<![CDATA[NBC Chicago - Chicago News]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/local http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/5-Chicago-Blue.png NBC Chicago http://www.nbcchicago.com en-us Wed, 17 Sep 2014 00:40:00 -0500 Wed, 17 Sep 2014 00:40:00 -0500 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Naperville Postpones Vote on Alcohol Sales]]> Tue, 16 Sep 2014 22:40:06 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/nightclub-generic-partygoer.jpg

Last call for alcohol remains the same in Naperville for now, but there are some slight changes to the way people can party late at night in the western suburb.

The City Council did not vote on a bill Tuesday that would have forced bars and restaurants to close earlier, limits entry and re-entry, and sets limits on the amount of ounces for a single serving of beer and cocktails.

Lawmakers did vote to limit drink specials to no more than 50 percent off the original price.

Several business owners attended the meeting to voice their opinions.

"I know it's a city ordinance so it has to be citywide, but I still want to be able to serve a responsible adult a 22 ounce bomber of a solid Belgian beer," said Ben Baggette, the owner of World of Beer.

"It isn't an issue inside the hotel. The reason you're there at midnight or 1 a.m. in the morning is because you're staying inside the hotel," Marriott GM Dan Gustafson said.

A committee will take another look at the bill for a future vote. Currently, businesses must stop serving alcohol by 1 a.m. weekdays and 2 a.m. on the weekends, but some lawmakers have been in favor of pushing it back 30 or 60 minutes.

The bill was prompted after several incidents of late night violence in the downtown area, and a fatal accident in July where a car crashed into a Naperville quarry. The driver was charged with DUI and two of his passengers were killed.

Photo Credit: clipart.com]]>
<![CDATA[Accident Victim's Family Sues Wheeling Police Department]]> Tue, 16 Sep 2014 23:45:32 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Fredi+Morales.jpg

A Des Plaines family is demanding justice after a pedestrian was struck and killed by an SUV driven by a Wheeling police officer Sunday.

Fredi Morales, 20, was hit at about 5:45 a.m. while crossing the road at 1055 McHenry Road, just west of Cedar Run Drive.

Morales' family filed a lawsuit against the Wheeling Police Department Tuesday claiming reckless operation of a police vehicle by driving with no lights, siren and at a high rate of speed.

The victim's family gathered at the scene of the accident Tuesday for a vigil.

"We're just grieving really hard right now. It's really traumatic," Morales' cousin, Yanni Martinez said.

The family placed a memorial on the road where a long skid mark was still visible, along with a 40 mph speed limit sign.

"He was going well over 60 miles per hour, well over," the family's attorney, Steve Goldman, said.

According to the Chicago Tribune, the officer was about to initiate a traffic stop on another driver when the accident occurred. Authorities also say the Morales' dark clothing and the dim conditions contributed to the crash.

"If the officer was pursuing someone, the basis for the pursuit, was it a traffic infraction, was it an armed robbery?" Goldman said.

The family is also suing for the intentional infliction of emotional distress, claiming parts of Morales' body and clothing were still at the scene 36 hours after the accident when they arrived to grieve.

The officer has been placed on paid administrative leave pending the investigation.

Wheeling city officials said they have not seen the lawsuit and would not comment while the investigation is ongoing.

Photo Credit: Courtesy Morales family]]>
<![CDATA[Barkley Throws "Turrible" First Pitch]]> Wed, 17 Sep 2014 00:15:12 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Barkley_Cubs.jpg

Everyone knows Hall of Fame NBA player Charles Barkley has an ugly golf swing. Now you can add baseball to the sports Barkley has yet to master.

Barkley threw out the ceremonial first pitch at Tuesday's Chicago Cubs game at Wrigley Field, and let's just say it was a bit outside. Way outside.

As one of the MLB announcers said it, the pitch was "Turrible."

Move over 50 Cent and Carl Lewis, you have company.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Rauner Objects to Illinois Medical Marijuana Bill]]> Tue, 16 Sep 2014 21:33:54 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Bruce_Rauner_marijuana.jpg

Bruce Rauner is not a fan of Illinois' new medical marijuana law. The Republican gubernatorial candidate says he would have vetoed the legislation if he had the opportunity.

The state is taking applications for 22 cultivation licenses this week, but Rauner believes it's a money grab.

"Millions of dollars in state-licensed businesses are up for grabs and Pat Quinn wants to keep taxpayers in the dark," Rauner said.

But one of the bill's sponsors, state Rep. Lou Lang, says the applicant names will be released and insists the state will "choose applicants that have no regard for who you are, who you know, how much money you have, what campaign donations you made and what relationships you may have in the world.

"The reason that the bill says what it says about disclosing this information is to keep corruption out, not lock corruption in," Lang said.

Quinn's former chief of staff, Jack Lavin, is now a lobbyist representing one of the applicants.

"Something stinks, and it's not the marijuana. This process is so overtly corrupt, so indefensible, it would make Rod Blagojevich blush," Rauner said.

"We could create a process that's open, transparent, and we could have an auction process where companies could bid for a defined period of time."

But Lang calls Rauner's stance hypocritical.

"I think it's hypocrisy for Mr. Rauner, who won't show us his tax returns. For him to come and pontificate is beyond hypocritical," Lang said.

Quinn spokesman Grant Klinzman told the Associated Press that the law keeps applicants' identity confidential so the state officials who award the permits won't be influenced by political connections.

<![CDATA[Teen's Probation Officer Suspended Following Assault]]> Tue, 16 Sep 2014 20:22:42 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Aaron_Parks_court.jpg

A probation officer assigned to a teen accused of sexually assaulting a pregnant Chicago State University student earlier this month has been placed on temporary suspension.

Rose Marie Golden, the director of the Cook County Juvenile Probation Department, issued a news release Tuesday stating that electronic monitoring procedures were not followed when 17-year-old Aaron Parks allegedly attacked the 24-year-old woman while she was putting books in her car in the 9800 block of South Indiana on Sept. 10.

NBC 5 Investigates reported Monday that Parks was under orders to stay confined to his mother's home in the 600 block of East 100th Street after he was charged as a juvenile in the July carjacking of a woman who was forced into her car at gunpoint. Under the terms of his release, Parks was only allowed to leave home to attend school, seek medical treatment, or attend religious services.

Probation officials say there will be "a full audit of all Electronic Monitoring records to determine if this incident was an isolated occurrence or whether changes are required to ensure that juveniles under the supervision of the court are following conditions of release."

The officer's suspension will remain in place pending the investigation.

Meanwhile, Parks' first alleged victim is speaking out about her experience. Gwendolyn Davis told NBC 5 Investigates that the teen carjacked her near the corner of 73rd and Ada.

"I tried to give him my keys, my phone, everything. He didn't want nothing, he wanted me," Davis said.

Davis said she escaped by ramming her car into a police squad car.

