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Body found near Joliet was that of Manhattan woman, 21Marissa L. Koziel, 21, was found dead of an apparent gunshot wound Friday in the 1500 block of California Ave. in Joliet Township.A woman was found dead in the 1500 block of California Avenue in Joliet Township by three youths on the evening of Friday, Feb. 23, 2018.A woman was found dead in the 1500 block of California Avenue in Joliet Township by three youths on the evening of Friday, Feb. 23, 2018.A woman was found dead in the 1500 block of California Avenue in Joliet Township by three youths on the evening of Friday, Feb. 23, 2018.

Sun, 25 Feb 2018 06:34:00 GMT

JOLIET TOWNSHIP – The body found about 6 p.m. Friday in the 1500 block of California Avenue has been identified as that of Marissa L. Koziel, 21, formerly of Manhattan. Three youths found a body Friday evening and called 911, police said. Investigators identified Koziel as the woman found Friday, according to a news release by the Will County Sheriff’s Office. She was pronounced dead at 8:15 p.m. The Will County Coroner reported the death is being investigated as a homicide. Investigators have not announced any suspects in the case yet. “Our detectives have been pretty much working nonstop since Marissa was discovered,” Deputy Chief Dan Jungles said of the Will County Sheriff’s Office. “They’re following up on quite a few different leads.” Koziel was reported missing by family members to the Manhattan Police Department on Feb. 14, and she was last seen by family members on Feb. 1, 2018, according to a news release. A post on the Missing Person Awareness Network Facebook page had information on Koziel missing, including that she was last seen at the Rodeway Inn at 1730 McDonough St. in Joliet. Jungles declined to comment on whether that was true, or where investigators knew her to have last been seen. An autopsy was conducted by the Will County Coroner’s Office and preliminary reports show Koziel died of a single gunshot wound, although Jungles declined to comment on where she was shot. The release also described Koziel as being formerly from Manhattan, but Jungles added that she did not have a permanent address for a period of time, although he said he did not know for how long. “She had been staying at hotels in the area for a while,” Jungles said. The youths who reported the body were teenagers, Jungles said. “I think they were just walking in the neighborhood,” he said of the three juveniles who made the discovery on California north of Rosalind Street, just outside the Joliet city limits. Jungles said the body was found about 6 p.m. The subject was lying face down, unresponsive and cold to the touch, according to the release. Will County Sheriff’s personnel contacted deputies in Crime Scene Investigation and Detectives in Will County Investigations. Deputies secured the area near the body and shut down surrounding roads while they conducted the investigation. Initially, a source said the body was that of a child. “I can’t confirm that because no one has told me that,” Jungles said, who explained on Friday night that the body was wrapped in an unspecified material and positioned in such a way that the person’s age could not be determined. A source said the body was covered with a rug. Koziel was 5 feet tall and weighed 95 pounds, according to county records. Shortly after 6:30 p.m. Friday, Jungles said the body had not been moved or even touched by investigators. Will County Sheriff’s officers still had the scene taped off Saturday morning. Nearby residents said that students usually walk to and from a nearby school, Forest Park Individual Education School, located at 1220 California St. just down the road from the crime scene, but Jungles said the youths who reported the dead body were teenagers and were not walking from the school. One resident who said he’s lived in the neighborhood for many years said he had never seen anything like Friday’s death. Crime Scene Investigators and detectives were processing the scene and were following up with potential leads. Anyone with information about the case is asked to call the Will County Sheriff’s Office Investigation Division at 815-727-8574. [...]


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Algonquin Township highway commissioner wants clerk to pay back $250 bonus from Bob MillerWhitney Rupp for Shaw Media Algonquin Township Clerk Karen Lukasik listens to a public comment at the Feb. 14 board meeting.

Sun, 25 Feb 2018 05:56:00 GMT

ALGONQUIN TOWNSHIP – Highway Commissioner Andrew Gasser wants Clerk Karen Lukasik to pay back a $250 bonus she received from former Highway Commissioner Bob Miller in 2016, according to court records. Gasser’s attorney filed an amended complaint Tuesday tied to the highway commissioner’s June 1 lawsuit against Lukasik, Miller and Miller’s wife, Anna May Miller, who worked as road district secretary. With a request for Bob Miller to pay back more than $47,000 in accumulated sick pay the township paid him before he left office and a restraining order to prevent the destruction of records, the latest complaint alluded to the more than $242,000 in unexplained bonuses Bob Miller paid from 2013 to 2017. The complaint alleges Lukasik is out to obstruct Gasser from reviewing records to cover up years of wrongdoing by the highway commissioner’s predecessor. The court document highlights receipts he said show that Bob Miller used public funds to buy handbags, women’s clothing and other personal items – including plane tickets to Disneyland. The complaint’s latest material points to a $250 bonus Lukasik received in December 2016 – more than two months before voters elected her Algonquin Township’s clerk. During that time, Lukasik was not a full-time employee, but she drove a bus for the highway department on an hourly basis, making $15 an hour. She received the bonus – characterized as miscellaneous pay – for “going above and beyond” her duties, according to a Northwest Herald investigation. Attorney Robert Hanlon wrote the complaint on behalf of Gasser and argued Lukasik should pay back that money. Hanlon described the bonus as an “excess payment” with no public purpose” and “unlawful.” “By way of this action, the Road District seeks the return of the $250.00 that was not earned by Lukasik but paid to her,” Hanlon wrote. The Northwest Herald could not reach Lukasik for comment Friday. Prosecutors inside the McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office homed in on the unexplained bonuses amid a wider probe into official misconduct during Bob Miller’s time at the Algonquin Township Highway Department. Township officials have no written policy explaining or supporting those payments. Miller’s highway department distributed the bulk of those payments, about $242,000, to employees from May 2013 to May 2017. The bonuses are in payroll reports under a line item labeled “Misc.” Pay for regular hours, overtime, vacation, holidays and sick leave are listed as separate earnings. The flat payments ranged from $100 to $1,900 a period, according to payroll reports. Payroll records from Bob Miller’s time in office showed his two sons-in-law earned about $55,000 in miscellaneous pay between them during from 2013 to 2017. Anna May Miller, the former highway commissioner’s wife and secretary, received $29,090 in miscellaneous pay. Miller led the highway department for 24 years and lost his seat in 2017 to Gasser. The first-term highway commissioner has continued the payments on a smaller scale, but said he put policies in place to codify the pay practices. Gasser has not provided those policies to the Northwest Herald. He could not be reached for comment Friday. Hanlon would not comment on whether he plans to ask other road district employees to repay bonuses Bob Miller paid them: “I can’t tell you what I’m going to do tomorrow.” Whitney Rupp for Shaw Media Algonquin Township Clerk Karen Lukasik listens to a public comment at the Feb. 14 board meeting.[...]


Media Files:
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14th Congressional District candidates to visit MCC forumThe League of Women Voters will host a forum Monday at McHenry County College featuring candidates in the contested 14th Congressional District primary race.

Sun, 25 Feb 2018 05:55:00 GMT

CRYSTAL LAKE – The League of Women Voters will host a forum Monday at McHenry County College featuring candidates in the contested 14th Congressional District primary race.

Those candidates will participate in a meet-and-greet at 6:30 p.m., followed by a forum at 7 p.m. in the Luecht Conference Center at McHenry County College, 8900 Route 14, Crystal Lake.

The list of candidates includes George Weber, D-Lakewood; Matthew Brolley, D-Montgomery; Lauren Underwood, D-Naperville; Victor Swanson, D-Batavia; John Hosta, D-Spring Grove; Jim Waltz, D-Gurnee; and Daniel Roldan-Johnson, D-Volo.

The 14th Congressional District includes a slice of northeastern Illinois, including portions of McHenry, Lake, Kane, DeKalb, Kendall, DuPage and Will counties.

The League of Women Voters will host a forum Monday at McHenry County College featuring candidates in the contested 14th Congressional District primary race.


Media Files:
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Harvard District 50 appoints new assistant superintendent, junior high school principalVictoria Larson will serve as the Assistant Superintendent of Harvard District 50 starting in 2018.Juan Suarez will serve as the new Junior High School principal. He currently works in District 300 as the assistant principal at Parkview Elementary School in Carpentersville.

Sun, 25 Feb 2018 05:55:00 GMT

HARVARD – Harvard School District 50 has made two upper administration position hires after a months-long search.

The district’s school board this week hired two education professionals to serve as assistant superintendent of District 50 and principal of Harvard Junior High School.

Victoria Larson will take on the role of assistant superintendent. She currently is the principal of Woodstock School District 200’s Dean Elementary School and has worked with the district for 10 years. Before her work in Woodstock, she was with McHenry School District 15.

“It’s definitely a good opportunity to continue to do what I am passionate about on a larger scale,” she said. “I believe the board of education, Dr. [Corey] Tafoya and the staff have a great vision. I know I will be able to add support to that team and add goals for the strategic plan they have.”

It’s a new role in the district, District 50 Superintendent Tafoya said.

“Dr. Larson is an outstanding educational leader and someone I have immense respect for as a person and as an administrator,” Tafoya said. “I trust her work ethic and focus on student achievement and can’t wait to work with her here in Harvard. Adding a leader of her talent and background is tremendous for Harvard.”

Juan Suarez will serve as the new junior high school principal. He currently works in District 300 as the assistant principal at Parkview Elementary School in Carpentersville.

Suarez has spent his career in the district in various positions, including coordinator of Title I, English as a second language teacher and coordinator of Title I and ESL Services.

“Mr. Suarez is going to a great leader of Harvard Junior High,” Tafoya said. “He is super intelligent and has shown through his career to be someone who consistently makes situations for students better. We are always looking to hire talented administrators, and Juan showed that he is a future star, and we’re so glad he’s joining us.”

Suarez said he was looking forward to learning the district’s culture and becoming part of the team to help students achieve.

“One of the main things that attracted me to work for District 50 was their visible commitment to student learning and the growth mindset displayed by teachers, students and district leadership,” he said. “I know that all students can and are able to learn at high levels. I intend to promote that message loud and proud.”

Both positions will begin in the 2018-19 school year. District 50 will pay Larson $130,000 annually, in addition to benefits. Suarez will earn $86,000 plus benefits, according to district documents.

District 50 operates five schools, including a high school, junior high school, two elementary schools and an early-learning school. More than 2,700 students attend District 50 schools.

Harvard CUSD 50 features a dual language program, one-to-one computing, advanced building trades curriculum, modern STEM classes and yearly summer camps.

Victoria Larson will serve as the Assistant Superintendent of Harvard District 50 starting in 2018.Juan Suarez will serve as the new Junior High School principal. He currently works in District 300 as the assistant principal at Parkview Elementary School in Carpentersville.


Media Files:
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Harrison School District 36 to host kindergarten roundup

Sun, 25 Feb 2018 05:55:00 GMT

WONDER LAKE – Harrison School District 36 will have Kindergarten Roundup for the 2018-19 school year from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. March 8 at Harrison Elementary School, 6809 McCullom Lake Road, Wonder Lake.

Parents must attend the meeting if their child will be age 5 on or before Sept. 1, 2018. Bring three proofs of residency and the child's birth certificate. If unable to attend the meeting, an information packet will be available for pickup after March 8. For information, call Harrison at 815-653-2311.




Woodstock woman charged with stealing more than $2K worth of material from Algonquin libraryMarisa Pacheco

Sun, 25 Feb 2018 05:54:00 GMT

ALGONQUIN – A 25-year-old Woodstock woman who was arrested after failing to return years-overdue materials to the Algonquin Area Public Library was released from jail Friday.

On Dec. 12, 2016, Marisa Pacheco checked out several DVDs, video games and one book from the Algonquin Area Public Library, according to a complaint filed in McHenry County court.

The library, which doesn’t fine patrons for overdue books, unsuccessfully tried for a year to have the items returned before going to police, Algonquin Deputy Police Chief Ryan Markham said. The total value of the materials Pacheco is accused of stealing is valued at more than $2,000, Markham said.

“This is becoming a common problem, not necessarily in Algonquin, but I know a lot of towns have experienced this where people go in, check out video games, DVDs and things like that and then sell them,” Markham said.

The Lake County Sheriff’s Office arrested Pacheco on theft charges Wednesday, but none of the checked-out items have been recovered, he said.

Pacheco originally was arrested on a $20,000 warrant, and she was released on her signature Friday morning.

McHenry County Assistant Public Defender Grant Tucker declined to comment on the case.

Pacheco is charged with two counts of felony theft and one count of misdemeanor theft.

She could face between two and five years in prison, if convicted.

Markham said there’s no reason for library patrons to fear they’ll be arrested if they forget to return a book.

“This is nothing like that,” he said. “This is where they’re intentionally going in and checking out a large amount of high-value video games and things like that and never bringing them back.”

In September 2014, the Algonquin Area Public Library District stopped charging cardholders overdue fines, according to the library’s website.

Materials still are assigned due dates, and if an item is two weeks overdue, the cardholder will be billed for the item and barred from checking out more material.  

Once the item is returned, however, the bill is removed from the cardholder’s account. The policy doesn’t apply to lost or damaged items.

“The library followed regular procedures for recovering long-overdue materials without success. This was a very unusual situation, and it is unfortunate that we had to involve the police,” the library’s executive director, Sara Murray, said in an email Friday. “We appreciate that the vast majority of our patrons show respect for the library and responsibility with the items they borrow.”

Online court records show that Pacheco also has an open theft case in Lake County.

Her next court appearance is scheduled for April 6.

Marisa Pacheco


Media Files:
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Algonquin Township Highway Department, Local 150 trade emails about possible settlementShaw Media file photo Protestors line Route 14 in front of the Algonquin Road District building Wednesday, June 14, 2017 in Crystal Lake. The International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150 protested the firing of three members shortly after Algonquin Township Highway Commissioner Andrew Gasser was sworn in.

