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Ohio candidate doesn’t regret sexual conquest Facebook post

Sun, 19 Nov 2017 06:22:00 GMT

CLEVELAND – An Ohio Supreme Court justice and Democratic gubernatorial candidate said on Facebook that people should “lighten up” after deleting a previous post outlining his sexual history with women that drew widespread criticism for trivializing sexual harassment and sexual assault.

William O’Neill’s original post on Friday criticized “the dogs of war” calling for Democratic Sen. Al Franken to resign after being accused of groping a woman during a USO Tour in 2006. O’Neill wrote that he had been “sexually intimate with approximately 50 very attractive females” during his life and mentioned several encounters, including one in a hayloft of her parents’ barn.

O’Neill added another post Saturday afternoon that said he apologized if he offended anyone, “particularly the wonderful women in my life.”

Critics from both parties were swift to condemn the 70-year-old O’Neill, including Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor, a Republican, after Friday’s post. Some called for his immediate ouster from the court.

“No words can convey my shock,” O’Connor said in a statement on Friday. “This gross disrespect for women shakes the public’s confidence in the integrity of the judiciary.”

In an interview Saturday with The Associated Press, O’Neill said he doesn’t regret what he wrote and that he edited the original post and then deleted it after an online commenter called him insensitive for including information that could identify some of the women.

“I agreed with them and took it down,” O’Neill said. “I’m a gentleman after all.”

After deleting the Facebook post, he wrote another one that doesn’t discuss his sexual past but again references “the dogs of war” hounding Franken. That post says “sanctimonious judges” calling for him to quit should note his history as an Ohio assistant attorney general prosecuting sexual harassment cases.

“Lighten up folks,” the post concludes. “This is how Democrats remain in the minority.”

O’Neill said during Saturday’s interview that his message was misunderstood and that his civil rights history shows he’s not an “insensitive misogynist.” He said he wrote the original post because “the sensitive subject of sexual harassment” has led people to treat Franken and Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, a Republican, “in the exact same fashion.”

Moore has been accused of sexually assaulting teen girls in Alabama when he was a prosecutor in his 30s. Moore has denied the allegations.

Asked if he thought the furor would harm him politically, O’Neill said, “I think it’s clear it’s not going to help me. But sometimes when you’re right, you do have to stand alone. And I am right here.”

It’s uncertain whether O’Neill has a political future in Ohio. He has maintained that he would quit his nascent gubernatorial bid if fellow Democrat Richard Cordray decides to run.

Cordray announced his resignation as head of the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau earlier this week, an expected prelude to him entering the race.

O’Neill said he has spoken with Cordray in the last several days, but claimed they did not discuss the race. O’Neill is required to step down from the bench when his current term ends in January 2019 because of state age limits for judges.




Crystal Lake city council to vote on boundary agreement with Woodstock

Sun, 19 Nov 2017 05:48:00 GMT

CRYSTAL LAKE – Crystal Lake city staff is recommending the City Council let a boundary agreement with Woodstock expire to continue to market the land near McHenry County College for tech-industrial use.

Crystal Lake and Woodstock made a boundary line agreement in December 1996, which lasted 20 years and is set to expire on Dec. 3. The agreement was renewed for one year last year to give the cities time to consider if they’d like to extend the agreement.

Woodstock’s Comprehensive Land Use Plan asks for buffer area around Crystal Lake in order to preserve the open space and farmland gateway to Woodstock, according to the memo.

When the boundary line agreement was created, it followed the facility planning area line determined by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency based on a review of the sanitary sewer servicing capacity of each city. The facility planning area lines no longer serve as determination for development siting decisions, according to the memo.

“Most developers that the city talks with are mostly concerned about the city’s ability to provide sewer and water for development,” the memo states. “Currently, the city does not have a lot of extra sewer capacity to serve new development to the northwest unless improvements are made to the city’s conveyance system.”

Since the facility planning area system has been eliminated, staff recommended to let the boundary agreement expire and continue to market the available land nearby McHenry County College for tech-industrial type uses.

Woodstock held a special City Council workshop to discuss expiring the agreement. The Crystal Lake memo states Woodstock desires to expand its limits along Route 14 to incorporate about 24 acres along Route 14, south of Lily Pond Road.

The agreement currently draws the line in the area of Lily Pond Road going southwest to the area of Routes 176 and 47.

The City Council will vote on the agreement at its meeting at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 21 at City Hall, 100 W. Woodstock St., Crystal Lake.




Dentist teaches basics of oral care for Illinois police dogs

Sun, 19 Nov 2017 05:48:00 GMT

AURORA – Most cops clean their guns.

These cops clean their gums.

Their police dog’s gums, that is.

About 30 area officers learned the basics of oral care for their working police dogs Thursday morning from veterinary dentist Dr. Stephen Juriga, who spoke to the group at the Aurora police headquarters.

Juriga said police dogs – typically German shepherds, Belgian malinois or bloodhounds – have a high pain tolerance and won’t show signs when their teeth are broken, discolored or otherwise causing pain. But such dental problems can affect their ability to sniff out suspects and conduct their work, so human officers need to conduct basic daily checks for signs of damage or decay.

“You’re going to be the initial veterinary team making the diagnosis on your dog,” said Juriga, whose practice at River Heights Veterinary Hospital in Oswego includes police dogs.

To be the “initial vet,” Juriga said, officers need to train their dogs to tolerate having their lips pulled back. This allows the officer to look at the dog’s teeth and run a finger, wrapped in wet gauze, over the animal’s gums to brush its teeth daily. He said this can help spot tooth trauma, including abrasions, fractures or discoloration; luxation, when a tooth is jutting out in the wrong direction; or improper occlusion, when the bite is out of alignment.

During his first presentation to a group of officers, Juriga gave them tips on how to spot tooth problems and get care. He also gave quick exams to at least five dogs brought by officers from the Wisconsin border to the south suburbs, including Aurora, Bartlett, Dolton, Lisle, Oak Brook, Northbrook, Illinois State Police and the Cook, DuPage and Kane County sheriff’s offices.

Romeoville officer John Allen learned that his dog, Spike, a 7-year-old Belgian malinois, has a broken premolar tooth that the dentist called “significantly shortened.” Juriga said it needs an X-ray and potentially further care.

Allen said he learned something obvious yet helpful – a dog’s mouth is symmetrical, so if anything seems off on one side, he always can use the other as a comparison.

“You have a guide as to what to look at,” Allen said.

For Lt. Bill Poirier of the Veterans’ Affairs Police Department in North Chicago, the presentation was a reminder to perform the preventive dental care he already has learned. He said keeping up with dental hygiene will help maintain the health of the fifth dog he’s handled in his career, a 75-pound terrier mix named Berm, or “The Berminator.”

The “passive” Berm – who helps track missing people, search for evidence or sniff out drugs – allows Poirier to brush his teeth each day because he’s accustomed to it after more than three years.

“You start early,” Poirier said. “It’s just part of the daily training.”

Poirier said he hasn’t experienced problems with Berm’s oral health. The dog gets a dental exam every six months, in addition to regular visits with Alexis Newman, a veterinarian with Partners and Paws Veterinary Services in Lisle.

Newman advised officers to be proactive in getting dental problems checked out.

“You guys know your dogs. If you kind of notice something,” Newman said, act on it. “It’s undervalued how much their teeth can cause them to not work right.”




Judge reduces bond for McHenry man charged with home invasionJudge Sharon Prather reduced 21-year-old Benjamin Iandola's bond to $60,000 Friday, meaning he must post $6,000 bail to be released from the McHenry County Jail.

Sun, 19 Nov 2017 05:47:00 GMT

WOODSTOCK – A McHenry County judge on Friday reduced the bond for a man accused of breaking into a woman’s Johnsburg home, attacking her and taking her car.

Judge Sharon Prather reduced 21-year-old Benjamin Iandola’s bond to $60,000 Friday, meaning he must post $6,000 bail to be released from the McHenry County Jail. His bond for the same charges previously was set at $250,000.

Should Iandola post the money, he would be required to abide by a court-ordered curfew, avoid alcohol and have no contact with the woman he is accused of harming. The woman told the judge Friday that the no-contact requirement isn’t needed.

Beside Iandola’s public defender, Richard Behof, the woman asked Prather to dismiss the no-contact order. Prather denied the request.

On Nov. 9, the woman vacated a previous order of protection she filed against Iandola only six days earlier, court records show.

Iandola, of the 3100 block of Lincoln Road, McHenry, has been in custody at the McHenry County Jail since Nov. 3, when police said he dragged a woman out of bed and swung a table leg at her, according to court documents.

He is charged with home invasion, theft, domestic battery, interfering with the reporting of domestic violence, criminal damage to property, resisting a peace officer, driving under the influence of alcohol, failing to reduce speed, use of weapons and aggravated battery to a peace officer. The most serious charge, home invasion, typically is punishable by six to 30 years in prison.

The situation began when Iandola and the woman were arguing during a walk home from a nearby bar Nov. 3, records show.

The argument escalated, and Iandola continued to call the woman names, according to the order of protection. A friend eventually called the police, who drove Iandola home.

After returning only an hour later and again being kicked out of the home, Iandola tried to break into the house through a screen door, court records show.

He ran to the woman’s room, pulled off the covers from her bed, and eventually hid in the woman’s basement, according to claims in the order of protection.

When she went to look for him, Iandola began throwing nearby items at her, and smashed her cellphone so she could not call the police.

The woman ran for help, and on her way home, saw Iandola driving toward her – in her own car, which he crashed into a light pole, the order said.

Police arrived shortly after and arrested Iandola, records show.

Less than a week later, a judge granted the woman’s request to vacate the order of protection.

Iandola remained at the McHenry County Jail on Friday. He is due in court Dec. 5.

Judge Sharon Prather reduced 21-year-old Benjamin Iandola's bond to $60,000 Friday, meaning he must post $6,000 bail to be released from the McHenry County Jail.


Media Files:
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Huntley Community School District 158 superintendent to resign in January to take new jobPhoto provided Huntley Community School District 158 Superintendent John Burkey is resigning from his position to take a new job.

Sun, 19 Nov 2017 05:47:00 GMT

HUNTLEY – Huntley Community School District 158 Superintendent John Burkey is resigning from his position to take a new job.

Burkey will resign effective Jan. 31, 2018, and begin a position as executive director of the Large Unit District Association, according to a news release from the district.

Before he leaves, the Board of Education will name an interim superintendent for the remainder of the 2017-18 school year. The board will begin identifying a full-time superintendent for the 2018-19 school year and beyond.

“Huntley 158 is a special place,” Burkey said in a statement. “There are so many talented, caring people that work for H158, and it has been the highest honor to work alongside the employees of this district. I look forward to continue serving students in Illinois, only now on a larger scale.”

Burkey will work for the Springfield-based Large Unit District Association, which supports the 53 largest unit school districts in Illinois with networking, professional development and advocacy.

“We thank Dr. Burkey for his 12 years of devoted service to the Huntley community,” Don Drzal, president of the Huntley 158 Board of Education, said in the release. “We are saddened to be losing the visionary leadership of Dr. Burkey for our district but are excited that students throughout the state of Illinois will now benefit from his abilities.”

Burke began as the District 158 superintendent in 2006. Since then, enrollment has grown from fewer than 7,000 to nearly 10,000, numerous construction and renovation projects were completed and the district implemented Illinois’ largest 1:1 program initiative, according to the release.

The district has also created Huntley High School’s nationally recognized blended learning and specialized academy programs, saw record-high standardized test scores and maintains one of the lowest operating-cost-per-student rates in the Chicago area, according to the release.

The District 158 Board of Education approved a new contract for Burkey in 2016 that ran through the 2021 school year.

The contract paid Burkey $215,000 for the 2016-17 school year with a 2.5 percent pay increase in each subsequent year of the contract, according to previous Northwest Herald reporting.

Photo provided Huntley Community School District 158 Superintendent John Burkey is resigning from his position to take a new job.


Media Files:
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2 men convicted in 1994 rape, murder to be retried

Sun, 19 Nov 2017 05:47:00 GMT

CHICAGO – Cook County prosecutors say they will retry two men convicted of a 1994 rape and murder that recent DNA testing suggests they did not commit.

Judge Dennis Porter on Friday vacated the convictions of Nevest Coleman and Darryl Fulton. The two are serving life sentences and have been behind bars for more than 23 years.

Porter ordered a new trial and freed them on their own recognizance. Attorneys for both men said they expect their clients will be released Monday.

Coleman and Fulton were convicted in 1997 in the rape and murder of Antwinica Bridgeman. The woman celebrated her 20th birthday at a gathering of friends, including Coleman. She disappeared that night and was discovered weeks later in Coleman’s basement.

Coleman attorney Russell Ainsworth says DNA evidence will exonerate both men.




New temporary U.S. attorney named for central Illinois

Sun, 19 Nov 2017 05:47:00 GMT

SPRINGFIELD – U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has named a Justice Department lawyer to temporarily lead the U.S. attorney’s office in the Central District of Illinois.

The appointment of John E. Childress of Springfield lasts for 120 days. He replaces Patrick Hansen, who served as acting U.S. attorney since the December 2016 retirement of Jim Lewis. Hansen will remain with the office as an assistant.

Childress is a native of Indianapolis and received his law degree from Duke University in 1990.

The temporary appointments of Hansen and Childress were prompted by President Donald Trump’s failure to nominate someone for the position.

If a presidential nominee isn’t presented within 120 days, Central District judges will be able to choose who temporarily fills the top federal prosecutor’s office until a Trump nominee is confirmed by the U.S. Senate.




Des Plaines school chief who is to resign denies harassment

Sun, 19 Nov 2017 05:47:00 GMT

DES PLAINES – A suburban Chicago school superintendent who is to resign next month amid complaints about his conduct has denied sexual harassment.

The Chicago Tribune reported Floyd Williams of Des Plaines District 62 issued a statement Friday. Earlier in the week the district announced he would resign Dec. 13 after sexual harassment allegations. Williams said he “did not engage in sexual harassment against anyone associated with” the district and he was “devastated” by the complaints.

However, Williams said he did “recognize that my words or actions may have been misinterpreted” and apologized to anyone he made uncomfortable.

Under an agreement, Williams will be paid his remaining workdays of the current school year and will receive payment for five vacation days. Williams has been on paid leave since Oct. 17.




