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Cary woman who fell off horse taken to Libertyville hospital with serious injuriesShaw Media file photo

Fri, 24 Nov 2017 14:09:00 GMT

CARY – A Flight for Life helicopter took a 44-year-old woman to a Libertyville hospital Wednesday afternoon after she fell off a horse and suffered serious injuries, authorities said.

The incident happened at 3:02 p.m. in the 200 block of Fox Harbor Drive in Trout Valley, a village near Cary, Lt. Michael Douglass said.

A helicopter landed in the area and took the woman to Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville.

Douglass could not name the woman, but he described her condition as “serious.” He had no knowledge of the woman’s condition as of Thursday morning.

Shaw Media file photo


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State news: 115 killed in Egypt mosque attackShaw Media file photo

Fri, 24 Nov 2017 13:49:00 GMT

EL-ARISH, Egypt — The Latest on mosque attack in Egypt (all times local):

3:30 p.m.

Egyptian state news agency MENA reports that 155 people have been killed in a bombing and shooting attack on a Sufi mosque in the volatile northern Sinai Peninsula, in what appeared to be the latest attack by the area's local Islamic State affiliate.

Citing official sources, MENA said 120 people were also wounded in the attack on the al-Rawdah mosque in the town of Bir al-Abd, 40 km (25 miles) from the North Sinai provincial capital of El-Arish.

Earlier, officials said militants in four off-road vehicles bombed the mosque and fired on worshippers during the sermon segment of Friday prayers.

___

2:50 p.m.

Egyptian state news agency MENA reports that 85 people have been killed in a bombing and shooting attack on a Sufi mosque in the volatile northern Sinai Peninsula, in what appeared to be the latest attack by the area's local Islamic State affiliate.

Citing official sources, MENA said 80 people were also wounded in the attack on the al-Rawdah mosque in the town of Bir al-Abd, 40 km (25 miles) from the North Sinai provincial capital of El-Arish.

Earlier, officials said militants in four off-road vehicles bombed the mosque and fired on worshippers during the sermon segment of Friday prayers.

___

2:30 p.m.

Egyptian state news agency MENA reports that 54 people have been killed in a bombing and shooting attack on a mosque in the volatile northern Sinai Peninsula, in what appeared to be the latest attack by the area's local Islamic State affiliate.

Citing official sources, MENA said 75 people were also wounded in the attack on the al-Rawdah mosque in the town of Bir al-Abd, 40 km (25 miles) from the North Sinai provincial capital of el-Arish.

Earlier, officials said militants in four off-road vehicles bombed the mosque and fired on worshippers during the sermon segment of Friday prayers.

___

1:50 p.m.

Egyptian security officials say militants have attacked a mosque in the volatile Sinai Peninsula, leaving dozens of casualties.

The three police officers say the extremists attacked the al-Rawdah mosque in the town of Bir al-Abd, 40 km (25 miles) from the North Sinai provincial capital of el-Arish.

They say men in four off-road vehicles opened fire on worshipers during Friday prayers.

Victims are being transferred to local hospitals, they added, speaking on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to brief reporters.

Shaw Media file photo


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Oscar Pistorius' sentence increased to 13 years, 5 monthsFILE - In this July 6, 2016, file photo, Oscar Pistorius, center, arrives at the High Court in Pretoria, South Africa, for a sentencing hearing for the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in his home on Valentine's Day 2013. Pistorius has had his prison sentence extended to 13 years and 5 months in the High Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein Friday, Nov. 24, 2017. (AP Photo/Shiraaz Mohamed, File)FILE - In this July 6, 2016, file photo, Oscar Pistorius leaves the High Court in Pretoria, South Africa, after a judge passed a new sentence of six years imprisonment after his conviction was changed to murder for shooting girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in 2013. Pistorius has had his prison sentence extended to 13 years and 5 months in the High Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein Friday, Nov. 24, 2017. (AP Photo/Marco Longari, Pool Photo via AP, File)

Fri, 24 Nov 2017 13:09:00 GMT

SOMERSET WEST, South Africa — Oscar Pistorius' prison sentence was more than doubled to 13 years and five months on Friday, a surprisingly dramatic intervention by South Africa's Supreme Court of Appeal in the Olympic athlete's fate after the murder of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. In an announcement that took a matter of minutes, Supreme Court Justice Willie Seriti said a panel of judges unanimously upheld an appeal by prosecutors against Pistorius' original six-year sentence for shooting Steenkamp multiple times in his home in 2013. Under that initial sentence, which the court called "shockingly lenient," the double-amputee runner could have been released on parole in mid-2019. Now, the earliest he'll be eligible for parole is 2023. The ruling could finally bring an end to the near five-year legal saga surrounding Pistorius, a multiple Paralympic champion and record-breaker who was the first amputee to run at the Olympics and one of the most celebrated sportsmen in the world. Steenkamp's parents, Barry and June, were "emotional" as they watched Seriti deliver the verdict live on television at their home, family lawyer Tania Koen said. "They feel there has been justice for Reeva. She can now rest in peace," Koen told The Associated Press. "But at the same time, people must realize that people think this is the end of the road for them ... the fact is they still live with Reeva's loss every day." Pistorius killed Steenkamp in the pre-dawn hours of Valentine's Day 2013 after shooting four times through a closed toilet cubicle door with his 9 mm pistol. He claimed he mistook the 29-year-old model and reality TV star for an intruder and was initially convicted of manslaughter by trial judge Thokozile Masipa. That conviction was overturned and replaced with a murder conviction by the Supreme Court in 2015. Pistorius was then sentenced to six years for murder by Masipa, a decision also now rejected by the Supreme Court. Prosecutors called the six-year sentence much too lenient and the Supreme Court agreed, saying in a full written ruling released later that "the sentence of six years' imprisonment is shockingly lenient to a point where it has the effect of trivialising this serious offence." The Supreme Court said that Pistorius "displays a lack of remorse, and does not appreciate the gravity of his actions." Pistorius' brother, Carl, wrote on Twitter: "Shattered. Heartbroken. Gutted." A spokesman for the Pistorius family didn't answer calls from the AP. Pistorius should have been sentenced to the prescribed minimum of 15 years for murder, Seriti said, as he delivered the verdict of a panel of five judges at the Supreme Court in the central city of Bloemfontein. There is no death penalty in South Africa. The new sentence of 13 years and five months took into account the one year and seven months Pistorius served in prison and under house arrest after his manslaughter conviction. The new sentence was backdated to start on the day he began his murder sentence, on July 6 last year. Supreme Court judges are generally reluctant to change sentences handed down by trial courts, and it's rare for them to change one so dramatically. "I did not expect the Supreme Court of Appeal to hand down such a lengthy sentence of imprisonment," legal analyst Ulrich Roux said on the eNCA news channel. "But, if one looks at what the law states, and given the fact that murder does carry the minimum sentence of 15 years in prison, I think the decision could be vindicated." Pistorius must serve at least half of the 13 years and five months — nearly seven years — before he can be considered for par[...]


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Shoppers mobilize on Thanksgiving as retailers branch outThanksgiving holiday shoppers wait in a checkout line Thursday at the JCPenny store in Glendale, Calif. Shoppers hit the stores on Thanksgiving as retailers under pressure look for ways to poach shoppers from their rivals. As the holiday shopping season officially kicked off, retailers are counting on a lift from a better economy.AP photo Women look through boxes of boots at JCPenney after the store's 2 p.m. opening on Thanksgiving Day in Corpus Christi, Texas.

Fri, 24 Nov 2017 06:57:00 GMT

NEW YORK – Shoppers are hitting the stores on Thanksgiving as retailers under pressure look for ways to poach shoppers from their rivals. As the holiday shopping season officially kicked off, retailers are counting on a lift from a better economy. But they also are looking beyond economic data and mapping out ways to pick up sales from other retailers as Amazon expands its reach. That can mean opening earlier than rivals on the holidays or even jumping into new product categories. So shoppers may find some surprises: toys and TVs at J.C. Penney, Barbies at Best Buy, kitchen appliances such as wine refrigerators at B.J.’s. At Macy’s Herald Square in Manhattan, it was the deals like cosmetic and perfume sets from $10 to $20 as well as 40 percent off on boots and shoes that drew attention. Its Apple shop was packed too, with deals on gadgets such as the Apple Watch. Tiffany Lloyd, in town from Columbia, Maryland, was visiting tourist sites when she realized stores were open. “This is not a traditional Thanksgiving. We ate pizza,” said Lloyd, who was buying a pair of Naturalizer shoes at 40 percent off and said she planned to buy three more pairs. She said she also picked up sweaters on sale at Old Navy. Despite the early crowds at stores, analysts at Bain say Amazon is expected to take half of the holiday season’s sales growth. And Amazon is the top destination for people to begin holiday shopping, according to a September study by market research firm NPD Group. “The retailers are in survival mode. It’s about stealing each other’s market share,” said Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst at NPD. “Amazon is the Grinch. They’re stealing the growth.” Abi and Sush Gyawali – both 27-year-old biology graduate students at the University of Missouri – were among hundreds of people who lined up outside J.C. Penney in Columbia, Missouri, before the store opened at 2 p.m. Thursday. Abi Gyawali normally shops online on Amazon or Best Buy for Cyber Monday, where he said he finds some of the best deals. But he said the couple wanted to check out the scene at the mall before friends came over to share a meal. He and his wife planned to just collect coupons that were being handed out, but ended up getting a discounted air fryer. With the jobless rate at a 17-year low of 4.1 percent and consumer confidence stronger than a year ago, analysts project healthy sales increases for November and December. The National Retail Federation trade group expects sales for that period to at least match last year’s rise of 3.6 percent and estimates online spending and other non-store sales will rise 11 percent to 15 percent. Amazon is expected to be a big beneficiary as it cements loyalty among its Prime members and moves into new services and private-label merchandise. That leaves stores looking at rivals to see where they can pick up sales. There are extra dollars up for grabs this year, after thousands of store locations have closed and several retailers filed for bankruptcy protection. Target CEO Brian Cornell recently noted that up to $60 billion in consumer spending will be up for the taking in the next few years, and said the chain has been picking up market share in such areas as clothing. Greg Foran, CEO of Walmart’s U.S. division, said that the retail giant’s holiday shopping season appeared to be off to a good start. It got things going in the first minutes of Thursday with an online sales event that featured a range of deals from toys to TVs to slow cookers and Google Home mini gadgets. “We have a bit of momentum and we had a good kickoff online,” Foran[...]


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Zimbabwe asks if new leader can bring changeFILE - In this Wednesday Feb, 10, 2016 file photo, Zimbabwean vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa greets party supporters at the ZANU-PF headquarters in Harare. The ruling party's Central Committee confirmed Sunday, Nov. 19, 2017 that President Robert Mugabe has been fired as party leader and will be replaced by Mnangagwa. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi, File)

Fri, 24 Nov 2017 06:47:00 GMT

JOHANNESBURG – Zimbabwe’s incoming leader Emmerson Mnangagwa, widely known as the Crocodile, is seen as a smart, ruthless politician, and many question whether he will be able to bring the change the country craves.

“We are witnessing the beginning of a new, unfolding democracy,” the 75-year-old announced Wednesday upon his return to the country, two weeks after his firing by longtime mentor Robert Mugabe led to the president’s downfall.

Despite the message of inclusion, Zimbabweans noted that Mnangagwa made his first public remarks outside ruling ZANU-PF party headquarters and, switching to the local Shona language, praised the party.

FILE - In this Wednesday Feb, 10, 2016 file photo, Zimbabwean vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa greets party supporters at the ZANU-PF headquarters in Harare. The ruling party's Central Committee confirmed Sunday, Nov. 19, 2017 that President Robert Mugabe has been fired as party leader and will be replaced by Mnangagwa. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi, File)


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Sound heard in sub search was likely ‘explosion’Argentine Navy officials embrace inside the Mar de Plata Naval Base after Argentina's Navy announced that a sound detected during the search for the missing ARA San Juan submarine is consistent with that of an explosion, in Mar de Plata, Argentina, Thursday, Nov. 23, 2017. A Navy spokesman said that the relatives of the crew have been informed and that the search will continue until there is full certainty about the fate of the ARA San Juan. He said there was no sign the explosion might be linked to any attack on the sub. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)

Fri, 24 Nov 2017 06:47:00 GMT

MAR DEL PLATA, Argentina – An apparent explosion occurred near the time and place an Argentine submarine went missing, the country’s navy reported Thursday, prompting relatives of its 44 crew members to burst into tears and some to say they had lost hope of a rescue.

Navy spokesman Enrique Balbi said the search will continue until there is full certainty about the fate of the ARA San Juan, despite the evidence of an explosion and with more than a week having passed since the submarine disappeared. It was originally scheduled to arrive Monday at Argentina’s Mar del Plata Navy Base.

The U.S. Navy and an international nuclear test-ban monitoring organization said a “hydro-acoustic anomaly” was produced just hours after the navy lost contact with the sub Nov. 15.

“According to this report, there was an explosion,” Balbi told reporters. “We don’t know what caused an explosion of these characteristics at this site on this date.”

Argentine Navy officials embrace inside the Mar de Plata Naval Base after Argentina's Navy announced that a sound detected during the search for the missing ARA San Juan submarine is consistent with that of an explosion, in Mar de Plata, Argentina, Thursday, Nov. 23, 2017. A Navy spokesman said that the relatives of the crew have been informed and that the search will continue until there is full certainty about the fate of the ARA San Juan. He said there was no sign the explosion might be linked to any attack on the sub. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)


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Sen. Al Franken's rising political stardom obscured by accusationsAP file photo Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., takes the stage at the Democratic National Convention on July 25, 2016, in Philadelphia. Franken has spent much of his nine years as senator trying to shed his funnyman image and digging into issues. That rising trajectory has been interrupted by allegations that he forcibly kissed one woman and squeezed another's buttocks without their permission.

Fri, 24 Nov 2017 06:47:00 GMT

WASHINGTON – “Many of you have jobs, many of you have families,” Sen. Al Franken told Democratic leaders gathered on the eve of a hotly contested governor’s election in Virginia. After an expectant pause, he leaned into the microphone and added, “Ignore them.” Franken was jokingly beseeching activists to get out the vote the next day, in what ended up as a surprisingly decisive victory for Democratic candidate Ralph Northam. But the moment, barely two weeks ago, also underscored how high the one-time “Saturday Night Live” comic had risen in his party’s firmament. After spending much of his nearly nine years as senator trying to shed his funnyman image and digging into issues such as internet access and consumer protection, he now was a draw at political events and mentioned by some as a 2020 presidential possibility. Months of savaging some of President Donald Trump’s appointees had turned the Harvard-educated Franken into a weapon of choice for Democrats eager to attack the administration and energize party voters. Now, Franken’s rising trajectory has been interrupted by allegations he had physical contact with four women without their permission. He faces a Senate ethics investigation for improper conduct and hasn’t been seen publicly since the first claims of misbehavior last week. His future is suddenly unclear. “It’s always a great disappointment when leaders you like and admire do bad stuff,” said Mike Lux, a liberal Democratic consultant. He said it was premature to say how the allegations would affect Franken’s career. But, Lux added, “If more incidents come to light, he’s got a real problem.” Los Angeles radio anchor Leeann Tweeden last week said Franken had put his tongue in her mouth during a 2006 USO tour, before he became senator. She also posted a photo of him with his hands above her chest as she slept wearing a flak vest aboard a military plane. Franken, 66, has apologized. Another woman, Lindsay Menz, said Monday he’d squeezed her buttocks in 2010 while posing for a photo at the Minnesota State Fair. Franken, by then a senator, said he didn’t remember the picture but expressed remorse that Menz felt “disrespected.” In a story published Wednesday by the Huffington Post, two more women alleged that Franken touched their buttocks during campaign events in 2007 and 2008. Franken canceled a sold-out appearance in Atlanta to promote his book, “Al Franken, Giant of the Senate.” His aides have said he’s “spending time with his family and doing a lot of reflecting.” That time for reflection yielded a Thanksgiving statement of explanation and regret – and a pledge to regain the trust of Minnesotans, suggesting that Franken isn’t planning on resigning, as some have called on him to do. In a statement provided to the Minneapolis Star Tribune and Minnesota Public Radio, Franken wrote that as a “warm person” he hugs people and that he’s learned from recent stories that “in some of those encounters, I crossed a line for some women – and I know that any number is too many.” He added: “Some women have found my greetings or embraces for a hug or photo inappropriate, and I respect their feelings about that. I’ve thought a lot in recent days about how that could happen, and recognize that I need to be much more careful and sensitive in these situations. “I feel terribly that I’ve made some women feel badly and for that I am so sorry, and I want to make sure that never happens again. And let me say again to Minnesotans that I’m sorry for putting them through this, a[...]


