<![CDATA[NBC Chicago - Chicago News]]>Copyright 2016http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/local http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/5-Chicago-Blue.png NBC Chicago http://www.nbcchicago.comen-usThu, 25 Aug 2016 06:27:12 -0500Thu, 25 Aug 2016 06:27:12 -0500NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Two Suburban Gun Stores Robbed in Less Than an Hour]]> Wed, 24 Aug 2016 22:44:49 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/gunstore0824.png

Two gun shops in neighboring suburbs were hit by crash and grab burglars just about an hour apart Wednesday.

Security video was taken from one of more than a dozen shop cameras at Just Target Guns in Libertyville that shows a driver ram a black pickup truck through the storefront.

A few minute later, police say a passenger returns looking for firearms to steal but leaves with only a few boxes of ammo.

Connie Shanahan, manager of Just Target Guns, said the thieves didn’t realize the guns are locked away in a bank vault in the back of the store.

“We don’t store guns for easy access,” he said. “That vault is completely secure and it’s a showroom.”

Maxon’s Shooter’s Supplies and Indoor Range in Des Plaines was also hit.

Shanahan says the same car and suspects are possibly involved in both attempts, which happened about an hour apart. Detectives say the pickup truck they’re looking for should have extensive rear-end damage.

Shanahan says his store will make changes so this can’t happen again.

“Damage is in excess of $5,000 and will be increasing our security now to even better,” he said.

Management at Maxon’s said the criminals also failed to steal any guns, but they will be closed for repair until at least next Tuesday.

Des Plaines Police say they are investigation.

<![CDATA[Emanuel Administration Outlines Water and Sewer Tax Hike]]> Thu, 25 Aug 2016 01:06:54 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/rahm+emanuel+GettyImages-502932336.jpg

Mayor Rahm Emanuel outlined a proposed water and sewer tax hike for Chicagoans that could go into effect in 2017.

According to the mayor’s office, the proposed tax would be used to stabilize the pension fund for Chicago municipal employees and could be voted on by City Council as soon as September.

“This agreement represents an incredible milestone on the road to financial recovery; for the first time in a very long time, every single one of our pension funds is on a path to financial security,” Emanuel said in a statement. “No longer will Chicago sit in the pension penalty box — where our economy is dogged by the decisions of the past and our neighborhood investments live in limbo.”

In 2017, Chicagoans would pay $0.59 per 1,000 gallons based on their water-sewer usage. Current meter rates are $3.81 per 1,000 gallons. The tax rate would then increase by approximately 7 percent annually over the next five years. In 2020 and 2021, the ending tax rate would come to $2.51 per 1,000 gallons of water-sewer usage.

The increase would begin in 2017, generating an expected $56 million that year and approximately $239 million annually by 2020 and 2021. That money would go towards increased funding to the Municipal Employees Annuity and Benefit Fund. The city will seek approval from Springfield for the increased contributions.

Additionally, Chicagoans who don’t pay their water and sewer bills within 24 days would incur an additional interest charge of .25 percent per month.

“These are difficult decisions, and I know the solutions are not easy, but we will finally be honest about the cost of running the city, we will finally be able to confidently invest in our communities, and we will leave Chicago better than we found it for our children and grandchildren,” the mayor added.

The first payments related to Chicago’s recent $543 million property tax hike were due at the beginning of the month. That tax hike is being used to raise money for pension payments to city police and firefighters.

<![CDATA[White House Hits Kirk on 'Drug Dealer in Chief' Comment]]> Thu, 25 Aug 2016 01:04:37 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/markkirk12345.jpg

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest responded Wednesday to Sen. Mark Kirk likening President Barack Obama to “the drug dealer in chief” for making a $400 million cash payment to Iran that was tied to the release of American prisoners.

“This is not the first time that we’ve heard that kind of rhetoric from Senator Kirk,” Earnest said during a White House press conference. “And I don’t think that kind of rhetoric is consistent with the views of most people in Illinois about the efforts of President Obama to advance our interests around the would and prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.”

Kirk is currently locked in one of the nation’s most highly-contested Senate races with Rep. Tammy Duckworth. Duckworth urged Kirk to apologize to both the president and the people of Illinois for his comments Tuesday.

“I know there’s a temptation, particularly for those politicians that are on the ballot, to say outrageous things to try to get attention,” Earnest added. "But that’s certainly no way to run a country and it’s certainly no way to confront issues that are as important as preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, securing the safe return of U.S. Americans that are detained unjustly overseas and settling a 35-year-old financial dispute with an adversary of the United States in a way that saves taxpayers potentially billions of dollars.”

Nevertheless, Kirk stood by his comments Wednesday, refusing to apologize at an agricultural roundtable in Normal.

“President Obama and Senator Kirk have worked together in a bipartisan manner on key issues, including supporting marriage equality and blocking those on the terror watch list from buying guns,” Kirk spokesman Kevin Artl said in a statement. “President Obama even wrote Senator Kirk to thank him for his bipartisanship with Justice Garland. However, Senator Kirk simply believes the deal with Iran does not make our country safer."

During an interview with the State Journal-Register last week, Kirk claimed Obama was “acting like the drug dealer in chief” for making the $400 million cash payment to Iran. Last week, the Obama administration claimed the money was used as leverage to push for the release of four U.S. prisoners.

The payment was announced in January, a day after the Americans were freed and on the same weekend U.N. sanctions against Iran were lifted. The White House and State Department have denied Republicans’ claims that the transaction served as a ransom payment, claiming the timing was coincidental.

According to the State Department, the $400 million was used by Iran to purchase weapons and equipment from the U.S. while the shah was still in control, Prior to the 1979 Iranian Revolution.

<![CDATA[Kirk, Duckworth Spar at Agricultural Legislative Roundtable]]> Thu, 25 Aug 2016 01:14:07 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/duckworth+kirk+illinois.jpg

Sen. Mark Kirk and Rep. Tammy Duckworth participated in an agricultural roundtable Wednesday in Normal, taking the stage separately and trading barbs throughout the day.

During her time on stage, Duckworth addressed her plan to accept 200,000 refugees to America, 100,000 of which would come from Syria. The congresswoman warned that leaving children in refugee camps was tantamount to “jeopardizing American security."

“If we leave kids to grow up in those refugee camps and we turn our back and we create a religious litmus test for who can come to this country, we are feeding ISIS propaganda,” Duckworth said. “We are growing the next generation of kids who will grow up to be people who shoot down American helicopters like the kid who shot me down.”

Shortly thereafter, Kirk questioned the refugee vetting process.

"She tried to tell you that the Syrians who are coming into the United States are somehow different,” Kirk said. “She’s asking you to suspend your common sense. They’re all from Syria."

“We cannot make the same mistake that Europe did, letting all of these people in,” Kirk said.

The senator noted that 1,000 Syrian refugees would “outnumber the number of FBI agents right here in Illinois.”

“I think it’s better to pause the program and leave those people out of the United States,” Kirk said to a smattering of applause. “Let’s pick safety first."

Last week, Kirk likened President Barack Obama to “the drug dealer in chief” for making a $400 million cash payment to Iran that was tied to the release of American prisoners. Duckworth called Kirk “unhinged” for the comments Tuesday during a speech in front of the City Club of Chicago. The word means "mentally unbalanced." Duckworth ultimately backed off when reporters asked if voters should consider the aftereffects of Kirk's 2012 stroke, the Chicago Tribune reported.

The Republican responded during a press conference following the roundtable Wednesday. 

"She is so desperate to run for office she would denigrate any stroke victim in America and make fun of them and that's awful," Kirk said. "You shouldn't do that. For people who have strokes, they can make tremendous comebacks mentally and physically."

Last week, the Obama administration claimed the $400 million payment was used as leverage to push for the release of four U.S. prisoners.

The payment was announced in January, a day after the Americans were freed and on the same weekend U.N. sanctions against Iran were lifted. The White House and State Department have denied Republicans’ claims that the transaction served as a ransom payment, claiming the timing was coincidental.

According to the State Department, the $400 million was used by Iran to purchase weapons and equipment from the U.S. while the shah was still in control, Prior to the 1979 Iranian Revolution.

Kirk refused to apologize for his controversial comments Wednesday, calling the $400 million cash transfer to Iran "unhinged."

"My opponent called me unhinged for referring to the drug dealer practice, but I would say it’s unhinged to send $400 million in cash to terrorists,” Kirk said.

After being asked if he has a problem filtering some of his comments, Kirk responded, “not at all.”

“I have a problem, definitely, with sending $400 million in €500 notes directly to the ayatollahs,” Kirk said. “Remember, the State Department has changed its story very much on this. At first they said it was not ransom, now they say it was leverage.”

