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Equifax dumps CEO in wake of damaging data breachThis Saturday, July 21, 2012, photo shows the Equifax Inc. headquarters in Atlanta. On Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2017, credit reporting agency Equifax ousted CEO Richard Smith in an effort to clean up the mess left by a damaging data breach that exposed highly sensitive information about 143 million Americans. (AP Photo/Mike Stewart)

Tue, 26 Sep 2017 13:40:00 GMT

NEW YORK — Credit reporting agency Equifax is ousting CEO Richard Smith in an effort to clean up the mess left by a damaging data breach that exposed highly sensitive information about 143 million Americans.

The shake-up announced Tuesday comes after Equifax disclosed that hackers exploited a software flaw that the company didn't fix to heist Social Security numbers, birthdates and other personal data that provide the keys to identify theft.

Smith had been Equifax's CEO since 2005. Paulino do Rego Barros Jr. was named interim CEO.

Although many analysts had applauded Equifax's performance under Smith, he and the rest of his management team had come under fire for lax security and its response to the breach.

Smith's departure follows the abrupt retirement of Equifax's chief security officer and chief information officer.

This Saturday, July 21, 2012, photo shows the Equifax Inc. headquarters in Atlanta. On Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2017, credit reporting agency Equifax ousted CEO Richard Smith in an effort to clean up the mess left by a damaging data breach that exposed highly sensitive information about 143 million Americans. (AP Photo/Mike Stewart)


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Crystal Lake man killed in motorcycle crash with 17-year-old SUV driverCrystal Lake police and fire rescue members responded about 8:50 p.m. Sunday to Virginia and Rakow roads for a report of a collision, according to a news release from the Crystal Lake Police Department. When first responders arrived, they found that Peter G. O’Grady, 63, of Crystal Lake, who had been riding a Harley-Davidson motorcycle suffered life-threatening injuries in the crash, according to the release. O’Grady received treatment on the scene and later was taken to Centegra Hospital – Huntley, where he was pronounced dead at 9:59 p.m. The Crystal Lake Police Department’s Accident Investigation Team has determined in a preliminary investigation that a 17-year-old Crystal Lake boy was driving a blue Ford Expedition south on Virginia Road when he turned left onto Rakow Road and struck the motorcycle in the intersection.O’Grady’s son, Peter O’Grady, described his father as a proud Catholic, a family man and someone who never backed down from a fight. “He was the strongest man I knew,” O’Grady said. “He was loved by everyone. He was a people person. He was very outgoing and energetic. Everyone always came to him for advice.” His son added that O’Grady was passionate about motorcycles. “Obviously, that’s the way he went out and probably how he wanted it,” he said.The late Peter O’Grady also was the founder of Porter’s Oyster Bar, which closed about 2006, his son said. Police are investigating the incident. The teen was not identified because he is a minor. Neither the driver nor any of his four passengers was injured. Crystal Lake Park District police assisted with traffic control while the intersection was closed for about two hours.The crash remains under investigation by the Crystal Lake police and the McHenry County Coroner’s Office. Crystal Lake police could not be reached Monday for additional details about the crash. An autopsy is scheduled for Tuesday, according to a news release from the coroner’s office. • Reporter Brittany Keeperman contributed to this report.

Tue, 26 Sep 2017 05:44:00 GMT

CRYSTAL LAKE – A 63-year-old Crystal Lake man was killed after a 17-year-old driving an SUV struck his motorcycle Sunday evening in Crystal Lake.

Crystal Lake police and fire rescue members responded about 8:50 p.m. Sunday to Virginia and Rakow roads for a report of a collision, according to a news release from the Crystal Lake Police Department. When first responders arrived, they found that Peter G. O’Grady, 63, of Crystal Lake, who had been riding a Harley-Davidson motorcycle suffered life-threatening injuries in the crash, according to the release. O’Grady received treatment on the scene and later was taken to Centegra Hospital – Huntley, where he was pronounced dead at 9:59 p.m. The Crystal Lake Police Department’s Accident Investigation Team has determined in a preliminary investigation that a 17-year-old Crystal Lake boy was driving a blue Ford Expedition south on Virginia Road when he turned left onto Rakow Road and struck the motorcycle in the intersection.O’Grady’s son, Peter O’Grady, described his father as a proud Catholic, a family man and someone who never backed down from a fight. “He was the strongest man I knew,” O’Grady said. “He was loved by everyone. He was a people person. He was very outgoing and energetic. Everyone always came to him for advice.” His son added that O’Grady was passionate about motorcycles. “Obviously, that’s the way he went out and probably how he wanted it,” he said.The late Peter O’Grady also was the founder of Porter’s Oyster Bar, which closed about 2006, his son said. Police are investigating the incident. The teen was not identified because he is a minor. Neither the driver nor any of his four passengers was injured. Crystal Lake Park District police assisted with traffic control while the intersection was closed for about two hours.The crash remains under investigation by the Crystal Lake police and the McHenry County Coroner’s Office. Crystal Lake police could not be reached Monday for additional details about the crash. An autopsy is scheduled for Tuesday, according to a news release from the coroner’s office. • Reporter Brittany Keeperman contributed to this report.


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Uber fights with London regulatorsThe Uber website is displayed on a phone in London, Friday, Sept. 22, 2017. London's transport authority said Friday it won't renew Uber's license to operate in the British capital, arguing that it demonstrates a lack of corporate responsibility with implications in public safety and security. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

Tue, 26 Sep 2017 05:38:00 GMT

LONDON – In past skirmishes with local regulators, Uber’s playbook under co-founder and now-ousted CEO Travis Kalanick was simple: fight. Now, as brand-new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi deals with a stunning rebuke from London, the playbook gets another page: fight, but offer some diplomatic humility. On Friday, just hours after Greater London’s transport authorities decided not to renew Uber’s operating license, citing a lack of corporate responsibility, Uber wound up for its first punch. Almost reflexively, it followed the familiar tactic of recruiting its mass rider base for help, starting an online petition drive to pressure regulators that now has more than 770,000 signatures. It also promised appeals and defiantly accused regulators of caving in to Taxi interests. Then, Khosrowshahi took to Twitter. “Dear London: We r far from perfect,” he wrote. “Pls work w/us to make things right.” It remains to be seen which strategy will work best, and Uber also runs the risk of antagonizing London officials by sending the mixed messages. But deviating from Kalanick’s approach is exactly the right tactic for Khosrowshahi, said Jan Dawson, chief analyst for Jackdaw Research in California. Conciliation, he said, likely will require concessions, but also will bring peace in a huge market with 40,000 drivers and 3.5 million riders – more than 5 percent of Uber’s ridership base of 65 million globally. “The fact that Uber is so mature and broadly used in London means it’s very unlikely that it will be permanently banned there – the political fallout would just be too great,” Dawson said. As Uber grew at lightning speed during the past seven years, it often entered U.S. cities without permits. When taxicabs complained, Uber defiantly kept hauling people. Usually Kalanick’s tactics prevailed. “We’re totally legal, like totally legal, and the government is telling us to shut down,” he said in a 2014 Vanity Fair article. “And you can either do what they say or you can fight for what you believe.” He called the strategy “principled confrontation.” It worked in Chicago as recently as last year, where Alderman Anthony Beale, who fought unsuccessfully to more tightly regulate Uber, said the company used Uber riders and political connections to win – at least so far – a fight over fingerprint background checks of drivers. “You’re talking about an 800-pound gorilla,” Beale said. “This company needs to be regulated. They need to be regulated heavily because they’re out of control.” On Monday, Khosrowshahi, who was hired away last month from travel booking giant Expedia, apologized publicly for mistakes of the past. Uber “got things wrong” during its global expansion and is willing to change to stay in business in London, he said in an open letter published by the Evening Standard newspaper. “We will look to be long-term partners with the cities we serve, and we will run our business with humility, integrity and passion.” Mayor Sadiq Khan welcomed the apology and was pleased to see the company acknowledge issues. Transport for London, the regulatory body, said last week it wouldn’t renew Uber’s license when it expires Sept. 30. Uber can continue operating while it pursues an appeal. “Even though there is a legal process in place, I have asked TfL to make themselves available to meet with him,” Khan said of Khosrowshahi. The row leaves an opening for Lyft, Uber’s much-smaller rival that has designs on growing outside of the U.S. Lyft has talked with TfL, but the company won’t comment on expansion plans. Uber has struggled [...]


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Violent crimes in U.S. increase for 2nd straight yearFILE - In this Sept. 5, 2017, file photo, Attorney General Jeff Sessions speaks at the Justice Department in Washington. Violent crime in America rose for the second straight year 2016, driven by a spike in killings in some major cities, but remained near historically low levels, according to FBI data released Monday, Sept. 25. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

Tue, 26 Sep 2017 05:38:00 GMT

WASHINGTON – Violent crime in America rose in 2016 for the second straight year, driven by a spike in killings in some major cities, but remained near historically low levels, according to FBI data released Monday. The Trump administration immediately seized on the figures as proof that the nation is in the midst of a dangerous crime wave that warrants a return to tougher tactics like more arrests and harsher punishments for drug criminals. But criminologists cautioned the new numbers may not indicate the start of a long-term trend, noting that violent crime rates remain well below where they were a quarter-century ago. Still, the FBI said it was the first time violent crime rose in consecutive years in more than a decade. Violent crimes such as shootings and robberies rose 4.1 percent in 2016 from the year before, with homicides climbing 8.6 percent, according to the figures. Violence increased 3.9 percent in 2015, while killings jumped by more than 10 percent. “This is a frightening trend that threatens to erode so much progress that had made our neighborhoods and communities safer – over 30 years declines in crime are being replaced by increases,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said last week during a speech in Boston. “We cannot accept this as the new normal.” On Monday, he called upon law enforcement to “confront and turn back the rising tide of violent crime.” Sessions has used the threat of rising violence as an impetus for many of his sweeping policy changes. He has directed the nation’s federal prosecutors to seek tougher sentences against most suspects, including some low level drug offenders and has urged them to focus more intensely on prosecuting gun cases. Sessions has also been a proponent of the theory that crime has risen as scrutiny of local police has intensified and hurt morale, causing officers to be less aggressive on the streets. As such, he has worked to support the interests of some of the nation’s largest police unions. But experts remain divided about what caused the rise and how to respond. Some criminologists believe community distrust in police has made residents less likely to cooperate in investigations, driving up crime. Two years’ worth of data is not enough to show a trend, said Adam Gelb, director of the Public Safety Performance Project of The Pew Charitable Trusts. “There just aren’t any factors that would strongly indicate continued further increases,” he said. “We all yearn for a big-picture, national explanation for what’s going on that would help us make sense of this, but we don’t have one.” Despite the increase, the violent crime rate in 2016 was still down significantly from several years ago. It dropped 18 percent from 2007, and the murder rate was 6 percent lower than it was the same year, according to the data. And it was far from the levels of the 1980s and 1990s, during the height of the drug war, when Sessions was a federal prosecutor in Mobile, Alabama. Some big cities saw increases in violence while others did not. Chicago, for example, singled out by the White House for its surge in shootings, saw a 60 percent jump in killings from 2015, accounting for more than 20 percent of the nation’s increase in murders, according to an analysis of the FBI data by the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University. It found 11 major cities were responsible for driving up the national murder rate. FILE - In this Sept. 5, 2017, file photo, Attorney General Jeff Sessions speaks at the Justice Department in Washington. Violent crime in America rose for the second straight year 2016, driven by a spike in killings in some major cities, but remaine[...]


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Trump's new travel ban: Third time the charm?FILE - In this Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017, file photo, President Donald Trump speaks with reporters before boarding Air Force One on Sunday at Morristown Municipal airport, in Morristown, N.J. The Trump administration announced new travel ban restrictions after spending months hashing out the details determined to avoid a repeat of the chaos of Trump's first travel ban.

Tue, 26 Sep 2017 05:37:00 GMT

WASHINGTON – The Trump administration spent months hashing out new travel restrictions on more than a half-dozen countries, determined to avoid the chaos that accompanied President Donald Trump’s first travel ban. But critics say it’s a mystery why some countries are included and they believe Venezuela and North Korea were added to provide legal and political cover for what they say remains a “Muslim ban.” The new restrictions covering citizens of Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen – and some Venezuelan government officials and their families – are to go into effect Oct. 18. As for the previous version, which expired Sunday, the Supreme Court on Monday announced it would cancel arguments scheduled for next month to give both sides time to consider the implications of the new one. They have until Oct. 5 to weigh in. Trump’s efforts to restrict entry into the U.S. have been the subject of lawsuits almost since the moment he announced the first travel ban in January, and the latest version is sure to attract new legal challenges – though experts are divided on how they might fare. Avideh Moussavian, senior policy attorney at the National Immigration Law Center, said she saw little difference between the earlier bans and the new policy, despite the addition of two non-Muslim countries. “What remains the same is the discriminatory core of these bans which were always designed to exclude Muslims from the United States,” Moussavian said. But Stephen Yale-Loehr, an immigration expert at Cornell University, said the latest version is narrower and better explained, including about how the government decided which countries to target. “The third time may be the charm for President Trump’s immigration travel ban,” Yale-Loehr said. Administration officials have stressed the latest version is the result of a lengthy process, and based on an objective assessment of each country’s security situation and willingness to share information with the U.S. The restrictions are based on new baseline factors such as whether countries issue electronic passports with biometric information to prevent fraud and report information about potential terror threats. That baseline was shared with countries across the globe, and they were given 50 days to comply. Those that failed to satisfy the “objective process of measuring whether countries met the baseline” are now subject to new restrictions. The countries that ultimately were included on the list fall into three basic categories, officials said. • Some, like Iran and Syria, pose legitimate national security threats to the U.S. and refuse to cooperate with U.S. consular investigations. • Another category includes countries like Yemen and Libya, where local authorities have sought to be as cooperative as possible but lack full control over their territory and the basic ability to provide the information the U.S. wants. In those cases, officials said, the U.S. tried to stress that inclusion on the list wasn’t an indictment of those nations’ commitment to fighting terrorism. • The final category includes countries like North Korea and Venezuela whose citizens don’t necessarily pose a major threat to the U.S. but where the administration wanted to send a message that the government’s broader actions are unacceptable. Critics said the inclusion of some countries appeared to be largely symbolic and intended to combat perceptions that the ban is targeting Muslims. The new visa sanctions on Venezuela, for i[...]


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Collins' opposition all but kills GOP health care driveU.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, speaks to members of the media while attending an event Aug. 17 in Lewiston, Maine.

Tue, 26 Sep 2017 05:37:00 GMT

WASHINGTON – The last-gasp Republican drive to tear down President Barack Obama’s health care law essentially died Monday as Maine Sen. Susan Collins joined a small but decisive cluster of GOP senators in opposing the push. The Maine moderate said in a statement that the legislation would make “devastating” cuts in the Medicaid program for poor and disabled people, drive up premiums for millions and weaken protections Obama’s law gives people with pre-existing medical conditions. She said the legislation is “deeply flawed,” despite eleventh-hour changes its sponsors have made in search of support. The only way Republicans could resuscitate their push would be to change opposing senators’ minds, which they’ve tried unsuccessfully to do for months. Collins told reporters that she made her decision despite a phone call from President Donald Trump, who’s been futilely trying to press unhappy GOP senators to back the measure. “They’re still working it and a lot of conversations are going on,” No. 3 Senate GOP leader John Thune of South Dakota told reporters. But he conceded that a revival would be “a heavy lift” and the prospects were “bleak.” The collapse marks a replay of the embarrassing loss Trump and party leaders suffered in July, when the Senate rejected three attempts to pass legislation erasing Obama’s 2010 statute. The GOP has made promises to scrap the law a high-profile vow for years, and its failure to deliver despite controlling the White House and Congress has infuriated conservatives whose votes Republican candidates need. Republicans had pinned their last hopes on a measure by GOP Sens. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana and South Carolina’s Lindsey Graham. It would end Obama’s Medicaid expansion and subsidies for consumers and ship the money – $1.2 trillion through 2026 – to states to use on health services with few constraints. With their narrow 52-48 majority and solid Democratic opposition, three GOP “no” votes would doom the bill. GOP Sens. John McCain of Arizona, Rand Paul of Kentucky and Texas’ Ted Cruz have said they oppose the measure, although Cruz aides said he was seeking changes that would let him vote yes. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, remains undecided. Murkowski, who voted against the failed GOP bills in July, has said she’s analyzing the measure’s impact on her state, where medical costs are high. The Senate must vote this week for Republicans to have any chance of prevailing with their narrow margin. On Sunday, protections expire against a Democratic filibuster, bill-killing delays that Republicans lack the votes to overcome. It was unclear if Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., would hold a roll call. Thune said he believed McConnell would have a vote if Republicans “have at least some hope that we would pass it.” Collins announced her decision shortly after the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said “millions” of Americans would lose coverage under the bill and projected it would impose $1 trillion in Medicaid cuts through 2026. Desperate to win over reluctant senators, GOP leaders revised the measure several times, adding money late Sunday for Alaska, Arizona, Maine, Kentucky and Texas in a clear pitch for Republican holdouts. They also gave states the ability – without federal permission – to permit insurers to charge people with serious illnesses higher premiums and to sell low-premium policies with big coverage gaps and high deductibles. Collins said the eleventh-hour revision “epitomizes the problems” with the GOP-only process. [...]


