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President Trump welcomes World Series champion Cubs to White HousePresident Donald Trump holds a Chicago Cubs jersey as he meets with members of the 2016 World Series Champions Chicago Cubs, Wednesday, June 28, 2017, in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant holds a "45" sign. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 18:45:00 GMT

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump has welcomed the manager and several players from the World Series champion Chicago Cubs to the White House.

Trump met with manager Joe Maddon and some Cubs on Wednesday, and he calls the Cubs a "great team."

They gave him a team jersey printed with "45" in recognition of his status as the 45th U.S. president.

Maddon had said the visit was voluntary for players and not an official trip. Maddon said he was going to the White House out of respect for the Ricketts family, which owns the Cubs and donated to Trump's campaign.

The Cubs are in Washington to play the Nationals.

In January, the Cubs visited President Barack Obama at the White House after winning the World Series and shortly before his term ended.

President Donald Trump holds a Chicago Cubs jersey as he meets with members of the 2016 World Series Champions Chicago Cubs, Wednesday, June 28, 2017, in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant holds a "45" sign. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)


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Mugs in the News for June 2017 in the McHenry County areaSidhekur Rahman, 29, of London, is facing charges of aggravated fleeing, criminal trespass to a vehicle, possession of a stolen motor vehicle, disorderly conduct, reckless driving, speeding 21 to 25 mph above the speed limit, disregarding a traffic control light, improper use of a designated lane and improper traffic lane usage. The charges against the individuals listed are not a proof of guilt. A defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial in which it is the state’s burden to prove his or her guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.Charles A. Campo, 31, of McHenry, charged with first-degree murder, home invasion and residential burglary. The charges against the individuals listed are not a proof of guilt. A defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial in which it is the state’s burden to prove his or her guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.Byron Howard, 36, of Wonder Lake, charged with first-degree murder, home invasion and residential burglary. The charges against the individuals listed are not a proof of guilt. A defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial in which it is the state’s burden to prove his or her guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.Letrell K. Johnson, 25, of the 11600 block of South Loomis St., Chicago, with delivery of marijuana and possession of marijuana. The charges against the individuals listed are not a proof of guilt. A defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial in which it is the state’s burden to prove his or her guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.Victor Romero-Palos, 36, was arrested Friday by Woodstock police officers and charged with delivery of a controlled substance within 1,000 feet of a park, delivery of a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia. Police said he had less than 15 grams of cocaine, according to court records. The charges against the individuals listed are not a proof of guilt. A defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial in which it is the state’s burden to prove his or her guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.Jared J. Fox, 25, of Wonder Lake, was charged Wednesday with first-degree murder, home invasion and residential burglary. The charges against the individuals listed are not a proof of guilt. A defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial in which it is the state’s burden to prove his or her guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.Jeffrey S. Rothermel, 35, of the 1500 block of Crabtree Lane, was charged Saturday with possession of marijuana with intent to deliver, possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia and resisting a peace officer. The charges against the individuals listed are not a proof of guilt. A defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial in which it is the state’s burden to prove his or her guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.Nancy A. Eiring, 40, and Timothy J. Hill, 28, of the 300 block of N. State St., were arrested about 2:15 p.m. Sunday after a three-hour manhunt and charged with aggravated robbery with a firearm. The charges against the individuals listed are not a proof of guilt. A defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial in which it is the state’s burden to prove his or her guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.Max Barraza, 27, of Spring Grove, charged with driving under the influence and aggravated driving under the influence causing death. The charges against the individuals listed are not a proof of guilt. A defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial in which it is the state’s burden to prove his or her guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 17:08:00 GMT

The charges against the individuals listed are not a proof of guilt. A defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial in which it is the state’s burden to prove his or her guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Sidhekur Rahman, 29, of London, is facing charges of aggravated fleeing, criminal trespass to a vehicle, possession of a stolen motor vehicle, disorderly conduct, reckless driving, speeding 21 to 25 mph above the speed limit, disregarding a traffic control light, improper use of a designated lane and improper traffic lane usage. The charges against the individuals listed are not a proof of guilt. A defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial in which it is the state’s burden to prove his or her guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.Charles A. Campo, 31, of McHenry, charged with first-degree murder, home invasion and residential burglary. The charges against the individuals listed are not a proof of guilt. A defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial in which it is the state’s burden to prove his or her guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.Byron Howard, 36, of Wonder Lake, charged with first-degree murder, home invasion and residential burglary. The charges against the individuals listed are not a proof of guilt. A defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial in which it is the state’s burden to prove his or her guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.Letrell K. Johnson, 25, of the 11600 block of South Loomis St., Chicago, with delivery of marijuana and possession of marijuana. The charges against the individuals listed are not a proof of guilt. A defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial in which it is the state’s burden to prove his or her guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.Victor Romero-Palos, 36, was arrested Friday by Woodstock police officers and charged with delivery of a controlled substance within 1,000 feet of a park, delivery of a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia. Police said he had less than 15 grams of cocaine, according to court records. The charges against the individuals listed are not a proof of guilt. A defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial in which it is the state’s burden to prove his or her guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.Jared J. Fox, 25, of Wonder Lake, was charged Wednesday with first-degree murder, home invasion and residential burglary. The charges against the individuals listed are not a proof of guilt. A defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial in which it is the state’s burden to prove his or her guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.Jeffrey S. Rothermel, 35, of the 1500 block of Crabtree Lane, was charged Saturday with possession of marijuana with intent to deliver, possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia and resisting a peace officer. The charges against the individuals listed are not a proof of guilt. A defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial in which it is the state’s burden to prove his or her guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.Nancy A. Eiring, 40, and Timothy J. Hill, 28, of the 300 block of N. State St., were arrested about 2:15 p.m. Sunday after a three-hour manhunt and charged with aggravated robbery with a firearm. The charges against the individuals listed are not a proof of guilt. A defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial in which it is the state’s burden to prove his or her guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.Max Barraza, 27, of Spring Grove, charged with driving under the influence and aggravated driving under the influence causing death. The charges against the individuals listed are not a proof of guilt. A defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial in which it is the state’s burden to prove his or her guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.


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Avoid the Summer Slide: Advice from the Learning Experts at Mathnasium

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 16:47:57 GMT

      School is officially out for summer! Kids everywhere rejoice! And parents everywhere wonder how to keep those growing brains engaged during the summer months. Summer learning loss is a real phenomenon parents and educators have long acknowledged as a significant setback to academic achievement. Math proficiency is particularly susceptible to the summer learning slide. Most students lose 2 to 2 1/2 months of the math computational skills that they learned during the school year. According to researchers at Johns Hopkins University, the summer slide can have long-lasting effects on a student’s academic life. “Early summer learning losses have later life consequences, including high school curriculum placement, whether kids drop out of high school, and whether they attend college.” Just as experts widely agree that summer learning loss in math is a big problem, they also agree that summer math studies provide a solution. So how can parents help their students combat the summer slide? Here are some easy-to-implement ideas. 1) Read something every day! Growing brains need stimulation, and reading every day is one of the best ways to keep them engaged all summer long. Even books that are cartoons or lighthearted in nature help practice reading skills. Math-themed books such as Seven Ate Nine, The Number Devil (it’s like the Alice in Wonderland of math books), and The Greedy Triangle are all good places to start with reading over the summer. Furthermore, books like this help integrate math and literacy concepts together! 2) Enroll in local summer educational programming. Enrichment classes like those offered at Mathnasium provide flexible ways for students to continue with math work that is customized to their specific needs. Studies have shown that students who attend summer programs with a math component score higher on math tests the following school year than students who were unable to participate in summer instruction. Indeed, Mathnasium students have shown significant increases in performance in fewer than 20 sessions. This number of learning sessions can easily fit into the summer months, giving kids a substantial leg up for the school year ahead, and enabling retention of mathematical concepts they’ve already learned. For more information and to get your kids enrolled in Mathnasium summer learning programs, please visit: www.mathnasium.com/chicagoland. 3) Take your learning outside. Learning doesn’t just take place in the classroom. Integrate math learning into your summer routine.  This Hula Hoop outdoor clock idea from Creekside Learning is a great way to teach kids to tell time: You can also integrate time telling and math while running errands -- i.e. how long did it take to go grocery shopping? What time does the clock say on that building? Help me make change for this $20 bill., etc. Older kids can learn by handling more complex money transactions (i.e. compute unit price for various items and determine which is a better buy). When traveling, challenge your student to compute distance/time based on your speed of travel. The list of real-life math learning opportunities is endless! 4) Use food as a teaching tool! Even daily meal preparation can be a learning opportunity for kids. Include your little math students in the process of making trail mix (and help them learn ratios along the way!).  This fun food experiment makes good use of the concept of crunchy vs. chewy and tastes delicious. Kids can measure out various quantities of ingredients and learn about ratios while making a delicious snack. The bottom line is that math practice can be fun but you have to make time for it! Take advantage of the summer months to en[...]


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Handheld smoke fireworks sold in Illinois stores recalled amid reports of exploding unexpectedlyAmerican Promotional Events recalled some of its handheld fireworks sold in Illinois due to reports of its red, white and blue smoke fireworks exploding unexpectedly. Photo courtesy of the US Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 15:14:00 GMT

Small, handheld fireworks like sparklers and snappers can be as much a part of Fourth of July tradition as the enormous annual fireworks displays. But these legal alternatives can be dangerous too.

Alabama-based American Promotional Events has recalled its TNT Red, White, and Blue Smoke fireworks, which are legal and sold in Illinois, due to reports of the handheld devices exploding unexpectedly, according to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission.

According to the company's site, "The Blue Ammo Smoke effect could rapidly dispel from the bottom of the tube in an explosive manner posing a burn hazard."

​36,100 of the fireworks were sold in May and June in Albertsons, Kroger, Meijer, Target, Wal-Mart and other retailers in Illinois, Ohio, Vermont and Wisconsin. Consumers are advised to immediately stop using the fireworks and return them for a refund.

The fireworks emit colored smoke when lit and were sold in a bag containing three canisters: one red, one blue and one white. Each colored smoke firework is a cardboard cylinder tube that measures about one inch in diameter and five inches long. The TNT logo, “Red, White & Blue Smoke” and UPC number 027736036561 appear on the packaging, according to the CPSC.

American Promotional Events has received three incident reports resulting in burn injuries. No property has been damaged. For more information, call 800-243-1189 or visit the company's website www.tntfireworks.com.

American Promotional Events recalled some of its handheld fireworks sold in Illinois due to reports of its red, white and blue smoke fireworks exploding unexpectedly. Photo courtesy of the US Consumer Product Safety Commission.


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German Parliament set to vote Friday on gay marriageFILE - In this Sept. 30, 2013 file photo a so-called ove lock with two engraved male names sits at a fence near the Masch lake in Hannover, Germany. German parliament will vote on Friday< June 30, 2017 on allowing homosexual to marry. (Julian Stratenschulte/dpa via AP)German Chancellor Angela Merkel, looks on as she arrives for the weekly cabinet meeting at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany, Wednesday, June 28, 2017. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 12:26:00 GMT

BERLIN — The German Parliament plans to vote Friday on whether to legalize same-sex marriage — only days after Chancellor Angela Merkel backed off her conservative party's long-standing refusal to budge on the issue.

The German news agency dpa reported Wednesday the Parliament's legal committee had given its OK for the vote to take place Friday.

Merkel surprisingly said Monday she could see lawmakers making the issue a "decision of conscience," voting according to individual preferences rather than along party lines.

Her comment came ahead of Germany's Sept. 24 election in which all of Merkel's potential coalition partners, including the center-left Social Democrats of her challenger, Martin Schulz, are calling for same-sex marriage to be legalized.

Germany has allowed same-sex couples to enter into civil partnerships since 2001.

FILE - In this Sept. 30, 2013 file photo a so-called ove lock with two engraved male names sits at a fence near the Masch lake in Hannover, Germany. German parliament will vote on Friday< June 30, 2017 on allowing homosexual to marry. (Julian Stratenschulte/dpa via AP)German Chancellor Angela Merkel, looks on as she arrives for the weekly cabinet meeting at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany, Wednesday, June 28, 2017. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)


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EU hits Google with $2.7B fine for abusing weaker rivalsFILE - In this Tuesday, March 23, 2010 file photo, the Google logo is seen at the Google headquarters in Brussels. The European Union's competition watchdog has slapped a record 2.42 billion euro ($2.72 billion) fine on internet giant Google for breaching antitrust rules with its online shopping service. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo, File)European Union Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager speaks during a media conference at EU headquarters in Brussels on Tuesday, June 27, 2017. The European Union's competition watchdog has fined internet giant Google over its online shopping service. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 12:22:00 GMT

BRUSSELS — European regulators fined Google a record 2.42 billion euros ($2.72 billion) for abusing its dominance of the online search market in a case that could be just the opening salvo in Europe's attempt to curb the company's clout on that continent. The decision announced Tuesday by the European Commission punished Google for unfairly favoring its own online shopping recommendations in its search results. The commission is also conducting at least two other probes into the company's business practices that could force Google to make even more changes in the way it bundles services on mobile devices and sells digital advertising. Even so, Europe's crackdown is unlikely to affect Google's products in the U.S. or elsewhere. But it could provide an opportunity to contrast how consumers fare when the company operates under constraints compared with an unfettered Google. The fine immediately triggered debate about whether European regulators were taking prudent steps to preserve competition or overstepping their bounds to save companies being shunned by consumers who have overwhelmingly embraced an alternative. Margrethe Vestager, Europe's top antitrust regulator, said her agency's nearly seven-year investigation left no doubt something had to be done to rein in Google. "What Google has done is illegal under EU antitrust rules. It denied other companies the chance to compete on the merits and to innovate. And most importantly, it denied European consumers a genuine choice of services and the full benefits of innovation," Vestager told reporters Tuesday. The fine was the highest ever imposed in Europe for anti-competitive behavior, exceeding a 1.06 billion euros penalty on Silicon Valley chip maker Intel in 2009. The penalty itself is unlikely to leave a dent in Google's finances. Parent company Alphabet Inc. has more than $92 billion (82 billion euros) in cash, including nearly $56 billion (50 billion euros) in accounts outside of the U.S. The findings in Europe contrasted sharply with those reached by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission in a similar investigation of Google completed in 2013. The FTC absolved Google of any serious wrongdoing after concluding that its search recommendations did not undermine competition or hurt consumers. Leading up to that unanimous decision, though, some of the FTC's staff sent a memo to the agency's commissioners recommending legal action because Google's "conduct has resulted — and will result — in real harm to consumers and to innovation in the online search and advertising markets," according to a memo inadvertently released to The Wall Street Journal two years ago. Google's misbehavior in Europe boiled down to its practice of highlighting its own online shopping service above those of its rivals. Merchants pay Google for the right to show summaries of their products in small boxes displayed near the top of search results when someone seems to be interested in a purchase. Meanwhile, Google lists search results of its biggest rivals in online shopping on page 4 — and smaller rivals even lower, based on the calculations of European regulators. That's a huge advantage for Google when 90 percent of user clicks are on the first page. Google says consumers like its shopping thumbnails because they are concise and convenient. The commission's decision "underestimates the value of those kinds of fast and easy connections," Kent Walker, Google's general counsel, wrote in a blog post. Europe's investigation did not present any concrete evidence that consumers had been financially d[...]


