Fri, 28 Apr 2017 18:02:00 GMTCRYSTAL LAKE – Only one of 80 establishments checked for alcohol compliance by city police this month failed the test, Crystal Lake police said Friday.
Fri, 28 Apr 2017 18:01:00 GMTWOODSTOCK — A Wisconsin woman faces up to 26 years in prison after she admitted to being under the influence of heroin during a 2016 McHenry crash that seriously injured a motorcyclist and killed the passenger.
Fri, 28 Apr 2017 15:34:00 GMTWASHINGTON – President Donald Trump is sounding wistful as he reflects on his first 100 days on the job.
Fri, 28 Apr 2017 15:32:00 GMTPARIS – France's troubled wartime past is taking center stage Friday in the country's highly charged presidential race, as centrist Emmanuel Macron visited the site of France's worst Nazi massacre and Marine Le Pen's far-right party suffered a new blow over alleged Holocaust denial. Seeking the moral high ground, Macron wants to send a message to voters that Le Pen isn't a candidate like any other, but the heir of a party stained by anti-Semitism, racism and an outdated worldview. Le Pen's years-long efforts to detoxify her party's image — efforts that have brought her one step away from the presidency — endured a new setback Friday, when the leader of her National Front party quit because of an uproar over past remarks allegedly questioning the Nazi gas chambers. French emotions around France's history of collaborating with the Nazis remain raw, seven decades after the war's end. The country has never undergone a national atonement; instead many people still view the actions of the collaborationist Vichy regime as a historical anomaly instead of atrocities committed by the French state. Macron sought to bring the horrors of the Holocaust home to voters with his visit Friday to Oradour-sur-Glane, a ghost town left behind after the largest massacre in Nazi-occupied France. The town is today a phantom village, with burned-out cars and abandoned buildings left as testimony to its history. On June 10, 1944, four days after the Allied D-Day landings in Normandy, an SS armored division herded villagers into barns and a church, blocked the doors, and set Oradour-sur-Glane ablaze. A total of 642 men, women and children died. Only six people survived. In comments to local newspapers published on Friday, Macron said "we don't want to forget that from here, from Oradour, comes our Republican pride, the National Council of the Resistance that has built our (fundamental) balances, our strength and the European project. That is, everything Marine Le Pen wants to destroy." Le Pen prompted an outcry earlier this month by denying that the French state was responsible for the roundup of Jews in World War II, in a reference to the Vel d'Hiv, the Paris stadium where thousands of Jews were transferred before being sent to Nazi death camps. Meanwhile, interim National Front leader Jean-Francois Jalkh resigned Friday over comments reported in a 2000 interview in which he allegedly cast doubt on the truth of Nazi gas chambers. National Front vice president Louis Aliot said on BFM television Friday that Jalkh is stepping down to avoid further damage to the party, but that he is contesting allegations of Holocaust denial, a crime in France. Jalkh is also among seven people called to trial in an alleged illegal financing scheme for the party — one of the other challenges facing Le Pen's campaign. Aliot said Jalkh will be replaced as party leader by Steeve Briois, mayor of Le Pen's electoral fiefdom of Henin-Beaumont in depressed northern France. Soccer great Zinedine Zidane, meanwhile, joined the list of prominent figures urging voters to keep Le Pen out of the presidency. Le Pen is not letting setbacks deter her. She is painting herself as David against rival Emmanuel Macron's Goliath as she tries to overcome a poll gap and broaden her support base. The two candidates offer starkly different visions of France's future — Macron's embrace of a globalized, diverse nation within an open-bordered Europe vs. Le Pen's protectionist, tightly policed France independent of the EU. Le Pen reached out Friday from her far-right base across to th[...]
Fri, 28 Apr 2017 05:40:00 GMTDALLAS – United Airlines moved to staunch criticism – and any customer defections – by reaching a settlement Thursday with a passenger dragged off one of its planes two weeks ago and issuing new policies designed to prevent similar customer-service failures. On April 9, Kentucky physician David Dao was forcibly removed from a flight after refusing to give up his seat to a crew member. The incident ignited a debate about poor service and a lack of customer-friendly policies on U.S. airlines. United and lawyers for Dao declined to disclose financial terms of the settlement Thursday. Earlier, United announced steps it would take to reduce overbooking of flights. Among other things, the airline said it will raise the limit on payments to customers who give up seats on oversold flights to $10,000, and it will improve training of employees. Dao’s lead attorney, Thomas Demetrio, praised the airline and its CEO, Oscar Munoz, for accepting responsibility and not blaming others, including the city of Chicago, whose airport security officers yanked Dao from his seat and dragged him off the United Express plane. Dao never filed a lawsuit against United, but Demetrio had said legal action was likely. Dao was waiting to fly to Louisville, Kentucky, on April 9 when the airline decided it needed four seats for Republic Airline crew members who needed to travel to work another United Express flight in Louisville the next morning. When Dao and his wife were selected for bumping, he refused to leave. Video of the incident has sparked more than two weeks of withering criticism and mockery of United. Munoz initially blamed Dao, but later said he was horrified by the event and called it a failure on United’s part. On Thursday, United released a report on the incident that outlined new policies to prevent a repeat. The airline vowed to reduce, but not eliminate, overbooking – the selling of more tickets than there are seats on the plane. United won’t say whether ticket sales have dropped, but the airline’s CEO acknowledged the Dao incident could be damaging. “I breached public trust with this event and how we responded,” Oscar Munoz said. “People are upset, and I suspect that there are a lot of people potentially thinking of not flying us.” To head off customer defections, United had already announced that it will no longer call police to remove passengers from overbooked flights, and will require airline crews traveling for work to check in sooner. On Thursday, it added several other new policies including: • Raising the limit on compensation to $10,000 for customers who give up their seats starting Friday. That is a maximum – it’s unclear how many, if any, passengers would see that much. The current limit is $1,350. Delta Air Lines earlier this month raised its limit to $9,950. • Sending displaced passengers or crew members to nearby airports, putting them on other airlines or arranging for car transportation to get them to their destinations. • Giving gate agents annual refresher training in dealing with oversold flights. Munoz said he also wants agents and flight attendants to get more help at de-escalating tense situations. While not a factor in this month’s incident, United also said that starting in June it will pay customers $1,500 with no questions asked if the airline loses their bag. For United, the timing of the viral video could hardly have been worse. The airline struggled badly after a 2010 merger with Continental, enduring several technology breakdowns that an[...]
Fri, 28 Apr 2017 05:18:00 GMTFOX RIVER GROVE – The village of Fox River Grove is hosting an open house Saturday so the public can view its new Public Works Department facility.
Fri, 28 Apr 2017 05:17:00 GMTROCKFORD – A suspended physician was sentenced to nine years in federal prison Thursday on charges of federal health care fraud, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
Fri, 28 Apr 2017 05:17:00 GMTHUNTLEY – When Thomas Cristofaro was born, doctors didn’t know whether he would have problems with his development or whether he would be able to play sports.
Fri, 28 Apr 2017 05:17:00 GMTSee 21 teams compete for bragging rights at the Literacy Connection’s Trivia Bee on Saturday at Grand Victoria Casino in Elgin.
Fri, 28 Apr 2017 05:17:00 GMTMcHENRY – McHenry County residents are invited to join the suicide-prevention movement by attending McHenry’s Out of the Darkness Campus Walk on Saturday.
