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Hooved Animal Rescue and Protection Society saves farm animals from recent floodwatersThat’s when HARPS, the Hooved Animal Rescue & Protection Society, arrived on the scene. The Barrington Hills-based rescuers not only saved an anxious Olive, coaxing her through high waters reaching a depth of at least 4 feet, but they took in all the surviving animals, even ferrying some of them by boat on the morning of July 16. “We’re mainly hooved animals, but in an emergency, we’ll take everything,” said Donna Ewing, HARP’s president and founder, who was among those wading in wet gear that morning. The animals’ heads needed to be held up not only to prevent drowning, but to keep them from drinking the water, likely riddled with oils and other contaminants. “It’s a little extra work for us [to keep all of the animals] … but they’re so sweet and gentle,” Ewing said. “That made me realize they must have spent a lot of time communicating with them. They took good care of them.” It’s a bittersweet story as all those involved try to focus on the positive amid so much negative, with flooding continuing to affect so many throughout the area.The “good-hearted” rescuers were swift, said Moro’s daughter-in-law Anisa Ivanov, and soon his family was able to convince him to save himself as they placed his wheelchair on a boat and brought him to safety. He’s now staying in a nearby hotel. The animals were his first addition to the 10-acre farm he bought two years ago, fulfilling his dream to have a place where his 25 grandchildren could visit.“The animals are everything for him,” said Ivanov, who lived in the home with her four children and husband, Angela Komarov, one of Moro’s 10 children. The family had moved in to care for Moro after his ALS diagnosis about two years ago. They’d named all of the animals and played with them daily. “They were spread throughout the farm. It was so beautiful because they were just running all around. …That was our little getaway from reality,” said Ivanov, who cried as she recalled having to watch, along with her children, as some of the animals drowned while rising waters trapped them in the home. The family's pet dogs have yet to be found.After Moro’s diagnosis of ALS about two months after he bought the farm, the family had to drastically cut costs. ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. Moro was given two to five years to live as the disease would take away his ability to speak, eat, move and eventually breathe. To pay for mounting medical bills, the farm’s flood insurance policy was one of many costs that had to go, Ivanov said. The family has created a GoFundMe page, knowing they can’t afford to live in a hotel very long. They aren’t sure if or when they’ll be able to return to the farm. The high waters have left behind mold and damage, and further rain could bring more flooding.Five cars, all of the farming equipment and machinery, a workshop and the barn are destroyed. Through the GoFundMe page, more than $24,000 of a $50,000 fundraising goal has been met. “We’re living a nightmare,” Ivanov said, “but there are a lot of people out there willing to give their everything.” Family and friends already have promised to help them clean up the farm once the water clears, she said. And in the meantime, HARPS will keep the animals safe.“We’ll do the best we can to keep these animals together for the grandchildren,” said Ewing, who was making plans to build a cage for the rabbits. “This just takes me back to when I was a 10-year-old child when my dad bought us a farm and we had pigs, rabbits and chickens, and it was the highlight of my life,” she said. “Everything here is happy, and we’re happy to help them out in this crisis.”

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 20:01:00 GMT

As water flooded his Libertyville farm, Robert Moro refused to leave until he knew his animals would be safe. The 59-year-old suffers from ALS and uses a wheelchair. The overflowing Des Plaines River quickly had engulfed his farm – known as Zekos farm – overnight on July 15, turning his home into an island. Two barns, an outbuilding and numerous vehicles were submerged in water. A couple dozen chickens and a dozen bunnies already had drowned. And two dogs – a Yorkie Maltese mix named Rusty and a Chihuahua named Tinker – were missing. The rest of the animals – a miniature horse named Olive, two goats (Lucky and Charm), five rabbits, two chickens and a duck – needed saving. That’s when HARPS, the Hooved Animal Rescue & Protection Society, arrived on the scene. The Barrington Hills-based rescuers not only saved an anxious Olive, coaxing her through high waters reaching a depth of at least 4 feet, but they took in all the surviving animals, even ferrying some of them by boat on the morning of July 16. “We’re mainly hooved animals, but in an emergency, we’ll take everything,” said Donna Ewing, HARP’s president and founder, who was among those wading in wet gear that morning. The animals’ heads needed to be held up not only to prevent drowning, but to keep them from drinking the water, likely riddled with oils and other contaminants. “It’s a little extra work for us [to keep all of the animals] … but they’re so sweet and gentle,” Ewing said. “That made me realize they must have spent a lot of time communicating with them. They took good care of them.” It’s a bittersweet story as all those involved try to focus on the positive amid so much negative, with flooding continuing to affect so many throughout the area.The “good-hearted” rescuers were swift, said Moro’s daughter-in-law Anisa Ivanov, and soon his family was able to convince him to save himself as they placed his wheelchair on a boat and brought him to safety. He’s now staying in a nearby hotel. The animals were his first addition to the 10-acre farm he bought two years ago, fulfilling his dream to have a place where his 25 grandchildren could visit.“The animals are everything for him,” said Ivanov, who lived in the home with her four children and husband, Angela Komarov, one of Moro’s 10 children. The family had moved in to care for Moro after his ALS diagnosis about two years ago. They’d named all of the animals and played with them daily. “They were spread throughout the farm. It was so beautiful because they were just running all around. …That was our little getaway from reality,” said Ivanov, who cried as she recalled having to watch, along with her children, as some of the animals drowned while rising waters trapped them in the home. The family's pet dogs have yet to be found.After Moro’s diagnosis of ALS about two months after he bought the farm, the family had to drastically cut costs. ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. Moro was given two to five years to live as the disease would take away his ability to speak, eat, move and eventually breathe. To pay for mounting medical bills, the farm’s flood insurance policy was one of many costs that had to go, Ivanov said. The family has created a GoFundMe page, knowing they can’t afford to live in a hotel very long. They aren’t sure if or when they’ll be able to return to the farm. The high waters have left behind mold and damage, and further rain could bring more flooding.Five cars, all of the farming equipment and machinery, a workshop and the barn are destroyed. Through the GoFundMe page, more than $24,000 of a $50,000 fundraising goal has been met. “We’re living a nightmare,” Ivanov said, “but there are a lot of people out there willing to give their everything.” Family and friends already have promised to help them clea[...]


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Spectacular views, an in-ground pool and your own personal pizza cafe: What $1.9 million can get you in Bull ValleyBull Valley home listed for sale on Zillow: 405 Blackberry Drive. 5 bedrooms, 5.5 bathrooms, 7,600 square feet. Listed price: $1,950,000. Estimated mortgage: $7,406 per month. This stunning French Country estate is built on a hilltop, giving panoramic views of Bull Valley. The property sits on over 10 acres of privacy, and includes a extravagant in-ground pool. From the guest suites, billiard room, pizza cafe/bar and indoor grill, there are a lot of details that make this home unique. Listing agent: Hollis Angus, @properties: 630-567-4886.Bull Valley home listed for sale on Zillow: 405 Blackberry Drive. 5 bedrooms, 5.5 bathrooms, 7,600 square feet. Listed price: $1,950,000. Estimated mortgage: $7,406 per month. This stunning French Country estate is built on a hilltop, giving panoramic views of Bull Valley. The property sits on over 10 acres of privacy, and includes a extravagant in-ground pool. From the guest suites, billiard room, pizza cafe/bar and indoor grill, there are a lot of details that make this home unique. Listing agent: Hollis Angus, @properties: 630-567-4886.KitchenKitchenIndoor grillDining roomFamily roomLower levelGame roomCombination bar and pizza cafeMaster bedroomMaster bathroomOne of five bedroomsOne of five bedroomsOne of five bedroomsGuest suiteView of in-ground poolin-ground poolBull Valley home listed for sale on Zillow: 405 Blackberry Drive. 5 bedrooms, 5.5 bathrooms, 7,600 square feet. Listed price: $1,950,000. Estimated mortgage: $7,406 per month. This stunning French Country estate is built on a hilltop, giving panoramic views of Bull Valley. The property sits on over 10 acres of privacy, and includes a extravagant in-ground pool. From the guest suites, billiard room, pizza cafe/bar and indoor grill, there are a lot of details that make this home unique. Listing agent: Hollis Angus, @properties: 630-567-4886.

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 19:09:00 GMT

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

Bull Valley home listed for sale on Zillow: 405 Blackberry Drive. 5 bedrooms, 5.5 bathrooms, 7,600 square feet. Listed price: $1,950,000. Estimated mortgage: $7,406 per month. This stunning French Country estate is built on a hilltop, giving panoramic views of Bull Valley. The property sits on over 10 acres of privacy, and includes a extravagant in-ground pool. From the guest suites, billiard room, pizza cafe/bar and indoor grill, there are a lot of details that make this home unique. Listing agent: Hollis Angus, @properties: 630-567-4886.Bull Valley home listed for sale on Zillow: 405 Blackberry Drive. 5 bedrooms, 5.5 bathrooms, 7,600 square feet. Listed price: $1,950,000. Estimated mortgage: $7,406 per month. This stunning French Country estate is built on a hilltop, giving panoramic views of Bull Valley. The property sits on over 10 acres of privacy, and includes a extravagant in-ground pool. From the guest suites, billiard room, pizza cafe/bar and indoor grill, there are a lot of details that make this home unique. Listing agent: Hollis Angus, @properties: 630-567-4886.KitchenKitchenIndoor grillDining roomFamily roomLower levelGame roomCombination bar and pizza cafeMaster bedroomMaster bathroomOne of five bedroomsOne of five bedroomsOne of five bedroomsGuest suiteView of in-ground poolin-ground poolBull Valley home listed for sale on Zillow: 405 Blackberry Drive. 5 bedrooms, 5.5 bathrooms, 7,600 square feet. Listed price: $1,950,000. Estimated mortgage: $7,406 per month. This stunning French Country estate is built on a hilltop, giving panoramic views of Bull Valley. The property sits on over 10 acres of privacy, and includes a extravagant in-ground pool. From the guest suites, billiard room, pizza cafe/bar and indoor grill, there are a lot of details that make this home unique. Listing agent: Hollis Angus, @properties: 630-567-4886.


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14-year-old Wonder Lake boy remains hospitalized after crashing relative's car, police say

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 17:26:00 GMT

WONDER LAKE — A 14-year-old boy remains hospitalized after police said he took a relative's car without permission over the weekend and crashed into a utility pole in unincorporated Wonder Lake.

The McHenry County Sheriff's Office and Wonder Lake Fire Protection District responded about 5:37 a.m. Saturday to the 2200 block of East Wonder Lake Road for the report of a crash.

Preliminary investigations show the 14-year-old, of Wonder Lake, took the vehicle from a relative without their permission. Police said the teen was driving south on East Wonder Lake Road when he drove off the roadway, hit a utility pole and rolled over several times.

The teen was not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash. He remains in the hospital in serious but stable condition and the crash remains under investigation, police said.

Speed and lack of driver experience are believed to be factors in the crash, police said.


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Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner at Capitol, denies Russia collusionWhite House senior adviser Jared Kushner, center, accompanied by his attorney Abbe Lowell, right, arrives on Capitol Hill in Washington., Monday, July 24, 2017, to meet behind closed doors before the Senate Intelligence Committee on the investigation into possible collusion between Russian officials and the Trump campaign. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 16:43:00 GMT

WASHINGTON – Senior White House adviser Jared Kushner denied Monday that he colluded with Russians in the course of President Donald Trump's White House bid, declaring in a statement ahead of interviews with congressional committees that he has "nothing to hide." He arrived shortly before 10 a.m. EDT on Capitol Hill. The 11-page statement , released hours before Kushner's closed-door appearance before the Senate intelligence committee, details four contacts with Russians during Trump's campaign and transition. It aims to explain inconsistencies and omissions in a security clearance form that have invited public scrutiny. "I did not collude, nor know of anyone else in the campaign who colluded, with any foreign government," Kushner said in the prepared remarks in which he also insists that none of the contacts, which include meetings at Trump Tower with the Russian ambassador and a Russian lawyer, was improper. Kushner arrived Monday morning at a Senate office building, exiting a black sport utility vehicle and greeting photographers gathered outside with a grin and a wave. In speaking to Congress, Kushner — as both the president's son-in-law and a trusted senior adviser during the campaign and inside the White House — becomes the first member of the president's inner circle to face questions from congressional investigators as they probe Russian meddling in the 2016 election and possible links to the Trump campaign. He is to meet with staff on the Senate intelligence committee Monday and lawmakers on the House intelligence committee Tuesday. Kushner's appearances have been highly anticipated, in part because of a series of headlines in recent months about his interactions with Russians and because the reticent Kushner had until Monday not personally responded to questions about an incomplete security clearance form and his conversations with foreigners. "I have shown today that I am willing to do so and will continue to cooperate as I have nothing to hide," he said in the statement. The document provides for the first time Kushner's own recollection of a meeting at Trump Tower with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. to talk about secure lines of communications and, months earlier, of a gathering with a Russian lawyer who was said to have damaging information to provide about Hillary Clinton. In the document, Kushner calls the June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya such a "waste of time" that he asked his assistant to call him out of the gathering. Emails released this month show that the president's son, Donald Trump Jr., accepted the meeting with the idea that he would receive information as part of a Russian government effort to help Trump's campaign. But Kushner says he hadn't seen those emails until recently shown them by his lawyers. Kushner said in his statement that Trump Jr. invited him to the meeting. He says he arrived late and when he heard the lawyer discussing the issue of adoptions, he texted his assistant to call him out. "No part of the meeting I attended included anything about the campaign, there was no follow up to the meeting that I am aware of, I do not recall how many people were there (or their names), and I have no knowledge of any documents being offered or accepted," Kushner's statement says. Kushner also denied reports he discussed setting up a "secret back-channel" with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. But he did detail a conversation with the Russian ambassador, Sergey Kislyak, in December at Trump Tower in which retired U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, then-incoming national security adviser, also attended. [...]


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Charlie Gard: UK parents halt court battle over their sick baby CharlieThe parents of critically ill baby Charlie Gard, Connie Yates and Chris Gard, arrive at the High Court in London, Monday, July 24, 2017. The parents of the 11-month old, who has a rare genetic condition and brain damage, are returning to court for the latest stage in their effort to seek permission to take the child to the United States for medical treatment. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 15:36:00 GMT

LONDON – The parents of critically ill baby Charlie Gard wept as they dropped their legal bid Monday to send him to the United States for an experimental medical treatment, acknowledging that the window of opportunity to help him had closed.

