<![CDATA[NBC Chicago - Chicago News]]>Copyright 2016http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/local http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/5-Chicago-Blue.png NBC Chicago http://www.nbcchicago.comen-usFri, 01 Jul 2016 06:59:48 -0500Fri, 01 Jul 2016 06:59:48 -0500NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Where to Watch Parades in Chicago Area This Fourth of July]]> Fri, 01 Jul 2016 06:26:15 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/4th+Parades.png

As the Fourth of July weekend kicks off, families can enjoy watching the Independance Day parades. Below is a list of parade routes and times in the Chicago area.

July 1

Evergreen Park: 95th and Springfield, 6:30 p.m.

July 2

Fox Lake: Grant High School 2 p.m.

July 3

Bartlett: Oak Avenue to Stearns Road, 1 p.m.

Crystal Lake: City Hall to Lakeside Festival grounds, 1 p.m.

Warrenville: Downtown Warrenville south on Warren Avenue, 3 p.m. 

July 4         

Arlington Heights: Oakton at Dunton to Miner, 10 a.m.

Aurora: Benton and River Streets, 10 a.m.

Barrington: Barrington High School to train station, 10 a.m.

Beecher: Corner of Miller and Elliot, 4 p.m.

Bensenville: Downtown Bensenville, 10 a.m.

Carol Stream: Corner of Lies Road and County Farm Road, 10 a.m.

Chicago: Independence Park, 10 a.m.

Darien: North on Cass Avenue to 71st Street, 9:30 a.m.

Deerfield: Deerfield High School to Park Avenue, Noon

Des Plaines: Main and Grant Streets, 12:45 p.m.

Elgin: Slade and Douglas Streets, 9 a.m. 

Evanston: Central Street, 2 p.m.

Flossmoor: Ridge Road to Izaak Walton Preserve, 10 a.m.

Glencoe: Central School, 2 p.m.

Glen Ellyn: Ellyn Avenue, Noon

Glenview: Harlem Avenue and Glenview Road, 11:15 a.m.

Hawthorn Woods: Falkirk and Carlisle, 10 a.m.

Highland Park: Laurel and St. Johns Avenues, 10 a.m.

Hinsdale: Sixth and Garfield Streets, 10 a.m.

Hoffman Estates: Illinois Boulevard, 9 a.m.

Lisle: Travels through Downtown Lisle and ends at Museums of Station Park, 11 a.m.

Lincolnshire: Kings Cross Drive to Lincolnshire Drive, 11 a.m.

Lyons: 46th Street and Lawndale Avenue, 1 p.m.

Mount Prospect: Corner of Emerson Street and Prospect Avenue, 1 p.m.

Morris: Behind junior high school, 2 p.m.

Morton Grove: Dempster and Central, 2:30 p.m.

Niles: Notre Dame College Prep to Grennan Heights Park, 9 a.m.

Northbrook: Cherry Lane and Western Avenue, 2:30 p.m.

Oak Lawn: 95th and 51st Avenue, 10 a.m.

Oak Park: Longfellow Park, 10 a.m.

Palos Hills: Harlem Avenue to 119th Street, Noon

Park Forest: Corner of Main Street and Orchard Drive, 6 p.m.

Skokie: Oakton Community College to Oakton Park, Noon

Vernon Hills: Corner of Deerpath and Atrium Drive, 9 a.m.

Wheaton: Liberty Drive to Main Street, 10 a.m.

Winnetka: Elm Street and Glendale Avenue, 10 a.m.

Yorkville: Yorkville High School to Church Street, 9 a.m.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[4th of July Travel to Break Record]]> Fri, 01 Jul 2016 06:11:11 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/chicago+traffic+fourth+of+july.jpg

It's going to be a busy holiday weekend on the nation's highways.

A record 43 million Americans are expected to travel this Independence Day weekend, with the overwhelming majority driving, according to AAA, a car lobbying group and one of the nation's largest travel agencies. This tops the joint record set last year and in 2007.

Lower gas prices, strong consumer confidence and a generally healthy domestic economy have led more families to take trips this summer.

AAA estimates that U.S. drivers have saved $20 billion on gasoline so far this year compared to the same period last year. Gas prices as of June 20 were 46 cents per gallon below prices from a year ago.

"We are well on our way for 2016 to be a record-breaking year for summertime travel," said AAA President and CEO Marshall Doney.

Ahead of last year's holiday, AAA predicted that 41.9 million people would travel 50 miles or more from home during the weekend. AAA has since revised that number to say that 42.3 million people actually traveled. This year's estimate — the highest since AAA started tracking in 2001 — is for 42.9 million travelers with 84 percent of them driving.

The holiday travel period is defined as Thursday, June 30 to Monday, July 4.

The number of travelers is estimated to be 10.7 percent higher than the average number during the past 15 years.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Police Warn of Armed Robberies in Chicago's Loop]]> Thu, 30 Jun 2016 22:57:49 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/loop+robberies+0630.jpg

Chicago Police are warning people in the city's Loop of a string of armed robberies over the last month, in which suspects approach victims with fliers and act as though they are fundraising before ultimately attacking the victim and stealing belongings.

The most recent incident occurred on June 24 in the 100 block of N Wabash Ave around 12:45 p.m., according to police. In that case, two young men approached a woman standing near the door at Peach and Green restaurant, employees said. According to police, they presented themselves as distributors of fundraising fliers before pulling so violently on her purse, witnesses said, she fell to the ground.

A similar incident occurred at another restaurant just two blocks away in the 0-100 block of S Wabash Ave on May 25 at approximately the same time of day, authorities said.

Police say two more people were robbed in a similar manner, but as they sat in their cars. The first robbery occurred in the 0-100 block of E Lower Wacker Dr at around 4:30 p.m. on June 22. The second occurred in the 200 block of N Michigan Ave the following day, at 4:05 p.m. on June 23. Police said in both cases, the suspects again approached drivers who were parked or stopped in traffic, distracted them with fundraising fliers, then opened the car door and hit the victims, stealing cell phones.

The crimes have plenty of people in the Loop on edge.

"It is pretty frightening to be downtown, trying to have fun, and then something crazy like that happens to you," Melanie Sneed-Morton told NBC 5 Thursday afternoon.

"In this area, it is a little surprising. Millennium Park is right down the street," said Alex Vera. "To be right in the middle of that is pretty audacious."

These crimes happened just blocks from where police continue to investigate a robbery outside Trump Tower, where a woman was filming an engagement video when two men approached, one violently shoving her to the ground and stealing her camera, police said.

"You wouldn't think it would happen, or it would be real, real late, but it's happening everywhere," said Audrey Sneed-Morton, asking "Where can you get away from it?"

In all four incidents, the suspects are described as black males between the ages of 16 and 24, according to police.

<![CDATA[Suburban Woman Donates Kidney to Father]]> Thu, 30 Jun 2016 23:02:59 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/kidney+donation+0630.jpg

They are as close as a father and daughter can be, so when a suburban man received some difficult news, his daughter had to think for only a second before giving him the ultimate gift—one of her kidneys.