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Congressional Russia probes likely to head into 2018AP file photo Former FBI Director Robert Mueller, the special counsel probing Russian interference in the 2016 election, departs Capitol Hill on June 21 in Washington, D.C.

Fri, 24 Nov 2017 06:47:00 GMT

WASHINGTON – Some Republicans are hoping lawmakers will soon wrap up investigations into Russian meddling in the 2016 election that have dragged on for most of the year. But with new details in the probe emerging almost daily, that seems unlikely. Three congressional committees are investigating Russian interference and whether President Donald Trump's campaign was in any way involved. The panels have obtained thousands of pages of documents from Trump's campaign and other officials, and have done dozens of interviews. The probes are separate from special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation. Mueller can prosecute for criminal activity, while Congress can only lay out findings, publicize any perceived wrongdoing and pass legislation to try to keep problems from happening again. If any committee finds evidence of criminal activity, it must refer the matter to Mueller. All three committees have focused on a June 2016 meeting that Trump campaign officials held in Trump Tower with a Russian lawyer and others. They are also looking into outreach by several other Russians to the campaign, including involvement of George Papadopoulos, who pleaded guilty this month to lying to the FBI as part of Mueller's probe. New threads continue to emerge, such as a recent revelation that Donald Trump Jr. was messaging with WikiLeaks, the website that leaked emails from top Democratic officials during the campaign. A look at the committees that are investigating, and the status of their work when they return from their Thanksgiving break: SENATE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE The Senate intelligence panel, which has been the most bipartisan in its approach, has interviewed more than 100 people, including most of those attending the Trump Tower meeting. Chairman Richard Burr of North Carolina and the panel's top Democrat, Virginia Sen. Mark Warner, have said they plan to bring in Donald Trump Jr. The president's son was one of several Trump campaign officials in the meeting. The committee has looked broadly at the issue of interference, and called in executives from Facebook, Twitter and Google, pushing them to take steps to prevent Russian election meddling on their platforms. Warner told The Associated Press the committee is still looking for more information from those companies, which were initially reluctant to cooperate. Burr has said that he wants to wrap up the probe by early spring, when congressional primaries begin. While there are many areas of bipartisan agreement on the meddling, it's unclear whether all members will agree to the final report. It's also unclear if the report will make a strong statement on whether the Trump campaign colluded in any way with Russia. Warner said it's plain there were "unprecedented contacts" as Russians reached out to the Trump campaign but what's not established is collusion. ___ HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE In the House, Democrats hope the intelligence committee can remain focused on the Russia probe as the panel's GOP chairman, Rep. Devin Nunes, and other Republicans have launched new, separate investigations into Democrat Hillary Clinton and a uranium deal during President Barack Obama's administration. Nunes stepped back from the Russia probe in April after criticism that he was too close to the White House, but remains chairman of the committee. Some Republicans on the panel have grown restless with the probe, saying it has amounted to a fishing expedition and pushing for it to end. Still, the committee has continued to interview dozens of witnesses involved with[...]


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Algonquin resident designs village's first disc golf courseH. Rick Bamman – hbamman@shawmedia.com Disc golfer Jamie Martinez of Algonquin shows his form while playing a practice round Wednesday on the Quarry View Disc Golf Course in Algonquin. Martinez pitched the idea of creating a nine-hole course to the village in 2013, and his design was brought to life two weeks ago.H. Rick Bamman – hbamman@shawmedia.com Disc golfer Jamie Martinez plays out of the rough on the second hole Wednesday at the newly installed Quarry View Disc Golf Course in Algonquin. The Algonquin resident pitched the idea of creating a nine-hole course to the village in 2013, and his design was brought to life two weeks ago.H. Rick Bamman – hbamman@shawmedia.com Disc golfer Jamie Martinez plays the first hole of the newly installed Quarry View Disc Golf Course on Wednesday in Algonquin. The village funded the $4,500 project and kicked off construction during the summer, Assistant Village Manager Mike Kumbera said. The Quarry View Disc Golf Course is in a neighborhood park, Algonquin Lakes Park, at 700 Lake Plumleigh Way.H. Rick Bamman – hbamman@shawmedia.com Avid disc golfer Eric Veljasevic of Huntley makes his second throw on the second hole Wednesday on the Quarry View Disc Golf Course, which was designed by his friend, Jamie Martinez.H. Rick Bamman – hbamman@shawmedia.com Algonquin resident Glen Mueller throws from the second tee as his son, Max, waits his turn Wednesday on the newly installed Quarry View Disc Golf Course in Algonquin.

Fri, 24 Nov 2017 06:46:00 GMT

ALGONQUIN – When Jamie Martinez sees an open plot of land, he said he can’t help but map out in his brain how a new disc golf course would fit into the space. The Algonquin resident pitched the idea of creating a nine-hole course to the village in 2013, and his design was brought to life two weeks ago. “When the village sent me an email to let me know the course was playable, it was snowing outside, but I bundled up myself and my kids, and we played a round, even though it was cold, because we were just so excited,” Martinez said. Martinez said he would jog through Algonquin Lakes Park in the neighborhood he used to live in, and he kept thinking of possible designs before mapping out two potential layouts and presenting a proposal to the village in 2013. The village funded the $4,500 project and kicked off construction during the summer, Assistant Village Manager Mike Kumbera said. The Quarry View Disc Golf Course is in the neighborhood park, Algonquin Lakes Park, 700 Lake Plumleigh Way. Martinez, a member of the Professional Disc Golf Association, began playing the sport several years ago and has been playing competitively since 2013. A 2010 evaluation of Algonquin parks and recreation listed disc golf as a top priority that residents wanted to see, along with adult fitness and special events, Kumbera said. The Quarry View course was designed for beginners, but experienced players can challenge themselves depending on how they decide to play, Martinez said. “It is a course anyone at any skill level can play, and specifically family members and all generations,” Martinez said. “I knew it wouldn’t be a large championship-style course, but a place to have a casual round with family.” Disc golf began in the 1970s after the Frisbee disc was invented, and it combined both Frisbee and golf, according to the Professional Disc Golf Association. The sport takes its rules from golf, and players substitute Frisbee discs for balls. Players throw the discs at cages from tee pads, and the game is scored similarly to golf. Carpentersville, West Dundee, Huntley and Lake in the Hills already have similar-sized disc golf courses, Martinez said. “They took my exact design and did an amazing job,” Martinez said. “If you ever have a vision of something and hand it off, sometimes things can get lost in translation, but they hit it out of the park.” To play, residents should bring their own discs, which can be found at most sporting goods stores, Martinez said. Used discs can be found at Play It Again Sports in Crystal Lake. Instructions on how to play are located on the tee sign at the first hole. Algonquin Lakes Park is open from 6 a.m. to dusk, according to the village’s website. Martinez said he has seen other families playing and has seen positive comments on social media, but he can’t wait to see the crowd the course brings when spring and summer arrive. H. Rick Bamman – hbamman@shawmedia.com Disc golfer Jamie Martinez of Algonquin shows his form while playing a practice round Wednesday on the Quarry View Disc Golf Course in Algonquin. Martinez pitched the idea of creating a nine-hole course to the village in 2013, and his design was brought to life two weeks ago.H. Rick Bamman – hbamman@shawmedia.com Disc golfer Jamie Martinez plays out of the rough on the second hole Wednesday at the newly installed Quarry View Disc Golf Course in Algon[...]


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Algonquin resident designs village's first disc golf course"When the village sent me an email to let me know the course was playable, it was snowing outside, but I bundled up myself and my kids, and we played a round, even though it was cold, because we were just so excited," Martinez said. Martinez said he would jog through Algonquin Lakes Park in the neighborhood he used to live in, and he kept thinking of possible designs before mapping out two potential layouts and presenting a proposal to the village in 2013.The village funded the $4,500 project and kicked off construction during the summer, Assistant Village Manager Mike Kumbera said. The Quarry View Disc Golf Course is in the neighborhood park, Algonquin Lakes Park, 700 Lake Plumleigh Way. Martinez, a member of the Professional Disc Golf Association, began playing the sport several years ago and has been playing competitively since 2013.A 2010 evaluation of Algonquin parks and recreation listed disc golf as a top priority that residents wanted to see, along with adult fitness and special events, Kumbera said. The Quarry View course was designed for beginners, but experienced players can challenge themselves depending on how they decide to play, Martinez said. "It is a course anyone at any skill level can play, and specifically family members and all generations," Martinez said. "I knew it wouldn’t be a large championship-style course, but a place to have a casual round with family."Disc golf began in the 1970s after the Frisbee disc was invented, and it combined both Frisbee and golf, according to the Professional Disc Golf Association. The sport takes its rules from golf, and players substitute Frisbee discs for balls. Players throw the discs at cages from tee pads, and the game is scored similarly to golf. Carpentersville, West Dundee, Huntley and Lake in the Hills already have similar-sized disc golf courses, Martinez said. "They took my exact design and did an amazing job," Martinez said. "If you ever have a vision of something and hand it off, sometimes things can get lost in translation, but they hit it out of the park."To play, residents should bring their own discs, which can be found at most sporting goods stores, Martinez said. Used discs can be found at Play It Again Sports in Crystal Lake. Instructions on how to play are located on the tee sign at the first hole. Algonquin Lakes Park is open from 6 a.m. to dusk, according to the village's website. Martinez said he has seen other families playing and has seen positive comments on social media, but he can't wait to see the crowd the course brings when spring and summer arrive.

Fri, 24 Nov 2017 06:46:00 GMT

ALGONQUIN – When Jamie Martinez sees an open plot of land, he said he can't help but map out in his brain how a new disc golf course would fit into the space.

The Algonquin resident pitched the idea of creating a nine-hole course to the village in 2013, and his design was brought to life two weeks ago.

"When the village sent me an email to let me know the course was playable, it was snowing outside, but I bundled up myself and my kids, and we played a round, even though it was cold, because we were just so excited," Martinez said. Martinez said he would jog through Algonquin Lakes Park in the neighborhood he used to live in, and he kept thinking of possible designs before mapping out two potential layouts and presenting a proposal to the village in 2013.The village funded the $4,500 project and kicked off construction during the summer, Assistant Village Manager Mike Kumbera said. The Quarry View Disc Golf Course is in the neighborhood park, Algonquin Lakes Park, 700 Lake Plumleigh Way. Martinez, a member of the Professional Disc Golf Association, began playing the sport several years ago and has been playing competitively since 2013.A 2010 evaluation of Algonquin parks and recreation listed disc golf as a top priority that residents wanted to see, along with adult fitness and special events, Kumbera said. The Quarry View course was designed for beginners, but experienced players can challenge themselves depending on how they decide to play, Martinez said. "It is a course anyone at any skill level can play, and specifically family members and all generations," Martinez said. "I knew it wouldn’t be a large championship-style course, but a place to have a casual round with family."Disc golf began in the 1970s after the Frisbee disc was invented, and it combined both Frisbee and golf, according to the Professional Disc Golf Association. The sport takes its rules from golf, and players substitute Frisbee discs for balls. Players throw the discs at cages from tee pads, and the game is scored similarly to golf. Carpentersville, West Dundee, Huntley and Lake in the Hills already have similar-sized disc golf courses, Martinez said. "They took my exact design and did an amazing job," Martinez said. "If you ever have a vision of something and hand it off, sometimes things can get lost in translation, but they hit it out of the park."To play, residents should bring their own discs, which can be found at most sporting goods stores, Martinez said. Used discs can be found at Play It Again Sports in Crystal Lake. Instructions on how to play are located on the tee sign at the first hole. Algonquin Lakes Park is open from 6 a.m. to dusk, according to the village's website. Martinez said he has seen other families playing and has seen positive comments on social media, but he can't wait to see the crowd the course brings when spring and summer arrive.


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St. Margaret Mary Church in Algonquin hosts sailors for Thanksgiving feastSt. Margaret Mary Catholic Church member Ingrid Prigge of Algonquin hands out extra napkins to feasting Navy recruits at a Thanksgiving meal Thursday hosted by the Knights of Columbus at St. Margaret Mary Catholic Church in Algonquin.Naval Station Great Lakes seaman recruits Taylee Smullin (left) of Boise, Idaho, and Briana Tucker of Little Rock, Ark., lead recruits through a line of Thanksgiving staples Thursday at a meal hosted by the Knights of Columbus at St. Margaret Mary Catholic Church in Algonquin.Naval Station Great Lakes recruit Matthew Martinez of Lancaster, Calif., speaks to his family, as fellow recruit Ashanti Smith of Washington, D.C., plays a piece during a game of bones after a Thanksgiving meal Thursday hosted by the Knights of Columbus at St. Margaret Mary Catholic Church in Algonquin.Naval Station Great Lakes recruit Benson Cheek of Athens, Ga., speaks to his parents before a Thanksgiving meal Thursday hosted by the Knights of Columbus at St. Margaret Mary Catholic Church in Algonquin. On his phone call, Cheek was just able to catch his grandmother's yearly prayer at the family dinner.Naval Station Great Lakes recruit Javier Lozano of San Antonio, Texas, helps himself to a second plate at a Thanksgiving meal Thursday hosted by the Knights of Columbus at St. Margaret Mary Catholic Church in Algonquin.Naval Station Great Lakes recruit Daniel Parsons of Danville, Va., talks to his family before a Thanksgiving meal Thursday hosted by the Knights of Columbus at St. Margaret Mary Catholic Church in Algonquin.

Fri, 24 Nov 2017 06:45:00 GMT

ALGONQUIN – During every day of his six-week boot camp assignment at Naval Station Great Lakes, Shane Skinner thought about three things: graduation, his girlfriend and chicken wings. A mountain of delicious, deep-fried chicken wings. The 24-year-old Navy recruit from Bolivar, New York, had that and more Thursday when he joined three dozen of his future shipmates at Algonquin’s St. Margaret Mary Catholic Church, where volunteers and the Knights of Columbus organized a free Thanksgiving feast for sailors from Naval Station Great Lakes. The dinner included 10 carved turkeys, sweet potatoes, green beans, ham, macaroni and cheese, bread, desserts, pop – and 400 chicken wings. “I’ve pounded probably about 40 of them,” Skinner said. Skinner was one of 39 future sailors fed Thursday through the Navy’s Adopt-A-Sailor program. The church and the Knights of Columbus collaborated with local businesses to build a smorgasbord for hungry recruits. Food donations came from Maggiano’s, Mandile’s, Texan BBQ, Rainbow Restaurant, Sugar Hill Bakery, Buffalo Wild Wings, Delray’s Chicken Shack and River Bottom Ice Cream, said Chris Hubbuch, the grand Knight who helped organize the midday dinner. “We have enough food to feed 400 people,” Hubbuch said. The recruits arrived by bus about 10 a.m., and they entered McDonnell Hall, where laptops, tablets and cellphones were available for them to call family and friends scattered across the country. Rocky Graziano, a 23-year-old recruit from Virginia named after the former World Middleweight boxing champion, called his mom in Norfolk. Jaire Andrews, 19, of Raleigh, North Carolina, talked with his mother, father and cousins – all while thinking about a forthcoming plate of mac and cheese. Kaleb Jones, a 20-year-old recruit from Orlando, Florida, talked with his parents and grandparents, and surfed the internet to read about his favorite baseball team, the Kansas City Royals. “I’m catching up with the world,” Jones said, sitting in front of a laptop and preparing to crack open a Mountain Dew. “This feels very refreshing.” Taylee Smullin, an 18-year-old recruit from Meridian, Idaho, used Facetime to talk to her mom, dad, two sisters and brother. “We’ve been trying to write letters, but the timing was off,” Smullin said. Smullin chowed down on Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and dark chocolate. However, she could not enjoy the Thanksgiving meal to the fullest. “I actually have a cold right now, so I can’t smell anything,” Smullin said. This Thanksgiving marked the first time many of the recruits spent the holidays far from home. The previous six weeks of naval boot camp had been grueling for each of them. Early wake-up calls, little sleep and intense physical training day after day left little time for the recruits to make friends and get to know their fellows shipmates on a personal level. The feast brought the recruits together in a way they hadn’t experienced before Thanksgiving. “It gave me that warm and fuzzy feeling,” Skinner said, nursing a Styrofoam cup filled with black coffee. “You get to see the sensitive side of your fellow shipmates.” “In boot camp, you don’t really have time to talk,” Smullin said. “Here we get to laugh and make[...]


