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Annual Spring Fiber Fling returns to county fairgrounds

Sat, 29 Apr 2017 10:30:00 GMT

The annual Spring Fiber Fling sponsored by McHenry County Fair will be May 20-21 at the fairgrounds, 11900 Country Club Road, Woodstock.

Events will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.

The educational event is focused on fiber and the process from “sheep to shawl.” In addition to livestock shows and demonstrations and various activities for the public to take part in, eventgoers will be able to buy anything from art supplies to a finished handmade product. Three buildings will be set up for our crafters, artisans and fiber related vendors with booths featuring fiber art supplies such as wool, knitting needles, crochet hooks, cloth and more, as well as finished products, such as quilts, bags, felted pictures and sculptures, baskets, soap and more.

Demonstrations will be going on throughout the grounds on various fiber-related activities, such as spinning, quilting, goat soap making, sheep shearing, skirting fleece, sheep herding demos and more.

An additional building will house instructors teaching different skill sets at different experience levels. The classes will include spinning, weaving, quilting, sewing, knitting, fiber animal management and more.

The following demonstrations and classes are planned. Space is limited, so advance registration is recommended.

• Needle Felt Gnome

• Knit Cable Scarf

• Continuous Strand Weaving

• Fix Your Knitting

• Spinning Wool 101, Beginners Class

• Painting with Fiber

• Silk Reeling Basics

• Painting a Picture with Wool

• Angel Felting Class

• Spinning the Fiber of the Gods…Alpaca

• Beginning Crocheting

• Welt Felted Necklace

• Homemade Goat Soap (2 different classes)

The cost is $3 a person. Children ages 7 and younger are free.

For information, visit www.mchenrycountyfair.com, call 815-338-5315 or email info@mchenrycountyfair.com.




Prison agency rescinds nurse layoffs to still talk

Sat, 29 Apr 2017 05:06:00 GMT

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Corrections has withdrawn its plan to lay off 124 nurses while continuing to negotiate with the state employees’ union.

Corrections spokeswoman Nicole Wilson said Thursday the department had informed the Illinois Nurses Association that it would not remove the nurses June 15. She said prison officials are available to meet any time but the union is unavailable until May 8.

Union spokesman Chris Martin said the Corrections Department decision is welcome news. He encouraged support for legislation to halt privatizing prison jobs that was sent to Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner.




O’Hare security chief fired weeks after United flub

Sat, 29 Apr 2017 05:05:00 GMT

CHICAGO – The head of security at Chicago’s airports has been fired, just weeks after a passenger was dragged from a United Airlines plane by security officers at O’Hare International Airport.

The Department of Aviation said in a statement Thursday that Jeffrey Redding “has been terminated from his duties” at O’Hare and Midway airports. No reason was given.

Redding was overseeing the investigation into the forcible removal of 69-year-old physician David Dao from the United plane by three of his officers April 9. Dao has agreed to an undisclosed settlement with the airline. Dao’s lawyer said Thursday that the settlement averts any lawsuit against Chicago officials.

Separately, the Chicago Tribune recently reported that Redding was fired from his previous job for sexual harassment in 2015.




Immigrants plan May Day rallies buoyed by Trump opposition

Sat, 29 Apr 2017 05:05:00 GMT

CHICAGO – Immigrant groups and their allies have joined forces to carry out marches, rallies and protests in cities nationwide next week to mark May Day, saying there’s renewed momentum to fight back against Trump administration policies. Activists in major cities including New York, Chicago and Los Angeles expect tens of thousands of people to participate in Monday demonstrations, starting with morning neighborhood protests and culminating in rush hour events downtown. Activists also plan an overnight vigil in Phoenix, a farm workers demonstration outside Miami and a White House rally. In Seattle, pro-immigrant events are expected to give way to rowdier, anti-capitalist marches led by protesters who said they plan to shut down a major freeway through the city. “We’re seeing an unprecedented amount of enthusiasm and activity,” said New York Immigration Coalition executive director Steven Choi. “It’s driven by the fact that Trump administration has made immigration the tip of the spear.” Around the world, union members have traditionally marched on May 1 for workers’ rights. In the United States, the event became a rallying point for immigrants in 2006 when more than 1 million people marched against a proposed immigration enforcement bill. While the current climate surrounding immigration may be similar to 2006 amid President Donald Trump’s hard-line approach to the issue, the immigrant rights movement has changed dramatically since then. Advocacy groups that in 2006 were united in their determination to flood the streets to make a statement have fractured since then and pursued other efforts, such as voter registration, lobbying and fighting deportations. However, activists expect a surge in participation this year, in part because immigrant rights groups have worked with Women’s March participants, Black Lives Matter and Muslim civil rights groups who are united by their opposition to Donald Trump. Also, businesses with immigrant ties are closing or allowing employees to take the day off without penalty. Immigrant groups acknowledged there is some fear among people in the country illegally who are skittish about drawing attention to themselves in visible marches. But organizers are reminding them that it’s an important cause and there’s safety in numbers. “If you are an immigrant in Los Angeles, the safest place you can be on Monday is in the action in downtown Los Angeles,” said David Huerta, president of SEIU United Service Workers West. As Trump approaches his first 100 days, he has aggressively pursued immigration enforcement, including executive orders for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border and a ban on travelers from six predominantly-Muslim countries. The government has arrested thousands of immigrants in the country illegally and threatened to withhold funding from sanctuary jurisdictions, which limit cooperation between local and federal immigration authorities. In response, leaders in sanctuary cities have vowed to fight back and civic participation has seen a boost, including February’s “Day Without Immigrants.” The travel ban and sanctuary order were temporarily halted by legal challenges. “We will not be divided,” Pastor Don Taylor of an interfaith organizing group told Chicago supporters preparing this week for May 1. “It is a moral issue.” Still, while there is opposition to Trump, activists aren’t focused on a single course of action. In Illinois, they’re pushing legislative plans to essentially extend sanctuary protections statewide. Outside Miami, advocates are calling for an extension of temporary protected status for Haitians d[...]



Suspect in slaying of judge had plotted earlier robbery

Sat, 29 Apr 2017 05:05:00 GMT

CHICAGO – Prosecutors said a man charged in the fatal shooting of a Cook County judge sneaked up with a gun to the judge’s home days before the slaying to commit a robbery but changed his mind.

At a bond hearing Friday, prosecutors said that Earl Wilson told another person that he needed money and was going to rob Judge Raymond Myles’ girlfriend because she had “a lot of money.”

Wilson allegedly returned days later with 37-year-old Joshua Smith and shot Myles’ girlfriend in the leg as she left Myles’ Chicago house and shot Myles four times before meeting Smith in the getaway car.

The 45-year-old Wilson and Smith are charged with first-degree murder. On Friday, a judge ordered Smith held without bail. Smith also is being held without bail.




Judge sentences former head of Chicago Public SchoolsFormer Chicago Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett enters the Dirksen Federal Courthouse Friday before being sentenced on bribery charges in Chicago.

Sat, 29 Apr 2017 05:05:00 GMT

CHICAGO – The former head of Chicago Public Schools was sentenced Friday to more than four years in prison for steering $23 million in city contracts to education firms for a cut of more than $2 million in kickbacks. A tearful Barbara Byrd-Bennett, who held top education jobs in Detroit and Cleveland before being tapped to lead the nation’s third-largest school district, apologized in a 15-minute statement before she was sentenced, saying: “What I did was terribly wrong. ... I’m ashamed and I’m sorry.” But U.S. District Court Judge Edmond Chang said her brazenness in bilking an already cash-strapped school district suggested she never believed she’d get caught in a city with a long, ignominious history of corruption. The judge said the scheme diverted money from low-income students relying on education to better their lives. The judge also said Byrd-Bennett and her co-schemers further eroded public confidence in Chicago public officials. He cited emails where Byrd-Bennett wrote about her eagerness to make money, including to help relatives pay for college, including joking in one: “I have tuition to pay and casinos to visit.” “The crime was committed with casualness ... even humor,” Chang said. The former Chicago Public Schools CEO faced a maximum 20 years behind bars, thought prosecutors asked for a term of seven and a half years. During sentencing, Chang said, he factored in her age and her acts of kindness, including paying for the funerals of some students. Prosecutors alleged Byrd-Bennett, 68, agreed to the scheme at the start of her tenure in 2012, knowing the 400,000-student district was buckling under major financial strain. She had a national reputation as an education reformer, earned a $250,000 annual salary and had multiple pensions from previous jobs. But prosecutors said she made a decision “rooted in greed” to participate in the scheme. SUPES Academy and Synesi Associates LLC owners Gary Solomon and Thomas Vranas pleaded guilty to related charges. Chang sentenced Solomon – who prosecutors said masterminded the scheme – to seven years in prison last month. Vranas received an 18-month sentence earlier Friday. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel hired Byrd-Bennett in 2012, vowing to revitalize a school district criticized for low student performance. As CEO, Byrd-Bennett oversaw the shuttering of dozens of schools in a money-saving measure. She began her 40-year education career teaching in low-income neighborhoods in New York City, not far from where she grew up. Her lawyer, Michael Scudder, said she felt “crushing humiliation and shame” for her crimes. He noted that since her indictment, her name has been stripped from the title of a Cleveland training center. As for why she took part in the scheme, Scudder wrote: “Nobody has struggled more with this question than Barbara herself.” When scrutiny of district contracts grew in 2013, Byrd-Bennett began deleting potentially incriminating emails, according to prosecutors. She resigned in June 2015, as word spread of an investigation. Prosecutors said in their sentencing memo that they would have asked for a stiffer sentence but that Byrd-Bennett deserved credit for agreeing to cooperate soon after her arrest. In exchange for pleading guilty to one count of wire fraud in 2015, prosecutors agreed to drop 19 other counts of fraud charged in the original indictment. [...]Former Chicago Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett enters the Dirksen Federal Courthouse Friday before being sentenced on bribery charges in Chicago.


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Trump tells NRA: ‘You have a true friend’ in White HouseDemonstrators hold signs Friday during a protest outside the National Rifle Association annual convention where President Donald Trump spoke.

Sat, 29 Apr 2017 05:04:00 GMT

ATLANTA – President Donald Trump reaffirmed his support for gun rights Friday, telling attendees of a National Rifle Association convention that “the eight-year assault on your Second Amendment freedoms has come to a crashing end.” Trump, the first sitting president to address the group’s annual convention in more than 30 years, assured the audience that he would defend their right to bear arms in a campaign-like speech reminiscent of his election rallies. “You have a true friend and champion in the White House,” he said. The president’s trip to Atlanta also served as his first foray into a congressional race since taking office. After delivering his NRA remarks, the president headed to a private fundraiser for Republican congressional candidate Karen Handel, who is running in a special congressional race that has become a national referendum on his presidency. During the speech, the president congratulated Handel and urged Republicans to support her. “She’s totally for the NRA, and she’s totally for the Second Amendment, so get out and vote,” he said. Trump has been a champion of gun rights and supportive of NRA efforts to loosen restrictions on gun ownership. During the campaign, he promised to do away with President Barack Obama’s efforts to strengthen background checks and to eliminate gun-free zones at schools and military bases. The last president to address an NRA convention was Ronald Reagan, who spoke to the 1983 gathering, according to the powerful gun rights lobby. Trump’s appearance in Atlanta sparked protests from people advocating for stricter gun control measures. They included Steve Hagen, who called the NRA’s push for federal legislation to make any state’s concealed-carry permits valid nationwide “the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard.” “I guess the promoters are throwing states’ rights out the window,” Hagen, a 68-year-old from the Atlanta suburb of Tucker. “It’s just crazy.” Opponents of the bill say the move would effectively turn the weakest gun standards in the nation into the law of the land. The GOP-led Congress already passed a resolution to block a rule that would have kept guns out of the hands of certain people with mental disorders, and Trump quickly signed it. Trump, who also attended last year’s NRA convention as a candidate, boasts of owning a pair of guns and mentioned again on Friday that his two adult sons are avid hunters. He stirred controversy during the campaign when he suggested that “Second Amendment people” could stop his opponent Hillary Clinton, which some interpreted to be a call for violence against the Democratic nominee. Trump disputed that charge. White House press secretary Sean Spicer said on the plane trip from Washington that NRA members supported Trump during the election based on his strong commitment to gun rights. Spicer also cited Trump’s appointment of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. “I know the NRA is glad to have a justice in that seat who is such a staunch defender of the Constitution,” he said. Kevin Michalowski, executive editor of a magazine published by the United States Concealed Carry Association, said seeing that a president will be addressing the annual meeting “gives the gun industry a feeling of he’s on our side.” The political landscape has changed dramatically with a president now in the White House friendly to the gun industry and gun rights. But Michalowski said it’s premature to get comp[...]