Sun, 25 Feb 2018 05:54:00 GMT

ALGONQUIN TOWNSHIP – Algonquin Township Highway Commissioner Andrew Gasser’s fight with the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150 now has a new legal term attached to the storyline: Settlement. Attorney Robert Hanlon wrote Local 150 lawyers Feb. 9 to ask whether they would discuss ending the long-steeping litigation that has cost Algonquin Township – and its taxpayers – almost a quarter of a million dollars since June. “Accordingly, perhaps it would benefit everyone if we agree to stop litigating and sit down and negotiate a contract that works for everyone,” Hanlon wrote. “To the extent that you wish to consider this option, please let me know. Perhaps our collective business judgment will avoid further expense to both sides.” Since June, Robert T. Hanlon & Associates has represented Gasser and the highway department in a battles against Local 150 and the Illinois Labor Relations Board. Hanlon’s firm has charged the highway department more than $240,000, according to billing records. Local 150 lawyer Bryan Diemer wrote Hanlon back Feb. 14. “The short answer is that Local 150 is always willing to consider settlement,” wrote Diemer, who laid out the deal that would interest Local 150. “At a minimum, a settlement would have to include reinstatement of the four discharged employees with full back pay, as well as full make-whole relief for all other contract violations from the date Mr. Gasser took office forward, and a commitment to abide by the terms of the [collective bargaining agreement] going forward.” In May, minutes after he was sworn in as highway commissioner, Gasser fired the two sons-in-law of predecessor Robert Miller – Derek Lee and Andrew Rosencrans – and former McHenry County Board member Nick Chirikos. That sparked the labor dispute between Gasser and Local 150. The union reported the firings to the labor board in June. In a complaint mailed to Hanlon on Aug. 21, the labor board alleged that the firings were unlawful and Gasser failed to bargain in good faith after he publicly abandoned the highway department’s contract with the union. The labor board, Local 150 and Hanlon have traded numerous court documents over the following months. The legal acrobatics included a law judge issuing a default judgment ordering Gasser to rehire the employees – and Hanlon getting that judgment overturned. Diemer’s three-page letter to Hanlon dissects how much time and money the legal war has cost Algonquin Township and the taxpayers living there. “For whatever reason, this litigation has not cost Local 150 nearly as much as it has cost the Algonquin Township Road District,” Diemer wrote. Diemer said a settlement at this point would seem insignificant when compared to what may come at the end of the case – a final judgment he estimates will exceed $1 million. “Please contact me if you are interested in pursuing a global settlement of all pending claims,” Diemer said. “If, as I fear, your interest in settlement is limited to rescinding the current CBA and negotiating a new one, Local 150 respectfully declines your offer.” As of Friday, Hanlon had not responded. The Northwest Herald reached out to Hanlon to see where he stood on a possible settlement – an outcome, he said, is unlikely. “They want to stick with the deal that was struck in the dark of night,” Hanlon said. [...]Shaw Media file photo Protestors line Route 14 in front of the Algonqui[...]


Media Files:
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Scorched Earth Brewing Co. doubles brewery space in AlgonquinMatthew Apgar - mapgar@shawmedia.com Head brewer Mark Gres cleans out the yeast brink at Scorched Earth Brewing Co. on Friday, Feb. 23, in Algonquin.Matthew Apgar - mapgar@shawmedia.com General Manager Kate Wilford takes down the tables to set up the eating area inside phase one of their expansion at Scorched Earth Brewing Co. on Friday, Feb. 23, in Algonquin.Matthew Apgar - mapgar@shawmedia.com Cellarman Adam Burnett checks the gravity and sugar content of a brew at Scorched Earth Brewing Co. on Friday, Feb. 23, in Algonquin.

Sun, 25 Feb 2018 05:53:00 GMT

ALGONQUIN – Scorched Earth Brewing Co. in Algonquin has completed its first phase of an expansion project that will double the size of its brewery.

The first phase includes the addition of a new tap room space, which doubles the seating area by adding authentic German beer garden tables. The space also added new flatscreen TVs and more restrooms.

Co-founder Jennifer Dallas said the brewery will be 128,000 square feet once the expansion project, which started in the fall, is completed.

With the extra space, the brewery can book private parties and special events – something it didn’t have the room to accommodate in the past.

“Ever since we’ve opened we’ve been limited in our seating, so this brings more comfort,” Dallas said. “It is a lot more accommodating for seating and a relaxed and fun environment.”

Crystal Lake native Corey Hagberg painted the walls in a “street-art” mural style, featuring the brewery’s Huckster and Giant Killer-style artwork.

“The artwork is our eye candy, and it’s different than anything you’ll see around here,” Dallas said.

The second phase is expected to wrap up by the summer and will add more taps, a new Crowler canning system for “to go” beer, more space for entertainment and music, indoor games, seating and more.

Dallas said she hopes to have more games, such as bocce, bags, pingpong and possibly arcade games.

The brewery opened in 2014 and previously has been recognized for being “Illinois Made.” Co-founder Mike Dallas said he works with small businesses around McHenry County and uses their products in the craft beers.

For example, the brewery uses berries from Heider’s Berry Farm in Woodstock and uses cocoa nibs from Ethereal Confections in Woodstock.

The tap room, 203 Berg St., is open Thursdays through Sundays. For information, visit http://scorchedearthbrewing.com.

Matthew Apgar - mapgar@shawmedia.com Head brewer Mark Gres cleans out the yeast brink at Scorched Earth Brewing Co. on Friday, Feb. 23, in Algonquin.Matthew Apgar - mapgar@shawmedia.com General Manager Kate Wilford takes down the tables to set up the eating area inside phase one of their expansion at Scorched Earth Brewing Co. on Friday, Feb. 23, in Algonquin.Matthew Apgar - mapgar@shawmedia.com Cellarman Adam Burnett checks the gravity and sugar content of a brew at Scorched Earth Brewing Co. on Friday, Feb. 23, in Algonquin.


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Man charged with possessing pills, meth, nitrous oxideZachary Patterson

Sun, 25 Feb 2018 05:52:00 GMT

McHENRY – A 28-year-old McHenry man remained in the county jail Friday evening on possession charges for methamphetamine, Ecstasy, Xanax and nitrous oxide.

Zachary Patterson was found Wednesday with between 15 and 200 Ecstasy pills, which officers believed he intended to deliver, according to a criminal complaint filed in McHenry County court. Police didn’t give a more specific number of pills found.

Patterson, of the 3600 block of Bull Valley Road, also was found with one Xanax pill, less than five grams methamphetamine and nitrous oxide, or “laughing gas,” the complaint stated.

Patterson was taken to the McHenry County Jail on Wednesday and is being held on $250,000 bond.

He is charged with delivering Ecstasy, possession of Ecstasy, possession of a controlled substance and possession of nitrous oxide, jail records show. Details surrounding Patterson’s arrest were not available.

If convicted of the most serious charge, delivering Ecstasy, Patterson could be sentenced to between six and 30 years in prison.

He is due back in court Monday for a bond hearing.

Zachary Patterson


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Judge won't suppress statements in Wonder Lake marijuana smuggling case

Sun, 25 Feb 2018 05:52:00 GMT

WONDER LAKE – A McHenry County judge on Friday denied attorneys’ request to suppress an alleged confession made by a Sycamore man charged with smuggling more than 300 pounds of marijuana through a McHenry County airport in 2014.

Attorneys for Andrzej Hryniewicki asked Judge James Cowlin last month to prevent the statements from being allowed in a future trial, claiming they were the product of coercion and physical and mental abuse.

In a written decision filed Friday in McHenry County court, Cowlin said Hryniewicki, of Sycamore, seemed “evasive” during his testimony in January, and spoke as though he were making up his answers.

“The court can best describe [Hryniewicki] as a savvy and clever individual who at various times during his encounter with police was looking for a way out of his predicament,” Cowlin wrote.

Hryniewicki was charged in November 2014 with multiple drug felonies, including marijuana trafficking, after police said he transported about $1.12 million worth of marijuana in a private airplane that came from California and landed at Galt Airport in Wonder Lake.

On Nov. 18, 2014, police began to monitor a plane traveling from California to Chicago. Officers later spoke with a witness who told them he had plans to meet Hryniewicki at a Walmart in Belvidere and drive with him to Galt Airport to get the marijuana, according to a Dec. 8 court filing. A search of the hangar revealed nearly 320 pounds of marijuana. Police hid inside the hangar Nov. 19 and arrested the two men.

Defense attorney Matthew Amarin has said that during the arrest, Hryniewicki was hit in the head and knocked unconscious. Although responding paramedics suggested that he be taken to the hospital, law enforcement encouraged him to refuse treatment, Amarin wrote in previous motions.

Prosecutors, however, have said any injuries Hryniewicki suffered were minor and caused by his refusal to cooperate with the officers trying to arrest him.

Agents testified that they allowed Hryniewicki to smoke cigarettes once he was handcuffed, and that after he was treated for his injury, Hryniewicki had a “cordial conversation” about his family, high school wrestling and college football.

Hryniewicki shortly after confessed to bringing drugs over the Illinois border, stating he’d been hired as a smuggler by someone he knew only as “Steve,” according to the Dec. 8 filing.

“[Hryniewicki] was educated,” Cowlin wrote in his decision. “He attended military school in the United States. [Hryniewicki] not only voluntarily offered statements to the police, he initiated the conversation offering to set up another participant.”

The case will pick back up in McHenry County on March 23.


Media Files:
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Cary-Grove alumna speaks out on policy change after Fox River Grove bus-train crash, Parkland shootingA woman who was a student at Cary-Grove High School during the deadly 1995 bus-train crash in Fox River Grove is speaking out about tragedy and change in light of the recent school shooting in Parkland, Florida.

Sun, 25 Feb 2018 05:51:00 GMT

FOX RIVER GROVE – A woman who was a student at Cary-Grove High School during the deadly 1995 bus-train crash in Fox River Grove is speaking out about tragedy and change in light of the recent school shooting in Parkland, Florida.

A gunman opened fire and killed 17 people Feb. 14 at a high school in Parkland. The shooting has renewed talk of gun control in the U.S. from Parkland victims, activists, politicians and the public at large.

“As these shootings happen, I look at the faces of these teens and see the pain and trauma they are experiencing,” said Heather Booth, now of Westmont. “I think some part of all of us at Cary-Grove [High School] can relate to their pain. It’s obviously a different type of tragedy, but the similarity is that we have lost people we care about in a horrible way.”

The Fox River Grove crash occurred Oct. 25, 1995, at Algonquin Road and Route 14. Seven Cary-Grove High School students died and dozens were injured when a school bus driver drove over the train tracks at Algonquin Road and stopped at the red light with the bus’s rear extended about 3 feet into the path of the train.

The National Transportation Safety Board issued new recommendations after an investigation of the crash, and changes were implemented across the board on communication, engineering and training practices, among others.

“And as kids, here’s what this meant: We saw something awful happen, then we saw adults support us, then we saw them make change happen to keep that awful thing from ever happening again ... “one of her Tweets read.

Booth said in a series of tweets – the first post was retweeted more than 52,000 times as of Friday afternoon – that she could relate to the intense emotions many have in the aftermath of the shooting. The incident has sparked numerous gun control proposals – President Donald Trump has suggested a ban on bump stocks, for instance, and a Florida Legislature proposal suggests arming teachers.

Students also are engaged in activism and have been targeting lawmakers and the National Rifle Association on Twitter, demanding gun reform.

“Working with teens, I see their optimism and passion for making the world a better place,” Booth said. “The adults in this situation need to do more to meet that and help them achieve the vision they have.”

Booth made clear she wasn’t making an assertion about her opinion on gun control.

“There are a lot of avenues to combat gun violence, and I think all of us have a role and skills to make it happen,” she said. “Regardless of where you stand on gun legislation, I think there are ways we can support our communities.”

Those supports should include school and teacher support and mental health support, she said.

“It’s a difficult problem,” she said. “There are different ways we can work toward improving it.”

A woman who was a student at Cary-Grove High School during the deadly 1995 bus-train crash in Fox River Grove is speaking out about tragedy and change in light of the recent school shooting in Parkland, Florida.


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NRA, Florida face backlash after latest school shootingNational Rifle Association Executive Vice President and CEO Wayne LaPierre speaks Thursday at the Conservative Political Action Conference, at National Harbor, Md. LaPierre said at the conference that those advocating for stricter gun control are exploiting the Florida shooting which killed over a dozen people, mostly high-school students.

