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Crystal Lake selects new garbage, recycling disposal company

Fri, 23 Feb 2018 07:19:00 GMT

CRYSTAL LAKE – Residents will save money with the city’s new garbage disposal and recycling company.

The Crystal Lake City Council unanimously approved a five-year contract Tuesday night with Prairieland Disposal after the city’s long-term deal with Marengo Disposal Co. Environmental Services expires April 30.

Under terms of the new pact, single-family homeowners will pay $6.24 less a month, seniors will pay $4.05 less a month and multifamily home residents will pay $1.63 less monthly.

The service schedule will be the same, which means the day that residents take their garbage and recycling out is not changing.

Deputy City Manager Eric Helm said staff conducted surveys and research of the going rates in the market for disposal services. Based on their findings, Helm said he was not surprised to see such a decrease in rates.

Not only was Prairieland the lowest bidder, but it proposed the lowest annual price increase. Rate increases with Prairieland will be in accordance with the annual rise in the consumer price index, which can range from 1.5 percent to 3 percent. Under the deal with MDCES, the rate increased 3 percent each year.

The city first contracted with MDCES 15 years ago for five years and renewed the deal two times for five years each. Per the terms of the contract, the two parties reached the maximum number of contract extensions.

That’s why the city went out to bid.

Mayor Aaron Shepley said it’s clear that competitors have entered the marketplace and driven down prices, evidenced by the decreased rates that were proposed. Five of the six bidders offered rates lower than the current $23.13 that single-family home residents pay each month.

Shepley said the City Council received frantic phone calls over the weekend when word spread that the city might be changing disposal services. He also addressed rumors that MDCES offered to lower its price to match Prairieland after the original bids came in. He said if the city went that route, no one ever would bid on future projects.

“The fact of the matter is, MDCES wasn’t the low proposer, and if they really wanted the business, they would have been [the lowest],” Shepley said.

Some residents apparently received robocalls from MDCES, and several addressed City Council members during public comment, but most concerns were addressed by Helm and Shepley. Some residents were upset to find out about the possible switch through a robocall from the company rather than the city.

An important aspect of the new service, Helm said, is that Prairieland Disposal will pick up both garbage and recycling on the same truck with separate compartments. This means fewer trucks will be on city streets on collection days.

Residents also are welcome to drop off electronics for free six days a week at Prairieland headquarters, 21N988 Pepper Road, Lake Barrington. That’s in addition to two curbside electronics collection dates a year.

The company offers a free food scraps composting program, as well, where residents can include food scraps in their yard waste bins.

Collections by Prairieland will begin May 1. Residents will receive new containers and toters in April. MDCES will collect its containers before May 1.


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After a year, Trump holds firm grip on conservative movementWearing custom hats in support of President Donald Trump, Priscilla Confrey, left, of Spring Lake, N.J., and her daughter Olivia Confrey, 13, attend the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), at National Harbor, Md., Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018. "I think it's a great way to understand what our country is going through right now," says Olivia Confrey, who was attending her first CPAC. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Fri, 23 Feb 2018 06:59:00 GMT

OXON HILL, Md. – Donald Trump’s outsider candidacy rattled the conservative movement. But more than a year into his presidency, the onetime Democrat now holds what seems to be a near-total grip.

The largest annual gathering of conservatives has all the looks of a Trump festival, with Republican critics absent from the event outside the nation’s capital. Republicans are facing a challenging election season, and the Trump administration wants to motivate conservative activists so they will give endangered Republicans another term.

Vice President Mike Pence addressed the Conservative Political Action Conference on Thursday, offering a defense of the Trump agenda and trying to rally activists for the fall elections.

“Your president and I need you to show up,” Pence told activists as he urged them to “defend all that we’ve accomplished.”

Wearing custom hats in support of President Donald Trump, Priscilla Confrey, left, of Spring Lake, N.J., and her daughter Olivia Confrey, 13, attend the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), at National Harbor, Md., Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018. "I think it's a great way to understand what our country is going through right now," says Olivia Confrey, who was attending her first CPAC. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)


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World leaders urge Syria cease-fire as fighting escalatesFormer Syrian opposition leader George Sabra, centre, chants slogans, as he joins others protesting attacks on rebel-held suburb of eastern Ghouta in Syria's capital Damascus, during a rally outside the Russian Consulate in Istanbul, Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018. Scores of people have gathered chanting Syrian songs and slogans denouncing a Syrian government forces' bombing campaign that has targeted hospitals, apartment blocks and other civilian sites. Hundreds of people have been killed or wounded in the campaign in recent days. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

Fri, 23 Feb 2018 06:43:00 GMT

BEIRUT – World leaders called Thursday for an urgent cease-fire in Syria as government forces pounded the opposition-controlled eastern suburbs of the capital in a crushing campaign that has left hundreds of people dead in recent days. The U.N. Security Council heard a briefing from U.N. humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock on what he called “the humanitarian disaster unfolding before our eyes” in the rebel-held suburbs known as eastern Ghouta. Sweden and Kuwait were seeking a vote on a resolution ordering a 30-day cease-fire to allow relief agencies to deliver aid and evacuate the critically sick and wounded from besieged areas to receive medical care. But Russia’s U.N. ambassador, Vassily Nebenzia, who called Thursday’s meeting, put forward last-minute amendments, saying the proposed resolution was “simply unrealistic.” He also accused global media outlets of a massive disinformation campaign that ignored what he claimed were thousands of fighters, including al-Qaida-linked militants, that were shelling Damascus from eastern Ghouta and taking refuge in hospitals and schools. Council members said they needed to study the Russian proposals. “We will try and find a way forward that works for everyone,” Sweden’s U.N. Ambassador Olof Skoog told reporters, adding that a vote was likely on Friday. In eastern Ghouta, medical workers said they hadn’t been able to see their families for days as they worked round the clock at hospitals that have been moved underground to protect them from bombing, while their spouses and children stay in shelters. “You can’t be above ground for even 15 minutes,” said a nurse in the town of Kafr Batna, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to protect the identity of family members still living in government areas. “At any moment I expect to have to treat my relatives for wounds,” he said. In the background the deep boom of a bomb could be heard exploding as the nurse spoke by Skype to The Associated Press. He said a barrel bomb had fallen less than one-third of a mile away. A spokesman for the Syrian Civil Defense search-and-rescue group said eastern Ghouta was being targeted for “extermination.” “This is a war against civilians,” said the spokesman, Siraj Mahmoud. “The civil defense is being targeted as they rescue women and children, evacuate civilians from targeted areas and put out fires.” Four rescue workers of the organization, also known as the White Helmets, have been killed since Sunday, Mahmoud said. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said 400 people, including dozens of children, have been killed since Sunday. Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said al-Qaida-linked fighters were using civilians as human shields in the rebel-held suburbs outside Damascus. Al-Qaida’s Syria affiliate is not known to have many fighters in eastern Ghouta, and government forces Thursday concentrated their fire on hospitals, ambulances, apartment blocks and other civilian sites, according to rescue workers, war monitors, human rights groups, and several videos emerging from the war-scarred region. U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for an immediate suspension of “all war activities” in the area where he said people were living “in hell on Earth.” The Russian military is supporting Assad’s forces in the assault on eastern Ghouta, as it did in the 2016 campaign that drove the rebels from the enclaves they controlled in Syria’s largest city, Aleppo. Then, as now, it cited the presence of al-Qaida-linked groups a[...]


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Trump comments point to deep divisions over arming teachersFrom left, President Donald Trump, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student students Carson Abt, and Ariana Klein, listen as Carson's father Frederick Abt, speaks during a listening session with high school students, teachers, and others in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018. In the aftermath of yet another mass school shooting, Trump says that if one of the victims, a football coach, had been armed “he would have shot and that would have been the end of it.” Revisiting an idea he raised in his campaign, Trump’s comments in favor of allowing teachers to be armed come as lawmakers in several states are wrestling with the idea, including in Florida, where the 17 most recent school shooting victims are being mourned.(AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Fri, 23 Feb 2018 06:42:00 GMT

Lawmakers in several states are wrestling with the contentious of arming teachers, including Florida, where the 17 victims of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland are being mourned.

Trump said during a listening session Wednesday with parents and survivors of school shootings that a teacher adept at firearms “could very well end the attack very quickly.” He followed that up with a tweet Thursday that “highly trained teachers would act as a deterrent to the cowards that do this” and later suggested they receive bonuses for the added responsibility.

From left, President Donald Trump, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student students Carson Abt, and Ariana Klein, listen as Carson's father Frederick Abt, speaks during a listening session with high school students, teachers, and others in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018. In the aftermath of yet another mass school shooting, Trump says that if one of the victims, a football coach, had been armed “he would have shot and that would have been the end of it.” Revisiting an idea he raised in his campaign, Trump’s comments in favor of allowing teachers to be armed come as lawmakers in several states are wrestling with the idea, including in Florida, where the 17 most recent school shooting victims are being mourned.(AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)


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Trump endorses raising minimum age to 21 for more weaponsPresident Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with state and local officials to discuss school safety in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Fri, 23 Feb 2018 06:41:00 GMT

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump on Thursday endorsed a higher minimum age for buying certain rifles and tighter background checks for purchasers, saying “there’s nothing more important than protecting our children,” amid a public outcry for action after the Florida school shooting. Trump said he spoke Wednesday night with many members of Congress and “they’re into background checks.” The president commented as he opened a school safety discussion at the White House with state and local officials from around the country. Early Thursday, Trump tweeted his strongest stance on gun control one day after an emotional White House session where students and parents poured out wrenching tales of lost lives and pleaded for action. Trump said on Twitter, “I will be strongly pushing Comprehensive Background Checks with an emphasis on Mental Health. Raise age to 21 and end sale of Bump Stocks!” The president did not immediately offer more details. Trump’s focus on gun violence came as leaders of the National Rifle Association offered a vigorous defense of gun rights during the Conservative Political Action Conference, urging enhanced – and armed – security at schools. An armed Broward County sheriff’s deputy, the regular school resource officer, was on the campus of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, at the time of the shooting. “Evil walks among us, and God help us if we don’t harden our schools and protect our kids,” said NRA Executive Vice President and CEO Wayne LaPierre. “The whole idea from some of our opponents that armed security makes us less safe is completely ridiculous.” The NRA officials didn’t address whether the federal government should raise the age limit for young adults to buy weapons, accusing Democrats and media outlets of exploiting the Florida shooting. The NRA on Wednesday announced it opposes raising the age limit. “Many in legacy media love mass shootings, you guys love it,” said NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch at CPAC. “Now I’m not saying that you love the tragedy, but I am saying that you love the ratings. Crying white mothers are ratings gold.” The current federal minimum age for buying or possessing handguns is 21, but the limit is 18 for rifles, including assault-style weapons such as the AR-15 used by a former student in last week’s attack in Florida that killed 17 students and staff members. “We’re going to work on getting the age up to 21 instead of 18,” Trump said at the White House, adding that he thinks the NRA will back it – despite the group’s stated opposition. “The NRA will back it and so will Congress,” the president predicted. In another tweet, Trump repeated his urgent call for trained teachers or others in schools to carry guns as a deterrent to attacks. “If a potential ‘sicko shooter’ knows that a school has a large number of very weapons talented teachers (and others) who will be instantly shooting, the sicko will NEVER attack that school. Cowards won’t go there...problem solved. Must be offensive, defense alone won’t work!” Trump tweeted. He previously has expressed an interest in efforts to strengthen the federal background check system. It was not clear if he would back closing loopholes that permit loose private sales on the internet and at gun shows. The National Rifle Associated on Wednesday quickly rejected any talk of raising the age for buying long guns to 21. “Legislative proposals that prevent law-abiding adults aged 18-20 years old from acquiring rifles and shotguns effectively prohibits them for [...]


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Wonder Lake man gets 7 years in 2016 battery, rapeBohdan Y. Ostryzniuk

Fri, 23 Feb 2018 06:40:00 GMT

WOODSTOCK – A Wonder Lake man will spend the next seven years in prison for beating and raping a woman he previously had a relationship with and allowing her son to witness some of the violence.

McHenry County Judge Sharon Prather called 38-year-old Bohdan Ostryzniuk’s actions “heartless, cruel and humiliating,” before handing down his sentence Wednesday.

Ostryzniuk previously pleaded guilty to criminal sexual assault and domestic battery in connection with the attack that occurred Nov. 16, 2016.

According to an order of protection filed in McHenry County court, Ostryzniuk repeatedly punched the woman in the face before forcing her to engage in a sexual act and raping her. He reportedly told the victim’s son, who witnessed some of the abuse, “It’s OK to hit women,” according to the order.

“Bohdan is an extremely dangerous criminal,” the victim wrote in a statement that was read aloud in court.

The woman said in the order of protection that she didn’t think she would make it out of the assault alive, and she begged Ostryzniuk to stop.

“Bohdan was trying to get into one of the kitchen drawers that we keep the knives in. I believed he was trying to grab a knife out of the drawer to kill me,” she wrote. “I begged him for my life. I thought I was going to die that night.”

Ostryzniuk’s public defender, Angelo Mourelatos, asked Prather for the minimum four-year sentence, adding that the man has been a “model detainee” and was unlikely to reoffend, but Prather ordered Ostryzniuk to serve more time.

“It was heartless. It was cruel,” Prather said in court Wednesday. “It was humiliating, and what makes it even worse is that the act was committed in front of [a child].”

Ostryzniuk is required to serve 85 percent of his prison sentence, followed by a minimum three years of parole.

In court Wednesday, Ostryzniuk cried through his apology, and asked the woman for forgiveness.

“You did not deserve this,” he said.

Bohdan Y. Ostryzniuk


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Luxury camping company debuts plan for Camp AlgonquinMatthew Apgar - mapgar@shawmedia.com Modcamp LLC co-owners Todd Donohue (left) and Amy Haiar (center) speak with local business owner Julie Ninos, owner of Handmade on Main in Algonquin during a presentation put on by the McHenry County Conservation District and Modcamping LLC on Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018 at the Prairieview Education Center in Crystal Lake. "We need this in our town," Ninos said, sensing a potential opportunity for the two local business owners to collaborate down the road. The proposal could bring a luxury camping experience with the comforts of home while being emersed in nature at the Fox Bluff Conservation Area in 2020.

Fri, 23 Feb 2018 06:40:00 GMT

ALGONQUIN – A small group of residents got a look Thursday night at a company’s proposal to turn the unused, but historic, Camp Algonquin site near the Cary-Algonquin border into a luxury camping experience. Officials from the McHenry County Conservation District and ModCamp, a new company with sights on providing an “outdoor hospitality” experience in the Chicago metropolitan region, detailed their plan to revive Camp Algonquin after it closed in 2011. ModCamp’s pitch for Camp Algonquin features a few different dwelling options for visitors to stay at when visiting the Fox Bluff Conservation Area along the Fox River. Guests could choose from a small cabin, Airstream travel trailers or a luxury tent. The latter two are geared more toward visitors during spring, summer and fall, while the cabin could stay open year-round and offer guests a chance to cross country ski or snowshoe through Fox Bluff. “This does not currently exist in the Chicago metropolitan area,” said Amy Haiar of ModCamp. MCCD publicized in early February that it would have two introductory meetings open to the public regarding the proposal, the first of which was Tuesday night. MCCD Executive Director Elizabeth Kessler said the district got a phone call out of the blue from Haiar in July. She wanted to talk with the district about collaborating on a public-private partnership to accommodate her outdoor hospitality idea. At the time, she wasn’t sure which site she’d be interested in, but was pointed in the direction of Camp Algonquin given its history and potential. “I hiked every property the district had,” Haiar said. “And I learned the unique history of Camp Algonquin.” Camp Algonquin is one of only four camps built in the U.S. as part of the “Fresh Air in the Country” movement started during the late 1800s. The 50-plus buildings that were on the site have hosted underprivileged kids from Chicago, victims displaced by Hurricane Katrina, veterans and school groups. About half the buildings have since been torn down. Kessler said the district has been looking for ways to create interest in Camp Algonquin, which closed when the McHenry County YMCA filed for bankruptcy. That chapter of the YMCA was leasing Camp Algonquin from MCCD at the time and ran camping outings in conjunction with other groups. In 2014, Camp Algonquin was named by Landmarks Illinois as one of the top 10 most endangered historic places in the state. The district wants to make Camp Algonquin a destination again, and officials believe this is a way to do it, Kessler said, adding the district does not have the money to do so on its own. Haiar said she envisions partnering with local businesses to bring different offerings to Camp Algonquin, including yoga, meditation and the arts. Julie Ninos, owner of Handmade on Main in Algonquin, attended the meeting at Prairieview Education Center in Crystal Lake and is a fan of the project. The site has a Cary mailing address but is next to Algonquin. “We need this in our town,” Ninos said, sensing a potential opportunity for the two local business owners to collaborate down the road.  The district has torn down about half of the buildings that once stood on the property, with more slated for removal. Officials have identified four buildings that they want to keep and preserve, three of which are the Pioneer Center Barn, Tribune Building and the Board of Trade Recreational Hall. If it gains a positive rev[...]