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Congress settles for stopgap to avoid government shutdown

Sat, 29 Apr 2017 05:04:00 GMT

WASHINGTON – Congress took the easy way out to keep the government open on the eve of Donald Trump’s 100th day in office, passing a weeklong stop-gap spending bill Friday that amounted to more of a defeat for the president than a victory. Lawmakers cleared the measure easily with just hours to spare before the shutdown deadline at midnight. But with Trump marking his presidency’s milestone Saturday, he did not wring any major legislation out of Congress, despite a renewed White House push to revive the House GOP’s health care bill in time for a vote that could give him bragging rights. House leaders are still short of votes for the revised health bill, though they could bring it to the floor next week if they find the support they need. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said the plan was to pass the bill “as soon as possible.” Also next week lawmakers plan to pass a $1 trillion package financing the government through Sept. 30, the end of the 2017 fiscal year. The temporary spending bill keeps the government functioning through next Friday, to allow lawmakers time to wrap up negotiations on the larger measure. The Senate sent the stopgap bill to Trump by voice vote Friday after the House approved it by a lopsided 382-30 margin. “Today’s measure shows the American people that we are making a good-faith effort to keep our government open,” said Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Texas. “While this is not ideal, I support this effort to provide our colleagues with more time to reach a final agreement on legislation to fund the government through the fiscal year.” The struggle over both bills was embarrassing to the GOP, which has Trump in the White House and majorities in Congress. Yet even with unified control, it’s proving an uphill fight for Republicans to make good on seven years’ worth of promises to repeal and replace former President Barack Obama’s health care law. “I’m disappointed that it doesn’t go quicker,” Trump said of his interactions with Congress, in an interview airing Friday on Fox News Channel. At least 18 Republicans, mostly moderates, said they oppose the health care legislation, and many others remained publicly uncommitted. That puts party elders in an uncomfortable spot because if 22 Republicans defect, the bill will fail, assuming all Democrats oppose it. House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., wants to avoid an encore of last month’s embarrassment, when he abruptly canceled a vote on a health care overhaul because of opposition from moderates and conservatives alike. Republicans have recast the health bill to let states escape a requirement under Obama’s 2010 law that insurers charge healthy and seriously ill customers the same rates. The overall legislation would cut the Medicaid program for the poor, eliminate Obama’s fines for people who don’t buy insurance and provide generally skimpier subsidies. Centrist Republicans were the primary target of lobbying by the White House and GOP leaders. Meanwhile negotiations moved ahead on the longer-term spending bill, which would fund the day-to-day operations of virtually every federal agency. Most of the core decisions about agency budgets have been worked out, but unrelated policy issues – such as a Democratic request to help the cash-strapped government of Puerto Rico with its Medicaid burden – are among the hold-ups. Democrats denied Trump a win on obtaining an initial down payment for his oft-promised border wall with Mexico, while anti-abortion lawmakers steered clear of even attempting to use the measure to try [...]



In Egypt, pope brings a message of peace amid crackdown

Sat, 29 Apr 2017 05:03:00 GMT

CAIRO – Pope Francis demanded that Egypt’s Muslim leaders teach a rejection of violence in God’s name during a delicate visit Friday to the Arab world’s most populous country, and he strongly backed its uncompromising crackdown on political Islam and militancy. Brushing off security concerns after a series of attacks by Islamic militants on Egypt’s Coptic Christians, Francis rode through Cairo in a simple blue Fiat with his window rolled down – not the armored “popemobiles” of his predecessors. And at every stop on his first day, he issued variations on the same hard-hitting theme: “No civilized society can be built without repudiating every ideology of evil, violence and extremism that presumes to suppress others and to annihilate diversity by manipulating and profaning the sacred name of God.” Francis strongly backed the government’s response to the growing insurgency led by a local affiliate of the extremist Islamic State group, saying Egypt had a unique role in forging peace in the region and in “vanquishing all violence and terrorism.” His main event was a landmark visit to Cairo’s Al-Azhar, the revered, 1,000-year-old seat of Sunni Islam learning that trains clerics and scholars from around the world. There, he warmly embraced Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayeb, Al-Azhar’s grand imam who hosted the pope and other senior Muslim and Christian leaders, students and scholars at a peace conference in a hall featuring a mock-up of the famous Al-Azhar mosque, complete with faux windows and flooded with purple lights. Francis reminded the crowd that Egypt’s ancient civilization valued the quest for knowledge and open-minded education, saying a similar commitment is needed today to combat the “barbarity” of religious extremism. While Al-Azhar has strongly condemned Islamic extremism, Egypt’s pro-government media has accused its leadership of failing to do enough to reform religious discourse and purge canonical books of outdated teachings and hatred for non-Muslims. “As religious leaders, we are called to unmask violence that masquerades as purported sanctity,” Francis said to applause. “Let us say once more a firm and clear ‘No’ to every form of violence, vengeance and hatred carried out in the name of religion or in the name of God.” Religious teachers, in particular, must teach the young to “respond to the incendiary logic of evil by patiently working for the growth of goodness,” he said. El-Tayeb thanked Francis for what he called his “fair” comments against charges of terror and violence leveled against Muslims and Islam. “We need to cleanse religions from wrong notions, false piety and fraudulent implementations which stoke conflicts and incite hatred and violence,” he said. “Islam is not a religion of terrorism because a minority from among its followers hijacked some of its texts” to shed blood and be provided by some with weapons and funds, he said to applause. The visit was a diplomatic breakthrough for the Vatican after el-Tayeb severed relations with Rome in 2011, when Pope Benedict XVI demanded Egypt better protect its Christian minority following a New Year’s Eve church bombing that killed over 20 people. Francis hosted el-Tayeb at the Vatican last year, and his return visit Friday cemented the renewed relationship. In addition to Francis’ main message of repudiating religiously inspired violence, the two-day visit is also meant to lift the spirits of Egypt’s estimat[...]



Facebook gears up to fight political propaganda

Sat, 29 Apr 2017 05:03:00 GMT

NEW YORK – Facebook is acknowledging that governments or other malicious nonstate actors are using its social network to influence political sentiment in ways that could affect national elections. It’s a long way from CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s assertion back in November that it was “pretty crazy” to think that false news on Facebook influenced the U.S. presidential election. It’s also a major sign that the world’s biggest social network is continuing to grapple with its outsized role in how the world communicates, for better or for worse. In a paper posted online Thursday, Facebook security researchers and its chief security officer said the company will monitor the efforts of those who try to hurt “civic discourse” on its service, whether that’s governments or other groups. It is also looking to identify fake accounts, and said it will notify people if their accounts have been targeted by such cyberattackers. “[We] have had to expand our security focus from traditional abusive behavior, such as account hacking, malware, spam and financial scams, to include more subtle and insidious forms of misuse, including attempts to manipulate civic discourse and deceive people,” the report states. It was written by researchers Jen Weedon and William Nuland and Facebook exec Alex Stamos and titled “Information Operations and Facebook.” ELECTION MEDDLING The team defined “information operations” as any actions taken by governments or other actors to “distort domestic or foreign political sentiment” to achieve a strategic purpose. Such operations can include the dissemination of false news and disinformation and the use of fake-account networks aimed at manipulating public opinion through a variety of means. Using the 2016 U.S. presidential election as an example, Facebook said it uncovered “several situations” where malicious actors used social media to “share information stolen from other sources, such as email accounts, with the intent of harming the reputation of specific political targets.” The company did not name the actors or the victims, but it said its data “does not contradict” a January report by the U.S. Director of National Intelligence that Russia tried to meddle with the U.S. election. MORE TO DO Jonathan Albright, a professor who studies data journalism at Elon University in North Carolina, urged journalists and others back in February to look not just at the role of Facebook in spreading false or misleading information, but also at the sources of such information. That is, to attempt to identify both the producers of this material and those who spread it using social networks and other means. Facebook’s paper addresses the amplifiers of such content – the fake accounts that “like” and share false news stories, for example. The company has also announced steps to support legitimate journalism and news literacy. But the paper does not delve into ideas about attacking false news and propaganda at the source, including by banning such content from the site. Currently, Facebook users who want to share an article that has been debunked by outside fact-checkers, for example, are able to do so after they get a warning from Facebook. Facebook has long held that it does not want to be the arbiter of truth – that it wants its users to decide for themselves (within limits of its terms of service) what they want to read and post. But balancing a desire not to censor with a desire to weed out state-sponsored propaganda[...]



Friendly fire may have killed 2 U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan

Sat, 29 Apr 2017 05:03:00 GMT

WASHINGTON – Two Army Rangers killed during a raid on an Islamic State compound in eastern Afghanistan may have died as a result of friendly fire during the opening minutes of the fierce, three-hour firefight, the Pentagon said Friday.

Navy Capt. Jeff Davis said the U.S. military is investigating to see if they were accidentally killed by ground fire from Afghan commandos or other American forces. He said the deaths did not appear deliberate.

Davis said that the head of the Islamic State affiliate in Afghanistan, Abdul Haseeb Logari, was the target of the Wednesday raid. He said officials suspect that Logari, the emir of what’s called the Islamic State Khorasan group, was among several key leaders killed, but haven’t confirmed that. Logari was in charge of the Afghanistan affiliate’s command and control and it’s connections with the broader Islamic State group and it’s leaders.

About 35 other enemy fighters were killed and one other Army Ranger received a minor head wound during the battle, but was able to stay with the assault force.

“This was a dangerous mission and we knew this going in,” Davis told Pentagon reporters. “This was the leader of ISIS in Afghanistan. We knew that he was going to be well protected and that they were going to fight very hard to prevent him from being captured or killed. And that is indeed what happened.”

About 50 Army Rangers and 40 Afghan commandos were dropped off by helicopter around 10:30 p.m. local time on Wednesday, for the raid in Nangarhar Province’s, Mohmand Valley. They were on the ground for about four-and-a-half hours.

“Within minutes of the insertion the combined force came under intense fire from multiple directions. It was during these initial moments of the raid that the two Rangers were mortally wounded,” Davis said. He added that the U.S. and Afghan troops were being fired on from prepared positions on all sides, and that the compound was heavily fortified and contained a network of tunnels.

Davis said manned and unmanned aircraft, including AC-130 gunships, Apache helicopters and F-16 fighter jets, were used to support the raid and provide airstrikes to defend the force on the ground and evacuate the wounded.

The military headquarters in Kabul said in a statement that the U.S. and Afghan forces accomplished the mission without civilian casualties, including women and children in the compound.

Killed in the firefight were Army Sgts. Joshua P. Rodgers, 22, of Bloomington, Illinois, and Cameron H. Thomas, 23, of Kettering, Ohio. The families of the two Rangers have been told it was possible they died from friendly fire.

The U.S. has been battling the Islamic State group in Afghanistan for months and estimates that the group now includes about some 800 to 1,000 fighters there.




Tillerson eyes cutting 2,300 jobs at State Department

Sat, 29 Apr 2017 05:03:00 GMT

WASHINGTON – Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is proposing to eliminate 2,300 jobs as part of a plan to cut more than a quarter of the State Department’s budget for the next fiscal year, officials said Friday. The plan will almost certainly meet resistance from lawmakers opposing President Donald Trump’s proposal to shrink the size of the federal government. Tillerson’s proposal reduces the number of new diplomats being hired and includes the State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development’s possible consolidation, according to officials briefed on the proposal. The staff cuts would amount to about 3 percent of the department’s roughly 75,000-strong workforce. The proposal is a response to the Office of Management and Budget’s call to slash the State Department and USAID budgets by 31 percent through deep cuts to foreign aid and other programs, said the officials, who weren’t authorized to speak publicly about the as-yet unreleased plan and requested anonymity. Tillerson’s plan would entail a 26 percent budget reduction, they said. In an interview with NPR that aired Friday, Tillerson said he intended to reorganize the department to make it more efficient and focused. “What we really want to do is examine the process by which the men and women – the career foreign service people, the civil servants, our embassies – how they deliver on that mission,” he said. “We want to hear from them, we’re just about to embark on a department-wide listening mission,” he said, adding later: “I look forward to hearing their ideas. Because I know there’s going to be opportunities to allow them to be more effective. Now, out of that we’ll determine what the State Department looks like.” Cutting more than a quarter of State Department’s current $50.1 billion budget would require dramatic reductions in programs and staffing, cuts that many in Congress and elsewhere oppose. Tillerson’s proposal includes 700 job cuts through buyouts and 1,600 from attrition. The job cuts were first reported by Bloomberg. Buyouts would be offered first to staffers over the age of 50 with at least two decades of government service, the officials said. The State Department declined to comment on the job reductions, and officials cautioned that plans are tentative until the budget is submitted to Congress next month. But Tillerson has spoken publicly of the need to streamline the agency. He will outline plans to State Department staffers next week, officials said. Tillerson hasn’t addressed State Department workers since his first day on the job in February. As part of the plan, a high-level panel will explore the consolidation of USAID into the State Department this summer, officials said. An outside consultant will be brought in to survey staffers about additional areas where savings might be found. The officials briefed on Tillerson’s proposal this week said the plan also calls for cutting back on hiring new diplomats, from as many as five classes of incoming foreign service officers per year to one or two. It also envisions less hiring of civil service employees, who comprise about 15 percent of the department’s workforce. Numerous members of Congress as well as current and former senior military officers have said they are opposed to massive cuts to the diplomatic budget, which accounts for just over 1 [...]



