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Prosecutors: Prof killed boyfriend as part of sexual fantasyThese booking photos provided by the Chicago Police Department show Wyndham Lathem, left, and Andrew Warren on Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017. Lathem, a Northwestern University professor, and Warren, an Oxford University financial officer, have been charged with first-degree murder in the death of Trenton James Cornell-Duranleau, a Michigan native who had been working in Chicago. Authorities say Cornell-Duranleau suffered more than 40 stab wounds to his upper body during the July attack in Lathem's high-rise Chicago condo. Lathem and Warren surrendered peacefully to police in California on Aug. 4 after an eight-day manhunt. (Chicago Police Department via AP)

Mon, 21 Aug 2017 05:38:00 GMT

CHICAGO – The fatal stabbing of a hairstylist in Chicago was part of a sexual fantasy hatched in an online chatroom between a Northwestern University professor and an Oxford University employee, whose plan included killing someone and then themselves, prosecutors told a Cook County judge Sunday at a bond hearing for the men. An Illinois prosecutor shared disturbing new details about the July 27 slaying, describing to the court how Trenton James Cornell-Duranleau, the 26-year-old boyfriend of since-fired microbiology professor Wyndham Lathem, was stabbed 70 times at Lathem's Chicago condo and with such brutality that he was nearly decapitated. His throat was slit and pulmonary artery torn. Lathem, 46, had communicated for months before with Andrew Warren, 56, about "carrying out their sexual fantasies of killing others and then themselves," Natosha Toller, an assistant Cook County state's Attorney, told the court. While the prosecutor used the plural in talking about the alleged fantasy to kill, she did not say there were other victims. Judge Adam Bourgeois Jr. at one point shook his head in apparent disgust as he listened to the prosecutor offer a chilling narrative of the slaying. He later deemed both men potentially dangerous and flight risks, ordering them to remain in jail pending trial on first-degree murder charges. "The heinous facts speak for themselves," he said. Lathem and Warren – a British citizen employed as a financial official at the Oxford, England, university – were dressed in their own clothes Sunday at their first court appearance in Chicago. They stood calmly, their hands behind their backs, as the prosecutor and judge spoke. Lathem paid for Warren's ticket to travel to the United States and he picked Warren up at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport a few days before the killing, the prosecutor said. On July 26, one day before the killing, Lathem booked a room for Warren near the condo, Toller said. Cornell-Duranleau, a Michigan native, had been asleep in Lathem's high-rise Chicago condo when Lathem let Warren into the 10th-floor unit around 4:30 a.m. on July 27 – treading carefully so as not to wake the victim. As Warren stood in a doorway, Lathem crept up to Cornell-Duranleau and began plunging a 6-inch drywall saw knife into his chest and neck, Toller said. Lathem had told Warren to take video of the killing using his cellphone, but Warren did not end up recording it, the prosecutor said. When Cornell-Duranleau awoke, he began screaming and fought back; Lathem yelled at Warren, asking him to help subdue Cornell-Duranleau, the prosecutor said. Warren ran over to cover the victim's mouth, then struck him in the head with a heavy lamp in an attempt to silence him, Toller said. As Lathem continued to stab the victim, Warren left the room and returned with two kitchen knives, she said. Warren bent over Cornell-Duranleau and joined Lathem in stabbing him, the prosecutor said. At one point, the victim bit Warren's hand as he struggled to fight off the attack. She said the victim's last words were to Lathem: "Wyndham, what are you doing?" While prosecutors said Lathem and Warren had concocted a plan to kill themselves after the stabbing, Toller did not say why they never followed through with it. After showering, Lathem and Warren left the apartment an hour after the stabbing began, the prosecutor said. They surrendered to California authorities on Aug. 4 after an eight-day manhunt and were recently returned to Illinois. The stab wounds to Cornell-Duranleau included 21 to the chest and abdomen, and 26 in the back, as well as multiple cuts on his hands. Cornell-Duranleau's lungs were also both punct[...]


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Hospital officals: Nearly 500 dead in Sierra Leone mudslidesVolunteers search for bodies from the scene Tuesday of heavy flooding and mudslides in Regent, just outside of Sierra Leone's capital Freetown. Survivors picking through the debris of Sierra Leone's deadly mudslides are facing the reality that most, if not all, of the estimated 600 people missing are dead.Sierra Leone President Ernest Bai Koroma (second from right) attends a mass funeral for victims of heavy flooding and mudslides in Regent at a cemetery in Freetown, Sierra Leone, Thursday. The government has begun burying the hundreds of people killed earlier this week in mudslides in Sierra Leone's capital, and it warned Thursday of new danger from a large crack that has opened on a mountainside where residents were told to evacuate.

Mon, 21 Aug 2017 05:19:00 GMT

FREETOWN, Sierra Leone – Churches across Sierra Leone held special services Sunday in memory of those killed in mudslides and flooding earlier this week, as hospital officials announced the toll had risen to nearly 500 bodies collected.

More than 600 people remain missing and rescue officials have warned that the chances of finding survivors are decreasing each day. The death toll earlier stood at 450.

The Inter-Religious Council called for the services to be held Sunday in honor of the deceased, as special prayers and recitals were offered in mosques Friday and Sunday.

The preacher at Buxton Memorial Methodist Church in Freetown, the capital, offered a sermon that looked at mankind’s contribution to the disaster, as a gospel band rendered the song “Papa God Sorry for Salone (Sierra Leone).”

Large-scale burials have taken place all this week amid rainy weather that threatened further mudslides.

The government of the impoverished West African nation in recent days has warned residents to evacuate a mountainside where a large crack has opened. Thousands of people live in areas at risk, and the main focus is making sure they leave before further disaster, authorities have told local media.

Aid groups are providing clean water as a health crisis looms.

“Water sources have been contaminated” and that officials “fear for an outbreak of waterborne diseases,” said Saidu Kanu, country director for World Hope International.

Foreign aid from the rest of the world is being sent to Freetown, said authorities.

Volunteers search for bodies from the scene Tuesday of heavy flooding and mudslides in Regent, just outside of Sierra Leone's capital Freetown. Survivors picking through the debris of Sierra Leone's deadly mudslides are facing the reality that most, if not all, of the estimated 600 people missing are dead.Sierra Leone President Ernest Bai Koroma (second from right) attends a mass funeral for victims of heavy flooding and mudslides in Regent at a cemetery in Freetown, Sierra Leone, Thursday. The government has begun burying the hundreds of people killed earlier this week in mudslides in Sierra Leone's capital, and it warned Thursday of new danger from a large crack that has opened on a mountainside where residents were told to evacuate.


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Iraq launches operation to take back IS-held town near MosulU.S. Army soldiers stands next to a a guided-missile launcher, a few miles from the frontline, in the village of Abu Ghaddur, east of Tal Afar, Iraq, Sunday, Aug. 20, 2017. Iraqi forces have launched a multi-pronged assault to retake the town of Tal Afar, west of Mosul, marking the next phase in the country's war on the Islamic State group. Tal Afar and the surrounding area is one of the last pockets of IS-held territory in Iraq after victory was declared in July in Mosul, the country's second-largest city. (AP Photo/Balint Szlanko)

Mon, 21 Aug 2017 05:19:00 GMT

ABU GHADDUR, Iraq – U.S.-backed Iraqi forces on Sunday launched a multi-pronged assault to retake the town of Tal Afar, west of Mosul, marking the next phase in the country’s war on the Islamic State group. Tal Afar and the surrounding area is one of the last pockets of IS-held territory in Iraq after victory was declared in July in Mosul, the country’s second-largest city. The town, about 93 miles east of the Syrian border, sits along a major road that once was a key IS supply route. “The city of Tal Afar will be liberated and will join all the liberated cities,” Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said in a televised speech early Sunday. He was dressed in a black uniform of the type worn by Iraqi special forces. He called on the militants to “surrender or die.” By early afternoon, Lt. Gen. Abdul-Amir Rasheed Yar Allah, who commands the operation, said the forces had recaptured a series of villages east, southwest and northwest of town. The U.S.-led coalition providing air and other support to the troops praised what it said was a “capable, formidable and increasingly professional force.” “They are well prepared to deliver another defeat” to IS in Tal Afar, like in Mosul, the coalition said in a statement. On the front lines, pillars of smoke could be seen rising in the distance as U.S. and Belgian special forces worked with Iraqi troops to establish a position on the roof of a house. They later fired mortar rounds and launched drones. Lt. Gen. Riyad Jalal Tawfiq, of the Iraqi army, said IS had deployed small teams of attackers as well as suicide car bombs and roadside bombs. The Coalition estimates that approximately 10,000-50,000 civilians remain in and around Tal Afar. In past battles, IS has prevented civilians from fleeing and used them as human shields, slowing Iraqi advances. Hours after announcing the operation, the United Nations expressed concerns over the safety of the civilians, calling on warring parties to protect them. Iraqi authorities have set up a toll-free number and a radio station to help guide fleeing civilians to safety. A stepped up campaign of airstrikes and a troop buildup has already forced tens of thousands to flee Tal Afar, threatening to compound a humanitarian crisis sparked by the Mosul operation. Some 49,000 people have fled the Tal Afar district since April, according to the United Nations. Nearly a million people remain displaced by the nine-month campaign to retake Mosul. The U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq, Lise Grande, described the situation inside Tal Afar as “very tough,” with food and water running out and many lacking basic necessities. “Families are trekking for 10 to 20 hours in extreme heat to reach mustering points,” she said. “They are arriving exhausted and dehydrated.” Iraqi forces have driven IS from most of the major towns and cities seized by the militants in the summer of 2014, including Mosul, which was retaken after a grueling nine-month campaign. But along with Tal Afar, the militants are still fully in control of the northern town of Hawija as well as Qaim, Rawa and Ana, in western Iraq near the Syrian border. Tal Afar has been a stronghold for extremists in Iraq since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein. Many senior leaders of IS and its predecessor, al-Qaida in Iraq, were from Tal Afar. Iraq’s state-sanctioned and mostly Shiite militias largely stayed out of the operation to retake Mosul, a mostly Sunni city about 50 miles to the east, but have vow[...]


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Former health chiefs to Trump: Avoid new 'Obamacare' crisis

Mon, 21 Aug 2017 05:18:00 GMT

WASHINGTON – Don’t make things worse. That’s the advice of former U.S. health secretaries of both parties to President Donald Trump and the GOP-led Congress, now that “Obamacare” seems here for the foreseeable future. The 2018 sign-up season for subsidized private health plans starts Nov. 1, with about 10 million people currently served through HealthCare.gov and its state counterparts. Stability should be the immediate goal, said former Health and Human Services secretaries Kathleen Sebelius, Mike Leavitt and Tommy Thompson. At minimum: Dispel the political and legal uncertainty – fueled by presidential tweets – around billions in subsidies for consumers’ insurance copays and deductibles. The three former officials shared their views with The Associated Press. Beyond the urgent need to calm markets by providing clarity on subsidies, Democrat Sebelius and Republicans Leavitt and Thompson differ on the direction Trump and Congress should take. They agree that Republicans still have an opportunity to put their stamp on the Affordable Care Act, even if the drive to “repeal and replace” former President Barack Obama’s legacy program appears to have hit a dead end. “They can make changes that signal a new ideological direction without generating a logistical and political mess,” said Leavitt, who led HHS during former President George W. Bush’s second term. “They won the right to make changes. However, they should do it in a skillful way.” Leavitt shepherded the Medicare prescription drug benefit through its rocky rollout in 2006. “Stabilizing the current situation can only – I think – be to their benefit,” Sebelius said of the Trump administration. “In an environment in which [insurance] companies are enrolling customers, they’ve got a lot of time to actually go back to the drawing board and figure this out. The worst of all worlds for them would be to have the current situation unravel because of decisions by this administration.” Sebelius helped steer Obama’s law through Congress and later oversaw the troubled launch of HealthCare.gov, when the computer system locked up on the first day of sign-up season, frustrating millions of consumers and embarrassing the White House. She took the heat, but Sebelius stayed on task and ultimately helped deliver a successful open enrollment. “It would be a mistake to further destabilize the [insurance] market,” said Thompson, who served during Bush’s first term and led HHS preparations to meet the bioterrorism threat after the deadly anthrax mailings that followed closely the Sept. 11 attacks. Thompson urged a health care summit between Trump and congressional leaders of both parties, followed by a period of intensive legislative work under a deadline to reach a truce in the political battle over health care. Trump and top lieutenants like HHS Secretary Tom Price have sent mixed signals. Leading congressional Republicans want to try to move limited legislation after lawmakers return next month, worried they’ll suffer consequences in next year’s midterm elections. At the very least such legislation would provide clear legal authority for the ACA’s cost-sharing subsidies, which reduce copays and deductibles for people with modest incomes. Stopping the payments would lead to a spike in premiums, more insurers leaving the markets and increased federal deficits, the Congressional Budget Office warned last week. The markets already saw steep premium increases this year, and more insurers have since bailed out, citing financial losses. The administration has continued to make monthly subsidy payments to insure[...]



Free speech supporters: Outnumbered, but rally was a successCounterprotesters hold signs Saturday at a "Free Speech" rally by conservative activists on Boston Common in Boston. Thousands of demonstrators marched Saturday from the city's Roxbury neighborhood to Boston Common, where the "Free Speech Rally" is being held.

Mon, 21 Aug 2017 05:18:00 GMT

BOSTON – Supporters of a small, conservative “free speech rally” held Saturday in Boston said that despite being outnumbered by tens of thousands of counterprotesters, their event was a success.

Demonstrators protesting against racism and white supremacy had descended upon historic Boston Common, dwarfing the rally’s few dozen attendees and leading to what appeared to be an abrupt end of the event. Less than an hour after rallygoers arrived, they were escorted out of the area by police, as boisterous counterprotesters scuffled with officers.

But event organizers, speakers and participants say coverage of the event has been mischaracterized and that it accomplished its purpose – to talk about the importance of free speech.

“We were there to discuss the spectrum of American views,” said Dr. Shiva Ayyadurai, who gave the keynote at the rally.

Ayyadurai, a Cambridge technology entrepreneur who is seeking the GOP nomination to challenge Democratic U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, added that the crowd was a politically and racially diverse group of mostly students.

In the days leading up to Saturday’s long-planned event, organizers publicly distanced themselves from the Aug. 12 white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, that left a woman dead and many more injured.

Addressing concerns that a similar event might come to Boston, Democratic Mayor Marty Walsh had denounced “hate groups” that would potentially attend Saturday’s gathering.

But when asked about the atmosphere at the Parkman Bandstand on the Common where supporters gathered Saturday, participants described the opposite of what opponents had feared.

“I was holding one of the ‘Black Lives Do Matter’ signs,” said attendee April Sutherland, 25, of Seattle. Photos show the signs being held up as Ayyadurai is speaking. “It was powerful to have our voices heard. The police were very good at escorting us out [and] we were met with people who were so encouraging. Forty thousand people were objecting to something they didn’t realize was a lie.”

Melissa Smith, 32, of Brookline, said she participated in the rally because free speech is important to her.

“[The event] was very successful,” she said.

Despite multiple confrontations, fights breaking out and objects getting thrown at police, authorities touted the events as mostly peaceful, reporting a total of 33 arrests for disorderly conduct, assaulting a police officer and other offenses. Those arrested are expected in court this week. Officials say about 40,000 people attended.

The counterdemonstration received praise from Walsh, who said Boston “stood for peace and love” and President Donald Trump, who said the people in Boston were “speaking out” against bigotry and hate. Trump added in a Twitter message that “Our country will soon come together as one!”

Counterprotesters hold signs Saturday at a "Free Speech" rally by conservative activists on Boston Common in Boston. Thousands of demonstrators marched Saturday from the city's Roxbury neighborhood to Boston Common, where the "Free Speech Rally" is being held.


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Spanish town struggles to reconcile locals as extremist cellA woman weeps during a gathering of members of the local Muslim community along with relatives of young men believed responsible for the attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils to denounce terrorism and show their grief in Ripoll, north of Barcelona, Spain, Sunday.