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Russian indicted by U.S. seen as doing favors for PutinFILE - In this Monday, Sept. 20, 2010 file photo, businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin, left, shows Russian President Vladimir Putin, around his factory which produces school means, outside St. Petersburg, Russia. One of those indicted in the Russia probe is a businessman with ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Prigozhin is an entrepreneur from St. Petersburg who's been dubbed "Putin's chef" by Russian media. His restaurants and catering businesses have hosted the Kremlin leader's dinners with foreign dignitaries. (Alexei Druzhinin, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP, File)

Fri, 23 Feb 2018 06:40:00 GMT

MOSCOW – Thirty years ago, he was in prison. A decade ago, he was serving fancy meals to President Vladimir Putin. A week ago, he was among 13 Russians indicted in Washington on charges of meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. The journey of Yevgeny Prigozhin from troubled youth to ex-con entrepreneur with companies worth hundreds of millions of dollars reflects what one expert said is a typical pathway to riches in post-Soviet Russia: the willingness to do favors and “dirty tasks” for Putin that others would find too risky. On Feb. 16, Prigozhin was indicted by special counsel Robert Mueller in an elaborate plot to disrupt the 2016 election. The indictment said he funded the Internet Research Agency, a “troll factory” that used social media accounts to “sow discord in the U.S. political system.” It said workers at the firm used YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to conduct “information warfare” against the U.S. to promote or disparage political candidates. After his indictment, Prigozhin was quoted by the state news agency RIA Novosti as saying: “Americans are very impressionable people; they see what they want to see. ... I’m not at all upset that I’m on this list. If they want to see the devil, let them see him.” Alexandra Garmazhapova, a reporter who briefly worked undercover at the agency in 2013 to write about it for her newspaper, Novaya Gazeta, said workers at the building in suburban St. Petersburg at that time were focused on domestic politics, targeting the opposition inside Russia. The factory was just starting out, Garmazhapova said, adding that she saw signs of an expansion. The firm went from several dozen employees to at least 300 full-time workers. “They were actively hiring, had several meetings a day, the work was ongoing. The feeling was that [Prigozhin] wanted to do Vladimir Vladimirovich [Putin] a favor – but didn’t harbor plans to conquer the world.” Prigozhin, a restaurateur who ran a catering company and was dubbed “Putin’s chef,” had other projects on his plate. He has been linked to a shadowy military firm that has sent private Russian contractors to fight in Ukraine and Syria on the side of Moscow’s allies. The 56-year-old Prigozhin is an “ideal villain who gets asked to handle various delicate and dirty tasks,” said Andrei Kolesnikov of the Carnegie Moscow Center. “Actually, it is typical of authoritarian regimes to outsource violence.” A graduate of a boarding school for promising athletes, Prigozhin ran into problems with the law at age 18, when he was convicted of robbery and running a prostitution ring. He served nine years in prison. After prison, Prigozhin and his stepfather took advantage of Russia’s nascent market economy after the collapse of the Soviet Union and opened hot dog stands. By the late 1990s, Prigozhin was operating swanky restaurants that were frequented by Putin and visiting foreign dignitaries, earning his nickname from the Russian media. His proximity to Putin really started to pay off in the 2010s, when companies associated with Prigozhin began getting lucrative Defense Ministry contracts. The Foundation for Fighting Corruption, run by opposition politician Alexei Navalny, published an investigation last year detailing how eight firms controlled by Prigozhin broke antitrust laws by bidding for the Defense Ministry’s contracts. His companies won 23 contracts worth a total of $387 million. The Federal Antitrust Agency found the firms guilty of breaking the law, but i[...]


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Lake in the Hills village trustees ponder selling portion of water main systemMegan Jones — mjones@shawmedia.com The village tabled selling its unincorporated water main system south of Algonquin and Pyott roads Thursday, admist resident concern about how the sale will impact their service.Photo provided by village documents

Fri, 23 Feb 2018 06:39:00 GMT

LAKE IN THE HILLS – The village tabled selling its unincorporated water main system south of Algonquin and Pyott roads Thursday, amid residents’ concerns about how the proposed sale to Central States Water Resources will affect their service. The Village Board unanimously agreed to table a vote of the sale at its Thursday meeting, and agreed to wait until more information could be gathered. It is unclear whether rates will increase for residents under the new company, Public Works Director Dan Kaup said. If the system is sold, the company would go in front of the Illinois Commerce Commission, similar to any other private utility such as ComEd or Nicor Gas. The commission would look at the cost of operating the system and then set the rates residents pay. Rachel Zastow, a resident of unincorporated Algonquin, asked trustees to wait before voting until the company can provide the plans it will bring to the commission. Trustee David McPhee motioned to table the vote. “More specifically, [residents need to] know exactly what the pluses and minuses involved are,” McPhee said. The village was generating $30,000 a year from the system, according to village documents. “[The main reason we are selling] is to eliminate the liability of the village of owning a system that does not turn a profit,” Kaup said. The water system, along with fire hydrants, must be replaced, which is expected to cost $1,793,357. The water main system could be sold for $1 to Central States Water Resources, a private water and wastewater utility company. The company would take control of the maintenance and upkeep of the system. Residents have been paying a quarterly $6 water main replacement fee to fix the main since May 2002. Each customer has paid $372 since its inception, Kaup said. Because of this, village staff members recommended returning 10 years’ worth of the fee to each property owner, costing the village about $20,880. Jim Wilson, a resident of unincorporated Algonquin, said neighbors purchased their homes based on having city water, and he worries how it will affect their property value. “You’ve done the least amount of maintenance in our section of the water system; you’ve taken all of our money. The system is crumbling apart, and you want to sell us for $1,” Wilson said. “I promise you all that every ‘I’ and every ‘T’ in whatever contract better be dotted and crossed, because us as a whole are going to fight this like hell.” The same source of water will be supplied to homes. The village will match up to 75 percent of the sale rate to incorporated residents going forward. A hearing was held Tuesday for customers to discuss the change with trustees and staff. Central States Water Resources is part of a larger company that owns and operates water and wastewater systems in the Midwest, according to village documents. The company also is in the process of purchasing a water utility that serves part of Huntley. The Lake in the Hills main was installed in the 1950s, and the infrastructure has deteriorated and now is at the end of its useful life, according to village documents. The pipes were made of now-obsolete asbestos-composite material that is subject to deterioration. Now, the pipes are so fragile that staff members cannot perform basic flushing maintenance without causing water main breaks. Over the past four years,[...]


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U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam talks health care, tax bill, gun controlMatthew Apgar - mapgar@shawmedia.com US Representative Peter Roskam of the 6th congressional district meets with the editorial board at the Northwest Herald on Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018 in Crystal Lake. Among topics Roskam addressed were the tax code, the opioid epidemic, and gun control.

Fri, 23 Feb 2018 06:35:00 GMT

CRYSTAL LAKE – U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam has begun a new role leading a congressional subcommittee focused on health as he continues a bid to hold his seat in the 6th Congressional District. Roskam, R-Wheaton, met with the Northwest Herald Editorial Board on Thursday to discuss the subcommittee and health care, gun control and tax reform. He represents Illinois’ 6th Congressional District, which stretches from the Crystal Lake area to the Naperville area and covers parts of McHenry, Lake, Kane, Cook and DuPage counties. Roskam’s seat is up for election this year, and seven Democratic candidates are vying to challenge him for the spot. Democratic candidates running in the March primary include scientist and engineer Sean Casten of Downers Grove; Becky Anderson Wilkins, co-owner of Anderson’s Bookshops and a member of the Naperville City Council; College of Lake County Trustee Amanda Howland, who lost to Roskam in the November 2016 general election; regulatory attorney and Clarendon Hills resident Jennifer Zordani; Palatine resident Ryan Huffman; Barrington Hills plan commissioner Kelly Mazeski; and Carole Cheney of Naperville. On the health committee, Roskam said he has heard numerous accounts from proponents and opponents of the Affordable Care Act. He said there are people who say ACA saved their lives, but there are other people, particularly business owners, who say it’s costly and driving them out of business. “It has become a zero-sum game enterprise,” Roskam said. “Some people have benefited, but it has come at the expense of others.” He added that there are core principles of health care in America that should be kept in place as changes to the system potentially are made. Those included a free-market model, innovation and medical technology and pre-existing conditions protection. When asked whether he would support various gun control measures that could come down the pipeline, Roskam said he would support some actions such as a ban on bump stocks, which allow semi-automatic guns to fire more quickly. He added a focus on behavioral health care and stricter guards on who has access to guns are needed to prevent mass shootings such as the deadly incident in Parkland, Florida, where a gunman killed 17 people and injured more than a dozen others. “There is a rage out there that is significant,” Roskam said. “The Florida case is particularly heartbreaking. The community did the right thing as far as the people that were hearing and seeing things were communicating to law enforcement. … The FBI didn’t follow its own protocols. It’s a disaster.” Roskam stood behind the controversial tax reform bill that some say offers more benefit to corporations and the wealthy than it does for the average taxpayer. Roskam called the bill one of the “most significant things” that has passed Congress “in quite some time” that already is showing positive local impact. “I think moving forward we are going to see more and more of the type of growth that is so significant structurally,” he said. He added that the increase in standard deductions and allowable $10,000 deduction from state and local taxes, would help families in the sixth district. “When you evaluate this every which way … people [in the sixth district] come out winners,” he said. Matthew Apgar - mapgar@shawmedia.com US Representative Peter Roskam of the 6th congressional district meets wit[...]


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Joseph's Marketplace expected to close FridayBreads were discounted Wednesday to less than a $1 at Joseph's Marketplace on Route 14 ahead of the store closing Friday. The store said "thank you" on the labels of bread and deli items, such as this $.50 bag of dinner rolls.Produce shelves at Joseph's Marketplace on Route 14 were nearly empty Wednesday ahead of the store closing Friday. The store offered 70 percent off of all groceries on Thursday.

Fri, 23 Feb 2018 06:35:00 GMT

CRYSTAL LAKE – Judi Spizzirri was perusing Facebook on Thursday afternoon when she saw that all groceries in Joseph’s Marketplace were 70 percent off. Fifteen minutes later, she was combing the aisles for the best of what was left. The independent grocer will close Friday. “I’m going to miss it,” Spizzirri said. “They had good prices, variety, ethnic foods, their lunch meat couldn’t be beat. I was always here for the produce, too.” Customers and cashiers said the store would close Friday at the latest. More than 95 percent of the retail space in the store was empty Thursday afternoon. The store had advertised steep discounts in recent days, and the stocking of shelves continued to dwindle in recent weeks. As shoppers waited in line a couple of minutes before 4 p.m. Thursday, some of the lights were turned off. Customers stocked up on sports drinks, bread, tomato sauces and household items. There was no meat on display in the store, unless it was in the deli or frozen section, as of Wednesday, when groceries were 50 percent off. Produce shelves were close to empty. Donna Brennecke was introduced to Joseph’s Marketplace about 10 years ago through her job as a caregiver. She would shop at the store with her clients. On Thursday, she was using an outstanding gift certificate to take advantage of the deals. “I’m sad to see it go,” Brennecke said Thursday, just minutes before the store closed at 4 p.m. “They had a lot of stuff I wouldn’t normally buy, but I was introduced to all of these ethnic foods they had because of my clients.” Brennecke, an Algonquin resident, was examining an aisle of plasticware and napkins at 70 percent off when she said, “I already filled my car once and came back in to buy more stuff.” Joseph’s survived the recession after it opened in 2005, filling the space left vacant by an Eagle Food Center Inc. store. It also bounced back from a three-month closure in 2011 after a partial roof collapse caused by a powerful summer storm. Many in Crystal Lake and on social media have speculated that the anticipated opening of Mariano’s this spring, across the street on Route 14, led to the decision to close. Joseph’s Marketplace management declined to comment in January, aside from confirming the store would close soon, and declined again to provide more information Wednesday and Thursday. Crystal Lake economic development manager Heather Maieritsch said the store’s investment group considered closing in fall 2015 when Fresh Thyme Farmers Market opened on Route 14. But it’s unclear what specifically pushed the investors to close the store. Mayor Aaron Shepley dispelled the rumor that Mariano’s coming to town is the reason Joseph’s decided to close in comments he made Feb. 2 at the Crystal Lake Chamber of Commerce State of the Community Luncheon. He said that, based on information Joseph’s shared with the city, Mariano’s had nothing to do with it. He noted that Mariano’s hadn’t even opened yet. Crystal Lake Chamber of Commerce President Mary Margaret Maule previously has said the closure is “really unfortunate” and lauded Joseph’s for always being active in the community, including its aid in food drives to benefit the Crystal Lake Food Pantry. There’s no doubt grocery competition is fierce everywhere, especially on Route 14, with J[...]


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Grand jury indicts Missouri governor who admitted affairA booking photo provided by the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department shows Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens on Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018. A St. Louis grand jury has indicted Greitens on a felony invasion of privacy charge for allegedly taking a compromising photo of a woman with whom he had an affair in 2015, the city circuit attorney's office said Thursday. Greitens' attorney issued a scathing statement challenging the indictment. (St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department/St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP)

Fri, 23 Feb 2018 05:59:00 GMT

ST. LOUIS – A St. Louis grand jury has indicted Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens on a felony invasion of privacy charge for allegedly taking a compromising photo of a woman with whom he had an affair in 2015, the city circuit attorney's office said Thursday. St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner launched an investigation in January after Greitens admitted to an affair with his St. Louis hairdresser that began in March 2015. He was elected governor in November 2016. Gardner declined comment beyond a brief news release. Greitens' attorney issued a scathing statement challenging the indictment. "In 40 years of public and private practice, I have never seen anything like this," attorney Edward L. Dowd Jr. said in a statement. "The charges against my client are baseless and unfounded. My client is absolutely innocent. We will be filing a motion to dismiss." The indictment states that on March 21, 2015, Greitens photographed a woman identified only by her initials "in a state of full or partial nudity" without her knowledge or consent. The indictment said Greitens "transmitted the image contained in the photograph in a manner that allowed access to that image via a computer." The penalty for first-degree invasion of privacy in Missouri is up to four years in prison. Greitens was taken into custody in St. Louis and released on his own recognizance, said Susan Ryan, a spokeswoman for Gardner. In 2015, the woman told her husband, who was secretly taping the conversation, that Greitens took the compromising photo of her at his home and threatened to use it as blackmail if she spoke about the affair. Gardner's news release said it is a felony if a person transmits an image "in a manner that allows access to that image via a computer." Greitens has repeatedly denied blackmailing the woman, but has repeatedly refused to answer questions about whether he took a photo. Senate Majority Leader Mike Kehoe, a Jefferson City Republican, said he was shocked by the indictment and called it "certainly serious," but said he needed time to review it before weighing in on whether the governor should step down. Democrats were more forceful in their comments. House Minority Leader Gail McCann Beatty said in a statement it will be "extremely difficult for the governor to effectively do his job with a felony indictment hanging over his head. While the criminal justice system must run its course, the governor needs to consider whether remaining in office under these circumstances is the right thing to do for not only himself and his family but for the people of Missouri." Another Democrat, state Sen. Jamilah Nasheed of St. Louis, called for an impeachment process to begin immediately. "Gov. Greitens has to go," Nasheed said. "Missourians thought they voted for a person of character and integrity, and instead they got a liar and alleged criminal." Greitens is due in court for his first hearing on March 16, before Circuit Judge Rex Burlison. Greitens will be allowed to travel. He is scheduled to be in Washington this weekend for a meeting of the nation's governors. It wasn't immediately clear if he would still go. The indictment came about a month before the statute of limitations would have run out. The statute of limitations for invasion of privacy in Missouri is three years. Ryan, asked if additional charge[...]


