<![CDATA[NBC Chicago - Chicago News]]> Copyright 2015 http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/local http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/5-Chicago-Blue.png NBC Chicago http://www.nbcchicago.com en-us Thu, 26 Feb 2015 18:50:20 -0600 Thu, 26 Feb 2015 18:50:20 -0600 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Emanuel Ahead of Garcia by 10.6 Percent Heading Into Runoff: Poll]]> Thu, 26 Feb 2015 17:41:48 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/TLMD-Emanuel-Garcia.jpg

Mayor Rahm Emanuel is ahead of Cook County Commissioner Jesus “Chuy” Garcia by 10.6 percent heading into their April runoff, according to a new poll.

The poll, released by the mayor’s super PAC, shows Emanuel holding 50.4 percent of the city’s vote with Garcia at a solid 39.8 percent. The remaining 9.8 percent of voters are reportedly undecided.

The robocall poll of 2,659 likely voters was conducted Wednesday by the Global Strategy Group, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

The poll shows some good signs for supporters of Emanuel who were shaken by the unexpected election results, according to the publication:

• Among black voters, Emanuel leads with 51.8 percent to Garcia’s 35.8 percent.
• Among white voters, Emanuel holds a 12.4 percentage point lead, with 53 percent to Garcia’s 40.6 percent.
• Even in Garcia’s base among Hispanic voters, Emanuel is “competitive” with 43 percent of the vote to Garcia’s 51.3 percent. Hispanics are the only demographic group where Garcia is leading.
• Asked whom they trust to tackle the vexing issues of crime, education and finances, 47.6 percent of voters surveyed favor Emanuel, compared to 32.8 percent for Garcia.
• Although Emanuel’s abrasive, top-down management style has rubbed voters the wrong way, 49.7 percent of voters polled said Emanuel has the “personality and leadership skills” to be an effective mayor, compared to 32.1 percent for Garcia.

Garcia is not concerned though, laughing off the poll results when he spoke to the publication.

“We already defied the odds," Garcia said to the Sun-Times. "The money and everything they could throw at us in the primary. We demonstrated a solid coalition. It will only grow and get stronger… As I predicted a runoff, I predict victory.”

<![CDATA[February Snow Photos]]> Thu, 26 Feb 2015 17:14:08 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/painted+flowers+in+snow.jpg March is almost here, but several more inches of snow fell Feb. 25 and 26 in the Chicago area.]]> <![CDATA[March 1 Marks Last Day to Ice Skate]]> Thu, 26 Feb 2015 18:41:44 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/ice+skate.jpg

The last day to lace up your skates and go for a glide at an outdoor Chicago ice rink this season is Sunday, March 1, the park district announced Thursday.

If you miss the chance, Maggie Daley Park’s ice skating ribbon will stay open for an extra week, not closing until Sunday, March 8.

And there’s always McFetridge Ice Rink, Chicago’s only indoor rink open to the public for year-round skating.

To skate before spring, visit one of your neighborhood rinks:

• Maggie Daley Ice Skating Ribbon, 337 E. Randolph St.;
• McKinley Ice Rink, 2210 W. Pershing Rd.;
• Midway Ice Skating, 1130 Midway Plaisance North;
• Mt. Greenwood Ice Rink, 3721 W. 111th St.;
• Riis Ice Rink, 6100 W. Fullerton Ave.;
• Rowan Ice Skating, 11546 S. Avenue L;
• Warren Ice Rink, 6601 N. Western Ave.;
• Wentworth Ice Rink, 5625 S. Mobile Ave.

Photo Credit: zai0131/Instagram]]>
<![CDATA[Derrick Rose Scheduled For Surgery Friday Morning]]> Thu, 26 Feb 2015 16:08:29 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/180*120/GettyImages_183707741.jpg

Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose is set to go into surgery Friday morning to repair a medial meniscus tear in his right knee, the team announced Thursday.

The procedure will be performed by the Bull’s team physician Dr. Brian Cole.

A timetable for Rose’s return will be determined after his procedure.

The team announced Tuesday night that Rose was feeling pain in his knee, and an exam and MRI confirmed a medial meniscus tear.

The 2011 NBA MVP played in only 10 games last season before he had surgery for the same injury in November 2013, shelving him for the year, but the Bulls said a timetable for his return will be determined after the operation.

It's unclear when Rose re-injured the knee. He appeared to be rounding into form last month, averaging 22.6 points over his final 14 games before the All-Star break, but he had struggled since returning to the court after the time off.

Rose became the latest NBA star to be sidelined for a significant period within the past few days.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[U of Illinois Asks Court to Dismiss Professor's Lawsuit]]> Thu, 26 Feb 2015 14:49:24 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/image-AP2614408840681.jpg

The University of Illinois has asked a federal judge to throw out a lawsuit filed by a professor who lost a job offer from the school over anti-Israel Twitter posts.

University lawyers on Wednesday filed a motion arguing that Steven Salaita had no "binding contract" to work for the university.

"At no time was he ever an employee of the University of Illinois. His entire complaint was an unsuccessful attempt to ignore this critical fact," university lawyer Scott Rice told The News-Gazette in Champaign.

Salaita lawyer Anand Swaminathan said the motion doesn't take into account normal academic hiring practices.

It "ignores plain language in the university's communications to Professor Salaita, the actions of its officials, and every norm related to academic hiring practices," Swaminathan said in an email.

Salaita was a professor at Virginia Tech University when he accepted an offer in 2013 to teach at the Urbana-Champaign campus's Native American Studies department. He quit his Virginia Tech job and was to start in late August 2014. But the offer was rescinded on Aug. 1 over the sometimes-profane, anti-Israel Twitter messages he sent earlier in the summer.

Salaita sued university administrators and others in January seeking to force the university to hire him. The suit also targets unnamed university donors whose complaints he believes cost him his job.

Salaita's lawsuit argues he'd already been hired and, as an academic on staff, his speech was protected.

The university has argued that his hire did not yet have the required approval of university trustees.

<![CDATA[Trucker Faces Prison for Deadly I-88 Crash After Dozing Off]]> Thu, 26 Feb 2015 17:19:07 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Renato-V.-Velasquez1.jpg

A judge has found trucker Renato Velasquez guilty of five out of 10 counts brought against him after a fatal, fiery crash on Interstate 88.

The decision came during a bench trial Thursday, where Velasquez was found guilty of failing to avoid a stationary emergency vehicle, driving more than 14 hours after a 10-hour rest period and driving while impaired by fatigue. He was found not guilty on multiple counts of falsifying his log book.

He faces between one and three years in prison or a possibility of probation.

"Simply put, Mr. Velasquez's decision to get behind the wheel of his truck while fatigued cost Vincent Petrella his life and severely injured Trooper Balder," DuPage County State's Attorney Robert Berlin said. "Had Mr. Velasquez gotten the proper amount of rest before driving, Mr. Petrella would be alive today and Trooper Balder would not be looking at a life of pain and suffering."

Velasquez was charged with driving while fatigued, violating safety laws and falsifying records for the January 2014 crash on I-88 near Aurora.

Prosecutors said state tollway worker Vincent Petrella and Illinois State Trooper Douglas Balder were pulled over with their emergency lights flashing to help a stranded semi when Velasquez slammed into them. Petrella was killed and Balder was badly injured.

Velasquez, who was behind the wheel of a tractor trailer near Eola Road in west suburban Aurora, admitted he dozed off, according to prosecutors. They also allege he had worked 37 hours straight on just 3.5 hours of rest but lied about it in order to pick up more jobs.

In court Tuesday the state prosecutor showed gruesome photos and videos of the crash’s aftermath. They called about a dozen witnesses from crash reconstruction experts to Balder himself, where he recalled horrific details of being trapped in his burning squad car.

The defense argued a lot of the testimony was inflammatory, saying it had little to do with Velasquez’s charges, which are mainly traffic-related.

