<![CDATA[NBC Chicago - Chicago News]]>Copyright 2017http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/local http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/5-Chicago-Blue.png NBC Chicago http://www.nbcchicago.comen-usMon, 20 Feb 2017 17:30:37 -0600Mon, 20 Feb 2017 17:30:37 -0600NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[$6K Reward Offered a Year After South Suburban Murder]]> Mon, 20 Feb 2017 16:41:05 -0600 //media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/dearrea+haymond.jpg

The mayor of a south suburb is offering $6,000 for information that will lead to the arrest and conviction of anyone involved in the fatal shooting of a teenage mother last year.

DeArrea Haymond, 19, was killed and her boyfriend, 26-year-old Brendan Hudson was shot three times, with bullets hitting the side of his head, stomach and knee in Dolton last year in January.

"Dolton police have a person of interest but they are hoping that tomorrow's press conference will lead to more evidence," said Haymon's mother, Dalena Ingram.

The couple was sitting in a car last year in the driveway of Hudson's family home on Irving Avenue, across from Thornridge High School. Hudson's mother Colleen Hudson was home at the time, and says the doorbell rang. When she went outside, she found her son with multiple gunshot wounds.

“Mom, I’ve been shot,” he said.

Mayor Riley Rogers says he wants people to come forward if they have any information on the fatal shooting.

In an effort to help solve the crime, the village has teamed up with community activist Andrew Holmes to offer the reward money.

The mayor says they have a person of interest in Haymond’s death but police need the public’s help to close the case.

“This is a case that the mother is still grieving,” Rogers said. “She asked us to try and bring more attention to try and get it solved.”

Holmes said he hopes residents will help the police—and so did Haymond’s family.

“I think about her and wish she was here,” Ingram said. “Me and my grandbaby talk about her every day and every night—I pray someone will call in and give some kind of information.”

The village of Dolton will make a formal announcement about the reward Tuesday.

If anyone has information about the case they should call Dolton police.

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<![CDATA[Plane Blows 2 Tires Before Takeoff at O'Hare: Officials]]> Mon, 20 Feb 2017 15:25:07 -0600 //media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/unitedtires0220.png

A United Airlines flight departing from O’Hare International Airport blew two of its tires before it could take off Monday afternoon, officials confirmed.

Flight 306 headed to Ft. Myers, Florida, did not take off due to the incident which occurred about 1:53 p.m.

Passengers left the plane via a staircase and were taken back to the terminal on buses, officials said.

Multiple emergency response vehicles were seen on the runway approaching the plane.

Additional details were not immediately available.

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<![CDATA[Firefighters Respond to Brush Fire in Kankakee County]]> Mon, 20 Feb 2017 14:42:57 -0600 //media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/moneefire0220.png

More than 100 firefighters were responding to a brush fire in Kankakee County Monday afternoon, a fire official confirmed.

Smoke could be seen billowing from a wooded area in Pembroke while about half a dozen fire department vehicles lined a nearby street about 1:35 p.m.

Multiple buildings are in the area where the fire department was responding.

The Pembroke Fire Department could not be immediately reached for further details.

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<![CDATA[Durbin Travels to Eastern Europe to Discuss Russian Threat]]> Mon, 20 Feb 2017 14:33:33 -0600 //media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/durbin+getty+1.jpg

Sen. Dick Durbin is meeting with leaders in three eastern European countries to discuss recent Russian aggression and interference in democratic elections.

Durbin met with senior Polish officials Monday in Warsaw. He also is scheduled to meet this week with Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite and Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman. Rep. Mike Quigley is slated to join Durbin for meetings with Ukrainian officials.

“Eastern Europe and the transatlantic alliance are at critical moments in their history,” Durbin said in a statement. “We must support our allies who face the brunt of Russian cyberattacks, propaganda, military intimidation, and even invasion in the case of Ukraine.”

Russia used military force to annex a portion of Ukrainian territory known as Crimea in 2014. In addition, the country has used cyber warfare to meddle in elections in a list of western countries, including the United States.

The U.S. intelligence community agreed in January that a Russian influence campaign, ordered by Russian President Vladimir Putin, aimed to undermine the 2016 presidential election and aid President Donald Trump’s chances of winning. The Russian government has denied the findings

Durbin faulted Trump for defending Russia, claiming it emboldens Putin and “further threatens to destabilize these critical democratic nations in the region.” The senator is also using the trip to pledge congressional support for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization on "defense cooperation and sanction."

“The Baltic States, Poland, Ukraine, and others in the region have friends in Congress and around the world, and together we will continue to stand with them," Durbin said.

In an interview published last month by Germany’s Bild newspaper and the Times of London, Trump called NATO “obsolete” and said the EU is “basically a vehicle for Germany.” In addition, he lauded the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union.

“I think Brexit is going to end up being a great thing,” he said.

