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At $515 an hour, legal bills mount in Algonquin Township labor disputeSarah Nader file photo – snader@shawmedia.com Algonquin Township Highway Commissioner Andrew Gasser (right) sits in an overflow room during an Algonquin Township Board meeting June 14 in Crystal Lake. The International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150 protested the firing of three members shortly after Gasser was sworn in as highway commissioner.Sarah Nader flie photo – snader@shawmedia.com Andrew Rosencrans (left) and Derek Lee speak during an Algonquin Township Board meeting June 14 in Crystal Lake. Rosencrans and Lee both were fired shortly after Algonquin Township Highway Commissioner Andrew Gasser took office.

Fri, 20 Oct 2017 22:50:00 GMT

CRYSTAL LAKE – Taxpayers in Algonquin Township could be on the hook for mounting legal costs in a labor dispute where one attorney is charging $515 an hour – an unheard of amount, one expert said. Legal fees from a law firm hired by the Algonquin Township Highway Department in a dispute with the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150 have topped $130,000 since May. Highway Commissioner Andrew Gasser was sent a bill for $23,512 on Oct. 5, records show. One township trustee is fearful the bills could put the taxing body in financial trouble. “I’m so scared he’s going to bankrupt the township and we’re not going to have a township in three years,” Algonquin Township Trustee Melissa Victor said. Gasser said he’s not concerned about bankrupting the municipality. He said complaints about his spending are political. “I don’t think any of the trustees are lawyers,” said Gasser, who added he has spent 45 percent of his budget since he took office on improving recycling and finishing road projects ahead of schedule. “This is local politics used by trustees who ran against me, and [they] are using this as a political football.” Since June, Robert T. Hanlon & Associates has represented Gasser and the highway department in a fight against Local 150 and the Illinois Labor Relations Board. For his work in multiple union cases, Hanlon charges Gasser and the department $375 an hour, according to billing records obtained by the Northwest Herald. Billing documents show that labor attorney Michael Ernest Avakian also has helped Hanlon in his work for Algonquin Township. Charging $515 an hour, the Washington, D.C., attorney spent hours researching, editing and finalizing responses regarding the union, according to October billing records. In total, Avakian logged $10,711.50 in bills through Hanlon’s office. Avakian’s work appeared on an Oct. 5 bill that Hanlon charged the department for $23,512. Hanlon’s office charged a total of $131,016.60 between May and October, according to billing records. At Ancel Glink, a law firm specializing in local government work, attorney Keri-Lyn J. Krafthefer and her associates represent 450 cities and 50 townships and road districts. In her 29 years as a lawyer, Krafthefer said she has never seen a township pay so much for a lawyer. “In most of our townships, we don’t charge $10,000 a year for all of their legal work,” said Krafthefer, who charges her clients about $195 an hour. “Never have I seen those types of rates involved. I don’t know any other public sector attorneys that get paid that much.” James Kelly, the lawyer who usually represents Algonquin Township, charges $200 an hour. Algonquin Township trustees have no authority in choosing which lawyer represents the highway commissioner or how much that lawyer is paid, said Trustee Dan Shea, who is “extremely concerned” with the highway department’s bills. “I personally don’t like to see this fabulous amount of money spent that the public gets no benefit from,” Shea said. “I’ve always treated the public’s money like it’s my own, and I’m cheap.” Township officials are concerned Hanlon is not doing a good enough job for the money he’s been paid. On Sept. 28, Administrative Law Judge Deena Sanceda ordered the highway department to rehire three employees Gasser fired on his first day in office with back pay and interest. Sanceda ordered the employees be rehired because Gasser and Hanlon never responded to the labor complaint. “I think the township needs to look into filing a malpractice lawsuit,” Victor said. “He is not showing up, and nothing i[...]


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Fire destroys truck near WoodstockPhoto provided by Alex Vucha Woodstock Fire/Rescue District Firefighters contain a vehicle fire on Rt. 120 between Fleming Rd. and Queen Anne Rd. early Friday morning.Photo provided by Alex Vucha Woodstock Fire/Rescue District Firefighters contain a vehicle fire on Rt. 120 between Fleming Rd. and Queen Anne Rd. early Friday morning.Photo provided by Alex Vucha Woodstock Fire/Rescue District Firefighters contain a vehicle fire on Rt. 120 between Fleming Rd. and Queen Anne Rd. early Friday morning.

Fri, 20 Oct 2017 21:24:00 GMT

WOODSTOCK – Woodstock Fire/Rescue District first responders were called to a reported box van fire early Friday on Route 120 between Fleming Road and Queen Anne Road.

The driver noticed smoke coming from the vent of the van, and it was in flames by the time the district got there about 2:30 a.m., according to Woodstock Fire Rescue District officials.

No one was injured in the fire, officials said.

The cause of the fire isn’t yet known, according to the district.

Photo provided by Alex Vucha Woodstock Fire/Rescue District Firefighters contain a vehicle fire on Rt. 120 between Fleming Rd. and Queen Anne Rd. early Friday morning.Photo provided by Alex Vucha Woodstock Fire/Rescue District Firefighters contain a vehicle fire on Rt. 120 between Fleming Rd. and Queen Anne Rd. early Friday morning.Photo provided by Alex Vucha Woodstock Fire/Rescue District Firefighters contain a vehicle fire on Rt. 120 between Fleming Rd. and Queen Anne Rd. early Friday morning.


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Wonder Lake man, 2 teens charged with McHenry-area burglariesTeghan Appleberg, 18, of Wonder Lake was arrested in connection with burglaries in unincorporated McHenry.

Fri, 20 Oct 2017 21:17:00 GMT

McHENRY – McHenry County Sheriff's deputies arrested a Wonder Lake man and two other teenagers in connection with burglaries in unincorporated McHenry.

At 2:15 a.m. Thursday, deputies from the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office were dispatched to the area of West Riverside Drive in the Orchard Heights subdivision for a report of people possibly breaking into vehicles.

On the scene, deputies found Teghan Appleberg, 18, of Wonder Lake and two juveniles, ages 17 and 13, according to a news release from the McHenry County Sheriff's Office. All three were taken into custody.

Appleberg was charged with burglary for taking items from a vehicle and was taken to the McHenry County Corrections Facility. The two juveniles were charged with burglary and residential burglary and were taken to the Kane County Juvenile Justice Center, police said.

The McHenry County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigation Division is investigating their connection with multiple vehicle burglaries in that area. Police recently have reported several car burglaries in Johnsburg and in Pistakee Highlands.

Investigators have requested that anyone who might have been a victim of these burglaries call them at 815-334-4750.

Teghan Appleberg, 18, of Wonder Lake was arrested in connection with burglaries in unincorporated McHenry.


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Live updates from Friday night football in McHenry County: Week 9

Fri, 20 Oct 2017 20:19:00 GMT

Looking for live updates from Friday night football games throughout McHenry County in Week 8? We've got you covered.

First, if you don't already, give us a like on Facebook so you don't miss the full recap from any game.

We also put out a weekly newsletter recapping the night. You can sign up here.

Ready for the playoffs? Join our Facebook group here and don't forget the exclusive newsletter with Steve Soucie's analysis.

For live updates from indivdiual games, our list is below:

Cary-Grove vs. Crystal Lake Central

St. Patrick vs. Marian Central

Huntley vs. McHenry

Johnsburg vs. Marengo

Woodstock North vs. Rock Falls

Dundee-Crown vs. Prairie Ridge

Hampshire vs. Jacobs

Woodstock vs. Richmond-Burton


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Lakemoor woman injured after early morning rollover crashShaw Media file photo

Fri, 20 Oct 2017 16:47:00 GMT

LAKEMOOR — A 23-year-old Lakemoor woman was sent to the hospital after the car she was driving rolled into a ditch early Friday morning in Lakemoor.

Lakemoor police responded to the crash just after 6 a.m. Friday at the intersection of Route 120 and Sullivan Lake Boulevard, Lakemoor Deputy Police Chief George Manis said.

Ashley Magnus turned left onto Route 120 from Sullivan Lake Boulevard in front of a truck carrying a crane – the truck was traveling west on Route 120, police said.

"She either didn’t see the truck or tried to beat the truck," Manis said.

Magnus's car rolled into a ditch from the impact of the truck striking it. She was transported to Centegra Hospital-McHenry with minor injuries, and citations for failing to yield are pending Manis said.

Lake County Sheriff's deputies also responded to the scene to help close surrounding lanes and direct traffic. The area surrounding the crash was closed for roughly 30 minutes, Manis said.

Lake County's official transportation Twitter account warned commuters of "heavy delays" in a tweet sent at 6:42 a.m.

Shaw Media file photo


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Crystal Lake police reports

Fri, 20 Oct 2017 16:02:00 GMT

Information in police reports is obtained from the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office and municipal police departments. Individuals listed in police reports who have been charged with a crime have not been proven guilty in court.

• Fredy Cabrera, 18, 400 block of Ambassador Circle, Crystal Lake, was charged Wednesday, Sept. 13, with domestic battery.

• Bradley J. Tieman, 18, 1400 block of North East End Avenue, Round Lake Beach, was charged Thursday, Sept. 7, with identity theft, theft and receiving, possessing or selling a stolen vehicle.

• Jose M. Contreras, 34, 100 block of East Cherry Street, Cary, was charged Monday, Sept. 4, with criminal trespass to a residence and violating an order of protection.

• Reynaldo Villavicencio-Garcia, 27, 100 block of Georgian Court, Crystal Lake, was charged Sunday, Sept. 3, with aggravated driving under the influence.

• Vladislav V. Stoilov, 22, 1300 block of Ivy Lane, Crystal Lake, was charged Saturday, Sept. 2, with driving under the influence of alcohol.

Francisco Lopez-Luna, 25, 200 block of Uteg Street, Crystal Lake, was charged Saturday, Aug. 26, with aggravated driving under the influence, driving under the influence of alcohol, possession of a controlled or counterfeit substance and an expired driver’s license.

• Nicolas A. Romero, 25, 200 block of Lincoln Avenue, Fox River Grove, was charged Saturday, Aug. 26, with driving under the influence of alcohol and a Kane County warrant from criminal sexual assault with force.

• Danielle L. Dzemske, 27, 500 block of Brookwood Triangle, McHenry, was charged Thursday, Aug. 24, with possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia.

• Ashley E. Moyer, 28, 100 block of Lakewood Drive, Oakwood Hills, was charged Thursday, Aug. 24, with possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia.




Cary police blotter

Fri, 20 Oct 2017 15:52:00 GMT

Information in police reports is obtained from the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office and municipal police departments. Individuals listed in police reports who have been charged with a crime have not been proven guilty in court.

• Todd Wesol, 68, transient, was charged Monday, Oct. 16, with retail theft and aggravated assault.

• Robert L. Krike, 48, transient, was charged Monday, Oct. 16, with retail theft and aggravated assault.

• A 17-year-old Crystal Lake boy was charged Monday, Oct. 2, with driving under the influence of drugs, no valid driver's license and a citation for possession of drug paraphernalia.

• Matthew K. Wiese, 19, 0-100 block of Garden Place Circle, Cary, was charged Tuesday, Oct. 3, with consumption of alcohol.

• Matthew K. Wiese, 19, 0-100 block of Garden Place Circle, Cary, was charged Tuesday, Oct. 10 with aggravated assault and underage consumption of alcohol.




Police investigating several car burglaries in JohnsburgShaw Media file photo

Fri, 20 Oct 2017 15:31:00 GMT

JOHNSBURG — The Johnsburg Police Department is investigating several car burglaries that happened overnight in the Chapel Hill Estates Subdivision area.

The department sent out a Nixle alert about 9:20 a.m. Friday regarding the burglaries and asked for the public's assistance in gathering information about the crimes that occurred sometime between 9 p.m. and 4 a.m.

The McHenry County Sheriff's Office is investigating several similar crimes that happened in the Pistakee Highlands area of McHenry County, north of Johnsburg, overnight Tuesday.

"As a reminder please do not leave valuables in vehicles or leave vehicles unsecured," the alert from Johnsburg police said.

An undetermined amount of money and a pack of cigarettes were stolen from vehicles that were unlocked, Johnsburg Police Chief Keith Von Allmen said. No vehicles were damaged to be burglarized.

There are no leads at this time, Von Allmen said.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Johnsburg Police Department at 815-385-6024.

"If you see or hear suspicious activity please call the police immediately," the alert stated.

