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Former Huntley man indicted on bankruptcy fraud charges

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 22:24:00 GMT

HUNTLEY – A former Huntley man was indicted Tuesday by a federal grand jury on bankruptcy fraud charges.

Tracy L. Sunderlage, 71, was charged with making false statements in a bankruptcy case and making false statements under oath of a bankruptcy proceeding, according to a news release from the U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Illinois.

Sunderlage filed a Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition, various bankruptcy schedules and a statement of financial affairs, signed under the penalty of perjury, in August 2011, according to the indictment.

In the statement of financial affairs, Sunderlage allegedly made concealed fraudulent transfers of 100,000 shares of Gulf Keystone Petroleum, more than $173,000 in transfers to a relative, a receipt of $241,000 in income from the sale of ownership interest on Gulf Keystone, a receipt of $25,000 in income from the sale of ownership interests with other companies, and personal property interests and his Jaguar, according to the indictment.

Sunderlage also allegedly falsely testified under oath at a meeting in May 2012 with creditors, according to the indictment.

Each charge has a maximum penalty of up to five years in prison, a three-year supervision term and fines up to $250,000, or twice the gain or loss from the offense, whichever is greater, according to the release.


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IHSF Podcast 018: Talking playoffs and conference mayhem

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 22:14:21 GMT

It's Week 5, which means it's nearly time for Steve Soucie to start projecting the playoff field. Kyle Nabors and Joe Stevenson ask Steve for details, and later the guys talk about the Interstate Eight's breakup.

Our podcast is sponsored by Lootcrate. Get great gamer/geek gear and more, and save $3 on your first box by using our promo code 'shaw' at  www.lootcrate.com/shaw.

Like what you hear?  Subscribe to us here in iTunes. Leave a review, it helps others discover the show.




Centegra cuts staff, outsources others to ease 'financial pressures'Planned layoffs will affect 131 people in roles throughout the company, according to the news release. Another 230 jobs will be eliminated through outsourcing to nThrive, a Georgia-based firm that specializes in medical billing and other hospital business services. Centegra is McHenry County's largest employer; the job reductions are about 9 percent of Centegra's workforce of about 4,000 people. "The decision to take these steps is among the most difficult that any organization can make," Centegra CEO Mike Eesley said in a memo to hospital staff Tuesday. "Although financial pressures have forced us to address our business structure, it feels deeply personal." The positions targeted for elimination were not expected to directly affect patient services, Centegra Health System spokeswoman Michelle Green said in an email. "The health system’s main goal was to prevent a reduction of hospital positions that provide bedside patient care," she said. "By reducing administrative and support positions, we are able to become more efficient without affecting the level of care our patients receive."The health system has mounting debt and ended its fiscal year June 30 with $62.3 million in operating losses, according to an unaudited financial statement on Electronic Municipal Market Access, a municipal security website. A 12.7 percent increase in revenue year-over-year was offset by a 26.3 percent increase in expenses, according to financial statements. Much of that increase was in salaries, which jumped more than $50 million in the last fiscal year. Employees whose jobs are being eliminated will receive two months' pay and benefits, plus a severance package, officials said. They will also be provided with resources for finding other jobs. Some will have the opportunity to join Alpharetta, Georgia-based nThrive, which provides medical billing, medical coding and business analytics services for health systems, according to its website. nThrive has responsibility for the hospital’s business office and the health information management department, and starting Nov. 19, it will expand its role to include patient access and additional health information management responsibilities, Centegra officials said.Current Centegra employees whose jobs are being outsourced will be offered positions with nThrive and continue to work in the same location. Eesley sent a company-wide memo to employees explaining the changes and the need for layoffs. "The difficult decision to balance our workforce through a reduction will ensure our health system is financially viable for years to come," Eesley said in the email. "While this day marks a major step toward financial improvements, it brings change for people in a number of positions." Eesley said outsourcing would help sustain finances as well. "Within a short time, we expect to see benefits from this partnership for our patients and for our organization’s financial performance," he said.This is the second major cost-cutting announcement Centegra has made this year. In June, it said it would end intensive care and medical-surgical operations at its Woodstock hospital and move those beds to its hospitals in Huntley and McHenry. Woodstock residents shared concerns about ambulance costs, increased travel times, inconvenience and the future of health care at a public forum Monday in Woodstock. Centegra officials have projected that those changes will save the health system $15 million annually. They did not say how much Tuesday's staff cuts are expected to save. Centegra is still in talks to join Northwestern Medicine in 2018, Green has said.

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 21:30:00 GMT

CRYSTAL LAKE — Centegra Health System officials announced Tuesday plans to shed 361 jobs through layoffs and outsourcing after posting a $62.3 million operating loss in the fiscal year that ended June 30.

Planned layoffs will affect 131 people in roles throughout the company, according to the news release. Another 230 jobs will be eliminated through outsourcing to nThrive, a Georgia-based firm that specializes in medical billing and other hospital business services. Centegra is McHenry County's largest employer; the job reductions are about 9 percent of Centegra's workforce of about 4,000 people. "The decision to take these steps is among the most difficult that any organization can make," Centegra CEO Mike Eesley said in a memo to hospital staff Tuesday. "Although financial pressures have forced us to address our business structure, it feels deeply personal." The positions targeted for elimination were not expected to directly affect patient services, Centegra Health System spokeswoman Michelle Green said in an email. "The health system’s main goal was to prevent a reduction of hospital positions that provide bedside patient care," she said. "By reducing administrative and support positions, we are able to become more efficient without affecting the level of care our patients receive."The health system has mounting debt and ended its fiscal year June 30 with $62.3 million in operating losses, according to an unaudited financial statement on Electronic Municipal Market Access, a municipal security website. A 12.7 percent increase in revenue year-over-year was offset by a 26.3 percent increase in expenses, according to financial statements. Much of that increase was in salaries, which jumped more than $50 million in the last fiscal year. Employees whose jobs are being eliminated will receive two months' pay and benefits, plus a severance package, officials said. They will also be provided with resources for finding other jobs. Some will have the opportunity to join Alpharetta, Georgia-based nThrive, which provides medical billing, medical coding and business analytics services for health systems, according to its website. nThrive has responsibility for the hospital’s business office and the health information management department, and starting Nov. 19, it will expand its role to include patient access and additional health information management responsibilities, Centegra officials said.Current Centegra employees whose jobs are being outsourced will be offered positions with nThrive and continue to work in the same location. Eesley sent a company-wide memo to employees explaining the changes and the need for layoffs. "The difficult decision to balance our workforce through a reduction will ensure our health system is financially viable for years to come," Eesley said in the email. "While this day marks a major step toward financial improvements, it brings change for people in a number of positions." Eesley said outsourcing would help sustain finances as well. "Within a short time, we expect to see benefits from this partnership for our patients and for our organization’s financial performance," he said.This is the second major cost-cutting announcement Centegra has made this year. In June, it said it would end intensive care and medical-surgical operations at its Woodstock hospital and move those beds to its hospitals in Huntley and McHenry. Woodstock residents shared concerns about ambulance costs, increased travel times, inconvenience and the future of health care at a public forum Monday in Woodstock. Centegra officials have projected that those changes will save the health system $15 million annually. They did not say how much Tuesday's staff cuts are expected to save. Centegra is still in talks to join Northwestern Medicine in 2018, Green has said.


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At UN, President Trump threatens 'total destruction' of North KoreaUnited States President Donald Trump speaks during the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters, Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 18:42:00 GMT

UNITED NATIONS – President Donald Trump, in a combative debut speech to the U.N. General Assembly, threatened the "total destruction'" of North Korea if it does not abandon its drive toward nuclear weapons. Trump, who has ramped up his rhetoric throughout the escalating crisis with North Korea, told the murmuring crowd at the U.N. on Tuesday that "it is far past time for the nations of the world to confront" Kim Jong Un and said that Kim's "reckless pursuit of nuclear weapons" poses a threat to "the entire world with an unthinkable loss of human life. "Rocket man is on a suicide mission for himself and his regime," Trump said about the North Korean leader. He said of the U.S.: "If it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea." Elected on the nationalist slogan "America First," Trump argued that individual nations should act in their own self-interest, yet rally together when faced with a common threat. Using bellicose language rare for an U.S. president at the rostrum of the United Nations, Trump touched upon hot spots around the globe, declaring "The scourge of our planet is a group of rogue regimes." He urged nations to join together to stop Iran's nuclear program — he declared the deal to restrain it an "embarrassment" for the United States — and defeat "loser terrorists" who have struck violence across the globe. He denounced "radical Islamic terrorism," the inflammatory label he has recently shied away from. He warned that some violence-plagued portions of the world "are going to hell." And he made little mention of Russia. North Korea drew most of Trump's attention and anger. Trump, who has previously warned of "fire and fury" if Pyongyang does not back down, claimed that "no one has shown more contempt for other nations and for the well-being of their own people than the depraved regime in North Korea." And he scolded nations that it was "an outrage" to enabled and traded with North Korea, seeming to slight China, though he did not mention it by name. Addressing the General Assembly is a milestone moment for any president, but one particularly significant for Trump, a relative newcomer to foreign policy who has at times rattled the international community with his unpredictability. He has pulled the Unites States out of multinational agreements, considered shrinking the U.S. military footprint in the world and deployed bombastic language on North Korea that has been criticized by other world leaders. Trump frequently belittled the U.N. as a candidate and some within his White House believe the U.N acts as a global bureaucracy that infringes on the sovereignty of individual countries. He urged the world leaders to embrace their own "national sovereignty to do more to ensure the prosperity and security of their own countries. But the president stood before world leaders and a global audience and declared that U.N. members, acting as a collection of self-interested nations, should unite to confront global dangers. "I will always put American first. Just like you, the leaders of your countries, should and always put your countries first," said Trump, who assured the U.N. that the United States would not abdicate its leadership position in the world but needed other countries to contribute more. "The U.S. will forever be a great friend to the world and especially to its allies," the Republican president said. "But we can no longer be taken advantage of or enter into a one-sided deal in which the United States gets nothing in return." World leaders, many of whom will be seeing Trump in person for the first time, were certain to take the measure of the man and[...]


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Hebron man wins $450,000 off Lottery ticket purchased at Crystal Lake gas stationDonald Raef, of Hebron, holds his winning Lucky Day Lotto ticket. Raef's ticket matched all five numbers – 03 - 04 - 09 - 16 - 28 – in the Sept. 8 drawing.

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 17:49:00 GMT

HEBRON — A Hebron man won almost half a million dollars from a lottery ticket purchased at a Crystal Lake gas station.

Donald Raef won $450,000 from a Lucky Day Lotto Illinois Lottery ticket sold at BP, 7615 Route 14, Crystal Lake, during the Sept. 8 evening drawing, according to a news release from the Illinois Lottery.

“It was my lucky day!” Raef said.

His ticket matched all five numbers – 03-04-09-16-28. Raef said he has been playing the same numbers for several years. He plans on buying a house with part of the money. 

The retailer received a bonus of $4,500, or one percent of the prize amount, for selling the winning ticket. More than 22,000 players won prizes ranging from $1 to $200 in the same drawing. Lucky Day Lotto drawings are twice a day, seven days a week. 

Donald Raef, of Hebron, holds his winning Lucky Day Lotto ticket. Raef's ticket matched all five numbers – 03 - 04 - 09 - 16 - 28 – in the Sept. 8 drawing.


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Wheaton College football players charged in hazing incidentWheaton College

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 13:36:00 GMT

WHEATON – Several Wheaton College football players are facing criminal charges after a freshman teammate was restrained with duct tape, beaten and left half-naked with two torn shoulders on a baseball field as part of a 2016 hazing incident, according to media reports.

The players – James Cooksey, Kyler Kregel, Benjamin Pettway, Noah Spielman and Samuel TeBos – have been charged with aggravated battery, mob action and unlawful restraint, the reports stated.

There is a $50,000 arrest warrant for each player, DuPage County State's Attorney's Office spokesman Paul Darrah said.

Wheaton College released a statement saying it was "deeply troubled" by the allegations.

"Wheaton College aspires to provide an educational environment that is not only free of hazing, but practices our values as a Christian community," the college said in the statement. "As such, we are deeply troubled by the allegations brought by law enforcement against five members of our football team. When this incident was brought to our attention by other members of the football team and coaching staff in March 2016, the college took swift action to initiate a thorough investigation. Our internal investigation into the incident, and our engagement with an independent, third-party investigator retained by the college, resulted in a range of corrective actions. We are unable to share details on these disciplinary measures due to federal student privacy protections."

College officials said they have fully cooperated with authorities in their investigation, and in light of the incident, the college's Board of Trustees has engaged outside experts to review the campus's anti-hazing policy and "the culture around how students treat one another in our campus communities, athletic teams and organizations."

"To not impede the law enforcement investigation, the college was bound by confidentiality and unable to share more information until now," the statement read. "The conduct we discovered as a result of our investigation into this incident was entirely unacceptable and inconsistent with the values we share as human beings and as members of an academic community that espouses to live according to our Community Covenant."

The college revised its anti-hazing policy in 2014 and improved its training protocols to "include a formal review of our anti-hazing policy with all student athletes every year, with required student signatures; we also require annual training for residence assistants who are responsible for residence hall activities," according to the statement.

"Despite these deeply troubling charges, we have experienced positive changes on campus, including rapid responses from campus leaders to reports of hazing or other inappropriate behavior and effective disciplinary review," the statement read.

This is a developing story. Check back at mysuburbanlife.com/wheaton for updates as they become available.

Wheaton College


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‘A horrific tragedy’ – Police: Dixon dad kills 5-year-old son, turns gun on himself

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 13:35:00 GMT

DIXON – A Dixon man under investigation for child sexual abuse shot his 5-year-old son in the head before killing himself this afternoon, the police chief said.

Dixon Police officers and Lee County Sheriff's deputies received a report at 3:37 p.m. of two shots fired at 1014 Fargo Ave. where they found Christopher Michaels dead and his father, Robert W. Michaels, 33, breathing but unresponsive with a semi-automatic handgun lying next to his hand on the floor.

Michaels was taken to KSB Hospital with a gunshot wound to his head, and later was flown to a Rockford hospital where he was pronounced dead, police Chief Danny Langloss said at a news conference tonight.

Michaels had been under investigation for child sexual abuse since Sept. 12. Although Christopher is not the child he is accused of molesting, Michaels was forbidden from being alone with the boy without supervision, Langloss said.

No further details on the assault were provided.

Christopher, a kindergartner at St. Anne School in Dixon, and his mother, Kassondra, Michaels' ex-wife, went to Michaels' home, where his dad asked whether he wanted to play a video game.

She followed the pair upstairs and, at Michaels' request, left the room to grab something. He slammed and barricaded the door, and she then heard two gunshots. She left the house to get her phone and call the police.

Michaels filed for divorce May 1 in Lee County Court; the petition was granted June 20 and a parenting plan was filed that day, court records show.

"Our heart goes out to the family members who have suffered this horrific tragedy," Langloss said.

"Our officers feel your pain. There is nothing more difficult for a police officer than seeing a young child's life being taken in such a senseless manner. This is by far the worst situation our officers have been involved in."


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Coroner identifies 2 Crystal Lake men killed in crash near McHenry

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 13:29:00 GMT

McHENRY – The McHenry County coroner identified the Crystal Lake men killed Sunday in a crash on Lily Lake Road near McHenry.

The single-vehicle crash was reported about 11:48 p.m. Saturday at 1402 Lily Lake Road, police said.

Allan Javier Sanchez Gamez, 31, of Crystal Lake and Timoteo Guzman Mejia, 33, of Crystal Lake were killed in the crash and died from blunt trauma to the head and chest. Additionally, Mejia suffered blunt trauma to the abdomen, according to a news release from the coroner.

Preliminary investigations found that Gamez was driving a 2001 Ford Explorer south on Lily Lake Road when it ran off the road and struck a tree, police said.

The McHenry Township Fire Protection District and McHenry County Sheriff’s Police responded and found two men, who were pronounced dead at the scene shortly after midnight, according to the release. 

Gamez was trapped in the vehicle, and Meija was ejected from the Ford. The unidentified front passenger, a 23-year-old man, also of Crystal Lake, was taken to Centegra Hospital – McHenry for injuries police said were not considered life-threatening, according to the release.

The front-seat passenger and driver were wearing seat belts, but the rear passenger was not, police said.