Sun, 25 Feb 2018 04:58:00 GMT

NEW YORK – The National Rifle Association, and now the State of Florida, faced a growing backlash Saturday as companies cut ties to the gun industry following the latest school massacre, and student survivors called for tourism boycotts of their home state until gun control measures are enacted. The latest companies to end their ties with the NRA were Delta and United Airlines, two of the three largest U.S.-based airlines. Corporate ties to the NRA aren’t the only elements undergoing scrutiny after a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 dead on Valentine’s Day. Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said he’s investigating claims that some Coral Springs police officers saw several of his deputies outside the building after the shooting began. On Thursday, Scot Peterson, the school’s resource officer, resigned under fire from the sheriff’s office for failing to enter the building where police say former 19-year-old student Nikolas Cruz was gunning down students with an AR-15 assault-style rifle. On Saturday, both Delta and United said Saturday that they will no longer offer discounted fares to NRA members to attend their annual meetings, and both have asked the gun rights group to remove any references to their companies from the NRA website. A growing number of large companies have announced they are cutting or reducing ties with the association. Rental car company Hertz will no longer offer a discount program to NRA members and First National Bank of Omaha, one of the nation’s largest privately held banks, said it will not renew a co-branded Visa credit card it has with the NRA. Most of these companies do promotional tie-ins with groups to spur customer loyalty to NRA members, and do not receive money directly from the NRA. The moves have come as petitions circulated online targeting companies offering discounts to NRA members on its website. #BoycottNRA was trending on Twitter. In an email Saturday, the NRA called the companies’ actions “a shameful display of political and civic cowardice” and said the loss of corporate discounts and other perks “will neither scare nor distract” NRA members. “In time, these brands will be replaced by others who recognize that patriotism and determined commitment to Constitutional freedoms are characteristics of a marketplace they very much want to serve,” the NRA statement said. The State of Florida also was facing some backlash. One of the survivors of the Florida school shooting suggested Saturday on Twitter that tourists stay away from the state. He got an immediate response. “Let’s make a deal,” tweeted David Hogg, a Stoneman Douglas student who has been a major player in the #neveragain movement. “DO NOT come to Florida for spring break unless gun legislation is passed.” Wendy Glaab, 60, of Fonthill, Ontario, Canada, was among the first to respond. “I like many Canadians travel to Florida from time to time to escape our winter. I can’t speak for others but I will not be returning until meaningful gun control legislation is in place.” Members of the NRA have access to special offers from partner companies on its website, ranging from life insurance to wine clubs. But the insurance company MetLife Inc. discontinued its discount program with the NRA on Friday. Symantec Corp., the software company that makes Norton Antivirus technology, did the same. Insurer Chubb Ltd. said it is endin[...]


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Judge dismisses lawsuit against HBO’s John OliverFILE - In this Nov. 7, 2017 file photo, comedian John Oliver performs at the 11th Annual Stand Up for Heroes benefit in New York. A West Virginia judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed against HBO host John Oliver brought by coal company Murray Energy. A segment of Oliver‚Äôs show ‚ÄúLast Week Tonight‚Äù in June poked fun at Murray Energy CEO Robert Murray, who blames regulatory efforts by the Obama administration for damaging the coal industry. Oliver said the 77-year-old looked like a "geriatric Dr. Evil." A Circuit Court judge in Marshall County, W. Va., ruled on Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018 that Murray‚Äôs company failed to state a claim. (Photo by Brent N. Clarke/Invision/AP, File)

Sun, 25 Feb 2018 04:58:00 GMT

MOUNDSVILLE, W.Va. – A West Virginia judge has dismissed a lawsuit brought by coal company Murray Energy against HBO host John Oliver.

A segment of Oliver’s Sunday show “Last Week Tonight” in June poked fun at Murray Energy CEO Robert Murray, who blames regulatory efforts by the Obama administration for damaging the coal industry. Oliver said the 77-year-old looked like a “geriatric Dr. Evil.” A Circuit Court judge in Marshall County, West Virginia, ruled on Wednesday that Murray’s company failed to state a claim. The two-page ruling from Senior Judge Jeffrey Cramer was posted online by The Hollywood Reporter.

FILE - In this Nov. 7, 2017 file photo, comedian John Oliver performs at the 11th Annual Stand Up for Heroes benefit in New York. A West Virginia judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed against HBO host John Oliver brought by coal company Murray Energy. A segment of Oliver’s show “Last Week Tonight” in June poked fun at Murray Energy CEO Robert Murray, who blames regulatory efforts by the Obama administration for damaging the coal industry. Oliver said the 77-year-old looked like a "geriatric Dr. Evil." A Circuit Court judge in Marshall County, W. Va., ruled on Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018 that Murray’s company failed to state a claim. (Photo by Brent N. Clarke/Invision/AP, File)


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Sex harassment, taxes, Rauner v. Madigan key in racesIllinois Speaker of the House Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, (left) visits with Illinois House Minority Leader Jim Durkin, R-Western Springs, Aug. 27 at the Illinois State Capitol in Springfield. One of every five lawmakers sworn in to office in 2019 will be new to the Illinois General Assembly. Thirty members of the House and Senate have announced retirement or already left. It's an election year tainted not only by the state budget mess but sparked by the #MeToo anti-sexual harassment movement. It's an election that promises a referendum on Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and Speaker Madigan and the three years they've spent battling over the budget.

Sun, 25 Feb 2018 04:58:00 GMT

SPRINGFIELD – One out of every five Illinois legislators taking the oath of office next winter will be new to the General Assembly. Thirty lawmakers, many worn down by years of skirmishing between Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan over state finances – and just about everything else – have retired or will not stand for re-election in November. Add to that the #MeToo anti-sexual harassment movement, which swept up a Democratic state senator and in recent weeks even singed Madigan; the moderate stances on abortion and immigration that Rauner the fiscal conservative has taken; and the malaise wrought of hundreds of billions of dollars of debt, and there enough to push voters past the boiling point. Legislative candidates sense that, and while November has long promised a referendum on Rauner v. Madigan, many are distancing themselves from those established mantles. But first comes the March 20 primary in an election year that is showing divisiveness, even within the parties. “I love my state and my city and I really want to see some independent leadership,” said Anne Shaw, a businesswoman who’s one of four women seeking the Democratic nomination for an open Chicago House seat. “I’ve seen funding for our neighborhood schools go down, gun violence go up. ... I am really tired of business as usual.” Madigan, the longest-serving state House speaker in U.S. history, has long been in the crosshairs of Republicans with a longevity-breeds-corruption theme. That tenure has come into question even among Democrats in recent weeks amid allegations that he mishandled complaints of sexual harassment by political campaign workers. Five Democratic hopefuls, including four women, wanting an open northwest Cook County seat have made the race a Madigan litmus test, targeting sexual harassment in the workplace and focusing criticism on one candidate, human rights lawyer Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz, for taking $65,000 from Madigan campaign accounts and challenging her to return the money because of the brewing controversy. Gong-Gershowitz said at a candidates forum that she is “beholden to nothing other than values.” The sexual-harassment issue is playing out in a big way in a four-way race for Chicago Democratic Sen. Ira Silverstein’s seat. An ethics officer found that the 19-year Senate veteran had acted unprofessionally in personal interaction with a legislative activist he was working with, but did not harass her. Silverstein said he’s received a “favorable response” from voters and his campaign is “moving on.” His opponents differ. Ram Villivalam, a union leader who has raised $175,000 to Silverstein’s $236,000, said voters “need someone effective, someone proactive,” adding that after the harassment complaint, “I knew that he could not be effective moving forward.” Rauner’s moderate stands on conservative touchstones – he signed laws to provide public financing of abortion and to restrict police involvement with immigrants unless armed with a criminal warrant – drew a direct primary challenge from Rep. Jeanne Ives, a Republican from Wheaton. While few of her colleagues have endorsed her, few have outright announced opposition. And conservative money has poured into races in districts where maverick GOP House members jumped ship last summer to help Democrats overturn Rauner’s veto of an income-tax increase. Anti-tax candidates have benefit[...]


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Syria strikes kill scores, U.N. votes for cease-fireThis photo released on Saturday, Feb 24, 2018 by the Syrian Civil Defense group known as the White Helmets, shows members of the Syrian Civil Defense group and civilians gathering to help survivors from a street attacked by airstrikes and shelling by Syrian government forces, in Ghouta, a suburb of Damascus, Syria. A new wave of airstrikes and shelling on eastern suburbs of the Syrian capital Damascus left at least 22 people dead and more than a dozen wounded Saturday, raising the death toll of a week of bombing in the area to nearly 500, including scores of women and children. (Syrian Civil Defense White Helmets via AP)

Sun, 25 Feb 2018 04:58:00 GMT

BEIRUT – A new wave of airstrikes and shelling on eastern suburbs of the Syrian capital Damascus left at least 22 people dead and dozens wounded Saturday, raising the death toll of a week of bombing in the area to 500, as the U.N. Security Council unanimously approved a resolution demanding a 30-day cease-fire across Syria.

The weeklong bombardment has overwhelmed rescuers and doctors at makeshift hospitals, many of which have also been bombed. The latest wave of bombings came after the U.N. Security Council delayed a vote on a resolution demanding a 30-day humanitarian cease-fire for two days to try to get Russia on board.

This photo released on Saturday, Feb 24, 2018 by the Syrian Civil Defense group known as the White Helmets, shows members of the Syrian Civil Defense group and civilians gathering to help survivors from a street attacked by airstrikes and shelling by Syrian government forces, in Ghouta, a suburb of Damascus, Syria. A new wave of airstrikes and shelling on eastern suburbs of the Syrian capital Damascus left at least 22 people dead and more than a dozen wounded Saturday, raising the death toll of a week of bombing in the area to nearly 500, including scores of women and children. (Syrian Civil Defense White Helmets via AP)


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Manafort indictment sparks hunt for Europeans paid to lobbyIn this Nov. 6, 2017 photo, Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman, leaves the federal courthouse in Washington. Court records indicate at least one new charge has been filed under seal in the case against President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman. The filing indicates a sealed charging document was entered in Paul Manafort's case. No details such as who it’s against or whether it’s part of a plea deal are disclosed. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Sun, 25 Feb 2018 04:57:00 GMT

KIEV, Ukraine – A new indictment against former Donald Trump campaign chief Paul Manafort focused a spotlight Saturday on uncovering the former European leaders who prosecutors contend were secretly paid by Manafort to lobby on behalf of Ukraine. The U.S. indictment handed up Friday by a grand jury doesn’t name the European politicians, although it notes they worked in coordination with Manafort, his deputy Rick Gates and two Washington lobbying firms – the Podesta Group and Mercury Public Affairs – to lobby U.S. officials and lawmakers. At least four leaders – former Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi, former Austrian Chancellor Alfred Gusenbauer, former Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski and former Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko – were named last year in public filings by the two lobbying firms. The firms said the politicians were involved in U.S. speaking events and meetings with U.S. lawmakers and others to promote Manafort’s client at the time, Ukraine’s pro-Moscow president, Viktor Yanukovych. The filings did not disclose any payments to the former officials, and it’s unclear whether they are the same politicians referenced in the U.S. indictment. U.S. law requires people who are lobbying U.S. officials on behalf of foreign governments or political parties to register, and a Justice Department database doesn’t show that those former European officials did. But it’s unclear from the U.S. indictment how much the former European politicians knew about their funding or if they could be covered by some legal exemption. The lobbying by the European political figures, identified in the indictment as the “Hapsburg Group,” allegedly took place in 2012-13, when Ukraine was moving toward closer integration with the European Union. But the indictment doesn’t formally charge any of the leaders or refer to them as co-conspirators of Manafort and Gates. None of the four politicians responded to requests for comment Saturday from The Associated Press, but three of them were quoted as denying the reports. Gusenbauer told the Austrian national news agency APA that he never acted on Yanukovych’s behalf. “I never undertook activities for Mr. Yanukovych” or his party, the news agency quoted Gusenbauer as saying. He said his interests in 2012 and 2013 were in bringing the nation of Ukraine closer to Europe. “In public events in Paris, Brussels and Berlin, I advocated for the European Union concluding an association agreement with Ukraine,” he said. The press office for Prodi, the former Italian premier and European Commission president, denied that he was ever involved or paid by a secret lobbying group. Prodi “never took part in any kind of secret activity, let alone in secret lobbying groups, nor has he ever received compensation for this kind of activity,” said the statement, carried by the Italian news agency ANSA. The statement said “Prodi has long worked so that Ukraine’s growing nearer to Europe can become concrete” and added that his activity “was public and thus easily traceable.” Kwasniewski was quoted as saying he had no financial or political agreements with Manafort and was not familiar with the term “Hapsburg Group.” The leading Polish news outlet Onet quo[...]


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Congress releases redacted memoFILE - In this Friday, Feb. 2, 2018 file photo, President Donald Trump listens during a meeting with North Korean defectors where he talked with reporters about allowing the release of a secret memo on the FBI's role in the Russia inquiry, in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. Congress has released a redacted, declassified memo that aims to counter GOP allegations that the FBI abused government surveillance powers in its investigation into Russian election interference. President Donald Trump had less concern about an earlier classified memo written by Republicans, which he declassified Feb. 2 over strong objections from the FBI. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

Sun, 25 Feb 2018 04:57:00 GMT

WASHINGTON – Two weeks after President Donald Trump blocked the full release of a classified Democratic memo, the House intelligence committee published a redacted version of the document that aims to counter a narrative that Republicans on the committee have promoted for months – that the FBI and Justice Department conspired against Trump as they investigated his ties to Russia.

The Democratic memo’s release on Saturday was the latest development in an extraordinary back and forth between Republicans and Democrats about the credibility of not only the multiple inquiries into links between the Trump campaign and Russia, but also about the credibility of the nation’s top law enforcement agencies.

The Democratic document attempts to undercut and add context to some of the main points from the GOP memo, including the GOP assertion that the FBI obtained the surveillance warrant without disclosing that former British spy Christopher Steele’s anti-Trump research was funded by Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee.

FILE - In this Friday, Feb. 2, 2018 file photo, President Donald Trump listens during a meeting with North Korean defectors where he talked with reporters about allowing the release of a secret memo on the FBI's role in the Russia inquiry, in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. Congress has released a redacted, declassified memo that aims to counter GOP allegations that the FBI abused government surveillance powers in its investigation into Russian election interference. President Donald Trump had less concern about an earlier classified memo written by Republicans, which he declassified Feb. 2 over strong objections from the FBI. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)


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Indictment of Mo. governor could have political ripplesMissouri Gov. Eric Greitens speaks May 23 outside the state Capitol in Jefferson City, Mo. It didn't take long after Greitens was indicted for alleged invasion of privacy for Missouri Democrats to tie him to Attorney General Josh Hawley, the presumed GOP front runner in Missouri's hotly contested U.S. Senate race. Nor did it take long for Republicans to link the prosecutor who announced the charges to a prominent national Democratic financier.

