<![CDATA[NBC Chicago - Top Stories]]>Copyright 2017http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/top-stories http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/5-Chicago-Blue.png NBC Chicago http://www.nbcchicago.comen-usSun, 26 Mar 2017 16:06:40 -0500Sun, 26 Mar 2017 16:06:40 -0500NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Blackhawks Make History in Blowout Loss]]> Sun, 26 Mar 2017 14:09:05 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-654434162.jpg

The Chicago Blackhawks have been playing their best hockey of the season in recent weeks, but that was certainly not the case in a history-making blowout loss to Florida on Saturday night.

The Blackhawks, who have already clinched a playoff spot and hold an eight-point lead over the Minnesota Wild in the Central Division race, played the Panthers in a road matchup on Saturday and suffered a horrendous defeat, coughing up seven goals over the final 40 minutes of the game as they fell by a 7-0 margin.

That margin looks awful in print, but it’s remarkable how awful it is in terms of how this current team has done. Before Saturday, the Blackhawks had not lost a game by seven or more goals since they fell 9-2 to the Edmonton Oilers way back in November of 2011.

If fans want to find the last game the Blackhawks lost by a score of 7-0, they’d have to go back even further than that. For that game, Blackhawks fans would have to go all the way back to the heady days of 2001, when Chicago was blown out by a 7-0 margin in a home game against the San Jose Sharks at the United Center.

Needless to say, that season was not a successful one for the Blackhawks, as head coach Alpo Suhonen was dumped after one season when the squad missed the postseason for the fourth consecutive season.

The Blackhawks will have an opportunity to lick their wounds and move on Monday when they take on the Tampa Bay Lightning as their Florida road trip continues.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Survey: Foreign Students Not Applying to American Colleges]]> Sat, 25 Mar 2017 21:02:27 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-496556750.jpg

Application and acceptance season is underway at America's colleges and universities. But this year, some institutions of higher learning may see a noticeable dip in attendance from one group purposely choosing to stay home: foreign students.

Applications from international students from countries such as China, India and in particular, the Middle East, are down this year at nearly 40 percent of schools that answered a recent survey by the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers.

The number of foreign students topped 1 million for the first time in 2016. They generated some $32 billion dollars in revenue, which supported more than 400,000 jobs, according to the Association of International Educators.

Some education professionals warn a drop in international students could lead to faculty cuts, higher tuition and the loss of programs.



Photo Credit: Michael B. Thomas/Getty Images
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<![CDATA[2 Killed, 3 Injured in Crash on Chicago's West Side]]> Sun, 26 Mar 2017 09:22:35 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/west+town+crash+326.png

Two women were killed and three others were critically injured in a crash early Sunday on Chicago's West Side, authorities said.

Around 4:50 a.m., a 2013 Dodge Durango was traveling westbound in the 2600 block of W. Fulton St. when the vehicle struck a building in the West Town neighborhood, according to police.

Two women were pronounced dead at the scene, fire officials said. The Cook County Medical Examiner’s office did not immediately provide information on the fatalities.

Two men and a third woman were all taken in serious-to-critical condition to Stroger Hospital, according to the Chicago Fire Department.

All five people were believed to be in their 20s or 30s, authorities said.

The Chicago Police Department's Major Accidents Investigation Unit continues to investigate the crash.



Photo Credit: CapturedNews]]>
<![CDATA[Video: Rizzo Blasts Lead-Off Home Run]]> Sun, 26 Mar 2017 15:51:42 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-646064024.jpg

Before the Chicago Cubs took on the Cincinnati Reds on Sunday afternoon in Las Vegas, first baseman Anthony Rizzo made an unusual request of bench coach Dave Martinez.