<![CDATA[United Airlines Advises Caution After Several "Near Misses"]]> Thu, 26 Feb 2015 16:12:47 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/464651551.jpg

A newly obtained letter addressed to all United Airlines pilots reportedly shows the airline has made a number of safety mistakes recently, including two incidents that resulted in near misses.

The letter was sent to all United Airlines pilots from Howard Attarian, the senior vice president of flight operations, and Mike Quiello, the vice president of corporate safety, on Jan. 9. It was first reported by the Wall Street Journal. The full letter was obtained Thursday by ABC News.

"Over the past few weeks, our airline has experienced what we would categorize as major safety events and near-misses," the letter begins.

Three different incidents were highlighted in the memo, including two in which planes were flying too close to the ground. In one incident, the pilot had to resort to the "pull-up maneuver" to avoid crashing. In another incident, the pilot deviated from the flight path and landed with a dangerously low amount of fuel.

The common theme in these safety incidents is that they are all preventable, Attarian and Quiello said.

"We must ask ourselves, 'Do we have our priorities in line every time we put on our uniforms and strap into the airplane?'" they wrote. "While the airline industry always seems to be in a state of flux, the one constant for all of us is that we are professional aviators with the common goal of flying our passengers and crew from point A to point B SAFELY."

The memo also pointed out a lack of communication, particularly when making important safety decisions. "Every pilot must be willing to speak up if safety is in question," Attarian and Quiello wrote. "In the same vein, every pilot must also accept the input of their fellow crewmembers on the flight deck ... In some cases, a pilot's input is ignored. This is unacceptable."

To underscore the seriousness of these recent incidents, they pointed out the 2013 UPS plane crash at Alabama's Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport in which the pilots were blamed for the crash.

The large number of new hires were also blamed in part for posing safety risks, saying they "introduce significant risk to the operation."

Airline officials regularly check flight data and report the findings to their pilots, United Airlines spokesperson Charles Hobart said.

"As part of our commitment to safety, we constantly monitor flight operations data and regularly communicate the findings with our pilots, " Hobart said in a statement. "Our proactive approach to safety aligns with the FAA's Safety Management System and enables us to recognize potential issues and adjust our actions to further ensure the safety of our customers and coworkers."

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Lake County Warns of Possible Measles Exposure]]> Thu, 26 Feb 2015 18:33:49 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/180*120/doctor-generic1.jpg

One day after public health officials announced a 15th person has been diagnosed with measles in Cook County, the Lake County Health Department warned residents about the potential for exposure.

Officials said the latest person to test positive for the virus visited Lake County at a time when they could have been contagious.

The health department warned that residents who visited or worked at the Menards store at 2700 W. Lake Cook Rd. in Long Grove between 7:55 a.m. and 3:20 p.m. Feb. 15 may have been exposed.

Epidemiologist Victor Plotkin with the Lake County Health Department asks that Menards employees and customers who were in this store during that time take inventory of any unusual symptoms they may be experiencing.

"Measles starts as a cold illness, a non-specific cold illness," Plotkin said. "Because of how contagious it is, it can spread like a fire. Therefore, we are taking no chances."

Clinics offering free measles, mumps, rubella vaccines will be offered for customers and employees of the store who feel they may have been exposed, the department said.

"The measles vaccine is safe, effective and the best protection against this disease," Tony Beltran, the Lake County Health Department's executive director, said in a statement. "Before the U.S. measles vaccination program started in 1963, about 3 to 4 million people in the U.S. got measles each year, 400 to 500 of them died and 48,000 were hospitalized."

Health officials said there have been no confirmed measles cases in Lake County as of Thursday afternoon.

All 15 cases reported statewide are in Cook County and 13 of them are related to the outbreak at the KinderCare Learning Center, including one adult and 12 infants.

Officials say the latest case is an adult, but does not appear to be related to the KinderCare Learning Center at the center of a northwest suburban outbreak.

Illinois health officials are still trying to figure out how the people became infected with the measles virus. No ties have been found to the December outbreak at Disneyland in California, health officials said.

Measles is a highly contagious respiratory disease that can cause severe health complications, including pneumonia, encephalitis and death.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Survey Shows Majority of Support Staff Overhear Confidential Conversations]]> Thu, 26 Feb 2015 12:55:31 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/janitor_generic_getty.jpg

In the office, knowledge is power.

A new survey suggests that many company employees' jobs could be on the line, all because members of the support staff have overheard some incriminating conversations.

The Chicago-based career services site CareerBuilder conducted a national online survey through Harris Poll and asked 500 support staff employees about the conversations they have overheard. Those in the survey identified themselves as custodians, janitors, mailroom attendants, security guards, receptionists, facilities maintenance workers, housekeepers, administrative assistants and maintenance workers.

The results showed a staggering 11 percent of support staff workers have stumbled upon information that could cause someone to be fired, and 53 percent have overheard confidential conversations at work. The information leakage also comes from pieces of evidence left out in the open or in the trash can.

The people included in the survey also offered anecdotes about the things they have found or overheard. More than half of them -- 62 percent -- have heard other employees complaining about the boss or their co-workers. Others have picked up on conversations with more personal themes, like romantic relationships between co-workers (20 percent) or setting up another co-worker for failure (11 percent).

Among the snippets of personal information and incriminating evidence found in the trash -- or even in full view on a desk -- were a list of employee salaries, a photo of a partially dressed co-worker, an old love letter from one co-worker to another, a predetermination request for a breast augmentation procedure, a pregnancy test, a letter from the boss's mistress and a full set of keys for the entire facility.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Teacher Seeks No-Contact Order Against Student]]> Thu, 26 Feb 2015 12:33:26 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/nancy-walker-threat.jpg

A teacher in southwest suburban Chicago said she plans to head to court Friday to seek a no-contact order against a student who she says threatened her life on social media.

Nickey Walker said she's had few problems with students in her nearly two decades of teaching at Plainfield Central High School, but some messages on Twitter recently left her in "shock," she said.

"A federal agency intercepted a Twitter death threat," she explained to NBC Chicago on Wednesday, and she quoted the message: "'If I don't get 23 out of 20 on this log, I'm going to stab Mrs. Walker.'"

Later, she was made aware of another tweet containing a link to a video of a man angrily busting through a door. The tweet said the video described the way students felt leaving Walker's class.

Walker says the student allegedly behind the messages was initially suspended for 10 days and that while school administrators recommended the student be put in special placement at Plainfield Academy, the school board overturned that transfer recommendation after the suspension period.

"Adolescents often say and do things that are ill advised," said Tom Hernandez, the director of communications for Plainfield Community Consolidated School District. "The changing technological world including social media can amplify their 'adolescent' behavior."

Hernandez declined to discuss student discipline, citing legal issues, but said the school "thoroughly investigates alleged student threats against teachers" using what he called a "threat assessment protocol." He said school offiicals see a "fair number of these kinds of situations," but noted "a very rare few prove to be valid."

Hernandez stressed that while the student is back at school, he or she is not in Walker's class.

That separation was of little solace for Walker.

"Teenagers and adults alike need to recognize that there's a limit to what can be posted on social media," she said. "Death threats are serious once they've been put in print."

<![CDATA[Jon Stewart Mocks Rep. Schock and His Instagram Account]]> Thu, 26 Feb 2015 11:13:28 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/aaron+schock1.jpg

Illinois Rep. Aaron Schock has made headlines across the country lately, and on Wednesday night he and his Instagram account made another one ... on "The Daily Show."

Before revealing Schock's incriminating Instagram photos, Jon Stewart introduced his audience to the representative with a new segment he called "Pride Goeth Before the Fall," in which he discussed Schock's "Downton Abbey"-inspired office. Schock was then shown responding with a quote from a popular pop singer: "As Taylor Swift says, haters gonna hate."

Stewart had a rebuttal to Schock's remark, too: "But also auditors are gonna audit, indicters are gonna indict, and voters are gonna vote."

Schock came under fire earlier this year when the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics filed a complaint asking the Office of Congressional Ethics to investigate whether the 33-year-old congressman violated House rules by accepting free interior decoration services and using campaign funds to pay for office furniture.

