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All three horses saved from Prairie Grove barn fireA horse barn caught fire Friday night in Prairie Grove, and hay was still smoldering in what was left of the building Saturday morning.Firefighters battle a barn fire near the intersection of Barreville and West Justen roads in Prairie Grove Friday evening. Information was not immediately available from fire crews late Friday. Check NWHerald.com later for more updates.Firefighters battle a barn fire near the intersection of Barreville and West Justen roads in Prairie Grove Friday evening.Firefighters battle a barn fire near the intersection of Barreville and West Justen roads in Prairie Grove Friday evening.Smoke billows from what was left of a horse barn in Prairie Grove Saturday morning. Horse owners who boarded their horses there thought a lightning strike was the reason for the flames.Power had previously been shut off to the barn, a spokesperson for ComEd said Saturday morning, but workers redirected that power to the horses' new home - a barn several hundred yards away.Fire crews continued to work on the blaze in Prairie Grove Saturday morning. No fire departments were immediately available for comment.

Sat, 22 Jul 2017 14:01:00 GMT

PRAIRIE GROVE — Liz Wolodkiewicz said she only got an hour of sleep Friday night after her 15-year-old horse barely survived an intense barn fire.

Wolodkiewicz said she could not even remember how long she has boarded her horse at a barn at 2480 Barreville Rd. in Prairie Grove, but she was visibly shaken by the ordeal.

"You just don't hear this [horses being saved] with barn fires," Wolodkiewicz said. "We're very lucky."

Lynn Magoon has boarded her 23-year-old horse at the barn in Prairie Grove for more than 10 years. She said she heard about the blaze around 8:45 p.m. Friday night.

Wolodkiewicz said the fire began in the top of the barn, where the hay is stacked. She explained that the owners' daughter, Krista Ziec, was the reason both her and Magoon's horses, and a third, made it out alive.

"We think it was lightning," Wolodkiewicz said. "But Krista was watching the storm and saw smoke. She helped save the horses. It [the barn] just collapsed after the last two got out."

There were no injuries to horses or people, Wolodkiewicz said. ComEd workers were on the scene Saturday morning rerouting power to the nearby barn where the horses had been moved. Local fire departments that responded could not be reached for comment Saturday morning regarding how the fire started or an estimate of the damage.

A horse barn caught fire Friday night in Prairie Grove, and hay was still smoldering in what was left of the building Saturday morning.Firefighters battle a barn fire near the intersection of Barreville and West Justen roads in Prairie Grove Friday evening. Information was not immediately available from fire crews late Friday. Check NWHerald.com later for more updates.Firefighters battle a barn fire near the intersection of Barreville and West Justen roads in Prairie Grove Friday evening.Firefighters battle a barn fire near the intersection of Barreville and West Justen roads in Prairie Grove Friday evening.Smoke billows from what was left of a horse barn in Prairie Grove Saturday morning. Horse owners who boarded their horses there thought a lightning strike was the reason for the flames.Power had previously been shut off to the barn, a spokesperson for ComEd said Saturday morning, but workers redirected that power to the horses' new home - a barn several hundred yards away.Fire crews continued to work on the blaze in Prairie Grove Saturday morning. No fire departments were immediately available for comment.


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Documents: Investigation into Crystal Lake firefighters who face discipline, criminal charges after incident at bar

Sat, 22 Jul 2017 11:37:00 GMT

Documents obtained by the Northwest Herald through a Freedom of Information Act request describe a rowdy gathering of off-duty firefighters and others March 15 at a "diaper party" – the male version of a baby shower – at Finn McCool’s, 72 N. Williams St., Crystal Lake.

Witnesses told an investigator hired by the city that firefighters groped customers and bar employees, continued drinking after they were cut off and eventually were kicked out, according to a report prepared by an Oak Brook law firm.


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3 Palestinians, 3 Israelis killed in violence over holy siteA Palestinian uses a slingshot against Israeli soldiers during clashes in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, Friday, July 21, 2017. Israel police severely restricted Muslim access to a contested shrine in Jerusalem's Old City on Friday to prevent protests over the installation of metal detectors at the holy site.(AP Photo/Nasser Shiyoukhi)

Sat, 22 Jul 2017 05:26:00 GMT

JERUSALEM – Escalating Israeli-Palestinian tensions over the Holy Land’s most contested shrine boiled over into violence on Friday that killed six people – three Palestinians in street clashes in Jerusalem and three Israelis in a stabbing attack at a West Bank settlement. After nightfall, a Palestinian sneaked into a home in the Israeli settlement of Halamish in the West Bank and stabbed to death three Israelis. The military said the attacker apparently jumped over the fence and infiltrated the family’s home, surprising them as they ate the traditional Sabbath evening meal. It said the Palestinian killed a man and two of his children, while a woman was wounded and taken to hospital. The man’s grandchildren were present but not harmed, it said. The army released footage showing a blood-covered kitchen floor. It said senior military officials are meeting overnight to discuss how to proceed. A military spokesman called the Palestinian attack “a massacre.” Israel TV’s Channel 10 said the assailant was in his late teens and had posted on Facebook that he was upset by the events at the Jerusalem shrine. Eli Bin, the head of Israel’s rescue service MDA, said an off-duty soldier next door heard screams, rushed to the home and shot the attacker through a window. Bin said the wounded attacker was taken to a hospital. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, meanwhile, announced that he is freezing ties with Israel, dealing a blow to fledgling Trump administration efforts to try to renew long-dormant peace talks. Abbas said contacts with Israel would be suspended on “all levels.” It was not immediately clear if this means long-standing security coordination between Israeli troops and Abbas’ forces will be halted. At issue in the current round of violence are metal detectors Israel installed at the Jerusalem shrine this week in response to an attack by Arab gunmen there. The metal detectors are perceived by the Palestinians as an encroachment on Muslim rights and portrayed by Israel as a needed security measure following the attack that killed two Israeli policemen. Earlier Friday, several thousand Palestinians in Jerusalem and the West Bank clashed with Israeli troops, burning tires or throwing stones and firecrackers. Troops fired live rounds, rubber bullets and tear gas. Three Palestinians were killed and several dozen hospitalized with live or rubber bullet injuries. White clouds of tear gas rose from Jerusalem streets and West Bank flashpoints. In one neighborhood, Palestinians threw stones from behind a mattress used as a shield. Israel also faced growing criticism from the Muslim world, and thousands staged anti-Israel protests after Friday prayers in Jordan and Yemen. Turkey and Egypt also condemned the violence. The confrontations could escalate in coming days as both sides dig in. Israel said the metal detectors would remain in place. Lawmaker Tzachi Hanegbi, a confidant of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said Israel would not surrender to what he said was “violence and incitement” by those “attempting to drag us into a religious war.” Jerusalem’s top Muslim cleric, Mohammed Hussein, said protests, including mass street prayers outside the shrine, would continue until the devices are removed. He told worshippers Friday that they should prepare for a “long test of wills” with Israel. “We will not back off,” he said. The shrine, revered by Muslims and Jews, sits at the emotional epicenter of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, symbolizing the rival religi[...]


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O.J. Simpson will get his freedom, but then what?Former NFL football star O.J. Simpson reacts after learning he was granted parole at the Lovelock Correctional Center in Lovelock, Nev., on Thursday, July 20, 2017. Simpson was granted parole Thursday after more than eight years in prison for a Las Vegas hotel heist, successfully making his case in a nationally televised hearing that reflected America's enduring fascination with the former football star. (Jason Bean/The Reno Gazette-Journal via AP, Pool)

Sat, 22 Jul 2017 05:25:00 GMT

LOVELOCK, Nev. – When O.J. Simpson gets out of prison in October for his first taste of freedom in nine years, he will have the mementos he was convicted of stealing in a Las Vegas heist, his guaranteed NFL pension and, with any luck, certain life skills he says he acquired behind bars. Beyond that, the 70-year-old sports legend faces an uncertain future. “The legitimate mainstream business opportunities for Juice in the megabuck world of professional sports are slim and none,” said John Vrooman, an economics professor and sports industry expert at Vanderbilt University. “If Americans love anyone more than a superhero, it is a fallen hero making a comeback against the odds,” he said a day after Simpson was granted parole. But Vrooman said the odds against the one-time murder defendant and convicted armed robber “now seem insurmountable.” Others think he will find a way to make ends meet, perhaps by signing autographs and making personal appearances. “The primary asset this guy has is name and brand recognition. ... I believe Mr. Simpson believes he can make a bunch of money by returning to the memorabilia circuit,” said David Cook, collections attorney for the parents of Ronald Goldman. Goldman was stabbed to death along with Simpson’s ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson in Los Angeles in 1994, a crime O.J. Simpson was acquitted of the following year. He was found liable in civil court in 1997 for the killings and was ordered to pay $33.5 million to the victims’ families. The verdict is still hanging over him, and the Goldmans’ lawyer has been trying for years to seize some of Simpson’s assets. After getting released, Simpson plans to move to Florida, a state with a strong law that would shield his home and everything in it from seizure to satisfy the verdict. But Tom Scotto, one of Simpson’s closest friends, said Simpson has no plans to buy a house. Simpson played 11 seasons for the Buffalo Bills and San Francisco 49ers, and his league pension could be as much as $10,565 a month, depending on when he began collecting it, according to ESPN. Cook said he believes Simpson does not have much more than that, noting that the Hall of Famer lost his Miami-area home to foreclosure in 2014. One thing Simpson will have is some of the sports memorabilia and family photos he and his armed accomplices stole from a Las Vegas hotel room in 2007, the crime for which he was locked up. He told the parole board on Thursday that California authorities investigated the ownership of the items shortly after he went to prison, concluded they were his and returned them to him, a turn of events he called “kind of mind-boggling.” Simpson also told the board he is a better man and a “better Christian” and has a new appreciation for those less advantaged. He said he intends to make use of what he considered the most valuable part of his stint in prison – an “Alternative to Violence” class. Others wondered if he had really changed, given how defensive much of his testimony was and how lacking in self-awareness he seemed to many of those watching. He tried to explain away the crime and deflect blame, and he set social media afire when he said, “I’ve basically spent a conflict-free life, you know.” If he gets in trouble again in the next five years, he could be sent back to prison to serve out the remainder of his 33-year sentence. Scotto, for one, said Simpson is not going to go on the personal appearance circuit and instead plans to spend his time golfing and being with family and friends. [...]


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Special session slated if Rauner doesn't get school billKristina Rasmussen, left, the new chief of staff for Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner, watches as Rauner enters a news conference at Auburn High School Friday, July 21, 2017, in Auburn, Ill. Rauner said he wants lawmakers to send him an education funding bill by noon Monday or face daily special sessions until month's end to ensure the school bell rings on time. The Republican repeated his vow that he would use an amendatory veto to take out of the legislation portions he says are too generous to Chicago. (Justin L. Fowler /The State Journal-Register via AP)

Sat, 22 Jul 2017 05:23:00 GMT

SPRINGFIELD – Gov. Bruce Rauner said Friday he wants lawmakers to send him an education funding bill by noon Monday or face daily special sessions until month’s end to ensure the state’s schools open on time. The Republican repeated his vow to use what is called an amendatory veto to take out of the legislation portions he says are too generous to Chicago schools. But whether it’s the legislation the General Assembly approved to revise the school funding formula or another plan, he wants quick action as the dog days of summer dissolve into homeroom attendance calls. “There is no excuse – none – for our schools not to open on time,” Rauner said during a visit to Auburn High School, 25 miles south of Springfield. Senate President John Cullerton later issued a statement discouraging “expensive special sessions” and suggesting Rauner “end the secrecy” of how he calculates what he says is an improved plan. The budget lawmakers adopted this month that ended a two-year political struggle over an annual spending plan requires Rauner to distribute school aid through a revised method, endorsed in separate legislation, which provides money to the neediest schools first. But Democrats, fearing a veto, never sent Rauner the measure setting up the “evidence-based” funding system. So there’s no system in law to distribute general state funding to the state’s 851 school districts. Lawmakers aren’t obligated to ever send him the bill. A memo to local administrators from state schools Superintendent Tony Smith, obtained by The Associated Press, points out that the total elementary and secondary school budget is $11.9 billion. While $6.7 billion must be put through an “evidence-based” model not yet in law, the Illinois State Board of Education will, in any event, begin issuing $5.2 billion in other state and federal pass-through dollars, Smith said, citing as an example federal nutrition grants. That money, said Tony Sanders, CEO of the Elgin U-46 school district, the state’s largest outside of Chicago, is “not a whole lot of help,” and the state still owes the district $18 million from last year. “We would work to stay open all year, but it would require our board to make difficult decisions regarding cuts and borrowing,” Sanders said. Chicago schools CEO Forrest Claypool announced Thursday that the nation’s third-largest district will be open for a full academic year. The aim of the evidence-based formula ensures no district receives less than it did last year. That includes a $250 million grant for Chicago, added in 1995. It also adds money to pay for the Chicago district’s portion of teacher pension costs, like it does for every other district. The Senate approved the plan May 31 but Assistant Senate Majority Leader Donne Trotter, a Chicago Democrat, held onto it. Trotter did not respond to a request for comment Friday. Rauner said the Chicago pension issue should be dealt with separately. He contends he’ll slash the $250 million grant Chicago in an amendatory veto. He’s released a list boasting a cut of $145 million to Chicago and new cash of as much as several million dollars for districts elsewhere. But he won’t discuss the number-crunching behind it. Cullerton, a Chicago Democrat, said in a statement that Rauner should show his hand. “Rather than expensive special sessions and conflict-driving vetoes, let’s have a meeting so we can see what the governor’s plan is,” Cullerton said. “It can be as simple as that.” [...]Kristina Rasmussen, left, the new chief of[...]


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Cary Fire Protection District to host water fights Saturday

Sat, 22 Jul 2017 05:07:00 GMT

CARY – The Cary Fire Protection District will battle with neighboring firefighters at its annual water fights Saturday.

The event will start at 2:30 p.m. at Cary Fire Protection District Station 1, 400 Cary-Algonquin Road, Cary, according to the event’s Facebook page.

Food and drink will be available for purchase, according to the event page. Free beer, donated by Tracks in Cary, will also be available.

For information, visit www.facebook.com/events/1869442096602031.




UPNW Metra line delayed Friday after train hit pedestrian near Arlington HeightsPassengers sit aboard a Metra train from Chicago at the Pingree Street station on Dec. 30, 2015, in Crystal Lake.

Sat, 22 Jul 2017 05:05:00 GMT

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS – A Metra inbound train on the Union Pacific Northwest line struck a pedestrian during rush hour Friday morning, creating more than two-hour delays, according to Metra.

Metra spokesperson Katie Dahlstrom said a train struck a pedestrian at 7:45 a.m. Friday near Arlington Heights and stopped trains in both directions. Dahlstrom did not know the circumstances surrounding the incident nor the pedestrian’s condition. She did not know how long trains were completely stopped before operating again.

The Arlington Heights Police Department did not provide any information regarding the incident Friday.

According to Metra’s website, train number 626, which was scheduled to arrive in Chicago at 8:31 a.m., struck the pedestrian, and extensive delays were expected throughout the morning. Another alert on the site stated that Metra tickets were honored for all stops on the CTA blue line except the O’Hare station until 10:15 a.m.

Passengers sit aboard a Metra train from Chicago at the Pingree Street station on Dec. 30, 2015, in Crystal Lake.


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Monarch butterfly educational fair set Sunday at Main Beach in Crystal Lake

Sat, 22 Jul 2017 05:04:00 GMT

CRYSTAL LAKE – A free educational fair intended to teach people about how they can help the monarch butterfly will be hosted Sunday at Main Beach in Crystal Lake.

The Hackmatack Monarch Coalition will host the fair from 12:30 to 4 p.m. at the Main Beach Pavilion, 300 Lakeshore Drive. The fair will include a variety of activities and information on monarch butterflies migrating across North America, according to a news release.

​Activities include face painting, art and science activities, nature trunks, information on planting butterfly gardens and an interactive monarch migration map. Prairie plants that provide nectar for butterflies will be available to buy.

Six local bands will perform from 12:30 to 7:45 p.m. at the Main Beach bandstand. If the event is canceled because of rain, the fair will be at the same time July 30 in the same place.

A study from the World Wildlife Fund released earlier this year found the monarch butterfly population has decreased 27 percent, with bad weather and deforestation listed as top threats. Monarch butterflies migrate between 1,200 to 2,800 miles every year from southeast Canada and the northeast U.S. into Mexico, where the colonies are observed annually for the study.

Mexico, Canada and the U.S. are collaborating on a North American strategy to conserve and recover the species, the release said.

The event is sponsored by Friends of Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the Crystal Lake Park District, featuring activities from numerous conservation, education and arts groups involved in the Hackmatack Monarch Coalition.




Fox River receding projected to stop with new round of heavy rainA view of Wauconda Road in McHenry while rain falls Friday. Heavy rains have delayed the receding of the river according to hydrogeologic data. The level at the Algonquin tailwater is now projected to hold steady at more than 12 feet, which is severe flood stage, through at least another week.Jose Martinez of Cary lays sandbags Friday while helping a friend protect their house on Waterview Road in McHenry.Jose Vazuez of Crystal Lake grabs a sandbag on Friday while helping a friend protect their house in McHenry. Heavy rains in Wisconsin are again pushing the Fox River into significant flooding, which will then push downstream.Homes on Wauconda Road in McHenry sat surrounded by floodwater from the Fox River on Friday.The Broken Oar Marina fuel pump doubles as a water depth gauge in Port Barrington.

