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Police: Waffle House suspect arrested near his Tennessee apartmentDon Aaron, public affairs manager for the Metro Nashville Police Department, speaks at a news conference Monday, April 23, 2018, in Nashville, Tenn., regarding the search for a gunman who opened fire Sunday at a Waffle House restaurant. A suspect police have identified as 29-year-old Travis Reinking shot and killed at least four people at the restaurant. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Mon, 23 Apr 2018 18:49:00 GMT

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The suspect in an attack that killed four people at a Waffle House restaurant in Tennessee was arrested Monday not far from his apartment, police said. Authorities had mounted a massive manhunt for 29-year-old Travis Reinking, after the Sunday morning attacks, in which a gunman clad only in a jacket used an AR-15 rifle to kill four and injure others. Metropolitan Nashville Police announced Monday on Twitter that he was taken into custody not far from his apartment. Photos posted by police in Nashville showed Reinking clothed and in a police car. Reinking, described as a white man with brown hair, opened fire with an AR-15 in the Waffle House parking lot and then stormed the restaurant shortly after 3 a.m. Sunday, police say. Four people were killed and four others were injured before a quick-thinking customer wrestled the assault weapon away, preventing more bloodshed. Reinking then disappeared, police said. Police say about 20 people were in the Waffle House at the time of the shootings. They included people of different races and ethnicities, but the four people killed were minorities_three black and one Hispanic. It's not clear why Reinking opened fire on restaurant patrons, though he may have "mental issues," Metropolitan Nashville Police Chief Steve Anderson said earlier. He was considered armed and dangerous, because he was known to have owned a handgun authorities have not recovered. More than 100 Nashville police officers had been going door-to-door and searching wooded areas, joined by dozens of agents with the FBI, the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and troopers with the Tennessee Highway Patrol. Police said Reinking had stolen a BMW days before the attack. The car was quickly recovered, but authorities did not immediately link it to Reinking. Meanwhile, authorities in Illinois shared past reports suggesting multiple red flags about a disturbed young man with paranoid delusions. In May 2016, Reinking told deputies from Tazewell County, Illinois, that music superstar Taylor Swift was stalking him and hacking his phone, and that his family was also involved, according to a report released Sunday. Reinking agreed to go to a local hospital for an evaluation after repeatedly resisting the request, the sheriff's report said. Another sheriff's report said Reinking barged into a community pool in Tremont, Illinois, last June, and jumped into the water wearing a pink woman's coat over his underwear. Investigators believed he had an AR-15 rifle in his car trunk, but it was never displayed. No charges were filed. Last July, Reinking was arrested by the U.S. Secret Service after he crossed into a restricted area near the White House and refused to leave, saying he wanted to meet President Donald Trump. Reinking was not armed at the time, but at the FBI's request, state police in Illinois revoked his state firearms card and seized four guns from him, authorities said. The AR-15 used in the shootings was among the firearms seized. In August, Reinking told police he wanted to file a report about 20 to 30 people tapping into his computer and phone and people "barking like dogs" outside his residence, according to a report. "There's certainly evidence that there's some sort of mental health issues involved," Tazewell County Sheriff Robert Huston said. But he said deputies returned the guns to Reinking's father on the promise that he would "keep the weapons secure and out of the possession of Travis." Reinking's father "has now acknowledged giving them back" to his son, Aaron said. Phone calls to a number listed for the father, Jeff[...]

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Thousands of girls joining boys as Cub ScoutsIn a Thursday, March 1, 2018 photo, Tatum Weir, center, raises her hand as she prepares to ask a question while going over plans to build a tool box during a cub scout meeting in Madbury, N.H. Fifteen communities in New Hampshire are part of an "early adopter" program to allow girls to become Cub Scouts and eventually Boy Scouts. Tatum and her twin brother Ian are planning to become the first set of girl-boy siblings to become Eagle Scouts. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Mon, 23 Apr 2018 14:38:00 GMT

DURHAM, N.H. – Ten-year-old twins Tatum and Ian Weir aren't about to let matching, minor injuries deter them from their goal of becoming the first sister-brother pair of Eagle Scouts. "I cut myself, too!" Tatum said, pausing only briefly during a recent Cub Scout meeting to touch her thumb to her brother's before continuing on with a woodworking project. New Hampshire's Daniel Webster Council, which includes Durham's Pack 154, is among more than 170 nationwide participating in an early adopter program as the Boy Scouts of America begins welcoming girls into the organization in new ways. The soft launch followed the Boy Scouts' announcement in October that it would begin admitting girls into the Cub Scouts starting later this year and would establish a new program next year for older girls based on the Boy Scout curriculum. "We heard from our families, 'OK, you've made the decision, can you please give us a way to do this right now because we've got families and daughters that are just really excited about it," said Boy Scouts spokeswoman Effie Delimarkos. "We heard that so much that we decided to kick off this early adopter program with the understanding that a lot of the materials we're working on, in terms of uniforms and handbooks and so forth were still in development," she said. "But folks were very understanding. They just wanted to be able to start." About two-thirds of councils nationwide signed up, bringing roughly 3,000 girls into the Cub Scouts so far, she said. Under the new plan, Cub Scout dens — the smallest unit — will be single-gender, either all boys or all girls. The larger Cub Scout packs will have the option to remain single-gender or not. Scouting leaders have some leeway, particularly in smaller communities. In Durham, for example, den leader Tuck Pescosolido recently led a group of four girls and four boys as they built wooden toolboxes. As the project got underway, the girls raised their hands and waited to be called on, while the boys were somewhat silly, cracking jokes about flying airplanes when asked about drilling pilot holes. But once they settled into the activity, things leveled out. "I didn't want to stereotype. But yes, I did expect perhaps the girls would be a little bit calmer, would be a little bit perhaps easier to manage in my role as the den leader, and to a certain extent that has played out," Pescosolido said. "But it's done so in a great way. It's not that the girls are sitting still. It's that they are very highly engaged in the task and they're less, perhaps, distracted by other things than the boys are." The girls have gotten an enthusiastic welcome from Scout leaders and the boys themselves, he said. Some of the new members are friends the boys recommended, while others are sisters of Scouts. BSA officials have said the changes are aimed, in part, at making things more convenient for busy families, though that notion doesn't sit well with some leaders at the Girl Scouts of the USA. "To me, a daughter is not a matter of convenience. You've made the choice for your son based on what you thought was best for him, and the daughter should be getting a similar decision. We know facts prove that the Girl Scout program is the better program for the girls and young women we serve," said Patricia Mellor, CEO of the Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains, which serves Vermont and New Hampshire. "I welcome opportunity for girls, but for years, I've been reading the cases and the information coming out from Boy Scouts that their program was specifically designed for boys, only for boys," she said. "I see that they're not changing their programming and wonder why they believe a program designed by men for boys is going to meet the [...]

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McHenry County Zoning Board of Appeals to continue solar complex hearing WednesdayA resident speaks during a McHenry County Zoning Board of Appeals meeting April 5.

Mon, 23 Apr 2018 13:59:00 GMT

The McHenry County Zoning Board of Appeals will meet Wednesday to continue a hearing on the controversial solar complex proposed for McHenry Township.

California-based Shabadoo Solar, Chicago-based Cypress Renewables Development LLC and Wisconsin-based West Grant Development want to install panels on about 35 acres of a 90-acre farmland northeast of South Solon Road and West Ringwood Road.

The proposal has sparked concerns from neighbors who live near the property. They have taken issue with how the project will affect the land, future land use, property values, aesthetics, potential noise and radiation and whether the development will benefit the county.

The group will hold a community meeting ahead of the zoning board meeting from 5 to 8 p.m. Monday at Johnsburg Community Club, 2315 Church St. For information, visit the group’s “Citizens Against Solar Complex” Facebook page,

During Wednesday's meeting, developers will finish their presentations and residents will be allowed to give input. The zoning board could make a decision Wednesday whether to recommend the proposal to the County Board for a final decision.

The hearing will be at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday at the county Administration Building, 667 Ware Road, Woodstock.

Editor's note: This story has been changed to reflect the correct date of the McHenry County Zoning Board of Appeals meeting.

A resident speaks during a McHenry County Zoning Board of Appeals meeting April 5.

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10 years after recall, thousands of risky air bags are still on the roadJewel Brangman was killed by shrapnel from a Takata air bag in this crash in Los Angeles. She was driving the rear vehicle, a Honda Civic.

Mon, 23 Apr 2018 13:05:00 GMT

Alexander Brangman finds comfort in remembering how long his daughter lived - 26 years, 11 months, 9 hours and 15 minutes - rather than the horrible and needless way she died. Jewel Brangman, an academic all-American in high school, about to pursue a doctorate at Stanford, had no need to know much about the rental car she drove north toward Los Angeles on a sunny September Sunday almost four years ago. Then came a relatively minor crash - she rear-ended a minivan - and her air bag exploded with a spray of razor-sharp metal shards that severed her carotid artery. Ten years after the biggest safety recall in U.S. history began, Honda says there are more than 60,000 vehicles on the nation's roads equipped with what experts have called a "ticking time bomb" - defective air bags like the one that killed Brangman. The air bags, which sit about a foot from a driver's chest, have a 50-50 chance of exploding in a fender bender. They are the most deadly air bags remaining in the recall involving more than 37 million vehicles built by 19 automakers. At least 22 people worldwide have been killed and hundreds more permanently disfigured when the air bags that deployed to protect them instead exploded and sprayed shrapnel. The worst among the bad bags are known as Alphas, driver-side air bags installed in Hondas that have up to a 50 percent chance they will explode on impact. The 62,307 people still driving with them, many in older-model cars that may have changed hands several times, either have ignored the recall warnings or never received them, Honda said. With the number of deaths and disfigurements continuing to climb - the last fatality was in January - automakers and federal regulators have rewritten the rule book in their outreach efforts, including deploying teams to knock on doors of Honda owners who have not responded to recall notices. "We're good at repairing vehicles," said Rick Schostek, executive vice president of Honda North America, "but finding and convincing customers of older model vehicles to complete recalls, now that has proved a difficult challenge." The 2001 Honda Civic that Brangman was driving came from Sunset Car Rentals, a small agency that had bought the vehicle at auction almost three years earlier, after it had been involved in a crash and was issued a salvage title. Though it had been under recall since 2009, Honda said it had mailed four recall notices without getting any response. Brangman's crash was the epitome of a fender bender: She struck a minivan from behind, damaging its bumper and that of the car she was driving, and buckling the hood of her car. "There was minimal damage," her father said. "It was highly questionable if the air bag should have deployed at all. It was something Jewel should have walked away from." Instead, "I walked in the USC trauma unit and what I saw was horrific: Here's the beautiful, angelic human being that was my daughter hooked up to this monstrous life support system," Brangman said. The doctors told him she was brain dead. Brangman later learned that for three weeks his daughter had been driving a rental car with a factory-equipped air bag that during the recall would come to be known as the Alpha model. A quirk in the manufacturing process caused the Alpha inflaters to be the most deadly of the lot. The massive recall of air bag inflaters made by Takata - which allegedly suppressed tests revealing the flaw and where three key executives are under federal indictment - is well known to Congress and millions of Americans who have been touched by it. But tens of thousands of drivers most at risk remain oblivious to the efforts of automakers and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. "Our last hearing on the ongoing Takata fiasco is just further evidence that NHTSA is just rudderless," said Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida, ranking Democrat on the Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. "The latest data the committee has received from the aut[...]

