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Video: Turning broken skateboards into artMatthew Apgar – mapgar@shawmedia.com Jacobs High School junior Chloe Frank, 16, uses clear nail polish to coat a ring she created out of a broken skateboard Thursday at Fargo Skateboarding in DeKalb.

Mon, 16 Oct 2017 21:24:00 GMT

Students from Algonquin-based School District 300, including Hampshire, Jacobs and Dundee-Crown high schools, took a trip to Fargo Skateboarding in DeKalb on Thursday to learn how to make jewelry out of broken skateboards from shop owner Ariel Ries.

Matthew Apgar – mapgar@shawmedia.com Jacobs High School junior Chloe Frank, 16, uses clear nail polish to coat a ring she created out of a broken skateboard Thursday at Fargo Skateboarding in DeKalb.


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McHenry police investigating gas station car theft

Mon, 16 Oct 2017 20:56:00 GMT

McHENRY – McHenry Police are investigating a car theft that took place while a woman was filling up the tank at a McHenry gas station.

The incident took place Oct. 11 at the McHenry BP, 508 S. Route 31. The victim was getting gas when a man in his 20s jumped into the open door of the car and drove away. The woman tried to hold onto the car for a few seconds and was injured in the process, according to a message on McHenry Mayor Wayne Jett's Facebook page.

Police reviewed security video and it appears the man entered the lot on foot after possibly attempting to steal a truck near Sam’s Liquors nearby. The victim of the car theft had her work cell phone in the backseat of the car and coordinates came back from Rockford, near the airport, Jett's post stated.

The Rockford Police couldn’t locate the car, phone or suspect.

The investigation is ongoing and the suspect is describe as a man in his 20s, under 5-foot 6-inches, wearing a tan coat with grey sleeves and a grey hoodie.

McHenry police did not immediately respond to a call requesting more information on the theft and why the public wasn't notified of the incident sooner.


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New Jersey man convicted in New York bombing that injured 30In this courtroom artist's drawing, Ahmad Khan Rahimi, left, is seated next to his federal defender Meghan Gilligan, during the reading of a verdict in his trial, Monday, Oct. 16, 2017 in New York federal court. Jurors found Rahimi guilty of all charges, including counts of using a weapon of mass destruction and bombing a public place. The Afghanistan-born man who was living in Elizabeth, New Jersey at the time of the bombing, faces a maximum punishment of life in prison. (AP Photo/Elizabeth Williams)FILE - In this file photo from Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2016, Ahmad Khan Rahimi, the man accused of setting off bombs in New Jersey and New York in September is led into court in Elizabeth, N.J. On Monday, Oct. 16, 2017 jurors found Rahimi guilty of all charges, including counts of using a weapon of mass destruction and bombing a public place. The Afghanistan-born man who was living in Elizabeth, New Jersey at the time of the bombing, faces a maximum punishment of life in prison. (AP Photo/Mel Evans, File)Acting U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim, center, speaks outside Manhattan federal court after a jury convicted Ahmad Khan Rahimi of carrying out bombings, Monday Oct. 16, 2017, in New York. Rahimi faces a mandatory life prison term at a January sentencing. (AP Photo/Larry Neumeister)In this courtroom artist's drawing, Ahmad Khan Rahimi, right, listens as the jury foreman, standing left, reads the verdict in his trial, Monday, Oct. 16, 2017 in New York federal court. Jurors found Rahimi guilty of all charges, including counts of using a weapon of mass destruction and bombing a public place. The Afghanistan-born man who was living in Elizabeth, New Jersey at the time of the bombing, faces a maximum punishment of life in prison. (AP Photo/Elizabeth Williams)Flanked by NYPD Deputy Commissioner Robert Miller, left, and New York FBI Assistant Director in Charge William Sweeney, right, acting U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim, center, speaks outside Manhattan federal court after a jury convicted Ahmad Khan Rahimi of carrying out bombings, Monday Oct. 16, 2017, in New York. Rahimi faces a mandatory life prison term at a January sentencing. (AP Photo/Larry Neumeister)

Mon, 16 Oct 2017 18:25:00 GMT

NEW YORK — A New Jersey man was convicted Monday of planting two pressure-cooker bombs on New York City streets, including one that injured 30 people with a rain of shrapnel when it detonated in a bustling neighborhood on a weekend night last summer. The verdict in Manhattan came after a two-week trial of 29-year-old Ahmad Khan Rahimi, an Afghanistan-born man living in Elizabeth. The charges, including using a weapon of mass destruction and bombing a public place, carry a mandatory punishment of life in prison. Prosecutors said Rahimi considered himself "a soldier in a holy war against Americans" and was inspired by the Islamic State group and al-Qaida to carry out the late summer attacks in New York and New Jersey. Rahimi, wearing a wrinkled blue shirt and beige pants, stared straight ahead and at the jury as he was found guilty of all eight charges against him. The defense promised to appeal. Sentencing was scheduled for Jan. 18. "Today's verdict is a victory for New York City, a victory for America in its fight against terror, and a victory for all who believe in the cause of justice," said Joon H. Kim, acting U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York. Assistant federal defender Sabrina Shroff said her client, who smiled as he was led from the courtroom, remained calm as the verdict was delivered. "We all handle bad news in our own way," she said. In the prosecution's closing argument, Assistant U.S. Attorney Emil Bove described an unusually large amount of evidence that pointed to Rahimi. His fingerprints and DNA were found on bombs in the Sept. 17, 2016, attacks. Dozens of videos tracked his movements as he dragged the bombs in suitcases through Manhattan streets, and they also captured the explosion at 23rd Street in the Chelsea neighborhood that injured 30 people. The second bomb didn't detonate. As a bomb squad investigator testified, prosecutors showed jurors a mangled, waist-high trash bin that was sent flying 120 feet (37 meters) across a busy street by the bomb. The government called it a miracle that nobody was killed by the explosive, which scattered ball bearings meant to serve as shrapnel. If that wasn't enough, Bove said, jurors could look at a small notebook that was on Rahimi when he was arrested two days after the attack following a shootout with police in New Jersey. The prosecutor said Rahimi's written words provided a confession as he took responsibility for the bombings in a "claim of credit" for attacks that left him feeling proud. He still faces charges in New Jersey related to the shootout. He has pleaded not guilty to attempted murder of police officers. Shroff did not deny evidence linking Rahimi to the 23rd Street bomb but asked jurors to question whether Rahimi really intended for the 27th Street bomb to go off. She urged jurors to acquit Rahimi of three charges that could result in a mandatory life prison sentence. And she expressed compassion for those injured by the blast, some of whom testified during the trial. "This is a difficult case for all of us because we are all New Yorkers," Shroff said. Prosecutors said Rahimi left his home before sunrise to plant a pipe bomb along the route of a Marine Corps charity race in Seaside Heights, New Jersey, an oceanside community. No one was injured in the explosion because the race had been delayed. It was then canceled. Hours later, Rahimi went into Manhattan, where he was seen walking from Penn Station to the street locations where two bombs were placed. The first bomb, hidden near a large trash bin, set off a blast that sent the 100-pound (45-kilogram) d[...]


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Trump blames Senate GOP, not himself, for stalled agendaPresident Donald Trump speaks during a cabinet meeting at the White House, Monday, Oct. 16, 2017, in Washington, as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson listens. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Mon, 16 Oct 2017 17:52:00 GMT

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump blamed Senate Republicans, not himself, for the stalled GOP agenda Monday ahead of a crucial White House lunch meeting with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on getting make-or-break tax legislation back on track. The president also expressed understanding for former senior aide Steve Bannon's all-out war on the GOP establishment, an insurgent attack on McConnell and others that unnerves the GOP and could threaten the party's majority grip on Congress. "I'm not going to blame myself. I'll be honest they are not getting the job done," Trump told reporters at a Cabinet meeting. He said there are Republicans "frankly who should be ashamed of themselves." Trump repeatedly has blamed McConnell for the failure of the GOP Congress to repeal and replace Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act after years of Republican and Trump promises to dismantle the law. He also has hinted at deals with Democrats on immigration. Through the remainder of the year, Congress has a hefty agenda of must-do items and legislation that Trump has kicked to lawmakers to handle, from changes to the Iran nuclear accord to keeping the government open, from a tax overhaul to dealing with the young immigrants brought to the country as children and living here illegally. Bannon, back at Breitbart News after helping Trump win the presidency and serving in the West Wing, is committed to dumping McConnell, the Senate leader from Kentucky. In a speech to religious conservatives Saturday, Bannon suggested that GOP incumbents may avoid challengers from the right flank of the party if they disavow McConnell and meet other conditions. "This is our war," Bannon said. "The establishment started it. ... You all are gonna finish it." Trump on Monday told reporters that he understands his former chief strategist's anger at McConnell and his frustration with Republican senators who oppose the White House agenda. "I can understand where Steve Bannon's coming from," said the president, calling Bannon a "friend" who wants to get things done. Trump said that he has "great relations" with many senators in his party, but complains that they're "not getting the job done." Sen. Susan Collins, a Maine moderate who just passed up a run for governor and was a pivotal "no" vote on health care, said Bannon's rhetoric is exactly what the American people are tired of. "They don't want this hyper-partisanship. They want us to work together. And they want us to get things done," she said. Collins, who's served in the Senate since 1997, added that Bannon's "over-the-top rhetoric is not helpful. Mitch McConnell is the Senate majority leader. The president needs him. I'm glad they're working together on tax reform and a lot of other issues. And I'm glad they're meeting this week." McConnell responded to Trump's Twitter barrage after the failed health care effort by saying that the challenges of governing should come as no surprise. "A lot of people look at all that and find it frustrating, messy. Well, welcome to the democratic process. That's the way it is in our country," McConnell said at a GOP event in Kentucky this summer. Trump, a former Democrat himself, cut a deal with Democratic leaders on raising the U.S. borrowing limit and keeping the government running into the winter. The president has also talked about future arrangements, though his recent list of immigration demands soured Democrats who had seen an earlier opening for legislative progress. Hard-right conservatives frustrated by the stalled agenda in Congress wrote in a letter last week during the Senate's break that[...]


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2 injured following Marengo rollover crashShaw Media file photo

Mon, 16 Oct 2017 17:44:00 GMT

MARENGO — A 70-year-old woman and a teenage girl were transported to area hospitals Sunday afternoon following a rollover crash in Marengo.

Marengo Fire Protection District and Marengo police responded about 2:20 p.m. Sunday to Route 23 and Harmony Road in Marengo for a report of a crash, Marengo Police Chief Richard Solarz said. When emergency responders arrived, they found two vehicles off the roadway. One was upside-down.

An 18-year-old Berwyn man was driving west on Harmony Road when he said he could not stop at the stop sign because of gravel on the road, Solarz said. The 18-year-old told police his vehicle slid through a stop sign and struck another vehicle, which an Aurora woman was driving south on Route 23. The first vehicle then struck a road sign and came to rest upside-down. The second left the roadway and struck a utility pole.

A Roselle teenage girl, who was a passenger in the first vehicle, was transported to an area hospital in unknown condition, Solarz said. The Aurora woman was also transported.

The 18-year-old man was cited for disobeying a stop sign. Both vehicles were towed from the scene. Solarz would not provide the name of the teenager who was cited.

Marengo fire officials said they could not immediately provide more details.

Shaw Media file photo


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Manhunt continues for Hebron man accused of sexually assaulting childEsau Ancheyta Hernandez, of Hebron, allegedly sexualy assaulted a child at a residence in Hebron.

Mon, 16 Oct 2017 17:30:00 GMT

HEBRON — A 26-year-old Hebron man accused of sexually assaulting a child continues to elude police, McHenry County Sheriff's Office officials said on Monday.

Esau Ancheyta Hernandez of Hebron allegedly sexually assaulted a child at about 6:45 a.m. Friday at a home in the 12000 block of Hebron Road near Hebron. After being confronted by family members, Hernandez fled on foot from the scene, police said.

"There are no updates. We are still actively searching for him and encourage the public to contact us with any information," McHenry County Sheriff's Deputy Sandra Rogers said in an email. "Callers can remain anonymous."

K-9 Units, drones and a helicopter were initially deployed Friday around Hebron Road and the Illinois-Wisconsin state line but did not yield any results. Rogers did not respond to question about where the sheriff's office thinks Hernandez might have gone or how he could have fled on foot.

Hernandez is described as 5-feet, 6-inches tall, weighing 135 pounds with dark brown hair and brown eyes. He was last seen wearing gray pants, a teal shirt and tennis shoes.

Police obtained an arrest warrant for predatory criminal sexual assault of a child with a bond amount of $250,000. If arrested and convicted, Hernandez could face six to 30 years in prison.

Anyone with information is asked to call sheriff's police at 815-338-2144.

Esau Ancheyta Hernandez, of Hebron, allegedly sexualy assaulted a child at a residence in Hebron.


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Crystal Lake-based School District 155 asking for more property tax dollarsSarah Nader file photo – snader@shawmedia.com Chris West, technical theater director, walks across the catwalk of the new Cary-Grove Fine Arts Center in 2015. The Cary-Grove Fine Arts Foundation contributed about $1.5 million to the project, while the remaining $7 million came from District 155’s annual budget. District 155 could ask residents for about $3.2 million in new money in tax levy to cover rising contract costs and future maintenance of its facilities.

Mon, 16 Oct 2017 15:22:00 GMT

CRYSTAL LAKE – Crystal Lake-based Community High School District 155 Board members could vote this week on a tentative tax levy increase of about $3.2 million more than the actual total extended the previous year, which would amount to a 4.45 percent increase.

If the proposed levy is approved, it could mean an increase in taxes for District 155 residents. District officials have estimated that a District 155 resident with a $250,000 home would pay about $49.50 more toward the district’s portion of his or her property tax bill than last year.

The funds that would see the bulk of the proposed increase are the education fund and the operations and maintenance fund, according to a 2017 tax levy presentation on the district’s website.

The presentation lists rising employee contract costs and anticipated building and grounds cost increases as two key reasons for requesting more tax dollars.

The board will meet at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at the District 155 Center for Education, 1 S. Virginia Road, Crystal Lake.

The meeting agenda lists the presentation of the proposed 2017 levy and a resolution to adopt the tentative 2017 levy as two action items. A November meeting is targeted for the board to officially approve the final tax levy.

Under the proposed levy, the education fund would jump to about $63.4 million, up from about $60.7 million. The operations and maintenance fund would jump to about $5.3 million, up from about $5.1 million. No other fund would increase more than $100,000.

Although the district is asking for a $75.8 million levy, it expects to receive a $74.3 million extension, the levy presentation shows.

The District 155 facilities condition assessment, referenced in the levy presentation, indicates that about $50 million of work in the next 10 years would address deferred maintenance.

The presentation notes that District 155 reduced its tax extensions and tax rates each of the previous two fiscal years, but holding the tax levy flat further limits all future potential tax extensions.

“Tax caps are designed to keep up with inflation,” the presentation states. “Money is worth less this year than in the previous year.”

The district said previous fiscal projections indicate that “we need to take advantage of our future allowable consumer price index increases to remain fiscally solvent.”

The annual increase in property tax extensions is limited to 5 percent or the consumer price index, a measure of inflation – whichever is less. The district is estimating that the CPI will increase 2.1 percent, according to the presentation packet.

Sarah Nader file photo – snader@shawmedia.com Chris West, technical theater director, walks across the catwalk of the new Cary-Grove Fine Arts Center in 2015. The Cary-Grove Fine Arts Foundation contributed about $1.5 million to the project, while the remaining $7 million came from District 155’s annual budget. District 155 could ask residents for about $3.2 million in new money in tax levy to cover rising contract costs and future maintenance of its facilities.


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Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl pleading guilty to desertion, misbehaviorFILE- In this Sept. 27, 2017, file photo, Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl leaves a motions hearing during a lunch break in Fort Bragg, N.C. Bergdahl is expected to plead guilty on Monday, Oct. 16, to charges that he endangered comrades by walking away from a remote post in Afghanistan in 2009. The U.S. Army said Bergdahl asked to enter his plea before the military judge at Fort Bragg. (Andrew Craft/The Fayetteville Observer via AP, File)

Mon, 16 Oct 2017 15:14:00 GMT

FORT BRAGG, N.C. – Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl told a military judge on Monday that he's pleading guilty to desertion and misbehavior before the enemy.

"I understand that leaving was against the law," said Bergdahl, whose decision to walk off his remote post in Afghanistan in 2009 prompted intense search and recovery missions, during which some of his comrades were seriously wounded.

"At the time, I had no intention of causing search and recovery operations," Bergdahl said, but he added that now he does understand that his decision prompted efforts to find him.

Bergdahl, 31, is accused of endangering his comrades by abandoning his post without authorization. He told a general after his release from five years in enemy hands that he did it with the intention of reaching other commanders and drawing attention to what he saw as problems with his unit.