Chuck Cuttone, of Homer Glen, received the difficult news that his kidneys were failing. He faced a choice of dialysis, or receiving a kidney from one of his children.

His daughter Elizabeth Kohlstedt was the best match, but at first, he refused the gift.

“We went over to my parents’ house on a Sunday night, sat him down and said, ‘We have been running your lives since we have been born. Why stop now?’” Kohlstedt said. “You have no option but to consider us one of your donors.”

“It’s not uncommon at all,” Dr. Deepak Mital said of the family’s situation. “As in this case, the children have to twist the parent’s arm to have them accept the organ. It’s truly life-saving.”

In Illinois, a patient can wait up to five years on the kidney waiting list, while on dialysis that entire time. Doctors say the outcomes typically aren't as good and don't last as long.

“The results from a living donor transplant are twice as good as from a kidney from the waiting list," Mital said. "There is no waiting. It’s a planned procedure and the patients do very well."

Less than a month after surgery, both father and daughter and up and about, and doing well.

"I feel better than I have in five years," Cuttone said. "And that feeling was immediate."

"When he called to check on me the next day, I said I felt like I could run a marathon,” Kohlstedt said.

Their doctors say their case is not uncommon, and a good reason for friends and family members of those in need of a kidney transplant to consider donation.

“Once you remove the one kidney, the other kidney actually grows and it gets bigger and it takes over for the other kidney,” said Dr. Kelly Guglielmi.

Now, Cuttone and Kohlstedt, who once competed on Wheel of Fortune together, can continue to plan for full lives after surgery.

“I don’t think I will ever be able to process it,” Chuck Cuttone said. “For someone to actually give me the rest of my life, the rest of a normal life. I don’t think any of us can process that.”

<![CDATA[Police, SWAT Respond to Possible Explosives in Wauconda Home]]> Thu, 30 Jun 2016 23:32:08 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/wauconda+explosives+0630.jpg

One man is in custody, and authorities urged evacuation of a neighborhood in north suburban Wauconda Thursday night as they investigated a home that may have had explosives, according to police. 

Around 8:30 p.m., the Wauconda Police Department posted on Facebook that multiple intersections were blocked off. 176th St was closed between Main St and Fairfield Rd, and the closed intersections included:

Mill St and IL-Rte 176

Lakeshore Blvd and IL-Rte 176

Highland Ave and Clearview Ave

Hill St and Lakeshore Blvd

Police asked residents within that perimeter to evacuate their home or business immediately, with the Federated Church across from the Wauconda Fire Department available as a shelter. The Wauconda Police Department provided transportation for those without, who were asked to call 847-487-1372.

The Wauconda Police Department shared just before 9 p.m. that they received information that a resident within that "posted perimeter may have explosives in his home."

Shortly after 9 p.m., Wauconda Police confirmed that a suspect is in custody, and a search will be conducted at a residence in the 400 block of Lakeshore Blvd once the evacuation is complete.

Police then said that the suspect allegedly made a threat earlier Thursday to an employee at a business, saying "he wanted to lure the police to his home with the intention of setting off explosives and blowing them up."

"The suspect said he is terminally ill and hates politicians and the police," the Wauconda Police Department said.

The Waukegan Bomb Squad and Illinois State Police SWAT Team also responded to the incident.

Check back for updates on this developing story.

Photo Credit: Captured News
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<![CDATA[Chicago's Tobacco-Buying Age Increases Friday]]> Thu, 30 Jun 2016 19:07:38 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/smoking-stock-image.jpg

The minimum age to buy cigarettes in Chicago jumps from 18 to 21 years old on Friday, thanks to an ordinance to increase the city’s tobacco-buying age that passed Chicago’s City Council in March.

“Thanks to our ongoing effort to shield our children from the harms of tobacco products, youth smoking in Chicago is on the decline, helping people to lead healthier lives and live longer,” Emanuel said in a statement this week. “We have consistently fought to protect our youth from being targeted by the tobacco industry with marketing and products designed to lure youth."

Since the ordinance passed, city agencies and aldermen have been working to inform licensed retailers that customers need to be over the age of 21 to purchase tobacco beginning July 1.

Stores are required to display signs reflecting the changes, although employees over the age of 18 can still sell tobacco products.

The ordinance also applies to the minimum age for buying e-cigarettes and smokeless tobacco. New taxes and fines on tobacco products that were approved in March will also go into effect Friday.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Chicago City Sticker Grace Period Ends]]> Thu, 30 Jun 2016 18:56:03 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/chicago+vehicle+sticker+0630.jpg

Beginning Friday, cars can be ticketed and fined immediately after their Chicago City Vehicle sticker expires.

The fine is $200, and a new ticket can be issued daily, beginning the day after a sticker expires. If a driver’s sticker expires on June 30, their car is eligible to be ticketed on July 1.

The reason for the new policy is a change to the Chicago Municipal Code, ending the grace period that gave motorists leniency when it comes to purchasing new stickers.

The grace period to purchase a new sticker without a late fee has been extended, however. Drivers with a sticker that expires June 30 have until July 30 to purchase a new sticker without paying an additional $60 late fee. But they may still accumulate daily fines in the meantime.

There are over 350 places throughout the city to purchase a new sticker, and drivers can also complete the process online

All three of the Chicago City Clerk’s offices will also be open from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Saturday, July 2 to accommodate drivers who need to purchase new stickers.

<![CDATA[Brookfield Zoo Gets CT Scanner]]> Thu, 30 Jun 2016 18:38:56 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/WMAQ_000000018514040_1200x675_716367427585.jpg Imagine trying to give a 300-pound bear his yearly checkup. Thanks to new technology, that just got a lot easier for staff at Brookfield Zoo. Emily Florez reports.]]> <![CDATA[U of C Professor Joins Women's Chinese Volleyball In Rio]]> Thu, 30 Jun 2016 17:57:27 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/160*120/beach+volleyball+generic+sand+50909958.jpg

An associate professor of orthopedic surgery at the University of Chicago Medicine will head to Rio with the Chinese Women’s National Volleyball Team as their head doctor and orthopedic surgeon.

Dr. Sherwin Ho was recruited by the Chinese team’s head coach after he worked with the U.S team during the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Dr. Ho was the head doctor for the U.S team starting in 2006.

According to News and Research from the University of Chicago, while Ho was working with the American team, the coach at the time, Jenny Lang Ping was a former player for China. After the Beijing games, Ping returned to China to coach a professional team and sometimes would ask Ho to treat some of her players.

In the summer of 2013, Ping requested Ho to become the official physician for the Chinese national team.

Ho travels to China multiple times each year and consults with doctors and trainers in Beijing several times a week. Some of the Chinese players have also come to the U.S to seek his care. He oversees the well-being of about two dozen players even though he is living in Chicago.

While a head physician for the Chinese national team, Ho also serves as the team physician for Concordia University Chicago, where he first started working in 1991, a year before he began his career at the University of Chicago. 

