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Hundreds gather on Woodstock Square to celebrate 20 years of 'Harry Potter'WOODSTOCK – Wands and wonder were in the air Thursday night as hundreds of parents, children and fans embraced their inner wizard and showed love for the classic "Harry Potter" series. Woodstock’s historic downtown was transformed into memorable places from the classic book series for the night, with signs hanging outside local businesses and landmarks, touting special events and activities in honor of the 20th anniversary of the original “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.” Attendees at the free celebration participated in Potter-themed crafts, tours, trivia, food and visits with owls aimed to bring aspects of the series to life. A portion of the Square’s lawn also became a Quidditch arena, with rows of hoop rings planted in the grass to resemble the broomstick-based sport from the series, featuring the Loyola University Quidditch team, Lumos. “I think it’s amazing what they’ve put together,” Pingree Grove resident Laura Werges said, standing behind her 9-year-old twin daughters. “It really is. There’s a lot of effort, but it’s amazing.”Excitement built among a group of girls from both Hampshire and Pingree Grove the longer they talked about their favorite stories from the classic series, which was published in its entirety before most of them were born. A pair of Hampshire twins, Audrey and Riley Butcher, stood smiling and watching Quidditch from the crowd with their 9-year-old sister, Ellie, and mother, Nicole. Friends from Pingree Grove, including Werges’ daughters, Sara and Cameron, also looked at maps distributed to attendees with details of other events. Even without costumes, the love for all things "Harry Potter" was evident. “The thing I love about '[Harry Potter and] the Prisoner of Azkaban,' where Harry rides Beaker, and it’s just so amazing and gives me happy thoughts,” Sara Werges said about the third installment of the franchise.Some attendees traveled across counties just to satisfy their wizardly fandom. Jennifer Bender and her two sons, 8-year-old Dylan and 5-year-old Colin, traveled from Mokena to Woodstock to participate in the event – one of three the trio will be visiting this weekend. The Benders also will stop in Aurora and Naperville for "Harry Potter" festivals.

Fri, 28 Jul 2017 05:21:00 GMT

Hundreds of people gathered Thursday night in a wizard-themed downtown Woodstock for the Wizarding World of Woodstock festival celebrating the 20th anniversary of the original "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone."

WOODSTOCK – Wands and wonder were in the air Thursday night as hundreds of parents, children and fans embraced their inner wizard and showed love for the classic "Harry Potter" series. Woodstock’s historic downtown was transformed into memorable places from the classic book series for the night, with signs hanging outside local businesses and landmarks, touting special events and activities in honor of the 20th anniversary of the original “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.” Attendees at the free celebration participated in Potter-themed crafts, tours, trivia, food and visits with owls aimed to bring aspects of the series to life. A portion of the Square’s lawn also became a Quidditch arena, with rows of hoop rings planted in the grass to resemble the broomstick-based sport from the series, featuring the Loyola University Quidditch team, Lumos. “I think it’s amazing what they’ve put together,” Pingree Grove resident Laura Werges said, standing behind her 9-year-old twin daughters. “It really is. There’s a lot of effort, but it’s amazing.”Excitement built among a group of girls from both Hampshire and Pingree Grove the longer they talked about their favorite stories from the classic series, which was published in its entirety before most of them were born. A pair of Hampshire twins, Audrey and Riley Butcher, stood smiling and watching Quidditch from the crowd with their 9-year-old sister, Ellie, and mother, Nicole. Friends from Pingree Grove, including Werges’ daughters, Sara and Cameron, also looked at maps distributed to attendees with details of other events. Even without costumes, the love for all things "Harry Potter" was evident. “The thing I love about '[Harry Potter and] the Prisoner of Azkaban,' where Harry rides Beaker, and it’s just so amazing and gives me happy thoughts,” Sara Werges said about the third installment of the franchise.Some attendees traveled across counties just to satisfy their wizardly fandom. Jennifer Bender and her two sons, 8-year-old Dylan and 5-year-old Colin, traveled from Mokena to Woodstock to participate in the event – one of three the trio will be visiting this weekend. The Benders also will stop in Aurora and Naperville for "Harry Potter" festivals.


Media Files:
http://www.nwherald.com/lists/2017/07/28/ff1c037f828443b39708463a7c6dc1d9/e393cb46-a308-4bcf-b9c7-23cc14788aeb/image-pv_web.jpg




Mayor Aaron Shepley: Crystal Lake to take on additional waste from Lakewood to assist with floodingSarah Nader – snader@shawmedia.com Jonathan Rupe, owner of Northwestern Lawn and Landscape, lays sandbags around a Lakewood home Wednesday and pumps water away from the house on Hampshire Lane. Flooding is backing up some residents' septic tanks in the neighborhood.Sarah Nader - snader@shawmedia.com Jonathan Rupe, owner of Northwestern Lawn and Landscape, pumps water Wednesday away from a house on Hampshire Lane in Lakewood. Flooding is backing up some residents' septic tanks in the neighborhood.

Fri, 28 Jul 2017 05:07:00 GMT

CRYSTAL LAKE – The city of Crystal Lake has answered Lakewood’s call for help in alleviating the village’s ongoing flooding problem, according to a statement from Crystal Lake Mayor Aaron Shepley.

Shepley’s office emailed a statement Thursday night explaining that the city’s sanitary sewer system now has the capacity to accept additional waste flow from Lakewood “without impact or cost to Crystal Lake residents” after avoiding significant rainfall that was expected Wednesday night.

“We would like to assure all the residents of Crystal Lake, especially those who live in the hardest hit areas, that the assistance provided to Lakewood will not negatively affect them,” Shepley said in the statement. “Nonetheless, once we confirmed that providing assistance to our friends and neighbors in the village of Lakewood will not be at the expense of our own residents, we conclude that helping was simply the right and decent thing to do.”

Shepley said Lakewood leadership has been advised that Crystal Lake could stop accepting sewer waste from the village if conditions change, according to the statement.

More than 100 residents attended the Lakewood Village Board meeting Tuesday night and demanded solutions from the village for ongoing sewage and stormwater flooding that is hindering residents, many of whom live in The Gates.

When the suggestion of asking Crystal Lake for help arose, Village President Paul Serwatka promised to call Shepley and discuss a solution.

Serwatka said the two municipalities agreed Thursday morning to Crystal Lake pumping Lakewood’s sewer waste at a rate of 300 gallons a minute continuously from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday. After the 12-hour period, city officials will further evaluate the stress additional flow puts on the city’s system and whether there still is a need from Lakewood.

“If everything goes smooth tomorrow, and we still have the need, we’ll continue on,” Serwatka said. “At this point, it’s anything we can do. We suspect this will take a substantial amount [of waste] out of the sewer.”

Sarah Nader – snader@shawmedia.com Jonathan Rupe, owner of Northwestern Lawn and Landscape, lays sandbags around a Lakewood home Wednesday and pumps water away from the house on Hampshire Lane. Flooding is backing up some residents' septic tanks in the neighborhood.Sarah Nader - snader@shawmedia.com Jonathan Rupe, owner of Northwestern Lawn and Landscape, pumps water Wednesday away from a house on Hampshire Lane in Lakewood. Flooding is backing up some residents' septic tanks in the neighborhood.


Media Files:
http://www.nwherald.com/articles/2017/07/28/03c5e9d887e64ab8a600a64a50ae37d3/965020ae-a487-4953-a134-1a2acbea5711/image-pv_web.jpg




Man injured in Lake in the Hills 3-car rollover crash TuesdayEmergency crews wheel a man to a waiting ambulance after he was extricated from an overturned vehicle after a three-car crash on Randall Road just north of Miller Road.

Fri, 28 Jul 2017 05:06:00 GMT

LAKE IN THE HILLS – A man was taken to an area hospital with minor injuries after he was extricated from a vehicle that rolled over Tuesday on Randall Road near Miller Road in Lake in the Hills.

Lake in the Hills police officer Amanda Schmitt said emergency crews responded about 2:30 p.m. to the scene of a three-car collision involving a Cadillac, Subaru and Honda. The Subaru had rolled over.

Schmitt declined to provide information about how many people were involved in the crash. The injured man was taken to a hospital about 3 p.m., she said.

Schmitt said a citation was issued, but she would not say who received it or what type of citation it was.

She said the crash is not under investigation, and Lake in the Hills police and the Crystal Lake Fire Department responded to the incident.

Emergency crews wheel a man to a waiting ambulance after he was extricated from an overturned vehicle after a three-car crash on Randall Road just north of Miller Road.


Media Files:
http://www.nwherald.com/articles/2017/07/27/64046e0676c542a7b0856d69678586eb/13e05d8f-311f-4e92-b1e9-104d0cdad432/image-pv_web.jpg




Police: Woman facing burglary, theft charges stole nearly $5,000 from Cary Bank and TrustJudy A. Persfull, 56, faces charges of burglary and theft after police said she robbed Cary Bank and Trust, leaving with nearly $5,000. Persfull was found at The Maple Tree Inn and taken into custody.

Fri, 28 Jul 2017 05:06:00 GMT

CARY – A woman charged in connection with a bank robbery earlier this week at Cary Bank and Trust stole nearly $5,000, police said.

Judy A. Persfull, 56, previously of Capron and currently homeless, was charged Tuesday with the burglary and theft of items more than $500. She remains in the McHenry County Jail in lieu of posting 10 percent of her $75,000 bond.

Police arrived about 2:10 p.m. Tuesday at the bank, 60 E. Main St., after a report of a robbery. Preliminary investigations found that Persfull went into the bank, approached a teller and demanded cash. She placed a bag on the counter and fled after receiving the money. Persfull did not say she had a weapon, police said.

Persfull fled west on foot with about $4,881, according to a Cary police report. She was found about a block away at The Maple Tree Inn, a sports bar in Cary, according to the report.

She is expected to appear in court Friday before Judge James Cowlin.

Judy A. Persfull, 56, faces charges of burglary and theft after police said she robbed Cary Bank and Trust, leaving with nearly $5,000. Persfull was found at The Maple Tree Inn and taken into custody.


Media Files:
http://www.nwherald.com/articles/2017/07/27/b2bd44d08d124b36a74a2ad856630959/ae159885-a32f-49b1-be9b-543c1b7fd453/image-pv_web.jpg




Crystal Lake Park District cancels Cardboard Cup Regatta because of high water levelsShaw Media file photo While Jacqui Hernandez (front, right to left) and Daniela Diaz lead their crew, Valeria Diaz and Eduardo Diaz, all of Crystal Lake, paddle their way to the finish line during the 32nd annual America’s Cardboard Cup Regatta at Crystal Lake Main Beach.

Fri, 28 Jul 2017 05:05:00 GMT

CRYSTAL LAKE – America’s Cardboard Cup Regatta was canceled Thursday without a rescheduled date because of the high water levels in Crystal Lake, according to an alert on the Crystal Lake Park District’s website.

Unfavorable weather conditions, including lightning, postponed the event from its original date on June 17, but recent heavy rain only has added to problems with the lake’s water level.

Crystal Lake’s Main and West beaches have been closed since Tuesday and will remain closed through Monday because of recent flooding.

Regatta co-chairman Bryan Javor said he was told the bacteria levels in the lake were too low to meet a safe threshold for the event.

He added that to his knowledge, 2017 will be the first year in more than 30 years that the regatta will not be held.

“If we’re putting people, especially children, in danger at the actual event, we’re really not following our own goals and visions,” Javor said.

Javor said that although the cancellation is disappointing, organizers are working with sponsors and planned attendees to ensure all charitable contributions are carried over into next year’s event, essentially extending the window for contribution by a full year.

America’s Cardboard Cup Regatta is a nonprofit that organizes the annual charity race to raise money for local charitable organizations, according to its website.

“We want to make sure that in the process of having to deal with that we’re not pushing people away in the future and doing everything we can ethically to let people know they’re being appreciated and we need them to be a part of the organization in the future,” Javor said.

Sunday night’s storm dropped between 1 and 2 inches of rain on McHenry County, according to the National Weather Service, which consequently worsened ongoing flooding problems plaguing residents in Lakewood and Crystal Lake.

On Wednesday, the Crystal Lake Park District suspended the use of all motorized watercrafts until the lake’s water level recedes in order to provide relief for shoreline residents, according to a news release. Once the water recedes, use will be re-evaluated.

Piers that are submerged and not visible also were deemed safety concerns. Residents removing their boats from the lake are permitted to do so at a no-wake speed.

Shaw Media file photo While Jacqui Hernandez (front, right to left) and Daniela Diaz lead their crew, Valeria Diaz and Eduardo Diaz, all of Crystal Lake, paddle their way to the finish line during the 32nd annual America’s Cardboard Cup Regatta at Crystal Lake Main Beach.


Media Files:
http://www.nwherald.com/articles/2017/07/27/3ef378f666b946a2afeda6ea565ea769/689c2617-03fe-4846-8913-6a1e0adcaf8c/image-pv_web.jpg




Woodstock to hold public hearing on 1 percent home rule sales tax increaseThe Woodstock City Council will hold a public hearing Tuesday on a proposed 1 percent sales tax increase. Mayor Brian Sager said he supports moving forward with the process. "None of us want to pay more taxes in any form," he said. "But it's necessary to generate income to provide services that we expect as residents and as a community at large."

Fri, 28 Jul 2017 05:00:00 GMT

WOODSTOCK – The city will hold a public hearing Tuesday on its proposed home rule sales tax increase that could tack on a percentage point to Woodstock’s 7 percent sales tax rate.

The city first proposed the increase after lowering its portion of the property tax bill by 10 percent, which took about $94 off the bill for a homeowner who has a $150,000 property.

The city put $779,000 in its budget coming from the home rule sales tax to go toward offsetting that loss of revenue.

The city has the option to raise the sales tax in quarter percentage points. Surrounding home rule communities, such as Algonquin and Crystal Lake, have used their home rule status to raise sales tax rates by 0.75 percent.

Financial Director Paul Christensen estimated that the city could bring in about $628,000 annually for each 0.25 percent. If the city opts to increase its tax to the full 8 percent, it could pull in about $2.5 million in extra revenue.

Some City Council members said they only would be in favor of the tax if the fund were dedicated to cover lost revenue from the 10 percent property tax decrease and road repairs and maintenance.

“If $800 went to property tax, that is 1.7 million additional dollars [to roads], which doubles what we are doing now,” council member Mike Turner said. “We need to get up to that number. We’re not going to let the roads crumble.”

Council members have not made an official decision on whether the sales tax revenue will be dedicated to the roads.

In January 2016, city officials approved a special census in an effort to achieve home rule status, and they officially formalized its status six months later.

Communities with more than 25,000 residents automatically have home rule status.

The move sparked pushback from some members of the community, including a group called Voters in Action, which said the city’s home rule status would lead to higher taxes.

Companies in Woodstock that sell large-ticket items have voiced opposition to the tax, saying it would decrease Woodstock’s ability to compete in the region, particularly for things such as lumber supplies.

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.

The public hearing will be at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Woodstock City Hall, 121 W. Calhoun St.

The Woodstock City Council will hold a public hearing Tuesday on a proposed 1 percent sales tax increase. Mayor Brian Sager said he supports moving forward with the process. "None of us want to pay more taxes in any form," he said. "But it's necessary to generate income to provide services that we expect as residents and as a community at large."


Media Files:
http://www.nwherald.com/articles/2017/07/27/24b7a5a8becd4973b92456beb083a0ec/2f4c25c0-6c34-436f-a164-033e237e5506/image-pv_web.jpg




Hundreds assemble on Woodstock Square to celebrate 20 years of 'Harry Potter'Sarah Nader – snader@shawmedia.com Dressed as Harry Potter, Michael Baldwin, 9, of Geneva makes a large bubble while attending Thursday's Wizarding World of Woodstock in celebration of the 20th anniversary of the original "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone." The event included a scavenger hunt, Quidditch, costume parades, a miniature Hogwarts Express, Potter-themed crafts, trivia, food, a visit from owls provided by the McHenry County Conservation District and more.Sarah Nader - snader@shawmedia.com Dressed as Harry Potter Xander Vogel, 15, of Woodstock walks around as part as the scavenger hunt at Thursday's Wizarding World of Woodstock in celebration of the 20th anniversary of the original "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" July 27, 2017. The event included a scavenger hunt, Quidditch, costume parades, miniature Hogwarts Express, Potter-themed crafts, trivia, food, a visit from owls provided by the McHenry County Conservation District and more.

Fri, 28 Jul 2017 04:57:00 GMT

WOODSTOCK – Wands and wonder were in the air Thursday night as hundreds of parents, children and fans embraced their inner wizard and showed love for the classic “Harry Potter” series.

Woodstock’s historic downtown was transformed into memorable places from the classic book series for the night, with signs hanging outside local businesses and landmarks, touting special events and activities in honor of the 20th anniversary of the original “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.”

Attendees at the free celebration participated in Potter-themed crafts, tours, trivia, food and visits with owls aimed to bring aspects of the series to life. A portion of the Square’s lawn also became a Quidditch arena, with rows of hoop rings planted in the grass to resemble the broomstick-based sport from the series, featuring the Loyola University Quidditch team, Lumos.

“I think it’s amazing what they’ve put together,” Pingree Grove resident Laura Werges said, standing behind her 9-year-old twin daughters. “It really is. There’s a lot of effort, but it’s amazing.”

Excitement built among a group of girls from both Hampshire and Pingree Grove the longer they talked about their favorite stories from the classic series, which was published in its entirety before most of them were born.

A pair of Hampshire twins, Audrey and Riley Butcher, stood smiling and watching Quidditch from the crowd with their 9-year-old sister, Ellie, and mother, Nicole. Friends from Pingree Grove, including Werges’ daughters, Sara and Cameron, also looked at maps distributed to attendees with details of other events.

Even without costumes, the love for all things “Harry Potter” was evident.

“The thing I love about ‘[Harry Potter and] the Prisoner of Azkaban,’ where Harry rides Beaker, and it’s just so amazing and gives me happy thoughts,” Sara Werges said about the third installment of the franchise.

Some attendees traveled across counties just to satisfy their wizardly fandom.

Jennifer Bender and her two sons, 8-year-old Dylan and 5-year-old Colin, traveled from Mokena to Woodstock to participate in the event – one of three the trio will be visiting this weekend. The Benders also will stop in Aurora and Naperville for “Harry Potter” festivals.