It wasn't immediately clear whether his defense has conceded that he's responsible for a long chain of events that his desertion prompted, which included many decisions by others on how to conduct the searches. Despite his plea, the prosecution and defense have not agreed to a stipulation of facts, said one of his lawyers, Maj. Oren Gleich.

This indicates that they did not reach a deal to limit his punishment, and that he may be hoping for leniency from the judge, Army Col. Jeffery R. Nance. The misbehavior charge carries a maximum penalty of life in prison, while the desertion charge is punishable by up to five years.

The guilty pleas bring the highly politicized saga closer to an end eight years after Bergdahl vanished in Afghanistan. President Barack Obama, who approved the Taliban prisoner swap that brought Bergdahl home in 2014, said the U.S. does not leave its service members on the battlefield, but he was roundly criticized by Republicans. Campaigning for president, Donald Trump suggested Bergdahl would have been executed in a previous era.

While Berghdahl's pleas enable him to avoid a trial, he'll still face a sentencing hearing scheduled to begin Oct. 23. His years as a captive of the Taliban and its allies could be factored into his punishment, but the hearing also will likely feature damning testimony from his fellow service members. The judge has ruled that a Navy SEAL who suffered a career-ending leg wound and an Army National Guard sergeant whose head wound put him in a wheel chair would not have been hurt in firefights had they not been searching for Bergdahl.

The defense also was rebuffed in an effort to prove that Trump had unfairly swayed the case with his scathing criticism from the campaign trail. The judge ruled in February that the new president's comments were "disturbing and disappointing" but did not constitute unlawful command influence by the soon-to-be commander in chief.

Bergdahl, who's from Hailey, Idaho, has been assigned to desk duty at a Texas Army base while his case unfolds.

FILE- In this Sept. 27, 2017, file photo, Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl leaves a motions hearing during a lunch break in Fort Bragg, N.C. Bergdahl is expected to plead guilty on Monday, Oct. 16, to charges that he endangered comrades by walking away from a remote post in Afghanistan in 2009. The U.S. Army said Bergdahl asked to enter his plea before the military judge at Fort Bragg. (Andrew Craft/The Fayetteville Observer via AP, File)


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Trump voters confront climate change in wake of hurricaneA residential neighborhood sits next to an oil refinery in Port Arthur, Texas, Thursday, Sept. 28, 2017. The region's economy is tied to the petroleum industry more than in any other place in America: the concentration of people here employed by refineries is 81 times higher than the rest of the country. Though research suggests most in Jefferson County believe that humans have contributed to the warming of the globe, many struggle still to know what to expect their leaders to do about it without at the same time crippling their own economy. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

Mon, 16 Oct 2017 14:08:00 GMT

PORT ARTHUR, Texas – The church was empty, except for the piano too heavy for one man to move. It had been 21 days since the greatest storm Wayne Christopher had ever seen dumped a year's worth of rain on his town, drowning this church he'd attended his whole life. He had piled the ruined pews out on the curb, next to water-logged hymnals and molding Sunday school lesson plans and chunks of drywall that used to be a mural of Noah's Ark. Now he tilted his head up to take in the mountain of rubble, and Christopher, an evangelical Christian and a conservative Republican, considered what caused this destruction: that the violent act of nature had been made worse by acts of man. "I think the Lord put us over the care of his creation, and when we pollute like we do, destroy the land, there's consequences to that," he said. "It might not catch up with us just right now, but it's gonna catch up. Like a wound that needs to be healed." Jefferson County, Texas, is among the low-lying coastal areas that could lose the most as the ice caps melt and the seas warm and rise. At the same time, it is economically dependent on oil refineries that stand like cityscapes across the community. Residents seemed to choose between the two last November, abandoning a pattern of voting Democratic in presidential elections to support Donald Trump. Then came Hurricane Harvey. Now some conservatives here are newly confronting some of the most polarizing questions in American political discourse: What role do humans play in global warming and the worsening of storms like Harvey? And what should they expect their leaders to do about the problem now? "It's a Catch-22 kind of thing. Do you want to build your economy, or do you want to save the world?" said Christopher, who, like most people in Jefferson County, believed that global warming was real before the storm hit. Post-Harvey, he thinks the president's rejection of the scientific consensus is no longer good enough. Climate change doesn't create hurricanes. But most scientists agree that warming and rising seas amplify storms that form naturally, feeding more water and intensity as they plow toward land. Trump has referred to climate change as a hoax, and his administration has worked aggressively to undo policies designed to mitigate the damage. He announced his intention to pull out of the Paris climate agreement and has dismantled environmental regulations. In Jefferson County, as the downpour from Hurricane Harvey stretched into its second day, Joe Evans watched from the window of his home and an unexpected sense of guilt overcame him: "What have we been doing to the planet for all of these years?" Evans, a Republican, once ran unsuccessfully for local office. He ignored climate change, as he thought Republicans were supposed to do, and he voted for Trump. But he's now frustrated with what he describes as the "conservative echo chamber" that dismisses global warming instead of trying to find a way to apply conservative principles to saving both the Earth and the economy. "I haven't put so much thought into it that I want to go mobilize a bunch of people and march on Washington," he said. "But it made me think enough about it that I won't actively take part in denying it. We can't do that anymore." A new Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll finds 63 percent of Americans think that climate change is happening and that the government should address it, and two-thirds of Americans disapprove of the way Trump is handling the issue. Katharine Hayhoe, a climate scientist[...]


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McHenry County grand jury indictmentsShaw Media file photo

Mon, 16 Oct 2017 13:15:00 GMT

WOODSTOCK – A McHenry County grand jury this past week indicted these people on these charges:

• Tina M. Gonzaque, 55, zero to 100 block of Ayer Street, Harvard; retail theft. 

• Damien A. Vansickle, 22, 800 block of Pleasant Street, Woodstock; aggravated domestic battery, restraint and domestic battery.

• Douglas M. Enders, 34, 2100 block of MacArthur Drive, McHenry; domestic battery and obstructing justice.

• Jasmine N. Singleton, 24, zero to 100 block of Highview Avenue, Fox Lake; retail theft of items more than $300.

• Alexis N. Tucci, 18, 900 block of Golf Course Road, Crystal Lake; aggravated battery, resisting a peace officer, domestic battery and consumption of alcohol.

• Nicole R. DePew, 38, 1200 block of North State Street, Marengo; burglary, theft of less than $500 and criminal damage to property.

• Robert H. Charping, 56, 1200 block of North State Street, Marengo; burglary, theft of less than $500 and criminal damage to property.

• Steven L. Grady, 28, 5200 block of Miller Road, Wonder Lake; aggravated fleeing or trying to elude a police officer, criminal damage to government-supported property and driving with a revoked license.

• Brynn E. Schendl, 20, zero to 100 block of Talcott Avenue, Crystal Lake; delivery of marijuana, possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia. 

• Dylan G. Moore, 22, 400 block of Wright Drive, Lake in the Hills; delivery of marijuana, possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.

• Jonathan K. Jordan, 22, 10000 block of Cindy Jo Avenue, Huntley; delivery of a controlled substance and possession of a controlled substance.  

• Philip J. Dawson, 30, 4800 block of Daniel Drive, Crystal Lake; possession of a controlled substance.

• Antonio M. Schneider, 24, 4500 block Sorrel Terrace, Crystal Lake; possession of a controlled substance.

• Sarah N. Castillo, 27, 3100 block of Lockwood Boulevard, Lake Geneva, Wisconsin; possession of a controlled substance.

• Matthew M. Pawelko, 18, 3300 block of Southport Drive, Island Lake; delivery of marijuana, possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of marijuana.

• Jorge A. Navas, 37, 700 block of Wayne Street, Belvidere; possession of a controlled substance.

• Julia M. Saban, 37, zero to 100 block of South Hill Street, Woodstock; possession of a controlled substance, possession of a hypodermic syringe and possession of drug paraphernalia.

• Kyle W. Rosenthal, 26, zero to 100 block of Hunters Path, Lake in the Hills; possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Shaw Media file photo


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1 missing, after oil rig explodes on Louisiana lakeJefferson Parish, La., authorities and others from other parishes respond to an oil rig explosion in Lake Pontchartrain off Kenner, La., Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017. (Matthew Hinton/The Advocate via AP)Jefferson Parish authorities and others from other parishes respond to an oil rig explosion in Lake Pontchartrain from a staging area near the Treasure Chest Casino in Kenner, La. Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017. (Matthew Hinton/The Advocate via AP)Jefferson Parish authorities and others from other parishes respond to an oil rig explosion in Lake Pontchartrain as seen from a staging area near the Treasure Chest Casino in Kenner, La., Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017. (Matthew Hinton/The Advocate via AP)Jefferson Parish authorities and others from other parishes respond to an oil rig explosion in Lake Pontchartrain near the Treasure Chest Casino in Kenner, La. Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017. (Matthew Hinton/The Advocate via AP)Jefferson Parish authorities and others from other parishes respond to an oil rig explosion in Lake Pontchartrain from a staging area near the Treasure Chest Casino in Kenner, La. Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017. (Matthew Hinton/The Advocate via AP)Rescue boats surround a rig in Lake Pontchartrain near New Orleans, La., after the rig exploded late on Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017. The explosion took place Sunday night in Lake Pontchartrain in St. Charles Parish, a Louisiana police department said. (Chris Granger/NOLA.com The Times-Picayune via AP)A U. S. Coast Guard helicopter searches for a missing body around an oil rig in Lake Pontchartrain near New Orleans, La., after the rig exploded late on Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017. The explosion took place Sunday night in Lake Pontchartrain in St. Charles Parish, a Louisiana police department said. (Chris Granger/NOLA.com The Times-Picayune via AP)

Mon, 16 Oct 2017 12:12:00 GMT

KENNER, La. — An oil rig explosion on a lake north of New Orleans, apparently caused when cleaning chemicals ignited, injured seven people and left authorities searching for another who was missing. There were "a lot of injuries," many of them serious, with at least seven confirmed and more expected from the Sunday evening explosion on Lake Pontchartrain, Kenner Police Department spokesman Sgt. Brian McGregor told The Times-Picayune . No deaths were immediately reported. Five of the injured people were hospitalized with "blast-type injuries and burns" Mike Guillot, director of East Jefferson Emergency Medical Services, told reporters. They were in critical condition, he said. "Authorities on the scene report that cleaning chemicals ignited on the surface of the oil rig platform," the City of Kenner Government posted on its Facebook page Sunday evening. Reports of fire and smoke being seen from Lake Pontchartrain came into the Emergency Operations center around 7:15 p.m., Jefferson Parish spokesman Antwan Harris said in a news release Sunday night. Clovelly Oil Co. owns the platform that is in production, said Taylor Darden, a lawyer for the company who is listed as its registered agent with the Louisiana Secretary of State. The platform, located in Jefferson Parish, is used for the transfer of oil, said Chief David Tibbets of the East Bank Consolidated Fire Department. He said the department's current goal is to stop oil flow and, if needed, let it burn off safely. Authorities acknowledged there was a possibility that the fire meant oil could be leaking into the lake, but noted that Jefferson Parish drinking water will remain safe because it is pulled from the Mississippi River. Social media users reported hearing a loud noise that even rattled some homes. Andrew Love, 32, told the newspaper he was inside his house about 10 blocks away when he heard the explosion. "My house actually shook," he said. "At first I thought it was a sonic boom or something, I had no idea what was happening." Flames could be seen from the area and the air smelled of burning rubber, according to the newspaper. The Coast Guard will be conducting a water quality evaluation as well as the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation. Jefferson Parish, La., authorities and others from other parishes respond to an oil rig explosion in Lake Pontchartrain off Kenner, La., Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017. (Matthew Hinton/The Advocate via AP)Jefferson Parish authorities and others from other parishes respond to an oil rig explosion in Lake Pontchartrain from a staging area near the Treasure Chest Casino in Kenner, La. Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017. (Matthew Hinton/The Advocate via AP)Jefferson Parish authorities and others from other parishes respond to an oil rig explosion in Lake Pontchartrain as seen from a staging area near the Treasure Chest Casino in Kenner, La., Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017. (Matthew Hinton/The Advocate via AP)Jefferson Parish authorities and others from other parishes respond to an oil rig explosion in Lake Pontchartrain near the Treasure Chest Casino in Kenner, La. Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017. (Matthew Hinton/The Advocate via AP)Jefferson Parish authorities and others from other parishes respond to an oil rig explosion in Lake Pontchartrain from a staging area near the Treasure Chest Casino in Kenner, La. Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017. (Matthew Hinton/The Advocate via AP)[...]Rescue boats surround a rig in Lake Pontchartrain near New Orleans, La., after the rig exploded late on Sunday, [...]


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Halloween events in McHenry CountySarah Nader file photo – snader@shawmedia.com Dressed as a monkey, Jake Hunter, 2, of Lakewood walks along North Williams Street eating candy Oct. 31, 2016, during the annual Halloween Handout in downtown Crystal Lake.Sarah Nader file photo – snader@shawmedia.com Alex Reznik, owner of Shoe Repair, hands candy to Johannes Johnson, 3, of Island Lake during the annual Halloween Handout last year in downtown Crystal Lake.Sarah Nader file photo – snader@shawmedia.com LJ Gaughran, 2, of Crystal Lake and his sister, Addison Gaughran, 4, collect candy during the annual Halloween Handout last year in downtown Crystal Lake.Sarah Nader file photo snader@shawmedia.com Dressed as a dinosaur, LJ Gaughram, 2, of Crystal Lake runs down North Williams Street collecting candy during the annual Halloween Handout last year in downtown Crystal Lake.Sarah Nader file photo – snader@shawmedia.com Amy Odom (left) hands candy to Addison Krallitsch, 9, of Crystal Lake as she collects candy Oct. 31, 2016, along North Williams Street during the annual Halloween Handout in downtown Crystal Lake.Sarah Nader file photo – snader@shawmedia.com Dressed as a banana, Taylor Kuhlman of Crystal Lake walks along North Williams Street during the annual Halloween Handout last year in downtown Crystal Lake.

Mon, 16 Oct 2017 05:55:00 GMT

HALLOWEEN 2017 Here is a complete roundup of Halloween-related events in McHenry County and beyond. To have your event listed, visit PlanitNorthwest.com. "THE ADDAMS FAMILY," through Oct. 22, Woodstock Opera House, 121 W. Van Buren St., Woodstock. A new musical comedy presented by the Woodstock Musical Theatre Co. Wednesday Addams has fallen in love with a young man from a respectable family her parents have never met. Gomez Addams decides to keep the secret from Morticia. Everything will change when her "normal" boyfriend and his parents come for dinner. Schedule: 8 p.m. Oct. 14, 20 and 21; 2 p.m. Oct. 15 and 22. Tickets: $24 adults, $21 seniors and students. Tickets and information: 815-338-5300 or woodstockoperahouse.com. DANGEROUS LULLABIES, through Oct. 27, Dole Mansion at Lakeside Legacy Arts Park, 401 Country Club Road. The third annual national exhibition showcasing more than 30 fine artists from throughout the country and curated by J + K Isacson in partnership. The group fine art exhibition explores the curious allure of things that frighten us. Paintings, sculptures and fine art creations will examine the beauty found in the ashes of terror and the magnetic pull of things disturbing, on edge or dark. The Dole Mansion, an intricately detailed 1800s building, is rumored to be haunted by its previous owner, Eliza, widow of the circus magnate Al Ringling. This year's opening night will include a new "living art" element to experience by performer J. Lindsay Brown. Information: www.lakesidelegacy.org or www.xculturearts.com. KARNIVAL OF KARNAGE, through Oct. 28, Boone County Fairgrounds, Belvidere. An indoor haunt. Not recommended for those younger than 13. Tickets: $15; $20 RIP Speed Pass. Tickets and information: www.karnivalofkarnage.com. "LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS," through Oct. 29, Raue Center for the Arts, 26 N. Williams St., Crystal Lake. A gleefully gruesome Broadway smash musical. Presented by Williams Street Repertory. This campy musical based on the 1960s cult horror film has devoured the hearts of theatergoers for more than 30 years. Schedule: 8 p.m. Oct. 14, 20, 21, 27 and 28; 3 p.m. Oct. 15, 21, 27, 28 and 29. Tickets: $35.50. Tickets and information: 815-356-9212 or rauecenter.ticketforce.com/?search=little%20shop. DUNGEON OF DOOM, through Nov. 4, 600 29th St., Zion. An in-your-face, maximum intensity haunted house that has more technology, theatrics and special effects to inflict an hour of horror upon guests as they travel through 42,000 square feet of terror. With new and improved attractions and a chance to be buried alive, this is the place where nightmares loom. See website for exact dates and hours. Tickets start at $25. Tickets and information: 262-331-0092 or www.dungeonofdoom.com. REALM OF TERROR, through Nov. 4, 421 W. Rollins Road, Round Lake Beach. Named the No. 1 Haunted House by HauntedIllinois.com and HauntedHouseChicago.com. Walk through fully immersive sets and environments created by professional set designers, and experience horror even with your eyes tightly shut with soundscapes custom created to set a horrifying tone. From the parking lot to the last moment, you will be inside of a winding maze of extreme terror unlike any other. Not appropriate for anyone younger than age 16. Tickets: $25; $35 Skip-the-Line; $45 VIP. Tickets and information: www.realmofterror.com. HAUNTED HAYRIDE, 7 to 10:30 p.m. Oct. 20 and 21, Petersen Park, 4311 Lakewood Road, McHenry. Henry Deadwood and his friends have been awaiting this year’s opening night for 12 long months. They are creeping ar[...]