Sun, 25 Feb 2018 04:57:00 GMT

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – It didn’t take long after Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens was indicted in connection with alleged invasion of privacy for Missouri Democrats to tie him to Attorney General Josh Hawley, the presumed GOP front-runner in Missouri’s hotly contested U.S. Senate race. Nor did it take long for Republicans to link the prosecutor who announced the charges to a prominent national Democratic financier. The quick injection of politics was a strong sign that Greitens’ potentially prolonged legal battle stemming from an extramarital affair could have implications for the 2018 elections – especially for fellow Republicans who history suggests have a disadvantage as the party in power during the midterm of Donald Trump’s presidency. So far, Greitens, 43, has remained defiant against growing but not-yet-overwhelming calls to resign from some fellow Republicans, while instead portraying the felony charge against him as nothing more than a political jab by a “reckless liberal prosecutor.” The Missouri Republican Party noted that St. Louis circuit attorney Kim Gardner had received more than $200,000 from wealthy liberal financier George Soros during her campaign – casting the indictment as part of a broader Democratic attack on Republicans. The Thursday indictment came just five days ahead of Tuesday’s start of the candidacy filing period for Missouri residents wanting to run for U.S. Senate, Congress, and state and local offices. Hawley is challenging Missouri Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill. An incumbent governor typically is a help to his party in races such as the Senate, but an indicted one could be a detriment. “It doesn’t help the image of the Republican Party, so in that sense it helps McCaskill and hurts Hawley” in the Senate race, said Ken Warren, a longtime political scientist at Saint Louis University. The Missouri Senate race is being closely watched as one that could determine control of the chamber, where Republicans now have a bare majority of 51 seats. McCaskill is one of only two statewide-elected Democrats in Missouri, which Donald Trump carried by nearly 20 percentage points in 2016. Republicans got behind Hawley early after a disastrous 2012 campaign when McCaskill defeated Todd Akin following his comments about “legitimate rape.” Whether Democrats can effectively tie Greitens to Hawley remains to be seen. But indications are that they will try. On Friday, The Missouri Democratic Party noted that Hawley had accepted nearly $50,000 in contributions from Greitens in 2016 and has not called on Greitens to resign. The attorney general is conducting an investigation over Greitens’ use of a secretive app that deletes messages once they’ve been read. It’s unclear when the investigation will conclude. Hawley took to Twitter on Friday and, without mentioning Greitens, noted that an indictment “is a serious matter” with no place for partisanship. He also expressed support for a newly announced legislative investigation into the governor, saying he’s confident “the House’s investigation will be thorough and swift, and will proceed without regard to party.” That House investigation could serve as a first step for impeachment proceedings against Greitens, though it also could determine he has [...]


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Ivanka Trump at Olympics for politics, to back athletesIvanka Trump cheers with Kim Jung-sook, wife of the South Korean President during the men's Big Air snowboard competition at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Saturday.

Sun, 25 Feb 2018 04:56:00 GMT

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea – U.S. President Donald Trump’s daughter toured the 2018 Winter Olympics on Saturday, the morning after telling South Korea’s president that she would use her visit to the Pyeongchang Games to advocate maximum pressure on North Korea to halt its nuclear program. Ivanka Trump, one of her father’s close advisers and a winter sports enthusiast herself, is leading the U.S. delegation at Sunday’s closing ceremony for the Pyeongchang Games. Under cloudy skies, she watched her first event Saturday morning – Big Air snowboarding – before heading over to the American team’s headquarters, USA House, to interact with some Olympians. Before coming to the Olympic city in northeastern South Korea, Trump met and dined in the capital with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who highlighted to her how the Olympics have served as a vehicle for dialogue between the two Koreas. Moon said the U.S. and South Korea should make use of the current mood of rapprochement between the Koreas in seeking denuclearization. At a closed-door meeting before a banquet Friday night at the presidential compound, Moon told Trump that talks on denuclearization and the inter-Korean dialogue must move forward side by side, Moon’s press secretary, Yoon Young-chan, told reporters. Trump responded by pushing for joint efforts by the U.S. and South Korea to apply maximum pressure on North Korea, Yoon said. The meeting and Olympic visit come as the Trump administration announced sanctions on more than 50 vessels, shipping companies and trade businesses to turn up the pressure on North Korea. U.S. officials said the president had discussed the action with Moon ahead of the announcement in Washington. Differences in how the U.S. and South Korea hope to achieve denuclearization were apparent during the banquet. In her remarks, Ivanka Trump said she was in South Korea to celebrate the Olympics and to reaffirm the U.S. commitment to a “maximum pressure campaign to ensure that the Korean Peninsula is denuclearized.” Moon, for his part, hopes to make the Olympics an avenue for peace on the divided Korean Peninsula. In Pyeongchang on Saturday, Trump toured Olympic venues. She watched snowboarders go on runs at the Big Air jump and saw American snowboarder Kyle Mack take a silver medal. A smiling Trump, wearing a Team USA hat and red snowsuit, chatted with members of her delegation and South Korea first lady Kim Jung-suk. Also with her was IOC board member and 1998 hockey gold medalist Angela Ruggiero. After the event ended, Trump spoke with some of the South Korean athletes who were guests of the delegation and posed for selfies. Ivanka Trump’s appearance at the closing on behalf of the White House and the United States is a softer bookend to Vice President Mike Pence’s awkward visit during the opening ceremony. She has some popularity in Asia, and the perception of her as a smoother player in her father’s administration – and, not inconsequentially, a younger one as well – allows the United States a photogenic representative at the end of a games dominated by unusually adept PR moves from North Korea. In addition to her presence at the Olympics’ closing ceremony Sunday, a high-level North [...]


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Proponents of gun laws see hopeMarjory Stoneman Douglas High School student Cameron Kasky (left) asking a question to Sen. Marco Rubio during a CNN town hall meeting Wednesday in Sunrise, Fla. Rubio was put on the defensive by angry students, teachers and parents who are demanding stronger gun-control measures after the shooting rampage that claimed several lives at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The latest mass shooting, at the Florida high school has some pondering the improbable: Could this one actually bring some measure of change?

Sun, 25 Feb 2018 04:56:00 GMT

PARKLAND, Fla. – The progression has become numbingly repetitive – mass bloodshed unleashed by a gunman, followed by the stories of the fallen, the funerals, the mourning, the talking heads and the calls for change that dwindle into nothingness. The shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, though, has some pondering the improbable: Could this latest carnage actually lead to gun reforms? Alongside the familiar refrains stemming from earlier shootings, the Feb. 14 attack in Parkland, Florida, came with something else: young survivors immediately pleading for nationwide action. They have led walk-outs, confronted politicians and garnered the support of celebrities, linking their sorrowful, eloquent, outraged voices to the gun debate. “Our kids have started a revolution,” Stoneman Douglas teacher Diane Wolk Rogers said during a CNN-sponsored forum Wednesday. In the aftermath of the violence that claimed 17 lives, students have piled into buses and crashed a meeting of lawmakers in Tallahassee. They’ve relentlessly badgered Florida Sen. Marco Rubio about his support from the National Rifle Association. They’ve rejected President Trump’s condolences, calling for action over words. To many advocates for gun control, the moment feels more profound than any since the aftermath of the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, where 20 first-graders and six adults were fatally shot, spurring the most serious congressional gun debate in years. “The mantra just became if we couldn’t do it after Newtown, if we couldn’t do it after however many 6-year-olds were killed, it’s never going to happen,” said Dave Cullen, the author of “Columbine,” which chronicles the 1999 shooting at the Colorado high school of the same name. “Then this happened,” Cullen said, “and everything changed.” Parkland is a well-to-do suburb, with a median household income more than twice the national average. Stoneman Douglas is a top-tier public school under the state rating system, where most students take advanced-placement classes and the curriculum includes yoga and culinary arts. Charles Zelden, a professor of history and political science at Nova Southeastern University in nearby Fort Lauderdale, said the students speaking out in the shooting’s aftermath “come from a tradition of being heard and are angry enough right now that they won’t stand for not being heard.” “They’re used to the idea that they’re going to make a difference, that people are going to listen to them,” Zelden said. Cullen wonders whether the Parkland attack indicates that it’s not the number of deaths or level of outrage that a shooting evokes, but “whether it’s the right group of people with the right standing and the right set of abilities that picks up the ball and runs with it.” He’s been awed that the tragedy produced not just one well-spoken young student activist, but a deep bench of them. Emma Gonzalez stirred a huge crowd with shouts of “Shame on you!” directed at lawmakers. David Hogg has emerged as a media star, giving poised interview after interview. Sarah Chadwick, whose angry tweet to Trump went viral, stirred those g[...]


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One hospitalized after rollover crash in RingwoodA vehicle is shown resting against a utility pole at the intersection of Ringwood Road and Route 31 in Ringwood, to which McHenry County Sheriff's deputies responded at 9:11 p.m. Friday night.

Sat, 24 Feb 2018 14:20:00 GMT

RINGWOOD – One person was taken to the hospital after a two-vehicle crash Friday night at the intersection of Ringwood Road and Route 31, according to a McHenry County Sheriff's deputy's report.

Deputies responded about 9:11 p.m. to the intersection, where one vehicle had gone into the ditch, and the other was found rolled onto its side and resting against a utility pole.

One person was taken to Northern Illinois Medical Center and another refused medical treatment, according to the report written by investigator Derick Waters.

The McHenry Township Fire Protection District also assisted at the scene.

A vehicle is shown resting against a utility pole at the intersection of Ringwood Road and Route 31 in Ringwood, to which McHenry County Sheriff's deputies responded at 9:11 p.m. Friday night.


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Mount Zion woman creates woven hats to honor Abraham LincolnDonna Johnson poses with her wicker stove top hats and other Lincoln items at her home in Mount Zion. Johnson created them to sell to honor the 16th president. Johnson, a basket weaver, fashioned some of her basket creations to look like stovepipe hats, similar to the ones made popular by Lincoln. She adds memorabilia or details, such as cookie cutters, ribbons or recipes.

Sat, 24 Feb 2018 11:30:00 GMT

MOUNT ZION – As Donna Johnson sought to honor the 16th president, particularly in light of his Feb. 12 birthday, she decided to draw on a craft she’s been practicing for more than a decade: basket weaving. Johnson, a basket weaver from Mount Zion, fashioned some of her basket creations to look like a stovepipe hat, similar to the ones made popular by Abraham Lincoln. Johnson adds memorabilia or details, such as cookie cutters, ribbons or recipes. Lincoln’s stovepipe hat wasn’t just a fashion statement, according to “10 Facts about the Other Abe,” by Elizabeth Downing. He also used it to store and carry notes, letters, even bills. It was this inspiration that encouraged Johnson to honor Lincoln. “He was 6-foot-4. He surely didn’t need any more height,” Johnson said. Similar to Lincoln’s hat, the wicker baskets made to resemble it can be used to hold memos and other office supplies. “They would also make a great candy dish,” Johnson said. Since the hat baskets are handmade, they range in size. They average about a foot tall and the base is about 10 inches wide. Johnson plans to make smaller baskets that would be an appropriate size for pens, pencils and highlighters. Lincoln has become the focus of many of Johnson's pieces. Because of the historical and political aspects of being the state capital, Springfield has many tourists traveling through its downtown area. Johnson noticed one of the more popular shops had many nice items for sale, but few Lincoln pieces. Johnson was given the opportunity to display her baskets at the store, Studio on 6th. To her surprise, they sold quickly. “The hats do well, because they are different,” she said. “And I reduced my price.” All of the items sold at Studio on 6th are made by local artists. Cynthia Wilkin is a booth owner and volunteer for the store. “We look for quality artists, as well as Illinois items,” she said. Wilkin admired the unique hat baskets, as well as Johnson’s other products. “They are sturdy and the variety is excellent,” Wilkin said. “She has Valentine’s Day, Illini and Cubs and Cardinals [baskets] with ribbons woven in them. She covers the gamut.” Johnson soon will be adding her products to another shop, Expressions Gift and Consignment in Cerro Gordo. She has limited where her products are displayed, so not to compete with her mentor, Bonnie Rideout. “I have taken her classes for 15 years,” Johnson said. “And I get my supplies from her.” Rideout has taught basket weaving classes since 1994. Johnson is just one of her many students. “She was enthusiastic and always wanting to learn more,” Rideout said of her student and friend. The teacher watched Johnson became more creative in her own style. One of her other popular pieces are the wall or door baskets – containers that can be hung on a flat surface. She continues to keep Lincoln as a theme, adding cookie cutters and wooden ornaments. Johnson creates most of her pieces using colored reeds. “When you start weaving them, you have to manipula[...]


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Graham’s journey began and ended in N.C.Tracey DeBruhl, of Asheville, N.C., views a memorial display in tribute to the Rev. Billy Graham inside the chapel at the Billy Graham Training Center at the Cove on Feb. 21, 2018, in Asheville. DeBruhl came to pay his respects since he had attended several of Graham's revivals and was inspired by his teachings.

