<![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 Wed, 27 May 2015 01:20:03 -0500 Wed, 27 May 2015 01:20:03 -0500 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Subway Restaurant Robbed at Knife Point]]> Tue, 26 May 2015 22:31:51 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/subway-robbery.jpg Monday incident is the latest in a string of robberies involving knives. NBC Chicago's Trina Orlando reports. ]]> <![CDATA[Missing Minutes From Security Video Raises Questions]]> Tue, 26 May 2015 22:16:38 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Laquan-McDonald.jpg

Chicago police officers deleted footage from a security camera at a Burger King restaurant located fewer than 100 yards from where 17-year old Laquan McDonald was shot and killed, according to a Chicago-area district manager for the food chain.

McDonald was shot 16 times by a Chicago police officer on the night of October 20, 2014. Nine of the shots struck McDonald in the back, according to the Medical Examiners report.

The 86-minutes of missing video runs from 9:13 p.m. to 10:39 p.m., according to the lawyers for McDonald’s family. He was shot at approximately 9:50 p.m.

The Burger King sits at 40th and Pulaski and has a series of outside security cameras. On the night of the shooting, McDonald was trailed by Chicago police officers through the Burger King parking lot after a call about a man with a knife, according to attorneys for the McDonald family.

Just south of the restaurant, McDonald was shot after police on the scene said he posed a "very serious threat" to the officer’s safety. But that claim is disputed by attorneys for McDonald’s family and by some eyewitnesses that night.

"One witness, this witness told us this was an execution. That’s his word," said attorney Jeff Neslund, who along with Michael Robbins, represents McDonald’s family.

After the shooting, according to Jay Darshane, the District Manager for Burger King, four to five police officers wearing blue and white shirts entered the restaurant and asked to view the video and were given the password to the equipment. Three hours later they left, he said.

The next day, when an investigator from the Independent Police Review Authority asked to view the security footage, it was discovered that the 86 minutes of video was missing.

In a statement, a spokesman for the IPRA said: "We have no credible evidence at this time that would cause us to believe CPD purged or erased any surveillance video."

But according to Darshane, both the cameras and video recorder were all on and working properly the night of the shooting. So what happened? One of the detectives, he believes, deleted the files.

"We had no idea they were going to sit there and delete files," Darshane said. "I mean we were just trying to help the police officers."

The missing video, all sides agree, would not have shown the actual shooting but attorney’s for McDonald’s family contend it could have shown events leading up to the shooting.

"Our first time down at the Burger King restaurant when we started talking to employees, watching the Burger King video, when we realized video had been deleted, or is missing, absolutely we knew something was up," said Jeff Neslund.

While the video from the Burger King is missing, the shooting of McDonald was captured on a police dashboard camera. That video has not been made public.

The FBI, the U.S. Attorney and the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office are all investigating the McDonald shooting.

As is the Independent Police Review Authority.

"I don’t regard them as independent and I don’t regard them as investigators," said attorney Candace Gorman. She represents the family of Divonte Young who was shot and killed by a Chicago Police officer in August 2012. The officer said he was in fear of his life after Young shot at him.

IPRA in calling the shooting justified noted, "No weapon was found on or near the Subject so it was surmised that a civilian had removed the gun."

In a civil rights case filed in federal court, Gorman contends IPRA investigations are a whitewash.

"Their policy is to exonerate any officer that’s involved in a shooting and the officers all know it," she said. "They have complete impunity, and they know they will never be called on the carpet by the city of Chicago or the so-called independent investigative unit."

IPRA responded saying its investigations are done "fairly, objectively and thoroughly. IPRA’s policy is to reach the proper conclusion relative to the officer’s use of deadly force based solely on the evidence." And that, "Ms. Gorman could not be more wrong."

City Inspector General Joe Ferguson's office is, according to the IG's website, auditing the "accuracy and completeness of IPRA’s reporting on officer-involved weapons discharges and investigations."

A spokeswoman for the IG’s office says the audit is ongoing.

After repeated requests, the Chicago Police Department did not comment. 

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<![CDATA[Boy, 5, Mauled to Death by Dog on Memorial Day]]> Tue, 26 May 2015 05:26:02 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/227*120/south+side+dog+attack.jpg

A 5-year-old boy was mauled to death by a dog on Chicago’s South Side on Memorial Day.

The attack happened around 9:30 p.m. in the 8900 block of South Carpenter Street, police said. 

A witness said she heard a woman screaming and saw the child's neck in the dog's mouth.

"Me and my brother ran over and I started calling 911 and my brother came across the street with a chair from our porch and tried to hit the dog with the chair but it wasn't working," said neighbor Bianca White. 

Several neighbors rushed to the scene to help the boy and some began attacking the dog, witnesses said.

"We started hitting the dog with a brick, my brother grabbed a pole and kept hitting it until it died," said resident Marquis Lewis. "I wasn't thinking about nothing but getting the dog off the baby."

Police said the dog was dead when officers arrived and the young boy was rushed to Advocate Christ Medical Center with "traumatic injuries." He was pronounced dead at 10:08 p.m., officials said. 

"My heart hurts that we couldn't save him," said 19-year-old Lamar Lewis, who rushed to help save the boy.

The boy was identified as James W. Nevils III, of the 8200 block of South Escanaba St. in Chicago, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner's office. Police have launched a death investigation into how the attack happened. 



Photo Credit: NVP/NBCChicago]]>
<![CDATA[Deer Roams Chicago's North Side]]> Tue, 26 May 2015 18:29:59 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/WMAQ_000000012571023_1200x675_451964995513.jpg Animal Control on Tuesday had to capture a deer roaming around the Ravenswood neighborhood.]]> <![CDATA[Possible Microburst Creates Damage in Summit]]> Tue, 26 May 2015 18:26:15 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/238*120/SUMMIT6.JPG

Forecasters early Tuesday evening couldn't officially say whether weather damage in Summit, south of Chicago, was caused by a microburst but said there were wind gusts of about 55 MPH.

The line of storms was brief but powerful enough to cause damage to roofs, bring down tree branches and cause a street lamp pole to tilt.

Roberto Galvaz was at work when a neighbor called him to tell him of damage at his home from a downed tree. He came home to find part of his front window shattered.

"For a tree branch to fall, and it was a pretty big branch from what I remember, it must have been some really strong wind coming through here," said Galvaz.

Another home on the 7300 block of 62nd Place had a portion of the roof blown away. The pieces fell on top of the homeowner's car.

While much of the area got off to a cloudy, mild and muggy start, warm and moist air moved in during the late morning and early afternoon hours. A few storms popped up with high winds and downpours.