Toxicology testing is pending, and the crash remains under investigation by the McHenry County Sheriff’s Police Accident Investigation Unit and the coroner’s office.


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Great Lakes states renew push for new lock at critical pointAP file photo An ore ship passes through the Soo Locks on June 10, 2005, in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. Vessels large and small pass through the structures known as the Soo Locks more than 7,000 times a year. Officials from the Great Lakes states are making a renewed push to win approval of a long-stalled proposal for adding a new lock to the Soo Locks complex, a critical chokepoint that connects Lake Superior to the lower Great Lakes. Only one of the two working locks there handles large iron ore boats.

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 04:54:00 GMT

MINNEAPOLIS – Officials from Great Lakes states are making a renewed push to win approval of a long-stalled proposal for adding a new lock to the Soo Locks complex, a critical chokepoint that connects Lake Superior to the lower Great Lakes. Only one of the two working locks there handles large iron ore boats. A Homeland Security study said an unplanned six-month closure of the Poe Lock because of an accident or terrorist attack would shut down much of the U.S. steel industry and that the economic shockwaves could cost 11 million jobs. That’s more than the Great Recession. A Treasury Department report projects a net economic benefit of up to $1.7 billion from a new Soo Lock. The Soo Locks The Soo Locks at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, carry all the shipping traffic between Lake Superior and the rest of the Great Lakes, including ships bound for the Atlantic Ocean – more than 10,000 one-way trips and about 80 million tons of cargo annually. The cargo is mostly iron ore and coal, but also includes grain and even wind turbine blades. Boats longer than 730 feet or wider than 75 feet, which account for 85 percent of the cargo passing through the locks, are too big for the MacArthur Lock. The big vulnerability is that nearly all iron ore mined in the U.S. goes through the locks on the way to steel mills elsewhere, mostly on boats that must use the Poe Lock instead. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers does not have an official price tag for a new lock, but similar projects have cost about $1 billion, said Lynn Rose, spokeswoman for the Corps’ Detroit district. The threat A 2015 Department of Homeland Security study called the Poe Lock “the Achilles heel of the North American industrial economy.” It concluded that an unexpected six-month closure of the lock would be “catastrophic” because of the disruption to the supply chain that extends from the iron mines of Minnesota and Michigan, to the steel mills of the Great Lakes region, onward to manufacturers that depend on steel – especially the automakers. It projected a $1.1 trillion loss in gross domestic product. “Almost 11 million people in the United States and potentially millions more in Canada and Mexico would become unemployed due to the production stoppage, and the economy would enter a severe recession,” the report said. “There are no plans or solutions that could mitigate the damage to the manufacturing industries dependent on this supply chain.” Vanta Coda, executive director of the Duluth Seaway Port Authority, said he’s often asked whether he believes that figure. He said his reply is always: “What if it’s only 5 [million]? What if it’s only six? What if it’s only eight?” No matter what, he said, the risk is too great to ignore. The politics Congress first authorized a new Poe-sized lock in 1986 but never funded it. A bipartisan group of lawmakers led by Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Michigan, and Rep. Jack Bergman, R-Michigan, introduced legislation in June to try again. They won backing Monday from the Great Lakes Commission. The commission, which includes officials from eight states and two provinces, is holding its annual meeting this week in Duluth. The group’s vice chairman, John Linc Stine, said there are reasons for hope because there’s a growing consensus about the danger of economic vulnerability and the need for redundancy. But Stine, who’s also commissioner of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, also acknowl[...]


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President Donald Trump calls for U.N. reform, but with more restrained tonesAP photo President Donald Trump gets up to leave after making a quick statement at a meeting Monday during the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters.

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 04:54:00 GMT

UNITED NATIONS – President Donald Trump used his United Nations debut on Monday to prod the international organization to cut its bloated bureaucracy and sharpen its ill-defined mission. But he pledged U.S. support for the world body he had excoriated as a candidate, and his criticisms were more restrained than in years past. “In recent years, the United Nations has not reached its full potential due to bureaucracy and mismanagement,” Trump said. “We are not seeing the results in line with this investment.” The president urged the U.N. to focus “more on people and less on bureaucracy” and to change “business as usual and not be beholden to ways of the past which were not working.” He also suggested the U.S. was paying more than its fair share to keep the New York-based world body operational. The short remarks at a forum on U.N. reforms were a precursor to Tuesday’s main event, when Trump will address the U.N. General Assembly for the first time, a speech nervously awaited by world leaders concerned about what the president’s “America first” vision means for the future of the world body. Trump riffed on his campaign slogan when asked to preview his central message to the General Assembly, saying: “I think the main message is ‘make the United Nations great’ – not ‘again.’ ‘Make the United Nations great.’” “Such tremendous potential, and I think we’ll be able to do this,” he added. But even as the president chastised the U.N., he pledged that the U.S. would be “be partners in your work” to make the organization a more effective force for peace across the globe. He praised the U.N.’s early steps toward reform and made no threats to withdraw U.S. support. The president’s more measured tone stood in sharp contrast to the approach he took at NATO’s new Brussels headquarters in May, when he scolded member nations for not paying enough and refused to explicitly back its mutual defense pact. While running for office, Trump had labeled the U.N. as weak and incompetent, and not a friend of either the United States or Israel. But he has softened his message since taking office, telling ambassadors at a White House meeting in April that the U.N. has “tremendous potential.” Trump more recently has praised a pair of unanimous U.N. Security Council votes to tighten sanctions on North Korea over its continued nuclear weapons and ballistic missile tests. The annual gathering of world leaders opens amid serious concerns about Trump’s priorities. For many world leaders, it will be their first chance to take the measure of the president in person. The president on Monday praised U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who said he shared Trump’s vision for a less-wasteful U.N. that will “live up to its full potential.” The U.S. has asked member nations to sign a declaration on U.N. reforms, and more than 120 have done so. True to form, the president also managed to work into his speech a reference to the Trump-branded apartment tower across First Avenue from the U.N. His speech began a busy week of diplomacy for Trump, who is scheduled to meet separately with more than a dozen world leaders along the sidelines of the U.N. In his first bilateral meeting, with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Trump declared that they “are giving it an absolute go” on Middle East peace talks. Trump is to meet with the head of the Palestinian Authority later in the [...]


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Hurricane Maria batters Dominica as a Category 5 stormMen remove boats from the water ahead of Hurricane Maria in the Galbas area of Sainte-Anne on the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe, early Monday, Sept. 18, 2017. Hurricane Maria grew into a Category 3 storm on Monday as it barreled toward a potentially devastating collision with islands in the eastern Caribbean. (AP Photo/Dominique Chomereau-Lamotte)

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 04:54:00 GMT

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – Hurricane Maria intensified into a dangerous Category 5 storm and pounded the small island of Dominica as it surged into the eastern Caribbean on Monday night, and forecasters warned it might become even stronger. The storm was following a path that could take it on Tuesday near many of the islands recently devastated by Hurricane Irma and then head toward a possible direct strike on Puerto Rico on Wednesday. Fierce winds and driving rain lashed the mountainous island for hours, causing flooding and tearing roofs from homes. A series of Facebook posts by Dominica Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit captured the fury of the storm as it made landfall. “The winds are merciless! We shall survive by the grace of God,” Skerrit wrote at the start of a series of increasingly harrowing posts. A few minutes later, he messaged that he could hear the sound of galvanized steel roofs tearing off of houses on the small rugged island. He then wrote that he thought his home had been damaged. And three words: “Rough! Rough! Rough!” A half hour later, he said: “My roof is gone. I am at the complete mercy of the hurricane. House is flooding.” Seven minutes later he posted that he had been rescued. Late Monday, a police official, Inspector Pellam Jno Baptiste, said there were no immediate reports of casualties, but it still was too dangerous for officers to do a full assessment as the storm raged outside. “Where we are, we can’t move,” he said in a brief phone interview. Dominica authorities had closed schools and government offices and urged people to move from dangerous areas to shelters. “We should treat the approaching hurricane very, very seriously,” the prime minister warned as the storm approached. “This much water in Dominica is dangerous.” In August 2015, Tropical Storm Erika unleashed flooding and landslides that killed 31 people and destroyed more than 370 homes on the small, mountainous island. Officials on nearby Guadeloupe said the French island would experience extremely heavy flooding and warned that many communities could be submerged overnight. In Martinique, authorities ordered people to remain indoors and said they should prepare for cuts to power and water. Schools and non-essential public services were closed. With Puerto Rico appearing destined for a hit, officials in the U.S. territory warned residents of wooden or otherwise flimsy homes to find safe shelter. “You have to evacuate. Otherwise you’re going to die,” said Hector Pesquera, the island’s public safety commissioner. “I don’t know how to make this any clearer.” Puerto Rico imposed rationing of basic supplies, including water, milk, baby formula, canned food, batteries and flashlights. The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Maria had maximum sustained winds of 160 mph late Monday. The eye was atop Dominica and about 270 miles southeast of St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands. It is heading west-northwest at 9 mph. Earlier in the day, the center had warned: “Maria is developing the dreaded pinhole eye.” That’s a sign of an extremely strong hurricane likely to get even mightier, University of Miami hurricane researcher Brian McNoldy said. Just like when a spinning ice skater brings in their arms and rotates faster, a smaller, tighter eye shows the [...]


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U.S. immigrants sue over Trump's end of deportation protectionAP file photo April Soasti, 9, and her sister Adriana (left), 7, stand with other community members after the president announced the plan to repeal of the Deferred Action in Childhood Arrivals program Sept. 7. Six immigrants brought to the U.S. as children who became teachers, graduate students and a lawyer are suing the Trump administration over its decision to end DACA, which is shielding them from deportation.

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 04:54:00 GMT

IRVINE, Calif. – Six immigrants brought to the United States as children who became teachers, graduate students and a lawyer sued the Trump administration on Monday over its decision to end a program shielding them from deportation. The lawsuit filed in federal court in San Francisco alleged the move violated the constitutional rights of immigrants who lack legal status and provided information about themselves to the U.S. government so they could participate in the program. “The consequences are potentially catastrophic,” said Jesse Gabriel, a lawyer for the plaintiffs. “These people can very powerfully and very clearly communicate the extent to which they organized their lives around this program.” The lawsuit joins others filed over President Donald Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program which has allowed nearly 800,000 immigrants to obtain work permits and deportation protection since 2012. More than a dozen states from Maine to California have sued over the administration’s decision to phase out the program, alleging similar constitutional violations. So has the University of California system. The effect of Trump’s decision directly weighs on plaintiffs’ personal lives and decisions they made to advance their careers in the U.S. Viridiana Chabolla, a 26-year-old law student at University of California Irvine, said she does not know how she would repay a loan she took out to cover living costs or how she would afford books or food if her protection from the program known as DACA is rescinded. “I imagined in the years to come I’d be able to get a job and would be able to pay it back,” said Chabolla, whose parents brought her illegally to the U.S. from Mexico when she was 2. “I imagined I’d at least have DACA.” The lawsuit claimed that the administration’s decision violates the immigrants’ rights to equal protection and due process. The plaintiffs – who are from Mexico and Thailand – include teachers, a medical student and 34-year-old lawyer Dulce Garcia, who recently signed a lease for an office and hired employees believing she could stay and work in the U.S. under the program, said Gabriel, an attorney for the law firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher. Trump’s announcement on Sept. 5 came after 10 Republican attorneys general threatened to sue in an attempt to halt the program. Under Trump’s plan, those already enrolled remain covered until their two-year work permits expire, and some renewals are being allowed. But there will be no new applications. Department of Justice spokesman Devin O’Malley blamed the Obama administration for starting the program and said the agency will defend Trump’s decision. “It was the previous administration’s arbitrary circumvention of Congress that got us to this point,” he said. “The Department of Justice looks forward to defending this Administration’s position and restoring respect for the rule of law.” Immigrant advocates praise the program for protecting immigrants who were raised and educated in the U.S. despite their lack of legal immigration papers. The program’s opponents criticize it as too broad and said major changes to immigration laws need to go through Congress and cannot be enacted by the U.S. president alone. AP file photo April Soasti, 9, and her sister Adriana (left), 7, stand with other community members after the[...]


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Trustees, residents hope for retail, mixed-use development at former Huntley Outlet CenterCapital Companies LLC President Rich Turasky, a Lake in the Hills resident, has said he and other property owners would like to turn the space into an office, research and industrial district, such as warehouse space. However, the Plan Commission and Village Board have the ultimate say, as members would need to approve a rezoning agreement. The space currently is zoned for retail. Demolition has begun on 8 of the 77 acres of the property that were sold to General RV for an expansion. Turasky said developers hope to have the portion demolished by Oct. 1. Village Manager Dave Johnson said an incomplete rezoning application was submitted to the village at the beginning of August, and the village still is waiting on a new application to be submitted. Many residents expressed a want for a hotel, adding that people visiting residents in Del Webb have nowhere to stay. Trustee JR Westberg said a hotel could help Huntley High School bring Illinois High School Association-sanctioned events to its field house and have people stay overnight from across the state.Trustee Ronda Goldman said she would love to see a mixed-use space, featuring office and commercial space along with a boutique hotel and some restaurants and shops. "It would be great for the residents, the tax base and for jobs, and it would certainly bring people to the corridor of Route 47, while also benefiting neighboring towns," Goldman said. In its heyday in 2002, the center generated $346,743 in sales tax compared with $124,884 generated in 2015, according to village documents. "Unfortunately, there are zero dollars coming in sales tax-wise currently, but the change of zoning to ORI [office, research and light industry district] would significantly impact in a negative way the village’s ability to generate sales tax," Johnson said. Westberg said he'd like to see a mixed-use development, featuring a movie theater and entertainment venue such as Dave & Buster's, along with space for athletic programs such as a dance studio and indoor soccer arena. "If you draw the children and athletics in, mom and dad could drop them off for a few hours and have a nice meal or go see a movie," Westberg said. "This would draw attention from people outside of the community and make it more of a destination than a one-stop shop."He said he will oppose big-box industrial space, such as the Weber Grill distribution center, because the area deserves to be a marquee corner as people enter town. "I think we could do better," Westberg said. "This needs to be a cornerstone with substance to it other than office space. We have plenty of other spaces throughout our town for industrial use, but that corner needs to be a spotlight." The center, located at Route 47 and Interstate 90, sits along a $61 million full interchange opened in 2013, which has inspired the village to create a draft plan to guide future land use and development of the area. Village staff and planning consultant firm Houseal Lavinge Associates will host a feedback meeting from 4 to 6 p.m. Thursday at the Huntley Municipal Complex, 10987 Main St. Johnson said the focus of the draft plan is on the hundreds of acres that surround the intersection, but the outlet center property on the draft plan still shows commercial use. "That is different than what developers have proposed, so it will be important and good to obtain feedback for that property and other spaces and get public input," Johnson said.Johnson said the village has had good dialogue about other development options, but officials understand the "challenges associated with retail and other development in today's world." "The outlet mall and retail business has drastically changed because of the internet and how people are buying their retail products," Turasky has said. Lake in the Hills resident Amy Blozinski said that between the outlet center and several stores at Algonquin Commons closing, Huntley residents are left with limited options about where to shop. "It now takes an hour or more to drive to the same stores somewhere else," Blozinski said. "It's a shame the property wasn't sold to someone else and improved upon years ago." Melissa Albright, who lived in Huntley for 20 years, said she is in favor of industrial and corporate space because it would bring more job availability. Albright said a business such as Chase Bank or Fisher Nuts on Randall Road could bring younger people to the area and bring back money into the economy. “A lot of people graduating college are moving closer to Schaumburg for opportunities now,” she said.

