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Photos: Property seized In Bull Valley drug bustMcHenry County Sheriff’s Department seized property at 1001 and 1005 N. Cherry Valley Road Bull Valley in connection with a months-long investigation involving the Drug Enforcement Administration, the McHenry County Narcotics Task Force, the Rockford Police Department and other law enforcement agencies.McHenry County Sheriff’s Department seized property at 1001 and 1005 N. Cherry Valley Road Bull Valley in connection with a months-long investigation involving the Drug Enforcement Administration, the McHenry County Narcotics Task Force, the Rockford Police Department and other law enforcement agencies.McHenry County Sheriff’s Department seized property at 1001 and 1005 N. Cherry Valley Road Bull Valley in connection with a months-long investigation involving the Drug Enforcement Administration, the McHenry County Narcotics Task Force, the Rockford Police Department and other law enforcement agencies.McHenry County Sheriff’s Department seized property at 1001 and 1005 N. Cherry Valley Road Bull Valley in connection with a months-long investigation involving the Drug Enforcement Administration, the McHenry County Narcotics Task Force, the Rockford Police Department and other law enforcement agencies.McHenry County Sheriff’s Department seized property at 1001 and 1005 N. Cherry Valley Road Bull Valley in connection with a months-long investigation involving the Drug Enforcement Administration, the McHenry County Narcotics Task Force, the Rockford Police Department and other law enforcement agencies.McHenry County Sheriff’s Department seized property at 1001 and 1005 N. Cherry Valley Road Bull Valley in connection with a months-long investigation involving the Drug Enforcement Administration, the McHenry County Narcotics Task Force, the Rockford Police Department and other law enforcement agencies.McHenry County Sheriff’s Department seized property at 1001 and 1005 N. Cherry Valley Road Bull Valley in connection with a months-long investigation involving the Drug Enforcement Administration, the McHenry County Narcotics Task Force, the Rockford Police Department and other law enforcement agencies.McHenry County Sheriff’s Department seized property at 1001 and 1005 N. Cherry Valley Road Bull Valley in connection with a months-long investigation involving the Drug Enforcement Administration, the McHenry County Narcotics Task Force, the Rockford Police Department and other law enforcement agencies.McHenry County Sheriff’s Department seized property at 1001 and 1005 N. Cherry Valley Road Bull Valley in connection with a months-long investigation involving the Drug Enforcement Administration, the McHenry County Narcotics Task Force, the Rockford Police Department and other law enforcement agencies.

Thu, 25 May 2017 22:21:00 GMT

McHenry County Sheriff’s Department seized property at 1001 and 1005 N. Cherry Valley Road Bull Valley in connection with a months-long investigation involving the Drug Enforcement Administration, the McHenry County Narcotics Task Force, the Rockford Police Department and other law enforcement agencies.

McHenry County Sheriff’s Department seized property at 1001 and 1005 N. Cherry Valley Road Bull Valley in connection with a months-long investigation involving the Drug Enforcement Administration, the McHenry County Narcotics Task Force, the Rockford Police Department and other law enforcement agencies.McHenry County Sheriff’s Department seized property at 1001 and 1005 N. Cherry Valley Road Bull Valley in connection with a months-long investigation involving the Drug Enforcement Administration, the McHenry County Narcotics Task Force, the Rockford Police Department and other law enforcement agencies.McHenry County Sheriff’s Department seized property at 1001 and 1005 N. Cherry Valley Road Bull Valley in connection with a months-long investigation involving the Drug Enforcement Administration, the McHenry County Narcotics Task Force, the Rockford Police Department and other law enforcement agencies.McHenry County Sheriff’s Department seized property at 1001 and 1005 N. Cherry Valley Road Bull Valley in connection with a months-long investigation involving the Drug Enforcement Administration, the McHenry County Narcotics Task Force, the Rockford Police Department and other law enforcement agencies.McHenry County Sheriff’s Department seized property at 1001 and 1005 N. Cherry Valley Road Bull Valley in connection with a months-long investigation involving the Drug Enforcement Administration, the McHenry County Narcotics Task Force, the Rockford Police Department and other law enforcement agencies.McHenry County Sheriff’s Department seized property at 1001 and 1005 N. Cherry Valley Road Bull Valley in connection with a months-long investigation involving the Drug Enforcement Administration, the McHenry County Narcotics Task Force, the Rockford Police Department and other law enforcement agencies.McHenry County Sheriff’s Department seized property at 1001 and 1005 N. Cherry Valley Road Bull Valley in connection with a months-long investigation involving the Drug Enforcement Administration, the McHenry County Narcotics Task Force, the Rockford Police Department and other law enforcement agencies.McHenry County Sheriff’s Department seized property at 1001 and 1005 N. Cherry Valley Road Bull Valley in connection with a months-long investigation involving the Drug Enforcement Administration, the McHenry County Narcotics Task Force, the Rockford Police Department and other law enforcement agencies.McHenry County Sheriff’s Department seized property at 1001 and 1005 N. Cherry Valley Road Bull Valley in connection with a months-long investigation involving the Drug Enforcement Administration, the McHenry County Narcotics Task Force, the Rockford Police Department and other law enforcement agencies.


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New digester at Crystal Lake treatment plant could mean some off smells

Thu, 25 May 2017 21:59:00 GMT

CRYSTAL LAKE – Slightly abnormal odors might come from the city’s Wastewater Treatment Plant No. 2 as workers fire up a new anaerobic digester.

The new digester that was installed at the 1100 Coventry Lane plant will become operational Tuesday. Odors might be intermittently present for the next week or two, according to a memo from the city’s Public Works Department.

The plant is adjacent to a residential area, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church and Crystal Lake South High School.

Staff will be working to reduce odors as much as possible. The new digester is part of a series of plant upgrades in a two-year capital project.

Questions or concerns can be addressed by calling the Public Works Department Wastewater Division at 815-356-3700, ext. 4063.

– Kevin P. Craver




Algonquin man skips trial, found guilty of selling heroinDonevin A. Quick, 40, of the 500 block of West Parkview Terrace, Algonquin

Thu, 25 May 2017 21:44:00 GMT

ALGONQUIN – An Algonquin man faces a minimum of six years in prison for selling heroin, according to a news release from the Kane County State’s Attorney’s Office. 

Donevin A. Quick, 40, of the 500 block of West Parkview Terrace, Algonquin, did not show up in court Tuesday, but he was convicted of unlawful delivery of a controlled substance, according to the release.

The last time Quick appeared in court was Feb. 2, and he has been free on a $15,000 bond, according to the release. A judge issued a warrant for his arrest after he failed to appear in court May 17.

The charge, a Class 2 felony, could result in six to 30 years in prison, according to the release. Because of Quick’s felony history – including a 2004 robbery conviction in Will County, a 2007 drug conviction in LaSalle County and a 2008 burglary conviction in DeKalb County – he must be sentenced to an extended term, according to the release.  

On April 18, 2014, Quick and another person met an undercover police officer in an Elgin parking lot and gave the officer four bags of heroin in exchange for $40, prosecutors said. 

The co-defendant pleaded guilty in 2014 to unlawful delivery of a controlled substance and was sentenced to three years in prison, according to the release. 

Anyone with information about Quick and his whereabouts should contact police. His next court appearance is set for July 13.

Kane County Assistant State’s Attorneys Laura Maglio and Kelley Flinn prosecuted the case.

Donevin A. Quick, 40, of the 500 block of West Parkview Terrace, Algonquin


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McHenry County coroner IDs 2 Elgin men killed in Route 20 crash

Thu, 25 May 2017 21:38:00 GMT

HUNTLEY – The McHenry County Coroner’s Office on Thursday released the names of two Elgin men who were killed Wednesday in a multivehicle crash in unincorporated Riley Township.

The McHenry County Sheriff’s Office, Marengo Police Department, Huntley Fire Protection District and Hampshire Police Department responded about 5:30 a.m. Wednesday to a report of a car versus truck crash on Route 20 north of Harmony Road. The crash involved a 1999 Volkswagen Jetta and a Ford F-550 Super Duty truck, according to the sheriff's office.

The driver of the car was identified as Leonardo Rangel-Jimenez, 31, and the passenger was Alejandro Rangel-Jimenez, 35, Leonardo's brother. The two were pronounced dead at the scene at 5:55 a.m.

Autopsies revealed that Alejandro died from blunt trauma to the head and Leonardo died from blunt trauma to the head and chest, the coroner said.

A preliminary investigation suggests that the Volkswagen was driving north on Route 20 when Alejandro lost control and went into the southbound lane, hitting the truck, which was driving south on Route 20, according to the sheriff's office.

Everyone involved was wearing a seat belt at the time, and air bags deployed in both vehicles, police said.

Neither the driver or the passenger of the truck was injured.

A toxicology report is pending, and the crash is under investigation by the McHenry County Sheriff’s Police Accident Investigation Unit and the McHenry County Coroner’s Office.

A GoFundMe page was created to help the family with funeral costs.

At the same intersection, a 54-year-old Woodstock man died after a crash at Harmony Road and Route 20 in November. The intersection also has a memorial for Patricia McNamara, who died from a crash there in 2011.




Deputies seize $3.2 million in marijuana from Bull Valley mansionH. Rick Bamman - hbamman@shawmedia.com McHenry County Sheriff deputies Sergeant Robb Tadekman (left) and Ryan Hoven sort through some of the over 400 pounds of cannibis seized in recent operations. Police also found a 50 caliber machine gun, an Uzi machine gun and ammunition in a Bull Valley home.H. Rick Bamman - hbamman@shawmedia.com Surronded by containers of cannibis McHenry County Sheriff deputy Ryan Hoven removes ammunition from a 50 caliber machine gun siezed from a home in Bull Valley.H. Rick Bamman - hbamman@shawmedia.com Ammunition and 50 caliber machine were seized by McHenry County Sheriff's deputies from a Bull Valley home.H. Rick Bamman - hbamman@shawmedia.com McHenry County Sheriff Sergeant Robb Tadekman breaks down an Cobray M11 machine gun seized from a home in Bull Valley.H. Rick Bamman - hbamman@shawmedia.com McHenry County Sheriff Sergeant Robb Tadekman returns a Cobray M11 machine gun to a case. The Gun and drugs were seized from a Bull Valley home.H. Rick Bamman - hbamman@shawmedia.com McHenry County Sheriff deputy Ryan Hoven holds a pouch containing cannibis siezed in recent operations.H. Rick Bamman - hbamman@shawmedia.com Some of the amuntion seized by McHenry County Sheriff deputies and the DEA.H. Rick Bamman - hbamman@shawmedia.com Containers holding some of the 350 pounds of cannibis and a shot gun seized from a Bull Valley home by McHenry County Sheriff deputies.H. Rick Bamman - hbamman@shawmedia.com Cash counting machines seized by McHenry County Sheriff deputies and the DEA in recent operations.David Soskin.

Thu, 25 May 2017 15:45:00 GMT

WOODSTOCK — A Bull Valley man is in McHenry County Jail custody on $1 million bond facing drug trafficking charges after authorities found more than $3 million worth of marijuana in a 17,000-square-foot Bull Valley home along with a military-grade .50-caliber machine gun.  "The scale of the proceeds of this investigation, including illegal substances, cash, weapons and all the trappings of an extravagant lifestyle, are astounding,” McHenry County Sheriff Bill Prim said. “We are very pleased to have contributed to the dismantling of a major drug trafficking enterprise and hope others involved in drugs will learn that they are not beyond the reach of law enforcement.”  David A. Soskin, 42, of the 1000 block of Cherry Valley Road, is facing charges of marijuana trafficking, a Class X felony, possession of cannabis with intent to deliver, a Class X felony, and possession of cannabis, a Class 1 felony. He could be sentenced to up to 30 years in prison if convicted of the most serious charge.  Soskin was arrested as part of an ongoing drug investigation involving the Drug Enforcement Administration, the McHenry County Narcotics Task Force, the Rockford Police Department and other law enforcement agencies. A news conference on the investigation is scheduled for 11 a.m. today in Rockford. Members of the McHenry County Sheriff's Office searched Soskin's home May 19 and found about 350 pounds of marijuana in a locked closet in the master bedroom, according to court documents. The street value is estimated at nearly $3.2 million. Police also found a .50-caliber machine gun, an uzi machine gun, a shotgun and ammunition. Three pistols also were located on the property. He lives at the address with his girlfriend, according to court documents. Soskin's arrest came after a months-long investigation by the Rockford Police Narcotics Unit into drug sales in the area. Rockford Police and DEA agents first arrested Joseph Vogrinc, 34, of Loves Park, after a traffic stop in the 4900 block of Rolex Parkway in Loves Park. Police found more than 11 pounds of marijuana and $55,000 in cash. They also seized a vehicle, according to a news release. Vogrinc was charged with marijuana trafficking and is being held in the Winnebago County Jail without bond. As the investigation continued, Rockford Police and the DEA's Rockford Task Force joined with the McHenry County Narcotics Task Force. They got a warrant and searched a property at 1001 Cherry Valley Road in Bull Valley early on the morning of May 18. Soskin and one other person were home at the time of the raid. The property included more than 30 acres, multiple buildings and a 17,000-square-foot primary home, investigators said. Soskin told authorities he picked up about 500 pounds of marijuana from California in January 2016 and brought it to Illinois, according to court documents. He also said he made that same trip a few weeks ago and brought another 500 pounds of marijuana to his Bull Valley home. “This is a perfect example of inter-agency cooperation, sharing of intelligence and uniting behind a common goal,” Rockford Police Chief Dan O’Shea said. “We will continue to work with our partner agencies throughout the region, and nationally, to combat the illegal sales of narcotics.” Judge Mary Nader issued an order stating the McHenry County Jail could not accept any money for bail for Soskin in this case until further notice by the court. This followed a motion filed by prosecutors to prevent someone from posting his bond until the source of the funds was determined to be legitimate. Funds tied to drug trafficking or some other criminal or illegal source cannot be used to pos[...]David Soskin.