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Few answers on travel ban as launch deadline loomsBryce Howard, 15, of Everett, Wash., wears a Trump hat as he snaps a photo during a visit to the Supreme Court in Washington, Monday, June 26, 2017, where justices issued their final rulings for the term. The high court is letting a limited version of the Trump administration ban on travel from six mostly Muslim countries take effect, a victory for President Donald Trump in the biggest legal controversy of his young presidency. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 05:34:00 GMT

WASHINGTON – The Trump administration expects to launch a limited version of its travel ban on six mostly Muslim countries Thursday, but has yet to say how it will be implemented or what it will do to avoid the chaos that accompanied the initial ban. Government lawyers were working on guidelines Tuesday, one day after the Supreme Court partially reinstated the ban ahead of hearing arguments in October. The court said the administration can block travelers from Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Libya, Iran and Yemen unless they can prove a “bona fide relationship” with a person or entity in the U.S. The court offered only broad guidelines about what would constitute such a relationship – suggesting it would include a close relative, a job offer or an invitation to lecture. The court ordered similar limitations on President Donald Trump’s plan to temporarily halt all refugee admissions. But that may have minimal effect for now. Of the 50,000 refugees the government planned to accept in the current budget year, more than 48,900 have been allowed to enter the U.S. The State Department has said that the few remaining refugees to be admitted this year will not have to prove a “bona fide relationship.” A new cap won’t be in place until the start of the budget year in October, around the time that the Supreme Court considers the case. Trump ordered the refugee ban and a travel ban affecting the six countries, plus Iraq, shortly after taking office in January. He claimed it was needed to protect the U.S. from terrorists, but opponents said it was unfairly harsh and was intended to meet Trump’s campaign promise of keeping Muslims out of the U.S. After a federal judge struck down the bans, Trump signed a revised order intended to overcome legal hurdles. That also was struck down by lower courts. The Supreme Court’s action Monday partially reinstated the effort. The initial order created chaos and confusion as the Trump administration scrambled to make changes amid backlash as legal U.S. residents, refugees and holders of valid visas were denied boarding at foreign airports or detained and sent back overseas after landing in the U.S. With the uncertainty surrounding the Supreme Court’s order, immigration advocates and civil rights lawyers are on edge and ready for possible legal challenges. Shortly after the court’s ruling, the State Department notified all U.S. diplomatic posts of the decision and advised them to await instructions that would be forthcoming by the self-imposed implementation deadline on Thursday, officials familiar with the situation said. Until the new guidance is complete, posts were told to process applications as they had been previously, said the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss internal communications publicly. It remained unclear exactly when new instructions would be distributed to embassies and consulates. Among other questions lawyers were grappling with were the intent of the executive order and how specific the instructions should be in interpreting what constitutes a “bona fide relationship.” A broad interpretation, for example, could allow for a contract or reservation with a rental car agency or hotel in the United States to be considered legitimate relationship, the officials said. Similarly, an applicant’s relationship with a distant, nonblood relative in the U.S. could be considered legitimate. The officials said the new guidance might not delve into such sp[...]


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Supreme Court term ended much different than it beganPeople visit the Supreme Court in Washington, Monday, June 26, 2017, as justices issued their final rulings for the term, in Washington. The Supreme Court began its term nine months ago with Merrick Garland nominated to the bench, Hillary Clinton favored to be the next president, and the court poised to be controlled by Democratic appointees for the first time in 50 years. Things looked very different when the justices wrapped up their work this week. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 05:34:00 GMT

WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court began its term nine months ago with Merrick Garland nominated to the bench, Hillary Clinton favored to be the next president, and the court poised to be controlled by Democratic appointees for the first time in 50 years. Things looked very different when the justices wrapped up their work this week. The court’s final decisions and orders were almost emphatic declarations, if there had been any doubt, that this is once again a conservative-leaning court that may only move more to the right in the years to come. The justices gave President Donald Trump the go-ahead to start enforcing at least part of his travel ban, showed that the wall between church and state is perhaps not as high as it once was and invigorated a baker’s religion-based refusal to create a wedding cake for a same-sex couple. “Liberals were certainly looking forward to a Clinton presidency that would alter the direction of the court. This was not an outcome we predicted,” said Nan Aron, president of the liberal Alliance for Justice. The first casualty of Trump’s election was Garland, the appellate judge whom President Barack Obama nominated to the high court. Instead of Garland on the far right of the bench where the newest justice sits, there was Justice Neil Gorsuch. The placement also meshed with his votes. The Trump nominee who joined the court in April, Gorsuch staked out the most conservative position in a number of closely watched cases, including the one on the travel ban. The 49-year-old Coloradan restored the court’s conservative tilt, nearly 14 months after Justice Antonin Scalia’s death left the remaining eight justices divided between four liberal-leaning Democratic appointees and four conservative-leaning Republican appointees. Trump also could bring seismic change to the court if any of the three oldest justices – 84-year-old Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 80-year-old Anthony Kennedy or 78-year-old Stephen Breyer – steps down in the next few years. The youngest justice was unusually active both as a questioner during arguments and in his writing. Gorsuch wrote separately from the court’s majority opinion seven times in less than three months, the same number of such opinions Justice Elena Kagan wrote in her first two years on the court, University of Texas law professor Stephen Vladeck noted on Twitter. Some terms are notable for the blockbuster rulings they produce, and recent years have seen a string of such cases dealing with health care, same-sex marriage, voting rights and abortion. Not this one. “This term was the first in years without seemingly any blockbuster cases,” said Kannon Shanmugam, a frequent Supreme Court advocate who once was a Scalia law clerk. It was remarkably light on high-profile issues, with the court short-handed for the first six months of its term. The justices bypassed some issues altogether, jettisoning a potentially significant case about transgender rights after Trump took office. In other cases, consensus opinions “resolved the case narrowly, without using it as a vehicle to make dramatic, controversial changes to the law,” wrote Paul Gordon, senior legislative counsel at the liberal People for the American Way. One exception was the religious rights case that the justices decided Monday, ruling by a 7-2 vote that states can’t single out religious institutions and refuse to fund secular activities. Chief Justice John Roberts wrote that Missouri’s decision to exclude a church from a grant program to upgrade a children’s playground was “odious to[...]


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3 Chicago police officers indicted in Laquan McDonald caseAP file photo Protesters take part in a "march for justice" Nov. 27, 2015, in Chicago, in the wake of the release of video showing an officer fatally shooting Laquan McDonald. Special prosecutor Patricia Brown-Holmes announced Tuesday that three Chicago police officers were indicted on felony charges that they conspired to cover up the actions of Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke in the killing of McDonald. The indictment, approved by a Cook County grand jury, alleges that one current and two former officers lied about the events of Oct. 20, 2014 when Van Dyke shot the black teenager 16 times.

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 05:33:00 GMT

CHICAGO – Three Chicago police officers were indicted Tuesday on felony charges that they conspired to cover up the actions of a white police officer who shot and killed 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, and that the officers lied when they said the black teenager “aggressively” swung a knife at them and tried to get up from the ground still armed after he was shot. The indictment alleges that one current and two former officers lied about the events of Oct. 20, 2014, when Officer Jason Van Dyke shot the teenager 16 times. The officers’ narratives contradict what can be seen on police dashcam video, in which the teenager spins after he was shot and falls to the ground – seemingly incapacitated – as the officer continues to fire shot after shot into his body. The indictment further alleges that officers lied when they said McDonald ignored Van Dyke’s verbal commands and that one of the officers signed off on a report that claimed the other two officers were, in fact, victims of an attack by McDonald. “The co-conspirators created police reports in the critical early hours and days following the killing of Laquan McDonald that contained important false information,” says the indictment in which the three are charged with felony counts of obstruction of justice, official misconduct and conspiracy. The indictments mark the latest chapter in what has been one of the most troubling stories in the history of a police force dogged by allegations of racism, brutality and the protection of officers who brutalize African-Americans. The video sparked massive protests, cost the police superintendent his job, and left the city scrambling to implement reforms to regain shattered public trust. In January, the Department of Justice issued a scathing report that found that the department had violated the constitutional rights of residents for years, including by too often using excessive force and killing suspects who posed no threat. Around the country, there are renewed questions whether the legal system is willing to punish officers, particularly after two police officers – one in in Milwaukee and the other in Minnesota – were acquitted and a mistrial was declared in Cincinnati in the shootings of blacks that were captured by video. Patricia Brown Holmes – appointed special prosecutor last July to investigate officers at the scene and involved in the investigation of the shooting – said in a news release that the three – David March, Joseph Walsh and Thomas Gaffney – “coordinated their activities to protect each other and other members of the Chicago Police Department,” including by filing false police reports, ignoring contrary evidence and not even attempting to interview keys witnesses. “The indictment makes clear that these defendants did more than merely obey an unofficial ‘code of silence,’ ” Holmes said in the statement. “It alleges that they lied about what occurred to prevent independent criminal investigators from learning the truth.” The officers allegedly began to conspire almost immediately on the day of the shooting, “to conceal the true facts of the events surrounding the killing of Laquan McDonald” and “to shield their fellow officer from criminal investigation and prosecution.” The indictment alleges that the officers understood that, if video and other evidence became public, “it would inexorably lead to a thorough criminal investigation by an independent body and likely criminal charges.” It details Walsh’s claim – contradicted by the video – in which th[...]


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Senate GOP shelves health bill, imperils 'Obamacare' repealSenate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky. (left) and Senate Majority Whip Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, speak with the media Tuesday after they and other Senate Republicans had a meeting with President Donald Trump at the White House in Washington. McConnell announced a delay in health bill voting.

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 05:33:00 GMT

WASHINGTON – Senate GOP leaders abruptly shelved their long-sought health care overhaul Tuesday, asserting they can still salvage it but raising new doubts about whether President Donald Trump and the Republicans will ever deliver on their promises to repeal and replace “Obamacare.” Republican leader Mitch McConnell announced a delay for any voting at a closed-door senators’ lunch also attended by Vice President Mike Pence. McConnell’s tone was matter-of-fact, according those present, yet his action amounts to a stinging setback for the longtime Senate leader who had developed the legislation largely in secret as Trump hung back in deference. Now Trump seems likely to push into the discussion more directly, and he immediately invited Senate Republicans to the White House. But the message he delivered to them before reporters were ushered out of the room was not entirely hopeful. “This will be great if we get it done, and if we don’t get it done it’s just going to be something that we’re not going to like, and that’s OK and I understand that very well,” he told the senators, who surrounded him at tables arranged in a giant square in the East Room. Most wore grim expressions. In the private meeting that followed, said Marco Rubio of Florida, the president spoke of “the costs of failure, what it would mean to not get it done – the view that we would wind up in a situation where the markets will collapse and Republicans will be blamed for it and then potentially have to fight off an effort to expand to single payer at some point.” The bill has many critics and few outspoken fans on Capitol Hill. It was short of support heading toward a critical procedural vote on Wednesday, and prospects for changing that are uncertain. McConnell promised to revisit the legislation after Congress’ July 4 recess. “It’s a big complicated subject, we’ve got a lot discussions going on, and we’re still optimistic we’re going to get there,” McConnell told reporters after the lunch. It hasn’t been easy, as adjustments to placate conservatives, who want the legislation to be more stringent, only push away moderates who think its current limits – on Medicaid for example – are too strong. In the folksy analysis of John Cornyn of Texas, the Senate GOP vote-counter: “Every time you get one bullfrog in the wheelbarrow, another one jumps out.” McConnell has scant margin for error in the closely divided Senate, and the legislation to eliminate Obamacare’s mandates and unwind its Medicaid expansion has shed support practically from the moment it was unveiled last Thursday. By Tuesday morning at least five GOP senators had announced their opposition to a procedural vote on the bill, and after McConnell announced the delay several more went public with their criticism. McConnell can lose only two senators from his 52-member caucus and still pass the bill, with Pence to cast a tie-breaking vote. Democrats are unanimously opposed, and in recent days they have stepped up protests, delivering speeches on the Senate floor for hours and holding vigils on the Capitol steps. Medical groups are nearly unanimously opposed, too, along with the AARP, though the U.S. Chamber of Commerce supports the bill. A number of GOP governors oppose the legislation, especially in states that have expanded the Medicaid program for the poor under former President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act. Opposition from Nevada’s popular Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval helped p[...]


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Crystal Lake warning sirens sound in errorShaw Media file photo According to a news release from the Crystal Lake Police Department, a vendor on site in the regional dispatch center, Southeast Emergency Communications (SEECOM), was installing new radio consoles when a short occurred in a wire around 6:40 a.m. The short simulated a system activation, and sirens throughout Crystal Lake sounded. Once the vendor realized what had happened, the issue was quickly fixed.

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 05:31:00 GMT

CRYSTAL LAKE – No, there was not a tornado early Tuesday. The Crystal Lake Outdoor Public Warning Sirens accidentally were activated.

According to a news release from the Crystal Lake Police Department, a vendor on site in the regional dispatch center, Southeast Emergency Communications, was installing new radio consoles when a short occurred in a wire around 6:40 a.m. The short simulated a system activation, and sirens throughout Crystal Lake sounded. Once the vendor realized what had happened, the issue was quickly fixed.

The release states, “SEECOM is working with the vendor to ensure no additional false activations will occur during the course of their work. The vendor, SEECOM and the City apologize for any inconvenience to our citizens this may have caused.”

Shaw Media file photo According to a news release from the Crystal Lake Police Department, a vendor on site in the regional dispatch center, Southeast Emergency Communications (SEECOM), was installing new radio consoles when a short occurred in a wire around 6:40 a.m. The short simulated a system activation, and sirens throughout Crystal Lake sounded. Once the vendor realized what had happened, the issue was quickly fixed.


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Stone Park man killed in Hampshire truck crash

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 05:26:00 GMT

HAMPSHIRE – A Stone Park man was killed Tuesday in a single truck crash on Interstate 90 in Hampshire.

The McHenry County Coroner’s Office has identified the man as Fernando Pena, 25, of Stone Park.

The Illinois State Police and the Huntley Fire and Rescue District responded about 10 a.m. Tuesday to the scene of the crash at mile marker 43 on I-90 in Hampshire, and found Pena on the westbound shoulder of the highway, according to a news release from the McHenry County Coroner’s Office.

Preliminary investigation indicates Pena was ejected from the truck after he lost control of the vehicle and crashed into the median.

Officials transported him to Centegra Hospital – Huntley. He was pronounced dead at 11:17 a.m., officials said.

The Illinois State Police and the coroner’s office are investigating the circumstances of his death. The coroner will perform an autopsy Wednesday.




County Board approves McHenry County Conservation District budget

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 05:24:00 GMT

WOODSTOCK – The McHenry County Board approved a 2018 maintenance budget for the McHenry County Conservation District that contained few, if any, surprises.

The only surprise was that, unlike the recent past, the County Board approved it without debate as part of its routine consent agenda.

The district’s 2018 budget spends $26 million, about $1 million less than the previous spending plan. The district maintains more than 25,000 acres of land and 158.3 linear miles of trails.

Property taxes make up 85.2 percent of the district’s total income – facility and property rental makes up 12.1 percent, with the remainder coming from program fees and interest income.

The district accounts for about $157 of the tax bill for the owner of a $200,000 home who takes the homestead exemption.

