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McHenry man killed in plane crash in Wisconsin

Sun, 28 May 2017 11:31:00 GMT

McHenry – A McHenry man was one of two people killed Friday in a plane crash in Sheboygan Falls, Wisconsin.

The pilot of the plane was identified as McHenry resident Dennis Hall, 67, according to the Sheboygan County Sheriff’s Office. The passenger was Filip Smecko, 19, of Janesville, Wisconsin.

The Sheboygan County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call about 12:33 p.m. Friday reporting that a plane had crashed in the area of Highway O and Willow Road. Upon arrival, officers confirmed that a single-engine plane had crashed in a field.

The plane that crashed was an Aerotek Pitts S-2A fixed wing single-engine aircraft, according to the sheriff’s office.

Deputies and emergency personnel from the City of Sheboygan Falls Fire Department and Orange Cross Ambulance Service responded.

The cause of the crash is under investigation.


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Supreme Court travel ban case could test Trump's reachFILE - In this Sept. 27, 2016 file photo, 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, Chief Justice Roger Gregory, gestures during an interview in his office in Richmond, Va. The 4th U.S. Circuit of Appeals dealt another blow to President Donald Trump’s revised travel ban targeting six-Muslim majority countries on Thursday, May 25, 2017, siding with groups that say the policy illegally targets Muslims. “Congress granted the president broad power to deny entry to aliens, but that power is not absolute. It cannot go unchecked when, as here, the president wields it through an executive edict that stands to cause irreparable harm to individuals across this nation,” Gregory wrote. (AP Photo/Steve Helber, File)

Sun, 28 May 2017 05:19:00 GMT

WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court may soon decide how courts are supposed to view presidential power in the age of Donald Trump. The administration has promised a high court appeal of a ruling blocking the president’s ban on visitors from six majority Muslim countries. The case could be a major test for the young administration and for a court that has its 5-4 conservative majority restored with the confirmation of Trump nominee Neil Gorsuch as the ninth justice. First, the justices must agree to intervene – something they’ll probably do considering the importance of the issue. If so, then they will be dealing with an area of the law, immigration, where courts have given presidents a lot of leeway. But the president’s power over immigration is not absolute, and several lower courts have prevented Trump from putting in place a temporary ban on travel to the U.S. by residents of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. The travel policy was first issued a week after Trump took office on Jan. 20 and then revised following initial unfavorable court rulings. The dispute is unusual because Trump himself has supplied much of the evidence that opponents said demonstrated that anti-Muslim prejudice lay behind the policy. At issue in the case are statements Trump made during the campaign, in interviews and in his actions as president. “We’ve never really had, at least in recent decades a case like this which involves blatant evidence of pretextual discrimination by the president himself and also in the immigration sphere,” said Ilya Somin, a professor at George Mason University’s Antonin Scalia Law School. The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the travel policy Thursday, saying that Trump’s comments helped show that the policy was “steeped in animus and directed at a single religious group.” One key issue may be whether statements from candidate Trump should carry any weight. Three dissenting judges on the 4th Circuit said the statements shouldn’t because candidates say many things while campaigning and shouldn’t necessarily be held to them. Josh Blackman, a professor at the South Texas College of Law in Houston, said he thinks the Trump factor that was central to the 4th Circuit’s ruling could be less pronounced at the Supreme Court. The court could pay more attention to declarations from Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly in support of the policy. “The justices recognize their decisions will long outlive Donald J. Trump. They’ll be a little more careful to recognize that this isn’t only for or about Trump,” Blackman said. Yet it may not be possible for the justices to separate the issue from Trump himself, said Richard Primus, a University of Michigan law professor. “If a different president had issued this order, would it be unconstitutional? The question falsely assumes that another president could have issued this order. This order only makes sense from an administration that wants to demonstrate to its constituency that it doesn’t like Muslims,” Primus said. “Neither Obama nor Clinton, or either President Bush, would have issued this order.” It’s hardly clear how the Supreme Court might eventually rule in the case, but Justice Anthony Kennedy probably will be in the majority whatever the outcome. That’s because Kennedy, closer to the ideological center of the court than any of his colleagues, often casts the decisive vote when the court is otherwise split between conservatives and liberals. Both sides in the dispute have pointed to an opinion Kennedy wrote in 2015 in Kerry v. Din, a case in which an American citizen so[...]


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British police ask public for information about Manchester concert bomberCourteeners' fans are searched as they arrive for a concert Saturday at Old Trafford cricket ground in Manchester, England. Security was ramped up after more than 20 people were killed in an explosion after an Ariana Grande concert at the Manchester Arena late Monday evening.

Sun, 28 May 2017 05:19:00 GMT

MANCHESTER, England – British police on Saturday released surveillance-camera images of the Manchester concert bomber on the night of the attack as they appealed for more information about his final days. Authorities said they had made major progress in unraveling the plot behind the concert bombing but acknowledged there were still gaps in their knowledge. Britain reduced its terrorism threat level a notch Saturday, from “critical” to “severe,” yet security remained high as jittery residents tried to enjoy a long holiday weekend. Armed police officers and soldiers were deployed at soccer matches, concerts and other big events. Salman Abedi, a 22-year-old Briton of Libyan descent, died in Monday’s explosion, which killed 22 others and wounded nearly 120 as crowds were leaving an Ariana Grande concert. The photos released by police show Abedi on the night of the bombing, wearing sneakers, jeans, a dark jacket and a baseball cap. The straps of a knapsack are visible on his shoulders. Greater Manchester Police chief Ian Hopkins and Neil Basu, the national coordinator of counterterrorism policing, urged people to contact police if they had information about Abedi’s movements between May 18 and Monday night. “In the past five days, we have gathered significant information about Abedi, his associates, his finances, the places he had been, how the device was built and the wider conspiracy,” they said in a statement. “Our priorities are to understand the run-up to this terrible event and to understand if more people were involved in planning this attack.” British Prime Minister Theresa May said “a significant amount of police activity” and several arrests had led to the level being lowered. But she urged Britons to remain vigilant and said soldiers would remain at high-profile sites throughout the weekend, and start reducing their presence beginning Tuesday. A severe threat still means an attack is “highly likely,” according to the scale set by Britain’s Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre. Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley, Britain’s top counterterrorism police officer, said authorities have dismantled a “large part” of the network around bomber Salman Abedi. But Rowley said there were still “gaps in our understanding” of the plot, as investigators probed Abedi’s potential links to jihadis in Britain, Europe, Libya and the Middle East. “There will be more arrests and there will be more searches,” he said. Police made two more arrests in Manchester on Saturday on suspicion of terrorism offenses, bringing the number of suspects in custody to 11. All are men, aged between 18 and 44. In addition, Abedi’s father and younger brother were detained in Libya. Police disclosed new details about Abedi’s’ movements, saying he returned to Britain four days before the attack. His father has said Abedi was in Libya until earlier this month and had told family he planned to go to Saudi Arabia on a pilgrimage. Police said they think Abedi assembled his bomb at a rented apartment in central Manchester that was raided by officers Wednesday. Investigators have searched 17 properties, including Abedi’s home in south Manchester and other houses in nearby districts. Residents were evacuated from streets in the south Manchester neighborhood of Moss Side in what police called a precaution as one search was carried out Saturday. Photos showed an army bomb-disposal unit at the property. Another place searched was an apartment in a Manchester high-rise that British media s[...]


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Earth's outlook not good if U.S. quits climate dealFrench President Francois Holland (right), French Foreign Minister and president of the COP21 Laurent Fabius (second right), United Nations climate chief Christiana Figueres (left) and United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon hold their hands up in celebration Dec. 12, 2015, after the final conference at the COP21, the United Nations conference on climate change, in Le Bourget, north of Paris.

Sun, 28 May 2017 05:18:00 GMT

WASHINGTON – Earth is likely to reach more dangerous levels of warming even sooner if the U.S. retreats from its pledge to cut carbon dioxide pollution, scientists said. That’s because America contributes so much to rising temperatures. President Donald Trump, who once proclaimed global warming a Chinese hoax, said in a tweet Saturday that he would make his “final decision” this coming week on whether the United States stays in or leaves the 2015 Paris climate change accord in which nearly every nation agreed to curb its greenhouse gas emissions. Leaders of seven wealthy democracies, at a summit in Sicily, urged Trump to commit his administration to the agreement, but said in their closing statement that the U.S., for now, “is not in a position to join the consensus.” “I hope they decide in the right way,” said Italy’s prime minister, Paolo Gentiloni. More downbeat was German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who said the leaders’ talks were “very difficult, if not to say, very unsatisfactory.” In an attempt to understand what could happen to the planet if the U.S. pulls out of Paris, The Associated Press consulted with more than two dozen climate scientists and analyzed a special computer model scenario designed to calculate potential effects. Scientists said it would worsen an already bad problem and make it far more difficult to prevent crossing a dangerous global temperature threshold. Calculations suggest it could result in emissions of up to 3 billion tons of additional carbon dioxide in the air a year. When it adds up year after year, scientists said that is enough to melt ice sheets faster, raise seas higher and trigger more extreme weather. “If we lag, the noose tightens,” said Princeton University climate scientist Michael Oppenheimer, co-editor of the peer-reviewed journal Climatic Change. One expert group ran a worst-case computer simulation of what would happen if the U.S. does not curb emissions, but other nations do meet their targets. It found that America would add as much as half a degree of warming to the globe by the end of century. Scientists are split on how reasonable and likely that scenario is. Many said because of cheap natural gas that displaces coal and growing adoption of renewable energy sources, it is unlikely that the U.S. would stop reducing its carbon pollution even if it abandoned the accord, so the effect would likely be smaller. Others say it could be worse because other countries might follow a U.S. exit, leading to more emissions from both the U.S. and the rest. Another computer simulation team put the effect of the U.S. pulling out somewhere between 0.18 to 0.36 degrees Fahrenheit. While scientists may disagree on the computer simulations, they overwhelmingly agreed that the warming the planet is undergoing now would be faster and more intense. The world without U.S. efforts would have a far more difficult time avoiding a dangerous threshold: keeping the planet from warming more than 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit above pre-industrial levels. The world already has warmed by just more than half that amount – with about one-fifth of the past heat-trapping carbon dioxide emissions coming from the U.S. usually from the burning of coal, oil and gas. So the efforts are really about preventing another 1.6 degrees Fahrenheit (0.9 degrees Celsius) from now. “Developed nations – particularly the U.S. and Europe – are responsible for the lion’s share of past emissions, with China now playing a major role,” said Rutgers University climate [...]


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New Dennis Hastert accuser sues former speaker, Yorkville School District 115Another alleged abuse victim has come forward with allegations against former House Speaker Dennis Hastert, of Plano.

Sun, 28 May 2017 05:17:00 GMT

YORKVILLE – Another former Yorkville student has filed a lawsuit against former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert, as well as Yorkville School District 115, detailing allegations of a rape that occurred in the 1970s. The alleged victim, named Richard Doe in the lawsuit that was filed Friday in Kendall County Circuit Court, states in his lawsuit that Hastert sodomized him in a bathroom when the victim was in fourth grade, and that the county state's attorney at the time threatened him with criminal charges upon hearing the story years later. A court hearing is set for 9 a.m. Tuesday at the Kendall County Courthouse in Yorkville on a request by the alleged victim's attorneys to use a pseudonym instead of Doe's real name. Doe and his attorneys named Hastert as a defendant in the civil lawsuit and the school district as a "respondent in discovery," which means the district is not a defendant in the lawsuit but could be if enough information is obtained to make it a defendant. The lawsuit accuses Hastert of battery, false imprisonment, negligent infliction of emotional distress and intentional infliction of emotional distress. When asked about the lawsuit, District 115 spokeswoman Kristine Liptrot said she was "unaware of the new allegations that have been brought forward" and that she "cannot comment on pending litigation." "However, if law enforcement needs our assistance, we are always available to help in an investigation," Liptrot said. The lawsuit was filed by attorney Kristi Browne of the Patterson Law Firm of Chicago, which also is representing a person known as Individual A, a former Yorkville student who initially accused Hastert of abuse and whose hush-money agreement with Hastert led to the federal indictment and conviction of the former speaker for banking violations. Hastert was convicted and sentenced for those violations in April 2016, and he is slated to be released Aug. 16 from the Federal Medical Center in Rochester, Minnesota. Attack and intimidation alleged The lawsuit states that when Doe was nine or 10 years old and in fourth grade, in the spring or summer of 1973 or 1974, he was riding his bike along Game Farm Road in Yorkville and stopped in what was then the state Game Farm Building (now the location of Yorkville City Hall) to use the bathroom. Doe claims he was sitting on a toilet in a stall in a bathroom when he heard "a male voice mutter something outside the stall door." "Suddenly, the stall door opened and a large man (now known to be Hastert) entered the stall," the lawsuit states. "[Doe] believes the man's genitals were exposed at that time. Hastert grabbed (Doe) by the neck, bent him over the toilet, and proceeded to forcefully sodomize [Doe]." After the alleged assault took place, Hastert left the bathroom, the lawsuit states. The lawsuit says Doe "saw Hastert's face at that time but did not recognize him." The lawsuit states that several weeks after the alleged attack, Doe was in gym class at Yorkville Grade School, which is located next door to the old Yorkville High School, where Hastert was a teacher and coach at the time. Doe claims Hastert walked into the gym class and talked to his teacher. Doe said upon recognizing Hastert, he began "shaking and crying." Hastert then approached Doe, the lawsuit states. "Hastert took [Doe] by the neck and led him into the hallway," the lawsuit states. "In the hallway, Hastert dropped to his knees and asked [Doe] if he told anyone about the assault. [Doe], still crying, said no. Hastert warned [Doe] against reporting the attack, threatening tha[...]


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Eighth-grader collecting used band instruments for Crystal Lake students in needSarah Nader – snader@shawmedia.com Kate Lanza, an eighth-grader at Hannah Beardsley Middle School, poses for a portrait Thursday at her Crystal Lake home. Lanza is collecting used band instruments for her Girl Scout Silver Award. The donations will be given to Crystal Lake Elementary School District 47 students who are unable to afford to participate in band. The drive runs through June 30.Sarah Nader – snader@shawmedia.com Kate Lanza, an eighth-grade at Hannah Beardsley Middle School, poses for a portrait Thursday surrounded by musical instruments at her Crystal Lake home. Lanza is collecting used band instruments for her Girl Scout Silver Award. The donations will be given to Crystal Lake Elementary School District 47 students who are unable to afford to participate in band. The drive runs through June 30.

Sun, 28 May 2017 05:16:00 GMT

CRYSTAL LAKE – Crystal Lake residents with unused band equipment can donate their instruments to benefit Crystal Lake Elementary School District 47 students interested in music.

Kate Lanza, an eighth-grader at Hannah Beardsley Middle School, plays the clarinet and has been in band since fifth grade. After talking with her former band teacher, Keith Hulen, she realized not every student could afford to play an instrument. The 14-year-old then decided to create a fundraiser to help get the necessary tools to others in the district.

“That’s my goal, is to get one instrument to every kid, because I am having a fabulous experience in band, and if I can help one more kid get that too, then that’s my goal,” Kate said.

The band instrument drive started Monday and will go through June 30.