Mon, 21 Aug 2017 05:18:00 GMT

RIPOLL, Spain – They were brothers and boyhood friends from a town with no unfamiliar faces. They were linked by Moroccan roots and equally tied by their upbringings in Ripoll, an ancient hub in the Catalan foothills known for its monastery and passageways dotted with cafes and kebab shops. But most recently, police believe, the young men were drawn together by an imam and an alleged plot to murder on a massive scale – an extraordinary secret for 12 people to keep for months on end. In the suspected extremist cell’s final days, the group accumulated more than 100 gas canisters, blew up a house in a botched effort to make bombs, drove a van through Barcelona’s storied Las Ramblas promenade, and attacked beachside tourists, Spanish authorities said. The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attacks that killed at least 14 people and left scores wounded. Five of the dozen were shot dead by police. Now, Ripoll is cut off by police roadblocks as the search for an alleged cell member thought to still be on the run continues. Families and friends in the town are torn between horror at the bloodshed and grief for the children they thought they knew. “We don’t know whether to cry and mourn them or what to do,” said Wafa Marsi, who knew the attackers and stood with their weeping mothers as they clustered in small groups in the town square. “They have killed 13 or 14 people and wounded a hundred, and we don’t know what to do.” What the families finally did, after fiercely debating the issue, was denounce the attack, some holding up homemade signs reading “Not in our name.” Police have identified 12 members of the cell, but three remained unaccounted for Sunday. Two are believed to have been killed when the house where the plot was hatched exploded Wednesday, Catalan police official Josep Lluis Trapero told reporters Sunday. Complicating the manhunt for the suspected fugitive and any other possible accomplices, however, was the fact that police so far have been unable to pinpoint who remained at large. The explosion in Alcanar, 186 miles south of Ripoll, nearly obliterated the bomb makers along with the house. A police official has said the imam, Abdelbaki Es Satty, is thought to be one of them. Trapero declined to confirm that Younes Abouyaaquoub, a 22-year-old Moroccan, was the one at large and the suspected driver of the van that plowed down the Las Ramblas promenade Thursday, killing 13 people and injuring 120. Another attack hours later killed one person and injured others in Cambrils, a seaside town south of the city. “We are working in that line,” Trapero said. But he added: “We don’t know where he is.” Another police official did confirm that three vans tied to the investigation were rented with Abouyaaquoub’s credit card: The one used in the Las Ramblas carnage, another found in Ripoll, where all the main attack suspects lived, and a third found in Vic, on the road between the two. Police are investigating whether a man found stabbed to death inside a car in Barcelona may have been killed by an attacker as well. Police believe the cell members had planned to fill the vans with explosives and create a massive attack in the Catalan capital. Trapero confirmed that more than 100 tanks of butane gas were found at the Alcanar house that exploded, as well as ingredients of the explosive TATP, which was used by the Islamic State group in attacks in Paris and Brussels. “Our thesis is that the group had planned one or more attacks with explosives in the city of Barcelona,” he [...]


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1979 Klan-Nazi attack survivor hopes for a 'justice river'The Rev. Nelson Johnson and his wife, Joyce, stand beside a 1979 photo of the "Greensboro Massacre" Wednesday at the couple's Faith Community Church in Greensboro, N.C. The Johnsons were taking part in a workers' march on Nov. 3, 1979, when they were attacked by Nazis and members of the Ku Klux Klan.

Mon, 21 Aug 2017 05:18:00 GMT

GREENSBORO, N.C. – The Rev. Nelson Johnson needs no reminders of the massacre of five of his labor-activist friends almost 40 years ago – he still has the faded scar on his left arm, left by a Nazi who stabbed him as white supremacists descended on a march for workers through black neighborhoods in Greensboro. But the violence surrounding the Aug. 12 march by Ku Klux Klansmen and Nazis in Charlottesville, Virginia, and the death of a young woman hit by a car there, brought the events of Nov. 3, 1979, in sharper focus for him. “I was horrified,” he said. Johnson, now 74, was a member of the Workers Viewpoint Organization, which planned a march through a public housing project in Greensboro before a labor conference on Nov. 3, 1979. While the focus was on workers, textile mill wages and brown lung disease, it also was billed as a “Death to the Klan” rally. Both the rally title and the organization’s decision to rename itself the Communist Workers Party were mistakes, Johnson now acknowledges. Nazis and Ku Klux Klansmen drove into the march and then fired at demonstrators, and a report found that some demonstrators also were armed and fired in response. Five marchers were killed and at least 10 people were wounded, including Johnson. All-white juries at two trials acquitted the Klan and Nazi members, who claimed self-defense. Testimony showed both the police and the then-Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms had been warned by informants about the Klan-Nazi plans. Members of the Greensboro Police Department, along with Klan and Nazi members, were found liable at a civil trial for the death of one victim, and the city paid $351,000 to his family. The details were outlined in a report, completed in 2006 by the Greensboro Truth and Reconciliation Commission. A Nazi knifed Johnson’s left arm, which Johnson had used defensively to prevent a more serious wound to his abdomen. A light scar, faded over 38 years, is barely visible, and Johnson can’t move one finger because of where the knife sliced a muscle. Early reports described the attack as an ambush, but the narrative changed quickly from that to one of equivalent blame for the marchers and the killers – similar to what President Donald Trump said this week about Charlottesville. “To hear our president frame the issue this way was frighteningly familiar,” Johnson said. Still, he’s optimistic about the public response and that of local and state leaders to the Charlottesville protest and death, compared to the way officials reacted in Greensboro in 1979. “The response was much different,” he said. “The mayor, the governor, the leaders of Charlottesville all quickly came to the defense of those who were brutalized and abused. Nothing approximating that happened in Greensboro. And we were quickly isolated and alone.” Death threats led Johnson and his family to move from their house in the woods on the edge of the city to a home with several other families. He couldn’t find a job. About 20 pro-labor protesters who had jobs in the Greensboro area were fired and left town, he said. The attack came at a time when the WVO was “building the strongest black unity in the history of Greensboro,” Johnson said. It destroyed the CWP, which changed its name once again before folding. “If somebody could have told me that I would have become a pariah in this city, I just wouldn’t have believed it,” he said. While listening to a radio show, he heard callers say that his death would have been the best outcome of the Greensboro massacre. [...]


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Trump will address path forward on AfghanistanJoint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford works in his private cabin aboard his plane, Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017, while traveling to Andrews Air Force Base, Md. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Mon, 21 Aug 2017 05:17:00 GMT

CAMP MOREHEAD, Afghanistan – Signaling that the U.S. military expects its mission to continue, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan on Sunday hailed the launch of the Afghan Army’s new special operations corps, declaring that “we are with you and we will stay with you.” Gen. John Nicholson’s exhortation of continued support for the Afghans suggested the Pentagon may have won its argument that America’s military must stay engaged in the conflict in order to insure terrorists don’t once again threaten the U.S. from safe havens in Afghanistan. The White House announced that President Donald Trump would address the nation’s troops and the American people Monday night to update the path forward in Afghanistan and South Asia. Nicholson, speaking prior to the White House announcement, said the commandos and a plan to double the size of the Afghan’s special operations forces are critical to winning the war. “I assure you we are with you in this fight. We are with you and we will stay with you,” he said during a ceremony at Camp Morehead, a training base for Afghan commandos southeast of Kabul. The Pentagon was awaiting a final announcement by Trump on a proposal to send nearly 4,000 more U.S. troops to Afghanistan. The added forces would increase training and advising of the Afghan forces and bolster counterterrorism operations against the Taliban and an Islamic State group affiliate trying to gain a foothold in the country. The administration has been at odds for months over how to craft a new strategy for the war in Afghanistan amid frustrations that 16 years after 9/11 the conflict is stalemated. The Afghan government only controls half of the country and is beset by endemic corruption and infighting. The Islamic State group has been hit hard but continues to attempt major attacks, insurgents still find safe harbor in Pakistan, and Russia, Iran and others are increasingly trying to shape the outcome. At this point, everything the U.S. military has proposed points to keeping the Afghan government in place and struggling to turn a dismal quagmire around. U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said he is satisfied with how the administration formulated its new Afghanistan war strategy. But he refused to talk about the new policy until it was disclosed by Trump. He said the deliberations, including talks at the Camp David presidential retreat on Friday, were done properly. “I am very comfortable that the strategic process was sufficiently rigorous,” Mattis said, speaking aboard a military aircraft on an overnight flight from Washington to Amman, Jordan. Months ago, Trump gave Mattis authority to set U.S. troop levels in Afghanistan, but Mattis said he has not yet sent significant additional forces to the fight. He has said he would wait for Trump to set the strategic direction first. Trump wrote on Twitter on Saturday that he had made decisions at Camp David, “including on Afghanistan,” but he did not say more about it. The expectation had been that he would agree to a modest boost in the U.S. war effort, while also addressing broader political, economic and regional issues. Mattis said Trump had been presented with multiple options. He did not name them, but others have said one option was to pull out of Afghanistan entirely. Another, which Mattis had mentioned recently in Washington, was to hire private contractors to perform some of the U.S. military’s duties. At Camp Morehead, lines of Afghan commandos stood at attention as Afghanistan Pre[...]


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Incentives offered for new agents at remote border crossingsIn this Aug. 2, 2017 photo, U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent Mario Marquis checks in a driver at the port of entry on the Vermont-Quebec border in Norton, Vt. CBP is offering financial incentives for people willing to work at 21 remote border crossings across the country, including Norton. (AP Photo/Wilson Ring)

Mon, 21 Aug 2017 05:17:00 GMT

NORTON, Vt. – It can be slow at the U.S.-Canadian border crossing between Norton, Vermont, and Stanhope, Quebec, where agents have watched moose amble through while waiting for people and cargo. But the port still is open 24/7 and needs to be staffed around the clock. However, the U.S. Government is having a hard time finding employees. As part of a nationwide effort to increase staff at some of its most remote border crossings, Customs and Border Protection now is offering hiring bonuses and job security for people willing to make the move to remote spots in Vermont, Maine, North Dakota, Texas and other locations on both the northern and southern borders. While the hours of operation of some remote crossings are being reduced, in the post 9/11 era, security procedures require that crossings be staffed by at least two officers at all times. “There are midnight shifts in many locations where the volume is minimal, yet the community still expects to have that level of service,” said Customs and Border Protection Assistant Commissioner Todd Owen. Mario Marquis, a Norton agent for 15 years, said he’d like to have more co-workers. “The pool of people that you would pick from have probably left the area to look for work somewhere else,” said Marquis, who greets border-crossers in both English and French. New officers do come to work in Norton, but it’s hard for many who feel isolated in the rural region where even a trip to Walmart is an all-day event. “They come here and they soon realize it was a mistake,” Marquis said of some outsiders who come to work the port. “They are like a fish out of water, like I am when I go to Boston.” There are 328 ports of entry to the United States across the country, including land, sea and airports. Customs and Border Protection currently is working to hire 1,300 officers nationwide – 1,150 at about 30 officially recognized hard-to-fill locations. Of those, new hires at 21 locations, including Norton, are eligible for a three-year 25 percent bonus on top of a base pay of about $32,000. The hiring effort, which began spring 2015, is separate from President Donald Trump’s executive order issued shortly after he took office to hire 5,000 new border patrol agents and other security personnel. Many ports now help fill staffing shortages with lots of overtime for the officers, but that can only go so far, Owen said. “You need the staffing to be healthy so that there is that balance, you have fresh officers and the officers also have quality of life,” he said. Although the officers might appear to be working in areas where there is little to do, they have to be as ready to detect threats as officers working at larger, busier points of entry. Therese Herr, now a border patrol supervisor in Beecher Falls, where Vermont, New Hampshire and Quebec meet, was called in one night in December 1999 when a Montreal woman was arrested trying to bring a Moroccan man into the country illegally. The woman, Lucia Garofalo, initially was linked to Ahmed Ressam, the Algerian who had been living in Montreal who was caught in Washington state that same month trying to bring a bomb into the U.S. that he planned to detonate at the Los Angeles International Airport on New Year’s Eve. “The tough things for these guys and gals – there’s a danger of somebody becoming complacent, but I’m going to say this for the people who work here: I don’t see[...]


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Marengo City Council votes down mayor's recommended legal appointmentWoodstock-based and Marengo resident Carlos Arevalo of Smith Amundsen is Marengo's city attorney.

Mon, 21 Aug 2017 05:16:00 GMT

MARENGO – Marengo City Council members voted against the new mayor’s recommendation to appoint new legal counsel last week with little discussion after several months of closed-door meetings on the matter.

Mayor John Koziol, who began his term in April, first called for an executive session for discussion on the matter of appointing new legal counsel the night he was sworn in as mayor. He also called for discussion of former City Administrator Gary Boden’s contract during the same meeting.

Boden’s contract was not renewed.

Marengo’s city attorney is Woodstock-based and Marengo resident Carlos Arevalo of Smith Amundsen. Koziol proposed Crystal Lake-based attorney David McArdle of Zukowski, Rogers, Flood and McArdle. The firm has nine attorneys who specialize in municipal law, according to city documents.

Koziol wrote in a memo to City Council members that he wanted to have the best people available “within the particular field of expertise.”

“Ultimately, we need to appoint and approve those that are best for the job without consideration of personal relationships,” he wrote. “We have had lengthy discussions and interviews on the topic of the city attorney. The time has come for this appointment. While we have had some disagreement, I can assure all that I have taken everyone’s thoughts and opinions into account.”

Council members voted against his recommendation, 5-3, with 4th Ward Aldermen Dennis Hammortree and Brett Martin, along with 1st Ward Alderman Mike Miller, voting in favor of moving forward with the change.

The city must retain legal counsel, so Arevalo will continue on as an unappointed city representative for the time being, Koziol said.

Miller said he feels that the new firm is more qualified to serve Marengo. The company already handles some of the city’s legal problems when it comes to police and traffic matters, he said.

“Carlos is a great guy, but maybe we should move on,” Miller said. “The other firm does multiple municipalities in McHenry County and are well-versed [in city problems].”

Third Ward Alderman Matt Keenum said he voted the way he did because he has been happy with the legal service.

“I am very satisfied with the work he has done so far,” Keenum said. “I see no reason to change.”

Woodstock-based and Marengo resident Carlos Arevalo of Smith Amundsen is Marengo's city attorney.


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Algonquin approves 5-year public works contract with Local 150 unionSarah Nader file photo - snader@shawmedia.com Algonquin Public Works Department employees Matt Mozola (left) and Cameron Carlson work to fill and distribute sandbags to help with the Fox River overflow July 13 in Algonquin.

Mon, 21 Aug 2017 05:15:00 GMT

ALGONQUIN – The village of Algonquin has approved a five-year public works contract with International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150 that represents a 3.2 percent average wage increase for employees, according to a news release from the union.

The raise comes about after workers’ exhaustive efforts and dedication to the village after the Fox River flooding, according to the release. Algonquin Public Works Department employees are responsible for tasks including plowing snow in the winter and responding to natural disasters in the area.

“This agreement is a win for both the village and our union,” said James M. Sweeney, Local 150 president and business manager. “Our members at the village of Algonquin have had a chance to show their skills during the floods this summer, and it was important that we finally secure this contract for them this year so that they can focus on their continuing relief efforts in the village.”

The contract was approved by the Village Board at its meeting Tuesday after about two years of negotiations, and it will be in effect until April 2021, according to the release.

Union members’ salaries in 2016 ranged from $35,000 to $74,000, according to the contract.

For the full contract, visit the “transparency portal” section of the village’s website, www.algonquin.org.

Local 150 also represents members of the Algonquin Township Highway Department.

On April 10, the Illinois Labor Relations Board certified the union membership of the 10 employees under the highway commissioner, and their contract took effect May 1. However, union members have said Algonquin Township Highway Commissioner Andrew Gasser has not recognized the contract after his decision to fire two union employees during his first day in office.

Local 150 is a labor union representing 23,000 workers in various industries in Illinois, Indiana and Iowa, according to the release.

Sarah Nader file photo - snader@shawmedia.com Algonquin Public Works Department employees Matt Mozola (left) and Cameron Carlson work to fill and distribute sandbags to help with the Fox River overflow July 13 in Algonquin.


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Residents asked to retrieve specialty bricks before Crystal Lake Main Beach renovations

Mon, 21 Aug 2017 05:15:00 GMT

CRYSTAL LAKE – Residents who bought bricks that were placed around the Main Beach playground are being asked to reclaim theirs before the upcoming renovation project, which starts after Labor Day.