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 04:52:00 GMT

HUNTLEY – Hotels, restaurants and retail are just some of the options Huntley residents and trustees want to see at the former Huntley Outlet Center property. But a changing retail marketplace has prompted developers to look outside of the mall's previous use. Capital Companies LLC President Rich Turasky, a Lake in the Hills resident, has said he and other property owners would like to turn the space into an office, research and industrial district, such as warehouse space. However, the Plan Commission and Village Board have the ultimate say, as members would need to approve a rezoning agreement. The space currently is zoned for retail. Demolition has begun on 8 of the 77 acres of the property that were sold to General RV for an expansion. Turasky said developers hope to have the portion demolished by Oct. 1. Village Manager Dave Johnson said an incomplete rezoning application was submitted to the village at the beginning of August, and the village still is waiting on a new application to be submitted. Many residents expressed a want for a hotel, adding that people visiting residents in Del Webb have nowhere to stay. Trustee JR Westberg said a hotel could help Huntley High School bring Illinois High School Association-sanctioned events to its field house and have people stay overnight from across the state.Trustee Ronda Goldman said she would love to see a mixed-use space, featuring office and commercial space along with a boutique hotel and some restaurants and shops. "It would be great for the residents, the tax base and for jobs, and it would certainly bring people to the corridor of Route 47, while also benefiting neighboring towns," Goldman said. In its heyday in 2002, the center generated $346,743 in sales tax compared with $124,884 generated in 2015, according to village documents. "Unfortunately, there are zero dollars coming in sales tax-wise currently, but the change of zoning to ORI [office, research and light industry district] would significantly impact in a negative way the village’s ability to generate sales tax," Johnson said. Westberg said he'd like to see a mixed-use development, featuring a movie theater and entertainment venue such as Dave & Buster's, along with space for athletic programs such as a dance studio and indoor soccer arena. "If you draw the children and athletics in, mom and dad could drop them off for a few hours and have a nice meal or go see a movie," Westberg said. "This would draw attention from people outside of the community and make it more of a destination than a one-stop shop."He said he will oppose big-box industrial space, such as the Weber Grill distribution center, because the area deserves to be a marquee corner as people enter town. "I think we could do better," Westberg said. "This needs to be a cornerstone with substance to it other than office space. We have plenty of other spaces throughout our town for industrial use, but that corner needs to be a spotlight." The center, located at Route 47 and Interstate 90, sits along a $61 million full interchange opened in 2013, which has inspired the village to create a draft plan to guide future land use and development of the area. Village staff and planning consultant firm Houseal Lavinge Associates will host a feedback meeting from 4 to 6 p.m. Thursday at the Huntley Municipal Complex, 10987 Main St. Johnson said the focus of the draft plan is on the hundreds of acres that surround the intersection, but the outlet center property on the draft plan still shows commercial use. "That is different than what developers have proposed, so it will be important and good to obtain feedback for that property and other spaces and get public inp[...]


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Rolling Stone, iconic music magazine, puts itself up for saleThis Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2017 photo shows people looking at covers of the Rolling Stone magazines at the "Rolling Stone 50 Years" exhibit at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, in Cleveland. Rolling Stone, rock'n'roll magazine turned liberal cheerleader, is up for sale. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 04:43:00 GMT

Rolling Stone co-founder Jann Wenner is putting the magazine up for sale, marking a new chapter for the cultural bible that for half a century has spotlighted musical artists from Jimi Hendrix to Kendrick Lamar and prose from writers such as Hunter S. Thompson and Matt Taibbi. Wenner Media, one of the last family-owned media companies would become the latest publisher to shift away from print publications after years of losing advertising and readership to online alternatives. A sale would leave the company without a print publication for the first time since Wenner created Rolling Stone in San Francisco in 1967. The buyer of Wenner Media’s 51 percent stake would most likely pay far less than the $500 million offer that Wenner has boasted about receiving years ago, before the print industry began its decline. A new owner may bring in new management, which would mark another changing of the guard among celebrity editors. In recent weeks, Nancy Gibbs and Graydon Carter, top editors at Time magazine and Vanity Fair, announced they’re moving on. Gus Wenner, the company’s digital chief, and his father, Jann, who started Rolling Stone when the Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane were performing at local clubs, told the New York Times that they intend to stay at the magazine but that the decision would be up to the new owner. When Wenner Media sold a 49 percent stake in Rolling Stone to Singapore-based BandLab Technologies in September 2016, it was the first time Jann Wenner had admitted an outside investor. The deal was an opportunity to take the brand into new and different markets, Gus Wenner said at the time. The younger Wenner runs the day-to-day operations. While some former employees have said 27-year-old Gus lacks the experience to run a media company, others say his youth may help a magazine that has focused too much on aging rock stars when advertisers are seeking younger readers. Rolling Stone is looking to invest more in video, including TV and film projects, Gus Wenner told Bloomberg earlier this year. Wenner Media hired Methuselah Advisors to explore the sale of Rolling Stone, according to the company statement Sunday. The company didn’t say whether Wenner is in talks with any potential suitors. BandLab Technologies, a budding digital music company co-founded by Kuok Meng Ru, the scion of one of Asia’s richest families, declined to comment. Earlier this year, Wenner Media sold Men’s Journal and Us Weekly to American Media Inc. The sales helped Wenner pay off substantial debt after it sold half of Us Weekly to Walt Disney Co. in 2001 for about $40 million, then borrowed to buy back the stake in 2006 for $300 million. Rolling Stone’s reputation was damaged when it was forced to retract a 2014 article about a gang rape at the University of Virginia after its reporting was discredited. Last year, Rolling Stone and reporter Sabrina Rubin Erdely lost a defamation case related to the article and were ordered to pay $1 million and $2 million, respectively. In June, Rolling Stone agreed to pay $1.65 million to settle a defamation lawsuit against the fraternity in the article. Rolling Stone made its mark in the 1970s and ’80s with cutting-edge music and political coverage. Gonzo journalist Thompson wrote for Wenner for decades, including publishing first in its pages “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas,” which later became a book and movie. [...]


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McHenry County Department of Health: Rabid bat found in Crystal Lake

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 04:34:00 GMT

WOODSTOCK – A rabid bat was found last week outside a Crystal Lake house, according to the McHenry County Department of Health.

A homeowner discovered the bat Sept. 11 and removed it with a shovel and plastic bag. A dog who lived in the house potentially was exposed, and no human exposure was reported, the health department said in a news release.

Keeping pets vaccinated will prevent them from getting rabies if exposed, according to the health department. Rabies is a fatal disease caused by a virus that attacks the central nervous system. Symptoms of rabid bats in particular include daytime activity, presence in a place bats usually are not seen or the inability to fly, according to the health department.

People should not touch bats directly. Bats that are inside a home should be contained to a single room. If the bat is outside and possibly has interacted with pets or humans – or if it’s injured – place a bucket over it and call Animal Control at 815-459-6222, according to the health department.

Statewide, 46 rabid bats have been reported in 2017, with 43 of them having been found in northeastern Illinois, according to the health department.

Call MCDH’s Communicable Disease Program at 815-334-4500 with any questions. To learn more about rabies prevention, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at www.cdc.gov/rabies/.


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Women won big at Emmys, in front of and behind the cameraAP photo Jeffrey Nordling (from left), Alexander Skarsgard, Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon, Zoe Kravitz and Laure Dern pose in the press room with their awards for outstanding limited series for "Big Little Lies" at the 69th Primetime Emmy Awards on Sunday at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 04:34:00 GMT

NEW YORK – The Emmy statuette depicts a winged woman, and this year’s Emmy telecast celebrated a TV season in which women, as never before, were able to soar. Strong roles about strong women abounded. And they were rewarded. The winning drama series and limited series (“The Handmaid’s Tale” and “Big Little Lies,” respectively) focused on issues of women – rather than defaulting to the male point of view – as a vivid way to explore the human condition. “Veep,” which stars Julia Louis-Dreyfus as the former president of the U.S., won best comedy series. Women also made inroads behind the camera, with Lena Waithe winning best comedy writer Emmy for “Master of None.” She’s the first female winner ever in that category. For many of the winners as well as many fans who were cheering them on, the Emmycast unfolded as a bracing rebuttal at a time when surveys continue to expose unfair representation by women in Hollywood. “Let’s hope that this is the beginning of something even better in our country and the world,” Louis-Dreyfus said, savoring her record-breaking sixth win as Selina Meyer on “Veep.” “I think the world would be a better place if more women were in charge.” “We’ve made incredible progress, obviously,” said Elisabeth Moss, who won the best actress Emmy for her starring role in “The Handmaid’s Tale” as one of the few fertile women left in a world ruled by a totalitarian regime that treats women as property. But she added, “There’s still a lot of work to be done. There are still meetings you walk into and wonder if they say ‘no’ because it’s a show by or about a woman.” The answer, Moss said, is “not only women in front of the camera, but it’s women behind the camera.” “Feud: Bette and Joan,” starring Susan Sarandon and Jessica Lange in a robust saga of clashing queens of the silver screen, was a promising entry in the Limited Series category. But “Feud” was edged out by another woman-centric drama, “Big Little Lies,” which followed a group of mothers who each has secrets threatening to crash down upon her. The series collected eight Emmys also including best actress (Nicole Kidman), best supporting actress (Laura Dern) and best supporting actor Alexander Skarsgard. In accepting his trophy, Skarsgard thanked his colleagues for letting him be “one of the girls.” Indeed, two of the series’ executive producers were Kidman and her co-star Reese Witherspoon. Backstage, Witherspoon voiced delight that “we created four roles for women, and all got nominated.” The characters those women portrayed “were complicated. They were complex,” she noted. “They were good and bad.” “What was so wonderful,” Kidman said, “is that we had so many people, men and women of different ages, watching the show that went far beyond what we expected. As much as it was about women, it was for everyone.” In accepting her Emmy as one of the series’ producers, Kidman implored the industry to create “more great roles for women, please.” But Witherspoon pointed out that “it’s great to be the architect of your own destiny, and create material for yourself [...]


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McHenry County Jail holding Arlington Heights man facing sexual assault, theft chargesEric J. Elwell, 23, of the 1300 block of East Waverly Place, Arlington Heights, was charged with criminal sexual assault and theft

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 04:30:00 GMT

WOODSTOCK – An Arlington Heights man accused of holding down a McHenry County woman who was raped by another man after a night out at a local nightclub is in McHenry County Jail.

Eric J. Elwell, 23, of the 1300 block of East Waverly Place, previously was being held in Cook County Jail but was brought Sunday afternoon to McHenry County.

He remained in the jail Monday on $100,000 bond, according to jail records.

Elwell will appear Thursday before Judge Sharon Prather.

Elwell and his co-defendant, Blake R. Alberts, were charged Aug. 31 with criminal sexual assault and theft in connection with an Aug. 12 incident, according to court records.

The woman Alberts is accused of sexually assaulting requested a civil no-contact order against him Aug. 18. A judge granted an emergency no-contact order the same day, court records show.

The 21-year-old woman told police that she was at Moretti’s with two friends Aug. 12 when she met Alberts and Elwell, according to the no-contact order. The Moretti’s in Lake in the Hills transitions into Club 220 North at night. The club was closing, so the woman said she invited her two friends and Alberts and Elwell back to her house.

The party continued in the woman’s garage, and she said she invited people to sleep over because she didn’t want anyone to drive home after they had been drinking, according to the order.

Between 6 and 9 a.m., the woman said Alberts and Elwell walked her to her bedroom while others went to the basement to sleep, according to the order. She said Elwell held her down while Alberts sexually assaulted her, and then raped her after Elwell had left, records show.

Both men also were charged with theft of more than $500 worth of “numerous pieces of jewelry” from another woman with the same last name as the woman they are accused of assaulting on the same day, according to a criminal complaint signed by a detective with the Crystal Lake Police Department

Both men face up to 15 years in prison if convicted of the most serious charge.

Alberts remained in McHenry County Jail custody Monday on $150,000 bond. He next will appear in court Sept. 28.

Eric J. Elwell, 23, of the 1300 block of East Waverly Place, Arlington Heights, was charged with criminal sexual assault and theft


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Crystal Lake trustees to consider grant, city funds to help with backyard floodingSarah Nader file photo – snader@shawmedia.com After a downpour, Susan Adams stands on her flooded driveway June 29 at her Crystal Lake home on Pine Street. Crystal Lake trustees will vote on a resolution to the city's flooding problem at Tuesday's meeting, including whether to apply for a grant application to the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Pre-Disaster Mitigation Grant Program.Sarah Nader file photo – snader@shawmedia.com South Oriole Trail resident Terry Cotter adds fuel to his backyard water pump July 12 after heavy rains in Crystal Lake. Neighborhood residents have been seeking relief from the city for continual flooding in yards. Crystal Lake trustees will vote on a resolution to the city's flooding problem at Tuesday's meeting, including whether to apply for a grant application to the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Pre-Disaster Mitigation Grant Program.Sarah Nader file photo – snader@shawmedia.com Donald and Susan Adams' backyard is flooded June 29 on Pine Street in Crystal Lake. Residents living on the block immediately southeast of the Route 14 and West Crystal Lake Avenue intersection are frustrated with the city for not finding a solution to the flooding problem. Crystal Lake trustees will vote on a resolution to the city's flooding problem at Tuesday's meeting, including whether to apply for a grant application to the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Pre-Disaster Mitigation Grant Program.

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 04:30:00 GMT

CRYSTAL LAKE – Crystal Lake City Council members will decide whether the city should apply for a grant and potentially spend more than $340,000 to help reduce flooding for the Pine Street, Oriole Trail and Crystal Lake Avenue areas. Trustees will vote on a resolution at Tuesday’s meeting to support a grant application to the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Pre-Disaster Mitigation Grant Program. The grant would allocate funds to the city to demolish five homes that are continually flooded, according to village documents. The project is estimated to cost more than $1.3 million, village documents show. If the federal grant is awarded, the federal share would total 75 percent and the local match would be 25 percent, or about $343,902. Demolition is expected to significantly reduce the risk of flooding and reduce flood damage to other residences and roadways nearby, according to village documents. The vacated properties would be used for additional stormwater storage. Residents expressed frustration with the city for not finding a solution to the flooding problem, which has cost them money and left them without access to their backyards for much of the summer. However, the city repeatedly has been denied grant money to help fund a solution. For between 10 and 12 affected homes, rainwater typically ponds longer than a standard swimming pool and covers large portions of residents’ yards. Mosquitoes and other flying insects are attracted to the standing water and make it nearly impossible for people to stand in the backyards at night without pests biting or bothering them, residents have said. The five homeowners are not required to sell their homes, according to village documents, and residents who attended a meeting Aug. 8 did not object to the concept. The grant application can be submitted until Nov. 14, documents show. It could take six months to a year before the state makes a decision on what projects to forward to FEMA. FEMA then reviews the applications and makes funding decisions based on its priorities. The City Council meeting will be at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall, 100 W. Woodstock St., Crystal Lake. Sarah Nader file photo – snader@shawmedia.com After a downpour, Susan Adams stands on her flooded driveway June 29 at her Crystal Lake home on Pine Street. Crystal Lake trustees will vote on a resolution to the city's flooding problem at Tuesday's meeting, including whether to apply for a grant application to the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Pre-Disaster Mitigation Grant Program.Sarah Nader file photo – snader@shawmedia.com South Oriole Trail resident Terry Cotter adds fuel to his backyard water pump July 12 after heavy rains in Crystal Lake. Neighborhood residents have been seeking relief from the city for continual flooding in yards. Crystal Lake trustees will vote on a resolution to the city's flooding problem at Tuesday's meeting, including whether to apply for a grant application to the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Pre-Disaster Mitigation Grant Program.Sarah Nader file photo – snader@shawmedia.com Donald and Susan Adams' backyard is flooded June 29 on Pine Street in Crystal Lake. Residents living on the block immediately southeast of the Route 14 and West Crystal Lake Avenue intersection are frustrated with the city for not finding a solution to the floo[...]


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Trustees to vote on grant funding for continual flooding in Crystal Lake backyardsTrustees will vote on a resolution at Tuesday's meeting to support a grant application to the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Pre-Disaster Mitigation Grant Program. The grant would allocate funds to the city to demolish five homes that are continually flooded, according to village documents. The project is estimated to cost more than $1.3 million, village documents show. If the federal grant is awarded, the federal share would total 75 percent and the local match would be 25 percent, or about $343,902. Demolition is expected to significantly reduce the risk of flooding and reduce flood damage to other residences and roadways nearby, according to village documents.The vacated properties would be used for additional stormwater storage.Residents expressed frustration with the city for not finding a solution to the flooding problem, which has cost them money and left them without access to their backyards for much of the summer. However, the city continuously has been denied grant money to help fund a solution. For between 10 and 12 affected homes, rainwater typically ponds longer than a standard swimming pool and covers large portions of residents' yards. Mosquitoes and other flying insects are attracted to the standing water and make it nearly impossible for people to stand in the backyards at night without pests biting or bothering them, residents have said.The five homeowners are not required to sell their home, according to village documents, and residents who attended a meeting Aug. 8 did not object to the concept. The grant application can be submitted until Nov. 14, documents show. It could take six months to a year before the state makes a decision on what projects to forward to FEMA. FEMA then reviews the applications and makes funding decisions based on its priorities. The City Council meeting will be at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall, 100 W. Woodstock St., Crystal Lake.