Items needed include woodwind instruments, brass instruments and percussion kits. The drive also is requesting foldable music stands and “Standard of Excellence, Book 1” for the suggested instruments.

Scott Sampson, District 47 music coordinator and Hannah Beardsley band director, has helped support the collection drive.

“I’m glad that we had a student step forward and force us to move forward on this thing more,” Sampson said. “It’s a great idea, and I really hope that it allows a number of students to get into music.”

Kate has been a Girl Scout for nine years, and the fundraiser is part of her Girl Scouts Silver Award project. The Silver Award is a high honor given to a Girl Scout Cadette who helps give back to their community.

“We wanted to show that Girl Scouts is more than just selling cookies,” said Beth Lanza, Kate’s mother. “She’s learned over nine years the skills to be able to even have the confidence to come up with a project like this.”

Piano Trends Music Co. in Crystal Lake is participating in the drive. People can drop off their donations at the local music store, 35 Berkshire Drive, Crystal Lake, during normal business hours.

For information, email 47instrumentdrive@gmail.com.

Sarah Nader – snader@shawmedia.com Kate Lanza, an eighth-grader at Hannah Beardsley Middle School, poses for a portrait Thursday at her Crystal Lake home. Lanza is collecting used band instruments for her Girl Scout Silver Award. The donations will be given to Crystal Lake Elementary School District 47 students who are unable to afford to participate in band. The drive runs through June 30.Sarah Nader – snader@shawmedia.com Kate Lanza, an eighth-grade at Hannah Beardsley Middle School, poses for a portrait Thursday surrounded by musical instruments at her Crystal Lake home. Lanza is collecting used band instruments for her Girl Scout Silver Award. The donations will be given to Crystal Lake Elementary School District 47 students who are unable to afford to participate in band. The drive runs through June 30.


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Algonquin Commons to offer free document shredding event

Sun, 28 May 2017 05:16:00 GMT

ALGONQUIN – Algonquin Commons is hosting ShredFest on June 3.

From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., community members can shred bank statements, outdated medical records, old tax returns or other papers that contain personally identifiable information, according to a news release form Algonquin Commons. 

The free event aims to help protect individuals from identity theft, and shredding services will be provided by Accurate Document Destruction Inc., according to the release. 

Paper should not have bindings or large clips, but staples and paper clips do not need to be removed, according to the release.

Shredding is limited to two boxes a vehicle.

Accurate Document Destruction Inc. trucks will be located near Art Van Furniture, 1500 S. Randall Road. 

– Northwest Herald




Renovations underway at 1776 Restaurant in Crystal LakeH. Rick Bamman – hbamman@shawmedia.com Tessler Construction Co. employees Kurt Hendricks and Rusty Lavender stack lumber to be used for interior framing at 1776 Restaurant in Crystal Lake. The business was opened in 1990 by Andy and Terrie Andresky, and Rhienna Trevino recently took over operations, which has included a recent remodeling and rebranding.

Sun, 28 May 2017 05:16:00 GMT

CRYSTAL LAKE – A well-known Crystal Lake restaurant is getting a fresh look while still offering customers farm-to-table food items.

1776 Restaurant, 397 W. Virginia St., Crystal Lake, started renovations May 15 and plans to reopen in early June.

Owner Rhienna McClain Trevino said the entire restaurant is being remodeled, including a new roof, gutters, windows, trim, front door, dining tables, kitchen and bar. Trevino said renovations are expected to cost $300,000.

“We want to show people we’re invested,” Trevino said. “It’s important for people to understand that we’re doing this because we believe in this place, and we love our community.”

With these more modern renovations, Trevino said she’s hoping the restaurant will look more appealing to younger generations.

“We’re doing a lot of rebranding to update the space while offering great food and service still to make it more appealing,” Trevino said.

The restaurant originally opened in 1990. Trevino, who lives in Crystal Lake, bought the restaurant in November from longtime owners Andy and Terrie Andresky.

Trevino said she was a frequent diner at the restaurant before buying it.

“Terrie and Andy have built an amazing legacy in this place,” Trevino said. “People come here for the great food and great service. I just wanted to make sure that matches the atmosphere better. So we’re making it a little prettier while really preserving that history.”

The restaurant offers locally sourced food and caters to people with food allergies, since the restaurant boasts gluten-free dishes.

“I was coming here before I was diagnosed with celiac disease, but after, it was one of the few places I could go to since they had gluten-free items,” Trevino said.

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that causes the ingestion of gluten to lead to damage in the small intestine.

The restaurant’s total capacity will be about 100 people, including the dining room and bar area. The new bar will have twice as much seating as before, and it will include new wine lockers that are temperature controlled. As for staff, Trevino said it has retained most of the same staff during the transition, which includes about 22 employees.

After the restaurant opens, Trevino said she is planning to have a garage sale during the summer to sell some of the old decor and mementos.

H. Rick Bamman – hbamman@shawmedia.com Tessler Construction Co. employees Kurt Hendricks and Rusty Lavender stack lumber to be used for interior framing at 1776 Restaurant in Crystal Lake. The business was opened in 1990 by Andy and Terrie Andresky, and Rhienna Trevino recently took over operations, which has included a recent remodeling and rebranding.


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Coyote pup found injured in Barrington Hills recovering from surgeryThe coyote pup found injured near Penny Road Pond is recovering after surgery Thursday at Flint Creek Wildlife Rehabilitation in Barrington. The nonprofit's founder and director, Dawn Keller, said there's a possibility the pup could be released.

Sun, 28 May 2017 05:16:00 GMT

BARRINGTON HILLS – An injured coyote pup found in a container in Barrington Hills earlier this month underwent surgery Thursday to repair the coyote’s right rear leg.

According to Flint Creek Wildlife Rehabilitation’s Facebook post, the injured coyote was discovered May 11 with six dead coyote pups near Penny Road Pond.

The pup has been in the care of the Barrington nonprofit since the day of its discovery, and the operation was performed Thursday by veterinarians. Doctors from Niles Animal Hospital and Bird Medical Center took X-rays and inserted small pins to straighten the coyote’s tibia.

“When we first picked him up, the prognosis was not good, but at this point, given the success of the surgery on Thursday, there’s a possibility he could be releasable,” said Dawn Keller, founder and director of Flint Creek Wildlife Rehabilitation.

“At this point, he’s eating normally and looks really good, so we’re just waiting to see how the leg heals,” Keller said.

An investigation into the incident is ongoing, and there are no new details at this time, an official with the Forest Preserves of Cook County said.

Anyone with tips regarding the incident can call the Illinois Department of Natural Resources’ Tip Line at 1-877-236-7529.

The coyote pup found injured near Penny Road Pond is recovering after surgery Thursday at Flint Creek Wildlife Rehabilitation in Barrington. The nonprofit's founder and director, Dawn Keller, said there's a possibility the pup could be released.


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Friend of motorcyclists killed in crash pushes to improve McHenry intersectionKelly Liebmann of Wonder Lake stands near the memorial at Charles J. Miller and River roads in McHenry Township for her friends, Carpentersville motorcycle riders Tanya Schafer, 42, and Dennis Edward Spears Jr., 49. Liebmann convinced McHenry County to add a red left turn arrow to the intersection. Liebmann obtained records through Freedom of Information Act requests that revealed that the intersection has had an uptick in crashes in recent years.H. Rick Bamman – hbamman@shawmedia.com Kelly Liebmann of Wonder Lake convinced the county to add a left turn arrow to the intersection of Charles J. Miller and River roads after two of her motorcyclist friends died there in a crash. Liebmann obtained records through a Freedom of Information Act request revealing that the intersection has had an uptick in crashes in the past eight years.H. Rick Bamman – hbamman@shawmedia.com Carpentersville motorcyclists Tanya Schafer, 42, and Dennis Edward Spears Jr., 49, were killed at the intersection of Charles J. Miller and River roads in McHenry Township. Kelly Liebmann of Wonder Lake, a friend of the pair, convinced McHenry County to add a left turn arrow to the intersection. Liebmann obtained records through a Freedom of Information Act request that revealed that the intersection has had an uptick in crashes in recent years.

Sun, 28 May 2017 05:15:00 GMT

McHENRY – A roadside memorial near the intersection of Charles J. Miller and River roads honors the lives of motorcyclists Dennis Spears Jr. and Tanya Schafer, who were killed in an April 9 crash. Workers soon will erect a permanent memorial in the form of a new traffic signal – allowing a left turn from northbound River Road onto westbound Miller Road only with a green arrow – to help prevent their fate from befalling anyone else. The determination of a family friend who was skeptical about the safety of the rural McHenry intersection might have helped. Wonder Lake resident and new Greenwood Township Trustee Kelly Liebmann knew the Carpentersville couple through the Libertarian Party and other endeavors, becoming close to them. They last had met at the state party’s annual convention April 7 and 8 in Tinley Park. On April 9, Spears, 49, and Schafer, 42, were dead. “It was just complete shock that we had seen them all weekend, and then they were gone,” she said. Spears was driving their 2017 Harley-Davidson motorcycle south on River Road shortly before 8 p.m. and had the green light to go straight through the intersection, according to the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office. But a 41-year-old woman traveling north on River Road didn’t yield while turning left onto Miller Road, and crashed her van into the couple. Liebmann and other friends mourned their deaths – the couple only had been married three years. But it only took a few minutes of poking around on the internet to conclude that maybe their deaths didn’t have to happen. She came across the Facebook page of Lake and McHenry County Scanner, a group of volunteers that keeps a 24-hour vigil on police and fire calls. The comments on the post regarding the crash indicated to Liebmann that the crash that claimed her friends’ lives was no quirk. One poster called it “a rough corner,” while a nearby resident posted that the intersection has seen “nothing but accidents.” “That should be a left on green arrow only because whoever designed that intersection had no clue what they were doing,” the resident wrote. Liebmann reached out to county officials. Although she was told in an email that the intersection was being looked at, they referred her to a proposed safety analysis for River Road to start in 2020 as part of the county’s latest five-year transportation plan. Although the County Board’s Transportation Committee in recent months had talked with transportation staff about getting the intersection signaling improved, Liebmann decided to also poke around on her own. Liebmann asked the sheriff’s office under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act for the total number of crashes, injuries and fatalities at the intersection dating to 2008. The 10-year time frame also included the 2013 redesign of the intersection as part of widening the Charles Miller Road bridge over the Fox River. Her May 4 FOIAs came back a week later, and they verified what she had seen online. There were no crashes or injuries recorded in 2008 – in 2016, there were 21, or almost two a month. There were 10 so far as of May 5 – the deaths of Spears and Schafer were the only fatalities in the 10-year time period – but there have been at least two more crashes since, Liebmann said. The annual number of crashes and injuries are higher than they were before the improvements. Although that doesn’t m[...]


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Turning Point of McHenry County urges Illinois to restore funding

Sun, 28 May 2017 05:15:00 GMT

WOODSTOCK – Leaders from McHenry County’s only domestic violence agency are calling on Illinois lawmakers to fix the state’s budget as they struggle to stay afloat without state funding.

Turning Point of McHenry County has been without state funding since mid-October. It is one of many domestic violence agencies across the state that were forgotten in last summer’s stopgap budget, agency leaders said.

Executive Director Jane Farmer said the organization will be $300,000 short in state funds by the end of the fiscal year in June.

“It’s kind of critical that we get paid because we’ve provided the services already,” Farmer said.

Turning Point of McHenry County has walk-in services in Woodstock and an overnight shelter to house women and their children who have escaped abusive relationships. It also has an office at the courthouse to help people obtain orders of protection. Its staff is on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Turning Point served 1,645 clients throughout all programs and took 3,083 calls on its crisis line, according to fiscal 2015 statistics.

There also were 3,972 nights of shelter given, and 211 child victims of domestic violence were helped.

Although the agency has not had to reduce services, it has had to seek out alternative funding sources. Farmer said Turning Point has “made do” with grants, funding from the McHenry County Mental Health Board and donations.

“It’s really hard to be in the position that I’m in because I can’t see cutting services for men, women and children who are trying to change their lives,” she said. “Without us, I don’t know what they would do.”

The Illinois House is pushing a bill to streamline $18 million for shelters across the state.

Illinois House Bill 3259 was passed Thursday by the House Appropriations Human Services Committee, the first step toward providing full funding for domestic violence services.

The bill will move to the House floor, and then it could be sent to the Senate during the holiday weekend while the Legislature is in Springfield, all while May 31, the regular session deadline, looms.

Farmer said she’s working alongside the Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence and has spoken with McHenry County legislators in hopes of getting the bill passed. She said that although many have expressed their support, she recognizes that actions speak louder than words.

Farmer said she remains hopeful that the Legislature will pass a bill before the end of the legislative session. In the meantime, Farmer said it will be business as usual for as long as the agency can continue to keep its doors open.

“As long as we can continue to do this, then we will do this,” she said. “I can’t imagine what this county would do without Turning Point. It would be terrible.”




In opioid crisis, accidental overdose a new risk for policeThis May 25, 2017 photo shows Harford County Major John R. Simpson is seen at the Harford County Sheriff's Office, MD., holding up elements of a protective suit that the sheriff's office is now providing to deputies sent to crime scenes involving heroin and synthetic opioids. After a deputy accidentally overdosed while at a drug scene, the department rushed to procure protective gear and establish protocols for officers responding to drug scenes. (AP Photo/Juliet Linderman)

Sun, 28 May 2017 05:15:00 GMT

BEL AIR, Md. – As Cpl. Kevin Phillips pulled up to investigate a suspected opioid overdose, paramedics were already at the Maryland home giving a man a life-saving dose of the overdose reversal drug Narcan. Drugs were easy to find: a package of heroin on the railing leading to a basement; another batch on a shelf above a nightstand. The deputy already had put on gloves and grabbed evidence baggies, his usual routine for canvassing a house. He swept the first package from the railing into a bag and sealed it; then a torn Crayola crayon box went from the nightstand into a bag of its own. Inside that basement nightstand: even more bags, but nothing that looked like drugs. Then – moments after the man being treated by paramedics came to – the overdose hit. “My face felt like it was burning. I felt extremely light-headed. I felt like I was getting dizzy,” he said. “I stood there for two seconds and thought, ‘Oh my God, I didn’t just get exposed to something.’ I just kept thinking about the carfentanil.” Carfentanil came to mind because just hours earlier, Phillips’ boss, Harford County Sheriff Jeffrey Gahler, sent an email to deputies saying the synthetic opioid so powerful that it’s used to tranquilize elephants had, for the first time ever, showed up in a toxicology report from a fatal overdose in the county. The sheriff had urged everyone to use extra caution when responding to drug scenes. Carfentanil and fentanyl are driving forces in the most deadly drug epidemic the United States has ever seen. Because of their potency, it’s not just addicts who are increasingly at risk – it’s those tasked with saving lives and investigating the illegal trade. Police departments across the U.S. are arming officers with the opioid antidote Narcan. Now, some first responders have had to use it on colleagues, or themselves. The paramedic who administered Phillips’ Narcan on May 19 started feeling sick herself soon after; she didn’t need Narcan but was treated for exposure to the drugs. Earlier this month, an Ohio officer overdosed in a police station after brushing off with a bare hand a trace of white powder left from a drug scene. Like Phillips, he was revived after several doses of Narcan. Last fall, 11 SWAT officers in Hartford, Connecticut, were sickened after a flash-bang grenade sent particles of heroin and fentanyl airborne. Phillips’ overdose was eye-opening for his department, Gahler said. Before then, deputies didn’t have a protocol for overdose scenes; many showed up without any protective gear. Gahler has since spent $5,000 for 100 kits that include a protective suit, booties, gloves and face masks. Carfentanil can be absorbed through the skin and easily inhaled, and a single particle is so powerful that simply touching it can cause an overdose, Gahler said. Additional gear will be distributed to investigators tasked with cataloguing overdose scenes – heavy-duty gloves and more robust suits. Gahler said 37 people have died so far this year from overdoses in his county, which is between Baltimore and Philadelphia. The county has received toxicology reports on 19 of those cases, and each showed signs of synthetic opioids. “This is all a game-changer for us in law enforcement,” Gahler said. “We are going to have to re-evaluate daily what we’re doing. We are feeling our way through this every single day ... we’re dealing with something that’s out of our realm. I don’t want to lose a deputy [...]