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McHenry County Department of Health orders Harvard-area resident to clean up garbage piled on propertyThen there’s the home of Thomas Jaszczak, the man who the McHenry County Department of Health ordered to appear in court this month to try to get him to clear piles of garbage and debris stacked around his property – a place neighbors have considered an eyesore for years. “We get a lot of garbage complaints every year,” said Patricia Nomm, director of environmental health with the McHenry County Department of Health. “It’s unusual to have one with this volume on a single residential property like that.” On Oct. 6, a health department investigator delivered a “final notice of violation” to Jaszczak’s home, where two previous violations hung on his doorknob in plastic bags for weeks. Jaszczak has been summoned to McHenry County court to address the violations brought against him. Those violations include allowing an infestation of vermin in a structure, accumulation of rubbish and refuse on the property, and failing to eradicate noxious weeds within 150 feet of the property line, according to records obtained by the Northwest Herald. Residents on Robin Road were not willing to share their names and stories with the Northwest Herald. Many of them said they were afraid and concerned for their safety. The Northwest Herald could not reach Jaszczak for this story. Knocks on his door and notes left in plain sight on his property went unanswered. Linda Pieczynski, a former state prosecutor and building code expert, said it appears McHenry County officials are at the beginning of a long journey to clear the garbage from Robin Road. "It could take years to resolve," she said.On July 5, 2016, the McHenry County Department of Health received a complaint about a Harvard home surrounded with an unruly accumulation of refuse and rubbish. The next day, the investigator spoke with the neighbor who filed the complaint, a longtime resident who had been dealing with stomach-turning sights and smells of his neighbor for years, documents show. “Spoke with complainant,” the investigator logged in his report. “Property has gotten worse.” Two days later, the department sent an investigator to the home in the 21000 block of Robin Road. There, he found buckets, plants, tarps and recyclables littering the driveway. A car parked there appeared in working condition and had a current license plate. The investigator knocked at the door, but there was no answer. On the porch, he noticed a pile of rubbish and personal items. With no one home, the investigator posted a notice of inspection to the front door. On July 10, the investigator returned to the home. Again, he knocked, and again, no one answered, records show.On the property, the investigator counted 15 5-gallon buckets filled with “stagnant water” littered through the walk path and driveway. Construction debris and garbage littered the front yard and driveway. Logging the items, the investigator found cardboard boxes, wooden pallets, plastic tarps and garbage bags containing refuse. “Noxious weeds were observed throughout property,” he wrote, “including giant ragweed.” The investigator posted another notice to the door, listing alleged violations as “accumulation of waste” and “mosquito harborage.” On Sept. 12, the McHenry County Department of Health mailed a violation to the owner of the home, Jaszczak. The notice included a summary of the investigator’s observations: “Accumulations of litter observed in the form of general construction debris, rubbish and garbage on front walk and in driveway. Multiple buckets with stagnant water. Presence of noxious weeds on the property.” Health department officials ordered Jaszczak to remove and properly dispose of any litter; remove or empty containers that hold water; and eradicate all noxious weeds within 150 feet of any property line. By Oct. 4, Jaszczak had not taken any of those measures. On Oct. 6, the health department investigator delivered a final notice of violation and a court summons. Jaszczak is due to appear in court Nov. 13.Although the McHenry County Department of Health inspected the Robin Road property multiple times and served Jaszczak numerous violations – including a final notice – the department’s authority is limited. “We don’t have the ability just to send someone out there automatically and correct it,” Nomm said. If Jaszczak appears in court, he could plead guilty to the violations brought against him and face a fine. A judge could strike a deal with him to clean up the property over a certain period of time. If Jaszczak chooses not to show up to court, a judge can do nothing but summon him to court. If he doesn’t respond to the summons, a warrant can be issued for his arrest. All the while, the property remains blighted. “Even fines are not enough motivation,” Pieczynski said. In 2016, the McHenry County Department of Health received 662 complaints for public health nuisances. Of those, 148 complaints described buildings with unsanitary conditions. In most cases, Nomm said, residents are cooperative and clean up their property. In some instances, residents are incapable, physically or mentally, to help themselves, Nomm said. “In severe cases,” Nomm said, “we can request a court order to go on the property and get a contractor to clean up.” Health department investigators try to contact residents about violations in person to see whether there are any visible signs of distress or mental health struggles, Nomm said. If a resident appears mentally unfit, a court can request a mental health evaluation to determine whether an intervention is needed to clean up the property. In any case, the health department aims to get residents the help they need. “We try to link them with social service agencies,” Nomm said. “Sometimes, they’re unable to do it.” Some residents are reluctant to ask for help until it's too late. “In DuPage, I had a woman die,” Pieczynski said. “She suffered some kind of attack. By the time the firefighters cut through the debris, she died. This can be a matter of life and death.”

Mon, 16 Oct 2017 05:53:00 GMT

HARVARD – The McHenry County Department of Health is taking a homeowner to court as part of ongoing efforts to clean up a Robin Road property near Harvard that has been the source of repeated complaints. Robin Road is a place where, in most cases, residents keep their properties tidy. Here, on this short stretch of road tucked between Routes 23 and 14, 2 miles south of downtown Harvard, the landscaping is tight – even though the county has no high grass ordinance. The garbage makes it to the garbage bins. There’s a clear path to the front door. Then there’s the home of Thomas Jaszczak, the man who the McHenry County Department of Health ordered to appear in court this month to try to get him to clear piles of garbage and debris stacked around his property – a place neighbors have considered an eyesore for years. “We get a lot of garbage complaints every year,” said Patricia Nomm, director of environmental health with the McHenry County Department of Health. “It’s unusual to have one with this volume on a single residential property like that.” On Oct. 6, a health department investigator delivered a “final notice of violation” to Jaszczak’s home, where two previous violations hung on his doorknob in plastic bags for weeks. Jaszczak has been summoned to McHenry County court to address the violations brought against him. Those violations include allowing an infestation of vermin in a structure, accumulation of rubbish and refuse on the property, and failing to eradicate noxious weeds within 150 feet of the property line, according to records obtained by the Northwest Herald. Residents on Robin Road were not willing to share their names and stories with the Northwest Herald. Many of them said they were afraid and concerned for their safety. The Northwest Herald could not reach Jaszczak for this story. Knocks on his door and notes left in plain sight on his property went unanswered. Linda Pieczynski, a former state prosecutor and building code expert, said it appears McHenry County officials are at the beginning of a long journey to clear the garbage from Robin Road. "It could take years to resolve," she said.On July 5, 2016, the McHenry County Department of Health received a complaint about a Harvard home surrounded with an unruly accumulation of refuse and rubbish. The next day, the investigator spoke with the neighbor who filed the complaint, a longtime resident who had been dealing with stomach-turning sights and smells of his neighbor for years, documents show. “Spoke with complainant,” the investigator logged in his report. “Property has gotten worse.” Two days later, the department sent an investigator to the home in the 21000 block of Robin Road. There, he found buckets, plants, tarps and recyclables littering the driveway. A car parked there appeared in working condition and had a current license plate. The investigator knocked at the door, but there was no answer. On the porch, he noticed a pile of rubbish and personal items. With no one home, the investigator posted a notice of inspection to the front door. On July 10, the investigator returned to the home. Again, he knocked, and again, no one answered, records show.On the property, the investigator counted 15 5-gallon buckets filled with “stagnant water” littered through the walk path and driveway. Construction debris and garbage littered the front yard and driveway. Logging the items, the investigator found cardboard boxes, wooden pallets, plastic tarps and garbage bags containing refuse. “Noxious weeds were observed throughout property,” he wrote, “including giant ragweed.”[...]


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McHenry County Department of Health orders Harvard-area resident to clean up garbage piled on propertySarah Nader – snader@shawmedia.com The McHenry County Department of Health is taking Thomas Jaszcak of Harvard to court to try to make him clear piles of garbage and debris from outside his Harvard home.

Mon, 16 Oct 2017 05:50:00 GMT

HARVARD – The McHenry County Department of Health is taking a homeowner to court as part of ongoing efforts to clean up a Robin Road property near Harvard that has been the source of repeated complaints. Robin Road is a place where, in most cases, residents keep their properties tidy. Here, on this short stretch of road tucked between Routes 23 and 14, 2 miles south of downtown Harvard, the landscaping is tight – even though the county has no high grass ordinance. The garbage makes it to the garbage bins. There’s a clear path to the front door. Then there’s the home of Thomas Jaszczak, the man who the McHenry County Department of Health ordered to appear in court this month to try to get him to clear piles of garbage and debris stacked around his property – a place neighbors have considered an eyesore for years. “We get a lot of garbage complaints every year,” said Patricia Nomm, director of environmental health with the McHenry County Department of Health. “It’s unusual to have one with this volume on a single residential property like that.”  On Oct. 6, a health department investigator delivered a “final notice of violation” to Jaszczak’s home, where two previous violations hung on his doorknob in plastic bags for weeks. Jaszczak has been summoned to McHenry County court to address the violations brought against him. Those violations include allowing an infestation of vermin in a structure, accumulation of rubbish and refuse on the property, and failing to eradicate noxious weeds within 150 feet of the property line, according to records obtained by the Northwest Herald. Residents on Robin Road were not willing to share their names and stories with the Northwest Herald. Many of them said they were afraid and concerned for their safety. The Northwest Herald could not reach Jaszczak for this story. Knocks on his door and notes left in plain sight on his property went unanswered. Linda Pieczynski, a former state prosecutor and building code expert, said it appears McHenry County officials are at the beginning of a long journey to clear the garbage from Robin Road. “It could take years to resolve,” she said. ‘Property has gotten worse’ On July 5, 2016, the McHenry County Department of Health received a complaint about a Harvard home surrounded with an unruly accumulation of refuse and rubbish. The next day, the investigator spoke with the neighbor who filed the complaint, a longtime resident who had been dealing with stomach-turning sights and smells of his neighbor for years, documents show. “Spoke with complainant,” the investigator logged in his report. “Property has gotten worse.” Two days later, the department sent an investigator to the home in the 21000 block of Robin Road.  There, he found buckets, plants, tarps and recyclables littering the driveway. A car parked there appeared in working condition and had a current license plate. The investigator knocked at the door, but there was no answer. On the porch, he noticed a pile of rubbish and personal items. With no one home, the investigator posted a notice of inspection to the front door. On July 10, the investigator r[...]


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Care4 Breast Cancer 5K in Woodstock raises funds for early detection screeningsAmanda (left) and Julie Zapata surpass the halfway point during the Care4 Breast Cancer 5K run/walk Sunday in Woodstock.Joselyn Perea of McHenry participates in the Care4 Breast Cancer 5K run/walk Sunday in Woodstock.Simon Pedersen of Union makes it past the halfway point of the course during the Care4 Breast Cancer 5K run/walk Sunday in Woodstock.Lincoln Buening of Woodstock gives out water to runners during the Care4 Breast Cancer 5K run/walk Sunday in Woodstock.

Mon, 16 Oct 2017 05:50:00 GMT

WOODSTOCK – Five kilometers. About 1,400 participants. One cause.

With flood watches over McHenry County throughout the weekend, residents still participated in the 17th annual Care4 Breast Cancer 5K run/walk Sunday, which started and ended at Woodstock North High School, 3000 Raffel Road.

Suzanne Hoban, executive director for Family Health Partnership Clinic, said the event staff was thrilled that only 62 registered people didn’t show up to take part in the event.

“The people who came out [Sunday] are really committed,” Hoban said.

The streets were lined with bundled-up volunteers handing out water for runners or simply cheering them on. That included Woodstock resident Corinne Buening and her two sons, Lincoln and Shane.

Buening said she ran in the annual race with people from work the past few years, but a lot of her co-workers were out of town during the race this year. Since her husband’s mother died from breast cancer in 2011, she said, the family does anything they can to help raise awareness.

“We decided that if we can’t walk, we’ll cheer people on,” Buening said.

Hoban said there was a $150,000 fundraising goal for the event, and she said they looked to be on track to meet that goal. When the race first started in 2000, she said, there were only 200 participants who raised $5,000.

Hoban said the funds go toward giving the community more access to early cancer screenings, which she said people can’t afford to become jaded about.

“It’s critically important that people pay attention to that, that they urge their loved ones to get checked – and if they can’t find those services for [a] low cost, call us,” Hoban said.

Woodstock residents Steve and Melody Emricson said they have participated in the race whenever they could since the race used to be held at Lippold Park in Crystal Lake.

Melody Emricson said she had relatives who died from breast cancer, while Steve Emricson said he had an aunt who beat it.

Steve Emricson, who placed first in the male age 55 to 59 division during Sunday’s race, said the event is a good way to raise funds for and encourage people to get regular screenings that would help prevent them from being affected by such a “nasty disease.”

“If you can get together and run 3.1 miles to help do that, I’m in,” he said.

Amanda (left) and Julie Zapata surpass the halfway point during the Care4 Breast Cancer 5K run/walk Sunday in Woodstock.Joselyn Perea of McHenry participates in the Care4 Breast Cancer 5K run/walk Sunday in Woodstock.Simon Pedersen of Union makes it past the halfway point of the course during the Care4 Breast Cancer 5K run/walk Sunday in Woodstock.Lincoln Buening of Woodstock gives out water to runners during the Care4 Breast Cancer 5K run/walk Sunday in Woodstock.


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McConnell preps for chilly health care talk with TrumpAP file photo Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., listens as President Donald Trump speaks Sept. 5 during a meeting with congressional leaders and administration officials in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, D.C. Trump and McConnell are scheduled to meet Monday.

Mon, 16 Oct 2017 05:49:00 GMT

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump blames the Senate’s GOP leader for the health overhaul failure, hints at tantalizing deals with Democrats and watches his former strategist work to bulldoze the Republican establishment on Capitol Hill. There’s no need for air conditioning at the White House with that chill in the air when Trump, a public official since January, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, first elected to Congress in 1984, meet on Monday. “Mitch McConnell’s not our problem. Our problem is that we promised to repeal and replace Obamacare, and we failed. We promised to cut taxes and we have yet to do it,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., a member of Congress since 1995. “If we’re successful, Mitch McConnell’s fine. If we’re not, we’re all in trouble. We lose our majority and I think President Trump will not get re-elected.” Steve Bannon, back at Breitbart News after helping Trump win the presidency and serving in the West Wing, is committed to dumping McConnell, R-Ky. In a speech to religious conservatives Saturday, Bannon put on notice some of those incumbents who are at risk of a challenge from his flank of the party. He said the lawmakers possibly can avoid that wrath if they disavow McConnell and meet other conditions. “This is our war,” Bannon said. “The establishment started it. ... You all are gonna finish it.” Sen. Susan Collins, a Maine moderate who just passed up a run for governor and was a pivotal “no” vote on health care, said Bannon’s rhetoric is exactly what the American people are tired of. “They don’t want this hyper-partisanship. They want us to work together. And they want us to get things done,” she said. Collins, who’s served in the Senate since 1997, added that Bannon’s “over-the-top rhetoric is not helpful. Mitch McConnell is the Senate majority leader. The president needs him. I’m glad they’re working together on tax reform and a lot of other issues. And I’m glad they’re meeting this week.” McConnell responded to Trump’s Twitter barrage after the failed health care effort by saying that the challenges of governing should come as no surprise. “A lot of people look at all that and find it frustrating, messy. Well, welcome to the democratic process. That’s the way it is in our country,” McConnell said at a GOP event in Kentucky this summer. Trump, a former Democrat himself, cut a deal with Democratic leaders on raising the U.S. borrowing limit and keeping the government running into the winter. The president also has talked about future arrangements, though his recent list of immigration demands soured Democrats who had seen an earlier opening for legislative progress. Hard-right conservatives frustrated by the stalled agenda in Congress wrote in a letter last week during the Senate’s break that McConnell and his leadership team should step aside. The senators’ weeklong recess also drew criticism from the White House: “They’re on another vacation right now. I think that we would all be a lot better off if the Senate would stop taking vacations, and start staying here until we actually get some real things accomplished,” Trump spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders had said. Meanwhile, a McConnell-backed political committee spent millions to support Alabama Sen. Luther Strange and Trump endorsed him in a recent primar[...]


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Illinois’ 200th birthday party gets late startAP file photo Stuart Layne, executive director of the Illinois Bicentennial Commission, speaks to reporters after addressing the Conference on Illinois History on Oct. 5 in Springfield. The kickoff to the start of Illinois' 200th birthday year is weeks away, but is the financially battered state ready? Organizer won't say how much the effort has raised, but Layne estimates a good celebration will cost as much as $6 million.