Sat, 24 Feb 2018 11:30:00 GMT

MONTREAT, N.C. – While the Rev. Billy Graham’s travels took him as far away as the Soviet Union and China, he always came back to his native North Carolina, a place of refuge, reflection and spiritual refueling. In the process, the most famous evangelist in American history became one of North Carolina’s favorite sons. The highway that runs past the world headquarters of his evangelical empire in Charlotte is called Billy Graham Parkway. The chapel in the quiet mountain town of Montreat where he was married in 1943 is named in his honor. And a 2011 poll found him to be the most revered person in the state, beating out TV star Andy Griffith and University of North Carolina basketball coach Dean Smith. Graham, who died Wednesday at 99 and will be buried at his library in Charlotte on Friday, spent the final years of his life at his secluded home in Montreat, about 100 miles to the west, where, as he did even in his heyday, he worked on his sermons or quietly dropped in on local church services almost unnoticed. To the end, his family said, he saw his North Carolina heritage as an essential part of who he was. “My father was a very humble person. He never saw himself as a celebrity. He always saw himself as a farm boy from Mecklenburg County,” the Rev. Franklin Graham said Thursday on the “Today” show. North Carolina was the site of the beginning and the end of Graham’s spiritual life, bookending trips to scores of countries to preach the Gospel. Born on Nov. 7, 1918, Graham grew up on a Charlotte dairy farm that is now the site of office buildings. It was in Charlotte in 1934 that a 16-year-old Graham committed himself to Jesus at a traveling revival. Over the years, he would return periodically for crusades, including one in 1995 before a packed crowd at the city’s football stadium. On the road, “he’d be preaching in some city or place, and he always liked to say that if he had to live somewhere else, it would be there, but ‘My home is in North Carolina,’” recalled Cliff Barrows, Graham’s longtime music director, who died in 2016. “His heart is in North Carolina.” Graham broke ground in Charlotte on the new headquarters for his Billy Graham Evangelistic Association in 2002, moving it from Minnesota, where he had once worked as a college administrator. “This move to Charlotte anchors us firmly to our roots,” he said at the time. It was Montreat, however, that was his home base, where he raised his five children, where his wife’s family had roots, and where the two were married in what is now Graham Chapel on the campus of Montreat College. “This was a refuge for Billy. It was a place where he could rest and recuperate between his international travels. You can just imagine the demands on his life,” college President Paul Maurer said. Around Montreat, resident Brad Hestir said, Graham would sometimes slip into a church service to participate as a worshipper without drawing attention to himself. “You would occasionally at the end of a church service realize he was here in the balcony,” Hestir said. “The man was private for the last several de[...]


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Illinois officials announce plan to stabilize mine

Sat, 24 Feb 2018 06:33:00 GMT

BELLEVILLE – State officials have a plan to stabilize a mine that collapsed under a school in southwestern Illinois.

The ground beneath the Wolf Branch Middle School in Swansea dropped almost 25 inches when the abandoned Summit Mine collapsed in September, according to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. The agency said the collapse caused “extensive structural damage” to the building.

The department announced Wednesday that it will pump a concrete mixture into the mine to halt gradual sinking, The Belleville News-Democrat reported. It estimated that the project will begin in mid-April and be completed by early summer.

After the stabilization plan is complete, the school will be monitored for a number of months before any rebuilding can begin, Superintendent Scott Harres said in a post to the district’s Facebook page.

According to the agency, the school district plans to rebuild the damaged portions of the building with district money. The portion that’s “heavily damaged” will be removed, and the agency will assist the district with the cost.

“The efficient leveraging of available funds will allow the school building to reopen and, most importantly, to ensure a safe place for the children to learn,” said Tom Benner, director of the IDNR Office of Mines and Minerals.




Former county commissioner named to lead Illinois Tollway

Sat, 24 Feb 2018 06:33:00 GMT

DOWNERS GROVE – The Illinois Tollway has a new executive director.

The tollway board of directors on Thursday named former Cook County Commissioner Elizabeth “Liz” Gorman to the post effective March 1.

Tollway Chairman Bob Schillerstrom said Gorman is a leader who will provide “an intimate understanding of the power of collaboration, technology and innovation.”

As executive director, Gorman will oversee Illinois’ nearly 300-mile tollway system and the agency’s $1.45 billion annual budget.

Gorman served 13 years as a county commissioner, including on the county’s transportation committee. She is a former member of the Northeastern Illinois Planning Commission and was working most recently as director of state and local government at Pricewaterhouse-Coopers.

She will replace Greg Bedalov, who left this month to become the head of the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority.




Chicago fires back at Feds' request in sanctuary city fight

Sat, 24 Feb 2018 06:33:00 GMT

CHICAGO – The city of Chicago is telling the federal government it is complying with a request for documents related to the battle with President Donald Trump’s administration over the city’s status as a so-called “sanctuary city” and doesn’t collect some of the information it has been asked for.

In a letter on Friday, Chicago’s law department dismissed “insinuations” by federal officials that Chicago may be violating federal law by not sending documents the Justice Department requested of municipalities that haven’t agreed to follow the administration’s tough immigration policies.

The city said it’s provided various documents. But the federal officials asked for proof that Chicago provides information to agents regarding the immigration status of people in custody and the law department said the city doesn’t collect such data.




U.S. tightens sanctions on North Korean shippingTreasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin speaks during a press briefing at the White House in Washington on Feb. 23. The Trump administration announced new sanctions on more than 50 vessels, shipping companies and trade businesses in its latest bid to pressure North Korea over its nuclear program.

Sat, 24 Feb 2018 06:32:00 GMT

WASHINGTON – The Trump administration escalated pressure on North Korea on Friday by slapping sanctions on scores of companies and ships accused of illicit trading with the pariah nation. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the U.S. now has blacklisted virtually all ships being used by the North. The administration billed it as the largest installment of North Korean economic restrictions to date as it intensifies its campaign of “maximum pressure” to get the North to give up its nuclear weapons. President Donald Trump went further, declaring in a speech Friday at the Conservative Political Action Conference that it was “the heaviest sanctions ever imposed on a country before.” While that claim was questionable – previous U.S. measures have targeted bigger players in the North Korean economy, including Chinese and Russian banks and business networks – it significantly tightens the noose on North Korean trading. Mnuchin told reporters that the U.S. has now imposed more than 450 sanctions against the North, about half of them in the last year – including “virtually all their ships that they’re using at this moment in time.” The U.N. Security Council has imposed three sets of sanctions on North Korea in the past year. The restrictions are intended to deprive it of revenue and resources for its nuclear and ballistic missile development that pose an emerging threat to the U.S. mainland. Washington is particularly concerned about exports of North Korean coal that are prohibited by the U.N. sanctions and ship-to-ship transfers of imported oil and petroleum products. The Treasury Department said it was barring U.S. business transactions with nine international shipping companies from China, Hong Kong, Singapore and Panama, and nine of their vessels. It also blacklisted 16 North shipping companies and 19 of their North Korean-flagged vessels. Additionally, the department designated a Taiwanese citizen, Tsang Yung Yuan, and two companies he owns or controls. Tsang was said to have coordinated North Korean coal exports with a Russia-based North Korean broker, and attempted a $1 million oil deal with a Russian company sanctioned for dealing with the North. Mnuchin said the actions will significantly hinder North Korea’s ability to conduct evasive maritime activities that facilitate illicit coal and fuel transports, and “erode its abilities to ship goods through international waters.” He vowed the U.S. would “do everything” to stop the ship-to-ship transfers. “We are putting companies and countries across the world on notice that this administration views compliance with U.S. and U.N. sanctions as a national security imperative. Those who trade with North Korea do so at their own peril,” Mnuchin said. In his speech, Trump said “hopefully something positive can happen” from the sanctions pressure. The announcement comes as South Korea hosts the Winter Olympics, an occasion the two Koreas have used as an opportunity to ease tensions and restart talks. Although South Korea is a close U.S. ally, animosity between Washington and Pyongyang still runs high. [...]


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U.S. weighs Sheldon Adelson offer to fund Jerusalem embassyChief Executive of Las Vegas Sands Corporation Sheldon Adelson sits with his wife Miriam on Sept. 26, 2016, and waits for the presidential debate between Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and then-Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y. Adelson has proposed paying for at least part of the new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem, four U.S. officials told The Associated Press, and the Trump administration is considering the offer.

Sat, 24 Feb 2018 06:32:00 GMT

WASHINGTON – The Trump administration is considering an offer from Republican mega-donor Sheldon Adelson to pay for at least part of a new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem, four U.S. officials told The Associated Press. Lawyers at the State Department are looking into the legality of accepting private donations to cover some or all of the embassy costs, the officials said. The discussions are occurring as the administration plans a ribbon-cutting for a scaled-down, temporary embassy that will open in May – more than a year ahead of schedule. In one possible scenario, the administration would solicit contributions not only from Adelson but potentially from other donors in the evangelical Christian and American Jewish communities, too. One official said Adelson, a Las Vegas casino magnate and staunch Israel supporter, had offered to pay the difference between the total cost – expected to run into the hundreds of millions of dollars – and what the administration is able to raise. Under any circumstance, letting private citizens cover the costs of an official government building would mark a significant departure from historical practice. In the Jerusalem case, it would add yet another layer of controversy to Trump’s politically charged decision to move the embassy, given Adelson’s long-standing affiliation with right-wing Israeli politics. The move of the embassy from Tel Aviv to the disputed holy city cleared a final bureaucratic hurdle this week when Secretary of State Rex Tillerson signed off on the security plan. In a letter sent to Congress, the State Department said the interim facility’s inauguration will coincide with the 70th anniversary of Israel’s independence on May 14. “It’s the right thing to do,” Trump said Friday of the embassy relocation. Adelson’s unconventional offer, made around the time Trump announced in December that the embassy would move, would address the president’s stated distaste for shelling out eye-popping sums for overseas diplomatic facilities. Although Trump has promoted the Jerusalem move as fulfilling a key campaign promise, he also was outspoken last month in blasting the $1 billion price tag for a new embassy in London. How quickly to move the embassy has been a source of intense debate within Trump’s administration, said the officials, who weren’t authorized to discuss the issue publicly and demanded anonymity. Tillerson, who opposed moving the embassy in the first place, advocated a go-slow approach and said it could take years. But Ambassador David Friedman, who lobbied Trump to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, has pushed to move it sooner. To enable a May opening, the administration settled on a phased approach to building out the embassy at an existing U.S. facility in Jerusalem’s Arnona neighborhood that currently handles consular affairs such as passports and visas. Initially, the U.S. will merely retrofit a small suite of offices there to accommodate Friedman and one or two top aides. The rest of the staff will remain at first in America’s current facili[...]


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No bail for Chicago father charged in 2-year-old son's deathThis undated photo provided by the Chicago Police Department shows Rolando Ortiz. Ortiz the father of 2-year-old Mateo Garcia Aguayo found stabbed to death in Chicago's Little Village neighborhood has been charged with first-degree murder in the Aguayo's death. Police responding to a call from relatives Feb. 21 found the child in an upstairs room of a home. The boy had stab wounds so severe he was nearly decapitated.

Sat, 24 Feb 2018 06:32:00 GMT

CHICAGO – A judge has ordered the father of a 2-year-old found stabbed to death in Chicago held without bond on first-degree murder charges.

Cook County prosecutors said Friday that 37-year-old Rolando Ortiz re-enacted how he slit Mateo Garcia Aguayo’s throat as the father gave police a video confession.

Police responding to a call from relatives found the boy in a home in the city’s Little Village neighborhood. The boy had stab wounds so severe he was nearly decapitated.

Authorities have said Ortiz stabbed the boy after becoming frustrated because he was keeping him awake. Police said Ortiz put the boy’s body in a garbage bag. He then fled and was arrested during a traffic stop in Kankakee County.

It wasn’t immediately clear if Ortiz had an attorney who could comment on his behalf.

This undated photo provided by the Chicago Police Department shows Rolando Ortiz. Ortiz the father of 2-year-old Mateo Garcia Aguayo found stabbed to death in Chicago's Little Village neighborhood has been charged with first-degree murder in the Aguayo's death. Police responding to a call from relatives Feb. 21 found the child in an upstairs room of a home. The boy had stab wounds so severe he was nearly decapitated.


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Online scam pretends to be Illinois Attorney General

Sat, 24 Feb 2018 06:32:00 GMT

CHICAGO – The Illinois Attorney General’s Office warns that a social media scam is soliciting personal information with promises of “free money” through her office.

Attorney General Lisa Madigan said she received complaints of fake Facebook and Instagram accounts falsely claiming association with her office. The accounts provide links to get “free money” through government grant funding.

Madigan said the scam asks for a user’s Social Security number as well as other personal information. She advised those who receive the message not to click the link as her office would never ask for personal information over email or social media.

The attorney general also advised those who encounter the fraudulent posts to call her Consumer Fraud Hotline or to file a complaint online.




Deaths mount in Syria as UN weighs cease-fire resolutionIn this photo released on Friday, Feb. 23, 2018 by the Syrian official news agency SANA, shows flames rising from a truck in a convoy headed to Afrin, Syria. According to Syrian state TV on Thursday night, a convoy carrying aid and heading toward Afrin was targeted by Turkish artillery, in al-Ziara village. The TV gave no further details about Thursday's incident, which came two days after pro-government fighters began entering the predominantly Kurdish town to shore up the Kurdish forces, after reaching an agreement with the YPG.

