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Algonquin Township fires Ryan Provenzano as chief of staffH. Rick Bamman - hbamman@shawmedia.com Township Supervisor Charles Lutzow's 23-year-old chief of staff Ryan Provenzano arrives at the township offices at 3702 U.S. Highway 14, in Crystal Lake on Tuesday. Lutzow fired Provenzano, a political insider who made more than $33 an hour in two Algonquin Township offices.

Tue, 16 Jan 2018 15:32:00 GMT

ALGONQUIN — Ryan Provenzano, a political insider who earned more than $33 an hour in two Algonquin Township offices, has been fired. On Tuesday morning, Township Supervisor Charles Lutzow terminated his 23-year-old chief of staff’s employment and banned him from the premises. Lutzow would not comment on why he fired Provenzano, whose roles in two offices have raised questions among township officials and road district employees who contend that his hiring was the product of patronage and cronyism. Despite several phone calls to his cellphone, Provenzano could not be reached for comment on his firing.  The Republican had agreements in place to earn $63,000 a year working full time as the chief of staff in Lutzow’s office, earning $32 an hour – and another deal working part time as deputy highway commissioner at the Algonquin Township Highway Department, where he made $33 an hour. That’s about $4 more an hour than the road district’s highest-paid employee, Randy Voss, who has worked for the highway department for 44 years and makes $29.14 an hour. It is unclear whether Provenzano will continue working for the road district. Highway Commissioner Andrew Gasser could not be reached for comment. Provenzano is the son of former McHenry County Board member Nick Provenzano, who now works for U.S. Rep. Randy Hultgren, and the nephew of former Maine Township Highway Commissioner Robert Provenzano.  He is a graduate of Marian Catholic High School and former employee of McHenry Harley-Davidson. Provenzano spent 10 months as a front of house manager at Plum Garden Restaurant – a popular Chinese eatery in McHenry owned by former McHenry County Board member Perry Moy, who donated $550 to the political efforts of Provenzano’s father in 2004, according to campaign finance records. Ryan Provenzano helped McHenry Mayor Wayne Jett win election as his campaign manager, and he worked as a field director for Gov. Bruce Rauner’s campaign operations in McHenry County. Provenzano and his father helped Lutzow run his campaign for township supervisor. Lutzow has denied that Ryan Provenzano was hired as a political favor. Former Algonquin Township Supervisor Dianne Klemm hired Ryan Provenzano early last year to help transition the office into the hands of Lutzow, who recently was elected supervisor. Provenzano then earned $13 an hour. On May 15, Lutzow’s first day in office, the incoming supervisor signed a one-line memo increasing Ryan Provenzano’s pay, according to documents obtained by the Northwest Herald. “Please revise Ryan A. Provenzano’s pay rate to $59,000 annual salary,” Lutzow wrote in the memo. In November, the Northwest Herald filed a Freedom of Information Act request with township officials asking for documents inside Ryan Provenzano’s personnel file, including a job description, contracts, résumés and letters of recommendation. Township attorney James Kelly told the Northwest Herald on Dec. 5 that no such documents exist. “There are no documents that are responsive to your request,” Kelly wrote. As chief of staff at the supervisor’s office, Ryan Provenzano worked full time, logging 37.5 hours a week. His responsibilities included managing payroll, shaping the township budget and controlling the township’s building and maintenance.  Although he is eligible to enroll in the township’s health insurance program, Ryan Provenzano did not take health benefits; he is on his parents’ insurance plan and could not bank sick pay.  Ryan Provenzano was enrolled in the sta[...]


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Sage YMCA in Crystal Lake sets preschool open houseH. Rick Bamman - hbamman@shawmedia.com Sage YMCA counselor Matt Gagnon instructs his charges in the Discover preschoolers camp how to jump over two ropes then run back in line. In addition to the "traditional" summer day camp complete with campfires and songs, the Sage YMCA also is launching its all-day specialty camp option this summer.

Tue, 16 Jan 2018 14:37:00 GMT

CRYSTAL LAKE – Sage YMCA is hosting open houses for the organization’s preschool, which is enrolling students for the 2018-19 school year.

Upcoming open house dates are from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday, 6 to 7:30 p.m. Jan. 25 and 10 to 11:30 a.m. Jan. 27. Prospective preschool parents are invited to attend, according to a news release.

For information, visit http://www.ymcachicago.org/sage/pages/sage-y-preschool, or to schedule a personal tour if unable to attend an open house, contact Barbie Fredrick at 815-526-1632 or bfredrick@ymcachicago.org.

The Sage YMCA preschool offers a variety of programs for children 2½ years old and older.

Available sessions include two-, three-, four- or five-day programs, as well as both half-day morning or afternoon and full-day classes.

H. Rick Bamman - hbamman@shawmedia.com Sage YMCA counselor Matt Gagnon instructs his charges in the Discover preschoolers camp how to jump over two ropes then run back in line. In addition to the "traditional" summer day camp complete with campfires and songs, the Sage YMCA also is launching its all-day specialty camp option this summer.


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McHenry completes boat launch project at Miller Riverfront ParkShaw Media file photo

Tue, 16 Jan 2018 14:34:00 GMT

McHENRY – The city has completed its motorized boat launch at Miller Riverfront Park nearly three decades after its initial design and construction.

The McHenry City Council met Monday to discuss the project and a final payment to R.E. Hummel Construction Co. The city paid the Island Lake-based company $239,953 for the completed work on the launch, according to city documents.

The project has been part of plans for the park since 1988, but it stalled because of then-new rules adopted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The policy limited the number of boat ramps and multiuser piers in the Fox Lake-Chain O’ Lakes region to those that already existed, according to city documents.

The remainder of the project, such as installation of a gravel parking lot, proceeded. The city also developed a road with space to accommodate boats and a path leading to a carry-in area for canoes and rowboats, according to city documents.

The project includes the ramp itself along with galvanized seawalls, boat tie-ups and bollards, according to city documents.

McHenry Parks and Recreation Director Bill Hobson said the ramp installation has been a goal and priority for his department as well as the city.

“Increasing access to the Fox River has constantly ranked near the top of both the master and strategic plan,” Hobson said. “Unfortunately, simply acquiring the rights to the boat launch … has long been a stumbling block.”

The city worked with Lakemoor and Johnsburg to acquire rights to an approved but unused boat launch, which allowed the project to move forward, Hobson said.

Miller Riverfront Park, 2900 Charles Miller Road, also offers a playground and nature area with fishing and picnic amenities.

Shaw Media file photo


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California teen leads deputies to parents' house of horrorsIn this Sunday, Jan. 14, 2018 photo released by the Riverside County Sheriff's Department shows Louise Anna Turpin. Authorities say an emaciated teenager led deputies to a California home where her 12 brothers and sisters were locked up in filthy conditions, with some of them malnourished and chained to beds. Riverside County sheriff's deputies arrested the parents David Allen Turpin and Louise Anna Turpin on Sunday. The parents could face charges including torture and child endangerment. (Riverside County Sheriff's Department via AP)In this Sunday, Jan. 14, 2018 photo released by the Riverside County Sheriff's Department shows suspect David Allen Turpin. Authorities say an emaciated teenager led deputies to a California home where her 12 brothers and sisters were locked up in filthy conditions, with some of them malnourished and chained to beds. Riverside County sheriff's deputies arrested the parents David Allen Turpin and Louise Anna Turpin on Sunday. The parents could face charges including torture and child endangerment. (Riverside County Sheriff's Department via AP)

Tue, 16 Jan 2018 13:36:00 GMT

PERRIS, Calif. — A 17-year-old girl called police after escaping from her family's home where she and her 12 brothers and sisters were locked up in filthy conditions, some so malnourished officers at first believed all were children even though seven are adults. The girl, who was so small officers initially believed she was only 10, called 911 and was met by police who interviewed her and then went to the family home in Perris, about 70 miles southeast of Los Angeles. They found several children shackled to their beds with chains and padlocks in dark, foul-smelling surroundings, according to the Riverside County Sheriff's Department. The children, ages 2 to 29, "appeared to be malnourished and very dirty," according to a press release announcing Sunday's arrest of the parents. "The victims were provided with food and beverages after they claimed to be starving." David Allen Turpin, 57, and Louise Anna Turpin, 49, each were held on $9 million bail and could face charges including torture and child endangerment. It wasn't immediately known if they had attorneys. State Department of Education records show the family home has the same address as Sandcastle Day School, where David Turpin is listed as principal. In the 2016-17 school year it had an enrollment of six with one student in each of the fifth, sixth, eighth, ninth, 10th and 12th grades. Neighbors said they were stunned by the arrests. Andrew Santillan, who lives around the corner, heard about the case from a friend. "I had no idea this was going on," he told the Press-Enterprise of Riverside. "I didn't know there were kids in the house." Other neighbors described the family as intensely private. A few years ago, Robert Perkins said he and his mother saw a few family members constructing a Nativity scene in the Turpins' front yard. Perkins said he complimented them on it. "They didn't say a word," he said. The Turpins filed for bankruptcy in 2011, stating in court documents they owed between $100,000 and $500,000, The New York Times reported. At that time, Turpin worked as an engineer at Northrop Grumman and earned $140,000 annually and his wife was a homemaker, records showed. Their bankruptcy lawyer, Ivan Trahan, told the Times he never met the children but the couple "spoke about them highly." "We remember them as a very nice couple," Trahan said, adding that Louise Turpin told him the family loved Disneyland and visited often. In this Sunday, Jan. 14, 2018 photo released by the Riverside County Sheriff's Department shows Louise Anna Turpin. Authorities say an emaciated teenager led deputies to a California home where her 12 brothers and sisters were locked up in filthy conditions, with some of them malnourished and chained to beds. Riverside County sheriff's deputies arrested the parents David Allen Turpin and Louise Anna Turpin on Sunday. The parents could face charges including torture and child endangerment. (Riverside County Sheriff's Department via AP)In this Sunday, Jan. 14, 2018 photo released by the Riverside County Sheriff's Department shows suspect David Allen Turpin. Authorities say an emaciated teenager led deputies to a California home where her 12 brothers and sisters were locked up in filthy conditions, with some of them malnourished and chained to beds. Riverside County sheriff's deputies arrested the parents David Allen Turpin and Louise Anna Turpin on Sunday. The parents could face charges including torture and child endangerment. (Riverside County Sheriff's Department via AP)[...]


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Image problem? Some cities end their role in A&E's 'Live PD'A crew from the TV program "Live PD," a reality show by the A&E Network, records an officer from the Bridgeport Police Department while on patrol Nov. 3, 2016, in Bridgeport, Conn. Some law enforcement agencies, including the Bridgeport police, have ended their agreements to be on the show after local government leaders concluded that the national spotlight on criminal activity overshadowed the positive things happening in their hometowns.

Tue, 16 Jan 2018 06:28:00 GMT

HARTFORD, Conn. – For some of the law enforcement agencies that agreed to be on A&E Network’s real-time police show “Live PD,” the goal of being more transparent with their profession under increasing scrutiny clashed with concerns over public image. Police departments in Bridgeport, Connecticut; Tulsa, Oklahoma; and Streetsboro, Ohio, decided not to renew their contracts to be on the program since it premiered in October 2016 as some local government leaders concluded the national spotlight on criminal activity overshadowed the positive things happening in their hometowns. Another department, the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office in South Carolina, ended its run on the show in August, saying deputies needed a break from the cameras. The show, which airs Friday and Saturday nights, has live camera crews following officers in several police departments as they patrol. There is a delay of five to 20 minutes to prevent the airing of disturbing content or the release of information that could compromise investigations, the show’s producers say. “As the debate over the policing of America continues to be a part of the daily conversation across the nation, Live PD viewers get unfettered and unfiltered live access inside a variety of the country’s busiest police forces, both urban and rural, and the communities they patrol on a typical night,” the show’s website says. In Bridgeport, officials were pleased the program showed the hard work and bravery of city police officers, but complaints started rolling in from businesses, the University of Bridgeport and others interested in attracting people and investments to Connecticut’s largest city, said Av Harris, a spokesman for Mayor Joe Ganim. “If that’s the only thing that’s being publicized nationally about our city, it can have a negative impact,” he said. “We don’t have the Travel Channel doing anything on how wonderful all our economic development projects are.” Bridgeport, a city with pockets of deep poverty that saw homicides double to 23 last year, left the show in December 2016, less than two months after the series began. During the city’s short run on the program, a police sergeant was arrested on a domestic violence charge, which was later dismissed, shortly after she appeared on an episode warning viewers about the dangers of domestic violence. Two people shown on the show later filed lawsuits accusing police of brutality. Another sergeant responding to a call involving a dead baby was shown breaking down in his cruiser as he talked about it afterward, which drew media coverage and praise on social media for showing officers’ sensitive sides. Feedback from most of the two dozen police departments that have appeared on the show has been positive, said Dan Cesareo, creator and executive producer of “Live PD.” “Our only goal is to document policing across America,” said Cesareo, president of Big Fish Entertainment. “We very much are very neutral in terms of what we’re showing.” Concerns about the show appear to be mostly political and not coming from police officials, said Dan Abrams, the program’s host. “Putting a lens on the day-to-day work that police officers do is important. And some of it isn’t pretty,” Abrams said. “I think the notion that it is a bad thing is actually the wrong way to look at it. ... You can say that the crimes that occurred are bad.” In Ohio, Streetsboro police left “Live PD” in November after appearing in six episodes. Chief Darin Powers said that while it was good for th[...]