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Crystal Lake man killed in motorcycle crash with 17-year-old SUV driverAlex Vucha - for Shaw Media Police investigate a crash involving a motorcyclist and an SUV at Virginia Rd. and Rakow Rd. Sunday, Sept. 24 2017. Crystal Lake police conducted a crash reconstruction and the roadway reopened at 11:11pm. Driver of the motorcycle was killed.

Tue, 26 Sep 2017 05:35:00 GMT

CRYSTAL LAKE – A 63-year-old Crystal Lake man was killed after a 17-year-old driving an SUV struck his motorcycle Sunday evening in Crystal Lake.

Crystal Lake police and fire rescue members responded about 8:50 p.m. Sunday to Virginia and Rakow roads for a report of a collision, according to a news release from the Crystal Lake Police Department.

When first responders arrived, they found that Peter G. O’Grady, 63, of Crystal Lake, who had been riding a Harley-Davidson motorcycle suffered life-threatening injuries in the crash, according to the release.

O’Grady received treatment on the scene and later was taken to Centegra Hospital – Huntley, where he was pronounced dead at 9:59 p.m.

The Crystal Lake Police Department’s Accident Investigation Team has determined in a preliminary investigation that a 17-year-old Crystal Lake boy was driving a blue Ford Expedition south on Virginia Road when he turned left onto Rakow Road and struck the motorcycle in the intersection.

O’Grady’s son, Peter O’Grady, described his father as a proud Catholic, a family man and someone who never backed down from a fight.

“He was the strongest man I knew,” O’Grady said. “He was loved by everyone. He was a people person. He was very outgoing and energetic. Everyone always came to him for advice.”

His son added that O’Grady was passionate about motorcycles.

“Obviously, that’s the way he went out and probably how he wanted it,” he said.

The late Peter O’Grady also was the founder of Porter’s Oyster Bar, which closed about 2006, his son said.

Police are investigating the incident. The teen was not identified because he is a minor. Neither the driver nor any of his four passengers was injured.

Crystal Lake Park District police assisted with traffic control while the intersection was closed for about two hours.

The crash remains under investigation by the Crystal Lake police and the McHenry County Coroner’s Office. Crystal Lake police could not be reached Monday for additional details about the crash.

An autopsy is scheduled for Tuesday, according to a news release from the coroner’s office.

Alex Vucha - for Shaw Media Police investigate a crash involving a motorcyclist and an SUV at Virginia Rd. and Rakow Rd. Sunday, Sept. 24 2017. Crystal Lake police conducted a crash reconstruction and the roadway reopened at 11:11pm. Driver of the motorcycle was killed.


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Friends of the Old Courthouse to host 'Masquerade of Main' murder mystery dinner in WoodstockNorthwest Herald file photo

Tue, 26 Sep 2017 05:34:00 GMT

WOODSTOCK – Members of Friends of the Old Courthouse are planning a new fall event.

A “Masquerade on Main” murder mystery dinner will take place from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. Oct. 21 at Mia Passione restaurant, 228 Main St., Woodstock.

The theme is a murder mystery and will feature local actors portraying the interactive story. Costumes and masks are encouraged, along with business casual attire.

The event also will feature music, a silent auction and an Italian dinner by Mia Passione. Clay Guild will provide a handmade dessert plate as a party favor for guests. A cash bar will be open as well.

Tickets are $50 each and can be ordered at friendsoftheoldcourthouse.org.

Northwest Herald file photo


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Hope, Faith, Cure Foundation to hold fundraising event for chronic illnesses

Tue, 26 Sep 2017 05:34:00 GMT

McHENRY – After years of suffering, Adina Walters wants to raise awareness for what she calls “invisible illnesses.”

Walters, founder of the Hope, Faith, Cure Foundation, was in and out of hospitals for seven years before doctors figured out that she not only had Crohn’s disease, but also lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. About 1.6 million people in the U.S. have inflammatory bowel diseases, which include Crohn’s disease, according to the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation.

Walters founded her nonprofit in hopes of raising awareness and offering support to others like herself.

“It’s personal in the sense that why I started it was because of the struggles I went through and still go through,” Walters said. “It’s getting better, of course, but that isn’t without things being done.”

Hope, Faith, Cure will host a fundraising and awareness event from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Oct. 7 at McHenry’s Petersen Park, 4300 Peterson Park Road. The event will feature vendors, a 50/50 raffle, a bounce house, food, free games and face painting.

Walters wants to raise $5,000 to go toward the Hope, Faith, Cure Foundation’s college scholarship program. The group has partnered with McHenry High School District 156 and is aiming to support students who have loved ones affected with these chronic diseases, Walters said.

“It’s an everyday illness, and it’s invisible,” she said. “It affects the whole family. … Big companies have scholarships for patients, but there isn’t anything out there for the family. I have three children, and the stress isn’t just on that person [with the disease].”

Walters said that when her illnesses were not yet diagnosed, she had to go on disability at times and could be away from home for weeks because of hospitalizations.

“We want people to talk about it,” she said. “I deal with it on a daily basis, and I want to make someone else’s life easier. … The thing about these diseases is they’re chronic, and it doesn’t ever really go away. It’s a lifetime we deal with it, and so it’s a lifetime the family deals with it.”

Tickets to the fundraiser are $25 each. Kids age 12 and younger are free. For information, visit www.hopefaithcure.org.




Woodstock Police Department looking for trainees for youth program

Tue, 26 Sep 2017 05:34:00 GMT

WOODSTOCK – The Woodstock Police Department is looking for young trainees.

The Woodstock Police Explorers Post 765 is recruiting motivated people ages 14 to 20 who are interested in a law enforcement career. The explorer program provides career training and educational opportunities.

Applicants have to pass a background screening and attend an orientation session. Two sessions are offered. The first will be at 6 p.m. Oct. 19, and the second will take place at 6 p.m. Nov. 16.

Both sessions will be in the training room at the Woodstock Police Department, 656 Lake Ave. Those who are interested can contact Sgt. Rob Branum at rbranum@woodstockil.gov or officer Joshua Rapacz at jrapacz@woodstockil.gov.




Crystal Lake branch of global HR professional organization to host leadership eventNorthwest Herald file photo

Tue, 26 Sep 2017 05:34:00 GMT

WOODSTOCK – Stateline Society for Human Resource Management, a Crystal Lake-based affiliate of SHRM, is hosting a half-day program and 20th anniversary celebration Oct. 12 in Woodstock.

Andy Kaufman, president of the Institute for Leadership Excellence and Development, will lead the “Leadership Rising” event at Bull Valley Golf Club, 1311 Club Road, according to a news release from Stateline SHRM.

Kaufman will pass along lessons learned from interviewing many of today’s top experts on leadership.

“Andy shares why your ability to thrive starts with taking care of yourself and will share an innovative, evidence-based perspective on stress that can help during times of pressure,” the release states. “Andy will explain one of the most important and overlooked strategies to help you and your teams when the pressure is on.”

SHRM is a global HR professional organization.

The event will cost Stateline members $30 and nonmembers $45. Those who are interested must register online at statelineshrm.org before the event.

This program has been approved for certain 2.50 specified credit hours. Applicable information will be included in on-site materials.

Northwest Herald file photo


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Lake in the Hills man on McHenry County's top-10 fugitive list arrestedBryan J. Stoltenberg, 31, of 824 Shawnee Trail, Lake in the Hills, was arrested Saturday morning on burglary and possession of stolen firearms charges. Stoltenberg was No. 2 on McHenry County's list of top 10 fugitives.

Tue, 26 Sep 2017 05:33:00 GMT

WOODSTOCK – The No. 2 man on McHenry County’s top-10 fugitive list, who is facing burglary and possession of stolen firearms charges, was arrested over the weekend.

Bryan J. Stoltenberg, 31, of 824 Shawnee Trail, Lake in the Hills, was charged with knowingly possessing 33 stolen firearms and burglarizing a Lake in the Hills appliance store with another man on Jan. 31, 2015, according to a bill of indictment filed in McHenry County court in January 2017.

A warrant seeking Stoltenberg’s arrest was originally issued in December 2016 and continued in July of this year. Stoltenberg was taken into custody at 7:10 a.m. Saturday – almost three years after the burglary.

Stoltenberg and the other man are accused of possessing 10 rifles, 16 pistols, six revolvers and one gun of unknown make – all of which were stolen on Jan. 31, 2015, according to court documents. The two also are accused of entering HD Appliance, 1294 Industrial Drive, Lake in the Hills, with the intent to commit a theft – or burglarizing the appliance store.

The other man accused of the crimes had his case closed in May without a conviction.

If convicted of the most serious charge, Stoltenberg faces up to 50 years in prison, according to the indictment.

Stoltenberg is next due in court at 9 a.m. Wednesday and is being held in McHenry County jail in lieu of $250,000 bond. Stoltenberg would need to pay $25,000, or 10 percent of bond, to be released on bail.

Stoltenberg is the fourth McHenry County fugitive apprehended in the past four months.

Justin E. Dean, 25, of Wonder Lake was arrested July 27 after being wanted on a charge of possession of a controlled substance after police said he had less than 15 grams of oxycodone.

James Buttacavoli Jr., 43, turned himself in early August after being wanted on 2016 charges after authorities said he possessed more than 2,000 grams of marijuana and more than 50 marijuana plants.

Cortez V. Simpson, 25, of McHenry, turned himself in shortly after Buttacavoli. He faces felony drug charges after police say he conspired and sold more than 1 gram but less than 15 grams of cocaine with three co-defendants.

McHenry County Sheriff’s Lt. James Wagner said factors considered when deciding who makes the top 10 list include:

• The defendant must have an outstanding warrant for a felony crime.

• The crime usually involves some sort of violence, drugs, guns or a sex offense.

• The apprehension unit or other law enforcement agencies tried to serve a warrant and were unsuccessful.

• The individual has a McHenry County connection.

• He or she might be a suspect in an ongoing investigation.

• The individual usually is a repeat offender or has multiple warrants out for his or her arrest.

• Authorities believe the public can help them find that person.

Bryan J. Stoltenberg, 31, of 824 Shawnee Trail, Lake in the Hills, was arrested Saturday morning on burglary and possession of stolen firearms charges. Stoltenberg was No. 2 on McHenry County's list of top 10 fugitives.


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Police investigating death of Crystal Lake man at Main BeachNorthwest Herald File Photo

Tue, 26 Sep 2017 05:33:00 GMT

CRYSTAL LAKE – Police are investigating the death of a man who fell face forward into the water Sunday at Main Beach in Crystal Lake.

Edward B. McCaffery, 59, of Crystal Lake was pronounced dead at 2:53 p.m. Sunday at Centegra Hospital – Huntley, according to a news release from the McHenry County Coroner’s Office.

The Crystal Lake Fire Rescue Department, along with the Crystal Lake Park District and Lakewood police departments responded to a call about 2 p.m. Sunday. McCaffery reportedly fell face first into the water and a bystander pulled him out, according to the department.

An autopsy is scheduled for Tuesday. The death remains under investigation by all responding agencies, according to the coroner.

Crystal Lake Park District Police Chief Daniel Dziewior Jr. said the death didn’t appear suspicious and appearances point to the incident being related to a medical problem.

Northwest Herald File Photo


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Wauconda man dies after car goes over berm, lands upside down

Tue, 26 Sep 2017 05:32:00 GMT

HARVARD – A 39-year-old Wauconda man died Saturday night after the car he was driving traveled over a berm, went airborne and landed on its roof in unincorporated Harvard.

The Harvard Fire Protection District and McHenry County Sheriff’s police responded about 7:05 p.m. Saturday to the single-car crash in the 6500 block of White Oak Road, according to a news release from the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office.

Preliminary investigation shows Matthew D. Grey, 39, of Wauconda was driving a 2015 Dodge Dart east on Hunter Road when he failed to stop at the stop sign at the intersection of Hunter and White Oaks roads. Grey then drove over a berm west of the intersection, which resulted in his car going airborne and landing on its roof, police said.

The 39-year-old was the only person in the car, and he was pronounced dead on the scene at 7:52 p.m., according to the release.

He was wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash, the release said.

A preliminary autopsy performed Monday showed Grey lost oxygen because of being suspended upside down in the vehicle, according to a news release from the McHenry County Coroner’s Office. Final cause of death is pending additional studies.

The McHenry County Sheriff’s Office Major Traffic Crash Investigations Unit and the McHenry County Coroner’s Office continue to investigate the incident.


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Marengo City Council approves TIF funding for proposed strip mallThe city of Marengo will contribute up to $550,000 in tax increment financing funds for a new development on Route 20.

Tue, 26 Sep 2017 05:31:00 GMT

MARENGO – Marengo City Council members approved an agreement Monday with a local developer on a proposed strip mall that will include a Dunkin’ Donuts, a liquor store and a pharmacy on Route 20.

The city of Marengo will contribute up to $550,000 in tax increment financing funds for the approximately $1.7 million project at 20009 E. Grant Highway. The deal will be what city officials call a “pay as you go” agreement, where the developer takes out a loan and will be reimbursed by the city after the development is complete and occupied.

Alderman approved the deal with little discussion.

Marengo Community Pharmacy will relocate from its downtown location to the new development, and the Dunkin’ Donuts and the liquor store, which includes video gambling, will be new to the city. The liquor store wants to hold beer and wine tastings and have video gambling machines at the site.

Marengo Community Pharmacy currently is located at 308 State St., at the corner of State Street and Grant Highway.

An 8.37 percent return on investment is expected annually, according to city documents.

The TIF agreement runs through 2034. The TIF funding would be allowed by law because the developers plan to use the funds for public infrastructure, such as sewer and water line extensions. They also want to build a turn lane on Route 20.

The developers must next go before Marengo’s Planning and Zoning Commission, likely at its November meeting. Planning and Zoning commissioners will consider a planned unit development agreement.

“A lot of work went into that agreement,” interim City Administrator Joshua Blakemore said. “I am glad to get things going.”

The city of Marengo will contribute up to $550,000 in tax increment financing funds for a new development on Route 20.


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Developer plans Marengo truck stop near proposed interchange

Mon, 25 Sep 2017 17:21:00 GMT

MARENGO – A developer has proposed a full service truck stop at the intersection of Route 23 and Harmony Road in Marengo.

Lazar Brothers Enterprises Inc. bought 34.8 acres at the site and plans to develop the truck stop across 10 acres of land at the intersection. The location is just north of the proposed Interstate 90 and Route 23 interchange.

The company closed on the sale in late August and is in the process of planning site development. The developer hopes to break ground in 2020, said Tina Kropke of Premier Commercial Realty.

Premier Commercial Realty is representing an additional 102 acres at the intersection and is in the process of marketing them to companies seeking space for manufacturing and industrial businesses as well as some fast-food service restaurants.

Lazar Brothers owns other fueling stations in the area, Kropke said.

Marengo and McHenry County officials have projected that the interchange will bring businesses into the county and have an economic impact of between $538 million and $1.7 billion, according to an analysis from the McHenry County Economic Development Corp.

The interchange, which would be the first in McHenry County, also could create up to 3,594 jobs if its industrial potential is realized, according to the analysis.

The interchange project is part of plans by the Illinois Toll Highway Authority to replace the Route 23 overpass as part of an I-90 widening project.


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2 Woodstock teens hospitalized after crashWoodstock Fire-Rescue District and Woodstock Police officials responded to a crash at Route 14 and South Street about 3:48 p.m. Sunday after a car hit a utility pole, according to the fire department.A male teenage boy from Woodstock, a passenger in the vehicle, was ejected during the incident and transported to Condell Hospital with life-threatening injures, Woodstock Police Chief John Lieb said. "We're not sure if the passenger was wearing his seatbelt," Lieb said. A 17-year-old Woodstock girl had been driving the vehicle. She was taken to Centegra Hospital – Huntley with injuries that were non life-threatening, according to the fire department.The road was closed for about an hour and ComEd came out to fix the utility pole. The car was between 20 and 30 feet off the road in a ditch, officials said. Lieb said he did not know any details about how the crash occurred nor the teens' conditions when they were transported.Woodstock Police Department officials are investigating the incident, and Lieb said charges were pending Monday morning.