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Day after Senate budget vote, GOP tries to push Gov. Bruce Rauner's plan

Thu, 25 May 2017 06:01:00 GMT

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois General Assembly is back to work after the Senate approved a major spending package.

Eyes are back on to the Senate on Wednesday to see how negotiations will shape up between majority Democrats and Republicans over issues important to Gov. Bruce Rauner.

The Senate approved a $5.4 billion tax increase for a $37.3 billion spending plan Tuesday. Republicans said Democrats were walking away from attempts to trade a tax increase for a local property tax freeze and Rauner-demanded reductions in the cost of the workers' compensation system.

The Republican governor made the point himself. He repeated in a "Facebook Live" appearance Tuesday that he won't approve a budget plan without "real property tax relief."

The state has been without a budget for two years.




Natural Fiber Welding looks to put Peoria on the textile mapFred Zwick – Peoria Journal Star via AP Dr. Luke Haverhals, founder and CEO of Natural Fiber Welding In Peoria, examines yarn that is being run through solvents that alter the outer structure of the material. The research at Natural Fiber is working to alter the properties of natural fibers such as cotton in order to increase their strength and anti-microbial properties while still keeping some of the original desirable qualities. Since manufactured fibers such as polyester that contain plastic microfibers are largely petroleum based, the research could lead to a more sustainable product and less plastic pollution.

Thu, 25 May 2017 05:43:00 GMT

PEORIA – The mounting problem of plastic pollution in the world’s oceans might be as close as your washing machine. And the answer might be as close as the Peoria NEXT Innovation Center. The fact that every 13-pound load of laundry releases an estimated 700,000 tiny plastic fibers into the environment, according to Great Britain’s Plymouth University, is one of the reasons that Luke Haverhals formed Natural Fiber Welding, a startup company at the Peoria NEXT facility. “Sixty years ago, the textile industry almost exclusively involved natural materials grown by agriculture. Then, plastic infiltrated the market. Now, roughly 60 percent of all textiles are plastic from petroleum,” said Haverhals, a Bradley University professor for the past four years. There’s nothing new about polyester suits. DuPont first produced the material in 1951. So what is polyester? It’s a polymer – a long chain of repeating molecular units. The most common variety is polyethylene terephthalate, or PET, a plastic derived from crude oil used to make soda and ketchup bottles, Marc Bain said in an article for Quartz magazine. The use of polyester has grown steadily since the 1950s. Tecnon Orcbichem, a British consulting firm, estimates that world production of the material could approach 100 million tons by 2020 – compared with 25 million tons of cotton. The problem is that plastic microfibers are released from clothes containing polyester, and the amount of plastic shed from clothing, along with industrial waste and garbage that’s dumped into the ocean, is adding up. “By 2050, according to World Economic Forum estimates, there will be more tonnage of plastic in the ocean than tonnage of fish,” said Haverhals, who received his doctorate in chemistry from the University of Iowa before spending five years as an assistant research professor at the U.S. Naval Academy. “What we do today will have consequences 50 and 100 years in the future,” he said. Haverhals and Steve Zika, chief operating officer at Natural Fiber Welding, head up the team that’s working to perfect a process that will allow cotton and other natural fibers to behave like synthetics without being synthetic. “There are certain performance characteristics that people have come to expect that can only be provided by synthetics,” said Haverhals, stressing the need to deliver a product that can match what’s being offered in stores today. Based at the Peoria NEXT Innovation Center, the research team is working on manufacturing materials from plant matter – instead of petroleum – that would recreate the textile industry. The textile industry is interested in this startup’s research efforts. “The cotton industry is definitely trying to innovate,” Haverhals said. Although research efforts on textiles are underway at several major universities, the Peoria operation is confident in the technology that it has come up with. “To date, we’ve been under the radar intentionally,” Haverhals said. “Peoria’s not known as the hotbed for the textile industry, but we look forward to continuing to develop our intellectual property and building our team.” “We could be in the market within a year. It could be one or two years before you might be able to buy our material at the store.” For obvious reasons, Natural Fiber Welding isn’t divulging the process or elaborating on how the [chemical] welding process works to process the cotton. “It[...]


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President Donald Trump and Pope Francis focus on peaceAP photo Pope Francis meets with President Donald Trump on the occasion of their private audience Wednesday at the Vatican.AP photo President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump meet Pope Francis on Wednesday at the Vatican.

Thu, 25 May 2017 05:42:00 GMT

VATICAN CITY – Handshakes, gifts, friendly small talk and big hopes for peace. Setting aside past differences and rude comments aside, President Donald Trump and Pope Francis put a determinedly positive face on their first meeting Wednesday at the Vatican. The two global leaders, vastly different in temperament and views of the world, talked seriously and extensively in a 30-minute private meeting about terrorism, the radicalization of young people, immigration and climate change, officials said. Details were not revealed. But all was upbeat in public, peace the overarching theme. Francis gave Trump a medal featuring an olive branch. “We can use peace,” said the president, acknowledging the symbolism. He gave the pope a custom-bound, first-edition set of Martin Luther King Jr.’s works, an engraved stone from the King Memorial in Washington and a bronze sculpture of a flowering lotus titled “Rising Above.” “I think you’ll enjoy them. I hope you do,” Trump said. The pope’s other gifts could be taken as offering a more pointed message, although Francis is known to give them to other visitors, too. He gave Trump three bound papal documents that he has written that to some degree define his papacy and priorities. One focuses on the environment, demanding an end to a “structurally perverse” economic system that has turned Earth into an “immense pile of filth.” He frames climate change as an urgent moral crisis and blames global warming on an unfair, fossil fuel-based industrial model that harms the poor the most. Trump has expressed skepticism about global warming and possible causes, and he has promised changes to spur more coal and oil production in the U.S. The president is midway through a grueling nine-day, maiden international journey which has included Middle East stops in the cradles of Islam and Judaism. In Saudi Arabia, he addressed dozens of Arab leaders and urged them to fight extremists at home and isolate Iran, which he depicted as a menace to the region. In Israel, Trump reaffirmed his commitment to strong ties with the longtime U.S. ally and urged Israelis and the Palestinians to work harder toward peace. He arrived late Wednesday in Brussels. While Trump received warm welcomes in Riyadh and Jerusalem, the reception could grow cooler now that he’s reached Europe, site of widespread protests after his election. Climate change activists projected the words “Planet Earth First” on the massive dome of St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican Tuesday night, and protests are expected when he attends a NATO meeting in Brussels and a G-7 gathering in Sicily. As for the Trump-Francis relationship, during the presidential campaign the pope was sharply critical of the candidate Trump’s pledge to build an impenetrable wall on the Mexican border and his declaration that the United States should turn away Muslim immigrants and refugees. “A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian,” Francis said. Trump retorted that it was “disgraceful” for the pope to doubt his faith. There was none of that on Wednesday. The visit began with a handshake after each man arrived, Trump in a lengthy motorcade, Francis in a Ford Focus. Their private meeting ended when Francis rang the bell in his study. The pontiff was then introduced to members of Trump’s delegation, inc[...]


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Former allies on school choice now divided by President Trump's budgetAP photo Education Secretary Betsy DeVos (left), joined by Education Department Budget Service Director Erica Navarro, testifies Wednesday on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., before a subcommittee hearing on the Education Department's fiscal 2018 budget.

Thu, 25 May 2017 05:42:00 GMT

President Donald Trump’s budget proposal to provide federal tax money for private-school scholarships is getting pushback from an unconventional source: groups known for promoting school-choice initiatives. The plan promoted by Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos widened a divide in the school-choice movement and brought swift condemnation from people who support more competition for public schools in the form of charter schools but oppose sending tax money to private institutions. “I think it’s an affront to the American dream,” said Jonah Edelman, CEO of the pro-charter group Stand for Children, which planned to align with a frequent adversary, one of the nation’s largest teachers unions, to oppose the plan. The administration’s budget proposal sets aside $250 million for the scholarships. That’s a tiny sliver of the $4.1 trillion spending plan released Tuesday, but if approved it would mark the first time the federal government has helped pay private-school tuition for K-12 students in a nationwide program. The budget also calls for $1 billion for a new program encouraging school districts to give parents options in choosing a public school for their children. And it increases grants for charter schools. Trump has said he eventually wants federal school-choice programs to expand to $20 billion a year. “This administration understands that educational choice is an essential component to ensuring every child can access a quality education,” said Tommy Schultz, spokesman for American Federation for Children, the school-choice advocacy group headed until last year by DeVos. She and the group support using public money to help parents pay tuition for private schools, including religious ones, through vouchers or tax credits. The tax credits would go to parents who qualify based on their income or to corporations that provide private-school scholarships. Critics have said the approach will divert money from public schools that need it. They find it especially objectionable because it’s on a short list of spending increases in a plan that otherwise cuts the Education Department’s budget by 14 percent. Trump’s budget proposal reduces funding for after-school programs, arts education and college work-study programs. “Under the guise of empowering parents with school choice,” the administration’s budget “would hurt the very communities that have the most to gain from high-quality public school options,” Eli Broad, a Los Angeles billionaire and major proponent of public charter schools, said in a statement to The Associated Press. “Public school choice cannot come at the expense of all public school families and students.” An AP data analysis published earlier this month found that Broad and DeVos were among about four dozen wealthy Americans who have largely funded the school-choice political movement. The contributors have generally fallen into two camps – those who support public charter schools and those who promote both charters and private-school vouchers. They have worked together to pass school-choice initiatives in the past and generally have butted heads with teachers unions. DeVos’ elevation to education secretary and her push to funnel public money into private schools have caused a split that became more apparent after this week’s budget release. Edelman of Stand for Children said his group is coordinating with teachers unions to oppose vouchers. An official at the American Federation of Teachers said the union is working with Stand f[...]


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States rejecting bills intended to keep guns away from kidsIn this May 12, 2017 photo, Beth Roth, director of the Safe Tennessee Project, works from in her home in Nashville, Tenn. The Safe Tennessee Project is a grassroots organization that addresses gun related injuries and gun violence in Tennessee. Child access prevention laws allow prosecutors to bring charges against adults who fail to safely store their loaded guns, especially when they are obtained by minors and used to harm. But legislative efforts in dozens of states have run into opposition from lawmakers aligned with the National Rifle Association. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Thu, 25 May 2017 05:42:00 GMT

In state after state, proposals that would create or toughen laws intended to keep kids from getting ahold of unsecured guns have stalled – caught up in a debate over whether they are effective prevention measures or just government overreach. Child access prevention laws allow prosecutors to bring charges against adults who fail to safely store their loaded guns, especially when they are obtained by minors and used to harm. Public health experts say the laws could significantly reduce unintentional shootings that kill and injure hundreds of children every year, particularly if they allow for felonies against violators and are paired with educational campaigns to raise awareness. But legislative efforts in dozens of states have run into opposition from lawmakers aligned with the National Rifle Association. Critics say the laws trample on the rights of gun owners, who should be able to store their firearms however they want, and unfairly single out guns. Swimming pools and prescription drugs also can cause accidental deaths of children, they say. Even in states that have such laws, they are rarely used when unsecured guns contribute to the death of a child. An AP-USA TODAY Network analysis found the laws were invoked in 14 out of 152 deaths of children under age 12 over the last three years. Five of those came in Texas, where the offense is a misdemeanor, although grand juries later declined to issue indictments in two of them. Some gun-control advocates are undeterred. More needs to be done to protect children who live in and visit millions of homes with loaded, unsecured guns every year, they say. In Tennessee, MaKayla’s law – named for an 8-year-old killed by a neighbor who got hold of his father’s gun – would have made it a felony for gun owners to store weapons in a way that allowed children access to them. Sponsors were outraged that the 11-year-old who shot MaKayla Dyer will be jailed until he is an adult while his father remains free. The boy was convicted of murder for killing the girl after she refused to let him play with her puppy. They argued that the state’s high rate of shootings involving children needed to be addressed. Gun-rights activists claimed the measure would allow the government to tell law-abiding adults how to store their guns, and a Republican-controlled committee voted, 7-2, against it. Sponsors addressed that criticism and returned this year with a simpler version allowing adults to be charged with reckless endangerment if children obtain their guns and use them to kill or injure. But in March, the proposed MaKayla’s law met a similar fate. It was rejected, 6-3, in committee. This time, lawmakers argued the bill wasn’t necessary because prosecutors could bring charges under existing laws, such as reckless homicide. “They beat us again,” said Beth Joslin Roth, director of the Safe Tennessee Project, which backed the measure. “But we’ll keep fighting for it. These shootings keep happening.” Tennessee has one of the highest rates of accidental shootings involving minors of any state, according to a separate AP-USA TODAY Network investigation last year. During a 2½-year period starting in January 2014, 17 minors in the state under age 18 were killed in accidental shootings and 35 were injured. Roth’s experience is in line with what other gun-control advocates have faced in states across the country. From 2012 through 2016, efforts to create laws in 11 stat[...]


