<![CDATA[NBC Chicago - Chicago News]]> Copyright 2016 http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/local http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/5-Chicago-Blue.png NBC Chicago http://www.nbcchicago.com en-us Thu, 11 Feb 2016 13:37:29 -0600 Thu, 11 Feb 2016 13:37:29 -0600 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Sneak Peek Inside 2016 Chicago Auto Show]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 12:20:20 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Marley+Kayden.png

The Chicago Auto Show will take over the McCormick Place Saturday for nine full days and one million square feet of the latest and greatest in the automotive world.

NBC 5's Marley Kayden gave us a first look Thursday from the media preview.

Photo Credit: NBC 5
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<![CDATA[OK Go Defies Gravity in Latest Music Video]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 12:03:11 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/216*120/ok+go+upside+down+inside+out.jpg

OK Go is known for breaking barriers when it comes to their innovative music videos, but their newest video release takes things to a whole new level—literally.

The musicians, who are from Chicago, went on a plane to film their nearly 3-minute video for “Upside Down & Inside Out” in zero gravity.

“We shot this in zero gravity, in an actual plane, in the sky,” a disclaimer in the video reads. “There are no wires or green screen.”

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The clip features band members and two aerialist acrobats dressed as flight attendants doing acrobatic moves throughout the plane. At one point, the group releases dozens of balls into the plane, breaks piñatas filled with candy and even pops balloons filled with paint.

The video was made in collaboration with Russia’s S7 Airlines and was filmed in a single, continuous take near the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center for the Russian Space Agency. The group said some time was removed from the clip, however, because the longest a person can achieve weightlessness in such circumstances is roughly 27 seconds.

“Because we wanted the video to be a single, uninterrupted routine, we shot continuously over the course of 8 consecutive weightless periods, which took about 45 minutes, total,” the band wrote on its website. “We paused our actions, and the music, during the non-weightless periods, and then cut out these sections and smoothed over each transition with a morph.”

The video took months of planning and required three weeks of training at the center in Russia, according to the group. The band said several crew members got sick during the filming, noting that during 21 flights, “there were 58 puke events.”

The clip has been viewed more than four million times in the first five hours since it was posted to Facebook Thursday.

OK Go has made headlines for their entertaining music videos for nearly a decade, following the release of “Here It Goes Again.” “Upside Down & Inside Out” is featured on the band’s album “Hungry Ghosts.”  

Photo Credit: OK Go
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<![CDATA[16-Year-Old Girl Shot While Walking to School in Chicago]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 13:18:42 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/16yo+shot+humboldt+park.jpg

A 16-year-old girl was shot Thursday morning while walking to school in Chicago,  police said.

Authorities believe the girl was not the intended target and may have been struck by a stray bullet.

The teen was wounded around 8:30 a.m. in the 1400 block of North Kildare Avenue in Chicago’s West Humboldt Park neighborhood, according to Officer Jose Estrada with Chicago Police News Affairs.

The teen girl told officers she was walking on the street when she heard gunshots and felt pain. She was taken to Illinois Masonic Medical Center in stable condition, officials said. 

Witnesses reported seeing a shootout near the scene involving a U-Haul driver and someone in another vehicle, but police could not immediately confirm that information. According to area residents, someone inside a vehicle opened fire at a U-Haul and the U-Haul driver fired back. 

"They had a shootout," said one witness, who wished to remain anonymous for safety concerns. "They were shooting back and forth at each other."

The U-Haul driver attempted to get away, but crashed into a parked car, causing damage to several vehicles, witnesses said. 

Crecia Vinson said her car was among those damaged in the crash. 

"I was just hoping it was some bullet holes," she said. "But that's a whole lot of damage. Not replacable at all."

Neighbors said the shooting is frightening as it happened at a time when other children were walking to school. The teen is the second unintended victim to be shot by a stray bullet in the city in the past week. 

On Friday, 25-year-old Aaren O'Connor was shot while returning from work in the city's Heart of Chicago neighborhood. She died two days later, her family said. 

"The violence just needs to stop," Vinson said. "This nonsense about shooting, riding down the street, killing our kids and damaging each other's property, it's sad. It needs to stop... I just pray the little girl is OK and she comes out on top and whoever is responsible goes down for what happened."

Check back for details on this developing story. 

<![CDATA[Body of Missing Arlington Heights Father Found]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 10:30:25 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Arlington+Heights+Dad.png

The body of a missing husband and father of two was found in a suburban forest preserve Wednesday, two days after he disappeared after leaving his Arlington Heights family home.

Timothy Anderson was found dead at 10:20 a.m. in the Cook County Forest Preserve in Barrington Hills, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner's office. The cause and manner of death weren't immediately known, but the sheriff's office said a death investigation was ongoing.  

Anderson's car was also located near the preserve at the intersection of Donlea and Bateman Roads the same day after his cell phone pinged to the location. He did not have a previous connection to the area, according to family and police.

The 38-year-old was last seen at home Monday morning after his wife, Cathrall Anderson, said he woke up around 4:30 a.m. and left for work at Northern Trust in Chicago. 

"He kind of had some sort of urgency so I thought maybe he was late taking the trash, but obviously then I thought the gym," she said hours before her husband's body was found. "It was too early to have a big conversation the day after the Super Bowl, but obviously I wish that we had ... We are just looking for some sort of resolution, hopefully a positive one,"

Family members set up a search headquarters at a riding stable near the preserve in hopes of finding the father of two young boys alive. Charlie Drost, who has been a friend of Anderson’s since college said his disappearance is “very out of character."

"It's very bizarre ... Tim was guy who stuck to a schedule and didn't really deviate from it," Drost said, who had joined trained rescuers in hopes of finding his friend. "It's not something Tim would do, disappear from his kids like that."

Anderson typically took the train to his office in the Loop each morning.

“We have a happy marriage, he was a very dedicated father to our boys,” his wife said, adding that she had been painfully reliving every detail of the days since he left their house, desperate for a clue that could point to what may have happened.

Arlington Heights police said Anderson had no known physical or psychological issues. Friends also said he had no known financial issues.

Photo Credit: Family Photo / NBC]]>
<![CDATA[Chicago to Host 2017 NHL Draft: Reports]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 10:26:06 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/NHL+Draft.png

The 2017 NHL draft is coming to Chicago, sources tell ESPN.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel will join the National Hockey League and the Chicago Blackhawks at 3 p.m. at the United Center Thursday where they are expected to announce that the city will be hosting the NHL draft for the first time.