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Illinois lawmakers revisit gun legislation

Fri, 23 Feb 2018 05:58:00 GMT

SPRINGFIELD – Advocates for gun control have renewed their push to require Illinois firearm stores to get state licenses, saying federal regulations don’t go far enough to ensure sales are handled properly.

The state Senate last year advanced legislation to license gun dealers, but it stalled in the House because of opposition from gun rights groups, the Chicago Tribune reported.

The groups argued that licensing would increase the price of purchasing a firearm by as much as $300. To calm those fears, Democrats in the Senate advanced companion legislation on Wednesday to limit the cost of licensing fees to $1,000 for a five-year period.

Lawmakers are revisiting the measure in the wake of the Feb. 14 shooting in Parkland, Florida, in which 17 people were killed and others were wounded.

Some lawmakers are also calling for an outright ban on semi-automatic rifles to try to prevent mass shootings, an effort that repeatedly has failed in Illinois.

But supporters of the licensing bill have said the more widespread crisis is handgun violence that’s permeated communities in Chicago.

“We react, as we should, when there is a horrific mass shooting, but every day in my district and across the Chicagoland area, young people are dying from gun violence,” said sponsoring state Sen. Don Harmon, D-Oak Park. “I would like to do something to try to stop that.”

Opponents are arguing that those who sell guns are already licensed by the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, which requires background checks.

Todd Vandermyde is a former lobbyist for the National Rifle Association who now represents a group of gun dealers called the Federal Firearms Licensees of Illinois. He said the state measure could prove to be expensive for small businesses.

“We already have a federal licensing standard and we think it works reasonably well,” Vandermyde said.




2018 Primary Election Questionnaire: Pamela Althoff - R, McHenry County Board District 4Pamela Althoff speaks at a candidate forum hosted by the League of Women Voters of McHenry County at McHenry County College Monday, Sept. 19, 2016. Althoff is seeking a spot on the McHenry County Board.

Thu, 22 Feb 2018 23:55:00 GMT

Name: Pamela Althoff Age: Senior citizen status Town: McHenry Office sought: County Board District 4 Occupation: Current State Senator/District 32 Education: BSEd from Illinois State University and Masters from Northeastern Illinois University in Special Education Elected offices held: City Clerk of McHenry 1994-2001 Fox Waterway Board 1998-2001 Mayor of McHenry 2001-2003 State Senator/District 32 2003-2018 1) What skills, qualities or experience do you possess that separate you from your opponents? I possess great familiarity with parliamentary procedure, the ability to work collaboratively with people of both opposing and similar perspectives, as well as being accessible and responsive to constituent services and inquiry. I also have a vast understanding of the county’s challenges and opportunities, strengths and weaknesses, needs and wants. In addition I also possess an immense network of state and federal contacts/resources. I have also worked collaboratively with every one of the current seated board members. 2) What can the McHenry County Board do and what should it do to ease the property tax burden on homeowners? With regard to property tax ease, McHenry County can continue to lead by example; retaining a flat levy and reducing unnecessary expenses. I also believe McHenry County can take the lead in educating our residents on how property taxes are determined as well as how to afford themselves access to the tax protest process. We also need to continue to work with our state representatives to ensure full state education funding as our education property tax line items are the most expensive. 3) Do you think the McHenry County Board should evaluate the possibility of leasing or privatizing Valley Hi Nursing Home? Yes, I believe the board should evaluate the possibility of leasing or privatizing Valley Hi Nursing Home. 4) Do you think the size of the McHenry County Board should be reduced from 24 members to 12 members? Why or why not? I absolutely believe the size of the McHenry County Board should be reduced. I also believe the reduction should be determined based on how a new district map is determined and whether it will incorporate single-member districts. 5) What can the county board do to make McHenry County a more attractive place for businesses? To make McHenry County a more attractive place for people and businesses the board should continue to pursue transportation improvements; roads as well as public transit. In addition tourism opportunities should be encouraged; specifically agritourism experiences and Fox River enhancements. 6) What do you think is the most pressing issue the county board will face in the next two years and how will you address it? The most pressing issue facing the county board in the next two years will continue to be property taxes and government reductions and efficiencies. I will help focus attention on overall economic development which, if successful, should help spread out the tax burden and ultimately reduce individual residential property tax bills. All units of county appointed government should be evaluated for efficiencies and possible consolidation where appro[...]


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2018 Primary Election Questionnaire: John Jung, Jr. - R, McHenry County Board District 5John Jung, Jr.

Thu, 22 Feb 2018 23:03:00 GMT

Name: John Jung, Jr. Age: 69 Town: Woodstock Office sought: McHenry County Board, District 5 Occupation: Small Business Owner Education: Degree in Political Science and Economics Elected offices held: McHenry County Board, District 5 Vice Chair, McHenry County Board Republican Committeeman, Dorr 11 Website: www.JohnJungCountyBoard.com 1) What skills, qualities or experience do you possess that separate you from your opponents? My knowledge and experience can make an impact on the services the county provides for its residents. I believe that we enjoy a quality of life in McHenry County that should be preserved and enhanced. I am committed to ensuring that the county remains fiscally strong while continuing to serve its citizens. My experience as a business owner provides me with a strong understanding of the importance of sound fiscal policies and responsibility. It has also taught me to make tough decisions – decisions that are based on the long-term result not the immediacy of short term success. My reputation for honesty and integrity is evidenced through my prior efforts on the county board. I firmly believe in service and doing what is right even when it is not politically popular. 2) What can the McHenry County Board do and what should it do to ease the property tax burden on homeowners? High property taxes are a problem in McHenry County. These high taxes are forcing people to leave McHenry County and Illinois at alarming rates. The county board has done its part by reducing its budget for the last 6 years. It has eliminated vacant positions and reviews employee benefits on a continual basis. These policies and reforms contributed to the county’s ability to reduce its tax levy by over 11 percent. The largest tax burden on McHenry County’s property owners comes from the school districts’ tax levies. With this in mind, Michele Aavang, Chris Spoerl, and myself introduced a non-binding referendum to ask the taxpayers if school districts should reduce their tax levies by 10 percent. 3) Do you think the McHenry County Board should evaluate the possibility of leasing or privatizing Valley Hi Nursing Home? Valley Hi is in a strong financial position; it is not a drain on the county’s budget. It has, in fact, built a cash reserve. Knowing this, the county has reduced the levy for Valley Hi for the last few years. It plans to continue to reduce the levy and to reduce, but not eliminate, the cash reserves. Cash reserves are a necessary safeguard for any organization, association, or business. They ensure the continued effective, efficient, and successful operation of Valley Hi. Past financial troubles have provided the county board with the insight to guard against such failings by building a cash reserve that is economically feasible without causing an unnecessary tax burden. Valley Hi’s cash reserves were used, in part, to reduce the county’s tax levy by over 11 percent. 4) Do you think the size of the McHenry County Board should be reduced from 24 members to 12 members? Why or why not? I think the board should be reduced to 18 members – six districts with three representatives each. I fear that a smaller board would leave rura[...]


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2018 Primary Election Questionnaire: Michael Rein - R, McHenry County Board District 5Michael Rein

Thu, 22 Feb 2018 23:01:00 GMT

Name: Michael Rein Age: 53 Town: Woodstock Office sought: McHenry County Board District 5 Occupation: Doctor of Chiropractic Education: Doctor of Chiropractic, Bachelor of Science in Biology, Associate of Science Elected offices held: Current County Board Member District 5 Facebook: Vote for Rein 1) What skills, qualities or experience do you possess that separate you from your opponents? My knowledge and past experiences of owning my own business in the Healthcare Industry, Vice President of family construction business and honorably serving in the United States Marine Corps. I have shown that I am a qualified tax fighter for our constituents. One of my main goals during my first term was to decrease expenses and my voting record has shown consistent tax saving results. I voted to eliminate county board pensions and will never receive a government pension, unlike my opponents. I am working to reduce our county head count by another 10 percent. I am the only representative in my district to vote for Administration Department position eliminations. I believe when consolidating positions, the county board needs to lead by example. 2) What can the McHenry County Board do and what should it do to ease the property tax burden on homeowners? Since I have been on the board in 2014, I have fought to lower taxes. In 2016, we lowered taxes by not taking the Valley Hi Levy with a was a one-year abatement. In 2018, taxes were lowered by 11.2 percent. I was the only person in District 5 voting to return $586,000 from a retired bond to lower property taxes for residents. I was the leader in implementing and reorganizing the county healthcare compensation to employees. I have introduced new incentives and reducing our costs to one of our biggest expenses and has helped reduce the burden to taxpayers close to $4 million. The county board approved my tax savings with a unanimous vote. I challenged a $4 million remodel construction project and helped reduce the cost by $1.8 million. I was the only person in my district to vote against the county board chairman's patronage positions that cost the taxpayers close to $200,000 a year for salaries and benefits. These positions can be easily absorbed into our current staff. I will continue to fight and find new ways to help ease the tax burden to our taxpayers. 3) Do you think the McHenry County Board should evaluate the possibility of leasing or privatizing Valley Hi Nursing Home? Though the county board is possibly looking to lease Valley Hi, I am not in favor of leasing Valley Hi. Leasing a government entity such as Valley Hi will only be a detriment to our residents and taxpayers. In these situations, buildings and organizations most likely will revert back to the county in worse shape after a lease or contract is completed. Taxpayers decided to fund Valley Hi through referendum. This obligation should continue until a possible referendum may reverse the county operations. I believe directing the surplus funds to ongoing operating expenses and specialty care needs. With our continued increasing older population in McHenry County, residents have a need for Dementia and Alzheimer care facilities and Valley Hi has the space necessary for these kinds of treatment programs. Increasing Valley Hi’s rehabilitation operations could be another benefit.[...]


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2018 Primary Election Questionnaire: Leslie Melendy - R, McHenry County Board District 5Leslie Melendy

Thu, 22 Feb 2018 22:51:00 GMT

Name: Lesli Melendy Age: 49 Town: Huntley Office sought: McHenry County Board Member, District 5 Occupation: Chief of Staff for an Illinois Senator Education: Rolling Meadows High School, Illinois State University 1986-89 Elected offices held: Huntley Community School District 158 School Board Member Website: N/A Twitter: N/A Facebook: Lesli Melendy For County Board 1) What skills, qualities or experience do you possess that separate you from your opponents? I bring a unique skillset to the District 5 race because I’m the only candidate with a thorough working knowledge of state government and how some of our county’s current issues, like the Valley Hi tax abatement issue and the need for investment in infrastructure can be solved most efficiently through collaboration with state-level officials. I also bring 20 years of combined volunteer and elected public service to the race. My public service began through my children’s schools as a PTA/PTO member and President, athletic booster member, cheerleading coach and board member and as a co-founder of a special needs cheerleading team for children with disabilities. I currently serve on the District 158 Board of Education, where I am known as a fiscal conservative. In this role, I gained deep knowledge about budgeting, operations and distribution of human resources within a large system. I recently was the sole “NO” vote when the D-158 board voted to increase taxes on families. I am not a politician beholden to a party or political faction. I’m a parent, wife and resident who wants to provide a fresh perspective on county government and help ease the tax burden for the people who live here. 2) What can the McHenry County Board do and what should it do to ease the property tax burden on homeowners? The size of the county board should be cut by half to save taxpayers money on compensation and benefits. Streamlining services within the county and townships should also be explored to see if savings/efficiencies could be achieved. The board should also take steps to make McHenry County more “business-friendly” by reducing burdensome regulations and red tape on business owners. By increasing the business tax base, the tax burden on individuals and families decreases. Business growth also means new jobs, and increasing the individual tax base also lessens the burden on each individual taxpayer. Consolidation that saves taxpayers money should be encouraged and the consolidation process should be simplified. An audit of units of government in our county should also be done to identify redundant or unnecessary layers that could be eliminated. Intergovernmental agreements for shared services should also be encouraged as a method for reducing costs. Recent studies have shown an outmigration of people from McHenry County, and high taxes are a primary reason why people and businesses are leaving. We must reverse this trend if we are to thrive. 3) Do you think the McHenry County Board should evaluate the possibility of leasing or privatizing Valley Hi Nursing Home? Yes, as the board seeks to make Valley Hi operations as efficient as possible, all potential solutions should be explored. However, it will be important to make sure that any future cha[...]


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New charges brought against ex-Trump campaign associatesA reporter raises her hands to ask a question of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, after he announced that the office of special counsel Robert Mueller says a grand jury has charged 13 Russian nationals and several Russian entities, Friday, Feb. 16, 2018, in Washington. The defendants are accused of violating U.S. criminal laws to interfere with American elections and the political process. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Thu, 22 Feb 2018 22:25:00 GMT

WASHINGTON – Special counsel Robert Mueller and his team of prosecutors filed additional charges Thursday against President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, and a business associate.

The charges are contained in a new indictment brought by a federal grand jury in Alexandria, Virginia.

The new indictment, which had been expected, adds allegations of tax evasion and increases the amount of money Manafort is accused of laundering through offshore accounts to $30 million. The additional charges involve much of the same conduct Manafort and his longtime associate, Rick Gates, were charged with last year in an indictment in Washington.

The new indictment comes a week after Mueller filed charges against 13 Russians, accusing them of a vast conspiracy to undermine the U.S. presidential election.

The charges against Manafort and Gates don't relate to any allegations of misconduct related to Trump's campaign. They are accused of directing a covert Washington lobbying campaign on behalf of pro-Russian Ukrainian interests.

Manafort and Gates pleaded not guilty after they were initially charged last October.

