper | KUER 90.1

David Schaper

David Schaper is a correspondent on NPR's National Desk, based in Chicago, primarily covering transportation and infrastructure, as well as breaking news in Chicago and the Midwest.

In this role, Schaper covers aviation and airlines, railroads, the trucking and freight industries, highways, transit, and new means of mobility such as ride hailing apps, car sharing, and shared bikes and scooters. In addition, he reports on important transportation safety issues, as well as the politics behind transportation and infrastructure policy and funding.

Since joining NPR in 2002, Schaper has covered some of the nation's most important news stories, including the Sandy Hook school shooting and other mass shootings, Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath, the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, California wildfires, the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, and numerous other disasters. David has also reported on presidential campaigns in Iowa and elsewhere, on key races for U.S. Senate and House, governorships, and other offices in the Midwest, and he reported on the rise of Barack Obama from relative political obscurity in Chicago to the White House. Along the way, he's brought listeners and online readers many colorful stories about Chicago politics, including the corruption trials and convictions of two former Illinois governors.

But none of that compares to the joy of covering his beloved Chicago Cubs winning the World Series in 2016, and three Stanley Cup Championships for the Chicago Blackhawks in 2010, 2013, and 2015.

Prior to joining NPR, Schaper spent almost a decade working as an award-winning reporter and editor for WBEZ/Chicago Public Media, NPR's Member station in Chicago. For three years he covered education issues, reporting in-depth on the problems and progress — financial, educational and otherwise — in Chicago's public schools.

Schaper also served as WBEZ's Assistant Managing Editor of News, managing the station's daily news coverage and editing the reporting staff while often still reporting himself. He later served as WBEZ's political editor and reporter; he was a frequent fill-in news anchor and talk show host. Additionally, he has been an occasional contributor guest panelist on Chicago public television station WTTW's news program, Chicago Tonight.

Schaper began his journalism career in La Crosse, Wisconsin, as a reporter and anchor at Wisconsin Public Radio's WLSU-FM. He has since worked in both public and commercial radio news, including stints at WBBM NewsRadio in Chicago, WXRT-FM in Chicago, WDCB-FM in suburban Chicago, WUIS-FM in Springfield, Illinois, WMAY-AM in Springfield, Illinois, and WIZM-AM and FM in La Crosse, Wisconsin.

Schaper earned a bachelor's degree in mass communications and history at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and a master's degree in public affairs reporting at the University of Illinois-Springfield. He lives in Chicago with his wife, a Chicago Public School teacher, and they have three adult children.

Westbound traffic on many Chicago streets came to a stop between 6:40 and 6:50 p.m. Central Time on Monday as drivers snapped pictures over dashboards, passengers with smartphones in hand leaned out of windows, and pedestrians set up tripods in the middle of some busy roadways — all so they could capture the incredible image of a burnt orange sun setting exquisitely framed by a canyon of skyscrapers.

Updated at 8:30 p.m. ET

With American Airlines joining United in pulling 737 Max planes from their schedules and cancelling flights into early November, many travel industry observers are bracing for the next shoe to drop: higher priced fares and cancelled flights for the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays season.

American Airlines announced Monday it is pulling the 737 Max from its schedule through Nov. 2, canceling about 115 flights per day. American reported last week that the Max grounding has already cost the airline $185 million in lost revenue.

The Federal Aviation Administration says there's a new problem with some of Boeing's 737 commercial jets. More than 300 of the planes, including some of the grounded Max versions of the jets, may have faulty parts on their wings.

Though the problem is not considered something that could lead to a crash, Boeing is contacting airlines that own the 737s in question, and the FAA has issued an air worthiness order directing airlines to immediately inspect the aircraft.

After a daylong meeting with fellow aviation safety officials from around the world, the head of the Federal Aviation Administration is sounding more optimistic about efforts to approve a fix for Boeing's troubled 737 Max, hinting that the FAA could recertify the plane to fly passengers again by as soon as late June.

In the wake of two crashes of its 737 Max jet in recent months that killed 346 people and grounded those planes worldwide, Boeing continues to produce the planes while campaigning to reassure airlines, pilots, regulators and the flying public that they are safe.

Many air travelers are breathing a sigh of relief now that the Federal Aviation Administration has grounded all Boeing 737 Max airplanes after two of the aircraft crashed in recent months, but some airline passengers are finding their flights canceled on Thursday as a result.

The polar vortex sliding south into the Midwest is sending temperatures to their lowest levels in more than 30 years and, in some cases, setting records.

While it usually sits over the Arctic, the polar vortex is being pushed south by an unseasonably warm air mass to the north.

The life-threatening cold is paralyzing the region — closing schools, businesses and courthouses; grounding flights; and keeping millions confined to their homes.

Jacinda says she has "no idea" what her family will do if the government shutdown continues past January. Her husband's last paycheck was Dec. 28 and, like many federal workers, he's unlikely to get his next one at the end of this week. He may not get the one after that, due at the end of January, either.

"Our rent is due, the electric bill is due, our cellphones are now past due," she says.

Her husband is a TSA officer in Portland, Ore., but he's not speaking publicly because the Transportation Security Administration forbids personnel to do so.

It's crunch time for getting packages delivered in time for Christmas, and companies like FedEx, UPS, the Postal Service and even Amazon are feeling the stress.

Online spending is expected to rise at least 15 percent over last year's record holiday season, according to Adobe Analytics.

Long before you click "buy" and type in that shipping address, most e-retailers have already anticipated your order.

In some cases, that item you just bought is already sitting in a nearby warehouse or fulfillment center and could be delivered in a couple of hours.