Mon, 16 Oct 2017 05:49:00 GMT

SPRINGFIELD – Illinois is on the brink of its bicentennial bash , but political skirmishing that has battered the state could be blamed for late party planning, a comparatively low budget – and ultimately, its contribution to future generations. The plans to celebrate Illinois’ Dec. 3, 1818, admission to the Union seem to pale compared with the two states that joined just before. Indiana and Mississippi spent tens of millions of dollars and have flashy “legacy” projects to show off. The Prairie State, just seven weeks from kickoff of its yearlong festivities, is aiming to raise a modest $4 million to $6 million. Stuart Layne, executive director of the Illinois Bicentennial, acknowledges planning got a belated start with his appointment just a year ago. While he said significant corporate and other donors are stepping up, he would not say how much has been raised. But he dismissed the idea that two years of infighting in the 21st state between Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner, who appointed him, and Democrats who control the General Assembly over a budget that is billions in the red, has hamstrung the project. He said he’s taken two things from virtually every conversation he’s had about the Illinois celebration. “People want us to use the bicentennial as a platform to change the conversation about the state of Illinois, to talk about all the great things that Illinois has contributed to society,” Layne said in a speech in Springfield this month. “The second is pride. People are proud to be from this state. ... That has become our mantra.” There are plans for exhibits; a school curriculum; a United Center ceremony honoring 200 Illinoisans in arts, entertainment, sports, agriculture and business; and more. But it’s hard not to notice what’s been done elsewhere. Raising $55 million by leasing unused state-owned cell-tower space, Indiana, which celebrated its bicentennial last December, built a state archives building, a statehouse-lawn bicentennial plaza, a state-library learning center and an inn at a state park. In Mississippi, years of planning went into the celebration, along with over $100 million – including $90 million from taxpayers – for construction of the Museum of Mississippi History and Mississippi Civil Rights Museum in downtown Jackson. Katie Blount, the bicentennial organizer and director of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, said the museums will open Dec. 9, on the eve of Mississippi’s birthday. In Mississippi, Blount agreed that people are key. The state-of-the-art museums cover the sweep of state history and, in the Civil Rights section, the state’s unique place – warts and all – in the struggle for racial equality. They will be the state’s birthday gift to the future. “But the bicentennial celebrations that took place in communities across the state had a real grassroots spirit and reflected lots of different people’s ideas about what the bicentennial means to Mississippi,” Blount said. “And the funding came from many sources in addition to the Mississippi Legislature.” AP file photo Stuart Layne, executive director of the Illinois Bicentennial Commission, speaks to reporters after addressing the Conference on Illinois History on Oct. 5 in Springfield. The kickoff to the start of Illinois' 200th birthday year is weeks awa[...]


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U.S., states struggling to pay cost of fighting firesFILE--In this Oct. 9, 2017, file photo, firefighters battle flames along Jamboree Road in Orange, Calif. The long and brutal 2017 wildfire season is stressing the state and federal agencies that have to pay for the army of ground crews and machinery required to fight them. (Will Lester/The Orange County Register via AP, file)

Mon, 16 Oct 2017 05:49:00 GMT

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The long and brutal 2017 wildfire season is stressing the state and federal agencies that have to pay for the army of ground crews and machinery required to fight them. The federal government spent more than $2.7 billion on firefighting in its most recently finished budget year, a record that far surpassed the previous high point of $2.1 billion set only two years ago. In California, firefighting costs already have chewed through more than half of the state’s $469 million emergency fund for big fires only three months in – and that doesn’t include the costs of the recent catastrophic fires that have claimed dozens of lives and thousands of buildings. California officials said Friday they expect the cost of fighting those fires will be hundreds of millions of dollars. Montana also struggled to pay for firefighting this year, with costs approaching $400 million by late September. With pressure increasing on lawmakers and forest managers to find new ways to pay for firefighting and for fire prevention, here’s a look at some of key questions: Why are costs going up? The U.S. is seeing more and bigger wildfires, and the wildfire season is getting longer. The reasons are hotter, drier weather and a buildup of dead and dying trees because of past fire-suppression practices, said Jennifer Jones, a spokeswoman for the National Interagency Fire Center, which coordinates firefighting nationwide. The old practice of putting out all fires led to overgrown forests, some with huge tracts of trees that died at about the same time, leaving them prone to large, hot, fast-moving blazes, researchers said. Some climate and forestry experts have said global warming is a factor in the increasing number of fires because it’s contributing to the hot, dry weather. Jones said another development driving up costs is the increasing number of homes being built in or near forests, a number that the U.S. Forest Service estimates is about 43 million homes. Keeping fires away from people, houses, power lines and other infrastructure is more complicated and costly than firefighting in the wilds. Who pays to fight fires? The federal government, most states and some local agencies have firefighting budgets. Who gets the bill for any one fire depends on where it starts and whether it burns on land owned by the federal government, a state or local government or a private individual. The Forest Service is the nation’s primary wildfire-fighting agency, but the Interior Department also pays hundreds of millions of dollars a year in fire costs. Before 2000, the U.S. government’s firefighting costs never reached $1 billion. Since 2000, they have topped $1 billion 14 times, and they exceeded $1.5 billion 10 times, according to Forest Service records. Many fires burn across public and private lands. When that happens, everyone involved negotiates a cost-sharing deal, sometimes leading to disputes. In July, California accused the federal government of stiffing the state $18 million for fighting fires on federal land. The Forest Service said it had paid $14 million of that and was trying to resolve differences over the rest. Where does the money come f[...]


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276 killed in deadliest attack in Somalia’s historySomalis walk past the wreckage of vehicles at the scene of a blast in the capital Mogadishu, Somalia Saturday, Oct. 14, 2017. A huge explosion from a truck bomb has killed at least 20 people in Somalia's capital, police said Saturday, as shaken residents called it the most powerful blast they'd heard in years. (AP Photo/Farah Abdi Warsameh)

Mon, 16 Oct 2017 05:49:00 GMT

MOGADISHU, Somalia – The most powerful bomb blast ever witnessed in Somalia’s capital killed 276 people with around 300 others injured, the country’s information minister said early Monday, making it the deadliest single attack in this Horn of Africa nation. The toll was expected to rise.

In a tweet, Abdirahman Osman called the attack “barbaric” and said countries including Turkey and Kenya had already offered to send medical aid. Hospitals were overwhelmed a day after a truck bomb targeted a crowded street near key government ministries, including foreign affairs.

As angry protesters gathered near the scene of the attack, Somalia’s government blamed the al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab extremist group for what it called a “national disaster.” However, Africa’s deadliest Islamic extremist group, which often targets high-profile areas of the capital, had yet to comment.

Somalis walk past the wreckage of vehicles at the scene of a blast in the capital Mogadishu, Somalia Saturday, Oct. 14, 2017. A huge explosion from a truck bomb has killed at least 20 people in Somalia's capital, police said Saturday, as shaken residents called it the most powerful blast they'd heard in years. (AP Photo/Farah Abdi Warsameh)


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Collins urges Trump to back effort to restore health subsidyAP photo Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, smiles during a news conference Friday in Rockland, Maine, after announcing she will remain in the U.S. Senate and not run for governor.

Mon, 16 Oct 2017 05:49:00 GMT

WASHINGTON – A key moderate Republican urged President Donald Trump on Sunday to back a bipartisan Senate effort to shield consumers from rising premiums after his abrupt decision to halt federal payments to insurers. Sen. Susan Collins called the move “disruptive” and an immediate threat to access to health care. “What the president is doing is affecting people’s access and the cost of health care right now,” said Collins of Maine, who has cast pivotal votes on health care in the narrowly divided Senate. “This is not a bailout of the insurers. What this money is used for is to help low-income people afford their deductibles and their copays.” “Congress needs to step in, and I hope that the president will take a look at what we’re doing,” she said. Her comments reflected an increasing focus Sunday on the bipartisan Senate effort led by Sens. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and Patty Murray, D-Wash., to at least temporarily reinstate the payments to avoid immediate turmoil in the insurance market, even as Trump signaled he wouldn’t back a deal without getting something he wants in return. The payments will be stopped beginning this week, with signup season for subsidized private insurance set to start Nov. 1. “The president is not going to continue to throw good money after bad, give $7 billion to insurance companies unless something changes about Obamacare that would justify it,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who golfed with Trump on Saturday at the Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Virginia. “It’s got to be a good deal,” Graham said. In his decision last week, Trump derided the $7 billion in subsidies as bailouts to insurers and suggested he was trying to get Democrats to negotiate and agree to a broader effort to repeal and replace former President Barack Obama’s health care law, a bid that repeatedly crashed in the GOP-run Senate this summer. The payments seek to lower out-of-pocket costs for insurers, which are required under Obama’s law to reduce poorer people’s expenses – about 6 million people. To recoup the lost money, carriers are likely to raise 2018 premiums for people buying their own health insurance policies. Alexander and Murray have been seeking a deal that the Tennessee Republican has said would reinstate the payments for two years. In exchange, Alexander said, Republicans want “meaningful flexibility for states” to offer lower-cost insurance policies with less coverage than Obama’s law mandates. Still, congressional Republicans are divided over that effort. White House budget director Mick Mulvaney has suggested that Trump might oppose any agreement unless he gets something he wants – such as a repeal of Obamacare or funding of Trump’s promised wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. On Sunday, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., described Trump’s demand for a sit-down with congressional Democratic leaders as “a little far down the road.” She noted the bipartisan effort in the Senate and said ultimately it will be up to a Republican-controlled Congress and executive branch whether the federal government can avert a shutdown by year’s end. The government faces a Dec. 8 deadline on the debt limit and government spen[...]


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California firefighters making progressAP photo A firefighter holds a water hose while fighting a wildfire Saturday in Santa Rosa, Calif.

Mon, 16 Oct 2017 05:49:00 GMT

SANTA ROSA, Calif. – With the winds dying down, fire officials said Sunday they have apparently “turned a corner” against the wildfires that have devastated California wine country and other parts of the state over the past week, and thousands of people got the all-clear to return home. Although the danger from the deadliest, most destructive cluster of blazes in California history was far from over, the smoky skies started to clear in some places. “A week ago this started as a nightmare, and the day we dreamed of has arrived,” Napa County Supervisor Belia Ramos said. People were being allowed to go back home in areas no longer in harm’s way, and the number of those under evacuation orders was down to 75,000 from nearly 100,000 the day before. Fire crews were able to gain ground because the winds that had fanned the flames did not kick up overnight as much as feared. “Conditions have drastically changed from just 24 hours ago, and that is definitely a very good sign,” said Daniel Berlant, spokesman for California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, who noted that some of the fires were 50 percent or more contained. “It’s probably a sign we’ve turned a corner on these fires.” The blazes were blamed for at least 40 deaths and destroyed about 5,700 homes and other structures. The death toll could climb as searchers dig through the ruins for people listed as missing. Hundreds were unaccounted for, although authorities said many of them probably are safe but haven’t let anyone know. In hard-hit Sonoma County, Sheriff Rob Giordano said authorities have located 1,560 of the more than 1,700 once listed as missing. Many of those names were put on the list after people called from out of state to say they couldn’t reach a friend or relative. Sonoma County officials said they will not let people return home until it is safe and utilities are restored. Crews have been working around the clock to connect water and power, in some cases putting up new poles next to smoldering trees, the sheriff said. Many evacuees grew increasingly impatient to go home – or at least find out whether their homes were spared. Others were reluctant to go back or to look for another place to live. Juan Hernandez, who escaped with his family from his apartment Oct. 9 before it burned down, still had his car packed and ready to go in case the fires flared up again and threatened his sister’s house, where they have been staying in Santa Rosa. “Every day we keep hearing sirens at night, alarms,” Hernandez said. “We’re scared. When you see the fire close to your house, you’re scared.” Evacuation orders were lifted for the city of Calistoga, the Napa Valley city of 5,000 known for its mud baths, mineral spas and wine tastings. The city was cleared out Wednesday as winds shifted, but homes and businesses were spared. At the Sonoma fairgrounds, evacuees watched the San Francisco 49ers play the Redskins on TV, received treatment from a chiropractor and got free haircuts. Michael Estrada, who owns a barber shop in neighboring Marin County but grew up in one of the Santa Rosa neighborhoods hit hard by the bla[...]


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Tillerson: N. Korea efforts stay until 1st ‘bomb drops’FILE - In a Friday, Oct. 13, 2017 file photo, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson answers a reporters question while greeting Organization of American States Secretary-General Luis Almagro at the State Department, in Washington. Tillerson said Sunday, Oct. 15, in a television interview that President Donald Trump wants a diplomatic solution to the North Korean crisis and is not hankering for war with the nuclear-armed nation, despite past tweets that America‚Äôs chief envoy was ``wasting his time‚Äô‚Äô trying to negotiate with the North‚Äôs leader.(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

Mon, 16 Oct 2017 05:49:00 GMT

WASHINGTON – Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Sunday that diplomatic efforts aimed at resolving the North Korean crisis “will continue until the first bomb drops.”

That statement comes despite President Donald Trump’s tweets a couple of weeks ago that his chief envoy was “wasting his time” trying to negotiate with “Little Rocket Man,” a mocking nickname Trump has given the nuclear-armed nation’s leader Kim Jong Un.

“I think he does want to be clear with Kim Jong-un and that regime in North Korea that he has military preparations ready to go and he has those military options on the table. And we have spent substantial time actually perfecting those,” Tillerson told CNN’s “State of the Union.”

FILE - In a Friday, Oct. 13, 2017 file photo, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson answers a reporters question while greeting Organization of American States Secretary-General Luis Almagro at the State Department, in Washington. Tillerson said Sunday, Oct. 15, in a television interview that President Donald Trump wants a diplomatic solution to the North Korean crisis and is not hankering for war with the nuclear-armed nation, despite past tweets that America’s chief envoy was ``wasting his time’’ trying to negotiate with the North’s leader.(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)


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Tillerson brushes off drama with TrumpAP file photo Secretary of State Rex Tillerson speaks after a meeting with President Donald Trump on Aug. 11 at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J. The strained relationship between Trump and Tillerson came under renewed focus Sunday during an interview with Jake Tapper on CNN, as Tillerson insisted that Trump has not undermined him even as he refused to deny calling the president a "moron."

Mon, 16 Oct 2017 05:48:00 GMT

WASHINGTON – Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Sunday ducked, danced and sidestepped the question of whether he truly called President Donald Trump a “moron,” dismissing the brouhaha as the “petty stuff” of Washington. Although they keep coming, Tillerson insisted the persistent queries aren’t hindering his mission as the nation’s top diplomat. Asked about a leading GOP senator’s comment – “You cannot publicly castrate your own secretary of state” – Tillerson would have none of it. “I checked. I’m fully intact.” Again and again, Tillerson declined in a news show interview to attest to the accuracy of the report about his use of the word “moron” to describe the commander in chief. Tillerson said he was “not dignifying the question with an answer,” reprising his response from earlier this month, the morning the story broke, when he used an extraordinary televised statement to insist he had nothing but respect for Trump. “I’m not making a game out of it,” Tillerson said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.” Asked once more, he replied: “I’m not playing.” Yet Tillerson has let others play it on his behalf. He previously dispatched State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert to flatly deny he ever called the president a “moron.” It was unclear why Tillerson was unwilling to repeat what his spokeswoman has said on his behalf. But the continuing questions have brought his strained relationship with the president into renewed focus. Tillerson insisted the relationship is solid, and that the continuing public focus on whether he’s being undermined by the president has not impeded his ability to succeed in his role. As the drama has played out, Tillerson has brushed it off as meaningless Washington-centric noise that he said he doesn’t understand as an outsider. The Texan and former Exxon Mobil CEO never served in government or politics before becoming secretary of state. “I know the appearance of it certainly looks like there’s sometimes disunity,” Tillerson said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” “There’s no confusion among the people that matter.” Questions about Trump’s tensions with his secretary of state come as the U.S. faces a series of international crises, including the threat posed by North Korea and fate of the Iran nuclear deal. Tillerson’s critics, including a growing list of foreign policy experts, have questioned whether he can effectively lead American diplomacy if he’s perceived by foreign leaders as being at odds with the true decision-maker: Trump. Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker, a Republican who has become a vocal critic of the president, made the castration analogy last week to The Washington Post. “At the end of the day, he makes decisions,” Tillerson said of the president. “I go out and do the best I can to execute those decisions successfully.” Despite Tillerson’s attempts to show he’s in lockstep with the president, the NBC News report of his “moron” comment infuriated Trump, who privately bashed h[...]


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MIT student making sleeping bags for refugees in Middle EastAP photo Vick Liu unrolls his TravlerPack, a lightweight sleeping bag, Oct. 6 outside the Kresge Auditorium at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Mass. Liu, a finance and political science major, created a line of lightweight sleeping bags for refugees who have few other options to keep warm during winters in the Middle East.