The bricks residents bought through “Buy a Brick” for Main Beach playground in 1993 are in poor condition and cannot be reused in the new park area, according to a news release from the Crystal Lake Park District.

The bricks will be available to pick up during park hours from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday for several weeks in September at the Main Beach entrance. The office is closed on Saturdays and Sundays.

The pickup area will not be staffed, meaning residents will need to search for their brick in a collection.

Questions can be directed to Ann Viger, director of planning and development, at aviger@crystallakeparks.org or 779-994-4239.




Sex offenders can live next door to victims in many states

Mon, 21 Aug 2017 05:15:00 GMT

EDMOND, Okla. – A convicted sex offender who molested his niece when she was 7 years old moved in next door to his victim nearly a dozen years after he was sent to prison for the crime. Outraged, the Oklahoma woman, now 21, called lawmakers, the police and advocacy groups to plead with them to take action. Danyelle Dyer soon discovered that what Harold Dwayne English did in June is perfectly legal in the state – as well as in 44 others that don’t specifically bar sex offenders from living near their victims, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. “I always felt safe in my home, but it made me feel like I couldn’t go home; I couldn’t have my safe space anymore,” Dyer told The Associated Press, which typically doesn’t identify victims of sexual assault but is doing so in Dyer’s case because she agreed to allow her name to be used in hopes of drawing attention to the issue. “He would mow in between our houses. Him moving in brought back a lot of those feelings.” Advocacy groups say the Oklahoma case appears to be among the first in the U.S. in which a sex offender has exploited the loophole, which helps explain why dozens of other states have unknowingly allowed it to exist. “This is something that I would dare say was never envisioned would happen,” said Richard Barajas, a retired Texas judge and executive director of the nonprofit National Organization for Victim Assistance. “In all the years that I’ve been involved with the criminal justice system, I’ve never seen a case like this.” Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Tennessee and West Virginia have laws dictating how far away sex offenders must stay from their victims – 1,000 feet in Tennessee, for example, and 2,000 feet in Arkansas. Other states haven’t addressed the issue, although, like Oklahoma, they have laws prohibiting sex offenders from living within a certain distance of a church, school, day care, park or other facility where children are present. “You assume it can’t happen and then realize there is no provision preventing it from happening,” said one Oklahoma prosecutor, Rogers County District Attorney Matt Ballard, whose agency is responsible for keeping tabs on sex offenders in his area. “To have even the possibility of an offender living next to the victim is extremely troubling.” Arkansas passed its provision in 2007. State Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson, a former prosecutor, said lawmakers drafted the provision out of “common sense,” not as a response to a situation like Dyer’s. But Barajas, whose group discussed the loophole with attendees at its annual training event this past week, said support for such laws typically gain traction “when someone who was impacted steps up,” like Dyer. “Legislation is never created in a vacuum,” he said. Oklahoma lawmakers have now drafted legislation to close the loophole, using Dyer as their champion. “Of the 70,000 square miles in Oklahoma, this individual happened to choose a place next door to the victim,” said state Rep. Kyle Hilbert, who represents Dyer’s mostly rural district and is sponsoring the legislation. English came to live next to Dyer when he moved in with his mother – Dyer’s grandmother – an arrangement that added to an already-strained family dynamic. Dyer was able to go to court in July and get a restraining order, but only after English had already been living next door. Th[...]



Food truck fest planned for Woodstock

Mon, 21 Aug 2017 05:14:00 GMT

WOODSTOCK – Food trucks will take over the Square at a new event planned for Woodstock.

McHenry County Living is planning the event set for Sept. 16 in Woodstock’s historic Square. Activities, music, entertainment and a vendor fair are planned as part of the fundraiser, which has attracted 11 food trucks from around McHenry County and the Chicago area.

The vendor market will run from 4 to 8 p.m., and the food trucks will be open from 5 to 9 p.m., according to the event website.

“We have a huge variety of awesome, different cuisines,” said Erica Burke, owner of McHenry County Living. “We just feed off of people’s interest, and this was one of those things on the wish list so we thought, ‘Why not? Let's get it going.' "

The participating food trucks from McHenry County will include Your Sister’s Tomato, Garden to Glass Juicery and Riverside Chocolate Factory. Trucks from Chicago, Glenview, Niles, Elgin and Naperville also will be onsite, offering tacos, pierogis, hot dogs and Italian, Korean and Japanese cuisines.

The event is a fundraiser for Alexander Leigh Center for Autism, which is in the process of moving locations from Crystal Lake to McHenry.

The event is free and open to the public. Patrons have the option to buy VIP tickets that will allow access to craft beer and cocktail tastings and a commemorative glass and shirt at Mixin Mingle on the Square.

“We are super excited,” Burke said. “This is our biggest event. We are trying to bring more metropolitan, Chicago-caliber events here while keeping with the local flair as much as possible.”

Information about the event can be found on the McHenry County Living Facebook page or the Facebook event page located at facebook.com/events/463487240693475.




McHenry County Sheriff's Office plans community open house

Mon, 21 Aug 2017 05:13:00 GMT

WOODSTOCK – The McHenry County Sheriff’s Office will host an open house to give the community an inside look at department operations.

The open house will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sept. 9 at the sheriff’s office, 2200 N. Seminary Ave., Woodstock.

The free event is designed to give the community an opportunity to see the daily operations of the sheriff’s office while meeting many of the men and women who serve the community each day, according to a news release from the sheriff’s office.

Visitors can participate in department tours, vehicle and equipment displays, child fingerprinting and a K-9 demonstration at 12:30 p.m.

For questions or information, contact the Community Relations Division at 815-338-2144.




Redevelopment of Maplewood property to be discussed at special Cary Village Board meetingA special Cary Village Board meeting will be held to discuss the redevelopment of the former Maplewood school property.

Mon, 21 Aug 2017 05:09:00 GMT

CARY – A special Cary Village Board meeting will be held to discuss the redevelopment of the former Maplewood school property.

The meeting will start at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Village Hall, 655 Village Hall Drive, Cary. Village officials and a representative from the developer, Patrick Taylor of Barrington-based Central One, LLC, will be present.

“This meeting is designed for the developer to introduce himself and also get feedback from the Village Board and residents regarding what they may want to see on the site,” Village Administrator Jake Rife said.

Cary School District 26 approved in July a $2.5 million purchase agreement for the property.

The school, 422 W. Krenz Ave., has been vacant since it closed in 2010 because of declining enrollment and property maintenance costs. Built in 1929, the 42,000-square-foot facility was one of the district’s oldest.

Central One, LLC, is looking to construct a commercial, multifamily and/or residential development on the property, according to a news release from District 26.

Plans still are in the early stages, Taylor said, but he hopes to stick close to the village’s comprehensive plan.

“We just want to make sure the village is pretty much in agreement with that comprehensive plan, or get some input if there’s something different they’re looking for,” Taylor said.

The comprehensive plan provides a general vision for the site, Rife said.

“Right now in our comprehensive plan, the property calls for a mix of housing and some open space,” Rife said. “But it still remains unclear essentially what each individual board member wants on that site.”

No formal action will be taken regarding the property during the meeting, according to a village news release. The meeting will allow the Village Board to provide feedback on plans before any development drawings are produced or a formal zoning petition is submitted.

A special Cary Village Board meeting will be held to discuss the redevelopment of the former Maplewood school property.


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Drone found on Crystal Lake property highlights difficulties of reuniting lost UVAs with their ownersH. Rick Bamman - hbamman@shawmedia.com Kay and Haskell Pitluck are searching for the owner of a drown found in their Crystal Lake yard by their landscaper Arturo Rodriguez.

Mon, 21 Aug 2017 05:05:00 GMT

CRYSTAL LAKE – Kay Pitluck could hardly believe her eyes when a toy drone turned up in her front yard after a patch of big storms in late July. When Pitluck’s landscaper found the drone outside her Crystal Lake home, across from Main Beach, she thought about the man who had come knocking weeks earlier after accidentally flying his drone over their property and losing it in the trees. The man had left a business card, but unfortunately it was misplaced. Now, Pitluck and her husband, retired McHenry County circuit judge Haskell Pitluck, are in possession of a drone they never wanted and have no means of returning to its rightful owner. “I have actually felt so guilty about it,” Kay Pitluck said. “I’m old; I don’t want a drone.” Drones, also known as unmanned aerial vehicles, have become more common among regular citizens over the past several years as restrictions on ownership and use have changed. The drone found in the Pitluck’s yard, manufactured by Skyrocket Toys LLC, appears to be one of the remote-controlled Sky Viper models and is colored black and neon green with four propellers and a camera. The ID number is H1216EI. However, the Federal Aviation Administration’s current system for drone registration makes knowing those details almost worthless when it comes to reuniting the drone with its owner. Michael Huerta, the FAA administrator, said in a March 27 press conference that more than 770,000 U.S. drone registrations had been filed in about 15 months after making it mandatory to register certain drones starting in December 2015. Registration data released two months later showed that 87 drones had been registered in Crystal Lake as of May 2016. However, the public data does not disclose owners’ names or include any identifying owner information. Registration for personal drones, however, stopped being mandatory in March when a Washington, D.C., court ruled the FAA’s drone registration rules were in violation of congressional law. Drones flying for commercial purposes still must be registered. Most Skyrocket Toys’ drones, such as the one found in the Pitluck’s yard, are sold for less than $100 and do not include built-in GPS trackers, while higher-end civilian drones with built-in trackers cost thousands of dollars. Unless a GPS tracker has been installed in the device, or comes already built-in, finding the owner can become nearly an impossible task for people who find lost drones. One of the few options available for people who find drones is turning it into local police as they would for any other form of lost property. In Crystal Lake, Deputy Chief Derek Hyrkas said police do not regularly receive complaints about drones, and said that he personally has not seen many drones being flown around the city. Hyrkas also said he cannot remember anyone turning in a drone to the police department. “If people aren’t sure, if they happen to receive a drone or any piece of property, they can always turn it over to us and we’ll make an effort to turn it over to the owner,” Hyrkas said. The McHenry County Sheriff’s Office said reports about personal drone activity are infrequent, but local law enforcement als[...]


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Coin toss breaks $25,000 deadlock in sale of ‘waterfall house on Fox River’Daryl Quitalig - For Shaw Media David Wescott (left) and Jack Kraft shake hands after the coin flip at the "$25,000 Challenge" for the beautiful "Waterfall House" commemorative coin falls to the ground at No Wake Bar & Grill in Port Barrington, Sunday, Aug. 20, 2017. On a call of "tails" by Wescott, Kraft won the $25,000 with the commemorative coin landing heads. A portion of Kraft's winnings will be donated to McHenry and Lake Counties first responders.Daryl Quitalig - For Shaw Media Retired McHenry County Chief of Corrections, longtime friend, and official coin flipper Tom Svoboda speaks about the commemorative coin used for the "$25,000 Challenge" for the beautiful "Waterfall House" at No Wake Bar & Grill in Port Barrington, Sunday, Aug. 20, 2017. On a call of "tails" by David Wescott, Jack Kraft won the $25,000 with the commemorative coin landing heads. A portion of Kraft's winnings will be donated to McHenry and Lake Counties first responders.Daryl Quitalig - For Shaw Media David Wescott (left), Tom Svoboda, and Jack Kraft watch as the "$25,000 Challenge" for the beautiful "Waterfall House" commemorative coin falls to the ground at No Wake Bar & Grill in Port Barrington, Sunday, Aug. 20, 2017. On a call of "tails" by Wescott, Kraft won the $25,000 with the commemorative coin landing heads. A portion of Kraft's winnings will be donated to McHenry and Lake Counties first responders.

Mon, 21 Aug 2017 05:02:00 GMT

PORT BARRINGTON – A coin flip Sunday night decided how much it would cost for the new owner of the multimillion-dollar “waterfall house on Fox River” to seal the deal. As an arrangement between friends, two Barrington-area businessmen settled a $25,000 deadlock on the sale of the property in River Glen in Barrington with a coin flip, and raised about $10,250 in the process for first responders for both McHenry and Lake county sheriff’s offices at No Wake Bar and Grill. “We don’t see it as winners and losers here,” said Jack Kraft, the current owner. “We see it as we both got what we wanted. The house is really a destination on the river, and I wanted to get somebody who could afford to take care of it.” Kraft, who has owned the waterfall home since 1987, said he knew he wanted David Wescott to purchase the riverfront property since he bought the neighboring guest house from Kraft for $500,000 earlier this year, but the two couldn’t agree on a price. To settle the matter, Kraft and Wescott worked their way down to a $25,000 difference and decided to flip for the final price tag on the deal, which included Wescott inheriting the property’s entire maintenance crew. After a best-of-three flipping decided Wescott would call the decisive flip, Kraft won the final toss and was handed a plastic jug with the $25,000 inside. He also said he would buy drinks for everyone at the bar with up to $2,000. “I’m just thrilled that my pal is in a position to buy both properties and keep them in shape,” Kraft said, patting Wescott on the shoulder. While donations were accepted, the event offered an auction and raffle for customers that included cash, tickets the Chicago Bears game on Oct. 22 and Six Flags Great America and a gourmet dinner for 10 people at the Waterfall house. People who purchased five raffle tickets also were given their own copy of the commemorative silver-and-gold coin, which included illustrations of the waterfall and the two businessmen with the words “Carpe Diem.” Kraft said all proceeds will go to the first responders of the McHenry and Lake county sheriff’s offices, including some of the $25,000 he won in the toss, since the property falls so close to both counties. “First responders are a passion for both Jack and I,” Wescott said. “We believe the people running toward the gunfire and toward the burning building instead of away from it, those are the people that I have a passion for. They’re the ones that are saving all of our lives.” Tom Svoboda, who is a retired member of the FBI and state police, was the official coin tosser for the event. He also is the former McHenry County Jail chief. Wescott said the Waterfall home will continue to serve as a family-friendly home and offer itself up to charity events, as Kraft has done for years. The final price of the deal was not disclosed. Zillow.com valued the “waterfall house” at $1.7 million at its highest point in 2015. Daryl Quitalig - For Shaw Media David Wescott (left) and Jack Kraft shake hands after the coin flip at the "$25,000 Challenge" for the beautiful "Waterfall House" commemorative coin falls to the ground at No Wake Bar & Grill in Port Barrington, Sunday, Aug. 20, 2017. On a call o[...]


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Millions converge across U.S. to see sun go darkRay Cooper, a volunteer for the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, prepares his equipment Sunday to provide live video of the solar eclipse Monday at the state fairgrounds in Salem, Ore.

Mon, 21 Aug 2017 03:41:00 GMT

Millions of Americans converged on a narrow corridor stretching from Oregon to South Carolina to watch the moon blot out the midday sun Monday for a wondrous couple of minutes in the first total solar eclipse to sweep coast to coast in 99 years. Veteran eclipse watchers warned the uninitiated to get ready to be blown away. Planetariums and museums posted “Sold out of eclipse glasses” on their front doors. Signs along highways reminded motorists of “Solar Eclipse Monday,” while cars bore the message “Eclipse or bust.” With 200 million people within a day’s drive of the path of totality, towns and parks braced for monumental crowds. It’s expected to be the most observed, most studied and most photographed eclipse ever. Not to mention the most festive, what with all the parties. In Salem, Oregon, a field outside the state fairgrounds was transformed into a campground in advance of an eclipse-watching party for 8,500. “It’s one of those ‘check the box’ kind of things in life,” said Hilary O’Hollaren, who drove 30 miles from Portland with her two teenagers and a tent, plus a couple friends. Astronomers consider a full solar eclipse the grandest of cosmic spectacles. The Earth, moon and sun line up perfectly every one to three years, briefly turning day into night for a sliver of the planet. But these sights normally are in no man’s land, like the vast Pacific or the poles. This will be the first eclipse of the social media era to pass through such a heavily populated area. The moon hasn’t thrown this much shade at the U.S. since 1918. That was the country’s last coast-to-coast total eclipse. In fact, the U.S. mainland hasn’t seen a total solar eclipse since 1979 – and even then, only five states in the Northwest experienced total darkness before the eclipse veered in Canada. Monday’s total eclipse will cast a shadow that will race through 14 states, entering near Lincoln City, Oregon, at 12:16 p.m., moving diagonally across the heartland and then exiting near Charleston, South Carolina, at 1:47 p.m. The path will cut 2,600 miles across the land and will be just 60 to 70 miles wide. Mostly clear skies beckoned along much of the route, according to the National Weather Service. Shawnee National Forest in southern Illinois will see the longest stretch of darkness: two minutes and 44 seconds. All of North America will get at least a partial eclipse. Central America and the top of South America also will see the moon cover part of the sun. Michele Arsenault of New York City and her son, Michael, spent Sunday driving south and stopped for dinner in Asheville, North Carolina, at the Tupelo Honey Cafe, where several other tables also were occupied by travelers heading to eclipse zones. Arsenault has been comparing weather charts for days as she finalized plans and had lodging reserved in Knoxville, Tennessee, and a reserved parking spot in Sweetwater, about 50 miles away. Her son, who’s about to start graduate school, said he tagged along because “I appreciate the idea of a good adventure.” NASA and other scientists will be watching and analyzing the eclipse from telescopes the ground and in orbit, the Intern[...]