Ex-Indiana councilman admits guilt in bribery case

Sun, 19 Nov 2017 05:47:00 GMT

MERRILLVILLE, Ind. – A former councilman for the northwest Indiana town of Merrillville has admitted taking bribes in a federal plea agreement.

The Northwest Indiana Times reported that 51-year-old Thomas Goralczyk of Merrillville was indicted on felony bribery charges Wednesday by a grand jury in Hammond. The plea agreement was entered Friday. Federal prosecutors say a plea hearing hasn’t yet been scheduled.

Court documents show Goralczyk was charged for soliciting bribes between February 2013 and February 2014 in exchange for awarding a towing contract during his time on the Merrillville Town Council. Court documents say Goralczyk accepted two vehicles, four new camper tires and free motorcycle storage from someone identified as “Individual A” in exchange for the Merrillville contract.

Goralczyk served on the council for two terms but lost a re-election bid in 2015.




Prairie Ridge High School senior collects more than 700 letters to veteransPrairie Ridge High School senior Iain Riemenschneider poses by his National Honor Society project, which asks people to write thank you letters to veterans through Honor Flight's “Mail Call” program. Riemenschneider’s letter drive collected more than 700 letters that will be delivered to veterans on their honorary flights to memorials in Washington, D.C.

Sun, 19 Nov 2017 05:46:00 GMT

CRYSTAL LAKE – Wisconsin veterans soon will be receiving a lot of mail from the Crystal Lake area.

A Prairie Ridge High School student collected more than 700 thank you letters to veterans for his National Honor Society project.

Senior Iain Riemenschneider wanted his project to have something to do with Honor Flight, a nonprofit organization created solely to honor America’s veterans for all of their sacrifices. The group transports veterans, at no cost to them, to Washington, D.C., to visit the memorials of the respective wars they fought in.

Riemenschneider said his teacher, Sarah Dunker, pushed him in the direction of collecting letters.

“I really like history and learning about veterans,” he said, mentioning how captivated he was when a World War II veteran spoke at the school last year.

“I had a vet write a letter back to me before from an Honor Flight. I also have a lot of veterans in my family.”

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is teaming up with sponsors to donate $10 for every letter written to veterans who take part in Stars and Stripes Honor Flights in the spring. The letters will be given to World War II, Vietnam and Korean War veterans as they fly to visit the memorials. Stars and Stripes Wisconsin is the chapter associated with this particular drive.

With $10 for every letter, Riemenschneider effectively raised more than $7,000. It costs about $500 an Honor Flight. At least 14 veterans will get a free Honor Flight because of his project and all the people who wrote letters.

The newspaper and its sponsors will contribute up to $35,000, which accounts for up to 3,500 letters.

More than 20 percent of that donation total already was raised through Riemenschneider’s project.

World War II veterans take priority on the Honor Flights because they are the oldest group.

Thursday was the last day of Riemenschneider’s collection drive. As of his most recent count, he had 719 letters.

“It’s a five-month campaign, so anyone wanting to write a letter is always helpful,” he said. “Honor Flight is a great organization. The letters mean a lot to the people they are for. Any written letter does make a difference to veterans.”

In the next couple of weeks, Riemenschneider has to gather the letters into one spot, organize them and send them off to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Veterans will read the letters during their Honor Flights in the spring.

For information on the program, visit jsmailcall.com.

Prairie Ridge High School senior Iain Riemenschneider poses by his National Honor Society project, which asks people to write thank you letters to veterans through Honor Flight's “Mail Call” program. Riemenschneider’s letter drive collected more than 700 letters that will be delivered to veterans on their honorary flights to memorials in Washington, D.C.


Media Files:
http://www.nwherald.com/articles/2017/11/16/35c24f1d2cc7443cbf7dedc2562884f9/a3d6742f-5db3-4e5c-a122-c1ee8a341e93/image-pv_web.jpg




Investigation finds raffle irregularities

Sun, 19 Nov 2017 05:46:00 GMT

BELLEVILLE – A newspaper investigation has found that at least a dozen raffles conducted largely by veterans’ organizations in southwestern Illinois may not conform to state law.

The Belleville News-Democrat investigation revealed that some Queen of Hearts raffles appear to violate parts of the state’s Raffles and Poker Runs Act. The investigation also found that ordinances in the cities hosting the raffles don’t appear to be consistent with state law or enforced.

Queen of Hearts raffles began gaining popularity in southern Illinois over the past two years. Players buy tickets in the hopes of being drawn to choose a playing card from a board. If the player gets the queen of hearts card they win the jackpot. If not, the game continues with new tickets sold and an increasing jackpot until there’s a winner.

Gambling critics and experts said state laws that aren’t followed or enforced could lead to issues. The government could seize prize money. Losing players may demand refunds. Organizations’ insurance policies might not cover accidents and large crowds can threaten the safety of communities.

The most common problems the newspaper found with the raffles and city raffle ordinances included issues with maximum prize amounts, issues with raffle licenses or the application for licenses and raffles held at premises that don’t appear to be allowed under state law.

The Queen of Hearts raffle that the American Legion is hosting in Aviston rolled over again on Wednesday night, when the jackpot stood at $948,000. Legion officials said they expect a jackpot topping $1 million next week.

The Aviston American Legion has a license issued by the city but never filled out an application. Aviston Mayor Dale Haukap said the city made a mistake and is now having the American Legion fill out an application.

“We issued a license; we thought, ‘This is great, this is going to cover everything.’ But we looked deeper into it and saw the application form wasn’t filled out,” Haukap said.

“It was a negligence on us.” he said. “Little small towns like us, we never had to think about it before.”

University of Illinois professor John Kindt, who has taught law and economics for almost 40 years and specializes in gambling, said trouble regulating raffles isn’t just a local problem.

“We all have great sympathy for veteran organizations, but who is overseeing these situations to make sure that mistakes aren’t made? I don’t think anyone is regulating them,” he said.

Queen of Hearts games also have been played elsewhere in Illinois, including Chicago, Springfield and Carbondale.




Mississippi River bridge opens from Illinois to Iowa

Sun, 19 Nov 2017 05:46:00 GMT

SAVANNA – Illinois and Iowa officials are celebrating the opening of a new Mississippi River bridge from Savanna, Illinois, to Sabula, Iowa.

The $80 million span opened to traffic Friday evening. It provides river passage for U.S. 52 and Illinois 64.

Illinois Department of Transportation Secretary Randy Blankenhorn said the modern span provides greater safety and better recreational and economic opportunities.

It stretches 2,400 feet from the Upper Mississippi River Wildlife & Fish Refuge in Iowa to the bluffs of the Mississippi Palisades State Park in Illinois .

The previous span opened in 1932 as a private toll bridge. It’s just 20 feet wide with no shoulders. Large vehicles often overlapped the center line and there was no side-road room for bicycles or disabled vehicles.

It will be dismantled and removed next spring.




Crystal Lake-based School District 155 Board to vote Tuesday on tax levy increaseCommunity High School District 155 interim Superintendent Steve Olson speaks Nov. 14 to the district's school board during a presentation about the proposed tax levy. Members are expected to vote on a tax increase Tuesday.

Sun, 19 Nov 2017 05:45:00 GMT

CRYSTAL LAKE – Members of the Community High School District 155 Board appear ready to vote Tuesday on a tax increase. Estimated tax payments people can expect to make will be presented to the board, as it gathers for its regular monthly meeting at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at the District 155 Center for Education, 1 S. Virginia Road, Crystal Lake. In a meeting of the board’s Finance Committee last week – which included the entire board – members asked District 155 Assistant Superintendent of Finance and Operations Jeremy Davis to come back Tuesday to present the projected taxes owed to the district by owners of $200,000, $250,000 and $300,000 homes if $1.2 million in debt service were abated from the district’s expected $74.3 million extension. That direction was based on projections by Davis, who presented the board with a scenario in which a $1 million debt service abatement were applied to a resident’s District 155 tax bill. Davis projected that the owner of a $250,000 home would pay $2,373 in taxes to the district, which would be an increase of about $15.50 over the previous year – but not nearly as much as the $50 increase that is proposed without the abatement. Based on those numbers, it’s safe to assume Davis on Tuesday will project an increase of less than $15.50 for the owner of a $250,000 home, after factoring in the $1.2 million abatement. The latest projections are not available as part of the board’s meeting agenda. The board will view them Tuesday, and likely will vote. Although a smaller increase than originally proposed and tentatively approved in October, several board members said at the Finance Committee meeting this past week that they probably could “live with” a debt service abatement of $1.2 million from the proposed levy of $74.3 million. The abatement would require the district to use cash reserves to pay debt on outstanding bonds from 2014 and 2015, according to the meeting agenda. Rising costs The district has said a big reason that costs are rising, along with teacher compensation, is that $50 million in maintenance is needed in the next 10 years. Board member Ron Ludwig said that when he campaigned for a seat on the board earlier this year, he was the one wondering why the district is spending $500,000 on tennis courts. But he has since toured and saw firsthand the maintenance needs at Crystal Lake Central High School and Prairie Ridge High School. He also plans to tour the other two schools. “Now I understand,” Ludwig said of the needs. “I’m seeing them up close and personal.” He cautioned that the board should be careful in not cutting too much, or else the school’s infrastructure will continue to fall below standards. “Fifty million dollars,” Ludwig said. “The last thing I want to do, if I’m sitting on this board, is to ever go to referendum. I don’t ever want to go to referendum to pay for things that we should have been responsible for along the way.” Davis said the district is really limited in how it can raise money for capital projects, and it essentially comes down to whether board members want the taxpayers to pay debt. “We have no mechanism to fund our capital improvements other than local taxpayer funds,” Davis said to the board. “I mean, we can take on some debt t[...]


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McHenry County Board asks Gov. Bruce Rauner to veto bill that would give Jack Franks power of appointmentsGov. Bruce Rauner speaks during a news conference July 5 in Chicago. A majority of McHenry County Board members are concerned that the passage of a bill on Rauner's desk will give Chairman Jack Franks absolute power to appoint whomever he wants to committees – but the recently elected Democrat contends that it's all political nonsense.

Sun, 19 Nov 2017 05:45:00 GMT

WOODSTOCK – A majority of McHenry County Board members are concerned the passage of a bill on Gov. Bruce Rauner’s desk will give Chairman Jack Franks absolute power to appoint whomever he wants to committees – but the recently elected Democrat contends that it’s all political nonsense. On Nov. 14, 20 County Board members signed a petition addressed to Rauner asking the governor to veto House Bill 171 – a measure that would allow Franks to appoint members and leadership to committees with the consent and approval of the County Board. “McHenry County Board members sincerely request that you veto HB 171, and allow McHenry County to continue to operate local government based on decisions made by local voters,” the petition stated. “The bill appears to have been drafted with apparently one concern, removing the authority/minimizing the role of the McHenry County Board to set/assign committee assignments, and provide that power solely to the chairman of the board.” County Board members Michele Aavang, Mike Skala, Bob Nowak and Paula Yensen did not sign the petition to veto the bill. Franks chalked up the concern to political infighting. “It’s 100 percent political,” Franks said. “All this bill does is implement checks and balances on the County Board. This is a good government measure, and these guys are trying to stop a good government measure because it’s me. The people who are against me were for it when it was someone else.” Before Franks won his seat as chairman, the County Board’s rule book allowed the chairman to appoint the chairman, vice chairman and members of committees with the consent and approval of the County Board. The rules required that the chairman appoint one member from each district to each committee. In 2014, the County Board changed the rules and transferred the ability to create committees to the longest-standing members of each district, said County Board member Joe Gottemoller, a former County Board chairman. “This bill would give the elected chairman the authority to decide whether or not a committee exists,” Gottemoller said. “This is big. If this is signed and the governor approves it, Chairman Franks can decide the entire structure of the board. It’s not just who is on the committee – it’s if the committee exists.” State Rep. Steve Reick blasted HB 171 on his website and even wrote a letter to Rauner on Nov. 13 asking the governor to veto it. “This is a matter of local control,” Reick wrote. “If the authority of the County Board chairman is to be expanded, the voters of McHenry County should be the ones to do it.” An advisory referendum went out to voters in the Nov. 6, 2012, election and asked whether they would want to create a county executive form of government for McHenry County. Voters rejected the referendum at the polls. County Board member Donna Kurtz pegged the bill as one step closer to giving the chairman absolute power. “The primary focus of it, regardless of what anybody says, is to take the power of the County Board and give it to the chairman,” Kurtz said. “This is the first step in creating a one-man- rule type of government. That never serves the people in the community. This is just bad government.” Franks said HB 171 – sponsored by state Sen. Karen McConnaughay, who se[...]


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Anti-gay supporters rally for Moore, worrying LGBT communityFormer Alabama Chief Justice and U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore speaks Friday at a news conference in Birmingham, Ala., with his wife Kayla Moore. A sex scandal has relegated Moore's hard-line positions on LGBT issues to the background in Alabama's turbulent Senate race even as religious activists blame the "LGBT mafia" and "homosexualist gay terrorism" for his precarious political plight.

Sun, 19 Nov 2017 05:45:00 GMT

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – A smiling Roy Moore stood shoulder to shoulder with his fiercest religious allies. Flanked by a huge sign for Moore’s Senate campaign, one supporter railed against the “LGBT mafia” and “homosexualist gay terrorism.” Another warned that “homosexual sodomy” destroys those who participate in it and the nations that allow it. And still another described same-sex marriage as “a mirage” because “it’s phony and fake.” Thursday’s news conference was designed to send a powerful message to the political world that religious conservatives across America remain committed to Moore, a Christian conservative and former judge whose Alabama Senate campaign has been rocked by mounting allegations of sexual misconduct. The event also revealed an aggressive strain of homophobia rarely seen in mainstream politics – in recent years, at least. In the days since, religious liberals have stepped forward to express their opposition to Moore. More than 50 Alabama pastors signed a letter saying Moore has demonstrated “extremist values” incompatible with traditional Christianity and is unfit to serve in the Senate. And an anti-Moore rally at a Birmingham church on Saturday drew more than 100 people, some of whom carried signs decrying his opposition to gay rights. But in a Senate campaign suddenly hyper focused on Moore’s relationships with teenage girls decades ago, Moore’s hardline stance on gay rights and other LGBT issues has become little more than an afterthought for many voters as Election Day approaches. Moore first caught the attention of many in the LGBT community after describing homosexual conduct as “an inherent evil against which children must be protected” in a 2002 child custody case involving a lesbian mother. In a 2005 television interview, Moore said “homosexual conduct should be illegal.” He also said there’s no difference between gay sex and sex with a cow, horse or dog. Moore’s stand – combined with the fiery comments from his supporters – unnerved some in Birmingham’s relatively small LGBT community. “It made me extremely angry,” said Mackenzie Gray, a 37-year-old who came out as transgender in 2010. She says most people in her life don’t know she was born a man. “My fear with the religious leaders and the hateful rhetoric we’re hearing is that it’s going to start escalating into something even larger,” Gray said. “It’s dangerous.” Indeed, other LGBT activists suggested this week that open acceptance of Moore’s anti-gay rhetoric harkens to a dark and violent time in Alabama history. Moore’s Democratic challenger, Doug Jones, is known best, perhaps, for prosecuting the men who bombed Birmingham’s 16th Street Baptist Church – a prosecution that came nearly 40 years after the 1963 crime that killed four black girls. Racial tensions have lingered in the state, even as the violence lessened. In 2000, Alabama became the last state in the country to overturn its ban on interracial marriage. The state has been slow to embrace gay rights as well: 81 percent of voters supported a ban on same-sex marriage in 2006. Only neighboring Mississippi, with 86 percent, scored higher. Patricia Todd, the state’s first openly gay state representative, said she has faced at least four death threats in recent years. One woman called Todd’s cell phone an[...]