Forecast models showed the chance of thunderstorms continuing with an isolated threat Wednesday. Conditions look to dry up for most of Thursday, but rain moves back into the forecast late Thursday night and the wet weather will likely stay through the weekend ahead of a big cool down.

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<![CDATA[10 Students Injured When School Buses Collide at Zoo]]> Tue, 26 May 2015 17:26:05 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/brookfield-zoo-crash-1.jpg

Ten students were taken to hospitals following an accident involving two school buses in the parking lot of Brookfield Zoo in the western suburbs Tuesday afternoon.

The accident occurred about 1:13 p.m. in the zoo’s main parking lot at 31st Street and 1st Avenue in Brookfield, according to a statement from the zoo.

"A total of 10 students were transported to local medical facilities," the statement said.

A zoo spokeswoman would not comment on the severity of the injuries, saying the students were being assessed at Loyola University Medical Center.

The zoo’s on-site ambulance and crews from several local municipalities coordinated the transport of passengers, the statement said.

The zoo spokeswoman would not disclose the schools involved, saying administrators had requested time to contact parents of the students involved first.

The accident site has since been cleared and the North Gate parking lot remained accessible, according to the zoo.



Photo Credit: CapturedNews]]>
<![CDATA[Emergency Speed Bumps Planned in Area Where Girl Killed]]> Tue, 26 May 2015 15:41:09 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/5900-south-mozart-1.jpg

City crews were out Tuesday measuring and marking the street for speed bumps in an area where a child was killed in a hit-and-run crash.

Ald. Toni Foulkes (16th) made a special request for the speed bumps along the 5900 block of South Mozart Street following the death of 5-year-old Maria Gonzalez. The girl was hit by a car Saturday afternoon as she ran out to an approaching ice cream truck.

"Normally the procedure is that you get signatures from the block, and then we go from there," said Foulkes. "The speed bumps are the cheapest thing on the city menu and whoever asks for speed bumps,  we give it to them immediately. This is $3,000. This is not worth a life." 

The car that struck Gonzalez, which police said was a two-door, dark-colored Honda Civic with a dull or primer finish, equipped with a sunroof and spoiler, continued westbound on 60th Street after striking Gonzalez.

The girl's family members said a wake will be held from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday at Marin Funeral Home, at 5744 W. 51st Street. The funeral is Saturday from 6:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m., with burial to follow at Resurrection Cemetery, at 7201 S. Archer Ave.



Photo Credit: Courtney Copenhagen]]>
<![CDATA[Blackhawks Panic Meter: Should Fans Be Worried? ]]> Tue, 26 May 2015 12:35:05 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/169*120/GettyImages-474755414.jpg

The Chicago Blackhawks are trying to get to their third Stanley Cup Final in the last six seasons and their second in the last three, but their backs are against the wall as they trail the Anaheim Ducks by a 3-2 margin in the Western Conference Final.

With Game 6 looming in Chicago on Wednesday night and the prospect of being eliminated just before the final series a definite possibility, we’re asking ourselves this morning: just how worried should Hawks fans be?

To help answer that question, we’re dusting off our trusty Panic Meter.

Offense: 6/10

The Blackhawks have gotten some great news lately with the coming out party for winger Teuvo Teravainen and the push they got from Jonathan Toews on Monday night in Game 5, but there are still players that need to step up their games. Patrick Sharp’s turnover at the blue line cost the Blackhawks a goal against Anaheim on Monday, and Marian Hossa’s shooting percentage is hovering around two percent for the postseason.

Those numbers have got to change if the Hawks are going to make a comeback in this series, but at least they have other weapons that are able to pick up the slack.

 

Defense: 9/10

Sure Duncan Keith seems like he would be able to play 50 minutes a night and not blink an eye, and Brent Seabrook has been a lethal offensive weapon the past few games, but wear and tear seem to finally be taking their toll with this group as the series continues.

Whether it’s overuse, lack of depth, or some combination of the two, the Hawks’ defense allowed some really good scoring chances to the Ducks in Game 5 and were in bad position on others. Turnovers on the forecheck led to a couple of Ducks goals in the game, and then Kimmo Timonen’s pass to the point is what ultimately led to Sharp’s turnover and another Anaheim tally.

Finally, Seabrook himself wasn’t without blame, panicking on the game’s final 2-on-1 rush as he tried to block a pass from Ryan Kesler that never came as the center fired a low shot off of Corey Crawford’s pads, and that puck found its way onto Matt Beleskey’s stick as the winger fired home the game winner.

This group is a resilient one, full of veterans who have been through this rodeo before, but one has to question whether or not they’ve finally met their match.

Goaltending: 5/10

Crawford has let in a few soft goals here and there during this series, but for the most part, he has helped keep the Hawks in it even as the defense has let him down time and again. Traffic in front of him has really hindered him in this series, but he’s fought through screens and even taken a few shots of his own at his opponents as the games have worn on.

Anyone blaming Crawford for the losses of this team haven’t really watched the series. He has fully recovered from his poor play against Nashville, and he’s frankly one of the main reasons that this thing is still winnable for the Blackhawks.

Total: 6/10

No team in their right mind wants to go down 3-2 in a series, but that’s the position the Blackhawks find themselves in. They have had opportunities to be ahead in this series, but the reality is that this series has seen a bunch of coin-flip moments between two evenly matched teams, and the breaks have ultimately gone the Ducks’ way.

Fans should be concerned to a degree, but if any team in these playoffs has given fans reason for optimism, it’s the Hawks. They possess the right blend of star talent and role players to get the job done, and this group has a ton of pride. They never quit fighting, and you saw that on Monday night. The team was down 3-0 and playing their worst hockey in recent memory, and yet they scratched and clawed their way back and forced overtime.

Lineup tweaks and home ice will both help on Wednesday night, and the Hawks should come out with a tremendous effort to keep their season alive. Fans writing this team off do so at their own peril, and should probably stick to writing in pencil instead of pen.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Chicago Man Drowns in Wisconsin Dells]]> Tue, 26 May 2015 11:13:58 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/ambulance-shutterstock_12161325.jpg

A 21-year-old man from Chicago died over the holiday weekend while swimming in the Wisconsin River in the Wisconsin Dells.

Police said the man was fishing on a rock island area in the river and disappeared under water while trying to swim back to shore just before 7 p.m. Saturday.

“The male victim appeared to have gotten caught in the strong current and went under,” police said in a statement Monday, noting that the Wisconsin River is “continuously changing and the current is very strong.”

Family and witnesses attempted to rescue the man but they were unsuccessful, according to authorities.