During Duckworth’s press conference, the congresswoman wasn't surprised when a reporter told her that Kirk refused to apologize to the president.

“That fits a pattern, doesn’t it,” Duckworth asked reporters. “He said a lot of really terrible things. Whether it was his ‘bro with no ho’ comment, or, you know, now this, calling the president the equivalent of a dealer in chief.”

"I just don’t think that’s language befitting of a United States senator and I think it diminishes the office and he should apologize and let’s move on and let’s focus on what we need for the people of Illinois," she added.

Meanwhile, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest also responded to Kirk’s comment Wednesday.

“This is not the first time that we’ve heard that kind of rhetoric from Senator Kirk,” Earnest said during a White House press conference. “And I don’t think that kind of rhetoric is consistent with the views of most people in Illinois about the efforts of President Obama to advance our interests around the would and prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.”

Earnest acknowledged that there was a “temptation” for politicians “to say outrageous things to try to get attention” during an election.

"But that’s certainly no way to run a country and it’s certainly no way to confront issues that are as important as preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, securing the safe return of U.S. Americans that are detained unjustly overseas and settling a 35-year-old financial dispute with an adversary of the United States in a way that saves taxpayers potentially billions of dollars,” Earnest said.

According to election ratings released Wednesday, the New York Times gives Duckworth an 80 percent chance of winning Kirk's seat in November.

<![CDATA[Chicago Area Group Raises Cash For Italy Earthquake Relief ]]> Wed, 24 Aug 2016 21:09:01 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/5a_hd3-ITALY_EARTHQUAKE_KXASAL3L_1200x675_749749315772.jpg

Rescue crews in Italy are working around the clock trying to find any survivors buried in the rubble after a 6.2 earthquake struck in the middle of the night Tuesday.

On Wednesday, a Chicago group  started a fund to help the victims.

Lissa Druss Christman, of the Joint Civic Committee of Italian Americans, says the area is hard to get to, so the best thing to do is raise money. Supplies like medical equipment and medicine are in dire need as the death toll climbs to 159.

"The Joint Civic Committee of Italian Americans has initiated relief efforts for the devastating earthquake in Italy," the group said in a statement. "A fund has been established to help those in and around Amatrice, the epicenter of the earthquake."

Donations can be made online www.jccia.com.

Amatrice was one of three towns reduced to rubble and dust by a quake felt a hundred miles away.

Guy Thomas of the Italian Red Cross described the chaos to left in the wake of the earthquake to NBC News.

"It's terrible. It's like a bomb down and there's nothing there anymore," he said.

<![CDATA[Insurance Companies Fail to Pay Death Benefits: Treasurer]]> Wed, 24 Aug 2016 19:33:28 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/mike+frerichs+death+benefits+0824.jpg

Multiple individuals testified at a public hearing in Chicago Wednesday, explaining how insurance companies failed to alert them about death benefits that their families were owed.

"I am really upset about them because I think they’ve been doing this practice for years," one woman said.

Nash was unaware that her grandmother had purchased a life insurance policy a decade ago, and only discovered the approximately $400 benefit during a life insurance audit.

Lynn Lucchese-Soto had a similar story, after discovering just weeks ago that her learning disabled sons had been entitled to more than $100,000 in life insurance benefits after a 2007 car accident.

"The children could have been well into their 50’s before they actually would have had to notify the Treasurer’s office if it hadn’t, through their own audit processes, determined that this insurance was available." Lucchese-Soto said.

For that reason, Illinois State Treasurer Mike Frerichs put together a task force to push for legislation requiring insurance companies to use the federal death master file to identify deceased policy holders whose life insurance proceeds have not been paid.

"In the last 4 years, through the audits of 20 different life insurance companies, we’ve discovered over a half a billion dollars in benefits that were not paid to the loved one or heirs," Frerichs said at the hearing.

Frerichs invited Chicago-based insurance company Kemper Corp. to take part, an organization he has accused of committing this practice.

Kemper did not participate, saying they received an invitation, but that it came on the same day as the deadline to respond.

“We pay insurance benefits—we are in the business of paying benefits," Kemper said in a statement. "Treasurer Frerichs accuses Kemper of being one of the companies that knowingly chose not to pay life insurance benefits after learning an insured had died. That accusation is not true—and the Treasurer knows it."

Pastor Mark Hinton testified about discovering that two of his parishioners left nearly $40,000 to his Southwest Side church. They should have received that money 15 years ago, he said, money that was used for improvements to the church.

"This money not getting into the hands of people who need it, it's just - it’s really sad," Hinton said.

The task force plans to hold more hearings on this topic across the state, according to Frerichs.

<![CDATA[1 Dead in Maywood Car Crash]]> Wed, 24 Aug 2016 20:38:18 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/214*120/maywoodcrash0824.png

One person is dead after a car crash in suburban Maywood, fire officials said Wednesday.

The accident occured at Roosevelt Road and 9th Avenue between 3:15 and 3:30 p.m., officials said. At least one car was involved in the crash.

Maywood Police said the accident invovled a single vehicle that struck a pedestrian who died at the scene. The burning vehicle was extinguished before the driver was removed.

the driver is in critical condition at Loyola Medical Center.


This is a developing story, check back for details.

<![CDATA[Cubs, Bears Poke Fun at White Sox Stadium Name Change]]> Wed, 24 Aug 2016 17:25:57 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/cubs+sox.png

The Chicago White Sox announced they would be changing the name of their home ballpark to Guaranteed Rate Park on Wednesday, and the reaction on social media was swift.

With the adverse reaction to the new name, which will take effect beginning on Nov. 1, two of the White Sox's fellow Chicago teams weighed in with tweets poking fun at the baseball team.

Their neighbors to the north were first to join in on the fun, as the Chicago Cubs made a reference to it while celebrating a home run from their Wednesday game with the San Diego Padres:

A few minutes later, the Chicago Bears hopped on the bandwagon, taking a more direct shot at the White Sox:

There's no word on whether the Blackhawks or Bulls will join the fray, but at least fans won't have to worry about the United Center changing names for at least another 17 years.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Duncan Keith Drops Out of World Cup of Hockey]]> Wed, 24 Aug 2016 16:43:24 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Duncan+Keith.png

Chicago Blackhawks fans looking forward to next month’s World Cup of Hockey will be disappointed to learn that one of the team’s biggest stars will not be participating in the event.

That star is defenseman Duncan Keith, who has opted out of the tournament as he continues rehabbing a knee injury that he suffered last season.

“As Duncan continues offseason rehabilitation on the right knee injury that he sustained last season, we understand his decision not to participate in the next month’s World Cup of Hockey,” Blackhawks head team physician Dr. Michael Terry said in a statement. "We believe it is in his best interests to focus on getting stronger and not risk further injury."

According to a the Chicago Sun-Times, Keith will be replaced on the Canadian World Cup roster by defenseman Jay Bouwmeester.

Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews and goaltender Corey Crawford will still represent Canada in the tournament, which will begin next month in Toronto.

Keith has made four appearances with Canadian national teams during his NHL career, winning Olympic gold with the squad in both 2010 and 2014 and also participating with the Canadian squad in the 2008 and 2012 World Championships. In 30 career games with the national team, Keith has one goal and 19 assists.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Twitter Pans Renaming of Cellular Field]]> Wed, 24 Aug 2016 19:39:36 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/cellfield0824.JPG

Twitter users, as they're wont to do, were quick to dismiss the new name announced Wednesday for U.S. Cellular Field.

The stadium will become Guaranteed Rate Field on Nov. 1 as part of a new 13-year contract that the White Sox signed with the mortgage company, according to a statement released by the club.

From hypothesizing potential nicknames like "The G Spot," to lamenting the foreboding symbolism that is the logo of Guaranteed Rate, the ball field’s new namesake, the response has seemingly been mostly negative. 

Here are few choice tweets culled from the online reaction:


The Chicago Cubs and the Bears even got in on the fun

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<![CDATA[White Sox to Rename US Cellular Field]]> Wed, 24 Aug 2016 22:47:12 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/us+cellular+field+GettyImages-520000826.jpg

Chicago White Sox fans will have a new corporate name attached to their home stadium next season, as the team has sold naming rights for their ballpark to Guaranteed Rate, the team announced Wednesday.

The stadium, currently known as U.S. Cellular Field, will become Guaranteed Rate Field on Nov. 1 as part of a new 13-year contract that the White Sox signed with the mortgage company, according to a statement released by the club.

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"We view this partnership as an opportunity to connect a successful Chicago business with a historic baseball franchise, and we look forward to growing this important relationship over the coming years as millions of fans enjoy White Sox baseball at Guaranteed Rate Field," chairman Jerry Reinsdorf said in the statement. 