The second victim's father, Robert Perkins, is baffled that Parks was even allowed on the street.

"I would like to know how did this get so far, where you don't know where someone is who has an electronic band on his leg," Perkins said.

Even Parks' mother feels the system failed. She believed her son was registering for GED classes at Olive Harvey College when the assault against the CSU student occurred.

"If they're tracking these kids, they should have known when he was leaving. They should have been able to pick that up," Parks' mother said.

Juvenile probation officials say the department monitors about an average daily population of about 250 individuals in the electronic monitoring program.

<![CDATA[Uptown Residents Seek Answers to Increased Violence]]> Tue, 16 Sep 2014 20:06:12 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Uptown_shooting_9-16.jpg

Several Uptown residents and community leaders are feeling unsafe and demanding increased police presence after a rash of violent incidents.

Christopher McGee, 22, was shot and killed Monday morning, the third homicide and one of several shootings in the neighborhood this year.

Alderman James Cappleman (46th) sent a notice to residents this week stating he's requested more police in the area. He also says he plans to find more alternatives for young people in the neighborhood.

"Kids turn to gangs cause there's not much else to do. There aren't other programs to get involved with," resident Shawn McGill said.

Neighbors say gangs and gang violence are prevalent in the area and sweeping up young people in the community.

"I know a handful of the guys and I know a couple that have been killed," resident Dana Lafortune said. "They kind of tend to their own business, but on the other hand, who knows when there's going to be a stray. Obviously people are going to get shot."

Lafortune says many of his neighbors aren't sticking around waiting for change.

"I'd say about half of my neighbors in my buildings have left over the last couple of years and the common cause has been they have a child," Lafortune said.

Cappleman says he's planning a youth forum for elected leaders, organizations and community members to formulate a plan of action for addressing at-risk youth in the community.

<![CDATA[Rauner Bars College Journalists from Presser]]> Tue, 16 Sep 2014 17:18:16 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/rauner+wine+club.jpg

Republican Governor Candidate Bruce Rauner held an event today to announce something. 

Columbia College Chicago journalism professor Curtis Lawrence brought his class of aspiring reporters to listen to Rauner's announcement about something or other and get some practice covering a political press conference, according to the Sun Times' Natasha Korecki

Rauner's seasoned political team decided not to let the students into the event. 

"Working media" only, they said before giving the boot to 12 up and comers. 

"When I asked about future events, she said that it was their 'policy' that only credentialed press would be allowed in," Lawrence told Korecki. "When I mentioned that some of the students were published in the school-sponsored website, ChicagoTalks, she reiterated that they too would need credentials. This has never been an issue with other campaigns and we do this regularly during campaign season."

The students dutifully waited in the hallway, hoping that candidate Rauner might emerge from the closed-door conference about something or other and give them a word. But no dice. 

Governor Pat Quinn's campaign, which did let the students cover an event announcing his running mate, said this is what you could expect from a Rauner administration. 

"It appears we just got a sneak preview of what it would be like to cover a Bruce Rauner administration: little access and no respect for young journalists," Quinn spokeswoman Brooke Anderson told Korecki.



<![CDATA[Student Found With Gun Claims He Was Bullied]]> Tue, 16 Sep 2014 23:42:50 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Schmid_Elementary_school.jpg

An elementary school student in Chicago charged with a felony Monday after he was allegedly found with an unloaded gun in his backpack claims he carried the weapon because of bullying.

School security reportedly found the weapon on the 12-year-old at about 11 a.m. during a search of the student's bag at Schmid Elementary School, on the 9700 block of South Greenwood Avenue.

Police said the student was processed at the District 5 police station, charged with unlawful use of a weapon, and turned over to his parents. Officials said the weapon was an unloaded .38 Special with a 2.5 inch barrel. It had a five-shot capacity and a defaced serial number.

Parents were shocked to hear about the incident.

"For a kid to feel he was bullied that much to bring a gun is shocking," parent Tamika Jean said.

"How hard is this fear that you need to resort to a gun other than your fist?" parent Bridgette Villanueva said.

School officials sent a note home to parents informing them about the incident and issued a statement saying an "investigation was initiated immediately following the student's allegations of bullying."

"The school has a big no-bullying policy. They have assemblies about bullying for the kids," Jean said.

Police declined to comment as to whether the claim of bullying would be investigated.

<![CDATA[Four Tips for Running Your First Marathon]]> Tue, 16 Sep 2014 15:51:38 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/NBC_Chicago_Marathon05.jpg Most first time marathoners have done a lot of research about what to expect on race day, so you probably already know about putting band-aids on your nipples, pacing strategies, nutrition, etc.

That being said, here's four common sense tips that you may not have yet come across.
  1. Just finish! If this is your first race, don't get caught up in the details. Just focus on finishing. Completing a marathon is a huge achievement and you should be very proud of yourself when you finish. Have an idea of your pace, but don't pressure yourself to maintain a certain pace. Save that for future marathons.
  2. Don't introduce anything new. This is common sense in many ways. For example, don't try out new shoes or socks on race day. But, also know what beverages and energy sources will be available for you during the race. Do they provide you with Gatorade, but you've been using Powerade on your runs? Will they be providing you with Gu but you have been using Cliff? The small details make the big details. Train like it is race day.
  3. Know the difference between pain and an injury. It is inevitable that you will feel pain and discomfort while running your first marathon. It is important to know the difference between pain and an injury. If it is just pain, push on and continue. An injury would require you to stop. You will know the difference, tune in to what your body is telling you.
  4. Post-race care. I love walking around downtown Chicago the afternoon of the marathon. You can tell who ran the marathon, and it's not only because they are wearing a medal. It's because they are limping, moving very slow, and in a decent amount of pain. The recovery process after a marathon is just as important as the training that you put in before the marathon

Photo Credit: A. Soave]]>
<![CDATA[Five Runner-Friendly Smoothie Recipes]]> Tue, 16 Sep 2014 15:39:06 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Smoothies-Generic-Shutterstock.jpg

I'm a smoothie fanatic. It happened a few years ago when I was browsing food blogs and came across a "Green Monster Smoothie" recipe (similar to the Green Smoothie Base recipe below).

I quickly learned that smoothies are the perfect way to pack in extra nutrients for breakfast, for pre-run fuel or as a recovery drink.

But before you jump headfirst into the smoothie world, remember these four smoothie rules:

  1. Use a liquid base. Any milk or milk substitute will work in a smoothie recipe. I'm partial to unsweetened original almond milk. Add one cup for a single serving smoothie. Use less liquid if you like your smoothies thicker (with a milkshake consistency, for example).
  2. Add your greens. Add spinach or kale to smoothies to up the healthy factor and pack more greens into your diet. Both greens blend into the other smoothie flavors and you can't taste a thing. Curly kale is my favorite type to use, with the stems removed.
  3. Use a powerful blender. Make sure you have a blender that can handle ice or frozen fruit. I use the "process" and "chop" speeds the most often, for 20-30 seconds each. When blending an ingredient like curly kale, make sure to utilize the "process" or equivalent speed on the blender a bit longer than usual. Kale is more "woody" than spinach and needs extra blending power.
  4. Experiment with extras. Using frozen fruit and yogurt makes smoothies extra creamy and ice cold. I add unsweetened/raw almond butter, peanut butter, or peanut butter powder (such as PB2) when I'm in the mood for a heartier smoothie. Other extras I like to add include pitted dates, chia seeds, and protein powder.