Shaw Media file photo


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Senate backs GOP budget in step forward for tax revampSen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., a member of the Senate Budget Committee, heads to the floor during a series of votes at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Fri, 20 Oct 2017 05:21:00 GMT

WASHINGTON – Republicans on Thursday muscled a $4 trillion budget through the Senate in a major step forward for President Donald Trump’s ambitious promise of “massive tax cuts and reform.” The 51-49 vote sets the stage for debate later this year to dramatically overhaul the U.S. tax code for the first time in three decades, cutting rates for individuals and corporations while eliminating trillions of dollars of deductions and special interest tax breaks. The tax cuts would add up to $1.5 trillion to the deficit over the coming decade, however, as Republicans have shelved fears about the growing budget deficit in favor of a once-in-a-generation opportunity to rewrite tax laws. “These are reforms that change incentives and drive growth, and we’ve never done that before,” said Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa. The White House hailed the bill’s passage, saying it “creates a pathway to unleash the potential of the American economy through tax reform and tax cuts.” Divisions within the GOP indicate the process won’t be easy despite the political imperative. The upcoming tax measure, always a top item on the GOP agenda, has taken on even greater urgency with the failure of the party to carry out its longstanding promise to dismantle former President Barack Obama’s signature health care law. Republicans have said failure on taxes would be politically devastating in next year’s midterm elections, when control of the House and Senate are at stake. When reconciled with the House budget plan, the nonbinding measure would set up special procedures to pass follow-up tax legislation without the threat of a filibuster by Senate Democrats. Pressure is mounting, however, on the House to simply adopt the Senate budget plan rather than risk lengthy negotiations that could delay the tax measure. The House measure calls for a tax plan that wouldn’t add to the deficit, as well as $200 billion worth of cuts to benefit programs that the Senate has rejected. Democrats blasted the GOP budget, warning voters that the upcoming tax measure will shower benefits on top-bracket earners, corporations, business partnerships and people inheriting multimillion-dollar estates. Trump promises that the tax plan – still under development – is aimed at the middle class, but previous versions have seen upper-income individuals benefiting the most. “The bottom line on this budget is that it’s a right-wing fantasy document that paves the way for a hyper-partisan process on tax reform and trillions of dollars in handouts to big corporations and the wealthy,” said Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden, the top Democrat on the tax-writing Finance Committee. “The more people learn about this tax bill, the less they will like it,” said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. “That’s what led to the demise of health care, ultimately, is that it was unpopular with the American people.” Only one Republican, Rand Paul of Kentucky, voted against the budget. He said the measure permits too much spending and abandons the GOP drive to repeal the Obama health law. An amendment by Paul to revive the “Obamacare” repeal failed by a 2-to-1 margin. “The American people are sick and tired of Congress spending recklessly with no end in sight,” Paul said, adding that the GOP plan “simply didn’t measure up and spent too much.” Under Capitol Hill’s byzantine budget rules, the nonbinding budget resolution is supposed to lay out a long-term fiscal framework for the government. This year’[...]


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Spain set to strip Catalonia of powers over independence bidAP photo Demonstrators protest against Catalan government's push for secession from the rest of Spain on Wednesday in Barcelona. The pro-independence regional Catalan government's foreign affairs chief rules out the possibility of the region holding fresh elections as a possible way out of the impasse with Spain.

Fri, 20 Oct 2017 05:20:00 GMT

BARCELONA, Spain – The crisis over Catalonia’s quest for independence escalated Thursday, as Spain’s central government prepared the unprecedented step of stripping the wealthy region of some of its self-governing powers after its leader refused to abandon secession. In his latest display of brinkmanship, Catalan President Carles Puigdemont sent a letter to Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy just minutes before a deadline set by Madrid for him to backtrack on his calls to secede. Puigdemont didn’t back down, however, and threatened to go ahead with a unilateral proclamation of independence if the government refuses to negotiate. “If the state government persists in blocking dialogue and the repression continues, the Parliament of Catalonia will proceed, if deemed appropriate, to vote on the formal declaration of independence,” Puigdemont’s letter said in an English translation provided by the Catalan regional government. Spain’s government responded by calling a special Cabinet session for Saturday when it will set in motion Article 155 of the Spanish Constitution. That article allows for central authorities to take over all or some of the powers of any of the country’s 17 autonomous regions. Regarded as the “nuclear option,” such a punitive measure takes the standoff to another level. It probably will trigger outrage in Catalonia and could backfire by fostering sympathy for the independence movement, which polls suggest is supported only by about half of Catalans. With a mood of defiance hardening in the Catalan capital of Barcelona and the Madrid-based government adamant that the constitution doesn’t allow for the breakup of Spain, there seems to be no end in sight for one of Europe’s long-simmering disputes. The standoff has intensified since Oct. 1, when Catalan authorities held an independence referendum that Spain’s Constitutional Court declared illegal. The national government sent thousands of police to enforce a court order disallowing the balloting, bringing violent clashes that further soured relations. The dispute is increasingly encroaching on the European Union’s political agenda. Catalonia wasn’t officially to be discussed at an EU summit starting Thursday in Brussels, but leaders offered their views. French President Emmanuel Macron reiterated his recent support for Rajoy, saying that the summit would be “marked by a message of unity around member states amid the crises they could face, unity around Spain.” European Council President Donald Tusk ruled out any EU role in the dispute, telling reporters on the sidelines of the summit that “there is no room, no space for any kind of mediation, or international initiatives or action.” While polls indicate that Catalonia’s 7.5 million residents are divided over independence, an overwhelming majority wants to settle the issue in a binding legal referendum. Many Catalans have long stressed the region’s differences from the rest of Spain. The latest surge for independence began in 2010, when the Constitutional Court struck down key parts of a groundbreaking charter that would have granted greater autonomy for Catalonia and recognized it as a nation within Spain. Article 155 has never been used in the four decades since democracy was restored after the dictatorship of Gen. Francisco Franco. The article leaves it up to the national government to decide what specific measures to take. Officials say Madrid will almost certainly seize control of Catalonia’s regional police to ensure law an[...]


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Trump's border wall models take shape in San DiegoPeople pass border wall prototypes as they stand near the border with Tijuana, Mexico, Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017, in San Diego. Companies are nearing an Oct. 26 deadline to finish building eight prototypes of President Donald Trump's proposed border wall with Mexico. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

Fri, 20 Oct 2017 05:20:00 GMT

SAN DIEGO – The last two of eight prototypes for President Donald Trump's proposed border wall took shape Thursday at a construction site in San Diego. The prototypes form a tightly packed row of imposing concrete and metal panels, including one with sharp metal edges on top. Another has a surface resembling an expensive brick driveway. Companies have until Oct. 26 to finish the models but Border Patrol spokesman Theron Francisco said the last two came into profile, with crews installing a corrugated metal surface on the eighth model on a dirt lot just a few steps from homes in Tijuana, Mexico. As the crews worked, three men and two women, one carrying a large red purse, jumped a short rusted fence from Tijuana into the construction site and were immediately stopped by agents on horseback. Francisco said there have been four or five other illegal crossing attempts at the site since work began Sept. 26. The models, which cost the government up to $500,000 each, were spaced 30 feet apart. Slopes, thickness and curves vary. One has two shades of blue with white trim. The others are gray, tan or brown – in sync with the desert. Bidding guidelines call for the prototypes to stand between 18 and 30 feet high and be able to withstand at least an hour of punishment from a sledgehammer, pickaxe, torch, chisel or battery-operated tools. Features also should prevent the use of climbing aids such as grappling hooks, and the segments must be "aesthetically pleasing" when viewed from the U.S. side. The administration hasn't said how many winners it will pick or whether Trump will weigh in himself. There is currently 654 miles of single-layer fence on the 1,954-mile border, plus 51 miles of double- and triple-layer fence. "I'm sure they will engage in a lot of tests against these structures to see how they function with different challenges," U.S. Rep. Bob Goodlatte, a Virginia Republican who chairs the House Judiciary Committee, said Tuesday after touring the construction site. Trump has asked Congress for $1.6 billion to replace 14 miles of wall in San Diego and build 60 miles in Texas' Rio Grande Valley, the busiest corridor for illegal crossings. Here's a rundown of companies building prototypes, their headquarters and value of their contract. Two are making one concrete prototype and another using other materials. CADELL CONSTRUCTION CO., Montgomery, Alabama. ($344,000 for concrete wall, $320,000 for other wall) Its tan concrete wall is thick at the bottom and narrows considerably toward the pointed top. The other, also tan, has metal poles on the bottom, a metal plate in the middle, and concrete block on top. The general construction company founded in 1983 says its projects include U.S. embassies in Beijing and Kabul, Afghanistan, terminals at Houston's George Bush International Airport and renovations to the Denver Mint. W.G. YATES & SONS CONSTRUCTION CO., Philadelphia, Mississippi. ($453,548 for concrete wall, $458,103 for other wall) Its models are a darker brown than other prototypes and topped by round beams. Its concrete panel has a plain face; its metal one has a corrugated surface. The 53-year-old company has worked in a wide range of projects, including a Toyota plant in Blue Springs, Mississippi, a county jail in Olmito, Texas, a marine terminal in Jacksonville, Florida[...]


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Backyard chicken trend causes spike in infections, 1 fatalIn this Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2017, photo, Tanya Keith, of Des Moines, Iowa, and her daughter Iolana feed their chickens in the backyard of their home, in Des Moines. The trend of raising backyard chickens is causing a soaring number of illnesses from poultry-related diseases. For Keith, the nine hens and a rooster that she keeps behind her home provide fresh eggs and lessons for her three children about where food comes from. But even as her kids collect eggs and help keep the six nesting boxes tidy, she warns them not get too affectionate. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Fri, 20 Oct 2017 05:20:00 GMT

DES MOINES, Iowa – Luke Gabriele was a healthy 14-year-old football player in Pennsylvania when he began to feel soreness in his chest that grew increasingly painful. After his breathing became difficult, doctors detected a mass that appeared to be a tumor. For a week, Dan and DeAnna Gabriele thought their son was dying until tests identified the cause: not cancer, but chickens – the ones he cared for at home. They had apparently infected him with salmonella that produced a severe abscess. The popular trend of raising backyard chickens in U.S. cities and suburbs is bringing with it a soaring number of illnesses from poultry-related diseases, at least one of them fatal. Since January, more than 1,100 people have contracted salmonella poisoning from chickens and ducks in 48 states, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Almost 250 were hospitalized and one person died. The toll was four times higher than in 2015. The CDC estimates that the actual number of cases from contact with chickens and ducks is likely much higher. "For one salmonella case we know of in an outbreak, there are up to 30 others that we don't know about," CDC veterinarian Megin Nichols said. A "large contributing factor" to the surge, Nichols said, comes from natural food fanciers who have taken up the backyard chicken hobby but don't understand the potential dangers. Some treat their birds like pets, kissing or snuggling them and letting them walk around the house. Poultry can carry salmonella bacteria in their intestines that can be shed in their feces. The bacteria can attach to feathers and dust and brush off on shoes or clothing. But illnesses can be prevented with proper handling. The CDC recommends that people raising chickens wash their hands thoroughly after handling the birds, eggs or nesting materials, and leave any shoes worn in a chicken coop outside. Salmonella is much more common as a food-borne illness. More than 1 million people fall ill each year from salmonella contamination in food, resulting in more than 300 deaths, according to the CDC. There are no firm figures on how many households in the U.S. have backyard chickens, but a Department of Agriculture report in 2013 found a growing number of residents in Denver, Los Angeles, Miami and New York City expressed interest in getting them. Coops are now seen in even the smallest yards and densest urban neighborhoods. For Tanya Keith, the nine hens and a rooster that she keeps behind her home in Des Moines provide fresh eggs and lessons for her three children about where food comes from. But even as her kids collect eggs and help keep the six nesting boxes tidy, she warns them not get too affectionate. "We don't transfer chicken germs to our face," Keith tells them. Stopping the germs at home is important because safeguards against salmonella are limited at the commercial sources that sell most of the birds. A large share of baby chicks and ducks sold to consumers come from about 20 feed and farm supply retailers across the U.S. They get their chicks from a half dozen large hatcheries that supply tens of millions of baby chicks and ducklings each year. While the Agriculture Department encourages hatcheries to be tested regularly for salmonella contamination, the program is voluntary. Unsanitary conditions or rodent infestations can help salmonella spread in ha[...]


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Puerto Rico still stumbles in the dark a month after MariaAP file photo National Guard soldiers distribute water and food Sept. 24 in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Distribution of basic resources, including food and water, lagged as Donald Trump's administration cited logistical and geographical challenges in delivering aid to a U.S. territory about 1,000 miles away from the mainland.

Fri, 20 Oct 2017 05:20:00 GMT

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – One man climbs 24 flights of stairs several times a day alongside dormant elevators. Street vendors hawk plastic washboards for $20. And families outstretch their hands as crews in helicopters drop supplies in communities that remain isolated. This is life one month after Hurricane Maria slammed into the U.S. territory Sept. 20 as a Category 4 storm that killed at least 48 people, destroyed tens of thousands of homes and left tens of thousands of people without a job. It was the strongest hurricane to hit Puerto Rico in nearly a century, with winds just shy of Category 5 force. “I’ve never seen anything like this,” retired schoolteacher Santa Rosario said as she scanned empty shelves at a supermarket in the capital of San Juan that had run out of water jugs – again. Maria caused as much as an estimated $85 billion in damage across an island already mired in an 11-year recession. That has complicated and delayed efforts to restructure a portion of a $74 billion public debt load that officials said is unpayable. And it has thrust Puerto Rico’s territorial status into the international spotlight, reviving a sharp debate about its political future as the island attempts to recover from flooding, landslides and power and water outages. Maria has also put Puerto Rico into the U.S. political spotlight with President Donald Trump on Thursday giving himself a “10” for his response to the devastation wrought by the hurricane. Asked when the 3.4 million U.S. citizens living there could expect power to be fully restored, Trump said it will take “a while.” “There’s never been a case where power plants were gone,” Trump said, seated alongside Gov. Ricardo Rossello in the Oval Office. “So it’s going to be a period of time before the electric is restored.” About 80 percent of power customers remain in the dark, and another 30 percent are without water. Schools remain closed. Stoplights are not operating. And while nearly 90 percent of supermarkets have reopened, many have bare rows of shelves empty of goods ranging from water to bananas to canned tuna. “We’re not eating well,” said 28-year-old maintenance worker Pedro Lopez as he took a break from cleaning a damaged apartment complex. “It’s a lot of white rice and fried eggs.” Near where he stood, massive tree trunks, pieces of zinc roofs and soggy items including mattresses still lined the street – a scene common across the island. Less than half of Puerto Rico’s cellphone towers are operating, and only 64 percent of bank branches have reopened, some of them with dead outdoor ATMs whose empty screens prompt a roll of eyes from people seeking to withdraw money. A brown haze has settled over parts of the island as more and more generators are turned on to light hospitals, homes and even the power company itself. In turn, the number of asthma cases and thefts has increased. Newly precious generators have been stolen from places including a nursing home, an airport cargo terminal and a hospital. Nearly 5,000 people remain in shelters, with many using rainwater to shower. “Life has changed dramatically,” said Gilberto Del Orbe, 50, who used to install marble and gypsum board. “I’ve had no work. Everything is paralyzed.” Last week, the House of Representatives passed a $36.5 billion disaster[...]