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Casino company: Boat that caught fire had no past problemsIn this photo provided by Pasco County flames engulf a boat Sunday, Jan. 14, 2018, in the Tampa Bay area. The boat ferrying patrons to a casino ship off the Florida Gulf Coast caught fire near shore Sunday afternoon, and dozens of passengers and crew safely made it to land, authorities said. (Tambrey Laine/Pasco County via AP)

Tue, 16 Jan 2018 06:28:00 GMT

TAMPA, Fla. – A casino company said Monday that it never had a problem with the shuttle boat that burst into flames off Florida's Gulf Coast, leading to the death of a female passenger. Tropical Breeze Casino spokeswoman Beth Fifer said the company does not know what caused Sunday's huge blaze, which gutted the 12-year-old shuttle boat and forced about 50 passengers to jump into chilly waters off Port Richey. "We are deeply saddened for the loss of our passenger, the 14 injured and anyone else who was affected by this tragedy," Fifer said. Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point spokesman Kurt Conover said Monday that the passenger arrived at the hospital's emergency room at 10 p.m. Sunday and died shortly afterward. He said she had apparently gone home after the fire but became ill. Pasco County Sheriff's Office spokesman Kevin Doll said the victim was 42. Her name has not been released and a cause of death has not been determined. Conover said eight other passengers were treated at the hospital and released. Authorities originally said no injuries were life-threatening. Coast Guard Petty Officer 1st Class Michael De Nyse said investigators will determine the cause of the fire and examine the history of the boat and Tropical Breeze Casino. Helicopter video taken by WTSP-TV early Monday shows the boat was burned down to its hull, with only an American flag on its bow uncharred. The shuttle boat regularly carried people back and forth from the Tropical Breeze's offshore casino, about a 45-minute ride into international waters. There, passengers would play games such as black jack, which is illegal at non-Indian casinos in Florida, and roulette, which is illegal statewide. The shuttle boat caught fire about 4 p.m. Sunday, quickly engulfing the boat close to shore near residential neighborhoods. Officials said the boat was headed out to the casino ship at the time. Port Richey Police Chief Gerard DeCanio said the shuttle boat experienced engine problems after leaving the dock at Port Richey, a suburban community about 35 miles (55 kilometers) northwest of Tampa. But as the vessel turned back, flames kicked up and people began jumping overboard into shallow water, according to witness accounts. Larry Santangelo, 57, said he had just driven into his neighborhood when he saw smoke and fire and thought a house – possibly his own – was ablaze. But then he realized it was the boat just about 100 yards offshore. He told the Tampa Bay Times that he then saw people wandering about confused, wet and cold, after they reached land. One woman collapsed upon reaching shore and vomited, he said. Santangelo said he took about 30 of the passengers into his garage to warm up and recover. "It was so windy and they were soaking wet," said Santangelo. He worried that some might suffer from hypothermia. It wasn't immediately clear what caused the fire, which sent a huge plume of dark black smoke wafting over sunny skies on an unusually chilly winter day in the Tampa Bay region. "It looked pretty dramatic because the shuttle boat burned really fast," DeCanio told The Associated Press on Sunday. Another witness told the Tampa Bay Times the shuttle boat passes regularly by his family's home, carrying patrons to and from a casino ship offshore. But he knew something was wrong when he saw smoke and heard shouts and screams. "They didn't have much time to decide whether or not to jump," said Bakr Jandali, 19, who was with his home nearb[...]


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Across the Mideast, Palestinians brace for Trump aid cutsIn this Thursday Jan. 11, 2018 photo, Palestinian children play in an alley at the Shati refugee camp in Gaza City. From the Gaza Strip to Jordan and Lebanon, millions of Palestinians are bracing for the worst as the Trump administration moves toward cutting funding to the U.N. agency that assists Palestinian refugees across the region. The expected cuts could deliver a painful blow to some of the weakest populations in the Middle East and risk destabilizing the already struggling countries that host displaced Palestinian refugees and their descendants. (AP Photo/ Khalil Hamra)

Tue, 16 Jan 2018 06:28:00 GMT

SHATI REFUGEE CAMP, Gaza Strip – Mahmoud al-Qouqa can't imagine life without the three sacks of flour, cooking oil and other staples he receives from the United Nations every three months. Living with 25 relatives in a crowded home in this teeming Gaza Strip slum, the meager rations provided by UNRWA, the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugee families, are the last thing keeping his family afloat in the territory hard hit by years of poverty and conflict. But that could be in danger as the U.S., UNRWA's biggest donor, threatens to curtail funding. "It will be like a disaster and no one can predict what the reaction will be," al-Qouqa said. Across the Middle East, millions of people who depend on UNRWA are bracing for the worst. The expected cut could also add instability to struggling host countries already coping with spillover from other regional crises. UNRWA was established in the wake of the 1948 Mideast war surrounding Israel's creation. An estimated 700,000 Palestinians fled or were forced from their homes in the fighting. In the absence of a solution for these refugees, the U.N. General Assembly has repeatedly renewed UNRWA's mandate, the original refugee camps have turned into concrete slums and more than 5 million refugees and their descendants now rely on the agency for services including education, health care and food. The largest populations are in Gaza, the West Bank, Jordan and Lebanon. Seen by the Palestinians and most of the international community as providing a valuable safety net, UNRWA is viewed far differently by Israel. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accuses the agency of perpetuating the conflict by helping promote an unrealistic dream that these people have the "right of return" to long-lost properties in what is now Israel. "UNRWA is part of the problem, not part of the solution," he told foreign journalists last week. Noting that the Palestinians are the only group served by a specific refugee agency, he said UNRWA should be abolished and its responsibilities taken over by the main U.N. refugee agency. Some in Israel have even tougher criticism, accusing UNRWA of teaching hatred of Israel in its classrooms and tolerating or assisting Hamas militants in Gaza. Blaming the Palestinians for lack of progress in Mideast peace efforts, President Donald Trump has threatened to cut American assistance to the Palestinians. UNRWA would be the first to be affected. The U.S. provides about $355 million a year to UNRWA, roughly one-third of its budget. U.S. officials in Washington said this week the administration is preparing to withhold tens of millions of dollars from the year's first contribution, cutting a planned $125 million installment by half or perhaps entirely. The decision could come as early as Tuesday. Matthias Schmale, UNRWA's director in Gaza, said Washington has not informed the agency of any changes. However, "we are worried because of the statements ... in the media and the fact that the money hasn't arrived yet," he said. Schmale dismissed the Israeli criticisms, saying that individuals who spread incitement or aid militants are isolated cases and promptly punished. And he said Netanyahu's criticism should be directed at the U.N. General Assembly, which sets UNRWA's mandate, not the agency itself. Any cut in U.S. aid could ripple across the region with potentially unintended consequences. Gaza may be the most challenging of all of UNRWA's operating areas. Two-thirds of Gaza's 2 million people qualify[...]


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King children criticize Trump, decry racism on MLK holidayThe Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s daughter, the Rev. Bernice King, speaks during the Martin Luther King Jr. annual commemorative service Monday at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta.

Tue, 16 Jan 2018 06:28:00 GMT

Trump marked his first Martin Luther King Jr. Day as president buffeted by claims that during a meeting with senators on immigration last week, he used a vulgarity to describe African countries and questioned the need to allow more Haitians into the U.S. He also is said to have asked why the country couldn’t have more immigrants from nations such as Norway.

In Washington, King’s eldest son, Martin Luther King III, criticized Trump, saying, “When a president insists that our nation needs more citizens from white states like Norway, I don’t even think we need to spend any time even talking about what it says and what it is.”

He added, “We got to find a way to work on this man’s heart.”

In Atlanta, King’s daughter, the Rev. Bernice King, told hundreds of people who packed the pews of the Ebenezer Baptist Church that they “cannot allow the nations of the world to embrace the words that come from our president as a reflection of the true spirit of America.”

“We are one people, one nation, one blood, one destiny. ... All of civilization and humanity originated from the soils of Africa,” Bernice King said. “Our collective voice in this hour must always be louder than the one who sometimes does not reflect the legacy of my father.”

Church pastor the Rev. Raphael Warnock also took issue with Trump’s campaign slogan to “Make America Great Again.”

Warnock said he thinks America “is already great ... in large measure because of Africa and African people.”

Down the street from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago retreat in Palm Beach, Florida, on Monday, Haitian protesters and Trump supporters yelled at each other from opposing corners.

Trump was staying at the resort for the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend. Video posted by WPEC-TV showed several hundred pro-Haiti demonstrators yelling from one side of the street Monday while waving Haitian flags. The Haitians and their supporters shouted “Our country is not a s---hole,” referring to comments the president reportedly made. Trump has said that is not the language he used.

The smaller pro-Trump contingent waved American flags and campaign posters and yelled “Trump is making America great again.” One man could be seen telling the Haitians to leave the country. Police kept the sides apart.

Trump dedicated his weekly address to the nation, released Monday, to King.

“Dr. King’s dream is our dream, it is the American dream, it’s the promise stitched into the fabric of our nation, etched into the hearts of our people and written into the soul of humankind,” he said in the address, which he tweeted to his followers. “It is the dream of a world where people are judged by who they are, not how they look or where they come from.”

The president’s remarks appeared not to resonate with the Rev. Al Sharpton, who also used the holiday to take aim at the racial rhetoric Trump is said to have used.

“Trump Tower is in the wrong state,” Sharpton told a crowd of 200 at the National Action Network in Harlem. He said it was embarrassing that Trump is from New York. “What we’re going to do about Donald Trump is going to be the spirit of Martin Luther King Day,” he said.

The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s daughter, the Rev. Bernice King, speaks during the Martin Luther King Jr. annual commemorative service Monday at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta.


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In Chile, pope met with protests, passion and skepticismPope Francis waves to followers Monday on his way to the Apostolic Nunciature in Santiago, Chile.

Tue, 16 Jan 2018 06:28:00 GMT

SANTIAGO, Chile – Pope Francis flew in to Chile’s capital Monday night for a visit expected to be met with protests over sexual abuse by priests and confronted by many Chileans deeply skeptical about the Roman Catholic Church. It’s the pope’s first visit to the Andean nation of 17 million people since taking the reins of the church in 2013. It comes at a time when many Chileans are furious over Francis’ 2015 decision to appoint a bishop close to the Rev. Fernando Karadima, who the Vatican found guilty in 2011 of abusing dozens of minors over decades. The Rev. Juan Barros, bishop of the southern city of Osorno, has always denied he knew what Karadima was doing when he was the priest’s protege, a position that many Chileans have a hard time believing. “It’s not just time for the pope to ask for forgiveness for the abuses but also to take action,” said Juan Carlos Cruz, a victim of Karadima. Cruz added that if it wasn’t possible to jail bad bishops, “at the very least they can be removed from their positions.” After deplaning, Francis was greeted by President Michelle Bachelet and a band played while the two walked on a red carpet as night began to fall. The pope traveled in a black sedan to the center of the city, flanked by several cars. He then transferred to a popemobile, waving to small crowds of well-wishers who lined up along avenues. Crowds were notably thin, particularly compared with papal visits in other Latin American countries. “Long live the pope!” some yelled as he passed by in the pope mobile. Others carried signs criticizing the pope or extolling him to act. “Stop the abuse, Francis!” one sign read. “You can so you must!” Over the next three days, Francis is scheduled to celebrate Mass in Santiago, the southern city of Temuco and the northern city of Iquique. On Thursday, the pope will go to Peru for a three-day visit. Francis’ trip was aimed at highlighting the plight of immigrants and indigenous peoples and underscoring the need to preserve the Amazon rain forest. However, sexual abuse by priests has taken front and center in the weeks before his arrival. Hours before Francis landed, activists on issues related to sex abuse by priests called for sanctions against both abusers and anyone who helped cover up their actions. About 200 people attended the first of several activities aimed at making the sex abuse scandal a central topic of Francis’ time in the country. The majority of Chileans continue to declare themselves Roman Catholics, but the church has lost the influence and moral authority it once enjoyed thanks to the scandals, secularization and an out-of-touch clerical caste. “I used to be a strong believer and churchgoer,” said Blanca Carvucho, a 57-year-old secretary in Santiago. “All the contradictions have pushed me away.” To be sure, many eagerly awaited a chance to see the pope and celebrate their faith. Moises Lopez, a 35-year-old musician, took a bus from northern Chile to Santiago in hopes of seeing the pontiff. “I consider myself a pilgrim,” Lopez said. “I could have stayed comfortably at home and watched the pope on television, but I prefer to make an effort to see him in person once in my life.” The pope will try to inject new energy into the church during his visit, which gets underway in earnest Tuesday with a ser[...]


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Illinois lawmakers form subcommittee for digital currency

Tue, 16 Jan 2018 06:27:00 GMT

SPRINGFIELD – Illinois lawmakers have formed a subcommittee to explore state policies over decentralized digital currencies such as bitcoin.

The Department of Financial and Professional Regulation doesn’t consider digital currencies valid. But some lawmakers believe digital currencies and blockchain technology may have benefits that could make state government more efficient.

Rep. Mike Zalewski of Riverside will chair the House subcommittee. Zalewski told the State Journal-Register that his goal is to understand whether a digital currency would be a worthy investment or a risky gamble.

“As lawmakers, we all want government to run more efficiently and transparently,” Zalewski said. “Distributed ledger technology has the promise to do just that – replace old antiquated systems with a modern approach to serving citizens’ needs.”

He said he hopes the subcommittee can create a policy that puts consumers first.

Digital currencies like bitcoin have gained popularity in the past decade. Digital currency is unlike traditional currency because it’s created and exchanged independent of banks or governments.

Instead, they rely on peer-to-peer transactions that are recorded in an online ledger.

Blockchain is a database that can be used to record digital transactions and avoid duplication.

State Rep. Jaime Andrade of Chicago is chairman of the Cybersecurity, Data Analytics and IT committee. He said the aim of the subcommittee is to create an environment that “allows and fosters this technology.”

Andrade said a report will be released soon from the task force that was created last year to study how and if state, county and municipal governments can benefit from record keeping and service delivery based on a blockchain system.

No hearings have been scheduled yet for the new subcommittee.




Cary man faces attempted murder charges in Fox River Grove stabbingMichael D. Eccles, 60, of the 2400 block of Crystal Lake Road, Cary, is charged with attempted murder, aggravated battery and aggravated domestic battery.