Celia's Five Favorite Smoothie Recipes
Each recipe makes one 12 ounce smoothie, or two smaller smoothies to share. You can easily mix up ingredients using the rules above to create many different flavor combinations. Happy sipping!

Green Smoothie Base

  • 1 banana 2 handfuls spinach
  • 3/4 cup almond milk
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 Tablespoon peanut butter
  • 3/4 cup ice

Tropical Green Smoothie

  • 1 cup coconut water
  • 1 cup frozen mango chunks
  • 2 handfuls curly kale (no stems)
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt

Banana Chocolate Protein Smoothie

  • 1 banana
  • 1 scoop chocolate protein powder
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 2 handfuls spinach
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt

PB&J Smoothie

  • 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1 banana
  • 1 tablespoon peanut or almond butter
  • 2 handfuls spinach
  • 1 cup almond milk

Strawberry Banana Smoothie

  • 1 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 banana
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt
<![CDATA[Bears Sign Frey, Cut Williams, Draughn ]]> Tue, 16 Sep 2014 15:14:05 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/180*120/144483986.jpg

With injuries to Charles Tillman and concerns about the team’s wide receiver depth, the Chicago Bears made a slew of roster moves on Tuesday afternoon.

The biggest news of the day was the decision to sign cornerback Isaiah Frey off of the team’s practice squad. Frey played all 16 games for the Bears last season, serving primarily as the nickelback on the roster. He had 62 tackles and two pass break-ups on the year, and he will likely see a big chunk of playing time in the spot with Tim Jennings and Kyle Fuller moving to the outside cornerback positions in Tillman’s absence.

The Bears also promoted wide receiver Rashad Ross from the practice squad. This is Ross’ second year in the league, but he spent all of 2013 on practice squads, first signing with the Tennessee Titans and then with the Kansas City Chiefs last year. He also had some kick return experience in his college days at Arizona State, returning 28 kicks for 779 yards and two touchdowns.

In order to make room for Ross and Frey, the Bears cut three players from their 53-man roster, with Shaun Draughn, Chris Williams, and Matthew Mulligan all being let go by the team.

Draughn’s departure wasn’t much of a surprise, considering the poor effort he put forth in the special teams department in Sunday’s win against the San Francisco 49’ers. His missed block on a punt ended up resulting in a blocked punt (and excellent field position for San Francisco) and he also picked up a holding penalty on the game’s opening kick-off.

The Bears’ decision to waive Williams came as more of a surprise. On Tuesday during his press conference, Marc Trestman didn’t exactly show much faith in Senorise Perry as the long-term answer at kick returner for the Bears, and Williams’ proficiency in that area is one reason that the team signed him. Not even giving him the chance to start at the spot indicates that the team isn’t comfortable with him playing at the receiver position, but it’s still an odd bit of timing.

The Bears rounded out their day of moves by signing defensive tackle Roy Philon to the practice squad. They currently have one spot available on the 53-man roster, and three spots available on the 10-man practice squad. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Top 5 Blackhawks Camp Storylines: Crawford's New Contract]]> Tue, 16 Sep 2014 15:01:21 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/161*120/494777645.jpg

The Chicago Blackhawks will begin their 2014 training camp at the University of Notre Dame on Friday, and as we approach that milestone, we’re going through the top five storylines that fans should keep an eye on as camp begins.

Today, we continue our countdown with a question about goaltender Corey Crawford: Can he live up to his big new contract that takes effect this season?

During the course of GM Stan Bowman’s tenure at the helm of the club, the Blackhawks have been a team that has emphasized paying its defensemen to suppress shots while seeking value deals for the players that patrol the blue paint. We saw that with Cristobal Huet, who was sent off to Europe rather than retained on the NHL roster, and we saw it again with Antti Niemi, whom the Blackhawks parted ways with after he went to arbitration in 2010.

In the case of Crawford however, the team made an exception, signing him to a six-year deal that will pay him an average of $6 million per season through the end of the 2019-20 campaign. Crawford has played some great hockey for the Hawks over the years, nearly leading them to a massive upset of the Vancouver Canucks in the 2011 playoffs and helping guide them to a Stanley Cup championship in 2013. His numbers last year were a bit down from his impressive 2013 campaign, but a 2.26 goals against average was good enough for ninth in the NHL, so he still was a very capable goaltender.

The question facing Crawford now is a simple one: is he going to be able to live up to the contract that the team signed him to? After all, he’s going to be turning 30 years old in December, and even though he has worked hard on his rebound control and puck-handling, he still leaves something to be desired at times in the crease.

When you look at the players he’s paid similarly to however, you can see why the Hawks opted to give him the money that they did. Sure, you have players like Semyon Varlamov and Jonathan Quick that are superior goaltenders (although one can argue that Varlamov is due for some regression, while Crawford has been relatively consistent), but you also have players like Ryan Miller and Cam Ward, who are both older and less successful in their careers than Crawford is.

Needless to say, there is a compelling argument that can be made that Crawford was given too much money by the Blackhawks, especially when considering that players like Brandon Saad and Marcus Kruger will be looking for new contracts soon. Even with that being the case, Crawford still isn’t overpaid by that much, and he has proven through the years that he’s capable of excelling whether the defense in front of him is good or not.

The 2014-15 season is going to be a good indication of what to expect from Crawford now that his pockets are lined with fresh cash. Will he still be the same goaltender that carried the Blackhawks past the Minnesota Wild in this year’s playoffs, or will he be the goaltender that was outclassed by the Phoenix Coyotes in 2012? Only time will tell. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Blackhawks Boast NHL's Best Playoff Odds ]]> Tue, 16 Sep 2014 15:01:39 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/4854038871.jpg

The Chicago Blackhawks are a betting favorite to hoist the Stanley Cup next June, so when online sportsbooks put together their odds of the team making the playoffs, they are understandably bullish on their chances.

According to Bovada, the Blackhawks are the favorite of all 30 NHL teams to make the postseason, with 1-to-11 odds that they will. To put that into perspective, if you were going to bet $100 that the Hawks would make the playoffs, you would only win $10 if they did. That isn’t much return on investment, but in the world of sports betting, you don’t exactly swim in cash if you only bet on sure things.