Fri, 28 Apr 2017 05:17:00 GMTWOODSTOCK – McHenry County jurors this week found a McHenry man guilty of robbing a Discount Cigarette and Cigar Center in 2014.
Fri, 28 Apr 2017 05:15:00 GMTWOODSTOCK – Revisions to McHenry County Board rules to incorporate the new but unused electronic voting system are headed to the full board for approval.
Fri, 28 Apr 2017 05:14:00 GMTWOODSTOCK – A commuter train struck and killed a woman early Thursday in Woodstock.
Fri, 28 Apr 2017 05:13:00 GMTOAKWOOD HILLS – The village’s new chief of police, Valiza Nash, comes to the area with a decorated past and big plans for the future, but after only a few months on the job, she’s already facing controversy and calls for her department to be disbanded. Much of the controversy spilled out last month over the hiring of an officer who filed a federal lawsuit against the municipality he previously worked for, but there’s also an online petition circulating among some residents that calls for getting rid of the Oakwood Hills Police Department and having the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office take over. After spending more than two decades with the North Chicago Police Department, Nash retired as a sergeant and shift commander to accept the chief of police position in Oakwood Hills. Nash, 51, was interviewed along with two other candidates for the job. The Oakwood Hills Village Board unanimously voted Feb. 7 to appoint Nash to the job. Village Trustee Kristina Zahorik said she knew Nash personally and didn’t participate in the interview process. However, Zahorik did vote for Nash’s appointment. Trustees Mark Wise and Kerry Leigh were absent from the special meeting and didn’t vote, according to meeting minutes. Nash replaced part-time Police Chief Peter Goldman, who was involved in a car crash last fall and had not been able to return to his duties. Village President Paul Smith removed Goldman from his position a week before Nash was hired. Nash is the first full-time police chief in many years. She said she will be paid $47,500 a year. The department has six officers, including Nash. Most of them are part time. Nash said the department soon will have a full-time police officer after training is completed this summer. Police department spending accounted for about 35 percent of the village’s $737,275 budget, according to Oakwood Hills 2016-17 budget. Although the move came a few years before Nash planned to retire, she said she couldn’t pass up the opportunity. “I wasn’t ready for it yet – I wanted at least three more years in North Chicago. … But it came about, and you’ve got to take the opportunities as they come,” she said. Nash said that although North Chicago is larger than Oakwood Hills, the crimes are not necessarily unique. “You have the same crimes, it’s just a different zip code … just maybe not as frequent,” she said. Nash first realized she wanted to get into law enforcement after her brother was accused of a crime he didn’t commit in the late 1970s and she saw firsthand the effects of what bad policing can do to a person. “I wanted to be a part of stopping that within the law enforcement community,” she said. Now that she’s getting into to her new position, Nash has some changes to make. She said she plans to bring the department into the 21st century with updated technology. Through grants and other sources of funding, Nash said she’s looking into body cameras, LiveScan fingerprinting and an updated evidence management system. The department also has started a Facebook page to share what’s going on at the department. The department will participate in the annual National Night Out event as well as the Law Enforcement Torch Run, and it also plans to start a Citizens Police Academy and Police Ex[...]
Thu, 27 Apr 2017 23:55:00 GMTGathered as of April 10 by Record Information Services, a company that compiles public record information. This list contains business-to-business filings for McHenry County and does not represent the entire public record. Incorporations 03/10/17 - Sarris Designs & Interiors Inc, 2705 Rose Ave, Mchenry 60050-1734, Stephanie A Sarris 03/10/17 - Empower Dance Midwest, 339 Lloyd St, Cary 60013-2127, Sharon Smith 03/17/17 - Arch Transition Experts Inc, 50 N Virginia St, Crystal Lake 60014-4126, Ryan P Farrell 03/24/17 - Ralfi Express Inc, 1555 Autumncrest Dr, Crystal Lake 60014-2947, Dominika Kupiec 03/24/17 - Marazza Construction Co, 11720 Cape Cod Ln, Huntley 60142-6734, Louis Morales 03/24/17 - Kind Trils Corp, 2 Grandview Ct, Algonquin 60102-1993, Patricia Lacheta 03/31/17 - The Prime Group Exteriors Inc, 11870 Haegers Bend Rd, Barrington 60010-9054, Gregorz Swiercz 03/31/17 - Fox Valley Masonry Inc, 6 Wander Way, Lake In The Hills 60156-1336, Bernadetta Walaszek 03/31/17 - Fox Valley Eagles Football Association Inc NFP, 638 Joy Ct, Marengo 60152-3309, Jett Gregory Zurba 03/31/17 - Boutique Motors Inc, 20 Northwest Hwy, Cary 60013-2926, Christina Rein 04/07/17 - Stalkers Construction & Window Cleaning NC, 11903 Prairie Ave, Hebron 60034-8863, Josephy R Stalker 04/07/17 - Pathlight International Inc, 704 Village Cir, Marengo 60152-3634, Jodi Burnside 04/07/17 - Grotham Exteriors Inc, 601 Park Dr, Marengo 60152-2976, Robert G Grotham Business licenses 03/10/17 - Adornments 4 You, 320 Aberdeen Dr, Algonquin 60102-1742 03/10/17 - Ayfocy, 398 Oakmont Dr, Cary 60013-1180 03/10/17 - Charles Langer Trucking, 2385 Linden Dr, Woodstock 60098-9275 03/10/17 - Frank Lile, 301 Cobblestone Ct, Lake In The Hills 60156-4420 03/10/17 - Green Pine Landscaping, 1200 N Division St, Harvard 60033-1759 03/10/17 - Haase Wood Concepts, 2413 W Algonquin Rd Ste 237, Algonquin 60102-9402 03/10/17 - Mom & Dads Bath Bombs & More, 3206 Eastwood Dr, Wonder Lake 60097-9216 03/10/17 - Risenshine, 2414 Aspen Dr, Woodstock 60098-7496 03/10/17 - Ten 99, 1532 Clay St, Woodstock 60098-2526 03/10/17 - Wonderwave Design & Hosting, 3204 Hillside Dr, Wonder Lake 60097-9331 03/10/17 - Wonderwave Wireless Solutions, 3204 Hillside Dr, Wonder Lake 60097-9331 03/17/17 - Artie Russell Horseshoeing, 1068 Butler Dr, Crystal Lake 60014-6927 03/17/17 - Big Ass Bandana, 22516 Carmack Rd, Marengo 60152-9619 03/17/17 - Midwest Motors Group, 680 W Terra Cotta Ave, Crystal Lake 60014-3441 03/17/17 - Mobile Sandblasting, 411 S Shannon Dr, Woodstock 60098-9423 03/17/17 - Speed Lamps, 809 Oak Manor Dr, Marengo 60152-3503 03/24/17 - Blanc Ny, 1096 Viewpoint Dr, Lake In The Hills 60156-4935 03/24/17 - County Investments Beyond 2000, 11880 Niagra Ln, Huntley 60142-6766 03/[...]
Thu, 27 Apr 2017 20:53:00 GMTPolice arrested nine teenagers Wednesday and Thursday in connection with a stabbing earlier this month that closed down Route 14 while police searched the area.