The slugger asked if he could bat in the lead-off position in the game. Martinez agreed, and Rizzo immediately made him look like a genius by slugging a home run over the right field wall on the first pitch he saw:

In the initial lineup released by the team, the Cubs were going to have Kyle Schwarber bat first, which is something the team has planned to do all spring long. After Rizzo’s request, he and Schwarber flipped spots, with Rizzo occupying the lead-off role and Schwarber batting third:

That wasn’t the only offense that the Cubs were able to generate in the inning either. Kris Bryant slugged a double and Schwarber coaxed a walk, and then Albert Almora unloaded on a three-run home run to give the Cubs a 4-0 lead before the Reds were even able to record an out in the game.

When the regular season begins next week, the plan for the Cubs initially is to have Schwarber bat in the lead-off position, with Jon Jay taking over the job at times as well as the Cubs look for the long-term replacement for Dexter Fowler in the lineup’s top spot.



Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Police Stop Man from Raping Girl a 3rd Time: Officials]]> Sun, 26 Mar 2017 15:26:45 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/police+lights+%282%295.jpg

A New York City man is in custody after Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, police thwarted his plan to meet and rape an 11-year-old girl for the third time in Lehigh Valley, according to investigators.

Sandro Zhinin was arrested in Hanover Township Saturday. Police say they received a tip that the 33-year-old was traveling to Pennsylvania Saturday to meet the child before taking her to a hotel. Investigators then set up surveillance at the playground and Zhinin was taken into custody once he arrived, police said.

According to police, Zhinin had executed this plan twice before.

Police say that after Zhinin connected with the girl online, he met her at a playground on March 4, drove her to a hotel and sexually assaulted her. He then sexually assaulted her again one week later on March 11, police said.

Zhinin is being held on $500,000 bond. He will be charged with rape of a child, statutory sexual assault, unlawful contact with a minor, corruption of a minor, and criminal use of a cellphone, according to state police.

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<![CDATA[Chicago Blackhawks Playoff Update]]> Sun, 26 Mar 2017 14:53:28 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-657089864.jpg

The Chicago Blackhawks have had their playoff spot locked up for a little while now, but the identity of their first round opponent is still as unclear as ever.

With just seven games to go in the regular season, there are still at least four teams that could potentially draw the Blackhawks in the first round of the postseason, and things could get downright chaotic over the season’s closing weeks.

So who would the Blackhawks play in the postseason if the season ended today? What seed would they get?

To answer those questions, here is the latest installment of our Blackhawks Playoff Race Update.

Where Things Stand Now:

Even after their blowout loss to the Florida Panthers on Saturday, the Blackhawks still hold a seven-point lead in the Central Division race with only seven games left to play in the regular season. The Minnesota Wild only gained one point on Chicago Sunday, as they lost in overtime to the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena.

The Blackhawks’ lead over the Wild represents their lead for the best record in the Western Conference, meaning that if they maintain that position, they would secure home-ice advantage throughout the first three rounds of the postseason.

If they were to reach the Stanley Cup Final however, that advantage would go away. Three teams in the Eastern Conference currently have more points than the Blackhawks, with the Washington Capitals narrowly edging out the Columbus Blue Jackets and Pittsburgh Penguins.  

Who the Blackhawks Could Play in the First Round:

If the season were to end today, the Blackhawks would play the second wild card team in the West, and that distinction currently belongs to the St. Louis Blues.

With how tight the race is in the conference, that could easily change. The Blues are currently just one point behind the Nashville Predators for the third seed in the Central, which would move them out of a matchup with the Blackhawks. They are also only two points behind the Calgary Flames, who currently hold the top wild card seed in the Western Conference.

There are currently three teams tied with 91 points in the Pacific Division, meaning that all manner of chaos could happen over the season’s closing weeks as Anaheim, San Jose, and Edmonton all jockey for position in the playoff hunt.

What’s Next in the Race?

The Blackhawks only have one of their final seven games against a Central Division opponent, but that doesn’t mean their path to the playoffs will be easy. Two more road games await them this week as they’ll take on the Tampa Bay Lightning and Pittsburgh Penguins, and then they’ll head home to face a strong Columbus squad and a Boston Bruins team that is right in the thick of the playoff mix.