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Wife of McHenry man who died after being shot during home invasion recounts details to policeAn investigator brings a K-9 into a house as the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office looks for clues at a home in the 1800 block of Davis Avenue near McHenry after a home invasion and shooting May 29.Photo provided Don Jouravleff died after being shot during a home invasion May 29 near McHenry.

Sun, 20 Aug 2017 21:44:00 GMT

WOODSTOCK ­ Four men charged with first-degree murder in connection with a May 27 home invasion were trying to steal cash from a rural McHenry couple after a former co-worker had been fired from the couple’s business, investigators said. Court documents filed by detectives provide more details about what happened the night Donald Jouravleff, a 52-year-old U.S. Air Force veteran, was shot and killed. Authorities previously had released little information about what happened in the home that night. Affidavits show that two men coaxed someone to answer the door by knocking, and when Jouravleff opened the door, he was shot multiple times. His wife, Donna Mills, heard gunshots, so she tried to hide and called police. Mills later said she believed that what happened was in retaliation for the firing of an employee. During further investigations, police bugged a friend of one of the suspects and received several tips through Crime Stoppers, all of which eventually led to the arrest of four men. Adam Morris, 44, of McCullom Lake; Byron Howard, 36, of Wonder Lake; Charles A. Campo, 31, of McHenry; and Jared J. Fox, 25, of Wonder Lake were arrested in June in connection with Jouravleff’s death. Officials have said Jouravleff later died from complications from a gunshot wound after being shot that night. Prosecutors have filed an 87-count indictment against the four men. All have pleaded not guilty. Defense lawyers for each of the men declined to comment Friday. Mills could not be reached for comment. Mills spoke with police about the incident. She said she and Jouravleff were sleeping on the second floor when they heard a knock at the door about 1 a.m., according to court documents. Mills said that while her husband went downstairs to answer the door, she looked out the bedroom window and saw someone by the bushes near her front door. Mills told police that she heard him open the door, but she didn’t hear anyone talking. She then heard a pop, which she said sounded like a cap gun, and heard her husband moaning and yelling for help, according to court documents. Mills called 911 from her bedroom. A man came into the room and disconnected her call while she was on the phone with 911 operators, according to court documents. She said the man pointed a black semi-automatic gun at her and said, “You’re going to be OK, just stay still.” Mills told investigators that the man asked her where the money was in the house. While they were talking, another man came upstairs, and the two men took Mills to the basement, according to court documents. In the basement, she gave the two men the money she had. It wasn’t clear from court records how much money was taken. The men then asked once more whether she had any more money in the house. Once she told them she did not, she returned to the first floor. Mills told police she found Jouravleff lying on the floor near the front door bleeding from multiple gunshot wounds, according to court documents. She also said her husband told her that when he answered the door, one of the men said they were there because a former co-worker recently had been fired, according to court documents. The co-worker has not been charged in connection with the incident. [...]


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Responders fight overnight fire in abandoned Woodstock homeFirefighters tackle flames Friday night during an abandoned structure fire in Woodstock.Emergency responders were at the scene of an abandoned structure fire until about 2:30 a.m. Saturday in Woodstock.More than a dozen fire departments from across the northwest suburbs and southern Wisconsin responded to a large fire Friday night at an abandoned home in Woodstock.

Sun, 20 Aug 2017 21:44:00 GMT

WOODSTOCK – More than a dozen fire departments from across the northwest suburbs and southern Wisconsin responded to a large fire Friday night at an abandoned home in Woodstock.

The Woodstock Fire/Rescue District responded to a fire about 11:15 p.m. Friday at 4001 Doty Road in Woodstock, Fire Capt. Karen Bush said. When firefighters arrived, they found a “well-involved” fire in what appeared to be an abandoned home.

“There was a large amount of fire,” Bush said.

Because of the extent of the flames, Woodstock firefighters called for assistance from units in Union, McHenry Township, Marengo, Hebron-Alden-Greenwood, Fox River Grove, Cary, Harvard, Crystal Lake, Richmond, MESS Canteen, Algonquin-Lake in the Hills, Barrington-Countryside, Spring Grove, Pingree Grove and Bloomfield, Wisconsin.

Emergency responders were at the scene until about 2:30 a.m. Saturday, Bush said. The residence was difficult to access because of overgrown vegetation, and water needed to be brought to the site. No firefighters were injured, and the cause of the blaze is under investigation.

There was no cost estimate of damage as of Saturday afternoon because firefighters were being cautious about entering the abandoned building, Bush said.

Firefighters tackle flames Friday night during an abandoned structure fire in Woodstock.Emergency responders were at the scene of an abandoned structure fire until about 2:30 a.m. Saturday in Woodstock.More than a dozen fire departments from across the northwest suburbs and southern Wisconsin responded to a large fire Friday night at an abandoned home in Woodstock.


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McHenry County adoption center helps pets find homes during Clear the Shelters dayKaitlyn Lindwall, 17, of McHenry plays with a cat during Clear the Shelters day Saturday at the McHenry County Animal Control and Adoption Center in Crystal Lake. The shelter participated in the national initiative to help cats and dogs find their forever home by waiving the adoption fees for cats or dogs that are 6 months old or older.A cat looks back at people looking to adopt an animal during Clear the Shelters day Saturday at the McHenry County Animal Control and Adoption Center in Crystal Lake. The shelter participated in the national initiative to help cats and dogs find their forever home by waiving the adoption fees for cats or dogs that are 6 months old or older.Jeff Sutrick of Crystal Lake and his wife, Andrea Sutrick, meet a cat during Clear the Shelters day Saturday at the McHenry County Animal Control and Adoption Center in Crystal Lake. The shelter participated in the national initiative to help cats and dogs find their forever home by waiving the adoption fees for cats or dogs that are 6 months old or older.

Sun, 20 Aug 2017 21:44:00 GMT

CRYSTAL LAKE – Even after three years, Kara Plonczyniski said she always is surprised when she sees people lined up at the door when she arrives at work on Clear the Shelters day. The McHenry County Animal Control and Adoption Center on Saturday waived the adoption fee for cats and dogs that were 6 months old or older as part of the annual event, which encourages shelters nationwide to help find new homes for their animals. At the McHenry County shelter, the goal was to send all 32 cats and its only dog home with new families. The shelter also discounted the adoption fee from $100 to $80 for younger animals. More than half were adopted within the first hour, including the dog, and all but five of the animals found new homes by the end of the event at 2 p.m., said Plonczyniski, the shelter’s volunteer coordinator and health educator. “What’s interesting is before it happens, people come in and start adopting,” Plonczyniski said. “There is a surge around the event for sure, which we love. I don’t know why it surprises me, but it always does surprise me.” Hundreds of shelters in 20 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico also participate in the one-day event, according to a news release from the McHenry County Department of Health. More than 54,000 pets went home with new families last year. This year in Crystal Lake, Clear the Shelters helped pack the inside of the shelter at 100 N. Virginia St. with prospective pet owners of all ages. While shelter staff encouraged people visiting pets to take one home, members also directed people looking for specific pets to other shelters if the right animal was not available. Looking elsewhere wasn’t necessary for everyone, however. A shrill of joy poured out into one of the hallways as Hailey, 5, and Colby Nichols, 2, hurried out of one of the animal visiting room with smiles on their faces. Jody Nichols, the mother of the two Algonquin girls, said the family has a golden retriever and a black cat at home, but they had been looking for some time to find another kitten. Now although her daughters share the cats, each one also has one to call their own. “For cats, I think it’s super important [to adopt],” Nichols said. “They are mainly in the shelters, and it’s hard to find a purebred cat.” Plonczyniski said the shelter essentially has been able to clear its shelter in each of its previous two years participating, sending about 27 pets home with families in 2015 and sending all but two kittens home in 2016 – both of which she said were adopted the next day. Beyond seeing pets find new homes, Plonczyniski said the event also seems to put everyone in the right mood for adding new members to their families. “Even when the person in front of them is adopting the cat they wanted to do, everyone is cordial,” Plonczyniski said. “When you come here and think you’re going to get a cat, that’s always hard, but everybody is still always so kind.” Kaitlyn Lindwall, 17, of McHenry plays with a cat during Clear the Shelters day Saturday at the McHenry County Animal Control and Adoption Center i[...]


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Attendees participate in KCBS-sanctioned cook-off at McHenry's Brews, Blues & BBQJosh Barnett with Old World Smoke and Barrel out of Wonder Lake fires up his grill while competing in the inaugural cook-off sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbeque Society at the McHenry Rotary Club's Blues, Brews & BBQ festival in McHenry. Judging will be held for chicken, pulled pork, beef brisket and ribs at the professional-level championship on Sunday.

Sun, 20 Aug 2017 21:44:00 GMT

McHENRY – Eric Ferguson of Woodstock was taking time to relax at his designated cooking space with his family and industry friends Saturday before his cooking team, Big “E” BBQ, goes into full gear for the professional barbecue competition Sunday during the McHenry Rotary Club’s Blues, Brews & BBQ festival. Ferguson said he travels all over the country and participates in about 25 barbecue contests a season, which he said usually runs from April to October. He said he immediately took up the chance to compete in McHenry. “It was so close [that] we had to come,” Ferguson said. Kansas City Barbeque Society representative Tony Moore of Princeton, Wisconsin, said preparation for the competition is so involved that a lot of teams even have each individual member’s sleep scheduled to the minute – or the entire team is up all night until entry submissions, which are from noon to 1:30 p.m. Sunday. Ferguson said preparation for a single contest is a whole week’s process for his team. He said they start with making injections and sauces, getting meat out and getting rubs ready at the beginning of the week. Ferguson said his team will start to trim meat toward the middle of the week. By the end of the week, he said they travel to the competition and start cooking the night before turn-ins. “[Then] go home on Sunday and turn around and do it all over again,” Ferguson said while laughing. Ferguson said the work doesn’t stop after October; he said the offseason is spent on research and trial and error for the next season. More than 30 teams will compete in the KCBS-sanctioned event Sunday in McHenry, and they will be judged on four categories: chicken, ribs, pork and beef brisket. Up to $5,000 in cash prizes will be awarded to winners in each category during the competition. McHenry Rotary member Donna Schaefer, who also helped organize this year’s Blues, Brews and BBQ event, said this is the sixth year the club hosted the annual fundraiser. Schaefer said the event would include an amateur barbecue competition in years past and that this is the first year the barbecue contest became a KCBS-sanctioned event. Schaefer said making the competition a KCBS-recognized event might be a better alternative for the event going forward because it will attract more people to the festival to watch professionals at work. “These people are serious about their barbecue,” Schaefer said. Moore said having a barbecue contest be KCBS-sanctioned encourages more teams from all over to register for the event. “A lot of times, with the first-year events we get, the organization did it on their own and the town favorite wins every year, and it may not have the best barbecue,” Moore said. “With the KCBS, that’s not going to happen.” Moore said that’s because the society has “very stringent, militaristic methodologies” it uses to make sure the competition is fair for all. “A national team’s not going to come to an event that isn’t sanctioned because they don’t know what they’re walking into and what they’re going to ge[...]


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Fox River Grove trustees appoint new police chief

Sun, 20 Aug 2017 05:39:00 GMT

FOX RIVER GROVE – Fox River Grove will have a new police chief by the beginning of September.

Village Board trustees appointed Sgt. Eric Waitrovich to serve as new police chief, effective Sept. 2. Waitrovich has been on the Fox River Grove police force since 2007.

He began as a police officer and was promoted to sergeant in 2013, according to a news release from the village.

Waitrovich has a bachelor’s degree in political science from St. Norbert College, and has completed the Police Staff and Command course at Northwestern University.

As sergeant, he manages daily operations for the police department, including training, scheduling and patrol-related functions.

Waitrovich will succeed Chief Ron Lukasik, who will retire Sept. 1 after 25 years with the Fox River Grove Police Department.

“I am pleased to announce the appointment of Eric Waitrovich as police chief,” Village President Robert Nunamaker said in the release. “He is an excellent police officer and has shown an outstanding acumen for leadership that has earned the admiration of the other members of the police department and the Fox River Grove community.”

Waitrovich does not yet have a contract, and a salary has not been established, Village Administrator Derek Soderholm said.

“The salary range for the position is $85,084 to $115,116, and Eric will be paid working this range,” Soderholm said in an email.




Woman pleads not guilty to Cary burglary, theft chargesJudy A. Persfull, 56, faces charges of burglary and theft after police said she robbed Cary Bank and Trust, leaving with nearly $5,000. Persfull was found at the Maple Tree Inn and taken into custody.

Sun, 20 Aug 2017 05:39:00 GMT

WOODSTOCK ­ A woman is denying allegations that she stole nearly $5,000 from Cary Bank and Trust.

Judy A. Persfull, 56, previously of Capron and currently homeless, was arraigned Friday and pleaded not guilty before McHenry County Judge James Cowlin to charges of burglary and theft of more than $500.

She could face probation or up to seven years in prison if convicted of the most serious charge.

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

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

She next will appear in court Sept. 1.

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


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McHenry City Council to consider $50K loan request for Smith's Central GarageJohn Smith, owner of Smith’s Central Garage, is seeking a $50,000 loan from the city of McHenry to install a sprinkler system at his event center, located at 3315 Pearl St. near McHenry’s Riverwalk. Fire code regulations state that without the system in place, no more than 100 people can be in the building at a time, according to city documents.

Sun, 20 Aug 2017 05:38:00 GMT

McHENRY – Smith’s Central Garage soon could start hosting larger events with help from the city of McHenry.

John Smith, owner of Smith’s Central Garage, is seeking a $50,000 loan from the city to install a sprinkler system at his event center, located at 3315 Pearl St. near McHenry’s Riverwalk. Fire code regulations state that without the system in place, no more than 100 people can be in the building at a time. Once the system is in place, Smith will be able to accommodate larger crowds, according to city documents.

Smith bought the long-vacant former Hostess building in summer 2014 and has spent $800,000 refurbishing the space, including installing a new roof, new insulation and new heating, ventilating and air-conditioning equipment, he said.

“The important part of economic development is to attract people to the downtown area,” Smith said in a note to the city. “Before, during and after an event, it is logical to assume the people attending an event will patronize other businesses in the area. … There will be no kitchen in the building, so local caterers will benefit.”

The event center includes a catering kitchen with a commercial refrigerator and freezer, tables, chairs, garbage disposal, free Wi-Fi and a sound system. Liquor is on a bring-your-own basis.

A revolving loan fund is an incentive that municipalities can offer to existing and prospective businesses. Loans typically are low-interest funds that can help start up a business or assist in an expansion or update. The Revolving Loan Fund Committee is recommending approval for the project, according to city documents.

The McHenry City Council will consider the request at 7 p.m. Monday at its meeting at 333 S. Green St., McHenry.

John Smith, owner of Smith’s Central Garage, is seeking a $50,000 loan from the city of McHenry to install a sprinkler system at his event center, located at 3315 Pearl St. near McHenry’s Riverwalk. Fire code regulations state that without the system in place, no more than 100 people can be in the building at a time, according to city documents.