Thu, 27 Apr 2017 16:16:00 GMTCRYSTAL LAKE – Police arrested nine teenagers Wednesday and Thursday in connection with a stabbing earlier this month that closed down Route 14 while police searched the area. On April 3, officers were called to the 400 block of West Virginia Street in Crystal Lake where they found two people who had serious stab wounds. During the three-week investigation, police discovered a fight had broken out on the 400 block of Berkshire Drive after an attempted robbery. Several people involved didn't cooperate with investigators, police said. The suspects used baseball bats during the planned robbery attempt, and one of the robbery victims stabbed two of the suspects – Tyler Novak and Thomas Madura – with a knife during the attack, police said. The victims weren’t charged because they were acting in self-defense, Deputy Police Chief Derek Hyrkas said. Hyrkas declined to comment on whether the victims had any connection to the nine suspects. “I am not going to get into that detail,” he said. “The case was complex and took a while, and there was a lack of cooperation with a lot of the people involved. A lot will come out appropriately in court.” All of the suspects were involved in some way with the robbery, Hyrkas said. He declined to say what the suspects were trying to steal. Six men and three boys face charges of vehicular invasion, aggravated robbery, attempted aggravated robbery, mob action, aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and two counts of aggravated battery in a public place. If convicted of the most serious offense, a Class 1 felony, the men could face four to 15 years in prison. The men are Davon E. Manning, 18, of Crystal Lake; Brandon D. Rosas, 18, of Crystal Lake; Dylan P. Macari, 18, of Huntley; Geoffrey M. Miller, 18, of Lake in the Hills; Thomas S. Madura, 18, of Crystal Lake; and Tyler A. Novak, 18, of Lake in the Hills. All were taken to jail and held in lieu of $75,000 or $80,000 bond. Since then, Novak, Miller, Macari posted bond and were released. The boys were not named because of their age, police said. They were taken to the Kane County Juvenile Justice Center in St. Charles. They will remain there pending a hearing in juvenile court, police said. All of the men are scheduled to be in court at 9 a.m. May 10 at the McHenry County Courthouse in Woodstock. It wasn’t immediately clear whether the incident was gang-related. On Feb. 21, Davon Manning posted a status update on his Facebook profile that referred to gang activity and "snitchin." “I am not going to get into details on whether it was gang-related,” Hyrkas said. “The whole thing is so complex we will rely on prosecutors to present in court before more information is released.” Both Novak and Macari had been athletes at Huntley High School. Novak played varsity baseball, and Macari played varsity football. Hyrkas said that there is no reason to believe the public is in danger. “Our community is very safe. This stuff doesn’t happen very often at all,” he said. “We feel very strongly this is isolated. It was not random. These individuals planned this. We feel confident the public has nothing to fear.” [...]To[...]
Thu, 27 Apr 2017 15:52:00 GMTWASHINGTON – More Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week, but applications remained at a low level that suggests most workers enjoy job security.
Thu, 27 Apr 2017 05:47:00 GMTCHICAGO – The Archdiocese of Chicago will pay $4.45 million to settle separate lawsuits brought by three men who allege they were sexually abused more than a decade ago by a former Roman Catholic priest and convicted sex offender.
Thu, 27 Apr 2017 05:40:00 GMTLONDON – United Airlines is reviewing its handling of a giant showcase rabbit that died after being shipped across the Atlantic from Britain on one of its flights, the latest in a growing list of customer complaints. Distraught breeder Annette Edwards told The Associated Press by phone Wednesday that a veterinarian had checked Simon – a 10-month-old, 3-foot continental rabbit – shortly before the animal was placed on a United flight from London’s Heathrow Airport to Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. Edwards said Simon is the offspring of Darius, which the Guinness World Records lists as the world’s longest rabbit at 4 feet, 3 inches. “Simon had his vet check just before getting on the plane,” she said from Worcestershire in central England. “He was fit as a fiddle.” United spokesman Charles Hobart said the rabbit was moving around in its crate and appeared healthy when taken off the plane in O’Hare, waiting to be put on another flight to Kansas City. About a half-hour later, at the company-run pet facility, Simon seemed to be sleeping. Shortly after that, a pet facility employee opened the cage and found the rabbit dead. He said the airline is reviewing its handling of the animal. “We won’t know the cause of death, because we offered to perform a necropsy free of charge – that’s standard procedure – but the customer didn’t want us to perform a necropsy, and we understand,” he said. Hobart said the airline offered compensation to the breeder but would not disclose the amount. Bryan Bergdale, a farmland investment manager, said he bought the rabbit for his boss, who had hoped to show it at the Iowa State Fair. He had driven from the Des Moines area to Kansas City and was nearing the airport last Thursday when United called with the bad news. At first, he didn’t believe it. “We’d built a pen and had toys all ready. It’s sort of a sad deal,” he said. Bergdale, 29, said he’d tracked down the breeder and bought the rabbit for his boss, Steve Bruere, who owns a farm real estate company in the Des Moines suburb of Clive. Bergdale said the rabbit cost $530 and the shipping was $1,800. Bergdale said the United representative didn’t say anything about compensating him for the loss. “We’re still in the mourning process,” he said. “We’re not quite sure what we’re going to do.” United had the second-highest level of animal deaths and injuries of any U.S. airline last year, or 2.11 per 10,000 animals transported, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. Only Hawaiian Airlines was worse at 3.99, the result of three deaths among the 7,518 animals it transported. United transported 109,149 animals last year, second only to Alaska Airlines with 112,281. United reported nine deaths and 14 injuries, the highest figures for each category among U.S. carriers. Alaska reported two deaths and one injury. United said it works to protect the safety of animals through its PetSafe program, which is staffed 24 hours a day and allows pet owners to track their animals from point of origin to destination. “Travel can be stressful for animals,” Hobart said, adding[...]
Thu, 27 Apr 2017 05:38:00 GMTCRYSTAL LAKE – Passes for Main and West beaches on Crystal Lake will go on sale May 8.
Thu, 27 Apr 2017 05:37:00 GMTCRYSTAL LAKE – Crystal Lake police went door-to-door this month to make sure sex offenders are living at their registered addresses.
Thu, 27 Apr 2017 05:37:00 GMTFOX RIVER GROVE – A new class of liquor license has been created in Fox River Grove to ensure that when a liquor license is given to a new business, it’s primarily operating as a restaurant, Village Administrator Derek Soderholm said.
Thu, 27 Apr 2017 05:36:00 GMTCRYSTAL LAKE – High School District 155 is partnering with Lake in the Hills Airport to offer interested students an opportunity to earn a private pilot license.
Thu, 27 Apr 2017 05:36:00 GMTALGONQUIN – Although 14-year-old Talia Freund lost her battle with metastatic Ewing’s sarcoma Monday, her family has pledged to continue her battle to fight childhood cancer.