Mon, 25 Sep 2017 16:33:00 GMT

WOODSTOCK – A single-vehicle crash in Woodstock led to a Woodstock teenage boy being transported to the hospital with life-threatening injuries Sunday.

Woodstock Fire-Rescue District and Woodstock Police officials responded to a crash at Route 14 and South Street about 3:48 p.m. Sunday after a car hit a utility pole, according to the fire department.A male teenage boy from Woodstock, a passenger in the vehicle, was ejected during the incident and transported to Condell Hospital with life-threatening injures, Woodstock Police Chief John Lieb said. "We're not sure if the passenger was wearing his seatbelt," Lieb said. A 17-year-old Woodstock girl had been driving the vehicle. She was taken to Centegra Hospital – Huntley with injuries that were non life-threatening, according to the fire department.The road was closed for about an hour and ComEd came out to fix the utility pole. The car was between 20 and 30 feet off the road in a ditch, officials said. Lieb said he did not know any details about how the crash occurred nor the teens' conditions when they were transported.Woodstock Police Department officials are investigating the incident, and Lieb said charges were pending Monday morning.


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Heat can't wilt Huntley Fall FestCarly Haniszewski, one of the event’s coordinators, said her husband, Bryant, was inspired to bring a festival to Huntley after he went to Schaumburg’s festival for years. With the help of an all-volunteer committee, she said he and other festival leaders made it happen.Haniszewski said her husband initially had the idea of making the festival a one-day food festival when the event began in 2006. Now, the festival has grown into a three-day event and included a full carnival, live entertainment, a fireworks show Saturday and a used book sale benefiting the Huntley Library Friends Foundation.Haniszewski said she has heard that people keep coming back to the festival every year because they love the affordable prices. “It’s just a place for family and friends to go and have a good time,” Haniszewski said. Haniszewski said about 20,000 people attend the multiday festival every year.Committee Treasurer Sean Cratty said that number fluctuates depending on the weather, but the hot temperatures didn’t appear to dampen attendance much this year. He said the only year when the festival lost money was in 2008. Cratty said the festival raises about $25,000 a year. He said that net income is given back to the various groups that the festival volunteers come from, which includes the local Lions Club and Knights of Columbus chapters, church groups and sports organizations. In the past 12 years the committee has hosted the festival, Cratty said about $100,000 has been given back to help benefit local groups. “The goal is to get sponsors to offset the cost and to make money for the community,” Cratty said.Renee Blitek of Crystal Lake has been going to the festival for years for the evening entertainment. She said this was the first year that she brought her grandchildren – Brandon, 8, and Blake, 5 – to the festival’s carnival. Blitek said they had fun during this year’s festival, but she felt bad that her younger grandson couldn’t ride a lot of the rides that his older brother could. However, she said he probably will be tall enough to get on those rides by next year. Regardless, Blitek said it was fun to see the older grandson go on more adventurous rides when he’s usually of a more cautious nature. “It’s worth every penny,” Blitek said.

Mon, 25 Sep 2017 15:24:00 GMT

HUNTLEY – Record-high temperatures didn’t stop thousands from attending Huntley Fall Fest this weekend at the Huntley Park District, 12015 Mill St.

Carly Haniszewski, one of the event’s coordinators, said her husband, Bryant, was inspired to bring a festival to Huntley after he went to Schaumburg’s festival for years. With the help of an all-volunteer committee, she said he and other festival leaders made it happen.Haniszewski said her husband initially had the idea of making the festival a one-day food festival when the event began in 2006. Now, the festival has grown into a three-day event and included a full carnival, live entertainment, a fireworks show Saturday and a used book sale benefiting the Huntley Library Friends Foundation.Haniszewski said she has heard that people keep coming back to the festival every year because they love the affordable prices. “It’s just a place for family and friends to go and have a good time,” Haniszewski said. Haniszewski said about 20,000 people attend the multiday festival every year.Committee Treasurer Sean Cratty said that number fluctuates depending on the weather, but the hot temperatures didn’t appear to dampen attendance much this year. He said the only year when the festival lost money was in 2008. Cratty said the festival raises about $25,000 a year. He said that net income is given back to the various groups that the festival volunteers come from, which includes the local Lions Club and Knights of Columbus chapters, church groups and sports organizations. In the past 12 years the committee has hosted the festival, Cratty said about $100,000 has been given back to help benefit local groups. “The goal is to get sponsors to offset the cost and to make money for the community,” Cratty said.Renee Blitek of Crystal Lake has been going to the festival for years for the evening entertainment. She said this was the first year that she brought her grandchildren – Brandon, 8, and Blake, 5 – to the festival’s carnival. Blitek said they had fun during this year’s festival, but she felt bad that her younger grandson couldn’t ride a lot of the rides that his older brother could. However, she said he probably will be tall enough to get on those rides by next year. Regardless, Blitek said it was fun to see the older grandson go on more adventurous rides when he’s usually of a more cautious nature. “It’s worth every penny,” Blitek said.


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Anthony Weiner sentenced to 21 months in sexting caseFormer Congressman Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) arrives at federal court for his sentencing hearing in a sexting scandal, Monday, Sept. 25, 2017, in New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)Former Congressman Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) arrives at federal court for his sentencing hearing in a sexting scandal, Monday, Sept. 25, 2017, in New York. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)Former Congressman Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) arrives at federal court for his sentencing hearing in a sexting scandal, Monday, Sept. 25, 2017, in New York. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)Former Congressman Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) arrives at federal court for his sentencing hearing in a sexting scandal, Monday, Sept. 25, 2017, in New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

Mon, 25 Sep 2017 15:22:00 GMT

NEW YORK — Former Rep. Anthony Weiner was sentenced Monday to 21 months in prison for sexting with a 15-year-old girl in a case that rocked Hillary Clinton's campaign for the White House in the closing days of the race and may have cost her the presidency. Weiner, 53, dropped his head into his hand and wept as the sentence was announced by Judge Denise Cote. After the hearing ended and Cote left the bench, he sat in his seat for several minutes, continuing to cry. He said nothing as he left the courthouse and must surrender to prison officials by Nov. 6. The sentencing completed the sordid downfall of the New York Democrat, whose penchant for exchanging lewd messages and photos with young women online destroyed his career in Congress in 2011, doomed his bid for mayor of New York in 2013, wrecked his marriage to Clinton's closest aide, Huma Abedin, and became entangled in the 2016 presidential campaign. Admitting "I have a sickness, but I do not have an excuse," Weiner pleaded guilty in May to transferring obscene material to a minor, punishable by up to 10 years in prison, for illicit contact with a North Carolina teenager. He sought to be spared from prison, tearfully telling Cote on Monday that he was "a very sick man for a very long time." Weiner, weeping as he read from a written statement on a page he held in front of him, called his crime his "rock bottom." Prosecutors said he sent her porn and got her to take her clothes off and touch herself on Skype. Assistant U.S. Attorney Amanda Kramer on Monday urged Cote to give Weiner a significant prison sentence to end his "tragic cycle" of sexting. The FBI was investigating Weiner's contact with the high school student when it came across emails on his laptop between Abedin and Clinton, prompting then-FBI Director James Comey to announce in late October 2016 that he was reopening the probe of Clinton's use of a private computer server. Two days before Election Day, the FBI announced there was nothing new in the emails. But Clinton has blamed Comey's handling of the episode more than any other factor for her loss to Donald Trump. In a recent NBC interview, she called the FBI director's intervention "the determining factor" in her defeat. Weiner's lawyers had argued in court papers that he was undergoing treatment and was profoundly sorry for subjecting the girl to his "deep sickness." They also portrayed her as an instigator, saying she wanted to generate material for a book and possibly influence the presidential election. Prosecutors responded by arguing the victim's motives were irrelevant to the punishment and said Weiner's habit of getting caught sexting "suggests a dangerous level of denial and lack of self-control." Weiner, wearing his wedding ring, seemed pensive just before Monday's hearing began. His parents were in the courtroom but not his wife. He and Abedin, who have a 5-year-old, are going through divorce proceedings. Weiner was also fined $10,000. After his sentence is served, he must undergo internet monitoring and must have no contact with his victim. He must also enroll in a sex-offender treatment program. Before announcing the sentence, Cote said there was "no evidence of deviant interest in teenagers or minors" on Weiner's part. She also said he is [...]


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McHenry County Farm Stroll offers access to locally sourced productsOrganized by the McHenry County Farm Bureau and the University of Illinois Extension McHenry County Master Gardeners, the farm stroll offered the opportunity for attendees to participate in self-guided tours of each farm free of charge. From dairy cows, to hydroponics, to alpacas and indoor horse riding arenas, each farm had something unique to offer. New to the stroll, Thornpaw Lea Farm in Marengo sells meat options such as Katahdin sheep, Tamworth hogs and Bourbon Red turkeys.Owners Robert and Therese Ortloff, manage their 10-acre farm with the help of their five daughters. “Nobody really knew that we were here or what we are doing,” said Robert. “We’re only coming up on our sixth year so we’re pretty new, and we needed the exposure. We’re not out here just fooling around, and this isn’t a hobby farm. We wanted people to see what we offer.” The farm’s black goat, Shadow, and their Anatolian shepherd/Great Pyrenees mixes Sophie and Gus, greeted guests, nudging them with their snouts to say hello.Northeast of Thornpaw Lea in Richmond, Patyk’s Farm Market and Greenhouse sits on 80 acres, 35 of which is dedicated to produce. Those visiting are greeted by rows of pumpkins, wandering farm cats, a fine display of fall perennials and the cluck of chickens. Their third year as a featured farm on the stroll, John and Myra Patyk are proud to offer fresh produce such as cauliflower, heirloom tomatoes and some lesser known items such as lemon cucumbers for a new experience. Goats, cows, pigs and turkeys also are on property. “Every year we try different things. We experiment with different hybrids and heirlooms,” said John Patyk. “Some work, and some don’t.”John and Myrna primarily work the land themselves with some occasional seasonal help. John Patyk said their 8-year-old son, Johnny, loves life on the farm, running around and helping out. Patyk’s grandparents were produce farmers, but the tradition skipped a generation. Nine years ago, John and Myrna decided to move from the Morton Grove/Skokie area to give the family business a go. “It was the best move I ever made,” John Patyk said. “We need local agriculture. We do a little bit of everything here, flowers, produce, animals, so it’s very diverse. It’s definitely the hardest job I’ve ever had, but also the best. But we love it.”McHenry resident Suzan Paulin said Patyk’s was one of her favorite stops on the stroll. She said she liked the friendly feel the farm had, and she loved all the varieties of produce and pumpkins. Paulin spent part of the stroll snacking on a fresh honey crisp apple from stroll farm participant, Prairie Sky Orchard. The sharp crunch of her bites gave way to very large smiles; a telltale sign of a very satisfied customer. “It’s just so great to be able to see what the county farms have to offer. I would have never known all of these wonderful places existed,” Paulin said. “I will definitely be visiting these farms in the future, and I can’t wait to take my grandkids to some of them.”Prairie Sky Orchard has 2,000 dwarf apple trees with over a dozen varieties for the picking, as well a farm store with apples, jams and pies for purchase. Prairie Sky was Paulin’s fourth stop on the stroll. Paulin and a friend made an afternoon of the stroll. Their fifth stop on the stroll was ALsPACAs of Dutch Mill Farms in Harvard. Diane Messman of Woodstock had just left the alpaca farm, where she purchased three bags of alpaca poop, which can be used as fertilizer and does not carry the smell of horse manure. Messman said she intends to try it on her tomato plants. Messman was on her third of the five farms she intended to visit, walking the grounds of Von Bergen’s Country Market in Hebron, just down the road from Patyk’s. She said she appreciates the positive effect the stroll has on the local agricultural economy and thinks it’s also an important learning experience for kids. “You get to see what a chicken look likes up close,” said Messman. “You can poke your finger in some sheep’s wool to see how thick it is. You can experience how big a cow really is, and you get to spend a beautiful day out in the neighborhood. What could be better?”

Mon, 25 Sep 2017 15:18:00 GMT

McHENRY COUNTY – The heat of this year’s early fall did not keep people from going down to the farm Sunday for the third annual McHenry County Farm Stroll. Organized by the McHenry County Farm Bureau and the University of Illinois Extension McHenry County Master Gardeners, the farm stroll offered the opportunity for attendees to participate in self-guided tours of each farm free of charge. From dairy cows, to hydroponics, to alpacas and indoor horse riding arenas, each farm had something unique to offer. New to the stroll, Thornpaw Lea Farm in Marengo sells meat options such as Katahdin sheep, Tamworth hogs and Bourbon Red turkeys.Owners Robert and Therese Ortloff, manage their 10-acre farm with the help of their five daughters. “Nobody really knew that we were here or what we are doing,” said Robert. “We’re only coming up on our sixth year so we’re pretty new, and we needed the exposure. We’re not out here just fooling around, and this isn’t a hobby farm. We wanted people to see what we offer.” The farm’s black goat, Shadow, and their Anatolian shepherd/Great Pyrenees mixes Sophie and Gus, greeted guests, nudging them with their snouts to say hello.Northeast of Thornpaw Lea in Richmond, Patyk’s Farm Market and Greenhouse sits on 80 acres, 35 of which is dedicated to produce. Those visiting are greeted by rows of pumpkins, wandering farm cats, a fine display of fall perennials and the cluck of chickens. Their third year as a featured farm on the stroll, John and Myra Patyk are proud to offer fresh produce such as cauliflower, heirloom tomatoes and some lesser known items such as lemon cucumbers for a new experience. Goats, cows, pigs and turkeys also are on property. “Every year we try different things. We experiment with different hybrids and heirlooms,” said John Patyk. “Some work, and some don’t.”John and Myrna primarily work the land themselves with some occasional seasonal help. John Patyk said their 8-year-old son, Johnny, loves life on the farm, running around and helping out. Patyk’s grandparents were produce farmers, but the tradition skipped a generation. Nine years ago, John and Myrna decided to move from the Morton Grove/Skokie area to give the family business a go. “It was the best move I ever made,” John Patyk said. “We need local agriculture. We do a little bit of everything here, flowers, produce, animals, so it’s very diverse. It’s definitely the hardest job I’ve ever had, but also the best. But we love it.”McHenry resident Suzan Paulin said Patyk’s was one of her favorite stops on the stroll. She said she liked the friendly feel the farm had, and she loved all the varieties of produce and pumpkins. Paulin spent part of the stroll snacking on a fresh honey crisp apple from stroll farm participant, Prairie Sky Orchard. The sharp crunch of her bites gave way to very large smiles; a telltale sign of a very satisfied customer. “It’s just so great to be able to see what the county farms have to offer. I would have never known all of these wonderful places existed,” Paulin said. “I will definitely be visiting these farms in the future, and I can’t wait to take my grandkids to some of them.”Prairie Sky Orchard has 2,000 dwarf apple trees with over a dozen varieties for the picking, as well a farm store with apples, jams and pies for purchase. Prairie Sky was Paulin’s fourth stop on the stroll. Paulin and a friend made an afternoon of the stroll. Their fifth stop on the stroll was ALsPACAs of Dutch Mi[...]