Vice President Mike Pence told members of NATO and the EU Monday that Trump supports the international partnerships despite previous criticisms, according to NBC News. He also urged NATO members to increase defense spending, echoing Trump’s call.



Photo Credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Suburban High School Seminar Topic Makes National Headlines]]> Mon, 20 Feb 2017 17:05:59 -0600 //media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/New+Trier+Township+High+School+Winnetka.JPG

Parental outcry over the topic of a suburban Chicago high school's "All-School Seminar Day" has grabbed national attention ahead of a Monday night school board meeting that's expected to address the controversy.

Some parents challenged this year's New Trier High School seminar day, titled "Understanding Today's Struggle for Racial Civil Rights," for being too liberally minded. They also criticized the Winnetka school's administration for not letting parents make changes to the program to represent all sides of the topic.

In a Wall Street Journal editorial published last week, Peter Berkowitz called the event "Racial Indoctrination Day at an Upscale Chicagoland School."

"That very term, 'racial civil rights,' is misleading," Berkowitz wrote, "since civil rights protect Americans’ freedoms regardless of their race. Judging from the roster of scheduled events, the seminar might be more accurately titled 'Inculcating a Progressive View of Social Justice.'"

The school's superintendent, Linda Yonke, said in a statement the seminar provides an opportunity to study the topic in-depth for an entire school day.

"We respect that there are different views about how best to talk about issues concerning race, but we are confident that the keynote speeches, a common lesson led by faculty members, and attendance at two of the more than 100 workshop sessions offered will provide our students with a positive experience that examines issues from multiple perspectives," Yonke said.

Yonke told told the Chicago Tribune earlier this month that it was too late to alter the speaker lineup or workshops that more than 80 percent of students already signed up for.

According to the school, students will begin the day by listening to a keynote speaker, then meet with an adviser group. They then will attend two workshops of their choice before grouping to "reflect on the day with their adviser and classmates."

The keynote speakers were listed as Colson Whitehead, National Book Award winner for "The Underground Railroad," at the Winnetka Campus, and Andrew Aydin, National Book Award winner for "March," at the Northfield Campus.

As of Monday, more than 5,300 signatures were gathered in an online petition titled "I Support Seminar Day" to keep the program intact.

The "I Support Seminar Day" group said parents had multiple chances to provide input on the topic. It also disputed claims that the school is spending more than $500,000 on the seminar day.

"The New Trier School Board approved a budget of $30,000 for Seminar Day," the group said. "Within this budget, the School is paying two nationally known keynote speakers (both National Book Award winners) who will each speak twice to students and once in the evening. The District is also offering a $200 honorarium to workshop presenters from outside the school."

The school said students are allowed to leave if they feel uncomfortable.

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<![CDATA[Lewandowski at U of C: Trump's Team Has 'Not Prepared' Him]]> Mon, 20 Feb 2017 13:43:09 -0600 //media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-528543582-lewandowski.jpg

During an appearance last week at the University of Chicago, President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Corey Lewandoski criticized the president’s current staff for not properly preparing him for the job.

“The staff has probably not prepared him as well as they could have or should have,” Lewandowski said during an appearance on David Axelrod’s podcast published Monday, pointing to the rollout of Trump’s stifled immigration order.

“I think you have a president who wants to move very quickly, who has a grand vision of what he wants to accomplish and is leaving the details to the staff to implement,” he added, noting that no one member of Trump's senior staff has “ever worked inside the government.”

Last week, Trump claimed the White House is running like a “fine-tuned machine” despite a series of lingering controversies surrounding his stalled travel ban and the dismissal of former National Secuirty Adviser Michael Flynn.

Lewandowski predicted a more “measured approach” from Trump’s team moving forward that would ensure members of the administration and Congress are “vetted properly” on policy matters.

The GOP insider urged Trump to focus on putting “America first” by growing the economy, instituting his proposed tax cuts, repealing Obamacare, bolstering the country’s border security and negotiating better trade deals.

“That’s the story that he has to tell and everything else is a diversion,” he said.

Trump fired Lewandowski last June as his campaign faltered. Lewandowski’s tenure as Trump’s campaign manager was marred by a series of controversies, including charges that he attacked a reporter last March during a campaign event in Florida. Those charges were later dropped.

Lewandowski's appearance at the University of Chicago's non-partisan Institute of Politics was met with protests at the school's Hyde Park campus. 



Photo Credit: Corbis via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Congresswoman Bustos: 'I Am Not Going to Run for Governor']]> Mon, 20 Feb 2017 13:09:24 -0600 //media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-480220374.png

Congresswoman Cheri Bustos has decided she will not join the list of Democrats interested in running against Governor Bruce Rauner in 2018.

“I am not going to run for governor,” Bustos told NBC 5.

The Quad Cities congresswoman was recently appointed to a Democratic leadership position in the House and said, “I’m now the only Midwesterner sitting around the table” and “I see it as a very big responsibility to make sure we have a voice that reflects the families from the heartland that felt like they’ve been left behind.” 

