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Carpentersville man who robbed Oswego Township store gets 24-year prison termTimothy Wisnauski

Thu, 27 Jul 2017 00:45:00 GMT

CARPENTERSVILLE – A Carpentersville man convicted of robbing a convenience store in Oswego Township has been sentenced to 24 years in state prison.

Kendall County State’s Attorney Eric Weis announced Monday that Timothy E. Wisnauski, 35, of the 3000 block of Blue Ridge Drive, Carpentersville, was sentenced following a hearing last week.

According to Weis, Wisnauski committed an armed robbery of a store in the 100 block of Light Road in Oswego Township in April of 2016.

In the early afternoon, Wisnauski parked a Jeep in the parking lot across from the store. He crossed the street on foot, entered the store, removed a bottle of soda from the shelf and walked to the cashier, Weis said. The surveillance cameras clearly showed numerous tattoos on Wisnauski, including behind his right ear, both sides of his neck, up and down both arms, the top of both hands and both sets of knuckles, Weis said.

After paying for the drink, Wisnauski is observed on video exiting the store, walking back to the Jeep, putting on a light-colored, long-sleeved sweater and entering the Jeep, Weis said. A short time later, Wisnauski left the Jeep with the hood of a light-colored sweatshirt over his head and a red bandana tied around his face, Weis said.

He jogged back to the store, entered, drew a small silver pistol, jumped on the counter and pointed the gun at the clerk demanding cash, Weis said. The arm tattoos were still visible while he was on the counter pointing the gun, Weis said. After the clerk gave him the money from two cash registers, he left the store, ran back to the Jeep and drove off, according to Weis.

Timothy Wisnauski


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Hog calling, elephant ears and demo derbies. It's McHenry County Fair timeRunning Aug. 1-6 with a theme of “Carving Out Our Future” at the McHenry County Fairgrounds at Route 47 and Country Club Road in Woodstock, the fair also marks the 100-year anniversary of 4-H in McHenry County. For an area rooted in farming, the anniversary – culminated with a gathering of young and old 4-H members from 7 to 10 p.m. Aug. 5 at the fairgrounds – is one to celebrate. It’s about both expanding and remembering where McHenry County came from, said Katie Bloomfield, the general manager of the fair.This year’s fair features an extra sixth day, and among the entertainment will be the hit country band Sawyer Brown, performing at 8 p.m. Aug. 4 in the grandstands. The band is known for numerous hits in the 1990s, including 1991’s “The Walk,” 1992’s “Some Girls Do” and 1993’s “Thank God for You.” “The concert’s big for us, but also we wanted to keep a lot of the same traditions,” Bloomfield said. That means a carnival, food and treats galore, a queen pageant, pedal and tractor pulls, chainsaw sculpting, a Conservation World green house, motocross, demolition derbies and, of course, 4-H livestock and non-livestock shows.Not to mention that watermelon-eating contest, slated for 5 p.m. Aug. 5, along with other contests – hog calling, a talent contest and a Mother Daughter Look-A-Like. “We wanted to have some of those old-time fair activities going on,” Bloomfield said. “We really want to grow and get bigger, while still keeping the country charm the fair has already. We’re trying to balance it.”Discounted fair tickets availableat www.mchenrycountyfair.com. On Aug. 1, admission tickets will be $4 and will include a half-off coupon to buy a ticket to return any day you choose. At the gate, admission tickets cost $25 for a season pass (good for all six days of the fair). Daily admission tickets cost $8 for adults (ages 13 and older), $5 for seniors and veterans, $5 for children ages 6 to 12 and free for children ages 5 and younger. Family passes are available online. Admission into the fair does not include events or carnival rides. Aug. 2-4 are carnival wristband days. Buy a wristband for $20 for unlimited rides from 1 to 5 p.m. those days. The cost of grandstand events varies. Information: www.mchenrycountyfair.com or 815-338-5315.Following is your complete guide to the McHenry County Fair. Aug. 1 4 p.m. – Carnival, commercial buildings and tents open. (Discounted carnival rides.) 6 p.m. – McHenry County Queen Pageant, Grandstands. Free admission. Aug. 2 7 a.m. – Gates open 7 a.m. – 4-H Swine Carcass Show, Swine Barn 8 a.m. – Open and Jr. Open Beef Show, Hansen Pavilion 9 a.m. – Open Dairy Goat Show, Goat Barn 9 a.m. – 4-H Rabbit Show, Rabbit Barn 9 a.m. – Open Poultry Show, Poultry Tent 9 a.m. – Open Antiques Show, Building D 9 a.m. – Open and Jr. Art Show, Building F 9:30 a.m. – 4-H Dairy Cattle Show, Hansen Pavilion 10 a.m. – Commercial tents and buildings open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. – Barnyard Discoveries. A free adventure in the Bovine Barn for all ages with activities, displays and the chance to meet baby animals and watch chicks hatch. 11:30 a.m. – Open and Jr. Photo Show, Building E Noon – Open and Jr. Veggie Show, Building E 1 p.m. – Carnival open 1:30 p.m. – 4-H Sheep Breed Show, Hansen Pavilion 3 p.m. – 4-H Sheep Market Lamb Show, Hansen Pavilion 3:30 p.m. – Sheriff K-9 demonstration, Ag Line Stage 4 p.m. – Tractor Parade, Agriculture Barns 5 p.m. – Archery demonstration, Horse Arena 5 p.m. – Junior judging contest all departments, Hansen Pavilion 6 p.m. – Tractor Veterans Salute, Grandstands. Free admission. 6:30 p.m. – 4-H Cloverbud Judging, 4-H Building 7 p.m. – Gene Green’s Team Roping, Grandstands. Free admission.Aug. 3 7 a.m. – Gates open 8 a.m. – 4-H and Jr. Swine Show, Swine Barn 9 a.m. – 4-H Dairy Goat Show, Goat Tent 9 a.m. – 4-H Beef Show, Hansen Pavilion 9 a.m. – Jr. Open Rabbit Show, Rabbit Barn 10 a.m. – Chainsaw Sculpture Show featuring Joe Stebbing Jr. creating works of art out of pine logs. The statues will be up for auction at 4 p.m. Aug. 6 in Hansen Pavilion, with proceeds supporting the McHenry County Fair Association. 10 a.m. – Commercial tents and buildings open 10 a.m. – Jr. Open Sheep Breeding Show, Hansen Pavilion 11 a.m. – Andy Martello, Ag Line Stage. Featuring magic, juggling, plate spinning, fire eating and more. Martello was last seen on “Last Comic Standing.” 11:30 a.m. – Jr. Open Goat Show, Goat Barn 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. – Barnyard Discoveries Noon – Jr. Open Flower Show, Building F 1 p.m. – Carnival open 1 p.m. – KidBuck$ Game Show. Randomly selected members of the audience between the ages of 3 and 15 will participate in wild and crazy games. The champion enters a chamber and grabs as many “kidbucks” as possible. 1 p.m. – Chainsaw Sculpture Show 2 p.m. – Andy Martello, Ag Line Stage 3 p.m. – Live music with Blend, Ag Line Stage 3:30 p.m. – Sheriff K-9 Demonstration, Ag Line Stage 4 p.m. – Tractor Parade, Agriculture Barns 4 p.m. – Chainsaw Sculpture Show 4 p.m. – KidBuck$ 5 p.m. – Mother Daughter Look-Alike Contest. Mothers and daughters of all ages invited to compete against others from the county. 6 p.m. – Chainsaw Sculpture Show 6 p.m. – Blend, Ag Line Stage 6:30 p.m. – KidBuck$ 6:30 p.m. – Woodstock MX MotorCross, Grandstands. Cost: $5 7 p.m. – 4-H Awards Ceremony, Hansen Pavilion 7:30 p.m. – Andy Martello, Ag Line Stage 9 p.m. – 4-H dance, Hansen Pavilion Aug. 4 7 a.m. – Gates open 8 a.m. – Open Swine Show, Swine Barn 8:30 a.m. – 4-H Horse Show, Horse Arena 9:30 a.m. – Open and Jr. Open Dairy Show, Hansen Pavilion 10 a.m. – Chainsaw Sculpture Show 10 a.m. – Open Sheep Show, Hansen Pavilion 10 a.m. – Commercial tents and buildings open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. – Barnyard Discoveries 11 a.m. – Andy Martello, Ag Line Stage Noon – Blend, Ag Line Stage Noon – Farm Yard Olympics, near Hansen Pavilion 1 p.m. – Carnival open 1 p.m. – KidBuck$ 2 p.m. – Andy Martello, Ag Line Stage 3 p.m. – Blend, Ag Line Stage 3 p.m. – Pedal Pull registration, Hansen Pavilion 3:30 p.m. – Sheriff K-9 demonstration, Hansen Pavilion 4 p.m. – Chainsaw Sculpture Show 4 p.m. – Tractor Parade, Agriculture Barns 4 p.m. – Pedal Pulls, Hansen Pavilion 4 p.m. – KidBuck$ 5 p.m. – Hog Call Contest, Ag Line Stage 6 p.m. – Drill Team Demonstration, Horse Arena 6 p.m. – Chainsaw Sculpture Show 6 p.m. – Blend, Ag Line Stage 6:30 p.m. – Kid Buck$ 6:45 p.m. – Georgia Rae Family Band, Grandstands. Opening for country band Sawyer Brown, taking the stage at 8 p.m. Tickets: $15 grandstand admission, $20 infield/track seating. 7 p.m. – Talent Contest, Hansen Pavilion 7:30 p.m. – Andy Martello, Ag Line Stage 9 p.m. – Jimmy Nicks, Entertainment TentAug. 5 7 a.m. – Gates open 8 a.m. – Antique Tractor Pull, Grandstands. Free admission. 9 a.m. – Open Horse Speed Show, Horse Arena 9 a.m. – Open Rabbit Show, Rabbit Barn 9:30 a.m. – Auction sellers meeting, Hansen Pavilion 10 a.m. – Commercial tents and buildings open 10 a.m. – Carnival opens 10:30 a.m. – Andy Martello, Ag Line Stage 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. - Barnyard Discoveries Noon – 4-H Auction, Hansen Pavilion Noon – Blend, Ag Line Stage Noon – Truck and Tractor Pulls, Grandstands. Cost: $5 grandstands, $15 pits 1 p.m. – Chainsaw Sculpture Show 1 p.m. – KidBuck$ 2 p.m. – Andy Martello, Ag Line Stage 3 p.m. – Blend, Ag Line Stage 3 p.m. – Pedal Pull Registration, Hansen Pavilion 3:30 p.m. – Sheriff K-9 demonstration, Hansen Pavilion 4 p.m. – Pedal Pulls, Hansen Pavilion 4 p.m. – Tractor Parade, Agriculture Barns 4 p.m. – Chainsaw Sculpture Show 4 p.m. – KidBuck$ 5 p.m. – Watermelon Eating Contest, Ag Line Stage 6 p.m. – Blend, Ag Line Stage 6 p.m. – Chainsaw Sculpture Show 6 p.m. – Truck and Tractor Pulls, Grandstands. Cost: $5 grandstands, $15 pits 7 p.m. – 4-H 100 Year Celebration, Hansen Pavilion 7:30 p.m. – Andy Martello, Ag Line Stage 9 p.m. – Suburban Cowboys, Entertainment TentAug. 6 7 a.m. – Gates open 8:30 a.m. – Open Horse Show, Horse Arena 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. – Barnyard Discoveries 10 a.m. – Chainsaw Sculpture Show 10 a.m. – Commercial tents and buildings open 10 a.m. – Carnival open 11 a.m. – 4-H Master Showmanship, Hansen Pavilion 11 a.m. – Andy Martello, Ag Line Stage Noon – Tractor Parade, Agriculture Barns Noon – Blend, Ag Line Stage 12:30 p.m. – Chainsaw Sculpture Show 1 p.m. – Demolition Derby, Grandstands. Cost: $5 grandstand, $10 pit pass (ages 8 to 13) and $20 pit pass (ages 14 and older) 1 p.m. – KidBuck$ 1 p.m. – Andy Martello, Ag Line Stage 1:30 p.m. – Pedal Pulls, Hansen Pavilion 2 p.m. – Chainsaw Sculpture Show 3 p.m. – Blend, Ag Line Stage 3:30 p.m. – Chainsaw Sculpture Show 4 p.m. – KidBuck$ 5 p.m. – Andy Martello, Ag Line Stage 5 p.m. – Demolition Derby, Grandstands. Cost: $5 grandstand, $10-$20 pit passes 6 p.m. – Livestock Barns closed 6 p.m. – Blend, Ag Line Stage 6:30 p.m. – KidBuck$ 8 p.m. – All buildings closed

Wed, 26 Jul 2017 20:52:00 GMT

It’s a mix of bigger – more live entertainment – and old-fashioned – watermelon-eating contest, anyone? – at this year’s McHenry County Fair. Here's your guide to the 69-year tradition in Woodstock. Running Aug. 1-6 with a theme of “Carving Out Our Future” at the McHenry County Fairgrounds at Route 47 and Country Club Road in Woodstock, the fair also marks the 100-year anniversary of 4-H in McHenry County. For an area rooted in farming, the anniversary – culminated with a gathering of young and old 4-H members from 7 to 10 p.m. Aug. 5 at the fairgrounds – is one to celebrate. It’s about both expanding and remembering where McHenry County came from, said Katie Bloomfield, the general manager of the fair.This year’s fair features an extra sixth day, and among the entertainment will be the hit country band Sawyer Brown, performing at 8 p.m. Aug. 4 in the grandstands. The band is known for numerous hits in the 1990s, including 1991’s “The Walk,” 1992’s “Some Girls Do” and 1993’s “Thank God for You.” “The concert’s big for us, but also we wanted to keep a lot of the same traditions,” Bloomfield said. That means a carnival, food and treats galore, a queen pageant, pedal and tractor pulls, chainsaw sculpting, a Conservation World green house, motocross, demolition derbies and, of course, 4-H livestock and non-livestock shows.Not to mention that watermelon-eating contest, slated for 5 p.m. Aug. 5, along with other contests – hog calling, a talent contest and a Mother Daughter Look-A-Like. “We wanted to have some of those old-time fair activities going on,” Bloomfield said. “We really want to grow and get bigger, while still keeping the country charm the fair has already. We’re trying to balance it.”Discounted fair tickets availableat www.mchenrycountyfair.com. On Aug. 1, admission tickets will be $4 and will include a half-off coupon to buy a ticket to return any day you choose. At the gate, admission tickets cost $25 for a season pass (good for all six days of the fair). Daily admission tickets cost $8 for adults (ages 13 and older), $5 for seniors and veterans, $5 for children ages 6 to 12 and free for children ages 5 and younger. Family passes are available online. Admission into the fair does not include events or carnival rides. Aug. 2-4 are carnival wristband days. Buy a wristband for $20 for unlimited rides from 1 to 5 p.m. those days. The cost of grandstand events varies. Information: www.mchenrycountyfair.com or 815-338-5315.Following is your complete guide to the McHenry County Fair. Aug. 1 4 p.m. – Carnival, commercial buildings and tents open. (Discounted carnival rides.) 6 p.m. – McHenry County Queen Pageant, Grandstands. Free admission. Aug. 2 7 a.m. – Gates open 7 a.m. – 4-H Swine Carcass Show, Swine Barn 8 a.m. – Open and Jr. Open Beef Show, Hansen Pavilion 9 a.m. – Open Dairy Goat Show, Goat Barn 9 a.m. – 4-H Rabbit Show, Rabbit Barn 9 a.m. – Open Poultry Show, Poultry Tent 9 a.m. – Open Antiques Show, Building D 9 a.m. – Open and Jr. Art Show, Building F 9:30 a.m. – 4-H Dairy Cattle Show, Hansen Pavilion 10 a.m. – Commercial tents and buildings open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. – Barnyard Discoveries. A free adventure in the Bovine Barn for all ages with activities, displays and the chance to meet baby animals and watch chicks hatch. 11:30 a.m. – Open and Jr. Photo Show, Building E Noon – Open and Jr. Veggie Show, Building E 1 p.m. – Carnival open 1:30 p.m. – 4-H Sheep Breed Show, Hansen Pavilion 3 p.m. – 4-H Sheep Market Lamb Show, Hansen Pavilion 3:30 p.m. – Sheriff K-9 demonstration, Ag Line Stage 4 p.m. – Tractor Parade, Agriculture Barns 5 p.m. – Archery demonstration, Horse Arena 5 p.m. – Junior judging contest all departments, Hansen Pavilion 6 p.m. – Tractor Veterans Salute, Grandstands. Free admission. 6:30 p.m. – 4-H Cloverbud Judging, 4-H Building 7 p.m. – Gene Green’s Team Roping, Grandstands. Free admission.Aug. 3 [...]