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Good night, night: Light pollution increasing around globe

Fri, 24 Nov 2017 06:45:00 GMT

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – The world’s nights are getting alarmingly brighter – bad news for all sorts of creatures, humans included. A German-led team reported Wednesday that light pollution is threatening darkness almost everywhere. Satellite observations during five Octobers show Earth’s artificially lit outdoor area grew by 2 percent a year from 2012 to 2016. So did nighttime brightness. Light pollution actually is worse than that, according to the researchers. Their measurements coincide with the outdoor switch to energy-efficient and cost-saving light-emitting diodes, or LEDs. Because the imaging sensor on the polar-orbiting weather satellite can’t detect the LED-generated color blue, some light is missed. The observations, for example, indicate stable levels of night light in the U.S., Netherlands, Spain and Italy. But light pollution is almost certainly on the rise in those countries given this elusive blue light, said Christopher Kyba of the GFZ German Research Center for Geosciences and lead author of the study published in Science Advances. Also on the rise is the spread of light into the hinterlands and overall increased use. The findings shatter the long-held notion that more energy efficient lighting would decrease usage on the global – or at least a national – scale. “Honestly, I had thought and assumed and hoped that with LEDs we were turning the corner. There’s also a lot more awareness of light pollution,” he told reporters by phone from Potsdam. “It is quite disappointing.” The biological impact from surging artificial light is also significant, according to the researchers. People’s sleep can be marred, which in turn can affect their health. The migration and reproduction of birds, fish, amphibians, insects and bats can be disrupted. Plants can have abnormally extended growing periods. And forget about seeing stars or the Milky Way, if the trend continues. About the only places with dramatic declines in night light were in areas of conflict such as Syria and Yemen, the researchers found. Australia also reported a noticeable drop, but that’s because wildfires were raging early in the study. Researchers were unable to filter out the bright burning light. Asia, Africa and South America, for the most part, saw a surge in artificial night lighting. More and more places are installing outdoor lighting given its low cost and the overall growth in communities’ wealth, the scientists noted. Urban sprawl is also moving towns farther out. The outskirts of major cities in developing nations are brightening quite rapidly, in fact, Kyba said. Other especially bright hot spots: sprawling greenhouses in the Netherlands and elsewhere. Photos taken by astronauts aboard the International Space Station also illuminate the growing problem. Franz Holker of the Leibniz Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries in Berlin, a co-author, said things are at the critical point. “Many people are using light at night without really thinking about the cost,” Holker said. Not just the economic cost, “but also the cost that you have to pay from an ecological, environmental perspective.” Kyba and his colleagues recommend avoiding glaring lamps whenever possible – choosing amber over so-called white LEDs – and using more efficient ways to i[...]



Community comes together to help Crystal Lake Food PantrySteve Henquinet of Pingree Grove accepts a donation from Okello Aliker of Lake in the Hills. Aliker recently moved to Lake in the Hills and was looking for a way to get involved with the community. He said he saw the event on Facebook and was excited to help.Jamie Marquich and her son, Heath, 8, of Lake Zurich sort donations Thursday during the Crystal Lake Food Pantry’s annual Community Harvest as Jeweldean Drecheny of Marengo looks on.Mike Shorten and daughters, Jillian (from left), 16; Delanie, 12; and Tessa, 18, sort donations Thursday during the Crystal Lake Food Pantry’s annual Community Harvest.Emma Bolanski, 15; Alex Bolanski, 17, and Rosalie Schraut collect food donations Thursday at the Crystal Lake Community Harvest.About 1,000 people volunteered to help sort food Thursday for the Crystal Lake Food Pantry’s annual Community Harvest, held every Thanksgiving morning.

Fri, 24 Nov 2017 06:45:00 GMT

Kathy Carlson of McHenry knows how important it is to show her 5-year-old granddaughter the meaning of giving back to the community while she’s still young. Carlson and her granddaughter, Kira Carlson, were among about 1,000 people who volunteered to help sort food for the Crystal Lake Food Pantry’s annual Community Harvest, held every Thanksgiving morning. “Her world is all about her, and I want to take the emphasis off of that. She needs to know that giving to others is very important, and this is a good age to start,” Carlson said. “This is the season of love and giving, and [volunteering] takes the emphasis off ‘all about us.’ There are so many needy people, and we need to take care of each other.” Thursday marked the 27th year of the Community Harvest, where hundreds of volunteers help sort and pack thousands of pounds of food donations for the Crystal Lake Food Pantry. Once all of the food is sorted and packed, it’s shipped directly to the pantry, where it quickly is shelved for its clients. There also was a second smaller sorting event Thursday morning at the pantry’s new location, 42 East St. in Crystal Lake. Judy Peliniski, chairwoman of the Community Harvest, said with tears in her eyes that watching the people who give up their Thanksgiving morning to help others makes all of her hard work coordinating the event worthwhile. Last year, Community Harvest netted 73,000 pounds of food, and she said she hopes this year the donations reach 85,000 pounds. “The pantry serves about 100,000 pounds of food each year, so this is a huge day for us. Last year’s Community Harvest lasted the pantry through August,” Peliniski said. “This gives people purpose. They’re grateful for what they have and wanted to give back on a day when they have such abundance. So many families have made this their Thanksgiving tradition.” Volunteering at the Community Harvest has been a Thanksgiving tradition for the Shorten family of Crystal Lake. Every year, Mike Shorten and his three daughters help sort and pack. He said that the family always looks forward to the event. “There are people who need food, and we appreciate what the food pantry does to help people in our community who are hungry,” he said. Okello Aliker recently moved to Lake in the Hills and was looking for a way to get involved with the community. Aliker said he saw the event on Facebook and was excited to help. “We need to look out for each other and help each other. We need to be thankful for what we have and count our blessings,” he said. Jamie Marquich of Lake Zurich and her 8 year-old son, Heath, have volunteered for five years. She said she wants her son to understand the meaning of helping those who are less fortunate. “We’re all in this together, and we’re stronger together. Thanksgiving is all about recognizing and being grateful for the abundance in our lives and help[ing] others enjoy theirs,” she said. Emma Bolanski, 15, and her brother Alex Bolanski, 17, have been volunteering at the event since they were very young. Emma said she always looks forward to the day. “I enjoy helping our community, and it’s good to see someone’s face light up and to help others,” the Crystal Lake Central High School freshman said. “I like how everyone comes together.” [...]Steve Henquinet of Pingree Grov[...]


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Sailors celebrate Thanksgiving with chicken wings, turkey, chocolate in Algonquin

Fri, 24 Nov 2017 06:45:00 GMT

ALGONQUIN – During every day of his six-week boot camp assignment at Naval Station Great Lakes, Shane Skinner thought about three things: graduation, his girlfriend and chicken wings. A mountain of delicious, deep-fried chicken wings. The 24-year-old Navy recruit from Bolivar, New York, had that and more Thursday when he joined three dozen of his future shipmates at Algonquin's St. Margaret Mary Catholic Church, where volunteers and the Knights of Columbus organized a free Thanksgiving feast for sailors from Naval Station Great Lakes. The dinner included 10 carved turkeys, sweet potatoes, green beans, ham, macaroni and cheese, bread, desserts, pop – and 400 chicken wings. "I've pounded probably about 40 of them," Skinner said. Skinner was one of 39 future sailors fed Thursday through the Navy's Adopt-A-Sailor program. The church and the Knights of Columbus collaborated with local businesses to build a smorgasbord for hungry recruits. Food donations came from Maggiano's, Mandile's, Texan BBQ, Rainbow Restaurant, Sugar Hill Bakery, Buffalo Wild Wings, Delray's Chicken Shack and River Bottom Ice Cream, said Chris Hubbuch, the grand Knight who helped organize the midday dinner. "We have enough food to feed 400 people," Hubbuch said. The recruits arrived by bus about 10 a.m., and they entered McDonnell Hall, where laptops, tablets and cellphones were available for them to call family and friends scattered across the country. Rocky Graziano, a 23-year-old recruit from Virginia named after the former World Middleweight boxing champion, called his mom in Norfolk. Jaire Andrews, 19, of Raleigh, North Carolina, talked with his mother, father and cousins – all while thinking about a forthcoming plate of mac and cheese. Kaleb Jones, a 20-year-old recruit from Orlando, Florida, talked with his parents and grandparents, and surfed the internet to read about his favorite baseball team, the Kansas City Royals. "I'm catching up with the world," Jones said, sitting in front of a laptop and preparing to crack open a Mountain Dew. "This feels very refreshing." Taylee Smullin, an 18-year-old recruit from Meridian, Idaho, used Facetime to talk to her mom, dad, two sisters and brother. "We've been trying to write letters, but the timing was off," Smullin said. Smullin chowed down on Reese's Peanut Butter Cups and dark chocolate. However, she could not enjoy the Thanksgiving meal to the fullest. "I actually have a cold right now, so I can't smell anything," Smullin said. This Thanksgiving marked the first time many of the recruits spent the holidays far from home. The previous six weeks of naval boot camp had been grueling for each of them. Early wake-up calls, little sleep and intense physical training day after day left little time for the recruits to make friends and get to know their fellows shipmates on a personal level. The feast brought the recruits together in a way they hadn't experienced before Thanksgiving. "It gave me that warm and fuzzy feeling," Skinner said, nursing a Styrofoam cup filled with black coffee. "You get to see the sensitive side of your fellow shipmates." "In boot camp, you don't really have time to talk," Smullin said. "Here we get to laugh and make fun of some of the things that happe[...]


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Local community comes together to support Crystal Lake Food PantryThursday marked the 27th year of the Community Harvest, where hundreds of volunteers help sort and pack thousands of pounds of food donations for the Crystal Lake Food Pantry. Once all of the food is sorted and packed, it’s shipped directly to the pantry, where it quickly is shelved for its clients. There also was a second smaller sorting event Thursday morning at the pantry’s new location, 42 East St. in Crystal Lake.Judy Peliniski, chairwoman of the Community Harvest, said with tears in her eyes that watching the people who give up their Thanksgiving morning to help others makes all of her hard work coordinating the event worthwhile. Last year, Community Harvest netted 73,000 pounds of food, and she said she hopes this year the donations reach 85,000 pounds. “The pantry serves about 100,000 pounds of food each year, so this is a huge day for us. Last year’s Community Harvest lasted the pantry through August,” Peliniski said. “This gives people purpose. They’re grateful for what they have and wanted to give back on a day when they have such abundance. So many families have made this their Thanksgiving tradition.”Volunteering at the Community Harvest has been a Thanksgiving tradition for the Shorten family of Crystal Lake. Every year, Mike Shorten and his three daughters (pictured) help sort and pack. He said that the family always looks forward to the event. “There are people who need food, and we appreciate what the food pantry does to help people in our community who are hungry,” he said.Okello Aliker (left) recently moved to Lake in the Hills and was looking for a way to get involved with the community. Aliker said he saw the event on Facebook and was excited to help. “We need to look out for each other and help each other. We need to be thankful for what we have and count our blessings,” he said.Jamie Marquich of Lake Zurich and her 8 year-old son, Heath, (pictured) have volunteered for five years. She said she wants her son to understand the meaning of helping those who are less fortunate. “We’re all in this together, and we’re stronger together. Thanksgiving is all about recognizing and being grateful for the abundance in our lives and help[ing] others enjoy theirs,” she said.Emma Bolanski, 15, and her brother, Alex Bolanski, 17, (pictured) have been volunteering at the event since they were very young. Emma said she always looks forward to the day. “I enjoy helping our community, and it’s good to see someone’s face light up and to help others,” the Crystal Lake Central High School freshman said. “I like how everyone comes together.”

Fri, 24 Nov 2017 06:45:00 GMT

Kathy Carlson of McHenry knows how important it is to show her 5-year-old granddaughter the meaning of giving back to the community while she’s still young.

Carlson and her granddaughter, Kira Carlson, were among about 1,000 people who volunteered to help sort food for the Crystal Lake Food Pantry’s annual Community Harvest, held every Thanksgiving morning.

“Her world is all about her, and I want to take the emphasis off of that. She needs to know that giving to others is very important, and this is a good age to start,” Carlson said. “This is the season of love and giving, and [volunteering] takes the emphasis off ‘all about us.’ There are so many needy people, and we need to take care of each other.”

Thursday marked the 27th year of the Community Harvest, where hundreds of volunteers help sort and pack thousands of pounds of food donations for the Crystal Lake Food Pantry. Once all of the food is sorted and packed, it’s shipped directly to the pantry, where it quickly is shelved for its clients. There also was a second smaller sorting event Thursday morning at the pantry’s new location, 42 East St. in Crystal Lake.Judy Peliniski, chairwoman of the Community Harvest, said with tears in her eyes that watching the people who give up their Thanksgiving morning to help others makes all of her hard work coordinating the event worthwhile. Last year, Community Harvest netted 73,000 pounds of food, and she said she hopes this year the donations reach 85,000 pounds. “The pantry serves about 100,000 pounds of food each year, so this is a huge day for us. Last year’s Community Harvest lasted the pantry through August,” Peliniski said. “This gives people purpose. They’re grateful for what they have and wanted to give back on a day when they have such abundance. So many families have made this their Thanksgiving tradition.”Volunteering at the Community Harvest has been a Thanksgiving tradition for the Shorten family of Crystal Lake. Every year, Mike Shorten and his three daughters (pictured) help sort and pack. He said that the family always looks forward to the event. “There are people who need food, and we appreciate what the food pantry does to help people in our community who are hungry,” he said.Okello Aliker (left) recently moved to Lake in the Hills and was looking for a way to get involved with the community. Aliker said he saw the event on Facebook and was excited to help. “We need to look out for each other and help each other. We need to be thankful for what we have and count our blessings,” he said.Jamie Marquich of Lake Zurich and her 8 year-old son, Heath, (pictured) have volunteered for five years. She said she wants her son to understand the meaning of helping those who are less fortunate. “We’re all in this together, and we’re stronger together. Thanksgiving is all about recognizing and being grateful for the abundance in our lives and help[ing] others enjoy theirs,” she said.Emma Bolanski, 15, and her brother, Alex Bolanski, 17, (pictured) have been volunteering at the event since they were very young. Emma said she always looks forward to the day. “I enjoy helping our community, and it’s good to see someone’s face light up and to help others,” the Crystal Lake Central High School freshman said. “I like how everyone comes together.”


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Trump credits troops, himself for military advancesAP photo President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump greet and hand out sandwiches to members of the U.S. Coast Guard on Thursday at the Lake Worth Inlet Station in Riviera Beach, Fla.

Fri, 24 Nov 2017 05:08:00 GMT

PALM BEACH, Fla. – President Donald Trump thanked U.S. troops for their service on Thursday, assuring them “we’re really winning” against America’s foes as he celebrated Thanksgiving at his private club in Florida and provided lunch for Coast Guard men and women on duty for the holiday. Using the occasion to pat himself on the back, Trump told deployed military members via a video conference that they’ve achieved more progress in Afghanistan and against the Islamic State group under his watch than had been made in years of the previous administration. “Everybody’s talking about the progress you’ve made in the last few months since I opened it up,” he told the 1st Brigade Combat Team of the 82nd Airborne Division, whose members are conducting operations in Kandahar, Afghanistan. “We’re being talked about again as an armed forces – we’re really winning.” Speaking from a gilded room at his Mar-a-Lago club, Trump said: “We’re not fighting anymore to just walk around, we’re fighting to win, and you people are really, you’ve turned it around over the last three to four months like nobody’s seen, and they are talking about it, so thank you very much.” Turning to the 74th Expeditionary Fighters Squadron based at the Incirlik Air Base in Turkey, Trump suggested the Obama administration hadn’t allowed soldiers on the ground to do their jobs. “They say we’ve made more progress against ISIS than they did in years of the previous administration,” he said. “And that’s because I’m letting you do your job.” Throughout the day – at events and on Twitter – Trump boasted about the economy’s performance since he took office, pointing to recent stock market gains and the unemployment rate, along with his efforts to scale back regulations and boost military spending. “So you’re fighting for something real, you’re fighting for something good,” he told the service members. Trump and his wife, Melania, also made a trip to a nearby Coast Guard station in Riviera Beach, Florida, where they delivered a lunch of turkey sandwiches, giant muffins, heaping baskets of fruit, chips and cookies to men and women on duty for the holidays. During his remarks, Trump, singled out the service for its hurricane relief efforts during Harvey and the other storms that battered the country earlier this year. “There’s no brand that went up more than the Coast Guard,” Trump told them “What a job you’ve done.” Trump praised the superiority of U.S. military equipment, too, yet said he tries to make sure that equipment the U.S. sells abroad – even to allies – is not quite as good as that kept at home. “I always say, make ours a little bit better,” Trump said. “Keep about 10 percent in the bag.” He added: “You never know about an ally. An ally can turn.” Among the equipment admired by Trump is the F-35 stealth fighter jet, which he recalled asking “Air Force guys” about once. “In a fight, you know a fight like I watch on the movies ... how good is it?” he recalled asking. “They said, ‘Well, it wins every time because the enemy cannot see it, even if it’s right next to it,’” Trump recounted, prompting laughs. The F-35, plagued by development problems and cos[...]