Most recently, an Associated Press investigation found that Schock spent taxpayer money and campaign funds on flights aboard private planes owned by key donors. The investigation also shed light on some outlandish travel expenses and entertainment charges.

Stewart pointed out the sold-out Katy Perry concert in Washington last June where Schock took his interns. He also highlighted the nearly $1,500 "fundraising event entertainment" charge at a Baltimore massage parlor, which was paid for by a PAC associated with the representative.

"The Daily Show" segment ended with a slideshow of Schock's Instagram photos, which the Associated Press used in their investigation to track Schock's flight records.

The photos Stewart selected show Schock traveling all over the world partaking in adventure activities, like zip lining, surfing and sky diving.

"While this may all be unethical, I got to admit, it looks really fun to be this guy," Stewart said.

The segment ended with a suggestion from Stewart about a future career path for Schock, just in case the recent controversies spell the end of his congressional career.

"If this Congress thing doesn't work out, shake it off, because you would obviously make an awesome travel channel host," Stewart said.

This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>
<![CDATA[Chicago-Area Snow Totals]]> Thu, 26 Feb 2015 16:20:08 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/chicago-snow-diggingout-462637062.jpg

The Chicago area saw a burst of late-winter snow Wednesday afternoon and evening with many cities blanketed by several inches of snow overnight.

Some areas could see even more snow by the end of the day Thursday with Lake Effect Snow Warnings in effect for parts of the Chicago metro area.

For now, here’s the latest look at some of the snow totals recorded for this system so far, according to the National Weather Service.

  • Midway Airport: 6.4 inches as of 1:50 p.m.
  • O’Hare Airport: 5.7 inches of as 12 p.m.
  • Rockford Airport: 2.2 inches as of 12 p.m.
  • Romeoville: 3.1 inches as of 12:00 p.m.
  • Chicago (West Side at Hamlin and Division): 8 inches as of 9:30 a.m.
  • Chicago (Wrigleyville): 5.1 inches as of 9:30 a.m.
  • Worth: 6 inches as of 8:15 a.m.
  • Gurnee: 4 inches as of 7:45 a.m.
  • Elgin: 2.2 inches as of 7:30 a.m.
  • South Holland: 7 inches as of 7:15 a.m.
  • Northbrook: 3.8 inches as of 7 a.m.
  • Park Forest: 6 inches as of 7 a.m.
  • Chicago Ridge: 5 inches as of 7 a.m.
  • Libertyville: 2.4 inches as of 7 a.m.
  • Joliet: 3 inches as of 6 a.m.
  • DeKalb: 2.5 inches as of 11:45 p.m.
  • LaGrange: 3 inches as of 11:40 p.m.
  • Beach Park: 2.7 inches as of 11:30 p.m.
  • Palos Park: 2 inches as of 11:30 p.m.
  • Southwest Aurora: 2 inches as of 11:30 p.m.
  • Rochelle: 3 inches as of 11:15 p.m.
  • Pontiac: 2.5 inches as of 10:22 p.m.
  • Homewood: 2 inches as of 9:30 p.m.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Lake Effect Snow to Taper As Cold Moves In]]> Thu, 26 Feb 2015 17:08:59 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/chicago-traffic.jpg

Lake Effect Snow Warnings and Wind Chill Advisories were issued Thursday for parts of the Chicago area as a bitter blast looks to move in behind a burst of late-winter snow.

The warning is in effect in Cook County until 6 p.m. Thursday, with up to three inches of snow expected on top of the four to eight inches that fell overnight.

A warning was also issued for Lake County in Illinois until 3 p.m. and Lake County in Indiana until 9 p.m. Porter County in Indiana will be under a Lake Effect Snow Warning until 6 a.m. Friday, according to the National Weather Service.

Accumulations are expected to vary throughout the area.

The morning and afternoon snow canceled roughly 250 flights at O'Hare Airport and caused delays of up to 45 minutes. Another 60 flights were canceled at Midway Airport, which saw delays of up to 30 minutes.

Wind Chill Advisories were issued Thursday afternoon for Cook and Lake Counties and will be in effect from 2 a.m. to 9 a.m. Friday. Wind chill values in the Chicago area could reach as low as -25 degrees during this time.

Much of the Chicago area was under a Lake Effect Snow Advisory earlier Thursday morning as the main portion of the system moved toward the east.

The advisory, which stretched along the Lake Michigan shoreline from the far north suburbs and into Northwest Indiana, was in effect until 12 p.m.

More than 300 pieces of snow equipment were on the streets by noon Thursday to clear the roads, according to Commissioner Charles Williams of the city's Office of Emergency Management and Communications.

Williams said the snow plow crews had moved to neighborhood streets by midday Thursday and were working to clear those roads.

"Everybody is working full on to make sure that both main streets and residential streets are plowed and passable," Mayor Rahm Emanuel said.

Clouds will gradually break inland Thursday, but the area will be left with breezy and bitter conditions. Temperatures that were mainly in the teens at 5 a.m. were about as warm as they'll be all day long. A wind chill factor from a breeze off the lake will push the air temperature into the single digits.

The record low high temperature in Chicago for Feb. 26 is 11 degrees, meaning Thursday's predicted high of 10 degrees could break that record.

The wind later in the day is expected to shift toward Northwest Indiana.

The main part of the weather system began dropping light snow late Wednesday evening. Combined with the lake effect snow, accumulation of up to four inches is possible by Friday morning.

Temperatures are expected to increase over the weekend as February gives way to March with a high near 20 degrees Saturday and in the low 30s Sunday, March 1.

Another snow system could move in on the first day of March, possibly bringing several inches of snow with it. An icy mix is expected to follow the snow early next week.

Below freezing temperatures are in the forecast to round out the month, putting Chicago right on track to break the record for the coldest February in Chicago history, which was set in 1875.

<![CDATA[Wilson Says He's Being Courted by Emanuel, Garcia]]> Thu, 26 Feb 2015 17:33:05 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Willie+Wilson.jpg

He may have come in third place, but mayoral candidate Willie Wilson is being courted by both Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Cook County Commissioner Jesus "Chuy" Garcia.

Both Emanuel and Garcia paid personal visits Wednesday to Wilson's Streeterville home.

"I do feel, whoever I endorse will be the next mayor of Chicago," Wilson said.

The millionaire businessman and first time candidate received 10 percent of Tuesday's vote.

While he said his heart is telling him to support Garcia, he said he found Emanuel to be very interested in the issues he cares about. Ultimately, Wilson said he's going to wait to receive input from those who supported him and seriously consider their advice.

He plans to make a decision by the end of the first week of March.

Results Tuesday showed the incumbent mayor with about 46 percent of the vote, short of the 50 percent-plus-one support he needed to win another term outright. Garcia, a Cook County commissioner, came in second place with 34 percent.

<![CDATA[Flash Survey: Worst Sports Loss?]]> Thu, 26 Feb 2015 10:08:26 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/flash+survey+new.jpg

NBC Chicago wants your opinion.

From time to time, we ask your thoughts on a topic of the day.

Today we want to know: The Bulls lost Derrick Rose to a knee injury and the Blackhawks lost Patrick Kane with a broken collar bone. Which injury hurts worse for Chicago fans?



<![CDATA[CPD Denies Report of Beatings, Secret Interrogations]]> Thu, 26 Feb 2015 07:41:21 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/tlmd_handcuffs2128129.jpg

Suspects taken to a Chicago Police Department facility in Chicago's North Lawndale neighborhood aren't beaten or denied access to their legal representation, a department spokesman said this week.

The statement from Martin Maloney, released Tuesday, was in response to a published report in Britain's The Guardian, which described the Homan Square warehouse as an "off-the-books interrogation compound .... [that] is the domestic equivalent of a CIA black site."