Tue, 16 Jan 2018 06:26:00 GMT

FOX RIVER GROVE – A Cary man has been charged with attempted murder after police said he sent another man to the hospital with serious injuries from multiple stab wounds.

Officers responded at 11:42 p.m. Saturday to the 200 block of Opatrny Drive, Fox River Grove, where someone reportedly had been stabbed, Fox River Grove Police Chief Eric Waitrovich said Monday.

Flight for Life took the victim, a 31-year-old man, to Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville, where he remained Monday morning, Waitrovich said.

Michael D. Eccles, 60, of the 2400 block of Crystal Lake Road, Cary, was taken to the police station and later arrested in connection with the stabbing.

Eccles and the victim knew each other, and although the situation remains under investigation, police don’t believe there are any other suspects, Waitrovich said.

Further details about the incident were not available Monday. Court records also were not available because of the holiday.

Eccles is charged with attempted murder, aggravated battery and aggravated domestic battery, jail records show.

If he is convicted of attempted murder, Eccles could face a six- to 30-year prison sentence.

McHenry County Judge John Bolger set Eccles’ bond at $250,000 Monday morning. He must post $25,000 bail to be released, jail records show.

He was booked into the McHenry County Jail on Sunday afternoon, jail records show.

The McHenry County Major Investigations Assistance Team and Fox River Grove police are investigating the situation.

Eccles’ first court appearance is scheduled for Tuesday.

Michael D. Eccles, 60, of the 2400 block of Crystal Lake Road, Cary, is charged with attempted murder, aggravated battery and aggravated domestic battery.


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McHenry County in store for flurries, subzero wind chill, National Weather Service saysOff from school for Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Hunter Mosolino glances over his shoulder while tubing down a Veteran Acres Park hill in Crystal Lake.Winding Creek Drive neighbors Mary Jane Kittl (left) and Linda Flatley visit with each other after clearing their driveways in McHenry. Kittl remarked on the new fallen snow: "This is so gorgeous," while Flatley said she "loves the snow."A Crystal Lake Public Works plow truck clears snow at the intersection of Main Street and McCollom Street on Monday.Snow clings to trees in Veteran Acres Park on Monday.

Tue, 16 Jan 2018 06:23:00 GMT

CRYSTAL LAKE – McHenry County is in store for some frigid weather Tuesday – with a wind chill that feels like 10 degrees below zero.

As of 7:20 p.m. Monday, the National Weather Service had logged 3 to 6 inches of snowfall in McHenry County, meteorologist Kevin Donofrio said. In Woodstock alone, 5½ inches of snow covered the ground.

The National Weather Service tracked a winter storm band Monday expected to enter northern Illinois overnight, Donofrio said.

On Tuesday, McHenry County residents can expect lingering flurries and light snow showers throughout the morning, as the winter storm heads toward Lake Michigan.

Winds will blow from 10 to 15 mph, and temperatures will top out at 20 degrees – until Tuesday night, when the wind chill will feel like 10 degrees below zero.

On Monday morning, the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office warned of slippery roads as snow fell throughout the county.

McHenry County saw another 4 inches of snow Monday night, on top of the estimated 4 inches that fell from Sunday night into Monday.

High temperatures reached the lower 20s throughout the day Monday and later dropped to the mid-teens, according to the service.

A winter weather advisory remained in effect until noon Monday, according to the service. The advisory warned of limited visibility for drivers and snow-covered roads that could make travel difficult.

The sheriff’s office recommends that drivers slow down and be cautious.

Although many authorities in McHenry County reported little activity on the roads, others said there were some weather-related traffic incidents that kept emergency crews busy.

About 3:45 p.m. Monday in Wonder Lake, a man’s SUV slid off the road and crashed into a tree. He was taken to a Centegra hospital with minor injuries, Battalion Chief Chris Weber said.

Off from school for Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Hunter Mosolino glances over his shoulder while tubing down a Veteran Acres Park hill in Crystal Lake.Winding Creek Drive neighbors Mary Jane Kittl (left) and Linda Flatley visit with each other after clearing their driveways in McHenry. Kittl remarked on the new fallen snow: "This is so gorgeous," while Flatley said she "loves the snow."A Crystal Lake Public Works plow truck clears snow at the intersection of Main Street and McCollom Street on Monday.Snow clings to trees in Veteran Acres Park on Monday.


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Joseph's Marketplace in Crystal Lake to closeCustomers order various foods from the deli at Joseph's Marketplace on May 22, 2013, in Crystal Lake. The grocer has been in business since 2005, priding itself on daily deliveries of produce and meats along with friendly customer service. Joseph's will close soon, store officials said Monday.Joseph's Marketplace in Crystal Lake Plaza on Route 14 is seen Monday. The store is expected to close soon, but ownership did not want to comment Monday.

Tue, 16 Jan 2018 06:23:00 GMT

CRYSTAL LAKE – Joseph’s Marketplace, an independent grocer in Crystal Lake for more than a decade, is closing.

Several store officials said Monday that the business, known for its fresh produce and some hard-to-find items, will close. But they did not say when, and they did not want to comment further.

A member of the store’s management team said they are not yet sure when the store will be closing.

A cashier at the store, which is in Crystal Lake Plaza on Route 14, could be heard telling a customer one or two weeks until close. Another said a month or six weeks.

Customers in the past couple of weeks have expressed disappointment on the store’s Facebook page about rumors that the store would close, while others posted that store employees confirmed the news to them.

Upon hearing the news, Crystal Lake Chamber of Commerce President Mary Margaret Maule said it was “really unfortunate.”

“Joseph’s has served a unique role in the marketplace,” said Maule, who lived in Europe for five years and went to Joseph’s for certain items that she was introduced to overseas. “They have a lot of specialty offerings, a lot of European foods.”

On Monday, the store had not yet posted anything saying it is closing, nor had it advertised any going-out-of-business sales.

Some shelves inside the store were not fully stocked.

Joseph’s survived the recession after it opened in 2005, filling the space left vacant by an Eagle Food Center Inc. store.

It also bounced back from a three-month closure in 2011 after a partial roof collapse as a result of a powerful summer storm.

There’s fresh competition in the grocery store marketplace in Crystal Lake. Several new grocers have opened along Route 14 in the wake of the recession. Mariano’s plans to open a store nearby in April.

Maule lauded Joseph’s for always being active in the community, including its aiding in food drives to benefit the Crystal Lake Food Pantry.

A call to the property owner of Crystal Lake Plaza, Madison Corporate Group, was not returned Monday, a holiday.

Customers order various foods from the deli at Joseph's Marketplace on May 22, 2013, in Crystal Lake. The grocer has been in business since 2005, priding itself on daily deliveries of produce and meats along with friendly customer service. Joseph's will close soon, store officials said Monday.Joseph's Marketplace in Crystal Lake Plaza on Route 14 is seen Monday. The store is expected to close soon, but ownership did not want to comment Monday.


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Faith leaders, performers gather in McHenry County to honor Martin Luther King Jr.Cantorial soloist Lia Nicine McCoo leads attendees of the Martin Luther King Jr. Interfaith Prayer Breakfast in song Monday at D’Andrea Banquets and Conference Center in Crystal Lake.Cathy Daharsh (left), senior pastor of Bethany Lutheran Church in Crystal Lake, prays with FaithBridge board member Judy Engebretson (right) at the Martin Luther King Jr. Interfaith Prayer Breakfast on Monday.Elaine Twigg (left) of Crystal Lake talks with Oakwood Hills Police Chief Valiza Nash at the Martin Luther King Jr. Interfaith Prayer Breakfast on Monday in Crystal Lake.The Rev. Zina Jacque of the Community Church of Barrington speaks to an attendee during her keynote speech Monday at the Martin Luther King Jr. Interfaith Prayer Breakfast in Crystal Lake.Autumn Chase, a middle school student from Crystal Lake School District 47, reads her essay during the Martin Luther King Jr. Interfaith Prayer Breakfast on Monday in Crystal Lake.

Tue, 16 Jan 2018 06:21:00 GMT

CRYSTAL LAKE – Hope lingered in the air Monday morning at D’Andrea Banquets and Conference Center as an assortment of speakers and performers channeled the work of Martin Luther King Jr. Speakers ranging from the Rev. Zina Jacque of Community Church of Barrington – a holder of four degrees, including a doctorate and two master’s – to Crystal Lake Elementary School District 47 eighth-grader Autumn Chase graced the stage with remarks on King’s influence and how to best implement it in modern times. Jacque spoke of seeking out others for help and advice, even if they see things differently, and to step out of one’s comfort zone in all areas of life. “I want to be really clear – rugged individualism and self-dependence is, in part, what isolates us,” Jacque said. “[It’s] what keeps us apart. And let me go even further. If all your partners look like you do, that’s another problem. If all your partners think like you do, there’s another problem. If all your partners agree with you, pray for them.” The eighth annual Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Interfaith Prayer Breakfast was hosted by FaithBridge, a member of the North American Interfaith Network. Chase was the winner of FaithBridge’s essay contest, which asked middle school students to write 300 to 350 words responding to questions revolving around this year’s theme, “conditions of hope.” Chase won $50, two tickets to the breakfast and the opportunity to read her essay at the event. She received a standing ovation after concluding her speech. “Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable,” Chase said. “You must work for what you believe in.” Chase’s essay explored what happens “when good people are silent about injustice.” “Many think that being brave is not saying anything – not taking an aggressor’s bait. But they are wrong,” Chase said. “Being brave in the cause of justice means standing up for your beliefs and not letting others speak for you.” The contrast of King’s famous words pushing for racial equality, compared with President Donald Trump’s recent remarks about immigrants from other mostly black nations, was not lost on those in attendance. Jacque, the keynote speaker at the event – which was filled with people of all racial and faith backgrounds – said she rewrote the start of her speech numerous times after news of Trump’s comments broke. “All I can tell you is that as I reduced down the emotion I’ve felt since Thursday is that the place I end up is – I refuse to give up hope. I refuse to give up hope,” Jacque said. “And let’s be clear, hope is the confident expectation of the coming good.” As a nonprofit formed in 2007, FaithBridge uses a variety of programs, gatherings and educational opportunities to bring together people of differing traditions to learn about each other’s faiths, find common ground, “and create something beautiful and unique that ties us all together as believing human beings,” according to the organization’s website. Cantorial soloist Lia Nicine McCoo leads attendees of the Martin Luther King Jr. Interfaith Prayer Breakfast in song Monday at D’Andrea Banquets and Conference Center in Crystal Lake.Cathy Daharsh (left), senior pastor of Bethany Lutheran Church in Crystal Lake, prays with FaithBridge board member Judy Engebretson (right) at the Marti[...]


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Coroner IDs Marengo man, Hebron woman killed in Route 47 crashPersonnel from the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office block traffic after a crash Sunday near the intersection of O’Brien Road and Route 47.Personnel from the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office block traffic after a crash Sunday near the intersection of O’Brien Road and Route 47.

Tue, 16 Jan 2018 06:19:00 GMT

HEBRON – The identities of a Marengo man and a Hebron woman who died in a car crash Sunday afternoon on Route 47 have been released by the McHenry County Coroner’s Office.

Jose Rodriguez, 42, of Marengo and Falynn M. Hironimus, 29, of Hebron were pronounced dead at the scene, according to a news release from McHenry County Coroner Anne Majewski. Autopsies will be performed Tuesday afternoon.

Two vehicles collided about 4:20 p.m. Sunday in the 7400 block of Route 47 in Hebron, between O’Brien and Thayer roads, McHenry County Sheriff’s Deputy Sandra Rogers said.

Hironimus was traveling north in a 2009 Kia Rio, and for unknown reasons, she crossed into the southbound lane of traffic, crashing into a 2005 Chevy Impala driven by Rodriguez, Rogers said.

There were three other people in the Chevy Impala – a 39-year-old woman, a 12-year-old girl and a 9-year-old girl, all from Marengo, police said. The 39- and 12-year-olds were taken to Centegra Hospital – McHenry in critical condition and later sent to Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge.

The 9-year-old was taken to Centegra Hospital – Huntley in stable condition, police said.

The passengers’ condition were not known Monday morning, Majewski said.

Air bags deployed in the Chevy Impala but not in the Kia, Rogers said. Hironimus and the two Marengo adults were wearing seat belts, but the 12-year-old and 9-year-old were not, Rogers said.

The McHenry County Sheriff’s Police Accident Investigation Unit and the McHenry County Coroner’s Office are investigating the cause of the crash.

Route 47 from Vanderkarr Road to Thayer Road in Hebron was closed for hours Sunday evening because of the crash, McHenry County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Trevor Vogel said.

Hironimus’ family declined to comment, and attempts to reach Rodriguez’s family at home were unsuccessful.

Personnel from the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office block traffic after a crash Sunday near the intersection of O’Brien Road and Route 47.Personnel from the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office block traffic after a crash Sunday near the intersection of O’Brien Road and Route 47.


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Thailand seizes large elephant tusks worth more than $450KAP photo Forensic officers inspect ivory seized at the customs office after a news conference Friday in Bangkok, Thailand. Thai authorities seized 326 pounds of full elephant tusk and 31 tusk fragments originating from Nigeria destined for China worth more than $469,800.

Tue, 16 Jan 2018 06:19:00 GMT

BANGKOK – Thai authorities have seized 326 pounds of African elephant ivory, including three large tusks, worth about $469,800 from a Bangkok airport.

The haul from Nigeria consisted of the tusks and 31 tusk fragments that were seized Jan. 5 after the cargo was flagged by officials. The tusks were destined for China where there is a large demand for ivory, police Gen. Chalermkiat Srivorakan said Friday.

The size of the tusks shows they were taken from large African elephants, which remain scarce in the wild, and the tusks’ discolored state indicates they had been kept in storage for a long time, said Somkiat Soontornpittakkool, an official from the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation.