Charlie's mother, Connie Yates, hugged her husband Chris Gard as they described their decision to "let our son go." Recent medical tests on 11-month-old Charlie showed that the baby has irreversible muscular damage, and the new treatment wouldn't help.

"Mummy and Daddy love you so much, Charlie. We always have and we always will. And we are so sorry that we couldn't save you," Yates said as she wept during the hearing. "We had the chance but we weren't allowed to give you that chance."

Chris Gard said too much time was spent in court battles, wasting the chance to help Charlie. Both parents paid tribute to their "warrior son."

"We will let our son go, and be with the angels," Yates said.

Charlie has a rare genetic condition, and his parents wanted him to receive an experimental treatment in the U.S.

Doctors at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London had argued that the treatment wouldn't help and could cause the child pain, so they challenged the parent's wishes. The hospital wanted to switch off his life support and allow Charlie to die peacefully.

The case won international attention after Charlie's parents received support from Pope Francis, U.S. President Donald Trump and some U.S. lawmakers. Some U.S.-based activists also travelled to London to support Charlie's parents.

Some commentators have portrayed the case as a clash between a family and the state, and some U.S. conservatives have used it to criticize Britain's state-funded health care system — even though the case has never been about money.

Judge Nicholas Francis said the crux of the matter was that "in this country, children have rights independent of their parents." While parents usually decide what is best for their children, in some cases hospitals and parents disagree, he said.

The judge condemned all the abuses and threats that have been directed at the hospital, doctors and nurses treating Charlie, but stressed these had nothing to do with the boy's parents.

The judge had scheduled a two-day hearing to consider fresh evidence after Dr. Michio Hirano, an American neurology expert from Columbia Medical Center in New York, came to London to examine the child. But Armstrong said nothing further could be done and that it was "worthy of a Greek tragedy" that they had to withdraw their appeal just as they were about to present new evidence to the court.

The judge paid tribute to the infant's parents, saying it was impossible to comprehend the agony they faced.

"No parent could have done more for their child," he said.

The couple's attorney, Grant Armstrong said the news had left Charlie's parents extremely distressed and now they "wish to spend the maximum amount of time they have left with Charlie."

The parents of critically ill baby Charlie Gard, Connie Yates and Chris Gard, arrive at the High Court in London, Monday, July 24, 2017. The parents of the 11-month old, who has a rare genetic condition and brain damage, are returning to court for the latest stage in their effort to seek permission to take the child to the United States for medical treatment. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)


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McHenry City Council sends its affordable housing proposal for veterans, people with disabilities to Planning and Zoning CommissionFull Circle Communities, a Chicago-based nonprofit housing developer, plans for the proposed apartment complex to address the affordable housing need for veterans and people with mobility and sensory disabilities in both the city and county. “Looking at McHenry, we know through working with county and TLS Veterans that the city of McHenry is home to a little over 1,300 veterans,” said Lindsey Haines, vice president of Full Circle Communities. “We also knew the county is home to 24,000 people with a disability and 2,000 within the city itself.” Unlike previous projects proposed on the same property in an established neighborhood, the proposed apartment complex is expected to have a low effect on traffic as many of the tenants targeted to live in the building will not drive.Excess lighting generated from the proposed building also is expected to have a minimal effect on residents.    “I feel it will integrate well into the neighborhood,” said Doug Martin, McHenry director of economic development. “Full Circle has worked with us to design a project for the upcoming presentation to the public, and we’re trying to make sure it's compatible with the architectural styles [of the neighborhood].” Haines already has started working with St. Mary Catholic Church and Montini Catholic School across the street from the proposed site on integrating the apartment complex into the surrounding neighborhood.Council members did not vote on approving the project at Monday’s meeting, but multiple members previously saw the project when it was presented to the Community Development Committee in February 2016. The project at that time was a proposed 47-unit complex – with 12 two-bedroom units and 35 one-bedroom units – but the scope of the project was reduced after it was twice unable to obtain federal tax credits.Full Circle later secured between $5 million and $6 million of its funding from the Federal Housing Trust Fund, which limited the development to no more than 25 units. About $230,000 will come from the county’s home funds, which is derived from federal taxpayer money, Haines said. “We’re hoping to build 25 units now and then build a Phase 2 [second building] at some point in the future to get back up closer in the 40- to 50-unit range,” Haines said. Haines said Full Circle is partnered McHenry-based TLS Veterans for tenant referrals and on-site assistance with veterans. The developer also is working with Over The Rainbow Association, a nonprofit devoted to being the leading provider for affordable, barrier-free housing solutions for individuals with physical disabilities.Haines also said Full Circle plans to hold an open house-style meeting for neighboring residents to provide more details about the project, including the need for affordable housing for veterans or tenants with sensory and mobility disabilities. “I have no doubt there is a very large demand for this type of housing project,” project manager Jordan Bartle said. The Planning and Zoning Commission will not examine the project until Aug. 16, since the July 19 meeting was cancelled. If the project passes, it then will go back to the City Council for approval.

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 13:26:00 GMT

MCHENRY – A developer is looking to build a three-story affordable apartment complex for veterans and tenants with physical impairments.

On July 17, the McHenry City Council examined a preliminary concept from Full Circle Communities for a 25-unit project at the northeast corner of Richmond Road and Pearl Street, and advanced the nearly $7 million project to the Planning and Zoning Commission in August.

Full Circle Communities, a Chicago-based nonprofit housing developer, plans for the proposed apartment complex to address the affordable housing need for veterans and people with mobility and sensory disabilities in both the city and county. “Looking at McHenry, we know through working with county and TLS Veterans that the city of McHenry is home to a little over 1,300 veterans,” said Lindsey Haines, vice president of Full Circle Communities. “We also knew the county is home to 24,000 people with a disability and 2,000 within the city itself.” Unlike previous projects proposed on the same property in an established neighborhood, the proposed apartment complex is expected to have a low effect on traffic as many of the tenants targeted to live in the building will not drive.Excess lighting generated from the proposed building also is expected to have a minimal effect on residents.    “I feel it will integrate well into the neighborhood,” said Doug Martin, McHenry director of economic development. “Full Circle has worked with us to design a project for the upcoming presentation to the public, and we’re trying to make sure it's compatible with the architectural styles [of the neighborhood].” Haines already has started working with St. Mary Catholic Church and Montini Catholic School across the street from the proposed site on integrating the apartment complex into the surrounding neighborhood.Council members did not vote on approving the project at Monday’s meeting, but multiple members previously saw the project when it was presented to the Community Development Committee in February 2016. The project at that time was a proposed 47-unit complex – with 12 two-bedroom units and 35 one-bedroom units – but the scope of the project was reduced after it was twice unable to obtain federal tax credits.Full Circle later secured between $5 million and $6 million of its funding from the Federal Housing Trust Fund, which limited the development to no more than 25 units. About $230,000 will come from the county’s home funds, which is derived from federal taxpayer money, Haines said. “We’re hoping to build 25 units now and then build a Phase 2 [second building] at some point in the future to get back up closer in the 40- to 50-unit range,” Haines said. Haines said Full Circle is partnered McHenry-based TLS Veterans for tenant referrals and on-site assistance with veterans. The developer also is working with Over The Rainbow Association, a nonprofit devoted to being the leading provider for affordable, barrier-free housing solutions for individuals with physical disabilities.Haines also said Full Circle plans to hold an open house-style meeting for neighboring residents to provide more details about the project, including the need for affordable housing for veterans or tenants with sensory and mobility disabilities. “I have no doubt there is a very large demand for this type of housing project,” project manager Jordan Bartle said. The Planning and Zoning Commission will not examine the project until Aug. 16, since the July 19 meeting was cancelled. If the project passes, it then will go back to the City Council for approval.


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Here's why Fed cares about opioid epidemicHouses stand on a hillside bordering downtown Johnstown, Pennsylvania, on April 14, 2016. MUST CREDIT: Bloomberg photo by Luke Sharrett.

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 06:00:00 GMT

Bill Polacek’s industry is dealing with a labor market problem so big, even Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen is talking about it. A few years ago, Polacek interviewed 350 people to fill openings for 50 welders and machinists at his Johnstown, Pennsylvania-based manufacturing company. After narrowing the pool down to 100, he found that half of those candidates either had a criminal record or failed the drug test. “We weren’t attracting the right people,” Polacek says of the episode, which prompted him to invest in extensive outreach to local high schools to build up a pipeline of workers. The type of hard-to-hire Americans Polacek encountered pose a growing problem for many employers, as a deepening opioid crisis plagues American communities just as the jobless rate hovers near a 16-year low. The drug epidemic has caught the Fed’s attention. Yellen discussed it at length during Senate testimony July 13, and regional Fed banks say companies in their areas cite it as a hiring impediment. The opioid epidemic falls outside of the Fed’s traditional macroeconomic purview, yet it matters to the central bank for two reasons. If addiction is rendering people unemployable, it could help to explain why a historically low portion of the prime-age population is working. Second, the Fed has increased its focus on community and workforce development in recent years – and the opioid crisis is a painful reality dragging on human capital across America. An estimated 2.7 million adults over the age of 26 were misusing painkillers as of 2015, while another 236,000 currently used heroin, based on Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration data. While opioid abusers account for a tiny sliver in a workforce of 160 million, they probably make up a great share of the 7 million who are unemployed. “Our district is the epicenter of this crisis,” said Kyle Fee, regional community development advisor at the Cleveland Fed, which hosted a policy conference in June that included a panel specifically dedicated to opioids. “It was a good way for us to dip our toe into this topic,” he said. Most economic research on the effects of the opioid crisis comes from academia, rather than Fed researchers, and it shows a two-way relationship between the drugs and the U.S. economy. Poor labor market opportunities for America’s working and middle class seem to have helped fuel opioid addiction. In turn, pill and heroin use can worsen employment chances for addicts and can lead to criminal records that dim applicants’ prospects for years to come. “I do think it is related to declining labor force participation among prime-age workers,” Yellen told senators, when asked about the crisis. “I don’t know if it’s causal or if it’s a symptom of long-running economic maladies that have affected these communities and particularly affected workers who have seen their job opportunities decline.” While regional Fed banks haven’t been leading the push when it comes to researching the epidemic, they’re increasingly noting its fallout. “Manufacturing contacts in Louisville and Memphis reported difficulties finding experienced or qualified employees, with some citing candidates’ inability to pass drug tests,” the St. Louis Fed reported in the July 12 Beige Book, a survey of regional economic conditions. Businesses have also raised the issue as a barrier to finding workers in conversations with Philadelphia Fed President Patrick Harker. At the Cleveland Fed’s summit, talk about the crisis wasn’t reserved for the opioid-specific panel: it came up[...]


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'On cloud nine': O.J. Simpson awaits parole in protective custody in NevadaFormer NFL football star O.J. Simpson attends his parole hearing at the Lovelock Correctional Center in Lovelock, Nev., on Thursday.

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 05:59:00 GMT

O.J. Simpson will not be leaving prison until this fall after being granted parole Thursday, but his lawyer said he is “on cloud nine” over the prospect of being granted his freedom.

“Mr. Simpson is on cloud nine,” Malcolm LaVergne, his lawyer, said on Fox’s “Justice with Judge Jeanine” show Saturday night. “He obviously likes the outcome ... Everything is hung from the moon at this point.”

Simpson, who turned 70 earlier this month, is in protective custody after a four-person parole board’s unanimous decision that he could be freed after serving the minimum nine years of a 33-year sentence for armed robbery and kidnapping stemming from an incident in which he and others sought to retrieve memorabilia and other personal possessions. Since his 2008 conviction, he has been incarcerated in Nevada’s Lovelock Correctional Center, where he has now been removed from the general population.

“The only thing that’s kind of a little bit disheartening for him is that he’s had a change of custody status, and they are going to kind of change that for the next couple of months until he’s released,” LaVergne said. “He’s had to move his cell to an area where he is a bit more protected. There’s good reason for that. One of them is for his own safety and basically not to rile things up ... There is a legitimate concern about threats.”

The Nevada Department of Corrections is determined “to keep him safe for two more months,” spokesperson Brooke Keast told ABC News, and Simpson is now “in a quieter wing.”

“The inmates inside ... they’re all felons, there are those that are in there for life, that really have nothing to lose,” Keast said. “Now to make a name of themselves, they may think of doing something, acting out against inmate Simpson. We just can’t have that.”

Simpson told the board Thursday that he plans to spend time with family, including his four adult children, and friends. Parole was partially contingent on the post-release plan for where he will live. Staying in Nevada didn’t seem to be an option. “I don’t think you guys want me here,” he joked to the parole commissioners.

“Florida has obviously been mentioned. California is another option,” LaVergne said. “He is looking forward to spending a lot of time with his family. There were loved ones who have passed away, who he wants to honor them at their graves. He wants to live a quiet life.”

For now, a quiet life does not include a reality show, LaVergne added, even if Simpson’s life has essentially been just that. He will not, after all, be free for a little over two more months.

“For us, it’s important that he [leaves] safe and healthy,” Keast said, “and everything goes smoothly for those next two months.”

Former NFL football star O.J. Simpson attends his parole hearing at the Lovelock Correctional Center in Lovelock, Nev., on Thursday.