Thu, 27 Apr 2017 05:35:00 GMTMcHENRY – Almost two years after Gov. Bruce Rauner signed a law that required McHenry County to reduce its number of dispatch centers, Northeast Regional Communications Center has started taking calls. The dispatch center, which will have its grand opening Monday, was formed from a partnership with the McHenry police, McHenry Township Fire Protection District, Woodstock police and Harvard police. It will be the emergency service provider for 16 local agencies, including the McHenry Township Fire Protection District, Woodstock Police Department, Harvard Police Department, Johnsburg Police Department and Woodstock Fire District.The center will house nine dispatch workstations for those agencies. “We’re excited to have other agencies here,” NERCOM supervisor Jennifer Synek said. “It’s a streamlined process. I know it’s something that was mandated by the government, but we’re here to do a job, and we’re here to do it efficiently.” The law was signed by the governor in 2015 mandating that dispatch centers consolidate. The state mandate requires any county with at least 250,000 residents, which includes McHenry County, to cut its dispatch center by 50 percent by July 1. At an open house Wednesday, McHenry Police Chief John Jones said the consolidation was going to happen even if the governor didn’t mandate it. “Prior to this, we were already dispatching for other area departments. … So in my opinion, this was a natural progression,” Jones said. The McHenry Police Department started evaluating the McHenry Dispatch Center for potential future growth in 2011, and a formal partnership was created between McHenry police and fire departments in 2015 to expand services of the center. Not long after, the state passed the legislation requiring consolidation. The project’s construction and renovation began in September and was recently completed. Jones said the dispatch center’s cost was about $1.3 million. Both Harvard and Woodstock will be responsible for a percentage of NERCOM’s operational costs. “Because Gov. Rauner made it a mandate that 50 percent of our dispatch centers close in McHenry County, a lot of that was made eligible by a grant refund, so we’ve submitted our grant application, and we’re pretty confident we’re going to get the majority of our costs for the dispatch center back,” Jones said. NERCOM staffing will consist of 21 full-time, nonsworn dispatchers and six part-time dispatchers working 12-hour rotating shifts. Woodstock will bring in five of its dispatchers to NERCOM on Monday. “I think the city of Woodstock took the best course of action possible with this partnership as far as being part of NERCOM,” Woodstock Police Chief John Lieb said. “This is the best route possible to benefit the city, the citizens of Woodstock and the dispatchers that had to move. And as always, we are abiding by the state mandate for consolidation, so once again I think this is the best result considering the situation.” However, Lieb said they are some minor concerns to start the consolidation. [...]
Thu, 27 Apr 2017 05:35:00 GMTMcHENRY – Police arrested a local man Tuesday after finding equipment for making methamphetamine and methamphetamine manufacturing waste at a home in a residential neighborhood near McHenry.
Thu, 27 Apr 2017 05:27:00 GMTNEW YORK – A startling new report asserts that the first-known Americans arrived much, much earlier than scientists thought – more than 100,000 years ago – and maybe they were Neanderthals. If true, the finding would far surpass the widely accepted date of about 15,000 years ago. Researchers say a site in Southern California shows evidence of humanlike behavior from about 130,000 years ago, when bones and teeth of an elephantlike mastodon evidently were smashed with rocks. The earlier date means the bone-smashers were not necessarily members of our own species, Homo sapiens. The researchers speculate that these early Californians could instead have been species known only from fossils in Europe, Africa and Asia: Neanderthals, a little-known group called Denisovans, or another human forerunner named Homo erectus. “The very honest answer is, we don’t know,” said Steven Holen, lead author of the paper and director of the nonprofit Center for American Paleolithic Research in Hot Springs, South Dakota. No remains of any individuals were found. Whoever they were, they could have arrived by land or sea. They might have come from Asia via the Beringea land bridge that used to connect Siberia to Alaska, or maybe came across by watercraft along the Beringea coast or across open water to North America, before turning southward to California, Holen said in a telephone interview. Holen and others present their evidence in a paper released Wednesday by the journal Nature. Not surprisingly, the report was met by skepticism from other experts who don’t think there is enough proof. The research dates back to the winter of 1992-93. The site was unearthed during a routine dig by researchers during a freeway expansion project in San Diego. Analysis of the find was delayed to assemble the right expertise, said Tom Demere, curator of paleontology at the San Diego Natural History Museum, another author of the paper. The Nature analysis focuses on remains from a single mastodon, and five stones found nearby. The mastodon’s bones and teeth evidently were placed on two stones used as anvils and smashed with three stone hammers, to get at nutritious marrow and create raw material for tools. Patterns of damage on the limb bones looked like what happened in experiments when elephant bones were smashed with rocks. And the bones and stones were found in two areas, each roughly centered on what’s thought to be an anvil. The stones measured about 8 inches to 12 inches long and weighed up to 32 pounds. They weren’t handcrafted tools, Demere said. The users evidently found them and brought them to the site. The excavation also found a mastodon tusk in a vertical position, extending down into older layers, which may indicate it had been jammed into the ground as a marker or to create a platform, Demere said. The fate of the visitors is not clear. Maybe they died out without leaving any descendants, he said. Experts not connected with the study provided a range of react[...]
Thu, 27 Apr 2017 05:27:00 GMTMONTPELIER, Vt. – Fearing a return to violent protests that roiled campuses in the 1970s, colleges and universities are re-examining how to protect free speech while keeping students and employees safe in a time of political polarization. Campus police are trying new tactics to try to keep events peaceful, while other schools have abruptly canceled controversial speakers over safety concerns, as the University of California, Berkeley, did with conservative writer Ann Coulter’s appearance, originally scheduled for Thursday. In response to earlier rioting at Berkeley, the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators last month put on daylong protest preparation and response training sessions at Chapman University in Orange, California, the University of Notre Dame in Indiana and the University of Maryland, attended by law enforcement from about 40 colleges and universities. Another training session will take place Thursday at the University of Hartford in Connecticut. “Our mission is basically to protect the university’s mission, which is to have civil debate and present both sides of an issue and have things be done in a way that’s civil,” said the association’s president, Randy Burba, police chief at Chapman. “It’s a challenge to make that happen when there’s really opposing sides and views, but that’s really what we’re supposed to do.” Burba declined to offer specifics about the training, to avoid disclosing proprietary police tactics. But, he said, the sessions were a chance to remind campus police of best practices: to know and be engaged with the college community, do research on speakers, look at what’s happened at other campuses, and meet with the leaders of protest groups ahead of time to talk about their plans and the college rules. At Vermont’s Middlebury College last month, protesters shouted down guest speaker Charles Murray, a social scientist who critics say used pseudoscience to link intelligence to race in the 1994 book “The Bell Curve.” Afterward, protesters surrounded Murray and professor Allison Stanger, with a protester pulling Stanger’s hair, police said. The protesters also climbed onto the car carrying Stanger and Murray and rocked it. Stanger, who was treated for a neck injury and a concussion, said she feared for her life. Middlebury said last week that 70 people might be subject to discipline, and that more than 30 students so far had been punished, but officials did not elaborate. Stanger wrote an editorial about her experience, saying the country’s “constitutional democracy will depend on whether Americans can relearn how to engage civilly with one another, something that is admittedly hard to do with a bullying president as a role model. But any other way forward would be antithetical to the very ideals of the university and of liberal democracy.” Bertram Johnson, chairman of the political science department that co-sponsored the event, last week wrote in the college newspaper that it was a mistake for him to offer [...]