A reporter raises her hands to ask a question of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, after he announced that the office of special counsel Robert Mueller says a grand jury has charged 13 Russian nationals and several Russian entities, Friday, Feb. 16, 2018, in Washington. The defendants are accused of violating U.S. criminal laws to interfere with American elections and the political process. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)


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After silence on Parkland, NRA pushes back against law enforcement, media, gun-control advocatesNational Rifle Association Executive Vice President and CEO Wayne LaPierre, speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), at National Harbor, Md., Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Thu, 22 Feb 2018 20:00:00 GMT

After a week of media silence following the school shooting in Florida, the National Rifle Association has gone on the offensive in its first public response to the massacre, pushing back against law enforcement officials, the media, gun-control advocates and calls for stricter gun laws made by the teenage survivors of the attack. The gun rights group – a powerful force in American politics – used a series of statements, speeches and videos to try to blunt an emotionally charged wave of calls for new gun restrictions since a gunman armed with an AR-15 rifle killed 17 people at a South Florida high school. As the teens who escaped the bloodshed in Parkland, Florida, have passionately campaigned for new laws, it appears the politics suffusing the fraught issue of gun control are shifting, with President Donald Trump and someconservative lawmakers expressing a newfound willingness to consider at least modest measures. While the NRA initially held back from the fray, that changed Wednesday and Thursday, as a spokeswoman debated survivors of the attack during a heated town hall and then Wayne LaPierre, the group's chief executive, forcefully decried gun-control advocates and the media for its coverage of the shooting. "They don't care about our schoolchildren," LaPierre said near the start of the Conservative Political Action Conference, the largest annual gathering of American conservatives. "They want to make all of us less free." LaPierre also restated his belief that more armed security would stop school shootings, echoing Trump, while calling on parents and local authorities to beef up security on campuses. "Evil walks among us," LaPierre said. "And God help us if we don't harden our schools and protect our kids." LaPierre's speech came on the heels of the NRA releasing a video claiming that "the mainstream media love mass shootings." This advertisement argued that members of the media benefit from covering mass shootings and use them "to juice their ratings and push their agenda." In his own responses to the shooting, Trump has also criticized the FBI for fumbling the tip. Trump has also echoed the NRA in calling for more armed security at schools, and he has emphasized the idea of arming some teachers as a way to deter future attacks, an idea that was criticized by some law enforcement officers and the National Education Association, the country's largest teachers lobby. Trump has frequently responded to mass shootings by suggesting that more law-abiding citizens should be armed. Trump also has publicly and privately floated actions that would be at odds with some positions of the NRA - a group that heavily backed him during his campaign for the presidency - including suggesting that the age for purchasing assault rifles be raised from 18 to 21. "Legislative proposals that prevent law-abiding adults aged 18-20 years old from acquiring rifles and shotguns effectively prohibits them for purchasing any firearm, thus depriving them of their constitutional right to self-protection," Jennifer Baker, a spokeswoman for the group, said in a statement. The alleged shooter in south Florida had purchased at least 10 guns, all rifles and shotguns, including the AR-15 used in the massacre, according to a law enforcement official familiar with the probe. This official said that the [...]


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A theater room with 40 acres of luxury: What $1.1 million can get you in HarvardHarvard home listed for sale on Zillow: 17700 Streit Road. 6 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms, 8,000 square feet. Listed price: $1,100,000. Estimated mortgage: $6,205 per month. This Harvard estate located on 40 acres has a 17-foot deep pond on the property. Inside, there is a two-story great room with a stone fireplace. The oversized deck wraps around the back of the home. The gourmet kitchen has slate countertops and stainless steel appliances. Also included: an eight-seat home theater, wet bar, wine cooler and family room with fireplace on the lower level. There is also an 50-by-80 foot steel out building with concrete flooring. Listing agent: Christopher Bartnick: 414-380-444140 acres on the propertyEntranceGourmet kitchen with slate countertopsDining roomFamily room with two-story fireplaceFamily roomOne of six bedroomsOne of six bedroomsLower level family roomLower level bedroomHarvard home listed for sale on Zillow: 17700 Streit Road. 6 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms, 8,000 square feet. Listed price: $1,100,000. Estimated mortgage: $6,205 per month. This Harvard estate located on 40 acres has a 17-foot deep pond on the property. Inside, there is a two-story great room with a stone fireplace. The oversized deck wraps around the back of the home. The gourmet kitchen has slate countertops and stainless steel appliances. Also included: an eight-seat home theater, wet bar, wine cooler and family room with fireplace on the lower level. There is also an 50-by-80 foot steel out building with concrete flooring. Listing agent: Christopher Bartnick: 414-380-444117-foot deep pond on the property

Thu, 22 Feb 2018 19:41:00 GMT

Ever drive by a house and wonder what it looks like inside? Or how much does it cost? Check out this Harvard home, listed for sale on Zillow.

Harvard home listed for sale on Zillow: 17700 Streit Road. 6 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms, 8,000 square feet. Listed price: $1,100,000. Estimated mortgage: $6,205 per month. This Harvard estate located on 40 acres has a 17-foot deep pond on the property. Inside, there is a two-story great room with a stone fireplace. The oversized deck wraps around the back of the home. The gourmet kitchen has slate countertops and stainless steel appliances. Also included: an eight-seat home theater, wet bar, wine cooler and family room with fireplace on the lower level. There is also an 50-by-80 foot steel out building with concrete flooring. Listing agent: Christopher Bartnick: 414-380-444140 acres on the propertyEntranceGourmet kitchen with slate countertopsDining roomFamily room with two-story fireplaceFamily roomOne of six bedroomsOne of six bedroomsLower level family roomLower level bedroomHarvard home listed for sale on Zillow: 17700 Streit Road. 6 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms, 8,000 square feet. Listed price: $1,100,000. Estimated mortgage: $6,205 per month. This Harvard estate located on 40 acres has a 17-foot deep pond on the property. Inside, there is a two-story great room with a stone fireplace. The oversized deck wraps around the back of the home. The gourmet kitchen has slate countertops and stainless steel appliances. Also included: an eight-seat home theater, wet bar, wine cooler and family room with fireplace on the lower level. There is also an 50-by-80 foot steel out building with concrete flooring. Listing agent: Christopher Bartnick: 414-380-444117-foot deep pond on the property


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Decades' worth of rape kits are finally being tested, but no one can agree on what to do nextLights and a camera are used to show fluids on pieces of evidence in the crime lab at the Virginia Beach Police Department.

Thu, 22 Feb 2018 14:39:00 GMT

He wanted me to see the boxes. They were piled six or seven high, and there were so many stacks on the shelves it was hard to take them in all at once. The other aisles of the Virginia Beach Police Department's evidence storage unit were filled with guns and knives, hard drives and cash piles - objects that had been used to do terrible things to people. But these boxes - rape kits - contained what was left on a person's body when something terrible had already been done. "I wanted you to see that each one is a victim," said Lt. Patrick Harris, who had brought me here. "Each one has a name and a story behind it." The stories, I knew, went like this: A woman said she was sexually assaulted. She was told that, to prove it, she would need to go to a room where she would be examined from the hairs on her head to the skin beneath her toenails. She was swabbed, plucked, prodded and photographed. When it was over, every bit of what had been taken off her body was slid into small bags, placed in one of these boxes and taped shut. Most likely, the woman assumed that her kit, full of potential DNA evidence, would be sent to a laboratory to be tested. In the case of these kits, they were not. Today, the Justice Department recommends that all rape kits associated with a reported crime be submitted for DNA analysis. But up until just last year, there were no national requirements or guidelines on what to do with them. Most states had no laws dictating which kits should be tested, meaningevery police department could have its own rules about what evidence to test, keep or throw away. Some even let individual detectives make those calls. What happened to a woman's rape kit could depend not only on what state she was in, but which side of a county line she was on, or even who was on duty when she asked for help. The results of this haphazard system have been well documented. In New York City, an estimated 17,000 kits went untested. In Houston, there were 6,000. In Detroit, Los Angeles and Memphis, there were more than 11,000 each. Over the past two decades, the "rape kit backlog" has been in the news so many times that now, slowly, the problem is being fixed across the country. Under pressure from activists and legislators, states and cities big and small are counting their kits and sending them to be tested. And then, they are beginning to quietly struggle with a far more complicated challenge: What happens once the kits come back? That was what Harris, head of violent crimes investigations in Virginia Beach, had been trying to figure out. On the shelf in front of us were 344 kits that had been returned from the lab in 2017. Some were nearly two decades old. 344 names, 344 stories. For months, Harris and his colleagues had been debating a question: Should every victim whose name was on this shelf be notified that their kit had finally been tested? Or would reminding someone of their rape - out of the blue, years later, with no promise of a solution - cause them unnecessary harm? The experiences of other cities offered no obvious answer. "I didn't see them wrestle with any issue as deeply, with as much worry and compassion, as this one," says Rebecca Campbell, a researcher who spent three years observing the handling of Detroit's untested kits. "This one brought them to their knees." In Detroit, it was ultimately decided that, at least at first, victims would be notified only if their kits resulted in a "hit," meaning the DNA found in the box matched a person in the Combined[...]


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Sen. Marco Rubio says he would support raising age to buy riflesDemocratic Rep. Ted Deutch of Florida, right, disagrees with Sen. Marco Rubio during a CNN town hall meeting, Wednesday, Feb/ 21, 2018, at the BB&T Center, in Sunrise, Fla. (Michael Laughlin/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP)

Thu, 22 Feb 2018 14:22:00 GMT

SUNRISE, Fla. – On the defensive after the Florida school shooting rampage that killed 17, GOP Sen. Marco Rubio, an ardent gun-rights advocate, said he would support raising the age to buy rifles and other restrictions. Rubio faced angry students, teachers and parents demanding stronger gun-control measures at a town hall meeting Wednesday in Florida. Rubio, the lone Republican at CNN's "Stand Up" town hall Wednesday night, said he would support laws barring those 18 and under from buying rifles, support changing the background checks system and getting rid of bump stocks, which allow semiautomatic guns to mimic fully automatic fire. Rubio is backed by the influential National Rifle Association, which has awarded him an A-plus rating and endorsed his Senate candidacy in the past. President Donald Trump said this week he would support similar restrictions. One of those confronting Rubio on Wednesday night was Fred Guttenberg, whose 14-year-old daughter Jaime was killed on Feb. 14 with 16 others. Rubio was the only Republican at the nationally broadcast gathering after Florida's GOP Gov. Rick Scott and President Trump declined invitations to appear at the event in Sunrise, Florida. Guttenberg told Rubio his comments about the shooting "and those of your president this week have been pathetically weak." People stood up and cheered Guttenberg as he challenged the Florida senator to tell him the truth, to acknowledge that "guns were the factor in the hunting of our kids." Guttenberg added, "And tell me you will work with us to do something about guns." Rubio responded that the problems laid bare by the shooting rampage "cannot be solved by gun laws alone," drawing jeering whistles from the crowd. He said that if he believed an assault weapons ban "would have prevented this from happening, I would have supported it." That drew jeers. Visibly angry, Guttenberg responded: "That is a weapon of war." Sen. Bill Nelson and Congressman Ted Deutch, both Democrats from Florida, also were present on a dais. Nelson said he grew up on a ranch and hunted all his life. "I still hunt with my son but an AK-47 and an AR-15 is not for hunting, it's for killing," said Nelson to applause. Ryan Schachter, whose brother Alex, was fatally gunned down at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, was among those questioning the lawmakers. "I'm supposed to go back to school in the upcoming week," said Schachter. "Me and my friends worry we are going to be murdered in our classrooms." Student Cameron Kasky did not mince words telling Rubio, "It's hard to look at you and not look down the barrel of an AR-15 and not look at Nikolas Cruz" before asking squarely, "Can you tell me right now that you will not accept a single donation from the NRA?" The room erupted in cheers as Rubio replied that people buy into his agenda and that he supports laws to keep guns out of the hands of deranged people. Rubio said he does not support arming teachers and Nelson agreed saying Trump's suggestion on arming them was "a terrible idea." Shortly before the town hall event ope[...]


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Former Lake in the Hills deputy police chief sentenced to more than 4 years in prison for rapeAlan Bokowski

Thu, 22 Feb 2018 07:13:00 GMT

LAKE IN THE HILLS – A retired Lake in the Hills deputy police chief was taken away in handcuffs Wednesday so he could begin serving a 4½-year prison sentence for raping a teenage girl in 2015. The case of 61-year-old Alan Bokowski was one of the last to be called in McHenry County Judge Sharon Prather’s courtroom Wednesday morning. The ex-cop pleaded guilty to the most serious charge against him in exchange for the dismissal of additional weapons and sex abuse charges. Prosecutors offered Bokowski a negotiated plea Friday, less than two weeks before he was scheduled for a jury trial on the charges Feb. 26. He will serve four years and six months in prison, which is more than the four-year minimum sentence for the offense. Under Truth in Sentencing guidelines, Bokowski is required to serve 85 percent of his sentence, and after completing at least three years of parole, he will be required to register as a sex offender. Neither McHenry County Assistant State’s Attorney Sharyl Eisenstein nor Bokowski’s attorney, Peggy Gerkin, would comment after the sentencing. Bokowski, of the 1300 block of Dolo Rosa Vista, Crystal Lake, was charged in 2016 with criminal sexual assault and aggravated criminal sexual abuse, according to an eight-count criminal complaint filed in McHenry County court. In a victim-impact statement Eisenstein read aloud in court Wednesday, the victim’s father said Bokowski showed little remorse for harming the 16-year-old girl. “Al made it sounds like he should not be held accountable because he didn’t want to go to jail,” the father wrote. Bokowski had known members of the victim’s family for more than 20 years, was invited to holiday dinners and had been considered extended family, the victim’s stepmother wrote in a statement. The teenager and her stepmother had been helping Bokowski care for his ailing mother, and eventually, the teen girl began accompanying Bokowski to his mother’s home by herself, according to the parents’ written statements. “Since I’d known Al for a long time, I trusted him with her,” the victim’s stepmother wrote. Crystal Lake police began their investigation after meeting with concerned parents who reported that their teenage daughter was sexually assaulted at Bokowski’s home, according to a news release from Crystal Lake police at the time. Police have obtained a recording of Bokowski admitting to having sexual contact with the girl, prosecutors said. He later was charged with possessing firearm ammunition, several shotguns and pistol and rifle rounds without a firearm owner’s identification card. He also was accused of inappropriately touching a woman in 2015, according to the same complaint. Those charges were dismissed as part of the negotiated plea. Before retiring in 2006, Bokowski worked for the Lake in the Hills Police Department for 26 years. A recent review of his personnel file did not reveal anything of concern, Lake in the Hills police communication coordinator Ashley Eccles said in an email [...]Alan Bokowski


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Judge dismisses Trust Act lawsuit against McHenry County sheriff

Thu, 22 Feb 2018 07:13:00 GMT

WOODSTOCK – A judge dismissed a civil lawsuit Wednesday that accused McHenry County Sheriff Bill Prim of illegally detaining a man in the county jail based on his immigration status.

Attorneys for Pascasio Martinez, 34, of Crystal Lake argued that he was held in violation of the Illinois Trust Act. Gov. Bruce Rauner signed the Trust Act on Aug. 28, which bars local and state police from searching, arresting or detaining a person simply because of their immigration status.

McHenry County Judge Thomas Meyer dismissed the civil suit Wednesday, while Martinez remained in the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, according to a news release from the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office.

“I restate now what I have said for the last six months – namely that throughout this we have followed the law, with public safety being our first and foremost consideration,” Prim said in an official statement. “I am confident this issue is now behind us, and that public safety has at no time been compromised.”

Martinez was arrested Aug. 31 and charged with felony driving under the influence and misdemeanor DUI.

Immediately after his arrest, Martinez’s family tried more than once to post bond on his behalf but to no avail. Correctional officers reportedly told the family that ICE requested that the jail continue to detain the man.

Questions surrounding the county’s enforcement of the Trust Act first were raised when Niceforo Macedo-Hernandez, who had been jailed on a domestic battery charge since Aug. 9, continued to be held at the county jail on a detainer signed by an immigration officer, rather than a federal warrant signed by a judge.

Crystal Lake-based law firm KRV Legal filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of Macedo-Hernandez, as well as other inmates they believed had been detained illegally.

That lawsuit voluntarily was dismissed Nov. 7. At the time, KRV Legal was considering filing a federal lawsuit that would name the sheriff.

Attorneys with KRV Legal could not be reached for comment Wednesday on the dismissal of Martinez’s lawsuit against Prim.