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Raids, arrests persist as on-edge Britain seeks 'network' of attackersAP photo A soldier joins armed police officers guarding Downing Street in London on Wednesday. Britons will find armed troops at vital locations after the official threat level was raised to its highest point after a suicide bombing that killed more than 20, as new details emerged about the bomber.A man places flowers in Albert Square in Manchester, Britain, Wednesday, May 24, 2017, after the suicide attack at an Ariana Grande concert that left more than 20 people dead and many more injured, as it ended on Monday night at the Manchester Arena. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

Thu, 25 May 2017 05:42:00 GMT

MANCHESTER, England – Security forces rounded up more suspects Wednesday in the deadly Manchester concert blast and soldiers fanned out across the country to national landmarks as an on-edge Britain tried to thwart the possibility of additional attacks. Officials scoured the background of the British-born ethnic Libyan identified as the bomber, saying he likely was part of a wider terrorist network. Additional arrests were made both in Britain and in Libya in the bombing that killed 22 people and wounded scores more. Among those taken into custody in Libya were the suspected bomber’s father and his younger brother, the latter of whom confessed to knowing “all the details” of the attack plot, Libyan anti-terror authorities said. “I think it’s very clear this is a network we are investigating,” Chief Constable Ian Hopkins of the Manchester Police said as authorities raided British properties thought to be connected to Salman Abedi, the 22-year-old suspected bomber who grew up in Manchester and died in the attack. British Home Secretary Amber Rudd said Abedi “likely” did not act alone in the strike at the close of an Ariana Grande concert Monday night and that he had been known to security forces “up to a point.” Meanwhile, officials probed possible travel by the alleged bomber, looking for clues to new threats. Government officials said nearly 1,000 soldiers were deployed to Buckingham Palace, Parliament and other high-profile sites across the country. Britain’s terror threat level was raised to “critical” – the highest level – on Tuesday over concern another attack could be imminent. French Interior Minister Gerard Collomb said Abedi was believed to have traveled to Syria and had “proven” links to the Islamic State group, which claimed responsibility for the attack. British officials, however, have not commented on whether Abedi had links to IS or other extremist groups. British authorities were probing whether Abedi had ties to other cells across Europe and North Africa, according to two officials familiar with the case who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak about the ongoing investigation. They said one thread of the inquiry involved pursuing whether Abedi was part of a larger terror cell that included Mohamed Abrini, otherwise known as “the man in the hat,” with connections to the Brussels and Paris attacks. Abrini visited Manchester in 2015. “It looks like we’re not dealing with a lone wolf situation. There’s a network – a cell of ISIS-inspired terrorists,” said U.S. Rep. Mike McCaul, R-Texas, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee. He said the bomb’s construction suggested a “level of sophistication” that might indicate foreign training. Six additional arrests were made in Britain on Wednesday as the sprawling investigation extended to Libya, where Abedi’s father and 18-year-old brother were detained in Tripoli. The father, Ramadan Abedi, denied his son had links to militants in an interview with The Associated Press before he was taken into custody, saying, “We don’t believe in killing innocents.” The elder Abedi was allegedly a member of the al-Qaida-backed Libyan Islamic Fighting group in the 1990s, former Libyan security official Abdel-Basit Haroun said. The Libyan anti-terror force that arrested the men said in a statement that the brother, Hashim Abedi, 18, confessed that he and his br[...]


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Marengo aldermen concerned about video gambling at planned strip centerVipul and Sam Patel own property at 20009 E. Grant Highway and want to build an 8,000-square-foot shopping center at a site that would include a Dunkin’ Donuts, a liquor store and a relocated Marengo Community Pharmacy.

Thu, 25 May 2017 05:23:00 GMT

MARENGO – Plans for a proposed $1.5 million development in Marengo are underway, but Marengo aldermen are concerned because the developers have said video gambling is essential to the plan. 

Vipul and Sam Patel own property at 20009 E. Grant Highway and want to build an 8,000-square-foot shopping center at a site that would include a Dunkin’ Donuts, a liquor store and a relocated Marengo Community Pharmacy, which currently is in the city’s downtown area. 

Developers want the city to pay $400,000 in tax increment financing funds toward the project. At a recent City Council meeting, the Patels also requested assurance from the city that a liquor license would be issued when it comes time to apply. Marengo officials have long expressed concern about the number of bars, liquor stores and video gambling machines in town. 

“The liquor and video gaming is just as important as the drive-thrus, just as important as the TIF, for the entire project,” said Corey Brackmann, spokesman for the project who also is with Marengo-based Brackmann Construction Co. Inc. “The financial aspect of the project does not work [without it].”

Bhapundra Patel, of House of Bottles, protested the issuance of more liquor licenses and said the new liquor store could hurt his business.

“I am not against any businesses,” he said. “We’d all love to have new businesses. But in this town there are many liquor stores, including gas stations and grocery stores. ... Issuing a new liquor licence that will hurt other businesses ... is not fair to us.”

House of Bottles isn’t in Marengo city limits, which means the municipality doesn’t take in sales tax from the business, officials pointed out Monday.

“House of Bottles has been here since I’ve been out here in the county,” Mayor John Koziol said. “As far as I know they haven’t made any effort to move into [Marengo proper], so in my opinion, I don’t know why we are worrying about it.”

Third Ward Alderman Matt Keenum and 4th Ward Alderman Dennis Hammortree voted no on the plans because of the importance of video gambling. Keenum said he doesn’t understand why the machines are essential, and Hammortree questioned the sustainability of the project if it requires gambling to survive. Most aldermen said that the benefits of the project outweighed the potential problems with video gambling.

“I’d prefer not to have it, but at the same time, it’s a legal business that is out there,” 3rd Ward Alderman Todd Hall said. “Overall, I think this is a nice piece to have on that area. … This has the ability to start working on that side of the street in an area we have been talking about since I’ve lived here.”

Vipul and Sam Patel own property at 20009 E. Grant Highway and want to build an 8,000-square-foot shopping center at a site that would include a Dunkin’ Donuts, a liquor store and a relocated Marengo Community Pharmacy.


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Without bone marrow transplant, Woodstock woman given months to liveKaren Pemble was diagnosed with aplastic anemia and has been given just six months to live unless she is able to get a bone marrow transplant. The marrow is available, but she’s had to reschedule her appointment three times because she doesn’t have a caregiver and the family is struggling to come up with the money for one.

Thu, 25 May 2017 05:23:00 GMT

WOODSTOCK – A Woodstock woman has been given just months to live, and her family is struggling to come up with funds to pay for her care. 

Karen Pemble was diagnosed with aplastic anemia and has been given six months to live unless she is able to get a bone marrow transplant. The marrow is available, but she’s had to reschedule her appointment three times already because she doesn’t have a caregiver. 

“It was supposed to happen in March, but with everything that is needed, who can come up with $12,000 to $20,000?” said her daughter, Jennifer Ocelotl. “Insurance won’t pay for it, so we are looking for either funds to get a caregiver or someone willing to take some time out of their day to take care of her.” 

A GoFundMe page has been started for the family in an effort to help pay for a 24/7 caregiver, who they will need for a little more than three months after the transplant. The family has to come up with the money by June 8 or reschedule the appointment again, Ocelotl said. 

Right now, Pemble gets weekly blood transfusions, which her body eventually will reject before her organs could begin shutting down, Ocelotl said.

“It’s a lot,” she said. “No one wants to lose a family member.”

There are risks to the transplant. There is a possibility Pemble could develop an infection or reject the marrow. But without it, she will die.

“The treatment will help her,” Ocelotl said. “[But] it’s to the point where if it doesn’t happen this time, it’s not going to happen at all.”

The GoFundMe page can be found at www.gofundme.com/karen-pemble-transplant.

People wanting to help also can donate to the Karen Pemble transplant fund at the Golden Eagle Community Bank in Woodstock.

Karen Pemble was diagnosed with aplastic anemia and has been given just six months to live unless she is able to get a bone marrow transplant. The marrow is available, but she’s had to reschedule her appointment three times because she doesn’t have a caregiver and the family is struggling to come up with the money for one.


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Blood clot in artery might have caused fatal crash in Fox Lake

Thu, 25 May 2017 05:23:00 GMT

FOX LAKE – The McHenry County Coroner’s Office on Wednesday revealed that a fatal crash in Fox Lake that killed a Round Lake Beach man Tuesday might have resulted from a blood clot in the driver’s artery. 

About 1:08 p.m., the Fox Lake Police Department responded to a traffic crash at Big Hollow Road and Route 12. According to a news release from the department, a truck with a flatbed trailer was traveling north on Route 12 and stopped for a red traffic light at Big Hollow Road. 

Meanwhile, a car was headed north on Route 12 and hit the rear of the stopped tractor-trailer, according to the release. 

The driver of the 2000 Buick LeSabre was Robert E. Ficarra, 84, of Round Lake Beach, who was taken to Centegra Hospital – McHenry, where he was pronounced dead at 1:58 p.m. 

An autopsy performed Wednesday showed that Ficarra died from blunt trauma to his chest and abdomen, according to the McHenry County Coroner’s Office. He also was found to have a blood clot in an artery, which might have resulted in his erratic driving and swerving right before the crash, the coroner said.

Toxicology testing still is pending, and the police department and coroner’s office continued to investigate as of Wednesday afternoon.


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Metra offering free rides to kids this summer

Thu, 25 May 2017 05:22:00 GMT

Metra has announced that children accompanied by adults will be able to ride free starting this weekend through Labor Day. Up to three children ages 11 and younger can ride for free, according to a news release.

“Let Metra take you to great destinations this summer so you can spend more time with your family and less time worrying about traffic and parking,” Metra Executive Director and CEO Don Orseno said. “Our $8 Weekend Pass and the fact that kids ride free all summer makes Metra the most affordable option.”

Additionally, Metra will extend its $8 unlimited ride Weekend Pass to include Memorial Day.

The commuter rail system also will offer an early getaway service starting Friday, and most lines will be adding and shifting trains to the early afternoon schedule.

On Monday, Metra will operate on a Sunday/holiday schedule, meaning there will be no service on the North Central Service, Heritage Corridor and SouthWest Service lines for the holiday.




Another Jacobs High School student tests positive for mumps

Thu, 25 May 2017 05:22:00 GMT

ALGONQUIN – A third Jacobs High School student has tested positive for mumps, according to an email that Community Unit School District 300 Superintendent Fred Heid sent to parents.

The student has been out of school since May 14, so there is a minimal chance that other students were exposed during the time the student was contagious, Heid said. 

All students are doing well and recovering, Heid said, and the illness seems to be limited to only the three students at Jacobs. 

Any students who are not vaccinated are excused from attending school for the rest of the year, as the Kane County Health Department directed, Heid said.

Staff will work with the students to address any concerns in finishing remaining assignments or exams, Heid said.

“The health department confirmed that there is no concern or risk for anyone attending an event or being in a facility where the mumps has been confirmed,” Heid said in the email. “The mumps are not spread through casual contact with surfaces or a facility.”

For information on the disease, visit kanehealth.com/mumps.htm.

The district will continue to address the problem proactively, Heid said.




Huntley trustees approve initial plans for microbreweryTrustees have approved initial plans for a microbrewery at the Union Special manufacturing building in Huntley.

Thu, 25 May 2017 05:21:00 GMT

HUNTLEY – Trustees have approved initial plans for a microbrewery in Huntley.

The next step for Terry Hitpas, Tom Bartel and Lance Lamb – the owners of Union Special LLC who are looking to open the microbrewery in the Union Special manufacturing building – would be to start the formal development review and approval process with the village’s Plan Commission, said Charles Nordman, Huntley director of development services.

“[Trustees] were generally supportive of it,” Nordman said. “They just had a couple of questions clarifying how the business would operate.” 

The item was discussed at the May 18 Committee of the Whole meeting, and Nordman said there was no public comment regarding the proposed business. 

Union Special, a sewing machine manufacturing company at 1 Union Special Plaza, has been operating in Huntley since 1949, village documents show. The microbrewery and taproom would take up about 2,700 square feet in the southeast corner of the facility near the smokestack.

Craft beer would be brewed in the facility, and a taproom would allow for customers to drink beer, bring in food from other restaurants and buy beer “to go” in controlled containers, village documents show. An outdoor beer garden also has been proposed.

More than 20 organizations rent out space in the building, Hitpas has said, including a travel baseball team. 

Huntley Trustee JR Westberg said there were some concerns brought up about having a microbrewery in the same space as youth sports, but ultimately it’s not a concern because the facilities would not be connected.

“I think it’s a great idea,” Westberg said. “We need some more diversity in terms of establishments and venues to attend.”

Trustee Ronda Goldman said owners intend to have historic pictures of Huntley in the space.

“I’m excited,” Goldman said. “There are no drawbacks as far as I’m concerned.” 

Union Special owners could not be reached for comment Wednesday. 

Trustees have approved initial plans for a microbrewery at the Union Special manufacturing building in Huntley.


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2 dead after Route 20 crash near Riley TownshipInvestigators work at the scene of a fatal crash that killed two Elgin men Wednesday near Riley Township.

Thu, 25 May 2017 05:20:00 GMT

HUNTLEY – Two Elgin men are dead after a crash in unincorporated Riley Township. 

About 5:30 a.m. Wednesday, the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office, the Marengo Police Department, the Hampshire Police Department and the Huntley Fire Protection District responded to a crash on Route 20 north of Harmony Road. The crash involved two vehicles, including a 1999 Volkswagen Jetta and a Ford F-550 Super Duty truck, according to the sheriff’s office. 

The driver of the Volkswagen, a 31-year-old man, and his passenger, a 35-year-old man, were pronounced dead at the scene, police said. 

A preliminary investigation shows that the Volkswagen was driving north on Route 20 when the driver lost control of the car and traveled into the southbound lane, colliding with the truck that was driving south on Route 20, according to the sheriff’s office. 

A 27-year-old Marengo man was driving the truck, with a 42-year-old Capron man as his passenger. Neither were injured.

Everyone was wearing seat belts at the time, and air bags deployed in both vehicles, police said.

Route 20 between Harmony and Church roads was closed for several hours while investigators looked into the crash.

In November 2016, a Woodstock man died after a crash at the intersection of Route 20 and Harmony Road. A memorial is present at the intersection for Patricia McNamara, who died in a crash at the intersection in 2011.

The investigation is ongoing by the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office Major Crash Investigation Unit and the

McHenry County Coroner’s Office. Investigators with Dynamic Safety LLC, an accident investigation and reconstruction company, also were at the scene Wednesday afternoon.

Investigators work at the scene of a fatal crash that killed two Elgin men Wednesday near Riley Township.


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Crystal Lake Main Beach renovations include air conditioningH. Rick Bamman – hbamman@shawmedia.com Crystal Lake Park District employees Madison Thurow (left) and Jeremy Pieper spread mulch Wednesday in front of the renovated Main Beach pavilion. For the first time in more than 90 years, beachgoers using the Main Beach pavilion will be in air conditioning. The pavilion renovation project cost about $775,000.H. Rick Bamman – hbamman@shawmedia.com Crystal Lake Park District food and beverage coordinator Lauren Thibodeau makes labels while preparing for a staff meeting Wednesday at the concession stand at the Main Beach pavilion.H. Rick Bamman – hbamman@shawmedia.com Crystal Lake Park District employees David Rosinski (from left), Madison Thurow and Jeremy Pieper spread mulch Wednesday in front of the Main Beach pavilion in Crystal Lake. For the first time in more than 90 years, beachgoers using the pavilion will enjoy air conditioning.