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Iraq says Iranian commander killed fighting IS

Sun, 28 May 2017 03:40:00 GMT

BAGHDAD – A senior Iranian Revolutionary Guard commander was killed in an explosion during clashes with the Islamic State group west of Mosul, an Iraqi official told The Associated Press on Saturday, as aid groups voiced concern for the safety of civilians after Iraq’s government called for residents in militant-held neighborhoods to flee immediately. Gen. Shaaban Nasiiri was an adviser to Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite Quds Force. Soleimani has acted as a key adviser to Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces – an umbrella group of Mostly Shiite militia forces sanctioned by the Iraqi government – in the fight against IS since 2014. The Iraqi official, speaking on condition of anonymity in line with regulations, said Nasiiri was killed Friday and is the first senior Iranian commander to die in the Mosul fight. Inside Mosul, U.S.-backed Iraqi forces began the push to retake the Old City on Saturday morning, moving in on the district from three directions, according to a statement from Nineveh operations command, the authority overseeing the Mosul fight. The IS hold on Mosul has shrunk to just a handful of neighborhoods in and around the Old City district where narrow streets and a dense civilian population is expected to complicate the fight there. Iraqi planes dropped leaflets over the area Friday telling civilians to flee “immediately” to “safe passages” where they will be greeted by “guides, protectors and (transportation) to reach safe places,” according to a government statement. However, it is unclear how the government intends to ensure safe passage for civilians as IS fighters have repeatedly targeted fleeing civilians with small arms and mortar fire. The move to clear the Old City marks a shift in approach. Since the Mosul operation was launched in October, Iraqi forces have encouraged civilians to remain in their homes to avoid massive displacement. However, more than 730,000 people have fled the fight to date according to United Nations figures. “As many as 200,000 additional people may try to leave in coming days,” the U.N. said Saturday in a statement following the call for Old City civilians to leave. Save the Children warned that fleeing civilians could be caught in the crossfire, leading to “deadly chaos” in a statement Friday. Both Iraqi forces and IS fighters are obligated under international law to protect civilians, the U.N. statement added. More than 100,000 civilians are estimated to still be inside IS-held Mosul neighborhoods. While U.S.-backed forces have fought inside Mosul during the operation to retake it from IS, Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces have largely operated in the deserts to the west cutting supply lines and attempting to begin securing Iraq’s border with Syria. The Popular Mobilization Forces are largely supported by Tehran, a key Iraqi ally in the fight against IS. Iran has provided weapons, training and advisers credited with important early victories against the extremists in 2014 before the U.S. began a campaign of airstrikes targeting the group. Mosul’s eastern half was declared liberated in January and the push for the city’s west began the following month. While some Iraqi commanders said they hoped to retake the city before Ramadan, the Muslim holy month that began Friday night, grueling urban combat has repeatedly slowed the pace of operations. [...]



AP source: Kushner’s Russian back channel involved SyriaJared Kushner, senior advisor of President Donald Trump, shakes hands with Pope Francis, at the Vatican, Wednesday.

Sun, 28 May 2017 03:40:00 GMT

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and now top White House adviser Jared Kushner proposed a secret back channel between the Kremlin and the Trump transition team during a December meeting with a leading Russian diplomat. Kushner spoke with Ambassador Sergey Kislyak about creating that line of communication to facilitate sensitive discussions aimed at exploring the incoming administration’s options with Russia as it was developing its Syria policy, according to a person familiar with the discussions who spoke with The Associated Press. The intent was to connect Trump’s chief national security adviser at the time, Michael Flynn, with Russian military leaders, said this person, who wasn’t authorized to publicly discuss private policy deliberations and spoke on the condition of anonymity. Russia, a pivotal player in Syria, has backed Syrian President Bashar Assad, often at the expense of civilians during a long civil war. The White House did not acknowledge the meeting or Kushner’s attendance until March. At the time, a White House official dismissed it as a brief courtesy meeting. Kushner’s involvement in the proposed back channel was first reported by The Washington Post, which said he proposed using Russian diplomatic facilities for the discussions, apparently to make them more difficult to monitor. The newspaper cited anonymous U.S. officials who were briefed on intelligence reports on intercepted Russian communications. The Post wrote that Kislyak was reportedly taken aback by the suggestion of allowing an American to use Russian communications gear at its embassy or consulate – a proposal that would have carried security risks for Moscow as well as the Trump team. According to the person familiar with the Kushner meeting, the Trump team eventually felt there was no need for a back channel once Rex Tillerson was confirmed as secretary of state, and decided to communicate with Moscow through more official channels. Tillerson was sworn in on Feb. 1. Flynn briefly served as Trump’s national security adviser before being fired in February after officials said he misled Vice President Mike Pence about whether he and the ambassador had discussed U.S. sanctions against Russia in a phone call. Sally Yates, the former acting attorney general, told Congress this month that that deception left Flynn vulnerable to being blackmailed by the Russians. Flynn remains under federal investigation in Virginia over his foreign business ties and was interviewed by the FBI in January about his contacts with Kislyak. The disclosure of the back channel put White House advisers on the defensive Saturday, as Trump wrapped up his first foreign trip as president, and led lawyers for Kushner to say he is willing to talk with federal and congressional investigators about his foreign contacts and his work on the Trump campaign. Meeting with reporters in Sicily, two Trump advisers refused to address the contents of Kushner’s December meeting with the Russian diplomat. But they did not dismiss the idea that the administration would go outside normal U.S. government and diplomatic channels for communications with other countries. Speaking generally, national security adviser H.R. McMaster said “we have back channel communications with a number of countries.” He added: “It allows you to communicate in a discreet manner.” [...]


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Inmates can order fancy pizza made in jailInmate Jonathan Scott (right), works Tuesday in the kitchen at the Cook County Jail in Chicago. Inmates in the jail's medium-security Division 11 are now allowed to order pizzas made by inmates like Scott, who is participating in the jail's "Recipe for Change" program while he waits for trial after his 2015 arrest on an armed robbery charge. in Chicago.Inmate Marcus Clay pulls pizza from oven Tuesday at the Cook County Jail in Chicago. Inmates in the jail's medium-security Division 11 are now allowed to order pizzas made by participants in the jail's "Recipe for Change" program, which teaches inmates about cooking and nutrition.

Sun, 28 May 2017 03:40:00 GMT

CHICAGO – How can you get a gourmet Italian pizza delivered right to your door for no more than $7? Get locked up at Cook County Jail in Chicago. Inmates in the jail’s medium-security Division 11 can now order pizzas made with the finest ingredients in the kind of ovens found in pizzerias. It’s all part of Sheriff Tom Dart’s ongoing effort to make jail a bit more humane while providing inmates skills that might help keep them from returning once they’re set free. Pizzas have been served and prepared behind bars before. A few institutions allow inmates to order from nearby restaurants. At one Massachusetts jail, inmates make pizzas that guards can buy and take home and heat themselves. But it’s safe to say Dart is the first jail administrator to bring into his facility an Italian chef to oversee an operation in which inmates bake a couple hundred pizzas a week in a $16,000 oven and deliver them piping hot to the cells of captive customers. “We’re teaching skills to make them more marketable when they get out of here,” Dart said. At the same time, by giving inmates a break from the bland jail food, he’s employing what experts say is an effective tactic to keep inmates in line. “If any detainee assaults staff or engages in misconduct they’re moved out of that division, and they’re not able to purchase the pizzas,” said Cara Smith, the department’s chief policy officer. “So it’s an incentive to behave.” Other programs Dart has introduced include using chess to teach inmates about problem-solving and patience, and sending inmates from the jail’s boot camp to tear down abandoned buildings. The pizza delivery service is an outgrowth of a program called “Recipe for Change” that’s run by Bruno Abate, a chef and owner of trendy Chicago restaurant Tocco , that teaches inmates about cooking and nutrition. Abate said there’s no overstating the effect gourmet pizza has in a place where the drab food only reminds inmates of where – and what – they are. “This is treating people with dignity and respect as a human and not [an] animal,” he said. The pizza also might be the best food some of the desperately poor inmates have ever eaten. “How many of them even get to go to a decent restaurant?” asked Ron Gidwitz, a prominent Republican fundraiser who donated money to buy the oven and raised the rest. When the inmates bring the pizzas to the cells, the effect, inmates say, is immediate. “Their eyes light up like it’s Christmas,” said Jonathan Scott, whose nametag reads “Chef Jonathan,” as he waits for trial on an armed robbery charge. Dart said he decided to sell the pizzas to raise money for the program. Initially, he planned to have the inmates sell them to correctional officers. But the jailers weren’t interested in buying food prepared by inmates who might take the opportunity to add something to the recipe. Dart said they also groused that inmates were being coddled. So the sheriff decided to give the inmates, who can already use their own money to buy things like chips, a chance to buy pizzas. Dart now hopes he can get his hands on a food truck and sell his pizza outside the jail and nearby courthouse, where good food is hard to find. Gidwitz is game to raise money fo[...]


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Islamic State claims responsibility for Egypt attack

Sun, 28 May 2017 03:40:00 GMT

MINYA, Egypt – The Islamic State group on Saturday claimed responsibility for the attack on a bus carrying Christians on their way to a remote desert monastery south of the Egyptian capital, Cairo, which killed 29.

Egypt responded to Friday’s attack by launching a series of airstrikes that targeted what it said were militant bases in eastern Libya in which the assailants were trained. On Saturday, the military said on its official Facebook page that the airstrikes were continuing “day and night” and that they have “completely” destroyed their targets. It gave no details.

“What you’ve seen today will not go unpunished. An extremely painful strike has been dealt to the bases. Egypt will never hesitate to strike terror bases anywhere,” President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi said in a televised address to the nation late Friday. He said the attacks on Christians aimed at driving a wedge between them and the country’s Muslim majority.

He also appealed to U.S. President Donald Trump to lead the global war against terror.

The claim, published by the group’s Aamaq news agency, takes to four the number of deadly attacks targeting Christians since December that the extremist group says it’s behind. It put the death toll at 32, but there was no immediate explanation for the discrepancy.

In all, the four attacks – Friday’s, two in April and one in December – killed at least 104 people, mostly Christians. El-Sissi declared a three-month state of emergency following April’s twin attacks, which fell on Palm Sunday.

The Egyptian Cabinet, meanwhile, said 13 victims of Friday’s carnage remained hospitalized in Cairo and Minya province, where the attack took place. The bloodshed came on the eve of the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

El-Sissi told Pope Tawadros II, spiritual leader of Egypt’s Coptic Orthodox Church, in a phone call late on Friday that his government would not rest until the perpetrators of the attack were punished.

Egypt’s government has been struggling to contain an insurgency by Islamic militants led by an IS affiliate that is centered in the northern region of the Sinai peninsula, though attacks on the mainland have recently increased.

After a visit to Egypt last month by Pope Francis, IS vowed to escalate attacks against Christians and urged Muslims to steer clear of Christian gatherings and Western embassies.




Police: Suspect in Portland stabbings ranted about MuslimsThis booking photo provided by Multnomah County Sheriff's Office shows Jeremy Joseph Christian. Authorities on Saturday, May 27, 2017 identified Christian as the suspect in the fatal stabbing of two people on a Portland light-rail train in Oregon. (Multnomah County Sheriff's Office via AP)

Sat, 27 May 2017 21:02:00 GMT

PORTLAND, Ore. – A man who police say fatally stabbed two people who tried to stop him from yelling anti-Islamic slurs on a Portland light-rail train spent time in prison for robbery and kidnapping charges years ago, according to court records and a defense attorney. Jeremy Joseph Christian, 35, was being held Saturday in the Multnomah County Jail on suspicion of aggravated murder, attempted murder, intimidation and being a felon in possession of a weapon. He will make a first court appearance Monday, and it wasn't immediately clear if he had an attorney. A phone at his home in Portland rang unanswered early Saturday. Two people died Friday night and another was hurt in the stabbing after police say Christian yelled racial slurs at two young women, one of whom was wearing a Muslim head covering. The assailant on the train was ranting on many topics, using "hate speech or biased language," according to a statement from police. Friday was the beginning of Ramadan, the holiest time of the year for Muslims, and the attack prompted soul-searching in Portland, a city that prides itself on its tolerance and liberal views. A memorial of flowers and signs quickly grew at the scene by a transit station. "There is too much hatred in our world right now, and far too much violence. Too much of it has arrived here in Portland," Mayor Ted Wheeler said in Facebook post. Wheeler was on the inaugural direct flight from the Oregon city to London when the attack occurred. He said he boarded the first flight back and was due to arrive Saturday afternoon. Dyjuana Hudson, a mother of one of the girls, told The Oregonian/OregonLive that the man began a racial tirade as soon as he spotted the girls. Her daughter is African-American and was with a friend who was wearing a hijab, she said. "He was saying that Muslims should die," Hudson said. "That they've been killing Christians for years." The attack happened on a MAX train as it headed east. A train remained stopped on the tracks at a transit center that was closed while police investigated. Autopsies on the victims were being done Saturday. Their names have not been made public. Police say the victims were trying to stop Christian from confronting the girls. "In the midst of his ranting and raving, some people approached him and appeared to try to intervene with his behavior and some of the people that he was yelling at," police Sgt. Pete Simpson told the Portland newspaper. "They were attacked viciously." Neighbors who live next to Christian's parents' house – which was also his last listed address in court records – said the family was quiet and they often saw Christian's two adult brothers but never him. One neighbor, Kenny Jenkins, said he occasionally saw Christian riding his bike around the neighborhood. The neighborhood where the Christians live is on the northern outskirts of Portland, an area that has been rapidly gentrifying in recent years because it remains one of the last affordable sections of the city. The homes immediately surrounding the Christian residence now hold biracial families moving from out-of-state and same-sex couples, Jenkins said. Jenkins said his family recently moved in, and Christian's father helped car[...]