“From what I can tell, these ivory tusks were taken from very big elephants, and elephants of that size are now hard to find even in Africa,” Somkiat said. “And judging from how the tusks look, they appear to have been taken awhile ago. They weren’t hunted recently. They were taken and stored for a while before smugglers sent them out.”

A Customs Department statement said that the seized ivory will be impounded as police widen investigations to identify suspects involved in the smuggling.

Thailand had been considered to have the largest unregulated ivory market in the world and had been threatened with sanctions under the trade of protected wildlife species, but it introduced new laws and amendments in 2014 and 2015 to regulate domestic ivory markets and criminalize the sale of African elephant ivory.

Thailand still is considered a major transit hub and destination for smuggled tusks, but the biggest demand comes from China.

Last year, Thai officials seized 510 smuggled elephant tusk fragments in four separate cases, the Customs Department said. Rhinoceros horns, pangolin scales, turtles, and other exotic wildlife are also repeatedly smuggled through Thailand.

AP photo Forensic officers inspect ivory seized at the customs office after a news conference Friday in Bangkok, Thailand. Thai authorities seized 326 pounds of full elephant tusk and 31 tusk fragments originating from Nigeria destined for China worth more than $469,800.


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Shooting in McHenry sends 2 people to hospitalMcHenry police officers work a scene of a shooting Monday on Home Avenue in McHenry. Officers found a 36-year-old man and 32-year-old woman who both had suffered gunshot wounds. Both people were treated by the McHenry Township Fire Protection District and sent to Centegra Hospital – McHenry.Crime scene tape is positioned in front of a home in the 5100 block of Home Avenue, McHenry, on Monday morning. Police responded to a domestic disturbance about 12:47 a.m. and found a man and a woman each with single gunshot wounds.

Tue, 16 Jan 2018 06:18:00 GMT

McHENRY – A shooting Monday morning in McHenry sent two people to the hospital with gunshot wounds.

Each suffered a single wound, McHenry Township Fire Protection District Battalion Chief David Harwood said.

It was not clear where on their bodies each person was wounded.

A man was sent to the hospital in critical condition, and a woman was in stable condition with injuries not considered life-threatening, Harwood said.

The McHenry Police Department responded to a domestic disturbance about 12:47 a.m. in the 5100 block of Home Avenue, according to a news release from McHenry police.

Officers found a 36-year-old man and 32-year-old woman who both had been shot. They were treated by the McHenry Township Fire Protection District and sent to Centegra Hospital – McHenry.

The man remained at the hospital Monday afternoon, McHenry Deputy Police Chief Thomas Walsh said. An update on his condition was not available Monday evening.

Walsh declined to comment on whether officials anticipate filing criminal charges or if they have taken anyone to the police department for questioning. Walsh also declined to say whether a gun was recovered from the home, citing a department policy not to release information about evidence during an ongoing investigation.

“It’s still under investigation, so we’re trying to determine what led to the incident,” he said.

The incident is believed to be isolated to the home, and there is no danger to the public, police said.

Family members stopped by the Home Avenue house Monday morning to retrieve clothes. A woman who identified herself as the homeowner declined to comment.

No one answered the door when a Northwest Herald reporter stopped by the home later in the morning.

Neighbors were unsure of what caused the dispute or the names of the people taken to the hospital.

“I didn’t know anything about it until I saw it on the scanner, and then I peeped outside and saw the cops,” neighbor Michael Johann said.

Police confirmed that at least two children live in the home. They are unharmed and staying with family, Walsh said.

McHenry police officers work a scene of a shooting Monday on Home Avenue in McHenry. Officers found a 36-year-old man and 32-year-old woman who both had suffered gunshot wounds. Both people were treated by the McHenry Township Fire Protection District and sent to Centegra Hospital – McHenry.Crime scene tape is positioned in front of a home in the 5100 block of Home Avenue, McHenry, on Monday morning. Police responded to a domestic disturbance about 12:47 a.m. and found a man and a woman each with single gunshot wounds.


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Trump marks King day out of view, buffeted by race claimsAnti-Trump protesters line the sidewalks as President Donald Trump's motorcade returns to Mar-a-Lago in West Palm Beach, Fla., Monday, Jan. 15, 2018, after Trump played golf at Trump International Golf Club. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Tue, 16 Jan 2018 04:33:00 GMT

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – President Donald Trump marked his first Martin Luther King Jr. national holiday Monday largely out of sight, buffeted by accusations that he used a racially tinged word to describe African countries and scoffed at the suggestion of admitting more Haitians to the U.S. Trump decamped to his Florida estate for the long weekend, spending hours each day at his Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach. On Friday, before he departed the White House, Trump encouraged the public "to observe this day with acts of civic work and community service in honor of Dr. King's extraordinary life ... and his great legacy" as he signed a proclamation recognizing Monday as the national holiday honoring the slain civil rights leader. King's family also urges the public to observe the holiday by performing civic work and acts of kindness. Trump dedicated his weekly address to the nation, released Monday, to King. "Dr. King's dream is our dream, it is the American dream, it's the promise stitched into the fabric of our nation, etched into the hearts of our people and written into the soul of humankind," Trump said in the address, which he tweeted out to his followers. "It is the dream of a world where people are judged by who they are, not how they look or where they come from," the president said. Trump's tribute followed the firestorm that erupted last week after he was accused of using the word "shithole" to describe African countries and seeming to balk at admitting more Haitians to the U.S. He voiced a desire for more immigrants from countries like Norway. Trump is said to have made the comments in the Oval Office during a meeting about immigration with a bipartisan group of senators. The White House has not denied that Trump used the vulgarity, but Trump and some Republicans have disputed public accounts of the meeting. Trump defended himself Sunday night, declaring that "I'm not a racist." He said comments attributed to him "weren't made." The president's defense appeared not to sway the sizable crowd of Haitians – waving their country's flag – who gathered near the foot of a bridge leading to Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach to jeer at Trump as the motorcade returned from the golf club. The Haitians and their supporters shouted, "Our country is not a shithole," according to video posted by WPEC-TV, and engaged in a shouting match with the pro-Trump demonstrators who typically gather on the other side of the street. The smaller pro-Trump contingent waved U.S. flags and campaign posters and yelled, "Trump is making America great again." One man could be seen telling the Haitians to leave the country. Police kept the sides apart. In Washington, King's elder son, Martin Luther King III, criticized Trump, saying, "When a president insists that our nation needs more citizens from white states like Norway, I don't even think we need to spend any time even talking about what it says and what it is." He added, "We got to find a way to work on this man's heart." Meanwhile, Vice President Mike Pence, who worshipped at a Baptist church in Maryland on Sunday, listened as the pastor denounced Trump's use of the vulgarity. Maurice Watson, pastor of Metrop[...]


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Things To Know About the New SAT Test

Mon, 15 Jan 2018 15:33:46 GMT

  There have been some significant changes to the SAT test that high school students and their parents need to be aware of. As of 2016, the test has a different format, different scoring, and even measures different skills. How will these changes affect your child’s preparation and testing experience? Should students take the new SAT test or plan to take the ACT instead? Join us for a look at the new test’s math section and a comparison between the new SAT and the ACT tests. The new SAT The biggest change relates to what the SAT tests for. Originally, the SAT was designed as a sort of aptitude test, grading students more on their ability to reason than on skills they learned in class. Filled with logic problems and analogies, it could seem more like an IQ test than a final exam. Now, the SAT is designed to only measure a student’s understanding of what they learned in high school. What does this mean for the math section? Math is now split between two sections, one where students are allowed to use calculators and one where they are not. All the questions for the no-calculator section are written with that in mind, so your kid doesn’t need to panic. Still, if it has been years since your child has done math without a computer, encourage them to do simpler calculations in their head, both in math class and during homework or other math enrichment. As for content, the test makers ground their questions in both high school curriculums and the real world so that students will be more familiar with the content. Arcane logic problems have been replaced with geometry questions modeled off the core curriculum and algebra problems about Spotify royalties. This is good news: Now, more than ever, just doing schoolwork will prepare students for the test. Finally, the SAT has gotten rid of the guessing penalty for all sections (math included) and this is huge. Past versions of the test would penalize wrong answers more harshly than blank ones, but that is no longer the case. Students can now tackle daunting problems without fear, and should fill in every answer on their test, even if they have to guess for the last few. ACT vs. the new SAT? Play to your strengths There was a time when students’ test choices were dictated by which test the schools they were applying to would accept. Now, all four-year institutions in the country accept both ACT and SAT scores for their admissions process. This means that your child can (and should!) focus on the test that best fits their strengths. Here are a few other considerations for your student to keep in mind. The SAT has undergone some major changes, but they’re largely to the student’s benefit. While choosing which test to focus on can be challenge, each format has pros and cons. Hopefully this explanation has helped clarify some of the major changes to the test and highlighted some of the key questions students should be asking themselves as they begin the test preparation process. Mathnasium, the nation’s leading math-only learning center franchise, specializes in teaching kids math in a way that makes sense to them. When math makes sense, kids excel—whether they’re far behind or eager to get ahead. The proprietary Mathnasium Method™ is the result of 40+ years of han[...]


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Co-owner of Algonquin Physical Medicine, other clinics gets prison for health care fraud

Mon, 15 Jan 2018 15:23:00 GMT

ALGONQUIN – The co-owner of an Algonquin chiropractic clinic will serve 20 months in federal prison after billing an insurance carrier for unnecessary or nonexistent services, according to a news release.

Steven Paul, 46, of Northbrook was sentenced Tuesday in Chicago federal court, receiving “the lowest possible term of imprisonment” the judge would consider, according to a release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Northern District of Illinois.

Paul previously had pleaded guilty to one count of health care fraud. Paul and another man, Bradley Mattson of Lake Forest, co-owned six chiropractic clinics in Chicago’s northern suburbs, including Algonquin Physical Medicine, the release stated.

Paul and Mattson admitted in plea agreements that they required patients to receive an initial X-ray and a preset schedule of clinic visits for six-month periods, regardless of whether the visits were necessary, according to the release.

Paul admitted that from 1999 to 2008, he billed Blue Cross Blue Shield $3.65 million for unnecessary tests or physical therapy services that were never provided, according to the release. As a result, Paul’s clinics collected $1.33 million in fraudulent reimbursements from the insurance company.

Mattson pleaded guilty to health care fraud and was sentenced in 2012 to six-and-a-half years in prison, the release stated.

During the investigation, an undercover FBI agent visited the Hawthorn clinic and complained of back pain.

Mattson diagnosed the officer with a pinched nerve, despite the opinions of the clinic’s medical doctor and a physical therapist, who believed the officer only had pulled a muscle. The chiropractor ordered daily visits for two weeks.


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What is natural gas?

Mon, 15 Jan 2018 15:13:31 GMT

It keeps our homes warm, our showers hot, and our clothes dry – natural gas is vital energy resource.  The U.S. used about 27 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in 2016, mainly to heat buildings and generate electricity, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

“Natural gas is one of the cleanest, safest, and most useful of all energy sources.  Because natural gas is the cleanest burning fossil fuel, it’s playing an increasing role in helping attain national goals of a cleaner environment, energy security, and a more competitive economy.  The two million-mile underground natural gas delivery system has an outstanding safety record,” explains the American Public Gas Association (APGA).

But what is it, and where does it come from?   Natural gas has been known since ancient times, seeping through the ground and sometimes linked to flames.  “Around 500 B.C., the Chinese started using crude bamboo ‘pipelines’ to transport gas that seeped to the surface, and used it to boil sea water to get drinkable water,” APGA reports.  “Naturally occurring natural gas was identified in America as early as 1626.”  It was used as a source of light, and later for home heating and cooking.  About 99 percent of natural gas used now in the U.S. comes from North America.

Considered a non-renewable energy source, natural gas is trapped in porous underground rocks.  It’s harvested, purified, and transported for home use.  Natural gas is a mixture of gases, including methane, which is colorless and tasteless.  For safety, natural gas companies add the odorant mercaptan (which smells like rotten eggs), to help consumers detect any dangerous leaks.  Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning companies can perform inspections to avoid leaks and address other problems with in-home natural gas use.  In emergency gas-leak situations, homeowners are advised to evacuate the home and call 911.

 

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


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Trust and truth under Trump: Americans are in a quandaryAP file photo Lori Viars, a longtime conservative activist in Warren County, sits in 2015 for a portrait at Village Ice Cream Parlor in Lebanon, Ohio.

Mon, 15 Jan 2018 06:26:00 GMT

RALEIGH, N.C. – When truck driver Chris Gromek wants to know what’s really going on in Washington, he scans the internet and satellite radio. He no longer flips TV channels because networks such as Fox News and MSNBC deliver conflicting accounts tainted by politics, he said. “Where is the truth?” asked the 47-year-old North Carolina resident. Answering that question accurately is a cornerstone of any functioning democracy, according to none other than Thomas Jefferson. But a year into Donald Trump’s fact-bending, media-bashing presidency, Americans increasingly are confused about who can be trusted to tell them reliably what their government and their commander in chief are doing. Interviews across the polarized country as well as polling from Trump’s first year suggest people seek out various outlets of information, including Trump’s Twitter account, and trust none in particular. Many say that practice is a new, Trump-era phenomenon in their lives as the president and the media he denigrates as “fake news” fight to be seen as the more credible source. “It has made me take every story with a large grain, a block of salt,” said Lori Viars, a Christian conservative activist in Lebanon, Ohio, who gets her news from Fox and CNN. “Not just from liberal sources. I’ve seen conservative ‘fake news.’ ” Democrat Kathy Tibbits of Tahlequah, Oklahoma, reads lots of news sources as she tries to assess the accuracy of what Trump is reported to have said. “I kind of think the whole frontier has changed,” said the 60-year-old lawyer and artist. “My degree is in political science, and they never gave us a class on such fiasco politics.” Although Trump’s habit of warping facts has had an effect, it’s not just him. Widely shared falsehoods have snagged the attention of world leaders such as Pope Francis and former President Barack Obama. Last year, false conspiracy theories led a North Carolina man to bring a gun into a pizza parlor in the nation’s capital, convinced that the restaurant was concealing a child prostitution ring. Just last week, after the publication of an unflattering book about Trump’s presidency, a tweet claiming that he is addicted to a TV show about gorillas went viral and prompted its apparent author to clarify that it was a joke. Trump has done his part to blur the lines between real and not. During the campaign, he made a practice of singling out for ridicule reporters covering his raucous rallies. As president, he regularly complains about his news coverage and has attacked news outlets and journalists as “failing” and “fake news.” He’s repeatedly called reporters “the enemy of the people” and recently renewed calls to make it easier to sue for defamation. About 2 in 3 American adults say fabricated news stories cause a great deal of confusion about the basic facts of current affairs, according to a Pew Research Center report last month. The survey found that Republicans and Democrats are about equally likely to say that “fake news” leaves Americans deeply confused about current events. Despite the concern, more than 8 in 10 feel very or somewhat confident that they can [...]