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 04:27:00 GMT

CRYSTAL LAKE – Crystal Lake City Council members will decide whether the city should apply for a grant and potentially spend more than $340,000 to help reduce flooding for the Pine Street, Oriole Trail and Crystal Lake Avenue areas.

Trustees will vote on a resolution at Tuesday's meeting to support a grant application to the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Pre-Disaster Mitigation Grant Program. The grant would allocate funds to the city to demolish five homes that are continually flooded, according to village documents. The project is estimated to cost more than $1.3 million, village documents show. If the federal grant is awarded, the federal share would total 75 percent and the local match would be 25 percent, or about $343,902. Demolition is expected to significantly reduce the risk of flooding and reduce flood damage to other residences and roadways nearby, according to village documents.The vacated properties would be used for additional stormwater storage.Residents expressed frustration with the city for not finding a solution to the flooding problem, which has cost them money and left them without access to their backyards for much of the summer. However, the city continuously has been denied grant money to help fund a solution. For between 10 and 12 affected homes, rainwater typically ponds longer than a standard swimming pool and covers large portions of residents' yards. Mosquitoes and other flying insects are attracted to the standing water and make it nearly impossible for people to stand in the backyards at night without pests biting or bothering them, residents have said.The five homeowners are not required to sell their home, according to village documents, and residents who attended a meeting Aug. 8 did not object to the concept. The grant application can be submitted until Nov. 14, documents show. It could take six months to a year before the state makes a decision on what projects to forward to FEMA. FEMA then reviews the applications and makes funding decisions based on its priorities. The City Council meeting will be at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall, 100 W. Woodstock St., Crystal Lake.


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Woodstock residents voice concerns about Centegra changes at community meetingWoodstock Mayor Brian Sager addresses a crowded room Monday at the first of a series of community meetings regarding Centegra Health System's proposed changes to its Woodstock hospital.

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 04:23:00 GMT

WOODSTOCK – Ambulance costs, increased travel time, inconvenience and the future of health care in Woodstock were only some of the concerns residents shared at a public forum Monday regarding Centegra Health System’s plans to end some services at its Woodstock hospital. Centegra announced its plans in June to suspend inpatient and surgical services in Woodstock. The health system implemented the changes in mid-August, but it needs final approval from the Illinois Health Services and Facilities Review Board. The board isn’t scheduled to make a decision until November, and a public hearing is scheduled for 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 2 at the Woodstock Opera House, 121 Van Buren St. Woodstock city officials are holding a series of community forums this week ahead of the public hearing in order to educate residents of both Woodstock and its surrounding areas.“We want to have a dialogue,” Woodstock Mayor Brian Sager said. “By hosting these meetings, we can engage you all in discussion … and try to encourage participation as we move forward.” Residents and city officials have been critical of the changes since they were made public, and Woodstock Fire/Rescue District officials already are in the first month of seeing a dramatic increase in the number of times patients must be taken to either McHenry or Huntley after a call, Fire Chief Michael Hill said “Since the changes, 50 percent of calls go out of town,” he said.Before the changes, between 7 percent and 10 percent of patients were taken to a hospital outside of Woodstock, he said. This increases the number of times paramedics are unable to respond to other calls, and it can be costly for patients who pay a per-mile cost on top of the estimated $800 fee. If a patient needs to be taken from Woodstock to another facility because he or she needs overnight care, the financial burden is on them to pay for a private ambulance, Hill said.Steve Browne, who lives on the west side of Marengo, said he is concerned about how long it would take an ambulance to drive from Marengo to either McHenry or Huntley in an emergency. State Rep. Steve Reick, who was in attendance at the meeting Monday, also voiced concerns about travel times to available full-service hospitals not only from Woodstock but also places on the outskirts of the county, particularly once winter begins and the Route 47 widening project is underway – both of which could delay travel times. “Those travel times are going to increase dramatically,” Reick said. “Here [in Woodstock] you might have a little more wiggle room, but get into the northwest part of the district and all of the sudden you are exceeding 40 to 45 minutes.” By the end of the evening, more than 60 people had signed a petition opposing the changes, and others had registered to speak at the Oct. 2 meeting.Residents interested in registering to share their insights, signing the petition or learning more can visit woodstockil.gov. The next community forum will be at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Woodstock Public Library, 414 W. Judd St. The final meeting before the public hearing will be at 8 a.m. Friday at Stage Left Cafe, 125 W. Van Buren St. Woodstock Mayor Brian Sager addresses a crowded room Monday at the first of a series of community meetings regarding Centegra He[...]


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Trustees, residents weigh in on developing space at former Huntley Outlet CenterH. Rick Bamman – hbamman@shawmedia.com Crews from Langos Corp. demolition service work to raze a section of the Huntley Outlet Center. Developers hope to have a portion of the 270,000-square-foot outlet mall demolished by Oct. 1, according to a permit recently submitted to the village of Huntley.H. Rick Bamman – hbamman@shawmedia.com A worker from Langos Corp. demolition service walks past a section of the Huntley Outlet Center. Developers hope to have a portion of the 270,000-square-foot outlet mall demolished by Oct. 1, according to a permit recently submitted to the village of Huntley.

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 04:18:00 GMT

HUNTLEY – Hotels, restaurants and retail are just some of the options Huntley residents and trustees want to see at the former Huntley Outlet Center property. But a changing retail marketplace has prompted developers to look outside of the mall’s previous use. Capital Companies LLC President Rich Turasky, a Lake in the Hills resident, has said he and other property owners would like to turn the space into an office, research and industrial district, such as warehouse space. However, the Plan Commission and Village Board have the ultimate say, as members would need to approve a rezoning agreement. The space currently is zoned for retail.  Demolition has begun on 8 of the 77 acres of the property that were sold to General RV for an expansion. Turasky said developers hope to have the portion demolished by Oct. 1. Village Manager Dave Johnson said an incomplete rezoning application was submitted to the village at the beginning of August, and the village still is waiting on a new application to be submitted. Many residents expressed a want for a hotel, adding that people visiting residents in Del Webb have nowhere to stay. Trustee JR Westberg said a hotel could help Huntley High School bring Illinois High School Association-sanctioned events to its field house and have people stay overnight from across the state. Trustee Ronda Goldman said she would love to see a mixed-use space, featuring office and commercial space along with a boutique hotel and some restaurants and shops. “It would be great for the residents, the tax base and for jobs, and it would certainly bring people to the corridor of Route 47, while also benefiting neighboring towns,” Goldman said. In its heyday in 2002, the center generated $346,743 in sales tax compared with $124,884 generated in 2015, according to village documents. “Unfortunately, there are zero dollars coming in sales tax-wise currently, but the change of zoning to ORI [office, research and light industry district] would significantly impact in a negative way the village’s ability to generate sales tax,” Johnson said. Westberg said he’d like to see a mixed-use development, featuring a movie theater and entertainment venue such as Dave & Buster’s, along with space for athletic programs such as a dance studio and indoor soccer arena. “If you draw the children and athletics in, mom and dad could drop them off for a few hours and have a nice meal or go see a movie,” Westberg said. “This would draw attention from people outside of the community and make it more of a destination than a one-stop shop.” He said he will oppose big-box industrial space, such as the Weber Grill distribution center, because the area deserves to be a marquee corner as people enter town. “I think we could do better,” Westberg said. “This needs to be a cornerstone with substance to it other than office space. We have plenty of other spaces throughout our town for industrial use, but that corner needs to be a spotlight.” The center, located at Route 47 and Interstate 90, sits along a $61 million full interchange opened in 2013, which has inspired the village[...]


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3 arrested during protest at Georgia Tech after vigil

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 03:34:00 GMT

ATLANTA – Three people were arrested Monday night during a protest after a vigil for a Georgia Tech student who was fatally shot by campus police, a university spokesman said. Police shot and killed Scout Schultz late Saturday night after the 21-year-old student called 911 to report an armed and possibly intoxicated suspicious person, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation has said. Georgia Tech sent out alerts urging students to shelter indoors Monday night and lock doors and windows because of violent protests. Video posted on social media showed a police vehicle burning in the street and officers pinning people to the ground as onlookers shouted at them. After a peaceful vigil, about 50 protesters marched to the campus police department, university spokesman Lance Wallace said. A police vehicle was damaged and two officers suffered minor injuries, with one taken to a hospital for treatment. Police restored order relatively quickly, and three people were arrested and charged with inciting a riot and battery of an officer, Wallace said. In a statement released through attorney Chris Stewart, Schultz's family urged protesters to remain peaceful. "(W)e ask that those who wish to protest Scout's death do so peacefully. Answering violence with violence is not the answer," the statement said. "Our goal is to work diligently to make positive change at Georgia Tech in an effort to ensure a safer campus for all students." The GBI has said an officer responding to a 911 call about 11:17 p.m. Saturday shot Schultz as the student advanced on officers with a knife and refused commands to put down the knife. Stewart said Monday that the GBI confirmed to him that Schultz was holding a multipurpose tool and that the knife blade was not out. Schultz was the one who called 911, GBI spokeswoman Nelly Miles said in an emailed statement Monday. "In the call, Shultz describes the person as a white male, with long blonde hair, white T-shirt and blue jeans who is possibly intoxicated, holding a knife and possibly armed with a gun on his hip," Miles said, adding that three suicide notes were found in Schultz's dorm room. Investigators recovered a multi-purpose tool at the scene but didn't find any guns, Miles said. Flanked by Schultz's parents Monday morning, Stewart said the officer who shot Schultz overreacted. Schultz was having a breakdown and was suicidal but if the officer had used non-lethal force rather than shooting, Schultz could have received treatment and gotten better, Stewart said. "The mentally ill are looking for a way out when they're having a full breakdown, and there's no way you should be able to use a police officer to take your life when that person isn't threatened," Stewart said. Georgia Tech police don't carry stun guns, but are equipped with pepper spray, a spokesman told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Stewart says he plans to sue over the shooting. Authorities have not identified the officer who shot Schultz. Georgia Tech on Monday refused to release personnel or disciplinary reports involving the officers, saying such information is exempt from Georgia's[...]



Young immigrants shout down Democratic leader Nancy PelosiU.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi tries to talk as protesters demonstrate during a press conference on the DREAM ACT on Monday, Sept. 18, 2017 in San Francisco, Calif. Several dozen young immigrants shouted down Pelosi, the top Democrat in the U.S. House, on Monday during an event in San Francisco, following her recent conversations with President Donald Trump over the future of a program that grants many of them legal status. (Lea Suzuki /San Francisco Chronicle via AP)

Mon, 18 Sep 2017 19:19:00 GMT

SAN FRANCISCO – Several dozen young immigrants shouted down Nancy Pelosi, the top Democrat in the U.S. House, on Monday during an event in San Francisco, following her recent conversations with President Donald Trump over the future of a program that grants many of them legal status.

"We are immigrant youth, undocumented and unafraid," they shouted as they overtook an event Pelosi was holding to encourage passing legislation that would give many young immigrants legal status.

After smiling and occasionally trying to speak through much of the protest, an aggravated Pelosi told the protesters to "just stop it, now," shortly before she was led out of the room.

She was appearing with Democratic U.S. Reps. Barbara Lee and Jared Huffman at College Track San Francisco, a program to expand college access. She was scheduled to appear Monday afternoon in Sacramento for a similar event.

The protests appeared aimed at Pelosi's recent engagement with Trump on the future of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which gives temporary legal protections to immigrants brought to the United States illegally as children or by parents who overstayed visas. Trump said in early September he will halt the program in six months if Congress does not act to continue it.

Last week, Pelosi and Democratic Senate Leader Chuck Schumer met with Trump twice and discussed a deal to extend the program. Schumer and Pelosi said they reached a deal with the White House that did not include funding for Trump's promised border wall. But the White House and Congressional Republicans say nothing is finalized.

"Democrats created an out-of-control deportation machine," the protesters yelled. "Democrats are not the resistance to Trump."

"You've had your say, and it's beautiful," Pelosi told the demonstrators at one point. But the shouting did not stop.

Pelosi told The Associated Press last Friday in an interview that she and Schumer are looking for ways to "build some trust and confidence" with Trump. She says it does not matter whether or not she and Trump like each other.

"Right now, I want him to like the Dreamers," she said, using the nickname for young immigrants in the deferred action program.

Trump has said he wants to protect those immigrants, despite his decision to wind down the program doing so over six months.

U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi tries to talk as protesters demonstrate during a press conference on the DREAM ACT on Monday, Sept. 18, 2017 in San Francisco, Calif. Several dozen young immigrants shouted down Pelosi, the top Democrat in the U.S. House, on Monday during an event in San Francisco, following her recent conversations with President Donald Trump over the future of a program that grants many of them legal status. (Lea Suzuki /San Francisco Chronicle via AP)


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A pool, a hot tub and more of what $599,000 can get you in Crystal LakeCrystal Lake home listed for sale on Zillow: 6604 Colonel Holcomb Drive. 5 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms, 5,300 square feet. Listed price: $599,000. Estimated mortgage: $2,267 per month. This Crystal Lake estate offers a gourmet kitchen with granite countertops and opens up to a family room with a brick fireplace. The second floor has a bonus room, next to a media room that includes a projector and extra large screen. The finished basement includes a fireplace and dry bar, while outside there is a salt-water pool, hot tub and pool house. Listing agent: Kelly Malina: 815-814-1653Crystal Lake home listed for sale on Zillow: 6604 Colonel Holcomb Drive. 5 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms, 5,300 square feet. Listed price: $599,000. Estimated mortgage: $2,267 per month. This Crystal Lake estate offers a gourmet kitchen with granite countertops and opens up to a family room with a brick fireplace. The second floor has a bonus room, next to a media room that includes a projector and extra large screen. The finished basement includes a fireplace and dry bar, while outside there is a salt-water pool, hot tub and pool house. Listing agent: Kelly Malina: 815-814-1653Gourmet kitchenGourmet kitchen and dining areaLiving roomLiving room with brick fireplaceDining roomOfficeMaster suiteMaster suite bathroomBonus roomBasement with bar and fireplaceBasement with pool table and barLaundry roomSun roomPoolHot tub

Mon, 18 Sep 2017 19:04:00 GMT

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

Crystal Lake home listed for sale on Zillow: 6604 Colonel Holcomb Drive. 5 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms, 5,300 square feet. Listed price: $599,000. Estimated mortgage: $2,267 per month. This Crystal Lake estate offers a gourmet kitchen with granite countertops and opens up to a family room with a brick fireplace. The second floor has a bonus room, next to a media room that includes a projector and extra large screen. The finished basement includes a fireplace and dry bar, while outside there is a salt-water pool, hot tub and pool house. Listing agent: Kelly Malina: 815-814-1653Crystal Lake home listed for sale on Zillow: 6604 Colonel Holcomb Drive. 5 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms, 5,300 square feet. Listed price: $599,000. Estimated mortgage: $2,267 per month. This Crystal Lake estate offers a gourmet kitchen with granite countertops and opens up to a family room with a brick fireplace. The second floor has a bonus room, next to a media room that includes a projector and extra large screen. The finished basement includes a fireplace and dry bar, while outside there is a salt-water pool, hot tub and pool house. Listing agent: Kelly Malina: 815-814-1653Gourmet kitchenGourmet kitchen and dining areaLiving roomLiving room with brick fireplaceDining roomOfficeMaster suiteMaster suite bathroomBonus roomBasement with bar and fireplaceBasement with pool table and barLaundry roomSun roomPoolHot tub


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Ready, Set, Learn Math!

Mon, 18 Sep 2017 16:15:48 GMT

 

 

September brings with it a lot of changes -- weather, the start of school, and the beginning of the fall sports season. For the little football fan this is an exciting time; many youngsters spend their weekends tracking their favorite players’ stats and watching replays. For parents and teachers, Monday mornings usually mean tamping down conversations about Sunday night’s quarterback. But, it can also mean new and innovative ways to teach kids about their favorite pastime. YES! Football is a great way to teach young kids and older ones both the basics and more advanced math concepts, and score some wizard points with them too!