Thu, 25 May 2017 05:20:00 GMT

CRYSTAL LAKE – Regardless of the heat summer brings, this promises to be the most chill season on record at Main Beach.  For the first time in more than 90 years, beachgoers using the Main Beach pavilion will be in air conditioning.  In addition to the cooler air inside, when Main Beach opens for the season Saturday, people can expect added features such new splash mats and a new paddleboat that looks like a dragon.  Plans for renovating Main Beach, 300 Lakeshore Drive, Crystal Lake, began in 2012. A building project at Main Beach began in the fall and finished about Jan. 1. The project included remodeling the interior of the pavilion, which is used as a multipurpose space for programs and special events.  The pavilion originally was built in 1926, but even after previous renovations, it never had air conditioning until now. “The renovations were really driven by the air conditioning issue,” said Ann Viger, director of planning and development at the Crystal Lake Park District. “To have a space that you’re using for fitness programs and other things could make it an unpleasant area at times in the summer. We wanted to make it more useful and comfortable.” To fix the air conditioning problem, the building needed to be insulated. Viger said workers had to replace the windows, doors and ceiling, along with adding a new heating and air conditioning system. The building also got some aesthetic updates with improved flooring, lights, ceiling fans and a new coat of paint. The pavilion renovation project cost about $775,000, Viger said. “Combined with the beauty we already have at Main Beach, such as beautiful trees and scenery, the new facilities are going to make it look even nicer,” she said. As for future projects, the next phase of renovations will involve replacing the beach’s playground with a new one and overhauling the boat rental area. These renovations will start in September and are planned to be complete next summer. “We’re going to be tearing that down and moving it slightly from where it is to make it work better by building a more permanent boat rental house,” Viger said. “We’ll be replacing the docks.” The playground and boat rental area will be made handicap accessible. “Things are old there and kind of tired, so it’s time to modernize them and make them more efficient,” Viger said. Viger said that what makes Main Beach special is its history and that it brings a sense of community to the area. That results in families returning year after year. Last year’s total paid attendance was about 20,764 people compared with 18,897 the year before. These figures do not include guests who don’t pay admission such as Crystal Lake Police Department day campers, playground-only users, boat rental-only users, seniors who are residents and guests who attend free events at Main Beach. “The fact that attendance numbers exceeded the previous year’s is a good sign that we’re moving in the right direction,” park district Executive Director Jason Herbster said. The recent renovations come after ones made to West Beach a few years ago, as an existing bathhouse was demolished [...]


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Crystal Lake dedicates Blue Star banners to deployed military personnelInformation Systems Technician Steven Chaix, on leave from the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis, talks to Navy veteran and Crystal Lake Chamber of Commerce member John Pletz. Chaix, of Crystal Lake, and eight other military personnel were honored with Blue Star banners along a stretch of Route 14 in front of the chamber's office.The Crystal Lake Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the city and several veterans groups, has started honoring deployed soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines with Blue Star banners near the chamber's Route 14 office.

Thu, 25 May 2017 05:20:00 GMT

CRYSTAL LAKE – Nine military personnel with ties to the city were honored Wednesday as the first group to be awarded with banners on Route 14 recognizing their service.  As for that stretch of Route 14 in front of the Crystal Lake Chamber of Commerce office, organizers of the effort, with the city’s blessing, have taken to calling it Heroes’ Row.  The chamber, partnering with the city and veterans’ organizations, officially unveiled its Blue Star Banner program to honor deployed soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines with banners on light poles in front of the chamber’s 427 W. Virginia St. offices. This first group honors four from the Army, four from the Navy and one Marine.  Although certificates were handed out to family members of deployed honorees, one of them is in town on leave and received his in person.  Originally hailing from California, Information Systems Technician Steven Chaix now lives in Crystal Lake with his wife and three children. Stationed on the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis, which is docked and undergoing a refit, Chaix was more interested in thanking his wife and his two neighbors than giving himself credit for anything. “It’s pretty flattering. It’s a great award for me,” Chaix said. He has been in the Navy for 16 years and plans to tough it out four more years until retirement – but like any good veteran with a wife within earshot, he cited the oft-repeated line that being a military wife is the toughest job in the service. While chamber President Mary Margaret Maule thanked all nine families for their service, she singled out Chaix’s family for spending some of his “precious” leave time at the ceremony. Maule’s husband was in the Navy for 22 years, and their two children followed in dad’s footsteps – her son, Ensign Terrance Maule, is at sea in the Pacific Ocean on the guided missile cruiser USS Mustin and also had a banner dedicated to him. There are nine people in this first group, but the city has granted the chamber the use of 16 light poles near its offices. Although he could not attend the ceremony, Mayor Aaron Shepley in a statement said that the banners will provide people with a personal connection to “the commitment these individuals and their families make in the defense of our freedoms.” “They all deserve recognition, gratitude and respect for their sacrifices,” Shepley said. Honoring local service members with the banners was the brainchild of city resident Donna McAnally, who had heard that other cities do it and decided that Crystal Lake needed to do it as well. She said that she hopes that “Heroes’ Row will be a touching visual reminder” of military sacrifice – she has one son in the Army and one in the Navy. The honor is open to anybody currently deployed with the Armed Forces who has a connection to Crystal Lake. The person does not have to be a resident – for example, the banners can honor a city employee who lives elsewhere, or a deployed Armed Forces member who never lived in Crystal Lake but has family here. Applications are forwarded to a committee that will select which ones get honored. New banners will go up every May and January – they come down in Novem[...]


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Legislative hearing takes up Illinois child welfare agency

Thu, 25 May 2017 03:52:00 GMT

SPRINGFIELD – Investigators with Illinois’ child welfare agency face overwhelming caseloads and feel pressured to quickly wrap up abuse investigations, according to testimony provided during a legislative hearing.

A panel of experts and lawmakers spoke Tuesday about issues at the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, the Chicago Tribune reported.

The hearing came after the newspaper highlighted four cases in which children died of beatings or starvations soon after the department closed investigations of mistreatment at their homes.

The department’s director, George Sheldon, said the newspaper’s reports propelled him to request the agency’s general counsel to review whether Illinois laws should be changed to allow the department to keep records of past unproven abuse allegations. The agency currently expunges and shreds files if it determines there is no credible evidence of abuse or neglect.

The department’s attorney said officials also will look over some cases in Will County after the death of Sema’j Crosby. The toddler died last month in her Joliet Township home shortly after the agency closed neglect investigations.

During Tuesday’s hearing, recent failed investigations were detailed by Danielle Gomez, a supervising attorney for the Cook County Public Guardian’s Office.

She said the agency didn’t interview key witnesses or gather critical evidence in some cases.

Gomez said the agency’s investigators told her staff they were “overwhelmed” by caseloads.

“They are sometimes in tears about the things they are unable to do, about the pressures on their caseloads,” Gomez said.

Sheldon defended the agency throughout the hearing, but said botched investigations sometimes led to children being harmed.

In such cases, he said, his workers didn’t effectively communicate with each other or with outside agencies and private contractors.

“We’ve got to do a better job of coordination,” Sheldon said.

Heidi Dalenberg, general counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois and cooperating counsel in a consent decree governing the department, said the agency isn’t conducting extensive investigations to ensure a child is safe.

“It is this kind of flailing about that is not helpful,” Dalenberg said.

Rep. Mary Flowers, a Democrat from Chicago, said she also was troubled by the newspaper’s account of the department’s new program, Blue Star, which offers overtime pay to Cook County investigators who can boost the percentage of cases they close within 14 days.

“Enough is enough,” Flowers said. “Our families are suffering.”

Flowers said the hearing is the first of several she plans to have through at least the summer.




Marijuana extract helps some kids with epilepsy, study saysThis Tuesday, May 23, 2017, photo shows GW Pharmaceuticals' Epidiolex, a medicine made from marijuana, but without TCH, in New York. According to a study published Wednesday by the New England Journal of Medicine the medicine cut seizures in kids with a severe form of epilepsy, which strengthens the case for more research into pot's possible health benefits. (AP Photo/Kathy Young)

Thu, 25 May 2017 03:52:00 GMT

A medicine made from marijuana, without the stuff that gives a high, cut seizures in kids with a severe form of epilepsy in a study that strengthens the case for more research into pot's possible health benefits. "This is the first solid, rigorously obtained scientific data" that a marijuana compound is safe and effective for this problem, said one study leader, Dr. Orrin Devinsky of NYU Langone Medical Center. He said research into promising medical uses has been hampered by requiring scientists to get special licenses, plus legal constraints and false notions of how risky marijuana is. "Opiates kill over 30,000 Americans a year, alcohol kills over 80,000 a year. And marijuana, as best we know, probably kills less than 50 people a year," Devinsky said. The study was published Wednesday by the New England Journal of Medicine. For years, desperate patients and parents have argued for more research and wider access to marijuana, with only anecdotal stories and small, flawed studies on their side. The new study is the first large, rigorous test – one group got the drug, another got a dummy version, and neither patients, parents nor doctors knew who took what until the study ended. It tested a liquid form of cannabidiol, one of marijuana's more than 100 ingredients, called Epidiolex. It doesn't contain THC, the hallucinogenic ingredient, and is not sold anywhere yet, although its maker, GW Pharmaceuticals of London, is seeking U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval. The company paid for, designed and helped run the study, and another doctor involved in the study has related patents. Patients in the study have Dravet syndrome, a type of epilepsy usually caused by a faulty gene. It starts in infancy and causes frequent seizures, some so long-lasting they require emergency care and can be fatal. Kids develop poorly, and their mental impairment seems related to the frequency of seizures – from 4 to as many as 1,717 a month in this study. Allison Hendershot's 12-year-old daughter Molly was four months old when she had her first. It lasted an hour and a half, and emergency room doctors medically induced a coma to stop it. Molly, who lives in Rochester, New York, has tried more than half a dozen medicines and a special diet, but her seizures continued. "We literally could not count how many" before she started in the study, her mom said. It included 120 children and teens, ages 2 to 18, in the U.S. and Europe. They took about a teaspoon of a sweet-smelling oil twice a day (drug or placebo) plus their usual anti-seizure medicines for 14 weeks. Their symptoms were compared to the previous four weeks. Serious seizures with convulsions dropped from around 12 a month to about six for those on the drug and did not change in the others. Three patients on the drug became seizure-free during the study. It's no panacea, though. Diarrhea, vomiting, fatigue, sleep problems and other issues were more frequent in the drug group. Twelve patients quit the study – nine on the drug and three in the placebo group. Hendershot thinks her daughter got the dummy medicine because they saw no change in her seizur[...]


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A look at how food stamp cuts could ripple through the economyFILE - In this Friday, March 17, 2017, file photo, a sign advertises a program that allows food stamp recipients to use their EBT cards to shop at a farmer's market in Topsham, Maine. A proposal to curtail the nation’s food stamp program would pinch families struggling to pay for groceries and ripple through other areas of the economy, including supermarkets and discounters. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File)

Thu, 25 May 2017 03:52:00 GMT

NEW YORK – A proposal to curtail the nation's food stamp program would pinch families struggling to pay for groceries and ripple through other areas of the economy, including supermarkets and discounters, as people shuffle their budgets. President Donald Trump is proposing a roughly 30 percent reduction in the federal budget for the program formally known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP. His overall budget proposal met a chilly reception from lawmakers, and is unlikely to be passed as is. But it suggests increasing work requirements for SNAP recipients, and says states should both share in the cost of the program and determine the level of benefits they provide. That would lead to fewer people in the program, or could reduce how much help they get. Last year, more than 44 million people received an average of about $125 a month in SNAP benefits, totaling about $66.6 billion, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. How any cuts would play out across industries would depend on how people adjust to pay for food, how reliant a retailer is on SNAP spending and other factors. Here's a look at what we know. Who uses SNAP, and where are they shopping? SNAP households are already on extremely tight budgets. To qualify, a family of four's take-home pay can be no more than $2,025 a month, while a two-person household can earn no more than $1,335. More than 260,000 locations were authorized to accept SNAP credits last year. Superstores such as Wal-Mart and Target got 52 percent of redemptions, supermarkets like Kroger got 30 percent, and convenience stores got about 6 percent, according to the USDA . The rest was split among other kinds of stores. The USDA doesn't specify how much is spent at specific retailers. But in 2013, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. told the Wall Street Journal that it gets about 18 percent of total SNAP benefits. That would have been about $13.43 billion in 2012. What happened with previous SNAP cuts? It's complicated. Since food is a fixed cost, retailers have said that people used money intended for other purposes to pay for groceries after a recent pullback in the program. "They're paying cash or on a credit card if they didn't have the food stamps. And then they will give up on something else," Kroger's CEO at the time, Dave Dillon, said in December 2013. That was after the SNAP benefits that were expanded during the recession returned to their previous levels. But how companies are affected can vary and it's difficult to pinpoint the impact of any one change on sales, which can be affected by weather, competitive pressure and other factors. After the 2013 rollback in benefits, Wal-Mart blamed a 0.4 percent quarterly sales decline on the reduction, though the sales figure was down for the company's entire fiscal year. Last year, the SNAP program also underwent cuts when 22 states reinstated a three-month limit on benefits for unemployed adults who aren't disabled or raising children and don't meet certain work requirements. That limitation had been waived by some states during the recession. Dollar General, which has said it gets about 5 percent[...]


