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

Thu, 22 Feb 2018 05:39:00 GMT

The Richmond-Burton High School District 157 Board will not renew Pat Elder's contracts after he was charged in the summer in connection with an aggravated driving under the influence incident. The decision came Wednesday night after more than 50 people spoke out in favor of keeping Elder, and the board deliberated in closed session for two and a half hours. Elder served as the high school’s head football coach and athletic director since 2006, and he is facing a felony charge stemming from a summer DUI charge. The board said at its regular meeting Wednesday night that it will not renew Elder's contract for the 2018-19 school year. It also voted to post job openings for the head football coach and athletic director positions. The board voted, 4-3, to not renew his contract. Secretary Michelle Graham, members Tom Gough and Tracey Highley and President Tom Holtz voted not to renew the contract, and Vice President Dave Thomas and members Joe Kiem and Christine Alvarado voted in favor of keeping it. Many members of the crowd yelled in response, saying the board was "supposed to represent the community" and "the board will remember doing this." One person called the community to rally to raise funds for a lawyer to defend Elder for wrongful termination. District 157 Superintendent Thomas Lind said Elder no longer will hold his position at the school beginning July 1. Lind said he did not know how much Elder earns. Elder was charged July 15 with driving under the influence after Spring Grove police pulled him over on Route 173 as he drove east off Clark Road. Elder refused to take a breath test, and he was unable to complete field sobriety tests, according to police reports. Assistant coaches Tad DePorter and Brett Zick acted as co-head coaches for the 2017 football season. Elder continued his athletic director duties. Elder's wife, Casey Elder, received a standing ovation at Wednesday's meeting as she spoke in support of her husband. Casey Elder talked of Pat Elder's almost 12-year career and how while other schools struggled to build teams, Pat Elder had a cohesive environment that focused on not only athletic skills but mentoring supportive teammates.  "One of the continual evolving reasons Pat was given for not being recommended for rehire is that he was unwilling and uncooperative to work with the rest of the administrative team," Casey Elder said. "This may appear true when you are only given one side of the story, but Pat's willingness to contribute – to making RBCHS a better place – cannot be questioned. That is reflected in the 11-year history of successful programs under his direction." Casey Elder said she finds it odd that after 11 years without a bad performance evaluation and no mention of unwillingness to work with a team, Pat Elder has found himself at odds with the administration this year. "I would think that if past methods and opinions were at such odds, you would have heard about it before now," she said.  Elder's football teams were 85-38 in 11 seasons and made the Class 4A playoffs for 10 consecutive years. Many people in the audience said they saw Elder attending all athletic games at the school and were amazed by his time commitment. In 2008 and 2009, the Rockets made it to the playoff semifinals. In 2011, they lost to Rochester, 42-39, in the Class 4A state championship game. At the meeting, John Flood of Spring Grove read a letter from his son, John Flood Jr., who was captain of the football team during the 2011 championship game.  "I failed him that day, but he loved me the same," John Flood Jr. wrote. "I[...]


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

Thu, 22 Feb 2018 00:12:00 GMT

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

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

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

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

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

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

The building suffered significant water damage.

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

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

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

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


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

Wed, 21 Feb 2018 23:51:00 GMT

LAKE IN THE HILLS – A retired Lake in the Hills deputy police chief was taken away in handcuffs Wednesday so he could begin serving a 4½-year prison sentence for raping a teenage girl in 2015. The case of 61-year-old Alan Bokowski was one of the last to be called in McHenry County Judge Sharon Prather's courtroom Wednesday morning. The ex-cop pleaded guilty to the most serious charge against him in exchange for the dismissal of additional weapons and sex abuse charges. Prosecutors offered Bokowski a negotiated plea Friday, less than two weeks before he was scheduled for a jury trial on the charges Feb. 26. He will serve four years and six months in prison, which is more than the four-year minimum sentence for the offense. Under Truth in Sentencing guidelines, Bokowski is required to serve 85 percent of his sentence, and after completing at least three years of parole, he will be required to register as a sex offender. Neither McHenry County Assistant State's Attorney Sharyl Eisenstein nor Bokowski's attorney, Peggy Gerkin, would comment after the sentencing. Bokowski, of the 1300 block of Dolo Rosa Vista, Crystal Lake, was charged in 2016 with criminal sexual assault and aggravated criminal sexual abuse, according to an eight-count criminal complaint filed in McHenry County court. In a victim-impact statement Eisenstein read aloud in court Wednesday, the victim's father said Bokowski showed little remorse for harming the 16-year-old girl. "Al made it sounds like he should not be held accountable because he didn't want to go to jail," the father wrote. Bokowski had known members of the victim's family for more than 20 years, was invited to holiday dinners and had been considered extended family, the victim's stepmother wrote in a statement. The teenager and her stepmother had been helping Bokowski care for his ailing mother, and eventually, the teen girl began accompanying Bokowski to his mother's home by herself, according to the parents' written statements. "Since I'd known Al for a long time, I trusted him with her," the victim's stepmother wrote. Crystal Lake police began their investigation after meeting with concerned parents who reported that their juvenile daughter was sexually assaulted at Bokowski’s home, according to a news release from Crystal Lake police at the time. Police have obtained a recording of Bokowski admitting to having sexual contact with the girl, prosecutors said. He later was charged with possessing firearm ammunition, several shotguns and pistol and rifle rounds without a firearm owner’s identification card. He also was accused of inappropriately touching a woman in 2015, according to the same complaint. Those charges were dismissed as part of the negotiated plea. Before retiring in 2006, Bokowski worked for the Lake in the Hills Police Department for 26 years. A recent review of his personnel file did not reveal anything of concern, Lake in the Hills police communication coordinator Ashley Eccles said in an email Wednesday. So far, Bokowski has paid the victim's family $908 to cover costs for the girl's counseling. The county will keep $10,000 of his $2,500 bail to potentially cover ongoing mental health expenses for the family, attorneys said. Bokowski did not make a statement in court Wednesday. He is due in court Aug. 21 for a status update about his payments to the family. [...]Alan Bokowski


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Judge dismisses Trust Act lawsuit against McHenry County sheriff

Wed, 21 Feb 2018 23:43:00 GMT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Correction

Wed, 21 Feb 2018 23:31:00 GMT

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




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

Wed, 21 Feb 2018 22:28:00 GMT

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


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

Wed, 21 Feb 2018 20:49:00 GMT

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

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

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

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

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

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

His next court appearance is set for March 1.

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

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

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

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


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

Wed, 21 Feb 2018 20:00:00 GMT

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


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

Wed, 21 Feb 2018 19:38:00 GMT

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


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3 things to know about furnace installations

Wed, 21 Feb 2018 15:08:14 GMT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 


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

Wed, 21 Feb 2018 14:34:00 GMT

MONTREAT, N.C. – The Rev. Billy Graham, who transformed American religious life through his preaching and activism, becoming a counselor to presidents and the most widely heard Christian evangelist in history, died Wednesday. He was 99. Graham, who long suffered from cancer, pneumonia and other ailments, died at his home in North Carolina, spokesman Mark DeMoss told The Associated Press. More than anyone else, Graham built evangelicalism into a force that rivaled liberal Protestantism and Roman Catholicism in the United States. His leadership summits and crusades in more than 185 countries and territories forged powerful global links among conservative Christians, and threw a lifeline to believers in the communist-controlled Eastern bloc. Dubbed "America's pastor," he was a confidant to U.S. presidents from Gen. Dwight Eisenhower to George W. Bush. In 1983, President Reagan gave Graham the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America's highest civilian honor. When the Billy Graham Museum and Library was dedicated in 2007 in Charlotte, former Presidents George H.W. Bush, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton attended. "When he prays with you in the Oval Office or upstairs in the White House, you feel he's praying for you, not the president," Clinton said at the ceremony. Beyond Graham's public appearances, he reached untold millions through his pioneering use of prime-time telecasts, network radio, daily newspaper columns, evangelistic feature films and globe-girdling satellite TV hookups. Graham's message was not complex or unique, yet he preached with a conviction that won over audiences worldwide. "The Bible says," was his catch phrase. His unquestioning belief in Scripture turned the Gospel into a "rapier" in his hands, he said. A tall, striking man with thick hair, stark blue eyes and a firm jaw, Graham was a commanding presence at his crusades. He would make the altar call in his powerful baritone, asking the multitudes to stand, come down the aisles and publicly make "decisions for Christ," as a choir crooned the hymn "Just As I Am." By his final crusade in 2005 in New York City, he had preached in person to more than 210 million people worldwide. No evangelist is expected to have his level of influence again. "William Franklin Graham Jr. can safely be regarded as the best who ever lived at what he did," said William Martin, author of the Graham biography "A Prophet With Honor." Born Nov. 7, 1918, on his family's dairy farm near Charlotte, North Carolina, Graham came from a fundamentalist background that expected true Bible-believers to stay clear of Christians with even the most minor differences over Scripture. But as his crusades drew support from a widening array of Christian churches, he came to reject that view. He joined in a then-emerging movement called New Evangelicalism, that abandoned the narrowness of fundamentalism to engage broader society. Fundamentalists at the time excoriated the preacher for his new direction, and broke with him when he agreed to work with more liberal Christians in the 1950s. Graham stood fast. He would not reject people who were sincere and shared at least some of his beliefs, Martin said. He wanted the widest hearing possible for his salvation message. "The ecumenical movement has broadened my viewpoint and I recognize now that God has his people in all churches," he said in the early 1950s. In 1957, he said, "I intend to go anywhere, sponsored by a[...]


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

Wed, 21 Feb 2018 06:46:00 GMT

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

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

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

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

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




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

Wed, 21 Feb 2018 06:44:00 GMT

McHENRY – More than a year after police found an unresponsive man in the restroom of a McHenry gas station, the man charged with delivering the fatal dose of heroin maintains that jurors indicted him based on “erroneous, contradicting and completely false evidence.” On March 20, Glen Miculinic will make a court appearance for the first time since a judge denied his request to dismiss the charges alleging that he dealt the heroin that killed a man who police found unresponsive last year. Defense attorney Matthew Haiduk argued Feb. 14 that a grand jury indicted Miculinic, 66, on drug-induced homicide charges based off false testimony from police at the time. At 7:35 p.m. Jan. 11, 2017, the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office responded to a call from a gas station at 2022 W. Route 120, McHenry, where a person reportedly was in the business’ restroom for about an hour. Police forced their way into the bathroom and found 55-year-old Erik K. Fredricksen unresponsive. Attempts to resuscitate Fredricksen were unsuccessful, and he was pronounced dead at the scene. He was found with a heroin-loaded syringe, a needle cap, spoon and a shoestring, according to a motion filed Nov. 16 in McHenry County court. Officers later searched Miculinic’s home in the 1200 block of Clover Lane, McHenry, on the belief that he had dealt the heroin on which Fredricksen overdosed. At the home, investigators found a number of straws with “white, powdery residue,” later found to be cocaine, according to Haiduk’s motion. During testimony before a grand jury, which has the ability to officially indict a person on the charges filed against them, a McHenry County Sheriff’s detective told jurors that “we found some straws with heroin residue inside,” according to a partial transcript of the testimony. Haiduk argued that because the man died of a heroin overdose and police only found cocaine in Miculinic’s home, there wasn’t enough physical evidence to formally charge Miculinic with drug-induced homicide – a felony that, if convicted, could land him as many as 30 years in prison. Haiduk went on to say that jurors likely believed the heroin, which wasn’t heroin at all, found in Miculinic’s home was linked to the heroin that killed Fredricksen. “[The detective’s] testimony led jurors to believe that heroin was found in [Miculinic’s] home, when clearly that was not the case, leading them to believe that [Miculinic] had delivered heroin to the deceased,” Haiduk wrote in the Nov. 16 motion. Attorneys agreed that the detective misspoke, but jurors had more convincing evidence to base their decision on, McHenry County Assistant State’s Attorney Michael Combs said in a Dec. 8 response. “The people presented evidence that Erik Fredricksen died as a result of a heroin overdose. [The detective] testified that he looked through [Fredricksen’s] cellphone and saw multiple calls from an individual named ‘Glen,’ ” Combs wrote in his response. “Further evidence presented to the grand jury was that a third party identified [Fredricksen’s] drug dealer as ‘Glen.’ ” “Glen,” described by a man who told police he’d driven Fredricksen to “his guy’s” house, also was described as being in his 60s and living in a house similar to Miculinic’s, attorneys said in court Feb. 14. “How many old guys named Glen are there in McHenry?” Haiduk said during the Feb. 14 hearing, suggesting that the “Glen[...]Glen Miculinic