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Decades after "Little Rock Nine," school segregation lingersFILE - In this Sept. 4, 1957, file photo, students of Central High School in Little Rock, Ark., including Hazel Bryan, shout insults at Elizabeth Eckford as she calmly walks toward a line of National Guardsmen. The Guardsmen blocked the main entrance and would not let her enter. Monday, Sept. 25, 2017, marks 60 years since the Little Rock Nine first entered the school for classes. (Will Counts/Arkansas Democrat-Gazette via AP, File)This combination of file photos shows the nine black teenagers who had to be escorted by federal troops past an angry white mob and through the doors of Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, on Sept. 25, 1957. Top row from left are Minnie Brown, Elizabeth Eckford and Ernest Green; middle row, Thelma Mothershed, Melba Pattillo and Gloria Ray; bottom row, Terrence Roberts, Jefferson Thomas and Carlotta Walls. (AP Photos/File)FILE - In this Sept. 27, 1957, file photo, two paratrooper officers escort black students from Central High School in Little Rock, Ark. School was closing for the weekend. (AP Photo/File)FILE - In this Sept. 25, 1957, file photo, white girls from Central High School laugh as troopers with bayonets force them to move in Little Rock, Ark. Federal forces were used to enforce integration in the face of racial tension in Arkansas. (AP Photo/File)FILE - In this Sept. 26, 1957, file photo, members of the 101st Airborne Division take up positions outside Central High School in Little Rock, Ark., after President Dwight D. Eisenhower ordered them into the city to enforce integration at the school. The 60th anniversary of the school's desegregation is Monday, Sept. 25, 2017. (AP Photo/File)FILE - In this Sept. 25, 1957, file photo, nine African American students enter Central High School in Little Rock, Ark., escorted by troops of the 101st Airborne Division. (AP Photo/File)This combination of Friday, Sept. 22, 2017 photos shows eight of the Little Rock Nine, the black teenagers who had to be escorted by federal troops past an angry white mob and through the doors of Central High School in Little Rock, Ark., on Sept. 25, 1957. Top row from left are Minnijean Brown Trickey, Elizabeth Eckford and Ernest Green; middle row, Thelma Mothershed Wair, Melba Pattillo Beals and Gloria Ray Karlmark; bottom row, Terrence Roberts and Carlotta Walls LaNier. (AP Photos/Kelly Kissel)FILE - In this September 1957 file photo, marchers protesting against school integration head south from the State Capitol toward Central High School in Little Rock, Ark. (Will Counts/Arkansas Democrat via AP, File)

Mon, 25 Sep 2017 12:55:00 GMT

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Among the most lasting and indelible images of the civil rights movement were the nine black teenagers who had to be escorted by federal troops past an angry white mob and through the doors of Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, on Sept. 25, 1957. It had been three years since the Supreme Court had declared "separate but equal" in America's public schools unconstitutional, but the decision was met with bitter resistance across the South. It would take more than a decade before the last vestiges of Jim Crow fell away from classrooms. Even the brave sacrifice of the "Little Rock Nine" felt short-lived — rather than allow more black students and further integration, the district's high schools closed the following school year. The watershed moment was "a physical manifestation for all to see of what that massive resistance looked like," said Sherrilyn Ifill, director of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. "The imagery of these perfectly dressed, lovely, serious young people seeking to enter a high school ... to see them met with ugliness and rage and hate and violence was incredibly powerful," Ifill said. Six decades later, the sacrifice of those black students stands as a symbol of the turbulence of the era, but also as a testament to an intractable problem: Though legal segregation has long ended, few white and minority students share a classroom today. The lack of progress is clear and remains frustrating in the school district that includes Central High. The Little Rock School District, which is about two-thirds black, has been under state control since 2015 over the academic performance of some of its schools. The district has seen a proliferation of charter schools in recent years that opponents say contributes to self-segregation. Ernest Green still remembers the promise of the era that put him and the eight other students on the front line. After reading about the May 17, 1954, Brown v. Board of Education decision in the local newspaper, he recalled: "I thought to myself, 'Good, because I think the face of the South ought to change.'" He and his classmates came face-to-face with Southern opposition after integrating Central. The first day of school was only the beginning of the hardships they would endure. Green described the experience as "like going to war every day." Threatening phone calls came to their homes nightly. Students threw acid on them at school. "For all of us, we decided that this was a year that we were going to support each other," said Green, now 76, and the first member of the Little Rock Nine to graduate from Central. "The principal of the school told me at one point ... that I didn't have to come to the ceremony, that they would mail me my diploma." Green ignored his suggestion, knowing the magnitude of his accomplishment. Sitting in the audience at graduation with his family was the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., then in the throes of the civil rights movement. For the 1958-1959 school year when the district's high schools closed — known as "The Lost Year" — the remaining students either went to nearby public schools in the state or out of state where they had friends or relatives, or found other alternatives such as private schools, co[...]


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Redevelopment of Maplewood property in Cary to be discussed Oct. 3The school board approved a $2.5 million purchase agreement with Central One LLC for the Maplewood property in July after putting it up to bid for the third time since the school has been vacant.Developer Patrick Taylor of Barrington-based Central One LLC introduced himself to Village Board members and residents at a special meeting Aug. 22, and he presented his own concept plan based off Cary's comprehensive plan, which was approved in 2015 and is shown above.

Mon, 25 Sep 2017 05:47:00 GMT

CARY – Cary trustees again are slated to discuss the Maplewood property.

A discussion will take place at the Cary Committee of the Whole meeting, which starts immediately after the Village Board meeting at 6 p.m. Oct. 3 at Village Hall, 655 Village Hall Drive.

Developer Patrick Taylor of Barrington-based Central One LLC will be presenting a revised concept plan based off feedback he heard from residents at a meeting Aug. 22.

More than 40 residents spoke out during the August meeting, many voicing concerns that the proposed high-density, multifamily housing development wouldn’t fit with the small-town, open-space feel of Cary.

Director of Community Development Brian Simmons said Taylor has taken the feedback and is working on a new concept plan, which has not yet been formally submitted to the village.

“The proposal is very conceptual, and we are in the very early phases looking at redevelopment,” Simmons said. “Eventually, it will have to go through formal building and zoning, but right now, we are in a conceptual phase.”

Cary School District 26 closed the school in 2010 because of declining enrollment. Built in 1929, the 42,000-square-foot facility was one of the district’s oldest schools. The school board approved a $2.5 million purchase agreement with Central One LLC for the property in July after putting it up to bid for the third time since the school has been vacant.

The 15-acre site, 422 W. Krenz Ave., sits close to Cary’s downtown and is surrounded by single-family residential homes. Taylor’s original concept included multistory apartment complexes along the Metra railroad tracks, detached single-family condominiums and open park space.

The meeting will be livestreamed online.

Editor's note: This story has been changed to reflect who owns the Maplewood property.

The school board approved a $2.5 million purchase agreement with Central One LLC for the Maplewood property in July after putting it up to bid for the third time since the school has been vacant.Developer Patrick Taylor of Barrington-based Central One LLC introduced himself to Village Board members and residents at a special meeting Aug. 22, and he presented his own concept plan based off Cary's comprehensive plan, which was approved in 2015 and is shown above.


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Gunman opens fire in Nashville church; 1 dead, 7 woundedKaitlyn Adams, a member of the Burnette Chapel Church of Christ, hugs another church member at the scene after a deadly shooting at the church on Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017, in Antioch, Tenn. (Andrew Nelles/The Tennessean via AP)

Mon, 25 Sep 2017 05:25:00 GMT

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A masked gunman opened fire at a Nashville church Sunday, silently walking down the aisle as he shot unsuspecting congregants. At least one person was killed and seven others wounded, authorities said. An usher confronted the shooter, who apparently shot himself in the struggle before he was arrested, police said. The FBI said Sunday night it has opened a civil rights investigation into the shooting at the Burnette Chapel Church of Christ. No motive was immediately determined. Church members told investigators that the suspect had attended services a year or two ago, said Don Aaron, a spokesman for the Metro Nashville Police Department. Nashville police did not comment on several bizarre posts on the suspect’s Facebook page in the hours before the shooting. The gunman pulled into the church’s parking lot as services were ending. He fatally shot a woman who was walking to her vehicle, then entered the rear of the church with two pistols and kept firing, hitting six people, Aaron said. Authorities identified the attacker as Emanuel Kidega Samson, 25, of Murfreesboro, who came to the United States from Sudan in 1996 and was a legal U.S. resident. It was unclear whether the self-inflicted wound to the chest was intentional, Aaron said. The gunman was discharged hours later from Vanderbilt University Hospital but remained in police custody. Warrants charging him with murder and attempted murder were pending, Aaron said. Witness Minerva Rosa said the usher was “a hero.” “He’s amazing,” said Rosa, a member of the church for eight years. “Without him, I think it could be worse.” The suspect said nothing as he fired. While the gunman made his way down the aisle, Rosa said, the pastor started shouting, “’Run! Run! Gunshots!’” Aaron called the usher, 22-year-old Robert Engle, “an extraordinarily brave individual.” The woman who was killed in the parking lot was identified as Melanie Smith, 39, of Smyrna, Tennessee. The gunman and six others were treated for gunshot wounds at nearby hospitals, along with Engle, who was pistol-whipped, Aaron said. Among the wounded was Joey Spann, who is the church’s pastor and is a Bible study teacher at Nashville Christian School. After the attack, the nearby New Beautiful Gate Church opened its doors to Burnette Chapel churchgoers as they reunited with loved ones. New Beautiful Gate Pastor Michael Mosby said he is neighbors with Spann. “As a pastor myself, you come with the expectation of sitting down and having a service and not thinking about what can happen around you,” Mosby said. “You never know who is going to come to the door or what reasons they would come to the door, come to your church and do something like that. We’re always on guard. We just thank God many more weren’t hurt.” 42 people were at the church at the time of the shooting, and all victims were adults, Aaron said. The small brick church describes itself on its website as a “friendly, Bible-base[...]


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Trump replaces travel ban with new restrictions on 8 nationsPresident Donald Trump walks towards the White House in Washington, Sunday after speaking to reporters upon his return. Citizens of eight countries will face new restrictions on entry to the U.S. under a proclamation signed by Trump on Sunday.

Mon, 25 Sep 2017 05:24:00 GMT

WASHINGTON – Citizens of eight countries, including North Korea and Venezuela, will face new restrictions on entry to the U.S. under a proclamation signed by President Donald Trump on Sunday that will replace his expiring travel ban. The new rules, which will impact the citizens of Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela and Yemen, will go into effect on Oct. 18. The restrictions range from an indefinite ban on visas for citizens of countries like Syria to more targeted restrictions. A suspension of non-immigrant visas to citizens for Venezuela, for instance, will apply only to certain government officials and their immediate families. The announcement comes the same day as Trump’s temporary ban on visitors from six Muslim-majority countries was set to expire 90 days after it went into effect. That ban had barred citizens of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen who lack a “credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States” from entering the U.S. Only one of those countries, Sudan, will no longer be subject to travel restrictions. “Making America Safe is my number one priority. We will not admit those into our country we cannot safely vet,” Trump tweeted late Sunday after the new policy was announced. Unlike the first iteration of Trump’s travel ban, which sparked chaos at airports across the country and a flurry of legal challenges, officials stressed they had been working for months on the new rules, in collaboration with various agencies and in conversation with foreign governments. To limit confusion, valid visas would not be revoked as a result of the proclamation. The order also permits, but does not guarantee, case-by-case waivers for citizens of the affected countries who meet certain criteria. That includes: having previously worked or studied in the U.S. for a lengthy and continuous period of time; having previously established “significant contacts” in the U.S.; and having “significant business or professional obligations” in the U.S. Still, officials acknowledged the waiver restrictions were narrower than the exemptions for people with bona fide ties to the United States that he Supreme Court mandated. The restrictions are targeted at countries that the Department of Homeland Security says fail to share sufficient information with the U.S. or haven’t taken necessary security precautions. Over the course of the past three months, DHS worked to developed new security baselines, which includes factors such as whether countries issue electronic passports with biometric information, report lost or stolen passports to INTERPOL and share information about travelers’ terror-related and criminal histories. The U.S. then shared those benchmarks with every country in the world and gave them 50 days to comply. A total of sixteen countries did not comply with the rules at first, officials said, but half worked with the U.S. to improve their information-sharing and security practices. The remaining eight are now subject to the new restrictions until they are deemed in compliance. This includes a suspension of all immigrant visa[...]


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Opposition from GOP senators grows, jeopardizes health billU.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, speaks to members of the media Aug. 17 while attending an event in Lewiston, Maine. Collins said Sunday, she finds it "very difficult" to envision backing the last-chance GOP bill repealing the Obama health care law. That likely opposition leaves the Republican drive to fulfill one of the party's premier campaign promises dangling by a thread.

Mon, 25 Sep 2017 05:23:00 GMT

WASHINGTON – Republican opposition to the GOP health care bill swelled to near-fatal numbers Sunday as Sen. Susan Collins all but closed the door on supporting the last-ditch effort to scrap the Obama health care law and Sen. Ted Cruz said that “right now” he doesn’t back it. White House legislative liaison Marc Short and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., one of the measure’s sponsors, said Republicans would press ahead with a vote this week. But the comments by Collins and Cruz left the Republican drive to uproot President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act dangling by an increasingly fraying thread. A vote must occur this week for Republicans to prevail with their narrow Senate majority. Next Sunday, protections expire against a Democratic filibuster, bill-killing delays that Republicans lack the votes to overcome. President Donald Trump seemed to distance himself from the showdown, saying his “primary focus” was his party’s drive to cut taxes. “I don’t know what they’re doing,” Trump told reporters about the bill’s GOP opponents as he prepared to fly back to Washington after a weekend at his New Jersey golf club. “But you know what? Eventually we’ll win, whether it’s now or later.” Two GOP senators, Rand Paul of Kentucky and John McCain of Arizona, already have said they oppose the legislation. All Democrats will vote against it. “No” votes from three of the 52 GOP senators would kill the party’s effort to deliver on its perennial vow to repeal “Obamacare” and would reprise the party’s politically jarring failure to accomplish that this summer. Collins cited the bill’s cuts in the Medicaid program for low-income people and the likelihood that it would result in many losing health coverage and paying higher premiums. The Maine moderate also criticized a provision letting states make it easier for insurers to raise premiums on people with pre-existing medical conditions. “It’s very difficult for me to envision a scenario where I would end up voting for this bill,” said Collins. The conservative Cruz also voiced opposition, underscoring the bill’s problems with both ends of the GOP spectrum. “Right now, they don’t have my vote,” Cruz said at a festival in Austin, Texas. He suggested the measure doesn’t do enough to reduce premiums by allowing insurers to sell less comprehensive coverage than Obama’s law allows. Cruz said he doesn’t think fellow conservative Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, backs the GOP bill. Lee spokesman Conn Carroll said Lee wants “technical changes” but hasn’t finalized his position. The growing opposition leaves the White House and party leaders with one immediate option: changing opponents’ minds. Republicans have said they’re still reshaping the bill in hopes of winning over skeptics. Collins said sponsors were making last-minute adjustments in the measure’s formulas for distributing federal money to states. “So yes, we’re moving forward and we’ll see what happens next week,” Graham said. [...]


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Candidates scramble in unexpected open attorney general race

Mon, 25 Sep 2017 05:23:00 GMT

CHICAGO – The race to become Illinois’ next chief legal officer is off to a furious start after Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s sudden announcement that she wouldn’t seek a fifth term. A Republican former Miss America’s campaign has been reinvigorated. Two Democratic state lawmakers have stepped forward. And so many others are contemplating runs that news outlets are posting online trackers of who’s in and out. The mad dash for the only open race for statewide office next year means there could be a crowded primary ballot, at least on the Democratic side. “It’s going to be a very vigorous race,” said Republican Erika Harold of Urbana, who declared her candidacy last month. “My message will remain the same. I’ve been focused on putting the people before the powerful.” The Illinois Republican Party has contributed roughly $34,000 to her campaign. Since Madigan made her surprising announcement about a week ago, Harold has tried to solidify her GOP establishment backing. She’s collected endorsements from 45 Republican lawmakers, including House Republican Leader Jim Durkin. He used a Chicago speech last week to praise the Harvard University-educated lawyer, who was crowned Miss America in 2003 and made an unsuccessful primary bid for Congress in 2014. Fewer endorsements have trickled in on the Democratic side where things are more complicated when it comes to party backing. Madigan is the daughter of Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, the longest-serving speaker nationwide who’s also leader of the state Democratic Party. He said, through a spokesman, that he hasn’t taken a position on the attorney general’s race. Still, candidates have had to factor in the influence of both of them. Democratic state Sen. Kwame Raoul nodded to Lisa Madigan in his campaign rollout last week. “She’s had an incredibly successful tenure. So she leaves a big void,” he said. “I’m calling everybody that I know in the party.” He picked up an endorsement from longtime Democratic U.S. Rep. Danny Davis of Chicago. Raoul, an attorney, was appointed to his Senate seat in Chicago to fill the vacancy left by then-state Sen. Barack Obama’s election to the U.S. Senate. Meanwhile, another Democratic legislator – state Rep. Scott Drury – exchanged his gubernatorial bid to seek the attorney general nomination. Drury was the sole Democrat to forgo support of Michael Madigan’s election to a 17th term as speaker. “What Illinois needs is an attorney general who’s fiercely independent,” the former federal prosecutor from Highwood said. Other Democrats contemplating runs include former Chicago Board of Education president Gery Chico and McHenry County Board Chairman Jack Franks, a former state representative. Outgoing state Rep. Elaine Nekritz announced Sunday that she had decided against a run after discussing the matter with her family. Madigan was elected Illinois’ first female attorney general in a tight 2002 race, going on to easily win the next three elections. Four years ago she brie[...]