Ho's familiarity with volleyball is personal, as he grew up playing the sport in Hawaii. 

Ho, an expert in sports medicine who specializes in minimally invasive arthroscopic procedures, received his Bachelor of Arts in Zoology from the University of Hawaii and earned his M.D. from the University of Hawaii’s John A. Burns School of Medicine.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Tatyana McFadden Sets Sights on 7 Gold Medals in Rio]]> Thu, 30 Jun 2016 17:49:34 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/mcfadden_1024x576_nbc.jpg

Illinois graduate Tatyana McFadden has high expectations for herself for the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio.

The Russian native by way of Clarksville, Maryland plans to compete in six events and a marathon – and take gold in each one. The trip to Rio will mark her fifth Paralympic Games appearance.

“I’m only 27 and to already compete in five games is unbelievable,” said McFadden. “It’s always really honoring, humbling and it takes a lot of work to make the team. It’s quite a journey that I love and a journey that I’ve wanted ever since a young child. I love racing and it’s what I think about all the time. I love traveling and I love what’s it’s brought to my life at the moment. I love it all.”

In a recent interview with NBC this year, McFadden shared the she will compete in the 100, 400, 800, 1,500, 5,000, 4x400 meters and a marathon. There may be the possibility of her competing in a relay at the end.

Affectionately known as “The Beast,” McFadden has proved that she is an asset to the team since her first Paralympic appearance in 2004 at Athens. Since that time, McFadden has collected three gold medals, four silver, and five bronze medals during the Paralympics Games.  

McFadden’s events can be watched during the September 7-18 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Follow updates with Tatyana McFadden on Twitter @TatyanaMcFadden. For all Paralympic updates, follow the U.S. Paralympic Facebook and Twitter

Photo Credit: NBC]]>
<![CDATA[Trump Has a 3 Percent Chance in Illinois: Report]]> Thu, 30 Jun 2016 16:51:43 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/trump-muslim-ban.jpg

Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has just a 3 percent chance of winning Illinois in November, according to political analysis website FiveThirtyEight.

The site, whose editor editor-in-chief Nate Silver successfully predicted 49 of 50 states in the 2008 presidential election, used four recent polls to shape their analysis.

Those polls show presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton leading Trump from anywhere between 13 percent and 24 percent. According to the report, her odds of winning the Land of Lincoln sit at 97 percent.

"Our win probabilities come from simulating the election 20,000 times, which produces a distribution of possible outcomes for each state," the report said.

The site predicts that Clinton will receive 56 percent of the vote in Illinois, while Trump will receive 37 percent. Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson is expected to receive roughly 7 percent of the vote.

According to the same analysis, Trump only has a 20 percent chance of winning the presidency. Of the 538 electoral college votes that will be up for grabs in November, the site predicts Clinton will win 354, Trump will win 183 and Johnson will win 1. 

Additionally, the report predicts that Clinton will win 49 percent of the popular vote, while Trump will take 42 percent. Johnson is predicted to win 8 percent.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Three Positions the Blackhawks Should Address in Free Agency]]> Thu, 30 Jun 2016 15:48:39 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Brian+Campbell+5112011.jpg

The NHL’s free agency period starts on Friday morning, and teams will be looking to fill in gaps as they pursue a Stanley Cup championship next season.

As is usually the case, the Blackhawks won’t be big spenders in the free agent market, focusing instead on adding pieces to give their roster depth rather than adding high-profile players. Their last major free agent signing was Marian Hossa way back in 2009, and although they’ve made additions such as Brad Richards during that span, none of them have ever come close to matching the yearly salary or term that Hossa received on his 12-year deal.

Even with that in mind, the Blackhawks will still be looking to add a few veterans, and we’re previewing the positions that they’ll need to address as the free agent signing period begins.


The Blackhawks have already made an addition in this area over the offseason, bringing in Czech-born defenseman Michal Kempny on a deal, but they’ll still likely be looking for a veteran puck-mover to help bolster their blue line for the coming year.

That’s where Brian Campbell comes in. The defenseman has gone on record saying that he would love to return to Chicago, and although he would have to take a pay cut to do so, the Hawks do have $5.2 million in cap space to play with, and he would certainly help the team offensively and give Brent Seabrook a reliable partner to play with on a nightly basis.

Scoring Winger

The Blackhawks had to part ways this season with Teuvo Teravainen, and it seems highly unlikely that the team will be able to bring back Andrew Ladd on a new contract. Add to that the fact that Joel Quenneville will likely be cautious about breaking up Artemi Panarin and Patrick Kane, and that the team will likely try to ease Nick Schmaltz into the lineup instead of throwing him straight into the fire, and there is certainly an argument to be made that this area presents a need.

Players like Kyle Okposo will be out of the Blackhawks’ price range, but a player like Thomas Vanek, who was just bought out by the Minnesota Wild, could conceivably be a fit. A player like P.A. Parenteau could also be a possibility depending on how much a Campbell contract would cost, but the Hawks would have to be very careful on how much money they dedicate to this position.

Veteran Bottom Six Winger

The Blackhawks are going to hit the market needing to replace guys like Tomas Fleischmann and Dale Weise in their bottom six, and it seems unlikely that they’ll want to just go into the season with players like Vincent Hinostroza and Ryan Hartman as the players filling those roles.

A reunion with Weise is possible, but with the way Quenneville approached his usage last season, it’d be hard to blame him for not wanting to come back into the situation. A player like Chris Stewart could also be an intriguing option, but he seems to be a player that a team will overpay for in the belief that he could still be a serviceable top-six forward rather than a depth player. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Witnesses Save Man Stabbed After Protecting Woman on Bus]]> Thu, 30 Jun 2016 15:39:44 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/209*120/cta+rescue+stab.png

A man who was stabbed after protecting a woman with a child on a Chicago Transit Authority bus earlier this week says it was the kindness of strangers that saved his life in return.

“I could’ve lost my life,” Jose Santiago said. “I was just trying to be a hero.”

Santiago was on the Diversey bus Monday afternoon when he says he saw a man harassing a woman with a child over a stroller spot on the crowded bus.

“I seen him kick her stroller, I thought he was going to hit her because he was yelling at her and she had a baby with her,” Santiago said. “So I stood up and said, ‘Just sit here. I’m here to help you. Do you need help? I’m here to protect you.'”

But when Santiago got off the bus at the Western stop a short time later, the man and two women with him followed Santiago.

“I said, ‘Leave me alone’ and he kept saying stuff to me like, ‘What you want to do? What you want to do?’” Santiago said.

That’s when Santiago said the man pulled out a knife and started swinging. 

“I fell to the ground, but then he tried to stab me toward my heart and I pushed his arm and so he got me right here in my shoulder,” Santiago said.

He was left bleeding in the street with a punctured lung, until witnesses came to his aid.

“I want to thank everyone who rushed to help my son,” said Santiago’s mother, Gladys Santiago.

Police identified the man as 23-year-old Gidalthi Rodriguez, who was charged with misdemeanor battery.