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Documents: 4 men charged in connection with McHenry home invasion, homicide trying to steal cashCourt documents filed by detectives provide more details about what happened the night Donald Jouravleff, a 52-year-old U.S. Air Force veteran, was shot and killed. Authorities previously had released little information about what happened in the home that night.Affidavits show that two men coaxed someone to answer the door by knocking, and when Jouravleff opened the door, he was shot multiple times. His wife, Donna Mills, heard gunshots, so she tried to hide and called police. Mills later said she believed that what happened was in retaliation for the firing of an employee. During further investigations, police bugged a friend of one of the suspects and received several tips through Crime Stoppers, all of which eventually led to the arrest of four men. Adam Morris, 44, of McCullom Lake; Byron Howard, 36, of Wonder Lake; Charles A. Campo, 31, of McHenry; and Jared J. Fox, 25, of Wonder Lake were arrested in June in connection with Jouravleff's death. Officials have said Jouravleff later died from complications from a gunshot wound after being shot that night. Prosecutors have filed an 87-count indictment against the four men. All have pleaded not guilty. Defense lawyers for each of the men declined to comment Friday. Mills could not be reached for comment.Mills spoke with police about the incident. She said she and Jouravleff were sleeping on the second floor when they heard a knock at the door about 1 a.m., according to court documents. Mills said that while her husband went downstairs to answer the door, she looked out the bedroom window and saw someone by the bushes near her front door. Mills told police she heard him open the door, but she didn't hear anyone talking. She then heard a pop, which she said sounded like a cap gun, and heard her husband moaning and yelling for help, according to court documents. Mills called 911 from her bedroom. A man came into the room and disconnected her call while she was on the phone with 911 operators, according to court documents. She said the man pointed a black semi-automatic gun at her and said, "You're going to be OK, just stay still." Mills told investigators that the man asked her where the money was in the house. While they were talking, another man came upstairs, and the two men took Mills to the basement, according to court documents. In the basement, she gave the two men the money she had. It wasn't clear from court records how much money was taken. The men then asked once more whether she had any more money in the house. Once she told them she did not, she returned to the first floor. Mills told police she found Jouravleff lying on the floor near the front door bleeding from multiple gunshot wounds, according to court documents. She also said her husband told her that when he answered the door, one of the men said they were there because a former co-worker recently had been fired, according to court documents. The co-worker has not been charged in connection with the incident. Mills told police she had fired a man from her moving business, A. Best Movers Inc., shortly before the home invasion because $3,000 was missing and she thought he had taken it, according to court documents. She also said she thought the two men who came to her home knew she had money there because they had an employee meeting the day before. During that meeting, another employee gave her a large amount of money from jobs he had done the week before, according to court documents. Morris was one of the employees at the meeting, according to court records.Prosecutors have declined to say who is accused of shooting Jouravleff, but Morris is the only person charged with aggravated discharge of a firearm. The indictment accuses Morris of "knowingly [discharging] a firearm in the direction of Donald Jouravleff," according to court documents. Cellphone records also show a phone call between Morris and Fox about 1 a.m. May 27, the day of the shooting, near the area of West Davis Avenue. Further investigations also found that Fox went missing for a few days after his mother told him police wanted to speak with him. During that time, he called a friend and told him that he had given a friend a ride where the home invasion was and parked down the street, according to court documents. Fox told the friend that he heard a noise shortly after parking the truck and found out it was gunshots. The friend told police that his story changed several times over the next week. At one point, Fox said he drove two friends, and then he said he wasn't even there, according to court documents.Fox and Campo each face 10 counts of first-degree murder, two counts of home invasion, two counts of armed robbery, two counts of robbery and one count of burglary. Days later Fox spoke with the same friend and admitted that he drove them to the area and "knew something was going down," according to court documents. That conversation was recorded by detectives, and Fox was pulled over June 13 and subsequently arrested. A neighbor of Howard and Fox told police that she spoke with Howard's girlfriend shortly after the incident. She said Howard and Fox were involved in the home invasion, and she thought they had targeted the house because they thought Jouravleff was a heroin dealer, and they were looking for drugs or money, according to court documents.Howard faces 10 counts of first-degree murder, two counts of home invasion, two counts of armed robbery, one count of being an armed habitual criminal, two counts of robbery, one count of burglary and one count of possession of a weapon by a felon. Howard also is believed to have been armed with a gun at the time of the home invasion, according to the indictment. Howard's girlfriend told the neighbor that Howard and Fox burned the clothes and masks they were wearing, according to court documents. All four remain in McHenry County Jail in lieu of posting their respective bonds. Campo and Morris are being held on $5 million bonds, and Fox and Howard are being held on $2.5 million bonds.

Sun, 20 Aug 2017 05:31:00 GMT

WOODSTOCK ­ Four men charged with first-degree murder in connection with a May 27 home invasion were trying to steal cash from a rural McHenry couple after a former co-worker had been fired from the couple's business, investigators said. Court documents filed by detectives provide more details about what happened the night Donald Jouravleff, a 52-year-old U.S. Air Force veteran, was shot and killed. Authorities previously had released little information about what happened in the home that night.Affidavits show that two men coaxed someone to answer the door by knocking, and when Jouravleff opened the door, he was shot multiple times. His wife, Donna Mills, heard gunshots, so she tried to hide and called police. Mills later said she believed that what happened was in retaliation for the firing of an employee. During further investigations, police bugged a friend of one of the suspects and received several tips through Crime Stoppers, all of which eventually led to the arrest of four men. Adam Morris, 44, of McCullom Lake; Byron Howard, 36, of Wonder Lake; Charles A. Campo, 31, of McHenry; and Jared J. Fox, 25, of Wonder Lake were arrested in June in connection with Jouravleff's death. Officials have said Jouravleff later died from complications from a gunshot wound after being shot that night. Prosecutors have filed an 87-count indictment against the four men. All have pleaded not guilty. Defense lawyers for each of the men declined to comment Friday. Mills could not be reached for comment.Mills spoke with police about the incident. She said she and Jouravleff were sleeping on the second floor when they heard a knock at the door about 1 a.m., according to court documents. Mills said that while her husband went downstairs to answer the door, she looked out the bedroom window and saw someone by the bushes near her front door. Mills told police she heard him open the door, but she didn't hear anyone talking. She then heard a pop, which she said sounded like a cap gun, and heard her husband moaning and yelling for help, according to court documents. Mills called 911 from her bedroom. A man came into the room and disconnected her call while she was on the phone with 911 operators, according to court documents. She said the man pointed a black semi-automatic gun at her and said, "You're going to be OK, just stay still." Mills told investigators that the man asked her where the money was in the house. While they were talking, another man came upstairs, and the two men took Mills to the basement, according to court documents. In the basement, she gave the two men the money she had. It wasn't clear from court records how much money was taken. The men then asked once more whether she had any more money in the house. Once she told them she did not, she returned to the first floor. Mills told police she found Jouravleff lying on the floor near the front door bleeding from multiple gunshot wounds, according to court documents. She also said her husband told her that when he answered the door, one of the men said they were there because a former co-worker recently had been fired, according to court documents. The co-worker has not been charged in connection with the incident. Mills told police she had fired a man from her moving business, A. Best Movers Inc., shortly before the home invasion because $3[...]


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Responders fight overnight fire in abandoned Woodstock home for hoursThe Woodstock Fire/Rescue District responded to a fire about 11:15 p.m. Friday at 4001 Doty Road in Woodstock, Fire Capt. Karen Bush said. When firefighters arrived, they found a "well-involved" fire in what appeared to be an abandoned home. "There was a large amount of fire," Bush said.Because of the extent of the flames, Woodstock firefighters called for assistance from units in Union, McHenry, Marengo, Hebron, Fox River Grove, Cary, Harvard, Crystal Lake, Richmond, MESS Canteen, Algonquin, Barrington-Countryside, Spring Grove, Pingree Grove and Bloomfield, Wisconsin.Emergency responders were at the scene until about 2:30 a.m. Saturday, Bush said. The residence was difficult to access because of overgrown vegetation, and water needed to be brought to the site. No firefighters were injured, and the cause of the blaze still is under investigation. There was no cost estimate of damage as of Saturday afternoon because firefighters were being cautious about entering the abandoned building, Bush said.

Sat, 19 Aug 2017 22:41:00 GMT

WOODSTOCK – More than a dozen fire departments from across the northwest suburbs and southern Wisconsin responded to a large fire Friday night at an abandoned home in Woodstock.

The Woodstock Fire/Rescue District responded to a fire about 11:15 p.m. Friday at 4001 Doty Road in Woodstock, Fire Capt. Karen Bush said. When firefighters arrived, they found a "well-involved" fire in what appeared to be an abandoned home. "There was a large amount of fire," Bush said.Because of the extent of the flames, Woodstock firefighters called for assistance from units in Union, McHenry, Marengo, Hebron, Fox River Grove, Cary, Harvard, Crystal Lake, Richmond, MESS Canteen, Algonquin, Barrington-Countryside, Spring Grove, Pingree Grove and Bloomfield, Wisconsin.Emergency responders were at the scene until about 2:30 a.m. Saturday, Bush said. The residence was difficult to access because of overgrown vegetation, and water needed to be brought to the site. No firefighters were injured, and the cause of the blaze still is under investigation. There was no cost estimate of damage as of Saturday afternoon because firefighters were being cautious about entering the abandoned building, Bush said.


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Drunk driving fatalities down in 20 years since Illinois DUI law

Sat, 19 Aug 2017 18:37:00 GMT

Illinois implemented its 0.08 DUI legislation 20 years ago and the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) teamed up with Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and the Alliance Against Intoxicated Motorists at the Illinois State Fair to remind motorists of the law.

“Illinois' 0.08 law is a vital part of the effort to end drunk driving on Illinois roads,” said IDOT Director Priscilla Tobias in a news release. “Alcohol-impaired motor vehicle crash fatalities have declined significantly over the last two decades, but we are nowhere near making drunk driving a thing of the past.”

The law took effect July 2, 1997. Illinois was the 15th state to implement such a law. Today, all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico enforce a legal limit of 0.08.

The number of drunk driving deaths in Illinois has decreased by about 43 percent since the law was enacted. The year before it took effect, 534 people died in DUI crashes involving at least one driver who was at or over the 0.08 level. In 2015, more than 300 people died in alcohol-impaired crashes in Illinois.

The law was passed due in part to the work of George and Marilyn Murphy of Jacksonville, who lost their 24-year-old daughter, Kellie Murphy Wheatley, to a drunk driver on July 4, 1984.

“Illinois' 0.08 law is one of the greatest lifesaving pieces of legislation to become law,” George Murphy said in the news release. “Today, more people decide against getting behind the wheel after drinking, which has prevented countless tragedies.”

Law enforcement is trying to remind motorists about the law as Labor Day approaches and enforcement ramps up through a “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign. Motorists will be seeing roadside safety checks throughout Illinois from August 21 through September.


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Trump to skip Kennedy Center Honors awards programIn this July 7, 2017 photo, President Donald Trump, left, and first lady Melania Trump smile prior to a concert on the first day of the G-20 summit in Hamburg, northern Germany. The White House has announced that President Trump and the first lady have decided not to participate in events honoring recipients of this year's Kennedy Center arts awards. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)FILE - In this March 1, 1977 file photo, dancer Carmen de Lavallade chats with Rudolf Nureyev after the opening night of "Nureyev at the Uris" at a party at Sardi's in New York. The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts announced the recipients of the 2017 Kennedy Center Honors. They are: hip-hop artist LL Cool J, singers Gloria Estefan and Lionel Richie, television writer and producer Norman Lear and dancer Carmen de Lavallade. It’s the 40th year of the awards, which honor people who have influenced American culture through the arts. (AP Photo/Carlos Rene Perez)FILE - In this Nov. 3, 2014 file photo, rapper/actor LL Cool J watches the Los Angeles Clippers play the Utah Jazz during the first half of an NBA basketball game, in Los Angeles. The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts announced the recipients of the 2017 Kennedy Center Honors. They are: hip-hop artist LL Cool J, singers Gloria Estefan and Lionel Richie, television writer and producer Norman Lear and dancer Carmen de Lavallade. It’s the 40th year of the awards, which honor people who have influenced American culture through the arts. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill, File)FILE - In this photo taken April 1, 2012, Lionel Richie arrives at the 47th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards in Las Vegas. The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts announced the recipients of the 2017 Kennedy Center Honors. They are: hip-hop artist LL Cool J, singers Gloria Estefan and Lionel Richie, television writer and producer Norman Lear and dancer Carmen de Lavallade. It’s the 40th year of the awards, which honor people who have influenced American culture through the arts. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken, File)FILE - In this Sept. 13, 2011 file photo, singer Gloria Estefan is interviewed in New York. The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts announced the recipients of the 2017 Kennedy Center Honors. They are: hip-hop artist LL Cool J, singers Gloria Estefan and Lionel Richie, television writer and producer Norman Lear and dancer Carmen de Lavallade. It’s the 40th year of the awards, which honor people who have influenced American culture through the arts. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)FILE - In this May 6, 2008 file photo, producer Norman Lear arrives is seen in Beverly Hills, Calif. The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts announced the recipients of the 2017 Kennedy Center Honors. They are: hip-hop artist LL Cool J, singers Gloria Estefan and Lionel Richie, television writer and producer Norman Lear and dancer Carmen de Lavallade. It’s the 40th year of the awards, which honor people who have influenced American culture through the arts. (AP Photo/Matt Sayles, File)

Sat, 19 Aug 2017 18:16:00 GMT

BRIDGEWATER, N.J. — In a break with tradition, President Donald Trump and the first lady have decided not to participate in events for this year's Kennedy Center Honors arts awards so honorees can celebrate "without any political distraction," the White House announced Saturday. The Kennedy Center said it respected Trump's decision and the show will go on. Past presidents and first ladies traditionally host a White House reception in the hours before the Kennedy Center gala, which they would then watch from seats high above the stage. This year's honors are to be awarded on Dec. 3. The Trumps reached their decision Friday, said a White House official who insisted on anonymity to discuss internal deliberations. It was made the same day that the entire membership of the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities resigned to protest Trump's comments about last weekend's demonstrations by white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia. The president has blamed "many sides" for the violence that left an anti-racism activist dead. Trump has had a long and contentious relationship with the arts world and some Kennedy Center honorees, who are being recognized for lifetime achievement in their fields, already had said they would not attend the White House reception. One honoree, television writer and producer Norman Lear, had also questioned whether Trump would want to attend the gala, "given his indifference or worse regarding the arts and humanities." Trump has recommended defunding the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Dancer Carmen de Lavallade said on her website this week she was honored to be recognized, but would not go to Trump's White House. "In light of the socially divisive and morally caustic narrative that our existing leadership is choosing to engage in, and in keeping with the principles that I and so many others have fought for, I will be declining the invitation to attend the reception at the White House," she said. Singer Gloria Estefan earlier had said that she would set her personal politics aside to accept the honor, now in its 40th year. She said the image of a Cuban immigrant, like herself, being honored is important when Latino immigrants in particular have "taken a beating in the recent past." Estefan once hosted a Democratic fundraiser attended by President Barack Obama. She said she and her husband, Emilio, are not affiliated with a political party. The other honorees are hip-hop artist LL Cool J, who had yet to say whether he would attend the White House reception, and singer Lionel Richie, who described himself as a maybe. Representatives for both celebrities did not immediately respond to requests for comment Saturday. Kennedy Center Chairman David M. Rubenstein and President Deborah F. Rutter said they respect Trump's decision. "In choosing not to participate in this year's Honors activities, t[...]


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1 police officer killed, 3 injured in 2 shootings in Florida

Sat, 19 Aug 2017 12:45:00 GMT

KISSIMMEE, Fla. — One police officer was killed and three wounded in nighttime shootings in two Florida cities where the officers were responding to suspected drug activity and reports of a suicide attempt, police said Saturday.

One officer was killed and another gravely injured late Friday night in Kissimmee in central Florida just south of the theme park hub of Orlando. The other two officers were injured a couple of hours later in Jacksonville, one of them shot in both hands and the other in the stomach. Three of four suspects in the Kissimmee shooting were arrested, and the shooter in Jacksonville was shot and killed when police returned fire.