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GOP in control of gov't – but losing control of their partyPresident Donald Trump, flanked by Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., left, and Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., talked about health care at a lunch with GOP senators at the White House on Wednesday. MUST CREDIT: Washington Post photo by Jabin Botsford

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 05:59:00 GMT

Six months after seizing complete control of the federal government, the Republican Party stands divided as ever – plunged into a messy war among its factions that has escalated in recent weeks to crisis levels. Frustrated lawmakers increasingly are sounding off at a White House awash in turmoil and struggling to accomplish its legislative agenda. President Donald Trump is scolding Republican senators over health care and even threatening electoral retribution. Congressional leaders are losing the confidence of their rank-and-file. And some major GOP donors are considering using their wealth to try to force out recalcitrant incumbents. “It’s a lot of tribes within one party, with many agendas, trying to do what they want to do,” said Rep. Tom MacArthur, R-N.J., in an interview. The intensifying fights threaten to derail efforts to overhaul the nation’s tax laws and other major initiatives that GOP leaders hope will put them back on track. The party still is bogged down by a months-long health care endeavor that still lacks the support to become law, even as Senate GOP leaders plan to vote on it this week. With his agenda stalled and Trump consumed by staff changes and investigations into Russian interference to help win election, Republicans are adding fuel to a political fire that is showing no signs of burning out. The conflict also heralds a potentially messy 2018 midterm campaign with fierce intraparty clashes that could draw resources away from fending off Democrats. Winning control of both chambers and the White House has done little to fill in the deep and politically damaging ideological fault lines that plagued the GOP during Barack Obama’s presidency and ripped the party apart during the 2016 presidential primary. Now, Republicans have even more to lose. “In the 50 years I’ve been involved, Republicans have yet to figure out how to support each other,” said R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr., the founder of the American Spectator, a conservative magazine. On Capitol Hill, many Republicans increasingly are concerned that Trump has shown no signs of being able to calm the party. What Rep. Charlie Dent, R-Pa., called the “daily drama” at the White House flared again last week when Trump shook up his communications staff and told the New York Times that he regretted picking Jeff Sessions to be his attorney general. “This week was supposed to be ‘Made in America Week’ and we and were talking about Attorney General Jeff Sessions,” Dent grumbled in a telephone interview Thursday, citing White House messaging efforts that were overshadowed by the controversies. As Trump dealt with continued conflicts among his staff – which culminated Friday in press secretary Sean Spicer resigning in protest after wealthy financier Anthony Scaramucci was named communications director – he set out to try to resolve the Senate Republican impasse over health care. The president had a small group of Republican senators over for dinner last Monday night to talk about the matter. But the discussion veered to other subjects, including Trump’s trip to Paris and the Senate’s 60-vote threshold for most legislation, which Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has said he will not end. That didn’t stop Trump from wondering aloud about its usefulness. “He asked the question, ‘Why should we keep it?’ ” said Sen. James Lankford. R-Okla., who attended the dinner. Two days later, some Republican senators left a White House lunch confused about what Trump was asking them to do on hea[...]


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At least 9 dead in suspected smuggling case in TexasSan Antonio police officers investigate the scene where eight people were found dead in a tractor-trailer loaded with at least 30 others outside a Walmart store in stifling summer heat in what police are calling a horrific human trafficking case Sunday in San Antonio.

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 05:58:00 GMT

SAN ANTONIO – Police discovered a sweltering tractor-trailer packed with dozens of people outside a Walmart early Sunday morning – eight were dead already; one more person would die soon; and many more are expected to have brain damage from severe heat. “They discovered an alien smuggling venture gone horribly wrong,” Richard L. Durbin, the U.S. attorney for the Western District of Texas, wrote in a statement released by federal immigration authorities Sunday morning. “All were victims of ruthless human smugglers indifferent to the well-being of their fragile cargo,” he added. Police Chief William McManus did not go quite so far when he spoke to reporters before dawn. But he said his homicide detectives would work with federal immigration authorities to determine “the origin of this horrific tragedy.” The truck had no working air conditioning or signs of water as it sat in the Walmart parking lot off Interstate 35 in south San Antonio, about 2½ hours from the border with Mexico, authorities said. Surveillance footage recorded vehicles pulling up to the truck Saturday night, taking people from the trailer and driving away, McManus said. But at least 39 people remained locked inside, Fire Chief Charles Hood told reporters, their hearts beating rapidly and their temperatures spiking – unless they had already died. At some point, somehow, one of the passengers got out of the trailer and asked a Walmart employee for water. The employee “came back with the water, called the police, and we found eight dead in the back of that trailer,” McManus said. The back of the trailer was open by the time police arrived, shortly after midnight, a spokesman told The Washington Post. The driver was taken into custody. Federal officials plan to file a criminal complaint against James M. Bradley Jr., 60, on Friday. Eight were dead on the scene, and one more would die in a hospital hours later, federal officials said. Some of the survivors ran into the surrounding trees, police said, evading helicopters and foot patrols in the darkness. One person was later found nearby. But many more remained in the truck, in dire need of help. “They were very hot to the touch,” Hood said. “Each one of them had heart rates over about 130 beats per minute.” They had been transported inside “a refrigeration truck with no refrigeration,” he told CNN. “If they were to spend another night in that environment, you’d have 38 people who would not have survived.” As it was, Hood said, 30 were hospitalized – 17 in critical condition. Of those who suffered heatstrokes, “a lot of them are going to have some irreversible brain damage,” he said. “We flooded downtown San Antonio and our critical hospitals with patients tonight,” Hood said at the news conference. At least two in the truck were school-age children, he said. A spokeswoman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement did not specify what would happen to survivors once they left the hospital. “All custody issues are handled on a case by case basis,” she said. While juveniles were initially reported among the dead, a police spokesman told The Post that the children survived. Authorities tagged and numbered the bodies, and on Sunday they were trying to figure out [...]


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Puzzle rooms challenge, teach studentsSydney Walker (center) discusses clues in the puzzle room June 27 while other students look on during Decatur Schools' SMASH Camp at Millikin University in Decatur. SMASH camp is for high-achieving students in Decatur public schools. The students explore other cultures, hold getting-to-know-you sessions where they talked about their beliefs priorities and what's important to them, learn about food, cooking and songs from other countries.

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 05:58:00 GMT

DECATUR – Kids love “Star Wars,” so there was a lot of enthusiasm when a group of SMASH Jr. campers were shown into a Star Wars-themed puzzle room and told they had to save the universe. Iverson Woods found a paper covered with code and studied it carefully, while Sydney Walker and other campers looked for hidden keys. SMASH Sr. campers recently visited Brainstorm Escapes in Champaign and were inspired to create similar puzzle rooms for their younger counterparts, counselor Tisha Neeley said. “It instills problem-solving and cooperative learning, all those skills go into it,” Neeley said. “Learning their identities and roles in that goes along with our guiding question, ‘How do I create change in our world?’ ” SMASH camp is for high-achieving students in Decatur public schools, with SMASH Jr. for K-5 students and SMASH Sr. for middle school kids. SMASH Sr. met at Millikin University and SMASH Jr. at Dennis School. The students explored other cultures, held getting-to-know-you sessions where they talked about their beliefs, priorities and what’s important to them, learned about food and cooking and learned songs from other countries. As part of exploring their identities, SMASH campers created 3-D avatars expressing some part of their personalities, and adult counselors said they were surprised by what the kids came up with. Brycton Curry, who will be a freshman at MacArthur High School, built a giant papier mache saxophone. He’s been playing for five years, he said. Coordinator Kamie Meador said the camp was divided into themes. Besides learning about self, they learned to use the internet with Millikin professors and discern the difference between trustworthy and untrustworthy sites when doing research. During the third week, they visited the escape rooms in Champaign, and the last week, they created their own. “Then they identified what they have to offer in the classroom, so when they go back, they know, what can I do in the classroom,” Meador said. “They had each other go through their [puzzle] rooms and experience them and kind of critique them so they knew what to change, then they asked SMASH Jr. to come through them and ask them what they can improve.” A family night culminated the camp experience, when families could see the kids’ projects and spend time at the Requarth Observatory at Millikin. Cassandra Hustedt works for Brainstorm Escapes and designs the rooms. She visited SMASH Camp on the day the kids unveiled their puzzle rooms. “Within the last year or so, I’ve been working with local schools, local communities and 4-H camps to try to get escape rooms into curriculum, because it’s a unique way of learning,” Hustedt said. “You have to solve puzzles and riddles to escape the room,” she continued. “It’s really helpful for people who have difficulty learning in the traditional classroom setting. It’s allowed them to get up and move, which is so important. “And when you move into the workplace, you have to have the tactical skills of problem-solving and opening locks and critical thinking, communication and collaboration, and it hits all of those things in a really fun event that’s actually memorable.” The final piece to the puzzle was hidden in a rolled-up screen at the front of the room. Sydney Walker found it. “It was challenging and put together nicely,” S[...]


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McHenry County law enforcement agencies to host National Night Out events

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 05:42:00 GMT

Several McHenry County law enforcement agencies are hosting National Night Out events in August to provide a family-friendly opportunity to interact with community members.

One event, taking place at the Harrison Benwell Conservation Area, 7055 McCullom Lake Road, Wonder Lake, is hosted by the McHenry County Conservation District, the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office and the Wonder Lake Fire Protection District, according to a news release from the sheriff’s office.

McHenry County residents can stop by from 5 to 7:30 p.m., participate in activities, visit information booths and observe demonstrations.

Demonstrations include extrication at 5 and 6:50 p.m. by the fire protection district, precision motorcycle riding at 5:20 and 6:30 p.m. by conservation district police and a police K-9 demonstration at 5:45 p.m. by the sheriff’s office.

National Night Out is celebrated annually with the intention of reducing crime while promoting relationships between the police and the public, according to the release.




Home State Bank acquires Harvard State Bank's trust accounts

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 05:37:00 GMT

CRYSTAL LAKE – Home State Bank recently acquired all of the trust accounts from Harvard State Bank, making the Crystal Lake-based banking corporation the only actively managed trust department headquartered in McHenry County.

Home State Bank Executive Vice President Robert Cormier said that although Harvard State Bank’s trust department employed a single trust officer and managed between $20 million and $25 million in assets, Home State Bank has three officers managing about $175 million in assets – with the intent of adding a fourth officer to the department.

“Geographically, we’re located very close,” Cormier said. “We have a trust guy who spends some days in Woodstock. Those customers aren’t going to experience transfers downtown [Chicago] or over a distance.”

The acquisition will affect about 200 customers with established relationships with the trust department for traditional trust services, land trusts and professional money management services.

Cormier said the larger trust department staff at Home State Bank will prove more beneficial for customers, without losing the appeal of a longstanding community bank.

Home State Bank has been a presence in McHenry County since it opened in 1915.

“We believe that the new trust customers, to Home State Bank, will be very pleased with our disciplined approach to investing, always insuring that all investments remain appropriate for the customers situation,” Cormier said.

The deal will not affect customers with checking or savings accounts at Harvard State Bank.




Illinois Lift Equipment Inc. moves into Cary building left vacant after Fox Valley Systems explosionH. Rick Bamman - hbamman@shawmedia.com Lift Equipment Inc. technician Rigo Godinez operates a lift during a test in the yard at the equipment dealer's new location in Cary. The company sells, rents and repairs forklifts and scissor lifts.H. Rick Bamman - hbamman@shawmedia.com Lift Equipment Inc. technician Andy Spirek performs maintenance on a Hyster forklift at the new location in Cary. The equipment dealer sells, rents and repairs forklifts and scissor lifts at the new location.

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 05:33:00 GMT

CARY – Illinois Lift Equipment Inc. has filled the space left vacant by Fox Valley Systems after a 2013 explosion.

Although the equipment sales and repair business has moved into the 80,000-square-foot space, 640 Industrial Drive, Cary, construction on the inside of the building is ongoing.

The building faced considerable damages after the explosion, which injured three workers and resulted in the Occupational Safety and Health Administration citing Fox Valley Systems – a marking and striping company – for 26 safety violations.

Mike Lopez, the owner of Illinois Lift Equipment Inc., chose the location based off the lot size, which provides for outdoor storage for the forklifts and other construct equipment.

This is the company’s fourth move since Lopez bought it 10 years ago, and he plans to keep the business in Cary. The business previously was located in West Chicago.

“This location was probably the best fit for us,” Lopez said. “We were looking for a few months at other buildings. The biggest reason that we bought the building would’ve been the lot size and the building size.”

The renovations are expected to be complete in August. Lopez said they are starting from a clean slate as all the old interiors were torn out before they bought the building. Because of this, Lopez said, they were able to customize the building to their needs.

Lopez bought Illinois Lift Equipment Inc. when it focused on painting and servicing equipment for local companies. He geared the company toward sales, which are mostly out of state, Lopez said. The company sells new and used equipment ranging in cost from $12,000 to $100,000, he said.

Lopez has 30 employees, and whether more jobs are added depends on the growth of the company, he said.

Having Illinois Lift Equipment Inc. in Cary is a benefit for existing businesses in the village that use lift equipment, Cary community development director Brian Simmons said.

Simmons said it also is beneficial to have one of Cary’s larger vacant buildings occupied.

“Illinois Lift, they’re coming in and they’re taking over the entire building,” Simmons said, “So it’s very positive for the community from the standpoint that you have a user utilizing one of the largest buildings we have in town. It was our largest vacancy.”

Simmons said the property continued to generate property taxes even when left vacant, which amount to about $70,000 a year. The village of Cary directly receives about $3,000 to $4,000, and the rest goes to Cary Community Consolidated School District 26 and Crystal Lake-based School District 155, Simmons said.

H. Rick Bamman - hbamman@shawmedia.com Lift Equipment Inc. technician Rigo Godinez operates a lift during a test in the yard at the equipment dealer's new location in Cary. The company sells, rents and repairs forklifts and scissor lifts.H. Rick Bamman - hbamman@shawmedia.com Lift Equipment Inc. technician Andy Spirek performs maintenance on a Hyster forklift at the new location in Cary. The equipment dealer sells, rents and repairs forklifts and scissor lifts at the new location.


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McHenry City Council sends affordable housing proposal for veterans, people with disabilities to Planning and Zoning CommissionPhoto provided Full Circle Communities has proposed a preliminary concept for the Pearl Street Commons, a three-story, 25-unit apartment complex intended to serve veterans and tenants with sensory and mobility disabilities. McHenry City Council discussed the project at its June 17 meeting, and sent the proposed project forward to the Planning and Zoning Committee on Aug. 16.H. Rick Bamman - hbamman@shawmedia.com Mansard Consulting employee Brett Swift jots down measurments while conducting a GPS survey Wednesday, July 19, 2017 on the vacant lot at the northeast corner of Richmond Road and Pearl Street in McHenry. The Pearl Street Commons Housing Project, a three-story 25-unit affordable apartment complex is proposed for the site.H. Rick Bamman - hbamman@shawmedia.com A survey marker on the vacant lot at the northeast corner of Richmond Road and Pearl Street in McHenry. The Pearl Street Commons Housing Project, a three-story 25-unit affordable apartment complex is proposed for the site.