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PHOTOS: Knights of Columbus members place American Flags to Honor VeteransH. Rick Bamman - hbamman@shawmedia.com Fr. Matthew BeBlock (right) paster at St Catherine Catholic Church in East Dundee gives the blessing for members of The Knights of Columbus Bishop Arthur J. O'Neill Assembly # 2381 before they begin placing American Flags on 1093 graves of veterans Friday, May 26, 2017 at River Valley Memorial Gardens/Holy Sepulchre cemetery in West Dundee.H. Rick Bamman - hbamman@shawmedia.com The Knights of Columbus Bishop Arthur J. O'Neill Assembly # 2381 members Ken Prigge (from left) of Algonquin, Mike Hillegonds of Crystal Lake and Mark Heineman of Huntley place American Flags on some of the 1093 graves of veterans at River Valley Memorial Gardens/Holy Sepulchre cemetery in West Dundee on Friday, May 26, 2017.H. Rick Bamman - hbamman@shawmedia.com The Knights of Columbus Bishop Arthur J. O'Neill Assembly # 2381 members Dan Biggins of West Dundee, (from left) Thomas Clenniwa, and Ken and Dorthy Labuda all of Elgin place American Flags on some of the 1093 graves of veterans at River Valley Memorial Gardens/Holy Sepulchre cemetery in West Dundee on Friday, May 26, 2017.H. Rick Bamman - hbamman@shawmedia.com The Knights of Columbus Bishop Arthur J. O'Neill Assembly # 2381 member Mike Hillegonds of Crystal Lake carries flags while placing them on some of the 1093 graves of veterans at River Valley Memorial Gardens/ Holy Sepulchre cemetery in West Dundee on Friday, May 26, 2017.H. Rick Bamman - hbamman@shawmedia.com The Knights of Columbus Bishop Arthur J. O'Neill Assembly # 2381 members Dorthy (from left) and Ken and Labuda and Thomas Clenniwa all of Elgin Dan Biggins of West Dundee place American Flags on some of the 1093 graves of veterans at River Valley Memorial Gardens/Holy Sepulchre cemetery in West Dundee on Friday, May 26, 2017.H. Rick Bamman - hbamman@shawmedia.com The Knights of Columbus Bishop Arthur J. O'Neill Assembly # 2381 members Ken and Dorthy Labuda of Elgin place American Flags on some of the 1093 graves of veterans at River Valley Memorial Gardens/Holy Sepulchre cemetery in West Dundee on Friday, May 26, 2017.

Sat, 27 May 2017 10:30:00 GMT

Knights of Columbus Bishop Arthur J. O'Neill Assembly # 2381 members place American Flags on 1093 graves of veterans at River Valley Memorial Gardens/Holy Sepulchre cemetery in West Dundee on Friday, May 26, 2017.

H. Rick Bamman - hbamman@shawmedia.com Fr. Matthew BeBlock (right) paster at St Catherine Catholic Church in East Dundee gives the blessing for members of The Knights of Columbus Bishop Arthur J. O'Neill Assembly # 2381 before they begin placing American Flags on 1093 graves of veterans Friday, May 26, 2017 at River Valley Memorial Gardens/Holy Sepulchre cemetery in West Dundee.H. Rick Bamman - hbamman@shawmedia.com The Knights of Columbus Bishop Arthur J. O'Neill Assembly # 2381 members Ken Prigge (from left) of Algonquin, Mike Hillegonds of Crystal Lake and Mark Heineman of Huntley place American Flags on some of the 1093 graves of veterans at River Valley Memorial Gardens/Holy Sepulchre cemetery in West Dundee on Friday, May 26, 2017.H. Rick Bamman - hbamman@shawmedia.com The Knights of Columbus Bishop Arthur J. O'Neill Assembly # 2381 members Dan Biggins of West Dundee, (from left) Thomas Clenniwa, and Ken and Dorthy Labuda all of Elgin place American Flags on some of the 1093 graves of veterans at River Valley Memorial Gardens/Holy Sepulchre cemetery in West Dundee on Friday, May 26, 2017.H. Rick Bamman - hbamman@shawmedia.com The Knights of Columbus Bishop Arthur J. O'Neill Assembly # 2381 member Mike Hillegonds of Crystal Lake carries flags while placing them on some of the 1093 graves of veterans at River Valley Memorial Gardens/ Holy Sepulchre cemetery in West Dundee on Friday, May 26, 2017.H. Rick Bamman - hbamman@shawmedia.com The Knights of Columbus Bishop Arthur J. O'Neill Assembly # 2381 members Dorthy (from left) and Ken and Labuda and Thomas Clenniwa all of Elgin Dan Biggins of West Dundee place American Flags on some of the 1093 graves of veterans at River Valley Memorial Gardens/Holy Sepulchre cemetery in West Dundee on Friday, May 26, 2017.H. Rick Bamman - hbamman@shawmedia.com The Knights of Columbus Bishop Arthur J. O'Neill Assembly # 2381 members Ken and Dorthy Labuda of Elgin place American Flags on some of the 1093 graves of veterans at River Valley Memorial Gardens/Holy Sepulchre cemetery in West Dundee on Friday, May 26, 2017.


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Woodstock School District 200 Board expected to discuss consolidation options TuesdaySarah Nader - snader@shawmedia.com Superintendent Mike Moan addresses the crowd during a community forum in April to discuss the final options recommended by the facilities review committee regarding potential school consolidations. The Woodstock School District 200 board is expected to discuss its final options regarding school and building consolidations at a meeting Tuesday.Sarah Nader - snader@shawmedia.com Superintendent Mike Moan addresses the crowd during Monday's community forum to discuss the final options recommended by the facilities review committee regarding potential school consolidations. April 10, 2017 in Woodstock.Sarah Nader - snader@shawmedia.com Woodstock resident Randy Gerry makes a comment during Monday's community forum to discuss the final options recommended by the facilities review committee regarding potential school consolidations. April 10, 2017 in Woodstock.

Sat, 27 May 2017 04:31:00 GMT

WOODSTOCK – The Woodstock School District 200 Board is expected to discuss its final options regarding school and building consolidations Tuesday.

Over the past school year, the Facilities Review Committee has been studying ways for the district to save money and better use its space. Numerous public forums have been held on the controversial matter, where Woodstock residents and district parents expressed concern about the possibility of school closures, enrollment numbers and future growth and the district’s financial state.

At its last meeting, three new board members were sworn in. School consolidations were a hot-button issue during the election season. New board members include Bruce Farris, Jacob Homuth and John Parisi – a member of the review committee. New board members are largely open to the idea of consolidation as long as students’ well-being is priority.

In April, Superintendent Michael Moan presented final options that the facilities committee recommended, which included closure of Dean Elementary School, which has an enrollment of about 330 students.

Other recommendations the board could consider include selling the district office, leasing open space at the high school and ending an annex lease.

Board President Carl Gilmore was not immediately available for comment Thursday. The District 200 board will meet at 7 p.m. May 30 at Clay Professional Development Center, located on the second floor of Clay Academy, 112 Grove St., Woodstock.

Sarah Nader - snader@shawmedia.com Superintendent Mike Moan addresses the crowd during a community forum in April to discuss the final options recommended by the facilities review committee regarding potential school consolidations. The Woodstock School District 200 board is expected to discuss its final options regarding school and building consolidations at a meeting Tuesday.Sarah Nader - snader@shawmedia.com Superintendent Mike Moan addresses the crowd during Monday's community forum to discuss the final options recommended by the facilities review committee regarding potential school consolidations. April 10, 2017 in Woodstock.Sarah Nader - snader@shawmedia.com Woodstock resident Randy Gerry makes a comment during Monday's community forum to discuss the final options recommended by the facilities review committee regarding potential school consolidations. April 10, 2017 in Woodstock.


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Crystal Lake student named finalist in New York Times editorial contestBernotas seventh grader Izma Casubhoy is one of 58 teens worldwide who made it to the third round of The New York Times (NYT) fourth annual student editorial contest.

Sat, 27 May 2017 04:31:00 GMT

CRYSTAL LAKE – Out of thousands of applicants, Izma Casubhoy of Richard Bernotas Middle School was one of 58 teens to be named a third-round finalist in the fourth annual New York Times student editorial contest.

The writing contest asks for teens to submit short, evidence-based persuasive essays about any topics they wish in about 450 words or fewer.

Casubhoy, who is in seventh grade, made it to the third round of the contest with an editorial titled “The Stakes of Steaks: Why Vegetarianism Is Clearly the Better Lifestyle.” She was one of six 13-year-old students recognized this year.

“Writing an editorial for this contest was such a valuable experience for me,” Casubhoy said. “I learned how to challenge myself as a writer and had the opportunity to express my opinion about a topic that means a lot to me. I never really imagined making it to Round 3. Out of all the wonderful writers out there, I am honored to be recognized.”

Students were required to have cited works that support their stance and used at least one New York Times source as well as one outside source in their writing. They were allowed to submit entries in teams or individually.

To help students and teachers with the contest, the newspaper provided a list of about 400 writing prompts in argumentative writing.

While Casubhoy didn’t win, her teacher, Belinda Strebel, said she wasn’t surprised to see her student recognized.

“Her topic of vegetarianism is one that is regularly written about, but she took a unique stance that stood out and taught the audience new information about an old topic,” Strebel said. “If you look at the list of recognized writers, the majority are 17 and 18 years old. To be recognized as a seventh-grader is extraordinary.”

This year’s popular topics included climate change, prison reform and discrimination.

The list of winners and runner-ups can be found at The New York Times website.

Bernotas seventh grader Izma Casubhoy is one of 58 teens worldwide who made it to the third round of The New York Times (NYT) fourth annual student editorial contest.


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Crystal Lake home temporarily uninhabitable after fireSarah Nader – snader@shawmedia.com Firefighters clean up after putting out a fire Friday at 844 Wimbledon Lane in Crystal Lake.

Sat, 27 May 2017 04:31:00 GMT

CRYSTAL LAKE – A bathroom fire Friday left a Crystal Lake home temporarily uninhabitable.

The Crystal Lake Fire Rescue Department responded at 1:46 p.m. to a report of a house fire in the 800 block of Wimbleton Lane, Crystal Lake.

Upon arrival, crews found smoke coming from the roof on the back side of the house. Firefighters deployed a hose line to the bathroom on the upper floor to put out the flames. The fire was out by 2:07 p.m. Fire damage was limited to the bathroom ceiling and part of the attic adjacent to the bathroom.

The cause of the fire remained undetermined Friday afternoon, but an initial investigation suggested the fire may have been related to a bathroom ceiling fan, according to the fire department.

“We just had an exhaust fan die,” homeowner Robert Schoenbrunn said. “The switch was left on, and it must have caused an electrical fire that spread to the attic.”

Damage is estimated to be less than $8,000. No one was injured, according to the fire department.

The Algonquin/Lake in the Hills Fire Protection District and the McHenry Township Fire Protection District assisted at the scene. The Woodstock Fire Rescue District provided station coverage during the incident.

Sarah Nader – snader@shawmedia.com Firefighters clean up after putting out a fire Friday at 844 Wimbledon Lane in Crystal Lake.


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Bull Valley couple lived posh life that surprised friends before drug bustThe McHenry County Sheriff’s Office seized property at 1001 and 1005 N. Cherry Valley Road, Bull Valley, in connection with a months-long investigation involving the Drug Enforcement Administration, the McHenry County Narcotics Task Force, the Rockford Police Department and other law enforcement agencies.The McHenry County Sheriff’s Office seized property at 1001 and 1005 N. Cherry Valley Road, Bull Valley, in connection with a months-long investigation involving the Drug Enforcement Administration, the McHenry County Narcotics Task Force, the Rockford Police Department and other law enforcement agencies.The McHenry County Sheriff’s Office seized property at 1001 and 1005 N. Cherry Valley Road, Bull Valley, in connection with a months-long investigation involving the Drug Enforcement Administration, the McHenry County Narcotics Task Force, the Rockford Police Department and other law enforcement agencies.The McHenry County Sheriff’s Office seized property at 1001 and 1005 N. Cherry Valley Road, Bull Valley, in connection with a months-long investigation involving the Drug Enforcement Administration, the McHenry County Narcotics Task Force, the Rockford Police Department and other law enforcement agencies.Jamie M. Lee, (from left) David A. Soskin and Joseph Vogrinc have all been charged after a months-long investigation involving the Drug Enforcement Administration, the McHenry County Narcotics Task Force, the Rockford Police Department and other law enforcement agencies.H. Rick Bamman – hbamman@shawmedia.com Ammunition and a .50-caliber machine gun were seized by McHenry County Sheriff's deputies from a Bull Valley home.H. Rick Bamman – hbamman@shawmedia.com McHenry County Sheriff's Sgt. Robb Tadekman breaks down a Cobray M11 seized from a home in Bull Valley.H. Rick Bamman – hbamman@shawmedia.com McHenry County Sheriff's Sgt. Robb Tadekman returns a Cobray M11 to a case. The gun and about 350 pounds of marijuana were seized from a Bull Valley home.H. Rick Bamman – hbamman@shawmedia.com Ammunition was seized by McHenry County Sheriff's deputies and the Drug Enforcement Administration.H. Rick Bamman – hbamman@shawmedia.com Containers hold some of the 350 pounds of cannabis and a shotgun seized from a Bull Valley home by McHenry County Sheriff's deputies.H. Rick Bamman – hbamman@shawmedia.com Cash-counting machines were seized by McHenry County Sheriff's deputies and the Drug Enforcement Administration in recent operations.David Soskin.Jamie M. Lee, (from left) David A. Soskin and Joseph Vogrinc have all been charged after a months-long investigation involving the Drug Enforcement Administration, the McHenry County Narcotics Task Force, the Rockford Police Department and other law enforcement agencies.Jamie M. Lee was arrested on marijuana charges.Jamie M. Lee was arrested on marijuana charges.The McHenry County Sheriff’s Office seized property at 1001 and 1005 N. Cherry Valley Road Bull Valley in connection with a months-long investigation involving the Drug Enforcement Administration, the McHenry County Narcotics Task Force, the Rockford Police Department and other law enforcement agencies.The McHenry County Sheriff’s Office seized property at 1001 and 1005 N. Cherry Valley Road, Bull Valley, in connection with a months-long investigation involving the Drug Enforcement Administration, the McHenry County Narcotics Task Force, the Rockford Police Department and other law enforcement agencies.The McHenry County Sheriff’s Office seized property at 1001 and 1005 N. Cherry Valley Road Bull Valley in connection with a months-long investigation involving the Drug Enforcement Administration, the McHenry County Narcotics Task Force, the Rockford Police Department and other law enforcement agencies.The McHenry County Sheriff’s Office seized property at 1001 and 1005 N. Cherry Valley Road, Bull Valley, in connection with a months-long investigation involving the Drug Enforcement Administration, the McHenry County Narcotics Task Force, the Rockford Police Department and other law enforcement agencies.The McHenry County Sheriff’s Office seized property at 1001 and 1005 N. Cherry Valley Road, Bull Valley, in connection with a months-long investigation involving the Drug Enforcement Administration, the McHenry County Narcotics Task Force, the Rockford Police Department and other law enforcement agencies.

