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High school football podcast: Week 5 breakdown, and are we underestimating Cary-Grove?

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 13:53:45 GMT

With four weeks down, the playoff picture begins to take shape, and Northwest Herald sports editor Kyle Nabors, senior sports reporter Joe Stevenson and sports reporter Sean Hammond break down each game for Week 5.

Other topics: What can we realistically expect from Woodstock the rest of the way? And who did we pick to win this week?

Like what you hear?   Subscribe to us here in iTunes  . Leave a review, it helps others discover the show.


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Toys 'R' Us files for bankruptcy but keeps stores openAP file photo Shoppers shop in a Toys 'R' Us store Nov. 25 in Miami. Toys 'R' Us, the pioneering big box toy retailer, announced late Monday that it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection while continuing with normal business operations.

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 05:05:00 GMT

NEW YORK – Toys R Us, the toy retailer struggling with $5 billion in debt and intense online competition, has filed for bankruptcy protection ahead of the key holiday shopping season – and says its stores will remain open for business as usual. The company said the proceedings are a way for Toys R Us to work with its creditors on restructuring the debt beleaguering it. And it emphasized that its stores worldwide will serve customers while it works with suppliers and sells merchandise. Filing for bankruptcy protection “will provide us with greater financial flexibility to invest in our business ... and strengthen our competitive position in an increasingly challenging and rapidly changing retail marketplace worldwide,” Chairman and CEO Dave Brandon said. The move comes as retailers head into the busiest shopping time of year. The company said it was “well-stocked as we prepare for the holiday season and are excited about all of our upcoming in-store events.” Retailers of all kinds are struggling. The Toys R Us bankruptcy filing joins a list of at least 18 others since the beginning of the year – including shoe chain Payless Shoe Source, children’s clothing chain Gymboree Corp. and the True Religion jean brand – as people shop less in stores and more online. “Toys R Us had little choice but to restructure and try to put itself on a firmer footing, said Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData Retail. However, he added, “even if the debt issues are solved, Toys R Us still faces massive structural challenges against which it must battle.” Toys R Us, a major force in toy retailing in the 1980s and early 1990s, started losing shoppers to discounters such as Walmart and Target and then to Amazon. GlobalData Retail estimates that in 2016 about 13.7 percent of toy sales were made online, up from 6.5 percent five years ago. And children are increasingly moving more toward mobile devices as playthings. “For many children, electronics have become a replacement or a substitute for traditional toys,” Saunders said. Toys R Us has struggled with debt since private-equity firms Bain Capital, KKR & Co. and Vornado Realty Trust took it private in a $6.6 billion leveraged buyout in 2005. The plan had been to take the company public, but that never happened because of its weak financial performance. With such debt levels, Toys R Us has not had the financial flexibility to invest in its business. Marc Rosenberg, a toy marketing executive, said Toys R Us hasn’t been aggressive about building its online business, and let those sales migrate to rivals. And he says the company should have also thought of new ways to attract more customers in its stores, such as hosting birthday parties. “Everyone is shopping online and using the store as a showcase,” he said. Randy Watson of Fort Worth, Texas, used to pick up items at Toys R Us for his kids. But now with his grandchildren, he uses the store to see what’s available and then shops elsewhere to get lower prices. “We will go to Toys R Us to check out the current toys, and while we are at the store, we will be looking up prices on the phone on Walmart.com and Amazon,” he said. What he finds on the shelves might be a question. Jeffries analyst Stephanie Wissink said she expects that Toys R Us suppliers, who were already shifting some of their orders to other stores amid talk there’d be a bankruptcy filing, will keep doing so. For most multinational toy suppliers, the Toys R Us business roughly accounted for 10 percent of total sales, she said. Although toy sales overall have held up fairly well, they are shifting toward discounters and online companies. U.S[...]


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Child safety seat inspection to be held Saturday in Crystal Lake

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 05:04:00 GMT

CRYSTAL LAKE – A free child safety seat inspection will be held Saturday in Crystal Lake.

The event aims to teach the proper use of child safety seats, which when used correctly can be one of the most important tools to keep children safe when traveling, according to a news release from Crystal Lake police.

The event will be from 9 a.m. to noon at Pauly Toyota, 1035 S. Route 31, Crystal Lake.

Traffic crashes are a leading cause of death and serious injury in children age 16 and younger, according to the release.

At the event, child passenger seat safety technicians will be available to teach and assist parents and caregivers with correctly installing safety seats in their vehicles. Technicians also can answer questions about safety recommendations, according to the release.

No appointments are necessary to participate. These items should be brought to the event:

• The child who uses the safety seat

• The vehicle the seat it is used in

• The child safety seat

• The user’s guide or owner’s manual provided with the safety seat

For information, contact officer Ed Pluviose at 815-356-3731 or epluviose@crystallake.org.

Visit Buckle Up Illinois’ website, www.buckleupillinois.org, for information on child passenger safety and where to find child safety seat events.




Crystal Lake Country Club members collecting clothes for veterans to wear at job interviewsSarah Nader file photo – snader@shawmedia.com Kurt Riedel talks with his neighbors in 2015 while staying at New Horizons, a transitional-living center in Hebron for homeless veterans. Two veterans who are Crystal Lake Country Club members started a clothing drive to help provide outfits for veterans in transition to wear to job interviews.

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 05:04:00 GMT

HEBRON – Two McHenry County veterans started a clothing drive to help clothe homeless veterans for job interviews.

Walt Kalemba, a former member of the Marine Corps, and Chuck Stevens, a former member of the Air Force, have asked fellow Crystal Lake Country Club members to donate men’s clothing to those living in Transitional Living Services for Veterans’ New Horizons facility.

The Hebron-based program provides food, shelter, support and employment opportunities to veterans looking to rebuild their lives.

Kalemba said he was close with TLS Veterans’ late president, Everett H. Pratt. Pratt was a three-star general in the Air Force, the highest ranked officer in McHenry County. When Kalemba visited the facility, he said he noticed the need for proper job interview attire.

“There are jobs available for them, but they want to be real presentable when they go for the interviews,” Kalemba said.

Kalemba and Stevens began collecting clothes at the beginning of September, and they already have brought a van full of “some of the best clothes you ever saw” to the transitional living center.

The two men are part of a larger group who call themselves the “Twilighters.” About 40 seniors, mostly veterans, make up the group, and they helped get the idea off the ground.

“I got a phone call from TLS last night, and they said the veterans are just beside themselves,” Kalemba said.

Kalemba said he hopes other country clubs follow Crystal Lake’s lead, and next month he plans to collect women’s clothes for some of the veterans’ wives.

Men’s clothing can be donated from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. every day except Monday until the end of September at the Crystal Lake Country Club, 721 Country Club Road, Crystal Lake.

“We all have golf shirts and nice sport coats that we somehow grew out of,” Kalemba said.

Sarah Nader file photo – snader@shawmedia.com Kurt Riedel talks with his neighbors in 2015 while staying at New Horizons, a transitional-living center in Hebron for homeless veterans. Two veterans who are Crystal Lake Country Club members started a clothing drive to help provide outfits for veterans in transition to wear to job interviews.


Media Files:
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Huntley American Legion Post 673 plans expansionThe Huntley American Legion Post 673 will receive $20,000 from the village for exterior improvements to its building and to create a brick wall surrounding a future honor garden.

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 05:03:00 GMT

HUNTLEY – American Legion Post 673 of Huntley will be expanding its building in hopes of attracting a younger crowd.

The addition will be located along the east side of the building, 11712 Coral St., and will expand the bar area, reconfigure bathrooms and provide a handicap-accessible ramp for the rear parking lot.

Post Cmdr. Michael Stojak said that to draw younger veterans in, the building from the 1950s will need to be revamped.

“Veterans these days were ill-prepared for what they had to deal with overseas, and when they get home, many don’t know there are other people who understand what they experienced,” Stojak said. “I hope they can come here, talk with older veterans and realize they are not alone.”

The Huntley Village Board approved a site plan Thursday for a new addition that will add about 722 square feet to the facility and enclose a future honor garden with a brick wall. The bathrooms also will become compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, something Stojak said is important for the accessibility of all veterans.

Trustees also approved a $20,000 grant to the Legion – $10,000 in 2017 and $10,000 in 2018 – for exterior improvements to its building through the village’s facade improvement program.

The total cost of the addition and brick wall is estimated at $450,000, according to village documents. The brick wall will be short enough so people sitting in the honor garden can see parades and town performances, Stojak said.

The honor garden will sit next to the incoming BBQ King Smokehouse restaurant. The design for the honor garden has yet to be determined, Stojak said. The west wall of the building will be painted and feature military logos.

The Legion has about 300 members, Stojak said, and he hopes the expansion will help the longevity of the program.

Construction is set to begin in October and be completed by the spring, Stojak said.

The village budgeted $90,000 for facade improvements in fiscal 2017, and about $28,000 has been used so far, according to village documents.

The Huntley American Legion Post 673 will receive $20,000 from the village for exterior improvements to its building and to create a brick wall surrounding a future honor garden.


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Weigh in on Fox River Corridor Plan at Lake Barrington open houseThe Route 14 and Union Pacific bridges pass over the Fox River in Fox River Grove.

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 05:03:00 GMT

LAKE BARRINGTON – What should the Fox River area look like in 2030?

In collaboration with local agencies and Lake County, the McHenry County Planning and Development Department is creating a plan for the Fox River corridor from Burtons Bridge just north of Route 176 to the Fox Bluff Conservation Area to the south.

A public vision workshop will be at 6 p.m. Thursday at Village Hall, 23860 N. Old Barrington Road, Lake Barrington.

The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning and the county planning department will focus on creating transit and multimodal connections along the river and creating open space that preserve water quality.

Kate Evasic, project manager and associate planner for CMAP, said the plan looks at ways to connect villages to the river, including Cary and Fox River Grove.

“They are looking to revitalize their downtowns, so how can we better connect those downtown areas to the river?” Evasic said.

Many residents and village staff have told the CMAP that Cary is interested in having more access to the river and is like “a river community without a riverfront.” She said it hopes to create more bike trails and walking paths. Additionally, the plan will look at opportunities to develop commerce aimed at users of the river and recreational activities.

The area spans more than 11 miles and covers eight communities. The planning process will include four phases in the next 14 months.

An initial public meeting was held in March, when participants helped to identify strengths and weaknesses of the Fox River area.

Evasic said a lot of participants said they love the area because it’s a place to disconnect and relax, and people appreciate the ability to use powerboats on the river between the Chain O’ Lakes and Algonquin dam.

There is a desire to have more businesses on the river – to generate tourism and revenue to surrounding towns – and to keep some open space, Evasic said.

The area includes portions of Cary, Fox River Grove, Island Lake, Lake Barrington, Oakwood Hills, Port Barrington, Tower Lakes and Trout Valley.

CMAP previously worked with Algonquin and Carpentersville to create a plan for the Fox River in December 2015.

Evasic said CMAP hopes to have the plan complete by the spring.

For information, visit the project’s webpage at cmap.is/fox-river-mchenry-lake.

The Route 14 and Union Pacific bridges pass over the Fox River in Fox River Grove.


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Former Huntley man indicted on bankruptcy fraud charges

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 05:03:00 GMT

HUNTLEY – A former Huntley man was indicted Tuesday by a federal grand jury on bankruptcy fraud charges.

Tracy L. Sunderlage, 71, was charged with making false statements in a bankruptcy case and making false statements under oath of a bankruptcy proceeding, according to a news release from the U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Illinois.

Sunderlage filed a Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition, various bankruptcy schedules and a statement of financial affairs, signed under the penalty of perjury, in August 2011, according to the indictment.

In the statement of financial affairs, Sunderlage allegedly made concealed fraudulent transfers of 100,000 shares of Gulf Keystone Petroleum, more than $173,000 in transfers to a relative, a receipt of $241,000 in income from the sale of ownership interest on Gulf Keystone, a receipt of $25,000 in income from the sale of ownership interests with other companies, and personal property interests and his Jaguar, according to the indictment.

Sunderlage also allegedly falsely testified under oath at a meeting in May 2012 with creditors, according to the indictment.

Each charge has a maximum penalty of up to five years in prison, a three-year supervision term and fines up to $250,000, or twice the gain or loss from the offense, whichever is greater, according to the release.


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Rep. Randy Hultgren announces 2017 Congressional App Challenge

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 05:03:00 GMT

U.S. Rep. Randy Hultgren, R-Plano, announced that the annual Congressional App Challenge for high school students in the 14th Congressional District has launched and will be accepting submissions through Nov. 1.

The competition is designed to engage students’ creativity and encourage their participation in science, technology, engineering and mathematics education fields, allowing students to compete by creating and exhibiting their software application, or “app,” for mobile, tablet or computer devices on a platform of their choice. Students may work in groups of up to four members to learn and grow as a team.

Last year, the nationwide competition received submissions from students in 123 congressional districts with more than 2,150 participants.

Alan Koval of St. Charles East High School was selected as the 14th District winner by area judges for his app, “Koval’s 3D Grapher.” Koval also won the National Merit PPG Foundation Community Scholarship, a competition among 1.5 million high school applicants across the country.

The 14th District winners will be selected by a panel of local judges and recognized by Hultgren. The apps will be on display in the U.S. Capitol building.

Students wishing to submit applications for the Congressional App Challenge can submit their application online at congressionalappchallenge.us, and additional information can be found at congressionalappchallenge.us and on Hultgren’s website at hultgren.house.gov/serving-you/stem-competition, or by phone at 202-225-2976.

Hultgren is a member of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee and is co-chairman of the STEM Education Caucus in the U.S. House.

He recently celebrated the graduation of his inaugural STEM Scholars class. The youth leadership program encourages highly motivated and energetic high school students to become ambassadors in their communities for the possibilities provided by the STEM fields.




Hebron man wins $450,000 off lottery ticket from Crystal Lake gas stationDonald Raef of Hebron holds his winning Lucky Day Lotto ticket. Raef's ticket matched all five numbers – 3, 4, 9, 16 and 28 – in the Sept. 8 drawing.

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 05:00:00 GMT

HEBRON – A Hebron man won almost a half-million dollars from a lottery ticket bought at a Crystal Lake gas station.

Donald Raef won $450,000 from a Lucky Day Lotto Illinois Lottery ticket sold at BP gas station, 7615 Route 14, Crystal Lake, during the Sept. 8 evening drawing, according to a news release from the Illinois Lottery.

“It was my lucky day,” Raef said.

His ticket matched all five numbers – 3, 4, 9, 16 and 28. Raef said he has been playing the same numbers for several years. He plans on buying a house with part of the money. 

The retailer received a bonus of $4,500, or 1 percent of the prize amount, for selling the winning ticket. More than 22,000 players won prizes ranging from $1 to $200 in the same drawing. Lucky Day Lotto drawings are twice a day and seven days a week.

Donald Raef of Hebron holds his winning Lucky Day Lotto ticket. Raef's ticket matched all five numbers – 3, 4, 9, 16 and 28 – in the Sept. 8 drawing.