The NHL Entry Draft is held every year in the months after the season ends, and has rotated around cities in the league since the first event 1963. It became a public event for the first time in 1980.

It will be the first time Chicago has hosted the event in its 53-year history. This year's draft will be held JUne 24 and 25 in Buffalo, New York.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Could Illinois Soon See 99-Cent Gas Prices?]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 08:22:11 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-108885220.jpg

Kids 12 years old or younger have never seen gas prices as low as they are now in the Chicago area.

Illinois is one of nine states that hit a 12-year low Thursday. Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana, Ohio, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Kansas and North Dakota are also on that lucky list.

So why is it so cheap right now? It comes down to simple economics, according to GasBuddy.com’s senior analyst Patrick DeHaan. Meaning, supply outweighing demand.

The national average Thursday sat at $1.70 per gallon, down 26 cents from one month ago, according to AAA Fuel Gauge report. In Illinois, the average fell to $1.53 a gallon, which is a 50-cent drop from a month prior. In the Chicago metro

DeHaan told USA Today that with such bulging supply, typically-unthinkable 99-cent gas prices are now a strong possibility.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[3 Bladed Weapons, Gun Used in Gage Park Family Massacre]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 10:40:26 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Gage+Park+4.png

Three "edge weapons" were used to carry out a gruesome slaying of six family members in their home in the Gage Park neighborhood of Chicago, police said.

Police found the bodies around 1 p.m. last Thursday when they were called to a small brick house in the 5700 block of South California Avenue after one of the men failed to show up for work.

Five of the six — 58-year-old Rosaura Martinez; her 60-year-old husband, Noe Martinez Sr.; their 38-year-old son, Noe Martinez Jr.; and the couple's grandchildren,13-year-old Leonardo Cruz and 10-year-old Alexis Cruz — died from either multiple sharp force or multiple sharp and blunt force wounds, police said.

Three types of knives or other bladed cutting instruments were used to carry out most of the killings, according to police, but those weapons were not recovered from the crime scene.

The young children's mother, 32-year-old Maria Herminia Martinez, died of multiple gunshot wounds, police said. A rifle gun was recovered from the home but is not believed to have been used in her shooting, police said.

Authorities are reviewing hours of surveillance video from CTA buses and nearby city cameras for evidence in the investigation. Police said they are closer to ruling out at least one theory on a motive for the slayings of three generations of family members. It's not clear who killed them.

Investigators continue to interview family members coming from Mexico with the aid of the Mexican Consulate in Chicago, which is working to bring the victims’ bodies to Mexico for burial.

The surviving family of the victims has set up a GoFundMe page to raise money to cover funeral and burial expenses. As of Thursday morning it had raised more than $26,000.

A memorial in front of the home on Chicago’s Southwest Side continues to grow with candles, pictures of the victims and prayers.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[12 Dangerous Intersections for Runners: Report]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 08:50:25 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/212*120/GettyImages-521735013.jpg

It’s widely known that Chicago has a devoted running community.

To help runners in the city stay safe, Fleet Feet Sports has compiled a list of the most dangerous intersections in the city.

The company compiled the list with help from sprinters themselves who have posted on the Chicago runners Reddit page. They also asked their social media followers for feedback.

Their list includes 12 different intersections (well, most are intersections) all over the city:

  • Roosevelt & Union
  • Diversey & Lake Shore
  • Logan Square(Kedzie & Logan)
  • Alleyways, all of them
  • Elston & Irving Park
  • Halsted & Fullerton
  • Fullerton & Damen
  • Ashland & Cortland
  • Ardmore & Sheridan
  • LaSalle & Clark
  • Sangamon & Jackson
  • North & Milwaukee

Photo Credit: Getty Images/Moment RF]]>
<![CDATA[Chicago Among Best Places to Find Love: Report]]> Wed, 10 Feb 2016 19:45:22 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Valentine%27s+Day+Balloons.jpg

A new report named Chicago as one of the best places to find a match ahead of Valentine’s Day.

The real estate website Zillow released the top cities to find Valentine’s Day love, and Chicago ranked 14th out of 50 cities overall, according to the report.

The density of single residents, number of date spots per 10,000 people, median monthly disposable income among singles, and the percentage of people that own a vehicle and walk to work were all factors that were considered in the study, according to Zillow.

Researchers also broke down the study by sexual orientation. Chicago ranked 18th for women seeking women, 14th for men seeking men, 16th for women seeking men, and 10th for men seeking women, according to Zillow.

Boston was named the number one city to find Valentine’s Day love, according to the report, followed by San Francisco, New York City, and Washington, D.C.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Fridge Installation Causes Big Damage at Oswego Home]]> Wed, 10 Feb 2016 19:39:05 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/215*120/sdfsdfdf.png

Drop by drop, a little leak behind Katie Brom’s new refrigerator caused extensive damage to the floor of her Oswego kitchen and basement ceiling last summer.

It was a quiet problem she first noticed in the form of water pooling at the foot of the appliance. With three little boys in the house, and another child she cares for, Brom said she first thought the water was left behind by little hands filling up water on the refrigerator door.

“They fill up their water cup all day,” Brom told NBC 5 Responds. “So we’d wipe it up and ask them to please not do that.”

But that theory didn’t last long, she said. Shortly after all the boys were in bed one night, Brom noticed the pesky pool of water again—back, and growing, though no kids were around. That’s when she said she looked behind the appliance and yelled.

“There was a pool of water back there, around the side and leaking into my living room,” Brom said. “I saw corrosion and some rust on the back of the refrigerator.”

The new refrigerator, which Brom ordered from Best Buy and had installed just five weeks earlier, clearly had an installation problem, Brom said. But when she turned to the store for help, she said she was stunned to hear what they had to say.

“They told me they couldn’t help me because it had been more than 30 days,” she said.

Brom said the company told her to call the manufacturer, the first of a series of calls. The retailer sent her to the manufacturer, which pointed to the installer, which pointed to insurers.

When asked how many companies she dealt with to try to solve her problem, she laughed. “Let’s just say I’ve met a lot of new people!”

Brom turned to NBC 5 Responds after hitting multiple dead ends. She said the most unsettling discovery was finding that Best Buy couldn’t give her the name of the installer who came to her home with the appliance.

“They couldn’t even tell me who came to my house,” she told NBC 5 Responds. “They didn’t know their names, didn’t know who they worked for. I’m here alone with kids, and this is someone you don’t even know?”