In past years, several County Board members have cast protest votes against the district budget over proposed pay increases for its staff or the status of the district’s police force.

Several board members have argued that the force should be trimmed, and cooperation with other police forces increased, or eliminated altogether as a cost-cutting measure. The force consists of 13 employees – seven patrol officers, four sergeants who also patrol, a chief and a secretary. The district budget document explicitly stated the need for having its own law enforcement.

“It cannot be emphasized enough that policing in a recreational setting is distinctly unique,” the document says. “McHenry County residents retreat to the outdoors to relax and let their guard down from the stresses of life. Police officers need to be highly present within district sites, not only as ambassadors but to ensure site users do not become victims.”

The County Board’s oversight over the district consists of approving its budget and appointing its board of trustees. The County Board can approve or reject the budget, but it cannot amend it.

The district’s budget year runs from April 1 to March 30. State law gives conservation districts three months into a fiscal year to approve a budget, in the event that a county board rejects it.




Lake in the Hills crash sends 3 people to hospital, fire official says

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 05:22:00 GMT

LAKE IN THE HILLS – A four-vehicle crash Tuesday afternoon in Lake in the Hills sent three people to an area hospital, a fire official said.

Algonquin-Lake in the Hills Fire Protection District Battalion Fire Chief John Knebl said emergency crews responded to a crash involving four SUVs that occurred about 12:54 p.m., just south of the intersection of Randall Road and Acorn Lane in Lake in the Hills.

Traffic was rerouted on the roads for about 20 minutes before the area was cleared.

Three people were sent to Centegra Hospital – Huntley with injuries that were not life-threatening, and three more were treated and released at the scene, Knebl said.

Three of the four vehicles involved were towed.

Lake in the Hills police also responded but were not immediately available for information.


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Coroner IDs body found in Crystal Lake retention pond as 29-year-old Carpentersville manFirefighters use sonar as they sweep a small retention pond in front of OfficeMax, 4429 Route 14. Crystal Lake Police are investigating a death after a body was found June 19.Eulalio Elizarraraz Soto, 29, of Carpentersville drowned in a Crystal Lake retention pond, according to a news release from the McHenry County Coroner's Office.

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 05:20:00 GMT

CRYSTAL LAKE – The McHenry County Coroner’s Office has identified the man who was found June 19 in a small retention pond outside OfficeMax, 4429 Route 14, as Eulalio Elizarraraz Soto, 29, of Carpentersville.

Crystal Lake Police Deputy Chief Derek Hyrkas said the death investigation is ongoing.

“Our detectives are still working really hard,” Hyrkas said. “We still have no reason to suspect foul play.”

Preliminary autopsy findings suggest the man died from drowning, McHenry County Coroner Anne Majewski said in a news release. Toxicology testing is pending.

Majewski said the identification process was lengthy because of the scientific means required to identify Soto.

“[The amount of time it takes to identify the deceased] depends on what means we’re able to use,” Majewski said. “There’s dental, X-ray, fingerprints, DNA.”

Soto, who friends and family called “Lalo,” was described as “the light of any room he walked into” in an obituary posted online. He was born in Mexico, according to the obituary.

A GoFundMe page created by Juanita Elizarraraz for the family can be found at www.gofundme.com/kems33-funeral-cost-and-other-expenses.

About 100 people have donated nearly $7,000 to the page in five days, surpassing the $5,000 goal to fund funeral costs and assistance with his 4-year-old son, Santiago, according to the page.

“Whether you knew him for 10 years or 10 minutes, you would walk away feeling as if you had known him forever,” a message on the page read.

Soto’s family declined to comment.

A celebration with family friends was held Friday, and a memorial Mass was held Saturday, according to the obituary.

Firefighters use sonar as they sweep a small retention pond in front of OfficeMax, 4429 Route 14. Crystal Lake Police are investigating a death after a body was found June 19.Eulalio Elizarraraz Soto, 29, of Carpentersville drowned in a Crystal Lake retention pond, according to a news release from the McHenry County Coroner's Office.


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Family of Crystal Lake man killed in February suspected DUI crash sues driver's estate, barsPhoto provided Emergency personnel work the scene of a crash Saturday, Feb. 11, 2017, on Walkup Road north of Hillside Road in Crystal Lake. Two Crystal Lake men were killed the crash. The driver, one of the deceased, was suspected of being under the influence of alcohol. Now a lawsuit has been filed against the driver and three establishments invovled in a pub crawl that the lawsuit said the driver attended before the crash

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 05:18:00 GMT

CRYSTAL LAKE – The family of a 68-year-old Crystal Lake man killed in a suspected drunken-driving crash is suing the estate of the driver and three bars the family alleges contributed to his intoxication. Lawrence T. Madigan’s wife, Karaline Madigan, and his three children filed a lawsuit in McHenry County Court against the estate of Tyler Stewart, as well as the businesses Peggy Kinnane’s in Arlington Heights, Durty Nellie’s in Palatine and Finn McCool’s in Crystal Lake, according to court records. The May 9 wrongful death lawsuit alleges that Stewart, 28, had attended a pub crawl with between 50 and 60 people to celebrate a friend’s birthday. Madigan and Stewart, also of Crystal Lake, died in a two-vehicle crash about 7:35 p.m. Feb. 11. Stewart crossed the median of Walkup Road in unincorporated Nunda Township and crashed head-on into Madigan, who was returning home from a real estate client’s house, according to police reports. Stewart’s blood-alcohol level was nearly twice the legal limit, according to the lawsuit. Madigan was pronounced dead at the scene, and Stewart died from his injuries a day later. The eight-count lawsuit seeks a minimum of $400,000, plus court costs. It seeks $150,000 from Stewart’s estate, $50,000 each from the owners of Peggy Kinnane’s and Durty Nellie’s, and $50,000 from each of the three entities listed as having an ownership or management interest in Finn McCool’s. The 50 to 60 people who attended the pub crawl, including Stewart, took a Metra train from the downtown Crystal Lake station to the first establishment, Peggy Kinnane’s, and traveled by train to the next two bars, the lawsuit said. Attorney Jennifer Ashley, who represents Madigan’s next of kin, said video surveillance shows Stewart entering Finn McCool’s about 6:58 p.m. and leaving about 7:21 p.m., about 15 minutes before the crash. She said that while the Madigan family is looking for financial compensation for the pain, suffering and death they’ve dealt with, they also are looking to send a message to try to prevent something like this from happening again. “The family and I just want people to think twice if they are going on a pub crawl and they know they are going to be going to several bars, or if they are organizing one, you have to think about how everybody is getting home,” Ashley said. “If someone is too intoxicated, the bars also need to intervene to avoid a tragedy.” Geneva lawyer Bill Porter, who is representing the Stewart family, declined to comment on the pending lawsuit. Chicago lawyer Robert Burke Jr., who is representing Finn McCool’s, could not be reached for comment Tuesday afternoon. Durty Nellie’s and Peggy Kinnane’s did not have lawyers as of Tuesday. Stewart’s wife, Christina, who was named the administrator of his estate, declined to comment Tuesday. Photo provided Emergency personnel work the scene of a crash Saturday, Feb. 11, 2017, on Walkup Road north of Hillside Road in Crystal Lake. Two Crystal Lake men were killed the crash. The driver, one of the deceased, was suspected of being under the influence of alcohol. Now a lawsuit has been filed against the driver and three establishments invovled in a pub crawl that the lawsuit said the driver attended before the crash[...]


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McHenry indoor theater ‘on track’ for October openingH. Rick Bamman – hbamman@shawmedia.com The McHenry indoor theater auditorium has been cleard of seats during renovations in the building that has been closed since 2014.H. Rick Bamman – hbamman@shawmedia.com Tonya Contractors employee Jamie Miller uses a drill as he secures a reinstalled I beam in the front of the McHenry theater on Green Street. The building is being renovated after the McHenry City Council unanimously approved plans to redevelop the site in February. Two screening rooms are planned and the entrance will be moved to the north end of the building. The theaters will likely be able to seat 320 people, while the restaurant will seat about 100 people. The theater closed in 2014.

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 05:17:00 GMT

McHENRY – The McHenry Downtown Indoor Theater will have a brand-new look when it opens this fall. Don Tonyan, a member of Boone Creek Crossing LLC, which owns the building, said the construction phase of the theater is moving in the right direction, and currently the theater is on track to open in October with new screens, projectors and high-end seating. “We’re just about done with demolition, and we’re turning the corner,” Tonyan said. “It’s going to look completely different than before.” McHenry’s indoor theater has been closed since 2014, but plans for its development were unanimously approved in February by the McHenry City Council. Tonyan said the 1208 N. Green St. theater is getting a new roof and a precast deck for rooftop dining, which is being installed Wednesday. After working on the exterior, Tonyan said work will be focused on improving the building’s interior. “We’ve basically gutted the whole building down, and we’ve got interior walls and flooring to work on still,” Tonyan said. The theater will consist of two screening rooms that each will seat 140 people. The new theater will have first-run movies, allow for 3D viewing in one room and have reclined seating, said McHenry Mayor Wayne Jett, who also is an investor in the theater. “Half of each theater will be recliners, and half of each theater will have reclining rockers,” Jett said. “It’ll be very comfortable.” The theater will be managed by Scott Dehn, owner of the McHenry Outdoor Theater. Concessions will have classic movie theater options, such as popcorn, cotton candy and pizza. Jett said customers will be able to have self-served refills for pop and butter. Along with the theater, Woodstock restaurant D.C. Cobb’s – which offers customers 20 different burgers and various craft beers – is planning to open its second location in the building this fall. Restaurant owner Dan Hart said the McHenry location will have a separate entrance from the theater. “I think the downtown district in McHenry is really starting to take off,” Hart said. “There’s other great restaurants there already, and we’re looking to add to that atmosphere. The theater in downtown Woodstock has done great for all the surrounding businesses, and this should be the same.” Although the restaurant should open around the same time as the theater, D.C. Cobb’s outdoor patio isn’t expected to open until 2018. “We have two patio spaces, as we’re building a rooftop patio as well as a ground-floor patio,” Hart said. “We’ll be able to offer some great seating options for people in the spring, summer and fall.” Movie tickets can be purchased online or at the door. People will pick the seats they want to sit in when buying their tickets and they can order their food at the same time, Jett said. Jett said tickets at this time are expected to be $9 for adults, $8 for children and seniors/military members and $7 for show times before 5:30 p.m. “This is going to be an awesome venue, and it’s going to be done right,” Jett said. “We’re going to keep the prices reasonable, and we’re not going to be overpriced.” T[...]


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This is what $3.8 million can get you in Barrington Hills — The exercise room is epicBarrington Hills estate listed for sale on Zillow: 420 Dana Lane. 5 bedrooms, 7 bathrooms, 13,000 square feet. Listed price: $3,795,000. Estimated mortgage: $14,412 per month. This estate has an exercise room that would rival most gyms. An in-ground pool and hot tub highlight part of the 5.5 private acres, which includes a pond. All five bedrooms are suites, while the master bedroom features a spa bath. The home also features a breathtaking study and seven fireplaces. Listing agent: Kim Alden, Baird and Warner - Barrington: 847-381-1855.Barrington Hills estate listed for sale on Zillow: 420 Dana Lane. 5 bedrooms, 7 bathrooms, 13,000 square feet. Listed price: $3,795,000. Estimated mortgage: $14,412 per month. This estate has an exercise room that would rival most gyms. An in-ground pool and hot tub highlight part of the 5.5 private acres, which includes a pond. All five bedrooms are suites, while the master bedroom features a spa bath. The home also features a breathtaking study and seven fireplaces. Listing agent: Kim Alden, Baird and Warner - Barrington: 847-381-1855.Barrington Hills estate listed for sale on Zillow: 420 Dana Lane. 5 bedrooms, 7 bathrooms, 13,000 square feet. Listed price: $3,795,000. Estimated mortgage: $14,412 per month. This estate has an exercise room that would rival most gyms. An in-ground pool and hot tub highlight part of the 5.5 private acres, which includes a pond. All five bedrooms are suites, while the master bedroom features a spa bath. The home also features a breathtaking study and seven fireplaces. Listing agent: Kim Alden, Baird and Warner - Barrington: 847-381-1855.Entranceway from aboveEntrancewayEntrancewayLiving roomFormal dining roomKitchen and dining areaOne of seven fireplacesKitchenWalk-in butler's pantryFamily roomFamily roomStudyStudyStudyExercise roomExercise roomExercise roomOne of seven bathroomsLarge finished basementLarge finished basementThe finished basement includes a full kitchenLarge finished basementLaundry roomLaundry roomLaundry roomMaster bedroomMaster bedroomMaster bathroomMaster bathroomOne of the bedroom suitesOne of the bedroom suitesPatio area next to the in-ground poolBarrington Hills estate listed for sale on Zillow: 420 Dana Lane. 5 bedrooms, 7 bathrooms, 13,000 square feet. Listed price: $3,795,000. Estimated mortgage: $14,412 per month. Listing agent: Kim Alden, Baird and Warner - Barrington: 847-381-1855.Barrington Hills estate listed for sale on Zillow: 420 Dana Lane. 5 bedrooms, 7 bathrooms, 13,000 square feet. Listed price: $3,795,000. Estimated mortgage: $14,412 per month. Listing agent: Kim Alden, Baird and Warner - Barrington: 847-381-1855.Barrington Hills estate listed for sale on Zillow: 420 Dana Lane. 5 bedrooms, 7 bathrooms, 13,000 square feet. Listed price: $3,795,000. Estimated mortgage: $14,412 per month. Listing agent: Kim Alden, Baird and Warner - Barrington: 847-381-1855.Barrington Hills estate listed for sale on Zillow: 420 Dana Lane. 5 bedrooms, 7 bathrooms, 13,000 square feet. Listed price: $3,795,000. Estimated mortgage: $14,412 per month. Listing agent: Kim Alden, Baird and Warner - Barrington: 847-381-1855.Barrington Hills estate listed for sale on Zillow: 420 Dana Lane. 5 bedrooms, 7 bathrooms, 13,000 square feet. Listed price: $3,795,000. Estimated mortgage: $14,412 per month. Listing agent: Kim Alden, Baird and Warner - Barrington: 847-381-1855.

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 19:40:00 GMT

Take a look inside this $3.8 million Barrington Hills estate listed on Zillow.