Things won’t be much easier for Minnesota, as they’ll have a home game against Washington on Tuesday and another home tilt against Ottawa Thursday. Then they’ll have a set of back-to-back games next weekend as they face Nashville in a pivotal road contest and then Colorado in a much gentler second half of the consecutive game set.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Jay Cutler Seems to Be Enjoying Free Agency]]> Sun, 26 Mar 2017 13:57:35 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-137456316.png

Former Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler may be out of a job for now, but he clearly isn't letting his uncertain future deter him from having a good time in the present.

In a photo posted over the weekend, Cutler and his wife Kristin Cavallari are seen enjoying some beach time and sunshine on vacation, and the former Bears quarterback looks like he doesn't have a care in the world.

If you think the sight of the couple enjoying a tropical vacation seems familiar - you're right. Cutler planned a surprise trip to Mexico for Cavallari's 30th birthday in January that she called "the best birthday of my life" in an emotional series of Instagram photos. 

Cutler, who was released by the Bears on the eve of free agency earlier this month, has been linked to several teams, but has yet to sign a contract. 

Teams like the New York Jets and Houston Texans have both been rumored to be interested in his services, but he still remains a free agent even as teams snap up quarterbacks.

While it's unclear where the couple may land, Cavallari revealed Monday how she feels about leaving Chicago, saying that she's "really gonna miss this place."



Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Notre Dame Vies for Frozen Four Spot Sunday]]> Sun, 26 Mar 2017 12:55:24 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/20170326_1230351.jpg

The NCAA men’s hockey tournament is working its way toward the Frozen Four, and for the Chicago Blackhawks prospects participating in the postseason, it’s been a mixed bag of results thus far.

After Saturday’s action, only one Blackhawks prospect still has a chance to compete in the Frozen Four at the United Center next week, as Notre Dame will play for a berth into the national semifinal when they take on UMass-Lowell on Sunday afternoon.

Defenseman Dennis Gilbert will take the ice for the Fighting Irish in the game, and he’ll be looking to make more of an impact than he did in Saturday’s game against Minnesota, where he failed to register a shot on goal and was a plus-1 rating.

Two other Blackhawks prospects have already seen their postseasons come to an end this weekend. Western Michigan forward Matt Iacopelli had a strong game against Air Force on Friday, but his two assists weren’t enough as the Broncos fell to the Falcons.

Boston University defenseman Chad Krys was also bounced from the tournament, as the Terriers lost to Minnesota-Duluth on Saturday afternoon in the tournament quarterfinals. Krys did have a solid game as he notched an assist and a plus-2 rating, but it wasn’t enough as his team was eliminated.

Minnesota-Duluth and Harvard have already clinched berths in the Frozen Four, which will begin on Thurs, Apr. 6 at the United Center in Chicago. Two more teams will punch their tickets on Sunday, as the winners of the Notre Dame-UMass Lowell and Penn State-Denver games will each claim spots in the tournament’s final rounds.



Photo Credit: James Neveau]]>
<![CDATA[Cubs Countdown: 7 Days to Opening Day]]> Sun, 26 Mar 2017 13:44:59 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-468893890.jpg

While it may not feel like baseball season in the Windy City yet, Opening Day is rapidly approaching for the defending World Series champion Chicago Cubs, as we are just seven days away from the first game of their title defense.

With just a week to go until the regular season begins, we figured it would be fun to start off a countdown of sorts to help fans get pumped up for the coming year.

7 in Cubs History

It’s not surprising that for a team whose history has been marked by unlucky breaks, the number “7” has hardly been a lucky number for players that have donned that jersey.

In fact, only a select few players have even worn the number for multiple seasons, as Augie Galan (1937-41), Frankie Baumholtz (1951-55), and Rick Monday (1972-76) share the distinction of having worn the jersey the longest as members of the Cubs, having worn it in five different seasons.

In more recent times, the number has bounced around quite a bit, with players like Mark DeRosa (who wore the number for the Cubs in back-to-back playoff appearances in 2007 and 2008), Arismendy Alcantara, and Todd Walker all putting it on their backs.