Mon, 16 Oct 2017 05:48:00 GMT

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – It wasn’t enough to send warm wishes to refugees in Syria. Vick Liu wanted to send them actual warmth. The sophomore at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is creating a new line of sleeping bags designed for refugees who have few other options to keep warm during harsh winters in the Middle East. An avid backpacker in his youth, Liu came up with the idea last year after reading about Syrian families who were struggling to survive freezing temperatures after fleeing the country’s civil war. “The only way for them to create heat is through fire and through blankets,” said Liu, a 19-year-old finance and political science student. “It’s tough to stay warm at 15 degrees Fahrenheit with a couple blankets.” Freezing temperatures in Syria and surrounding countries have been blamed for causing hypothermia and some refugee deaths in recent years. The United Nations says up to 4 million refugees in the Middle East face “extreme risk” this winter, but that only a quarter are expected to get assistance preparing for the cold. To help, Liu and a team of five classmates recently raised $17,000 to manufacture 250 bedrolls and send them to resettlement areas in northwest Syria. They’ll be distributed in December by Nu Day Syria, a nonprofit group based in New Hampshire that provides medical supplies and everyday items to refugees in Syria. The group partnered with Liu after hearing from families who feared a repeat of last year’s winter, one of the worst in recent history. Workers said even a sleeping bag can make a major difference for refugees who had to flee home without warm clothing and who can’t afford fuel for gas heaters. “We have 8-year-old children saying, ‘I don’t want my brother to die,’ ” said Huda Alawa, grants and logistics coordinator for the group. “It’s a very tangible fear because it’s something they’ve seen happen already.” The project joins other efforts to help refugees through the winter, including programs by the U.N. and other nonprofits that distribute blankets and warm clothing. Liu’s work began last year in his dorm room, where the Los Angeles native crafted a prototype using a sewing machine and materials stashed under his bed. His final product is called the TravlerPack, a lightweight sleeping bag that’s filled with duck down insulation and can handle temperatures as low as 15 degrees. Each one costs about $50 to make and distribute. Some of the design is based on Liu’s experience as an Eagle Scout who grew up backpacking in cold conditions. But other features were suggested by Syrian refugees Liu met through a friend, including a waterproof pocket for travel documents and a shoulder strap for portability. Multiple bags can be zipped together to create a larger blanket for families. “I made it a point not to assume what their needs were, but to go out and find out,” said Liu, who tested one of his early models by zipping into it overnight during a Boston snowstorm. After the first sleeping bags are delivered to Syria, Liu’s team aims to send another 1,000 to refugee camps in Lebanon and Jord[...]


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Las Vegas tourism sees changes in aftermath of shootingIn this Oct. 13, 2017, photo, people wait to go through security at the T-Mobile arena before an NHL hockey game in Las Vegas. The Las Vegas tourism sector is bracing for changes in the aftermath of the massacre that killed 58 people at an outdoor music festival. (AP Photo/John Locher)

Mon, 16 Oct 2017 05:48:00 GMT

LAS VEGAS – Las Vegas’ tourism sector is bracing for changes in the aftermath of the massacre that killed 58 people at an outdoor music festival. Analysts who closely track the finances of the city’s casino companies say Las Vegas will see a short-term dip in visitors in response to the shooting. Casinos and police might have to impose new security measures after gunman Stephen Paddock brought more than 20 rifles into his hotel room and drove a car filled with explosives into the parking garage. The “What Happens in Vegas Stays in Vegas” slogan has been put on hold, as has one unveiled in the weeks before the shooting by the owner of Mandalay Bay that said, “We are not in the hotel business ... we are in the holy [expletive] business.” Electronic billboards that typically promote restaurants, concerts, a topless pool and other entertainment are now showing a dedicated phone line for victims and their families, along with words of appreciation for first responders and casino employees. “We’ve been there for you during the good times. Thank you for being there for us now,” reads a black-and-white billboard message with the city skyline and “#VegasStrong.” It’s hard to quantify the effect the shooting will have on Las Vegas tourism. Airplanes still carry loads of tourists to the desert oasis, convention-goers fill large halls to discuss the latest industry trends, and slot machines ring in the casinos. But stock prices of the main Las Vegas casino companies all took a minor tumble after the shooting, in an indication the attack will have some effect on the industry. Analysts with investment bank Morgan Stanley forecast the shooting will decrease demand for the Las Vegas market for about six months and have a 4 percent to 6 percent economic effect. The analysts looked into the effect of terrorist attacks on “revenue per available room,” a key gauge of a lodging company’s performance, across different markets to measure the shooting’s potential impact. The report said not all markets are alike, but the effects on tourism of events such as the Orlando, Florida, nightclub attack have gradually become less pronounced and shorter. On Oct. 1, Paddock, a 64-year-old professional video poker player, shattered windows of his hotel suite on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel casino and unleashed withering gunfire at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival below before killing himself. His vehicle was found at the hotel’s massive parking garage with a potentially deadly cargo of 1,600 rounds of ammunition and 90 pounds of chemical explosives. In the days after the shooting, visitors found marked police SUVs parked outside their hotels along the Strip. Security employees of the Wynn Las Vegas and Encore casino-resorts used hand-held metal detectors to check bags. Guards asked some visitors to pop their trunks. But those measures have since been scaled back. A tour of several major resorts found no apparent new security measures other than guards checking room keys at Mandalay Bay. Mandalay Bay’s parent company, MGM Resorts Inter[...]


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Venezuela officials: Ruling party wins most governorshipsAP photo Supporters of pro-government gubernatorial candidate for Miranda state, Hector Rodriguez, bang pans and shout insults at opposition candidate Carlos Ocariz as he arrives to a polling station Sunday during regional elections in Caracas, Venezuela.

Mon, 16 Oct 2017 05:48:00 GMT

CARACAS, Venezuela – Venezuela’s National Electoral Council said candidates for the socialist movement founded by the late President Hugo Chavez won nearly all of the 23 governorships up for grabs in Sunday’s regional elections. Opposition leaders disputed the accuracy of the vote count. Independent pollsters had projected the opposition would ride a wave of discontent over Venezuela’s economic calamity and win a majority of the state elections for the first time in nearly two decades of socialist rule. Tibisay Lucena, the pro-government president of the electoral council, said socialist party candidates won 17 of the 22 races in which the outcomes were considered “irreversible” late Sunday. One race was still undecided. Lucena said 61 percent of the nation’s 18 million voters participated in the elections, far higher than many people had anticipated. Even before the results were announced, opposition leader Gerardo Blyde said there was reason to question the results. He said the opposition’s count would be “very different” from the electoral council’s results. “We have already alerted the international community and we are alerting the country,” Blyde said. The disputed result threatened to heighten an already tense standoff between the government and opposition. “There is a wide disparity between the poll numbers and the results which show that these elections were not free and fair and don’t reflect the will of the people,” said Michael Shifter, president of the Inter-American Dialogue. “I think that’s going to deepen the polarization.” The election comes during one of the most turbulent years in recent Venezuelan history. Four months of anti-government protests that began in April left at least 120 people dead, mostly young men in their 20s and 30s. In August, a new pro-government constitutional assembly was installed with virtually unlimited powers after an election that was boycotted by the opposition and that electoral officials were accused of manipulating by more than 1 million votes. Throughout Sunday, President Nicolas Maduro and socialist party leaders said the election would be proof that Venezuela remains a democracy and not a dictatorship, as a rising number of foreign leaders have begun to call the embattled nation. Few checks and balances remain on Maduro’s rule after the constitutional assembly declared itself superior to all other branches of government and replaced the nation’s outspoken chief prosecutor with a socialist ally of the president. “They’ve said we are a dictatorship,” Maduro said in a televised address to the nation during the day. “No. We are a democratic people, rebellious, and with an egalitarian sensibility.” After results were announced, Maduro said he had “absolute faith” in the count and would ask the constitutional assembly to order an audit of the vote in order to extinguish any cries of fraud. The regional elections were originally scheduled to take place last December, but the electoral council postponed the vote after polls indicated [...]


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Lake in the Hills resident Mike Luecht retiring as head of ML Realty PartnersFounder of ML Realty Partners and Lake in the Hills resident Mike Luecht (left) is stepping down as CEO of the company and will focus on helping young people and those in need as they navigate obstacles toward success. He will remain on the company's board of directors. Ryan Hesch (center) and Nancy Kozinski were promoted to top roles in the company's day-to-day dealings.

Mon, 16 Oct 2017 05:47:00 GMT

LAKE IN THE HILLS – Mike Luecht is leaving his position as CEO of the company he founded, ML Realty Partners, to focus on philanthropic efforts.

“After 34 years, this is simply a pivot,” the Lake in the Hills resident said Friday.

ML Realty Partners announced Wednesday that Luecht will retire but remain on the company’s board of directors.

In corresponding moves, the board appointed Ryan Hesch as president and CEO, and Nancy Kozinski was appointed chief operating officer.

Luecht, a native of Joliet who has been in McHenry County with his family for 30 years, founded the company in 2001. It specializes in industrial properties in the Chicago and Dallas metropolitan areas, and it has more than $1 billion in assets. ML Realty has offices in Itasca and Dallas.

But locally, the Luecht family has given to many causes.

The Luecht Conference Center at McHenry County College carries the family’s name, after Mike and his wife donated $1 million in 2008 to the Promise program.

They have donated to Turning Point of McHenry County’s efforts to stop domestic violence, with contributions to fund the group’s shelter for abused women and children.

Luecht said he does not yet have any specific plans on how he and his family will proceed with philanthropic goals, but added, “For me, it always starts with helping young people or those in need to navigate obstacles in front of them.”

Luecht is a graduate of Joliet West High School, and his company has five properties in Will County.

He will work carefully with Hesch and the board on a transition process. It was time, he said.

“I believe leadership in companies needs to evolve and rotate, and it was time for these folks to get their opportunity to lead,” Luecht said.

Founder of ML Realty Partners and Lake in the Hills resident Mike Luecht (left) is stepping down as CEO of the company and will focus on helping young people and those in need as they navigate obstacles toward success. He will remain on the company's board of directors. Ryan Hesch (center) and Nancy Kozinski were promoted to top roles in the company's day-to-day dealings.


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Crystal Lake School District 47 presents sexual abuse awareness programs to studentsSexual abuse awareness advocate Victor Pacini presents sexual abuse awareness training to Crystal Lake Elementary School District 47 students during the 2016-17 school year.

Mon, 16 Oct 2017 05:47:00 GMT

CRYSTAL LAKE – Students across all grade levels in Crystal Lake Elementary School District 47 will receive sexual abuse awareness training this year through a grant from the McHenry County Community Foundation. The Be Seen and Heard sexual abuse awareness program fulfills the Erin’s Law mandate, a law that requires all public schools to implement annual age-appropriate sexual assault and abuse awareness and prevention curriculum for students in pre-K through 12th grade, according to a District 47 news release. Last year, through the same grant, the district invited the program’s creator, Victor Pacini, to deliver the program to all students. After receiving instruction from Pacini, health; physical education; and science, technology, engineering and mathematics teachers will deliver an expanded Be Seen and Heard curriculum to students across all grade levels at various points during the school year. “We are grateful to the foundation for providing an opportunity to deliver this program, as it addresses this important mandate and helps us continue to support the social-emotional needs of our students,” professional development and grants director Lori Parrish said. “Mr. Pacini has a gift for delivering valuable information on a sensitive topic for kids of all ages.” The interactive program is tailored to different grade levels and aligned with learning standards, according to the release. It consists of videos, books and interactive discussions that teach students courage, responsibility, persistence, awareness and resiliency. The resources include age-appropriate themes and vocabulary depending on the students’ grade levels. Videos are followed by discussion questions a teacher facilitates. For example, children in kindergarten through second grade learn about safe versus unsafe touching, students in third and fourth grade learn about inappropriate touching and fifth- through 12th-graders engage in discussions about sexual abuse. “Parents have shown support and gratitude to the district for its effort to teach students about this important but sensitive topic,” District 47 coordinator of community relations Denise Barr said in an email. Barr added that overall, staff provided positive feedback after Pacini’s presentations, and students found them “entertaining and engaging.” Pacini is a sexual abuse survivor himself who has presented to more than 1 million students and parents in numerous Illinois school districts and throughout the nation. Illinois was the second state to adopt Erin’s Law, and it now is among 30 others. The law is pending in 15 states. It recommends up to four communications a year. Shorter videos will serve as follow-up communication later in the school year, Barr said. Themes discussed include distinguishing between safe and unsafe touching and safe and unsafe secrets, saying “no,” never placing blame on the child and telling a trusted adult or “trusted hero.” Erin Merryn founded the law after surv[...]


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Crystal Lake to consider grants for new businessesRichard Roberts, who runs SRI Investments in McHenry, is seeking a grant to open the Knife Experience Store in the vacant storefront at the Country Corners shopping center, 230 W. Virginia Ave., Suite 450, Crystal Lake. The store would sell a variety of different products, such as Boy Scout pocket knives, kitchen cutlery, outdoor tools and collectible knives.

Mon, 16 Oct 2017 05:47:00 GMT

CRYSTAL LAKE – Crystal Lake City Council members will meet Tuesday to consider granting $10,000 to a man who wants to open a specialty knife store that would sell products topping $2,500.

Richard Roberts, who runs SRI Investments in McHenry, is seeking a grant to open the Knife Experience Store.

The store would sell a variety of products, such as Boy Scout pocketknives, kitchen cutlery, outdoor tools and collectible knives.

The cost of products would range from $25 to $2,500, according to city documents.

The store would sell brands of knives handcrafted from places around the world, including South Africa and Sweden.

U.S. inventory would include knives manufactured in Rockford, Idaho and Pennsylvania, according to city documents.

Roberts is seeking a grant from the city’s Retailer and Manufacturer Job Creation and Investment program to pay for furniture, fixtures and equipment such as display cases. He expects to hire several salespeople and said first-year sales could top $500,000.

The Retailer and Manufacturer Job Creation and Investment program is open to any new sales-tax generating business that would occupy vacant space or construct a new building, meet an annual sales tax threshold of at least $150,000, provide a stocked retail showroom and show proof of costs and employee recruitment.

Roberts wants to open the store in the Country Corners shopping center, 230 W. Virginia Ave., Suite 450. The 1,500-square-foot space is located between Baird & Warner and Weight Watchers. Other tenants of the center include T.J. Maxx, Savers, Petco and Dollar Tree.

There are provisions for the city to recoup the funding if the company closes before the required four-year period, according to city documents.

The City Council will consider an additional request for funding from the same program Tuesday for Mum Floral and Design, which wants $5,000 for a store at 37 N. Williams St.

Lynn Lourie, owner of Mum Floral and Design, wants to relocate the boutique from Barrington to Crystal Lake. The store sells flower arrangements, home accessories, artwork, women’s clothing and decorative objects, according to city documents.

The location of the site is the former Fabric, Fiber and Finds store that closed earlier this year.

The Crystal Lake City Council will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall, 100 W. Woodstock St.

Richard Roberts, who runs SRI Investments in McHenry, is seeking a grant to open the Knife Experience Store in the vacant storefront at the Country Corners shopping center, 230 W. Virginia Ave., Suite 450, Crystal Lake. The store would sell a variety of different products, such as Boy Scout pocket knives, kitchen cutlery, outdoor tools and collectible knives.


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Care4 Breast Cancer 5K in Woodstock raises funds for early detection screeningsSuzanne Hoban, executive director for Family Health Partnership Clinic, said the event staff was thrilled that only 62 registered people didn’t show up to take part in the event. “The people who came out [Sunday] are really committed,” Hoban said.The streets were lined with bundled-up volunteers handing out water for runners or simply cheering them on. That included Woodstock resident Corinne Buening and her two sons, Lincoln and Shane. Buening said she ran in the annual race with people from work the past few years, but a lot of her co-workers were out of town during the race this year. Since her husband’s mother died from breast cancer in 2011, she said, the family does anything they can to help raise awareness. “We decided that if we can’t walk, we’ll cheer people on,” Buening said.Hoban said there was a $150,000 fundraising goal for the event, and she said they looked to be on track to meet that goal. When the race first started in 2000, she said, there were only 200 participants who raised $5,000. Hoban said the funds go toward giving the community more access to early cancer screenings, which she said people can’t afford to become jaded about. “It’s critically important that people pay attention to that, that they urge their loved ones to get checked – and if they can’t find those services for [a] low cost, call us,” Hoban said.Woodstock residents Steve and Melody Emricson said they have participated in the race whenever they could since the race used to be held at Lippold Park in Crystal Lake. Melody Emricson said she had relatives who died from breast cancer, while Steve Emricson said he had an aunt who beat it. Steve Emricson, who placed first in the male age 55 to 59 division during Sunday’s race, said the event is a good way to raise funds for and encourage people to get regular screenings that would help prevent them from being affected by such a “nasty disease.” “If you can get together and run 3.1 miles to help do that, I’m in,” Steve Emricson said.