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Crystal Lake man accidentally shoots himself in hand, police say

Wed, 21 Feb 2018 06:44:00 GMT

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

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

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

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

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


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

Wed, 21 Feb 2018 06:44:00 GMT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Deadline approaching to enter Miss Cary-Grove Business Scholarship Pageant

Wed, 21 Feb 2018 06:44:00 GMT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




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

Wed, 21 Feb 2018 06:42:00 GMT

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Wed, 21 Feb 2018 06:42:00 GMT

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

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


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

Wed, 21 Feb 2018 06:41:00 GMT

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


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Crystal Lake-based School District 155 Board votes to close Haber Oaks CampusThe Community High School District 155 Board voted Tuesday night to close Haber Oaks Campus in Cary at the end of the school year. The district expects to save about $70,000 annually by not operating in the Haber Oaks building, assistant superintendent of finance and operations Jeremy Davis said, but it also will spend about $700,000 to renovate the first floor of Crystal Lake South High School so students who attend Haber Oaks can hold classes there.Community High School District 155 assistant superintendent of finance and operations Jeremy Davis speaks during a board meeting Feb. 12. Members voted unanimously to close Haber Oaks Campus on Tuesday.Community High School District 155 Board President Adam Guss listens to a presentation Feb. 12 during an Operations Committee meeting.

Wed, 21 Feb 2018 06:40:00 GMT

CRYSTAL LAKE – Alice McCoy’s granddaughter was 10 when her 21-year-old brother died from injuries suffered in a car crash. Ever since, McCoy said, her granddaughter has battled anxiety, depression and panic attacks. On a few occasions, she stopped going to school, but she ultimately returned. Now McCoy thinks her granddaughter – a sophomore at Community High School District 155’s alternative Haber Oaks Campus – might stop going to school altogether, just as she’s gotten on the right track academically. “The first year at Haber Oaks was difficult, but this year she has thrived,” McCoy said of her granddaughter, who is earning A’s and B’s. The district board voted Tuesday night to close Haber Oaks Campus in Cary at the end of the school year. The district expects to save about $70,000 annually by not operating in the Haber Oaks building, assistant superintendent of finance and operations Jeremy Davis said, but it also will spend about $700,000 to renovate Crystal Lake South High School in a corresponding move. Beginning in August, the 90 to 100 students slated to attend Haber Oaks Campus instead will report to the first floor of South, where the district plans to operate “a school within a school” for them. Haber Oaks is home to District 155’s therapeutic day program, which provides a self-contained educational setting for special education students with significant emotional and/or behavioral challenges, according to the district. The campus also has a credit recovery program for students who have not progressed toward a high school diploma in the traditional comprehensive high school setting. The decision to move Haber Oaks’ operations into the first floor of South is based on a $56,750 feasibility study that the district commissioned, which showed that South has the most available space of the district’s four high schools – Cary-Grove, Prairie Ridge, Crystal Lake South and Crystal Lake Central – as the district continues to see declining enrollment in each. Enrollment has steadily dropped over the past five years, from 6,745 during the 2013-14 school year to 6,137 this year. But parents of Haber Oaks students said the district isn’t paying attention to the kids’ needs, both at Haber Oaks and South. Dave Komosa’s son began to struggle in eighth grade and ultimately ended up at Haber Oaks after spending some time at South. He’s set to graduate this year. “Unless you have a son or daughter,” Komosa said to the board, his voice cracking, “and you go to bed every night crying trying to figure out how to get through [the issues], you really don’t understand what it takes. The pressure it puts on a relationship – divorces and stuff that come out of it – it’s really tough. Just know that my son would probably drop out if he had to go back to South again.” Julie Haislip, a teacher at South Elementary School, has two students at South high school. She urged the board to keep Haber Oaks separate. “By and large, the populations of both schools were against the move,” Haislip said. The board also voted Tuesday night to spend about $700,000 on renovations to the first floor of South to accommodate Haber Oaks’ move. Da[...]


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Supporters gather to watch Carpentersville Olympic figure skater competeTwo girls wearing shirts and bows in honor of Carpentersville native Bradie Tennell watch her compete in the Olympic Games on Tuesday at Twin Rinks Ice Pavilion in Buffalo Grove.A crowd cheers for Bradie Tennell, a Carpentersville native figure skater, during her performance in the Olympic Games on Tuesday.

Wed, 21 Feb 2018 06:40:00 GMT

BUFFALO GROVE – Some of Bradie Tennell’s biggest fans showed up to Twin Rinks Ice Pavilion on Tuesday in support of the Carpentersville native who is competing in the 2018 Olympic Games. Tennell, 20, is representing the United States as one of three female figure skaters competing individually. She left for Pyeongchang, South Korea, on Feb. 5 and took fifth in the women’s short program during the team competition. The win left the U.S. in third place overall. Tennell began skating at age 2 and started training at Twin Rinks about a decade ago. The 65,000-square-foot facility houses two NHL-size rinks, ice skate and hockey rentals, a training room, pro shop, concession stand and lobby and office areas, according to information from the pavilion. The pavilion hosted a viewing party Tuesday for Tennell’s performance in the women’s short program. The rink will host another viewing party for the long program Thursday, which Tennell qualified for with her 11th-place finish Tuesday. “For years, Bradie has spent all day at the rink conditioning, training, skating, studying and having fun with her skating friends,” said Laura Kaplan, figure skating director at the pavilion. “She has an amazing support group at the rink that includes skaters of all ages and levels, along with coaches and staff that see her daily. … She is truly a part of the Twin Rinks family.” Tennell drew the opening spot for Tuesday’s skate – not an advantageous position in a field of 30. She has been consistent throughout her breakout season, but she fell on the second part of her triple lutz-triple toe loop combination Tuesday. Tennell earned 64.01 points. A score of 81.06 is the Olympic record, which was set last week by Russian Evgenia Medvedeva in the team competition. Supporters at home said regardless of the end result, they are proud of Tennell. “Regardless of what she does, we are thrilled,” Kaplan said. “I am sure she is disappointed that she didn’t land the combination jump … but it’s so amazing. ... She already has a bronze medal for the team event. How awesome is that?” Friends and fellow skaters at the viewing party said it was amazing to watch Tennell achieve her dreams. Emily Soto, 21, said it seems like everything has taken off quickly. “It’s unbelievable,” she said. “It’s mind-blowing. It’s a whirlwind. It’s everything.” Soto has skated with Tennell for the past three to four years since she came to Twin Rinks, but she has known her from the skating circuit for about seven years. They competed against each other when Soto was 13, she said. “It has been her dream, and it’s something she was working so hard on,” Soto said. “I see her here every day. She goes out there and does what she needs to do. For her to finally get everything she has been working for is unbelievable.” Julia Urban, Zoe Parrilli and Elizabeth Swanson also skate with Tennell. The teens have been at the rink for several years. “We train with her, and [to see her perform in the Olympics] is really inspiring and motivating,” Urban said. [...]


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Breaking: Carpenterville's Bradie Tennell finishes 11th in short program despite early fallBradie Tennell, of Carpentersville, falls while performing during the women's short program figure skating in the Gangneung Ice Arena at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Gangneung, South Korea, Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018.Bradie Tennell, of Carpentersville, performs in the women's short program figure skating in the Gangneung Ice Arena at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Gangneung, South Korea, Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Wed, 21 Feb 2018 06:20:00 GMT

GANGNEUNG, South Korea – An early fall in Bradie Tennell’s Olympic short program did not deter the Carpentersville native from finishing strong in her individual event debut Tuesday evening.

Tennell, 20, rallied by completing triple and double jumps during the 2-minute, 50-second program after dropping to the ice during a triple lutz only seconds after the program started. Her effort earned her an 11th-place finish with a score of 64.01.

“My timing was off, and I wasn’t able to keep the snap I needed,” Tennell said after Tuesday’s event.

Tuesday’s result qualified Tennell from the 30-woman field as one of 24 skaters to compete in the women’s long program, which will air on NBC at 7 p.m. Thursday.

Her score Tuesday will be combined with Thursday’s score for a final tally. Alina Zagitova and Evgenia Medvedeva of Russia, competing under a neutral flag, took first and second in Tuesday’s short program. Kaetlyn Osmond of Canada was third.

Tennell’s U.S. teammates, Mirai Nagasu and Karen Chen, finished ninth and 10th.

Tennell posted a season-best score of 68.94 points in her 2-minute, 50-second routine, good for fifth place out of 10 skaters in the women’s team short program Feb. 10. Her score left the U.S. in third-place overall, and the team went on to win bronze. 

Tuesday’s fall was the first for Tennell in her 2018 performances, she said. She added that she couldn’t remember the last time she fell. 

Asked if she believed she could still medal with a strong performance Thursday, Tennell left no doubt.

“I’m still within striking range, and I think anything is possible,” she said. “It’s on me now to go out there and perform.”

Bradie Tennell, of Carpentersville, falls while performing during the women's short program figure skating in the Gangneung Ice Arena at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Gangneung, South Korea, Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018.Bradie Tennell, of Carpentersville, performs in the women's short program figure skating in the Gangneung Ice Arena at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Gangneung, South Korea, Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)


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Carpentersville’s Bradie Tennell flying high but keeping cool in Olympic debutBradie Tennell, of Carpentersville, performs in the ladies single figure skating short program in the Gangneung Ice Arena at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Gangneung, South Korea, Sunday, Feb. 11, 2018.