Sarah Nader – snader@shawmedia.com Dressed as Harry Potter, Michael Baldwin, 9, of Geneva makes a large bubble while attending Thursday's Wizarding World of Woodstock in celebration of the 20th anniversary of the original "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone." The event included a scavenger hunt, Quidditch, costume parades, a miniature Hogwarts Express, Potter-themed crafts, trivia, food, a visit from owls provided by the McHenry County Conservation District and more.Sarah Nader - snader@shawmedia.com Dressed as Harry Potter Xander Vogel, 15, of Woodstock walks around as part as the scavenger hunt at Thursday's Wizarding World of Woodstock in celebration of the 20th anniversary of the original "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" July 27, 2017. The event included a scavenger hunt, Quidditch, costume parades, miniature Hogwarts Express, Potter-themed crafts, trivia, food, a visit from owls provided by the McHenry County Conservation District and more.


Media Files:
http://www.nwherald.com/articles/2017/07/28/766a0c5acdbc4603a5ca8279593b3c62/24d8b3a0-9670-4b81-9612-0efae7147fe1/image-pv_web.jpg




Mariano's could begin construction soon for Crystal Lake storeImage provided Construction on the Crystal Lake Mariano’s store could begin in August, officials said. The store is expected to open in the spring.

Fri, 28 Jul 2017 04:53:00 GMT

CRYSTAL LAKE – Construction could start in August on the Mariano’s grocery store and gas station slated to open in the spring in Crystal Lake, city officials said.

The Crystal Lake Planning and Zoning Commission approved the request for a special use permit to build a 19,000-square-foot gas station with five double-sided fueling stations along Route 14 on the north side of the upcoming Mariano’s store at 105 Route 14.

The City Council unanimously voted June 18 to approve an ordinance granting Mariano’s a special use permit for the gas station before the proposal went back to the Planning and Zoning Commission and was finalized.

Mariano’s demolished the former Sears store in April to make way for the 74,800-square-foot grocery facility that city officials have said could bring in between $35 million and $40 million in sales annually.

Developers soon are expected to resubmit the full permit that would allow them to begin construction both underground – for utility purposes – and on the grocery store building itself, said Elizabeth Maxwell, the city’s senior planner.

Maxwell said the city and developers trade two or three versions of project plans in order to correct minor details in the planning phase, but final plans typically are turned around within five days after being submitted.

The approval of the gas station, which the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission approved July 19, is not expected to delay the construction project, Maxwell said.

“Some things depend on winter and things like that, but they feel confident they can get going and still meet the schedule [to open next spring],” Maxwell said.

Maxwell said that about 95 percent of construction will take place on-site and will not result in any major road closures; however, contractors will realign the two north entrances to assist with traffic crossing Route 14 and to pour new concrete curbs.

The realignment could cause short-term road delays but is not expected to result in full lane closures. Construction vehicles coming and going will use the southwest entrance off South Virginia Avenue that will serve as the future store’s loading dock.

Mariano’s is a subsidiary of Milwaukee-based Roundy’s Supermarkets Inc., which operates more than 150 grocery stores in Wisconsin and Illinois under the Pick ‘n Save, Copps, Metro Market and Mariano’s retail banners.

The Kroger Co., which in 2016 was ranked the third largest retail chain in the world behind Walmart and Costco, purchased Roundy’s in 2015 and serves as Mariano’s parent organization.

Much like the Kroger stores of its parent organization, Maxwell said the Crystal Lake Mariano’s will feature a rewards program that allows shoppers to earn fuel discounts and savings for purchases in the grocery store.

Mariano’s rewards cards also offer additional deals, savings and digital-only promotions, according to the card’s description on Mariano’s website.

“I think people are excited about it,” Maxwell said. “I think having the gas station go through brought another renewed interest in the project, knowing they’re going to have the fuel station there with the fuel rewards.”

Image provided Construction on the Crystal Lake Mariano’s store could begin in August, officials said. The store is expected to open in the spring.


Media Files:
http://www.nwherald.com/articles/2017/07/25/9605e10c34bb4fdc8883d851e7236631/74dc8c02-90a2-4582-acf1-77f9b1550495/image-pv_web.jpg




Marengo family whose home exploded picks up the pieces, learns 'new normal'“You can imagine living on a street and having people as your friends and neighbors for over 13 years, having this explosion and realizing they’re thinking you’re dead," said Dawn St. Clair, the matriarch of the family. The past month has seemed like a roller coaster to the St. Clairs."Your house is gone. Your house just blew up. The next-door neighbors' are on fire," Dawn's husband, Mike St. Clair, said as he recounted hearing the news that his home exploding had affected so many others. "It was surreal. What do you do?" Mike's family had just finished a trip through Arizona as they visited the Grand Canyon and Sedona, among other destinations. He remembered getting a phone call about 3 a.m. A neighbor was in hysterics on the other end, asking Mike whether his family was all with him. The St. Clairs are a family of five – with children Katie, 21; Briana, 17; and Jack, 16. Katie was away at school, and Briana and Jack were on vacation with their parents. "Sometimes somebody stays behind or doesn't go," Dawn St. Clair said. But no lives were lost. Several neighbors ran to rescue the St. Clairs' neighbors while their homes burned to the ground.Ross Hadlock, who lives down the block on Seventh Circle, recalled the heroic actions. Hadlock's home shifted from its foundation because of the blast."Neighbors grabbed a ladder, and three guys held the ladder because there was no house to lean it up against," Hadlock said. "[A neighbor] came down and walked toward the street with the rescuers, and the house went [down]. It almost exploded in fire.” Mike and Dawn wanted to return to Marengo immediately, but they were unable to catch a flight until the next morning, June 12. “It’s hard to be that far away and not being able to do anything, and [the neighbors are] living it," Mike said.The St. Clair family and all those affected by the explosion have experienced an outpouring of support from the Marengo community. Mike said he has been overwhelmed by the response, and no one from Marengo has said an unkind word. As of early July, the Marengo Area OutReach Enterprises center had collected more than $115,000, plus $7,000 in gift cards, and counting, along with household goods and clothing, Executive Director Robert Botts said. "The M.O.R.E center is struggling to organize all donations and gifts. They ended up putting it in a big warehouse," Dawn said. "They couldn’t even keep it on-site.” The smaller community surrounding Seventh Circle pulled together for its neighbors, too. Hadlock said one woman served the displaced neighbors lunch and dinner every day for a week. A YouCaring site for the St. Clair family also had raised more than $8,400 as of Thursday afternoon.Outside of that community, however, not everyone has been so kind. “The gapers still walk by, stand at the fence yelling, ‘Which one was first?’ And we’re trying to dig a grave for our animal," Mike said. The family lost a beloved cat in the explosion. "I know everyone has curiosity and they want to see it, but sometimes it’s just too much,” Mike said.Not knowing the exact cause of the catastrophic explosion, or the total cost of the damage, has caused the St. Clair family some heartache, as well. "There are 15 insurance companies involved, plus the city, the county government and Nicor, and they all want a different outcome for a variety of different reasons," Hadlock said. "Most of the evidence was blown away.” The St. Clairs said they have felt fortunate their insurance company put them in a hotel immediately after the incident. They now are in a temporary town house in Marengo and are learning to adjust to their "new normal."Dawn said she feels as though she merely is existing in the new space, however. Her teenagers are rarely home, as they feel more comfortable in their friends' familiar houses. Briana almost quit cross country, which she has run since her freshman year of high school, because she could not get to practice. Her car, and three others, were totaled in the explosion. Jack is unable to get a driver's license, although he just turned 16, because his birth certificate, driver's permit and social security card were lost. Hadlock also said the most difficult part of the experience for his family has been trying to keep it from affecting his young daughters. He and his wife had difficulty finding a child care service that would work with their new transient lifestyle – the Hadlock family stayed in hotels for more than a month after the explosion. An area church recently donated a temporary home to them.Within a year, the affected families hope they can be moving back into their rebuilt homes. "We want to have a block party," Dawn said. “I’m glad we live here – in a small town," Mike said. "The outreach has been … there’s no words for it.”Hadlock said he wants to remind the community, who recently joined together to celebrate how close-knit it has become in a Marengo Strong event, that the families in and around Seventh Circle still need help. "This isn’t going to be over quickly," Hadlock said. "The shock wave from the blast is going to last about a year.”

Fri, 28 Jul 2017 04:45:00 GMT

When a home on Seventh Circle in Marengo exploded, destroying two homes, catching others on fire and damaging about 80 more June 11, most of the neighborhood thought the St. Clair family was dead. “You can imagine living on a street and having people as your friends and neighbors for over 13 years, having this explosion and realizing they’re thinking you’re dead," said Dawn St. Clair, the matriarch of the family. The past month has seemed like a roller coaster to the St. Clairs."Your house is gone. Your house just blew up. The next-door neighbors' are on fire," Dawn's husband, Mike St. Clair, said as he recounted hearing the news that his home exploding had affected so many others. "It was surreal. What do you do?" Mike's family had just finished a trip through Arizona as they visited the Grand Canyon and Sedona, among other destinations. He remembered getting a phone call about 3 a.m. A neighbor was in hysterics on the other end, asking Mike whether his family was all with him. The St. Clairs are a family of five – with children Katie, 21; Briana, 17; and Jack, 16. Katie was away at school, and Briana and Jack were on vacation with their parents. "Sometimes somebody stays behind or doesn't go," Dawn St. Clair said. But no lives were lost. Several neighbors ran to rescue the St. Clairs' neighbors while their homes burned to the ground.Ross Hadlock, who lives down the block on Seventh Circle, recalled the heroic actions. Hadlock's home shifted from its foundation because of the blast."Neighbors grabbed a ladder, and three guys held the ladder because there was no house to lean it up against," Hadlock said. "[A neighbor] came down and walked toward the street with the rescuers, and the house went [down]. It almost exploded in fire.” Mike and Dawn wanted to return to Marengo immediately, but they were unable to catch a flight until the next morning, June 12. “It’s hard to be that far away and not being able to do anything, and [the neighbors are] living it," Mike said.The St. Clair family and all those affected by the explosion have experienced an outpouring of support from the Marengo community. Mike said he has been overwhelmed by the response, and no one from Marengo has said an unkind word. As of early July, the Marengo Area OutReach Enterprises center had collected more than $115,000, plus $7,000 in gift cards, and counting, along with household goods and clothing, Executive Director Robert Botts said. "The M.O.R.E center is struggling to organize all donations and gifts. They ended up putting it in a big warehouse," Dawn said. "They couldn’t even keep it on-site.” The smaller community surrounding Seventh Circle pulled together for its neighbors, too. Hadlock said one woman served the displaced neighbors lunch and dinner every day for a week. A YouCaring site for the St. Clair family also had raised more than $8,400 as of Thursday afternoon.Outside of that community, however, not everyone has been so kind. “The gapers still walk by, stand at the fence yelling, ‘Which one was first?’ And we’re trying to dig a grave for our animal," Mike said. The family lost a beloved cat in the explosion. "I know everyone has curiosity and they want to see it, but sometimes it’s just too much,” Mike said.Not knowing the exact cause of the catastrophic explosion, or the total cost of the damage, has caused the St. Clair family some heartache, as well. "There are 15 insurance companies involved, plus the city, the county government and Nicor, and they all want a different outcome for a variety of different reasons," Hadlock said. "Most of the evidence was blown away.” The St. Clairs said they have felt fortunate their insurance company put them in a hotel immediately after the incident. They now are in a temporary town house in Marengo and are learnin[...]


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Downers Grove District 99 discusses policy encouraging staff, students to stand for pledgeThe American flag flies above Downers Grove North High School. The policy encouraging students and staff to participate each day in the Pledge of Allegiance at Downers Grove North and South high schools was discussed at a recent Community High School District 99 Board of Education meeting.

Thu, 27 Jul 2017 19:30:00 GMT

DOWNERS GROVE – A decision by the Community High School District 99 Board of Education to encouage students and staff to participate each day in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance will not be well received by some, Superintendent Hank Thiele said. Board members at their July 17 meeting directed Thiele to craft a statement for presentation at the start of the school year reiterating a district policy that says students and staff “will be encouraged but not required to participate in the Pledge of Allegiance.” “Those individuals who decline to participate must do so in a non-disruptive, respectful manner, but may not be subject to harassment or reprisal for their decision,” the policy states. Thiele said the district must be certain to adhere to the policy. “To do anymore than what we do now, which is invite people to stand up and say the pledge, would put us in a very precarious legal position,” he said. Thiele said some students and staff stand, while others don't. "Any encouragement to some members of our staff or our student body will not be well received," he said. "There will be staff or students that choose to take the other option and rather not stand. You are really choosing one side over the other.” Board member Michael Davenport said he was surprised to learn a few years ago that some students do not stand for the Pledge of Allegiance. “You’d assume that after going through grade school and everything, it’s something all the kids do every morning,” Davenport said. Davenport, whose three daughters attend Downers Grove South High School, said peer pressure makes some students uncomfortable about participating. “When the majority are not [standing], you’re feeling a bit of peer pressure and feeling uncomfortable,” he said. “Some classrooms, I think, take it a little more seriously than others. I would like to make sure that staff are being encouraged. I just wonder if the staff is being encouraged.” He added, however, that students should be supported whether or not they stand for the pledge. “I had children that felt odd and were feeling pressured to not do it because they were all by themselves,” Davenport said. His son, Wes, wrote an article in favor of standing for the pledge in the Downers Grove South student newspaper. “We feel very passionate in my house about saying the pledge,” Davenport said in a phone interview. “Maybe more could be done to encourage people because that’s what our policy asks for. I think it’s worthwhile to remind our staff and students.” Board member Dan Nicholas also favored encouraging students and staff to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance. “I personally don’t have a problem expending political capital encouraging people to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance,” Nicholas said. “I think it’s more important than what I’m feeling some people here think it is.” Board member Rick Pavinato said the district should make a statement to students and staff at the beginning of the school year encouraging them to stand for the pledge. “To me, right now, just an invitation every morning is not the encouragement that I think this policy was written to create,” Pavinato said. Board Vice President Terry Pavesich strongly supported standing for the Pledge of Allegiance. [...]


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Lakewood residents plead for help from Crystal Lake as both municipalities face flooding problemsSarah Nader - snader@shawmedia.com Owner of Northwestern Lawn and Landscape Jonathan Rupe pumps water away from a house on Hampshire Lane in Lakewood Wednesday, July 26, 2017. Flooding is backing up some residents septic tanks in the neighborhood.

Thu, 27 Jul 2017 18:39:00 GMT

LAKEWOOD – When Lakewood resident Shari Ledermann woke up to find her basement filled with more than 5 feet of brown sewage and stormwater, the problem caught her by surprise. Ledermann wanted answers – as did more than 100 people who attended the Lakewood Village Board meeting Tuesday – so she and others asked village trustees to help find short- and long-term solutions for sewage backup and severe flooding problems. Ledermann never expected flooding would reach her home, in the 300 block of Wittshire Lane, which is why she began to panic when 2 inches of water filled her basement about two weeks ago. Her worries dissipated with the water in a matter of days but returned when another 5 inches of water arrived after another storm. After contacting the village and being told the pumps were running, Ledermann prayed the problem would stop there. However, on Monday morning the water level in her basement rose to the second step from the top. The power was cut off, and the majority of Ledermann’s basement appliances were completely submerged, including her air conditioner, water heater, washer and dryer. The damage is difficult to quantify until the water begins going down, she said. “I’m begging you to do something because I don’t have the means to fix the sewers,” Ledermann said at Tuesday’s meeting. “I just can’t believe this is an issue, and that it’s just OK, I guess, that for years that the sewer winds up in people’s basements.” The frustrated residents packed against the walls of the board meeting room at RedTail Golf Club, spending about two hours pleading for Lakewood trustees to help them find solutions to what several described as a flooding crisis in their homes. Like Ledermann, other residents have become desperate for help after weekend storms resulted in flooding that destroyed portions of their basements and yards. As a result, sewage water has poured from sinks, toilets, showers and bathtubs in homes to the point where some residents deemed their homes uninhabitable. The National Weather Service estimated between 1 and 2 inches of rain pelted McHenry County during Sunday night’s storm. High water pressure flooded through the pipes until valves and pumps were overwhelmed, causing many to malfunction, village engineers said. The weekend storms resulted in flooding that overloaded both the village’s storm and sanitary sewer systems, engineers said, causing some residents to call on neighboring Crystal Lake to help. Emotional accounts of the disaster shared at Tuesday night’s meeting established a consensus among residents that immediate relief was necessary for families who are unable to sleep under their own roofs, but trustees were unable to offer little in the way of relief for those hit the hardest – particularly houses in The Gates subdivision. Lakewood Village President Paul Serwatka encouraged residents to document damage assessments for their properties to help with claims in the event that a natural disaster is declared, while agreeing to residents’ request to call Crystal Lake Mayor Aaron Shepley and ask the sister city for help. Village officials noted, however, the most effective way to seek assistance from Crystal Lake would be asking the city’s own residents living along the lake for help in applying pressure to the city’s leadership. Otherwise, solutions for Lakewood’s problem were few and far between as corrective and improvement measures [...]


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Tablets to be x-rayed separately in new U.S. airport security screeningA pair of travelers walk through a TSA Precheck security line, while other passengers wait in line to be screened June 29, 2016, in Terminal 2 of San Francisco International Airport in San Francisco.