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Wisconsin is the GOP model for ‘welfare reform.’ But as work rules grow, family faces the hard realityJames Howlett helps his 5-year-old son, Kayden, out of the car before school. The family's recent troubles started in November, when Nadine lost a job while waiting to start another and Howlett's car broke down. The family couldn't afford rent anymore. Photo for The Washington Post by Alyssa Schukar

Mon, 23 Apr 2018 13:03:00 GMT

MILWAUKEE – The shock absorbers in James Howlett's Ford Fusion were busted, but he and his partner, Nadine, packed their two children inside anyway. They were already homeless, and their time on food stamps was running out. They needed to fix the car and dig up documents to try to get back on welfare. The suburban homeless shelter where they slept the night before was now in the distance as they made their way through the familiar blight of the city neighborhood that was once home. Howlett dropped Kayden, 5, at kindergarten and Cali, 3, at day care in a community center that stood amid the boarded-up houses and vacant fields surrounded by barbed wire that dot Milwaukee's north side. That's when he found himself gripped by a new worry: His run-down Ford might be another barrier to government assistance. In February, Wisconsin passed a law prohibiting food stamp recipients from owning a car valued at more than $20,000. Just how the law would work was still unclear to him, leaving Howlett to worry whether he'd have to choose between food for his family and his only car. "They probably wouldn't assess it at the purchase value, right?" Howlett wondered as he got back into the car. "I hope they don't say I have to sell this. I think it should be fine. I don't know, the way things are changing." The way things are changing in Wisconsin - and around much of the country - is that lawmakers are embracing increasingly aggressive measures to move the poor out of the social safety net and into the workforce. In 2013, Wisconsin took a leading role in this trend when Republican Gov. Scott Walker signed legislation requiring childless adults who aren't disabled to work at least 20 hours a week to continue to qualify for food stamps. Those who didn't do so were required to attend training programs scattered throughout the state until they could find a job. In February, the state took it a step further: Parents of school-age children will also have to work to receive food stamps. And instead of 20 hours, they must work at least 30. Walker pushed for the asset limitations that worried Howlett to be applied to new cases to ensure that "people with giant mansions and fancy cars don't get welfare checks while hard-working taxpayers have to pay the bill." The state mandated drug testing for those who live in public housing. It is preparing to cut off Medicaid for parents who are behind on child-support payments. In all, lawmakers passed nine "welfare reform" bills, which they said will provide the motivation people need to stop relying on government help. "We will help people when they are down and out," Walker said in his State of the State address in January. "But for those who are able, public assistance should be a trampoline, not a hammock." Wisconsin has long been at the forefront of placing restrictions on government benefits. In the 1990s, Gov. Tommy Thompson led an effort to limit how long the poor could receive cash assistance. That approach appealed to President Bill Clinton, who used the state as a model for his federal changes, which reduced the number of families on welfare from 12.4 million in 1996 to 4.6 million in 2012 and transformed the government's relationship with the poor. The federal government is, again, following Wisconsin's example. President Donald Trump championed "welfare reform" this month when he signed an executive order calling for federal agencies to come up with ways to make it harder for residents to receive cash assistance through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program, food stamps, housing vouchers and Medicaid. The House Agricultural Committee introduced a farm bill that would institute requirements similar to the ones enacted in Wisconsin. The results in this state have been limited. Since Walker put work requirements into place, the Health Services Department said it has cut spending on food stamps by 28 percent, from $1.2 billion in 2013 to around $867[...]

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AP-NORC Poll: Amid strikes, Americans back teacher raisesFILE - In this Friday, April 13, 2018 file photo, teachers from across Kentucky gather inside the state Capitol in Frankfort, Ky., during a rally for increased education funding. Americans overwhelmingly believe teachers don't make enough money, and half say they'd support paying higher taxes to give educators a raise. That's according to a new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research that comes amid recent teacher strikes over low pay and the amount of money allocated to public schools in several Republican-led states. The poll found that parents and those without children are about as likely to think teachers are paid too little. (AP Photo/Bryan Woolston)

Mon, 23 Apr 2018 13:00:00 GMT

WASHINGTON – Americans overwhelmingly believe teachers don't make enough money, and half say they'd support paying higher taxes to give educators a raise. The findings of the new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research come amid recent teacher strikes and other protests over low pay, tough classroom conditions and the amount of money allocated to public schools in several Republican-led states. Tens of thousands of Arizona teachers voted last week to strike after rejecting an offer of a 20-percent raise, because it didn't include a vow from state lawmakers not to further cut taxes before providing more money for the state's schools. "To educate children and barely get a living is obnoxious," said Elaine Penman, a company manager in Tucson, Arizona, who added she and others went outside to cheer on protesting teachers who were marching by. She's among the 50 percent of Americas who say they'd pay a higher tax bill if it meant more money for teachers. "I'm a parent and I benefit directly from what teachers do," said Penman, who has two children in traditional public schools and one in a charter school. In 2016-2017, the average salary for a public school teacher was $58,950, down slightly from the previous year, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Overall, 78 percent of Americans said that's not enough. Just 15 percent think teachers are paid the right amount, while 6 percent think they're paid too much. In a 2010 AP-Stanford poll, 57 percent of Americans said they thought teachers are paid too little. Americans in states with the lowest average teacher salaries — less than $50,000 a year — were slightly more likely to think teachers were paid too little and that the national average should be an important factor in determining salaries. The AP-NORC poll found that parents and those without children are about equally likely to think teachers are paid too little. It's a sentiment that crosses party lines, too. Nearly 9 in 10 Democrats, 78 percent of independents and 66 percent of Republicans think teacher salaries are too low. Slightly more than half of Americans — 52 percent — also approve of teachers leaving the classroom to strike in their search for higher pay, while 25 percent disapprove. Among those who say they've heard about the recent teacher protests, 80 percent say they approve of such tactics. The recent run of teacher protests began in March in West Virginia, where teachers won a raise after going on strike. The strategy soon spread to Oklahoma, Kentucky, Colorado and Arizona, where educators joined together online and have held increasingly frequent protests during the past six weeks. The poll found that 51 percent of Americans have been paying at least some attention to the protests. People living in states with the lowest teacher salaries were more likely to have heard about the protests than those in states with the highest teacher pay. Americans believe state and local governments share responsibility with teachers and their unions for the disruptions caused by the strikes. Vernita Grimes, 68, of the District of Columbia, said teachers aren't making enough money for the work they do and she supports them having the right to strike, "even though I know kids are losing valuable teaching time." But Caitlyn Scott, 27, of Kent, Ohio, said teachers are earning "about what they should," and she opposes strikes by teachers. "I think they kind of committed to being there for the entire school year," she said. [...]

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Crystal Lake Park District considers selling $3.5M in debt bondsThe Crystal Lake Park District Board meets in December.

Mon, 23 Apr 2018 05:36:00 GMT

Crystal Lake Park District board members are considering selling $3.5 million in bonds to fund new capital improvement projects.

Park District Executive Director Jason Herbster said that during his eight years at the district, board members have approved selling $1.5 million in general obligation park bonds every two years to fund a variety of projects.

“We are getting a loan and paying it back, and we’ve had other bonds for other things, but not this particular series of bonds,” Herbster said.

The district held a public hearing Thursday night to discuss using $3.5 million to cover the next two cycles of selling bonds, he said.

“The reason we are doing this hearing for $3.5 million is to save the expense of having to go through the process twice,” Herbster said. “The hearing is good for three years, and we are saving taxpayers money by not having to do this twice.”

Herbster said it avoids having to pay for publishing public notices and paying for bond council and advisers to put paperwork together on two occasions.

“We bring in outside professionals to help us with that process,” Herbster said. “It’s just a formality of how we go through issuing debt.”

The bond funding will go toward capital projects, building maintenance improvements, playground replacements and park infrastructure upgrades.

“$1.5 million doesn’t go very far, so our list of improvements isn’t very long,” Herbster said.

Items on the list include building improvements – such as fixing the air conditioning and furnace – land improvements and repaving tennis court surfaces. Flood prevention projects also are planned at places such as Lippold Park near Route 176.

The turf on the baseball fields at Lippold Park also will be replaced, costing about $500,000.

Each playground lasts about 20 years, and they are listed in age priority for repairs, Herbster said.

Board members will vote May 17 whether to sell the bonds. Advisers will put the bonds out to bid before, and information will be presented to trustees, Herbster said.

If 3,010 people sign a petition by May 14, the board will have to hold a referendum on the November ballot and seek voter approval.

The district’s annual budget is about $15 million, Herbster said.

The Crystal Lake Park District Board meets in December.

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Rudy Giuliani adds toughness, star power to legal team for TrumpFILE - In this Nov. 20, 2016, file photo, then-President-elect Donald Trump, right, and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani pose for photographs as Giuliani arrives at the Trump National Golf Club Bedminster clubhouse in Bedminster, N.J. Giuliani is joining the legal team defending President Donald Trump in the special counsel’s Russia investigation. That’s according to a statement from Trump personal attorney Jay Sekulow. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

Mon, 23 Apr 2018 05:34:00 GMT

WEST PALM BEACH, Florida – For weeks, President Donald Trump had grown increasingly frustrated with the cable news chatter that he couldn't hire a big-name attorney for his legal team. But the president boasted to a confidant this week that he had struck a deal that he believed would silence those critics: He was hiring "America's F---ing Mayor." With the addition of former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Trump gains a former U.S. attorney, a past presidential candidate and a TV-savvy defender at a time when the White House is looking for ways to bring the president's involvement with special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation to a close. Trump has been weighing whether to sit for questioning by Mueller's team, and his lawyers have repeatedly met with investigators to define the scope of the questions he would face. Giuliani will enter those negotiations, filling the void left by attorney John Dowd, who resigned last month. The deal was finalized over dinner in the last week at Mar-a-Lago, the president's coastal Florida retreat. On Monday, Giuliani was spotted at a West Palm Beach hotel, gleefully puffing on a cigar but declining to talk to the press. Giuliani's addition to the legal team fulfills his long-delayed hope for a White House job. After drawing wide praise for his leadership in New York after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, Giuliani ran for president seven years later, only to see his bid quickly falter. He has known Trump for decades – his bomb-throwing rhetorical style can at times mirror that of the president – and he became an aggressive surrogate for the celebrity businessman from the early days of his insurgent presidential campaign. Giuliani had been widely expected to join Trump's administration, but was passed over for the position of secretary of state, the position he badly wanted, and eventually left without a Cabinet post. But the president kept in touch with Giuliani, sometimes calling to ask for advice, both on policy and personnel, and frequently asking for the ex-mayor's take on how the stories surrounding the administration were playing in the media. Trump frequently sought Giuliani's opinion of developments in the special counsel's ongoing probe into possible Russian collusion, according to three people familiar with the conversations but not authorized to publicly discuss private talks. At one point last summer, the president informally floated hiring Giuliani, but did not follow through, according to one person familiar with his thinking, Trump then moved to formalize the arrangement in recent days, touting Giuliani's tenacity – and raving about his star power with the vulgar variation of Giuliani's "America's Mayor" nickname while talking with one person, who not authorized to discuss a private conversation. In a statement announcing Giuliani's hire, the president expressed his wish that the investigation wrap up soon. A number of Trump allies have believed that Trump has been ill-served by his current legal team and applauded the addition of the hard-charging Giuliani. "I for one will sleep much easier knowing that Mayor Giuliani and these other people have joined the team to give the president's team extra power," said Jason Miller, a senior adviser to Trump's 2016 campaign who also served as deputy communications director when Giuliani ran for president in 2008. "I know that Rudy has made it clear that the goal is to try to get this wrapped up here as expeditiously as possible." The White House has struggled to retain prominen[...]

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French globalist Emmanuel Macron befriending nationalist TrumpFILE - In this May 25, 2017 file photo, US President Donald Trump, shakes hands with French President Emmanuel Macron, right, during a meeting at the U.S. Embassy in Brussels. Macron arrives Monday April 23, 2018 in Washington for the first state visit of Trump’s presidency. The two men have an unlikely friendship, despite strong differences on areas such as climate change. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

Mon, 23 Apr 2018 05:33:00 GMT

PARIS – Of everything Emmanuel Macron has accomplished in nearly a year as France’s president, the most important may be his tough-love friendship with Donald Trump. From their first bone-squeezing handshake to Macron’s recent claim that he persuaded Trump to bomb Syria, it’s been an improbable relationship. And it will be on pomp-filled display starting Monday as Macron goes on a state visit to Washington, the first by any leader since Trump took office. Macron calls Trump all the time. With other world leaders too wary or weak to woo the impulsive U.S. president, Macron calculates that it’s smarter and safer to talk to Trump than isolate him. The 40-year-old moderate progressive, who had never held elected office before he won France’s presidential election, defended his overtures to the 71-year-old conservative Trump in an interview on the broadcast “Fox News Sunday.” “I am not going to judge ... what should be your president, or to consider that because of these controversies or because of these investigations, your president is less credible,” he said. The French president has the most to gain from the three-day state visit. He wants to fortify his image as the face of today’s Europe and the No. 1 defender of a liberal world order, as well as prove that France is essential to solving world problems such as Iran’s nuclear ambitions and international trade wars. His aims may sound like French hubris or wishful thinking, but they are consistent with the “France is back” global strategy Macron has set for his tenure. He talks regularly to Russian President Vladimir Putin and other controversial leaders, too. He also has tried his own diplomatic maneuvering in the Middle East with the goals of defending French interests and making sure Europe has a say in the region’s future. For all their camaraderie, Macron and Trump disagree on some fundamental issues. Take global warming. Macron mocked Trump’s campaign slogan by promising in a Twitter video he recorded in English to “Make our planet great again!” The video was posted moments after Trump announced he wanted to pull out of the U.N.-sponsored Paris climate accord last year. Policy toward Iran is another point of discord. France is the most vigorous defender of the 2015 deal curbing Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Trump is threatening to abandon the agreement next month. Macron hopes to make progress this week on convincing Trump to stay onboard. And then there’s trade. Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel – who plans to visit Washington on Friday – have pushed back, hard on Trump’s steel tariffs and his “America First” vision, which threaten Europe’s powerful single market. By design, Macron’s state visit will be more about symbolism than substance, and no big breakthroughs are expected. But over the long term, Macron hopes his rapport with Trump will help mitigate some of their policy differences. His office holds up the U.S.-French cooperation on missile strikes on Syria this month as a model for future joint actions. So how has Macron managed to avoid annoying Trump, famously sensitive to slights? “He has played Trump very well,” said Nicolas Dungan, senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, a Washington-based think tank. While other world leaders and veterans of Beltway politics have made Trump feel like an outsider, Macron “accepts him and respects him rather than disdai[...]