Sat, 22 Jul 2017 05:03:00 GMT

Another 1 to 2 inches of rain – possibly accompanied by severe weather – was forecast through Saturday morning for the flood-swollen Fox River. While the heavy rains that fell Wednesday night delayed the receding of the river according to hydrogeologic data, the rains that began falling Friday afternoon are projected to stop it cold. The level at the Algonquin tailwater is now projected to hold steady at more than 12 feet, which is severe flood stage, through at least another week. Forecasters on Friday projected a crest of 13.3 feet at the Algonquin tailwater over the weekend. That’s not all the bad news. Heavy rains in Wisconsin are again pushing the Fox River into significant flooding, which will then push downstream. Officials last Friday first warned of an “unprecedented” Fox River flood event based on heavy rains and record river levels in Wisconsin. A week later, the ground is saturated, and more water is coming. “If we were in uncharted [waters] last week, we’re beyond that now, and the only thing I can tell people is to protect their property and prepare for something worse,” Fox Waterway Agency Executive Director Joe Keller said. A brief round of heavy rain moved through McHenry County on Friday afternoon, and the National Weather Service subsequently put McHenry County and the rest of northern Illinois under a severe thunderstorm watch until midnight. The chance of thunderstorms will stay throughout the weekend. With the new rain coming, McHenry County Emergency Management Agency Director David Christensen said people all along the river who have stayed with their homes to battle the floods need to have a plan – and have it now – in case they lose their fight with the new water incoming. He advises people to have their cars already packed with essentials and ready to leave, and parked away from places where floodwaters may rise. “People have to keep their eye on higher ground. A lot of people have stayed with their homes. They have to watch conditions and get ready to evacuate,” Christensen said. The Klimek family had no intentions of doing so, despite the Fox River being in their unincorporated McHenry backyard. Carole Klimek and grandson Jack Lischewski reinforced the walls of sandbags that were, for now, keeping the water out of their homes, save for their crawlspace that they regularly pumped out. They knocked down their fence to connect their sandbag walls with those of their neighbor and hopefully increase their mutual odds. They were faring better than their neighbors down the street in the Riverview subdivision, located along the river between Holiday Hills and unincorporated Burtons Bridge. The homes were underwater and the residents gone – fish, frogs and snails were swimming in the yards. This is the fourth flood Klimek has battled in her 28 years in the home – she said this one is the worst. She said she was scared of what would happen with more rain, but added that she was not giving up. “We just keep fighting,” Klimek said. Several blocks away, storm chaser Jesse Walters was hastily building a sandbag wall around his home in anticipation of what could happen if the storm came to him instead. A pile of sandbags from Nunda Township lay next to his generator and pump. Walters was fighting an enemy from all four sides – the river to his west, a channel to his north connecting Griswold Lake to his east, and a swamp across the street that usually does a yeo[...]


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McHenry man faces up to 65 years in prison after admitting to killing man during drunken Russian roulette

Sat, 22 Jul 2017 05:03:00 GMT

A McHenry man faces up to 65 years in prison after he admitted to killing a man during a drunken game of Russian roulette.

Robert M. Sterling, 31, pleaded guilty Wednesday in Walworth County Court to first-degree reckless homicide by use of a dangerous weapon, according to court records. He will be sentenced at 9 a.m. Sept. 15.

Sterling was charged with first-degree reckless homicide and homicide by negligent handling of a dangerous weapon days after David Bauspies, 36, of McHenry was found dead Jan. 2 after being shot in an apartment in East Troy, Wisconsin.

East Troy police responded to an apartment about 12:30 p.m. for reports of a gunshot victim. Police said they found Sterling kneeling over Bauspies’ body with a revolver on the floor nearby and blood splattered on the wall, according to court documents.

Police said they interviewed Tyler M. Odell, who lives in the apartment where the incident occurred, and said Bauspies and Sterling were drinking enough beer to get “pretty drunk,” according to court documents. Odell said he took out a .44 Magnum revolver, removed six rounds from the gun and showed it to everyone.

He said he put a round back into the gun and spun the cylinder as Sterling watched. Odell held the gun up to his own head but did not pull the trigger, according to court documents. Odell then handed the gun to Sterling, who spun the cylinder, held the gun to his own head and pulled the trigger, but it did not fire.

Sterling then pointed the gun at Bauspies and pulled the trigger, causing the gun to fire and killing Bauspies, according to court documents.


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Chief: Crystal Lake firefighters brought 'disrepute and disgrace' to cityCrystal Lake firefighters Timothy R. Kerley (left), 38, of Crystal Lake, and Adam J. Fowles, 41, of Cary, were arrested on May 11 in connection with an off-duty incident at a local bar two months earlier, records show. Both men have pleaded not guilty and are scheduled to next appear in court Aug. 17.Crystal Lake firefighters Timothy R. Kerley (pictured above), 38, of Crystal Lake, and Adam J. Fowles, 41, of Cary, were arrested on May 11 in connection with an off-duty incident at a local bar, records show.Crystal Lake firefighters Timothy R. Kerley (pictured above), 38, of Crystal Lake, and Adam J. Fowles, 41, of Cary, were arrested on May 11 in connection with an off-duty incident at a local bar, records show.

Sat, 22 Jul 2017 04:58:00 GMT

CRYSTAL LAKE – Nine Crystal Lake firefighters, including two who were arrested, face discipline in connection with an off-duty incident in March at a local bar, records show. Documents obtained by the Northwest Herald through a Freedom of Information Act request describe a rowdy gathering of off-duty firefighters, lieutenants and others March 15 at a “diaper party” – the male version of a baby shower – at Finn McCool’s, 72 N. Williams St. Witnesses told an investigator hired by the city that firefighters groped customers and bar employees, continued drinking after they were cut off and eventually were kicked out, according to a report prepared by an Oak Brook law firm. The firefighters grew disruptive after their wives, girlfriends and children left for the night. Two firefighters – Adam Fowles and Timothy Kerley – were so drunk that employees refused to serve them additional drinks after complaints from others at the bar, according to reports. Fowles allegedly drunkenly groped a woman and insulted her when she rejected his advances, records show. Kerley was caught drinking after he had been cut off and refused to leave, forcing other firefighters to restrain and remove him and knocking a glass off the bar, records show. “His conduct by assaulting the female patron was inexcusable and shameful for an employee of the city who when taking his oath of office swore to uphold the law,” according to a disciplinary notice signed by Crystal Lake Fire Rescue Chief Paul DeRaedt. One bar employee told investigators that he allowed the group to stay only because they were Crystal Lake firefighters. “He permitted the two intoxicated males to remain as long as they didn’t cause any problems or drink anymore,” according to a report. But the peace didn’t last. Other firefighters threatened and insulted customers and employees. The confrontation intensified when employees kicked the group out and threatened to call police, records show. On their way out, firefighters smashed bottles on the floor, according to the report. City officials on Friday gave the Northwest Herald hundreds of pages of documents related to the incident and subsequent investigations in response to a FOIA request. The documents were heavily redacted, and more than 700 of the pages were entirely whited out. City officials refused to provide videos of the incident in response to a FOIA request from the newspaper. The Northwest Herald has challenged that decision with the Illinois Attorney General’s Office. Investigation finds firefighters violated city policies Crystal Lake police started investigating the incident March 27 after learning about a citizen’s complaint about the incident. The city also conducted its own employment investigation into the matter. Several firefighters in question declined to be interviewed as part of the police’s criminal investigation. As a result of the investigations, 13 percent of the Crystal Lake Fire Department’s 69-member staff were given suspensions to be served between early June and the end of August. “Given the allegations in the complaint, I would like to remind everyone that as professional firefighters, your actions, both on and off duty, reflect upon this department and the city of Crystal Lake and may affect your employment,” DeRaedt wrote in a June 9 memo to his entire department. “The public places a significant amount of trust in this depart[...]


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Crystal Lake police reports

Sat, 22 Jul 2017 01:42:00 GMT

Information in police reports is obtained from the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office and municipal police departments. Individuals listed in police reports who have been charged with a crime have not been proven guilty in court. • Cameron Cody Stonge, 26, 143 Lakewood Ave., Crystal Lake, was charged Monday, May 15, on a Crystal Lake warrant for domestic battery. • Maria Victorina Garcia, 26, 5006 State St., Crystal Lake, was charged Monday, May 15, with aggravated assault and two counts of domestic battery. • Cynthia Jean Hayden, 53, 455 Nash Road, Crystal Lake, was charged Tuesday, May 16, with two counts of domestic battery. • Michelle Marie Licata, 59, 42W117 Copperwood Lane, St. Charles, was charged Tuesday, May 16, with driving under the influence of alcohol. • Jennifer Lynn Esp, 51, 787 Nottingham Lane, Crystal Lake, was charged Thursday, May 18, with two counts of domestic battery. • Gretchen Ann Shay, 40, 718 Ceresia Drive, Crystal Lake, was charged Friday, May 19, with driving under the influence of alcohol and driving with a blood-alcohol level greater than .08 percent. • Michael Troy Olsen, 30, 717 1/2 Washington St., Woodstock, was charged Saturday, May 20, on a McHenry County warrant for failing to appear on a retail theft charge. • Stacy Leanne Bagley, 32, 2050 Lawson Road, Schaumburg, was charged Saturday, May 20, with making a telephone threat. • Dylan Salvatore Decesare, 18, 4422 Bay View Drive, Crystal Lake, was charged Sunday, May 21, with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. • Orlando Ruano Rivera, 47, 4808 Prairie Ave., McHenry, was charged Sunday, May 21, on a McHenry County warrant for contempt of court. • Kassondra S. Neukom, 26, 783 Covington Circle, Crystal Lake, was charged Tuesday, May 23, on a McHenry County warrant for failing to appear on a driving under the influence of alcohol charge. • Samantha June Podgorski, 21, 591 Darlington Lane, Crystal Lake, was charged Tuesday, May 23, with domestic battery. • Jesse Lee Rubly, 33, 630 E. Pennsylvania Drive, Palatine, was charged Wednesday, May 24, on a McHenry County warrant for forgery. • Ricardo Najera, 39, 3706 W. 70th St., Chicago, was charged Wednesday, May 24, with possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia, retail theft, the crime of attempt and driving with a revoked license. • Zachary Stevan Seiler, 23, 883 Barlina Road, Crystal Lake, was charged Friday, May 26, with driving under the influence of alcohol. • Mitchell Kenneth Fanter, 21, 1258 Manchester Drive, Crystal Lake, was charged Saturday, May 27, with driving under the influence of alcohol, driving with a blood-alcohol content greater than .08 percent, failure to notify of a crash, and failure to notify of damage to an unattended vehicle. • Max Clayton Anderson, 24, 1013 Spring Beach Way, Cary, was charged Sunday, May 28, with battery, resisting a peace officer, and criminal trespass to a building. • Maria B. Klonowski, 67, 23 Ashford Court, Lincolnshire, was charged Sunday, May 28, with retail theft. • Dominic Francis Corpolongo, 27, 1662 Penn Court, Crystal Lake, was charged Monday, May 29, with battery and criminal damage to property. • Curtis Alan Stadler, 58, 7401 Hemlock St., Crys[...]



Crystal Lake police reports

Sat, 22 Jul 2017 01:26:00 GMT

Information in police reports is obtained from the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office and municipal police departments. Individuals listed in police reports who have been charged with a crime have not been proven guilty in court. CRYSTAL LAKE • Peter Albert Dhuyvetter, 38, 296 Charlotte Ave., Crystal Lake, was arrested Friday, April 28, on a McHenry County warrant for being in a school zone as a child sex offender. • Brett Anthony Miceli, 50, 204 Donegal Court, McHenry, was charged Saturday, April 29, with driving under the influence of alcohol and driving with a blood-alcohol content greater than .08 percent. • Dyana Nicole Merida, 29, 104 E. Sumner St., Harvard, was arrested Wednesday, May 3, on a Lake County charge for failure to appear in court. • Victoria Rose Patterson, 29, 627 N. Virginia Road, No. 111, Crystal Lake, was charged Friday, May 5, with two counts of domestic battery. • Heather Jean Ohowell, 31, 804 Eletson Drive, No. 3, Crystal Lake, was charged Saturday, May 6, with two counts of domestic battery. • Sara Katharine Langguth, 23, 7445 Grandview Court, Carpentersville, was charged Saturday, May 6, with driving under the influence of alcohol and driving with a blood-alcohol content greater than .08 percent. • Bruce Erick Lewis, 42, 105 McHenry Ave., No. 2, Crystal Lake, was arrested Saturday, May 6, on a McHenry County warrant for failing to appear on a larceny charge. • Tomas Herrera, 26, 718 Longfellow Lane, Mundelein, was charged Sunday, May 7, with driving under the influence of alcohol and driving with a blood-alcohol content greater than .08 percent. • Breiana Alyssa Gaston, 22, 450 Wright Drive, Lake in the Hills, was charged Sunday, May 7, with battery. • Marc Nicholas Rowley, 36, 153 Railroad St., Gilberts, was charged Wednesday, May 10, with retail theft. • Fernando A. Calderon, 33, 371 Millard Ave., Crystal Lake, was charged Friday, May 12, with domestic battery. • Laura V. Salazar, 39, 124 S. Porter St., Elgin, was charged Saturday, May 13, with driving under the influence of alcohol, possession of a controlled substance and driving with a suspended license. • Philip D. Crimaldi, 45, 8512 Shady Lane, Wonder Lake, was charged Sunday, May 14, with attempting to unlawfully acquire a controlled substance. • Jonathan Richard Voigt, 36, 222 N. River Road, Fox River Grove, was charged Sunday, May 14, with reckless driving. • Magdi Soliman, 50, 1905 Scott Circle, Carpentersville, was charged Monday, May 15, with trespassing. • Ryan Patrick Sullivan, 40, 1339 Cottonwood Lane, Crystal Lake, was charged Monday, May 15, with driving under the influence of alcohol and burglary. • Abigail C. Knowles-Carriveau, 20, 336 Warwick Lane, Lakewood, was charged Tuesday, May 16, with underage drinking. • Jason Thomas Bedenbaugh, 33, 414 Elmwood Ave., Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, was charged Tuesday, May 16, with driving under the influence of alcohol and driving with a blood-alcohol content greater than .08 percent. • Kristin M. Muggli, 45, 4702 W. Northfox Lane, No. 2, McHenry, was charged Tuesday, May 16, with criminal trespass to a building and resisting a peace officer. • Judy Marie Holt, 66, 309 McH[...]



Woodstock police reports

Sat, 22 Jul 2017 01:19:00 GMT

Information in police reports is obtained from the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office and municipal police departments. Individuals listed in police reports who have been charged with a crime have not been proven guilty in court. • Jesus H. Jimenez, 28, of the 700 block of Lake Avenue, Woodstock, was charged Tuesday, June 6, with two counts of domestic battery, resisting a peace officer and criminal trespassing to a vehicle. • Albert T. Minter, 36, of the 300 block of Putnam Avenue, Woodstock, was charged Tuesday, June 6, with possession of a firearm without a FOID card, possession of ammunition without a FOID card and driving with a suspended license. • Lasheila M. Saffold, 25, of the 1950 block of Sheila Street, Woodstock, was charged Saturday, June 10, with resisting a peace officer and a warrant for retail theft. • Thomas J. Riff, 45, of the 400 block of Lake Avenue, was charged Saturday, June 10 with leaving the scene of a crash, failure to reduce speed to avoid a crash and driving with a revoked license. • Colton M. Howell, 19, of the 200 block of Maple Avenue, Woodstock, was charged Saturday, June 10, with two counts of domestic battery. • Esparanza L. Bosquez, 53, of the 700 block of Washington Street, Woodstock, was charged Wednesday, June 14, with two counts of domestic battery. • Gina R. Jayko, 54, of the 400 block of Stewart Avenue, Woodstock, was charged Tuesday, May 23, with identity theft. • Salvador Arreola, 49, of the 500 block of Birch Road, Woodstock, was charged Monday, May 22, with aggravated driving under the influence, aggravated driving while license revoked, driving under the influence, driving while license revoked, no valid registration and operating an uninsured motor vehicle. • Jayson M. Cruz, 24, of the 2300 block of North Queen Anne Road, Woodstock, was charged Tuesday, May 23, with battery. • Sarah N. Kuespert, 20, of the 1000 block of Golden Avenue, Woodstock, was charged Wednesday, May 24, with transportation and possession of open alcohol by a driver, operating an uninsured motor vehicle and driving with a suspended license. • Joseph L. Foat, 31, of the 1500 block of Wicker Street, Woodstock, was charged Saturday, May 27, with burglary. • Alexandria C. Ladas, 28, of the 3100 block of Home Avenue, Berwyn, was charged Sunday, May 28, with failure to notify owner after striking property, operating an uninsured vehicle and driving with a suspended license. • Nil Y. Patel, 27, of the 1400 block of Portage Lane, Woodstock, was charged Tuesday, May 30, with residential burglary. • Jessica M. Bosquez, 23, of the 700 block of Washington Street, Woodstock, was charged Wednesday, May 31, with two counts of domestic battery. • Fernando Ortiz, 34, of the 100 block of West Blackman Street, Harvard, was charged Sunday, April 30, with criminal damage to property. • Kenneth S. Nepras, 25, of the 1800 block of Kishwaukee Valley Road, Rockford, was charged Friday, May 5, with burglary and criminal damage to property. • Danette M. Bittinger, 42, of the 300 block of McHenry Avenue, Woodstock, was charged Wednesday, May 10, with unlawful possession of a controlled substance. • Ryan D. Behm, 33, of the 10700 block of Pheasant Lane, Woodstock, was cha[...]