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Crystal Lake synagogue readies for Jewish High Holy DaysAP photo Seth Merlin blows a shofar during Rosh Hashanah services Sept. 25, 2014, at the First Baptist Church in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 04:57:00 GMT

WOODSTOCK – Sundown on Wednesday marks the beginning of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year.

The date varies from year to year because the Jewish calendar is a lunar one, officials from the Crystal Lake-based Congregation Tikkun Olam said in a statement.

This year, Rosh Hashanah begins at sundown Wednesday, and Yom Kippur, or the Day of Atonement, begins at sundown Sept. 29.

On Rosh Hashanah, those who practice Judaism believe God judges their actions and writes them in the “Book of Life” for the upcoming year.

“[The book includes] who will live, who will die, who will be poor, who will be rich, who will be humbled, who will be exalted,” according to the statement.

Jewish people can repent for their wrongdoings until Yom Kippur, when the book is sealed. Although weekly sabbaths are considered Jews’ holiest days, Yom Kippur is the next holiest. On this day, healthy adult practitioners fast for 24 hours and spend the day in prayer and reflection.

“Our fast reminds us of the hungry and needy in the world, and gives us an opportunity to focus on our spiritual needs. For many Jews, fasting emphasizes their commitment to the difficult task of change in the coming year,” officials said. “The day also includes a special memorial service (Yizkor) to remember deceased loved ones.”

The holiday is filled with tradition, including special food, songs and prayers. For example, on Rosh Hashanah, apples are dipped into honey as a symbol of a sweet new year; challah, the special braided egg bread eaten each sabbath and on many holidays, is baked in a special round shape just for High Holy Days; the shofar, or ram’s horn, is sounded in the temples as an ancient reminder of the call to Holy Convocation.

Yom Kippur begins with chants and often ends with attendees breaking their fast together.

Congregation Tikkun Olam holds its services at St. Ann’s Episcopal Church, 503 W. Jackson St., Woodstock. 

Attendees can celebrate Erev Rosh Hashanah at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday and Rosh Hashanah at 10 a.m. Thursday.

Yom Kippur celebrations begin at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 29 and continue the next day with a morning service at 10 a.m., an adult study group at 3 p.m., Yizkor (memorial) and concluding services at 4:30 p.m., and Havdalah and a dairy potluck to break fasting at 5:30 p.m.

AP photo Seth Merlin blows a shofar during Rosh Hashanah services Sept. 25, 2014, at the First Baptist Church in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.


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Crystal Lake to apply for grant to demolish 5 homes affected by floodingSarah Nader file photo – snader@shawmedia.com After a downpour, Susan Adams stands on her flooded driveway June 29 at her Crystal Lake home on Pine Street. Crystal Lake trustees will vote on a resolution to the city's flooding problem at Tuesday's meeting, including whether to apply for a grant application to the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Pre-Disaster Mitigation Grant Program.Sarah Nader file photo – snader@shawmedia.com South Oriole Trail resident Terry Cotter adds fuel to his backyard water pump July 12 after heavy rains in Crystal Lake. Neighborhood residents have been seeking relief from the city for continual flooding in yards. Crystal Lake trustees will vote on a resolution to the city's flooding problem at Tuesday's meeting, including whether to apply for a grant application to the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Pre-Disaster Mitigation Grant Program.

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 04:54:00 GMT

CRYSTAL LAKE – Crystal Lake City Council members adopted a resolution in support of applying for a grant that would demolish five homes affected by flooding in the Pine Street, Oriole Trail and Crystal Lake Avenue areas.

If the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Pre-Disaster Mitigation Grant Program is awarded, the city will match $340,000. The project is estimated to cost more than $1.3 million, according to village documents.

This is not the first time the city has applied for the grant, but it has not been awarded in the past, Public Works Director Michael Magnuson said.

The deadline to apply for the grant is Nov. 14, and Magnuson said it could take a year before the state makes a decision about what projects to forward to FEMA to receive funding.

If awarded, the city would excavate the land of five homes and create stormwater storage, Magnuson said.

“We are trying to get resolutions from [the] City Council and area legislators to gain support for the grant,” Magnuson said.

The five homeowners are not required to sell their homes, according to village documents, and residents who attended a meeting Aug. 8 did not object to the concept. Magnuson said that so far, three have expressed a willingness to sell.

“They are open to selling because they are tired of battling the stormwater each and every spring,” Magnuson said.

Residents have expressed frustration with the city for not finding a solution to the flooding problem, which has cost them money and left them without access to their backyards for much of the summer.

For between 10 and 12 affected homes, rainwater typically ponds longer than a standard swimming pool and covers large portions of residents’ yards.

Mosquitoes and other flying insects are attracted to the standing water and make it nearly impossible for people to stand in the backyards at night without pests biting or bothering them, residents have said.

Sarah Nader file photo – snader@shawmedia.com After a downpour, Susan Adams stands on her flooded driveway June 29 at her Crystal Lake home on Pine Street. Crystal Lake trustees will vote on a resolution to the city's flooding problem at Tuesday's meeting, including whether to apply for a grant application to the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Pre-Disaster Mitigation Grant Program.Sarah Nader file photo – snader@shawmedia.com South Oriole Trail resident Terry Cotter adds fuel to his backyard water pump July 12 after heavy rains in Crystal Lake. Neighborhood residents have been seeking relief from the city for continual flooding in yards. Crystal Lake trustees will vote on a resolution to the city's flooding problem at Tuesday's meeting, including whether to apply for a grant application to the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Pre-Disaster Mitigation Grant Program.


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Woodstock City Council votes to implement 1 percent home rule sales taxSarah Nader – snader@shawmedia.com City Council member Mike Turner speaks during Tuesday's meeting in Woodstock. Woodstock council members voted on increasing Woodstock's sales tax rate after previously voting to reduce property taxes by 10 percent.

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 04:44:00 GMT

WOODSTOCK – The city of Woodstock will see a sales tax increase Jan. 1 after City Council members decided Tuesday to implement a 1 percent home rule sales tax. City officials first began to discuss the tax in July, a month after Woodstock became a home rule community. A public hearing was held Aug. 1 on the proposed tax, and residents had mixed reactions. A diversified tax base is one benefit residents saw, whereas some business owners – particularly those who sell large-ticket items, such as lumber and building materials – have criticized the plan because it could chase away clients to surrounding communities with lower rates. Council members discussed the possibility of offering a rebate program to those large-sale companies but won’t discuss the idea until a future City Council meeting. The tax will exclude titled vehicles, prescription and nonprescription medicine and groceries, excluding hot food, candy, soda and alcohol. City officials estimate that the tax will bring in an additional $2.5 million annually. The council voted earlier this year to lower its 16 percent portion of a resident’s tax bill by 10 percent, and the revenue will offset those costs. Woodstock’s sales tax rate now will be a quarter of a percent above some neighboring communities, such as Crystal Lake and Algonquin. Both Crystal Lake and Algonquin have sales tax rates of 7.75 percent. Council member Dan Hart, who owns D.C. Cobb’s as well as with other businesses, said that he has heard split reactions from Woodstock residents, but would support the raise. He said the roads would have a bigger effect on Woodstock’s future growth than a higher sales tax would. “Some people are very upset with the idea, and some people support it,” Hart said. “Yes, this is a raised sales tax, and as a business owner, I support it.” Council members largely have been supportive of the plan throughout the process, with the exception of Jim Prindiville, who cast the sole dissenting vote Tuesday. “I think we would be better served if we would cut expenses to meet our goals,” he said. “My experience talking with residents … is the No. 1 thing they see in most communities is more shopping options. They’d like to see that here. In that sense, I am concerned this proposed tax runs risk of undermining our efforts to fix those underlying problems to create more shopping opportunities.” Revenue raised from taxes is intended to go toward property tax relief and infrastructure improvements, with a focus on the city’s roads, council members said. Mayor Brian Sager emphasized the city’s history of “fiscal responsibility” and said it is time to implement a sustainable revenue to go toward those needs. “For many years since the economic downturn, we have had to make difficult decisions,” Sager said. “We are dealing with less full-time staff than we did six years ago. We are dealing with less of a property tax rate being imposed from a municipal perspective. We haven’t taken the allowable [Property Tax Extension Limitation Law funds] for the previous six years. … We heard loud and clear from residents over and over again that property taxes are too high. … We did something about it within the realm of our authority.” The tax will go into place Jan. 1. [...]Sarah Nader – snader@shawmedia.com City Council member Mike Turner speaks duri[...]


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Palestinian activist to be deported to Jordan from ChicagoAP file photo Palestinian activist Rasmea Odeh of Chicago stands Aug. 17 outside the Theodore Levin U.S. Courthouse in Detroit, Mich., for a final court hearing before she's eventually deported. Supporters said the activist is leaving the U.S. for Jordan after a criminal case that revealed her decades-old record of bombings in Jerusalem.

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 03:51:00 GMT

CHICAGO – A Chicago Palestinian activist with a decades-old record of bombings in Jerusalem will be deported to Jordan on Tuesday, her spokesman said.

Supporters and community activists plan to gather at O'Hare International Airport before Rasmea Odeh, 70, departs for Jordan, said Hatem Abudayyeh, coordinator of her defense committee.

Odeh pleaded guilty in April to concealing her convictions when she applied for U.S. citizenship in Detroit in 2004. Her record would have disqualified her from entering the U.S. a decade earlier.

In 1970, Odeh was convicted of two bombings in Jerusalem, including one that killed two young men at a supermarket. She insists she was tortured into confessing by the Israeli military. She was sentenced to life in prison but was released in 1979 as part of a prisoner swap with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

With family in Michigan, she applied for a U.S. visa in 1994, but didn't disclose her criminal record. She also didn't disclose it when she applied for citizenship in 2004. Odeh was convicted of lying in 2014, but the verdict was overturned. She chose to make a deal with the government rather than face a second trial.

Odeh didn't serve any time in prison after pleading guilty, but she lost her citizenship and must leave the U.S.

In Chicago, Odeh was associate director of the Arab American Action Network, which provides social services and education. She is widely respected for her work with immigrants, especially Arab women.

"Technically she was a terrorist," U.S. District Judge Gershwin Drain said in 2015. "But looking at Ms. Odeh's recent history, I'm convinced she's really been involved in a lot of good works.

AP file photo Palestinian activist Rasmea Odeh of Chicago stands Aug. 17 outside the Theodore Levin U.S. Courthouse in Detroit, Mich., for a final court hearing before she's eventually deported. Supporters said the activist is leaving the U.S. for Jordan after a criminal case that revealed her decades-old record of bombings in Jerusalem.


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Sessions: Sanctuary cities undermine law's moral authorityAP photo A group protests U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Tuesday as he arrives in Portland, Ore., to discuss sanctuary city policies with city and regional law enforcement officials.

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 03:51:00 GMT

PORTLAND, Ore. – U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Tuesday criticized sanctuary cities that try to protect immigrants in the country illegally as places that “undermine the moral authority of the law.” He made the comments a day after the Trump administration appealed a judge’s ruling blocking its efforts to withhold money from the cities. Sessions, speaking to law enforcement officers in a sanctuary city in the sanctuary state of Oregon, urged officials who have decided that local police should not cooperate with federal immigration agents to reconsider those policies. As he spoke, protesters lined the streets outside the Portland field office of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Their chants could faintly be heard inside the room where Sessions appeared. Sessions said the federal grant money that U.S. cities receive are not an entitlement, and cannot be given to sanctuary cities that he said frustrate efforts to reduce crime. “Rather than reconsider their policies, these sanctuary jurisdictions feign outrage when they lose federal funds as a direct result of actions designed to nullify plain federal law,” Sessions said. A Chicago judge last Friday at least temporarily blocked the administration’s attempt to withhold one particular public safety grant from cities that don’t cooperate. On Monday, U.S. government lawyers appealed a judge’s ruling in lawsuits by San Francisco and another California county challenging President Donald Trump’s broader executive order threatening to cut off funding to sanctuary cities. U.S. District Judge William Orrick rejected the administration’s argument that the executive order applies only to a relatively small pot of money and said Trump cannot set new conditions on spending approved by Congress The Chicago lawsuit blocked late last week was in response to the administration’s decision to attach immigration restrictions to the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program. And he accused Portland and other cities of suing the administration “so that they can keep receiving taxpayer-funded grants while continuing to impede federal immigration enforcement.” Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, who did not attend the speech, wrote a letter to the Sessions saying that the city celebrates diversity and that “our local laws support these values and we are better for it.” “It is for these reasons that I strongly oppose the Trump administration’s efforts to coerce local law enforcement agencies to enforce federal immigration laws,” wrote Wheeler, a Democrat. Sessions highlighted the case of Sergio Martinez, a man accused of assaulting two women in July after his release from a Portland jail. Martinez has a lengthy arrest record, and has been deported more than a dozen times. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said it asked the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office to prevent Martinez’s release so the agency could take him into custody. But Sheriff Mike Reese said last month that the case would have ended differently if the federal agency had sent a criminal detention warrant signed by a judge. “Instead,” he said, “they processed a civil detainer, which they know cannot be legally used in Oregon.” Oregon three decades ago becam[...]


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Hurricane Maria aims at Puerto Rico after slamming DominicaA woman passes out trays of food to evacuees taking shelter Tuesday at the Juan Ponce de Leon Elementary School before the arrival of Hurricane Maria in Humacao, Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico is likely to take a direct hit by the Category 5 hurricane. Authorities warned people who live in wooden or flimsy homes to find safe shelter before the storm's expected arrival Wednesday.

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 03:51:00 GMT

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – Hurricane Maria barreled toward Puerto Rico on Tuesday night after wreaking widespread devastation on Dominica and leaving the small Caribbean island virtually incommunicado. As rains began to lash Puerto Rico, Gov. Ricardo Rossello warned that Maria could hit “with a force and violence that we haven’t seen for several generations.” “We’re going to lose a lot of infrastructure in Puerto Rico,” Rossello said, adding that a likely islandwide power outage and communication blackout could last for days. “We’re going to have to rebuild.” Authorities warned that people in wooden or flimsy homes should find safe shelter before the storm’s expected arrival Wednesday. “You have to evacuate. Otherwise, you’re going to die,” said Hector Pesquera, the island’s public safety commissioner. “I don’t know how to make this any clearer.” The warnings came after Dominica Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit sent out a series of dramatic posts on his Facebook page as the storm blew over that tiny country late Monday – but then stopped suddenly as phone and internet connections with the country were cut. “The winds are merciless! We shall survive by the grace of God,” Skerrit wrote before communications went down. A few minutes later, he messaged he could hear the sound of galvanized steel roofing tearing off houses on the small rugged island. He said that even his own roof had blown away. In the last message before falling silent, he appealed for international aid: “We will need help, my friends, we will need help of all kinds.” The storm knocked out communications for the entire country, leaving anyone outside Dominica struggling to determine the extent of damage, though it was clearly widespread. “The situation is really grave,” Consul General Barbara Dailey said in a telephone interview from New York. She said she lost contact with the island about 4 a.m. At that point, officials had learned that 70 percent of homes had lost their roofs, including her own. “I lost everything,” she said, adding there had been no word on casualties. “As a Category 5 it would be naive not to expect any (injuries), but I don’t know how many,” she said. The island’s broadcast service also was down Tuesday, and Akamai Technologies, a company that tracks the status of the internet around the world, said most of Dominica’s internet service appeared to have been lost by midday. The Ross University School of Medicine in Dominica reported a widespread loss of communication on the island, and relatives of students posted messages on its Facebook page saying they had been unable to talk to their loved ones since late Monday evening as the storm approached. Dominica is particularly vulnerable to flooding because of its steep mountains, cut through with rivers that rage even after a heavy rain. It was still recovering from Tropical Storm Erika, which killed 30 people and destroyed more than 370 homes in August 2015. Officials on the neighboring French island of Guadeloupe reported at least one death: a person hit by a falling tree. They said two other people were reported missing after their boat sank off La Desirade island, just east of Guadeloupe. About 40 percent of the island – 80,000 homes – were without [...]