Democratic 14th Congressional District candidates square off at forumDemocratic Party primary candidates for the 14th Congressional District – Matt Brolley (from left), Victor Swanson, Lauren Underwood, Jim Walz and George Weber – participate in a forum Monday at Amalgamated UAW Local 145's Union Hall in Montgomery, moderated by Jerre Henricksen (center).Candidates Jim Walz and George Weber listen to a resident after the Democratic 14th Congressional District primary candidates forum Monday.

Mon, 25 Sep 2017 05:22:00 GMT

Democratic Party candidates in the 14th Congressional District primary race talked climate change, health care, education and a multitude of other topics at a candidates forum last week at the Amalgamated UAW Local 145’s Union Hall in Montgomery. The Democratic Women of Kendall County organized the forum, which featured candidates Matt Brolley, Victor Swanson, Lauren Underwood, Jim Walz and George Weber. The candidates will compete in the March 20 Democratic Party primary election, and the winner will face incumbent Rep. Randy Hultgren, R-Plano, in the November 2018 general election. Brolley, the village president of Montgomery, said he’s running partly as a result of the November election of President Donald Trump. Brolley, whose wife’s family is from Mexico, said he has faced questions from his children about Trump. “When my daughter asks why Donald Trump wants to build a wall so she can’t visit her grandma, that really hits home, and that hurts,” Brolley said. Swanson, a teacher from Batavia, said he’s “not running for myself.” He said he’s running for his elderly father with Parkinson’s disease who uses Social Security and Medicare; his mother, who is a small-business owner; his sister, who has a pre-existing condition, diabetes; his son, who he said couldn’t understand how the Republicans went from Abraham Lincoln to Donald Trump; for his daughter, who he said deserves to be paid the same as his son for the exact same work; and for his students. Underwood, a public health nurse from Naperville, said she’s running because of Hultgren’s vote on health care. She said she has a pre-existing heart condition. Hultgren voted in favor of the Paul Ryan-backed American Health Care Act in May; the measure failed to pass Congress. “I felt betrayed, and I think he needs to be held accountable for that action,” Underwood said of Hultgren’s vote. Walz, a Gurnee resident who ran against Hultgren in 2016 but lost, said he’s a supporter of Sen. Bernie Sanders, and said he wants the U.S. to wean itself off of fossil fuels. He said he would file legislation to provide incentives for wind, solar, geothermal and other energies. He said he also wants to get “money out of politics” and voiced opposition to the Citizens United decision. He also criticized congressional Republicans’ attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act. “The fact that anybody would vote to take away health care from the most vulnerable among us, while also giving tax breaks to the rich, I found it immoral and disgusting,” Walz said. Weber, a chemical engineer from Lakewood, said he wants “prosperity for the middle class.” Each candidate received a question specifically for them during the forum. Brolley was asked about his residency outside of the 14th Congressional District. Brolley lives in Montgomery, but over the boundary in the 11th Congressional District. He said his house was in the 14th District before the 2011 redistricting. Brolley stressed that he grew up in Boulde[...]


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Crystal Lake School District 47 adopts new strategic planning initiativeSarah Nader file photo – snader@shawmedia.com Anthony Pizza (left) of Crystal Lake watches as Sara Garcia of Crystal Lake casts her ballot for her presidential choice during a mock presidential election Nov. 5, 2012, at Husmann Elementary School in Crystal Lake. Crystal Lake Elementary School District 47 kicked off a new strategic planning process this month to plan for the school system's future.

Mon, 25 Sep 2017 05:21:00 GMT

CRYSTAL LAKE – Crystal Lake Elementary School District 47 kicked off a new strategic planning process this month to plan for the school system’s future.

Forward 47 will help the district establish a set plan for the next five years, according to a news release from the district. A team of nearly 40 stakeholders – including parents, staff, community members, board members, administrators and students – will meet monthly through December to discuss the plan under the guidance of the Consortium for Educational Change.

“An effective school district relies on the shared vision and collaborative input from all stakeholders,” Superintendent Kathy Hinz said in a statement. “Through the efforts of the strategic planning team and feedback from the school community, we look forward to developing a viable plan that will guide our efforts in continuing to provide quality educational services for all students.”

The team recently met for a “data retreat” in which the members focused on uncovering the district’s strengths and weaknesses. Team members produced a SWOT analysis identifying the district’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats using finance/operations, instruction/curriculum, personnel/human resources and recent stakeholder surveys.

“The Forward 47 strategic planning team invites all stakeholders to weigh in and provide feedback on the SWOT analysis by taking a brief survey on the webpage,” the release states.

The survey will be open through Oct. 15, and all results will be shared with the team for consideration in determining a final SWOT analysis that will inform the strategic plan.

For information about the strategic plan or to take the survey, visit www.d47.org/forward47.

Sarah Nader file photo – snader@shawmedia.com Anthony Pizza (left) of Crystal Lake watches as Sara Garcia of Crystal Lake casts her ballot for her presidential choice during a mock presidential election Nov. 5, 2012, at Husmann Elementary School in Crystal Lake. Crystal Lake Elementary School District 47 kicked off a new strategic planning process this month to plan for the school system's future.


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2 people sent to hospital after Woodstock crashA battered car sits on the bed of a tow truck after a single-vehicle crash sent two people to the hospital Sunday.

Mon, 25 Sep 2017 05:21:00 GMT

WOODSTOCK – A single-vehicle crash in Woodstock led to a person being transported to the hospital with life-threatening injuries Sunday.

Woodstock Fire-Rescue District and Woodstock Police officials responded to a crash at Route 14 and South Street about 3:48 p.m. Sunday after a car hit a utility pole, according to the fire department.

One person was ejected from the vehicle during the incident and was taken to Condell Hospital with life-threatening injures. The other person was taken to Centegra Hospital – Huntley with injuries that were non life-threatening, according to the department.

The road was closed for about an hour and ComEd came out to fix the utility pole. The car was between 20 and 30 feet off the road in a ditch, officials said.

The cause of the crash and the occupants’ identities and conditions weren’t available Sunday evening.

Woodstock Police Department officials are investigating the incident.

A battered car sits on the bed of a tow truck after a single-vehicle crash sent two people to the hospital Sunday.


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McHenry County grand jury indictments

Mon, 25 Sep 2017 05:14:00 GMT

WOODSTOCK – A McHenry County grand jury this past week indicted these people on these charges: • Jason A. Long, 30, of the 2400 block of Randall Lane, Arlington Heights; solicitation to meet a child, indecent solicitation of a child and aggravated criminal sexual abuse. • Luis Guzman, 46, of the 4600 block of Willow Lane, McHenry; aggravated criminal sexual abuse and two counts of aggravated battery. • Christopher J. Charpentier, 25, transient; possession of another person’s credit card, identity theft and burglary. • Kenneth J. Pencak, 19, of the zero to 100 block of Duxbury Lane, Cary; residential burglary and theft of more than $500. • Nicholas A. Charpentier, 21, of the 3000 block of Walnut Road, Wonder Lake; burglary. • Pascasio, M. Martinez, 34, of the 200 block of Church Street, Crystal Lake; aggravated driving under the influence and driving with a revoked license. • Jose M. Contreras, 34, of the 100 block of East Cherry Street, Cary; criminal trespass to a residence and violation of an order of protection. • Blake R. Alberts, 24, of the 400 block of West Miner Street, Arlington Heights; criminal sexual assault and theft. • Eric J. Elwell, 23, of the 1300 block of East Waverly Place, Arlington Heights; criminal sexual assault and theft. • Bridget M. Gibson, 28, of the 900 block of 8th Street, Harvard; retail theft and criminal trespass to real property. • Michael G. Briley, 52, of the 1100 block of North 4th Street, Mankato, Minnesota; possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance and possession of a controlled substance. • Justin T. Frost, 23, of the 5300 block of West Orchard Drive, McHenry; possession of a controlled substance. • Steven J. McMillan, 53, of the 7500 block of Algonquin Road, Wonder Lake; possession of a controlled substance. • Robert J. Sienkowski, 33, of the 3900 block of West Main Street, McHenry; possession of a controlled substance. • Diego A. Valencia-Garcia, 30, of the zero to 100 block of South Seebert Street, Cary; possession of a controlled substance. • Madison J. Larson, 20, of the 2400 block of North Woodlawn Avenue, Cary; possession of a controlled substance. • Caleb S. Redd, 20, of the 800 block of Stonebridge Lane, Crystal Lake; possession of a controlled substance. • Justin T. Orozco, 19, of the 200 block of South Madison Street, Woodstock; possession with intent to deliver marijuana, possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of marijuana. • Ryan J. Orozco, 18, of the 200 block of South Madison Street, Woodstock; possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance, possession with intent to deliver marijuana, possession of marijuana and possession of drug parapher[...]



McHenry County Farm Stroll offers access to locally sourced productsMike Greene for Shaw Media Sophia Carrion, 5, of Woodstock, feeds a group of alpacas grain during the 3rd annual McHenry County Farm Stroll Sunday, September 24, 2017 at ALsPACAs of Dutch Mill Farms in Harvard. This year's free event included 12 farms featuring apple orchards, vegetable growers, dairy cows, beef cattle, pigs, sheep, goats, chickens, turkeys, horses, alpacas, honey bees, perennial plants, hydroponics and more.Mike Greene for Shaw Media Myla Hoyne, 5, left, and Lola Moreano, 10, both of Huntley, pet a goat at Thornpaw Lea Farm during the 3rd annual McHenry County Farm Stroll Sunday, September 24, 2017 in Marengo. This year's free event included 12 farms featuring apple orchards, vegetable growers, dairy cows, beef cattle, pigs, sheep, goats, chickens, turkeys, horses, alpacas, honey bees, perennial plants, hydroponics and more.Mike Greene - For Shaw Media Al VanMaren explains the sheering process for Suri alpacas during the 3rd annual McHenry County Farm Stroll Sunday, September 24, 2017 at ALsPACAs of Dutch Mill Farms in Harvard. This year's free event included 12 farms featuring apple orchards, vegetable growers, dairy cows, beef cattle, pigs, sheep, goats, chickens, turkeys, horses, alpacas, honey bees, perennial plants, hydroponics and more.Mike Greene - For Shaw Media Thornpaw Lea Farm featured a variety of animals including chickens, pigs, goats, cows and more during the 3rd annual McHenry County Farm Stroll Sunday, September 24, 2017 in Marengo. This year's free event included 12 farms featuring apple orchards, vegetable growers, dairy cows, beef cattle, pigs, sheep, goats, chickens, turkeys, horses, alpacas, honey bees, perennial plants, hydroponics and more.Mike Greene - For Shaw Media A pig rests next to a water trough at Thornpaw Lea Farm during the 3rd annual McHenry County Farm Stroll Sunday, September 24, 2017 in Marengo. This year's free event included 12 farms featuring apple orchards, vegetable growers, dairy cows, beef cattle, pigs, sheep, goats, chickens, turkeys, horses, alpacas, honey bees, perennial plants, hydroponics and more.Mike Greene - For Shaw Media A Suri alpaca chews on grass during the 3rd annual McHenry County Farm Stroll Sunday, September 24, 2017 at ALsPACAs of Dutch Mill Farms in Harvard. This year's free event included 12 farms featuring apple orchards, vegetable growers, dairy cows, beef cattle, pigs, sheep, goats, chickens, turkeys, horses, alpacas, honey bees, perennial plants, hydroponics and more.

Mon, 25 Sep 2017 05:13:00 GMT

McHENRY COUNTY – The heat of this year’s early fall did not keep people from going down to the farm Sunday for the third annual McHenry County Farm Stroll. Organized by the McHenry County Farm Bureau and the University of Illinois Extension McHenry County Master Gardeners, the farm stroll offered the opportunity for attendees to participate in self-guided tours of each farm free of charge.  From dairy cows, to hydroponics, to alpacas and indoor horse riding arenas, each farm had something unique to offer. New to the stroll, Thornpaw Lea Farm in Marengo sells meat options such as Katahdin sheep, Tamworth hogs and Bourbon Red turkeys. Owners Robert and Therese Ortloff, manage their 10-acre farm with the help of their five daughters. “Nobody really knew that we were here or what we are doing,” said Robert. “We’re only coming up on our sixth year so we’re pretty new, and we needed the exposure. We’re not out here just fooling around, and this isn’t a hobby farm. We wanted people to see what we offer.” The farm’s black goat, Shadow, and their Anatolian shepherd/Great Pyrenees mixes Sophie and Gus, greeted guests, nudging them with their snouts to say hello. Northeast of Thornpaw Lea in Richmond, Patyk’s Farm Market and Greenhouse sits on 80 acres, 35 of which is dedicated to produce. Those visiting are greeted by rows of pumpkins, wandering farm cats, a fine display of fall perennials and the cluck of chickens. Their third year as a featured farm on the stroll, John and Myra Patyk are proud to offer fresh produce such as cauliflower, heirloom tomatoes and some lesser known items such as lemon cucumbers for a new experience. Goats, cows, pigs and turkeys also are on property. “Every year we try different things. We experiment with different hybrids and heirlooms,” said John Patyk. “Some work, and some don’t.” John and Myrna primarily work the land themselves with some occasional seasonal help. John Patyk said their 8-year-old son, Johnny, loves life on the farm, running around and helping out. Patyk’s grandparents were produce farmers, but the tradition skipped a generation. Nine years ago, John and Myrna decided to move from the Morton Grove/Skokie area to give the family business a go. “It was the best move I ever made,” John Patyk said. “We need local agriculture. We do a little bit of everything here, flowers, produce, animals, so it’s very diverse. It’s definitely the hardest job I’ve ever had, but also the best. But we love it.” McHenry resident Suzan Paulin said Patyk’s was one of her favorite stops on the stroll. She said she liked the friendly feel the farm had, and she loved all the varieties of produce and pumpkins. Paulin spent part of the stroll snacking on a fresh honeycrisp apple from stroll farm participant, Prairie Sky Orchard. The sharp crunch of her bites gave way to very large smi[...]


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Heat can't wilt Huntley Fall FestSarah Nader – snader@shawmedia.com Chloe Nasticky, 5, of Schaumburg helps build a scarecrow Saturday at the 12th annual Huntley Fall Fest at Deicke Park.Sarah Nader – snader@shawmedia.com Tyler Kulik, 11, of Lake in the Hills runs around the inflatable corn maze Saturday at the 12th annual Huntley Fall Fest at Deicke Park.Sarah Nader – snader@shawmedia.com Ela Hontanosas, 13, of Huntley helps build a scarecrow Saturday at the 12th annual Huntley Fall Fest at Deicke Park.Sarah Nader – snader@shawmedia.com A crowd gathers to watch a magic show Saturday at the 12th annual Huntley Fall Fest at Deicke Park.Sarah Nader – snader@shawmedia.com Chloe Nasticky, 5, of Schaumburg looks at the scarecrow she helped build Saturday at the 12th annual Huntley Fall Fest at Deicke Park.

Mon, 25 Sep 2017 05:13:00 GMT

HUNTLEY – Record-high temperatures didn’t stop thousands from attending Huntley Fall Fest this weekend at the Huntley Park District, 12015 Mill St. Carly Haniszewski, one of the event’s coordinators, said her husband, Bryant, was inspired to bring a festival to Huntley after he went to Schaumburg’s festival for years. With the help of an all-volunteer committee, she said he and other festival leaders made it happen. Haniszewski said her husband initially had the idea of making the festival a one-day food festival when the event began in 2006. Now, the festival has grown into a three-day event and included a full carnival, live entertainment, a fireworks show Saturday and a used book sale benefiting the Huntley Library Friends Foundation. Haniszewski said she has heard that people keep coming back to the festival every year because they love the affordable prices. “It’s just a place for family and friends to go and have a good time,” Haniszewski said. Haniszewski said about 20,000 people attend the multiday festival every year.  Committee Treasurer Sean Cratty said that number fluctuates depending on the weather, but the hot temperatures didn’t appear to dampen attendance much this year. He said the only year when the festival lost money was in 2008. Cratty said the festival raises about $25,000 a year. He said that net income is given back to the various groups that the festival volunteers come from, which includes the local Lions Club and Knights of Columbus chapters, church groups and sports organizations. In the past 12 years the committee has hosted the festival, Cratty said about $100,000 has been given back to help benefit local groups.  “The goal is to get sponsors to offset the cost and to make money for the community,” Cratty said. Renee Blitek of Crystal Lake has been going to the festival for years for the evening entertainment. She said this was the first year that she brought her grandchildren – Brandon, 8, and Blake, 5 – to the festival’s carnival. Blitek said they had fun during this year’s festival, but she felt bad that her younger grandson couldn’t ride a lot of the rides that his older brother could. However, she said he probably will be tall enough to get on those rides by next year.  Regardless, Blitek said it was fun to see the older grandson go on more adventurous rides when he’s usually of a more cautious nature. “It’s worth every penny,” Blitek said. Sarah Nader – snader@shawmedia.com Chloe Nasticky, 5, of Schaumburg helps build a scarecrow Saturday at the 12th annual Huntley Fall Fest at Deicke Park.Sarah Nader – snader@shawmedia.com Tyler Kulik, 11, of Lake in the Hills runs around the inflatable corn maze Saturday at the 12th annual Huntley Fall Fest at Deicke Park.[...]Sarah Nader – snader@shawmedia.com Ela Hontanosas, 13, of Huntley helps build[...]