Chainsaw CarverH. Rick Bamman - hbamman@shawmedia.com Using a chainsaw, carver Scott Cochrane of Homer Glen, creates a heron sculpture from a tree at Crystal Lake Main Beach. The tree was no longer viable and would have been removed in the upcoming playground and Main Beach renovation project.H. Rick Bamman - hbamman@shawmedia.com Using a chainsaw Scott Cochrane of Homer Glen, creates a heron sculpture from a tree at Crystal Lake Main Beach.H. Rick Bamman - hbamman@shawmedia.com Brenan Reinhard of Crystal Lake peeks through fencing to watch chainsaw carver Scott Cochrane of Homer Glen, as he creates a heron sculpture from a tree at Crystal Lake Main Beach.H. Rick Bamman - hbamman@shawmedia.com A heron sculpture created by chainsaw carver Scott Cochrane from a tree at Crystal Lake Main Beach.H. Rick Bamman - hbamman@shawmedia.com After chainsaw carver Scott Cochrane finished cutting, Jeanne Cochrane paints details on the heron sculpture from a tree at Crystal Lake Main Beach.

Fri, 21 Jul 2017 23:00:00 GMT

Northern Exposure chainsaw carver Scott Cochrane creates a heron from a tree that would have been slated for removal in the upcoming playground and Main Beach renovation project in Crystal Lake.

H. Rick Bamman - hbamman@shawmedia.com Using a chainsaw, carver Scott Cochrane of Homer Glen, creates a heron sculpture from a tree at Crystal Lake Main Beach. The tree was no longer viable and would have been removed in the upcoming playground and Main Beach renovation project.H. Rick Bamman - hbamman@shawmedia.com Using a chainsaw Scott Cochrane of Homer Glen, creates a heron sculpture from a tree at Crystal Lake Main Beach.H. Rick Bamman - hbamman@shawmedia.com Brenan Reinhard of Crystal Lake peeks through fencing to watch chainsaw carver Scott Cochrane of Homer Glen, as he creates a heron sculpture from a tree at Crystal Lake Main Beach.H. Rick Bamman - hbamman@shawmedia.com A heron sculpture created by chainsaw carver Scott Cochrane from a tree at Crystal Lake Main Beach.H. Rick Bamman - hbamman@shawmedia.com After chainsaw carver Scott Cochrane finished cutting, Jeanne Cochrane paints details on the heron sculpture from a tree at Crystal Lake Main Beach.


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Sean Spicer resigns as White House press secretaryWhite House press secretary Sean Spicer points to members of the media as he answers questions in the Brady Briefing room of the White House in Washington, Monday, July 17, 2017. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)FILE - In this May 9, 2017, file photo, White House press secretary Sean Spicer speaks during the daily press briefing at the White House in Washington. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer has resigned over hiring of new communications aide. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

Fri, 21 Jul 2017 17:42:00 GMT

WASHINGTON – White House press secretary Sean Spicer, President Donald Trump's embattled spokesman during the first six months of his presidency, is resigning his position, according to two people with knowledge of the decision. Spicer's decision appears to be linked to the appointment of a new White House communications director, New York financier Anthony Scaramucci. The people with knowledge of the decision spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the personnel matter publicly. Spicer's daily press briefings had become must-see television until recent weeks when he took on a more behind-the-scenes role. Deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders has largely taken over the briefings, turning them into an off-camera event. Spicer spent several years leading communications at the Republican National Committee before helping Trump's campaign in the general election. He is close to White House chief of staff Reince Priebus, the former RNC chair, and several of the lower-ranking aides in the White House communications shop. Priebus told The Associated Press that he supports Scaramucci "100 percent," despite reportedly trying to prevent the financier from getting multiple administration positions. "We go back a long, long way and are very good friends," Priebus said of Scaramucci. "All good here." Scaramucci is expected to play a visible role as one of Trump's defenders on television. But Spicer and other officials questioned his hiring as communications director ahead of the president's push to overhaul the tax system and other policy issues. One of the officials said Spicer objected to Trump's vision for the future of the press operation. Spicer's resignation set off a chaotic scene in the White House briefing room, as journalists gathered near a doorway seeking more details on his departure. White House officials had yet to announce the timing of the daily briefing — and who would be conducting it. Spicer's tenure got off to a rocky start. On Trump's first full day in office, Spicer lambasted journalists over coverage of the crowd size at the inauguration and stormed out of the briefing room without answering questions. Spicer, who often displayed a fiery demeanor in tense on-camera exchanges with reporters, became part of culture in the way few people in his job have, particularly through an indelible impersonation by Melissa McCarthy on NBC's "Saturday Night Live." She portrayed Spicer as a hostile figure who tore through the briefing room on a portable podium, willing to attack the press. Spicer remained loyal to Trump but he frequently battled perceptions that he was not plugged in to what the president was thinking, and had to worry that Trump was watching and critiquing his performance from the Oval Office. Throughout the start of the administration, there was always the possibility that Trump would undermine something Spicer said by simply sending out a tweet. White House press secretary Sean Spicer points to members of the media as he answers questions in the Brady Briefing room of the White House in Washington, Monday, July 17, 2017. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)FILE - In this May 9, 2017, file photo, White House press secretary Sean Spicer speaks during the daily press briefing at the White House in Washington. White [...]


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No foul play: Burundi robotics teens likely meant to vanishIn this July 17, 2017, photo, the Afghanistan team, left, walks past two of the team members from Burundi, at right in black shirts, during the FIRST Global Robotics Challenge in Washington. Police tweeted missing person fliers Wednesday asking for help finding the teens, who had last been seen at the FIRST Global Challenge around the time of Tuesday's final matches. The missing team members include two 17-year-old girls and four males ranging in age from 16 to 18. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Fri, 21 Jul 2017 05:21:00 GMT

McLEAN, Va. – As an international robotics competition in the U.S. capital was wrapping up, the chaperone of the Burundi team was confronting his worst nightmare: He couldn’t find his kids. He looked in the college dorms where the six teens – ages 16 to 18 – had been staying. Their bags were packed and gone. Maybe they got on the wrong bus? Officers swept through DAR Constitution Hall. They were gone. Police now say that two of the six were seen crossing into Canada, and they don’t suspect foul play with any of them. Event organizers said Thursday that their disappearance may have been “self-initiated.” A member of the Burundi-American community was a little more straightforward, saying he has little doubt the teens are seeking asylum, though he emphasized he had no direct knowledge of the situation. Police in D.C. posted missing-person fliers Wednesday asking for help finding the teens, who had last been seen at the FIRST Global Challenge around the time of Tuesday’s final matches. Don Ingabire, 16, and Audrey Mwamikazi, 17, were later seen crossing into Canada, Metropolitan Police spokeswoman Aquita Brown said Thursday. Marilu Cabrera, a spokeswoman for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, which receives asylum applications, said the agency does not comment on whether specific individuals have sought asylum. Canadian immigration authorities also declined to comment. The competition, designed to encourage youths to pursue careers in math and science, attracted teams of teenagers from more than 150 nations. It had been in the national spotlight already, thanks to a team of girls from Afghanistan who were allowed to attend after President Donald Trump intervened on their behalf. Twice, their visas had been rejected — an Afghan official said the Americans feared they wouldn’t go home. Competition organizers learned Tuesday night that the Burundi chaperone couldn’t find his team. FIRST Global President Joe Sestak, a former congressman from Pennsylvania, made the initial call to the police, according to a FIRST Global statement. “There were indications that the students’ absence may have been self-initiated, including leaving all their keys in their mentor/chaperone’s bag and the removal of students’ clothes from their rooms,” FIRST Global said in a subsequent statement. The students had been staying in dorms at Trinity Washington University, and had been expected to return to Burundi together on Thursday. Benjamin Manirakiza, first counselor at the Burundian embassy, told The Associated Press on Thursday that officials were not aware of the team’s presence in Washington until the chaperone alerted the embassy on Wednesday. He said he had no comment on their disappearance. According to police reports, the teens were traveling on U.S. visas good for one year. The reports say police tried to contact one missing teen’s uncle, but got no response. The competition’s webpage on Team Burundi said team members were selected from schools in Bujumbura, the capital city. The team’s slogan in Kirundi is “Ugushaka Nugushobora,” which translates roughly to “where there is a will, there is a way.” In addition to Ingabire and Mwamikazi, the missing teens are Nice Munezero, 17; Richard Irakoze and Aristide Irambona,[...]


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Family dog killed in Richmond house fire at Hazelridge Acres Dairy Goats farmH. Rick Bamman – hbamman@shawmedia.com Veterinarian Dr. Bohdan Rudawski of the Fox Lake Animal Hospital takes a cat suffering from smoke inhalation from the scene of a house fire Thursday at 9013 Winn Road in Richmond. "The male cat was given oxygen and was progressing nicely, and is expected to survive," Rudawski said.

Fri, 21 Jul 2017 05:21:00 GMT

RICHMOND – A house fire Thursday at Hazelridge Acres Dairy Goats farm killed a family dog and sent a cat suffering from smoke inhalation to the Fox Lake Animal Hospital.

The Spring Grove Fire Protection District responded about 9:30 a.m. Thursday to the scene of a house fire at 9013 Winn Road, Richmond, and found smoke coming from the back of the house, Fire Chief Rich Tobiasz said.

Occupants evacuated by the time responders arrived, but several pets were trapped inside, Tobiasz said. Crews were able to quickly extinguish the fire using less than 200 gallons of water and evacuate the remaining pets, but the house was left uninhabitable, Tobiasz said.

A box alarm was activated because the rural area has no hydrants and the weather was hot and humid, Tobiasz said.

He said that a kitchen fire appeared to be the cause of the blaze.

Tobiasz said there was about $120,000 in damage, mostly in the kitchen area.

Fire crews from Richmond, Hebron, Harvard, Wonder Lake, McHenry, Woodstock, Fox Lake, Antioch, Grayslake, Lake Villa and Wauconda responded to the scene. Members from the Lake Zurich Fire Department, Cary Fire Protection District and Salem Fire Department in Wisconsin also provided resources.

The American Red Cross was at the scene assisting at least three occupants of the home.

H. Rick Bamman – hbamman@shawmedia.com Veterinarian Dr. Bohdan Rudawski of the Fox Lake Animal Hospital takes a cat suffering from smoke inhalation from the scene of a house fire Thursday at 9013 Winn Road in Richmond. "The male cat was given oxygen and was progressing nicely, and is expected to survive," Rudawski said.


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Fox River Grove Memorial Library to change hours for employee safety

Fri, 21 Jul 2017 05:20:00 GMT

FOX RIVER GROVE – Fox River Grove Memorial Library will open 30 minutes later and close 30 minutes earlier starting Sept. 5.

The library, 407 Lincoln Ave., will be open from 9:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturdays, library director Nicole Steeves announced this week.

She said the changes were in response to general employee safety concerns and not any specific incident. The Fox River Grove Public Library District’s seven-member elected board approved the new hours at a meeting June 20, Steeves said.

Steeves said the changes might help reduce utility costs, but safety was the driving factor for the decision. She said few patrons use the library during those times early in the day and later in the evenings.

The library district offers materials, services and programs to more than 4,800 residents, according to its website.




Women's march planned in Woodstock to highlight issues, energize voters

Fri, 21 Jul 2017 05:20:00 GMT

WOODSTOCK – The Democratic Party of McHenry County is planning a women’s march Saturday to highlight women’s issues and to energize voters.

The march will take place after a rally beginning at 2:30 p.m. Saturday at the gazebo on the Woodstock Square. The march will end at the Dick Tracy Way Park on Lake Avenue, and an ice cream social event will follow.

The worldwide Women’s March took place Jan. 21 and has been followed by numerous sister marches, including some in Chicago, Rockford and Elgin. Members of the Democratic Party of McHenry County went to the march in Washington, D.C., six months ago and came away motivated to effect change, said Cathy Johnson, co-organizer of the Woodstock women’s march.

“A lot of them had been engaged here and there,” she said. “But they came away really ready to do some things.”

Speakers planned for the event include Jenna Prochaska of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Reproductive Rights Project; director Cindy Skrudrud of the Clean Water Program of the Sierra Club Illinois chapter and former executive director of the Environmental Defenders of McHenry County; Latino program director Janie Galarza of Turning Point of McHenry County; and Kristina Zahorik, state central committeewoman for the Democratic Party of Illinois’ 14th Congressional District and vice chairwoman of the Democratic Party of McHenry County.

The Democratic Party also has come up with a new declaration of purpose, which is on a large scroll that marchers can sign to express what they are willing to do to keep political change going, Johnson said.

“I think it’s powerful when you sign your name to something like this,” Johnson said. “It’s really pretty exciting.”




Wonder Lake man in critical condition after 3-car crash on Interstate 94

Fri, 21 Jul 2017 05:20:00 GMT

WONDER LAKE – A 25-year-old Wonder Lake man is in critical condition after a three-car crash on Interstate 94, according to a news release from the Illinois State Police.

The initial investigation shows that Dylan J. Bowden, 25, of Wonder Lake was driving south about 5 a.m. on I-94 at Church Street when he lost control of his 1996 Subaru Sedan and hit the left wall. The sedan came to a stop, blocking the two left lanes of traffic, police said.

Nikolaos Stellatos, 68, of Skokie was driving a 2004 Volvo Sedan in the center lane when he hit the driver side of the Subaru, and Felipe A. Perez, 40, of Waukegan, who was driving a 2001 Buick Sedan, then hit the Volvo. The two men were taken to NorthShore Evanston Hospital in stable condition, police said. Bowden was taken to Presence Saint Francis Hospital in Evanston and is in critical condition, police said.

The three men each were wearing seat belts at the time of the incident. Drugs and alcohol do not appear to be a factor, but weather might have been, police said.

The investigation is ongoing.


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Weather delays Prairie Street railroad crossing construction in Crystal Lake

Fri, 21 Jul 2017 05:20:00 GMT

CRYSTAL LAKE – Weather has delayed plans for a temporary road closure at the railroad crossing on Prairie Street.

The Crystal Lake Police Department issued a release earlier this week about plans for Union Pacific Railroad to close the crossing on Prairie Street for construction from 8 a.m. Friday to 5 p.m. July 27.

Another release was issued Thursday updating the expected dates of closure from 8 a.m. July 28 to 5 p.m. Aug. 4.

Construction will include rehabilitating the crossing to ensure safety along the Metra Northwest Line with advanced warning signs posted one week before the closure, the release said.

A detour plan can be found on the city’s website.




Former employee at Charter Dura-Bar in Woodstock accused of stealing trade secretsShaw Media file photo A Charter Dura-Bar employee works to clear off slag from the top of a container of molten iron Jan. 6, 2015, at Charter Dura-Bar in Woodstock.

Fri, 21 Jul 2017 05:17:00 GMT

WOODSTOCK – A man who worked for Charter Dura-Bar in Woodstock for 30 years is accused of stealing trade secrets from the company while planning to take a job with a rival manufacturing company in China.

Federal prosecutors Wednesday charged Robert O’Rourke, 57, of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, with 13 counts of theft of trade secrets. His arraignment is set for Tuesday. Each charge is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

The indictment does not name Charter Dura-Bar or the Chinese firm, but a spokesperson with Dura-Bar confirmed that O’Rourke previously had been employed at the company. Corporate officials were not immediately available to comment on the case.

O’Rourke had worked for Dura-Bar since about 1984 in a variety of positions, including quality assurance manager, salesperson and plant metallurgist. He also worked on international business development in China, among other places, according to court documents.

The indictment alleges that O’Rourke started talks to take a vice president position with another continuous cast-iron manufacturing company in Jiangsu, China, between December 2013 and September 2015. On Aug. 12, 2015, he told Dura-Bar he planned to resign. At the time, O’Rourke didn’t mention that he was negotiating for a job with the Chinese firm, and he continued to work for the Woodstock company for another month, according to the indictment.

During that month, he bought a plane ticket to China and stole the proprietary trade secrets, prosecutors said.

O’Rourke took trade information – including electronic and paper documents that contained information about the company’s manufacturing processes and customer information from Dura-Bar – about Sept. 13, 2015, according to the indictment. He resigned two days later.

A week later, federal agents caught him with the stolen documents at O’Hare International Airport as he prepared to get on a flight to China, according to the indictment.

Federal authorities seized the stolen documents at the airport, according to a news release from the U.S Attorney’s Office.

O’Rourke could not be reached for comment Thursday.

Charter Dura-Bar is one of McHenry County’s largest employers. The company makes continuous cast-iron bar stock. Charter Manufacturing Co. bought Wells Manufacturing Co., Dura-Bar and Dura-Bar Metal Services in December 2012. The company has been operating out of the facility at 1800 W. Lake Shore Drive, Woodstock, since 1974, according to the company’s website. In 2014, the McHenry County Economic Development Corp. named Dura-Bar a Business Champion.

Shaw Media file photo A Charter Dura-Bar employee works to clear off slag from the top of a container of molten iron Jan. 6, 2015, at Charter Dura-Bar in Woodstock.