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 05:28:00 GMT

McHENRY – A developer is looking to build a three-story affordable apartment complex for veterans and tenants with physical impairments. On July 17, the McHenry City Council examined a preliminary concept from Full Circle Communities for a 25-unit project at the northeast corner of Richmond Road and Pearl Street, and advanced the nearly $7 million project to the Planning and Zoning Commission in August. Full Circle Communities, a Chicago-based nonprofit housing developer, plans for the proposed apartment complex to address the affordable housing need for veterans and people with mobility and sensory disabilities in both the city and county. “Looking at McHenry, we know through working with county and TLS Veterans that the city of McHenry is home to a little over 1,300 veterans,” said Lindsey Haines, vice president of Full Circle Communities. “We also knew the county is home to 24,000 people with a disability and 2,000 within the city itself.” Unlike previous projects proposed on the same property in an established neighborhood, the proposed apartment complex is expected to have a low effect on traffic as many of the tenants targeted to live in the building will not drive. Excess lighting generated from the proposed building also is expected to have a minimal effect on residents.    “I feel it will integrate well into the neighborhood,” said Doug Martin, McHenry director of economic development. “Full Circle has worked with us to design a project for the upcoming presentation to the public, and we’re trying to make sure it’s compatible with the architectural styles [of the neighborhood].” Haines already has started working with St. Mary Catholic Church and Montini Catholic School across the street from the proposed site on integrating the apartment complex into the surrounding neighborhood. Council members did not vote on approving the project at July 15’s meeting, but multiple members previously saw the project when it was presented to the Community Development Committee in February 2016. The project at that time was a proposed 47-unit complex – with 12 two-bedroom units and 35 one-bedroom units – but the scope of the project was reduced after it was twice unable to obtain federal tax credits. Full Circle later secured between $5 million and $6 million of its funding from the Federal Housing Trust Fund, which limited the development to no more than 25 units. About $230,000 will come from the county’s home funds, which is derived from federal taxpayer money, Haines said. “We’re hoping to build 25 units now and then build a Phase 2 [second building] at some point in the future to get back up closer in the 40- to 50-unit range,” Haines said. Haines said Full Circle is partnered McHenry-based TLS Veterans for tenant referrals and on-site assistance with veterans. The developer also is working with Over The Rainbow Association, a nonprofit devoted to being the leading provider for affordable, barrier-free housing solutions for individuals with physical disabilities. Haines also said Full Circle plans to hold an open house-style meeting for neighboring residents to provide more details about the project, including the need for affordable housing for veterans or tenants with sensory and mobility disabilities. “I have no doubt there is a very [...]


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Algonquin Founders' Days canceled after record Fox River floodingShaw Media file photo Brogan Hora, 9, and Angelica Pesavento, 9, both of Cary, ride a carnival ride at Algonquin Lakes Park. Founders' Day has been canceled because of record flooding in the area.

Sun, 23 Jul 2017 20:37:00 GMT

ALGONQUIN - Organizers canceled Algonquin Founders' Day Festival for the first time in 57 years because of record flooding of the Fox River, which has affected Algonquin and other local towns.

The initial plan had been to move the four-day festival to Algonquin Lakes. However, on Saturday, the event was canceled.

"As our community is aware, the Fox River just has not cooperated," organizers said in a statement. "The village entities and their resources have been over extended - even with support from surrounding municipalities helping in our effort to fight the encroaching flood waters. It has come to the point that as a community, we all need to concentrate our efforts on the residents that are in most need of help. The Founders’ Committee and the village believe strongly in this community and now is the time when all of us need to focus on what our town needs most."

Founders’ Days has been held in downtown Algonquin since 1961, according to the organization's website. The festival moved to St. Margaret Mary Catholic Church in the 1970s because of flooding.

The group called for help for those affected by the flooding.

" While you would support Founders’ financially by coming out to the festival, we’re asking that you instead turn your support to the community and offer your time until this dire situation is rectified," it said in a statement.

"This affects us all, whether we are on the river or not. There is no valid reason the suffering of a few shouldn’t be met with support from the many, especially in a large community like ours. Algonquin Founders’ Days does not use monetary resources from the village so recouping the losses will be hard. Eventually Founders’ will recoup losses from not holding the festival this year, but for others, they are losing everything; homes, possessions, memories," organizers said in a statement. "Algonquin Founders’ Days is important to many in our community and we anticipate your continued support. We are working with the village for an alternate date in the near future. As Founders’ could not take any more resources away from the village for our festival, we ask that you join us and do the same in helping where help is needed."

Shaw Media file photo Brogan Hora, 9, and Angelica Pesavento, 9, both of Cary, ride a carnival ride at Algonquin Lakes Park. Founders' Day has been canceled because of record flooding in the area.


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Marengo residents celebrate community with "Marengo Strong" eventDebby Castillo has been a Marengo resident for just a year but already has a feeling of town pride. “Marengo is strong,” she said. The community gathered Saturday for “Marengo Strong Community Day” which volunteers organized following the home explosion that decimated a neighborhood June 11. The event included live music, food and retail vendors, games and raffles. Proceeds will go toward the disaster relief fund.“I am trying to help those people that lost their homes,” Castillo said. “I think this is excellent. It’s really good. They have been doing a lot to help those people. A lot of people were contributing.” The 10-person organizing committee along with about 12 other volunteers ran the event which went from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday.The hope is to make the community day an annual event, said Terri Paulauski who is on the committee as well as president of the Marengo Park District board. “We weren’t sure exactly what to expect but we were hopeful,” she said. “It’s been a constant flow of people since we opened. The kids are loving it. We are seeing lots of familiar faces from in town which is what we wanted.”An event like this would typically take about a year to plan, but the first “Marengo Strong” day came together in about a month, she said. “The original idea for this event was just for families to have something to look forward to, something positive,” she said. “This terrible thing happened, so lets plan a day that is just comfortable, Marengo and positive. … It came together very quickly and we had nothing but a positive response.”Volunteer Rose Tekstar, who has lived in Marengo for five years , said she was impressed at how the community came together following the tragedy and leading up to this event. “I think its really great to see people work together to help others,” Tekstar said. “So often you hear about the bad things and don’t see things like this.”

Sun, 23 Jul 2017 17:55:00 GMT

Marengo residents came together Saturday for the first "Marengo Strong" community day event, designed to support families affected by the June 11 home explosion that decimated a neighborhood.

Debby Castillo has been a Marengo resident for just a year but already has a feeling of town pride. “Marengo is strong,” she said. The community gathered Saturday for “Marengo Strong Community Day” which volunteers organized following the home explosion that decimated a neighborhood June 11. The event included live music, food and retail vendors, games and raffles. Proceeds will go toward the disaster relief fund.“I am trying to help those people that lost their homes,” Castillo said. “I think this is excellent. It’s really good. They have been doing a lot to help those people. A lot of people were contributing.” The 10-person organizing committee along with about 12 other volunteers ran the event which went from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday.The hope is to make the community day an annual event, said Terri Paulauski who is on the committee as well as president of the Marengo Park District board. “We weren’t sure exactly what to expect but we were hopeful,” she said. “It’s been a constant flow of people since we opened. The kids are loving it. We are seeing lots of familiar faces from in town which is what we wanted.”An event like this would typically take about a year to plan, but the first “Marengo Strong” day came together in about a month, she said. “The original idea for this event was just for families to have something to look forward to, something positive,” she said. “This terrible thing happened, so lets plan a day that is just comfortable, Marengo and positive. … It came together very quickly and we had nothing but a positive response.”Volunteer Rose Tekstar, who has lived in Marengo for five years , said she was impressed at how the community came together following the tragedy and leading up to this event. “I think its really great to see people work together to help others,” Tekstar said. “So often you hear about the bad things and don’t see things like this.”


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Residents gather for 'Marengo Strong' community daySarah Nader - snader@shawmedia.com Dawn St. Clair (left) of Marengo and Brenda Alt of Marengo chat during Saturday's Marengo Strong Community Day at Indian Oaks Park in Marengo July 22, 2017. The event was designed to support the many families impacted by the June 11 home explosion. St. Clair's home was at the center of the explosion

Sun, 23 Jul 2017 05:23:00 GMT

MARENGO – Debby Castillo has been a Marengo resident for just a year but already has a feeling of town pride.

“Marengo is strong,” she said.

The community gathered Saturday for “Marengo Strong Community Day,” which volunteers organized after the home explosion that decimated a neighborhood June 11. The event included live music, food and retail vendors, games and raffles. Proceeds will go toward the disaster relief fund.

“I am trying to help those people that lost their homes,” Castillo said. “I think this is excellent. It’s really good. They have been doing a lot to help those people. A lot of people were contributing.”

The 10-person organizing committee along with about 12 other volunteers ran the event, which went from 2 to 10 p.m. Saturday. The hope is to make the community day an annual event, said Terri Paulauski, who is on the committee, as well as president of the Marengo Park District board.

“We weren’t sure exactly what to expect but we were hopeful,” she said. “It’s been a constant flow of people since we opened. The kids are loving it. We are seeing lots of familiar faces from in town, which is what we wanted.”

An event like this would typically take about a year to plan, but the first “Marengo Strong” day came together in about a month, she said.

“The original idea for this event was just for families to have something to look forward to, something positive,” she said. “This terrible thing happened, so let’s plan a day that is just comfortable, Marengo and positive. … It came together very quickly, and we had nothing but a positive response.”

Volunteer Rose Tekstar, who has lived in Marengo for five years, said she was impressed at how the community came together after the tragedy and leading up to this event.

“I think its really great to see people work together to help others,” Tekstar said. “So often you hear about the bad things and don’t see things like this.”

Sarah Nader - snader@shawmedia.com Dawn St. Clair (left) of Marengo and Brenda Alt of Marengo chat during Saturday's Marengo Strong Community Day at Indian Oaks Park in Marengo July 22, 2017. The event was designed to support the many families impacted by the June 11 home explosion. St. Clair's home was at the center of the explosion


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Cary Ale House plans to add brewery, seeks $60,000 village loanCary Ale House and Brewing Company wants to start brewing its own beer.

Sun, 23 Jul 2017 05:00:00 GMT

CARY – People may soon be able to sip locally brewed beer in Cary.

Cary Ale House and Brewing Company wants to start brewing its own beer and plans to expand to a vacant storefront adjacent to the restaurant. The restaurant occupies half the retail space in the building located at 200 to 208 W. Main St. More than $215,000 worth of renovations are planned, which includes construction and equipment costs, according to village documents.

Restaurant owners Chris Panagakis and Dustin Davies are seeking a $60,000 loan from the village’s revolving loan fund in order to partially contribute to the project, which they said will help make their restaurant a destination spot.

Revolving loans are incentive tools that municipalities can use to help new or existing businesses with projects that will create jobs by offering a low-interest loan. Cary Ale House anticipates adding between five and seven jobs after the expansion, according to village documents.

Since Panagakis and Davies opened the gastropub in 2015, they had planned to include a brewery, but renovation costs on the existing building were more than expected so the project was pushed back, according to village documents. The restaurant has served locally brewed beer in the past and it has sold well, and now the owners want to move forward with the venture.

Village officials heard the request at the July 18 Committee of the Whole meeting and were largely supportive of the plan. The Cary Village Board will take action on the item at its next meeting, which will be at 6 p.m. Aug. 1 at Cary Village Hall, 655 Village Hall Drive.

“This to me is the perfect reason why we have a revolving loan,” Trustee Ellen McAlpine said. “This is exactly what we want to do – help a business grow within our community. … I think it will make it a nice destination for people to be able to hop off the train and come over and check [it] out.”

Cary Ale House and Brewing Company wants to start brewing its own beer.


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Environmental Defenders of McHenry County organize Styrofoam collection programThe Environmental Defenders of McHenry County, a nonprofit dedicated to preserving the environment, is organizing a styrofoam collection program in McHenry County.

Sun, 23 Jul 2017 05:00:00 GMT

WOODSTOCK – The Environmental Defenders of McHenry County, a nonprofit dedicated to the preservation, protection and improvement of the environment, has announced it is reopening its Styrofoam collection program.

The defenders will be collecting clean Styrofoam – containing no food or residue – at its monthly recycling drives and beginning Aug. 1 at the Algonquin Township Highway Department, 3702 Route 14, Crystal Lake, according to a news release.

Styrofoam, expanded polystyrene and packing peanuts can be dropped off between 6:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. Monday through Friday at the Algonquin Township Highway Department.

U-Haul of Crystal Lake also has partnered with the nonprofit to help transfer the Styrofoam to a warehouse for pickup by the Dart Company, according to the release.

“Styrofoam [expanded polystyrene] is a product made from petroleum, a nonrenewable resource,” the release said. “It can break down into smaller pieces, entering the human food stream through fish and other marine animals and is detrimental to marine life in this process.”

More collection sites will open in the coming months thanks to the village of Algonquin, the city of Woodstock, McHenry Township Road District and Nunda Township Road District.

Call 815-338-0393 from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday with questions or visit mcdef.org. Donations also can be made directly to the Styrofoam Collection Program through Generosity.com.

The Environmental Defenders of McHenry County, a nonprofit dedicated to preserving the environment, is organizing a styrofoam collection program in McHenry County.


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Crystal Lake, Algonquin police to help raise money for Special Olympics IllinoisThe Crystal Lake Police Department along with the Algonquin Police Department are pairing up with Texas Roadhouse, 835 Cog Cir. in Crystal Lake, to raise money for Special Olympics Illinois July 28.

Sun, 23 Jul 2017 04:59:00 GMT

CRYSTAL LAKE – Police officers will serve “free lunch” during the seventh annual Texas Roadhouse Benefit Lunch for Special Olympics Illinois next Friday.

The event will take place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the restaurant’s Crystal Lake location, 835 Cog Circle, and officers from both the Crystal Lake and Algonquin police departments will serve off a limited menu, which includes a pulled pork sandwich, corn, fresh-baked bread with honey-cinnamon butter and a nonalcoholic beverage, a spokesperson for the Crystal Lake Police Department said.

Diners are asked to leave a donation for their meal. All proceeds will benefit the nearly 22,000 athletes with intellectual disabilities and more than 18,500 “Young Athletes” – ages 2 to 7 – of Special Olympics Illinois.

“Special Olympics changes lives by empowering people with intellectual disabilities to realize their full potential in sports and in life,” according to a news release from Crystal Lake police. “Special Olympics programs enhance physical fitness, motor skills, self-confidence, social skills and encourage family and community support.”