Thu, 27 Apr 2017 05:26:00 GMTWASHINGTON – Dismissing concerns about ballooning federal deficits, President Donald Trump on Wednesday proposed dramatic tax cuts for U.S. businesses and individuals – outlining an overhaul his administration promises will spur economic growth and simplify America’s tangle of tax code rules. His proposal, a one-page sketch short on detail, would reduce the top corporate tax rate by 20 percentage points and allow private business owners to claim the new lower rate for their take-home pay. It would whittle the number of tax brackets for individuals from seven to three, lower the top tax rate from 39.6 percent to 35 percent and double the standard amount taxpayers could deduct. It would eliminate the estate tax and reduce taxes on investments, typically paid by the rich. It would further reduce the tax burden for the wealthy by eliminating the catch-all alternative minimum tax, which takes an additional bite out of high-income Americans. More lower-income Americans would pay no tax at all, and there would be relief – still undefined – for families with child care expenses. The plan does not propose any budget cuts or tax increases that might offset the lost revenue, a choice that alarms some fiscal conservatives in Trump’s party who have spent years railing about the dangers of deficit spending. It also does not fully embrace tax proposals backed by Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan, an essential ally if the president is to make good on his promise to deliver a tax overhaul that creates growth and brings jobs to struggling parts of the country. Still, “I would never, ever bet against this president. He will get this done for the American people,” said Gary Cohn, director of the White House National Economic Council. “He understands that there are a lot people who work hard and feel like they’re not getting ahead.” The president’s proposal marks a rehash of an economic theory popularized in the 1980s. Trump officials essentially argue that benefits from the tax cuts will trickle down from higher profits for companies into stronger pay raises for workers and greater consumer spending. This expected surge in growth, in theory, would be enough to keep the federal budget deficit from shooting upward. Some economists agree, but most budget experts have said it’s unlikely. “Unfortunately, it seems the administration is using economic growth like magic beans – the cheap solution to all our problems,” said Maya MacGuineas, president of the nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. “But there is no golden goose at the top of the tax cut beanstalk, just mountains of debt.” Trump’s plan resembles aspects of the tax ideas he campaigned on last year. The right-leaning Tax Foundation estimated that, even after accounting for growth, the Trump campaign plan would put a $2.6 trillion to $3.9 trillion hole in the budget over 10 years. “We know this is difficult,” Cohn said. “We know what we’re asking for is a big[...]
Thu, 27 Apr 2017 05:26:00 GMTSPRINGFIELD – Trustees of an Illinois state retirement board on Wednesday terminated the pension that imprisoned former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert received for his nearly six years of service in the Illinois General Assembly.
Thu, 27 Apr 2017 05:26:00 GMTWASHINGTON – The Trump administration told lawmakers Wednesday it will apply economic and diplomatic pressure on North Korea to dismantle its nuclear weapons program, as an extraordinary White House briefing served to tamp down talk of military action against an unpredictable and increasingly dangerous U.S. adversary. President Donald Trump welcomed Republican and Democratic senators before his secretary of state, defense secretary, top general and national intelligence director conducted a classified briefing. The same team also was meeting with House members in the Capitol to outline the North’s escalating nuclear capabilities and U.S. response options to what they called an “urgent national security threat.” After weeks of unusually blunt military threats, the joint statement by the agency chiefs said Trump’s approach “aims to pressure North Korea into dismantling its nuclear, ballistic missile and proliferation programs by tightening economic sanctions and pursuing diplomatic measures with our allies and regional partners.” It made no specific mention of military options, though it said the U.S. would defend itself and friends. The unprecedented meeting in a building adjacent to the White House reflected the increased American alarm over North Korea’s progress in developing a nuclear-tipped missile that could strike the U.S. mainland. A flurry of military activity, by North Korea and the U.S. and its partners on and around the divided Korean Peninsula, has added to the world’s sense of alert. While tensions have increased since Trump took office, they’ve escalated dramatically in recent weeks as American and other intelligence agencies suggested the North was readying for a possible nuclear test. Although such an explosion hasn’t yet occurred, Trump has sent high-powered U.S. military vessels and an aircraft carrier to the region in a show of force, while the North conducted large-scale, live-fire artillery drills, witnessed by national leader Kim Jong Un, earlier this week. On Wednesday, South Korea started installing key parts of a contentious U.S. missile defense system that also has sparked Chinese and Russian concerns. America’s Pacific forces commander, Adm. Harry Harris Jr., told Congress on Wednesday the system would be operational within days. He said any North Korean missile fired at U.S. forces would be destroyed. “If it flies, it will die,” Harris said. The Trump administration has said all options, including a military strike, are on the table. But the administration’s statement after briefing senators – all 100 members were invited – outlined a similar approach to the Obama administration’s focus on pressuring Pyongyang to return to long-stalled denuclearization talks. Trump’s top national security advisers said they were “open to negotiations” with the North, though they gave no indication of when or under what circumstances. The strategy hinges greatly on the cooperation of China, North Kore[...]
Thu, 27 Apr 2017 05:25:00 GMTJOLIET TOWNSHIP – Searchers scoured the Preston Heights area Wednesday for a missing 1-year-old girl. Will County Sheriff’s Deputy Chief Rick Ackerson said at a news conference Wednesday afternoon that hundreds of police and volunteers had been searching for Semaj Crosby. “It’s such a large area, open fields, woods, trees, retention ponds,” Ackerson said. “We’re doing everything we can to find her.” Ackerson said nothing investigators had learned indicates that the girl did not wander off on her own. The FBI was called Wednesday morning to assist in the case. Semaj was reported missing to police about 6 p.m. Tuesday. Ackerson said she’d been playing with about six other children in front of her family’s home in the 300 block of Louis Road. “She was right there one minute and gone the next,” Ackerson said. Dive teams from a half-dozen area fire agencies were called to search the retention ponds near the area, but one firefighter indicated the searches were being done as a precaution, not because the child was seen near the water. Ackerson said the child has been near the ponds with adults in the past. Semaj was last seen wearing a long-sleeved gray shirt with a cat face on it and blue jeans. Her hair was in ponytails with white beads. The 18-month-old girl was barefoot. She answers to “Tink” or “Majay.” The Department of Children and Family Services opened two investigations of the mother for allegations of neglect last month. DCFS spokeswoman Veronica Resa said in an email that DCFS personnel had been at the home about 3:20 p.m. Tuesday “and had seen all three of the mother’s children, including Semaj. There were no obvious hazards or safety concerns at that time.” Resa said DCFS has been offering services to the family since September. Ackerson said deputies responded to a 911 hang-up from the residence on Easter Sunday. There was no disturbance, but deputies provided some candy and toys for the children at the house, he said. Oak Valley School, which borders the backyard of the Crosby home, will provide its school surveillance video to police. The Will County Sheriff’s Office considers this to be a missing child case, and Semaj’s family is fully cooperating with detectives, Ackerson said. Police searched the Preston Heights area throughout Tuesday night, using bloodhounds, more than 80 emergency personnel and a helicopter with infrared sensors, but they were unable to locate the girl. On Wednesday morning, a second team of bloodhounds was called to the scene from Cook County. Responders with the Will County Emergency Management Agency, Forest Preserve District of Will County and sheriff’s office continued to search, and the East Joliet Fire Department was coordinating water and drone searches. There are seven retention ponds nearby – some in the[...]