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23 million more uninsured with GOP health bill, analysts sayFrom left, Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer of N.Y., Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., and Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., talks as they arrive on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, May 24, 2017, for a news conference on the Paris Climate Agreement. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Thu, 25 May 2017 03:52:00 GMT

WASHINGTON – The health care bill Republicans recently pushed through the House would leave 23 million more Americans without insurance and confront others who have costly medical conditions with coverage that could prove unaffordable, Congress' official budget analysts said Wednesday. Premiums on average would fall compared with President Barack Obama's health care overhaul – a chief goal of many Republicans – but that would be partly because policies would typically provide fewer benefits, said the report by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. In some regions, people with pre-existing medical conditions and others who were seriously ill "would ultimately be unable to purchase" robust coverage at premiums comparable to today's prices, "if they could purchase at all," the report said. That was a knock on 11th-hour changes Republicans made in the bill to gain conservatives' votes by letting states get waivers to boost premiums on the ill and reduce coverage requirements. The report said older people with lower income would disproportionately lose coverage. Over half of those becoming uninsured, 14 million people, would come from the bill's $834 billion in cuts to Medicaid, which provides health coverage to poor and disabled people, over 10 years. Democrats cited the analysis as further evidence that the GOP effort to repeal Obama's 2010 law, a staple of Donald Trump's presidential campaign and those of numerous Republican congressional candidates for years, would be destructive. It comes three weeks after the House narrowly passed the legislation with only Republican votes, and serves as a starting point for Senate Republicans trying to craft their own version, which they say will be different. "The report makes clear that Trumpcare would be a cancer on the American health care system," said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., using the nickname Democrats have tried pinning on the bill. Schumer said the legislation would end up "causing costs to skyrocket, making coverage unaffordable for those with pre-existing conditions and many seniors, and kicking millions off of their health insurance." Trump's Health and Human Services secretary, Tom Price, assailed the CBO for being inaccurate, with the White House issuing a similar critique. "The CBO was wrong when they analyzed Obamacare's effect on cost and coverage," Price said of the agency's report on Obama's law, "and they are wrong again." Many congressional Republicans took a sharply different tack, emphasizing some of the report's more positive findings. "This CBO report again confirms that the American Health Care Act achieves our mission: lowering premiums and lowering the deficit. It is another positive step toward keeping our promise to repeal and replace Obamacare," said House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis. The analysis said the House bill, the American Health Care Act, would reduce federal deficits by $119 billion over the next decade. The previous version of the bill reduced shortfalls by $150 billion. Trump and Republicans celebrated the House's narrow May 4 passage of the bill in a Rose Garden ceremony after several embarrassing setba[...]


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Carson calls poverty a state of mind

Thu, 25 May 2017 02:05:00 GMT

WASHINGTON – Housing Secretary Ben Carson says poverty is a "state of mind."

In a radio interview Wednesday, the former neurosurgeon said parents need to instill in their children the "mindset of a winner."

"If you take somebody with the wrong mindset," Carson says, "you can give them everything in the world and they'll work their way back down to the bottom."

He made the remarks in an interview with Armstrong Williams on SiriusXM.

Carson, who grew up poor in inner-city Detroit with a single mother who had a third-grade education, says if people don't have a defeatist attitude, then there's hope. "I think the majority of people don't have that defeatist attitude, but they sometimes just don't see the way, and that's where government can come in and be very helpful."

The soft-spoken Carson, the only black major-party candidate in the 2016 presidential race, was the first African-American named as head of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Children's Center in Baltimore. After being tapped by former GOP rival Donald Trump, Carson took the helm at the Department of Housing and Urban Development in March.

The department's name, he said in the interview, is something he'd like to see changed.

Carson says he has a plan for eventually changing the name to "Housing and Community Development" to reflect the agency's broad mission, which extends beyond cities and urban areas and deep into small towns and rural areas. A name change for the agency would require congressional approval.




Reporter alleges GOP hopeful Greg Gianforte body-slammed himRepublican candidate for Montana's only U.S. House seat, Greg Gianforte, sits in a vehicle near a Discovery Drive building Wednesday, May 24, 2017, in Bozeman, Mont. A reporter said Gianforte "body-slammed" him Wednesday, the day before the special election. (Freddy Monares/Bozeman Daily Chronicle via AP)

Thu, 25 May 2017 02:03:00 GMT

HELENA, Mont. – A reporter said the Republican candidate for Montana's sole congressional seat body-slammed him Wednesday, the day before the polls close in the nationally watched special election. Greg Gianforte was in a private office giving an interview when Guardian newspaper reporter Ben Jacobs went into the office without permission, campaign spokesman Shane Scanlon said. In an audio recording released by Jacobs, the reporter asks the congressional candidate about the GOP's health care bill, which was just evaluated hours earlier by the Congressional Budget Office. "We'll talk to you about that later," Gianforte says on the record, referring Jacobs to a spokesman. When Jacobs says that there won't be time, Gianforte says "Just--" and there is a crashing sound. Gianforte yells, "The last guy who came here did the same thing," and a shaken-sounded Jacobs tells the candidate he just body-slammed him. "Get the hell out of here," Gianforte says. The Gallatin County Sheriff's Office said it's investigating allegations of an assault involving the wealthy Bozeman businessman. Jacobs, who was taken to a Bozeman hospital, could not be reached for comment by The Associated Press, and authorities did not provide other details. The incident is a last-minute curveball in Thursday's nationally watched race, which was partly seen as a referendum on Donald Trump's presidency. The majority of voters are expected to have already cast ballots through early voting, and it was unclear how much of an effect it may have. Gianforte and Democrat Rob Quist, who declined to comment, are seeking to fill the state's seat in the U.S. House left vacant when Ryan Zinke resigned to join Trump's Cabinet as secretary of the Interior Department. The Gianforte campaign released a statement blaming the incident on Jacobs. It contends he "aggressively shoved a recorder in Greg's face and began asking badgering questions" before being asked to leave. Gianforte asked Jacobs to lower a phone that being used as an audio recorder, then tried to grab it, Scanlon said in a statement. Jacobs then grabbed Gianforte's wrist and both fell to the ground, the campaign said. The 45-second recording does not contain a request from Gianforte that Jacobs lower his phone. Alexis Levinson, a reporter for Buzzfeed who was outside the office where the encounter occurred, tweeted that she heard angry yelling and saw Jacobs' "feet fly in the air as he hit the floor." The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee says Gianforte must quit the race and the Republican Party should publicly denounce him. Requests for comment went unanswered Wednesday night from House Speaker Paul Ryan and the National Republican Congressional Committee. Gianforte had been scheduled to attend a meet-and-greet with campaign volunteers at his headquarters in Bozeman, but he left early. He has already had to apologize for his treatment of the press in the race, including after an incident last month at a [...]


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Landslide on California highway part of $1 billion in damageIn this aerial photo taken Monday, May 22, 2017 provided by John Madonna showing a massive landslide along California's coastal Highway 1 that has buried the road under a 40-foot layer of rock and dirt. A swath of the hillside gave way in an area called Mud Creek on Saturday, May 20, covering about one-third of a mile, half a kilometer, of road and changing the Big Sur coastline. (John Madonna via AP)

Wed, 24 May 2017 21:09:00 GMT

A massive landslide that went into the Pacific Ocean is the latest natural disaster to hit a California community that relies heavily on an iconic coastal highway and tourism to survive, and it adds to a record $1 billion in highway damage from one of the state's wettest winters in decades. The weekend slide in Big Sur buried a portion of Highway 1 under a 40-foot layer of rock and dirt and changed the coastline below to include what now looks like a rounded skirt hem, Susana Cruz, a spokeswoman with the California Department of Transportation, said Tuesday. More than 1 million tons of rock and dirt tumbled down a saturated slope in an area called Mud Creek. The slide is covering up about a one-quarter-of-a-mile (0.40-kilometer) stretch of Highway 1, and authorities have no estimate on when it might re-open. The area remains unstable. "We haven't been able to go up there and assess. It's still moving," Cruz said. "We have geologists and engineers who are going to check it out this week to see how do we pick up the pieces." It's the largest mudslide she knows of in the state's history, she said. "It's one of a kind," Cruz said. One of California's rainiest and snowiest winters on record has broken a five-year drought, but also caused flooding and landslides in much of the state and sped up coastal erosion. "This type of thing may become more frequent, but Big Sur has its own unique geology," said Dan Carl, a district director for the California Coastal Commission whose area includes Big Sur. "A lot of Big Sur is moving; you just don't see it." Even before the weekend slide, storms across California have caused just over $1 billion in highway damage to more than 400 sites during the fiscal year that ends in June, Mark Dinger, also a spokesman for the state transportation agency, said Tuesday. That compares with $660 million last year, he said. Big Sur is one of the state's biggest tourist draws in a normal year, attracting visitors to serene groves of redwoods, beaches and the dramatic ocean scenery along narrow, winding Highway 1. This winter has been particularly rough for Big Sur, state transportation spokesman Colin Jones said. Repeated landslides and floods have taken out bridges and highways, closed campgrounds, and forced some resorts to shut down temporarily or use helicopters to fly in guests and supplies. Even before the weekend damage, the state had closed the Highway 1 along Mud Creek to repair buckled pavement and remove debris after an earlier slide. Authorities removed work crews from the area last week after realizing that saturated soil in that area was increasingly unstable, Jones said. Road crews also have stopped work at another damaged stretch of Highway 1 in the area, for the same reason. Last year, a wildfire burned for nearly three months in the Los Padres National Forest and on private land, sparked by an illegal campfire. Thousands of visitors were shut out from signature state parks and the businesses that cater to those tourists. Kirk Gafill, president of the Big Sur Chamber of Com[...]


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McHenry County's Memorial Day eventsVeterans Tom Waltenburg of Algonquin (from left), Danny Malone of Cary and Mathius Carter of Cary salute the flag during the laying of the memorial wreaths at last year's Crystal Lake Memorial Day Service at Union Cemetery.

Wed, 24 May 2017 20:25:00 GMT

The following events are taking place for Memorial Day in McHenry County. All events take place May 29 unless otherwise noted. Algonquin – Lake in the Hills MEMORIAL DAY CEREMONY, 10:30 a.m., Riverfront Park, 201 N. Harrison St., Algonquin. The ceremony will include an opening prayer, guest speakers and patriotic songs. Master of ceremonies will be Navy veteran Gary Jenson. Guest speakers include both presidents from the villages of Algonquin and Lake in the Hills, Russ Ruzanski and John Schmitt. Other speakers will be Algonquin residents Christine Chunn and Jim Castellano. A wreath will be laid in the water and a POW/MIA flag placed over an empty chair. There also will be a 21-gun salute, followed by the playing of echo taps by two Jacobs High School students. The ceremony will end with a closing prayer. Hosted by Lake in the Hills American Legion Post 1231. Information: Jim Mertz, 847-658-3363. Cary CARY-GROVE AMVETS FLAGS AT WINDRIDGE, 5 to 6 p.m. May 26, Windridge Memorial Park, 7014 S. Rawson Bridge Road, Cary. Information: Gary Foster, 847-639-3936. MEMORIAL DAY PARADE, 10:15 a.m., starting at Holy Cross Lutheran Church, First Street and Three Oaks Road, Cary. The parade will be followed by a ceremony at Cary Veterans Park and conclude before noon. Information: Cmdr. Al Young, 847-639-7684. Crystal Lake MEMORIAL DAY SERVICE, 10 to 11 a.m., The Fountains at Crystal Lake, 965 N. Brighton Circle West, Crystal Lake. Dessert and coffee will be served following the ceremony. Free. Register by May 26 at 815-893-8431. MEMORIAL DAY PARADE & CEMETERY SERVICE, 11 a.m., starting at Crystal Lake Central High School, then proceed east on Franklin Avenue, north on Williams Street and west on Woodstock Street to Union Cemetery for a memorial service conducted by Crystal Lake American Legion Post 171. Information: 815-459-2020 or www.crystallake.org. Fox River Grove MEMORIAL DAY PARADE, 8:30 a.m., starting at Algonquin Road School, 975 Algonquin Road, Fox River Grove. Parade will continue down Algonquin Road to South River Road to the baseball diamond at Lions Park for a program. Information: Cmdr. Marv Jedicker, 847-639-3459. Harvard MEMORIAL DAY CEREMONY, 10 a.m. Mount Auburn Cemetery, 20501 E. Brink St., Harvard. In case of rain the ceremony will take place at the Harvard High School gym. Hosted by American Legion Post 265. Information: 815-943-4431. Hebron MEMORIAL DAY SERVICE, 9:30 a.m., Tygard Gymnasium at Alden-Hebron High School, 9604 Illinois St., Hebron. Hosted by American Legion Post 606. Huntley MEMORIAL DAY PARADE, 11 a.m., starting at the Huntley Municipal Complex, 10987 Main St., then proceed west on Main Street to the Huntley Square Gazebo for a brief ceremony. Sponsored by the American Legion Post 673. Information: Patrick Conley, 847-802-8280, post673@huntleylegion.org or 847-669-8485. Johnsburg MEMORIAL DAY CER[...]


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Portion of Route 20 near Huntley reopened

Wed, 24 May 2017 17:36:00 GMT

HUNTLEY — A section of Route 20 near Huntley closed earlier this morning after a reported traffic crash has reopened, according to a Nixle alert from the McHenry County Sheriff's Office. 

Route 20 was closed between Harmony and Church Roads for several hours. 

Check back with nwherald.com for updates. 


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Illinois to receive $1.2M of Target data breach settlement

Wed, 24 May 2017 05:36:00 GMT

CHICAGO – Illinois will receive more than $1.2 million from an $18.5 million multistate settlement with Target Corp. to resolve a probe into the discounter's pre-Christmas data breach in 2013.

Target's breach, which occurred between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15 of 2013, affected more than 41 million customer payment card accounts and exposed contact information for more than 60 million customers. The breach forced Target to overhaul its security system. The company offered free credit reports for potentially affected shoppers.

The settlement requires Target to maintain appropriate encryption policies and take other security steps.

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan said Tuesday that the 47-state settlement establishes industry standards for companies that process payments cards and maintain security information about customers.

She's also urging people to remain vigilant about activity on credit and debit cards.