After NBC 5 Responds called to inquire about Brom’s situation, the retailer quickly determined she was eligible for payment for the damage to her flooring—to the tune of about $7,000. A customer service executive who was in contact with Brom also arranged for delivery of a new refrigerator.

The company told us in a statement: “We were disappointed with the service Ms. Brom received from a third-party company that handles delivery and installation. When we became aware of the issue, we quickly replaced her refrigerator and compensated her for the damage.”

For her part, Brom said she will have a list of questions the next time delivery is included with any purchase. Her first question: “Who are you?”

<![CDATA[Employees Donate Tips to Help Former Coworker Pay Baby's Medical Bills]]> Wed, 10 Feb 2016 22:27:21 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/212*120/image1194.JPG

Employees at a coffee shop in northwest Indiana are helping a former coworker in a big way during her time of need.

Kayla Robinson, 21, of Calumet Township, worked at the Coffee Cabin in Schererville fulltime for almost a year before leaving her job to give birth to her son. She and her husband Brandon Robbins welcomed baby Keign on Sept. 1.

First believed to be healthy, Keign suddenly started having problems breathing. After running tests, it was found that not only does he have a hole in his heart that needs to be patched, the main artery is too narrow, and two other arteries are in the wrong places and need to be switched.

They are traveling back and forth to Chicago to visit the baby.

"He is my superman, he is my fighter," Robinson said of Keign, who is in an Oak Lawn hospital.

Kayla's former coworkers at the Coffee Cabin have been donating their tips to help with medical bills.

“I love everyone here. It's an awesome atmosphere. They are my family, my cabin family. What they are doing means so much to me,” said Robinson, who had been working at the restaurant since it opened. "I am so lucky."

The couple took the baby to see cardiologist Monday where they were told the baby is doing better, but they are still a little worried. Doctors said the baby might have to have a heart transplant.

A GoFundMe page has been started for the family. 

"I know when he gets older he is going to appreciate it," Robinson said of her son. 

Photo Credit: Kayla Robinson
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<![CDATA[Illinois Pols Respond to Obama’s Statehouse Speech]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 12:02:11 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Obama+Springfield.png

Members of the Illinois legislature praised President Barack Obama for his speech at the Capitol Wednesday, which acknowledged a “poisonous political climate" and encouraged unity and bipartisanship. 

“We’ve always gone through periods when our democracy seems stuck, and when that happens we have to find a new way of doing business,” Obama said. “We’re in one of those moments. We have to build a better politics.”

During his speech, Obama said making bipartisan compromises “doesn’t make me a sell out to my own party.” He then turned to Rep. Ken Dunkin and said, “We’ll talk later, Dunkin. Sit down.”

Dunkin, a democrat, has recently come under fire after forging an alliance with Gov. Rauner.

“I was honored that President Obama affirmed my decision to find a compromise to bring people together,” Dunkin told Ward Room. “As the President noted, our problems are not new and compromise is not a sign of weakness, but necessary for self-government.”

Dunkin also told Ward Room that he has been invited to visit the White House on March 17.

Republican Senate Majority Leader Christine Radogno, who has also sided with Gov. Bruce Rauner during the state’s historic budget stalemate, responded positively to Obama’s visit.

“Despite political differences, it really is cool to know the most powerful man in the world,” Radogno said. “The President visited with those members who served with him in the State Senate during his visit to Springfield today.”

Senate President John Cullerton also spoke fondly of Obama.

“He has challenged each and every one of us to be the solution, to rise above rhetoric, refuse to be so easily divided and recognize avenues for agreement even among those who disagree,” Cullerton said in a statement.

Senate Assistant Majority Leader Kimberly Lightford praised the the tone and message of the president’s speech.

“To move passed [sic] the gridlock, we have to defy the pervasive narrative that we cannot work together or that political interests are outweighing the interests of the people,” Lightford said in a statement. “Our leaders need to come together with a fresh outlook and a grounded understanding of the consequences of their motivations and actions.”

Obama explained that his passion for politics has not diminished as he approaches the end of his political career.

“The point I’m trying to make is I care about fixing our politics,” Obama said. “The reason this is important to me? Next year I’ll still hold the most important title of all, citizen.”

Photo Credit: NBC 5]]>
<![CDATA[Ill. Vets Complain of Problems With New Medical Program]]> Wed, 10 Feb 2016 17:47:02 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/222*120/coffey+vets+investigative.jpg

The government’s new program designed to help veterans receive faster medical care is facing growing criticism from veterans, providers and lawmakers.

Hundreds of thousands of Illinois veterans could be impacted if delays continue to occur with Veterans Choice, the program which allows vets already enrolled in VA (Veterans Affairs) health care to receive care from non-VA doctors.

“I would say it’s a pretty big problem,” said Senator Mark Kirk of Illinois.

Kirk said six Illinois veterans have already contacted his office to complain about bills they have received from Veterans Choice providers. Kirk said there could be many more veterans facing similar payment issues who have yet to speak out.

Providers, too, have noticed payment delays from the private company hired by the government to manage Veterans Choice.

Jim Zotti owns Red Aspen Acupuncture in La Grange. His practice is authorized by the government to treat veterans through Veterans Choice. Zotti said it took several months to be reimbursed nearly $10,000. He said at one point his acupuncture specialists were starting to balk at treating the veterans and adding new veteran patients.

“We’d like it to be a more efficient process so that we can serve the vets and help these guys with their conditions,” Zotti said.

Some of the veterans who receive treatment at Red Aspen Acupuncture said Veterans Choice comes in handy, but the program has glitches.

Vietnam combat veteran Raymond Capiz receives routine acupuncture for his neck and said he does not want to lose access to his routine treatments outside of the VA.

“To me it would seem like a loss of a tremendous treatment that was beneficial for me,” Capiz said.

Kirk also wrote a letter to the Secretary of the VA, Robert McDonald, expressing his concerns about the result of a recent Inspector General’s report that found nearly 300 veterans in Colorado were not added to the Veterans Choice List in a timely manner, even though they qualified.

“We have intended this to be less hassle and not as much bureaucracy and the VA should not stand in the way of health care for veterans,” Kirk said.

President Obama signed the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act in 2014 after Americans learned that thousands of veterans were waiting months for appointments at VA facilities and some were dying before they ever received care.

Representative Robert Dold (IL-10) said he has also heard of reimbursement issues in his district regarding Veterans Choice.

“While care remains strong at the Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center in the district that I represent, the lack of urgency among D.C. bureaucrats running the Department of Veterans Affairs must end so that all veterans can have the access to the high-quality, timely care that was envisioned by lawmakers when Congress passed the Choice Act,” Dold said.