Wed, 26 Apr 2017 19:10:00 GMTNEW YORK – A startling new report asserts that the first known Americans arrived much, much earlier than scientists thought — more than 100,000 years ago __ and maybe they were Neanderthals. If true, the finding would far surpass the widely accepted date of about 15,000 years ago. Researchers say a site in Southern California shows evidence of humanlike behavior from about 130,000 years ago, when bones and teeth of an elephantlike mastodon were evidently smashed with rocks. The earlier date means the bone-smashers were not necessarily members of our own species, Homo sapiens. The researchers speculate that these early Californians could have instead been species known only from fossils in Europe, Africa and Asia: Neanderthals, a little-known group called Denisovans, or another human forerunner named Homo erectus. "The very honest answer is, we don't know," said Steven Holen, lead author of the paper and director of the nonprofit Center for American Paleolithic Research in Hot Springs, South Dakota. No remains of any individuals were found. Whoever they were, they could have arrived by land or sea. They might have come from Asia via the Beringea land bridge that used to connect Siberia to Alaska, or maybe come across by watercraft along the Beringea coast or across open water to North America, before turning southward to California, Holen said in a telephone interview. Holen and others present their evidence in a paper released Wednesday by the journal Nature . Not surprisingly, the report was met by skepticism from other experts who don't think there is enough proof. The research dates back to the winter of 1992-3. The site was unearthed during a routine dig by researchers during a freeway expansion project in San Diego. Analysis of the find was delayed to assemble the right expertise, said Tom Demere, curator of paleontology at the San Diego Natural History Museum, another author of the paper. The Nature analysis focuses on remains from a single mastodon, and five stones found nearby. The mastodon's bones and teeth were evidently placed on two stones used as anvils and smashed with three stone hammers, to get at nutritious marrow and create raw material for tools. Patterns of damage on the limb bones looked like what happened in experiments when elephant bones were smashed with rocks. And the bones and stones were found in two areas, each roughly centered on what's thought to be an anvil. The stones measured about 8 inches (20 centimeters) to 12 inches (30 centimeters) long and weighed up to 32 pounds (14.5 kilograms). They weren't hand-crafted tools, Demere said. The users evidently found them and brought them to the site. The excavation also found a mastodon tusk in a vertical position, extending down into older layers, which may indicate it had been jammed into the ground as a marker or to create a platform, Demere said. [...]
Wed, 26 Apr 2017 17:25:00 GMTCRYSTAL LAKE – Beekeeping has been creating quite the buzz in McHenry County over the years as honeybee populations in Illinois continue to struggle. Larry Krengel, a beekeeping instructor at McHenry County College, has been teaching people the ins and outs of keeping colonies for about two decades and said he has seen a rapid increase in interest in the hobby. The college holds seminars in the spring to prepare for bee season, which typically begins at the end of March. This year, the course had so much interest that it was broken up into two sessions. “I think many people feel they can be of a help because of the problem the honeybees are having,” he said. “I also think they find a fascination with it. The world of the honeybee is quite intriguing.” About $15 billion worth of U.S. crops are pollinated by the honeybee, but populations are declining because of a variety of factors, including vicious parasites and what has been known as colony collapse disorder – where mature worker bees leave the hive, and the queen and remaining nurse and immature bees don’t survive, Krengel said. The No. 1 challenge local beekeepers face now is a parasite called the varroa mite, which made its first appearance in the U.S. in the late 1980s. “It now exists in every state,” Krengel said. “There is no way to get rid of it. How to manage it is the biggest challenge.” It’s not just the honeybee that is in danger. The rusty patched bumblebee is an endangered species and recently has caused headaches in Algonquin. Its potential presence has halted work on the already-controversial Longmeadow Parkway project near Randall Road. The bee is the first bumblebee to officially be named endangered under the Endangered Species Act. The issue is national. At the beginning of 2016, the number of honeybee colonies was down 8 percent from 2015, with varroa mites being the top cause for loss, according to a report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. General Mills recently removed its iconic mascot from its Honey Nut Cheerios boxes in an effort to raise awareness of the issue. But backyard beekeepers are making a difference, Krengel said. “My philosophy is that it very well could be the small-scale beekeeper that saves the day,” he said. “I think having many bees in many places is how we will save the bee.” In McHenry County, there are 113 registered beekeepers and a total of 1,305 active colonies, according to the Illinois Department of Agriculture. Jerry Gudauskas of McHenry got started because he noticed his own garden wasn’t being properly pollinated. He now is studying at the University of Florida for a master’s in beekeeping, belongs to many beekeeping organizations around Illinois and Florida, takes care of 15 hives and raises queen bees. [...]
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Wed, 26 Apr 2017 05:44:00 GMTSPRINGFIELD – The Democratic-controlled Illinois House approved legislation Tuesday that would allow the state to cover abortions for state employees and Medicaid recipients, voting just hours after several hundred people from across the state flocked to the Capitol to lobby their lawmakers to support it. The 62-55 party-line vote coincided with a rally by women’s groups outside the Capitol that focused on a “progressive” legislative agenda, headed by the abortion measure. Springing from the inauguration of Republican President Donald Trump in January, the issue has gained enough steam this spring to force GOP Bruce Rauner to walk back his former support for expanding publicly funded abortions. Despite the familiarity of the arguments from both sides, the floor debate lasted two hours and was fueled by the morning rally, called the Illinois Women March, which was patterned after similar marches worldwide Jan. 21. “Women should have access to safe, legal and accessible abortion no matter what their insurance is,” Chicago Democratic Rep. Sara Feigenholtz, the proposal’s sponsor, said in closing the floor debate. Feigenholtz and other Democratic proponents argued the measure is a matter of fairness, ending the “two-tiered” system that denies low-income women and state employees the same access to abortion coverage that women insured privately or by some units of local government receive and protecting their right to make reproductive health decisions. They said the proposal would also safeguard abortion access in Illinois by striking language in current law expressing the state’s intent to criminalize the procedure if the landmark 1973 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that legalized it is ever overturned. But Republicans claimed the Legislature lacks necessary public support to use taxpayer dollars in funding the controversial procedure, particularly amid the state’s two-year-long budget crisis. “Where should this money come from?” asked Republican Rep. Peter Breen of Lombard, who said Medicaid-funded abortions do not qualify for a federal match and would cost Illinois an extra $60 million a year. “Should it come from cancer screenings? Legitimate medical expenses like heart medicine or insulin?” Breen also called striking the so-called “trigger language” in existing law – which advocates say would criminalize abortion in Illinois if Roe v. Wade is overturned – a “smokescreen” to cover the bill’s funding expansion. He cited a 1989 analysis from the state’s nonpartisan Legislative Research Unit that found Illinois would need to reinstate criminal penalties for abortion before that language could have any practical application. During the debate, Democratic Majority Leader Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie of Chicago read from a statement she said Republican Gov. [...]
Wed, 26 Apr 2017 05:43:00 GMTDETROIT – A Chicago Palestinian activist with a decades-old record of bombings in Israel pleaded guilty Tuesday to concealing those convictions when she applied for U.S. citizenship. Rasmea Odeh, 69, will be deported to Jordan or another country in the months ahead. Supporters traveled to Detroit from Chicago to pack the courtroom, and many were in tears later on the courthouse steps. Odeh was convicted at trial in 2014 and sentenced to 18 months in prison, but the verdict was overturned. A second trial was planned in Detroit, the city where she went through the citizenship process in 2004, before she decided to accept a plea deal. But even with the plea agreement, Odeh found it impossible to say the word "guilty" when repeatedly asked by U.S. District Judge Gershwin Drain. He gave up and accepted her reply that she had admitted her crime in the court document. "I signed this," Odeh said. She won't spend any time in prison and will wait for U.S. immigration officials to tell her when she must leave the country. The deportation won't happen until after she appears in court in August. "The United States will never be a safe haven for individuals seeking to distance themselves from their pasts," said Steve Francis, special agent in charge of Homeland Security investigations in Detroit. In 1970, Odeh was convicted of two bombings in Israel, including one that killed two young men at a supermarket in Jerusalem. She insists she was tortured into confessing. She was sentenced to life in prison but was released in 1979 as part of a prisoner swap with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. With family in Michigan, she applied for a U.S. visa in 1994 but didn't disclose her criminal record. She also didn't disclose it when she applied for citizenship in 2004. Her record would have disqualified her from entering the U.S. In the plea agreement with prosecutors, Odeh said she made the false statements "intentionally and not as a result of any mistake, post-traumatic stress disorder or any other psychological issue or condition or for any innocent reason." In Chicago, Odeh has worked as associate director of the Arab American Action Network, which provides social services and education. She is widely respected for her work with immigrants, especially Arab women. Hatem Abudayyeh, director of the organization, told Odeh's allies outside the courthouse that she's guilty only of "dedicating over 50 years of her life to the liberation of Palestine." Before the guilty plea, a Detroit-area man held a sign outside to honor Leon Kanner and Eddie Joffe, the victims of the 1969 supermarket bombing. "I'm out here for the families," Dan Cutler, 65, said. [...]AP photo Sup[...]