The report includes statements from Brian Church, who was among a group of men who became known as the "NATO 3," and Chicago attorney Flint Taylor, who fought hard to get former Mayor Richard Daley to testify in a police torture case related to former Cmdr. Jon Burge.

Church alleged he was put in handcuffs for 17 hours and interrogated without being read his Miranda rights and was denied access to an attorney.

In his statement, Maloney denied the allegations.

"If lawyers have a client detained at Homan Square, just like any other facility, they are allowed to speak to and visit them," he said.

Furthermore, he refuted the insinuation that the facility was "off-the-books," saying that there's always a record of anyone who is arrested by police officers. He said the building is considered "sensitive" because officers who work there are often involved in undercover assignments. Other units housed at the facility include the Bureau of Organized Crime, SWAT Unit Evidence Technicians, and the CPD ballistics lab, he said.

"The allegation that physical violence is a part of interviews with suspects is unequivocally false, it is offensive, and it is not supported by any facts whatsoever," he said.

<![CDATA[Jane Byrne Plaza to Debut This Spring: Report]]> Thu, 26 Feb 2015 06:53:16 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/chicago-clear-sky.jpg

Former Chicago Mayor Jane Byrne will have a new site dedicated to her sometime this spring, according to a published report.

The Chicago City Council last summer approved plans to rename the plaza next to the old Chicago Water Tower in her honor. As mayor, Byrne lived across the street, and the tower often was a symbol of hope and inspiration for her.

Now the flowers have been ordered and plans are underway for a spring ceremony, the Chicago Sun-Times' Michael Sneed reported Wednesday night, citing a mayoral spokeswoman.

Byrne passed away last November, a little more than a month after attending a ceremony that renamed the Circle Interchange after her.

Photo Credit: bradleypjohnson, Flickr]]>
<![CDATA[Next Phase of Wilson Station Work to Slow Some Commutes]]> Thu, 26 Feb 2015 06:34:01 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/cta-wilson-artist-interior-.jpg

The next phase of the Chicago Transit Authority's Wilson station set to begin early next month will slow the commutes of Purple Line commuters while work is done on the tracks.

Beginning March 9 and lasting about one year, Purple Line trains will share the tracks used by Red Line trains between the Lawrence and Belmont stations. That change means Purple Line trains, which normally run express from Howard to Belmont, will make additional stops at the Wilson, Sheridan, and Addison stations until the work is completed, the transit agency said.

Commuters should plan on adding an additional four to six minutes to their travel.

Red and Purple Line riders heading north won't be affected by the work as those trains use separate tracks.

The $203 million project to upgrade the entire Wilson station was announced last year. In addition to signal and track work, plans include adding a glass and steel canopy, a glass-enclosed entrance, and a second entrance with access to nearby retail.

Once the work is complete, Wilson will also become a new transfer point between the Red and Purple lines.

Photo Credit: TransitChicago.com]]>
<![CDATA[Police: Driver in Stolen Vehicle Arrested After Crash]]> Thu, 26 Feb 2015 06:10:50 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/47th-wentworth-crash-1.jpg

One person was arrested after an early Thursday morning chase involving a stolen vehicle ended with a crash, police said.

A police department spokesperson said the chase began just after 4 a.m. at West 95th and South Halsted streets. The driver of a stolen vehicle lead officers on a chase until crashing into a wall at West 47 Street and South Wentworth Avenue.

No one was injured and the driver was arrested.

<![CDATA[School Tried to Cover Up Muslim Scholar's Sexual Assault: Police Report]]> Wed, 25 Feb 2015 22:18:44 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/214*120/imam.png

Someone may have tried to cover up sexual assault allegations against a popular Chicago area religious scholar, NBC 5 Investigates has learned.

Imam Mohammed Abdullah Saleem was arrested last week on charges that he sexually assaulted a 23-year-old female staff member who worked for him at the Institute of Islamic Education in Elgin. 

Saleem founded the Institute of Islamic Education in Elgin in 1989. Thousands of students, many from Indian and Pakistani Muslim immigrant families, have attended the conservative Islamic boarding school.

While the imam denies the allegations through his attorney, NBC 5 Investigates obtained a police report which details how someone from the school had been in contact with the victim’s family, following the assault which allegedly happened between December 2013 and February 2014.

According to the report, the victim says it was “an attempt to pressure me so they can sweep this under the rug.”

Chicago attorney Steven Denny is representing five victims in the civil suit that accuses Saleem of decades of assault and child sex abuse.

"These issues go back to the 80s. In the 80s, two of my clients, Jane Doe 3 and 4, were both sexually molested by Saleem," said Denny.

The lawsuit details how Saleem allegedly sexually abused three young girls and a 23-year-old staff member at the school. Denny also said there’s a fifth victim who was allegedly abused by another staff member when the boy was 11-years-old.

<![CDATA[Legal Fight Ensues Over State’s Medical Marijuana Licenses]]> Wed, 25 Feb 2015 19:11:40 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/medical-marijuana1.jpg

A lawsuit filed in Cook County Court pits a losing applicant in the Illinois Medical Marijuana derby, against the State Department of Agriculture, and indirectly, the biggest winner in the sweepstakes for the coveted licenses.

“In my world, they changed the rules,” says Andy James, chairman of PMRX, the unsuccessful bidder on a cultivation license in District 21. “We had to file a lawsuit to get any information. Nobody’s talking.”

At issue, is the fact that PMRX lost out to Cresco Labs, a seeming marijuana juggernaut which received the three highest scores in the contest for what promise to be lucrative licenses to grow medical pot in Illinois. The suit contends the state changed the security scoring rules at midstream, converting to pass/fail what had been a numerical score which could have spelled the difference between applicants with close ratings.

“We’re not sure the implementation of the process, i.e. the scoring, was done pursuant to the rules,” James said. And he said one of the reasons for his lawsuit, was to see his own scores, which so far, have been kept confidential.

“Can you imagine a history class, and the only person who gets a grade is the person with the highest score?” he asked. “No sour grapes here. Sure we would have loved to have won the license. But when you spend the money we spent, would just love to know that it was done correctly or fairly.”

James also alleges that someone from Cresco met with then-governor Pat Quinn while the application process was unfolding.

“All we know is there was a dinner meeting,” he said. “Somebody with Cresco was seen having dinner with Quinn.”

A Quinn spokesman denied the suggestion that the former governor had met with anyone.

“Governor Pat Quinn did not have any meetings with any medical marijuana applicants to discuss their licensing applications,” the spokesman said. “Furthermore, Governor Quinn had no involvement in the scoring and evaluation of applicants in the Medical Cannabis Pilot Program.”

The Quinn statement took a veiled shot at his successor, suggesting there had been a rush to judgment on issuing medical marijuana licenses.

“In January 2015, after Governor Quinn left office,” the statement said, “the Rauner administration issued medical marijuana licenses to cultivation centers and dispensaries, without subjecting applicants to an FBI background check as required by law.”

Indeed, those checks are only now being performed.

A Rauner spokesman acknowledged the flaws in the program, but in a political tit-for-tat, suggested it was Quinn who should take the blame for any deficiencies which the lawsuit uncovers.

“We understand and acknowledged that the process the Quinn administration applied would likely expose the State to significant and costly litigation,” the Governor’s office said in a statement. “We believe the steps we took to fix the errors in the Quinn selection process reduce, but cannot entirely eliminate, the risk of litigation.”

“We will fully participate in any judicial review of the selection process, and comply with any orders issued by a court,” the statement said.

In their own statement, Cresco insisted it had done everything by the book.

“We are not going to comment on the efforts of a company that is attempting to achieve in court what it failed to do with the State,” the statement said. “Cresco Labs submitted comprehensive and thorough applications exceeding all of the State’s very stringent requirements, and we stand behind our applications.”

A Rauner spokesman insisted the security components of the applications were not scored pass/fail.

The lawsuit also alleges that Cresco’s consultant, Kayvan Khalatbari of Denver, Colorado, has boasted of his own illicit drug use in the past, including crack and meth.