In Kissimmee, officers Sam Howard and Matthew Baxter were checking suspects in an area of the city for drug activity when they were shot, Kissimmee Police Chief Jeff O'Dell said at a news conference. They did not have an opportunity to return fire.

"They were surprised," O'Dell said. When asked whether they were ambushed, he said, "It's too early to tell, but it's leading that way."

Baxter, a three-year veteran of the department, died later in a hospital and Howard, a 10-year veteran, was in serious condition, O'Dell said. Both had families, he said.

The officers were checking three of the suspects when a fourth opened fire. One of the original three suspects fled and was being sought, and the other three were arrested. Broadcaster WFTV showed aerial footage of police cars with lights flashing swarmed a housing complex as the search continued early Saturday morning.

In the northern Florida city of Jacksonville, police responded to reports of an attempted suicide at a home where three other people were thought to be in danger, Sheriff's Office Director Mike Bruno said.

A team of officers heard gunshots inside and feared "an active shooter situation" so they approached the house, Bruno said. The suspect then came out firing a high-powered rifle. He was shot and killed, and two of the police officers were wounded in the exchange of fire. The three other people in the house were safe, Bruno said.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott sent Tweets about the four officers, saying "we stand with ALL law enforcement in Florida."

When O'Dell held his brief news conference outside the hospital where the two fallen Kissimmee officers had been taken, reports already had surfaced of two more officers shot in Jacksonville to the north.

"It's a tough time for law enforcement," O'Dell said of those reports. "It's getting tough to do the job."


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Youth football: Some 5- and 6-year-olds across Illinois suit up for tackle football, but is it safe?Sarah Nader - snader@shawmedia.com Jacob Dimopoulos 9left), 6, of Crystal Lake is tackled by Carter Dwellen, 6, of Crystal Lake during football practice for the Flyweight program at Crystal Lake South High School Thursday, Aug. 3, 2017.Flyweight players play tackle football on a shorter field, with no kickoffs or punts, change players frequently.Sarah Nader - snader@shawmedia.com Daniel Zuehike, 6, of Crystal Lake runs the ball during football practice for the Flyweight program at Crystal Lake South High School Thursday, Aug. 3, 2017.Flyweight players play tackle football on a shorter field, with no kickoffs or punts, change players frequently.

Sat, 19 Aug 2017 05:06:00 GMT

When Michael Zuehlke’s oldest son, Nick, wanted to play football a few years ago, Zuehlke signed his then-5-year-old up for flag football with the Crystal Lake Raiders.  That year, the Raiders informed Zuehlke that interest in the flag football program had waned. Not enough kids signed up. They gave the Zuehlkes the option to take a refund or sign up Nick for “flyweight” football – a modified version of tackle football for 5- and 6-year-olds that some programs within The Chicagoland Youth Football League play.  Zuehlke left the option up to Nick, who said he wanted to try tackle. Zuehlke had doubts about suiting up his 5-year-old in pads and a helmet. “As much as an advocate for football as I am, I was a bit apprehensive myself at first,” Michael Zuehlke said. “[Nick] tried it, and by the time he had those pads on and those first couple of hits, there was no looking back.” Nick, now 8, still plays in the Raiders program. His brother Dan, 6, is in his second year playing flyweight football, and now their father is a flyweight coach.  Across the Chicago area, many 5- and 6-year-olds playing in TCYFL programs will suit up for flyweight football. When USA Football – which is the official youth football partner of the NFL and organizes the sport in many communities across the country – announced its plans for a “rookie tackle” pilot program in select youth leagues, TCYFL president Geoff Meyer was not surprised.  TCYFL has offered flyweight football for six years. Like USA Football’s rookie tackle, it features a smaller playing field, no kickoffs or punts and players rotating positions frequently.  TCYFL does not keep score for flyweight games. Each half is 20 minutes with a running clock. Teams play seven games in the season. “It’s a great introduction to tackle football,” Meyer said. “They’re little guys, they’re just learning, they’re having fun. But they’re out there doing it. They’re a team; it’s teaching them all teamwork and camaraderie.”  TCYFL oversees some 50 programs, including the Cary Jr. Trojans, the Crystal Lake Raiders, the Crystal Lake Jr. Wolves, the Huntley Mustangs, the Johnsburg Jr. Skyhawks, the Lake in the Hills-Algonquin Jr. Eagles, the McHenry Jr. Warriors and the Woodstock Thunder, among others.  There are more than 8,000 youth football players under TCYFL. Some programs play flyweight with 5- and 6-year-olds, while others play flag football. “For us, it’s more of a recruiting tool and introducing to these parents that we’re going to put [the kids] in equipment,” Meyer said. “As far as I’m concerned, they’re safer in that equipment than playing flag football with no equipment.” ‘These are children’ Dr. Chris Nowinski doesn’t recommend anyone under the age of 14 play tackle football.  Nowinski is the founder of the Concussio[...]


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Trump studying options for new approach to Afghan warPresident Donald Trump, right, boards Marine One helicopter, followed by members of his staff at Hagerstown Regional Airport in Hagerstown, Md., Friday, Aug. 18, 2017, en route to nearby Camp David, for a meeting with his national security team to discuss strategy for South Asia, including India, Pakistan and the way forward in Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Sat, 19 Aug 2017 05:03:00 GMT

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump is “studying and considering his options” for a new approach to Afghanistan and the broader South Asia region, the White House said Friday after the president huddled with his top national security aides at Camp David.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders issued a brief statement saying Trump had been briefed extensively on a new strategy to “protect America’s interests” in the region. She did not specifically mention Afghanistan.

“The president is studying and considering his options and will make an announcement to the American people, to our allies and partners, and to the world at the appropriate time,” she said.

The administration has struggled for months to formulate a new approach to the war. But stepping up the fight in a way that advances peace prospects may be even more difficult, in part because the Taliban has been gaining ground and shown no interest in peace negotiations.

Trump met at the presidential retreat in nearby Maryland with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, top intelligence agency officials and other top military and diplomatic aides. Mattis said earlier this week the administration was “very close” to finalizing a new approach.

The meeting participants did not include Steve Bannon, the Trump strategist who has clashed with other members of the national security team over how to proceed in Afghanistan. His resignation was announced at midday. Also excluded: Gen. Joseph Votel, the Central Command chief who is responsible for U.S. military operations in the greater Middle East, including Afghanistan. Votel told reporters traveling with him in the region this week that Mattis and Gen. Joseph Dunford, the Joint Chiefs chairman, represent him in the White House-led Afghanistan strategy review. Votel said he has not talked directly to Trump as part of the months-long review.

President Donald Trump, right, boards Marine One helicopter, followed by members of his staff at Hagerstown Regional Airport in Hagerstown, Md., Friday, Aug. 18, 2017, en route to nearby Camp David, for a meeting with his national security team to discuss strategy for South Asia, including India, Pakistan and the way forward in Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)


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Spanish plan for carnage started with botched explosionA woman and a man cry in front of a memorial tribute to the victims of the terrorist attack in Barcelona, Spain, Friday Aug. 18, 2017. Police on Friday shot and killed five people carrying bomb belts who were connected to the Barcelona van attack, as the manhunt intensified for the perpetrators of Europe's latest rampage claimed by the Islamic State group. (AP Photo/Santi Palacios)

Sat, 19 Aug 2017 05:02:00 GMT

BARCELONA, Spain – A cell of at least nine extremists meticulously plotted to combine vehicles and explosives in a direct hit on tourists, and managed to carry off most of their deadly plan, killing 14 people, authorities said Friday. Police in Spain and France pressed a manhunt for any remaining members of the group, which Islamic State claimed as its own. Only flawed bomb construction avoided a more devastating attack, authorities said after taking a closer look at a blast Wednesday evening in the town of Alcanar that was first written off as a household gas explosion. At least one person was killed and several injured in the home where police said the deadly plan took shape. Eighteen hours later, a rented van veered into Barcelona’s crowded Las Ramblas promenade, swerving along the walkway Thursday and killing 13 people. A surveillance video from inside a museum, which captured images of the van, showed it speeding down the promenade, barely missing a person with a stroller while others scattered. Armed with an ax, knives and false explosives belts, attackers then drove a second vehicle to the boardwalk in the resort town of Cambrils early Friday, fatally injuring one person. Five of those attackers were shot to death, among them 17-year-old Moussa Oukabir, said a Spanish police union official, confirming Spanish news reports. Oukabir’s name was first on a document listing four suspects sought in the attacks, said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the investigation. The Barcelona-based La Vanguardia newspaper, Spanish national broadcaster RTVE and other outlets cited police sources as saying he was the driver of the van in Barcelona. The arrest order was issued throughout Spain and into France, according to the Spanish official and a French police official, who also spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the document. They did not say what became of the other three men listed, who ranged in age from 18 to 24. All had roots in Morocco; only Moussa Oukabir was born in Spain, according to the document. Earlier in the day, Catalan regional president Carles Puigdemont said at least one “terrorist is still on out there. We do not have information regarding the capacity to do more harm.” The French official said Spain had flagged a rented van that was believed to have crossed the border to the north. Moussa’s brother Driss Oukabir was arrested Thursday after he went to police to report his stolen identity documents were those found in the van abandoned on the historic Las Ramblas promenade, Spanish media reported. The brothers were born and raised in Ripoll, a quiet, upscale town of 10,000 tucked into hilly Catalan heartland and dominated by the imposing tower of the Monesteri de Santa Maria. The dented door to the family’s first-floor apartment swung open Friday; the home was empty. Neighbors said they were shocked by the [...]


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Asian carp found near Lake Michigan got past barriersFILE- This June 22, 2017, file photo provided by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources shows a silver carp that was caught in the Illinois Waterway below T.J. O'Brien Lock and Dam, approximately nine miles away from Lake Michigan. The Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee says an autopsy shows the 4-year-old male silver carp originated in the Illinois/Middle Mississippi watershed. That would suggest the carp somehow evaded three electric barriers 37 miles from the lake. (Illinois Department of Natural Resources via AP, File)

Sat, 19 Aug 2017 05:02:00 GMT

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. – An adult Asian carp found in a Chicago waterway near Lake Michigan this summer began its life far downstream and apparently got around a series of electric barriers intended to keep the invasive species out of the Great Lakes, officials said Friday. Autopsy results and a scientific analysis showed the silver carp, which was caught June 22, was a 4-year-old male that originated in the Illinois/Middle Mississippi watershed, according to the Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee, a coalition of government agencies. It could have hatched anywhere along a roughly 200-mile stretch of the Illinois River before migrating northwest, said Charlie Wooley, the Midwest deputy regional director for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. It spent time in the Des Plaines River before finding its way to the Little Calumet River just 9 miles from the lake, where a fisherman landed it. The only way the carp could have gotten there was to evade three barriers in the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal some 37 miles from Lake Michigan, Wooley said. But it’s unclear how that happened. The barriers emit powerful electric pulses designed to repel carp that get too close or knock them out and possibly kill them if they don’t turn back. An earlier study raised the possibility that small fish could be pulled through the electric field in the wake of passing barges and survive. Yet scientists who conducted a chemical analysis of the carp’s inner ear bones to determine which waters it had been in concluded the fish had spent no more than a few weeks to a few months in the stretch of river where it was found. It was fully grown, measuring 28 inches long and weighing 8 pounds. “We’re pretty darn confident a fish of this size would be incapacitated going through” the barriers, Wooley said, adding, “We’re baffled and we just don’t know how it got there.” Aside from the carp swimming through, another possibility is someone moved it past the barriers – intentionally or otherwise, said Kevin Irons, aquatic nuisance species program manager for the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. The fish might have jumped onto a boat and been carried past the barriers, then thrown out by an occupant who didn’t realize what type it was, he said. The analysis was conducted by experts with Southern Illinois University, the Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Geological Survey. The fish was only the second live Asian carp ever caught past the barriers; the other was in 2010. The find gave fresh ammunition to critics who question the effectiveness of the government’s strategy for protecting the lakes. A search of the area where it was captured turned up no others. “It confirms what we’ve known all along – those electric barriers are not foolproof and additional protections are needed,” said Molly Flanagan of[...]


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Trump ousts Bannon, his influential, divisive strategistIn this photo taken June 1, 2017, Steve Bannon is seen at the White House in Washington. According to a source, Bannon is leaving White House post. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Sat, 19 Aug 2017 05:01:00 GMT

WASHINGTON – Steve Bannon, the blunt-spoken and divisive strategist who rose from Donald Trump’s conservative campaign to a top White House post, was pushed out by the president Friday, capping a turbulent seven months marked by the departure of much of Trump’s original senior staff. A favorite in the farther-right portions of the Republican Party, Bannon had pushed Trump to follow through on some of his most contentious campaign promises, including his travel ban for some foreigners and his decision to pull out of the Paris climate change agreement. He returned Friday to Breitbart News, which he led before joining Trump’s campaign, as executive chairman and chaired its evening editorial meeting, the news site announced. Barely more than a half-year in, Trump now has forced out his hardline national security adviser, his chief of staff, his press secretary (whose last day will be Aug. 31) and two communications directors – in addition to the FBI director he inherited from Barack Obama. Bannon’s departure is especially significant since he was viewed by many as Trump’s connection to his base of most-committed voters and the protector of the disruptive, conservative agenda that propelled the celebrity businessman to the White House. “It’s a tough pill to swallow if Steve is gone because you have a Republican West Wing that’s filled with generals and Democrats,” said former campaign strategist Sam Nunberg, shortly before the news of Bannon’s departure broke. “It would feel like the twilight zone.” From Breitbart, there was a dramatic one-word warning. “#WAR,” tweeted Joel B. Pollak, a senior editor at large at the news site. Indeed, Bannon’s nationalistic, outsider conservatism served as a guiding force for Trump’s rise to office. He injected a dark populism into the campaign and sharpened its attacks on Democrat Hillary Clinton, encouraging Trump’s instinct to fight and counter-punch at every turn. When the release of a 2005 tape, in which Trump can be heard boasting about groping women, threatened to capsize the Republican’s campaign, Bannon attempted to turn the tables by gathering a group of women who accused Bill Clinton of sexual assault and trying to ambush the Democratic nominee at a general election debate. Without him, Trump’s agenda is left in the hands of more moderate advisers, including his son-in-law, his daughter and his economic adviser whom Bannon has slammed as “globalist.” But Bannon was also accused by many of his critics of leaking to reporters in a bid for self-promotion, and egging on Trump’s most damaging impulses. Trump spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Bannon and Chief of Staff John Kelly, only recently installed himself, had agreed that Friday would be Bannon’s last day. “We are grateful for his service and wis[...]


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Lake in the Hills man accused of punching, kicking family memberJonathan Wilson, 21, of the 4000 block of Heron Drive, was arrested Wednesday on charges of domestic battery, aggravated domestic battery/strangle and unlawful restraint.

Sat, 19 Aug 2017 04:58:00 GMT

LAKE IN THE HILLS – A 21-year-old Lake in the Hills man faces felony domestic battery charges after police said he held down, punched and kicked a family member.

Jonathan Wilson, 21, of the 4000 block of Heron Drive, was arrested Wednesday on charges of domestic battery, aggravated domestic battery/strangle and unlawful restraint. He remains in McHenry County Jail custody in lieu of posting 10 percent of his $125,000 bond.

Wilson is accused of punching a woman in the face, using his forearm to apply pressure to the woman’s neck and holding her down, according to court documents.

The Lake in the Hills Police Department sent out a Nixle alert Wednesday morning alerting community members that police were investigating a domestic incident. The alert said the incident occurred about 10:50 a.m. in the 4500 block of Barharbor Drive.

Wilson also is charged separately with felony and misdemeanor theft. He is accused of stealing $2,000 on July 29 from a home in the 4000 block of Heron Drive, Lake in the Hills.

He will next appear in court Wednesday.

Jonathan Wilson, 21, of the 4000 block of Heron Drive, was arrested Wednesday on charges of domestic battery, aggravated domestic battery/strangle and unlawful restraint.