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Islamic State suicide bomber kills 57 in Afghan capitalPeople gather outside a voter registration center which was attacked by a suicide bomber in Kabul, Afghanistan, Sunday. Gen. Daud Amin, the Kabul police chief, said the suicide bomber targeted civilians who had gathered to receive national identification cards.

Mon, 23 Apr 2018 05:32:00 GMT

KABUL, Afghanistan – An Islamic State suicide bomber carried out an attack at a voter registration center in the capital Kabul on Sunday, killing 57 people and wounding more than 100 others, said officials from the Afghan interior and public health ministries. Public Health Ministry spokesman Wahid Majro said that among 57 who were killed in the attack, 22 were women and eight were children. Majro added that 119 people were wounded in Sunday’s attack, among them 17 children and 52 women. “The tolls could still rise,” he added. Gen. Daud Amin, the Kabul police chief, said the suicide bomber targeted civilians who were registering for national identification cards. The large explosion echoed across the city, shattering windows miles away from the attack site and damaging several nearby vehicles. Police blocked all roads to the blast site, with only ambulances allowed in. Local TV stations broadcast live footage of hundreds of distraught locals gathered at nearby hospitals seeking word about loved ones. The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement carried by its Aamaq news agency, saying it had targeted Shiite “apostates.” The attack comes almost a month after another deadly attack by IS in which a suicide bomber carried out an attack near a Shiite shrine in Kabul that targeted attendees celebrating the Persian new year. That attack killed 31 people and wounded 65 others. A statement issued by the president’s office condemned Sunday’s attack and quoted President Ashraf Ghani as saying such “terrorist attacks” won’t prevent people from participating in upcoming parliamentary elections. Afghanistan will hold parliamentary elections in October, and voter registration started a week ago. Last week, three police officers guarding voter registration centers in two Afghan provinces were killed by militants, authorities said. Afghan security forces have struggled to prevent attacks by the local Islamic State affiliate as well as the more firmly established Taliban since the U.S. and NATO concluded their combat mission at the end of 2014. Both groups regularly carry out attacks, with the Taliban usually targeting the government and security forces, and IS targeting the country’s Shiite minority. Both groups want to establish a strict form of Islamic rule in Afghanistan and are opposed to democratic elections. Elsewhere in Afghanistan, at least five people were killed when their vehicle struck a roadside bomb in the northern Baghlan province. Zabihullah Shuja, spokesman for the provincial police chief, said four other people were wounded in Sunday’s blast in Puli Khomri, the province’s capital. The Taliban routinely target security forces and government officials with roadside bombs, which often end up killing civilians. In the northern Balkh province, a district police chief died of his wounds after being shot Saturday during an exchange of gunfire with insurgents, according to Sher Jan Durrani, spokesman for the provincial police chief. He said around a dozen insurgents were also killed in the battle, which is still underway. Durrani identified the slain commander as Halim Khanjar, police chief for the Char Bolak district. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the killing. ___ Associated Press writer Maamoun Youssef in Cairo contributed to this report. [[...]

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4 dead in Tennessee Waffle House shooting; suspect soughtBullet holes are seen at a Waffle House after a fatal shooting in the Antioch neighborhood of Nashville, Sunday.This photo provided by Metro Nashville Police Department shows Travis Reinking, who police are searching for in connection with a fatal shooting at a Waffle House restaurant in the Antioch neighborhood of Nashville early Sunday, April 22, 2018. (Metro Nashville Police Department via AP)

Mon, 23 Apr 2018 05:32:00 GMT

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – An almost naked gunman wearing only a green jacket and brandishing an assault rifle stormed a Waffle House restaurant in Nashville early Sunday, shooting four people to death before a customer rushed him and wrestled the weapon away. Authorities were searching for the 29-year-old suspect, Travis Reinking, who they said drove to the busy restaurant and killed two people in the parking lot before entering and continuing to fire. When his AR-15 rifle either jammed or the clip was empty, the customer disarmed him in a scuffle. Four people also were wounded before the gunman fled, throwing off his jacket. Nashville Police Chief Steve Anderson said there was no clear motive, although Reinking may have “mental issues.” He still may be armed, Anderson told a mid-afternoon news conference, because he was known to have owned a handgun that authorities have not recovered. U.S. Secret Service agents arrested Reinking in July for being in a restricted area near the White House, officials said. Special Agent Todd Hudson said Reinking was detained after refusing to leave the restricted area, saying he wanted to meet President Donald Trump. State police in Illinois, where Reinking lived until last fall, subsequently revoked his state firearms card at the request of the FBI, and four guns were then taken from him, including the AR-15 used in Sunday’s shooting as well as a handgun, authorities said. Sheriff Robert Huston in Tazewell County said deputies allowed Reinking’s father to take possession of the guns on the promise that he would “keep the weapons secure and out of the possession of Travis.” Huston added that, based on past deputies’ encounters with Reinking, “there’s certainly evidence that there’s some sort of mental health issues involved.” While Huston said it was unclear how Reinking reclaimed the guns, Nashville Police spokesman Don Aaron said that his father “has now acknowledged giving them back to his son.” Meanwhile, authorities hailed the customer who intervened to stop a further bloodbath, 29-year-old James Shaw Jr., as a hero – although the father of a 4-year-old girl demurred and said he was just trying to survive. One hand bandaged, Shaw told reporters he first thought the gunshots fired about 3:25 a.m. were plates falling from a dishwashing station. When he realized what was happening, he took cover behind a door as shots shattered windows. The gun either jammed or needed a new clip, and that’s when Shaw said he pounced after making up his mind that “he was going to have to work to kill me.” Shaw said he was not a religious man, but “for a tenth of a second, something was with me to run through that door and get the gun from him.” They cursed at each other as they scuffled, Shaw said, and he was able to grab the gun and toss it over a counter. The gunman then ran away into the dark of the working- and middle-class Antioch neighborhood of southeast Nashville. Authorities said he shed his jacket nearby and police found two AR-15 magazines loaded with bullets in the pockets. He was seen walking, naked, on a road, officials said, but later was spotted wearing pants but no shirt after apparently returning to his apartment. The dead were identified as 29-year-old restaurant worker Taurean C. Sanderlin, and restaurant patrons Joe R. Perez, 20, Akilah Dasilva, 23, and Deebony Groves, 21. A police statement said Sanderlin and [...]

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Crystal Lake police initiative looks to combat distracted driving

Mon, 23 Apr 2018 05:31:00 GMT

Each day, 10 people are killed in distracted driving crashes, contributing to the 37,000 people killed in crashes on U.S. roadways during 2016, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

To help bring attention to the dangers associated with distracted driving, the Crystal Lake Police Department will participate in Illinois Distracted Driving Awareness Week and conduct an educational and enforcement campaign related to Illinois’ laws.

The second annual Illinois Distracted Driving Awareness Week, from Monday through Friday, is a coordinated effort between the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police, AAA, Illinois State Police, Illinois Department of Transportation, Illinois High School and College Driver Education Association and about 300 local law enforcement agencies to educate motorists about the dangers of driving while distracted and enforcing the laws on Illinois’ roads.

Last year’s efforts resulted in more than 18,000 warnings and citations for distracted driving offenses.

Contrary to what some drivers think, hands-free, hand-held and in-vehicle technologies are not free of distractions, even if a driver’s eyes are on the road and their hands are on the wheel.

The latest AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety research found that drivers who text when behind the wheel more than double their odds of being involved in a crash.

Drivers who use in-vehicle technologies such as voice-based and touch-screen features can be distracted for more than 40 seconds when completing tasks such as programming navigation or sending a text message. Removing eyes from the road for two seconds doubles the risk of a crash.

For information on Illinois Distracted Driving Awareness Week, visit

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Hampshire woman receives conditional discharge in fourth DUITammy L. Norlander, 49, of the 9N400 block of Burlington Road, Hampshire

Mon, 23 Apr 2018 05:31:00 GMT

SYCAMORE – A Hampshire woman arrested in connection with driving drunk in DeKalb will not be imprisoned after pleading guilty to her fourth driving under the influence conviction.

Tammy L. Norlander, 49, of the 9N400 block of Burlington Road, Hampshire, was ordered Thursday to attend alcohol counseling as part of a two-year sentence with conditional discharge. She also was ordered to pay more than $1,300 in court costs, and for DUI tech costs, court records show.

Records show that Norlander no longer is required to wear an alcohol-monitoring bracelet, which she has worn since her bond was set at $50,000 after she was arrested May 27 on suspicion of DUI at Barber Greene and Airport roads. Police said in court records that they could smell alcohol on her when they pulled her over, and that she failed field sobriety tests.

Judge Philip Montgomery, who set the initial bond May 28 before DeKalb County Chief Judge Robbin Stuckert lowered it to $15,000 May 30, agreed to the sentence Thursday. Norlander had posted $1,500 bail to be released May 31, records show.

According to records, Norlander was convicted of DUI twice in 2008 in Kane County and again in 2017 in Hoffman Estates. She was represented by West Dundee-based lawyer Mark Uteg, and Assistant State's Attorney Jim Walsh prosecuted the case.

In compliance with the court order, Norlander is due in court April 18, 2019, to make sure she is attending classes. Her conditional discharge is set to expire April 23, 2020.

Tammy L. Norlander, 49, of the 9N400 block of Burlington Road, Hampshire

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McHenry County groups to mark Year of the Bird with activities next weekendDozens of pelicans search for their next meal at Griswold Lake on Friday, April 13, 2018 in Holiday Hills.

Mon, 23 Apr 2018 05:30:00 GMT

This is the Year of the Bird, and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, McHenry County Conservation District, Friends of Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are bringing a worldwide celebration of birds to the Illinois-Wisconsin state line region. Upcoming events include:

• 8 a.m. to noon Saturday at Glacial Park’s Lost Valley Visitor Center on Route 31 and Harts Road, Ringwood – Bird banding by USFWS biologists from 8 to 10:30 a.m., and activities all morning.

• 8 to 10:30 a.m. Sunday – USFWS Bird banding demonstrations at Ducks Unlimited’s Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge site, N541 County Road H, Genoa City, Wisconsin.

• Noon to 4 p.m. at Volo Bog State Natural Area, 28478 W. Brandenburg Road, Ingleside.

On both mornings, wildlife biologists will be capturing and banding birds’ legs before releasing them back into the wild. As the specialists weigh and check the health of each bird, participants will see these creatures up close.

This year, backpacks for birding will be given out for free in honor of young birder Zachary Brokaw, who died in a car crash in 2015. The first 75 children ages 6 to 14 who complete 14 activities at Glacial Park or Volo Bog State Natural Area will receive a bag.

Dozens of pelicans search for their next meal at Griswold Lake on Friday, April 13, 2018 in Holiday Hills.

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Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning to study Algonquin, Cary quarry areas

Mon, 23 Apr 2018 05:30:00 GMT

Algonquin and Cary are teaming up for a new study that would help create plans for quarry sites in the villages.

The municipalities received a grant from the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, which will provide staffing to create a plan for the site between Algonquin’s and Cary’s downtown areas bounded by the Fox River to the east and Route 31 to the west, according to Algonquin village documents.

The agency’s services are estimated to cost $100,000, and each village is being asked to pitch in $10,000.

The plan will identify desired land use and development concepts, such as creating strong bicycle and pedestrian connections to link the two village’s business districts.

The study will build off recent planning efforts for downtown Algonquin and Cary’s recently adopted comprehensive plan, and it will focus on the quarry sites along the Route 31 corridor from Algonquin Road to Hoffman Park in Cary.

The plans could include utility coordination and economic development partnerships, such as a tax-sharing agreement, according to documents.

Mining areas include:

• North of Klasen Road – Mining ceased in December, and the quarry property will be transitioned to the village of Cary on June 1. Planning will focus on public recreation improvements.

• South of Klasen Road – The area still is actively mined, and its estimated mining operations will stop in the foreseeable future.

• West of Route 31 – The area will continue as a processing area for materials mined east of Route 31. It will not be available for development until mining south of Klasen Road is complete.

A CMAP representative will provide an overview of the project at the Algonquin Village Board meeting at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Village Hall, 2200 Harnish Drive.

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Coroner IDs man who died in Harvard house fireA man boards up the second-story window of a home in the 400 block of East Blackman Street in Harvard. A 63-year-old man died about 3 a.m. Thursday in a house fire at the residence.