Already there are three announced Democratic candidates with even more likely.

Billionaire businessman JB Pritzker is weighing whether to run and wealthy businessman Chris Kennedy has already said he’s in.

It could be a very expensive Democratic primary. Bustos did not answer directly how funding played a role in her decision but she noted “money and politics is something that we really need to address as a nation."

"I’m a proponent of campaign finance reform in Illinois and federally,” she said.

Bustos said the average contribution in her recent congressional race was $27. She did not rule out eventually endorsing a candidate for the March 2018 primary.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[4 Days in a Row: Chicago Breaks Another Temperature Record]]> Mon, 20 Feb 2017 12:49:23 -0600 //media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/sunsoaked+water+tower.jpg

For the fourth day in a row, Chicago’s unseasonably high temperatures have broken a record.

As of 12:30 p.m., the temperature high was reported to be 65 degrees at O'Hare International Airport -- and it was expected to continue rising. 

The Monday number broke the 64-degree record set in 1930. 

It's the latest in a series of record-breaking warmth for the Chicago, with even more high temps forecast. 

At 1:02 p.m. Sunday, the temperature at O’Hare International Airport hit 66 degrees, according to the National Weather Service. That balmy number just beat the record of 65 degrees set in 1930.

About an hour before that, Rockford saw a temperature of 64 degrees, eclipsing the previous record that was also set in 1930. 

On Saturday, Rockford reached 59 degrees at 11:12 a.m., while O’Hare saw 63 degrees just 13 minutes later – breaking the record set in 1981.

Saturday’s temperatures continued to climb, and the city saw 70 degree warmth in February for just the fourth time since 1871, according to the National Weather Service.

The other times temperatures at O’Hare reached 70 degrees this month were 75 degrees on Feb. 27, 1976, 72 degrees on Feb. 25, 2000 and 70 degrees on Feb. 11, 1999 – meaning that in addition to being tied for the third highest temperature ever recorded in February, Saturday’s warmth was also the second earliest 70 degree reading in Chicago.

At 1 p.m. on Saturday, the National Weather Service noted that O’Hare’s 68 degrees meant Chicago was warmer than Los Angeles (54 degrees), Phoenix, Arizona (60 degrees) and Tallahassee, Florida (63 degrees).

The weekend’s record-breaking streak began at 1:30 p.m. on Friday, when 62 degrees at O’Hare shattered the high set all the way back in 1880.

These temperatures continue the Chicago area's unseasonably snow-less, warm winter, and it looks as though they’ll stick around through the rest of the week.

Showers are possible heading into Monday evening, but once they move out of the area by Tuesday afternoon, the warmth will likely return for what could be a fifth straight day of temperatures in the 60s. The record Feb. 21 was set in 1930, at 67 degrees.

The record for longest stretch of consecutive days in which Chicago saw temperatures above 60 degrees in February sits at four, set from Feb. 24 through 27 in 1976.

The city’s unusual warmth comes during a winter that has seen remarkably little snow. This January saw just 0.6 inches of snow well below, the month’s average snowfall of 5.2 inches.

Through mid-December, the Chicago area saw 17.7 inches of snow, making the winter snow total 18.3 inches – 7.3 inches below average.

We could see the first flakes of the month by next weekend, as forecast models show an area of low pressure moving in amid rainstorms Saturday, bringing in colder air and possibly snow.

High temperatures on Saturday, the coldest day of the week, could hover around 36 degrees.



Photo Credit: Noel Montenegro
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<![CDATA[Chicagoans Gather for 'Not My Presidents Day' Protest]]> Mon, 20 Feb 2017 15:06:59 -0600 //media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/presidents+day+protest+1a.jpg

Exactly one month after President Donald Trump was sworn into office, Chicagoans gathered near his eponymous skyscraper in protest of his policies on Monday.

Hundreds joined the "Not My Presidents Day" demonstration around noon in the city's Loop near East Upper Wacker Drive and North Wabash Avenue.

"We are out here opposing this agenda, opposing his ideology, and saying that we are not going to accept it," Susan McNish, a teacher, said.

The protest was one of several taking place across the country, with at least 20 others expected in cities including Los Angeles, New York and Washington, DC. 

Monday's gathering was the second day in a row demonstrators rallied in Chicago, as dozens marched through the Loop on Sunday afternoon as well. 

Groups from both sides came together in a peaceful manner for the protest.

Debra McKinley said the warm weather drew her to Chicago for the weekend. When McKinley heard about the protest, she said she couldn't stand by without voicing her opinion.

"Let Trump lead us," she said. "We are all on the same team. People don't realize that but we are."

"If everyone could just get around his style and just give him a chance, then judge him in a year. I think that's the right thing to do."

"Be patient and give him a chance," Chris Ehrlich said. "I mean he is America's president. Just give him a chance."