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Why few women of color in wave of accusers?Lupita Nyong'o attends the Women In Film 2017 Crystal and Lucy Awards June 13 in Beverly Hills, Calif. Nyong'o became the lone public woman of color among Weinstein's litany of accusers, writing in a New York Times op-ed last month that she had an unsettling encounter with the producer in 2011 at his home in Connecticut.

Sun, 19 Nov 2017 05:45:00 GMT

PHILADELPHIA – In the weeks since dozens of women have accused movie mogul Harvey Weinstein of rape or sexual harassment, unleashing an avalanche of similar charges against other prominent men across American life, women and men of color have been largely absent from the national furor. The stories of abuse have roiled the entertainment industry, politics, tech and more, raising the possibility that this could be a watershed moment to end tolerance of such behavior. But some observers fear minority women may miss the moment, as they often are more reticent to speak up about sexual harassment. “The stakes are higher in a lot of instances for us than they are for a lot of other women,” said Tarana Burke, a black activist who founded the #MeToo movement on Twitter in 2006 to raise awareness around sexual violence. “That creates a dynamic where you have women of color who have to think a little bit differently about what it means for them to come forward in cases of sexual harassment.” A few high-profile minority actresses have come forward. New York authorities are investigating claims from actress Paz de la Huerta that Weinstein raped her twice in 2010; he has denied charges of nonconsensual sex with any woman. When Oscar-winning actress Lupita Nyong’o wrote in a New York Times op-ed last month that she had an unsettling encounter with the producer in 2011 at his home, Weinstein quickly denied doing anything inappropriate with Nyong’o, after days of silence following similar accusations by famous white accusers. Author and activist Feminista Jones said that Weinstein’s denial of Nyong’o’s allegations sent the message to black women that they can’t be harassed, they can’t be assaulted.” For black women, that is a message that dates back to slavery, when black women’s bodies were not their own and racist stereotypes were used to justify abuse, Rutgers University historian Deborah Gray White said. “Historically, African-American women have been perceived as promiscuous,” said White, author of the book, “Ar’n’t I a Woman?: Female Slaves in the Plantation South.” “Black women’s bodies, from Day One, have been available to all men,” she said. As a result, White said, black women have had a hard time proving sexual exploitation. In response, many chose to remain silent as a form of self-preservation. “Somehow talking about it is admitting, ‘I walk the land unprotected,’” White said. “They were damned if they did and damned if they didn’t.” For Asian-American women, speaking up after sexual assault can be daunting for a variety of cultural reasons, said Anna Bang, education coordinator at KAN-WIN, a Chicago-based domestic violence and sexual assault services group that frequently helps Asian-American and immigrant women. Bang said she has noticed the absence of Asian-American women from the Weinstein conversation and, as a Korean immigrant, doubts that she would tell her family if she were ever assaulted. “It’s such a shame and guilt,” she said. “You don’t want your parents to be worried about you ... When we are growing up, your parents teach you, ‘Don’t share your family problems with people.’ We’re trying to break that silence by educating our community members.” Many of the women who seek help from KAN[...]


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Palestinians threaten to suspend talks

Sun, 19 Nov 2017 05:45:00 GMT

WASHINGTON – The Palestinians threatened on Saturday to suspend all communication with the U.S. if the Trump administration follows through with plans to close their diplomatic office in Washington. The potential rupture in relations threatens to undermine President Donald Trump’s bid for Mideast peace – a mission he has handed his son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

Senior Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said the U.S. decision was “very unfortunate and unacceptable,” and accused Washington of bowing to pressure from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government “at a time when we are trying to cooperate to achieve the ultimate deal.”




Climate talks wrap up with progress on Paris rulebookA coal-burning power plant steams in Gelsenkirchen, Germany while the 23rd UN Conference of the Parties climate talks end in Bonn, Germany, Friday.

Sun, 19 Nov 2017 05:45:00 GMT

BONN, Germany – Global talks on curbing climate change wrapped up Friday, with delegates and observers claiming progress on several key details of the 2015 Paris accord. The two-week negotiations focused on a range of issues, including transparency, financial assistance for poor nations and how to keep raising countries’ targets for cutting carbon emissions. “We are making good progress on the Paris agreement work program, and we are on track to complete that work by the deadline,” Fijian Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama told diplomats hours before the meeting in Bonn, Germany, was due to conclude. Bainimarama, who presided over the talks, faced the challenging task of reconciling the often conflicting positions of rich and poor countries, especially when it comes to what each side needs to do to curb climate change. By late Friday, two main issues remained unresolved: the question of how far in advance rich countries need to commit billions in funding to help developing nations, and a dispute over whether Turkey should have access to financial aid meant for poor countries. Signatories of the Paris agreement want to keep global warming significantly below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) by the end of the century. That goal won’t be achieved unless countries make further efforts to sharply reduce carbon emissions caused mainly by the burning of fossil fuels. Observers say the U.S. delegation played a largely constructive role during the talks, despite the Trump administration’s threat to pull out of the Paris accord. While one group of American officials led by White House adviser George David Banks raised eyebrows by hosting a pro-coal event during the talks, a second group consisting of seasoned U.S. negotiators quietly got on with the painstaking job of refining the international climate rulebook, said Elliot Diringer, a veteran of such U.N. meetings. “It’s a smaller team but a strong team,” said Diringer, who is the executive vice president of the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, a Washington think tank. “From all accounts they have been playing a constructive role in the room advancing largely the same positions as before.” Ottmar Edenhofer, chief economist at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, cautioned that while the Bonn talks might be considered a diplomatic success, little concrete progress has been made on tackling what he called the “coal trap.” “We are being pressured by the mass of available coal: it’s very cheap on the market but it’s very expensive for society because of air pollution and climate change,” he said, noting that Japan, Turkey, Egypt and Indonesia plan to keep investing in coal-fired power plants – a major source of carbon emissions. Environmental groups voiced disappointment at German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s failure to announce a deadline for her country to stop using coal, even as other nations such as Canada, Britain and France committed to a phase-out during the talks. Leadership hopes are now being pinned on President Emmanuel Macron of France, who is hosting a climate summit in Paris next month to mark the second anniversary of the landmark accord. Further low-level talks will take place over the next year in order to pr[...]


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FBI report on black ‘extremists’ raises new monitoring fears

Sun, 19 Nov 2017 05:45:00 GMT

WASHINGTON – An FBI report on the rise of black “extremists” is stirring fears of a return to practices used during the civil rights movement, when the bureau spied on activist groups without evidence they had broken any laws. The FBI said it doesn’t target specific groups, and the report is one of many its intelligence analysts produce to make law enforcement aware of what they see as emerging trends. A similar bulletin on white supremacists, for example, came out about the same time. The 12-page report, issued in August, says “black identity extremists” are increasingly targeting law enforcement after police killings of black men, especially since the shooting of Michael Brown roiled Ferguson, Missouri, in 2014. The report describes cases in which “extremists” had “acted in retaliation for perceived past police brutality incidents.” It warned that such violence was likely to continue. Black leaders and activists were outraged after Foreign Policy revealed the existence of the report last month. The Congressional Black Caucus, in a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray, said the report “conflates black political activists with dangerous domestic terrorist organizations” and would further erode the frayed relationship between police and minority communities. “I have never met a black extremist. I don’t know what the FBI is talking about,” said Chris Phillips, a filmmaker in Ferguson. Before the Trump administration, the report might not have caused such alarm. The FBI noted it issued a similar bulletin warning of retaliatory violence by “black separatist extremists” in March 2016, when the country had a black president, Barack Obama, and black attorney general, Loretta Lynch. But black voters overwhelmingly opposed Donald Trump. And they are suspicious of his administration, which has been criticized as insensitive on racial issues, including when Trump was slow to condemn white nationalist protesters after a deadly rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, a former Alabama senator whose career has been dogged by questions about race and his commitment to civil rights, did not ease lawmakers’ concerns when he was unable to answer questions about the report or its origins during a congressional hearing this past week. Sessions said he was aware of “groups that do have an extraordinary commitment to their racial identity, and some have transformed themselves even into violent activists.” He struggled to answer the same question about white extremists. It wouldn’t be unusual for an attorney general not to have seen such an FBI assessment, which the FBI creates on its own to circulate internally among law enforcement agencies. But the exchange with Rep. Karen Bass, a Los Angeles Democrat, presented an uncomfortable moment. “What worries me about this terribly is that this is that it is a flashback to the past,” Bass said after the hearing. She said she was especially concerned after receiving complaints from members of Black Lives Matter, who said they were being monitored and harassed by police in her district. The group rallies after racially charged encounters with police, but it is not mentioned in the FBI’s intelligence assessment. Even so, Bass said she worried the repor[...]



Zimbabweans say Mugabe must quit now, but more talks plannedA marcher makes a point as euphoric crowds march on the streets Saturday in Harare, Zimbabwe, demanding the departure of President Robert Mugabe. Zimbabweans giddy with joy raced through intersections, raising their arms in triumph.

Sun, 19 Nov 2017 05:45:00 GMT

HARARE, Zimbabwe – Giddy with joy and finally free to speak out, vast throngs of demonstrators turned Zimbabwe’s capital into a carnival ground on Saturday in a peaceful outpouring of disdain for President Robert Mugabe and calls for him to quit immediately. Still clinging to his now-powerless post, the longtime leader was scheduled on Sunday to discuss his expected exit with the military command that put him under house arrest. People in Harare clambered onto tanks and other military vehicles moving slowly through the crowds, danced around soldiers walking in city streets and surged in the thousands toward the building where Mugabe held official functions, a symbol of the rule of the 93-year-old man who took power after independence from white minority rule in 1980. There, in a situation that could have become tense, the protesters instead showed deference to the small number of soldiers blocking their way and eventually dispersed. It was a historic day when the old Zimbabwe, a once-promising African nation with a disintegrating economy and a mood of fear about the consequences of challenging Mugabe, became something new, with a population united, at least temporarily, in its fervor for change and a joyful openness that would have seemed fanciful even a few days ago. The euphoria, however, will eventually subside, and much depends on the behind-the-scenes maneuvering to get Mugabe to officially resign, jumpstart a new leadership that could seek to be inclusive and reduce perceptions that the military staged a coup against Mugabe. The president was to meet military commanders on Sunday in a second round of talks, state broadcaster ZBC reported. “The common enemy is Robert Mugabe. That’s for starters,” said 37-year-old Talent Mudzamiri, an opposition supporter who was born soon after Zimbabwe’s independence. He had a warning for whoever takes over Zimbabwe: “If the next leader does the same, we are going to come out again.” Many Zimbabweans believe the most likely candidate will be Emmerson Mnangagwa, a former vice president with close military ties whose dismissal by Mugabe triggered the intervention of the armed forces, which sent troops and tanks into the streets this week, effectively taking over the country. The increasing presidential ambitions of Mugabe’s wife Grace, a polarizing figure who denounced Mnangagwa amid a factional battle within the ruling ZANU-PF party, alarmed those who feared a dynastic succession. The president, who is believed to be staying at his private home in Harare, a well-guarded compound known as the Blue Roof, is reported to have asked for more time in office. He has been deserted by most of his allies, with others arrested. The ruling party has turned on him, asking for a Central Committee meeting this weekend to recall both him and his wife, who heads the women’s league of the party. Impeachment is also a possibility when Parliament resumes Tuesday. Even as concerns remained about who next would be in charge and what freedoms might be available if the military lingers in power – or if Mugabe’s recently fired deputy leads a new government – people reveled Saturday in the rare chance to express themselves freely. In Harare, people ran through intersections, raising their arms in triumph. Yo[...]


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Detroit priest beatified by Catholic church

Sun, 19 Nov 2017 05:45:00 GMT

DETROIT – A priest known for his steadfast devotion to the needy cleared a threshold on the way to possible sainthood Saturday as the Roman Catholic Church beatified Solanus Casey, who is credited with the miraculous cure of a woman with a chronic skin disease.

More than 60,000 people attended a Mass in Detroit where Father Solanus, as he was known, has an extraordinary following, decades after his death in 1957. Many insist their prayers to him have led to remarkable changes in their lives.

Pope Francis said Father Solanus met the requirements to earn the rank of “blessed,” especially after Paula Medina Zarate of Panama was instantly cured while she prayed at his tomb in 2012. Father Solanus can be made a saint in the years ahead if a second miracle is attributed to him.




30th annual McHenry Christmas Walk kicks off holiday season, brings community togetherMcHenry kicked off the holiday season with the 30th annual Christmas Walk held by the Downtown Business Association. A tree lighting ceremony was held at 5:30 p.m. at Veterans Park, 3400 Pearl St. and featured music from the Vocal Warriors choir from McHenry Community High School District 156.President of the Downtown Business Association Kim Loewe dressed up as a reindeer with her daughter Kiera as an elf and posed for photos with residents.McHenry Mayor Wayne Jett poses with his family during the Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony Saturday.

Sun, 19 Nov 2017 05:44:00 GMT

McHENRY – McHenry kicked off the holiday season with the 30th annual Christmas Walk held by the Downtown Business Association.

The Saturday event helped bring locals to the downtown area with in-store activities such as face painting and caricature drawings, and the city sponsored trolley rides to different stores.