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Residents plan 'Marengo Strong' community day to raise money for victims of house explosionH. Rick Bamman – hbamman@shawmedia.com HyperStitch shop director of screen printing Larry Walker fastens the "Marengo Strong" logo to a manual six-color screen printing machine Thursday in Marengo. The shop started printing "Marengo Strong" T-shirts after a house on Seventh Circle exploded June 11.H. Rick Bamman – hbamman@shawmedia.com HyperStitch shop director of screen printing Larry Walker cleans the "Marengo Strong" logo before printing shirts on a manual six-color screen printing machine Thursday in Marengo. The shop started printing "Marengo Strong" T-shirts after a house exploded June 11. It has donated $9 a shirt to the Seventh Circle Fund.HyperStitch shop director of screen printing Larry Walker smooths out a shirt after a test run Thursday at the shop in Marengo. The shop started printing "Marengo Strong" T-shirts after a house exploded June 11. It has donated $9 a shirt to the Seventh Circle Fund, and it has raised at least $10,000 while it continues to print shirts daily.

Fri, 21 Jul 2017 05:14:00 GMT

MARENGO – Saturday will mark the first “Marengo Strong” community day, an event designed to help families affected by the June 11 house explosion. A team of volunteers is planning a communitywide event meant to bring residents together and raise funds for victims of the house explosion that decimated a neighborhood and displaced multiple families in the area of Seventh Circle in Marengo. “Marengo Strong” community day is planned from 2 to 10 p.m. Saturday and will feature a variety of local vendors, live music, games, food and a rock climbing wall. The event will be held at the Marengo Park District, 825 Indian Oaks Trail. Rebecca Hickey, who has lived a few miles west of Marengo for seven years, came up with the idea for the event after the disaster. “I knew one family that was directly affected. Their home was totaled,” she said. “I am [an American] Red Cross volunteer, and I felt helpless, so I thought, ‘Why don’t we have a community day event?’ ” Hickey said she was surprised by how quickly the event, which she originally had planned to host at her home, took off. “I got great responses,” she said. “We jumped in and got lots of people, and all their different talents came into play.” Vendors will donate a portion of their sales to the Marengo area OutReach Enterprises center, which has been the main point of contact for donations to victims of the disaster. HyperStitch in Marengo, 117 W. Prairie St., started printing “Marengo Strong” T-shirts after the explosion to raise money for the Seventh Circle Fund. The shop has raised $10,000 and continues to print the shirts daily. “I’ve never sold anything so hot,” owner Pat Laulor said. “We couldn’t print them fast enough – 14 hours a day that first couple weeks. ... We’re just a little embroidery shop.” The hope is to make the get-together an annual event. Nicole Weskerna of the Park District said the district hopes the event will rejuvenate the former “Summer in the Park” celebration. “We are hoping this will kick off our annual event we used to have,” Weskerna said. “We used to host it every year, but it’s been a few years, and it used to be a community staple.” H. Rick Bamman – hbamman@shawmedia.com HyperStitch shop director of screen printing Larry Walker fastens the "Marengo Strong" logo to a manual six-color screen printing machine Thursday in Marengo. The shop started printing "Marengo Strong" T-shirts after a house on Seventh Circle exploded June 11.H. Rick Bamman – hbamman@shawmedia.com HyperStitch shop director of screen printing Larry Walker cleans the "Marengo Strong" logo before printing shirts on a manual six-color screen printing machine Thursday in Marengo. The shop started printing "Marengo Strong" T-shirts after a house exploded June 11. It has donated $9 a shirt to the Seventh Circle Fund.HyperStitch shop director of screen printing Larry Walker smooths out a shirt after a test run Thursday at the shop in Marengo. The shop started printing "Marengo Strong" T-shirts after a house exploded June 11. It has donated $9 a shirt to[...]


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Jurors find Woodstock woman guilty of providing fatal dose of heroin to Marengo woman in 2015Durelle J. Hall, 26, sat stoically in the presence of tearful family members, supporters and friends, as the judge read the guilty verdict before a packed courtroom. Chelsie Kumm's family members, who said they were happy but declined to comment further, could be seen hugging each other and crying outside the courtroom. The jury began deliberation shortly after noon Thursday and returned with a verdict about 1:30 p.m. Jurors found that Hall sold Kumm heroin that ultimately killed her. Hall will be sentenced Sept. 7 by Judge Sharon Prather. Hall's additional pending criminal cases will be set for a status hearing the same day.Michael Hall, Durelle Hall's father, said he was disappointed by the verdict and felt prosecutors didn't have the evidence to prove their case. "The county doesn't do enough for addicts, and they are not getting rid of the problem," he said, referencing his younger daughter's heroin addiction. "The heroin problem out there is devastating." He also said he was very sorry for the loss Kumm's family suffered. Prosecutors said that after an exhaustive and desperate search, Kumm texted a contact in her phone with with the name "Durelle" and said she had $50 and wanted to meet at a friend's apartment in Crystal Lake. A gray vehicle arrived minutes later, and Kumm left the apartment to meet the person. When she returned to her friend's apartment, she asked to go home to use what she had received. The night Kumm overdosed, her boyfriend's mother, Laurie Cool, found her in the basement bedroom “slumped over” alongside baggies of heroin and heroin residue; prescription pills; several items of drug paraphernalia, including needles; and cooking instruments. The only items sent for forensic testing were pink baggies, red and white baggies, a blue plastic bag and a prescription pill bottle. Kumm's boyfriend, Brandon Smedley, testified that the only time he’s ever received heroin in pink baggies was from Hall, who he said they’ve bought the drug from on more than one occasion.Mark Peters, a forensic pathologist who testified as an expert for the prosecution, told the jury that after conducting Kumm’s autopsy in October 2015 and examining the toxicology report, he found that the cause of death was a heroin overdose. McHenry County Deputy Coroner Paula Gallas testified last week that her office ruled the death as accidental when it had the option to rule it a homicide. Assistant State's Attorney Randi Freese said in closing arguments that Kumm was a 20-year-old woman whose life was stolen by heroin, and anyone who chooses to sell the drug needs to be held accountable. "Anybody that sells that poison, that venom, has to be held accountable," Freese told jurors. She said Hall knowingly delivered the heroin Kumm injected that day, which ultimately killed her, pointing to the pink baggies that were found partially used, the "fresh" needle mark on Kumm's neck, and the text messages between Kumm and Hall that day. During a police interview Nov. 4, 2015, Hall vehemently denied ever selling heroin to Kumm just one month before. She said she knew Kumm for about three years but that the two did not hang out frequently. “I don’t use heroin. I don’t bring that stuff around me. I would not give a person heroin,” Hall told Marengo Detective Shaun Boeckh. Hall said the last time she saw Kumm was the end of September 2015, when she bought marijuana from Kumm at her and Smedley’s home. Hall went to the home on only two occasions, and both were before Kumm’s death, she told police. Officers asked Hall what her phone number was at the time and whether she had any other phones, and she only recounted one phone number with a 773 area code. Boeckh asked her whether she spoke with Kumm at all the day she died. Hall said she did not. Hall later told police that Kumm called her a few times that day but that she did not return her calls. When police told Hall there were text messages from a phone number with a 224 area code about 5:30 p.m. that day about buying drugs, she denied any communications of that nature.Witnesses Gilberto Martinez and Jose Martinez took the stand last week and said they saw Kumm approach a dark-colored car driven by a younger black man with a white woman in the passenger seat who had a tattoo on her neck. Hall denied ever being there and said she spent the morning in Volo, dropped off a family friend at work, visited with her boyfriend at the time, went to her aunt's house in Palatine and then traveled to the North Side of Chicago to see her cousin. Authorities later investigated Hall’s I-Pass records for that day and found that she was traveling east on Interstate 90 about 8:14 p.m. and west between 9:19 and 9:42 p.m. Hall told police she previously sold heroin in 2010, but had not since then. Hall became emotional when speaking about her younger sister’s addiction and the friends she knew who were addicted to heroin. Freese said it was terrible that Hall lied to police about not selling heroin during her interview and wept over her sister's addiction, all while she was "peddling poison" to people such as Kumm.Defense lawyer Vanessa Sheehan told the jury that prosecutors failed to prove their case and largely relied on circumstantial evidence. "The problem is that they didn't get it right," Sheehan said. Sheehan attacked the credibility of several of the state's witnesses, including Smedley, who appeared to be drowsy the second day he testified after taking methadone as part of his treatment program. She said Smedley likely pinned it on Hall because the two didn't like each other and she wouldn't sell him heroin without Kumm being present. Sheehan also questioned the usefulness of Boeckh's investigation. She said Smedley said there was no heroin anywhere in that house, but there was residue left in red and white baggies and other baggies he had not seen that day, alluding that Kumm bought drugs from someone that morning before Smedley picked her up to take her to Crystal Lake later that day. She also questioned the "cocktail" of substances found in Kumm's blood and whether a multihour binge of different drugs wasn't how she died that day. "We do not know what bag of anything Chelsie consumed that day," Sheehan said. Assistant State's Attorney Rita Gara shot down the possibility that it could be another substance that killed her because the heroin in her bloodstream was five times higher than what it takes for a person to overdose. "One person purchased death, and one person sold it," Gara said.

Fri, 21 Jul 2017 05:09:00 GMT

Jurors on Thursday found a Woodstock woman guilty of providing a fatal dose of heroin to a Marengo woman on Oct. 6, 2015, nearly two years after she died. Durelle J. Hall, 26, sat stoically in the presence of tearful family members, supporters and friends, as the judge read the guilty verdict before a packed courtroom. Chelsie Kumm's family members, who said they were happy but declined to comment further, could be seen hugging each other and crying outside the courtroom. The jury began deliberation shortly after noon Thursday and returned with a verdict about 1:30 p.m. Jurors found that Hall sold Kumm heroin that ultimately killed her. Hall will be sentenced Sept. 7 by Judge Sharon Prather. Hall's additional pending criminal cases will be set for a status hearing the same day.Michael Hall, Durelle Hall's father, said he was disappointed by the verdict and felt prosecutors didn't have the evidence to prove their case. "The county doesn't do enough for addicts, and they are not getting rid of the problem," he said, referencing his younger daughter's heroin addiction. "The heroin problem out there is devastating." He also said he was very sorry for the loss Kumm's family suffered. Prosecutors said that after an exhaustive and desperate search, Kumm texted a contact in her phone with with the name "Durelle" and said she had $50 and wanted to meet at a friend's apartment in Crystal Lake. A gray vehicle arrived minutes later, and Kumm left the apartment to meet the person. When she returned to her friend's apartment, she asked to go home to use what she had received. The night Kumm overdosed, her boyfriend's mother, Laurie Cool, found her in the basement bedroom “slumped over” alongside baggies of heroin and heroin residue; prescription pills; several items of drug paraphernalia, including needles; and cooking instruments. The only items sent for forensic testing were pink baggies, red and white baggies, a blue plastic bag and a prescription pill bottle. Kumm's boyfriend, Brandon Smedley, testified that the only time he’s ever received heroin in pink baggies was from Hall, who he said they’ve bought the drug from on more than one occasion.Mark Peters, a forensic pathologist who testified as an expert for the prosecution, told the jury that after conducting Kumm’s autopsy in October 2015 and examining the toxicology report, he found that the cause of death was a heroin overdose. McHenry County Deputy Coroner Paula Gallas testified last week that her office ruled the death as accidental when it had the option to rule it a homicide. Assistant State's Attorney Randi Freese said in closing arguments that Kumm was a 20-year-old woman whose life was stolen by heroin, and anyone who chooses to sell the drug needs to be held accountable. "Anybody that sells that poison, that venom, has to be held accountable," Freese told jurors. She said Hall knowingly delivered the heroin Kumm injected that day, which ultimately killed her, pointing to the pink baggies that were found partially used, the "fresh" needle mark on Kumm's neck, and the text messages between Kumm and Hall that day. During a police interview Nov. 4, 2015, Hall vehemently denied ever selling heroin to Kumm just one month before. She said she knew Kumm for about three years but that the two did not hang out frequently. “I don’t use heroin. I don’t bring that stuff around me. I[...]


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Storms in McHenry County add to flood-ravaged Fox RiverKayla Wolf for Shaw Media Algonquin residents Carrick Roggenbuck (front) and Dave Roggenbuck work on reinforcing a sandbag wall Thursday along La Fox River Road in Algonquin. Dave Roggenbuck said he has been sandbagging since July 12.

Fri, 21 Jul 2017 05:03:00 GMT

The monsoon rains that pummeled McHenry County on Wednesday night did what officials and flood-weary residents watching the swollen Fox River feared. Forecasters predicted that the county would get 2 inches or so of rain through early next week, prolonging an already agonizingly slow recession. Much of the county got more than that amount in a matter of hours, and river levels, which on Tuesday began to recede, now are rising again. The water level at the Algonquin tailwater as of Thursday afternoon was about 12.8 feet, officially breaking the all-time crest of 12.7 feet during the historic 2013 flood. Barring any more rain, the river now is expected to crest Friday morning at the 13 feet forecasters first predicted a week ago, when they warned of a potentially historic flood. Flood stage at the tailwater is 9½ feet. Downstream from the tailwater, Maggie Carlton packed up household essentials into her car and parked it down the road before spending the rest of her morning and early afternoon lining her street and property with sandbags. Neighbors and friends stood out in the street in tank tops and waders, filling sandbags and distributing them to different houses on the block. Carlton moved into the home on La Fox River Drive only last summer. “We’ve got no plan of attack, except trying to save something, anything,” she said. Courtney Stone, who was helping take care of her father’s house across the street from Carlton, said water began rising over sandbags about 7:30 a.m. and spilled into her father’s backyard. Between six and seven water pumps in the backyard were going by midafternoon, as Stone and other residents remained determined to avoid evacuation at all costs. “He’s been living here 40 years and going through floods, but never this terrible,” said Stone, who lives in Crystal Lake. “We don’t want to [pack up], but if they cut the power, we’ll have no choice.” A line of severe thunderstorms moved into northern Illinois on Wednesday evening, dumping the first of several waves of heavy downpours onto McHenry County. “This just raised the river to record levels. Houses that didn’t flood last time will flood this year,” McHenry County Emergency Management Agency Director David Christensen said. “It’s also going to put more stress on the flood control measures that people already have taken.” The level at the William G. Stratton-Thomas A. Bolger Lock and Dam in McHenry increased to 7.52 feet, slowly creeping toward breaking its historic crest of 7.62 feet four years ago. Flood stage at the dam is 4 feet. At least 2 inches of rain fell countywide, according to the National Weather Service, from slightly more than 2 inches in Hebron to 2.75 inches in Lake in the Hills. About 2.5 inches fell in Cary, according to the weather service. That’s news to Jeff Wanderski and his neighbors on the river just outside village limits – the bucket he set out when the storms first arrived Wednesday night had 4 inches in it Thursday morning. Neighbor Tom Senger said things were improving Wednesday night – [...]


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Wisconsin working on incentives to lure Foxconn to stateAP file photo In this Thursday, May 27, 2010, photo, a worker looks out through the logo at the entrance of the Foxconn complex in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen. Two Republican state lawmakers said Thursday that Wisconsin could announce it has landed a deal for Taiwanese iPhone manufacturer Foxconn to locate in the state as soon as the end of the month. (

Fri, 21 Jul 2017 04:50:00 GMT

MADISON, Wis. – Wisconsin is working on a package of incentives to lure Taiwanese iPhone manufacturer Foxconn to the state as part of a deal that two state lawmakers said Thursday they believe could come as soon as the end of the month. Wisconsin is one of several Midwest states vying for Foxconn as it considers building a $7 billion display panel manufacturing plant that could employ up to 10,000 people. The company was expected to announce its decision by early August. Michigan passed new economic incentives to sweeten its deal for Foxconn last week. Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald told The Associated Press on Thursday that “huge, big numbers” are being talked about to help land Foxconn. And Rep. John Nygren and Sen. Luther Olsen both said the state could announce a deal by the end of the month. None of them said they knew how much in total incentives the state may ultimately offer. “I really don’t have a lot of information and any legislator up at the Capitol that tells you they do is not telling the truth,” Fitzgerald told WKOW-TV. Fitzgerald said negotiations going on with Gov. Scott Walker’s office and state economic development officials have been “kept very close to the vest until they have something.” Walker downplayed talk of an imminent deal. “We don’t have a specific proposal on the table,” Walker told reporters. “Anything that’s being talked about right now is purely speculative.” Walker and state economic development officials repeatedly have declined to comment about Foxconn, saying they can’t discuss ongoing negotiations with potential new businesses. Nygren, who is co-chairman of the Legislature’s budget committee, said incentives for Foxconn would not be included in the two-year budget currently being worked on that’s already three weeks past due. But he said money being considered for tax cuts now, such as $200 million Walker wanted to use to cut income taxes, may instead be needed for incentives later as part of any deal with Foxconn. Nygren was optimistic that Wisconsin would win the high-stakes race to land Foxconn, but he stressed that talks were fluid and the company could just as easily choose another state. He and other lawmakers attended a barbecue at the governor’s mansion with Walker and Foxconn Chairman Terry Gou last week. “It was very clear a deal could come as quickly as the end of the month,” Nygren said. Olsen said the state could announce it has entered into a memorandum of understanding with Foxconn by the end of the month. Olsen said he wanted to hold off on passing Wisconsin’s overdue state budget “until we know what’s going on with this.” Adding in Foxconn incentives is a new twist. “This is something we have to take seriously if they decide to come to Wisconsin,” Olsen said of incentives for Foxconn. “We have to make sure we’re in fiscal shape to fulfill the obligations that are being presented to Foxconn to come to Wisconsin.” But House Speaker Paul Ryan said ea[...]