"I truly believe he has our best interest at heart for this country."

Holly Schaal of Powers Lake, Wisconsin, said she attended the protest because she is "tired of people hating on each other."

"I just want people to be happy and I want everybody to have rights," Schaal said. "I am tired of Trump and his fiction that is changing everybody's views on each other. We are going backwards."



Photo Credit: Charlie Wojciechowski]]>
<![CDATA[Chicagoans Gather for 'Not My Presidents Day' Protest]]> Mon, 20 Feb 2017 14:05:45 -0600 //media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/presidents+day+protest+1a.jpg Exactly one month after President Donald Trump was sworn into office, Chicagoans gathered near his eponymous skyscraper in protest of his policies on Monday.

Photo Credit: Charlie Wojciechowski]]>
<![CDATA[Artist Creates Amazing Chicago Drawings All on Etch A Sketch]]> Mon, 20 Feb 2017 12:23:02 -0600 //media.nbcchicago.com/images/200*120/GettyImages-141701097.jpg

Young artist Jane Labowitch might be found taking inspiration at some of the most iconic places in Chicago, but her artwork isn't what many would consider traditional. 

The 25-year-old from Detroit and current Logan Square resident doesn't use paper, a pencil or even a paintbrush for her works of art -- she uses an Etch A Sketch. 

In a recent interview with Chicago Magazine, the young artist said she first got into Etch a Sketch artwork as a young child, a medium she now calls "unforgiving." She told the publication her favorite place to sketch in Chicago is both the Bean and the Art Institute. 

Labowitch uses Instagram and her Etsy shop to promote her work, which includes family portraits and has been featured by Disney, the Chicago Blackhawks blog and more. 

One drawing can take up to eight hours to complete, she told the magazine. 

Take a look at some of the jaw-dropping Chicago pieces below:



Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Obama Library Architects Say Project May Need $1.5B: Report]]> Mon, 20 Feb 2017 11:18:12 -0600 //media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/obama-beneficios-sueldo-portada.jpg

Former President Barack Obama may need some additional cash flow to get the Obama Presidential Center built in Chicago, according to a report.

The architects said the center needs an endowment of $1.5 billion, three times more than the amount raised for George W. Bush's presidential center that opened in Dallas in 2013, Page Six's Richard Johnson reports.

They attributed the high cost to the construction of both a library and museum. The architects said the expected $200 million cost of the buildings themselves likely will be closer to $300 million.

They noted Obama declined to do much fundraising for the center while still in office, Johnson reports. Sources told NBC 5 Obama is about to begin a major fundraising effort for the project.

Obama returned to Chicago last week for the first time since he left office to hold meetings with community leaders and others involved in the Obama Foundation.

A military C-5 aircraft arrived in Chicago Thursday morning, bringing with it a shipment of Obama’s belongings for the library.

Valerie Jarrett told the Chicago Sun-Times the president is eager to hear suggestions from community members to bring opportunities to the area.

Representatives of the former president and first lady said this month an agency was hired to assist the couple with speaking gigs, as well as lawyers to handle their book deals.



Photo Credit: Getty Images/Archivo]]>
<![CDATA[See All the Records Broken During Chicago's Warm February]]> Mon, 20 Feb 2017 10:12:09 -0600 //media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/chicago+skyline+0408.jpg Chicago has broken a number of decades-old records with spring and summer-like temperatures hitting the area this February. Here's a look at the records broken so far.]]> <![CDATA[1 Dead After SWAT Response on Chicago's West Side]]> Mon, 20 Feb 2017 14:29:14 -0600 //media.nbcchicago.com/images/223*120/hbt+little+village.png

One man is dead and another is in custody after SWAT teams responded to an incident on Chicago’s West Side Monday morning.

Chicago police said the incident was reported around 7:45 a.m. in the 3400 block of West 23rd Street in the city's Little Village neighborhood.

Officers responded to a domestic disturbance involving two men, according to police, who specified that no off-duty Chicago police officers were involved in the incident. 

University Park Chief of Police John Pate said the subject was never affiliated with the south suburban department, despite reports that identified one of the people involved as a University Park police officer. 

He worked as a security guard for AASI Security Services at the Maple Leaf Apartment complex in the town, Pate said in a statement, but was fired from the company two years ago and was employed by another security company.

The incident ended around 12:24 p.m., authorities said. A 68-year-old man was found dead inside the residence with a gunshot wound to the head, according to police. 

A 37-year-old man was taken into custody and a weapon was recovered from the scene, police said. It was not immediately clear to which person the University Park police were referring in their statement. 

Charges are pending and the investigation is ongoing. 

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<![CDATA[Missing Baby Found Safe, Search for Mother Continues: Family]]> Mon, 20 Feb 2017 11:49:07 -0600 //media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/kayla+stratton+paul+merritte.png

Family members say an 11-month-old child who authorities believed may have been abducted from Streator, Illinois, along with his mother, was dropped off at a family friend's home over the weekend, but the search for the boy's mother continued early Monday morning. 