During the meal, diners are eligible to enter to win a free dinner for two at Texas Roadhouse by posting a photo on social media using the hashtag #igotserved. Both dine-in and carryout options will be available. Call Texas Roadhouse with questions or contact Officer Ed Pluviose at 815-356-3731 or EPluviose@CrystalLake.org.

Members of local law enforcement also participate in the Law Enforcement Torch Run, which is the largest year-round fundraising effort for Special Olympics Illinois. It has raised nearly $31 million over 28 years, according to the news release.

“The annual intrastate relay and its various fundraising projects have two goals: to raise money and to gain awareness for the athletes who participate in Special Olympics Illinois,” the release said.

To find out more about Special Olympics Illinois, visit www.soill.org or call 800-394-0562.

The Crystal Lake Police Department along with the Algonquin Police Department are pairing up with Texas Roadhouse, 835 Cog Cir. in Crystal Lake, to raise money for Special Olympics Illinois July 28.


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Stade's Farm and Market closes McCullom Lake Road roadside stand

Sun, 23 Jul 2017 04:58:00 GMT

McCULLOM LAKE – Stade’s Farm & Market has closed its McCullom Lake roadside stand, owners announced this week.

The stand, located on the corner of McCullom Lake and Ringwood roads, was opened in 1997, nearly 20 years after Vern Stade began farming on the land that is now Stade’s Farm & Market, 3709 Miller Road, McHenry.

Vern Stade and his wife, Gayle Stade, alerted customers that the market would be closing in an email newsletter earlier this week, citing the need to reduce operating costs.

“In order to maintain high-quality products at reasonable prices, we need to reduce our operating costs,” the newsletter said. “Consolidating our two farm markets into one business location is the most cost-effective way to accomplish that goal.”

Stade’s still offers a full-service market on the McHenry farm property open each day from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. The family is celebrating its 40th year in business.

In addition to its market, Stade’s offers U-Pick farming, church services every Sunday from Memorial Day weekend until the end of October, a Farmtractions theme park and a Tractors for Charity event that raises money for local food pantries and Feed My Starving Children, among other events.

“We hope you agree that the peaceful farm atmosphere and the larger selection of products available in the market outweigh the extra drive time,” the newsletter said.




Next Minneapolis police chief tasked with changing culture

Sun, 23 Jul 2017 04:57:00 GMT

People who have worked closely with the man tapped to lead Minneapolis’ embattled police department say he has qualities that will fit well with the role: He’s friendly, forthright, has deep city roots and is African-American, which could help improve sour relations between the police and the city’s black community. But Medaria Arradondo’s rise from school resource officer and patrolman to assistant chief during 28 years on the force have some wondering whether an outsider would be better suited to changing the culture of a department accused of being too quick to use force. Facing public anger over an officer’s fatal shooting last weekend of an unarmed, white 40-year-old Australian woman who had called 911 to report a possible sexual assault near her home, Mayor Betsy Hodges asked Police Chief Janee Harteau to resign, which she did Friday. Hodges nominated Arradondo as Harteau’s replacement and dismissed protesters’ calls for her to resign, too. “Inside the department, outside the department, fans, critics, everybody – he builds relationships with people, which is going to be crucial as the department moves forward,” Hodges told The Associated Press on Saturday. “What’s needed at this time is someone who is good at making change and helping usher people through change, which Arradondo has done and is doing,” The police department has stepped up training in recent years, focusing on community policing, Hodges said. She said Arradondo will work to cement those changes. Arradondo, nicknamed “Rondo,” needs city council’s approval before he can begin the job. He served as the department’s public face for most of a week after the July 15 police shooting of Justine Damond, until Harteau returned from vacation Thursday. Linea Palmisano, a city councilwoman who represents the ward where the shooting happened, said she’s impressed with Arradondo, but wonders whether someone from outside the department would be better able to make changes and enforce procedures such as turning on body cameras. Neither the Somali-American officer who shot Damond, Mohamed Noor, nor the officer with him, Matthew Harrity, turned on their body cameras. Others say an insider is exactly what the department needs: someone who was brought up in the Twin Cities and can spot the dysfunction beneath “Minnesota nice.” “He’s a fifth-generation Minnesotan, and he’s appreciated and well-respected as a police officer,” said Raeisha Williams, a 5th Ward city council candidate and the former communications director for the local NAACP. “He’s African-American, obviously, and he knows the climate, he knows the community, he knows the culture.” That’s vitally important when policing a region where 40 percent of residents are people of color, Williams said. Arradondo has also experienced discrimination: He and four other officers sued the city in 2007 alleging they were the victims of systemic racial discrimination and a hostile working environment. They contended black officers were offered fewer training and overtime opportunities and received fewer appointments than white counterparts, among other problems. The city settled two yea[...]



All three horses saved from Prairie Grove barn fireA horse barn caught fire Friday night in Prairie Grove, and hay was still smoldering in what was left of the building Saturday morning.Firefighters battle a barn fire near the intersection of Barreville and West Justen roads in Prairie Grove Friday evening. Information was not immediately available from fire crews late Friday. Check NWHerald.com later for more updates.Firefighters battle a barn fire near the intersection of Barreville and West Justen roads in Prairie Grove Friday evening.Firefighters battle a barn fire near the intersection of Barreville and West Justen roads in Prairie Grove Friday evening.Smoke billows from what was left of a horse barn in Prairie Grove Saturday morning. Horse owners who boarded their horses there thought a lightning strike was the reason for the flames.Power had previously been shut off to the barn, a spokesperson for ComEd said Saturday morning, but workers redirected that power to the horses' new home - a barn several hundred yards away.Fire crews continued to work on the blaze in Prairie Grove Saturday morning. No fire departments were immediately available for comment.

Sun, 23 Jul 2017 04:57:00 GMT

PRAIRIE GROVE – Liz Wolodkiewicz said she only got an hour of sleep Friday night after her 15-year-old horse barely survived an intense barn fire.

Wolodkiewicz said she could not even remember how long she has boarded her horse at a barn at 2480 Barreville Road in Prairie Grove, but she was visibly shaken by the ordeal.

“You just don’t hear this [horses being saved] with barn fires,” Wolodkiewicz said. “We’re very lucky.”

Lynn Magoon has boarded her 23-year-old horse at the barn in Prairie Grove for more than 10 years. She said she heard about the blaze around 8:45 p.m. Friday.

Wolodkiewicz said the fire began in the top of the barn, where the hay is stacked. She explained that the owners’ daughter, Krista Ziec, was the reason both her and Magoon’s horses, and a third, made it out alive.

“We think it was lightning,” Wolodkiewicz said. “But Krista was watching the storm and saw smoke. She helped save the horses. It [the barn] just collapsed after the last two got out.”

There were no injuries to horses or people, Wolodkiewicz said. ComEd workers were on the scene Saturday morning rerouting power to the nearby barn where the horses had been moved.

Officials with Nunda Rural Fire Protection district are investigating the cause of the fire, which started in the roof area. More than 30 agencies responded to the incident, which lasted about eight hours, according to the district. No one was injured.

A horse barn caught fire Friday night in Prairie Grove, and hay was still smoldering in what was left of the building Saturday morning.Firefighters battle a barn fire near the intersection of Barreville and West Justen roads in Prairie Grove Friday evening. Information was not immediately available from fire crews late Friday. Check NWHerald.com later for more updates.Firefighters battle a barn fire near the intersection of Barreville and West Justen roads in Prairie Grove Friday evening.Firefighters battle a barn fire near the intersection of Barreville and West Justen roads in Prairie Grove Friday evening.Smoke billows from what was left of a horse barn in Prairie Grove Saturday morning. Horse owners who boarded their horses there thought a lightning strike was the reason for the flames.Power had previously been shut off to the barn, a spokesperson for ComEd said Saturday morning, but workers redirected that power to the horses' new home - a barn several hundred yards away.Fire crews continued to work on the blaze in Prairie Grove Saturday morning. No fire departments were immediately available for comment.


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‘Let 1994 go’: Simpson case’s racial symbolism now a relicFormer NFL football star O.J. Simpson attends his parole hearing at the Lovelock Correctional Center in Lovelock, Nev., on Thursday, July 20, 2017. Simpson was granted parole Thursday after more than eight years in prison for a Las Vegas hotel heist, successfully making his case in a nationally televised hearing that reflected America's enduring fascination with the former football star. (Jason Bean/The Reno Gazette-Journal via AP, Pool)

Sun, 23 Jul 2017 04:57:00 GMT

Justin Zimmerman was a 7-year-old black boy in Moreno Valley, California, when O.J. Simpson was on trial for murder. He wasn’t old enough to understand the “trial of the century,” but his parents and the older black people in his community made their position clear: They were cheering for Simpson, and were convinced the former NFL star was an innocent dupe in a racial conspiracy. For them, Simpson was a symbol of racial tension and uneven justice. But Zimmerman, now 30 and living in Washington, D.C., grew up amid the hashtags that have come to symbolize the killings of unarmed black men by police. On his Facebook page on Thursday – after Simpson was granted parole from armed robbery and assault convictions – Zimmerman posted: “Let 1994 go guys.” “The most relevant thing that came out of O.J. since the trial was the Kardashians for millennials,” Zimmerman said, referring to Simpson’s close friendship with the reality-TV clan that was highlighted in a recent television series about the case. Family patriarch Robert Kardashian, a lawyer, was on Simpson’s defense team during the murder trial. “We don’t have an O.J.,” Zimmerman said. “For me, that was Trayvon Martin. He was me. That resonates more to me ... It wasn’t like [Simpson] was at the forefront of any movement.” While millions watched Simpson’s parole hearing last week, audiences were hardly as emotionally invested as they were a generation ago watching his murder trial. Simpson’s 1995 acquittal in the deaths of his wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ronald Goldman bitterly polarized Americans around race. But interest has waned, attitudes have changed, and black Americans are wrestling with more familiar injustices. Today, Simpson’s racial symbolism is largely seen as a relic. “We just have bigger concerns that are much more directly impacting our specific lives,” University of Pennsylvania sociologist Camille Z. Charles said. “We now have symbols that reflect what actually happens to most black people. Most black people don’t get fancy lawyers that get them off. They don’t have jurors that will be sympathetic because of celebrity. The tide has shifted.” On Oct. 3, 1995, an estimated 150 million people – more than half the country at the time – tuned in to hear the jury’s verdict in Simpson’s trial for the Brown-Goldman murders. The strategy for Simpson’s defense team – which included legendary black litigator Johnnie Cochran – was to frame the case around race. They argued that Simpson had been framed by a corrupt and racist Los Angeles Police Department. Simpson spent much of his life distancing himself from the black community. He lived in the wealthy enclave of Brentwood in Los Angeles and traded his black college sweetheart for a blond, white woman. And he once said, “I’m not black. I’m OJ.” Still, many African-Americans saw the former running back and actor as a pioneer and cultural icon. Even before he became a criminal defendant, Simpson stood for something bigger. Charles McKinney, who is black, was at work on June 17, 1994, when a friend call[...]


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Cary Fire Protection District hosts annual water fightThe Cary Fire Protection District readies for battle at the Cary Fire Protection District’s annual water fights Saturday.The Wilmot, Wis., fire department team competes in the Cary Fire Protection District’s annual water fights Saturday

Sun, 23 Jul 2017 04:56:00 GMT

Andy Taylor has spent the past few days helping friends and family clean up from last week’s devastating floods. So when the skies cleared on Saturday afternoon, the Cary resident was ready to relax and have some fun. He and hundreds of community residents gathered for the Cary Fire Protection District’s annual water fights, where fire teams from around the area try to push an empty barrel across the opposing team’s “goal” using water from their fire hoses. 

Taylor, who has been coming to the summertime event for many years, said this year’s turnout was the biggest he’s ever seen.

“This is a good way for our community to forget about the flooding for a few hours,” he said. “People need an outlet. It’s ironic that we’re watching water fights while we’re dealing with floods, but this is a tradition here. We need an escape and to feel like it’s OK to have fun, because there are lots of people who’ve been devastated.”

Nine fire departments, including teams from Fox Lake, Marengo, Cary and Wilmot, Wisconsin, battled in the tournament-style event that has four firefighters on each hose. Retired Capt. Dennis Krenz of the Cary Fire Protection District, said he participated on the water fight team for many years, but now enjoys being a spectator.

“A lot of people have never seen a water fight, and it’s a nice day, gives people something to do,” he said. “There’s a lot of strategy involved. They have to work as a team and be in unison. Everyone on the line has a specific job.”

Saturday was the first time Cary resident Kim Covelli had been to the water fights. She said she thought it would be fun for the kids to see.

“The kids are loving it, and it’s a fun event for the community. It showcases the fire department in a fun way. It’s nice to see so many community members out here enjoying the day,” she said. 

Brad Delatorre, a Cary firefighter who’s been on the waterfight team for about 25 years, said he enjoys participating because of the camaraderie with his co-workers. Delatorre is at the front of the hose, controlling the nozzle.

“It’s a good team-building event. If your team is behind you, you feel it and have a good fight. The community always supports us. It’s very exciting, especially if you’re winning,” he said.

Unfortunately for Delatorre and his team, Cary didn’t win.That honor went to one of the teams from Wilmot, Wisconsin. The Fox Lake team took second place.  