After clashing, President Donald Trump, Pope Francis search for common groundFILE - In this combo of file photos, President Donald Trump and Pope Francis. They are stylistic and strategic opposites, one a bombastic and ostentatious president, the other a modest though worldly wise pontiff. They disagree on global issues ranging from immigration to climate change. (AP Photo, File)

Wed, 24 May 2017 05:35:00 GMT

VATICAN CITY – They are stylistic opposites, one a bombastic tycoon-turned-president, the other a famously modest pope. They disagree openly on such weighty issues as immigration, climate change and economic policy. But President Donald Trump and Pope Francis share a trait that adds drama to their first meeting Wednesday: unpredictability. And when they greet each other – in a Vatican ceremony laden with history and symbolism – they may well find common ground, particularly in denouncing religiously inspired violence and demanding Muslim leaders take a greater stand in rooting out fanaticism from their places of worship. To reach public harmony, the two men, unquestionably two of the most famous figures on the planet, will have to set aside their past and very public conflicts. When Trump took his oath of office Jan. 20, Francis sent him a telegram of congratulations, offering his prayers for wisdom and strength that the new president’s decisions would be guided by ethical values. “Under your leadership, may America’s stature continue to be measured above all by its concern for the poor, the outcast and those in need, who, like Lazarus, stand before our door,” the message read. It was a subtle reminder that the two leaders had gotten off to a very rocky start over their different views on migration. Francis early last year was sharply critical of Trump’s campaign pledge to build an impenetrable wall on the Mexican border and his declaration that the U.S. should turn away Muslim immigrants and refugees. “A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian,” Francis said then. The pontiff has been a vocal advocate for aiding refugees, particularly those fleeing the violence in Syria, deeming it both a “moral imperative” and “Christian duty” to help. Trump has never been one to let an insult, perceived or real, go by without a response, and he made no exception for the world’s best-known religious leader. He called Francis “disgraceful” for doubting his faith. Trump’s visit to the Vatican is the third leg of his tour of the world’s three main monotheistic religions, coming after he visited the cradles of Islam and Judaism. While pope and president differ on many social and economic issues, the two are preaching from the same playbook in demanding that Muslim leaders take a greater stand against extremists in their mosques and communities. It’s likely that both sides will seek to highlight such common ground after their Wednesday morning audience. In Saudi Arabia on Sunday, Trump implored Middle Eastern leaders to extinguish Islamic extremism from the region and described it as a “battle between good and evil” rather than a clash between the West and Islam. Those words echoed what Francis said in a trip to Egypt last month as the pope demanded the country’s imams teach their young to reject the u[...]


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President Donald Trump's budget keeps pledges: Cuts for poor, more for militaryBudget Director Mick Mulvaney speak to the media about President Donald Trump's proposed fiscal 2018 federal budget in the Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, May 23, 2017. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Wed, 24 May 2017 05:35:00 GMT

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump fulfilled a major campaign promise Tuesday, proposing a $4.1 trillion budget plan that would upend Washington in a big way. But he drew rebukes, even from some Republican allies, for the plan's jarring, politically unrealistic cuts to the social safety net for the poor and a broad swath of other domestic programs. The budget, Trump's first as president, combines his spending plan for the upcoming 2018 fiscal year with a promise to balance government books after a decade, relying on aggressive cuts, a surge in economic growth – and a $2 trillion-plus accounting gimmick. "Through streamlined government, we will drive an economic boom that raises incomes and expands job opportunities for all Americans," Trump declared in his budget message. "Basically dead on arrival," opined the Senate's No. 2 Republican, John Cornyn of Texas. The proposal reflects a conservative vision of smaller government, a drastic rollback of programs for the poor and disabled to prod them into the workforce and a robust hike for the military and border security. It foresees scuttling Barack Obama's health care law and an overhaul of the tax code, a boon to the wealthiest Americans. The plan is laced with $3.6 trillion in cuts to domestic agencies, food stamps, Medicaid, highway funding, crop insurance and medical research, among others. Many of the voters who propelled Trump into the presidency last November would see significantly less from the federal government. "We're no longer going to measure compassion by the number of programs or the number of people on those programs, but by the number of people we help get off those programs," said Mick Mulvaney, director of the Office of Management and Budget and a former tea party congressman. At the same time, the blueprint boosts spending for the military by tens of billions and calls for $1.6 billion for a border wall with Mexico that Trump repeatedly promised voters the U.S. neighbor would finance. Mexico emphatically rejects that notion. The proposal got a chilly reception from congressional Republicans and Democrats, who insist they will have the final say as they struggle to complete a health care bill and rewrite the tax code. Food stamp cuts would drive millions from the program, while a wave of Medicaid cuts – on top of more than $800 billion in the House-passed health care bill – could deny nursing home care to millions of elderly poor people. It would also force some people on Social Security's disability program back into the workforce. "These cuts that are being proposed are draconian," said veteran GOP Rep. Harold Rogers, who represents a poor district in eastern Kentucky. "They're not mere shavings, they're deep, deep cuts." Said Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La.: "I don't think the president's budget is going anywhere." The budget would reduce pension benefits for federal workers by $63 billion by eliminat[...]


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CEO pay climbed faster in 2016, up 8.5 percentAP file photo Charter Communications CEO Thomas Rutledge is interviewed Jan. 14, 2014, on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Rutledge was one of the highest paid CEOs in 2016, according to a study carried out by executive compensation data firm Equilar and The Associated Press.FILE - In this Monday, March 13, 2017, file photo, Walt Disney Company CEO Robert Iger attends a special screening of Disney's "Beauty and the Beast" at Alice Tully Hall, in New York. Iger was one of the highest paid CEOs in 2016, according to a study carried out by executive compensation data firm Equilar and The Associated Press. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)

Wed, 24 May 2017 05:35:00 GMT

NEW YORK – The typical CEO at the biggest U.S. companies got an 8.5 percent raise last year, raking in $11.5 million in salary, stock and other compensation last year, according to a study by executive data firm Equilar for The Associated Press. That’s the biggest raise in three years. The bump reflects how well stocks have done under these CEOs’ watch. Boards of directors increasingly require that CEOs push their stock price higher to collect their maximum possible payout, and the Standard & Poor’s 500 index returned 12 percent last year. Over the past five years, median CEO pay in the survey has jumped by 19.6 percent, not accounting for inflation. That’s nearly double the 10.9 percent rise in the typical weekly paycheck for full-time employees across the country. But CEO pay did fall for one group of companies last year: those where investors complained the loudest about executive pay. Compensation dropped for nine of the 10 companies scoring the lowest on “Say on Pay” votes, where shareholders give thumbs-up or -down on top executives’ earnings. Other measures that would highlight the income gap between CEOs and typical workers are on the way, but governance watchdogs worry that Congress will kill or dilute their strength. “It’s all out of whack right now,” said Heather Slavkin Corzo, director of the AFL-CIO Office of Investment, which said CEOs for major U.S. companies make 347 times more than the average worker. The top five The highest-paid executive in the survey was Thomas Rutledge of Charter Communications, which absorbed Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks last year to become the nation’s second-largest cable operator. His compensation totaled $98 million, about $88 million of that from stock and option awards included as part of a new five-year employment agreement. For Rutledge to collect the full amount, Charter’s share price will need to rise 155 percent over six years. CEOs typically got more than half their total compensation from stock and option grants last year. The lesson from the rest of the top five: How lucrative the entertainment business can be. No. 2 on the survey was Leslie Moonves at CBS, who made $68.6 million. That included $63.9 million in bonus and stock awards the company’s board said he received for presiding over a 36.6 percent return for CBS shares in 2016 and for keeping CBS the top-rated network in the 2015-16 season, among other performance measures. No. 3 was Walt Disney’s Robert Iger, at $41 million. That was 6 percent less than the year before, as slowing growth resulted in a bonus cut. Fourth-highest at $37.2 million was David Zaslav of Discovery Communications, whose networks include TLC and Animal Planet. About 70 percent of that was from stock and option awards. No. 5 was Activision Blizzard’s Robert Kotick,[...]


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Lawsuit: Mississippi fails to educate black children equallyJody Owens, director of the Mississippi office of the Southern Poverty Law Center, holds up a copy of a lawsuit filed on behalf of four African-American mothers with children in public elementary schools during a news conference in Jackson, Miss., Tuesday, May 23, 2017. Mississippi is denying good schools to African American students and violating the federal law that enabled the state to rejoin the union after the Civil War, the Southern Poverty Law Center alleged Tuesday in a lawsuit trying to strengthen constitutional protections for education. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

Wed, 24 May 2017 05:35:00 GMT

JACKSON, Miss. – Mississippi is denying good schools to African American students in violation of the federal law that enabled the state to rejoin the union after the Civil War, a legal group alleged Tuesday. The Southern Poverty Law Center wants a federal judge to force state leaders to comply with the 1870 law, which says Mississippi must never deprive any citizen of the "school rights and privileges" described in the state's first post-Civil War constitution. That law still obligates Mississippi to provide a "uniform system of free public schools" for all children, but the state has instead watered down education protections in a white supremacist effort to prevent the education of blacks, the group said. "From 1890 until the present day, Mississippi repeatedly has amended its education clause and has used those amendments to systematically and deliberately deprive African-Americans of the education rights guaranteed to all Mississippi schoolchildren by the 1868 Constitution," the suit states. The named defendants include Gov. Phil Bryant, Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, House Speaker Philip Gunn and Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann, all Republican elected officials. It also names state school Superintendent Carey Wright and the nine appointed members of the state Board of Education. Mississippi's public schools have stubbornly ranked at or near the bottom of national measures of academic achievement and progress. But Bryant and Reeves said Mississippi's education system is improving under their leadership. "This is merely another attempt by the Southern Poverty Law Center to fundraise on the backs of Mississippi taxpayers," the governor said in a statement. "While the SPLC clings to its misguided and cynical views, we will continue to shape Mississippi's system of public education into the best and most innovative in America." Reeves called the SPLC a "fringe organization," and said it's "almost laughable" that the legal group is simultaneously trying to "protect the status quo" by challenging efforts to direct public funds to charter schools that would provide more choices to minority students. Attorney Will Bardwell says the suit, filed on behalf of four African-American mothers with children in public elementary schools, seeks equal opportunities and outcomes. He said Mississippi's leaders are welcome to comply without increasing spending if they can. "I'm filing this lawsuit because the state has an obligation to make the schools that black kids attend equal to the schools that white kids attend," said Indigo Williams, the parent of a first-grade boy at Raines Elementary School in west Jackson. All 19 Mississippi school districts rated "F'' by the Mississippi Department of Education have overwhelmingly African-American student bodies, while the state's five highest-performing school districts are predominantly white, the SPLC says. The school[...]


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Warning of 'imminent' attack, Britain raises threat level after Manchester bombingAP photo People pray after a vigil Tuesday in Albert Square in Manchester, England, the day after a suicide attack at an Ariana Grande concert left 22 people dead.

Wed, 24 May 2017 05:35:00 GMT

MANCHESTER, England – As officials hunted for accomplices of a suicide bomber and Britain’s prime minister warned another attack could be “imminent,” thousands of people poured into the streets of Manchester in a defiant vigil Tuesday for victims of a blast at a pop concert – the latest apparent target of Islamic extremists seeking to rattle life in the West. The attack left at least 22 dead, including an 8-year-old girl, shattering the revelry at a show by American singer Ariana Grande, where strains of electric pop and the sways of innocent young fans quickly gave way to an explosion, a flood of screams and a stampede of panicked concert-goers, many clutching pink balloons and wearing the kitten-ear headbands popularized by Grande. Touching on that disconnect, British Prime Minister Theresa May said: “We struggle to comprehend the warped and twisted mind that sees a room packed with young children not as a scene to cherish but as an opportunity for carnage.” May said Britain’s terror threat level had been raised to critical – meaning another attack may be imminent. The status means armed soldiers could be deployed instead of police at public events including sports matches. The threat level had been at the second-highest rung of “severe” for several years. The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the blood bath Monday, though a top American intelligence official said the assertion could not be verified. Manchester Police Chief Ian Hopkins identified the bomber as 22-year-old Salman Abedi, who authorities said died in the attack. Police raided two sites in the northern English city, setting off a controlled explosion in one, and arresting a 23-year-old man in a third location. May said Abedi was born and raised in Britain, and a European security official said he was of Libyan descent. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to comment on ongoing investigations. At least 20 heavily armed, helmeted police surrounded a modest red brick house listed as Abedi’s address in a mixed Manchester suburb at midday on Tuesday and blasted down the door. “It was so quick. These cars just pulled up and all these police with guns, dogs, jumped out of the car and said to us: ‘Get in the house now,’ ” said Simon Turner, 46, who lives nearby. Later, forensic officers in white coveralls were seen going in and out of the property. Details on Abedi were slow to trickle out. He was described by neighbors as a tall, thin young man who often wore traditional Islamic dress, but few said they knew him well. Alan Kinsey, 52, who lives across the street, said his neighbor would often get picked up by another young man in a Toyota and often returned late at night. “I thought he worked in a takeaway or something” because of his late hours, Kinsey said. Police also searched an apartment in a [...]