​“This is our give-back to the community here,” said Kim Loewe, president of the Downtown Business Association. “All the businesses put in their own money to make this event happen. We pay for the face painters, caricature artists ourselves.”

A tree-lighting ceremony took place at 5:30 p.m. at Veterans Park, 3400 Pearl St., and featured music from the Vocal Warriors choir from McHenry Community High School District 156.

McHenry resident Seth Gruenwald said he came to the event to be a part of the community and that it gets his children excited for the upcoming holiday season.

“Being in McHenry during the holidays is a good time of year,” Gruenwald said. “Hopefully we get enough snow for sledding this year.”

Loewe dressed up as a reindeer and took photos with residents.

“Dressing up is actually pretty fun,” Loewe said. “We get to take pictures with all the kids and see the families have a great time. That’s what it’s all about.”

McHenry Mayor Wayne Jett said he was impressed to see the turnout for the event and said it shows the purpose of a community: for everyone to join together.

“This will help the downtown businesses and the association works very hard to make the downtown area very vibrant,” Jett said. “I am looking forward to bringing our community more together as a whole this winter.”

Loewe thanked members of the McHenry Parks and Recreation department for setting up the holiday decorations. She said crews began on Monday and it took them the entire week.

Loewe is the owner of Kiera Confection in downtown McHenry and said she hopes to see residents shop local this season and help area businesses.

McHenry kicked off the holiday season with the 30th annual Christmas Walk held by the Downtown Business Association. A tree lighting ceremony was held at 5:30 p.m. at Veterans Park, 3400 Pearl St. and featured music from the Vocal Warriors choir from McHenry Community High School District 156.President of the Downtown Business Association Kim Loewe dressed up as a reindeer with her daughter Kiera as an elf and posed for photos with residents.McHenry Mayor Wayne Jett poses with his family during the Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony Saturday.


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Lebanon’s PM Hariri says he will be in Beirut within daysFrench President Emmanuel Macron (right) poses for photographers with Lebanon's Prime Minister Saad Hariri prior to their meeting Saturday at the Elysee Palace in Paris. Hariri arrived in France on Saturday from Saudi Arabia and may be back in Beirut next week, seeking to dispel fears that he had been held against his will and forced to resign by Saudi authorities.

Sun, 19 Nov 2017 05:44:00 GMT

PARIS – Lebanon’s Prime Minister Saad Hariri said Saturday that he will return home in the coming days from where he will declare a political stance for the first time since making a strange resignation announcement from Saudi Arabia that unleashed fears of a political crisis in Lebanon. Hariri and his family met Saturday with French President Emmanuel Macron, who invited the Lebanese leader to Paris to dispel fears that he was being held in Saudi Arabia against his will. Macron is seeking to calm tensions and avert a proxy conflict between Saudi-backed and Iranian-backed camps in Lebanon. Hariri’s appearance in Paris – looking relaxed and posing with his wife and older son on the steps of the Elysee Palace with the French presidential couple in front of a large crowd of journalists – contrasted with his limited-access, carefully choreographed appearances from Saudi Arabia. Hariri told Lebanese President Michel Aoun on Saturday that he will take part in Independence Day celebrations in Beirut on Wednesday, according to Macron’s office. A French presidential official said Macron spoke Saturday with Aoun, who thanked France for its efforts to help Lebanon. After his meeting with Macron, Hariri told reporters: “God willing, I will attend Independence Day in Lebanon and will declare my political stance from Lebanon and after meeting President Michel Aoun.” “As you know I have resigned and we will talk about this matter in Lebanon,” Hariri said after thanking Macron, who he added “expressed pure friendship toward me that I will never forget.” The independence day ceremony is usually headed by the president, prime minister and parliament speaker, and Hariri’s presence could help calm uncertainties that have escalated since his strange and surprising resignation announcement on Nov. 4 from Saudi Arabia. However, Hariri’s political status is murky. Lebanon’s president refused to accept Hariri’s resignation, accusing the Saudis of holding him against his will. Before leaving Riyadh, Hariri dismissed as “rumors” reports about his alleged detention in the kingdom. In a tweet, he insisted his stay in Saudi Arabia was to consult with officials there on the future of Lebanon and its relations with its Arab neighbors. In his televised resignation announcement, Hariri had cited Iran and Hezbollah for meddling in Arab countries, particularly Saudi Arabia. He also said he was afraid for his life. Saudi Arabia on Saturday asked its citizens for the second time in less than two weeks to leave Lebanon “as soon as possible” given the “circumstances” there. That raised fears of more punitive actions to come. The Arab League is due to hold a meeting on Sunday in Cairo at Saudi Arabia’s urging where the Lebanon crisis and Iran’s role in the region are expected to be discussed. Just before leaving Saudi Arabia, Hariri met with the Saudi Crown Prince and other senior officials, according to a member of Hariri’s political party and two Lebanese television stations. Hariri landed before dawn Saturday at an airport used for private jets in Le Bourget north of Paris, a[...]


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Tax filers in most states claim deduction targeted by GOP

Sun, 19 Nov 2017 05:44:00 GMT

ATLANTA – A popular deduction targeted in the GOP’s overhaul of the tax code is used by more than a quarter of all filers in a majority of states, including many led by Republicans where some residents eventually could see their federal tax bills rise. The exact effect in every state isn’t known, in part because of differences in the Senate and House versions of the bill. But the change to the deduction for state and local taxes could alter the bottom lines for millions of taxpayers who itemize. Residents in high-tax, Democratic-led states appear to be the hardest hit. But some filers also could be left paying more in traditional Republican states, such as Georgia and Utah where about a third of taxpayers claim the deduction. “It’s a bad deal for middle-class families and for most Georgians,” said Georgia state Rep. Bob Trammell, leader of the House Democrats. He said Republicans are eliminating the state and local deduction to help pay for tax cuts for businesses and the wealthy. How many winners and losers are in each state depends in large part on another aspect of the Republican tax overhaul that would nearly double the standard deduction – to about $12,000 for individuals and about $24,000 for married couples. Republicans say that provision would be a net benefit for most tax filers. The Tax Policy Center, run by the Urban Institute and Brookings Institution, has estimated that the number of people itemizing deductions would drop by three-quarters. Some of those taxpayers could get a larger deduction under the Republican plan, even though they no longer could claim a break for state and local taxes. “Based on what I have seen, it might actually help some Georgians” to replace the state-and-local tax break with a higher standard deduction, said Georgia state Rep. Terry England, the Republican chairman of the House Appropriations Committee. Yet estimates by the Tax Policy Center and a nonpartisan congressional analysis say some taxpayers eventually will end up owing more in federal taxes under the GOP plans. The left-leaning Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy said changes to the state and local tax deduction under the House bill would contribute to one of every five taxpayers in the hardest-hit states getting a higher tax bill. While most of those states are led by Democrats, Republican-led Georgia and Utah, and the swing state of Virginia were among them. Democratic lawmakers said that any initial tax relief felt by the middle class or working-class families will eventually disappear. In Georgia, for example, an estimated 9 percent of filers would pay higher taxes in 2018, rising to 22 percent by 2027, according to an analysis by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy. The state and local tax deduction is just one of many provisions targeted for change under legislation that passed the House earlier in the week and is pending in the Senate. The House version would repeal the deduction for income and sales taxes while capping the property tax deduction at $10,000. The Senate bill would end deductions for all state and local taxes. [...]



Cary man found unresponsive in jail cellH. Rick Bamman file photo – hbamman@shawmedia.com A Cary man was found unresponsive Friday night in a single-occupant cell in the McHenry County Jail.

Sun, 19 Nov 2017 03:21:00 GMT

WOODSTOCK – A Cary man was found unresponsive Friday night in a single-occupant cell in the McHenry County Jail.

Thomas M. Doheny, 51, was found during rounds at 8:10 p.m. by correctional facility staff. Doheny was taken to Centegra Woodstock Medical Center by ambulance and was pronounced dead at 8:53 p.m., according to a news release from the McHenry County Coroner’s Office.

Doheny had been incarcerated at the McHenry County Adult Correctional Facility since Nov. 1 for contempt of court, according to a news release from the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office.

The McHenry County Coroner’s Office and McHenry County Major Investigation Assistance Team is investigating the death, according to the release. An autopsy will be performed Sunday.

Attempts to reach the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office and jail Saturday were unsuccessful.

H. Rick Bamman file photo – hbamman@shawmedia.com A Cary man was found unresponsive Friday night in a single-occupant cell in the McHenry County Jail.


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Director of Puerto Rico power company resigns amid scrutinyAP file photo A boy accompanied by his dog Oct. 17 watches the repairs of Guajataca Dam, which cracked during the passage of Hurricane Maria, in Quebradillas, Puerto Rico. Experts said Thursday that Puerto Rico could face nearly two decades of further economic stagnation and a steep drop in population as a result of Maria.

Sat, 18 Nov 2017 06:41:00 GMT

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – The director of Puerto Rico’s power company resigned Friday amid ongoing blackouts and scrutiny of a contract awarded to a small Montana-based company to help rebuild the electric grid destroyed by Hurricane Maria. Puerto Rico’s Electric Power Authority said Ricardo Ramos presented his letter of resignation to the company’s board effective immediately. Ramos said in a brief video posted on Twitter on Friday evening that it was a very personal decision and that it had nothing to do with any issues covered by the media. “The focus has to remain on restoring the electrical system,” he said as he thanked his power company crews and those that had arrived from New York and Florida. Gov. Ricardo Rossello briefly told reporters that Ramos is a professional who worked hard to bring power back to Puerto Rico, but that “there were a series of distractions, and a decision was taken to go in another direction.” “That resignation was taken ... in the best interest of the people of Puerto Rico,” he said. Hours after the resignation, Rossello recommended that the board appoint Justo Gonzalez, the company’s power generation director, as interim director. Earlier this week, Ramos testified before a U.S. Senate committee about a $300 million contract awarded to Whitefish Energy Holdings that has since been canceled. The contract is undergoing a local and federal audit. Prior to the announcement of Ramos’ resignation, local newspaper El Vocero had reported on Friday that Ramos had awarded a nearly $100,000 contract to an attorney for consulting work just days after Hurricane Irma brushed past Puerto Rico. It was the same attorney Ramos previously had tried to appoint as sub-director of the power company. Rossello said that contract also will be reviewed. Ramos said in a Facebook post published on Friday before his resignation that the contract was legitimate. “Absolutely nothing was done outside the law,” he said. Ramos acknowledged mistakes Tuesday as the utility sought immediate help in the aftermath of the storm, which destroyed the island’s power grid. Whitefish was one of only two companies that offered immediate services, Ramos said. The other company required a guaranteed payment of $25 million – money the bankrupt utility with a $9 billion debt load did not have, he said. Lawmakers from both parties criticized the power authority for failing to seek mutual assistance from other public power providers – assistance that was offered to Florida and Texas utilities following hurricanes Harvey and Irma More than 20 of Puerto Rico’s 78 municipalities remain without power nearly two months after Maria hit the U.S. territory as a Category 4 hurricane. A major blackout occurred on Wednesday just as the government had announced it had reached 50 percent of power generation. Two more large blackouts since have been reported as crews work to restore power. Ramos said the recent blackouts were a result of problems ranging from overgrown vegetatio[...]


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Minnesota Sen. Al Franken apologizes to woman who says he kissed, groped herFILE - In this July 12, 2017 file photo, Senate Judiciary Committee member Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn. arrives on Capitol Hill in Washington. Franken apologized Thursday after a Los Angeles radio anchor accused him of forcibly kissing her during a 2006 USO tour and of posing for a photo with his hands on her breasts as she slept. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Sat, 18 Nov 2017 06:39:00 GMT

WASHINGTON – Minnesota Sen. Al Franken personally apologized to the woman who accused him of forcibly kissing her and groping her during a 2006 USO tour, saying he remembers their encounter differently but is “ashamed that my actions ruined that experience for you.” In a guest appearance Friday on ABC’s “The View,” Leeann Tweeden read a letter she received from the Democratic lawmaker in which he also discussed a photo showing him posing in a joking manner, smiling at the camera with his hands above her chest as she naps wearing a flak vest aboard a military plane. – Wire reports Both had been performing for military personnel in Afghanistan two years before the one-time “Saturday Night Live” comedian was elected to the Senate. Tweeden, a former Fox TV sports correspondent who now is a Los Angeles radio anchor, has said Franken had persisted in rehearsing a kiss and “aggressively stuck his tongue in my mouth.” Franken told Tweeden in the letter he wanted to “apologize to you personally,” adding: “I don’t know what was in my head when I took that picture. But that doesn’t matter. There’s no excuse. I understand why you can feel violated by that photo. ... I have tremendous respect for your work for the USO. And I am ashamed that my actions ruined that experience for you. I am so sorry.’” Franken, 66, was the latest public figure to be caught in the deluge of revelations of sexual harassment and misconduct that have crushed careers, ruined reputations and prompted criminal investigations in Hollywood, business and beyond. While Franken has repeatedly apologized, there were no signs the issue would go away any time soon. Fellow Democrats swiftly condemned his actions, mindful of the current climate as well as the prospect of political blowback in next year’s elections. Republicans, still forced to answer for the multiple allegations facing Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, joined in pressing for an investigation. Franken said he would welcome it. Franken abruptly canceled a sold-out book festival appearance scheduled for Monday in Atlanta, festival organizers said. He had been scheduled to speak and promote his book, “Al Franken, Giant of the Senate.” Tweeden posted her allegations, including a photo of Franken and her, Thursday on the website of KABC, where she works as a news anchor for a morning radio show. On Friday, Tweeden said she didn’t come forward with the hope that Franken would step down. “That’s not my call,” she told ABC’s “Good Morning America.” ‘’I think that’s for the people of Minnesota to decide.” Franken faces re-election in 2020. Meanwhile, a Minnesota woman and rape survivor who worked with Franken to craft legislation for fellow survivors said Friday the senator should take his name off the bill. Abby Honold, 22, who was raped by a fellow University of Minnesota student in 2014, called Franken’s conduct disappointing and said someone else should champion the bill. Eight women who worked for [...]


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Senate Ethics Commission could face busy 2018AP photo U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez speaks to reporters Thursday outside Martin Luther King Jr. Federal Courthouse after U.S. District Judge William H. Walls declared a mistrial in Menendez' federal corruption trial in Newark, N.J.