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Volo Auto Museum seeks to relocate Des Plaines McDonald's museumA replica of Ray Kroc's first McDonald's franchise, which opened April 15, 1955, is now a museum in Des Plaines. McDonald's Corp. has announced it will demolish the museum. Kroc built his first restaurant in 1955 in Des Plaines, after franchising the brand from the original owners, Richard and Maurice McDonald.

Thu, 23 Nov 2017 06:47:00 GMT

VOLO – The Volo Auto Museum has reached out to McDonald’s Corp. to try to relocate the museum and replica of the hamburger chain’s first restaurant from Des Plaines to Volo. McDonald’s previously said the building will be razed in December.

In a Facebook post shared more than 1,000 times, the Volo Auto Museum said it reached out to the burger giant to try to save the McDonald’s Store No. 1 Museum.

“We have been contacted by numerous residents about the closing and demolition of the Des Plaines McDonald’s museum with pleas to save it and relocate it in Volo. We love the idea!” the auto museum said in the post. “We’ve reached out to McDonald’s headquarters hoping there is an agreement that could be made.”

McDonald’s Corp. previously announced that the building would be destroyed next month and the land donated to Des Plaines, citing poor attendance as the reason for its removal.

Ray Kroc built the first restaurant in 1955 in Des Plaines. He franchised the brand from the original owners, Richard and Maurice McDonald. The museum opened in 1985 with Kroc’s original sign out front.

The auto museum is asking residents to cast their votes to decide whether relocating the replica is a good idea.

Brian Grams, director of the Volo Auto Museum, said in a statement that his goal is to relocate and restore the entire structure.

“Our interest is in preserving this American icon,” Grams said. “If, for some reason, it does not work out that we can move the entire structure, we certainly hope to come away with some artifacts. But the goal is the whole thing. We’ll see.”

• The Associated Press contributed to this report.

A replica of Ray Kroc's first McDonald's franchise, which opened April 15, 1955, is now a museum in Des Plaines. McDonald's Corp. has announced it will demolish the museum. Kroc built his first restaurant in 1955 in Des Plaines, after franchising the brand from the original owners, Richard and Maurice McDonald.


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Illinois police officer says woman near teen when he opened fire, killing both

Thu, 23 Nov 2017 06:43:00 GMT

CHICAGO – A Chicago police officer responding to a domestic disturbance in 2015 said he knew a woman was standing close to a bat-wielding teen when he opened fire, killing both.

The Chicago Tribune reported that lawyers for the family of 55-year-old Bettie Jones have filed a motion arguing that officer Robert Rialmo’s acknowledgment, along with other evidence and testimony, amounts to an admission of legal liability. They said the family’s lawsuit should proceed to trial to determine how much money should be awarded to Jones’ survivors.

Rialmo’s lawyer, Joel Brodsky, said the stipulation reflects the facts of the case and his client was nonetheless justified in shooting at Quintonio LeGrier. Rialmo said in a sworn deposition that LeGrier swung the bat at him, causing him to fear for his life.

Cook County prosecutors in February declined to press criminal charges in the case.




Huntley Turkey Testicle Festival draws people for unique eatSarah Nader – snader@shawmedia.com Wearing their turkey hats, Jean Bibbings (left) of Marengo and Candice Johnson of Geneva attend the 35th annual Turkey Testicle Festival on Wednesday at Parkside Pub in Huntley.Sarah Nader – snader@shawmedia.com Deep-fried turkey testicles are passed around during the 35th annual Turkey Testicle Festival on Wednesday at Parkside Pub in Huntley.Sarah Nader – snader@shawmedia.com Wearing her turkey hat, Michelle Bala (center) of McHenry attends the 35th annual Turkey Testicle Festival at Parkside Pub in Huntley.Sarah Nader – snader@shawmedia.com Crowds of people packed into a tent during the 35th annual Turkey Testicle Festival on Wednesday at Parkside Pub in Huntley.

Thu, 23 Nov 2017 06:33:00 GMT

HUNTLEY – The 35th annual festival celebrated Wednesday in Huntley served up a part of the turkey that isn’t normally served at Thanksgiving dinner – testicles. More than 1,200 pounds of testicles were served for the festival that was expected to bring in 5,000 people throughout the day, said J.R. Westberg, who co-owns Parkside Pub in Huntley, where McHenry County’s first pre-Thanksgiving Turkey Testicle Festival began. Tony and Alicia Fritz came from Barrington Hills for the fifth year in a row because it’s “something you just have to experience,” Alicia said. “You can eat some turkey testicles, and you can’t get that at any restaurants. We come and get a thing of the turkey balls, and I don’t really like them, but you have to try them,” Tony said, adding that the testicles have the consistency of mushrooms but the flavor of liver. People from all over the U.S. and even the world come to the festival, with people from 37 states and four countries in attendance last year, Westberg said. “One woman flew in from Alaska just to see Seventh Heaven perform,” Westberg said. Huntley resident Chuck Veach has been helping sell merchandise and set up the festival for the past 27 years. “It becomes a family gathering before the big day,” Veach said. “People come in groups and see people they haven’t seen since maybe they were here last year. They come in just to see who they are going to see.” This year, people flocked from Minnesota, Kansas City and Florida, among other locations, Veach said. “I hope it keeps up for the town itself,” Veach said. “It’s the biggest attraction in Huntley all year-round, and the No. 1 thing to do in Huntley.” Dawning a turkey hat, Michelle Cahue of Chicago said she returns each year with her friends as a reunion. “I’ve tried the testicles a few times before, but it’s just not my thing,” Cahue said. Westberg said the event has become multigenerational, with one person returning for their 33rd festival. He said he has begun seeing parents come with their children once they turn 21, passing from generation to generation. Metal detector wands were added to the festival this year in order to keep the event safe, Westberg said. The festival, which ran from 11 a.m. to midnight, supported multiple charities, including Opening Doors with Teagan, Ronald McDonald House Charities and Make-A-Wish Foundation, as well as local youth athletic programs. Along with Huntley’s Parkside Pub, Clasen’s Tavern in Union hosted a festival, and an inaugural Benton Street Turkey Ball Bash on the Woodstock Square also began this year, hosted by Benton Street Festivals and Main Street PourHouse. Jim Hennig originally started the festival at Parkside before buying Clasen’s in Union and hosting his own festival there for the past five years. Sarah Nader – snader@shawmedia.com Wearing their turkey hats, Jean Bibbings (left) of Marengo and Candice Johnson of Geneva attend the 35th annual Turkey Testicle Festival on Wednesday at Parkside Pub in Huntley.[...]Sarah Nader – snader@shawmedia.com Deep-fried turkey testicles are passed around dur[...]


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Huntley Turkey Testicle Festival draws people for unique eatMore than 1,200 pounds of testicles were served for the festival that was expected to bring in 5,000 people throughout the day, said J.R. Westberg, who co-owns Parkside Pub in Huntley, where McHenry County's first pre-Thanksgiving Turkey Testicle Festival began. Tony and Alicia Fritz came from Barrington Hills for the fifth year in a row because it's "something you just have to experience," Alicia said. "You can eat some turkey testicles, and you can't get that at any restaurants. We come and get a thing of the turkey balls, and I don't really like them, but you have to try them," Tony said, adding that the testicles have the consistency of mushrooms but the flavor of liver.People from all over the U.S. and even the world come to the festival, with people from 37 states and four countries in attendance last year, Westberg said. "One woman flew in from Alaska just to see Seventh Heaven perform," Westberg said. Huntley resident Chuck Veach has been helping sell merchandise and set up the festival for the past 27 years. "It becomes a family gathering before the big day," Veach said. "People come in groups and see people they haven't seen since maybe they were here last year. They come in just to see who they are going to see."This year, people flocked from Minnesota, Kansas City and Florida, among other locations, Veach said. "I hope it keeps up for the town itself," Veach said. "It's the biggest attraction in Huntley all year-round, and the No. 1 thing to do in Huntley." Dawning a turkey hat, Michelle Cahue of Chicago said she returns each year with her friends as a reunion. "I've tried the testicles a few times before, but it's just not my thing," Cahue said. Westberg said the event has become multigenerational, with one person returning for their 33rd festival. He said he has begun seeing parents come with their children once they turn 21, passing from generation to generation.Metal detector wands were added to the festival this year in order to keep the event safe, Westberg said. The festival, which ran from 11 a.m. to midnight, supported multiple charities, including Opening Doors with Teagan, Ronald McDonald House Charities and Make-A-Wish Foundation, as well as local youth athletic programs. Along with Huntley's Parkside Pub, Clasen's Tavern in Union hosted a festival, and an inaugural Benton Street Turkey Ball Bash on the Woodstock Square also began this year, hosted by Benton Street Festivals and Main Street PourHouse. Jim Hennig originally started the festival at Parkside before buying Clasen’s in Union and hosting his own festival there for the past five years.

Thu, 23 Nov 2017 06:32:00 GMT

HUNTLEY – The 35th annual festival celebrated Wednesday in Huntley served up a part of the turkey that isn't normally served at Thanksgiving dinner – testicles.

More than 1,200 pounds of testicles were served for the festival that was expected to bring in 5,000 people throughout the day, said J.R. Westberg, who co-owns Parkside Pub in Huntley, where McHenry County's first pre-Thanksgiving Turkey Testicle Festival began. Tony and Alicia Fritz came from Barrington Hills for the fifth year in a row because it's "something you just have to experience," Alicia said. "You can eat some turkey testicles, and you can't get that at any restaurants. We come and get a thing of the turkey balls, and I don't really like them, but you have to try them," Tony said, adding that the testicles have the consistency of mushrooms but the flavor of liver.People from all over the U.S. and even the world come to the festival, with people from 37 states and four countries in attendance last year, Westberg said. "One woman flew in from Alaska just to see Seventh Heaven perform," Westberg said. Huntley resident Chuck Veach has been helping sell merchandise and set up the festival for the past 27 years. "It becomes a family gathering before the big day," Veach said. "People come in groups and see people they haven't seen since maybe they were here last year. They come in just to see who they are going to see."This year, people flocked from Minnesota, Kansas City and Florida, among other locations, Veach said. "I hope it keeps up for the town itself," Veach said. "It's the biggest attraction in Huntley all year-round, and the No. 1 thing to do in Huntley." Dawning a turkey hat, Michelle Cahue of Chicago said she returns each year with her friends as a reunion. "I've tried the testicles a few times before, but it's just not my thing," Cahue said. Westberg said the event has become multigenerational, with one person returning for their 33rd festival. He said he has begun seeing parents come with their children once they turn 21, passing from generation to generation.Metal detector wands were added to the festival this year in order to keep the event safe, Westberg said. The festival, which ran from 11 a.m. to midnight, supported multiple charities, including Opening Doors with Teagan, Ronald McDonald House Charities and Make-A-Wish Foundation, as well as local youth athletic programs. Along with Huntley's Parkside Pub, Clasen's Tavern in Union hosted a festival, and an inaugural Benton Street Turkey Ball Bash on the Woodstock Square also began this year, hosted by Benton Street Festivals and Main Street PourHouse. Jim Hennig originally started the festival at Parkside before buying Clasen’s in Union and hosting his own festival there for the past five years.


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Poll: Many want to avoid political talk this ThanksgivingIn this Nov. 21, 2017, photo, President Donald Trump pardons Drumstick during the National Thanksgiving Turkey Pardoning Ceremony in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington. A poll shows more than a third of Americans dread the prospect of political talk over Thanksgiving. The survey by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research shows that just 2 in 10 are eager to discuss politics. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Thu, 23 Nov 2017 05:57:00 GMT

WASHINGTON – Pass the turkey – but maybe hold the politics. The already-fraught topic now includes allegations of sexual misconduct against politicians of various political stripes. From GOP President Donald Trump to Democratic Sen. Al Franken, politicians past, present and aspiring stand accused of sexual misconduct, and that could keep tensions high at the holiday table. More than a third of Americans dread the prospect of politics coming up over Thanksgiving, a new poll shows. Glenn Rogers, a Republican from Los Angeles, said he asks people around the table to talk about things to celebrate from the past year. Not everyone, he knows, will be toasting the Trump presidency. “For the most part, we get to the point where we know that we’re not going to agree with each other, and it gets dropped,” said the 67-year-old manufacturing consultant, who said he voted less for Trump than against Democrat Hillary Clinton. With a cascade of sexual misconduct scandals now echoing similar allegations against Trump during the campaign, tempers on the subject of Trump might not have cooled, Rogers said. “When you start talking about it now, there’s still some, I think, real animosity when you start talking about character.” Rogers is among more than a third of Americans who said they dread the prospect of politics coming up over Thanksgiving, compared with only two in 10 who say they’re eager to talk politics, according to a new poll by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. Four in 10 don’t feel strongly either way. Democrats slightly are more likely than Republicans to say they’re uneasy about political discussions at the table, 39 percent to 33 percent. And women are more likely than men to say they dread the thought of talking politics, 41 percent to 31 percent. Those who do think there’s at least some possibility of politics coming up are somewhat more likely to feel optimistic about it than Americans as a whole. Among this group, 30 percent said they’d be eager to talk politics, and 34 percent would dread it. The debate over whether to talk politics at Thanksgiving is about as American as the traditional feast itself. By Christmas 2016, 39 percent of U.S. adults said their families avoided conversations about politics, according to the Pew Research Center. But Americans still are trying to figure out how to talk about the subject in the age of Trump and amid the sexual misconduct allegations that have ignited a new debate over standards for conduct between men and women. The conversation, some analysts and respondents said, touches on identity among people who group themselves by other factors, such as family, friendship or geography. Ten months into Trump’s difficult presidency, he remains a historically unpopular president and a deeply polarizing force in the U.S. His drives to crack down on immigration in the name of national security and the economy cut right to the question of who is an American. And his defense on Tuesday of Republican U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore, the former Alabama judge accused by six women of pursuing romantic relationships with them when they were teenagers and he was in his 30s, comes amid a wider deluge of sexual misconduct scandals. [...]


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Hidden camera? Algonquin Township supervisor pleads the 5thSarah Nader – snader@shawmedia.com Algonquin Township Supervisor Charles Lutzow speaks during the Algonquin Township meeting Nov. 8.Sarah Nader – snader@shawmedia.com Algonquin Township Clerk Karen Lukasik (left) and Algonquin Township Supervisor Charles Lutzow conduct matters during the Algonquin Township meeting Nov. 8.Sarah Nader – snader@shawmedia.com Algonquin Township Supervisor Charles Lutzow speaks during the Algonquin Township meeting Nov. 8.