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My guns or my ganja? Firearm-owning pot fans face a choiceAP photo Phil Gruver poses Wednesday for a photograph with his Pennsylvania with his medical marijuana card in Emmaus, Pa.

Mon, 15 Jan 2018 06:26:00 GMT

HARRISBURG, Pa. – The federal government said grass and guns don’t mix, and that is putting gun owners who use marijuana – and the strongly pro-gun-rights administration of President Donald Trump – in a potentially uncomfortable position. As gun-loving Pennsylvania becomes the latest state to operate a medical marijuana program, with the first dispensary on track to begin sales next month, authorities are warning patients that federal law bars marijuana users from having guns or ammunition. “They’re going to have to make a choice,” said John T. Adams, president of the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association. “They can have their guns or their marijuana, but not both.” That’s the official line, but the reality of how the policy might be enforced in Pennsylvania and other states is a little muddier. That includes the question of whether people who already own guns might have to surrender them, instead of just being prohibited from making new purchases. The political sensitivity was underscored Friday when Pennsylvania regulators reversed themselves and announced its registry of medical-pot patients will not be available, as was previously planned, through the state’s law enforcement computer network. Phil Gruver, a professional auto detailer from Emmaus who received a state medical marijuana card in mid-December, is weighing what to do with his .22-caliber rifle and a handgun he keeps for home defense. “It’s a violation of my Second Amendment rights,” Gruver said. “I don’t know of any time anyone’s been using marijuana and going out and committing acts of violence with a gun. Most of the time they just sit on their couch and eat pizza.” State laws allowing medical or, more recently, recreational use of pot have long been at odds with the federal prohibition on gun ownership by those using marijuana. But the government has traditionally taken a hands-off approach. Since 2014, Congress has forbidden the Department of Justice from spending money to prosecute people who grow, sell and use medical pot. The picture has become murkier under Trump, a Republican whose attorney general, Jeff Sessions, has long denounced the drug. Sessions recently rescinded a Barack Obama-era policy that was deferential to states’ permissive marijuana laws. Now, federal prosecutors in states that allow drug sales must decide whether to crack down on the marijuana trade. It’s not clear what impact the new policy will have on gun owners who use cannabis as medicine, or even how many people fit the bill. Nor is it clear whether any people who use legally obtained medical marijuana have been prosecuted for owning a gun, although the existence of medical marijuana registries in some states, including Pennsylvania, has some patients concerned. More than 800,000 guns are sold or transferred in Pennsylvania annually, and more than 10,000 people in the state have signed up for medical marijuana. The registry change Friday makes it much less likely that the state’s medical marijuana users will be flagged when going through a federal gun sales background check. A spokeswoman for Dave Freed, the new U.S. attorney in Harrisburg, said on[...]


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Sears created modern retail in IllinoisCourtesy of Chicago History Museum Exterior view of the Sears Roebuck & Co. store on South State Street at Congress Parkway. A portion of a building across the street is visible, view taken above street-level. A vertical Sears sign is visible on the far side of the building. The Sears Roebuck and Co. store, located at 403 South State Street in the Loop community area od Chicago, Illinois, extended a whole block from Congress Parkway north to Van Buren Street. It was built in 1891 by William LeBaron Jenney. This is an example of the Chicago school or Commercial style of architecture. The building was originally called the Leiter Building II.

Mon, 15 Jan 2018 06:25:00 GMT

Editor’s note: The weekly Illinois Bicentennial series is brought to you by the Illinois Associated Press Media Editors and Illinois Press Association. More than 20 newspapers are creating stories about the state’s history, places and key moments in advance of the Bicentennial on Dec. 3, 2018. Stories published up to this date can be found at 200illinois.com. As the home of Sears since the late 19th century, Illinois is the birthplace of modern retail. Even today’s colossus, Amazon, can trace the roots of its business model to Sears’ original mail-order business that popularized the notion of buying products at home without first seeing and touching them in person. “There were some small mail-order companies before, but Sears became the largest, the most successful, the giant,” said Libby Mahoney, senior curator of the Chicago History Museum. And if it seems strange that such a retailer could grow strong enough to make its headquarters the tallest building in the world as Sears did in Chicago in 1973, consider today’s intense competition among cities to house Amazon’s second headquarters, she said. It was Chicago’s central position in the nation’s railroad and highway networks that made it a better place for Richard Sears to operate the mail-order watch company he’d started in Minneapolis the previous year, 1886. In Chicago, Sears partnered with watchmaker Alvah C. Roebuck, leading to the longtime name of the firm being Sears, Roebuck and Co. Its first catalog featuring only watches and jewelry was published in 1888, while its first large catalog of general merchandise came along in 1896. Sears wooed customers with promises of savings gained by eliminating the middleman. It popularized the money-back guarantee to build trust with the consumer, Mahoney said. The gradual diversification of the company’s products seemed to know no bounds, perhaps best illustrated by the advent of Sears Modern Homes. Between 1908 and 1940, Sears sold about 75,000 such homes around the country by mail-order. Many of the homes, which came in 447 different designs, exist today. Such a company at that time was largely dependent on the U.S. Post Office for its success and reliability, Mahoney said. But eventually, Sears, Roebuck’s original mail-order business began to be threatened by the greater urbanization of the country after World War I. The solution – championed by then-vice president and future company President Robert E. Wood – was the introduction of brick-and-mortar stores in the 1920s. Many other innovations followed under Wood’s guidance, including getting into the insurance business during the Great Depression with the creation of Allstate Insurance. Like several other Sears-created brands, Allstate eventually would be spun off as an independent company, but not until 1993. Although Sears has never been a manufacturer, its brands such as Craftsman tools, Kenmore appliances and DieHard batteries helped build the company’s reputation. Even as the biggest of all, Sears didn’t take customer loyalty for granted, Mahoney said. “They were rea[...]


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Kennedy targets gun violence in Illinois governor campaignAP file photo Democratic Illinois gubernatorial candidate Chris Kennedy (left), gathers with community leaders Jan. 3 to discuss gun violence in Chicago at a press conference accompanied by (from left), Chicago Alderman Rick Munoz, U.S. Rep. Danny Davis, Rev. Paul Jakes, and U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush in Chicago.

Mon, 15 Jan 2018 06:25:00 GMT

CHICAGO – Few people running for public office have been more personally affected by gun violence than Chris Kennedy, who was a child when his father and uncle, Sen. Robert Kennedy and President John F. Kennedy, were assassinated. Now the 54-year-old Democrat has made the issue a centerpiece of his campaign for Illinois governor, talking often about growing up without a father and family trips to Arlington National Cemetery, and saying too many people in Chicago and elsewhere in Illinois are dealing with the same kind of pain. The move has brought endorsements from African-American leaders, including U.S. Reps. Bobby Rush and Danny Davis, and could help Kennedy earn support in the March primary from black voters who have been disproportionately hurt by gun violence. But it’s also put him at odds with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and some others and prompted accusations of race baiting, after Kennedy said much of the violence is because of systemic disinvestment in black neighborhoods. He accused Emanuel, the former White House chief of staff, of pushing black people out of the city through a “strategic gentrification plan” that includes cutting funding for police and public schools. “Our government needs to be held accountable for subjecting our communities to a life of crimes of survival,” Kennedy told supporters. “We can reduce and control gun violence in our communities, but we need to be honest with ourselves about why it’s happening.” Emanuel called the comments “hallucinatory” and said he would like to hear “ideas, not insults,” while a mayoral spokesman said it was “a direct assault on one of this city’s greatest strengths – our diversity.” Kennedy’s other critics, including campaign rivals, called the comment hypocritical, noting he was praising Emanuel not long ago and even donated $5,000 to his campaign. The Chicago Tribune, in an editorial, called it “a cynical and divisive pitch for votes.” Kennedy is one of six Democrats seeking the party’s nomination March 20 for the chance to unseat first-term Gov. Bruce Rauner, who’s widely considered one of the most vulnerable Republican incumbents up for re-election this fall. Among the other Democrats running are state Sen. Daniel Biss and billionaire businessman J.B. Pritzker, who’s scooped up endorsements from Democratic county officials and major unions, including the Illinois Education Association. Rush and Davis, who have both lost family members to the city’s violence, said they’re backing Kennedy because he’s put violence prevention and gun control at the top of his agenda. Speaking at a campaign event this month at a church in a West Side Chicago neighborhood where homicides have spiked in recent years, Rush said it was “the first time in my lifetime” Illinois has a gubernatorial candidate who knows how violence rips apart a family and a community. Kennedy’s father was killed as he ran for president in 1968, years after John F. Kennedy’s assassination. “He understands. He gets it,” Rush said. “We don’t have to sit down and go over violence.” Joining them was N[...]


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Trump says program to protect 'Dreamers' is 'probably dead'AP photo President Donald Trump listens Wednesday during a meeting in the Oval Office of the White House, in Washington.

Mon, 15 Jan 2018 06:25:00 GMT

PALM BEACH, Fla. – President Donald Trump said Sunday that a program that protects immigrants who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children is “probably dead,” casting a cloud over already tenuous negotiations just days before a deadline on a government funding deal that Democrats have tied to immigration. At issue is the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program created by President Barack Obama to shield hundreds of thousands of these individuals, known as “Dreamers,” from deportation. Trump, who has taken a hard stance against illegal immigration, announced last year that he will end the program unless Congress comes up with a solution by March. “DACA is probably dead because the Democrats don’t really want it, they just want to talk and take desperately needed money away from our Military,” the Republican president tweeted. “I, as President, want people coming into our Country who are going to help us become strong and great again, people coming in through a system based on MERIT. No more Lotteries! #AMERICA FIRST.” Republicans and Democrats already were at odds over funding the government, and the negotiations became more complicated after Democrats – whose votes are needed to pass a government funding bill – insisted immigration be included. Government funding expires at midnight Friday without a deal in place, and some government functions will begin to go dark. Further roiling the talks are comments by Trump during an Oval Office meeting in which he questioned the need to admit more Haitians to the U.S., along with Africans from “s---hole” countries, according to people briefed on the conversation but not authorized to describe it publicly. He also said in the Thursday meeting he would prefer immigrants from countries such as Norway instead. The White House has not denied that Trump said the word “s---hole,” although Trump did push back on some depictions of the meeting. A confidant of Trump’s told The Associated Press that the president spent Thursday evening calling friends and outside advisers to judge their reaction on his inflammatory remarks. Trump wasn’t apologetic and denied he was racist, instead blaming the media for distorting his meaning, said the confidant, who wasn’t authorized to disclose a private conversation and spoke on the condition of anonymity. The president also rejected as insufficient an immigration deal drafted by the bipartisan group of lawmakers who attended that meeting. The deal had included a pathway to citizenship for the “Dreamers” that would take up to 12 years, as well as $1.6 billion for border security, including Trump’s promised wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Trump’s staunchest supporters consider any route to citizenship for the “Dreamers” amnesty for lawbreakers. The president has said any deal must include funding for the wall as well as changes to make the immigration system a more merit-based structure. The debate over DACA’s fate came as lawmakers faced questioning about whether Trump is racist. Rep. Mia Love, R-Utah, the first black female Republican in Congress and the daughter of Haitian immigr[...]


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Fundraiser to benefit Algonquin Sub Shop repairs after firePhoto provided Algonquin Sub Shop has been open for more than 15 years.H. Rick Bamman - hbamman@shawmedia.com Firefighters recover papers from inside the Algonquin Sub Shop after extinguishing flames Tuesday, Jan. 2.H. Rick Bamman - hbamman@shawmedia.com Firefighters cut into the south wall of the Algonquin Sub Shop after a fire was extinguished early Tuesday, Jan. 2.