“If you’re really doing a character and fitness, and you want people to do things the right way,” he said, “this guy’s probably not your guy!”

As far as his company is concerned, James says he only wants proof that he was beaten fair and square.

“Our application was 5,000 pages,” he said. “We spent a million bucks on our application.”

“I just want to know that we were treated fairly. If we lose, we lose, and move on.”

This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>
<![CDATA[Emanuel, Garcia Look Ahead to April Runoff]]> Wed, 25 Feb 2015 18:35:40 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/180*120/tlmd-emanuel-segunda-vuelta.jpg

The result of yesterday's election is historic, and while the last few ballots were counted Wednesday afternoon, it won't change the finish.

In six weeks, Chicago voters will take part in the first-ever mayoral run-off election. But both Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Cook County Commissioner Jesus “Chuy” Garcia got right back to work Wednesday meeting with voters.

Emanuel outspent Garcia 12-to-one, and still has money left over. Although he may seem like a newcomer to some, Jesus “Chuy” Garcia has a political resume: alderman, state senator and cook county commissioner.

“This is the neighborhood's time,” Garcia told supporters. “I think we're on the verge of neighborhood's renaissance in Chicago."

On Wednesday Emanuel headed right where he needs to court votes the most: the African American community.

“I plan on running a campaign of ideas not insults,” Emanuel said.

Will Garcia, the Latino candidate who stood with Harold Washington expand his coalition?

“The African American vote is an important part with the electorate in Chicago,” Garcia said. “We will compete for it we're going to talk issues. We're going to talk about the future."

Garcia’s campaign staff said they have been fielding congratulations all day in light of the news that Garcia will face Mayor Emanuel in an April 7th runoff.

But Emanuel – who won 35 of the 50 Wards – is still the frontrunner.

Might we see a change in style for the mayor with the reputation for getting things done as well as critiqued for being arrogant?

“I don't think you should be not who you are, okay?” Emanuel said. “The worst thing in politics is to have people think you’re not honest with yourself. The public is smart.”

<![CDATA[Letters From Inmate Claim Peterson Was Set Up]]> Wed, 25 Feb 2015 18:03:23 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/sketch-peterson-outburst.jpg

A former attorney for Drew Peterson has released letters he said were sent from an inmate claiming that Peterson was entrapped into committing a murder-for-hire plot.

Joel Brodsky, who once represented Peterson during his murder trial, said he received two letters on Feb. 20 from an inmate at the Stateville Correctional Center in Joliet [Inmate A], who says the former Bolingbrook police officer was set up when he was charged with trying to hire a hit man to kill Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow, the lead prosecutor in his trial.

In the letters, Inmate A claims to have never met or interacted with Peterson, but to have been part of a scheme with a fellow inmate [Inmate B], who he said was once a close friend of Peterson at the Menard Correctional Center where he is serving a 38-year sentence for killing his third wife, Kathleen Savio.

“[Inmate B] stated that it all began when someone began mistreating Mr. Peterson, and he stood up to defend him,” the letter read. “[Inmate B] said that after that they became ‘really good friends.’”

The letters claim Inmate B told Inmate A that Peterson confided in him, telling Inmate B he dumped the body of his fourth wife Stacy Peterson, who disappeared in 2007, in Lake Michigan. They also say Inmate B and Peterson talked about his trial, and at one point Inmate B told Peterson “he knew people that could ‘take care’ of Mr. Glasgow if that’s what he wanted.”

Inmate A claims Peterson at first laughed off the idea, but later considered it.

“Before the subject became an actual plan, Inmate B was transferred to Pontiac C.C.,” the letter read.

After learning about Inmate B’s information, Inmate A said the pair wrote to Glasgow about an alleged murder-for-hire plot, and the two were interviewed by officials.

“I interviewed with the FBI about what I know about the situation. I’m promised my trial transcripts and money to keep my mouth shut. FBI also confirms my transfer to Stateville,” he said.

  • Read the full letter here

Once both inmates were transferred to Stateville, Inmate A said Inmate B told him he would be transferred to Menard Correctional Center once again “to get the recorded evidence against Mr. Peterson.”

“I was then placed in a segregation cell no pen/paper, no phone, and no visits,” he said. “I stood in that cell from Oct. 21st (2014) to the 27th. By the time I was let out [Inmate B] had already been transferred to Menard to build the case against Mr. Peterson.”

Inmate A claims he tried to contact Peterson’s attorney Steve Greenberg, but said Greenberg ignored his letters and calls. Greenberg, who sits on a panel for Peterson’s appeal to reverse the 2012 conviction, declined to comment on the latest twist.

Earlier this month, Attorney General Lisa Madigan and Randolph County State’s Attorney Jeremy Walker filed a two-count criminal information against 61-year-old Peterson, charging him with one count of solicitation of murder for hire and one count of solicitation of murder, both Class X felonies.

“[Inmate A] has been forthright in saying that he was initially part of the discussions regarding setting Mr. Peterson up, along with his then cellmate [Inmate B], but that he switched sides after he was discarded by his cellmate/snitch and the prosecutors who were scheming to set Mr. Peterson up,” Brodsky said in a statement.

Walker declined comment, saying he “will let it play out in court.” Madigan’s office has not yet responded to NBCChicago’s request for comment.

“[Inmate A] is not asking for anything in return for assisting Mr. Peterson, nor has he ever asked for anything in exchange for helping out Peterson,” Brodsky said.

Photo Credit: Tom Gianni]]>
<![CDATA[Kane Undergoes Surgery on Fractured Clavicle]]> Wed, 25 Feb 2015 17:46:11 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/171*120/GettyImages_464336414.jpg

The Chicago Blackhawks already knew they were going to be without winger Patrick Kane for the forseeable future, but the team revealed a more definitive timeline on Wednesday when he underwent successful surgery for a fractured clavicle. 

The team said that Kane will recover fully within 12 weeks, meaning that he is done for at least the remainder of the regular season, and likely for a good chunk of the postseason as well. 

The injury occurred during a Tuesday win against the Florida Panthers. Kane crashed awkwardly into the boards after taking a cross-check to the lower back from Panthers defenseman Alex Petrovic, and he immediately left the ice surface in serious pain.

The team recalled forward Teuvo Teravainen from the Rockford IceHogs. The Hawks also assigned defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk to the IceHogs on a conditioning assignment, meaning that he's nearing a return to Chicago's lineup.

Stay tuned to NBC Chicago for more updates. 

<![CDATA[Hurst Agrees to Two-Year Deal with Bears ]]> Wed, 25 Feb 2015 17:30:59 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/GettyImages_460520354.jpg

The Chicago Bears have a lot of roster decisions to make in the coming weeks and months, and on Wednesday afternoon they made an interesting one as they signed cornerback Demontre Hurst to a two-year contract.

The deal was first reported last week, but the team confirmed the signing on Wednesday. Hurst, who had 35 tackles and an interception for the Bears during the 2014 season, has played a mixture of outside corner and the nickel spot for the team since signing with Chicago in 2013 as an undrafted free agent.

“It’s a blessing,” he told the Bears’ website. “It’s a blessing to be where I started and get to be with a different set of coaches but still with the same teammates. I’m just happy to be back with the guys.”

Hurst had an interesting season in 2014, playing with the Bears in the first game of the season and then being released the next day. After Charles Tillman went down with an injury against the San Francisco 49’ers in Week 2, Hurst was brought back aboard, and he ended up making two starts for the team in the final 14 games of the season.

With Hurst being brought back into the fold, it’s looking increasingly unlikely that the team will be bringing back Tillman next year. Kyle Fuller and Tim Jennings figure to have starting spots locked up at the moment, and it’s a good bet that Hurst will be one of the main competitors for the nickel corner spot.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Sekera Dealt to Kings, Hurting Hawks' Blue Line Pursuit]]> Wed, 25 Feb 2015 17:07:38 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/179*120/GettyImages_462989538.jpg

The Chicago Blackhawks have been in the market for a defenseman in recent weeks as the NHL trade deadline approaches, but a player who was potentially their biggest target is now off the board as Andrej Sekera has been traded to the Los Angeles Kings.