Mindy Stratton, the mother of missing person Kayla Stratton, said her grandson Paul Merritte was left in his car seat on an acquaintance's porch late Sunday evening. 

The news was confirmed by the LaSalle County Sheriff's office late Monday morning, who said the baby was taken to St. Mary's Hospital in Streator for a health evaluation. The sheriff's office also said DCFS was called and assisted with the legal transfer of custody of the child to his grandparents. 

The search for Kayla Stratton remained ongoing, police said. 

Stratton, 24, and her 11-month-old son were last seen around 11 p.m. on Friday, according to the sheriff's office.

Authorities said in a missing persons alert that the child was "consensually taken" by his father, 33-year-old Clarence Merritte, who is a suspect in the case. 

According to police, Stratton was in a car in the 1900 block of East 1st Street as the suspect chased her in another vehicle, ramming her car multiple times and forcing her off the road, where she crashed into a utility pole.

The suspect then struck and took Stratton from her car by the hair, officials said, forcing her into his vehicle, which was later found abandoned several blocks west of the incident.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the LaSalle County Sheriff's office at (815) 433-2161.



Photo Credit: LaSalle County Sheriff's Office
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<![CDATA[Man Killed in Fire on Chicago's NW Side: Officials]]> Mon, 20 Feb 2017 06:47:41 -0600 //media.nbcchicago.com/images/222*120/albany+park+fire.png

An overnight fire left a person dead Monday at a home on Chicago’s Northwest Side and a Chicago family says the man killed was a homeless man they took in during a time of need.

Chicago fire officials said they received a called just after 3 a.m. reporting a fire in the 4700 block of North Harding in the city’s Albany Park neighborhood. Heavy flames were seen in the home’s attic when officials arrived. 

A man in his 20s was taken to Swedish Covenant Hospital in critical condition and was later pronounced dead, officials said. 

Homeowners said they had taken in a homeless man, who was a friend of their son's and had hit hard times. The man had been living in their attic, where the fire started. His identity was not being released as of early Monday morning.

"It's really, really sad," said neighbor Penny Phung. "He's a really nice guy."

Chicago fire officials said the cause of the fire was electrical. An investigation remained ongoing.

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<![CDATA[Chicago's Unseasonable Warmth Continues to Break Records]]> Sun, 19 Feb 2017 21:36:39 -0600 //media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/GARY+A+RICHTER.png

For the third consecutive day, Chicago’s unseasonably high temperatures broke records on Sunday.

At 1:02 p.m., the temperature at O’Hare International Airport hit 66 degrees, according to the National Weather Service. That balmy number just beat the record of 65 degrees set in 1930 – though temperatures on Sunday continued to climb, meaning the final record could be even higher.

About an hour before that, Rockford saw a temperature of 64 degrees, eclipsing the previous record that was also set in 1930. 

These temperatures marked the third day in a row that warmth in Chicago hit a new high for the area.

On Saturday, Rockford reached 59 degrees at 11:12 a.m., while O’Hare saw 63 degrees just 13 minutes later – breaking the record set in 1981.

Saturday’s temperatures continued to climb, and the city saw 70 degree warmth in February for just the fourth time since 1871, according to the National Weather Service.

The other times temperatures at O’Hare reached 70 degrees this month were 75 degrees on Feb. 27, 1976, 72 degrees on Feb. 25, 2000 and 70 degrees on Feb. 11, 1999 – meaning that in addition to being tied for the third highest temperature ever recorded in February, Saturday’s warmth was also the second earliest 70 degree reading in Chicago.

At 1 p.m. on Saturday, the National Weather Service noted that O’Hare’s 68 degrees meant Chicago was warmer than Los Angeles (54 degrees), Phoenix, Arizona (60 degrees) and Tallahassee, Florida (63 degrees).

The weekend’s record-breaking streak began at 1:30 p.m. on Friday, when 62 degrees at O’Hare shattered the high set all the way back in 1880.

These temperatures continue the Chicago area's unseasonably snow-less, warm winter, and it looks as though they’ll stick around through the rest of the week.

Monday could reach 60 degrees yet again, even as the chance for storms increases through the evening. Once the showers move out of the area by Tuesday afternoon, the warmth will likely return for what could be a fifth straight day of temperatures in the 60s.

The records for both Feb. 20 and 21 were set in 1930, at 64 and 67 degrees, respectively. The record for longest stretch of consecutive days in which Chicago saw temperatures above 60 degrees in February sits at four, set from Feb. 24 through 27 in 1976.

The city’s unusual warmth comes during a winter that has seen remarkably little snow. This January saw just 0.6 inches of snow well below, the month’s average snowfall of 5.2 inches.

Through mid-December, the Chicago area saw 17.7 inches of snow, making the winter snow total 18.3 inches – 7.3 inches below average.