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Evoking slain son, Kelly defends Trump on condolence callsAP photo White House Chief of Staff John Kelly speaks to the media Thursday in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House.

Fri, 20 Oct 2017 05:20:00 GMT

WASHINGTON – He started by describing the reverent handling of America’s war dead, bodies packed in ice and shipped home in the dark to Dover Air Force Base. From that opening, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly delivered a raw and searing monologue Thursday about the reality and pain of war sacrifice, praising those who serve and summoning the 2010 death of his own son to defend President Donald Trump against accusations of insensitive outreach to a grieving military family. In an unannounced appearance at the White House, Kelly, a retired three-star general whose son was killed while serving in Afghanistan, dressed down the Democratic congresswoman who had criticized Trump for comments she said he had made in a condolence call to the pregnant widow of a Green Beret killed in Niger. Kelly called Rep Frederica Wilson of Florida an “empty barrel” who “makes noise,” but he did not deny the lawmaker’s account of the phone call, as the president had this week. Throughout his remarks, Kelly lamented what he said was lost respect for military service, women, authority and more. “I was stunned when I came to work yesterday morning, and brokenhearted at what I saw a member of Congress doing,” Kelly said. “Absolutely stuns me. And I thought at least that was sacred.” The remarkable scene underscored Kelly’s singular role as an authoritative adviser and now spokesman for a president who is prone to false claims, exaggerations and misstatements. Kelly, who joined the White House to restore internal order, has increasingly become a public figure himself, employed to project calm and reassurance in times of crisis. The uproar over Trump and how presidents should or shouldn’t try to console families of the fallen has rattled the White House and overshadowed the rest of Trump’s agenda in recent days. Kelly personally absolved Trump of blame in his call to the family of Sgt. La David Johnson, a conversation that prompted Wilson to declare that the president had been disrespectful to the grieving family and couldn’t remember Johnson’s name. “If you’re not in the family, if you’ve never worn the uniform, if you’ve never been in combat, you can’t even imagine how to make that call,” Kelly said. “I think he very bravely does make those calls.” Trump – who frequently has struggled with showing empathy – emphatically has rejected claims that he was disrespectful. But he started the latest controversy this week when he boasted about his commitment to calling service members’ next of kin and brought Kelly into the matter by wondering aloud whether President Barack Obama had called the former Marine general after the death of Kelly’s son. Kelly confirmed Thursday that Obama had not called him, but he made clear “that was not a criticism.” “That’s not a negative thing,” he said. “I don’t believe all presidents call. I believe they all write.” In fact, the chief of staff said that when Trump took office, he advised him against making those calls: “I said to him, ‘Sir there’s nothing you can do to lighten the burden on these families.’ ” But Trump wanted to make the calls, and asked Kelly for advice on what to say. In response, Kelly told him what General Joseph Dunford, now chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told him when Robert Kelly was killed. Kelly recalled that D[...]


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2 Legionnaires' cases reported at Quincy veterans homeAP file photo The main entrance to the Illinois Veterans Home appears May 18, 2012, in Quincy. The Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs said Wednesday that two residents at the home contracted Legionnaires' disease more than two years after an outbreak killed 12 people and sickened 54 at the facility.

Fri, 20 Oct 2017 05:19:00 GMT

QUINCY – Two cases of Legionnaires’ disease have been reported at a veterans home in western Illinois more than two years after an outbreak killed 12 people and sickened 54 at the facility.

The Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs said Wednesday that two residents at the Illinois Veterans Home in Quincy contracted the disease. Department spokesman Dave MacDonna said one resident died last week, but officials believe the death resulted from other factors. The other resident is recovering.

The bacteria that cause Legionnaires’ disease grow in warm water and often are present in water supplies. MacDonna said the source of the current Legionnaires’ disease cases isn’t known. He said the facility is “testing the water and closely monitoring residents.”

Facility administrator Troy Culbertson said he was surprised to see the recent cases, because the home’s water is tested often and results have been negative. “The clinical indications [from the two cases] are not matching with our water quality results,” Culbertson said. “We have had very good water quality results for this whole year. In fact, none of our sites on campus are testing positive.”

Culbertson said he wonders whether the residents contracted the disease while off campus.

“That is a very real possibility that the [Department of Public Health] and [Illinois] EPA are looking at right now,” he said.

The outbreak in 2015 occurred after the state Department of Veterans’ Affairs began a nearly $5 million extensive rehabilitation of the home. Another case of three residents becoming ill was reported in 2016.

AP file photo The main entrance to the Illinois Veterans Home appears May 18, 2012, in Quincy. The Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs said Wednesday that two residents at the home contracted Legionnaires' disease more than two years after an outbreak killed 12 people and sickened 54 at the facility.


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Man gets maximum 15-year term in terrorism case

Fri, 20 Oct 2017 05:19:00 GMT

CHICAGO – A federal judge scolded a former college student from Aurora as he sentenced him to a maximum 15-year prison term Thursday for seeking to join terrorist-linked militants fighting Bashar Assad’s regime in Syria, saying he would have given him even more time behind bars if statutes allowed it.

The judge brushed aside arguments by Abdella Ahmad Tounisi’s lawyers who said the then-18-year-old’s plans for Syria in 2013 didn’t neatly fit the definition of terrorism. They insisted he’d been motivated foremost by a sincere desire to help Syrians by fighting Assad’s repressive regime – not by any extremist ideology.

“You traded your opportunity to attend college for a terrorist training camp,” Judge Samuel Der-Yeghiayan said, addressing Tounisi directly. “You chose to join a bunch of thugs who took pride in cowardly killings.”

He then added sternly: “There are no free passes when it comes to collusion with terrorists.”

The judge said the group Tounisi aspired to join, Jabhat al-Nusrah, wasn’t merely one of many militant organizations seeking to oust Assad – some of which the U.S. has supported. It was one affiliated with al-Qaida, which has “openly called for the destruction of this nation,” Der-Yeghiayan said.

Tounisi apologized in a brief statement before he was sentenced, speaking softly and looking younger than his 23 years. After reflection in jail, he said, he’s now grateful federal agents arrested him at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport on April 19, 2013, before he could start his journey to participate in the civil war in Syria.

“Thank you,” he said. “Thank you for saving my life.”

As the hearing began, a child sitting on Tounisi’s father’s lap smiled when he saw Tounisi led into the room and shouted, “Hi Abdella!” Tounisi, standing with his legs shackled, later hung his head when the judge imposed the toughest punishment available under U.S. law. Several of his relatives in court also looked shaken.

Tounisi pleaded guilty in 2015 to attempting to provide material support to terrorists. Defense attorneys had asked for a seven-year prison term, which with time served could have led to his release from prison within two or three years.

Although the U.S. attorney’s office asked in filings for a 15-year term, prosecutor Barry Jonas sounded conciliatory Thursday compared to the judge. Jonas told Der-Yeghiayan he accepted that Tounisi was “extremely remorseful” and said the court could consider it in calculating a sentence.

Tounisi’s case also focused attention on the use of fake extremist sites created by the FBI. Critics said they tend to woo and then ensnare impressionable youth, such as Tounisi, while others argue they stop terrorist wannabes in the virtual world before they can carry out real-world harm.




McHenry County Conservation District to hold oak tree planting event in Marengo

Fri, 20 Oct 2017 05:12:00 GMT

MARENGO – The McHenry County Conservation District is looking for volunteers to help plant more than 300 oak trees in Marengo.

The OAKtober planting party will be from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday at the Marengo Ridge Conservation Area, 2411 N. Route 23, according to a news release from the district.

Participants at the event will help restore the oak ecosystems that once covered a third of the county’s land, according to the release. A half-mile trail will include stations where people can stop to learn more about the county’s keystone species, play an oak-themed game and create a craft before arriving at the restoration zone.

There will be a limited quantity of 12- to 20-inch oak trees for sale for $15 each or two for $25, according to the release. Only cash and checks will be accepted.

Snacks and acorn cookies will be available to buy. Volunteers are welcome to bring a picnic and stay the whole time, or stop in at any time.

For information, call Prairieview Education Center at 815-479-5779 or visit www.mccdistrict.org.




Olympic medalist, Algonquin native to donate uniform to Jacobs High SchoolAP photo The U.S.'s Evan Jager poses with his silver medal after an award ceremony Aug. 17, 2016, for the men's 3,000-meter steeplechase at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Fri, 20 Oct 2017 05:12:00 GMT

ALGONQUIN – A Jacobs High School alumnus and 2016 Olympic medal winner is donating his Olympic uniform to his old school Friday.

Evan Jager won a silver medal for the men’s 3,000-meter steeplechase in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio, and now he’s donating his uniform to his Algonquin-based alma mater, according to a news release from Community Unit School District 300.

Jager will speak to students during an assembly from 9:30 to 10:40 a.m. Friday at the school, 2601 Bunker Hill Drive, then donate his uniform. Jager graduated from Jacobs High School in 2007.

During the assembly, the Goldenaires choir will perform the national anthem, the school band will play the fight song, and students can watch Jager’s race before hearing him speak. Jager will remain at the school for an hour after the assembly to sign autographs for students in the lunchroom.

Algonquin residents also can spot Jager at the Algonquin Area Public Library’s first Library Loop 5K on Sunday. A band made up of students from Jacobs High School also will be there to perform “Run, Jager, Run,” a song written by STAR 105.5’s Stew Cohen.

Cohen will emcee the 5K, scheduled from 8 to 11 a.m. Friday at the library, 2600 Harnish Drive, Algonquin.

AP photo The U.S.'s Evan Jager poses with his silver medal after an award ceremony Aug. 17, 2016, for the men's 3,000-meter steeplechase at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.


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Shares of United Airlines tumble after 3Q financial reportAP file photo A United Airlines jet is pushed back from a gate at George Bush Intercontinental Airport on July 8, 2015, in Houston. United Continental Holdings, Inc. reported earnings Wednesday.

Fri, 20 Oct 2017 05:12:00 GMT

DALLAS – Shares of United Airlines dropped more than 12 percent on Thursday – their biggest one-day percentage decline in eight years – after a contentious conference call that caused analysts to question whether United executives are making progress on their turnaround plan. Analysts speculated whether a management shake-up could be coming. United already had signaled that weak pricing will continue for the rest of this year. On the call, several analysts pressed management for evidence that the company is doing enough to raise revenue and control costs. CEO Oscar Munoz appealed for patience. He said United “dug ourselves in a hole” compared with competitors, and that his management team is working on a plan for long-term success. “It’s a difficult period for us as we work through all this information,” Munoz said. “The team has only been in place really for a year, and we’re just getting our mojo working. ... I just need a little more time.” Munoz was named CEO in September 2015. He cemented his executive lineup by hiring former American Airlines President Scott Kirby for the same job at United in August 2016. United executives claimed Thursday that measures they spelled out at an investor day last year to raise revenue and cut spending were going well, but they declined to give specifics or back away from expansion plans. Barclays analyst Brandon Oglenski especially was pointed in his criticism, telling Munoz that the CEO should know that when a company makes public statements about financial targets, investors will want to measure it against those numbers. He said United’s earnings, margins and stock price were doing worse in 2017 than those of key rivals. Shares of United Continental Holdings Inc. tumbled $8.21, or 12.1 percent, to close at $59.78. It was the biggest one-day drop ever in price, and the biggest percentage decline since October 2009. The shares have dropped 18 percent this year, while shares of American, Delta and Southwest airlines have gained between 6 percent and 18 percent. Stifel analyst Joseph DeNardi said Thursday’s sell-off reflected “an erosion in confidence of management.” He said the top question he heard from investors was whether this could be “a catalyst for management change.” “Clearly, patience with executing the turnaround at United is wearing thin with investors,” DeNardi wrote in a note to clients. Cowen and Co. analyst Helane Becker said there had been “rumblings” from investors about another shake-up at United before the call, but afterward “they aren’t rumblings, but full-fledged screams.” The prickly call came a day after United reported that third-quarter profit fell by one-third to $637 million as hurricanes led to 8,300 canceled flights and $210 million in lost revenue. A key measure of pricing power fell 3.7 percent, and the Chicago-based airline forecast it will drop by 1 percent to 3 percent in the fourth quarter. Analysts said the fourth-quarter forecast wasn’t so bad, but raised doubts about recent business initiatives. “People are beginning to wonder, is the strategy working?” Stephens Inc. analyst Jack Atkins said in an interview. “When will we see that materi[...]


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Judge limits time frame for discovery in former House Speaker Dennis Hastert lawsuitAttorney Kristi Browne, who is representing James Doe in a lawsuit against former House Speaker Dennis Hastert, addresses reporters after a hearing Thursday.

