Sun, 30 Apr 2017 12:34:00 GMTMain Street in Woodstock has traditionally been a place to go and enjoy a good movie. The “Gem,” a “nickelodeon” theater (silent films with live piano accompaniment) once stood on the east side of the street near the Square. A young man, John C. Miller, born near Dundee in 1879, worked there part time. He fell in love with film and, on Feb. 1, 1909, he opened a rival theater, the “Princess” (perhaps after his wife, Lena, whom he married in 1902) almost across the street. This photo is of a postcard printed to announce it’s opening. When "talkies" arrived in the late 1920s, Miller replaced the Princess with his “Miller Theater” on the same site. John Miller, a Woodstock city councilman for a time, died in Woodstock on July 1, 1934, after a lengthy illness. He and his wife are buried in the Marengo City Cemetery. Those entering the modern Woodstock Theatre, step into a venue where movie lovers have been entertained for more than a century.
Sun, 30 Apr 2017 12:12:00 GMTWASHINGTON – Prominent Washington journalists, if not Hollywood stars, celebrated the First Amendment during the annual White House Correspondents' Dinner, an event that lacked the glitter of past years because of the absence of the president of the United States. With President Donald Trump sending his regrets, the attention was no longer focused on an in-person roasting of the commander in chief and his humorous remarks about politics and the press. The red carpet that once featured Oscar winners, TV stars and a few major-league athletes barely turned heads. Instead, speakers at the dinner promoted press freedom and responsibility and challenged Trump's accusations of dishonest reporting. The stars of the night were Watergate reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, who recounted what they learned about journalism from their reporting for The Washington Post that helped lead to President Richard Nixon's resignation more than 40 years ago. "Like politicians and presidents sometimes, perhaps too frequently, we make mistakes and go too far," Woodward said. "When that happens we should own up to it. But the effort today to get this best obtainable version of the truth is largely made in good faith. Mr. President, the media is not 'fake news.'" The evening was not without humor aimed at the press and Trump. "We've got to address the elephant that's not in the room," cracked the entertainment headliner, Hasan Minhaj of "The Daily Show" on TV's Comedy Central. "The leader of our country is not here. And that's because he lives in Moscow. It's a very long flight. As for the other guy, I think he's in Pennsylvania because he can't take a joke." Trump was indeed in Pennsylvania, having scheduled a rally in Harrisburg to mark his 100th day in office. He began his remarks with a lengthy if familiar attack on the news media while dismissing the dinner and its participants. "A large group of Hollywood actors and Washington media are consoling each other in a hotel ballroom in our nation's capital right now," Trump said. He added: "And I could not possibly be more thrilled than to be more than 100 miles away from Washington's swamp, spending my evening with all of you and with a much, much larger crowd and much better people, right?" Trump became the first president since Ronald Reagan in 1981 to skip the event — and Reagan was recovering from an assassination attempt. The official WHCA dinner began in 1921. In recent decades, the event offered Washington's press corps an opportunity to wear black tie and stunning gowns while mixing with celebrity guests. Most people trace that development to 1987, when Baltimore Sun reporter Michael Kelly brought Fawn Hall, the secretary at the center of the Iran-Contra affair. Jeff Mason, the WHCA president, said before the event that this year's dinner would have been different even if Trump had attended, "based on the tension that has existed in the relationship and some of the things he has said about the press. We were preparing for a different dinner, either way." The correspondents' dinner was briefly upstaged Saturday afternoon when late-night TV star Samantha Bee of "Full Frontal" pulled in celebrities for the first "Not the White House Correspondents' Dinner," among them Alysia Reiner of "Orange Is the New Black," Retta of "Parks and Recreation" and Matt Walsh of "Veep." Bee's taped show, a tongue-in-cheek tribute to American news organizations, featured actor Will Ferrell and other guests roasting Trump and his allies. It singled out the Committee to Protect Journalists, the nonprofit group that will receive proceeds from the broadcast. The WHCA awards and this year's recipients: [...]
Sun, 30 Apr 2017 10:30:00 GMTHometown: Johnsburg Latest Book: “Never Say Never...Living With Prostate Cancer, Loving With ED, Learning What Doctors Never Talk About” Publisher: Amazon Release Date: Jan. 1, 2017 Available: Amazon Kindle What’s your new book about? ‘Never Say Never’ details my experiences with prostate cancer from the physical and emotional aspects and how they affected me. From this, I provide a very basic guide to male anatomy followed by discussions of neuro-chemistry and molecular biology and how they relate to cancer in general. From there, I discuss prostate cancer, treatment options and consequences, and then what to expect if you are cancer-clear and hopefully someday a cancer survivor. All-in-all, this book was written by a non-medical individual with the intent of explaining situations and circumstances in a non-medical manner. It is not intended as a replacement for professional information, guidance and help. Where did the idea come from? I was diagnosed with cancer in 2011 and wanted to learn more and began studying anatomy and physiology. In so doing, I read more than 65 books and compiled more than 5,000 pages of notes that allow me to develop my treatise regarding the different topics. What genre is your book, and why were you drawn to it? In America today, a man is diagnosed with prostate cancer every seven minutes. That’s fact and not fiction! In addition, there are more than 30 million men suffering from erectile dysfunction. In researching prostate cancer, I began to see there were probably many men like me, who knew little and would want to learn more but didn’t know where to turn. By having the book available online, anyone with interest and concern can read and learn without the apprehension that comes from admitting the situation. My only objective is to provide a source where men can go to learn about what might have happened or has happened to them and what they can do about it. Who is the intended audience? This book is intended for any man over the age of 40 who is faced with physical challenges or wants to know more from a man who has been there about what it’s like and what is happening to them and what options they have. Virtually every man will end up with prostate cancer. The question is not if it will happen, but when and to what degree, and then the treatment options and the consequences. Why is this story important to you? This story is important to me because it has provided the basic knowledge that has allowed me to mentor others who are traveling the same path as I did. In so doing, I hope and pray I am making the path easier for them, taking away some of the fear, apprehension and anxiety they face, while offering them, not a solution, but a rationale for what their options are and how cancer can affect their lives and what they then can do to continue to live a life filled with happiness, joy and satisfaction. How long did it take you to write? What was your process? The main body of the book took nearly four years to write and I have continued to add small segments for the past two years. My process was segmented in that I evolved from macro to micro perspectives and in so doing, followed an evolutionary path of logic that started with my own experiences and then addressed all subjects sustaining an objective of how the information was applicable to the subjects being addressed encompassing anatomy and physiology and ED and what any man might do to sustain a satisfying intimate relationship. What did you enjoy most about writing this book? What was the hardest part? [...]
Sun, 30 Apr 2017 10:30:00 GMTOn May 6, super powers, laughs, mysteries, imagination – it’s all free. No, really. Take it home with you. It’s Free Comic Book Day. For comic book lovers alike, the first Saturday in May might as well be a national holiday. Since 2002, comic retailers and libraries have been giving away free comics in an effort to continue current readership as well as encourage new. This year, 50 different comics will be available for free during the event, from Archie to Star Trek to The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and even Buffy the Vampire Slayer. “It’s an opportunity for anyone participating to get new readers to take a look at comics that wouldn’t normally pay for them and maybe for current readers to discover something new,” Modern Age Comics in Algonquin volunteer Travis Morgan said. With the variety of free comics offered this year, there really is something for everyone. “Secret Empire is a great free one because of the whole Steve Rodgers taking over Hydra,” Morgan said. “For video game people, there is a Zelda comic and Wonder Woman for moviegoers.” Half Price Books in Algonquin is giving away one free comic with each comic book purchase and will have a lot of back stock for sale on the event day. The Hero’s Edge owner Blake Brittain said it was the most fun day of the year for him. When talking brands, he does not draw a hard line for new or current readers when it comes to the age-old question of “Marvel or DC?” “Image. DC is starting to load up on their creators, which is good, and there are aspects of each company that I adore,” Brittain said. “But Image is coming out with all sorts of new creative [ideas] and stories that are really great, and in my opinion, they have the best creators.” When pressed about which comic book hero most easily could live among modern day civilians without exposing their true identity, it was no contest. “Batman. He’s already a multi-millionaire that runs a corporation, and people really don’t know about it,” Brittain said. “He doesn’t have actual superpowers that can expose him.” When it comes to super powers, the Adult Services librarian and head of Digital Literacy at Algonquin Area Public Library, Kenny Duray, said he would not mind having one of his own. “I would want The Flash’s super speed,” Duray said. “I live an hour away from my job, and that would really help cut down on my commute time.” Algonquin Area Public Library took last year off from the event but is back with a plethora of activities, including a Jack Sparrow impersonator, cape, mask, button and light saber crafting and a visit from comic book writer John Jackson Miller to talk about his work in the Star Wars Universe. For information on Free Comic Book Day and to find participating locations, visit www.freecomicbookday.com. Participating venues Modern Age Comics 2210 E Algonquin Rd, Algonquin, IL 60102 847-409-6295 10am – 6pm Free comic book Half Price Books Algonquin Commons, 2226 S Randall Rd, Algonquin, IL 60102 847-458-2669 9am – 10pm Free comic book with purchase of comic book at store Algonquin Area Public Library 2600 Harnish Dr., Algonquin, IL 60102 847-658-4343 10am – 4pm [...]