We could see the first flakes of the month by next weekend, as forecast models show an area of low pressure moving in amid rainstorms late Thursday, bringing in colder air and possibly snow.

High temperatures on Saturday, the coldest day of the week, could hover around 36 degrees before another warm up to start next week.



Photo Credit: Gary Richter
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<![CDATA[Takiya Holmes' Family Donates Slain 11-Year-Old's Organs]]> Sun, 19 Feb 2017 21:34:43 -0600 //media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/takiya+holmes+219.png

When 11-year-old Takiya Holmes died after being struck in the head by a stray bullet, her family chose to save the lives of others by donating the young girl's organs. 

One of the recipients was a relative, Darvece Monson, who spoke of her gratitude Sunday following a successful kidney transplant. [[414206473, C]]

"For the family to have thought of me during this time, selflessly on this degree and a level of this magnitude, this generosity, I just can’t – I’m still processing it all," Monson said at a news conference Sunday.

"This family saved many lives, and left a legacy," Munson added through tears. 

Takiya passed away Tuesday morning, three days after she was shot in Chicago's Parkway Gardens neighborhood on the city's South Side. 

She was sitting in the backseat of her family’s minivan with her mother, aunt and 3-year-old brother when the shooting occurred. They were parked outside her mother's work, waiting for a co-worker, when they suddenly heard gunfire.

"Shots rang out, she told everybody to get down, and once they stopped, she asked was everybody OK and Takiya did not respond," her grandmother Patsy Holmes said. [[413650323, C]]

Takiya was taken to Comer Children’s Hospital, where she was placed on life support. Just weeks before she was shot, her cousin Rachel Williams said she had expressed concerns about Chicago’s violence after someone in their neighborhood was killed in a shooting. 

“I talked to her two days after, and for her to sit there and say she was scared of getting shot,” Williams said. 

Patsy Holmes said family, friends, Takiya's youth group and even the principal of Schmid Elementary School, where she was a student, came to visit the granddaughter she described as courteous, thoughtful and lively.

Antwan Jones, 19, was charged with first-degree murder in connection with the shooting after turning himself in late Tuesday evening, according to police. 



Photo Credit: Holmes Family
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<![CDATA[Missing Woman, Baby May Have Been Abducted From Streator]]> Sun, 19 Feb 2017 17:42:25 -0600 //media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/kayla+stratton+paul+merritte.png

Authorities are searching for a woman and her child who were reported missing from Streator, Illinois, and may have been abducted by the child's father.

Kayla Stratton, 24, and her 11-month-old son Paul Merritte were last seen around 11 p.m. on Friday, according to the LaSalle County Sheriff's office.

Authorities said in a missing persons alert that the child was "consensually taken" by his father, 33-year-old Clarence Merritte, who is a suspect in the case. [[414197493, C]]

According to police, Stratton was in a car in the 1900 block of East 1st Street as the suspect chased her in another vehicle, ramming her car multiple times and forcing her off the road, where she crashed into a utility pole.

The suspect then struck and took Stratton from her car by the hair, officials said, forcing her into his vehicle, which was later found abandoned several blocks west of the incident.

All three remain missing, and the sheriff's office, along with the Streator Police Department, continue to investigate.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the LaSalle County Sheriff's office at (815) 433-2161.



Photo Credit: LaSalle County Sheriff's Office
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<![CDATA[Ohio Woman's Obituary Takes Parting Shot at Trump]]> Mon, 20 Feb 2017 09:02:47 -0600 //media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AP_116963857380.jpg

As her loved ones mourn their loss, one Ohio woman found a source of comfort in her own passing – by taking a shot at President Donald Trump in her obituary.

Elizabeth "Liz" Smith died Monday at the age of 87, surrounded by her family, who then made her political views well known.

"Liz is smiling now, not to be living during the Trump presidency," her obituary reads.

A member of Huron County Democratic Party and a poll worker, Smith’s daughter told the Sandusky Register that her mother "doesn’t like the man, she never has."

"She had seen that in somebody else’s obituary and kind of made a note of that," said Deborah Lucal.

Smith was a lifetime member of Girl Scouts USA and an avid volunteer, as well as an active member of her church and a travel enthusiast.

Despite Smith’s preference for blue when it came to her politics, Lucal told the Register that her mother requested everyone wear red to her funeral, in celebration of her life.

Smith was hardly the first to make a political statement in her departure.

A Pennsylvania chiropractor who passed away in Jan. 2016 at the age of 70 had just one request for his mourners: "In lieu of flowers, please don't vote for Donald Trump."

His son told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that he and his brother decided to include the line after seeing a New Jersey woman’s obituary the previous August, asking loved ones not to vote for Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.

Though commentary came from both sides of the afterlife aisle, one Virginia woman’s obituary broke with the partisan trend in her post-mortem political plea.