Mon, 15 Jan 2018 06:24:00 GMT

ALGONQUIN – The Golf Club of Illinois will host a fundraiser dinner to offset the Algonquin Sub Shop’s costs to repair the building after a recent fire. Algonquin Sub Shop owner John Ryals said he was honored to hear another business wanted to help raise money for repairs when Tim and Tom Schneider from the Golf Club reached out to him. “I was thrilled to death and humbled by the response I’ve had from everyone in the community,” Ryals said. “I know we’ve been here a long time, but I guess we’ve made a few friends over the years and the Golf Club is certainly one of them.” The event will be from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday at the Golf Club of Illinois, 1575 Edgewood Drive, Algonquin. A spaghetti dinner will be served for $10 an adult and $5 a child with a spaghetti and meatball dinner, Caesar salad and garlic bread made by Chef Mathew Toepfer. Food will be donated from Sysco Food, and volunteers and staff from the sub shop will serve the food, Ryals said. Ryals said he was trying to thaw frozen water pipes by heating up the crawl space of the popular sandwich shop with a propane heating device Jan. 2 when the siding caught on fire. Repairs are expected to cost $20,000 and the insurance company has given quotes. The shop has been open for more than 15 years, Ryals said. “When we went to pressure test the gas lines, we found that the lines were so old that we have to replumb the whole building, which isn’t covered by insurance,” Ryals said. Ryals said he hopes to have the shop open again starting the week of Jan. 22, but the opening date depends on how construction goes. There’s a 10-foot-by-10-foot hole in the south side of the building that needs to be repaired. The inside of the shop has smoke damage, and Ryals has hired a restoration company to clean and ionize the building. All food items, boxed items and anything exposed had to be cleared, so the store must be restocked from the ground up, Ryals said. “Let’s do this right and start again with fresh gas lines and get a new flattop grill,” Ryals said. “We are trying to do some remodeling in the dining room, and hopefully it’ll open looking fresh and clean and better than ever.” To RSVP for the event, call Golf Club of Illinois at 847-658-4400 or call the Algonquin Sub Shop at 847-658-0680. Checks also can be sent on behalf of the Algonquin Sub Shop to the Golf Club of Illinois. “On behalf of Golf Club of Illinois, let’s help make sure that Algonquin Sub Shop remains a fixture in this community for years to come,” Toepfer wrote on Facebook. Photo provided Algonquin Sub Shop has been open for more than 15 years.H. Rick Bamman - hbamman@shawmedia.com Firefighters recover papers from inside the Algonquin Sub Shop after extinguishing flames Tuesday, Jan. 2.H. Rick Bamman - hbamman@shawmedia.com Firefighters cut into the south wall of the Algonquin Sub Shop after a fire was extinguished early Tuesday, Jan. 2.[...]


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Lake in the Hills honors 3 businesses with annual Gordon Larsen Business Achievement AwardsPhoto provided Advanced Flexible Composites was awarded the 2017 Best Employer of Choice, Jersey Mike's Subs was awarded for 2017 Best Community Service and Marie Charles Salon & Spa was awarded 2017 Best Customer Service.Sarah Nader file photo - snader@shawmedia.com Advanced Flexible Composites owner Bill Lewis poses for a portrait at Advanced Flexible Composites in Lake in the Hills Thursday, March 13, 2014. The family-owned business was recognized with a Gordon Larsen business award for the second time on Thursday.

Mon, 15 Jan 2018 06:24:00 GMT

LAKE IN THE HILLS – From specially opening services at 5 a.m. for one client, to continuously raising funds to support the local food pantry and schools, three businesses were awarded Gordon Larsen Business Achievement Awards for going above and beyond. The businesses were recognized at Thursday’s Village Board meeting as part of an annual award ceremony named in honor of a Lake in the Hills resident who helped shape the village’s physical and civic landscape and believed in philanthropic businesses, according to the village. Advanced Flexible Composites was awarded Best Employer of Choice, Jersey Mike’s Subs was awarded Best Community Service, and Marie Charles Salon & Spa was awarded Best Customer Service. The village received 89 nominations for 26 businesses, said Tricia O’Donnell, management assistant for Lake in the Hills. Village President Russ Ruzanski said the awards began in 2004 and give local businesses something to shoot for and an extra edge that sets them apart from other businesses in their category. Customer Service Marie Charles Salon & Spa opened in November 2015 and received 20 nominations for customer service. “That speaks volumes to us that they are really making a name for themselves,” O’Donnell said. “They’ve gone above and beyond in customer service, and one of the nominations said they extended hours and accommodated different schedules and are willing to match any need a customer has.” One nominator wrote: “On numerous occasions, they have adjusted schedules to fit me in, change an appointment and Holly has even come in on her days off. Perfect example, my daughter is getting married this Sunday, and Holly and her makeup artist are coming in at 5 a.m. to make sure we are picture ready for the early photo session. ” The business, located at 4610 W. Algonquin Road, has 12 employees and is owned by Holly Taft. Community service Jersey Mike’s was awarded the community service award for the second time. “They have such a reputation for community service that our local organizations know to seek them out and that they can count on Jersey Mike’s to support their cause,” O’Donnell said. Jersey Mike’s donated more than $12,000 in 2017 to local schools and organizations, including the Algonquin/Lake in the Hills Food Pantry, Lincoln Prairie Elementary, Jacobs High School, Crystal Lake South High School, Huntley High School and Dundee Middle School. The franchise also raised $6,700 for the Lurie Children’s Hospital, making it the No. 1 location out of 44 stores in Illinois to raise the most. The store makes up 17 percent of the market, but raised 63 percent of the total sales for the fundraiser, according to the village. Managers also began buying and donating teddy bears, taking four trips to go to the hospital and pass them out to children, O’Donnell said. The store, 285 N. Randall Road, opened in 2010 and has 15 em[...]


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Urban Air Adventure Park targeting April opening in Crystal Lake

Mon, 15 Jan 2018 06:23:00 GMT

CRYSTAL LAKE – Urban Air Adventure Park is coming to Crystal Lake.

The company, with indoor recreation centers in just about every region of the country, is planning to open in April – according to multiple posts on the new location’s Facebook page. The inside of a warehouse at 220 Exchange Drive, across the street from Sky High Volleyball, is being renovated, a post shows.

Urban Air Crystal Lake will feature ultimate dodgeball, a slam dunk zone, obstacle courses, trampolines, climbing walls, a ropes course, an arcade and more, according to UrbanAirTrampolinePark.com’s website for the new location.

Participants in one of the company’s trampoline fitness classes can burn about 1,000 calories in one session. Urban Air also has dodgeball and volleyball leagues, city documents show.

The portion of the industrial building Urban Air will occupy is about 33,800 square feet and the former site of Sky High Volleyball. It’s also next to the former Willow Creek Community Church, which moved in 2017 to a bigger industrial building on nearby Main Street.

On Saturday, cars driven by people attending activities at Sky High Volleyball could be seen parked in that parking lot, on the street and in the future parking lot of Urban Air.

The existing parking area for Urban Air provides 299 parking spaces on-site, according to city documents. The property owners also own the two surrounding buildings. The total available parking for the three buildings is 524 spaces. 

The industrial park where Urban Air is to be located is just east of where a developer wants to build about 360 homes on 62 acres.

More than a year ago, a request for an alternative use permit went before the Crystal Lake Planning and Zoning Commission and City Council. It is anticipated the business will employ about 45 adults and young people to positions of lifeguard, front desk, manager and fitness trainer, according to city documents from those meetings.

Attempts to reach a representative for Urban Air on Saturday were unsuccessful.




37-year-old accused of filming girl in shower

Mon, 15 Jan 2018 06:22:00 GMT

CRYSTAL LAKE – A Crystal Lake man accused of filming an underage girl in the shower has bonded out of jail and is due back in court Tuesday.

David Alexander, 37, of the 1300 block of Barlina Road, was arrested Wednesday and charged with possession of child pornography, unauthorized videotaping of a victim younger than 18 and disorderly conduct. If Alexander is convicted of child pornography, he could be sentenced to between six and 30 years in prison.

A juvenile girl was getting out of the shower when she noticed a camera phone, belonging to Alexander, hidden behind bottles on the bathroom counter, according to an order of protection filed in McHenry County court.

The girl noticed the phone was recording, and when she reviewed the footage, saw the camera had videotaped her in the bathroom, the order of protection stated.

The girl also found two recently deleted videos that showed Alexander setting up the camera, the order of protection states.

McHenry County Judge Joel Berg set Alexander’s bond at $100,000 Wednesday. Someone posted $10,000 bail on his behalf later that day, and he was released from McHenry County Jail, bond records show.

Alexander is barred from having any contact with the girl while he is out on bail, according to a judge’s order.

His request for a public defender to represent him was denied, and he has not yet hired a private attorney.

Alexander could not be reached by phone for a comment Friday.




Auto repair shop proposed for Lake in the HillsMegan Jones — mjones@shawmedia.com Lake in the Hills Planning and Zoning Commission will review an application to open Enhanced Autowerks in an existing building at 9114 Virginia Rd., Suite 111.

Mon, 15 Jan 2018 06:22:00 GMT

LAKE IN THE HILLS – A new auto repair shop has been proposed for Lake in the Hills.

The Lake in the Hills Planning and Zoning Commission will review an application to open Enhanced Autowerks in a building at 9114 Virginia Road, Suite 111.

Applicant Jeff Lutsch proposes to lease a suite on a 3-acre lot on Virginia Road, north of Trinity Drive. The suite previously was an electronics store.

The automobile service business requires a conditional use permit in the B-4 zoning district, according to village documents.

Lutsch said that he believes there is a need for a high-end auto repair and service business and it will contribute to the general welfare of the community, according to village documents.

“My shop will provide a great value and an upscale environment at an honest price,” Lutsch wrote.

Interim Community Development Director Fred Mullard said the repair shop will fit in well with the corridor of Virginia Road that has a lot of mixed-use development.

“It’s right off Virginia [Road], so it’s easily accessible for people,” Mullard said. “His plan is to work on higher-end European vehicles, so that gives people who are looking for someone with special expertise a place to go.”

The commission will meet at 7:30 p.m. Monday at Village Hall, 600 Harvest Gate.

Megan Jones — mjones@shawmedia.com Lake in the Hills Planning and Zoning Commission will review an application to open Enhanced Autowerks in an existing building at 9114 Virginia Rd., Suite 111.


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Habitat for Humanity of Northern Fox Valley to build in Crystal Lake

Mon, 15 Jan 2018 06:22:00 GMT

CRYSTAL LAKE – Habitat for Humanity of Northern Fox Valley is planning a big expansion into Crystal Lake.

Associate Director Bill Klaves said the nonprofit intends to build nine new homes at 431 S. McHenry Ave., a property currently occupied by an abandoned house. The group is working with a local architect to ensure the character of the homes is similar to that of the surrounding neighborhood.

“We are looking at subdividing the property into nine lots,” Klaves said. “We’re thinking that we would do bungalows, or something like the Sears catalog houses from the early 1900s, that would match the neighborhood and comply with zoning.”

This division of Habitat for Humanity operates primarily in Kane County and has built some homes in Cook County. But this is its first foray into McHenry County. Habitat for Humanity of McHenry County is the primary division to build homes in the county.

Klaves sent a letter to homeowners in the area, introducing the project.

“Habitat is not a giveaway program,” the letter states. “In addition to a modest down payment and their monthly mortgage payments, the future homeowners invest 250 hours of their own labor, ‘sweat equity,’ into building their houses.”

Right now, the house on the property is deteriorating, Klaves said. The plan is to build out the new community over a three-year period. Habitat expects to start construction sometime in the spring.

Applications to get a house are accepted all the time, Klaves said. Interested parties can call the office at 847-836-1432 and express their desire to seek homeownership with Habitat for Humanity of Northern Fox Valley.

Traditional clientele is in the “mid-income” range, Klaves said, and homeowners already have to live or work in Chicago’s northwest suburbs.

“Crystal Lake is the far extreme of our territory,” he said.

The homes are primarily built through volunteer labor, supervised by professional builders and the inner workings of the home are completed by licensed tradespeople.




Marengo man, Hebron woman dead in Route 47 car crash in HebronWhitney Rupp - for Shaw MediaWhitney Rupp - for Shaw Media Personnel from the McHenry County Sheriff’s department block traffic after an accident near the intersection of O’Brien Road and Route 47 on Sunday, Jan. 14.Whitney Rupp - for Shaw Media

Mon, 15 Jan 2018 06:20:00 GMT

HEBRON – A Marengo man and a Hebron woman died in a car crash Sunday afternoon on Route 47.

Two vehicles collided on the 7400 block of Route 47 in Hebron between O'Brien and Thayer roads about 4:20 p.m., and the driver of each vehicle was pronounced dead at the scene, McHenry County Sheriff's Deputy Sandra Rogers said.

A 29-year-old woman from Hebron was traveling north in a 2009 Kia Rio and for unknown reasons crossed into the southbound lane of traffic, crashing into a 2005 Chevy Impala driven by a 42-year-old Marengo man, Rogers said.

There were three other occupants in the Chevy Impala — a 39-year-old woman, a 12-year-old girl and a 9-year-old girl, all from Marengo. The 39- and 12-year-old females were taken to Centegra Hospital – McHenry in critical condition and then transported to Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge.

The 9-year-old was taken to Centegra Hospital – Huntley in stable condition.

The victims' names are being withheld pending notification of kin.

Route 47 from Vanderkarr Road to Thayer Road in Hebron was closed for multiple hours Sunday evening because of the crash, McHenry County Sheriff's Office Deputy Trevor Vogel said.

Airbags deployed in the Chevy Impala, but not in the Kia, Rogers said. The Hebron woman was wearing a seat belt, along with the two Marengo adults. The 12-year-old and 9-year-old were not wearing seat belts, Rogers said.

The McHenry County Sheriff's Office responded to the crash along with the Hebron-Alden-Greenwood Fire Protection District, Wonder Lake Fire Protection District, Harvard Fire Department, McHenry Township Fire Protection District, Richmond Township Fire Protection District, Woodstock Fire/Rescue District, Lake Geneva Fire Department and Linn Township Fire/EMS.

Whitney Rupp - for Shaw MediaWhitney Rupp - for Shaw Media Personnel from the McHenry County Sheriff’s department block traffic after an accident near the intersection of O’Brien Road and Route 47 on Sunday, Jan. 14.Whitney Rupp - for Shaw Media


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Weather advisory: McHenry County to see 3 to 5 inches of snow by Monday morningH. Rick Bamman - hbamman@shawmedia.com Using a back pack blower Huntley Public Works employee Henry Aul clears a sidewalk along Coral St. in downtown Huntley on Jan. 3. The National Weather Service is predicting snow falls Sunday evening with 3 to 5 inches of snow expected by Monday morning.

Sun, 14 Jan 2018 22:23:00 GMT

CRYSTAL LAKE – The snowfall that begins Sunday is predicted to continue into the Monday morning commute, with the National Weather Service predicting accumulation of 3 to 5 inches of snow by the time it ends about noon.