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Magnitude 6.1 earthquake shakes jittery MexicoRescuers race to save people believed to be still alive inside a collapsed office building in the Roma Norte neighborhood of Mexico City, as night falls Friday, Sept. 22, 2017, three days after a 7.1 magnitude earthquake. Hope mixed with fear Friday in Mexico City, where families huddled under tarps and donated blankets, awaiting word of their loved ones trapped in rubble. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

Sun, 24 Sep 2017 05:42:00 GMT

MEXICO CITY – A strong new earthquake shook Mexico on Saturday, killing at least two people, toppling already damaged homes and a highway bridge, and causing new alarm in a country reeling from two even more powerful quakes that together have killed more than 400 people. The U.S. Geological Survey said the new, magnitude 6.1 temblor was centered about 11 miles south-southeast of Matias Romero in the state of Oaxaca, which was the region most battered by a magnitude 8.1 quake on Sept. 7. It was among thousands of aftershocks recorded in the wake of that earlier quake, which was the most powerful to hit Mexico in 32 years and killed at least 96 people. The government of Oaxaca state reported that some homes collapsed. A woman died when a wall of her home fell on her in the town of Asuncion Ixtaltepec, and a man died after a wall fell on him in San Blas Atempa. Four people were injured in Juchitan and three in Tlacotepec, but none of their lives were in danger. Another person suffered a broken clavicle in the town of Xadani. Three hotels and two churches were damaged and a highway bridge collapsed. The Federal Police agency said the bridge already been closed due to damage after the Sept. 7 quake. Bettina Cruz, a resident of Juchitan, Oaxaca, said by phone with her voice still shaking that the new quake felt "horrible." "Homes that were still standing just fell down," Cruz said. "It's hard. We are all in the streets." Cruz belongs to a social collective and said that when the shaking began, she was riding in a truck carrying supplies to victims of the earlier quake. Nataniel Hernandez said by phone from Tonala, in the southern state of Chiapas, which was also hit hard by the earlier quake, that it was one of the strongest aftershocks he has felt. "Since Sept. 7 it has not stopped shaking," Hernandez said. U.S. Geological Survey geophysicist Paul Caruso said the new temblor was an aftershock of the 8.1 quake, and after a jolt of that size even buildings left standing can be more vulnerable. "So a smaller earthquake can cause the damaged buildings to fail," Caruso said. "At the moment the greatest damage has been to the Ixtaltepec bridge, which should be rebuilt, and structures with previous damage that collapsed," President Enrique Pena Nieto tweeted. He said government workers were fanning out in Juchitan to provide help to anyone who needs it. Jaime Hernandez, director of the Federal Electrical Commission, said the quake knocked out power to 327,000 homes and businesses in Oaxaca but service had been restored to 72 percent of customers within a few hours. Buildings swayed in Mexico City, where nerves are still raw from Tuesday's magnitude 7.1 temblor that has killed at least 307 across the region. Many residents and visitors fled homes, hotels and businesses, some in tears. [...]


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Evidence of invasive grass carp signals threat to Lake ErieAP photo Janice Kerns (left) and Anne Marie Gorman, both with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, net fish after a brief electric shock is administered to the water. Researchers in the Great Lakes region have found new evidence that invasive grass carp are spawning near the mouth of a river that flows into Lake Erie. The discovery of more grass carp eggs this summer in a northern Ohio river points to what some scientists believe is a growing danger.

Sun, 24 Sep 2017 05:42:00 GMT

TOLEDO, Ohio – Researchers have fresh evidence that invasive grass carp are swimming and spawning near the mouth of a river that flows into Lake Erie. Their next step is figuring out how to stop it from gaining a foothold and devouring wetland plants along the shoreline and underwater vegetation in the lake that shelters native fish. Grass carp are one of four Asian carp species threatening the Great Lakes, but they’re not as worrisome as the bighead and silver carp, which could devastate fish populations in the lakes. While environmental groups and scientists have put much of their attention on preventing the bighead and silver carp from reaching the lakes, the grass carp already have been found in Lakes Erie, Michigan and Ontario. A look at the efforts to stop the grass carp: What are grass carp? Brought to the U.S. more than 50 years ago to control weed growth, they’re still sold to pond owners. Some states now require that they be sterilized before being released. But recent surveys have found grass carp eggs in Great Lakes waterways. Some made their way into the lakes via rivers, while others were dumped into the waterways. The fish feed on aquatic plants, eating up to 90 pounds a day and damaging areas used by spawning fish and migrating birds. What is not known is how many are in the lakes and where they’ve spread. How big of a threat are they? It’s believed there still are only a small number of grass carp in the lakes. But a report released by U.S. and Canadian researchers warned this year that if effective steps aren’t taken, it’s likely that the invasive fish will be established in lakes Erie, Huron, Michigan and Ontario within 10 years. Where are they being found? The biggest concern is in Lake Erie, where grass carp have been found in tributary rivers and along the shoreline. Researchers have been closely watching the Sandusky River, between Cleveland and Toledo, since the discovery of grass carp eggs in 2015. More eggs were found this summer along with eight adults that were netted during a two-day search. What have researchers learned? It appears the grass carp spawn after heavy rains or when there’s high water on the Sandusky River, said Rich Carter, who oversees fish management and research for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. The fish also seem to like long rivers. All of that is important to know, he said, to help find a potential way to control their populations. What’s being done? Plans are being developed to make a more intensive effort to capture and remove the carp from the Sandusky River, where more than 100 have been found since 2012, Carter said. There’s also ongoing work to follow grass carp that have been tagged to determine w[...]


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Cherry Tree Inn in Woodstock opens under new ownershipLori Miarecki walks around her newly purchased bed and breakfast home Saturday in Woodstock. Miarecki and her husband, George, bought the 1800s home – which was featured in the 1993 film "Groundhog Day" – several weeks ago, and they hosted their first guests this weekend.

Sun, 24 Sep 2017 05:13:00 GMT

WOODSTOCK – The famed “Groundhog Day” house where Bill Murray stayed on repeat as weatherman Phil has been reopened under new ownership in Woodstock.

Lori and George Miarecki bought the house several weeks ago and had their first guests of the Cherry Tree Inn this weekend. The couple bought the place almost on a whim after staying at the home as guests when they were in town from Florida for former Woodstock High School choral director Paul Rausch’s retirement gala.

“We were just looking for a place to stay,” Lori Miarecki said. “We came. We saw. We bought.”  

The 5,815-square-foot, eight-bedroom, 8½-bathroom home is located at 344 Fremont St. in Woodstock, close to Dick Tracy Way Park and about a half-mile from Woodstock’s historic Square.

The 1800s home was featured in the 1993 film “Groundhog Day,” and guests can stay in the famed “Bill Murray suite” on the second floor. The city of Woodstock embraces its connection to the movie by hosting an annual “Groundhog Days” festival and having a mural downtown that includes Murray.

But the home’s notoriety wasn’t what sparked the Miareckis’ interest.

“It had nothing to do with the movie. We still would have bought the house,” Lori Miarecki said. “It was just perfect. It’s a dream come true.”

Lori said that she grew up working in hospitality and always wanted to own a bed and breakfast, but she hadn’t found the ideal place until now.

The previous owners operated a bed and breakfast out of the home on a limited basis. They also put extensive work into restoring the historic building, Lori Miarecki said.

“The work that has been put into it is incredible,” she said. “They restored everything they possibly could. They retained all of the architectural details. It’s amazing.”

Rooms start at $152 a night, and the Miareckis are offering 50 percent off for guests’ first night if they stay a second, as listed on the inn’s Airbnb listing. For information, visit cherrytreeinnbnb.com or the Cherry Tree Inn’s Facebook page at facebook.com/Groundhogdayhouse.

Lori Miarecki walks around her newly purchased bed and breakfast home Saturday in Woodstock. Miarecki and her husband, George, bought the 1800s home – which was featured in the 1993 film "Groundhog Day" – several weeks ago, and they hosted their first guests this weekend.


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Habitat for Humanity dedicates McHenry home for mother with disabilities, twin girlsHabitat for Humanity of McHenry County CEO and President Jerry Monica speaks at the Weiss family's home dedication Saturday in McHenry.Habitat for Humanity of McHenry County family supporter Kathy Haupt hands Jennifer Weiss the keys to her new home Saturday in McHenry. A volunteer looks on, and Alaina (from left) and Gabrielle, Jennifer's twin daughters, stand next to their mother.The sun shines on the Weiss family's new home provided by Habitat for Humanity of McHenry County on Saturday.Habitat for Humanity of McHenry County community engagement coordinator Holly Zissman reads Jennifer Weiss' story on Saturday at the Weiss family's home dedication.Jennifer Weiss thanks Habitat for Humanity of McHenry County officials and volunteers Saturday in her new McHenry home.

Sun, 24 Sep 2017 05:13:00 GMT

McHENRY – After recovering from an aneurysm that Jennifer Weiss had at 37 weeks’ pregnant, she was ready to begin her new life, but she needed some help. Weiss applied for a new, affordable home from Habitat for Humanity of McHenry County, and she had her wish granted Saturday morning. “I’m thrilled; I’m just overwhelmed with trying to pack and everything,” Weiss said. “I’m very grateful to them.” Habitat for Humanity is a nonprofit organization that seeks to improve housing conditions for a number of the county’s poor and low-income families. Habitat for Humanity staff members, neighbors and volunteers, along with Jennifer and her twin daughters, Alaina and Gabrielle Weiss, both 11, gathered at the family’s new home at 11 a.m. Saturday in the 5800 block of North Agatha Lane in McHenry. “Everyone likes to come together and see the end product,” Habitat for Humanity of McHenry County CEO and President Jerry Monica said. Jennifer Weiss had to have an emergency C-section 11 years ago, in addition to many other surgeries. She went through seven months of rehabilitation after a month in the intensive care unit before she was able to join her new family. “After moving into an apartment in McHenry eight years ago, the rent has become an ever-increasing drain on my disability income,” Jennifer Weiss wrote in her letter to the nonprofit. “Unfortunately, the apartment that I have is also not set up to handle the continued weakness that I have on my left side after all of my therapy.” Jennifer Weiss was connected with Habitat for Humanity through the Epilepsy Foundation and Brain Injury Health Management group, which is common, Monica said. He said partnering with other nonprofits is beneficial to both parties. Jennifer Weiss’ home is the organization’s 48th sold to a needy homeowner in McHenry County. Monica said Habitat for Humanity is able to provide for one in every 220 people in their demographic – McHenry County residents with a total household income of $20,000 to $40,000 a year. “Our program allows people to put roots down,” Monica said. Weiss will own the new home but at a much lower cost than other options in the county, Monica said. The home was completed using 70 percent volunteer assistance, and the nonprofit is in need of more volunteers, Monica said. “We hope to continue to expand pace,” Monica said. For information, visit habitatmchenry.org or call 815-759-9002. Habitat for Humanity of McHenry County CEO and President Jerry Monica speaks at the Weiss family's home dedication Saturday in McHenry.[...]Habitat for Humanity of McHenry County family supporter Kathy Haupt hands Jennifer [...]


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Crystal Lake joins countywide program to help drug addictsSarah Nader – snader@shawmedia.com Rich Caccamo of Crystal Lake poses for a portrait Thursday at Knaack Park in Crystal Lake. Caccamo's brother, Jeremy, died from an opioid overdose in July, and Rich has since been advocating for overdose awareness and promoting the A Way Out – McHenry County program, which provides treatment to addicts who seek it.

Sun, 24 Sep 2017 05:12:00 GMT

CRYSTAL LAKE – The “A Way Out” program helped Jeremy Caccamo extend his life, his brother said. Caccamo, 29, of Wonder Lake died this summer because of a heroin overdose, but his brother, Rich Caccamo, is trying to keep his legacy alive and increase awareness of the McHenry County program. A Way Out – McHenry County aims to fast-track heroin and other drug addicts to treatment by providing a certain amount of amnesty to addicts who want help. The initiative, which started in May, is modeled after Lake County’s program, and so far has helped 51 people, McHenry County State’s Attorney Patrick Kenneally said. Crystal Lake is the latest city to join the program. It also is the largest city in McHenry County, and its police department is the second-largest law enforcement agency in the county behind the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office. Woodstock is the only municipality in McHenry County not participating, but Kenneally said Woodstock is going through final legal approvals to join soon. “We thought it was particularly timely due to the opioid crisis in the county that has not only claimed a lot of lives, but has had cascading consequences across the country,” Kenneally said. The county is on pace to have more overdose deaths, particularly related to opioids, than last year, with about 50 deaths to date, Kenneally said, adding that the county sees about one person die a week. Jeremy Caccamo joined the A Way Out program and was able to get treatment from Lutheran Social Services of Illinois in Chicago. He died July 5, but Rich Caccamo said the program helped prolong his life. “It definitely gave him direction and got him into detox and treatments, but it is a disease. It’s not just a choice, and there are known to be relapses,” said Rich Caccamo, 36, of Crystal Lake. “My advice to anyone coming out of treatment is to find a 12-step program to follow and be persistent, because a lot of the people who relapse say their fallout point was to stop going to meetings because they thought they were doing better.” Finding treatment with limited resources Laura Crain with the McHenry County Substance Abuse Coalition said that of the 51 people who have reached out to police departments, 38 of them qualified for the program. Of the 38, the county was able to place 27 of them in treatment facilities. “The remainder of them either didn’t get placed or, in all honesty, if you have an opioid user who is sitting for 12 hours, if they start to get sick, they get a desire to go out and use again. Sometimes they choose to leave,” Crain said. “In the hospital, it just depends on availability, and unfortunately in Illinois, we just don’t have the residential and detox resources, but we are doing everything we can.” An addict ca[...]


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Dam failing as scope of Puerto Rico's disaster becomes clearAP photo Residents ride a mechanical shovel through a flooded road Friday after the passing of Hurricane Maria in Toa Baja, Puerto Rico. Because of the heavy rains brought by Maria, thousands of people were evacuated from Toa Baja after the municipal government opened the gates of the Rio La Plata Dam.

Sun, 24 Sep 2017 05:08:00 GMT

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – Puerto Rican officials rushed to evacuate tens of thousands of people downstream of a failing dam and said they could not reach more than half the towns in the U.S. territory as the massive scale of the disaster wrought by Hurricane Maria started to become clear on Friday. Government spokesman Carlos Bermudez said that officials had no communication with 40 of the 78 municipalities on the island more than two days after the Category 4 storm crossed the island, toppling power lines and cellphone towers and sending floodwaters cascading through city streets. Officials said 1,360 of the island’s 1,600 cellphone towers had been downed, and 85 percent of above-ground and underground phone and internet cables were knocked out. With roads blocked and phones dead, officials said, the situation may be worse than they know. “We haven’t seen the extent of the damage,” Gov. Ricardo Rossello told reporters in the capital. More than 15 inches of rain fell on the mountains surrounding the Guajataca Dam in northwest Puerto Rico after Maria left the island Wednesday afternoon, swelling the reservoir behind the nearly 90-year-old dam. Authorities launched an evacuation of the 70,000 people living downstream, sending buses to move people away and sending frantic warnings on Twitter that went unseen by many in the blacked-out coastal area. “This is an EXTREMELY DANGEROUS SITUATION,” the National Weather Service wrote. “All the areas around the Guajataca River must evacuate NOW. Your lives are in DANGER.” The 345-yard dam, which was built around 1928, holds back a manmade lake covering about 2 square miles. An engineer inspecting the dam reported a “contained breach” that officials quickly realized was a crack that could be the first sign of total failure of the dam, said Anthony Reynes, a meteorologist with the U.S. National Weather Service. “There’s no clue as to how long or how this can evolve. That is why the authorities are moving so fast because they also have the challenges of all the debris. It is a really, really dire situation,” Reynes said. “They are trying to mobilize all the resources they can, but it’s not easy. We really don’t know how long it would take for this failure to become a full break of the dam.” Maj. Gen. Derek P. Rydholm, deputy to the chief of the Air Force Reserve, said at the Pentagon that it was impossible to say when communication and power will be restored. He said mobile communications systems are being flown in. But he acknowledged “it’s going to take awhile” before people in Puerto Rico will be able to communicate with their families outside the island. Until Friday, he said, “there was no real understanding at all of the gravity[...]