The Illinois Sports Facilities Authority approved the name change during a board meeting, the statement said. Financial terms of the deal between the White Sox and Guaranteed Rate were not disclosed.

The White Sox retained an option under the team’s lease for the ballpark, which could extend the deal an additional year through 2030.

"We are incredibly excited and honored to be part of the White Sox family," president & CEO of Guaranteed Rate Victor Ciardelli said. "It really is a dream come true to have the Guaranteed Rate name on a hometown Chicago ballpark."

"We love this city and its baseball fans, and couldn’t be happier to partner with an iconic team and a legendary owner in Jerry Reinsdorf," Ciardelli added. "We look forward to many great years of White Sox baseball at Guaranteed Rate Field."

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Former Trump Campaign Manager Talks Canceled Chicago Rally]]> Wed, 24 Aug 2016 15:29:52 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/514807380-corey-lewandowski.jpg

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s former campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, reflected on Trump’s canceled Chicago rally during a television appearance Monday.

Lewandowski was discussing Trump’s recent outreach to the African-American community with other panelists on Anderson Cooper 360 when he brought up the nixed March rally at the University of Illinois-Chicago Pavillion. The event was ultimately canceled after violent clashes between protesters and Trump supporters erupted outside the venue.

"You know what’s amazing to me is no one remembers that Donald Trump went to go have a rally in Chicago at the university," Lewandowski said. "And do you remember what happened? It was so chaotic and it was so out of control that Secret Service and the Chicago Police Department told him you could not get in and out of that facility safely and that rally was cancelled."

The Chicago Police Department said in a statement immediately following the chaos that they had not advised Trump’s campaign to cancel the rally.

"You showed the footage many times of the individuals who attended that rally," Lewandowski added. "Donald Trump had that rally booked."

After being prompted about what the rally in Chicago had to do with the black community, Lewandowski claimed "that is a black community."

"He went to the heart of Chicago to go and give a speech to the University of Chicago [sic] in a campus, which is predominantly African-American, to make that argument," he said. "And you know what happened? The campus was overrun, and it was not a safe environment."

Fellow panelist Angela Rye went back and forth with Lewandoski, asking if he would "acknowledge that black communities all over the country are still not monolithic." She noted that the same thing "wouldn’t necessarily happen" if Trump tried to visit Cleveland, Dallas or Los Angeles.

Lewandowski rebuffed Rye’s claims, insisting that the conversation had shifted from the substance of Trump’s speech to the location.

"So whose fault is it that that particular event in Chicago was completely destroyed?" Lewandowski asked.

Rye responded, "it’s not all black people’s fault."

"I didn’t say it was," Lewandowski said.

Panelist Tara Setmayer then jumped into the fray, noting that the event at UIC wasn’t particularly geared towards African-Americans.

"It was not to go there to speak to an audience of black folks there," Setmayer said. "It was to go to a predominantly white audience, just like before."

Lewandowski objected, noting "that audience was not white."

"Yes, it was," Setmayer said.

"That event is open to everybody," Lewandowski said. "So there were no African-Americans inside that event? I could see them."

Setmayer claimed the event was "not catered to them."

"That is a complete excuse for blaming it on the venue what happened in Chicago, that’s number one," Setmayer said. "Number two, the point that was made, that’s a very simple one. If you want to speak to women or if you wanted to speak to a group of single mothers, you’re not going to go and speak to white business executives about an issue that affects single mothers. Tone matters. The venue absolutely does."

Lewandowski responded, asking if it was "not good enough" that Trump went to Chicago. He claimed the city has the "highest murder rate in the country, the most African-American people."

Setmayer responded, noting that Trump didn’t attempt to meet with African-American business owners at the Chicago Urban League.

"Explain that to me," Setmayer said. "Explain how that makes sense."

Rye then asked Lewandowski how Trump plans to respond to Chicago’s pervasive violence. Lewandowski noted that Trump has met with members of the Chicago Police Department who told him that they simply want to be empowered to do their jobs, which the nominee controversially said in a separate interview.

"That means give us the tools to make sure that we can have more people on the street, make sure we have the resources necessary to go and make sure we’re stopping criminals," Lewandowski said. "We know who the criminals are."

Lewandowski went on to ask the panel what President Obama and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton have done to combat violence in Chicago.

Rye clamed "people only start caring about black lives when it's for political fodder," noting that Trump has called African-Americans thugs, listing Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis and Michael Brown as examples.

In response, Lewandowski noted that Trump was the first person to allow Jewish people and African-Americans into his Mar-a-Lago club.

"Corey, that was to make up for the housing discrimination cases," Rye said. "You guys are not going to hold him out like he’s Martin Luther King."

Photo Credit: Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[Chicagoans Vote For Their Favorite Chicago-Made Film]]> Wed, 24 Aug 2016 13:22:56 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Summer+FIlm+Series.png

It’s official – Chicagoans’ favorite Chicago-made film isn’t city classics like the “Blues Brothers” or “Home Alone” or even “My Best Friend’s Wedding.” It’s “The Dark Knight.”

The Oscar-winning film was voted as a resident favorite and will be screened for the finale of the Millennium Park Summer Film Series.

As many as 12,433 votes were cast via chifilmfave.org and on-site at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion to make the decision. “The Dark Knight” claimed the top spot with 2,333 votes.

Among the other film options were “Adventures in Babysitting,” “Ali,” “Backdraft,” “Barbershop,” “Blues Brothers,” “Color of Money,” “Divergent,” “High Fidelity,” “Home Alone,” “Love Jones,” “My Best Friend’s Wedding,” “Ordinary People,” “Public Enemy,” “Risky Business,” “Road to Perdition,” “The Fugitive,” “Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon,” “The Untouchables” and “While You Were Sleeping.”

“The Dark Knight” was filmed in Chicago in the summer of 2007 and features city staples like the Willis Tower, Navy Pier and Lower Wacker Drive.

The final film in the free Summer Film Series will be screened Aug. 30 at 6:30 p.m.

Other hit shows that played at the venue this summer were “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” “A League of Their Own,” “Thelma & Louise,” “Grease,” “Finding Nemo,” “Purple Rain,” and several others.

Photo Credit: City of Chicago]]>
<![CDATA[Video: Jonathan Toews Gears Up for the Blackhawks' Season]]> Wed, 24 Aug 2016 12:55:32 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/jonathan+toews+GettyImages-491739432.jpg

An extended offseason may not have been something that Chicago Blackhawks fans wanted this summer, but there is at least one member of the team that has taken full advantage of the extra time off.

That player is captain Jonathan Toews, who has taken the summer to work hard in the gym and on the ice in preparation for the coming season. Looking as strong as he ever has, Toews was on the ice this week getting ready for the World Cup of Hockey in September, and he’s showing a lot of power in his skating.

That power was on full display in an Instagram video that the captain posted on Wednesday:

The caption to the video reads “Now I know how Hoss (Marian Hossa) must have felt playing on the same line as me all these years.”

The Hawks are likely going to try to move Hossa down the lineup to the third line, where he would most likely skate with Marcus Kruger. As for what that means for Toews, things are unclear, but one thing is for certain: he’s looking to come into the new season firing on all cylinders, and he looks ready to do just that.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Your 2016 Back-to-School Photos]]> Wed, 24 Aug 2016 10:06:49 -0500
Thanks to Jamie Curran for this image. ]]>

Thanks to Jamie Curran for this image. ]]>
Viewers share their best photos and students across the Chicago area head back to school.

Photo Credit: Jamie Curran]]>
<![CDATA[Showers and Storms Make for Wet Wednesday in Chicago Area]]> Wed, 24 Aug 2016 08:27:02 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/180*120/Chicago+storm+generic.jpg

After days of sunshine and mild temps, Wednesday will mark the return of stormy and muggy weather in the Chicago area.

Slow moving thrunderstorms made their way into the west and southwest suburbs as the moved toward Chicago.

Things are expected to quiet down heading into the early afternoon hours, but some isolated storms are possible Wednesday afternoon and evening.

The storms bring with them the chance for heavy downpours and the potential for flooding.

Temperature highs will set between 80 and 84 degrees, but it will feel even warmer due to high humidity.

The storm threat continues into Thursday with scattered showers and storms likely through the morning and afternoon.

Things look to dry up Friday, with partly sunny, breezy and mild conditions.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Heartbreak, Anger as Investigation Into Fatal Fire Continues]]> Wed, 24 Aug 2016 18:36:45 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/essexgirls0823.jpg

As the investigation into a fatal fire that killed three children in Chicago continued into its second day, authorities say a person of interest remains in custody, but no charges have been filed. 

Candles and balloons mark the scene where the three young sisters were among four people killed in the extra-alarm fire in a South Chicago apartment complex early Tuesday morning. Family members say they've been left heartbroken and angry as fire officials believe the fire may have been intentionally set. 