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More Democrats want probe into misconduct at Michael Madigan officesFILE - In this Aug. 28, 2017 file photo, Illinois Speaker of the House Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, looks out over the floor the Illinois House as they get set to vote on the education funding bill for a second time during a special session at the Illinois State Capitol in Springfield, Ill. A growing number of Illinois Democrats are calling for an independent investigation of misconduct within Madigan's political and state operations. Madigan, who's also chairman of the Democratic Party of Illinois, has dismissed two campaign workers in recent days following complaints of sexual harassment and other inappropriate behavior. (Justin L. Fowler/The State Journal-Register via AP)

Thu, 22 Feb 2018 07:08:00 GMT

CHICAGO – A growing number of Illinois Democrats are calling for an independent investigation into longtime House Speaker Michael Madigan’s political and state operations, after a second worker in a week was dismissed for misconduct. Several Democratic lawmakers and the top Democratic candidates for governor are among those who say they have questions about how Madigan has handled complaints of sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior. In addition to serving as House speaker, Madigan is also chairman of the Democratic Party of Illinois. “The slow and steady drip of accusations and dismissals has turned into an endless cycle of lather, rinse, repeat, highlighting the culture of harassment in the legislature and political campaigns,” said state Rep. Kelly Cassidy, a Chicago Democrat, in calling for the review. Last week, Madigan dismissed a longtime political consultant after an investigation found he repeatedly sent inappropriate text messages to a female staffer. The dismissal occurred one day before the Chicago Tribune published former staffer Alaina Hampton’s account. Hampton, who reported the harassment last year, criticized party leaders for being too slow to act. Madigan told House Democrats in a letter Friday that he was taking steps to address the issue, including providing all staff with the names and numbers of people they could contact with any complaints. “We haven’t done enough,” he said. “I take responsibility for that.” Madigan also said he was retaining an independent firm to investigate harassment allegations, and he asked three female officials – U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos, Comptroller Susana Mendoza and state Rep. Carol Ammons – to lead a statewide discussion about the role of women in the party. On Monday, another political operative was removed for what Madigan said in a statement was “inappropriate behavior” toward a candidate and campaign staff during the 2016 election. WMAQ-TV reported he was dismissed three days after the news station first approached Madigan’s spokesman about the allegations. Cassidy called Tuesday for a fully independent probe, saying the investigator shouldn’t be chosen by Madigan or any other Democratic official. In a statement, Madigan said he would cooperate fully and would ask the independent counsel he retained “to assist.” But Democratic state Sen. Melinda Bush told the Chicago Tribune, “We need a real, independent law firm, not someone that is hired by the chair of the party.” Among the other Democrats calling for the investigation are gubernatorial candidates Chris Kennedy, J.B. Pritzker and state Sen. Daniel Biss. Biss also called for Madigan to step down as chairman of the state party, and Kennedy said he should do so while an investigation occurs. Also calling for Madigan’s resignation from the party was Marie Newman, a progressive who’s challenging U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski in the Democratic primary for the 3rd congressional district, and state Rep. Scott Drury, who’s running for attorney general and who has repeatedly clashed with Madi[...]


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Much-touted MS-13 sweep keeps even most basic details secretSuspected members of the MS-13 gang are escorted to their arraignment Jan. 11 in Mineola, N.Y. A sweep of alleged MS-13 gang members on Long Island has racked up impressive arrest totals but also left unanswered questions.

Thu, 22 Feb 2018 07:00:00 GMT

NEW YORK – It was a tally so impressive that President Donald Trump touted it at his State of the Union address: Since May, agents cracking down on the violent gangs terrorizing the working-class suburbs of Long Island had swept up 428 gang suspects, including 220 members of the notorious MS-13. But the sweep, Operation Matador, also has been shrouded in secrecy. Federal and state authorities have declined repeated requests from The Associated Press for even basic information made public in most law enforcement operations, such as the names of those arrested and the crimes they are accused of committing. They won’t divulge their ages, immigration statuses or current whereabouts. And while they say 44 of those arrested have been deported, they refuse to say what happened to the rest, including whether they are even still in custody. They say releasing more details could endanger the suspects and jeopardize ongoing investigations. The lack of transparency comes amid accusations by immigration rights groups that the government is using unsubstantiated rumors of gang affiliations to detain innocent people. Federal immigration judges have already ordered the release of some detainees arrested on suspicion of being MS-13 members when the government couldn’t produce any evidence of gang activity. Some parents and activists say some of those included in the tally are innocent teenagers who came to the U.S. as unaccompanied minors, spending weeks locked in maximum-security detention centers based on flimsy and false allegations of gang activity. Civil liberties lawyers say that in some cases their alleged “activity” was wearing a black T-shirt or making a hand gesture. “They said we have a warrant for your arrest and we don’t have to explain anything to you now. We will tell you when you come with us,” one teenager, who asked not to be named because she is afraid of being deported, told the AP in Spanish. “Later, they told me I had been associated with gangs.” The teenager said she was not a member of MS-13. She said she knew of people in MS-13, as do most people at Brentwood High School, a large school 45 miles east of New York City. Maybe she’s talked with some of them in the hallway. Although she was released after two months in detention, she remains worried. “I can’t defend myself,” she said. “I can’t explain what happened because I don’t even know who is accusing me.” Immigration attorney Dawn Guidone said she represented about seven teenagers detained on gang allegations and at least two were deported. One student said all he did was wear blue, the color of the gang. Officials said he was associating with “known gang members.” “But the gang member he was associating with sat next to him in math class,” Guidone said. “If that’s associating, then I don’t know how to even deal with that.” The federal agency leading the crackdown, Homeland Security Investigations, said that of the 428 gang suspects mentioned in the Republican president’s speech, 216 faced criminal charges, but it wouldn’t say whether those char[...]


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Graham, ‘America’s Pastor,’ dies at age 99The Rev. Billy Graham (right) and his son, Franklin Graham, wait for the start of a service March 12, 2006, in New Orleans.

Thu, 22 Feb 2018 07:00:00 GMT

MONTREAT, N.C. – As a young man, he practiced his sermons by preaching to the alligators and birds in the swamp. At his height years later, he was bringing the word of God into living rooms around the globe via TV and dispensing spiritual counsel – and political advice – to U.S. presidents. The Rev. Billy Graham, dubbed “America’s Pastor” and the “Protestant Pope,” died Wednesday at his North Carolina home at age 99 after achieving a level of influence and reach no other evangelist is likely ever to match. More than anyone else, the magnetic, Hollywood-handsome Graham built evangelicalism into a force that rivaled liberal Protestantism and Roman Catholicism in the U.S. The North Carolina-born Graham transformed the tent revival into an event that filled football arenas, and reached the masses by making pioneering use of TV in prosperous postwar America. By his final crusade in 2005, he had preached in person to more than 210 million people worldwide. All told, he was the most widely heard Christian evangelist in modern history. “Graham is a major historical figure, not merely to American evangelicals, but to American Christianity in general,” said Bill Leonard, a professor at Wake Forest University Divinity School in North Carolina. Graham was “the closest thing to a national Protestant chaplain that the U.S. has ever had.” A tall figure with swept-back hair, blue eyes and a strong jaw, Graham was a commanding presence in the pulpit with a powerful baritone voice. His catchphrase: “The Bible says ...” Despite his international renown, he would be the first to say his message was not complex or unique. But he won over audiences with his friendliness, humility and unyielding religious conviction. He had an especially strong influence on the religion and spirituality of American presidents, starting with Dwight Eisenhower, whom he urged to run for office and baptized at the White House. George W. Bush credited Graham with helping him transform himself from carousing, hard-drinking oilman to born-again Christian family man. His influence reached beyond the White House. He delivered poignant remarks about the nation’s wounds in the aftermath of Sept. 11 during a message from Washington National Cathedral three days after the attacks. He met with boxer Muhammad Ali in 1979 to talk about religion. He showed up in hurricane-ravaged South Carolina in the 1980s and delivered impromptu sermons from the back of a pickup truck to weary storm victims. In the political arena, his organization took out full-page ads in support of a ballot measure that would ban gay marriage. Critics blasted Graham on social media Wednesday for his stance on gay rights. Graham wasn’t always a polished presence in the pulpit. After World War II, as an evangelist in the U.S. and Europe with Youth for Christ, he was dubbed “the Preaching Windmill” for his arm-swinging and rapid-fire speech. His first meeting with a U.S. president, Harry Truman, was a disaster. Wearing a pastel suit and loud tie that he would[...]


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Angry teens swarm into Florida Capitol, demand new gun lawsSeventeen student survivors from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School lie down on the floor in silence and pray Wednesday at the approximate time of the shooting attack on their school one week before inside the state Capitol in Tallahassee, Fla.

Thu, 22 Feb 2018 07:00:00 GMT

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – A week after a shooter slaughtered 17 people in a Florida high school, thousands of protesters, including many angry teenagers, swarmed into the state Capitol on Wednesday, calling for changes to gun laws, a ban on assault-type weapons and improved care for the mentally ill. The normally staid Florida Statehouse filled with students, among them more than 100 survivors of the Feb. 14 attack at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, on the edge of the Everglades. They held signs, chanted slogans and burst into lawmakers' offices demanding to be heard. The teens were welcomed into the gun-friendly halls of power, but the students' top goal – a ban on assault-style rifles such as the weapon used in the massacre – was taken off the table a day earlier, although more limited measures are still possible. Many protesters complained that lawmakers were not serious about reform, and they said they would oppose in future elections any legislator who accepts campaign contributions from the National Rifle Association. "We've spoke to only a few legislators and ... the most we've gotten out of them is, 'We'll keep you in our thoughts. You are so strong. You are so powerful,'" said Delaney Tarr, a senior at the high school. "We know what we want. We want gun reform. We want commonsense gun laws. ... We want change." She added: "We've had enough of thoughts and prayers. If you supported us, you would have made a change long ago. So this is to every lawmaker out there: No longer can you take money from the NRA. We are coming after you. We are coming after every single one of you, demanding that you take action." Outside the building, the crowd burst into chants of "Vote them out!" as speakers called for the removal of Republican lawmakers who refuse to address gun control issues. One sign read, "Remember the men who value the NRA over children's lives" and then listed Republicans in Florida's congressional delegation. Other signs said, "Kill the NRA, not our kids" and "These kids are braver than the GOP." About 30 people left an anti-gun rally outside Florida's Old Capitol and began a sit-in protest at the office of four House Republican leaders, demanding a conversation about gun legislation. "They're not speaking to us right now. We only asked for five minutes and so we're just sitting until they speak," Tyrah Williams, a 15-year-old sophomore at Leon High School, which is within walking distance of the Capitol. In Washington, students and parents delivered emotional appeals to President Donald Trump to act on school safety and guns. The president promised to be "very strong on background checks," adding that "we're going to do plenty of other things." And at a news conference Wednesday, Broward County, Florida, Sheriff Scott Israel ordered all deputies who qualify to begin carrying rifles on school grounds. The rifles will be locked in patrol cars when not in use until the agency secures gun lockers and lockers, he said. "We need to be able to defeat any threat that comes into campus[...]


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'Fix it!': President Donald Trump hears gun violence plea from students, parentsPresident Donald Trump listens to Julia Cordover, the student body president at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., as she speaks during a listening session with high school students, teachers and others Wednesday in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, D.C.

Thu, 22 Feb 2018 07:00:00 GMT

WASHINGTON – Spilling out wrenching tales of lost lives and stolen security, students and parents appealed to President Donald Trump on Wednesday to set politics aside and protect America’s school children from the scourge of gun violence. Trump listened intently to the raw emotion and pledged action, including the possibility of arming teachers. “I turned 18 the day after” the shooting, said a tearful Samuel Zeif, a student at the Florida high school where a former student’s assault left 17 dead last week. “Woke up to the news that my best friend was gone. And I don’t understand why I can still go in a store and buy a weapon of war. An AR. How is it that easy to buy this type of weapon? How do we not stop this after Columbine? After Sandy Hook?” Trump promised to be “very strong on background checks.” And he suggested he supported allowing some teachers and other school employees to carry concealed weapons to be ready for intruders. But largely he listened, holding handwritten notes bearing his message to the families. “I hear you” was written in black marker. The president had invited the teen survivors of school violence and parents of murdered children in a show of his resolve against gun violence in the wake of last week’s shootings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, and in past years at schools in Connecticut and Colorado. The latest episode has prompted a renewed and growing call for stronger gun control. Trump invited his guests to suggest solutions and solicited feedback. He did not fully endorse any specific policy solution, but pledged to take action and expressed interest in widely differing approaches. Besides considering concealed carrying of weapons by trained school employees, a concept he has endorsed in the past, he said he planned to go “very strongly into age, age of purchase.” And he said he was committed to improving background checks and working on mental health. Most in the group were emotional but quiet and polite. But Andrew Pollack, whose daughter Meadow was killed last week, noted the previous school massacres and raged over his loss, saying this moment isn’t about gun laws but about fixing the schools. “It should have been one school shooting and we should have fixed it and I’m pissed. Because my daughter, I’m not going to see again,” Pollack said. “King David Cemetery, that is where I go to see my kid now.” A strong supporter of gun rights, Trump has nonetheless indicated in recent days that he is willing to consider ideas not in keeping with National Rifle Association orthodoxy, including age restrictions for buying assault-type weapons. Still, gun owners are a key part of his base of supporters. The NRA quickly rejected any talk of raising the age for buying long guns to 21. “Legislative proposals that prevent law-abiding adults aged 18-20 years old from acquiring rifles and shotguns effectively prohibits them for purchasing any firearm, thus depriv[...]


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Iowa congressman failed to disclose new companyFILE - In this May 11, 2017, file photo, Rep. Rod Blum, R-Iowa, speaks during a town hall meeting in Marshalltown, Iowa. Blum has likely violated multiple House ethics rules by failing to disclose a new company that he founded, using an official photo on its website, and having an aide appear in a false testimonial for its services, a review by The Associated Press shows. Blum, a Republican facing a competitive race for re-election, is one of two directors of the Tin Moon Corporation, a digital marketing company incorporated in 2016 as Blum was in his first term, a business filing shows. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File)

Thu, 22 Feb 2018 06:59:00 GMT

IOWA CITY, Iowa – A congressman from Iowa violated House ethics rules by failing to disclose his role in a company that he formed, a mysterious outfit that features his top federal staffer in a false testimonial promoting its services, an Associated Press review shows. Rep. Rod Blum was one of two directors of the Tin Moon Corp. when the internet marketing company was incorporated in May 2016, as the Republican was serving his first term, a business filing shows. Among other services, Tin Moon promises to help companies cited for federal food and drug safety violations bury their Food and Drug Administration warning letters below positive internet search results. Tin Moon's website had listed Blum as its CEO and featured an official photo of Blum wearing his congressional pin in front of an American flag. The company removed the photo and changed Blum's title to "majority shareholder" Tuesday after the AP raised questions about House ethics rules. Tin Moon is based in the same Dubuque office as a construction software company he owns, called Digital Canal. The company has kept up an online video testimonial showing "John Ferland representing Digital Canal" and claiming to be a satisfied customer. Ferland – who actually is chief of staff in Blum's congressional office and has never worked for Digital Canal – claims that Tin Moon is "saving us thousands of dollars every month, keeping our traffic and leads higher," and implores: "From one business owner to another, I suggest you take a look at Tin Moon." Blum didn't list his positions as director or CEO of Tin Moon on his personal financial disclosure for 2016, despite House rules that require members to identify all corporate positions they held during any part of the year even if they're unpaid. He also didn't list the company as an asset, which would have been required if his interest was valued at $1,000. In response to questions, Blum told AP he didn't consider the company an asset because it was "worth zero" and "not a functioning company in 2016." Ferland's testimonial was uploaded in September 2016; a YouTube user named "rodblum" uploaded a similar Tin Moon testimonial two weeks earlier. Blum said he doesn't receive any income from Tin Moon, isn't involved in the company's operations and is "merely a shareholder," but didn't explain why he didn't disclose his role as a director as outlined in the incorporation papers. He said he wasn't aware the company used his official photo, had no idea why Ferland appeared in the testimonial and has no knowledge of the company's guarantee to help hide FDA warning letters. "I have never seen the website," Blum said. Ferland said he was asked to film the testimonial by "a friend of mine, Ed Graham," who is president of Tin Moon and Digital Canal and the treasurer of Blum's campaign committee. Experts on House ethics rules said that, in addition to the lack of disclosure, Blum and Ferland potentially violated others, including those that bar members and staff from using official resources to promote private co[...]