Thu, 27 Jul 2017 06:16:00 GMT

U.S. airline passengers will have to take tablet computers and other large electronic devices out of carry-on bags for inspection as the government phases in tighter screening prompted by fears terror groups can hide bombs in them. Most passengers already had to remove laptops from their bags when going through security, and now will need to remove e-readers, tablet computers and other devices so they can be X-rayed separately, the Transportation Security Administration announced Wednesday. TSA said the new measures will be imposed in the “weeks and months ahead.” “It is critical for TSA to constantly enhance and adjust security screening procedures to stay ahead of evolving threats and keep passengers safe,” TSA acting administrator Huban A. Gowadia said in an emailed statement. “By separating personal electronic items such as laptops, tablets, e-readers and handheld game consoles for screening, TSA officers can more closely focus on resolving alarms and stopping terror threats.” The move, which comes at the peak summer travel season, is part of a sweeping overhaul of how airport security agencies screen electronics after intelligence that terror groups have refined their ability to sneak bombs in laptops and other devices. It follows an announcement from the Department of Homeland Security that imposed similar requirements on almost 280 airports in more than 100 countries outside of the U.S. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly had threatened for months to impose a ban on large electronic devices in airline cabins for all flights headed to the U.S. after imposing such restrictions in March on flights leaving from 10 airports in the Middle East and North Africa. The agency stopped short of a ban in a June order, requiring additional screening of electronics instead, and allowing passengers at the 10 airports to resume carrying on their devices. Wednesday’s order won’t apply to passengers enrolled in TSA’s PreCheck program, which gives people expedited screening after they agree to a background check. Travelers in PreCheck lines still will be allowed to keep electronic devices and liquids in their bags. TSA said this month it had added PreCheck lanes to the 200th U.S. airport. The TSA warned in its statement Wednesday that “passengers may experience more bag checks.” “Just watch. You can’t just take more things out of bags and not back up a line,” said Jeffrey Price, an aviation professor specializing in security at the Metropolitan State University of Denver. Airport lines surged in 2016, prompting thousands of travelers to miss flights, as TSA staffing levels fell and screeners became overwhelmed by rising numbers of travelers. “The system is performing at just about max capacity,” Price said. “We start putting more delay in the system and we could see the lines back up quite a bit.” TSA tested the procedures at 10 U.S. airports this year and has worked on ways to streamline the process with “quicker and more targeted measures to clear the bags,” it said in the release. A TSA officer will be stationed at screening lines to help passengers with the new requirements and will recommend how to efficiently arrange items in bins for X-ray screening. Airlines for America, a trade group representing large carriers, said in an emailed statement it “remains committed to working collaboratively with DHS officials to strike the appropriate balance [...]


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Dems slam President Donald Trump's military transgender ban; GOP caught by surpriseAP photo Protestors gather Wednesday in Times Square in New York. President Donald Trump declared a ban on transgender troops serving anywhere in the U.S. military, catching the Pentagon flat-footed and unable to explain what it called Trump's "guidance."

Thu, 27 Jul 2017 06:15:00 GMT

WASHINGTON – Congressional Democrats slammed President Donald Trump’s decision, announced in a series of tweets Wednesday morning, to bar transgender Americans from serving in the military, while Trump’s allies on Capitol Hill remained largely perplexed or silent. “Trump makes our military weaker by arbitrarily kicking out high-performing soldiers based solely on gender identity,” tweeted Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colo., one of seven openly gay members of Congress. Capitol Hill’s most prominent Republican voice on national security matters, Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain, R-Ariz., also criticized Trump’s announcement, calling it “unclear” and “yet another example of why major policy announcements should not be made via Twitter.” McCain said transgender individuals already serving should be allowed to continue serving: “There is no reason to force service members who are able to fight, train and deploy to leave the military – regardless of their gender identity.” But other Republicans on Capitol Hill remained mum Wednesday. A House Republican aide, speaking on the condition of anonymity to speak frankly about internal matters, said that although GOP leaders were aware of a White House review of the matter of transgender service members, they were not given a heads-up about the announcement and it was “way beyond what we expected.” Only one Republican lawmaker offered early support for the policy change on social media Wednesday: Rep. Vicky Hartzler, R-Mo., who recently offered an amendment to the annual defense policy bill that would have blocked the Pentagon from offering gender transition therapies to active-duty service members. “Pleased to hear that @realDonaldTrump shares my readiness and cost concerns, & will be changing this costly and damaging policy,” she said on Twitter. A GOP colleague, Rep. Illeana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., who has a transgender son, weighed in against the policy: “No American, no matter their sexual orientation or gender identity, should be prohibited from honor + privilege of serving our nation.” Trump’s announcement comes two weeks after the House rejected Hartzler’s amendment in a closely watched vote. Twenty-four Republicans joined all 190 Democrats voting to reject the measure. But the problem has remained a pet cause for House conservatives who believe the federal government should not be funding gender reassignments. Conservatives have offered several amendments to a pending appropriations bill funding the military that would target transgender service members. But those amendments, which could come up for a vote Thursday, would not exclude them from serving entirely. During the debate on the initial amendment, Rep. Duncan D. Hunter, R-Calif., a member of the House Armed Services Committee, argued for the therapy restriction but explicitly stopped short of calling for an overall ban. “We’re not stopping transgender people from joining,” he said. “We’re saying taxpayers in this country right now are not going to foot the bill for it.” The defense policy bill has yet to move through the Senate, though Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has indicated that could happen in the coming weeks. Opponents of Trump’s policy could move to amend the bill to overturn it, though that could represent a partisan roadblock to what is typically a bipartisan bill. [...]


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No movement on 1st day of Illinois special session on school fundingAP photo Senate President John Cullerton, D-Chicago, calls on Gov. Bruce Rauner to have a meeting to discuss the changes the governor wants made to Senate Bill 1 during a news conference Wednesday on the first day of a special session on education funding at the state Capitol in Springfield.

Thu, 27 Jul 2017 06:15:00 GMT

SPRINGFIELD – The agenda was scant and attendance light Wednesday, the opening day of a special session called by Gov. Bruce Rauner to resolve a funding fight that’ll determine whether schools get state money before the start of the academic year. Instead, the Republican governor and Democratic leaders pointed fingers over who has hindered progress, a familiar scenario in a state that only recently ended an unprecedented two-year budget impasse. Rauner summoned the Democrat-majority Legislature to Springfield after it failed to meet his deadline to send him a plan that rewrites how Illinois doles out school funds. Rauner has threatened to rewrite and send back the plan over objections to additional money for Chicago Public Schools, but refused to detail his changes. Both chambers approved the proposal, but the Senate hasn’t sent it to Rauner. Senate President John Cullerton said he won’t do so until Monday, dropping expectations for any resolution the rest of the week. The Chicago Democrat explained that he first wanted to meet with Rauner to negotiate because there’s no backup and the plan dies if lawmakers are unable to override Rauner’s changes, which requires a three-fifths majority vote. He said Rauner has refused to meet. Cullerton also questioned Rauner’s “mental state” after lawmakers, including Republicans, defied Rauner and voted in favor of a budget with an income tax increase earlier this month. Since then, at least 20 members of Rauner’s administration either have been fired or resigned. “I’m afraid he’s acting out of anger,” Cullerton said. “He’s having a bad month.” Rauner, in two Capitol news conferences, demanded Cullerton send him the bill immediately and called the delay “unconscionable.” He accused Cullerton of refusing to meet until Monday and blamed House Speaker Michael Madigan, the longest-serving House speaker in the country who’s been the source of much of Rauner’s criticism. Rauner claimed Democrats are manufacturing a school funding crisis. “This has been vicious manipulation of the democratic process for political gain for a political machine,” Rauner told reporters. Meanwhile, Madigan said Rauner is failing to negotiate. “The governor has adopted a no-compromise position to keep the state in chaos for several weeks at once,” he said. Both chambers adjourned without taking up any action. Attendance was noticeably low with dozens absent. Two House Democrats boycotted to work on a service project for children. “We have nothing to do in this chamber,” House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie said on the floor. A school funding overhaul is required because the budget lawmakers approved says schools must get funding through an “evidence-based model.” Both parties agree that the current, decades-old calculation is unfair, but they’ve clashed over proposed changes. The first state payment to schools is due Aug. 10. While most districts say they have reserves to open on time, questions remain about how long they can operate without state funds. The proposal in question funnels money to the neediest districts first after ensuring no district receives less money than last school year. The plan includes additional pension help for Chicago, the only Illinois district that picks up the employer’s portion of teacher pension [...]


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Russia's Vladimir Putin defies President Donald Trump on North KoreaAP photo Russian President Vladimir Putin listens to a question during a meeting Friday with students while visiting the Sirius Educational Centre for Gifted Children in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, Russia.

Thu, 27 Jul 2017 06:15:00 GMT

In retrospect, Vladimir Bogdanov said, it wasn’t the best time to start the first passenger-ship service between Russia and North Korea shortly before Kim Jong Un shocked the world by announcing he’s successfully tested a missile capable of striking the U.S. mainland. “We were in a hurry, thinking we’d be too late. We should have slowed down,” said Bogdanov, who’s organized nine trips since May between Russia’s far east port of Vladivostok and Rajin in North Korea’s Rason special economic zone. “Still, there’s no turning back” for the service, which is loss-making so far after filling at best a quarter of its 193 places each time, he said. Economic ties between Russia and North Korea, which share a narrow land border, are similarly beleaguered, with trade down for a third year to just $77 million in 2016, according to the Russian customs service. While the volume is small, it’s becoming a point of tension between President Vladimir Putin and his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump, who’s pressing Russia and other powers to ramp up opposition to the Communist regime’s nuclear-missile program. Russia regards the trade relationship as a means to safeguard its position with Kim in diplomacy to try to defuse the crisis on the Korean peninsula. “We can’t afford to argue with North Korea because it will completely cast Russia to the sidelines,” said Georgy Toloraya, head of the Russian Academy of Science’s Center for Asian Strategy. “Our interests will not be considered” if North Korea sees Russia siding with the U.S., he said. Just as with Iran, when Russia maintained ties amid U.S. and European Union pressure on Tehran over its nuclear ambitions, Putin’s unwilling to isolate North Korea completely. He opposes tougher sanctions because he believes they won’t affect the North Korean leadership, said two senior Kremlin officials, who asked not to be identified discussing internal policy. The U.S. is pressing Russia to end a program for taking 30,000 to 50,000 North Korean migrant workers, in order to “deprive Kim Jong Un of all his money,” Toloraya said. “This is what they demand from Russia right now, very actively.” Any country that hosts North Korean workers “is aiding and abetting a dangerous regime” that’s “a global threat,” U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said after Kim announced the successful missile test on July 4. “Russia has never been a supporter of dialogue by sanctions,” which is a “futile approach,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters in April. That position hasn’t changed after Putin and Trump met at this month’s Group of 20 summit, he said. While Trump and Putin had “a pretty good exchange on North Korea,” they differ in tactics and pace for dealing with the threat, Tillerson said after the Hamburg talks. Russia and China, which is North Korea’s closest ally and accounted for nearly 90 percent of its $6 billion trade last year, urged restraint and renewed dialogue in a joint statement after the missile test. Kim boasted he’d send more “gifts” to the U.S., which held joint drills with South Korea in response. Russian diplomat Oleg Burmistrov presented proposals for resolving the confrontation during a visit to North Korea this week, the Interfax news service reported Wednesday, citing a Foreign Ministry source it didn’t identify. North Korean offici[...]


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President Donald Trump launches new attacks on Attorney General Jeff SessionsAP file photo Attorney General Jeff Sessions speaks June 13 on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., as he testifies before the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing about his role in the firing of former FBI Director James Comey, his Russian contacts during the campaign and his decision to recuse himself from an investigation into possible ties between Moscow and associates of President Donald Trump.

Thu, 27 Jul 2017 06:15:00 GMT

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump renewed his attacks on Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Wednesday, questioning on Twitter why the top U.S. law enforcement official had not replaced the acting FBI director – a move that Trump himself has the authority to do. In two tweets just before 10 a.m., Trump wrote: “Why didn’t A.G. Sessions replace Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, a Comey friend who was in charge of Clinton investigation but got big dollars ($700,000) for his wife’s political run from Hillary Clinton and her representatives. Drain the Swamp!” Trump has for days been attacking his attorney general, and he has similarly been critical of McCabe, who took over as the acting director of the FBI after Trump fired James Comey. But the president’s latest attack is curious. Sessions was not the attorney general during the FBI’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server. And the president himself could remove McCabe without Sessions. Administration officials actually contemplated doing so after Comey’s firing. Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein met with four other candidates to lead the FBI on an interim basis, though the administration ultimately stuck with McCabe. The others who interviewed were Michael Anderson, the special agent in charge of the FBI’s Chicago division; Adam Lee, the special agent in charge of the FBI’s Richmond division; Paul Abbate, the executive assistant director of the FBI’s Criminal, Cyber, Response and Services Branch; and William “Bill” Evanina, the national counterintelligence executive in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. Asked during the White House news briefing Wednesday why Trump hadn’t simply removed McCabe himself, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders noted he had nominated Christopher A. Wray, a white-collar defense lawyer who previously had led the Justice Department’s criminal division, to take the permanent FBI director job. She said Trump was “looking forward to getting him confirmed soon.” A Justice Department spokeswoman declined to comment. The FBI also declined to comment. In recent days, Trump has talked with advisers about replacing Sessions as his attorney general, and he simultaneously has criticized him in public. He has called Sessions “very weak’’ on investigating Hillary Clinton’s “crimes’’ and claimed he had not aggressively hunted those who have leaked intelligence secrets since he has been in office. At a news conference Tuesday, he said he was “disappointed” in Sessions and declined to say exactly what his future was. “We will see what happens,” Trump said. “Time will well. Time will tell.” Sanders said Wednesday that Trump was “disappointed” in Sessions, though she hinted that didn’t necessarily mean he would be ousted. “You can be disappointed in someone but still want them to continue to do their job,” Sanders said. Sanders also seemed to reject the notion that Sessions could redeem himself by, for example, launching a leak investigation. “I don’t think that’s the nature of the relationship,” Sanders said. Officials have said Sessions is due to announce in coming days a number of criminal leak investigations based on news accounts of sensiti[...]


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Resource center opening in Johnsburg to aid Fox River flood victims in McHenry CountySarah Nader - snader@shawmedia.com Nate Cullom of Cary fishes into the Fox River off of Rawson Bridge Road in Cary Monday, July 24, 2017. Rawson Bridge Rd. is still closed both directions because of flooding. As of Monday evening, the water level was at 12.78 feet at the Algonquin tailwater and is predicted to drop to 11 feet by Sunday, according to the U.S Geological Survey.

Thu, 27 Jul 2017 06:02:00 GMT

JOHNSBURG – A multiagency resource center is opening in Johnsburg to help McHenry County residents affected by recent flooding of the Fox River.

From 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, residents in need can visit the resource center at the McHenry Township Recreation Center, 3519 N. Richmond Road, according to a news release from the McHenry County Board.

The center is intended to be a one-stop recovery resource for affected residents, and is being coordinated by the county, the American Red Cross of Northwest Illinois and The Salvation Army, according to the release.

To enter the center, attendees are asked to follow traffic signs and enter at Route 31 and Johnsburg Road, according to the release.

Agencies that will be available to meet with flood victims include the Illinois departments of Public Health, Aging, Human Services, Insurance and Mental Health; the McHenry County departments of Health, Planning and Development and Emergency Management; the American Red Cross; The Salvation Army; Team Rubicon; Catholic Charities; and the Society of St. Vincent DePaul.

Free cleanup supplies, water testing kits, food and water also will be available.

Residents who need volunteer assistance should call 800-451-1954. To complete a damage assessment online or to register as a volunteer, visit www.co.mchenry.il.us/flood.

Residents also can call the McHenry County Department of Planning and Development at 815-334-4560 if they are unable to complete the damage estimate online. The Salvation Army has a toll-free donation hotline – 847-709-6700 – that donors can call to get information on what items are needed.

Volunteers also are needed to help set up the resource center, according to a news release from the Volunteer Center for McHenry County. Volunteers are needed before the center opens on Friday and Saturday, and they can register at www.volunteerwithme.org.

Sarah Nader - snader@shawmedia.com Nate Cullom of Cary fishes into the Fox River off of Rawson Bridge Road in Cary Monday, July 24, 2017. Rawson Bridge Rd. is still closed both directions because of flooding. As of Monday evening, the water level was at 12.78 feet at the Algonquin tailwater and is predicted to drop to 11 feet by Sunday, according to the U.S Geological Survey.


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Police officers team up with Texas Roadhouse to support Special Olympics IllinoisSarah Nader file photo – snader@shawmedia.com Crystal Lake police officer Anthony Tangorra takes drink orders from Hailey Worthy (left) of Carpentersville and her aunt, Amy Worthy, of Carpentersville during a lunch benefit to raise money for Special Olympics Illinois at Texas Roadhouse in Crystal Lake in 2014. Police officers will serve a “free” lunch off a limited menu from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday at the restaurant, 835 Cog Circle.

Thu, 27 Jul 2017 06:01:00 GMT

CRYSTAL LAKE – Texas Roadhouse in Crystal Lake is teaming up with the Crystal Lake and Algonquin police departments for the seventh annual benefit lunch for Special Olympics Illinois.

Police officers will serve a “free” lunch off a limited menu from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday at the restaurant, 835 Cog Circle.

Diners are asked to leave a donation for their meal, with all proceeds benefiting the nearly 22,000 athletes with intellectual disabilities and more than 18,500 athletes ages 2 to 7 who participate in Special Olympics Illinois. Both dine-in and carryout will be available. For information, contact Officer Ed Pluviose at 815-356-3731 or epluviose@crystallake.org.

Sarah Nader file photo – snader@shawmedia.com Crystal Lake police officer Anthony Tangorra takes drink orders from Hailey Worthy (left) of Carpentersville and her aunt, Amy Worthy, of Carpentersville during a lunch benefit to raise money for Special Olympics Illinois at Texas Roadhouse in Crystal Lake in 2014. Police officers will serve a “free” lunch off a limited menu from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday at the restaurant, 835 Cog Circle.


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Huntley boy with chronic illness gets dream electronics shopping spreeZachary Simons, 18, of Huntley shops for electronics at Walmart in Crystal Lake Wednesday, July 26, 2017. Simons received a $1,000 gift card to the store sponsored by Kids Wish Network. He was diagnosed with hydrocephalus and myelomeningocele, a form of spinal bifida, and has already had 11 separate surgeries.

Thu, 27 Jul 2017 05:54:00 GMT

HUNTLEY – Zachary Simons had his ultimate wish fulfilled Wednesday when he got to hit the store for all the latest technology gadgets.

Zachary, 18 – accompanied by his parents, Cindy and Steve Simons, and his brother, Nicholas Simons, – had the shopping spree at the Crystal Lake Walmart on Route 31. The trip was sponsored by the Kids Wish Network, a national nonprofit that grants the wishes of chronic and fatally ill children.

Zachary has a serious form of spinal bifida called myelomeningocele. Spina bifida is a condition where the backbone and spinal canal don’t close before birth. Doctors diagnosed Zachary with the disease, along with another disease called hydrocephalus, which causes a buildup of fluid in the brain and affects how a fetus develops.