Steady periods of light to moderate snow are expected to begin about 6 p.m. Sunday in McHenry County, according to the weather service.

The weather is expected to bring light snow-covered roads and slow and possibly hazardous travel Monday morning.

"We are kind of glad that the snow is primarily overnight when fewer people are traveling, and we have Martin Luther King Jr. Day tomorrow, so kids are out of school and more parents are staying home, so hopefully it'll be less of an impact," said Eric Lenning, meteorologist for the weather service.

Lenning said drivers should use extra caution and leave early to allow extra time to reach their destination.

Temperatures will remain cold Monday and Tuesday with highs in the low 20s and lows of 9 degrees Monday and 6 degrees Tuesday. Flurries will continue into Monday night.

Attempts to reach the McHenry County Department of Transportation on Sunday were unsuccessful.

H. Rick Bamman - hbamman@shawmedia.com Using a back pack blower Huntley Public Works employee Henry Aul clears a sidewalk along Coral St. in downtown Huntley on Jan. 3. The National Weather Service is predicting snow falls Sunday evening with 3 to 5 inches of snow expected by Monday morning.


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Democrats try to stand out in attorney general primary

Sun, 14 Jan 2018 05:51:00 GMT

CHICAGO – With early voting just weeks away, the Democratic candidates vying for a shot to replace Attorney General Lisa Madigan are raising millions of dollars, crisscrossing Illinois and touting endorsements. Eight Democrats are trying to stand out from the crowded field, despite similar views and promises to fight President Donald Trump’s agenda. The open race features a former governor, state legislators, a police reform leader, a mayor and former federal prosecutors. On the Republican side, Urbana attorney Erika Harold, a former Miss America, has establishment backing over a lesser-known county board member. Here’s a look at the March 20 Democratic primary: The candidates • Kwame Raoul, 53, is a Chicago state senator. He was appointed in 2004 to replace Barack Obama, who’d been elected to the U.S. Senate. • Scott Drury, 45, a Highwood state representative, swapped his gubernatorial bid for attorney general. The former federal prosecutor became a legislator in 2013. • Pat Quinn, 69, assumed the governor’s office from his lieutenant governor job when Rod Blagojevich was arrested on corruption charges and impeached. Quinn won office outright in 2010, but lost re-election in 2014. • Sharon Fairley, 57, is a former federal prosecutor named by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel to overhaul a police oversight organization after video of a white officer fatally shooting black teenager Laquan McDonald was publicly released. • Aaron Goldstein, 42, represented Blagojevich at two corruption trials. In 2016, he won a ward committeeman post over Dick Mell, Blagojevich’s father-in-law. • Jesse Ruiz, 52, heads the Chicago Park District’s board. He’s served as the chairman of the State Board of Education and as a Chicago Board of Education vice president. • Nancy Rotering, 56, is Highland Park mayor. She made an unsuccessful primary bid for the U.S. House in 2016, despite U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin’s endorsement. • Renato Mariotti, 41, a former federal prosecutor and frequent television commentator, is making his first bid for public office. The horse race When it comes to statewide name recognition, Quinn leads. A former state treasurer, he was known for populist tactics, such as walking across Illinois to promote universal health care. Since losing the governor’s race to Republican Bruce Rauner he’s tried to stay in the public eye, including circulating petitions for term limits on Chicago mayor. However, Quinn doesn’t have establishment backing. The Cook County Democratic Party unanimously endorsed Raoul during November slating session. Raoul has also picked up union support. Some candidates including Drury, are cas[...]



New Directions Addiction Recovery Services to open third Crystal Lake houseNunda Township officials try Thursday to answer questions from upset residents who surprised by a local addiction recovery group's desire to open a group home in Walkup Woods.

Sun, 14 Jan 2018 05:35:00 GMT

CRYSTAL LAKE – More than 50 people showed up to Nunda Township’s latest monthly meeting. But they weren’t there to talk about anything on the agenda. They were there to express the shock, frustration and disappointment they felt since they heard New Directions Addiction Recovery Services bought a house in the unincorporated Walkup Woods neighborhood with plans to have a 10- to 12-person group home there. Residents at the meeting Thursday night criticized New Directions Addiction Recovery Services president Chris Reed for not meeting with them to let them know what’s being planned. Walkup Woods resident Mike Sarkady said New Directions should have exhibited “courtesy and kindness” by contacting people in the neighborhood to let them know of the plan, “for the group camaraderie and common good that is espoused by many sober-living communities.” “I can’t stand this, 29 years of being a good citizen and my retirement is – some organization wants to come in and say, ‘We’re do-gooders. We’re gonna dump our crap in your backyard.’ Literally,” Sarkady said. But what Reed is proposing, a sober-living group home, is legal under McHenry County residential code. He’s not required to notify neighbors, but would be happy to meet with them. “It is a sober-living environment,” Reed said. “People living at our houses are held accountable to maintaining sobriety. If that is not maintained, they are not able to live there.” Township officials and McHenry County Board member Joe Gottemoller, R-Crystal Lake, answered questions from angry residents and admitted there’s not much the township or residents can do about it under county law. Reed and New Directions do not need to seek any special use or conditional permits. A resident who happened to speak with Reed shared Reed’s phone number at the meeting. Those in attendance could be seen jotting it down, eager to talk with Reed. But Reed said Friday that he did not receive a call from anybody yet, although he’d be glad to meet with residents to address some of their concerns. There was talk at the meeting of trying to schedule a town hall regarding the proposal sometime this month. “I’d love to,” Reed said. “I’d be happy to address reasonable and justified concerns.” Reed plans to open the house, located at 4612 Tile Line Road, to recovering addicts within a couple of months. He specified it is not a halfway house, and people will not be court-ordered to go there. Drug overdose deaths in McHenry County have increased in each of the past six years, according to the McHenry County Coroner’s Office. Fifty-six people overdosed and died in the county in 2016, and about 60 died of opioid overdoses in the county in 2017. Reed said [...]


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McHenry County schools receive $17,000 in library grants

Sun, 14 Jan 2018 05:35:00 GMT

WOODSTOCK – More than $17,000 in school library grant money soon will go to schools in McHenry County, state Rep. Steve Reick said.

“These grants will help put books into the hands of students and will go far in assisting with teaching and learning in northern McHenry County,” the Woodstock Republican representing the 63rd District said in a statement. “The schools up here are hurting, and any assistance the state can provide with the delivery of educational tools is appreciated.”

The $17,381 comes from School District Library Grant Program – an initiative designed to provide library books and materials for students attending public schools in Illinois.

The grant award is based on funds appropriated by the General Assembly and the official enrollment as of the previous Sept. 30 of a school district. The state Legislature has authorized up to a 75 cents a pupil for qualifying schools.

Here’s a look at where the money went:

• Harvard School District 50: $1,865.25

• Alden-Hebron Consolidated Unit 19: $750

• Johnsburg District 12: $1,359

• Riley Consolidated School District 18: $750

• Marengo-Union School District 165: $750

• Marengo High School District 154: $750

• McHenry CCSD 15: $3,262.50

• McHenry High School District 156: $1,669.50

• Nippersink School District 2: $845.25

• Richmond Burton School District 157: $750

• Woodstock School District 200: $4,629.75




Cary man charged with stabbing family member

Sun, 14 Jan 2018 05:34:00 GMT

CARY – A Cary man remained in McHenry County Jail on Friday afternoon after cutting a family member’s forehead with a butcher’s knife, police said.

Daniel Davis, 51, of the 6300 block of Robert Road, is charged with aggravated battery with a deadly weapon.

The offense is typically punishable by two to five years in prison.

On Tuesday, Davis stabbed a male relative in the forehead with a butcher’s knife, according to a complaint filed in McHenry County court.

The knife cut the other person’s head and did not appear to have caused any serious injuries, police said.

Events leading up to the attack were unclear.

Davis’ bond was set at $100,00.

He must post $10,000 bail to be released.




Special use permit for medical marijuana dispensary expiresProvided rendering The special permit granted for a medical marijuana dispensary at 1154 N. Main St. in Algonquin has expired.

Sun, 14 Jan 2018 05:33:00 GMT

ALGONQUIN – Plans for a medical marijuana dispensary in Algonquin have stalled.

Ross Morreale, representing ILDISP III LLC, received approval from the Village Board in January 2017 for a special use permit to operate a medical marijuana dispensary at 1154 N. Main St., Algonquin.

The permit would have allowed the company to build an attached garage to the property to provide space for secure deliveries and removal of waste product.

Algonquin Community Development Director Russ Farnum said Morreale would have to come before the board again for approval because the permit expired at the end of 2017. The company hasn’t reached out to the village since February 2017, Farnum said.

The State of Illinois’ Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act became effective in January 2014 and expires in July 2020, according to village documents. The act allows for one medical marijuana dispensary in McHenry County.

The program allows for up to 60 dispensing organizations to be licensed in the state of Illinois. As of June, the state had 20 licensed operating cultivation centers and 53 licensed medical marijuana dispensaries.

Illinois Revenue Department spokesman Terry Horstman said the initial application period for marijuana dispensaries has lapsed, and a second application period for the seven remaining licenses has not yet been announced.

It was unclear why the department was not accepting them anymore, or when they’d start again.

A similar dispensary was proposed for McHenry in May. McHenry officials could not be reached Friday to comment on the project.

The Algonquin business would have operated similar to a pharmacy and distribute limited quantities of marijuana to patients with a prescription from a doctor. The Algonquin building, previously occupied by a MRI facility, remains vacant, Farnum said.

By June 30, 21,800 Illinois residents – including 582 people from McHenry County – had registered for medical marijuana, according to an annual progress report from the Illinois Department of Health.

Attempts to reach Morreale and Justice Growth, the company that proposed to create a dispensary in McHenry, were unsuccessful.

Provided rendering The special permit granted for a medical marijuana dispensary at 1154 N. Main St. in Algonquin has expired.


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Algonquin Township officials amend budgets to cover billsSarah Nader - snader@shawmedia.com Algonquin Township Trustees Rachael Lawrence (left) and Dan Shea talk during Wednesday's Algonquin Township meeting in Crystal Lake Dec. 13, 2017. Algonquin Township officials have amended their road district and town budgets to cover about $1.5 million in unanticipated costs – including more than $300,000 spent on lawyers working on in-house legal battles.

Sun, 14 Jan 2018 05:33:00 GMT

CRYSTAL LAKE – Algonquin Township officials have amended their road district and town budgets to cover about $1.5 million in unanticipated costs – including more than $300,000 spent on lawyers working on in-house legal battles. At a Wednesday meeting, trustees transferred money from two of the township’s surplus funds to reshape the budget to pay for legal fees, engineering on roadwork and other operational costs. It’s uncommon for townships to amend their budgets this late in the fiscal year – but it was a urgent move that has left some township officials frustrated. “In my 30 years as an elected official, I never had anything that was this out of hand,” Trustee Dan Shea said. “It’s unusual, but you couldn’t have predicted the legal fees,” Township Supervisor Charles Lutzow said. “We had outrageous legal fees.” In total, township officials amended the road district budget from $2.5 million to $3.4 million, using $870,870 from the highway department’s surplus fund. The largest transfer accounted for $564,870, which officials injected into the road district’s road maintenance fund – and $220,000 went into a fund for engineering services, amending the line item to $250,000. Former Highway Commissioner Bob Miller had set the engineering budget at $30,000. Much of that money will go to pay for roadwork and emergency bridge repairs that posed safety problems, at places such as the Edwards Road Bridge and the Dennis Avenue Bridge, Lutzow said. “Some of that is understandable,” Trustee Rachael Lawrence said. Highway Commissioner Andrew Gasser could not be reached to comment on the specifics of how that money is being used. The road district also transferred $75,000 to pay for salaries in the maintenance department. Trustees said they approved the transfer but do not know where the money is going. “I cannot tell you where that money is going,” Shea said. “I did not get a piece-by-piece breakdown on that.” On the township side, officials increased the town budget from $1.8 million to $2.5 million. The bulk of those dollars – $205,000 – will cover legal battles brewing inside the township. Trustees Dave Chapman and Melissa Victor could not be reached for comment. It wasn’t the first time trustees have had to juggle money to pay for bills. In November, township trustees approved a transfer of $194,870 from the road district’s $3 million reserve fund into a fund to cover the highway commissioner’s legal bills. The move unsettled some township officials and se[...]


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2017 record year for McHenry County drug-induced homicide chargesFrom left to right, top row: Rolando Aguilar, Glen Miculinic, Philip Neumann. Second Row: Jessica Chapman, Shawn Brand, John Galloway, Joseph Williams, Durelle Hall. Bottom row: Herman Trigg, James Linder, Carlton Maynor, Elizabeth Long, Terrance Kampas. Long, Chapman, Ross, Brand, Galloway, Ferguson, Williams, Miculinic and Kampas' currently face drug-induced homicide charges in McHenry County. Trigg,Hall, Aguilar, Linder, Neumann, and Maynor have each been convicted of the offense.Photo provided Rachel Czipo holds her son Jacob Czipo. Jacob Czipo, 20, died May 18, 2017, of a heroin overdose.Sarah Nader - snader@shawmedia.com Cory Galloway (left), Greg Galloway and Jack Galloway pose for a portrait with their mother, Judy Galloway, who's is holding a picture of her son, John Galloway, at their Crystal Lake home Friday, Jan. 12, 2018. John was arrested in July and charged with drug-induced homicide in the death of his friend, Jacob Czipo.