Barrington Hills estate listed for sale on Zillow: 420 Dana Lane. 5 bedrooms, 7 bathrooms, 13,000 square feet. Listed price: $3,795,000. Estimated mortgage: $14,412 per month. This estate has an exercise room that would rival most gyms. An in-ground pool and hot tub highlight part of the 5.5 private acres, which includes a pond. All five bedrooms are suites, while the master bedroom features a spa bath. The home also features a breathtaking study and seven fireplaces. Listing agent: Kim Alden, Baird and Warner - Barrington: 847-381-1855.Barrington Hills estate listed for sale on Zillow: 420 Dana Lane. 5 bedrooms, 7 bathrooms, 13,000 square feet. Listed price: $3,795,000. Estimated mortgage: $14,412 per month. This estate has an exercise room that would rival most gyms. An in-ground pool and hot tub highlight part of the 5.5 private acres, which includes a pond. All five bedrooms are suites, while the master bedroom features a spa bath. The home also features a breathtaking study and seven fireplaces. Listing agent: Kim Alden, Baird and Warner - Barrington: 847-381-1855.Barrington Hills estate listed for sale on Zillow: 420 Dana Lane. 5 bedrooms, 7 bathrooms, 13,000 square feet. Listed price: $3,795,000. Estimated mortgage: $14,412 per month. This estate has an exercise room that would rival most gyms. An in-ground pool and hot tub highlight part of the 5.5 private acres, which includes a pond. All five bedrooms are suites, while the master bedroom features a spa bath. The home also features a breathtaking study and seven fireplaces. Listing agent: Kim Alden, Baird and Warner - Barrington: 847-381-1855.Entranceway from aboveEntrancewayEntrancewayLiving roomFormal dining roomKitchen and dining areaOne of seven fireplacesKitchenWalk-in butler's pantryFamily roomFamily roomStudyStudyStudyExercise roomExercise roomExercise roomOne of seven bathroomsLarge finished basementLarge finished basementThe finished basement includes a full kitchenLarge finished basementLaundry roomLaundry roomLaundry roomMaster bedroomMaster bedroomMaster bathroomMaster bathroomOne of the bedroom suitesOne of the bedroom suitesPatio area next to the in-ground poolBarrington Hills estate listed for sale on Zillow: 420 Dana Lane. 5 bedrooms, 7 bathrooms, 13,000 square feet. Listed price: $3,795,000. Estimated mortgage: $14,412 per month. Listing agent: Kim Alden, Baird and Warner - Barrington: 847-381-1855.Barrington Hills estate listed for sale on Zillow: 420 Dana Lane. 5 bedrooms, 7 bathrooms, 13,000 square feet. Listed price: $3,795,000. Estimated mortgage: $14,412 per month. Listing agent: Kim Alden, Baird and Warner - Barrington: 847-381-1855.Barrington Hills estate listed for sale on Zillow: 420 Dana Lane. 5 bedrooms, 7 bathrooms, 13,000 square feet. Listed price: $3,795,000. Estimated mortgage: $14,412 per month. Listing agent: Kim Alden, Baird and Warner - Barrington: 847-381-1855.Barrington Hills estate listed for sale on Zillow: 420 Dana Lane. 5 bedrooms, 7 bathrooms, 13,000 square feet. Listed price: $3,795,000. Estimated mortgage: $14,412 per month. Listing agent: Kim Alden, Baird and Warner - Barrington: 847-381-1855.Barrington Hills estate listed for sale on Zillow: 420 Dana Lane. 5 bedrooms, 7 bathrooms, 13,000 square feet. Listed price: $3,795,000. Estimated mortgage: $14,412 per month. Listing agent: Kim Alden, Baird and Warner - Barrington: 847-381-1855.


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Lake in the Hills intersection closed Tuesday for water main replacement

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 15:21:00 GMT

LAKE IN THE HILLS — The intersection of Crystal Lake Road and Woody Way in Lake in the Hills will be closed for most of the day Tuesday.

Lake in the Hills Water Superintendent Ryan McDillon said the area needs to be completely closed off for machinery to access the water main. Lake in the Hills Public Works crews will be working to connect a new water main to the existing one.

McDillon predicted the intersection would likely be closed four to five hours. A news release from the Public Works Department asked motorists to follow the posted detour signs.


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Supreme Court rules for Missouri church in playground caseFILE - In this Jan. 26, 2016 file photo, the empty playground at Trinity Lutheran Church in Columbia, Mo. The Supreme Court has ruled that churches have the same right as other charitable groups to seek state money for new playground surfaces and other non-religious needs. The justices on Monday, June 26, 2017, ruled 7-2 in favor of Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia, Missouri. The church sought a grant to put a soft surface on its preschool playground, but was denied any money even though its application was ranked fifth out of 44 submissions (Annaliese Nurnberg/Missourian via AP, File)

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 11:39:00 GMT

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court ruled Monday that churches have the same right as other charitable groups to seek state money for new playground surfaces and other nonreligious needs. But the justices stopped short of saying whether the ruling applies to school voucher programs that use public funds to pay for private, religious schooling. By a 7-2 vote, the justices sided with Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia, Missouri, which had sought a state grant to put a soft surface on its preschool playground. Chief Justice John Roberts said for the court that the state violated the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment by denying a public benefit to an otherwise eligible recipient solely on account of its religious status. He called it "odious to our Constitution" to exclude the church from the grant program, even though the consequences are only "a few extra scraped knees." The case arose from an application the church submitted in 2012 to take part in Missouri's scrap-tire grant program, which reimburses the cost of installing a rubberized playground surface made from recycled tires. The money comes from a fee paid by anyone who buys a new tire. The church's application to resurface the playground for its preschool and daycare ranked fifth out of 44 applicants. But the state's Department of Natural Resources rejected the application, pointing to the part of the state constitution that says "no money shall ever be taken from the public treasury, directly or indirectly, in aid of any church, sect or denomination of religion." A recycled scrap tire is not religious, the church said in its Supreme Court brief. "It is wholly secular," the church said. Justice Sonya Sotomayor took the rare step of reading her dissent from the bench, saying the ruling weakens America's longstanding commitment to separation of church and state. "This case is about nothing less than the relationship between religious institutions and the civil government — that is, between church and state," she wrote, joined by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. "The Court today profoundly changes that relationship by holding, for the first time, that the Constitution requires the government to provide public funds directly to a church." More than 30 other states have constitutional provisions similar to Missouri's, though some of those already permit churches to take part in grant programs for nonreligious purposes. In the days before the argument in April, Missouri's Republican Gov. Eric Greitens changed the state's policy and said churches would be allowed to apply for grants. Some religious groups cheered the decision, which was closely watched for the effect it may have on school voucher programs. But in a carefully worded footnote, Roberts said the ruling was limited and did not address "religious uses of funding or other forms of discrimination." Justices Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch wrote separately to say they would not have limited the ruling to playground resurfacing or related issues that involve children's safety or health. "The general principles here do not permit discrimination against religious exercise — whether on the playground or anywhere else," Gorsuch said. Proponents of school vouch[...]


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White House warns Syria's Assad against chemical attackWhite House press secretary Sean Spicer speaks during a the daily briefing at the White House in Washington, Monday, June 26, 2017. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 11:29:00 GMT

WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House issued a stern warning to Syrian President Bashar Assad on Monday night as it claimed "potential" evidence that Syria was preparing for another chemical weapons attack. In an ominous statement issued with no supporting evidence or further explanation, Press Secretary Sean Spicer said the U.S. had "identified potential preparations for another chemical weapons attack by the Assad regime that would likely result in the mass murder of civilians, including innocent children." He said the activities were similar to preparations taken before an April 2017 attack that killed dozens of men, women and children, and warned that if "Mr. Assad conducts another mass murder attack using chemical weapons, he and his military will pay a heavy price." The White House offered no details on what prompted the warning and spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said she had no additional information Monday night. Several State Department officials typically involved in coordinating such announcements said they were caught completely off guard by the warning, which didn't appear to be discussed in advance with other national security agencies. Typically, the State Department, the Pentagon and U.S. intelligence agencies would all be consulted before the White House issued a declaration sure to ricochet across foreign capitals. The officials weren't authorized to discuss national security planning publicly and requested anonymity. A non-governmental source with close ties to the White House said the administration had received intelligence that the Syrians were mixing precursor chemicals for a possible sarin gas attack in either the east of south of the country, where government troops and their proxies have faced recent setbacks. Assad had denied responsibility for the April 4 attack on the town of Khan Sheikhoun in the rebel-held Idlib province that killed dozens of people, including children. Victims show signs of suffocation, convulsions, foaming at the mouth and pupil constriction. Days later, President Donald Trump launched a retaliatory cruise missile strike on a Syrian government-controlled air base where U.S. officials said the Syrian military had launched the chemical attack. It was the first direct American assault on the Syrian government and Trump's most dramatic military order since becoming president months before. Trump said at the time that the Khan Sheikhoun attack crossed "many, many lines," and called on "all civilized nations" to join the U.S. in seeking an end to the carnage in Syria. Syria maintained it hadn't used chemical weapons and blamed opposition fighters for stockpiling the chemicals. Russia's Defense Ministry said the toxic agents were released when a Syrian airstrike hit a rebel chemical weapons arsenal and munitions factory. Russia is a close ally of Assad. The U.S. attack on a Syrian air base came after years of heated debate and deliberation in Washington over intervention in the bloody civil war. Chemical weapons have killed hundreds of people since the start of the conflict. Earlier Monday, Trump had dinner with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, National Security Adviser H.R.[...]


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World Food Prize goes to African Development Bank presidentThis undated photo provided by The World Food Prize Foundation shows Akinwumi Adesina, the president of the African Development Bank. Akinwumi the son of a Nigerian farm laborer who rose out of poverty to earn graduate degrees in agricultural economics and spent his career improving the availability of seed, fertilizer and financing for African farmers is the winner of this year's World Food Prize. Adesina, was named this year's recipient Monday, June 26, 2017 in a ceremony at the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Washington.(The World Food Prize Foundation via AP)

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 05:08:00 GMT

DES MOINES, Iowa – The son of a Nigerian farm laborer who rose out of poverty to earn graduate degrees in agricultural economics and spent his career improving the availability of seed, fertilizer and financing for African farmers is the winner of this year’s World Food Prize announced Monday. Akinwumi Adesina, president of African Development Bank, said the future of global food security relies on making farming in Africa a profitable business and developing local food processing that adds value to agricultural products to help move farmers out of poverty. “I believe that what Africa does with agriculture and how it does it is not only important for Africa but it’s important for how we’re going to feed the world by 2050 because 65 percent of all the uncultivated arable land left in the world is in Africa,” he said. “To help Africa get it right in agriculture is also going to be a key part of securing food for the world.” World Food Prize President Kenneth Quinn, a former U.S. ambassador to Cambodia, said those goals are one reason the organization’s board chose Adesina this year for the $250,000 prize. An official announcement for the World Food Prize came in a ceremony Monday at the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Washington, with USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue hosting the event. Adesina, 57, works in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, where the African Development Bank is based. He will receive the prize in a ceremony Oct. 19 at the Iowa Capitol. “Dr. Adesina knows that our work is not done. The challenge of feeding 9 billion people in just a short time will continue as we address the hunger issue,” Perdue said. “At USDA we keep that in mind as the world population grows, and we want to be a huge contributor in providing the food needed to resolve and to supply the global demand for that vital noble resource.” The World Food Prize was created by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Norman Borlaug in 1986 to recognize scientists and others who have improved the quality and availability of food. The foundation that awards the prize is based in Des Moines, Iowa. The award recognizes several of Adesina’s accomplishments, including: • Negotiating a partnership between commercial banks and development organizations to provide loans to tens of thousands of farmers and agribusinesses in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Ghana and Mozambique. • Creating programs to make Nigeria self-sufficient in rice production and to help cassava become a major cash crop while serving as Nigeria’s minister of agriculture from 2011 to 2015. • Helping to end more than 40 years of corruption in the fertilizer and seed sectors in Nigeria by launching an electronic wallet system that directly provides farmers with vouchers redeemable for inputs using mobile phones. The resulting increased farm yields have led to the improvement of food security for 40 million people in rural farm households. Adesina said it’s vitally important to show young people in rural regions of Africa that farming can be profitable and can improve their lives as a way to stem terrorist recruitment efforts. He said high unemployment among young people, high or extreme poverty, and climate and environmental degradati[...]


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Mystery of missing Chinese scholar shakes up Illinois schoolThis undated photo provided by the University of Illinois Police Department shows Yingying Zhang. Police said the FBI is investigating the disappearance of Zhang, a Chinese woman from a central Illinois university town, as a kidnapping. Zhang was about a month into a yearlong appointment at the University of Illinois' Urbana-Champaign when she disappeared June 9, 2017. (Courtesy of the University of Illinois Police Department via AP)

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 05:07:00 GMT

CHICAGO – Yingying Zhang, the daughter of a working-class factory driver from China, took the same career path as many other young Chinese academics before her: She traveled to a university in the U.S. with dreams of one day landing a professorship and being able to help her parents financially. But just weeks after arriving at the University of Illinois, the 26-year-old visiting scholar in agriculture sciences stepped off a bus on a sunny afternoon and got into a black hatchback. She hasn’t been seen since. Her disappearance June 9 on her way to sign an apartment lease is being treated as a kidnapping. The case has shaken staff and students at Illinois’ flagship public school in Urbana-Champaign. And it’s led some parents of the more than 300,000 Chinese students currently studying at American universities to question whether it’s safe to send to their children to the U.S. Zhang’s father, Ronggao Zhang, traveled to the university from the family’s home in Nanping, China, to await word on his daughter. He had a message for whoever might have abducted her. “We will forgive you,” he said in a telephone interview. “But please, let Yingying go.” The 53-year-old, speaking through a translator, had a message for his daughter, too: “Yingying, please be strong.” Local police and the FBI have said Zhang’s case is a top priority, although they have withheld details of their investigation, even from the father, said Yingying Zhang’s boyfriend, who sat in on the weekend interview with the father from the 44,000-student campus about 140 miles south of Chicago. “So you can imagine the anxiety,” Xiaolin Hou said. “It’s almost torture ... not knowing anything.” Chinese media have covered Zhang’s disappearance, with her friends and acquaintances drawing attention to her case on Chinese social media sites such as WeChat. “There’s so little we can do at home, but we’d like the local police in the United States to stay on top of the case and not to let it slide,” said Zhao Kaiyun, a roommate of Zhang’s at Peking University Shenzhen Graduate School. Zhang graduated last year with a master’s degree in environmental engineering. The University of Illinois has the largest Chinese student population of any U.S. college, with 5,600 students enrolled, according to U.S. government data. By chance, U of I representatives recently held a previously scheduled orientation session in China for students headed to the school and their parents. Several attendees asked about Zhang’s disappearance, said Robin Kaler, the associate chancellor for public affairs. “Parents were very concerned,” she said. “We obviously tell them that it is a very safe community in general, but that there are instances when horrible things can happen. And this is one instance.” Urbana-Champaign, with a population around 250,000, typically records no more than a few homicides each year. The university’s reputation as a leader in agriculture studies attracted Zhang to the school. She’s been doing research on crop photosynthesis, Kaler said. The expectation[...]


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Trump travel ban partly reinstated; fall court arguments setAP file photo Protesters wave signs and chant during a demonstration against President Donald Trump's revised travel ban May 15 outside a federal courthouse in Seattle. The Supreme Court is letting the Trump administration enforce its 90-day ban on travelers from six mostly Muslim countries, overturning lower court orders that blocked it. The action Monday is a victory for President Donald Trump in the biggest legal controversy of his young presidency.