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St. Louis faith leaders urge peace, justice amid turmoilHundreds of protesters stand in the rain outside of the St. Louis city jail on Monday, Sept. 18, 2017. The protesters chanted "free our people" outside the jail on Monday night to show solidarity with those who remain behind bars. Police said that more than 120 people were arrested during Sunday's protests. Monday was the fourth day of protests over the acquittal of a white former police officer in the killing of a black suspect. (David Carson/St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP)

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 03:33:00 GMT

ST. LOUIS – Leaders of several faiths on Tuesday called for peace and justice amid the turmoil that followed the acquittal of a white former St. Louis police officer in the 2011 death of a black man.

Several hundred people gathered on a hot, unshaded public plaza for an interfaith service followed by a march to City Hall. The service came after four days of protests that followed a judge's decision Friday to acquit Jason Stockley of first-degree murder in the fatal shooting of 24-year-old Anthony Lamar Smith. Speakers at the service included Roman Catholic Archbishop Robert Carlson, black church pastors, and Jewish and Muslim leaders.

"Let us remember that we are not a divided humanity, but a human family," Carlson said. "Let us show love instead of hatred."

Several who spoke acknowledged the pain the ruling caused African-Americans in the community.

"Justice, fair treatment ought to be the right of all God's children," said the Rev. Linden Bowie of the Missionary Baptist State Convention.

More than 150 people have been arrested in the protests since Friday. No organized demonstrations were planned for Tuesday, protest leaders said.

Smith's mother, Anne Smith, was among the hundreds of people who attended a rally Monday night outside the jail in downtown St. Louis. Demonstrators chanted "free our people" to show solidarity for those jailed. On Sunday night, 123 people were arrested after a smaller group of protesters that remained on the streets after the more organized demonstrations wrapped up broke business windows downtown, smashed concrete pots and threw things at officers.

The unrest was reminiscent of three years ago, when sometimes-violent protests lasted for months after a white officer in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri, fatally shot Michael Brown, a black and unarmed 18-year-old. Officer Darren Wilson was not charged but eventually resigned, and the shooting became a catalyst for the national Black Lives Matter movement.

The shooting of Smith by Stockley came after a chase on Dec. 20, 2011. Stockley, 36, testified he felt endangered because he saw Smith holding a silver revolver when Smith backed his car toward the officers before speeding away, prompting the chase.

Prosecutors said Stockley planted a gun in Smith's car after the shooting. The officer's DNA was on the weapon but Smith's wasn't. Dashcam video from Stockley's cruiser recorded him saying he was "going to kill this [expletive]." Less than a minute later, he shot Smith five times.

Stockley's lawyer dismissed the comment as "human emotions" during a dangerous pursuit.

Stockley left the police department and moved to Houston three years ago.

Hundreds of protesters stand in the rain outside of the St. Louis city jail on Monday, Sept. 18, 2017. The protesters chanted "free our people" outside the jail on Monday night to show solidarity with those who remain behind bars. Police said that more than 120 people were arrested during Sunday's protests. Monday was the fourth day of protests over the acquittal of a white former police officer in the killing of a black suspect. (David Carson/St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP)


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IHSF Podcast 018: Talking playoffs and conference mayhem

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 22:14:21 GMT

It's Week 5, which means it's nearly time for Steve Soucie to start projecting the playoff field. Kyle Nabors and Joe Stevenson ask Steve for details, and later the guys talk about the Interstate Eight's breakup.

Our podcast is sponsored by Lootcrate. Get great gamer/geek gear and more, and save $3 on your first box by using our promo code 'shaw' at  www.lootcrate.com/shaw.

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Centegra Health System cutting, outsourcing staff to ease 'financial pressures'Planned layoffs will affect 131 people in roles throughout the company, according to the news release. Another 230 jobs will be outsourced to nThrive, a Georgia-based firm that specializes in medical billing and other hospital business services. Centegra is McHenry County's largest employer; the job reductions are about 9 percent of Centegra's workforce of about 4,000 people. "The decision to take these steps is among the most difficult that any organization can make," Centegra CEO Mike Eesley said in a memo to hospital staff Tuesday. "Although financial pressures have forced us to address our business structure, it feels deeply personal." The positions targeted for elimination were not expected to directly affect inpatient services, Centegra Health System spokeswoman Michelle Green said in an email. "The health system’s main goal was to prevent a reduction of hospital positions that provide bedside patient care," she said. "By reducing administrative and support positions, we are able to become more efficient without affecting the level of care our patients receive."The health system has mounting debt and ended fiscal 2017 with $62.3 million in operating losses, according to an unaudited financial statement on Electronic Municipal Market Access, a municipal security website. A 12.7 percent increase in revenue year over year was offset by a 26.3 percent increase in expenses, according to financial statements. Much of that increase was in salaries, which jumped more than $50 million in the past fiscal year. Employees whose jobs are being eliminated will receive two months' pay and benefits, plus a severance package, officials said. They also will be provided with resources for finding other jobs. All employees affected by outsourcing will have the opportunity to join nThrive, which provides medical billing, medical coding and business analytics services for health systems, according to its website. nThrive has responsibility for the hospital’s business office and the health information management department, and starting Nov. 19, it will expand its role to include patient access and additional health information management responsibilities, Centegra officials said.Current Centegra employees whose jobs are being outsourced will be offered positions with nThrive on Wednesday. All 230 will be offered the same base pay, and their years of service will be honored. Eesley sent a companywide memo to employees explaining the changes and the need for layoffs. "The difficult decision to balance our workforce through a reduction will ensure our health system is financially viable for years to come," Eesley said in the email. "While this day marks a major step toward financial improvements, it brings change for people in a number of positions." Eesley said outsourcing would help sustain finances as well. "Within a short time, we expect to see benefits from this partnership for our patients and for our organization’s financial performance," he said.This is the second major cost-cutting announcement Centegra has made this year. In June, it said it would end intensive care and medical-surgical operations at its Woodstock hospital and move those beds to its hospitals in Huntley and McHenry. Woodstock residents shared concerns about ambulance costs, increased travel times, inconvenience and the future of health care at a public forum Monday in Woodstock. Centegra officials have projected that those changes will save the health system $15 million annually. They did not say how much Tuesday's staff cuts are expected to save. Centegra still is in talks to join Northwestern Medicine in 2018, Green has said.

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 21:30:00 GMT

CRYSTAL LAKE – Centegra Health System officials announced plans Tuesday to shed 361 jobs through layoffs and outsourcing after posting a $62.3 million operating loss in the fiscal year that ended June 30. Planned layoffs will affect 131 people in roles throughout the company, according to the news release. Another 230 jobs will be outsourced to nThrive, a Georgia-based firm that specializes in medical billing and other hospital business services. Centegra is McHenry County's largest employer; the job reductions are about 9 percent of Centegra's workforce of about 4,000 people. "The decision to take these steps is among the most difficult that any organization can make," Centegra CEO Mike Eesley said in a memo to hospital staff Tuesday. "Although financial pressures have forced us to address our business structure, it feels deeply personal." The positions targeted for elimination were not expected to directly affect inpatient services, Centegra Health System spokeswoman Michelle Green said in an email. "The health system’s main goal was to prevent a reduction of hospital positions that provide bedside patient care," she said. "By reducing administrative and support positions, we are able to become more efficient without affecting the level of care our patients receive."The health system has mounting debt and ended fiscal 2017 with $62.3 million in operating losses, according to an unaudited financial statement on Electronic Municipal Market Access, a municipal security website. A 12.7 percent increase in revenue year over year was offset by a 26.3 percent increase in expenses, according to financial statements. Much of that increase was in salaries, which jumped more than $50 million in the past fiscal year. Employees whose jobs are being eliminated will receive two months' pay and benefits, plus a severance package, officials said. They also will be provided with resources for finding other jobs. All employees affected by outsourcing will have the opportunity to join nThrive, which provides medical billing, medical coding and business analytics services for health systems, according to its website. nThrive has responsibility for the hospital’s business office and the health information management department, and starting Nov. 19, it will expand its role to include patient access and additional health information management responsibilities, Centegra officials said.Current Centegra employees whose jobs are being outsourced will be offered positions with nThrive on Wednesday. All 230 will be offered the same base pay, and their years of service will be honored. Eesley sent a companywide memo to employees explaining the changes and the need for layoffs. "The difficult decision to balance our workforce through a reduction will ensure our health system is financially viable for years to come," Eesley said in the email. "While this day marks a major step toward financial improvements, it brings change for people in a number of positions." Eesley said outsourcing would help sustain finances as well. "Within a short time, we expect to see benefits from this partnership for our patients and for our organization’s financial performance," he said.This is the second major cost-cutting announcement Centegra has made this year. In June, it said it would end intensive care and medical-surgical operations at its Woodstock hospital and move those beds to its hospitals in Huntley and McHenry. Woodstock residents shared concerns about ambulance costs, increased travel times, inconvenience and the future of health care at a public[...]


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At UN, President Trump threatens 'total destruction' of North KoreaUnited States President Donald Trump speaks during the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters, Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 18:42:00 GMT

UNITED NATIONS – President Donald Trump, in a combative debut speech to the U.N. General Assembly, threatened the "total destruction'" of North Korea if it does not abandon its drive toward nuclear weapons. Trump, who has ramped up his rhetoric throughout the escalating crisis with North Korea, told the murmuring crowd at the U.N. on Tuesday that "it is far past time for the nations of the world to confront" Kim Jong Un and said that Kim's "reckless pursuit of nuclear weapons" poses a threat to "the entire world with an unthinkable loss of human life. "Rocket man is on a suicide mission for himself and his regime," Trump said about the North Korean leader. He said of the U.S.: "If it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea." Elected on the nationalist slogan "America First," Trump argued that individual nations should act in their own self-interest, yet rally together when faced with a common threat. Using bellicose language rare for an U.S. president at the rostrum of the United Nations, Trump touched upon hot spots around the globe, declaring "The scourge of our planet is a group of rogue regimes." He urged nations to join together to stop Iran's nuclear program — he declared the deal to restrain it an "embarrassment" for the United States — and defeat "loser terrorists" who have struck violence across the globe. He denounced "radical Islamic terrorism," the inflammatory label he has recently shied away from. He warned that some violence-plagued portions of the world "are going to hell." And he made little mention of Russia. North Korea drew most of Trump's attention and anger. Trump, who has previously warned of "fire and fury" if Pyongyang does not back down, claimed that "no one has shown more contempt for other nations and for the well-being of their own people than the depraved regime in North Korea." And he scolded nations that it was "an outrage" to enabled and traded with North Korea, seeming to slight China, though he did not mention it by name. Addressing the General Assembly is a milestone moment for any president, but one particularly significant for Trump, a relative newcomer to foreign policy who has at times rattled the international community with his unpredictability. He has pulled the Unites States out of multinational agreements, considered shrinking the U.S. military footprint in the world and deployed bombastic language on North Korea that has been criticized by other world leaders. Trump frequently belittled the U.N. as a candidate and some within his White House believe the U.N acts as a global bureaucracy that infringes on the sovereignty of individual countries. He urged the world leaders to embrace their own "national sovereignty to do more to ensure the prosperity and security of their own countries. But the president stood before world leaders and a global audience and declared that U.N. members, acting as a collection of self-interested nations, should unite to confront global dangers. "I will always put American first. Just like you, the leaders of your countries, should and always put your countries first," said Trump, who assured the U.N. that the United States would not abdicate its leadership position in the world but needed other countries to contribute more. [...]


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Wheaton College football players charged in hazing incidentWheaton College

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 13:36:00 GMT

WHEATON – Several Wheaton College football players are facing criminal charges after a freshman teammate was restrained with duct tape, beaten and left half-naked with two torn shoulders on a baseball field as part of a 2016 hazing incident, according to media reports.

The players – James Cooksey, Kyler Kregel, Benjamin Pettway, Noah Spielman and Samuel TeBos – have been charged with aggravated battery, mob action and unlawful restraint, the reports stated.

There is a $50,000 arrest warrant for each player, DuPage County State's Attorney's Office spokesman Paul Darrah said.

Wheaton College released a statement saying it was "deeply troubled" by the allegations.

"Wheaton College aspires to provide an educational environment that is not only free of hazing, but practices our values as a Christian community," the college said in the statement. "As such, we are deeply troubled by the allegations brought by law enforcement against five members of our football team. When this incident was brought to our attention by other members of the football team and coaching staff in March 2016, the college took swift action to initiate a thorough investigation. Our internal investigation into the incident, and our engagement with an independent, third-party investigator retained by the college, resulted in a range of corrective actions. We are unable to share details on these disciplinary measures due to federal student privacy protections."

College officials said they have fully cooperated with authorities in their investigation, and in light of the incident, the college's Board of Trustees has engaged outside experts to review the campus's anti-hazing policy and "the culture around how students treat one another in our campus communities, athletic teams and organizations."

"To not impede the law enforcement investigation, the college was bound by confidentiality and unable to share more information until now," the statement read. "The conduct we discovered as a result of our investigation into this incident was entirely unacceptable and inconsistent with the values we share as human beings and as members of an academic community that espouses to live according to our Community Covenant."

The college revised its anti-hazing policy in 2014 and improved its training protocols to "include a formal review of our anti-hazing policy with all student athletes every year, with required student signatures; we also require annual training for residence assistants who are responsible for residence hall activities," according to the statement.

"Despite these deeply troubling charges, we have experienced positive changes on campus, including rapid responses from campus leaders to reports of hazing or other inappropriate behavior and effective disciplinary review," the statement read.

This is a developing story. Check back at mysuburbanlife.com/wheaton for updates as they become available.

Wheaton College


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‘A horrific tragedy’ – Police: Dixon dad kills 5-year-old son, turns gun on himself

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 13:35:00 GMT

DIXON – A Dixon man under investigation for child sexual abuse shot his 5-year-old son in the head before killing himself this afternoon, the police chief said.