Sun, 30 Apr 2017 10:30:00 GMTSEATTLE – Thousands of people across the U.S. marched in rain, snow and sweltering heat Saturday to demand action on climate change – mass protests that coincided with President Donald Trump’s 100th day in office and took aim at his agenda for rolling back environmental protections. At the marquee event, the Peoples Climate March in Washington, D.C., tens of thousands of demonstrators made their way down Pennsylvania Avenue on their way to encircle the White House as temperatures soared into the 90s. Organizers said about 300 sister marches or rallies were being held around the country, including in Seattle, Boston and San Francisco. A wet spring snow fell in Denver, where several hundred activists posed in the shape of a giant thermometer for a photograph and a dozen people rode stationary bikes to power the loudspeakers. In Chicago, a rain-soaked crowd of thousands headed from the city’s federal plaza to Trump Tower. “We are here because there is no Planet B,” the Rev. Mariama White-Hammond of Bethel AME Church told a rally in Boston. The demonstrations came one week after supporters of science gathered in 600 cities around the globe, alarmed by political and public rejection of established research on topics including climate change and the safety of vaccines. Participants Saturday said they object to Trump’s rollback of restrictions on mining, oil drilling and greenhouse gas emissions at coal-fired power plants, among other things. Trump has called climate change a hoax, disputing the overwhelming consensus of scientists that the world is warming and that man-made carbon emissions are primarily to blame. Among those attending the Chicago rally were members of the union representing Environmental Protection Agency employees. Trump has proposed cutting the EPA’s budget by almost one-third, eliminating more than 3,000 jobs. John O’Grady, president of the American Federation of Government Employees Council 238, called the march “a chance to speak out in unity against this administration” and its “ridiculous gutting of the EPA budget and staffing.” More than 2,000 people gathered at the Maine State House in Augusta. Speakers included a lobsterman, a solar company owner and members of the Penobscot Nation tribe. “I’ve seen firsthand the impacts of climate change to not only the Gulf of Maine, but also to our evolving fisheries, and to the coastal communities that depend upon them,” said lobsterman Richard Nelson of Friendship, Maine. People in the crowd spoke about the importance of addressing climate change to industries such as renewable energy, forestry, farming and seafood. Saharlah Farah, a 16-year-old immigrant from Somalia who lives in Portland, talked about how climate change could have a bigger toll on marginalized groups that have less financial resources. “But I see untapped power here today,” she said. A demonstration stretched for several blocks in downtown Tampa, Florida, where marchers said they were concerned about the threat rising seas pose to the city. People gathered on the Boston Common carried signs with slogans such as “Dump Trump.” Handmade signs at Seattle’s march included the general – “Love Life” – and the specific – “Don’t Kill Otters.” Some of the marches drew big-name attendees, including former Vice President Al Gore and actor Leonardo DiCaprio in the nation’s capital. In Montpelier, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders called the marches part of a fight for the future of the planet. “Honored to join Indigenous leaders and native peopl[...]
Sun, 30 Apr 2017 04:59:00 GMTWOODSTOCK – An ex-Lake in the Hills man sentenced to eight years in prison for a 2015 drunken driving crash that left two men with life-changing injuries wants to take back his guilty plea less than two months after he was sentenced. Vincent Myers, 47, now of Hampshire, is arguing that his guilty plea was not voluntary as it was a result of ineffective counsel, coercion by the threat of immediate incarceration and a promise by his lawyer of a more lenient sentence if he pleaded guilty. The motion to take back his guilty plea and/or reconsider his sentence was filed by his lawyer, William Gibbs, in McHenry County court. Myers pleaded guilty in January to two counts of aggravated driving under the influence. In exchange for pleading guilty he faced up to 12 years in prison or probation. He was sentenced by Judge Michael Feetterer to eight years in prison, and is required by law to serve 85 percent of his sentence. He is in custody of the Robinson Correctional Center. Myers was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol for the third time in the early-morning hours of Sept 6, 2015, after he hit two men with his 2012 Lincoln MKZ 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 traveling west on 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 at 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 said in his motion that Myers’ plea was not voluntary, and after his attorneys met Feetterer in November 2016 he was told prosecutors wanted him to spend eight years in prison and Feetterer said between six and eight years may be reasonable. Based on that information, Myers told his attorneys he wanted a trial but he was told not to have a jury trial and go before a judge instead because it would be too costly and he would likely get a longer sentence. “He was advised by his attorneys that he should waive a jury because he was told by his attorneys that a jury trial would be gruesome and it would cost the State a lot of money and his sentence would probably be higher if he demanded a jury so he upon urging of his attorneys waived jury,” Gibbs said in his motion. The case was then set for a bench trial and prior to that date his attorneys met with prosecutors and the judge and Myers was told that prosecutors wanted to revoke his bond because someone saw him at a liquor store. Myers said he was never shown the motion to revoke his bond. Gibbs also said Myers’ attorneys told him if he didn’t plead guilty that day his bond would be revoked and he would be taken into jail custody. He also argued that Myers’ attorneys intended to present evidence regarding the toxicology of the victims involved in the crash, which they did not do. “Had he known they were not going to present that evidence or any other evidence regarding the accident at sentencing or obtain the other toxicology results, he would not have pled guilty,” Gibbs said in his motion. At sentencing, Myers said he believed his attorneys would argue for probation and at worst county ja[...]
Sun, 30 Apr 2017 04:55:00 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.