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 05:07:00 GMT

WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court is allowing President Donald Trump to forge ahead with a limited version of his ban on travel from six mostly Muslim countries to the U.S. Trump hailed the decision as a “victory for national security,” but it’s likely to set off a new round of court disputes over anti-terror efforts and religious discrimination. The justices will hear full arguments in October in the case that has stirred heated emotions across the nation and pointed rebukes from lower courts saying the administration is targeting Muslims. Until then, the court said Monday, Trump’s ban on visitors from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen can be enforced if those visitors lack a “credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.” The ruling sets up a potential clash between the government and opponents of the ban over the strength of visitors’ ties to the U.S. A senior official said plans already had been written to enforce the ban aggressively. But immigrant groups said relatively few people try to enter the U.S. without well-established ties. Those groups said they will be sending lawyers and monitors back to American airports, where the initial, immediate implementation of the ban in January caused chaos and confusion. Trump said last week that the ban would take effect 72 hours after being cleared by courts. That would be Thursday morning. The president has denied that the ban targets Muslims but has said it is needed “to protect the nation from terrorist activities” committed by citizens of the six countries. All six have been designated as presenting heightened concerns about terrorism and travel to the U.S. The 90-day ban is necessary to allow an internal review of screening procedures for visa applicants from the countries, the administration said. That review should be complete before Oct. 2, the first day the justices could hear arguments in their new term. The ban will have run its course by then, raising a question of whether the justices will even issue a decision in the case or dismiss it because it has been overtaken by events. The court asked both sides to address the issue of timing, along with questions about whether the ban is aimed at Muslims, the impact of Trump’s provocative campaign statements and federal courts’ authority to restrain the president in the area of immigration. A 120-day ban on refugees also is being allowed to take effect on a similar, limited basis. Three of the court’s conservative justices said they would have let the administration apply the bans without the limits imposed by their colleagues. Justice Clarence Thomas, joined by Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch, said the government has shown it is likely to win the legal case in the end. Thomas said the government’s interest in preserving national security outweighs any hardship to people denied entry into the country. Trump hailed the court’s order as a “clear victory for our national security,” especially after lower court rulings that blocked the travel ban in i[...]


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U.S. to say China among worst on human traffickingFILE - In this June 21, 2017 file photo, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson speaks at the State Department in Washington. The Trump administration is poised to declare China among the world’s worst offenders on human trafficking, U.S. officials said Monday, June 26, 2017, putting the world’s most populous country in the same category as North Korea, Zimbabwe and Syria, China’s downgrade is to be announced Tuesday, June 27, 2017, at the State Department when Tillerson unveils the annual Trafficking in Persons Report to Congress. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen, File)

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 05:07:00 GMT

WASHINGTON – The Trump administration is poised to declare China among the world’s worst offenders on human trafficking, U.S. officials said Monday, putting the world’s most populous country in the same category as North Korea, Zimbabwe and Syria. China’s downgrade is to be announced Tuesday at the State Department when Secretary of State Rex Tillerson unveils the annual Trafficking in Persons Report to Congress, said the officials, who weren’t authorized to comment publicly ahead of the announcement and demanded anonymity. Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter and senior adviser, planned to attend the ceremony. The determination marks the first major, public rebuke of China’s human rights record by the Trump administration, which has generally avoided direct, public criticism of Beijing while seeking its cooperation in combating North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats. The report is likely to draw strong protest from China’s communist government. China will be listed under “Tier 3,” the ranking system’s lowest category, which applies to countries failing to meet minimum standards to prevent human trafficking or making significant improvement efforts. Other countries that have recently been on that list include Sudan, Iran and Haiti. In last year’s annual report, the U.S. placed China on its “watch list” of countries that aren’t meeting minimum standards and could be downgraded to the lowest classification. The U.S. described China as devoting “sufficient resources” to a written plan for addressing trafficking. But it said that the Asian power hadn’t increased its anti-trafficking efforts from the previous year. It wasn’t immediately clear what changes are leading the Trump administration to downgrade China to the lowest tier. The State Department declined to confirm the designation or to comment ahead of the report’s release Tuesday, saying it “does not discuss details of internal deliberations.” In the 2016 report, the U.S. called China a “source, destination and transit country” for forced labor and sex trafficking. That report described internal migrants in China as particularly vulnerable, with some forced to work with little government oversight in factories and coal mines. It said men, women and children from other Asian countries and from Africa also are exploited. The report also raised concerns about forced begging in China that particularly affects children. It said that girls and women from rural areas are at higher risk of being recruited for sex trafficking in cities. Countries placed in Tier 3 can be penalized with sanctions, including the withholding of non-humanitarian aid and assistance that could affect agreements with the International Monetary Fund and World Bank. Officials from countries designated in that tier can be barred from participating in U.S. government educational and cultural exchange programs. However, the president retains the authority to waive the sanctions in U.S. national interest or if the penalties could adversely affect vulnerable populations. In practice, countries given the worst designation have often been granted waivers under previous U.S. a[...]


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Philando Castile's family reaches $3M settlement in deathFILE - In this Friday June 16, 2017, file photo, Valerie Castile, mother of Philando Castile, a black motorist who was killed by Officer Jeronimo Yanez, speaks about her reaction to a not guilty verdict for Yanez at the Ramsey County Courthouse in St. Paul, Minn. Valerie Castile reached a nearly $3 million settlement in Philando Castile's death, announced Monday, June 26, by attorneys for Valerie Castile and the city of St. Anthony. (Renee Jones Schneider/Star Tribune via AP, File)

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 05:07:00 GMT

MINNEAPOLIS – The mother of Philando Castile, a black motorist killed by a Minnesota police officer last July, has reached a nearly $3 million settlement with the city that employed the officer, avoiding a federal wrongful death lawsuit that attorneys said could have taken years to resolve. The settlement to be paid to Valerie Castile, who is the family’s trustee, was announced Monday and comes less than two weeks after officer Jeronimo Yanez was acquitted of manslaughter and other charges connected to her son’s death. Castile, a 32-year-old elementary school cafeteria worker, was shot five times by Yanez during a traffic stop after Castile informed the officer he was armed. Castile had a permit for his gun. The shooting gained widespread attention after Castile’s girlfriend, who was in the car with her then-4-year-old daughter, livestreamed its gruesome aftermath on Facebook. The acquittal of Yanez, who is Latino, prompted days of protests, including one in St. Paul that shut down Interstate 94 for hours and ended with 18 arrests. The $2.995 million settlement for Valerie Castile will be paid by the League of Minnesota Cities Insurance Trust, which holds the insurance policy for the city of St. Anthony. The plan for distribution of funds requires approval by a state court, which could take several weeks. Robert Bennett, who along with attorney Glenda Hatchett is representing Valerie Castile, said a decision was made to move expeditiously rather than have the case drawn out in federal court, a process that would “exacerbate and reopen terrible wounds.” The settlement also will allow the family, the city and community to work toward healing, Bennett said. “No amount of money could ever replace Philando,” a joint statement from the attorneys and city of St. Anthony said. “With resolution of the claims the family will continue to deal with their loss through the important work of the Philando Castile Relief Foundation.” Bennett said the foundation’s mission is to provide financial support, grief counseling, scholarships and other help to individuals and families affected by gun violence and police violence. Bennett said Castile’s girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, is not part of the settlement. Reynolds has also hired an attorney, but it’s not clear whether she still is planning a lawsuit or has any standing for a federal claim. Reynolds’ attorney did not return messages Monday. Darin Richardson, claims manager with the League of Minnesota Cities, said St. Anthony’s insurance coverage is $3 million per occurrence. If Reynolds were to file and win a claim, the city’s remaining $5,000 in coverage would be paid to her, and St. Anthony would have to cover any additional money awarded. The settlement happened faster than others stemming from the killings of black men by police officers elsewhere. Last week, a $1.5 million settlement was reached in the case of Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old who was killed by a white officer in Ferguson, Missouri. That settlement came nearly three years after the death of Brown. [...]FILE - In this Friday June 16, 2017, file ph[...]


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McHenry crash sends 1 person to hospitalH. Rick Bamman – hbamman@shawmedia.com McHenry Township Fire Protection District paramedics tend to a person injured in a two-vehicle crash Monday at the intersection of North Ringwood and Flanders roads.

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 05:04:00 GMT

McHENRY – A two-vehicle crash Monday sent one person to the hospital and caused moderate to severe damage to both pickup trucks involved, a fire official said.

The McHenry Township Fire Protection District was dispatched at 11:03 a.m. to a crash at the intersection of Ringwood and Martin/Flanders roads in McHenry.

McHenry Battalion Chief Dave Harwood said the driver of the pickup was a 49-year-old man who was taken to Centegra Hospital – McHenry with injuries that were not life-threatening. Two children in the same pickup were not transported.

There were two people in the second pickup, Harwood said. One girl was treated on scene for minor injuries.

Harwood said the northbound lanes of Ringwood Road were closed for about 20 minutes, and southbound lanes were diverted down Martin Road.

Both the McHenry Police Department and McHenry Township Fire Protection District responded to the scene.

The cause of the crash wasn’t immediately known, and police were not immediately available to provide more information.

H. Rick Bamman – hbamman@shawmedia.com McHenry Township Fire Protection District paramedics tend to a person injured in a two-vehicle crash Monday at the intersection of North Ringwood and Flanders roads.


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Cary-Grove AMVETS seeking volunteers for 30th annual picnic for veteransSarah Nader file photo – snader@shawmedia.com Veteran Carlos Saunders of Chicago walks past a row of American flags while attending the 29th annual picnic for hospitalized veterans hosted by the Cary-Grove AmVets Pearl Harbor Memorial Post 245 on June 29, 2016, at Lions Park in Fox River Grove. The annual event features food, games and a boat ride for the veterans.

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 05:03:00 GMT

FOX RIVER GROVE – Cary-Grove AMVETS Pearl Harbor Memorial Post 245 is hosting its 30th annual picnic Wednesday with hundreds of hospitalized veterans expected to be in attendance.

The event will be held at Lions Park, 747 S. River Road, in Fox River Grove. Event set-up will begin at 9 a.m., and veterans are expected to arrive at 11 a.m. In case of rain, the picnic will be held at the Algonquin Township Office at 3702 U.S. Route 14, Crystal Lake.

The picnic will offer veterans food, beverages, music and various activities, such as fishing, bags, bingo and pontoon boat rides on the Fox River.

The picnic first took place 30 years ago at The Hollows in Cary, where veterans would fish and eat lunch away from the hospital.

“It’s grown from 30 or 40 veterans to anywhere from 400 to 600 veterans,” AMVETS Cmdr. Gary Foster said.

Volunteers are expected to come from Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center in North Chicago, the Clement J. Zablocki VA Medical Center in Milwaukee, Edward Hines Jr. VA Hospital in Hines and the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center in Chicago.

Foster said they’re accepting money donations and are still looking for more volunteers.

Donations can be sent to AMVETS Post 245, P.O. Box 741, Cary, IL 60013.

Those interested in volunteering can contact Bob Janu at 847-639-4587.

For information, call Foster at 847-899-3936.

Sarah Nader file photo – snader@shawmedia.com Veteran Carlos Saunders of Chicago walks past a row of American flags while attending the 29th annual picnic for hospitalized veterans hosted by the Cary-Grove AmVets Pearl Harbor Memorial Post 245 on June 29, 2016, at Lions Park in Fox River Grove. The annual event features food, games and a boat ride for the veterans.


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McHenry County Clerk Mary McClellan announces run for judge, will not seek second termBy H. Rick Bamman – hbamman@shawmedia.com McHenry County Clerk Mary McClellan

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 05:03:00 GMT

WOODSTOCK – McHenry County Clerk Mary McClellan will not seek a second term and instead will run to fill the seat of former Judge Maureen McIntyre. McClellan, of Holiday Hills, announced Monday afternoon in a Facebook post that she will run in the March 2018 primary to succeed McIntyre, who retired at the end of last year from the 22nd Judicial Circuit. “It has always been my dream as a young girl to someday be a judge. It’s nice to know we can dream, but to actually achieve them as well is special,” McClellan, a lawyer, said in her announcement. Voters elected McClellan, a Republican, in 2014 to succeed Republican Kathie Schultz, who retired after six terms in office. McClellan had served two years on the McHenry County Board before deciding on the county clerk run. McClellan has been credited for bringing the office forward when it comes to computer technology and automation, as well as helping advance the new County Board electronic voting system that new Democratic County Board Chairman Jack Franks wanted. She said in her news release that she had an eight-year vision for the office that she was able to accomplish in one term. Besides the technology front, McClellan also undertook a scrubbing of the county’s voter rolls, and created an electronic system by which county officials could submit their statements of economic interest. The county clerk’s office supervises elections, records birth, death and marriage certificates, and maintains a number of other county records. “I have brought the office into the 21st century with fresh ideas and all within budget,” McClellan said. However, McClellan faced a rocky election halfway into her term – communications and technical issues plagued the 2016 primary to such an extent that an angry state lawmaker asked the Illinois State Board of Elections to look into it. Her office addressed the findings in the state board report, and the November 2016 election went much more smoothly. Franks, of Marengo, lauded McClellan’s accomplishments and wished her luck. She worked with Franks and new Republican Recorder Joe Tirio on a referendum to abolish the recorder’s office. Tirio successfully ran last year on a platform to consolidate the clerk’s and recorder’s offices. “She’s been a terrific public servant and she’s done a tremendous job with her office, and if it wasn’t for her, we wouldn’t have electronic voting,” Franks said. “She’s had some challenges I think she’s overcome with automating her office, and I think she’d be a great judge.” The Illinois Supreme Court promoted former Associate Judge Robert Wilbrandt to fill the remainder of McIntryre’s term. McClellan’s decision to run for judge staves off a potential primary battle between McClellan and Tirio, who has been eyeing a run for the county clerk’s office. If voters approve the referendum that will go before voters in March, the recorder’s office will cease to exist in December 2020, making Tirio’s fi[...]


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1 person injured in Woodstock-area crash after minivan strikes utility polePhoto provided by Woodstock Fire/Rescue District - Alex Vucha A minivan versus pole crash Monday morning closed a portion of Route 47 and caused a handful of power outages in the area. Woodstock Fire/Rescue District Capt. Brendan Parker said crews responded about 8:21 a.m. for a report of a single-vehicle crash. When they arrived a utility pole was down and power lines were on top of a minivan, Parker said.H. Rick Bamman - hbamman@shawmedia.com A minivan versus pole crash Monday morning closed a portion of Route 47 and caused a handful of power outages in the area. Woodstock Fire/Rescue District Capt. Brendan Parker said crews responded about 8:21 a.m. for a report of a single-vehicle crash. When they arrived a utility pole was down and power lines were on top of a minivan, Parker said.Photo provided by Woodstock Fire/Rescue District - Alex Vucha Flight for Life crew members and a Woodstock Fire/Rescue District paramedic prepare the driver of a minivan after a crash with a utility pole Monday morning. The crash closed a portion of Route 47 and caused a handful of power outages in the area. Woodstock Fire/Rescue District Capt. Brendan Parker said crews responded about 8:21 a.m. for a report of a single-vehicle crash.

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 04:59:00 GMT

WOODSTOCK – A minivan versus pole crash Monday morning closed a portion of Route 47 and caused a handful of power outages in the area.

Woodstock Fire/Rescue District Capt. Brendan Parker said crews responded about 8:21 a.m. to a report of a single-vehicle crash. When they arrived, a utility pole was down and power lines were on top of a minivan, Parker said.

Parker said a passer-by removed the driver, who was the only occupant, from the vehicle. He said the driver was taken to an area hospital via Flight for Life. The driver's injuries are not considered to be life-threatening, Parker said.

The road was shut down for about 20 minutes, he said.

ComEd and AT&T were notified. Less than five people lost power, which returned about 3:45 p.m., according to ComEd's outage map.

The McHenry County Sheriff's Office is investigating the crash. Police were not immediately available for comment.

