<![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-usMon, 23 Oct 2017 17:57:04 -0500Mon, 23 Oct 2017 17:57:04 -0500NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Creepy Stalker Targets Young NYC Siblings, Leaves Jarring Note]]> Mon, 23 Oct 2017 17:45:07 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/BK+Stalker.jpg

A person of interest is in custody in connection with the disturbing apparent stalking case involving a 12-year-old boy and his 8-year-old sister in Brooklyn, authorities said.

No charges had been filed against the man as of early Monday afternoon. He is believed to have left a note in the siblings' family's mailbox allegedly reading: “Watch out. I am watching you!! Your daughter is cute.”

The 58-year-old man turned himself in at the 69th Precinct stationhouse, telling police he "just wanted to clear things up," according to a law enforcement source. 

He's been transferred to the 77th Precinct, which is handling the case, and is said to be cooperative and openly talking with police. Investigators were waiting to speak with witnesses. 

Police had been looking for the alleged stalker since Friday morning, when the 8-year-old girl noticed a bald stranger hiding between cars as they walked to a school bus stop in Crown Heights. The stranger followed the girl and her friend until they made it to the stop, near Eastern Parkway and Brooklyn Avenue.

"It's just an eerie feeling that he's outside asking for this 8-year-old," said NYPD Chief of Detectives Bob Boyce. "To come out on a couple different occasions, it's unusual you see that." 

Later in the afternoon, the girl’s 12-year-old brother was on the bus about to be dropped off near their home when police said the alleged stalker flagged down the vehicle.

The man told the driver he was there to pick up the boy, but the driver told the man he was not authorized to pick him up. The driver then told him to leave before he called police, and authorities said the man heeded the warning.

The NYPD said the 8-year-old girl saw him on the steps of their home a few hours later, ducking down and snapping pictures of the inside of the home.

When the girl approached him, he asked her where she slept and who lives with her, police said. She refused to answer, and the man left.

The next morning, the 12-year-old boy was approached by the man again who asked him what bedroom he slept in and who he lived with, the NYPD said. The boy also refused to answer his questions.

The alleged stalker got into a white car and drove off, heading toward New York Avenue, police said. It was later that day when the victims found the handwritten note inside their mailbox.

Crown Heights residents told News 4 on Monday they were shocked to hear about the family's ordeal. Emmanuel Aguilar said the family was "really part of the neighborhood."

"It's really just scary," he said. "Crazy."

Photo Credit: NYPD]]>
<![CDATA[Chicago Area Could See Coldest Temps of the Season This Week]]> Mon, 23 Oct 2017 07:31:41 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Frost-Generic.jpg

The rain, rain won't be going away just yet, but when it does, it could make way for the coldest temperatures of the season so far. 

A wet start to Monday morning made for difficult commuting conditions as cooler temperatures moved into the area following an unseasonably warm weekend. 

The rain is expected to taper to scattered showers by the late-morning, early-afternoon hours as cloudy, breezy and cool conditions linger. 

Temperature highs will sit in the mid- to upper-50s, a drastic change from Saturday's upper-70s. 

The rain is forecast to continue Tuesday morning and afternoon, with two-day totals possibly reaching above 2, or perhaps 3 inches, particularly in northwest Indiana. Those totals will taper to an inch west towards the Fox Valley. 

Temperature highs drop into the mid- to upper-40s Tuesday, but lows could reach into the 30s overnight, marking the coldest temperatures so far this fall. 

The potential for the first frost or freeze could come Friday night or Saturday night as temps drop into the low- to mid-30s. 

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<![CDATA[Football Players Charged in Hazing Case Plead Not Guilty]]> Mon, 23 Oct 2017 11:54:46 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/wheaton+college+players.jpg

Four of five football players at a Christian college in suburban Chicago pleaded not guilty Monday to felony charges in connection with a hazing scandal.

The group was arraigned in DuPage County after being accused of forcibly taking a freshman teammate from his dorm, tying him up with duct tape, beating him and leaving him half naked in a baseball field. 

Noah Spielman, Benjamin Pettway, Kyler Kregel and Samuel TeBos appeared before a judge on charges of aggravated battery, mob action and unlawful restraint. A fifth player, James Cooksey, is expected to be arraigned next month.

Police have alleged the victim was "taken forcefully from his dorm room, restrained against his will" and left in a baseball field with multiple injuries.

An attorney for former NFL star Chris Spielman, who is the father of Noah Spielman, said the family is surprised by the charges and called the allegations against his son "inaccurate and sensationalized."