Sun, 30 Apr 2017 04:50:00 GMTCAIRO – Pope Francis wrapped up a brief but deeply symbolic visit to Egypt on Saturday with an open-air Mass for the country’s tiny Catholic community, defying security concerns to show his support for the Christians of this Muslim majority Arab nation who have increasingly become targeted by Islamic militants. Military helicopters flew overhead and police fanned out in force as Francis zoomed around the soccer stadium in suburban Cairo where Mass was held, using an open-topped golf cart and waving to members of the congregation, evidence of his hallmark desire to be close to his flock at all costs. The crowd cheered him wildly, waving Egyptian and Holy See flags and swaying to hymns sung by church choirs. The military-run stadium has a capacity of 25,000, but only about 15,000 people attended – a reflection that Catholics represent less than 1 percent of Egypt’s 92 million people. But the relatively modest number and the draconian security did not dampen their jubilant mood. Francis engaged the crowd with waves and smiles, and gave his blessings to the children hoisted up by their parents. In his homily, Francis urged them to be good and merciful to their fellow Egyptians, saying “the only fanaticism believers can have is that of charity!” “Any other fanaticism does not come from God and is not pleasing to him!” he said. It was a very pastoral message after Francis on his first day demanded that Muslim leaders renounce religious fanaticism that leads to violence. Francis made the appeal during a landmark visit to Cairo’s Al-Azhar, the revered 1,000-year-old seat of Sunni Islam learning that trains clerics and scholars from around the world. Security was exceptionally tight around the stadium and in the upscale neighborhood where Francis spent the night, with uniformed and plain-clothed police stationed every meter (yard) or so along his motorcade route. Police used metal detectors to check vehicles for explosives and armed guards stood watch, some on rooftops, their faces covered. But Francis decided to forego the bullet-proof “popemobile” his predecessors used on foreign trips and drove through Cairo in a simple Fiat, his window rolled down. “He is a messenger of peace, he is really a messenger of peace,” said attendee Amgad Eskandar before the Mass began at the stadium. “All his words talk about peace, call for peace, push for peace, which is great.” The pope’s gestures – the simple Fiat and the open-topped Golf cart – sent a defiant message to the extremist Islamic State group, whose local affiliate in Egypt has vowed to target Egypt’s Christians to punish them for their support of President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi. As defense minister in 2013, El-Sissi led the military’s ouster of the Islamist Mohammed Morsi, Egypt’s first freely-elected president whose one-year rule proved divisive. El-Sissi was elected president a year later and is widely expected to run for a second, four-year term in office in June 2018. Already, attacks against Christians in northern Sinai, the epicenter of the insurgency, have forced scores of families to flee the region, seeking refuge elsewhere in Egypt. Recent attacks on churches – one in Cairo in December and twin Palm Sunday attacks in cities north of the Egyptian capital – have claimed at least 75 lives and injured scores. IS claimed responsibility for the three attacks, carried out by suicide bombers, as well as one earlier this month that targeted a police checkpoint near the famed Saint Catherine’s monastery in central Sinai that kil[...]
Sun, 30 Apr 2017 04:26:00 GMTLOS ANGELES – Twenty-five years ago, a jury acquitted four white police officers in the beating of black motorist Rodney King, sparking looting and violence that would turn into one of the deadliest race riots in American history. On Saturday, hundreds of people marked the anniversary with marches advocating peace and hope. A “Future Fest” began at Florence and Normandie avenues – the South Los Angeles intersection where rioting erupted – and was followed by a community festival. Organizer Eric Ares, 34, is a lifelong resident of the area. He remembers the electricity going out in his house at the start of the rioting, leaving his family essentially cut off from the outside world without lights or a TV. “For the next couple of nights, there was this fear going on,” he said. “We were huddled up in the living room.” When he did venture outside, Ares saw plumes of smoke coming from places where buildings had been torched. But a small restaurant on the corner, a liquor store and other local businesses were untouched, he said. People had a “real feeling of anger and frustration,” but it was mainly directed at police, politicians and businesses they believed oppressed, neglected or exploited them, Ares said. Graffiti on walls warned: “No justice, no peace,” he said. “I remember being at the park on the third day, people screaming: ‘We’re not gonna let them do it to us anymore,’ ” Ares said. But while the march and festival marks the events of a quarter-century ago, the commemoration also looked to a future where community organizations are working to deal with problems still confronting South L.A., Ares said. “There’s still extreme poverty. There’s still issues of law enforcement ... education and health care and access to good jobs,” he said. “But the difference is, we have a plan.” About 5 miles north of the intersection, a peace parade was held in the Koreatown neighborhood, where tensions between black residents and Korean-American immigrant storekeepers led to markets, shops and gas stations being looted or burned. Some merchants stood guard with guns to protect their stores. In the wake of the riots, community groups reached out and tried to mend fences. On Saturday, several hundred people marched in an enthusiastic show of unity that included Korean drummers in traditional costume, a South Los Angeles drumline, taekwando students and schoolchildren from Watts. K. Choi, 73, of Arcadia, was among the marchers. He helped organize the original peace march days after the rioting and said he believed racial relations had vastly improved. “At that time it was different,” he said. “The politics and the social problems, whatever, all commingled together and then things exploded.” “But now is a very different situation,” he said. “All those relationships are getting better between [the] Korean and black community, including [the]Spanish community ... we’re getting along very good, and I hope we’re getting a better future.” FILE - In this May 1, 1992 file photo, Rodney King speaks during a news conference in Los Angeles pleading for the end to the rioting and looting that has plagued the city following the verdicts in the trial against four Los Angeles Police officers accused of beating him. It was King's first public appearance in a year. (AP Photo/David Longstreath)[...]People rally, sing and danc[...]
Sun, 30 Apr 2017 04:25:00 GMTHARRISBURG, Pa. – President Donald Trump on Saturday marked his 100th day in office by claiming historic action on his agenda, renewing promises on health care and taxes and attacking the news media for misleading Americans. In his morning radio address, Trump issued an assurance: “My only allegiance is to you, our wonderful citizens.” To supporters at an evening rally in Pennsylvania, he promoted American power and patriotism while emphasizing such priorities as American manufacturing, better trade deals, a border wall with Mexico and a still-to-be defined tax cut plan. “We are not going to let other countries take advantage of us anymore,” he said in Harrisburg at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex and Expo Center. “From now on it’s going to be America first.” Trump’s 100th day events were set in a politically important state that he won with 48 percent of the vote. It was the first time Pennsylvania had voted for a Republican presidential candidate since George H.W. Bush in 1988. Trump visited the AMES Companies in Pennsylvania’s Cumberland County, a shovel manufacturer since 1774. With that backdrop, he signed an executive order directing the Commerce Department and the U.S. trade representative to conduct a study of U.S. trade agreements. The goal is to determine whether America is being treated fairly by its trading partners and the 164-nation World Trade Organization. Trump’s rally Saturday night in Harrisburg offered a familiar recapitulation of what he and aides have argued for days are administration successes, including the successful nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, his Cabinet choices and the approval of construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. But the president began the rally on a sour note, pointing out that he was not attending that night’s White House Correspondents’ Association dinner and issuing a scathing attack on the news media. To cheers, he accused the news media of “fake news” and said if their job was to be honest and tell the truth, then they deserved “a big, fat failing grade.” “I could not possibly be more thrilled than to be more than 100 miles way from Washington’s swamp,” he said, “spending my evening with all of you and with a much, much larger crowd and much better people, right?” Meanwhile, North Korea’s missile launch Saturday signaled its continued defiance against the U.S., China and other nations, on which Trump tweeted: “Bad!” Asked during an interview for CBS’ “Face the Nation” whether military action would follow a nuclear test by the North, Trump responded: “I don’t know. I mean, we’ll see.” At the 100-day mark, polls show that Trump’s supporters during the campaign remain largely in his corner. Though the White House created a website touting its accomplishments of the first 100 days, Trump has tried to downplay the importance of the marker, perhaps out of recognition that many of his campaign promises have gone unfulfilled. “It’s a false standard, 100 days,” Trump said while signing an executive order on Friday, “but I have to tell you, I don’t think anybody has done what we’ve been able to do in 100 days, so we’re very happy.” A failed effort to overhaul President Barack Obama’s health care law behind him, Trump is turning to what he’s billed as the nation’s biggest tax cut. It apparently falls short of Reagan’s in 1981, and tax experts are skeptical that the plan would pay for itself, as Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin has claimed. [...]
Sun, 30 Apr 2017 04:23:00 GMTWEST DUNDEE – A West Dundee man has been sentenced to 11 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections for molesting three children he knew, according to a news release from the Kane County State’s Attorney’s Office.
Sun, 30 Apr 2017 04:23:00 GMTHARVARD – Harvard School District 50 seeks to take out up to nearly $4 million in bonds to develop a working cash fund and will hold a public hearing in May on the matter.
Sun, 30 Apr 2017 04:22:00 GMTCARPENTERSVILLE – A Carpentersville man has been sentenced to eight years in the Illinois Department of Corrections for beating and choking his girlfriend, according to a news release from the Kane County State’s Attorney’s Office.