Photo provided by Woodstock Fire/Rescue District - Alex Vucha A minivan versus pole crash Monday morning closed a portion of Route 47 and caused a handful of power outages in the area. Woodstock Fire/Rescue District Capt. Brendan Parker said crews responded about 8:21 a.m. for a report of a single-vehicle crash. When they arrived a utility pole was down and power lines were on top of a minivan, Parker said.H. Rick Bamman - hbamman@shawmedia.com A minivan versus pole crash Monday morning closed a portion of Route 47 and caused a handful of power outages in the area. Woodstock Fire/Rescue District Capt. Brendan Parker said crews responded about 8:21 a.m. for a report of a single-vehicle crash. When they arrived a utility pole was down and power lines were on top of a minivan, Parker said.Photo provided by Woodstock Fire/Rescue District - Alex Vucha Flight for Life crew members and a Woodstock Fire/Rescue District paramedic prepare the driver of a minivan after a crash with a utility pole Monday morning. The crash closed a portion of Route 47 and caused a handful of power outages in the area. Woodstock Fire/Rescue District Capt. Brendan Parker said crews responded about 8:21 a.m. for a report of a single-vehicle crash.


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88-year-old woman continues to work after insurance business turns 50H. Rick Bamman – hbamman@shawmedia.com Stassen Insurance celebrated its 50th anniversary on Friday, June 23, 2017. Carol Stassen, 88, started the business with her husband in 1967.

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 04:57:00 GMT

WOODSTOCK – With her daily crossword puzzle and two cups of coffee, 88-year-old Carol Stassen continues to do as she has done for the past 50 years. Stassen passed up the customary retirement age at 65, and each morning she heads to her office at Stassen Insurance, 1662 S. Eastwood Drive, Woodstock, and sits at her desk by 7:30 a.m. “It’s never boring because there is a new store and story, a new scenario every day,” Stassen said. “It’s new every day because everybody has a different car, everybody has a different business, and sometimes we feel like detectives finding all this information.” Stassen and her husband, Henry, started the insurance company in February 1967 after finding it to be more and more difficult to support their family of six solely with Henry’s job at the Chicago Motor Company. It wasn’t until Memorial Day weekend of that year that they received their first check. “It was $6 and everybody says, ‘Do you still have it?’ No. We needed it,” Stassen said. “Pretty scary when you have a family of six and you say, ‘OK, I’m starting over,’ but we made it.” Stassen started her part in the business by answering the phone while she stayed home with the children and her husband met with customers. During the past 50 years, she watched the business grow. “Our business has completely changed from the first customer onward. Everything was by mail. We didn’t have a copy machine,” Stassen said. “We had ourselves and a typewriter and an adding machine. That’s how we started. It’s a success story.” Their son, John Stassen, emptied wastebaskets and got the mail for the business when he was 19 years old. He has since taken over running the business from his father, who died in 1999. Carol Stassen said that John has become one of the most knowledgeable truck insurance agents in northern Illinois. Stassen sees in her children and grandchildren the same work ethic that has kept her going all these years. “It’s built into us, the family. My children are the same way,” Stassen said. “They all are good workers. I mean they all feel, if they have a job to do, they do it and they get it done in a timely way.” Stassen said that her children are the best employees that she could get since they grew up in an office environment. “They started off hearing me and my husband deal with customers and with the public,” Stassen said. “So, there is nothing like experience.” These days, Stassen deals mainly with accounting work for the company on top of a handful of customers, one of whom has been doing business with the Stassens since he started his business in the 1980s. Stassen said she plans to continue to work until she can’t drive her car anymore. “I don’t want to sit at home and eat and watch TV all my life. The Cubs are only on so much...” Stassen said. “F[...]


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Marengo Settlers' Days organizers plan to break from tradition with site moveShaw Media file photo Members of the Hidden Path Arts studio perform a demonstration during the third day of the four-day Marengo Settler's Day festivities in 2016. The city council will meet to discuss moving Settlers Days to a new location out of the downtown area.

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 04:55:00 GMT

MARENGO – Marengo Settlers’ Days event coordinators plan to move the iconic, four-day Marengo event out of the downtown strip because they say it will improve safety and other longstanding issues. But not everyone is convinced it’s a good idea to break from tradition. The four-day event was founded in 1971 and includes parades, a carnival, a craft show, food, live music and other events. One of its highlights is the “Saturday Night on Main Street” party, which takes place along Route 23. City officials and Marengo residents expressed concern Monday about a proposal to move Settlers’ Days from the downtown strip to near the high school campus. City aldermen cited concerns about breaking tradition, parking and traffic, timing and lack of organization surrounding the event, which takes place in October. “Settlers’ Days has always been about being downtown,” 4th Ward Alderman Dennis Hammortree said. “It seems like this is kind of put together and hurried through.” Third Ward Alderman Todd Hall said he was concerned about the effect the move would have on the businesses downtown that benefit from the four-day fest. “I would almost like to see a sign-off from them, saying, ‘Hey yeah, we’re OK with this,’ ” Hall said. “Just so that they know what is going on, that they are OK with it. … I have no problem where it’s at, but I just want to make sure we are taking care of the businesses.” What would become of the popular “Saturday Night on Main Street” event also caused concern. Settlers’ Days planners want to hold the event – now dubbed “Saturday Night Family Festival” – behind the Glo-Bowl off Route 20 near the high school. “I know people who come back to Settlers’ Days to go to ‘Saturday on Main,’ ” 1st Ward Alderwoman Nicole DeBoer said. An informal social media poll was taken on a Marengo community forum regarding the event. Of the more than 300 responses, 289 people voted to keep “Saturday Night on Main Street” downtown.   The City Council will discuss the item again at its July 10 meeting. Officials requested that Settlers’ Days event planners organize a more formal proposal addressing the concerns voiced at the meeting. A search for more volunteers to help with the event also is open. Mayor John Koziol said he hoped the group would carefully weigh the decision, citing the uniqueness of the festival and its ties to the city’s identity. “I can see the argument going both ways,” he said. “Not like you are proposing something out of the ordinary, but you are taking an identity about what is Marengo, what the downtown area is.” Shaw Media file photo Members of the Hidden Path Arts studio perform a demonstration during the third day of the four-day Marengo Settler's Day festivities in 2016. The city council will meet to discuss moving Settlers Days to a new location out of t[...]


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Huntley Fire Protection District keeps sprinkler code despite frustration from new homebuildersH. Rick Bamman – hbamman@shawmedia.com Retired heating, ventilating, and air conditioning service contractor Charles Harding visits his new home site June 12. Harding and his neighbors are fighting the Huntley Fire Protection District ordinance that says new homes in subdivisions platted after 2005 are required to have a sprinkler system installed.H. Rick Bamman – hbamman@shawmedia.com Retired heating, ventilating, and air conditioning service contractor Charles Harding visits his new home site June 12. Harding and his neighbors are fighting the Huntley Fire Protection District ordinance that says new homes in subdivisions platted after 2005 are required to have a sprinkler system installed.

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 04:53:00 GMT

HUNTLEY – After Charles Harding started building his dream home west of Huntley in the Willow Hill subdivision, he realized he was required to install a home sprinkler system – which could cost upward of $15,000. Just south of his neighborhood, located north of Harmony Road and west of Seeman Road, newly constructed homes in the Botterman Farms subdivision don’t have the same home sprinkler system requirements, even though they also fall in the Huntley Fire Protection District’s jurisdiction.  The discrepancy in rules between two neighborhoods within the fire protection district’s boundaries has caused Harding, among other home builders, to question the fairness of an ordinance that only applies to subdivisions platted after 2005. “Had we known about the sprinkler ordinance, we wouldn’t have bought that lot,” Harding said.  Harding and a handful of other people who bought lots in the Willow Hill subdivision have asked the district to change the ordinance so homeowners can decide for themselves whether to install sprinkler systems in their new homes.  However, Huntley Fire Protection District Chief Ken Caudle said the district’s board of trustees sees no compelling evidence to rescind or alter the ordinance.  The residential sprinkler ordinance was adopted in August 2004, when the Huntley Fire Protection District was experiencing rapid growth, Caudle said. It was difficult to apply the ordinance evenly at first because of multiple residential building projects being in various states of development, he said.  The board made a decision to apply the ordinance to projects and properties that were platted on May 1, 2005, or later, Caudle said.  “While some may see this as unfair, the board felt it was the best way to apply the ordinance without disrupting projects that had already started,” Caudle said in an email. Home sprinkler systems have a number of benefits, according to Caudle, the Northern Illinois Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board and the National Fire Protection Association. Sprinklers will extinguish a typical residential fire in less than a minute, and they dramatically improve survival rates, Caudle said. They also use a fraction of the water that fire department hoses do, he said.  There were about 365,500 home structure fires nationwide in 2015 that claimed 2,560 lives, according to the NFPA. Overall, structure fires caused more than $10.3 billion in property damage.  The risk of someone dying in his or her home is cut by about 80 percent when automatic fire sprinkler systems are present, according to an NFPA report. But for Harding, home sprinkler systems bring more problems than benefits. Aside from the added cost sprinklers bring – including initial installation, maintenance and the added property tax values – sprinklers also are unsightly and could potentially go off when they’re not needed, Harding s[...]


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A cut above: 10 best salons in McHenry County

Mon, 26 Jun 2017 16:00:48 GMT

Here are the 10 best salons in McHenry County, as voted on by readers in our 2017 Best of the Fox competition.

53 Brink St., Crystal Lake | 815-893-6370

Facebook

25 N. William St., Crystal Lake | 815-459-2462

www.clipjoyntsalon.com

3731 W. Elm St., McHenry | 815-385-8781

salonuniqueinc.com

410 S. Route 31, McHenry | 815-385-2877

salonteellece.com

77 E. Woodstock St., Crystal Lake | 815-444-9873

blushsaloncl.com

415 E. Congress Parkway, Ste. E, Crystal Lake | 815-477-7300

www.salonmackk.com

3103 Route 176, Crystal Lake | 815-893-4340

www.saloncora.com

8 N. Williams St., Crystal Lake | 815-459-0900

ihw1997.com

318 Memorial Drive, Crystal Lake | 815-455-0780

www.paulhylandsalon.com

81 N. Randall Road, Lake in the Hills | 847-458-7299

chazios.com


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Scores missing in massive China landslide; 10 bodies foundRelatives toss paper offerings to appease the dead at the site of a landslide in Xinmo village in Maoxian County in southwestern China's Sichuan Province, Sunday, June 25, 2017. Crews searching through the rubble left by a landslide that buried a mountain village under tons of soil and rocks in southwestern China on Saturday found bodies, but more than 100 people remained missing. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)A rescue worker takes a nap at the site of a landslide in Xinmo village in Maoxian County in southwestern China's Sichuan Province, Sunday, June 25, 2017. Crews searching through the rubble left by a landslide that buried a mountain village under tons of soil and rocks in southwestern China on Saturday found bodies, but more than 100 people remained missing. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

Mon, 26 Jun 2017 05:30:00 GMT

MAO COUNTY, China – Rescuers recovered 10 bodies and still were searching for 93 missing people Sunday, a day after a massive landslide buried a picturesque mountain village in southwestern China.

More than 2,500 rescuers with detection devices and dogs were looking for signs of life amid the rubble of huge boulders that rained down on Xinmo village in Sichuan province early Saturday.

As of Sunday night, only three people – a couple and their month-old baby – had been rescued from the disaster site.

Relatives toss paper offerings to appease the dead at the site of a landslide in Xinmo village in Maoxian County in southwestern China's Sichuan Province, Sunday, June 25, 2017. Crews searching through the rubble left by a landslide that buried a mountain village under tons of soil and rocks in southwestern China on Saturday found bodies, but more than 100 people remained missing. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)A rescue worker takes a nap at the site of a landslide in Xinmo village in Maoxian County in southwestern China's Sichuan Province, Sunday, June 25, 2017. Crews searching through the rubble left by a landslide that buried a mountain village under tons of soil and rocks in southwestern China on Saturday found bodies, but more than 100 people remained missing. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)


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Possible effects of gerrymandering seen in uncontested racesMinority Whip Carolyn Fleming Hugley, D-Columbus (right), and Minority Leader DuBose Porter, D-Dublin (left), attend a Feb. 9, 2005, meeting at the Capitol in Atlanta. In 2017, Georgia Republicans sought to change the boundaries of several state House districts, including a couple won by Republicans by single-digit margins last November. Some of the proposed shifts sought to move heavily black precincts – where voters overwhelmingly support Democrats – from Republican-held districts into ones occupied by Democrats. Although the bill passed the House, it died in the Senate. Hugley criticized it as gerrymandering intended to create safer Republican seats.

Mon, 26 Jun 2017 05:30:00 GMT

When voters cast ballots for state representatives last fall, millions of Americans essentially had no choice: In 42 percent of all such elections, candidates faced no major party opponents. Political scientists say a major reason for the lack of choices is the way districts are drawn – gerrymandered, in some cases, to ensure as many comfortable seats as possible for the majority party by creating other districts overwhelmingly packed with voters for the minority party. “With an increasing number of districts being drawn to deliberately favor one party over another – and with fewer voters indicating an interest in crossover voting – lots of potential candidates will look at those previous results and come to a conclusion that it’s too difficult to mount an election campaign in a district where their party is the minority,” said John McGlennon, a longtime professor of government and public policy at the College of William & Mary in Virginia who has tracked partisan competition in elections. While the rate of uncontested races dipped slightly from 2014 to 2016, the percentage of people living in legislative districts without electoral choices has been generally rising over the past several decades. About 4,700 state House and Assembly seats were up for election last year. Of those, 998 Democrats and 963 Republicans won without any opposition from the other major political party. In districts dominated by one party, election battles are fought mostly in the primaries; the winner from the majority party becomes a virtual shoo-in to win the general election. Some states had a particularly high rate of uncompetitive races: • In Georgia, just 31 of the 180 state House districts featured both Republican and Democratic candidates, a nation-high uncontested rate of 83 percent. Republicans hold almost two-thirds of the seats in the Georgia House of Representatives. • In Massachusetts, just 34 of the 160 state House districts had candidates from both major parties, an uncontested rate of 79 percent. There, Democrats hold four-fifths of the House seats. • About 75 percent of the state House races in Arkansas and South Carolina lacked either a Democratic or Republican candidate. Under an Arkansas law passed this year, the names of unopposed candidates won’t even have to be listed on future ballots. Unchallenged candidates will automatically be declared the winners. Voting for unopposed candidates “just seems like an extra step in the process that we could eliminate,” said the sponsor of the Arkansas law, Rep. Charlotte Douglas, who hasn’t faced any opposition the past two elections. She added: “You hate to say that it doesn’t count, because any vote counts, but it’s unnecessary.” There are far fewer uncontested U.S. House races. Less than 15 percent of the 435 districts la[...]


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Gay pride parades sound a note of resistance – and face someSteven Menendez blows a kiss while participating Sunday in the New York City Pride Parade in New York.