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President Donald Trump trying to turn around GOP holdouts on health billFILE - In this July 27, 2017, file photo, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., left, walks onstage as Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., center, points to him while Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., watches as they speak to reporters at the Capitol as the Republican-controlled Senate were unable to fulfill their political promise to repeal and replace "Obamacare" because of opposition and wavering within the GOP ranks, on Capitol Hill in Washington. Sen. McCain says on Friday, Sept. 22, 2017, he won't vote for the Republican bill repealing the Obama health care law. His statement likely deals a fatal blow to the last-gasp GOP measure in a Senate showdown expected next week. The Arizona Republican says he can't back the partisan GOP measure because "we could do better working together, Republicans and Democrats." (AP Photo/Cliff Owen, File)

Sun, 24 Sep 2017 05:07:00 GMT

WASHINGTON – Unwilling to concede defeat on a bedrock GOP promise, President Donald Trump on Saturday tried to sway two Republican holdouts on the party’s last-ditch health care hope while clawing at his nemesis who again has brought the “Obamacare” repeal-and-replace effort to the brink of failure. Trump appealed to Sen. Lisa Murkowski, a possible “no” vote, to swing around for the sake of Alaskans up in arms over high insurance costs, and suggested that Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul might reverse his stated opposition “for the good of the Party!” Arizona Sen. John McCain, whose announcement Friday that he would not vote for the proposal seemingly scuttled efforts to revive the repeal, came under renewed criticism from the White House. It was the second time in three months that McCain, at 81 in the twilight of a remarkable career and battling brain cancer, had emerged as the destroyer of his party’s signature and yearslong pledge to voters on health care. “He campaigned on Repeal & Replace. Let Arizona down!” Trump tweeted. He jabbed at the senator with another tweet later in the day: “Democrats are laughingly saying that McCain had a “moment of courage.” Tell that to the people of Arizona who were deceived. 116% increase!” With Senate Democrats unanimously opposed, two is the exact number of GOP votes that Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., can afford to lose. McCain and Paul are in the “no” column, Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, is leaning against the bill and Murkowksi is also a possible “no.” But Trump isn’t letting go, as seen by his series of tweets while he spends the weekend at his New Jersey golf club. Aiming at Murkowski, Trump cited increases in premiums and other costs in Alaska under the Affordable Care Act. “Deductibles high, people angry! Lisa M comes through,” he wrote. Trump, without offering support for his assertion about former presidential rival Paul, said: “I know Rand Paul and I think he may find a way to get there for the good of the Party!” But there was no doubt where Trump stood on McCain. “John McCain never had any intention of voting for this Bill,” Trump said. The measure was co-written by South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, McCain’s closest Senate ally, and Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La. “McCain let his best friend L.G. down!” Trump said, adding that the health bill was “great for Arizona.” McCain, in explaining that he could not “in good conscience” vote for the legislation, said both parties “could do better working together” but hadn’t “really tried.” He also he could not support the measure “without knowing how much it will cost, how it will affect insurance premiums, and how many[...]


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Donald Trump's comments on Curry, NFL protests anger athletesGolden State Warriors Stephen Curry takes questions from the media after NBA basketball practice in Oakland, Calif., Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017. President Donald Trump doubled down on denouncing protests by NFL players and rescinded NBA star Stephen Curry's White House invitation on Saturday, a series of tweets that quickly inflamed football and basketball stars and even prompted LeBron James to call the president a "bum." (AP Photo/Janie McCauley)

Sun, 24 Sep 2017 05:00:00 GMT

SOMERSET, N.J. – President Donald Trump denounced protests by NFL players and rescinded a White House invitation for NBA champion Stephen Curry in a two-day rant that targeted top professional athletes and brought swift condemnation Saturday from league executives and star players alike. Wading into thorny issues of race and politics, Trump's comments in a Friday night speech and a series of Saturday tweets drew sharp responses from some of the nation's top athletes, with LeBron James calling the president a "bum." Trump started by announcing that Curry, the popular two-time MVP for the Golden State Warriors, would not be welcome at the White House for the commemorative visit traditionally made by championship teams: "Going to the White House is considered a great honor for a championship team. Stephen Curry is hesitating, therefore invitation is withdrawn!" Later, Trump reiterated what he said at a rally in Alabama the previous night – that NFL players who kneel for the national anthem should be fired, and called on NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to tell them to stand. The Warriors said it was made clear to them that they were not welcome at the White House. Curry had said he did not want to go anyway, but the Warriors had not made a collective decision before Saturday – and had planned to discuss it in the morning before the president's tweet, to which coach Steve Kerr said : "Not surprised. He was going to break up with us before we could break up with him." Others had far stronger reactions. "U bum @StephenCurry30 already said he ain't going!" James tweeted in a clear message to the president – a post that Twitter officials said was quickly shared many more times than any other he's sent. "So therefore ain't no invite. Going to White House was a great honor until you showed up!" Curry appreciated James' strong stance. "That's a pretty strong statement," Curry said. "I think it's bold, it's courageous for any guy to speak up, let alone a guy that has as much to lose as LeBron does and other notable figures in the league. We all have to kind of stand as one the best we can." Curry added that he doesn't believe Trump "respects the majority of Americans in this country." James also released a video Saturday, saying Trump has tried to divide the country. "He's now using sports as the platform to try to divide us," James said. "We all know how much sports brings us together. ... It's not something I can be quiet about." The Warriors said that when they go to Washington this season they will instead "celebrate equality, diversity and inclusion – the values that we embrace as an organization." General manager Bob Myers said he was surprised by the invit[...]


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Syria looks to peace; North Korea to attack on U.S. mainlandMahamoud Ali Youssouf, Foreign Minister of Djibouti, addresses the United Nations General Assembly, Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017, at U.N. headquarters. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

Sun, 24 Sep 2017 05:00:00 GMT

UNITED NATIONS – Syria's foreign minister told world leaders Saturday that victory against terrorists in his war-ravaged nation "is now within reach" while North Korea's foreign minister said U.S. President Donald Trump's insult to his country makes an attack against the U.S. mainland inevitable. Global conflicts, threats and challenges dominated the fifth day of the U.N. General Assembly's annual ministerial meeting, including an impassioned appeal for help from the prime minister of Dominica who said his hurricane-ravaged Caribbean island nation is in "the front line of the war on climate change." Syria's Walid al-Moualem said his country is "marching steadily" toward the goal of rooting out terrorism. He pointed to "the liberation of Aleppo and Palmyra," the end of the Islamic State extremist group's siege of Deir el-Zour, "and the eradication of terrorism from many parts of Syria" by the Syrian army and its supporters and allies, including Russia and Iran. Russia's military said about two weeks ago that Syrian troops have liberated about 85 percent of the war-torn country's territory from militants, a major turn-around two years after Moscow intervened to lend a hand to its embattled long-time ally. But the spotlight Saturday was on North Korea's Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho who said Trump's insult calling the country's leader Kim Jong Un "rocket man" makes "our rocket's visit to the entire U.S. mainland inevitable all the more." Ri's speech fueled the fiery rhetoric between the U.S. president and North Korea's young leader. Trump threatened in his speech to the 193-member world body on Tuesday to "totally destroy" North Korea if provoked. Kim, in an unusual direct statement to the world, responded pledging to take "highest-level" action against the United States. Ri called the American leader "a mentally deranged person full of megalomania and complacency" with his finger on the "nuclear button." He said Trump's "reckless and violent words" have provoked "the supreme dignity" of the country. "None other than Trump himself is on a suicide mission," Ri told ministers and diplomats on Saturday. "In case innocent lives of the U.S. are lost because of this suicide attack, Trump will be held totally responsible." The annual gathering of presidents, prime ministers and monarchs has taken place against a backdrop of a spate of natural disasters – hurricanes that have ravaged the Caribbean and the U.S. and a major earthquake in Mexico. Climate change already was a major issue before the leaders but these events magnified the importance of global action. "Let these extraordinary events elicit extraordinary efforts to rebuild nations sustainably," Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit of Domi[...]


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Crystal Lake lawyer facing gun, DUI charges has law license suspendedThe Crystal Lake Police Department executed a search warrant at Donald F. Franz’s residence at 358 Dartmoor Court in Crystal Lake. Items seized during the search warrant included 36 high-powered rifles, assault rifles and shotguns; 20 assorted handguns; and thousands of rounds of firearm ammunition.Donald F. Franz, 50, a Crystal Lake lawyer facing drunken driving and weapons charges, had his law license suspended for two years and until further order of the court, according to a news release.

Sun, 24 Sep 2017 04:57:00 GMT

CRYSTAL LAKE – A Crystal Lake lawyer facing drunken driving and weapons charges had his law license suspended. The Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission ruled that Donald F. Franz, 50, is suspended for two years and until further order of the court, according to a news release. Franz was arrested Jan. 19 after police responded about 10:20 p.m. to North Williams Street in Crystal Lake after a report of a possible intoxicated motorist. Crystal Lake police later obtained a warrant to search Franz’s vehicle and residence. Inside, they found 36 high-powered rifles, assault-style rifles and shotguns; 20 assorted handguns; and thousands of rounds of ammunition, authorities have said. Franz is believed to be a hunter. He already was under investigation by the ARDC after threatening an ARDC employee. The commission first filed a complaint against Franz in 2014, alleging that he pressured a client to sign a promissory note requiring the client to pay a $10,000 fee for legal representation in a divorce without informing the client of his options. An additional count was added to the complaint last year, alleging that Franz challenged a client to a duel and insulted him during a dispute over fees. In October, a third count was added to the pending complaint, accusing Franz of sending threatening emails and voicemails to a former client, commission counsel Scott Renfroe and ARDC administrator Jerome Larkin. Franz allegedly threatened to kill Larkin over the ARDC’s efforts to sanction him as recently as September 2016, according to the complaint. “Jerry Larkin, my name is Don Franz. I’m the attorney you are trying to murder because of the installment note, so the day you suspend me, I’m going to stop taking my pills, I’m going to get my affairs in order, I am going to kill you. Have a nice day,” Franz allegedly said in a voicemail message to Larkin on Sept. 14, 2016. The ARDC, an agency of the Illinois Supreme Court, investigates alleged wrongdoing by Illinois attorneys, holds hearings on specific charges and recommends discipline when warranted. The state Supreme Court announced disciplinary orders Friday during the September term of court. Sanctions are imposed when lawyers become engaged in professional misconduct by violating the state’s ethics law, according to the release. Franz was licensed in 1993 and removed from the master roll March 10 after failing to register, according to the release. Franz has pleaded not guilty to all criminal charges against him, and he has tried to argue that evidence collected during his arrest cannot be used against him in court. The most serious charge[...]


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Former Hebron Trustee Andrew Georgi announces run for McHenry County Clerk's OfficeShaw Media file photo Former Hebron Village Trustee Andrew Georgi talks during a Village Board meeting Feb. 17, 2014. Georgi recently announced his run for the McHenry County Clerk's Office.

Sun, 24 Sep 2017 04:56:00 GMT

Another name has been thrown into the race for the McHenry County Clerk’s Office.

Andrew Georgi, D-Hebron, announced his intent to run against McHenry County Recorder Joe Tirio, R-Woodstock.

Republican County Clerk Mary McClellan is not seeking a second term, and instead is running for circuit court judge.

Tirio ran for the recorder’s office with intentions to eliminate the position. The duties of the recorder would be folded into the clerk’s position if voters approve the plan.

Georgi said he supports consolidation when it improves efficiency and maintains or improves services. If elected, Georgi said he’d be a clerk who will fight for the people.

“With my 10 years in Marine Corps administration, almost 20 years in quality control, my time as a village of Hebron trustee, and being a part of the McHenry County Democrats for over 10 years, I believe I have the skills, knowledge and experience to be one of the best county clerks this county has had in long time,” Georgi said in a statement.

Georgi was one of the first Hebron trustees to publicly speak out after former Hebron Village President John Jacobson’s arrest on drug and firearms charges.

Georgi said he would not be a “party puppet.”

“I will work with whoever is willing to work with me to make things better,” he said.

McClellan, of Holiday Hills, said she will run for the 22nd Judicial Circuit Court seat vacated by retired Judge Maureen McIntyre.

The county clerk’s office is responsible for supervising elections and voter registration; maintaining birth, death and marriage certificates; maintaining County Board records; and taking minutes and roll call at County Board voting meetings.

Shaw Media file photo Former Hebron Village Trustee Andrew Georgi talks during a Village Board meeting Feb. 17, 2014. Georgi recently announced his run for the McHenry County Clerk's Office.


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Kitchen fire leaves Algonquin home uninhabitable

Sun, 24 Sep 2017 04:56:00 GMT

ALGONQUIN – A kitchen fire left an Algonquin home uninhabitable Saturday morning, according to Algonquin-Lake in the Hills Fire Protection District officials.

The fire district responded to a call from a neighbor about 9:15 a.m. Saturday about a fire at 10 Sunset Lane in Algonquin. When crews arrived, they found heavy flames and smoke, according to the district.

No one was home at the time, and there were no injuries. The fire district put out the fire in 10 minutes.

A damage estimate was not available. The cause of the fire is under investigation.




EPA removes waste at Texas toxic sites, but won’t say from whereIn this Sept. 21, 2017, photo, a sign on a door of the Environmental Protection Agency in Washington. The EPA says it has recovered 517 containers of "unidentified, potentially hazardous material‚" from highly contaminated toxic waste sites in Texas that flooded last month during Hurricane Harvey. But the agency has not provided details about which Superfund sites the material came from, why the contaminants at issue have not been identified and whether there's a threat to human health. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Sun, 24 Sep 2017 04:55:00 GMT

WASHINGTON – The Environmental Protection Agency said it has recovered 517 containers of “unidentified, potentially hazardous material” from highly contaminated toxic waste sites in Texas that flooded last month during Hurricane Harvey. The agency has not provided details about which Superfund sites the material came from, why the contaminants at issue have not been identified and whether there’s a threat to human health. The one-sentence disclosure about the 517 containers was made Friday night deep within a media release from the Federal Emergency Management Agency summarizing the government’s response to the devastating storm. At least a dozen Superfund sites in and around Houston were flooded in the days after Harvey’s record-shattering rains stopped. Associated Press journalists surveyed seven of the flooded sites by boat, vehicle and on foot. The EPA said at the time that its personnel had been unable to reach the sites, although they surveyed the locations using aerial photos. The Associated Press reported Monday that a government hotline also received calls about three spills at the U.S. Oil Recovery Superfund site, a former petroleum waste processing plant outside Houston contaminated with a dangerous brew of cancer-causing chemicals. Records obtained by the AP showed workers at the site reported spills of unknown materials in unknown amounts. Local pollution control officials photographed three large tanks used to store potentially hazardous waste completely underwater on Aug. 29. The EPA later said there was no evidence that nearby Vince Bayou had been affected. PRP Group, the company formed to clean up the U.S. Oil Recovery site, said it does not know how much material leaked from the tanks, soaking into the soil or flowing into the bayou. As part of the post-storm cleanup, workers have vacuumed up 63 truckloads of potentially contaminated storm water, totaling about 315,000 gallons. It was not immediately clear whether those truckloads accounted for any of the 517 containers cited in the FEMA media release Friday. The EPA has not responded to questions from the AP about activities at U.S. Oil Recovery for more than a week. About a dozen miles east, the San Jacinto River Waste Pits Superfund site is on and around a low-lying island that was the site of a paper mill in the 1960s, leaving behind dangerous levels of dioxins and other long-lasting toxins linked to birth defects and cancer. The site was completely covered with floodwaters when the AP surveyed it Sept. 1. To prevent contaminated soil and sediments from being washed down river, about 16 acres of the site was covered in 2[...]