Dixon Police officers and Lee County Sheriff's deputies received a report at 3:37 p.m. of two shots fired at 1014 Fargo Ave. where they found Christopher Michaels dead and his father, Robert W. Michaels, 33, breathing but unresponsive with a semi-automatic handgun lying next to his hand on the floor.

Michaels was taken to KSB Hospital with a gunshot wound to his head, and later was flown to a Rockford hospital where he was pronounced dead, police Chief Danny Langloss said at a news conference tonight.

Michaels had been under investigation for child sexual abuse since Sept. 12. Although Christopher is not the child he is accused of molesting, Michaels was forbidden from being alone with the boy without supervision, Langloss said.

No further details on the assault were provided.

Christopher, a kindergartner at St. Anne School in Dixon, and his mother, Kassondra, Michaels' ex-wife, went to Michaels' home, where his dad asked whether he wanted to play a video game.

She followed the pair upstairs and, at Michaels' request, left the room to grab something. He slammed and barricaded the door, and she then heard two gunshots. She left the house to get her phone and call the police.

Michaels filed for divorce May 1 in Lee County Court; the petition was granted June 20 and a parenting plan was filed that day, court records show.

"Our heart goes out to the family members who have suffered this horrific tragedy," Langloss said.

"Our officers feel your pain. There is nothing more difficult for a police officer than seeing a young child's life being taken in such a senseless manner. This is by far the worst situation our officers have been involved in."


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Coroner identifies 2 Crystal Lake men killed in crash near McHenry

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 13:29:00 GMT

McHENRY – The McHenry County coroner identified the Crystal Lake men killed Sunday in a crash on Lily Lake Road near McHenry.

The single-vehicle crash was reported about 11:48 p.m. Saturday at 1402 Lily Lake Road, police said.

Allan Javier Sanchez Gamez, 31, of Crystal Lake and Timoteo Guzman Mejia, 33, of Crystal Lake were killed in the crash and died from blunt trauma to the head and chest. Additionally, Mejia suffered blunt trauma to the abdomen, according to a news release from the coroner.

Preliminary investigations found that Gamez was driving a 2001 Ford Explorer south on Lily Lake Road when it ran off the road and struck a tree, police said.

The McHenry Township Fire Protection District and McHenry County Sheriff’s Police responded and found two men, who were pronounced dead at the scene shortly after midnight, according to the release. 

Gamez was trapped in the vehicle, and Meija was ejected from the Ford. The unidentified front passenger, a 23-year-old man, also of Crystal Lake, was taken to Centegra Hospital – McHenry for injuries police said were not considered life-threatening, according to the release.

The front-seat passenger and driver were wearing seat belts, but the rear passenger was not, police said.

Toxicology testing is pending, and the crash remains under investigation by the McHenry County Sheriff’s Police Accident Investigation Unit and the coroner’s office.


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Great Lakes states renew push for new lock at critical pointAP file photo An ore ship passes through the Soo Locks on June 10, 2005, in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. Vessels large and small pass through the structures known as the Soo Locks more than 7,000 times a year. Officials from the Great Lakes states are making a renewed push to win approval of a long-stalled proposal for adding a new lock to the Soo Locks complex, a critical chokepoint that connects Lake Superior to the lower Great Lakes. Only one of the two working locks there handles large iron ore boats.

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 04:54:00 GMT

MINNEAPOLIS – Officials from Great Lakes states are making a renewed push to win approval of a long-stalled proposal for adding a new lock to the Soo Locks complex, a critical chokepoint that connects Lake Superior to the lower Great Lakes. Only one of the two working locks there handles large iron ore boats. A Homeland Security study said an unplanned six-month closure of the Poe Lock because of an accident or terrorist attack would shut down much of the U.S. steel industry and that the economic shockwaves could cost 11 million jobs. That’s more than the Great Recession. A Treasury Department report projects a net economic benefit of up to $1.7 billion from a new Soo Lock. The Soo Locks The Soo Locks at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, carry all the shipping traffic between Lake Superior and the rest of the Great Lakes, including ships bound for the Atlantic Ocean – more than 10,000 one-way trips and about 80 million tons of cargo annually. The cargo is mostly iron ore and coal, but also includes grain and even wind turbine blades. Boats longer than 730 feet or wider than 75 feet, which account for 85 percent of the cargo passing through the locks, are too big for the MacArthur Lock. The big vulnerability is that nearly all iron ore mined in the U.S. goes through the locks on the way to steel mills elsewhere, mostly on boats that must use the Poe Lock instead. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers does not have an official price tag for a new lock, but similar projects have cost about $1 billion, said Lynn Rose, spokeswoman for the Corps’ Detroit district. The threat A 2015 Department of Homeland Security study called the Poe Lock “the Achilles heel of the North American industrial economy.” It concluded that an unexpected six-month closure of the lock would be “catastrophic” because of the disruption to the supply chain that extends from the iron mines of Minnesota and Michigan, to the steel mills of the Great Lakes region, onward to manufacturers that depend on steel – especially the automakers. It projected a $1.1 trillion loss in gross domestic product. “Almost 11 million people in the United States and potentially millions more in Canada and Mexico would become unemployed due to the production stoppage, and the economy would enter a severe recession,” the report said. “There are no plans or solutions that could mitigate the damage to the manufacturing industries dependent on this supply chain.” Vanta Coda, executive director of the Duluth Seaway Port Authority, said he’s often asked whether he believes that figure. He said his reply is always: “What if it’s only 5 [million]? What if it’s only six? What if it’s only eight?” No matter what, he said, the risk is too great to ignore. The politics Congress first authorized a new Poe-sized lock in 1986 but never funded it. A bipartisan group of lawmakers led by Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Michigan, and Rep. Jack Bergman, R-Michigan, introduced legislation in June to try again. They won backing Monday from the Great Lakes Commission. The commission, which includes officials from eight st[...]


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President Donald Trump calls for U.N. reform, but with more restrained tonesAP photo President Donald Trump gets up to leave after making a quick statement at a meeting Monday during the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters.

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 04:54:00 GMT

UNITED NATIONS – President Donald Trump used his United Nations debut on Monday to prod the international organization to cut its bloated bureaucracy and sharpen its ill-defined mission. But he pledged U.S. support for the world body he had excoriated as a candidate, and his criticisms were more restrained than in years past. “In recent years, the United Nations has not reached its full potential due to bureaucracy and mismanagement,” Trump said. “We are not seeing the results in line with this investment.” The president urged the U.N. to focus “more on people and less on bureaucracy” and to change “business as usual and not be beholden to ways of the past which were not working.” He also suggested the U.S. was paying more than its fair share to keep the New York-based world body operational. The short remarks at a forum on U.N. reforms were a precursor to Tuesday’s main event, when Trump will address the U.N. General Assembly for the first time, a speech nervously awaited by world leaders concerned about what the president’s “America first” vision means for the future of the world body. Trump riffed on his campaign slogan when asked to preview his central message to the General Assembly, saying: “I think the main message is ‘make the United Nations great’ – not ‘again.’ ‘Make the United Nations great.’” “Such tremendous potential, and I think we’ll be able to do this,” he added. But even as the president chastised the U.N., he pledged that the U.S. would be “be partners in your work” to make the organization a more effective force for peace across the globe. He praised the U.N.’s early steps toward reform and made no threats to withdraw U.S. support. The president’s more measured tone stood in sharp contrast to the approach he took at NATO’s new Brussels headquarters in May, when he scolded member nations for not paying enough and refused to explicitly back its mutual defense pact. While running for office, Trump had labeled the U.N. as weak and incompetent, and not a friend of either the United States or Israel. But he has softened his message since taking office, telling ambassadors at a White House meeting in April that the U.N. has “tremendous potential.” Trump more recently has praised a pair of unanimous U.N. Security Council votes to tighten sanctions on North Korea over its continued nuclear weapons and ballistic missile tests. The annual gathering of world leaders opens amid serious concerns about Trump’s priorities. For many world leaders, it will be their first chance to take the measure of the president in person. The president on Monday praised U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who said he shared Trump’s vision for a less-wasteful U.N. that will “live up to its full potential.” The U.S. has asked member nations to sign a declaration on U.N. reforms, and more than 120 have done so. True to form, the president also managed to work into his speech a reference to the Trump-branded apartment tower across First Avenue from the U.N. His speech began a busy week of diplomacy f[...]


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Hurricane Maria batters Dominica as a Category 5 stormMen remove boats from the water ahead of Hurricane Maria in the Galbas area of Sainte-Anne on the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe, early Monday, Sept. 18, 2017. Hurricane Maria grew into a Category 3 storm on Monday as it barreled toward a potentially devastating collision with islands in the eastern Caribbean. (AP Photo/Dominique Chomereau-Lamotte)

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 04:54:00 GMT

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – Hurricane Maria intensified into a dangerous Category 5 storm and pounded the small island of Dominica as it surged into the eastern Caribbean on Monday night, and forecasters warned it might become even stronger. The storm was following a path that could take it on Tuesday near many of the islands recently devastated by Hurricane Irma and then head toward a possible direct strike on Puerto Rico on Wednesday. Fierce winds and driving rain lashed the mountainous island for hours, causing flooding and tearing roofs from homes. A series of Facebook posts by Dominica Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit captured the fury of the storm as it made landfall. “The winds are merciless! We shall survive by the grace of God,” Skerrit wrote at the start of a series of increasingly harrowing posts. A few minutes later, he messaged that he could hear the sound of galvanized steel roofs tearing off of houses on the small rugged island. He then wrote that he thought his home had been damaged. And three words: “Rough! Rough! Rough!” A half hour later, he said: “My roof is gone. I am at the complete mercy of the hurricane. House is flooding.” Seven minutes later he posted that he had been rescued. Late Monday, a police official, Inspector Pellam Jno Baptiste, said there were no immediate reports of casualties, but it still was too dangerous for officers to do a full assessment as the storm raged outside. “Where we are, we can’t move,” he said in a brief phone interview. Dominica authorities had closed schools and government offices and urged people to move from dangerous areas to shelters. “We should treat the approaching hurricane very, very seriously,” the prime minister warned as the storm approached. “This much water in Dominica is dangerous.” In August 2015, Tropical Storm Erika unleashed flooding and landslides that killed 31 people and destroyed more than 370 homes on the small, mountainous island. Officials on nearby Guadeloupe said the French island would experience extremely heavy flooding and warned that many communities could be submerged overnight. In Martinique, authorities ordered people to remain indoors and said they should prepare for cuts to power and water. Schools and non-essential public services were closed. With Puerto Rico appearing destined for a hit, officials in the U.S. territory warned residents of wooden or otherwise flimsy homes to find safe shelter. “You have to evacuate. Otherwise you’re going to die,” said Hector Pesquera, the island’s public safety commissioner. “I don’t know how to make this any clearer.” Puerto Rico imposed rationing of basic supplies, including water, milk, baby formula, canned food, batteries and flashlights. The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Maria had maximum sustained winds of 160 mph late Monday. The eye was atop Dominica and about 270 miles southeast of St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands. It is heading west-northwest at 9 mph. [...]


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U.S. immigrants sue over Trump's end of deportation protectionAP file photo April Soasti, 9, and her sister Adriana (left), 7, stand with other community members after the president announced the plan to repeal of the Deferred Action in Childhood Arrivals program Sept. 7. Six immigrants brought to the U.S. as children who became teachers, graduate students and a lawyer are suing the Trump administration over its decision to end DACA, which is shielding them from deportation.

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 04:54:00 GMT

IRVINE, Calif. – Six immigrants brought to the United States as children who became teachers, graduate students and a lawyer sued the Trump administration on Monday over its decision to end a program shielding them from deportation. The lawsuit filed in federal court in San Francisco alleged the move violated the constitutional rights of immigrants who lack legal status and provided information about themselves to the U.S. government so they could participate in the program. “The consequences are potentially catastrophic,” said Jesse Gabriel, a lawyer for the plaintiffs. “These people can very powerfully and very clearly communicate the extent to which they organized their lives around this program.” The lawsuit joins others filed over President Donald Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program which has allowed nearly 800,000 immigrants to obtain work permits and deportation protection since 2012. More than a dozen states from Maine to California have sued over the administration’s decision to phase out the program, alleging similar constitutional violations. So has the University of California system. The effect of Trump’s decision directly weighs on plaintiffs’ personal lives and decisions they made to advance their careers in the U.S. Viridiana Chabolla, a 26-year-old law student at University of California Irvine, said she does not know how she would repay a loan she took out to cover living costs or how she would afford books or food if her protection from the program known as DACA is rescinded. “I imagined in the years to come I’d be able to get a job and would be able to pay it back,” said Chabolla, whose parents brought her illegally to the U.S. from Mexico when she was 2. “I imagined I’d at least have DACA.” The lawsuit claimed that the administration’s decision violates the immigrants’ rights to equal protection and due process. The plaintiffs – who are from Mexico and Thailand – include teachers, a medical student and 34-year-old lawyer Dulce Garcia, who recently signed a lease for an office and hired employees believing she could stay and work in the U.S. under the program, said Gabriel, an attorney for the law firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher. Trump’s announcement on Sept. 5 came after 10 Republican attorneys general threatened to sue in an attempt to halt the program. Under Trump’s plan, those already enrolled remain covered until their two-year work permits expire, and some renewals are being allowed. But there will be no new applications. Department of Justice spokesman Devin O’Malley blamed the Obama administration for starting the program and said the agency will defend Trump’s decision. “It was the previous administration’s arbitrary circumvention of Congress that got us to this point,” he said. “The Department of Justice looks forward to defending this Administration’s position and restoring respect for the rule of law.” Immigrant advocates praise the program for protecting immigrants who were raised a[...]