For toddlers/ preschoolers:

For grade schoolers:

For middle schoolers:

Middle schoolers are likely more into football and likely more eager to respond to integrating football into their homework. One way to empower middle schoolers is to give them a “fantasy football” team to follow. By managing their own fantasy teams and computing and tracking players’ statistics, kids get a practical lesson in team management AND math concepts.

What tween doesn’t like YouTube? With these math collaboration videos between the National Science Foundation and the NFL, your kid can learn basic math concepts like the Pythagorean Theorem and more. Their face will be shocked when you tell them to go look up their homework assignment this way!

On that note, in “Football by the Numbers,” EA Sports also partnered with Madden NFL, NFLPA and Discovery Education an interactive educational game lesson plans that allow kids to play football games that teach math!

And when you’re football playing 8th grader complains that math homework is interfering with his game, be sure to remind him of former NFL star John Urschel, math whiz and MIT grad. He picked the number 64 for his jersey because it was a perfect square AND perfect cube. Anything is possible!

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Mathnasium, the nation’s leading math-only learning center franchise, specializes in teaching kids math in a way that makes sense to them. When math makes sense, kids excel—whether they’re far behind or eager to get ahead. The proprietary Mathnasium Method™ is the result of 40+ years of hands-on instruction and research. Franchising since 2003, Mathnasium has become one of the fastest-growing educational franchises. There are over 700 Mathnasium franchises in the U.S. and abroad. For more information, visit www.mathnasium.com.

 

 

 


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Dowe & Wagner says: Improve ductwork, improve ventilation

Mon, 18 Sep 2017 13:44:51 GMT

Dirty, twisted, or chewed by rodents – ductwork can become damaged, which limits its ability to transport cool or warm air throughout your home.  The National Comfort Institute reveals that the average U.S. home’s duct system is only 57 percent efficient.

Heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) companies can inspect ductwork for problems, and clean it out if necessary to protect indoor air quality and comfort.  Dirty air ducts can circulate dust, pollen, germs, mold, mildew, and dirt throughout the home.  Damaged ducts restrict airflow, causing equipment to work harder and possibly overheat.

Tunneling behind walls and above ceilings, ductwork can be a series of tin, fiberglass, or flexible plastic tubes to distribute air throughout the home.

Ideally, ducts are properly placed, clean, and sealed to help the house run efficiently.  However, ducts can grow narrow with debris, crack, or leak air, which causes temperature problems that homeowners may incorrectly blame on the cooling or heating unit.

Tom Eppers, co-owner, Dowe & Wagner, an HVAC company serving residential and commercial customers in Illinois and Wisconsin, explains that fixing the ducts or adding more may solve the problem.

He explains that when homeowners remodel their homes to add an addition or refinish a basement, the HVAC system and ductwork may need to be expanded to serve the larger space.

Eppers says that homes built before 1950 (and before air conditioning was commonplace) may need extra ductwork to accommodate cooling systems.  Because Midwestern homes focus on heating that’s used about 75 percent of the time, ductwork for air conditioning may need to be fortified.

He adds that making modifications to basement vents can help move damp air out of the area for greater comfort.

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

 

 


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Fed-up Illinois legislators head for the exit in big numbersFILE - In this Sept. 2, 2015 file photo, Illinois Rep. Elaine Nekritz, D-Buffalo Grove, speaks on the House floor at the Illinois State Capitol in Springfield, Ill. More than two-dozen legislators, about 15 percent of the General Assembly, have either resigned months into the current session or said they won't seek re-election. Rep. Nekritz, who is voluntarily ending her 14-year legislative career, said she cried multiple times while talking to constituents hurt by the budget crisis. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman File)

Mon, 18 Sep 2017 05:20:00 GMT

CHICAGO – Illinois residents aren’t the only ones throwing up their hands at the gridlock and increasingly polarized politics that have defined state government in recent years. More and more, fed-up and frustrated Illinois legislators are heading for the exits. More than two-dozen legislators – about 15 percent of the General Assembly – have either resigned months into the current session or said they won’t seek re-election. They are Democrats and Republicans, rank-and-file moderates and those in leadership posts, including House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie, who said last week that she’s ending her nearly 40-year legislative career when her term expires. It’s an exodus that longtime Statehouse observers say is unusual not just for the high number of lawmakers leaving, but for the reasons many legislators are giving: frustration with not being able to reach compromises, the stress of the two-year budget impasse that only recently ended, year-round campaigning and a public that’s grown more hostile and vocal. “There is a toxic environment. People seem to not be able to get along, even outside of the Capitol,” said retiring Republican state Rep. Steve Andersson. “That’s not a good environment, and that’s not an environment I want to be a part of.” Andersson received hate mail and even a death threat after he and about a dozen other Republicans broke with GOP Gov. Bruce Rauner to support a deal to end the budget stalemate that included an income tax increase. He also lost his position as the GOP’s House floor leader. A short time later, he announced he isn’t running again. Turnover in government isn’t new. Nor are politics that many may find distasteful – particularly in Illinois. Several governors have gone to prison, and multiple public-opinion polls have found Illinois residents are especially distrustful of their government. But what’s happened in recent years has been different, as a standoff dragged on between Rauner – a multimillionaire former businessman – and longtime Democratic legislative leaders, namely House Speaker Michael Madigan. With the two sides unable to agree on a budget, social service agencies and universities suffered, while the state racked up billions in unpaid bills. The 2016 legislative elections featured several bruising contests, including primary challenges bankrolled largely by Rauner and his wealthy friends, and labor unions determined to stop his anti-union agenda. As the fights stretched into 2017, more and more lawmakers started issuing resignation letters. Some are running for other offices – from water reclamation district commissioner to governor – though many say the job isn’t fun anymore, said Mike Lawrence, who has worked in and around state government for 50 years. “My sense is we’ve never seen anything quite like this,” Lawrence said. “I worry it’s becoming a trend.” Many of those calling it quits are Republicans like Andersson who helped Democrats override Rauner’s veto of the budget deal. They have either grown weary or s[...]


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Trump, in new dig, mocks North Korea leader as 'Rocket Man'President Donald Trump waves Friday as he walks from the Oval Office of the White House in Washington to Marine One for the short trip to Andrews Air Force Base, Md. Facing an escalating nuclear threat from North Korea and the mass flight of minority Muslims from Myanmar, world leaders gather at the United Nations starting Monday, Sept. 18 to tackle these and other tough challenges – from the spread of terrorism to a warming planet. The spotlight will be on Trump and France's new leader, Emmanuel Macron, who will both be making their first appearance at the General Assembly.

Mon, 18 Sep 2017 05:20:00 GMT

SOMERSET, N.J. – President Donald Trump on Sunday mocked the leader of nuclear-armed North Korea as “Rocket Man” while White House advisers said the isolated nation would face destruction unless it shelves its weapons programs and bellicose threats. Trump’s chief diplomat held out hope the North would return to the bargaining table, though the president’s envoy to the United Nations said the Security Council had “pretty much exhausted” all its options. Kim Jong Un has pledged to continue the North’s programs, saying his country is nearing its goal of “equilibrium” in military force with the U.S. North Korea will be high on the agenda for world leaders this coming week at the annual meeting of the U.N. General Assembly, Trump’s biggest moment on the world stage since his inauguration in January. Trump is scheduled to address the world body, which he has criticized as weak and incompetent, on Tuesday. Trump, who spent the weekend at his New Jersey golf club, tweeted that he and South Korean President Moon Jae-in discussed North Korea during their latest telephone conversation Saturday. Asked about Trump’s description of Kim, national security adviser H.R. McMaster said “Rocket Man” was “a new one and I think maybe for the president.” But, he said, “that’s where the rockets are coming from. Rockets, though, we ought to probably not laugh too much about because they do represent a great threat to all.” McMcaster said Kim is “going to have to give up his nuclear weapons because the president has said he’s not going to tolerate this regime threatening the United States and our citizens with a nuclear weapon.” Asked if that meant Trump would launch a military strike, McMaster said “he’s been very clear about that, that all options are on the table.” Some doubt that Kim would ever agree to surrender his arsenal. “I think that North Korea is not going to give up its program with nothing on the table,” said Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee. Kim has threatened Guam, a U.S. territory in the Pacific, and has fired missiles over Japan, a U.S. ally. North Korea also recently tested its most powerful bomb. The U.N. Security Council has voted unanimously twice in recent weeks to tighten economic sanctions on North Korea, including targeting shipments of oil and other fuel used in missile testing. Trump’s U.N. ambassador, Nikki Haley, said North Korea was starting to “feel the pinch.” Trump, in a tweet, asserted that long lines for gas were forming in North Korea, and he said that was “too bad.” Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said he was waiting for the North to express interest in “constructive, productive talks.” “All they need to do to let us know they’re ready to talk is to just stop these tests, stop these provocative actions, and let’s lower the threat level and the rhetoric,” he said. [...]


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France: Acid attack on 4 U.S. students not seen as terror actThis image taken from video shows passengers inside Marseille-Saint-Charles railway station in Marseille, France on Sunday Sept. 17, 2017. Four young US tourists were attacked with acid Sunday at a train station in the French city of Marseille. (AP Photo)

Mon, 18 Sep 2017 05:10:00 GMT

PARIS – Four American college students were attacked with acid Sunday at a train station in France, but French authorities so far do not think extremist views motivated the 41-year-old woman who was arrested as the alleged assailant, the local prosecutor’s office and the students’ school said. Boston College, a private Jesuit university in Massachusetts, said in a statement Sunday that the four female students were treated at a hospital for burns after they were sprayed in the face with acid in the city of Marseille. The statement said the four all were juniors studying abroad, three of them at the college’s Paris program. “It appears that the students are fine, considering the circumstances, though they may require additional treatment for burns,” said Nick Gozik, who directs Boston College’s Office of International Programs. “We have been in contact with the students and their parents and remain in touch with French officials and the U.S. Embassy regarding the incident.” Police in France described the suspect as “disturbed” and said the attack was not thought at this point to be terror-related, according the university’s statement. The Paris prosecutor’s office said earlier Sunday that its counter-terrorism division had decided for the time being not to assume jurisdiction for investigating the attack. The prosecutor’s office in the capital, which has responsibility for all terror-related cases in France, did not explain the reasoning behind the decision. A spokeswoman for the Marseille prosecutor’s office told The Associated Press in a telephone call that the suspect did not make any extremist threats or declarations during the late morning attack at the city’s Saint Charles train station. She said there were no obvious indications that the woman’s actions were terror-related. The spokeswoman spoke on condition of anonymity, per the custom of the French judicial system. She said all four of the victims were in their 20s and treated at a hospital, two of them for shock. The suspect was taken into police custody. Boston College identified the students as Courtney Siverling, Charlotte Kaufman, Michelle Krug and Kelsey Kosten. The Marseille fire department was alerted just after 11 a.m. and dispatched four vehicles and 14 firefighters to the train station, a department spokeswoman said. Two of the Americans were “slightly injured” with acid but did not require emergency medical treatment from medics at the scene, the spokeswoman said. She requested anonymity in keeping with fire department protocol. A person with knowledge of the investigation said the suspect had a history of mental health problems but no apparent past links to extremism. The person was not authorized to be publicly named speaking about the investigation. Regional newspaper La Provence said the assailant remained at the site of the attack without trying to flee. France has seen scattered attacks by unstable individuals as well as extremist violence in recent years, including [...]


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Key Equifax executives departing after huge data breach

Mon, 18 Sep 2017 05:10:00 GMT

NEW YORK – Equifax announced late Friday that its chief information officer and chief security officer would leave the company immediately after the enormous breach of 143 million Americans’ personal information. The credit data company – under intense pressure since it disclosed last week that hackers accessed the Social Security numbers, birthdates and other information – also released a detailed, if still muddled, timeline of how it discovered and handled the breach. Equifax said that Susan Mauldin, who had been the top security officer, and David Webb, the chief technology officer, are retiring. Mauldin, a college music major, had come under media scrutiny for her qualifications in security. Equifax did not say in its statement what retirement packages the executives would receive. Mauldin is being replaced by Russ Ayers, an information technology executive inside Equifax. Webb is being replaced by Mark Rohrwasser, who most recently was in charge of Equifax’s international technology operations. Equifax also provided its most detailed timeline of the breach yet, although it raised as many questions as it answered. The tale began on July 29, when the company’s security team detected suspicious network traffic associated with the software that ran its U.S. online-dispute portal. After blocking that traffic, the company saw additional “suspicious activity” and took the portal’s software offline. At this point, Equifax’s retelling grows cloudy. The company said an internal review then “discovered” a flaw in an open-source software package called Apache Struts used in the dispute portal, which it then fixed with a software patch. It subsequently brought the portal back online. But that vulnerability had been known publicly since early March 2017, and a fix was available shortly thereafter – facts that Equifax acknowledged in its Friday statement. The company did not say why the software used in the online-dispute portal hadn’t been patched earlier, although it claimed that its security organization was “aware” of the software flaw in March, and that it “took efforts” to locate and fix “any vulnerable systems in the company’s IT infrastructure.” It apparently missed at least one vulnerable system. The closest Equifax gets to explaining that is through a statement: “While Equifax fully understands the intense focus on patching efforts, the company’s review of the facts is still ongoing.” After patching the dispute-portal’s software, Equifax hired Mandiant, a computer-security firm, to do a forensic review. That effort determined that hackers had access to Equifax systems from May 13 through July 30. Equifax has been castigated for how it has handled the breach, which it did not disclose publicly for weeks after discovering it. Consumers calling the number Equifax set up initially complained of jammed phone lines and uninformed representatives, and init[...]



Florida recovers, rests, reflects in wake of Hurricane Irma

Mon, 18 Sep 2017 05:10:00 GMT

MIAMI – Across Florida, people spent Sunday trying to get back to normal after one of the worst storms to hit the state since Hurricane Andrew. Keys residents were allowed to visit Monroe County for the first time since Hurricane Irma struck a week ago. Elsewhere, residents are waiting for electricity, cleaning up from floods or just trying to take a breath and remember what normal is like. Officials still are tallying the damage, which includes everything from homes to grapefruit groves to mom-and-pop attractions like Pirate’s Town in Orlando, which was a replica of an 18th-century sailing vessel that offered dinner theater to tourists. In Miami, schools are expected to open Monday, even though some don’t have air conditioning. Also Monday, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Purdue is expected to take a helicopter tour of Florida’s hard hit crops in the central core of the state and Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai will visit communication facilities affected by the storm in Miami. Nowhere, save for the Panhandle, was untouched. Julie Botteri and her husband had been anxiously waiting to return to their home and rental property in Marathon. They arrived Saturday morning to find minimal damage other than outdoor repairs including a fence that needs to be replaced. They know they’re among the lucky ones. Friends whose home was red tagged and have no power are staying with them. The small island chain is a close-knit community, especially during storm cleanup. Her husband, who manages a local dive shop, was out Sunday assessing the roof there and whether the boat still runs. The attitude throughout the island is work, work, work. “It’s a busy scene, there’s utility crews everywhere, everyone is working tirelessly to get everyone back with power, back with running water, clean water,” Botteri said during a phone interview Sunday. “Everybody is just pitching in. ... It will be a beautiful island chain again.” Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Brock Long says the government response to Hurricane Irma has shifted from saving lives to recovery. There were more than 40 storm-related deaths. Long has said that good progress is being made in getting people back into their homes or into temporary housing such as apartments or hotels. About 4,000 people remain in emergency shelters, and 675,000 accounts – both residential and commercial – still are without power. Federal officials are focused on restoring electrical power and getting gasoline into areas suffering fuel shortages. Long said the lack of electricity has affected supplies because many gas stations have not been retrofitted to run their pumps on generator power. Energy Secretary Rick Perry said the severe damage from Irma’s winds will require that parts of the power grid to effectively be rebuilt. Perry said 60,000 utility workers from the U.S. and Canada are work[...]