Wed, 21 Feb 2018 06:15:00 GMT

GANGNEUNG, South Korea – Bradie Tennell swore her injuries would never hold her back. After a promising start to a figure skating career than began at Buffalo Grove’s Twin Rinks Ice Pavilion as an elementary-school aged child, the Winter Olympics were always her goal. But such a dream was never a realistic expectation for anyone but herself, she said. Back injuries in 2016 and 2017 that forced Tennell to miss competitions, fall to outside the Top 100 in the world international rankings and essentially disappear from the figure skating community’s radar did nothing to deter that, the 20-year-old Carpentersville native said. And now, Tennell, is preparing to perform her two programs on the world’s largest skating stage. “It’s a lot of hard work and determination coming together at this point," Tennell said ahead of Tuesday evening's short program, which will air in primetime on NBC beginning at 7 p.m. “You just got to go out there and do it.” The gritty Carpentersville native’s Olympic career began as flawlessly as her last four months of skating have been since she felt “fully recovered” from a series of back spasms that limited her mobility for part of 2017. On Feb. 10, just hours after being a surprise selection to skate in the women’s short program portion of the team event, Tennell delivered a season-best score of 68.94 points in her short program. Landing a triple axel and triple jump to “Taeguki” by Korean composer Dong Jun-Lee, her score helped propel the U.S. team to a bronze medal. She’d love nothing more to repeat that performance in Tuesday’s individual event, she said, in hopes of making it two-for-two on the podium. She’ll repeat her short program Tuesday, and follow with her long program in the women’s individual event, which will air in primetime Thursday on NBC. Her performance of both routines earned her a first-place finish in January’s U.S. Nationals. “I’ve been through these thousands of times,” Tennell said. “When the music starts, I just go on autopilot.” Blue collar skater Tennell’s rapid rise to the U.S. Olympic team and early Olympic success is unconventional when compared to the roads and performances of other prominent U.S. figure skaters in recent Winter Games. But doing things out of the ordinary isn’t anything new to Tennell. Before she skates, Tennell blasts songs from a 900 song playlist of 80s music, including ACDC's “Jailbreak” and Boston's “More Than A Feeling. Tennell laughs when talking about her music, because it wouldn’t be included among “expectations” for a blonde-haired, blue-eyed millennial, she said. “It’s just my way of getting pumped up,” she said. “I’ve always just loved 80s rock. It’s weird.” And while some other U.S. figure skaters come from pedigrees of Olympian and renowned skating teams, Tennell has no such family connection to notoriety, or the family wealth to easily pay for the costs associated with gear, training, traveling, lessons and competition. Her mother, Jean, works as many as three jobs at a time to make ends meet for Tennell and her two brothers, A[...]


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Attorney admits he lied to Robert Mueller's federal agents about Russia investigationAlex van der Zwaan, second from left, arrives at Federal District Court in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018. Van der Zwaan has been accused of lying to investigators about his interactions with Rick Gates, who was indicted last year along with Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump's campaign chairman, on charges of conspiracy to launder money and acting as an unregistered foreign agent. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Wed, 21 Feb 2018 06:15:00 GMT

WASHINGTON – A 33-year-old attorney fired last year by a prominent international law firm became the fourth person to plead guilty in special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, admitting Tuesday that he lied to federal investigators about his contacts with a Trump campaign official. Alex van der Zwaan, who worked at the law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, admitted in Washington’s federal court Tuesday to making false statements about his interactions with former Trump campaign aide Rick Gates. His plea deal may allow him to avoid prison. Van der Zwaan’s plea comes on the heels of an extraordinary indictment from Mueller last week that charged 13 Russian individuals and three Russian companies in a hidden but robust social media effort that provoked on-the-ground rallies and sought to meddle in the 2016 U.S. presidential election by denigrating Democrat Hillary Clinton and boosting the successful campaign of Republican Donald Trump. But the charge against the attorney, who also is the son-in-law of a Russian billionaire, does not involve election meddling or relate to the Trump campaign’s operations. Instead, it stems from the special counsel’s investigation into Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign chairman, and Gates, who is a longtime business associate of Manafort. Gates and Manafort were indicted last year on charges that they conspired to launder millions of dollars and directed a covert Washington lobbying campaign on behalf of pro-Russian Ukrainian interests. Both men have pleaded not guilty. On Tuesday, van der Zwaan, a Dutch citizen who authorities said lives in London, admitted to lying to federal investigators while they questioned him about the production of a report that Manafort and Gates are accused of secretly funding by funneling $4 million through an offshore account. The report, authored by Skadden Arps, focused on the trial of former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, a political foe of former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, whose political party was a client of Gates and Manafort. The false statements van der Zwaan admitted to making involved the timing of his last communication with Gates and a person, described as “Person A,” who was a longtime business associate of Manafort and Gates in Ukraine. According to court papers attached to his plea agreement, the conversations, including some using encrypted applications, occurred in September 2016 and involved possible criminal charges being brought in Ukraine against a former Ukrainian official, Manafort and “Law Firm A,” an apparent reference to Skadden Arps. The Nov. 3 questioning of van der Zwaan occurred just days after Manafort’s indictment and, according to court papers, while prosecutors still were investigating potential violations of the Foreign Agents Registration Act. The charge against van der Zwaan carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison, though sentencing guideline ranges discussed in court placed the more likely punishment from zero to six months. In addition to the false statements, court papers reveal that in late July or early August 2012, van der Zwaan[...]


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Lawmaker rips Gov. Bruce Rauner on Legionnaires' response at Illinois veterans homeIllinois Sen. William Haine speaks at a committee hearing Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018, at the state Capital in Springfield, Ill. Haine criticized Gov. Bruce Rauner Tuesday over the Legionnaires' disease crisis at the Quincy veterans home, saying the Republican’s administration has been sitting on viable options for more than a year and officials "need to make a decision and get it done." (AP Photo by John O'Connor)

Wed, 21 Feb 2018 06:15:00 GMT

SPRINGFIELD – A Democratic state senator ripped Gov. Bruce Rauner on Tuesday over the Legionnaires’ disease crisis at the Quincy veterans home, saying the Republican’s administration has been sitting on viable options for more than a year and officials “need to make a decision and get it done.” Sen. William Haine was incensed Rauner Cabinet members did not attend a committee hearing to answer questions about an August 2016 report obtained by The Associated Press last week. It showed replacing antiquated plumbing would cost $8 million, far less than what Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs Director Erica Jeffries repeatedly has told lawmakers was the cost listed in the report. Legionnaires’, caused by bacteria in water vapor that’s inhaled, has contributed to the deaths of 13 residents at the Quincy home since 2015, and sickened dozens more. The Illinois Department of Public Health announced Tuesday that another case has been diagnosed, the fourth in a week. One of the new cases includes a veteran who was Rauner’s guest at his Jan. 31 State of the State address. “They have the facts, they need to make a decision and get it done,” said Haine, a veteran who was awarded the Bronze Star for combat heroism in Vietnam. “People are suffering with this state of affairs and we’re spinning around with alternatives that should have been decided years ago.” Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Tom Cullerton called the hearing in response to the AP’s report last Friday. The Villa Park Democrat said it wasn’t until after the AP obtained the report through the Illinois Freedom of Information Act that senators were given copies. Cullerton said the Veterans’ Affairs Department, the Illinois Department of Public Health, and the Capital Development Board – which ordered the 2016 survey by Belleville-based engineers BRiC Partnership – told him they could not attend the hearing. CDB spokeswoman Leslie Strain said BRiC should provide input but short notice made it impossible. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has noted in reports since the crisis began in 2015 that decades-old, galvanized steel pipes that have corroded and filled with sediment likely are Legionella bacteria breeding grounds. When WBEZ Chicago reported in December that the malady had returned in 2016 and 2017, contributing to another death last fall, Jeffries said that new plumbing could cost more than $500 million. When questioned in January, Jeffries said that number was a wild speculation and that an engineering report estimated a cost of $25 million to $30 million. Her spokesman did not respond last week when the AP questioned why she used those numbers when the BRiC report estimated $8 million for plumbing replacement and nearly a dozen more options – from drilling a well for a new source of water to additional high-tech filtration – for a total of $17 million. “Why didn’t we get that information from the get-go if they’ve been sitting on it?” asked Sen. Cristina Castro, an Elgin Democrat, holding up the BRiC report. “I don’t even know if they’ve read this.” Sen. Paul Schimpf, a Waterloo Republican, defended[...]


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Florida survivors, lawmakers on collision course over gunsWest Boca Raton Community High School students cheer after reaching Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018. Hundreds of students from the high school walked out Tuesday and made their way to the site of a school shooting about 10 miles (16 kilometers) away in a show of solidarity for bringing an end to gun violence. (Amy Beth Bennett/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP)

Wed, 21 Feb 2018 06:14:00 GMT

PARKLAND, Fla. – Students who survived the Florida school shooting began a journey Tuesday to the state Capitol to urge lawmakers to prevent another massacre, but within hours the gun-friendly Legislature had effectively halted any possibility of banning assault-style rifles like the one used in the attack. The legislative action further energized the teens as they prepared to confront legislators who have quashed gun-control efforts for decades in a state where 1.3 million people have concealed-carry permits. “They’re voting to have shootings continually happen. These people who voted down the bill haven’t experienced what we did. I want to say to them, ‘It could be you,’” 16-year-old Noah Kaufman said as he made the 400-mile trip to Tallahassee. Three buses carried 100 students who, in the aftermath of the attack that killed 17 people, want to revive the gun-control movement. The teens carried sleeping bags and pillows and hugged their parents as they departed, many wearing burgundy T-shirts in their school colors. They spent the seven-hour ride checking their phones, watching videos and reading comments on social media about the shooting, some of which accused them of being liberal pawns. As the grieving Florida students demanded action on guns, President Donald Trump on Tuesday directed the Justice Department to move to ban devices like the rapid-fire bump stocks used in last year’s Las Vegas massacre. It was a small sign of movement on the gun violence issue that has long tied Washington in knots. “We must do more to protect our children,” said Trump, a strong and vocal supporter of gun rights. He added that his administration was working hard to respond to the Florida rampage. Meanwhile at the Florida Statehouse, a Democratic representative asked for a procedural move that would have allowed the Republican-controlled House to consider a ban on large-capacity magazines and assault-style rifles such as the AR-15 that was wielded by the suspect, Nikolas Cruz. The bill had been assigned to three committees but was not scheduled for a hearing. The House quickly nixed the Democratic motion. The vote broke down along party lines, and Republicans criticized Democrats for forcing the vote. Because the committees will not meet again before the legislative session ends March 9, the move essentially extinguishes hope that lawmakers would vote on any sweeping measures to restrict assault rifles, although other proposals could still be considered. “No one in the world with the slightest little hint of a soul isn’t moved by this tragedy,” Republican strategist Rick Wilson said. “The discussion has to be a longer, bigger and broader discussion.” Lizzie Eaton, a junior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, spent the day lobbying senators of both parties and concluded that lawmakers were “just not listening to us.” The vote was “heartbreaking,” she said. “But we’re not going to stop.” The students planned to hold a rally Wednesday to put more pressure on the Legislature. [...]


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President Donald Trump urges ban on gun devices like bump stocksPresident Donald Trump speaks during the Public Safety Medal of Valor awards ceremony in the East Room of the White House, Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Wed, 21 Feb 2018 06:14:00 GMT

WASHINGTON – As a grieving Florida community demanded action on guns, President Donald Trump on Tuesday directed the Justice Department to move to ban devices like the rapid-fire bump stocks used in last year's Las Vegas massacre. It was a small sign of movement on the gun violence issue that has long tied Washington in knots. "We must do more to protect our children," Trump said, adding that his administration was working hard to respond to the shooting in Parkland that left 17 dead. After past mass killings yielded little action on tighter gun controls, the White House is trying to demonstrate that it is taking the issue seriously. The president, a strong and vocal supporter of gun rights, has not endorsed more robust changes sought by gun control activists. But the White House cast the president in recent days as having been swayed by the school shooting in Florida and willing to listen to proposals. In a tweet Tuesday night, Trump indicated he wants to strengthen the background check system, but offered no specifics. Trump said: "Whether we are Republican or Democrat, we must now focus on strengthening Background Checks!" Asked at a press briefing Tuesday if Trump was open to reinstating a ban on assault-type weapons, spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said White House officials "haven't closed the door on any front." She also said that the idea of raising the age limit to buy an AR-15 was "on the table for us to discuss." Sen. Chris Murphy, a Connecticut Democrat and leading advocate for tighter gun controls, said Trump's directive suggested the president was aware of fresh energy on the issue and called it a sign that "for the first time" politicians are "scared of the political consequences of inaction on guns." A bipartisan legislative effort to ban bump stocks last year fizzled out. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives announced in December that it was reviewing whether weapons using bump stocks should be considered illegal machine guns under federal law. Under the Obama administration, the ATF had concluded that bump stocks did not violate federal law. But the acting director of the ATF told lawmakers in December that the ATF and Justice Department would not have initiated the review if a ban "wasn't a possibility at the end." The Justice Department had not made any announcement regarding its review when Trump on Tuesday signed a memorandum directing the agency to complete the review as soon as possible and propose a rule "banning all devices that turn legal weapons into machine guns." Reacting to Trump's memo, the department said in a statement that it "understands this is a priority for the president and has acted quickly to move through the rulemaking process. We look forward to the results of that process as soon as it is duly completed." A day earlier, Trump sent another signal he had been swayed by the Parkland shooting and the dramatic calls for action in its aftermath. A White House statement said Trump was looking at a bill that would strengthen federal gun background checks. On Wednesday, he w[...]