Sat, 18 Nov 2017 05:58:00 GMT

WASHINGTON – It’s been nearly six years since the Senate Ethics Committee conducted a major investigation of a sitting senator. Next year, the panel could be working nonstop, deciding the fate of up to three lawmakers, including two facing allegations of inappropriate sexual behavior. The typically secretive committee of three Republicans and three Democrats said late Thursday that it plans to resume its preliminary inquiry into alleged misconduct by Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., whose federal bribery trial ended in a mistrial. The panel had begun an investigation in 2012, but deferred to the Justice Department for its probe. Delving into the onslaught of allegations of sexual misconduct by powerful figures, the ethics panel is expected to investigate Minnesota Sen. Al Franken after a woman accused him of forcibly kissing her and groping her during a 2006 USO tour. Franken, a Democrat, has said he welcomes the probe. The Senate is likely to enter uncharted territory on the case of Alabama’s Roy Moore, a Republican who faces multiple complaints from women who said he pursued them when they were teens and he was in his 30s. If Moore wins the Dec. 12 special election, the top Senate Republican said he immediately would face a formal ethics complaint. “He would be sworn in and be asked to testify under oath, and it would be a rather unusual beginning, probably an unprecedented beginning,” Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said this week at a Wall Street Journal event. The flurry of activity is unusual for the panel, which until Thursday had not issued a news release since hiring a new staff director in 2014. The panel’s last major investigation focused on John Ensign, a Nevada Republican who resigned in 2011 after revelations that he had an affair with the wife of a top staffer. Disclosure of the affair and Ensign’s actions to keep it quiet, including accusations that he helped the staffer find work as a lobbyist, resulted in investigations by the FBI, Federal Election Commission and the Senate. Ensign resigned as the two-year ethics investigation intensified. The members of the committee have changed since then. The panel is chaired by Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., and Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., is vice chairman. Other members are Republican Sens. Pat Roberts of Kansas and Jim Risch of Idaho, along with Democrats Brian Schatz of Hawaii and Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire. Robert L. Walker, a former chief counsel for the ethics panel, said senators who serve on the committee typically are respected by their peers. McConnell served on it, overseeing the investigation of Oregon Sen. Bob Packwood. “I don’t think it’s an assignment anyone relishes. No one relishes being in a position to pass judgment on others, especially one of their peers,” Walker said. “But they understand the importance and ultimate seriousness of this assignment.” Among the committee’s responsibilities are dealing with Senate offices on gifts, travel, compliance with rules and potential conflicts of interests. Major investigations such as th[...]


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McHenry County Board wants school districts to reduce property tax levies by 10 percentMcHenry County Board Chairman Jack Franks said the County Board will use the 11.2 percent cut to the county's property tax levy as a "bully pulpit" to push other governing bodies to cut their own levies. "Although the County Board led the way and reduced its levy by 11.2 percent, county government makes up only about 10 percent of property tax bills," Franks said in a statement. "The biggest chunk, by far, goes to local school districts. They need to follow our example and reduce their levies as well."

Sat, 18 Nov 2017 05:57:00 GMT

WOODSTOCK – The McHenry County Board will seek an advisory referendum asking school districts to cut their tax levies by at least 10 percent. Following on the heels of the County Board’s approval of a fiscal 2018 budget that included an 11.2 percent reduction of the property tax levy, a resolution submitted to the Law and Government Committee seeks to ask voters in the March 20 primary election whether they would like to see school districts do the same by 2020. The action comes from committee Chairwoman Michele Aavang and board members John Jung and Christopher Spoerl. “Taxpayers are struggling with a property tax burden that’s one of the highest in the nation,” Aavang, R-Woodstock, said in a statement. “Every year, senior citizens are being forced to move because they can no longer afford to live here. This referendum will give voters the ability to ask their local school districts to follow the County Board’s example and reduce their tax levies.” McHenry County Board Chairman Jack Franks said the County Board will use the 11.2 percent cut to the county’s property tax levy as a “bully pulpit” to push other governing bodies to cut their own levies. “Although the County Board led the way and reduced its levy by 11.2 percent, county government makes up only about 10 percent of property tax bills,” Franks said in a statement. “The biggest chunk, by far, goes to local school districts. They need to follow our example and reduce their levies as well.” At a regular meeting Tuesday, all County Board members voted in favor of the budget and a $71.4 million property tax levy that will collect $8 million less next year than the county collected this year. The Law and Government Committee will address the proposed referendum at its Nov. 27 meeting. The referendum then would go to the County Board for a vote Dec. 12. “As a former school board president, I understand both sides of this issue, but the property tax burden that residents face is quickly becoming unsustainable,” Spoerl, R-Cary, said in a statement. “McHenry County’s ongoing population loss alarms me, and I believe the property tax burden homeowners face is a major contributing factor. Something has to change.” Advisory referendums allow residents to weigh in on issues, but they are not legally binding – the County Board has no statutory power to dictate budget policy for school districts. The referendum question is not an attack on teachers or public education, Franks said, but a call for school boards to examine cost efficiencies and trim unnecessary expenses. “County residents are being taxed out of their homes,” Franks said. “It’s time – it is past time – for school districts and other governments to act.” McHenry County Board Chairman Jack Franks said the County Board will use the 11.2 percent cut to the county's property tax levy as a "bully pulpit" to push other governing bodies to cut their own levies. "Although the County Board led the way[...]


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Longmeadow Parkway construction in Algonquin needs extra month of workSarah Nader – snader@shawmedia.com William Hicks (left) of Algonquin and Jo Ann Fritz, a former Dundee resident, talk near the intersection of Longmeadow Parkway and Sleepy Hollow Road on Friday in Algonquin. Plans for the controversial project call for a four-lane, 5.6-mile east-west corridor connecting Randall Road with Route 62. The project was supposed to be complete by Nov. 15, but it won't be done until mid-December.Sarah Nader – snader@shawmedia.com Construction on Longmeadow Parkway in Algonquin continues near Sleepy Hollow Road on Friday.Sarah Nader – snader@shawmedia.com Construction on Longmeadow Parkway in Algonquin continues near Sleepy Hollow Road on Friday. Plans for the controversial project call for a four-lane, 5.6-mile east-west corridor connecting Randall Road with Route 62. The project was supposed to be complete by Nov. 15, but it won't be done until mid-December.Sarah Nader – snader@shawmedia.com Construction on Longmeadow Parkway in Algonquin continues near Sleepy Hollow Road on Friday. Plans for the controversial project call for a four-lane, 5.6-mile east-west corridor connecting Randall Road with Route 62. The project was supposed to be complete by Nov. 15, but it won't be done until mid-December.Sarah Nader – snader@shawmedia.com Construction on Longmeadow Parkway in Algonquin continues near Sleepy Hollow Road on Friday. Plans for the controversial project call for a four-lane, 5.6-mile east-west corridor connecting Randall Road with Route 62. The project was supposed to be complete by Nov. 15, but it won't be done until mid-December.Sarah Nader - snader@shawmedia.com Upset about the Longmeadow Parkway project Dave Reece (left) of Algonquin, Billita Jacobsen of Carpentersville and Jo Ann Fritz, former Dundee resident, meet near the intersection of Longmeadow Parkway and Sleepy Hollow Road on Friday in Algonquin. Plans for the controversial project call for a four-lane, 5.6-mile east-west corridor connecting Randall Road with Route 62. The project was supposed to be complete by Nov. 15, but it won't be done until mid-December.

Sat, 18 Nov 2017 05:56:00 GMT

ALGONQUIN – Construction workers are finishing up the Algonquin section of Longmeadow Parkway despite a pending lawsuit claiming that updated environmental impact studies were not completed. Kane County Division of Transportation assistant director Steve Coffinbargar said that the project was supposed to be completed by Nov. 15, but it now is looking at a mid-December completion date, which is contingent on the weather. The controversial project was stopped two times during construction – once because of a restraining order meant to protect an endangered species, and a second time because of the state’s budget impasse. The project creates a new highway between Huntley Road and Route 62, along with a new bridge over the Fox River in Kane County. The project includes building a four-lane, 5.6-mile toll road and a four-lane Fox River bridge crossing. The current section of the project being worked on is the second of five in the $115 million road project, and it is expected to cost about $13 million, stretching from Randall Road to Karen Drive. “We are working diligently to button things up before the snow starts to fly,” Coffinbargar said. “We, along with the residents, really look forward to opening up and having operational traffic signals. It’s been a long road to this point, but seeing actual concrete asphalt pavement, you do feel a good sense of accomplishment.” The project was stopped for the first time because of a judge’s temporary restraining order meant to protect the endangered rusty-patched bumblebee species some said were found within the project’s area. The road bisects open space of the Brunner Family Forest Preserve. A group of residents against the project – known as Save Brunner Family Forest Preserve – joined together and filed a lawsuit. The group previously was known as Stop Longmeadow. Proponents of the project have said that the corridor is needed to reduce traffic congestion in northern Kane County. Attorney Joshua Barney said Kane County conducted an environmental impact study in 2001 and is supposed to update the study every few years to show change, but it never did. “The big thing is that the public is not in support of this project and they are only doing this for investors of this property,” Barney said. “The demand for retail and demand for random growth and strip malls is disappearing, but these guys are still going forward as if this is the key.” The Center for Biological Diversity filed a formal notice of intent to sue the Federal Highway Administration and the Illinois Department of Transportation for failing to prevent harm to the endangered rusty-patched bumblebee. The center will join the Save Brunner group’s lawsuit in mid-December, Barney said. The bumblebee was placed on the endangered species list in March, and the species already has declined by an estimated 91 percent, according to the notice of intent. The bees have obtained federal protection and we[...]


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Longmeadow Parkway construction in Algonquin needs extra month of workThe project creates a new highway between Huntley Road and Route 62, along with a new bridge over the Fox River in Kane County. The project includes building a four-lane, 5.6-mile toll road and a four-lane Fox River bridge crossing. The current section being worked on is the second of five in the $115 million road project, and it is expected to cost about $13 million, stretching from Randall Road to Karen Drive. "We are working diligently to button things up before the snow starts to fly," Coffinbargar said. "We, along with the residents, really look forward to opening up and having operational traffic signals. It's been a long road to this point, but seeing actual concrete asphalt pavement, you do feel a good sense of accomplishment."The project was stopped for the first time because of a judge’s temporary restraining order meant to protect the endangered rusty-patched bumblebee species some said was found within the project's area. The road bisects open space of the Brunner Family Forest Preserve. A group of residents against the project – known as Save Brunner Family Forest Preserve – joined together and filed a lawsuit. The group previously was known as Stop Longmeadow. Proponents of the project have said that the corridor is needed to reduce traffic congestion in northern Kane County.Attorney Joshua Barney said Kane County conducted an environmental impact study in 2001 and is supposed to update the study every few years to show change, but it never did. "The big thing is that the public is not in support of this project, and they are only doing this for investors of this property," Barney said. "The demand for retail and demand for random growth and strip malls is disappearing, but these guys are still going forward as if this is the key." The Center for Biological Diversity filed a formal notice of intent to sue the Federal Highway Administration and the Illinois Department of Transportation for failing to prevent harm to the endangered rusty-patched bumblebee. The center will join the Save Brunner group's lawsuit in mid-December, Barney said. The bumblebee was placed on the endangered species list in March, and the species already has declined by an estimated 91 percent, according to the notice of intent. The bees were given federal protection and were sighted in August in undeveloped land along the Fox River slated to be developed for the Longmeadow Parkway and toll bridge project.In July, the agencies submitted a re-evaluation environmental assessment and saw a finding of no significant effects. The notice claims that the agencies conducted a habitat survey only within the immediate footprint of the bridge and failed to fully assess threats to the bee. If the agencies do not agree to enter into formal consultation within 60 days, the center plans to sue them for violation of the Endangered Species Act. Lake Zurich resident Geoffrey Petzel was the first to oppose the Longmeadow Parkway project in a pro se lawsuit he filed in May 2016. "We are putting a highway and bridge through several forest preserves, destroying the most scenic section of Fox River and also the largest track of open space on the Fox River," Petzel said. "We are destroying that for the benefit of a transportation project that will benefit construction companies, engineering firms."Algonquin resident Dave Reece said the traffic data have changed since the early 2000s, and officials are continuing the project to save face, despite Interstate 90 widening to five lanes and improvements to Randall Road and Route 47. Amid litigation, the Illinois Department of Transportation opened bids Friday for two more sections of the project. Coffinbargar said that assuming the department receives competitive bids, it can get started on more sections next year. The Brunner Family Forest Preserve is the last phase of the project, and the most expensive, Petzel said, but the project is moving toward the bridge because it does not yet have the funding. "They are going to make sure that we get to the river, but there is no guarantee we can cross it," Petzel said.Jo Ann Fritz, a lifelong Dundee resident, said the Kane County Board has made residents feel helpless by claiming that the project is a done deal, but she remains confident that the lawsuit will halt the project. "We aren't quitting until this project is dead and gone," Fritz said. A GoFundMe page has been created to support Barney's legal fees; the group began paying him through donations but recently has run out, and Barney has been working pro bono.

Sat, 18 Nov 2017 05:56:00 GMT

ALGONQUIN – Construction workers are finishing up the Algonquin section of Longmeadow Parkway despite a pending lawsuit claiming that updated environmental impact studies were not completed. Kane County Division of Transportation assistant director Steve Coffinbargar said that the project was supposed to be completed by Nov. 15, but it now is looking at a mid-December completion date, which is contingent on the weather. The controversial project was stopped two times during construction – once because of a restraining order meant to protect an endangered species, and a second time because of the state's budget impasse. The project creates a new highway between Huntley Road and Route 62, along with a new bridge over the Fox River in Kane County. The project includes building a four-lane, 5.6-mile toll road and a four-lane Fox River bridge crossing. The current section being worked on is the second of five in the $115 million road project, and it is expected to cost about $13 million, stretching from Randall Road to Karen Drive. "We are working diligently to button things up before the snow starts to fly," Coffinbargar said. "We, along with the residents, really look forward to opening up and having operational traffic signals. It's been a long road to this point, but seeing actual concrete asphalt pavement, you do feel a good sense of accomplishment."The project was stopped for the first time because of a judge’s temporary restraining order meant to protect the endangered rusty-patched bumblebee species some said was found within the project's area. The road bisects open space of the Brunner Family Forest Preserve. A group of residents against the project – known as Save Brunner Family Forest Preserve – joined together and filed a lawsuit. The group previously was known as Stop Longmeadow. Proponents of the project have said that the corridor is needed to reduce traffic congestion in northern Kane County.Attorney Joshua Barney said Kane County conducted an environmental impact study in 2001 and is supposed to update the study every few years to show change, but it never did. "The big thing is that the public is not in support of this project, and they are only doing this for investors of this property," Barney said. "The demand for retail and demand for random growth and strip malls is disappearing, but these guys are still going forward as if this is the key." The Center for Biological Diversity filed a formal notice of intent to sue the Federal Highway Administration and the Illinois Department of Transportation for failing to prevent harm to the endangered rusty-patched bumblebee. The center will join the Save Brunner group's lawsuit in mid-December, Barney said. The bumblebee was placed on the endangered species list in March, and the species already has declined by an estimated 91 percent, according to the notice of intent. The bees were given federal protection and were sighted in August in undeveloped land along the Fox River slated to be developed for the Longmeadow Parkway and toll bridge project.In July, the agencies submitted a re-evaluation environmental assessment and saw a finding of no significant effects.[...]