It took nearly two days for divers to find the man’s body, which was located just before 6 p.m. Monday.

The Columbia County Sheriff’s office is investigating the death.

The victim’s name had not been released as of Monday evening. 



Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Chicago Suburb Named Among Richest in Nation]]> Tue, 26 May 2015 10:22:06 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/160*120/PHOTO170465711169958454477main.jpg

A Chicago suburb has been named one of the richest cities in the country, according to a new report.

North suburban Winnetka was named the second-richest city in the nation in a report by financial news company 24/7 Wall St.

The report ranked cities based on their median household incomes, poverty rates, median home values, educational attainment rates, shares of households making less than $10,000 and more than $200,000 and the percent of households that have married couples and children.

Winnetka’s population was cited as being “highly-paid and highly-educated,” with all but 0.8 percent of the city’s adults having at least a high school diploma and 88 percent having a bachelor’s degree.

The median household income in Winnetka is $211,250 and the median home value is $936,200, according to the report. That’s nearly five times the median home value for much of the metropolitan Chicago area, which currently sits at $206,300.

The richest city in the nation was Scarsdale, New York, which had a median household income of $233,311.

The report notes that the richest communities in the country are most often located within commuting distance of a major city. Four of the 10 wealthiest towns are within commuting distance of New York City, two are close to Dallas, and two are outside of San Francisco.

In eight of the 10 wealthiest towns and cities, at least 70 percent of households consisted of a married couple, and 30 percent of those couples had children.
 



Photo Credit: Mike Heimlich]]>
<![CDATA["Mighty Ducks" Actor Live Tweets Hawks' Loss]]> Tue, 26 May 2015 08:40:29 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/emilio_better.jpg

Actor Emilio Estevez, known for his role as youth hockey coach Gordon Bombay in "The Mighty Ducks," was very excited about the Anaheim Ducks’ Game 5 win against the Chicago Blackhawks Monday… and he wasn’t afraid to show it.

Estevez channeled his popular Disney character as he live-tweeted the game and used the hashtag #GordonBombay to cheer on the Hawks rivals. He even quacked out an insult at the Hawks in one of the tweets.

The Blackhawks forced an overtime in California Monday night, but a Matt Beleskey goal gave the Ducks a 3-2 series lead.

The Blackhawks will try to save their season on Wednesday night when the teams meet again for Game 6 of the series. The puck is scheduled to drop at the United Center at 7 p.m.

We will have to wait and see if Estevez keeps quacking on Twitter for the game.  



Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Mom Speaks Out After Boy, 4, Burned in Fire]]> Tue, 26 May 2015 10:40:32 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/tyler+roe.JPG

The mother of a 4-year-old boy who was severely burned after someone set fire to a garbage can and the flames spread to the home where he was sleeping says she just wants the person who set the fire to be caught.

Anne Roe said she just wishes she could take away her son’s pain. The young boy was critically wounded with second degree burns to 40 percent of his body after flames from an arson fire sparked a blaze at his home in the city’s Albany Park neighborhood earlier this month.

“He’s got his face wrapped up, arms, torso,” she said. “I’ve seen his body, his face and chest was burned.”

Nearly everyone sleeping inside the coach house in the 4300 block of Drake Avenue managed to exit the home unharmed, except for Tyler Roe, who had to be rescued by firefighters.

Tyler remains at Comer Children’s Hospital in a medically induced coma, his mother said, but doctors are hopeful.

“I just thank God my son is still here,” Anne Roe said.

Anne Roe said while she is focused on her son’s recovery, she wants the person responsible for his pain to be found.

“I just want whoever set this fire to be caught,” she said.

Police, in a community alert issued last week, said someone appeared to have set fire to materials inside two garbage cans on the block. The incidents took place within two minutes of each other, police said.

Police have asked residents to be aware of suspicious activity in the area, particularly in alleys. They’ve also asked that anyone who may have surveillance footage from the scene make a copy for investigators.

Anyone with information about the fires is asked to call (312) 746-7618.

GoFundMe page has also been set up to help pay for Tyler’s medical care and replace the family's belongings that were lost in the blaze.
 

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<![CDATA[Four Injured in Evanston Porch Collapse]]> Tue, 26 May 2015 05:05:25 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/223*120/evanston+collapse.jpg

A family’s Memorial Day celebration turned dangerous when the porch they were on collapsed from the third floor of an apartment building in suburban Evanston.

Four people suffered minor injuries and several others were treated after the scene after the porch gave way in the 1900 block of Darrow Avenue, fire officials said. 

Raven Jaffe, who was inside the apartment at the time of the collapse, said family and friends had gathered at her mother’s home at the time for a Memorial Day gathering.

“We were having a family barbecue when the porch collapsed,” she said. “You hear it breaking and just a whole bunch of commotion.”

More than a dozen people were on the structure, many of them sitting, at the time of the collapse.

Fire officials said several people were treated at the scene and four people were transported to an area hospital.

Officials suspect the cause of collapse was “overloading.”

“My mom has told the landlord multiple times that the porch needed to be fixed,” Jaffe said. “Unfortunately today there were a lot of people on the back porch having a good time.”

Evanston Fire Chief Tom Janetske said it wasn’t clear if any reports had been filed about the porch but said the building department was notified of the collapse.

“It could have been a lot worse,” he said.  

Gary Gerdes, manager of the Evanston Building and Inspection Services, said at the scene Tuesday morning that a preliminary investigation revealed the porch was not properly attached to the apartment. 

Gerdes said inspectors will look into the history of the building and its owner, along with the potential overloading, before determining if anyone is at fault. 

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<![CDATA[Dashcam Footage Captures Albany Park Shootout]]> Mon, 25 May 2015 22:34:54 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/216*120/YouTube1.png

A dramatic dashcam video captured an apparent shootout in broad daylight in Chicago’s Albany Park neighborhood.

The user who posted the video to YouTube wrote they attained the footage of the Saturday shooting from a dashcam in a nearby parked car.

Chicago police confirm two people exchanged gunfire in the 4800 block of North Kenneth Avenue that day.

No one was injured, but a house and a car were damaged, according to police.

Neighbor Cheyenne Clark, 12, told NBC Chicago she was playing on the computer in her house when she heard shots fired outside.

“I was like shivering,” Clark said. “There was a pause in the middle, then back to shooting.”

Albany Park resident Glenn Contreras said this wasn’t the first time he’s heard gunshots fired on his block.

“I’ve heard gunshots before but when you actually see it in a video it brings you back to reality that this is actually happening,” Contreras said.