Mon, 23 Apr 2018 05:30:00 GMT

The McHenry County coroner has identified a man who died last week in a Harvard house fire.

Randall A. Hanson, 63, died Thursday. A preliminary autopsy shows that the man suffered from thermal and inhalation injuries, the coroner said.

Hanson was pronounced dead at the scene about 4 a.m.

Harvard police and fire officials responded about 3:15 a.m. to the 400 block of East Blackman Street for a reported fire that had begun in the basement of the home, officials said.

A 10-year-old boy, 14-year-old girl and 55-year-old woman escaped the fire, police said.

The fire caused about $75,000 in damage and appears to have been an accident because of careless smoking, police said.

The incident remains under investigation.

A man boards up the second-story window of a home in the 400 block of East Blackman Street in Harvard. A 63-year-old man died about 3 a.m. Thursday in a house fire at the residence.

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Police investigate Harvard woman's 'suspicious' death

Mon, 23 Apr 2018 05:29:00 GMT

The Harvard Police Department and the Winnebago County Coroner’s Office are investigating a Harvard woman’s “suspicious” death.

Marlene Lynch, 54, of Harvard was pronounced dead at 11:40 p.m. Friday at a hospital in Rockford, Winnebago County authorities said.

Harvard police responded Thursday to the 300 block of South Division Street in Harvard and found Lynch unresponsive but breathing. She had facial injuries, according to a news release from the Harvard Police Department.

Lynch was taken to Mercyhealth Hospital and Medical Center – Harvard and transferred to Rockford, where she later died. Police are investigating the death, authorities said.

An autopsy is scheduled for Monday, and toxicology reports will be available in about two weeks, authorities said.

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McHenry County Human Race draws superheroes of all agesRunners take off from the starting line as an air horn sounds the start of the eighth annual McHenry County Human Race on Sunday at McHenry County College. The 5K walk/run allows participants to choose the organization they wish to raise money for.Amanda Sola of Crystal Lake visits with friends before the eighth annual McHenry County Human Race.Ariel Weinstein, a volunteer at Mane in Heaven, handles Winnie, a miniature therapy horse, near the finish line of the McHenry County Human Race.Melissa Downey of Lake in the Hills stretches before the start of the eighth annual McHenry County Human Race on Sunday at McHenry County College.Carole Peters of the United Way of Greater McHenry County smiles at the starting line during the McHenry County Human Race.Barbara Schneider and Larry Dagley of Woodstock laugh while getting ready for the eighth annual McHenry County Human Race on Sunday at McHenry County College.Charlotte Steimke, 4, of Woodstock watches a runner warming up before the start of the eighth annual McHenry County Human Race.Denise Smith of Smith Physical Therapy and Running of Crystal Lake leads participants in warmup exercises before the start of the race Sunday.

Mon, 23 Apr 2018 05:26:00 GMT

Residents of all ages participated in the McHenry County Human Race on Sunday, a 5K run/walk benefiting nonprofits across the county.

Runners take off from the starting line as an air horn sounds the start of the eighth annual McHenry County Human Race on Sunday at McHenry County College. The 5K walk/run allows participants to choose the organization they wish to raise money for.Amanda Sola of Crystal Lake visits with friends before the eighth annual McHenry County Human Race.Ariel Weinstein, a volunteer at Mane in Heaven, handles Winnie, a miniature therapy horse, near the finish line of the McHenry County Human Race.Melissa Downey of Lake in the Hills stretches before the start of the eighth annual McHenry County Human Race on Sunday at McHenry County College.Carole Peters of the United Way of Greater McHenry County smiles at the starting line during the McHenry County Human Race.Barbara Schneider and Larry Dagley of Woodstock laugh while getting ready for the eighth annual McHenry County Human Race on Sunday at McHenry County College.Charlotte Steimke, 4, of Woodstock watches a runner warming up before the start of the eighth annual McHenry County Human Race.Denise Smith of Smith Physical Therapy and Running of Crystal Lake leads participants in warmup exercises before the start of the race Sunday.

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Smoldering cigarette leads to smoke, shutdown of Corner Tap in McHenry, official says

Mon, 23 Apr 2018 05:25:00 GMT

Corner Tap in McHenry shut down for about 45 minutes Sunday while firefighters investigated smoke in the basement.

The smoldering likely was caused by a cigarette butt that had rolled through a crack in the foundation, McHenry Township Fire Battalion Chief David Harwood said.

“There were no flames, but it took us a while to figure out where it was,” he said.

The aging building at 3901 Main St. had cracks where the sidewalk met the foundation, which is where the lit cigarette had rolled, Harwood said. The department arrived about 6:30 p.m., and the business was closed during the investigation to ventilate the building.

Corner Tap did not suffer significant damage during the incident.

Business officials filled the foundation cracks with concrete to avoid future incidents, Harwood said.

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Looming taxes on U.S. exports could cost Illinois millions, McHenry County experts sayDairy farmer Katie Vanderstappen of Vanderstappen Farms in Hebron holds up a cow figurine to demonstrate the milking process during an agricultural expo for area third- and fourth-graders April 12 at the McHenry County Fairgrounds in Woodstock.Students learn about sheep and other livestock during an agricultural expo for third- and fourth-graders April 12 at the McHenry County Fairgrounds in Woodstock.Corn and soybean farmer Ella Martin of Marengo discusses the many uses of corn during an agricultural expo for third- and fourth-graders April 12 at the McHenry County Fairgrounds in Woodstock.Corn and soybean farmer Ella Martin of Marengo holds up a box of corn starch for students to see as she discusses the uses of corn during an expo April 12 at the McHenry County Fairgrounds in Woodstock.

Mon, 23 Apr 2018 05:24:00 GMT

President Donald Trump recently implemented about $60 billion in tariffs on Chinese products, including a 25 percent tax on steel imports and a 10 percent tax on aluminum imports. This has resulted in retaliatory tariffs by China on goods coming from the U.S., including pork and aluminum scrap. That retaliation has the potential to devastate the local agriculture industry, experts said. The proposal could lay waste to countless local farms that rely on exporting their products to make a living, said McHenry County Board member Michele Aavang, who is a local farmer. “Worst-case scenario, if the tariffs actually did come into play, there would be great concern from the farmers because like any business, we need some sense of stability to allow us to plan for the future and make good decisions,” Aavang said. China is planning to implement tariffs on 128 goods coming from the U.S., according to recent national media reports and Chinese officials. Illinois exports $64 million worth of corn, and at their highest, pork exports to China were about $54 million worth. “This trade war is counterproductive and will cost farmers and rural economies in the long run,” Illinois Farm Bureau president Richard Guebert Jr. said in an official statement. “At [April 4th’s] opening bell, Illinois soybean farmers lost $275 million in crop value. Illinois pork producers stand to lose $105 million in market value from tariffs on pork products announced [April 2].” If China follows through with the proposed tariffs, the Illinois Farm Bureau estimates pork producers stand to lose an estimated $20 a head, or $105 million. “We urge President Trump to work on expanding trade rather than imposing tariffs that result in retaliation against Illinois farm families,” Guebert said. Nationally, $663 million worth of pork muscle cuts and pork variety meats were exported last year to China. Two-thirds of those exports were variety meats, McHenry County Farm Bureau manager Dan Volkers said. A mere push for consumers to buy locally sourced food wouldn’t be enough to offset the tariffs’ potential damage, and switching to the cultivation of “specialty crops,” such as hops and organic goods, tend only to bring in money until the trend’s popularity dies down, said Aavang, who helps run Willow Lea Stock Farm in Woodstock. Other goods that could be subjected to tariffs include soybeans, corn and beef. Because the U.S. is trailing Brazil in soybean exports, China could turn to other avenues to get its supply. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 83 percent of soybean farms in the U.S. in 2012 were family or individual farms, and those farms made up 67 percent of the sales. Moreover, 60 percent of the 612 million bushels of soybeans grown in Illinois last year will be or have been exported, according to the Illinois Farm Bureau. “This list tentatively contains 128 tax products across seven categories,” a March 24 release from the Chinese Ministry of Commerce states. “According to the 2017 statistics, it involves U.S. exports to China of [about] $3 billion. The first part covers a total of 120 taxes involving $977 million in U.S. exports to Chin[...]

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Church elders renew probe of founder's alleged misconduct

Sun, 22 Apr 2018 18:05:00 GMT

SOUTH BARRINGTON – Leaders of a Chicago-area evangelical church that became one of the largest in the nation say they will renew their examination of the church's former pastor.

The Rev. Bill Hybels retired from Willow Creek Community Church earlier this month after allegations he touched and made lewd comments to female congregants. The elders say they are acting after new accusations against Hybels surfaced.

The new allegations were published Saturday in Christianity Today. Hybels couldn't immediately be reached for comment.

The elders and an outside investigator cleared Hybels of any wrongdoing in a previous inquiry.

In a letter posted Saturday on Willow Creek's website, the elders said in hindsight, aspects of their past work could have been handled differently. The elders said their work to resolve any shadow of doubt in the trustworthiness of Willow Creek Community Church and its elders isn't done.

4 dead in Waffle House shooting in Tennessee; suspect soughtBullet holes are seen at a Waffle House after a fatal shooting in the Antioch neighborhood of Nashville, Sunday.

Sun, 22 Apr 2018 18:00:00 GMT

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A man wearing nothing but a green jacket and brandishing an assault rifle stormed a Waffle House restaurant in Tennessee and shot four people to death before dawn Sunday, according to police, who credited a customer with saving lives by wresting the gunman's weapon away. The gunman shot people in the parking lot before entering the restaurant, where he continued firing until a customer snatched the rifle, Nashville Police spokesman Don Aaron said. Four people were injured. The police department tweeted that authorities are searching for 29-year-old Travis Reinking. Police named him as a person of interest because the pickup truck the gunman drove to the restaurant was registered to Reinking. Witness Chuck Cordero told The Tennessean newspaper he had stopped to get a cup of coffee and was outside the restaurant when he saw the chaos unfold around 3:25 a.m. "He did not say anything," Cordero said of the gunman, who he described as "all business." Cordero said the man who wrested the gun from the suspect saved lives. "Had that guy had a chance to reload his weapon, there was plenty more people in that restaurant," he said. Police identified the customer as 29-year-old James Shaw Jr. Shaw told the Tennessean in an interview that he was "just trying to get myself out. I saw the opportunity and pretty much took it." The newspaper said Shaw was grazed by a bullet, treated and released. "When I was in the ambulance to hospital I kept thinking that I'm going to wake up and it's not going to be real," Shaw said. "It is something out a movie. I'm OK though, but I hate that it happened." Police spokesman Aaron said three people died at the restaurant and one person died at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, where two others were being treated for gunshot wounds. Medical Center spokeswoman Jennifer Wetzel said one was in critical condition and the other was in critical but stable condition. TriStar Southern Hills Medical Center spokeswoman Katie Radel in Nashville said two people were treated for minor injuries and released. Aaron said the gunman arrived at the restaurant, sat in the parking lot for four minutes before shooting two people outside, then entering. Inside, Shaw grabbed the rifle from the suspect and tossed it over a counter, Aaron said. After that, the gunman fled. "No doubt he saved many lives," Aaron said of the customer, who he described as a hero. After fleeing, the suspect shed his jacket. Aaron said he lived at an apartment complex in the working- and middle-class area of southeast Nashville and, based on witness reports, went there and put on a pair of pants. Aaron said witnesses saw a man in a nearby wooded area, and police were still tracking the man more than eight hours after the shooting. Police said Reinking, the person of interest to whom the truck the gunman drove was registered, was from Morton, Illinois. Later on Sunday, Metro Nashville police tweeted that they were drafting murder warrants against him. Aaron said Reinking was known to both[...]

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Inspectors collect samples from Syria site

Sun, 22 Apr 2018 06:28:00 GMT

BEIRUT – Chemical weapons inspectors collected samples from Syria’s Douma on Saturday, two weeks after a suspected gas attack there followed by retaliatory strikes by Western powers on the Syrian government’s chemical facilities.

The site visit, confirmed by the Organization of the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, would allow the agency to proceed with an independent investigation to determine what chemicals, if any, were used in the April 7 attack that medical workers said killed more than 40 people.

Douma was the final target of the government’s sweeping campaign to seize back control of the eastern Ghouta suburbs of Damascus from rebels after seven years of revolt. Militants gave up the town days after the alleged attack.

OPCW inspectors arrived in Damascus just hours before the April 15 strikes but were delayed from visiting the site until Saturday, leading Western officials and Syrian activists to accuse Russia and the Syrian government of staging a cover-up.

Laughter, tears as former first lady Barbara Bush rememberedFormer Presidents George W. Bush and George H.W. Bush arrive Saturday at St. Martin's Episcopal Church for a funeral service for former first lady Barbara Bush in Houston.