Sat, 24 Feb 2018 06:31:00 GMT

BEIRUT – Syrian government warplanes carried out a sixth day of airstrikes Friday in the rebel-held suburbs east of Damascus, killing 32 people, activists said, as the death toll from a week of bombardment soared over 400. At the United Nations, last-minute negotiations were underway ahead of an expected vote on a Security Council resolution demanding a 30-day humanitarian cease-fire. The new bombings came a day after Syrian army helicopters dropped leaflets over the rebel-controlled areas of eastern Ghouta, urging residents of those suburbs to leave for their own safety and calling on opposition fighters to surrender because they were surrounded by government troops. Opposition activists reported airstrikes and artillery shelling on a string of towns on the edge of Damascus or eastern Ghouta. At least 32 people were killed in raids on areas including Hammouriyeh, Zamalka, Douma and al-Marj, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based group that monitors the civil war through a network of activists in Syria. The Ghouta Media Center, an activist collective, also reported 32 killed, saying the victims included 13 people in the Damascus suburb of Douma, five in Ein Tarma and five in Shiefouniyeh. Syrian state TV reported that insurgents fired 70 shells on Damascus, killing one person and wounding 60 others. It said one of the shells hit a hospital, damaging its intensive care unit as well as cars parked nearby. The opposition’s Syrian Civil Defense rescue group reported new airstrikes in Douma, Arbeen and other towns east of Damascus. At the White House, U.S. President Donald Trump blamed Russia, Iran and the Syrian government for the recent violence in Syria, calling it a “humanitarian disgrace.” His comments came at a joint news conference with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. U.N. Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura called again for an urgent cease-fire to relieve the “appalling suffering” of civilians in eastern Ghouta by stopping the bombing there and the “indiscriminate” shelling of Damascus. He said the cease-fire must be followed by an “immediate, unhindered humanitarian access to eastern Ghouta and evacuation of sick and injured.” U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also had urged an immediate suspension of “all war activities” in eastern Ghouta, saying 400,000 people are living “in hell on Earth.” European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said “unhindered humanitarian access and the protection of civilians is a moral duty and a matter of urgency.” The U.N. draft resolution demands that as soon as the cease-fire takes effect, all parties should allow humanitarian convoys and medical evacuations in areas requested by the U.N. It states that 5.6 million people in 1,244 communities are in “acute need,” including 2.9 million in hard-to-reach and besieged locations. The Syrian[...]


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After school shooting, Florida leaders propose new gun lawsMarjory Stoneman Douglas High School bus driver Pearlie Corker gets a hug at the school on Friday as some teachers return for the first time since the shooting in Parkland, Fla. Corker arrived at the school as Nikolas Cruz began to shoot students and teachers on Feb. 14. She stayed on the bus in front of the school praying for the students and teachers. The school is scheduled to reopen next week.

Sat, 24 Feb 2018 06:30:00 GMT

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida’s governor announced plans Friday to put more armed guards in schools and to make it harder for young adults and some with mental illness to buy guns, responding to days of intense lobbying from survivors of last week’s shooting at a Florida high school.

Gov. Rick Scott unveiled his school safety proposals as teachers returned for the first time to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School since the shooting nine days ago that killed 17 people.

The shooting sparked an intense push to restrict access to assault rifles fueled by student activists who swarmed the state Capitol demanding concrete gun control measures.

President Donald Trump said repeatedly Friday that he favored arming teachers to protect students, an idea many educators rejected out of hand.

“I am totally against arming teachers,” Broward schools Superintendent Robert Runcie said. “They have a challenging job as it is.”

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School bus driver Pearlie Corker gets a hug at the school on Friday as some teachers return for the first time since the shooting in Parkland, Fla. Corker arrived at the school as Nikolas Cruz began to shoot students and teachers on Feb. 14. She stayed on the bus in front of the school praying for the students and teachers. The school is scheduled to reopen next week.


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Trump says arm U.S. teachers; they love kids as others don'tPresident Donald Trump delivers remarks to the Conservative Political Action Conference on Feb. 23 in Oxon Hill, Md.

Sat, 24 Feb 2018 06:30:00 GMT

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump told conservatives Friday that even Second Amendment supporters can get behind steps to fight gun violence in schools, offering a red-meat call for arming teachers and suggesting they would be more likely to protect students than a security guard who "doesn't love the children." Trump said the armed officer who failed to confront the gunman in last week's school shooting in Parkland, Florida, was either a "coward" or "didn't react properly under pressure." "He was not a credit to law enforcement," Trump told the Conservative Political Action Conference. Trump tailored his talking points Friday to his conservative audience, pushing the idea of arming some teachers who are "gun-adept people" but making no mention of another proposal he's advanced in recent days that is opposed by the National Rifle Association: increasing the minimum age for buying assault rifles from 18 to 21. During a later appearance with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in which he again addressed gun violence, Trump declared the United States was "well on our way to solving that horrible problem" – even though the administration has yet to deliver a firm plan to Congress. As for arming teachers, Trump said, the U.S. needs "people that can take care of our children" in schools. "A security guard doesn't know the children, doesn't love the children. This man standing outside of the school the other day doesn't love the children, probably doesn't know the children. The teachers love their children. They love their pupils." His comments drew a rebuke from a top teachers' union leader. "Denigrating the work of campus security guards is reprehensible," said National Education Association President Lily Eskelsen García. Trump got pushback, too, from Florida's Broward County, where last week's shootings took place. Said Superintendent Robert Runcie: "I am totally against arming teachers. They have a challenging job as it is." Separately, Florida Gov. Rick Scott announced plans to put more armed guards in schools and to make it harder for young adults and some with mental illness to buy guns. He favors barring sales of all firearms to anyone under 21. Trump, long supported by the NRA, has sought to maintain his backing among gun rights activists even as he has called for strengthening background checks and raising the minimum age for certain weapons purchases. Trump said that past efforts to address school safety and gun violence had faded and "nothing ever gets done. We want to see if we can get it done." He added, "Most of it's just common sense. It's not 'do you love guns, do you hate guns.' It's common sense." His remarks came at the end of a week that included meetings with students and teachers and state and local officials on ways to bolster school safety and address gun violence. He said the "evil massacre" of 17 people at the Florida high school had "br[...]


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Greitens blames politics, but even some in GOP concernedEdward L. Dowd Jr., the attorney for Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens, makes a brief statement to media Thursday after the governor was indicted for felony invasion of privacy by a St. Louis city grand jury in St. Louis.

Sat, 24 Feb 2018 06:30:00 GMT

ST. LOUIS – Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens is blaming his felony invasion of privacy indictment on a "reckless liberal prosecutor," holding fast to the assertion that any case stemming from his admitted extramarital affair is politically driven. The Republican governor and St. Louis' Democratic circuit attorney, both just a little more than a year into their offices, certainly are political opposites. But a growing number of GOP lawmakers on Friday were questioning whether Greitens can continue to effectively lead while facing the indictment. The indictment – handed down by a grand jury and stemming from an investigation launched by Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner – alleges that Greitens took a compromising photo of a woman without her consent and transmitted the image to a computer. Greitens has admitted being unfaithful to his wife before he won election as governor but has denied criminal wrongdoing and has insisted that the affair with his former hairdresser was consensual. His attorney filed a motion to dismiss the indictment. Greitens claims the criminal case is politically motivated. "The people of Missouri deserve better than a reckless liberal prosecutor who uses her office to score political points," Greitens said in a statement Thursday. Gardner didn't respond, but her spokeswoman Susan Ryan said the prosecutor "will not be playing political games during this process." "These personal attacks, while disappointing, will not distract her from her duty to serve justice and the citizens of this community," Ryan said Friday. While the state Republican Party was still supporting Greitens, some lawmakers, including some Republicans, were calling on him to resign or face legislative impeachment proceedings. "In the wake of the grand jury criminal indictment, and with legal proceedings to come, I cannot see how he could effectively perform the duties of his office, let alone to lead with the kind of moral authority needed to make a positive impact," said Sen. Kevin Corlew, of Kansas City, one of at least four Republicans who were newly calling for Greitens' resignation. Senate Majority Leader Mike Kehoe, a Republican from Jefferson City, said the indictment "causes me to question whether the governor has the ability to effectively lead the state going forward," but he stopped short of calling for Greitens' resignation. Other Republicans remained reserved in their judgment but expressed support for a legislative investigation into Greitens announced Thursday by GOP House leaders. An investigation is a necessary first step before an impeachment proceeding but does not necessarily lead to one. Former Missouri Supreme Court Chief Justice Mike Wolff said it's up to the House to decide whether a state official can be impeached for conduct that occurred before he took office. The only statewide Missouri official to be convi[...]


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Ex-Trump aide pleads guilty in Mueller probeRick Gates leaves the federal court in Washington on Feb. 23, 2018. Gates, a former top adviser to President Donald Trump's campaign pleaded guilty in the special counsel's Russia investigation to federal conspiracy and false statements charges.

Sat, 24 Feb 2018 06:30:00 GMT

WASHINGTON – A former senior adviser to President Donald Trump’s election campaign pleaded guilty Friday to federal conspiracy and false-statements charges, switching from defendant to cooperating witness in the special counsel’s probe of Trump’s campaign and Russia’s election interference. The plea by Rick Gates revealed that he will help special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation in “any and all matters” as prosecutors continue to probe the 2016 campaign, Russian meddling and Gates’ longtime business associate, onetime Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort. With his cooperation, Gates gives Mueller a witness willing to provide information on Manafort about his finances and political consulting work in Ukraine, and also someone who had access at the highest levels of Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. Gates, 45, of Richmond, Virginia, made the plea at the federal courthouse in Washington. He somberly stood beside his attorney and did not speak during his hearing except to answer routine questions from the judge about whether he understood the rights he was giving up. He admitted to charges accusing him of conspiring against the U.S. government related to fraud and unregistered foreign lobbying as well as lying to federal authorities in a recent interview. Under the terms of the plea, he is estimated to face between 57 and 71 months behind bars and a possible fine ranging from $20,000 to $200,000. Prosecutors may seek a shortened sentence depending on his cooperation. The plea came a day after a federal grand jury in Virginia returned a 32-count indictment against Gates and Manafort, Trump’s former campaign chairman, accusing them of tax evasion and bank fraud. Gates is the fifth defendant to plead guilty in Mueller’s investigation. The indictment in Virginia was the second round of charges against Gates and Manafort, who initially were charged in October with unregistered lobbying and conspiring to launder millions of dollars they earned while working on behalf of a pro-Russian Ukrainian political party. Manafort continues to maintain his innocence. “I had hoped and expected my business colleague would have had the strength to continue the battle to prove our innocence. For reasons yet to surface he chose to do otherwise,” Manafort said Friday. “This does not alter my commitment to defend myself against the untrue piled-up charges contained in the indictments against me.” In court filings over the past few months, Gates gradually began to show the strain the case was placing on him and his family. He frequently pleaded with U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson for leniency in his house arrest to let him attend sporting events with his four children. Even on Friday, ahead of his plea, Gates had asked the judge to let him take his children to Boston for spring break so they could “learn about America[...]


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Illinois group homes still troubled despite reform promise

Sat, 24 Feb 2018 06:24:00 GMT

CHICAGO – A newspaper investigation has found that despite Illinois officials’ promise to reform troubled group homes for disabled adults, allegations of abuse and neglect have risen, staffing levels have fallen and state oversight has been slow.

State officials and legislators pledged to fix the system after a 2016 Chicago Tribune investigation revealed that the state concealed evidence of harm and death at group homes.

In a follow-up investigation, the newspaper obtained state enforcement records that show many group homes still are unprepared.

According to the Tribune, more than half of group homes aren’t wheelchair accessible. More than 1,600 homes are not compliant with the American with Disabilities Act, inspection records show.

The newspaper also found state oversight remains inconsistent. Some victims waited weeks before they were interviewed by state investigators, audit records from fiscal 2017 show.

Staffing shortages also continue to affect the industry, according to some group home owners.

According to the office of the Illinois Auditor General, allegations of abuse and neglect reached a record high with more than 3,600 cases in fiscal 2017.

The Illinois Department of Human Services said reforms set to launch this year will address some of those problems.

An online scorecard will rank group homes and will include inspection results and links to online copies of investigative findings involving abuse, neglect or financial exploitation. But state officials will black out addresses to protect patients’ privacy.

Spokeswoman Meghan Powers said copies of investigative report summaries can be downloaded. She said officials also are planning to change state policy so families of group home residents automatically receive copies of state investigations.




Police evacuate Dixmoor care facility due to filth

Sat, 24 Feb 2018 06:24:00 GMT

DIXMOOR – Authorities in the southern Chicago suburb of Dixmoor said they’ve evacuated about 30 residents of an assisted living facility found with no staff and in filthy conditions.

Dixmoor Police Chief Ron Burge said residents of Mothers House were removed overnight Thursday into Friday and taken to several hospitals. They were between the ages of 24 and 50. He said the facility had no hot water and was infested with bed bugs. He said no staff members were in the building when officers arrived responding to complaints of no hot water.

Burge called the conditions deplorable and said “no one should live like this.”

The facility is run by the nonprofit Value Care Centers, which provides care for those with mental issues and disabilities. The group didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.




McHenry County schools respond to increased tension after Florida shootingWoodstock police officer Joshua Rapacz, school resource officer for Woodstock School District 200, uses his radio on Friday after noticing a door to Woodstock North High School was unlocked near the auditorium.Woodstock police officer Joshua Rapacz (top left), school resource officer for Woodstock School District 200, stops to talk to Woodstock North students as they filter through the hallways between classes Friday.Rapacz checks the safety of the school building on Friday.Rapacz stops to talk to students as they travel through the hallways between classes Friday.Rapacz works out of his office Friday at Woodstock North.