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'Some Girls Do' like Sawyer Brown, coming to McHenry County FairCountry band Sawyer Brown, known for numerous hits in the 1990s, including 1991's "The Walk," 1992's "Some Girls Do" and 1993's "Thank God for You," will perform Aug. 4 at the McHenry County Fair in Woodstock.Gregg "Hobie" Hubbard has co-written several of Sawyer Brown’s hits, including "The Dirt Road," "Drive Me Wild," "'Round Here" and "Outskirts of Town," as well as several songs on the Sawyer Brown Christmas albums.

Wed, 26 Jul 2017 20:07:00 GMT

A Sawyer Brown fan is loyal and likely has a sense of humor. A quick look at the bios of the men behind the country band, and it’s clear they don’t take themselves too seriously. Gregg “Hobie” Hubbard, who’s been with the band since its Florida roots in the early 1980s, talks about giving up his “promising career in the food services industry.” “He might or might not still have the smock,” he writes. It’s a humor translated into several of the bands hits over the years – “Some Girls Do” follows the premise there’s somebody for everyone, Hubbard said. It’s written by lead singer Mark Miller, who’s married. “So if he can find someone, anyone can,” Hubbard said. And that humor carries onto the stage. “It really for us is all about having a good time,” Hubbard said. “We figure everyone has enough stress in their lives, and they need to park that at the door.” The band will perform at 8 p.m. Aug. 4 in the grandstands at the McHenry County Fair at Route 47 and Country Club Road in Woodstock. Grandstand admission is $15, $20 for track seating at www.mchenrycountyfair.com. Fair admission is not included in the ticket price. Sawyer Brown fans range from those singing along to songs recorded before they were even born to those who’ve followed the band since “Star Search” in 1983. Named after one of the roads they performed on in Nashville, Sawyer Brown auditioned for the television show to get a videotape to promote themselves. They ended up winning the $10,000 grand prize and a record contract. It’s those fans who remember them from back then who’ve created a new generation of followers of the country hit-makers, known for numerous songs in the 1990s, including “The Walk” and “Thank God for You.” In all, the band has notched 27 hits in country’s top-20 charts. From mid-1991 to early 1995, 11 of the band’s 12 singles reached the top five. “Our fans from the beginning are the greatest word-of-mouth you could hope for,” Hubbard said. Four of the five band members of Sawyer Brown have been together for 36 years, with guitar player Shayne Hill joining the band about 14 years ago. They’ve all pursued other interests through the years, with Hubbard singing background on recording sessions for a variety of artists, but have remained Sawyer Brown, performing as much as possible. “Oh man, we just are always happy to be working,” Hubbard said. “There’s nothing we enjoy more than getting out and playing live.” Hubbard, who co-wrote several of Sawyer Brown’s hits, including “The Dirt Road,” “Drive Me Wild,” “ ’Round Here” and “Outskirts of Town,” as well as several songs on the Sawyer Brown Christmas albums, listens to everything from George Strait to U2. As far as today’s country artists go, he said he’s a fan of Keith Urban, Lady Antebellum, Kacey Musgraves and Sturgill Simpson. So how has Sawyer Brown endured through the years? “I think it’s a definite belief in what we can do together. There’s a definite team mentality on that,” Hubbard said. “There’s a chemistry that clicks with us. We take the work part seriously, but not ourselves seriously. Everybody out here has a great sense of humor, which is a saving grace. We’re getting to do exactly what we’ve always wanted to do.” McHENRY COUNTY FAIR: SAWYER BROWN WHEN: 8 p.m. Aug. 4 WHERE: Grandstands at the McHenry County Fairgrounds, Route 47 and Country Club Road, Woodstock COST & INFO: Doors open at 6 p.m., with the Georgia Rae Family Ba[...]


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President Trump lashes out at Alaska senator over health care voteSen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, center, is followed by reporters as she arrives to vote on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, July 25, 2017. Murkowski voted no, and Vice President Mike Pence then broke a 50-50 tie to start debating Republican legislation to tear down much of the Obama health care law. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Wed, 26 Jul 2017 19:50:00 GMT

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump on Wednesday lashed out at a Republican senator who opposed moving forward with long-promised legislation to repeal and replace "Obamacare."

"Senator @lisamurkowski of the Great State of Alaska really let the Republicans, and our country, down yesterday. Too bad!" Trump tweeted.

Murkowski, who was re-elected to a new six-year term last year, defended her vote. She repeatedly has expressed concerns about deep Medicaid cuts in the GOP bill and has called for a bipartisan process to address shortcomings of the current health care law and stabilize individual markets.

"You know I am comfortable with the decision that I made yesterday in working to advance Alaska's interests and working today to do the same," she said Wednesday.

"I don't' really follow Twitter that much," she added.

Murkowski was one of two Republicans — Maine's Susan Collins was the other — who on Tuesday voted against allowing debate of GOP legislation to repeal much of the Affordable Care Act. The final tally was 51-50, with Vice President Mike Pence breaking the tie.

Trump has been pushing lawmakers to deliver on their promises to repeal and replace. Whether Republicans can find consensus remains unclear.

Collins also commented on Trump's attack on Murkowski.

"I thought it was extremely unfortunate. Lisa is an extraordinarily good senator. She represents her state very well and she's very strong and does what she thinks is right and I was disappointed to see that."

Murkowski, 60, is in her fourth term representing the nation's largest state and chairs the powerful Senate Energy Committee. Murkowski, whose father served as senator and governor, survived a near-death political experience in 2010 when she lost her party's primary but retained her seat as a write-in candidate.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, center, is followed by reporters as she arrives to vote on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, July 25, 2017. Murkowski voted no, and Vice President Mike Pence then broke a 50-50 tie to start debating Republican legislation to tear down much of the Obama health care law. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)


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Auction to sell Lake in the Hills shopping center that includes former Dominick's postponedFile photo H. Rick Bamman – hbamman@shawmedia.com Aldi is expected to open in the former Dominick’s in Lake in the Hills at Randall and Algonquin roads. The building has been vacant since 2014.

Wed, 26 Jul 2017 16:31:00 GMT

LAKE IN THE HILLS – An auction for a Lake in the Hills property that includes the former Dominick’s store has been postponed, Economic Development Coordinator George Hahne said.

Hahne announced in June that Aldi would be putting its new prototype in a portion of the 70,000-square-foot building at Randall and Algonquin roads, which has been vacant since 2014. The whole center where the Dominick’s was located, including a shopping center just north of the area, was originally planned to be put up for auction on Wednesday.

However, the auction was delayed and may not take place for up to two months from now, Hahne said.

“It’s a typical real estate transaction, it’s just taking a little bit more time,” Hahne said.

A representative from Transwestern, the company brokering the auction, could not immediately be reached for more information. Hahne has said the price for the centers will start at $1.5 million.

The center where the old Dominick’s was located includes about 99,000 square feet of retail space, Hahne said, and the shopping center just north of the Dominick’s shopping center on Randall Road includes about 17,000 square feet of retail space. Aldi would occupy about 22,000 square feet of the vacant Dominick’s store.

Farm, ranch and home retail chain Big R had planned to move in but backed out in August.

When Dominick’s stores closed, Jewel-Osco bought many of the stores’ leases, including the one in Lake in the Hills, Hahne said. Several grocery stores had shown interest in the space before, Hahne has said, but a lease between the shopping center’s owner, LNR Property, and Albertsons, the parent company of Jewel-Osco, prevented those deals from happening. However, on April 30, that lease ended.

Aldi has signed a letter of intent with the shopping center’s current owners, Hahne said, which helps make the center more valuable at auction. He’s confident the sale will still go through and Aldi will still move into the space once the center is sold, despite the delay.

“[A Transwestern representative said] it’s definitely going to happen, it’s just been delayed 30 to 60 days,” Hahne said.

File photo H. Rick Bamman – hbamman@shawmedia.com Aldi is expected to open in the former Dominick’s in Lake in the Hills at Randall and Algonquin roads. The building has been vacant since 2014.


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Algonquin police cancel National Night Out event because of flooding, cleanup

Wed, 26 Jul 2017 16:29:00 GMT

ALGONQUIN – The Algonquin Police Department has canceled its National Night Out event planned for next week because of this month's unprecedented storms and flooding.

The event was set to take place from 4 to 7 p.m. Aug. 1 at the Harnish Main Library. Algonquin Police Chief John Bucci said the department is unable to dedicate resources to the event because of the recent flooding and clean-up efforts that have followed.

"As this event is an important celebration of our community, we are disappointed to not have a chance to meet with the residents of Algonquin," Bucci said in a letter.

National Night Out is an annual event promoting police-community partnerships and community camaraderie.

Bucci said the department encourages residents to turn on their porch lights, go outside and meet their neighbors on Aug. 1.

"The police department looks forward to participating in upcoming events, including future National Night Out celebrations and continuing to build partnerships with the Algonquin community," he said.

This is not the first community event Algonquin has canceled because of flooding. Organizers canceled Algonquin Founders' Day Festival for the first time in 57 years because of record flooding of the Fox River, which has affected Algonquin and other local towns.


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Reinventing Yourself Can Lead to Higher Pay

Wed, 26 Jul 2017 14:50:15 GMT

Whether you’re underemployed or looking to change occupations, career experts say your first step should be training. A certificate or degree can often equate to an immediate bump in pay and a higher perch on that career ladder.

The Fast Track Program at McHenry County College is a good example. Some students have landed higher paying positions after just two semesters.

“Earning my degree helped me get my dream job,” said Pauleen McCollum of Crystal Lake. “I’m happier than I've ever been and so glad I decided to pursue my degree.”

“I was immediately promoted after receiving my degree…and my level of confidence skyrocketed,” agreed Angel Torres of Harvard.

Through the Fast Track Program, MCC offers certifications in Manufacturing Management, Construction Management and Engineering Technology, and, with more classes, can lead to an AAS degree in two to four years. The programs are popular with both working adults and traditional students. A major draw is scheduling.

“Most classes are scheduled one night a week, so students can still work during the day,” said Heather Zaccagnini, instructor of applied technology. Students can also take many classes online.

“The management programs are designed specifically for people who have industry experience but who want to move up into leadership positions, earn more money and move into a position leading technology or people,” Zaccagnini said.

MCC’s Engineering Technology Program draws many students right out of high school as well as working adults who want to get more technical expertise to advance their careers, Zaccagnini said.

That program uses industry software packages like Solidworks, Mastercam, and other CAD programs and includes a manufacturing lab where students use hands-on technology like measuring equipment and machining.

Engineering Technology graduates can enter many careers including design, quality or manufacturing engineering, Zaccagnini said.

Registration for fall Fast Track classes is going on now. For details and schedules, visit www.mchenry.edu/fasttrack.

 


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Crystal Lake to offer storm debris pickupThis June 29 photo offers a view looking east onto Oriole Trail from Donald and Susan Adams' flooded backyard on Pine Street in Crystal Lake. Residents living in the block immediately southeast of the Route 14 and West Crystal Lake Avenue intersection are frustrated with the city for not finding a solution for the flooding problem, which has cost them money and left them without access to their backyards for much of the summer. However, the city has been denied grant money to help fund a solution.

Wed, 26 Jul 2017 14:37:00 GMT

CRYSTAL LAKE — The Crystal Lake Public Works Department will begin storm-related pickups Thursday.

Residents must have their brush to the curb before 7 a.m. Thursday morning. The brush must be less than 6 feet in length and 6 inches in diameter.

"Due to the extent of the storm damage, we are requesting resident’s cooperation in limiting the brush and limbs to recent storm damage only," city officials said in a statement.

The Public Works Department is also providing additional brush drop off Saturday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Waste Water Treatment Facility, 445 Dartmoor Drive, Crystal Lake.

A free special collection focusing on areas hit particularly hard by flooding will take place Saturday morning. Residents are asked to have flood-damaged items on the curb before 7 a.m. Saturday. MDC Environmental Services will be collecting additional bulky items like drywall, furniture, carpet (must be cut to 4-foot length), mattresses and normal household trash for no cost during the week of July 31 along with normal collection.

MDC asks residents to try to centralize items on the curb in bundles or containers to speed up the collection. MDC will only make one trip through each neighborhood, so residents are encouraged to put items by the curb by 7 a.m. Saturday or their regular collection day.

Large appliances like refrigerators, electronics like computers and household hazardous wastes will not be collected in the special collection. Residents can contact MDC at 815-568-7274 or mdces.com to have these items collected for a fee.

Anyone with questions or concerns can call the City of Crystal Lake at 815-459-2020, extension 3687.

A McHenry County Respite Center has been established at the Nunda Township Highway Department, 3510 Bay Road.

"Residents will find smiling faces ready to listen, food/snacks/coffee/flood recovery information, supplies and cleanup kits," officials said in a statement.

Nunda Township will also have cleanup kits available. Call 815-459-4011 for more information.

This June 29 photo offers a view looking east onto Oriole Trail from Donald and Susan Adams' flooded backyard on Pine Street in Crystal Lake. Residents living in the block immediately southeast of the Route 14 and West Crystal Lake Avenue intersection are frustrated with the city for not finding a solution for the flooding problem, which has cost them money and left them without access to their backyards for much of the summer. However, the city has been denied grant money to help fund a solution.


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President Trump bars transgender individuals from U.S. armed forcesFILE - In this March 27, 2008 file photo, the Pentagon is seen in this aerial view in Washington. President Donald Trump says he will bar transgender individuals from serving “in any capacity” in the armed forces. Trump said on Twitter Wednesday, July 26, 2017, that after consulting with “Generals and military experts,” that “the U.S. Government will not accept or allow Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military.” (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)

Wed, 26 Jul 2017 13:57:00 GMT

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump is barring transgender people from serving in the military "in any capacity," citing "tremendous medical costs and disruption."

Trump's announcement Wednesday morning on Twitter did not say what would happen to transgender people already in the military.

The president tweeted that after consulting with "Generals and military experts," the government "will not accept or allow Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military."

"Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail," he added.

Already, there are as many as 250 service members in the process of transitioning to their preferred genders or who have been approved to formally change gender within the Pentagon's personnel system, according to several defense officials.

The Pentagon has refused to release any data on the number of transgender troops currently serving. A RAND study found that there are between 2,500 and 7,000 transgender service members in the active duty military, and another 1,500 to 4,000 in the reserves.

Transgender service members have been able to serve openly in the military since last year, when former Defense Secretary Ash Carter ended the ban. Since Oct. 1, transgender troops have been able to receive medical care and start formally changing their gender identifications in the Pentagon's personnel system.

But Carter also gave the services until July 1 to develop policies to allow people already identifying as transgender to newly join the military, if they meet physical, medical and other standards, and have been stable in their identified genders for 18 months. Military chiefs recently announced a delay on allowing transgender people from enlisting.

Key concerns include whether currently enlisted troops have had medical or other issues that cause delays or problems with their ability to deploy or meet physical or other standards for their jobs. Military leaders also wanted to review how transgender troops are treated, if they're discriminated against or if they have had disciplinary problems, the officials said. They were not authorized to discuss internal deliberations publicly so spoke on condition of anonymity.