Fri, 20 Oct 2017 05:12:00 GMT

A Kendall County judge has limited the time frame of documents that can be reviewed by lawyers for a man accusing former House Speaker Dennis Hastert of sexual abuse. James Doe, a Hastert accuser whose hush-money agreement led to federal criminal banking charges against the once-powerful Republican from Plano, is seeking the rest of the funds allegedly agreed upon between himself and Hastert. Doe, known as “Individual A” during Hastert’s criminal trial, and Hastert agreed on a $3.5 million payout, but Hastert paid him $1.7 million. Doe’s attorneys have requested documents going back to the time Hastert was a teacher and coach at Yorkville High School in the mid-1960s to present day. However, Hastert’s attorney, John Ellis, argued in court Thursday morning that the case should focus on the time frame related only to the agreement, since the lawsuit is a breach of contract lawsuit. Kristi Browne, an attorney representing Doe, said she requested documents including communications between Hastert and her client, but Hastert’s attorneys did not respond. “To me, there’s nothing overboard or unreasonable about asking for any and all communications with my client, communications about my client, documents regarding payments to my client,” Browne said. “I just think that it’s unreasonable for [defense] counsel to not attempt, not even attempt, to respond to any of these discovery requests.” Browne said that through his attorneys, Hastert refused to admit or deny that he was a family friend of her client or that he took her client to a wrestling camp. “I have to take discovery as to my client being molested because Mr. Hastert won’t admit or deny it,” Browne said. “And that means looking for other people who might be able to substantiate my client’s allegations. And that goes back, as far as we know, as long as he was a high school wrestling coach, and that’s the date we’ve chosen.” At the end of the hearing, Judge Robert Pilmer agreed with Ellis and limited the time frame to Jan. 1, 2008, onward. Pilmer told Browne he understood that “the initial conduct between your client and the defendant is certainly not only unlawful but heinous given the age of the parties at the time, and the nature of their relationship,” but that it’s a “breach of contract action for your client.” Outside the Kendall County Courthouse in Yorkville after the hearing, Browne said why she wanted discovery and evidence going back to the 1960s. “It was my theory that if we could show a pattern and practice of behavior, that might be helpful to showing that this actually happened to my client, although the breach of contract happened later, “ she said. “Mr. Hastert has not admitted or denied in this proceeding that my client was actually molested, so I feel like that’s something I may need to prove at trial, and one of the ways you can prove that is by a pattern and practice of behavior. But the judge has trimmed us so we’re not going to be allowed to ask those questions in this case.” Browne, however, doesn’t think it “inhibits” their case. “This is a situation where we had a contract in 2008, so the judge has[...]


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Huntley mayor against proposed sledding hill

Fri, 20 Oct 2017 05:11:00 GMT

HUNTLEY – Huntley Mayor Charles Sass spoke against creating a 22-foot-tall sledding hill west of the Stingray Bay Family Aquatic Center.

The Huntley Park District asked the village for permission to build the hill of excess spoils from the construction of a 11,900-square-foot maintenance and storage building south of the aquatic center.

The hill was up for discussion at the village’s Committee of the Whole meeting Thursday, where Sass said he did not want to set a precedent for future developers who don’t want to pay to move the spoils.

The land previously was intended to be used for parking if the Park District expanded the pool; however, Huntley Park District Executive Director Thom Palmer said there are no plans to expand the pool.

Sass said it is hard to say the Park District won’t expand in the future because different people might be in charge or on the Village Board and have other ideas down the road.

He added that Huntley is a town that is continuing to grow.

Also, Sass said the village required Centegra Hospital – Huntley to move excess spoils from its property after it was built.

“We made the hospital take it off, and I just like to be consistent,” Sass said.

Village trustees will vote on the proposed hill at their Oct. 26 meeting.

If approved, the Park District would install 550 feet of flexible snow fencing that would define the trail leading to the top of the hill, according to village documents. The fencing only would be up during the winter months.

About 9,000 cubic yards of dirt has been excavated from the park for the maintenance building. Sass said it would cost $17,000 to remove the soil from the property.

The proposal was brought to the Village Board in April, but the item was tabled until nearby residents in the Lions Chase neighborhood were notified of the plans and able to give input.

Attempts to reach Palmer were unsuccessful Thursday.


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McHenry County Workforce Network to host apprenticeship panel

Fri, 20 Oct 2017 05:11:00 GMT

WOODSTOCK – An upcoming panel presentation in Woodstock will highlight the benefits of apprenticeships.

The presentation will be Nov. 14 at the McHenry County Administration Building, 667 Ware Road, Woodstock, and it will be hosted by the McHenry County Workforce Network, according to a news release from the group.

Apprenticeships help address a skills gap and contribute to economic development by preparing the workforce to meet technical needs, such as an acoustical specialist to an X-ray equipment tester, according to the release.

Participants will learn about apprenticeship work and where to start with one, the difference between registered and nonregistered apprenticeships, and funding and resources to support an apprenticeship.

Check-in and a light breakfast will begin at 7:15 a.m., with the program running from 7:30 to 9 a.m. and optional networking until 9:30 a.m.

Residents can register online at the workforce’s website or call Anita Lynn at 815-334-2797.




Huntley middle school student posts 'threatening' video on social media

Fri, 20 Oct 2017 05:11:00 GMT

HUNTLEY – Police are investigating a threat that a Marlowe Middle School student posted on social media.

The threat, which Huntley School District 158 became aware of Thursday morning, caused some schools in the district to temporarily be placed on soft lockdown.

District 158 Superintendent John Burkey sent a message to district parents Thursday morning that provided some information about the lockdown.

“We became aware this morning of a threatening video message posted to social media by a Marlowe student,” Burkey said in the message. “The identity of the student responsible for the video is known, and the student is currently with law enforcement.”

The student in question was never on campus Thursday, but Reed Road schools in Lake in the Hills temporarily were placed on soft lockdown while Lake in the Hills police investigated the claim, according to the superintendent’s message.

The lockdown was lifted Thursday afternoon.

The district continues to work with police in the active investigation.

“Please continue to be our partners in educating your students about the seriousness of this kind of behavior and the serious consequences that any student who creates or shares messages of this kind will face,” Burkey said. “If you or your student becomes aware of a threatening message, please report it to the school or police.”

Neither District 158 nor Lake in the Hills police returned calls seeking information about the nature of the threat Thursday.




Workers scheduled to repair water main leak Friday in Crystal Lake

Fri, 20 Oct 2017 05:11:00 GMT

CRYSTAL LAKE – Be on the lookout for utility workers Friday morning in Crystal Lake. A city of Crystal Lake water main is leaking on Route 14 near Florence Street, and the city announced Thursday afternoon that repairs will begin at 3 a.m. Friday.

The left eastbound traffic lane on Route 14 in the area of Florence Street will be closed. The city is asking motorists to avoid the area, if possible, because of expected traffic delays.

Repairs are expected to be completed by 3 p.m. Friday.


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Crystal Lake officials approve 2 businesses for grant programThe Crystal Lake City Council approved a Retailer Job Creation and Investment Program request for $10,000 in matching grant funds that will assist the Knife Experience in opening a store in a vacant Country Corners shopping center space.

Fri, 20 Oct 2017 05:11:00 GMT

CRYSTAL LAKE – Two new businesses are coming to Crystal Lake with the help of grants from the city.

The Knife Experience is coming to a vacant storefront in the Country Corners shopping center.

The store will sell fine cutlery and a variety of high-quality knives, including handcrafted pieces from countries such as South Africa and Sweden, and knives manufactured in Rockford, Idaho and Pennsylvania, according to city documents. Prices will range from $25 to $2,500.

The Crystal Lake City Council unanimously approved a request Tuesday through its Retailer Job Creation and Investment Program for $10,000 in matching grant funds.

Store owner Richard Roberts asked for up to $10,000 to pay for furniture, fixtures and equipment, such as display cases. He told city staff that he plans to hire several sales employees and expects first-year sales to top $500,000, city documents show.

Crystal Lake Senior Planner Elizabeth Maxwell said Thursday that Roberts will have to come back to the city with financial statements regarding what he has spent, up to the $10,000, on the store.

The grant program is open to any new sales tax-generating business that would occupy vacant space or construct a new building, meet an annual sales tax threshold of at least $150,000, provide a stocked retail showroom and show proof of costs and employee recruitment.

The store, at 230 W. Virginia Ave., Suite 450, has a new sign featuring a knife on the plaza facade. The 1,500-square-foot space is located between Baird & Warner and Weight Watchers. Other tenants of the center include T.J. Maxx, Savers, Petco and Dollar Tree.

The City Council also approved a request within the same program, of up to $5,000, for a different business.

Lynne Lourie, the owner of Mum Floral & Design, is relocating her business from Barrington to Crystal Lake with the help of the grant. Her new shop, at 37 N. Williams St., will sell floral arrangements, home accessories, fine art, decorative objects and women’s clothing.

The business is partnering with Twisted Stem. Lourie’s new store is the former site of Fabric, Fiber and Finds. Lourie once had a store in Crystal Lake across from her new location.

“I am excited to be coming back to Crystal Lake,” Lourie said in a news release from the city. “Crystal Lake’s downtown is only getting better, and I’m looking forward to being a part of the business community again.”

As a provision of the grant program, the city can recoup the money it spends if the business closes within four years.

Both businesses will have to reach $150,000 in sales the first year to collect the city’s reimbursement.

The Crystal Lake City Council approved a Retailer Job Creation and Investment Program request for $10,000 in matching grant funds that will assist the Knife Experience in opening a store in a vacant Country Corners shopping center space.


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More details emerge on capture of McHenry County fugitive, alleged sexual abuser of child family memberRobert J. Gould, 51, of Nova Scotia, Canada, was one of McHenry County's 10 most wanted fugitives, and he was arrested Wednesday for an array of charges that allege he sexually assaulted a family member younger than age 18 and sexually assaulted and abused a victim younger than 13, police said in a news release.

Fri, 20 Oct 2017 05:10:00 GMT

WOODSTOCK – A man in McHenry County Jail on multiple sexual assault and abuse charges was detained in Canada before being extradited to the U.S., according to new information released Thursday by the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office.

Robert J. Gould, 51, of Nova Scotia, Canada, was one of McHenry County’s 10 most wanted fugitives, and he was arrested for an array of charges that allege he sexually assaulted a family member younger than age 18 and sexually assaulted and abused a victim younger than 13, police said in a news release.

The charges stem from incidents in April in Island Lake and unincorporated Woodstock, police said.

The McHenry County Sheriff’s Office worked with the Halifax Regional Police in Nova Scotia after Canadian authorities contacted the sheriff’s office with information concerning possible criminal activity that took place in Illinois, according to the release.

Investigators made contact with Gould in August when he was visiting the Wheeling area. Warrants for his arrest were obtained, and investigators learned that Gould had been detained by Canadian authorities Sept. 1, and that he was being extradited to the U.S., according to the release.

Gould was taken into custody at Logan International Airport in Boston by the U.S. Marshal’s Service and Massachusetts State Police. He arrived Wednesday at the McHenry County Jail police said.

Gould was charged with predatory criminal sexual assault of a child and predatory criminal sexual assault of a victim younger than age 13. He also was charged with criminal sexual abuse of a family member younger than 18 and criminal sexual assault with force, according to the release.

It is unclear on the county jail log whether there are multiple victims or whether all the charges involve one victim.

​Gould is in the McHenry County Jail, and his bond is set at $500,000. He is due in court Monday.

A request for information from the sheriff’s office was not returned Thursday.

Robert J. Gould, 51, of Nova Scotia, Canada, was one of McHenry County's 10 most wanted fugitives, and he was arrested Wednesday for an array of charges that allege he sexually assaulted a family member younger than age 18 and sexually assaulted and abused a victim younger than 13, police said in a news release.


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Eugene Debs historic marker dedication set Saturday on Woodstock SquareEugene V. Debs founded the Socialist Party of America, was a five-time presidential candidate and was president of the American Railway Union. A historical marker in his honor will be dedicated at an event from 11 a.m. to noon Saturday at the Old Courthouse and Sheriff's House on Woodstock’s historic Square, 101 N. Johnson St.

Fri, 20 Oct 2017 05:07:00 GMT

WOODSTOCK – The Illinois State Historical Society and Woodstock organizations will dedicate the Eugene V. Debs historical marker Saturday at the Old McHenry County Courthouse.

The event will be from 11 a.m. to noon at the Old Courthouse and Sheriff’s House on Woodstock’s historic Square, 101 N. Johnson St.

Woodstock Celebrates Inc, the Illinois Labor History Society and the McHenry County Federation of Teachers sponsored the application for the marker, which the president of the state’s historical society has called one of the most important markers placed in two decades.

Debs founded the Socialist Party of America, was a five-time presidential candidate and was president of the American Railway Union.

He was jailed at the McHenry County Jail in Woodstock for six months after disobeying a court order that tried to stop him from leading a railway worker strike.

In June, the city agreed to allow the plaque, despite the controversial association. Some said the recognition of a socialist leader might scare off donors to the restoration of the Old Courthouse.

Gunner Gitlin of Woodstock Celebrates said that the move is important despite drawing a debate.

“Although recognizing a socialist may be controversial, it is important and critical that we recognize our unique past,” he said. “These are timely issues given the rise of Bernie Sanders in the last election cycle, who had as his hero Eugene V. Debs. Also the freedom of speech obviously is a timely issue. He was a man ahead of his time.”

Illinois State Historical Society Executive Director Bill Furry said Thursday that the dedication is remarkable.

“This one is really important,” he said. “Social history and political markers are some of the hardest to put up. … Sometimes our memories are set to default mode in that we don’t want anything out there that compromises who we think we are.”

Noel Beasley, president of the Debs Foundation, will speak at the Woodstock Public Library, 414 W. Judd St., about how Debs’ jail term in Woodstock escalated his transition from trade union leader to political leader. The presentation will take place at 2 p.m. Saturday.

Eugene V. Debs founded the Socialist Party of America, was a five-time presidential candidate and was president of the American Railway Union. A historical marker in his honor will be dedicated at an event from 11 a.m. to noon Saturday at the Old Courthouse and Sheriff's House on Woodstock’s historic Square, 101 N. Johnson St.