The Cary Fire Protection District readies for battle at the Cary Fire Protection District’s annual water fights Saturday.The Wilmot, Wis., fire department team competes in the Cary Fire Protection District’s annual water fights Saturday


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Trump’s new man deletes inconvenient tweetsAnthony Scaramucci, incoming White House communications director, accompanied by newly appointed White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, right, speaks during the daily press briefing at the White House, Friday, July 21, 2017, in Washington. White House press secretary Sean Spicer resigned earlier in the day. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Sun, 23 Jul 2017 04:56:00 GMT

WASHINGTON – A day after accepting a top White House job, President Donald Trump's new communications adviser announced Saturday that he's deleting old tweets, saying his own views have evolved and that what he said in the past shouldn't be a distraction. Trump announced Friday that he'd hired Wall Street financier Anthony Scaramucci to help the White House sharpen its public message. Social media users quickly did a deep dive and recirculated past tweets by Scaramucci that were at odds with Trump's views, including one that praised Hillary Clinton's competence. Trump defeated Clinton for president last year and continues to criticize her, including in several tweets Saturday. Other repurposed Scaramucci tweets expressed support for stronger gun laws, which he tweeted about in August 2012. In May 2016, he expressed displeasure with individuals who believe climate change is a hoax. Trump has at times referred to global warming as a hoax. "Full transparency: I'm deleting old tweets. Past views evolved & shouldn't be a distraction. I serve @POTUS agenda & that's all that matters," Scaramucci said Saturday in the first of a pair of messages on the subject. "The politics of "gotcha" are over. I have a thick skin and we're moving on to @POTUS agenda serving the American people," he added. Twitter users also scrolled back deep into Scaramucci's timeline to raise questions about a 2012 tweet in which he seemed to misattribute a quote to author Mark Twain. "Dance like no one is watching. Sing like no one is listening. Love like you've never been hurt and live like its heaven on earth. Mark Twain," Scaramucci tweeted. Scaramucci served Trump as a campaign fundraiser and adviser during the transition. He made his first appearance before reporters in the White House briefing room on Friday and quickly apologized to Trump for referring to him as a "hack politician" during an August 2015 appearance on Fox Business Network. Asked whether Trump was aware of the comment, Scaramucci joked that the president mentions it every 15 seconds. He called it one of his "biggest mistakes" before looking into the cameras and saying: "Mr. President, if you're listening, I personally apologize for the 50th time for saying that." In a tweet Saturday, Trump defended Scaramucci, who supported other GOP presidential candidates before he backed Trump. "In all fairness to Anthony Scaramucci, he wanted to endorse me 1st, before the Republican Primaries started, but didn't think I was running!" ___ Follow Darlene Superville on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/dsupervilleap Anthony Scaramucci, incoming White House communications director, accompanied by newly appointed White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, right, speaks during the daily press briefing at the White House, Friday, July 21, 2017, in Washington. White House press secretary Sean Spicer resigned earlier in the day. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)[...]


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Trump asserts he has power to pardon

Sun, 23 Jul 2017 04:56:00 GMT

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump said Saturday that he has "complete power" to issue pardons, an assertion that comes amid investigations into Russian interference in last year's presidential election. It was one of many topics that appeared to occupy the president's mind as the day broke. On a day when most people are ready to forget about the issues that nagged them during the week, Trump revved up. In an early morning flurry of 10 tweets, he commented about pardons, former presidential rival Hillary Clinton, son Don Jr., health care, the USS Gerald Ford, the attorney general and other issues. Trump said in one of his 10 messages: "While all agree the U. S. President has the complete power to pardon, why think of that when only crime so far is LEAKS against us. FAKE NEWS." The Washington Post recently reported that Trump has inquired about the authority he has as president to pardon aides, relatives or even himself in connection with the widening investigation into Russian interference in the election and whether any Trump associates were involved. The president has long criticized leaks of information about the investigation, and has urged authorities to prosecute leakers. Trump maintains that no crimes have been committed. One of Trump's attorneys, Jay Sekulow, said the president has not discussed the issue of pardons with his outside legal team. Next week, Trump's eldest son, Donald Trump Jr.; his son-in-law and White House adviser, Jared Kushner; and Paul Manafort, his former campaign chairman, are scheduled to appear before Senate committees investigating Russian meddling. Trump defended his son in one of the tweets, saying he "openly gave his e-mails to the media & authorities whereas Crooked Hillary Clinton deleted (& acid washed) her 33,000 e-mails!" Trump's namesake has become a focus of the investigation after it was revealed that he, Kushner and Manafort met with Russian representatives at Trump Tower in June 2016. Trump Jr. later released email exchanges concerning the meeting on Twitter, after learning that The New York Times was about to publish them. The FBI investigated Clinton for using a private email server as secretary of state. She turned over thousands of pages of emails to the government, but deleted thousands of others that she said were personal or unrelated to her work as the nation's top diplomat. Trump also complained Saturday about a Washington Post report that the Russian ambassador to the U.S. said he discussed election-related issues with Jeff Sessions when the men met during the 2016 presidential race. Sessions, now the attorney general, at the time was a U.S. senator and foreign policy adviser to Trump. Trump tweeted: "A new INTELLIGENCE LEAK from the Amazon Washington Post,this time against A.G. Jeff Sessions.These illegal leaks, like Comey's, must stop!" The Post on Friday cited anonymous U.S. officials who described U.S. intelligence intercepts of Ambassador Sergey Kislyak's descriptions of his meetings with Sessions. [...]



Strong aftershocks test nerves on Greek island after quake

Sun, 23 Jul 2017 04:56:00 GMT

KOS, Greece – Crews of experts began examining the damage to cultural monuments and infrastructure on the eastern Greek island of Kos on Saturday, a day after a powerful earthquake killed two tourists and injured nearly 500 others in the Aegean Sea region that stretches to Turkey's sprawling coast. Residents and tourists were still jittery as a series of aftershocks Saturday night continued to rock the island. A tremor measuring a preliminary 4.4 magnitude struck at 8:09 p.m. Saturday, sending residents and restaurant customers scurrying toward the middle of the town's main square, as far away as possible from buildings. Sixteen minutes later, a second 4.6-magnitude tremor struck, the Athens Geodynamics Institute reported. The first tremor had its epicenter only 12.5 miles northeast of Kos at a depth of 6.2 miles. Hundreds of residents and tourists spent Friday night sleeping outdoors on the island, too afraid to return to their homes or hotels after the quake that struck early Friday. Many camped out in parks and olive groves, or slept in their cars or on beach and swimming pool lounge chairs. The aftershocks Saturday night meant that many would spend a second night outdoors. During the day in Kos, churches, an old mosque, the port's 14th-century castle and other old buildings that suffered in the quake were being checked by archaeologists and experts from Greece's Culture Ministry. The U.S. Geological Survey measured the quake Friday at magnitude 6.7, with Greek and Turkish estimates a fraction lower. Two men, a Turk and a Swede, were killed when a wall collapsed into a popular bar in the Old Town of Kos. The most seriously injured in Greece were airlifted to hospitals on the mainland and the southern island of Crete, and at least two were still in critical condition Saturday. The Turkish man's parents were on the island making arrangements to repatriate his body home by boat, possibly on Sunday. Panagiotis Bekali, a 30-year-old resident, spent the night sleeping in an olive grove with relatives while his 5-year-old son and 16-year-old nephew slept in the family car. "There were cracks in the house [from the earthquake] so we went straight out," he said. "We were afraid to stay indoors, so the whole family slept outside." Dozens of aftershocks have shaken the island. John Grant, a 60-year-old tourist from Britain, said he felt safer sleeping outside. "Coming from somewhere that doesn't have earthquakes, you don't understand," he said from his makeshift bed on a lounge chair. "So to me it was very frightening being in the building. But being outside, I know I'm safe." About 350 of the injuries occurred in Turkey, in Bodrum and other beach resorts, as people fled buildings and as a sea swell flung cars off the road and pushed boats ashore. Seismologists said the shallow depth of the undersea quake Friday was to blame for the damage. In Kos, the quake damaged the island's [...]



Democrats herald agreement on sweeping Russia sanctions bill

Sun, 23 Jul 2017 04:56:00 GMT

WASHINGTON – Congressional Republicans and Democrats announced Saturday that they had reached an agreement on a sweeping Russia sanctions package to punish Moscow for meddling in the presidential election and its military aggression in Ukraine and Syria. Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland, the No. 2 House Democrat, said lawmakers had settled lingering issues with the bill, which also includes stiff economic penalties against Iran and North Korea. The sanctions targeting Russia, however, have drawn the most attention due to President Donald Trump’s persistent push for warmer relations with President Vladimir Putin and ongoing investigations into Russia’s interference in the 2016 campaign. Passage of the bill, which could occur before Congress breaks for the August recess, puts Capitol Hill on possible collision course with Trump. The White House had objected to a key section of the bill that would mandate a congressional review if Trump tried to ease or end the sanctions against Moscow. But if Trump were to veto the bill, he risks sparking an outcry from Republicans and Democrats and having his decision overturned. The sanctions review was included in the bill because of wariness among lawmakers from both parties over Trump’s affinity for Putin. The precise mechanics of how involved House Democrats would be in the review process had been a key sticking point, but Hoyer said he’s satisfied with the outcome. “The legislation ensures that both the majority and minority are able to exercise our oversight role over the administration’s implementation of sanctions,” Hoyer said. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called the sanctions legislation “strong” and he expected the legislation to be passed promptly. “Given the many transgressions of Russia, and President Trump’s seeming inability to deal with them, a strong sanctions bill such as the one Democrats and Republicans have just agreed to is essential,” said Schumer, D-N.Y. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy posted a legislative business schedule that shows the sanctions bill will be voted on Tuesday. McCarthy, R-Calif., had pushed to add the North Korea sanctions to the package. The House had overwhelmingly passed legislation in May to hit Pyongyang with additional economic sanctions, but the Senate had yet to take up the bill. The Senate last month passed sanctions legislation that targeted only Russia and Iran. Congressional aides said there may be resistance among Senate Republicans to adding the North Korea penalties, but it remained unclear whether those concerns would further stall the legislation. The aides were not authorized to speak publicly and requested anonymity to discuss internal deliberations. “North Korea, Iran and Russia have in different ways all threatened their neighbors and actively sought to undermine American interests,” McCarthy and Rep. Ed Royce of California, the Republican chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, said in a joint statement. “The bill the House will vote on next week will now exclusivel[...]



Trump: USS Ford is ‘100,000-ton message to the world’

Sun, 23 Jul 2017 04:56:00 GMT

NORFOLK, Va. – With praise and a blessing for the military, President Donald Trump helped hand over the USS Gerald R. Ford to the Navy on Saturday and said the state-of-the-art aircraft carrier will send a "100,000-ton message to the world" about America's military might when it is ultimately deployed. U.S. allies will rest easy, Trump said, but America's enemies will "shake with fear" when they see the Ford cutting across the horizon. The president and commander in chief of the U.S. armed forces likened the $12.9 billion warship to "an incredible work of art" and boasted about the American labor that went into building a vessel that eventually will house thousands of sailors and crew members. Trump's participation in the ceremony also capped "Made in America" week at the White House, during which the president and administration officials sought to draw attention to U.S. manufacturing. "American steel and American hands have constructed this 100,000-ton message to the world," Trump said of the Ford during a speech that praised the bravery and spirit of U.S. service members and referenced his desire for a buildup after years of spending restrictions. "American might is second to none and we're getting bigger and better and stronger every day of my administration. That I can tell you," Trump told thousands of service members and guests, including former defense secretaries Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, all packed into the steamy hangar bay on the main deck. "Wherever this vessel cuts through the horizon, our allies will rest easy and our enemies will shake with fear because everyone will know that America is coming, and America is coming strong," Trump said. After the speech, he put the Ford into commission and asked God to "bless and guide this warship and all who shall sail in her." He was followed by Susan Ford Bales, the ship's sponsor and daughter of the 38th president, whom the ship honors. "There is no one, absolutely no one, who would be prouder of the commissioning of this mighty ship than the president of the United States, Gerald R. Ford," she said. "I am honored to give the command: 'Officers and crew of the United States Gerald R. Ford, man our ship and bring her to life.'" "Anchors Aweigh" played as row after row of sailors in crisp, white uniforms who had been standing in formation began filing off to man their stations. Sirens and bells sounded, horns blared and the U.S. flag was hoisted high above the deck. Soon after, the captain was informed that the "ship is manned and ready and reports for duty to the fleet." Trump, who visited the carrier in March, told Time magazine this year that the Navy should revert to using steam catapults to launch fighter jets because some of the USS Ford's state-of-the-art systems and technology "costs hundreds of millions of dollars more money and it's no good." Construction started in 2009 and was to be completed by September 2015 at a cost of $1[...]



Korean War soldier missing 66 years to get Illinois burial

Sun, 23 Jul 2017 04:55:00 GMT

HARRISBURG – The remains of a Harrisburg soldier missing in action 66 years are coming home for burial.

Phyllis Walker tells the Carbondale Southern Illinoisan that the U.S. Army identified the remains of her uncle. Reserve Cpl. Edward Lee Borders was reported missing in action in 1951. The army declared him dead in 1954.

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency used DNA analysis to identify the remains of the 20-year-old soldier from comingled remains in 208 boxes turned over to the U.S. from North Korea from 1990 to 1994.

Chinese forces aiding the North Koreans launched an offensive on Feb. 11, 1951. Borders' anti-aircraft artillery battalion came under attack. He was listed as missing on Feb. 13 when he didn't report with his unit in the city of Wonju.

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Information from: Southern Illinoisan, http://www.southernillinoisan.com




‘League of Their Own’ turns 25 and continues to inspire

Sun, 23 Jul 2017 04:55:00 GMT

ROCKFORD – The hit movie that resurrected the memory of the Rockford Peaches is 25 and it still inspires.

The Rockford Register-Star reported that hundreds of girls aged 7 to 17 will converge on Rockford on July 27 for what organizers say is the largest all-girls baseball tournament ever. They’ll play in Beyer Stadium. It was the home from 1943 to 1954 of the Rockford Peaches . The team that was part of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League was the star of the 1992 film “A League of Their Own.”

The tournament is coming to Beyer because of the Peaches. Many players said they were inspired by the film and the story of the Rockford Peaches. Beyer Stadium has become an international baseball-fan mecca too, even though there was no filming there.




Illinois Raptor Center expands rehabilitation space

Sun, 23 Jul 2017 04:55:00 GMT

DECATUR – A raptor center in Illinois soon will have rehabilitation space for injured birds of any size.

The Illinois Raptor Center in Decatur is building a Super Flight, a 16-foot-wide, 17-foot-high, 400-foot-long space for birds of prey to regain their soaring heights and hunting skills, the Herald & Review reported.

Partition doors can create seven separate flights or be left open to allow birds to use the entire flight. A natural floor and slight openings in the ceiling and walls will allow nature to infiltrate, helping the birds acclimate to the outdoors again.

Program director Jacques Nuzzo designed the flight. Ameren Illinois supplied utility poles, and Phillips Construction built the frame. Sullivan-based Westside Buildings is completing the work.

Nuzzo said he marvels at how hard and fast they work.

“Originally, it was supposed to be one flight,” he said.

The flight being used now is a barn. It will continue to serve barred owls, while the new flight will be used for larger birds.

Nuzzo said that before the new flight, large birds were taken outdoors for practice flights with hoods and leads used to train falcons. That stressed out the birds without giving them the sustained flight necessary to build muscle and control.