"Chris and his family were shocked to hear of these charges after an investigation by Wheaton College exonerated these gentlemen over one year ago," the statement read. "The initial print reporting has been inaccurate and sensationalized as Noah has, and will, cooperate with authorities moving forward in the legal process."

Attorney information for the other students was not immediately available.

The victim's attorney has claimed the students went well beyond hazing and into criminal territory when they allegedly duct-taped, beat and threatened to sodomize the teen freshman last year.

Attorney Terry Ekl alleged the five football players duct taped the victim's arms and legs and placed a pillow case over his head before they put him in a car while playing what the teen described as "Muslim music."

The group then allegedly dropped the teen off in a field where they threatened to sodomize him with a metal pipe, Ekl claimed, noting that the players denied any threats of sexual violence.

The freshman ultimately took himself to a hospital with labral tears in both shoulders, Ekl said. He has since undergone three surgeries, he added.

Police noted the freshman's injuries were "confirmed by medical experts."

“That’s not hazing," Ekl said. "That’s just criminal in nature and that’s essentially what happened here.”

A judge issued arrest warrants last month for each of the Wheaton College students in the case. 

The college said in a statement that it had conducted its own investigation into the hazing claims, which "resulted in a range of corrective actions," though it could not specify what those actions were. 

"The conduct we discovered as a result of our investigation into this incident was entirely unacceptable and inconsistent with the values we share as human beings and as members of an academic community that espouses to live according to our Community Covenant," the statement read. "We are profoundly saddened that any member of our community could be mistreated in any way."

Wheaton College has one of the top-ranked Division 3 football programs in the nation.

Police said it is the first serious hazing incident that has been reported from the school.

"They're very serious charges," said Chief Jim Volpe. "They'll be answering to felony charges." 

Editor's note: An earlier version of this story reported the players pleaded guilty. That has been corrected to read "not guilty."

<![CDATA[Uber Driver Accused of Injuring Rider, Forcing Her From Car]]> Mon, 23 Oct 2017 17:34:45 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/lily+kim.png

A woman said she was badly injured when her Uber driver tossed her out of the car Thursday night on Chicago’s North Side.

Lily Kim said she was on her way to Wrigley Field for the Cubs’ final playoff game and had only been in her Uber for a few minutes when the driver suddenly changed her mind.

Kim said the driver ordered her out of the car in the 3900 block of West Bryn Mawr in the city’s Hollywood Park neighborhood.

“All of a sudden she stopped and said that she didn't want to go to Wrigley Field,” Kim’s friend, Dr. Kim Tee, said on her behalf.

“She was alone, yes, correct, and she did not want to get out because she already paid for the fare and the final destination was Wrigley Field,” he added.

When Kim, an adjunct professor at DePaul University, refused to exit the vehicle, she said the driver got out to forcibly remove her, choking and punching her in the face in an altercation captured in part on video.

Chicago police said the 41-year-old driver “struck the victim in the face, causing minor abrasions” before fleeing the scene.

Kim – who police said refused medical treatment at the scene – said she suffered cuts to her face, as well as bruises and swelling to much of her body.

“Lily Kim got beat up by the Uber driver, that is very unfortunate,” Tee said, adding that she is “not very well.”

“The pain comes a few days later,” he continued. “She cannot move her arms.”

A spokeswoman for Uber said in a statement that as soon as the company became aware of the situation, they “immediately reached out to everyone involved to understand what may have happened.”

“Our Community Guidelines prohibit this type of behavior and we have removed this driver's access to Uber,” Uber’s statement continued.

Authorities were in the process of completing a case file before pressing charges or issuing a warrant for the driver’s arrest, the Cook County Clerk of the Circuit Court said Monday.

Photo Credit: Lily Kim]]>
<![CDATA[More Turnover for Cubs' Staff as Hinske Leaves]]> Mon, 23 Oct 2017 16:00:47 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-839678430.jpg

The Chicago Cubs are busy reshaping their coaching staff, and yet another member of that staff is headed to another team.

That coach is assistant hitting coach Eric Hinske, who will join the Los Angeles Angels to be their hitting coach. Hinske, who has been with the Cubs since 2014, started out as the team’s first base coach but ultimately took on the assistant job when Joe Maddon joined the team in 2015.