Sekera, who was an alternate captain for the Carolina Hurricanes, was a highly-sought after rental player, with the Blackhawks and Kings both in hot pursuit of his services.

The Kings ultimately won out, sending a first round draft pick (it goes to Carolina this year if the Kings make the postseason, and next year if they don’t), and prospect Roland McKeown to Raleigh in exchange for Sekera.

The Blackhawks have been looking for blue line help with the recent struggles of Johnny Oduya (who is currently dealing with an injury and out of the Hawks’ lineup) and Michal Rozsival, and losing out on Sekera is a tough pill to swallow for the team.

Getting Trevor van Riemsdyk back will be nice, but adding a veteran piece as a short-term rental would have really bolstered the team’s defensive corps.

There are still a couple of defensemen available on the market that could be on the Hawks’ wish list.

Scott Hannan’s name has been one of the main names mentioned, and others like Jeff Petry could also be on Chicago’s radar.

<![CDATA[4 Reasons to Make Des Moines Your Next Travel Destination]]> Thu, 26 Feb 2015 16:31:00 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/des+moines.jpg

The capital city of Iowa is less than a day's drive from Chicago, but it's often overlooked in lieu of other more tourist-centric Midwest cities like Minneapolis, the Wisconsin Dells or St. Louis.

But while Des Moines does not have a mega mall, a water park of city-like proportions or an arch of any kind, it does have many other attributes that make it a worthy Midwest travel destination. In fact, the lack of a tourist gimmick is what makes it a great place for a mini vacation away from the city.

In full disclosure, I was born and raised in Des Moines. I may have a bias toward my hometown, but after living away for more than four years, I can vouch for its little city (or big town) qualities that actually do make it a standout city in the Midwest.

Des Moines may not make the list of sexiest travel destinations in the world (or even in the Midwest), but here are four reasons you should put it on your list.

1. Des Moines has one of the best farmers' markets in the country.

If there's one thing Iowa is known for to the outside world, it would be its farms. Visitors from Chicago often take a negative view of Des Moines before they even arrive because the drive is, quite frankly, boring, with flat farmland making up most of the landscape.

That farmland, however, gives way to a vibrant harvest that partially supplies one of the best farmers' markets in the country. The produce available at the summertime market comes from 58 different counties, and the market takes up several city blocks near the Des Moines River. The farmers' market isn't just a place to stop and buy a few fresh ingredients. It's an event that happens every Saturday from May to October. (There's also a smaller indoor farmers' market for the winter.)

The streets in the farmers' market are packed by 9 a.m. Saturday mornings, and customers can find almost anything, from fresh Iowa produce to flowers and from breakfast burritos to Iowa-raised rabbit meat.

2. Des Moines is the place to be, by some accounts.

If you're a hipster or a political junkie, a visit to Des Moines could be the one thing you've been missing.

The city has gotten some positive press nationally in recent years due to its affordability, growing young population and city efforts to revive the downtown area. The National Journal published an article in October titled "Do the Most Hipster Thing Possible—Move to Des Moines." Ditch Brooklyn, the author wrote, and head to Iowa.

To be fair, Des Moines is not Brooklyn, but it's not quite as far off as most people think. Des Moines has its share of locally owned trendy restaurants (like the upscale French restaurant Django and the hip burger joint Zombie Burger), coffee shops (like Mars Cafe and Zanzibar) and breweries (like Confluence and Exile) to please a Brooklynite or two.

Following the article in the National Journal, even The Oregonian conceded Des Moines is more hipster than Portland. 

For political junkies, Des Moines has always been the place to be. In the year leading up to a presidential election, most of the candidates establish headquarters in the city and spend a lot of time traveling throughout the state, which hosts the first caucus in the country and sets the tone for the rest of the election.

The early start to the political campaign season can be a nuisance for those who live there, but it's a lot of fun for those interested in national politics.

3. Des Moines has an appreciation for art.

One of the city's biggest draws on the national scene is the six-year-old John and Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park, which features artwork by 22 artists from around the world. The park sits in the middle of downtown Des Moines and is part of the setting that is slowly turning the downtown area into an urban dreamscape. In the summer, the park fills with people strolling around the premise and wondering at the meaning of the varied sculptures.

The Des Moines Art Center makes another worthy tab on the itinerary. It has an impressive collection of contemporary art for a city of its size and houses works by Edward Hopper, Henri Matisse and Georgia O'Keefe, among others.

The grounds of the art center also feature a beautiful rose garden that is the setting for many wedding portraits and senior photos. The place is not swarming with photographers, however, so it is also a nice place to go for a quiet or romantic stroll. It is no wonder that many soon-to-be-married couples take their wedding photos there.

4. A trip to Des Moines is one of the most affordable out-of-state vacations you can take.

Des Moines is not an expensive city. Its cost of living is relatively low and there are not outrageous entrance fees for any of the above mentioned activities. If you're low on cash but want a weekend away, Des Moines is a great option.

Depending on gas prices, the biggest expensive is likely to be the travel cost. Driving to Des Moines, however, is cheaper than flying to most Midwest destination cities from Chicago.

A Few Things to Consider

If you're planning on traveling outside of Des Moines for anything, you'll need a car. All of the activities mentioned above, however, are in the downtown area, meaning visitors can walk or take a bus to their destinations.

If the weather is nice, Des Moines also has 42 miles of bike trails within city limits. A bike can take you to many points of interest in the city, but make sure you can deal with the elements of Midwestern weather before deciding to pedal everywhere.

Photo Credit: Telemundo]]>
<![CDATA[School Bus Flips on Its Side in Northern Suburb]]> Wed, 25 Feb 2015 16:23:34 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/226*120/school+bus+ax3.jpg

A school bus carrying children flipped on its side Wednesday afternoon in far north suburban Lake Villa, school officials said.

Lake Villa School District 41 said the accident happened around 3:30 p.m. on Grand Avenue in front of the Lake Villa Library.

The bus driver had just completed the route when the bus apparently experienced a mechanical issue involving the rear axle, causing it to turn over on its side.

Three children were on board at the time of the accident, officials said.

No serious injuries were reported, according to the district.

Photo Credit: Sky5/NBCChicago]]>
<![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[15th Measles Case Confirmed in Illinois]]> Wed, 25 Feb 2015 15:47:03 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/176*120/tlmd-sarampion-10-casos-illinois.jpg

Cook County health department officials confirmed a 15th case of measles in Illinois on Wednesday.

Officials say the latest case is an adult, but does not appear to be related to the KinderCare Learning Center at the center of a northwest suburban outbreak.

All 15 cases reported statewide are in Cook County and 13 of them are related to the outbreak at the KinderCare Learning Center, including one adult and 12 infants.

Officials say potential exposure from the newest confirmed case may have occurred at the following places:

• LaRosita Laundromat at 1212 E. Dundee Rd. in Palatine on Feb. 16
• Vista Clinic at 1585 North Rand Road in Palatine on Feb. 19 

Illinois health officials are still trying to figure out how the people became infected with the measles virus. No ties have been found to the December outbreak at Disneyland in California, health officials said.

Measles is a highly contagious respiratory disease that can cause severe health complications, including pneumonia, encephalitis and death.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Anthem Breach Affects 215,000 Blue Cross Members in Ill.]]> Wed, 25 Feb 2015 15:27:01 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/219*120/doctor_generic_health.jpg

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois said around 215,000 members’ personal information was compromised in a data breach at Anthem, Inc. this month.

The company said personal information about current and former members, including addresses, birthdates, social security numbers and telephone numbers may have been exposed in the breach. Medical and credit card information was not affected.

The breach affects members of an Anthem plan dating back to 2004 and includes customers of Amerigroup, Anthem and Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield companies, Caremore and Unicare.
Customers who used their Blue Cross and Blue Shield insurance in one of fourteen states, including Indiana, Ohio and Wisconsin, could have also been impacted.