Sun, 30 Apr 2017 04:21:00 GMTThe latest annual U.S. Census Bureau population estimates once again sound a familiar refrain – McHenry County and Illinois are losing people. While it should not be a surprise to anyone who follows current events and state politics that Illinois is hemorrhaging residents to other states – the exodus last year hit 100,000 for the first time – it is telling that a county that in previous decades was one of the fastest-growing in the nation is now suffering the same. McHenry County had a net loss of 184 people between July 2015 and July 2016, according to the new data, making for an overall loss of 1,756 since the decennial 2010 Census to 307,004. Since 2010, McHenry County has lost population in every annual estimate but one. Such a small decrease on its face might not seem like a lot, but it should sound alarm bells in a county that grew by 18.7 percent in the previous decade and almost 42 percent in the decade before that. Barring a sudden upswing, the 2020 Census will bethe first in which McHenry County lost population since the original 1840 census taken four years after the county’s founding. While much of the downtrend can be blamed on the end of the county’s white-hot housing boom with the bursting of the housing bubble a decade ago, experts and observers say other factors now are just as responsible for driving people out. Real estate agent and lifelong county resident Shawn Strach has heard them all in his 14-year career selling homes – but by far, the most common responses he hears is the tax burden and the scarcity of jobs. “I think, ultimately, the concern in the marketplace today is why people are leaving. It’s a plethora of reasons,” he said. Multiple studies and analyses confirm Strach’s observation and put a more disturbing face on the latest census estimate. Several studies put Illinois’ property tax burden at the highest or second-highest of all 50 states, with critics alleging that many residents pay more on their property taxes than they do their mortgages. A 2010 analysis by the nonprofit, Washington, D.C.-based Tax Foundation puts McHenry County’s at 29th highest of all counties nationwide. Even though property values plummeted in the wake of the Great Recession, property taxes stayed the same or increased – a fact that a number of former McHenry County residents cited as the last straw for them in a 2015 series the Northwest Herald wrote on the local property tax burden. They’re hardly alone. A 2014 Gallup poll and a 2016 poll by the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale concluded that more than half of Illinois residents want to move elsewhere. One out of four Illinois residents in a separate Gallup poll called Illinois the worst state in which to live. As for jobs, on top of the fact Illinois’ job growth since the Great Recession has paled in comparison with neighboring states, that growth isn’t happening here – studies commissioned for McHenry County show that about two-thirds of working residents commute to other counties for their jobs. Those neighboring states also are getting most of the people leaving Illinois, according to a 2015 study by the Northern Illinois University Center for Governmental Studies, which disputes the argument that people are leaving to live in warmer climates. Yet another study – a 2016 economic dev[...]
Sun, 30 Apr 2017 04:20:00 GMTCRYSTAL LAKE – Retro Bistro in Crystal Lake is paying tribute to Cinco de Mayo by offering its traditional French dishes with a Mexican twist for a limited time.
Sun, 30 Apr 2017 04:19:00 GMTWOODSTOCK – Aubrey Zientek was born 12 weeks early through an emergency cesarean section after her heart rate suddenly started to drop. Her mother, Gina Zientek, shared her daughter’s story Saturday morning before the McHenry County March for Babies in Woodstock. Aubrey weighed 2 pounds, 2 ounces and was not breathing when she was born, Zientek said. After 69 days of being in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge and Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital in Barrington, Aubrey was able to come home to Woodstock. “Today she is a healthy, happy, strong-willed 3-year-old,” Zientek said. “We are so grateful to all the doctors, nurses, her therapist and to the March of Dimes that helped us make her recovery possible.” About 400 participants marched at Emricson Park, despite the cold and windy weather, development specialist at March of Dimes Nicole Willsey said. About $75,000 was raised locally for March of Dimes, she said. Prematurity is the leading killer of babies in the U.S., according to March of Dimes’ website. The organization’s mission is to help more mothers have full-term pregnancies and healthy babies by researching problems that threaten children and finding ways to prevent them. Medela’s managing director Melissa Gonzales and Woodstock Mayor Brian Sager spoke to the crowd before the Zientek family – including Aubrey, and her parents, Gina and Chris Zientek – kicked off the walk. “To see them turn that experience into something so positive and have their family and friends out there supporting them is really beautiful to see,” March of Dimes Executive Director Ashley Summers said of the Zientek family. While some walked to celebrate the healthy children March of Dimes has helped, others came to remember loved ones who died after being born prematurely. Jen Baedke of Lake in the Hills walked to remember her son, Jayden, whom she lost in 2013. The march is important because it raises awareness of prematurity, Baedke said, and helps fundraise for babies who are fighting for their lives. “It’s just nice to be able to come out and support it and remember my baby,” Baedke said. Marisol Legis-Portincaso of Crystal Lake marched in honor of her niece, Aleena, who died about four years ago after living for a couple of weeks in the NICU. “I think that when you go through something like that, it’s very sensitive and very emotional,” Legis-Portincaso said. “And so [the walk] brings families together. It brings families who thought that they were alone to go ahead and be stronger together and overcome the loss, or celebrate that they had some good outcomes.” Sarah Nader - firstname.lastname@example.org Participants walk during Saturday's McHenry County March for Babies at Emricson Park in Woodstock April 29, 2017. The family friendly 5k fundraiser walk benefits March of Dimes. The organization aims to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant morality.Sarah Nader - email@example.com Aubree Erdmann, 6, of Fox River Grove has her face painted during Saturday's McHenry County March for Babies at Emricson Park in Woodstock April 29, 2017. The family friendly 5k fundraiser walk benefits March of Dimes. The organization aims to improve the health of babie[...]
Sun, 30 Apr 2017 03:41:00 GMTCHICAGO –Three Cook County Jail inmates have been charged with attempted murder following an attack on two correctional officers.
Sun, 30 Apr 2017 03:40:00 GMTAURORA – Superintendents in hundreds of Illinois school districts are imploring lawmakers and the governor to end the state’s budget stalemate, with one official saying schools could face “dire decisions” if a deal isn’t made.
Sun, 30 Apr 2017 03:40:00 GMTSPRINGFIELD – Illinois officials are warning people to use caution and be prepared to act quickly as storms bring heavy rainfall and potential flooding.
Sun, 30 Apr 2017 03:40:00 GMTCHICAGO – The Illinois Department of Transportation says there were more than 300 reported cases of bikes hitting open car doors in Chicago in 2015 — a 50 percent jump from the year before.
Sun, 30 Apr 2017 03:40:00 GMTCHICAGO – A lawsuit against the Illinois Department of Corrections alleging inadequate health care in state prisons may cover all inmates with serious medical needs in every prison facility, a judge ruled.
Sun, 30 Apr 2017 03:40:00 GMTCHICAGO – The winner of a suburban Chicago mayoral race has been barred by a judge from taking the oath of office because he is a convicted felon.
Sun, 30 Apr 2017 03:40:00 GMTCHICAGO – A newly elected Cook County Circuit Court judge who refused to report to his traffic court assignment has resigned.
Sun, 30 Apr 2017 03:39:00 GMTSAN FRANCISCO – A hacker claims to have followed through on a threat to release several episodes from the upcoming season of Netflix’s hit series “Orange Is The New Black.”
Sun, 30 Apr 2017 03:39:00 GMTSEOUL, South Korea – President Donald Trump said in a television interview to be aired Sunday that he believes China’s president has been putting pressure on North Korea as it pursues its missile and nuclear weapons programs. In an interview with CBS’ “Face the Nation,” Trump said he won’t be happy if North Korea conducts a nuclear test and that he believes Chinese President Xi Jinping won’t be happy, either. Asked if that means military action, Trump responded: “I don’t know. I mean, we’ll see.” On Saturday, a North Korean mid-range ballistic missile apparently failed shortly after launch, South Korea and the United States said, the third test-fire flop just this month but a clear message of defiance as a U.S. supercarrier conducts drills in nearby waters. North Korean ballistic missile tests are banned by the United Nations because they’re seen as part of the North’s push for a nuclear-tipped missile that can hit the U.S. mainland. The latest test came as U.S. officials pivoted from a hard line to diplomacy at the U.N. in an effort to address what may be Washington’s most pressing foreign policy challenge. North Korea didn’t immediately comment on the launch, though its state media on Saturday reiterated the country’s goal of being able to strike the continental U.S. The timing of the North’s test was striking: Only hours earlier the U.N. Security Council held a ministerial meeting on Pyongyang’s escalating weapons program. North Korean officials boycotted the meeting, which was chaired by U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement that the missile flew for several minutes and reached a maximum height of 44 miles before it apparently failed. It didn’t immediately provide an estimate on how far the missile flew, but a U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive matters, said it was likely a medium-range KN-17 ballistic missile. It broke up a few minutes after the launch. Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, speaking after a meeting of Japan’s National Security Council, said the missile is believed to have traveled about 50 kilometers (30 miles) and fallen on an inland part of North Korea. Analysts say the KN-17 is a new Scud-type missile developed by North Korea. The North fired the same type of missile April 16, just a day after a massive military parade where it showed off its expanding missile arsenal, but U.S. officials called that launch a failure. Some analysts say a missile the North test fired April 5, which U.S. officials identified as a Scud variant, also might have been a KN-17. U.S. officials said that missile spun out of control and crashed into the sea. Moon Seong Mook, a South Korean analyst and former military official, says that the North would gain valuable knowledge even from failed launches as it continues to improve its technologies for missiles. The South Korean and Japanese assessments about Saturday’s launch indicate that the North fired the missile from a higher-than-normal angle to prevent it from fl[...]