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Government bombing of Damascus suburbs in Syria kills more than 100This photo released on Tuesday Feb. 20, 2018 provided by the Syrian Civil Defense group known as the White Helmets, shows members of the Syrian Civil Defense group extinguishing a store during airstrikes and shelling by Syrian government forces, in Ghouta, a suburb of Damascus, Syria. Intense Syrian government shelling and airstrikes of rebel-held Damascus suburbs killed at least 100 people since Monday in what was the deadliest day in the area in three years, a monitoring group and paramedics said Tuesday. (Syrian Civil Defense White Helmets, via AP)

Wed, 21 Feb 2018 06:14:00 GMT

BEIRUT – Government forces bombed the northeastern suburbs of the Syrian capital for a second straight day on Tuesday, killing more than 100 people and raising the specter of a full-scale offensive that could spell catastrophe for the estimated 400,000 residents trapped under siege. Rescuers raced to reach survivors in the devastated Damascus suburbs known as eastern Ghouta as warplanes and helicopter gunships circled overhead, bombing hospitals, apartment blocks, markets and other civilian targets. The suburbs are the last major stronghold for rebels in the capital region. At least 250 civilians were killed during the 48 hours of unrelenting onslaught that began Monday, including 58 children, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group. Another 1,000 people were wounded, it said. "We no longer have the words to describe children's suffering and our outrage," the U.N. children's agency said in a terse statement about the carnage. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov appeared to endorse the unrestrained assault, which he said was backed by the Russian air force. "In keeping with the existing agreements, the fight against terrorism cannot be restricted by anything," he said. Russia has been an unwavering ally of Syrian President Bashar Assad's forces and was instrumental to the all-out assault in late 2016 that ejected rebels from their enclave in eastern Aleppo, Syria's largest city before the war – an outcome that Lavrov said could serve as a model for eastern Ghouta. Pro-government forces have been amassing since the weekend on the perimeter of the rebel-held region, a collection of towns and farmland that once provided grain and fruit to the capital before nearly five years of warfare turned it into a landscape of havoc and despair. The towns of eastern Ghouta were among the first to organize into self-governing collectives and shake off government rule after popular demonstrations against Assad swept through the country in 2011, eventually leading to civil war. They are also among the last to resist Assad's determined campaign to bring every last rebellious corner of the country to heel. Assad and his allies maintain they are fighting a war on terrorism. Monther Fares, spokesman for the Ahrar al-Sham rebel faction operating in eastern Ghouta, said densely populated residential areas were bearing the brunt of the attacks, a hallmark tactic of the government and its allies to devastate civilian areas and infrastructure before launching a final ground assault. The battle for rebel-held east Aleppo culminated in the evacuation of tens of thousands of civilians from their homes, with many unable to return. A subsequent U.N. investigation charged that the campaign amounted to forced displacement of a population and rose to the level of a war crime. That outcome could still be a while coming in eastern Ghouta, which is considerably larger than east Aleppo. It is also divided between two rebel factions that deeply distrust each other, as well as a small presence of al-Qaida-linke[...]


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President Trump urges ban on gun devices like bump stocksPresident Donald Trump gestures as he walks as he leaves the White House, Friday, Feb. 16, 2018, in Washington, for a trip to his private Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)Demonstrators hold signs during a protest in favor of gun control reform in front of the White House, Monday, Feb. 19, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Tue, 20 Feb 2018 22:17:00 GMT

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump said Tuesday that he has signed a memo directing the Justice Department to propose regulations to "ban all devices" like the rapid-fire bump stocks involved in last year's Las Vegas massacre. Seeking to show action days after a deadly school shooting in Parkland, Florida, Trump spoke during a White House ceremony recognizing bravery by the nation's public safety officers. "We must move past clichés and tired debates and focus on evidence based solutions and security measures that actually work," Trump said. The announcement came days after the shooting deaths of 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The device Trump referred to was used in the October shooting deaths of 58 people in Las Vegas, and attached to a half-dozen of the long guns found in the shooter's hotel room. A legislative effort to ban the device fizzled out last year. White House officials say the president will be meeting with students, teachers and state and local officials to discuss ways of providing more school safety and address gun violence. Pressure has been mounting for action after the Parkland shooting. Trump has also indicated he is open to a limited strengthening of federal background checks on gun purchases. Over the weekend, the White House said he had spoken Friday to Sen. John Cornyn, a Texas Republican, about a bipartisan bill designed to strengthen the FBI database of prohibited gun buyers. Trump spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders qualified the support, stressing that talks continue and "revisions are being considered," but said "the president is supportive of efforts to improve the federal background check system." The main action Trump has taken on guns has been to sign a resolution blocking an Obama-era rule designed to keep guns out of the hands of certain mentally disabled people. The president has voiced strong support for gun rights and the National Rifle Association. The bipartisan background check legislation would be aimed at ensuring that federal agencies and states accurately report relevant criminal information to the FBI. It was introduced after the Air Force failed to report the criminal history of the gunman who slaughtered more than two dozen people at a Texas church. The White House statement comes as shooting survivors and other young people press for more gun control in a rising chorus of grief and activism. Their "March for Our Lives" is planned March 24 in Washington. Ella Fesler, 16-year-old high school student in Alexandria, Virginia, was among the students at the "lie-in" in front of the White House. She said it was time for change, adding: "Every day when I say 'bye' to my parents, I do acknowledge the fact that I could never see my parents again." But previous gun tragedies have not led Congress to act. After the Las Vegas massacre in the fall, Republicans and Democrats in Congress talked about taking a rare step to tighten the nation's gun laws. Four months later, the only gun legislation t[...]


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Next stop for school shooting survivors: the Florida CapitolMembers of the Florida state patriot guard riders arrive at the funeral services for slain Marjory Stoneman Douglas student Carmen Schentrup, Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018, at St. Andrews Catholic Church in Coral Springs, Fla. (Joe Cavaretta/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP)

Tue, 20 Feb 2018 19:22:00 GMT

PARKLAND, Fla. – Students who survived the shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School began a 400-mile journey to Florida's capital Tuesday to urge lawmakers to prevent a repeat of the massacre that killed 17 students and faculty last week. Three buses carrying 100 students set out from Coral Springs for Tallahassee after they were swarmed by dozens of reporters and cameras. The students, many wearing burgundy T-shirts in their school colors, carried sleeping bags, pillows and luggage and hugged their parents as they departed. Alfonso Calderon, a 16-year-old junior, said he hopes that the trip begins a conversation between the Legislature, Gov. Rick Scott and the students over commonsense laws on guns. "America is a gun society. That is what made (suspect) Nikolas Cruz seem normal. It is not normal for someone to have a stockpile of weapons in their room when they are mentally ill," Calderon said. The students plan to hold a rally Wednesday to put pressure on the state's Republican-controlled Legislature to consider a package of gun-control laws, something some GOP lawmakers said Monday they would consider. "I really think they are going to hear us out," said Chris Grady, a 19-year-old senior who is going on the trip. The Feb. 14 attack seemed to overcome the resistance of some in the state's leadership, which has rebuffed gun restrictions since Republicans took control of both the governor's office and the Legislature in 1999. However, there is still strong resistance by many in the party to any gun-control measures, leaving the fate of new restrictions unclear. Students also have also vowed to exert pressure on Congress. Sen. Bill Galvano, a Republican and the incoming Florida Senate president, said the state Senate was preparing a package that would include raising the age to purchase any firearm to 21, creating a waiting period for purchasing any type of firearm, banning bump stocks that can allow semi-automatic guns to spray bullets quickly and creating gun-violence restraining orders. The Parkland students planned to meet Wednesday with top legislative leaders, including Senate President Joe Negron and House Speaker Richard Corcoran. But their push to restrict guns might be a difficult task. Florida has a reputation for expanding — and not restricting — gun rights. Negron sponsored a 2011 bill that Republican Gov. Rick Scott signed into law that banned cities and counties from regulating gun and ammunition sales. Authorities said suspect Cruz, 19, had a string of run-ins with school authorities that ended with his expulsion. Police also were repeatedly called to his house throughout his childhood. Cruz's lawyers said there were many warning signs that he was mentally unstable and potentially violent. Yet he legally purchased a semi-automatic rifle. The Senate is also considering boosting spending on mental health programs for schools and giving law-enforcement greater power to involuntarily hold someone considered a [...]


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A theater, pool, exercise room and more of what $720,000 can get you in Crystal LakeCrystal Lake home listed for sale on Zillow: 8640 Belfield Road. 5 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms, 5,731 square feet. Listed price: $719,900. Estimated mortgage: $4,041 per month. This Crystal Lake estate is a custom-built home with oak flooring throughout. The gourmet kitchen has granite countertops and stainless steel appliances. The two-story family room has a Fon du Lac stone fireplace. The master suite includes a balcony, ensuite, fireplace and dedicated shoe closet. The walk-out lower level has a rec room, fireplace, wet bar, exercise room and theater. Listing agent: Jennifer Sankot: 815-353-0333Crystal Lake home listed for sale on Zillow: 8640 Belfield Road. 5 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms, 5,731 square feet. Listed price: $719,900. Estimated mortgage: $4,041 per month. This Crystal Lake estate is a custom-built home with oak flooring throughout. The gourmet kitchen has granite countertops and stainless steel appliances. The two-story family room has a Fon du Lac stone fireplace. The master suite includes a balcony, ensuite, fireplace and dedicated shoe closet. The walk-out lower level has a rec room, fireplace, wet bar, exercise room and theater. Listing agent: Jennifer Sankot: 815-353-0333Entrance/Living roomDining roomTwo-story family roomFamily roomGourmet kitchenSun roomOne of five bedroomsOne of five bathroomsMaster suite with balconyMaster suite with trayed ceilingWalk-in closetCrystal Lake home listed for sale on Zillow: 8640 Belfield Road. 5 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms, 5,731 square feet. Listed price: $719,900. Estimated mortgage: $4,041 per month. This Crystal Lake estate is a custom-built home with oak flooring throughout. The gourmet kitchen has granite countertops and stainless steel appliances. The two-story family room has a Fon du Lac stone fireplace. The master suite includes a balcony, ensuite, fireplace and dedicated shoe closet. The walk-out lower level has a rec room, fireplace, wet bar, exercise room and theater. Listing agent: Jennifer Sankot: 815-353-0333One of five bedroomsExercise roomCrystal Lake home listed for sale on Zillow: 8640 Belfield Road. 5 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms, 5,731 square feet. Listed price: $719,900. Estimated mortgage: $4,041 per month. This Crystal Lake estate is a custom-built home with oak flooring throughout. The gourmet kitchen has granite countertops and stainless steel appliances. The two-story family room has a Fon du Lac stone fireplace. The master suite includes a balcony, ensuite, fireplace and dedicated shoe closet. The walk-out lower level has a rec room, fireplace, wet bar, exercise room and theater. Listing agent: Jennifer Sankot: 815-353-0333Theater roomDeckOutdoor viewPool