Veterans Affairs did not return our request for comment regarding the Veterans Choice program. 

<![CDATA[3 Chicago Restaurants Among Yelp’s Top 100 Places to Eat]]> Wed, 10 Feb 2016 16:42:25 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Fine+Dining1.jpg

Yelp has named its top 100 places to eat in the United States and three Chicago restaurants are among the best.

Alinea (19), Girl and the Goat (38), and Bavette’s Bar and Boeuf (98) made Yelp’s 2016 list respectively. Last year, only one Chicago restaurant earned a spot among the review site’s rankings. The Mediterranean eatery Pi-Hi Cafe in the city’s Roscoe Village neighborhood landed at number 100, according to Yelp’s 2015 report.

To determine which restaurants made the cut, researchers looked at the most popular and well-reviewed eateries on Yelp, according to the study. Analysts also considered ratings and the number of reviews while factoring for quality and statistical fluctuations.

Foodies who want to wish to expand their restaurant bucket lists should consider heading west. Porto’s Bakery and Cafe in Burbank, California specializes in Cuban cuisine and was ranked the best place to eat in America, according to Yelp.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Chicago Aldermen Propose Lowering 'Tampon Tax']]> Wed, 10 Feb 2016 16:29:20 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/191*120/Tampons+Generic+Tampon+Generic.JPG

Chicago could soon eliminate tampons and pads from a so-called “tampon tax” in the city under a new ordinance proposed by alderman who say the tax is unfair to women.

The feminine hygiene products are currently taxed at 10.25 percent, the same rate as many items in Chicago. The city receives 1.25 percent of the tax, a portion which three alderman proposed be removed during Wednesday's City Council meeting.

The aldermen also suggested calling on the state to lower the sales tax on tampons and pads to 1 percent.

“What this is designed to do is to shame the other units of government in Illinois that are currently taxing these products into recognizing how grossly unfair this is for the women of Illinois,” said Ald. Ed Burke.

It was not immediately clear how much the tax change would cost the city or the state. The proposal is expected to be considered during a City Council Finance Committee meeting.

<![CDATA[Chicago Auto Show: A Look at This Year's Concept Cars]]> Wed, 10 Feb 2016 17:45:15 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/WMAQ_000000016403890_1200x675_620603971930.jpg The Chicago Auto Show opens Saturday. NBC5's LeeAnn trotter offers a sneak peek at this year's concept cars. ]]> <![CDATA[City Council Votes to Give Oversight to IG]]> Wed, 10 Feb 2016 16:15:51 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/CityHallNBC.jpg

Chicago aldermen voted Wednesday to give oversight of the City Council to Inspector General Joseph Ferguson.

The ordinance has been in the works since January of last year and was advanced by the council’s Workforce Development Committee.

“We are on the one yard line. If we fumble now, that is what we will be remembered for,” Ald. John Arena said.

The measure gives Ferguson oversight of the council as well as the right to investigate council members and their staff. Certain amendments by the City Council have limited some of the IG’s proposed powers, including his ability to audit.

“The first ordinance [with the audit function] is the right ordinance,” Ald. Ameya Pawer said. “But it doesn’t end up that way, no one would have ever predicted that the City Council would be under one inspector general along with every other city department and employee.”

Ferguson will not investigate ethical or criminal violations within the City Council, which differs from the his oversight of the rest of the city government.

Ald. Michelle Smith stressed transparency and warned of a “crisis of confidence” among Chicago voters.

“It can only be solved if we lead,” Smith said. “We must overcome our misgiving and pass this ordinance without diluting it. Voices are pleading across this city for honest oversight.”

Council members made a variety of amendments to the original ordinance. Ald. Pat O’Connor, the mayor’s City Council floor leader, was instrumental in rounding up votes for the amended ordinance.

“Institutionally, we have seen where these things have gone off track because of personalities,” O’Connor said. “So, if you define the roles better in an ordinance, it’s better.”

The changes limit Ferguson’s oversight of aldermen and their employees who have broken the law. Program audits that determine how taxpayer money is being spent, and wasted, will also be off-limits to Ferguson in cases involving the City Council.

Certain programs will not be overseen by Ferguson, including workers’ compensation. That program, which pays out $100 million yearly, is currently controlled by Ald. Ed Burke’s Finance Committee.

Auditing of the $66 million aldermanic menu program will also be off limits to the IG. The program gives $1.32 million to each of the city’s 50 aldermen to spend on a variety of improvements to the neighborhoods they represent.

O’Connor noted that it may be more economical to put the money into the general fund, “but that takes away choice,” he claims.

“Everything the inspector general is getting today is something that everyone has been calling for at least two or three years,” O’Connor said. “That controversy will be put to bed.”

The Inspector General’s office was created by former Mayor Richard M. Daley in 1989. At the time, aldermen chose to exempt themselves from this oversight. The legislative inspector general’s office was later created in 2010 to oversee aldermen.

The city’s former legislative inspector general, Faisal Khan, was accused of over-reaching in his investigations and requiring time sheets from aldermen. Khan’s term ended in November of last year and a replacement has yet to be named.

<![CDATA[New Details Released After Woman Killed by Stray Bullet]]> Wed, 10 Feb 2016 22:22:48 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/aaren+oconnor+2.jpg

Police have released new details in the homicide investigation of a 25-year-old woman killed over the weekend when a stray bullet struck her in the head in the city's Heart of Chicago neighborhood.

Aaren O’Connor was shot while returning from work Friday. Police said she was sitting in her car in the 2000 block of West 21st Street when a bullet struck her in the back of the head.

Lt. Ozzie Valdez said the first call for shots fired occurred at 6:40 p.m. Friday, but police and paramedics didn't arrive until 7:30 p.m. The address where the call came from was not where she had parked and officers who initially arrived didn't see anything. 

O'Connor’s roommate found her unresponsive in the vehicle. She was rushed to John H. Stroger Hospital of Cook County in critical condition and died Sunday, her family said.

"I knew right away that we lost our baby," said her father, David O’Connor. "It’s just absolutely the worst time of my life."

David O'Connor said he was on the phone with his daughter at the time of the shooting and will never forget the last words they exchanged.

"She kept saying repeatedly, 'My head hurts, my head hurts,'" David O'Connor said. "I just wish I could have told her that I knew what was going on and I could have told her one more time that I love her and that I'm so proud of her."