In case you were curious, the Boston Bruins have the second best odds on the board to make the playoffs at 1-to-10. For the teams at the bottom of the pile, the Buffalo Sabres are the longest shot, with 4-to-1 odds of making the postseason out of the Eastern Conference. The Florida Panthers could be an intriguing bet, with 11-to-4 odds of making the playoffs.

Here are the full odds for all seven Central Division teams:

Chicago Blackhawks:

Yes -1100 (1/11)

No +625 (25/4)

St. Louis Blues

Yes -800 (1/8)

No +500 (5/1)

Minnesota Wild

Yes -280 (5/14)

No +220 (11/5)

Colorado Avalanche

Yes -160 (5/8)

No +130 (13/10)

Dallas Stars

Yes -150 (2/3)

No +120 (6/5)

Nashville Predators

Yes +250 (5/2)

No -325 (4/13)

Winnipeg Jets

Yes +250 (5/2)

No -325 (4/13) 

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dick Durbin Seeks to Avoid Eric Cantor's Shocking Fate]]> Tue, 16 Sep 2014 15:04:19 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/tlmd_dickdurbin.jpg

Despite a positive outlook, Illinois' Dick Durbin—the No. 2 Democrat in the U.S. Senate—is not resting on his laurels in an election-season battle against Republican challenger Jim Oberweis.


Two words: Eric. Cantor.

Referencing the former Republican House Majority Leader's stunning and unprecedented primary loss to economics professor Dave Brat, Durbin tells The Associated Press: "I get up every morning, I open my eyes, I say 'Eric Cantor' and I jump out of bed."

"(Voters) are upset with all of us in public life and political life," he observes of Americans' low opinion of Congress. "It's a wakeup call for all of us."

Durbin, the Senate Majority Whip, has crusaded in recent weeks to prevent an exodus of corporations departing Illinois for greener tax pastures as part of a controversial business practice known as a corporate inversion, declaring last week: "Let's call corporate inverters what they really are: corporate deserters."

The politician, who's seeking to bar these so-called deserters from obtaining federal contracts, defends his combative stance in an interview with the AP, saying: "I think it's my job. If an Illinois senator won't stand up to keep companies in this state and in this country he's got the backbone of a melting ice cream cone."

That's a dig against Oberweis. The GOP state senator, a Sugar Grove dairy mogul known for his local ice cream business, accused Durbin of "bullying" Walgreen Co. into keeping its headquarters in north suburban Deerfield as it mulled a potential move overseas.

"His bullying of Walgreens was a political stunt designed to help only one person: Dick Durbin," sniped Oberweis last August. "It didn't create any jobs. It didn't reform our job-killing tax code."

Other critics have emerged to pan Durbin's corporate mudslinging, with Crain's Chicago Business columnist Joe Cahill writing Monday that Durbin may be hurting more than he is helping. Quoth Cahill: "I understand the political calculations that motivate Mr. Durbin. And he has legitimate arguments against corporate inversions. But I wish he would think about the collateral damage of his rhetorical firebombs. Illinois already suffers from an undeserved reputation as a lousy place to do business. Mr. Durbin's language gives people another reason to believe that businesses are unwelcome here."

Meanwhile, Durbin—who's also campaigning on a pledge to raise the minimum wage—says he thinks Democrats will manage to stave off a GOP take-over and hold onto the Senate in November's midterms. (At the moment, the New York Times is predicting a 51 percent Republican majority win.)

Buoyed by incumbency advantage and a strong voter following in Democratic Chicago, Durbin out-polled Oberweis by 23 percentage points in a Chicago Tribune survey released Monday. Last week, Oberweis' campaign was dealt a blow when Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, a member of the Republican Senatorial Committee, which offers election-season support to candidates, said Oberweis' campaign wasn't a priority for the party.

Photo Credit: AP Graphics]]>
<![CDATA[Convicted Cyberstalker Sentenced to 8 Years in Prison]]> Tue, 16 Sep 2014 16:59:50 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Jicheng-Lui.jpg

A Lincoln Park man convicted of felony cyberstalking and residential theft will spend the next eight years behind bars.

Cook County Judge Erica Reddick sentenced Jicheng "Kevin" Liu on Tuesday. Liu faced up to 14 years for his crimes and will get credit for time already served.

Police found close to $1 million of stolen merchandise in Liu's rented Lincoln Park townhome in 2012. He was accused of stealing delivery packages from homes and apartment complexes, and using garage door openers to access goods. 

While Liu may be behind bars, those he victimized say they still fear retribution because of his history of stalking and harassing those who helped bust his lucrative business.

"We fear that no matter where he is, he will haunt us in this world. If he has access to a computer he will tear apart our reputation," said one victim who asked to be identified only as Sherwood.

The man said he's still in the process of putting his life back together after he and his wife marketed Liu's merchandise on eBay four years ago before discovering the goods were stolen and alerting police.

"Jicheng Liu came at us so hard. He managed to get our business shut down on eBay and to this day we cannot use our online store," Sherwood said. "We've been scared. We trusted Liu. He told us keep an eye on your baby while you sleep at night."

Sherwood says he's had to restart his business from scratch, and sell small antiques instead of more lucrative high-end furniture.

Liu's defense attorney, Nick Albukerk, objected to the sentence, saying his client had no criminal history and didn't hurt anyone because the people he stole from could afford it.

"I think my client got more years than what this case was worth," Albukerk said. "The people who walk through these doors have bigger cases than the people in this case."

<![CDATA[Cannabis Food Truck Heads for Chicago]]> Tue, 16 Sep 2014 13:24:28 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/medical+marijuana+stock+cannabis.jpg

In a strange turn of events, this new food truck might leave you with the munchies.

A cannabis food truck will be in Chicago Wednesday as part of a two-week “Cannaball Run” tour focused on educating medicinal marijuana patients on cooking with cannabis.

MagicalButter’s Samich Truck will showcase cannabis cooking demonstrations (THC-free), alcohol infusions and decarboxylation for those with medicinal marijuana prescriptions.

The truck will be stationed along the Mag Mile, at 505 N. Michigan Ave., at 5:30 p.m.

The event is part of the ArcView Investor Conference, which will host 200 investors interested in investing in the budding cannabis industry.

Earlier this month, Illinois residents with last names beginning with letters “A” through “L” began applying for medical marijuana.

The application process runs through Oct. 31. Other patients can begin submitting applications on Nov. 1.

Aspiring medical marijuana businesses can submit permit applications from Sept. 8 through Sept. 22.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto]]>
<![CDATA[Why Chicago Will Win the Obama Library]]> Tue, 16 Sep 2014 12:55:13 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/455214430.jpg

As we prophesied, Chicago stands atop President Barack Obama's shortlist as a location to host his highly coveted library and museum.

The president's foundation, whittling down the field of contenders to four, selected the University of Chicago and the University of Illinois at Chicago as two possibilities in the tough-and-gruff Midwestern city where Obama made his political bones, married wife Michelle and rose to meteoric fame.