Thu, 23 Nov 2017 05:56:00 GMT

CRYSTAL LAKE – Algonquin Township Supervisor Charles Lutzow refused to testify when asked who installed a video camera that the township clerk claims was used to spy on her in a records room. On Nov. 17, standing before McHenry County Circuit Judge Michael Caldwell, Township Clerk Karen Lukasik’s attorney, David McArdle, questioned Lutzow about his role with Algonquin Township and his knowledge of court proceedings so far. McArdle pointed to a court order entered July 14. “Do you recognize it?” McArdle asked, according to a transcript of the hearing. “Yes, sir,” Lutzow said. On July 14, a judge granted Lukasik a restraining order to prevent anyone from destroying township records. Lutzow agreed to ask township officials to provide Lukasik a place to secure documents – areas only Lukasik and her “designee(s) shall have access to,” according to records. The supervisor found two large rooms on township property and agreed to share a room in the basement of the town hall where road district records are kept. At Friday’s hearing, McArdle pressed Lutzow on the subject, naming Ryan Provenzano, the supervisor’s chief of staff. “After July 14, 2017, you directed Ryan Provenzano, your employee, to install a Nest camera and audio camera in that storage room, correct?” McArdle said. Lutzow’s attorney, Philip Prossnitz, jumped in. “Objection,” Prossnitz said. “Judge, on behalf of my client, I would assert his Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination.” “Mr. McArdle?” Caldwell said. “I don’t have a response to that, Judge,” McArdle said. To clarify, Caldwell turned to Lutzow. “Are you asserting your Fifth Amendment rights, Mr. Lutzow?” “Yes, your honor,” Lutzow said. The Fifth Amendment pleading is the next chapter of turmoil that has overtaken Algonquin Township, where officials are trading expensive lawsuits. For months, Lukasik, a 52-year-old teacher elected clerk in May, has been locked in a court battle with a man who works feet away from her in another office: Highway Commissioner Andrew Gasser. Gasser claimed in a June 1 court filing that the clerk was out to destroy records to cover up years of wrongdoing by Gasser’s predecessor. Gasser alleged that Lukasik intended to destroy township records, including receipts he said show that Bob Miller, the former highway commissioner, used public funds to buy handbags, women’s clothing and other personal items. Gasser’s injunction names Lukasik, Miller and Miller’s wife, Anna May Miller, who worked as her husband’s secretary. Bob Miller, who denied Gasser’s allegations, previously said that the new highway commissioner cooked up the whole thing to torpedo his bid to be appointed to fill out the remainder of Gasser’s term on the County Board. Gasser resigned the seat to focus on being highway commissioner. Bob Miller could not be reached for comment on this story. Gasser, who narrowly unseated Bob Miller in the Feb. 28 township GOP primary, req[...]


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Family member of Cary man found unresponsive at McHenry County Jail says death was suicideThomas Doheny

Thu, 23 Nov 2017 05:44:00 GMT

WOODSTOCK – The partner of a Cary man found unresponsive Friday at the McHenry County Jail said that the man killed himself because he could no longer keep up with mounting child support fees. Jail staff discovered Tom M. Doheny, 51, while they were doing rounds at 8:10 p.m. Friday. Doheny was taken by ambulance to Centegra Hospital – Woodstock. Doheny was pronounced dead at 8:53 p.m., according to a news release from the McHenry County Coroner’s Office. McHenry County Coroner Anne Majewski said Tuesday that an official cause of death has not been determined, and she declined to comment on speculation that the death was a suicide. An official statement from the coroner’s office could come in the next few weeks, Majewski said. The McHenry County Major Investigation Assistance Team continues to investigate Doheny’s death. In an email Tuesday, McHenry Police Chief John Birk declined to comment whether Doheny was on suicide watch. Jail officials did not say what access Doheny might have had to items that could have caused him harm. Although officials have been tight-lipped, Doheny’s partner, Sandra Avila, said the prospect of remaining at the county jail for unpaid fees he couldn’t afford became overwhelming. “He did take his own life in there,” Avila said. “He was in contempt of court because he was behind on his child support.” Avila and Doheny never were legally married, but they celebrated their union Sept. 30, she said. They lived together in their Cary home until Nov. 1, when Doheny was found in contempt of court for unpaid expenses stemming from a 2014 divorce. McHenry County Judge Michael Coppedge ordered Doheny to stay at the McHenry County Jail for an “indeterminate period” until he could pay $125,000, court records show. Neither Coppedge nor attorneys representing Doheny’s ex-wife were available to comment Wednesday. “How do they expect him to pay for something when he doesn’t have it – and now he’s in jail?” Avila said. “He was trying to make the best he could, and they took that away from him. That’s something that’s wrong with the system, and that’s something that’s got to change.” Doheny left behind letters for Avila and his children. The letters remained in police custody Wednesday, Avila said. The father of three spent more than 30 years working in the sewer cleaning industry. He left fond impressions with his customers at Doheny Inc., an industrial equipment supplier in Island Lake, where he used to work. One of Doheny’s longtime co-workers, Meagan Meyers, recalled her former supervisor as someone with a light heart and good intentions, who liked to let loose with a Jack and Coke. “I would want [people] to know that he was a very happy person. He always had a smile on his face. He was always a giver, never a taker,” Meyers said. “He loved what he did. He loved his kids. He loved Sandy.” Avila will host a memorial service for Doheny at noon Saturday at the Cary Country Club, 2400 Grove Lane. As of Wednesday morning, more than 1,000 of Doheny’s friends and family were expected to attend, Avila said. [...]Thomas Doheny


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On Thanksgiving, family hurt by Harvey counts its blessingsAP photo George Dorsey (left) helps his wife Arva inside their hurricane-damaged home Thursday in Houston. The Dorsey's usually host a large Thanksgiving dinner for family but are making other arrangements this year as they continue to recover from Hurricane Harvey.

Thu, 23 Nov 2017 05:30:00 GMT

HOUSTON – The kitchen where George and Arva Dorsey prepare an 18-dish feast every Thanksgiving has been stripped of everything but its granite countertops, standing on their own with no appliances below. The house they renovated and expanded over three decades has been gutted down to its wooden beams. Almost three months after Hurricane Harvey slammed into the Texas Gulf Coast, killing more than 80 people and damaging at least 200,000 homes, the Dorseys and other families are celebrating Thanksgiving however they can. “We try to keep our head up, and we know that God is above all,” said Arva Dorsey, sitting next to her husband in the dining room where they would have served Thanksgiving dinner. “So many of the blessings have come through this disaster. We’re just grateful.” George Dorsey said one possibility was the family – including some members from out of town – could spend Thursday with a friend. Or they might go to a local buffet-style restaurant for turkey and trimmings. Some people are gathering at churches that have held large meals for people displaced by the storm and volunteers spending the holiday away from their families to help rebuild. Others will go to annual events like Houston’s “Super Feast,” where volunteers this year will hand out clothes and supplies along with turkey and stuffing. Furniture store owner Jim McIngvale – a Houston icon known as “Mattress Mack” – is opening one of his Gallery Furniture locations for a feast that starts at 10 a.m. Thursday. In Houston, the nation’s fourth-largest city, there are plenty of signs of progress. Blocks that had piles of debris on every front lawn are being cleared. Work crews are in neighborhoods all over the city, and nonprofit groups have distributed hundreds of millions in aid. But more than 47,000 people across Texas, including the Dorseys, still are staying in hotels with vouchers from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Others are staying with family members or have left Southeast Texas altogether, abandoning mortgages on homes that were wrecked by floodwaters. Some people still are living in apartments infested with mold. The Dorseys were rescued from their home the second night of the storm by a National Guard truck, with Guardsmen pulling them out of floodwaters that had reached several feet and still rising. The Guard took them to a nearby Baptist church, where they slept for two nights on the floor until cots arrived. They spent a week at the church, where they celebrated their 35th anniversary with a dance as other evacuees toasted them holding paper cups filled with punch. Dozens of volunteers from churches all over the world have since arrived in their neighborhood, many of them unprompted, to help rebuild. George Dorsey, 59, walked through his house last week as volunteers from the group Samaritan’s Purse worked inside and on the roof. The staccato sound of nail guns rang out as he talked. The air inside was dry, but dusty. Dorsey retired after 25 years working at an ExxonMobil plastics plant and now serves at a deacon at his church. With the booming voice of a preacher[...]


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Ferguson leaders wonder if monitor worth the costAP file photo Attorney Clark Kent Ervin testifies in 2011 on Capitol Hill in Washington. Ervin resigned earlier in 2017 as lead monitor of the team overseeing reforms in Ferguson, Missouri, as part of a consent agreement between the St. Louis County town and the U.S. Department of Justice. Ferguson leaders say they've spent nearly $500,000 to pay the monitor team but have little to show for their money, in part because Ervin failed to live up to key promises.

Thu, 23 Nov 2017 05:29:00 GMT

FERGUSON, Mo. – Ferguson, Missouri, has paid nearly a half-million dollars to the monitor team overseeing its police and court reforms, but city leaders question what they’ve gotten for their money, especially after the departure of the original lead monitor. Washington attorney Clark Kent Ervin resigned in September after serving a little more than a year as lead monitor overseeing the consent agreement between the U.S. Department of Justice and Ferguson, the St. Louis suburb where Michael Brown was fatally shot by a police officer in 2014. Boston attorney Natashia Tidwell, who has been with the Ferguson monitor team since its start, now leads it. Concerns over the cost of monitoring were detailed in exclusive interviews with The Associated Press. The money spent on monitoring is costly in Ferguson, paid for entirely with city funds. The community of 20,000 is much smaller, with far less money, than most cities subject to Justice Department consent agreements. Money is so tight that Ferguson voters twice in 2016 approved tax increases to keep the budget balanced. Mayor James Knowles III said Ervin failed to follow through on some projects, including opening an office in Ferguson and surveying residents. City Attorney Apollo Carey said his departure slowed a court audit and other reforms. “It begs the question: What are residents getting out of [monitoring]?” Knowles said. “They’re supposed to be getting transparency. They’re supposed to be getting regular updates and engagement from the monitor. They haven’t gotten any of it.” City Manager De’Carlon Seewood said “there were a lot of concerns on both sides,” which led to Ervin stepping down. “The thought was it was best to depart,” Seewood said. Ervin did not respond to phone and email messages seeking comment. Ferguson fell under Justice Department scrutiny after Brown was killed by Ferguson officer Darren Wilson during an Aug. 9, 2014, confrontation on a neighborhood street. A St. Louis County grand jury and the Justice Department declined to charge Wilson, who resigned in November 2014. But the shooting of the black, unarmed 18-year-old by the white officer drew attention to allegations about mistreatment of African-Americans by Ferguson’s police and court system. A Justice Department investigation led to a civil rights lawsuit that was settled in 2016 with the consent agreement. The agreement calls for reforms such as hiring more black officers, requiring diversity training for police, and court reforms that include easing financial burdens for minor offenses such as traffic violations. The process is expected to take up to three years, with oversight by a team of independent monitors. Nine teams applied to perform the monitor duties. In July 2016, the Justice Department and Ferguson leaders chose the team led by Ervin, a former inspector general for the State Department and Homeland Security. The agreement called for paying the eight-member monitor team up to $350,000 a year, with the total amount to be capped out at $1.25 million over five years. Ferguson paid $350,000 for t[...]


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Unrepentant Mladic sentenced to life for Bosnia atrocitiesAP file photo Bosnian Serb protesters holding posters depicting former Bosnian Serb army chief Ratko Mladic, during a protest in 2011 in Mladic's hometown of Kalinovik, Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Thu, 23 Nov 2017 05:29:00 GMT

THE HAGUE, Netherlands – An unrepentant Ratko Mladic, the bullish Bosnian Serb general whose forces rained shells and snipers’ bullets on Sarajevo and carried out the worst massacre in Europe since World War II, was convicted Wednesday of genocide and other crimes and sentenced to spend the rest of his life behind bars. Defiant to the last, Mladic was ejected from a courtroom at the United Nations’ Yugoslav war crimes tribunal after yelling at judges: “Everything you said is pure lies. Shame on you!” He was dispatched to a neighboring room to watch on a TV screen as Presiding Judge Alphons Orie pronounced him guilty of 10 counts that also included war crimes and crimes against humanity. Human-rights organizations hailed the convictions as proof that even top military brass long considered untouchable cannot evade justice forever. Mladic spent years on the run before his arrest in 2011. “This landmark verdict marks a significant moment for international justice and sends out a powerful message around the world that impunity cannot and will not be tolerated,” said John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International’s Europe director. For prosecutors, it was a fitting end to a 23-year effort to mete out justice at the U.N. tribunal for atrocities committed during the Balkan wars of the early 1990s. Mladic’s conviction signaled the end of the final trial before the tribunal closes its doors by the end of the year. But legal battles will continue. Mladic’s attorneys vowed to appeal his convictions on 10 charges related to a string of atrocities from the beginning of the 1992-95 Bosnian war to its bitter end. “The defense team considers this judgment to be erroneous, and there will be an appeal, and we believe that the appeal will correct the errors of the trial chamber,” Mladic lawyer Dragan Ivetic said. Mladic’s son, Darko, said his father told him after the verdict that the tribunal was a “NATO commission ... trying to criminalize a legal endeavor of Serbian people in times of civil war to protect itself from the aggression.” Orie started the hearing by reading out a litany of horrors perpetrated by forces under Mladic’s control. “Detainees were forced to rape and engage in other degrading sexual acts with one another. Many Bosnian Muslim women who were unlawfully detained were raped,” Orie said. The judge recounted the story of a mother who ventured into the streets during the deadly siege of Sarajevo with her son as Serb snipers and artillery targeted the Bosnian capital. She was shot. The bullet passed through her abdomen and struck her 7-year-old son’s head, killing him. In Srebrenica, the war reached its bloody climax as Bosnian Serb forces overran what was supposed to be a U.N.-protected safe haven. After busing away women and children, Serb forces systematically murdered some 8,000 Muslim males. “Many of these men and boys were cursed, insulted, threatened, forced to sing Serb songs and beaten while awaiting their execution,” Orie said. Mladic looke[...]


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Illinois governor grants 5 petitions for clemency, denies 97

Thu, 23 Nov 2017 05:28:00 GMT

CHICAGO – Gov. Bruce Rauner has granted five petitions for clemency and denied 97 others.

The Republican’s office announced the action Wednesday, saying it’s the 21st set of petitions Rauner has taken up since becoming governor in 2015.

The Illinois Prisoner Review Board said the five cases involve charges filed from 1986 to 2001 and involve convictions on theft, burglary and drugs charges.

People whose clemency petitions are granted may go to court to try to have their criminal record expunged. All have undergone a recent criminal background check through an Illinois authorities’ data system.

Rauner announced last year that he’d eliminated a backlog of thousands of clemency requests he inherited from previous governors.




Island Lake teen cited in Cary crash that damaged power pole

Thu, 23 Nov 2017 05:27:00 GMT

CARY – An 18-year-old Island Lake man was cited after crashing his vehicle into a power pole Tuesday night in Cary, police said.

The crash occurred about 11:30 p.m., when a vehicle hit a pole on Silver Lake Road at Sterling Ridge Boulevard, Cary Deputy Police Chief Jim Fillmore said. The crash caused a minor disruption to power in the area and closed the road for about an hour, Fillmore said.

He said no one was injured in the crash.

ComEd was at the scene Tuesday night and continued to make repairs throughout Wednesday morning, Fillmore said.

The driver, Tyler Galanos, was cited for failure to reduce speed, Fillmore said.


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Mario Casciaro's lawsuit against Johnsburg police goes forwardU.S. District Judge Philip Reinhard ruled Wednesday that Mario Casciaro's (center) claims were strong enough to proceed with the civil lawsuit against Johnsburg Police Chief Keith Von Allmen and other members of the police department.

Thu, 23 Nov 2017 05:26:00 GMT

WOODSTOCK – A federal judge Wednesday allowed Mario Casciaro’s complaints that Johnsburg police violated his rights during their 2002 investigation into the disappearance of Brian Carrick to go forward.

U.S. District Judge Philip Reinhard ruled that Casciaro’s claims were enough to proceed with the civil lawsuit against Johnsburg Police Chief Keith Von Allmen and other members of the police department.

Von Allmen and Johnsburg had asked that the suit be dismissed.

Casciaro was convicted in March 2013 of killing Johnsburg teen Carrick, who last was seen at a grocery store where he worked, which Casciaro’s parents owned.

Casciaro served 22 months in the Menard Correctional Center on a 26-year sentence before the Second District Appellate Court overturned his conviction in September 2015.

In the lawsuit, Casciaro argued that Von Allmen ignored overwhelming evidence that another man, Robert Render Jr., killed Carrick. The lawsuit accuses Von Allmen of focusing the investigation on Casciaro instead because of the police chief’s friendship with Render’s father.

Among the information Von Allmen is accused of withholding is a witness statement about Render being involved in a fight in the produce cooler the last night Carrick was seen. The same witness also reportedly told Von Allmen that Render had a vendetta against Carrick and had talked about jumping him, court records show.

Von Allmen did not prepare a report on any of those statements and did not disclose the information to Casciaro, even though it could have helped him build a defense, according to the judge’s ruling.

Casciaro also argued that Von Allmen discarded a pair of bloody underwear found in the ceiling of the grocery store’s bathroom, rather than logging it as evidence.

Reinhard noted that Von Allmen’s accused behavior was “extreme and outrageous” enough for the lawsuit to proceed.

Neither the village’s attorney, Dominick Lanzito, nor Casciaro’s attorney, Kathleen Zellner, could be reached for comment Wednesday.

Both sides have 30 days to meet with a magistrate judge to consider settling the case, court records show.

Casciaro settled his lawsuit with the McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office for $50,000 earlier this year.