Mon, 16 Oct 2017 05:46:00 GMT

WOODSTOCK – Five kilometers. About 1,400 participants. One cause.

With flood watches over McHenry County throughout the weekend, residents still participated in the 17th annual Care4 Breast Cancer 5K run/walk Sunday, which started and ended at Woodstock North High School, 3000 Raffel Road.

Suzanne Hoban, executive director for Family Health Partnership Clinic, said the event staff was thrilled that only 62 registered people didn’t show up to take part in the event. “The people who came out [Sunday] are really committed,” Hoban said.The streets were lined with bundled-up volunteers handing out water for runners or simply cheering them on. That included Woodstock resident Corinne Buening and her two sons, Lincoln and Shane. Buening said she ran in the annual race with people from work the past few years, but a lot of her co-workers were out of town during the race this year. Since her husband’s mother died from breast cancer in 2011, she said, the family does anything they can to help raise awareness. “We decided that if we can’t walk, we’ll cheer people on,” Buening said.Hoban said there was a $150,000 fundraising goal for the event, and she said they looked to be on track to meet that goal. When the race first started in 2000, she said, there were only 200 participants who raised $5,000. Hoban said the funds go toward giving the community more access to early cancer screenings, which she said people can’t afford to become jaded about. “It’s critically important that people pay attention to that, that they urge their loved ones to get checked – and if they can’t find those services for [a] low cost, call us,” Hoban said.Woodstock residents Steve and Melody Emricson said they have participated in the race whenever they could since the race used to be held at Lippold Park in Crystal Lake. Melody Emricson said she had relatives who died from breast cancer, while Steve Emricson said he had an aunt who beat it. Steve Emricson, who placed first in the male age 55 to 59 division during Sunday’s race, said the event is a good way to raise funds for and encourage people to get regular screenings that would help prevent them from being affected by such a “nasty disease.” “If you can get together and run 3.1 miles to help do that, I’m in,” Steve Emricson said.


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Bannon on GOP insurgency: 'Nobody can run and hide'AP photo Former White House strategist Steve Bannon takes part in an interview Monday with host Sean Hannity on the set of Fox News Channel's Hannity in New York.

Sun, 15 Oct 2017 05:11:00 GMT

JACKSON, Miss. – Steve Bannon has a stark message to Republican incumbents he considers part of the establishment: “Nobody can run and hide.” President Donald Trump’s former chief strategist is promoting a field of potential primary challengers to take on disfavored Republicans in Congress and step up for open seats. Among the outsiders: a convicted felon, a perennial candidate linked to an environmental conspiracy theory and a Southern lawmaker known for provocative ethnic and racial comments. It’s an insurgency that could imperil Republican majorities in the House and Senate. Bannon called it a “populist nationalist conservative revolt” in a speech to religious conservatives in Washington on Saturday. The emerging Bannon class of rabble-rousers shares limited ideological ties but a common intent to upend Washington and knock out Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., standard-bearer of the establishment. So intent is Bannon on bringing down McConnell that he laid down this marker Saturday to some of the incumbents at risk of a challenge from his flank of the party: disavow McConnell, satisfy other conditions and possibly escape the wrath. “Until that time,” he said, the message to the elite is: “They’re coming for you.” The crop of outsider candidates unnerves a GOP that lost seats – and a shot at the Senate majority – in 2010 and 2012 with political novices and controversial nominees and fears a stinging repeat in 2018. “The main thing that binds them together is a rejection of the Republican Party establishment, a rejection of the political elites, the financial elites and the media elites,” said Andy Surabian, a former Bannon aide and senior adviser to the pro-Trump PAC Great America Alliance. Bannon told the religious conservatives that economic nationalism and anti-globalism, the same forces he said elected Trump, can overpower Republican elites. “This is our war,” he said. “The establishment started it. ... You all are gonna finish it.” To escape it, he suggested, Senate incumbents can oppose McConnell, eliminate the filibuster that he says is impeding Trump’s agenda and denounce Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker, a Republican who gave a scorching appraisal of Trump as an untethered leader who could lead the U.S. into another world war. Bannon singled out John Barrasso of Wyoming, Deb Fischer of Nebraska and Dean Heller of Nevada as senators who “vote the right way” but did not step up to condemn Corker. There’s still time for a “mea culpa,” he said, implying such senators could be spared his insurgency if they toed his line. Senate Republicans had been upbeat about adding to their 52-48 majority, especially with Democrats defending more seats next year, 10 in states Trump won in last year’s presidential election. But the Bannon challenge could cost them, leaving incumbents on the losing end in primaries or GOP [...]


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California wildfires, now up to 100 miles wide, threaten more wineriesFirefighters walk along a containment line as a wildfire burns Saturday, Oct. 14, 2017, in Sonoma, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Sun, 15 Oct 2017 05:11:00 GMT

SONOMA, Calif. – The California wildfires raced toward wineries and the historic town of Sonoma on Saturday, chasing hundreds more people from their homes and threatening to roll back firefighters’ modest gains against the cluster of blazes that was as wide as 100 miles. Propelled by stiff winds, the fires damaged or destroyed several buildings in the middle of the night before crews halted their advance at the edge of Sonoma, where firefighters spent days digging firebreaks to keep flames from reaching the city’s historic central plaza built centuries ago when the area was under Spanish rule. For those living in the huge fire zone, it was another night spent watching, waiting and fearing the worst. John Saguto said he awoke several hours before dawn at his home east Sonoma to see flames “lapping up” 300 to 500 yards away. He and his neighbors evacuated as firetrucks raced up and down the streets and hot embers flew over their heads. The fire made “a strong run” into Sonoma, Deputy State Fire Director Dave Teter said, announcing that some additional buildings had been damaged or destroyed before firefighters stopped it. Several homes and other structures near a vineyard east of downtown were in smoldering ruins. Firefighters hosed down embers and knocked down walls that could topple over. As of Saturday afternoon, Teter said crews did not expect any more losses in that area. But gusts up to 25 mph were forecast for the rest of the day. Nearly a week after the blazes began, the flames have left 38 people dead and destroyed at least 5,700 homes and businesses, making them the deadliest and most destructive group of wildfires in California history. Most of the victims are believed to have died late on Oct. 8 or early on Oct. 9, when the fires exploded and took people by surprise in the dead of night. Most of the victims were elderly, though they ranged in age from 14 to 100. “It’s a horror that no one could have imagined,” Gov. Jerry Brown said, after touring the destruction with Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris. Brown, 79, and Feinstein, 84, said the fires were the worst of their lifetimes. The two veteran politicians reminded people that the blazes remain a threat and that people need to leave their homes when told to go. The latest estimates were that about 100,000 people were under evacuation orders as the fires burned for a sixth day. Some evacuees weary from nearly a week on the run demanded to return home or to see whether they still have homes. Plans were in the works to reopen communities, but they were not ready to be put into effect, Teter said. Douglas and Marian Taylor stood outside their apartment complex Saturday in Santa Rosa with their two dogs and a sign that said “End evacuation now.” Their building was unharmed at the edge of the evacuation zone with a police barricade se[...]


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Trump leaves Republicans with heavy lift on Iran dealPresident Donald Trump speaks about Iran on Friday from the Diplomatic Reception Room at the White House in Washington, D.C. Trump said Iran is not living up to the "spirit" of the nuclear deal that it signed in 2015, and announced a new strategy in the speech. He said the administration will impose additional sanctions on the regime to block its financing of terrorism.

Sun, 15 Oct 2017 05:11:00 GMT

WASHINGTON – Republicans demanded a major say on the Iran nuclear agreement two years ago and never got it from Democrat Barack Obama. Now that President Donald Trump has directed Congress to make the international pact more stringent, the GOP is finding that having that voice won't be easy. Republicans will have to win over skeptical Democrats and key allies in Europe who are wary of altering the accord that they believe has prevented Iran from assembling an arsenal of atomic weapons in exchange for lifting economic sanctions. Republican leaders also may face resistance from members of their own party. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, said Friday he'll reserve judgment on any legislation but has "serious doubts about whether it is even possible to fix such a dangerously flawed agreement." Trump on Friday angrily accused Iran of violating the spirit of the nuclear deal that was forged with the U.S. and other world powers in 2015, blaming Tehran for a litany of malign behavior and hitting its main military wing with anti-terrorism sanctions. But the president, breaking with a campaign pledge to rip up the agreement, said he was not yet ready to pull the U.S. out or re-impose nuclear sanctions. Instead he kicked the issue to Congress and told them to toughen the law. Taking the lead will be the Republican whom Trump has been feuding with – Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee. Trump belittled Corker this past week with a series of tweets and erroneously blamed the senator, who will retire at the end of next year, for the original Iran deal. Corker dubbed the White House an "adult day care center" and charged that Trump could be setting the nation on the path to world war. Corker, in a conference call with reporters on Friday, focused on perhaps the most significant task of his chairmanship and didn't address the bitter back and forth with Trump. He previewed the main elements of legislation he is developing with Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., a national security hawk who has echoed Trump's more confrontational approach toward Iran, to toughen the nuclear accord and the law governing U.S. participation in the deal. "Over the last several months, we have been working closely with the State Department, National Security Council and Senator Cotton to develop a legislative strategy to address bipartisan concerns about the (Iran deal) without violating U.S. commitments," Corker said in a statement. On the call, Corker promised an open legislative process. "You're going to see all this evolve in daylight," he said, adding that the bill could be introduced in the next two weeks. The legislation would amend a two-year-old law that allowed Congress to review the accord. It would reduce from four to two the number of times a year Trump is required to certify to Congress that Iran is complying with the terms of the[...]


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Algonquin Walmart debuts remodeled facilityImprovements to the Algonquin Walmart, 1410 S. Randall Road, include a pickup area at the front of the store for online purchases and deliveries, a state-of-the-art electronics department with interactive displays, and additional self-checkouts to save customers' time.

Sun, 15 Oct 2017 05:10:00 GMT

ALGONQUIN – A remodeling project at the Walmart supercenter in Algonquin was completed Friday.

The center, 1410 S. Randall Road, debuted improvements at an 8 a.m. ribbon-cutting ceremony, according to a news release.

Improvements include a pickup area at the front of the store for online purchases and deliveries, a state-of-the-art electronics department with interactive displays, and additional self-checkouts to save customers’ time.

By using a mobile app, Walmart customers can check in for online orders, and employees will be waiting outside with the merchandise at the pickup location, according to its website.

A new bakery oven also is expected to improve the fresh breads offered, and new refrigerated cases in the produce, deli and meat departments were added.

An enhanced baby department now has strollers at the floor level, and a mother’s bathroom was added to the store.

“We’re always looking for ways to make our customers’ lives easier,” store manager Colleen Jasinski said in the release. “We’re excited for everyone to come see how we are helping give time back to our Algonquin customers with a new and improved shopping experience.”

In honor of the remodel, the store is hosting a celebration from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 28. The party will include activities for kids, a welcome tent with music, food samples and giveaways.

Improvements to the Algonquin Walmart, 1410 S. Randall Road, include a pickup area at the front of the store for online purchases and deliveries, a state-of-the-art electronics department with interactive displays, and additional self-checkouts to save customers' time.


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Motion Picture Academy expels movie mogul Harvey WeinsteinFILE- In this Feb. 22, 2015 file photo, Harvey Weinstein arrives at the Oscars at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. On Saturday, Oct. 14, 2016, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences revoked Weinstein's membership. The decision, reached Saturday in an emergency session, comes in the wake of recent reports by The New York Times and The New Yorker magazine that revealed sexual harassment and rape allegations against him going back decades.(Photo by Vince Bucci/Invision/AP, File)

Sun, 15 Oct 2017 05:10:00 GMT

LOS ANGELES – In a move virtually unprecedented, disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein's membership in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences was revoked Saturday by its board. The decision was reached in an emergency session by the academy, the world's top movie organization and home to the Oscars. The expulsion was effective immediately. It comes after recent reports by The New York Times and The New Yorker about sexual harassment and rape allegations against Weinstein going back decades. He has denied the accusations against him. In issuing its decision, the academy stated "We do so not simply to separate ourselves from someone who does not merit the respect of his colleagues but also to send a message that the era of willful ignorance and shameful complicity in sexually predatory behavior and workplace harassment in our industry is over." "What's at issue here," the statement added, "is a deeply troubling problem that has no place in our society." The statement said the decision was reached by "well in excess of the required two-thirds majority" of the 54-member academy board. Only one person is thought to have been previously expelled from the academy: Carmine Caridi, a character actor who had his membership revoked in 2004 for lending DVD screeners of films in contention for Oscars that ended up online. The academy's swift and severe ruling against Weinstein may raise questions about other academy members who remain in good standing. These include Roman Polanski, an Oscar-winner who in the 1970s pleaded guilty to drugging and raping a 13-year-old girl, and entertainer Bill Cosby, who has faced dozens of allegations of sexual assault. Weinstein, himself an Oscar winner as a producer of the 1998 Best Picture "Shakespeare in Love," was ousted a week ago from The Weinstein Co., the movie and TV production company he co-founded with his brother Bob and which now is struggling to survive the scandal. In an interview published Saturday by The Hollywood Reporter, Bob Weinstein called for his "sick and depraved' brother to be kicked out of the academy. Speaking more broadly, Bob Weinstein added, "I want him to get the justice that he deserves." On Wednesday, Harvey Weinstein' membership in the British Academy of Film and Television Arts was revoked. FILE- In this Feb. 22, 2015 file photo, Harvey Weinstein arrives at the Oscars at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. On Saturday, Oct. 14, 2016, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences revoked Weinstein's membership. The decision, reached Saturday in an emergency session, comes in the wake of recent reports by The New York Times and The New Yorker magazine that revealed sexual harassment and rape allegations against him going back decades.(Photo by Vince Bucci/Invision/AP, File)[...]


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Huge blast rocks Somalia's capital; police say 20 killedSomalis gather and search for survivors by destroyed buildings at the scene of a blast in the capital Mogadishu, Somalia, Saturday, Oct. 14, 2017. A huge explosion from a truck bomb has killed at least 20 people in Somalia's capital, police said Saturday, as shaken residents called it the most powerful blast they'd heard in years. (AP Photo/Farah Abdi Warsameh)

Sun, 15 Oct 2017 05:10:00 GMT

MOGADISHU, Somalia – A huge explosion from a truck bomb killed 20 people in Somalia's capital, police said Saturday, as shaken residents called it the most powerful blast they'd heard in years.

The explosion appeared to target a hotel on a busy road in Hodan district and at least 15 people were injured, police Capt. Mohamed Hussein said. Security forces had been trailing the truck after it raised suspicions, he said.

Police said people were trapped in the rubble of the Safari Hotel, which was largely destroyed in the explosion. The hotel is close to Somalia's foreign ministry. Rescue workers were at the scene.

The Somalia-based extremist group al-Shabab recently stepped up attacks on army bases across south and central Somalia. While there was no immediate claim of responsibility for Saturday's blast, al-Shabab often targets high-profile areas of Mogadishu with deadly bombings.

Gunshots could be heard at the site, and ambulance sirens wailed across the capital, which has been under tight security with military-manned checkpoints.

The explosion left a trail of destruction across a busy intersection, with several bodies and bloodied slippers and shoes. Windows of nearby buildings were shattered. Overturned cars lay in the street, burning. A large plume of smoke rose nearby.

"There was a traffic jam and the road was packed with bystanders and cars," said Abdinur Abdulle, a waiter at a nearby restaurant. "It's a disaster," he said sadly.

The blast occurred two days after the head of the U.S. Africa Command was in Mogadishu to meet with Somalia's president, and two days after the country's defense minister and army chief resigned for undisclosed reasons.

The U.S. military has stepped up drone strikes and other efforts this year against the al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab, which is also fighting the Somali military and over 20,000 African Union forces in the country.

Somalis gather and search for survivors by destroyed buildings at the scene of a blast in the capital Mogadishu, Somalia, Saturday, Oct. 14, 2017. A huge explosion from a truck bomb has killed at least 20 people in Somalia's capital, police said Saturday, as shaken residents called it the most powerful blast they'd heard in years. (AP Photo/Farah Abdi Warsameh)


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Gun control measures proposed in IllinoisAP photo People visit a makeshift memorial Oct. 6 for victims of a mass shooting in Las Vegas. Stephen Paddock opened fire on an outdoor music concert Oct. 1, killing dozens and injuring hundreds.

Sun, 15 Oct 2017 05:10:00 GMT

SPRINGFIELD – At least two gun control measures could be addressed in the upcoming veto session of the Illinois General Assembly.

The proposed measures come as reaction continues to the mass shooting in Las Vegas that left 58 people dead and more than 500 wounded, The (Springfield) State Journal-Register reported.

The legislation introduced by Rep. Martin Moylan, a Des Plaines Democrat, would ban the sale of assault weapons, large-caliber rifles, bump stocks” that allow rapid firing of weapons and large-capacity magazines, which described in the bill as holding 10 or more rounds of ammunition.