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Businessmen to break home sale deadlock with coin tossPhoto provided Two prominent Barrington-area businessmen and longtime friends Jack Kraft and David Wescott will let fate decide their differences on the final purchase price of a multi-million dollar property on the Fox River. A specially-designed commemorative coin will be tossed in the “$25,000 Challenge” for the beautiful “Waterfall House."Photo provided Two prominent Barrington-area businessmen and longtime friends Jack Kraft and David Wescott will let fate decide their differences on the final purchase price of a multi-million dollar property on the Fox River. A specially-designed commemorative coin will be tossed in the “$25,000 Challenge” for the beautiful “Waterfall HousePhoto provided Two prominent Barrington-area businessmen and longtime friends Jack Kraft and David Wescott will let fate decide their differences on the final purchase price of a multi-million dollar property on the Fox River. A specially-designed commemorative coin will be tossed in the “$25,000 Challenge” for the beautiful “Waterfall House."Photo provided Two prominent Barrington-area businessmen and longtime friends Jack Kraft and David Wescott will let fate decide their differences on the final purchase price of a multi-million dollar property on the Fox River. A specially-designed commemorative coin will be tossed in the “$25,000 Challenge” for the beautiful “Waterfall House."

Sat, 19 Aug 2017 04:57:00 GMT

PORT BARRINGTON – Two Barrington-area businessmen have agreed to break a $25,000 deadlock on the sale of the multimillion-dollar “Waterfall House on the Fox River” on Sunday during an event in Port Barrington. Jack Kraft advises internet advertising and technology startups on a variety of business and management issues. He has owned the riverfront property in River Glen in Barrington since 1987, according to a news release from No Wake Bar and Grill – the restaurant hosting Sunday’s fundraising event. David Wescott is currently serving his 13th term on the Board of Directors of the CME Group, which owns the Chicago Board of Trade, Chicago Mercantile Exchange, New York Mercantile Exchange and various other futures exchanges. Wescott is about to buy Kraft’s home. But the two can’t agree on a price. Earlier this year, Wescott bought the Waterfall home’s neighboring house from Kraft. Kraft bought all of the home’s neighboring houses to create “an enclave environment” for friends and family. Zillow.com valued the “waterfall house” at $1.7 million at its highest point in 2015. The two began negotiations on the larger property several months ago. Kraft rebuilt the home in 2009 and added a five-pool waterfall that drops into the Fox River. Featured on HGTV, the one-of-a-kind waterfall is surrounded by a series of custom-designed decks, a bridge and flowing staircase. The businessmen have worked their way down to a $25,000 difference in price from a $150,000 one and decided a coin toss was the best way to close the sale. “I wouldn’t flip for $50,000,” Kraft said of Wescott’s initial suggestion. A specially designed commemorative coin will be tossed at 6 p.m. Sunday at Wescott’s No Wake Bar and Grill, 99 Kazimour Drive, Port Barrington, to determine the home’s final selling price. Additional coins, with illustrations depicting the waterfall and the Challenge, will be sold at the event. All proceeds will be donated to the Lake and McHenry county sheriff’s offices. Kraft and Wescott plan to embed extra coins in the waterfall and in the bar and parking lot at the restaurant. Kraft decided to sell the property to downsize and spend more time in Florida with his wife, Alana Hadfield, and Wescott and his wife, Carol, have always wanted to live there. According to the release, both men are in good spirits about the deal, regardless of the outcome. “This is a property that needs to be loved and cared for,” Kraft said. “Dave and Carol are the perfect new owners. I’m thrilled to know it will be sold to a family that has admired it, and who will enjoy it as much as we have, and keep it intact.” [...]Photo provided Two prominent Barrington-area businessmen a[...]


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Lake County correctional officers save man overdosing in courtroomThree Lake County Sheriff's Office correctional officers saved a man's life in a courtroom Wednesday. Officers Karrie Lee (left), Melissa Dunn (center) and Timothy Specht (right) administered Naloxone to a man suffering from an overdose in a public viewing area.

Sat, 19 Aug 2017 04:57:00 GMT

WAUKEGAN – Three Lake County Sheriff’s Office correctional officers successfully revived a man who was suffering from an opioid overdose in a courtroom.

Lake County officers Karrie Lee and Melissa Dunn and Sgt. Timothy Specht noticed a 24-year-old man slumped over in a public viewing area in a Lake County Sheriff’s Office courtroom.

The man was not in custody or a Lake County jail inmate, but the officers, who transport inmates from jail to court, quickly intervened, according to a news release from the Lake County Sheriff’s Office.

Upon closer inspection, the officers found the man was unconscious and barely breathing. They determined he likely was suffering from an opioid overdose. The man was given two doses of Naloxone, a drug that can reverse the effects of an overdose, and he eventually regained consciousness. He was taken Wednesday morning to a local hospital after the incident for evaluation, and later admitted to consuming Xanax and heroin, before the overdose, according to the release.

“I am very proud of Corrections Sgt. Timothy Specht, Corrections Officer Karrie Lee, and Corrections Officer Melissa Dunn for their quick actions, which resulted in a life being saved, as well as our court security officers who recognized the man was in distress,” Lake County Sheriff Mike Curran said in a statement.

The man was not issued any citations, as he was not in possession of any drugs or related paraphernalia, Lake County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Christopher Covelli said in an email.

“In situations like this, we suggest treatment for the person who overdosed,” Covelli said.

Curran said a person overdosing in a courtroom highlights the extent of the national opioid crisis.

“The Lake County Sheriff’s Office continues to work with community stakeholders, battling the prevalent opioid problem through education and enforcement,” Curran said. 

Three Lake County Sheriff's Office correctional officers saved a man's life in a courtroom Wednesday. Officers Karrie Lee (left), Melissa Dunn (center) and Timothy Specht (right) administered Naloxone to a man suffering from an overdose in a public viewing area.


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City won't release video footage of incident involving Crystal Lake firefighters at a local barCrystal Lake firefighters Timothy R. Kerley (left), 38, of Crystal Lake, and Adam J. Fowles, 41, of Cary, were arrested on May 11 in connection with an off-duty incident at a local bar two months earlier, records show. Both men have pleaded not guilty and are scheduled to next appear in court Aug. 17.

Sat, 19 Aug 2017 04:57:00 GMT

CRYSTAL LAKE – City officials won't release video footage of an off-duty incident at a local bar in March that resulted in the discipline of nine Crystal Lake firefighters, including two who were arrested on assault and battery charges. The city reaffirmed its reasons for not releasing video footage in a recent letter to the Illinois Attorney General's Office, claiming it could interfere with witness cooperation, taint prospective jurors in criminal cases and violate the privacy rights of people captured in the video. "It captures the victims as they were being victimized," the city's letter said. "It also captures the identities and actions of other individuals who offered information to the police department in its investigation and who are likely witnesses in the criminal prosecution." An attorney for the city, Abigail C. Rogers, also said the video stands to reach a large number of potential jurors if published online and, consequently, would result in them pre-judging the conduct at the center of the criminal prosecution. The response cited the Northwest Herald publishing some of the more than 800 pages of heavily redacted documents – the bulk of which were completely blanked out – in response to a Freedom of Information Act request related to the off-duty incident and subsequent investigations. “With comments on news sites, posting a video invites a public ‘pre-trial’ and potential witness intimidation and harassment,” Rogers wrote in the letters. “Plainly, disclosure of the video footage is highly prejudicial to and will interfere with the pending prosecution.” The Northwest Herald reported July 4 that two city firefighters were placed on administrative leave and facing criminal charges after being arrested May 11 in connection with an off-duty incident at Finn McCool’s, 72 N. Williams St., in March. Documents the Northwest Herald obtained through a FOIA request revealed that witnesses told an investigator that off-duty firefighters had groped and harassed customers and bar employees, continued drinking after they were cut off and eventually were kicked out. The city denied a follow-up request from the newspaper seeking the video surveillance footage of the incident that was repeatedly referenced in the redacted documents the city released. “Disclosure of video footage is not the same as disclosure of a written document,” Rogers wrote. “The video catches the victims’ expressions and responses to the criminal conduct at issue in the prosecution. It captures the criminal defendants’ posture and expressions as well.” Lastly, the response said the Crystal Lake Police Department lacked the ability to redact images from relevant portions of the video, which is several hours long[...]


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6 reasons why you should play Pro Football Weekly's UPickem contest Registration is open for our 2017 UPickem contest. Not sure about signing up? Here are six reasons why you should play!

Fri, 18 Aug 2017 18:00:00 GMT

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Registration is open for our 2017 UPickem contest. Not sure about signing up? Here are six reasons why you should play!


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AP sources: Strategist Steve Bannon leaving White HouseWhite House strategist Stephen Bannon waits for President Donald Trump to make a statement about the U.S. role in the Paris climate change accord, Thursday, June 1, 2017, in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington. Trump announced that the U.S. will withdraw from the agreement. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Fri, 18 Aug 2017 17:13:00 GMT

WASHINGTON — White House chief strategist Steve Bannon is leaving his White House post.

That's according to two people familiar with the decision who demanded anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss private conversations.

Bannon was a key adviser to President Donald Trump's general election campaign and has been a forceful but contentious presence in a divided White House.

The former leader of conservative Breitbart News pushed Trump to follow through with his campaign promises. But he's also sparred with some of Trump's closest advisers, including son-in-law Jared Kushner.

White House strategist Stephen Bannon waits for President Donald Trump to make a statement about the U.S. role in the Paris climate change accord, Thursday, June 1, 2017, in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington. Trump announced that the U.S. will withdraw from the agreement. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)


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Finnish police shoot man who stabs several people in TurkuArmed Finnish policemen on guard at the Helsinki airport on Friday, Aug. 18, 2017, as Finnish authorities announced they will raise readiness levels after an incident in Turku Finland. Police in Finland say they have shot a man in the leg after he was suspected of stabbing several people in the western city of Turku. (Lehtikuva via AP)Turku Market Square on Friday, Aug. 18, 2017, with a yellow ambulance on the corner of the square (behind red car). Police in Finland say they have shot a man in the leg after he was suspected of stabbing several people in the western city of Turku. (Lehtikuva via AP)People was emergency services working in Turku Market Square in Turku Finland on Friday, Aug. 18, 2017. Police in Finland say they have shot a man in the leg after he was suspected of stabbing several people in the western city of Turku. (Facebook via AP)

Fri, 18 Aug 2017 16:05:00 GMT

COPENHAGEN, Denmark — A man stabbed several people in Finland's western city of Turku before police shot him in a leg and detained him Friday, police said, adding that authorities were looking for more potential suspects. Finnish broadcaster YLE says several people were seen lying on the ground in Puutori square in central Turku. On Twitter, police urged people to avoid that part of Turku. One person has been "apprehended," Finnish police said, adding "several people had been stabbed" in two squares in the city. Their conditions weren't immediately available. Tabloid Ilta-Sanomat says six people were injured, one man and five women, and that a woman with stroller was attacked by a man with a large knife. Prime Minister Juha Sipila said the government was closely monitoring the ongoing police operation and holding an emergency meeting later Friday. Witness Laura Laine told broadcaster YLE that she stood approximately 20 meters (65 feet) from where the stabbing took place. "We heard that a young woman was screaming. We saw a man on the square and a knife glittered. He was waving it in the air. I understood that he had stabbed someone," Laine was quoted as saying. Police planned a news conference at 7 p.m. (1600 GMT; 12 p.m. EDT) in Turku, about 150 kilometers (90 miles) west of Helsinki, with Finland's interior minister and the national police chief. Finnish television channel MTV said security had been heightened at Helsinki's international airport but didn't give details. "Police have told us not to go to the city center so we are in this coffee shop a few blocks away from the city center," said Vanessa Deggins, an American who is studying business in one of Turku's three universities. She didn't witness the actual attack, but heard sirens going past. "This is a safe country by American standards. I have gone home alone at 2-3 a.m. ... I feel safe. This is a safe country." Armed Finnish policemen on guard at the Helsinki airport on Friday, Aug. 18, 2017, as Finnish authorities announced they will raise readiness levels after an incident in Turku Finland. Police in Finland say they have shot a man in the leg after he was suspected of stabbing several people in the western city of Turku. (Lehtikuva via AP)Turku Market Square on Friday, Aug. 18, 2017, with a yellow ambulance on the corner of the square (behind red car). Police in Finland say they have shot a man in the leg after he was suspected of stabbing several people in the western city of Turku. (Lehtikuva via AP)People was emergency services working in Turku Market Square in Turku Finland on Friday, Aug. 18, 2017. Police in Finland say they have sho[...]


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10 best places to watch a game in McHenry County

Fri, 18 Aug 2017 14:23:38 GMT

Here are the top 10 places to watch a game in McHenry County, as voted by our readers in the 2017 Best of the Fox competition. 

800 Feinberg Court, Cary | 847-516-3663

galatishideaway.com

5899 Northwest Highway, Crystal Lake | 815-444-8180

wingsetc.com/crystal-lake

1040 Lake Ave., Woodstock | 815-338-6455

redmilltavern.com

214 S. State St., Marengo | 815-568-8676

facebook.com/TheSpotmarengo

1501 Route 31, McHenry | 815-578-0333

BulldogAleHouse.com

 

4018 Roberts Road, Island Lake | 847-526-7174

3dbowl.com

230 W. Virginia St., No. 300, Crystal Lake | 815-455-7398

facebook.com/PablosMexicanRestaurant

Voted one of the best places to watch a game in the 2017 Best of the Fox competition!

108 West Main St., Cary | tracksbarandgrill.com

Voted one of the best places to watch a game in the 2017 Best of the Fox competition!

461 S. Randall Road, Algonquin | 847-458-2333

5755 Northwest Highway, Crystal Lake | 815-356-0333

3343 Shoppers Drive, McHenry | 815-344-9069

buffalowildwings.com/locations

Voted best place to watch a game in our 2017 Best of the Fox competition!

208 W. Main St., Cary | 847-639-7244

caryalehousebrewing.com


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McHenry County judge grants preliminary injunction to halt Lake in the Hills Sanitary District purchaseH. Rick Bamman file photo - hbamman@shawmedia.com Lake In The Hills waste water treatment facility 515 Plum St, Lake in the Hills.

Fri, 18 Aug 2017 13:08:00 GMT

WOODSTOCK – A McHenry County judge again has halted efforts by the Lake in the Hills Sanitary District to purchase about 14 acres of Kane County farmland for more than $950,000. Judge Thomas Meyer granted a preliminary injunction after a hearing Wednesday that prevents the deal from going through. The McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office and County Board Chairman Jack Franks, D-Marengo, consider the decision a victory. Franks has claimed the proposed land deal under the district’s previous board was an effort to impede consolidating the board into the village of Lake in the Hills. Meyer issued a temporary restraining order last month after the county filed a motion asking the court to recognize that the two new sanitary district trustees were legitimately appointed by the County Board, and that their votes to rescind the land deal and a related annexation stand. A trial will be Sept. 19 to determine whether the sanitary district had the authority to annex the property. “The county pushed for the injunction after this independent taxing district took extraordinary steps to prevent a proposed consolidation aimed at reducing expenses and increasing government efficiency,” McHenry County State’s Attorney Patrick Kenneally said in a news release. Franks wrote a law during his final term as a state lawmaker that allows the McHenry and Lake county boards to eliminate governments that are entirely within their respective counties and if the boards appoint a majority of the trustees. “The outrageous actions taken by the sanitary district to preserve their fiefdom makes this unit of government the poster child as to why consolidation is needed,” Franks said in a news release. “If a taxing body feels the need to spend millions of dollars to snatch up a patch of land to silence even discussion of consolidation, it speaks volumes about whether that body is even necessary.” Gov. Bruce Rauner signed a law Monday that gives every county in the state the authority to consolidate government if such rules apply. Records have shown that two members of the district’s three-member board of trustees, Terry Easler and Shelby Key, planned in the months after Frank’s election as board chairman in November to annex the entire right of way of Square Barn Road and purchase 13.88 acres in Kane County about a mile and a half from its service area. This purchase would make the sanitary district a multicounty district, which would make it exempt from the consolidation law and take away the County Board’s power to appoint its trustees. About 40,000 res[...]