Anthem announced the breach earlier this month, estimating the attack could have affected up to 80 million records.

BCBSIL said it planned to mail notifications to the current and former members in Illinois whose personal information may have been compromised.

“BCBSIL regrets that this may cause our members inconvenience,” the company said in a statement. “The privacy of our members is a top priority. BCBSIL has a robust information security program and has established additional security measures following the Anthem data breach.”

Anthem said it will offer 24 months of credit services to all current and former BCBSIL members affected in the breach.

<![CDATA[Kane Injury Could Leave Blackhawks Looking for Trade]]> Wed, 25 Feb 2015 15:41:15 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/170*120/GettyImages_464336458.jpg

The Chicago Blackhawks are heading toward next week’s NHL trade deadline with some needs to fill on the defensive side of things, but their priority list got a bit of a shake-up on Tuesday night as Patrick Kane was injured in their victory over the Florida Panthers.

With rumors swirling about how long Kane will actually be out for the Hawks—the current consensus seems to be a timetable of six to 10 weeks with a broken collarbone, but nothing has been confirmed by the team—the question of whether or not the team will add a piece before the deadline becomes even more pressing.

There was talk of general manager Stan Bowman making a move prior to March 2 to acquire defensive help, with names like Andrej Sekera popping up on the radar, but with Kane’s injury, forwards could become targets for the Hawks as well

Unfortunately for the Hawks, there is one thing that is going to complicate their efforts to acquire help: salary cap space.

The team doesn’t have much of it as it is, and although putting Kane on long-term injured reserve would allow them to make a substantial move, it would undoubtedly be a limited time rental.

With Brandon Saad due for a contract extension next season, and new deals kicking in for Kane and Jonathan Toews, the Blackhawks have absolutely no wiggle room next season for new salary. So any player acquired now would have to be either moved or allowed to become a free agent by July 1.

With those limitations in mind, there are still players that could end up on Chicago’s radar should they choose to pursue a forward on the trade market.

One name that keeps popping up is Arizona Coyotes center Antoine Vermette, and with good reason. His scoring numbers aren’t exactly off the charts, with 13 goals and 22 assists in 61 games for the Coyotes, but his penchant for winning face-offs and his defensive skill are both qualities that the Blackhawks could use, and it would allow the team flexibility to move a guy like Andrew Shaw back out to wing.

Another possible rental player for the Blackhawks could be veteran winger Jaromir Jagr. A free agent at season’s end, Jagr is rumored to want out of New Jersey as the Devils continue to struggle this season, and adding a goal scorer of his skill level could be a huge boost to the Hawks’ offense as they gear up for a playoff run.

There are other players who could be on the Hawks’ radar, including Chris Stewart, but the Hawks could also choose to go forward with in-house decisions. They’ve got plenty of depth at forward in their prospect chain, and guys like Teuvo Teravainen and Mark McNeill could get chances to crack the lineup consistently with Kane out.

<![CDATA[Bullet Found in Room at Second Northwest Indiana School]]> Wed, 25 Feb 2015 15:01:44 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/south+central+high+school.jpg

For the second time this week, a school in Northwest Indiana was placed on lockdown after a bullet was found in one of the rooms.

At about 10:15 a.m. Wednesday, a student at South Central High School, a K-12 school in Union Mills, found a bullet in the girls locker room, officials at the La Porte County sheriff's office said. The student turned the bullet in to a staff member, and the school was immediately placed on lockdown.

Police then conducted a search of every student locker and the physical education lockers, but no other bullets or weapons were found. The bullet in question is described as .22 caliber ammunition.

This is the second time this week that a bullet was found at a school in La Porte County. The first incident happened Tuesday at New Prairie High School. In both incidents, the schools were searched, but police did not find anything suspicious.

"We have seen this happen far too often in La Porte County schools," La Porte County Sheriff John Boyd said. "In addition to causing a substantial disruption to the school day, this adversely affects Sheriff's Office operations."

The sheriff's office encourages anyone with information about either incident to call their office at (219) 326-7700 or Crime Stoppers at 1 (800) 342-STOP (7767).

<![CDATA[Vince Vaughn, Chicago Prepare to Take Polar Plunge]]> Wed, 25 Feb 2015 13:33:10 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/vince+vaughn+getty.jpg

Actor Vince Vaughn and Chicagoans from across the city will soon take a dip into the icy waters of Lake Michigan following one of the coldest Februarys in Chicago history.

The Chicago Polar Plunge kicks offat 10 a.m. Sunday at North Avenue Beach, and air temperatures are expected to be right around 32 degrees with a chance for snow. As of Feb. 23, more than 85 percent of Lake Michigan was covered in ice, so plungers won't find any reprieve from the cold wind in the frigid waters.

Vaughn announced Saturday that he would take part in the event, which benefits Special Olympics Chicago. The "Wedding Crashers" star is a longtime Chicago Blackhawks fan and Lake Forest native. He will don a Blackhawks jersey for the plunge to show his Chicago pride.

Polar Plunge officials invited Vaughn to take the challenge via a social media campaign using the hashtag #VinnyDippin.

Last year, "The Tonight Show" host Jimmy Fallon took the plunge alongside Mayor Rahm Emanuel and raised a record $1 million for Special Olympics Chicago.

Watch Vince Vaughn take the Polar Plunge from the warm comfort of your home as NBC Chicago live streams the event at 10 a.m. Sunday. Download our mobile app for exclusive video.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Best Political Mustaches]]> Wed, 25 Feb 2015 13:20:18 -0600 since he was age 14 and a sophomore at St. Rita High School.]]> since he was age 14 and a sophomore at St. Rita High School.]]> http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/215*120/tlmd-jesus-chuy-garcia.jpg Jesus "Chuy" Garcia isn't the only politician sporting the 'stache]]> <![CDATA[No Criminal Charges in SIU Student Death, Attorney Says]]> Thu, 26 Feb 2015 11:37:24 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Pravin+Varughese.jpg

No criminal charges will be filed in the death of Southern Illinois University student Pravin Varughese following a Grand Jury's inquiry, the family's attorney told NBC Chicago.

Varughese's body was found in a Carbondale wooded area five days after he vanished in February 2013. Police initially said the 19-year-old ran off after a night of drinking and died of hypothermia, but a second independent autopsy by Dr. Ben Margolis later showed that Varughese died of blunt force trauma to the head, with no drugs or alcohol in his system. Margolis said the bruises he saw on the body may be evidence the teen was fighting for his life when he died.

Family attorney Charles Stegmeyer said the Grand Jury made their decision without being presented information from the second autopsy.

"I’m stunned. It reeks of a cover up," Stegmeyer told NBC Chicago following a Tuesday evening phone call by Michael Carr, the Jackson County State's Attorney.

"In Ferguson, the state’s attorney put on every witness pro and con and let them speak," Stegmeyer said, recalling the August shooting of Michael Brown by a police officer in Missouri. "Why didn’t Carr call Dr. Margolis and have him present the second autopsy?"

The college student's family believes Varguhese died in an attack involving 22-year-old Gaege Bethune, who was recorded by an Illinois State Trooper's dashboard camera while parked along the side of Illinois Route 13 in Carbondale. The family last August filed a civil suit against Bethune, the Carbondale Police Department and the City of Carbondale.

That civil suit was ongoing Wednesday, Varughese's mother, Lovely Varughese, said in an email. She said she would also be making an appeal to Gov. Bruce Rauner to investigate Carr. The family has previously traveled to Washington, D.C. and met with Sen. Dick Durbin, Sen. Mark Kirk’s staffers, and Rep. Jan Schakowsky looking for help.

In an afternoon statement, Carr said the Grand Jury did not find evidence to establish probable cause that Bethune caused Varughese's death or covered it up.

"This was a tragic end to a young man’s life but neither the facts nor circumstances, which have been presented to me, support bringing a criminal prosecution against anyone," he said.