“I don’t think we could have pulled this off 20 years ago,” Nuzzo said. “This is the culmination of 20 years of rehab.”




Rauner U of I trustee pick a generous GOP donor

Sun, 23 Jul 2017 04:55:00 GMT

CHAMPAIGN – Gov. Bruce Rauner's recent choice for a seat on the University of Illinois Board of Trustees is a generous Republican campaign donor.

The Champaign News-Gazette reports (http://bit.ly/2eEckHj ) that Dr. Stuart King has given $6,000 to Citizens for Rauner. His most recent check was for $1,000 in March.

Campaign disclosure records reviewed by the newspaper also show King has given more than $22,000 to GOP candidates. They include state Sens. Chapin Rose of Mahomet and Jason Barickman of Bloomington, Rep. Tim Butler of Springfield and Champaign County-area hopefuls.

King is a Christie Clinic physician. He's given money to Illinois Republican congressional accounts and the presidential campaigns of John McCain, Mitt Romney and Lindsey Graham.

It is not unusual for a governor to appoint trustees who are donors.

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Information from: The News-Gazette, http://www.news-gazette.com




Chicago festival to mark Pokemon Go anniversary goes awry

Sun, 23 Jul 2017 04:55:00 GMT

CHICAGO – A Pokemon Go festival at Chicago’s Grant Park to celebrate the virtual game’s one-year anniversary went awry when a technical glitch prevented many players from logging on.

The Chicago Tribune reported the festival’s organizers decided to issue refunds for the $20 tickets and $100 in credits for use on the app.

The Chicago Sun-Times reported the CEO of the game’s developer was booed when he tried to explain the problem to the crowd. Niantic Inc.’s John Hanke said “the whole Niantic team” was working to fix a glitch in the server and log-on problems with cellular service providers AT&T, Sprint and Verizon.

Some in attendance paid as much as $400 online for the tickets when they sold out within minutes of their June release.

The augmented reality game that uses GPS to locate, capture, battle and train virtual creatures was introduced in the United States in July 2016.

Niantic says Pokemon Go has been downloaded 750 million times.




Bringing Carbondale’s heyday into the digital age

Sun, 23 Jul 2017 04:55:00 GMT

CARBONDALE – When Jane Adams looks back on the Carbondale of her youth, she remembers an era marked by forward-thinking innovation. Adams, a retired Southern Illinois University professor and former city councilwoman, grew up on a farm in Ava and started coming to Carbondale Unitarian Fellowship with her family in the 1950s, right when “things were really bursting out,” she said. “Delyte Morris had started the emeritus program where he brought in people who were real luminaries, and several of them went to the Unitarian Fellowship and gave lectures there regularly,” Adams said. “Bucky Fuller gave lectures from time to time, and philosophers and educational philosophers. They were starting the Dewey Center, Morris Library – all of that was happening. It was a place you could go and you could do things.” Adams and her husband, photographer D. Gorton, helped establish the downtown Arbor District. The couple has painstakingly restored several historic homes in Carbondale, mostly along Cherry Street; they’ve sold a few and rent out the others to professors, graduate students and members of the community. In December, the Carbondale City Council approved an ordinance establishing the licensing process for short-term vacation rental units within the city, allowing homeowners to rent out units on websites such as Airbnb, VRBO and HomeAway. The couple seized the opportunity and took on a new project: renovating their detached 1967 pool house as a short-term rental. Their Elm Street property, which Gorton refers to as a “compound,” is steeped in history. The original 50-year-old pool was built by the family of Dr. Leo J. Brown, who co-founded the Carbondale Clinic and Memorial Hospital. The property’s courtyard features the bricks that originally paved Walnut Street, and the expansive garden, teeming with vegetables and herbs, was first cultivated in the 1850s. Gorton and Adams sought to renovate the 800-square-foot pool house while staying true to its mid-century modern aesthetic and design. But the space fuses the old with the new: It’s also a fully equipped smart home. “It was built in 1967, but everything you’ll see is connected to my iPhone. So I can open the doors, close the doors, I can turn the temperature up and down, I can turn the TVs on and off, lights come on and off – the idea being that it’s the greatest experience for my guests but also the least amount of, hopefully, the least amount of work for me and Jane,” Gorton said. With SIU enrollment numbers plunging and the downstate region feeling the pinch of the state budget impasse, Gorton and Adams regard the Aug. 21 solar eclipse – an event projected to draw as many as 50,000 people to the city – as a chance to show visitors the best side of Carbondale: one that honors the innovative spirit of the city’s past and also loo[...]



Crystal Lake-based School District 155 Board approves Sage YMCA pool rent contractSarah Nader file photo – snader@shawmedia.com Crystal Lake co-op girls swimming coach Stephanie Wozny talks to the team during swim practice Aug. 31 at Sage YMCA in Crystal Lake.

Sun, 23 Jul 2017 04:54:00 GMT

CRYSTAL LAKE – Swimmers in Community High School District 155 again will have access to the competitive swimming pool at Sage YMCA of Metro Chicago in Crystal Lake.

The school board unanimously approved a $47,700 contract Monday for the use of the pool for all District 155 swim practices and meets for the 2017-18 school year.

The contract will allow the use of seven of eight lanes in the competitive pool from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. during both the boys and girls seasons, in addition to five home swim meets, said Jeremy Davis, District 155 assistant superintendent of finance, operations and technology, before Monday’s special board meeting.

Like last year, the district will pay $25 a lane per hour. Students who want to make the full two-hour practices will have to miss ninth period, as was the case during last year’s swim seasons.

“I know that the swim teams really like it and are pleased with the facility,” Davis said.

The cost of the contract increased by $1,850 this year to account for use during swim meets, which Davis said the YMCA gave the school district for free last year to “seal the deal” with the initial contract.

In summer 2015, the district moved its swim practices out of the Sage YMCA after the rental cost increased, leading the district to pen a $16,000 contract with Woodstock School District 200 for two of the district’s four teams to use four lanes at Woodstock High School for the 2015-16 season. The other two teams practiced at Centegra Health Bridge Fitness Center in Crystal Lake.

The district and Sage YMCA negotiated a new rental agreement in April 2016 for all four teams to use its competitive pool for the 2016-17 school year.

Although the new contract is for a single school year, Davis said, the district will try working on getting a multiyear contract with YMCA in the future.

“We would like to enter into a multiyear agreement with the YMCA if they would be willing to do that, but so far we have not been able to get anything more than a one-year agreement with them,” Davis said.

Practice for the girls swim season begins Aug. 9, and the boys season will start Nov. 20.

Sarah Nader file photo – snader@shawmedia.com Crystal Lake co-op girls swimming coach Stephanie Wozny talks to the team during swim practice Aug. 31 at Sage YMCA in Crystal Lake.


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Women's March six-month anniversary march held in WoodstockWomen dressed as handmaids walk around the Woodstock Square during Saturday's Women's March Six-Month Anniversary March hosted by the Democratic Party of McHenry County July 22, 2017.

Sun, 23 Jul 2017 04:54:00 GMT

WOODSTOCK – Six months after the national marches, about 150 people participated in the Woodstock Women’s March on Saturday starting at the Woodstock Historic Square, 205 Todd Ave. That included participants from the Washington, D.C., and Chicago marches in January. Many marched to Dick Tracy Way Park, on Dick Tracy Way and Lake Ave., with signs that displayed messages such as “Women’s rights matter to men who value women.” Some women dressed in red robes like the women from the novel “The Handmaid’s Tale” by Margaret Atwood, which is about a future dystopian society where women only existed for breeding purposes. They marched with signs in support of Illinois House Bill 40, which would keep abortion legal in Illinois if Roe v. Wade should be overturned. Juliana Morawski, who is from the group Indivisible Northwestern Illinois and is a registered nurse from Crystal Lake, was one of the marching handmaids. “We put this stuff on to show that we’re concerned that we’re slipping backwards and that we won’t go back,” Morawski said. Several speakers were featured at the event, including Kristina Zahorik, state central committeewoman for the Democratic Party of Illinois’ 14th Congressional District and vice chairwoman of the Democratic Party of McHenry County. Zahorik highlighted the significance of hosting the event at the Historic Square during her speech, saying that it was one of the stops along Grace Wilbur Trout’s suffragette tour in 1910. “History points out to us why marching and rallying are important,” Zahorik said. Ruth Scifo, who is 3rd District chairperson of the Democratic Party of McHenry County, said she and Cathy Johnson, 6th District chairperson for the party, organized the event. She said the event was not hosted by the Democratic Party of McHenry County, and that it was important to note so that women feel included in the event, regardless of political affiliation. “[Johnson] and I organized the bus to the march in D.C.,” Scifo said. “So we had gathered, we did our own fundraising; […] we got 45 women to come with us and when we were done with the march, we actually had gotten donations. So we had funds left over, and we decided that we wanted to do another event, and so this is it.” Florence DeMeo of Woodstock held a sign that said “Women 4 Trump” during the speeches. She said she attended as a supporter of President Donald Trump because the event was a women’s gathering. “[Trump] loves America,” DeMeo said. “He’s fighting for all of the Americans.” Nellie Cocks, of Johnsburg, said she and her two female relatives stopped by the event out of curiosity. Cocks said she felt the event was polarizing for some that ma[...]


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Prison sentence stands for Wisconsin woman convicted of aggravated DUI in 2016 fatal heroin crashSheree Ann Shaw

Sun, 23 Jul 2017 04:53:00 GMT

WOODSTOCK – A McHenry County judge will not reconsider a prison sentence for a Wisconsin woman who pleaded guilty to two aggravated driving under the influence charges in connection with a May 2016 crash that killed a Woodstock woman and seriously injured her husband. Judge Sharon Prather sentenced Sheree Ann Shaw to 16 years in prison July 6. Shaw pleaded guilty in April to the two felony charges and faced up to 26 years in prison. Prosecutors said Shaw was driving a 2002 Ford Taurus near the 2500 block of Richmond Road on May 6 when she tried to change lanes several times, crossed into a no-passing zone and struck a 2007 Harley-Davidson Road Glide driven by Mike Thornton, 40, with passenger Amy Thornton, 42. Mike Thornton and his wife of nearly 20 years were on an excursion discussing college plans for their son, who was about to graduate from Woodstock North High School. The Woodstock couple has two sons, Zach and Michael. Amy Thornton worked as a nurse for 20 years. She died nine days after the crash at Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville. Mike Thornton suffered a shattered left shoulder and left pelvis, and since has had six surgeries. Shaw’s defense lawyer, Angelo Mourelatos, filed a motion on his client’s behalf to reconsider the sentence imposed. This is typically the first step before an appeal. Shaw was not present in court because she was recently transferred to Logan Correctional Center near Springfield. Mourelatos argued that Prather erred in applying and weighing all factors when imposing Shaw’s sentence, according to his motion. He said Prather did not consider Shaw had a minimal past criminal history and led a law-abiding life for a substantial period of time before the offense. Assistant State’s Attorney Michael Combs said Prather made her decision at sentencing and didn’t provide further argument. After Prather said she would not reconsider her decision, based on the fact that she considered all facts when determining an appropriate sentence, Mourelatos said his client planned to appeal the sentence to the 2nd District Appellate Court. Shaw was first taken into custody after the crash and charged with driving without a valid driver’s license and insurance but posted bond shortly thereafter and returned to Wisconsin. She then was arrested in Walworth County on upgraded charges, but was again released on a $2,500 recognizance bond. Shaw failed to appear in McHenry County court June 7, and Prather issued a warrant for her arrest. She was extradited from Las Vegas after missing court appearances in Wisconsin and Illinois. Authorities have said Shaw was visiting family in Las Vegas when she was arrested. [...]Sheree Ann Shaw


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Fox River surpasses last week's crest levels, officials sayThe bridge going across the Fox River in Algonquin was packed with pedestrians wanting to see the flood Saturday. Severe thunderstorms throughout Friday night and into Saturday morning drenched flooded areas throughout McHenry County, depositing more than 2 inches of rain in some areas.Piles of sandbags cover La Fox River Drive in Algonquin Saturday. Severe thunderstorms throughout Friday night and into Saturday morning drenched flooded areas throughout McHenry County, depositing more than 2 inches of rain in some areas.A view of the flooded parking lot at Cornish Park off the Fox River in Algonquin Saturday. Severe thunderstorms throughout Friday night and into Saturday morning drenched flooded areas throughout McHenry County, depositing more than 2 inches of rain in some areas.

Sun, 23 Jul 2017 04:49:00 GMT

ALGONQUIN – Floods are expected to rise in McHenry County after Friday night’s downpour that dumped between 1 and 2 and a 1/2 inches of rain throughout the area. McHenry, Lake, Kane and parts of Cook counties have been declared state disaster areas after the historic flooding of the Fox River. Residents in Cary, Fox River Grove and Algonquin will still feel the effects of the continually rising waters into Saturday night and possibly Sunday, Fox Waterway Agency Executive Director Joe Keller said. Keller said there will be a rise throughout the whole system, and the Fox River at the Algonquin tailwater has already superseded its most recent crest of 12.82 feet. Those near the lower river will be hurting the most because they will be facing both the rising river and runoff due to the ground being saturated, he said. “We advise people to stay away from water,” Keller said. “Lots of the water has been sitting. It has bacteria and sewage overflow in it, and it’s really not the best thing for kids or even adults to be playing near or around.” He added that he was grateful more rain didn’t fall Friday. “It wasn’t as bad as they had talked,” Keller said. “You get to the point that you do so much physical work, you just have to pray, and I think that’s what a lot of people did.” The Fox River at the Algonquin tailwater reached 13.04 feet Saturday morning – more than 3 and 1/2 feet above flood stage. By 4:30 p.m. it was at 12.88 feet, still above the 2013 crest which was 12.70 feet, according to the U.S Geological Survey. The river at the McHenry dam had reached 7.60 feet, also more than 3 and 1/2 feet above its 4 foot flood stage. McHenry County remained under a severe weather alert Saturday night for thunderstorms, according to the National Weather Service. There is an elevated storm risk for Sunday as well, with flood warnings for the Fox and Des Plaines River, according to the service. On Friday, McHenry County Board Chairman Jack D. Franks signed a new disaster declaration in response to the additional storms and growing floods. Sen. Tammy Duckworth will be meeting with Franks on Sunday to get a firsthand look at the flooding. Franks also has been in close contact with U.S. Reps. Randy Hultgren and Peter Roskam, and Gov. Bruce Rauner, who has directed the state of Illinois to send pumps to assist in Algonquin and Cary, according to a news release from the McHenry County Board. Volunteers are needed to assist with the crisis. Disaster relief organization Team Rubicon are organizing volunteers and will be onsite at the McHenry Home Depot, 2461 N. Richmond Road, beginning Monday. Cleanup kits and buckets are available at the Home Depot for affected residents free of charge. [...]