Mon, 26 Jun 2017 05:30:00 GMT

NEW YORK – Thousands of people lined the streets for gay pride parades Sunday in coast-to-coast events that took both celebratory and political tones, the latter a reaction to what some see as new threats to gay rights in the Trump era. In a year when leaders are anxious about the president’s agenda, parade organizers in New York and San Francisco were more focused on protest. In New York, for instance, grand marshals from the American Civil Liberties Union were chosen to represent a “resistance movement.” Activists have been galled by the Trump administration’s rollback of federal guidance advising school districts to let transgender students use the bathrooms and locker rooms of their choice. The Republican president also broke from Democratic predecessor Barack Obama’s practice of issuing a proclamation in honor of Pride Month. At the jam-packed New York City parade, a few attendees wore “Make America Gay Again” hats, while one group walking silently in the parade wore “Black Lives Matter” shirts as they held up signs with a fist and with a rainbow background, a symbol for gay pride. Still others protested potential cuts to heath care benefits, declaring that “Health care is an LGBT issue.” “I think this year is even more politically charged, even though it was always a venue where people used it to express their political perspectives,” said Joannah Jones, 59, of New York, with her wife, Carol Phillips. She said the parade being televised for the first time gives people a wider audience. “Not only to educate people in general on the diversity of LGBTQ community but also to see how strongly we feel about what’s going on in office.” Lemon Reimer, a 20-year-old college student from upstate New York, said the sense of community was important. “I am starting to feel more like I need to have the security of my culture and my people around me to feel protected and safe.” Meanwhile, Kendall Bermudez, a 21-year-old parade-goer from New Jersey, felt empowered by the huge showing there. “I think with all these people here, they’re going to show we’re fighting back and we’re proud of who we are,” she said. “I think we’re going to overcome it and show Trump who’s boss.” And in Chicago, 23-year-old Sarah Hecker was attending her first pride parade, another event that attracted wall-to-wall crowds. “I felt like this would be a way to not necessarily rebel, but just my way to show solidarity for marginalized people in trying times,” said Hecker, a marketing consultant who lives in suburban Chicago. Elected officials also made a stand, Sunday, among them New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who said his state would continue to lead the way on equality. On Sunday, Cuomo, a Democrat, also formally appointed Paul G. Feinman to the New York Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court. Feinman is the first ope[...]


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Total solar eclipse 1st in 99 years to sweep width of U.S.AP photo This June 7 photo shows a sign showcasing an upcoming solar eclipse in Hopkinsville, Ky. For the first time in 99 years, a total solar eclipse will sweep across the U.S. on Aug. 21. There is heightened anticipation in the eclipses path, including in the small, rural towns of southwestern Kentucky.

Mon, 26 Jun 2017 05:29:00 GMT

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – This August, the U.S. will experience its first coast-to-coast total solar eclipse in 99 years. Total solar eclipses occur every year or two or three, often in the middle of nowhere, such as in the South Pacific or Antarctic. What makes this one so special – at least for Americans – is that it will cut diagonally across the entire U.S. The path of totality on Aug. 21 – where day briefly becomes night – will pass over Oregon, continuing through the heartland all the way to Charleston, South Carolina. Those on the outskirts – all the way into Canada, Central America and even the upper part of South America – will be treated to a partial eclipse. The last time a total solar eclipse swept the whole width of the U.S. was in 1918. No tickets are required for this Monday matinée, just special eclipse glasses so you don’t ruin your eyes. Here are some eclipse tidbits as you get ready to feast your protected eyes on perhaps the greatest of all cosmic spectacles. WHAT’S A TOTAL SOLAR ECLIPSE? When the moon passes between Earth and the sun, and scores a bull’s eye by completely blotting out the sunlight, that’s a total solar eclipse. The moon casts a shadow on our planet. Dead center is where sky gazers get the full treatment. In this case, the total eclipse will last up to 2 minutes and 40 seconds in places. A partial eclipse will be visible along the periphery. Clouds could always spoil the view, however, so be ready to split for somewhere with clear skies, if necessary. WHAT’S THE PATH ON AUG. 21? The path of totality – meaning total darkness – will begin near Lincoln City, Oregon, as the lunar shadow makes its way into the U.S. This path will be 60 miles to 70 miles wide; the closer to the center, the longer the totality. Totality will cross from Oregon into Idaho, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina and, finally, South Carolina. (It also will pass over tiny slivers of Montana and Iowa.) The eclipse will last longest near Carbondale, Illinois: approximately two minutes and 40 seconds. The biggest cities in the path include Nashville; Columbia and Charleston, South Carolina; Salem, Oregon; Casper, Wyoming; and just barely within Kansas City, Missouri. LAST TOTAL SOLAR ECLIPSES IN U.S.? Hawaii experienced a total solar eclipse in 1991. But the U.S. mainland hasn’t seen a total solar eclipse since 1979, when it swooped across Oregon, Washington state, Idaho, Montana and North Dakota, then into Canada. Before that, in 1970, a total solar eclipse skirted the Atlantic coastline from Florida to Virginia. Totality – or total darkness – exceeded three minutes in 1970, longer than the one coming up. The country’s last total solar eclipse stretching from coast to coast[...]


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Europeans learn to live with – and adapt to – terror attacksAP file photo Debris from a June 7 attack in Borough Market, London, remains in the street. The jihadis' targets are depressingly repetitive: the Brussels metro (twice), Paris' Champs-Elysees (twice) and tourist-filled bridges in London (twice). And that's just the past few months.

Mon, 26 Jun 2017 05:29:00 GMT

PARIS – The jihadis’ targets in Europe are depressingly repetitive: the Brussels metro, the Champs-Elysees in Paris (twice), tourist-filled bridges in London (twice) and a U.K. rock concert. And that’s just the past few months. The steady stream of attacks on centers of daily life have drawn pledges from Europeans not to let terrorists change how they live, but in ways large and small they already have. There is a heightened awareness and quicker reactions, especially in the hardest-hit countries of France, Britain and Belgium, that would have seemed unthinkable just a few years ago. In Brussels on Tuesday, a 36-year-old Moroccan man shouting “Allahu akbar!” set off a bomb among subway commuters. The bomb didn’t detonate in full and a soldier shot him dead. It was another Muslim, Mohamed Charfih, who demanded that the subway’s doors be closed before the attacker could enter. “I heard people on the platform shouting for help,” he told the news site DH. He looked out and knew what he saw. “I screamed to close the doors immediately. I asked to get out of there as fast as possible and that everyone get down on the floor.” That reaction, blocking the door and fleeing, has become part of official instructions on what to do in case of an attack in France. Signs have been posted in public areas and even schools showing people running, ducking beneath a window or using heavy furniture as a barricade. Tensions are high enough in central Paris that on Thursday the quick-response police unit reacted to a witness’ phone call about a man wearing a sidearm by tackling him on the street, only to learn that he was a ranking member of the anti-terrorism squad, according to French media. In Britain, decades of IRA attacks prompted the installation of country-wide TV surveillance cameras – one of the most expansive systems in the world. Paris quickly is ramping up its own camera system, to the point where authorities were able this week to track the minute-by-minute path of the man who tried to attack a Champs-Elysee gendarme patrol until the moment he rammed their vehicle. The man died of burns and smoke inhalation – the only casualty of his act – but left behind a substantial arsenal. Both Britain and France have installed barriers around airports, train stations and other public buildings in recent years. Since the Westminster bridge attack in March, however, talks are underway to install even more barriers on bridges and around crowded places such as London’s Borough Market, where three attackers this month went on a stabbing rampage after crashing their vehicle on a busy street not far from London Bridge. Echoing France, London’s security authorities have issued advice to pubs and restaurants since the attacks with the [...]


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Trump: Not 'that far off' from passing health overhaulPresident Donald Trump speaks during a bill signing event for the "Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017" in the East Room of the White House, Friday, June 23, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Mon, 26 Jun 2017 05:29:00 GMT

WASHINGTON – Making a final push, President Donald Trump said he doesn’t think congressional Republicans are “that far off” on a health overhaul to replace “the dead carcass of Obamacare.” Expressing frustration, he complained about “the level of hostility” in government and wondered why both parties can’t work together on the Senate bill as GOP critics expressed doubt over a successful vote this week. It was the latest signs of high-stakes maneuvering over a key campaign promise, and the president signaled a willingness to deal. “We have a very good plan,” Trump said in an interview broadcast Sunday. Referring to Republican senators opposed to the bill, he added: “They want to get some points, I think they’ll get some points.” Trump’s comments come amid the public opposition of five Republican senators so far to the Senate GOP plan that would scuttle much of former President Barack Obama’s health law. Unless those holdouts can be swayed, their numbers are more than enough to torpedo the measure developed in private by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, and deliver a bitter defeat for the president. That’s because unanimous opposition is expected from Democrats in a chamber in which Republicans hold a narrow 52-48 majority. Trump bemoaned the lack of bipartisanship in Washington, having belittled prominent Democrats himself. “It would be so great if the Democrats and Republicans could get together, wrap their arms around it and come up with something that everybody’s happy with,” the president said. “And I’m open arms; but I don’t see that happening. They fight each other. The level of hostility.” Trump has denigrated Democrats on numerous occasions, including a jab at Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren in the same interview: “She’s a hopeless case. I call her Pocahontas and that’s an insult to Pocahontas.” In a tweet last week after Georgia’s special House election, Trump also criticized House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer. “I certainly hope the Democrats do not force Nancy P out. That would be very bad for the Republican Party – and please let Cryin’ Chuck stay!” he wrote. In the broadcast interview, Trump did not indicate what types of changes to the Senate bill may be in store, but he affirmed that he had described a House-passed bill as “mean.” “I want to see a bill with heart,” he said, confirming a switch from his laudatory statements about the House bill at a Rose Garden ceremony with House GOP leaders last month. “Health care’s a very complicated subject from the standpoint that you move it this way, and this group doesn’t like it.” “And honestly, nobody can be t[...]


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City of Harvard announces construction dates for Culvers, Dollar General

Mon, 26 Jun 2017 05:21:00 GMT

HARVARD – Harvard will soon welcome two new businesses to town: a Culver’s restaurant and a Dollar General store.

Culver’s of Harvard will be located at 5410 South Division St. / U.S Route 14, near the Walmart and Cardinal Wine and Spirits, Mayor Mike Kelly said. The restaurant plans to close on its purchase of the property by August and start construction at the end of September.

If construction goes according to plan, Culver’s could be open and ready to sell its custard and butterburgers by December or January. The new restaurant will provide 15 full-time jobs and 50 part-time jobs, and the franchise intends to hire locally, city officials said.

Craig Culver founded the restaurant chain in 1984 in Wisconsin, and the franchise has since grown. It has more than 500 restaurants across 22 states, according to the Culver’s website.

Dollar General also has announced plans to begin construction in Harvard. The store will be located north of Harvard Savings Bank on North Division Street / Route 14, and plans to be open for business in September.

Dollar General sells everything from food to toiletries to household items, and operates 12,500 stores across 43 states. Dollar General has 451 Illinois locations, including many in McHenry County, according to the Dollar General website. Hebron’s Dollar General opened late last year and the chain announced plans to build in Wonder Lake in 2016.




Genealogy conference to take place at MCC in July

Mon, 26 Jun 2017 05:20:00 GMT

CRYSTAL LAKE – Those looking to learn more about their family’s history are invited to attend an all-day genealogy conference Saturday, July 8.

The event will be held from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. in McHenry County College’s Conference Center, 8900 Route 14, Crystal Lake. The conference is sponsored by the McHenry County Illinois Genealogical Society.

The event will feature a number of vendors, including various genealogy societies, historical societies and book sellers.

Speakers will include genealogists Mary Tedesco, Thomas MacEntee, Paul Milner and Michael Lacopo.

“This year we have a variety of topics for beginners, intermediates and more advanced researchers,” said Kristen McCallum, president of McHenry County Illinois Genealogical Society. “But really the conference is for anybody who has an interest pursuing their family history.”

Last year’s event saw about 200 attendees, and vendors included the Elgin Genealogical Society, the Chicago Genealogical Society, the Illinois State Genealogical Society, ArkivDigital and HistoryLines.

“Every year we’ve got more people signed up for it,” McCallum said. “It’s really a great opportunity for people to come out for one day and learn all there is to offer with this great hobby and just discover how fun it is do research on family history.”

Conference registration can be done online at www.mcigs.org/conference.

Registration will continue through July 8 and cost $80 a person.

The McHenry County Illinois Genealogical Society is a nonprofit of family history researchers who provide instruction in current research methods and practices, and support the preservation of and access to genealogical and historical records.

To learn about the event, contact the society at 815-687-0436 or at mcigs@mcigs.org.




McHenry County Board approves prevailing wage, ending three years of protest votes

Mon, 26 Jun 2017 05:18:00 GMT

WOODSTOCK – The McHenry County Board approved the state prevailing wage rates, ending a three-year streak of casting a symbolic protest vote against them. Board members voted, 19-3, to adopt the wage schedule, which requires local governments to pay workers hired for public construction projects a specific wage set by the Illinois Department of Labor.  Audience members, many of whom were union members and local residents who came to encourage a vote to approve, applauded when the final vote was tallied. The County Board since 2014 had voted against prevailing wage, while being careful to instruct county staff to follow the law. Board member Donna Kurtz, R-Crystal Lake, said voting against prevailing wage sends a negative message to the community, and disputed the notion that the wages are responsible for the county’s sky-high property taxes. “I think in the end, the overall benefits well outweigh the negatives that some may perceive regarding prevailing wage. It’s the right thing to do – we know it’s the law. It’s the right thing to do,” Kurtz said. The County Board was one of the first local governments to begin casting an annual symbolic vote against prevailing wage. Opponents allege that it makes public works projects funded by taxpayers much more expensive than they need to be. Supporters counter that prevailing wage allows workers to make living wages in an expensive county, and prevents governments from shipping in cheap, unskilled and exploitable labor. State law requires local governments, such as the County Board, to adopt the wage schedule each year. But although voting to reject the schedule carries no penalty, a government that willingly pays workers less than prevailing wage is illegal – elected officials can be charged with a Class A misdemeanor, and the body itself can be subject to fines, which would be paid by the taxpayers. Board member Chuck Wheeler, R-McHenry, echoed the sentiments of current and past opponents, alleging that the prevailing wage law is an unjust one that puts more burden on taxpayers and is unfair to workers on private-sector contracts. He called prevailing wages “a leg of the political machine” because the unions that benefit in turn donate to politicians who keep the system going. “These [prevailing wage] workers are paid more than their private-sector counterparts, who are some of the very people footing the bill for these artificially high wages,” Wheeler said. A number of speakers during public comment urged the County Board to follow the law and adopt the schedule. Bob Paddock, a business representative for the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150[...]



Petersen Farm in McHenry holds 10th annual event to showcase life 100 years agoMike Greene - For Shaw Media Thomas Stamatis, 3 of McHenry, tests out a 1941 Ford 9N provided by Walt Boettcher during the 10th annual "A Day at Petersen Farm" Sunday, June 25, 2017 in McHenry. This year's event featured hayrides, farm animals, music and children’s games as well as exhibits showing McHenry County farm life in 1916.