Sun, 22 Apr 2018 06:28:00 GMT

HOUSTON – Barbara Bush was remembered as the “first lady of the Greatest Generation” during a funeral Saturday attended by four former U.S. presidents and hundreds of other people who filled a Houston church with laughter as much as tears, with many recalling her quick wit and devotion to family. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush joked that his mother called her style of raising him and his siblings “’a benevolent dictatorship’ – but honestly, it wasn’t always benevolent.” She was widely admired for her plainspoken style during her husband George H.W. Bush’s presidency and was known as “The Enforcer” in her high-powered family. Jeb Bush said he could feel her presence Saturday inside the nation’s largest Episcopal church and that she would likely have given him advice: “Jeb, keep it short. Don’t drag this out,” he said to chuckles. He met her expectations with a speech lasting about seven minutes. He choked up at one point while addressing the roughly 1,500 people seated inside St. Martin’s Episcopal Church, where his parents regularly worshipped, when saying his mother – known for her self-deprecating remarks about her wrinkles and white-gray hair – was “beautiful” until the very end. His father, a prolific writer of love letters to his wife, laughed when his son read a letter from their wedding anniversary in 1994. It began: “Will you marry me? Oops! I forgot we did that, 49 years ago.” But when his son continued reading, about how his father grew happier each year spent with his wife, his father closed his eyes and cried. Jeb Bush later hugged his father and kissed him on the cheek. Presidential historian Jon Meacham, who wrote a 2015 biography on the former president, recalled during his eulogy Barbara Bush’s devotion to her husband of 73 years, noting he was the “only boy she ever kissed.” Theirs was the longest marriage of any presidential couple. Meacham said Barbara Bush also was known for bringing awareness to AIDS patients and for her work promoting literacy, which her husband subtly honored Saturday by wearing socks printed with blue, red and yellow books. “Barbara Bush was the first lady of the Greatest Generation,” Meacham said, a nod to the generation that fought in World War II. The couple’s family, including their five children, 17 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren, played prominent roles in the service. Granddaughters offered readings, some of their voices shaky with emotion, while their eight grandsons were pallbearers. The Bush family was seated in front of the church. Nearby, two other former presidents – Bill Clinton and Barack Obama – along with their wives and current first lady Melania Trump were seated in the same pew. A eulogy also was given by Barbara Bush’s longtime friend, Susan Baker, wife of former Secretary of State James A. Baker III. She said Bush – the wife of the nation’s 41st president and mother of the 43rd – was “the secret sauce of this extraordinary family.” As the funeral ended, George H.W. Bush was pushed in his wheelchair by another son, former President George W. Bush, as they followed the [...]

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Retail vacancies in McHenry County point to changing marketBruce Kaplan of Premier Commercial Realty of Lake in the Hills shows a vacant commercial property in Coventry Plaza in Crystal Lake Friday, April 20. The property, at 35 Berkshire Dr., Unit 14, is a former comic and collectible store.Jack Minero of Berkshire Hathaway Starck Real Estate walks through a vacant commercial property in Winding Creek Center in Algonquin Friday, April 20.Jack Minero of Berkshire Hathaway Starck Real Estate walks through a vacant commercial property Friday in Winding Creek Center in Algonquin.

Sun, 22 Apr 2018 05:28:00 GMT

A drive down Randall Road between Crystal Lake and Algonquin yields a common site on both sides of the road. Vacant retail spaces. The southern part of McHenry County – much like the numerous shopping centers stretching down the thoroughfare to Batavia – is full of them, and it’s part of Linda Kost’s job to fill many of them. She’s a senior broker and partner at Algonquin-based Realty Metrix. Her specialty is commercial real estate, and she’s been watching how the retail market has transformed over the past decade. “The dynamics of retail real estate have changed dramatically,” Kost said of a market that peaked in 2007 and bottomed out in 2011. “It’s not terrible – just changing.” Before the recession, a building boom heaped a surplus of retail spaces into markets where the economic collapse would later make it difficult to find businesses to fill those spaces. On top of that, Kost said, the internet happened.  Equipped with smart phones and Amazon Prime accounts, shoppers no longer felt tied to the big-box retail shops where they once did their shopping – stores such as Office Depot, OfficeMax and Best Buy. “It’s really thwarting any sort of big-box development,” said Kost, who is part owner of an old Dominick’s property in Geneva.  Instead of filling the 71,000-square-feet of space with a single grocer, Kost’s team split the property in two: About 28,000 square feet of that space will be a Fresh Thyme Market and the balance will be a Burlington Coat Factory. A similar move is happening at the old Dominick’s in Crystal Lake, where developers broke the property in two for different organizations to occupy. Repurposing is another trend that shows how much the retail market has changed. Kost pointed to a bank on Randall Road redeveloped into a McAllister’s Deli and a Med Express. Then there’s Dania Furniture Co. building in Algonquin, where a soccer club is considering moving into the long-vacant space. Ask Jack Minero why a soccer club is a good choice for such a property, and he surely mention these two words: “Specialty” and “service.” A real estate agent with Berkshire Hathaway, Minero is the man behind the Winding Creek Shopping Center, one block west of Randall Road on Algonquin Road. The center has 16 units, eight of which are leased. Of those eight rented units, five of them are specialty shops that offer services to customers. “Insurance, beauty salon, physical therapy, martial arts and day care,” Minero said, describing some of the businesses that seem to stick in the suburbs. Kost offers this advice to landlords and tenants hoping to make a splash in the retail scene: try to go toward service. There’s another factor stifling the retail market: Rent isn’t cheap in McHenry County. The average price for an redeveloped property is between $16 and $22 per square foot. Rent on brand-new spaces could push past $40 per square foot, Kost said. That’s on top of the a[...]

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Stand Up for School Bus Safety coalition claims Harvard D50 busing service dangerousShaw Media file photo

Sun, 22 Apr 2018 05:23:00 GMT

A local group has claimed the busing service that Harvard District 50 uses is unsafe.

Several people warned Harvard District 50 school board members against Durham School Services at the district’s last board meeting.

The individuals are part of a nationwide coalition Stand Up for School Bus Safety, which originated in Tennessee after a fatal crash occurred in Chattanooga.

The crash killed six students and the Durham driver has since been charged with vehicular homicide and a handful of other charges, according to local media reports.

The coalition argues the incident isn’t isolated.

Durham is operated by its parent company, United Kingdom-based National Express Group. The company’s school bus operations have experienced a 25 percent higher rate of crashes per million miles traveled compared with its main competitors First Student and Student Transportation Inc., according to a study based on data from the Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

Federal safety violations were also higher than competitors, according to the study.

Susan Bartos, a Harvard resident who drives for First Student, said that she was concerned about the potential safety hazard.

“I don’t want what has happened in other communities to happen here in Harvard,” she said. “I take great pride in my work and the safety of our children and our drivers.

“That’s why I’m so concerned and need to speak up.”

Terressa Langston, who is a school bus monitor with First Student, said she used to drive for Durham and didn’t feel the training was adequate.

“When I got my license, that was the end of it,” she said.

“With First Student the training goes on and on. It’s every month. … We are transporting precious, irreplaceable cargo.”  

She added that the equipment provided by Durham wasn’t always adequate.

A call to the Harvard Durham location was directed to the company’s corporate office. Durham officials at that office didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

District 50 Business Manager Mary Taylor said the district is in the process of bidding for its transportation services and would take into account the recently raised concerns.

“Student safety is definitely a primary concern for us,” she said. “We will take that into consideration when looking into bids as normal.”

Shaw Media file photo

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Rear-end collision in Crystal Lake causes moderate damage to carOne car crashed into the rear of another around 12:20 p.m. Saturday at Hillside Road and Walkup Road, fire officials said.One car crashed into the rear of another around 12:20 p.m. Saturday at Hillside Road and Walkup Road, fire officials said.One car crashed into the rear of another around 12:20 p.m. Saturday at Hillside Road and Walkup Road, fire officials said.

Sat, 21 Apr 2018 21:57:00 GMT

Two cars were involved in a rear-end collision Saturday afternoon in Crystal Lake.

Crystal Lake Fire Rescue Lt. Darrell Cook said one car crashed into the rear of another about 12:20 p.m. at Hillside and Walkup roads.

Cook said he did not know the cause of the crash, which is being investigated by the McHenry County Sheriff's Office.

"One of the vehicles had moderate to heavy damage, and the other had minor to moderate damage," Cook said.

No one was injured or taken to a hospital. Police were not available for more information.

Attempts to reach McHenry County Sheriff's Office were unsuccessful.

One car crashed into the rear of another around 12:20 p.m. Saturday at Hillside Road and Walkup Road, fire officials said.One car crashed into the rear of another around 12:20 p.m. Saturday at Hillside Road and Walkup Road, fire officials said.One car crashed into the rear of another around 12:20 p.m. Saturday at Hillside Road and Walkup Road, fire officials said.

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Fox Lake fire causes about $120,000 in damageLathan Goumas - Fire trucks move up First Street during a parade celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Cary Fire Department in Cary, Ill. on Saturday, June 15, 2013.

Sat, 21 Apr 2018 21:38:00 GMT

A Fox Lake garage was severely damaged Saturday after a fire broke out.

The Fox Lake Fire Protection District responded to a call about 1:10 p.m. at 31 Atwater Parkway, Battalion Chief Larry VanHoorelbeke said.

The fire was contained to the garage and a small area of the master bedroom next to the garage. VanHoorelbeke estimated the fire caused about $120,000 worth of damage. The garage was severely damaged, he said.

"The residents were at home, but they all quickly got out, and no one was hurt," VanHoorelbeke said.

Firefighters had the fire under control within 15 to 20 minutes, he said.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation, VanHoorelbeke said.

Lathan Goumas - Fire trucks move up First Street during a parade celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Cary Fire Department in Cary, Ill. on Saturday, June 15, 2013.

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Barbara Bush was 'first lady of the greatest generation'Former Presidents George W. Bush, left, and George H.W. Bush arrive at St. Martin's Episcopal Church for a funeral service for former first lady Barbara Bush, Saturday in Houston.

Sat, 21 Apr 2018 21:19:00 GMT

HOUSTON – Barbara Bush was remembered as the "first lady of the greatest generation" during a funeral Saturday attended by four former U.S. presidents and hundreds of other people who filled the church with laughter as much as tears, with many recalling her quick wit and devotion to family. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush joked that his mother called her style of mothering him and his siblings "a benevolent dictatorship – but honestly, it wasn't always benevolent." He emphasized how she believed in the power of laughter and that joy should be shared. He said he could still feel her presence Saturday inside the nation's largest Episcopal church and she would likely have given him advice on his eulogy: "Jeb, keep it short. Don't drag this out," he said to chuckles. He met her expectations with a speech lasting about seven minutes. He choked up at one point while addressing the roughly 1,500 people seated inside the St. Martin's Episcopal Church in Houston, where his parents regularly worshipped, when saying his mother – who was known for her self-deprecating remarks about her wrinkles and gray hair – was "beautiful" until the very end. He said he felt privileged that he had a "front row" seat to the incredible love story shared by his mother and father, former President George H.W. Bush, who laughed as longtime friends and family recalled his wife's wicked sense of humor during the nearly two-hour service. After he spoke, Jeb Bush walked over to his father, and hugged him and kissed him on the cheek. Presidential historian Jon Meacham, who wrote a 2015 biography on the former president, recalled Barbara Bush's devotion to her husband of 73 years, noting former George H.W. Bush. is the "only boy she ever kissed." Theirs was the longest marriage of any other presidential couple. One of just two first ladies to have a child elected president, Barbara Bush was widely admired for her plainspoken style and was known as the "Enforcer" in her family, the glue who kept the high-powered clan together. Meacham said it was Barbara Bush's quick tongue that made her so popular, along with her work promoting literacy and bringing awareness to AIDS patients. "Barbara Bush was the first lady of the greatest generation," Meacham said during his eulogy. The couple's family, including their five children, 17 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren, played a prominent role in the service. Granddaughters offered readings, some their voices shaky with emotion, while their eight grandsons were pallbearers. The Bush family was seated in front of the church. Nearby, two other former presidents – Bill Clinton and Barack Obama – along with their wives and current first lady Melania Trump were seated in the same pew. The invitation-only service was also attended by former ambassadors, members of Congress, sports stars and Houston business owners. A eulogy was also given by Barbara Bush's longtime friend, Susan Baker, wife of former Secretary of State James A. Baker III, who said Bush – the wife [...]

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Coroner IDs Round Lake Park woman who died Wednesday in Volo crash

Sat, 21 Apr 2018 17:08:00 GMT

The Lake County Coroner's Office has identified a 24-year-old Round Lake Park woman who died Wednesday after a Volo crash.

Susana Ortega died from multiple traumatic injuries as a result of the crash, according to preliminary autopsy results. Toxicology results are still pending, according to a news release from the Lake County Coroner's Office.