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Algonquin library closing Thursday, Friday as 1st phase of expansion wraps upThe Algonquin Area Public Library District broke ground on its $6.7 million expansion and renovation project Aug. 7. The Harnish Main Library will be closed Thursday and Friday as the first phase of the project wraps up.

Thu, 22 Feb 2018 06:58:00 GMT

ALGONQUIN – The Harnish Main Library will be closed Thursday and Friday as the library enters the second phase of its construction and renovation project.

The 8,000-square-foot addition is complete, and the library will use the next two days to shift materials and finish public spaces in the addition, according to a news release from the library.

The Eastgate Branch library will be open Thursday and Friday with limited services.

“This closure period is necessary for the safety of both our patrons and staff, as the volume of items being shifted will occupy our normal traffic areas, including the elevators,” Executive Director Sara Murray said in the release. “We regret any inconvenience to our patrons and visitors, but look forward to sharing our new spaces with the public when we open for regular hours on Saturday, Feb. 24.”

The new wing will add a creation zone for children and a new homework center to the lower level, as well as a quiet periodical reading room to the upper level. The expansion also will add six new group study rooms on both the upper and lower levels, bringing the total to eight, according to previous Northwest Herald reporting.

The majority of the library’s collection of books, DVDs and CDs also will be moved into the new wing in order to free up space to complete some of the renovations in the next two phases of the project, including the planned children’s play area and picture book section.

The second phase, which will take place between February and May, consists of adding a teenager area, a computer lab and a makerspace for personal projects.

There will no internet or phone service Thursday, and services might be reinstated Friday. With their library cards or library card numbers, patrons will be able to check out materials at Eastgate through the library’s offline system, and materials will be accepted for check-in.

Materials can be returned through the drive-up return at Harnish Main Library.

All cardholders will be able to visit www.aapld.org to place holds, pay finds, browse the library catalog and more.

The Algonquin Area Public Library District broke ground on its $6.7 million expansion and renovation project Aug. 7. The Harnish Main Library will be closed Thursday and Friday as the first phase of the project wraps up.


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Spring Grove fire and rescue team saves couple from flooded houseSpring Grove Fire Protection District personnel work to rescue Joseph Callas and Carli Navarre after they became trapped in their home Wednesday because of rising water from the Nippersink Creek near the 7500 block of Carleton Drive in Spring Grove.Lisa Knapp hugs her future daughter-in-law, Carli Navarre, after she and her fiance, Joseph Callas, were rescued by members of the Spring Grove Fire Protection District on Wednesday after the Nippersink Creek flooded and surrounded their home on Carleton Drive in Spring Grove.

Thu, 22 Feb 2018 06:57:00 GMT

SPRING GROVE – A Spring Grove couple had to be rescued from their home Wednesday after water rushed into the house and flooded their yard.

Joseph Callas and his pregnant fiancée, Carli Navarre, live on rented property in the 7500 block of Carleton Drive in unincorporated Spring Grove. The couple watched as about 2 to 4 inches of rain fell Tuesday, melting some leftover snow, and they saw the Nippersink Creek rise throughout the day.

The Spring Grove fire and rescue team was dispatched about 11:45 a.m. Wednesday when water was 2 feet deep in the couple’s yard. The water had risen through the crawl space and was coming into the living area from heat vents, according to a news release from the Spring Grove Fire Protection District.

The crew floated a boat to the front door and assisted the residents into the boat. While near the house, the crew turned off the home’s gas and electricity.

The melted snow and rain have caused Nippersink Creek to spill out of its banks and flow rapidly, making a dangerous current, according to the release. Moving through the creek is dangerous because of downed trees and wires and the inability to see beneath the water.

“With my fiancée being pregnant, there is no way I was going to risk carrying her out, and we needed to be rescued immediately,” Callas said.

The building suffered significant water damage.

“If you look at the floorboards, the water is bubbling up, and the house is uninhabitable now,” Callas said. “Now we can’t go back there because of the mold. She can’t inhale that. No one can live there. It’s disgusting.”

The couple is staying with family now, and they will be looking for a new place to live. A lot of their items are damaged, and they did not have renters’ insurance, Callas said.

“The fire department has a very nice water rescue boat. I should have put more stuff in there – I have a PlayStation and guitar, but we had a priority to hurry up,” he said. “The current was so bad [that] it was hard to pull the boat.”

Spring Grove Fire Protection District personnel work to rescue Joseph Callas and Carli Navarre after they became trapped in their home Wednesday because of rising water from the Nippersink Creek near the 7500 block of Carleton Drive in Spring Grove.Lisa Knapp hugs her future daughter-in-law, Carli Navarre, after she and her fiance, Joseph Callas, were rescued by members of the Spring Grove Fire Protection District on Wednesday after the Nippersink Creek flooded and surrounded their home on Carleton Drive in Spring Grove.


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Amid a flood of plastic, big companies try to clean up imageVolunteers pose with a heart-shaped collection of plastic bottles they and others made from bottles that were lying washed up nearby during a media event organized by the #OneLess campaign and Thames21 London waterways charity Feb. 9 to promote public awareness of the single-use plastic bottles washing ashore on the north bank of the River Thames in London.

Thu, 22 Feb 2018 06:56:00 GMT

LONDON – Once a month, accountant Michael Byrne pulls on his rubber boots and makes his way to a spot on the banks of the River Thames. He carefully marks out an 11-square-foot patch and, with gloved hands, catalogues each bit of plastic he finds, meticulously reporting the data to the environmental group Thames21. On Aug. 20, for example, he and other volunteers found an average of 31 food wrappers, the sticks from 29 cotton swabs, 12 bottle tops and about 100 pieces of small chewed up plastic in each patch. “We are the data gatherers” who provide evidence of the plastic that’s clogging the world’s rivers and oceans, he said. “We are building up a picture all along the river of what is washing up.” Public awareness of the problem of plastic waste is swelling after alarming forecasts that there could be more plastic than fish in the oceans by 2050. Plus the shocking images are rolling in: Britain’s Sky News’ campaign against ocean plastic featuring whales bloated by plastic bags; National Geographic’s chilling picture of a seahorse curled around a pink cotton swab, and filmmaker David Attenborough’s documentary “Blue Planet II” footage of sea turtles shrouded in plastic. And where consumers’ attention goes, so does that of companies. In the past few months, Amcor, Ecover, Evian, L’Oréal, Mars, M&S, PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, Unilever, Walmart and Werner & Mertz – which together use more than 6 million metric tons of plastic packaging a year – have committed to using only reusable, recyclable or compostable packaging by 2025, according to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, an innovation think-tank. Adidas, meanwhile, is making a line of clothing from recycled plastic bottles and promoting the products with an online video underscoring the health threat to humans of ingesting plastic particles found in fish. Negozio Leggero, a high-end food store in Italy and Switzerland, features 1,500 package-free products. British supermarket chain Iceland is planning to remove all plastic packaging from its own-brand products by 2023. “Some of the companies that might have been seen as the worst offenders are the ones moving forward,” said Abigail Entwistle of Fauna & Flora International, a 115-year-old conservation organization. “They have the most to lose.” These are the companies, after all, that have profited from a business model that wraps everything from spring water to cleaning products in plastic packaging that is used once and thrown away. Global plastic production increased to 418 million metric tons in 2015 from 2 million metric tons in 1950, according to research by Roland Geyer, a professor of industrial ecology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. About 60 percent of the 8.3 billion metric tons of plastic produced throughout history has ended up as waste, with more than three-fourths of that going into landfills or the natural environment, Geyer estimates.[...]


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PARCC exam changes on the way in McHenry County schoolsFifth-grade teacher Amy Varys of Mary Endres Elementary School talks with students Sean Fiorina (left), 11, and Brady Minner, 10.Andrew Goetz, 10, works on reading skills Wednesday in Amy Varys’ fifth-grade class at Mary Endres Elementary School in Woodstock.Fifth-grade teacher Amy Varys instructs her students during class Wednesday.Fifth-grade teacher Amy Varys works in her classroom with Nabiha Ahmed, 10, on reading skills Wednesday at Mary Endres Elementary School in Woodstock.

Thu, 22 Feb 2018 06:56:00 GMT

CRYSTAL LAKE – Changes could be coming to Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers exams, and McHenry County education officials have mixed feelings about what could come next. The Illinois State Board of Education issued a request this month for someone to redesign the standardized PARCC test, which assesses students in third through eighth grade and is the only large-scale summative accountability assessment that meets federal guidelines, according to ISBE documents. ISBE wants the improved test to return results faster, include native language options and in time, lead to a computer-adaptive test structure. The agency’s maximum budget for the three-year contract, with options to renew a one-year contract three times through 2024, is $216 million, according to ISBE documents. The board launched PARCC in 2015, and it was met with some protest from parents and teachers. Across Illinois, scores were low. The state considered 33 percent of Illinois students ready for the next school year, on average, based on 2017 PARCC data, and 46 percent ready for college, on average, from the 2016 data. Changes to the model shouldn’t affect student learning and curriculum, state Superintendent of Education Tony Smith said in a statement. “Illinois intends to continue its commitment to the highest-quality assessment, while continuing to innovate to meet the needs of educators,” Smith said. “The assessment will improve and evolve, but the level of rigor, the majority of test items and the underlying skills, concepts and standards assessed will remain constant.” Mary Endres Elementary School fifth-grade teacher Amy Varys said that if the test is revamped, there are several things she wants to see come to fruition, such as a quicker turnaround on results and less time spent on the test. PARCC exams typically take a week to finish, she said. “I think standardized tests have a place in education, but I am glad they are looking at ways to make it better for students,” she said. “I don’t really see any problems with PARCC other than it does take a long time … but it will be nice to have that immediate feedback.” Varys said PARCC results typically don’t come back until after the school year is over, which makes it impossible to adjust instruction to meet students’ needs. Curriculum won’t change because the test still will be based on Common Core, but the knowledge of where student understanding is at could drive instruction, she said. McHenry County Regional Superintendent Leslie Schermerhorn generally is “pro-PARCC” because it’s more rigorous than previous standardized testing. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for improvement, she said. “I do agree there have to be changes,” she said. “It is too long. ... It can also be difficult to find enough Chromebooks or technology to test everyone at o[...]


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Richmond-Burton School District 157 Board won't renew Pat Elder's contractThe Richmond-Burton High School District 157 Board will not renew Pat Elder's contracts after he was charged in the summer in connection with an aggravated driving under the influence incident.John Flood holds up the 2013 NCAA National Championship ring that his son, John Flood Jr., won at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater as he reads a letter his son wrote about Pat Elder during a meeting Wednesday at Richmond-Burton Community High School. John Flood Jr. was captain of R-B's football team in 2011 as it competed in the Class 4A state championship game under Elder.Pat Elder's wife, Casey Elder, addresses members of the community and the District 157 board during a meeting Wednesday at Richmond-Burton Community High School.

Thu, 22 Feb 2018 06:55:00 GMT

The Richmond-Burton High School District 157 Board will not renew Pat Elder’s contract after he was charged in the summer in connection with an aggravated driving under the influence incident. The decision came Wednesday night after more than 50 people spoke out in favor of keeping Elder, and the board deliberated in closed session for two and a half hours. Elder served as the high school’s head football coach and athletic director since 2006, and he is facing a felony charge stemming from a summer DUI charge. The board said at its regular meeting Wednesday night that it will not renew Elder’s contract for the 2018-19 school year. It also voted to post job openings for the head football coach and athletic director positions. The board voted, 4-3, to not renew his contract. Secretary Michelle Graham, members Tom Gough and Tracey Highley and President Tom Holtz voted not to renew the contract, and Vice President Dave Thomas and members Joe Kiem and Christine Alvarado voted in favor of renewing it. Many members of the crowd yelled in response, saying the board was “supposed to represent the community” and “the board will remember doing this.” One person called the community to rally to raise funds for a lawyer to defend Elder for wrongful termination. District 157 Superintendent Thomas Lind said Elder no longer will hold his position at the school beginning July 1. Lind said he did not know how much Elder earns. Elder was charged July 15 with driving under the influence after Spring Grove police pulled him over on Route 173 as he drove east of Clark Road. Elder refused to take a breath test, and he was unable to complete field sobriety tests, according to police reports. Assistant coaches Tad DePorter and Brett Zick acted as co-head coaches for the 2017 football season. Elder continued his athletic director duties. Elder’s wife, Casey Elder, received a standing ovation at Wednesday’s meeting as she spoke in support of her husband. Casey Elder talked of Pat Elder’s almost 12-year career and how while other schools struggled to build teams, Pat Elder had a cohesive environment that focused on not only athletic skills but mentoring supportive teammates.  “One of the continual evolving reasons Pat was given for not being recommended for rehire is that he was unwilling and uncooperative to work with the rest of the administrative team,” Casey Elder said. “This may appear true when you are only given one side of the story, but Pat’s willingness to contribute – to making RBCHS a better place – cannot be questioned. That is reflected in the 11-year history of successful programs under his direction.” Casey Elder said she finds it odd that after 11 years without a bad performance evaluation and no mention of unwillingness to work with[...]


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Correction

Wed, 21 Feb 2018 23:31:00 GMT

A story on page A3 in the Feb. 5 edition incorrectly reported the percentage of low-income students at Harvard School District 50, based on inaccurate information on the Illinois State Report Card website. Harvard school officials said the most recent rate of low-income students was 62 percent for the 2016-17 school year. The school had 2,623 students in 2017.