"We believe that after the conversation she had with her family, her father did an amazing thing," Valdez said. "He knew what to do, called someone he could contact here in Chicago, who then in turn made some more phone calls, and at that time police arrived and an ambulance was summoned. So there was a bit of a time gap between when we believe the incident occurred and the officer responded."

Police said there are two conflicting gangs in this area and O'Connor may have been caught in the crossfire.

Although they are currently reviewing private video as well as footage from a CTA bus, police are asking anyone who has information about the incident to come forward.

Aaren O’Connor moved to Chicago a year and a half ago from San Diego to work at Tomy, a toy company with offices in suburban Oak Brook.

"This is a young lady who moved to Chicago to pursue her dreams. She graduated from SDSU with high honors and this occurs," Valdez said.

Her father said he was nervous about his daughter’s move from the beginning.

"I don’t want to say devastated but fearful, because I knew the kind of things happening in Chicago," David O’Connor said.

The move also meant Aaren O'Connor would finally be with her long-distance boyfriend, who lived in suburban Elgin. The couple met while studying abroad in Japan and was looking forward to living together after years of long distance.

"When it really happens to you, it feels like a void," said her boyfriend Carlos Sorto. "It was hard, I needed to be there every moments Aaren was there. Don't believe anything could've been done for her."

Doctors told Sorto that because of the way the bullet hit Aaren's head, she wouldn't have made it, no matter how quickly she'd gotten help. It doesn't make the pain of losing her easier.

"Sad to say but I want to go to sleep and never wake up. Horrible feeling," Sorto said.

Friends and colleagues in the Chicago area say they vow to keep Aaren O'Connors memory alive by giving at-risk kids in Chicago an outlet to keep them away from violence.

Donations will fund an after-school program and scholarship in her name.

"We want to target people who want to travel abroad since we know that was something that was very passionate for her," said her co-worker Sarah Moen. "To myself, she was a little sister. I saw all the potential in the world in her."

A GoFundMe page had been set up to help O’Connor’s family pay for her funeral. Remaining donations will start the scholarship program in her memory.

"Our long-term goal is to develop an after school program at a community center in Aaren’s name where Chicago’s youth can come together to receive the caring and resources they need to choose a non-violent path and open their hearts to others," the page reads. "Other suggestions to provide healing to our community in Aaren’s memory are welcome and encouraged. May she rest in peace."

Photo Credit: Family Photo]]>
<![CDATA[Then and Now: Obama Returns to Springfield]]> Wed, 10 Feb 2016 15:36:37 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/180*120/obama-2007-slider-620.jpg

Nine years ago, President Barack Obama announced his candidacy in Springfield. On Wednesday, he returned to the same place where his presidential journey began to give a historic speech to the Illinois General Assembly.

If you’re on the NBC Chicago app, click here to see the images.

Photo Credit: Mark Cowan]]>
<![CDATA[Watch: Should Brandon Mashinter's Goal Have Counted?]]> Wed, 10 Feb 2016 14:38:11 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Brandon+Mashinter1.jpg

For the second time in three games, the Chicago Blackhawks had a goal disallowed because of goaltender interference, with Brandon Mashinter’s first period tally against the San Jose Sharks getting waved off on Tuesday night.

The goal, which would have given the Blackhawks a 1-0 lead in the game, was waved off after Dennis Rasmussen made contact with San Jose goaltender Martin Jones. The goal originally counted, but was disallowed after review.

Here is video of the goal in question:

Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville was incensed by the decision, and stormed out of his postgame press conference after only one question following the contest.

Plenty of fans shared Quenneville’s disgust with the decision, but are they right to feel that way?

Here is the NHL’s explanation of the decision:

“According to Rule 78.7, “The standard for overturning the call in the event of a ‘GOAL’ call on the ice is that the Referee, after reviewing any and all available replays and consulting with the Toronto Video Room, determines that the goal should have been disallowed due to ‘Interference on the Goalkeeper,’ as described in Rules 69.1 and 69.3.”

That summation seems pretty cut and dried, but there is a qualification that likely caused Quenneville’s consternation after the game. Rule 69.1 also serves to protect a player from being called for goaltender interference if they are shoved into the crease:

“If an attacking player has been pushed, shoved, or fouled by a defending player so as to cause him to come into contact with the goalkeeper, such contact will not be deemed contact initiated by the attacking player for purposes of this rule, provided the attacking player has made a reasonable effort to avoid such contact.”

While it appears that Rasmussen was pushed into Jones’ crease by Logan Couture, there is some room for doubt as to whether he made an effort to stay away from the goaltender, meaning that the officials likely decided to side with protecting the goaltender.

That being said, Rasmussen was set up outside of the blue paint, giving Jones free reign in his crease as he was supposed to. That needs to be taken into account by officials reviewing the calls, and just like in Marian Hossa’s case on Thursday, it doesn’t appear that it was.

What do you think, Hawks fans? Should the goal have remained on the board, or did NHL officials make the right call?

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[President Obama’s First Stop in Springfield: Lunch]]> Wed, 10 Feb 2016 14:14:19 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AP_227896224567-obama-rauer.jpg

Before President Barack Obama made his historic speech to the Illinois General Assembly in Springfield on Wednesday, he first stopped for some take out.

President Obama grabbed lunch at The Feed Store restaurant in the Old State Capitol Square, located just a few blocks from the State Capitol. The eatery sells sandwiches, salads, and homemade soup, according to its website.


The president took photos, shook hands, and spoke with customers and employees.

A photo tweeted by Eric Schultz, the White House’s Principal Deputy Press Secretary, shows the president talking with two children in the restaurant.

President Obama couldn’t stay to eat his lunch, but he still met with central Illinois residents outside The Feed Store as he headed back to his motorcade. He told a group of people that he bought barley soup, according a White House official.

Curtis Means, a high school chemistry teacher, said he "skipped out to see him today,” according to a White House spokesperson.

Just about an hour before, President Obama stepped off of Air Force One at the Abraham Lincoln Capital Airport and begun the farewell tour of his last year in office.

Wednesday’s speech made President Obama the fourth U.S. president to address the Illinois General Assembly. The last time another president did the same was in 1978 when Jimmy Carter spoke to state lawmakers.

Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[Joel Quenneville Storms Out of Press Conference]]> Wed, 10 Feb 2016 12:53:26 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-475798866.jpg

Chicago Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville has a reputation as a bit of a hot-head when it comes to his conduct behind the bench, but on Tuesday he took things to a new level from behind a podium instead.

During the Hawks’ 2-0 loss to the San Jose Sharks, Brandon Mashinter scored what appeared to be a goal, but upon further review officials overturned the call on the ice and disallowed the tally.