Moylan has previously proposed similar measures, but they haven’t passed the legislature. He thinks circumstances may change since it was discovered that Las Vegas shooter, Stephen Paddock, had reserved hotel rooms in Chicago overlooking the Lollapalooza music festival last summer. Paddock didn’t use the rooms.

“I’m passionate about it this time because of the events that happened in Las Vegas,” Moylan said. “Especially since the guy was scoping out a Chicago site, I think this bears a lot of weight on it. I would hope I get a lot of support, both on Republicans and Democrats.”

Rep. Kathleen Willis, a Democrat from Addison, has also proposed a measure. Her proposed bill would create state licensing of gun dealers in Illinois.

“This bill is something that has been worked on for 15 years,” Willis said. “I don’t think that it is definitely tied to the Las Vegas shootings. I think this is a good business practice bill.”

She said 16 states already require a state license for gun dealers in addition to a federal license.

Legislators are expected to meet in Springfield for the session starting Oct. 24.

AP photo People visit a makeshift memorial Oct. 6 for victims of a mass shooting in Las Vegas. Stephen Paddock opened fire on an outdoor music concert Oct. 1, killing dozens and injuring hundreds.


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Ex-hostages back in Canada after harrowing raid to free themAP photo Joshua Boyle is escorted by authorities to a media availability Friday at Toronto's Pearson International Airport. Boyle, his wife, Caitlin Coleman, and their three children landed in Canada after they were kidnapped in Afghanistan while on a backpacking trip and held hostage for five years by the Taliban-linked Haqqani network.Linda and Patrick Boyle, parents of Joshua Boyle, speak with the media outside their home in Smiths Falls, Ontario, Thursday, Oct. 12, 2017. Canadian Joshua Boyle, his American wife Caitlan Coleman, and their three young children have been released after years held captive by a group that has ties to the Taliban and is considered a terrorist organization by the United States, U.S. and Pakistani officials said Thursday. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press via AP)

Sun, 15 Oct 2017 05:10:00 GMT

TORONTO – Former hostage Joshua Boyle said Saturday from his parents’ home in Canada that full medical exams were being arranged for him and his family after they were rescued from their captors, the Taliban-linked extremist Haqqani network in Afghanistan. And in a video released by Pakistan’s military that was filmed before he left the country and returned to Canada, Boyle recounted a harrowing firefight during a raid by Pakistani security forces that freed the family. “A major comes over to me while I still have blood on me. The street is chaos and he says to me, ‘In the American media they say that we support the Haqqani network and that we make it possible. Today you have seen the truth. Did we not put bullets in those bastards?’” Boyle recalled, appearing beside his wife and children in the video. “And so I can say to you I did see the truth, and the truth was that car was riddled with bullets. The ISI (Pakistan’s intelligence agency) and the army got between the criminals and the car to make sure the prisoners were safe and my family was safe. They put them to flight and they ran like cowards. This is proof enough to me the Pakistanis are doing everything to their utmost.” Boyle called those who held them captive “pagan” and not people of faith. He also said that in the area of Afghanistan where they had been held he did not see the presence of soldiers or any government control. “Some areas are certainly controlled by criminals, and some areas are completely uncontrolled,” he said. Boyle, his American wife, Caitlan Coleman, and their three children were rescued Wednesday, five years after the couple was abducted by the extremist network while in Afghanistan as part of a backpacking trip. Coleman was pregnant at the time and had four children in captivity. Boyle said after landing at Toronto’s airport that the extremists killed their newborn daughter and raped his wife during the years they were held in captivity. He called on the Afghan government to bring them to justice, saying, “God willing, this litany of stupidity will be the epitaph of the Haqqani network.” The birth of the fourth child had not been publicly known until then. Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry spokesman, Nafees Zakaria, said the raid that led to the rescue was based on a tip from U.S. intelligence and shows that Pakistan will act against a “common enemy” when Washington shares information. U.S. officials have long accused Pakistan of ignoring groups like the Haqqani network. After returning to his parents’ home in Smiths Falls, Ontario, Boyle emailed The Associated Press a statement saying they had “reached the first true ‘home’ that the children have ever known – after they spent most of Friday asking if each subsequent airport was our new ho[...]


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Algonquin-based School District 300 students turn broken skateboards into artMatthew Apgar – mapgar@shawmedia.com Ariel Ries (right), owner of Fargo Skateboarding, helps Carmella Spagnola, 17, of Jacobs High School operate a drill press to create jewelry out of broken skateboards Thursday at Fargo Skateboarding in DeKalb.Matthew Apgar – mapgar@shawmedia.com Jacobs High School senior Bridget Vrtis, 17, smiles as she talks with friends while waiting in line to use a drill press to turn a broken skateboard into a piece of jewelry Thursday at Fargo Skateboarding in DeKalb. Students from Algonquin-based School District 300, including Jacobs, Hampshire and Dundee-Crown high schools, took a trip to DeKalb to learn the repurposing craft from Fargo owner Ariel Ries.Matthew Apgar – mapgar@shawmedia.com Jacobs High School junior Chloe Frank, 16, uses clear nail polish to coat a ring she created out of a broken skateboard Thursday at Fargo Skateboarding in DeKalb.Matthew Apgar – mapgar@shawmedia.com Hampshire High School sophomore Ryan Hopfner, 15, sands down a piece of broken skateboard as he turns it into a piece of jewelry Thursday at Fargo Skateboarding in DeKalb.Matthew Apgar – mapgar@shawmedia.com Broken skateboards are piled up with holes drilled into them, showing their nine-layer cores of Canadian maple wood Thursday at Fargo Skateboarding in DeKalb.Matthew Apgar – mapgar@shawmedia.com Hampshire High School art teacher Laura LaRue shows sophomore Ryan Hopfner, 15, the layers of Canadian maple plywood that make up a skateboard Thursday.Matthew Apgar – mapgar@shawmedia.com Jacobs High School senior Bridget Vrtis, 17, smiles as she operates a drill press to remove a core from a broken skateboard, which then would be turned into a piece of jewelry Thursday at Fargo Skateboarding in DeKalb.Matthew Apgar – mapgar@shawmedia.com Ariel Ries, owner of Fargo Skateboarding, smiles as she helps instruct students as they create jewelry out of broken skateboards Thursday at Fargo Skateboarding in DeKalb.Matthew Apgar – mapgar@shawmedia.com Hampshire High School senior Samantha Huerta, 17, uses clear nail polish to coat a ring she created out of a broken skateboard Thursday at Fargo Skateboarding in DeKalb.Matthew Apgar – mapgar@shawmedia.com Ariel Ries (center), owner of Fargo Skateboarding, helps students operate a drill press to create jewelry out of broken skateboards Thursday at Fargo Skateboarding in DeKalb.

Sun, 15 Oct 2017 05:09:00 GMT

ALGONQUIN – Hampshire High School sophomore Paloma Hamilton said it is eye-opening to see what an artist can use and turn into artwork. Algonquin-based School District 300 high school students recycled broken skateboards by turning them into jewelry Thursday and Friday as part of an annual project that gets students out of the classroom and into the environment of working artists. “It was a lot of fun because it showed where we could go with our art careers,” Hamilton said. About 60 advanced art students from Dundee-Crown, Hampshire and Jacobs high schools traveled to Fargo Skateboarding park in DeKalb, where they worked with artist and skateboarder Ariel Ries. Diane Magerko, performing and fine arts chairwoman for the District 300 Foundation, said skateboards are made from layers of different multicolored wood, and when broken, the colors are exposed. “Hopefully they see the benefits of thinking outside the box, being creative and what you can do with materials that most people would think are garbage, and how you can recycle them,” Ries said. Ries has been making jewelry since she was 18, and she began using broken skateboards eight years ago by collecting all the broken boards at Fargo, a 10,000-square-foot skateboard shop and indoor skate park. All the money Ries makes from selling her jewelry goes back to improving the skate park. “From cutting the boards up, sanding it, to finishing it, they’ll all leave with their own jewelry to keep,” Ries said. “We used hand tools, power tools, and cut them by hand. I want them to take away how to do things in a process – how to break down a process from beginning to end and what the logical steps are.” The project was funded through a $3,000 grant from the District 300 Foundation for Educational Excellence. The foundation has awarded $500,000 in local grants through private donations and fundraisers, Magerko said. Magerko said it is important to get students into new learning environments, and the jewelry gives them something to build for their art portfolio. The foundation has funded past student field trips, including a trip to an Alpaca farm in Elgin, where students made artwork out of Alpaca fur. Matthew Apgar – mapgar@shawmedia.com Ariel Ries (right), owner of Fargo Skateboarding, helps Carmella Spagnola, 17, of Jacobs High School operate a drill press to create jewelry out of broken skateboards Thursday at Fargo Skateboarding in DeKalb.Matthew Apgar – mapgar@shawmedia.com Jacobs High School senior Bridget Vrtis, 17, smiles as she talks with friends while waiting in line to use a drill press to turn a broken skateboard into a piece of jewelry Thursday at Fargo Skateboarding in DeKalb. Students from Algonquin-b[...]


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Authorities fight release of Crystal Lake suspect's 911 call from night of slayingsH. Rick Bamman file photo – hbamman@shawmedia.com Police examine a bullet hole Aug. 4 after a double homicide the previous night. Ryan C. Yarber of Crystal Lake was charged with murder in connection with the crime. Southeast Emergency Communications released one of two 911 calls made the day Crystal Lake's Ryan C. Yarber is accused of killing his wife and her sister. While personal information is redacted, a neighbor called saying that a man was laying on the ground across the street with a gun, and he was on the phone with someone.

Sun, 15 Oct 2017 05:09:00 GMT

CRYSTAL LAKE – On the night a Crystal Lake man is accused of killing his wife and her 15-year-old sister, he called 911 and told a dispatcher something that prosecutors and his defense attorney don’t want people – and possibly even jurors – to know. “The 911 call at issue should not be disclosed to the public before the trial,” lawyers for both the prosecution and defense wrote in a letter to the Illinois attorney general’s public access counselor. “This information will severely bias the public before the defendant is able to receive a fair trial.” Ryan C. Yarber, 31, has been charged with first-degree murder in connection with the double homicide Aug. 3 at the family home at 185 Marian Parkway. The Northwest Herald filed a Freedom of Information Act request in August seeking the release of the 911 calls related to the shooting deaths that night. Southeast Emergency Communications released a redacted 911 call made by a neighbor, but refused to release any portion of Yarber’s call. The Northwest Herald appealed that decision to the Illinois attorney general’s public access counselor. The state’s attorney and McHenry County Public Defender’s Office jointly have opposed the release of Yarber’s 911 call. In the four-page letter, they argue that disclosure of the call could make picking a jury nearly impossible, that a judge may not even allow the jury to hear the call at trial, and that it could prevent Yarber from getting a fair trial. “It will be extremely detrimental for the 911 call at issue to be released to the public when our offices are not even certain that it will be released to the jury at trial,” they wrote. “Having the public know about [Yarber’s] statements to the 911 operator may impair any defense [the public defender] might raise.” The public access counselor had not decided whether Yarber’s call should be released as of Friday. Aug. 3 slayings Crystal Lake police were called Aug. 3 to 185 Marian Parkway after a report of a woman armed with a knife. Before they arrived, they learned that a man with a handgun, later identified as Yarber, also was at the house, authorities have said. Police found 31-year-old Allania Yarber and her 15-year-old sister, Anniyah Reynolds, dying of gunshot wounds inside the home, authorities have said. Officers tried to save their lives, but both died at the scene.  Yarber pleaded not guilty Sept. 1 to charges of first-degree murder, aggravated discharge of a firearm, aggravated domestic battery and child endangerment. If convicted, he could face life in prison. Neighbor’s call A neighbor who called 911 Aug. 3 told a dispatcher that she and her boyf[...]


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Body cameras, now gun cameras? Some police are trying them outIn this Sept. 23, 2017 photo provided by Centinel Solutions, a model displays a camera mounted below the barrel of a handgun in New York. Some police departments are considering putting cameras on officers' guns, saying they would give a better, unobstructed view of police-involved shootings and save money on video storage costs compared with body cameras. (Gavin Smith/Centinel Solutions via AP)

Sun, 15 Oct 2017 05:09:00 GMT

A small number of police departments are showing interest in a new type of video camera that can be mounted directly on officers’ guns, saying it might offer a better view of officer-involved shootings than body cameras. Some law enforcement officials and civil rights groups are skeptical. Among the cons, they point out, is that gun cameras start recording only after weapons are removed from holsters and won’t capture what led to officers drawing their guns, or other interactions with the public. They also say they should be used only as a complement to body cameras. Besides the better view, supporters say the pros include lower video storage costs because gun cameras record much less often than body cameras, and a feature in some models that instantly alerts dispatchers and nearby police via WiFi and Bluetooth when officers draw their weapons and might need help. Officers’ arms, walls and other objects can get in the way of body cameras, as they did in the New York City Police Department’s fatal shooting of Miguel Richards last month. Officers’ body cameras also may not be turned on, gun camera proponents have said. “It’s kind of cutting-edge technology now,” said Assistant Chief Michael Kovacsev, of the St. Petersburg, Florida, Police Department, which tested gun cameras this year and also is deciding whether to use body cameras. “One thing about the gun camera is you can actually see what’s going on,” Kovacsev said. “You actually get to see the viewpoint of the officer where the weapon is pointed.” Gun-mounted cameras have been around for years, mostly for sport shooting enthusiasts, but have not caught on with law enforcement. Some police departments are using cameras mounted on their stun guns that activate when the safety switches are turned off. The cameras cost about $500, about the same as some body cameras, and mount under the gun barrel. Some also have high-powered lights so officers do not have to hold a gun and a flashlight. Other departments planning to test gun cameras include the West Hennepin Public Safety Department, which serves Maple Plain and Independence, Minnesota, about 20 miles west of Minneapolis, and police in Williams, Arizona, about 30 miles west of Flagstaff, according to manufacturers. Executives at two companies that make gun cameras, Viridian Weapon Technologies in Minneapolis and Centinel Solutions in Palm Beach, Florida, said that several departments have tested or plan to test their devices, and that many more have expressed interest. But they would identify only a few of their clients. There doesn’t appear to be any gun camera footage of a police shooting yet because police agencies have not formally approved use of the [...]


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PHOTOS: Pumpkin pickin' in HuntleySarah Nader – snader@shawmedia.com AJ Early, 8, of Hampshire wheels his pumpkin picks back to his car Friday at Dave's Pumpkins in Huntley. Dave's is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day, and all pumpkins of any size are $6.Sarah Nader – snader@shawmedia.com Lucy Atherton, 18, of Algonquin searches for the perfect pumpkin at Dave's Pumpkins in Huntley.

Sun, 15 Oct 2017 05:08:00 GMT

Residents headed to the pumpkin patch Friday to make their picks to celebrate fall ahead of Halloween.

Sarah Nader – snader@shawmedia.com AJ Early, 8, of Hampshire wheels his pumpkin picks back to his car Friday at Dave's Pumpkins in Huntley. Dave's is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day, and all pumpkins of any size are $6.Sarah Nader – snader@shawmedia.com Lucy Atherton, 18, of Algonquin searches for the perfect pumpkin at Dave's Pumpkins in Huntley.


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Hundreds brave rain for 3rd annual Pub in the Park in Lake in the HillsBeer vendors talk to a customer at the third annual Lake in the Hills Pub in the Park craft beer and food truck festival Saturday at Sunset Park.A beer vendor pours a drink for a customer at the third annual Lake in the Hills Pub in the Park craft beer and food truck festival Saturday.People line up at the Not Your Sister's Tomato food truck at the third annual Lake in the Hills Pub in the Park craft beer and food truck festival Saturday.

Sun, 15 Oct 2017 04:56:00 GMT

LAKE IN THE HILLS – Hundreds faced a downpour Saturday to partake of brews, food and music at the third annual Lake in the Hills Pub in the Park craft beer and food truck festival.

The event brought more than 40 beer vendors, several food trucks and more than 600 people to Sunset Park. The crowd was able to sample craft beer from brewers around the Midwest and listen to live music from the dueling piano group Felix and Fingers.

Liz Wakeman, who organized the event, said the turnout was “excellent,” particularly because of the weather. A flash-flood warning and hazardous weather were in effect Saturday as thunderstorms moved across McHenry County.

“About 600 [tickets] were sold online,” Wakeman said. “And about 150 were sold through sponsorships, and we sold some at the gate.”

Event proceeds will go to the nonprofit People for Parks Foundation of Lake in the Hills Inc.

Wakeman co-founded the Lake in the Hills Parks and Recreation Department in 1996, which People for Parks supports.

The event has more than doubled in attendance and scope since its 2015 inception, Wakeman said.

People for Parks donates proceeds to the Parks and Recreation Department to fund things such as scholarships for kids to attend summer camps and preschool, buy helmets and tricycles, and busing.