“I just loved them so much and they loved me,” the girls’ mother, Kyra Smith, said.

Three-month-old Melanie Watson, 4-year-old Madison Watson and 7-year-old Shaniyah Staples were killed in the balze, along with an unidentified man, according to family members and the Cook County Medical Examiner's office. 

Around 1:40 a.m., approximately 200 firefighters were called to a burning three-story building in the 8100 block of South Essex Avenue, authorities said.

The stairwells were consumed by fire, officials said, forcing several people to exit the 32-unit apartment building through windows. A witness told NBC 5 he had tried to save himself and the 3-month-old by jumping from a third-story window with the baby in his arms.

Crews searched for hours after the blaze was put out for the other three victims who were unaccounted for before they were found dead in two different areas of the building.

The bodies of the two other children were found in one unit, while the adult male was found in another location. One woman on the scene told NBC 5 the children were her nieces and they were staying with the 4-year-old’s father in the building when the fire broke out.

Chicago Fire officials said they found evidence that leads them to believe someone intentionally set the fire, and a person of interest was taken into custody, according to police.

Resident Latoya Terry says she had an argument with the person she believes set the fire after a squabble over $10.

"I didn't know it would escalate to this," she said. 

Three additional adults were taken to area hospitals.

The building's owner released a statement Tuesday saying the "incomprehensible tragedy leaves our company forever changed."

"It is an utterly stark reminder of how fragile life is and how quickly our world can be turned upside down," EquityBuild CEO Jerry Cohen and President Shaun Cohen said in a statement. "We are shaken to our essence, yet we are left to respond as human beings. Each of us is called upon to be vigilant in searching for opportunities to help, elevate and inspire those around us, and to live with compassion and love for all of our fellows."

The owners say they were working with their property manager to provide housing for all residents affected by the fire and are working with the Red Cross to provide clothing and support. 

Shawn Staples, Shariyah’s father, remembered the girls at a vigil Tuesday night.

“They are looking down on me,” he said. “Down on all of this and see how much love and how much support they had out here.”

A GoFundMe page has been set up to raise funds for the burials of the three sisters and to help the parents who lost everything in the fire.

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<![CDATA[Chicago Board of Education Votes to Approve $5.4B Budget]]> Wed, 24 Aug 2016 18:24:57 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/cps+headquarters+generic.jpg

The Chicago Board of Education voted Wednesday to approve a $5.4 billion budget that relies heavily on a series of property tax increases and borrowing for the financially struggling school district. 

The budget includes a 7 percent pension payment for teachers that would help pay for the district’s $300 million deficit. That pension pick-up was paid for by the city for more than 20 years. 

A report by watchdog group the Civic Federation criticized the new spending plan for relying on a large amount of borrowing, being filled with property tax increases and lacking long-term planning. A disability rights group also says it is concerned with the way the budget funds special education.

Just weeks ago, 1,000 CPS teachers received layoff notices heading into the new school year. Meanwhile, the Chicago Teachers Union has told its members to prepare for a strike.

Teachers who weren't laid off are threatening to walk out like they did four years ago, especially if CPS demands the new contract will include phasing in the 7 percent pension payment now paid by the city.

"I want the teachers to be part of the solution, there's a pay raise in there for them," Mayor Emanuel said. "There are changes to also make sure they get a pension. It's their pension, they individually retire on it."

As for the timing of a strike, CTU president Karen Lewis said schools will open on time.

"I think we have to because we need to have conversations with our members," Lewis said. "We haven't haven't had them yet."

And even though teachers voted already and approved a strike, they may be asked to vote again.

Some are suggesting there won't be a strike until after September 16th, which is when teachers receive their first paycheck of the school year. Meanwhile, weekly negotiations continue between the union and the district.

CPS schools are set to open the day after Labor Day, on Tuesday September 6th.

<![CDATA[Police Respond to Trump's Claim About Chicago's Violence]]> Wed, 24 Aug 2016 07:14:26 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/chicago+police+GettyImages-500346628.jpg

The Chicago Police Department denied Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's claim this week that he met with a "top" Chicago officer and argued the city's violence would not be solved with "tough police tactics."

"We've discredited this claim months ago," CPD spokesperson Frank Giancamilli said Tuesday in a statement. "No one in the senior command at CPD has ever met with Donald Trump or a member of his campaign."

Trump said in an interview Monday that he believed Chicago's violence could be stopped using "tough police tactics," telling Fox News' Bill O'Reilly that he met a "top" Chicago officer who reportedly said he could "stop much of this horror show that’s going on" within a single week. 

Trump added that he knows officers in Chicago who would put an end to violent crime "if they were given the authority to do it," a claim that Giancamilli refuted. 

"Beyond that, the best way to address crime is through a commitment to community policing and a commitment to stronger laws to keep illegal guns and repeat violent offenders off the street," Giancamilli added.

Trump told O'Reilly he didn’t ask the officer for specifics on the plan because he isn’t the mayor of Chicago, but added that police would be "much tougher than they are right now."

"I’m sure he’s got a strategy," Trump added. "I didn’t ask him his strategy."

Trump also claimed that he submitted the officer’s name for some sort of job.

"I sent his name in and I said, 'you probably should hire this guy because you have nothing to lose,'" Trump said. "Look at what’s going on in Chicago, it’s horrible. This guy felt totally confident that he could stop it in a very short period of time."

Trump's campaign told the Chicago Tribune Tuesday that he did not specifically say the officer he spoke with was in senior command, but rather he "spoke with some talented and dedicated police officers on a prior visit."

It's not the first time Chicago police have disagreed with Trump's claims.

During Trump's failed Chicago rally, which was canceled due to violence concerns, the candidate said he met with law enforcement before canceling his appearance. CPD said in a statement, however, the department had not advised Trump's campaign to cancel the rally and did not issue any public safety threats or safety risks.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Scammers Targeting Students, Better Business Bureau Warns]]> Tue, 23 Aug 2016 21:17:00 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/214*120/GettyImages-498338511.jpg

There are plenty of things to worry about as the new school year begins, from textbooks to teachers and everything in between. But now students and parents have one more thing to watch out for as the Better Business Bureau warns of a new scam on the rise. 

IRS imposters are calling students to demand they wire money immediately to pay a fake "federal student tax" that doesn't exist, according to a release from the BBB Serving Chicago & Northern Illinois. 

"The callers can be very aggressive and threatening and that can be especially frightening to a student living away from home for the first time," BBB president and CEO Steve Bernas said.

According to the BBB, callers generally present information during the call that makes the request seem more legitimate, like the name of the student's school. On occasion, if the student hangs up on the caller, they may call back with spoofed caller-ID information showing that 911 or the government is calling.

"IRS scammers seem to be the most opportunistic thieves seizing on situations, and times of the year, where their victims may already be stressed and more vulnerable," Bernas added. 

The IRS will never call to demand immediate payment over the phone, or call about taxes owed without first having mailed a bill, according to the BBB. The IRS will also never immediately threaten to bring in law enforcement, ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone, or require a specific payment method.

Anyone who receives one of these calls is advised to hang up immediately and report it to the Federal Trade Commission through the "File a Consumer Complaint" section on FTC.gov as well as the BBB Scam Tracker.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Pearl Jam Stops Mid-Song, Ejects Fan at Wrigley Field]]> Wed, 24 Aug 2016 08:10:36 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/181*120/GettyImages-490195308.jpg

Perhaps he seemed to "recognize his face," as the song goes.  

Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder stopped mid-song during Monday night’s Wrigley Field concert to teach an apparently unruly fan a lesson in minding his manners.

"Hey, hey, mister!" Vedder shouted into the audience, in a moment captured on video and uploaded to YouTube on Tuesday. "Hey, get your finger out of that woman’s face!"

The crowd reacted with sporadic applause, cheers and chatter as Vedder, an Evanston, Illinois, native, let the unidentified audience member know "all the fingers are pointing at you."

"Come on, clear out, mister," Vedder chided to growing applause.

He then appeared to address the woman who allegedly had the finger stuck in her face, asking if she was okay to claps and whistles from fans. He admired how she handled herself then launched back into the interrupted tune "Lukin," and then into "Mind Your Manners."

A few commenters appear to be supportive of Vedder’s actions.

“He definitely is one of a kind! Absolutely what I love about him,” commenter Michelle Hall posted. “Glad Eddie kick(ed) that man out of the concert and that was so sweet of Eddie to ask the woman if she was okay! Love what he said after it was all over with. You gotta take care of ur woman.”

Another commenter endorsed Vedder’s intervention and had a few words for the man in question.