N. Korean missile test fails hours after U.N. meeting on nukes

Sat, 29 Apr 2017 05:03:00 GMT

SEOUL, South Korea – A North Korean mid-range ballistic missile apparently failed shortly after launch Saturday, South Korea and the United States said, the third test-fire flop just this month but a clear message of defiance as a U.S. supercarrier conducts drills in nearby waters. North Korean ballistic missile tests are banned by the United Nations because they’re seen as part of the North’s push for a nuclear-tipped missile that can hit the U.S. mainland. The latest test came as U.S. officials pivoted from a hard line to diplomacy at the U.N. in an effort to address what may be Washington’s most pressing foreign policy challenge. President Donald Trump said on Twitter, “North Korea disrespected the wishes of China & its highly respected President when it launched, though unsuccessfully, a missile today. Bad!” He did not answer reporters’ questions about the missile launch upon returning to the White House from a day trip to Atlanta. North Korea didn’t immediately comment on the launch, though its state media on Saturday reiterated the country’s goal of being able to strike the continental U.S. The timing of the North’s test was striking: Only hours earlier the U.N. Security Council held a ministerial meeting on Pyongyang’s escalating weapons program. North Korean officials boycotted the meeting, which was chaired by U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement that the missile flew for several minutes and reached a maximum height of 44 miles before it apparently failed. It didn’t immediately provide an estimate on how far the missile flew, but a U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive matters, said it was likely a medium-range KN-17 ballistic missile. It broke up a few minutes after the launch. Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, speaking after a meeting of Japan’s National Security Council, said the missile is believed to have traveled about 30 miles and fallen on an inland part of North Korea. Analysts say the KN-17 is a new Scud-type missile developed by North Korea. The North fired the same type of missile April 16, just a day after a massive military parade where it showed off its expanding missile arsenal, but U.S. officials called that launch a failure. Some analysts say a missile the North test fired April 5, which U.S. officials identified as a Scud variant, also might have been a KN-17. U.S. officials said that missile spun out of control and crashed into the sea. Moon Seong Mook, a South Korean analyst and former military official, said the North would gain valuable knowledge even from failed launches as it continues to improve its technologies for missiles. The South Korean and Japanese assessments about Saturday’s launch indicate that the North fired the missile from a higher-than-normal angle to prevent it from flying too far, he said. “They could be testing a variety of things, such as the thrust of the rocket engine or the separation of stages,” Moon said. “A failure is a failure, but that doesn’t mean the launch was meaningless.” The two earlier launches were conducted from an eastern coastal area, but the missile Saturday was fired in the west, from an area near Pukchang, just north of the capital, Pyongyang. South Korea’s Foreign Ministry denounced the launch as an “obvious” violation of U.N. re[...]



Lake in the Hills village trustees postpone asking the McHenry County Board to consider consolidating sanitary district

Sat, 29 Apr 2017 04:58:00 GMT

LAKE IN THE HILLS – A vote to pass a resolution encouraging the McHenry County Board to dissolve and consolidate the Lake in the Hills Sanitary District with the village was postponed by Lake in the Hills trustees.  Outgoing Lake in the Hills Village President Paul Mulcahy, who initiated looking into the consolidation, called the Lake in the Hills Village Board’s decision to table the resolution “completely and utterly irresponsible.” “All the questions that I’ve heard from this Board of Trustees cannot get answered until this ordinance is passed by the county,” Mulcahy said at Thursday’s Village Board meeting. “By doing this, even postponing this, it’s one of the most irresponsible things I’ve ever heard out of this board, or witnessed out of this board, in 20 years.” In August, Gov. Bruce Rauner signed then-state Rep. Jack Franks’ bill, House Bill 229, that grants the McHenry and Lake county boards the power to eliminate a taxing body for which it appoints a majority of the trustees, provided its boundaries are completely within the district. Under the new law, county boards must cite a legitimate reason that concludes that the body proposed for elimination provides either unnecessary or duplicative services. Citizens in the body’s boundaries can petition the county clerk to force the proposed elimination to a voter referendum. The law allows the McHenry County Board to eliminate a handful of bodies, such as the Lake in the Hills Sanitary District, the Crystal Lake Rural Fire District and the Greenwood and Hebron drainage districts. The Lake in the Hills Sanitary District is a separate government than the village of Lake in the Hills and levies a separate property tax. The district provides wastewater collection and water pollution control for about 11,000 customers in Lake in the Hills, and parts of Crystal Lake and Huntley, according to village documents and sanitary district manager Rick Forner. Forner said the district has 10 employees. Mulcahy has said the consolidation of the sanitary district would be more efficient and reduce expenses, in part by eliminating the district’s property tax levy, which sits at about $600,000, according to a Lake in the Hills staff report presented to the board in February. “This is something that needs to be done not just here, but all over the state,” Mulcahy said Thursday. “And this is the opportunity to set a precedent, and show all the other government bodies that this makes senses, it’s the right and proper thing to do, it’s a way to get property taxes in this state under control.” The state has nearly 7,000 units of local government.   Mulcahy told the Village Board on Thursday that staff have “exhausted every possible way” to obtain information on the district, which doesn’t have a website. Passing a resolution would be the first step that would allow the County Board to start looking into the consolidation, he said.  After being in the community for more than 50 years, Forner, who spoke at the meeting on behalf of the sanitary district, said the resolution should be addressed when the new board is seated, and questioned how the elimination of the tax levy would affect operations. “Nowhere [do village documents] show how the loss of that money will be made up,” Forner said. “Will it be higher rates, higher water rates? Reduced services? Or reduced upke[...]



Hampshire man serving 8 years for DUI injury crash wants to take guilty plea backVincent Myers was sentenced to 8 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to aggravated DUI charges but he wants to take back his guilty plea or have the judge reconsider his sentence because he thinks his attorney did a poor job stating his case during sentencing.

Sat, 29 Apr 2017 04:58:00 GMT

WOODSTOCK – An ex-Lake in the Hills man sentenced to eight years in prison for a 2015 drunken driving crash that left two men with life-changing injuries wants to take back his guilty plea less than two months after he was sentenced. Vincent Myers, 47, now of Hampshire, is arguing that his guilty plea was not voluntary as it was a result of ineffective counsel, coercion by the threat of immediate incarceration and a promise by his lawyer of a more lenient sentence if he pleaded guilty. The motion to take back his guilty plea and/or reconsider his sentence was filed by his lawyer, William Gibbs, in McHenry County court. Myers pleaded guilty in January to two counts of aggravated driving under the influence. In exchange for pleading guilty he faced up to 12 years in prison or probation. He was sentenced by Judge Michael Feetterer to eight years in prison, and is required by law to serve 85 percent of his sentence. He is in custody of the Robinson Correctional Center. Myers was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol for the third time in the early-morning hours of Sept 6, 2015, after he hit two men with his 2012 Lincoln MKZ who were stopped on the side of the road fixing a broken-down motorcycle. Lake in the Hills residents Juan Martinez and Zac Feltman were fixing a motorcycle in the left turn lane traveling west on Algonquin Road, west of Pyott Road. A friend of theirs, Brandon Dominguez, had his car parked behind the motorcycle, and Martinez and Feltman were standing at the trunk looking for tools when Myers struck them and the vehicles, authorities have said. Martinez and Feltman were taken to area hospitals after suffering serious injuries. Martinez had his left leg amputated 2 inches above the knee just days after the crash. Feltman fractured both of his legs in the crash and remained hospitalized for nearly two months under constant supervision by family and friends. Gibbs said in his motion that Myers’ plea was not voluntary, and after his attorneys met Feetterer in November 2016 he was told prosecutors wanted him to spend eight years in prison and Feetterer said between six and eight years may be reasonable. Based on that information, Myers told his attorneys he wanted a trial but he was told not to have a jury trial and go before a judge instead because it would be too costly and he would likely get a longer sentence. “He was advised by his attorneys that he should waive a jury because he was told by his attorneys that a jury trial would be gruesome and it would cost the State a lot of money and his sentence would probably be higher if he demanded a jury so he upon urging of his attorneys waived jury,” Gibbs said in his motion. The case was then set for a bench trial and prior to that date his attorneys met with prosecutors and the judge and Myers was told that prosecutors wanted to revoke his bond because someone saw him at a liquor store. Myers said he was never shown the motion to revoke his bond. Gibbs also said Myers’ attorneys told him if he didn’t plead guilty that day his bond would be revoked and he would be taken into jail custody. He also argued that Myers’ attorneys intended to present evidence regarding the toxicology of the victims involved in the crash, which they did not do. “Had he known they were not going to present that evidence or any other evidence regarding the acci[...]


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Only one Crystal Lake store fails April alcohol compliance check

Sat, 29 Apr 2017 04:58:00 GMT

CRYSTAL LAKE – Only one of 80 establishments checked for alcohol compliance by city police this month failed the test, Crystal Lake police said Friday.

Sunrise Tobacco & Liquors, 450 N. Route 31, was cited by police for selling alcohol to a minor. Police check for compliance by sending people younger than age 21 into establishments with liquor licenses and attempt to buy alcohol.

The store’s adjudication hearing is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. June 9 at City Hall, 100 W. Woodstock St.

City ordinance sets forth a progressive discipline process for liquor violations within a five-year period. A first offense comes with a $750 fine, while a second offense comes with a $1,500 fine and a suspension. A third offense in a five-year period comes with a $2,500 fine and can be grounds for revoking the license.

The sting comes as a Route 14 restaurant began serving a two-week suspension for racking up two offenses in five years.

The city and the police department created a system by which participating businesses can test their own employees to ensure compliance with liquor laws. Besides encouraging best practices, a participating business that fails an official compliance check can get some leniency on the penalty.




Construction on Longmeadow Parkway in Algonquin can start againH. Rick Bamman - hbamman@shawmedia.com A worker from Plote Construction grades the right of way Monday, April 17, 2017 on the north side of Longmeadow Parkway east of Stonegate in Algonquin. Pavement removal and widening work started in sections including about 1,500 feet north and south of Randall Road and Longmeadow Parkway; north and south of Sleepy Hollow Road and Longmeadow Parkway; and on Longmeadow Parkway from Randall Road to east of White Chapel Drive.

Sat, 29 Apr 2017 04:58:00 GMT

ALGONQUIN – Construction can start again on Longmeadow Parkway in Algonquin after being delayed for nearly two weeks. 

On Friday, U.S. District Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman refused to extend a temporary restraining order that stopped work on the project, and said opponents of the project failed to show that the construction is a significant threat to the rusty patched bumblebee’s habitat, the Daily Herald reports.

The Stop Longmeadow group’s bee expert, entomologist Sydney Cameron, did not show up in court Friday to testify, the Daily Herald reported. 

Work on the parkway started April 17 near Randall Road in Algonquin, but it ended several hours later after Coleman granted an emergency stop requested by opponents who said the planned route includes a habitat of the endangered rusty patched bumblebee.

The rusty patched bumblebee was placed on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s endangered species list March 21. Since the late 1990s, the bee species’ numbers have declined by nearly 90 percent, according to a motion filed by Stop Longmeadow, and the bee is only found in a handful of locations in the country, including Kane County.

Plans for the controversial project call for a four-lane, 5.6-mile east-west corridor connecting Randall Road with Route 62, although it starts west of Randall Road at the intersection of Huntley and Boyer roads. The $115 million project, complete with a toll bridge over the Fox River, will go through Algonquin, Carpentersville and Barrington Hills, as well as unincorporated areas of Kane County.

After the restraining order was first issued, Algonquin Village President John Schmitt, a longtime proponent of the project, posted a photo of himself on Facebook where his head was attached to the body of a bumblebee.  

The photo has since been taken down, and what Schmitt called a “self-deprecating” joke led to residents asking him to resign at Tuesday Committee of the Whole meeting. Schmitt said he would not resign. 

Representatives from the Kane County Division of Transportation and the Stop Longmeadow group could not immediately be reached for comment. 

H. Rick Bamman - hbamman@shawmedia.com A worker from Plote Construction grades the right of way Monday, April 17, 2017 on the north side of Longmeadow Parkway east of Stonegate in Algonquin. Pavement removal and widening work started in sections including about 1,500 feet north and south of Randall Road and Longmeadow Parkway; north and south of Sleepy Hollow Road and Longmeadow Parkway; and on Longmeadow Parkway from Randall Road to east of White Chapel Drive.


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Lake in the Hills barricade ends, man found dead in homeAn Algonquin-Lake in the Hills Fire Protection District vehicle blocking Burr Street at Willow Street Friday evening in Lake in the Hills following an unconfirmed report of a barricaded subject.

Sat, 29 Apr 2017 04:57:00 GMT

LAKE IN THE HILLS – Police are investigating the death of a Lake in the Hills man after he barricaded himself in his home Friday evening. 

Police responded about 5 p.m. to the 1100 block of Burr Street for an assault investigation between two neighbors, Lake in the Hills Police Officer Amanda Schmitt said. 

Before police were on the scene, a 51-year-old man had entered his home and refused to open the door to an interior room when officers tried to contact the man inside his residence, Schmitt said. 

Officers heard a single gunshot fired from within the room, Schmitt said. Police then secured the residence and called in the McHenry County SWAT team and other area agencies.

The SWAT team entered the home and attempted to make contact with the man. After a period of time with no response, officers entered the room the person had locked himself in and found him deceased, Schmitt said. 

There were no other people in the home, and there is no threat to public safety, Schmitt said. 

The incident is under investigation by the Lake in the Hills Police Department and the McHenry County Coroner’s Office. An autopsy has been scheduled. 

Police would not disclose any more details as it is an ongoing investigation. 

The neighborhood is just south of Lake in the Hills Elementary School. Burr Street was blocked off for several hours while police were on the scene, and neighbors peered outside trying to assess the situation. 

Huntley police, Crystal Lake police and Algonquin-Lake in the Hills Fire Protection District members also were on the scene.