FILE - In this March 27, 2008 file photo, the Pentagon is seen in this aerial view in Washington. President Donald Trump says he will bar transgender individuals from serving “in any capacity” in the armed forces. Trump said on Twitter Wednesday, July 26, 2017, that after consulting with “Generals and military experts,” that “the U.S. Government will not accept or allow Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military.” (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)


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Top 10 most wanted: McHenry County Sheriff's Office seeks information on county's fugitivesThe McHenry County Sheriff's Office is searching for the county's top 10 most wanted fugitives. Location listed is the last known address for each man.Roberto Valdez-Calixto, 38, is wanted on first-degree murder charges in connection with the February 2005 stabbing death of Cecilio Hernandez. Authorities have said the stabbing occurred during an argument after a pickup basketball game. A fight ensued between a number of individuals, and Valdez-Calixto is accused of stabbing Hernandez to death, according to court records. Valdez-Calixto was charged in February 2005 with first-degree murder, aggravated battery and mob action. A Harvard police investigation found that Valdez-Calixto fled to Texcapilla, Mexico, and has been on the lam for more than a decade, according to Chicago Tribune reports. His last known address was in Harvard. Three male relatives of Valdez-Calixto were involved in the fight – one was convicted of mob action, and two others were convicted of second-degree murder, according to court records. The case is up for a status hearing Aug. 2 on an ongoing warrant for his arrest.Justin E. Dean was charged Feb. 14 with possession of a controlled substance after police said he had less than 15 grams of oxycodone. This is not the 25-year-old's first time on the top 10 fugitives list – Dean was No. 7 on the list in 2012, when he was wanted for possession of a stolen firearm, sale of a stolen firearm, possession of a handgun and possession of a firearm with an expired firearm owner's identification card, according to court records. Officers received an arrest warrant for Dean after an investigation into the stolen firearm, police have said. The gun was used in October 2011 during an accidental shooting in Volo. He later was sentenced to three years in prison on the possession of a stolen firearm charge, according to court records. His last known address was 6916 Seminole Drive, Wonder Lake. Dean previously was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia, driving under the influence, criminal trespass to a residence with people present and mob action, according to court records. The case is up for a status hearing Sept. 29 on an ongoing warrant for his arrest.Ambrocio Diaz, 60, is wanted on charges of attempted first-degree murder, armed violence and aggravated battery with a firearm. His last address was 418 Beloit St., No. 2, Walworth, Wisconsin, according to the sheriff's office website. No other information could be provided through court records or by the McHenry County Sheriff's Office.Kostas Lymberopoulos is wanted on a delivery of a controlled substance charge, specifically heroin. In 2012, Lymberopoulos, 29, of Woodstock was convicted on a charge of possession with intent to deliver and sentenced to three years in prison, according to court records. Four years later, in March 2016, he was arrested after police said he stole a power cord from the surveillance camera at the Woodstock train station. He pleaded guilty to a felony theft charge two months later and was sentenced to 30 months of probation, 160 days in McHenry County Jail, 125 hours of community service and more than $1,900 in fines. He also was required to complete drug and alcohol addiction treatment, according to court records. Lymberopoulos, whose last known address was 1460 Cord Grass Trail, previously was convicted of theft in 2009, forgery in 2008 and possession of marijuana in 2007.Cortez V. Simpson, 25, was charged in February after authorities said he conspired and sold more than 1 gram but less than 15 grams of cocaine with three co-defendants. He faces charges of criminal drug conspiracy, delivery of a controlled substance within a public housing complex, delivery of a controlled substance and possession of a controlled substance, according to court records. He faces up to 30 years in prison if convicted of the most serious charge. Simpson, whose last known address is 4504 Garden Quarter Road, Apt. 17, McHenry, previously was charged with unlawful delivery of a controlled substance, domestic battery and battery. The case is up for a status hearing Jan. 22 on an ongoing warrant for his arrest. One of Simpson's co-defendants, Kenneth L. Price, also has a warrant out for his arrest. Co-defendant Tonya Krich was arraigned on similar charges Monday, and Michelle A. Lopez will appear in court for a bond hearing Wednesday, according to court records.Juan C. Saucedo, 38, is wanted on charges of predatory criminal sexual assault and aggravated criminal sexual abuse in connection with incidents that authorities said occurred in 1998. Based on the nature of the offenses, no other information could be provided by the McHenry County Sheriff's Office or through court records. His last known address was 1600 North Ave., Apt. B, Crystal Lake. The case is up for a status hearing Aug. 1, 2018, on an ongoing warrant for his arrest.James Buttacavoli Jr. was charged in 2016 after authorities said he possessed more than 2,000 grams of marijuana and more than 50 cannabis sativa plants. He faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted of the most serious charge. His last known address was 972 Mesa Drive, Lake in the Hills. The 43-year-old has no previous criminal history in McHenry County, according to court records.Dewayne O. Williams is wanted on 2017 charges of delivery and possession of cocaine. The 28-year-old was found not guilty of cocaine dealing charges in 2016 after a bench trial before Judge Michael Feetterer, according to court records. He also was sentenced to three years in prison on a possession of a controlled substance charge in 2015, and two years of probation on the same charge in 2011. His last known address was 801 Washington St., Apt. 17, Woodstock. The case is up for a status hearing Dec. 29, 2018, on an ongoing warrant for his arrest.Jose L. Ruiz, 50, is wanted on a charge of predatory criminal sexual assault after he pleaded guilty to the offense in 2015. The McHenry man, whose last known address was 3707 W. John St., avoided trial in December 2014 and pleaded guilty to the felony charge, according to court records. He was sentenced to 24 years in prison while not present in court in January 2015. His bond was revoked, and a warrant was issued for his arrest, according to court records. Based on the nature of the offenses, no other information could be provided by the McHenry County Sheriff's Office or through court records. The case is up for a status hearing Aug. 1, 2018, on an ongoing warrant for his arrest.Jose L. Sanchez, 47, faces 2013 charges of aggravated criminal sexual assault with a firearm, criminal sexual assault and aggravated unlawful restraint. The Lakemoor man is accused of forcing a man to have inappropriate sexual contact with him in a bathroom while armed with a handgun, according to court documents. Based on the nature of the offenses, no other information could be provided by the McHenry County Sheriff's Office or through court records. The case is up for a status hearing Aug. 2 on an ongoing warrant for his arrest.

Wed, 26 Jul 2017 13:17:00 GMT

The McHenry County Sheriff's Office Apprehension Unit has posted a list of the top 10 most-wanted suspects in the county on its website for nearly a decade. Charges of those who are wanted range from first-degree murder to drug possession to criminal sexual assault. Residents are asked to call the sheriff's office with information about these individuals and should not try to confront them. Those with information on any of the individuals are encouraged to call the McHenry County Sheriff's Office Apprehension Unit at 815-334-4704, the sheriff's office at 815-338-2144, Crime Stoppers at 800-762-7867 or email TipLine@co.mchenry.il.us. The McHenry County Sheriff's Office is searching for the county's top 10 most wanted fugitives. Location listed is the last known address for each man.Roberto Valdez-Calixto, 38, is wanted on first-degree murder charges in connection with the February 2005 stabbing death of Cecilio Hernandez. Authorities have said the stabbing occurred during an argument after a pickup basketball game. A fight ensued between a number of individuals, and Valdez-Calixto is accused of stabbing Hernandez to death, according to court records. Valdez-Calixto was charged in February 2005 with first-degree murder, aggravated battery and mob action. A Harvard police investigation found that Valdez-Calixto fled to Texcapilla, Mexico, and has been on the lam for more than a decade, according to Chicago Tribune reports. His last known address was in Harvard. Three male relatives of Valdez-Calixto were involved in the fight – one was convicted of mob action, and two others were convicted of second-degree murder, according to court records. The case is up for a status hearing Aug. 2 on an ongoing warrant for his arrest.Justin E. Dean was charged Feb. 14 with possession of a controlled substance after police said he had less than 15 grams of oxycodone. This is not the 25-year-old's first time on the top 10 fugitives list – Dean was No. 7 on the list in 2012, when he was wanted for possession of a stolen firearm, sale of a stolen firearm, possession of a handgun and possession of a firearm with an expired firearm owner's identification card, according to court records. Officers received an arrest warrant for Dean after an investigation into the stolen firearm, police have said. The gun was used in October 2011 during an accidental shooting in Volo. He later was sentenced to three years in prison on the possession of a stolen firearm charge, according to court records. His last known address was 6916 Seminole Drive, Wonder Lake. Dean previously was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia, driving under the influence, criminal trespass to a residence with people present and mob action, according to court records. The case is up for a status hearing Sept. 29 on an ongoing warrant for his arrest.Ambrocio Diaz, 60, is wanted on charges of attempted first-degree murder, armed violence and aggravated battery with a firearm. His last address was 418 Beloit St., No. 2, Walworth, Wisconsin, according to the sheriff's office website. No other information could be provided through court records or by the McHenry County Sheriff's Office.Kostas Lymberopoulos is wanted on a delivery of a controlled substance charge, specifically heroin. In 2012, Lymberopoulos, 29, of Woodstock was convicted on a charge of possession with intent to deliver and sentenced to three years in prison, according to court records. Four years later, in March 2016, he was arrested after police said he stole a power cord from the surveillance camera at the Woodstock train station. He pleaded guilty to a felony theft charge two months later and was sentenced to 30 months of probation, 160 days in McHe[...]


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McCain delivers a key health care vote, scolding messageSen. John McCain, R-Ariz. arrives on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, July 25, 2017, as the Senate was to vote on moving head on health care with the goal of erasing much of Barack Obama's law. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)In this image from video provided by C-SPAN2, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. is is applauded as he arrives of the floor of the Senate on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, July 25, 2017. (C-SPAN2 via AP)In this image from video provided by C-SPAN2, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. is embraced by Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer of N.Y. as he arrives of the floor of the Senate on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, July 25, 2017. (C-SPAN2 via AP)Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. arrives on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, July 25, 2017, as the Senate was to vote on moving head on health care with the goal of erasing much of Barack Obama's law. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Wed, 26 Jul 2017 12:06:00 GMT

WASHINGTON — The maverick stood with his party on Tuesday, casting a crucial vote in the Republican drive to repeal "Obamacare." But then, like an angry prophet, Sen. John McCain condemned the tribal politics besetting the nation. Confronting an aggressive brain cancer, the 80-year-old Arizonan served notice he would not vote for the GOP legislation as it stands now. McCain's impassioned speech held the rapt attention of his colleagues in the Senate chamber. "Stop listening to the bombastic loudmouths on the radio, television and the internet," he intoned. "To hell with them! They don't want anything done for the public good. Our incapacity is their livelihood." A few minutes earlier, McCain dramatically entered the chamber for the pivotal vote, his first since surgery and his cancer diagnosis in Arizona. Unified for once, Republicans and Democrats applauded and whooped for the six-term lawmaker. "Aye," he said, thumbs up with both hands, for the GOP vote to move ahead on debate. After he voted, McCain stood at his seat and accepted hugs and handshakes from senators in both parties, drawing laughter from the spectators' gallery when he and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders exchanged an awkward embrace. McCain then spoke his mind. His face was pale, cheek bruised, a red scar and stitches above his left eye where doctors had removed a blood clot. But his voice was strong. He offered a bit of self-deprecation, saying he was "looking a little worse for wear." He bemoaned the lack of legislative accomplishments in the current Congress and the GOP's secretive process in working on repealing Obamacare. He issued a plea for Democrats and Republicans to work together. Obama and the Democrats shouldn't have pushed the Affordable Care Act through on party-line votes when they controlled Washington back in 2010, McCain said, "and we shouldn't do the same with ours. Why don't we try the old way of legislating in the Senate?" That would involve committee hearings and testimony from experts and interested parties, an incremental process that could take months. He blasted the path taken by Republican leaders "coming up with a proposal behind closed doors in consultation with the administration, then springing it on skeptical members, trying to convince them that it was better than nothing. "I don't think that's going to work in the end, and it probably shouldn't," he said. Debates in the Senate have become "more partisan, more tribal, more of the time than at any time I can remember," he lamented. With President Donald Trump threatening electoral retribution for Republicans who don't toe the line, McCain urged senators to stand up for their own constitutional status. "Whether or not we are of the same party, we are not the president's subordinates," he said. "We are his equal!" People with health care problems had speculated on social media how McCain would vote, and his decision disappointed many. Addressing concerns that tens of millions will lose coverage if the Republican bill becomes law, McCain said the process is far from over. "I voted for the motion to proceed to allow debate to continue," he said. "I will not vote for this bill as it is today. It's a shell of a bill right now." Arizona is one of 31 states that expanded Medicaid under President Barack Obama's health care law, and Republican Gov. Doug Ducey is worried about tens of thousand[...]


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A historic farmhouse built in 1891 across from Sterne’s Park: What $479,000 can get you in Crystal LakeCrystal Lake home listed for sale on Zillow: 5426 Hillside Road. 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, 2,794 square feet. Listed price: $479,000. Estimated mortgage: $1,787 per month. One of the original farm houses in the area, this home sits on nearly three acres. It includes a large, two-story barn that was recently rehabbed with new siding and a roof, a separate guest cottage, and above-ground pool. The three-season porch and large family/rec room feature vaulted ceilings. Listing agent: Rick Bellairs, Berkshire Hathaway Home Services: 815-338-3850.Crystal Lake home listed for sale on Zillow: 5426 Hillside Road. 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, 2,794 square feet. Listed price: $479,000. Estimated mortgage: $1,787 per month.Crystal Lake home listed for sale on Zillow: 5426 Hillside Road. 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, 2,794 square feet. Listed price: $479,000. Estimated mortgage: $1,787 per month.Crystal Lake home listed for sale on Zillow: 5426 Hillside Road. 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, 2,794 square feet. Listed price: $479,000. Estimated mortgage: $1,787 per month.EntrancewayDining roomDining roomFamily roomKitchenKitchen - eating areaLaundryLiving roomLiving roomThree-season porchMaster bedroomMaster bedroomMaster bathroomOne of four bedroomsOne of four bedroomsOne of four bedroomsCrystal Lake home listed for sale on Zillow: 5426 Hillside Road. 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, 2,794 square feet. Listed price: $479,000. Estimated mortgage: $1,787 per month.Crystal Lake home listed for sale on Zillow: 5426 Hillside Road. 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, 2,794 square feet. Listed price: $479,000. Estimated mortgage: $1,787 per month.CottageThree-car detached garageTwo-story barn rehabbed in 2009Crystal Lake home listed for sale on Zillow: 5426 Hillside Road. 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, 2,794 square feet. Listed price: $479,000. Estimated mortgage: $1,787 per month.Above-ground poolCrystal Lake home listed for sale on Zillow: 5426 Hillside Road. 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, 2,794 square feet. Listed price: $479,000. Estimated mortgage: $1,787 per month. One of the original farm houses in the area, this home sits on nearly three acres. It includes a large, two-story barn that was recently rehabbed with new siding and a roof, a separate guest cottage, and above-ground pool. The three-season porch and large family/rec room feature vaulted ceilings. Listing agent: Rick Bellairs, Berkshire Hathaway Home Services: 815-338-3850.

Wed, 26 Jul 2017 10:30:00 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: 5426 Hillside Road. 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, 2,794 square feet. Listed price: $479,000. Estimated mortgage: $1,787 per month. One of the original farm houses in the area, this home sits on nearly three acres. It includes a large, two-story barn that was recently rehabbed with new siding and a roof, a separate guest cottage, and above-ground pool. The three-season porch and large family/rec room feature vaulted ceilings. Listing agent: Rick Bellairs, Berkshire Hathaway Home Services: 815-338-3850.Crystal Lake home listed for sale on Zillow: 5426 Hillside Road. 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, 2,794 square feet. Listed price: $479,000. Estimated mortgage: $1,787 per month.Crystal Lake home listed for sale on Zillow: 5426 Hillside Road. 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, 2,794 square feet. Listed price: $479,000. Estimated mortgage: $1,787 per month.Crystal Lake home listed for sale on Zillow: 5426 Hillside Road. 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, 2,794 square feet. Listed price: $479,000. Estimated mortgage: $1,787 per month.EntrancewayDining roomDining roomFamily roomKitchenKitchen - eating areaLaundryLiving roomLiving roomThree-season porchMaster bedroomMaster bedroomMaster bathroomOne of four bedroomsOne of four bedroomsOne of four bedroomsCrystal Lake home listed for sale on Zillow: 5426 Hillside Road. 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, 2,794 square feet. Listed price: $479,000. Estimated mortgage: $1,787 per month.Crystal Lake home listed for sale on Zillow: 5426 Hillside Road. 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, 2,794 square feet. Listed price: $479,000. Estimated mortgage: $1,787 per month.CottageThree-car detached garageTwo-story barn rehabbed in 2009Crystal Lake home listed for sale on Zillow: 5426 Hillside Road. 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, 2,794 square feet. Listed price: $479,000. Estimated mortgage: $1,787 per month.Above-ground poolCrystal Lake home listed for sale on Zillow: 5426 Hillside Road. 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, 2,794 square feet. Listed price: $479,000. Estimated mortgage: $1,787 per month. One of the original farm houses in the area, this home sits on nearly three acres. It includes a large, two-story barn that was recently rehabbed with new siding and a roof, a separate guest cottage, and above-ground pool. The three-season porch and large family/rec room feature vaulted ceilings. Listing agent: Rick Bellairs, Berkshire Hathaway Home Services: 815-338-3850.


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Marengo City Council postpones vote on Settlers' Days road closureShaw Media file photo Members of the Hidden Path Arts studio perform a demonstration during the third day of the four-day Marengo Settlers' Day festivities in 2016. The City Council will meet to discuss moving Settlers' Days to a new location out of the downtown area.

Wed, 26 Jul 2017 05:10:00 GMT

MARENGO – City officials postponed a vote on a local road closure for Marengo’s annual Settlers’ Days event when a representative didn’t show up to answer questions surrounding the controversial move at this week’s City Council meeting.

Settlers’ Days Inc. is in charge of planning Marengo’s iconic celebration, a four-day event founded in 1971 that includes parades, a carnival, a craft show, food, live music and other events. One of its highlights is the “Saturday Night on Main Street” party, which traditionally occurs on Route 23 downtown.