New Hurricane Maria growing threat to Irma-slammed Caribbean

Mon, 18 Sep 2017 05:10:00 GMT

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic – The islands of the eastern Caribbean prepared Sunday to face another potential disaster, with forecasters saying newly formed and likely to strengthen Hurricane Maria was headed for a hit on the Leeward Islands by Monday night. Hurricane or tropical storm warnings were posted for many of the islands already coping with the devastation caused by Hurricane Irma, including St. Barts and Antigua and Barbuda. The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Maria was expected to gain power and could be near major hurricane strength while crossing through the Leeward Islands late Monday on a path aiming toward Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and Haiti. The storm had maximum sustained winds of 75 mph late Sunday afternoon. It was centered about 275 miles east-southeast of Dominica and heading west-northwest at 15 mph. The hurricane center said hurricane conditions should begin to affect parts of the Leeward Islands by Monday night, with storm surge raising water levels by 4 to 6 feet near the storm’s center. The storm was predicted to bring 6 to 12 inches of rain across the islands, with more in isolated areas. It could make a direct hit on Puerto Rico, which was spared the full brunt of Irma, though power was knocked out to much of the island. Gov. Ricardo Rossello said officials had prepared about 450 shelters with a capacity for nearly 68,000 people – or even 125,000 in an emergency. He said schools were canceled for Monday and government employees would work only a half day. Officials in the Dominican Republic urged people to leave areas prone to flooding and said fishermen should remain in port. Meanwhile, long-lived Hurricane Jose was moving northward off the U.S. Atlantic Seaboard, kicking up dangerous surf and rip currents. It wasn’t expected to make landfall but tropical storm watches were posted for all of the coast from Delaware to Massachusetts’ Cape Cod. Jose was centered about 335 miles southeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, and was moving north at 9 mph. It had maximum sustained winds of 90 mph. In the Pacific, Tropical Storm Norma’s threat to Mexico’s Los Cabos area appeared to be easing. Forecasters said the storm’s center was likely to remain offshore. Norma had winds of about 50 mph and it was centered about 145 miles south-southwest of Cabo San Lucas. That area was hit two weeks ago by Tropical Storm Lidia, which flooded streets and homes and killed at least four people. The Baja California Sur state government readied storm shelters and canceled classes for Monday as well as calling off a Mexican Independence Day military parade in the state capital, La Paz. Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Lee weakened into a tropical depression far out in the Atlantic while Otis strengthened into a hurricane out in the Pacific. Neither threatened land. [...]



U.K. lowers terror threat level as subway bomb probe advancesTravelers walk on the platform at Parsons Green tube station following Friday's incident on a tube at Parsons Green Station in London, Sunday. A manhunt is under way after an improvised explosive device was detonated on a crowded subway car, injuring at least 29 people.

Mon, 18 Sep 2017 05:09:00 GMT

LONDON – British police made progress Sunday in their frantic pursuit of suspects and evidence connected to the bomb that partially exploded on a packed London subway, leading counter-terrorism officials to lower the country’s threat level because they no longer considered a fresh attack to be imminent. Home Secretary Amber Rudd announced the downgraded terror threat level hours after London police said a second suspect was in custody and a second property was being searched in connection with Friday’s attack that injured 30 people. Rudd cautioned that the investigation was ongoing and that Britain still faced a substantial threat even though the terror level had been reset to “severe” from “critical.” “Severe still means that an attack is highly likely, so I would urge everybody to be vigilant but not alarmed,” she said. The advancing investigation was welcome news for London commuters who had anticipated heading to work Monday morning while suspects remained at large and police were racing to round them up before they could hit the city again. Mark Rowley, who heads the police counter-terrorism operation, said the traveling public still would see an increased police and military presence in the coming days. “For practical and precautionary reasons, we made the decision that the increased resources will continue for the beginning of this week,” Rowley said. “So the public will still see that high level of policing presence; some armed, some unarmed.” He said two properties were being searched and that police had “much more to do.” The fact that a second person – a 21-year-old man – was arrested under the Terrorism Act offered the clearest proof yet that police and security services believe the subway bombing was not just the work of one person. The first suspect, an 18-year-old man, was arrested early Saturday in the departure area of the port of Dover, where ferries leave for France on a regular basis. The second was arrested in Hounslow in west London shortly before midnight Saturday. Both were questioned Sunday at a south London police station. They have not been charged or identified. The subway bomb caused limited casualties because it failed to completely explode. Officials say 30 people were injured, including some hurt in the panic that ensued, and all but one have been released from the hospital. Most of the injured suffered burns. The two searches were taking place at a suburban home in Sunbury, southwest of London, and in Stanwell, another suburb close to London Heathrow Airport. The first search, linked to the first subject, started in Sunbury Saturday afternoon at a house that belongs to an elderly couple who have for years taken in foster children, including refugees from conflict zones in Syria and Iraq. The pair – Ronald Jones, 88, and his w[...]


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Family talks freely of spinal fluid leak disorderAP photo via the Daily Herald Colleen Tyrrell Llacas spends time with her three children, Samuel (left) Joshua (center) and Lucy Jane on Sept. 4 at their home in Naperville. For more than two years, Colleen has been suffering from a cerebral spinal fluid leak, which has caused her a debilitating list of symptoms that initially were misdiagnosed as migraines.

Mon, 18 Sep 2017 05:09:00 GMT

NAPERVILLE – Colleen Tyrrell Llacsa’s brain hurts. Seriously. She has double vision. Her hands are numb. Her arms and legs are weak and sore. She feels like she’s about to throw up. She can’t focus. And this is on a good day. For more than two years the Naperville woman, 35, has been suffering from a cerebral spinal fluid leak, which has caused her a debilitating list of symptoms that initially were misdiagnosed as migraines. The rare, nearly unknown condition causes invisible yet debilitating pains throughout the body because the pressure of the fluid protecting the brain and spine gets too low. Even the top experts who treat the condition tell Llacsa she’s nearly out of options. She feels it’s hard to hope to be a normal mom again, but she still hopes to get better – and to bring about advances in treatment that will allow cerebral spinal fluid leaks to be addressed more precisely. Now Llacsa’s family is stepping up to help her – and others like her – battle the condition by attracting more research dollars for better imaging technology. Her relatives, including her sister and her father, longtime Naperville internist Dr. Timothy Tyrrell, established the Tyrrell Family Foundation through the DuPage Foundation to begin to raise money for research. The foundation’s first event is set for Thursday, when the group hosts an evening of tapas at Meson Sabika in Naperville. “There’s so little awareness about this illness that it’s hard to watch,” said Llacsa’s sister, Katie Weimann of Oak Park. “But it’s also hard to watch and not take any action.” “Being a mom was like the most amazing thing in the world for me,” said Colleen Tyrrell Llacsa of Naperville. She once loved the chaos of Samuel, 7, Lucy Jane, 4, and Joshua, 2, but now finds it difficult to care for them because of debilitating headaches and fatigue caused by a cerebral spinal fluid leak. “Being a mom was like the most amazing thing in the world for me,” said Colleen Tyrrell Llacsa of Naperville. She once loved the chaos of Samuel, 7, Lucy Jane, 4, and Joshua, 2, but now finds it difficult to care for them because of debilitating headaches and fatigue caused by a cerebral spinal fluid leak. Llacsa describes her pains vividly: “Like there was a plastic bag over my head.” “Like a knife going into my head.” “Like my whole brain was vibrating.” “So sick I couldn’t walk.” “I’d have episodes when my hands were shaking.” Those episodes haven’t stopped. The saga began when Llacsa’s third child, Joshua, was born in 2015. Llacsa had her son via cesarean section. After she was given an epidural pain medication, she remembers getting very sweaty and not feeling well. For three weeks after Joshua[...]


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NIU sees decline in enrollmentMatthew Apgar - mapgar@shawmedia.com Northern Illinois University students sit and listen to a lecture during a Geography 105 course titled "Weather Climate And You" on Thursday, Sep. 14, 2017 inside Davis Hall at NIU in DeKalb.

Mon, 18 Sep 2017 05:09:00 GMT

DeKALB – Northern Illinois University recently was named one of the 100 safest colleges in the country, and was listed among the top 10 universities that offered the best value to students. It also received special recognition last year by the Brookings Institution as one of the few universities in the nation to produce important research while aiding students from low-income families. These accolades, however, have not been able to stop a continuous decline in enrollment at the university. Although freshman enrollment at NIU increased for the first time in six years, the school’s total enrollment fell by 5 percent from 19,015 last fall to 18,042, which officials attribute to the departure of larger graduating classes. Sol Jensen, NIU’s vice president for enrollment management, said this trend is likely to continue for at least another year. He said focused and personalized promotion of the school will be key in fixing these numbers. Jensen referenced a 2015 study from Cedar Rapids, Iowa-based Ruffalo Noel Levitz LLC that determined two of the most important factors students take into consideration when selecting a four-year school are academic reputation and personalized attention before enrollment One boost to the university’s academic reputation was that the incoming class posted the highest mean grade-point average in more than a decade at 3.28. “We’re doing a much better job of promoting all of the wonderful things that are happening on campus,” Jensen said. “As we delve more into digital promotions, I know there’s more opportunities to be more targeted in populations and receive immediate and influential feedback and metrics.” Jensen said that the 2.8 percent increase in freshman enrollment, the 1.9 percent increase in law students, and the 1 percent increase in overall student retention are attributable to positive word-of-mouth marketing. “We see that as leaping-off point,” Jensen said. “This is from people continually telling good stories of what’s happening on campus, and this will push us to having greater momentum moving forward.” Kishwaukee College did not fare any better, as its 10-day enrollment data indicated a 9.1 percent drop in total enrollment. New student enrollment, however, showed an increase of 1.8 percent from 1,570 students last fall to 1,599 this year. President Laurie Borowicz said the low total numbers are attributable in part to the poor economy preventing adults from continuing their education. She added that this trend of declining adult populations is likely to be seen across the country. “You would be hard-pressed to find a community college that isn’t saying they are down in enrollment,” Borowicz said. “The economy plays a huge factor in whether people go to college or not.” Borowicz said it’s unfortunate to see tot[...]


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Reported losses more than double in latest Centegra Health System statementsSarah Nader file photo – snader@shawmedia.com Centegra Health System CEO Mike Easley makes a statement at the Health Facilities and Services Review Board hearing June 20 for the Mercy hospital that plans to build in Crystal Lake.

Mon, 18 Sep 2017 05:08:00 GMT

CRYSTAL LAKE – The Centegra Health System more than doubled its last reported losses in its most recent unaudited financial statements released at the end of fiscal 2017. The Crystal Lake-based hospital system has mounting debt and ended its fiscal year June 30 with $62.3 million in operating losses, according to an unaudited financial statement found on Electronic Municipal Market Access, a municipal security website. The losses are $20 million more than officials projected in May. Centegra initially expected losses of up to $40 million, according to a filing with Fitch Ratings. That $62.3 million loss stands in stark comparison to last fiscal year’s profit of $4.3 million, but the higher-than-anticipated loss does not mean the company failed to increase revenue. In fact, Centegra saw revenue increase 12.7 percent to $564.2 million from fiscal 2016 to fiscal 2017. However, the health system also saw a 26.3 percent increase in expenses to $626.5 million, which likely contributed to the $62.3 million figure. Among those expenses, salaries saw the greatest jump – more than $50 million from fiscal 2016 to fiscal 2017. Previously, Centegra officials blamed rising expenses on the cost of opening its new Huntley facility and an increase in patients receiving uncompensated care. Centegra spokeswoman Michelle Green previously said that although the Affordable Care Act has reduced the number of uninsured people, it did not ease the pressures that hospitals face when medical bills are not paid. “Through the Affordable Care Act, there has been a dramatic shift to high-deductible plans through employers and through the state-run exchange,” Green said. “These plans place a heavy financial burden on patients who seek health care, and that is transferred to our health system if patients are unable to afford their care.” Officials also have maintained that the losses were not the effect of empty beds. Bed occupancy rates dropped from 70 percent in 2015 to 54 percent in 2017, according to the same financial statements. To try to save money, Centegra announced an overhaul in June of its facilities and services. The plan included closing its intensive care and medical-surgical operations in Woodstock. Centegra moved those services to McHenry and Huntley hospitals. Officials have projected that the changes will save the health system $15 million annually. The emergency department at the Woodstock hospital now is a basic unit, which means people who need inpatient or surgical care will be transferred to a different facility. Some services, such as Centegra’s outpatient mental health program, will move to the Woodstock campus. The changes took effect Aug. 14, and some require state approval. [...]


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Crystal Lake City Council to consider 'A Way Out' program for some drug addicts; others face arrestSarah Nader file photo – snader@shawmedia.com Officer Dan Pauley of the Woodstock Police Department holds a bag of prescription drugs that was dropped off at the Woodstock police station April 29 during National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. The program "A Way Out," which will fast-track drug users to treatment centers, is launched May 1, and the Crystal Lake City Council will consider implementing it.Crystal Lake Police Chief James Black

Mon, 18 Sep 2017 05:08:00 GMT

CRYSTAL LAKE – The city’s police chief wants to give some drug addicts a chance to participate in a countywide program aimed at helping them get clean, but he doesn’t want to give up the right to arrest and prosecute them. In May, a coalition of local agencies, including the McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office, launched “A Way Out – McHenry County.” The program offers substance abuse treatment at any time to anyone in McHenry County who wants to kick a habit of taking drugs. Those who want to participate can walk into any of the participating police departments and tell the clerk they want to take part in “A Way Out – McHenry County.” A core tenant of the program allows drug users to turn over drugs or drug paraphernalia without fear of being arrested or charged for the drugs they give up. Crystal Lake Police Chief James Black plans to ask the Crystal Lake City Council to approve an agreement that would allow the city’s police department to participate in the program, but with some modifications. “You will note in the program’s process stated above that individuals arriving at a participating agency with drugs or drug paraphernalia ‘will not be arrested or charged’ for the criminal offenses,” Black wrote in a memo to the City Council. “As part of our draft policy, I believed it was important not to issue such a mandatory order; instead, my intention is to allow our officers the discretion, with a police supervisor’s approval, to decide whether they should arrest based upon the quantity of drugs relinquished. “I do not wish to waive our ability to charge and arrest any individual who possessed a quantity of illegal drugs typically associated with someone who may be dealing narcotics or possessing narcotics that one would not consider to be ‘personal use.’ “ So far, 19 local law enforcement agencies have signed on to participate in the program. They are Barrington Hills, Cary, Fox River Grove, Harvard, Hebron, Holiday Hills, Huntley, Island Lake, Johnsburg, Lake in the Hills, Lakemoor, Marengo, McCullom Lake, the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office, McHenry, Prairie Grove, Richmond, Spring Grove and Wonder Lake, according to the county’s website. Black points out in his memo to the City Council that each agency was given the opportunity to draft policies “that would best suit their organizations.” “The police department has researched the feasibility of participating in the program, and we have written a draft policy in compliance with our [Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies Inc.] standards, and a memorandum of understanding,” Black wrote. “State’s Attorney Patrick Kenneally, the city’s legal counsel and the city’s insurance provider, IRMA, have reviewed our drafts. All parties declared the documents were in good order.” [...]Crystal Lake Police Chief James Black


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Another candidate enters crowded 6th Congressional District racePalatine resident Ryan Huffman announced his candidacy Thursday for the Democratic nomination for Illinois’ 6th Congressional District in the March primary election.

Mon, 18 Sep 2017 05:08:00 GMT

In an already crowded field, another candidate has thrown his hat into the ring for the Democratic nomination for Illinois’ 6th Congressional District in the March primary election.

Palatine resident Ryan Huffman announced his candidacy Thursday.

Whoever wins the Democratic nod likely will face U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam, R-Wheaton, in the November 2018 general election. Roskam first was elected to Congress in 2006.

“It will take a youth movement in this district if we’re finally going to flip this seat blue,” the 31-year-old Huffman said in a news release, noting that the share of millennials voting in the 6th District’s primary tripled in 2016 thanks to Bernie Sanders. “I have a tremendous amount of respect for all the Democrats running in this pivotal race, but if we keep running the same kind of campaign we’ve run against Roskam for over a decade, the result will be just as disappointing.”

Huffman is a data analyst and policy expert who worked on Barack Obama’s presidential campaign and in the White House during his tenure.

Other candidates for the Democratic nomination for Illinois’ 6th Congressional District include Grace Haaf, co-owner of a small business that specializes in data analysis and operations integration for industrial and manufacturing clients; regulatory attorney and Clarendon Hills resident Jennifer Zordani; Becky Anderson Wilkins, co-owner of Anderson’s Bookshops and a member of the Naperville City Council; scientist and engineer Sean Casten of Downers Grove; Carole Cheney, former district chief of staff to U.S. Rep. Bill Foster, D-Naperville; College of Lake County Trustee Amanda Howland, who lost to Roskam in the November 2016 general election; College of DuPage adjunct faculty member Suzyn Price; Lake Zurich resident Geoffrey Petzel; Chicago resident Austin Songer; and Barrington Hills Plan Commissioner Kelly Mazeski.