Tue, 20 Feb 2018 19:19:00 GMT

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

Crystal Lake home listed for sale on Zillow: 8640 Belfield Road. 5 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms, 5,731 square feet. Listed price: $719,900. Estimated mortgage: $4,041 per month. This Crystal Lake estate is a custom-built home with oak flooring throughout. The gourmet kitchen has granite countertops and stainless steel appliances. The two-story family room has a Fon du Lac stone fireplace. The master suite includes a balcony, ensuite, fireplace and dedicated shoe closet. The walk-out lower level has a rec room, fireplace, wet bar, exercise room and theater. Listing agent: Jennifer Sankot: 815-353-0333Crystal Lake home listed for sale on Zillow: 8640 Belfield Road. 5 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms, 5,731 square feet. Listed price: $719,900. Estimated mortgage: $4,041 per month. This Crystal Lake estate is a custom-built home with oak flooring throughout. The gourmet kitchen has granite countertops and stainless steel appliances. The two-story family room has a Fon du Lac stone fireplace. The master suite includes a balcony, ensuite, fireplace and dedicated shoe closet. The walk-out lower level has a rec room, fireplace, wet bar, exercise room and theater. Listing agent: Jennifer Sankot: 815-353-0333Entrance/Living roomDining roomTwo-story family roomFamily roomGourmet kitchenSun roomOne of five bedroomsOne of five bathroomsMaster suite with balconyMaster suite with trayed ceilingWalk-in closetCrystal Lake home listed for sale on Zillow: 8640 Belfield Road. 5 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms, 5,731 square feet. Listed price: $719,900. Estimated mortgage: $4,041 per month. This Crystal Lake estate is a custom-built home with oak flooring throughout. The gourmet kitchen has granite countertops and stainless steel appliances. The two-story family room has a Fon du Lac stone fireplace. The master suite includes a balcony, ensuite, fireplace and dedicated shoe closet. The walk-out lower level has a rec room, fireplace, wet bar, exercise room and theater. Listing agent: Jennifer Sankot: 815-353-0333One of five bedroomsExercise roomCrystal Lake home listed for sale on Zillow: 8640 Belfield Road. 5 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms, 5,731 square feet. Listed price: $719,900. Estimated mortgage: $4,041 per month. This Crystal Lake estate is a custom-built home with oak flooring throughout. The gourmet kitchen has granite countertops and stainless steel appliances. The two-story family room has a Fon du Lac stone fireplace. The master suite includes a balcony, ensuite, fireplace and dedicated shoe closet. The walk-out lower level has a rec room, fireplace, wet bar, exercise room and theater. Listing agent: Jennifer Sankot: 815-353-0333Theater roomDeckOutdoor viewPool


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Trump revives push for limits on immigrants bringing family to U.S.Filipino American Jeff DeGuia, 28, holds up family pictures Feb. 1 at Unidad (Unity) Park in Los Angeles. DeGuia, 28, said it took his mother more than a decade to bring two sisters from the Philippines.

Tue, 20 Feb 2018 05:29:00 GMT

NEW YORK – When the U.S. government approved Ricardo Magpantay, his wife and young children to immigrate to America from the Philippines, it was 1991. By the time a visa was available, it was 2005, and his children could not come with him because they were now adults. More than a decade later, his children still are waiting. Magpantay gets worried when he hears the White House is aiming to limit the relatives that immigrants-turned-citizens can sponsor, a profound change to a fundamental piece of the American immigration system. “It is really frustrating and it is very dreadful for me, because after a long wait, if this will be passed, what will happen for them?” said Magpantay, a 68-year-old mechanical engineer in the Southern California city of Murrieta. “I won’t be able to bring them forever.” For the past 50-plus years, family reunification has been central to U.S. immigration law. Those who become naturalized citizens can bring spouses and minor children and petition for parents, adult children and siblings to get their own green cards and become Americans in their own right, with their own ability to sponsor. Many on opposing sides of the immigration debate have long felt the family reunification system needs reform. Immigration advocates want a reassessment of the quotas on how many people can come from a given country in a given year, which has created decadeslong backlogs for citizens of some countries. Self-described “restrictionists,” including President Donald Trump, want a narrower, nuclear definition of family, making spouses and minor children the only relatives a citizen could sponsor. That’s a central plank of the sweeping immigration overhaul Trump has proposed, a move that activists say could cut legal immigration in the U.S. by half. Congress rejected competing bills last week meant to resolve the status of hundreds of thousands of young people brought to the U.S. illegally, including one plan that mirrored Trump’s overall immigration proposal. The lack of resolution on an issue that was pivotal to Trump’s election leaves it as potential tinderbox for the midterm congressional elections this fall. In his State of the Union speech last month, Trump referenced an attempted bombing by a Bangladeshi immigrant in New York in December as proof of the need to curtail what he and others term “chain migration” in favor of a more skills-based system. “This vital reform is necessary not just for our economy, but for our security and for the future of America,” he said. Trump is giving a spotlight to an idea that “was clearly out in the wilderness” in a policy sense, and something only its advocates were really talking about, said Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, which has long pushed for limits on family sponsorships. “He has forced issues to the forefront that need to be debated,” Krikorian said. [...]


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President Donald Trump's focus on mental health after school shooting denouncedStudents hold their hands in the air as they are evacuated by police Wednesday from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla, after a shooter opened fire on the campus.

Tue, 20 Feb 2018 05:29:00 GMT

Frustration is mounting in the medical community as the Trump administration again points to mental illness in response to yet another mass shooting. “The concept that mental illness is a precursor to violent behavior is nonsense,” said Dr. Louis Kraus, forensic psychiatry chief at Chicago’s Rush University Medical College. “The vast majority of gun violence is not attributable to mental illness.” Nikolas Cruz, the 19-year-old charged with killing 17 people on Valentine’s Day at his former high school in Parkland, Florida, has been described by students as a loner with troubling behavior who had been kicked out of school. His mother recently died and Cruz had been staying with family friends. Since the shooting, his mental health has been the focus of President Donald Trump’s comments. And on a Thursday call with reporters, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said the administration is committed to addressing serious mental illness and that his agency “will be laser-focused on this issue in the days, weeks, and months to come.” Mental health professionals welcome more resources and attention, but they say the administration is ignoring the real problem – easy access to guns, particularly the kind of high-powered highly lethal assault weapons used in many of the most recent mass shootings. “Even for those who manage to survive gun violence involving these weapons, the severity and lasting impact of their wounds, disabilities and treatment leads to devastating consequences,” American Medical Association President David Barbe wrote in an online column after the shooting. “We are not talking about Second Amendment rights or restricting your ability to own a firearm. We are talking about a public health crisis that our Congress has failed to address. This must end,” Barbe wrote. Better access to mental health care, including for those who might be prone to violence, is important, but “to blame this all just on mental illness is not sufficient,” he said in an interview Friday. The AMA has supported efforts to boost gun violence research, ban assault weapons and to restrict access to automatic weapons. Barbe wrote in his column that federally funded research is crucial to address an “urgent health crisis.” Under gun industry pressure, U.S. government research on firearm violence has been limited for decades. The American Psychiatric Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics and four other medical associations issued a joint statement Friday urging comprehensive action by Trump and Congress, including labeling gun violence a national public health epidemic. The groups’ recommendations include limits on high-powered, rapid-fire weapons designed to kill and funding gun violence research at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. According to the CDC, there were about 38,000 U.S. gun deaths in 20[...]


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School shooting puts pressure on Florida lawmakers to actPaul Birmingham, a friend of the parents of victim Gina Montaldo, writes on a cross placed in her memory at a makeshift memorial outside the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where 17 students and faculty were killed in a mass shooting on Wednesday, in Parkland, Fla., Monday, Feb. 19, 2018. Nikolas Cruz, a former student, was charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder on Thursday. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Tue, 20 Feb 2018 05:28:00 GMT

PARKLAND, Fla. – The deadly shooting at a Florida high school has put pressure on the state’s Republican-controlled Legislature to consider a sweeping package of gun-control laws in a state that has resisted restrictions on firearms for decades, lawmakers said Monday. The legislative effort coalesced as 100 students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School prepared to ride buses more than 400 miles to the state capital Tuesday to urge lawmakers to act to prevent a repeat of the massacre that killed 17 students and faculty last week. The suspect, 19-year-old former student Nikolas Cruz, made his first appearance in court Monday. Wearing a prison jumpsuit, he kept his head down and didn’t appear to make eye contact with the judge or others in the courtroom, although he responded briefly to someone on the defense team. A previous appearance was by a video connection from jail. His lawyers have said he will plead guilty if prosecutors agree not to pursue the death penalty. No decision has been made on that. Soon after the shooting, several legislative leaders were taken on a tour of the school to see the damage firsthand and appeared shaken afterward. The attack seemed to overcome the resistance of some in the state’s leadership, which has rebuffed gun restrictions since Republicans took control of both the governor’s office and the Legislature in 1999. However, there still is strong resistance by many in the party to any gun-control measures, leaving the fate of new restrictions unclear. Sen. Bill Galvano, a Republican and the incoming state Senate president, said the Senate was preparing a package that would include raising the age to buy any firearm to 21, creating a waiting period for buying any type of firearm, banning bump stocks that can allow semi-automatic guns to spray bullets quickly and creating gun-violence restraining orders. Authorities said Cruz had a string of run-ins with school authorities that ended with his expulsion. Police also were called repeatedly to his house throughout his childhood. Cruz’s lawyers said there were repeated warning signs that he was mentally unstable and potentially violent. Yet he legally bought a semi-automatic rifle. “We need to make sure everything is working and to learn from the experience,” said Galvano, who was among those who visited the school. The Senate also is considering boosting spending on mental health programs for schools and giving law enforcement greater power to involuntarily hold someone considered a danger to themselves. The body also will look at a proposal to deputize a teacher or someone else at school so they are authorized to have a gun. Galvano said senators want to examine ways to protect schools that do not have resource officers – often armed law enforcement officers – on-site. State House leaders and Gov. Rick Scott also are considering possible change[...]


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Middle-class candidate facing millionaires in Illinois gubernatorial raceDemocratic gubernatorial candidate Sen. Daniel Biss of Evanston talks to students during a campaign stop Feb. 2 on the University of Chicago campus in Chicago.

Tue, 20 Feb 2018 05:27:00 GMT

CHICAGO – In an Illinois governor race that includes a couple of millionaires and a billionaire, Daniel Biss likes to tell people he’s given his campaign only $25 – and then his wife decided to one-up him and donate $50. “We’re pretty well maxed out, but we’ll see what we can do going forward,” the Democratic state senator from Evanston said at a recent event, drawing laughs from some and serious nods from others. Biss, a former math professor who reported income of less than $35,000 last year, has gained support in recent weeks campaigning as a progressive who’s something the other top candidates are not: part of the middle class. In TV ads filmed in his family’s modest home, he talked about sending his kids to public school and living on a budget. In another ad, he links wealthy Democratic rivals J.B. Pritzker and Chris Kennedy to two Republicans, Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner and President Donald Trump, calling them all “rich guys” who’ve avoided taxes. Several recent polls have shown him surpassing Kennedy, the son of the late Sen. Robert Kennedy, and gaining ground on Pritzker. The billionaire heir to the Hyatt hotel fortune and perceived front-runner has the support of many Democratic leaders in the March 20 primary – partly because he has the money to take on Rauner. Other candidates across the U.S. also are making wealth – or their lack of it – a campaign theme. In Florida, Democratic Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum talked about growing up poor and how he can’t write his campaign for governor a big check, unlike his wealthier rivals. Wisconsin Democrat Mike McCabe, a former director of a government watchdog group who’s long complained about the influence of money in politics, wears jeans to all his gubernatorial campaign functions, and is the founder of Blue Jean Nation, a group he said is dedicated to electing “regular people.” But none of them has so far faced a financial disadvantage as large as the one confronting Biss, who has raised about $4.8 million, mostly through individual donations. That includes about $1 million he carried over from previous races. Pritzker already has sunk close to $50 million into his campaign – a number Biss notes is more than Trump spent in the GOP presidential primary. Rauner, who’s seeking his second full term, has raised more than $75 million, most from his own bank account. If Pritzker and Rauner face off in the November general election, the contest is expected to be the most expensive governor’s race in U.S. history. Biss called the race “a referendum on money in politics.” “Do we need in the era of Trump and Rauner to just pick another inexperienced billionaire?” he asked. First elected to the Legislature in 2010, the graduate of Harvard and MIT became known as a numbers guy who tackled issues such as Illinois’ hugely un[...]