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Trustees, residents hope for retail, mixed-use development at former Huntley Outlet CenterCapital Companies LLC President Rich Turasky, a Lake in the Hills resident, has said he and other property owners would like to turn the space into an office, research and industrial district, such as warehouse space. However, the Plan Commission and Village Board have the ultimate say, as members would need to approve a rezoning agreement. The space currently is zoned for retail. Demolition has begun on 8 of the 77 acres of the property that were sold to General RV for an expansion. Turasky said developers hope to have the portion demolished by Oct. 1. Village Manager Dave Johnson said an incomplete rezoning application was submitted to the village at the beginning of August, and the village still is waiting on a new application to be submitted. Many residents expressed a want for a hotel, adding that people visiting residents in Del Webb have nowhere to stay. Trustee JR Westberg said a hotel could help Huntley High School bring Illinois High School Association-sanctioned events to its field house and have people stay overnight from across the state.Trustee Ronda Goldman said she would love to see a mixed-use space, featuring office and commercial space along with a boutique hotel and some restaurants and shops. "It would be great for the residents, the tax base and for jobs, and it would certainly bring people to the corridor of Route 47, while also benefiting neighboring towns," Goldman said. In its heyday in 2002, the center generated $346,743 in sales tax compared with $124,884 generated in 2015, according to village documents. "Unfortunately, there are zero dollars coming in sales tax-wise currently, but the change of zoning to ORI [office, research and light industry district] would significantly impact in a negative way the village’s ability to generate sales tax," Johnson said. Westberg said he'd like to see a mixed-use development, featuring a movie theater and entertainment venue such as Dave & Buster's, along with space for athletic programs such as a dance studio and indoor soccer arena. "If you draw the children and athletics in, mom and dad could drop them off for a few hours and have a nice meal or go see a movie," Westberg said. "This would draw attention from people outside of the community and make it more of a destination than a one-stop shop."He said he will oppose big-box industrial space, such as the Weber Grill distribution center, because the area deserves to be a marquee corner as people enter town. "I think we could do better," Westberg said. "This needs to be a cornerstone with substance to it other than office space. We have plenty of other spaces throughout our town for industrial use, but that corner needs to be a spotlight." The center, located at Route 47 and Interstate 90, sits along a $61 million full interchange opened in 2013, which has inspired the village to create a draft plan to guide future land use and development of the area. Village staff and planning consultant firm Houseal Lavinge Associates will host a feedback meeting from 4 to 6 p.m. Thursday at the Huntley Municipal Complex, 10987 Main St. Johnson said the focus of the draft plan is on the hundreds of acres that surround the intersection, but the outlet center property on the draft plan still shows commercial use. "That is different than what developers have proposed, so it will be important and good to obtain feedback for that property and other spaces and get public input," Johnson said.Johnson said the village has had good dialogue about other development options, but officials understand the "challenges associated with retail and other development in today's world." "The outlet mall and retail business has drastically changed because of the internet and how people are buying their retail products," Turasky has said. Lake in the Hills resident Amy Blozinski said that between the outlet center and several stores at Algonquin Commons closing, Huntley residents are left with limited options about where to shop. "It now takes an hour or more to drive to the same stores somewhere else," Blozinski said. "It's a shame the property wasn't sold to someone else and improved upon years ago." Melissa Albright, who lived in Huntley for 20 years, said she is in favor of industrial and corporate space because it would bring more job availability. Albright said a business such as Chase Bank or Fisher Nuts on Randall Road could bring younger people to the area and bring back money into the economy. “A lot of people graduating college are moving closer to Schaumburg for opportunities now,” she said.

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 04:52:00 GMT

HUNTLEY – Hotels, restaurants and retail are just some of the options Huntley residents and trustees want to see at the former Huntley Outlet Center property. But a changing retail marketplace has prompted developers to look outside of the mall's previous use. Capital Companies LLC President Rich Turasky, a Lake in the Hills resident, has said he and other property owners would like to turn the space into an office, research and industrial district, such as warehouse space. However, the Plan Commission and Village Board have the ultimate say, as members would need to approve a rezoning agreement. The space currently is zoned for retail. Demolition has begun on 8 of the 77 acres of the property that were sold to General RV for an expansion. Turasky said developers hope to have the portion demolished by Oct. 1. Village Manager Dave Johnson said an incomplete rezoning application was submitted to the village at the beginning of August, and the village still is waiting on a new application to be submitted. Many residents expressed a want for a hotel, adding that people visiting residents in Del Webb have nowhere to stay. Trustee JR Westberg said a hotel could help Huntley High School bring Illinois High School Association-sanctioned events to its field house and have people stay overnight from across the state.Trustee Ronda Goldman said she would love to see a mixed-use space, featuring office and commercial space along with a boutique hotel and some restaurants and shops. "It would be great for the residents, the tax base and for jobs, and it would certainly bring people to the corridor of Route 47, while also benefiting neighboring towns," Goldman said. In its heyday in 2002, the center generated $346,743 in sales tax compared with $124,884 generated in 2015, according to village documents. "Unfortunately, there are zero dollars coming in sales tax-wise currently, but the change of zoning to ORI [office, research and light industry district] would significantly impact in a negative way the village’s ability to generate sales tax," Johnson said. Westberg said he'd like to see a mixed-use development, featuring a movie theater and entertainment venue such as Dave & Buster's, along with space for athletic programs such as a dance studio and indoor soccer arena. "If you draw the children and athletics in, mom and dad could drop them off for a few hours and have a nice meal or go see a movie," Westberg said. "This would draw attention from people outside of the community and make it more of a destination than a one-stop shop."He said he will oppose big-box industrial space, such as the Weber Grill distribution center, because the area deserves to be a marquee corner as people enter town. "I think we could do better," Westberg said. "This needs to be a cornerstone with substance to it other than office space. We have plenty of other spaces throughout our town for industrial use, but that corner needs to be a spotlight." The center, located at Route 47 and Interstate 90, sits along a $61 million full interchange opened in 2013, which has inspired the village to create a draft plan to guide future land use and development of the area. Village staff and planning consultant firm Houseal Lavinge Associates will host a feedback meeting from 4 to 6 p.m. Thursday at the [...]


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Rolling Stone, iconic music magazine, puts itself up for saleThis Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2017 photo shows people looking at covers of the Rolling Stone magazines at the "Rolling Stone 50 Years" exhibit at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, in Cleveland. Rolling Stone, rock'n'roll magazine turned liberal cheerleader, is up for sale. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 04:43:00 GMT

Rolling Stone co-founder Jann Wenner is putting the magazine up for sale, marking a new chapter for the cultural bible that for half a century has spotlighted musical artists from Jimi Hendrix to Kendrick Lamar and prose from writers such as Hunter S. Thompson and Matt Taibbi. Wenner Media, one of the last family-owned media companies would become the latest publisher to shift away from print publications after years of losing advertising and readership to online alternatives. A sale would leave the company without a print publication for the first time since Wenner created Rolling Stone in San Francisco in 1967. The buyer of Wenner Media’s 51 percent stake would most likely pay far less than the $500 million offer that Wenner has boasted about receiving years ago, before the print industry began its decline. A new owner may bring in new management, which would mark another changing of the guard among celebrity editors. In recent weeks, Nancy Gibbs and Graydon Carter, top editors at Time magazine and Vanity Fair, announced they’re moving on. Gus Wenner, the company’s digital chief, and his father, Jann, who started Rolling Stone when the Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane were performing at local clubs, told the New York Times that they intend to stay at the magazine but that the decision would be up to the new owner. When Wenner Media sold a 49 percent stake in Rolling Stone to Singapore-based BandLab Technologies in September 2016, it was the first time Jann Wenner had admitted an outside investor. The deal was an opportunity to take the brand into new and different markets, Gus Wenner said at the time. The younger Wenner runs the day-to-day operations. While some former employees have said 27-year-old Gus lacks the experience to run a media company, others say his youth may help a magazine that has focused too much on aging rock stars when advertisers are seeking younger readers. Rolling Stone is looking to invest more in video, including TV and film projects, Gus Wenner told Bloomberg earlier this year. Wenner Media hired Methuselah Advisors to explore the sale of Rolling Stone, according to the company statement Sunday. The company didn’t say whether Wenner is in talks with any potential suitors. BandLab Technologies, a budding digital music company co-founded by Kuok Meng Ru, the scion of one of Asia’s richest families, declined to comment. Earlier this year, Wenner Media sold Men’s Journal and Us Weekly to American Media Inc. The sales helped Wenner pay off substantial debt after it sold half of Us Weekly to Walt Disney Co. in 2001 for about $40 million, then borrowed to buy back the stake in 2006 for $300 million. Rolling Stone’s reputation was damaged when it was forced to retract a 2014 article about a gang rape at the University of Virginia after its reporting was discredited. Last year, Rolling Stone and reporter Sabrina Rubin Erdely lost a defamation case related to the article and were ordered to pay $1 million and $2 million, respectively. In June, Rolling Stone agreed to pay $1.65 million to settle a [...]


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McHenry County Department of Health: Rabid bat found in Crystal Lake

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 04:34:00 GMT

WOODSTOCK – A rabid bat was found last week outside a Crystal Lake house, according to the McHenry County Department of Health.

A homeowner discovered the bat Sept. 11 and removed it with a shovel and plastic bag. A dog who lived in the house potentially was exposed, and no human exposure was reported, the health department said in a news release.

Keeping pets vaccinated will prevent them from getting rabies if exposed, according to the health department. Rabies is a fatal disease caused by a virus that attacks the central nervous system. Symptoms of rabid bats in particular include daytime activity, presence in a place bats usually are not seen or the inability to fly, according to the health department.

People should not touch bats directly. Bats that are inside a home should be contained to a single room. If the bat is outside and possibly has interacted with pets or humans – or if it’s injured – place a bucket over it and call Animal Control at 815-459-6222, according to the health department.

Statewide, 46 rabid bats have been reported in 2017, with 43 of them having been found in northeastern Illinois, according to the health department.

Call MCDH’s Communicable Disease Program at 815-334-4500 with any questions. To learn more about rabies prevention, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at www.cdc.gov/rabies/.


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Women won big at Emmys, in front of and behind the cameraAP photo Jeffrey Nordling (from left), Alexander Skarsgard, Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon, Zoe Kravitz and Laure Dern pose in the press room with their awards for outstanding limited series for "Big Little Lies" at the 69th Primetime Emmy Awards on Sunday at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 04:34:00 GMT

NEW YORK – The Emmy statuette depicts a winged woman, and this year’s Emmy telecast celebrated a TV season in which women, as never before, were able to soar. Strong roles about strong women abounded. And they were rewarded. The winning drama series and limited series (“The Handmaid’s Tale” and “Big Little Lies,” respectively) focused on issues of women – rather than defaulting to the male point of view – as a vivid way to explore the human condition. “Veep,” which stars Julia Louis-Dreyfus as the former president of the U.S., won best comedy series. Women also made inroads behind the camera, with Lena Waithe winning best comedy writer Emmy for “Master of None.” She’s the first female winner ever in that category. For many of the winners as well as many fans who were cheering them on, the Emmycast unfolded as a bracing rebuttal at a time when surveys continue to expose unfair representation by women in Hollywood. “Let’s hope that this is the beginning of something even better in our country and the world,” Louis-Dreyfus said, savoring her record-breaking sixth win as Selina Meyer on “Veep.” “I think the world would be a better place if more women were in charge.” “We’ve made incredible progress, obviously,” said Elisabeth Moss, who won the best actress Emmy for her starring role in “The Handmaid’s Tale” as one of the few fertile women left in a world ruled by a totalitarian regime that treats women as property. But she added, “There’s still a lot of work to be done. There are still meetings you walk into and wonder if they say ‘no’ because it’s a show by or about a woman.” The answer, Moss said, is “not only women in front of the camera, but it’s women behind the camera.” “Feud: Bette and Joan,” starring Susan Sarandon and Jessica Lange in a robust saga of clashing queens of the silver screen, was a promising entry in the Limited Series category. But “Feud” was edged out by another woman-centric drama, “Big Little Lies,” which followed a group of mothers who each has secrets threatening to crash down upon her. The series collected eight Emmys also including best actress (Nicole Kidman), best supporting actress (Laura Dern) and best supporting actor Alexander Skarsgard. In accepting his trophy, Skarsgard thanked his colleagues for letting him be “one of the girls.” Indeed, two of the series’ executive producers were Kidman and her co-star Reese Witherspoon. Backstage, Witherspoon voiced delight that “we created four roles for women, and all got nominated.” The characters those women portrayed “were complicated. They were complex,” she noted. “They were good and bad.” “What was so wonderful,” Kidman said, “is that we had so many people, men and women of different ages, watching the show that went far beyond what w[...]


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McHenry County Jail holding Arlington Heights man facing sexual assault, theft chargesEric J. Elwell, 23, of the 1300 block of East Waverly Place, Arlington Heights, was charged with criminal sexual assault and theft

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 04:30:00 GMT

WOODSTOCK – An Arlington Heights man accused of holding down a McHenry County woman who was raped by another man after a night out at a local nightclub is in McHenry County Jail.

Eric J. Elwell, 23, of the 1300 block of East Waverly Place, previously was being held in Cook County Jail but was brought Sunday afternoon to McHenry County.

He remained in the jail Monday on $100,000 bond, according to jail records.

Elwell will appear Thursday before Judge Sharon Prather.

Elwell and his co-defendant, Blake R. Alberts, were charged Aug. 31 with criminal sexual assault and theft in connection with an Aug. 12 incident, according to court records.

The woman Alberts is accused of sexually assaulting requested a civil no-contact order against him Aug. 18. A judge granted an emergency no-contact order the same day, court records show.

The 21-year-old woman told police that she was at Moretti’s with two friends Aug. 12 when she met Alberts and Elwell, according to the no-contact order. The Moretti’s in Lake in the Hills transitions into Club 220 North at night. The club was closing, so the woman said she invited her two friends and Alberts and Elwell back to her house.

The party continued in the woman’s garage, and she said she invited people to sleep over because she didn’t want anyone to drive home after they had been drinking, according to the order.

Between 6 and 9 a.m., the woman said Alberts and Elwell walked her to her bedroom while others went to the basement to sleep, according to the order. She said Elwell held her down while Alberts sexually assaulted her, and then raped her after Elwell had left, records show.

Both men also were charged with theft of more than $500 worth of “numerous pieces of jewelry” from another woman with the same last name as the woman they are accused of assaulting on the same day, according to a criminal complaint signed by a detective with the Crystal Lake Police Department

Both men face up to 15 years in prison if convicted of the most serious charge.

Alberts remained in McHenry County Jail custody Monday on $150,000 bond. He next will appear in court Sept. 28.

Eric J. Elwell, 23, of the 1300 block of East Waverly Place, Arlington Heights, was charged with criminal sexual assault and theft


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Crystal Lake trustees to consider grant, city funds to help with backyard floodingSarah Nader file photo – snader@shawmedia.com After a downpour, Susan Adams stands on her flooded driveway June 29 at her Crystal Lake home on Pine Street. Crystal Lake trustees will vote on a resolution to the city's flooding problem at Tuesday's meeting, including whether to apply for a grant application to the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Pre-Disaster Mitigation Grant Program.Sarah Nader file photo – snader@shawmedia.com South Oriole Trail resident Terry Cotter adds fuel to his backyard water pump July 12 after heavy rains in Crystal Lake. Neighborhood residents have been seeking relief from the city for continual flooding in yards. Crystal Lake trustees will vote on a resolution to the city's flooding problem at Tuesday's meeting, including whether to apply for a grant application to the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Pre-Disaster Mitigation Grant Program.Sarah Nader file photo – snader@shawmedia.com Donald and Susan Adams' backyard is flooded June 29 on Pine Street in Crystal Lake. Residents living on the block immediately southeast of the Route 14 and West Crystal Lake Avenue intersection are frustrated with the city for not finding a solution to the flooding problem. Crystal Lake trustees will vote on a resolution to the city's flooding problem at Tuesday's meeting, including whether to apply for a grant application to the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Pre-Disaster Mitigation Grant Program.