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Survivors in Syria escaped Islamic State's bastion, but remain terrifiedDisplaced Syrian girls – who fled with their families from the battle between U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces and the Islamic State militants from Raqqa city – hold pots Wednesday as they wait to receive food at the entrance of the main kitchen of a refugee camp in Ain Issa town in northeast Syria.

Fri, 21 Jul 2017 04:49:00 GMT

AIN ISSA, Syria – They have escaped their hold, but displaced residents of Raqqa still fear the militants of the Islamic State group, terrified they will return and seek revenge for defeats. In one of the largest camps housing those who fled the northern Syrian city, survivors of the group’s terror machine cannot shake off the horrors they witnessed in the group’s self-declared capital. They described public killings, hangings, people thrown off roofs and other punishments for the slightest offenses. For children, what they saw or heard of is engrained into their minds like horrific fairy tales. One girl around 12 years old described how women accused of stealing were immersed in boiling oil. With an air of excitement, she acted out the women being slid into a vat. Then another girl, slightly older, interjected to correct her and said, no, she had actually seen it and just the women’s hands were plunged into the oil. A 10-year old girl chimed in, saying fighters scolded her for wearing a red T-shirt. “We were living under unimaginable psychological pressure, God only knows,” said 39-year-old Fatima Mohammed. “There was a state of terror inside every home.” Mohammed said one scene set the tone for her for the three years under IS rule: a 14-year old who had been accused of theft begging for his life as a militant raised a sharp knife over his head in a public square. “He kept saying I am innocent,” she said. The boy tried to fend off the knife with his hands, she said, then the fighter finally shot him twice in the head. “I could not bear it anymore,” she said. The next time a young man tried to break away from the group’s grip, Mohammed risked it all to save him, and helped him escape. Nearly a dozen people spoke at the camp in Ain Issa, a town about 31 miles north of Raqqa. Most of those asked to be identified by their first name or no name at all, fearing IS retaliation against themselves or their families. Most of them fled within the past three months as U.S.-backed Syrian fighters have battled their way into Raqqa. The Islamic State group enforced its radically bloody version of religious rule across the so-called “caliphate” it declared in Iraq and Syria. Iraq’s larger Mosul and Syria’s more resource-rich Deir el-Zour were important administrative and economic hubs; but Raqqa stood out as the model where the group sought to impose most purely its stringent vision of “public morality,” interfering in the smallest details of people’s lives. The resulting terror has been entrenched in the local population. The escaped residents said that many of the Islamic State group’s members were fellow Raqqans. They said they feared IS members could be among the displaced people and could threaten them or their loved ones. A resident who asked only to be identified by his first name, Abdullah, said he survived IS rule by “toeing a straight line.” “When you see a [person] being beheaded i[...]


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'Juice' will be loose: O.J. Simpson granted parole in robberyAP photo Former NFL football star O.J. Simpson reacts after learning he was granted parole Thursday at Lovelock Correctional Center in Lovelock, Nev. Simpson was convicted in 2008 of enlisting some men he barely knew, including two who had guns, to retrieve from two sports collectibles sellers some items that Simpson said were stolen from him a decade earlier.

Fri, 21 Jul 2017 04:49:00 GMT

LOVELOCK, Nev. – O.J. Simpson was granted parole Thursday after more than eight years in prison for a Las Vegas hotel-room heist, successfully making his case for freedom in a nationally televised hearing that reflected America’s enduring fascination with the former football star. Simpson, 70, could be released as early as Oct. 1. By then, he will have served the minimum of his nine-to-33-year sentence for a bungled attempt to snatch sports memorabilia he claimed had been stolen from him. During the more than hourlong hearing on live TV, Simpson was, by turns, remorseful, jovial and defensive, heatedly insisting the items taken in the armed robbery were “my stuff.” At one point, the murder defendant in the 1995 “Trial of the Century” set off a storm of sarcasm and incredulity on social media when he said, “I’ve basically spent a conflict-free life, you know.” All four parole commissioners who conducted the hearing voted for his release after a half-hour of deliberations. They cited, among other things, the low risk he might commit another crime, his community support and his release plans, which include moving to Florida. “Thank you, thank you, thank you,” Simpson said quietly as he buried his head on his chest with relief. As he rose from his seat to return to his prison cell, he exhaled deeply. Then, as he was led down a hall, the Hall of Fame athlete raised his hands over his head in a victory gesture and said: “Oh, God, oh!” Simpson was widely expected to win parole, given similar cases and his good behavior behind bars. His defenders have argued, too, that his sentence was out of proportion to the crime and that he was being punished for the two murders he was acquitted of in Los Angeles in 1995, the stabbings of ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend, Ronald Goldman. Inmate No. 1027820 made his plea for freedom in a stark hearing room at the Lovelock Correctional Center in rural Nevada as the parole commissioners questioned him via video from Carson City, a two-hour drive away. Gray-haired but looking trimmer than he has in recent years, Simpson walked stiffly into the hearing room in jeans, a light-blue prison-issue shirt and sneakers. He chuckled at one point as the parole board chairwoman mistakenly gave his age as 90. Simpson insisted he never meant to hurt anyone, never pointed a gun and didn’t make any threats during the holdup of two sports memorabilia dealers. “I thought I was glad to get my stuff back, but it just wasn’t worth it,” he told the board. “It wasn’t worth it, and I’m sorry.” Even one of the dealers Simpson robbed, Bruce Fromong, testified on his behalf, telling the parole board that Simpson deserved to be released so he could be with his family. “He is a good man. He made a mistake,” Fromong said, adding the two remain friends. Arnelle Simpson, at 48 the eldest of Simpson’s four children, told the board, “We recognize t[...]


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Publicly assailed by President Donald Trump, AG Jeff Sessions says he's staying onAP photo Attorney General Jeff Sessions, accompanied by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, speaks at a news conference to announce an international cybercrime enforcement action Thursday at the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C.

Fri, 21 Jul 2017 04:37:00 GMT

WASHINGTON – Attorney General Jeff Sessions, publicly skewered by his boss for stepping clear of the Russia-Trump investigations, declared Thursday he still loves his job and plans to stay on. Yet Donald Trump’s airing of his long-simmering frustrations with Sessions raised significant new questions about the future of the nation’s top prosecutor. The White House was quick to insist that the president “has confidence” in Sessions. However, the episode underscored how the attorney general’s crime-fighting agenda is being overshadowed by his fractured relationship with Trump and the continuing investigations into allegations of Russian ties to the Republican candidate’s presidential campaign. The challenges for Sessions were laid bare Thursday when the attorney general, at a Justice Department news conference to announce the takedown of a mammoth internet drug marketplace, faced zero questions about that case and was instead grilled on his reaction to being excoriated by Trump in a New York Times interview a day earlier. The news conference on the drug case was quickly ended once it was clear reporters would only ask about the interview. Sessions did not directly address his relationship to Trump except to say he was still carrying out the agenda of the president. “I have the honor of serving as attorney general. It’s something that goes beyond any thought I would have ever had for myself,” Sessions said. “We love this job, we love this department and I plan to continue to do so as long as that is appropriate.” Asked how he could effectively serve if he didn’t have Trump’s confidence, he responded, “We’re serving right now. The work we’re doing today is the kind of work we intend to continue.” Asked at the White House about Trump’s feelings on Sessions, spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said, “Clearly, he has confidence in him or he would not be the attorney general.” It all followed Trump’s statements to the Times that he never would have tapped the former Alabama senator for the job had he known a recusal was coming. Sessions took himself off the Justice Department-led case in March after revelations he’d failed to disclose his own meetings with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. That placed the investigation with his deputy, Rod Rosenstein, who in May appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller to serve as special counsel. Several people close to Trump – including his eldest son, Donald Trump Jr, who also has been ensnared in the Russia probe – have told the president that they, too, believe Sessions’ decision to recuse himself was a mistake, according to three White House and outside advisers who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations. In the same Wednesday interview, Trump lashed out at Mueller, Rosenstein, James Comey, the FBI director Trump fired, and acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, who replaced Comey. “Jeff Sessions takes the job, gets into the job, recuses himself, which frankly I thin[...]


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Apollo 11 bag laced with moon dust sells for $1.8 millionAP photo A full scale Custom Sputnik-1 model, offered at an auction Thursday at Sotheby's, is displayed in New York.AP photo The Apollo 11 Contingency Lunar Sample Return Bag used by astronaut Neil Armstrong sold for $1.8 million at an auction Thursday at Sotheby's in New York. The collection bag was used by Armstrong during the first manned mission to the moon in 1969.

Fri, 21 Jul 2017 04:37:00 GMT

NEW YORK – A bag containing traces of moon dust sold for $1.8 million at an auction Thursday after a galactic court battle. The collection bag, used by astronaut Neil Armstrong during the first manned mission to the moon in 1969, was sold at a Sotheby’s auction of items related to space voyages. The buyer declined to be identified. The pre-sale estimate was $2 million to $4 million. The artifact from the Apollo 11 mission had been misidentified and sold at an online government auction, and NASA had fought to get it back. But in December a federal judge ruled that it legally belonged to a Chicago-area woman who bought it in 2015 for $995. Sotheby’s declined to identify the seller. However, details of the 2015 purchase were made public during the court case. Investigators unknowingly hit the moon mother lode in 2003 while searching the garage of a man later convicted of stealing and selling museum artifacts, including some that were on loan from NASA. The 12-by-8½-inch bag was misidentified and sold at an online government auction. Nancy Carlson of Inverness got an ordinary-looking bag made of white Beta cloth and polyester with rubberized nylon and a brass zipper. Carlson, a collector, knew the bag had been used in a space flight, but she didn’t know which one. She sent it to NASA for testing, and the government agency, discovering its importance, fought to keep it. The artifact “belongs to the American people,” NASA said then. U.S. District Judge J. Thomas Marten, in Wichita, Kansas, said that although it shouldn’t have gone up for auction, he didn’t have the authority to reverse the sale. He ordered the government to return it. The judge said the importance and desirability of the bag stemmed solely from the efforts of NASA employees whose “amazing technical achievements, skill and courage in landing astronauts on the moon and returning them safely have not been replicated in the almost half a century since the Apollo 11 landing.” When it comes to moon landings, Thursday’s auction is far from the final frontier. A group called For All Moonkind Inc. mentioned the moon bag this week while campaigning for “measures to preserve and protect the six Apollo lunar landing sites.” It plans to take up the issue next month at the Starship Congress 2017 in California. Also getting out-of-this-world interest at the auction was the Flown Apollo 13 Flight Plan, with handwritten notations by all three crew members. It sold to an online bidder for $275,000, well above its pre-sale estimate high of $40,000. AP photo A full scale Custom Sputnik-1 model, offered at an auction Thursday at Sotheby's, is displayed in New York.AP photo The Apollo 11 Contingency Lunar Sample Return Bag used by astronaut Neil Armstrong sold for $1.8 million at an auction Thursday at Sotheby's in New York. The collection bag was used by Armstrong during the firs[...]


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Woodstock woman found guilty of drug-induced homicide in Marengo heroin overdose deathDurelle J. Hall, 26

Thu, 20 Jul 2017 22:55:00 GMT

WOODSTOCK – Jurors on Thursday found a Woodstock woman guilty of providing a fatal dose of heroin to a Marengo woman on Oct. 6, 2015, nearly two years after she died. Durelle J. Hall, 26, sat stoically in the presence of tearful family members, supporters and friends, as the judge read the guilty verdict before a packed courtroom. Chelsie Kumm's family members, who said they were happy but declined to comment further, could be seen hugging each other and crying outside the courtroom. The jury began deliberation shortly after noon Thursday and returned with a verdict about 1:30 p.m. Jurors found that Hall sold Kumm heroin that ultimately killed her. Hall will be sentenced Sept. 7 by Judge Sharon Prather. Hall's additional pending criminal cases will be set for a status hearing the same day. Michael Hall, Durelle Hall's father, said he was disappointed by the verdict and felt prosecutors didn't have the evidence to prove their case. "The county doesn't do enough for addicts, and they are not getting rid of the problem," he said, referencing his younger daughter's heroin addiction. "The heroin problem out there is devastating." He also said he was very sorry for the loss Kumm's family suffered. Prosecutors said that after an exhaustive and desperate search, Kumm texted a contact in her phone with with the name "Durelle" and said she had $50 and wanted to meet at a friend's apartment in Crystal Lake. A gray vehicle arrived minutes later, and Kumm left the apartment to meet the person. When she returned to her friend's apartment, she asked to go home to use what she had received. The night Kumm overdosed, her boyfriend's mother, Laurie Cool, found her in the basement bedroom “slumped over” alongside baggies of heroin and heroin residue; prescription pills; several items of drug paraphernalia, including needles; and cooking instruments. The only items sent for forensic testing were pink baggies, red and white baggies, a blue plastic bag and a prescription pill bottle. Kumm's boyfriend, Brandon Smedley, testified that the only time he’s ever received heroin in pink baggies was from Hall, who he said they’ve bought the drug from on more than one occasion. Mark Peters, a forensic pathologist who testified as an expert for the prosecution, told the jury that after conducting Kumm’s autopsy in October 2015 and examining the toxicology report, he found the cause of death was a heroin overdose. McHenry County Deputy Coroner Paula Gallas testified last week that her office ruled the death as accidental when it had the option to rule it a homicide. Assistant State's Attorney Randi Freese said in closing arguments that Kumm was a 20-year-old woman whose life was stolen by heroin, and anyone who chooses to sell the drug needs to be held accountable. "Anybody that sells that poison, that venom, has to be held accountable," Freese told jurors. [...]


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Your weather photos: Severe weather and Fox River flooding from Thursday's stormSubmitted by Donovan Day This is at Eagle Point Road in Fox Lake.Submitted by Connie Owcarz of WoodstockSubmitted by Ian Solak of Crystal LakeSubmitted by Chuck Erickson of AntiochSubmitted by Donovan Day This is on Spring Road in Fox Lake.Submitted by Sophia Montalbano This is Picnic Park in Fox River Grove.Submitted by Sue DeLisle This is a flooded parking lot on Route 176 in Crystal Lake.

Thu, 20 Jul 2017 22:11:00 GMT

Northwest Herald readers submitted these photos to our Facebook page after severe storms rolled through McHenry and Lake counties on Wednesday night and Thursday morning.

Submit your photos here, and include the town in which they were shot.

Submitted by Donovan Day This is at Eagle Point Road in Fox Lake.Submitted by Connie Owcarz of WoodstockSubmitted by Ian Solak of Crystal LakeSubmitted by Chuck Erickson of AntiochSubmitted by Donovan Day This is on Spring Road in Fox Lake.Submitted by Sophia Montalbano This is Picnic Park in Fox River Grove.Submitted by Sue DeLisle This is a flooded parking lot on Route 176 in Crystal Lake.


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Richmond house fire containedFirefighters convene Thursday after containing a house fire at 9013 Winn Road in Richmond.A firefighter exits the home after containing a fire at 9013 Winn Road in Richmond.Veterinarian Dr. Bohdan Rudawski of the Fox Lake Animal Hospital takes a cat suffering from smoke inhalation from the scene of a house fire Thursday at 9013 Winn Road in Richmond. "The male cat was given oxygen and was progressing nicely, and is expected to survive," Rudawski said.Spring Grove firefighter Bob Samuel returns to the truck after containing a house fire at 9013 Winn Road in Richmond.Firefighters retrieve equipment from the scene of a house fire at 9013 Winn Road in Richmond.Firefighters pack up equipment after containing a house fire Thursday at 9013 Winn Road in Richmond.

Thu, 20 Jul 2017 22:09:00 GMT

A house fire Thursday in Richmond was contained.

Firefighters convene Thursday after containing a house fire at 9013 Winn Road in Richmond.A firefighter exits the home after containing a fire at 9013 Winn Road in Richmond.Veterinarian Dr. Bohdan Rudawski of the Fox Lake Animal Hospital takes a cat suffering from smoke inhalation from the scene of a house fire Thursday at 9013 Winn Road in Richmond. "The male cat was given oxygen and was progressing nicely, and is expected to survive," Rudawski said.Spring Grove firefighter Bob Samuel returns to the truck after containing a house fire at 9013 Winn Road in Richmond.Firefighters retrieve equipment from the scene of a house fire at 9013 Winn Road in Richmond.Firefighters pack up equipment after containing a house fire Thursday at 9013 Winn Road in Richmond.