Lanzito and Village President Ed Hettermann previously declined to comment on whether there have been talks of settling.

U.S. District Judge Philip Reinhard ruled Wednesday that Mario Casciaro's (center) claims were strong enough to proceed with the civil lawsuit against Johnsburg Police Chief Keith Von Allmen and other members of the police department.


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Salvation Army hosts annual Thanksgiving mealH. Rick Bamman – hbamman@shawmedia.com Nelly Chmiel (left) and Laurie Stewart enjoy conversation and a hot meal during The Salvation Army's third annual community Thanksgiving dinner Wednesday in Crystal Lake.H. Rick Bamman – hbamman@shawmedia.com Volunteers Sheryl Smetana (left) of McHenry and Leslie Buck of Crystal Lake prepare a to-go box during The Salvation Army's third annual community Thanksgiving dinner Wednesday in Crystal Lake.

Thu, 23 Nov 2017 05:25:00 GMT

CRYSTAL LAKE – Laurie Stewart and Nelly Chmiel took their time Wednesday enjoying a Thanksgiving dinner a day early at The Salvation Army in Crystal Lake. They were two of many to stop by the organization’s annual Thanksgiving dinner. People from throughout the Crystal Lake area donated food and their time – either serving, setting up or greeting guests. This was the third annual community Thanksgiving dinner held by the group. The meal was open to anyone, including those who weren’t able to prepare their own holiday meal, according to The Salvation Army website. Chmiel is Stewart’s caregiver and was her plus-one to the dinner. “I was here last year. I loved it,” Stewart said. “That’s why I’m back.” About 11:30 a.m., the pair were some of the first ones to enter the gymnasium-cafeteria room in The Salvation Army’s facility at 290 W. Crystal Lake Ave. “There were a few teenage girls who greeted us when we came in,” Chmiel said. “It was very welcoming.” Chmiel and Stewart took their seats, and during more than an hour at the table, they were joined by a handful of different volunteers at different times. This was not unique. Throughout the room, volunteers sought to engage the visitors in conversation, not only to serve them and leave. “The camaraderie, the local people, the local volunteers,” Stewart said. “The warmth – you can really feel it.” “All warm and fuzzy,” Chmiel said. “Like you’re part of the family,” Stewart said. Between 10:30 and 11:15 a.m., people were dropping off meals. Many of the items were catered. The pair agreed it might be better than what some can cook at home. “The stuffed turkey,” Stewart said, when asked her favorite dish. “With the stuffing in the middle.” Chmiel didn’t want to choose a favorite. “The whole thing, really,” she said. “It all went together. If I said one thing, I’d be leaving out another.” Kitchen and setup volunteers started as early as 7 a.m. Wednesday. The dinner was held from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Cleanup was expected to last until 6 p.m. The McHenry County Department of Health does not allow the organization to cook on the premises for such a large group. The health department stopped by, however, to make sure everything was up to code. A certificate was placed on the wall near the front of the buffet arrangement before the start of dinnertime. Attendees could be seen leaving with to-go boxes filled by volunteers. “What an extension of generosity,” Chmiel said. The rest of the building was humming with activity, too. People were dropping off toy donations for the holiday season. Between Thanksgiving and Dec. 13, The Salvation Army Crystal Lake Corps will be ringing bel[...]


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2017 Illinois Farm Economics Summit scheduled at 5 sites

Wed, 22 Nov 2017 21:21:00 GMT

This year’s Illinois Farm Economics Summit will address the profitability of Illinois agriculture and how to manage financial stress.

The University of Illinois Extension and members of the farmdoc team from the Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics in the College of ACES is offering a series of five Farm Economics Summit meetings to help producers with key issues they’re facing.

“Although very good crops in many parts of the state in 2016 helped incomes recover, the story of Illinois agriculture continued to be one of managing financial stress,” said U of I agricultural economist Scott Irwin. “The stress has been brought on by low corn, soybean and wheat prices, and costs of production that have adjusted somewhat slowly to the new price realities. Producers and landowners continue to face a series of difficult management challenges as they grapple with adjusting to the current environment of low grain prices.”

Speakers from the U of I farmdoc team will explore the farm profitability outlook and management challenges from several perspectives, including the 2018 outlook for crop and livestock prices, soybean yield trends, an update on the next farm bill, the financial position of Illinois farms, habits of financially resilient farm operations, and crop economics for 2018.

The format for the meeting will be fast-paced and allow plenty of time for questions from the audience.

Irwin said farm owners, operators, ag lenders and agribusiness professionals will benefit from the information presented at this year’s summit.

Sponsored by U of I Extension, the farm economics summit will be offered at five different locations:

• Monday, Dec. 18 – DeKalb, Faranda’s Banquet Center

• Tuesday, Dec. 19 – Peoria, Par-A-Dice Hotel Casino

• Wednesday, Dec. 20 – Springfield, Crowne Plaza

• Thursday, Dec. 21 – Carlyle, Bretz Wildlife Lodge and Winery

• Friday, Dec. 22 – Champaign, iHotel and Conference Center

Registration and coffee will begin at 7:45 a.m. Sessions will begin at 8:15 a.m. and conclude at 1:30 p.m. The advance registration fee is $70 per person and includes lunch, refreshments, and all meeting materials. The deadline for advance registration is Dec. 11. Registration at the door is $75 per person as space permits.

For questions about registration, contact Nancy Simpson at nsimp1@illinois.edu or 217-244-9687.

Visit farmdoc.illinois.edu for the complete agenda and list of speakers.


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Uber reveals cover-up of hack affecting 57M riders, driversFILE - In this March 15, 2017, file photo, a sign marks a pick-up point for the Uber car service at LaGuardia Airport in New York. Uber is coming clean about its cover-up of a year-old hacking attack that stole personal information about more than 57 million of the beleaguered ride-hailing service's customers and drivers. The revelation Tuesday marks the latest stain on Uber's reputation. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

Wed, 22 Nov 2017 13:40:00 GMT

SAN FRANCISCO — Uber is coming clean about its cover-up of a year-old hacking attack that stole personal information about more than 57 million of the beleaguered ride-hailing service's customers and drivers. So far, there's no evidence that the data taken has been misused, according to a Tuesday blog post by Uber's recently hired CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi. Part of the reason nothing malicious has happened is because Uber acknowledges paying the hackers $100,000 to destroy the stolen information. The revelation marks the latest stain on Uber's reputation. The San Francisco company ousted Travis Kalanick as CEO in June after an internal investigation concluded he had built a culture that allowed female workers to be sexually harassed and encouraged employees to push legal limits. It's also the latest major breach involving a prominent company that didn't notify the people that could be potentially harmed for months or even years after the break-in occurred. Yahoo didn't make its first disclosure about hacks that hit 3 billion user accounts during 2013 and 2014 until September 2016. Credit reporting service Equifax waited several months before revealing this past September that hackers had carted off the Social Security numbers of 145 million Americans. Khosrowshahi criticized Uber's handling of its data theft in his blog post. "While I can't erase the past, I can commit on behalf of every Uber employee that we will learn from our mistakes," Khosrowshahi wrote. "We are changing the way we do business, putting integrity at the core of every decision we make and working hard to earn the trust of our customers." That pledge shouldn't excuse Uber's previous regime for its egregious behavior, said Sam Curry, chief security officer for the computer security firm Cybereason. "The truly scary thing here is that Uber paid a bribe, essentially a ransom to make this breach go away, and they acted as if they were above the law," Curry said. "Those people responsible for the integrity and confidentiality of the data in-fact covered it up." The heist took the names, email addresses and mobile phone numbers of 57 million riders around the world. The thieves also nabbed the driver's license numbers of 600,000 Uber drivers in the U.S. Uber waited until Tuesday to begin notifying the drivers with compromised driver's licenses, which can be particularly useful for perpetrating identify theft. For that reason, Uber will now pay for free credit-report monitoring and identity theft protection services for the affected drivers. Kalanick, who still sits on Uber's board of directors, declined to comment on the data breach that took place in October 2016. Uber says the response to the hack was handled by its chief security officer, Joe Sullivan, a former federal prosecutor whom Kalanick lured away from Facebook in 2015. As part of his effort to set things right, Khosrowshahi[...]


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US Navy plane with 11 aboard crashes into Pacific; 8 rescuedFILE - In this March 14, 2017, file photo, a U.S. Navy C-2 Greyhound approaches the deck of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson during the annual joint military exercise called Foal Eagle between South Korea and the United States at an unidentified location in the international waters, east of the Korean Peninsula. A similar type of the U.S. Navy plane carrying 11 crew and passengers crashed into the Pacific Ocean on Wednesday, Nov. 22, 2017, while on the way to the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier, the Navy said. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man, File)

Wed, 22 Nov 2017 13:37:00 GMT

TOKYO — Eight people were rescued and three remained missing after a U.S. Navy plane crashed into the western Pacific Ocean on Wednesday, the Navy said. The C-2 "Greyhound" transport aircraft came down about 500 nautical miles (925 kilometers) southeast of Okinawa as it was bringing passengers and cargo from Japan to the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier, the Navy said in a statement. The Reagan was operating in the Philippine Sea during a joint exercise with Japan's Maritime Self-Defense Force when the twin-propeller plane crashed at 2:45 p.m. Japan time. The cause of the crash was not immediately clear and the incident will be investigated, the Navy said. Eight people were rescued about 40 minutes later. They were taken to the Reagan for medical evaluation and are in good condition, the Navy said. U.S. and Japanese naval ships and aircraft are searching for the missing. Japan's Defense Ministry said the crash site is about 150 kilometers (90 miles) northwest of Okinotorishima, a Japanese atoll. The names of the crew and passengers are being withheld pending notification of next of kin. Philippine military spokesman Maj. Gen. Restituto Padilla said his military alerted its ships and aircraft shortly after learning about the crash but could not provide help because of the distance from the country. The Nov. 16-26 joint exercise in waters off Okinawa has been described by the Navy as the "premier training event" between the U.S. and Japanese navies, designed to increase defensive readiness and interoperability in air and sea operations. The Navy's Japan-based 7th Fleet has had two fatal accidents in Asian waters this year, leaving 17 sailors dead and prompting the removal of eight top Navy officers from their posts, including the 7th Fleet commander. The USS John S. McCain and an oil tanker collided near Singapore in August, leaving 10 U.S. sailors dead. Seven sailors died in June when the USS Fitzgerald and a container ship collided off Japan. The Navy has concluded that the collisions were avoidable and resulted from widespread failures by the crews and commanders, who didn't quickly recognize and respond to unfolding emergencies. A Navy report recommended numerous changes to address the problems, ranging from improved training to increasing sleep and stress management for sailors. FILE - In this March 14, 2017, file photo, a U.S. Navy C-2 Greyhound approaches the deck of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson during the annual joint military exercise called Foal Eagle between South Korea and the United States at an unidentified location in the international waters, east of the Korean Peninsula. A similar type of the U.S. Navy plane carrying 11 crew and passengers crashed into the Pacific Ocean on Wednesday, Nov. 22, 2017, while on the way to the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier, the Navy said. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man, File)[...]


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On surprise Russia trip, Assad and Putin talk post-war SyriaAP photo Russian President Vladimir Putin (left) shakes hands with Syrian President Bashar Assad in the Bocharov Ruchei residence Monday in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, Russia. Putin has met with Assad ahead of a summit between Russia, Turkey and Iran and a new round of Syria peace talks in Geneva, Russian and Syrian state media reported Tuesday.

Wed, 22 Nov 2017 06:44:00 GMT

MOSCOW – On a surprise trip to Russia, Syria’s Bashar Assad discussed potential new peace initiatives for postwar Syria with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who declared that Russia’s two-year military campaign in Syria is wrapping up, the Kremlin said Tuesday. Moscow released footage of Assad warmly embracing Putin, who hosted him in the Black Sea resort of Sochi on Monday, ahead of a summit between Russia, Turkey and Iran and a new round of Syria peace talks in Geneva later this month. The meeting was unannounced, and the Kremlin did not make it public until Tuesday morning. “I passed to [Putin] and all Russian people our greetings and gratitude for all of the efforts that Russia made to save our country,” Assad told Russia’s top brass in televised remarks. Assad has only ventured outside his war-ravaged nation twice since the conflict began – both times to Russia. This week’s visit to meet Putin is his second since the crisis began in March 2011, leading to a civil war that has killed about 400,000 people and resulted in millions of refugees. The first was in October 2015, weeks after Russia launched its military campaign in Syria to shore up Assad’s forces, which turned the war in favor of Assad. The meeting in Sochi, which lasted three hours, preceded a summit between the presidents of Iran, Russia and Turkey set for Wednesday at the same venue. Iran and Russia have been Assad’s main backers, while Turkey supports the opposition. Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said the Russian president previously had assured the leaders of Turkey and Iran that “Russia will work with Syrian leadership to prepare the groundwork for the understandings that could be reached in Sochi on Wednesday and to make sure that agreements that could be reached would be viable.” It wasn’t immediately clear whether the Kremlin put any pressure on Assad to accept a new deal brokered by Russia, Turkey and Iran – or whether that deal would involve Assad staying on as president once the war is over – but Assad signaled his intention to hold his ground in future Syria peace talks. “We count on Russia’s support to keep foreign players from interfering into the political process,” he said during the talks with Putin. Assad is believed to have left Sochi after the meeting and returned to Damascus. Asked whether Putin and Assad have talked about the Syrian president’s future in postwar Syria, Peskov said “possible options for political settlement have been discussed” and added that “only the Syrian people could determine Assad’s role.” Despite pressure from other nations that Assad step down, Moscow has insisted that it is up to the Syrian people to vote him in or out. The Kremlin said Putin would phone President Donald Trump and Saudi King Salman to discuss the situation i[...]


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Robert Mugabe resigns as Zimbabwe's president after 37 yearsAP photo An unemployed man reads up on Zimbabwean constitutional law to understand the process of possible presidential impeachment Tuesday in a park opposite the parliament building in downtown Harare, Zimbabwe. Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe should acknowledge the nation's "insatiable desire" for a leadership change and resign immediately, the recently fired vice president and likely successor to the 93-year-old leader said Tuesday.

Wed, 22 Nov 2017 06:44:00 GMT

HARARE, Zimbabwe – Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe, who once vowed to rule for life, resigned Tuesday, succumbing to a week of overwhelming pressure from the military that put him under house arrest, lawmakers from the ruling party and opposition who started impeachment proceedings, and a population that surged into the streets to say 37 years in power was enough. The capital, Harare, erupted in jubilation after news spread that the 93-year-old leader’s resignation letter had been read out by the speaker of parliament, whose members had gathered to impeach Mugabe after he ignored escalating calls to quit since a military takeover. Well into the night, cars honked and people danced and sang in a spectacle of free expression that would have been impossible during his years in power. His early promise after the end of white minority rule in 1980 was overtaken by economic collapse, government dysfunction and human rights violations. “Welcome to the new Zimbabwe!” people chanted outside the conference center where the lawmakers had met. “This is the best day of my life,” one man declared as euphoric citizens celebrated on top of cars, clustered around a tank and shook hands with soldiers who were hailed as saviors for their role in dislodging Mugabe, a once-formidable politician who crushed dissent or sidelined opponents but, in the end, was a lonely figure abandoned by virtually all of his allies. “Change was overdue. ... Maybe this change will bring jobs,” said 23-year-old Thomas Manase, an unemployed university graduate. It was a call echoed by many, and which pointed to the challenges ahead for Zimbabwe, which used to be a regional breadbasket but has since suffered hyperinflation, cash shortages, chronic mismanagement and massive joblessness. And, although Zimbabweans seemed almost universally united in their wish to see an end to the Mugabe era, the hard work of building institutions and preparing for what they hope are free and fair elections scheduled for next year has yet to begin. Mugabe, who was the world’s oldest head of state, said in his resignation letter that legal procedures should be followed to install a new president “no later than tomorrow.” “My decision to resign is voluntary on my part and arises from my concern for the welfare of the people of Zimbabwe and my desire for a smooth, nonviolent transfer of power,” Mugabe said in the message read by parliamentary speaker Jacob Mudenda. Recently ousted Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa was to take over as the country’s leader within 48 hours so that he can move “with speed to work for the country,” said Lovemore Matuke, a ruling party official. Mnangagwa, who fled the country after his Nov. 6 firing, “is not far from here,” Matuke added. Mugabe’s resignation e[...]