“Another reason for me to love him,” user RebeccaCrum posted. “This was an awesome moment last night. Mind your manners, dude and take your crazy out of our show.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images for Global Citizen
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<![CDATA[Report: Thieves Steal $1K Bounty of Razors From CVS]]> Tue, 23 Aug 2016 19:50:15 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-487321515.jpg

Police in Chesterton, Ind. are looking for two men they say stole more than $1,000 worth of razor blades from a CVS in less than four minutes, the Times of Northwest Indiana reports.

The men walked into the pharmacy at 505 E. County Road 1100 North, the newspaper reports, and are seen on surveillance footage putting the razors in plastic CVS bags before taking off.

Citing a police report, the Times said the suspects are two white males in their 20s wearing black shirts and shorts.

The men left in a blue Ford Focus with a handicap plate that was possibly being driven by a third man before heading south on Ind. 49. 

<![CDATA[Doctor, Nurse Reunite With Patient They Saved 10 Years Ago]]> Tue, 23 Aug 2016 18:14:38 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/christ+reunited.png It was a very special thank you Tuesday when a doctor and nurse reunited with a patient whose life they saved 10 years ago. NBC 5's Trina Orlando has their emotional story.]]> <![CDATA[How Hunt for 'Hamilton' Tickets Almost Cost Family Thousands]]> Tue, 23 Aug 2016 18:16:04 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/hamilton+responds.png

Rarely does a day go by without the music of “Hamilton” playing at the Ansah home in Downers Grove, but it was that passion for the hit musical that turned into a financial nightmare for the suburban family.

When the news broke that “Hamilton” was headed to a stage in Chicago, Diane Ansah said she knew she had to get her two teenage daughters there to see it. Emma, 15, and Sarah, 16, are dedicated fans who know the story- and every lyric in the show—by heart.

"Every day, all day long. If it's not blaring on someone's headphones, it's blaring on the speakers," mom Diane Ansah told NBC5 Responds.

The family’s first plan for getting tickets was foiled as soon as they drove by the ticket line the night before tickets went on sale. More than 100 people had already camped out—more than the Ansahs were prepared to wait behind. So they devised a multi-gadget Plan B: to fire up every phone and laptop the next morning as soon as tickets dropped.

"And when 10 o'clock came, you know, they get in,” Diane Ansah told NBC5. “And on her screen….hers was spinning, his was spinning."

The screens they saw will look familiar to anyone who has hunted hot tickets: the slow-churning icon that means maybe you are in, maybe you are not. In the midst of the hunt, Diane Ansah had to drive Sarah to her job. When she returned—excitement was in the air.

“Emma was asking me questions about where we could sit…I could tell she was having some success!” Diane Ansah said.

But then, a look in her inbox changed everything. Multiple confirmations from Ticketmaster were loading. And loading. And loading—to the tune of 57 tickets purchased.

"I looked at my bank account and I wasn't sure I was reading it right,” Diane Ansah told NBC5 Responds. “I'm still in shock. It was $11,116.74."

Somehow, while scores of fans across the city got shut out—Emma got way in. Fifty-seven tickets in several batches, just minutes apart.

"Eighteen times. I never, I mean for something that wasn't supposed to be able to be gotten through once. I never imagined," Diane Ansah said.

She spent the next few days trying to unravel the mess, but says Ticketmaster would not budge, neither letting her return nor re-sell, due to anti-scalping rules. 

Unlike Alexander Hamilton’s own life, the Ansah’s story has a happy ending. After the family shared their dilemma, NBC5 Responds contacted Ticketmaster to ask what options the family could exercise. The options were to either to re-sell tickets to friends and family, or return the dozens of mistaken purchases. Ticketmaster agreed to let Diane Ansah keep one batch of tickets and return the rest—just enough to get them in to the show, and out of the financial mess.

“I called NBC5 that night. I just felt it was my last-ditch effort,” Ansah said.

Her hunch paid off, and now she says the trip to see the show in December—with just her six tickets- will be an outing she and her girls remember forever.

As for how Emma was able to purchase so many tickets so quickly—Ticketmaster would not offer comment, except to say it was happy to help clear up the problem. A spokesperson said that, in general terms, the company takes some time to verify that a customer has not exceeded the allowable ticket purchase limit before enabling the function that allows them to re-sell tickets.

<![CDATA[Distracted Driving: Concerns Rise as Fatalities Increase]]> Tue, 23 Aug 2016 18:10:11 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/text+and+drive+blur.png

With motor vehicle fatalities on the rise in Illinois, new data has suggested distracted driving may be worse than many first thought.

According to the National Safety Council, deaths due to car accidents have increased by 24 percent in Illinois, one of several states to see an uptick in fatalities in recent years.

"Our complacency is killing us," Deborah A.P. Hersman, president and CEO of the National Safety Council, said in a statement. "One hundred deaths every day should outrage us. Americans should demand change to prioritize safety actions and protect ourselves from one of the leading causes of preventable death."

But according to a recent study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, one in five crashes involve distracted drivers. Thirty-one percent of drivers between the ages of 18 and 64 admit to texting or emailing while behind the wheel, data shows.

It is a phenomenon that results in nine deaths every day and more than a thousand people injured.

According to AT&T, as many as 61 percent of users admit to texting behind the wheel and 33 percent have admitted to emailing.

Another 28 percent surf the Internet while others Facebook, take selfies or even video chat.

According to the carrier, as of Tuesday, 10 millions users have pledged not to text and drive.

“We have a drive mode app that [drivers] can simply download on their phone and it shuts their phone down when they are driving and it sends a message out to the people who are calling them and texting them that, ‘I can’t talk right. I will get back to you when I finish driving,’” said Phil Hayes at AT&T.

The app works on phones from all major carriers, but it can’t stop drivers from other types of distractions.

<![CDATA[Trump Says Chicago's Violence Can Be Stopped in a Week]]> Tue, 23 Aug 2016 19:06:11 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-592602866.jpg

Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump told Bill O’Reilly Monday that he thought Chicago’s violence could be stopped within a week using “tough police tactics."

Trump was featured as a guest on O’Reilly's Fox News show Monday night. The host opened the interview with a question about Trump's immigration policy, but the conversation quickly shifted to violent crime and, ultimately, Chicago.

Trump told O’Reilly that he knows police officers in Chicago who would put an end to the violence “if they were given the authority to do it.” After being pressed, Trump explained that police would be “much tougher than they are right now.”

The GOP nominee explained that he met a “top” Chicago police officer who reportedly told him that he could “stop much of this horror show that’s going on” in the city within a single week. Trump explained that the officer, who is "not the police chief," would use "tough police tactics,” noting that those sorts of measures were acceptable "when you have people being killed.”

However, the billionaire said he didn’t ask the officer for specifics on the plan because he isn’t the mayor of Chicago.

“I’m sure he’s got a strategy,” he added. “I didn’t ask him his strategy.”

Trump also claimed that he submitted the officer’s name for some sort of job.

"I sent his name in and I said, 'you probably should hire this guy because you have nothing to lose,’” Trump said. “Look at what’s going on in Chicago, it’s horrible. This guy felt totally confident that he could stop it in a very short period of time.”

Trump faced resistance last week after asking African-American voters what they "have to lose by trying something new like Trump?" The Trump campaign is currently trying to bolster minority support. At the same rally, Trump asked for "the vote of every, single African-American citizen in this country who wants to see a better future."

The billionaire cancelled a rally at the University of Illinois-Chicago Pavillion in March after violence erupted outside of the venue. Trump  hasn't made a public appearance in the city since. 

Photo Credit: WireImage]]>
<![CDATA[Emanuel Announces Improved TSA Wait Times at O'Hare Airport]]> Tue, 23 Aug 2016 16:46:37 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/rahm+tsa+presser+0823.jpg

Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced Tuesday that wait times at O’Hare International Airport’s peak Transportation Security Administration checkpoint have improved by more than 90 percent as a result of additional federal resources.

Reports of long delays at security checkpoints at the airport began to surface in May. At the time, the peak average wait time was 105 minutes.

The mayor’s office credited Emanuel, Sen. Dick Durbin, federal officials, city officials, the airlines and the TSA for working to reduce wait times at both O’Hare and Midway.

“I want to thank our federal partners, especially TSA Administrator Peter Neffenger, for recognizing the impact Chicago’s airports have on the national aviation system and providing additional resources to address the unacceptably long wait times last spring,” Emanuel said in a statement. “These improved wait times, and the safety and security of travelers, must be maintained, which is why I urge Congress to continue to fully fund the TSA to ensure airports have the staffing and resources required to operate safely and efficiently.”

Emanuel’s release credited the mayor for working with the TSA and the Department of Homeland Security to secure additional screeners and canine teams to Chicago’s airports. On Tuesday, Emanuel and the TSA promised to continue pushing for additional resources and staff for the airports.

Durbin lauded the progress Tuesday.