Sat, 24 Feb 2018 06:16:00 GMT

WOODSTOCK – When Elizabeth Salada’s 6-year-old daughter returned home from school after 17 people were shot and killed at a Florida school, she asked her mother: “What if this happens to us?” It’s a fear that parents, teachers, school administrators and school resource officers all have and try to prepare for, with safety procedures constantly evolving. Tensions are high in the wake of the Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida – and local schools are reviewing what they can do to keep students safe. “She said the shooter did it on purpose, and it surprised me that my 6-year-old knew so much of what had happened,” said Salada, of Pingree Grove. “It’s scary as a parent, but also good in a way that she is so aware.” Police in McHenry County have taken recent threats seriously – whether it’s a Marlowe Middle School student posting a threatening video on social media, a racially charged threat made on Xbox Live, two 9 mm bullets found in the hallway of Huntley High School or a Woodstock North High School student sending a threatening message and photo of a gun on social media. Many schools point to school resource officers as the “on-the-ground” officer who can investigate scenarios before they become a crisis. In the case of the Parkland shooting, the armed school resource officer stayed outside as the shooting unfolded. Woodstock’s school resource officer, Josh Rapacz, said the protocol for every officer, not just the school officer, would be to respond immediately, save as many lives as possible and eliminate the threat. Cary Deputy Chief of Support Services Jim Fillmore said that in the days of the Columbine school shooting, the protocol was to form a perimeter and wait for SWAT personnel before making entry. “Now, we’ve learned over the years that you can’t really sit back and wait, you have to engage at a much faster pace,” Fillmore said. In reaction to President Donald Trump’s proposal to arm highly trained teachers with guns, Woodstock School District 200 director of communications Kevin Lyons said the district is open to many security solutions – but arming teachers isn’t one of them. “We have a lot of great teachers and a lot of great police officers, but they are entirely different jobs, and they should be,” Lyons said. Schools hold active shooter drills annually in conjunction with police departments. Lyons said each of the district’s 12 buildings has its own handbook and staff are assigned to specific roles. The district’s crisis plan was formed in 2009 and is updated regularly. Nationally, students are walking out of school in protest and demanding stricter gun control to prevent mass shootings, with a National School Walkout planned f[...]


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McHenry County Board Chairman Jack Franks on Florida shooting: 'We have to act before it’s too late'A week after a shooter slaughtered 17 people in a Florida high school on Valentine's Day, McHenry County Board Chairman Jack Franks (pictured at a previous event) delivered an address to his constituents urging sweeping changes to prevent future massacres.

Sat, 24 Feb 2018 04:50:00 GMT

WOODSTOCK – A week after a shooter slaughtered 17 people on Valentine’s Day in a Florida high school, McHenry County Board Chairman Jack Franks delivered an address to his constituents urging sweeping changes to prevent future massacres. “I can’t take this anymore, and I know that you can’t, either. These killings are an epidemic as serious as opioids,” Franks said at the County Board’s Feb. 20 meeting. “I’m sick and tired of seeing our flags out front flying at half-staff – seemingly all the time – because some troubled individual got his hands on a gun and killed innocent people.” While Franks said he’s a strong supporter of the Second Amendment, the chairman pushed for strengthened background checks and more mental health funding. “It makes no sense to pay hundreds of billions of dollars for national defense while our citizens are being slaughtered, not in acts of war by foreign aggressors, but in schools, parks and movie theaters,” Franks said. “Gun owners need to be asked if they really need to own weapons that can quickly spit out hundreds of rounds for the sole purpose of killing people.” The suspect in the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, has been jailed on 17 counts of murder. Defense attorneys, state records and people who knew him indicate that he displayed behavioral troubles for years, including getting kicked out of the Parkland school. He owned a collection of weapons. Franks encouraged people on both sides of the firearms debate – gun rights and gun control – to talk to each other. “Not at each other. Not about each other. To each other,” Franks said. “Not on Facebook, not on screaming talking-head news shows, but to each other, and to our state and federal lawmakers.” The fabric of society depends on an open dialogue between both sides, Franks said. “We have to act, and quickly, before it’s too late,” Franks said. “Telling the victims’ families that they are in our thoughts and prayers is not enough.” Hours before Franks delivered his remarks, students who survived the shooting at Stoneman Douglas began a 400-mile journey to Florida’s capital to urge lawmakers to prevent a repeat of the massacre. The normally staid Florida Statehouse filled with students, among them more than 100 survivors of the attack. They held signs, chanted slogans and burst into lawmakers’ offices demanding to be heard. • The Associated Press contributed to this report. A week after a shooter slaughtered 17 people in a Florida high school on Valentine's Day, McHenry County Board Chairman Jack Franks (pictured at a previous event) deliv[...]


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2018 Primary Election Questionnaire: Larry Smith- R, McHenry County Board District 6

Sat, 24 Feb 2018 03:36:00 GMT

Name: Larry W. Smith Age: 63 Town: Harvard Office Sought: McHenry County Board District 6 Occupation: Real Estate Broker, Property Manager, Farm Owner Education: McHenry County College, University of Wisconsin and Northern Illinois University Elected Offices Held: McHenry County Board Member, District 6 Website: Vote-Smith.com Twitter: none Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/Larry-W-Smith-280715659085450/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel 1. What skills, qualities or experience do you possess that separates you from your opponents? I am an experienced decision-maker, a self-employed business owner in McHenry County for over 30 years, and a current county board member. I have the work ethic to dig to the bottom of issues. I believe that understanding both the immediate and the long-term consequences of my vote, is essential. As a current county board member, I have earned the respect and confidence of my colleagues. I have been voted to chair the Planning, Environmental & Development Committee and the Community Development and Housing Block Grant Commission. I will cooperate with and support any county board member who brings forth ideas and plans to make McHenry County better, and save the taxpayers money. I will continue to bring a positive approach to County Board business and strive to represent my constituents free of the bipartisan politics that has so hindered good government in the past. 2. What can the McHenry County Board do and what should it do to ease the property tax burden on homeowners? We did it! We reduced your county real estate taxes by 11.2 percent. McHenry County will collect 11.2 percent less in taxes for the 2018 tax year. This was accomplished by utilizing a tax abatement, which I consider to be the most prudent way to lower taxes this year. The state of Illinois has statutes in place that regulate what a county can or cannot do relative to the county tax levy. The precarious financial position of the state, and our budget being continually negatively impacted by unfunded State mandates*, led me to the decision that utilizing an abatement to lower taxes for the year 2018, was in the best interest of the taxpayers of McHenry County. Leaving the tax levy as is for 2018, effectively creates a financial “safety net” for the residents of McHenry County. I am hopeful this year will bring some financial stability on the state level, which would allow us to reduce the levy, as opposed to an abatement, and lock in the tax savings for McHenry County taxpayers. *Recently, (after we approved the 2018 budget), the un[...]



2018 Primary Election Questionnaire: Ersel Schuster - R, McHenry County Board District 6Ersel Schuster

Sat, 24 Feb 2018 03:27:00 GMT

Name: Ersel C. Schuster Age: 78 Town: Harvard Office sought: McHenry County Board – Dist 6 Occupation: Retired Education: Masters’ Degree - Counselling Elected offices held: 3.5 terms McHenry County Board Four terms Seneca Township Supervisor Website: www.electschuster.com or www.taxpayertotaxpayer.com Twitter: I have an account but do not use it. Facebook: I have an account but do not use it. 1) What skills, qualities or experience do you possess that separate you from your opponents? SKILLS: My background is in accounting/bookkeeping; consulting; business ownership; and published writer. QUALITIES: I am proud to have been a “go-to source” for fellow public officials needing to discuss issues and those interested in holding public office. EXPERIENCE: My experience includes hands-on work on the family dairy farm, critical background and understanding since half of McHenry county consists of family farms; Public relations; work in accounting and auditing; built and operated two businesses, selling one and continuing the second on a limited basis. Public service experience: Four terms as Supervisor/CEO of Seneca Township personally handling all aspects of running the township; and, 3.5 terms on the McHenry County Board serving as a member of nearly every committee and chairing several. In these positions, it is documented that my underlying goals, accomplishments, and philosophies have been to cut costs and reduce government. Accomplishments: Managed a citizen initiative requiring public officials to disclosure additional financial interests and property holdings. After years of talk, I was instrumental in kicking of dead-center, real-time audio of county board meetings. After a great deal of work, I was able to convince fellow board members to start cutting costs and stop the “normal,” and annual, tax increases. 2) What can the McHenry County Board do and what should it do to ease the property tax burden on homeowners? Every person running for elected office suggests they have either reduced, or will reduce, taxes. Unfortunately, at the county, those claiming to have reduced taxes are deliberately misleading taxpayers. They claim false reductions, shuffle expenses between departments, and claim that “user fees” are not taxes. The only way to reduce the county board’s levy (taxes) is to reduce the size of county government. Until board members grasp that concept, nothing will change. [...]


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2018 Primary Election Questionnaire: Orville Brettman - R, McHenry County Board District 6Orville Brettman

Sat, 24 Feb 2018 03:22:00 GMT

Name: Orville Brettman Age: 70 Town: Huntley Office sought: McHenry County Board District 6 Occupation: Retired Education: Northern Illinois University – Business Administration & History Elected offices held: Village President Carpentersville Illinois Elected 1977 Website: http://www.orvillebrettman.com/ Twitter: None Facebook: Orville Brettman 1. What skills, qualities or experience do you possess that separate you from your opponents? I was elected Village President of Carpentersville in 1977. During my tenure, I served on the advisory board of the North Eastern Illinois planning commission and its 208 water study group. I’ve been an officer, director, or partner in four Illinois Corporations. In addition I served two terms as President of one of America’s largest scientific societies, the Astronomical League. 2. What can the McHenry County Board do and what should it do to ease the property tax burden on homeowners? Reduce the Levy 3. Do you think the McHenry County Board should evaluate the possibility of leasing or privatizing Valley Hi Nursing Home? No. The voters spoke when the enabling referendum was passed. It said “Build operate and maintain”. It gave no permission to lease or privatize. 4. Do you think the size of the McHenry County Board should be reduced from 24 members to 12 members? Why or why not? No. Less representation is not better representation, and with the workload of the current board causing their meeting packets to run to multiple hundreds of pages, doubling the per person workload would be untenable. In addition, the viability of the committee structure would suffer as well. 5. What can the county board do to make McHenry County a more attractive place for businesses? Having operated a business in McHenry County for a decade, I never found it to be unattractive. I would be more than delighted however to listen at length to any proposals the might originate with our various Chambers of Commerce as to how the County might improve the situation so long as the Counties role in doing so does not raise the levy. 6. What do you think is the most pressing issue the county board will face in the next two years and how will you address it? To stop the creation of a patronage cabal now being assembled by the current County Chairman Jack Franks, who was recently dubbed “The most evil kind of political servant” by the Edgar County Watc[...]


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2018 Primary Election Questionnaire: Michele Aavang - R, McHenry County Board District 6Michele Aavang

Sat, 24 Feb 2018 03:17:00 GMT

Name: Michele Aavang Age: 57 Town: Woodstock Office sought: McHenry County Board Member, District 6 Occupation: Self-employed farmer Education: A.S. (HighbHonors) McHenry County College Elected offices held: Currently serving in my second term as a McHenry County Board Member, formerly two-term Village of Greenwood Trustee  1. What skills, qualities or experience do you possess thatseparate you from your opponents?     I have the leadership experience and passion for service to the community necessary to continue to be an effective member of the county board, including my present role as a county board committee chairperson, District Director of Illinois Farm Bureau, and Secretary of the Greenwood Cemetery Association. I am also the immediate past President of McHenry County Farm Bureau, past president of the Woodstock Farmers Market board, former two-term trustee for the Village of Greenwood, and the former leader of the largest 4-H club in the county.  I have decades of practical managerial andbusiness experience. I have controlled spending and prepared and analyzed budgets for successful operations. Since the economic well-being of the county is a priority, this background is important. My farm background has given me strong work ethic and a common-sense approach to seeking solutions. I also have a keen interest in the future of the county as a local business owner, and member of a family that has rootshere dating back to the 1840s.   2) What can the McHenry County Board do and what should it do to ease the property tax burden on homeowners? I was pleased to recently vote in favor of cutting 11.2 percent of the county’s property tax levy, and to help lead efforts to encourage other taxing entities, specifically school districts, to do the same. However, the work to ease the tax burden should not stop there. Spending of taxpayer money on capital projects should be done thoughtfully, within budgetary restraints, and with long term goals in mind. Priority should be given to infrastructure projects that address safety concerns and that will provide benefits to the businesses and work force located here, withoutadversely impacting the quality of life that we enjoy.  Our property values continue to stagnate andour county has a heavy reliance on property taxes for revenue. To ease this reliance, we need to continue to work on retaining our existing businesses and industries by allowing them to operate and grow in a supportive environment, and by making continued efforts to attract new businesses.  Leaders entrusted with our future should welcome and accept input from the public and make informed, careful decisions. [...]


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2018 Primary Election Questionnaire: Pamela Althoff - R, McHenry County Board District 4Pamela Althoff speaks at a candidate forum hosted by the League of Women Voters of McHenry County at McHenry County College Monday, Sept. 19, 2016. Althoff is seeking a spot on the McHenry County Board.

Sat, 24 Feb 2018 03:10:00 GMT

Name: Pamela Althoff Age: Senior citizen status Town: McHenry Office sought: County Board District 4 Occupation: Current State Senator/District 32 Education: BSEd from Illinois State University and Masters from Northeastern Illinois University in Special Education Elected offices held: City Clerk of McHenry 1994-2001 Fox Waterway Board 1998-2001 Mayor of McHenry 2001-2003 State Senator/District 32 2003-2018 1) What skills, qualities or experience do you possess that separate you from your opponents? I possess great familiarity with parliamentary procedure, the ability to work collaboratively with people of both opposing and similar perspectives, as well as being accessible and responsive to constituent services and inquiry. I also have a vast understanding of the county’s challenges and opportunities, strengths and weaknesses, needs and wants. In addition I also possess an immense network of state and federal contacts/resources. I have also worked collaboratively with every one of the current seated board members. 2) What can the McHenry County Board do and what should it do to ease the property tax burden on homeowners? With regard to property tax ease, McHenry County can continue to lead by example; retaining a flat levy and reducing unnecessary expenses. I also believe McHenry County can take the lead in educating our residents on how property taxes are determined as well as how to afford themselves access to the tax protest process. We also need to continue to work with our state representatives to ensure full state education funding as our education property tax line items are the most expensive. 3) Do you think the McHenry County Board should evaluate the possibility of leasing or privatizing Valley Hi Nursing Home? Yes, I believe the board should evaluate the possibility of leasing or privatizing Valley Hi Nursing Home. 4) Do you think the size of the McHenry County Board should be reduced from 24 members to 12 members? Why or why not? I absolutely believe the size of the McHenry County Board should be reduced. I also believe the reduction should be determined based on how a new district map is determined and whether it will incorporate single-member districts. 5) What can the county board do to make McHenry County a more attractive place for businesses? To make McHenry County a more attractive place for people and businesses the board should continue to [...]