Zachary had his first surgery immediately after birth to close the hole in his lower back, and a week later went in again to drain the fluid in his brain. As of today, he has undergone 11 surgeries total. He also suffers from mobility problems.

The foundation works with local companies to grant wishes. Walmart store manager Will Collatz organized Zachary’s event Wednesday at the store, where he received a $1,000 gift card. Zachary also had a chance to go to Abt Electronics, where he was given a tour of the facilities and presented with a new MacBook Pro.

“It’s been wonderful, awesome,” Zachary said.

Zachary Simons, 18, of Huntley shops for electronics at Walmart in Crystal Lake Wednesday, July 26, 2017. Simons received a $1,000 gift card to the store sponsored by Kids Wish Network. He was diagnosed with hydrocephalus and myelomeningocele, a form of spinal bifida, and has already had 11 separate surgeries.


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Landlords to Woodstock: "We want to shut this thing down and we want to shut it down now."Building and Zoning Director Joe Napolitano speaks to the group of landlords that attended Wednesday's meeting to discuss a potential landlord registration program in Woodstock July 26, 2017.Sarah Nader - snader@shawmedia.com Gary Lechner of Woodstock comments during Wednesday's meeting to discuss a potential landlord registration program in Woodstock July 26, 2017.Sarah Nader - snader@shawmedia.com Woodstock City Council member Jim Prindiville comments during Wednesday's meeting to discuss a potential landlord registration program in Woodstock July 26, 2017.

Thu, 27 Jul 2017 05:53:00 GMT

WOODSTOCK – “How do we stop this thing?” was the basic sentiment among landlords after a heated meeting Wednesday night at Woodstock City Hall.

The city of Woodstock has proposed a Landlord Registration Program that could require residential landlords to register their rental units with the city. City officials said this will allow them to more easily contact property owners when things go awry and create safer living environments. The city has proposed charging a registration fee and conducting inspections every few years on the rental properties as well. Inspections could cover interiors and exteriors and include looking at things such as screens, gutters and windows, according to a sample checklist presented at the meeting.

City Council members had tried to bring the registration program to Woodstock tied to a potential crime-free housing program that allows police and landlords to work to lessen chronic nuisance in rental properties. Officials said the Landlord Registration Program is the necessary first step.

Landlords said the program would be invasive, biased, inconvenient, unnecessary and a “money grab.” Many pointed out that the city already had their contact information from water bills.

“What you are doing is penalizing us for the rats,” said Tim Art, a Woodstock landlord. “You should have the wherewithal. … Go pound on their door and straighten this stuff out. It’s not us that are causing the trouble.”

Landlord Gary Lechner said that the city already has the tools to complete what they say they are trying to complete.

“Everything is already on the books if you want to enforce it,” Lechner said. “That’s all they have to do. Everything you are talking about. We don’t need it again. … We want to shut this thing down, and we want to shut it down now.”

Jim Prindiville was the only City Council member at the meeting Wednesday. Prindiville also is a residential landlord in Woodstock.

Building and Zoning Director Joe Napolitano speaks to the group of landlords that attended Wednesday's meeting to discuss a potential landlord registration program in Woodstock July 26, 2017.Sarah Nader - snader@shawmedia.com Gary Lechner of Woodstock comments during Wednesday's meeting to discuss a potential landlord registration program in Woodstock July 26, 2017.Sarah Nader - snader@shawmedia.com Woodstock City Council member Jim Prindiville comments during Wednesday's meeting to discuss a potential landlord registration program in Woodstock July 26, 2017.


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Lakewood residents seek Crystal Lake's help in battling sewer, stormwater floodingWhen Lakewood resident Shari Ledermann woke up to find her basement filled with more than 5 feet of brown sewage and storm water, the problem caught her by surprise. Ledermann wanted answers – as did more than 100 people who attended the Lakewood Village Board meeting Tuesday – so she and others asked village trustees to help find short- and long-term solutions for sewage backup and severe flooding problems. Ledermann never expected flooding would reach her home, in the 300 block of Wittshire Lane, which is why she began to panic when 2 inches of water filled in her basement about two weeks ago. Her worries dissipated with the water in a matter of days but returned when another 5 inches of water arrived after another storm. After contacting the village and being told the pumps were running, Ledermann prayed the problem would stop there. However, on Monday morning the water level in her basement rose to the second step from the top. The power was cut off, and the majority of Ledermann's basement appliances were completely submerged, including her air conditioner, water heater, washer and dryer. The damage is difficult to quantify until the water begins going down, she said. “I’m begging you to do something because I don’t have the means to fix the sewers,” Ledermann said at Tuesday's Lakewood Village Board meeting. “I just can’t believe this is an issue, and that it’s just OK, I guess, that for years that the sewer winds up in people’s basements.”The frustrated residents packed against the walls of board meeting room at RedTail Golf Club, spending about two hours pleading for Lakewood trustees to help them find solutions to what several described as a flooding crisis in their homes. Like Ledermann, other residents have become desperate for help after weekend storms resulted in flooding that destroyed portions of their basements and yards. As a result, sewage water has poured from sinks, toilets, showers and bath tubs in homes to the point where some residents deemed their homes uninhabitable. The National Weather Service estimated between 1 and 2 inches of rain pelted McHenry County during Sunday night’s storm. High water pressure flooded through the pipes until valves and pumps were overwhelmed, causing many to malfunction, village engineers said. The weekend storms resulted in flooding that overloaded both the village's storm and sanitary sewer systems, engineers said, causing some residents to call on neighboring Crystal Lake to help. Emotional accounts of the disaster shared at Tuesday night’s meeting established a consensus among residents that immediate relief was necessary for families who are unable to sleep under their own roofs, but trustees were unable to offer little in the way of relief for those hit the hardest – particularly houses in The Gates subdivision. Lakewood Village President Paul Serwatka encouraged residents to document damage assessments for their properties to help with claims in the event that a natural disaster is declared, while agreeing to residents’ request to call Crystal Lake Mayor Aaron Shepley and ask the sister city for help. Village officials noted, however, that the most effective way to seek assistance from Crystal Lake would be asking the city’s own residents living along the lake for help in applying pressure to the city’s leadership. Otherwise, solutions for Lakewood’s problem were few and far between as corrective and improvement measures to the city’s storm and sanitary sewer systems cannot take place until after the water stops coming. “This board will not ignore this problem, and that I promise you,” Serwatka said.As new homeowners, Lucy and Kerris Lee heard little hope in the village’s remarks as their way of life remains unhinged. The Lees woke up Saturday morning to about 5 inches of sewage water seeping from their basement pipes. They eventually tore up a majority of the floor and parts of the drywall to create a channel for the water to travel toward their two sump pumps, which have been running nonstop and are supported with a backup generator for power outages. In the Lees’ backyard, an old tree began uprooting from saturation and eventually fell onto their neighbors’ property against another large tree, which kept the falling tree from causing damage to their neighbors’ home. Tree removers billed them $7,000 to remove the mess, which Lucy said was a discounted rate. Lucy, 33, asked her parents to drive up from Southern Illinois and take her two boys, 7 and 9, away from their infested home while she and her husband stayed with neighbors and family and focused their energies on resolving the situation. “It’s a hard thing to explain when you didn’t go through it that day, when it was chaotic and we were running from house to house,” Lucy said. “I haven’t been sleeping through the nights. I’ll wake up crying not just because our home, but the fact that we can’t see our kids, and financially, it’s a burden.”Rainfall has not exactly been kind to Crystal Lake residents, either. An estimated 1.3 inches of rain fell in a little more than an hour during Sunday’s storm, resulting in about 4,000 homes and businesses losing power, according to a city news release. Counting that storm, the amount of rainfall in the city during June and July has climbed to about 20 inches, more than double the annual average. The city has begun taking storm relief efforts to clear away debris and offer resources to residents affected by flooding and storm damage. The Public Works Department also will begin picking up storm-related debris from residents’ curbs starting about 7 a.m. Thursday and is offering additional brush drop off on Saturday. “We have a number of resources available,” Crystal Lake public works director Michael Magnuson said. “Residents have been contacting us, and we have reached out to residents to help provide them with resources, ask them questions and assist where we can.” Magnuson said Lakewood homes previously were hooked up to the Crystal Lake sanitary sewer service until 2013, when former Village Manager Catherine Peterson authorized disconnecting the homes in favor of building its own sanitary sewer system, according to city documents. The city had proposed a new usage agreement that asked Lakewood to pay for the sanitary sewer based on usage, the same way Crystal Lake residents paid for it, records show. Lakewood declined and officially disconnected on Oct. 10, 2016. Had the proposed agreement been adopted, the village would have only paid for conveyance and treatment of sewage it was sending to Crystal Lake's system, records show. Shepley said Wednesday afternoon he spoke with Serwatka and explained that the ongoing flooding in Crystal Lake neighborhoods, although not a sanitary sewer system issue as in Lakewood, leaves little wiggle room for the city to pull resources away from its own residents. During recent rain showers, one of the city’s wastewater treatment plants had been treating water at a rate of 20.6 million gallons a day, about five times its average rate of 4.2 million gallons. The treatment rate had dipped Wednesday to about 9 million gallons a day, still double the normal rate, Magnuson said. Although Shepley said that Crystal Lake would be open to helping Lakewood with its flooding problems, the city is unable to help until it can solve its own problems. “Our city staff was directed by our city manager to evaluate the feasibility of helping Lakewood because certainly nobody likes to see a neighbor suffer,” Shepley said. “But our first focus now and always will be upon the residents of Crystal Lake because, as you know, we’re under water too.”Until that time comes – if it ever does – Lakewood residents are leaning on each other for support and asking neighbors to refrain from unnecessary water usage, including avoiding shows and flushing toilets. Affected residents also are asking their neighbors not to run their washing machines. “No one wants to add to the mess because you know it’s going to the next neighborhood,” Lucy Lee said. Overnight storms expected to begin after 10 p.m. Wednesday could bring as much as another half an inch of rain to the area, according to the National Weather Service, while morning and afternoon showers are in Thursday’s forecast. With nowhere to go and no immediate relief expected from the village, Lakewood neighbors are banding together and taking matters into their own hands to help one another in a time of crisis. “We’re all out here trying to figure out how we can direct the flooding with sandbags on our own,” Lucy Lee said. “Calling around to farmers and whoever can help take this water out with their tanks. Just trying to figure out the next step as neighbors, people who took off work, to find solutions together.” Editor's note: This story has been changed to reflect the damage caused to Lucy and Kerris Lee's home. The Northwest Herald regrets the error.

Thu, 27 Jul 2017 05:52:00 GMT

Lakewood residents spent almost two hours Tuesday night asking village trustees for help with recent sewer and stormwater flooding in their homes, suggesting the village asked neighboring Crystal Lake for help. When Lakewood resident Shari Ledermann woke up to find her basement filled with more than 5 feet of brown sewage and storm water, the problem caught her by surprise. Ledermann wanted answers – as did more than 100 people who attended the Lakewood Village Board meeting Tuesday – so she and others asked village trustees to help find short- and long-term solutions for sewage backup and severe flooding problems. Ledermann never expected flooding would reach her home, in the 300 block of Wittshire Lane, which is why she began to panic when 2 inches of water filled in her basement about two weeks ago. Her worries dissipated with the water in a matter of days but returned when another 5 inches of water arrived after another storm. After contacting the village and being told the pumps were running, Ledermann prayed the problem would stop there. However, on Monday morning the water level in her basement rose to the second step from the top. The power was cut off, and the majority of Ledermann's basement appliances were completely submerged, including her air conditioner, water heater, washer and dryer. The damage is difficult to quantify until the water begins going down, she said. “I’m begging you to do something because I don’t have the means to fix the sewers,” Ledermann said at Tuesday's Lakewood Village Board meeting. “I just can’t believe this is an issue, and that it’s just OK, I guess, that for years that the sewer winds up in people’s basements.”The frustrated residents packed against the walls of board meeting room at RedTail Golf Club, spending about two hours pleading for Lakewood trustees to help them find solutions to what several described as a flooding crisis in their homes. Like Ledermann, other residents have become desperate for help after weekend storms resulted in flooding that destroyed portions of their basements and yards. As a result, sewage water has poured from sinks, toilets, showers and bath tubs in homes to the point where some residents deemed their homes uninhabitable. The National Weather Service estimated between 1 and 2 inches of rain pelted McHenry County during Sunday night’s storm. High water pressure flooded through the pipes until valves and pumps were overwhelmed, causing many to malfunction, village engineers said. The weekend storms resulted in flooding that overloaded both the village's storm and sanitary sewer systems, engineers said, causing some residents to call on neighboring Crystal Lake to help. Emotional accounts of the disaster shared at Tuesday night’s meeting established a consensus among residents that immediate relief was necessary for families who are unable to sleep under their own roofs, but trustees were unable to offer little in the way of relief for those hit the hardest – particularly houses in The Gates subdivision. Lakewood Village President Paul Serwatka encouraged residents to document damage assessments for their properties to help with claims in the event that a natural disaster is declared, while agreeing to residents’ request to call Crystal Lake Mayor Aaron Shepley and ask the sister city for help. Village officials noted, however, that the most effective way to seek assistance from Crystal Lake would be asking the city’s own residents living alo[...]


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Carpentersville man who robbed Oswego Township store gets 24-year prison termTimothy Wisnauski

Thu, 27 Jul 2017 00:45:00 GMT

CARPENTERSVILLE – A Carpentersville man convicted of robbing a convenience store in Oswego Township has been sentenced to 24 years in state prison.

Kendall County State’s Attorney Eric Weis announced Monday that Timothy E. Wisnauski, 35, of the 3000 block of Blue Ridge Drive, Carpentersville, was sentenced following a hearing last week.

According to Weis, Wisnauski committed an armed robbery of a store in the 100 block of Light Road in Oswego Township in April of 2016.

In the early afternoon, Wisnauski parked a Jeep in the parking lot across from the store. He crossed the street on foot, entered the store, removed a bottle of soda from the shelf and walked to the cashier, Weis said. The surveillance cameras clearly showed numerous tattoos on Wisnauski, including behind his right ear, both sides of his neck, up and down both arms, the top of both hands and both sets of knuckles, Weis said.

After paying for the drink, Wisnauski is observed on video exiting the store, walking back to the Jeep, putting on a light-colored, long-sleeved sweater and entering the Jeep, Weis said. A short time later, Wisnauski left the Jeep with the hood of a light-colored sweatshirt over his head and a red bandana tied around his face, Weis said.

He jogged back to the store, entered, drew a small silver pistol, jumped on the counter and pointed the gun at the clerk demanding cash, Weis said. The arm tattoos were still visible while he was on the counter pointing the gun, Weis said. After the clerk gave him the money from two cash registers, he left the store, ran back to the Jeep and drove off, according to Weis.