This year, the committee plans to move its events to a field behind Glo-Bowl near Marengo High School, which has caused concern with residents and City Council members who question the break from tradition, parking, pedestrian safety, traffic flow and backup, whether there will be enough room for the high school marching band competition, cleanup and handicap accessibility.

“I am not one to put lock, stock and barrel in social media,” 3rd Ward Alderman Matt Keenum said. “But it’s pretty evident that the only people that have this desire to move are those that are on the committee.”

City Council members have no control over where the event takes place, but because no Settlers’ Days representative attended Monday’s meeting to address questions, a vote on whether to close Franks Road at Lindow Avenue and waive carnival fees for the event was postponed.

“It’s a slap in the face for them not to show up,” Keenum said. “Last time someone was here they were not able to answer our questions and said they would have to take everything back to their committee, and now there is no one here.”

Mayor John Koziol said he wanted to be clear that the city has no control on whether the event was moved and safety could be at stake if the roads are not closed during the event.

“I would hate to see someone get hurt,” Koziol said. “But as much as I talk about the safety of the road begin closed, there are just way too many questions that we can’t have answered.”

City Council members signed off on the closure of Route 23 to allow for the Settlers’ Day parade because the state also must OK the closure in time for the October event.

Council members also added that they would be OK to close Route 23 in the event that the committee decides to hold its traditional Saturday Night on Main Street event downtown after all, which council members will need to formally ratify at a future meeting.

The city will consider the closure of Franks Road near Glo-Bowl and the high school at a future meeting.

“I would like to give them the benefit of the doubt, postpone and request with a capital ‘R’ that someone in the know from that committee come here with answers,” Keenum said. “There are more questions than answers at this point.”

Shaw Media file photo Members of the Hidden Path Arts studio perform a demonstration during the third day of the four-day Marengo Settlers' Day festivities in 2016. The City Council will meet to discuss moving Settlers' Days to a new location out of the downtown area.


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Cary police investigating Cary Bank and Trust robbery

Wed, 26 Jul 2017 05:10:00 GMT

CARY – Cary police have arrested a woman in connection with a bank robbery that occurred Tuesday afternoon at Cary Bank and Trust.

Judy A. Persfull, 56, previously of Capron and currently believed to be homeless, was charged with burglary and theft and taken Tuesday evening to the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office, according to a news release and officials from the Cary Police Department.

Police arrived about 2:10 p.m. at the bank, 60 E. Main St., for a report of a bank robbery. The initial investigation indicated that Persfull went into the bank, approached the center teller and demanded cash. She placed a bag on the counter and fled after receiving the money. Persfull did not indicate that she had a weapon, police said.

She fled west on foot and was discovered about a block away on First Avenue and Park Street, police said.

The incident is under investigation.


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Cary Public Works Department to pick up storm brush Thursday

Wed, 26 Jul 2017 05:10:00 GMT

CARY – The Cary Public Works Department will be conducting a special storm brush pickup Thursday, according to a news release from the village.

Branches and limbs that have fallen during recent storms must be placed on the curb by 7 a.m. Thursday, and village staff will pass through each neighborhood one time, according to the release.

No whole trees or tree trunks will be removed. Residents should contact a licensed tree remover if a whole tree needs to be removed, according to the release.

Brush must be neatly stacked with the cut ends facing the street, and they cannot block the sidewalk or street, according to the release.

Smaller twigs, brush and thorny material should be bundled or put in the appropriate container to be disposed of on residents’ regular pickup day.

Brush also can be taken to the Algonquin Township disposal site. Contact the township at 847-639-2700 or visit www.algonquintownship.com for information.




Crystal Lake beaches closed because of floodingShaw Media file photo Lifeguards begin a waterfront safety orientation for new and returning guards May 19, 2012, at Crystal Lake Main Beach in Crystal Lake. Main Beach is closed because of flooding.

Wed, 26 Jul 2017 05:10:00 GMT

CRYSTAL LAKE – Crystal Lake’s Main and West beaches were closed Tuesday because of recent flooding, according to an alert on the Crystal Lake Park District’s website.

Swim lessons are canceled, and the Lakewood Police Department has declared Crystal Lake at “no-wake” status until further notice. However, the scheduled concert still was on for Tuesday night at Main Beach.

Excessive amounts of rain can elevate bacteria levels in the water, making it unsafe for swimmers, according to the website. The elevation most often occurs in shallow water. The water then is tested daily by the McHenry County Department of Health to determine when it is safe again.

To keep up to date with beach closures, visit the Park District’s rainout line at crystallakeparks.org/rainoutline.

Shaw Media file photo Lifeguards begin a waterfront safety orientation for new and returning guards May 19, 2012, at Crystal Lake Main Beach in Crystal Lake. Main Beach is closed because of flooding.


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Free sandbags available for Crystal Lake residents affected by floodingSarah Nader – snader@shawmedia.com Piles of sandbags cover La Fox River Drive on Saturday in Algonquin. Severe thunderstorms throughout Friday night and into Saturday morning drenched flooded areas in McHenry County, depositing more than 2 inches of rain in some parts.

Wed, 26 Jul 2017 05:09:00 GMT

CRYSTAL LAKE – The city is offering 1,500 filled sandbags for free to Crystal Lake residents who have been affected by recent flooding and severe thunderstorms.

Residents are responsible for loading and transporting the sandbags, which can be found at the Gold Road entrance to the Dole Mansion, 401 Country Club Road, according to a news release.

Questions should be directed to the Crystal Lake Public Works Department at 815-356-3614.

Sarah Nader – snader@shawmedia.com Piles of sandbags cover La Fox River Drive on Saturday in Algonquin. Severe thunderstorms throughout Friday night and into Saturday morning drenched flooded areas in McHenry County, depositing more than 2 inches of rain in some parts.


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Rollover on Lake in the Hills-Crystal Lake border closes portion of Randall RoadH. Rick Bamman – hbamman@shawmedia.com Emergency crews wheel a man to a waiting ambulance after he was extricated from an overturned vehicle after a three-vehicle crash Tuesday on Randall Road just north of Miller Road.

Wed, 26 Jul 2017 05:09:00 GMT

LAKE IN THE HILLS – A portion of Randall Road near Miller Road was closed for more than an hour Tuesday because of a rollover crash. Crystal Lake and Lake in the Hills emergency crews were at the scene. Three vehicles appeared to be involved in the crash, with one turned on its side. Ambulances were at the scene, although it was not immediately clear how many people were sent to the hospital or what the extent of their injuries were. Lake in the Hills sent a Nixle alert about 3 p.m. asking drivers to avoid the intersection. Neither Lake in the Hills nor Crystal Lake police could be reached Tuesday for information.

H. Rick Bamman – hbamman@shawmedia.com Emergency crews wheel a man to a waiting ambulance after he was extricated from an overturned vehicle after a three-vehicle crash Tuesday on Randall Road just north of Miller Road.


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McHenry County Department of Health: Lake in the Hills mosquito batch tests positive for West NilePhoto provided

Wed, 26 Jul 2017 05:08:00 GMT

LAKES IN THE HILLS – The McHenry County Department of Health has identified a mosquito batch with West Nile virus in a Lake in the Hills trap.

The health department collected the batch of mosquitoes June 20, according to a news release. This was the first positive test in 2017 in McHenry County.

The Illinois Department of Public Health has reported 272 positive batches in the past year throughout the state. The McHenry County department will continue to test mosquitoes through mid-October.

West Nile virus remains a risk until the first hard frost, according to the health department.

Symptoms range from fever, headache and body aches to more serious outcomes, such as encephalitis, meningitis and death. People older than age 50 are most at risk to develop the more severe diseases.

Recent flooding likely will increase floodwater and nuisance mosquitoes, although floodwater mosquitoes are not typically carriers of West Nile, according to the health department.

For information on West Nile virus, visit www.mcdh.info or call 815-334-4585.

Photo provided


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Lakewood Village Board votes to censure Trustee Jason McMahonLakewood trustee Jason McMahon was censured at Tuesday night's board meeting after what Village Manager Paul Serwatka and other trustees deemed to be "false misrepresentations" posted on social media and the McHenry County Blog. The matter was approved, 4-1, with McMahon abstaining and Trustee Carl Davis opposed.

Wed, 26 Jul 2017 05:05:00 GMT

LAKEWOOD – A trustee was given a formal reprimand Tuesday night after the village president and other trustees deemed him to be providing the public with “false misrepresentations.” Trustees voted, 4-1, Tuesday night to censure Trustee Jason McMahon for allegedly making multiple false assertions and incurring about $800 in “inappropriate and abusive” taxpayer-funded legal expenses in an attempt to validate claims brought against Village President Paul Serwatka and other trustees. Trustee Carl Davis was the lone trustee opposed to the censure, and McMahon abstained. A censure is a formal expression of strong disapproval or harsh criticism that in government is adopted by a majority vote as a means of publicly reprimanding a person for offense and correcting future conduct. Grounds for censure can include embezzlement, absenteeism and drunkenness, among others. Although Serwatka said censure essentially amounts to “a slap on the wrists,” the village is limited in its options for disciplining publicly elected officials. “There were some very specific untruthful statements made,” Serwatka said Tuesday. “The fact that he refused to retract the statements … and the fact that he has not agreed to reimburse the village, we came up with a resolution to censure Trustee McMahon.” Serwatka and other trustees had a problem with what they felt were misrepresentations McMahon was spreading to the public both in board meetings and in online posts. A McHenry County Blog post in June, citing an email from McMahon as its source, claimed that the dissolution of the village’s tax increment financing district would result in a 12 percent increase in Lakewood property taxes and cost every Lakewood homeowner an average of $150. McMahon also posted June 24 to his public Facebook page challenging Serwatka’s ability to accept the resignation of the village’s police chief, to appoint a new police chief and to create an ordinance amendment adjusting the village’s authority over the office of the police chief. The ordinance in question, which passed nearly unanimously at the June 27 board meeting, took from the village manager sole discretion over hiring, firing, directing and appointing the police chief and gave it to the village president with advice and consent from the Village Board. McMahon was the lone trustee opposed. McMahon clarified in the post that he was not opposed to Michael Roth being appointed as the new chief but rather the “dangerous ordinance amendment” that he believed did not align with the village’s form of government. “What happens when the president or a future president, his family or friends get a traffic ticket, into a neighbor dispute, an ordinance violation, marital dispute, DUI or any number of other issues?” McMahon wrote. “This new policy would be a step backward for government transparency.” Serwatka said in an email that both former Deputy Village Manager Shannon Andrews and village attorney Michael Smoron addressed McMahon’s claims and clarified “line by line” that each one of his assertions were false. The board then asked McMahon to make a statement correcting his misrepresentations and to reimburse the villa[...]


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Police say Crystal Lake man found with $31,000 worth of marijuana, methamphetamine, pillsBrian R. Blackberg, 33, of the 1600 block of Carlemont Drive, was arrested by the McHenry County Sheriff's Office July 20 and charged with delivery of cannabis, delivery of a controlled substance, four counts of possession of a controlled substance, possession of cannabis, possession of drug paraphernalia and obstruction of justice.

Wed, 26 Jul 2017 05:02:00 GMT

WOODSTOCK – A Crystal Lake man is facing felony drug charges after police said he possessed about 6½ pounds of marijuana, seven grams of methamphetamine and various prescription pills.

Brian R. Blackberg, 33, of the 1600 block of Carlemont Drive, was arrested Thursday by the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office and charged with delivery of marijuana, delivery of a controlled substance, four counts of possession of a controlled substance, possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia and obstruction of justice.

If convicted of the most serious charge, Blackberg faces up to 15 years in prison.

Investigators said Blackberg had a digital drug scale, about 6½ pounds of marijuana (2,934 grams), 7.2 grams of methamphetamine, one Carisoprodol pill, three Diazepam pills and two amphetamine/dextroaphetamine pills in his possession, according to court documents.

The estimated street value is $31,950, deputies said.

Authorities said he also obstructed justice by destroying evidence, according to court documents.

Blackberg was being held in McHenry County Jail custody as of Tuesday afternoon in lieu of posting 10 percent of his $100,000 bond. He will appear before Judge Sharon Prather on Aug. 7.

Brian R. Blackberg, 33, of the 1600 block of Carlemont Drive, was arrested by the McHenry County Sheriff's Office July 20 and charged with delivery of cannabis, delivery of a controlled substance, four counts of possession of a controlled substance, possession of cannabis, possession of drug paraphernalia and obstruction of justice.


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Prairie Grove farm loses more than $500K in barn fire, owners say"I’d like to think fire training kept me safe, and horse training kept the horses safe,” Ziec said. Ziec called 911 as she ran into the barn. She said she didn't remember seeing flames, but she could smell the smoke. Three horses were trapped in stalls, and emergency responders were having trouble reaching the farm, 2480 Barreville Road, because of downed trees caused by severe thunderstorms. The first emergency crews reached the farm 18 minutes after Ziec called, and the barn already was a total loss, Ziec said.However, Ziec already had successfully rescued all three horses. “If it had been a minute in either direction, it could’ve been an entirely different scenario,” Ziec said. Nunda Township Fire Lt. Dan Murphy said that about 30 departments from across Lake and McHenry counties responded to the blaze, and its cause still is under investigation. Ziec said she thinks it was a lightning strike.Liz Wolodkiewicz, whose 25-year-old horse named Cloud was one of the last rescued from the barn, said the horses had the best possible person there.Ziec's father, Mike Forti, was diligent about keeping his farm safe from fires. He outfitted both barns with fully automated fire alarm systems and had a list of rules that included a ban on extension cords, vehicles needing to cool before being put away and more. “We had every other kind of stop in place,” Ziec said. "We were so safe and so careful. I never thought this would happen."Forti estimated that both his family and those who board their horses at Prairie Oaks lost more than $500,000 in equipment and the building itself. Friends and family of those affected by the fire have started several GoFundMe accounts, the Prairie Oaks Fire Boarders Fund and Prairie Oaks Farm Fire Fund to help those who board their horses make up for some of the damage.

Wed, 26 Jul 2017 04:58:00 GMT

PRAIRIE GROVE – Prairie Oaks Farm LLC still looked like it was burning Tuesday afternoon from Barreville Road in Prairie Grove. Krista Ziec, whose family owns the 16-acre property, said the hay and shavings, or horse bedding, will continue to smolder for days.

About 8:45 p.m. Friday, the farm's hay barn was engulfed in flames, and Ziec, a former firefighter with the Nunda Rural Fire Protection District, knew what she had to do.

"I’d like to think fire training kept me safe, and horse training kept the horses safe,” Ziec said. Ziec called 911 as she ran into the barn. She said she didn't remember seeing flames, but she could smell the smoke. Three horses were trapped in stalls, and emergency responders were having trouble reaching the farm, 2480 Barreville Road, because of downed trees caused by severe thunderstorms. The first emergency crews reached the farm 18 minutes after Ziec called, and the barn already was a total loss, Ziec said.However, Ziec already had successfully rescued all three horses. “If it had been a minute in either direction, it could’ve been an entirely different scenario,” Ziec said. Nunda Township Fire Lt. Dan Murphy said that about 30 departments from across Lake and McHenry counties responded to the blaze, and its cause still is under investigation. Ziec said she thinks it was a lightning strike.Liz Wolodkiewicz, whose 25-year-old horse named Cloud was one of the last rescued from the barn, said the horses had the best possible person there.Ziec's father, Mike Forti, was diligent about keeping his farm safe from fires. He outfitted both barns with fully automated fire alarm systems and had a list of rules that included a ban on extension cords, vehicles needing to cool before being put away and more. “We had every other kind of stop in place,” Ziec said. "We were so safe and so careful. I never thought this would happen."Forti estimated that both his family and those who board their horses at Prairie Oaks lost more than $500,000 in equipment and the building itself. Friends and family of those affected by the fire have started several GoFundMe accounts, the Prairie Oaks Fire Boarders Fund and Prairie Oaks Farm Fire Fund to help those who board their horses make up for some of the damage.


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Three-vehicle crash on Randall RoadEmergency crews from Crystal Lake and Lake in the Hills work the scene of a three-vehicle crash Tuesday on Randall Road just north of Miller Road.A woman records emergency crews from Crystal Lake and Lake in the Hills as they work the scene of a three-vehicle crash Tuesday on Randall Road just north of Miller Road.Emergency crews wheel a man to a waiting ambulance after he was extricated from an overturned vehicle after a three-vehicle crash Tuesday on Randall Road just north of Miller Road.Emergency crews from Crystal Lake and Lake in the Hills work the scene of a three-vehicle crash Tuesday on Randall Road just north of Miller Road.Crystal Lake emergency crews wheel the driver of one of the vehicles to a waiting ambulance after a three-vehicle crash Tuesday on Randall Road just north of Miller Road.Curious spectators peer over a fence to watch emergency crews from Crystal Lake and Lake in the Hills work the scene of a three-vehicle crash Tuesday on Randall Road just north of Miller Road.Randall Road traffic crawls Tuesday after a three-vehicle crash just north of Miller Road closed the northbound lanes.Lake in the Hills police officer Sarah Barham directs traffic at the scene of a three-vehicle crash Tuesday on Randall Road just north of Miller Road.