A man working at a nearby 7 Eleven convenience store told NBC Chicago one of the groups of men involved in the shooting was in his store just minutes before the altercation went down.

No details have been released as to why the shooting broke out.

Chicago police said they are investigating the incident. No arrests have been made.



Photo Credit: YouTube/albowrx
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<![CDATA[Ducks Beat Blackhawks 5-4 ]]> Mon, 25 May 2015 23:15:09 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-474750936.jpg

The Chicago Blackhawks got two goals from Jonathan Toews to force overtime in Game 5 of the Western Conference Final, but a Matt Beleskey goal just under a minute into overtime gave the Anaheim Ducks a 5-4 victory on Monday night. 

The loss puts the Blackhawks one loss away from being eliminated in the conference final for the second consecutive season. 

The Ducks may have had to deal with a tough overtime loss in Game 4, but there was no carryover effect as they positively dominated the entire first period. They got on the board early in the frame as Nate Thompson made a great play on the forecheck behind the net, and after Cam Fowler pinched in from the blue line, he hammered a slap shot past Corey Crawford to give Anaheim a 1-0 lead.

Just 32 seconds later, the Ducks scored again. Jakob Silfverberg got the play started as he pinched in from the blue line and fired a shot toward the net, and Ryan Kesler got his stick blade on the puck. It ended up bouncing up off the ice and skipped past Crawford to make it a 2-0 game.

The Blackhawks continued to struggle on offense, going the first 14 minutes of the game without a shot on goal, and the Ducks took advantage as they scored again. Off a face-off win, Sami Vatanen came in toward the net and hammered a slap shot off the inside of the post and into the cage as Anaheim secured a huge 3-0 lead.

The Hawks did manage a few shots on goal late in the frame, but they were unable to score. Jonathan Toews had the best chance of the bunch as he collected a loose puck in front, but Frederik Andersen aced his first test as he made the save and kept his team in front after 20 minutes of play.

Unlike the first period of the game, the Blackhawks got off to a hot start in the second period and scored just over a minute into the period. Teuvo Teravainen made his presence felt in the game as he cut in across the blue line, skated across the slot, and ripped a shot past Andersen to get the Hawks on the board.

Each team got a power play as the period continued, but neither side could convert. The Blackhawks once again found themselves held out to the perimeter of the ice as they couldn’t get anything across the zone, and the Ducks had similar issues as the Hawks’ aggressive forecheck prevented them from cycling the puck to the blue line.

Late in the period, the Blackhawks looked as though they were going to head into the intermission down two goals, but Brent Seabrook had other ideas. Teravainen made a great play behind the net to buy himself a second to survey the ice, and he fired a pass across to the pinching Seabrook, who beat Andersen and made it a 3-2 game with one period to go.

The Blackhawks blew an early power play in the third period, and the miscues ended up costing them as the Ducks scored a critical insurance goal with about five and a half minutes to take a 4-2 lead. After Patrick Sharp turned the puck over at the blue line, Patrick Maroon got a cross-ice pass past a diving Niklas Hjalmarsson and flipped the shot home.

Despite the long odds, the Blackhawks started a comeback with about two minutes remaining. After a lengthy possession, Marian Hossa fired a pass to Jonathan Toews in the slot and the captain blasted a shot off the crossbar and into the net, making it a 4-3 game.

With a little over 30 seconds to go, the Blackhawks improbably tied it up. Toews got the puck down at the goal line, and he fired a shot toward the net. Somehow, the puck bounced off of Andersen’s left skate and slid over the line, and in an instant the Blackhawks made it a 4-4 game and forced the third overtime of the series.

Bryan Bickell turned the puck over less than a minute into overtime, and the Ducks quickly turned the miscue into a goal. Ryan Kesler's shot on a 2-on-1 rush was stopped by Crawford, but Matt Beleskey was there to hammer home the rebound and give the Ducks a 3-2 series lead. 

The Blackhawks will try to save their season on Wednesday night when the teams meet again for Game 6 of the series. The puck is scheduled to drop at the United Center at 7 p.m. 



Photo Credit: NHLI via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Hawks' Defense in for Stern Test in Game 5 ]]> Mon, 25 May 2015 17:52:28 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-474565672.jpg

The Chicago Blackhawks have been criticized throughout the season for their shallow defensive depth, but with Michal Rozsival out of the lineup and Kimmo Timonen not playing like his old self after returning from blood clots in his legs, things are looking worse than ever for Chicago.

That’s because the team is piling minutes onto its top four defensemen, and they’re starting to show some wear and tear in the process.

Duncan Keith is leading the way, playing nearly 37 minutes per game so far in the Western Conference Final against the Anaheim Ducks. Brent Seabrook isn’t far behind at nearly 34 minutes, while Niklas Hjalmarsson has also cracked the half hour mark at 31:30.

Those numbers by themselves are bad, but the Blackhawks are also running into a serious issue in this series: they’re getting hit early and often by the Ducks.

So far in this series, the Ducks have racked up 220 hits against Chicago, and 107 of them have targeted the team’s top four defensemen. That is a lot of punishment to take on its own, but when added to the extra ice time each player is getting thanks to the shallow defensive depth and the five overtime periods that have already been played in this series, it’s clear that there is a potential issue here.

With all of those numbers floating around this series, it would stand to reason that Game 5 could end up being the big test to determine whether the Hawks’ blue liners will break, or whether they will stand firm and remain effective.

The Ducks have only lost once on home ice so far in this postseason, and they are going to be eager to jump out to a good start and force the Blackhawks to play from behind.

If the Blackhawks are able to withstand that initial push, then things could potentially work out in their favor and see them gunning for the series victory on Wednesday night. If that physicality ends up finally breaking them and leads to breakdowns in discipline and positioning, then the Hawks could find themselves backed against the wall in a must-win situation at the United Center.

The fate of the Hawks in these playoffs rests largely on this game, and it’s the defense that will have the biggest say in determining the outcome.

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<![CDATA[Mini Golf Opens at Maggie Daley Park]]> Mon, 25 May 2015 17:21:06 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/WMAQ_000000012548162_1200x675_450879043744.jpg There’s a new family adventure at Maggie Daley Park: Miniature golf. For $10, you can enjoy the temporary 18-hole course now through September 27.]]> <![CDATA[Chicago’s Beach Season Begins]]> Mon, 25 May 2015 17:15:30 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/WMAQ_000000012548148_1200x675_450879555819.jpg Memorial Day weekend kicked off Chicago’s beach season. NBC Chicago’s Anthony Ponce reports.]]> <![CDATA[Bears Release Ray McDonald ]]> Mon, 25 May 2015 15:48:05 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/th-may-25-ray-mcdonald-mug.jpg

The Chicago Bears rolled the dice on signing defensive end Ray McDonald after a history of domestic abuse accusations and arrests, and on Monday their gamble didn't pay off as the team released McDonald following a domestic violence arrest

"We believe in second chances, but when we signed Ray we were very clear what our expectations were if he was to remain a Bear," Bears G.M. Ryan Pace said in a statement. "He was not able to meet the standard and the decision was made to release him."