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Women's march planned in Woodstock to highlight issues, energize voters

Sat, 22 Jul 2017 22:50:00 GMT

WOODSTOCK – The Democratic Party of McHenry County is planning a women’s march Saturday to highlight women’s issues and to energize voters.

The march will take place after a rally beginning at 2:30 p.m. Saturday at the gazebo on the Woodstock Square. The march will end at the Dick Tracy Way Park on Lake Avenue, and an ice cream social event will follow.

The worldwide Women’s March took place Jan. 21 and has been followed by numerous sister marches, including some in Chicago, Rockford and Elgin. Members of the Democratic Party of McHenry County went to the march in Washington, D.C., six months ago and came away motivated to effect change, said Cathy Johnson, co-organizer of the Woodstock women’s march.

“A lot of them had been engaged here and there,” she said. “But they came away really ready to do some things.”

Speakers planned for the event include Jenna Prochaska of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Reproductive Rights Project; director Cindy Skrudrud of the Clean Water Program of the Sierra Club Illinois chapter and former executive director of the Environmental Defenders of McHenry County; Latino program director Janie Galarza of Turning Point of McHenry County; and Kristina Zahorik, state central committeewoman for the Democratic Party of Illinois’ 14th Congressional District and vice chairwoman of the Democratic Party of McHenry County.

The Democratic Party also has come up with a new declaration of purpose, which is on a large scroll that marchers can sign to express what they are willing to do to keep political change going, Johnson said.

“I think it’s powerful when you sign your name to something like this,” Johnson said. “It’s really pretty exciting.”




See what happened after more storms hit McHenryPhoto provided by Kim Scharlow on Route 47 looking east in Huntley.Photo provided by Brendan Silker in Port Barrington.Photo provided by Linda Henderson Noshay in Crystal Lake after Wednesday's storms.Photo provided by Brendan Silker in Port Barrington.Photo provided by Tom Legare in Prairie Grove.Photo provided by Christopher Neufeldt in Fox River Grove.Photo provided by Dirk Bantin in McHenry.

Sat, 22 Jul 2017 15:04:00 GMT

Here's what some of the Northwest Herald's readers are seeing after another batch of storms rolled through McHenry County Friday night into Saturday morning.

Photo provided by Kim Scharlow on Route 47 looking east in Huntley.Photo provided by Brendan Silker in Port Barrington.Photo provided by Linda Henderson Noshay in Crystal Lake after Wednesday's storms.Photo provided by Brendan Silker in Port Barrington.Photo provided by Tom Legare in Prairie Grove.Photo provided by Christopher Neufeldt in Fox River Grove.Photo provided by Dirk Bantin in McHenry.


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Documents: Investigation into Crystal Lake firefighters who face discipline, criminal charges after incident at bar

Sat, 22 Jul 2017 11:37:00 GMT

Documents obtained by the Northwest Herald through a Freedom of Information Act request describe a rowdy gathering of off-duty firefighters and others March 15 at a "diaper party" – the male version of a baby shower – at Finn McCool’s, 72 N. Williams St., Crystal Lake.

Witnesses told an investigator hired by the city that firefighters groped customers and bar employees, continued drinking after they were cut off and eventually were kicked out, according to a report prepared by an Oak Brook law firm.


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3 Palestinians, 3 Israelis killed in violence over holy siteA Palestinian uses a slingshot against Israeli soldiers during clashes in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, Friday, July 21, 2017. Israel police severely restricted Muslim access to a contested shrine in Jerusalem's Old City on Friday to prevent protests over the installation of metal detectors at the holy site.(AP Photo/Nasser Shiyoukhi)

Sat, 22 Jul 2017 05:26:00 GMT

JERUSALEM – Escalating Israeli-Palestinian tensions over the Holy Land’s most contested shrine boiled over into violence on Friday that killed six people – three Palestinians in street clashes in Jerusalem and three Israelis in a stabbing attack at a West Bank settlement. After nightfall, a Palestinian sneaked into a home in the Israeli settlement of Halamish in the West Bank and stabbed to death three Israelis. The military said the attacker apparently jumped over the fence and infiltrated the family’s home, surprising them as they ate the traditional Sabbath evening meal. It said the Palestinian killed a man and two of his children, while a woman was wounded and taken to hospital. The man’s grandchildren were present but not harmed, it said. The army released footage showing a blood-covered kitchen floor. It said senior military officials are meeting overnight to discuss how to proceed. A military spokesman called the Palestinian attack “a massacre.” Israel TV’s Channel 10 said the assailant was in his late teens and had posted on Facebook that he was upset by the events at the Jerusalem shrine. Eli Bin, the head of Israel’s rescue service MDA, said an off-duty soldier next door heard screams, rushed to the home and shot the attacker through a window. Bin said the wounded attacker was taken to a hospital. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, meanwhile, announced that he is freezing ties with Israel, dealing a blow to fledgling Trump administration efforts to try to renew long-dormant peace talks. Abbas said contacts with Israel would be suspended on “all levels.” It was not immediately clear if this means long-standing security coordination between Israeli troops and Abbas’ forces will be halted. At issue in the current round of violence are metal detectors Israel installed at the Jerusalem shrine this week in response to an attack by Arab gunmen there. The metal detectors are perceived by the Palestinians as an encroachment on Muslim rights and portrayed by Israel as a needed security measure following the attack that killed two Israeli policemen. Earlier Friday, several thousand Palestinians in Jerusalem and the West Bank clashed with Israeli troops, burning tires or throwing stones and firecrackers. Troops fired live rounds, rubber bullets and tear gas. Three Palestinians were killed and several dozen hospitalized with live or rubber bullet injuries. White clouds of tear gas rose from Jerusalem streets and West Bank flashpoints. In one neighborhood, Palestinians threw stones from behind a mattre[...]


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O.J. Simpson will get his freedom, but then what?Former NFL football star O.J. Simpson reacts after learning he was granted parole at the Lovelock Correctional Center in Lovelock, Nev., on Thursday, July 20, 2017. Simpson was granted parole Thursday after more than eight years in prison for a Las Vegas hotel heist, successfully making his case in a nationally televised hearing that reflected America's enduring fascination with the former football star. (Jason Bean/The Reno Gazette-Journal via AP, Pool)

Sat, 22 Jul 2017 05:25:00 GMT

LOVELOCK, Nev. – When O.J. Simpson gets out of prison in October for his first taste of freedom in nine years, he will have the mementos he was convicted of stealing in a Las Vegas heist, his guaranteed NFL pension and, with any luck, certain life skills he says he acquired behind bars. Beyond that, the 70-year-old sports legend faces an uncertain future. “The legitimate mainstream business opportunities for Juice in the megabuck world of professional sports are slim and none,” said John Vrooman, an economics professor and sports industry expert at Vanderbilt University. “If Americans love anyone more than a superhero, it is a fallen hero making a comeback against the odds,” he said a day after Simpson was granted parole. But Vrooman said the odds against the one-time murder defendant and convicted armed robber “now seem insurmountable.” Others think he will find a way to make ends meet, perhaps by signing autographs and making personal appearances. “The primary asset this guy has is name and brand recognition. ... I believe Mr. Simpson believes he can make a bunch of money by returning to the memorabilia circuit,” said David Cook, collections attorney for the parents of Ronald Goldman. Goldman was stabbed to death along with Simpson’s ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson in Los Angeles in 1994, a crime O.J. Simpson was acquitted of the following year. He was found liable in civil court in 1997 for the killings and was ordered to pay $33.5 million to the victims’ families. The verdict is still hanging over him, and the Goldmans’ lawyer has been trying for years to seize some of Simpson’s assets. After getting released, Simpson plans to move to Florida, a state with a strong law that would shield his home and everything in it from seizure to satisfy the verdict. But Tom Scotto, one of Simpson’s closest friends, said Simpson has no plans to buy a house. Simpson played 11 seasons for the Buffalo Bills and San Francisco 49ers, and his league pension could be as much as $10,565 a month, depending on when he began collecting it, according to ESPN. Cook said he believes Simpson does not have much more than that, noting that the Hall of Famer lost his Miami-area home to foreclosure in 2014. One thing Simpson will have is some of the sports memorabilia and family photos he and his armed accomplices stole from a Las Vegas hotel room in 2007, the crime for which he was locked up. He told the parole board on Thursday that California authorities investigated the ownership of the items shortl[...]


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Special session slated if Rauner doesn't get school billKristina Rasmussen, left, the new chief of staff for Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner, watches as Rauner enters a news conference at Auburn High School Friday, July 21, 2017, in Auburn, Ill. Rauner said he wants lawmakers to send him an education funding bill by noon Monday or face daily special sessions until month's end to ensure the school bell rings on time. The Republican repeated his vow that he would use an amendatory veto to take out of the legislation portions he says are too generous to Chicago. (Justin L. Fowler /The State Journal-Register via AP)

Sat, 22 Jul 2017 05:23:00 GMT

SPRINGFIELD – Gov. Bruce Rauner said Friday he wants lawmakers to send him an education funding bill by noon Monday or face daily special sessions until month’s end to ensure the state’s schools open on time. The Republican repeated his vow to use what is called an amendatory veto to take out of the legislation portions he says are too generous to Chicago schools. But whether it’s the legislation the General Assembly approved to revise the school funding formula or another plan, he wants quick action as the dog days of summer dissolve into homeroom attendance calls. “There is no excuse – none – for our schools not to open on time,” Rauner said during a visit to Auburn High School, 25 miles south of Springfield. Senate President John Cullerton later issued a statement discouraging “expensive special sessions” and suggesting Rauner “end the secrecy” of how he calculates what he says is an improved plan. The budget lawmakers adopted this month that ended a two-year political struggle over an annual spending plan requires Rauner to distribute school aid through a revised method, endorsed in separate legislation, which provides money to the neediest schools first. But Democrats, fearing a veto, never sent Rauner the measure setting up the “evidence-based” funding system. So there’s no system in law to distribute general state funding to the state’s 851 school districts. Lawmakers aren’t obligated to ever send him the bill. A memo to local administrators from state schools Superintendent Tony Smith, obtained by The Associated Press, points out that the total elementary and secondary school budget is $11.9 billion. While $6.7 billion must be put through an “evidence-based” model not yet in law, the Illinois State Board of Education will, in any event, begin issuing $5.2 billion in other state and federal pass-through dollars, Smith said, citing as an example federal nutrition grants. That money, said Tony Sanders, CEO of the Elgin U-46 school district, the state’s largest outside of Chicago, is “not a whole lot of help,” and the state still owes the district $18 million from last year. “We would work to stay open all year, but it would require our board to make difficult decisions regarding cuts and borrowing,” Sanders said. Chicago schools CEO Forrest Claypool announced Thursday that the nation’s third-largest district will be open for a full academic year. The aim of the evidence-based formula ensures no district receives less than it did last year. That includes a $250 million g[...]


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Cary Fire Protection District to host water fights Saturday

Sat, 22 Jul 2017 05:07:00 GMT

CARY – The Cary Fire Protection District will battle with neighboring firefighters at its annual water fights Saturday.

The event will start at 2:30 p.m. at Cary Fire Protection District Station 1, 400 Cary-Algonquin Road, Cary, according to the event’s Facebook page.

Food and drink will be available for purchase, according to the event page. Free beer, donated by Tracks in Cary, will also be available.

For information, visit www.facebook.com/events/1869442096602031.




UPNW Metra line delayed Friday after train hit pedestrian near Arlington HeightsPassengers sit aboard a Metra train from Chicago at the Pingree Street station on Dec. 30, 2015, in Crystal Lake.

Sat, 22 Jul 2017 05:05:00 GMT

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS – A Metra inbound train on the Union Pacific Northwest line struck a pedestrian during rush hour Friday morning, creating more than two-hour delays, according to Metra.

Metra spokesperson Katie Dahlstrom said a train struck a pedestrian at 7:45 a.m. Friday near Arlington Heights and stopped trains in both directions. Dahlstrom did not know the circumstances surrounding the incident nor the pedestrian’s condition. She did not know how long trains were completely stopped before operating again.

The Arlington Heights Police Department did not provide any information regarding the incident Friday.

According to Metra’s website, train number 626, which was scheduled to arrive in Chicago at 8:31 a.m., struck the pedestrian, and extensive delays were expected throughout the morning. Another alert on the site stated that Metra tickets were honored for all stops on the CTA blue line except the O’Hare station until 10:15 a.m.

Passengers sit aboard a Metra train from Chicago at the Pingree Street station on Dec. 30, 2015, in Crystal Lake.


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Monarch butterfly educational fair set Sunday at Main Beach in Crystal Lake

Sat, 22 Jul 2017 05:04:00 GMT

CRYSTAL LAKE – A free educational fair intended to teach people about how they can help the monarch butterfly will be hosted Sunday at Main Beach in Crystal Lake.

The Hackmatack Monarch Coalition will host the fair from 12:30 to 4 p.m. at the Main Beach Pavilion, 300 Lakeshore Drive. The fair will include a variety of activities and information on monarch butterflies migrating across North America, according to a news release.

​Activities include face painting, art and science activities, nature trunks, information on planting butterfly gardens and an interactive monarch migration map. Prairie plants that provide nectar for butterflies will be available to buy.

Six local bands will perform from 12:30 to 7:45 p.m. at the Main Beach bandstand. If the event is canceled because of rain, the fair will be at the same time July 30 in the same place.

A study from the World Wildlife Fund released earlier this year found the monarch butterfly population has decreased 27 percent, with bad weather and deforestation listed as top threats. Monarch butterflies migrate between 1,200 to 2,800 miles every year from southeast Canada and the northeast U.S. into Mexico, where the colonies are observed annually for the study.

Mexico, Canada and the U.S. are collaborating on a North American strategy to conserve and recover the species, the release said.

The event is sponsored by Friends of Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the Crystal Lake Park District, featuring activities from numerous conservation, education and arts groups involved in the Hackmatack Monarch Coalition.