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Making 'Marengo Strong' shirtsHyperStitch shop director of screen printing Larry Walker fastens the "Marengo Strong" logo to a manual six-color screen printing machine Thursday in Marengo. The shop started printing "Marengo Strong" T-shirts after a house exploded June 11. It has given $9 a shirt to the Seventh Circle Fund, and now has raised at least $10,000 while continuing to print shirts daily. "I've never sold anything so hot," owner Pat Laulor said. "We couldn't print them fast enough – 14 hours a day that first couple weeks. ... We're just a little embroidery shop." Saturday will mark the first "Marengo Strong" community day, an event designed to help families affected by the June 11 house explosion.HyperStitch shop director of screen printing Larry Walker cleans the "Marengo Strong" logo before printing shirts on a manual six-color screen printing machine Thursday in Marengo. The shop started printing "Marengo Strong" T-shirts after a house exploded June 11. It has donated $9 a shirt to the Seventh Circle Fund.HyperStitch shop director of screen printing Larry Walker smooths out a shirt after a test run Thursday at the shop in Marengo. The shop started printing "Marengo Strong" T-shirts after a house exploded June 11. It has donated $9 a shirt to the Seventh Circle Fund, and it has raised at least $10,000 while it continues to print shirts daily.HyperStitch shop director of screen printing Larry Walker spreads ink over the "Marengo Strong" logo on a manual six-color screen printing machine Thursday in Marengo. The shop started printing "Marengo Strong" T-shirts after a house exploded June 11, and it has donated $9 a shirt to the Seventh Circle Fund.HyperStitch shop director of screen printing Larry Walker places a printed shirt into a heater to dry the ink Thursday in Marengo. The shop started printing "Marengo Strong" T-shirts after a house exploded June 11, and it has donated $9 a shirt to the Seventh Circle Fund.

Thu, 20 Jul 2017 22:03:00 GMT

The tiny HyperStitch shop started printing "Marengo Strong" T-shirts after the explosion, donating $9 a shirt to the Seventh Circle Fund. It now has raised at least $10,000 and continues to print shirts daily. "I've never sold anything so hot," owner Pat Laulor said. "We couldn't print them fast enough – 14 hours a day that first couple weeks. ... We're just a little embroidery shop."

HyperStitch shop director of screen printing Larry Walker fastens the "Marengo Strong" logo to a manual six-color screen printing machine Thursday in Marengo. The shop started printing "Marengo Strong" T-shirts after a house exploded June 11. It has given $9 a shirt to the Seventh Circle Fund, and now has raised at least $10,000 while continuing to print shirts daily. "I've never sold anything so hot," owner Pat Laulor said. "We couldn't print them fast enough – 14 hours a day that first couple weeks. ... We're just a little embroidery shop." Saturday will mark the first "Marengo Strong" community day, an event designed to help families affected by the June 11 house explosion.HyperStitch shop director of screen printing Larry Walker cleans the "Marengo Strong" logo before printing shirts on a manual six-color screen printing machine Thursday in Marengo. The shop started printing "Marengo Strong" T-shirts after a house exploded June 11. It has donated $9 a shirt to the Seventh Circle Fund.HyperStitch shop director of screen printing Larry Walker smooths out a shirt after a test run Thursday at the shop in Marengo. The shop started printing "Marengo Strong" T-shirts after a house exploded June 11. It has donated $9 a shirt to the Seventh Circle Fund, and it has raised at least $10,000 while it continues to print shirts daily.HyperStitch shop director of screen printing Larry Walker spreads ink over the "Marengo Strong" logo on a manual six-color screen printing machine Thursday in Marengo. The shop started printing "Marengo Strong" T-shirts after a house exploded June 11, and it has donated $9 a shirt to the Seventh Circle Fund.HyperStitch shop director of screen printing Larry Walker places a printed shirt into a heater to dry the ink Thursday in Marengo. The shop started printing "Marengo Strong" T-shirts after a house exploded June 11, and it has donated $9 a shirt to the Seventh Circle Fund.


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Photos: O.J. Simpson granted paroleFormer NFL football star O.J. Simpson enters for his parole hearing at the Lovelock Correctional Center in Lovelock, Nev., on Thursday, July 20, 2017. Simpson was convicted in 2008 of enlisting some men he barely knew, including two who had guns, to retrieve from two sports collectibles sellers some items that Simpson said were stolen from him a decade earlier. (Jason Bean/The Reno Gazette-Journal via AP, Pool)Former NFL football star O.J. Simpson enters for his parole hearing at the Lovelock Correctional Center in Lovelock, Nev., on Thursday, July 20, 2017. Simpson was convicted in 2008 of enlisting some men he barely knew, including two who had guns, to retrieve from two sports collectibles sellers some items that Simpson said were stolen from him a decade earlier. (Jason Bean/The Reno Gazette-Journal via AP, Pool)Officers walk toward the entrance to Nevada's Lovelock Correctional Center in Lovelock, Nev., where former NFL football star O.J. Simpson is being held Thursday, July 20, 2017. Simpson is making the case on live TV for his release from prison where he has been serving a 33-year sentence for an armed robbery involving sports memorabilia. (AP Photo/Terry Chea)Former NFL football star O.J. Simpson appears via video for his parole hearing at the Lovelock Correctional Center in Lovelock, Nev., on Thursday, July 20, 2017. Simpson was convicted in 2008 of enlisting some men he barely knew, including two who had guns, to retrieve from two sports collectibles sellers some items that Simpson said were stolen from him a decade earlier. (KOLO-TV via AP)Former NFL football star O.J. Simpson reacts after learning he was granted parole at Lovelock Correctional Center in Lovelock, Nev., on Thursday, July 20, 2017. Simpson was convicted in 2008 of enlisting some men he barely knew, including two who had guns, to retrieve from two sports collectibles sellers some items that Simpson said were stolen from him a decade earlier. (Jason Bean/The Reno Gazette-Journal via AP, Pool)O.J. Simpson's sister Shirley Baker, center, daughter Arnelle Simpson, left, and friend Tom Scotto react after O.J. Simpson was granted parole at Lovelock Correctional Center in Lovelock, Nev., on Thursday, July 20, 2017. Simpson was convicted in 2008 of enlisting some men he barely knew, including two who had guns, to retrieve from two sports collectibles sellers some items that Simpson said were stolen from him a decade earlier. (Jason Bean/The Reno Gazette-Journal via AP, Pool)Former NFL football star O.J. Simpson reacts after learning he was granted parole at Lovelock Correctional Center in Lovelock, Nev., on Thursday, July 20, 2017. Simpson was convicted in 2008 of enlisting some men he barely knew, including two who had guns, to retrieve from two sports collectibles sellers some items that Simpson said were stolen from him a decade earlier. (Jason Bean/The Reno Gazette-Journal via AP, Pool)FILE - In this May 15, 2013 file photo, O.J. Simpson returns to the witness stand to testify after a break during an evidentiary hearing in Clark County District Court in Las Vegas. Simpson, the former football star, TV pitchman and now Nevada prison inmate, will have a lot going for him when he appears before state parole board members Thursday, July 20, 2017, seeking his release after more than eight years for an ill-fated bid to retrieve sports memorabilia. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson, Pool, file)FILE - In this March 24, 1978 file photo, O.J. Simpson, left, smiles next to San Francisco 49ers owner Edward DeBartolo Jr. at a news conference where the 49ers announced that Simpson had been traded to them from the Buffalo Bills, in San Francisco. Simpson, the former football star, TV pitchman and now Nevada prison inmate, will have a lot going for him when he appears before state parole board members Thursday, July 20, 2017, seeking his release after more than eight years for an ill-fated bid to retrieve sports memorabilia. (AP Photo/Sal Veder, file)FILE - In this Sept. 3, 1977 file photo, Buffalo Bills' O.J. Simpson (32) runs past Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Council Rudolph (78) during an NFL football game in Buffalo, N.Y. Simpson, the former football star, TV pitchman and now Nevada prison inmate, will have a lot going for him when he appears before state parole board members Thursday, July 20, 2017, seeking his release after more than eight years for an ill-fated bid to retrieve sports memorabilia. (AP Photo, file)FILE - In this May 6, 1980 file photo, O.J. Simpson, right, poses for photos with friend Nicole Brown at party in the Beverly Hills section of Los Angeles. Simpson, the former football star, TV pitchman and now Nevada prison inmate, will have a lot going for him when he appears before state parole board members Thursday, July 20, 2017, seeking his release after more than eight years for an ill-fated bid to retrieve sports memorabilia. (AP Photo/Nick Ut, file)FILE - In this June 15, 1995 file photo, O.J. Simpson, left, grimaces as he tries on one of the leather gloves prosecutors say he wore the night his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman were murdered in a Los Angeles courtroom. Simpson, the former football star, TV pitchman and now Nevada prison inmate, will have a lot going for him when he appears before state parole board members Thursday, July 20, 2017, seeking his release after more than eight years for an ill-fated bid to retrieve sports memorabilia. (AP Photo/Sam Mircovich, Pool, file)FILE - In this Oct. 3, 1995 file photo, attorney Johnnie Cochran Jr., right, holds onto O.J. Simpson as the not guilty verdict is read in a Los Angeles courtroom. Simpson, the former football star, TV pitchman and now Nevada prison inmate, will have a lot going for him when he appears before state parole board members Thursday, July 20, 2017, seeking his release after more than eight years for an ill-fated bid to retrieve sports memorabilia. (AP Photo/Pool, Myung J. Chun, file)

Thu, 20 Jul 2017 20:54:00 GMT

The Nevada Parole Board unanimously granted former football star O.J. Simpson parole Thursday after Simpson was convicted of armed robbery in 2008. Former NFL football star O.J. Simpson enters for his parole hearing at the Lovelock Correctional Center in Lovelock, Nev., on Thursday, July 20, 2017. Simpson was convicted in 2008 of enlisting some men he barely knew, including two who had guns, to retrieve from two sports collectibles sellers some items that Simpson said were stolen from him a decade earlier. (Jason Bean/The Reno Gazette-Journal via AP, Pool)Former NFL football star O.J. Simpson enters for his parole hearing at the Lovelock Correctional Center in Lovelock, Nev., on Thursday, July 20, 2017. Simpson was convicted in 2008 of enlisting some men he barely knew, including two who had guns, to retrieve from two sports collectibles sellers some items that Simpson said were stolen from him a decade earlier. (Jason Bean/The Reno Gazette-Journal via AP, Pool)Officers walk toward the entrance to Nevada's Lovelock Correctional Center in Lovelock, Nev., where former NFL football star O.J. Simpson is being held Thursday, July 20, 2017. Simpson is making the case on live TV for his release from prison where he has been serving a 33-year sentence for an armed robbery involving sports memorabilia. (AP Photo/Terry Chea)Former NFL football star O.J. Simpson appears via video for his parole hearing at the Lovelock Correctional Center in Lovelock, Nev., on Thursday, July 20, 2017. Simpson was convicted in 2008 of enlisting some men he barely knew, including two who had guns, to retrieve from two sports collectibles sellers some items that Simpson said were stolen from him a decade earlier. (KOLO-TV via AP)Former NFL football star O.J. Simpson reacts after learning he was granted parole at Lovelock Correctional Center in Lovelock, Nev., on Thursday, July 20, 2017. Simpson was convicted in 2008 of enlisting some men he barely knew, including two who had guns, to retrieve from two sports collectibles sellers some items that Simpson said were stolen from him a decade earlier. (Jason Bean/The Reno Gazette-Journal via AP, Pool)O.J. Simpson's sister Shirley Baker, center, daughter Arnelle Simpson, left, and friend Tom Scotto react after O.J. Simpson was granted parole at Lovelock Correctional Center in Lovelock, Nev., on Thursday, July 20, 2017. Simpson was convicted in 2008 of enlisting some men he barely knew, including two who had guns, to retrieve from two sports collectibles sellers some items that Simpson said were stolen from him a decade earlier. (Jason Bean/The Reno Gazette-Journal via AP, Pool)Former NFL football star O.J. Simpson reacts after learning he was granted parole at Lovelock Correctional Center in Lovelock, Nev., on Thursday, July 20, 2017. Simpson was convicted in 2008 of enlisting some men he barely knew, including two who had guns, to retrieve from two sports collectibles sellers some items that Simpson said were stolen from him a decade earlier. (Jason Bean/The Reno Gazette-Journal via AP, Pool)FILE - In this May 15, 2013 file phot[...]


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Moody's: Illinois avoids 'junk' credit rating, but risks remainIllinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, thanks House members following a vote to adopt a spending bill amendment Friday, June 30, 2017, in Springfield, Ill. Madigan said more work needs to be done, including final negotiations on a tax increase package that is needed to ensure the budget will be in balance. (Ted Schurter/The State Journal-Register via AP)

Thu, 20 Jul 2017 20:24:00 GMT

CHICAGO – A major credit rating agency says Illinois' rating won't be lowered to "junk" but warns the state still faces serious financial challenges and long-term risks.

Moody's Investors Service on Thursday affirmed Illinois' current rating with a negative outlook, saying a downgrade remains possible in the next two years.

Moody's put Illinois under review for a downgrade earlier this month, after the state entered its third fiscal year without a budget. That would've made Illinois the first U.S. state to have a rating below investment grade, and cost taxpayers millions of dollars more.

Moody's says the budget legislators approved July 6 over Gov. Bruce Rauner's objections moved Illinois "closer to fiscal balance."

But the agency warns the budget doesn't reduce Illinois' unfunded pension liability, which is larger than any other state.

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, thanks House members following a vote to adopt a spending bill amendment Friday, June 30, 2017, in Springfield, Ill. Madigan said more work needs to be done, including final negotiations on a tax increase package that is needed to ensure the budget will be in balance. (Ted Schurter/The State Journal-Register via AP)


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O.J. Simpson granted parole after nearly 9 years in prisonFormer NFL football star O.J. Simpson enters for his parole hearing at the Lovelock Correctional Center in Lovelock, Nev., on Thursday, July 20, 2017. Simpson was convicted in 2008 of enlisting some men he barely knew, including two who had guns, to retrieve from two sports collectibles sellers some items that Simpson said were stolen from him a decade earlier. (Jason Bean/The Reno Gazette-Journal via AP, Pool)Former NFL football star O.J. Simpson enters for his parole hearing at the Lovelock Correctional Center in Lovelock, Nev., on Thursday, July 20, 2017. Simpson was convicted in 2008 of enlisting some men he barely knew, including two who had guns, to retrieve from two sports collectibles sellers some items that Simpson said were stolen from him a decade earlier. (Jason Bean/The Reno Gazette-Journal via AP, Pool)

Thu, 20 Jul 2017 19:16:00 GMT

LOVELOCK, Nev. – O.J. Simpson was granted parole Thursday after more than eight years in prison for a Las Vegas hotel heist, successfully making his case in a nationally televised hearing that reflected America's enduring fascination with the former football star. Simpson, 70, could be a free man as early as Oct. 1. By then, he will have served the minimum of his nine-to-33-year armed-robbery sentence for a bungled attempt to snatch sports memorabilia and other mementos he claimed had been stolen from him. He got the four votes he needed from the parole commissioners who heard his case. In agreeing to release him, they cited his lack of a prior conviction, the low risk he might commit another crime, his community support and his release plans. During the more than hour-long hearing, Simpson forcefully insisted — as he has all along — that he was only trying to retrieve items that belonged to him and never meant to hurt anyone. He said he never pointed a gun at anyone nor made any threats during the crime. "I've done my time. I've done it as well and respectfully as I think anybody can," he said. Inmate No. 1027820 made his plea for freedom in a stark hearing room at the Lovelock Correctional Center in rural Nevada as four parole commissioners in Carson City, a two-hour drive away, questioned him via video. Simpson, gray-haired but looking trimmer than he has in recent years, walked briskly into the hearing room dressed in jeans, a light-blue prison-issue shirt and sneakers. He laughed at one point as the parole board chairwoman mistakenly gave his age as 90. The Hall of Fame athlete's chances of winning release were considered good, given similar cases and Simpson's model behavior behind bars. His defenders have argued, too, that his sentence was out of proportion to the crime and that he was being punished for the two murders he was acquitted of during his 1995 "Trial of the Century" in Los Angeles, the stabbings of ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman. Before the hearing concluded, one of the dealers Simpson robbed, Bruce Fromong, said the former football great never pointed a gun at him during the confrontation, adding that it was one of the men with him who did so. Fromong said Simpson deserved to be released. "He is a good man. He made a mistake," Fromong said, adding the two remain friends. Simpson's eldest child, 48-year-old Arnelle Simpson, also testified on his behalf, saying her father is not perfect but realizes what a mistake he made and has spent years paying for it. "We just want him to come home, we really do," she said. Simpson said that he has spent his time in prison mentoring fellow inmates, often keeping others out of trouble, and believes he has become a better pe[...]


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Jeff Sessions staying as attorney general despite Trump rebukeAttorney General Jeff Sessions accompanied by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, left, speaks at a news conference to announce an international cybercrime enforcement action at the Department of Justice, Thursday, July 20, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Thu, 20 Jul 2017 19:02:00 GMT

WASHINGTON – Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Thursday he has no immediate plans to resign after President Donald Trump excoriated the nation's top prosecutor for recusing himself from the probe of suspected Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. political campaign. "We love this job, we love this department and I plan to continue to do so as long as that is appropriate," Sessions said. A former senator from Alabama, Sessions was one of Trump's earliest and ardent supporters and became attorney general in February. A month later, he took himself out of a Justice Department-led inquiry into the election following revelations he'd failed to disclose his own meetings with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. At a news conference Thursday on an unrelated matter, Sessions was asked how he could continue to serve as attorney general without the confidence of the president. His response: "We're serving right now. The work we're doing today is the kind of work we intend to continue." But in a sign of his challenges, Sessions was unable to focus public attention on the case he wanted to talk about — an international takedown of a hidden Internet marketplace that officials said was 10 times larger than the Silk Road bazaar. The news conference on that case was ended once it was clear reporters had no questions on the investigation. Trump on Wednesday told The New York Times he never would have tapped Sessions for the job had he known a recusal was coming. "Jeff Sessions takes the job, gets into the job, recuses himself, which frankly I think is very unfair to the president," Trump told the newspaper. "How do you take a job and then recuse yourself? If he would have recused himself before the job, I would have said, 'Thanks, Jeff, but I'm not going to take you.' It's extremely unfair — and that's a mild word — to the president." Trump's blistering rebuke underscored his continuing fury with Sessions more than four months after the recusal and came during an interview in which he also lashed out at Robert Mueller, the special counsel now leading the federal probe; James Comey, the FBI director Trump fired; Andrew McCabe, the acting FBI director who replaced Comey; and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who appointed the special counsel. Trump's denouncement reflected a long-simmering frustration with one of his staunchest allies, but was not a calculated attempt to force Sessions from the Cabinet, according to two Trump advisers. For weeks, the president has seethed about Sessions' decision to recuse himself from the federal investigation into whether Trump's campaign coordinated with Russia during last year's election. The White House notably made no effort to walk back Trump's comments in the interview or display confidence in the attorney general. Instead, the two [...]