McDonald, who played for the San Francisco 49'ers under Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, was released by the team last season after he was arrested for assault in California. 

That arrest (the charges were eventually dropped because of insufficent evidence) was one of several brushes with the law that McDonald has had over the past few years. He also was accused of sexual assault last year, and he was also arrested for DUI and charged with failing to appear in court on the charges. 

When the Bears signed McDonald, team chairman George McCaskey said that McDonald's case was one of "bad judgment" and that he believed that the lineman was a changed man. 

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<![CDATA[Blackhawks vs. Ducks: Three Keys to Game 5 ]]> Mon, 25 May 2015 13:46:13 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-4745724221.jpg

 

The Chicago Blackhawks and Anaheim Ducks have been engaged in a back and forth slugfest so far in the Western Conference Final, but the stakes are even higher on Monday night as the two teams battle with the series lead on the line.

 

The Blackhawks ended up securing that tie on Saturday night thanks to an Antoine Vermette goal in double overtime, but they can’t afford to rest on their laurels as Game 5 looms. The Ducks have only lost once at home during this postseason, and they will look to continue their dominance at the Honda Center as they attempt to take back control of the series.

With that in mind, we have three keys for the Blackhawks as they look to give themselves an opportunity to clinch a berth in the Stanley Cup Final in Chicago on Wednesday.

Third Line Dominance Must Continue on Road

In Game 4 of the series, the reunited third line of Teuvo Teravainen, Antoine Vermette, and Patrick Sharp had an excellent contest as Vermette scored the game-winning goal and his two wingers both did a great job of dictating the tempo of the game when they were on the ice.

With the Ducks getting back the advantage of final line change on home ice Monday night, it’s critical that the Blackhawks continue to get good production out of this group. Giving Bruce Boudreau another line to have to focus on can only mean good things for Chicago’s offense, and with the way these three played on Saturday, thinking they can have a repeat performance is not out of the question.

Quenneville Must Watch Defensive Usage in Game 5

With the two teams in this series playing nearly 17 total periods of hockey so far, the Blackhawks’ lack of depth on their blue line might start to become an issue the deeper the series goes.

It’s also about more than just large amounts of ice time, the Blackhawks’ top four defensemen are taking an inordinate amount of punishment in this series. Of the 220 hits that the Ducks have been credited with so far in this series, 107 of them have been directed at that group of Hawks’ blue liners, and that is a lot of punishment to take in that short amount of time.

With those factors in mind, Joel Quenneville is going to have to be careful with the way he deploys his defensemen in this game Monday. In most of the games of this series, the Hawks have made it a point to space out minutes as much as possible in the first two periods and then load up in the third period, and they would be well-advised to take that approach today.

Continue to Stay Out of the Sin Bin

After surrendering five power plays to the Ducks in Game 2, the Blackhawks have been a lot more disciplined of late, only giving Anaheim three power play chances over the last two games and in general cleaning up the sloppy play that had plagued them earlier in the series.

If the Blackhawks are going to be successful on Monday night, they will have to continue that trend. The Ducks are a team that is going to commit a high number of penalties because of the physical style with which they play, and the Hawks have to be smart in responding to that. Retaliation is always a no-no in those situations, and they’ve largely done a good job of avoiding taking the bait.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Thanking Our Veterans Through Hockey]]> Mon, 25 May 2015 12:55:58 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/180*120/HOCKEY+SAVES+OAK+LAWN.png Hockey Saves is a non-profit organization that was started in 2013. NBC 5's Art Norman reports]]> <![CDATA[Ray McDonald Arrested on Domestic Violence Charge]]> Tue, 26 May 2015 02:53:11 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/ray+mcdonald+getty.jpg

NFL player Ray McDonald walked out of a Santa Clara County jail in San Jose on Monday afternoon after posting bail for a domestic violence arrest in Northern California, The Associated Press reported.

According to Lieutenant Kurt Clarke with the Santa Clara police department, officers were called to the former San Francisco 49er-turned-Chicago Bears defensive end's home in Santa Clara just after 3:45 a.m. for a report of a disturbance. Police said McDonald was accused of physically assaulting a victim while she was holding a baby.

After the alleged assault, McDonald left the home and was arrested in the 2200 block of Terra Nova Lane in San Jose, Clarke said. 

Two San Jose police sources told NBC Bay Area on Monday that they assisted Santa Clara police with the detention.

According to the sources, McDonald was arrested at the home of retired 49ers defensive end Justin Smith. Another source said he rents an apartment in Santa Clara on Carlyle Court for his ex-fiancee and baby.

McDonald was arrested for misdemeanor domestic violence and child endangerment, police said. He was taken to the Santa Clara Police Department before being transferred to the Santa Clara County Jail.

Hours after the arrest, the Bears released McDonald, only 62 days after the defense end signed a one-year contract with the team in March.

"We believe in second chances, but when we signed Ray we were very clear what our expectations were if he was to remain a Bear," Bears G.M. Ryan Pace said in a statement. "He was not able to meet the standard and the decision was made to release him."

McDonald was released from the 49ers in December after law enforcement officials in San Jose, Calif., began an investigation into an alleged sexual assault.

He has since sued the woman who accused him of assault, and he has not been charged in the case as the investigation remains open.

The defensive end was also tangled up in a domestic abuse case involving his fiancee last August, but he was not charged in the case.

"I feel like I didn't do anything wrong but you know, still, it's in the spotlight," McDonald told reporters at the Bears minicamp last month. "I'm just trying to move forward from it."

Also last month, Bears Chairman George McCaskey said he talked to McDonald about the incidents before signing him. 

"I made it clear to him what was expected of him if he were to become a Bear," McCaskey said. "I was confident at the end of that conversation that he'll do what needs to be done."

Reached by phone in Florida on Monday, McDonald's mother, LaBrina McDonald, told NBC Bay area that she knew nothing about the arrest.

"I'm not dealing with any more of this negative stuff," she said.

She did say that McDonald's baby, Amari, was born in March to his ex-fiance and that sometimes he visited his newborn son in Silicon Valley.