Sun, 30 Apr 2017 02:12:00 GMTHUNTLEY – A surprise visitor came to Huntley High School’s prom Saturday night.
Sun, 30 Apr 2017 00:50:00 GMTMcHENRY – Three people were sent to the hospital after a McHenry crash, a police official said.
Sat, 29 Apr 2017 21:50:00 GMTSEATTLE – Thousands of people across the U.S. marched in rain, snow and sweltering heat Saturday to demand action on climate change — mass protests that coincided with President Donald Trump's 100th day in office and took aim at his agenda for rolling back environmental protections. At the marquee event, the Peoples Climate March in Washington, D.C., tens of thousands of demonstrators made their way down Pennsylvania Avenue on their way to encircle the White House as temperatures soared into the 90s. Organizers said about 300 sister marches or rallies were being held around the country, including in Seattle, Boston and San Francisco. A wet spring snow fell in Denver, where several hundred activists posed in the shape of a giant thermometer for a photograph and a dozen people rode stationary bikes to power the loudspeakers. In Chicago, a rain-soaked crowd of thousands headed from the city's federal plaza to Trump Tower. "We are here because there is no Planet B," the Rev. Mariama White-Hammond of Bethel AME Church told a rally in Boston. The demonstrations came one week after supporters of science gathered in 600 cities around the globe, alarmed by political and public rejection of established research on topics including climate change and the safety of vaccines. Participants Saturday said they object to Trump's rollback of restrictions on mining, oil drilling and greenhouse gas emissions at coal-fired power plants, among other things. Trump has called climate change a hoax, disputing the overwhelming consensus of scientists that the world is warming and that man-made carbon emissions are primarily to blame. Among those attending the Chicago rally were members of the union representing Environmental Protection Agency employees. Trump has proposed cutting the EPA's budget by almost one-third, eliminating more than 3,000 jobs. John O'Grady, president of the American Federation of Government Employees Council 238, called the march "a chance to speak out in unity against this administration" and its "ridiculous gutting of the EPA budget and staffing." More than 2,000 people gathered at the Maine State House in Augusta. Speakers included a lobsterman, a solar company owner and members of the Penobscot Nation tribe. "I've seen firsthand the impacts of climate change to not only the Gulf of Maine, but also to our evolving fisheries, and to the coastal communities that depend upon them," said lobsterman Richard Nelson of Friendship, Maine. People in the crowd spoke about the importance of addressing climate change to industries such as renewable energy, forestry, farming and seafood. Saharlah Farah, a 16-year old immigrant from Somalia who lives in Portland, talked about how climate change could have a bigger toll on marginalized groups that have less financial resources. "But I see untapped power here today," she said. A demonstration stretched for several blocks in downtown Tampa, Florida, where marchers said they were concerned about the threat rising seas pose to the city. [...]
Sat, 29 Apr 2017 19:46:00 GMTMARENGO – Three people were taken to the hospital after a Marengo-area crash, police and fire officials said.
Sat, 29 Apr 2017 10:30:00 GMTThe annual Spring Fiber Fling sponsored by McHenry County Fair will be May 20-21 at the fairgrounds, 11900 Country Club Road, Woodstock.
Sat, 29 Apr 2017 05:06:00 GMTSPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Corrections has withdrawn its plan to lay off 124 nurses while continuing to negotiate with the state employees’ union.
Sat, 29 Apr 2017 05:05:00 GMTCHICAGO – The head of security at Chicago’s airports has been fired, just weeks after a passenger was dragged from a United Airlines plane by security officers at O’Hare International Airport.
Sat, 29 Apr 2017 05:05:00 GMTCHICAGO – Immigrant groups and their allies have joined forces to carry out marches, rallies and protests in cities nationwide next week to mark May Day, saying there’s renewed momentum to fight back against Trump administration policies. Activists in major cities including New York, Chicago and Los Angeles expect tens of thousands of people to participate in Monday demonstrations, starting with morning neighborhood protests and culminating in rush hour events downtown. Activists also plan an overnight vigil in Phoenix, a farm workers demonstration outside Miami and a White House rally. In Seattle, pro-immigrant events are expected to give way to rowdier, anti-capitalist marches led by protesters who said they plan to shut down a major freeway through the city. “We’re seeing an unprecedented amount of enthusiasm and activity,” said New York Immigration Coalition executive director Steven Choi. “It’s driven by the fact that Trump administration has made immigration the tip of the spear.” Around the world, union members have traditionally marched on May 1 for workers’ rights. In the United States, the event became a rallying point for immigrants in 2006 when more than 1 million people marched against a proposed immigration enforcement bill. While the current climate surrounding immigration may be similar to 2006 amid President Donald Trump’s hard-line approach to the issue, the immigrant rights movement has changed dramatically since then. Advocacy groups that in 2006 were united in their determination to flood the streets to make a statement have fractured since then and pursued other efforts, such as voter registration, lobbying and fighting deportations. However, activists expect a surge in participation this year, in part because immigrant rights groups have worked with Women’s March participants, Black Lives Matter and Muslim civil rights groups who are united by their opposition to Donald Trump. Also, businesses with immigrant ties are closing or allowing employees to take the day off without penalty. Immigrant groups acknowledged there is some fear among people in the country illegally who are skittish about drawing attention to themselves in visible marches. But organizers are reminding them that it’s an important cause and there’s safety in numbers. “If you are an immigrant in Los Angeles, the safest place you can be on Monday is in the action in downtown Los Angeles,” said David Huerta, president of SEIU United Service Workers West. As Trump approaches his first 100 days, he has aggressively pursued immigration enforcement, including executive orders for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border and a ban on travelers from six predominantly-Muslim countries. The government has arrested thousands of immigrants in the country illegally and threatened to withhold funding from sanctuary jurisdictions, which limit cooperation between local and federal immigration authorities. [...]
Sat, 29 Apr 2017 05:05:00 GMTCHICAGO – Prosecutors said a man charged in the fatal shooting of a Cook County judge sneaked up with a gun to the judge’s home days before the slaying to commit a robbery but changed his mind.