Timothy Wisnauski


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Hog calling, elephant ears and demo derbies. It's McHenry County Fair timeRunning Aug. 1-6 with a theme of “Carving Out Our Future” at the McHenry County Fairgrounds at Route 47 and Country Club Road in Woodstock, the fair also marks the 100-year anniversary of 4-H in McHenry County. For an area rooted in farming, the anniversary – culminated with a gathering of young and old 4-H members from 7 to 10 p.m. Aug. 5 at the fairgrounds – is one to celebrate. It’s about both expanding and remembering where McHenry County came from, said Katie Bloomfield, the general manager of the fair.This year’s fair features an extra sixth day, and among the entertainment will be the hit country band Sawyer Brown, performing at 8 p.m. Aug. 4 in the grandstands. The band is known for numerous hits in the 1990s, including 1991’s “The Walk,” 1992’s “Some Girls Do” and 1993’s “Thank God for You.” “The concert’s big for us, but also we wanted to keep a lot of the same traditions,” Bloomfield said. That means a carnival, food and treats galore, a queen pageant, pedal and tractor pulls, chainsaw sculpting, a Conservation World green house, motocross, demolition derbies and, of course, 4-H livestock and non-livestock shows.Not to mention that watermelon-eating contest, slated for 5 p.m. Aug. 5, along with other contests – hog calling, a talent contest and a Mother Daughter Look-A-Like. “We wanted to have some of those old-time fair activities going on,” Bloomfield said. “We really want to grow and get bigger, while still keeping the country charm the fair has already. We’re trying to balance it.”Discounted fair tickets availableat www.mchenrycountyfair.com. On Aug. 1, admission tickets will be $4 and will include a half-off coupon to buy a ticket to return any day you choose. At the gate, admission tickets cost $25 for a season pass (good for all six days of the fair). Daily admission tickets cost $8 for adults (ages 13 and older), $5 for seniors and veterans, $5 for children ages 6 to 12 and free for children ages 5 and younger. Family passes are available online. Admission into the fair does not include events or carnival rides. Aug. 2-4 are carnival wristband days. Buy a wristband for $20 for unlimited rides from 1 to 5 p.m. those days. The cost of grandstand events varies. Information: www.mchenrycountyfair.com or 815-338-5315.Following is your complete guide to the McHenry County Fair. Aug. 1 4 p.m. – Carnival, commercial buildings and tents open. (Discounted carnival rides.) 6 p.m. – McHenry County Queen Pageant, Grandstands. Free admission. Aug. 2 7 a.m. – Gates open 7 a.m. – 4-H Swine Carcass Show, Swine Barn 8 a.m. – Open and Jr. Open Beef Show, Hansen Pavilion 9 a.m. – Open Dairy Goat Show, Goat Barn 9 a.m. – 4-H Rabbit Show, Rabbit Barn 9 a.m. – Open Poultry Show, Poultry Tent 9 a.m. – Open Antiques Show, Building D 9 a.m. – Open and Jr. Art Show, Building F 9:30 a.m. – 4-H Dairy Cattle Show, Hansen Pavilion 10 a.m. – Commercial tents and buildings open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. – Barnyard Discoveries. A free adventure in the Bovine Barn for all ages with activities, displays and the chance to meet baby animals and watch chicks hatch. 11:30 a.m. – Open and Jr. Photo Show, Building E Noon – Open and Jr. Veggie Show, Building E 1 p.m. – Carnival open 1:30 p.m. – 4-H Sheep Breed Show, Hansen Pavilion 3 p.m. – 4-H Sheep Market Lamb Show, Hansen Pavilion 3:30 p.m. – Sheriff K-9 demonstration, Ag Line Stage 4 p.m. – Tractor Parade, Agriculture Barns 5 p.m. – Archery demonstration, Horse Arena 5 p.m. – Junior judging contest all departments, Hansen Pavilion 6 p.m. – Tractor Veterans Salute, Grandstands. Free admission. 6:30 p.m. – 4-H Cloverbud Judging, 4-H Building 7 p.m. – Gene Green’s Team Roping, Grandstands. Free admission.Aug. 3 7 a.m. – Gates open 8 a.m. – 4-H and Jr. Swine Show, Swine Barn 9 a.m. – 4-H Dairy Goat Show, Goat Tent 9 a.m. – 4-H Beef Show, Hansen Pavilion 9 a.m. – Jr. Open Rabbit Show, Rabbit Barn 10 a.m. – Chainsaw Sculpture Show featuring Joe Stebbing Jr. creating works of art out of pine logs. The statues will be up for auction at 4 p.m. Aug. 6 in Hansen Pavilion, with proceeds supporting the McHenry County Fair Association. 10 a.m. – Commercial tents and buildings open 10 a.m. – Jr. Open Sheep Breeding Show, Hansen Pavilion 11 a.m. – Andy Martello, Ag Line Stage. Featuring magic, juggling, plate spinning, fire eating and more. Martello was last seen on “Last Comic Standing.” 11:30 a.m. – Jr. Open Goat Show, Goat Barn 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. – Barnyard Discoveries Noon – Jr. Open Flower Show, Building F 1 p.m. – Carnival open 1 p.m. – KidBuck$ Game Show. Randomly selected members of the audience between the ages of 3 and 15 will participate in wild and crazy games. The champion enters a chamber and grabs as many “kidbucks” as possible. 1 p.m. – Chainsaw Sculpture Show 2 p.m. – Andy Martello, Ag Line Stage 3 p.m. – Live music with Blend, Ag Line Stage 3:30 p.m. – Sheriff K-9 Demonstration, Ag Line Stage 4 p.m. – Tractor Parade, Agriculture Barns 4 p.m. – Chainsaw Sculpture Show 4 p.m. – KidBuck$ 5 p.m. – Mother Daughter Look-Alike Contest. Mothers and daughters of all ages invited to compete against others from the county. 6 p.m. – Chainsaw Sculpture Show 6 p.m. – Blend, Ag Line Stage 6:30 p.m. – KidBuck$ 6:30 p.m. – Woodstock MX MotorCross, Grandstands. Cost: $5 7 p.m. – 4-H Awards Ceremony, Hansen Pavilion 7:30 p.m. – Andy Martello, Ag Line Stage 9 p.m. – 4-H dance, Hansen Pavilion Aug. 4 7 a.m. – Gates open 8 a.m. – Open Swine Show, Swine Barn 8:30 a.m. – 4-H Horse Show, Horse Arena 9:30 a.m. – Open and Jr. Open Dairy Show, Hansen Pavilion 10 a.m. – Chainsaw Sculpture Show 10 a.m. – Open Sheep Show, Hansen Pavilion 10 a.m. – Commercial tents and buildings open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. – Barnyard Discoveries 11 a.m. – Andy Martello, Ag Line Stage Noon – Blend, Ag Line Stage Noon – Farm Yard Olympics, near Hansen Pavilion 1 p.m. – Carnival open 1 p.m. – KidBuck$ 2 p.m. – Andy Martello, Ag Line Stage 3 p.m. – Blend, Ag Line Stage 3 p.m. – Pedal Pull registration, Hansen Pavilion 3:30 p.m. – Sheriff K-9 demonstration, Hansen Pavilion 4 p.m. – Chainsaw Sculpture Show 4 p.m. – Tractor Parade, Agriculture Barns 4 p.m. – Pedal Pulls, Hansen Pavilion 4 p.m. – KidBuck$ 5 p.m. – Hog Call Contest, Ag Line Stage 6 p.m. – Drill Team Demonstration, Horse Arena 6 p.m. – Chainsaw Sculpture Show 6 p.m. – Blend, Ag Line Stage 6:30 p.m. – Kid Buck$ 6:45 p.m. – Georgia Rae Family Band, Grandstands. Opening for country band Sawyer Brown, taking the stage at 8 p.m. Tickets: $15 grandstand admission, $20 infield/track seating. 7 p.m. – Talent Contest, Hansen Pavilion 7:30 p.m. – Andy Martello, Ag Line Stage 9 p.m. – Jimmy Nicks, Entertainment TentAug. 5 7 a.m. – Gates open 8 a.m. – Antique Tractor Pull, Grandstands. Free admission. 9 a.m. – Open Horse Speed Show, Horse Arena 9 a.m. – Open Rabbit Show, Rabbit Barn 9:30 a.m. – Auction sellers meeting, Hansen Pavilion 10 a.m. – Commercial tents and buildings open 10 a.m. – Carnival opens 10:30 a.m. – Andy Martello, Ag Line Stage 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. - Barnyard Discoveries Noon – 4-H Auction, Hansen Pavilion Noon – Blend, Ag Line Stage Noon – Truck and Tractor Pulls, Grandstands. Cost: $5 grandstands, $15 pits 1 p.m. – Chainsaw Sculpture Show 1 p.m. – KidBuck$ 2 p.m. – Andy Martello, Ag Line Stage 3 p.m. – Blend, Ag Line Stage 3 p.m. – Pedal Pull Registration, Hansen Pavilion 3:30 p.m. – Sheriff K-9 demonstration, Hansen Pavilion 4 p.m. – Pedal Pulls, Hansen Pavilion 4 p.m. – Tractor Parade, Agriculture Barns 4 p.m. – Chainsaw Sculpture Show 4 p.m. – KidBuck$ 5 p.m. – Watermelon Eating Contest, Ag Line Stage 6 p.m. – Blend, Ag Line Stage 6 p.m. – Chainsaw Sculpture Show 6 p.m. – Truck and Tractor Pulls, Grandstands. Cost: $5 grandstands, $15 pits 7 p.m. – 4-H 100 Year Celebration, Hansen Pavilion 7:30 p.m. – Andy Martello, Ag Line Stage 9 p.m. – Suburban Cowboys, Entertainment TentAug. 6 7 a.m. – Gates open 8:30 a.m. – Open Horse Show, Horse Arena 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. – Barnyard Discoveries 10 a.m. – Chainsaw Sculpture Show 10 a.m. – Commercial tents and buildings open 10 a.m. – Carnival open 11 a.m. – 4-H Master Showmanship, Hansen Pavilion 11 a.m. – Andy Martello, Ag Line Stage Noon – Tractor Parade, Agriculture Barns Noon – Blend, Ag Line Stage 12:30 p.m. – Chainsaw Sculpture Show 1 p.m. – Demolition Derby, Grandstands. Cost: $5 grandstand, $10 pit pass (ages 8 to 13) and $20 pit pass (ages 14 and older) 1 p.m. – KidBuck$ 1 p.m. – Andy Martello, Ag Line Stage 1:30 p.m. – Pedal Pulls, Hansen Pavilion 2 p.m. – Chainsaw Sculpture Show 3 p.m. – Blend, Ag Line Stage 3:30 p.m. – Chainsaw Sculpture Show 4 p.m. – KidBuck$ 5 p.m. – Andy Martello, Ag Line Stage 5 p.m. – Demolition Derby, Grandstands. Cost: $5 grandstand, $10-$20 pit passes 6 p.m. – Livestock Barns closed 6 p.m. – Blend, Ag Line Stage 6:30 p.m. – KidBuck$ 8 p.m. – All buildings closed

Wed, 26 Jul 2017 20:52:00 GMT

It’s a mix of bigger – more live entertainment – and old-fashioned – watermelon-eating contest, anyone? – at this year’s McHenry County Fair. Here's your guide to the 69-year tradition in Woodstock. Running Aug. 1-6 with a theme of “Carving Out Our Future” at the McHenry County Fairgrounds at Route 47 and Country Club Road in Woodstock, the fair also marks the 100-year anniversary of 4-H in McHenry County. For an area rooted in farming, the anniversary – culminated with a gathering of young and old 4-H members from 7 to 10 p.m. Aug. 5 at the fairgrounds – is one to celebrate. It’s about both expanding and remembering where McHenry County came from, said Katie Bloomfield, the general manager of the fair.This year’s fair features an extra sixth day, and among the entertainment will be the hit country band Sawyer Brown, performing at 8 p.m. Aug. 4 in the grandstands. The band is known for numerous hits in the 1990s, including 1991’s “The Walk,” 1992’s “Some Girls Do” and 1993’s “Thank God for You.” “The concert’s big for us, but also we wanted to keep a lot of the same traditions,” Bloomfield said. That means a carnival, food and treats galore, a queen pageant, pedal and tractor pulls, chainsaw sculpting, a Conservation World green house, motocross, demolition derbies and, of course, 4-H livestock and non-livestock shows.Not to mention that watermelon-eating contest, slated for 5 p.m. Aug. 5, along with other contests – hog calling, a talent contest and a Mother Daughter Look-A-Like. “We wanted to have some of those old-time fair activities going on,” Bloomfield said. “We really want to grow and get bigger, while still keeping the country charm the fair has already. We’re trying to balance it.”Discounted fair tickets availableat www.mchenrycountyfair.com. On Aug. 1, admission tickets will be $4 and will include a half-off coupon to buy a ticket to return any day you choose. At the gate, admission tickets cost $25 for a season pass (good for all six days of the fair). Daily admission tickets cost $8 for adults (ages 13 and older), $5 for seniors and veterans, $5 for children ages 6 to 12 and free for children ages 5 and younger. Family passes are available online. Admission into the fair does not include events or carnival rides. Aug. 2-4 are carnival wristband days. Buy a wristband for $20 for unlimited rides from 1 to 5 p.m. those days. The cost of grandstand events varies. Information: www.mchenrycountyfair.com or 815-338-5315.Following is your complete guide to the McHenry County Fair. Aug. 1 4 p.m. – Carnival, commercial buildings and tents open. (Discounted carnival rides.) 6 p.m. – McHenry County Queen Pageant, Grandstands. Free admission. Aug. 2 7 a.m. – Gates open 7 a.m. – 4-H Swine Carcass Show, Swine Barn 8 a.m. – Open and Jr. Open Beef Show, Hansen Pavilion 9 a.m. – Open Dairy Goat Show, Goat Barn 9 a.m. – 4-H Rabbit Show, Rabbit Barn 9 a.m. – Open Poultry Show, Poultry Tent 9 a.m. – Open Antiques Show, Building D 9 a.m. – Open and Jr. Art Show, Building F 9:30 a.m. – 4-H Dairy Cattle Show, Hansen Pavilion 10 a.m. – Commercial tents and buildings open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. – Barnyard Discoveries. A free adventure in the Bovine Barn for all ages with activities, displays and the chance to meet baby animals and watch chicks hatch. 11:30 a.m. – Open and Jr. Photo Show, Building E Noon – Open and[...]


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'Some Girls Do' like Sawyer Brown, coming to McHenry County FairCountry band Sawyer Brown, known for numerous hits in the 1990s, including 1991's "The Walk," 1992's "Some Girls Do" and 1993's "Thank God for You," will perform Aug. 4 at the McHenry County Fair in Woodstock.Gregg "Hobie" Hubbard has co-written several of Sawyer Brown’s hits, including "The Dirt Road," "Drive Me Wild," "'Round Here" and "Outskirts of Town," as well as several songs on the Sawyer Brown Christmas albums.

Wed, 26 Jul 2017 20:07:00 GMT

A Sawyer Brown fan is loyal and likely has a sense of humor. A quick look at the bios of the men behind the country band, and it’s clear they don’t take themselves too seriously. Gregg “Hobie” Hubbard, who’s been with the band since its Florida roots in the early 1980s, talks about giving up his “promising career in the food services industry.” “He might or might not still have the smock,” he writes. It’s a humor translated into several of the bands hits over the years – “Some Girls Do” follows the premise there’s somebody for everyone, Hubbard said. It’s written by lead singer Mark Miller, who’s married. “So if he can find someone, anyone can,” Hubbard said. And that humor carries onto the stage. “It really for us is all about having a good time,” Hubbard said. “We figure everyone has enough stress in their lives, and they need to park that at the door.” The band will perform at 8 p.m. Aug. 4 in the grandstands at the McHenry County Fair at Route 47 and Country Club Road in Woodstock. Grandstand admission is $15, $20 for track seating at www.mchenrycountyfair.com. Fair admission is not included in the ticket price. Sawyer Brown fans range from those singing along to songs recorded before they were even born to those who’ve followed the band since “Star Search” in 1983. Named after one of the roads they performed on in Nashville, Sawyer Brown auditioned for the television show to get a videotape to promote themselves. They ended up winning the $10,000 grand prize and a record contract. It’s those fans who remember them from back then who’ve created a new generation of followers of the country hit-makers, known for numerous songs in the 1990s, including “The Walk” and “Thank God for You.” In all, the band has notched 27 hits in country’s top-20 charts. From mid-1991 to early 1995, 11 of the band’s 12 singles reached the top five. “Our fans from the beginning are the greatest word-of-mouth you could hope for,” Hubbard said. Four of the five band members of Sawyer Brown have been together for 36 years, with guitar player Shayne Hill joining the band about 14 years ago. They’ve all pursued other interests through the years, with Hubbard singing background on recording sessions for a variety of artists, but have remained Sawyer Brown, performing as much as possible. “Oh man, we just are always happy to be working,” Hubbard said. “There’s nothing we enjoy more than getting out and playing live.” Hubbard, who co-wrote several of Sawyer Brown’s hits, including “The Dirt Road,” “Drive Me Wild,” “ ’Round Here” and “Outskirts of Town,” as well as several songs on the Sawyer Brown Christmas albums, listens to everything from George Strait to U2. As far as today’s country artists go, he said he’s a fan of Keith Urban, Lady Antebellum, Kacey Musgraves and Sturgill Simpson. So how has Sawyer Brown endured through the years? “I think it’s a definite belief in what we can do together. There’s a definite team mentality on that,” Hubbard sa[...]


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President Trump lashes out at Alaska senator over health care voteSen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, center, is followed by reporters as she arrives to vote on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, July 25, 2017. Murkowski voted no, and Vice President Mike Pence then broke a 50-50 tie to start debating Republican legislation to tear down much of the Obama health care law. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Wed, 26 Jul 2017 19:50:00 GMT

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump on Wednesday lashed out at a Republican senator who opposed moving forward with long-promised legislation to repeal and replace "Obamacare."

"Senator @lisamurkowski of the Great State of Alaska really let the Republicans, and our country, down yesterday. Too bad!" Trump tweeted.

Murkowski, who was re-elected to a new six-year term last year, defended her vote. She repeatedly has expressed concerns about deep Medicaid cuts in the GOP bill and has called for a bipartisan process to address shortcomings of the current health care law and stabilize individual markets.

"You know I am comfortable with the decision that I made yesterday in working to advance Alaska's interests and working today to do the same," she said Wednesday.

"I don't' really follow Twitter that much," she added.

Murkowski was one of two Republicans — Maine's Susan Collins was the other — who on Tuesday voted against allowing debate of GOP legislation to repeal much of the Affordable Care Act. The final tally was 51-50, with Vice President Mike Pence breaking the tie.

Trump has been pushing lawmakers to deliver on their promises to repeal and replace. Whether Republicans can find consensus remains unclear.

Collins also commented on Trump's attack on Murkowski.

"I thought it was extremely unfortunate. Lisa is an extraordinarily good senator. She represents her state very well and she's very strong and does what she thinks is right and I was disappointed to see that."

Murkowski, 60, is in her fourth term representing the nation's largest state and chairs the powerful Senate Energy Committee. Murkowski, whose father served as senator and governor, survived a near-death political experience in 2010 when she lost her party's primary but retained her seat as a write-in candidate.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, center, is followed by reporters as she arrives to vote on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, July 25, 2017. Murkowski voted no, and Vice President Mike Pence then broke a 50-50 tie to start debating Republican legislation to tear down much of the Obama health care law. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)


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Auction to sell Lake in the Hills shopping center that includes former Dominick's postponedFile photo H. Rick Bamman – hbamman@shawmedia.com Aldi is expected to open in the former Dominick’s in Lake in the Hills at Randall and Algonquin roads. The building has been vacant since 2014.

Wed, 26 Jul 2017 16:31:00 GMT

LAKE IN THE HILLS – An auction for a Lake in the Hills property that includes the former Dominick’s store has been postponed, Economic Development Coordinator George Hahne said.

Hahne announced in June that Aldi would be putting its new prototype in a portion of the 70,000-square-foot building at Randall and Algonquin roads, which has been vacant since 2014. The whole center where the Dominick’s was located, including a shopping center just north of the area, was originally planned to be put up for auction on Wednesday.

However, the auction was delayed and may not take place for up to two months from now, Hahne said.

“It’s a typical real estate transaction, it’s just taking a little bit more time,” Hahne said.

A representative from Transwestern, the company brokering the auction, could not immediately be reached for more information. Hahne has said the price for the centers will start at $1.5 million.

The center where the old Dominick’s was located includes about 99,000 square feet of retail space, Hahne said, and the shopping center just north of the Dominick’s shopping center on Randall Road includes about 17,000 square feet of retail space. Aldi would occupy about 22,000 square feet of the vacant Dominick’s store.

Farm, ranch and home retail chain Big R had planned to move in but backed out in August.

When Dominick’s stores closed, Jewel-Osco bought many of the stores’ leases, including the one in Lake in the Hills, Hahne said. Several grocery stores had shown interest in the space before, Hahne has said, but a lease between the shopping center’s owner, LNR Property, and Albertsons, the parent company of Jewel-Osco, prevented those deals from happening. However, on April 30, that lease ended.

Aldi has signed a letter of intent with the shopping center’s current owners, Hahne said, which helps make the center more valuable at auction. He’s confident the sale will still go through and Aldi will still move into the space once the center is sold, despite the delay.

“[A Transwestern representative said] it’s definitely going to happen, it’s just been delayed 30 to 60 days,” Hahne said.

File photo H. Rick Bamman – hbamman@shawmedia.com Aldi is expected to open in the former Dominick’s in Lake in the Hills at Randall and Algonquin roads. The building has been vacant since 2014.


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Algonquin police cancel National Night Out event because of flooding, cleanup

Wed, 26 Jul 2017 16:29:00 GMT

ALGONQUIN – The Algonquin Police Department has canceled its National Night Out event planned for next week because of this month's unprecedented storms and flooding.