The Chicago Bears could not immediately be reached for comment. Neither DeFilippis nor McDonald's criminal attorney, Joshua Bentley, returned immediate requests for comment.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Memorial Day Parades in Chicago Area]]> Mon, 25 May 2015 06:38:43 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Chicago+Memorial+Day+Parade.jpg

There are a lot of events happening in the Chicago area for Memorial Day.

If you weren't able to make it to Chicago's 145th annual Memorial Day parade Saturday, there are plenty of other parades happening in the area.

Here's a look at some of the many Memorial Day services scheduled to take place around the Chicago Area Monday:

Fox River Grove Memorial Day parade: 8 a.m. Monday, May 25. Parade starts at Algonquin Road School and continues down Algonquin Road to South River Road. The parade, hosted by the American Legion Frank H. Nagel Jr. Post 119, ends at Lions Park, 747 S. River Road, with a ceremony. Free. foxrivergrove-il.org.

Elgin Memorial Day Services: Starts with a service at Mount Hope Cemetery, 1001 Villa St., Elgin, at 8:45 a.m. Monday, May 25. The 9:15 a.m. service at Lakewood Memorial Park, 30W730 Route 20, will be followed by a ceremony at Elgin Veterans Memorial Park, 270 N. Grove, at 9:45 a.m. At 11 a.m., a program at Bluff City Cemetery, 945 Bluff City Blvd., will pay tribute to women who served as nurses in the military and include a keynote address by Lorraine Darr, former U.S. Air Force nurse in Vietnam. Free. www.elginmemorialday.org.

Maple Park Memorial Day Services: 9 a.m. to noon Monday, May 25, at six Maple Park cemeteries. Services will start at 9 a.m. and follow at 15-minute intervals. From 11 a.m. to noon, a short service will be held at the post home, 203 Main St., Maple Park. Free. villageofmaplepark.org.

Elmhurst Memorial Day Parade: 9:30 a.m. Monday, May 25, The 97th annual parade steps off from the Elmhurst City Centre at Third and York and proceeds to the Elmhurst Veterans Memorial in Wilder Park. Following the parade, there will be a Post-Parade Military Ceremony at Wilder Park. Free. www.elmhurstchamber.org.

Itasca Memorial Day Parade & Service: 9:30 a.m. Monday, May 25, in Usher Park, 200 S. Walnut St., Itasca. The parade commemorates the 125th anniversary of the village of Itasca. A memorial service will be held following the parade at Usher Park. Free. itascaparkdistrict.com.

Libertyville Memorial Day Parade: 9:30 a.m. Monday, May 25, at Libertyville Village Hall, 118 W. Cook St., Libertyville. A silent parade will march from the train station to Cook Memorial Park. At 9:45 a.m. a service at the Veterans Memorial in Cook Memorial Park will include music from the Libertyville High School band, a presentation by Mayor Weppler, representatives of the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars and high school essay winners. Free. libertyville.com.

Mount Prospect Memorial Day Parade: 9:30 a.m. Monday, May 25. Starts at Emerson Street and Busse Avenue and ends at the Veterans' Memorial Band Shell at Lions Park where a ceremony will be held. Any interested citizens can march; veterans are encouraged. Free. vfw1337.us 

Algonquin Memorial Day Parade: 10 a.m. Monday, May 25. The American Legion Post 1231 parade begins near the veterans' monument at the Algonquin Cemetery, proceeds south down North Main Street to Front Street, and then ends at Riverfront Park. algonquin.org.

Barrington Memorial Day Parade and Ceremony: 10 a.m. Monday, May 25. Parade starts at Cook and Main streets and proceeds to Evergreen Cemetery for a short service to commemorate U.S. men and women who died in military service. Free. barrington-il.gov.

Bartlett Memorial Day Walk and Remembrance: 10 a.m. to noon Monday, May 25. Starts with the American Legion flag retirement ceremony at Bartlett Park, Oak and North avenues. At 11 a.m., veterans, scouts, bagpipers and other civic groups step off for a walk to Bartlett cemetery for a ceremony. Free. Village.bartlett.il.us.

Elburn Memorial Day Ceremony: 10 a.m. Monday, May 25, at Blackberry Township cemetery, Route 47 and Keslinger Road, Elburn. The Elburn American Legion Post 630 Color Guard will depart from Lions Park at 10 a.m. and march to the cemetery. Elburn Boy Scout Troop 7's fundraising pancake breakfast runs from 7 to 9:30 a.m. at the American Legion, 112 N. Main St., Elburn. $5; free for kids 5 and younger. elburnpost630.org

Hanover Park Memorial Day Ceremony: 10 a.m. Monday, May 25, at Veterans Memorial Plaza in front of village hall, 2121 W. Lake St. Four new bricks honoring veterans will be added to the plaza. Free. Hpil.org.

Hoffman Estates/Schaumburg Joint Memorial Day Ceremony: 10 a.m. Monday, May 25. Ceremony at the Veterans Memorial next to the Hoffman Estates Police Department, 411 W. Higgins Road. Attendees then travel to St. Peter Lutheran Church, 202 E. Schaumburg Road, Schaumburg, for a 10:45 a.m. ceremony at the historic church and cemetery. Ceremony includes awards, music and speakers. Free. hoffmanestates.org.

Lake Zurich Memorial Day Parade: 10 a.m. Monday, May 25, at American Legion Post 964, 51 Lions Drive, Lake Zurich. Parade forms at 9:45 a.m. Route is Main Street from Lions Drive to South Old Rand Road, southeast to Mohawk, then to the Veterans Memorial near the police facility. Ceremony begins around 11 a.m. One guest speaker will be Medal of Honor recipient Allan Lynch. Free.

Lincolnshire Memorial Day Celebration: 10 a.m. Monday, May 25, at Spring Lake Park, 49 Oxford Drive, Lincolnshire. Event will include a guest speaker and music. Free. village.lincolnshire.il.us/.

Lindenhurst Memorial Day Ceremony: 10 a.m. Monday, May 25, at the Lindenhurst Veterans Memorial at village hall, 2301 E. Sand Lake Road. In the event of inclement weather, the ceremony will be held in the public works garage behind village hall. Free. lindenhurstil.org.

Mundelein Memorial Day Parade: 10 a.m. Monday, May 25. Steps off in front of Village Hall, 300 Plaza Circle, Mundelein. The parade will form at 9:45 a.m. and end at Memorial Park, where the mayor will speak. Free. mundelein.org.