An Algonquin-Lake in the Hills Fire Protection District vehicle blocking Burr Street at Willow Street Friday evening in Lake in the Hills following an unconfirmed report of a barricaded subject.


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Woman charged in crash that killed Woodstock mom pleads guilty to aggravated DUIMike Thornton poses for a photo with his wife, Amy, who died last summer, nine days after the couple was struck while riding their motorcycle in McHenry.Sheree Ann Shaw

Sat, 29 Apr 2017 04:57:00 GMT

WOODSTOCK – A Wisconsin woman faces up to 26 years in prison after she admitted to being under the influence of heroin during a 2016 McHenry crash that seriously injured a motorcyclist and killed the passenger.

Sheree Ann Shaw, 46, entered a blind guilty plea Friday to two counts of aggravated driving under the influence, a Class 2 and Class 4 felony, respectively. She faces between three and 14 years in prison on the Class 2 felony and one to 12 years on the Class 4 felony. If she is sentenced to prison on both charges they must be served consecutively and at 85 percent, according to state law.

There is no agreement between Shaw’s attorney, Assistant Public Defender Angelo Mourelatos and Assistant State’s Attorney Michael Combs. She will be sentenced by McHenry County Judge Sharon Prather on June 29.

Prosecutors said Shaw was driving a 2002 Ford Taurus near the 2500 block of Richmond Road on May 6 when she attempted to change lanes several times, crossed into a no-passing zone and struck a 2007 Harley-Davidson Road Glide. The motorcycle was driven by Mike Thornton, 40, with passenger Amy Thornton, his wife of nearly 19 years.

The two were on an excursion discussing college plans for their son who was about to graduate from Woodstock North High School. The Woodstock couple had two sons, Zach and Michael, and Amy Thornton, 42, worked as a nurse for 20 years.

She died nine days after the crash at Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville. Mike Thornton, 39, suffered a shattered left shoulder and left pelvis and has since had six surgeries.

Mike Thornton outside of court Friday said he thought it was “awesome” that Shaw pleaded guilty because the case will soon be resolved.

He said he is looking to return to work at Black Diamond Plumbing & Mechanical in the near future, but has no plans to get back on a motorcycle.

“I don’t want to put my life in anyone else’s hands again,” he said.

Shaw was first taken into custody after the crash and charged with driving without a valid driver’s license but posted bond shortly thereafter and returned to Wisconsin. She was then 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.

Mike Thornton poses for a photo with his wife, Amy, who died last summer, nine days after the couple was struck while riding their motorcycle in McHenry.Sheree Ann Shaw


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Municipalities balance risk, benefits when it comes to economic incentive programsH. Rick Bamman - hbamman@shawmedia.com D&A Salon Apothecary co-owners Darrin Flynn (left) and Alberto Perez remove flooring Wednesday, April 26, 2017 whiile renovating a vacant space next door to their current location on Benton St. in Woodstock. They recently received $60,000 through the city's revolving loan fund.H. Rick Bamman - hbamman@shawmedia.com Contractor John Papeck (left) works on interior framing as State Farm agent Phil Horn checks on the progress of renovations at his building on Main St. in Cary. Horn wanted a grant from Cary to expand though tustees voted no on the proposal and said that the village needs to re-look at how they give out grant money to businesses.

Sat, 29 Apr 2017 04:56:00 GMT

Less than a year after the city of Crystal Lake gave a $10,000 grant to Xtreme Nutrition & Smoothies under its New Retailer Job Creation and Investment Program, the business closed, Crystal Lake Community Development Director Michelle Rentzsch said.  To prevent a similar situation from happening again, Rentzsch said the city increased the minimum amount of sales tax businesses that qualify for the program must make in a year. Other incentive efforts have worked well for Crystal Lake, helping develop businesses on Route 14 and in the downtown district.   “Crystal Lake has always had the philosophy of trying to help business get over that initial outlay when they’re first trying to establish themselves, so it’s just a little help to get them going,” Rentzsch said.  Many McHenry County municipalities have economic incentive programs – from revolving loan funds, to facade grants to sales tax rebates – to help retain and attract businesses. However, Craig Lesner, budget and tax research director for the Illinois Policy Institute, said there’s “nothing but risk” associated with local governments giving out these incentives.  “There are so many potholes that a government can step in when they’re doing this and ways to mess it up,” Lesner said. “It really begs the question as to, ‘Why are they doing it in the first place?’ ” Lesner, who worked as a CFO for the village of Oak Park for nearly a decade, said if a business is not viable enough to expand on its own, then a government shouldn’t be giving it money. He also said it’s risky letting people in local governments decide whether a business is viable when people at banks do this for a living. Favoritism also can become a problem when elected officials are the ones who vote on whether to give out the incentives, Lesner said.  “Ultimately, it’s a decision by politicians, and in that way, in some way or form, it’s a political decision,” Lesner said.  In Woodstock, Economic Development Director Garrett Anderson said the city encourages businesses to go through a bank before using the city’s revolving loan fund program. There are limited situations where small businesses don’t fit what the bank is looking for, and that’s where the city can step in and help, Anderson said. Some examples are if a business is renting a building and doesn’t have strong collateral, or if the business opened recently – such as D&A Salon | Apothecary.  The Woodstock City Council recently approved a $60,000 loan for the business, which opened less than a year ago, to expand nextdoor. The project would add about 10 jobs and is projected to cost $157,594, city documents show. Co-owner Darrin Flynn said because the business is so new, it wouldn’t be able to expand without the loan from the city. The time was right to expand now while the space was still vacant, he said.  Going through a bank for a loan would mean scaling back the project, Flynn said.  “This allows us to actually do what we want to do,” Flynn said. “… It’s an amazing program. It’s helping small business and independent business to grow and add jobs to the community.” [...]


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Trump names anti-abortion leader to high post at HHS

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 23:52:00 GMT

NEW YORK – The White House says President Donald Trump is appointing the former president of a leading anti-abortion organization to a senior position at the Department of Health and Human Services.

Charmaine Yoest, who actively supported Trump in his campaign, will serve as assistant secretary of public affairs at HHS. From 2008 until February 2016, she was president of Americans United for Life, which campaigned at the federal and state level for tough restrictions on abortion.

Among the many state bills backed by the group under Yoest's leadership were measures that would ban most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, require women seeking abortions to undergo a sonogram and impose tough regulations on abortion clinics that could lead to their closure.

The appointment was assailed by abortion-rights groups.

"Charmaine Yoest has spent her whole professional life opposing access to birth control and a woman's right to a safe, legal abortion," said Dawn Laguens, executive vice president of Planned Parenthood. "While President Trump claims to empower women, he is appointing government officials who believe just the opposite."

Anti-abortion leader Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, praised Yoest as "one of the pro-life movement's most articulate and powerful communicators."

Dannenfelser also noted that Yoest – in a sign of the ideological shift taking place in Washington – will be replacing Kevin Griffis, who joined Planned Parenthood earlier this month as vice president of communications.

Many anti-abortion leaders, including Yoest, were initially cautious about Trump's bid for the presidency, but became staunch supporters after he pledged to support several of their key goals. These included a federal 20-week abortion ban, a halt to federal funding for Planned Parenthood, and appointment of Supreme Court justices who would be open to overturning Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that established a constitutional right to abortion.

Yoest began her career serving under Ronald Reagan in the Office of Presidential Personnel and was an adviser to former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee's 2008 presidential campaign. Most recently she has served as a senior fellow at American Values, a conservative group in Washington.




Fears of losing pre-existing conditions protection under GOPFILE - In this April 4, 2017 file photo, House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wis. pauses during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington to talk about the failed health care bill. From cancer to addiction, doctors and patient groups are warning that the latest Republican health care bill would gut hard-won protections for people with pre-existing medical conditions. Some GOP moderates who may seal the legislation’s fate are echoing those concerns. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 19:20:00 GMT

WASHINGTON – Doctors and patient groups are warning that the latest Republican health care bill would gut hard-won protections for people with pre-existing medical conditions, from cancer to treatment for substance abuse.

Some GOP moderates who may seal the legislation's fate are echoing those concerns.

In a strongly worded statement this week, the American Medical Association said the Republican protections "may be illusory."

The American Cancer Society's Cancer Action Network said the plan could take the nation back to a "patchwork system."

Those warnings may be connecting with lawmakers anxious about making the right decision on issues that touch every family.

Republican Rep. Patrick Meehan of Pennsylvania says the rewritten bill doesn't change fundamental concerns he has about ensuring that people with serious medical conditions can get affordable and adequate coverage.

FILE - In this April 4, 2017 file photo, House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wis. pauses during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington to talk about the failed health care bill. From cancer to addiction, doctors and patient groups are warning that the latest Republican health care bill would gut hard-won protections for people with pre-existing medical conditions. Some GOP moderates who may seal the legislation’s fate are echoing those concerns. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)


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Metra's Northwest line experiences delays after train strikes pedestrian near Barrington

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 18:41:00 GMT

BARRINGTON – Inbound and outbound trains on Metra’s Northwest line are experiencing extensive delays due to a train striking a pedestrian Friday morning in unincorporated Barrington.

An inbound train struck and killed a pedestrian about 11:20 a.m. near Route 14 and Cuba Road, Lake County Sheriff’s Sgt. Chris Covelli said. 

Sheriff’s detectives, the Technical Crash Investigation Unit and the Lake County Coroner’s Office are on scene, Covelli said at about 1:40 p.m. 

The age and gender of the person killed, as well as whether foul play was involved, are still under investigation, Covelli said.

For updates on train schedules, visit https://metrarail.com.

– Hannah Prokop 




Prep, clean AC to save money

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 18:39:54 GMT

Save money this summer on your utility bill by preparing your home’s air conditioner now for the hot months ahead.  According to the Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star, “The average American family spends 15 percent of its utility bill on cooling, which adds up to hundreds of dollars each year.  Save energy to save money and protect the climate.”

Energy Star advises, “Just like a tune-up for your car, a yearly tune-up of your heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system (HVAC) can improve efficiency and comfort.”

During routine air-conditioning maintenance, HVAC professionals will check the level of your unit’s refrigerant and refrigerant lines, plus make sure that electrical and mechanical components are operating well.

“Seal and insulate your home.  You can save $200 a year in heating and cooling costs (or 10 percent of your energy bill).  When correctly installed with air sealing, insulation can deliver comfort and lower energy bills during the hottest and coldest times of the year,” states Energy Star.

Experts recommend checking and changing your HVAC unit’s air filter before switching your thermostat to “cool” this summer.  Dirty filters curb airflow and force your cooling system to work harder and inefficiently.

Of the three central air conditioning components, only the condenser sits outside, as the blower (air handler) and ductwork are inside the home.  Withstanding outdoor conditions, the condenser works best when clear of obstructions, such as shrubs, plants, and grass clippings.  Experts advise maintaining a two-foot space around the condenser, and clearing away any stray branches, leaves, or woodpiles.  Spraying and flushing the condenser with a garden hose helps dislodge any caked on dirt and debris.  Anything that obstructs the airflow impacts the condenser’s efficiency.

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

http://doweandwagner.com/

 


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President Trump: 'I thought it would be easier'President Donald Trump, accompanied by Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin, center right, and veterans, signs an Executive Order on "Improving Accountability and Whistleblower Protection" at the Department of Veterans Affairs, Thursday, April 27, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 15:34:00 GMT

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump is sounding wistful as he reflects on his first 100 days on the job.

The president says he "loved" his "previous life. I had so many things going."

He says his new gig is "more work than in my previous life. I thought it would be easier."

The president is also lamenting his loss of privacy, describing life in the White House as being in "your own little cocoon."

The president made his comments in an interview with Reuters, one of several he's done to mark his first 100 days.

He also told Reuters he'd like to see a diplomatic resolution to escalating tensions with North Korea.

But he warns, "There is a chance that we could end up having a major, major conflict" with the country.