Outside of uniform number, the number “7” holds significance in a few areas for the Cubs. During the course of their history, the team has been owned by seven different people, starting with William Hulbert when the team was founded in 1876. Phillip K. Wrigley owned the team for nearly 50 years before the family sold it to the Chicago Tribune after his death in 1977, and is currently owned by the Ricketts family.

“7’s” for the 2016 Cubs

7 – The number of games it took the Cubs to win the World Series against the Cleveland Indians. During their entire history, the Cubs had never won a playoff series that had gone a full seven games, losing several World Series and the 2003 NLCS after those series went the distance.

7 – The number of home runs Jason Heyward hit after signing a seven-year deal with the Cubs before the 2016 season.

7 – The number of RBI that Jake Arrieta and Jason Hammel had for the cubs in 2016, leading the team’s pitchers in that category.

7 – The Cubs specifically got Aroldis Chapman for his strikeout ability, and that paid off handsomely in the NLDS as he struck out seven San Francisco Giants to help secure the Cubs’ series victory.

7 – The number of home runs the Cubs gave up to the Indians in the World Series.

7- The number of Cubs players that appeared in all seven World Series games: Dexter Fowler, Javier Baez, Ben Zobrist, Addison Russell, Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, and Willson Contreras.

7 – The number of runs Rizzo scored in the World Series, leading the team in that category.

Did You Know?

Despite being one of the charter members of the National League, there is one thing that the Cubs have lacked over the years: hitters that have posted high batting averages.

Since 1900, the Cubs have won just seven National League batting titles, with their most recent coming in 2005 when Derrek Lee led the senior circuit in hitting. During that time, three different PLAYERS have won at least seven batting titles, with St. Louis Cardinals great Stan Musial (7), Pittsburgh Pirates legend Honus Wagner (8) and San Diego Padres star Tony Gwynn (8) all having achieved the feat as many times or more than the Cubs have.

To make matters worse, one of the teams with more batting titles than the Cubs is the Colorado Rockies, who already have 10 of them despite only coming into existence in 1993. To rub a bit of final salt into the wound, the last Rockies player to win a batting title was a former Cub, as DJ Lemahieu took home the title in 2016.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[DC's 'A Lot More Broken' Than Trump Thought: Mulvaney]]> Sun, 26 Mar 2017 10:54:50 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/MickMulvaney.jpg

The unpopular health care proposal supported by President Trump and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan could not get enough Republican votes to pass through the House this week, but Mick Mulvaney, the director of the White House Office of Management and Budget on Sunday chalked it up to Washington being "broken" — and questioned the GOP's ability to govern, NBC News reported.



Photo Credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Lead Poisoning in Some California Areas Higher Than Flint]]> Sun, 26 Mar 2017 11:06:11 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/water-tower1.jpg

Dozens of California communities have experienced recent rates of childhood lead poisoning that surpass those of Flint, Michigan, blood testing data obtained by Reuters shows, NBC News reported.

The data shows how lead poisoning affects even a state known for its environmental advocacy, with high rates of childhood exposure found in a swath of the Bay Area and downtown Los Angeles. And the figures show that, despite national strides in eliminating lead-based products, hazards remain in areas far from the Rust Belt or East Coast regions filled with old housing and legacy industry.

In one Fresno zip code, 13.6 percent of blood tests on children under six years old came back high for lead. 

In all, Reuters found at least 29 Golden State neighborhoods where children had elevated lead tests at rates at least as high as in Flint.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[WATCH: Empire State Building Dims for Earth Hour]]> Sun, 26 Mar 2017 10:00:37 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/empire-state-building-earth.jpg

The lights of the Empire State Building went dim Saturday for Earth Hour. 

New York City's iconic skyscraper went dark from 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. to bring attention to climate change. 

Landmarks across the globe, including the Eiffel Tower and the Acropolis, are dimmed at 8:30 p.m. local time. 