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Mariano's expected to open this spring in Crystal LakeSarah Nader – snader@shawmedia.com Lidio Alvarez stocks the organic vegetables while working at Mariano’s in Lake Zurich. The 74,800-square-foot grocery facility under construction in Crystal Lake is expected to open in the spring.Sarah Nader – snader@shawmedia.com Scott Ries grills hamburgers at the grill station earlier this year at Mariano’s in Lake Zurich. The 74,800-square-foot grocery facility under construction in Crystal Lake is expected to open in the spring.Sarah Nader – snader@shawmedia.com Janet Hollen of Lake Zurich selects items at the salad bar while shopping this summer at Mariano’s in Lake Zurich. The 74,800-square-foot grocery facility under construction in Crystal Lake is expected to open in the spring.Sarah Nader – snader@shawmedia.com Like the Mariano’s in Lake Zurich, the 74,800-square-foot building in Crystal Lake will feature Mariano's signature glass rotunda, which houses the café area for customers.

Fri, 20 Oct 2017 05:05:00 GMT

CRYSTAL LAKE – Mariano’s is on track to open in the spring. Workers, trucks and construction equipment moved Thursday throughout the property – formerly a Sears store – near the intersection of Route 14 and South Virginia Road. A crew flattened out fresh, hot asphalt for what will be an improved entrance at the southwest edge of the lot along South Virginia Road. At the north end, along Route 14, an excavator operator ripped up old pavement and dumped it in the back of a semitrailer. A few steel beams already were up, and Crystal Lake Senior Planner Elizabeth Maxwell said it will start to look more like an actual building very soon. “They’re making great progress on-site,” she said. “The steel structure should be going up [Friday]. They’re keeping on schedule and planning for a spring opening. They’re trying to do whatever they can to button up the building before winter.” The Sears store was demolished in April to make way for the 74,800-square-foot grocery facility, which will feature the same Mariano’s staples that customers have grown fond of, such as the café and freshly prepared meals. The city approved a developer’s request in June for a special use permit to build a 19,000-square-foot gas station with five double-sided fueling stations along Route 14. “I think it’s going to be a great addition to the overall retail that Crystal Lake offers residents and visitors,” Maxwell said. “It will be great to have that type of grocery store here.” The site already was zoned business-2, which allows for department and grocery stores, and met all ordinance requirements, Maxwell said. The only thing that needed special use approval was the gas station. City officials have said the store could bring in between $35 million and $40 million in sales annually. The new Mariano’s site never officially was vacant, Maxwell said, because Sears was torn down specifically to make way for Mariano’s. Sears Holdings Corp. partnered with Continental Properties Co. on the development, according to the city’s website. Mariano’s is a subsidiary of Milwaukee-based Roundy’s Supermarkets Inc., which operates more than 150 grocery stores in Wisconsin and Illinois under the Pick ‘n Save, Copps, Metro Market and Mariano’s retail banners. The Kroger Co., which in 2016 was ranked the third-largest retail chain in the world behind Walmart and Costco, purchased Roundy’s in 2015 and serves as Mariano’s parent organization. Sarah Nader – snader@shawmedia.com Lidio Alvarez stocks the organic vegetables while working at Mariano’s in Lake Zurich. The 74,800-square-foot grocery facility under construction in Crystal Lake is expected to open in the spring.Sarah Nader – snader@shawmedia.com Scott Ries grills hamburgers at the grill station earlier this year at Mariano’s in Lake Zurich. The 74,800-square-foot grocery facility under construction in Crystal Lake is expected to open in the spring.[...]Sarah Nad[...]


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Mariano's on track to open this spring in Crystal LakeWorkers, trucks and construction equipment moved Thursday throughout the property – formerly a Sears store – near the intersection of Route 14 and South Virginia Road. A crew flattened out fresh, hot asphalt for what will be an improved entrance at the southwest edge of the lot along South Virginia Road. At the north end, along Route 14, an excavator operator ripped up old pavement and dumped it in the back of a semitrailer. A few steel beams already were up, and Crystal Lake Senior Planner Elizabeth Maxwell said it will start to look more like an actual building very soon. “They’re making great progress on-site,” she said. “The steel structure should be going up [Friday]. They’re keeping on schedule and planning for a spring opening. They’re trying to do whatever they can to button up the building before winter.”The Sears store was demolished in April to make way for the 74,800-square-foot grocery facility, which will feature the same Mariano’s staples that customers have grown fond of, such as the café and freshly prepared meals.The city approved a developer’s request in June for a special use permit to build a 19,000-square-foot gas station with five double-sided fueling stations along Route 14. “I think it’s going to be a great addition to the overall retail that Crystal Lake offers residents and visitors,” Maxwell said. “It will be great to have that type of grocery store here.”The site already was zoned business-2, which allows for department and grocery stores, and met all ordinance requirements, Maxwell said. The only thing that needed special use approval was the gas station. City officials have said the store could bring in between $35 million and $40 million in sales annually. The new Mariano’s site never officially was vacant, Maxwell said, because Sears was torn down specifically to make way for Mariano’s. Sears Holdings Corp. partnered with Continental Properties Co. on the development, according to the city's website.Mariano’s is a subsidiary of Milwaukee-based Roundy’s Supermarkets Inc., which operates more than 150 grocery stores in Wisconsin and Illinois under the Pick 'n Save, Copps, Metro Market and Mariano’s retail banners. The Kroger Co., which in 2016 was ranked the third largest retail chain in the world behind Walmart and Costco, purchased Roundy’s in 2015 and serves as Mariano’s parent organization.

Fri, 20 Oct 2017 05:03:00 GMT

CRYSTAL LAKE – Mariano’s is on track to open in the spring.

Workers, trucks and construction equipment moved Thursday throughout the property – formerly a Sears store – near the intersection of Route 14 and South Virginia Road. A crew flattened out fresh, hot asphalt for what will be an improved entrance at the southwest edge of the lot along South Virginia Road. At the north end, along Route 14, an excavator operator ripped up old pavement and dumped it in the back of a semitrailer. A few steel beams already were up, and Crystal Lake Senior Planner Elizabeth Maxwell said it will start to look more like an actual building very soon. “They’re making great progress on-site,” she said. “The steel structure should be going up [Friday]. They’re keeping on schedule and planning for a spring opening. They’re trying to do whatever they can to button up the building before winter.”The Sears store was demolished in April to make way for the 74,800-square-foot grocery facility, which will feature the same Mariano’s staples that customers have grown fond of, such as the café and freshly prepared meals.The city approved a developer’s request in June for a special use permit to build a 19,000-square-foot gas station with five double-sided fueling stations along Route 14. “I think it’s going to be a great addition to the overall retail that Crystal Lake offers residents and visitors,” Maxwell said. “It will be great to have that type of grocery store here.”The site already was zoned business-2, which allows for department and grocery stores, and met all ordinance requirements, Maxwell said. The only thing that needed special use approval was the gas station. City officials have said the store could bring in between $35 million and $40 million in sales annually. The new Mariano’s site never officially was vacant, Maxwell said, because Sears was torn down specifically to make way for Mariano’s. Sears Holdings Corp. partnered with Continental Properties Co. on the development, according to the city's website.Mariano’s is a subsidiary of Milwaukee-based Roundy’s Supermarkets Inc., which operates more than 150 grocery stores in Wisconsin and Illinois under the Pick 'n Save, Copps, Metro Market and Mariano’s retail banners. The Kroger Co., which in 2016 was ranked the third largest retail chain in the world behind Walmart and Costco, purchased Roundy’s in 2015 and serves as Mariano’s parent organization.


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Bush condemns Trump-era America: 'Bigotry seems emboldened'Former U.S. President George W. Bush speaks at a forum sponsored by the George W. Bush Institute in New York, Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

Thu, 19 Oct 2017 21:36:00 GMT

NEW YORK – Former President George W. Bush on Thursday denounced bigotry in Trump-era American politics, warning that the rise of "nativism," isolationism and conspiracy theories have clouded the nation's true identity. The comments, delivered at a New York City conference hosted by the George W. Bush Institute, amounted to an indirect critique from a former Republican president who has remained largely silent during President Donald Trump's unlikely rise to power. The 43rd president did not name Trump on Thursday, but he attacked some of the principles that define the 45th president's political brand. "We've seen nationalism distorted into nativism, forgotten the dynamism that immigration has always brought to America," Bush said. "We see a fading confidence in the value of free markets and international trade, forgetting that conflict, instability and poverty follow in the wake of protectionism. We've seen the return of isolation sentiments, forgetting that American security is directly threatened by the chaos and despair of distant places." "We've seen our discourse degraded by casual cruelty," he continued. "Bigotry seems emboldened. Our politics seems more vulnerable to conspiracy theories and outright fabrication." "We need to recall and recover our own identity," he continued. "To renew our country, we only need to remember our values." Asked about the speech, Trump said he hadn't seen it. The comment about identity was one of several that warned of what Bush described as troubling political trends. Bush noted Russia's meddling in the 2016 election and declared that "the Russian government has made a project of turning Americans against each other." "Foreign aggressions, including cyberattacks, disinformation and financial influence, should never be downplayed or tolerated," Bush said. Trump has expressed skepticism of Russia's involvement. A special prosecutor is currently investigating whether Trump and his campaign associates coordinated with Moscow in the effort to sway the election. Bush is the brother of 2016 presidential hopeful Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor nicknamed, belittled and ultimately vanquished by Trump during the race for the Republican nomination. He joins a slowly growing list of prominent Republicans who have publicly defied Trump, including Republican Sens. John McCain, who delivered a similar speech this week. Sen. Bob Corker, the Tennessee Republican who has announced he's retiring, has denounced what he termed the "adult day care center" of the Trump White House. But during the Bush event, a current Trump administration official also broke with Trump's dismissive tone on Russian interference. Nikki Haley, Trump's chief envoy to the United Nations, cast Russia's efforts to influence the 2016 election as "warfare" and efforts to "sow chaos" in elections across the world. "The Russians, God bless them, they're saying, 'Why are Americans anti-Russian? And why have we done the sanctions?' W[...]


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Kelly defends Trump's call to war widow, raps congresswomanWhite House Chief of Staff John Kelly speaks to the media during the daily briefing in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House, Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Thu, 19 Oct 2017 21:35:00 GMT

WASHINGTON – White House chief of staff John Kelly delivered an extraordinary denunciation of a Democratic congresswoman Thursday, accusing her of politicizing what he called a "sacred" presidential effort to console the grieving loved ones of a slain soldier. Kelly, in an unexpected and emotional appearance in the White House briefing room, invoked the death of his own son, killed in Afghanistan in 2010, as he lashed out at Rep. Frederica Wilson of Florida, who earlier this week said that President Donald Trump had been disrespectful in his condolence call to the family of Sgt. La David Johnson, who was killed during an ambush in Niger. Kelly, speaking slowly and forcefully, said he was "heartbroken" that Wilson overheard the conversation and used it to attack the president. "I was stunned when I came to work yesterday and brokenhearted at what I saw a member of Congress doing," Kelly said. "It stuns me. And I thought at least that was sacred." Kelly absolved Trump of blame, suggesting that the president did the best he could in one of the most challenging aspects of his job. "If you're not in the family, if you have never worn the uniform, if you have never been in combat, you can't imagine how to make that phone call," Kelly said. Trump — who has frequently struggled showing empathy to those grieving, including those in Puerto Rico after the devastating hurricane — has emphatically rejected claims that he was disrespectful. But he ignited a storm of his own this week when he boasted about his commitment to calling service members' next of kin and brought Kelly into the controversy by wondering aloud if President Barack Obama had called the former Marine general after the death of Kelly's son. Kelly confirmed Thursday that Obama had not called, but he made clear "that's not a criticism." "That's not a negative thing," he said. "I don't believe all presidents call. I believe they all write." Kelly was not aware that Trump was going to reveal anything he'd said about the time after his son's death, according to a person familiar with the private conversations but not authorized to discuss them publicly. Kelly did say that when Trump took office, he urged the president not to make those family calls, saying "I said to him, 'Sir there's nothing you can do to lighten the burden on these families.'" But when Trump indicated he wanted to do so, Kelly revealed to him what General Joseph Dunford, now chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told him when Robert Kelly was killed. Kelly recalled that Dunford said his son "was doing exactly what he wanted to do when he was killed. He knew what he was getting into. He knew what the possibilities were because we're at war." And Kelly added that Dunford told him that "when he died, he was surrounded by the best men on this earth, his friends. That's what the president tried to say to four families the other day." Kelly said the Def[...]