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Candidate Jeanne Ives: Gov. Bruce Rauner a 'crony capitalist' in Illinois budget woesIllinois gubernatorial candidate Jeanne Ives speaks during a meeting with members of the Northwest Herald Editorial Board on Monday. Ives is challenging incumbent Gov. Bruce Rauner in the Republican primary.Illinois gubernatorial candidate Jeanne Ives speaks during a meeting with members of the Northwest Herald Editorial Board on Monday. Ives is challenging incumbent Gov. Bruce Rauner in the Republican primary.

Tue, 20 Feb 2018 05:22:00 GMT

CRYSTAL LAKE – State Rep. Jeanne Ives is confident she’s the only electable Republican running for governor. In a nearly 50-minute interview with the Northwest Herald Editorial Board on Monday, Ives called incumbent Gov. Bruce Rauner a “crony capitalist” and blamed him for the state’s budget shortfalls. “Like many Republicans, I helped elect Bruce Rauner in 2014 because I felt like he was going to lead the revolt on behalf of taxpayers against the political ruling class that presides predominantly in Chicago and does all their dirty deeds in Springfield,” Ives said. “Well, it ends up that Bruce Rauner isn’t the reformer we thought he would be.” Ives is a 53-year-old West Point graduate who served in the U.S. Army from 1987 to 1993. A self-described social conservative, she said Rauner has abandoned Republican principles on abortion and gender issues, and has shown he is not up to the task of leading Republican opposition to the Democratic Party’s agenda. She pegged Rauner’s greatest offenses as his support for billions in subsidies for power giant Exelon Corp., and the governor’s inability to prevent a third of the Republican Party caucus from voting to permanently raise the state income tax on residents and businesses by more than 30 percent. “He did nothing to stop that tax increase,” Ives said. “In fact, he signaled early on that he was OK with it. Well, that’s all the opening [House Speaker] Mike Madigan had needed to stick it to him in the end.”  In July, the House voted for a budget plan that included increasing the state income tax by 32 percent on individuals and 33 percent on corporations. Although Rauner vetoed the budget and the tax hike, the Democratic-controlled House and Senate, with help from some Republicans, voted to override him, giving the state its first spending plan in more than two years. Rauner blasted the state’s most powerful Democrat, Madigan, over the income tax hike passed as part of a deal that ended a more than two-year state budget impasse. But the governor should have done more to galvanize GOP opposition, Ives said.  “He didn’t hold Republicans together,” Ives said. “He did not make one phone call. He did not actually introduce a balanced budget that we could actually rally around to begin with – he did not lead the revolt and call people in.” Rauner backed down, Ives said. “So he didn’t do anything for taxpayers,” Ives said. “He capitulated to Madigan on that instead of standing up.” Ives labeled Rauner’s latest stance on abortion as the “straw that broke the camel’s back.” “No governor – Democrat or Republican – has ever put in, via legislation, taxpayer funding of abortion,” Ives said. “For Republicans, it is just an outrag[...]


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New exhibit examines Native American imagery in U.S. culturePeople look at a section of the "Americans" exhibit that explores the historical context of the Trail of Tears at the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian on Feb. 9 in Washington, D.C. A new exhibit uses images of natives to show how the population permeates American culture.

Tue, 20 Feb 2018 05:19:00 GMT

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – Bold. Visionary. A spectacular success. The words in an online promotion for a new museum exhibit in Washington, D.C., describe an 1830 U.S. law that forced thousands of American Indians from their lands in the South to areas west of the Mississippi River. Provocative, yes, says the co-curator of the exhibit “Americans” that opened last month at the National Museum of the American Indian. Bold and visionary in imagining a country free of American Indians. A spectacular success in greatly expanding wealth from cotton fields where millions of blacks worked as slaves. “When you’re in the show, you understand bold and visionary become tongue in cheek,” co-curator Cecile Ganteaume said. The exhibit that runs through 2022 has opened to good reviews and pushes the national debate over American Indian imagery – including men in headdresses with bows, arrows and tomahawks – and sports teams named the Chiefs, Braves and Blackhawks. The NFL’s Washington Redskins logo on one wall prompts visitors to think about why it’s described both as a unifying force in D.C. and offensive. The exhibit falls short, some say, with an accompanying website and its characterization of the Indian Removal Act. The online text is a perplexing way to characterize an effort that spanned multiple presidencies and at one point, consumed one-fifth of the federal budget, said Ben Barnes, second chief of the Shawnee Tribe. The law led to the deaths of thousands of people who were marched from their homes without full compensation for the value of the land they left behind. And it affected far more tribes than the five highlighted online, he said. “It made it seem like it was a trivial matter that turned out best for everyone,” he said. “I cannot imagine an exhibit at the newly established African-American museum that talked about how economically wonderful slavery was for the South.” Ganteaume said the website isn’t encyclopedic and neither it nor the exhibit is meant to dismiss the experiences of American Indians. Instead, it challenges the depths at which people recognize indigenous people are ingrained in America’s identity and learn how it happened, she said. An opening gallery has hundreds of images of American Indians – often a stoic chief in a Plains-style headdress or a maiden – on alcohol bottles, a sugar bag, motor oil, a missile mounted on the wall and a 1948 Indian Chief motorcycle. Dozens of clips expand on how the imagery has permeated American culture in television and film. But when historic or cartoonish images are the only perception people have of what it means to be Native, they can’t imagine American Indians in the modern world, said Julie Reed, a history professor at the University of Tennessee. [...]


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Pennsylvania's new congressional map could boost DemocratsPennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf – accompanied by state House Minority Leader Rep. Frank Dermody (right), D-Allegheny, and state Rep. Joe Markosek, D-Allegheny – discuss state budget negotiations Oct. 7, 2015, at the state Capitol in Harrisburg, Pa.

Tue, 20 Feb 2018 05:19:00 GMT

HARRISBURG, Pa. – Pennsylvania’s high court issued a new congressional district map for the state’s 2018 elections on Monday, potentially giving Democrats a boost in their quest to capture control of the U.S. House unless Republicans can to stop it in federal court. The map of Pennsylvania’s 18 congressional districts is to be in effect for the May 15 primary and substantially overhauls a Republican-drawn congressional map widely viewed as among the nation’s most gerrymandered. The map was approved in a 4-3 decision, with four Democratic justices backing it and one Democratic justice siding with two Republicans against it. The divided court appears to have drawn its own map with the help of a Stanford University law professor, although some district designs are similar to proposals submitted to the court by Democrats. Most significantly, the new map likely gives Democrats a better shot at winning a couple of more seats, particularly in Philadelphia’s heavily populated and moderate suburbs. There, Republicans had held seats in bizarrely contorted districts, including one labeled “Goofy Kicking Donald Duck.” Democrats quickly cheered the new map, which could dramatically change the predominantly Republican, all-male delegation elected on a 6-year-old map. The new map repackages districts that had been stretched nearly halfway across Pennsylvania back into compact shapes and reunifies Democratic-heavy cities that had been split by Republican map drawers. “It remedies the outrageous gerrymander of 2011, and that’s the important thing, that the gerrymander be over,” said David Landau, the Democratic Party chairman of Delaware County, which was ground zero for the “Goofy Kicking Donald Duck” district. “All that zigging and zagging is all gone, and it makes Delaware County a competitive seat now.” Republican lawmakers said they will quickly challenge the map in federal court, arguing that legislatures and governors, not courts, have the constitutional responsibility to draw congressional maps. Mark Harris, a Pittsburgh-based GOP campaign consultant, echoed the reaction of Republicans in bashing the new product. “It’s a straight Democratic gerrymander by a Democratic Supreme Court to help Democrats,” Harris said. Independent analysts said the map should improve Democratic prospects while still favoring Republicans as a whole. An analysis conducted through PlanScore.org concluded that the court’s redrawn map eliminates “much of the partisan skew” favoring Republicans on the old Republican-drawn map, although not all of it. University of Florida political science doctoral student Brian Amos said Democrat Hillary Clinton beat Republican Donald Trump in eight of 18 districts in the 2016 presidential election on the court’s map. That [...]


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Turkey warns as Syrian government poised to enter AfrinAn Ankara municipality worker fixes the new street sign, "Olive Branch Street" in Turkish, named after Turkey's military operation to drive out the Syrian Kurdish militia of an enclave Monday in northwest Syria in Ankara.

Tue, 20 Feb 2018 05:19:00 GMT

BEIRUT – Turkey warned the Syrian government Monday against entering the Kurdish-controlled enclave in northern Syria where a major Turkish military offensive is underway, saying it would hit back at the troops if their goal is to protect the Kurdish fighters. The warning sets up a potential clash between Turkish troops and Syrian government forces backed by Russia and Iran, whose deployment would be a first step toward restoring President Bashar Assad’s presence along the border with Turkey. The warning by the Turkish foreign minister came shortly after Syrian state media said pro-government forces would enter Afrin “within hours” to “bolster” local forces in confronting Turkey’s “aggression” after reaching an agreement with the Kurdish militia known as the People’s Protection Units, or YPG, which controls Afrin. Details of the deal were not announced by either side, and Kurdish officials said talks were still underway. By nightfall, no troops had entered Afrin. Assad’s troops have had no presence in Afrin since they pulled out of most of northern Syria in 2012, as nationwide protests against Assad transformed into a civil war. A return to the area, where a potent mix of regional and international powers have boots on the ground, could further complicate the situation and lead to unwanted confrontations. But depending on the details of the agreement, it may also serve to defuse the situation in Afrin, where Turkey has been struggling to achieve results in its now monthlong offensive to push back YPG fighters from its borders. Ankara considers the YPG a “terrorist group” linked to the Kurdish insurgency within Turkey’s borders. On Jan. 20, it launched a major air and ground offensive, pounding the enclave with airstrikes and artillery on a daily basis. Turkey’s foreign minister, speaking at a news conference in Amman, Jordan, said Turkey would have no problem if Syrian government forces were entering Afrin to clear the area from YPG fighters, but that it would strike back if it turns out the deployment was meant to shore up the Kurds against Turkey. “If the regime is entering to protect the YPG, then no one can stop us, stop Turkey or the Turkish soldiers,” Mevlut Cavusoglu said. Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag later denied the Syrian state media reports, saying they were “false” and had “not been confirmed by authorities.” He added, however, that any move to protect the Kurdish fighters would be a “disaster” for the region. Turkey has supported rebels fighting to overthrow Assad throughout the seven-year civil war, but in recent years has focused more on trying to contain the Kurds. Government troops deployed along its borders, at this point, may be more palatable for Ankara th[...]