Palatine Memorial Day Parade and Ceremonies: 10 a.m. Monday, May 25. Memorial service at Hillside Cemetery on Smith Street, followed by a parade starting at Cornell Avenue and Smith Street, ending at the Veterans Memorial in Community Park, Palatine and Oak, for an 11 a.m. ceremony. A ceremony will be held at 12:15 p.m. at the Legion Memorial in Towne Square, 150 W. Palatine Road. Residents are invited to the American Legion following the events. Free. alpost690.us.

Round Lake Area Memorial Day Parade: 10 a.m. Monday, May 25, American Legion Post 1170, 111 E. Main St. (Route 134), Round Lake Park. The parade steps off at Clifton Drive and Main Street, and heads west to Cedar Lake, then north to Clarendon. There will be memorials during and after the parade. The theme is "Lest We Forget." Free. rlchamber.org.

South Elgin Memorial Day Service: 10 a.m. Monday, May 25, at Panton Mill Park, 10 N. Water St., South Elgin. In case of inclement weather, the event will be held in the municipal annex. Free. southelgin.com.

St. Charles Memorial Day Parade: 10 a.m. Monday, May 25, starting at Sixth and Main streets and continuing to Riverside Avenue, ending at Freedom Shrine (along the Fox River north of the police department) where there will be a ceremony. Free. stcharlesil.gov.

Des Plaines Memorial Day Parade and Ceremony: 10:30 a.m. Monday, May 25. Parade starts at the Maine West High School parking lot at Wolf and Howard and heads east to the Lake Park Memorial Pavilion on Lee Street for the 11 a.m. ceremony. Free. 

Naperville Memorial Day Parade: 10:30 a.m. Monday, May 25. Parade steps off at Jackson Avenue and West Street, proceeds east to Washington Street, north to Benton, and east to the SS. Peter & Paul Church parking lot. Ceremony afterward at Central Park. Free. napervillememorialdayparade.com.

Elk Grove Village Memorial Day Observation: 10:45 a.m. Monday, May 25, at the Elk Grove Village Park District Pavilion, 1000 Wellington Ave., Elk Grove. Participants include VFW Post 9284 and the Ladies Auxiliary. Free.

Fox Lake Memorial Day Ceremony: 11 a.m. Monday, May 25, at the Fox Lake Metra Station, Nippersink and Grand Avenue, Fox Lake. Memorial Day ceremony by Fox Lake American Legion Post 703. Free. foxlakeamericanlegion.org.

Huntley Memorial Day Parade: 11 a.m. Monday, May 25. Starts at the municipal complex, 10987 Main St., and heads west on Main Street to Woodstock Street and turns right (north) for a ceremony at Huntley American Legion Post 673. There will be speakers and a presentation honoring veterans. Free. huntley.il.us.

Lisle Memorial Day Parade: 11 a.m. Monday, May 25, at Lisle Junior High School, 5207 Center Ave., Lisle. Parade proceeds to Lisle Village Hall, where a Veterans Remembrance Ceremony is held at 11:30 a.m. The Lisle VFW holds a second ceremony at 11:45 a.m. at Lisle Cemetery. A community picnic follows at noon at Museums at Lisle Station Park, 921 School St. Free. 

Wood Dale Memorial Day Parade: 11 a.m. Monday, May 25, at Wood Dale Junior High, 655 N. Wood Dale Road, Wood Dale. From Wood Dale Junior High, the parade travels south to Irving Park Road and west on Irving Park to the Veterans Memorial, where a ceremony will be held. Free. wooddale.com.

Aurora Memorial Day Parade and Ceremony: 11:30 a.m. Monday, May 25. Starts outside the Pierce Art and History Center, 20 E. Downer Place, Aurora. Parade at noon proceeds east on Benton, north on Broadway, west on Downer Place, ending on River Street. Free. aurora-il.org.

West Dundee Memorial Day Cemetery Service: 11:30 a.m. Monday, May 25, at River Valley Memorial Gardens, off Route 31, just north of I-90, West Dundee. Tri-city Evergreen Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2298 and Auxiliary will participate in the half-hour service, which will honor 1,050 veterans buried at River Valley Memorial Gardens. Cemetery staff and volunteers will place U.S. flags on veteran garages on Friday, May 22. Free. rivervalleymemorialgardens.com

Lake Villa Memorial Day Parade and Ceremony: Noon Monday, May 25, at Palombi Middle School, 131 McKinley Ave., Lake Villa. Lake Villa VFW Post 4308 and Boy School Troop 323 host the annual parade, which starts at the school and proceeds north to Grand Avenue and then to Cedar Avenue to Lehmann Park, 148 Cedar Ave., Lake Villa. The park will be the site of the memorial service after the parade. There will be speakers, and the Lakes Community High School band will perform patriotic songs. The VFW will host a free hot dog lunch after the service. Free, but donations are welcome. lake-villa.org.

Memorial Day Wreath Laying in Grant Park: Military, public safety, community and business leaders will come together for a Memorial Day wreath laying and re-dedication ceremony at 11 a.m. at the General John A. Logan Monument, located in Chicago’s Grant Park. The Memorial Day event will feature a wreath laying ceremony to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. The ceremony will be conducted by representatives from each branch of the armed services as well as representatives from the Daughters of the American Revolution.

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

Photo Credit: Getty]]>
<![CDATA[Man Drowns While Trying to Save Cat in Lake]]> Tue, 26 May 2015 05:59:40 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/218*120/antioch+drowning.jpg

A 46-year-old man died while canoeing in Loon Lake in the northern suburbs of Illinois Memorial Day weekend after he jumped in the water to try and save a cat.

Officials with the Lake County Sheriff's office were called to the scene a little after 7:30 p.m. in the 2300 block of Lake Shore Drive in Antioch. The man was in a canoe with another man and woman on Loon Lake when a cat, also in the canoe, jumped into the water, police said. 

The man tried to save the cat but went under the water, according to authorities. His body was recovered shortly after midnight Monday.

The identification of the man, who police say is from Ingleside, had not been released as of Monday morning.

Police said alcohol is believed to have been a factor in the incident. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources is investigating the death. 



Photo Credit: Captured News/NBCChicago]]>
<![CDATA[Strong Winds Expected for Memorial Day]]> Mon, 25 May 2015 08:48:01 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/rain+wind+getty.jpg

Memorial Day in the Chicago area got off to a mild and windy start. 

While temperatures could reach the low 80s Monday, the day looks to be dreary. The National Weather Service warns of strong wind gusts between 40 and 45 miles per hour, with some possibly exceeding 50 miles per hour.

The windy conditions will impact most of the Chicago area and Northwest Indiana, but will diminish in strength as the day goes on.

The rain and spotty storms that arrived in parts of the Chicago area to the south and west Sunday afternoon will move out of the area by the late morning hours. 