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Backyard chicken trend leads to more disease infectionsIn this Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2017, photo, Tanya Keith, of Des Moines, Iowa, and her daughter Iolana feed their chickens in the backyard of their home, in Des Moines. The trend of raising backyard chickens is causing a soaring number of illnesses from poultry-related diseases. For Keith, the nine hens and a rooster that she keeps behind her home provide fresh eggs and lessons for her three children about where food comes from. But even as her kids collect eggs and help keep the six nesting boxes tidy, she warns them not get too affectionate. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Thu, 19 Oct 2017 17:50:00 GMT

DES MOINES, Iowa – Luke Gabriele was a healthy 14-year-old football player in Pennsylvania when he began to feel soreness in his chest that grew increasingly painful. When his breathing became difficult, doctors detected a mass that appeared to be a tumor. For a week, Dan and DeAnna Gabriele thought their son was dying until tests identified the cause: not cancer, but chickens — the ones he cared for at home. They had apparently infected him with salmonella that produced a severe abscess. The popular trend of raising backyard chickens in U.S. cities and suburbs is bringing with it a soaring number of illnesses from poultry-related diseases, some of them fatal. Since January, nearly 1,000 people have contracted salmonella poisoning from chickens and ducks in 48 states, according to the Centers for Disease Control. More than 200 were hospitalized and one person died. The toll was four times higher than in 2015. The CDC estimates the actual number of cases from contact with chickens and ducks is likely much higher. "For one salmonella case we know of in an outbreak, there are up to 30 others that we don't know about," CDC veterinarian Megin Nichols said. A "large contributing factor" to the surge, Nichols said, comes from natural food fanciers who have taken up the backyard chicken hobby but don't understand the potential dangers. Some treat their birds like pets, kissing or snuggling them and letting them walk around the house. Poultry can carry salmonella bacteria in their intestines that can be shed in their feces. The bacteria can attach to feathers and dust and brush off on shoes or clothing. But illnesses can be prevented with proper handling. The CDC recommends that people raising chickens wash their hands thoroughly after handling the birds, eggs or nesting materials, and leave any shoes worn in a chicken coop outside. Salmonella is much more common as a food-borne illness. More than 1 million people fall ill each year from salmonella contamination in food, resulting in more than 300 deaths, according to the CDC. There are no firm figures on how many households in the U.S. have backyard chickens, but a Department of Agriculture report in 2013 found a growing number of residents in Denver, Los Angeles, Miami and New York City expressed interest in getting them. Coops are now seen in even the smallest yards and densest urban neighborhoods. For Tanya Keith, the nine hens and a rooster that she keeps behind her home in Des Moines provide fresh eggs and lessons for her three children about where food comes from. But even as her kids collect eggs and help keep the six nesting boxes tidy, she warns them not get too affectionate. "We don't transfer chicken germs to our face," Keith tells them. Stopping the germs at home is important because safeguards against salmonella are limited at the commercial sources that sell m[...]


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McHenry Township Fire Protection District offers tips after dryer fire(AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

Thu, 19 Oct 2017 14:43:00 GMT

McHENRY – The McHenry Township Fire Protection District is reminding residents of how to prevent dryer fires after one recently caused about $4,000 in damage.

The district was dispatched at 2:56 p.m. Oct. 11 to 114 Springbrook Court, McHenry, for a possible structure fire, according to a news release from the district.

Emergency responders found a small fire with clothes in the dryer and quickly extinguished it with a water extinguisher. The fire started in the lint trap of the dryer and was deemed an accident, according to the release.

The home still is habitable, and damages are estimated at $4,000, according to the release.

The district is reminding residents not to use the dryer without a lint filter and to make sure the filter is clean before or after each load of laundry.

Other tips the fire district recommended include:

• Cleaning dryer vents at least once a year and cleaning the area behind and underneath the dryer

• Not overloading the dryer

• Turning the dryer off when no one is home or when residents are sleeping

• Keeping the area around the dryer clear of items that can burn, such as boxes, cleaning supplies or clothing

• Having a qualified professional inspect gas dryers to ensure the gas line and connection are free of leaks

• Using rigid or flexible metal venting material to sustain proper air flow and drying

(AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)


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Hate group posters found on NIU campusTimothy Ries

Thu, 19 Oct 2017 06:03:00 GMT

DeKALB – Northern Illinois University student Timothy Ries always knew hate groups existed.

But it wasn’t until this week when it really hit home for Ries, after NIU officials found posters from a white supremacist group posted on NIU’s campus.

“Hate is everywhere, but it’s never been an issue near me,” Ries said. “I have a lot of friends on campus that are African-American and various races. It’s something that really bothered me. It’s upsetting.”

The university’s acting president, Lisa Freeman, said in a statement posted Tuesday evening on Facebook that the Southern Poverty Law Center has identified the group as a hate group.

“This has understandably caused concerns among our students, faculty and staff, as hatred is not something that aligns with the principles of NIU,” Freeman said. “I encourage us all, especially in times like now, to embrace civil and respectful discourse and continue to embrace and create opportunities that foster diversity, equality and inclusion.”

Posters have been found inside two NIU buildings – Barsema Hall and Swen Parson Hall – and are being removed by NIU police as they’re found, according to Freeman’s statement.

Ries, a marketing major, said all his classes are inside Barsema Hall, and he thinks the university was slow to respond to the issue, as he said posters were up inside Barsema late last week.

University spokeswoman Lisa Miner said no one has been caught putting up the posters, and NIU police administration Cmdr. Donald J. Rodman said in an email that the act of putting them up is not considered a criminal act.

In her post, Freeman urged students to report incidents of bias to the Office of Academic Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Room 211, Altgeld Hall, by calling 815-753-8399 or by filing a bias incident report online.

Threats or acts of violence should be reported to NIU police at 395 Wirtz Drive or 815-753-1212, or by calling 911 in case of an emergency.

“This is extremely concerning,” Ries said. “Maybe not exactly with our safety, but the fact this is happening in the year 2017. There’s no place for hate.”

Timothy Ries


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Corporations to keep tax break lost by millions of AmericansPresident Donald Trump sitting next to Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., (center) and White House chief economic director Gary Cohn (left) speaks Wednesday during a meeting with members of the Senate Finance Committee and members of the President's economic team in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington.

Thu, 19 Oct 2017 06:03:00 GMT

WASHINGTON – Millions of Americans would lose a prized tax break under President Donald Trump’s sweeping revamp of the tax code, but corporations would get to keep it. The Republican proposal would eliminate the federal deduction for state and local taxes, a widely popular break used by some 44 million Americans, especially in high-tax, Democratic-leaning states such as New York, New Jersey, California and Illinois. But corporations, which pay billions in local property levies and state income taxes, wouldn’t be affected. Republicans are determined to overhaul the nation’s tax system by year’s end, offering a plan that lowers the corporate tax rate from 36 percent to 20 percent and reduces the number of tax brackets. Trump and the GOP cast the plan as a boon to the middle class. Meeting at the White House on Wednesday with members of the tax-writing Senate Finance Committee, Trump said, “this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, in my opinion.” Democratic members of the committee remained united in opposition to the current plan, said Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon, the top Democrat. He said their message to the president was: “You fix [the tax system] with real tax relief that helps the middle class. You don’t give tax cuts to people like [Trump].” Toward the end of the meeting, Trump issued a thinly veiled threat to Democratic senators, according to Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio. Most of the Democratic members of the tax-writing Senate Finance Committee who were invited are up for re-election next year in states Trump won in 2016. Brown is among them. Brown said that Trump told them, “I couldn’t imagine being a Democrat and running in 2018 having voted against” the GOP tax legislation. The plan still is evolving with lawmakers filling in the blanks, but the proposed repeal of the state and local deduction has divided Republicans. Ending the deduction would affect individuals and companies unevenly. If Amazon, now being frantically courted by dozens of cities, decided to locate its new second headquarters in Westchester County north of New York City, an affluent suburban area in one of the highest-tax states, the tech commerce behemoth still would be able to claim state and local taxes as a regular business expense, on par with items such as buying machine parts. But the company’s employees living in the area wouldn’t be so lucky: They’d take a financial hit from losing the ability to deduct their state and local taxes from their federal income calculations. Trump and his Republican partners in the nearly $6 trillion tax overhaul plan push back against the idea that it would benefit mainly wealthy people and corporations. And they said the rest of the country shouldn’t have to subsidize wealthier states such as California and New York, whose residents use the state and local tax deduction in l[...]


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DCFS director talks reforms, remaining challenges at community forumBeverly Walker, director of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, fields questions from community leaders and the public Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2017, at St. John Missionary Baptist Church in Joliet, Ill.

Thu, 19 Oct 2017 06:03:00 GMT

JOLIET – The director of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, Beverly “BJ” Walker, was in Joliet on Tuesday to talk to community members about reforms implemented in the months after Sema’j Crosby’s death. The forum was at St. John Missionary Baptist Church and organized by the members of SAFE (Safety Alliance for Families Everywhere). Walker answered questions from various community members for two hours. They touched on reforms already taking place within DCFS, as well as remaining challenges. “I’m impressed,” said Loretta Westbrooks, a member of SAFE. “I really think she’s going to make changes, but I’m going to be there to watch to make sure that the changes are being made.” Staffing and workload One of the main issues Walker addressed was the need for more caseworkers, specifically at the DCFS office in Joliet, as well as reforming hiring practices. Walker said eight newly hired investigators started work Monday. Four more caseworkers will be starting within the next 30 days. DCFS is trying to not just keep up with the rate of turnover of caseworkers, but to better anticipate vacancies and replace them quickly by hiring more than they might need at one time. Walker described the process as hiring with a “pipeline mentality.” While Walker could not say how many caseworkers currently were in the Joliet office, there still are three vacancies to be filled, as well as two vacancies for bilingual caseworkers. “That, for me, would fill the Joliet office with 100 percent staffing,” Walker said about filling those remaining vacancies. In the meantime, DCFS is sending about nine workers from other regions to work in Joliet while new staff members are being hired and trained. They also are bringing on retired caseworkers for up to 75 days in a year to pick up the slack of about 12 to 15 cases a worker. There also are challenges for DCFS’ contractor agencies, such as Intact Family Services, which performs short-term in-home intervention programs for families who have come to the attention of DCFS. The type of workers these agencies hire are typically younger, less experienced recent college graduates. They also have a very high turnover rate because of low pay and workers applying to better paid jobs within DCFS after they acquire the minimum two years of experience. Communication and data Walker also highlighted changes and difficulties with communication and sharing of data between DCFS, its contractor agencies and other relevant partners, such as police departments. “It has amazed me,” Walker said. “We do not have a central, coordinated point of data management. We are not managed by our data. We fly blind.” DCFS formed a group [...]


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McHenry church to offer free Thanksgiving, Christmas meals as part of monthly community lunchThis Oct. 14, 2016, photo shows some of the food from a Thanksgiving dinner from Martha & Marley Spoon in New York. For $120, or $180 which would include an 11-15 pound free-range turkey, Martha & Marley Spoon will ship just about everything you need to cook a decadent Thanksgiving dinner for eight to 10 people. (AP Photo/Bree Fowler)

Thu, 19 Oct 2017 05:34:00 GMT

McHENRY – A McHenry church will offer free holiday meals this season as part of its monthly lunch program.

Maranatha Assembly of God, 2505 N. Ringwood Road, McHenry, provides warm meals to the public the third Sunday of every month, Maranatha office manager Victoria Beaman said in an email. This is the church’s fifth year providing Promise of Hope Community Lunches, and it will be including two holiday meals as well.

Lunches are at 1:30 p.m. and the doors open at 1 p.m. They also include raffle items, music and take-home items for those in need.

“Bring your family, friends or neighbors and enjoy a wonderful time together,” Beaman said in the email.

The Thanksgiving meal will be Nov. 19 and the Christmas meal will be Dec. 17. For information, call 815-344-0557.

This Oct. 14, 2016, photo shows some of the food from a Thanksgiving dinner from Martha & Marley Spoon in New York. For $120, or $180 which would include an 11-15 pound free-range turkey, Martha & Marley Spoon will ship just about everything you need to cook a decadent Thanksgiving dinner for eight to 10 people. (AP Photo/Bree Fowler)


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Huntley police department to host 2nd annual 5K to benefit Special Olympics Illinois

Thu, 19 Oct 2017 05:34:00 GMT

HUNTLEY – The Huntley Police Department is hosting its second annual Trick or Treat Trot to benefit Special Olympics Illinois.

The 5K run, trot or stroll will be at 11 a.m. Sunday at Huntley Town Square, on Coral Street between Church and Woodstock streets. Registration begins at 9 a.m., and a torch lighting ceremony will be held at 10:50 a.m, according to a news release from the police department.

The trot is part of a Law Enforcement Torch Run – the single largest year-round fundraising event benefiting Special Olympics, according to Huntley’s website.

The event aims to raise money and gain awareness for Special Olympics athletes. Athletes will award runners at the finish line with a chocolate medal.

Registration costs $25 or $30 on the day of the run. Interested participants can register online at www.huntley.il.us/departments/police.


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Lakemoor police to crack down on drunk driving this HalloweenSarah Nader - snader@shawmedia.com The Algonquin home of Patrick Colcernian is elaborately decorated Halloween on Wednesday, October 31, 2012,

Thu, 19 Oct 2017 05:20:00 GMT

LAKEMOOR – The Lakemoor Police Department wants residents to “keep the party off the road” this Halloween as part of its anti-drunken driving effort.

Lakemoor police are planning to crack down on impaired drivers with a Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over enforcement effort the night of Oct. 31, according to a news release from the department.

“On Halloween, we urge you to beware of impaired driving,” Police Chief David Godlewski said in a statement. “Driving impaired by alcohol or drugs is deadly, it is illegal, and it will get you pulled over and arrested this Halloween.”

More than 300 people were killed in alcohol-impaired motor vehicle crashes in each of the past three years in the state, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

In 2014, 302 people lost their lives in crashes involving at least one driver with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 or higher.

That number rose slightly to 315 in 2015 and remained the same in 2016. One DUI arrest could cost an estimated $18,000 or more and result in revoked driving privileges for up to a year, according to the release.

Police advise that residents plan a ride home before enjoying Halloween festivities, designate a sober friend with whom to walk home, contact police if an impaired driver is spotted on the road and take friends’ keys if they do not appear safe to drive.

Funds from the Illinois Department of Transportation make the enforcement possible, according to the release.

Sarah Nader - snader@shawmedia.com The Algonquin home of Patrick Colcernian is elaborately decorated Halloween on Wednesday, October 31, 2012,


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Algonquin trustees approve marketing consultant to help bring in businessesMegan Jones - mjones@shawmedia.com Algonquin trustees discussed hiring a marketing consultant at a Committee of the Whole meeting Oct. 10.