Sat, 27 May 2017 04:30:00 GMT

BULL VALLEY – New details have emerged days after a Bull Valley couple were arrested in connection with a drug-trafficking operation that show the pair were living lavishly with no visible means of support. David A. Soskin, 42, and Jamie M. Lee, 26, appeared to embark on a life of extravagance only months after their May 2016 engagement. Prosecutors allege that the couple used drug money to buy a six-bedroom, 11-bathroom home with an indoor pool in December 2016 for $800,000. A months-long investigation that picked up speed with the arrest of a Loves Park man May 18 and the discovery of piles of marijuana in the Bull Valley house the next day remains active, officials said. Soskin and Lee drew little attention from neighbors in Bull Valley, but their spending surprised at least a few friends in the months before their arrests. The home was bought through a trust; neither Lee’s or Soskin’s name appears on official paperwork regarding the sale, according to documents from the McHenry County Recorder’s Office. Although their names are not on the documents, both Lee and Soskin posted on Facebook about buying the home in affluent Bull Valley together. The hillside ranch, set on 35 wooded acres, includes a guest house with an attached two-car garage, a large barn, a tennis court and a hotel-style indoor pool room with a sauna and bar. The couple also posted photos of two motorcycles and a classic car. Prosecutors haven’t seized those vehicles, but did seize cash-counting machines, weapons and more than $40,000 in cash from the home, police have said. After closing on the property on Christmas Eve 2016, Lee posted on Facebook about the news, including a photo of the indoor pool room. “After much hard work, dedication and a lot of determination, we closed today on my little slice of serenity in the ever most beautiful village of Bull Valley. The house I will marry the love of my life. The house I will die inside of, our estate,” Lee wrote in the post. The couple’s lifestyle raised eyebrows from friends on Facebook. One asked whether they had won the lottery. The home and property had been appraised for more than $1.6 million, according to court documents. The couple planned to have their wedding at the Bull Valley estate next summer, Lee wrote on Facebook. Their recent arrests and the seizure of their home put those plans in jeopardy. If prosecutors can prove the home was bought with illicit gains, it could be sold off, with the proceeds going to local and state law enforcement and government agencies. Both Soskin and Lee face charges of marijuana trafficking, possession of marijuana with intent to deliver and possession of marijuana. If convicted of the most serious charge, marijuana trafficking, both Soskin and Lee could face six to 30 years in prison. The two remained in McHenry County Jail as of Friday afternoon. Soskin would be required to post $100,000 to get out of jail, while Lee would have to post $25,000. Two McHenry County judges issued orders stating that the McHenry County Jail could not accept any money for bail for Soskin or Lee in this case until further notice by the court. This came after[...]


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Prosecutors: Drugs seized from Crystal Lake apartment contained mix of heroin, fentanylH. Rick Bamman - hbamman@shawmedia.com More than seven pounds of heroin seized by McHenry County Sheriff's deputies during the search of a Crystal Lake man's apartment earlier this month tested positive for the powerful painkiller fentanyl. Roman Castro, 47, of the 600 block of Virginia Road, was arrested May 2 by members of the McHenry County Sheriff's Police Narcotics Task Force. He appeared in court Friday and pleaded not guilty to all charges against him.

Sat, 27 May 2017 04:30:00 GMT

WOODSTOCK – More than seven pounds of heroin seized by McHenry County Sheriff’s deputies during the search of a Crystal Lake man’s apartment earlier this month tested positive for fentanyl, a powerful – and deadly – opioid painkiller.

Roman Castro, 47, of the 600 block of Virginia Road, was arrested May 2 by members of the McHenry County Sheriff’s Police Narcotics Task Force. He appeared in court Friday and pleaded not guilty to all charges against him.

Castro faces charges of unlawful possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance, an enhanced Class X felony, and unlawful possession of a controlled substance, an enhanced Class 1 felony. He faces between 15 and 60 years in prison if convicted of the most serious charge. He would be required to serve 75 percent of his sentence, according to state law.

The indictment charges him with the possession and delivery of a substance that contained both heroin and fentanyl, according to court documents. Fentanyl can be up to 50 times more powerful than heroin.

“We are (generally) seeing an uptick in fentanyl on the streets, which is an extremely dangerous drug and when mixed with heroin it’s proving to be quite fatal, statistics are showing,” Assistant State’s Attorney John Gibbons said.

Detectives had received information that Castro was holding a large amount of heroin. Authorities said the gray-white substance was inside a black backpack in Castro’s apartment. They also recovered two scales and packaging materials. No money was taken from Castro’s residence, authorities said.

This likely was the largest bust of its kind in county history, authorities have said.

Castro is in McHenry County Jail in lieu of posting 10 percent of his $2 million bond. A judge previously granted a motion from prosecutors stating no one would be allowed to post bond for Castro before a hearing was held to determine where the money came from. Funds tied to drug trafficking or some other criminal or illegal source cannot be used to post bond.

H. Rick Bamman - hbamman@shawmedia.com More than seven pounds of heroin seized by McHenry County Sheriff's deputies during the search of a Crystal Lake man's apartment earlier this month tested positive for the powerful painkiller fentanyl. Roman Castro, 47, of the 600 block of Virginia Road, was arrested May 2 by members of the McHenry County Sheriff's Police Narcotics Task Force. He appeared in court Friday and pleaded not guilty to all charges against him.


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Rocker Chris Cornell remembered as 'voice of our generation'A plaque marking Chris Cornell's gravesite appears, covered in guitar picks, flowers, photos and notes, following the late singer's funeral at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery on Friday, May 26, 2017, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

Sat, 27 May 2017 04:22:00 GMT

LOS ANGELES – Music’s elite and Hollywood stars remembered Chris Cornell at a somber memorial service Friday that focused on the Soundgarden frontman’s love of family and friends as much as it did on his musical achievements as one of rock’s leading voices. “Chris was as melodic as The Beatles, as heavy as Sabbath and as haunting as Edgar Allan Poe,” Tom Morello, Cornell’s Audioslave bandmate, said during his eulogy. “The demons he wrestled with were real, but he harnessed those demons and rode them like a mother-flipping chariot of lightning strapped with Marshall stacks to make some of the greatest rock ’n’ roll of all time.” Linkin Park singer Chester Bennington and guitarist Brad Delson performed Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” for the crowd of mourners, including Brad Pitt, Pharrell Williams, James Franco, Christian Bale and numerous members of rock royalty, many of whom were moved to tears. Four large portraits of Cornell were on display on a dais where Morello, actor Josh Brolin, Pearl Jam bassist Jeff Ament, film producer Eric Esrailian and Cornell’s Soundgarden bandmates Kim Thayil and Matt Cameron delivered eulogies under overcast skies at Hollywood Forever Cemetery. They all spoke of the rocker’s compassion and his delight in his three children. Cameron said he and Cornell had “so many normal dad conversations” about the Cornell kids: Christopher, Toni and Lily. “Losing my brother and artistic soulmate will always pale in comparison with you three kids losing your dad,” Cameron said. “Let it be known that I am here for you and will forever be in your lives.” Linda Ramone opened the service with word that Cornell was buried next to her late husband, punk rocker Johnny Ramone, whose headstone features a statue of him playing guitar. Cornell’s grave marker, decorated with bouquets of flowers and several red roses, reads, “Voice of our generation and an artist for all time.” Cornell’s music played before the hourlong service, and afterward as guests visited his grave site in the cemetery’s Garden of Legends section. Among those paying respects were Lars Ulrich and James Hetfield of Metallica, Dave Navarro and Perry Farrell of Jane’s Addiction, singer-songwriter Joe Walsh, guitarist Nile Rodgers, rocker Courtney Love and Bush’s Gavin Rossdale. Scores of fans gathered outside the cemetery during the service awaiting a public viewing of Cornell’s grave site later Friday afternoon. “We had to be here. He was part of our generation,” 49-year-old Marcus Dubray said, breaking into tears. He and his wife were visiting Los Angeles from Sacramento for her birthday when they heard about Cornell’s service. “I was ready to go to Seattle” for the funeral, said fellow fan Alfredo Perez, 47. Melody Andrade brought her 4-year-old son Jude to memorialize the Seattle rocker. The pair wore matching T-shirts that read, “Say Hello 2 Heaven,” the title of a Temple of the Dog song Cornell wrote. “I feel like this is just as big as the death of Elvis or John Lennon. That’s why [...]


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As Trump announces famine aid, relief funds face big cutsIn this May 24, 2017, photo, Pope Francis meets with President Donald Trump at the Vatican. When Trump met Pope Francis, the U.S. leader renewed a commitment to fighting global famine and proudly announced a new multimillion-dollar American aid contribution to four African nations in crisis. Left unsaid by the president or the White House: His proposal to slash such funds by more than 40 percent in the next fiscal year. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino, Pool)

Sat, 27 May 2017 04:21:00 GMT

WASHINGTON – When President Donald Trump met Pope Francis this week, the U.S. leader renewed a commitment to fighting global famine and proudly announced a new multimillion-dollar American aid contribution to four African nations in crisis. Left unsaid by the president or the White House: His proposal to slash such funds by more than 40 percent in the next fiscal year. While the Trump administration’s 2018 spending plan does not eliminate money for emergency food aid, it ends a critical program by consolidating it into a broader account that covers all international disaster assistance. Doing so reduces the amount of money the U.S. dedicates to fighting famine to $1.5 billion next year, from $2.6 billion in 2016. The reduction is likely even steeper compared with 2017, but the administration hasn’t calculated figures for this fiscal year because it doesn’t end until Sept. 30 and more money may be allocated for famine relief before then. Trump officials say the proposed changes will streamline U.S. aid programs, eliminate redundancies and increase efficiency. Relief organizations fear less U.S. money will mean an increase in famine and hunger-related deaths, particularly in Africa, if Congress approves the budget. Trump’s overall proposal, however, is already prompting significant opposition from Republican and Democratic lawmakers. Trump’s announcement at the Vatican on Wednesday, which officials said totaled $329 million, went largely unnoticed, tucked into the last paragraph of a brief White House readout of the meeting. And coverage of the president’s papal audience was dominated by atmospherics between two men with widely divergent views on many issues. Officials familiar with planning for the new assistance said the White House was seeking “a deliverable” to announce after Trump’s discussions with the pope and settled on the additional famine relief for millions in South Sudan, Nigeria, Somalia and Yemen. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak about the issue publicly. In the meeting, Trump “renewed the commitment of the United States to fighting global famine,” the White House said. “As he relayed at the Vatican, the United States is proud to announce more than $300 million in anti-famine spending, focused on the crises in Yemen, (South) Sudan, Somalia and Nigeria.” The U.S. Agency for International Development, which along with the State Department could face a 31 percent budget cut, said the additional money brought total U.S. humanitarian assistance for those four countries to almost $1.2 billion since last October. “The United States is one of the largest donors of humanitarian assistance in all four crises,” it said, extolling the value of U.S. aid. In what may have been a subtle reminder to the rest of Trump’s administration, the agency’s statement said: “The assistance we provide represents the best of America’s generosity and goodwill, while improving our national security by strengthening relationships with nations and people around the world. We will continue to work with our international and local partners to provide the life-saving aid needed to avert famine [...]


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GOP focus on lowering health premiums may undermine benefitsHouse Speaker Paul Ryan of Wis. leaves a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, May 25, 2017. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Sat, 27 May 2017 04:21:00 GMT

WASHINGTON – Republicans trying to repeal and replace former President Barack Obama’s health care law are grappling with a hard lesson that vexed him: Quality health insurance isn’t cheap, especially if it protects people in poor health, older adults not yet eligible for Medicare and the poor. Something has to give. Now, the GOP’s laser focus on lowering premiums could undermine comprehensive coverage, such as the current guarantees that people with medical problems can get health insurance, or that plans will cover costly conditions such as substance abuse. Consumers value comprehensive coverage, since no one is beyond the reach of sickness, or immune from the consequences of age. “Premiums do not tell the whole story,” said Trish Riley, executive director of the National Academy for State Health Policy, a nonpartisan organization that advises states. “The questions that need to be addressed are what do those premiums buy, and what other costs besides premiums do consumers pay?” Riley said. “If you buy a bike it will cost you less than a car.” With “Obamacare,” Democrats set out to get more people insured, but they also wanted to bolster the underlying coverage. They required insurers to accept those with medical problems, prescribed a broad range of standard benefits, and established baseline financial protections. Previously, for example, people with a history of cancer could be charged a higher premium, or be turned down altogether. That led to 20 million more insured, but also higher premiums for people buying their own policies, along with tax increases and considerable federal regulation. Republicans trying to roll back the 2010 health care law have made their case all about premiums, trying to find ways to give states and insurers flexibility to design plans that cost less. About half the people who buy individual health insurance policies are subsidized under Obama’s health law, but the rest are not, and many have faced stiff premium increases. The old saying about getting what you pay for still applies. Although many healthy customers would welcome plans with lower monthly premiums, the high cost of medical care isn’t going down. The easy way for insurers to reduce premiums is by covering less. A nonpartisan analysis of the House-passed Republican bill said the potential consequences could be severe. The Congressional Budget Office said that in states that take full advantage of the House plan’s waivers to insurance requirements, healthy people might flock to skinnier, lower-premium plans. Those in poor health left in comprehensive plans could face premiums that keep rising until they become unaffordable, because there would be fewer healthy people in those plans to share the cost. “People who are less healthy (including those with pre-existing or newly acquired medical conditions) would ultimately be unable to purchase comprehensive ... health insurance at premiums comparable to those under current law, if they could purchase it at all,” said the CBO report. Some[...]


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New 'Blue Lives Matter' laws raise concerns among activistsFILE - In this July 7, 2016 file photo, Dallas police detain a driver after five police officers were shot in downtown Dallas. More than a dozen states this year have passed “Blue Lives Matter” laws that come down even harder on crimes against law enforcement officers. The new laws came in reaction to a spike in deadly attacks on police last year. Some civil rights activists fear the measures could set back police-community relations. (AP Photo/LM Otero, File)

Sat, 27 May 2017 04:20:00 GMT

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – After a spike in deadly attacks on police, more than a dozen states have responded this year with "Blue Lives Matter" laws that come down even harder on crimes against law enforcement officers, raising concern among some civil rights activists of a potential setback in police-community relations. The new measures build upon existing statutes allowing harsher sentences for people who kill or assault police. They impose even tougher penalties, extend them to more offenses, including certain nonviolent ones such as trespassing in Missouri, and broaden the list of victims covered to include off-duty officers, police relatives and some civilians at law enforcement agencies. Proponents say an escalation of violence against police justifies the heightened protections. "What we're getting into as a society is that people are targeting police officers not by something that they may have done to them, but just because they're wearing that uniform," said Republican state Rep. Shawn Rhoads of Missouri, a former detective. People who have been protesting aggressive police tactics are expressing alarm. "This is another form of heightened repression of activists," said Zaki Baruti, an activist and community organizer from St. Louis County. "It sends a message to protesters that we better not look at police cross-eyed." Police deaths on the job have generally declined over the past four decades, from a recent high of 280 in 1974 to a low of 116 in 2013, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. But they rose last year to 143, including 21 killed in ambushes – the highest number of such attacks in more than two decades. Nearly all states already have laws enhancing the punishments for certain violent crimes against law officers. One year ago, Louisiana became the first state to enact a law adding offenses against police, firefighters and emergency medical responders to its list of hate crimes. More states began expanding their penalties after last summer, when five officers were killed in a July 7 sniper attack at a protest against police brutality in Dallas, and three more officers were slain in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, 10 days later. Penalty enhancements have passed this year in Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Utah and West Virginia, most of which are led by Republicans. Similar bills are under consideration in other states. Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt cited the case of Bradley Verstraete as one example of the need for such measures. Verstraete was accused of raising an ax handle against police officers responding to a disturbance call in 2015. Police shot and wounded him. Verstraete was sentenced in February to 8½ years in prison for attempted murder. His sentence could have been doubled under a law signed this month. Troy Huser, president of the Kansas Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, called the measure a "knee-jerk response" to the attacks in Dall[...]