Palatine resident Ryan Huffman announced his candidacy Thursday for the Democratic nomination for Illinois’ 6th Congressional District in the March primary election.


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2 Crystal Lake men killed in unincorporated McHenry crash

Mon, 18 Sep 2017 05:08:00 GMT

Two Crystal Lake men were killed Sunday morning in an unincorporated McHenry crash.

The single-vehicle crash was reported about 11:48 p.m. Saturday at 1402 Lily Lake Road, according to a news release from the McHenry County Coroner’s Office.

Preliminary investigations found that a 2001 Ford Explorer was traveling south on Lilly Lake Road when it ran off the road and struck a tree, police said.

McHenry Township Fire Protection District and McHenry County Sheriff’s police responded and found two men, who were pronounced dead shortly after midnight at the scene, according to the release. 

The driver, a 29-year-old man, was trapped in the vehicle, and a rear passenger, a 33-year-old man, was ejected from the Ford. The front passenger, a 23-year-old man of Crystal Lake was taken to Centegra Hospital-McHenry for injuries police said were not considered to be life-threatening, according to the release.

The front seat passenger and driver were wearing seat belts but the rear passenger was not, police said.

Names of the men will not be released until their identities have been confirmed and family members have been notified. Autopsies will be performed Monday afternoon, the release stated. 

The cause of the crash is undetermined and remains under investigation by the McHenry County Sheriff's Traffic Crash Investigations Unit and the McHenry County Coroner's Office.

– Hannah Prokop 


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Cary-Grove Area Chamber of Commerce hosts 4th annual Main Street FestJaime Javier demonstrates martial arts while Grand Master Lee of Lee's Martial Arts in Cary and Crystal Lake holds a pad to strike

Mon, 18 Sep 2017 05:08:00 GMT

CARY – Cary Main Street Fest is meant to bring together family, friends and community, Executive Director of the Cary-Grove Area Chamber of Commerce Lynn Caccavallo said. And although final attendance numbers weren’t in for the two-day festival as of Sunday night, Caccavallo said this year’s attendance likely will beat last year’s record of about 8,000 people. “It’s becoming a destination,” Caccavallo said of the fourth annual festival organized by the chamber. “All the businesses here are big supporters.” A $5 suggested donation is split between local nonprofits, including the Trojan Track Cross Country Association, the CGHS Booster Club and chamber community initiatives, such as Cruise Nights, the Halloween Walk, Merry Cary and more. The event, produced by Big Buzz Idea Group, takes about a year to plan. Melissa Lagowski from Chicago, founder, owner and queen bee at Big Buzz, explained that her company and the chamber wanted to create something “unique to the neighborhood.” Big Buzz helps to select vendors and musical talent, coming out to Cary monthly to ensure that each year the event grows exponentially. “It’s really a team-oriented approach,” Lagowski said of the chamber staff. “They are making this happen. Their hearts are in it.” Main Street hosted seven local food vendors. Drink tents and a few sponsors also peppered the street, leading up to the Main Stage, where nine bands played throughout the event. Off to the side, a vendor market offered booths with a variety of products and services. One such business, Emily Makes, was featuring her hand-painted wooden signs. “This is my first year at the fest,” owner Emily Nelsen said. “It’s the most organized show I’ve been part of. The communication has been great.” Another local vendor, Rahab’s Daughters, asked guests to paint the word “love” on a block of wood. Each block would have information written on the back about how to stop human trafficking. Executive Director of Rahab’s Daughters Denardo Ramos takes the blocks to Super Bowl City to set out in case attendees see an issue. A family area featured games, puzzles and fun activities, including four bouncy houses, a selfie booth and demonstrations of martial arts by Lee’s Martial Arts students. Miss Cary-Grove Mary Grace Riley and second runner-up Daisy Wenk greeted guests and walked through the booths. “This event brings the community together with activities for everyone,” Riley said. “It’s also great for small businesses to get their names out there.” Wenk commented on the volunteers. “They bring a lot o[...]


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Crystal Lake City Council to consider 'A Way Out' program for some drug addicts; others face arrestIn May, a coalition of local agencies, including the McHenry County State's Attorney's Office, launched "A Way Out – McHenry County." The program offers substance abuse treatment at any time to anyone in McHenry County who wants to kick a habit of taking drugs. Those who want to participate can walk into any of the participating police departments and tell the clerk they want to take part in "A Way Out – McHenry County." A core tenant of the program allows drug users to turn over drugs or drug paraphernalia without fear of being arrested or charged for the drugs they give up.Crystal Lake Police Chief James Black plans to ask the Crystal Lake City Council to approve an agreement that would allow the city's police department to participate in the program, but with some modifications. "You will note in the program's process stated above that individuals arriving at a participating agency with drugs or drug paraphernalia 'will not be arrested or charged' for the criminal offenses," Black wrote in a memo to the City Council. "As part of our draft policy, I believed it was important not to issue such a mandatory order; instead, my intention is to allow our officers the discretion, with a police supervisor's approval, to decide whether they should arrest based upon the quantity of drugs relinquished. "I do not wish to waive our ability to charge and arrest any individual who possessed a quantity of illegal drugs typically associated with someone who may be dealing narcotics or possessing narcotics that one would not consider to be 'personal use.' "So far, 19 local law enforcement agencies have signed on to participate in the program. They are Barrington Hills, Cary, Fox River Grove, Harvard, Hebron, Holiday Hills, Huntley, Island Lake, Johnsburg, Lake in the Hills, Lakemoor, Marengo, McCullom Lake, the McHenry County Sheriff's Office, McHenry, Prairie Grove, Richmond, Spring Grove and Wonder Lake, according to the county's website.Black points out in his memo to the City Council that each agency was given the opportunity to draft policies "that would best suit their organizations." "The police department has researched the feasibility of participating in the program, and we have written a draft policy in compliance with our [Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies Inc.] standards, and a memorandum of understanding," Black wrote. "State's Attorney Patrick Kenneally, the city's legal counsel and the city's insurance provider, IRMA, have reviewed our drafts. All parties declared the documents were in good order."The City Council is expected to consider Black's proposal at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall, 100 W. Woodstock St., Crystal Lake.

Mon, 18 Sep 2017 05:08:00 GMT

CRYSTAL LAKE – The city's police chief wants to give some drug addicts a chance to participate in a countywide program aimed at helping them get clean, but he doesn't want to give up the right to arrest and prosecute them.

In May, a coalition of local agencies, including the McHenry County State's Attorney's Office, launched "A Way Out – McHenry County." The program offers substance abuse treatment at any time to anyone in McHenry County who wants to kick a habit of taking drugs. Those who want to participate can walk into any of the participating police departments and tell the clerk they want to take part in "A Way Out – McHenry County." A core tenant of the program allows drug users to turn over drugs or drug paraphernalia without fear of being arrested or charged for the drugs they give up.Crystal Lake Police Chief James Black plans to ask the Crystal Lake City Council to approve an agreement that would allow the city's police department to participate in the program, but with some modifications. "You will note in the program's process stated above that individuals arriving at a participating agency with drugs or drug paraphernalia 'will not be arrested or charged' for the criminal offenses," Black wrote in a memo to the City Council. "As part of our draft policy, I believed it was important not to issue such a mandatory order; instead, my intention is to allow our officers the discretion, with a police supervisor's approval, to decide whether they should arrest based upon the quantity of drugs relinquished. "I do not wish to waive our ability to charge and arrest any individual who possessed a quantity of illegal drugs typically associated with someone who may be dealing narcotics or possessing narcotics that one would not consider to be 'personal use.' "So far, 19 local law enforcement agencies have signed on to participate in the program. They are Barrington Hills, Cary, Fox River Grove, Harvard, Hebron, Holiday Hills, Huntley, Island Lake, Johnsburg, Lake in the Hills, Lakemoor, Marengo, McCullom Lake, the McHenry County Sheriff's Office, McHenry, Prairie Grove, Richmond, Spring Grove and Wonder Lake, according to the county's website.Black points out in his memo to the City Council that each agency was given the opportunity to draft policies "that would best suit their organizations." "The police department has researched the feasibility of participating in the program, and we have written a draft policy in compliance with our [Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies Inc.] standards, and a memorandum of understanding," Black wrote. "State's Attorney Patrick Kenneally, the city's legal counsel and the city's insurance provider, IRMA, have reviewed our drafts. All parties declared the documents were in good order."The City Council is expected to consider Black's proposal at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall, 100 W. Woodstock St., Crystal Lake.


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Crystal Lake teacher donates books to help Round Lake school affected by July floodingRuel Apostol, a sixth-grade science teacher at Bernotas Middle School in Crystal Lake, started a book drive to help Murphy Elementary School in Round Lake. Books in the school’s library and classrooms were destroyed after heavy rains and flooding in July.

Mon, 18 Sep 2017 05:07:00 GMT

CRYSTAL LAKE – A Crystal Lake middle school teacher is collecting books for an elementary school in Round Lake whose books were destroyed after heavy rains and flooding in July.

Ruel Apostol, a sixth-grade science teacher at Richard Bernotas Middle School, worked at Murphy Elementary School in Round Lake for three years, and when he heard about the flooding damage, he knew he wanted to help, according to a news release from Crystal Lake Elementary School District 47.

Books in the school’s library and classrooms were completely destroyed.

Apostol reached out to other Bernotas staff members, and word spread to other District 47 schools. So far, about 25 boxes have been collected between Bernotas and Indian Prairie elementary schools. About 20 more boxes were picked up Thursday from Coventry, West and South elementary schools, as well as Hannah Beardsley Middle School, the release said.

“When I sent out an email asking for book donations to help our neighboring school district, I was only expecting a few books that I could fit in my small car,” Apostol said. “I was surprised and overwhelmed with the huge turnout. I am so proud to be part of the Crystal Lake school district community that is always ready to offer generous help to those in need.”

Murphy Elementary School Principal Philip Georgia said his school has been humbled by the support it has received, and Apostol’s gesture was greatly appreciated.

Ruel Apostol, a sixth-grade science teacher at Bernotas Middle School in Crystal Lake, started a book drive to help Murphy Elementary School in Round Lake. Books in the school’s library and classrooms were destroyed after heavy rains and flooding in July.


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Woodstock City Council to consider proposed 1 percent sales tax increaseGary Lechner of Woodstock comments during a meeting in July to discuss the potential Landlord Registration Program.

Mon, 18 Sep 2017 05:05:00 GMT

WOODSTOCK – The Woodstock City Council will meet Tuesday to discuss and potentially take action on its controversial proposed 1 percent sales tax increase.

The tax, which was proposed in March as a way to cover a hole left by the council’s decision to reduce its portion of residents’ property tax bill by 10 percent, has drawn both criticism and support from Woodstock residents and the city’s business community.

The home rule sales tax would be placed on “nonessential goods,” which would not affect items such as food from grocery stores or prescription and nonprescription drugs. Titled vehicles also would be excluded.

Woodstock has the option to put the tax in place since it has formalized its home rule status. The city conducted a special census last year to confirm its number of residents. Cities with 25,000 residents or more automatically are considered home rule and have more local control.

The City Council will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Woodstock City Hall, 121 W. Calhoun St.

Gary Lechner of Woodstock comments during a meeting in July to discuss the potential Landlord Registration Program.


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Huntley officials look for resident input on Interstate 90-Route 47 corridorH. Rick Bamman file photo – hbamman@shawmedia.com The Huntley Outlet Center is seen vacant May 1. Developers hope to have a portion of the mall at Route 47 and Interstate 90 demolished by Oct. 1.

Mon, 18 Sep 2017 05:03:00 GMT

HUNTLEY – Huntley village officials are wondering what developments residents want to see along the Interstate 90-Route 47 corridor.

The village will host an open house to review a draft plan that will guide future land use and development. The study area includes the commercial, office and light industrial property surrounding the tollway interchange.

Village staff and planning consultant firm Houseal Lavigne Associates will be in attendance to answer questions and take comments regarding the plan from 4 to 6 p.m. Thursday at the village of Huntley Municipal Complex, 10987 Main St.

A $61 million four-way I-90 interchange project was completed in 2013, which inspired the draft plan, along with some properties’ expiring annexation agreements.

“With the investment we’ve made recently with the full interchange, we’ve seen continued interest in development in the area,” Huntley Assistant Village Manager Lisa Armour said. “We wanted to make sure we took a fresh look at the area and could make sure it represents what the demands are in today’s world, and make sure residents could have input, as well.”

Part of the draft plan will include the type of development the village would like to see occupy the now-closed Huntley Outlet Center. Developers previously have said they would like to rezone the land into an office and research industrial district.

Armour said the new plan will help the village during conversations about rezoning, and she said the developers are interested in warehouse properties.

Other key points of the plan include maintaining the office land use at the northwest corner of Route 47 and Jim Dhamer Drive. The Stade property north of Freeman Road is proposed as a business park and flexible space area, according to village documents.

“We are focusing on bringing the type of development and opportunities that will bring jobs, enhance the tax base in the village and enhance commercial properties,” Armour said. “We want to set the stage for the impression people coming off the interstate or from the south have as they enter.”

Once completed, the Village Board could consider adopting the plan as an amendment to the village’s comprehensive plan.

H. Rick Bamman file photo – hbamman@shawmedia.com The Huntley Outlet Center is seen vacant May 1. Developers hope to have a portion of the mall at Route 47 and Interstate 90 demolished by Oct. 1.


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Cary-Grove Area Chamber of Commerce hosts 4th annual Main Street FestAnd although final attendance numbers weren't in for the two-day festival as of Sunday night, Caccavallo said this year's attendance likely will beat last year's record of about 8,000 people. “It’s becoming a destination,” Caccavallo said of the fourth annual festival organized by the chamber. “All the businesses here are big supporters.” A $5 suggested donation is split between local nonprofits, including the Trojan Track Cross Country Association, the CGHS Booster Club and chamber community initiatives, such as Cruise Nights, the Halloween Walk, Merry Cary and more. The event, produced by Big Buzz Idea Group, takes about a year to plan. Melissa Lagowski from Chicago, founder, owner and queen bee at Big Buzz, explained that her company and the chamber wanted to create something “unique to the neighborhood.” Big Buzz helps to select vendors and musical talent, coming out to Cary monthly to ensure that each year the event grows exponentially. “It’s really a team-oriented approach,” Lagowski said of the chamber staff. “They are making this happen. Their hearts are in it.”Main Street hosted seven local food vendors. Drink tents and a few sponsors also peppered the street, leading up to the Main Stage, where nine bands played throughout the event. Off to the side, a vendor market offered booths with a variety of products and services. One such business, Emily Makes, was featuring her hand-painted wooden signs. “This is my first year at the fest,” owner Emily Nelsen said. “It’s the most organized show I’ve been part of. The communication has been great.” Another local vendor, Rahab’s Daughters, asked guests to paint the word “love” on a block of wood. Each block would have information written on the back about how to stop human trafficking. Executive Director of Rahab’s Daughters Denardo Ramos takes the blocks to Super Bowl City to set out in case attendees see an issue. A family area featured games, puzzles and fun activities, including four bouncy houses, a selfie booth and demonstrations of martial arts by Lee’s Martial Arts students.Miss Cary-Grove Mary Grace Riley and second runner-up Daisy Wenk greeted guests and walked through the booths. “This event brings the community together with activities for everyone,” Riley said. “It’s also great for small businesses to get their names out there.” Wenk commented on the volunteers. “They bring a lot of life to the event. The smiles are contagious here,” she said. The event had about 350 volunteers and staff members, including members of the chamber, students, local business owners and Cary residents. “It’s been a great adventure and journey,” Caccavallo said. “And we continue to grow each year.”