“I’m disgusted with what Chicago is doing,” said Santiago’s sister, Elizabeth Ramos. “It should have been attempted murder honestly.”

But for Santiago, thinking of the woman he helped, and the man who helped him, brings him to tears. He hopes to meet them both again someday.

“I don’t remember his name,” Santiago said. “He stood with me and applied pressure to my wound and I thank him for that.”

Photo Credit: NBC Chicago]]>
<![CDATA[Naperville Local Aims to Make Paralympic Swimming Team for Rio ]]> Thu, 30 Jun 2016 15:20:51 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Pool+-+Getty+Images+.jpg

Naperville resident Alyssa Gialamas will begin her quest for a spot on the paralympic team headed to Rio this summer as she competes in U.S. Paralympics Swimming Trials Thursday.

Gialamas is expected to swim in four events over the course of the trials. On Thursday, she will swim in the 200-meter freestyle and 50-meter backstroke.; On Friday, she will take on the 50-meter freestyle and on Saturday the 100-meter freestyle. Results for the Rio Paralympic Games swimming team are to be released on Sunday.

Born with arthrogryposis, a disorder that affects the movement of joints and muscles, Gialamas typically has issues with her jaws, knees and feet. She fell for swimming instantly at a young age and began competitive swimming at 15. At the age of 18, she represented Team USA in the 2012 Paralympic Games in London, coming in fifth in the 200-meter freestyle.  

Gialamas graduated from Waubonsie Valley High School in Aurora and attends Loyola University in Maryland, where she swims under the guidance of coach Brian Loeffler. She is studying communications with a specialization in public relations.

The trials will not be televised, but coverage can be followed on social media through the U.S. Paralympics Facebook or Twitter @USParalympics for updates. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images ]]>
<![CDATA[Indiana Gov. 'In Play' as Possible Trump VP Pick]]> Thu, 30 Jun 2016 15:06:08 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-468209962.jpg

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence is "in play" as a possible contender to be named Donald Trump's running mate at next month's GOP convention, sources familiar with the vice presidential search tell NBC News.

An individual knowledgeable of conversations about the decision tells NBC News that Pence was made aware several weeks ago through an intermediary that he was being considered for the VP slot.

Officials close to the governor stress that Pence has had absolutely no direct contact with the Trump campaign since before Indiana's primary in April. Pence, who is running for his own re-election this November, endorsed Ted Cruz over Trump in the primary contest but noted at the time that the real estate mogul has "given voice to the frustration of millions of working Americans with the lack of progress in Washington, D.C."

In a news conference on Thursday, Pence declined to say whether or not he is being vetted, and there are other possible picks for the job, including New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

Photo Credit: Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[Rauner Signs Stopgap Budget Compromise]]> Thu, 30 Jun 2016 23:07:46 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/budget+summit+rauner.jpg

Governor Rauner signed a temporary budget compromise passed by the Illinois General Assembly on Thursday. The funding measures will ensure schools open this fall and state services continue through the end of the year.

A complete budget, or "grand compromise," is clearly off the table as the state's lingering budget impasse will likely stretch into its second year Friday. The stopgap funding will only serve as a band-aid for the next six months.

During a speech Thursday afternoon, Gov. Bruce Rauner stressed bipartisan solutions and the need to pass a reform-minded, balanced budget. Rauner called the plan "an attempt at good faith compromise to set up the possibility for a grand bargain." 

"I believe, and I firmly hope, that right now we've hit the bottom," Rauner said. "This is the low point in the evolution of Illinois and now we begin to move up. Growth, value for taxpayers, better schools and a political system that is responsive and actually making good decisions for the long-term health of the state."

The impasse has largely hinged on Rauner’s Turnaround Agena, which is focused on pension reform, term limits, freezing property taxes and redistricting workers. The compromise passed Thursday has little trace of the governor's pro-business, union-weakening agenda.

Rauner met with party leaders throughout the week hammering out a stopgap funding compromise for K-12 education and other essential state services, like higher education and social services. The package was broken into a series of bills which were all approved by the Illinois House Thursday.

The first bill ensures that critical state services continue to operate through the end of the year. In total, the bill accounts for a $331 million increase in general state aid funding.

The bill includes $1 billion for higher education and $670 million to fund human services that are not funded by consent decree or court order. All road and transit construction is also funded.

The plan adds $250 million in spending for school districts with low-income students. Roughly $100 million of that would go to Chicago Public Schools, sources told NBC 5.

The compromise also includes a bill requiring the state to contribute $205 million to the Chicago Teachers' Pension Fund. The pension payments, which are only for fiscal year 2017, won't go into effect until June of 2017.

Another bill, which could bring in up to $250 million for Chicago, allows the city to use a property tax to help pay for teacher pensions. The tax, which was eliminated in 1995, will be a seperate line item on Chicago property tax bills.

A tax increment financing bill that was added at the last minute Thursday allows Mayor Rahm Emanuel to access $1 billion in federal money without the approval of the legislature. 

Voting was briefly delayed Thursday when the Black Caucus introduced a last minute amendment and House Republicans broke for a party meeting.

The amendment included $9.3 million for Bridge funding, minority teacher scholarships and other programs.

A spirited debate broke out on the House Floor when representatives returned to session in the afternoon. Rep. Will Franks took offense after members of the assembly applauded when the amendment was dropped. 

"I heard applause from the other side of the aisle," Davis said. "And I couldn't understand why they would be applauding the fact that programs to help minorities are not being debated, they're not being taken into consideration, that they're not being prioritized in a way that they should be."

Davis took aim at House Minority Leader Jim Durkin, claiming the Republican leader wasn't concerned enough about minority communities.

"I understand, you don't care about minority communities as much as I do," Davis said to a smattering of groans. 

Later, Rep. Ron Sandack explained that Republicans were applauding the fact that a hastily introduced amendment was dropped and that the reaction had nothing to do with race.

After approving the stopgap measures earlier in the day, members of the House ultimately voted to appropriate money for the stopgap funding Thursday afternoon.

Madigan addressed the assembly after the vote. He acknowledged that lawmakers still had work to do to pass a full budget, but lauded the bipartisan compromise as a sign of progress.

"This is a compromise effort that also makes important progress for fulfilling our obligations to Illinois' middle class, the elderly, children, the most vulnerable," the speaker said. "Progress that must continue as we move forward."

Durkin praised the bipartisan effort, thanking Democratic leaders for engaging Republicans.

The Illinois Senate unanimously approved the stopgap budget shortly after the plan passed the House.

After the legislature failed to pass a complete, balanced budget before the end of the spring legislative session last month, Rauner introduced his original stopgap plan and embarked on a tour of the state, pushing legislation and railing against a “bailout” for Chicago Public Schools. 

On Thursday, Rauner explained that he shifted his attention to a stopgap plan after Democratic leaders made it clear that, although some reform compromises made sense, they wouldn't vote on them in the lead-up to the November election.

The governor’s stopgap tour culminated in the introduction of revamped bills to fund schools and other services, measures that were filed Tuesday by Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno and House Minority Leader Jim Durkin. 