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 04:30:00 GMT

CRYSTAL LAKE – Crystal Lake City Council members will decide whether the city should apply for a grant and potentially spend more than $340,000 to help reduce flooding for the Pine Street, Oriole Trail and Crystal Lake Avenue areas. Trustees will vote on a resolution at Tuesday’s meeting to support a grant application to the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Pre-Disaster Mitigation Grant Program. The grant would allocate funds to the city to demolish five homes that are continually flooded, according to village documents. The project is estimated to cost more than $1.3 million, village documents show. If the federal grant is awarded, the federal share would total 75 percent and the local match would be 25 percent, or about $343,902. Demolition is expected to significantly reduce the risk of flooding and reduce flood damage to other residences and roadways nearby, according to village documents. The vacated properties would be used for additional stormwater storage. Residents expressed frustration with the city for not finding a solution to the flooding problem, which has cost them money and left them without access to their backyards for much of the summer. However, the city repeatedly has been denied grant money to help fund a solution. For between 10 and 12 affected homes, rainwater typically ponds longer than a standard swimming pool and covers large portions of residents’ yards. Mosquitoes and other flying insects are attracted to the standing water and make it nearly impossible for people to stand in the backyards at night without pests biting or bothering them, residents have said. The five homeowners are not required to sell their homes, according to village documents, and residents who attended a meeting Aug. 8 did not object to the concept. The grant application can be submitted until Nov. 14, documents show. It could take six months to a year before the state makes a decision on what projects to forward to FEMA. FEMA then reviews the applications and makes funding decisions based on its priorities. The City Council meeting will be at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall, 100 W. Woodstock St., Crystal Lake. Sarah Nader file photo – snader@shawmedia.com After a downpour, Susan Adams stands on her flooded driveway June 29 at her Crystal Lake home on Pine Street. Crystal Lake trustees will vote on a resolution to the city's flooding problem at Tuesday's meeting, including whether to apply for a grant application to the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Pre-Disaster Mitigation Grant Program.Sarah Nader file photo – snader@shawmedia.com South Oriole Trail resident Terry Cotter adds fuel to his backyard water pump July 12 after heavy rains in Crystal Lake. Neighborhood residents have been seeking relief from the city for continual flooding in yards. Crystal Lake trustees will vote on a resolution to the city's flooding problem at Tuesday's meeting, including whether to apply for a grant application to the Fed[...]


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Trustees to vote on grant funding for continual flooding in Crystal Lake backyardsTrustees will vote on a resolution at Tuesday's meeting to support a grant application to the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Pre-Disaster Mitigation Grant Program. The grant would allocate funds to the city to demolish five homes that are continually flooded, according to village documents. The project is estimated to cost more than $1.3 million, village documents show. If the federal grant is awarded, the federal share would total 75 percent and the local match would be 25 percent, or about $343,902. Demolition is expected to significantly reduce the risk of flooding and reduce flood damage to other residences and roadways nearby, according to village documents.The vacated properties would be used for additional stormwater storage.Residents expressed frustration with the city for not finding a solution to the flooding problem, which has cost them money and left them without access to their backyards for much of the summer. However, the city continuously has been denied grant money to help fund a solution. For between 10 and 12 affected homes, rainwater typically ponds longer than a standard swimming pool and covers large portions of residents' yards. Mosquitoes and other flying insects are attracted to the standing water and make it nearly impossible for people to stand in the backyards at night without pests biting or bothering them, residents have said.The five homeowners are not required to sell their home, according to village documents, and residents who attended a meeting Aug. 8 did not object to the concept. The grant application can be submitted until Nov. 14, documents show. It could take six months to a year before the state makes a decision on what projects to forward to FEMA. FEMA then reviews the applications and makes funding decisions based on its priorities. The City Council meeting will be at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall, 100 W. Woodstock St., Crystal Lake.

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 04:27:00 GMT

CRYSTAL LAKE – Crystal Lake City Council members will decide whether the city should apply for a grant and potentially spend more than $340,000 to help reduce flooding for the Pine Street, Oriole Trail and Crystal Lake Avenue areas.

Trustees will vote on a resolution at Tuesday's meeting to support a grant application to the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Pre-Disaster Mitigation Grant Program. The grant would allocate funds to the city to demolish five homes that are continually flooded, according to village documents. The project is estimated to cost more than $1.3 million, village documents show. If the federal grant is awarded, the federal share would total 75 percent and the local match would be 25 percent, or about $343,902. Demolition is expected to significantly reduce the risk of flooding and reduce flood damage to other residences and roadways nearby, according to village documents.The vacated properties would be used for additional stormwater storage.Residents expressed frustration with the city for not finding a solution to the flooding problem, which has cost them money and left them without access to their backyards for much of the summer. However, the city continuously has been denied grant money to help fund a solution. For between 10 and 12 affected homes, rainwater typically ponds longer than a standard swimming pool and covers large portions of residents' yards. Mosquitoes and other flying insects are attracted to the standing water and make it nearly impossible for people to stand in the backyards at night without pests biting or bothering them, residents have said.The five homeowners are not required to sell their home, according to village documents, and residents who attended a meeting Aug. 8 did not object to the concept. The grant application can be submitted until Nov. 14, documents show. It could take six months to a year before the state makes a decision on what projects to forward to FEMA. FEMA then reviews the applications and makes funding decisions based on its priorities. The City Council meeting will be at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall, 100 W. Woodstock St., Crystal Lake.


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Woodstock residents voice concerns about Centegra changes at community meetingWoodstock Mayor Brian Sager addresses a crowded room Monday at the first of a series of community meetings regarding Centegra Health System's proposed changes to its Woodstock hospital.

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 04:23:00 GMT

WOODSTOCK – Ambulance costs, increased travel time, inconvenience and the future of health care in Woodstock were only some of the concerns residents shared at a public forum Monday regarding Centegra Health System’s plans to end some services at its Woodstock hospital. Centegra announced its plans in June to suspend inpatient and surgical services in Woodstock. The health system implemented the changes in mid-August, but it needs final approval from the Illinois Health Services and Facilities Review Board. The board isn’t scheduled to make a decision until November, and a public hearing is scheduled for 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 2 at the Woodstock Opera House, 121 Van Buren St. Woodstock city officials are holding a series of community forums this week ahead of the public hearing in order to educate residents of both Woodstock and its surrounding areas.“We want to have a dialogue,” Woodstock Mayor Brian Sager said. “By hosting these meetings, we can engage you all in discussion … and try to encourage participation as we move forward.” Residents and city officials have been critical of the changes since they were made public, and Woodstock Fire/Rescue District officials already are in the first month of seeing a dramatic increase in the number of times patients must be taken to either McHenry or Huntley after a call, Fire Chief Michael Hill said “Since the changes, 50 percent of calls go out of town,” he said.Before the changes, between 7 percent and 10 percent of patients were taken to a hospital outside of Woodstock, he said. This increases the number of times paramedics are unable to respond to other calls, and it can be costly for patients who pay a per-mile cost on top of the estimated $800 fee. If a patient needs to be taken from Woodstock to another facility because he or she needs overnight care, the financial burden is on them to pay for a private ambulance, Hill said.Steve Browne, who lives on the west side of Marengo, said he is concerned about how long it would take an ambulance to drive from Marengo to either McHenry or Huntley in an emergency. State Rep. Steve Reick, who was in attendance at the meeting Monday, also voiced concerns about travel times to available full-service hospitals not only from Woodstock but also places on the outskirts of the county, particularly once winter begins and the Route 47 widening project is underway – both of which could delay travel times. “Those travel times are going to increase dramatically,” Reick said. “Here [in Woodstock] you might have a little more wiggle room, but get into the northwest part of the district and all of the sudden you are exceeding 40 to 45 minutes.” By the end of the evening, more than 60 people had signed a petition opposing the changes, and others had registered to speak at the Oct. 2 meeting.Residents interested in registering to share their insights, signing the petition or learning more can visit woodstockil.gov. [...]


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Trustees, residents weigh in on developing space at former Huntley Outlet CenterH. Rick Bamman – hbamman@shawmedia.com Crews from Langos Corp. demolition service work to raze a section of the Huntley Outlet Center. Developers hope to have a portion of the 270,000-square-foot outlet mall demolished by Oct. 1, according to a permit recently submitted to the village of Huntley.H. Rick Bamman – hbamman@shawmedia.com A worker from Langos Corp. demolition service walks past a section of the Huntley Outlet Center. Developers hope to have a portion of the 270,000-square-foot outlet mall demolished by Oct. 1, according to a permit recently submitted to the village of Huntley.

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 04:18:00 GMT

HUNTLEY – Hotels, restaurants and retail are just some of the options Huntley residents and trustees want to see at the former Huntley Outlet Center property. But a changing retail marketplace has prompted developers to look outside of the mall’s previous use. Capital Companies LLC President Rich Turasky, a Lake in the Hills resident, has said he and other property owners would like to turn the space into an office, research and industrial district, such as warehouse space. However, the Plan Commission and Village Board have the ultimate say, as members would need to approve a rezoning agreement. The space currently is zoned for retail.  Demolition has begun on 8 of the 77 acres of the property that were sold to General RV for an expansion. Turasky said developers hope to have the portion demolished by Oct. 1. Village Manager Dave Johnson said an incomplete rezoning application was submitted to the village at the beginning of August, and the village still is waiting on a new application to be submitted. Many residents expressed a want for a hotel, adding that people visiting residents in Del Webb have nowhere to stay. Trustee JR Westberg said a hotel could help Huntley High School bring Illinois High School Association-sanctioned events to its field house and have people stay overnight from across the state. Trustee Ronda Goldman said she would love to see a mixed-use space, featuring office and commercial space along with a boutique hotel and some restaurants and shops. “It would be great for the residents, the tax base and for jobs, and it would certainly bring people to the corridor of Route 47, while also benefiting neighboring towns,” Goldman said. In its heyday in 2002, the center generated $346,743 in sales tax compared with $124,884 generated in 2015, according to village documents. “Unfortunately, there are zero dollars coming in sales tax-wise currently, but the change of zoning to ORI [office, research and light industry district] would significantly impact in a negative way the village’s ability to generate sales tax,” Johnson said. Westberg said he’d like to see a mixed-use development, featuring a movie theater and entertainment venue such as Dave & Buster’s, along with space for athletic programs such as a dance studio and indoor soccer arena. “If you draw the children and athletics in, mom and dad could drop them off for a few hours and have a nice meal or go see a movie,” Westberg said. “This would draw attention from people outside of the community and make it more of a destination than a one-stop shop.” He said he will oppose big-box industrial space, such as the Weber Grill distribution center, because the area deserves to be a marquee corner as people enter town. “I think we could do bette[...]


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3 arrested during protest at Georgia Tech after vigil

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 03:34:00 GMT

ATLANTA – Three people were arrested Monday night during a protest after a vigil for a Georgia Tech student who was fatally shot by campus police, a university spokesman said. Police shot and killed Scout Schultz late Saturday night after the 21-year-old student called 911 to report an armed and possibly intoxicated suspicious person, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation has said. Georgia Tech sent out alerts urging students to shelter indoors Monday night and lock doors and windows because of violent protests. Video posted on social media showed a police vehicle burning in the street and officers pinning people to the ground as onlookers shouted at them. After a peaceful vigil, about 50 protesters marched to the campus police department, university spokesman Lance Wallace said. A police vehicle was damaged and two officers suffered minor injuries, with one taken to a hospital for treatment. Police restored order relatively quickly, and three people were arrested and charged with inciting a riot and battery of an officer, Wallace said. In a statement released through attorney Chris Stewart, Schultz's family urged protesters to remain peaceful. "(W)e ask that those who wish to protest Scout's death do so peacefully. Answering violence with violence is not the answer," the statement said. "Our goal is to work diligently to make positive change at Georgia Tech in an effort to ensure a safer campus for all students." The GBI has said an officer responding to a 911 call about 11:17 p.m. Saturday shot Schultz as the student advanced on officers with a knife and refused commands to put down the knife. Stewart said Monday that the GBI confirmed to him that Schultz was holding a multipurpose tool and that the knife blade was not out. Schultz was the one who called 911, GBI spokeswoman Nelly Miles said in an emailed statement Monday. "In the call, Shultz describes the person as a white male, with long blonde hair, white T-shirt and blue jeans who is possibly intoxicated, holding a knife and possibly armed with a gun on his hip," Miles said, adding that three suicide notes were found in Schultz's dorm room. Investigators recovered a multi-purpose tool at the scene but didn't find any guns, Miles said. Flanked by Schultz's parents Monday morning, Stewart said the officer who shot Schultz overreacted. Schultz was having a breakdown and was suicidal but if the officer had used non-lethal force rather than shooting, Schultz could have received treatment and gotten better, Stewart said. "The mentally ill are looking for a way out when they're having a full breakdown, and there's no way you should be able to use a police officer to take your life when that person isn't threatened," Stewart said. Georgia Tech police don't carry stun guns, but are equipped [...]



Young immigrants shout down Democratic leader Nancy PelosiU.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi tries to talk as protesters demonstrate during a press conference on the DREAM ACT on Monday, Sept. 18, 2017 in San Francisco, Calif. Several dozen young immigrants shouted down Pelosi, the top Democrat in the U.S. House, on Monday during an event in San Francisco, following her recent conversations with President Donald Trump over the future of a program that grants many of them legal status. (Lea Suzuki /San Francisco Chronicle via AP)

Mon, 18 Sep 2017 19:19:00 GMT

SAN FRANCISCO – Several dozen young immigrants shouted down Nancy Pelosi, the top Democrat in the U.S. House, on Monday during an event in San Francisco, following her recent conversations with President Donald Trump over the future of a program that grants many of them legal status. "We are immigrant youth, undocumented and unafraid," they shouted as they overtook an event Pelosi was holding to encourage passing legislation that would give many young immigrants legal status. After smiling and occasionally trying to speak through much of the protest, an aggravated Pelosi told the protesters to "just stop it, now," shortly before she was led out of the room. She was appearing with Democratic U.S. Reps. Barbara Lee and Jared Huffman at College Track San Francisco, a program to expand college access. She was scheduled to appear Monday afternoon in Sacramento for a similar event. The protests appeared aimed at Pelosi's recent engagement with Trump on the future of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which gives temporary legal protections to immigrants brought to the United States illegally as children or by parents who overstayed visas. Trump said in early September he will halt the program in six months if Congress does not act to continue it. Last week, Pelosi and Democratic Senate Leader Chuck Schumer met with Trump twice and discussed a deal to extend the program. Schumer and Pelosi said they reached a deal with the White House that did not include funding for Trump's promised border wall. But the White House and Congressional Republicans say nothing is finalized. "Democrats created an out-of-control deportation machine," the protesters yelled. "Democrats are not the resistance to Trump." "You've had your say, and it's beautiful," Pelosi told the demonstrators at one point. But the shouting did not stop. Pelosi told The Associated Press last Friday in an interview that she and Schumer are looking for ways to "build some trust and confidence" with Trump. She says it does not matter whether or not she and Trump like each other. "Right now, I want him to like the Dreamers," she said, using the nickname for young immigrants in the deferred action program. Trump has said he wants to protect those immigrants, despite his decision to wind down the program doing so over six months. U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi tries to talk as protesters demonstrate during a press conference on the DREAM ACT on Monday, Sept. 18, 2017 in San Francisco, Calif. Several dozen young immigrants shouted down Pelosi, the top Democrat in the U.S. House, on Monday during an event in San Francisco, following her recent conversations with President Donald Trump over the future of a program that grants many of them legal status. (Lea Suzuki /San Francisco Chronicle via AP)[...]