Thu, 19 Oct 2017 05:20:00 GMT

ALGONQUIN – Algonquin trustees unanimously approved hiring a marketing consultant for $58,000 to help the village promote its corporate campus and retail corridors.

Village President John Schmitt said the village needs to populate the corporate campus and its downtown area, which the village recently has funneled money into to develop.

Algonquin spent more than $200,000 to install fiber optic infrastructure on the corporate campus, and several ongoing transportation projects, including Longmeadow Parkway construction, are underway.

“The days of retail begging to come into your community are no longer here,” Schmitt said. “So, we’re looking to build our retail establishments for the benefit of our residents. They will create documents and tools we can use to market our amenities.”

​The marketing firm, a5 branding and digital, has a history of spreading messages in McHenry County. The firm created the “Real Woodstock” marketing campaign that marketed the city through traditional, digital and social media.

The corporate campus is a 1,000-acre business park on Corporate Parkway off Randall Road, and has more than 20 businesses and room for more, said Russ Farnum, director of community development.

Algonquin officials charged the firm with designing a campaign with consistent messaging and graphics, running ad campaigns and creating a community profile. A website with information, maps, timelines, opportunities and contact information, along with news releases and digital newsletters, also will help spread the message.

The firm also will help to market key vacancies along Randall and East Algonquin roads, Farnum said.

Farnum said the firm already has begun making phone calls to brokers, and it will take a six-month process to prepare the marketing materials.

Megan Jones - mjones@shawmedia.com Algonquin trustees discussed hiring a marketing consultant at a Committee of the Whole meeting Oct. 10.


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Harry Potter exhibit to mark 20th anniversary of first bookA member of British Library staff poses Wednesday for a picture pointing at the Philosopher's Stone on the 16th-century Ripley Scroll, which describes how to make a Philosopher's Stone, at the "Harry Potter - A History of Magic" exhibition at the British Library, in London. The exhibition running from Oct. 20, marks the 20th anniversary of the publication of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, showing items from the British Library's collection, and items from author J.K Rowling and the book publisher's collection.

Thu, 19 Oct 2017 05:19:00 GMT

LONDON – Harry Potter fans owe a debt of gratitude to Alice Newton. Alice was 8 years old when her father, a Bloomsbury Publishing executive, brought home a new manuscript for her to read. “The excitement in this book made me feel warm inside,” she scrawled in a note to her dad. “I think it is probably one of the best books an 8/9 year old could read.” Based on this glowing review, Bloomsbury published “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone,” launching a literary juggernaut that brought magic to a generation of children. Alice’s penciled note is part of the British Library’s new exhibition, “Harry Potter: A History of Magic.” The show, which coincides with the 20th anniversary of the publication of J.K. Rowling’s first book, is an unabashed celebration of the stories and their antecedents. “There are some rich historical traditions behind the magic in the Harry Potter stories, which J.K. Rowling was aware of,” said Alexander Lock, one of the exhibit curators, who added that he was impressed with Rowling’s ability to layer information and offer depth. “They go into the stories and make them so rich.” The exhibit, which opens Friday, includes Rowling’s outline for the book, her personal drawings of characters and a map of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. It also looks at magic and the nature of belief, revealing that many of the things Harry Potter fans thought were imaginary actually were based in fact – or folklore. It includes rare books and manuscripts from around the world, together with cauldrons, broomsticks, crystal balls and potion manuals that offer insight into Rowling’s inspiration and how the books came to be. “I’ve taken liberties with folklore,” Rowling says in a video that opens the show. The show is divided into rooms based on the subjects studied at Hogwarts, the setting for Rowling’s novels following the adventures of Harry, the orphan who learns at age 11 that he is a wizard. Sections include Potions, Herbology, Divination, Care of Magical Creatures and Defense Against the Dark Arts. Each section touches on the legends and beliefs that Rowling wove into her stories, with historical objects illustrating the scholarship behind the narrative. The potions section, for example, features a Bronze Age/Iron Age Battersea Cauldron on loan from the British Museum. It sits beneath cauldron light fixtures that flicker in the subdued light and offer the viewer a chance to get into the Halloween-like aura of it all. There also is a discussion of alchemy, the medieval forerunner of chemistry, and features the Ripley Scroll, a six-meter long manuscript from the 1500s that describes how to make[...]


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McHenry County's 'Best Under 40' honored for successes at young ageGuests and honorees attend the Northwest Herald's Best Under 40 award program on Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2017 at the Boulder Ridge Golf Club in Lake in the Hills.H. Rick Bamman - hbamman@shawmedia.com Shaw Media's group marketing and events director Meredith Schaefer greets guests at the Northwest Herald's Best Under 40 award program on Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2017 at the Boulder Ridge Golf Club in Lake in the Hills.

Thu, 19 Oct 2017 05:15:00 GMT

LAKE IN THE HILLS – When Arturo Flores moved to the U.S. at age 15, he couldn’t speak English. On Wednesday night, he spoke – in English – of success, struggle and resiliency. Now 33, Flores is one of the 12 people honored at the 13th annual McHenry County’s Best Under 40 dinner, hosted by the Northwest Herald at Boulder Ridge Country Club in Lake in the Hills. An independent real estate broker for most of his career, Flores isn’t used to getting recognition, even though he now owns three businesses. But Wednesday, he was praised, and wasted no time in crediting his family – particularly his mother and his wife – for much of the success. His mother was effectively a single mother, he said, because his father moved to the U.S. long before the rest of the family. Flores’ wife, Teresa Flores, nominated him for the award. “She has been with me since Day 1, supporting me with all my crazy ideas – one of them was marrying me,” Flores said of Teresa. The Flores family, like many others, encountered some tough times during the housing market crash. So Teresa went to work full time. “We were not making ends meet, so she went out there and got a full-time job to support our family, our kids, to pay the bills, to support me in continuing my real estate career,” Flores, of Woodstock, said. “Thanks to that, and many other things that she did, that’s the reason I’m standing here today.” Leslie Blake, 29, was tied for the distinction of youngest honoree Wednesday night. The executive director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of McHenry County said her youngest sister saw her in the newspaper and wanted to know what she could do to become part of a “best under 10” list. “This got me thinking about those around me who I consider to be the best,” Blake said. “A common element emerged in each and every person. It’s all about the power of one. Each person has the greatest power – the power of the individual. An individual armed with the spirit of independence can prove that the power of one positive action, one voice, one hope, can prevail.” Blake reflected on how that is carried out each day at Big Brothers Big Sisters of McHenry County, where “bigs” help “littles” learn how to overcome adversity and uplift them. “The reality is that every child is one caring adult away from being a success story,” Blake said. There were 10 others honored. • Wayne Jett, 34, McHenry – mayor of McHenry, owner of Jett’s Heating & Air, Sideline Sports Marketing and McHenry Downtown Indoor Theater [...]


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County deputies nab fugitive, alleged sexual abuser of child family memberPhoto provided Robert J. Gould, a top 10 most wanted fugitive in McHenry County, was arrested Wednesday.

Thu, 19 Oct 2017 05:14:00 GMT

WOODSTOCK – Police apprehended a man Wednesday who allegedly sexually abused and assaulted a child in his family.

McHenry County Sheriff’s deputies arrested Robert J. Gould, 51 – one of the county’s 10 most wanted fugitives – on an array of charges that allege he sexually assaulted a family member younger than 18 and sexually abused and assaulted a victim younger than 13.

It is unclear on the county jail log whether there are multiple victims or whether all the charges involve one victim.

Gould was charged with predatory criminal sexual assault of a child and predatory criminal sexual assault of a victim younger than 13. He also was charged with criminal sexual abuse of a family member younger than 18 and criminal sexual assault with force.

Gould’s last known address was in Wheeling. His bond was set at $500,000, and he is due in court again Thursday morning.

A request for more information from the sheriff’s office Wednesday afternoon was not returned.

Photo provided Robert J. Gould, a top 10 most wanted fugitive in McHenry County, was arrested Wednesday.


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IMRF director chalks up McHenry County pension plan to 'political bickering'State Rep. Jack Franks (left) and Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund Executive Director Louis Kosiba question the legality of cutting pensions for elected county officials.H. Rick Bamman - hbamman@nwherald.com Louis Kosiba Executive Director of the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund.

Thu, 19 Oct 2017 05:13:00 GMT

WOODSTOCK – A plan to save McHenry County taxpayers about $110,000 a year has drawn scrutiny from the leader of the state’s second largest public pension system. Louis Kosiba, executive director of the $35.6 billion Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund, this week warned the McHenry County Board that a resolution to kill pension eligibility for all elected county officials is illegal – and could cost taxpayers a lot of money in the courts. “Ultimately,” Kosiba said, “the taxpayers will pay for this folly.”  Franks said he expected some criticism, especially from those who feel threatened by the changes he’s proposing. McHenry County Board Chairman Jack Franks’ resolution seeks to remove IMRF eligibility for the offices of County Board chairman, state’s attorney, county clerk, circuit clerk, treasurer, auditor, recorder, coroner and sheriff – a change that would not affect the positions until the end of their terms. But if that resolution passes, and the county does not make the proper pension deductions from the salaries of elected officials, the IMRF could charge the county with interest for money the IMRF had to put forward to cover benefits – a matter that likely would end up in court, Kosiba said. Kosiba showed up to a McHenry County Board meeting Tuesday to tell the public and board members that such a move would violate the Illinois Constitution and Pension Code. He highlighted Article 13, Section 5 of the Illinois Constitution, which states membership in any pension or retirement system of the state, local government or school district is an “enforceable contractual relationship” and the benefits of those pension systems cannot be diminished or impaired. Kosiba has long touted the benefits of IMRF and previously called pension reform efforts a “pipe dream.” Franks does not give Kosiba’s opinion much weight.  “As IMRF director, it’s not his role to dictate public policy to public officials. That’s our job,” Franks said, adding that Kosiba has vested interest in McHenry County pensions. “He’s worried that once we’re successful it’s going to spread and his organization will lose money. They make money by keeping people enrolled.” The pension chief’s position is more about making sure elected officials get the benefits they are promised under law, Kosiba said. “We’re here to make sure the pension code is properly enforced,” Kosiba said. “I don’t care if I get another dime from McHenry County.” In McHenry County, the coroner, recorder and sheriff already have opted out of receiving pen[...]


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McHenry mayor, business owners to talk downtown parkingMcHenry Mayor Wayne Jett will meet with business owners to discuss parking in the city. Some owners cite a lack of parking as affecting their businesses.A parking sign directs drivers to a McHenry public parking lotNorthwest Herald FIle Photo Alderman Andrew Glab walks across Green Street from a municipal lot in McHenry

Thu, 19 Oct 2017 05:13:00 GMT

McHENRY – McHenry Mayor Wayne Jett will meet with downtown business owners to address what some call a parking problem in the area. The City Council recently hosted a discussion on parking in McHenry’s downtown area, and several business owners have said a lack of parking has led to a downturn in business. City officials said the problem might lie more in inconvenience and a lack of awareness of existing city lots. Mike Dumelle, who operates Buddyz, a pizzeria on Green Street, said the problem has gotten so bad he is considering relocating. He said dining revenues are flat, while delivery service is thriving. “Parking is one of our top complaints,” he said. “When it is bad outside, we are basically dead. … It’s a primary business decision on whether I stay or go.” The city of McHenry has a total of 639 public parking spots scattered throughout its downtown areas – 250 spots in public parking lots and 389 street parking spots – according to city documents. Council members had a similar discussion on the matter in April after approving plans for the new theater and D.C. Cobbs restaurant on Green Street. Many are concerned the attraction will draw more people to the downtown and create more parking problems. The downtown theater is set to open in November, and a second D.C. Cobbs location will follow. Future developments also might cramp parking. Second Ward Alderman Andrew Glab said he wanted to be better prepared for the future and create a long-term plan for the downtown. “We need to come up with a vision before we discuss parking as a whole,” he said. “If you take a look at those city parking lots, it’s a tough settle because they are kind of hidden in the back. Maybe we need to look at designing it better. … Make it a more comfortable atmosphere.” The city’s public works department has made an effort since that discussion to better mark city lots so people know they won’t get ticketed, said Doug Martin, director of economic development. “I think there is more we can do,” he said. “I think the safety issue is a factor for some people. Parking on Riverside Drive – there are 28 spots, but not a lot of lighting.” Perception about safety might be compounded with patrons’ lack of willingness to walk several blocks to their location, 3rd Ward Alderman Jeffrey Schaefer said. Schaefer said that he had done a lot of “personal investigation” on the matter of parking, and went downtown recently on a weekend night to see the problem in action. “The whole area was very busy. It was e[...]