Sun, 14 Jan 2018 05:32:00 GMT

WOODSTOCK – More than a year after the death of a Crystal Lake South High School graduate, two local families remain grief-stricken – one, which lost a son and brother to a heroin overdose, and that of his friend awaiting trial for providing him with the lethal dose. In recent years, McHenry County prosecutors have made a concerted effort to file more drug-induced homicide charges to bring justice for families of overdose victims, keep known dealers out of the community and deter others from continuing to distribute. Since 2003, McHenry County has charged 25 people with drug-induced homicide, records show. Nine of those were charged in 2017 under McHenry County State’s Attorney Patrick Kenneally’s yearlong charge. Advocates for rehabilitation-based reform, however, have said charges do little more than imprison the last person who was with an overdose victim – often another drug addict. For Rachel Czipo, life after the overdose death of the eldest of her two sons, Jacob Czipo, made even the smallest of holiday preparations a painful reminder that he wouldn’t be there Christmas morning. Jacob, 20, died May 18 of a heroin overdose in his parents’ Crystal Lake home. He was expected to start his third year as a lifeguard for the Crystal Lake Park District the next morning. “It’s that piece missing. Just the emotional little things like hanging a stocking,” Rachel Czipo said. “The worst part is having to sign cards, having to sign cards and not putting his name on it.” Meanwhile, Judith Galloway and her family battled technological problems that prevented them from having a two-way video conference with her son, 20-year-old John Galloway, who is in custody on drug-induced homicide charges at McHenry County Jail, where’s he’s remained since June 16. He would need to post $122,500 bail to be released. “We had seven minutes Christmas Day for him to see us,” Judith Galloway said. While the Czipos come to grips with Jacob’s death, the Galloways must face the possibility that John could spend decades in prison if convicted. The families differ on how well their sons knew each other. Both attended Crystal Lake South, where Czipo graduated in 2015. Galloway left school early and got his GED, family members said. Although they’d been acquaintances for years, Jacob and John’s friendship seemed to take off in early 2017, the Czipos said. “Their son is still alive. He can go to jail … and come out and still be a productive person,” Rachel Czipo said. “My son can’t.” More overdoses, more charges Despite its name, drug-induced homicide isn’t charged in the same fashion as other death-related crimes such as murder, Kenneally[...]


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Harvard man cited after head-on car, bus crash in WoodstockSarah Nader - snader@shawmedia.com The Woodstock Fire Rescue District transported five people to area hospitals Friday, Jan. 12, 2018 with non-life-threatening injuries following a bus vs. car crash in Woodstock.Woodstock Fire Capt. Karen Bush said the district responded about 3:30 p.m. to the area of 840 N. Seminary Ave., for a report of a crash involving a Pace bus. In addition to the five people who were taken to area hospitals, paramedics evaluated five more people on scene but did not take them to the hospital.

Sat, 13 Jan 2018 19:20:00 GMT

WOODSTOCK – A 70-year-old Harvard man was cited for improper lane usage Friday after he struck a Pace bus head on in Woodstock, sending seven people, including himself, to area hospitals.

Police and fire officials responded about 3:30 p.m. Friday to the area of 840 N. Seminary Ave. for a two-vehicle crash, Woodstock Police Sgt. Dan Wesolek said.

Woodstock Fire Capt. Karen Bush previously said five people were taken to area hospitals with injuries that were not life-threatening and paramedics evaluated five more people on the scene, but Wesolek said seven were hospitalized after the crash. He also said it appeared all injuries were not life-threatening.

William Dooley, 70, of Harvard had been driving his 2008 Chevrolet Suburban south on Route 47 when he crossed the center line and struck the northbound Pace bus, driven by a 68-year-old Wonder Lake woman.

Dooley, the sole occupant of his vehicle, was hospitalized, and six Woodstock residents who had been riding the bus, ranging in age from late-20s to early-60s, also were taken to area hospitals.

Wesolek said distracted driving caused the crash.

Northbound Route 47 was closed for more than an hour, and another Pace bus took those who were not injured to their destinations.

Sarah Nader - snader@shawmedia.com The Woodstock Fire Rescue District transported five people to area hospitals Friday, Jan. 12, 2018 with non-life-threatening injuries following a bus vs. car crash in Woodstock.Woodstock Fire Capt. Karen Bush said the district responded about 3:30 p.m. to the area of 840 N. Seminary Ave., for a report of a crash involving a Pace bus. In addition to the five people who were taken to area hospitals, paramedics evaluated five more people on scene but did not take them to the hospital.


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Hawaii officials mistakenly warn of inbound missile

Sat, 13 Jan 2018 18:53:00 GMT

HONOLULU — Hawaii emergency management officials say a push alert that warned of an incoming ballistic missile to Hawaii on Saturday was a mistake.

The emergency alert sent to cellphones said in all caps, "Ballistic missile threat inbound to Hawaii. Seek immediate shelter. This is not a drill."

Hawaii Emergency Management Agency spokesman Richard Repoza says it's a false alarm.

He says the agency is trying to determine what happened.

The alert stirred panic for residents on the island and across social media.


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Fire that began outside Woodstock home spreads into residenceWhat started as an exterior fire spread inside a Woodstock home early Saturday morning, causing thousands of dollars in estimated damage. The residence, in the 300 block of Highland Avenue, appeared to have damage to siding on its rear corner.What started as an exterior fire spread inside a Woodstock home early Saturday morning, causing thousands of dollars in estimated damage.

Sat, 13 Jan 2018 17:18:00 GMT

WOODSTOCK — What started as an exterior fire spread inside a Woodstock home early Saturday morning, causing thousands of dollars in estimated damage.

Woodstock firefighters responded just before 2 a.m. Saturday to the 300 block of Highland Avenue in Woodstock for a reported fire, Woodstock Fire Capt. Karen Bush said.

When first responders arrived, they spotted flames outside the home and were able to contain the blaze within about 10 minutes.

"It got inside a little bit, but it was manageable," Bush said.

No one was injured in the incident, and fire investigators were still looking into what caused it later Saturday morning.

Bush said the flames wreaked an estimated $5,000 in damage.

The home appeared to have damage to the siding on a rear corner Saturday morning, and some bricks were charred.

Firefighters from Union, Marengo, Wonder Lake, Huntley and Harvard also responded to assist Woodstock firefighters on the scene.

What started as an exterior fire spread inside a Woodstock home early Saturday morning, causing thousands of dollars in estimated damage. The residence, in the 300 block of Highland Avenue, appeared to have damage to siding on its rear corner.What started as an exterior fire spread inside a Woodstock home early Saturday morning, causing thousands of dollars in estimated damage.


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Illinois reviewing new Medicaid work requirement guidelineShaw Media file photo

Sat, 13 Jan 2018 15:14:00 GMT

SPRINGFIELD – Illinois Medicaid officials said they’re reviewing new federal guidelines that would let states require “able-bodied” Medicaid recipients to work.

The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services said Thursday that the “policy notice and its implications are under review.” The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services made the announcement Thursday. The agency’s head, Seema Verma, said work and community involvement can make a positive difference in people’s lives and in their health.

However some Illinois patient advocates said they hope the state doesn’t submit a proposal to make having a job a condition of Medicaid eligibility, citing fears it would leave people without health insurance.

The Illinois Health and Hospital Association also opposes the work requirements. Association spokesman Danny Chun said the “main concern is that people have coverage.”

Shaw Media file photo


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Rauner campaign pulls TV ads featuring Missouri governorGov. Bruce Rauner speaks to the Herald-News on Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2018, in Joliet, Ill.

Sat, 13 Jan 2018 15:11:00 GMT

CHICAGO – Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner’s re-election campaign has pulled a TV ad featuring Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens, who’s facing allegations he blackmailed a woman to keep her quiet about their affair.

Rauner campaign spokeswoman Kirsten Kukowski said the ad featuring Greitens and fellow GOP governors was halted Wednesday. That’s the same day Greitens acknowledged he was “unfaithful” in his marriage but denied other allegations.

Kukowski said the ad was pulled because the campaign was starting a new one linking Democratic governor candidate J.B. Pritzker to ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

That ad features audio of the now-imprisoned Blagojevich and Pritzker discussing the possibility of Blagojevich appointing Pritzker attorney general.

Pritzker’s campaign said he was never accused of wrongdoing. They called the ad an attempt by Rauner to distract from his record and launched their own ad blaming him for 13 deaths at a Quincy veterans’ home.

Gov. Bruce Rauner speaks to the Herald-News on Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2018, in Joliet, Ill.


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Police: Person in custody following Greyhound bus pursuitShaw Media file photo

Sat, 13 Jan 2018 13:48:00 GMT

WADSWORTH, Ill. (AP) — A person is in custody after a police pursuit of a Greyhound bus near the Wisconsin-Illinois border.

Illinois State Police tell WGN-TV (http://bit.ly/2AX2lSN ) that the pursuit began about 10 p.m. Friday on Interstate 94 in Wisconsin after a report of an armed suspect aboard the bus.

The pursuit crossed into Illinois and the bus eventually stopped near the exit ramp to Route 173.

Police said 40 passengers were able to evacuate the bus and no injuries were reported.

Authorities announced the unidentified suspect was in custody after 12:30 a.m.

No further information was immediately available. An investigation is ongoing.

Shaw Media file photo


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Rep. David McSweeney files bill to allow voters to abolish townshipsIllinois Rep. David McSweeney, R-Barrington Hills, argues pension legislation while on the House floor at the Illinois State Capitol Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2013 in Springfield Ill. McSweeney, R-Barrington Hills, is working on a bill that would give voters an opportunity to eliminate township government with a majority vote – a move that would shift the services provided by townships to local municipalities and the county government. His legislation would allow voters to trigger a referendum with a petition signed by 5 percent of the voters within township boundaries.(AP Photo/Seth Perlman)Illinois Rep. David McSweeney, R-Barrington Hills, waits on lawmakers to return from caucus while on the House floor during session at the Illinois State Capitol Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2015, in Springfield, Ill. State Rep. McSweeney, R-Barrington Hills, is working on a bill that would give voters an opportunity to eliminate township government with a majority vote – a move that would shift the services provided by townships to local municipalities and the county government. His legislation would allow voters to trigger a referendum with a petition signed by 5 percent of the voters within township boundaries.(AP Photo/Seth Perlman)

Sat, 13 Jan 2018 06:49:00 GMT

CRYSTAL LAKE – State Rep. David McSweeney has filed a bill that could allow voters to eliminate townships and transfer their responsibilities and assets to McHenry County officials. On Friday, the Barrington Hills Republican filed House Bill 4244, a proposed law that applies only to the 17 townships in McHenry County and puts abolishing townships at the top of McSweeney’s legislative priorities. McSweeney’s bill follows on the heels of the in-house lawsuits, budget-busting legal fees and corruption allegations that have engulfed Algonquin Township. “[Algonquin Township] is the best example of bad government,” McSweeney said. “It is a great example of a government that will hopefully be eliminated.” The unruly political battleground pushed the legislator to draft the law he hopes will save money for residents overburdened with property taxes. “I am going to fight for the tax payers to get lower property taxes,” McSweeney said. If signed into law, HB 4244 would create an opportunity for voters to force a referendum onto an election ballot with a petition packed with the signatures of at least 5 percent of voters from a previous comparable election. For example, if 5,000 people voted in Algonquin Township in the last election, a petition carrying 250 signatures would put a question on the ballot asking voters whether they want to eliminate the township. The petition must include the name of the township, the date it would be dissolved and accompanying signatures. If a valid petition is filed, the McHenry County Clerk must publish a notice of the petition to dissolve townships in an area newspaper at least 90 days before the election. If 50 percent of voters support elimination at the polls, the township would be dissolved within 90 days after the election. All property, personnel, contractual obligations and liabilities inside the township would then transfer over to McHenry County. A provision in the bill allows municipalities to make bids to assume the responsibilities of the dissolving township and its road district. If no municipality makes an offer, those powers and duties are retained by McHenry County. McHenry County Board Chairman Jack Franks is championing McSweeney’s bill. “We want to be a laboratory for the state,” Franks said. Franks also pointed to Algonquin Township infighting as an example of why townships should be eliminated. [...]


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Has flu season, in full swing, reached its height?AP photo Matilde Gonzalez (left) and Cesar Calles, hold their son, Cesar Julian Calles, 10-months old, as Ana Martinez, a medical assistant at the Sea Mar Community Health Center, gives him a flu shot Thursday in Seattle.

Sat, 13 Jan 2018 06:12:00 GMT

NEW YORK – Flu is now widespread in every state except Hawaii, but the good news is the season appears to already be peaking.

It’s been a rough few weeks: Hospitals have set up tents to handle patient overflow. Doctors are putting in double and triple shifts. Ambulances have been sidelined while paramedics waited to drop off patients.

“This morning, I couldn’t stand up. I was really weak,” said Margaret Shafer, who went to a Seattle emergency room this week after a bout with the flu was followed by pneumonia.

But an update out Friday from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows patient traffic for flu is no longer skyrocketing the way it was in December.

AP photo Matilde Gonzalez (left) and Cesar Calles, hold their son, Cesar Julian Calles, 10-months old, as Ana Martinez, a medical assistant at the Sea Mar Community Health Center, gives him a flu shot Thursday in Seattle.


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Mudslide-stricken California town is all but emptied outAP photo A work crew cleans up an area of Highway 101 that flooded Friday in Montecito, Calif. The number of missing after a California mudslide has fluctuated wildly, due to shifting definitions, the inherent uncertainty that follows a natural disaster, and just plain human error.

Sat, 13 Jan 2018 06:12:00 GMT

MONTECITO, Calif. – Most residents of mudslide-ravaged Montecito were under orders to clear out Friday as the search for victims dragged on and crews labored to clean up the muck and repair power, water and gas lines.

Even those who didn’t lose their homes in the disaster that left at least 17 people dead were told to leave for up to two weeks so they wouldn’t interfere with the rescue and recovery operation in the Southern California town of 9,000.

It was another frustrating turn for those living in Montecito, a town that has been under siege and subject to repeated evacuation orders in recent weeks, first because of a monster wildfire last month, then because of downpours and mudslides.

AP photo A work crew cleans up an area of Highway 101 that flooded Friday in Montecito, Calif. The number of missing after a California mudslide has fluctuated wildly, due to shifting definitions, the inherent uncertainty that follows a natural disaster, and just plain human error.


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