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Iranian rescue teams find site, wreckage from plane crashIn this photo provided by Tasnim News Agency, family members of plane crash victims weep in the village of Bideh, an area near where a plane crashed Sunday in southern Iran.

Tue, 20 Feb 2018 05:18:00 GMT

TEHRAN, Iran – Iranian search and rescue teams Monday reached the site of a plane crash the previous day that authorities said killed all 65 people on board, Iran's Press TV reported. The Aseman Airlines ATR-72, a twin-engine turboprop used for short-distance regional flying, went down on Sunday in foggy weather, crashing into Mount Dena in southern Iran. The airliner said all on board Flight EP3704 were killed, including six crew members. The crash of the aircraft, brought back into service only months ago after being grounded for seven years, was yet another fatal aviation disaster for Iran, which for years was barred from buying necessary airplane parts due to Western sanctions over its contested nuclear program, forcing Iranians to fly in aging aircraft. Press TV said search teams reached the crash site before dawn on Monday. The station said the weather had improved though it was still windy. The TV broadcast footage of a helicopter joining the search and showed ambulances and rescue vehicles preparing to reach the site on Mount Dena, which is about 14,435 feet tall. Other Iranian news outlets and officials did not confirm that the crash site had been reached. State radio said five helicopters and five drones are active in the search operation. The site is reportedly at a height of 11,482 feet. Following the landmark 2015 nuclear accord with world powers that lifted international sanctions on Tehran in exchange for curbs on its nuclear enrichment program, Iran is allowed to purchase airplanes and airplane parts and has made deals worth tens of billions of dollars for new aircraft. However, President Donald Trump's refusal to recertify the deal has injected uncertainty into those sales. The ATR-72 went down near its destination of the southern city of Yasuj, some 485 miles south of the capital, Tehran, from where it took off. It wasn't immediately clear what caused the crash, although weather was severe. Dense fog, high winds and heavy snow in the Zagros Mountains made it impossible for rescue crews in helicopters to reach the site in the immediate aftermath, state television reported. Aseman Airlines spokesman Mohammad Taghi Tabatabai told state TV that all on board Flight EP3704 were killed. The plane had 59 passengers and six crew members, the state-run IRNA news agency reported late Sunday, lowering the initially reported death toll of 66. In this photo provided by Tasnim News Agency, family members of plane crash victims weep in the village of Bideh, an area near where a plane crashed Sunday in southern Iran.[...]


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President Donald Trump supports limited effort on background checks for gun purchasesPresident Donald Trump gestures as he leaves the White House on Friday in Washington, D.C., for a trip to his private Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.Demonstrators participate in a "lie-in" during a protest in favor of gun control reform in front of the White House on Monday in Washington, D.C.

Tue, 20 Feb 2018 05:18:00 GMT

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – From the confines of his golf club, President Donald Trump offered support for a limited strengthening of federal background checks on gun purchases Monday while staying largely mum in the last few days about the victims of the Florida school massacre and the escalating debate about controls on weapons. One side of that debate was represented outside the White House as dozens of teens spread their bodies across the pavement to symbolize the dead and call for stronger gun controls, a precursor to a march in Washington planned next month by survivors of the Parkland school shooting and supporters of their cause. At his Florida club just 40 miles from a community ravaged by the shooting that left 17 dead last week, Trump gave a nod toward a specific policy action, with the White House saying he had spoken Friday to Sen. John Cornyn, a Texas Republican, about a bipartisan bill designed to strengthen the FBI database of prohibited gun buyers. Spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders qualified the support, stressing that talks continue and "revisions are being considered," but said "the president is supportive of efforts to improve the federal background check system." The main action Trump has taken on guns in office has been to sign a resolution blocking an Obama-era rule designed to keep guns out of the hands of certain mentally disabled people. The president has voiced strong support for gun rights and the National Rifle Association. The bipartisan background check legislation would be aimed at ensuring that federal agencies and states accurately report relevant criminal information to the FBI. It was introduced after the Air Force failed to report the criminal history of the gunman who slaughtered more than two dozen people at a Texas church. The White House statement comes as shooting survivors and other young people press for more gun control in a rising chorus of grief and activism. Their "March for Our Lives" is planned March 24 in Washington. Ella Fesler, 16-year-old high school student in Alexandria, Virginia, was among the students at the "lie-in" in front of the White House. She said it was time for change, adding: "Every day when I say 'bye' to my parents, I do acknowledge the fact that I could never see my parents again." But previous gun tragedies have not produced action in Congress. After the Las Vegas massacre in the fall, Republicans and Democrats in Congress talked about taking a rare step to tighten the nation's gun laws. Four months later, the only gun legislation that has moved in the House or Senate instead eases restrictions for gun owners. Kristin Brown, co-president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, said the measure Trump discussed with Cornyn would help to[...]


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Californians can go home but told to keep watch on wildfireThis Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018 photo taken by the Bishop California Highway Patrol and released by the Inyo County Sheriff's Office shows smoke rising from wildfires near Bishop, Calif. A wind-driven wildfire in rural central California forced mandatory evacuations and threatened hundreds of buildings Monday, including a historic railroad station, after it tripled in size overnight, officials said.

Tue, 20 Feb 2018 05:18:00 GMT

BISHOP, Calif. – A wind-driven wildfire in rural central California threatened hundreds of buildings Monday, including a historic railroad station, but officials said they made some gains after the flames exploded in size.

The blaze scorched 3½ square miles of chaparral bush and shrub oak in the small town of Bishop on the eastern slopes of the Sierra Nevada that is popular for hiking, fishing, climbing and hunting.

Officials ended most evacuations that were ordered near the town but warned that strong winds were expected in the area and urged residents to remain vigilant.

It comes as California has seen some record-high temperatures and little rain after emerging from a five-year drought, helping fuel some of the deadliest and most destructive wildfires in state history late last year. U.S. drought monitors this month declared parts of Southern California back in severe drought.

In the most recent fire, several communities and campgrounds in the Pleasant Valley Reservoir area had been told to leave, said Cathey Mattingly, spokeswoman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

It's not clear how many people had to evacuate after the blaze started Sunday, Inyo County sheriff's spokeswoman Carma Roper said. But hundreds of structures were threatened, including the Laws Railroad Museum, a railroad station built in the 1880s, Mattingly said.

"We had pretty heavy wind activity overnight and we are expecting more windy conditions today," Mattingly said Monday. "That is hampering firefighting efforts."

She said at least 400 firefighters are working to contain the flames north of Bishop, a former mining town of about 3,800 that still celebrates mules each year with country music concerts, mule chariot races, log skidding and parades.

The fire broke out near the Pleasant Valley Reservoir and quickly grew to 900 acres. It forced the closure of a highway that connects rural Inyo County to Nevada.

This Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018 photo taken by the Bishop California Highway Patrol and released by the Inyo County Sheriff's Office shows smoke rising from wildfires near Bishop, Calif. A wind-driven wildfire in rural central California forced mandatory evacuations and threatened hundreds of buildings Monday, including a historic railroad station, after it tripled in size overnight, officials said.


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Huntley Area Public Library eyes expansionParents and children surround assistant librarian Jodi Simmons during storytime Feb. 8 at the Huntley Area Public Library.Huntley Area Public Library Director Frank Novak walks through the cluttered staff area Feb. 8 at the library.A converted trailer serves as an extension of the Huntley Area Public Library to house the children's room.Parents and children pack the children's area Feb. 8 at the Huntley Area Public Library.Brooklynn Flores, 4, of Lake in the Hills works on a craft with a dinosaur cutout Feb. 8 in the children's room at the Huntley Area Public Library.Patrick Keller of Huntley and his daughter, Aria Keller, 3, listen as assistant librarian Jodi Simmons reads during storytime Feb. 8 at the Huntley Area Public Library.

Tue, 20 Feb 2018 05:11:00 GMT

HUNTLEY – Huntley Area Public Library’s executive director said residents can have more people around their Thanksgiving dining table than kids allowed in the library’s children’s area. The library’s building opened in 1999 – before the village’s population boom with Sun City and Talamore subdivision development – and it has yet to expand, library Executive Director Frank Novak said. The children’s area’s maximum capacity is 12 people. “Honestly, it’s absurd,” Novak said. “You get one large family here, and you’re done.” Novak said he is working with the library’s board to create a building proposal to construct a 15,000-square-foot addition. “We are still discussing this with the board and will be taking this to the public possibly in the spring of 2019,” Novak said. At the very latest, Novak hopes to have a referendum on the ballot by the presidential election in 2020 because the trailers the library is using for extra space will not last beyond 2023. What once were closets have been turned into staff offices to preserve space. The information technology equipment is stored in the middle of an office without proper cooling. The library lacks study rooms and makerspace, and it has no true computer labs or collaborative spaces, Novak said. The library began using a 2,722-square-foot structure in 2010 made of three triplewide trailer units combined to house a children’s area and one programming room. The exterior matches the materials and color of the main building. The library already has paid off the 10-acre plot its 15,000-square-foot building sits on, so it will not have to buy any additional land for an expansion. The library received a temporary use permit in September 2009 to place the trailers on the east side of the library for three years, and it has received extensions since then. The Village Board approved a five-year extension in December, with Trustee John Piwko casting a vote against it. “I don’t think they’ll grant us another extension, and we’ll be at the end of life for this structure. It just won’t last, and isn’t built for long-term use,” Novak said. Marketing and media developer Doug Cataldo said the trailers already were used when the library received them, which means more wear and tear. Jessica Engle of Lake in the Hills and her 3-year-old daughter, Maebelle, went to a storytime event inside the converted trailer Feb. 8. “Today was overcrowded, but it varies week to week,” Engle said. “In the summertime there’s more[...]


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Lake in the Hills Village Board to vote on assisted-living planThis image shows an example of what Beehive Assisted Living of Lake in the Hills could look like.This rendering shows a proposal for the Beehive Assisted Living of Lake in the Hills facility.

Tue, 20 Feb 2018 05:11:00 GMT

LAKE IN THE HILLS – The Village Board will vote Thursday on a final site plan for an assisted-living facility made up of two buildings that will serve about 50 people. Beehive Assisting Living of Lake in the Hills will have about 21 rooms in each building on a 3.47-acre lot on East Oak Street west of Pyott Road, community services director Fred Mullard said. “There seems to be a growing need for this type of housing as baby boomers are becoming a larger portion of our population, so there is a good value in moving forward with this type of senior housing,” Mullard said. The lot has been vacant since at least 2001, Mullard said. Single and multistory, multifamily housing, a single-story office complex and the village’s Larsen Park surround the property. Originally, the project was proposed for Ackman Road, but the Planning and Zoning Commission and Village Board agreed that the location was not suitable. Developers found the Oak Street property and submitted a concept plan in May that was approved by the Village Board. The facility will generate minimal additional traffic because its residents typically do not drive, village documents state. This will be the first BeeHive Homes location in Illinois, according to its website. BeeHive franchise sales director Troy Veach said each building will have 25 beds with a selection of rooms, with two beds for couples or friends, and 20 to 25 employees. “We have a unique concept that is more of a family atmosphere rather than a large resort-style complex,” Veach said. “The smallness in nature that we have allows everyone to become a big family, and the residents thrive off that. We see their health and well-being improve due to the smallness of the building.” Services offered would include three meals a day, housekeeping services, 24-hour security, exercise and activity programs, laundry services, social activities, emergency call systems and 24-hour staffing, according to its website. A registered nurse will be on staff to administer medication and help with bathing and caretaking, Veach said. Activities will be offered throughout the day to keep residents’ bodies and minds active, lessening the onset of memory problems, Veach said. The original site plan called for an expansion of an existing office complex in the area that was developed in the late 1990s and early 2000s, according to village documents. The Village Board is set to discuss site plans at its 7:30 p.m. meeting Tuesday and vote at its 7:30 p.m. meeting Thursday at 600 Harvest Gate. [...]