The other two locations are New York's Columbia University, Obama's venerable, deep-pocketed alma mater, and the University of Hawaii, on the tourist-attracting island where he grew up.

The quartet is required to submit in-depth pitches for their dueling libraries by a deadline of Dec. 11. The Barack Obama Foundation, headed up by Obama confidante Marty Nesbitt, is expected to make a decision early next year.

So how good are Chicago's chances of trouncing the competition? So good, it's practically in the bag. At the moment, the obvious favorite is arguably U of C, an esteemed private institution whose South Side campus is close to the Obamas' Hyde Park home and where Obama taught classes at the law school.

But don't count out UIC, the public university on the West Side, which also submitted an attractive proposal that showcases Chicago's famed skyline and provides convenient access to public transportation.

Meanwhile, the University of Hawaii has pitched the idea of hosting a satellite building of sorts—a "presidential center"—in collaboration with a stateside locale that would house the primary library.

Without having seen the bidders' completed plans, it's appealing to envision a Chicago-Hawaii partnership—and on that end, Obama's sister Maya Soetoro-Ng, who's based in the Aloha State, recently joined the library search committee board.

Soetoro-Ng will most certainly make the case for Hawaii, while another newly minted board member—former Obama campaign manager David Plouffe, who's based in DC—could stump for the East Coast. Nesbitt founded The Vistria Group, a private equity company, in Chicago and also earned his Masters of Business Administration Degree from U of C, lending some credence to predictions that the grand prize will inevitably go to Chicago.

Back in July, the foundation disclosed the names of wealthy donors who collectively contributed as much as $1.75 million in an early round of fundraising. They include Michael Sacks, the CEO of Grosvenor Capital Management, a funder of hedge funds based in the Windy City, and a veteran Obama campaign bundler as well as a confidante of Mayor Rahm Emanuel (who's dying to score the library).

Earlier this year, Chicago wrangled the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art away from San Francisco and Los Angeles, allowing Emauel to tout George Lucas project's job creation potential and calling its construction a "significant step" for the city.

The Obama library would be a double win for Emanuel during a re-election year as he seeks to transform Chicago into a global tourism trap.

"We're already a global city," Dick Simpson, professor of political science at the UIC, sits on its Obama library committee, recently told Ward Room. "But (the Obama library) and the Lucas museum add dimensions to the foundation that is already here."

Photo Credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Art Institute of Chicago Named Best Museum in the World]]> Tue, 16 Sep 2014 18:22:18 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/160*120/tlmd_i_art_institute_of_chicago_022214_780.jpg

Chicago is booming with museums.

From the Field Museum to the Museum of Science and Industry, even to the new George Lucas Museum making its way into the city, Chicago is home to all sorts of historic archives.

But one particular Windy City museum has been named the world’s favorite—the Art Institute of Chicago.

Home to historic art staples like the “American Gothic” painting by Grant Wood, the museum topped competitors like the Louvre and the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art to be named the “Best Museum in the World” by TripAdvisor.

The list of top museums was put together for the 2014 Travelers' Choice Awards, which based the ranking based on the quantity and quality of reviews for museums worldwide in the last year.

“Some of the world’s most significant cultural institutions are represented within the Travelers’ Choice Museums thanks to the feedback shared by millions of travelers around the world,” said Barbara Messing, chief marketing officer for TripAdvisor. “Featuring some of the world’s finest art, scientific discoveries and historical events, these world-class attractions offer both educational and enriching experiences.”

The travel website reports that 28 percent of travelers will visit the Grant Park museum this fall.

Founded in 1879, the Art Institute of Chicago is home to an array of impressionist and post-impressionist collections and has more than 300,000 artworks on display.

The iconic museum took the top spot on two lists including “Top Museums in the U.S.” and “Top Museums in the World.”

The best museums in the world were:

1. Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL USA
2. National Museum of Anthropology (Museo Nacional de Antropologia), Mexico City, Mexico
3. State Hermitage Museum and Winter Palace, St. Petersburg, Russia
4. The Getty Center, Los Angeles, CA USA
5. Galleria dell’Accademia/Statue of David, Florence, Italy

The top museums in the U.S. were:

1. Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL
2. The Getty Center, Los Angeles, CA
3. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City, NY
4. The National WWII Museum, New Orleans, LA
5. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

The city’s Museum of Science and Industry took the 16th slot for top museums in the nation.

Photo Credit: Art Institute of Chicago by DailyCandy.]]>
<![CDATA[Mayor Announces New Help For Homeless Veterans]]> Tue, 16 Sep 2014 12:05:19 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/169726611.jpg

Mayor Rahm Emanuel wants to end homelessness in Chicago, and he's focusing first on providing help to military veterans who need it.

The mayor on Tuesday announced a new, $5 million partnership with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Chicago Housing Authority, and a goal of ending veteran homelessness by the end of 2015. Most of the funding will come from the federal government. The 2015 city budget will also include an additional $800,000 investment, he said.

"It's wonderful we are helping our veterans who have sacrificed so much for us," Ald. Walter Burnett (27th) said at the announcement that sounded much like a campaign stop for the mayor ahead of February's election. "I don't think anyone else can do the leveraging he does."

The plan calls for the city to donate four acres of land and expand social services programs.

Veteran Tamara Cook was on hand at the announcement and said such programs helped her gain housing and helped her earn a degree from DePaul University. She now works as a peer support specialist.

Emanuel said he plans to cut the ribbon in a couple of weeks on a new Hope Manor for Families that he said will "be unique in the country."

Photo Credit: Getty Images/OJO Images RF]]>
<![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[Video: Teuvo Teravainen Makes No-Look Assist to Mark McNeill]]> Tue, 16 Sep 2014 11:19:07 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/160*124/480591495.jpg

Over the past few days, the Chicago Blackhawks sent some of their best prospects to the annual Rookie Tournament in London, Ontario. Guys like Mark McNeill, Teuvo Teravainen, and many others hit the ice wearing the iconic Indian-head sweater, playing against rookies from the Ottawa Senators, Toronto Maple Leafs, and Pittsburgh Penguins (in case you’re curious: the Blackhawks ended up losing all three games they played).

On Monday night, the Hawks wrapped up their slate of games in the Great White North against the Senators, and just in case you’re not excited for training camp to start, this video of Teravainen making a no-look pass for a McNeill goal should do the trick:

Neither player is guaranteed a spot on the Blackhawks’ roster when the season begins, but if there are injuries or trades that occur during training camp, both guys could see some ice time. Teravainen is going to be embarking on his first full season in North America this year, and although it would be fun to see him on the Hawks’ roster, it may not quite be that time yet.

Even still though, seeing plays like this is a great reminder of the great skill that he possesses, and he could be lethal when paired up with guys like Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane.