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Illinois lawmakers pass workers' compensation measuresIllinois state Sen. Kwame Raoul, D-Chicago, speaks with reporters at the Capitol in Springfield on Friday, May 26, 2017. What qualifies as Illinois Democrats' spring compromise on cost-cutting changes to the workers' compensation program won Senate approval Friday, leaving derisive Republicans without a major, previously agreed-to cost-saving concession. Raoul sponsored one measure requiring state Insurance Department-approved rates based on market need. (AP Photo/John O'Connor)

Sat, 27 May 2017 04:20:00 GMT

SPRINGFIELD – Senate Democrats made good Friday on their pledge to pick apart the workers’ compensation system at the behest of Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner, but the measures they approved brought only derision from the GOP. Majority Democrats endorsed one proposal that would require companies writing workers’ compensation insurance to get state approval for the rates they charge, and another that creates a nonprofit company – with government oversight – to write competitive policies. Here are some questions and answers about the web of rules that ensures compensation for employees injured while on the clock: Q: Why is this an issue when the state has no budget? A: Rauner has made cost-cutting workers’ comp changes a must before he’ll agree to an annual budget – something Illinois has been without for two years, longer than any state in modern history. Frustrated Democrats say they’re making major concessions because they overhauled the compensation system in 2011. Q: What is workers’ comp? A: A Progressive Era reform, Illinois was on the ground floor when it adopted the law in 1912. Workers previously had little recourse if they were hurt on the clock. Workers’ compensation created limited liability for employers and set speedy payment for an injured worker who agreed to forgo an uncertain court remedy. Q: Where does it stand? A: Rauner’s demand for workers’ comp reform goes back to when he was a gubernatorial candidate. After he became governor, Democrats told him their 2011 changes meant that medical and replacement-wage payments in Illinois dropped 20 percent, to $1.33 billion, from 2011 to 2015, according to the National Council on Compensation Insurance, an industry observer. Quoting state statistics, the Midwest Region of the Laborers’ International Union of North America reports that insurance premiums that Illinois employers pay for workers’ compensation coverage have gone up nearly 15 percent. Q: Why is there still a problem? A: That’s what Democrats have wondered. An expert, Democratic Rep. Jay Hoffman of Swansea, notes that NCCI has recommended a 29 percent reduction in workers’ comp insurance rates during the past seven years. Q: What did Democrats do? A: A Hoffman-initiated measure sponsored by Chicago Democratic Sen. Kwame Raoul requires state Insurance Department-approved rates based on market need. It won approval, 32-20, but must return to the House for concurrence. The other, sponsored by Glenview Democratic Rep. Laura Fine and Evanston Democratic Sen. Daniel Biss, creates a nonprofit insurance company – with oversight from a government board – to push down rates by competing for policies like ones in other states. Q: How did the GOP respond? A: Senate Republicans derided the workers’ compensation legislation as “delay” and “distraction” but not “reform.” Rauner’s office declined to comment. The Illinois Manufacturers’ Association issued a statement i[...]


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McHenry County grand jury indictments

Fri, 26 May 2017 23:55:00 GMT

WOODSTOCK – A McHenry County grand jury this past week indicted these people on these charges: • Yovani Ayala, 24, 358 Alma Terrace, Cary, aggravated battery, aggravated assault. • Paulina Maciantowicz, 29, 813 Hayden Drive, Johnsburg, disorderly conduct. • Eric M. Stefko, 39, 2605 Benjamin Drive, Wonder Lake, driving while license revoked subsequent offense. • Shauna C. Divoky, 37, 11401 Commercial St., Richmond, two counts of aggravated domestic battery, aggravated battery, two counts of domestic battery, interfering with the reporting of domestic violence, criminal damage to property. • Santiago M. Jackson, 33, 20612 E. Route 173, Harvard, criminal trespass to residence. • Elmer O. Rodas-Murillo, 19, 460 Buckingham Lane, Crystal Lake, forgery. • Carlos Lucas, 30, 3710 S. Honore St., Chicago, theft over $500. • Anita Lopez-Quintero, 48, 1810 Powers Road, Woodstock, retail theft subsequent offense. • Rafael L. Torres, 45, 952 Chippewa Circle, Carpentersville, aggravated battery to a peace officer. • Jeremy D. Christopher, 27, 514 Highland Ave., Woodstock, aggravated battery. • Daniel R. Turner, 33, 5219 Miller Road, Wonder Lake, attempted fleeing or eluding a police officer, driving while license revoked. • Kenneth S. Nerpas, 1804 Kishwaukee Ave., Rockford, burglary, criminal damage to property. • Paul S. Benzinger, 29, 6118 Anvil Road, Crystal Lake, unlawful possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance, two counts of unlawful possession of a controlled substance. • Danielle A. Boden, 27, 4905 Hill Road, Richmond, two counts of unlawful possession of a controlled substance, unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia. • Brett A. Clemens, 26, 4905 Hill Road, Richmond, two counts of unlawful possession of a controlled substance, unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia. • Roman Castro, 47, 651 Virginia Road, #326, Crystal Lake, two counts of unlawful possession with intent to delivery a controlled substance, two counts of unlawful possession of a controlled substance. • Wesley J. Tennison, 25, 1528 N. Seminary Ave., Woodstock, unlawful possession of cannabis with intent to deliver, three counts of unlawful possession of a controlled substance, unlawful possession of cannabis, unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia. • Hizqeel Ahmed, 19, 10503 Hunter Trail, Huntley, unlawful possession of a controlled substance. • Garrett J. Verba, 36, 2701 Benjamin Lane, Wonder Lake, unlawful possession with intent to deliver cannabis, unlawful possession of cannabis. • Danette M. Bittinger, 42, 309 McHenry Ave., Woodstock, unlawful possession of a controlled substance. [...]



Chicago firm will run $1 billion overhaul of Union StationGoettsch Partners/Riverside Investment & Development via AP This artist rendering provided by Riverside Investment & Development shows a view of the proposed changes to Union Station in Chicago. Officials in Chicago have chosen the real estate firm to run a $1 billion overhaul of the iconic building. The plans for the project were announced at a news conference Thursday in Chicago.

Fri, 26 May 2017 05:24:00 GMT

CHICAGO – Chicago’s historic Union Station will get an estimated $1 billion makeover that will include millions of square feet of office, retail and hotel space, according to details unveiled Thursday by Amtrak and the city.

The proposed commercial development will span about 3.1 million square feet, including a pair of 12-story residential towers, and is expected to take about six years to complete. On Thursday, officials announced Chicago-based Riverside Investment & Development Co. would oversee the renovation of the station and surrounding Amtrak-owned properties.

Riverside officials called it a “transformative” project for Chicago.

“Adapting such an iconic building and transportation hub that serves so many is a responsibility we take very seriously,” Riverside CEO John O’Donnell said in a statement.

Union Station was built in 1925 and is one of the nation’s busiest rail terminals with about 120,000 daily passengers. Amtrak and Metra commuter trains use the station, which is adjacent to a major bus depot.

Plans for the overhaul have been in the works for years, with Amtrak and city transportation officials choosing four finalists to oversee the massive project last year.

Private funds will be used for the overhaul, city officials said.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel said the project will generate thousands of jobs and ensure a “more vibrant future” for the city.

The project is expected to create about 7,500 construction jobs, along with up to 8,000 permanent jobs. Amtrak officials said they will negotiate final terms of the development agreement by the end of the year.

Union Station has recently undergone other renovations, including overhauling a passenger lounge.

Goettsch Partners/Riverside Investment & Development via AP This artist rendering provided by Riverside Investment & Development shows a view of the proposed changes to Union Station in Chicago. Officials in Chicago have chosen the real estate firm to run a $1 billion overhaul of the iconic building. The plans for the project were announced at a news conference Thursday in Chicago.


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Trump scolds NATO leaders, tells them to spend more for militaryAP photo President Donald Trump speaks with British Prime Minister Theresa May as they participate in a working dinner meeting during the NATO summit of heads of state and government Thursday at the NATO headquarters in Brussels. Trump inaugurated the new headquarters during a ceremony with other heads of state and government.

Fri, 26 May 2017 05:24:00 GMT

BRUSSELS – Surrounded by stone-faced allies, President Donald Trump rebuked fellow NATO members Thursday for failing to meet the military alliance’s financial benchmarks, asserting that leaves it weaker and shortchanges “the people and taxpayers of the United States.” Trump, who has often complained back home about other nations’ NATO support, lectured the other leaders in person this time, declaring, “Many of these nations owe massive amounts of money from past years.” The president’s assertion immediately put NATO under new strain and did nothing to quiet questions about his complicated relationship with an alliance he has previously panned as “obsolete.” Notably, he also did not offer an explicit public endorsement of NATO’s “all for one, one for all” collective defense principle, although White House officials said his mere presence at the meeting signaled his commitment. Fellow NATO leaders occasionally exchanged awkward looks with each other during the president’s lecture, which occurred at an event commemorating the fall of the Berlin Wall and the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. When Trump tried to lighten the mood with a joke about NATO’s gleaming new home base – “I never asked once what the new NATO Headquarters cost” – there was no laughter from his counterparts. NATO officials had expected Trump to raise the payments issue during Thursday’s meeting, even preparing Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg for the prospect that the president could try to pull off a stunt like handing out invoices. But one European official said NATO members were still taken aback by the aggressive tone of his speech. As a presidential candidate, Trump railed against NATO’s financial burden-sharing, suggesting the U.S. might only come to the defense of countries that meet the alliance’s guidelines – for committing 2 percent of their gross domestic product to military spending. A White House official said the president wanted to deliver the same direct message in front of NATO allies. Trump’s public scolding was all the more remarkable given the fact that he has actually backed away from some of his most provocative comments on foreign policy issues since taking office. He’s retracted his vow to label China a currency manipulator and has lavished praise on Chinese President Xi Jinping. During a visit to Saudi Arabia this week, he called Islam one of the world’s great religions after declaring during the campaign that “Islam hates us.” But few issues appear to have as much staying power with Trump as the uneven financial contributions of NATO members. Last year, only five of the 28 countries met the 2 percent goal: the U.S., Greece, Britain, Estonia and Poland. During a private dinner Thursday night, the 28 members, plus soon-to-join Montenegro, renewed an old pledge to move toward the 2 percent by 2024 – a move the White House touted as a sign of Trump’s influence. Some of the allies – particularly Eastern European nations deeply [...]


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Manchester bomber said to have pleaded 'Forgive me' before blastAP photo People line up Thursday to place flowers at St Ann's square in central Manchester, England. More than 20 people were killed in an explosion after an Ariana Grande concert at the venue late Monday evening. Britons will find armed troops at vital locations Wednesday after the official threat level was raised to its highest point.People look at tributes in a square in central Manchester, England, Thursday, May 25, 2017, ahead of a minute's silence for the victims of the suicide attack at an Ariana Grande concert that left more than 20 people dead and many more injured, as it ended on Monday night at the Manchester Arena. (Owen Humphreys/PA via AP)

Fri, 26 May 2017 05:24:00 GMT

MANCHESTER, England – The alleged culprit in a deadly concert bombing was driven by what he saw as unjust treatment of Arabs in Britain, a relative said Thursday, confirming he made a final phone call in which he pleaded: “Forgive me.” Salman Abedi was particularly upset by the killing last year of a Muslim friend whose death he believed went unnoticed by “infidels” in the U.K., said the relative, speaking on condition of anonymity over concerns for her own security. “Why was there no outrage for the killing of an Arab and a Muslim in such a cruel way?” she asked. “Rage was the main reason,” for the blast that killed 22 at the end of an Ariana Grande concert at Manchester Arena on Monday, she said, speaking by telephone from Libya. The new insight into Abedi’s motivation came as Britons faced stepped-up security, authorities pushed forward with raids and the investigation extended across Europe into Libya, where most of the suspected bomber’s family lived. The number of arrests in the U.K. ticked up to eight as British Transport Police said armed officers would begin patrols on some trains because of an increased threat of terrorism. Greater Manchester Police Chief Constable Ian Hopkins said, without elaborating, that searches of suspects’ homes brought “very important” clues in the probe of the bombing. But leaks from the investigation were creating a trans-Atlantic diplomatic mess. Manchester police halted their sharing of investigative information with the U.S. through most of Thursday until receiving fresh assurance there would be an end to leaks to the media. British Prime Minister Theresa May, who spoke about the matter with U.S. President Donald Trump at a NATO summit in Brussels, said the countries’ partnership on defense and security was built on trust. But “part of that trust is knowing that intelligence can be shared confidently,” she said. Trump pledged to “get to the bottom” of the leaks, calling them “deeply troubling” and asking the Justice Department and other agencies to “launch a complete review of this matter.” British officials were particularly angry over photos published by The New York Times showing remnants of a blue backpack which may have held the explosive. But it wasn’t clear U.S. officials were the source of the images, which the Times defended as “neither graphic nor disrespectful of victims” and consistent with basic reporting “on weapons used in horrific crimes.” British security services also were upset that 22-year-old Abedi’s name was apparently leaked by U.S. officials while police in the U.K. continued withholding it and while raids were underway in Manchester and in Libya. Hopkins said the leaks “caused much distress for families that are already suffering terribly with their loss.” Meanwhile, the investigation into the blast widened. Authorities chased possible links between Abedi and militants in Ma[...]


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Dr. Beach names Florida's Siesta Beach best beach in U.S.AP photo Visitors relax May 18 at Siesta Beach on Siesta Key in Sarasota, Fla. Siesta Beach is No. 1 on the list of best beaches for the summer, compiled by Stephen Leatherman, also known as Dr. Beach, a professor at Florida International University.