Sat, 29 Apr 2017 05:05:00 GMTCHICAGO – The former head of Chicago Public Schools was sentenced Friday to more than four years in prison for steering $23 million in city contracts to education firms for a cut of more than $2 million in kickbacks. A tearful Barbara Byrd-Bennett, who held top education jobs in Detroit and Cleveland before being tapped to lead the nation’s third-largest school district, apologized in a 15-minute statement before she was sentenced, saying: “What I did was terribly wrong. ... I’m ashamed and I’m sorry.” But U.S. District Court Judge Edmond Chang said her brazenness in bilking an already cash-strapped school district suggested she never believed she’d get caught in a city with a long, ignominious history of corruption. The judge said the scheme diverted money from low-income students relying on education to better their lives. The judge also said Byrd-Bennett and her co-schemers further eroded public confidence in Chicago public officials. He cited emails where Byrd-Bennett wrote about her eagerness to make money, including to help relatives pay for college, including joking in one: “I have tuition to pay and casinos to visit.” “The crime was committed with casualness ... even humor,” Chang said. The former Chicago Public Schools CEO faced a maximum 20 years behind bars, thought prosecutors asked for a term of seven and a half years. During sentencing, Chang said, he factored in her age and her acts of kindness, including paying for the funerals of some students. Prosecutors alleged Byrd-Bennett, 68, agreed to the scheme at the start of her tenure in 2012, knowing the 400,000-student district was buckling under major financial strain. She had a national reputation as an education reformer, earned a $250,000 annual salary and had multiple pensions from previous jobs. But prosecutors said she made a decision “rooted in greed” to participate in the scheme. SUPES Academy and Synesi Associates LLC owners Gary Solomon and Thomas Vranas pleaded guilty to related charges. Chang sentenced Solomon – who prosecutors said masterminded the scheme – to seven years in prison last month. Vranas received an 18-month sentence earlier Friday. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel hired Byrd-Bennett in 2012, vowing to revitalize a school district criticized for low student performance. As CEO, Byrd-Bennett oversaw the shuttering of dozens of schools in a money-saving measure. She began her 40-year education career teaching in low-income neighborhoods in New York City, not far from where she grew up. Her lawyer, Michael Scudder, said she felt “crushing humiliation and shame” for her crimes. He noted that since her indictment, her name has been stripped from the title of a Cleveland training center. As for why she took part in the scheme, Scudder wrote: “Nobody has struggled more with this q[...]
Sat, 29 Apr 2017 05:04:00 GMTATLANTA – President Donald Trump reaffirmed his support for gun rights Friday, telling attendees of a National Rifle Association convention that “the eight-year assault on your Second Amendment freedoms has come to a crashing end.” Trump, the first sitting president to address the group’s annual convention in more than 30 years, assured the audience that he would defend their right to bear arms in a campaign-like speech reminiscent of his election rallies. “You have a true friend and champion in the White House,” he said. The president’s trip to Atlanta also served as his first foray into a congressional race since taking office. After delivering his NRA remarks, the president headed to a private fundraiser for Republican congressional candidate Karen Handel, who is running in a special congressional race that has become a national referendum on his presidency. During the speech, the president congratulated Handel and urged Republicans to support her. “She’s totally for the NRA, and she’s totally for the Second Amendment, so get out and vote,” he said. Trump has been a champion of gun rights and supportive of NRA efforts to loosen restrictions on gun ownership. During the campaign, he promised to do away with President Barack Obama’s efforts to strengthen background checks and to eliminate gun-free zones at schools and military bases. The last president to address an NRA convention was Ronald Reagan, who spoke to the 1983 gathering, according to the powerful gun rights lobby. Trump’s appearance in Atlanta sparked protests from people advocating for stricter gun control measures. They included Steve Hagen, who called the NRA’s push for federal legislation to make any state’s concealed-carry permits valid nationwide “the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard.” “I guess the promoters are throwing states’ rights out the window,” Hagen, a 68-year-old from the Atlanta suburb of Tucker. “It’s just crazy.” Opponents of the bill say the move would effectively turn the weakest gun standards in the nation into the law of the land. The GOP-led Congress already passed a resolution to block a rule that would have kept guns out of the hands of certain people with mental disorders, and Trump quickly signed it. Trump, who also attended last year’s NRA convention as a candidate, boasts of owning a pair of guns and mentioned again on Friday that his two adult sons are avid hunters. He stirred controversy during the campaign when he suggested that “Second Amendment people” could stop his opponent Hillary Clinton, which some interpreted to be a call for violence against the Democratic nominee. Trump disputed that charge. White House press secretary Sean Spicer said on the plane trip from Washington that NRA members supported Trump during the[...]
Sat, 29 Apr 2017 05:04:00 GMTWASHINGTON – Congress took the easy way out to keep the government open on the eve of Donald Trump’s 100th day in office, passing a weeklong stop-gap spending bill Friday that amounted to more of a defeat for the president than a victory. Lawmakers cleared the measure easily with just hours to spare before the shutdown deadline at midnight. But with Trump marking his presidency’s milestone Saturday, he did not wring any major legislation out of Congress, despite a renewed White House push to revive the House GOP’s health care bill in time for a vote that could give him bragging rights. House leaders are still short of votes for the revised health bill, though they could bring it to the floor next week if they find the support they need. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said the plan was to pass the bill “as soon as possible.” Also next week lawmakers plan to pass a $1 trillion package financing the government through Sept. 30, the end of the 2017 fiscal year. The temporary spending bill keeps the government functioning through next Friday, to allow lawmakers time to wrap up negotiations on the larger measure. The Senate sent the stopgap bill to Trump by voice vote Friday after the House approved it by a lopsided 382-30 margin. “Today’s measure shows the American people that we are making a good-faith effort to keep our government open,” said Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Texas. “While this is not ideal, I support this effort to provide our colleagues with more time to reach a final agreement on legislation to fund the government through the fiscal year.” The struggle over both bills was embarrassing to the GOP, which has Trump in the White House and majorities in Congress. Yet even with unified control, it’s proving an uphill fight for Republicans to make good on seven years’ worth of promises to repeal and replace former President Barack Obama’s health care law. “I’m disappointed that it doesn’t go quicker,” Trump said of his interactions with Congress, in an interview airing Friday on Fox News Channel. At least 18 Republicans, mostly moderates, said they oppose the health care legislation, and many others remained publicly uncommitted. That puts party elders in an uncomfortable spot because if 22 Republicans defect, the bill will fail, assuming all Democrats oppose it. House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., wants to avoid an encore of last month’s embarrassment, when he abruptly canceled a vote on a health care overhaul because of opposition from moderates and conservatives alike. Republicans have recast the health bill to let states escape a requirement under Obama’s 2010 law that insurers charge healthy and seriously ill customers the same rates. The overall legislation would cut the Medicaid program for the poor, eliminate Obama’s fines for people who don[...]
Sat, 29 Apr 2017 05:03:00 GMTCAIRO – Pope Francis demanded that Egypt’s Muslim leaders teach a rejection of violence in God’s name during a delicate visit Friday to the Arab world’s most populous country, and he strongly backed its uncompromising crackdown on political Islam and militancy. Brushing off security concerns after a series of attacks by Islamic militants on Egypt’s Coptic Christians, Francis rode through Cairo in a simple blue Fiat with his window rolled down – not the armored “popemobiles” of his predecessors. And at every stop on his first day, he issued variations on the same hard-hitting theme: “No civilized society can be built without repudiating every ideology of evil, violence and extremism that presumes to suppress others and to annihilate diversity by manipulating and profaning the sacred name of God.” Francis strongly backed the government’s response to the growing insurgency led by a local affiliate of the extremist Islamic State group, saying Egypt had a unique role in forging peace in the region and in “vanquishing all violence and terrorism.” His main event was a landmark visit to Cairo’s Al-Azhar, the revered, 1,000-year-old seat of Sunni Islam learning that trains clerics and scholars from around the world. There, he warmly embraced Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayeb, Al-Azhar’s grand imam who hosted the pope and other senior Muslim and Christian leaders, students and scholars at a peace conference in a hall featuring a mock-up of the famous Al-Azhar mosque, complete with faux windows and flooded with purple lights. Francis reminded the crowd that Egypt’s ancient civilization valued the quest for knowledge and open-minded education, saying a similar commitment is needed today to combat the “barbarity” of religious extremism. While Al-Azhar has strongly condemned Islamic extremism, Egypt’s pro-government media has accused its leadership of failing to do enough to reform religious discourse and purge canonical books of outdated teachings and hatred for non-Muslims. “As religious leaders, we are called to unmask violence that masquerades as purported sanctity,” Francis said to applause. “Let us say once more a firm and clear ‘No’ to every form of violence, vengeance and hatred carried out in the name of religion or in the name of God.” Religious teachers, in particular, must teach the young to “respond to the incendiary logic of evil by patiently working for the growth of goodness,” he said. El-Tayeb thanked Francis for what he called his “fair” comments against charges of terror and violence leveled against Muslims and Islam. “We need to cleanse religions from wrong notions, false piety and fraudulent implementations which stoke conflicts and incite hatred and violence,” he said. “Islam is [...]