Stick-tap to @CoreyPronman for the heads-up on the video. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Quinn Rejects Pitch to Hire Patronage Watchdog; Rauner Calls Him a 'Bumbling Fool']]> Tue, 16 Sep 2014 11:13:04 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/tlmd_gov_pat_quinn.jpg

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn rejected a proposal from clout-busting attorney Michael Shakman to hire an independent watchdog to clean up allegedly improper hiring practices inside the scandal-soaked Department of Transportation.

According to The Associated Press, citing federal court papers submitted Monday by the attorney general, Quinn says in the filing that a watchdog isn't required since he had already taken actions that were "prompt, appropriate and aimed at a long-term solution to preventing any such improprieties in the future."

Alleged patronage hiring within the Illinois Department of Transportation, aka IDOT, has dogged the incumbent Democrat as he fights for re-election against formidable Republican foe Bruce Rauner, who's campaigning on a vow to smoke out "corruption" and "cronyism" in Springfield.

Back in August, state Executive Inspector General Ricardo Meza alleged in an ethics report that IDOT had staffed hundreds of non-policy jobs with political hires even following the tainted governorship of Rod Blagojevich. Meza did not label Quinn as responsible for the issue, but his probe revealed that allegedly clout-fueled hiring increased under the Quinn administration. In response, former IDOT Secretary Ann Schneider called Quinn's foul in public, accusing his office of "pushing the vast majority" of patronage applicants.

IDOT responded by laying off 58 employees and freezing opportunities for job-seekers with political clout.

Last Friday IDOT said it was retaining 103 employees who were hired over the last 10 years without having to undergo an anti-clout screening process.

In court documents Monday, Quinn said he was responsive to Meza's clout-cleanup suggestions, authorizing agency brass to be trained on legit hiring procedures and staffers to be subject to regular job performance evaluations, the AP reports.

Next month Shakman heads to federal court as part of his pitch to recruit a watchdog to keep track of misdeeds of at every state agency, not just IDOT.

The unraveling scandal has provided endless attack fodder for Rauner, the wealthy Winnetka venture capitalist who's polling behind Quinn for the first time after the governor ramped up a media campaign to cast the GOP nominee as an out-of-touch gazillionaire.

"This scam, perpetrated by Pat Quinn, has got to end," Rauner said Monday, pledging to collaborate with Shakman and a government watchdog should he be elected Nov. 4. "Pat Quinn is not the folksy, bumbling fool he'd like us to think he is. He knows what he's doing. He knows what he's done."

<![CDATA[Scientists Develop First Blood Test to Diagnose Adult Depression]]> Tue, 16 Sep 2014 18:31:59 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/northwestern+scientist+depression.jpg

Northwestern Medicine scientists in Chicago have developed a blood test to diagnose major depression in adults, marking the first such test to objectively and scientifically diagnose the disorder.

The test measures the levels of nine blood markers to both identify depression and predict whether the patient will benefit from cognitive behavioral therapy. Doctors hope the test will provide more effective, individualized therapy.

“This test brings mental health diagnosis into the 21st century and offers the first personalized medicine approach to people suffering from depression,” said Eva Redei, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine who developed the test.

Redei, a co-lead author of the study being published Tuesday in Translational Psychiatry, said this marks a breakthrough, indicating that a blood-based laboratory test, similar to diagnosing high blood pressure, can diagnose depression.

Northwestern said scientists have worked for decades to find a biological diagnostic test for major depression and noted the current method of diagnosis is subjective and based on symptoms such as poor mood, fatigue and change in appetite.

The current diagnosis, Redei said, relies on patients reporting those subjective symptoms and the physician’s ability to interpret them. "But depressed patients frequently underreport or inadequately describe their symptoms," the hospital said.

“Mental health has been where medicine was 100 years ago when physicians diagnosed illnesses or disorders based on symptoms,” co-lead author David Mohr said. “This study brings us much closer to having laboratory tests that can be used in diagnosis and treatment selection.”

Mohr said scientists know drug therapy and psychotherapy aren't effective for everyone, and this test helps determine whom those options fit best.

“We know combined therapies are more effective than either alone, but maybe by combining therapies we are using a scattershot approach," he said. "Having a blood test would allow us to better target treatment to individuals.”

Northwestern says major depressive disorder affects 6.7 percent of U.S. adults in a year and is on the rise. An estimated 12.5 percent of patients in primary care have major depression, according to the hospital, but only about half of those cases are diagnosed. And with the current methods, diagnosis takes between two and 40 months.

Redei said they plan to test the study's results in a larger population and find out if it can differentiate between major depression and bipolar depression.

Photo Credit: Northwestern Medicine]]>
<![CDATA[Survey Ranks States With Rudest Drivers]]> Tue, 16 Sep 2014 10:21:00 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/177*120/Chicago+Traffic.jpg

Illinois drivers aren’t exactly known for being friendly on the road, but according to a new study, they may not be as bad as you think-- unless you're from Wisconsin.

Consumer insurance site Insure.com released a list of the rudest drivers in America, and the states that hate them, and Illinois came in at no. 25, with its biggest enemy being Wisconsin.

With categories including “most rude,” “medium rude,” “semi-rude,” and “least rude,” the no. 25 slot puts Illinois in the “semi-rude” grouping, tied with Georgia drivers.

Many in the Midwest consider Illinois drivers to be “aggressive”—a nice way of describing the speeding, weaving and occasional upright digit often accompanied by some bad-mannered shouting.

On the opposite end of the rankings, Wisconsin came in at no. 45, among the "least-rude" states. Not surprisingly, the state that most hates Wisconsin drivers is Illinois, the list shows.

The insurance site surveyed 2,000 drivers nationwide to determine the list of states with drivers guilty of offensive road behavior and the rudest drivers apparently hail from Idaho.

“The roadways of Idaho present a dichotomy of drivers: Those who are moving so slowly that they’re judged to be rude, and the aggressive drivers who speed around them and flip them off,” the study reports.

The 10 states with the rudest drivers were:

  1. Idaho
  2. Washington, D.C.
  3. New York
  4. Wyoming
  5. Massachusetts
  6. Delaware
  7. Vermont
  8. New Jersey
  9. Nevada
  10. Utah

The states that appear to be the friendliest travelers were Wisconsin, Oregon, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, Maine and North Dakota.

See the full list here.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Pedestrian Hit by Car on Near North Side]]> Tue, 16 Sep 2014 06:57:00 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/chicago-ave-1.jpg

Chicago Avenue between North LaSalle and North Wells streets was closed to traffic early Tuesday after a pedestrian was struck by a car.

Chicago Transit Authority Route 66 buses were also avoiding the area while police investigated.

Authorities said a woman in her 20s driving a Honda Civic struck a man who was crossing the street. The man, also in his 20s, was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital where he was listed in serious condition.

Photo Credit: Sky 5, NBC Chicago]]>
<![CDATA[Vehicle Bursts Into Flames on City's Northwest Side]]> Tue, 16 Sep 2014 07:10:17 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/car-fire5.jpg

Firefighters at about 6:20 a.m. were dousing a vehicle that was fully engulfed in flames behind a building on Chicago's northwest side.