Wed, 26 Jul 2017 04:13:00 GMT

LAKE IN THE HILLS – Randall and Miller roads in Lake in the Hills were closed about an hour Tuesday because of a crash, according to a Nixle alert from Lake in the Hills police.

Emergency crews from Crystal Lake and Lake in the Hills work the scene of a three-vehicle crash Tuesday on Randall Road just north of Miller Road.A woman records emergency crews from Crystal Lake and Lake in the Hills as they work the scene of a three-vehicle crash Tuesday on Randall Road just north of Miller Road.Emergency crews wheel a man to a waiting ambulance after he was extricated from an overturned vehicle after a three-vehicle crash Tuesday on Randall Road just north of Miller Road.Emergency crews from Crystal Lake and Lake in the Hills work the scene of a three-vehicle crash Tuesday on Randall Road just north of Miller Road.Crystal Lake emergency crews wheel the driver of one of the vehicles to a waiting ambulance after a three-vehicle crash Tuesday on Randall Road just north of Miller Road.Curious spectators peer over a fence to watch emergency crews from Crystal Lake and Lake in the Hills work the scene of a three-vehicle crash Tuesday on Randall Road just north of Miller Road.Randall Road traffic crawls Tuesday after a three-vehicle crash just north of Miller Road closed the northbound lanes.Lake in the Hills police officer Sarah Barham directs traffic at the scene of a three-vehicle crash Tuesday on Randall Road just north of Miller Road.


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As McDonald's works on transforming, $1 sodas boost U.S. salesThis Friday, March 17, 2017, photo shows the McDonald's sign outside a restaurant in downtown Pittsburgh. McDonald's Corp. reports earnings, Tuesday, July 25, 2017. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

Wed, 26 Jul 2017 03:39:00 GMT

OAK BROOK – McDonald’s is trying to modernize its image by rolling out delivery and promising fresh beef in Quarter Pounders. But for now, $1 sodas are helping get people in the door. The company said Tuesday that discounted drinks and a new line of pricier burgers helped boost sales in its flagship U.S. market by 3.9 percent at existing locations during the second quarter. CEO Steve Easterbrook has been working on transforming the chain’s menu and stores to get customers visiting more often in an increasingly competitive environment. Customer visits have declined in the U.S. for four straight years at existing locations, and McDonald’s is on track to shrink its domestic footprint for the third year in a row. The latest quarter showed signs of improvement. McDonald’s said customer visits increased at existing domestic locations, although there were about 100 fewer U.S. locations than a year ago. It did not specify how much customer visits contributed to the sales increase, but Easterbrook has repeatedly laid out plans to get the figure climbing again by making McDonald’s more convenient. Those efforts in the U.S. include introducing in-store ordering kiosks, expanding delivery through UberEats, and launching a mobile order-and-pay option later this year. While those plans may boost sales over the long term, the company is relying on deals such as $1 sodas and $2 McCafe drinks to attract customers in the short term. Such promotions get people into stores to see other changes and new menu offerings such as the “Signature Crafted” burgers, the company said. Chris Kempczinski, president of McDonald’s USA, noted in an interview last month that about three quarters of the people who come in for the drink deals also end up buying food. “The typical behavior is that they will buy other items,” he said. Bernstein analyst Sara Senatore noted that the company’s “impressive” results came even before the full effect of its digital initiatives have been seen. And Instinet analyst Mark Kalinowski said that other menu news could help boost sales in the coming quarters. The company plans to sell a Sriracha Mac dipping sauce, he noted, and is testing Loaded Bacon & Cheese fries in parts of four U.S. states. McDonald’s also is looking beyond its core menu and offering pastries by registers in some locations, and testing “dessert stations” behind the counter that would let employees make an expanded menu of treats. In the meantime, the U.S. store count is falling. The Oak Brook-based company had 14,079 domestic locations at the end of the quarter. Globally, it expanded and had more than 37,000 locations. Sales on a global basis also rose 6.6 percent at existing locations, with customer visits up in the company’s nine biggest markets. For the three months that ended June 30, McDonald’s earned $1.4 billion, or $1.70 per share. Earnings adjusted for non-recurring costs came to $1.73 per share, beating analysts forecast for $1.62, according to a poll by Zacks Investment Research. McDonald’s said total revenue was $6.05 billion, also higher than[...]


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Senate dives into health care debate despite deep divisions within the GOPMelina Mara – The Washington Post Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., announced the passage of the vote to proceed to debate on the GOP's health care bill Tuesday as "the first step" toward repealing Obamacare.

Wed, 26 Jul 2017 03:39:00 GMT

WASHINGTON – The Senate embarked on a freewheeling process to rewrite the Affordable Care Act on Tuesday, as Republicans overcame deep divisions to bring their proposals up for debate by the narrowest possible margin. But those same schisms threatened to leave the party far short in the coming days of its ambitious goal to undo major parts of the ACA, which the GOP has been vowing for seven years to dismantle. The vote to begin debate marked a momentary political victory for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and President Donald Trump. The president managed to resuscitate the GOP’s months-long effort to unwind President Barack Obama’s signature 2010 law by convincing more than half a dozen wavering senators that they could not afford to walk away from an enduring political promise. Republicans passed the procedural hurdle by a slim 51-50 vote margin, with Vice President Mike Pence breaking the tie. The health-care debate is likely to spark a chaotic, unpredictable couple of days on Capitol Hill – with senators voting on everything from abolishing much of the law to what is being called a “skinny repeal.” The result of these ensuing votes, many think, will be far more modest changes to the ACA than the party has long advertised. “The endgame is to be able to move something at the end of this process across the Senate floor that can get 50 votes and then to get into conference with the House,” said Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., a top McConnell lieutenant. Tuesday’s proceedings were marked by high drama, including the return of Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., to the Capitol just 1½ weeks after undergoing surgery for brain cancer, and Pence’s move to cast the tiebreaking vote. The intensity of the debate, including protesters who yelled “Kill the bill!” in the Senate chamber after the voting had begun, underscored the stakes involved in overhauling a health-care system that affects one-sixth of the nation’s economy and how tens of millions Americans receive medical care. All 48 members of the Democratic caucus voted against the procedural motion to start debate, along with two GOP centrists, Susan Collins, Maine, and Lisa Murkowski, Alaska. Republicans have struggled mightily to get to this point, and there is no guarantee they will win final passage of the bill. In a sign of how muddled the situation remains, McCain took to the floor after voting to move ahead and declared, “I will not vote for the [Senate leadership bill] as it is today. It’s a shell of a bill right now.” Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., echoed these sentiments, tweeting, “I support a full repeal of Obamacare & will continue to oppose the BCRA,” referring to the leadership bill called the Better Care Reconciliation Act. Trump has been pushing aggressively for Republicans to pass a repeal-and-replace plan, saying opposing the procedural motion to proceed with debate would be tantamount to endorsing the law known as Obamacare. Speaking at a joint news conference in the Rose Garden on Tuesday, the president said he is “very, very sad” for the Republicans who opposed the motion but “very happy with the result” o[...]


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Free lunches at Texas Roadhouse to benefit Special Olympics Illinois

Wed, 26 Jul 2017 03:33:00 GMT

SYCAMORE – Texas Roadhouse restaurants around the state, including the Sycamore location, will be offering a free lunch to collect donations for Special Olympics Illinois.

Texas Roadhouse, 1950 DeKalb Ave., will offer free lunches from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday. Local law enforcement agencies partner with the restaurants to collect the donations, according to a news release.

The free lunch includes a pulled pork sandwich, corn, fresh baked bread with honey-cinnamon butter and a nonalcoholic beverage.

This will be the fundraiser’s seventh year. Last year’s events raised almost $80,000 for the organization, according to the release.

Texas Roadhouse restaurants in Crystal Lake, Joliet, Bradley, Quincy and Countryside will have the same free lunch hours Friday, while restaurants in Springfield, Champaign, Forsyth, Shiloh and Edwardsville will have free lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday.


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Mic captures GOP senator ripping Trump, mocking lawmakerSen. Susan Collins, R-Maine is surrounded by reporters as she arrives on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, July 25, 2017, before a test vote on the Republican health care bill. The bill has faced opposition and challenges within the Republican ranks, including by Collins. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)FILE - In this March 19, 2013 file photo, Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas is seen on Capitol Hill in Washington. Farenthold says it’s “absolutely repugnant” that the GOP-led Senate hasn’t acted on repealing the health care law and he singled out “some female senators from the Northeast.” (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)

Tue, 25 Jul 2017 21:36:00 GMT

WASHINGTON – Oh, that dreaded open microphone!

Republican Sen. Susan Collins got caught Tuesday at the end of a hearing with a microphone that was still hot – and captured her ripping President Donald Trump and making fun of a fellow lawmaker who had been critical of her on health care.

Collins, a moderate from Maine, can be overheard complaining about Trump and his proposed 2018 budget, which slashes spending with deep cuts to domestic agencies, food stamps, Medicaid, highway funding and medical research.

"Whenever there was a grant, they just X-ed it out, with no metric, no thinking about it, no nothing," she tells Democratic Sen. Jack Reed of Rhode Island. "It's just incredibly irresponsible."

"I think he's crazy," Reed says. And Collins adds, "I'm worried."

Collins was also snagged making unflattering remarks about Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, a day after he blamed "some female senators from the Northeast" for blocking health care legislation. He said he wished he could challenge them to a duel "Aaron Burr-style."

"Did you see the one who challenged me to a duel?" Collins asks.

"I know," Reed replies. "Trust me. Do you know why he challenged you to a duel? 'Cause you could beat the s--- out of him."

Collins continues, "I don't mean to be unkind but he's so unattractive it's unbelievable."

Collins then mentions a widely circulated picture of Farenthold wearing baby blue pajamas with yellow ducks on them as he poses in the photo with a big grin next to a scantily clad young woman.

The audio followed a meeting of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development. Collins is the chairman of the committee and Reed is the ranking Democrat on the panel.

In a statement, Reed's office said he was just "letting Sen. Collins know he's in her corner."

He has said it publicly and privately, Reed's spokesman, Chip Unruh, said: "the Trump administration is behaving erratically and irresponsibly. For the good of the country, the president needs to start focusing on the budget."

Farenthold's office declined to comment. A request to Collins' office was not immediately answered.

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine is surrounded by reporters as she arrives on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, July 25, 2017, before a test vote on the Republican health care bill. The bill has faced opposition and challenges within the Republican ranks, including by Collins. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)FILE - In this March 19, 2013 file photo, Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas is seen on Capitol Hill in Washington. Farenthold says it’s “absolutely repugnant” that the GOP-led Senate hasn’t acted on repealing the health care law and he singled out “some female senators from the Northeast.” (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)


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Relief arrives as Fox River water levels decreaseSarah Nader - snader@shawmedia.com Team Rubicon Volunteer Anthony Celani of Madison, Wis. helps set up a fence at their mobile command center in the parking lot of Home Depot in McHenry Monday, July 24, 2017. Team Rubicon, a national disaster response nonprofit organization led by veterans, will be helping McHenry and Lake County residents affected by this month's floods. They plan to have around 40 volunteers helping for 30 to 45 days.

Tue, 25 Jul 2017 14:46:00 GMT

Recovery and cleanup efforts have started as the flood levels on the Fox River begin to recede. Aid from around the country is pouring into McHenry County to help residents with assessments and cleanups of affected properties, but the homes that got hit the hardest likely will have to wait until the end of the week to begin recovery efforts, said David Christensen, McHenry County emergency management agency director. “Attitudes are a lot better since we had sunshine, cooler temperatures and water is going down,” he said. “But homes still have water on and around them. We aren’t quite ready to start recovery yet.” After receiving rainfall between 1 and 2½ inches this past weekend, the water levels rose to more than 13 feet. As of Monday evening, the water level was at 12.78 feet at the Algonquin tailwater and is predicted to drop to 11 feet by Sunday, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Johnsburg Junior High School now is the home to volunteers from Rubicon, a veteran-led disaster response organization. The group has 40,000 volunteers nationwide and 36 of them were sent to McHenry County recently to help launch what they call “Operation Fox Yeah.” Carol McCoy, a retired city government employee and a member of the Team Rubicon Incident Management Team, works as the incident commander overseeing all the volunteers for the Fox River flood. Rubicon will conduct damage assessments and provide muck-out operations and debris removal, she said. Some of those damage assessments started Monday, McCoy said, but some efforts can’t start until water is completely removed from flooded basements. Rubicon deemed the Fox River flooding a Type 2 situation in a ranking system that goes up to five, with one being the most severe, McCoy said. This system determines how long the team will stay based on the number of volunteers available and the number of work orders requested. Volunteers are estimated to be in the county for more than a month, but this may change as the group receives more information. “As we build that list of people who need help, we’ll start recruiting for more volunteers so we can match up our workforce with what needs to be done,” McCoy said. Those seeking help from Rubicon can call the crisis cleanup hotline at 800-451-1954. Until the full need is assessed, Rubicon is not looking for any more volunteers. More information for those affected or otherwise can be found by stopping by Rubicon’s vehicle parked in the McHenry Home Depot parking lot, 2461 N. Richmond Road. The Information Technology Disaster Resource Center also is stationed outside the Home Depot to supply any connectivity and technological needs that other cleanup organizations may need. Inside the vehicle, called a Forward Operations Base, the nationwide nonprofit set up satellite and wifi and offers video to the volunteer organizations coming in, Operations Director Joe Hillis said. This also will give the group the ability to see we[...]


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In Google vs. the EU, a $2.7B fine could just be the startFILE - This Tuesday, July 19, 2016, file photo shows the Google logo at the company's headquarters in Mountain View, Calif. Google parent Alphabet is taking a $2.7 billion write-down to cover a large fine EU antitrust enforcers assessed in June 2017. While the search giant can shrug off the cost, uncertainty lingers over its ability to operate freely on the continent going forward. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

Tue, 25 Jul 2017 05:33:00 GMT

SAN FRANCISCO – Google’s parent company Alphabet can easily afford the $2.7 billion write-down it’s taking to cover a big antitrust fine in Europe. But it might find it harder to shrug off the rest of the European regulatory assault that’s headed its way. In June, a European Commission ruling slapped down Google for abusing its market dominance in search by unfairly directing visitors to its comparison shopping service, Google Shopping, to the detriment of its rivals. The regulators not only imposed a huge fine, they also insisted that Google change the way it provides search results in Europe. Alphabet still is mulling an appeal of that ruling, which could take years to get through the European Court of Justice. And that case is only the first of several such investigations that have embroiled Google across the Atlantic, a situation that raises uncertainty about its ability to operate freely on the continent going forward. Why Europe is upset After a seven-year antitrust probe, the European Commission concluded that Google stifles the ability of rivals like Yelp to compete. That’s a different standard than in the U.S., where regulators tend to step in only when consumer prices go up due to monopolistic power. Europe’s top antitrust regulator, Margrethe Vestager, said Google “denied other companies the chance to compete on the merits.” Google said it’s giving consumers what they want: product listings with pictures and prices, saving them the trouble of repeating a search on another site. In two other cases, the commission charges Google with allegedly forcing its Android smartphone partners to favor Google’s apps and limiting the way its ad-partner websites can display search ads from Google rivals. An Alphabet spokeswoman said Monday that the company had nothing to say on the matter beyond its blog response to the fine last month, in which it painted itself as an underdog in product search compared with Amazon. How much Google could hurt It’s unclear how constraints on its behavior could affect it, but 33 percent of Alphabet’s revenue – roughly $8.5 billion in the latest quarter – came from the region it calls Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Beyond the fine, Alphabet faces a penalty of up to 5 percent of its average daily turnover if it doesn’t give equal treatment to rival comparison shopping services in Europe by late September. It’s up to Google to figure out how to do so. “These things tend to hobble a company’s behavior even if there isn’t a decision,” said Jonathan Taplin, a former professor at University of Southern California and author of “Move Fast and Break Things: How Google, Facebook and Amazon Have Cornered Culture and Undermined Democracy.” “I don’t think it’s the end, I think it’s the beginning.” Google’s previous offers to the commission to change its search results were rejected. That’s why it’s confusing trying to[...]