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Developer wants to turn Twisted Burger building into StarbucksA developer has filed applications with the city of McHenry to allow the Twisted Burger building to be turned into a Starbucks.

Tue, 20 Feb 2018 05:11:00 GMT

McHENRY – A developer has filed an application to turn the city’s existing Twisted Burger restaurant into a Starbucks.

The developer wants to complete renovations and construct a drive-thru on the Twisted Burger building, 3405 W. Elm St. Twisted Burger is a quick-service shop that offers specialty burgers, wraps, sandwiches, sides and milkshakes. The restaurant has another location in Grayslake.

Economic development director Doug Martin said the city is working with Twisted Burger to find another location in McHenry.

“They are a viable business, and we’d like to keep them in town,” Martin said.

Seattle-based Starbucks operates another McHenry location about a mile away from Twisted Burger.

“This is something we have been working on for a while, as far as trying to find Starbucks a second location,” Martin said. “They had multiple selections, and we have had multiple suggestions on additional locations. It’s taken a while to find an appropriate location that works with Starbucks and the developer, and this is the one they are pursuing.”

The developer plans to go before McHenry’s Planning and Zoning Commission in March with proposals. The McHenry City Council ultimately would have to approve the plans.

Twisted Burger officials could not be reached for comment.

A developer has filed applications with the city of McHenry to allow the Twisted Burger building to be turned into a Starbucks.


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Ignite Teen Center to open soon in McHenry

Tue, 20 Feb 2018 05:11:00 GMT

McHENRY – Leaders of the new Ignite Teen Center in McHenry believe young people are facing intense pressures to succeed in an increasingly competitive society. That’s why the new 501(c)3 nonprofit was launched – to help address those pressures on a local level. “This will be a safe, positive, encouraging, empowering environment,” co-Executive Director Chad Mihevc said at an open house Sunday afternoon at the center, 4105 W. Crystal Lake Road. “These are the things we stand for.” Mihevc said the pressure placed on teens is showing up in the increasing substance abuse and suicide rates among young people. “We can do something about it in McHenry,” Mihevc said. “This is an ideal place to start something like this because McHenry always steps up. We have a family value-driven community.” The center will offer free programs for kids in sixth through 12th grades from 2:30 to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday beginning Feb. 26. That’s in addition to a meal ministry effort already underway that provides less-fortunate McHenry School District 15 students with meals during the weekend. Hailey Ullett, a sophomore at McHenry East High School, said she tends to be an introverted person, but Mihevc and his wife, Ignite co-Executive Director Jenny Mihevc, have helped her branch out through their work at Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church. Ullett, one of the organization’s student leaders, is looking forward to assisting kids who might struggle with transitioning from middle school to high school. “If middle school kids come here and see high school kids, it might help them adjust faster,” Ullett said. “Maybe they’ll see more familiar faces when they get to high school.” Becca Beaman, a freshman at McHenry County College, said the location is ideal because it’s halfway between McHenry East and McHenry West high schools. There also is a bike path and park nearby. The two-floor building once was a mill, and it has brick walls and high ceilings with open floors for kids to move around freely. Ullett was struck by the history and character of the building, which dates to the 1800s. From the looks of it outside, she wasn’t expecting much. “I almost lost my breath when I walked in,” Ullett said. “I didn’t think it would look like this at all.” Some of the sit-down restaurant-style booths inside might look familiar. That’s because furniture was donated when a Panera Bread restaurant in Buffalo Grove closed. “Rather than sitting in a junkyard[...]


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Village sues Huntley Outlet Center owners to fix building after pipes burstThere is evidence in several tenant spaces and the Huntley Outlet Center food court of vandalism, unauthorized entry and damage to the walls, according to a complaint filed Wednesday in McHenry County Circuit Court. Numerous doors either were unlocked, broken off their hinges or had broken glass.The buildings at the Huntley Outlet Center were left unheated, resulting in water lines and pipes freezing and bursting. The fire sprinkler and alarm systems also failed, according to the complaint.The Huntley Outlet Center is seen May 1.The vacant stores at the Huntley Outlet Center have varying amounts of combustible materials, such as this furniture store with chairs that were left behind.The vacant stores at Huntley Outlet Center have varying amounts of combustible materials, such as the leftover shelving units in this vacant store.Separated and damaged fire sprinkler piping was noted in several stores and in the Huntley Outlet Center's food court area, likely caused by freezing and thawing in the unheated spaces.There are multiple holes in walls throughout several units of vacant stores.Exterior store signs have been removed and awning logos have been painted over at the Huntley Outlet Center.

Tue, 20 Feb 2018 05:10:00 GMT

HUNTLEY – The village of Huntley is asking Huntley Outlet Center property owners to make several repairs or demolish the building after a recent burst pipe brought several fire code violations to the village’s attention, according to a complaint filed in McHenry County Circuit Court. In the complaint filed Wednesday, the village demands that developers of the outlet center be subject to an aggressive schedule to fix the building and bring it back up to code. The complaint named Huntley Investment Partners LLC and the Metropolitan Capital Bank & Trust, which own the center that has sat vacant since its last store closed in May. Since then, people have entered the mall without permission, vandalized the food court and damaged walls in some stores, according to the complaint. Developers violated numerous provisions of the village’s fire code, and the village is asking the court to assess penalties, order developers to restore the fire suppression and alarm system to full working order, and reheat the building, among other repairs, according to the complaint. Huntley Fire Protection District Fire Marshal Ken Madziarek said the Public Works Department reported an unusually large flow of water at the property, which prompted him to inspect the building Jan. 8. “It was literally a rain forest,” Madziarek said. “There were a few inches of standing water in the building, with water coming from the ceiling.” The buildings were left unheated, resulting in water lines and pipes freezing and bursting. The fire sprinkler and alarm systems failed, and developers never notified Madziarek of the failures, according to the complaint. The sprinklers had been turned off for a portion of the buildings, except for the food court area, according to the complaint. A judge granted a temporary restraining order and ordered developers to have a 24-hour fire watch, which typically consists of hiring off-duty firefighters or individuals to patrol the property at all times, village attorney Tom Burney said. Property owners also have to remove all combustible items by Feb. 23. Photos from certified fire protection specialist Keith Frangiamore show leftover furniture and accessories, such as shelves and couches, still in the vacant stores. Dangerous property The village alleges that the property is a danger to others. If a fire begins at the property, the Huntley Fire Protection District would not be notified, and the sprinkler system would not operate because of the broken pipes. [...]


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McHenry County Mental Health Board services available in wake of Florida shootingIn the wake of a high school shooting in Florida last week that killed 17 people, the McHenry County Mental Health Board is reminding residents of resources available in a time of crisis.

Tue, 20 Feb 2018 05:08:00 GMT

CRYSTAL LAKE – In the wake of a high school shooting in Florida last week that killed 17 people, the McHenry County Mental Health Board is reminding residents of resources available in a time of crisis. The “MCHELP” mobile app allows people to text or call a licensed professional counselor in times of crisis, or to share suspicious activity or concerns 24/7. McHenry County Mental Health Board Executive Director Scott Block said that right now is an important time for community members to know what mental health resources are available to them. “While we can’t predict that the use of the app can prevent tragedy, it can and does help people who call and text with problems,” Block said. Block referenced problems such as in relationships, with bullying, substance abuse, depression, loneliness, self-injury, homework anxiety and more. Callers often are directed to other services available on the app for long-term help. “There is still a lot of stigma, unfortunately, on accessing care for mental health services, so this app gives direct access to a live person, and it can be done anonymously,” Block said. “They can work with professionals to follow up on any other potential service recommendations.” A 2017 Healthy Community Study found that 21 percent of the survey respondents who were unable to receive services cited that they were not sure how to find mental health services. Since then, Mental Health Board members are putting a greater emphasis on making sure the community is aware of the services offered. The app was developed through an anonymous donor who granted the funds for a texting and voice line two years ago. The line was expanded to an app that is available for free on iTunes and Google. On Friday, the Mental Health Board sponsored a petition and certification training course with the McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office. The course was given to more than 100 people Friday and walked them through how to involuntarily admit someone to be hospitalized for mental health reasons. Participants were taught the legal process involved in involuntary psychiatric admission, such as how to prepare for court hearings and how to become more competent in filling out petitions correctly so courts uphold the documents. “The petition process comes into play as mental health professionals might become familiar with someone voicing self-harm or harm to others,” Block said. “It’s very important individuals understand this process and can help someo[...]


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McHenry County College to host support summit for undocumented studentsMcHenry County College's Latino Unidos Club, Office of Multicultural Affairs and Student Peace Action Network are teaming up to host the event from 9 to 11 a.m. Saturday in Room A240 of Bersted Lecture Hall, 8900 Route 14, Crystal Lake.

Tue, 20 Feb 2018 05:08:00 GMT

CRYSTAL LAKE – McHenry County College will host its first summit for supporting undocumented students.

The college’s Latino Unidos Club, Office of Multicultural Affairs and Student Peace Action Network are teaming up to host the event from 9 to 11 a.m. Saturday in Room A240 of Bersted Lecture Hall, 8900 Route 14, Crystal Lake.

The summit will discuss resources available for undocumented students, how to create supportive spaces and how to foster resilience, according to a news release.

Presenters will include Sandy Lopez, assistant to the director for Northern Illinois University’s Center for Latino and Latin American Studies; and Shirley Sadjadi, principal attorney and founder of the Law Offices of Shirley Sadjadi in Elgin.

Students, faculty, staff and other supportive professionals are recommended to attend.

Attendees also will be able to visit representatives from Mano a Mano Family Resource Center and Hispanic American Community Education and Services.

To reserve a seat or for information, contact multicultural affairs coordinator Elizabeth Rosiles at erosiles@mchenry.edu or 815-479-7749.

McHenry County College's Latino Unidos Club, Office of Multicultural Affairs and Student Peace Action Network are teaming up to host the event from 9 to 11 a.m. Saturday in Room A240 of Bersted Lecture Hall, 8900 Route 14, Crystal Lake.


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Time to register for 8th annual McHenry County Human RaceJayden Davis, 4, cheers for runners during the McHenry County Human Race on April 23. Jayden's mother ran to support local charities.Lee Stiemke, dressed as Batman, high-fives McHenry County Human Race participants Brian Bennet and Piper Bennett as they run to the finish line April 23.

Tue, 20 Feb 2018 05:08:00 GMT

The eighth annual McHenry County Human Race 5K walk/run will be at 8 a.m. April 22 at McHenry County College. This community event supports more than 65 nonprofit organizations in the county.

The unique race allows participants to designate which organization will receive a portion of their registration fee. Along with helping the organization raise money, these individuals also are helping the organization qualify for cash prizes.

Cash prizes totaling $2,400 this year include the McHenry County Community Foundation Award of $600 to the organization with the most supporting racers and the General Kinematics Award of $400 to the top fundraising organization.

These organizations are sponsoring the race this year: McHenry County Community Foundation, General Kinematics, Northwest Herald, Centegra Health System, Star 105.5, SAGE Products, Illinois State Bank, Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital, McHenry County College, Aurora University Woodstock and The Running Depot.

For information or to register, visit www.mchumanrace.org or call Volunteer Center McHenry County at 815-344-4483.

Jayden Davis, 4, cheers for runners during the McHenry County Human Race on April 23. Jayden's mother ran to support local charities.Lee Stiemke, dressed as Batman, high-fives McHenry County Human Race participants Brian Bennet and Piper Bennett as they run to the finish line April 23.


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