President Donald Trump, accompanied by Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin, center right, and veterans, signs an Executive Order on "Improving Accountability and Whistleblower Protection" at the Department of Veterans Affairs, Thursday, April 27, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)


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France's dark Nazi history colors presidential campaignFrench far-right leader and presidential candidate Marine Le Pen addresses supporters during an election campaign rally in Nice, southern France, Thursday April 27, 2017. After "the battle of Whirlpool," when Marine Le Pen and Emmanuel Macron both went hunting for France's blue-collar vote at a threatened home appliance factory, the presidential candidates clashed over fish as Le Pen boarded a fishing trawler, in a return to more traditional campaigning on Thursday. (AP Photo/Claude Paris)

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 15:32:00 GMT

PARIS – France's troubled wartime past is taking center stage Friday in the country's highly charged presidential race, as centrist Emmanuel Macron visited the site of France's worst Nazi massacre and Marine Le Pen's far-right party suffered a new blow over alleged Holocaust denial. Seeking the moral high ground, Macron wants to send a message to voters that Le Pen isn't a candidate like any other, but the heir of a party stained by anti-Semitism, racism and an outdated worldview. Le Pen's years-long efforts to detoxify her party's image — efforts that have brought her one step away from the presidency — endured a new setback Friday, when the leader of her National Front party quit because of an uproar over past remarks allegedly questioning the Nazi gas chambers. French emotions around France's history of collaborating with the Nazis remain raw, seven decades after the war's end. The country has never undergone a national atonement; instead many people still view the actions of the collaborationist Vichy regime as a historical anomaly instead of atrocities committed by the French state. Macron sought to bring the horrors of the Holocaust home to voters with his visit Friday to Oradour-sur-Glane, a ghost town left behind after the largest massacre in Nazi-occupied France. The town is today a phantom village, with burned-out cars and abandoned buildings left as testimony to its history. On June 10, 1944, four days after the Allied D-Day landings in Normandy, an SS armored division herded villagers into barns and a church, blocked the doors, and set Oradour-sur-Glane ablaze. A total of 642 men, women and children died. Only six people survived. In comments to local newspapers published on Friday, Macron said "we don't want to forget that from here, from Oradour, comes our Republican pride, the National Council of the Resistance that has built our (fundamental) balances, our strength and the European project. That is, everything Marine Le Pen wants to destroy." Le Pen prompted an outcry earlier this month by denying that the French state was responsible for the roundup of Jews in World War II, in a reference to the Vel d'Hiv, the Paris stadium where thousands of Jews were transferred before being sent to Nazi death camps. Meanwhile, interim National Front leader Jean-Francois Jalkh resigned Friday over comments reported in a 2000 interview in which he allegedly cast doubt on the truth of Nazi gas chambers. National Front vice president Louis Aliot said on BFM television Friday that Jalkh is stepping down to avoid further damage to the party, but that he is contesting allegations of Holocaust denial, a crime in France. Jalkh is also among seven people called to trial in an alleged illegal financing scheme for the party — one of the other challenges facing Le Pen's campaign. Aliot said Jalkh will be replaced as party leader by Steeve Briois, mayor of Le Pen's electoral fiefdom of Henin-Beaumont in depressed northern France. Soccer great Zinedine Zidane, meanwhile, joined the list of prominent figures urg[...]


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United moves to ease criticism with settlement, new policiesAP file photo United Airlines planes are parked at their gates July 8, 2015, as another plane, top, taxis past them at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston. United Airlines said it will raise the limit to $10,000 on payments to customers who give up seats on oversold flights and will increase training for employees as it deals with fallout from the video of a passenger being violently dragged from his seat.

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 05:40:00 GMT

DALLAS – United Airlines moved to staunch criticism – and any customer defections – by reaching a settlement Thursday with a passenger dragged off one of its planes two weeks ago and issuing new policies designed to prevent similar customer-service failures. On April 9, Kentucky physician David Dao was forcibly removed from a flight after refusing to give up his seat to a crew member. The incident ignited a debate about poor service and a lack of customer-friendly policies on U.S. airlines. United and lawyers for Dao declined to disclose financial terms of the settlement Thursday. Earlier, United announced steps it would take to reduce overbooking of flights. Among other things, the airline said it will raise the limit on payments to customers who give up seats on oversold flights to $10,000, and it will improve training of employees. Dao’s lead attorney, Thomas Demetrio, praised the airline and its CEO, Oscar Munoz, for accepting responsibility and not blaming others, including the city of Chicago, whose airport security officers yanked Dao from his seat and dragged him off the United Express plane. Dao never filed a lawsuit against United, but Demetrio had said legal action was likely. Dao was waiting to fly to Louisville, Kentucky, on April 9 when the airline decided it needed four seats for Republic Airline crew members who needed to travel to work another United Express flight in Louisville the next morning. When Dao and his wife were selected for bumping, he refused to leave. Video of the incident has sparked more than two weeks of withering criticism and mockery of United. Munoz initially blamed Dao, but later said he was horrified by the event and called it a failure on United’s part. On Thursday, United released a report on the incident that outlined new policies to prevent a repeat. The airline vowed to reduce, but not eliminate, overbooking – the selling of more tickets than there are seats on the plane. United won’t say whether ticket sales have dropped, but the airline’s CEO acknowledged the Dao incident could be damaging. “I breached public trust with this event and how we responded,” Oscar Munoz said. “People are upset, and I suspect that there are a lot of people potentially thinking of not flying us.” To head off customer defections, United had already announced that it will no longer call police to remove passengers from overbooked flights, and will require airline crews traveling for work to check in sooner. On Thursday, it added several other new policies including: • Raising the limit on compensation to $10,000 for customers who give up their seats starting Friday. That is a maximum – it’s unclear how many, if any, passengers would see that much. The current limit is $1,350. Delta Air Lines earlier this month raised its limit to $9,950. • Sending displaced passengers or crew members to nearby airports, putting them on other airlines or arranging for car transportation to get them to their destinations. [...]


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Fox River Grove to hold open house at Public Works Department facilityH. Rick Bamman file photo – hbamman@shawmedia.com Tim Zintl (left), Fox River Grove operation manager of water and sewer, and John Reese, operations manager at the Public Works Department, walk through the department's new garage March 30. The village will host an open house Saturday so the public can view its new Public Works facility.

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 05:18:00 GMT

FOX RIVER GROVE – The village of Fox River Grove is hosting an open house Saturday so the public can view its new Public Works Department facility.

The free event will take place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 1229 Lincoln Ave., according to a news release from the village.

Residents will be able to walk through the new building and see the inner workings of the department, according to the release. Children also can touch, explore and climb on the village’s plow trucks and other equipment. Refreshments will be served.

The $3.9 million project was finished at the start of the year and features an estimated 11,000-square-foot building with a conference area, private offices and a garage with four drive-thru apparatus bays to give Public Works vehicles easy in and out access.

H. Rick Bamman file photo – hbamman@shawmedia.com Tim Zintl (left), Fox River Grove operation manager of water and sewer, and John Reese, operations manager at the Public Works Department, walk through the department's new garage March 30. The village will host an open house Saturday so the public can view its new Public Works facility.


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Belvidere doctor sentenced to 9 years for health care fraud

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 05:17:00 GMT

ROCKFORD – A suspended physician was sentenced to nine years in federal prison Thursday on charges of federal health care fraud, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

Charles S. DeHaan, 62, of Belvidere pleaded guilty May 20 to two counts of health care fraud in a scheme to defraud Medicare that included billing and overbilling Medicare for the treatment of deceased patients.

According to the written plea agreement, DeHaan was an Illinois-licensed physician who between January 2009 and Jan. 24, 2014, primarily billed Medicare for in-home patient visits and certifications for patients he deemed housebound.

DeHaan admitted in the plea agreement that he knew Medicare authorized payment for physician services and home visits only if the services were provided and were medically required because of a disease, infirmity or impairment.

The plea agreement said that DeHaan billed Medicare when he knew he did not have any reimbursable medical service to provide patients. As a result, DeHaan would bill Medicare at the highest reimbursement rates for routine, noncomplex visits with new patients, even though he knew the visits would not qualify for the highest levels, according to a news release.

DeHaan also would bill Medicare for patients he had never treated and for some patients who had died before the date of the alleged visit, according to the release.

DeHaan was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Frederick J. Kapala. The government was represented by assistant U.S. attorneys Scott R. Paccagnini and Talia Bucci.

Along with serving nine years, DeHaan is ordered to pay $2,787,054.58 in restitution, and his sentencing will be followed by three years of supervised release, the news release said.




Fundraiser to raise money for Huntley teen with heart condition(WEB) Thomas Cristofaro - On Saturday, a fundraiser will be held for Thomas Cristofaro, a Huntley teen who recently had heart surgery and has suffered his whole life from pulmonary atresia with intact ventricular septum. Money raised will help the family with medical bills.

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 05:17:00 GMT

HUNTLEY – When Thomas Cristofaro was born, doctors didn’t know whether he would have problems with his development or whether he would be able to play sports.

Thomas has pulmonary atresia with intact ventricular septum, which meant no blood was getting to his lungs when he was born, said his mother, Gina Sperling.

Six surgeries later, the 14-year-old from Huntley has exceeded all expectations, Sperling said.

“They call him ‘choo choo,’ ’cause you can’t get him down,” Sperling said.

Thomas plays baseball with Huntley’s Little League program, but his true passion is football, Sperling said. He has played with the Huntley Mustangs program for the past six years, and his goal is to join Huntley High School’s football camp in June, she said. He’s currently a student at Marlowe Middle School in Lake in the Hills.

At first, Sperling said she was cautious about letting Thomas play sports, but he was determined to do what he loves despite his condition.

“He’s an inspiration to all of us,” Sperling said.

One of the people Thomas has inspired is his friend, 14-year-old Jackson Wiley, whose family is helping to organize a fundraiser for him. Jackson said that Thomas is charismatic and a very nice friend.

“We wanted to [hold the fundraiser] so he could focus on his recovery, not paying bills,” Jackson said.

Thomas had his most recent surgery in March to repair his pulmonary artery valve. Although his condition will have to be monitored for the rest of his life, this should be his last surgery for another 10 to 15 years, Sperling said.

Just in the past eight months, Sperling said, her family has incurred about $20,000 in out-of-pocket medical costs.

The fundraiser for Thomas will be held Saturday at Parkside Pub, 11721 Main St., Huntley.

From 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., a portion of every dining bill will be donated to the Cristofaro family to help offset their medical bills.

People also can donate to the family’s GoFundMe page at www.gofundme.com/cristofaro-medical-bill-fundraiser.

(WEB) Thomas Cristofaro - On Saturday, a fundraiser will be held for Thomas Cristofaro, a Huntley teen who recently had heart surgery and has suffered his whole life from pulmonary atresia with intact ventricular septum. Money raised will help the family with medical bills.


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Literacy Connection to host annual Trivia Bee fundraiser

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 05:17:00 GMT

See 21 teams compete for bragging rights at the Literacy Connection’s Trivia Bee on Saturday at Grand Victoria Casino in Elgin.

Doors open at 8:30 a.m., and the contest starts at 9:30 a.m. Admission is $5 and includes refreshments. A cash bar is available.

There will be various chances for an opportunity to win gift baskets, with the prize for the grand prize raffle being two Mezzanine tickets to “Hamilton” on Sept. 12; $250 in cash; or a Fitbit Charge 2, a heart rate activity tracker. Tickets cost $10 each or $20 for three.

A separate raffle will offer four tickets to a Cubs game with parking and $100 spending money. Tickets cost $20 each. Winners need not be present.

Buy tickets at The Literacy Connection office at the Gail Borden Library in Elgin and at the event.

A $5 grab bag drawing offers a chance to win tote bags, gift cards and more.

For information, call 847-742-6565 or visit www.elginliteracy.org.

The nonprofit Literacy Connection serves 16 northwest suburban Chicago communities, including Algonquin, Cary, Huntley and Lake in the Hills.




Out of the Darkness Campus Walk set to benefit suicide prevention in McHenry

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 05:17:00 GMT

McHENRY – McHenry County residents are invited to join the suicide-prevention movement by attending McHenry’s Out of the Darkness Campus Walk on Saturday.

The eighth annual walk will be from 9 to 11:30 a.m. Saturday at McHenry High School West, 4724 W. Crystal Lake Road.

The goal of the event is to raise awareness and funds that allow the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention to invest in new research, create educational programs, advocate for public policy and support family and friends who have lost someone to suicide.

“I think the stigma of suicides needs to be changed,” event organizer Patti Hartmann said. “I think that people have to realize that with social media, and people being so cruel on social media, [it] can have an effect on other people. And I just want to get the word out to have people start thinking about mental health and what they can do to help.”

Hartmann said this year’s walk is on track to be the largest, with more than 300 registered walkers and $20,000 raised as of Thursday afternoon. Last year’s event raised about $14,000.

Hartmann said she does the fundraiser for healing purposes in memory of her son, who committed suicide nine years ago.

“There’s so much cruelty in the world; there’s so much bullying. People don’t know how to communicate to get resources,” Hartmann said.

Walkers will participate in a 4-mile course.

People can register independently or as part of a team. There is no minimum fundraising required, although raising $100 will earn walkers a free T-shirt.

Check-in begins at 8 a.m. and goes until the walk starts. Walk donations will be accepted until June 30.

Those interested can register by visiting www.mchenrywalk.org.

Online registration ends Friday at noon, but anyone who would like to participate still can register in person at the walk.

Help for anyone feeling depressed is available, 24 hours a day, by calling the McHenry County Crisis Line at 800-892-8900.




Jury find McHenry man guilty of robbing Discount Cigarette and Cigar CenterKyle Griebel

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 05:17:00 GMT

WOODSTOCK – McHenry County jurors this week found a McHenry man guilty of robbing a Discount Cigarette and Cigar Center in 2014.

Prosecutors said Kyle Griebel, 24, entered the store, 4226 Elm St., McHenry, wearing a Halloween goblin mask.

Griebel pointed what first appeared to be a handgun at the store clerk, threatened to shoot him and demanded money. He also was accompanied by a juvenile who served as a lookout.

Griebel got away with about $2,000 and cigarettes, prosecutors said. The McHenry Police Department responded to the robbery shortly after the clerk’s 911 call, but police were unable to make an identification of the suspects because they wore gloves and masks.

The case remained unsolved for about 18 months until last July, when Griebel and the juvenile were arrested. Police also determined that the gun used in the robbery was a BB gun manufactured to look like a handgun, prosecutors said.

On Tuesday, jurors found Griebel guilty of aggravated robbery and theft by force.

He faces up to 14 years in prison and will be sentenced June 14.

Griebel previously was convicted of burglary and unlawful possession of a controlled substance.