The fire was on the 1700 block of West Carroll Avenue, adjacent to tracks used by Metra trains. There was no interruption to train service.

Photo Credit: Sky 5, NBC Chicago]]>
<![CDATA[Homeowner Injured in Elgin House Explosion]]> Tue, 16 Sep 2014 17:03:48 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/elgin-explosion-1.jpg

Firefighters suspect a natural gas leak was behind a suburban Chicago house explosion that caused about $150,000 worth of damage and sent the homeowner to an area Intensive Care Unit.

Crews were called to the home on the 1100 block of Morningside Drive in Elgin just before 10 p.m. amid reports of a house explosion and fire, according to a statement from the Elgin Fire Department.

"The force of the explosion was so fierce I could feel the concussion two houses away," said neighbor Danny Smart, who was outside with his dogs during the blast.

The homeowner, a Tim Walkup, was taken to Advocate Sherman Hospital in Elgin and admitted to the ICU. Neighbors said he suffered cuts and scrapes but was alert.

Firefighters said the homeowner told them he'd turned on his heat for the first time since last season and went to bed. He woke up during the explosion, Battalion Chief Terence Bruce said.

"It's quite nerve-wracking. He's very meticulous about the maintenance of his house and the way he keeps it," said Smart. "For something like that to happen -- it could happen to anybody, I guess."

One of the house’s side brick walls was blown out, and the front wall was blown off and lying on the ground. Most of the windows were also shattered.

"We actually had to move that wall physically to get to the gas meter and make sure the gas wasn’t still flowing into the house," Bruce said.

One dog from the house has been located but another dog and a cat are still missing.

Ten Elgin Fire Department companies responded to the fire and got the blaze under control in about 10 minutes, according to the fire department. Nicor and ComEd representatives were also called to the home.

Experts say it's an example of why homeowners should have a professional look at the furnace before firing it up at the beginning of the season.

"The main points that we are going to inspect are, first and foremost, the heat exchanger, check for carbon monoxide leaks and check for potential dangers. The second thing, we look for are gas leaks, and then things we can do to improve the performance and efficiency of your heating system," said Kevin Hanink of Four Seasons Heating and Air Conditioning.

The damage caused by the explosion and fire was estimated at $150,000, the fire department said.

Photo Credit: Todd Sherman, Network Video Productions]]>
<![CDATA[Mom Says Heroin to Blame for Son's Assault on Woman]]> Tue, 16 Sep 2014 02:25:39 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Aaron-Parks_mother.jpg

The mother of a teen charged with sexually assaulting a pregnant Chicago State University student says her son is "sick" due to his addiction to drugs.

Aaron Parks, 17, is charged as an adult in connection with last week's sexual assault of a 24-year-old woman who was attacked while putting books in her car in the 9800 block of South Indiana. The victim was approached by a knife-wielding man who forced her to perform numerous sexual acts before locking her in the car's trunk.

At the time of last week's attack, Parks was under orders to stay confined to his mother's home in the 600 block of East 100th Street after he was charged as a juvenile in the July carjacking of a woman who was forced into her car at gunpoint.

But the day after Parks was arrested for the most recent crime, Cook County authorities were unable to explain why he was able to leave home undetected at a time when he was supposed to be electronically monitored 24 hours a day.

Records obtained by NBC5 Investigates show that under the terms of his release, Parks was only allowed to leave home to attend school, seek medical treatment, or attend religious services.

His mother, who asked not to be identified, told NBC 5 that she believed on the morning of the assault that her son had left her home to register for GED classes at Olive Harvey College. But police say he instead traveled in the opposite direction -- a mile west of his home -- where the assault on the CSU student occurred.

She blames his behavior on his heroin addiction.

"He was a good kid. He went to school and last year is when I started noticing that he was sick," she said.

"I feel kind of responsible because he's my child. He needs help. He's sick, evidently to do something like this, and he need the help, and that's what the drugs did to him, you know?"

In the previous attack, Parks was charged with aggravated kidnapping, kidnapping, vehicular invasion, unlawful restraint, and aggravated assault. Under the conditions of his release, he was ordered to wear an electronic monitoring bracelet.

"If they're tracking these kids, they should have known when he was leaving out the house," Parks' mother said. "They should have been able to pick that up!"

Parks' mother says he had set off the alarm monitors in the past and authorities had come to her house looking for her son, but he was allowed to stay in her custody.

Why Parks' movements weren't detected wasn't clear. Because the home monitoring order stemmed from juvenile court, authorities refused Monday to discuss the case. Judge Michael Toomin asked his staff to prepare a report which was forwarded to the office of Chief Judge Timothy Evans. But late Monday, Evans' spokeswoman Rosemary Marasso declined comment.

"I hope to have something tomorrow," Marasso said.

Parks is being held without bond, and his mother expressed sympathy for his alleged victim.

"I'm sorry for the family that they had to go through this with this girl, because she didn't deserve it," she said.

<![CDATA[Oak Street Heist Linked to Suburban Louis Vuitton Burglary]]> Mon, 15 Sep 2014 23:08:12 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/moncler_heist.jpg

A crew of burglars appears to be targeting luxury retailers in Chicago and the suburbs.

NBC 5 has learned that investigators believe a break-in at the Moncler store on Oak Street early Monday is connected to a heist at the Louis Vuitton store in Oak Brook two weeks ago.

Multiple sources confirm that the two crimes are connected and virtually identical, down to the early-morning hour the thefts occurred, the use of a minivan to break the windows and the speed in which the criminals got in and out of the store.

It's not clear how much merchandise was stolen in the Moncler burglary, but coats at the store can cost as much as $3,000. Around $120,000 in goods was taken in the Louis Vuitton heist.

Investigators are looking into the smash-and-grab burglaries and how the criminals might be trying to turn the goods into quick cash. Online designer consignment businesses such as Luxury Garage Sale in Old Town and eDropoff in Lincoln Park are on alert.

"We monitor all luxury store break-ins locally so we can flag any suspicious merchandise that comes through our doors," eDropoff owner Corri McFadden said.

McFadden says all sellers are asked to sign a binding consignment agreement to ensure all items were legally obtained.

High fashion resale web site TheRealReal.com has a team of 10 authenticators to try and ferret out stolen and counterfeit goods, but a spokesperson admitted it can be a difficult process.

Security images captured images of the Louis Vuitton burglary, but surveillance media of the Moncler heist has not yet been released.

<![CDATA[Victims Still Fear Convicted Cyberstalker]]> Tue, 16 Sep 2014 15:34:36 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Jicheng-Lui.jpg

UPDATE: Convicted Cyberstalker Sentenced to 8 Years in Prison

A Lincoln Park man is scheduled to be sentenced Tuesday on charges of felony cyberstalking and residential theft, but even though he could be facing time behind bars, the criminal's victims still fear retribution.