“After unacceptable security wait times in Chicago this spring, I was pleased to see TSA step up for the busy summer travel season,” Durbin said in a statement. “I thank TSA Administrator Neffenger for coming to Chicago and providing necessary resources like additional screening officers and canine teams at O’Hare and Midway.”

“I will continue to make certain that TSA has the necessary funding and proper plans in place to ensure security and efficiency at our nation’s airports in the long-term."

Passenger volume at O'Hare and Midway has increased since the previous year, while the TSA has substantially increased the number of canine units and screening officers at both airports.

According to recent TSA performance reports, the average wait time at O’Hare is now two minutes, down from 15 in May. The average wait time at Midway is four minutes, down from 11 minutes in May. Peak wait times are down to seven minutes at O’Hare from 105 minutes in May. Additionally, peak wait times at Midway are down to 10 minutes from 65 minutes in May.

<![CDATA[Duckworth Urges Kirk to Apologize for 'Drug Dealer' Comment]]> Tue, 23 Aug 2016 16:33:06 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/duckworth+GettyImages-186385453.jpg

Rep. Tammy Duckworth addressed the City Club of Chicago Tuesday, laying out her economic plan and urging Sen. Mark Kirk to apologize for likening President Barack Obama to “the drug dealer in chief” last week.

“Senator Kirk has just joined the rogue’s gallery for the president’s fiercest, and most unhinged critics, and for that he should be ashamed,” Duckworth said. "What he said is beneath the dignity of the office he now holds, and Senator Kirk should apologize immediately to the President of the United States, as well as to the people of Illinois.”

During an interview with the State Journal-Register last week, Kirk claimed Obama was “acting like the drug dealer in chief” for making a $400 million cash payment to Iran that was tied to the release of American prisoners. Last week, the Obama administration claimed the $400 million payment was used as leverage to push for the release of four U.S. prisoners.

The payment was announced in January, a day after the Americans were freed and on the same weekend U.N. sanctions against Iran were lifted. The White House and State Department have denied Republicans’ claims that the transaction served as a ransom payment, claiming that the timing was coincidental.

According to the State Department, the $400 million was used by Iran to purchase military weapons and equipment from the U.S. while the shah was still in control, prior to the 1979 Iranian Revolution.

During her speech, Duckworth referenced a Monday Chicago Sun-Times editorial that outlined some of Kirk’s past gaffes.

“If it was just the first time, I would chalk it up to a momentary lapse of judgment,” Duckworth said. "But with him, it’s a pattern, both of irresponsible, offensive rhetoric, as well as of personal insults directed at this president.”

Kirk’s campaign responded to Duckworth’s speech Tuesday, outlining the senator's opposition to the administration's plan.

“The actions of the administration, including the use of unmarked cargo planes, pallets full of clean packs of foreign cash and an agreement with Iran that they only get the cash once the hostages are released, seems more representative of nefarious deals than the conduct of the world’s greatest democracy,” Kirk spokesperson Kevin Artl said in a statement. “Senator Kirk believes the administration’s actions, which Tammy Duckworth has supported, were reckless in the extreme and will ultimately endanger more Americans abroad and is almost certain to fund terrorism.”

During her speech, Duckworth went on to challenge Kirk’s record as “a social moderate, a fiscal conservative, and a national security hawk.”

Duckworth faulted Kirk for inserting a “poison pill provision” into a Congressional Zika funding bill last month that blocked Planned Parenthood from “receiving funds for vital public health efforts,” like family planning to prevent against the sexually transmitted spread of the disease. She also blasted Kirk for opposing equal pay for women.

"When it comes to social moderation, it seems like Mark Kirk is only there when you don’t really need him, especially in an election year,” Duckworth said. "But when you do need him, he’s either a no-show, or ineffective."

The congresswoman challenged Kirk’s stance as a fiscal conservative, noting that he voted for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq War, as well as former President George W. Bush’s “tax cuts for the wealthy” and the Medicare prescription drug benefit. Duckworth also claimed that Kirk only started crusading against the national deficit after Obama took office.

"Kirk’s not a fiscal conservative," Duckworth said. "He’s a fiscal phony."

Duckworth claimed Kirk is “guilty as charged when it comes to being a national security hawk,” noting that he has been “quick to sound the drums of war." Duckworth referenced her own experience as a combat veteran to make the point that she has worked to exhaust "diplomatic options” before engaging with military force, noting that "war should be the last option."

"We clearly have different visions on what this state can be, and how best to get there," Duckworth said. "Ultimately, through my own experiences — as well as talking to people all across this great state who want nothing more than to feel that economic opportunity is within reach — I believe that America is at its best when we’re investing in our people."

Duckworth also laid out her economic vision, which includes plans for infrastructure, manufacturing and renewable energy, as well as job training and a response to the fallout from job loss created by trade deals.

The Kirk campaign responded to Duckworth’s plan Tuesday.

“Throughout her political career, Duckworth has consistently supported more government spending, higher taxes and greater debt,” Artl said. “Even doubling down on her calls for tax hikes, she supports Speaker Madigan who has called for higher income taxes for every Illinois family.”

“Senator Mark Kirk supports lower taxes on working families, controlling government spending and reforms that root out waste and fraud so that the programs Americans rely on the most get the funding they need,” Artl added.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Suburban 4th Grade Teacher Finds New Way to Welcome Class]]> Wed, 24 Aug 2016 07:32:39 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/217*120/reed0823.png

A suburban Chicago student-teacher’s passion for music and his classroom has garnered internet acclaim and offers of school supplies after a rap video he made was posted to social media.

Dwayne Reed, 25, a first-year student teacher at Jane Stenson Elementary School in Skokie, posted a rap video titled “Welcome to The Fourth Grade” on YouTube over the weekend. He said he chose a more creative and engaging way to introduce himself than a boring old newsletter so many students have grown accustomed to.

“I wanted a cool way to introduce myself to the students and the parents I was gonna have,” Reed said.

Reed, originally from the north suburban East Garfield Park neighborhood but now living in Skokie, said the idea came to him when a filmmaker friend, Ty Gotham, said he wanted to make a music video.

“I think I’m somewhat gifted at music,” Reed said. “It’s simply a way for me to try to connect with my students.”

Sue O’Neil, principal at Jane Stenson, says she’s happy to be working with Reed.

“I think he’s gonna bring a lot of creativity and I just think the kids are gonna relate to him really well,” she said.

Reed said the video was shot Saturday, edited just after midnight Sunday morning and posted to YouTube.

Users on the social media site Reddit were quick to share the video, encouraging Reed with praise and offering to donate school supplies to his class.

“That would be so amazing,” he said. “I would love for them to donate supplies to my kids. A lot of the students here are low income."

Reed says basic supplies like notepads, pens and folders, to winter clothes and shoes would all be helpful donations. 

He plans to use his passion for music to help kids come up with their own songs to help them study.

“Regardless of how cheesy it is, if it helps them remember something, if it helps them excel on the test, or in life, I’m fine with it, I’m backing it,” he said. “You can’t disconnect music from true life, so if we want our students to live excellent lives, we gotta have music involved in that.”

Reed said his enthusiasm and positivity are heavily tied to his faith and he doesn’t agree with some of the more negative comments that plague posts like his on social media—specifically those that say he will lose his enthusiasm as time goes on.

“My joy, my enthusiasm, my passion isn’t necessarily tied or weighed down by teaching,” he said. “I have that joy, that enthusiasm for every aspect in my life.”

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<![CDATA[Pedestrian Struck by Amtrak Train in Hinsdale]]> Tue, 23 Aug 2016 17:19:42 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/metra+train+tracks.jpg

A pedestrian was struck by an Amtrak train Tuesday afternoon in west suburban Hinsdale, delaying trains on Metra’s BNSF line.

About 2:30 p.m., Southwest Chief Train #4 hit someone trespassing along BNSF tracks in Hinsdale, according to an Amtrak spokesman.

The person’s condition was not immediately known. No one on the train was hurt.

The train, originally scheduled to arrive in Chicago at 3:15 p.m., remained stopped as of 3:30 p.m. as crews cleared the scene.

Trains in both directions were temporarily halted near the West Hinsdale station after the crash, but were on the move with delays up to 40 minutes as of 4 p.m.

<![CDATA[A Look at the Records Kris Bryant Set So Far This Season]]> Tue, 23 Aug 2016 14:59:40 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-591896292_master.jpg Chicago Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant is one of baseball's best players, and he's made a great deal of history in just his second season.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Minnesota Wild to Use Prince Tune as New Goal Song]]> Tue, 23 Aug 2016 14:40:43 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-523341320.jpg

When world-famous musician Prince passed away earlier this year, the city of Minneapolis lost one of its greatest homegrown talents, but now the Minnesota Wild are prepared to honor his memory at home games this season.