Earth Hour began in Syndey in 2007 and spread worldwide under WWF. 

This year, people are also encouraged to "go dark" on their Facebook page



Photo Credit: NBC New York]]>
<![CDATA[About 50 Displaced After Fire at Woodstock Apartment Complex]]> Sat, 25 Mar 2017 17:36:10 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/woodstock+fire+325.png

Dozens of families were displaced when a massive fire destroyed an apartment building in far northwest suburban Woodstock early Saturday, officials said.

Firefighters responded to reports of a structure fire in the 2100 block of Willow Brooke Dr. around 3:18 a.m., according to a statement from the Woodstock Fire/Rescue District.

“It was called in by a neighbor who was out walking the dog,” said Woodstock Fire Chief Michael Hill. That neighbor was Abi Sanchez, who also assisted in alerting the building’s residents, authorities said.

“I ran downstairs, tried to buzz all the apartment complexes in that unit and tried to let them know that their building is on fire,” Sanchez said.

First responders said that upon arrival, flames could be seen extending into the attic from the second floor balconies of the two-story building. Police and fire officials then evacuated the building, including one woman who was trapped inside her apartment. Authorities said she was taken to Centegra Memorial Medical Center, where she was treated for smoke inhalation and later released.

“A cop was knocking on the door saying there was a fire, so I got up,” said James Palubicki, who lived in the building.

“It progressed so bad,” he added. “I was just watching it and I couldn't believe it; it was just spreading.”

It took around two hours to bring the flames under control, though firefighters remained on the scene for several more hours, checking for and extinguishing hidden fires, as well as helping residents recover their personal belongings.

None of the 55 firefighters involved in the effort were injured, authorities said.  

Approximately 50 people were displaced from the building’s 32 units, according to fire officials, who said the entire structure was uninhabitable and initial estimates of damage were around $2.3 million.

“The fact that nobody was injured in this situation and nobody died in this situation is just a blessing and we're so grateful,” said Woodstock Mayor Brian Sager.

The American Red Cross was working to provide temporary housing, and several GoFundMe pages were set up to help the victims, including a recently-engaged couple, another couple planning to get married in August and a woman who lost her cat.

Anyone wishing to assist in relief efforts is asked to call the Red Cross at (312) 729-6100.

The cause of the fire was not immediately known, officials said, though it was not believed to be suspicious and the investigation remains ongoing.



Photo Credit: Woodstock Fire/Rescue District
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<![CDATA[Chicago Family Takes Shelter During Las Vegas Strip Shooting]]> Sat, 25 Mar 2017 23:08:58 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/WMAQ_000000022792628_1200x675_906592835979.jpg

One person was killed after a man on a bus on the Las Vegas strip began shooting at passengers without warning Saturday. Police say the suspect barricaded himself in the vehicle for hours in a standoff that closed part of the tourist destination. A Chicago family on vacation was forced to take shelter during the chaos. NBC5's Chris Hush reports.

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<![CDATA[Is Bill Murray a Good Luck Charm? Twitter Seems to Think So]]> Sat, 25 Mar 2017 12:41:44 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-657091926.png

Bill Murray is having quite the year. It's always a good time to be the iconic 66-year-old 'Ghostbusters' actor, but it turns out that this is a pretty good time to be a fan of his favorite sports teams, too.

The Chicago-area native was front and center for his beloved Cubs’ first World Series victory in 108 years – singing "Take Me Out to the Ball Game;" appearing on 'Saturday Night Live' with team members; calling for Mayor Emanuel to cancel school; and even making one fan’s dream come true. [[394285321, C]]

He crashed postgame interviews, victory celebrations and even a White House press briefing, all for the love of his Cubbies. Now Murray has his sights set on March Madness, and his support of bracket-busting Xavier University has led some to speculate that perhaps there’s a little something more to his diehard fandom.