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Trial date set for Kingston man, 19, accused of raping 2 girlsBrenton Cleveland of Kingston appears in Judge Robbin Stuckert's courtroom with attorneys Gary Johnson (left) and R. James Haule (right) on Tuesday at the DeKalb County Courthouse in Sycamore.Matthew Apgar - mapgar@shawmedia.com Chief Judge Robbin Stuckert sets a trial date for Brenton Cleveland inside her courtroom on Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2017 at the DeKalb County Courthouse in Sycamore.Matthew Apgar - mapgar@shawmedia.com Attorneys Gary Johnson (right) and R. James Haule, representing Brenton Cleveland of Kingston, talk in the jury box on Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2017 at the DeKalb County Courthouse in Sycamore. Cleveland elected to turn down a plea deal and will fight his case in trial, starting on April 4. Cleveland is accused of raping two women at his 18th birthday party.

Wed, 22 Nov 2017 06:44:00 GMT

SYCAMORE – While Brenton W. Cleveland, a 19-year-old Kingston man accused of raping two girls at his 18th birthday party in 2016, had his trial set Tuesday, his mother is in trouble with the law, as well. Cleveland will have a bench trial – one of two, since his lawyers won a motion to have the two alleged rapes tried separately – starting at 10 a.m. April 4. Assistant State’s Attorney Alicia Caplan and one of Cleveland’s two lawyers, Gary Johnson, agreed it will take two or three days. “The reason the trial was pushed out a little bit is the prosecution has trials coming up, I have trials,” Johnson said. “We all have things coming up we have to take care of.” Cleveland, of the 34700 block of Glidden Road, has been free on $250,000 bond since June 2016. He faces charges of unlawful restraint, aggravated criminal sexual abuse and criminal sexual assault stemming from incidents involving two separate victims at his parents’ home May 14, 2016, police have said. Caplan said Jennifer D. Cleveland, 49, also of the 34700 block of Glidden Road and the Kingston Township tax assessor, is Brenton’s mother. Court records show that she has been charged with forgery, official misconduct and failure of a local assessment officer to perform duties. According to records, on Aug. 25, Jennifer Cleveland filed a request to reduce the assessed value of “her son’s newly bought property” in the 8700 block of South Rood Road in Kingston, and that she also filed two requests to reduce the property tax because of destruction on the property, and signed the former owner’s name. Those requests were filed Sept. 21 and Oct. 23, according to the records, which show she was charged Nov. 16 and posted $200 bail on a warrant Tuesday. According to the township’s assessed values for 2017, the property’s owner is listed as Tanner Cleveland, with a value of $68,926. She’s due in court at 1:30 p.m. Nov. 29. Shortly after Brenton Cleveland’s arrest, Tanner Cleveland lashed out on Facebook at people upset over Brenton being allowed to go with his family on an out-of-state vacation, and said his younger brother didn’t rape the girls. Tanner Cleveland’s comments briefly appeared on the Daily Chronicle’s Facebook page, where the newspaper posted a link to a story about Brenton Cleveland’s court-sanctioned family vacation to Wisconsin while he was free on $25,000 bail. The posts later were deleted; the Daily Chronicle preserved them with screenshots. In other posts, the older brother questioned why the victims didn’t come forward sooner, why they allegedly posted photos of themselves having fun at Six Flags Great America a few days after the party, and why they allegedly stayed at the party. Brenton Clevel[...]


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Thanksgiving Day race in Crystal Lake's Lippold Park to collect donations for food pantry

Wed, 22 Nov 2017 06:43:00 GMT

CRYSTAL LAKE – There were 35 runners in the first Thanksgiving Day 5K Run/Walk at Lippold Park 18 years ago.

Last year, more than 1,000 people burned some calories in the morning before heading home for a feast.

They didn’t just show up to the park to run, however. They raised $5,692 for the Crystal Lake Food Pantry and collected 1,500 pounds of food.

The race is put on by the Hillstriders Running Club, which has about 100 members. They come out and help collect donations on race day.

“It’s become a family tradition in Crystal Lake,” Hillstriders Vice President Jerry Sullivan said. “People come out with dogs, strollers and kids. It’s not a highly stressful race. You get some college kids coming out to run while they’re on break.”

The race begins a 8 a.m. sharp whether there’s rain, sleet, snow or sun, and has no official entry fee. Participants are asked to bring cash or food donations that go to the food pantry.

It is recommended that participants donate money to food pantries rather than food. That’s because a pantry often can get six or seven times the food with cash than it would through a food donation, Sullivan said.

In 2016, 99.5 percent of every dollar donated to the Crystal Lake Food Pantry was spent on food and programs, according to CLfoodpantry.com. Administrative costs were only 0.5 percent.

People can register for the race from noon to 3 p.m. Wednesday at the The Running Depot, 30 N. Williams St. H., in downtown Crystal Lake, and from 6 to 7:30 a.m. Thursday at Lippold Park, 851 Route 176, Crystal Lake, before the race. Those interested will be asked to sign a waiver to participate. The course is flat and mostly crushed limestone, according to Hillstriders.com.

The Running Depot will award $100 gift certificates to both the first-place male and female finishers.




Woman, baby injured in unincorporated Spring Grove rollover crashShaw Media file photo

Wed, 22 Nov 2017 06:43:00 GMT

SPRING GROVE – A woman and a baby suffered minor injuries Monday night after their van rolled over in unincorporated Spring Grove.

Emergency crews from Richmond and Spring Grove responded about 7:05 p.m. Monday to the intersection of Route 173 and Winn Road in unincorporated Spring Grove for a two-vehicle rollover crash, Richmond Fire Chief Rick Gallas said.

When responders arrived, they found a van on its side. It had collided with a midsized car, Gallas said.

A woman and a baby, who were in the van, were taken to Centegra Hospital-McHenry with minor injuries, and the male driver from the midsized car signed a refusal for treatment.

Gallas said he did not know any identifying information about the individuals involved in the crash.

The baby was riding in a car seat, Gallas said.

Spring Grove police and McHenry County Sheriff’s deputies also responded to the incident. Deputies helped in blocking off the roadway for about 20 minutes.

Spring Grove police could not be reached Tuesday morning regarding information about the crash.

Shaw Media file photo


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McHenry Chamber accepting nominations for Frank E. Low Award

Wed, 22 Nov 2017 06:42:00 GMT

McHENRY – The McHenry Area Chamber of Commerce is accepting nominations for the Frank E. Low Award, the organization’s highest award to an individual for distinguished community service.

A person nominated in previous years must be renominated this year to receive consideration by the judging panel.

The award will be presented at the Chamber’s annual Dinner Dance scheduled for Jan. 27, according to a news release from the McHenry Area Chamber of Commerce.

The deadline for nominations is Dec. 8. Nomination forms and criteria sheets are available at the Chamber office, 1257 N. Green St., McHenry, or online at www.mchenrychamber.com.




Huntley teen charged with hate crime after making racially charged Xbox Live statements, police say

Wed, 22 Nov 2017 06:42:00 GMT

HUNTLEY – A Huntley teenager faces hate crime charges after making racially charged comments on Xbox Live, police said Tuesday.

Police arrested a 13-year-old Huntley resident, who remained at the Kane County Juvenile Detention Center on Tuesday afternoon, according to a news release from Huntley police.

The McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office approved a series of charges after Huntley and Lake in the Hills police early last week investigated claims that a Marlowe Middle School student received racially motivated threats made on Xbox Live, police said.

Xbox Live is an online gaming platform, where players can talk to each other through microphones or messaging systems.

The teen is charged with disorderly conduct, obstructing a peace officer, harassment by electronic communication and committing a hate crime, police said.

Police didn’t provide further details about the situation or the charges, because the case is ongoing and involves minors, according to the release.

Representatives from the Huntley Police Department were not available to comment.

The 13-year-old charged in connection with this threat is not the same person who was charged with a hate crime after posting a threatening video on social media in October, police said.


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Sen. Pamela Althoff to run for McHenry County Board District 4Pam Althoff

Wed, 22 Nov 2017 06:42:00 GMT

WOODSTOCK – State Sen. Pamela Althoff will run for the McHenry County Board’s District 4 seat.

“It’s time for me to come home,” Althoff told the Northwest Herald on Tuesday. “I believe that I’ve learned a great deal. It’s time to bring all of that experience and knowledge back home.”

The McHenry native and Republican has served as a member of the Illinois State Senate since 2003. She has backed legislation to expand agriculture, increase open space and promote economic growth.

She serves as the Senate Republican Caucus chairwoman and is the minority spokeswoman for the Revenue and Licensed Activities & Pensions committees.

The race for Althoff’s seat, Illinois Senate District 32, now includes two Republican McHenry County Board members: John Reinert and Craig Wilcox. Democrat Mary Mahady also is running.

If elected, Althoff said she plans to focus her energy on ensuring the long-term sustainability the Fox River Waterway, a subject she championed as a senator.

Althoff said she can’t wait to come back to McHenry County, where she can rub shoulders with people from her community.

“That’s what I’m looking forward to,” Althoff said. “Seeing people I know.”

Before she joined the Senate, Althoff served as the city of McHenry’s mayor from 2001 to 2003.

The former special education teacher also worked as an assistant administrator with the McHenry Area Chamber of Commerce and the McHenry city clerk and collector.

Pam Althoff


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Firefighters navigate mud to extinguish tractor fire in HebronFirefighters work to contain flames that engulfed a farm tractor in a corn field along Greenwood Rd. north of Vanderkarr Rd. in Hebron Township on Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2017. Due to the muddy terrain, officials called in brush trucks from several neighboring departments to access the fire and extinguish the flames. No injuries were reported.Firefighters work to contain flames that engulfed a farm tractor in a corn field along Greenwood Rd. north of Vanderkarr Rd. in Hebron Township on Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2017. Due to the muddy terrain, officials called in brush trucks from several neighboring departments to access the fire and extinguish the flames. No injuries were reported.

Wed, 22 Nov 2017 06:41:00 GMT

HEBRON – There were no injuries Tuesday morning in Hebron after a tractor caught fire in a field.

Hebron-Alden-Greenwood Fire Protection District Chief Tom Linneman said firefighters were dispatched at 10:38 a.m. to a farm field along Greenwood Road north of Vanderkarr Road for a report of a tractor fire.

Because the tractor was 2,000 to 3,000 feet away from the nearest roadway and muddy terrain was in between, the district needed assistance from Spring Grove, Richmond and Woodstock fire departments. Each brought brush trucks to the scene.

First responders returned to quarters about noon Tuesday.

Firefighters were unable to determine the cause of the fire, but it remains under investigation by the district.

Firefighters work to contain flames that engulfed a farm tractor in a corn field along Greenwood Rd. north of Vanderkarr Rd. in Hebron Township on Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2017. Due to the muddy terrain, officials called in brush trucks from several neighboring departments to access the fire and extinguish the flames. No injuries were reported.Firefighters work to contain flames that engulfed a farm tractor in a corn field along Greenwood Rd. north of Vanderkarr Rd. in Hebron Township on Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2017. Due to the muddy terrain, officials called in brush trucks from several neighboring departments to access the fire and extinguish the flames. No injuries were reported.


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Illinois State Police warn drivers to be cautious as U.S. sees highest Thanksgiving travel volume since 2005With luggage in hand, travelers make their way toward Terminal A at O'Hare International Airport on Nov. 23, 2011, in Chicago. Thursday marks the Thanksgiving holiday, one of the busiest travel days of the year.

Wed, 22 Nov 2017 06:38:00 GMT

Millions of motorists will take to Illinois roads over the Thanksgiving weekend, and the Illinois State Police want to ensure safe travels. AAA projected that the U.S. will experience its highest Thanksgiving travel push in 12 years. “50.9 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more away from home this Thanksgiving, a 3.3 percent increase over last year,” a AAA release stated. “A strong economy and labor market are generating rising incomes and higher consumer confidence, fueling a strong year for the travel industry, which will continue into the holiday season,” AAA senior vice president of travel and publishing Bill Sutherland said in a statement. Police advised that drivers keep their eyes on the road, watch their speed, buckle seat belts and refrain from drinking and driving, according to a news release. ISP District 5 commander Capt. Darryl Bogard called speeding, seat belts, distracted driving and driving under the influence the “Fatal Four” violations, according to a statement. Troopers also will do their part by being on watch for drivers exceeding speed limits and those who choose to drive distracted. Additional patrols will be employed to help remove intoxicated drivers from the roads. “Remember, buzzed driving is drunken driving,” the release said. ISP is joining the Illinois Department of Transportation and other law enforcement agencies to remind motorists to Click It or Ticket. The Click It or Ticket campaign officially started Friday. The goal of this high-visibility effort is to reduce motor vehicle crashes that result in injuries and fatalities. Stepped-up patrols and seat belt enforcement zones will be seen throughout the state through Monday. “Seat belt use is even more important for children. They can sustain serious injuries in a crash,” ISP District 2 commander Capt. Michael J. Kraft said in a statement. “Help them buckle up, and make sure your child restraint systems are properly secured in your vehicle.” Gas prices declined nationwide as of Monday, according to a news release from AAA, but Illinois drivers are seeing a 50 cent increase at the pump from this time last year. The national average was $2.54, and the Illinois average was $2.70 Monday. A spill in the Keystone pipeline, which carries crude oil to refineries in the Midwest, will continue to affect prices as long as the pipeline is shut down. With luggage in hand, travelers make their way toward Terminal A at O'Hare International Airport on Nov. 23, 2011, in Chicago. Thursday marks the Thanksgiving holiday, one of the busiest travel days of the year.[...]


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McHenry Middle School students hear story of Lost Boys of SudanH. Rick Bamman - hbamman@shawmedia.com Two of the Lost Boys of Sudan, Peter Magai Bul (cq) (left) and Gabriel Dut spoke to McHenry Middle School students on Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2017. The students have been reading “A Long Walk to Water,” which is based on a true story about a Sudanese Lost Boy. After a three month journey by foot, as unaccompanied minors fleeing civil war in Sudan, Bul and Dut spent years in refugee camps before arriving in th US for the next step in their journey.H. Rick Bamman - hbamman@shawmedia.com Lost Boy of Sudan Peter Magai Bul (cq) explains how he fled his village in Sudan at the age of 7 during a visit to McHenry Middle School on Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2017. After a three month journey by foot, as an unaccompanied minor fleeing the civil war in Sudan, Bul spent years in refugee camps before finally making it to the US for the next step in his journey.H. Rick Bamman - hbamman@shawmedia.com Lost Boy of Sudan, Peter Magai Bul (cq) speaks to McHenry Middle School students on Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2017. The students have been reading “A Long Walk to Water,” which is based on a true story about a Sudanese Lost Boy. Bul, a Sudanese refugee, fled his village in Sudan at the age of 7.

Wed, 22 Nov 2017 06:38:00 GMT

McHENRY – McHenry School District 15 students heard a story of perseverance, survival and gratitude Tuesday after a schoolwide study on the Lost Boys of Sudan. Gabriel Dut and Peter Magai Bul are two people who survived the trek from Sudan to Kenya, a journey that took place in the 1980s and early 1990s during the Second Sudanese Civil War. About 26,000 Sudanese boys were forced to flee the violence and 10,000 to 12,000 boys survived the monthslong walk to the Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya. The two are part of the Chicago Association for the Lost Boys of Sudan, an organization formed in 2001 when the refugees began arriving in the area. The group assists in helping with emergency support, education, medical help and employment. About 120 Lost Boys moved to Chicago after poor living conditions at the Kenyan camp gave the U.S. reason to relocate about 4,000 of them to the states, according to the association’s website. The story has been told in documentary, movie, TedTalk, school presentation and book form. McHenry Middle School students have been reading the book “A Long Walk to Water,” which is an account of the tale as part of a global reading program for the past six weeks. On Tuesday, students heard a presentation for Dut and Bul about their story of living through the experience. McHenry Middle School Principal Mike Glover said he hoped that students took away a feeling of gratefulness from the study. “It’s a great big world out there, and there are things that we have and are lucky to have,” he said. “These guys literally had to walk all day to get water. … I know [the students] are ready to go for Thanksgiving and can be grateful for all the things they have.” Dut and Bul also spoke about the importance of gratitude and positivity while fielding questions from students about their experiences, family and life in Sudan. “You can do what you want in life,” Dut said. “Despite challenges you may face at a young age.” Students read “A Long Walk to Water” as part of the Global Read Aloud program, created in 2010 with the intent of bringing educators and students from around the world together. Schools sign up for the program and all read the same book over the course of six weeks. Classrooms can connect with each other to talk about the book and lessons via Google learning apps. H. Rick Bamman - hbamman@shawmedia.com Two of the Lost Boys of Sudan, Peter Magai Bul (cq) (left) and Gabriel Dut spoke to McHenry Middle School students on Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2017. The students have been reading “A Long Walk to Water,” which is based on a true story about a Sudanese Lost Boy. [...]