Democrats also outlined a separate funding plan this week, but no portion of either plan was introduced when lawmakers reconvened in Springfield Wednesday for a special legislative session.

Instead, attention shifted to the bipartisan compromise that passed Thursday. The governor drafted the legislation with Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton, as well as Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno and Durkin.

The nearly year-long impasse has adversely affected health and social services, as well as public colleges and universities in Illinois.

The state has relied on court orders and consent decrees for funding over the course of the impasse and has failed to make payments for certain schools and services because money was not appropriated in a budget.

As a result, a group of Illinois-based human and social service agencies and companies filed a lawsuit against Rauner and members of his administration in May seeking payment of over $100 million. An early childhood education nonprofit led the the governor’s wife, Diana Rauner, joined the lawsuit later in the month.

Additionally, Chicago State University was forced to lay off more than 300 employees in April after cutting the semester short to save critical funds.

<![CDATA[Reporter Plans to Cut Budget Beard Stopgap Funding Passed]]> Thu, 30 Jun 2016 14:01:29 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/kaegard1.png

The reporter who vowed not to shave his beard until a budget deal is reached in Springfield has decided to chop off the facial hair if lawmakers approve a stopgap funding compromise Thursday.

Chris Kaergard, who covers politics for the Peoria Journal Star, started growing his beard after lawmakers failed to reach a budget deal before the end of the spring legislative session last May. As the state's budget impasse stretches into its second year Friday, he is understandably antsy for a makeover.

"I absolutely cannot wait to get rid of the beard,” Kaergard told Ward Room Wednesday. "Never did I imagine it would measure more than nine inches of growth.”

He explained that he was originally holding out for a full budget, but with the outlook looking grim, he chose to settle for the stopgap.

"My hope had been for a full-year budget, but the climate had gotten so bad, so disheartening, that the progress we've seen the last few days with real negotiations and give-and-take -- and at least a halt to the rancor and attacks -- should be encouraged,” Kaergard said. "I think shaving the beard is a symbol of that.”

Kaergard called the stopgap “imperfect” and said he was looking for a new way “to show the continued delay on getting a full budget.”

Lawmakers in Springfield are considering a stopgap budget compromise Thursday that would ensure schools open in the fall and essential services continue through the end of the year.

<![CDATA[Suspicious Bags Temporarily Halt Brown Line Trains]]> Thu, 30 Jun 2016 13:11:36 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/CTA+Brown+Line.png

The Chicago Transit Authority's Brown Line train service was suspended between Fullerton and Chicago's Loop Thursday due to police activity.

Chicago police said the activity stemmed around 11 a.m. from reports of a suspicious package on the Near North Side.

Just after 11 a.m., the Chicago Police Bomb Unit was on the scene investigating two bags found on a roof in the 1500 block of North Hudson, police said. 

As of 1 p.m., Brown Line service was still shut down and CTA officials urged to commuters to find alternate routes. Just before 1:30 p.m., service was resuming, but officials said to expect "residual delays."

Check back for more on this developing story.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Tracking Chance of Storms]]> Thu, 30 Jun 2016 12:38:32 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/WMAQ_000000018503439_1200x675_716082755731.jpg NBC 5's Byron Miranda gives us a look at the forecast.]]> <![CDATA[Illinois' Budget Impasse Gets 'Daily Show' Treatment]]> Thu, 30 Jun 2016 11:53:54 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AP_686400904508.jpg

Illinois’ ongoing budget battle may have no clear end in sight, but that didn’t stop “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah” from taking on the crisis in the latest installment of “Jordan Klepper’s Happy Endings.”

The six-minute segment featuring “Daily Show” correspondent and actor Klepper, follows a previous piece the show aired last year, featuring an Illinois couple who had won the lottery but weren’t able to receive their winnings due to the historic budget impasse.

The latest segment returns to those winners, who now say they have received their winnings – but things don’t end there.

The state’s budget crisis is set to enter its second year this week. If a deal isn't reached, schools may not open and services could shut down after July 1.

“In short, Illinois is more of a sh** show than ever,” Klepper said.

Klepper then catches up with Rep. Ron Sandack and Sen. Daniel Biss, who can’t seem to agree on much when it comes to the impasse.

“Well of course Illinois is screwed with bickering Muppets running the state,” Klepper said.

The segment ends with Klepper saying, “apparently the only thing this state is capable of doing is paying lottery winners.”

But that too is now facing cuts.

Lawmakers returned to Springfield Wednesday for a special legislative session as Gov. Bruce Rauner and party leaders reportedly reached a tentative deal on stopgap funding measures. Lawmakers are set to vote on the measures Thursday morning when the General Assembly reconvenes for another special legislative session.

Photo Credit: Evan Agostini/Invision/AP
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Blackhawks Sign Rozsival and Mashinter to Contracts]]> Thu, 30 Jun 2016 11:06:05 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/180*120/170769033.jpg

Short on options and looking to preserve salary cap space for other moves, the Chicago Blackhawks have agreed to one-year contracts with defenseman Michal Rozsival and forward Brandon Mashinter.

According to Pierre LeBrun of ESPN, Rozsival will be paid $600,000 next season, and Mashinter will carry a salary cap hit of just $575,000 for the 2016-17 season.

The signings leave the Blackhawks with 19 players on their NHL roster, according to CapFriendly, and they’ll have around $5.2 million to spend when free agency officially begins on Friday.

In 51 games for the Blackhawks last season, Rozsival scored one goal and dished out 12 assists, which both matched what he had produced in the previous season. He also appeared in four playoff games for the Blackhawks, with one minor penalty and zero points to his credit.

Mashinter played in 41 games for the Blackhawks, scoring four goals and tallying one assist in those contests. He also racked up 62 hits for the Blackhawks, who will look to him as a player who can get physical in the corners and jar the puck loose to help a shaky defensive corps.

The Blackhawks will still likely look for another defenseman when free agency opens, and adding a veteran forward will almost certainly be on Stan Bowman’s wish list when the team is able to sign players beginning on Friday. 

<![CDATA[Joakim Noah Likely Heading to New York: Reports]]> Thu, 30 Jun 2016 11:31:08 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/joakim+noah+getty.jpg

Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah isn’t thrilled with the direction the team is going, and on Thursday reports began swirling that he has chosen his new destination.

According to a report by ESPN’s Marc Stein, NBA teams have dialed back on their pursuit of Noah because they have learned that his preferred destination is New York to rejoin Derrick Rose with the Knicks:

“The New York Knicks have emerged as the strong favorite to sign free-agent big man Joakim Noah, according to league sources.

“Sources told ESPN that multiple teams interested in Noah have all but conceded that the Knicks are his runaway preferred destination.”

As for price on a contract, Tim Bontemps of the Washington Post had some details, reporting that Noah is expected to sign a deal worth around $18 million per season.

The money is high, but with the NBA’s salary cap expected to take two giant leaps forward over the next two seasons, players at every skill level should expect to receive massive pay bumps as the league really starts to see the impact of their new television contracts with Turner Sports and ESPN.