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McHenry County judge grants preliminary injunction to halt Lake in the Hills Sanitary District purchaseJudge Thomas Meyer granted a preliminary injunction after a hearing Wednesday that prevents the deal from going through. The McHenry County State's Attorney's Office and County Board Chairman Jack Franks, D-Marengo, consider the decision a victory. Franks has claimed the proposed land deal under the district's previous board was an effort to impede consolidating the board into the village of Lake in the Hills. Meyer issued a temporary restraining order last month after the county filed a motion asking the court to recognize that the two new sanitary district trustees were legitimately appointed by the County Board, and that their votes to rescind the land deal and a related annexation stand. A trial will be Sept. 19 to determine whether the sanitary district had the authority to annex the property. "The county pushed for the injunction after this independent taxing district took extraordinary steps to prevent a proposed consolidation aimed at reducing expenses and increasing government efficiency," McHenry County State's Attorney Patrick Kenneally said in a news release.Franks wrote a law during his final term as a state lawmaker that allows McHenry and Lake county boards to eliminate governments that are entirely within their respective counties and if the boards appoint a majority of the trustees. "The outrageous actions taken by the sanitary district to preserve their fiefdom makes this unit of government the poster child as to why consolidation is needed," Franks said in a news release. "If a taxing body feels the need to spend millions of dollars to snatch up a patch of land to silence even discussion of consolidation, it speaks volumes about whether that body is even necessary." Gov. Bruce Rauner signed a law Monday that gives every county in the state the authority to consolidate government if such rules apply. Records have shown that two members of the district's three-member board of trustees, Terry Easler and Shelby Key, planned in the months after Frank's election as board chairman in November to annex the entire right of way of Square Barn Road and purchase 13.88 acres in Kane County about a mile and a half from its service area.This purchase would make the sanitary district a multicounty district, which would make it exempt from the consolidation law and take away the County Board's power to appoint its trustees. About 40,000 residents in Lake in the Hills, Crystal Lake and Huntley are served by the 11-square-mile district, which voters created in 1963 to handle wastewater management and pollution control. Key and Easler voted April 27 to annex the property. Former Trustee David McPhee, who resigned shortly after his January appointment to the Lake in the Hills Village Board, previously told the Northwest Herald that expanding into Kane County was never discussed during his nearly nine years on the sanitary district board. The County Board appointed Eric Hansen and Kyle Kane to replace McPhee and Key, whose term was up April 30.Key and Easler are both being represented by lawyer Derke Price, who was unavailable for comment Thursday. Price claims the annexation and proposed purchase already make the sanitary district a multicounty entity, which means the board did not have the authority to appoint new trustees, and the vote to undo the annexation and land deal would be invalid. "The District has been planning an expansion for three years," Price wrote in his response to the county board's motion in July. "Franks' entire argument is that the District should not have exercised its lawful annexation powers to expand in Kane County because that thwarts his political goal to gobble up the district into a village or the county."

Fri, 18 Aug 2017 13:06:00 GMT

WOODSTOCK – A McHenry County judge again has halted efforts by the Lake in the Hills Sanitary District to purchase about 14 acres of Kane County farmland for more than $950,000. Judge Thomas Meyer granted a preliminary injunction after a hearing Wednesday that prevents the deal from going through. The McHenry County State's Attorney's Office and County Board Chairman Jack Franks, D-Marengo, consider the decision a victory. Franks has claimed the proposed land deal under the district's previous board was an effort to impede consolidating the board into the village of Lake in the Hills. Meyer issued a temporary restraining order last month after the county filed a motion asking the court to recognize that the two new sanitary district trustees were legitimately appointed by the County Board, and that their votes to rescind the land deal and a related annexation stand. A trial will be Sept. 19 to determine whether the sanitary district had the authority to annex the property. "The county pushed for the injunction after this independent taxing district took extraordinary steps to prevent a proposed consolidation aimed at reducing expenses and increasing government efficiency," McHenry County State's Attorney Patrick Kenneally said in a news release.Franks wrote a law during his final term as a state lawmaker that allows McHenry and Lake county boards to eliminate governments that are entirely within their respective counties and if the boards appoint a majority of the trustees. "The outrageous actions taken by the sanitary district to preserve their fiefdom makes this unit of government the poster child as to why consolidation is needed," Franks said in a news release. "If a taxing body feels the need to spend millions of dollars to snatch up a patch of land to silence even discussion of consolidation, it speaks volumes about whether that body is even necessary." Gov. Bruce Rauner signed a law Monday that gives every county in the state the authority to consolidate government if such rules apply. Records have shown that two members of the district's three-member board of trustees, Terry Easler and Shelby Key, planned in the months after Frank's election as board chairman in November to annex the entire right of way of Square Barn Road and purchase 13.88 acres in Kane County about a mile and a half from its service area.This purchase would make the sanitary district a multicounty district, which would make it exempt from the consolidation law and take away the County Board's power to appoint its trustees. About 40,000 residents in Lake in the Hills, Crystal Lake and Huntley are served by the 11-square-mile district, which voters created in 1963 to handle wastewater management and pollution control. Key and Easler voted April 27 to annex the property. Former Trustee David McPhee, who [...]


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Spain manhunt deepens as Barcelona insists 'I am not afraid'People observe a minute of silence in memory of the terror attack victims in Cambrils, Spain, Friday, Aug. 18, 2017. Spanish police on Friday shot and killed five people carrying bomb belts who were connected to the Barcelona van attack that killed at least 13, as the manhunt intensified for the perpetrators of Europe's latest rampage claimed by the Islamic State group. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)A man holding flowers waits before Spanish embassy staff members observed a minute of silence in memory of the terrorist attacks victims in Spain, Friday Aug.18, 2017 in the courtyard of the embassy in Paris. Spanish police say death toll in Spain attacks rises to 14 after woman injured in seaside resort dies. (AP Photo/Bertrand Combaldieu)Armed police officers patrol a deserted street in Las Ramblas, in Barcelona, Spain, Friday, Aug. 18, 2017. A white van jumped up onto a sidewalk and sped down a pedestrian zone Thursday in Barcelona's historic Las Ramblas district, swerving from side to side as it plowed into tourists and residents. Police said 13 people were killed and more than 50 wounded in what they called a terror attack.(AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)King Felipe of Spain, center, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, center left, and Catalonia regional President Carles Puigdemont, center right, observe a minute of silence in memory of the terrorist attacks victims in Las Ramblas, Barcelona, Spain, Friday, Aug. 18, 2017. Spanish police on Friday shot and killed five people carrying bomb belts who were connected to the Barcelona van attack that killed at least 13, as the manhunt intensified for the perpetrators of Europe's latest rampage claimed by the Islamic State group. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)Candles and bunches of flowers placed by people rest on the ground in Las Ramblas, Barcelona, Spain, Friday, Aug. 18, 2017. Police on Friday shot and killed five people carrying bomb belts who were connected to the Barcelona van attack, as the manhunt intensified for the perpetrators of Europe's latest rampage claimed by the Islamic State group. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)A man touches a newspaper displaying a photograph of the aftermath of the terror attack in Las Ramblas, in Barcelona, Spain, Friday, Aug. 18, 2017. A white van jumped up onto a sidewalk and sped down a pedestrian zone Thursday in Barcelona's historic Las Ramblas district, swerving from side to side as it plowed into tourists and residents. Police said 13 people were killed and more than 50 wounded in what they called a terror attack.(AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)A person is carried in Barcelona, Spain, Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017 after a white van jumped the sidewalk in the historic Las Ramblas district, crashing into a summer crowd of residents and tourists and injuring several people, police said. (AP Photo/Oriol Duran)

Fri, 18 Aug 2017 12:17:00 GMT

BARCELONA, Spain — Police shot and killed five people wearing fake bomb belts who staged a deadly car attack in a seaside resort in Spain's Catalonia region Friday, just hours after a van plowed into pedestrians on a busy Barcelona promenade. Spanish authorities said the back-to-back vehicle attacks — as well as an explosion earlier this week in a house elsewhere in Catalonia — were related and the work of a large terrorist group. Three people were arrested, but a manhunt was underway for the driver of the van used in Thursday's Barcelona attack, which killed 13 people and injured 100 others. The Islamic State group quickly claimed responsibility. Amid heavy security, Barcelona tried to move forward Friday, with its iconic Las Ramblas promenade quietly reopening to the public and King Felipe VI and Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy joining thousands of residents and visitors in observing a minute of silence in the city's main square. "I am not afraid! I am not afraid!" the crowd chanted in Catalan amid applause. But the dual attacks unnerved a country that hasn't seen an Islamic extremist attack since 2004, when al-Qaida-inspired bombers killed 192 people in coordinated assaults on Madrid's commuter trains. Unlike France, Britain, Sweden and Germany, Spain has largely been spared, thanks in part to a crackdown that has netted some 200 suspected jihadis in recent years. Authorities were still reeling from the Barcelona attack when police in the popular seaside town of Cambrils, about 130 kilometers (80 miles) to the south, fatally shot five people near the town's boardwalk who had plowed into a group of tourists and locals with their blue Audi 3. Catalonia's interior minister, Joaquim Forn, told Onda Cero radio they were wearing fake bomb belts. One woman died Friday from her injuries, Catalan police said on Twitter. Five others were injured. Cambrils Mayor Cami Mendoza said the town had taken precautions after the Barcelona attack, but that the suspects had centered their assault on the narrow path to the boardwalk, which is usually packed with locals and tourists late into the evening. "We were on a terrace, like many others," said bystander Jose Antonio Saez. "We heard the crash and intense gun shots, then the dead bodies on the floor, shot by the police. They had what looked like explosive belts on." Others described scenes of panic, and found safety inside bars and restaurants until police had secured the area. Local resident Markel Artabe said he was heading to the seafront to get an ice cream when he heard the shots.[...]


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Crystal Lake Park District board examines plans for $69 million development for Sunset Meadows ParkSarah Nader - snader@shawmedia.com Commissioners Thomas Aquilina (left), Julie Matens and Shawn Zimmerman listen to presentations at Thursday's meeting Aug. 17, 2017. The board examined the results of a feasibility study for developing Sunset Meadows Park. Representatives from several firms presented their findings to the board.

Fri, 18 Aug 2017 06:08:00 GMT

CRYSTAL LAKE – The Crystal Lake Park District is examining preliminary plans for a possible multimillion-dollar development on a large portion of Sunset Meadows Park, which includes a community center. The Crystal Lake Park District Board of Commissioners looked at plans Thursday for a $69 million development on about 90 of the 138 acres at Sunset Meadows Park, located off Route 176 and Briarwood Road on the city’s watershed, which resulted from a feasibility study on developing the land. The budget was created for the entire development and considered costs for construction, engineering, architectural and impact associated with the project in addition to other estimated fees, such as utility connections and following the city’s watershed ordinance. The Crystal Lake Watershed is about 2,300 acres of land that feeds the city’s namesake recreational lake. Executive Director Jason Herbster emphasized, however, that the study was conducted to simply assess whether development is possible on the land and would depend on a community needs assessment to see what aspects of the development residents would want. “This isn’t a project we’re set to do,” Herbster said. “This is just a very small step in getting to maybe someday do this. This is simply just step one in a very long process.” Representatives from the four companies behind the feasibility study described the plans as the “Cadillac version” of developing the property, considering all of the Park District’s potential uses for the land and finding the most cost-efficient model for including each one. The budget allotted about $39 million for the community center building, $9.9 million for outdoor aquatics, $1.7 million for indoor aquatics and $362,000 for a dog park on the south end of the property. Expenses also were budgeted for installing multiple bike trails around the wetlands for $684,000 and future expansion to the proposed facilities. An additional $500,000 was budgeted as an allowance for relocating the ComEd power lines that run across the proposed development site. The budget also included about $6 million to account for escalation, or the rising of construction costs over the next five years. Portions of those costs would be eliminated depending on when the park district starts the project – if it starts at all. “The sooner you built it, the cheaper it will be,” said Leigh McMillen, a representative from Leopardo Companies. A preliminary rendering for the 90 acres outlined two m[...]


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Tech companies banishing extremists after CharlottesvilleAP photo This photo combo of images shows a Google sign at a store in Hialeah, Fla., the Twitter app displayed on a smartphone, PayPal headquarters in San Jose, Calif., and the Facebook app displayed on an iPad. It took a violent rally to get tech companies, such as these and others, to do what civil rights groups have been calling for for years: take a firmer stand against accounts used to promote hate and violence.

Fri, 18 Aug 2017 05:49:00 GMT

NEW YORK – It took bloodshed in Charlottesville to get tech companies to do what civil rights groups have been calling for for years: take a firmer stand against accounts used to promote hate and violence. In the wake of the deadly clash at a white-nationalist rally last weekend in Virginia, major companies such as Google, Facebook and PayPal are banishing a growing cadre of extremist groups and individuals for violating service terms. What took so long? For one thing, tech companies have long seen themselves as bastions of free expression. But the Charlottesville rally seemed to have a sobering effect. It showed how easily technology can be used to organize and finance such events, and how extreme views online can translate into violence offline. “There is a difference between freedom of speech and what happened in Charlottesville,” said Rashad Robinson, executive director of Color of Change, an online racial justice group. The battle of ideas is “different than people who show up with guns to terrorize communities.” A slow reaction Tech companies are in a bind. On one hand, they want to be open to as many people as possible so they can show them ads or provide rides, apartments or financial services. On the other hand, some of these users turn out to be white supremacists, terrorists or child molesters. Keegan Hankes, an analyst at the Southern Poverty Law Center’s intelligence project, said his group has been trying for more than a year to get Facebook and PayPal to shut down these accounts. Even now, he said, the two companies are taking action only in the most extreme cases. “They have policies against violence, racism, harassment,” said Hankes, whose center monitors hate groups and extremism. “The problem is that there has been no enforcement.” Case in point: The neo-Nazi website Daily Stormer has been around since 2013. But it wasn’t effectively kicked off the internet until it mocked the woman killed while protesting the white nationalists in Charlottesville. Shifting line PayPal said groups that advocate racist views have no place on its service, but added that there is a “fine line” when it comes to balancing freedom of expression with taking a stand against violent extremism. Other companies such as Facebook, Twitter and Google struggle with the same balancing act. The fine line is constantly moving and being tested. Ahead of the rally, Airbnb barred hous[...]


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Geneva Rep. Steve Andersson bows out, announces he won't seek third termShaw Media file photo State Rep. Steven Andersson, R-Geneva, speaks Dec. 12 during the 28th annual Kane County Legislative Forum on Aging and Disability Issues. Andersson has announced he is not seeking reelection.

Fri, 18 Aug 2017 05:45:00 GMT

GENEVA – State Rep. Steve Andersson, R-Geneva, will not seek a third term, he announced Thursday in a news release, stating that he believes his advocacy would be stronger outside of the General Assembly than within it. “There are others who are better suited to the current partisan politics of this chamber,” the release said. “At the end of this term, I’ll be stepping aside to afford that opportunity to another individual.” Andersson’s release also noted changing politics, even within the time he has served, as a factor in his decision. “The temperament of my party has shifted, and the Republican Party values I grew up with seem to be increasingly absent or changing,” Andersson said. “Moving forward, I will continue to fight, and I will continue to lead, with the same Republican values I have held to for 40 years.” Those values are “entrenched in the notion of living within our means, honoring our commitments, building strong businesses, ensuring equality for all, valuing human life and delivering a sustainable government,” the release said. “In addition, I will also fight for those who have the least voice: the mentally ill, the developmentally disabled, those afflicted with substance abuse and other issues,” the release said. Referring to his vote to approve the state’s first budget in two years, Andersson’s release noted that when the state was “on the brink of a financial cliff of such enormity that we would not recover for decades, I came to the same conclusion as many of my colleagues, that the cost of inaction outweighed the cost of compromise.” “As a result of the vote, we brought the state back from the fiscal edge and passed a balanced budget – the first in decades – while continuing the fight to build on the many reforms we did achieve,” Andersson’s release said. “I, along with 14 other Republicans, rose up and joined rank-and-file Democrats in an effort to end the impasse,” Andersson’s release said. “Due to the partisan infighting, the clock had run out and time was up, despite two and a half years of negotiations, there was no viable deal that could be passed in time to save our state from disaster. We could no longer watch while our state burned without a budget for the longest time of any state in U.S. history.” But Republicans continued the fight “to build on the many reforms we did achieve,” the release said. “These significant reforms include procurement refo[...]


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