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Thanksgiving tribe reclaims language lost to colonizationAP photo A child in a combined pre-kindergarten and kindergarten Wampanoag language immersion class removes kernels from an ear of corn Oct. 12 at the Wampanoag Tribe Community and Government Center in Mashpee, Mass.

Wed, 22 Nov 2017 06:37:00 GMT

MASHPEE, Mass. – The Massachusetts tribe whose ancestors shared a Thanksgiving meal with the Pilgrims nearly 400 years ago is reclaiming its long-lost language, one schoolchild at a time. “Weesowee mahkusunash,” said teacher Siobhan Brown, using the Wampanoag phrase for “yellow shoes” as she reads to a preschool class from Sandra Boynton’s popular children’s book “Blue Hat, Green Hat.” The Mukayuhsak Weekuw – or “Children’s House” – is an immersion school launched by the Cape Cod-based Mashpee Wampanoag tribe, whose ancestors hosted a harvest celebration with the Pilgrims in 1621 that helped form the basis for the country’s Thanksgiving tradition. The 19 children from Wampanoag households that Brown and other teachers instruct are being taught exclusively in Wopanaotooaok, a language that had not been spoken for at least a century until the tribe started an effort to reclaim it more than two decades ago. The language brought to the English lexicon words like pumpkin (spelled pohpukun in Wopanaotooaok), moccasin (mahkus), skunk (sukok), powwow (pawaw) and Massachusetts (masachoosut), but, like hundreds of other native tongues, fell victim to the erosion of indigenous culture through centuries of colonialism. “From having had no speakers for six generations to having 500 students attend some sort of class in the last 25 years? It’s more than I could have ever expected in my lifetime,” said Jessie “Little Doe” Baird, the tribe’s vice chairwoman, who is almost singularly responsible for the rebirth of the language, which tribal members refer to simply as Wampanoag. Now in its second year, the immersion school is a key milestone in Baird’s legacy, but it’s not the only way the tribe is ensuring its language is never lost again. At the public high school this year, seven students are enrolled in the district’s first Wampanoag language class, which is funded and staffed by the tribe. Up the road, volunteers host free language learning sessions for families each Friday at the Mashpee Wampanoag Indian Museum. And within the tribe’s government building – one floor up from the immersion school – tribal elders gather twice a week for an hourlong lesson before lunch. “Sometimes it goes in one ear and out the other,” said Pauline Peters, a 78-year-old Hyannis resident who has been attending the informal sessions for about three years. “It takes us elders a while to get things. The kids at the immersion school correct us all the time.” The movement to revitalize native American languages started gaining t[...]


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Crystal Lake-based School District 155 approves tax levy increaseSarah Nader - snader@shawmedia.com The Crystal Lake-based School District 155 Board met Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2017 in Crystal Lake.Sarah Nader - snader@shawmedia.com Dave Mazurk of Crystal Lake spoke out against the proposed tax levy at the District 155 Board meeting in Crystal Lake Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2017.Sarah Nader - snader@shawmedia.com Board President Adam Guss (left) and Vice President Jason Blake speak during Tuesday's District 155 board meeting in Crystal Lake Nov. 21, 2017.

Wed, 22 Nov 2017 06:37:00 GMT

CRYSTAL LAKE – Not a single person who spoke Tuesday night at a meeting of the Community High School District 155 Board was in favor of a tax levy increase. Everyone who stepped to the podium was against it. Dave Mazurk, a 35-year resident of Crystal Lake, wants to remain here. “But I’m afraid I may not be able to, the way property taxes are going up,” Mazurk said before the board’s vote. But the board still passed, with a 4-3 vote, an estimated levy increase of 2.44 percent. Board members Dave Secrest, Ron Ludwig and Nicole Pavoris voted yes. Board Vice President Jason Blake and members Rosemary Kurtz and Amy Blazier voted no. Board President Adam Guss cast the tie-breaking yes vote. The board followed that with a unanimous vote to abate $1.2 million in debt service from the levy, which drops the levy request from $75,795,782 to $74,595,782. The district estimates that with the $1.2 million abatement, the tax levy request that was approved Tuesday night will mean a 0.79 percent increase from the previous year, which is less than the rate of inflation. The 2.44 percent increase was tentatively approved by the board in October, but Blake, Kurtz and Blazier led an effort during a Nov. 14 committee meeting to compromise and abate the $1.2 million. Kurtz pushed for a tax levy freeze Tuesday night, but it didn’t go anywhere. The district now will use $1.2 million of its estimated $50 million in cash reserves to pay some of its bond debt. Under the levy request approved Tuesday night, according to the district’s projections, the owner of a $200,000 house would pay $7.94 more in property taxes to the district than in the previous year; and the owner of a $300,000 house would pay $11.90 more in property taxes to the district than the previous year. Individual tax bills may go up or down based on housing assessments. District 155 has no control over the equalized assessed value of homes. The meeting room at the District 155 Center for Education was standing-room only. During more than an hour of public comment from taxpayers, residents of the district told stories of getting laughed at by family, friends and acquaintances in other states who are paying less in property taxes for much larger houses. People are ready to move out of the state, Mazurk said, but not because of the weather – because of the property taxes. “When is enough gonna be enough?” Mazurk asked the board, twice. T[...]


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Crystal Lake-based School District 155 approves tax levy increaseDave Mazurk, a 35-year resident of Crystal Lake, wants to remain here. “But I’m afraid I may not be able to, the way property taxes are going up,” Mazurk said before the board’s vote. But the board still passed, with a 4-3 vote, an estimated levy increase of 2.44 percent.Board members Dave Secrest, Ron Ludwig and Nicole Pavoris voted yes. Board Vice President Jason Blake and members Rosemary Kurtz and Amy Blazier voted no. Board President Adam Guss cast the tie-breaking yes vote. The board followed that with a unanimous vote to abate $1.2 million in debt service from the levy, which drops the levy request from $75,795,782 to $74,595,782. The district estimates that with the $1.2 million abatement, the tax levy request that was approved Tuesday night will mean a 0.79 percent increase from the previous year, which is less than the rate of inflation.The 2.44 percent increase was tentatively approved by the board in October, but Blake, Kurtz and Blazier led an effort during a Nov. 14 committee meeting to compromise and abate the $1.2 million.Kurtz pushed for a tax levy freeze Tuesday night, but it didn’t go anywhere. The district now will use $1.2 million of its estimated $50 million in cash reserves to pay some of its bond debt. Under the levy request approved Tuesday night, according to the district’s projections, the owner of a $200,000 house would pay $7.94 more in property taxes to the district than in the previous year; and the owner of a $300,000 house would pay $11.90 more in property taxes to the district than the previous year.Individual tax bills may go up or down based on housing assessments. District 155 has no control over the equalized assessed value of homes. The meeting room at the District 155 Center for Education was standing-room only. During more than an hour of public comment from taxpayers, residents of the district told stories of getting laughed at by family, friends and acquaintances in other states who are paying less in property taxes for much larger houses.People are ready to move out of the state, Mazurk said, but not because of the weather – because of the property taxes. “When is enough gonna be enough?” Mazurk asked the board, twice. The exodus Mazurk is referring to already has started. According to U.S. Census data, the state of Illinois led the country in residents lost to other states for the third straight year in 2016. Mazurk saw it firsthand. “My youngest son went to Colorado. He’s never coming back,” Mazurk said. “He laughs at what we’re spending over here.”A group of McHenry County real estate agents testified to the difficulty homeowners are having selling their homes, and how they’ve seen many clients move out of state, particularly to Wisconsin. With the district’s continuing enrollment decline and lack of new homes, residents were appalled at the district’s request for more money. Many said they haven’t gotten raises in their jobs and have lost value in their homes because no one wants to move to the area and pay some of the highest property tax rates in the country.The district pointed out that there are 22 public school districts in McHenry County, and District 155 is one of two school districts that decreased its overall tax extension for the two previous years. After factoring in the abatement, the 2017 estimated tax extension still should be less than both the 2014 and 2015 tax extensions, the district said in a news release sent out after the meeting. But several residents said it’s not good enough. Lakewood resident Zach Zenner said the primary argument he saw initially seemed to be that District 155 isn’t as “bad as the other districts in McHenry County.”

Wed, 22 Nov 2017 06:36:00 GMT

CRYSTAL LAKE – Not a single person who spoke Tuesday night at a meeting of the Community High School District 155 Board was in favor of a tax levy increase. Everyone who stepped to the podium was against it. Dave Mazurk, a 35-year resident of Crystal Lake, wants to remain here. “But I’m afraid I may not be able to, the way property taxes are going up,” Mazurk said before the board’s vote. But the board still passed, with a 4-3 vote, an estimated levy increase of 2.44 percent.Board members Dave Secrest, Ron Ludwig and Nicole Pavoris voted yes. Board Vice President Jason Blake and members Rosemary Kurtz and Amy Blazier voted no. Board President Adam Guss cast the tie-breaking yes vote. The board followed that with a unanimous vote to abate $1.2 million in debt service from the levy, which drops the levy request from $75,795,782 to $74,595,782. The district estimates that with the $1.2 million abatement, the tax levy request that was approved Tuesday night will mean a 0.79 percent increase from the previous year, which is less than the rate of inflation.The 2.44 percent increase was tentatively approved by the board in October, but Blake, Kurtz and Blazier led an effort during a Nov. 14 committee meeting to compromise and abate the $1.2 million.Kurtz pushed for a tax levy freeze Tuesday night, but it didn’t go anywhere. The district now will use $1.2 million of its estimated $50 million in cash reserves to pay some of its bond debt. Under the levy request approved Tuesday night, according to the district’s projections, the owner of a $200,000 house would pay $7.94 more in property taxes to the district than in the previous year; and the owner of a $300,000 house would pay $11.90 more in property taxes to the district than the previous year.Individual tax bills may go up or down based on housing assessments. District 155 has no control over the equalized assessed value of homes. The meeting room at the District 155 Center for Education was standing-room only. During more than an hour of public comment from taxpayers, residents of the district told stories of getting laughed at by family, friends and acquaintances in other states who are paying less in property taxes for much larger houses.People are ready to move out of the state, Mazurk said, but not because of the weather – because of the property taxes. “When is enough gonna be enough?” Mazurk asked the board, twice. The exodus Mazurk is referring to already has started. According to U.S. Census data, the state of Illinois led the country in residents lost to other states for the third straight year in 2016. Mazurk saw it firsthand. “My youngest son went to Colorado. He’s never coming back,” Mazurk said. “He laughs at what we’re spending over her[...]


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US slaps new sanctions on North Korean, Chinese companiesAP photo Secretary of State Rex Tillerson listens as President Donald Trump announces that the United States will designate North Korea a state sponsor of terrorism during a cabinet meeting at the White House Monday in Washington.

Wed, 22 Nov 2017 05:27:00 GMT

WASHINGTON – The Trump administration imposed new sanctions Tuesday on a slew of North Korean shipping firms and Chinese trading companies in its latest push to isolate the rogue nation over its nuclear weapons development and deprive it of revenue. The Treasury Department also designated a North Korean corporation involved in exporting workers overseas. The action came a day after the U.S. returned North Korea to its list of state sponsors of terrorism. “These designations include companies that have engaged in trade with North Korea cumulatively worth hundreds of millions of dollars,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement. “We are also sanctioning the shipping and transportation companies, and their vessels, that facilitate North Korea’s trade and its deceptive maneuvers.” Among the companies targeted were four Chinese-based companies and one Chinese individual said to have deep commercial ties with North Korea. The sanctions were imposed under a September executive order that opened the way for the U.S. to punish foreign companies dealing with the North. It bars those sanctioned from holding U.S. assets or doing business with Americans. The Dandong Kehua Economy & Trade Co. Ltd., Dandong Xianghe Trading Co. Ltd., and Dandong Hongda Trade Co. Ltd. are alleged to have exported about $650 million worth of goods to North Korea and imported more than $100 million from North Korea since 2013. The goods included notebook computers, anthracite coal, iron and other commodities and ferrous products. Also sanctioned were Chinese national Sun Sidong and his company, Dandong Dongyuan Industrial Co., said to have exported more than $28 million worth of goods to the North. The targeting of Chinese companies is a sore point with Beijing, whose help Trump is counting on to put an economic squeeze on Pyongyang. China recently sent its highest-level envoy to North Korea in two years to discuss the tense state of affairs on the Korean Peninsula. “China firmly opposes unilateral sanctions out of the U.N. Security Council framework,” the Chinese Embassy in Washington said Tuesday, “especially the imposition of the so-called ‘long-arm jurisdiction’ by other countries in accordance with their domestic laws.” As part of its effort to stymie North Korean transportation networks, the Treasury Department sanctioned North Korea’s Maritime Administration and its transport ministry, six North Korean shipping and trading companies and 20 of their vessels, which are all North Korean-flagged. [...]


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Trump, Putin discuss Syria, NKorea, more in hour-plus callIn this photo taken on Monday, Nov. 20, 2017, Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, shakes hand with Syrian President Bashar Assad in the Bocharov Ruchei residence in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, Russia. Russian state TV said the two leaders held bilateral talks on Monday and then met with Russian military chiefs. It was the second time Assad has traveled to Russia to meet with Putin in the course of the country's six-year civil war. (Mikhail Klimentyev, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

Wed, 22 Nov 2017 05:27:00 GMT

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump and Russia’s Vladimir Putin discussed efforts to bring peace to war-torn Syria during an hour-plus phone call Tuesday. Iran, North Korea and Ukraine also were on the agenda, the White House said.

Trump called it a “great call” Tuesday afternoon as he left the White House to spend Thanksgiving in Florida. Noting the length, he said he and Putin spoke “very strongly about bringing peace to Syria” and “very strongly about North Korea.”

– Wire reports

Trump’s phone call with the Russian president came a day after Putin met with Syrian President Bashar Assad. Putin hosted Assad at a Black Sea resort ahead of a summit later this week with Russia, Turkey and Iran. Assad was called to Russia to get him to agree to potential peace initiatives drafted by the other three countries, the Kremlin said.

The Kremlin said Putin briefed Trump in the phone call about his talks with Assad and plans for a political settlement in Syria. Putin also called for coordination of anti-terror efforts with the U.S., the Kremlin said, adding that Afghanistan was also discussed.

In this photo taken on Monday, Nov. 20, 2017, Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, shakes hand with Syrian President Bashar Assad in the Bocharov Ruchei residence in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, Russia. Russian state TV said the two leaders held bilateral talks on Monday and then met with Russian military chiefs. It was the second time Assad has traveled to Russia to meet with Putin in the course of the country's six-year civil war. (Mikhail Klimentyev, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)


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4 children, 2 adults killed in rural northern Illinois fireAP photo Fire investigators work at the scene of a fatal fire Tuesday outside of Dixon, IL. Authorities say two adults and four children died in the early morning house fire.

Wed, 22 Nov 2017 05:26:00 GMT

DIXON – Four children and two adults from the same family died in a house fire early Tuesday in rural northern Illinois, the local sheriff said.

Authorities received a 911 call about midnight reporting smoke in the basement of a home outside Dixon in the unincorporated community of Lost Nation, according to the Ogle County Sheriff’s Office.

Firefighters arrived to find the home “fully engulfed” in the blaze.

Investigators haven’t found anything suspicious about the fire, Sheriff Brian VanVickle said.

The ages of the children haven’t been released, and autopsies are planned, he said. Ogle County Coroner Louis Finch said the bodies were so badly burned that his office will need dental records to determine identification.

VanVickle said the home’s roof collapsed. He said a few walls were left, “but there’s not much remaining of the residence.”

Capt. Isaac Demmig of the Dixon Rural Fire Department said it was impossible for firefighters to enter the house until the fire was brought under control, but when they did go inside, they found that all six were dead.

First responders from 10 fire departments responded to the blaze, Demmig said.

He would not say where in the house the bodies were found.

The sheriff’s office, Illinois State Fire Marshal and Illinois State Police are investigating the cause of the fire.

VanVickle described Lost Nation as a subdivision in a woodsy area with a lake in a very rural and remote part of the county.

It is about 90 miles west of downtown Chicago.

“I’ve talked with some of the neighbors, and it’s a typical Midwest community where most people know their neighbors and are friends with them,” VanVickle said.

AP photo Fire investigators work at the scene of a fatal fire Tuesday outside of Dixon, IL. Authorities say two adults and four children died in the early morning house fire.


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