Money from Saturday’s event will go specifically to buy a new bus for the department, Wakeman said.

“I am passionate about supporting that department,” Wakeman said. “The idea was to give us another opportunity so we can support them.”

Beer vendors talk to a customer at the third annual Lake in the Hills Pub in the Park craft beer and food truck festival Saturday at Sunset Park.A beer vendor pours a drink for a customer at the third annual Lake in the Hills Pub in the Park craft beer and food truck festival Saturday.People line up at the Not Your Sister's Tomato food truck at the third annual Lake in the Hills Pub in the Park craft beer and food truck festival Saturday.


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Woodstock police pension tax levy request down because of 4.5 percent drop in costsWoodstock police are asking for less money to cover pensions this year.

Sun, 15 Oct 2017 04:55:00 GMT

WOODSTOCK – The Woodstock Police Department is asking for less money this year for its pension fund.

Woodstock police pension costs fell 4.5 percent this year because of an increase in investment returns and updated mortality scales, which means the department’s levy requirement will be at $1.3 million – down from $1.4 million last year.

The pension now is funded at 57.4 percent, a 3 percent increase. Under Illinois statute, the city needs to fund police pensions at least 90 percent by 2041. To achieve that requirement, Woodstock will need to levy a minimum amount of $1.2 million annually, according to city documents.

The city’s cost will be $508,781, and employee contributions are expected to come in at $314,547 out of a total police payroll of $3.1 million annually, documents show. Employees are required to contribute nearly 10 percent of their base salary toward the pension plan.

City officials voiced concerns at rapidly rising costs last year. The department’s request in 2016 for the 2017 levy jumped 22 percent. Because the state mandates funding levels, there is little that can be done on the municipal level, Woodstock officials have said.

Taxes levied for 2017 are collected in 2018 and will finance the city’s budget in fiscal 2019. The Woodstock City Council has not yet met to discuss setting the overall levy.

Pension payments are included in the city’s property tax levy.

Last year, the city’s overall levy came in at about $9.2 million, which included a 10 percent reduction of its portion of property taxes. Levy discussions typically begin in late October or November.

Woodstock Mayor Brian Sager and City Manager Roscoe Stelford could not be reached for comment.

Woodstock police are asking for less money to cover pensions this year.


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McHenry firefighters declare garage total loss after fireShaw Media file photo

Sun, 15 Oct 2017 04:55:00 GMT

McHENRY – A detached garage was declared a total loss after firefighters fought off large flames Friday night in unincorporated McHenry County.

The McHenry Township Fire Protection District responded about 6 p.m. Friday to the 800 block of West Shady Hollow Lane in unincorporated McHenry County for a report of a structure fire, according to a news release from the district.

When firefighters arrived, they found a detached garage “heavily involved in fire.”

The fire was extinguished within about 20 minutes, and damage was limited to the detached garage. The garage was considered a total loss.

“Crews were able to protect nearby exposures and limit damage to the original fire building,” the release stated.

No one was injured as a result of the blaze, and McHenry Township Fire Protection District investigators continue to look into what caused it.

A cost estimate of the damage was not available Saturday.

Shaw Media file photo


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Lake in the Hills to conduct semi-annual hydrant flushing

Sun, 15 Oct 2017 04:51:00 GMT

LAKE IN THE HILLS – The Lake in the Hills Public Works Department will conduct semi-annual hydrant flushing starting Monday.

Hydrants west of Randall Road will be flushed between Monday and Friday, and all hydrants east of Randall Road will be flushed between Oct. 23 and 27, according to a village news release.

Hydrant flushing is part of the village’s ongoing maintenance program, the release stated. Hydrants will be reviewed during the two-week process, allowing village staff to identify any repairs needed and ensure all hydrants are working.

Flushing also removes any unwanted sediment that collects over time in water mains. The removal of sediment improves water quality and reduces production costs, according to the release.


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McHenry County Board to start video streaming meetingsAt a cost of $3,700 siphoned from the McHenry County Board budget, a video camera was installed last week in the conference room where board members meet. County Board meetings now will be streamed online.

Sun, 15 Oct 2017 04:51:00 GMT

WOODSTOCK – McHenry County Board meetings now will be streamed online.

At a cost of $3,700 siphoned from the County Board budget, a video camera was installed last week in the conference room where board members meet, according to a news release from McHenry County Board Chairman Jack Franks, D-Marengo.

“The addition of video streaming is yet another step toward the goal of making McHenry County government the most open, transparent and accountable in the nation,” Franks said in a statement.

McHenry County residents who can’t attend meetings now can watch online by visiting www.co.mchenry.il.us. All meetings will be archived online.

The first County Board meeting to be video streamed is set for 7 p.m. Tuesday at the county Administration Building, 667 Ware Road, Woodstock.

The County Board began audio streaming its full board meetings in 2012, according to the release.

At a cost of $3,700 siphoned from the McHenry County Board budget, a video camera was installed last week in the conference room where board members meet. County Board meetings now will be streamed online.


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McHenry Sunrise Rotary Club hosts first outdoors OktoberfestCurtis Menke, a member of "Staff Infection" and a counselor at McHenry West High School, prepares to play a set at Oktoberfest, hosted Saturday by the Rotary Club of McHenry-Sunrise.Leeann Black, Nancy Pokrzywa and Brian Pokrzywa listen to live music during Oktoberfest on Saturday.

Sun, 15 Oct 2017 04:51:00 GMT

A little rain wasn’t going to stop the Rotary Club of McHenry-Sunrise from hosting its first family-friendly Oktoberfest outdoors Saturday afternoon at Veterans Memorial Park. Although attendance wasn’t quite what club members hoped it would be, those who ventured into the wet weather enjoyed live music, bratwurst, burgers and beer. The club has hosted Oktoberfest events in the past, but they were indoors and featured craft beer tastings that appealed to adults only. Mike Lehman, former president of the club, said this was its first big event with live music, and he was proud the members came together to raise enough money to cover the expenses. “We would’ve liked the weather to be better, but we’ll roll with it,” he said. “We thought [an outdoor event] would draw more people because there aren’t many Oktoberfests this time of year, and thought it was a good time to hold an event. We want to showcase what our club does, and we want more people to know about us.” Longtime Rotarian Mark Adams of Johnsburg said an event such as Oktoberfest is great for the community. He said residents indicated that they’d like to have one in McHenry. “There are lots of summer events, and we wanted to be the fall event,” Adams said. “So we went out on a limb. I just wish the weather had cooperated.” Greg Boyd of Hebron grew up in McHenry, and he said he always likes to come back home to support his community. “This is a fun place to be. I figured it wouldn’t be very crowded, and I was right,” Boyd said. “But the beer is great, the brats are good, and the people are awesome. Rotary does wonderful things for the community, so it’s important to support this event.” Leeann Black of Johnsburg came to the event to see her friend perform. She said the rain wasn’t bothering her, and she was excited to be there for the food and music. “It doesn’t matter that it’s raining because we have a tent,” Black said. “I wanted to come for the beer and the music. It’s also important to support Rotary.” All the money raised from Oktoberfest will support the club’s many charities and programs, including scholarships for high school students and the Sunrise Secret Santa program, which gives new, wrapped toys to families in need. Last year, the program helped have presents waiting under the Christmas tree for more than 2,000 local children, Lehman said. “It’s very rewarding to deliver presents to th[...]


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Algonquin-based School District 300 students turn broken skateboards into artAlgonquin-based School District 300 high school students recycled broken skateboards by turning them into jewelry Thursday and Friday as part of an annual project that gets students out of the classroom and into the environment of working artists. “It was a lot of fun because it showed where we could go with our art careers,” Hamilton said.About 60 advanced art students from Dundee-Crown, Hampshire and Jacobs high schools traveled to Fargo Skateboarding park in DeKalb, where they worked with artist and skateboarder Ariel Ries.Diane Magerko, performing and fine arts chairwoman for the District 300 Foundation, said skateboards are made from layers of different multicolored wood, and when broken, the colors are exposed."Hopefully they see the benefits of thinking outside the box, being creative and what you can do with materials that most people would think are garbage, and how you can recycle them," Ries said.Ries has been making jewelry since she was 18, and she began using broken skateboards eight years ago by collecting all the broken boards at Fargo, a 10,000-square-foot skateboard shop and indoor skate park. All the money Ries makes from selling her jewelry goes back to improving the skate park."From cutting the boards up, sanding it, to finishing it, they'll all leave with their own jewelry to keep," Ries said. "We used hand tools, power tools, and cut them by hand. I want them to take away how to do things in a process – how to break down a process from beginning to end and what the logical steps are."The project was funded through a $3,000 grant from the District 300 Foundation for Educational Excellence. The foundation has awarded $500,000 in local grants through private donations and fundraisers, Magerko said.Magerko said it is important to get students into new learning environments, and the jewelry gives them something to build for their art portfolio.The foundation has funded past student field trips, including a trip to an Alpaca farm in Elgin, where students made artwork out of Alpaca fur.

Sun, 15 Oct 2017 04:49:00 GMT

ALGONQUIN – Hampshire High School sophomore Paloma Hamilton said it is eye-opening to see what an artist can use and turn into artwork.

Algonquin-based School District 300 high school students recycled broken skateboards by turning them into jewelry Thursday and Friday as part of an annual project that gets students out of the classroom and into the environment of working artists. “It was a lot of fun because it showed where we could go with our art careers,” Hamilton said.About 60 advanced art students from Dundee-Crown, Hampshire and Jacobs high schools traveled to Fargo Skateboarding park in DeKalb, where they worked with artist and skateboarder Ariel Ries.Diane Magerko, performing and fine arts chairwoman for the District 300 Foundation, said skateboards are made from layers of different multicolored wood, and when broken, the colors are exposed."Hopefully they see the benefits of thinking outside the box, being creative and what you can do with materials that most people would think are garbage, and how you can recycle them," Ries said.Ries has been making jewelry since she was 18, and she began using broken skateboards eight years ago by collecting all the broken boards at Fargo, a 10,000-square-foot skateboard shop and indoor skate park. All the money Ries makes from selling her jewelry goes back to improving the skate park."From cutting the boards up, sanding it, to finishing it, they'll all leave with their own jewelry to keep," Ries said. "We used hand tools, power tools, and cut them by hand. I want them to take away how to do things in a process – how to break down a process from beginning to end and what the logical steps are."The project was funded through a $3,000 grant from the District 300 Foundation for Educational Excellence. The foundation has awarded $500,000 in local grants through private donations and fundraisers, Magerko said.Magerko said it is important to get students into new learning environments, and the jewelry gives them something to build for their art portfolio.The foundation has funded past student field trips, including a trip to an Alpaca farm in Elgin, where students made artwork out of Alpaca fur.


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Authorities fight release of Crystal Lake suspect's 911 call from night of slayingsRyan C. Yarber, 31, has been charged with first-degree murder in connection with the double homicide Aug. 3 at the family home at 185 Marian Parkway. The Northwest Herald filed a Freedom of Information Act request in August seeking the release of the 911 calls related to the shooting deaths that night. Southeast Emergency Communications released a redacted 911 call made by a neighbor, but refused to release any portion of Yarber's call. The Northwest Herald appealed that decision to the Illinois attorney general’s public access counselor. The state's attorney and McHenry County Public Defender's Office jointly have opposed the release of Yarber's 911 call. In the four-page letter, they argue that disclosure of the call could make picking a jury nearly impossible, that a judge may not even allow the jury to hear the call at trial, and that it could prevent Yarber from getting a fair trial. "It will be extremely detrimental for the 911 call at issue to be released to the public when our offices are not even certain that it will be released to the jury at trial," they wrote. "Having the public know about [Yarber's] statements to the 911 operator may impair any defense [the public defender] might raise." The public access counselor had not decided whether Yarber's call should be released as of Friday.Crystal Lake police were called Aug. 3 to 185 Marian Parkway after a report of a woman armed with a knife. Before they arrived, they learned that a man with a handgun, later identified as Yarber, also was at the house, authorities have said. Police found 31-year-old Allania Yarber and her 15-year-old sister, Anniyah Reynolds, dying of gunshot wounds inside the home, authorities have said. Officers tried to save their lives, but both died at the scene. Yarber pleaded not guilty Sept. 1 to charges of first-degree murder, aggravated discharge of a firearm, aggravated domestic battery and child endangerment. If convicted, he could face life in prison.A neighbor who called 911 Aug. 3 told a dispatcher that she and her boyfriend heard screaming. She said her boyfriend went to investigate and saw a man with a gun. She told the dispatcher that there was a man on the ground talking on the phone, and it looked like he had a gun and that "he was saying something about his wife coming at him with a butcher knife." During the three-minute phone call, she told the dispatcher that as police arrived, she and her boyfriend could see a child outside. The call ended when the dispatcher said he needed to talk to officers at the scene. A boy who was inside the house on the night of the shooting told the Northwest Herald he heard the parents yelling at each other and then gunshots. “Me and my friend were just at his room, and then soon the parents were fighting,” he said. “Then we heard a scream from downstairs, and then we heard bangs.”McHenry County Assistant State’s Attorney John Gibbons said Thursday that the case appears to be in a holding pattern. He added that there’s not much to share at this point. McHenry County Assistant Public Defender Angelo Mourelatos did not return a call seeking comment on the case. Since Yarber’s not guilty plea Sept. 1, a variety of motions and requests have been made, according to McHenry County court documents. They include problems regarding evidence testing, collecting fingerprints and DNA testing. One document indicated that a silver Ginsu knife was collected as evidence and sent to the Illinois State Police Crime Lab in Rockford for fingerprint testing.Gibbons said it’s too early to say whether the case will go to trial. In their joint letter to the public access counselor, Mourelatos and Assistant State's Attorney Amber Porter wrote "there is an extremely high likelihood" the case will go to trial. Asked about a timeline for a potential trial, Gibbons said no two cases are the same, and “you just never know long it will take” to get to trial or otherwise resolve the case.Because he has been charged with the murder of two victims, Yarber is facing a mandatory minimum life sentence if convicted. Even if he took a plea deal on the murder charge, he still would be facing a natural life sentence, Mourelatos and Porter wrote in their letter. Mourelatos and Porter also said that the case still is under investigation."The state's attorney's office is gathering evidence from additional sources right now. It is possible that the release of the 911 call could deter other witnesses or sources from coming forward," they wrote in a redacted copy of the letter sent to the Northwest Herald. "For example, if sources believe [redacted] they may not be likely to come forward to report other information or evidence against the defendant. Again, the public's ability to speculate about the defendant's guilt could impair the state's attorney's office and the public defender's cases." Emergency calls are regularly released to the public. The state attorney general's office's "FOIA Guide for Law Enforcement" states that 911 "emergency call recordings and transcripts are public records that should be released, subject to any redactions permitted" by law.

Sun, 15 Oct 2017 04:49:00 GMT

CRYSTAL LAKE – On the night a Crystal Lake man is accused of killing his wife and her 15-year-old sister, he called 911 and told a dispatcher something that prosecutors and his defense attorney don't want people – and possibly even jurors – to know. "The 911 call at issue should not be disclosed to the public before the trial," lawyers for both the prosecution and defense wrote in a letter to the Illinois attorney general’s public access counselor. "This information will severely bias the public before the defendant is able to receive a fair trial." Ryan C. Yarber, 31, has been charged with first-degree murder in connection with the double homicide Aug. 3 at the family home at 185 Marian Parkway. The Northwest Herald filed a Freedom of Information Act request in August seeking the release of the 911 calls related to the shooting deaths that night. Southeast Emergency Communications released a redacted 911 call made by a neighbor, but refused to release any portion of Yarber's call. The Northwest Herald appealed that decision to the Illinois attorney general’s public access counselor. The state's attorney and McHenry County Public Defender's Office jointly have opposed the release of Yarber's 911 call. In the four-page letter, they argue that disclosure of the call could make picking a jury nearly impossible, that a judge may not even allow the jury to hear the call at trial, and that it could prevent Yarber from getting a fair trial. "It will be extremely detrimental for the 911 call at issue to be released to the public when our offices are not even certain that it will be released to the jury at trial," they wrote. "Having the public know about [Yarber's] statements to the 911 operator may impair any defense [the public defender] might raise." The public access counselor had not decided whether Yarber's call should be released as of Friday.Crystal Lake police were called Aug. 3 to 185 Marian Parkway after a report of a woman armed with a knife. Before they arrived, they learned that a man with a handgun, later identified as Yarber, also was at the house, authorities have said. Police found 31-year-old Allania Yarber and her 15-year-old sister, Anniyah Reynolds, dying of gunshot wounds inside the home, authorities have said. Officers tried to save their lives, but both died at the scene. Yarber pleaded not guilty Sept. 1 to charges of first-degree murder, aggravated discharge of a firearm, aggravated domestic battery and child endangerment. If convicted, he could face life in prison.A neighbor who called 911 Aug. 3 told a dispatcher that she and her boyfriend heard screaming. She said her boyfriend went to investigate and saw a man with[...]


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