"Faced with the prospect of voting for either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, Mary Anne Noland of Richmond chose, instead, to pass into the eternal love of God," her May 2016 obituary said.



Photo Credit: Rogelio V. Solis, AP (File)]]>
<![CDATA[Chicagoans Enjoy Unseasonably Warm Weather]]> Sat, 18 Feb 2017 11:00:47 -0600 //media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/florez+polar+plunge.png

After Chicago officially broke a 137-year-old record by hitting 62 degrees on Friday, area residents are taking advantage of the unseasonably warm weather. NBC 5's Emily Florez reports - and takes the Polar Plunge! 



Photo Credit: Emily Florez]]>
<![CDATA[Mar-A-Lago's Neighbor Has Same Crime Rate as Chicago]]> Sat, 18 Feb 2017 10:42:48 -0600 //media.nbcchicago.com/images/180*120/trump-solitario-014.jpg

Chicago is the poster city for violent crime to President Trump, but he's got some mean streets right in his Florida backyard, NBC News reported.

The city of West Palm Beach, which sits just across the Intracoastal Waterway from Trump's palatial Mar-a-Lago Resort — aka the Winter White House — on exclusive Palm Beach, had a violent crime rate in 2015 that was equal to that of the Windy City, according to federal crime records.

There were 23 homicides in a city of just 104,919 residents. And the rate of violent crime, which also includes rapes, robberies and aggravated assaults, was 9 for every 1,000 residents — the same as the far bigger Chicago, records show.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Honoring Chicagoland's Fallen Heroes]]> Sat, 10 Nov 2012 19:11:50 -0600 //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 Charged in Shooting That Killed 2, Including Toddler]]> Sat, 18 Feb 2017 14:53:28 -0600 //media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Swan+Devon+218.png

A suspect has been charged in the shooting that killed two people, including a 2-year-old boy, and wounded a pregnant woman on Chicago's West Side, authorities announced Saturday. 

Devon Swan, 26, was arrested overnight and charged with first degree murder for his role in the shooting that occurred on Feb. 14 in the city's Lawndale neighborhood, Chicago police said in a release. Additional arrests are expected. 

The shooting happened around 1:30 p.m. in the 2300 block of S. Kenneth Ave., authorities said. 

The toddler, later identified as 2-year-old Lavontay White, was killed along with his uncle, 26-year-old Lazarec Collins, of the 2300 block of S. Kostner Ave.

Collins was a documented gang member, according to police, who believe he was the intended target of the attack "which stemmed over a dispute between Collins and a group of individuals." 

A 20-year-old woman, identified as Lavontay's aunt, also suffered a gunshot wound to the stomach. She was several months pregnant, officials said, and she and the unborn child were expected to survive.

She was streaming video on Facebook Live at the time of the shooting, according to police. All three victims were in a vehicle in an alley when another car drove past and someone got out and opened fire, authorities said. 

"As is the case, time and time and time again, the offender, 26-year-old Devon Swan is no stranger to CPD or the criminal justice system," Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said at a news conference announcing the charges Saturday afternoon.  

"He's a convicted felon who has been arrested nine times, including previous gun arrests for unlawful use of a weapon, armed robbery, escape from custody and numerous narcotic arrests," Johnson added. "He's also a documented gang member who's been identified by the department on our strategic subject algorithm to be at higher risk as an offender or victim of gun violence."

Rev. Michael Pfleger was "instrumental" in the investigation, authorities said, helping "identify individuals that provided detectives with the information they needed in the case."

"The community came forward with information for me and what I do all the time is say, 'Are you willing to talk with the police?'" Pfleger said at Saturday's news conference. "They said they were willing to if I was there and we would talk, and we then called the police and from that point went forward and brought the information, and the people willing to bring the information were willing to go all the way forward with it."

"People say a lot of times the community doesn’t respond because they're afraid, I get that," Pfleger added. "But we're just as afraid if that killer is still on the street. So we have to take the initiative to say we're gonna become safer as a community when we take people who are killers off the streets, so your faith has to be greater than your fear."

Swan did not contact police, according to Commander Brendan Deenihan, who said the investigation remains "very active" as police continue to search for more suspects in the shooting. 

"Regarding the offender who did get charged last night, detectives were able to speak with several witnesses who cooperated with us, and these witnesses, you know, basically told us that this offender had made incriminating statements," Deenihan said.

"We were able to locate this offender, we placed him into custody, then during his interview with the detectives, he made an incriminating statement which ultimately led to him being charged," he said. 

"There's a couple different motives that the detectives are working on," Deenihan said, adding that Swan said "they were seeking revenge for a prior incident," but "other people have brought different motives" for the shooting to police. 

Lavontay was the third child to be fatally shot in Chicago in the last week. On Saturday evening, 11-year-old Takiya Holmes and 12-year-old Kanari Gentry-Bowers were both shot in the head in unrelated shootings less than a half hour apart on Chicago's South Side. 