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Last orca calf born in captivity at a SeaWorld park diesAP file photo Orca Takara helps guide her newborn, Kyara, to the water's surface April 19 at SeaWorld San Antonio in San Antonio. Kyara was the final killer whale born under SeaWorld's former orca-breeding program. The Orlando-based company says 3-month-old Kyara died on Monday.

Tue, 25 Jul 2017 05:33:00 GMT

ORLANDO, Fla. – The last killer whale born in captivity under SeaWorld’s former orca-breeding program died Monday at the company’s San Antonio park, SeaWorld said.

Veterinarians were treating 3-month-old Kyara for an infection last weekend, but her health continued to decline, the Orlando-based company said in a news release.

“Kyara had a tremendous impact on the entire zoological team, not to mention all of the guests that had the chance to see her,” San Antonio trainer Julie Sigman said in a statement. “The heart and support that has gone into caring for her throughout Takara’s pregnancy until today has been amazing. As animal caregivers we dedicate our lives to these animals, and this loss will be felt throughout the entire SeaWorld family.”

A veterinary team will conduct a post-mortem examination to determine the cause of death. The release said that could take several weeks.

SeaWorld announced the end of its breeding program in March 2016, following years of pressure from animal rights protests and shifting public opinion about orcas being held in captivity.

SeaWorld has not collected a wild orca in nearly 40 years, and most of its orcas were born in captivity.

Kyara was born to 26-year-old Takara last April but was conceived before the program’s end was announced. Orca gestation can last up to 18 months.

SeaWorld also has decided to phase out its world-famous killer whale performances by 2019, after public opinion turned against keeping orcas, dolphins and other animals in captivity for entertainment.

The backlash intensified after the 2013 release of “Blackfish,” a documentary critical of SeaWorld’s orca care. It focused on the orca Tilikum, which killed trainer Dawn Brancheau in Orlando in 2010 by dragging her into the pool before shocked visitors after a “Dine with Shamu” show.

Tilikum, which sired 14 calves over nearly 25 years in Orlando, died of bacterial pneumonia in January.

Kyara was sired by Kyuquot.

SeaWorld has 22 orcas left in the U.S. The youngest, Amaya, was born in December 2014. All the orcas are expected to remain on display and available for researchers for years to come in Orlando, San Diego and San Antonio.

SeaWorld has announced plans to introduce new “natural orca encounters” in place of theatrical shows.

AP file photo Orca Takara helps guide her newborn, Kyara, to the water's surface April 19 at SeaWorld San Antonio in San Antonio. Kyara was the final killer whale born under SeaWorld's former orca-breeding program. The Orlando-based company says 3-month-old Kyara died on Monday.


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Kushner questioned by Senate investigators on RussiaWhite House senior adviser Jared Kushner, center, accompanied by his attorney Abbe Lowell, right, arrives on Capitol Hill on Monday, to meet behind closed doors before the Senate Intelligence Committee. MUST CREDIT: Photo for The Washington Post by Oliver Contreras

Tue, 25 Jul 2017 05:32:00 GMT

WASHINGTON – Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law, spent about two hours Monday answering questions from Senate investigators about his contacts with Russian officials, insisting he had not colluded with foreign agents before or after the 2016 presidential campaign. After his closed-door questioning, Kushner spoke briefly to reporters outside the White House. “Let me be very clear: I did not collude with Russia, nor do I know of anyone else in the campaign who did so,” Kushner said. “I had no improper contacts. I have not relied on Russian funds for my businesses and I have been fully transparent in providing all requested information.” “Since the first questions were raised in March, I have been consistent in saying I was eager to share whatever information I have with investigating bodies and I have done so today,’’ he said. “All of my actions were proper.’’ He dismissed outright the idea that Russia could be responsible for his father-in- law’s election victory. “Donald Trump had a better message and ran a smarter campaign and that is why he won. Suggesting otherwise ridicules those who voted for him,’’ Kushner said. In written remarks made public before his committee questioning, Kushner denied any improper contacts or collusion. The 11-page statement by Kushner detailed four meetings he had with Russian officials during the 2016 campaign and transition period – including one set up by Donald Trump Jr. with a Russian lawyer. Kushner defended his interactions with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak and other Russian officials as typical contacts in his role as the Trump campaign’s liaison to foreign governments, according to the prepared statement. Kushner answered questions behind closed doors to the Senate committee Monday, and is scheduled to do so again Tuesday with the House Intelligence Committee. Both panels are probing Russian interference in the 2016 election and contacts between Russia and Trump campaign officials and associates. U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded that the Russian government orchestrated a far-reaching campaign to meddle with last year’s presidential campaign and influence the outcome in Trump’s favor. Kushner’s appearances before congressional committees mark a new phase in the investigations of Russian meddling, as he is the first of the president’s closest advisers to appear before them. In his written remarks submitted to the congressional committees, Kushner said he has had only “limited contacts” with Russian representatives and denies any wrongdoing. “I did not collude, nor know of anyone else in the campaign who colluded, with any foreign government,” Kushner wrote. “I had no improper contacts. I have not relied on Russian funds to finance my business activities in the private sector.” Kushner portrayed himself as a goal-oriented task master [...]


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Truck driver charged in Texas in suspected smuggling case that led to 10 deathsA bottle of water, flowers, candles, and stuffed animals help form a makeshift memorial in the parking lot of a Walmart store near the site where authorities Sunday discovered a tractor-trailer packed with immigrants outside a Walmart in San Antonio, Monday, July 24, 2017. Several people died and others hospitalized after being crammed into a sweltering tractor-trailer in the midsummer Texas heat, according to authorities in what they described as an immigrant-smuggling attempt gone wrong. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Tue, 25 Jul 2017 05:32:00 GMT

SAN ANTONIO – The people packed into the sweltering tractor-trailer needed air. They banged on the walls for help, but the vehicle kept going. Trapped with as many as 200 people in the pitch-black trailer, they took turns breathing through a hole in the side. Some just passed out. They had been tagged with colored tape, allowing the smugglers to more easily sort them at the journey’s end – who would be handed off to which awaiting vehicle. The detailed account was laid out in a federal court filing Monday, coming from men who chronicled their harrowing journeys to a Walmart parking lot in San Antonio. Some had traveled hundreds of miles from central Mexico. Prosecutors charged the truck’s driver – James Matthew Bradley Jr., 60 – with smuggling immigrants for financial gain resulting in death, a charge that could carry the death penalty because it resulted in people dying while in transit. At least eight migrants perished inside the trailer; two others died later. Dozens of others remain in seven area hospitals, some with critical injuries. All of the dead or injured were undocumented, federal authorities said. It’s unknown what happened to the scores of others who the migrants told investigators had been in the trailer with them. Before the truck was found in the Walmart parking lot here, some travelers had spent days held in a house near the border with Mexico. Some were told to pay a group linked to a deadly Mexican drug cartel thousands of dollars for safe passage across the Rio Grande. Bradley told authorities he was unaware of the trailer’s cargo and was surprised when he realized people had been trapped inside. The truck’s discovery revealed the group’s horrifying journey to the U.S. at a time when immigration arrests have spiked under President Donald Trump and illegal border crossings have plummeted, federal officials said. The case also highlighted the extreme dangers people face as they try to enter the country. “To maximize their criminal profits, these human smugglers crammed more than 100 people into a tractor trailer in the stifling Texas summer heat resulting in 10 dead and 29 others hospitalized,” Thomas Homan, acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said in a statement Monday. “Human smugglers have repeatedly demonstrated that they have absolutely no regard for human life. Our ICE agents and officers, working closely with our law enforcement partners, will pursue these smugglers and bring them to justice.” At the Mexican consulate in San Antonio on Monday, workers fielded calls from the migrants’ relatives, who reached out from across the U.S., including Colorado and Ohio, as well as Mexico. Consul General Reyna Torres said she and the consulates of El Salvador and Guatemala met with Homeland Security authorities Monday morning. Federal officials were still struggling to identify some of the dead and injured, Torres said, adding that she has not been notified[...]


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Illinois governor calls another special session on educationFlanked by State Senate Republic Leader Bill Brady, left, and Illinois House Minority Leader Jim Durkin, Gov. Bruce Rauner discusses school funding in the state during a news conference on Monday, July 24, 2017 in Chicago. Rauner reiterated his call on Monday morning for Illinois lawmakers to send him a school funding overhaul by noon, saying he will call a special session this week if it's not on his desk. (Ashlee Rezin/Chicago Sun-Times via AP)

Tue, 25 Jul 2017 05:32:00 GMT

SPRINGFIELD – Gov. Bruce Rauner on Monday called for a second special legislative session in a month, this time after lawmakers ignored his noon deadline for sending him public education-funding legislation with just weeks before the scheduled opening of schools. Rauner issued the summons for lawmakers to return to the Capitol beginning Wednesday after he held a news conference in Chicago to accuse Democrats who control the General Assembly of holding schoolchildren “hostage” to their political agenda. “The Democrats in the majority are playing political games with our children’s education,” he told reporters, while again promising to change the legislation with an amendatory veto. “They seem to be intent on holding up school funding until August when schools need to open.” For weary Illinois taxpayers, it’s just the latest flashpoint in an ongoing struggle between the first-term Republican executive and majority legislative Democrats. A special session earlier this month concluded with Democrats enacting an annual budget – fueled by a 32 percent increase in the income tax rate – over Rauner vetoes. The budget was the first since 2015, ending the longest such stalemate of any state since at least the Great Depression. It also includes a provision that prohibits the state from issuing state aid to schools unless it’s done through an “evidence-based” formula of the type the General Assembly endorsed in May. But threatened with a veto, the Senate never sent Rauner that legislation, prompting the governor’s call for special session. At stake is the Illinois State Board of Education’s ability to start processing school-aid payments Aug. 1 and for the school bell to ring midmonth. Administrators at many schools say they have reserves or other means of opening, but some question for how long. Senate President John Cullerton of Chicago said in a statement Monday that Rauner is confused about what the legislation does and has given conflicting messages about it. “I’d like to have a conversation with Gov. Rauner in hopes of getting some clarity as to exactly what is going on,” Cullerton said in a statement. “We slowed down the process in the Senate in order to let everyone blow off some steam, politically speaking.” The legislation would revise the way schools receive state aid for the first time in two decades. The method funnels money to the neediest school districts first after ensuring that no district receives less money than last school year. That includes a $250 million-a-year grant for the financially-troubled Chicago schools for programs funded separately in other districts and a requirement that the state pick up the annual, $215 million employer portion of Chicago teachers’ pensions. Rauner contends the $250 million grant was meant to help pay retirement-account costs – something Chicago officials and proponents of the plan reject – and so the extra money is a “bailout” for[...]


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14-year-old Wonder Lake boy remains hospitalized after crashing relative's car, police say

Tue, 25 Jul 2017 05:12:00 GMT

WONDER LAKE – A 14-year-old boy remains hospitalized after police said he took a relative’s car without permission over the weekend and crashed into a utility pole in unincorporated Wonder Lake.

The McHenry County Sheriff’s Office and Wonder Lake Fire Protection District responded about 5:37 a.m. Saturday to the 2200 block of East Wonder Lake Road for the report of a crash.

Preliminary investigations show the 14-year-old, of Wonder Lake, took the vehicle from a relative without their permission.

Police said the teen was driving south on East Wonder Lake Road when he drove off the roadway and hit a utility pole. The vehicle rolled over several times.

The teen was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash. He remains in the hospital in serious but stable condition, and the crash remains under investigation, police said.

Speed and lack of driver experience are believed to be factors in the crash, police said.


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Transportation open house to be held for incoming Crystal Lake Elementary District 47 students

Tue, 25 Jul 2017 05:12:00 GMT

CRYSTAL LAKE – Incoming kindergartners and early childhood students in Crystal Lake Elementary School District 47 will have the chance to board and ride a school bus before the first day of school.

The bus service that serves Community High School District 155 and District 47 will be holding its fifth annual transportation open house from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Aug. 7 at the Transportation Joint Agreement’s bus garage, 1204 S. McHenry Ave., Crystal Lake, according to a news release from District 47.

The event is free for incoming District 47 kindergartners, early childhood students and their families, according to the release. Students will have the chance to meet bus drivers, learn about bus safety, ask questions and board and ride the bus.

There also will be a first aid and bus safety equipment station, a safe seating demonstration, snacks, games and more, according to the release.

Families are encouraged to attend the event at the time slot that corresponds to their last name to avoid congestion. Last names that start with “A” through “F” should come between 9 and 10 a.m., last names “G” through “L” should come between 10 and 11 a.m., last names “M” through “R” should come between 11 a.m. and noon, and last names “S” through “Z” should come between noon and 1 p.m.

Questions should be directed to the Transportation Joint Agreement at 815-455-0558.




Algonquin trustees to consider extending construction hours for Longmeadow pavingH. Rick Bamman - hbamman@shawmedia.com Longmeadow Parkway looking east toward Il. Rt. 31. and the Fox River in Algonquin

Tue, 25 Jul 2017 04:59:00 GMT

ALGONQUIN – Algonquin trustees will consider at their meeting Tuesday extending hours for construction on Longmeadow Parkway.

The current section is the second of five in the $115 million road project, and is expected to cost about $13 million, stretching from Randall Road to Karen Drive.

The road is being installed as a concrete pavement, according to a village memo, and requires specialized processes and equipment because of the magnitude of the project.

“Under the current working hours of the contract, these processes are greatly impacted and will have a negative impact to the quality and durability of the roadway,” Shawn Hurtig, project manager with the village, wrote in a memo. “These impacts range from excessive jointing and higher potential for cracking, to long-term issues, such as road noise and increased maintenance.”

Although the village’s code normally allows for construction work from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and between 8:30 a.m. and 8 p.m. Sunday, Plote Construction Inc., the general contractor of the Longmeadow Parkway project in Algonquin, is asking to extend hours for a maximum of two weeks from 6 a.m. to 11:30 p.m., according to village documents.

In addition to the improvement in quality, the extension also is being requested to help make up for project delays.

“Due to a project suspension, above average rainfall, and the recent state budget impasse, the Longmeadow Parkway project is currently running behind schedule,” senior project manager with Plote Construction Joseph Weishaar wrote in a letter to the village. “The extended shifts would [save] time and assist in expediting the overall project completion.”

Weishaar could not be reached Monday for more information.

Construction on the section of the road in Algonquin previously had been stopped because of the possible presence of an endangered bumblebee and the state budget impasse.

Despite this, Kane County Department of Transportation Assistant Director Steve Coffinbargar has maintained the project will be completed by Nov. 15.

The Algonquin Committee of the Whole meeting starts at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Ganek Municipal Center, 2200 Harnish Drive, Algonquin. To view the complete agenda, visit www.algonquin.org/.

H. Rick Bamman - hbamman@shawmedia.com Longmeadow Parkway looking east toward Il. Rt. 31. and the Fox River in Algonquin


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Algonquin man gets probation for felony marijuana possession chargeFile photo

Tue, 25 Jul 2017 04:56:00 GMT

WOODSTOCK – An Algonquin man escaped jail time and instead was sentenced to probation after he admitted to possessing marijuana in 2015 with the intent to sell the drugs.

Cirilo Martinez, 42, pleaded guilty Monday to an amended charge of possession of marijuana with intent to deliver. He faced up to four years in prison on the felony charge.

Judge Sharon Prather sentenced him to two years of first-offender probation, which means that if he completes everything required as part of the program, he will not be convicted of the charge. He is required to pay more than $5,000 in fines, costs and fees, complete alcohol and drug addiction treatment and 30 hours of community service.

Prather also sentenced him to 180 days in jail, which will be postponed until further court order.

He will be required to testify truthfully, if needed, against any of his co-defendants.

Martinez was arrested in May 2015 and charged in connection with what authorities said was an extensive drug operation. Also arrested were Nicholas A. Domino, Daniel Martinez, Rocio Domino and Adam Domino.

Authorities seized 295 pounds of marijuana, more than 60 pills of MDMA, more than 500 prescription painkillers and 25 grams of cocaine from two homes and a storage unit in Huntley and Lake in the Hills owned by Rocio and Nicholas Domino.

The two face more than 40 felony drug charges combined.

Cirilo Martinez was charged with possession of marijuana, calculated criminal drug conspiracy, criminal drug conspiracy, possession of marijuana with intent to deliver, possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance and possession of marijuana.

File photo


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McHenry County to consider Plum Tree National liquor license requestThe county plans to meet with state officials tomorrow to determine what to do about Plum Tree National’s liquor license.

Tue, 25 Jul 2017 04:53:00 GMT

HARVARD – County and state officials plan to meet Tuesday to determine what to do about Plum Tree National’s liquor license.