The event was set to take place from 4 to 7 p.m. Aug. 1 at the Harnish Main Library. Algonquin Police Chief John Bucci said the department is unable to dedicate resources to the event because of the recent flooding and clean-up efforts that have followed.

"As this event is an important celebration of our community, we are disappointed to not have a chance to meet with the residents of Algonquin," Bucci said in a letter.

National Night Out is an annual event promoting police-community partnerships and community camaraderie.

Bucci said the department encourages residents to turn on their porch lights, go outside and meet their neighbors on Aug. 1.

"The police department looks forward to participating in upcoming events, including future National Night Out celebrations and continuing to build partnerships with the Algonquin community," he said.

This is not the first community event Algonquin has canceled because of flooding. Organizers canceled Algonquin Founders' Day Festival for the first time in 57 years because of record flooding of the Fox River, which has affected Algonquin and other local towns.


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Reinventing Yourself Can Lead to Higher Pay

Wed, 26 Jul 2017 14:50:15 GMT

Whether you’re underemployed or looking to change occupations, career experts say your first step should be training. A certificate or degree can often equate to an immediate bump in pay and a higher perch on that career ladder.

The Fast Track Program at McHenry County College is a good example. Some students have landed higher paying positions after just two semesters.

“Earning my degree helped me get my dream job,” said Pauleen McCollum of Crystal Lake. “I’m happier than I've ever been and so glad I decided to pursue my degree.”

“I was immediately promoted after receiving my degree…and my level of confidence skyrocketed,” agreed Angel Torres of Harvard.

Through the Fast Track Program, MCC offers certifications in Manufacturing Management, Construction Management and Engineering Technology, and, with more classes, can lead to an AAS degree in two to four years. The programs are popular with both working adults and traditional students. A major draw is scheduling.

“Most classes are scheduled one night a week, so students can still work during the day,” said Heather Zaccagnini, instructor of applied technology. Students can also take many classes online.

“The management programs are designed specifically for people who have industry experience but who want to move up into leadership positions, earn more money and move into a position leading technology or people,” Zaccagnini said.

MCC’s Engineering Technology Program draws many students right out of high school as well as working adults who want to get more technical expertise to advance their careers, Zaccagnini said.

That program uses industry software packages like Solidworks, Mastercam, and other CAD programs and includes a manufacturing lab where students use hands-on technology like measuring equipment and machining.

Engineering Technology graduates can enter many careers including design, quality or manufacturing engineering, Zaccagnini said.

Registration for fall Fast Track classes is going on now. For details and schedules, visit www.mchenry.edu/fasttrack.

 


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Crystal Lake to offer storm debris pickupThis June 29 photo offers a view looking east onto Oriole Trail from Donald and Susan Adams' flooded backyard on Pine Street in Crystal Lake. Residents living in the block immediately southeast of the Route 14 and West Crystal Lake Avenue intersection are frustrated with the city for not finding a solution for the flooding problem, which has cost them money and left them without access to their backyards for much of the summer. However, the city has been denied grant money to help fund a solution.

Wed, 26 Jul 2017 14:37:00 GMT

CRYSTAL LAKE — The Crystal Lake Public Works Department will begin storm-related pickups Thursday.

Residents must have their brush to the curb before 7 a.m. Thursday morning. The brush must be less than 6 feet in length and 6 inches in diameter.

"Due to the extent of the storm damage, we are requesting resident’s cooperation in limiting the brush and limbs to recent storm damage only," city officials said in a statement.

The Public Works Department is also providing additional brush drop off Saturday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Waste Water Treatment Facility, 445 Dartmoor Drive, Crystal Lake.

A free special collection focusing on areas hit particularly hard by flooding will take place Saturday morning. Residents are asked to have flood-damaged items on the curb before 7 a.m. Saturday. MDC Environmental Services will be collecting additional bulky items like drywall, furniture, carpet (must be cut to 4-foot length), mattresses and normal household trash for no cost during the week of July 31 along with normal collection.

MDC asks residents to try to centralize items on the curb in bundles or containers to speed up the collection. MDC will only make one trip through each neighborhood, so residents are encouraged to put items by the curb by 7 a.m. Saturday or their regular collection day.

Large appliances like refrigerators, electronics like computers and household hazardous wastes will not be collected in the special collection. Residents can contact MDC at 815-568-7274 or mdces.com to have these items collected for a fee.

Anyone with questions or concerns can call the City of Crystal Lake at 815-459-2020, extension 3687.

A McHenry County Respite Center has been established at the Nunda Township Highway Department, 3510 Bay Road.

"Residents will find smiling faces ready to listen, food/snacks/coffee/flood recovery information, supplies and cleanup kits," officials said in a statement.

Nunda Township will also have cleanup kits available. Call 815-459-4011 for more information.

This June 29 photo offers a view looking east onto Oriole Trail from Donald and Susan Adams' flooded backyard on Pine Street in Crystal Lake. Residents living in the block immediately southeast of the Route 14 and West Crystal Lake Avenue intersection are frustrated with the city for not finding a solution for the flooding problem, which has cost them money and left them without access to their backyards for much of the summer. However, the city has been denied grant money to help fund a solution.


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President Trump bars transgender individuals from U.S. armed forcesFILE - In this March 27, 2008 file photo, the Pentagon is seen in this aerial view in Washington. President Donald Trump says he will bar transgender individuals from serving “in any capacity” in the armed forces. Trump said on Twitter Wednesday, July 26, 2017, that after consulting with “Generals and military experts,” that “the U.S. Government will not accept or allow Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military.” (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)

Wed, 26 Jul 2017 13:57:00 GMT

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump is barring transgender people from serving in the military "in any capacity," citing "tremendous medical costs and disruption."

Trump's announcement Wednesday morning on Twitter did not say what would happen to transgender people already in the military.

The president tweeted that after consulting with "Generals and military experts," the government "will not accept or allow Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military."

"Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail," he added.

Already, there are as many as 250 service members in the process of transitioning to their preferred genders or who have been approved to formally change gender within the Pentagon's personnel system, according to several defense officials.

The Pentagon has refused to release any data on the number of transgender troops currently serving. A RAND study found that there are between 2,500 and 7,000 transgender service members in the active duty military, and another 1,500 to 4,000 in the reserves.

Transgender service members have been able to serve openly in the military since last year, when former Defense Secretary Ash Carter ended the ban. Since Oct. 1, transgender troops have been able to receive medical care and start formally changing their gender identifications in the Pentagon's personnel system.

But Carter also gave the services until July 1 to develop policies to allow people already identifying as transgender to newly join the military, if they meet physical, medical and other standards, and have been stable in their identified genders for 18 months. Military chiefs recently announced a delay on allowing transgender people from enlisting.

Key concerns include whether currently enlisted troops have had medical or other issues that cause delays or problems with their ability to deploy or meet physical or other standards for their jobs. Military leaders also wanted to review how transgender troops are treated, if they're discriminated against or if they have had disciplinary problems, the officials said. They were not authorized to discuss internal deliberations publicly so spoke on condition of anonymity.

FILE - In this March 27, 2008 file photo, the Pentagon is seen in this aerial view in Washington. President Donald Trump says he will bar transgender individuals from serving “in any capacity” in the armed forces. Trump said on Twitter Wednesday, July 26, 2017, that after consulting with “Generals and military experts,” that “the U.S. Government will not accept or allow Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military.” (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)


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Top 10 most wanted: McHenry County Sheriff's Office seeks information on county's fugitivesThe McHenry County Sheriff's Office is searching for the county's top 10 most wanted fugitives. Location listed is the last known address for each man.Roberto Valdez-Calixto, 38, is wanted on first-degree murder charges in connection with the February 2005 stabbing death of Cecilio Hernandez. Authorities have said the stabbing occurred during an argument after a pickup basketball game. A fight ensued between a number of individuals, and Valdez-Calixto is accused of stabbing Hernandez to death, according to court records. Valdez-Calixto was charged in February 2005 with first-degree murder, aggravated battery and mob action. A Harvard police investigation found that Valdez-Calixto fled to Texcapilla, Mexico, and has been on the lam for more than a decade, according to Chicago Tribune reports. His last known address was in Harvard. Three male relatives of Valdez-Calixto were involved in the fight – one was convicted of mob action, and two others were convicted of second-degree murder, according to court records. The case is up for a status hearing Aug. 2 on an ongoing warrant for his arrest.Justin E. Dean was charged Feb. 14 with possession of a controlled substance after police said he had less than 15 grams of oxycodone. This is not the 25-year-old's first time on the top 10 fugitives list – Dean was No. 7 on the list in 2012, when he was wanted for possession of a stolen firearm, sale of a stolen firearm, possession of a handgun and possession of a firearm with an expired firearm owner's identification card, according to court records. Officers received an arrest warrant for Dean after an investigation into the stolen firearm, police have said. The gun was used in October 2011 during an accidental shooting in Volo. He later was sentenced to three years in prison on the possession of a stolen firearm charge, according to court records. His last known address was 6916 Seminole Drive, Wonder Lake. Dean previously was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia, driving under the influence, criminal trespass to a residence with people present and mob action, according to court records. The case is up for a status hearing Sept. 29 on an ongoing warrant for his arrest.Ambrocio Diaz, 60, is wanted on charges of attempted first-degree murder, armed violence and aggravated battery with a firearm. His last address was 418 Beloit St., No. 2, Walworth, Wisconsin, according to the sheriff's office website. No other information could be provided through court records or by the McHenry County Sheriff's Office.Kostas Lymberopoulos is wanted on a delivery of a controlled substance charge, specifically heroin. In 2012, Lymberopoulos, 29, of Woodstock was convicted on a charge of possession with intent to deliver and sentenced to three years in prison, according to court records. Four years later, in March 2016, he was arrested after police said he stole a power cord from the surveillance camera at the Woodstock train station. He pleaded guilty to a felony theft charge two months later and was sentenced to 30 months of probation, 160 days in McHenry County Jail, 125 hours of community service and more than $1,900 in fines. He also was required to complete drug and alcohol addiction treatment, according to court records. Lymberopoulos, whose last known address was 1460 Cord Grass Trail, previously was convicted of theft in 2009, forgery in 2008 and possession of marijuana in 2007.Cortez V. Simpson, 25, was charged in February after authorities said he conspired and sold more than 1 gram but less than 15 grams of cocaine with three co-defendants. He faces charges of criminal drug conspiracy, delivery of a controlled substance within a public housing complex, delivery of a controlled substance and possession of a controlled substance, according to court records. He faces up to 30 years in prison if convicted of the most serious charge. Simpson, whose last known address is 4504 Garden Quarter Road, Apt. 17, McHenry, previously was charged with unlawful delivery of a controlled substance, domestic battery and battery. The case is up for a status hearing Jan. 22 on an ongoing warrant for his arrest. One of Simpson's co-defendants, Kenneth L. Price, also has a warrant out for his arrest. Co-defendant Tonya Krich was arraigned on similar charges Monday, and Michelle A. Lopez will appear in court for a bond hearing Wednesday, according to court records.Juan C. Saucedo, 38, is wanted on charges of predatory criminal sexual assault and aggravated criminal sexual abuse in connection with incidents that authorities said occurred in 1998. Based on the nature of the offenses, no other information could be provided by the McHenry County Sheriff's Office or through court records. His last known address was 1600 North Ave., Apt. B, Crystal Lake. The case is up for a status hearing Aug. 1, 2018, on an ongoing warrant for his arrest.James Buttacavoli Jr. was charged in 2016 after authorities said he possessed more than 2,000 grams of marijuana and more than 50 cannabis sativa plants. He faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted of the most serious charge. His last known address was 972 Mesa Drive, Lake in the Hills. The 43-year-old has no previous criminal history in McHenry County, according to court records.Dewayne O. Williams is wanted on 2017 charges of delivery and possession of cocaine. The 28-year-old was found not guilty of cocaine dealing charges in 2016 after a bench trial before Judge Michael Feetterer, according to court records. He also was sentenced to three years in prison on a possession of a controlled substance charge in 2015, and two years of probation on the same charge in 2011. His last known address was 801 Washington St., Apt. 17, Woodstock. The case is up for a status hearing Dec. 29, 2018, on an ongoing warrant for his arrest.Jose L. Ruiz, 50, is wanted on a charge of predatory criminal sexual assault after he pleaded guilty to the offense in 2015. The McHenry man, whose last known address was 3707 W. John St., avoided trial in December 2014 and pleaded guilty to the felony charge, according to court records. He was sentenced to 24 years in prison while not present in court in January 2015. His bond was revoked, and a warrant was issued for his arrest, according to court records. Based on the nature of the offenses, no other information could be provided by the McHenry County Sheriff's Office or through court records. The case is up for a status hearing Aug. 1, 2018, on an ongoing warrant for his arrest.Jose L. Sanchez, 47, faces 2013 charges of aggravated criminal sexual assault with a firearm, criminal sexual assault and aggravated unlawful restraint. The Lakemoor man is accused of forcing a man to have inappropriate sexual contact with him in a bathroom while armed with a handgun, according to court documents. Based on the nature of the offenses, no other information could be provided by the McHenry County Sheriff's Office or through court records. The case is up for a status hearing Aug. 2 on an ongoing warrant for his arrest.

Wed, 26 Jul 2017 13:17:00 GMT

The McHenry County Sheriff's Office Apprehension Unit has posted a list of the top 10 most-wanted suspects in the county on its website for nearly a decade. Charges of those who are wanted range from first-degree murder to drug possession to criminal sexual assault. Residents are asked to call the sheriff's office with information about these individuals and should not try to confront them. Those with information on any of the individuals are encouraged to call the McHenry County Sheriff's Office Apprehension Unit at 815-334-4704, the sheriff's office at 815-338-2144, Crime Stoppers at 800-762-7867 or email TipLine@co.mchenry.il.us. The McHenry County Sheriff's Office is searching for the county's top 10 most wanted fugitives. Location listed is the last known address for each man.Roberto Valdez-Calixto, 38, is wanted on first-degree murder charges in connection with the February 2005 stabbing death of Cecilio Hernandez. Authorities have said the stabbing occurred during an argument after a pickup basketball game. A fight ensued between a number of individuals, and Valdez-Calixto is accused of stabbing Hernandez to death, according to court records. Valdez-Calixto was charged in February 2005 with first-degree murder, aggravated battery and mob action. A Harvard police investigation found that Valdez-Calixto fled to Texcapilla, Mexico, and has been on the lam for more than a decade, according to Chicago Tribune reports. His last known address was in Harvard. Three male relatives of Valdez-Calixto were involved in the fight – one was convicted of mob action, and two others were convicted of second-degree murder, according to court records. The case is up for a status hearing Aug. 2 on an ongoing warrant for his arrest.Justin E. Dean was charged Feb. 14 with possession of a controlled substance after police said he had less than 15 grams of oxycodone. This is not the 25-year-old's first time on the top 10 fugitives list – Dean was No. 7 on the list in 2012, when he was wanted for possession of a stolen firearm, sale of a stolen firearm, possession of a handgun and possession of a firearm with an expired firearm owner's identification card, according to court records. Officers received an arrest warrant for Dean after an investigation into the stolen firearm, police have said. The gun was used in October 2011 during an accidental shooting in Volo. He later was sentenced to three years in prison on the possession of a stolen firearm charge, according to court records. His last known address was 6916 Seminole Drive, Wonder Lake. Dean previously was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia, driving under the influence, criminal trespass to a residence with people present and mob action, according to court records. The case is up for a status hearing Sept. 29 on an ongoing warrant for his arrest.Ambrocio Diaz, 60, is wanted on charges of attempted first-degree murder, armed violence and aggravated battery with a firearm. His last address was 418 Beloit St., No. 2, Walworth, Wisconsin, according to the sheriff's office website. No other information could be provided through court records or by the McH[...]


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McCain delivers a key health care vote, scolding messageSen. John McCain, R-Ariz. arrives on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, July 25, 2017, as the Senate was to vote on moving head on health care with the goal of erasing much of Barack Obama's law. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)In this image from video provided by C-SPAN2, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. is is applauded as he arrives of the floor of the Senate on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, July 25, 2017. (C-SPAN2 via AP)In this image from video provided by C-SPAN2, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. is embraced by Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer of N.Y. as he arrives of the floor of the Senate on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, July 25, 2017. (C-SPAN2 via AP)Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. arrives on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, July 25, 2017, as the Senate was to vote on moving head on health care with the goal of erasing much of Barack Obama's law. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Wed, 26 Jul 2017 12:06:00 GMT

WASHINGTON — The maverick stood with his party on Tuesday, casting a crucial vote in the Republican drive to repeal "Obamacare." But then, like an angry prophet, Sen. John McCain condemned the tribal politics besetting the nation. Confronting an aggressive brain cancer, the 80-year-old Arizonan served notice he would not vote for the GOP legislation as it stands now. McCain's impassioned speech held the rapt attention of his colleagues in the Senate chamber. "Stop listening to the bombastic loudmouths on the radio, television and the internet," he intoned. "To hell with them! They don't want anything done for the public good. Our incapacity is their livelihood." A few minutes earlier, McCain dramatically entered the chamber for the pivotal vote, his first since surgery and his cancer diagnosis in Arizona. Unified for once, Republicans and Democrats applauded and whooped for the six-term lawmaker. "Aye," he said, thumbs up with both hands, for the GOP vote to move ahead on debate. After he voted, McCain stood at his seat and accepted hugs and handshakes from senators in both parties, drawing laughter from the spectators' gallery when he and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders exchanged an awkward embrace. McCain then spoke his mind. His face was pale, cheek bruised, a red scar and stitches above his left eye where doctors had removed a blood clot. But his voice was strong. He offered a bit of self-deprecation, saying he was "looking a little worse for wear." He bemoaned the lack of legislative accomplishments in the current Congress and the GOP's secretive process in working on repealing Obamacare. He issued a plea for Democrats and Republicans to work together. Obama and the Democrats shouldn't have pushed the Affordable Care Act through on party-line votes when they controlled Washington back in 2010, McCain said, "and we shouldn't do the same with ours. Why don't we try the old way of legislating in the Senate?" That would involve committee hearings and testimony from experts and interested parties, an incremental process that could take months. He blasted the path taken by Republican leaders "coming up with a proposal behind closed doors in consultation with the administration, then springing it on skeptical members, trying to convince them that it was better than nothing. "I don't think that's going to work in the end, and it probably shouldn't," he said. Debates in the Senate have become "more partisan, more tribal, more of the time than at any time I can remember," he lamented. With President Donald Trump threatening electoral retribution for Republicans who don't toe the line, McCain urged senators to stand up for their own constitutional status. "Whether or not we are of the same party, we are not the president's subordinates," he said. "We are his equal!" People with health care problems had speculated on social medi[...]


