David Schaper http://kplu.org en For Sale: Vacant Lots On Chicago Blocks, Just $1 Each http://kplu.org/post/sale-vacant-lots-chicago-blocks-just-1-each Chicago is practically giving away land: vacant lots for just $1 each. The catch? To buy one, you must already own a home on the same block.<p>Like many U.S. cities, Chicago has struggled with what to do with a growing number of empty lots in the wake of the foreclosure crisis. Wed, 02 Jul 2014 16:33:38 +0000 David Schaper 17529 at http://kplu.org For Sale: Vacant Lots On Chicago Blocks, Just $1 Each NTSB Raises New Concerns About Dreamliner's Lithium Ion Battery http://kplu.org/post/ntsb-raises-new-concerns-about-dreamliners-lithium-ion-battery The National Transportation Safety Board is calling on the FAA to take another look at the safety of the battery used in its Dreamliners. The recommendations issued by the NTSB on Thursday call on the FAA to evaluate whether additional requirements and independent testing outside the aviation industry are needed on the lithium ion batteries used in the Boeing 787s. Incidents involving the batteries' failure caused the fleet to be grounded last year. Fri, 23 May 2014 22:18:11 +0000 David Schaper 16822 at http://kplu.org The Long Wait On Safety Rules For The 'Soda Can' Of Rail Cars http://kplu.org/post/long-wait-safety-rules-soda-can-rail-cars Freight trains roll through the Chicago suburb of Barrington, Ill., every day, many pulling older tank cars known as DOT-111s. They're known as the "soda can" of rail cars, says village President Karen Darch, because their shells are so thin.<p>Many of the DOT-111s are full of heavy Canadian tar sands crude oil. Some carry ethanol. And more and more of them are loaded with light Bakken crude oil from North Dakota.<p>"The worry is that if there's a derailment and the car is punctured, if any of the flammable materials in it ... Tue, 15 Apr 2014 20:28:37 +0000 David Schaper 16042 at http://kplu.org The Long Wait On Safety Rules For The 'Soda Can' Of Rail Cars Chicago Celebrates A Century Of Baseball At Wrigley Field http://kplu.org/post/chicago-celebrates-century-baseball-wrigley-field When the first pitch is thrown between the Chicago Cubs and the Philadelphia Phillies on Friday, it will mark the start of the 100th professional baseball season at iconic Wrigley Field.<p>The ball park on Chicago's North Side, known as the Friendly Confines, opened as the home of the Chicago Federals 100 years ago this month.<p>The Cubs moved there two years later, and in all that time the Cubs have never won a World Series. Fri, 04 Apr 2014 17:56:16 +0000 David Schaper 15681 at http://kplu.org Chicago Celebrates A Century Of Baseball At Wrigley Field A Terrible Winter Wreaks Havoc On Roads, Pipes And City Budgets http://kplu.org/post/terrible-winter-wreaks-havoc-roads-pipes-and-city-budgets Bitter cold has returned to parts of the Midwest, mid-Atlantic and Northeast, following another heavy snowstorm that left 1 to 2 feet of snow from Ohio to New England.<p>And when all this snow finally melts, it'll expose the physical toll of this brutal winter: potholes, broken water mains, collapsed catch basins and other infrastructure problems.<p>"This winter's crazy, crazy busy," says John Polishak, a foreman for the Chicago Department of Water Management. "Everybody's been working 16 hours a day, seven days a week. Thu, 13 Mar 2014 22:36:29 +0000 David Schaper 14821 at http://kplu.org A Terrible Winter Wreaks Havoc On Roads, Pipes And City Budgets Problems Linger For Boeing's Flagship 787 Airliner http://kplu.org/post/problems-linger-boeings-flagship-787-airliner Despite more than a decade to work out problems and an estimated $20 billion to build it, Boeing's 787 aircraft is still plagued by issues.<p>The high-tech, fuel-efficient airplane was supposed to be a game changer in the aviation industry — and it still may be — but it keeps making headlines for all the wrong reasons.<p>Ever since 787s finally began flying in 2011, there have been technical and mechanical problems, from software bugs and engine defects to faulty wiring, trouble with hydraulics and fuel tank leaks.<p>"The lingering problems run the gamut from insignificant to highly significan Tue, 25 Feb 2014 23:05:27 +0000 David Schaper 14090 at http://kplu.org Problems Linger For Boeing's Flagship 787 Airliner With Wallets Bulging, States Must Decide How To Spend Their Cash http://kplu.org/post/wallets-bulging-states-must-decide-how-spend-their-cash After several lean years of cutting budgets to the bone, states hit hard by the deep recession finally have good fiscal news: Many states are now projecting budget surpluses.<p>But in an election year for three dozen governors, these surpluses are setting up potential political battles over what to do with the extra cash.<p>The first salvos are coming from governors themselves, in their annual State of the State addresses, as many of them take credit for bringing budgetary warmth to states that suffered through long, bitterly cold economic winters.<p>"We've stopped the bleeding. Tue, 11 Feb 2014 00:04:30 +0000 David Schaper 13487 at http://kplu.org With Wallets Bulging, States Must Decide How To Spend Their Cash The Upside Of The Bitter Cold: It Kills Bugs That Kill Trees http://kplu.org/post/upside-bitter-cold-it-kills-bugs-kill-trees While many of us may prefer to never again see temperatures drop below zero like they did earlier this week across the country, the deep freeze is putting warm smiles on the faces of many entomologists.<p>That's because it may have been cold enough in some areas to freeze and kill some damaging invasive species of insects, including the tree-killing emerald ash borer.<p>After their eggs are laid in the bark of ash trees during late summer, the larvae of these beetles start to bore. They feed on the conductive tissue, where water and nutrients go up and down the tree. Fri, 10 Jan 2014 23:53:38 +0000 David Schaper 12486 at http://kplu.org The Upside Of The Bitter Cold: It Kills Bugs That Kill Trees Oil Company Looks To Great Lakes As Shipping Demand Booms http://kplu.org/post/oil-company-looks-great-lakes-shipping-demand-booms North Dakota and western Canada are producing crude oil faster than it can be shipped to refineries.<p>Rail car manufacturers can't make new tank cars fast enough, and new pipeline proposals face long delays over environmental concerns. Sat, 28 Dec 2013 03:45:50 +0000 David Schaper 12127 at http://kplu.org Oil Company Looks To Great Lakes As Shipping Demand Booms This Drought's No Dry Run: Lessons Of The Dust Bowl http://kplu.org/post/droughts-no-dry-run-lessons-dust-bowl This summer's drought continues to wilt and bake crops from Ohio to the Great Plains and beyond. Under a baking, late-afternoon sun just outside of the tiny east-central Illinois town of Thawville, John Hildenbrand walks down his dusty, gravel driveway toward one of his corn fields.<p>"You can see on the outer edge, these are a lot better-looking ears on the outside rows. Of course, it's not near as hot as it is inside the field," he says.<p>Walking deeper into the 7-foot-high corn stalks, the temperature — already in the 90s — becomes stifling. Here, the ears are smaller. Sat, 04 Aug 2012 14:33:12 +0000 David Schaper 5881 at http://kplu.org This Drought's No Dry Run: Lessons Of The Dust Bowl