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Man sentenced to 6 months in jail for fatal 2012 DUI crash near MarengoLeonardo Martinez

Sat, 24 Feb 2018 02:28:00 GMT

SENECA TOWNSHIP – A group gathered in a McHenry County courtroom Friday let out sighs of relief when 48-year-old Leonardo Martinez was sentenced to two years of probation in a DUI crash that killed a young girl. In the next breath, however, McHenry County Judge Sharon Prather told Martinez he also would have to spend nearly six months in the McHenry County Jail. The man asked if he could be excused from serving the time if he followed the conditions of his probation, but Prather denied the request, and Martinez was taken away in handcuffs moments later. Martinez pleaded guilty in October to aggravated driving under the influence of drugs in the 2012 crash that killed 4-year-old Daniela Gomez. On Sept. 2, 2012, Martinez ran a stop sign at the intersection of Millstream Road and Route 176 and crashed into the Gomez family’s Jeep Cherokee. Blood and urine tests showed unspecified amounts of cocaine in his system, the McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office has said. Martinez’s attorney, Darryl Goldberg, has argued the crash was caused by a diabetic episode and a dysfunctional streetlight above the intersection. The girl’s father, Francisco Gomez, cried as he testified Friday that he didn’t want to see another family torn apart as a result of the crash. He told Prather a sentence of probation would be appropriate, especially considering the case’s longevity. “We want to give our forgiveness to him...” Gomez said. “We know it was an accident.” Martinez was driving with two passengers – one of them a 5-year-old – at the time of the crash, police said. The Gomez family also had their 1-year-old son with them in the vehicle. The crash ejected Daniela Gomez from the Jeep, and several passers-by stopped to help free the 40-pound girl from the wreckage, McHenry County Sheriff’s Sgt. Alan Sabol said in court Friday. Goldberg and Martinez’s accountant, Jorge Duemas, said they worried if Martinez went to prison, the 16 muffler shops he operates would fail, leaving 86 employees without jobs. They added that since the crash, Martinez has donated 5,000 Breathalyzers to Fathers Against Drunk Driving and spoken to students about the affects of impaired driving – although he maintains he felt OK to drive the day of the crash. “I know that I was fine to drive that day, but I hold myself responsible for getting behind the wheel,” Martinez said in court Friday. While Martinez is out on probation, he will be barred from drinking alcohol or consuming drugs, Prather ordered. [...]Leonardo Martinez


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Algonquin-Lake in the Hills Fire Protection District rescues cat from top of utility poleAlgonquin-Lake in the Hills Fire Protection District crews were dispatched about 5 p.m. to the 300 block of Wander Way, Lake in the Hills, to rescue a cat who had climbed to the top of a utility pole.Resident Craig Hack called the police department after noticing the cat on top of the pole. At first, he thought it was a large bird.Photo provided by Craig HackPhoto provided by Craig Hack

Sat, 24 Feb 2018 01:44:00 GMT

LAKE IN THE HILLS – Algonquin-Lake in the Hills firefighters responded to an unusual call Thursday night.

Crews were dispatched about 5 p.m. to the 300 block of Wander Way, Lake in the Hills, to rescue a cat who had climbed to the top of a utility pole, Algonquin-Lake in the Hills Fire Protection District Assistant Chief Mike Kern said.

“We don’t normally go out for cat rescues, but it is a community service, and we decided to go out there, check on it and see if we could be of assistance,” Kern said.

Resident Craig Hack called the police department after noticing the cat on top of the pole. At first, he thought it was a large bird. The cat had a collar on it with no tags and was given to the police department to identify its owner.

Firefighters used a ladder truck to rescue the cat.

“Honestly, I couldn’t tell you the last time we had to do that, in years,” Kern said. “It was just unusual because years ago, you’d see a cat up in a tree, and it would just crawl down. But this time, it was on top of a pole. It must have climbed its way up somehow.”

Algonquin-Lake in the Hills Fire Protection District crews were dispatched about 5 p.m. to the 300 block of Wander Way, Lake in the Hills, to rescue a cat who had climbed to the top of a utility pole.Resident Craig Hack called the police department after noticing the cat on top of the pole. At first, he thought it was a large bird.Photo provided by Craig HackPhoto provided by Craig Hack


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Former Huntley fire chief resigns from local police department after being investigated for moonlightingFormer Huntley Fire Protection District Chief Ken Caudle resigned Feb. 12 from his part-time police officer position with the Prairie Grove Police Department.Huntley Fire Protection District Chief Scott Ravagnie (left) and Deputy Chief Al Schlick discuss on Jan. 29 some of the questionable equipment purchases made by former Chief Ken Caudle at the Fire Protection District Annex Building in Huntley.

Sat, 24 Feb 2018 00:50:00 GMT

PRAIRIE GROVE – Former Huntley Fire Protection District Chief Ken Caudle resigned from his part-time police officer position following an investigation from the fire district into his unauthorized moonlighting. Caudle resigned from the Prairie Grove Police Department on Feb. 12, after telling the village on Feb. 6 he planned on leaving, Village Administrator William Beith said. In his resignation letter, obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, Caudle wrote he received another job offer that was “too exciting for me to decline.” “It has been a pleasure working with you and your department for the past two years,” Caudle wrote. “One of the highlights of my career was seeing the department grow to what it is today.” When reached by phone Friday, Caudle confirmed he left Prairie Grove police, and would not say where his next job was. He had worked for Prairie Grove since June 23, 2016. An investigation into Caudle’s time at the Huntley Fire Protection District showed he spent tens of thousands of dollars in public funds on items of questionable use to the department, according to records obtained in a Freedom of Information Act request. Some items seem to apply to more police-oriented work than others, such as an armor-bearing duty vest, “ballistics,” handcuff restraints, tactical jackets and belts, and a taser recertification course. Authorities also questioned Caudle for activating his lights while driving his fire district vehicle and pulling behind a police car to assist an officer in a traffic stop, records show. Despite a clause in his contract with the Huntley Fire Protection District that said he could not work other jobs while earning almost $150,000 a year as fire chief, Caudle held several others during his time as chief, records show. Prairie Grove Police Department Chief Tony Colatorti said Caudle was not asked to resign and said he had no knowledge of Caudle’s double-logged hours to both Prairie Grove and the Huntley Fire Protection District. The hours were logged in May and Colatorti was officially appointed as police chief in November 2017. Caudle earned around $19 an hour as a part-time officer and he had no spending authority with the police department, Colatorti said. Former Huntley Fire Protection District Chief Ken Caudle resigned Feb. 12 from his part-time police officer position with the Prairie Grove Police Department.Huntley Fire Protection District Chief Scott Ravagnie (left) and Deputy Chief Al Schlick discuss on Jan. 29 some of the quest[...]


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Joseph's Marketplace in Crystal Lake closesA shopper heads into Joseph's Marketplace on Thursday in Crystal Lake. The grocery store, which opened on 2005, closed Friday.Herbert and wife Luana Schardt of Cary load their car on Thursday with groceries purchased at 70 percent off at Joseph's Marketplace in Crystal Lake. The grocery store closed Friday.

Sat, 24 Feb 2018 00:21:00 GMT

CRYSTAL LAKE – Joseph’s Marketplace closed Friday evening.

Customers tried to enter the independent grocery store up until the last minute before it shut its doors for good around 5 p.m., store manager Ron Presta said.

Presta said Friday was a consistently busy day with customers coming in for the last time.

More than 95 percent of the retail space in the store was empty Thursday afternoon. The store had advertised steep discounts in recent days, and the stocking of shelves continued to dwindle in recent weeks.

Joseph’s survived the recession after it opened in 2005, filling the space left vacant by an Eagle Food Center Inc. store.

It also bounced back from a three-month closure in 2011 after a partial roof collapse caused by a powerful summer storm.

Many in Crystal Lake and on social media have speculated that the anticipated opening of Mariano’s this spring, across the street on Route 14, led to the decision to close.

Joseph’s Marketplace management has declined to comment on the reason for the closure.

A shopper heads into Joseph's Marketplace on Thursday in Crystal Lake. The grocery store, which opened on 2005, closed Friday.Herbert and wife Luana Schardt of Cary load their car on Thursday with groceries purchased at 70 percent off at Joseph's Marketplace in Crystal Lake. The grocery store closed Friday.


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Joseph's Marketplace expected to close FridayBreads were discounted Wednesday to less than a $1 at Joseph's Marketplace on Route 14 ahead of the store closing Friday. The store said "thank you" on the labels of bread and deli items, such as this $.50 bag of dinner rolls.Produce shelves at Joseph's Marketplace on Route 14 were nearly empty Wednesday ahead of the store closing Friday. The store offered 70 percent off of all groceries on Thursday.Matthew Apgar - mapgar@shawmedia.com Alfa Bourey of Crystal Lake heads to her car after doing some shopping at Joseph's Marketplace on Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018 in Crystal Lake. Bourey was a regular at the grocery store, making most of her produce purchases there, however she stocked up on non-perishable items such as cleaning supplies purchased at 70% off during the store's going out of business sale.Matthew Apgar - mapgar@shawmedia.com Construction continues at Mariano's on Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018 in Crystal Lake.Matthew Apgar - mapgar@shawmedia.com A shopper heads into Joseph's Marketplace on Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018 in Crystal Lake. The grocery store is closing when all of its fresh produce are sold out.

Fri, 23 Feb 2018 23:22:00 GMT

CRYSTAL LAKE – Judi Spizzirri was perusing Facebook on Thursday afternoon when she saw that all groceries in Joseph’s Marketplace were 70 percent off. Fifteen minutes later, she was combing the aisles for the best of what was left. The independent grocer will close Friday. “I’m going to miss it,” Spizzirri said. “They had good prices, variety, ethnic foods, their lunch meat couldn’t be beat. I was always here for the produce, too.” Customers and cashiers said the store would close Friday at the latest. More than 95 percent of the retail space in the store was empty Thursday afternoon. The store had advertised steep discounts in recent days, and the stocking of shelves continued to dwindle in recent weeks. As shoppers waited in line a couple of minutes before 4 p.m. Thursday, some of the lights were turned off. Customers stocked up on sports drinks, bread, tomato sauces and household items. There was no meat on display in the store, unless it was in the deli or frozen section, as of Wednesday, when groceries were 50 percent off. Produce shelves were close to empty. Donna Brennecke was introduced to Joseph’s Marketplace about 10 years ago through her job as a caregiver. She would shop at the store with her clients. On Thursday, she was using an outstanding gift certificate to take advantage of the deals. “I’m sad to see it go,” Brennecke said Thursday, just minutes before the store closed at 4 p.m. “They had a lot of stuff I wouldn’t normally buy, but I was introduced to all of these ethnic foods they had because of my clients.” Brennecke, an Algonquin resident, was examining an aisle of plasticware and napkins at 70 percent off when she said, “I already filled my car once and came back in to buy more stuff.” Joseph’s survived the recession after it opened in 2005, filling the space left vacant by an Eagle Food Center Inc. store. It also bounced back from a three-month closure in 2011 after a partial roof collapse caused by a powerful summer storm. Many in Crystal Lake and on social media have speculated that the anticipated opening of Mariano’s this spring, across the street on Route 14, led to the decision to close. Joseph’s Marketplace management declined to comment in January, aside from confirming the store would close soon, and declined again to provide more information Wednesday and Thursday. Crystal Lake economic develo[...]


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Kinzinger: Bump stocks should be banned; Congress needs to find middle groundCongressman Adam Kinzinger speaks to the SVM editorial board.

Fri, 23 Feb 2018 21:13:00 GMT

DIXON – In the wake of the Florida school shooting killing 17 people, U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger said the aisles of Congress need to find common ground on gun control.

The Channahon Republican, who's running for re-election in the 16th Congressional District, told the Sauk Valley Media Editorial Board on Thursday that gun control is a bipartisan issue that needs to be approached outside of the far-leaning stances, the "ban all guns" or "do nothing" sides of the spectrum. Sauk Valley Media, is a part of Shaw Media.

Specifically, he said there needs to be a ban on bump stocks, attachments that enable a semiautomatic rifle to fire faster.

That might not prevent future shootings, but it would keep a shooter from being able to fire 100 rounds within a few seconds, he said.

"I think it's the right thing to do," he said.

Bump stocks were used in the Las Vegas concert shooting that killed 58 people and injured hundreds more in October.

The former Stoneman Douglas High School student who opened fire inside the Parkland, Florida, school last week used an AR-15 rifle without a bump stock.

Kinzinger said he's not in favor of arming teachers because without proper training, they might not be able to do much good in a shooter situation.

"I don't want to turn schools into military zones," he said.

Kinzinger will be running against Republican challenger Jim Marter, an Oswego businessman, during the March 20 primary. Democrats looking to unseat him are Neill Mohammad from DeKalb, Sara Dady from Rockford, Beth Vercolio-Osmund from Ottawa and Amy "Murri" Briel from Joliet.

The 16th District covers all of Lee, Ogle,Bureau, Boone, Grundy, Iroquois, LaSalle, Livingston, and Putnam counties, and parts of DeKalb, Ford, Stark, Will and Winnebago counties.

Congressman Adam Kinzinger speaks to the SVM editorial board.


Media Files:
http://www.nwherald.com/articles/2018/02/23/922e940790bf4e70bc8d5dc7d5dbf9c8/06605d93-73b0-4dd4-8e7e-5b98f51d042c/image-pv_web.jpg