As for what all this means for the Bulls, the answer is that they’re already prepared for Noah to be playing elsewhere. The team did acquire Robin Lopez in the trade with the Knicks that sent Rose to the Big Apple, and they’ll likely target another big man in free agency, which officially kicks off at 11 p.m. Thursday night. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Man, 26, Dies After Gold Coast Shooting]]> Thu, 30 Jun 2016 08:28:05 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Gold+Coast+Shooting.png

A 26-year old man has died after being gunned down in Chicago’s Gold Coast neighborhood Wednesday night. 

Police say the man was in the 1200 block of N. Clark Street near the Chicago Transit Authority’s Clark and Division Red Line stop around 8 p.m. when someone drove up, got out of a vehicle and started firing. 

Some witnesses report seeing the suspect shoot the man before the man then yelled something at the gunman. The gunman then reportedly shot the 26-year-old several more times

“I heard five, if not six shots,” Gold Coast resident Jeff McPherson said. “Actually I thought it was fireworks, I had no idea it was gunshots. Until I got to the corner and I saw the man down in the street, in the middle of the street. He was trying to run across the street when they shot him.” 

The man, whose identity has not been released, was transported in critical condition to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, where he later was pronounced dead. 

Police say the man was a documented gang member and convicted felon out on parole. 

No one is in custody as police continue to investigate the shooting.

Photo Credit: NBC 5]]>
<![CDATA[Lanes Reopen After Hazmat Closes Inbound Chicago Skyway]]> Thu, 30 Jun 2016 09:44:11 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Sky54.png

All lanes on the inbound Chicago Skyway were temporarily closed Thursday morning after an overturned semi prompted a HazMat response on Chicago’s Southeast Side.

The truck was traveling near 79th Street and Stoney Avenue around 12:30 a.m. when it rolled over, officials said, spilling diesel fuel and steel beams onto the roadway.

The crash created a HazMat incident while Chicago fire crews cleaned up fuel from the spill.

All of the inbound Skyway traffic was being forced off at 87th Street before the Tollway Plaza until the roadway was reopened just after 7 a.m., officials said.

Photo Credit: Sky5
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Chicagoans Reunite With Loved Ones After Airport Attack]]> Wed, 29 Jun 2016 23:27:28 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/istanbul+chicago+ohare+reunion+0629.jpg

On Wednesday night, travelers who were in Istanbul when the deadly airport attacks occurred arrived in Chicago, sharing their stories and reuniting with loved ones after a particularly terrifying experience.

Ann Brooks could not stand still at O’Hare International Airport, waiting for a glimpse of her 23-year-old daughter Sarah.

“I was pretty anxious and I’m just happy to see her,” Brooks said.

Like many passengers, Brooks’ daughter Sarah Brenne said security was tight at the Istanbul airport, and she went through three security checkpoints.

“I was a little freaked out to begin with but then I was there, I felt completely safe, security was extremely high, everyone was doing a great job,” Brenne said.

The attacks occurred outside the security checkpoints, a vulnerability at many airports across the world that has security experts concerned.

“If the threat level persists, we may have to go to levels like that of strengthening the outer perimeter,” said Arnette Heintze, CEO of Hillard Heintze

The TSA has stepped up security at airports across the U.S. right before the holiday weekend. Transportation and security experts expect more changes in the near future, but at O'Hare Wednesday night, the focus was on hugging loved ones who just arrived home, and keeping them close.

“You want to live your life to the fullest every day but at the same time at the back of your head theres always this question,” said Baran Mutlu, whose brother lives in Turkey. “Anything can happen at any moment.”

Ozlem Parlar hasn't seen her brother in two years, so when he arrived at O’Hare Wednesday, they shared a relieved and bittersweet reunion.

“I’m praying for them and I hope everything will be better soon,” Parlar said.

<![CDATA[Longtime Tinley Park Fire Chief Retires]]> Wed, 29 Jun 2016 22:05:51 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/WMAQ_000000018487919_1200x675_715601987830.jpg A longtime Tinley Park fire chief who retired after 45 years got a special send off from firefighters as he took his last ride on a firetruck Wednesday. LeeAnn Trotter reports.]]> <![CDATA[Man Critically Wounded in Near North Side Shooting]]> Wed, 29 Jun 2016 21:28:42 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Chicago+Ambulance.png

A man was critically wounded in a shooting on Chicago's North Side Wednesday evening, according to police and fire officials. 

The man, believed to be in his late 20s or early 30s, was shot in the 1200 block of N Clark St in the city's Near North Side neighborhood at 8:09 p.m., police confirmed. 

He sustained multiple gunshot wounds and was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital in critical condition, fire officials said.

No one is in custody for the shooting, and police continue to investigate. 

Check back for updates on this developing story.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Rauner, Lawmakers Reach Tentative Stopgap Funding Deal]]> Wed, 29 Jun 2016 21:08:45 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Springfield2.jpg

Lawmakers returned to Springfield Wednesday for a special legislative session as Gov. Bruce Rauner and party leaders reportedly reached a tentative deal on stopgap funding measures just days before Illinois' budget impasse is set to hit the one year mark.

Rauner met with House Speaker Mike Madigan, Senate President John Cullerton, House Minority Leader Jim Durkin and Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno at length on Tuesday evening and throughout the day Wednesday, giving many a glimmer of hope that a compromise is close.

During a break Wednesday, Cullerton was cautiously optimistic, noting that the meetings marked the first time this sort of negotiation had taken place.

“We’re continuing to negotiate with the governor,” Cullerton said. “People are making offers and counteroffers and we look forward to continuing to try to come up with a solution.”

A tentative deal was reportedly reached Wednesday and lawmakers could vote on the measure as early as Thursday morning when the General Assembly reconvenes for another special legislative session.

The plan includes $250 million in added spending for school districts with low-income students, sources told NBC 5. Roughly $100 million of that would go to Chicago Public Schools.

The measure would also allow the City of Chicago to raise property taxes to help pay for teacher pensions, which would create another $250 million. The stopgap budget would also fund $2 billion in road projects.

Although lawmakers are reportedly close to an agreement on stopgap spending for essential government services, like higher education and social services, K-12 education funding has remained a major point of contention between Democrats and Republicans.

Rep. David McSweeney, who opposes the plan, pointed to potential tax hikes.

"I plan to vote against the stopgap funding bill because it will worsen our fiscal problems and increase the likelihood of a major tax increase in January," McSweeney told NBC 5. "The bill is the equivalent of putting a band-aid on a gaping wound."

After the General Assembly failed to pass a budget agreement before the end of the spring legislative session in May, Rauner shifted his attention to funding education and critical state services.

Rauner toured the state throughout the month of June, pushing his stopgap funding plan and railing against a “bailout” for Chicago Public Schools.

"I have said it before, and I say it again today: we must not bail out a broken system that refuses to change the way it does business," Rauner said in a statement Tuesday. "Forcing Illinois to raise its income tax to bail out CPS is fundamentally unfair to our school children, parents, homeowners, and small business owners across the state."