Lake County Sheriff’s deputies were dispatched about 12:23 p.m. to Route 120 at Ellis Drive in Volo for reports of a crash with injuries, according to a news release from police.

A 55-year-old Gurnee woman was driving an SUV east on Route 120, west of Ellis Drive, when for an unknown reason a Sedan driven by Ortega entered the eastbound lanes of Route 120 and struck the SUV, police said.

Ortega was sent to Advocate Condell Medical Center, where she later died, and an autopsy was performed Thursday morning.

The driver of the SUV was sent to the hospital with injuries not considered life-threatening.

The Sheriff’s Office Technical Crash Investigations Team continues to investigate.

– Northwest Herald

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Woman gets 3 years after guilty plea in videotaped beating of Crystal Lake teenTanishia Covington

Sat, 21 Apr 2018 15:15:00 GMT

A Chicago woman involved in a beating of a mentally disabled teen from Crystal Lake that was shown on Facebook Live has been sentenced to three years in prison.

Twenty-five-year-old Tanishia Covington learned her sentence Friday after pleading guilty to a hate crime, intimidation and aggravated battery.

Covington apologized in court while the victim looked on.

She's the second of four co-defendants to plead guilty in the case that received national attention because it involved a white victim and four blacks who taunted him with profanities against white people. Her sister, Brittany, who livestreamed the video, was sentenced to four years of probation after pleading guilty in December. The cases against the two other co-defendants are pending.

Tanishia Covington

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Crystal Lake approves budget, votes to lease vehicles to save moneyCrystal Lake City Council approved a balanced budget that includes a new tactic to save funding: leasing department vehicles.

Sat, 21 Apr 2018 14:59:00 GMT

Crystal Lake City Council approved a balanced budget that includes a new tactic to save: leasing department vehicles.

Council members voted, 5-0, to approve the budget Tuesday that spends about $89.8 million, a $16,000 decrease from this year’s budget, according to village documents.

A twist on the budget is a new leasing and replacement program for all city vehicles, except ambulances and fire engines. The police department is in need of 10 vehicle replacements.

The goal is to use a fleet leasing program instead of purchasing vehicles outright to improve cash flow, implement replacement schedules and reduce maintenance costs.

The city has 57 vehicles, and it would cost $4.8 million to purchase the vehicles for the next five years, finance director George Koczwara said. It would cost $3.8 million to replace 120 units through the leasing program, he said.

“It’s important we have a fleet that is safe, reliable and provides the necessary functionality at an economical cost,” Koczwara said. “As a vehicle ages, its capital cost diminishes, and its operating costs of maintenance and repair increases.”

Koczwara said ideally, vehicles should be replaced when these two costs meet each other. The city would lease from Enterprise Fleet Management and lease terms would span five years. The city would annually determine how many vehicles they will lease each year and Enterprise would pay for all repairs of the vehicles at local repair shops.

One fleet maintenance position will be eliminated through attrition once someone retires.

The city has budgeted $13.49 million for capital expenditures, including roadway improvements, automotive equipment, computer hardware, information technology equipment, tree replacement, sewer improvements and a water delivery study.

The city is expecting revenue to increase in the upcoming fiscal year because of an increase in sales tax with Mariano’s and Steinhafels Furniture opening.

The budget included the final year of 11.4 percent increases in water and sewer rates that go into effect May 1, when the city’s fiscal year begins.

Additionally, 27¼ positions were eliminated through attrition since the start of the Great Recession. Nonunion employees have the ability to receive a 3 percent raise based on individual performance for the upcoming fiscal year.

More than 70 percent of general fund expenditures go to personnel services.

Crystal Lake City Council approved a balanced budget that includes a new tactic to save funding: leasing department vehicles.

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Woodstock couple facing drug dealing charges given OK to have jailhouse weddingDeonte L. BaughDurelle J. Hall

Sat, 21 Apr 2018 14:59:00 GMT

Two inmates at the McHenry County Jail have been granted permission to get married while in custody.

Both Durelle J. Hall, 26, and Deonte L. Baugh, 29, sent handwritten letters to the McHenry County Clerk’s Office requesting an order allowing the co-defendants to have a wedding ceremony at the jail.

McHenry County Judge Sharon Prather issued that order April 6, and it was not immediately clear when the wedding would occur.

Typically, a judge will perform the service at the jail in a room where newly arrested inmates are read their rights and have their bond set, McHenry County court administrator Dan Wallis said. Both Baugh and Hall will be required to wear their jail uniforms. Family can attend, but they’ll have to observe from outside the courtroom behind a glass window.

Police arrested Hall and Baugh in July after they were accused of selling cocaine to an undercover police officer on two separate occasions.

At the time, Hall was awaiting drug-induced-homicide charges in connection with a Marengo overdose death. She since has been sentenced to 14 years in prison.

The pair faces a series of felony drug and child endangerment charges stemming from a police search of their Woodstock home. There, McHenry County Sheriff’s deputies said they found more than 3 pounds of marijuana, 17 grams of cocaine and 10 Ativan pills.

Married couples sometimes are afforded a privilege that can protect them from having to testify against each other in court. It was not clear whether Baugh and Hall would qualify for that privilege, however, since they were not married when the alleged crime occurred.

Baugh and Hall both are due back in court May 9.

Deonte L. BaughDurelle J. Hall

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McHenry County College to offer academic summer camps, classesChildren start solar power rovers in a Tech Camp class called Exploration 2050: Future of Space Exploration and Drones at McHenry County College.

Sat, 21 Apr 2018 05:12:00 GMT

Keep your children busy this summer with academic and enriching programs at McHenry County College with the MCC Kids and College program, offered June 18 to Aug. 9 for students in first through 12th grade.

This year’s theme is “Dream Big: Where Creativity and Innovation Meet Summer Fun.” Children can attend for one week or for all six weeks. Flexible programming is available, including before and after care to accommodate parents’ busy schedules.

“These quality and affordable programs aim to keep kids engaged in learning, sharpen critical thinking skills, inspire creativity and maybe even light a spark for a future career,” said Laura Beaupre, coordinator of College and Career Readiness at MCC.

New this year are high school STEM Boot Camps for students in ninth to 12th grade. Kids and College also offers half-day academic and enrichment classes and full-day STEM camps to prepare students for the upcoming school year, expose them to 21st-century learning skills and expand their knowledge in many content areas.

Instructors include MCC faculty, certified teachers and support staff who bring their passion and enthusiasm to MCC each day.

Kids and College offers a full menu of digital media and technology classes, including computer gaming, 2D animation, APP development and web design.

The popular MCC Tech Camp STEM offers weeklong sessions Monday to Thursday for students in first through ninth grad. The full-day MCC Tech camp is a one-week camp offering hands-on learning in the areas of science, engineering, art and technology, as well as outdoor fun. All campers in MCC Tech Camp will be placed in their age group of no more than 20 students.

Summer Academy classes include academic enrichment classes designed to tap into kids’ creativity and critical-thinking skills. Popular classes include Baking and Culinary Academies, Creative Writing, Essays and Presentations, Digital Storytelling, Persuasive Writing, Girls Only STEM: Tiny House Design and Décor, Intro to Web Design, 3D Video Game Design with Unity and more.

Flexible schedules are available, including one- and two-week Summer Academy classes, offered in both the morning and afternoon with an option to stay for lunch. Before and after care is available, from 7:30 to 9 a.m. and 3 to 5:30 p.m., and 4 to 5:30 p.m.

For cost information or to register, visit For information, contact Laura Beaupre at

Children start solar power rovers in a Tech Camp class called Exploration 2050: Future of Space Exploration and Drones at McHenry County College.

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Sun City Huntley among 'best-selling' active adult communities

Sat, 21 Apr 2018 05:12:00 GMT

Sun City Huntley by Del Webb has been named one of the “50 Best-Selling Active Adult Communities for 2018” by, the No. 1 resource for information about active adult communities in the U.S.

For the period of March 1, 2017, to Feb. 28, compiled a list of the best-selling active adult communities based on the number of sales through and other criteria.

“It has been nearly 20 years since development began in 1999, and the community is thriving. I often hear residents say that moving to Sun City Huntley was one of the best decisions they’ve made,” said Deanna Loughran, executive director of the Sun City Community Association of Huntley.

For information about Sun City Huntley, visit

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Roads reopen after transformer fire

Sat, 21 Apr 2018 05:11:00 GMT

CRYSTAL LAKE – Ackman and Golf Course roads were closed for an hour Friday because of a transformer fire on an electric pole that closed the intersection.

Crystal Lake police Cmdr. Scott Miller said the transformer blew and was causing some isolated sparks.

The Crystal Lake Fire Department requested a temporary closure of the area of Ackman Road from Westport Ridge to Golf Course Road.

ComEd fixed the transformer about noon, and the roads were reopened by 1:20 p.m.

- Megan Jones

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Israeli fire in new Gaza border protest kills 4 PalestiniansPalestinian medics evacuate a wounded person during clashes with Israeli troops Friday along Gaza's border with Israel, east of Khan Younis, Gaza Strip.

Sat, 21 Apr 2018 05:09:00 GMT

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip – Israeli soldiers firing Friday from across a border fence killed four Palestinians, including a 15-year-old boy, and wounded more than 150 others, health officials said, as several thousand people in blockaded Gaza staged a fourth round of weekly protests on the border with Israel. Huge plumes of black smoke from burning tires engulfed the border area. Some of the activists threw stones toward the fence or flew kites with flaming rags dangling from their tails. The latest deaths brought to 32 the number of Palestinians killed by Israeli troops in protests since March. More than 1,600 have been wounded by live rounds in the past three weeks, according to the Gaza Health Ministry. The rising Palestinian casualty toll signaled that Israel’s military is sticking to its open-fire rules despite international criticism of the use of lethal force against unarmed protesters. Israel said it’s defending its border, and alleges Gaza’s ruling Hamas uses protests as cover for attacks. Israeli soldiers are positioned on the other side of the border fence, including snipers taking cover behind earthen berms, and none have been hurt. Turnout for the marches has fluctuated, with the biggest showing March 30, but Friday’s crowd appeared to have been somewhat larger than the one the previous week. The marches are part of what organizers, led by Hamas, have billed as an escalating showdown with Israel, to culminate in a mass march May 15. The top Hamas leader, Ismail Haniyeh, said Friday that people should get ready for large crowds spilling across the border that day. “Our people will outnumber the occupation and force it from our land,” he said, referring to Israel. Hamas said the protests are aimed at breaking a crippling border blockade that was imposed by Israel and Egypt after the Islamic militant group overran Gaza in 2007, a year after winning Palestinian parliament elections. The marches also press for a “right of return” of Palestinian refugees and their descendants to what is now Israel. Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians fled or were forced from homes in the 1948 war over Israel’s creation. Palestinians mark May 15, the anniversary of Israel’s founding, as their “nakba,” or catastrophe, to mourn their mass uprooting. “We will stay here until we reclaim our lands,” said Ahmed Nasman, 21, speaking in a protest tent camp east of Gaza City, as activists near him prepared kites. “Every day, we will come here with a new way to resist them,” he said, referring to Israel. Several thousand protesters flocked to the border area Friday, most gathering at five tent camps several hundred yards away from the border. Smaller groups advanced toward the fence, throwing stones, burning tires and flying [...]

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Ex-FBI deputy director 'disappointed' in Comey commentsThen-FBI acting director Andrew McCabe listens during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing about the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act on June 7 on Capitol Hill in Washington.

Sat, 21 Apr 2018 05:08:00 GMT

WASHINGTON – Andrew McCabe, the former FBI deputy director, is “very upset and disappointed” by comments made by his former boss James Comey that contradict his account of a disclosure to the news media, McCabe’s lawyer said Friday. “Andy has at all times attempted to, and believes he’s been successful in, playing it straight with Jim,” Michael Bromwich told reporters as he again attacked an internal investigation process that led to McCabe’s firing from the FBI last month and a criminal referral to federal prosecutors. The disagreement stems from conflicting recollections about a conversation the two men had after an October 2016 Wall Street Journal story about an FBI investigation into the Clinton Foundation. McCabe said he told Comey after the article was published that he had authorized FBI officials to share information with the reporter – specifically, details of a heated phone conversation with a senior Justice Department official – in order to push back against a story he felt was going to be unfair to the bureau. Comey, however, has said McCabe did not acknowledge having done so and left the impression that he didn’t know who had shared that information with the journalist. The Justice Department’s inspector general concluded that McCabe misled officials under oath about authorizing the disclosure. Attorney General Jeff Sessions fired him last month, and the inspector general’s office in recent weeks referred the matter to the U.S. attorney’s office in Washington for a possible criminal investigation. Bromwich said Friday that the threshold for criminal referrals is very low, and that he did not expect the case to result in prosecution. He said the investigation that led to McCabe’s firing was “unprecedented” in its speed and accelerated so that he could be terminated without being allowed to retire with full pension benefits. The disagreement and contrasting memories have burst into public view this week, as Comey has insisted in television interviews that he stands by his account and that the FBI and Justice Department cannot tolerate lack of candor. He has said that he feels conflicted about McCabe’s legal problems given that the two men worked closely together. “I like him very much as a person, but sometimes even good people do things they shouldn’t do,” Comey said in an interview with CNN on Thursday. Bromwich also suggested that the disagreement was not personal, although he did note that McCabe feels “very upset and disappointed” by some of Comey’s comments. “Andy McCabe and Jim Comey had an excellent relationship,” Bromwich said. “Andy McCabe looked up to Jim Comey. We are not for a moment suggesting that Jim Comey is making things up or lying.” [...]