Kyle Griebel


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Electronic voting rule changes headed to full McHenry County Board

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 05:15:00 GMT

WOODSTOCK – Revisions to McHenry County Board rules to incorporate the new but unused electronic voting system are headed to the full board for approval.

After about 30 minutes of minor debate and housekeeping Thursday, the board’s Ad Hoc Committee on Governmental Accessibility forwarded the rules for a board vote at its May 16 voting meeting.

Approval would mean the system will go live in June, six months after its installation at the behest of new County Board Chairman Jack Franks, D-Marengo, as a way to increase transparency and accountability.

Franks said the latest version incorporates improvements and addresses concerns that some members had.

He called Thursday’s discussion – which between the committee and guests accounted for just less than half of the 24-member board – productive and collaborative.

“I think the debate around the issue made it much stronger,” Franks said.

The system, which works through the county’s existing audio streaming and online agenda software, allows board members to vote on issues with their county-issued iPads, and it displays voting results online and on a flat-screen TV behind the chairman’s seat.

It was paid for through the budget of County Clerk Mary McClellan at a cost of $2,700 for the hardware, and about $1,000 a month for the software. The county clerk’s responsibilities include counting votes and taking minutes at full meetings of the board.

When the system was first used at the board’s Jan. 17 meeting, board members complained of a lack of training and the fact that County Board rules did not reflect electronic voting.

Since then, all have received training either at the committee level or through one-on-one training with McClellan.

Electronic voting will be used for all roll call votes, except for attendance or in situations in which the equipment is malfunctioning. The system only will be used during full County Board meetings and not for standing committees, which under Franks now meet in the boardroom so their meetings can be streamed online.

County staff has said that finances, available staff and other factors make expanding electronic voting to committee meetings impractical for the time being.

However, the committee Thursday tweaked the rules on the advice of Mike Skala, R-Huntley, to leave open the possibility of having electronic voting in committee meetings if it can be done sooner.

“I don’t want a definitive [no] in the board rules because maybe in a year, a year and a half, it will be different,” Skala said.

The system will go live at the County Board’s voting meeting in June if members approve the rule changes in May.




Woman killed by Metra train in Woodstock

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 05:14:00 GMT

WOODSTOCK – A commuter train struck and killed a woman early Thursday in Woodstock.

Woodstock police were called at 2:05 a.m. to the 500 block of Lake Avenue for a report of a pedestrian collision on the railroad tracks.

Responding officers found a 35-year-old woman dead at the scene on the train tracks near 508 Lake Ave., Woodstock. The woman was struck by a westbound train on its way to Harvard from Chicago, according to a news release from the Woodstock Police Department.

The identity of the woman was not released.

The train was delayed about an hour while Woodstock police and representatives from the Union Pacific Police Department and Metra Police Department investigated.

Deputy Police Chief Jeffrey Parsons said foul play was not suspected in the death, and no additional information is available at this time.

Woodstock police and the McHenry County Coroner’s Office are investigating the incident.




After controversy, new Oakwood Hills police chief focuses on futureSarah Nader – snader@shawmedia.com Oakwood Hills Police Chief Valiza Nash poses for a portrait Tuesday in Oakwood Hills.Sarah Nader – snader@shawmedia.com Oakwood Hills Police Chief Valiza Nash talks with a Northwest Herald reporter Tuesday in her office in Oakwood Hills.Sarah Nader – snader@shawmedia.com Police officer Ramtin Sabet (left) talks with Oakwood Hills Police Chief Valiza Nash on Tuesday at the police station in Oakwood Hills.

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 05:13:00 GMT

OAKWOOD HILLS – The village’s new chief of police, Valiza Nash, comes to the area with a decorated past and big plans for the future, but after only a few months on the job, she’s already facing controversy and calls for her department to be disbanded. Much of the controversy spilled out last month over the hiring of an officer who filed a federal lawsuit against the municipality he previously worked for, but there’s also an online petition circulating among some residents that calls for getting rid of the Oakwood Hills Police Department and having the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office take over. After spending more than two decades with the North Chicago Police Department, Nash retired as a sergeant and shift commander to accept the chief of police position in Oakwood Hills. Nash, 51, was interviewed along with two other candidates for the job. The Oakwood Hills Village Board unanimously voted Feb. 7 to appoint Nash to the job. Village Trustee Kristina Zahorik said she knew Nash personally and didn’t participate in the interview process. However, Zahorik did vote for Nash’s appointment. Trustees Mark Wise and Kerry Leigh were absent from the special meeting and didn’t vote, according to meeting minutes. Nash replaced part-time Police Chief Peter Goldman, who was involved in a car crash last fall and had not been able to return to his duties. Village President Paul Smith removed Goldman from his position a week before Nash was hired. Nash is the first full-time police chief in many years. She said she will be paid $47,500 a year. The department has six officers, including Nash. Most of them are part time. Nash said the department soon will have a full-time police officer after training is completed this summer. Police department spending accounted for about 35 percent of the village’s $737,275 budget, according to Oakwood Hills 2016-17 budget. Although the move came a few years before Nash planned to retire, she said she couldn’t pass up the opportunity. “I wasn’t ready for it yet – I wanted at least three more years in North Chicago. … But it came about, and you’ve got to take the opportunities as they come,” she said. Nash said that although North Chicago is larger than Oakwood Hills, the crimes are not necessarily unique. “You have the same crimes, it’s just a different zip code … just maybe not as frequent,” she said. Nash first realized she wanted to get into law enforcement after her brother was accused of a crime he didn’t commit in the late 1970s and she saw firsthand the effects of what bad policing can do to a person. “I wanted to be a part of stopping that within the law enforcement community,” she said. Now that she’s getting into to her new position, Nash[...]


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For the Record: McHenry County incorporations, business licenses and commercial property transactions

Thu, 27 Apr 2017 23:55:00 GMT

Gathered as of April 10 by Record Information Services, a company that compiles public record information. This list contains business-to-business filings for McHenry County and does not represent the entire public record. Incorporations 03/10/17 - Sarris Designs & Interiors Inc, 2705 Rose Ave, Mchenry 60050-1734, Stephanie A Sarris 03/10/17 - Empower Dance Midwest, 339 Lloyd St, Cary 60013-2127, Sharon Smith 03/17/17 - Arch Transition Experts Inc, 50 N Virginia St, Crystal Lake 60014-4126, Ryan P Farrell 03/24/17 - Ralfi Express Inc, 1555 Autumncrest Dr, Crystal Lake 60014-2947, Dominika Kupiec 03/24/17 - Marazza Construction Co, 11720 Cape Cod Ln, Huntley 60142-6734, Louis Morales 03/24/17 - Kind Trils Corp, 2 Grandview Ct, Algonquin 60102-1993, Patricia Lacheta 03/31/17 - The Prime Group Exteriors Inc, 11870 Haegers Bend Rd, Barrington 60010-9054, Gregorz Swiercz 03/31/17 - Fox Valley Masonry Inc, 6 Wander Way, Lake In The Hills 60156-1336, Bernadetta Walaszek 03/31/17 - Fox Valley Eagles Football Association Inc NFP, 638 Joy Ct, Marengo 60152-3309, Jett Gregory Zurba 03/31/17 - Boutique Motors Inc, 20 Northwest Hwy, Cary 60013-2926, Christina Rein 04/07/17 - Stalkers Construction & Window Cleaning NC, 11903 Prairie Ave, Hebron 60034-8863, Josephy R Stalker 04/07/17 - Pathlight International Inc, 704 Village Cir, Marengo 60152-3634, Jodi Burnside 04/07/17 - Grotham Exteriors Inc, 601 Park Dr, Marengo 60152-2976, Robert G Grotham Business licenses 03/10/17 - Adornments 4 You, 320 Aberdeen Dr, Algonquin 60102-1742  03/10/17 - Ayfocy, 398 Oakmont Dr, Cary 60013-1180  03/10/17 - Charles Langer Trucking, 2385 Linden Dr, Woodstock 60098-9275  03/10/17 - Frank Lile, 301 Cobblestone Ct, Lake In The Hills 60156-4420  03/10/17 - Green Pine Landscaping, 1200 N Division St, Harvard 60033-1759  03/10/17 - Haase Wood Concepts, 2413 W Algonquin Rd Ste 237, Algonquin 60102-9402  03/10/17 - Mom & Dads Bath Bombs & More, 3206 Eastwood Dr, Wonder Lake 60097-9216  03/10/17 - Risenshine, 2414 Aspen Dr, Woodstock 60098-7496  03/10/17 - Ten 99, 1532 Clay St, Woodstock 60098-2526  03/10/17 - Wonderwave Design & Hosting, 3204 Hillside Dr, Wonder Lake 60097-9331  03/10/17 - Wonderwave Wireless Solutions, 3204 Hillside Dr, Wonder Lake 60097-9331  03/17/17 - Artie Russell Horseshoeing, 1068 Butler Dr, Crystal Lake 60014-6927  0[...]



Photos: Crystal Lake Police arrest nine in connection with stabbing that closed part of Route 14Dylan P. Macari, 18, of Huntley; is among six men and three boys facing charges of vehicular invasion, a Class 1 Felony; Aggravated robbery, a Class 1 Felony; Attempted aggravated robbery; a Class 2 Felony; Mob action, a Class 4 Felony; Aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, a Class 3 Felony and two counts of Aggravated battery in a public place, a Class 3 Felony, as police arrested nine teenagers Wednesday and Thursday in connection with a stabbing earlier this month that closed down Route 14 while police searched the area.Davon E. Manning, 18, of Crystal Lake; is among six men and three boys facing charges of vehicular invasion, a Class 1 Felony; Aggravated robbery, a Class 1 Felony; Attempted aggravated robbery; a Class 2 Felony; Mob action, a Class 4 Felony; Aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, a Class 3 Felony and two counts of Aggravated battery in a public place, a Class 3 Felony, as police arrested nine teenagers Wednesday and Thursday in connection with a stabbing earlier this month that closed down Route 14 while police searched the area.Tyler A. Novak, 18, of Lake in the Hills, is among six men and three boys facing charges of vehicular invasion, a Class 1 Felony; Aggravated robbery, a Class 1 Felony; Attempted aggravated robbery; a Class 2 Felony; Mob action, a Class 4 Felony; Aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, a Class 3 Felony and two counts of Aggravated battery in a public place, a Class 3 Felony, as police arrested nine teenagers Wednesday and Thursday in connection with a stabbing earlier this month that closed down Route 14 while police searched the area.Geoffrey M. Miller, 18, of Lake in the Hills is among six men and three boys facing charges of vehicular invasion, a Class 1 Felony; Aggravated robbery, a Class 1 Felony; Attempted aggravated robbery; a Class 2 Felony; Mob action, a Class 4 Felony; Aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, a Class 3 Felony and two counts of Aggravated battery in a public place, a Class 3 Felony, as police arrested nine teenagers Wednesday and Thursday in connection with a stabbing earlier this month that closed down Route 14 while police searched the area.Thomas S. Madura, 18, of Crystal Lake; is among six men and three boys facing charges of vehicular invasion, a Class 1 Felony; Aggravated robbery, a Class 1 Felony; Attempted aggravated robbery; a Class 2 Felony; Mob action, a Class 4 Felony; Aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, a Class 3 Felony and two counts of Aggravated battery in a public place, a Class 3 Felony, as police arrested nine teenagers Wednesday and Thursday in connection with a stabbing earlier this month that closed down Route 14 while police searched the area.Brandon D. Rosas, 18, of Crystal Lake; is among six men and three boys facing charges of vehicular invasion, a Class 1 Felony; Aggravated robbery, a Class 1 Felony; Attempted aggravated robbery; a Class 2 Felony; Mob action, a Class 4 Felony; Aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, a Class 3 Felony and two counts of Aggravated battery in a public place, a Class 3 Felony, as police arrested nine teenagers Wednesday and Thursday in connection with a stabbing earlier this month that closed down Route 14 while police searched the area.

Thu, 27 Apr 2017 20:53:00 GMT

Police arrested nine teenagers Wednesday and Thursday in connection with a stabbing earlier this month that closed down Route 14 while police searched the area. Dylan P. Macari, 18, of Huntley; is among six men and three boys facing charges of vehicular invasion, a Class 1 Felony; Aggravated robbery, a Class 1 Felony; Attempted aggravated robbery; a Class 2 Felony; Mob action, a Class 4 Felony; Aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, a Class 3 Felony and two counts of Aggravated battery in a public place, a Class 3 Felony, as police arrested nine teenagers Wednesday and Thursday in connection with a stabbing earlier this month that closed down Route 14 while police searched the area.Davon E. Manning, 18, of Crystal Lake; is among six men and three boys facing charges of vehicular invasion, a Class 1 Felony; Aggravated robbery, a Class 1 Felony; Attempted aggravated robbery; a Class 2 Felony; Mob action, a Class 4 Felony; Aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, a Class 3 Felony and two counts of Aggravated battery in a public place, a Class 3 Felony, as police arrested nine teenagers Wednesday and Thursday in connection with a stabbing earlier this month that closed down Route 14 while police searched the area.Tyler A. Novak, 18, of Lake in the Hills, is among six men and three boys facing charges of vehicular invasion, a Class 1 Felony; Aggravated robbery, a Class 1 Felony; Attempted aggravated robbery; a Class 2 Felony; Mob action, a Class 4 Felony; Aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, a Class 3 Felony and two counts of Aggravated battery in a public place, a Class 3 Felony, as police arrested nine teenagers Wednesday and Thursday in connection with a stabbing earlier this month that closed down Route 14 while police searched the area.Geoffrey M. Miller, 18, of Lake in the Hills is among six men and three boys facing charges of vehicular invasion, a Class 1 Felony; Aggravated robbery, a Class 1 Felony; Attempted aggravated robbery; a Class 2 Felony; Mob action, a Class 4 Felony; Aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, a Class 3 Felony and two counts of Aggravated battery in a public place, a Class 3 Felony, as police arrested nine teenagers Wednesday and Thursday in connection with a stabbing earlier this month that closed down Route 14 while police searched the area.Thomas S. Madura, 18, of Crystal Lake; is among six men and three boys facing charges of vehicular invasion, a Class 1 Felony; Aggravated robbery, a Class 1 Felony; Attempted aggravated robbery; a Class 2 Felony; Mob action, a Class 4 Felony; Aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, a Class 3 Felony and two counts of Aggravated battery in a public place, a Class 3 Felony, as police arrested nine teenagers Wednesday and Thursday in connection with a stabbing earlier this month that closed down Route 14 while police searched the area.Brandon D. Rosas, 18, of Crystal Lake; is among six men and three boys facing charges of vehicular invasion, a Class 1 Felony; Aggravated robbery, a Class 1 Felony; Attempted aggravated robbery; a Class 2[...]