Mon, 18 Sep 2017 04:54:00 GMT

CARY – Cary Main Street Fest is meant to bring together family, friends and community, Executive Director of the Cary-Grove Area Chamber of Commerce Lynn Caccavallo said. And although final attendance numbers weren't in for the two-day festival as of Sunday night, Caccavallo said this year's attendance likely will beat last year's record of about 8,000 people. “It’s becoming a destination,” Caccavallo said of the fourth annual festival organized by the chamber. “All the businesses here are big supporters.” A $5 suggested donation is split between local nonprofits, including the Trojan Track Cross Country Association, the CGHS Booster Club and chamber community initiatives, such as Cruise Nights, the Halloween Walk, Merry Cary and more. The event, produced by Big Buzz Idea Group, takes about a year to plan. Melissa Lagowski from Chicago, founder, owner and queen bee at Big Buzz, explained that her company and the chamber wanted to create something “unique to the neighborhood.” Big Buzz helps to select vendors and musical talent, coming out to Cary monthly to ensure that each year the event grows exponentially. “It’s really a team-oriented approach,” Lagowski said of the chamber staff. “They are making this happen. Their hearts are in it.”Main Street hosted seven local food vendors. Drink tents and a few sponsors also peppered the street, leading up to the Main Stage, where nine bands played throughout the event. Off to the side, a vendor market offered booths with a variety of products and services. One such business, Emily Makes, was featuring her hand-painted wooden signs. “This is my first year at the fest,” owner Emily Nelsen said. “It’s the most organized show I’ve been part of. The communication has been great.” Another local vendor, Rahab’s Daughters, asked guests to paint the word “love” on a block of wood. Each block would have information written on the back about how to stop human trafficking. Executive Director of Rahab’s Daughters Denardo Ramos takes the blocks to Super Bowl City to set out in case attendees see an issue. A family area featured games, puzzles and fun activities, including four bouncy houses, a selfie booth and demonstrations of martial arts by Lee’s Martial Arts students.Miss Cary-Grove Mary Grace Riley and second runner-up Daisy Wenk greeted guests and walked through the booths. “This event brings the community together with activities for everyone,” Riley said. “It’s also great for small businesses to get their names out there.” Wenk commented on the volunteers. “They bring a lot of life to the event. The smiles are contagious here,” she said. The event had about 350 volunteers and staff members, including members of the chamber, students, local business owners and Cary residents. “It’s been a great adventure [...]


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Centegra Health System finances show $62.3 million in operating lossesThe losses are $20 million more than officials projected in May. Centegra initially expected losses of up to $40 million, according to a filing with Fitch Ratings. That $62.3 million loss stands in stark comparison to last fiscal year's profit of $4.3 million, but the higher-than-anticipated loss does not mean the company failed to increase revenue. In fact, Centegra saw revenue increase 12.7 percent to $564.2 million from fiscal 2016 to fiscal 2017. However, the health system also saw a 26.3 percent increase in expenses to $626.5 million, which likely contributed to the $62.3 million figure. Among those expenses, salaries saw the greatest jump – more than $50 million from fiscal 2016 to fiscal 2017.Previously, Centegra officials blamed rising expenses on the cost of opening its new Huntley facility and an increase in patients receiving uncompensated care. Centegra spokeswoman Michelle Green previously said that although the Affordable Care Act has reduced the number of uninsured people, it did not ease the pressures that hospitals face when medical bills are not paid. “Through the Affordable Care Act, there has been a dramatic shift to high-deductible plans through employers and through the state-run exchange," Green said. "These plans place a heavy financial burden on patients who seek health care, and that is transferred to our health system if patients are unable to afford their care."Officials also have maintained that the losses were not the effect of empty beds. Bed occupancy rates dropped from 70 percent in 2015 to 54 percent in 2017, according to the same financial statements. In an attempt to save money, Centegra announced an overhaul in June of its facilities and services. The plan included closing its intensive care and medical-surgical operations in Woodstock. Centegra moved those services to McHenry and Huntley hospitals. Officials have projected that the changes will save the health system $15 million annually. The emergency department at the Woodstock hospital now is a basic unit, which means people who need inpatient or surgical care will be transferred to a different facility. Some services, such as Centegra’s outpatient mental health program, will move to the Woodstock campus.The changes took effect Aug. 14, and some require state approval. If the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board denies Centegra’s plans, some changes would have to be reversed. The board will consider Centegra's proposal in November. Residents and city officials have been critical of the changes. They said the community needs comprehensive emergency services and health care. Centegra is McHenry County’s largest employer, and officials have yet to announce total job cuts associated with the project. Centegra CEO Michael Eesley estimated that 50 to 120 jobs were eliminated in June.Eesley said Wednesday that times are tough for hospitals across the U.S., and the system considered every viable option before making this decision, which will benefit the most people. "There are 30 communities in McHenry County, and it is not possible to provide inpatient care in every one of them. Our decision helps the people of Woodstock to continue to receive their day-to-day medical care and emergency services right within their community," he said. "Those are the services that are used the most frequently. ... By providing acute inpatient care at our hospitals in McHenry and Huntley, we give the most residents the closest access to inpatient services. Many specialty services will only be available in Woodstock. ... We serve an entire community and must make our decisions based on every patient’s needs."The most recent financial statement release arrives amid the health system's lengthy attempts to finalize its merge with Northwestern Medicine. The two announced they would begin discussing the affiliation in April 2016. "We are planning to join Northwestern Medicine in 2018," Green said in an email.

Mon, 18 Sep 2017 04:47:00 GMT

CRYSTAL LAKE – The Centegra Health System more than doubled its last reported losses in its most recent unaudited financial statements released at the end of fiscal 2017. The Crystal Lake-based hospital system has mounting debt and ended its fiscal year June 30 with $62.3 million in operating losses, according to an unaudited financial statement found on Electronic Municipal Market Access, a municipal security website. The losses are $20 million more than officials projected in May. Centegra initially expected losses of up to $40 million, according to a filing with Fitch Ratings. That $62.3 million loss stands in stark comparison to last fiscal year's profit of $4.3 million, but the higher-than-anticipated loss does not mean the company failed to increase revenue. In fact, Centegra saw revenue increase 12.7 percent to $564.2 million from fiscal 2016 to fiscal 2017. However, the health system also saw a 26.3 percent increase in expenses to $626.5 million, which likely contributed to the $62.3 million figure. Among those expenses, salaries saw the greatest jump – more than $50 million from fiscal 2016 to fiscal 2017.Previously, Centegra officials blamed rising expenses on the cost of opening its new Huntley facility and an increase in patients receiving uncompensated care. Centegra spokeswoman Michelle Green previously said that although the Affordable Care Act has reduced the number of uninsured people, it did not ease the pressures that hospitals face when medical bills are not paid. “Through the Affordable Care Act, there has been a dramatic shift to high-deductible plans through employers and through the state-run exchange," Green said. "These plans place a heavy financial burden on patients who seek health care, and that is transferred to our health system if patients are unable to afford their care."Officials also have maintained that the losses were not the effect of empty beds. Bed occupancy rates dropped from 70 percent in 2015 to 54 percent in 2017, according to the same financial statements. In an attempt to save money, Centegra announced an overhaul in June of its facilities and services. The plan included closing its intensive care and medical-surgical operations in Woodstock. Centegra moved those services to McHenry and Huntley hospitals. Officials have projected that the changes will save the health system $15 million annually. The emergency department at the Woodstock hospital now is a basic unit, which means people who need inpatient or surgical care will be transferred to a different facility. Some services, such as Centegra’s outpatient mental health program, will move to the Woodstock campus.The changes took effect Aug. 14, and some require state approval. If the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board denies Centegr[...]


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Developer proposes multimillion-dollar solar farm near MarengoSunEast Development, Enel Green Energy and Energy Renewal Partners are planning to develop a solar farm together under the Marengo Solar LLC. The $25 million to $30 million development plan calls for about 60,000 solar panels on the site, which is close to a large ComEd substation near Marengo.

Sun, 17 Sep 2017 04:51:00 GMT

MARENGO – A clean-energy developer is eyeing a 110-acre agricultural lot just outside Marengo for a solar farm. SunEast Development, Enel Green Energy and Energy Renewal Partners are planning the project together under Marengo Solar LLC. The $25 million to $30 million development plan calls for about 60,000 solar panels on the site, which is close to a large ComEd substation, said Reed Willis of SunEast Development. The city will have to annex the site at Johnson Road and West Grant Highway for the project to move forward, according to planning documents. Developers hope to file for permits by the end of the year. They already have done boundary surveys on the site, and they would like to be up and running in two years, Willis said. SunEast is a wholesale electric provider, and there might be room for Marengo to tap into that clean energy once the site is in use. “We won’t sell to people locally. We are selling wholesale to large industrial,” Willis said. “Some municipalities might be interested once the project is further developed.” Willis said the life of the solar panels is about 40 years, and if the company leaves after the panels aren’t viable anymore, there won’t be any harm to the land. “The benefit of solar is that it’s a very small footprint,” Willis said. “When we are done, we will guarantee to get the equipment off, and the land can go back to agricultural use.” SunEast, acting as the commercial manager for the project, has 25 other projects under development in eight states. Enel Green Power operates more than 100 solar and wind projects in the U.S., Willis said. The project would create about 100 construction and service-related jobs while it’s being built, and the city would get a bump in revenue – about $40,000 a year – from the property taxes associated with the land, according to planning documents. Interim Marengo City Administrator Josh Blakemore said the next step is dependent on when the company submits a formal petition for annexation. “Where we left off, the City Council gave an informal blessing to move forward,” he said. “They would submit the petition for an annexation agreement. … We would have to amend a zoning ordnance to allow for this.” SunEast Development, Enel Green Energy and Energy Renewal Partners are planning to develop a solar farm together under the Marengo Solar LLC. The $25 million to $30 million development plan calls for about 60,0[...]


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World leaders face crises in North Korea and Myanmar at UNKorea News Service via AP This undated photo distributed Saturday by the North Korean government shows what was said to be the test launch of an intermediate range Hwasong-12 in North Korea. Independent journalists were not given access to cover the event.

Sun, 17 Sep 2017 04:50:00 GMT

UNITED NATIONS – Facing an escalating nuclear threat from North Korea and the mass flight of minority Muslims from Myanmar, world leaders gather at the United Nations starting Monday to tackle these and other tough challenges – from the spread of terrorism to a warming planet. The spotlight will be on U.S. President Donald Trump and France’s new leader, Emmanuel Macron, who will both be making their first appearance at the General Assembly. They will be joined by more than 100 heads of state and government, including Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe, one of Africa’s longest-serving leaders who is said to be bringing a 70-member entourage. While Trump’s speeches and meetings will be closely followed, it will be North Korea, which Secretary-General Antonio Guterres calls “the most dangerous crisis that we face today,” that will be most carefully watched. No official event addressing Pyongyang’s relentless campaign to develop nuclear weapons capable of hitting the U.S. is on the U.N. agenda, but it is expected to be the No. 1 issue for most leaders. Not far behind will be the plight of Myanmar’s Rohingya Muslims, victims of what Guterres calls a campaign of ethnic cleansing that has driven nearly 400,000 to flee to Bangladesh in the past three weeks. The Security Council, in its first statement on Myanmar in nine years, condemned the violence and called for immediate steps to end it. British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson is hosting a closed meeting on the crisis Monday, and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation’s contact group on the Rohingyas is scheduled to meet Tuesday. Guterres said leaders would also be focusing on a third major threat – climate change. The number of natural disasters has nearly quadrupled and he pointed to unprecedented weather events in recent weeks from Texas, Florida and the Caribbean to Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Sierra Leone. While Trump has announced that the U.S. will pull out of the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, Macron will be hosting a meeting Tuesday to spur its implementation. And a late addition to the hundreds of official meetings and side events during the ministerial week is a high-level session Monday on the devastation caused by Hurricane Irma. Several terrorism-related events are on the agenda. Macron is holding a meeting Monday with leaders of five African nations – Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Burkina Faso and Chad – that are putting together a 5,000-strong force to fight the growing threat from extremists in the vast Sahel region. A side event Wednesday on “Preventing Terrori[...]


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U.K. makes 'significant' bomb arrest but attack seen imminentAP photo Armed police officers secure the area before the Scottish Premiership soccer match Saturday at Celtic Park in Glasgow, Scotland. There were hundreds of troops and armed police deployed at public sites throughout Britain to beef up security, as British officials left the terrorist threat warning level at "critical" after Friday's subway blast in London.

Sun, 17 Sep 2017 04:50:00 GMT

LONDON – British police made an apparent breakthrough Saturday in the race-against-time subway bombing investigation with what they called a “very significant” arrest, but the country remained on a “critical” alert, meaning that another attack is judged imminent. Police arrested an 18-year-old man in the port of Dover – the main ferry link to France – and then launched a massive armed search in the southwestern London suburb of Sunbury in which they evacuated residents, established a huge cordon and imposed a no-fly zone above the property being searched. Police did not say that they had nabbed the man believed to have planted the bomb that partially exploded on a crowded London subway train Friday morning, but Home Secretary Amber Rudd and others said the arrest was of major importance. The man is being held under the Terrorism Act and has been brought to London for questioning. His identity is a closely guarded secret and police have implored the press not to speculate while the inquiry unfolds. Authorities would not say whether they thought the man was trying to flee to France on a Dover ferry. It’s clear that Britain’s police and security services are still worried. Hundreds of soldiers patrolled public areas Saturday, freeing up police for the bombing investigation. Rudd said the country’s terror threat level – which was raised Friday night to the highest possible level – will stay there until the independent Joint Terrorism Analysis Center is convinced the threat of imminent attack has eased. The homemade bomb on the rush-hour train only partially detonated – Rudd said it could have been much worse – and there are fears that accomplices may have similar devices. Experts said the bomb could have caused many fatalities if it had functioned properly. Three of the 29 people injured by the blast remained hospitalized Saturday. Rudd, frustrated by the string of terrorist attacks in recent months, said officials will have to work harder to make bomb components more difficult to obtain. “[We must] make sure to take all steps that we can to ensure the sort of materials that this man was able to collect” are harder to find, she said. The fast-moving inquiry shifted to the pleasant town of Sunbury, where neighbors were ordered to evacuate immediately by police. Mojgan Jamali, who lives near the house being searched, said police gave her “one minute” to pack. “I was in my house with my children and there was a knock at the door from the po[...]


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Officials: Returning Florida Keys residents must be self-sustaining after Hurricane IrmaAP photo A house with its roof blown off by Hurricane Irma stands Wednesday in Summerland Key in the Florida Keys. Rising sea levels and fierce storms have failed to stop relentless population growth along U.S. coasts in recent years, a new Associated Press analysis shows.

Sun, 17 Sep 2017 04:50:00 GMT

MIAMI – As the devastated Florida Keys began reopening to residents who fled Hurricane Irma, officials warned the returning islanders to bring enough supplies to sustain them for a while, because no one yet knows when water and power will be fully restored. “The Keys are not what you left several days ago when you evacuated. Electricity, sewer and water are intermittent at best,” Monroe County Mayor George Neugent said during a news conference Saturday. Officials opened up U.S. 1 on Saturday all the way south to Marathon for residents, business owners, disaster workers and supply trucks. They also announced plans to let the same groups have access all the way to Key West starting at 7 a.m. Sunday. Recovery efforts are well underway with The Salvation Army planning to serve 5,000 barbecue dinners Saturday night in Marathon and Key West, marking the first hot meals for many since Irma made landfall nearly a week ago. Roads were being cleared and recovery centers are being set up in the area to help residents fill out FEMA, insurance and small-business relief paperwork. Even Publix was open until 5 p.m. Friday. Officials had agonized over the decision to reopen the islands, knowing residents were desperate to assess the damage with their own eyes, yet worried about harsh living conditions for those who choose return. Curfews remained in effect and returning residents received a clear message from Keys officials – residents must be self-sufficient. They encouraged residents to bring tents, small air-conditioning units, food, water and medications. Officials said their detailed hurricane plan didn’t account for some unique challenges brought by Irma, which nearly wiped out parts of the middle Keys, while Key West remained in decent shape. Getting Key West residents and businesses owners to the southernmost point remained a challenge as authorities work to keep out tourists, gawkers, looters and others who could hamper recovery efforts. Nearly two dozen checkpoints in the hardest-hit areas will be heavily staffed with law-enforcement officers to check IDs to ensure only authorized residents and relief workers get through. Meanwhile, officials said they hope to open government offices, courts and schools in the Keys on Sept. 28. Further north, Broward County school officials said classes would resume Monday, but in Miami-Dade County, one of the nation’s largest school districts, student still don’t know when t[...]


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