<![CDATA[Kane on Long-Term Injured Reserve]]> Wed, 25 Feb 2015 12:27:24 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/464336414.jpg

The Chicago Blackhawks are remaining mum on a timetable for the upper body injury suffered by Patrick Kane on Tuesday night, but they have made a roster move to replace him as they placed him on long-term injured reserve Wednesday afternoon. 

In a corresponding move, the team recalled forward Teuvo Teravainen from the Rockford IceHogs. The Hawks also assigned defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk to the IceHogs on a conditioning assignment, meaning that he's nearing a return to Chicago's lineup. 

As for Kane, the LTIR-designation means that he has to miss a minimum of 10 games and 24 days of ice time. It also means that the Blackhawks have some salary cap space to play with as they search for help at the NHL trade deadline, which will come on March 2. 

The injury (which several outlets have reported as a broken collarbone that will cost him between six and 10 weeks, but no confirmation has come from the team) occurred during a Tuesday win against the Florida Panthers. Kane crashed awkwardly into the boards after taking a cross-check to the lower back from Panthers defenseman Alex Petrovic, and he immediately left the ice surface in serious pain. 

Photo Credit: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Arlington Heights Priest Charged With Child Porn]]> Wed, 25 Feb 2015 17:34:07 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Clovis-Vilchez-Parra.jpg

A Cook County judge on Wednesday set bail at $175,000 for a northwest suburban priest brought up on child pornography charges.

Clovis Vilchez-Parra, 34, an associate pastor at the Mission San Juan Diego Catholic Church in Arlington Heights, was charged with reproduction of child pornography and possession of child pornography, according to a statement from the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office.

Vilchez-Parra was arrested Monday at a residence owned by the Archdiocese of Chicago after Palatine police officers, working with the Bartlett Police Department and a Cook County task force, executed a search warrant on the property.

In a statement, investigators said they seized a laptop computer and other media which contained child pornography.

Vilchez-Parra is being represented by attorney Joe Roddy of Chicago.

Photo Credit: Palatine Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[CREW Files Complaint Over Schock's Travel Spending]]> Wed, 25 Feb 2015 12:08:50 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/aaron-schock-gettyimages.jpg

A government watchdog group on Wednesday asked congressional investigators to examine whether Illinois Rep. Aaron Schock violated House ethics rules by using taxpayer and campaign funds for private air travel.

The Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington said in its complaint to the Office of Congressional Ethics that available evidence about Schock's spending "warrants a full investigation." Schock, a 33-year-old Republican, has faced scrutiny in recent weeks amid revelations he used the funds to pay for trips on his donors' aircraft.

An Associated Press review this week found Schock spent more than $40,000 for at least a dozen flights, including trips before 2013 that may have violated House rules. Schock's expenses also include fundraising-related charges to a massage company and for music concerts.

This is the third complaint from the liberal-leaning group CREW about Schock's finances since early February, the most recent one filed days after reports from the AP, Washington Post, Politico and USA Today. CREW's complaints on Feb. 3 and Feb. 9 asked for inquires over decorating services to furnish his office after the TV show "Downton Abbey," as well as the sale of his Peoria, Illinois, home to a campaign contributor.

A spokesman for Schock on Wednesday referred to the congressman's earlier comments about his finances. Schock told the AP on Monday he takes compliance with funding rules seriously and has begun a review of his office's procedures "concerning this issue and others to determine whether they can be improved."

Lawmakers can use their office funds for private flights as long as payments cover their share of the costs. But most of the flights Schock covered with office funds occurred before the House changed its rules in January 2013. The earlier rules prohibited lawmakers from using those accounts to pay for flights on private aircraft, allowing payments only for federally licensed charter and commercial flights.

Schock also spent thousands more on tickets for concerts and car mileage reimbursements and took his interns to a sold-out Katy Perry concert in Washington last June. Separately, the Office of Congressional Ethics said in 2013 there was reason to believe Schock violated House rules on campaign contributions during a 2012 primary.

In a signal that Schock could begin to respond to questions about his expenses, Schock earlier this week brought on board Washington attorneys William McGinley and Donald McGahn, a former Federal Election Commission member. Schock also retained GOP communications experts Ron Bonjean and Brian Walsh, according to a person familiar with the changes who was not authorized to speak publicly. Politico first reported the hires Tuesday.

The AP's review identified at least one dozen flights worth more than $40,000 on donors' planes since mid-2011, tracking Schock's reliance on the aircraft partly through the congressman's penchant for uploading pictures and videos of himself to his Instagram account. The AP extracted location data associated with each image then correlated it with flight records showing airport stopovers and expenses later billed for air travel against Schock's office and campaign records.

The review covered Schock's travel and entertainment expenses in his taxpayer-funded House account, in his campaign committee and the "GOP Generation Y Fund," a political action committee. Records show more than $1.5 million in contributions to the fund since he took office in 2009.

<![CDATA[Kane vs. Rose: Which Injury Hurts Title Chances More?]]> Wed, 25 Feb 2015 11:46:28 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AP908342323712.jpg

With a winter that feels like it will never end and the sour taste of an awful Chicago Bears season still fresh in their mouths, Chicago sports fans seemed to have something to look forward to over the next couple of months: watching the Chicago Blackhawks and Chicago Bulls compete for titles in their respective sports.

On Tuesday night, a nightmare scenario unfolded as both teams suffered catastrophic injuries that threatened to derail their seasons. First came the gut punch as Patrick Kane left the Blackhawks’ game against the Florida Panthers with an upper body injury. Then, as the collective Chicago sports public bent down, fate delivered an upper cut to their chin as Derrick Rose was diagnosed with a torn meniscus by the Bulls.

Neither player has been conclusively ruled out for the season, with the cone of silence that NHL teams surround themselves with and the inexact science of determining the extent of knee injuries without surgery both playing a role in that. Nonetheless, it seems clear that both Kane and Rose will be out for a long stretch of time, and that got us to thinking: just how doomed are both teams as the playoffs near?

Starting with the Blackhawks, it seems that they can sustain without Kane in the lineup, but it’s highly unlikely they can win a championship without a healthy Kane. Yes hockey is a team sport, and yes they could make a roster move to bring aboard a rental player (although Stan Bowman has been very cautious in the past about sacrificing future assets for short-term gains), but unless Teuvo Teravainen comes in and is able to make an immediate impact as a top-six forward, the Blackhawks would be lucky to win a playoff series or two without Kane around.

As for the Bulls, they were facing an uphill battle anyway even with a healthy Rose, as Washington’s big-bodied forwards and Cleveland’s LeBron James threatened to end any playoff run. With Rose gone, the Bulls do have a couple of decent options at point guard with Aaron Brooks and E’Twaun Moore in the mix, but with Kirk Hinrich’s repeated injury issues and the fact that Doug McDermott has been unable to crack their rotation consistently, the Bulls seem to be a team with some really solid weapons but a mix that’s unable to get the job done come playoff time.

If one had to pick a team that is better suited to winning a title without their primary player, it’s hard not to lean toward the Blackhawks in that debate. With players like Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa, the team has plenty of offensive firepower to get the job done, and what little cap flexibility they have could be used to add some help on the defensive side of the ice. Add Corey Crawford into the mix (assuming he’s rested enough when the playoffs begin, and that is possible if Joel Quenneville continues to utilize Scott Darling effectively), and there seems to be more of a path for them to win without their leading scorer.

Despite all this title talk, the collective sting and shock of these injuries will be tough to get over for Chicago sports fans. Seeing players like Rose, who has gone through so much in his recovery from his previous two knee injuries, and Kane, who missed a chunk of last season with an injury and was looking like he’d become the first ever American-born player to win the NHL’s Art Ross Trophy, go down with injuries is a shock to the system, and it serves as a painful reminder that nothing can be taken for granted when an athlete steps onto the field of play.

Now, in the words of Laurence Holmes, can someone do us all a favor and get some bubblewrap for Jose Abreu and Anthony Rizzo please?

Photo Credit: AP]]>