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Jesse Jackson discloses Parkinson’s diagnosisAP file photo Rev. Jesse Jackson speaks during a news conference Feb. 12, 2015, in Chicago. Rev. Jackson said he has been seeking outpatient care for two years for Parkinson's disease and plans to "dedicate" himself to physical therapy.

Sat, 18 Nov 2017 05:42:00 GMT

CHICAGO – The Rev. Jesse Jackson disclosed publicly Friday that he has been seeking outpatient care for two years for Parkinson’s disease and plans to “dedicate” himself to physical therapy to slow the progress of the disease. In a letter to supporters, the 76-year-old civil rights icon said family and friends noticed a change in him about three years ago, and he could no longer ignore symptoms of the chronic neurological disorder that causes movement difficulties. “Recognition of the effects of this disease on me has been painful, and I have been slow to grasp the gravity of it,” he wrote. “For me, a Parkinson’s diagnosis is not a stop sign but rather a signal that I must make lifestyle changes and dedicate myself to physical therapy.” Jackson, who declined to be interviewed, also released a letter from Northwestern Medicine confirming his diagnosis and care. He vowed to use his voice to help find a cure for the disease. About 60,000 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with Parkinson’s annually, according to the Parkinson’s Foundation. It can start with tremors, and symptoms generally worsen over time. The exact cause is unknown. Treatments include medications, surgery and physical therapy. The disease itself is not fatal but people can die from complications. Jackson said Parkinson’s “bested” his father. Noah Lewis Robinson Sr. died in 1997 at age 88 after suffering a heart attack. It was unclear how his treatment would affect his leadership of the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, the Chicago-based civil rights group he founded more than two decades ago. Jackson has remained active in his advocacy and travels, including traveling to Puerto Rico last month for a hurricane-relief mission and hosting a symposium in Washington, D.C., earlier this week. A protégé of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jackson was instrumental in guiding the modern civil rights movement on a wide variety of issues, including voting rights and education. Twice a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in the 1980s, he has remained a strong voice in numerous anti-discrimination efforts, including advocating for affordable housing. He’s often seen at protests nationwide and has continued regular forums at Rainbow/PUSH’s headquarters. He said Friday in the letter that he is also working on a memoir. “I will continue to try to instill hope in the hopeless, expand our democracy to the disenfranchised and free innocent prisoners around the world,” he wrote. “I steadfastly affirm that I would rather wear out than rust out.” The Rev. Al Sharpton said he spent the last few days with Jackson in New York City. Jackson “has changed the nation and served in ways in which he never got credit,” Sharpton said in a statement. “We pray for him, just as he fought for us.” [...]AP file photo[...]


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With scandals toppling the powerful, why not Trump?AP photo President Donald Trump speaks Wednesday in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House in Washington, D.C. Trump is not usually one to sit out a political feeding frenzy, but now he's selectively aiming his Twitter guns at those under scrutiny for sexual misconduct.

Sat, 18 Nov 2017 05:42:00 GMT

WASHINGTON – “You can do anything,” Donald Trump once boasted, speaking of groping and kissing unsuspecting women. Maybe he could, but not everyone can. The candidate who openly bragged about grabbing women’s private parts – but denied he really did so – was elected president months before the cascading sexual harassment allegations that have been toppling the careers of powerful men in Hollywood, business, the media and politics. He won even though more than a dozen women accused him of sexual misconduct, and about half of all voters said they were bothered by his treatment of women, according to exit polls. Now, as one prominent figure after another takes a dive, the question remains: Why not Trump? “A lot of people who voted for him recognized that he was what he was, but wanted a change and so they were willing to go along,” theorizes Jessica Leeds, one of the first women to step forward and accuse Trump of groping her, decades ago on an airplane. The charges leveled against him emerged in the supercharged thick of the 2016 campaign, when there was so much noise and chaos that they were just another episode for gobsmacked voters to try to absorb – or tune out. “When you have a Mount Everest of allegations, any particular allegation is very hard to get traction on,” says political psychologist Stanley Renshon. And Trump’s unconventional candidacy created an entirely different set of rules. “Trump is immune to the laws of political physics because it’s not his job to be a politician, it’s his job to burn down the system,” said Eric Dezenhall, a crisis management expert in Washington. Now Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, accused of assaulting teenage girls when he was in his 30s, is waving that same alternative rulebook. Long a bane to establishment Republicans, Moore is thumbing his nose at calls by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other GOP members of Congress to drop out of the campaign, and accusing them of trying to “steal” the race from his loyal insurgents. As for Trump, the president who rarely sits out a feeding frenzy is selectively aiming his Twitter guns at those under scrutiny. He quickly unloaded on Democrat Al Franken after the Minnesota senator was accused Thursday of forcibly kissing and groping a Fox TV sports correspondent, now a Los Angeles radio anchor, during a 2006 USO tour. Yet Trump largely has been mum as Washington Republicans try to figure out what to do about Moore. McConnell and company have zero interest in welcoming an accused child molester to their ranks nor in seeing their slim 52-48 Senate majority grow even thinner should Moore lose to Democrat Doug Jones in a special election Dec. 12. Trump did support moves by the national Republican Party to cut off money for Moore. But he hasn’t said whether he still backs Moore’s candidacy. [...]


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Investigation: Illinois nuclear plants experience radioactive leaksThe Braidwood Nuclear Generating Station is seen Oct. 17 in Braceville. Radioactive waste continues to pour from Exelon's Illinois nuclear power plants more than a decade after discovery of chronic leaks led to national outrage, a $1.2 million government settlement and a company vow to guard against future accidents, according to federal and state records reviewed by the Better Government Association.The Byron Nuclear Generating Station is seen Sept. 1 in Byron. The Byron nuclear plant leaked radioactive waste into groundwater under the plant's property in 2014. Byron is one of five nuclear plants in Illinois that reported similar leaks in the past decade. Exelon's Illinois nuclear power plants more than a decade after discovery of chronic leaks led to national outrage, a $1.2 million government settlement and a company vow to guard against future accidents, according to federal and state records reviewed by the Better Government Association.Monica Mack, 55, who lives near the Braidwood Nuclear Generating Station, poses for photo Oct. 17 as she stand near station in Braceville.

Sat, 18 Nov 2017 05:40:00 GMT

Radioactive waste continues to pour from Exelon’s Illinois nuclear power plants more than a decade after the discovery of chronic leaks led to national outrage, a $1.2 million government settlement and a company vow to guard against future accidents, an investigation by a government watchdog group found. Since 2007, there have been at least 35 reported leaks, spills or other accidental releases in Illinois of water contaminated with radioactive tritium, a byproduct of nuclear power production and a carcinogen at high levels, a Better Government Association review of federal and state records shows. No fines were issued for the accidents, all of which were self-reported by the company. The most recent leak of 35,000 gallons occurred over two weeks in May and June at Exelon’s Braidwood plant, southwest of Chicago. The same facility was the focus of a community panic in the mid-2000s after a series of accidents stirred debate about the safety of aging nuclear plants. A 2014 incident at Exelon’s Dresden facility in Grundy County involved the release of about 500,000 gallons of highly radioactive water. Contamination later was found in the plant’s sewer lines and miles away in the Morris sewage treatment plant. Another leak was discovered in 2007 at the Quad Cities plant in Cordova. It took eight months to plug, and led to groundwater radiation readings up to 375 times of that allowed under federal safe drinking water standards. Exelon had threatened to close the Quad Cities plant, but relented last year after Gov. Bruce Rauner signed bailout legislation authorizing big rate increases. Representatives of Exelon and its government overseers – the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency and the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency – said the leaks posed no public danger and did not contaminate drinking water. Exelon said that to prevent leaks, it has spent $100 million in the past decade on upgrades at all of its U.S. plants. Michael Pacilio, chief operating officer of the power generating arm of Exelon, said no one in or around the plants was harmed by radioactivity from the leaks, which he described as minor compared with everyday exposures. “We live in a radioactive world,” Pacilio said. Critics have said that’s little cause for relief. “Best that we can tell, that’s more luck than skill,” said David Lochbaum, an analyst with the nonprofit Union of Concerned Scientists. “Leaks aren’t supposed to happen. Workers and the public could be harmed. There is a hazard there.” Among the 61 nuclear power plants operating in the U.S., more than half have reactors that are at or near the end of their originally expected lifespans – including the Dresden and Quad Cities plants. Industry watchdogs and government whistleblowers contend tha[...]


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Hundreds protest Rep. Peter Roskam's stance on health care, tax plan at GOP fundraiserJanice Phares (right) of Arlington Heights, along with other protesters with the Coalition for a Better Illinois 6th and partner groups, gather Thursday near a GOP fundraiser at Ashyana Banquets in Downers Grove, where U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam, R-Wheaton, was scheduled to speak. The group protested against a tax plan supported by Roskam and what they said is his reluctance to meet in person with his constituents opposed to the plan.Protesters with the Coalition for a Better Illinois 6th and partner groups gather Thursday outside a GOP fundraiser at Ashyana Banquets in Downers Grove, where U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam, R-Wheaton, was scheduled to speak.Nancy Holst of Sleepy Hollow, dressed as Waldo and holding a Peter Roskam cardboard cutout, waves at passing motorists as she protests with the Coalition for a Better Illinois 6th and partner groups Thursday near the entrance to a GOP fundraiser at Ashyana Banquets in Downers Grove, where U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam, R-Wheaton, was scheduled to speak. The group protested against a tax plan supported by Roskam and what they said is his reluctance to meet in person with his constituents opposed to the plan.

Sat, 18 Nov 2017 05:40:00 GMT

DOWNERS GROVE – Wheaton resident Nancy Schoot held a sign and chanted along with more than 100 others who gathered outside a Downers Grove banquet hall Thursday to protest an appearance by U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam, R-Wheaton. “I’m so frustrated,” Schoot said. “This is personal.” Schoot, a cancer survivor, said she has attended several protests since President Donald Trump was elected, and she especially is angry about efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act. “It started with the health care repeal,” Schoot said. The protest was organized by the Coalition for a Better Illinois 6th and several partner groups. Roskam gave the keynote speech at the Downers Grove Township Republican Organization’s 2017 Ronald Reagan Dinner at Ashyana Banquets, 1620 75th St. Many protesters said they came out to oppose Roskam’s support of a tax plan they describe as regressive and harmful to the middle class. The House of Representatives voted Thursday to pass the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Roskam, who serves as chairman of the Tax Policy Subcommittee on the Ways and Means Committee, has taken a leadership role in crafting the legislation. Tom Shadle of Westmont described the tax plan as “completely unfair for most Americans.” “It benefits millionaires and corporations over us,” he said. Shadle said changes in the nation’s political climate motivated him to attend the rally. “I used to never come to these myself, [but] what’s happened over the last year has just been utterly insane,” he said. Nancy Holst of Sleepy Hollow was dressed in a Waldo costume as she carried a life-size cutout of Roskam. She said she is opposed to the tax plan as well as Roskam’s support of repealing the Affordable Care Act. “For me, specifically, it’s Roskam, because he is our congressman,” Holst said. “It started for me with health care because I have [multiple sclerosis]. It’s a pre-existing condition, and that was going to affect me. My mom is in a nursing home, and it was going to affect her. It’s very personal for me. Now it’s the taxes, because I will be unable to deduct my expenses for my MS. My meds are $12,000 a year.” Holst said the protest, combined with campaigns on social media, are making a difference. “This is what’s made a difference,” she said. “I think this is a great turnout.” Julie Brethauer of Downers Grove said she never attended protests before Trump was elected, but she felt the need to speak out. “There’s no sign of bringing our nation together,” Brethauer said. “It’s a very dangerous climate. It’s incumbent upon us to raise our voices.” Reid McCollum, a leader of the Coalition for a[...]


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Crystal Lake Park District expects tax levy increase, tax rate decreaseThe Crystal Lake Park District Board is expected to approve a small tax rate decrease in December. With new growth, the district anticipates capturing a 2.76 tax levy increase.

Sat, 18 Nov 2017 05:37:00 GMT

CRYSTAL LAKE – The Crystal Lake Park District on Thursday unanimously approved a tentative property tax levy, which could result in residents paying less to the district than last year. Based on the Thursday meeting, the board is likely to approve a levy in December of about $6.5 million for corporate and special revenue funds and a total levy of about $7.6 million, which includes debt service.  Park District Executive Director Jason Herbster said that with a two-year property tax freeze seeming more likely in the state of Illinois, the board is doing what’s in the best interest of the district to prevent possible service cuts if the freeze comes. “I think the Finance Committee’s decision to capture the full [levy] amount this year is important, with the pending [property] tax freeze that’s looking like it’s going to happen for the next two years,” Herbster said. “If we don’t do it this year, it would be more challenging to [budget] through the next couple years [if the property tax freeze is enacted].” District Superintendent of Business Services Debra Oldham said she expects the eventual tax levy extension to be 2.76 percent more than the previous year’s extension. The increased levy includes the consumer price index increase of 2.1 percent and captures new growth. The consumer price index is a measure of inflation. “As a park district, we have a very narrow revenue stream,” Oldham said. “Property taxes account for about 50 percent of our operations income.” The larger levy, however, does not mean taxpayers will fork over more money per home to the Park District. Early projections based on data from McHenry County offices show that, generally, homeowners would pay less to the district than in the previous taxing year, Oldham said. For example, the owner of a $300,000 home would have paid about $531 to the Park District last year, she said. But in the upcoming tax year, the owner of a $300,000 home can expect to pay about $508 to the district with the anticipated levy, Oldham said. Similarly, in property taxes to the district, the owner of a $250,000 house would pay about $423, and the owner of a $200,000 house would pay about $339. Park District Board President Debbie Gallagher said that to offer 41 parks, trails, a lake, two beaches and more for $6.5 million, “I think the Park District really accomplishes a lot with the tax revenue. I really do think it’s a reasonable amount of money for everything that the Park District takes care of.” The tax rate for the district is expected to be at least 2 cents less per $100 of equalized assessed value than it was the previous year. Because the equalized assessed value is expected to rise, the money is more spread out, Oldham said, unless a person’s property [...]