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A historic farmhouse built in 1891 across from Sterne’s Park: What $479,000 can get you in Crystal LakeCrystal Lake home listed for sale on Zillow: 5426 Hillside Road. 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, 2,794 square feet. Listed price: $479,000. Estimated mortgage: $1,787 per month. One of the original farm houses in the area, this home sits on nearly three acres. It includes a large, two-story barn that was recently rehabbed with new siding and a roof, a separate guest cottage, and above-ground pool. The three-season porch and large family/rec room feature vaulted ceilings. Listing agent: Rick Bellairs, Berkshire Hathaway Home Services: 815-338-3850.Crystal Lake home listed for sale on Zillow: 5426 Hillside Road. 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, 2,794 square feet. Listed price: $479,000. Estimated mortgage: $1,787 per month.Crystal Lake home listed for sale on Zillow: 5426 Hillside Road. 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, 2,794 square feet. Listed price: $479,000. Estimated mortgage: $1,787 per month.Crystal Lake home listed for sale on Zillow: 5426 Hillside Road. 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, 2,794 square feet. Listed price: $479,000. Estimated mortgage: $1,787 per month.EntrancewayDining roomDining roomFamily roomKitchenKitchen - eating areaLaundryLiving roomLiving roomThree-season porchMaster bedroomMaster bedroomMaster bathroomOne of four bedroomsOne of four bedroomsOne of four bedroomsCrystal Lake home listed for sale on Zillow: 5426 Hillside Road. 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, 2,794 square feet. Listed price: $479,000. Estimated mortgage: $1,787 per month.Crystal Lake home listed for sale on Zillow: 5426 Hillside Road. 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, 2,794 square feet. Listed price: $479,000. Estimated mortgage: $1,787 per month.CottageThree-car detached garageTwo-story barn rehabbed in 2009Crystal Lake home listed for sale on Zillow: 5426 Hillside Road. 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, 2,794 square feet. Listed price: $479,000. Estimated mortgage: $1,787 per month.Above-ground poolCrystal Lake home listed for sale on Zillow: 5426 Hillside Road. 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, 2,794 square feet. Listed price: $479,000. Estimated mortgage: $1,787 per month. One of the original farm houses in the area, this home sits on nearly three acres. It includes a large, two-story barn that was recently rehabbed with new siding and a roof, a separate guest cottage, and above-ground pool. The three-season porch and large family/rec room feature vaulted ceilings. Listing agent: Rick Bellairs, Berkshire Hathaway Home Services: 815-338-3850.

Wed, 26 Jul 2017 10:30:00 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: 5426 Hillside Road. 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, 2,794 square feet. Listed price: $479,000. Estimated mortgage: $1,787 per month. One of the original farm houses in the area, this home sits on nearly three acres. It includes a large, two-story barn that was recently rehabbed with new siding and a roof, a separate guest cottage, and above-ground pool. The three-season porch and large family/rec room feature vaulted ceilings. Listing agent: Rick Bellairs, Berkshire Hathaway Home Services: 815-338-3850.Crystal Lake home listed for sale on Zillow: 5426 Hillside Road. 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, 2,794 square feet. Listed price: $479,000. Estimated mortgage: $1,787 per month.Crystal Lake home listed for sale on Zillow: 5426 Hillside Road. 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, 2,794 square feet. Listed price: $479,000. Estimated mortgage: $1,787 per month.Crystal Lake home listed for sale on Zillow: 5426 Hillside Road. 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, 2,794 square feet. Listed price: $479,000. Estimated mortgage: $1,787 per month.EntrancewayDining roomDining roomFamily roomKitchenKitchen - eating areaLaundryLiving roomLiving roomThree-season porchMaster bedroomMaster bedroomMaster bathroomOne of four bedroomsOne of four bedroomsOne of four bedroomsCrystal Lake home listed for sale on Zillow: 5426 Hillside Road. 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, 2,794 square feet. Listed price: $479,000. Estimated mortgage: $1,787 per month.Crystal Lake home listed for sale on Zillow: 5426 Hillside Road. 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, 2,794 square feet. Listed price: $479,000. Estimated mortgage: $1,787 per month.CottageThree-car detached garageTwo-story barn rehabbed in 2009Crystal Lake home listed for sale on Zillow: 5426 Hillside Road. 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, 2,794 square feet. Listed price: $479,000. Estimated mortgage: $1,787 per month.Above-ground poolCrystal Lake home listed for sale on Zillow: 5426 Hillside Road. 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, 2,794 square feet. Listed price: $479,000. Estimated mortgage: $1,787 per month. One of the original farm houses in the area, this home sits on nearly three acres. It includes a large, two-story barn that was recently rehabbed with new siding and a roof, a separate guest cottage, and above-ground pool. The three-season porch and large family/rec room feature vaulted ceilings. Listing agent: Rick Bellairs, Berkshire Hathaway Home Services: 815-338-3850.


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Marengo City Council postpones vote on Settlers' Days road closureShaw Media file photo Members of the Hidden Path Arts studio perform a demonstration during the third day of the four-day Marengo Settlers' Day festivities in 2016. The City Council will meet to discuss moving Settlers' Days to a new location out of the downtown area.

Wed, 26 Jul 2017 05:10:00 GMT

MARENGO – City officials postponed a vote on a local road closure for Marengo’s annual Settlers’ Days event when a representative didn’t show up to answer questions surrounding the controversial move at this week’s City Council meeting. Settlers’ Days Inc. is in charge of planning Marengo’s iconic celebration, a four-day event founded in 1971 that includes parades, a carnival, a craft show, food, live music and other events. One of its highlights is the “Saturday Night on Main Street” party, which traditionally occurs on Route 23 downtown. This year, the committee plans to move its events to a field behind Glo-Bowl near Marengo High School, which has caused concern with residents and City Council members who question the break from tradition, parking, pedestrian safety, traffic flow and backup, whether there will be enough room for the high school marching band competition, cleanup and handicap accessibility. “I am not one to put lock, stock and barrel in social media,” 3rd Ward Alderman Matt Keenum said. “But it’s pretty evident that the only people that have this desire to move are those that are on the committee.” City Council members have no control over where the event takes place, but because no Settlers’ Days representative attended Monday’s meeting to address questions, a vote on whether to close Franks Road at Lindow Avenue and waive carnival fees for the event was postponed. “It’s a slap in the face for them not to show up,” Keenum said. “Last time someone was here they were not able to answer our questions and said they would have to take everything back to their committee, and now there is no one here.” Mayor John Koziol said he wanted to be clear that the city has no control on whether the event was moved and safety could be at stake if the roads are not closed during the event. “I would hate to see someone get hurt,” Koziol said. “But as much as I talk about the safety of the road begin closed, there are just way too many questions that we can’t have answered.” City Council members signed off on the closure of Route 23 to allow for the Settlers’ Day parade because the state also must OK the closure in time for the October event. Council members also added that they would be OK to close Route 23 in the event that the committee decides to hold its traditional Saturday Night on Main Street event downtown after all, which council members will need to formally ratify at a future meeting. The city will consider the closure of Franks Road near Glo-Bowl and the high school at a future meeting. “I would like to give them the benefit of the doubt, postpone and request with a capital ‘R’ that someone in the know from that committee come here with answers,” Keenum said. “There are more questions than answers at this point.” [...]Shaw Media file photo [...]


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Cary police investigating Cary Bank and Trust robbery

Wed, 26 Jul 2017 05:10:00 GMT

CARY – Cary police have arrested a woman in connection with a bank robbery that occurred Tuesday afternoon at Cary Bank and Trust.

Judy A. Persfull, 56, previously of Capron and currently believed to be homeless, was charged with burglary and theft and taken Tuesday evening to the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office, according to a news release and officials from the Cary Police Department.

Police arrived about 2:10 p.m. at the bank, 60 E. Main St., for a report of a bank robbery. The initial investigation indicated that Persfull went into the bank, approached the center teller and demanded cash. She placed a bag on the counter and fled after receiving the money. Persfull did not indicate that she had a weapon, police said.

She fled west on foot and was discovered about a block away on First Avenue and Park Street, police said.

The incident is under investigation.


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Cary Public Works Department to pick up storm brush Thursday

Wed, 26 Jul 2017 05:10:00 GMT

CARY – The Cary Public Works Department will be conducting a special storm brush pickup Thursday, according to a news release from the village.

Branches and limbs that have fallen during recent storms must be placed on the curb by 7 a.m. Thursday, and village staff will pass through each neighborhood one time, according to the release.

No whole trees or tree trunks will be removed. Residents should contact a licensed tree remover if a whole tree needs to be removed, according to the release.

Brush must be neatly stacked with the cut ends facing the street, and they cannot block the sidewalk or street, according to the release.

Smaller twigs, brush and thorny material should be bundled or put in the appropriate container to be disposed of on residents’ regular pickup day.

Brush also can be taken to the Algonquin Township disposal site. Contact the township at 847-639-2700 or visit www.algonquintownship.com for information.




Crystal Lake beaches closed because of floodingShaw Media file photo Lifeguards begin a waterfront safety orientation for new and returning guards May 19, 2012, at Crystal Lake Main Beach in Crystal Lake. Main Beach is closed because of flooding.

Wed, 26 Jul 2017 05:10:00 GMT

CRYSTAL LAKE – Crystal Lake’s Main and West beaches were closed Tuesday because of recent flooding, according to an alert on the Crystal Lake Park District’s website.

Swim lessons are canceled, and the Lakewood Police Department has declared Crystal Lake at “no-wake” status until further notice. However, the scheduled concert still was on for Tuesday night at Main Beach.

Excessive amounts of rain can elevate bacteria levels in the water, making it unsafe for swimmers, according to the website. The elevation most often occurs in shallow water. The water then is tested daily by the McHenry County Department of Health to determine when it is safe again.

To keep up to date with beach closures, visit the Park District’s rainout line at crystallakeparks.org/rainoutline.

Shaw Media file photo Lifeguards begin a waterfront safety orientation for new and returning guards May 19, 2012, at Crystal Lake Main Beach in Crystal Lake. Main Beach is closed because of flooding.


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Free sandbags available for Crystal Lake residents affected by floodingSarah Nader – snader@shawmedia.com Piles of sandbags cover La Fox River Drive on Saturday in Algonquin. Severe thunderstorms throughout Friday night and into Saturday morning drenched flooded areas in McHenry County, depositing more than 2 inches of rain in some parts.

Wed, 26 Jul 2017 05:09:00 GMT

CRYSTAL LAKE – The city is offering 1,500 filled sandbags for free to Crystal Lake residents who have been affected by recent flooding and severe thunderstorms.

Residents are responsible for loading and transporting the sandbags, which can be found at the Gold Road entrance to the Dole Mansion, 401 Country Club Road, according to a news release.

Questions should be directed to the Crystal Lake Public Works Department at 815-356-3614.

Sarah Nader – snader@shawmedia.com Piles of sandbags cover La Fox River Drive on Saturday in Algonquin. Severe thunderstorms throughout Friday night and into Saturday morning drenched flooded areas in McHenry County, depositing more than 2 inches of rain in some parts.


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Rollover on Lake in the Hills-Crystal Lake border closes portion of Randall RoadH. Rick Bamman – hbamman@shawmedia.com Emergency crews wheel a man to a waiting ambulance after he was extricated from an overturned vehicle after a three-vehicle crash Tuesday on Randall Road just north of Miller Road.

Wed, 26 Jul 2017 05:09:00 GMT

LAKE IN THE HILLS – A portion of Randall Road near Miller Road was closed for more than an hour Tuesday because of a rollover crash. Crystal Lake and Lake in the Hills emergency crews were at the scene. Three vehicles appeared to be involved in the crash, with one turned on its side. Ambulances were at the scene, although it was not immediately clear how many people were sent to the hospital or what the extent of their injuries were. Lake in the Hills sent a Nixle alert about 3 p.m. asking drivers to avoid the intersection. Neither Lake in the Hills nor Crystal Lake police could be reached Tuesday for information.

H. Rick Bamman – hbamman@shawmedia.com Emergency crews wheel a man to a waiting ambulance after he was extricated from an overturned vehicle after a three-vehicle crash Tuesday on Randall Road just north of Miller Road.


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McHenry County Department of Health: Lake in the Hills mosquito batch tests positive for West NilePhoto provided

Wed, 26 Jul 2017 05:08:00 GMT

LAKES IN THE HILLS – The McHenry County Department of Health has identified a mosquito batch with West Nile virus in a Lake in the Hills trap.

The health department collected the batch of mosquitoes June 20, according to a news release. This was the first positive test in 2017 in McHenry County.

The Illinois Department of Public Health has reported 272 positive batches in the past year throughout the state. The McHenry County department will continue to test mosquitoes through mid-October.

West Nile virus remains a risk until the first hard frost, according to the health department.

Symptoms range from fever, headache and body aches to more serious outcomes, such as encephalitis, meningitis and death. People older than age 50 are most at risk to develop the more severe diseases.

Recent flooding likely will increase floodwater and nuisance mosquitoes, although floodwater mosquitoes are not typically carriers of West Nile, according to the health department.

For information on West Nile virus, visit www.mcdh.info or call 815-334-4585.

Photo provided


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Lakewood Village Board votes to censure Trustee Jason McMahonLakewood trustee Jason McMahon was censured at Tuesday night's board meeting after what Village Manager Paul Serwatka and other trustees deemed to be "false misrepresentations" posted on social media and the McHenry County Blog. The matter was approved, 4-1, with McMahon abstaining and Trustee Carl Davis opposed.

Wed, 26 Jul 2017 05:05:00 GMT

LAKEWOOD – A trustee was given a formal reprimand Tuesday night after the village president and other trustees deemed him to be providing the public with “false misrepresentations.” Trustees voted, 4-1, Tuesday night to censure Trustee Jason McMahon for allegedly making multiple false assertions and incurring about $800 in “inappropriate and abusive” taxpayer-funded legal expenses in an attempt to validate claims brought against Village President Paul Serwatka and other trustees. Trustee Carl Davis was the lone trustee opposed to the censure, and McMahon abstained. A censure is a formal expression of strong disapproval or harsh criticism that in government is adopted by a majority vote as a means of publicly reprimanding a person for offense and correcting future conduct. Grounds for censure can include embezzlement, absenteeism and drunkenness, among others. Although Serwatka said censure essentially amounts to “a slap on the wrists,” the village is limited in its options for disciplining publicly elected officials. “There were some very specific untruthful statements made,” Serwatka said Tuesday. “The fact that he refused to retract the statements … and the fact that he has not agreed to reimburse the village, we came up with a resolution to censure Trustee McMahon.” Serwatka and other trustees had a problem with what they felt were misrepresentations McMahon was spreading to the public both in board meetings and in online posts. A McHenry County Blog post in June, citing an email from McMahon as its source, claimed that the dissolution of the village’s tax increment financing district would result in a 12 percent increase in Lakewood property taxes and cost every Lakewood homeowner an average of $150. McMahon also posted June 24 to his public Facebook page challenging Serwatka’s ability to accept the resignation of the village’s police chief, to appoint a new police chief and to create an ordinance amendment adjusting the village’s authority over the office of the police chief. The ordinance in question, which passed nearly unanimously at the June 27 board meeting, took from the village manager sole discretion over hiring, firing, directing and appointing the police chief and gave it to the village president with advice and consent from the Village Board. McMahon was the lone trustee opposed. McMahon clarified in the post that he was not opposed to Michael Roth being appointed as the new chief but rather the “dangerous ordinance amendment” that he believed did not align with the village’s form of government. “What happens when the president or a future president, his family or friends get a traffic ticket, into a n[...]


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Police say Crystal Lake man found with $31,000 worth of marijuana, methamphetamine, pillsBrian R. Blackberg, 33, of the 1600 block of Carlemont Drive, was arrested by the McHenry County Sheriff's Office July 20 and charged with delivery of cannabis, delivery of a controlled substance, four counts of possession of a controlled substance, possession of cannabis, possession of drug paraphernalia and obstruction of justice.

Wed, 26 Jul 2017 05:02:00 GMT

WOODSTOCK – A Crystal Lake man is facing felony drug charges after police said he possessed about 6½ pounds of marijuana, seven grams of methamphetamine and various prescription pills.

Brian R. Blackberg, 33, of the 1600 block of Carlemont Drive, was arrested Thursday by the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office and charged with delivery of marijuana, delivery of a controlled substance, four counts of possession of a controlled substance, possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia and obstruction of justice.

If convicted of the most serious charge, Blackberg faces up to 15 years in prison.

Investigators said Blackberg had a digital drug scale, about 6½ pounds of marijuana (2,934 grams), 7.2 grams of methamphetamine, one Carisoprodol pill, three Diazepam pills and two amphetamine/dextroaphetamine pills in his possession, according to court documents.

The estimated street value is $31,950, deputies said.

Authorities said he also obstructed justice by destroying evidence, according to court documents.

Blackberg was being held in McHenry County Jail custody as of Tuesday afternoon in lieu of posting 10 percent of his $100,000 bond. He will appear before Judge Sharon Prather on Aug. 7.

Brian R. Blackberg, 33, of the 1600 block of Carlemont Drive, was arrested by the McHenry County Sheriff's Office July 20 and charged with delivery of cannabis, delivery of a controlled substance, four counts of possession of a controlled substance, possession of cannabis, possession of drug paraphernalia and obstruction of justice.