Wed, 26 Apr 2017 05:43:00 GMTSEOUL, South Korea – In a defiant bit of timing, South Korea announced Wednesday that key parts of a contentious U.S. missile defense system had been installed a day after rival North Korea showed off its military power. The South's trumpeting of progress on setting up the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense system, or THAAD, comes as high-powered U.S. military assets converge on the Korean Peninsula and as a combative North Korea signals possible nuclear and missile testing. North Korea conducted live-fire artillery drills on Tuesday, the 85th anniversary of the founding of its million-person strong Korean People's Army. On the same day, a U.S. guided-missile submarine docked in South Korea, and the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier is headed toward the peninsula for a joint exercise with South Korea. The moves to set up THAAD within this year have angered not only North Korea, but also China, the country that the Trump administration hopes to work with to rid the North of nuclear weapons. China, which has grown increasingly frustrated with its ally Pyongyang, and Russia see the system's powerful radars as a security threat. South Korea said in a statement Wednesday that unspecified parts of THAAD were installed. The statement said that Seoul and Washington have been pushing to get THAAD quickly working to cope with North Korea's advancing nuclear and missile threats. According to Yonhap news agency, the parts include two or three launchers, intercept missiles and at least one radar. About 8,000 police officers were mobilized and the main road leading up to the site in the southeast was blocked earlier Wednesday, Yonhap reported. About 200 residents and protesters rallied in front of a local community center, some hurling plastic water bottles. On Tuesday, North Korea conducted live-fire drills near the east coast city of Wonsan that involved 300 to 400 artillery pieces, Yonhap reported. An official from Seoul's Defense Ministry couldn't confirm those specific details. North Korea's official media said early Wednesday that leader Kim Jong Un personally observed the exercises. The drills reportedly included submarine torpedo attacks on mock enemy warships "while fighters and bombers made zero feet flight above the sea to drop bombs on the targets," the Korean Central News Agency said. President Donald Trump has sent more U.S. military assets to the region in a show of force while leaning on China to exert economic pressure on its wayward ally. Chinese President Xi Jinping, who spoke to Trump on Monday, is urging restraint from both Pyongyang and Washington. In Washington, top Trump administration officials are scheduled to brief the entire U.S. Senate on Wednesday. A rapid tempo of North Korean weapons testing in the past year has pushed Kim Jong Un's authoritaria[...]
Wed, 26 Apr 2017 05:43:00 GMTCOLUMBIA, Tenn. – A 15-year-old Tennessee girl who authorities said was kidnapped by her teacher had endured months of abuse at the hands of her mother, according to court documents, making her particularly vulnerable to an adult predator. The mother is scheduled to appear in court next month and has pleaded not guilty to five counts of abuse and neglect involving several of her children. The girl’s father filed for divorce Monday, citing the alleged abuse. His daughter was found safe with her teacher last week at a cabin in a remote part of Northern California. The girl’s father has said the 50-year-old teacher brainwashed his daughter. In divorce documents, he said the teacher used his position of authority to “prey upon her, groom her, and ultimately entice her into running away with him.” The Associated Press is not naming the student or any family members because the teen is an alleged victim of a sex crime. The teacher, Tad Cummins, faces federal charges of bringing a minor across state lines for sex and state charges of aggravated kidnapping and sexual contact with a minor. Cummins’ attorney has said the girl went with her teacher willingly, and was not forced, threatened or coerced. School records showed the girl often relied on Cummins “like a friend and a counselor” when she became upset or anxious at school. A history of abuse at home can make children particularly susceptible to manipulation disguised as help, said David Finkelhor, director of the Crimes Against Children Research Center at the University of New Hampshire. “They’re very vulnerable to the grooming because this is an adult who seems to care about them and is interested in them, and that’s probably something they’re not getting elsewhere,” he said. Authorities said the mother physically abused several of her children for about a year, beginning in November 2014. The teen’s father was living at home during that time, but the couple separated in November 2015 and the father took sole custody of the children, according to the divorce filing. The parents have been married for 30 years and have 10 children together, although only four of them are still minors. The mother is accused of hitting her children until they bled, knocking a daughter unconscious with a wooden board and throwing a chair at another daughter, bruising her leg, court documents show. The mother also smacked a child in the head for injecting herself with her brother’s EpiPen. The mother said she can’t comment about the case. Her attorney has asked for more detail on the allegations and access to the children’s social media accounts. The mother has been ordered to stay away from the children, court records said. [...]
Wed, 26 Apr 2017 05:43:00 GMTSAN DIEGO – One of the nation's largest school districts is defending its campaign to fight Islamophobia and promote understanding of Muslim culture against critics who said it is favoring a religion. Kevin Beiser, vice president of the San Diego Unified School District board, said Tuesday that the effort is modeled on a plan he advanced several years ago to protect LGBT students. He said bullying of Muslim students is pervasive and vastly underreported. "Muslim students are constantly being harassed, spit on, verbally abused, pushed, shoved, their hijabs are being pulled," he said, calling it a "serious problem probably in every public school in the country." Critics planned a protest at Tuesday's school board meeting but no one in the audience rose to speak for or against the effort and there were no visible signs of opposition. The multiyear plan includes ensuring staff calendars include Muslim holidays, reviewing library materials on Muslim culture, providing resources to teachers and engaging in partnerships with the Council on American Islamic Relations. The district also plans to consider high school clubs that promote American Muslim culture, create "safe spaces" for students and train staff about Muslim culture. The district is reviewing internal staff calendars to make sure Muslim holidays are recognized. A letter outlining plans will be sent to staff and parents of its 132,000 students. It's expected to go out before Ramadan begins in late May. The plan drew little attention when the board approved it, 4-0, April 4, with one member absent. Public comments from staff and community members were uniformly positive. "We believe this is a great first step in the direction of protecting Muslim students from the bullying that is a direct result of the growing Islamophobia in our state and nation," Hanif Mohebi, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations' San Diego chapter, said after the vote. "Other school districts should follow this lead, and we will be happy to work with them to provide resources and trainings." Pushback gradually spread on the social media and the internet, with written attacks on Islam and the Council on American-Islamic Relations. A Sunday article on the conservative website Breitbart News drew hundreds of reader comments. The headline of a story on the Angry Patriot website that had 35,000 Facebook 'likes' read, "Islamic Takeover CONFIRMED - American School Surrenders to SHARIA LAW." Mary Baker, founder of Citizens for Quality Education-San Diego, urged the district to retract the policy. Her organization planned a protest at Tuesday's school board meeting. "Students may be taught about religion in its hist[...]