Photos: Pictures of the Week from Feb. 11 - 17McHenry players celebrate their IHSA Class 4A girls basketball regional championship over Crystal Lake Central on Thursday, February 15, 2018, in Crystal Lake, Illinois. The Warriors defeated the Tigers.Sage Berna, 11, left, and Clara Alt, 12, both of Crystal Lake, sled together at Veteran Acres Friday, Feb. 9.Family friend Vicki Molitor (left) and Mary Jacobs celebrate as Mary's son, Aiden Jacobs of Woodstock North, battles Adam Haushahn of Glenbrook South in their 195 pound consulation bout during the IHSA class 2A wrestling sectional semifinals on Saturday, Feb. 10, 2018 at Grayslake Central High School in Grayslake. Jacobs won by 7-4 decision but lost to Angel Flores of Grayslake North in the third place bracket.Scott Offord grabs a tray of paczkis to fry at Country Donuts on Monday, Feb. 12, 2018 in Crystal Lake. The bakery will finish making nearly 4,000 dozen paczkis over a six-day span to accommodate orders for Mardi Gras.Gov. Bruce Rauner talks with Scot Forge Chief Executive Officer John Cain as Rauner tours Scot Forge in Spring Grove Friday morning, Feb. 16, 2018. The governor learned about the company that is celebrating 125 year in business and talked about his plans for the next four years if he is reelected during the visit.Assistant Librarian Jodi Simmons reads to children and their parents inside the children's room at the Huntley Area Public Library on Thursday, Feb. 8, 2018 in Huntley.Father Jerome Koutnik places ashes on the foreheads of worshippers at St. Thomas the Apostle Church Wednesday, Feb. 14.Lucas Gully reaches over to pet the Berkshire pigs at All-Grass Farms on Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2018 in Dundee. The McHenry County Conservation District hopes to lease the property formerly known as the Pichen Family Farm, located at 6611 Silver Lake Road, to become a farm-to-table operation. Residents affected by the potential change are invited to a meeting on Thursday at the Prairieview Educational Center.Patrick Keller of Huntley and daughter Aria Keller, 3, listen intently as Assistant Librarian Jodi Simmons reads during story time at the Huntley Area Public Library on Thursday, Feb. 8, 2018 in Huntley.Zoe Foltman, from Crystal Lake, gets a sample of an essential oil during a program for teen girls called Estrogen Express at the Break Teen Center on Saturday, February 3, 2018 in Crystal Lake, Illinois.Randy Smith, Woodstock, welds components of forklift machinery at UniCarriers in Marengo Saturday, Feb. 17.Jessica Engle of Lake In The Hills and daughter Maebelle, 3, walk though a corridor that connects the permanent structure at the Huntley Area Public Library to the children's room located in a converted trailer on Thursday, Feb. 8, 2018 in Huntley. They go to story time nearly every week, except during the summer. "Today was crowded, but it varies week to week. In the summer times, there's more and it gets too crowded so we tend not to come. It gets too overwhelming with everybody there," Engle said.Stephanie Parison shakes confectionary sugar over a tray of filled paczkis at Country Donuts on Monday, Feb. 12, 2018 in Crystal Lake. The bakery will finish making nearly 4,000 dozen paczkis over a six-day span to accommodate orders for Mardi Gras.Fashion designer Matthew Deponte works on creating a piece of clothing at Crisiswear on Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018 in Woodstock. Co-owners Andrew Wright and Deponte run their business online and hope to open their storefront in the summer or fall of 2018.Anthony Randazzo of Marian Central celebrates after beating Elijah Reyes of Antioch in their 132 pound semifinals bout during the IHSA class 2A wrestling sectional semifinals on Saturday, Feb. 10, 2018 at Grayslake Central High School in Grayslake. Randazzo won by fall in 2:46 and went on to place first in the weight class.Liam O'Donnell of Crystal Lake Central celebrates after beating Angel Flores of Grayslake North by 6-2 decision in their 195 pound semifinal bout during the IHSA class 2A wrestling sectional semifinals on Saturday, Feb. 10, 2018 at Grayslake Central High School in Grayslake.Austin Ernd of Crystal Lake Central (bottom) reacts as time runs out in the third period with Riley Palm of Mundlein seemingly on top of him for two back points in their 138 pound final bout during the IHSA class 2A wrestling sectional semifinals on Saturday, Feb. 10, 2018 at Grayslake Central High School in Grayslake. Palm was awarded the two back points and won by 6-5 decision after the controversial call in the final moments of the third period to first in the 138 pound weight class.Emma Fleming (14) from Crystal Lake Central and Ava Interrante (20) from McHenry battle for a rebound in the second quarter during their IHSA Class 4A girls basketball regional championship game on Thursday, February 15, 2018, in Crystal Lake, Illinois. The Warriors defeated the Tigers.Ciara Ryan from Prairie Ridge competes on uneven bars during the IHSA State Gymnastics Championship on Friday, February 16, 2018, in Palatine, Illinois.Chesterbrook Academy principal Sandy Jenner hands a bag of food to Finnley Wilke to bring in for a donation at the Grafton Food Pantry on Monday, Feb. 12, 2018 in Huntley. Students and their families collected approximately 150 pounds of food in their 8th annual "Share The Love" food drive to donate to the pantry.

Wed, 21 Feb 2018 22:28:00 GMT

The week in photographs from the Northwest Herald, as seen by our photographers. McHenry players celebrate their IHSA Class 4A girls basketball regional championship over Crystal Lake Central on Thursday, February 15, 2018, in Crystal Lake, Illinois. The Warriors defeated the Tigers.Sage Berna, 11, left, and Clara Alt, 12, both of Crystal Lake, sled together at Veteran Acres Friday, Feb. 9.Family friend Vicki Molitor (left) and Mary Jacobs celebrate as Mary's son, Aiden Jacobs of Woodstock North, battles Adam Haushahn of Glenbrook South in their 195 pound consulation bout during the IHSA class 2A wrestling sectional semifinals on Saturday, Feb. 10, 2018 at Grayslake Central High School in Grayslake. Jacobs won by 7-4 decision but lost to Angel Flores of Grayslake North in the third place bracket.Scott Offord grabs a tray of paczkis to fry at Country Donuts on Monday, Feb. 12, 2018 in Crystal Lake. The bakery will finish making nearly 4,000 dozen paczkis over a six-day span to accommodate orders for Mardi Gras.Gov. Bruce Rauner talks with Scot Forge Chief Executive Officer John Cain as Rauner tours Scot Forge in Spring Grove Friday morning, Feb. 16, 2018. The governor learned about the company that is celebrating 125 year in business and talked about his plans for the next four years if he is reelected during the visit.Assistant Librarian Jodi Simmons reads to children and their parents inside the children's room at the Huntley Area Public Library on Thursday, Feb. 8, 2018 in Huntley.Father Jerome Koutnik places ashes on the foreheads of worshippers at St. Thomas the Apostle Church Wednesday, Feb. 14.Lucas Gully reaches over to pet the Berkshire pigs at All-Grass Farms on Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2018 in Dundee. The McHenry County Conservation District hopes to lease the property formerly known as the Pichen Family Farm, located at 6611 Silver Lake Road, to become a farm-to-table operation. Residents affected by the potential change are invited to a meeting on Thursday at the Prairieview Educational Center.Patrick Keller of Huntley and daughter Aria Keller, 3, listen intently as Assistant Librarian Jodi Simmons reads during story time at the Huntley Area Public Library on Thursday, Feb. 8, 2018 in Huntley.Zoe Foltman, from Crystal Lake, gets a sample of an essential oil during a program for teen girls called Estrogen Express at the Break Teen Center on Saturday, February 3, 2018 in Crystal Lake, Illinois.Randy Smith, Woodstock, welds components of forklift machinery at UniCarriers in Marengo Saturday, Feb. 17.Jessica Engle of Lake In The Hills and daughter Maebelle, 3, walk though a corridor that connects the permanent structure at the Huntley Area Public Library to the children's room located in a converted trailer on Thursday, Feb. 8, 2018 in Huntley. They go to story time nearly every week, except during the summer. "Today was crowded, but it varies week to week. In the summer times, there's more and it gets too crowded so we tend not to come. It gets too overwhelming with everybody there," Engle said.Stephanie Parison shakes co[...]


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Richmond-Burton D157 board to consider not renewing Pat Elder's positionsPat Elder faces a felony charges in McHenry County after an alleged aggravated DUI incident

Wed, 21 Feb 2018 20:49:00 GMT

RICHMOND – Richmond-Burton Community High School District 157 will meet Wednesday night to consider Pat Elder’s contract.

Elder has served as the high school’s head football coach and athletic director since 2006, and is facing a felony charge stemming from an alleged aggravated driving under the influence incident.

Elder was charged July 15 with driving under the influence after Spring Grove police pulled him over on Route 173 as he drove east from Clark Road. Elder refused to take a breath test and was unable to complete field sobriety tests, according to police reports.

Assistant coaches Tad DePorter and Brett Zick acted as co-head coaches for the 2017 season as of August. Elder continued his athletic director duties.

He faces up to seven years in prison or probation if convicted, according to state law. If Elder were to be convicted and get probation, he would be required to serve at least 10 days in jail or complete 480 hours of community service.

He also could lose driving privileges for at least 10 years, according to state law.Elder was previously found guilty of DUI in connection with incidents in 1991 and 1995 in McClean County, according to online court records.

His next court appearance is set for March 1.

The school board will gather for its regular meeting at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at the high school library, 8311 State Route 31.

The board is scheduled for a closed session with actions after including the non-renewal of the head football coach for the 2018-19 football season and non-renewal of the athletic director for the 2018-19 school year. Authorizations to post openings for the two positions are also on the post-executive session agenda.

Superintendent Tom Lind couldn't be immediately reached for comment Wednesday.

Pat Elder faces a felony charges in McHenry County after an alleged aggravated DUI incident


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'I am not a crisis actor': Florida teens fire back at right-wing conspiracy theoristsLital Donner, youth director for Congregation Kol Tikvah, comforts Aria Siccone, 14, a 9th grade student survivor from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where over a dozen were killed in a mass shooting on Wednesday, after Aria told her story of that day to a legislator, as they challenge lawmakers in the state capitol on gun control reform, in Tallahassee, Fla., Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Wed, 21 Feb 2018 20:00:00 GMT

Welcome, Parkland shooting survivors, to the ugly world of politics in 2018. In the aftermath of last week's school shooting in Parkland, Florida, some of the most powerful testimonies have come from the teenagers who survived the rampage. They have repeatedly detailed their harrowing experience to national news networks, many calling for stricter gun control laws while decrying President Donald Trump for not doing enough to protect students. Others have merely wept with grief while telling their stories again and again. The students have become a mobilizing force unlike any seen after previous mass shootings, planning marches and rallies in Florida and Washington, D.C. - all while mourning the friends they've so recently lost. They have also become a target of right-wing smears and innuendo. Some prominent figures in the right-wing media are suggesting that the students are making it all up, or that the children are paid actors or that their talking points have been manufactured by public relations experts on the left. An aide to a Florida legislator was even fired Tuesday after claiming two survivors who spoke to CNN were not students, but instead "actors that travel to various crisis when they happen." While these claims have no basis, they spread quickly in conservative circles on social media and among popular right-wing commentators. The students proved quite capable of defending themselves Tuesday. "I am not a crisis actor. I'm somebody who had to witness this and live through this and I continue to have to do this," 17-year-old Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School senior David Hogg told CNN's Anderson Cooper. "The fact that some of the students at Stoneman Douglas high school are showing more maturity and political action than many of our elected officials is a testament to how disgusting and broken our political system is right now in American. But we're trying to fix that." He was quickly backed up by fellow students. Sarah Chadwick, for example, tweeted that Hogg "can't act to save his life. The fact that some people think he is being payed to is hilarious." Hogg, the high school's student news director, has been among the most vocal students. He interviewed his classmates during the shooting, and has spoken passionately to various news outlets in the days since. But right-wing media websites, such as Infowars, have attacked Hogg for becoming an "overnight celebrity" of the left. Hogg has described his father as a retired FBI agent - a detail that right-wing commentators have jumped on. An Infowars story called it a "peculiar coincidence" that his father is a retired FBI agent, as "the FBI has come under fire for not preventing the Parkland massacre despite being warned about suspected killer Nikolas Cruz repeatedly beforehand." The president's son, Donald Trump Jr., liked two tweets disseminating conspiracy theories about Hogg. One tweet linked to a story in Gateway Pundit that accused Hogg's father of coaching his son in peddling "anti-T[...]


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Algonquin Township lampooned in phone system: 'For patronage employment information, press 1'Algonquin Township Highway Commissioner Andrew Gasser addresses the township board during a meeting Feb. 14.Algonquin Township Supervisor Charles Lutzow listens during a meeting Feb. 14.

Wed, 21 Feb 2018 19:38:00 GMT

ALGONQUIN TOWNSHIP – Someone reprogrammed Algonquin Township's phone system Wednesday to replace its voice mail greeting with a new message poking fun at Highway Commissioner Andrew Gasser and the township's recent in-house turmoil. Many residents called Algonquin Township's main line at 847-639-2700 and pressed zero Wednesday morning – but they didn't get connected to an operator. Instead, they heard this message: "Thank you for calling the Algonquin Township. Our offices are currently closed. For patronage employment information, press one. For information to learn more about how we are wasting taxpayer dollars, press two. To contribute to our legal defense fund, press three. For more options, or to reach gasbag, press five." The voice message, removed from the system about noon Wednesday, was a clear jab at recent turmoil inside McHenry County's most populous township, where in-house lawsuits, astronomical legal fees, numerous corruption allegations at the highway department and claims of patronage and cronyism have engulfed the community's consciousness in recent months. "It's horrible that somebody would go and tamper with our phone system to make the township look bad," Algonquin Township Supervisor Charles Lutzow said. "We've had a heck of a lot of struggle in the last couple months." It is unknown when the message was altered. Lutzow, who claimed that he hadn't heard about the message until the Northwest Herald called him to ask questions about it, said he had no idea who altered the phone system greeting. The supervisor said he made some calls and learned that a senior resident notified officials about the message about 10 a.m. Wednesday, when the greeting notified her that the township was closed. The phone system is attached to a computer in a basement room inside the township – a place where very few people have access, the supervisor said. "We don't know who did it," Lutzow said, "and we're going to have some type of internal investigation." Lutzow said he plans to have the township's information technology contractor look into the matter. As of 1 p.m. Wednesday, Lutzow was unsure whether he would get authorities involved. "This is bizarre," Lutzow said. Gasser, a target of the message, said he has no idea who broke into the phone system. He called the message a political attack. "I know it wasn't anybody in my office,” Gasser said. “It wasn’t me." Gasser speculated on who those hackers might have been aligned with. The nickname "gasbag," he said, was a nickname given to him by his predecessor's wife and former secretary, Anna May Miller. In a June 29 pos[...]


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3 things to know about furnace installations

Wed, 21 Feb 2018 15:08:14 GMT

The last thing anyone wants during these frigid winter days is a broken furnace.  Sometimes the repair can be a simple fix, while other malfunctions may require completely replacing the inoperable equipment with a new state-of-the-art furnace.

When considering replacing a faulty unit, homeowners should examine three things:

1.  Get an estimate in writing for repairs, and compare it to the cost for a new system.  If the repairs will cost more than one-third of a new unit, buying a new energy efficient system may make the most sense.

Tom Eppers, co-owner, Dowe & Wagner, a heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning company serving residential and commercial customers in Illinois and Wisconsin, states, “Heating and air-conditioning systems are the biggest users of energy in the home, responsible for up to 75 percent of the utility bill.  A new high-efficiency furnace can save up to 50 percent in operating costs over a 10-year-old furnace.”

However he adds that often simple repairs can allow an older system to provide a few more years of reliable service.  Furnaces on average last 15 to 20 years.  But when safety issues arise, such as a cracked heat exchanger which may leak toxic carbon monoxide gas, replacement is recommended.

2.  Examine the new furnace’s warranty provisions, including length of coverage for main components and parts.  Many furnace brands provide “20 years to limited lifetime” warranties on the heat exchanger, and for certain parts.

3.  Make sure heating professionals – trained to properly install equipment -- take time to completely evaluate the space to be heated completely, to determine the best size unit.  Sometimes replacing the existing furnace with an identically sized model may not provide optimum heating, due to new equipment advancements.

Dowe & Wagner : 11215 Commercial Street, Richmond, IL 60071 : 815.678.3000 : http://doweandwagner.com/

 


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Evangelist Billy Graham, who reached millions, dies at 99FILE - In this Oct. 16, 1971 file photo, Evangelist Billy Graham and President Nixon wave to a crowd of 12,500 at ceremonies honoring Graham at Charlotte, N.C. Graham, who transformed American religious life through his preaching and activism, becoming a counselor to presidents and the most widely heard Christian evangelist in history, has died. Spokesman Mark DeMoss says Graham, who long suffered from cancer, pneumonia and other ailments, died at his home in North Carolina on Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018. He was 99. (AP Photo, File)

Wed, 21 Feb 2018 14:34:00 GMT

MONTREAT, N.C. – The Rev. Billy Graham, who transformed American religious life through his preaching and activism, becoming a counselor to presidents and the most widely heard Christian evangelist in history, died Wednesday. He was 99. Graham, who long suffered from cancer, pneumonia and other ailments, died at his home in North Carolina, spokesman Mark DeMoss told The Associated Press. More than anyone else, Graham built evangelicalism into a force that rivaled liberal Protestantism and Roman Catholicism in the United States. His leadership summits and crusades in more than 185 countries and territories forged powerful global links among conservative Christians, and threw a lifeline to believers in the communist-controlled Eastern bloc. Dubbed "America's pastor," he was a confidant to U.S. presidents from Gen. Dwight Eisenhower to George W. Bush. In 1983, President Reagan gave Graham the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America's highest civilian honor. When the Billy Graham Museum and Library was dedicated in 2007 in Charlotte, former Presidents George H.W. Bush, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton attended. "When he prays with you in the Oval Office or upstairs in the White House, you feel he's praying for you, not the president," Clinton said at the ceremony. Beyond Graham's public appearances, he reached untold millions through his pioneering use of prime-time telecasts, network radio, daily newspaper columns, evangelistic feature films and globe-girdling satellite TV hookups. Graham's message was not complex or unique, yet he preached with a conviction that won over audiences worldwide. "The Bible says," was his catch phrase. His unquestioning belief in Scripture turned the Gospel into a "rapier" in his hands, he said. A tall, striking man with thick hair, stark blue eyes and a firm jaw, Graham was a commanding presence at his crusades. He would make the altar call in his powerful baritone, asking the multitudes to stand, come down the aisles and publicly make "decisions for Christ," as a choir crooned the hymn "Just As I Am." By his final crusade in 2005 in New York City, he had preached in person to more than 210 million people worldwide. No evangelist is expected to have his level of influence again. "William Franklin Graham Jr. can safely be regarded as the best who ever lived at what he did," said William Martin, author of the Graham biography "A Prophet With Honor." Born Nov. 7, 1918, on his family's dairy farm near Charlotte, North Carolina, Graham came from a fundamentalist background that expected true Bible-believers to stay clear of Christians with even the most minor differences over Scripture. But as his crusades drew support from a widening ar[...]