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Crystal Lake joins countywide program to help drug addictsFinding treatment with limited resources Laura Crain with the McHenry County Substance Abuse Coalition said that of the 51 people who have reached out to police departments, 38 of them qualified for the program. Of the 38, the county was able to place 27 of them in treatment facilities. “The remainder of them either didn’t get placed or, in all honesty, if you have an opioid user who is sitting for 12 hours, if they start to get sick, they get a desire to go out and use again. Sometimes they choose to leave,” Crain said. “In the hospital, it just depends on availability, and unfortunately in Illinois, we just don’t have the residential and detox resources, but we are doing everything we can.” An addict can walk into a police department in McHenry County at any time of the day and say they want to participate. If the person has drugs or paraphernalia on them, they can surrender them without fear of being arrested. The program is voluntary, and users can leave at any point. Within 30 minutes, a police officer has the person go through an intake process, and then the person is taken to Centegra Hospital – Woodstock, where the user will undergo a medical evaluation and assessment to determine what treatment is needed. Kenneally said that sometimes beds are not immediately available at Centegra. A new navigator position recently added to the State’s Attorney Office helps in cases where someone cannot be placed in a residential program within the first 24 hours and has to be released from the hospital. “Then the navigator follows up with them, along with local treatment providers, to make sure we can get them connected to resources,” Kenneally said. “If beds aren’t available, we’ll transport them home or to a safe place, and then check back in to make sure they get the treatment they need.” The McHenry County Mental Health Board provided $75,000 for treatment costs for those who are underinsured or uninsured.Arrests Discussion about the possibility of arresting users who come in for help arose during a recent Crystal Lake City Council meeting. Kenneally said that each department maintains the right to arrest someone if they think someone is trying to use the program in bad faith. Crystal Lake Police Chief James Black said the department will not arrest anyone unless their possession of drugs is an amount beyond personal use. He said the goal of the policy is to prevent drug dealers from claiming to be addicts to unload large quantities of heroin or other drugs.   “We are not looking to arrest subjects seeking assistance; however, if there are instances where we believe a subject may not be participating in the program in good faith or is attempting to use the program as a narcotics dealer to dispose of drugs or avoid criminal prosecution, then we keep [open] option to take action,” Black said. No one has been arrested so far, and Kenneally said he does not expect any arrests to happen. Rich Caccamo said that, with social media today, it would only take one arrest to erase the trust built by the program between the community and police. “Not only do we need full cooperation from trained and trusted officers when someone reaches out for help, but we also need to instill a relationship of trust that they can come to the police department to get help,” Rich Caccamo said. “When an individual goes to them to get help with the program, we need them to go with no fear and not be treated like a criminal, but someone who has a disease and is coming to them for help.”Raising awareness Rich Caccamo hosted an “Always Remember” event Sept. 9 in Wonder Lake to spread awareness of the heroin epidemic and the danger of overdoses. He said he hopes to host the event annually. Jeremy Caccamo left behind a fiancée whom he recently had proposed to, along with his mother, who was devastated, Rich Caccamo said. Kenneally said he has received three “thank you” cards so far from either users themselves or a family member of someone who turned their lives around. “We think it’ll help people abusing drugs and committing crimes to get out of that system,” Kenneally said. “What is going to change the dynamic is expanding the recovery community and offering people the resources they need.”

Sun, 24 Sep 2017 04:55:00 GMT

CRYSTAL LAKE – The "A Way Out" program helped Jeremy Caccamo extend his life, his brother said. Caccamo, 29, of Wonder Lake died this summer because of a heroin overdose, but his brother, Rich Caccamo, is trying to keep his legacy alive and increase awareness of the McHenry County program. A Way Out – McHenry County aims to fast-track heroin and other drug addicts to treatment by providing a certain amount of amnesty to addicts who want help. The initiative, which started in May, is modeled after Lake County’s program, and so far has helped 51 people, McHenry County State’s Attorney Patrick Kenneally said. Crystal Lake is the latest city to join the program. It also is the largest city in McHenry County, and its police department is the second-largest law enforcement agency in the county behind the McHenry County Sheriff's Office. Woodstock is the only municipality in McHenry County not participating, but Kenneally said Woodstock is going through final legal approvals to join soon. “We thought it was particularly timely due to the opioid crisis in the county that has not only claimed a lot of lives, but has had cascading consequences across the country,” Kenneally said. The county is on pace to have more overdose deaths, particularly related to opioids, than last year, with about 50 deaths to date, Kenneally said, adding that the county sees about one person die a week. Jeremy Caccamo joined the A Way Out program and was able to get treatment from Lutheran Social Services of Illinois in Chicago. He died July 5, but Rich Caccamo said the program helped prolong his life. “It definitely gave him direction and got him into detox and treatments, but it is a disease. It’s not just a choice, and there are known to be relapses,” said Rich Caccamo, 36, of Crystal Lake. “My advice to anyone coming out of treatment is to find a 12-step program to follow and be persistent, because a lot of the people who relapse say their fallout point was to stop going to meetings because they thought they were doing better.” Finding treatment with limited resources Laura Crain with the McHenry County Substance Abuse Coalition said that of the 51 people who have reached out to police departments, 38 of them qualified for the program. Of the 38, the county was able to place 27 of them in treatment facilities. “The remainder of them either didn’t get placed or, in all honesty, if you have an opioid user who is sitting for 12 hours, if they start to get sick, they get a desire to go out and use again. Sometimes they choose to leave,” Crain said. “In the hospital, it just dep[...]


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Woodstock 'Groundhog Day' house opens as bed and breakfast under new ownershipLori and George Miarecki bought the house several weeks ago and had their first guests of the Cherry Tree Inn this weekend. The couple bought the place almost on a whim after staying at the home as guests when they were in town from Florida for former Woodstock High School choral director Paul Rausch’s retirement gala. “We were just looking for a place to stay,” Lori Miarecki said. “We came. We saw. We bought.”The 5,815-square-foot, eight-bedroom, 8½-bathroom home is located at 344 Fremont St. in Woodstock, close to Dick Tracy Way Park and about a half-mile from Woodstock’s historic Square.The 1800s home was featured in the 1993 film “Groundhog Day,” and guests can stay in the famed “Bill Murray suite” on the second floor. The city of Woodstock embraces its connection to the movie by hosting an annual “Groundhog Days” festival and having a mural downtown that includes Murray.But the home’s notoriety wasn’t what sparked the Miareckis' interest. “It had nothing to do with the movie. We still would have bought the house,” Lori Miarecki said. “It was just perfect. It’s a dream come true.” Lori said that she grew up working in hospitality and always wanted to own a bed and breakfast, but she hadn't found the ideal place until now.The previous owners operated a bed and breakfast out of the home on a limited basis. They also put extensive work into restoring the historic building, Lori Miarecki said. “The work that has been put into it is incredible,” she said. “They restored everything they possibly could. They retained all of the architectural details. It’s amazing.”Rooms start at $152 a night, and the Miareckis are offering 50 percent off for guests' first night if they stay a second, as listed on the inn's Airbnb listing. For information, visit cherrytreeinnbnb.com or the Cherry Tree Inn's Facebook page at facebook.com/Groundhogdayhouse.

Sun, 24 Sep 2017 04:55:00 GMT

WOODSTOCK – The famed “Groundhog Day” house where Bill Murray stayed on repeat as weatherman Phil has been reopened under new ownership in Woodstock.

Lori and George Miarecki bought the house several weeks ago and had their first guests of the Cherry Tree Inn this weekend. The couple bought the place almost on a whim after staying at the home as guests when they were in town from Florida for former Woodstock High School choral director Paul Rausch’s retirement gala. “We were just looking for a place to stay,” Lori Miarecki said. “We came. We saw. We bought.”The 5,815-square-foot, eight-bedroom, 8½-bathroom home is located at 344 Fremont St. in Woodstock, close to Dick Tracy Way Park and about a half-mile from Woodstock’s historic Square.The 1800s home was featured in the 1993 film “Groundhog Day,” and guests can stay in the famed “Bill Murray suite” on the second floor. The city of Woodstock embraces its connection to the movie by hosting an annual “Groundhog Days” festival and having a mural downtown that includes Murray.But the home’s notoriety wasn’t what sparked the Miareckis' interest. “It had nothing to do with the movie. We still would have bought the house,” Lori Miarecki said. “It was just perfect. It’s a dream come true.” Lori said that she grew up working in hospitality and always wanted to own a bed and breakfast, but she hadn't found the ideal place until now.The previous owners operated a bed and breakfast out of the home on a limited basis. They also put extensive work into restoring the historic building, Lori Miarecki said. “The work that has been put into it is incredible,” she said. “They restored everything they possibly could. They retained all of the architectural details. It’s amazing.”Rooms start at $152 a night, and the Miareckis are offering 50 percent off for guests' first night if they stay a second, as listed on the inn's Airbnb listing. For information, visit cherrytreeinnbnb.com or the Cherry Tree Inn's Facebook page at facebook.com/Groundhogdayhouse.


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Habitat for Humanity of McHenry County presents keys to mother with disabilities, twin girlsWeiss applied for a new, affordable home from Habitat for Humanity of McHenry County, and she had her wish granted Saturday morning. “I’m thrilled; I’m just overwhelmed with trying to pack and everything,” Weiss said. “I’m very grateful to them.”Habitat for Humanity is a nonprofit organization that seeks to improve housing conditions for a number of the county’s poor and low-income families. Habitat for Humanity staff members, neighbors and volunteers, along with Jennifer and her twin daughters, Alaina and Gabrielle Weiss, both 11, gathered at the family's new home at 11 a.m. Saturday in the 5800 block of North Agatha Lane in McHenry. “Everyone likes to come together and see the end product,” Habitat for Humanity CEO and President Jerry Monica said.Jennifer Weiss had to have an emergency C-section 11 years ago, in addition to many other surgeries. She went through seven months of rehabilitation after a month in the intensive care unit before she was able to join her new family. "After moving into an apartment in McHenry eight years ago, the rent has become an ever-increasing drain on my disability income," Jennifer Weiss wrote in her letter to the nonprofit. "Unfortunately, the apartment that I have is also not set up to handle the continued weakness that I have on my left side after all of my therapy."Jennifer Weiss was connected with Habitat for Humanity through the Epilepsy Foundation and Brain Injury Health Management group, which is common, Monica said. He said partnering with other nonprofits is beneficial to both parties. Jennifer Weiss' home is the organization's 48th sold to a needy homeowner in McHenry County. Monica said Habitat for Humanity is able to provide for one in every 220 people in their demographic – McHenry County residents with a total household income of $20,000 to $40,000 a year. “Our program allows people to put roots down,” Monica said. Weiss will own the new home but at a much lower cost than other options in the county, Monica said.The home was completed using 70 percent volunteer assistance, and the nonprofit is in need of more volunteers, Monica said. “We hope to continue to expand pace,” Monica said. For information, visit habitatmchenry.org or call 815-759-9002.

Sun, 24 Sep 2017 00:58:00 GMT

McHENRY – After recovering from an aneurysm that Jennifer Weiss had at 37 weeks pregnant, she was ready to begin her new life, but she needed some help.

Weiss applied for a new, affordable home from Habitat for Humanity of McHenry County, and she had her wish granted Saturday morning. “I’m thrilled; I’m just overwhelmed with trying to pack and everything,” Weiss said. “I’m very grateful to them.”Habitat for Humanity is a nonprofit organization that seeks to improve housing conditions for a number of the county’s poor and low-income families. Habitat for Humanity staff members, neighbors and volunteers, along with Jennifer and her twin daughters, Alaina and Gabrielle Weiss, both 11, gathered at the family's new home at 11 a.m. Saturday in the 5800 block of North Agatha Lane in McHenry. “Everyone likes to come together and see the end product,” Habitat for Humanity CEO and President Jerry Monica said.Jennifer Weiss had to have an emergency C-section 11 years ago, in addition to many other surgeries. She went through seven months of rehabilitation after a month in the intensive care unit before she was able to join her new family. "After moving into an apartment in McHenry eight years ago, the rent has become an ever-increasing drain on my disability income," Jennifer Weiss wrote in her letter to the nonprofit. "Unfortunately, the apartment that I have is also not set up to handle the continued weakness that I have on my left side after all of my therapy."Jennifer Weiss was connected with Habitat for Humanity through the Epilepsy Foundation and Brain Injury Health Management group, which is common, Monica said. He said partnering with other nonprofits is beneficial to both parties. Jennifer Weiss' home is the organization's 48th sold to a needy homeowner in McHenry County. Monica said Habitat for Humanity is able to provide for one in every 220 people in their demographic – McHenry County residents with a total household income of $20,000 to $40,000 a year. “Our program allows people to put roots down,” Monica said. Weiss will own the new home but at a much lower cost than other options in the county, Monica said.The home was completed using 70 percent volunteer assistance, and the nonprofit is in need of more volunteers, Monica said. “We hope to continue to expand pace,” Monica said. For information, visit habitatmchenry.org or call 815-759-9002.


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McHenry police chief set to retire; deputy chief to take overMcHenry Police Chief John Jones will retire Oct. 20 after 28 years of service with the McHenry Police Department.Deputy Police Chief John Birk will succeed Chief John Jones, effective Oct. 20. Birk has been with the McHenry Police Department since 1999 and has been the deputy chief since 2011. He is also the task force commander of the McHenry County Major Crash Investigation Assistance Team.

Sun, 24 Sep 2017 00:23:00 GMT

McHENRY – The city of McHenry will have a new police chief Oct. 20 after the retirement of Chief John Jones.

Jones has served on the McHenry police force for the past 28 years, working his way up from patrol officer until he was named chief seven years ago. During his time on the force, he developed a consolidated dispatch center, the School Safety Committee and the Adopt-a-School program, according to a news release from the city of McHenry.

Deputy Police Chief John Birk will succeed Jones, effective Oct. 20. Birk will formally be sworn into the position at 7 p.m. Nov. 6 in front of the City Council.

Birk has been with the McHenry Police Department since 1999 and has been the deputy chief since 2011. He also is the task force commander of the McHenry County Major Crash Investigation Assistance Team, according to the release.

“Deputy Chief Birk possesses the personal integrity, leadership qualities and technical skills required to ensure that the McHenry Police Department continues to provide the highest quality services and programs to the residents of our community,” McHenry City Administrator Derik Morefield said. “While Deputy Chief Birk will most certainly bring his own leadership style and ideas for continuing the positive evolution of the department, his promotion will ensure a seamless and stable transition.”

The city will host a retirement reception for Jones at 3:30 Oct. 19 in the City Council chambers at the McHenry Municipal Center, 333 S. Green St. Cake and refreshments will be served, and all are welcome.

McHenry Police Chief John Jones will retire Oct. 20 after 28 years of service with the McHenry Police Department.Deputy Police Chief John Birk will succeed Chief John Jones, effective Oct. 20. Birk has been with the McHenry Police Department since 1999 and has been the deputy chief since 2011. He is also the task force commander of the McHenry County Major Crash Investigation Assistance Team.


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Woodstock firefighters battle back-to-back blazes

Sun, 24 Sep 2017 00:09:00 GMT

WOODSTOCK – Firefighters from the Woodstock Fire/Rescue District were sent to two separate fires within about 30 minutes of each other Friday night in Woodstock, one of which resulted in an injury.

The first call came in at 6:28 p.m. Friday for a possible structure fire in the 1300 block of Portage Drive in Woodstock, Fire Capt. Scott Nieman said in an email. When firefighters arrived, the occupants of the home already had evacuated, and light smoke could be seen from the front of the structure.

"The homeowner stated she was alerted by the smoke detectors and saw smoke in the second floor and called 911," Nieman said.

Crews entered the house and found a dehumidifier smoldering on a dresser on the second floor. There were no injuries, and the damage cost about $10,000. The cause of the fire is not suspicious.

Firefighters from Harvard, Huntley and Wonder Lake assisted Woodstock firefighters at the scene.

At 6:59 p.m., the Woodstock Fire/Rescue District responded to the 2900 block of Raycraft Road in Woodstock, an area without fire hydrants, for another fire, Nieman said. Those who arrived first reported that flames had engulfed half of the first floor of a residence.

"They were to perform a fast attack," Nieman said.

The first responders used water to keep the fire in check, but they had to wait for other units to do anything else. Woodstock Fire Chief Michael Hill arrived at the scene to direct operations.

Firefighters from Algonquin, Cary, Crystal Lake, Harvard, Hebron, Huntley, McHenry, Marengo, Richmond, Spring Grove and Wonder Lake assisted Woodstock because of the lack of hydrants. Some units needed to bring large tanks carrying about 3,000 gallons of water.

One resident was taken to Centegra Hospital – Woodstock with injuries and remained stable, Nieman said.

The fire was estimated to cost $200,000 in damage, and the McHenry County Sheriff's Office is investigating its cause.


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