McHenry County revoked the Harvard-based banquet hall’s liquor license in October after complaints from neighbors about noise, along with other ordinance violations, such as unpaid taxes. Plum Tree appealed the decision with the state and has been allowed to continue to serve alcohol, county officials said.

“Anytime you deny, suspend or revoke a license they have a right to appeal to the state commission,” Assistant State’s Attorney Jana Blake Dickson said. “Right now, the best we can do is try to continue to work with the appeal process at the state and move forward.”

The McHenry County Liquor and License Commission met Monday morning to consider Plum Tree National’s request for a liquor license, but the application was considered incomplete because the owner, Erineo Carranza, hadn’t paid the application fee and owes the county about $4,500 in property taxes, according to property tax records.

In McHenry County, you are ineligible to have a liquor license if you owe taxes, Dickson said. The commission has had the application from Plum Tree since May and will consider the matter again at its next meeting.

Plum Tree advertises itself for private events, meetings, parties, dining and music events, including an upcoming two-day bluegrass festival in August.

The county plans to meet with state officials tomorrow to determine what to do about Plum Tree National’s liquor license.


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Hooved Animal Rescue and Protection Society saves farm animals from recent floodwatersThat’s when HARPS, the Hooved Animal Rescue & Protection Society, arrived on the scene. The Barrington Hills-based rescuers not only saved an anxious Olive, coaxing her through high waters reaching a depth of at least 4 feet, but they took in all the surviving animals, even ferrying some of them by boat on the morning of July 16. “We’re mainly hooved animals, but in an emergency, we’ll take everything,” said Donna Ewing, HARP’s president and founder, who was among those wading in wet gear that morning. The animals’ heads needed to be held up not only to prevent drowning, but to keep them from drinking the water, likely riddled with oils and other contaminants. “It’s a little extra work for us [to keep all of the animals] … but they’re so sweet and gentle,” Ewing said. “That made me realize they must have spent a lot of time communicating with them. They took good care of them.” It’s a bittersweet story as all those involved try to focus on the positive amid so much negative, with flooding continuing to affect so many throughout the area.The “good-hearted” rescuers were swift, said Moro’s daughter-in-law Anisa Ivanov, and soon his family was able to convince him to save himself as they placed his wheelchair on a boat and brought him to safety. He’s now staying in a nearby hotel. The animals were his first addition to the 10-acre farm he bought two years ago, fulfilling his dream to have a place where his 25 grandchildren could visit.“The animals are everything for him,” said Ivanov, who lived in the home with her four children and husband, Angela Komarov, one of Moro’s 10 children. The family had moved in to care for Moro after his ALS diagnosis about two years ago. They’d named all of the animals and played with them daily. “They were spread throughout the farm. It was so beautiful because they were just running all around. …That was our little getaway from reality,” said Ivanov, who cried as she recalled having to watch, along with her children, as some of the animals drowned while rising waters trapped them in the home. The family's pet dogs have yet to be found.After Moro’s diagnosis of ALS about two months after he bought the farm, the family had to drastically cut costs. ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. Moro was given two to five years to live as the disease would take away his ability to speak, eat, move and eventually breathe. To pay for mounting medical bills, the farm’s flood insurance policy was one of many costs that had to go, Ivanov said. The family has created a GoFundMe page – www.gofundme.com/7t43p-lake-county-flood-disaster – knowing they can’t afford to live in a hotel very long. They aren’t sure if or when they’ll be able to return to the farm. The high waters have left behind mold and damage, and further rain could bring more flooding.Five cars, all of the farming equipment and machinery, a workshop and the barn are destroyed. Through the GoFundMe page, more than $24,000 of a $50,000 fundraising goal has been met. “We’re living a nightmare,” Ivanov said, “but there are a lot of people out there willing to give their everything.” Family and friends already have promised to help them clean up the farm once the water clears, she said. And in the meantime, HARPS will keep the animals safe.“We’ll do the best we can to keep these animals together for the grandchildren,” said Ewing, who was making plans to build a cage for the rabbits. “This just takes me back to when I was a 10-year-old child when my dad bought us a farm and we had pigs, rabbits and chickens, and it was the highlight of my life,” she said. “Everything here is happy, and we’re happy to help them out in this crisis.”

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 20:01:00 GMT

As water flooded his Libertyville farm, Robert Moro refused to leave until he knew his animals would be safe. The 59-year-old suffers from ALS and uses a wheelchair. The overflowing Des Plaines River quickly had engulfed his farm – known as Zekos farm – overnight on July 15, turning his home into an island. Two barns, an outbuilding and numerous vehicles were submerged in water. A couple dozen chickens and a dozen bunnies already had drowned. And two dogs – a Yorkie Maltese mix named Rusty and a Chihuahua named Tinker – were missing. The rest of the animals – a miniature horse named Olive, two goats (Lucky and Charm), five rabbits, two chickens and a duck – needed saving. That’s when HARPS, the Hooved Animal Rescue & Protection Society, arrived on the scene. The Barrington Hills-based rescuers not only saved an anxious Olive, coaxing her through high waters reaching a depth of at least 4 feet, but they took in all the surviving animals, even ferrying some of them by boat on the morning of July 16. “We’re mainly hooved animals, but in an emergency, we’ll take everything,” said Donna Ewing, HARP’s president and founder, who was among those wading in wet gear that morning. The animals’ heads needed to be held up not only to prevent drowning, but to keep them from drinking the water, likely riddled with oils and other contaminants. “It’s a little extra work for us [to keep all of the animals] … but they’re so sweet and gentle,” Ewing said. “That made me realize they must have spent a lot of time communicating with them. They took good care of them.” It’s a bittersweet story as all those involved try to focus on the positive amid so much negative, with flooding continuing to affect so many throughout the area.The “good-hearted” rescuers were swift, said Moro’s daughter-in-law Anisa Ivanov, and soon his family was able to convince him to save himself as they placed his wheelchair on a boat and brought him to safety. He’s now staying in a nearby hotel. The animals were his first addition to the 10-acre farm he bought two years ago, fulfilling his dream to have a place where his 25 grandchildren could visit.“The animals are everything for him,” said Ivanov, who lived in the home with her four children and husband, Angela Komarov, one of Moro’s 10 children. The family had moved in to care for Moro after his ALS diagnosis about two years ago. They’d named all of the animals and played with them daily. “They were spread throughout the farm. It was so beautiful because they were just running all around. …That was our little getaway from reality,” said Ivanov, who cried as she recalled having to watch, along with her children, as some of the animals drowned while rising waters trapped them in the home. The family's pet dogs have yet to be found.After Moro’s diagnosis of ALS about two months after he bought the farm, the family had to drast[...]


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Spectacular views, an in-ground pool and your own personal pizza cafe: What $1.9 million can get you in Bull ValleyBull Valley home listed for sale on Zillow: 405 Blackberry Drive. 5 bedrooms, 5.5 bathrooms, 7,600 square feet. Listed price: $1,950,000. Estimated mortgage: $7,406 per month. This stunning French Country estate is built on a hilltop, giving panoramic views of Bull Valley. The property sits on over 10 acres of privacy, and includes a extravagant in-ground pool. From the guest suites, billiard room, pizza cafe/bar and indoor grill, there are a lot of details that make this home unique. Listing agent: Hollis Angus, @properties: 630-567-4886.Bull Valley home listed for sale on Zillow: 405 Blackberry Drive. 5 bedrooms, 5.5 bathrooms, 7,600 square feet. Listed price: $1,950,000. Estimated mortgage: $7,406 per month. This stunning French Country estate is built on a hilltop, giving panoramic views of Bull Valley. The property sits on over 10 acres of privacy, and includes a extravagant in-ground pool. From the guest suites, billiard room, pizza cafe/bar and indoor grill, there are a lot of details that make this home unique. Listing agent: Hollis Angus, @properties: 630-567-4886.KitchenKitchenIndoor grillDining roomFamily roomLower levelGame roomCombination bar and pizza cafeMaster bedroomMaster bathroomOne of five bedroomsOne of five bedroomsOne of five bedroomsGuest suiteView of in-ground poolin-ground poolBull Valley home listed for sale on Zillow: 405 Blackberry Drive. 5 bedrooms, 5.5 bathrooms, 7,600 square feet. Listed price: $1,950,000. Estimated mortgage: $7,406 per month. This stunning French Country estate is built on a hilltop, giving panoramic views of Bull Valley. The property sits on over 10 acres of privacy, and includes a extravagant in-ground pool. From the guest suites, billiard room, pizza cafe/bar and indoor grill, there are a lot of details that make this home unique. Listing agent: Hollis Angus, @properties: 630-567-4886.

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 19:09:00 GMT

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

Bull Valley home listed for sale on Zillow: 405 Blackberry Drive. 5 bedrooms, 5.5 bathrooms, 7,600 square feet. Listed price: $1,950,000. Estimated mortgage: $7,406 per month. This stunning French Country estate is built on a hilltop, giving panoramic views of Bull Valley. The property sits on over 10 acres of privacy, and includes a extravagant in-ground pool. From the guest suites, billiard room, pizza cafe/bar and indoor grill, there are a lot of details that make this home unique. Listing agent: Hollis Angus, @properties: 630-567-4886.Bull Valley home listed for sale on Zillow: 405 Blackberry Drive. 5 bedrooms, 5.5 bathrooms, 7,600 square feet. Listed price: $1,950,000. Estimated mortgage: $7,406 per month. This stunning French Country estate is built on a hilltop, giving panoramic views of Bull Valley. The property sits on over 10 acres of privacy, and includes a extravagant in-ground pool. From the guest suites, billiard room, pizza cafe/bar and indoor grill, there are a lot of details that make this home unique. Listing agent: Hollis Angus, @properties: 630-567-4886.KitchenKitchenIndoor grillDining roomFamily roomLower levelGame roomCombination bar and pizza cafeMaster bedroomMaster bathroomOne of five bedroomsOne of five bedroomsOne of five bedroomsGuest suiteView of in-ground poolin-ground poolBull Valley home listed for sale on Zillow: 405 Blackberry Drive. 5 bedrooms, 5.5 bathrooms, 7,600 square feet. Listed price: $1,950,000. Estimated mortgage: $7,406 per month. This stunning French Country estate is built on a hilltop, giving panoramic views of Bull Valley. The property sits on over 10 acres of privacy, and includes a extravagant in-ground pool. From the guest suites, billiard room, pizza cafe/bar and indoor grill, there are a lot of details that make this home unique. Listing agent: Hollis Angus, @properties: 630-567-4886.


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Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner at Capitol, denies Russia collusionWhite House senior adviser Jared Kushner, center, accompanied by his attorney Abbe Lowell, right, arrives on Capitol Hill in Washington., Monday, July 24, 2017, to meet behind closed doors before the Senate Intelligence Committee on the investigation into possible collusion between Russian officials and the Trump campaign. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 16:43:00 GMT

WASHINGTON – Senior White House adviser Jared Kushner denied Monday that he colluded with Russians in the course of President Donald Trump's White House bid, declaring in a statement ahead of interviews with congressional committees that he has "nothing to hide." He arrived shortly before 10 a.m. EDT on Capitol Hill. The 11-page statement , released hours before Kushner's closed-door appearance before the Senate intelligence committee, details four contacts with Russians during Trump's campaign and transition. It aims to explain inconsistencies and omissions in a security clearance form that have invited public scrutiny. "I did not collude, nor know of anyone else in the campaign who colluded, with any foreign government," Kushner said in the prepared remarks in which he also insists that none of the contacts, which include meetings at Trump Tower with the Russian ambassador and a Russian lawyer, was improper. Kushner arrived Monday morning at a Senate office building, exiting a black sport utility vehicle and greeting photographers gathered outside with a grin and a wave. In speaking to Congress, Kushner — as both the president's son-in-law and a trusted senior adviser during the campaign and inside the White House — becomes the first member of the president's inner circle to face questions from congressional investigators as they probe Russian meddling in the 2016 election and possible links to the Trump campaign. He is to meet with staff on the Senate intelligence committee Monday and lawmakers on the House intelligence committee Tuesday. Kushner's appearances have been highly anticipated, in part because of a series of headlines in recent months about his interactions with Russians and because the reticent Kushner had until Monday not personally responded to questions about an incomplete security clearance form and his conversations with foreigners. "I have shown today that I am willing to do so and will continue to cooperate as I have nothing to hide," he said in the statement. The document provides for the first time Kushner's own recollection of a meeting at Trump Tower with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. to talk about secure lines of communications and, months earlier, of a gathering with a Russian lawyer who was said to have damaging information to provide about Hillary Clinton. In the document, Kushner calls the June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya such a "waste of time" that he asked his assistant to call him out of the gathering. Emails released this month show that the president's son, Donald Trump Jr., accepted the meeting with the idea that he would receive information as part of a Russian government effort to help Trump's[...]


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Charlie Gard: UK parents halt court battle over their sick baby CharlieThe parents of critically ill baby Charlie Gard, Connie Yates and Chris Gard, arrive at the High Court in London, Monday, July 24, 2017. The parents of the 11-month old, who has a rare genetic condition and brain damage, are returning to court for the latest stage in their effort to seek permission to take the child to the United States for medical treatment. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 15:36:00 GMT

LONDON – The parents of critically ill baby Charlie Gard wept as they dropped their legal bid Monday to send him to the United States for an experimental medical treatment, acknowledging that the window of opportunity to help him had closed. Charlie's mother, Connie Yates, hugged her husband Chris Gard as they described their decision to "let our son go." Recent medical tests on 11-month-old Charlie showed that the baby has irreversible muscular damage, and the new treatment wouldn't help. "Mummy and Daddy love you so much, Charlie. We always have and we always will. And we are so sorry that we couldn't save you," Yates said as she wept during the hearing. "We had the chance but we weren't allowed to give you that chance." Chris Gard said too much time was spent in court battles, wasting the chance to help Charlie. Both parents paid tribute to their "warrior son." "We will let our son go, and be with the angels," Yates said. Charlie has a rare genetic condition, and his parents wanted him to receive an experimental treatment in the U.S. Doctors at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London had argued that the treatment wouldn't help and could cause the child pain, so they challenged the parent's wishes. The hospital wanted to switch off his life support and allow Charlie to die peacefully. The case won international attention after Charlie's parents received support from Pope Francis, U.S. President Donald Trump and some U.S. lawmakers. Some U.S.-based activists also travelled to London to support Charlie's parents. Some commentators have portrayed the case as a clash between a family and the state, and some U.S. conservatives have used it to criticize Britain's state-funded health care system — even though the case has never been about money. Judge Nicholas Francis said the crux of the matter was that "in this country, children have rights independent of their parents." While parents usually decide what is best for their children, in some cases hospitals and parents disagree, he said. The judge condemned all the abuses and threats that have been directed at the hospital, doctors and nurses treating Charlie, but stressed these had nothing to do with the boy's parents. The judge had scheduled a two-day hearing to consider fresh evidence after Dr. Michio Hirano, an American neurology expert from Columbia Medical Center in New York, came to London to examine the child. But Armstrong said nothing further could be done and that it was "worthy of a Greek tragedy" that they had to withdraw their appeal just as they were about to present new evidence to the court. The judge paid tribute to the infant's parents, s[...]


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McHenry City Council sends its affordable housing proposal for veterans, people with disabilities to Planning and Zoning CommissionFull Circle Communities, a Chicago-based nonprofit housing developer, plans for the proposed apartment complex to address the affordable housing need for veterans and people with mobility and sensory disabilities in both the city and county. “Looking at McHenry, we know through working with county and TLS Veterans that the city of McHenry is home to a little over 1,300 veterans,” said Lindsey Haines, vice president of Full Circle Communities. “We also knew the county is home to 24,000 people with a disability and 2,000 within the city itself.” Unlike previous projects proposed on the same property in an established neighborhood, the proposed apartment complex is expected to have a low effect on traffic as many of the tenants targeted to live in the building will not drive.Excess lighting generated from the proposed building also is expected to have a minimal effect on residents.    “I feel it will integrate well into the neighborhood,” said Doug Martin, McHenry director of economic development. “Full Circle has worked with us to design a project for the upcoming presentation to the public, and we’re trying to make sure it's compatible with the architectural styles [of the neighborhood].” Haines already has started working with St. Mary Catholic Church and Montini Catholic School across the street from the proposed site on integrating the apartment complex into the surrounding neighborhood.Council members did not vote on approving the project at Monday’s meeting, but multiple members previously saw the project when it was presented to the Community Development Committee in February 2016. The project at that time was a proposed 47-unit complex – with 12 two-bedroom units and 35 one-bedroom units – but the scope of the project was reduced after it was twice unable to obtain federal tax credits.Full Circle later secured between $5 million and $6 million of its funding from the Federal Housing Trust Fund, which limited the development to no more than 25 units. About $230,000 will come from the county’s home funds, which is derived from federal taxpayer money, Haines said. “We’re hoping to build 25 units now and then build a Phase 2 [second building] at some point in the future to get back up closer in the 40- to 50-unit range,” Haines said. Haines said Full Circle is partnered McHenry-based TLS Veterans for tenant referrals and on-site assistance with veterans. The developer also is working with Over The Rainbow Association, a nonprofit devoted to being the leading provider for affordable, barrier-free housing solutions for individuals with physical disabilities.Haines also said Full Circle plans to hold an open house-style meeting for neighboring residents to provide more details about the project, including the need for affordable housing for veterans or tenants with sensory and mobility disabilities. “I have no doubt there is a very large demand for this type of housing project,” project manager Jordan Bartle said. The Planning and Zoning Commission will not examine the project until Aug. 16, since the July 19 meeting was cancelled. If the project passes, it then will go back to the City Council for approval.