Mon, 26 Jun 2017 05:18:00 GMT

Patti Frett, formerly Patti Moerschbaecher, used to live across the street from Petersen Farm, 4112 McCullom Lake Road, in McHenry, and played on the farm when she and her siblings were children. Now, she brought her grandchildren to the farm during its 10th annual “A Day at Petersen Farm” event on Sunday to show them how she and her siblings used to play as kids. “This is all home stuff for me,” Frett said. Frett also said she recalls playing hide-and-seek with her siblings in the corn fields where Petersen Park is – where her grandsons play baseball now. “It’s really neat to tell our grandchildren that these were our stomping grounds, especially how everything has changed so much,” Frett said. Frett’s 10-year-old granddaughter, Lauren Blake, said she played farm games and saw animals at the petting zoo on site. She said her favorite part of the day was seeing a magician perform. “It was cool to watch,” Blake said. The event was meant to show what McHenry County farm life was like in 1916. It also featured a cow replica named “Cowleen” that people could milk, tractor driving simulators and indoor setups with furniture of the era and an outdoor laundry demonstration, along with old tractors on display. The farm was formed in 1842. The city of McHenry acquired it for agricultural heritage preservation after the Colby and Petersen families turned it over to the city. Kent Rexford and his children decided to stop by after they initially passed the event on their way to lunch. “I think it’s way better for them than sitting in front of the TV playing Playstation or anything else,” Rexford said. Rexford’s 5-year-old son, Cage, said his favorite part about the event were the cars and tractors on display. He and 4-year-old sister Averly watched blacksmith Sam Johnson at work. “People need to know what it took to make a living back then,” Johnson said. “It really gives you an appreciation for the modern amenities that we have.” Pat Wirtz, McHenry Landmark Commission chairman, member of the Colby-Petersen Farm Foundation and organizer for the event, spent the day walking around the farm and taking photos. After stopping to take a photo of people waiting in line at one booth, Wirtz lowered his camera from his eye and smiled. “We haven’t had lines like this in a long time,” Wirtz said. Wirtz said there were about 1,000 attendees for the Petersen Farm event last year. This year, Wirtz said they were on track to having even more attendees[...]


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Woodstock Train Depot to become Church St. Cafe

Mon, 26 Jun 2017 05:17:00 GMT

WOODSTOCK – Commuters soon will have a new place to grab coffee, sandwiches, hot dogs and “take and bake” meals at the Metra station.

Main Street Pourhouse owner Bryson Calvin plans to open Church St. Cafe in Woodstock’s train depot. The cafe will offer freshly made donuts, croissants and bagels as well as a variety of breakfast sandwiches, specialty coffee drinks, fruit and cereal. The cafe also plans to offer “take and bake” meals that will be prepared and ready to serve, so commuters can grab dinner to bring home.

Calvin will lease the space from the city of Woodstock at $500 a month beginning Aug. 1. Council members approved the lease at a meeting this week.

The space will focus on offering local foods and supporting area businesses, Calvin said.

“The closest, most direct competition is Starbucks,” he wrote in a proposal to the city. “We plan to offer the same quality coffees and teas with a better selection of bakery, breakfast and lunch specials. We will also be sourcing many of our items from local farmers and businesses thereby creating an atmosphere that has a local community rather than corporate feeling.”

The cafe will offer breakfast sandwiches that go beyond the standard egg and cheese – some highlighted options on the proposed menu include a bacon jam and peanut butter bagel sandwich and a sausage, egg and cheese sandwich on a glazed donut.

Church St. Cafe also plans to offer art and gathering space for business meetings, in connection with Main Street Pourhouse, according to planning documents.

The depot has seen many businesses come and go over the years. In 2015, City Council member and local business owner Dan Hart attempted to open a cafe with video gaming and alcohol sales, but the plan was quashed by Union Pacific Railroad, which owns the majority of the property. It operated as a cafe for a time, but the depot has been vacant for about 18 months, said Economic Development Director Garrett Anderson.

Before that, Stella’s Off the Square operated in the space from July 2013 to September 2014. Another cafe had been open at the depot from 2008 to 2012, after the Java junction exited after 11 years in business.

Council members were largely in favor of the proposal.

“I am really excited about the idea and the investment,” council member Maureen Larson said. “It’s something we don’t really have in town, and I think it can be a popular investment.”




Marengo interchange continues, Longmeadow stops under IDOT budget shutdownSarah Nader - snader@shawmedia.com Vehicles drive past bridge construction on Route 14 near Bunker Hill Road in Woodstock Friday, June 23, 2017.H. Rick Bamman - hbamman@shawmedia.com McHenry County leaders who have waited a long time for a Marengo interchange at Interstate 90 and Route 23 will not have their dream delayed if state lawmakers can’t come to an agreement on a budget.

Mon, 26 Jun 2017 05:12:00 GMT

McHenry County leaders who have waited a long time for a Marengo interchange at Interstate 90 and Route 23 will not have their dream delayed if state lawmakers can’t come to an agreement on a budget. But a continued budget impasse will do to the next phase of the Longmeadow Parkway what an endangered bumblebee could not, and shut down work until a state budget is in place. The Illinois Department of Transportation, as it did this time last year during the ongoing budget impasse, has ordered that all IDOT-funded roadwork start winding down and cease altogether by Friday unless the General Assembly and Gov. Bruce Rauner can end a three-year budget standoff. Rauner ordered the General Assembly into special session last Wednesday to attempt to reach a budget deal before the 2018 state fiscal year begins Saturday. The interchange work in Marengo, which right now consists of replacing the Route 23 overpass, is under the auspices of the Illinois Tollway, which gets its funding from tolls rather than state or federal dollars, so work will continue as scheduled. However, that’s not the case for the next phase of the Longmeadow Parkway in neighboring Kane County. The $13.28 million next phase for the four-lane, 5.6-mile road – building it from west of Randall Road to east of White Chapel Lane in Algonquin – will not continue without a 2018 budget, Kane County Division of Transportation Assistant Director Steve Coffinbargar said. The next phase in the project to connect Randall Road and Route 62 is an IDOT contract, and federal funds that are helping pay for it flow through the state. “It does contain federal funds, and thus if the state budget doesn’t get passed come July 1, it will be shut down,” Coffinbargar said. Engineering and land acquisition for the remainder of the Longmeadow project is county funded and will continue on schedule, he said. A federal judge in April halted further construction on Longmeadow Parkway under a temporary restraining order after an opposition group filed a lawsuit over concerns that the work would harm the endangered rusty-patched bumblebee, which was found in a forest preserve along the parkway corridor. The two-week restraining order expired in early May and construction continued. A shutdown would affect 700 IDOT projects statewide, totaling $2.3 billion. Three McHenry County projects under IDOT jurisdiction will stop without a budget. A $642,571 project that began in April to repair a small bridge on Route 14 over the Kishwaukee river near Bunker Hill Roa[...]


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Crystal Lake garden 30 years in the making to be featured on Garden WalkH. Rick Bamman - hbamman@shawmedia.com Crystal Lake resident Susan Wayman strolls through her backyard garden that is featured in the Master Gardeners of McHenry County Garden Walk. Hosted by McHenry County College and the University of Illinois Extension the event features 8 area gardens on July 8, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. starting at the college, 8900 Route 14.

Sun, 25 Jun 2017 10:30:00 GMT

• Note: This story has been updated to correct the spelling of Susan Wayman's name. Susan Wayman took up gardening simply because she needed something to do while her children played outside. Thirty years, numerous gardening books and countless weeds pulled later, Wayman is still at it. Garden lovers who participated in the McHenry County Master Gardeners Garden Walk admired Wayman’s garden a decade ago when it was a part of the self-guided tour. Now, Wayman’s garden once again will be a stop on the annual garden walk, but this time she is honored with being this year’s featured garden. “I just started planting flowers, and it kept growing,” Wayman said, “and now [my children] are all grown up and I’m still going.” Rounded plots of soil expands out into Wayman’s yard, curving in and out from the front of her home to the back, completely filled with plants. In the backyard, more plants are seen in the back corners of the yard. One of these corners serves as a vegetable garden guarded by a scarecrow decked out in Cubs apparel. Out of the what seems to be hundreds of plants, Wayman most admires her hostas, which lie under an apple tree in the back left corner of her property. Wayman formed her own style over her many years of gardening. She never really has a plan or layout for her garden. She just finds the plants she likes and goes from there. “Pretty much I see plants at nurseries and I have to have that,” Wayman said, “and sometimes I’ll walk around the yard like for two hours like ‘Now where do I put this?’ ” Three decades of gardening comes with its habits, such as Wayman’s need to pull weeds. “I can’t walk past a weed without pulling it. Sometimes even in public spaces,” Wayman said. “No, I don’t really, but I’m tempted. It’s like nope, that’s really weird.” Members of her family also contribute to the garden. Her son helped her in laying down the stone paths that lead through the garden. Her husband built several stands that help support plants out of re-purposed wrought iron steel he got from selling steel for a living. Wayman advises new gardeners to research their plants before they buy them. Wayman acquired many books and subscribes to numerous gardening magazines. “I’ve educated myself pretty well about gardening,” Wayman said. “It keeps you from making expensive mistakes.” The McHenry County Master Gardeners invite th[...]


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15 bodies found, scores still missing in ChinaIn this photo released by China's Xinhua News Agency, rescuers work at the accident site Saturday after a landslide occurred in the mountain village of Xinmo, in southwestern China's Sichuan Province.

Sun, 25 Jun 2017 04:50:00 GMT

MAO COUNTY, China – Crews searching through the night in the rubble left by a landslide that buried a mountain village under tons of soil and rocks in southwestern China found 15 bodies, but more than 100 more people remained missing. About 3,000 rescuers were using detection devices and dogs to look for signs of life in an area that once held 62 homes and a hotel, the official Xinhua News Agency reported. “We won’t give up as long as there is a slim of chance,” the agency quoted an unidentified searcher as saying. The provincial government of Sichuan on Sunday released the names of the 118 missing people. It’s unclear if the 15 bodies have been identified. Relatives were sobbing as they awaited news of their loved ones. A woman in a nearby village told The Associated Press that she had no information on her relatives in Xinmo, the mountain village that was buried. She said she had heard that only body parts were found. Xu Zhiwen, executive deputy governor of the Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture of Aba, the region where the landslide struck early Saturday, said that all 142 tourists who were visiting a site in Xinmo have been found alive. Three members of one family were located five hours after the landslide. Qiao Dashuai, 26, said he and his wife awoke to cries from their 1-month-old son about 5:30 a.m. “Just after we changed the diaper for the baby, we heard a big bang outside and the light went out,” Qiao said. “We felt that something bad was happening and immediately rushed to the door, but the door was blocked by mud and rocks.” Qiao told state broadcaster CCTV his family was swept away by water as part of a mountain collapsed. He said they struggled against the flood of water until they met medical workers who took them to a hospital. His parents and other relatives were among the missing. “It’s the biggest landslide to hit this area since the Wenchuan earthquake,” Wang Yongbo, an official leading one of the rescue efforts, told CCTV. Wang was referring to China’s deadliest earthquake this century, a magnitude-7.9 temblor that struck Sichuan province in May 2008, killing nearly 90,000 people. Mao County, or Maoxian, sits on the eastern margin of the Tibetan plateau and is home to about 110,000 people. Most residents are of the Qiang ethnic minority. The landslide buried 1.6 kilometers (1 mile) of road and blocked a 2-kilometer (1.2-mile) section of a river. The provincial government said on its website that an estimated 8 million [...]


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Wet winter ups the ante for hikers on popular U.S. trailIn this self portrait photo taken May 29, Anya Sellsted stands in Mammoth Lakes, Calif. Sellsted had traversed the highest snow-covered passes and forded raging rivers during her hike from Mexico to Canada when she ran into trouble in the high Sierra Nevada mountains.

Sun, 25 Jun 2017 04:49:00 GMT

LOS ANGELES – Anya Sellsted had scaled scary snow-covered passes and forded frightening rivers during her solo hike from Mexico to Canada when the hazards of California’s gargantuan winter finally caught up to her. While crossing a partly submerged log in Yosemite National Park, Sellsted was sucked under the tree and down the rushing creek. She gasped for air as the weight of her 55-pound backpack pushed her under the frigid water. No one was within miles as she was battered and scraped on rocks before grasping branches and saving herself. “I couldn’t stop screaming and shaking and crying,” said Sellsted, who swigged whiskey to calm her nerves. Sellsted is one of several hikers who reported harrowing incidents tackling the 2,650-mile Pacific Crest Trail across this year’s massive snowpack, which has fed swift streams and turned the dream trip of a lifetime into a near-death nightmare for some. Hikers have survived an avalanche, falls on snow and close calls in raging rivers. Most have retreated to lower ground and detoured the hazardous Sierra Nevada – the highest, most rugged section of the scenic trail running the length of California and through Oregon and Washington. Hiking the trail is an arduous endurance test, but not particularly perilous. It has become more popular each year and draws more than 3,000 hikers from around the world trying to cover the entire length within six months, although fewer than a quarter finished last year. Given the length and likelihood of snow in the Sierra and Cascades, most hikers start in the Southern California desert in early spring with the hope that snow will melt by the time they reach alpine elevations. With hundreds of so-called thru-hikers entering the high Sierra early in the season, their experiences can serve as cautionary tales for others planning summer wilderness escapes. More than a dozen people have drowned in Sierra rivers at lower elevations, including one in Yosemite and three in Sequoia National Park, and rangers are warning hikers to think twice about crossing swift water. Marcus Mazzaferri, 25, of Seattle, narrowly survived an ordeal after falling into a swollen Yosemite creek and abandoning his pack so he could get to shore before being swept over a waterfall. He lost all his gear and had to do jumping jacks and run in circles all night. He got lost hiking for help the next day and was beginning to despair when he heard a beeping sound and discovered a snow-plowing crew, who took him to a ranger s[...]


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Big cases, retirement rumors as Supreme Court nears finishFILE - This Jan. 25, 2012, file photo, shows the U.S. Supreme Court Building in Washington. The Supreme Court enters its final week of work before a long summer hiatus with action expected on the Trump administration’s travel ban and a decision due in a separation of church and state case that arises from a Missouri church playground. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

Sun, 25 Jun 2017 04:49:00 GMT

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court enters its final week of work before a long summer hiatus with action expected on the Trump administration's travel ban and a decision due in a separation of church and state case that arises from a Missouri church playground. The biggest news of all, though, would be if Justice Anthony Kennedy were to use the court's last public session on Monday to announce his retirement. To be sure, Kennedy has given no public sign that he will retire this year and give President Donald Trump his second high court pick in the first months of his administration. Kennedy's departure would allow conservatives to take firm control of the court. But Kennedy turns 81 next month and has been on the court for nearly 30 years. Several of his former law clerks have said they think he is contemplating stepping down in the next year or so. Kennedy and his clerks were gathering over the weekend for a reunion that was pushed up a year and helped spark talk he might be leaving the court. "Soon we'll know if rumors of Kennedy's retirement are accurate," one former Kennedy clerk, George Washington University law professor Orin Kerr, said on Twitter Friday. When the justices take the bench Monday, they are expected to decide the case of Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia, Missouri, which was excluded from a state grant program to pay for soft surfaces on playgrounds run by not-for-profit groups. The case is being closely watched by advocates of school vouchers, who hope the court will make it easier to use state money to pay for private, religious schooling in states that now prohibit it. Missouri has since changed its policy under Republican Gov. Eric Greitens so that churches may now apply for the money. Also expected in the next few days, though there's no deadline by which the court must decide, is a ruling on whether to allow the administration to immediately enforce a 90-day ban on visitors from six mostly Muslim countries. Justice Neil Gorsuch, Trump's first Supreme Court nominee, could play a pivotal role in both the travel ban and church playground cases. In all, six cases that were argued between November and April remain undecided. Three of those, all involving immigrants or foreigners, were heard by an eight-justice court, before Gorsuch joined the bench in April. If the eight justices are evenly divided, those cases could be argued a second time in the fall, with Gorsuch available to provide the tie-breaking vote. [...]


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