That’s because the Wild are going to use the Prince tune “Let’s Go Crazy” as their new goal song this season. The song was chosen during a survey of the team’s season ticket-holders, and the organization made the decision official on Tuesday.

“Our in-arena experience is designed for the fans, so it’s great to be able to show them we take their feedback to heart,” said John Maher, VP of brand, content, and communications for the Wild. “At the same time, it’s our privilege to celebrate an iconic hometown artists that clearly has had an incredible impact on our community and the world.”

The Wild will also host a tribute to Prince at their booth for the Minnesota State Fair later this week, according to a press release by the team.

During the 2016 playoffs, the Wild used rally towels on the backs of seats to construct a tribute to the legendary musician:

Previous to “Let’s Go Crazy,” the Wild used the tune “Crowd Chant” Joe Satriani as their goal song.

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

Photo Credit: Getty]]>
<![CDATA[Total Solar Eclipse to Be Seen in US for 1st Time in Decades]]> Tue, 23 Aug 2016 13:28:38 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/219*120/072109+Solar+Eclipse.jpg

It’s a solar event that hasn’t been seen in the U.S. since 1979, but next summer, it will be visible in viewing areas across the country.

Called the “Great American Eclipse,” a total solar eclipse will be visible in parts of the U.S. in Aug. 21, 2017.

While all of North America and part of South America will experience, at least, a partial solar eclipse on that date, a line from the northwest coast to the southeast coast will be able to see rare solar totality, according to NASA.

A total solar eclipse is typically only visible from a small area on Earth. It marks the moment with the moon orbits Earth and moves between the sun and Earth, blocking the sun’s light.

On Aug. 21, 2017, the sun, moon and Earth will be in a direct line, making it appear in some areas as though it is night.

In the Midwest, the best places to see the event will be in far southern Illinois and parts of northern Missouri and western Kentucky, though much of that view will depend on the forecast during the event.

In fact, it’s in southern Illinois that viewers across the country will be able to see the greatest duration, when the length of the total phase lasts the longest, NASA reports. The specific location for the moment the eclipse will hit its time peak will be near Carbondale, which will likely see 2 minutes and 35 seconds of totality, according to the Great American Eclipse site. 

For those unable to see the total eclipse, they can still catch a partial eclipse, which means the sun, moon and Earth are not exactly lined up, but the sun appears to have a dark shadow on part of its surface.

The next time a total solar eclipse will take place is in 2024.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Pence Cancels Chicago Appearance Amid Planned Protests]]> Tue, 23 Aug 2016 13:13:14 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/166*120/GettyImages-586220286.jpg

Indiana Gov. and Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence canceled a scheduled event in Chicago Tuesday as Illinois Democrats and community leaders staged a protest of his appearance.

Pence, who is running alongside GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump, was scheduled to address the City Club of Chicago Tuesday at Mariano’s Banquets. The appearance was canceled following recent shake-ups to the Trump campaign, Crain’s Chicago Business reported.

A group of Democratic leaders and demonstrators, including state Sen. Daniel Biss and Chicago City Clerk Susana Mendoza, protested Pence’s trip at Trump Tower Tuesday, condemning Trump's "hateful and dangerous plan to deport 11 million immigrants.” The event also featured leaders from immigrant communities speaking out against Trump’s deportation policy.

Pence is scheduled to attend a big-ticket fundraising dinner in Chicago Tuesday. Tickets for the event range from $1,000 to $25,000, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

However, it is unclear if Pence will still attend the event given the shake-ups to the campaign. The Indiana governor is scheduled to make a pair of campaign stops in Pennsylvania Tuesday, NBC Philadelphia reported.

<![CDATA[MLB Announces 2016 Postseason Schedule]]> Tue, 23 Aug 2016 12:51:13 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/168*120/GettyImages-591881986.jpg

When it comes to watching sports, having time to plan your schedule is key, and MLB has helpfully obliged as they’ve released their full postseason schedule.

Chicago Cubs fans will want to circle Friday, Oct. 7, on their calendars, as that is the date that both National League Division Series will get started. Both series will run through Oct. 13 at the latest, with the best-of-five series determining which teams will get into the League Championship Series.

The NLCS will kick off on Oct. 15, with the best-of-seven series running through Oct. 23 if necessary.

Finally, the World Series, the one that all Cubs fans will be hoping their team can reach for the first time since 1945, will start on Oct. 25 in an American League city. The first World Series game that could take place at Wrigley Field would take place on Oct. 28.

If the Chicago White Sox can pull off a miracle and reach the postseason (they are currently 13 games out of the American League Central lead and eight and a half games out of the second AL wild card spot), their road would likely begin on Oct. 4, with the AL Wild Card game. The ALDS kicks off on Oct. 6, with the ALCS then beginning on Oct. 14.

Here is the full list of games:

Tues., Oct. 4: AL Wild Card Game, TBS

Wed, Oct. 5: NL Wild Card Game, ESPN

League Division Series

Thurs, Oct. 6: ALDS A, Game 1

ALDS B, Game 1

Fri, Oct. 7: ALDS A, Game 2

ALDS B, Game 2

NLDS A, Game 1

NLDS B, Game 1

Sat, Oct. 8: NLDS A, Game 2

NLDS B, Game 2

Sun, Oct. 9: ALDS A, Game 3

ALDS B, Game 3

Mon, Oct. 10: ALDS A, Game 4*

ALDS B, Game 4*

NLDS A, Game 3

NLDS B, Game 3

Tues, Oct. 11: NLDS A, Game 4*

NLDS B, Game 4*

Wed, Oct. 12: ALDS A, Game 5*

ALDS B, Game 5*

Thurs, Oct. 13: NLDS A, Game 5*

NLDS B, Game 5*

League Championship Series

Fri, Oct. 14: ALCS Game 1

Sat, Oct. 15: ALCS Game 2

NLCS Game 1

Sun, Oct. 16: NLCS Game 2

Mon, Oct. 17: ALCS Game 3

Tues, Oct. 18: ALCS Game 4

NLCS Game 3

Wed, Oct. 19: ALCS*

NLCS Game 4

Thurs, Oct. 20: NLCS Game 5*

Fri, Oct. 21: ALCS Game 6*

Sat, Oct. 22: ALCS Game 7*

NLCS Game 6*

Sun, Oct. 23: NLCS Game 7*

World Series

Tues, Oct. 25: Game 1, AL City

Wed, Oct. 26: Game 2, AL City

Fri, Oct. 28: Game 3, NL City

Sat, Oct. 29: Game 4, NL City

Sun, Oct. 30: Game 5, NL City*

Tues, Nov. 1: Game 6, AL City*

Wed, Nov. 2: Game 7, AL City*

All American League playoff games will be televised on TBS, while the National League will be split between Fox Sports 1, Fox, and MLB Network. The World Series will be televised on Fox.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Target Refunds Millions of Dollars Worth of Sheets]]> Wed, 24 Aug 2016 11:56:27 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-183984938.jpg

Target Corp. is refunding millions of dollars worth of sheets after finding a textile supply company was pawning off phony fabrics as luxurious Egyptian-cotton.

Approximately 750,000 sheets and pillowcases manufactured by Welspun India Ltd. were labeled to be 500-thread count Egyptian cotton, Bloomberg reports, but found to be a knockoff instead.

“After an extensive investigation, we recently confirmed that Welspun substituted another type of non-Egyptian cotton when producing these sheets between August 2014 and July 2016,” Target announced Friday.

The Minneapolis-based retailer has since pulled all Welspun products – sold under labels Fieldcrest and Crowning Touch – from its stores and website.

“Neither Target nor Fieldcrest had any knowledge of this substitution,” the company said in a statement. “These sheets were produced by a number of vendors and only one of those vendors was substituting product.”

Falsely labeled products were sold for as much as $175 per set, Business Insider reports, amounting in $90 million in potential refunds for Target.

Target has terminated its partnership with the Mumbai-based supplier, which responded by saying it was investigating the claims.

“We have initiated immediate actions to investigate the root cause. We are appointing an external auditor (one of the Big Four) to audit our supply systems and processes,” Welspun wrote in the release. “This is an issue of highest priority for us and we will take all necessary steps to address it.”

By Sunday, Welspun’s shares had fallen 20 percent, the most in a decade, according to Bloomberg.

Welspun managing director Rajesh Mandawewala maintained to Bloomberg Monday that the “error” was about “fiber provenance” and not about quality.

Customers who purchased the products during the timeframe can request a refund in the form of a gift card on Target’s web form here.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Couple Left Infants in Car While Gambling at Casino: Police]]> Tue, 23 Aug 2016 16:38:07 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/florez+pedrazo+mugs.jpg

A couple is accused of leaving their infant children alone in a car while they gambled at a Chicago-area casino over the weekend.