Fri, 26 May 2017 05:24:00 GMT

SIESTA KEY, Fla. – The sand on Siesta Beach on Florida’s Gulf Coast is as fine as powdered sugar, a pure, sparkling white and soft as a kitten’s fur – all because it’s comprised of 99 percent pure crushed quartz. For that reason, and many others, it was selected this year as the best beach in America by a professor who’s made a career ranking and studying beaches around the U.S. “The sand is outstanding,” said Stephen Leatherman, aka Dr. Beach, a professor at Miami’s Florida International University. “Every time I go there, I’ve got to take a bag home with me. It’s almost sacrilegious to walk on it with shoes on.” Other beaches that made the list this year, in order of ranking, are: Kapalua Bay Beach in Maui, Hawaii; Ocracoke Lifeguarded Beach on the Outer Banks of North Carolina; Grayton Beach State Park on the Florida Panhandle; Coopers Beach in Southampton, New York; Coast Guard Beach on Cape Cod in Massachusetts; Caladesi Island State Park in Dunedin/Clearwater, Florida; Hapuna Beach State Park, Big Island, Hawaii; Coronado Beach in San Diego, California; and Beachwalker Park on Kiawah Island, South Carolina. On a recent workday, Siesta Beach was packed with people, even though it wasn’t particularly sunny. The turquoise water was still gorgeous, the sand still fine. The beach is about 200 to 300 feet wide in some places, which means people can stretch out and not feel crowded. The beach was last year’s runner up and one of three in Florida on this year’s top 10 list. “It’s nice and clean, that’s what I look for,” said Jamie Gaskin, a 59-year-old retiree from Lakeland, Florida, who was scoping out the beach for a family Memorial Day party. She especially liked the two-story pavilion, which boasts a snack bar and restrooms. It’s only two years old and even offers sweet crepes for breakfast and tapas dishes in the early evening. “There’s plenty of tables to barbecue and to hang out. And the restrooms were nice and clean. I’d definitely recommend this,” she said. Siesta Beach is on a barrier island in the Gulf of Mexico, and is located just southwest of downtown Sarasota. The water is placid on most days – Leatherman said you can measure the waves “in inches” – and is shallow and safe for swimming, with no sharp drop-offs. Added bonuses include lots of parking, a trolley service to and from the island’s adorable downtown area and plenty of lifeguards. The beach also has natural dunes, which is a bit rare for Florida, and the fine sand is excellent for building sand castles. “I look for kind of a balance between nature and a developed environment,” said Leatherman, who lives on the other side of the state, closer to Miami Beach. “Fourteen million people go to Miami Beach every year. There’s just too many people there. I think a lot of people are looking for more of a getaway.” Leatherman, who is director of the Laboratory for Coastal Research at Florida Int[...]


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Family sues Naperville high school, police over teen's death

Fri, 26 May 2017 05:21:00 GMT

WHEATON – The family of a Chicago-area teenager who allegedly took his own life by jumping from a parking deck is blaming the school he attended and police for his death.

Corey Walgren was accused in January by Naperville North High School officials of having child pornography on his phone and playing it for his friends. Attorney Terry Ekl said the 16-year-old had consensual sex with a girl, the sounds of which were on his phone.

Walgren's family said in their DuPage County court lawsuit that school officials and police caused him "emotional and psychological distress" during a disciplinary interrogation. The lawsuit also said officials were tardy in notifying his parents of Walgren's interrogation.

School officials refused to comment on the lawsuit. Naperville police officials said the school resource officer acted properly.




GOP senators say tough report complicates health care billSenate Minority Leader Charles Schumer of N.Y. speaks during a news conference about the Paris climate agreement, Wednesday, May 24, 2017, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Fri, 26 May 2017 05:20:00 GMT

WASHINGTON – Republicans senators conceded Thursday that a scathing analysis of the House GOP health care bill had complicated their effort to dismantle President Barack Obama's health care law. "It makes everything harder and more difficult," Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., said of a Congressional Budget Office analysis projecting that the House bill would cause 23 million Americans to lose coverage by 2026 and create prohibitively expensive costs for many others. "There's blinking yellow lights throughout the whole thing," Sen. Patrick Toomey, R-Pa., said of the report by lawmakers' nonpartisan fiscal experts. Congress now begins a week-long recess, with GOP senators still hunting for a health-care overhaul plan that can win the support of no less than 50 of their 52 members. All Democrats seem likely to oppose the bill, and Vice President Mike Pence could break a 50-50 tie. While the analysis of the House-passed plan simply gives senators a numerical starting point for their own work, it also made the Republican health care drive a fatter target for Democratic attacks. And it highlighted how some provisions in the House bill would produce damaging consequences for many people. "The bottom line is very simple. Unless you're a healthy millionaire, Trumpcare is a nightmare," said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. "And I think that's why our Republican colleagues are having such trouble putting together their own bill." The House bill would relax many of the Obama statute's consumer protections, kill its mandate that people buy coverage, trim federal subsidies for insurance purchasers and cut the Medicaid program for lower-income and disabled people. Senate Republicans have been holding private meetings to narrow differences and produce their own health care package. They've said it will differ markedly from the House measure, including easing some Medicaid reductions and focusing tax credits for buying coverage more at poorer people. The No. 2 Senate GOP leader, John Cornyn of Texas, expressed optimism that senators were narrowing differences and said staff could "start work" over the recess on writing some language of a Senate bill, but he conceded, "There's nothing final." Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, said, "We're still a ways away from having solutions here." That's prompted increased talk of possibly breaking out a less ambitious bill aimed at keeping insurance markets stable over the next two years, Republicans say. That could involve providing money to insurance companies so they can contain customers' costs, and perhaps retaining Obama's individual mandate, which imposes tax penalties on people who go uninsured. The budget office concluded that on average, premiums for people buying their own insurance would eventually be lower than under Obama's 2010 law under the House bill. Th[...]


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Census: Chicago loses population for 3rd consecutive year

Fri, 26 May 2017 05:20:00 GMT

CHICAGO – New Census figures show that Chicago has lost population for the third consecutive year as other major U.S. cities gained population.

Population estimates released Thursday found that Chicago lost 8,638 residents between 2015 and 2016. However, the city remains the nation's third-largest city with 2.7 million residents. Chicago trails behind New York with 8.5 million residents and Los Angeles, which has 4 million residents.

Demographers have cited many reasons for the shifts from dwindling immigration and fertility rates to families' concerns about city violence and cash-strapped schools.

Experts also have noted an overall trend with cities in the South continuing to grow at a faster rate than other U.S. regions. Census figures show 10 of the 15 fastest-growing cities with populations of 50,000 or more were spread across the South.




Sears revenue continues to decline amid tough landscapeThis Thursday, May 11, 2017, photo shows a Sears store in Hialeah, Fla. Sears Holdings Corp. reported earnings on Thursday, May 25, 2017. Sears’ extended decline in sales continued during the first quarter and the storied retailer vowed additional spending cuts to offset its slowing business. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)

Fri, 26 May 2017 05:20:00 GMT

NEW YORK РSears' extended decline in sales persisted during the first quarter and the storied retailer vowed to make additional spending cuts to offset its slowing business. The company's operating loss widened to $222 million, or $2.15 per share, on weak sales. Sears Holdings has been closing stores and selling brands long affiliated with Sears, including Craftsman. A year ago the company reported a loss of $181 million. Still, the company registered a profit of $244 million, or $2.28 per share, counting a gain from the sale of assets. Its shares surged $1.63, or 22 percent, to $9.10 in trading Thursday. Revenue fell 20 percent, to $4.3 billion, and sales at established stores fell 11.9 percent. In March, Sears Holdings Corp. said there is "substantial doubt" it could continue as a viable concern, with intense pressure coming from companies like Wal-Mart, Target and Amazon.com. It has insisted that its actions to turn around its business should help reduce that risk. Asset sales have bought the retailer time, but it said recently that pension agreements may prevent the sale of more businesses, potentially leading to a shortfall in funding. Sears, which employs 140,000 people, announced in January that it would close 108 additional Kmart and 42 more Sears locations, and unveiled yet another restructuring plan in February. The company has lost more than $10.4 billion since 2011, the last year that it made a profit. "While this was certainly a challenging quarter for our company, it was also one that clearly demonstrated our commitment to return Sears Holdings to solid financial footing," Chairman Eddie Lampert said in a company release. "We recognize that we need to accelerate our efforts to improve our operational performance and are moving decisively with our $1.25 billion restructuring program." Lampert's hedge fund has forwarded millions in funding to keep Sears afloat. The company remains in a "tenuous" position, according to Evercore analyst Greg Melich, with operating losses showing no sign of improvement and sales in freefall. "Sears does not appear well positioned for the rest of 2017," Melich said, citing its weak store base, anemic sales and continued market share loss in most major categories. Prior to the market opening, shares of the Hoffman Estates, Illinois, company had dropped 20 percent since the beginning of the year. The stock had fallen 38 percent in the last 12 months. This Thursday, May 11, 2017, photo shows a Sears store in Hialeah, Fla. Sears Holdings Corp. reported earnings on Thursday, May 25, 2017. Sears’ extended decline in sales continued during the first quarter and the storied retailer vowed additional spending cuts to offset its slowing business. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)[...]


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Illinois to receive $1M of Johnson & Johnson settlement

Fri, 26 May 2017 05:20:00 GMT

CHICAGO – Illinois will receive more than $1 million of a $33 million multistate settlement with Johnson & Johnson to resolve allegations that the health care giant sold numerous nonprescription medicines that didn't meet federal quality requirements.

The settlement was announced Wednesday by attorneys general in 42 states, including in Illinois. The case dates to 2009, when Johnson & Johnson began dozens of voluntary recalls of popular over-the-counter medicines for children and adults, including Tylenol, Motrin and Benadryl.

Those and several other products, made at J&J factories in Puerto Rico and suburban Philadelphia, were recalled for problems including unpleasant smells, metal shards in liquid medicines and wrong ingredient levels. Many products weren't available in stores for years.

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan said the settlement serves as a reminder for companies to follow manufacturing processes required by law.




Poll: Older Americans want Medicare-covered long-term careFILE - In this June 25, 2015 file photo, participants take part in a health care rally outside of the Supreme Court in Washington. A growing number of Americans age 40 and older think Medicare should cover the costs of long-term care for older adults, according to a poll conducted by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)

Fri, 26 May 2017 05:19:00 GMT

WASHINGTON – A growing number of Americans age 40 and older think Medicare should cover the costs of long-term care for older adults, according to a poll conducted by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. That option is unlikely to gain much traction as President Donald Trump’s administration and Republicans in Congress look to cut the federal budget and repeal President Barack Obama’s 2010 health care law. Most older Americans mistakenly believe they can rely on Medicare already, the poll shows, while few have done much planning for their own long-term care. Things to know from the AP-NORC poll of older adults: Most want Medicare to pay More than half of older Americans – 56 percent – think the federal government should devote a great deal or a lot of effort to helping people with the costs of long-term care, and another 30 percent think it should make a moderate effort to do so. According to the poll, 56 percent of Americans age 40 and over think Medicare should have a major role in paying for ongoing living assistance, up from 39 percent who said so in 2013. Majorities of both Democrats and Republicans now think Medicare should bear a large part of the burden. The poll has other signs of growing support for government involvement in providing long-term care. Seventy percent of older Americans say they favor a government-administered long-term care insurance program, up from 53 percent who said so a year ago. Most also favor tax policies to encourage long-term care planning, including tax breaks to encourage saving for long-term care and the ability to use nontaxable accounts like 401(k)s and IRAs to pay for long-term care insurance premiums. Most also favor tax breaks for people who provide care to family members and employers who give paid family leave to workers. But just 25 percent would favor requiring individuals to purchase long-term care insurance, perhaps echoing opposition to the individual mandate to buy insurance that has long been the least popular part of the 2010 health care law. The poll suggests many Americans have misconceptions about current government aid to pay for living assistance. Fifty-seven percent plan to rely on Medicare quite a bit or completely for their own ongoing living assistance if and when they need it, even though Medicare does not cover most nursing care or home health aides. Just 25 percent plan to rely on Medicaid. Medicaid is much more likely to pay for long-term care, but is only available to lower income and disabled individuals and families. Feeling unprepared Two-thirds of Americans age 40 and up say they’ve done little or no planning for their own long-term care needs. In fact, the survey shows that if anything, older Americans feel less prepared for the c[...]


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President Donald Trump's travel ban blocked; fight headed for Supreme CourtNATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg listens as President Donald Trump speaks during a ceremony to unveil artifacts from the World Trade Center and Berlin Wall for the new NATO headquarters, Thursday, May 25, 2017, in Brussels. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Fri, 26 May 2017 05:19:00 GMT

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump's revised travel ban "speaks with vague words of national security, but in context drips with religious intolerance, animus and discrimination," a federal appeals court said Thursday in ruling against the executive order targeting six Muslim-majority countries. Trump's administration vowed to take the fight to the U.S. Supreme Court. In a 10-3 vote, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the ban likely violates the Constitution. And it upheld a lower court ruling that blocks the Republican administration from cutting off visas for people from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. The Richmond, Virginia-based 4th Circuit is the first appeals court to rule on the revised travel ban unveiled in March. Trump's administration had hoped it would avoid the legal problems that the first version from January encountered. A second appeals court, the 9th U.S. Circuit based in San Francisco, is also weighing the revised travel ban after a federal judge in Hawaii blocked it. The Supreme Court almost certainly would step into the case if asked. The justices almost always have the final say when a lower court strikes down a federal law or presidential action. Trump could try to persuade the Supreme Court to allow the policy to take effect, even while the justices weigh whether to hear the case, by arguing that the court orders blocking the ban make the country less safe. If the administration does ask the court to step in, the justices' first vote could signal the court's ultimate decision. A central question in the case before the 4th Circuit was whether courts should consider Trump's public statements about wanting to bar Muslims from entering the country as evidence that the policy was primarily motivated by the religion. Trump's administration argued the court should not look beyond the text of the executive order, which doesn't mention religion. The countries were not chosen because they are predominantly Muslim but because they present terrorism risks, the administration said. But Chief Judge Roger L. Gregory wrote that the government's "asserted national security interest ... appears to be a post hoc, secondary justification for an executive action rooted in religious animus and intended to bar Muslims from this country." Attorney General Jeff Sessions said the court's ruling blocks Trump's "efforts to strengthen this country's national security." Trump is not required to admit people from "countries that sponsor or shelter terrorism until he determines that they can be properly vetted" and don't pose a security threat, Sessions said. The three dissenting judges, all appointed by Republican presidents, said the majority was wrong to look beyond[...]


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Montana's Gianforte wins U.S. House race day after being charged with assaultFILE - In this May 11, 2017, file photo Republican Greg Gianforte, right, welcomes Donald Trump Jr., the U.S. president's son, onto the stage at a rally in East Helena, Mont. Gianforte, charged with shoving a reporter to the ground on the eve of a special election kept a low profile Thursday, May 25, even as supporters prepared a hotel ballroom for a possible victory party. (AP Photo/Bobby Caina Calvan,File)

Fri, 26 May 2017 05:19:00 GMT

BOZEMAN, Mont. – Republican multimillionaire Greg Gianforte won Montana's only U.S. House seat on Thursday despite being charged a day earlier with assault after witnesses said he grabbed a reporter by the neck and threw him to the ground. Gianforte, a technology entrepreneur, defeated Democrat Rob Quist to continue the GOP's two-decade stronghold on the congressional seat. Democrats had hoped Quist, a musician and first-time candidate, could have capitalized on a wave of activism following President Donald Trump's election. Instead, the win reaffirmed Montana's voters support for Trump's young presidency in a conservative-leaning state that voted overwhelmingly for him in November. Gianforte was a strong favorite throughout the campaign and that continued even after authorities charged him with misdemeanor assault on Wednesday. Witnesses said he grabbed Ben Jacobs, a reporter for the Guardian newspaper, and slammed him to the ground after being asked about the Republican health care bill. Gianforte dropped out of sight after he was cited by police and ignored calls on Thursday by national Republicans for him to apologize to the reporter. The last-minute controversy unnerved Republicans, who also faced close calls this year in the traditionally Republican congressional districts in Kansas and Georgia. A runoff election is scheduled for next month in Georgia between Democrat Jon Ossoff and Republican Karen Handel after Ossoff fell just short of winning outright. Gianforte showed lukewarm support for Trump during his unsuccessful run for governor in Montana last fall but did an about-face and turned into an ebullient Trump supporter after he started campaigning for the congressional seat vacated by Republican Ryan Zinke, when he was tapped by Trump to serve as Interior Department secretary. Gianforte urged Montana voters to send him to help Trump "drain the swamp," brought in Vice President Mike Pence and first son Donald Trump Jr. to campaign for him and was supported by millions of dollars of ads and mailers paid for by Republican groups. But the theme of the election shifted Wednesday night when Jacobs walked into Gianforte's office as he was preparing for an interview with Fox News. Jacobs began asking the candidate about the health care bill passed by the House when the crew and Jacobs say Gianforte slammed him to the floor, yelling "Get out of here!" It had been unclear if Gianforte's assault charge would impact the race. About a third of eligible voters in Montana had already cast their ballots in early voting, and others said it didn't influence their vote. Shaun Scott, a computer science professor at Carroll College in Helena, said the assault charg[...]