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President Trump envoy Nikki Haley tells refugees she cares, but defends cutsU.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley speaks to the staff at the U.S. embassy in Ankara, Turkey, Tuesday, May 23, 2017. Haley is meeting with Turkish officials and will visit the refugee camps at Turkey-Syria border. (AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici, Pool)

Wed, 24 May 2017 05:35:00 GMT

ANKARA, Turkey – President Donald Trump's U.N. ambassador visited a UNICEF center providing emotional support for Syrian refugee children and asked how the U.S. could better care for their needs. Then her boss proposed ending all U.S. funding to the organization. Trump's 31 percent budget cut to the State Department and U.S. overseas assistance would dramatically reverse decades of support for programs that Democrats and Republicans held up as vehicles for promoting U.S. values and helping the world's neediest. And it's putting American diplomats in the uncomfortable position of defending the nation's continued status as a world leader even as the Trump administration signals its priority is at home. "It's starting the conversation," Nikki Haley, Trump's U.N. envoy, said of the White House's Tuesday budget proposal. "It doesn't mean that's where it will end up. He's going to have that conversation with Congress on where we should fall on this." Haley said during a trip to Turkey that Trump "had to show some signs" of commitment to reducing the U.S. budget deficit and eliminating waste in federal spending. She suggested the damage would be mitigated by Congress, which is already pushing back on the cuts. A day earlier, Haley watched refugee children play music at a UNICEF program in Jordan that provides support and life skills training. Asking Iraqi and Syrian refugees about their hopes for the future, she told them that Americans "believe in you, and we think you're meant for great things." When Brig. Gen. Jehad Matar, head of Jordan's Syrian Refugee Affairs Directorate, said Jordan sought more U.S. support, Haley's answer was concise. "That's why I'm here," she said. At the camp, Haley was briefed on unmet needs by the U.N.'s humanitarian office and refugee agency – organizations whose U.S. accounts are eliminated in Trump's budget. American officials said they'll still receive some money through other accounts. Any such funding would likely be at far lower levels. In all, Trump's budget cuts $780 million in U.S. payments to international organizations, and eliminates $1.6 billion in funding for climate change programs. There's also a $222 million cut to a global international fund for fighting AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, and a steep cut to U.N. peacekeeping missions in far-flung and violent locales like Congo, South Sudan and Haiti. The White House sent its budget to Congress as Trump flew from Israel to Italy on his first overseas trip as president. A key theme of Trump's trip is reassuring foreign leaders the U.S. is "back" after what Trump is trying to paint as years of decline for America's global prestige. "He's going around now from country to country on the world stage, but he doesn't want us to put our money where our mouth is," Rep. Eliot Engel, the House Foreign Affairs Committee's top Democrat, tol[...]


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McHenry County leaders talk improving business climate at multi-chamber mixerSarah Nader – snader@shawmedia.com Glenn Smith (left) of Lake in the Hills talks to Kristina and Frank Hosticka of McHenry during a multi-chamber mixer Tuesday at Gary Lang Auto Group in McHenry.Sarah Nader – snader@shawmedia.com McHenry County State's Attorney Patrick Kenneally mingles during a multi-chamber mixer Tuesday at Gary Lang Auto Group in McHenry.

Wed, 24 May 2017 05:06:00 GMT

McHENRY – Local business leaders said that bringing in more young talent and making the area more tax-friendly could improve McHenry County’s economic development. About 300 people attended the annual multi-chamber mixer Tuesday at Gary Lang Auto Group in McHenry. The event, hosted by the McHenry Area Chamber of Commerce, gave business leaders and community members the chance to come together and support area businesses. McHenry Chamber President Kay Bates talked about how the county can improve economically. “Well, obviously, anything we can do to reduce the tax burden as a county will help,” Bates said. “We can’t look to the state to improve our financial situation. We also could improve our infrastructure. The improvement of our roads can go a long way.” McHenry Alderwoman Geri Condon said that one thing the county can do to improve the business climate is encourage more people to shop locally. “If you’re going out of the county, then all that sales money is going out,” Condon said. “You need to attract more people to come here and shop local.” “So events like this – where business people can come together, get to know each other more and support each other – are great,” Condon added. Denny Norton, the McHenry Chamber board chairman and president of Performance Unlimited Inc. of Ringwood, and Dr. Michael Rein, who works at Back On Track Chiropractic in Woodstock and is a McHenry County Board member, also attended the mixer. Both Norton and Rein said younger generations are the key to improving the county’s current business climate. “I think we need to concentrate on millennials and getting the young families in here,” Norton said. “Giving people a reason to come to McHenry County so they can get a job and build a life here is important. We need some fresh business and fresh ideas.” Rein echoed that sentiment. “One of the biggest things we can do for McHenry County is we need millennials,” he said. “They’re the new innovators in terms of new types of businesses like technology and manufacturing-based companies that can help us move forward.” Rein also said that it’s more of an incentive for people to open a new business in the county if the county is tax-friendly. “We have to be competitive in that market for them to stay here and not go somewhere else,” Rein said. Sarah Nader – snader@shawmedia.com Glenn Smith (left) of Lake in the Hills talks to Kristina and Frank Hosticka of McHenry during a multi-chamber mixer Tuesday at Gary Lang Auto Group in McHenry.Sarah Nader – snader@shawmedia.com McHenry County State's Attorney Patrick Kenneally mingles during a multi-chamber mixer Tuesday at Gary Lang Auto Group in McHenry.[...]


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Crystal Lake middle school principal takes job at McHenry East High SchoolMcHenry Community High School District 156 has announced that Jeff Prickett, principal of Richard Bernotas Middle School in Crystal Lake, will be the next principal of McHenry East High School.

Wed, 24 May 2017 05:05:00 GMT

McHENRY – McHenry School District 156 has announced that Jeff Prickett, principal of Richard Bernotas Middle School in Crystal Lake, will be the next principal of McHenry East High School.

On Monday, the District 156 board approved Prickett joining the district as the new principal. He will take over July 1.

Prickett will succeed Eric Blake, who has been McHenry East’s principal for the past four years. Prickett will bring his experience to District 156, as he has been a school principal for the past 13 years.

Before serving as the Bernotas principal the past three years, he also was the principal at Round Lake Middle School and W.J. Murphy Elementary School in Round Lake Park. In addition, Prickett has served as the assistant principal and dean of students at Parkland Middle School in McHenry.

“Dr. Prickett’s experience as building leader, his ability to connect to all stakeholder groups and his motivation to transform teaching and learning will be a welcome addition to our school community,” District 156 Superintendent Ryan McTague said.

Prickett’s career in the education field started in 1997 as an English teacher at Kerr Middle School in Blue Island after earning his Ed.D. in educational leadership from National Louis University. Prickett holds a Master of Arts in administration from Aurora University as well as a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Judson College in Elgin.

Prickett lives in McHenry with his family. He has a son, Tyler, who is enrolled in the district, as well as two daughters, Emma and Toni, who have graduated from District 156.

“I am really excited about this opportunity to work for McHenry High School 156,” Prickett said. “ … I’m just thrilled to be able to give back and serve the community where I live. The district is doing some great things, and I’m really excited to be a part of what’s coming for McHenry.”

Prickett was named the Illinois Principals Association Kishwaukee Region Middle School Principal of the Year in 2016. He also was a Golden Apple principal nominee this year, which recognizes school leaders who have exhibited exemplary performance and outstanding leadership.

Prickett’s salary will be $138,000.

McHenry Community High School District 156 has announced that Jeff Prickett, principal of Richard Bernotas Middle School in Crystal Lake, will be the next principal of McHenry East High School.


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Fire causes $200,000 in damage to McHenry homeH. Rick Bamman – hbamman@shawmedia.com Crew member Tim Oak from 1-800-BOARDUP service works at the scene of a house fire Tuesday in the 2800 block of West Rosedale Avenue in McHenry. The damage to the home was estimated at $200,000.H. Rick Bamman – hbamman@shawmedia.com Crew member Tim Oak from 1-800-BOARDUP service works at the scene of a house fire Tuesday in the 2800 block of West Rosedale Avenue in McHenry. The damage to the home was estimated at $200,000.H. Rick Bamman – hbamman@shawmedia.com Crew member from 1-800-BOARDUP service Tim Gough cleans up saw dust Tuesday after working at the scene of an early-morning fire in the 2800 block of West Rosedale Avenue in McHenry. No residents were injured in the fire, but one firefighter suffered minor injuries that did not require transportation to a hospital. The McHenry Township Fire Protection District and the McHenry County Sheriff's Office are investigating the cause of the fire.

Wed, 24 May 2017 05:03:00 GMT

McHENRY – A fire caused $200,000 in damage to a house Tuesday in McHenry.

The McHenry Township Fire Protection District responded to a call about 2 a.m. Tuesday about a house fire in the 2800 block of West Rosedale Avenue in McHenry. When firefighters arrived, there was heavy smoke and fire throughout the home, according to a news release.

The street didn’t have a fire hydrant system, so water had to be shuttled in. The residents of the house were home at the time, but they exited the home before the department arrived, and no one was injured, according to the release.

One firefighter was injured, but it was minor and the person was not taken to the hospital.

Contractors were at the scene boarding up the house about 10 a.m. Tuesday.

The McHenry County Sheriff’s Office and the McHenry Township Fire Protection District are investigating the cause of the fire.

H. Rick Bamman – hbamman@shawmedia.com Crew member Tim Oak from 1-800-BOARDUP service works at the scene of a house fire Tuesday in the 2800 block of West Rosedale Avenue in McHenry. The damage to the home was estimated at $200,000.H. Rick Bamman – hbamman@shawmedia.com Crew member Tim Oak from 1-800-BOARDUP service works at the scene of a house fire Tuesday in the 2800 block of West Rosedale Avenue in McHenry. The damage to the home was estimated at $200,000.H. Rick Bamman – hbamman@shawmedia.com Crew member from 1-800-BOARDUP service Tim Gough cleans up saw dust Tuesday after working at the scene of an early-morning fire in the 2800 block of West Rosedale Avenue in McHenry. No residents were injured in the fire, but one firefighter suffered minor injuries that did not require transportation to a hospital. The McHenry Township Fire Protection District and the McHenry County Sheriff's Office are investigating the cause of the fire.


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The Land Conservancy of McHenry County looks to preserve farmlandH. Rick Bamman – hbamman@shawmedia.com Nick Batchelder and Becky Stark – seen with their sons, 6-month-old Guss and 3-year-old Ray, and family dog, Jackson – run Midnight Sun Farm, a Community Supported Agriculture program and market farm in Harvard.H. Rick Bamman – hbamman@shawmedia.com Nick Choate-Batchelder and Becky Stark run Midnight Sun Farm, a family-run Community Supported Agriculture program and market farm in Harvard. Midnight Sun Farm worked out a lease agreement with Tom Perry, an investor who bought the farm at their request, so they can grow organic vegetables and free-range livestock there.H. Rick Bamman – hbamman@shawmedia.com Midnight Sun Farm employee Lizz Rugg plants chard seed while working in a hoop house on Midnight Sun Farm, the family-run Community Supported Agriculture program and market farm in Harvard.H. Rick Bamman – hbamman@shawmedia.com Midnight Sun Farm employee DJ Blue unloads harvest bins for cleaning at Midnight Sun Farm, the family-run Community Supported Agriculture program and market farm in Harvard. Midnight Sun Farm worked out a lease agreement with Tom Perry, an investor who bought the farm at the owners' request, so they could grow organic vegetables and free-range livestock there.H. Rick Bamman – hbamman@shawmedia.com Pictured is one of the 600 chickens that produce 45 dozen eggs a day at Midnight Sun Farm, a family-run Community Supported Agriculture program and market farm in Harvard.

Wed, 24 May 2017 05:02:00 GMT

Mike and Sue Kirby were looking for an organic farmer to lease their land in Hebron, which they no longer have the time to farm. Yoram Shanan was looking for affordable land to grow his business. With help from The Land Conservancy of McHenry County, the two groups were able to connect.  Shanan, who had been farming at Liberty Prairie Foundation’s Farm Business Development Center in Grayslake, will move his business, Sandbox Organics, to the Kirbys’ 23-acre farm. At 26 years old, Shanan said many land opportunities were too expensive for him. Much of the infrastructure he needs already is in place at the Kirbys’ farm. “I found an opportunity where I found the skeleton, not turnkey,” Shanan said. “But if it weren’t for that, I know I wouldn’t have been able to do it. And I know a lot of young farmers in my situation are the same way.” McHenry County has more than 234,000 acres of farmland, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s latest census, and the average age of a farmer in the county is 59. Many people don’t have someone to pass the family farm on to once they retire, said Linda Balek, a land protection specialist with The Land Conservancy of McHenry County. By helping to foster relationships between farmers and landowners, those new to farming can build their business, while those with land can keep using it for agriculture.  “We’ve got people who want to farm, so why not get them to come to McHenry County and help them do that?” Balek said.  An upcoming event – hosted by the conservancy, Liberty Prairie Foundation, University of Illinois Extension, Angelic Organics Learning Center, Openlands and American Farmland Trust – is aimed at helping to make those connections between landowners and sustainable farmers, Balek said.  The Common Ground Gathering will be from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. June 8 at Soulful Prairies farm, 4706 Alden Road, Woodstock. Participants must register by June 1 at www.libertyprairie.org. The cost is $10 a person, and questions can be directed to Balek at 815-337-9502. At the event, local farmers, including the owners of Harvard-area Midnight Sun Farm, will speak about their experience creating successful working relationships between landowners and farmers.  Nick Batchelder and Becky Stark of Midnight Sun Farm farmed at the Farm Business Development Center in Grayslake for several years before they found an investor willing to buy land for them to lease.  “If you don’t have buckets of cash to throw at buying land, you have to find a way,” Batchelder said of starting out in farming. “And everybody’s circumstances are a little different.” [...]


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One killed in two-vehicle crash on Route 12 in Fox Lake

Wed, 24 May 2017 05:02:00 GMT

FOX LAKE – A driver was killed Tuesday after hitting a truck with a flatbed trailer that was stopped at a traffic light on Route 12 at Big Hollow Road.

Fox Lake police were called to the scene shortly after 1 p.m. Tuesday.

The driver of a 2000 Buick LeSabre was driving north on Route 12 when the car struck the rear of a tractor-trailer, which was stopped at a red light at Big Hollow Road. The driver of the car was taken to a Centegra hospital, where that person was pronounced dead.

Police withheld the name of the driver pending notification of family, according to a news release from the Fox Lake Police Department.

No one else was injured in the crash.

The Major Crash Assistance Team of Lake County was called, and officials were investigating the crash, which required closing the road to traffic.

The crash remained under investigation as of Tuesday afternoon, according to the release.


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Woman fatally struck by car in Harvard identified, GoFundMe startedSusan R. Forgacs Hathcock, 59, of Harvard died after being struck by a car last week in Harvard.

Wed, 24 May 2017 05:01:00 GMT

HARVARD – A family is mourning after a woman was killed when hit by a car last week in Harvard.

The Winnebago County coroner has identified the Harvard woman as Susan Hathcock, 59.

A GoFundMe has been started for the family and has raised nearly $4,000 as of Tuesday afternoon. The page describes Hathcock as a “wonderful mom to many and dear friend to everyone she met.”