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McHenry County's 'Best Under 40' honored for success, giving backNow 33, Flores is one of the 12 people honored at the 13th Annual McHenry County’s Best Under 40 dinner, hosted by the Northwest Herald at Boulder Ridge Country Club in Lake in the Hills. An independent real estate broker for most of his career, Flores isn’t used to getting recognition, even though he now owns three businesses. But on Wednesday, he was praised, and wasted no time in crediting his family – particularly his mother and his wife – for much of the success. His mother was effectively a single mother, he said, because his father moved to the States long before the rest of the family.Flores’ wife, Teresa Flores, nominated him for the award. “She has been with me since day one, supporting me with all my crazy ideas – one of them was marrying me,” Fores said of Teresa. The Flores family, like many others, encountered some tough times during the housing market crash. So Teresa went to work full-time. “We were not making ends meet, so she went out there and got a full-time job to support our family, our kids, to pay the bills, to support me in continuing my real estate career,” Flores, of Woodstock, said. “Thanks to that, and many other things that she did, that’s the reason I’m standing here today.”Leslie Blake, 29, was tied for the distinction of youngest honoree Wednesday night. The executive director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of McHenry County said her youngest sister saw her in the newspaper and wanted to know what she could do to become part of a “best under 10” list. “This got me thinking about those around me who I consider to be the best,” Blake said. “A common element emerged in each and every person. It’s all about the power of one. Each person has the greatest power – the power of the individual. An individual armed with the spirit of independence can prove that the power of one positive action, one voice, one hope, can prevail.”Blake reflected on how that is carried out each day at Big Brothers Big Sisters of McHenry County, where “bigs” help “littles” learn how to overcome adversity and uplift them. “The reality is that every child is one caring adult away from being a success story,” Blake said.There were 10 others honored. • Wayne Jett, 34, McHenry – mayor of McHenry, owner of Jett’s Heating & Air, Sideline Sports Marketing and McHenry Downtown Indoor Theater • Adam Wallen, 33, Crystal Lake – architect, McHenry County building official • Shaun Tessmer, 35, Crystal Lake – manager of adviser services at Exemplar Financial Network in Crystal Lake • Matt Potts, 30, Crystal Lake – musician, business owner, president of Culture, Arts and Music and Potts and Pans • Deidre Martinez, 38, Crystal Lake – membership development manager for the Crystal Lake Chamber of Commerce• Paul Letizia, 38, McHenry – owner of Financial Dynamics Inc. in McHenry • Bonnie Ungaro, 35, Crystal Lake – human resources recruiter with Centegra Health System • Stephen Taylor, 33, Crystal Lake – technology consultant and CEO at LeadingIT in Crystal Lake • Patricia Miller, 35, Crystal Lake – owner/CEO of Matrix 4 in Woodstock • David Lammers, 29, Palatine – financial adviser at Edward Jones in McHenry

Thu, 19 Oct 2017 05:12:00 GMT

LAKE IN THE HILLS – When Arturo Flores moved to the U.S. at age 15, he couldn’t speak English. On Wednesday night he spoke – in English – of success, struggle and resiliency. Now 33, Flores is one of the 12 people honored at the 13th Annual McHenry County’s Best Under 40 dinner, hosted by the Northwest Herald at Boulder Ridge Country Club in Lake in the Hills. An independent real estate broker for most of his career, Flores isn’t used to getting recognition, even though he now owns three businesses. But on Wednesday, he was praised, and wasted no time in crediting his family – particularly his mother and his wife – for much of the success. His mother was effectively a single mother, he said, because his father moved to the States long before the rest of the family.Flores’ wife, Teresa Flores, nominated him for the award. “She has been with me since day one, supporting me with all my crazy ideas – one of them was marrying me,” Fores said of Teresa. The Flores family, like many others, encountered some tough times during the housing market crash. So Teresa went to work full-time. “We were not making ends meet, so she went out there and got a full-time job to support our family, our kids, to pay the bills, to support me in continuing my real estate career,” Flores, of Woodstock, said. “Thanks to that, and many other things that she did, that’s the reason I’m standing here today.”Leslie Blake, 29, was tied for the distinction of youngest honoree Wednesday night. The executive director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of McHenry County said her youngest sister saw her in the newspaper and wanted to know what she could do to become part of a “best under 10” list. “This got me thinking about those around me who I consider to be the best,” Blake said. “A common element emerged in each and every person. It’s all about the power of one. Each person has the greatest power – the power of the individual. An individual armed with the spirit of independence can prove that the power of one positive action, one voice, one hope, can prevail.”Blake reflected on how that is carried out each day at Big Brothers Big Sisters of McHenry County, where “bigs” help “littles” learn how to overcome adversity and uplift them. “The reality is that every child is one caring adult away from being a success story,” Blake said.There were 10 others honored. • Wayne Jett, 34, McHenry – mayor of McHenry, owner of Jett’s Heating & Air, Sideline Sports Marketing and McHenry Downtown Indoor Theater • Adam Wallen, 33, Crystal Lake – architect, McHenry County building official • Shaun Tessmer, 35, Crystal Lake – manager of adviser services at Exemplar Financial Network in Crystal Lake • Matt Potts, 30, Crystal Lake – [...]


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Thousands march over 'Somalia's 9/11;' attack details emergeAP photo Afrah Ibrahim (center) searches through the clothes of the dead lying in a hole to try to find the clothes last worn by his missing sister, without success, outside a hospital Tuesday in Mogadishu, Somalia. Anguished families gathered across Somalia's capital on Tuesday as funerals continued for the more than 300 people killed in one of the world's deadliest attacks in years, while others waited anxiously for any word of the scores of people still said to be missing.

Thu, 19 Oct 2017 05:06:00 GMT

MOGADISHU, Somalia – Somali intelligence officials shared a detailed account of the country’s deadliest attack, while thousands marched Wednesday in Mogadishu in a show of defiance against the extremist group blamed for Saturday’s truck bombing that left more than 300 dead. Two people have been arrested in the attack that was meant to target Mogadishu’s heavily fortified international airport, where several countries have their embassies, the officials said. Somalia’s president urged the long-fractured Horn of Africa nation to unite, and Mayor Thabit Abdi said the city was “awash in graves.” Some desperate relatives still dug through the rubble with their bare hands in search of scores said to be missing. Wearing red headbands, a crowd of mostly young men and women gathered at a Mogadishu stadium and shouted slogans against al-Shabab, which has long targeted the seaside city but has not commented on the attack. Some in Somalia have called the bombing their “9/11,” asking why one of the world’s deadliest attacks in years hasn’t drawn more global attention. Nearly 400 others were wounded. “You can kill us, but not our spirit and desire for peace,” said high school teacher Zainab Muse. “May Allah punish those who massacred our people,” said university student Mohamed Salad. It was not all peaceful. At least three people, including a pregnant woman, were injured after security forces opened fire while trying to disperse protesters marching toward the attack site, said police Capt. Mohammed Hussein. Analysts have suggested that al-Shabab, an al-Qaida ally, may have avoided taking responsibility because it did not want to be blamed for the deaths of so many civilians. A detailed description of the attack emerged. According to a Somali intelligence official investigating the blast, an overloaded truck covered with a tarpaulin approached a security checkpoint early Saturday outside Mogadishu. The truck, covered in dust, aroused the suspicions of soldiers who ordered the driver to park and get out. The driver, a man who soldiers said behaved in a friendly manner, made a phone call to someone in the capital. The driver passed the phone to the soldiers to speak to a well-known man who vouched for the truck and persuaded soldiers to allow it into the city, the Somali intelligence official told The Associated Press. Once through the checkpoint, the truck began to speed along the sandy, potholed road and raced through another checkpoint where soldiers opened fire and flattened one [...]


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Uncertainty reigns ahead of new health care sign-up periodAP photo Gail Orcutt counts her medication at the kitchen table in her home Tuesday in Pleasant Hill, Iowa. President Donald Trump's recent announcement that he's ending health subsidies for moderate-income Americans injected further uncertainty into the future of the law championed by his predecessor, Barack Obama.

Thu, 19 Oct 2017 05:06:00 GMT

DES MOINES, Iowa – Jason Sanford has heard so many rumors about the changing health care landscape that every few weeks he dials a local information desk, seeking just a rough estimate of what his diabetes medication will soon cost him. The answer is the same every time: It’s too early to say, even with the next open enrollment period under the Affordable Care Act beginning in two weeks. “It’s just hearsay,” said the 55-year-old sales representative from Davenport. “There’s no channel for information that I’m getting anywhere.” After several failed attempts in Congress to repeal and replace the 2010 health care law, Americans across the country are grappling with unanswered questions about how “Obamacare” will function during the six-week sign-up period beginning Nov. 1. The confusion is especially pronounced in Iowa, which is seeking last-minute federal approval to revamp its individual insurance market. Uncertainty has mounted in recent days amid a push by President Donald Trump to allow the purchase of skimpier insurance plans than the ACA requires and a move by the president to cut off federal payments that help keep consumer costs down. Then on Tuesday, some senators announced a tentative agreement to continue those payments. What it all means for Iowa isn’t clear. Its proposal, known as the stopgap measure, would be unlike any other state’s health insurance market. It would replace the variety of plans from which people can choose with just one plan for everyone, and the cost would be based not just on income, but on age. Critics have said it could prove more expensive for individuals with high-cost medical needs. State officials argue that the higher out-of-pocket expenses would be offset by lower monthly premiums. Gail Orcutt, of the Des Moines suburb of Pleasant Hill, receives costly chemotherapy for lung cancer. She attended some meetings over the summer on the stopgap measure, though she said she left confused. Because she doesn’t know what her costs will be next year, she is considering putting off some periodic scans that help detect if her disease is spreading. “I just might need to skip those until I’m on Medicare,” said the 64-year-old retired elementary school teacher, who will be eligible in May for the national health program for older Americans. Meanwhile, Sanford is waiting. He said he pays about $350 a month for insurance under the ACA and has seen unverified estimates his bill could soon double. [...]


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Chicago's Amazon bid focuses on workforce and transportationIn this Monday, Oct. 16, 2017, photo, Migdawlaw Yisrael, a staffer at the University of Alabama at Birmingham's Hill Student Center, pushes a large Amazon Dash button, in Birmingham, Ala. The large Dash buttons are part of the city's campaign to lure Amazon's second headquarters to Birmingham. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

Thu, 19 Oct 2017 05:05:00 GMT

CHICAGO – Chicago officially has thrown its hat in the ring with a bid for Amazon’s massive second headquarters, adding to the growing competition from cities bragging about their talent pool, quality of life and cultural amenities to lure the tech giant and its promise of jobs. Although some cities have creatively played up their hipness or gently ribbed Seattle with pitches of year-round sunny weather, Chicago has played it straight. There have been some mentions of top restaurants, lakefront living and Chicago’s position as a transportation hub, but the main focus has been the region’s qualified workforce. To shape the bid Chicago submitted this week, officials convened a committee with some 600 members, including big corporate names such as United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz and former U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker. Others include restaurateurs, neighborhood groups and religious leaders. “Really, there are only a few cities that could match the scale they (Amazon) need and attract additional, appropriate employees to the city,” said Chicago Deputy Mayor Robert Rivkin, who’s overseeing the city’s bid. Committee members are eager to rattle off statistics involving the dense concentration of engineering programs. That includes how the University of Illinois awarded more engineering undergraduate degrees in 2016 than the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University and the California Institute of Technology combined, according to the American Society for Engineering Education. Because of the competition, details of Chicago’s bid are being closely guarded, including talk of incentives. But officials admit several locations in downtown, city neighborhoods and its suburbs are possibilities for what’s been dubbed HQ2. One location getting buzz is a 1930s-era post office straddling a major expressway that Mayor Rahm Emanuel toured with fanfare last month. The building – billed as the world’s largest post office – is undergoing a $600 million renovation and is close to transportation networks, including city trains that can get to O’Hare International Airport in under an hour. In submitting Monday’s proposal, Emanuel said Chicago has “unparalleled potential.” In turn, city officials project Amazon could bring an estimated $71 billion in salaries and wages over a 17-year period, according to the nonprofit development group World Chicago Business. Still, there are hurdles for attracting businesses to Illinois, which recently ended a historic state budg[...]


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Wildfires worsen housing crunch in famously costly Bay AreaA Pacific Gas & Electric worker replaces power poles destroyed by wildfires on Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2017, in Glen Ellen, Calif. California fire officials have reported significant progress on containing wildfires that have ravaged parts of Northern California. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

Thu, 19 Oct 2017 05:05:00 GMT

SANTA ROSA, Calif. – Even before fire wiped out the home she rented for 17 years, Suzanne Finzell had thought about leaving this city on the edge of the San Francisco Bay Area because of rising prices. A spike in housing and other living costs had driven her friends to Nevada and Oregon. Now, Finzell wonders if that will be her fate, too, as the wildfires that charred California wine country send thousands of people who lost their homes scrambling for new places to live in one of the nation’s tightest and most expensive housing markets. Before the fires, the rental vacancy rate was a mere 1 percent in Santa Rosa and 3 percent in surrounding Sonoma County. Then the city lost an estimated 5 percent of its housing stock to the flames. “We had a housing crisis before the fires,” Mayor Chris Coursey said Wednesday. “It’s magnitudes worse now.” Meanwhile, authorities reported more progress against the flames. The deputy chief of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said crews had stopped the movement of all fires. Firefighters were helped by cooler weather and the lack of wind. Forecasters expect a tenth of an inch of rain in the affected areas Thursday – not enough to quench any fires outright but still welcome. The fires that swept through parts of seven counties were the deadliest and most destructive series of blazes in California history. At least 42 people died and 6,000 homes were lost. The flames were especially devastating in Sonoma and Napa counties on the northern edge of the Bay Area – a region that has seen housing prices skyrocket in recent years amid a technology industry boom. In San Francisco, an average one-bedroom apartment rents for more than $3,000 a month, and the median home price is about $1.5 million. Cities such as Santa Rosa, about 50 miles north of San Francisco, have offered more affordable housing for people willing to endure a longer commute. But that may not be the case anymore. The 62-year-old Finzell, who has lived in Santa Rosa since she was 3, said the housing situation means her generation “heads into retirement with no chance of living in the places we grew up.” Housing for displaced families is “going to be a really big challenge,” said Ana Lugo, president of the North Bay Organizing Project, an organization that advocates for affordable housing in Sonoma County. Lugo said government officials are still focused on putting out the fires an[...]


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