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Democrats' lawsuit alleges conspiracy between Trump camp, RussiaPresident Donald Trump listens during an April 18 news conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at Trump's private Mar-a-Lago club, in Palm Beach, Fla. The Democratic National Committee on Friday sued President Donald Trump's campaign, Trump's son, his son-in-law, the Russian Federation and WikiLeaks.A lawsuit that was filed by the Democratic National Committee, as photographed Friday in Washington. The national Democratic Party sued President Donald Trump's campaign, his son, his son-in-law, the Russian Federation and WikiLeaks, accusing them of an intricate conspiracy to undercut Democrats in the 2016 election by stealing tens of thousands of emails and documents.

Sat, 21 Apr 2018 05:06:00 GMT

NEW YORK – The Democratic Party sued Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, Russia, WikiLeaks and Trump’s son and son-in-law Friday, accusing them of an intricate conspiracy to undercut Democrats in the 2016 election by stealing tens of thousands of emails and documents. The lawsuit filed in Manhattan federal court seeks unspecified damages and an order to prevent further interference with computer systems of the Democratic National Committee. “During the 2016 presidential campaign, Russia launched an all-out assault on our democracy, and it found a willing and active partner in Donald Trump’s campaign,” DNC Chairman Tom Perez said in a statement. He called it an “act of unprecedented treachery.” The Democrats accuse Trump and his associates of trading on pre-existing relationships with Russian oligarchs tied to President Vladimir Putin and of collaborating with Russia as it worked to undermine Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. The president has said repeatedly there was no collusion between his campaign and Russia. On Friday, his campaign scorned the lawsuit as “frivolous” and predicted it would be quickly dismissed. “This is a sham lawsuit about a bogus Russian collusion claim filed by a desperate, dysfunctional and nearly insolvent Democratic Party,” Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale said in a statement. He said the campaign would seek to turn the tables on the Democrats, using the legal discovery process to try to pry documents from the DNC including any related to a dossier detailing allegations of links between Trump and Russia. The dossier – a collection of memos – was written by an ex-British spy whose work was funded by Clinton and the DNC. Trump himself tweeted that the DNC lawsuit could be “very good news,” saying his campaign “will now counter for the DNC Server that they refused to give to the FBI” as well as Hillary Clinton’s emails. Trump’s tweet also referred to “the Wendy Wasserman Schultz Servers and Documents held by the Pakistani mystery man.” He appeared to be referring to former DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz and reports of an IT specialist who once worked for some House Democrats. Requests for comment from the Russian Embassy in Washington were not immediately returned. The Democrats’ lawsuit doesn’t reveal new details in the sprawling storyline of connections between the Trump campaign and Russian operatives working on behalf of the Kremlin. Instead it knits many of the threads that have emerged in public over the past two years to paint a picture of an alleged conspiracy between the Trump campaign, the Kremlin and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. The DNC said the “brazen attack on American democrac[...]

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Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich speaks at Judson UniversityFormer Speaker of the House of Representatives Newt Gingrich speaks as part of the World Leaders Forum on Thursday at Judson University in Elgin.

Sat, 21 Apr 2018 05:05:00 GMT

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean showed how those on opposite political sides can be polite, work together and accomplish a goal at the 2018 World Leaders Forum on Thursday at Judson University in Elgin. Dean, the Democrat, and Gingrich, the Republican, presented “A Bipartisan Conversation About Leadership in Divided Times,” illustrating by example how to conduct themselves without rancor or name-calling. “There’s no reason we can’t work together,” Dean said. “The best years I had as governor was when one party controlled one chamber and the other party controlled the other chamber. If I needed help reducing spending, I went to the Republicans. If I needed help with a program, I went to the Democrats.” Gingrich praised the genius of the nation’s Founding Fathers in designing the way government would work. “The Founding Fathers saw themselves as engineers who were trying to build a machine that was sufficiently inefficient that no dictator could make it work,” Gingrich said. “Their design was very deliberate. They feared tyranny and fought a revolutionary war. They did not want to see freedom slide back into dictatorship, so they designed this very intricate, very complicated machine.” The process called politics, Gingrich said, is a way to sublimate civil war where passions, dreams and fears “come into this arena we call politics.” Neither Gingrich, nor Dean said anything about President Donald Trump. Dean said America is an exceptional country because the founders created a system in which the government works for the public and not the other way around. George Washington turned down a third term as president because he said the office was more important than the person holding it, Dean said. “Somewhere along the line, we lost our way,” Dean said. “The two parties have very different philosophies, but that should not stop us from moving our country forward. … I’m optimistic about the future because of our younger generation – a powerful group of socially tolerant, respectful individuals who are eager to work together.” The real effect of partisan attacks is it cuts off a legislator’s ability to communicate with other people, Gingrich said. “It’s very important to remember the other person is a human being, not the ‘other.’ They are not alien,” Gingrich said. “And as a human being, they deserve a chance to have their views [heard].” Gingrich said meetings are an opportunity “to listen, learn, help and lead – in that order.” In that format, solutions emerge, Gingrich said. [...]Former Speaker of the House[...]

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Illinois woman sentenced to life in prison for deadly plot in CanadaLindsay Souvannarath arrives at provincial court in March 2015 in Halifax. Souvannarath has been sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for nearly a decade. The Geneva, Ill., resident pleaded guilty last year to conspiracy to commit murder in a plan that involved opening fire at a mall in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 2015.

Sat, 21 Apr 2018 05:05:00 GMT

HALIFAX, Nova Scotia – An Illinois woman who plotted to go on a Valentine’s Day shooting rampage at a Canadian mall was sentenced to life in prison Friday with no chance of parole for nearly a decade. Lindsay Souvannarath of Geneva pleaded guilty last year to conspiracy to commit murder in a plan that involved opening fire at a mall in Halifax, Nova Scotia, in 2015. Nova Scotia Supreme Court Justice Peter Rosinski said that Souvannarath is and will remain a threat to society. He said she has not expressed remorse for her plot. Rosinski also said that if the plan to kill unsuspecting shoppers had not been interrupted by an anonymous tip and the quick actions of police in Nova Scotia, it would have been carried out. Rosinski said his sentence was partly shaped by the principles that apply to terrorism. While he told the court the motivations and intentions in the case aren’t precisely the same as those related to terrorism activities, he said the crime requires the court to “send a clear message” to those conspiring to kill multiple people that “they will pay a heavy price.” The judge also gave Souvannarath credit for time served in custody, so she will be eligible for parole in seven years. Police thwarted the planned attack after receiving an anonymous tip, but Souvannarath had already boarded a plane in Chicago bound for Nova Scotia. Her co-conspirator, James Gamble, killed himself as police surrounded his Halifax-area home. Souvannarath was arrested at the airport. A third accomplice – a Canadian man described in court as the “cheerleader” of the plot – was previously sentenced to a decade in jail. When Rosinski asked Souvannarath if she would like to address the court before sentencing, the 26-year-old said: “I decline.” Before delivering sections of his decision orally in court Friday, the judge entered new letters from Souvannarath’s parents and grandparents as exhibits in the case. The parents of both Souvannarath and Gamble were in court for the sentencing. At the time the plot was being planned, Souvannarath and Gamble were unemployed and lived with their families. Court documents released say online conversations between Souvannarath and her Canadian friend quickly devolved into a shared admiration for the Columbine killers, mass shootings and their murderous conspiracy to go on a shooting rampage at the Halifax Shopping Centre food court. Lindsay Souvannarath arrives at provincial court in March 2015 in Halifax. Souvannarath has been sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole[...]

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Woodstock woman charged with DUI after crashing into police carCassandra Pociask, 52 of Woodstock, was charged with driving under the influence, failing to yield to an emergency vehicle and failing the right-of-way at at an intersection.Cassandra Pociask, 52 of Woodstock

Sat, 21 Apr 2018 05:04:00 GMT

A Woodstock woman was charged Thursday with driving under the influence after crashing into an unmarked police car responding to a separate incident, police said.

Cassandra Pociask, 52, was driving a black Ford Focus south on South Seminary Avenue, McHenry County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Sandra Rogers said Friday. A Woodstock police officer was going east on South Street responding to a call for service with his emergency lights activated.

Pociask failed to yield at a stop sign and collided into the driver’s side of the police car about 6:35 p.m., Rogers said.

There was minor damage to both vehicles, and while interviewing Pociask, officers saw signs of impairment, Rogers said.

Pociask also was charged with failing to yield to an emergency vehicle and failing to yield the right-of-way at an intersection, Rogers said.

It was not clear whether a breath test was administered for Pociask.

Pociask is being held at the McHenry County Jail with bond set at $300.

No injuries were reported in the incident. The McHenry County Sheriff’s Office investigated the crash because a Woodstock police car was involved.

Cassandra Pociask, 52 of Woodstock, was charged with driving under the influence, failing to yield to an emergency vehicle and failing the right-of-way at at an intersection.Cassandra Pociask, 52 of Woodstock

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Police still searching for car theft suspectA man fled after crashing into a traffic signal Wednesday in Crystal Lake.

Sat, 21 Apr 2018 05:04:00 GMT

Police still are searching for a man who fled on foot Wednesday night after stealing a car in Cary and crashing into a traffic signal in Crystal Lake, Cary Deputy Police Chief Jim Fillmore said Friday morning.

“No information has come in yet,” Fillmore said. “We’ve gathered some items, but we are going to have to wait for the results to come back. Sometimes that can take a long time actually with the backlog.”

A woman stopped at Bob’s Amoco BP Station, 400 Silver Lake Road, Cary, and was away from her vehicle when the male suspect jumped into her car and drove off about 9 p.m., Fillmore said.

About 9:30 p.m., a car crashed into a traffic signal at Randall Road and McHenry Avenue, knocking out power to the traffic controls, Crystal Lake Deputy Police Chief Derek Hyrkas said.

A McHenry County Sheriff’s deputy later found the crashed car, and when the deputy approached the car, the man inside took off on foot, deputy Sandra Rogers said.

The suspect has shoulder-length blond hair and was wearing jeans and a camouflage jacket, Fillmore said.

Anyone with information should call the Cary Police Department at 847-639-2341, the Crystal Lake Police Department at 815-356-3620 or McHenry County Crime Stoppers at 1-800-762-7867.

A man fled after crashing into a traffic signal Wednesday in Crystal Lake.

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Woodstock senior wins scholarship in Illinois Realtors Bicentennial Essay ContestJim Haisler, the Organization’s CEO, who also served as the Essay Contest’s Chairperson.

Sat, 21 Apr 2018 05:03:00 GMT

A Woodstock High School student was among 23 scholarship winners in an essay contest that celebrates Illinois’ bicentennial.

Jade Bellairs, a Woodstock High School senior, was awarded $750 toward academic expenses by submitting an essay on the theme “Home is Where the Heart is.” Her entry was selected from more than 450 essays submitted as part of the contest sponsored by Illinois Realtors as part of the association’s celebration of the state’s 200th birthday.

Bellairs’ entry was judged a winner by a 10-member selection committee. In all, the association’s Bicentennial Task Force awarded one $1,000 scholarship, 11 scholarships for $750 and 11 scholarships for $250. For information on the essay contest, go to

Top finalists also included:

$1,000: Hannah Young, Wheaton Academy, West Chicago

$750: Gabrielle Allen, Warrensburg-Latham High School, Warrensburg; Bailey Brooks, Forreston Junior/Senior High School, Forreston; Megan Coakley, Grant Community High School, Fox Lake; Dillon Davey, Barrington High School, Barrington; Kennedy Green, Sacred Heart-Griffin, Springfield; Emma Nelson, homeschool student, Brookport; Cooper Peterson, Glenwood High School, Chatham; Amber Tomlin, Heyworth High School, Heyworth; Clare Turano, Willows Academy, Des Plaines; Camilla Vazquez, William Fremd High School, Palatine.

The essay contest is one of several ways Illinois Realtors members are marking the state’s 200th birthday.