It was the second time in less than a week that the Blackhawks have had a goal taken away because of a goaltender interference call, and Quenneville managed to answer just one question about the incident before storming out of his postgame press conference:

In case you can’t watch the video, here’s what Quenneville said:

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“It’s gone to a different level. I don’t know the rules anymore or something’s changed because my understanding, played a lot hockey, that, I don’t know. I think everybody has an interpretation of what’s a good goal and what’s a bad goal, but I can’t believe it.”

It’s unclear if Quenneville will be fined for his conduct, but it wouldn’t be the first time he’s incurred the league’s wrath in recent seasons. During the 2014 Stanley Cup playoffs, Quenneville was fined $25,000 for an obscene gesture he made behind the bench while protesting an official’s call on the ice.

This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Ill. Drivers Won't Receive Vehicle Emissions Tests Reminders]]> Wed, 10 Feb 2016 18:01:36 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/chicago+traffic+getty.jpg

There’s more bad news for Illinois drivers: Due to the state budget impasse, Illinois will no longer notify you when you need to go in for a vehicle emissions test.

The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency announced Wednesday that it was forced to temporarily suspend the mailing of vehicle emissions test notices beginning in December. Vehicle owners whose license plates expire at the end of March 2016 or later will not receive the vehicle emissions test notice.

Because of the change, Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White will temporarily allow license plate renewals for vehicle owners who have not yet taken the EPA emissions test, citing an unfair burden to drivers, the IEPA said in a release.

"Secretary of State White made the decision that even if people had not taken the EPA test, beginning March 1st, when they come to the DMV, they will be able to get their registration," said Dave Druker, a spokesman for White. "The mailing that EPA did was the only way people really knew when the test date was for them. Without that notification, people would potentially be coming to the Department of Motor Vehicles looking to renew and being told they couldn't renew."

The announcement comes after the Illinois Secretary of State’s Office said it would stop mailing out reminders for license plate sticker renewals.

According to the agency, vehicles likely needing testing in 2016 include most even model-year vehicles from 1996-2012. Diesel powered vehicles and vehicles powered exclusively by electricity are not required to test. 

To find out if your vehicle needs emissions testing, click here.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA['I Missed You Guys': Obama Gives Historic Speech in Illinois]]> Wed, 10 Feb 2016 21:00:07 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/obama-AP_481030974134.jpg

President Barack Obama arrived in Springfield on Wednesday morning prepared to make history, becoming the fourth U.S. president to address the Illinois General Assembly.

Nine years ago was Obama’s last time in Springfield for the frigid February announcement of his candidacy for president. Springfield was just as bitter cold for his arrival Wednesday as it was then, but the welcome for the president was warm. 

"It's great to see so many old friends," Obama said at the start of his address to a standing ovation. "I missed you guys."

Obama spoke on unity and bipartisanship before a body in Illinois that has been criticized for exhibiting neither characteristic. 

The address comes amid a historic state budget impasse in Illinois, something the president did not ignore in his speech. 

"When I hear voices in either party boast of their refusal to compromise as an accomplishment in and of itself, I’m not impressed," Obama said. "All that does is prevent what most Americans would consider actual accomplishments, like fixing roads, educating kids, passing budgets, cleaning our environment, making our streets safe."

The nod to the budget crisis in Springfield received standing ovation from many in the crowd. 

Most of Obama's speech centered around what he called "better politics" and the need to fix the "poisonous political climate that pushes people away from participating."

He continuously emphasized the need for compromise between parties.

"In a big complicated democracy like ours if we can’t compromise, by definition we can’t govern ourselves," he said, noting that "trying to find common ground doesn't make me less of a Democrat or less of a Progressive." 

White House spokesman Eric Schultz said Obama accepts that his call for better politics will be hard.

"It is a lot easier to be cynical than to accept that change is possible," he said. "The president will again call on a politics of hard-won hope."

Rauner said in a statement before the speech he looked forward to "hearing (Obama) speak about finding common ground between Republicans and Democrats."

"Despite our political differences, the President and I share a passion for improving education, especially for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds, a belief in the benefits of term limits and redistricting reform for restoring good government, and a strong desire to see more economic opportunity for all Illinoisans," Rauner said. "I know we can achieve great things for Illinois by having mutual respect for one another and focusing on bipartisan compromise to achieve what’s best for the long-term future of our great state.”

Still, Rauner and other Republicans did not stand when Obama spoke of how collective bargaining is critical to the middle class. 

It has been nearly four decades since a president made such an address in Illinois, the last time being when Jimmy Carter spoke to the state’s lawmaking body in 1978. The difference in Obama’s visit is that he is the first president to have served in the General Assembly and also address them.

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin stood with Obama in Springfield when he announced his historic run for president and arrived with the president as he landed in Springfield. 

“Working together, we can accomplish great things," Durbin said in a statement. "The promise of hope and change that President Obama brought to Springfield back in 2007 can only become a reality if we are willing to compromise and find common ground.”

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Honoring Chicagoland's Fallen Heroes]]> Sat, 10 Nov 2012 19:11:50 -0600 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[Man Claims Discrimination Over Service Dog]]> Wed, 10 Feb 2016 06:49:47 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/218*120/sdfsdfsdf.jpg

A man says he was unable to see his best friend’s mother read her last rites at a hospital because of his service dog.

John Greenan has multiple sclerosis and said he depends on his “partner” Buggs to stabilize him when he loses balance, among other things. When Greenan went to see his friend’s mother at Adventist Hospital in Bolingbrook, he was stopped at the front desk.

“They said I couldn't go upstairs with my service dog,” Greenan said. “I explained he's my service dog and I have a disability.”

The hospital said in a statement it has a policy that supports and provides guidelines for access to the hospital by service and therapy animals in keeping with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Their policy includes restrictions to certain areas of the hospital, including ICU, dependent on specific patient needs.

Greenan said at the time of the incident, he talked to the patient advocate who "didn't even know if there was a service dog policy within the hospital." He said he also spoke with a compliance officer who “was apologetic and said that I understand ‘there was a mistake and I apologize and we will try to rectify it.' That's fine and dandy like but what about what happened?" 

“I felt that this was discrimination, humiliation and I was embarrassed," Greenam said. "As a hospital, out of all the people, they should respect people with disabilities and the guidelines that the ADA provides.”

Although Greenan missed the rites being read at the hospital, he wants to use the incident as an opportunity to educate others because he says it's happened to him at least four other times.