Sat, 29 Apr 2017 05:03:00 GMTNEW YORK – Facebook is acknowledging that governments or other malicious nonstate actors are using its social network to influence political sentiment in ways that could affect national elections. It’s a long way from CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s assertion back in November that it was “pretty crazy” to think that false news on Facebook influenced the U.S. presidential election. It’s also a major sign that the world’s biggest social network is continuing to grapple with its outsized role in how the world communicates, for better or for worse. In a paper posted online Thursday, Facebook security researchers and its chief security officer said the company will monitor the efforts of those who try to hurt “civic discourse” on its service, whether that’s governments or other groups. It is also looking to identify fake accounts, and said it will notify people if their accounts have been targeted by such cyberattackers. “[We] have had to expand our security focus from traditional abusive behavior, such as account hacking, malware, spam and financial scams, to include more subtle and insidious forms of misuse, including attempts to manipulate civic discourse and deceive people,” the report states. It was written by researchers Jen Weedon and William Nuland and Facebook exec Alex Stamos and titled “Information Operations and Facebook.” ELECTION MEDDLING The team defined “information operations” as any actions taken by governments or other actors to “distort domestic or foreign political sentiment” to achieve a strategic purpose. Such operations can include the dissemination of false news and disinformation and the use of fake-account networks aimed at manipulating public opinion through a variety of means. Using the 2016 U.S. presidential election as an example, Facebook said it uncovered “several situations” where malicious actors used social media to “share information stolen from other sources, such as email accounts, with the intent of harming the reputation of specific political targets.” The company did not name the actors or the victims, but it said its data “does not contradict” a January report by the U.S. Director of National Intelligence that Russia tried to meddle with the U.S. election. MORE TO DO Jonathan Albright, a professor who studies data journalism at Elon University in North Carolina, urged journalists and others back in February to look not just at the role of Facebook in spreading false or misleading information, but also at the sources of such information. That is, to attempt to identify both the producers of this material and those who spread it using social networks and other means. Facebook’s paper addresses the amplifiers of such content – the fake accounts that “like” an[...]
Sat, 29 Apr 2017 05:03:00 GMTWASHINGTON – Two Army Rangers killed during a raid on an Islamic State compound in eastern Afghanistan may have died as a result of friendly fire during the opening minutes of the fierce, three-hour firefight, the Pentagon said Friday. Navy Capt. Jeff Davis said the U.S. military is investigating to see if they were accidentally killed by ground fire from Afghan commandos or other American forces. He said the deaths did not appear deliberate. Davis said that the head of the Islamic State affiliate in Afghanistan, Abdul Haseeb Logari, was the target of the Wednesday raid. He said officials suspect that Logari, the emir of what’s called the Islamic State Khorasan group, was among several key leaders killed, but haven’t confirmed that. Logari was in charge of the Afghanistan affiliate’s command and control and it’s connections with the broader Islamic State group and it’s leaders. About 35 other enemy fighters were killed and one other Army Ranger received a minor head wound during the battle, but was able to stay with the assault force. “This was a dangerous mission and we knew this going in,” Davis told Pentagon reporters. “This was the leader of ISIS in Afghanistan. We knew that he was going to be well protected and that they were going to fight very hard to prevent him from being captured or killed. And that is indeed what happened.” About 50 Army Rangers and 40 Afghan commandos were dropped off by helicopter around 10:30 p.m. local time on Wednesday, for the raid in Nangarhar Province’s, Mohmand Valley. They were on the ground for about four-and-a-half hours. “Within minutes of the insertion the combined force came under intense fire from multiple directions. It was during these initial moments of the raid that the two Rangers were mortally wounded,” Davis said. He added that the U.S. and Afghan troops were being fired on from prepared positions on all sides, and that the compound was heavily fortified and contained a network of tunnels. Davis said manned and unmanned aircraft, including AC-130 gunships, Apache helicopters and F-16 fighter jets, were used to support the raid and provide airstrikes to defend the force on the ground and evacuate the wounded. The military headquarters in Kabul said in a statement that the U.S. and Afghan forces accomplished the mission without civilian casualties, including women and children in the compound. Killed in the firefight were Army Sgts. Joshua P. Rodgers, 22, of Bloomington, Illinois, and Cameron H. Thomas, 23, of Kettering, Ohio. The families of the two Rangers have been told it was possible they died from friendly fire. The U.S. has been battling the Islamic State group in Afghanistan for months and estimates that the group now includes abo[...]
Sat, 29 Apr 2017 05:03:00 GMTWASHINGTON – Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is proposing to eliminate 2,300 jobs as part of a plan to cut more than a quarter of the State Department’s budget for the next fiscal year, officials said Friday. The plan will almost certainly meet resistance from lawmakers opposing President Donald Trump’s proposal to shrink the size of the federal government. Tillerson’s proposal reduces the number of new diplomats being hired and includes the State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development’s possible consolidation, according to officials briefed on the proposal. The staff cuts would amount to about 3 percent of the department’s roughly 75,000-strong workforce. The proposal is a response to the Office of Management and Budget’s call to slash the State Department and USAID budgets by 31 percent through deep cuts to foreign aid and other programs, said the officials, who weren’t authorized to speak publicly about the as-yet unreleased plan and requested anonymity. Tillerson’s plan would entail a 26 percent budget reduction, they said. In an interview with NPR that aired Friday, Tillerson said he intended to reorganize the department to make it more efficient and focused. “What we really want to do is examine the process by which the men and women – the career foreign service people, the civil servants, our embassies – how they deliver on that mission,” he said. “We want to hear from them, we’re just about to embark on a department-wide listening mission,” he said, adding later: “I look forward to hearing their ideas. Because I know there’s going to be opportunities to allow them to be more effective. Now, out of that we’ll determine what the State Department looks like.” Cutting more than a quarter of State Department’s current $50.1 billion budget would require dramatic reductions in programs and staffing, cuts that many in Congress and elsewhere oppose. Tillerson’s proposal includes 700 job cuts through buyouts and 1,600 from attrition. The job cuts were first reported by Bloomberg. Buyouts would be offered first to staffers over the age of 50 with at least two decades of government service, the officials said. The State Department declined to comment on the job reductions, and officials cautioned that plans are tentative until the budget is submitted to Congress next month. But Tillerson has spoken publicly of the need to streamline the agency. He will outline plans to State Department staffers next week, officials said. Tillerson hasn’t addressed State Department workers since his first day on the job in February. As part of the plan, a high-level panel will explore the [...]
Sat, 29 Apr 2017 05:03:00 GMTSEOUL, South Korea – A North Korean mid-range ballistic missile apparently failed shortly after launch Saturday, South Korea and the United States said, the third test-fire flop just this month but a clear message of defiance as a U.S. supercarrier conducts drills in nearby waters. North Korean ballistic missile tests are banned by the United Nations because they’re seen as part of the North’s push for a nuclear-tipped missile that can hit the U.S. mainland. The latest test came as U.S. officials pivoted from a hard line to diplomacy at the U.N. in an effort to address what may be Washington’s most pressing foreign policy challenge. President Donald Trump said on Twitter, “North Korea disrespected the wishes of China & its highly respected President when it launched, though unsuccessfully, a missile today. Bad!” He did not answer reporters’ questions about the missile launch upon returning to the White House from a day trip to Atlanta. North Korea didn’t immediately comment on the launch, though its state media on Saturday reiterated the country’s goal of being able to strike the continental U.S. The timing of the North’s test was striking: Only hours earlier the U.N. Security Council held a ministerial meeting on Pyongyang’s escalating weapons program. North Korean officials boycotted the meeting, which was chaired by U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement that the missile flew for several minutes and reached a maximum height of 44 miles before it apparently failed. It didn’t immediately provide an estimate on how far the missile flew, but a U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive matters, said it was likely a medium-range KN-17 ballistic missile. It broke up a few minutes after the launch. Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, speaking after a meeting of Japan’s National Security Council, said the missile is believed to have traveled about 30 miles and fallen on an inland part of North Korea. Analysts say the KN-17 is a new Scud-type missile developed by North Korea. The North fired the same type of missile April 16, just a day after a massive military parade where it showed off its expanding missile arsenal, but U.S. officials called that launch a failure. Some analysts say a missile the North test fired April 5, which U.S. officials identified as a Scud variant, also might have been a KN-17. U.S. officials said that missile spun out of control and crashed into the sea. Moon Seong Mook, a South Korean analyst and former military official, said the North would gain valuable knowledge even from failed launches as it continues to imp[...]