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Prairie Grove farm loses more than $500K in barn fire, owners say"I’d like to think fire training kept me safe, and horse training kept the horses safe,” Ziec said. Ziec called 911 as she ran into the barn. She said she didn't remember seeing flames, but she could smell the smoke. Three horses were trapped in stalls, and emergency responders were having trouble reaching the farm, 2480 Barreville Road, because of downed trees caused by severe thunderstorms. The first emergency crews reached the farm 18 minutes after Ziec called, and the barn already was a total loss, Ziec said.However, Ziec already had successfully rescued all three horses. “If it had been a minute in either direction, it could’ve been an entirely different scenario,” Ziec said. Nunda Township Fire Lt. Dan Murphy said that about 30 departments from across Lake and McHenry counties responded to the blaze, and its cause still is under investigation. Ziec said she thinks it was a lightning strike.Liz Wolodkiewicz, whose 25-year-old horse named Cloud was one of the last rescued from the barn, said the horses had the best possible person there.Ziec's father, Mike Forti, was diligent about keeping his farm safe from fires. He outfitted both barns with fully automated fire alarm systems and had a list of rules that included a ban on extension cords, vehicles needing to cool before being put away and more. “We had every other kind of stop in place,” Ziec said. "We were so safe and so careful. I never thought this would happen."Forti estimated that both his family and those who board their horses at Prairie Oaks lost more than $500,000 in equipment and the building itself. Friends and family of those affected by the fire have started several GoFundMe accounts, the Prairie Oaks Fire Boarders Fund and Prairie Oaks Farm Fire Fund to help those who board their horses make up for some of the damage.

Wed, 26 Jul 2017 04:58:00 GMT

PRAIRIE GROVE – Prairie Oaks Farm LLC still looked like it was burning Tuesday afternoon from Barreville Road in Prairie Grove. Krista Ziec, whose family owns the 16-acre property, said the hay and shavings, or horse bedding, will continue to smolder for days.

About 8:45 p.m. Friday, the farm's hay barn was engulfed in flames, and Ziec, a former firefighter with the Nunda Rural Fire Protection District, knew what she had to do.

"I’d like to think fire training kept me safe, and horse training kept the horses safe,” Ziec said. Ziec called 911 as she ran into the barn. She said she didn't remember seeing flames, but she could smell the smoke. Three horses were trapped in stalls, and emergency responders were having trouble reaching the farm, 2480 Barreville Road, because of downed trees caused by severe thunderstorms. The first emergency crews reached the farm 18 minutes after Ziec called, and the barn already was a total loss, Ziec said.However, Ziec already had successfully rescued all three horses. “If it had been a minute in either direction, it could’ve been an entirely different scenario,” Ziec said. Nunda Township Fire Lt. Dan Murphy said that about 30 departments from across Lake and McHenry counties responded to the blaze, and its cause still is under investigation. Ziec said she thinks it was a lightning strike.Liz Wolodkiewicz, whose 25-year-old horse named Cloud was one of the last rescued from the barn, said the horses had the best possible person there.Ziec's father, Mike Forti, was diligent about keeping his farm safe from fires. He outfitted both barns with fully automated fire alarm systems and had a list of rules that included a ban on extension cords, vehicles needing to cool before being put away and more. “We had every other kind of stop in place,” Ziec said. "We were so safe and so careful. I never thought this would happen."Forti estimated that both his family and those who board their horses at Prairie Oaks lost more than $500,000 in equipment and the building itself. Friends and family of those affected by the fire have started several GoFundMe accounts, the Prairie Oaks Fire Boarders Fund and Prairie Oaks Farm Fire Fund to help those who board their horses make up for some of the damage.


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Three-vehicle crash on Randall RoadEmergency crews from Crystal Lake and Lake in the Hills work the scene of a three-vehicle crash Tuesday on Randall Road just north of Miller Road.A woman records emergency crews from Crystal Lake and Lake in the Hills as they work the scene of a three-vehicle crash Tuesday on Randall Road just north of Miller Road.Emergency crews wheel a man to a waiting ambulance after he was extricated from an overturned vehicle after a three-vehicle crash Tuesday on Randall Road just north of Miller Road.Emergency crews from Crystal Lake and Lake in the Hills work the scene of a three-vehicle crash Tuesday on Randall Road just north of Miller Road.Crystal Lake emergency crews wheel the driver of one of the vehicles to a waiting ambulance after a three-vehicle crash Tuesday on Randall Road just north of Miller Road.Curious spectators peer over a fence to watch emergency crews from Crystal Lake and Lake in the Hills work the scene of a three-vehicle crash Tuesday on Randall Road just north of Miller Road.Randall Road traffic crawls Tuesday after a three-vehicle crash just north of Miller Road closed the northbound lanes.Lake in the Hills police officer Sarah Barham directs traffic at the scene of a three-vehicle crash Tuesday on Randall Road just north of Miller Road.

Wed, 26 Jul 2017 04:13:00 GMT

LAKE IN THE HILLS – Randall and Miller roads in Lake in the Hills were closed about an hour Tuesday because of a crash, according to a Nixle alert from Lake in the Hills police.

Emergency crews from Crystal Lake and Lake in the Hills work the scene of a three-vehicle crash Tuesday on Randall Road just north of Miller Road.A woman records emergency crews from Crystal Lake and Lake in the Hills as they work the scene of a three-vehicle crash Tuesday on Randall Road just north of Miller Road.Emergency crews wheel a man to a waiting ambulance after he was extricated from an overturned vehicle after a three-vehicle crash Tuesday on Randall Road just north of Miller Road.Emergency crews from Crystal Lake and Lake in the Hills work the scene of a three-vehicle crash Tuesday on Randall Road just north of Miller Road.Crystal Lake emergency crews wheel the driver of one of the vehicles to a waiting ambulance after a three-vehicle crash Tuesday on Randall Road just north of Miller Road.Curious spectators peer over a fence to watch emergency crews from Crystal Lake and Lake in the Hills work the scene of a three-vehicle crash Tuesday on Randall Road just north of Miller Road.Randall Road traffic crawls Tuesday after a three-vehicle crash just north of Miller Road closed the northbound lanes.Lake in the Hills police officer Sarah Barham directs traffic at the scene of a three-vehicle crash Tuesday on Randall Road just north of Miller Road.


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As McDonald's works on transforming, $1 sodas boost U.S. salesThis Friday, March 17, 2017, photo shows the McDonald's sign outside a restaurant in downtown Pittsburgh. McDonald's Corp. reports earnings, Tuesday, July 25, 2017. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

Wed, 26 Jul 2017 03:39:00 GMT

OAK BROOK – McDonald’s is trying to modernize its image by rolling out delivery and promising fresh beef in Quarter Pounders. But for now, $1 sodas are helping get people in the door. The company said Tuesday that discounted drinks and a new line of pricier burgers helped boost sales in its flagship U.S. market by 3.9 percent at existing locations during the second quarter. CEO Steve Easterbrook has been working on transforming the chain’s menu and stores to get customers visiting more often in an increasingly competitive environment. Customer visits have declined in the U.S. for four straight years at existing locations, and McDonald’s is on track to shrink its domestic footprint for the third year in a row. The latest quarter showed signs of improvement. McDonald’s said customer visits increased at existing domestic locations, although there were about 100 fewer U.S. locations than a year ago. It did not specify how much customer visits contributed to the sales increase, but Easterbrook has repeatedly laid out plans to get the figure climbing again by making McDonald’s more convenient. Those efforts in the U.S. include introducing in-store ordering kiosks, expanding delivery through UberEats, and launching a mobile order-and-pay option later this year. While those plans may boost sales over the long term, the company is relying on deals such as $1 sodas and $2 McCafe drinks to attract customers in the short term. Such promotions get people into stores to see other changes and new menu offerings such as the “Signature Crafted” burgers, the company said. Chris Kempczinski, president of McDonald’s USA, noted in an interview last month that about three quarters of the people who come in for the drink deals also end up buying food. “The typical behavior is that they will buy other items,” he said. Bernstein analyst Sara Senatore noted that the company’s “impressive” results came even before the full effect of its digital initiatives have been seen. And Instinet analyst Mark Kalinowski said that other menu news could help boost sales in the coming quarters. The company plans to sell a Sriracha Mac dipping sauce, he noted, and is testing Loaded Bacon & Cheese fries in parts of four U.S. states. McDonald’s also is looking beyond its core menu and offering pastries by registers in some locations, and testing “dessert stations” behind the counter that would let employees make an expanded menu of treats. In the meantime, the U.S. store count is falling. The Oak Brook-based company had 14,079 domestic locations at the end of th[...]


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Senate dives into health care debate despite deep divisions within the GOPMelina Mara – The Washington Post Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., announced the passage of the vote to proceed to debate on the GOP's health care bill Tuesday as "the first step" toward repealing Obamacare.

Wed, 26 Jul 2017 03:39:00 GMT

WASHINGTON – The Senate embarked on a freewheeling process to rewrite the Affordable Care Act on Tuesday, as Republicans overcame deep divisions to bring their proposals up for debate by the narrowest possible margin. But those same schisms threatened to leave the party far short in the coming days of its ambitious goal to undo major parts of the ACA, which the GOP has been vowing for seven years to dismantle. The vote to begin debate marked a momentary political victory for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and President Donald Trump. The president managed to resuscitate the GOP’s months-long effort to unwind President Barack Obama’s signature 2010 law by convincing more than half a dozen wavering senators that they could not afford to walk away from an enduring political promise. Republicans passed the procedural hurdle by a slim 51-50 vote margin, with Vice President Mike Pence breaking the tie. The health-care debate is likely to spark a chaotic, unpredictable couple of days on Capitol Hill – with senators voting on everything from abolishing much of the law to what is being called a “skinny repeal.” The result of these ensuing votes, many think, will be far more modest changes to the ACA than the party has long advertised. “The endgame is to be able to move something at the end of this process across the Senate floor that can get 50 votes and then to get into conference with the House,” said Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., a top McConnell lieutenant. Tuesday’s proceedings were marked by high drama, including the return of Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., to the Capitol just 1½ weeks after undergoing surgery for brain cancer, and Pence’s move to cast the tiebreaking vote. The intensity of the debate, including protesters who yelled “Kill the bill!” in the Senate chamber after the voting had begun, underscored the stakes involved in overhauling a health-care system that affects one-sixth of the nation’s economy and how tens of millions Americans receive medical care. All 48 members of the Democratic caucus voted against the procedural motion to start debate, along with two GOP centrists, Susan Collins, Maine, and Lisa Murkowski, Alaska. Republicans have struggled mightily to get to this point, and there is no guarantee they will win final passage of the bill. In a sign of how muddled the situation remains, McCain took to the floor after voting to move ahead and declared, “I will not vote for the [Senate leadership bill] as it is today. It’s a shell of a bill right now.” Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., echoed these sentiments, tweeting, “I support a full repeal of Obamacare[...]


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Free lunches at Texas Roadhouse to benefit Special Olympics Illinois

Wed, 26 Jul 2017 03:33:00 GMT

SYCAMORE – Texas Roadhouse restaurants around the state, including the Sycamore location, will be offering a free lunch to collect donations for Special Olympics Illinois.

Texas Roadhouse, 1950 DeKalb Ave., will offer free lunches from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday. Local law enforcement agencies partner with the restaurants to collect the donations, according to a news release.

The free lunch includes a pulled pork sandwich, corn, fresh baked bread with honey-cinnamon butter and a nonalcoholic beverage.

This will be the fundraiser’s seventh year. Last year’s events raised almost $80,000 for the organization, according to the release.

Texas Roadhouse restaurants in Crystal Lake, Joliet, Bradley, Quincy and Countryside will have the same free lunch hours Friday, while restaurants in Springfield, Champaign, Forsyth, Shiloh and Edwardsville will have free lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday.


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Mic captures GOP senator ripping Trump, mocking lawmakerSen. Susan Collins, R-Maine is surrounded by reporters as she arrives on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, July 25, 2017, before a test vote on the Republican health care bill. The bill has faced opposition and challenges within the Republican ranks, including by Collins. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)FILE - In this March 19, 2013 file photo, Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas is seen on Capitol Hill in Washington. Farenthold says it’s “absolutely repugnant” that the GOP-led Senate hasn’t acted on repealing the health care law and he singled out “some female senators from the Northeast.” (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)

Tue, 25 Jul 2017 21:36:00 GMT

WASHINGTON – Oh, that dreaded open microphone! Republican Sen. Susan Collins got caught Tuesday at the end of a hearing with a microphone that was still hot – and captured her ripping President Donald Trump and making fun of a fellow lawmaker who had been critical of her on health care. Collins, a moderate from Maine, can be overheard complaining about Trump and his proposed 2018 budget, which slashes spending with deep cuts to domestic agencies, food stamps, Medicaid, highway funding and medical research. "Whenever there was a grant, they just X-ed it out, with no metric, no thinking about it, no nothing," she tells Democratic Sen. Jack Reed of Rhode Island. "It's just incredibly irresponsible." "I think he's crazy," Reed says. And Collins adds, "I'm worried." Collins was also snagged making unflattering remarks about Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, a day after he blamed "some female senators from the Northeast" for blocking health care legislation. He said he wished he could challenge them to a duel "Aaron Burr-style." "Did you see the one who challenged me to a duel?" Collins asks. "I know," Reed replies. "Trust me. Do you know why he challenged you to a duel? 'Cause you could beat the s--- out of him." Collins continues, "I don't mean to be unkind but he's so unattractive it's unbelievable." Collins then mentions a widely circulated picture of Farenthold wearing baby blue pajamas with yellow ducks on them as he poses in the photo with a big grin next to a scantily clad young woman. The audio followed a meeting of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development. Collins is the chairman of the committee and Reed is the ranking Democrat on the panel. In a statement, Reed's office said he was just "letting Sen. Collins know he's in her corner." He has said it publicly and privately, Reed's spokesman, Chip Unruh, said: "the Trump administration is behaving erratically and irresponsibly. For the good of the country, the president needs to start focusing on the budget." Farenthold's office declined to comment. A request to Collins' office was not immediately answered. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine is surrounded by reporters as she arrives on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, July 25, 2017, before a test vote on the Republican health care bill. The bill has faced opposition and challenges within the Republican ranks, including by Collins. (AP Photo/J.[...]


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Relief arrives as Fox River water levels decreaseSarah Nader - snader@shawmedia.com Team Rubicon Volunteer Anthony Celani of Madison, Wis. helps set up a fence at their mobile command center in the parking lot of Home Depot in McHenry Monday, July 24, 2017. Team Rubicon, a national disaster response nonprofit organization led by veterans, will be helping McHenry and Lake County residents affected by this month's floods. They plan to have around 40 volunteers helping for 30 to 45 days.

Tue, 25 Jul 2017 14:46:00 GMT

Recovery and cleanup efforts have started as the flood levels on the Fox River begin to recede. Aid from around the country is pouring into McHenry County to help residents with assessments and cleanups of affected properties, but the homes that got hit the hardest likely will have to wait until the end of the week to begin recovery efforts, said David Christensen, McHenry County emergency management agency director. “Attitudes are a lot better since we had sunshine, cooler temperatures and water is going down,” he said. “But homes still have water on and around them. We aren’t quite ready to start recovery yet.” After receiving rainfall between 1 and 2½ inches this past weekend, the water levels rose to more than 13 feet. As of Monday evening, the water level was at 12.78 feet at the Algonquin tailwater and is predicted to drop to 11 feet by Sunday, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Johnsburg Junior High School now is the home to volunteers from Rubicon, a veteran-led disaster response organization. The group has 40,000 volunteers nationwide and 36 of them were sent to McHenry County recently to help launch what they call “Operation Fox Yeah.” Carol McCoy, a retired city government employee and a member of the Team Rubicon Incident Management Team, works as the incident commander overseeing all the volunteers for the Fox River flood. Rubicon will conduct damage assessments and provide muck-out operations and debris removal, she said. Some of those damage assessments started Monday, McCoy said, but some efforts can’t start until water is completely removed from flooded basements. Rubicon deemed the Fox River flooding a Type 2 situation in a ranking system that goes up to five, with one being the most severe, McCoy said. This system determines how long the team will stay based on the number of volunteers available and the number of work orders requested. Volunteers are estimated to be in the county for more than a month, but this may change as the group receives more information. “As we build that list of people who need help, we’ll start recruiting for more volunteers so we can match up our workforce with what needs to be done,” McCoy said. Those seeking help from Rubicon can call the crisis cleanup hotline at 800-451-1954. Until the full need is assessed, Rubicon is not looking for any more volunteers. More information for those affected or otherwise can be found by stopping by Rubicon[...]


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In Google vs. the EU, a $2.7B fine could just be the startFILE - This Tuesday, July 19, 2016, file photo shows the Google logo at the company's headquarters in Mountain View, Calif. Google parent Alphabet is taking a $2.7 billion write-down to cover a large fine EU antitrust enforcers assessed in June 2017. While the search giant can shrug off the cost, uncertainty lingers over its ability to operate freely on the continent going forward. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

Tue, 25 Jul 2017 05:33:00 GMT

SAN FRANCISCO – Google’s parent company Alphabet can easily afford the $2.7 billion write-down it’s taking to cover a big antitrust fine in Europe. But it might find it harder to shrug off the rest of the European regulatory assault that’s headed its way. In June, a European Commission ruling slapped down Google for abusing its market dominance in search by unfairly directing visitors to its comparison shopping service, Google Shopping, to the detriment of its rivals. The regulators not only imposed a huge fine, they also insisted that Google change the way it provides search results in Europe. Alphabet still is mulling an appeal of that ruling, which could take years to get through the European Court of Justice. And that case is only the first of several such investigations that have embroiled Google across the Atlantic, a situation that raises uncertainty about its ability to operate freely on the continent going forward. Why Europe is upset After a seven-year antitrust probe, the European Commission concluded that Google stifles the ability of rivals like Yelp to compete. That’s a different standard than in the U.S., where regulators tend to step in only when consumer prices go up due to monopolistic power. Europe’s top antitrust regulator, Margrethe Vestager, said Google “denied other companies the chance to compete on the merits.” Google said it’s giving consumers what they want: product listings with pictures and prices, saving them the trouble of repeating a search on another site. In two other cases, the commission charges Google with allegedly forcing its Android smartphone partners to favor Google’s apps and limiting the way its ad-partner websites can display search ads from Google rivals. An Alphabet spokeswoman said Monday that the company had nothing to say on the matter beyond its blog response to the fine last month, in which it painted itself as an underdog in product search compared with Amazon. How much Google could hurt It’s unclear how constraints on its behavior could affect it, but 33 percent of Alphabet’s revenue – roughly $8.5 billion in the latest quarter – came from the region it calls Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Beyond the fine, Alphabet faces a penalty of up to 5 percent of its average daily turnover if it doesn’t give equal treatment to rival comparison shopping services in Europe by late September. It’s up to Google t[...]


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