“This is a big deal with people with disability. He goes anywhere I go and he has every right to go into a business,” Greenan said. “There are guidelines and laws designed to protect people with disabilities. And now is the time people learn.”

Photo Credit: NBC Chicago]]>
<![CDATA[Violent Campus Crime Goes Unreported]]> Wed, 10 Feb 2016 16:27:06 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/invest2.jpg

Note: Here is a breakdown of the methodology behind our data.

On a Friday night in December of 2014, Mutahir Rauf was walking with his brother near Loyola University when two men walked up, showed a gun and tried to rob him. The 23-year-old, who was studying at Loyola to be a doctor, tried to grab the gun.

Rauf was fatally shot, just one block from Loyola’s main Lakeshore campus.

“Once I saw the tape going up and traffic being redirected I knew something serious had happened,” Loyola student Ingrid Heider said.

“I don’t think any of us could have ever imagined it would happen to anyone so close, let alone one of our students,” Heider said. “It was very shocking.”

Loyola University sent out crime alerts on the murder and posted investigation updates online. Loyola officials held a prayer vigil in Rauf’s honor. A memorial still remains, more than a year later.

“It really could have happened to anyone,” Heider said.

Yet according to the official crime report Loyola University is required to file each year with the federal government, Rauf’s murder did not happen.

“The crime occurred near Albion and Lakewood, which per the Clery Act, is not within the university’s reportable geographical boundaries,” said a Loyola University spokesman. “Thus, the Clery Act prohibits us from including that crime in the annual safety bulletin.”

Most every U.S. college or university is required to report violent crime each year to the U.S. Department of Education, as part of the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act – known more often as the “Clery Act.”

This was named in honor of Jeanne Clery, who was raped and murdered in her dorm room in 1986 by a fellow student at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania. Her parents, Connie and Howard Clery, came to believe that campus crime statistics were going unreported or under-reported, and they successfully passed a law in their daughter’s memory, requiring that any college that gets certain kinds of federal aid must make a full report of crimes on campus every year.

As a result, parents and students can now easily look up a university’s crime reports online, and even compare prospective colleges’ histories of violent crimes -- like murder, rape, assault, and stalking -- and where they happened: on campus, in campus housing, and in other locations defined by the Act.

This information can serve as a key factor for many high school seniors and their families, especially this time of year, as students focus in on college decisions.

But NBC 5 Investigates looked at the Clery reports for six universities in Chicago and found that their reports vastly understate the levels of violent crimes occurring in and around the schools, because they ignore many crimes that occur in the immediate neighborhoods around the campuses – crimes like Mutahir Rauf’s murder, which occurred right across the street from the school he attended.

Loyola’s Clery report for crimes on campus, off campus and in public places all record the number of homicides or deaths in 2014 as “zero” – in essence, ignoring Rauf’s death.

“Under the Clery Act we are obligated to include crime in our daily log, which did occur and was available online for the mandatory amount of time, as required by the Clery Act,” said a Loyola University spokesman.

NBC 5 Investigates compared the reports for the six Chicago universities to campus crime logs and Chicago police reports – going out two blocks from campus - since many students live, work and socialize in the surrounding neighborhood.

By expanding the area to include a two-block radius surrounding Loyola’s campus, we found a total of 84 reports of violent crime – nearly four times what Loyola reported.

For example, where Loyola reported two robberies, we found 19. Where Loyola reported five instances of aggravated assault, we found 16. And where Loyola reported one instance where someone was arrested for carrying a weapon, we found 22 crimes involving weapons. Eleven of those weapons incidents involved handguns – all within a two-block walk of Loyola, and one of those resulting in the death of Mutahir Rauf.

But Loyola is not alone. At DePaul University’s main campus in upscale Lincoln Park, we found more than three times the numbers of violent crimes reported to Clery, including 79 burglaries within a two-block area (compared to DePaul’s report of 11 burglaries). We found 25 incidents involving handguns. And where DePaul reported a total of sixty violent crimes last year, we found a total of 187.

“Federal law requires that DePaul’s annual security report only include Clery-reportable crimes,” said a DePaul spokesperson. “This means that the annual security report will only include crimes that occur with Clery-reportable geography and will only include crimes that fall within specifically defined crime categories.”

The University of Chicago reported a total of 64 violent crimes in 2014. We found more than three times that number – 233 – on-campus and within a two-block walk of the school. Where U. of C. reported three aggravated assaults, we found a total of 31. Where U. of C. reported three arrests for weapons, we found a total of 58 crimes involving weapons, and half of those involved firearms.

“I’m not surprised,” said Anoushka Chowdhary, a student at the University of Chicago. “Students know this. We are told to stay within the campus community.”

The Illinois Institute of Technology logged 38 violent crimes in its 2014 Clery report. We found a staggering seven times that amount – including two kidnappings – by going just two blocks out: Two hundred and ninety-two violent crimes last year, including the shooting death of an aspiring artist (not an IIT student) a block and a half from the IIT campus and two stranger-related kidnappings (which colleges don’t have to report to Clery at all).

“The safety of our students, faculty and staff is a top priority at Illinois Tech,” said a university spokesman. “Illinois Institute of Technology reports any crime that has occurred on any of our campuses in the Clery Report, as required by law. Off campus criminal activity in the surrounding neighborhoods is reported and handled by the Chicago Police Department.”

Which means that serious, violent crimes that happen just off campus are usually not counted -- like the sexual assault of pregnant nursing student, just blocks from Chicago State University’s campus, in the fall of 2014.

“She was putting some books in her car in the trunk and the guy walked up behind her at knifepoint.”

CSU reported 12 incidents of violent crime that year. We found 236 incidents within two blocks, nearly 20 times the university’s number.

All of the universities tell NBC 5 Investigates that they report what is required under the Clery Law.

“Most institutions that participate in the Title IV, Federal Student Aid programs are in substantial compliance with the Clery Act,” said a Department of Education spokesperson. “Of course, the Department encourages institutions to exceed minimal requirements and to provide the safest possible environment for students, employees, and the wider campus community.”

The Department of Education also tells us they monitor and audit schools for compliance with the law.

“It’s quite complicated,” said Mike Webster, director of Regulatory Compliance with Margolis Healy, a consulting firm which advises colleges on what crimes must be reported under the Clery Act.

The 300-plus page Clery handbook is supposed to help universities decipher the law.

“More of our clients are trying to do a good job. It’s just the complexity is overwhelming,” he said.