Conditions will stay mostly dry Monday afternoon, just in time for a Memorial Day barbecue, but the clouds will likely stick around. Some areas could see some sunshine and maybe a few pop-up showers and storms in the afternoon, however. 

Storms and scattered showers will return to Chicago Monday night and Tuesday, but the rest of the week looks mostly dry with temperatures in the comfortable 70- to 80-degree range.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Chicago Named Among Top Metro Areas for Millennials]]> Sun, 24 May 2015 16:29:22 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/chicago+skyline+getty.jpg

Twenty-somethings looking for an ideal place to settle next should keep an eye on Chicago.

A new report by Niche.com ranks the best metro areas for millennials, and Chicago earned a top spot, coming in at No. 13.

The report was compiled as part of the "2015 Niche Rankings," and it sized up cities based on the number of millennial residents, job opportunities and access to bars, restaurants and affordable housing.

Chicago made its highest grades in average commute time and access to bars, while it received slightly lower grades for crime and safety, access to restaurants and access to coffee shops. Other factors that were measured but did not receive letter grades included median rent ($964), higher education rate (33.8 percent), resident diversity (55 percent) and residents between the ages of 25 and 34 (14.4 percent).

The No. 1 spot in the ranking went to Austin, Texas, which has a higher percentage of millennial residents, a lower unemployment rate and a bigger percentage of residents with higher education compared to Chicago. Austin did receive lower grades in commute time and access to bars and had a slightly higher median rent price ($988) than Chicago, however.

Rounding out the top 10 spots are, in order, New York City, San Francisco; Denver; Boston; Seattle; Washington, D.C.; Portland, Ore.; Fargo, N.D.; and Des Moines, Iowa.

While no other Illinois cities made the list, a few other Midwestern neighbors earned spots, including Milwaukee (No. 31) and Indianapolis (No. 38)



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Vermette Scores Winner, Rebounds From Disappointment ]]> Sun, 24 May 2015 13:33:07 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/antoine+vermette+game+4.jpg

As one of the Chicago Blackhawks’ best face-off takers and a guy who has solidified the team’s third line, it was a bit jarring before Game 3 of the Western Conference Final when Joel Quenneville decided to bench center Antoine Vermette.

After all, Vermette is a player that came to Chicago as a rental, but the price Stan Bowman paid for him was steep. Klas Dahlbeck, one of the organization’s best defensive prospects, went to Arizona in the deal, and so did the Blackhawks’ 2015 first round draft pick. In spite of that price tag, Quenneville hasn’t seemed to warm to Vermette during his stay in Chicago, and that was never clearer than when the veteran didn’t appear in the lineup Thursday night.

When the Blackhawks lost that game by a 2-1 margin and fell behind in the series, it wasn’t shocking that Quenneville put Vermette back in the lineup. The one question that remained was whether or not Vermette would bounce back from the disappointment of being scratched in such an important playoff game, but that is exactly what he did.

Vermette helped spur the third line to arguably their best performance of the postseason. Teuvo Teravainen was rewarded with extra shifts and showed incredible jump all night long after he was also scratched in Game 3. Patrick Sharp came close on several occasions to scoring goals, including an overtime breakaway chance that Frederik Andersen stopped.

Ultimately, though, the big story was Vermette, who delivered when the team needed him the most. In the second overtime period, Vermette created a scoring opportunity when he pushed a shot toward the net, and he was the one who followed it up by pouncing on the rebound and curling it just inside the far post to give the Blackhawks a 5-4 victory and a 2-2 tie in the series.

After the game, Quenneville didn’t come out and say that he had made a mistake in benching Vermette for Game 3, but he did offer up some effusive praise for a player that he hasn’t really warmed to.

“They're so competitive,” the coach said. “They want to play in the worst way and they want more ice time, as well. You can understand where he was at. Very disappointed. He's a great pro. Stayed with it. That line had a couple looks in overtime. I'm glad he finished it for us. That was a huge goal for us.”

The odds are that Vermette will not stay with the Blackhawks after the season ends (unless he signs a Brad Richards-style contract to help the team keep players like Brandon Saad and Marcus Kruger in the fold), but even if he leaves, he has still provided this team what they were asking for in the postseason. He has been defensively solid, helped generate possession time on the third line, and finally came through in a big way on offense in the Game 4 win.

For now, the question isn’t about whether or not Vermette will stay, or whether or not he is getting along with Quenneville behind the scenes. All that matters is that he produced when he needed to, and the Blackhawks are two wins away from a Stanley Cup Final as a result.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Hit-and-Run Kills Girl After Ice Cream Truck Visit]]> Mon, 25 May 2015 17:10:53 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/maria+gonzales+and+car.jpg

A 5-year-old girl was killed in a hit-and-run accident Saturday afternoon in the Chicago Lawn neighborhood after she left her house to buy a treat from an ice cream truck.

Maria Gonzalez was with her mother in her home in the 5900 block of South Mozart doing her homework at about 3:15 p.m. when she heard the sound of an ice cream truck, her father, Juan Gonzales, told NBC Chicago. Maria managed to unhook the chain lock on her front door using a broom and ran outside before either parent could stop her, the family said.

Maria's father, who was working outside in the yard, said he told his daughter to stop running, but the girl continued toward the truck.

On her way back to their home after stopping by the ice cream truck, a dark-colored vehicle sped by and struck Maria, Chicago Police said. Juan Gonzalez, who heard the impact but did not see it, said the driver seemed to be driving more than 40 miles per hour.

"I heard the crash," he said. "I never let my child go out."

Security video from a neighbor's camera shows the vehicle traveling fast down Mozart Avenue near 59th Street. 

Gonzalez said he found his daughter underneath a parked car about 30 feet away from where she was hit. 

A neighbor who saw the incident said he's haunted by the image. 

"I got to see her face up close, it was maybe less than a foot or two away from me," said George Castrejon. 

Following the accident, the driver fled the scene.

"Why he run away?" Gonzalez said. "Why didn't he stop?"

Maria's family called an ambulance, but the girl died on the way to the hospital, her father said.

Police said the vehicle they are looking for is a two-door, dark-colored Honda Civic with a dull or primer finish, equipped with a sunroof and spoiler. The vehicle was last seen traveling westbound on 60th Street from Mozart Avenue. 

Police ask anyone with information regarding the accident to contact the Major Accident Investigation Unit at 312-745-4521.

The girl's wake will be held from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday at Marin Funeral Home, at 5744 W. 51st Street. The funeral is Saturday from 6:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m., with burial to follow at Resurrection Cemetery, at 7201 S. Archer Ave.


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