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Crystal Lake man involved in 2-car crash caused by foggy conditions, police say

Wed, 21 Feb 2018 06:46:00 GMT

MAPLE PARK – A two-car crash Monday morning at the corner of East County Line and Keslinger roads might have been the result of foggy conditions, according to a news release from the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office.

About 8 a.m., 22-year-old Jordan Kitoko, of the 1100 block of West Lincoln Highway in DeKalb, was traveling west on Keslinger Road when he drove his 2008 Lexus through a stop sign at the County Line Road intersection, according to the release.

Kitoko’s vehicle then struck a 2010 Suzuki Kizashi traveling south on County Line Road driven by 60-year-old Michael Wilson, of the 1300 block of Knollwood Circle, Crystal Lake. Kitoko claimed that he did not see the stop sign because of fog, the release said.

Both vehicles ended up in the southwest field, but Kitoko’s vehicle also hit a utility pole. No injuries were reported.

Kitoko was cited for disobeying a stop sign, according to the release.




Judge won't dismiss drug-induced homicide charges against McHenry manGlen Miculinic

Wed, 21 Feb 2018 06:44:00 GMT

McHENRY – More than a year after police found an unresponsive man in the restroom of a McHenry gas station, the man charged with delivering the fatal dose of heroin maintains that jurors indicted him based on “erroneous, contradicting and completely false evidence.” On March 20, Glen Miculinic will make a court appearance for the first time since a judge denied his request to dismiss the charges alleging that he dealt the heroin that killed a man who police found unresponsive last year. Defense attorney Matthew Haiduk argued Feb. 14 that a grand jury indicted Miculinic, 66, on drug-induced homicide charges based off false testimony from police at the time. At 7:35 p.m. Jan. 11, 2017, the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office responded to a call from a gas station at 2022 W. Route 120, McHenry, where a person reportedly was in the business’ restroom for about an hour. Police forced their way into the bathroom and found 55-year-old Erik K. Fredricksen unresponsive. Attempts to resuscitate Fredricksen were unsuccessful, and he was pronounced dead at the scene. He was found with a heroin-loaded syringe, a needle cap, spoon and a shoestring, according to a motion filed Nov. 16 in McHenry County court. Officers later searched Miculinic’s home in the 1200 block of Clover Lane, McHenry, on the belief that he had dealt the heroin on which Fredricksen overdosed. At the home, investigators found a number of straws with “white, powdery residue,” later found to be cocaine, according to Haiduk’s motion. During testimony before a grand jury, which has the ability to officially indict a person on the charges filed against them, a McHenry County Sheriff’s detective told jurors that “we found some straws with heroin residue inside,” according to a partial transcript of the testimony. Haiduk argued that because the man died of a heroin overdose and police only found cocaine in Miculinic’s home, there wasn’t enough physical evidence to formally charge Miculinic with drug-induced homicide – a felony that, if convicted, could land him as many as 30 years in prison. Haiduk went on to say that jurors likely believed the heroin, which wasn’t heroin at all, found in Miculinic’s home was linked to the heroin that killed Fredricksen. “[The detective’s] testimony led jurors to believe that heroin was found in [Miculinic’s] home, when clearly that was not the case, leading them to believe that [Miculinic] had delivered heroin to the deceased,” Haiduk wrote in the Nov. 16 motion. Attorneys agreed that the detective misspoke, but jurors had more convincing evidence to base their decision on, McHenry County Assistant State’s Attorney Michael Combs sai[...]Glen Miculinic


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Crystal Lake man accidentally shoots himself in hand, police say

Wed, 21 Feb 2018 06:44:00 GMT

CRYSTAL LAKE – A Crystal Lake man shot himself in the hand by accident Monday afternoon, police said.

Crystal Lake fire and police personnel were dispatched about 3:45 p.m. Monday to the 300 block of McHenry Avenue in response to a report of an “unintentional” gunshot wound to the hand.

Emergency crews took the man to an undisclosed hospital for injuries that were not life-threatening, Crystal Lake Police Sgt. Ryan Coutre said Monday night.

“It was, in fact, an accidental discharge,” Coutre said.

Crystal Lake police and fire officials could not be reached Tuesday for details about the incident.


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Woodstock North High School student arrested in connection with gun picture, threat

Wed, 21 Feb 2018 06:44:00 GMT

WOODSTOCK – A Woodstock North High School student was arrested Tuesday after he allegedly sent a threatening message and picture of a gun to a classmate via social media.

A Woodstock School District 200 parent informed high school officials of the message Tuesday morning, according to a news release from the district.

High school officials contacted the Woodstock Police Department’s school resource officer, who worked with detectives to find and interview the student and his guardian. Police completed a comprehensive threat assessment and searched the teen’s home.

The investigation revealed that the teen had sent a photo from the internet and never actually had a gun or any other weapon, Woodstock police said.

Police charged the 17-year-old boy with disorderly conduct and released him to his guardian’s custody.

The name of the alleged offender has not been released because of his age.

“In an effort to make juveniles fully aware of the consequences that could occur, the Woodstock Police Department strongly recommends that parents discuss with their children the effects of conducting alarming or disturbing actions,” Woodstock Police Chief John Lieb wrote in a statement.

The student has been removed from the school pending disciplinary proceedings that could result in suspension or expulsion, District 200 officials said.

“There is never a time when school threats are appropriate,” District 200 Superintendent Mike Moan said in a statement. “But obviously there is a heightened sense of concern among staff, students, police and parents following last week’s tragedy in Parkland, Florida. We took appropriate actions as quickly as possible to ensure student safety.”


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Deadline approaching to enter Miss Cary-Grove Business Scholarship Pageant

Wed, 21 Feb 2018 06:44:00 GMT

CARY – The deadline is approaching to enter the Cary-Grove Area Chamber of Commerce’s Miss Cary-Grove Business Scholarship Pageant 2018.

The winner of the pageant, which will be May 14 at Cary-Grove High School, receives a $2,000 scholarship.

“We have had so many amazing young women from our community involved over the years,” pageant director Lisa Raupp of Mary Kay cosmetics said in a statement. “Each year, they benefit from working with the female business leaders in the community who serve on the pageant committee. Our goal is to help these young women develop confidence and enhance their professional skills that will help them get into college and to pursue successful careers.”

The pageant focuses on leadership, professionalism and public speaking, according to a news release from the Chamber. Leading up to the main event, contestants formally are introduced to the business community and area leaders, participate in community service events and receive speaking and presentation skills training.

On the night of the pageant, women participate in an evening gown competition and an interview session, and they give a presentation to their business sponsor.

Women ages 16 to 21 who live in Cary or Fox River Grove are eligible to apply, and the deadline to turn in applications is Friday.

For an application or information, call the Chamber office at 847-639-2800 or visit www.carygrovechamber.com.

Chamber members who are interested in sponsoring a pageant contestant also are needed.




McHenry County under flood warning until Wednesday morningThe National Weather Service has issued a flood watch and flood warning for residents in northeastern Illinois, including McHenry County.

Wed, 21 Feb 2018 06:42:00 GMT

CRYSTAL LAKE – The National Weather Service issued a flood warning through Wednesday morning for residents in northeastern Illinois, including McHenry County.

The flood warning will remain in effect until 10:45 a.m. Wednesday, according to the service. A flood watch for the same area was in effect through 6 p.m. Tuesday.

The warning affected portions of northern and northeastern Illinois, including DeKalb, Kane, Lake and McHenry counties.

Doppler radar and trained weather spotters observed heavy rainfall of 2 to 4 inches Tuesday morning across the warned area, with widespread flooding likely occurring, according to the service. An estimated 1 to 3 inches fell Tuesday afternoon, with multiple rounds of showers and thunderstorms expected overnight, likely worsening the ongoing flooding.

Because the ground remains frozen, the service said, much of the rain will result in rapid runoff. Rivers and streams likely will continue to rise, which might result in additional flooding.

The National Weather Service has issued a flood watch and flood warning for residents in northeastern Illinois, including McHenry County.


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League of Women Voters of McHenry County hosts 6th Congressional District candidate forumCandidates for the 6th Congressional District speak at a forum Monday hosted at McHenry County College by the League of Women Voters of McHenry County. Democratic candidates running to challenge Republican U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam include scientist and engineer Sean Casten of Downers Grove; Becky Anderson Wilkins, co-owner of Anderson’s Bookshops and a member of the Naperville City Council; College of Lake County Trustee Amanda Howland, who lost to Roskam in the November 2016 general election; regulatory attorney and Clarendon Hills resident Jennifer Zordani; Palatine resident Ryan Huffman; Barrington Hills plan commissioner Kelly Mazeski; and Carole Cheney of Naperville.Sean Casten speaks during a League of Women Voters of McHenry County forum for 6th Congressional District candidates Monday at McHenry County College.Becky Anderson Wilkins speaks during a League of Women Voters of McHenry County forum for 6th Congressional District candidates Monday at McHenry County College.Amanda Howland speaks during a League of Women Voters of McHenry County forum for 6th Congressional District candidates Monday at McHenry County College.Jennifer Zordani speaks during a League of Women Voters of McHenry County forum for 6th Congressional District candidates Monday at McHenry County College.Ryan Huffman speaks during a League of Women Voters of McHenry County forum for 6th Congressional District candidates Monday at McHenry County College.Carole Cheney speaks during a League of Women Voters of McHenry County forum for 6th Congressional District candidates Monday at McHenry County College.Candidates for the 6th Congressional District speak at a forum Monday hosted at McHenry County College by the League of Women Voters of McHenry County. Democratic candidates running to challenge Republican U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam include scientist and engineer Sean Casten of Downers Grove; Becky Anderson Wilkins, co-owner of Anderson’s Bookshops and a member of the Naperville City Council; College of Lake County Trustee Amanda Howland, who lost to Roskam in the November 2016 general election; regulatory attorney and Clarendon Hills resident Jennifer Zordani; Palatine resident Ryan Huffman; Barrington Hills plan commissioner Kelly Mazeski; and Carole Cheney of Naperville.

Wed, 21 Feb 2018 06:42:00 GMT

The League of Women Voters of McHenry County hosted a forum Monday for Democratic hopefuls seeking to challenge U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam for Illinois' 6th Congressional District seat.

Candidates for the 6th Congressional District speak at a forum Monday hosted at McHenry County College by the League of Women Voters of McHenry County. Democratic candidates running to challenge Republican U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam include scientist and engineer Sean Casten of Downers Grove; Becky Anderson Wilkins, co-owner of Anderson’s Bookshops and a member of the Naperville City Council; College of Lake County Trustee Amanda Howland, who lost to Roskam in the November 2016 general election; regulatory attorney and Clarendon Hills resident Jennifer Zordani; Palatine resident Ryan Huffman; Barrington Hills plan commissioner Kelly Mazeski; and Carole Cheney of Naperville.Sean Casten speaks during a League of Women Voters of McHenry County forum for 6th Congressional District candidates Monday at McHenry County College.Becky Anderson Wilkins speaks during a League of Women Voters of McHenry County forum for 6th Congressional District candidates Monday at McHenry County College.Amanda Howland speaks during a League of Women Voters of McHenry County forum for 6th Congressional District candidates Monday at McHenry County College.Jennifer Zordani speaks during a League of Women Voters of McHenry County forum for 6th Congressional District candidates Monday at McHenry County College.Ryan Huffman speaks during a League of Women Voters of McHenry County forum for 6th Congressional District candidates Monday at McHenry County College.Carole Cheney speaks during a League of Women Voters of McHenry County forum for 6th Congressional District candidates Monday at McHenry County College.Candidates for the 6th Congressional District speak at a forum Monday hosted at McHenry County College by the League of Women Voters of McHenry County. Democratic candidates running to challenge Republican U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam include scientist and engineer Sean Casten of Downers Grove; Becky Anderson Wilkins, co-owner of Anderson’s Bookshops and a member of the Naperville City Council; College of Lake County Trustee Amanda Howland, who lost to Roskam in the November 2016 general election; regulatory attorney and Clarendon Hills resident Jennifer Zordani; Palatine resident Ryan Huffman; Barrington Hills plan commissioner Kelly Mazeski; and Carole Cheney of Naperville.


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Gubernatorial candidate Jeanne Ives defends 'edgy' campaign ads: I stand by itGubernatorial candidate Jeanne Ives listens to a question from the Northwest Herald Editorial Board on Monday in Crystal Lake.

Wed, 21 Feb 2018 06:41:00 GMT

CRYSTAL LAKE – State Rep. Jeanne Ives stands behind her controversial gubernatorial campaign ads – inflaming TV spots that attack Gov. Bruce Rauner’s policies with portrayals of a transgender woman and a woman flaunting a free abortion. One of her ads focuses on Rauner’s signing of a law allowing transgender residents to change their birth certificates – a law that could have serious ramifications, Ives said. “You will have guys – full male anatomy – in girls’ locker rooms,” she said. The 53-year-old West Point graduate who served in the U.S. Army from 1987 to 1993 met with the Northwest Herald Editorial Board for an interview Monday and defended the ads as a precise “depiction” of the policies her rival has endorsed. A self-described social conservative, Ives has been on the campaign trail in recent weeks claiming that Rauner has abandoned Republican principles on abortion and gender issues, and has shown he is not up to the task of leading Republican opposition to the Democratic Party’s agenda. The candidate staunchly defended her contentious ads, which she has described as “edgy.” “If I had just done the voice-over on that ad, nobody says anything, but the visual is what alarmed people,” Ives said. “They didn’t like seeing the visual, but the visual is important to articulate exactly what Rauner put in in terms of policy.”  The spot features actors portraying a transgender woman, a supporter of sanctuary protection for immigrants and a woman thanking taxpayers for financing her abortion. Ives is attacking Rauner, a first-term governor, for signing laws giving transgender residents the power to alter their birth certificates and allowing Medicaid- and state-insurance-covered abortions. The transgender law doesn’t address public restrooms. “You can simply decide that mentally you want to be a girl and put on a dress and be a girl,” Ives said. “His policy says there’s no qualification on having done any medical intervention at all, there’s no sign-off by a medical doctor – you can one day decide that you feel like you’re a girl and put on a dress.” Ives described Rauner’s transgender policy as “willy-nilly.” “Before, we actually had standards in order to change the designation of your sex on a birth certificate,” Ives said. “Now there are literally no standards to do so.” Ives’ ads also peg Rauner’s legislation in [...]


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