Boundaries aside, we found the University of Illinois Chicago consistently underreported crimes in 2014 which happened directly on campus: Nine aggravated assaults versus 17, for example. UIC reported 13 robberies on campus, but NBC 5 Investigates found 19. UIC reported six motor vehicle thefts on campus, but NBC5 Investigates found 29.

UIC provided us with this statement: “Discrepancy with crime report totals from other sources may be due to differences in federal crime definitions (used by Clery) and the state crime definitions… differences in how different law enforcement agencies tally crimes.. or precise location of crimes.”

And that often leaves students and parents to wonder if they are getting the whole picture, concerning just how safe a college campus may be.

“It concerns me because I think these types of incidents should be reported,” said DePaul University student Ingrid Heider.


Loyola University

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University of Chicago

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Illinois Institute of Technology

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Depaul University

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University of Illinois at Chicago

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<![CDATA[Police, Family Search for Missing Arlington Heights Father]]> Wed, 10 Feb 2016 10:23:58 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Missing+Father1.png

Police are searching for a missing suburban father of two who has been missing since Monday morning.

Timothy Anderson, 38, was last seen at his Arlington Heights residence Monday at 4:30 a.m. His dark-colored Acura was located by the Cook County Forest Preserve Police at the intersection of Donlea Road and Bateman Road in Barrington Hills the same day at 7 p.m. after his cell phone pinged to the location.

Charlie Drost, who has been a friend of Anderson’s since college said his disappearance is “very out of character, Tim was guy who stuck to a schedule and didn't really deviate from it.”

Drost has joined trained rescuers to continue the work to find Anderson – a father of two young boys and a Northern Trust employee who typically took the train to his office in the Loop.

“We have a happy marriage, he was a very dedicated father to our boys,” wife Cathrall Anderson said.

Cathrall Anderson has been painfully reliving every detail of the last two days since he left their house in Arlington Heights desperate for a clue. She said when he got up Monday morning he said “not much, he just kind got up, it was 4:30 in the morning so I was going back to asleep but he seemed to leave with some urgency.”

Neither Timothy Anderson, nor his phone have been located despite what has become a bitter cold and increasingly difficult search effort.

Arlington Heights police said he had no known physical or psychological issues. Friends also said he had no known financial issues.

The Arlington Heights Police Department is being assisted by the Cook County Forest Preserve Police in efforts to locate Anderson.

Photo Credit: Anderson Family Photo]]>
<![CDATA[Chicago Police Arrest 8 Involved in Counterfeit Ticket Scam]]> Wed, 10 Feb 2016 06:42:50 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/160*120/IMG_25411.JPG

Chicago Police say they have arrested eight gang members who operated a widespread ticket scam that lasted more than a decade and yielded thousands of dollars that went toward crime in the city.

They produced counterfeit tickets for Bears games at Soldier Field, Bulls and Blackhawks games at the United Center, and even concerts and events at Allstate Arena in Rosemont.

“The suspects would print their tickets out, sell them on Craigslist and meet with the victims of these crimes in public areas to exchange them for cash,” Interim Police Superintendent John Escalante said.

The fraudulent tickets would earn the gang up to $60,000 per event and hundreds of thousands of dollars over time, police said.

“We know that the money is being used to basically finance the gangs, finance their operations,” said Chief Anthony Riccio, bureau of organized crime. “They use them to purchase weapons, they use them for bond, when gang members are arrested, they use them to pay attorney fees.”

More than 1,500 people were victimized, according to police. Likely among them is Jordan Meisles who lost $800 when he and his family bought fraudulent Blackhawks playoffs tickets over Craigslist

“These ones looked pretty realistic, but it's hard to tell because they change them so often,” Meisles said. “But they were perforated and cardboard material.”

Police say the fraudulent tickets were virtually impossible to identify and the victims were people who never would have suspected being touched by gang activity.

“Some gangs try to do robberies on the streets, some try to sell narcotics, so this is just another method that they were using to try to raise money,” Riccio said.

Police picked up eight of the suspects Tuesday and are continuing to look for the other eight. They say more than these sixteen people were involved, and the investigation is ongoing.

"We're attacking gangs on all levels. from their operations, to their finances, to the violence that they commit on our streets,” Riccio said. "We know that the money was being used to basically finance the gangs, finance their operations. they use them to purchase weapons, they use them for bond when gang members are arrested they use them to pay attorney fees."

Photo Credit: Trina Orlando]]>
<![CDATA[Rauner to Suburban Leaders: State Should Try ‘to Be Average’]]> Tue, 09 Feb 2016 17:58:45 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/rauner+state+of+the+state+2016.jpg

During a town hall meeting with businesses and community leaders in Wheeling, Gov. Bruce Rauner discussed Illinois’ dire economic situation and stressed the need for the state to try “to be average.”


Rauner toured facilities at IcarTeam, a Wheeling company that deals in industrial controls and repairs, before engaging in a town hall with guests U.S. Rep. Bob Dold and Lt. Gov. Evely Sanguinetti.


During the meeting, Rauner said Illinois needs to bolster its economic growth and referred to Texas as an example of how to improve the state’s business climate.


“Texas is growing, Texas now pays their factory workers what they’re supposed to be paid,” Rauner said. “We’re supposed to be the pro-employee and pro-union state. Texas is kicking our tail.”


Illinois has upwards of $100 billion in unfunded pension liability and has been without an official budget since July of last year. 


John Melaniphy, Wheeling’s Director of Economic Development, worked closely with the governor to bring Richelieu Foods Inc. to the suburb. According to Melalniphy, Rauner recruited the company personally.


“This is the first time the village of Wheeling worked with the governor’s office to recruit a business here,” Melaniphy said.


Richelieu Foods makes pizzas, said dressings and sauces. Their new 115,000-square-foot Wheeling manufacturing plant is slated to open later this year.


Rauner stressed the need “free up the resources to balance the budget” by creating economic growth through government efficiency, not bureaucracy. Sanguinetti echoed these sentiments, promoting the consolidation of local governments. 


“Illinois has more units of government than any other state, and that’s a problem,” Melaniphy said.

<![CDATA[Military Dog Reunited With Army Sergeant After Months Apart]]> Tue, 09 Feb 2016 17:28:35 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/WMAQ_000000016386172_1200x675_619722307733.jpg Serving in the military creates special bonds, even between military dogs and their handlers. A non-profit group called Mission K-9 Rescue helped reunite a dog and an Army sergeant. Even after months apart, it was a joyful reunion. LeeAnn Trotter reports.]]>