Alfredo Florez, 29, and Christina Pedraza, 26, were arrested and each charged with two counts of felony neglect of a dependent after officers were called to the Ameristar Casino to help two infants left alone in a vehicle in the casino's parking garage, according to the East Chicago Police Department. 

Officers arrived at the casino around 6:30 p.m. Sunday and found a 3-month-old child and a 1-year-old child alone and crying in a car, according to an affidavit released by the department Tuesday.

The doors were unlocked, the windows were shut and there was "no adult in sight," the report states.

Temperatures Monday were said to have reached into the upper-70s and low-80s in the area. That means temperatures inside the car could have reached between 104 and 109 degrees inside the vehicle within 20 minutes, according to the American Veterinary Medical Foundation. 

The report indicates the children's mother came out of the casino and told authorities she had left the kids with their father. About 10 minutes later, the father emerged, saying he had gone inside to use the bathroom.

According to police, the father smelled of alcoholic beverages and his eyes were bloodshot and watery. 

"He was unsteady on his feet and his speech was slurred," the report read.

But when officers reviewed said security footage from the casino, it showed both parents gambling, police said. 

Child Protective Services took custody of both children, according to authorities.

It was not immediately clear if either parent had an attorney.

Photo Credit: East Chicago Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[Café 5: Chef Mariela Bolanos's MAD Burger Recipe]]> Tue, 23 Aug 2016 13:00:22 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/12705481_1653367681595687_3642155771803321816_n.jpg

Chef Mariela Bolanos of Chicago's MAD Social joined NBC 5's Alex Maragos to share her secrets to making the best burger ahead of Chicago Gourmet's "Hamburger Hop."

The friendly burger showdown kicks off the annual food fest on Friday, Sept. 23. 


The West Loop's MAD Social serves up their MAD Burger with house ground wagyu, chihuahua cheese, crisp pork belly, cajun onion strings, MAD mayo, house pickles, baby arugula, brioche bun and house made fries.


Burger Patty

  • 8 ounces Buckhead dry-aged beef, seasoned both sides with salt and pepper
  • 1 4” brioche bun, toasted
  • 1 slice chihuahua cheese
  • 4 slices sour pickles
  • 1 handful of crispy fried onions, either store bought or hand made
  • 4 tablespoons MAD mayonnaise
  • 1-2 ounces of home-made pork belly or 2 slices of crispy smoked bacon slices
  • 1 cup baby arugula tossed in olive oil, salt and pepper

MAD Mayonnaise

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise either hand-made or store bought
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons of roasted garlic puree
  • ½ teaspoon white balsamic vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper


1. Whisk all ingredients together, season with salt and pepper, refrigerate until ready to use.

2. Pre-heat grill to medium high setting. Use non-stick spray to pre-season the grill grates so that the meat does not stick when cooking.

3. Place beef patty on grill and cook to desired temperature. If you are using pork belly, grill it until crispy so that it is ready at the same time as the beef.

4. Place slice of Chihuahua cheese over beef patty, allow to melt.

5. Start building the burger in the order that you choose. I build mine as follows:

Bottom bun, 2 tablespoons of MAD mayonnaise, baby arugula, beef patty with cheese, pickles, pork belly or bacon, crispy onions, MAD mayonnaise smeared on top bun, top bun to finish.

6. Serve!

Photo Credit: Facebook/MADSocialChicago]]>
<![CDATA[Chicago Marathon Announces 2016 Elite Runners]]> Tue, 23 Aug 2016 10:04:33 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/211*120/GettyImages-457314314.jpg

The Bank of America Chicago Marathon has traditionally brought some of the world’s best marathoners to the streets of Chicago, and this year will be no different.

Marathon officials have announced that current marathon world record holder and 2013 Chicago champion Dennis Kimetto of Kenya will join 2015 Chicago Marathon champion and fellow Kenyan Florence Kiplagat as they race for the crown at the 39th annual event in October.

The event will feature five past champions, the most returning champions to toe the line in the same race in event history, according to organizers. Joining Kimetto in the men’s elite field are 2015 marathon champion Dickson Chumba, 2012 winner Tsegaye Kebede, 2008 Olympic bronze medalist Micah Kogo and debut marathoner and 8K world record holder Stephen Sambu. Racing Kiplagat in the women’s elite field are Boston Marathon champion Atsede Baysa and Chicago newcomers Valentine Kipketer and Gulume Chala.

“Dickson, Tsegaye and Atsede have run their fastest career marathons in Chicago, and both Tsegaye and Dennis have experienced the thrill of breaking our course record,” Executive Race Director Carey Pinkowski said in a statement. “To have so many past champions in one competition is thrilling. And there is depth on the American side as well; without pacesetters, we could see a new champion emerge from this talented field.” 

The Chicago Marathon steps off Oct. 9 and takes runners through 29 neighborhoods in the city. Last year, an estimated 1.7 million spectators lined the streets to cheer on more than 37,400 runners. 

Men’s Elite Field

Kimetto became the first runner in history to cover each 5K segment under in 14:50 and made history at the 2014 Berlin Marathon when he became the first person to run in under two hours and three minutes, setting a world record.

He will be challenged by Chumba, who will look to defend his 2015 title. Chumba first gained global recognition in 2014 with a win and course record at the Tokyo Marathon. He finished third place at the 2014 Chicago Marathon in his current personal record of 2:04:32. He went on to win in 2015.

Kebede, a 2008 Olympic Marathon bronze medalist, is one of the most accomplished marathon runners of the last decade, marathon organizers said. He has finished in the top 10 of 15 Abbott World Marathon Majors races since 2009, including three victories, three runner-up finishes and five third place finishes. His last run in Chicago four years ago ended with him setting a personal and course record, though that course record was later broken by Kimetto.

Kogo has not yet won a marathon, but he did win an Olympic bronze medal in the 10,000m. He also has a track personal record of 26:35.63, making him the sixth fastest man in history at the distance. He's hoping to claim his first marathon victory in Chicago. 

Sambu has won both the 2015 and 2016 Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle in Chicago, but he will be making his marathon debut in the Windy City this year. He brings with him world record 8k and 10,000m speed.

Kenya’s Gideon Kipketer and American Luke Puskedra, of Oregon, plan to also seek their place at the podium in Chicago. Kipketer has won the 2016 Mumbai Marathon and Puskedra set a personal record in last year’s Chicago Marathon, becoming the sixth American in the last two decades to finish in the top five in the event.

Japanese contenders include Koji Gokaya, Takuya Fukatsu, Kazuya Ishida and Ryoichi Matsuo. The four will be looking to run their way to a top finish in this year’s race.

Other Americans in the elite field include Nick Arciniaga and Diego Estrada of Arizona and Tim Young of Virginia.

Women’s Elite Field

Kiplagat, the current world record holder in the half marathon, will also return to Chicago to defend her 2015 title. She is the current world record holder in the half marathon and 2011 and 2013 Berlin Marathon champion.

Baysa, who will line up in Chicago for the fourth time, has more Chicago victories on her resume than her Kenyan rival with victories in the 2010 and 2012 marathons. The reigning champion at the Boston Marathon and also claimed the crown twice at the Paris Marathon and in Istanbul, Xiamen and Saitama.

Valentine Kipketer, who will be making her Chicago Marathon debut, was among the top contenders in the 2016 Boston Marathon but finished fifth in the race after Baysa hard charged the finish line in one of the biggest come-from-behind victories in history, the marathon said. She started her career in 20088 but took a maternity break before returning to the roads in 2015. She’s claimed victories previously in Amsterdam and Mumbai.

Chala will be making her first appearance in an AWMM event after competing in the 42K distance for four years. She has run 12 marathons within those four years and will look to be a top contender as she competed among the best athletes on the global stage.

American Serena Burla, of Virginia, is a two-time U.S. Olympic Marathon trials qualifier and was the 2014 U.S. Half Marathon champion. She will be joined by six-time Chicago Marathon veteran and Chicago native Tera Moody, who made a comeback at the 2015 race after a struggle with injuries. Sarah Crouch, of North Carolina will also return for her third event after a huge breakthrough in Chicago in 2014, taking 12 minutes from her personal record to finish in the top 10.

Two-time Danish Olympian Jessica Draskau Petersson, 2016 Polish champ Angieszka Mierzejewska and 2012 British Olympian Freya Ross will also join the women’s field. Mierzejewska, like Chala, will be racing in her first Abbott World Marathon Majors event and has finished in the top three of all six marathons she has run so far. Ross, who is coached by 1984 and1985 Chicago Marathon champion Steve Jones, will make her return after a broken hip sidelined her plans in 2014 and 2015.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>