Wed, 26 Apr 2017 05:43:00 GMTPEORIA – Caterpillar's first-quarter adjusted profit handily topped expectations on Wall Street, and revenue climbed thanks to improved sales across its business segments. The construction equipment company also boosted its full-year outlook thanks to a stronger-than-expected start to the year.
Wed, 26 Apr 2017 05:42:00 GMTWASHINGTON – President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, appeared to violate federal law when he failed to seek permission or inform the U.S. government about accepting tens of thousands of dollars from Russian organizations after a trip there in 2015, leaders of a House oversight committee said Tuesday. The congressmen also raised new questions about fees Flynn received as part of $530,000 in consulting work his company performed for a businessman tied to Turkey’s government. The bipartisan accusations that Flynn may have broken the law come as his foreign contacts are being examined by other congressional committees as part of investigations into Russian meddling in the 2016 election and potential ties between Trump associates and the Kremlin. Congress returned earlier this week from its spring recess, and Tuesday’s announcements reflected renewed interest on Capitol Hill. Reps. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, and Elijah Cummings, D-Md., said they saw no evidence that Flynn, a retired Army lieutenant general, properly disclosed foreign payments he received to military officials or on his security clearance paperwork. Flynn, who headed the military’s top intelligence agency, was Trump’s national security adviser until he was fired in February. Among the payments in question was more than $33,000 that Flynn received in 2015 from the Russia Today television network, which has been described by U.S. intelligence officials as a propaganda front for Russia’s government. “That money needs to be recovered,” said Chaffetz, chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Chaffetz said Flynn was obligated as a retired Army officer to request permission from both the Defense and State departments about prospective foreign government payments before he received them. “There was nothing in the data to show that Gen. Flynn complied with the law,” Chaffetz said. Cummings said Flynn’s failure to formally report the Russian payments on his security clearance paperwork amounted to concealment of the money, which could be prosecuted as a felony. Flynn’s attorney, Robert Kelner, said Flynn reported his plans to travel to Russia to his former agency, the Defense Intelligence Agency, and he briefed officials there after he returned. Kelner declined to answer questions about whether Flynn properly disclosed the payments. The congressmen spoke after reviewing classified documents regarding Flynn that were provided by the Defense Intelligence Agency. They were also briefed by agency officials. The congressmen declined to describe in detail the materials they reviewed. But Cummings said the documents were “extreme[...]
Wed, 26 Apr 2017 05:19:00 GMTMcHENRY – Illinois American Civil Liberties Union Communications Director Edwin Yonhka will speak and lead a discussion Wednesday at a McHenry church.
Wed, 26 Apr 2017 05:19:00 GMTRICHMOND – Dan Oest, superintendent of Richmond-Burton School District 157 and Nippersink School District 2, was named superintendent of distinction in the Kishwaukee region of the Illinois Association of School Administrators.
Wed, 26 Apr 2017 05:18:00 GMTDECATUR – When a family is having financial problems and cutting expenses, one of the first things to go is birthday parties. The Lutheran School Association decided to help out Northeast Community Fund by collecting items for “birthday bags.” “My goal was 200,” said high school Principal Allison Nolen, standing in a storeroom at the school with four long tables groaning under the number of colorful gift bags, each containing cake mix, candles, paper plates, napkins and a present. “I knew that we would get a good response. I was hopeful for 200. I did not realize it was going to be this huge and people were going to be so invested in it. They blew me away.” LSA families came through handsomely, donating enough items for 275 complete bags, plus 75 more partial bags, with enough cake mix and toys left over to create several Easter packages, as well. Nolen designated an item a day recently – one day for cake mix, one day for napkins, another for gift bags – and students who brought donations were allowed a day without wearing their school uniform. Nolen and high school junior Jared Gregory double-checked bags to make sure they all had all of the items in them, and they distributed the last-minute donations. Although the school asked families to spend about $5 a gift, some people went well over that, and bags had presents peeking over the edges that clearly cost more. One held a new baseball glove, and a couple of others had “Star Wars” toys and other items to make children very happy. “This is something that we’ve just found is a kind of nice little extra thing to do,” said Jerry Pelz, founder and executive director of Northeast Community Fund. “If their children have birthdays that week or month (that they come in), we give them one of these bags that has everything they need in it.” Pelz doesn’t remember exactly when it started, but about two years ago, some families started bringing in birthday kits to donate, and now people are doing it regularly, including kids who ask for such donations instead of birthday presents on their own birthdays. The organization still is raising money to build a new facility, and the board’s goal is to reach $2 million before breaking ground, Pelz said. The fund is at $1.1 million now. Once they have a new building, storing donations will be much easier. “We really are cramped for space,” Pelz said. “An event like this demonstrates it. We don’t have room to store that kind of stuff, and in the new place, we could easily take care of those donations. We are, in some ways, hindere[...]
Wed, 26 Apr 2017 05:18:00 GMTNEW YORK – McDonald’s said new Big Mac sizes helped boost a key sales figure in the U.S., but it still is working on trying to attract more customers to its stores. The world’s biggest burger chain said Tuesday that global sales rose 4 percent at established locations in the first three months of the year. That included a 1.7 percent increase in its flagship U.S. market, where the fast-food chain has suffered four straight years of declining customer visits. Sales rose as a result of higher prices, the company said, and from smaller and bigger versions of the Big Mac that helped drive up average spending. Customer visits were “relatively flat” from a year ago, when factoring out the benefit of an extra day in last year’s quarter. McDonald’s Corp. said its results show it is “strengthening its foundation” in the U.S. as it tries to improve the image of its food and looks to the rollout of options such as mobile order-and-pay and expanded delivery to drive sales moving forward. The sales bump was better than analysts expected and built on a 5.4 percent increase from a year ago. Sales also were stronger in other parts of the world, including the United Kingdom and China, and McDonald’s stock hit an all-time high at $140.82. Still, CEO Steve Easterbrook said Tuesday that executives have had “honest conversations” about the declining customer traffic in the U.S. “Let’s acknowledge the guest counts that we’ve lost, because frankly we want those back,” he said during a conference call with analysts. Compared with 2012, McDonald’s has said its customer visits in the U.S. are down by 500 million a year, in part because it has failed to hold onto deal seekers after doing away with the Dollar Menu. To help address that, the company has been offering $1 coffee drinks and more recently introduced $1 sodas of any size. As part of its campaign to step up the perceptions about its burgers, McDonald’s recently announced it will start using fresh instead of frozen beef for its Quarter Pounders sometime next year. In late 2015, it also introduced an all-day breakfast menu. McDonald’s also has trimmed its domestic store base for the past two years. McDonald’s closed additional stores in the first quarter, bringing its store base to 14,094 locations as of March 31. On a global basis, it is expanding and had more than 36,900 locations, including the domestic stores. For the quarter, McDonald’s reported a profit of $1.21 billion, or $1.47 a share. Analysts expected $1.32 a sha[...]
Wed, 26 Apr 2017 05:17:00 GMTMcHENRY – A McHenry man has pleaded guilty to stabbing his wife to death with a screwdriver in 2015.
Wed, 26 Apr 2017 05:17:00 GMTMcHENRY – St. Paul’s Episcopal Church will host its seventh Mobile Food Truck since 2015 in partnership with the Northern Illinois Food Bank on Saturday at the church, 3706 W. St. Paul Ave.
Wed, 26 Apr 2017 05:17:00 GMTCRYSTAL LAKE – Renovation work is underway at the Outback Steakhouse in Crystal Lake, and the Aussie-themed chain restaurant will remain open while construction continues.