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A pool, a hot tub and more of what $599,000 can get you in Crystal LakeCrystal Lake home listed for sale on Zillow: 6604 Colonel Holcomb Drive. 5 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms, 5,300 square feet. Listed price: $599,000. Estimated mortgage: $2,267 per month. This Crystal Lake estate offers a gourmet kitchen with granite countertops and opens up to a family room with a brick fireplace. The second floor has a bonus room, next to a media room that includes a projector and extra large screen. The finished basement includes a fireplace and dry bar, while outside there is a salt-water pool, hot tub and pool house. Listing agent: Kelly Malina: 815-814-1653Crystal Lake home listed for sale on Zillow: 6604 Colonel Holcomb Drive. 5 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms, 5,300 square feet. Listed price: $599,000. Estimated mortgage: $2,267 per month. This Crystal Lake estate offers a gourmet kitchen with granite countertops and opens up to a family room with a brick fireplace. The second floor has a bonus room, next to a media room that includes a projector and extra large screen. The finished basement includes a fireplace and dry bar, while outside there is a salt-water pool, hot tub and pool house. Listing agent: Kelly Malina: 815-814-1653Gourmet kitchenGourmet kitchen and dining areaLiving roomLiving room with brick fireplaceDining roomOfficeMaster suiteMaster suite bathroomBonus roomBasement with bar and fireplaceBasement with pool table and barLaundry roomSun roomPoolHot tub

Mon, 18 Sep 2017 19:04:00 GMT

Ever drive by a house and wonder what it looks like inside? Or how much does it cost? Check out this Crystal Lake home, listed for sale on Zillow.

Crystal Lake home listed for sale on Zillow: 6604 Colonel Holcomb Drive. 5 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms, 5,300 square feet. Listed price: $599,000. Estimated mortgage: $2,267 per month. This Crystal Lake estate offers a gourmet kitchen with granite countertops and opens up to a family room with a brick fireplace. The second floor has a bonus room, next to a media room that includes a projector and extra large screen. The finished basement includes a fireplace and dry bar, while outside there is a salt-water pool, hot tub and pool house. Listing agent: Kelly Malina: 815-814-1653Crystal Lake home listed for sale on Zillow: 6604 Colonel Holcomb Drive. 5 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms, 5,300 square feet. Listed price: $599,000. Estimated mortgage: $2,267 per month. This Crystal Lake estate offers a gourmet kitchen with granite countertops and opens up to a family room with a brick fireplace. The second floor has a bonus room, next to a media room that includes a projector and extra large screen. The finished basement includes a fireplace and dry bar, while outside there is a salt-water pool, hot tub and pool house. Listing agent: Kelly Malina: 815-814-1653Gourmet kitchenGourmet kitchen and dining areaLiving roomLiving room with brick fireplaceDining roomOfficeMaster suiteMaster suite bathroomBonus roomBasement with bar and fireplaceBasement with pool table and barLaundry roomSun roomPoolHot tub


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Ready, Set, Learn Math!

Mon, 18 Sep 2017 16:15:48 GMT

 

 

September brings with it a lot of changes -- weather, the start of school, and the beginning of the fall sports season. For the little football fan this is an exciting time; many youngsters spend their weekends tracking their favorite players’ stats and watching replays. For parents and teachers, Monday mornings usually mean tamping down conversations about Sunday night’s quarterback. But, it can also mean new and innovative ways to teach kids about their favorite pastime. YES! Football is a great way to teach young kids and older ones both the basics and more advanced math concepts, and score some wizard points with them too!

For toddlers/ preschoolers:

For grade schoolers:

For middle schoolers:

Middle schoolers are likely more into football and likely more eager to respond to integrating football into their homework. One way to empower middle schoolers is to give them a “fantasy football” team to follow. By managing their own fantasy teams and computing and tracking players’ statistics, kids get a practical lesson in team management AND math concepts.

What tween doesn’t like YouTube? With these math collaboration videos between the National Science Foundation and the NFL, your kid can learn basic math concepts like the Pythagorean Theorem and more. Their face will be shocked when you tell them to go look up their homework assignment this way!

On that note, in “Football by the Numbers,” EA Sports also partnered with Madden NFL, NFLPA and Discovery Education an interactive educational game lesson plans that allow kids to play football games that teach math!

And when you’re football playing 8th grader complains that math homework is interfering with his game, be sure to remind him of former NFL star John Urschel, math whiz and MIT grad. He picked the number 64 for his jersey because it was a perfect square AND perfect cube. Anything is possible!

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Mathnasium, the nation’s leading math-only learning center franchise, specializes in teaching kids math in a way that makes sense to them. When math makes sense, kids excel—whether they’re far behind or eager to get ahead. The proprietary Mathnasium Method™ is the result of 40+ years of hands-on instruction and research. Franchising since 2003, Mathnasium has become one of the fastest-growing educational franchises. There are over 700 Mathnasium franchises in the U.S. and abroad. For more information, visit www.mathnasium.com.

 

 

 


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Dowe & Wagner says: Improve ductwork, improve ventilation

Mon, 18 Sep 2017 13:44:51 GMT

Dirty, twisted, or chewed by rodents – ductwork can become damaged, which limits its ability to transport cool or warm air throughout your home.  The National Comfort Institute reveals that the average U.S. home’s duct system is only 57 percent efficient.

Heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) companies can inspect ductwork for problems, and clean it out if necessary to protect indoor air quality and comfort.  Dirty air ducts can circulate dust, pollen, germs, mold, mildew, and dirt throughout the home.  Damaged ducts restrict airflow, causing equipment to work harder and possibly overheat.

Tunneling behind walls and above ceilings, ductwork can be a series of tin, fiberglass, or flexible plastic tubes to distribute air throughout the home.

Ideally, ducts are properly placed, clean, and sealed to help the house run efficiently.  However, ducts can grow narrow with debris, crack, or leak air, which causes temperature problems that homeowners may incorrectly blame on the cooling or heating unit.

Tom Eppers, co-owner, Dowe & Wagner, an HVAC company serving residential and commercial customers in Illinois and Wisconsin, explains that fixing the ducts or adding more may solve the problem.

He explains that when homeowners remodel their homes to add an addition or refinish a basement, the HVAC system and ductwork may need to be expanded to serve the larger space.

Eppers says that homes built before 1950 (and before air conditioning was commonplace) may need extra ductwork to accommodate cooling systems.  Because Midwestern homes focus on heating that’s used about 75 percent of the time, ductwork for air conditioning may need to be fortified.

He adds that making modifications to basement vents can help move damp air out of the area for greater comfort.

For more information, contact Dowe & Wagner, a full-service heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning company based in Richmond at (815) 678-3000, or visit http://doweandwagner.com/

 

 


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Fed-up Illinois legislators head for the exit in big numbersFILE - In this Sept. 2, 2015 file photo, Illinois Rep. Elaine Nekritz, D-Buffalo Grove, speaks on the House floor at the Illinois State Capitol in Springfield, Ill. More than two-dozen legislators, about 15 percent of the General Assembly, have either resigned months into the current session or said they won't seek re-election. Rep. Nekritz, who is voluntarily ending her 14-year legislative career, said she cried multiple times while talking to constituents hurt by the budget crisis. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman File)

Mon, 18 Sep 2017 05:20:00 GMT

CHICAGO – Illinois residents aren’t the only ones throwing up their hands at the gridlock and increasingly polarized politics that have defined state government in recent years. More and more, fed-up and frustrated Illinois legislators are heading for the exits. More than two-dozen legislators – about 15 percent of the General Assembly – have either resigned months into the current session or said they won’t seek re-election. They are Democrats and Republicans, rank-and-file moderates and those in leadership posts, including House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie, who said last week that she’s ending her nearly 40-year legislative career when her term expires. It’s an exodus that longtime Statehouse observers say is unusual not just for the high number of lawmakers leaving, but for the reasons many legislators are giving: frustration with not being able to reach compromises, the stress of the two-year budget impasse that only recently ended, year-round campaigning and a public that’s grown more hostile and vocal. “There is a toxic environment. People seem to not be able to get along, even outside of the Capitol,” said retiring Republican state Rep. Steve Andersson. “That’s not a good environment, and that’s not an environment I want to be a part of.” Andersson received hate mail and even a death threat after he and about a dozen other Republicans broke with GOP Gov. Bruce Rauner to support a deal to end the budget stalemate that included an income tax increase. He also lost his position as the GOP’s House floor leader. A short time later, he announced he isn’t running again. Turnover in government isn’t new. Nor are politics that many may find distasteful – particularly in Illinois. Several governors have gone to prison, and multiple public-opinion polls have found Illinois residents are especially distrustful of their government. But what’s happened in recent years has been different, as a standoff dragged on between Rauner – a multimillionaire former businessman – and longtime Democratic legislative leaders, namely House Speaker Michael Madigan. With the two sides unable to agree on a budget, social service agencies and universities suffered, while the state racked up billions in unpaid bills. The 2016 legislative elections featured several bruising contests, including primary challenges bankrolled largely by Rauner and his wealthy friends, and labor unions determined to stop his anti-union agenda. As the fights stretched into 2017, more and more lawmakers started issuing resignation letters. Some are running for other offices – from water reclamation district commissioner to governor – though many say the job isn’t fun anymore, said Mike Lawrence, who has w[...]


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Trump, in new dig, mocks North Korea leader as 'Rocket Man'President Donald Trump waves Friday as he walks from the Oval Office of the White House in Washington to Marine One for the short trip to Andrews Air Force Base, Md. Facing an escalating nuclear threat from North Korea and the mass flight of minority Muslims from Myanmar, world leaders gather at the United Nations starting Monday, Sept. 18 to tackle these and other tough challenges – from the spread of terrorism to a warming planet. The spotlight will be on Trump and France's new leader, Emmanuel Macron, who will both be making their first appearance at the General Assembly.

Mon, 18 Sep 2017 05:20:00 GMT

SOMERSET, N.J. – President Donald Trump on Sunday mocked the leader of nuclear-armed North Korea as “Rocket Man” while White House advisers said the isolated nation would face destruction unless it shelves its weapons programs and bellicose threats. Trump’s chief diplomat held out hope the North would return to the bargaining table, though the president’s envoy to the United Nations said the Security Council had “pretty much exhausted” all its options. Kim Jong Un has pledged to continue the North’s programs, saying his country is nearing its goal of “equilibrium” in military force with the U.S. North Korea will be high on the agenda for world leaders this coming week at the annual meeting of the U.N. General Assembly, Trump’s biggest moment on the world stage since his inauguration in January. Trump is scheduled to address the world body, which he has criticized as weak and incompetent, on Tuesday. Trump, who spent the weekend at his New Jersey golf club, tweeted that he and South Korean President Moon Jae-in discussed North Korea during their latest telephone conversation Saturday. Asked about Trump’s description of Kim, national security adviser H.R. McMaster said “Rocket Man” was “a new one and I think maybe for the president.” But, he said, “that’s where the rockets are coming from. Rockets, though, we ought to probably not laugh too much about because they do represent a great threat to all.” McMcaster said Kim is “going to have to give up his nuclear weapons because the president has said he’s not going to tolerate this regime threatening the United States and our citizens with a nuclear weapon.” Asked if that meant Trump would launch a military strike, McMaster said “he’s been very clear about that, that all options are on the table.” Some doubt that Kim would ever agree to surrender his arsenal. “I think that North Korea is not going to give up its program with nothing on the table,” said Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee. Kim has threatened Guam, a U.S. territory in the Pacific, and has fired missiles over Japan, a U.S. ally. North Korea also recently tested its most powerful bomb. The U.N. Security Council has voted unanimously twice in recent weeks to tighten economic sanctions on North Korea, including targeting shipments of oil and other fuel used in missile testing. Trump’s U.N. ambassador, Nikki Haley, said North Korea was starting to “feel the pinch.” Trump, in a tweet, asserted that long lines for gas were forming in North Korea, and he said that was “too bad.” [...]


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France: Acid attack on 4 U.S. students not seen as terror actThis image taken from video shows passengers inside Marseille-Saint-Charles railway station in Marseille, France on Sunday Sept. 17, 2017. Four young US tourists were attacked with acid Sunday at a train station in the French city of Marseille. (AP Photo)

Mon, 18 Sep 2017 05:10:00 GMT

PARIS – Four American college students were attacked with acid Sunday at a train station in France, but French authorities so far do not think extremist views motivated the 41-year-old woman who was arrested as the alleged assailant, the local prosecutor’s office and the students’ school said. Boston College, a private Jesuit university in Massachusetts, said in a statement Sunday that the four female students were treated at a hospital for burns after they were sprayed in the face with acid in the city of Marseille. The statement said the four all were juniors studying abroad, three of them at the college’s Paris program. “It appears that the students are fine, considering the circumstances, though they may require additional treatment for burns,” said Nick Gozik, who directs Boston College’s Office of International Programs. “We have been in contact with the students and their parents and remain in touch with French officials and the U.S. Embassy regarding the incident.” Police in France described the suspect as “disturbed” and said the attack was not thought at this point to be terror-related, according the university’s statement. The Paris prosecutor’s office said earlier Sunday that its counter-terrorism division had decided for the time being not to assume jurisdiction for investigating the attack. The prosecutor’s office in the capital, which has responsibility for all terror-related cases in France, did not explain the reasoning behind the decision. A spokeswoman for the Marseille prosecutor’s office told The Associated Press in a telephone call that the suspect did not make any extremist threats or declarations during the late morning attack at the city’s Saint Charles train station. She said there were no obvious indications that the woman’s actions were terror-related. The spokeswoman spoke on condition of anonymity, per the custom of the French judicial system. She said all four of the victims were in their 20s and treated at a hospital, two of them for shock. The suspect was taken into police custody. Boston College identified the students as Courtney Siverling, Charlotte Kaufman, Michelle Krug and Kelsey Kosten. The Marseille fire department was alerted just after 11 a.m. and dispatched four vehicles and 14 firefighters to the train station, a department spokeswoman said. Two of the Americans were “slightly injured” with acid but did not require emergency medical treatment from medics at the scene, the spokeswoman said. She requested anonymity in keeping with fire department protocol. A person with knowledge of the investigation said the suspect had a history of mental health prob[...]