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Correction

Sat, 18 Nov 2017 05:18:00 GMT

A story on page A3 in the Nov. 12 edition of the Northwest Herald incorrectly reported the number of units of the independent-living center for the Huntley Horizon Senior Living Community. The center will have 64 units. The story also incorrectly identified payment information for short-term rehabilitation, short-term memory care and long-term memory care. Medicare and most insurances will be accepted for the short-term rehabilitation center and a short-term memory care stay. Long-term memory care will be charged through private pay.

The Northwest Herald regrets the errors.




Allegations against Alabama's Roy Moore dividing GOP womenAP photo Former Alabama Chief Justice and U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore waits to speak at a news conference Thursday in Birmingham, Ala.

Sat, 18 Nov 2017 05:08:00 GMT

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Standing on the white marble steps of Alabama’s Capitol, Kayla Moore surrounded herself with two dozen other women Friday to defend husband Roy Moore against accusations of sexual misconduct that are dividing Republicans, and women in particular. “He will not step down. He will not stop fighting for the people of Alabama,” Kayla Moore said at a “Women for Moore” rally. Acting as her husband’s lead defender, she lashed out at the news media and thanked people who were sticking behind her husband. “To the people of Alabama, thank you for being smarter than they think you are,” Moore said. Not everyone is sticking with Roy Moore, however, and certainly not all women. “I was going to vote for him. I was going to be one of his voters. I just don’t know that I can vote for him anymore,” said Laura Payne, a Trump delegate to the 2016 Republican National Convention. Since last week, Moore has been engulfed by accusations of sexual misconduct toward women in their teens when he was a deputy district attorney in his 30s. Several of his accusers have allowed their identities to be made public. One said Moore molested her when she was 14. Another said Moore assaulted her when she was a 16-year-old waitress after he offered to drive her home. Five others said Moore pursued romantic relationships with them when they were between the ages of 16 and 18. “I have not found any reason not to believe them. ... They risked a whole lot to come forward,” Payne said of the accusers. Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey said she also has no reason to disbelieve the women and is bothered by their allegations. But Ivey said she will vote for Moore anyway for the sake of GOP power in Congress. “We need to have a Republican in the United States Senate to vote on things like Supreme Court justices, other appointments that the Senate has to confirm and make major decisions,” Ivey said. Moore has ignored mounting calls from Washington Republicans concerned that if he stays in the race against Democrat Doug Jones, he might not only lose a seat they were sure to win, but also might do significant damage to the party’s brand among women nationwide as they prepare for a difficult midterm election season. The Alabama GOP, meanwhile, reaffirmed its support for Moore on Thursday. The accusations sent a shock wave through the Senate race in Alabama, where Republicans typically have a lock on statewide election. Democrats already hoped to stand a chance against the polarizing jurist who was twice removed from chief justice duties because of defying court orders regarding the Ten Commandments and gay marriage. A Fox News poll release[...]


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Chicago Tribune to move from landmark home since 1925

Sat, 18 Nov 2017 05:07:00 GMT

CHICAGO – The Chicago Tribune next year will move from its longtime landmark headquarters on Michigan Avenue.

The Tribune reported that Tronc, the parent of the newspaper, confirmed Friday that the newspaper will move in the second quarter to an office complex a few blocks away.

The lease at a building known as One Prudential Plaza is for 137,137 square feet on the building’s second, third, fourth, 40th and 41st floors.

In an email Friday to employees, Tronc CEO Justin Dearborn said the move is an opportunity to “create the next generation newsroom.”

The newspaper is moving because Tribune Tower, completed in 1925, was sold last year. Broadcast company Tribune Media had been the Chicago Tribune’s landlord until it sold the property. The newspaper’s lease expires June 30.




Psychiatrist gets records for boy charged in school shooting

Sat, 18 Nov 2017 05:07:00 GMT

CHARLESTON – Records have been provided to a psychiatrist preparing the mental evaluation of an Illinois student accused of shooting a classmate in the high school cafeteria.

The Mattoon Journal-Gazette reported that the records were addressed during a Coles County Court hearing Friday morning for the boy accused of the Sept. 20 shooting at Mattoon High School. The boy is charged in juvenile court with aggravated battery with a firearm, a felony. He is being held at a juvenile detention facility.

The boy’s attorney, Ed Piraino of Champaign, told the judge at Friday’s hearing that he has received a hard drive containing police reports about the shooting.

– Wire reports

The newspaper reported that police have done more than 200 interviews.

The boy’s next hearing is scheduled Jan. 11 to give the psychiatrist time to complete the evaluation.




Lake in the Hills police arrest 2 Carpentersville residents on cocaine chargesFernando Roman, 26, of the 100 block of Kings Road, CarpentersvilleMonika Ramos, 21, of the 1400 block of Meadowsedge Lane, Carpentersville

Fri, 17 Nov 2017 19:16:00 GMT

LAKE IN THE HILLS – A Carpentersville man gave officers another man’s name when he and a woman were arrested last weekend on cocaine charges, police said Wednesday.

Lake in the Hills police arrested Monika Ramos, 21, of the 1400 block of Meadowsedge Lane, Carpentersville, and Fernando Roman, 26, of the 100 block of Kings Road on Sunday.

Roman was booked into the McHenry County Jail that evening under another man’s name. Shortly after, however, the man who Roman was posing as showed up to the jail to clear his name, Lake in the Hills police Sgt. Randy Story said.

Roman and Ramos each are charged with possession of a controlled substance; manufacturing and delivering cocaine; and possession of cocaine.

Officers said they found 26 Xanax pills and 15 to 100 grams of cocaine on each Sunday, court documents show. Police believed they were planning to deliver the drugs, according to court records. The exact amount of cocaine the pair is accused of having was not available.

Roman also is charged with obstructing justice and obstructing identification, court records show.

If convicted of the most serious charge, manufacturing and delivering cocaine, Ramos and Roman each could receive six- to 30-year prison sentences.

Both remained in the McHenry County Jail on Thursday evening. Ramos’ bond is set at $50,000, and Roman’s is at $200,000.

Roman’s next court date is scheduled for Monday. Ramos is due in court Dec. 4.

Fernando Roman, 26, of the 100 block of Kings Road, CarpentersvilleMonika Ramos, 21, of the 1400 block of Meadowsedge Lane, Carpentersville


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Algonquin, Huntley police warn of recent motor vehicle burglaries, theftsShaw Media file photo

Fri, 17 Nov 2017 07:20:00 GMT

ALGONQUIN – Local police are warning residents about an increase in motor vehicle burglaries and motor vehicle thefts throughout McHenry and Kane counties.

The village of Algonquin and numerous surrounding communities in both counties have experienced an increase in the crimes, police said Thursday in a post on the Algonquin Police Department’s Facebook page.

Huntley police said incidents have occurred in residential areas off Route 47, mostly on the south side of the village, according to a Nixle alert.

The majority of the incidents have occurred late at night or overnight in residential areas, the post stated. Many of the items stolen came from unlocked cars. Residents who reported their cars stolen had left their keys inside the vehicles.

“The Algonquin Police Department would like to remind the members of the community to always lock their vehicles’ doors and to never leave their vehicle’s keys inside of an unattended vehicle,” the post stated.

Police also advised against leaving valuables in vehicles in plain sight.

“We strongly believe that these simple preventative measures will help to deter future incidents,” the post stated.

A juvenile is facing charges for dozens of vehicle burglaries and auto theft after he admitted to 14 vehicle burglaries in Lakemoor and involvement in an auto theft and chase Sept. 12, which ended in a crash at Route 12 and Molidor Road in Volo, police said.

The juvenile also admitted to more than 20 vehicle burglaries and five auto thefts in multiple jurisdictions. Police said the juvenile did not break into any cars, but only opened doors to unlocked vehicles.

Anyone who witnesses suspicious activity is asked to report the activity while it is in progress, and anyone with information about previous incidents should call the Algonquin Police Department’s Criminal Investigations Division at 847-658-4531.

Shaw Media file photo


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Gov. Bruce Rauner signs tax credit bill to help property owners affected by July floodingRegina Propst (left) of Cary and her husband, Rob Propst, look at their flooded front yard July 20 at their house on Hickory Nut Grove Road next to the Fox River in Cary. Gov. Bruce Rauner signed a tax credit bill Thursday to help those affected by the floodwaters.McHenry County Emergency Management coordinator Dave Christensen, Gov. Bruce Rauner and McHenry County Board Chairman Jack Franks look at a map of projected flooding July 16. The Fox River reached major flooding stage in McHenry and Algonquin, and Rauner signed a tax credit bill Thursday to help those affected by the floodwaters.

Fri, 17 Nov 2017 07:20:00 GMT

CRYSTAL LAKE – Gov. Bruce Rauner on Thursday signed into law a tax credit worth up to $750 for property owners in 18 Illinois counties where July floods damaged property.

The bill opens a natural disaster credit that eligible property owners can apply to their 2017 Illinois income taxes. Eligible counties include Cook, Lake, Kane, McHenry, Alexander, Clinton, Jackson, Marshall, Union, Woodford, Carroll, Henry, Jo Daviess, Lee, Ogle, Rock Island, Stephenson and Whiteside. Rauner declared each of those counties state disaster areas during the summer.

“July’s severe storms pushed rivers and lakes over their banks across a wide swath of Illinois,” Rauner said in a statement. “Many home and business owners are still working to restore their properties after the inundation of water, debris and mud they suffered through, in some cases for weeks. In northeastern Illinois counties, the flooding was unprecedented. This tax credit offers a measure of much-needed relief.”

Initial damage assessments conducted by county officials showed that about 300 homes suffered major damage or were destroyed, and more than 3,000 others were affected by floodwaters.

Qualified properties include a taxpayer’s principle residence or land owned by a small business. For each taxpayer who owns qualified property in a county declared a state disaster area, the allowable income tax credit will be the lesser of $750 or the deduction allowed under the Internal Revenue Code.

The bill requires township assessors to issue eligibility certificates for property owners who request them. Assessors must send all listings of flood-damaged properties to the Illinois Department of Revenue.

Based on damages previously reported to the Illinois Emergency Management Agency, the tax credit’s fiscal impact on the state is estimated at $4.6 million.

Regina Propst (left) of Cary and her husband, Rob Propst, look at their flooded front yard July 20 at their house on Hickory Nut Grove Road next to the Fox River in Cary. Gov. Bruce Rauner signed a tax credit bill Thursday to help those affected by the floodwaters.McHenry County Emergency Management coordinator Dave Christensen, Gov. Bruce Rauner and McHenry County Board Chairman Jack Franks look at a map of projected flooding July 16. The Fox River reached major flooding stage in McHenry and Algonquin, and Rauner signed a tax credit bill Thursday to help those affected by the floodwaters.


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Community mourns death of longtime Fox Lake trusteeTrustee Greg Murrey, 61, was a lifelong resident of Fox Lake. He died Wednesday. Murrey served the village of Fox Lake as trustee for more than 18 years.

Fri, 17 Nov 2017 07:19:00 GMT

FOX LAKE – Fox Lake Trustee Greg Murrey was remembered Thursday as a lifelong resident of Fox Lake and someone who always gave back to the community.

Murrey, 61, died Wednesday. He served as a village trustee for 18 years, according to a news release from the village.

“I, the Village Board and village staff are saddened by the passing of longtime Trustee Greg Murrey,” Fox Lake Mayor Donny Schmit said in the release. “Greg embodied what it truly means to be a public servant, and will be missed by the Fox Lake community.”

Murrey was instrumental to a number of municipal projects, including establishing the Northwest Regional Water Reclamation Facility, the release stated. The facility now provides water treatment services for many communities within Lake County, treating more than 12 million gallons a day.

He also was a member of the Fox Lake Volunteer Fire Department, a head mechanic for the Grant Township Highway Department and a member of the Sons of the American Legion Post 703, according to the release.

The visitation for Murrey will be from 2 to 8 p.m. Saturday at Hamsher Lakeside Funerals and Cremations, 12 N. Pistakee Lake Road. A funeral service will be at 11 a.m. Sunday at the funeral home, followed by burial in Grant Cemetery in Fox Lake.

In lieu of flowers, memorials in Murrey’s name can be made to Little City, 1760 W. Algonquin Road, Palatine, IL 60067; or to Operation North Pole, 50 W. Oakton St., Des Plaines, IL 60018.

Trustee Greg Murrey, 61, was a lifelong resident of Fox Lake. He died Wednesday. Murrey served the village of Fox Lake as trustee for more than 18 years.


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McHenry County Holiday Fest to welcome Santa, elves, one-stop holiday shopping

Fri, 17 Nov 2017 07:19:00 GMT

CRYSTAL LAKE – The McHenry County Holiday Fest soon will transform D’Andrea Banquets and Conference Center into a winter wonderland.

Set from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday at 4419 Route 14 in Crystal Lake, the free event will offer one-stop shopping, crafts, entertainment and more. Attendees are welcome to explore holiday shopping booths stocked with makeup, crafts, clothing and specialty gifts.

Families can visit Santa and his elves from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Children will be able to decorate cookies and write letters to Santa.

Live entertainment will include youth dancers, a magician and music from Potts & Pans.

Each family who attends will receive one free tote bag. For information, visit the Northwest Herald’s Holiday Fest event page.

The Northwest Herald and Centegra Health System are hosting the event.