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Lawsuit filed after attorney says a nurse was beaten, raped in Delnor Hospital hostage incidentSean Murray and Lindsay Scheidt of the law firm Taxman, Pollock, Murray & Bekkerman, which is representing two nurses taken hostage by a Kane County jail inmate, speak at a press conference in Chicago on May 25. The law firm filed a federal civil rights lawsuit naming Kane County, jail correctional officer Shawn Loomis, and Apex3 Security LLC, the hospital’s security firm, as defendants.

Fri, 26 May 2017 05:18:00 GMT

Attorneys representing two nurses and a nurse’s husband called a news conference to counter official statements that nurses taken hostage at Northwestern Medicine Delnor Hospital were not injured in a May 13 incident in which a jail inmate was shot dead by a SWAT team. “In fact, one of the nurses was repeatedly beaten; she was tortured; she was raped,” attorney Sean Murray said at the news conference, which was held Thursday in Chicago. And yet, while the correctional officer allegedly ran and hid after the inmate got his gun, Murray credited one of the hostage nurses as a hero whose brave and thoughtful actions likely saved the lives of other hospital employees. Murray and Lindsay Scheidt – of the law firm Taxman, Pollock, Murray & Bekkerman – filed a federal civil rights lawsuit naming Kane County, jail correctional officer Shawn Loomis and Apex3 Security LLC – the hospital’s security firm – as defendants. The lawsuit alleged that they all failed in their duty to protect the hospital employees from a dangerous jail inmate and seeks unstated compensation for medical care and other costs. The lawsuit also charges that the nurses had a 14th Amendment right to be protected from state-created danger, particularly in that the inmate, Tywon M. Salters, 21, of Chicago, should have been guarded by two corrections officers, not one, as was the case. “I have been asked to file this lawsuit to enact change within the Kane County Sheriff’s Department,” the law firm’s news release said. “The conduct that led up to this occurrence is unacceptable,” the release said. “Those who are responsible should be held accountable, and policies and procedures must be reviewed and changed. “We are doing this so this type of thing doesn’t happen to anyone else and so that hospital staff can feel safe returning to work.” Kane County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Pat Gengler referred all questions about the incident to the Kane County State’s Attorney Office. Kane County State’s Attorney Joe McMahon said the office does not comment on pending litigation or pending investigations. The petitioners are identified only as Jane Doe I, Jane Doe II and John Doe, according to the lawsuit. “For 3½ hours, the nurse was held hostage … a gun was continuously held to her head the entire time; she was told she was going to die; she was repeatedly beaten; she was mentally and physically abused,” according to the release. When the SWAT team charged the room and fatally shot Salters, the same bullet that killed him also struck the second nurse hostage in the arm, the release sai[...]


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Funeral set for 2-year-old Carpentersville boy hit by vehiclePhoto provided by Levi Cruz GoFundMe page

Fri, 26 May 2017 05:17:00 GMT

CARPENTERSVILLE – Funeral arrangements have been set for a toddler who died Monday after being struck by a vehicle. 

The visitation for 2-year-old Levi Cruz of Carpentersville will be from 3 to 8 p.m. Friday at Willow Funeral Home and Cremation Care, 1415 W. Algonquin Road, Algonquin, according to the funeral home’s website. The burial will be at 11 a.m. Saturday in McHenry County Memorial Park, 11301 Lake Ave., Woodstock. 

Levi is survived by his parents, Susi and Joe Cruz, according to a GoFundMe page set up for the family by Angie Vilchis. As of Thursday evening, more than $16,500 had been raised for the family.

“Levi was a happy adventurous boy who loved the farm, his loyal dog, playing with his adoring mommy and being just like his daddy,” a message on the GoFundMe page reads. “He was excited to be a big brother as his mom is eight months pregnant.”

A memorial talk will be given at 3 p.m. Saturday at Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses, 1244 S. Main St., Algonquin, according to the page. 

Authorities responded to a call of a child hit by a vehicle about 9:40 a.m. in the 1000 block of Deer Creek Drive near the intersection of Deer Creek and Rosewood drives in the Lakewood Estates North subdivision.

Although police made efforts at the scene to resuscitate the boy, he was taken to Advocate Sherman Hospital in Elgin, where he was declared dead about an hour later, according to the Kane County Coroner’s Office.

Police have called the incident a “family tragedy,” and said no suspect is being sought in the crash.

Carpentersville police and the Kane County Accident Reconstruction Team are investigating the crash.

Photo provided by Levi Cruz GoFundMe page


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Work for Interstate 90, Route 23 interchange making progressH. Rick Bamman file photo – hbamman@shawmedia.com Lorig Construction Company project manager Joe Moyer walks across the Route 23 bridge across the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway south of Marengo. Officials said engineering work on ramps for the Interstate 90 and Route 23 interchange project is 30 percent complete.

Fri, 26 May 2017 05:17:00 GMT

MARENGO – Engineering work on ramps for the proposed Interstate 90 and Route 23 interchange project is 30 percent complete, and Marengo city officials are planning meetings in the next several months to address the project that is expected to bring millions in economic impact to McHenry County.

The $32 million project includes replacing the bridge, which originally was built in the 1950s. The project is expected to trigger an economic impact of more than $1 billion for McHenry County. If industrial potential is realized, between 900 and about 3,500 jobs could come to the Marengo area, according to a study by the McHenry County Economic Development Corp.

“I am happy to say everything is moving along without concern,” Marengo Mayor John Koziol said. “I have always said I support this project as long as it is done properly and cost-effectively. … Support from McHenry County, [the Illinois Department of Transportation] and the [Illinois State Toll Highway Authority] has been tremendous. I look forward to upcoming meetings I have scheduled to communicate my support directly.”

Interim City Administrator Joshua Blakemore said the city plans to go before the McHenry County Transportation Committee in June to discuss progress. A public meeting will be held this summer to allow residents to provide feedback on the project as well.

The city of Marengo is working on starting talks with residents in the area, and it also plans to begin meetings with other stakeholders for the project, Blakemore said.

“We need to have conversations about right-of-way acquisitions, so that will continue,” he said. “We may have to revisit an annexation agreement that wasn’t signed as well.”

Bridge reconstruction itself is expected to cost $9 million and be complete sometime this year. IDOT will lengthen and widen the bridge, which will include full shoulders and room for future turn lanes. Pavement improvements to Route 23 also are expected. A little more than 3,000 cars travel along the road daily, according to IDOT.

Traffic on Route 23 is reduced to a single lane over I-90 while IDOT removes and reconstructs the east side of the bridge. Full road closures on I-90 and Route 23 occurred this week as construction continued on the new bridge.

H. Rick Bamman file photo – hbamman@shawmedia.com Lorig Construction Company project manager Joe Moyer walks across the Route 23 bridge across the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway south of Marengo. Officials said engineering work on ramps for the Interstate 90 and Route 23 interchange project is 30 percent complete.


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

Fri, 26 May 2017 05:17:00 GMT

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

The new digester that was installed at the 1100 Coventry Lane plant will become operational Tuesday.

Odors might be intermittently present for the next week or two, according to a memo from the city’s Public Works Department.

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

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

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

– Kevin P. Craver




Crystal Lake Chamber of Commerce recognizes businesses during 77th annual dinnerHannah Prokop – hprokop@shawmedia.com Sandra Pierce, Gary Bonick, Suzanne Hoban, Rik Fregia, Kathy Powell and Robert Gray were among those recognized Thursday at the Crystal Lake Chamber of Commerce's 77th Annual Dinner.

Fri, 26 May 2017 05:16:00 GMT

CRYSTAL LAKE – When Executive Director of Family Health Partnership Clinic Suzanne Hoban came to the Crystal Lake Chamber of Commerce’s 77th Annual Dinner on Thursday night, she had no idea she would be leaving with one of the top awards.  Hoban, who received the ATHENA Leadership Award, was among several others recognized at the event. “Crystal Lake is such a wonderful community and supportive community that really cares about everybody in the community,” Hoban said after the award presentation. “And that is very rare.”  The ATHENA award recognizes an individual for professional excellence, service to their community and for actively assisting women in their attainment of leadership skills. This year’s award was sponsored by INTREN. Hoban founded the clinic in 1996, annual dinner chairwoman Patti Lutz said at the award presentation, and her career has revolved around providing valuable services and care to those in the community and promoting women’s causes.  The clinic has grown from having one volunteer health care provider and 500 patients to having more than 30 providers and more than 9,000 patients, Lutz said. A few years ago, the clinic opened a new location in Crystal Lake. “There have been so many women that have stepped forward to make this vision a reality, and so many people who have said, ‘We really want to help out,’ ” Hoban said. About 200 people came to Crystal Lake Country Club for the dinner, sponsored by Centegra Health System. The keynote speaker, Vice President of Commercial Operations at Sage Products Sean Haley, was sponsored by American Community Bank.  The Robert O. Covey Business of the Year Award – given to a company on the basis of its success, community support and leadership – was presented to Phoenix Woodworking Corp.  Sandra Pierce, founder and president of Phoenix Woodworking, has built a thriving business over the past 21 years, and has been honored for her company’s commitment for volunteer efforts throughout the county, according to a release from the Crystal Lake Chamber of Commerce.  The company had burned to the ground under previous ownership, Lutz said, but Pierce purchased the company’s remaining assets and named it “Phoenix.” “That highly skilled team under the leadership of [Pierce] takes much pride, not only in the product they craft but in their ability to overcome any obstacle within their path,” Lutz said. Robert Gray, of Dorion-Gray Retirement Planning, won the Carl E. Wehde Award for his volunteer work [...]


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

Fri, 26 May 2017 05:16:00 GMT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




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

Thu, 25 May 2017 22:49:00 GMT

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


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

Thu, 25 May 2017 21:44:00 GMT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Deputies seize 350 pounds of marijuana from Bull Valley mansionH. Rick Bamman – hbamman@shawmedia.com McHenry County Sheriff's Sgt. Robb Tadekman (left) and Deputy Ryan Hoven sort through some of the estimated 350 pounds of marijuana seized in recent operations. Police also found a .50-caliber machine gun, a Cobray M11 and ammunition at a Bull Valley home.H. Rick Bamman – hbamman@shawmedia.com Surrounded by containers of cannabis, McHenry County Sheriff's Deputy Ryan Hoven removes ammunition from a .50-caliber machine gun seized from a home in Bull Valley.H. Rick Bamman – hbamman@shawmedia.com Ammunition and a .50-caliber machine gun were seized by McHenry County Sheriff's deputies from a Bull Valley home.H. Rick Bamman – hbamman@shawmedia.com McHenry County Sheriff's Sgt. Robb Tadekman breaks down a Cobray M11 seized from a home in Bull Valley.H. Rick Bamman – hbamman@shawmedia.com McHenry County Sheriff's Sgt. Robb Tadekman returns a Cobray M11 to a case. The gun and about 350 pounds of marijuana were seized from a Bull Valley home.H. Rick Bamman – hbamman@shawmedia.com McHenry County Sheriff's Deputy Ryan Hoven holds a pouch containing cannabis seized in recent operations.H. Rick Bamman – hbamman@shawmedia.com Ammunition was seized by McHenry County Sheriff's deputies and the Drug Enforcement Administration.H. Rick Bamman – hbamman@shawmedia.com Containers hold some of the 350 pounds of cannabis and a shotgun seized from a Bull Valley home by McHenry County Sheriff's deputies.H. Rick Bamman – hbamman@shawmedia.com Cash-counting machines were seized by McHenry County Sheriff's deputies and the Drug Enforcement Administration in recent operations.David Soskin.

Thu, 25 May 2017 15:45:00 GMT

WOODSTOCK – Prosecutors are moving to seize a $1.6 million Bull Valley mansion they say was bought with drug money after finding about 350 pounds of marijuana and a military-style machine gun inside the 17,000-square-foot home set on more than 30 acres in one of McHenry County's most affluent towns. "The scale of the proceeds of this investigation – including illegal substances, cash, weapons and all the trappings of an extravagant lifestyle – are astounding,” McHenry County Sheriff Bill Prim said. “We are very pleased to have contributed to the dismantling of a major drug trafficking enterprise and hope others involved in drugs will learn that they are not beyond the reach of law enforcement.” David A. Soskin, 42, of the 1000 block of Cherry Valley Road, is facing charges of marijuana trafficking, possession of marijuana with intent to deliver and possession of marijuana. Jamie M. Lee, 26, who lived in the home with Soskin, was arrested Wednesday in connection with the drug investigation. She faces similar charges of marijuana trafficking, possession of marijuana with intent to deliver and possession of marijuana. She was being held at the McHenry County Jail on $250,000 bond Thursday. She would have to post $25,000 bail to be released. Two McHenry County judges issued orders stating that the McHenry County Jail could not accept any money for bail for Soskin or Lee in this case until further notice by the court. This came after motions filed by prosecutors to prevent anyone from posting their bond until the source of the funds was determined to be legitimate. Funds tied to drug trafficking or other criminal or illegal source cannot be used to post bond. If convicted of the most serious charge, marijuana trafficking, both Soskin and Lee could face six to 30 years in prison. Sheriff's deputies searched Soskin's home May 19 and found about 350 pounds of marijuana in a locked closet in the master bedroom, according to court documents. The street value was estimated at nearly $3.2 million. Police also found a .50-caliber machine gun, a Cobray M11 machine pistol with a suppressor, a shotgun and several boxes of ammunition, records show. The arrests are part of an ongoing drug investigation involving the federal Drug Enforcement Administration, the McHenry County Narcotics Task Force, the Rockford Police Department and other law enforcement agencies. Rockford police and DEA agents first arrested Joseph Vogrinc, 34, of Loves Park after a traffic stop May 18 in the 4900 block of Rolex Parkway in Loves Park. Police found more than 11 pounds of marijuana and $55,000 in cash. They also seized a vehicle, police said. Vogrinc was charged with marijuana trafficking and is being held in the Winnebago Co[...]


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