Jicheng "Kevin" Liu could face up to 14 years in prison for his crimes.

One of Liu's victims, who asked to be referred to as Sherwood, says he's still putting his life back together after he and his wife marketed Liu's merchandise on eBay four years ago before discovering the goods were stolen and alerting police.

"Jicheng Liu came at us so hard. He managed to get our business shut down on eBay and to this day we cannot use our online store," Sherwood said.

"We've been scared. We trusted Liu. He told us keep an eye on your baby while you sleep at night."

Sherwood says Liu framed him using bogus emails and accounts to run his online reputation.

"Through email he told us he'd make our lives a living hell. For as long as I live, I'll harass you," Sherwood said. "He took away everything we worked hard for. We lost our business, our lives ... we're shunned online forever."

Sherwood says he's had to restart his business from scratch, and sell small antiques instead of more lucrative high-end furniture.

Sherwood's lawyer has urged him not to appear in court, and will instead read an impact statement for him.

"We fear that no matter where he is, he will haunt us in this world. If he has access to a computer he will tear apart our reputation," Sherwood said.

Police found thousands of dollars of stolen merchandise in Liu's rented Lincoln Park townhome in 2012. He was accused of stealing delivery packages from homes and apartment complexes, and using garage door openers to access goods. 

<![CDATA[The Obamas Get Chicago Schools Named After Them]]> Mon, 15 Sep 2014 17:58:26 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/211*120/tlmd_obama_getty_michelle.jpg

South Chicago suburbs Park Forest and Chicago Heights have renamed two area schools in tribute to President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama.

Those Cook County cities, which comprise School District 163, announced on Monday that Beacon Hill School, grades 4-8, now goes by the Barack Obama School of Leadership and Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM), while Forest Trail School, 4-8, has been named Michelle Obama School of Technology and the Arts (STARS).

"The Obama name was selected for the two schools because the values that the First Family models are unparalleled precedents and are values that our students strive to emulate. I believe we are the first schools in the nation to honor the First Family in this manner," Joyce Carmine, district superintendent, said in a statement. "School District 163 has a strong legacy of promoting innovation and the reconfiguration and creation of the two Obama schools will continue this legacy."

Both "concept" schools will adhere to Common Core standards of learning that spells out what children K-12 should know by the end of each grade. The STEM school will focus on curricula related to math and the sciences, while the STARS school will focus on theater, music and the visual arts.

Students residing within the district can apply to whichever school reflects their interests, and those not accepted into their chosen school may re-apply in two years, Carmine said.

Meanwhile, in the city proper, a selective enrollment school to be named for President Obama was commissioned earlier this year to open in the 2017-18 school year on Chicago Park District property near Skinner North Classical School on the city's North Side.



<![CDATA[Slain Merrillville Police Officer Laid to Rest]]> Mon, 15 Sep 2014 20:34:40 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Nickolaus-Schultz1.jpg

A Merrillville police officer killed in the line of duty earlier this month was remembered for his hard work and dedication to his job at a memorial service Monday.

Hundreds of people came out Monday to mourn Nickolaus Schultz, 24, who died after he was shot in the head during an altercation with 33-year-old Michael Hrnciar. Police were called to a condo building in the 8200 block of Lincoln Circle in response to a complaint that Hrnciar had moved back into a home he was evicted from in July.

"He met evil that day. We are going to hunt down evil and bring it back to the gates of hell for Nick," Merrillville police chief Joseph Petruch said.

The crowd of mourners was so large that the funeral ceremony was moved to the Star Plaza Theater.

"As governor of Indiana, it is my solemn duty to say this is the time for Indiana to mourn," Gov. Mike Pence said.

Schultz, a rookie officer, was remembered for his hard work and dedication to his job.

"When the people Merrillville needed someone, Nick said, 'Count on me,'" Sen. Joseph Donnelly said during the memorial service.

Schultz's sister also spoke at the memorial service, and the priest read a letter from the victim's mother.

A long procession of police officers accompanied Schultz to his final resting place.

As an organ donor, Schultz was able to give the gift of life to six other people.

Hrnciar, who was wearing bullet-resistant body armor at the time of the shooting, also died in the altercation. His death was ruled a suicide.

<![CDATA[Airline Celebrates O'Hare Launch With $29 Airfare]]> Mon, 15 Sep 2014 18:32:54 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/tlmd_042914_frontier.jpg

To celebrate the launch of its domestic service from Chicago's O'Hare International Airport, Frontier Airlines is offering discounted tickets for one day only.

The fares go as low as $29 for one-way tickets from O’Hare to Atlanta, Cleveland, Denver, Orlando, Phoenix, Salt Lake City and Washington, D.C.      

The airline's inaugural flight to Washington took off Monday, and Frontier soon will offer non-stop flights to the above seven cities.

Frontier said the special demonstrates the company's commitment to "low fares done right."

Tickets must be purchased by 10:59 p.m. Monday for domestic, nonstop travel on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from Sept. 22, 2014, through Jan. 28, 2015. They can be purchased at FlyFrontier.com or by calling Frontier's reservations centers.

Blackout dates apply, and previously purchased tickets cannot be exchanged for special-fare tickets, according to the airline.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Chicago

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Ouster of Marshall High School Principal Draws Outcry ]]> Mon, 15 Sep 2014 20:42:54 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/classroom5.jpg

Teachers, students and parents at Marshall Metropolitan High School are up in arms over their principal's ouster, saying the move was more about politics than academics.

CPS officials say Angel Johnson was removed from her position at the West Side school because it has not been performing up to academic standards. She's been replaced by Lori Campbell, who previously served as principal of Piccolo Elementary Specialty School.

"It makes no sense to remove a principal who has done nothing but move the school in a positive direction," Marshall High School Dean, Fadia Afaneh, said.

Johnson's supporters say there was no warning about the move and claim Johnson has reduced the dropout rate and increased attendance during her tenure as principal.

But CPS officials say the school has been on academic probation consecutively for the past 18 years, and that a new three-year School Improvement Grant from the Illinois State Board of Education was contingent upon leadership change at the school.

"While the District understands change can be difficult, we are confident this transition is in the best interest of students and the Marshall school community, and we will work with students, families and the community to ensure a productive and successful school year," CPS spokesman Bill McCaffrey said.

Johnson worked her way up from clerk to principal at the school over a period of 21 years.

"She has not been removed, she's still in our system and she'll still be working and we'll be looking forward to our leadership now really moving our children forward in the direction we need to move," CPS superintendent Barbara Byrd-Bennett said.

Parents say a meeting is scheduled for Wednesday to address the issue and some students have also threatened a walkout.

"It's very frustrating because I have a lot of plans toward college, scholarships, I have to work on that, and just to hear this is a big distraction," senior Kiara Harrell said.