The governor's stopgap tour culminated in the introduction of revamped bills to fund schools and other services, measures that were filed Tuesday by Radogno and Durkin.

In total, the package includes $50.3 billion in funding for fiscal year 2017, as well as $25 billion to shore up fiscal year 2016. The new plan would fund K-12 education for the full year with a funding increase of $240 million. All told, schools would receive $7 billion.

A “hold harmless” clause, which gives all school districts as much money as they received the previous year, is included in the education funding bill.

The Democrats’ plan, which was also announced this week, is broken up into five separate bills. The bills individually fund: education, state operations, higher education, human services and highway construction.

The education bill would increase funding for schools by $760 million. It would increase CPS’ funding by $286 million and give the district $112 million for pension payments.

Nevertheless, no portion of either plan was introduced Wednesday.

The nearly year-long impasse has adversely affected health and social services, as well as public colleges and universities in Illinois.

The state has relied on court orders and consent decrees for funding over the course of the impasse and has failed to make payments for certain schools and services because money was not appropriated in a budget.

As a result, a group of Illinois-based human and social service agencies and companies filed a lawsuit against Rauner and members of his administration in May seeking payment of over $100 million. An early childhood education nonprofit led the the governor’s wife, Diana Rauner, joined the lawsuit later in the month.

Additionally, Chicago State University was forced to lay off more than 300 employees in April after cutting the semester short to save critical funds.

The impasse has largely hinged on Rauner’s Turnaround Agena, which is focused on pension reform, term limits, freezing property taxes and redistricting workers. However, the recent stopgap funding plans have little trace of the governor's pro-business, union-weakening agenda.

A complete budget, or "grand compromise," is presumably off the table as the state's lingering budget impasse will likely stretch into its second year Friday. The stopgap funding will allow schools to open and essential services to continue, but only for six months.

<![CDATA[Broken Refrigerator Leaves Couple in Life-Threatening Situation]]> Thu, 30 Jun 2016 10:22:55 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/refrigerator+responds.png

When Rinkje and Chuck Zondor bought their new refrigerator, the retired Indiana couple never imagined it could lead to a potentially life-threatening situation.

The dilemma started out basic enough when the new appliance went on the fritz almost immediately after they got it. Nearly a dozen repairs later, it still wasn’t working. At one point, the Zondors say the fridge was dead for a full month, which created a dangerous situation for Chuck, who is a diabetic.

"We're risking our lives because we have no refrigerator," Rinkje Zondor recalled. “He’s diabetic. His insulin, we had to worry about keeping that refrigerated.”

But with an extended warranty in place, the Zondor’s thought they were covered.

"In the warranty it says if it's not repairable, they will give you a settlement of 75 percent,” Rinkje Zondor said. “So I was asking to get that and they said no.”

Living with bags of ice and coolers out their back door, the Zondors had enough and called NBC 5 Responds.

The name on the appliance was Kitchenaid, but we contacted the parent company, Whirlpool, to break this log jam. Whirlpool quickly offered the Zondors a new fridge worth about $3,100.

“As the consumer, you're just kind of at their mercy. So NBC really did, they did the job, “ Rinkje Zondor said.

<![CDATA[New Plan Aims to Bring Jobs to Struggling Neighborhoods]]> Wed, 29 Jun 2016 18:22:33 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/211*120/chatham+chicago+violence+generic.png

For many in Chicago’s Chatham neighborhood, a new initiative announced Wednesday brings with it a sense of hope in more ways than one.

In what has long been known as the heart of Chicago’s African American middle class, residents say the city’s violence has been getting far too close to home.

“I live right in the midst of Chatham and I hear gunshots at night,” said resident Judy Alderson. “It is what it is.”

But many say it was an act of violence that may have helped lay the foundation for the neighborhood’s recovery. That tragic incident happened two years ago, when a bullet pierced the wall of a real estate office at 79th and Evans, striking teacher Betty Howard.

The shooting happened across the street from Congressman Bobby Rush’s office, and he has since vowed to bring back business and residents, restoring the neighborhood to what it once was.

On Wednesday, Rush announced the Greater Chatham Initiative, a plan to bring investment and growth back to Chatham and neighboring communities including Auburn Gresham, Avalon Park and Greater Grand Crossing.

“Without economic vitality, you have no hope,” he said. “And that’s the problem. We are dealing not only with an economic crisis but a crisis of hope in our cities and in neighborhoods like Chatham.”

It’s an initiative area officials hope will revitalize in the community and draw new residents.

“We have the housing stock, but we don’t have the amenities that would encourage a young family to move into our area,” said Ald. Roderick Sawyer. “This will give us the shot in the arm to attract the new generation of Chathamites.”

There is also hope that the investment, and the jobs it aims to bring, will calm some of the violence the neighborhoods have seen in recent years.

“It is a very powerful weapon when you have neighborhoods, strong communities, there is no space for gang banger,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

Residents also note that the effort could help keep kids off the streets.

“I believe if these kids had more jobs and something to do, there will always be bad things, but I don’t think it would be as much,” said resident Bianca Stephans.

Photo Credit: NBC Chicago]]>
<![CDATA[Honoring Chicagoland's Fallen Heroes]]> Sat, 10 Nov 2012 20:11:50 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/160*120/american-flag1.jpg NBC Chicago salutes the men and women in the armed forces who have died in combat.

Photo Credit: Getty]]>
<![CDATA[Things To Do In Chicago This Fourth Of July Weekend]]> Wed, 29 Jun 2016 17:57:46 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/navy+pier+fireworks+chicago.jpg If you're looking for ways to celebrate this Fourth of July weekend, there's no shortage of events in the Chicago area. ]]> <![CDATA[Ditka Says He Hasn't 'Made Up His Mind' About GOP Convention]]> Wed, 29 Jun 2016 17:30:09 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/ditka-GettyImages-463267934.jpg

Despite reports that Mike Ditka will be at the Republican National Convention among other sports icons next month, Da Coach says he has not yet accepted the invitation from Da Donald.

Ditka confirmed to NBC Chicago Wednesday that he has been invited to the convention and he does support Trump, but said he has not yet made a decision on whether or not he would attend or speak.

“I haven’t made up my mind yet,” he said, contradicting earlier reports that he declined the offer.

The Sun-Times reported just minutes before NBC 5 spoke to Ditka that Da Coach had a phone call with Trump Wednesday in which he said he’s “not big into doing things like that.”

Earlier this week, Bloomberg, citing sources, reported that a number of sports figures were slated to appear in Cleveland next month, including Ditka, former Indiana University basketball coach Bobby Knight, NASCAR chief Brian France and Mike Tyson.

Shortly after, Ditka told several publications he had not been contacted by Trump’s campaign and was unaware of the request.

Trump also tweeted after the initial report that Tyson was not asked to speak at the convention.

“Iron Mike Tyson was not asked to speak at the Convention though I'm sure he would do a good job if he was,” Trump tweeted. “The media makes everything up!”