Sat, 29 Apr 2017 04:58:00 GMTLAKE IN THE HILLS – A vote to pass a resolution encouraging the McHenry County Board to dissolve and consolidate the Lake in the Hills Sanitary District with the village was postponed by Lake in the Hills trustees. Outgoing Lake in the Hills Village President Paul Mulcahy, who initiated looking into the consolidation, called the Lake in the Hills Village Board’s decision to table the resolution “completely and utterly irresponsible.” “All the questions that I’ve heard from this Board of Trustees cannot get answered until this ordinance is passed by the county,” Mulcahy said at Thursday’s Village Board meeting. “By doing this, even postponing this, it’s one of the most irresponsible things I’ve ever heard out of this board, or witnessed out of this board, in 20 years.” In August, Gov. Bruce Rauner signed then-state Rep. Jack Franks’ bill, House Bill 229, that grants the McHenry and Lake county boards the power to eliminate a taxing body for which it appoints a majority of the trustees, provided its boundaries are completely within the district. Under the new law, county boards must cite a legitimate reason that concludes that the body proposed for elimination provides either unnecessary or duplicative services. Citizens in the body’s boundaries can petition the county clerk to force the proposed elimination to a voter referendum. The law allows the McHenry County Board to eliminate a handful of bodies, such as the Lake in the Hills Sanitary District, the Crystal Lake Rural Fire District and the Greenwood and Hebron drainage districts. The Lake in the Hills Sanitary District is a separate government than the village of Lake in the Hills and levies a separate property tax. The district provides wastewater collection and water pollution control for about 11,000 customers in Lake in the Hills, and parts of Crystal Lake and Huntley, according to village documents and sanitary district manager Rick Forner. Forner said the district has 10 employees. Mulcahy has said the consolidation of the sanitary district would be more efficient and reduce expenses, in part by eliminating the district’s property tax levy, which sits at about $600,000, according to a Lake in the Hills staff report presented to the board in February. “This is something that needs to be done not just here, but all over the state,” Mulcahy said Thursday. “And this is the opportunity to set a precedent, and show all the other government bodies that this makes senses, it’s the right and proper thing to do, it’s a way to get property taxes in this state under control.” The state has nearly 7,000 units of local government. Mulcah[...]
Sat, 29 Apr 2017 04:58:00 GMTCRYSTAL LAKE – Only one of 80 establishments checked for alcohol compliance by city police this month failed the test, Crystal Lake police said Friday.
Sat, 29 Apr 2017 04:58:00 GMTALGONQUIN – Construction can start again on Longmeadow Parkway in Algonquin after being delayed for nearly two weeks. On Friday, U.S. District Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman refused to extend a temporary restraining order that stopped work on the project, and said opponents of the project failed to show that the construction is a significant threat to the rusty patched bumblebee’s habitat, the Daily Herald reports. The Stop Longmeadow group’s bee expert, entomologist Sydney Cameron, did not show up in court Friday to testify, the Daily Herald reported. Work on the parkway started April 17 near Randall Road in Algonquin, but it ended several hours later after Coleman granted an emergency stop requested by opponents who said the planned route includes a habitat of the endangered rusty patched bumblebee. The rusty patched bumblebee was placed on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s endangered species list March 21. Since the late 1990s, the bee species’ numbers have declined by nearly 90 percent, according to a motion filed by Stop Longmeadow, and the bee is only found in a handful of locations in the country, including Kane County. Plans for the controversial project call for a four-lane, 5.6-mile east-west corridor connecting Randall Road with Route 62, although it starts west of Randall Road at the intersection of Huntley and Boyer roads. The $115 million project, complete with a toll bridge over the Fox River, will go through Algonquin, Carpentersville and Barrington Hills, as well as unincorporated areas of Kane County. After the restraining order was first issued, Algonquin Village President John Schmitt, a longtime proponent of the project, posted a photo of himself on Facebook where his head was attached to the body of a bumblebee. The photo has since been taken down, and what Schmitt called a “self-deprecating” joke led to residents asking him to resign at Tuesday Committee of the Whole meeting. Schmitt said he would not resign. Representatives from the Kane County Division of Transportation and the Stop Longmeadow group could not immediately be reached for comment. H. Rick Bamman - firstname.lastname@example.org A worker from Plote Construction grades the right of way Monday, April 17, 2017 on the north side of Longmeadow Parkway east of Stonegate in Algonquin. Pavement removal and widening work started in sections including about 1,500 feet north and south of Randall Road and Longmeadow Parkway; north and south of Sleepy Hollow Road and Longmeadow Parkway; and on Longmeadow Parkway from Randall Road to east of White Chapel Drive.[...]
Sat, 29 Apr 2017 04:57:00 GMTLAKE IN THE HILLS – Police are investigating the death of a Lake in the Hills man after he barricaded himself in his home Friday evening.
Sat, 29 Apr 2017 04:56:00 GMTLess than a year after the city of Crystal Lake gave a $10,000 grant to Xtreme Nutrition & Smoothies under its New Retailer Job Creation and Investment Program, the business closed, Crystal Lake Community Development Director Michelle Rentzsch said. To prevent a similar situation from happening again, Rentzsch said the city increased the minimum amount of sales tax businesses that qualify for the program must make in a year. Other incentive efforts have worked well for Crystal Lake, helping develop businesses on Route 14 and in the downtown district. “Crystal Lake has always had the philosophy of trying to help business get over that initial outlay when they’re first trying to establish themselves, so it’s just a little help to get them going,” Rentzsch said. Many McHenry County municipalities have economic incentive programs – from revolving loan funds, to facade grants to sales tax rebates – to help retain and attract businesses. However, Craig Lesner, budget and tax research director for the Illinois Policy Institute, said there’s “nothing but risk” associated with local governments giving out these incentives. “There are so many potholes that a government can step in when they’re doing this and ways to mess it up,” Lesner said. “It really begs the question as to, ‘Why are they doing it in the first place?’ ” Lesner, who worked as a CFO for the village of Oak Park for nearly a decade, said if a business is not viable enough to expand on its own, then a government shouldn’t be giving it money. He also said it’s risky letting people in local governments decide whether a business is viable when people at banks do this for a living. Favoritism also can become a problem when elected officials are the ones who vote on whether to give out the incentives, Lesner said. “Ultimately, it’s a decision by politicians, and in that way, in some way or form, it’s a political decision,” Lesner said. In Woodstock, Economic Development Director Garrett Anderson said the city encourages businesses to go through a bank before using the city’s revolving loan fund program. There are limited situations where small businesses don’t fit what the bank is looking for, and that’s where the city can step in and help, Anderson said. Some examples are if a business is renting a building and doesn’t have strong collateral, or if the business opened recently – such as D&A Salon | Apothecary. The Woodstock City Council recently approved a $60,000 loan for the bu[...]
Fri, 28 Apr 2017 23:52:00 GMTNEW YORK – The White House says President Donald Trump is appointing the former president of a leading anti-abortion organization to a senior position at the Department of Health and Human Services.
Fri, 28 Apr 2017 19:20:00 GMTWASHINGTON – Doctors and patient groups are warning that the latest Republican health care bill would gut hard-won protections for people with pre-existing medical conditions, from cancer to treatment for substance abuse.
Fri, 28 Apr 2017 18:41:00 GMTBARRINGTON – Inbound and outbound trains on Metra’s Northwest line are experiencing extensive delays due to a train striking a pedestrian Friday morning in unincorporated Barrington.