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 13:26:00 GMT

MCHENRY – A developer is looking to build a three-story affordable apartment complex for veterans and tenants with physical impairments. On July 17, the McHenry City Council examined a preliminary concept from Full Circle Communities for a 25-unit project at the northeast corner of Richmond Road and Pearl Street, and advanced the nearly $7 million project to the Planning and Zoning Commission in August. Full Circle Communities, a Chicago-based nonprofit housing developer, plans for the proposed apartment complex to address the affordable housing need for veterans and people with mobility and sensory disabilities in both the city and county. “Looking at McHenry, we know through working with county and TLS Veterans that the city of McHenry is home to a little over 1,300 veterans,” said Lindsey Haines, vice president of Full Circle Communities. “We also knew the county is home to 24,000 people with a disability and 2,000 within the city itself.” Unlike previous projects proposed on the same property in an established neighborhood, the proposed apartment complex is expected to have a low effect on traffic as many of the tenants targeted to live in the building will not drive.Excess lighting generated from the proposed building also is expected to have a minimal effect on residents.    “I feel it will integrate well into the neighborhood,” said Doug Martin, McHenry director of economic development. “Full Circle has worked with us to design a project for the upcoming presentation to the public, and we’re trying to make sure it's compatible with the architectural styles [of the neighborhood].” Haines already has started working with St. Mary Catholic Church and Montini Catholic School across the street from the proposed site on integrating the apartment complex into the surrounding neighborhood.Council members did not vote on approving the project at Monday’s meeting, but multiple members previously saw the project when it was presented to the Community Development Committee in February 2016. The project at that time was a proposed 47-unit complex – with 12 two-bedroom units and 35 one-bedroom units – but the scope of the project was reduced after it was twice unable to obtain federal tax credits.Full Circle later secured between $5 million and $6 million of its funding from the Federal Housing Trust Fund, which limited the development to no more than 25 units. About $230,000 will come from the county’s home funds, which is derived from federal taxpayer money, Haines said. “We’re hoping to build 25 units now and then build a Phase 2 [second building] at some point in the future to get back up closer in the 40- to 50-unit range,” Haines said. Haines said Full Circle is partnered McHenry-based TLS Veterans for tenant referrals and on-site assistance with veterans. The developer also is working with Over The Ra[...]


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Here's why Fed cares about opioid epidemicHouses stand on a hillside bordering downtown Johnstown, Pennsylvania, on April 14, 2016. MUST CREDIT: Bloomberg photo by Luke Sharrett.

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 06:00:00 GMT

Bill Polacek’s industry is dealing with a labor market problem so big, even Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen is talking about it. A few years ago, Polacek interviewed 350 people to fill openings for 50 welders and machinists at his Johnstown, Pennsylvania-based manufacturing company. After narrowing the pool down to 100, he found that half of those candidates either had a criminal record or failed the drug test. “We weren’t attracting the right people,” Polacek says of the episode, which prompted him to invest in extensive outreach to local high schools to build up a pipeline of workers. The type of hard-to-hire Americans Polacek encountered pose a growing problem for many employers, as a deepening opioid crisis plagues American communities just as the jobless rate hovers near a 16-year low. The drug epidemic has caught the Fed’s attention. Yellen discussed it at length during Senate testimony July 13, and regional Fed banks say companies in their areas cite it as a hiring impediment. The opioid epidemic falls outside of the Fed’s traditional macroeconomic purview, yet it matters to the central bank for two reasons. If addiction is rendering people unemployable, it could help to explain why a historically low portion of the prime-age population is working. Second, the Fed has increased its focus on community and workforce development in recent years – and the opioid crisis is a painful reality dragging on human capital across America. An estimated 2.7 million adults over the age of 26 were misusing painkillers as of 2015, while another 236,000 currently used heroin, based on Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration data. While opioid abusers account for a tiny sliver in a workforce of 160 million, they probably make up a great share of the 7 million who are unemployed. “Our district is the epicenter of this crisis,” said Kyle Fee, regional community development advisor at the Cleveland Fed, which hosted a policy conference in June that included a panel specifically dedicated to opioids. “It was a good way for us to dip our toe into this topic,” he said. Most economic research on the effects of the opioid crisis comes from academia, rather than Fed researchers, and it shows a two-way relationship between the drugs and the U.S. economy. Poor labor market opportunities for America’s working and middle class seem to have helped fuel opioid addiction. In turn, pill and heroin use can worsen employment chances for addicts and can lead to criminal records that dim applicants’ prospects for years to come. “I do think it is related to declining labor force participation among prime-age workers,” Yell[...]


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'On cloud nine': O.J. Simpson awaits parole in protective custody in NevadaFormer NFL football star O.J. Simpson attends his parole hearing at the Lovelock Correctional Center in Lovelock, Nev., on Thursday.

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 05:59:00 GMT

O.J. Simpson will not be leaving prison until this fall after being granted parole Thursday, but his lawyer said he is “on cloud nine” over the prospect of being granted his freedom. “Mr. Simpson is on cloud nine,” Malcolm LaVergne, his lawyer, said on Fox’s “Justice with Judge Jeanine” show Saturday night. “He obviously likes the outcome ... Everything is hung from the moon at this point.” Simpson, who turned 70 earlier this month, is in protective custody after a four-person parole board’s unanimous decision that he could be freed after serving the minimum nine years of a 33-year sentence for armed robbery and kidnapping stemming from an incident in which he and others sought to retrieve memorabilia and other personal possessions. Since his 2008 conviction, he has been incarcerated in Nevada’s Lovelock Correctional Center, where he has now been removed from the general population. “The only thing that’s kind of a little bit disheartening for him is that he’s had a change of custody status, and they are going to kind of change that for the next couple of months until he’s released,” LaVergne said. “He’s had to move his cell to an area where he is a bit more protected. There’s good reason for that. One of them is for his own safety and basically not to rile things up ... There is a legitimate concern about threats.” The Nevada Department of Corrections is determined “to keep him safe for two more months,” spokesperson Brooke Keast told ABC News, and Simpson is now “in a quieter wing.” “The inmates inside ... they’re all felons, there are those that are in there for life, that really have nothing to lose,” Keast said. “Now to make a name of themselves, they may think of doing something, acting out against inmate Simpson. We just can’t have that.” Simpson told the board Thursday that he plans to spend time with family, including his four adult children, and friends. Parole was partially contingent on the post-release plan for where he will live. Staying in Nevada didn’t seem to be an option. “I don’t think you guys want me here,” he joked to the parole commissioners. “Florida has obviously been mentioned. California is another option,” LaVergne said. “He is looking forward to spending a lot of time with his family. There were loved ones who have passed away, who he wants to honor them at their graves. He wants to live a quiet life.” For now, a quiet life does not include a reality show, LaVergne added, even if Simpson’s life has essentially been just that. He will not, after all, be free for a little over two more months. “For [...]


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GOP in control of gov't – but losing control of their partyPresident Donald Trump, flanked by Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., left, and Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., talked about health care at a lunch with GOP senators at the White House on Wednesday. MUST CREDIT: Washington Post photo by Jabin Botsford

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 05:59:00 GMT

Six months after seizing complete control of the federal government, the Republican Party stands divided as ever – plunged into a messy war among its factions that has escalated in recent weeks to crisis levels. Frustrated lawmakers increasingly are sounding off at a White House awash in turmoil and struggling to accomplish its legislative agenda. President Donald Trump is scolding Republican senators over health care and even threatening electoral retribution. Congressional leaders are losing the confidence of their rank-and-file. And some major GOP donors are considering using their wealth to try to force out recalcitrant incumbents. “It’s a lot of tribes within one party, with many agendas, trying to do what they want to do,” said Rep. Tom MacArthur, R-N.J., in an interview. The intensifying fights threaten to derail efforts to overhaul the nation’s tax laws and other major initiatives that GOP leaders hope will put them back on track. The party still is bogged down by a months-long health care endeavor that still lacks the support to become law, even as Senate GOP leaders plan to vote on it this week. With his agenda stalled and Trump consumed by staff changes and investigations into Russian interference to help win election, Republicans are adding fuel to a political fire that is showing no signs of burning out. The conflict also heralds a potentially messy 2018 midterm campaign with fierce intraparty clashes that could draw resources away from fending off Democrats. Winning control of both chambers and the White House has done little to fill in the deep and politically damaging ideological fault lines that plagued the GOP during Barack Obama’s presidency and ripped the party apart during the 2016 presidential primary. Now, Republicans have even more to lose. “In the 50 years I’ve been involved, Republicans have yet to figure out how to support each other,” said R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr., the founder of the American Spectator, a conservative magazine. On Capitol Hill, many Republicans increasingly are concerned that Trump has shown no signs of being able to calm the party. What Rep. Charlie Dent, R-Pa., called the “daily drama” at the White House flared again last week when Trump shook up his communications staff and told the New York Times that he regretted picking Jeff Sessions to be his attorney general. “This week was supposed to be ‘Made in America Week’ and we and were talking about Attorney General Jeff Sessions,” Dent grumbled in a telephone interview Thursday, citing White House messaging efforts that were overshadowed by the controversies. [...]


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At least 9 dead in suspected smuggling case in TexasSan Antonio police officers investigate the scene where eight people were found dead in a tractor-trailer loaded with at least 30 others outside a Walmart store in stifling summer heat in what police are calling a horrific human trafficking case Sunday in San Antonio.

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 05:58:00 GMT

SAN ANTONIO – Police discovered a sweltering tractor-trailer packed with dozens of people outside a Walmart early Sunday morning – eight were dead already; one more person would die soon; and many more are expected to have brain damage from severe heat. “They discovered an alien smuggling venture gone horribly wrong,” Richard L. Durbin, the U.S. attorney for the Western District of Texas, wrote in a statement released by federal immigration authorities Sunday morning. “All were victims of ruthless human smugglers indifferent to the well-being of their fragile cargo,” he added. Police Chief William McManus did not go quite so far when he spoke to reporters before dawn. But he said his homicide detectives would work with federal immigration authorities to determine “the origin of this horrific tragedy.” The truck had no working air conditioning or signs of water as it sat in the Walmart parking lot off Interstate 35 in south San Antonio, about 2½ hours from the border with Mexico, authorities said. Surveillance footage recorded vehicles pulling up to the truck Saturday night, taking people from the trailer and driving away, McManus said. But at least 39 people remained locked inside, Fire Chief Charles Hood told reporters, their hearts beating rapidly and their temperatures spiking – unless they had already died. At some point, somehow, one of the passengers got out of the trailer and asked a Walmart employee for water. The employee “came back with the water, called the police, and we found eight dead in the back of that trailer,” McManus said. The back of the trailer was open by the time police arrived, shortly after midnight, a spokesman told The Washington Post. The driver was taken into custody. Federal officials plan to file a criminal complaint against James M. Bradley Jr., 60, on Friday. Eight were dead on the scene, and one more would die in a hospital hours later, federal officials said. Some of the survivors ran into the surrounding trees, police said, evading helicopters and foot patrols in the darkness. One person was later found nearby. But many more remained in the truck, in dire need of help. “They were very hot to the touch,” Hood said. “Each one of them had heart rates over about 130 beats per minute.” They had been transported inside “a refrigeration truck with no refrigeration,” he told CNN. “If they were to spend another night in that en[...]


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Puzzle rooms challenge, teach studentsSydney Walker (center) discusses clues in the puzzle room June 27 while other students look on during Decatur Schools' SMASH Camp at Millikin University in Decatur. SMASH camp is for high-achieving students in Decatur public schools. The students explore other cultures, hold getting-to-know-you sessions where they talked about their beliefs priorities and what's important to them, learn about food, cooking and songs from other countries.

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 05:58:00 GMT

DECATUR – Kids love “Star Wars,” so there was a lot of enthusiasm when a group of SMASH Jr. campers were shown into a Star Wars-themed puzzle room and told they had to save the universe. Iverson Woods found a paper covered with code and studied it carefully, while Sydney Walker and other campers looked for hidden keys. SMASH Sr. campers recently visited Brainstorm Escapes in Champaign and were inspired to create similar puzzle rooms for their younger counterparts, counselor Tisha Neeley said. “It instills problem-solving and cooperative learning, all those skills go into it,” Neeley said. “Learning their identities and roles in that goes along with our guiding question, ‘How do I create change in our world?’ ” SMASH camp is for high-achieving students in Decatur public schools, with SMASH Jr. for K-5 students and SMASH Sr. for middle school kids. SMASH Sr. met at Millikin University and SMASH Jr. at Dennis School. The students explored other cultures, held getting-to-know-you sessions where they talked about their beliefs, priorities and what’s important to them, learned about food and cooking and learned songs from other countries. As part of exploring their identities, SMASH campers created 3-D avatars expressing some part of their personalities, and adult counselors said they were surprised by what the kids came up with. Brycton Curry, who will be a freshman at MacArthur High School, built a giant papier mache saxophone. He’s been playing for five years, he said. Coordinator Kamie Meador said the camp was divided into themes. Besides learning about self, they learned to use the internet with Millikin professors and discern the difference between trustworthy and untrustworthy sites when doing research. During the third week, they visited the escape rooms in Champaign, and the last week, they created their own. “Then they identified what they have to offer in the classroom, so when they go back, they know, what can I do in the classroom,” Meador said. “They had each other go through their [puzzle] rooms and experience them and kind of critique them so they knew what to change, then they asked SMASH Jr. to come through them and ask them what they can improve.” A family night culminated the camp experience, when families could see the kids’ projects and spend time at the Requarth Observatory at Millikin. Cassandra Hustedt works for Brainstorm Escapes and designs the rooms. She visited SMASH Camp on the day the kids unveiled their puzzle roo[...]


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McHenry County law enforcement agencies to host National Night Out events

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 05:42:00 GMT

Several McHenry County law enforcement agencies are hosting National Night Out events in August to provide a family-friendly opportunity to interact with community members.

One event, taking place at the Harrison Benwell Conservation Area, 7055 McCullom Lake Road, Wonder Lake, is hosted by the McHenry County Conservation District, the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office and the Wonder Lake Fire Protection District, according to a news release from the sheriff’s office.

McHenry County residents can stop by from 5 to 7:30 p.m., participate in activities, visit information booths and observe demonstrations.

Demonstrations include extrication at 5 and 6:50 p.m. by the fire protection district, precision motorcycle riding at 5:20 and 6:30 p.m. by conservation district police and a police K-9 demonstration at 5:45 p.m. by the sheriff’s office.

National Night Out is celebrated annually with the intention of reducing crime while promoting relationships between the police and the public, according to the release.




Home State Bank acquires Harvard State Bank's trust accounts

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 05:37:00 GMT

CRYSTAL LAKE – Home State Bank recently acquired all of the trust accounts from Harvard State Bank, making the Crystal Lake-based banking corporation the only actively managed trust department headquartered in McHenry County.

Home State Bank Executive Vice President Robert Cormier said that although Harvard State Bank’s trust department employed a single trust officer and managed between $20 million and $25 million in assets, Home State Bank has three officers managing about $175 million in assets – with the intent of adding a fourth officer to the department.

“Geographically, we’re located very close,” Cormier said. “We have a trust guy who spends some days in Woodstock. Those customers aren’t going to experience transfers downtown [Chicago] or over a distance.”

The acquisition will affect about 200 customers with established relationships with the trust department for traditional trust services, land trusts and professional money management services.

Cormier said the larger trust department staff at Home State Bank will prove more beneficial for customers, without losing the appeal of a longstanding community bank.

Home State Bank has been a presence in McHenry County since it opened in 1915.

“We believe that the new trust customers, to Home State Bank, will be very pleased with our disciplined approach to investing, always insuring that all investments remain appropriate for the customers situation,” Cormier said.

The deal will not affect customers with checking or savings accounts at Harvard State Bank.