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Trump exhorts Senate anew to rid U.S. of ObamacareAP photo Protesters against the Republican health care proposals block the entrance to the office of Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., on Wednesday at the Russell Senate Office building on Capitol Hill in Washington.

Thu, 20 Jul 2017 06:05:00 GMT

WASHINGTON – Lecturing fellow Republicans, President Donald Trump summoned GOP senators to the White House on Wednesday and told them face-to-face they must not leave town for their August recess without sending him an “Obamacare” repeal bill to sign. Senators responded by vowing to revive legislative efforts left for dead twice already this week. Success was far from assured, but Trump declared “I’m ready to act,” putting the responsibility on Republican lawmakers, not himself. During last year’s presidential campaign he had declared repeatedly it would be “so easy” to get rid of the Obama law. The developments Wednesday came just a day after the latest GOP health care plan collapsed in the Senate, leading Trump himself to say it was time to simply let President Barack Obama’s health care law fail. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had indicated he was prepared to stick a fork in the Republican bill and move on to other issues including overhauling the tax code. But in an apparent change of heart, in keeping with his erratic engagement on the issue, Trump pressured McConnell to delay the key vote until next week, and he invited Republican senators to the White House for lunch. There, with the cameras rolling in the State Dining Room, Trump spoke at length as he cajoled, scolded and issued veiled threats to his fellow Republicans, all aimed at wringing a health care bill out of a divided caucus that’s been unable to produce one so far. “For seven years you promised the American people that you would repeal Obamacare. People are hurting. Inaction is not an option, and frankly I don’t think we should leave town unless we have a health insurance plan,” he said. Seated next to Nevada Sen. Dean Heller, who is vulnerable in next year’s midterm elections, Trump remarked: “He wants to remain a senator, doesn’t he?” as Heller gave a strained grin. It was not clear that the White House lunch would change the calculus in the Senate, where McConnell has failed repeatedly to come up with a bill that can satisfy both conservatives and moderates in his Republican conference. Two different versions of repeal-and-replace legislation fell short of votes before coming to the floor, pushing him to announce Monday night that he would retreat to a repeal-only bill that had passed Congress when Obama was in office. But that bill, too, died a premature death as three GOP senators announced their opposition Tuesday, one more than McConnell can lose in the closely divided Senate. Further complicating that approach, the Congressional Budget Office released an analysis Wednesday reaffirming its earlier findings that the repeal-only bill would mean 32 million additional uninsured people over a decade and average premiums doubling. An[...]


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Trump's embrace of Russia making top advisers waryPool Photo via AP The heads of government of the G-20 states and their partners have dinner after a concert in the Elbphilharmonie concert hall July 7 in Hamburg, Germany

Thu, 20 Jul 2017 06:05:00 GMT

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump’s persistent overtures toward Russia are placing him increasingly at odds with his national security and foreign policy advisers, who have long urged a more cautious approach to dealing with the foreign adversary. The uneasy dynamic between the president and top aides has been exacerbated by the revelation this week of an extended dinner conversation between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin at the recent summit in Germany. The previously undisclosed conversation, which occurred a few hours after their official bilateral meeting, raised red flags with advisers already concerned by the president’s tendency to shun protocol and press ahead with outreach toward Russia, two U.S. officials and three top foreign officials said. The officials spoke only on the condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations. Deep divisions are increasingly apparent within the administration on the best way to approach Moscow in the midst of U.S. investigations into Russian meddling in the American presidential election. Trump repeatedly has cast doubt on the conclusion of U.S. intelligence agencies that the Russian government sought to tip the election in his favor and has dismissed investigations into the possibility of collusion between his campaign and Moscow as a “witch hunt.” Meanwhile, he has pushed for cooperation between Moscow and Washington on various matters including the raging conflict in Syria. But some top aides, including National Security Adviser Gen. H.R. McMaster, have been warning that Putin is not to be trusted. An intelligence officer-turned-politician, Putin is known for steering discussions in his own favor. The three foreign officials who have spoken with top Trump advisers described a disconnect, or “mixed signals,” between Trump and his team over Russia, highlighting a lack of a clear policy. U.S. officials echoed that sentiment, with one saying diplomats and intelligence officials were “dumbfounded” by the president’s approach, particularly given the evidence of Russia’s election meddling. McMaster expressed his disapproval of Trump’s course to foreign officials during the lead-up to his trip to Germany. The general specifically said he’d disagreed with Trump’s decision to hold an Oval Office meeting in May with top Russian diplomats and with the president’s general reluctance to speak out against Russian aggression in Europe, three foreign officials said. McMaster and other national security aides also advised the president against holding an official bilateral meeting with Putin. In a highly unusual move, McMaster did not attend the bilateral meeting with Putin. Only Trump, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and a translator[...]


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Minnesota shooting shows underuse of police body camerasIn this Feb. 16, 2017 photo, Maplewood Police Officer Parker Olding attaches his body camera to the magnetic plate worn inside his uniform in Maplewood, Minn. When a Minneapolis police officer shot and killed Justine Damond, who had called in a possible crime in the alley behind her house on July 15, his body camera wasn't running. Criminal-justice experts say the early numbers suggest that officers aren't turning them on often enough, and Minneapolis isn't the only city where that's the case. (Glen Stubbe/Star Tribune via AP)

Thu, 20 Jul 2017 06:05:00 GMT

MINNEAPOLIS – Police and protesters heralded the arrival of the body camera as a critical window into officers’ everyday activities after the unrest in Ferguson, Missouri. But as the killing of an Australian woman by a Minneapolis officer over the weekend showed, the technology depends on officers turning on their devices. And often they don’t do so. Officer Mohamed Noor fatally shot 40-year-old Justine Damond on Saturday night while responding to an emergency call Damond placed to report a possible sexual assault near her house. Like the rest of the city’s officers, both Noor and his partner had body cameras but didn’t turn them on until after the shooting. It’s not clear why the officers hadn’t switched on their cameras. Damond’s death offered a tragic example of a common problem departments have grappled with in the rush to equip officers with body cameras. Although millions of dollars in federal and state grants have helped make the cameras standard equipment in major cities, their effectiveness still often depends on the officers who wear them. A Department of Justice Investigation chided police officers in Albuquerque, New Mexico – an early adopter of the technology – for failing to turn on their cameras, citing a lack of both training and supervisor enforcement. An outside investigator found that Denver police officers captured just 1 in 4 use-of-force incidents during a 2014 pilot project, due in large part to officers forgetting to turn their cameras on. Data from March released by the Minneapolis Police Department and published by TV station KSTP show that officers wearing body cameras there recorded about 20 minutes of footage for every eight-hour shift. Criminal justice experts said that number seemed low and was cause for a review that is underway among top city officials. “I think all cities are in this learning curve where they’re having to see if officers are turning on their cameras,” said Chuck Wexler, executive director for the Police Executive Research Forum. “This is still a new technology. This is going to take some time to make it part of the DNA of what the police do.” Cities across the nation have struggled to balance the need to capture footage with protecting individuals’ privacy and safeguarding against high storage costs for terabytes of recordings. The response has been narrow requirements for when an officer needs to flip on his or her camera. Minneapolis launched a body camera pilot project in November 2014, just months after the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson and the initial unrest that gripped that St. Louis suburb. Minnesota’s largest city began to roll out the technology throughout the department last summer. [...]


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16-year-old from Minnesota ID'd as victim of John Wayne GacyAP photo Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart speaks at a news conference Wednesday in Chicago, where he announced the identity of James Byron Haakenson, of Minnesota, as one of the victims of serial killer John Wayne Gacy. The teenager had left his home in 1976 and was last heard from in August of that year when he called his mother and told her he was in Chicago.

Thu, 20 Jul 2017 06:04:00 GMT

CHICAGO – After running away from his Minnesota home in 1976, 16-year-old Jimmy Haakenson called his mother, told her he was in Chicago, then disappeared forever. More than 40 years later, a detective from Illinois arrived at the family’s home to tell Haakenson’s relatives that at some point after hanging up the phone, the teenager crossed paths with serial killer John Wayne Gacy. Haakenson’s body, it turns out, was among dozens found in a crawl space of Gacy’s Chicago-area home in 1978. But the remains only were recently identified thanks to DNA technology that wasn’t available then, the Cook County Sheriff’s Office announced Wednesday. Gacy was convicted of killing 33 young men and was executed in 1994. But the revelation about Haakenson is the latest turn in a years-long effort to solve the remaining mystery surrounding Gacy’s case: Who were the eight victims authorities hadn’t been able to identify? James “Jimmy” Byron Haakenson’s body is only the second person who authorities have identified since Sheriff Tom Dart in 2011 ordered the remains of the eight victims exhumed and asked families of young men who went missing in the 1970s to provide DNA samples. The first was William Bundy, a 19-year-old construction worker from Chicago whose remains were identified weeks after the exhumations. Haakenson’s family in Minnesota plans to come to Chicago to mark his grave. “One of the worst people in the world that walked the earth murdered my brother,” his sister, Lorie Sisterman, who lives in North St. Paul, said Wednesday. “You hope for something different,” but she went on to add, “I’m so glad to know where my brother is.” Gacy is remembered as one of history’s most bizarre killers, largely because of his work as an amateur clown. The Chicago-area building contractor lured young men to his home by impersonating a police officer or promising them construction work. There, he stabbed one and strangled the others. Most of the victims were buried under his home, but others were dumped in a river. Illinois investigators long referred to Haakenson as simply “Victim #24.” Haakenson came to Chicago hoping to strike out on his own in a city far bigger than the community of St. Paul where he lived, Dart said. Sisterman said the teenager had finally made good on his angry vows to his mother that he was going to run away. He was a boy, Sisterman said, who kept “trying to find himself.” After bodies were found in Gacy’s home, Haakenson’s mother was suspicious enough that her son was among the victims that she came to Chicago to talk to investigators. But she left without any answers because the[...]


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Former District 300 elementary substitute teacher, Lake in the Hills man charged with sexually abusing childThe Kane County State’s Attorney has authorized sexual abuse charges against a former Community Unit School District 300 substitute teacher.Kane County prosecutors have charged 61-year-old Carlos A. Bedoya with four counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse, each a Class 2 felony.

Thu, 20 Jul 2017 05:56:00 GMT

CARPENTERSVILLE – A substitute teacher at an elementary school in Algonquin-based School District 300 was charged Tuesday with sexually abusing a child.

The Kane County State’s Attorney charged Carlos A. Bedoya, 61, of Lake in the Hills with four counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse for an incident involving a child younger than 13, according to a release from the state’s attorney’s office.

Kane County prosecutors alleged Bedoya made sexual contact with the victim between August 2016 and May 2017, the release said. Carpentersville police took Bedoya into custody Tuesday.

Bedoya’s bond was set Wednesday in Kane County bond court at $20,000, according to the release. If he posts bond, he would not be allowed to have contact with the victim.

Bedoya faces three to seven years in prison. If convicted, he also would register for life as a sexual offender in accordance with the Illinois Sex Offender Registration Act.

It was not immediately clear whether the victim was one of Bedoya’s students, where the incident occurred or what school Bedoya taught at.

Anthony McGinn, District 300 director of public relations and communication services, emailed the district’s statement Wednesday night addressing the incident.

“In accordance with our policy, once we became aware of the allegations, the District took steps to immediately suspend any and all subsequent employment and to bar this individual from having any contact with our students, staff, or schools,” the statement read. “District 300 takes the health, safety, and welfare of our students seriously and, as a result, follows strict guidelines to ensure that our employee are fully vetted before hired.”

The district’s statement also specified its hiring process, including for substitute teachers, includes mandatory training, reference checks, background checks and fingerprint verification in the FBI database before a staff member is allowed on campus when students are present.

The case remains under investigation. Bedoya’s next court date is scheduled for 9 a.m. Wednesday.

The Kane County State’s Attorney has authorized sexual abuse charges against a former Community Unit School District 300 substitute teacher.Kane County prosecutors have charged 61-year-old Carlos A. Bedoya with four counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse, each a Class 2 felony.


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Eyes slowly turn to recovery as Fox River recedesCandace H. Johnson for Shaw Media Jeff Urgo and Ann McBurney tow an inflatable molecule flotation tube to ferry neighbors on flooded Stanton Point Road to and from their homes in the Stanton Point subdivision in Ingleside.Candace H. Johnson for Shaw Media Steve and Karen Morken bring supplies back to their house to help with flooding in the Stanton Point subdivision in Ingleside.

Thu, 20 Jul 2017 05:49:00 GMT

As the floodwaters slowly recede along the Fox River – how slowly depends on how much more rain falls – people have started looking at picking up the pieces. Thunderstorms dumped more rain on McHenry County and much of northern Illinois Wednesday night. But although the Fox River flood appears by early accounts to be devastating to some areas, and the river’s depth came very close to breaking its all-time record, it is not likely at this time that much, if any, federal assistance will flow in. Although 56 counties in Illinois were declared disaster areas after rains soaked much of the state in 2013 – when the Fox River set its record – this disaster is more targeted to northern Illinois. Only McHenry, Kane, Lake and Cook counties have been declared disaster areas by Gov. Bruce Rauner. It is unlikely that local governments will be eligible for cost reimbursement, McHenry County Emergency Management Agency Director David Christensen told the McHenry County Board on Tuesday evening. The state will have to spend at least $18.3 million on mitigation relief efforts, and McHenry County governments $1.11 million, to trigger eligibility for recouping losses. “I’ve been wrong before, but it just doesn’t look like we got it,” Christensen said Wednesday. However, Christensen said, certain extraordinary circumstances, such as proving that the flood significantly hurt income from tourism, motor fuel taxes and the like, can help sway federal officials. Federal assistance for individuals in McHenry County will be triggered if at least 25 homes – that are both principal residences and uninsured – are destroyed or severely damaged, Christensen said. Work has only begun to determine the scope of the damage, primarily because the flood event is ongoing. Flood levels The Fox River at the William G. Stratton-Thomas A. Bolger Lock and Dam in McHenry was at 7.36 feet Wednesday afternoon. It crested early Tuesday morning at just less than 7½ feet. Flood stage at the dam is 4 feet. At the Algonquin tailwater, where the water crested Tuesday as well, the river measured at 12.24 feet Wednesday afternoon. Flood stage at the tailwater is 9.5 feet. Although the U.S. Geological Survey equipment at the McHenry dam cannot project future levels, its projection for Algonquin indicates a long dry-out ahead. The river still will be in flood stage through the next seven days – it won’t be until Friday morning that it dips below the 12-foot threshold for major flooding. More rain? The National Weather Service c[...]


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Algonquin Founders' Days location moved because of recent Fox River floodingShaw Media file photo Brogan Hora, 9, and Angelica Pesavento, 9, both of Cary, ride a carnival ride at Algonquin Lakes Park. Founders' Days is a four-day family-friendly event that includes the special needs carnival, cardboard boat regatta, children’s games, market & bazaar, bake-off, music, a parade, bag tournaments and fireworks on the Fox River.Shaw Media file photo Kyle Petersdorff watches inside the boat as Zack Odolski (left) and Garrett Musslewhite, all of Algonquin, try to push the vessel during last year's annual cardboard boat regatta race across the Fox River at Algonquin Founders' Days.

Thu, 20 Jul 2017 05:43:00 GMT

ALGONQUIN – Algonquin Founders’ Days is changing locations because of the Fox River flooding. The four-day festival will move from its usual location at Riverfront Park to Algonquin Lakes Elementary School, 1401 Compton Drive, event organizers said. The 57th Founders’ Days Festival is scheduled for July 27 to 30, and will include festivities such as a bicycle decorating contest, a barbecue cook-off, music and the annual parade. Water levels at the Algonquin tailwater crested Tuesday at about 12.4 feet, in major flood stage. Barring any new precipitation, the river will remain at moderate flood level in Algonquin for at least the next week, according to projections from the U.S. Geological Survey, which maintains the monitor. About 2 inches of rain could fall on McHenry County through the weekend, according to the National Weather Service. Most activities will go on as planned at Founders’ Days, with the exception of the cardboard boat regatta, which will be canceled if conditions do not improve, said Sue Bazdor, secretary of the Founders’ Days board. Whether the fireworks show will be held July 30 on the Fox River also depends on the condition of the river, Bazdor said. Founders’ Days has been held in downtown Algonquin since 1961, according to algonquinfoundersdays.com. The festival moved to St. Margaret Mary Catholic Church in the ’70s because of flooding. There are plans to move from the Riverfront Park location for next year’s event because of construction, Bazdor said. The new location for next year’s event has not been chosen, but Algonquin Lakes is being considered. Algonquin’s free concert series also has been affected by the flooding at Riverfront Park. The July 13 concert featuring the country group Dixie Crush and food from the Mexican-style food truck Toasty Taco was rescheduled to Aug. 31, said Gerald Klein, the village’s recreation assistant. The July 20 concert featuring Soul 2 The Bone and food from Your Sister’s Tomato will be Sept. 7. The Pirates Over 40 show scheduled for July 27 now will be held at Towne Park, 100 Jefferson St. A food truck vendor will not be at this event, according to the village of Algonquin website. Information on the summer concerts can be found at www.algonquin.org. Shaw Media file photo Brogan Hora, 9, and Angelica Pesavento, 9, both of Cary, ride a carnival ride at Algonquin Lakes Park. Founders' Days is a four-day family-friendly event that includes the special needs carnival, cardboard boat regatta, children’s games, market & bazaar, bake-off, music, a [...]