Takiya died Tuesday morning, and 19-year-old Antwan Jones was charged with first-degree murder after turning himself in late Tuesday evening, according to police. 

Kanari died Wednesday evening, a spokesperson for her family said. No one is in custody in connection with the shooting.

"I think it's important that we don’t let the names of these children be forgotten," Johnson said Saturday. "Lavontay White. Takiya Holmes. Kanari Gentry-Bowers. Remember those names and burn them into your memory. Let their lives and death be a reminder of how we need to come together as a city to reduce the gun violence in these neighborhoods."

"We need those names to be said out loud to encourage community members to provide information to us when they know it and have it," Johnson said. "Those names need to be spoken out loud to our state legislators, who hold a key part to making out streets safer by holding repeat gun offenders accountable."

"It's far too easy to go back in the same routine after the dust settles but if we remember those names and what they represent, we can come together to finally make a stand and not let their lives be lost in vain."



Photo Credit: Chicago Police
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<![CDATA[Sanctuary Schools Marked By Monarch Butterfly in Chicago]]> Fri, 17 Feb 2017 21:02:09 -0600 //media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/butterflyschools0217.png

Schools in Chicago that want to be identified as “sanctuary schools” will be emblazoned with a yellow monarch butterfly to identify the building as a place where students and families can come for safety and information.

The current political climate is taking a devastating mental and emotional toll on students and their Chicago families, parents, school principals and aldermen said Friday at a news conference.

The Logan Square Neighborhood Association helped organize the event.

The families, both documented and undocumented neighbors alike, stood united outside Funston Elementary in the Logan Square neighborhood.

“We are all very aware of the real immigration fears that many families are facing,” said parent and LSNA member Norma Rios Sierra.

The sanctuary schools will also offer information and workshops about immigration and resources for those fearful of deportation, hate crimes or racially motivated attacks.

“The worst feeling of your parent is to sit down your kids and tell them this is what we are doing if something happens,” said parent Monica Espinoza.

Ald. Carlos Ramirez Rosa were also in attendance to back the cause.

“Let [Chicago Public Schools] take note,” Rosa said. “This is the model I want to see, not just at every school in the 35th ward, but in every school in Chicago.”

In a letter to students and family, CPS said "in addition to helping parents and guardians understand their rights CPS is committed to helping students... CPS' goal is to provide all children with safe, engaging learning environments."

The LSNA says it hopes to spread the word across the city and state to join in the cause of making sanctuaries and providing workshops for parents and community members to learn their rights.

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<![CDATA[10 Things to Do in Chicago While Enjoying the Weather]]> Sat, 18 Feb 2017 08:29:58 -0600 //media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/warm+weather+chicago+getty.jpg

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Driver in Fatal Crash Had At Least 10 Violations: Records]]> Fri, 17 Feb 2017 22:49:36 -0600 //media.nbcchicago.com/images/214*120/des+plaines+2.png

NBC 5 Investigates looked into the driving record driver of the man allegedly behind the wheel of the Mercedes Benz police say was involved in a three-car crash in a northwest suburb Thursday, killing himself and three others.

Hewas going more than 100 mph before the accident, police said Friday. 

Three people killed in the the other car, an Impala, were identified by the Cook County Medical Examiner's office as Anita Crawford, 50; Kevin Crawford, 52; and Kristen Crawford, 20. The Mercedes driver was identified as 21-year-old Piotr Rog. 

According to Rog's driving record, since 2011 he had been charged and stopped at least 10 times for violations that include speeding, failing to reduce speed and improper lane changes.

His last stop was in May of last year.

No one at his Des Plaines home would comment to NBC 5.

"The crash is the worst I've seen in 40 years," said Des Plaines Police Chief Bill Kushner. "Anyone driving that fast is just plain reckless."

Authorities had earlier said the Mercedes Benz was traveling at "an extremely high rate of speed" when it slammed into a Chevrolet Impala carrying a mother, father and their 20-year-old daughter attending a soccer league Thursday night. 

The Impala was turning into a parking lot just before 9 p.m. when it was hit by the Mercedes Benz, the impact pushing the vehicle into the eastbound lanes of Northwest Highway where it then collided with a Toyota Highlander. 

Three people in the Impala, who family members say were a mother, father and daughter, were taken to area hospitals and later pronounced dead. The driver of the Mercedes Benz was also killed, police said.

A passenger in the Mercedes was also taken to Lutheran General Hospital in critical condition. Two people in the Highlander were released from the scene with minor injuries.

Northwest Highway was shut down for several hours following the crash. An investigation remained ongoing. 

Anita and Kevin Crawford leave behind two other children, a 15-year-old daughter and a 10-year-old son. 

"It doesn't feel real," said daughter Hailee Crawford. "I keep thinking that they'll come home and they'll just be fine, but it's not fine."



Photo Credit: Captured News]]>