Harvard police and the Harvard Fire Protection District responded to a call about 9:14 p.m. May 17 that a car hit a pedestrian. The incident occurred in the 100 block of West Brink Street/Route 173 near Route 14. Hathcock was taken to OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center in Rockford, where she later was pronounced dead.

A preliminary investigation shows that a 25-year-old man was driving a 2007 Nissan east on West Brink Street.

Hathcock was crossing the street from north to south, which is when the crash occurred.

The driver was treated at the scene and released. He later was cited with an insurance violation, police said.

The crash remains under investigation by the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office and the Harvard Police Department. The family’s GoFundMe page can be found at www.gofundme.com/9ce78.

“Susan touched the hearts of everyone she knew. She was a wonderful mom to many and a dear friend to everyone she met,” according to the page. “It’s a very difficult time for all of her family and friends.”

Susan R. Forgacs Hathcock, 59, of Harvard died after being struck by a car last week in Harvard.


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Trial meeting set for man whose arson conviction was overturnedJoseph O. Ziegler, 27, was brought back into McHenry County Jail custody earlier this month to await his third trial. Ziegler has been serving a 12-year prison sentence at Taylorville Correctional Center.

Wed, 24 May 2017 05:00:00 GMT

WOODSTOCK – A lawyer representing an Elmhurst man whose 2014 arson conviction was overturned by an appellate court earlier this year will meet with prosecutors and a judge later this week to discuss his client’s criminal case. The meeting is scheduled for Friday, just weeks after Joseph Ziegler, 27, was brought back into McHenry County Jail custody to await his third trial. Ziegler had been serving a 12-year prison sentence at Taylorville Correctional Center. Defense lawyer Hank Sugden said that they plan to discuss options that potentially could resolve the case ahead of trial. A trial already has been scheduled for Aug. 7. McHenry County jurors found Ziegler guilty of multiple arson charges after prosecutors said he mistakenly torched Roseann Aitken’s Pistakee Highlands home when he intended to torch the home of Nick Pennington, a man he thought stole drugs from him. Authorities said Ziegler set an SUV parked in Aitken’s driveway on fire in August 2012, believing it was the vehicle he saw Pennington in earlier that night. Aitken lived two doors away from Pennington. The fire spread to a second car and ultimately carried over to Aitken’s home. No one was injured. The first time Ziegler was tried on the charges, jurors failed to reach a unanimous decision, and McHenry County Judge Sharon Prather declared a mistrial. He was convicted on a burglary charge at the time. A jury convicted Ziegler of multiple arson charges at his second trial, but the Illinois Appellate Court sent it back to McHenry County on Feb. 15 to be retried. Justices said Ziegler’s defense attorney should have requested an accomplice-witness jury instruction at either trial in connection with the testimony of two of the prosecution’s witnesses because “there was probable cause that the two state witnesses were principal actors in or accountable for the arson charges,” Justice Robert B. Spence wrote in his opinion. Although the prosecution’s primary theory at both trials was that Ziegler committed the offenses by himself, its alternative theory was that he committed them with the help of witnesses Dakota Wilkinson and Devon Weber. The defense attacked the credibility of Wilkinson and Weber at trial, including Wilkinson’s observation that Ziegler was carrying a propane tank by himself on a bicycle the night of the fire. No witness observed the actual commission of the crimes; Weber’s shirt and Wilkinson’s bicycle were found near the scene of the fire, testimony placed Wilkinson and Weber near Aitken’s house in the early morning of Aug. 9, 2012, and police apprehended them about 6:30 a.m. that day after they left [...]


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No new trial for Hampshire man serving 8 years for drunken driving convictionVincent Myers

Wed, 24 May 2017 05:00:00 GMT

WOODSTOCK – A Hampshire man serving an eight-year prison sentence on an aggravated drunken driving conviction will not get a new trial. Vincent Myers, 47, pleaded guilty in January to two counts of aggravated driving under the influence in connection with a 2015 crash that left two men with life-changing injuries. He entered a blind guilty plea, meaning the sentence would be up to the judge, and faced up to 12 years in prison. Judge Michael Feetterer sentenced him in March to eight years in prison. Myers’ post-trial attorney, William Gibbs, then filed a motion asking to take back Myers’ guilty plea and/or have Feetterer reconsider Myers’ sentence, arguing that his client’s guilty plea was not voluntary but was a result of ineffective counsel and a promise by his trial lawyer of a more lenient sentence if he pleaded guilty. Myers was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol for the third time in the early-morning hours of Sept 6, 2015, after the 2012 Lincoln MKZ he was driving hit two men who were stopped on the side of the road fixing a broken-down motorcycle. Lake in the Hills residents Juan Martinez and Zac Feltman were fixing a motorcycle in the left turn lane on westbound Algonquin Road, west of Pyott Road. A friend of theirs, Brandon Dominguez, had his car parked behind the motorcycle, and Martinez and Feltman were standing near the trunk looking for tools when Myers struck them and the vehicles, authorities have said. Martinez and Feltman were taken to area hospitals after suffering serious injuries. Martinez had his left leg amputated 2 inches above the knee just days after the crash. Feltman fractured both of his legs in the crash and remained hospitalized for nearly two months under constant supervision by family and friends. Gibbs argued during a hearing Tuesday that his client was never told by the court or his lawyers that if he pleaded guilty he would not be able to appeal any of the pre-trial motions previously denied by the court, and if he would have known that, he might not have pleaded guilty. He said Myers’ attorneys previously told him that they planned to present evidence regarding the toxicology of the victims involved in the crash, and they did not do so. He also argued that one of Myers’ attorneys, Dan Hofmann, did not present any mitigating factors on his client’s behalf, with the exception of character references and letters. Gibbs said that Hofmann’s closing argument was full of apologies to the victims instead of arguments on his client’s behalf. In requesting that Myers’ sentence be reconsidered, Gibbs said he believed the sentence was “excessive.” [...]Vincent Myers


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After England bombing, Chicago reminds people to be alert

Wed, 24 May 2017 03:31:00 GMT

CHICAGO – Chicago emergency-management officials are reminding residents to report anything suspicious that could indicate possible terrorist activity.

A Tuesday statement from city officials came hours after a suicide bombing in Manchester, England left 22 dead and dozens injured.

It reminds people that – "If you see something, say something." It says that slogan will be advertised more prominently around Chicago starting May 29.

Office of Emergency Management and Communications executive director Alicia Tate-Nadeau says there are "no known credible threats to Chicago." But that it's worth reminding residents they are critical to helping to ensure public safety.

Cook County Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management interim director Mark Edingburg adds people shouldn't just walk by suspicious packages assuming someone else will report them.




Illinois treasurer returns Purple Heart to WWII vet's family

Wed, 24 May 2017 03:30:00 GMT

PEORIA – Illinois officials have returned a Purple Heart medal to the daughter of a late World War II veteran.

According to a news release, State Treasurer Michael Frerichs returned the medal this week to Constance Barr at a ceremony in Peoria. She's the daughter of Corporal Edward H. Dunn. He died in 1970 at the age of 61.

The treasurer's office is the custodian of unclaimed property, including lost bank accounts and forgotten safe deposit boxes. The office says in a news release that it has over 100 unclaimed military medals.

Dunn's medal was in a safe deposit box. Dunn, who was a Peoria resident, enlisted in the Army in 1943. He was deployed the following year.

He also served as the mayor of Bellevue from 1954 to 1969.




Duterte declares martial rule in besieged south PhilippinesRussian President Vladimir Putin, right, shakes hands with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte during their meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow, Tuesday, May 23, 2017. (Maxim Shemetov/Pool Photo via AP)

Wed, 24 May 2017 03:01:00 GMT

MANILA, Philippines – Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte warned Wednesday that he'll be harsh in enforcing martial law in his country's south as he abruptly left Moscow to deal with a crisis at home sparked by a Muslim extremist siege on a city, where militants burned buildings overnight and are feared to have taken hostages. Duterte declared martial rule for 60 days in the entire southern Mindanao region, the restive third of the Philippine archipelago, Tuesday evening to try to crush Muslim extremists who have aligned themselves with the Islamic State group and occupied a hospital, jail and other buildings and battled troops in an audacious attack in Marawi City. Martial law could be extended for a year depending on how long the problem could be quelled, Duterte said on board a plane en route to the Philippines. "I said I would be harsh and I warned everybody not to force my hand into it," Duterte said. "I have to do it to preserve the republic." Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said troops raided the hideout of a top terrorist suspect in Marawi on Tuesday, sparking a gunbattle that prompted the militants to call for reinforcements from an allied group, the Maute. He said dozens of gunmen occupied city hall, a hospital and a jail and burned a Catholic church, a college and some houses in a bold attack that killed at least two soldiers and a police officer and wounded 12 others. Several militants were killed in the fighting in Marawi city in Lanao del Sur province, about 830 kilometers (520 miles) south of Manila, but others continued to lay siege to the largely Muslim city of more than 200,000 people, officials said, adding that power was cut in the city in the chaos. "The whole of Marawi city is blacked out, there is no light, and there are Maute snipers all around," Lorenzana said in the news conference in Moscow, which was broadcast live in the Philippines. Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said he informed his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, of Duterte's decision to fly home early to deal with the crisis. Cayetano said he would stay behind in Moscow, where a number of agreements are to be signed between the governments. Duterte met late Tuesday with Russian President Vladimir Putin and said he is counting on Russia to supply weapons for the Philippines to fight terrorism. "Of course, our country needs modern weapons, we had orders in the United States, but now the situation there is not very smooth and in order to fight the Islamic State, with their units and factions, we need modern weapons," he said, according to Russian state n[...]


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FCC: No punishment for late-night host Colbert's Trump jokeStephen Colbert, host of "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert," appears during a taping of his show in New York. A Federal Communications Commission spokesman said Tuesday that the agency received "thousands" of complaints about Colbert's May 1 monologue about President Donald Trump, so it reviewed the material as "standard operating procedure." The FCC's job to police obscene or indecent material on TV if there have been complaints. The agency found that the joke did not rise to a level that warranted punishment.

Tue, 23 May 2017 22:51:00 GMT

NEW YORK – There will be no fine for Stephen Colbert's risque joke about President Donald Trump.

A Federal Communications Commission spokesman said Tuesday that the agency received "thousands" of complaints about the late-night host's May 1 show, so it reviewed the material as "standard operating procedure." It's the FCC's job to police obscene or indecent material on TV when it receives complaints.

The agency found that the joke, which involved Trump, Russian leader Vladimir Putin and a crude word for penis, did not warrant punishment.

Colbert's politically-tinged "Late Show," rife with Trump jokes, has become the most popular of the late-night circuit.

Stephen Colbert, host of "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert," appears during a taping of his show in New York. A Federal Communications Commission spokesman said Tuesday that the agency received "thousands" of complaints about Colbert's May 1 monologue about President Donald Trump, so it reviewed the material as "standard operating procedure." The FCC's job to police obscene or indecent material on TV if there have been complaints. The agency found that the joke did not rise to a level that warranted punishment.


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Illinois Senate Dems approve plan for big tax increaseIllinois state Sen. Toi Hutchinson, D-Olympia Fields, discusses changes in the tax-increase package on Tuesday in Springfield. Democrats in the Senate are preparing a budget plan that can be approved without Republican help as time winds down to the scheduled May 31 adjournment.

Tue, 23 May 2017 22:40:00 GMT

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Senate has approved a $5 billion income tax increase to fund what Democrats say would be a balanced, $37.3 billion budget.

A Democratic majority pushed the measures through despite opposition from Republicans.

Sen. Toi Hutchinson said there's little time left and the House must have a chance to debate the budget before the scheduled May 31 adjournment. The Olympia Fields Democrat sponsored the tax bill that increases the personal income tax from 3.75 percent to 4.95 percent. Sales taxes would be applied to services for the first time.

Spending plan sponsor Sen. Heather Steans (STAYNZ') of Chicago says the $37.3 billion spending outline matches the one GOP Gov. Bruce Rauner introduced in February. She says many of the $3 billion in spending reductions were proposed by the GOP.

Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan of Chicago released a statement saying his budget experts will carefully consider the proposals.

Illinois state Sen. Toi Hutchinson, D-Olympia Fields, discusses changes in the tax-increase package on Tuesday in Springfield. Democrats in the Senate are preparing a budget plan that can be approved without Republican help as time winds down to the scheduled May 31 adjournment.


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Celebrate McHenry County College’s 50th anniversary at Scots Fest June 10

Tue, 23 May 2017 16:22:39 GMT

It’s hard to believe that 50 years has passed since McHenry County College became a reality in 1967. It first opened its doors to 312 full-time and 1,045 part-time students in the old Pure Oil building on Route 14. Today, the institution educates thousands of students and just broke ground on a new science center.

One of the highlights of the year-long anniversary celebration is MCC Scots Fest, a free, fun-filled family event to thank the public for its support throughout the last half-century. The festival is slated for 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. June 10 on MCC’s Crystal Lake campus.

Art lovers can enjoy demonstrations in ceramics, jewelry, printmaking, horticulture, and more. For those more into the art of automotive design, there’s also an auto show planned.

And what festival would be complete without food? Food trucks will offer up tasty fare for sale from Crescent City Cajun, Dukes, Kona Ice, Mario's Cart, MJ's Coffee Bar, Riverside Chocolate Factory, and Rosati's.

And, of course, there’s entertainment, courtesy of Charlie Three Valves and the Weird Seven, storyteller Jim May, Potts & Pans Steelband, and Crystal Lake Strikers.

You can take a respite from the activities and enjoy some poetry readings, or grab the kids and head over to the STEAM Zone where kids can enjoy hands-on activities in science, technology, engineering, art, and math. There’ll also be a Kids Corner with interactive play for children and families.

“All of us at McHenry County College are thrilled to be celebrating 50 years of delivering quality education to the county,” said Interim Vice President of Institutional Advancement Christina Haggerty. “We believe that education is the best investment someone can make—producing strong, dedicated citizens who live, work, and give back to their community. It’s never too late to start—or continue—learning. MCC is here when you’re ready.”


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