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Defense rests without calling witnesses in drug-induced homicide trial against Woodstock womanDurelle J. Hall, 26Durelle J. Hall, 26

Thu, 20 Jul 2017 05:40:00 GMT

WOODSTOCK – After six days of testimony in a drug-induced homicide case in which a Woodstock woman is accused of providing a fatal dose of heroin to a Marengo woman who overdosed, jurors are one step closer to deliberation. Prosecutors concluded their case Wednesday morning, and defense lawyers rested later that afternoon without calling any witnesses – which they are not required to do. Durelle J. Hall, 26, dressed in a white cardigan with her hair in a bun, told Judge Sharon Prather on Wednesday afternoon that she did not wish to testify. A defendant in a criminal case has the choice to testify or not, and that decision cannot be used against them. Closing arguments will start Thursday, and then the jury will decide whether Hall sold Chelsie Kumm, 20, heroin on Oct. 6, 2015, that ultimately killed her. Hall was arrested in November 2015 after police searched her home during their investigation into Kumm’s death. Police found several cell phones, cash and crack cocaine. After further investigation, Hall was charged with drug-induced homicide. She faces up to 30 years in prison if convicted. The case has brought up many emotional moments for both sides, as family members, supporters and friends of both Hall and Kumm have filled the courtroom during the last two weeks. Prosecutors contend that Kumm bought heroin from Hall after a long, desperate search to find drugs in the midst of a withdrawal. Kumm and her boyfriend, Brandon Smedley, spent most of the day together looking for more drugs, but separated when he took the train from Crystal Lake to Chicago to buy there and she stayed back. Smedley, who took the stand last week, testified that he and Kumm were daily heroin users who could use up to six bags of heroin a person on a day-to-day basis, depending on what they could get. Prosecutors said Kumm texted a contact in her phone with the name “Durelle” and said she had $50 and wanted to meet. A gray vehicle arrived minutes later, and Kumm left the apartment to meet the person. When she returned to her friend’s apartment, she asked to go home to use what she had bought. The night Kumm overdosed, Smedley’s mother, Laurie Cool, found her in the basement bedroom “slumped over” alongside baggies of heroin and heroin residue; prescription pills; several items of drug paraphernalia, including needles; and cooking instruments. The only items sent for forensic testing were pink baggies, red and white baggies, a blue plastic bag and a prescription pill bottle. Smedley testified that the only time he’s ever receive[...]


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Developer plans residential complex at Cary District 26 former Maplewood schoolCary School District 26 approved a purchase agreement this week for the long vacant Maplewood school property.

Thu, 20 Jul 2017 05:37:00 GMT

CARY – A Barrington-based developer is planning a residential complex at the former Maplewood school in Cary.

Central One, LLC has submitted a $2.5 million bid to buy the long-vacant Maplewood school, 422 W. Krenz Ave., Cary. The Cary School District 26 Board approved the purchase agreement this week. The developer now will inspect the property to determine its acceptability, according to the school district.

District 26 shuttered the school in 2010 because of declining enrollment and property maintenance costs. Built in 1929, the 42,000-square-foot facility was one of the district’s oldest. It sits on 15.6 acres, and has a transportation maintenance garage and bus parking lot on-site. The district pays about $65,000 in property maintenance annually, district officials have said.

This is the third time the district has put the property out to bid. Developers previously have considered the property for residential uses, and at one point the village of Cary considered buying the site.

District officials said the sale ultimately would add revenue to the community and the school.

“As owner of the property, the district’s goals have always been to sell the property for its highest and best use, and return the property to the tax rolls so it can generate new revenue for the district and the Cary community,” Superintendent Brian Coleman said. “The sale will also eliminate the ongoing expenses of maintaining property that is no longer fully utilized by District 26. Selling and developing the property will provide immediate and future revenue that will directly benefit the district and its educational programming for students.”

Cary School District 26 approved a purchase agreement this week for the long vacant Maplewood school property.


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Records: Carpentersville man who drowned in Fox River stopped taking medsFirefighters using ropes and pulleys to secure a raft in the Fox River below the Algonquin dam as they search for an individual who jumped in the Fox River Thursday night. The man ran from police and jumped in the river after not paying his tab at Nero’s Pizza and Pub, 300 Eastgate Drive. (H. Rick Bamman - hbamman@shawmedia.com)Rescue workers search the Fox River south of the Algonquin dam Friday, June 2, 2017 for an individual who jumped in the Fox River Thursday night. The man ran from police and jumped in the river after not paying his tab at Nero’s Pizza and Pub. (H. Rick Bamman - hbamman@shawmedia.com)A firefighter carries equipment across the Algonquin lock on the Fox River during the search for an individual who jumped in the Fox River Thursday night. (H. Rick Bamman - hbamman@shawmedia.com)A searcher walks in the shallow water near the shore of the Fox RIver below the Algonquin dam on Friday, June 2, 2017. Fire department crews and Algonquin police resumed the search for an individual who jumped in the Fox River Thursday night. The man ran from police and jumped in the river after not paying his tab at Nero’s Pizza and Pub, 300 Eastgate Drive, an employee at the restaurant, Tracy Fishleigh, said. Lt. Mike Gruenes (left) and Capt. Steve Ciaccio return to the staging area, Tim Monahan (red) and Craig Allen work from an inflatable raft. (H. Rick Bamman - hbamman@shawmedia.com)People along the shore of the Fox River watch as Algonquin-Lake in the Hills Fire Protection District and Algonquin police search for an individual who jumped in the Fox River Thursday night. The man ran from police and jumped in the river after not paying his tab at Nero’s Pizza and Pub, 300 Eastgate Drive. (H. Rick Bamman - hbamman@shawmedia.com)A firefighter holds a safety line tight along the shore of the Fox River in Algonquin as officials search for an individual who jumped in the Fox River Thursday night. The man ran from police and jumped in the river after not paying his tab at Nero’s Pizza and Pub, 300 Eastgate Drive. (H. Rick Bamman - hbamman@shawmedia.com)Firefighters stand in the Fox River below the Algonquin dam Friday, June 2, 2017 holding a safety line attached to a boat as firefighters search for an individual who jumped in the Fox River Thursday night. The man ran from police and jumped in the river after not paying his tab at Nero’s Pizza and Pub, 300 Eastgate Drive, an employee at the restaurant, Tracy Fishleigh, said. Lt. Mike Gruenes (left) and Capt. Steve Ciaccio return to the staging area, Tim Monahan (red) and Craig Allen work from an inflatable raft. (H. Rick Bamman - hbamman@shawmedia.com)Algonquin-Lake in the Hills Fire Protection District dive team members Tim Monahan (front) and Craig Allen work Friday, June 2, 2017 from an inflatable raft in the Fox River below the Algonquin dam as they search for an individual who jumped in the Fox River Thursday night. The man ran from police and jumped in the river after not paying his tab at Nero’s Pizza and Pub, 300 Eastgate Drive, an employee at the restaurant, Tracy Fishleigh, said. (H. Rick Bamman - hbamman@shawmedia.com)

Thu, 20 Jul 2017 05:35:00 GMT

ALGONQUIN – A man and two teen boys chased a Carpentersville man to the edge of the Fox River after he skipped out on a $68 bar tab June 1. Ernest Prentic, 29, jumped into the Fox River and drowned after the confrontation, according to police reports and video surveillance obtained by the Northwest Herald. The reports detail the last moments of Prentic’s life, and provide a glimpse into how his death affected his family, girlfriend and employees at the restaurant. Several employees from Nero’s Pizza and Pub said Prentic had been a regular at the establishment during the four months leading up to his death. One said he was “never a problem” at the business. The Northwest Herald filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the Algonquin Police Department for documents, surveillance footage and witness interviews. City officials redacted from the reports the names of witnesses and other people interviewed by police during the investigation into the death. Prentic recently had stopped taking his medication, and he ordered a dozen drinks at Nero’s in less than two hours, police reports show. Prentic’s girlfriend told police he had started drinking before he went to Nero’s, according to the documents. When she reached their Carpentersville home on June 1, she told him to “sleep it off,” but he left the home. She said that was the last time she heard from him. The woman suggested that Prentic most likely hitched a ride to Nero’s. She also told police that Prentic recently had stopped taking all medication he was prescribed, and that he had bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Surveillance footage provided to police by Nero’s shows that Prentic was dropped off by a pickup truck at 7:15 p.m. He had a can in his hand at the time. A customer at Nero’s told police that Prentic came up to him and said he had just been promoted at work. Prentic then showed the customer “a large amount of cash.” The customer also said that Prentic bought several rounds of shots for other people at Nero’s. He owed the bar $68 for two Jägermeister shots, five shots of Jameson Irish Whiskey and five “Jäger bombs,” which are made up of Red Bull and Jägermeister, according to his receipt. Several employees told police that Prentic also ordered two “mini pitchers” of beer for himself, but only drank one. They also said Prentic shared the shots with other customers. They estimated that Prentic had about four shots himself, but didn’t know exactly how much he had to drink. An employee told [...]


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Police reports, surveillance footage shed light on the night a Carpentersville man died after jumping into the Fox RiverSeveral employees from Nero's Pizza and Pub said Prentic had been a regular at the establishment during the four months leading up to his death. One said he was "never a problem" at the business. The Northwest Herald filed a Freedom of Information request with the Algonquin Police Department for documents, surveillance footage and witness interviews. City officials redacted from the reports the names of witnesses and other people interviewed by police during the investigation into the death.Prentic recently had stopped taking his medication, and he ordered a dozen drinks at Nero's in less than two hours, police reports show. Prentic's girlfriend told police he had started drinking before he went to Nero's, according to the documents. When she reached their Carpentersville home on June 1, she told him to "sleep it off," but he left the home. She said that was the last time she heard from him. The woman suggested Prentic most likely hitched a ride to Nero's. She also told police that Prentic recently had stopped taking all medication he was prescribed, and that he had bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Surveillance footage provided to police by Nero's shows that Prentic was dropped off by a pickup truck at 7:15 p.m. He had a can in his hand at the time. A customer at Nero's told police that Prentic came up to him and said he had just been promoted at work. Prentic then showed the customer "a large amount of cash." The customer also said that Prentic bought several rounds of shots for other people at Nero's.He owed $68 for two Jagermeister shots, five shots of Jameson Irish Whiskey and five "Jager bombs," which are made up of Red Bull and Jagermeister, according to his receipt. Several employees told police that Prentic also ordered two "mini pitchers" of beer for himself, but only drank one. They also said Prentic shared the shots with other customers. They estimated Prentic had about four shots himself, but didn't know exactly how much he had to drink. An employee told police that Prentic seemed "intoxicated but not drunk" earlier in the night, then said that later he sat down and "it all hit him." Another employee told police that he appeared to be "nodding off" at the bar. At 9:09 p.m., witnesses told police Prentic stood up with a beer in his hand and tried to walk out the entrance. Several customers took the beer from him, and he left the building headed west. Prentic walked out of the building at 9:11 p.m. and can be seen on surveillance footage seeming to zigzag while walking. Some of the customers, who were at Nero's with a group of friends and relatives, attempted to stop Prentic near the building, according to the reports. "When he [patron] was running behind the subject on the sidewalk he [Prentic] seemed extremely intoxicated and he was afraid he was going to fall into the roadway,” a witness statement said.Prentic reportedly lightly pushed one of the teens following him and called the teen a racial slur before jumping into the river behind 26 N. River Road. "The teens confronted him, told him to pay his tab," Algonquin Deputy Police Chief Ryan Markham said. "He refused and jumped in the river." In general, it is unsafe to attempt a citizen's arrest, Markham said. "In this case it was dangerous because it led to the suspect jumping in the river, but it can also be dangerous to the people following," Markham said. "They never know who they're dealing with. For safety’s sake, it’s always better to be a good witness instead of getting involved." Another patron who had failed to pay a tab was chased down by a Nero's employee a week before the incident involving Prentic, according to police reports.The Algonquin Police Department was called for a report of a man in the river at 9:19 p.m. Witnesses told police they thought he was trying to swim to Port Edward restaurant across the river. Four fishermen said they saw a man go over the dam, pop up three times and then disappear. Emergency crews searched for Prentic late into that night and continued the next day. The Algonquin Police Department and several McHenry, Kane and Lake county fire departments, assisted by a water rescue team from the Algonquin-Lake in the Hills Fire Protection District, combed through the water at the base of the dam. A crew using side-scan sonar also could be seen the afternoon of June 2 going back and forth across the dam. While fire rescue crews were searching the river, Algonquin police were trying to identify the man, Markham said. Prentic's body was recovered by two kayakers June 2 near the Fox River Shores Forest Preserve in Carpentersville. It was sent to the Kane County Coroner's Office. A preliminary autopsy found Prentic died of drowning. The Northwest Herald also filed a Freedom of Information Act request for Prentic's toxicology results, but the request was denied on the grounds that Prentic's file was still open. “Let’s put it this way, it’s clear he had been consuming alcohol,” Markham said of the toxicology results.Previously, the Algonquin Police Department posted what it believed was a photo of the man who had jumped in the river on Facebook asking for the public's help in identifying him. A woman who said she was Prentic's girlfriend identified him. A man who said he was Prentic's brother did as well, according to police reports. Markham said he could not speak to what specifically led Prentic to jump into the river. "Pretty much it appears he went into the river in an attempt to swim across it," Markham said. "There are no signs of foul play involved. It looked like a poor decision." Markham added it's likely residents familiar with the area know about the danger the dam poses, but the river itself does not look hazardous. "If you go over the dam, there’s a good chance you'll go under there," Markham said.The Northwest Herald could not reach Prentic's relatives for comment. The owner of Nero's Pizza and Pub did not respond to the Northwest Herald regarding employees' responses to the incident and whether it affected business. According to police reports, one employee quit after Prentic's death.Prentic's friends and family told police they went to the spot where he had jumped into the river and had asked people at Nero's what happened to try to find out what happened that night, according to reports. They questioned how he could have died in shallow water. Police explained that the water was deeper than it appeared and the current can be very strong. The reports documented the grief of Prentic's girlfriend and family members, including his brother.Algonquin Police still are investigating what happened in the hours before Prentic drowned. Markham said investigators want to "make sure all loose ends are tied up." As of Wednesday, no one had been cited or charged in connection with Prentic's death, he said. Markham said all the evidence gathered so far points to the death being accidental. He declined to comment on whether any enforcement action was expected in the case, citing departmental policy on pending cases.

Thu, 20 Jul 2017 05:32:00 GMT

ALGONQUIN — A man and two teen boys chased a Carpentersville man to the edge of the Fox River after he skipped out on a $68 bar tab June 1. Ernest Prentic, 29, jumped into the Fox River and drowned after the confrontation, according to police reports and video surveillance obtained by the Northwest Herald. The reports detail the last moments of Prentic's life, and provide a glimpse into how his death affected his family, girlfriend and employees at the restaurant. Several employees from Nero's Pizza and Pub said Prentic had been a regular at the establishment during the four months leading up to his death. One said he was "never a problem" at the business. The Northwest Herald filed a Freedom of Information request with the Algonquin Police Department for documents, surveillance footage and witness interviews. City officials redacted from the reports the names of witnesses and other people interviewed by police during the investigation into the death.Prentic recently had stopped taking his medication, and he ordered a dozen drinks at Nero's in less than two hours, police reports show. Prentic's girlfriend told police he had started drinking before he went to Nero's, according to the documents. When she reached their Carpentersville home on June 1, she told him to "sleep it off," but he left the home. She said that was the last time she heard from him. The woman suggested Prentic most likely hitched a ride to Nero's. She also told police that Prentic recently had stopped taking all medication he was prescribed, and that he had bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Surveillance footage provided to police by Nero's shows that Prentic was dropped off by a pickup truck at 7:15 p.m. He had a can in his hand at the time. A customer at Nero's told police that Prentic came up to him and said he had just been promoted at work. Prentic then showed the customer "a large amount of cash." The customer also said that Prentic bought several rounds of shots for other people at Nero's.He owed $68 for two Jagermeister shots, five shots of Jameson Irish Whiskey and five "Jager bombs," which are made up of Red Bull and Jagermeister, according to his receipt. Several employees told police that Prentic also ordered two "mini pitchers" of beer for himself, but only drank one. They also said Prentic shared the shots with other customers. They estimated Prentic had about four shots himself, but didn't know exactly how much he had to drink. An employee told police that Prentic seemed "intoxicated but not drunk" earlier in the night, then said that later he sat down and "it all hit him." Another employee told police that he appeared to be "nodding off" at the bar. At 9:09 p.m.[...]


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