“Locally, the Heartland Realtor Organization in Crystal Lake will be partnering with five local ‘Tour of History’ events from April to October to celebrate the state’s history,” said Jim Haisler, the organization’s CEO, who also served as the essay contest’s chairperson.

On Aug. 26, the state association plans to open Bicentennial Plaza – A Realtor Community Partnership in Springfield.

The plaza’s grand opening is a signature event of the state’s Bicentennial Commission’s celebration of the milestone.

Jim Haisler, the Organization’s CEO, who also served as the Essay Contest’s Chairperson.

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Bernotas Middle School prioritizes service learningA clothing committee made up of seventh-graders is pictured with Jennifer Kolarczyk, volunteer program coordinator for Home of the Sparrow.

Sat, 21 Apr 2018 05:03:00 GMT

To enhance personal growth and development and create more civic-minded students, Bernotas Middle School has prioritized service learning during the 2017-18 school year. By pairing up with local not-for-profit organizations and agencies and a neighboring District 47 school, teams of sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders are making a difference in the Crystal Lake community. The service learning project idea grew out of a desire to increase students’ awareness of the various needs in their community and to encourage them to get involved, assistant principal Kellie Marks said. Marks said the yearlong service learning plan came about during school improvement team meetings during the 2016-17 school year. After researching and discussing the benefits of service learning, the improvement team dedicated time throughout the 2017-18 school year to teach Bernotas students how to engage with their community. “One of the goals of the service learning endeavor is for our staff and students to value working with our community and to continue this work in the future,” Marks said. “It is exciting to watch the progress that has been made so far.” One of the unique aspects of the Bernotas service learning model is that each service team is run by students. At the beginning of the school year, each grade-level team chose a not-for-profit agency to work with. Students learned about their respective organization’s mission through guest visits or by taking field trips to on-site locations. Grade-level teams then brainstormed ways to contribute to the mission of their partnering organization, creating committees to accomplish tasks. Once or twice a month, students meet with their fellow students to carry out their service learning projects. Examples of student-community partnerships by grade level include: Sixth-graders are taking up donations for PADS of McHenry County and creating holiday greeting cards for those served by the organization. Seventh-graders are helping women and children through the Home of the Sparrow. After learning about homelessness from the organization’s volunteer coordinator, students brainstormed ways to help. Ideas presented included recipe boxes, grooming kits, first aid kits and a clothing drive. Eighth-graders rang the bell over the holidays to benefit the Salvation Army. Illini students also worked on a St. Baldrick’s fundraiser to benefit childhood cancer research March 23 at Bernotas Middle School. A clothing committee made up of seventh-graders is pictured with Jennifer Kolarczyk, volunteer program coordinator for Home of the Sparrow.[...]

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McHenry man accused of smuggling pills into jailNicholas B. Hitztaler, 19, of McHenry.

Sat, 21 Apr 2018 05:03:00 GMT

WOODSTOCK – A man who police said smuggled pain and anxiety medication into the McHenry County Jail remained at the facility Friday.

Officers arrested 19-year-old Nicholas B. Hitztaler on Wednesday after he missed a court appearance on felony drug charges, according to a news release from the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office sent Friday.

Hitztaler was charged in December with possessing more than 15 grams of heroin.

When police searched Hitztaler before letting him in the jail Thursday, 18 pills bundled in a wad of tissue paper fell out of his clothes, the release stated.

The man told police he already had taken 11 pills, according to the news release.

Hitztaler was placed under a 72-hour watch. He faces new charges of possession of a controlled substance and bringing contraband into a penal institution.

His bond is set at $115,000. He’s scheduled to make his first court appearance on the most recent charges Friday.

– Katie Smith

Nicholas B. Hitztaler, 19, of McHenry.

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Hubly says former student persuaded classmates to lie in courtFormer Crystal Lake Central choir director Justin Hubly arrives for court with supporters on Tuesday, April 17, 2018 in Woodstock. Hubly is accused of inappropriately touching former students and giving them alcohol while they were younger than 21.

Sat, 21 Apr 2018 04:53:00 GMT

A 36-year-old former high school music teacher took the stand Friday and vehemently denied acting inappropriately with two Crystal Lake Central graduates, adding that allowing 19-year-olds to drink at his home on multiple occasions was use of “poor judgment.” Visibly frustrated during testimony Friday, Justin Hubly told prosecutors that a disapproving student persuaded his peers to rally against the former teacher in court. The reason, his attorney said, didn’t matter. “They walked into this courtroom like they walked into District 155 and lied,” Hubly said. Hubly is charged in two separate cases with battery and giving alcohol to a minor. The charges stem from claims that the former teacher hosted parties at his Crystal Lake home, where he provided groups of mostly 19-year-olds with tequila and rum, and on two occasions, allegedly inappropriately touched young women. He denied ever touching one of the alleged victims. His account of what happened the night of Oct. 7, 2016, was in marked contrast to that of a now 21-year-old woman’s testimony during the first day of trial Wednesday. The young woman told McHenry County Judge Robert Wilbrandt that she had gone to Hubly’s that night to drink and left about an hour after he first kissed and touched her in ways that made her uncomfortable. Hubly, however, told a different story Friday about the kiss he said they shared. “I stopped and said, ‘I don’t want to do this. We’re friends,’ ” he testified. He believes the charges against him are the fault of a now 22-year-old Crystal Lake Central High School graduate, who defense attorney, Henry Sugden, said coached the other young witnesses before taking the stand. The former student testified Thursday that he does not like Hubly. McHenry County Assistant State’s Attorney Brette Dunbar noted that there was no evidence the 22-year-old and the other alleged victim even knew each other. Wilbrandt called a brief recess after questioning between Hubly and Dunbar turned argumentative. When the trial resumed minutes later, Dunbar told the judge that Hubly took advantage of his relationship with the former students. “He exploited their vulnerability and their impressionability,” Dunbar said. Wilbrandt is expected to announce a verdict Friday. Former Crystal Lake Central choir director Justin Hubly arrives for court with supporters on Tuesday, April 17, 2018 in Woodstock. Hubly is accused of inappropriately touching former students and giving them alcohol whil[...]

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McHenry County area red light cameras continue to generate millionsA truck travels east while a Metra trains speeds past a sign that indicates red light cameras are in effect at the intersection of Routes 14 and 22 on April 11 in Fox River Grove.McHenry County area red light cameras, such as this one photographed March 28 at the interesection of routes 120 and 12 in Lakemoor, have generated millions of dollars in revenue since 2016.Red light cameras are popping up more in the area, and the ones at the intersection of Routes 120 and 12, photographed March 28 in Lakemoor, have led to a lawsuit.A red light camera records images of drivers at the intersection of Routes 14 and 22 on April 11 in Fox River Grove.A red light camera records images of drivers at the intersection of Routes 14 and 22 on April 11 in Fox River Grove.

Sat, 21 Apr 2018 04:53:00 GMT

Red light cameras in the McHenry County area are sparse but bring in millions of dollars in revenue annually. Fox River Grove and Lakemoor are the only two municipalities in the county that use red light cameras. Lake in the Hills and Algonquin both shut down red light camera programs in 2016. Fox River Grove officials said there are no plans to take down the camera at the intersection of routes 22 and 14. Lakemoor, which sits in both McHenry and Lake counties, is in the midst of a class-action lawsuit related to its red light camera program. Lakemoor officials didn’t return calls for comment. Red light camera programs typically are set up with the intention of making problematic intersections safer. They also are good for revenue – Fox River Grove has collected $1.6 million from violation fees since January 2016. Lakemoor has collected about $3.6 million in the same time period, according to records provided by the municipalities under a Freedom of Information Act request. That revenue came from 56,904 violations at Lakemoor’s Route 12 and Route 120 intersection and 30,994 violations in Fox River Grove, records show. Lake in the Hills issued less than 700 first- and second-violation notices in 2016 before the program was shut down, records show. Between 2010 and 2015, the village issued about 3,500 violations, which generated about $412,000. Village officials decided to end the program because of upcoming construction on Randall Road. “It will impact [the intersection of Randall Road and Acorn Lane], and we would have had to take the cameras out,” said Lake in the Hills Police Department’s Deputy Chief of Support Services Pat Boulden. “Construction hasn’t started yet, but at the time, we would have had to go into a long-term contract.” The village also would have to reapply for a red light camera permit through the county and demonstrate a continued need for the camera at the reconfigured intersection after construction is complete, he said. “The goal of the program was to bring attention to the issue and change driver behavior,” he said. “We accomplished that.” He said there hasn’t been a noticeable increase in crashes or issues at the intersection since the camera has come down. Algonquin shut down its program in 2016 as crashes and violation notices dropped. Fox River Grove Village Administrator Derek Soderholm said the village has no plans to take down its cameras because the program consistently improves safety[...]

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President George HW Bush greets mourners honoring his wifeDeborah Blanton of Houston signs a board honoring former first lady Barbara Bush on Thursday in Houston.

Sat, 21 Apr 2018 02:49:00 GMT

HOUSTON – His daughter standing behind him, former President George H.W. Bush sat at the front of the cavernous sanctuary of St. Martin's Episcopal Church. He gazed up at the rose-draped casket holding his wife of 73 years. After a few moments, an aide came forward to help Bush with his wheelchair, turning it so he faced the rest of the sanctuary. A string of mourners began to approach: adults and children, many of the women wearing his wife's favorite color, blue, and trademark pearls. He offered his hand and smiled as people shook it. Thousands of people came Friday to pay respect to Barbara Bush, wife of the nation's 41st president and mother of the nation's 43rd. Among them was Houston social worker Varney Johnson, who like other mourners said he wanted to honor her work supporting literacy. "This woman dedicated her life to educating children," he said. Barbara and George Bush were married longer than any other presidential couple when she died Tuesday at their home in Houston. One of just two first ladies to have a child elected president, Barbara Bush was widely admired for her plainspoken style and her advocacy for causes including literacy and AIDS awareness. A hearse containing the former first lady's casket arrived before daybreak at St. Martin's, which is the nation's largest Episcopal church. Her body was to be in repose from noon until midnight. A spray of dozens of roses covered the closed light-colored metallic casket. The 93-year-old former president arrived at the church shortly after the viewing opened, accompanied by daughter Dorothy Bush Koch. He hadn't been scheduled to visit, but he decided to go after watching video from the church, said family spokesman Jim McGrath. Bush shook dozens of hands and stayed for about 15 minutes. "I think he was very touched by all of the people who were taking the time out of their lives," McGrath said. "It was just a natural inclination for him." Lucy Orlando was one of the more than 100 people in line well before bus service began from a separate location to the church. Originally from Haiti, the 74-year-old Orlando had traveled from Weston, Florida, and said she has admired Barbara Bush for years, including for her work promoting literacy. "She was a very sweet lady and she loves people," said Orlando, who was carrying a gray suitcase containing framed photos of the couple and members of their family, including former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and former President George W. Bush and his wife, Laura. Jessica Queener, who works in special educa[...]

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Leak crackdown talk yields rare Comey, Trump agreementCopies of the memos written by former FBI Director James Comey, as photographed Thursday.

Sat, 21 Apr 2018 02:46:00 GMT

WASHINGTON – James Comey and President Donald Trump seem to disagree on most everything, but the ex-FBI director's memos show consensus on at least one thing: the need to hunt down leakers. The two men bonded over the idea of a proposed leak crackdown, even sharing a chuckle over a crude joke involving jailed journalists, according to memos written by Comey and obtained by The Associated Press. The jocularity over leakers and journalists is striking given the otherwise tense nature of their conversations, which touched on loyalty pledges, Russian prostitutes and open FBI investigations. The memos kept by Comey show his unease with Trump's requests and his concern that the president was blurring the bright line between politics and law enforcement, including with a request that he end an investigation into former White House national security adviser Michael Flynn. Yet Trump and Comey were clearly on the same page about leaks, even if they weren't quite in agreement on whom to hold accountable for them. Comey recounts an Oval Office conversation from February 2017 in which Trump raises the prospect of jailing journalists who benefit from leaked information. According to the memos, Comey told Trump it would be tricky legally to jail reporters but said he saw value in going after leakers and "putting a head on a pike as a message" by bringing such a case. Trump shot back that sending that message may involve jailing reporters. "They spend a couple days in jail, make a new friend, and they are ready to talk," Trump says in one memo. Comey laughed as he walked out of the room, according to the memo. The Trump administration has loudly complained about leaks, and Trump himself has repeatedly accused Comey of being a leaker. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has said there are several dozen leak investigations open, though that aggressiveness is similar to that of the Obama Justice Department, which was frequently criticized by media organizations and free press advocates. Comey's memos had been eagerly anticipated since their existence was first revealed last year, especially since Comey's interactions with Trump are a critical part of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into whether the president sought to obstruct justice. After his firing, Comey provided one of his memos to a friend so he could disclose details to journalists and prompt the appointment of a special counsel. Comey has said he was within his rights as a private citizen to[...]

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