The Musketeers came into the NCAA tournament as the 11 seed in the West Region, but those long odds didn’t stop them from winning three major upsets in a row. After taking out six-seed Maryland and three-seed Florida State in the first two rounds, Xavier toppled two-seed Arizona on Friday to head to the Elite Eight for the first time since 2008.

In the stands to see it happen was, of course, Bill Murray, whose son is an assistant coach of the Xavier men's basketball team. While the proud father's reaction to Xavier's shocking exit from the 2016 NCAA tournament quickly went viral, this year has so far been a very different story. [[417088723, C]]

A notoriously raucous sports fan, Murray's hair-tousling joy could put a smile on just about anyone's face – and it did not go unnoticed. [[417089043, C]]

"Entourage" actor Jerry Ferrara even tweeted that "tons of credit" goes to Murray, while sidelined Bulls star Dwyane Wade himself was in awe of Murray’s "power." [[417088703, C]]

That power even led some fans to change their allegiance—or hope that Murray could lend them a helping hand. [[417088793, C]]

Whether there’s some sort of magic to Murray's support remains to be seen, as Xavier is set to face their toughest test yet. The Musketeers take on one-seed Gonzaga Saturday evening, with both teams looking to secure a trip to their first-ever Final Four.



Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Dems Take Aim at Trump Transparency With 'MAR-A-LAGO' Act]]> Sat, 25 Mar 2017 13:26:06 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AP_16327026097462-mar-a-lago.jpg

Democrats want to give President Donald Trump a transparency check in the form of a new bill with a mouthful of a name — and an acronym that takes an unsubtle dig at the president, NBC News reported. 

The "Making Access Records Available to Lead American Government Openness Act" — or MAR-A-LAGO Act — would require the Trump administration to disclose the names of anyone who visits the White House or "any other location at which the President or the Vice President regularly conducts official business." 

The legislation, introduced in the House and Senate on Friday, calls for the creation of a publicly available database to be updated every 90 days.

Democrats said the move is necessary after visitor access records on the official White House website have not been updated since Trump took office, according to NBC News.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Man Fatally Struck by Semi Truck in Chinatown]]> Sat, 25 Mar 2017 13:01:12 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/semi+truck+cermak+wentworth.png

A man was struck and killed by a semi truck on Chicago's South Side on Saturday morning, according to police.

Around 9:33 a.m., officers responded to a crash in the 200 block of W. Cermak Rd. in the city's Chinatown neighborhood. There, authorities said they found a 56-year-old pedestrian who had been hit by a truck. He was taken to Mercy Hospital where he was pronounced dead, according to police.

The Cook County Medical Examiner's office did not immediately confirm the fatality, and further information on his identity was not available.

The truck driver remained on the scene after the crash, police said, and CPD's Major Accidents Investigation Unit continues to investigate.



Photo Credit: Trina Orlando]]>
<![CDATA[Nunes Backs Down From Assertion Trump Was Monitored]]> Sat, 25 Mar 2017 01:51:15 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/656523922-devin-nunes-trump-intelligence.jpg

The chairman of the House intelligence committee has backed down from his assertion that Donald Trump and his aides were "monitored" by U.S. spies — a claim the Republicans have cited this week in emails to loyalists.

As NBC News reports, Rep. Devin Nunes told reporters Friday he can't be sure whether conversations among Trump or his aides were captured in the surveillance that has become a source of controversy since Nunes made it public in two news conferences this week.

A spokesman for Nunes, Jack Langer, asserted that the Congressman did not explicitly say Trump was spied on when he briefed reporters Wednesday that he was "very concerned," that "the intelligence community incidentally collected information about American citizens involved in the Trump transition."



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Woman Drives Car into Pond on College of Dupage Campus: Cops]]> Fri, 24 Mar 2017 21:13:34 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-10189107.jpg

A woman drove her car into a pond in suburban Glen Ellyn on the campus of the College of Dupage Friday, authorities confirmed.

A police officer told NBC 5 a woman was taken out of the car and was conscious and breathing.

Fire officials were investigating.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>