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Crystal Lake police arrest nine in connection with stabbingTop Row from left: Dylan Macari, Thomas Madura, Davon Manning Bottom Row from left: Geoffrey Miller, Tyler Novak, Brandon Rosas

Thu, 27 Apr 2017 16:16:00 GMT

CRYSTAL LAKE – Police arrested nine teenagers Wednesday and Thursday in connection with a stabbing earlier this month that closed down Route 14 while police searched the area. On April 3, officers were called to the 400 block of West Virginia Street in Crystal Lake where they found two people who had serious stab wounds. During the three-week investigation, police discovered a fight had broken out on the 400 block of Berkshire Drive after an attempted robbery. Several people involved didn't cooperate with investigators, police said. The suspects used baseball bats during the planned robbery attempt, and one of the robbery victims stabbed two of the suspects – Tyler Novak and Thomas Madura – with a knife during the attack, police said. The victims weren’t charged because they were acting in self-defense, Deputy Police Chief Derek Hyrkas said. Hyrkas declined to comment on whether the victims had any connection to the nine suspects. “I am not going to get into that detail,” he said. “The case was complex and took a while, and there was a lack of cooperation with a lot of the people involved. A lot will come out appropriately in court.” All of the suspects were involved in some way with the robbery, Hyrkas said. He declined to say what the suspects were trying to steal. Six men and three boys face charges of vehicular invasion, aggravated robbery, attempted aggravated robbery, mob action, aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and two counts of aggravated battery in a public place. If convicted of the most serious offense, a Class 1 felony, the men could face four to 15 years in prison. The men are Davon E. Manning, 18, of Crystal Lake; Brandon D. Rosas, 18, of Crystal Lake; Dylan P. Macari, 18, of Huntley; Geoffrey M. Miller, 18, of Lake in the Hills; Thomas S. Madura, 18, of Crystal Lake; and Tyler A. Novak, 18, of Lake in the Hills. All were taken to jail and held in lieu of $75,000 or $80,000 bond. Since then, Novak, Miller, Macari posted bond and were released. The boys were not named because of their age, police said. They were taken to the Kane County Juvenile Justice Center in St. Charles. They will remain there pending a hearing in juvenile court, police said. All of the men are scheduled to be in court at 9 a.m. May 10 at the McHenry County Courthouse in Woodstock. It wasn’t immediately clear whether the incident was gang-related. On Feb. 21, Davon Manning posted a status update on his Facebook profile that referred to gang activity and "snitchin." “I am not going to get into details on whether it was gang-related,” Hyrkas said. “The whole thing is so complex we will rely on prosecutors to present in [...]


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U.S. unemployment claims tick up but remain at low levelFILE - In this Tuesday, July 19, 2016, file photo, a man fills out a job application at a job fair, in Miami Lakes, Fla. On Thursday, April 27, 2017, the Labor Department reported that more Americans filed for unemployment benefits the previous week, but applications remained at a low level, suggesting most workers enjoy job security. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File)

Thu, 27 Apr 2017 15:52:00 GMT

WASHINGTON – More Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week, but applications remained at a low level that suggests most workers enjoy job security.

THE NUMBERS: The Labor Department says weekly jobless claims rose by 14,000 to 257,000, the highest level in almost a month. The less volatile four-week average slipped by 500 to 242,250, lowest since late February.

Overall, 1.99 million Americans are collecting unemployment benefits, down more than 7 percent from a year ago.

THE TAKEAWAY: Jobless claims are a proxy for layoffs. They have come in below 300,000 for 112 straight weeks, the longest streak since 1970. The numbers suggest that most American workers are secure in their jobs.

KEY DRIVERS: The U.S. economy is healthy, if not booming. Employers are adding a healthy 175,000 jobs a month so far this year and are confident enough to be holding on to their workers. The U.S. unemployment rate fell last month to 4.5 percent, lowest in nearly a decade

"The behavior of claims suggests there is room for the unemployment rate to decline further," Raymond Stone, co-founder of Stone & McCarthy Research Associates, wrote in a research report.

Economists believe the economy grew slowly — at an annual pace of 1 percent or lower — from January through March. The Commerce Department releases the first-quarter numbers on Friday. But forecasters expect growth to pick up in the spring. Employers are optimistic about future sales and are posting job openings.

FILE - In this Tuesday, July 19, 2016, file photo, a man fills out a job application at a job fair, in Miami Lakes, Fla. On Thursday, April 27, 2017, the Labor Department reported that more Americans filed for unemployment benefits the previous week, but applications remained at a low level, suggesting most workers enjoy job security. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File)


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Chicago Archdiocese to settle priest abuse suits for $4.45M

Thu, 27 Apr 2017 05:47:00 GMT

CHICAGO – The Archdiocese of Chicago will pay $4.45 million to settle separate lawsuits brought by three men who allege they were sexually abused more than a decade ago by a former Roman Catholic priest and convicted sex offender.

Mark Brown, the attorney for the men, told the Chicago Tribune that two brothers reached settlements in late January. They accused Daniel McCormack of sexually abusing them more than once during an after-school program at Our Lady of the Westside Catholic School in the mid-2000s.

The other man, who was a basketball player on a team McCormack coached for the school, reached his settlement April 20.

An archdiocese spokeswoman confirmed the settlement has been reached. She said she can’t discuss the case “out of respect for the privacy of those involved.”

Allegations against McCormack became public in 2006, four years after Cardinal Francis George, who is now deceased, urged Catholic bishops to remove any priest from ministry for a single act of sexual abuse.

The cardinal didn’t remove him from ministry at St. Agatha Catholic Church when McCormack had been taken into custody by Chicago police in August 2005 for allegedly abusing a boy. McCormack served as a pastor there until 2006.

McCormack was permanently removed from the priesthood after pleading guilty in 2007 to fondling five boys ages 8 to 12. The Illinois attorney general and the Cook County state’s attorney petitioned the court to have him committed under the Sexually Violent Persons Commitment Act when he came up for parole in 2010.

McCormack remains in a state mental health facility as those proceedings continue.




Death of giant British rabbit adds to United Airlines' woes

Thu, 27 Apr 2017 05:40:00 GMT

LONDON – United Airlines is reviewing its handling of a giant showcase rabbit that died after being shipped across the Atlantic from Britain on one of its flights, the latest in a growing list of customer complaints. Distraught breeder Annette Edwards told The Associated Press by phone Wednesday that a veterinarian had checked Simon – a 10-month-old, 3-foot continental rabbit – shortly before the animal was placed on a United flight from London’s Heathrow Airport to Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. Edwards said Simon is the offspring of Darius, which the Guinness World Records lists as the world’s longest rabbit at 4 feet, 3 inches. “Simon had his vet check just before getting on the plane,” she said from Worcestershire in central England. “He was fit as a fiddle.” United spokesman Charles Hobart said the rabbit was moving around in its crate and appeared healthy when taken off the plane in O’Hare, waiting to be put on another flight to Kansas City. About a half-hour later, at the company-run pet facility, Simon seemed to be sleeping. Shortly after that, a pet facility employee opened the cage and found the rabbit dead. He said the airline is reviewing its handling of the animal. “We won’t know the cause of death, because we offered to perform a necropsy free of charge – that’s standard procedure – but the customer didn’t want us to perform a necropsy, and we understand,” he said. Hobart said the airline offered compensation to the breeder but would not disclose the amount. Bryan Bergdale, a farmland investment manager, said he bought the rabbit for his boss, who had hoped to show it at the Iowa State Fair. He had driven from the Des Moines area to Kansas City and was nearing the airport last Thursday when United called with the bad news. At first, he didn’t believe it. “We’d built a pen and had toys all ready. It’s sort of a sad deal,” he said. Bergdale, 29, said he’d tracked down the breeder and bought the rabbit for his boss, Steve Bruere, who owns a farm real estate company in the Des Moines suburb of Clive. Bergdale said the rabbit cost $530 and the shipping was $1,800. Bergdale said the United representative didn’t say anything about compensating him for the loss. “We’re still in the mourning process,” he said. “We’re not quite sure what we’re going to do.” United had the second-highest level of animal deaths and injuries of any U.S. airline last year, or 2.11 per 10,000 animals transported, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. Only Hawaiian Airlines was worse at 3.99, the result of three deaths among the 7,518 a[...]



Passes for Main and West beaches in Crystal Lake available May 8Shaw Media file photo Passes for Main and West beaches on Crystal Lake will go on sale beginning May 8. Prices are $7 for individuals for Crystal Lake and Lakewood residents, and $50 for non-residents. Children ages 3 and younger and senior citizens older than 60 do not require a pass. The cost of a replacement pass is $5.

Thu, 27 Apr 2017 05:38:00 GMT

CRYSTAL LAKE – Passes for Main and West beaches on Crystal Lake will go on sale May 8.

Prices are $7 for individuals for Crystal Lake and Lakewood residents, and $50 for nonresidents.

Children ages 3 and younger and senior citizens older than 60 do not require a pass. The cost of a replacement pass is $5.

The passes only cover use of the beach and not the boat launch, boat rental, program or special event privileges. However, season pass holders get half off boat rentals on weekdays at Main Beach, except for Memorial Day and Independence Day.

Passes are available at the Park District main office at 1 E. Crystal Lake Ave., or at either beach during summer operating hours.

For information, call the district at 815-459-0680, ext. 1213.

– Kevin P. Craver

Shaw Media file photo Passes for Main and West beaches on Crystal Lake will go on sale beginning May 8. Prices are $7 for individuals for Crystal Lake and Lakewood residents, and $50 for non-residents. Children ages 3 and younger and senior citizens older than 60 do not require a pass. The cost of a replacement pass is $5.


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Crystal Lake police check on sex offenders

Thu, 27 Apr 2017 05:37:00 GMT

CRYSTAL LAKE – Crystal Lake police went door-to-door this month to make sure sex offenders are living at their registered addresses.

Crystal Lake has 21 offenders listed on the public adult sex offender and violent offender against youth registry. Juvenile sex offenders are included in this total but are not listed on the public domain. Under state law, registered sex offenders are required to report any change to registration information within three days.

The department maintains an Offender Watch database that residents can access at any time. A direct link to all Crystal Lake residents on the registry can be accessed at www.crystallake.org/departments/police/sex-offender-list.

Crystal Lake police randomly check on sex offenders throughout the year to ensure they are in compliance with all requirements under state law.

The Crystal Lake Police Department’s Targeted Response Unit supervisor Sgt. Mike Bennett can be reached at 815-356-3789 regarding registered sex offenders and noncompliance information.




New Italian restaurant to come to Fox River Grove, village creates new liquor license class for business

Thu, 27 Apr 2017 05:37:00 GMT

FOX RIVER GROVE – A new class of liquor license has been created in Fox River Grove to ensure that when a liquor license is given to a new business, it’s primarily operating as a restaurant, Village Administrator Derek Soderholm said.

The Fox River Grove Village Board agreed to issue the new Class B liquor license to Mio Pizza on the condition that the business takes over the former Jimano’s Pizzeria space and the adjacent space to start the restaurant.

Mio Pizza owner Brian Abraham of Algonquin first wanted to open a business with only video gambling in the village, Soderholm said, but later came back before the board with the Mio Pizza concept when he was told he would have to have food, too.

“I’m concerned that I learned at the last meeting that this was the person who had come before and just wanted to open a gaming license,” Fox River Grove Trustee Patrick Wall said at Thursday’s Village Board meeting. “And I’m concerned that it’s just a front, and it’s not an actual business.”

The board unanimously approved the addition of the Class B liquor license, which requires the license holder to make at least $250,000 in gross annual sales from food, beer and wine. If the licensee doesn’t meet the mark after a year, the liquor commissioner, who is the mayor, may revoke the license, according to the village’s ordinance.

Trustees added the requirement for Mio Pizza to lease not only the former Jimano’s Pizzeria space, 700 Route 14, but also the vacant space adjoining Jimano’s to make it more of a restaurant.