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Key Equifax executives departing after huge data breach

Mon, 18 Sep 2017 05:10:00 GMT

NEW YORK – Equifax announced late Friday that its chief information officer and chief security officer would leave the company immediately after the enormous breach of 143 million Americans’ personal information. The credit data company – under intense pressure since it disclosed last week that hackers accessed the Social Security numbers, birthdates and other information – also released a detailed, if still muddled, timeline of how it discovered and handled the breach. Equifax said that Susan Mauldin, who had been the top security officer, and David Webb, the chief technology officer, are retiring. Mauldin, a college music major, had come under media scrutiny for her qualifications in security. Equifax did not say in its statement what retirement packages the executives would receive. Mauldin is being replaced by Russ Ayers, an information technology executive inside Equifax. Webb is being replaced by Mark Rohrwasser, who most recently was in charge of Equifax’s international technology operations. Equifax also provided its most detailed timeline of the breach yet, although it raised as many questions as it answered. The tale began on July 29, when the company’s security team detected suspicious network traffic associated with the software that ran its U.S. online-dispute portal. After blocking that traffic, the company saw additional “suspicious activity” and took the portal’s software offline. At this point, Equifax’s retelling grows cloudy. The company said an internal review then “discovered” a flaw in an open-source software package called Apache Struts used in the dispute portal, which it then fixed with a software patch. It subsequently brought the portal back online. But that vulnerability had been known publicly since early March 2017, and a fix was available shortly thereafter – facts that Equifax acknowledged in its Friday statement. The company did not say why the software used in the online-dispute portal hadn’t been patched earlier, although it claimed that its security organization was “aware” of the software flaw in March, and that it “took efforts” to locate and fix “any vulnerable systems in the company’s IT infrastructure.” It apparently missed at least one vulnerable system. The closest Equifax gets to explaining that is through a statement: “While Equifax fully understands the intense focus on patching efforts, the company’s review of the facts is still ongoing.” After patching the dispute-portal’s software, Equifax hired Mandiant, a computer-security firm, to do a forensic review. That effort determined [...]



Florida recovers, rests, reflects in wake of Hurricane Irma

Mon, 18 Sep 2017 05:10:00 GMT

MIAMI – Across Florida, people spent Sunday trying to get back to normal after one of the worst storms to hit the state since Hurricane Andrew. Keys residents were allowed to visit Monroe County for the first time since Hurricane Irma struck a week ago. Elsewhere, residents are waiting for electricity, cleaning up from floods or just trying to take a breath and remember what normal is like. Officials still are tallying the damage, which includes everything from homes to grapefruit groves to mom-and-pop attractions like Pirate’s Town in Orlando, which was a replica of an 18th-century sailing vessel that offered dinner theater to tourists. In Miami, schools are expected to open Monday, even though some don’t have air conditioning. Also Monday, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Purdue is expected to take a helicopter tour of Florida’s hard hit crops in the central core of the state and Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai will visit communication facilities affected by the storm in Miami. Nowhere, save for the Panhandle, was untouched. Julie Botteri and her husband had been anxiously waiting to return to their home and rental property in Marathon. They arrived Saturday morning to find minimal damage other than outdoor repairs including a fence that needs to be replaced. They know they’re among the lucky ones. Friends whose home was red tagged and have no power are staying with them. The small island chain is a close-knit community, especially during storm cleanup. Her husband, who manages a local dive shop, was out Sunday assessing the roof there and whether the boat still runs. The attitude throughout the island is work, work, work. “It’s a busy scene, there’s utility crews everywhere, everyone is working tirelessly to get everyone back with power, back with running water, clean water,” Botteri said during a phone interview Sunday. “Everybody is just pitching in. ... It will be a beautiful island chain again.” Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Brock Long says the government response to Hurricane Irma has shifted from saving lives to recovery. There were more than 40 storm-related deaths. Long has said that good progress is being made in getting people back into their homes or into temporary housing such as apartments or hotels. About 4,000 people remain in emergency shelters, and 675,000 accounts – both residential and commercial – still are without power. Federal officials are focused on restoring electrical power and getting gasoline into areas suffering fuel shortages. Long said the lack of elec[...]



New Hurricane Maria growing threat to Irma-slammed Caribbean

Mon, 18 Sep 2017 05:10:00 GMT

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic – The islands of the eastern Caribbean prepared Sunday to face another potential disaster, with forecasters saying newly formed and likely to strengthen Hurricane Maria was headed for a hit on the Leeward Islands by Monday night. Hurricane or tropical storm warnings were posted for many of the islands already coping with the devastation caused by Hurricane Irma, including St. Barts and Antigua and Barbuda. The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Maria was expected to gain power and could be near major hurricane strength while crossing through the Leeward Islands late Monday on a path aiming toward Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and Haiti. The storm had maximum sustained winds of 75 mph late Sunday afternoon. It was centered about 275 miles east-southeast of Dominica and heading west-northwest at 15 mph. The hurricane center said hurricane conditions should begin to affect parts of the Leeward Islands by Monday night, with storm surge raising water levels by 4 to 6 feet near the storm’s center. The storm was predicted to bring 6 to 12 inches of rain across the islands, with more in isolated areas. It could make a direct hit on Puerto Rico, which was spared the full brunt of Irma, though power was knocked out to much of the island. Gov. Ricardo Rossello said officials had prepared about 450 shelters with a capacity for nearly 68,000 people – or even 125,000 in an emergency. He said schools were canceled for Monday and government employees would work only a half day. Officials in the Dominican Republic urged people to leave areas prone to flooding and said fishermen should remain in port. Meanwhile, long-lived Hurricane Jose was moving northward off the U.S. Atlantic Seaboard, kicking up dangerous surf and rip currents. It wasn’t expected to make landfall but tropical storm watches were posted for all of the coast from Delaware to Massachusetts’ Cape Cod. Jose was centered about 335 miles southeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, and was moving north at 9 mph. It had maximum sustained winds of 90 mph. In the Pacific, Tropical Storm Norma’s threat to Mexico’s Los Cabos area appeared to be easing. Forecasters said the storm’s center was likely to remain offshore. Norma had winds of about 50 mph and it was centered about 145 miles south-southwest of Cabo San Lucas. That area was hit two weeks ago by Tropical Storm Lidia, which flooded streets and homes and killed at least four people. The Baja California Sur state government readied storm shelters [...]



U.K. lowers terror threat level as subway bomb probe advancesTravelers walk on the platform at Parsons Green tube station following Friday's incident on a tube at Parsons Green Station in London, Sunday. A manhunt is under way after an improvised explosive device was detonated on a crowded subway car, injuring at least 29 people.

Mon, 18 Sep 2017 05:09:00 GMT

LONDON – British police made progress Sunday in their frantic pursuit of suspects and evidence connected to the bomb that partially exploded on a packed London subway, leading counter-terrorism officials to lower the country’s threat level because they no longer considered a fresh attack to be imminent. Home Secretary Amber Rudd announced the downgraded terror threat level hours after London police said a second suspect was in custody and a second property was being searched in connection with Friday’s attack that injured 30 people. Rudd cautioned that the investigation was ongoing and that Britain still faced a substantial threat even though the terror level had been reset to “severe” from “critical.” “Severe still means that an attack is highly likely, so I would urge everybody to be vigilant but not alarmed,” she said. The advancing investigation was welcome news for London commuters who had anticipated heading to work Monday morning while suspects remained at large and police were racing to round them up before they could hit the city again. Mark Rowley, who heads the police counter-terrorism operation, said the traveling public still would see an increased police and military presence in the coming days. “For practical and precautionary reasons, we made the decision that the increased resources will continue for the beginning of this week,” Rowley said. “So the public will still see that high level of policing presence; some armed, some unarmed.” He said two properties were being searched and that police had “much more to do.” The fact that a second person – a 21-year-old man – was arrested under the Terrorism Act offered the clearest proof yet that police and security services believe the subway bombing was not just the work of one person. The first suspect, an 18-year-old man, was arrested early Saturday in the departure area of the port of Dover, where ferries leave for France on a regular basis. The second was arrested in Hounslow in west London shortly before midnight Saturday. Both were questioned Sunday at a south London police station. They have not been charged or identified. The subway bomb caused limited casualties because it failed to completely explode. Officials say 30 people were injured, including some hurt in the panic that ensued, and all but one have been released from the hospital. Most of the injured suffered burns. The two searches were taking place at a suburban home in Sunbury, southwest of London, and in Sta[...]


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Family talks freely of spinal fluid leak disorderAP photo via the Daily Herald Colleen Tyrrell Llacas spends time with her three children, Samuel (left) Joshua (center) and Lucy Jane on Sept. 4 at their home in Naperville. For more than two years, Colleen has been suffering from a cerebral spinal fluid leak, which has caused her a debilitating list of symptoms that initially were misdiagnosed as migraines.

Mon, 18 Sep 2017 05:09:00 GMT

NAPERVILLE – Colleen Tyrrell Llacsa’s brain hurts. Seriously. She has double vision. Her hands are numb. Her arms and legs are weak and sore. She feels like she’s about to throw up. She can’t focus. And this is on a good day. For more than two years the Naperville woman, 35, has been suffering from a cerebral spinal fluid leak, which has caused her a debilitating list of symptoms that initially were misdiagnosed as migraines. The rare, nearly unknown condition causes invisible yet debilitating pains throughout the body because the pressure of the fluid protecting the brain and spine gets too low. Even the top experts who treat the condition tell Llacsa she’s nearly out of options. She feels it’s hard to hope to be a normal mom again, but she still hopes to get better – and to bring about advances in treatment that will allow cerebral spinal fluid leaks to be addressed more precisely. Now Llacsa’s family is stepping up to help her – and others like her – battle the condition by attracting more research dollars for better imaging technology. Her relatives, including her sister and her father, longtime Naperville internist Dr. Timothy Tyrrell, established the Tyrrell Family Foundation through the DuPage Foundation to begin to raise money for research. The foundation’s first event is set for Thursday, when the group hosts an evening of tapas at Meson Sabika in Naperville. “There’s so little awareness about this illness that it’s hard to watch,” said Llacsa’s sister, Katie Weimann of Oak Park. “But it’s also hard to watch and not take any action.” “Being a mom was like the most amazing thing in the world for me,” said Colleen Tyrrell Llacsa of Naperville. She once loved the chaos of Samuel, 7, Lucy Jane, 4, and Joshua, 2, but now finds it difficult to care for them because of debilitating headaches and fatigue caused by a cerebral spinal fluid leak. “Being a mom was like the most amazing thing in the world for me,” said Colleen Tyrrell Llacsa of Naperville. She once loved the chaos of Samuel, 7, Lucy Jane, 4, and Joshua, 2, but now finds it difficult to care for them because of debilitating headaches and fatigue caused by a cerebral spinal fluid leak. Llacsa describes her pains vividly: “Like there was a plastic bag over my head.” “Like a knife going into my head.” “Like my whole brain was vibrating.” “So sick I couldn’t walk.” “I’d have episodes when my hands were shaking.” [...]


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NIU sees decline in enrollmentMatthew Apgar - mapgar@shawmedia.com Northern Illinois University students sit and listen to a lecture during a Geography 105 course titled "Weather Climate And You" on Thursday, Sep. 14, 2017 inside Davis Hall at NIU in DeKalb.

Mon, 18 Sep 2017 05:09:00 GMT

DeKALB – Northern Illinois University recently was named one of the 100 safest colleges in the country, and was listed among the top 10 universities that offered the best value to students. It also received special recognition last year by the Brookings Institution as one of the few universities in the nation to produce important research while aiding students from low-income families. These accolades, however, have not been able to stop a continuous decline in enrollment at the university. Although freshman enrollment at NIU increased for the first time in six years, the school’s total enrollment fell by 5 percent from 19,015 last fall to 18,042, which officials attribute to the departure of larger graduating classes. Sol Jensen, NIU’s vice president for enrollment management, said this trend is likely to continue for at least another year. He said focused and personalized promotion of the school will be key in fixing these numbers. Jensen referenced a 2015 study from Cedar Rapids, Iowa-based Ruffalo Noel Levitz LLC that determined two of the most important factors students take into consideration when selecting a four-year school are academic reputation and personalized attention before enrollment One boost to the university’s academic reputation was that the incoming class posted the highest mean grade-point average in more than a decade at 3.28. “We’re doing a much better job of promoting all of the wonderful things that are happening on campus,” Jensen said. “As we delve more into digital promotions, I know there’s more opportunities to be more targeted in populations and receive immediate and influential feedback and metrics.” Jensen said that the 2.8 percent increase in freshman enrollment, the 1.9 percent increase in law students, and the 1 percent increase in overall student retention are attributable to positive word-of-mouth marketing. “We see that as leaping-off point,” Jensen said. “This is from people continually telling good stories of what’s happening on campus, and this will push us to having greater momentum moving forward.” Kishwaukee College did not fare any better, as its 10-day enrollment data indicated a 9.1 percent drop in total enrollment. New student enrollment, however, showed an increase of 1.8 percent from 1,570 students last fall to 1,599 this year. President Laurie Borowicz said the low total numbers are attributable in part to the poor economy preventing adults from continuing their education. She added that [...]


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Reported losses more than double in latest Centegra Health System statementsSarah Nader file photo – snader@shawmedia.com Centegra Health System CEO Mike Easley makes a statement at the Health Facilities and Services Review Board hearing June 20 for the Mercy hospital that plans to build in Crystal Lake.

Mon, 18 Sep 2017 05:08:00 GMT

CRYSTAL LAKE – The Centegra Health System more than doubled its last reported losses in its most recent unaudited financial statements released at the end of fiscal 2017. The Crystal Lake-based hospital system has mounting debt and ended its fiscal year June 30 with $62.3 million in operating losses, according to an unaudited financial statement found on Electronic Municipal Market Access, a municipal security website. The losses are $20 million more than officials projected in May. Centegra initially expected losses of up to $40 million, according to a filing with Fitch Ratings. That $62.3 million loss stands in stark comparison to last fiscal year’s profit of $4.3 million, but the higher-than-anticipated loss does not mean the company failed to increase revenue. In fact, Centegra saw revenue increase 12.7 percent to $564.2 million from fiscal 2016 to fiscal 2017. However, the health system also saw a 26.3 percent increase in expenses to $626.5 million, which likely contributed to the $62.3 million figure. Among those expenses, salaries saw the greatest jump – more than $50 million from fiscal 2016 to fiscal 2017. Previously, Centegra officials blamed rising expenses on the cost of opening its new Huntley facility and an increase in patients receiving uncompensated care. Centegra spokeswoman Michelle Green previously said that although the Affordable Care Act has reduced the number of uninsured people, it did not ease the pressures that hospitals face when medical bills are not paid. “Through the Affordable Care Act, there has been a dramatic shift to high-deductible plans through employers and through the state-run exchange,” Green said. “These plans place a heavy financial burden on patients who seek health care, and that is transferred to our health system if patients are unable to afford their care.” Officials also have maintained that the losses were not the effect of empty beds. Bed occupancy rates dropped from 70 percent in 2015 to 54 percent in 2017, according to the same financial statements. To try to save money, Centegra announced an overhaul in June of its facilities and services. The plan included closing its intensive care and medical-surgical operations in Woodstock. Centegra moved those services to McHenry and Huntley hospitals. Officials have projected that the changes will save the health system $15 million annually. The emergency [...]


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