Ditka, who previously dubbed himself as an "ultra-ultra-ultra conservative," has not been shy of his support for Trump since he announced his presidential campaign.

Last year, Ditka told the Sun-Times he believes Trump has "the fire in his belly to make America great again and probably do it the right way."

"I do support Trump," he said Wednesday, adding, "You can let all the liberals in Chicago know that." 

Photo Credit: Getty Images/File]]>
<![CDATA[Man Stuns Suburban Bartender, Leaves $1,500 Tip]]> Thu, 30 Jun 2016 20:09:38 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/nicole+thompson.jpg

When Nicole Thompson received a $500 tip while bartending at a pizza restaurant in suburban Chicago last week, she almost couldn’t believe it. But when the same customer tipped her $1,000 just minutes later, she didn’t know what to do.

Thompson, a teacher who is also a longtime bartender for Nick’s Pizza & Pub in Crystal Lake, was simply helping out at the restaurant’s Elgin location for Father's Day when her friend and his boss came in.

The friend’s boss, who she said wanted to remain anonymous, asked to pay the tab for the guests next to him. As he did, he left Thompson a $500 tip.

“Of course I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, no. Are you sure?' And he was like, ‘Yes, yes, yes,'” she said.

Then, her father came in for a visit, and began chatting with Thompson’s friend and his boss.

Soon after, the generous man asked to pay for her father’s tab too, Thompson said. And that’s when he stunned everyone – leaving her an additional $1,000 tip.

“I said ‘I can’t take this,’ and he said ‘Yes, you can,'” Thompson said. “The rest of the day I felt like different, like, what just happened here. I never anticipated that.”

According to Thompson, the man said he'd heard from her friend that she works two jobs and said she deserved it because she “works so hard.”

The owner of the restaurants, Nick Sarillo, wrote on Facebook that he was excited for Thompson.

“Like many of the team-members at Nick’s she works hard, working as a school teacher as her full-time job and being a team-member at Nick's as her second job, she puts in many hours to try and get ahead of all her fiscal commitments in life,” he wrote. “Yet, she manages to put those financial pressures aside to BE fully present with her guest.”

Sarillo added that it was nice to see someone “being very human – and giving forward,” and addressed the donor directly: “Although I have never met you - your act of kindness is inspiring, and reminds me that there is still many more good people in this world than there is bad.”

When asked if there was anything she’d like to say to the man whose generosity has inspired so many, Thompson simply said, “Thank you.”

“Thank you that was so nice,” she said. “It totally helped out with finances. It was so awesome.”

Photo Credit: Nicole Thompson]]>
<![CDATA[Kristin Cavallari Says Career Has Suffered Living in Chicago]]> Wed, 29 Jun 2016 14:57:36 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Kristin-Cavallari-GettyImages-488853894.jpg

Former reality TV star Kristin Cavallari says her career has suffered “a little bit” since she moved to Chicago with her husband Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler, but the city offers her something living in the limelight never could.

“I’d be lying if I didn’t say that, living in Chicago I feel like my career suffers a little bit just because I am completely out of the limelight,” she told Yahoo! Celebrity. “But I would so much rather be with my family and essentially be a stay-at-home mom. It’s all worth it. I just try to just focus on that and just be thankful for everything that I have.”

The comment came during an interview to discuss how the now-fashion designer went from launching a shoe line with Chinese Laundry to designing jewelry with her best friend.

It’s not the first time the 29-year-old, who has Midwest roots, has hinted at a sense of regret over living in the city.

Last year, she told Elle Magazine she hopes to move to the Nashville area when Cutler’s six-year contract ends because “Chicago’s just not home.”

Cavallari recently gave birth to the couple’s third child, a daughter named Saylor James. She is also mom to two sons, Camden and Jaxon.

“They are growing up so fast,” she told Yahoo!. “Saylor has her bottom two teeth now, which is very exciting. And she just started eating food, so that’s been fun. And Jackson, I think, is officially potty trained. He hasn’t been wearing diapers, except for at nighttime, which is awesome. But he and Camden, when they are out in the backyard, they’ll just pee in the grass. And I’m OK with it. You have to pick your battles.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA['Enough': Front Page Editorials Urge End to Budget Impasse]]> Thu, 30 Jun 2016 08:49:57 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/rauner-AP_745939433751.jpg

A host of Illinois newspapers printed front page editorial urging lawmakers to pass a budget Wednesday.

The State Journal Register, Peoria Journal Star, Pekin Daily Times and The Pantagraph all claimed Illinoisans have had “enough” of the political standoff in separate editorials that called on the governor and the General Assembly to push beyond stopgap funding measures to pass a full budget.

The Illinois General Assembly reconvened in Springfield Wednesday. Both Democrats and Republicans are expected to introduce stopgap measures to fund K-12 education and other essential government services, like higher education and social services. Meanwhile, Gov. Bruce Rauner is reportedly working on a compromise with party leaders.

If a deal isn’t made, the state’s ongoing budget impasse will likely stretch into its second year Friday. This means schools may not open and state services could shut down after July 1.

The Pantagraph Editorial Board called for immediate action.

“The state needs a budget,” they wrote. “Now. The state needs your leadership over partisanship, beginning today when you return to the state capital for the first time in a month."

The Peoria Journal Star questioned the leadership in Springfield.

“It’s fair to ask, with but hours to go before beginning a new budget year with, as of now, no authority to spend money: What other legitimate business would behave this way? What other workplace would tolerate this without heads rolling,” the paper’s editorial said.

The Pekin Times Editorial Board claimed Illinois’ “most vulnerable citizens have been hung out to dry.”

“To no apparent concern to Gov. Rauner or Speaker Madigan, one million of the most vulnerable Illinoisans have been left to fend for themselves.” the editorial board wrote. "And it’s only getting worse."

The State Journal-Register Editorial Board claimed politicians viewed the fallout as collateral damage.

“Perhaps the most damaging long-term effect is the toxic cynicism and frustration this crisis has created among its residents, who have to wonder at this point if Rauner, Madigan and Cullerton simply view the toll on Illinois’ people as mere collateral damage,” the editorial board wrote.

The Chicago Sun-Times, The Southern Illinoisan, The Register Mall, The Rock Island Argus, Daily Herald, News-Gazette, Journal Gazette and Times-Courier, Daily Journal, Daily Review Atlas, The Carroll County Review and Herald & Review also printed similar front page editorials Wednesday.

Meanwhile, party leaders met with the governor for 3 hours last night in a meeting House Speaker Mike Madigan called "productive." Rauner, Madigan, Senate President John Cullerton, House Minority Leader and Senate Minority Leader reconvened Wednesday morning and are still ironing out a deal in the governor's office.

During a break from the meeting Wednesday, Senate President John Cullerton was cautiously optimistic about the compromise, noting that this was the first time this sort of negotiation had taken place.

“We’re continuing to negotiate with the governor,” Cullerton said. “People are making offers and counter offers and we look forward to continuing this morning to try to come up with a solution.”

Photo Credit: AP]]>