“If we have another place that just ends up as a gambling place, we’re doing a disservice to the residents, we really are,” Trustee Steve Knar said. “We’ve got enough gaming in this town.”

In Illinois, businesses that serve alcohol can apply for a video gambling license with the state. Mio Pizza coming to Fox River Grove was contingent on having video gambling.

Although he originally wanted to open a place with only video gaming, Abraham said the space now will be a “full blown Italian restaurant” that also serves alcohol and has video gaming.

The restaurant will be about 2,000 square feet, Abraham said, and he hopes to open at the end of May.




District 155 to offer aviation course with LITH AirportH. Rick Bamman file photo - hbamman@nwherald.com A Cessna 170 lands at the Lake in the Hills airport. School district 155 is partnering with the airport for a program that puts kids on a path to getting their pilot's license.

Thu, 27 Apr 2017 05:36:00 GMT

CRYSTAL LAKE – High School District 155 is partnering with Lake in the Hills Airport to offer interested students an opportunity to earn a private pilot license. A limited number of spots are available for the course, which gives students the opportunity to study for and pass the written test required by the Federal Aviation Administration before flight time with an instructor can start. Both the district and the airport see the partnership as mutually beneficial. The district can give students an opportunity to begin work pursuing jobs in the in-demand field of aviation. “This course will provide a strong foundation of knowledge and increase students’ exposure of aviation,” Superintendent Johnnie Thomas said in a statement. “Students interested in aviation can advance in high school, allowing them to reduce costs in college.” As for the airport, the course can help promote flying to a new generation, manager Mike Peranich said. “One of the challenges the aviation industry as a whole and the airport face is keeping pilots flying – maintaining an influx of new ones,” Peranich said. “The earlier we can reach kids and involve or interest them, the more they know as adults, and they may make the decision earlier to fly.” Besides pilot, the course is aimed for students who are interested in pursuing the careers of flight operations support, dispatcher, engineering and working for the FAA. Chicago-based Boeing, the world’s largest aviation company, last year projected a demand for nearly 1.5 million pilots and technicians for the worldwide commercial aviation industry over the next 20 years. For North America, the estimate predicts a need for 112,000 new pilots, 127,000 new technicians and 151,000 new cabin crew employees. The course will be taught by a commercial pilot and an FAA-certified ground instructor. Classes will be from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Mondays from Aug. 21 to Dec. 18 at Crystal Lake South High School, giving students the necessary knowledge to pass the written knowledge test. The cost of the course is $350. The district is hosting an informational meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday in the library of Crystal Lake South, 1200 McHenry Ave. The FAA requires a minimum of 40 hours of flight time on top of passing the test in order to get a private pilot license. H. Rick Bamman file photo - hbamman@nwherald.com A Cessna 170 lands at the Lake in the Hills airport. School district 155 is partnering with the airport for a program that puts kids on a path to getting their pilot's license.[...]


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Former Algonquin teen remembered for strong fight against cancerSarah Nader file photo - snader@shawmedia.com Talia Freund, 14, of Mazon visits her father's house in Algonquin Wednesday, March 1, 2017. Freund died Monday after battling Ewing's sarcoma for about 9 months. The 14-year-old and her father, who lives in Algonquin, had raised thousands of dollars for Team Talia, including at a recent St. Baldrick's fundraiser at St. Mary's.

Thu, 27 Apr 2017 05:36:00 GMT

ALGONQUIN – Although 14-year-old Talia Freund lost her battle with metastatic Ewing’s sarcoma Monday, her family has pledged to continue her battle to fight childhood cancer. Freund, formerly of Algonquin, was diagnosed about nine months ago and died peacefully among her family and close friends at her home in Mazon, according to her obituary. Throughout her battle, Talia always kept a smile on her face and was dedicated to helping others who were going through what she was, said her father, Greg Freund of Algonquin. “We have to go continue that fight, and try to make sure as many kids as possible can be saved,” Freund said. Donations to Team Talia and her family while she was fighting cancer totaled more than $30,000, her family said. More than $20,000 was raised at a fundraiser in March in Mazon, Freund said, and nearly $10,000 was raised through the Shamrock Shave at St. Margaret Mary Catholic Church later that month. Talia fought her battle like a warrior, said her mother, Tabitha Freeman. In March, Talia told the Northwest Herald she just wanted to be treated like a normal person, not a cancer patient. “She fought this battle with such a kind, strong heart that it’s admirable,” Freeman said. “I don’t know how she did it.” Family and friends are working on setting up a foundation in honor of Talia to fund childhood cancer research. Talia’s wish was to have memorials made to the Team Talia account at the First Community Financial Bank of Mazon to go toward cancer research. Talia was a freshman attending Seneca Township High School. She had dreams of becoming a special education teacher and had a passion for cosmetics, according to her obituary. In addition to her parents, she is survived by stepfather, Joseph Freeman of Mazon, and brother, Owen. A celebration of Talia’s life will be from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday at U.C. Davis-Callahan Funeral Home, 301 W. Washington St., Morris. The visitation will be at 10 a.m. May 6, followed by Mass at 11 a.m. at St. Margaret Mary Catholic Church, 111 S. Hubbard St., Algonquin. After the Mass, a celebration will be at Haegers Bend Community Center, 3226 E. Bend Drive, Algonquin. Sarah Nader file photo - snader@shawmedia.com Talia Freund, 14, of Mazon visits her father's house in Algonquin Wednesday, March 1, 2017. Freund died Monday after battling Ewing's sarcoma for about 9 months. The 14-year-old and her father, who lives in Algonquin, had raised thous[...]


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NERCOM dispatch center to open May 1Sarah Nader – snader@shawmedia.com Dispatcher Charvon Walker works at the new consolidated dispatch center in McHenry during an open house Wednesday. The center will now dispatch 16 area agencies.Sarah Nader – snader@shawmedia.com Harvard police officer Mark Krause (left) talks with dispatcher Dexter Barrows during an open house of the new consolidated dispatch center Wednesday in McHenry. The center will now dispatch 16 area agencies.Sarah Nader – snader@shawmedia.com Dispatcher Laura Cox works at the new consolidated dispatch center in McHenry during an open house Wednesday. The center will now dispatch 16 area agencies.

Thu, 27 Apr 2017 05:35:00 GMT

McHENRY – Almost two years after Gov. Bruce Rauner signed a law that required McHenry County to reduce its number of dispatch centers, Northeast Regional Communications Center has started taking calls. The dispatch center, which will have its grand opening Monday, was formed from a partnership with the McHenry police, McHenry Township Fire Protection District, Woodstock police and Harvard police. It will be the emergency service provider for 16 local agencies, including the McHenry Township Fire Protection District, Woodstock Police Department, Harvard Police Department, Johnsburg Police Department and Woodstock Fire District.The center will house nine dispatch workstations for those agencies. “We’re excited to have other agencies here,” NERCOM supervisor Jennifer Synek said. “It’s a streamlined process. I know it’s something that was mandated by the government, but we’re here to do a job, and we’re here to do it efficiently.” The law was signed by the governor in 2015 mandating that dispatch centers consolidate. The state mandate requires any county with at least 250,000 residents, which includes McHenry County, to cut its dispatch center by 50 percent by July 1. At an open house Wednesday, McHenry Police Chief John Jones said the consolidation was going to happen even if the governor didn’t mandate it. “Prior to this, we were already dispatching for other area departments. … So in my opinion, this was a natural progression,” Jones said. The McHenry Police Department started evaluating the McHenry Dispatch Center for potential future growth in 2011, and a formal partnership was created between McHenry police and fire departments in 2015 to expand services of the center. Not long after, the state passed the legislation requiring consolidation. The project’s construction and renovation began in September and was recently completed. Jones said the dispatch center’s cost was about $1.3 million. Both Harvard and Woodstock will be responsible for a percentage of NERCOM’s operational costs. “Because Gov. Rauner made it a mandate that 50 percent of our dispatch centers close in McHenry County, a lot of that was made eligible by a grant refund, so we’ve submitted our grant application, and we’re pretty confident we’re going to get the majority of our costs for the dispatch center back,” Jones said. NERCOM staffing will consist of 21 full-time, nonsworn dispatchers and six part-time dispatchers working 12-hour rotating shifts. Woodstock will bring in five of it[...]


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Police find meth lab equipment near McHenry neighborhoodThe 2900 block of Lincoln Road in unincorporated McHenry is seen on Wednesday, April 26 2017. On Tuesday, April 25, 2017 the McHenry County Sheriff’s deputies arrested Sean C. Blackmon for possession of methamphetamine manufacturing material and methamphetamine manufacturing waste.WEB - Sean C. Blackmon, 44, of McHenry, was arrested April 25 and charged with possession of methamphetaimine manufacturing material, a Class 2 felony, methamphetamine manufacturing waste, a Class 2 felony and driving on a suspended license, a Class A misdemeanor.

Thu, 27 Apr 2017 05:35:00 GMT

McHENRY – Police arrested a local man Tuesday after finding equipment for making methamphetamine and methamphetamine manufacturing waste at a home in a residential neighborhood near McHenry. The McHenry County Sheriff’s Office was called about 9:45 a.m. Tuesday to the 2900 block of Lincoln Road near McHenry for the report of a possible meth lab in the area. Deputies saw equipment and supplies, including tubing and jars, that appeared to be part of a meth lab. McHenry County Sheriff’s Deputy Sandra Rogers said materials found in the residence likely were used for the one-pot method – a way to cook methamphetamine in small batches for personal use. Deputies also found other items commonly associated with making meth. No one needed to be evacuated from the surrounding area or alerted of the situation because of the size of the operation, Rogers said. Sean C. Blackmon, 44, was charged with possession of methamphetamine manufacturing material and methamphetamine manufacturing waste, both Class 2 felonies, and driving on a suspended license, a Class A misdemeanor. Rogers said Blackmon has lived at the McHenry residence for at least the past year. She said the sheriff’s office was unable to release Blackmon’s address because there were other people living in the home at the time who were not involved. Blackmon has previously been charged with disorderly conduct in 2016, burglary in 2014 and unlawful possession of a controlled substance in 2002. Members of the Illinois State Police Methamphetamine Response Team and McHenry County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Unit also responded. Blackmon remains in McHenry County Jail custody in lieu of posting 10 percent of his $55,000 bond. He will appear in court Thursday. Rogers said the sheriff’s office has seen an increase in methamphetamine-related arrests in the past year as compared with the past six years, many of which have been small operations such as this one. She said methamphetamine has always been around, but more residents are becoming aware of what’s needed to make it and reaching out to authorities with information, resulting in more investigations and arrests. The 2900 block of Lincoln Road in unincorporated McHenry is seen on Wednesday, April 26 2017. On Tuesday, April 25, 2017 the McHenry County Sheriff’s deputies arrested Sean C. Blackmon for possession of methamphetamine manufacturing material and methamphetamine manufacturing waste.[...]WEB - Sean C. Blackmon, 44, of McHenry, was arrested April 25 and [...]


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Neanderthals in California? Maybe so, provocative study saysIn this April 28, 1993 photo provided by the San Diego Natural History Museum, a bulldozer refills the Cerutti Mastodon site in San Diego, Calif., after the excavation and salvage of fossils. In a report released on Wednesday, April 26, 2017, researchers say the southern California site shows evidence of human-like behavior from about 130,000 years ago, when bones and teeth of an elephant-like mastodon were evidently smashed with rocks. (San Diego Natural History Museum via AP)

Thu, 27 Apr 2017 05:27:00 GMT

NEW YORK – A startling new report asserts that the first-known Americans arrived much, much earlier than scientists thought – more than 100,000 years ago – and maybe they were Neanderthals. If true, the finding would far surpass the widely accepted date of about 15,000 years ago. Researchers say a site in Southern California shows evidence of humanlike behavior from about 130,000 years ago, when bones and teeth of an elephantlike mastodon evidently were smashed with rocks. The earlier date means the bone-smashers were not necessarily members of our own species, Homo sapiens. The researchers speculate that these early Californians could instead have been species known only from fossils in Europe, Africa and Asia: Neanderthals, a little-known group called Denisovans, or another human forerunner named Homo erectus. “The very honest answer is, we don’t know,” said Steven Holen, lead author of the paper and director of the nonprofit Center for American Paleolithic Research in Hot Springs, South Dakota. No remains of any individuals were found. Whoever they were, they could have arrived by land or sea. They might have come from Asia via the Beringea land bridge that used to connect Siberia to Alaska, or maybe came across by watercraft along the Beringea coast or across open water to North America, before turning southward to California, Holen said in a telephone interview. Holen and others present their evidence in a paper released Wednesday by the journal Nature. Not surprisingly, the report was met by skepticism from other experts who don’t think there is enough proof. The research dates back to the winter of 1992-93. The site was unearthed during a routine dig by researchers during a freeway expansion project in San Diego. Analysis of the find was delayed to assemble the right expertise, said Tom Demere, curator of paleontology at the San Diego Natural History Museum, another author of the paper. The Nature analysis focuses on remains from a single mastodon, and five stones found nearby. The mastodon’s bones and teeth evidently were placed on two stones used as anvils and smashed with three stone hammers, to get at nutritious marrow and create raw material for tools. Patterns of damage on the limb bones looked like what happened in experiments when elephant bones were smashed with rocks. And the bones and stones were found in two areas, each roughly centered on what’s thought to be an anvil. The stones measured about 8 inches to[...]


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