Once the backbone of the nation's transportation system, the nation's aging interstate highways are now overused and worn out, according to a new federal report. And failure to invest billions in modernizing the system will likely lead to more potholes, slower traffic jams, and increased costs to drivers and the nation's economy.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Relief supplies and critical life-saving equipment and personnel are heading into areas of Florida's Panhandle ravaged by Hurricane Michael, but officials say the severity of the storm's devastation is limiting their ability to get into the most heavily damaged areas.

Many seaports and airports along the southeastern U.S. coastline have been shut down, more than 1,000 flights have been canceled, and some highways and bridges in low-lying coastal areas could close soon, as Hurricane Florence gets closer to making landfall.

Authorities in coastal areas that lie in the path of the massive storm are urging residents one last time to evacuate.

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster's message is pretty blunt: If you live in an evacuation zone, hit the road soon.

The U.S is on pace to record close to 40,000 roadway and highway deaths for the third consecutive year, according to preliminary figures released Wednesday by the National Safety Council. The silver lining in those dark numbers is that the number of people dying each year in traffic collisions nationwide appears to be leveling off after two years of sharp increases.

The Trump administration's practice of separating children from their parents at the border is not just heartbreaking to other immigrants but also terrifying. Even immigrants who are in the country legally are beginning to worry that their families could be broken apart, too.

The anti-immigrant threats and actions have many Hispanic Americans in particular living on edge.

Tears immediately start streaming down the cheeks of Sarah, a Mexican immigrant, when she is asked about watching recent news stories on TV.

If you've already tried to get away for the long holiday weekend or are planning on leaving soon, you probably know this: the highways, airports and train stations are packed with like-minded folks trying to get out of town for the unofficial start of the summer vacation season.

Planes, trains and automobiles are overrun with Memorial Day weekend travelers and those who study traffic analytics say even people who slipped out on Thursday to beat the traffic were greeted by gridlock in many cities.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

It's Infrastructure Week again. Since President Trump came into office, it sometimes feels as though every other week is Infrastructure Week. In some circles, this has become a running joke.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

The country's leading airplane manufacturer, The Boeing Company, is caught in the middle as the world's two largest economies, the U.S. and China, inch closer to an all-out trade war.

In retaliation for President Trump's proposed $50 billion in tariffs on Chinese-made products, China has announced it would impose steep tariffs on $50 billion worth of U.S. products, including some aircraft.

Another top adviser to President Trump is leaving the White House. An administration official tells NPR that DJ Gribbin, architect of the president's $1.5 trillion infrastructure plan, "will be moving on to new opportunities."

This latest staff departure comes as the infrastructure plan hits a roadblock in Congress.

Updated at 11:59 p.m. ET

Federal investigators say a track switch locked in the wrong position appears to have led to Sunday's deadly Amtrak collision with an idle CSX freight train, and they are hesitant to say this latest wreck — the fourth fatal Amtrak incident in seven weeks — is part of a broader problem with what some have called a "lax safety culture" at Amtrak.

Updated on Dec. 4 at 6:29 p.m. ET

Some of the nation's 3.5 million truck drivers staged protests with their big rigs at truck stops and a few state capitols around the country on Monday, in hopes of derailing a new safety regulation that is set to take effect later this month.

As fire fighters in California's wine country worked frantically to contain and put out devastating wildfires that killed at least 42 people in recent weeks, and while his officers were still evacuating residents and searching through the burned ruins of homes for missing persons, Sonoma County Sheriff Rob Giordano had another problem to address.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

As some residents of South Texas begin to dry out their homes and belongings, significant challenges lie ahead as the city of Houston and others in the affected area look to recover and rebuild.

Congress is fast-tracking billions of dollars in recovery funding. But just because that down payment on Harvey recovery is on the way, that doesn't mean the rebuilding of Houston and other areas hammered by the storm's high winds and historic rains will go quickly or smoothly.

Here are five challenges ahead for the Harvey recovery:

There isn't a city in the United States, and there are probably very few anywhere in the world, that could have handled Hurricane Harvey's 50 inches of rain without significant flooding.

But Harvey was Houston's third flood in three years to surpass the "100 year flood" mark. Urban planners and civil engineers say a combination of natural and man-made factors has created a chronic drainage problem that left the city especially vulnerable to Harvey's torrential rains.

Modern technology has advanced the game of baseball in many ways. Teams use computer models to help strategize, data analytics to find the best players, and even tablets in the dugouts to instantly review plays. But the game itself can move at a leisurely pace — and some traditions may never change at all.

Ten years ago, the Interstate 35W bridge over the Mississippi River in downtown Minneapolis collapsed, sending cars, trucks and even a school bus that were crawling over it in bumper-to-bumper rush hour traffic plummeting into the river below and onto the rocky shore.

Thirteen people were killed, 145 more were injured, many of them seriously.

The bridge collapse sparked immediate calls in Minnesota and across the country invest big in repairing and replacing the nation's aging and crumbling infrastructure.

States are not doing enough to improve safety on the roads, in the workplace and in the home, according to a new report from the National Safety Council.

The group, which graded all 50 states on safety, awarded no state an "A" grade for overall safety, but 11 states received an "F."

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Two juries deliberating in high profile criminal trials this week appeared to be unable to reach agreement on a verdict. The judges overseeing those trials sent the jurors in both cases back to continue deliberations.

In Pennsylvania, four days after getting the case, the jury considering sexual assault charges against Bill Cosby told the judge they couldn't reach a unanimous decision on any of the three counts against the 79-year-old actor and comedian. The judge directed them to keep talking and as Thursday evening fell, the panel of seven men and five women were still at it.

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