Gov. Bruce Rauner's task force on opioid epidemic stops in Woodstock to hear from local stakeholdersIn September, Gov. Bruce Rauner launched the Opioid Overdose Prevention and Intervention Task Force, co-chaired by Lt. Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti and Illinois Department of Public Health Director Nirav Shah. The task force’s sixth field hearing was held in Woodstock at the McHenry County Administration Building. Several stakeholders – from health care providers to residential treatment providers, McHenry County Coroner Anne Majewski to the McHenry County Substance Abuse Coalition, State’s Attorney Patrick Kenneally and law enforcement officers – shared their perspectives on the opioid epidemic. Many mentioned that because McHenry County is smaller, they have built a strong network from all stakeholders and share as many resources as they can. "I've loved everything I've heard because McHenry County is doing it right through the Substance Abuse Coalition, and you are looking at this as a problem for everyone in the county, and that's the way you need to – it takes a village," Sanguinetti said.The Substance Abuse Coalition is a group of county leaders who meet in an effort to address substance abuse problems in the county. The task force gained input on how to implement its Illinois Opioid Action Plan, which aims to cut the number of opioid-related deaths by one-third by 2020. Of the 1,946 opioid-related fatalities in 2016 in Illinois, 47 were from McHenry County, Majewski said.The plan focuses on providers using the Illinois Prescription Monitoring Program more; reducing the opioid prescriptions through provider education and guidelines; decreasing stigma with more education and programming in communities and schools; and strengthening data collection. Additionally, the plan hopes to increase the number of first responders and community members with access to naloxone, decrease the number of overdose deaths after being released from jail, increase people’s access to care, and increase the capacity of deflection and diversion programs in the state.McHenry County Sheriff’s Sgt. Michael Muraski said that 10 years ago, opioid or heroin incidents represented from 5 percent to 10 percent of the sheriff's office's caseload, and now, 75 percent of drug cases involve opioids.Chris Reed, a former addict and owner of The Other Side in Crystal Lake, shared his story of how he became addicted to opioids in high school after suffering from an injury playing hockey, eventually buying $10 bags of heroin. Reed said he was not given any information on other options aside from medication. Sanguinetti said that stigma is a large problem, and that heroin addiction can happen to any neighborhood, color or class.Kenneally said one of the biggest problems he sees is the lack of residential beds for in-patient treatment. “If you have Illinicare or no insurance, you are limited to go to five places, but if you have good insurance, you can go to Honolulu and get treatment for as long as you want. That’s a problem,” Kenneally said. He also said that many times legislation is designed by people from Cook County for Cook County – such as the Bail Reform Act, which became law in June – and it is not helping McHenry County. Kenneally said it is allowing people to walk out of jail without first going through programs, such as treatment in jail or drug court.Molly DeGroh, a neonatal intensive care unit nurse for Centegra Health System, said she would recommend that all pregnant mothers are screened for opioids during their prenatal care to ensure that they are getting proper resources and are able to use opioid maintenance treatment. "The first time I took care of a baby with neonatal abstinence syndrome, I was really mad," DeGroh said. "I held the mother to an unrealistic standard. Just like I couldn’t expect a newly diagnosed diabetic to control her blood sugar without education and insulin, I couldn’t expect someone with substance abuse to just stop." DeGroh also stressed the need for more residential facilities to help mothers, such as the Haymarket Center in Chicago, which treats mothers for up to two years. The governor's task force will continue the tour by heading to Peoria later this month.

Fri, 17 Nov 2017 06:38:00 GMT

WOODSTOCK – A statewide committee formed to tackle the opioid epidemic came Thursday to McHenry County, which already has seen 58 deaths related to opioids in 2017. In September, Gov. Bruce Rauner launched the Opioid Overdose Prevention and Intervention Task Force, co-chaired by Lt. Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti and Illinois Department of Public Health Director Nirav Shah. The task force’s sixth field hearing was held in Woodstock at the McHenry County Administration Building. Several stakeholders – from health care providers to residential treatment providers, McHenry County Coroner Anne Majewski to the McHenry County Substance Abuse Coalition, State’s Attorney Patrick Kenneally and law enforcement officers – shared their perspectives on the opioid epidemic. Many mentioned that because McHenry County is smaller, they have built a strong network from all stakeholders and share as many resources as they can. "I've loved everything I've heard because McHenry County is doing it right through the Substance Abuse Coalition, and you are looking at this as a problem for everyone in the county, and that's the way you need to – it takes a village," Sanguinetti said.The Substance Abuse Coalition is a group of county leaders who meet in an effort to address substance abuse problems in the county. The task force gained input on how to implement its Illinois Opioid Action Plan, which aims to cut the number of opioid-related deaths by one-third by 2020. Of the 1,946 opioid-related fatalities in 2016 in Illinois, 47 were from McHenry County, Majewski said.The plan focuses on providers using the Illinois Prescription Monitoring Program more; reducing the opioid prescriptions through provider education and guidelines; decreasing stigma with more education and programming in communities and schools; and strengthening data collection. Additionally, the plan hopes to increase the number of first responders and community members with access to naloxone, decrease the number of overdose deaths after being released from jail, increase people’s access to care, and increase the capacity of deflection and diversion programs in the state.McHenry County Sheriff’s Sgt. Michael Muraski said that 10 years ago, opioid or heroin incidents represented from 5 percent to 10 percent of the sheriff's office's caseload, and now, 75 percent of drug cases involve opioids.Chris Reed, a former addict and owner of The Other Side in Crystal Lake, shared his story of how he became addicted to opioids in high school after suffering from an injury playing hockey, eventually buying $10 bags of heroin. Reed said he was not given any information on other options aside from medication. Sanguinetti said that stigma is a large problem, and that heroin addiction can happen to any neighborhood, color or class.Kenneally said one [...]


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Spring Grove Fire Protection District to consider functional consolidationFirefighters pour water onto a home at 906 Garfield Road in Harvard. Fire units from Hebron-Alden-Greenwood, Capron, Richmond Township, Linn Township, Boone County, Lakewood, Mareng, Woodstock and Walworth, Fontana and Sharon in Wisconsin assisted. Officials from the Spring Grove, Hebron-Alden-Greenwood, Wonder Lake and Richmond Township departments are considering consolidation and will meet Saturday to discuss the idea.Alec Rusher (from left) of Spring Grove, Morgan Fassnacht of Johnsburg, Mark Hohs of Spring Grove and Jackson Deehr of Johnsburg put on their gear during a fire explorer program March 21 at the Spring Grove fire station. Officials from the Spring Grove, Hebron-Alden-Greenwood, Wonder Lake and Richmond departments are considering consolidation and will meet Saturday to discuss the idea.

Fri, 17 Nov 2017 06:32:00 GMT

SPRING GROVE – The Spring Grove Fire Protection District Board of Trustees will meet Saturday to discuss a functional consolidation with other fire departments. The board will meet at 9 a.m. Saturday at the Spring Grove station, 8214 Richardson Road, and potentially will form a committee to research the idea of consolidation. Board members are considering Wonder Lake, Richmond Township and Hebron-Alden-Greenwood fire protection districts as part of the plan, according to the agenda. The idea still is in its early stages, Spring Grove Fire Chief Rich Tobiasz said. Tobiasz said the department is trying to address staffing problems as both he and a battalion chief near retirement. Richmond and Wonder Lake fire chiefs also are nearing that point, he said. “We have part-time employees,” Tobiasz said. “If everyone else has other jobs, it makes it hard to cover for people who are sick or taking vacation time.” The Spring Grove Fire Protection District is staffed 24/7, typically by five firefighter/emergency service providers – four at the station and one on call. Paid on-call employees are available for large incidents or rotation backfill, according to the district’s website. The departments already share some services, such as a radio and dispatch system. The functional consolidation could consist of an intergovernmental agreement between the departments that would allow the shared use of equipment, potential shared buys on new gear and the possibility of a single chief to oversee operations, Tobiasz said. The Hebron-Alden-Greenwood Fire Protection District is made up of 27 paid on-call first responders, which means employees only get paid when they respond to an incident, Chief Thomas Linneman said. “They respond from their homes,” he said. “Annually, we respond to about 375 calls.” He said that the idea of working with other departments in the area could increase efficiency. The departments already have a partnership and work together on major events, he said. “We are looking at some ideas on how to work better together,” Linneman said. “Consolidation is a big word. This is more about how we can work better as multiple departments.” The Wonder Lake and Richmond Township fire protection districts also staff on-call members. In Wonder Lake, one station is staffed from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. After hours, a shift commander and four crew members respond to incidents from home, according to its website. The Richmond Township district consists of a combinat[...]


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Police uncover threat toward Marlowe Middle School students

Fri, 17 Nov 2017 06:28:00 GMT

LAKE IN THE HILLS – Someone has made a threat toward the student population at Marlowe Middle School, according to a news release from the Huntley Police Department. Whoever made the threat made it for Friday, police said. Huntley School District 158 will increase police presence at all district schools Friday “out of an abundance of caution,” Superintendent John Burkey said Thursday in a message posted on the district’s website. The threat was revealed through an ongoing investigation by Huntley and Lake in the Hills police related to an incident in which a Lake in the Hills middle school student was on the receiving end of racially motivated threats made on Xbox Live, police said. Huntley police learned Monday of “disparaging racial and threatening comments that were sent to a juvenile via Xbox Live.” Xbox Live is an online multiplayer gaming service that allows players to communicate with each other using microphones or messaging. Huntley police have been working with District 158 and Lake in the Hills police “due to the possible involvement of current or former students within the schools in the area.” Police began investigating Monday and have since conducted several interviews. They executed a search warrant and still are seeking information, according to the news release. “At this point in time, there have been multiple interviews conducted with several juveniles and parents. Various items have been seized in conjunction with a second executed search warrant,” Huntley police said in the release. “These items have been helpful in the investigation. The location from which the messages were sent has been tentatively identified, and our investigation has revealed persons of interest ultimately responsible for sending the messages.” As of Thursday evening, no criminal charges had been filed. “However, significant progress in regards to this investigation, and the furtherance of an act based on these messages, is being mitigated,” Huntley police said. The police said limited specifics are being released because it is an ongoing case that involves juveniles. Police confirmed Wednesday that the alleged victim in the latest case is the same one who was targeted in October, when a Lake in the Hills student was charged with a hate crime and disorderly conduct. Burkey said in his message that there will be an increase in uniformed officers at Reed Road schools Friday. [...]


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Keystone pipeline leaks 210K gallons of oil in South DakotaFILE- This Nov. 6, 2015, file photo shows a sign for TransCanada's Keystone pipeline facilities in Hardisty, Alberta, Canada. TransCanada Corp.’s Keystone pipeline leaked oil onto agricultural land in northeastern South Dakota, the company and state regulators said Thursday, Nov. 16, 2017, but state officials don’t believe the leak polluted any surface water bodies or drinking water systems. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press via AP, File)

Fri, 17 Nov 2017 06:28:00 GMT

AMHERST, S.D. – TransCanada Corp.’s Keystone pipeline leaked an estimated 210,000 gallons of oil onto agricultural land in northeastern South Dakota, the company and state regulators said Thursday, but state officials don’t believe the leak polluted any surface water bodies or drinking water systems. Crews shut down the pipeline Thursday morning and activated emergency response procedures after a drop in pressure was detected resulting from the leak south of a pump station in Marshall County, TransCanada said in a statement. The cause was being investigated. Discovery of the leak comes only days before Nebraska regulators are scheduled to announce their decision Monday whether to approve the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline, an expansion that would boost the amount of oil TransCanada is now shipping through the existing line, which is known simply as Keystone. The expansion has faced fierce opposition from environmental groups, American Indian tribes and some landowners. Brian Walsh, an environmental scientist manager at the South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources, said the state has sent a staff member to the site of the leak in a rural area near the border with North Dakota about 250 miles west of Minneapolis. “Ultimately, the cleanup responsibility lies with TransCanada, and they’ll have to clean it up in compliance with our state regulations,” Walsh said. TransCanada said in its statement that it expected the pipeline to remain shut down as the company responds to the leak. It did not offer a time estimate, and a spokesman didn’t immediately return a telephone message from The Associated Press. The federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration didn’t immediately return an email requesting additional information from The AP. Since 2010, companies have reported 17 spills bigger than the leak announced Thursday, topping 210,000 gallons of crude oil or refined petroleum products, according to U.S. Department of Transportation records. The existing Keystone pipeline transports crude from Canada to refineries in Illinois and Oklahoma, passing through the eastern Dakotas, Nebraska, Kansas and Missouri. It can handle nearly 600,000 barrels daily, or about 23 million gallons. TransCanada said on its website that the company has safely transported more than 1.5 billion barrels of oil, or about 63 billion gallons, through the system since operations began in 2010. President Donald Trump issued a federal permit for the expansion project in March although it had been rejected by[...]


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Lake in the Hills man acquitted of animal abuse charges

Fri, 17 Nov 2017 06:25:00 GMT

WOODSTOCK – Family members of 28-year-old Timarion White shed tears in the courtroom Thursday when White was acquitted of animal abuse charges stemming from the Jan. 1, 2016, death of his miniature pinscher, Mia. The more than three-hour bench trial came to a conclusion about 5 p.m. After a 15-minute deliberation, McHenry County Judge James Cowlin ruled White was not guilty of killing his dog by hitting her over the head with a broom. White originally was charged with felony aggravated cruelty to animals and cruelty to animals, a misdemeanor charge. White was facing a one- to three-year prison sentence if he was convicted of the felony offense. In fact, White was prepared to serve two years in prison as part of a negotiated plea, until Judge Sharon Prather recused herself from the case in April, White said. “I felt like nobody wanted to hear my side of the story,” he said after the trial. White got to tell that story Thursday when he agreed to testify. About 10 a.m. Jan. 1, 2016, White and his wife, Brianna White, were catching up on housekeeping while their two children slept upstairs, he said. The family lived in a home in the 11600 block of Becky Lee Trace, Huntley, at the time. One of the family’s dogs, Mia – a “dainty” 5-pound, brown and white miniature pinscher – came downstairs from her crate and into the kitchen, where Timarion White was filling up a mop bucket in the sink. Timarion White suspected Mia needed to go outside, but the dog wouldn’t go and risk getting snow on her paws. In an attempt to try to get her out from under the table, where she had taken refuge, Timarion White took a broom and started “shimmying the chairs around to scare her.” What happened after that is where defense attorney Clay Mitchell’s and McHenry County Assistant State’s Attorney Victor Escarcida’s arguments varied. “It is unreasonable to think that the simple act of trying to coax or poke this dog would result in this kind of an injury,” Escarcida said. “He killed this dog.” While Escarcida said White intentionally struck the dog with the broom, causing her to fly through the air and hit the kitchen table, Mitchell argued that the dog merely dodged White’s attempts of capturing her, and hit her head on the edge of a metal table leg. But without physical evidence that White intended to hurt the family pet that day, there wasn’t enough [...]