Hinske isn’t the only coach who could be heading elsewhere. According to multiple reports, Cubs bench coach Dave Martinez is interviewing with the Washington Nationals for their managerial job. Martinez, who also interviewed for the Cubs’ manager’s job in 2014 before the team hired Rick Renteria, has been with Maddon since his Tampa Bay days, and could finally get the promotion that he’s been going for.

Those moves follow the departure of Cubs pitching coach Chris Bosio, whose contract option for next season was not picked up by the team. According to reports, the Cubs have already begun the process to replace him, with former Rays pitching coach Jim Hickey scheduled to meet with the team on Monday.

Hickey is also a candidate for both the San Francisco Giants and St. Louis Cardinals’ pitching coach positions, but his close relationship with Maddon could be a key selling point if the Cubs offer him the position. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Katy Perry Crashes Couple's Wedding in St. Louis]]> Mon, 23 Oct 2017 14:46:30 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-840068880.jpg

Talk about the ultimate wedding crasher.

One St. Louis couple got a surprise dance floor visit during their wedding over the weekend when Katy Perry joined the dance circle.

Perry, who was in town performing for her “Witness” tour, was spotted with newlyweds Hayley Rosenblum and Blonie Dudney as they celebrated their big day at the Four Seasons Hotel in the city.

Guests told the Kansas City Star that Perry joined the celebration toward the end of the night with a large group of people who rushed the dance floor with their hands in the air yelling. She stayed for about 10 minutes, they said.

St. Louis wedding photographer Ray Prop posted a photo of the newlyweds with Perry, captioning it, “Do you mind if we crash your wedding?”

Other guests also shared images of their selfies with Perry at the event, and one video showed Perry dancing with the bride on the dance floor.

Perry’s “Witness” tour comes to Chicago’s United Center Tuesday and Wednesday.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Top US General: Families, Americans Deserve Answers on Niger]]> Mon, 23 Oct 2017 16:03:48 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/214*120/dun2AP_17296741172582.jpg

The American people and the fallen soldiers' families deserve answers about a deadly ambush in the African nation of Niger, the top U.S. general said Monday, without being able to provide many himself.

Three weeks after the attack by presumed Islamic State forces, Marine Corps Gen. Joseph Dunford, the Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman, said several matters must still be resolved. They include whether the U.S. had adequate intelligence and equipment for its operation, whether there a planning failure and why it took so long to recover one the bodies.

Dunford said the four U.S. soldiers died after a battle that started on Oct. 4 in a "complex situation," leading to a "difficult firefight." At a Pentagon news conference, he tried to outline what the military knows.

He said a group of 12 American forces accompanied 30 Nigerien forces to an area about 85 kilometers north of the capital on Oct. 3. When they sought the next day to return, they encountered about 50 enemy fighters traveling by vehicle, carrying small arms and rocket-propelled grenade launchers.

Within an hour of taking fire, the team requested support. Within another hour, a remote plane flew above. Later, French jets arrived and ferried wounded Americans to safety. The bodies of three American killed in the fighting were transported out of the battle scene, but one — Sgt. La David Johnson — wasn't recovered until Oct. 6.

Independent of the military's investigation, the Johnson's ordeal has become a major political dispute in the United States after President Donald Trump credited himself with doing more to honor the dead and console families than any of his predecessors.

Then, Johnson's aunt said Trump showed "disrespect" to his family as he telephoned to extend condolences. In an extraordinary White House briefing, John Kelly, the former Marine general who is Trump's chief of staff, shot back at Trump's critics, and the president continued the criticism over the weekend.

Members of Congress are demanding answers almost three weeks after the ambush in a remote corner of Niger, where few Americans travel. Last week, Sen. John McCain, the Republican chairman of the Armed Services Committee, even threatened a subpoena to accelerate the flow of information from the administration.

Dunford defended the broader American mission in Niger. He said U.S. forces have been in the country intermittently for more than two decades. Currently, some 800 U.S. service members are supporting a French-led mission to defeat the Islamic State, al-Qaida and Boko Haram in West Africa. 

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Hurricane Harvey Recovery Could Deepen Economic Divides]]> Mon, 23 Oct 2017 14:24:26 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-841694114.jpg

Homes were left uninhabitable by Hurricane Harvey, a Category 4 storm that plowed through southeast Texas in late August, NBC News reported.

Its floodwaters capsized lives of the comfortable and the struggling, black and white, Latino and Asian. Tens of thousands of people across spectrums of race and income were left without permanent places to live, inspiring a newfound saying: Harvey was the storm that didn’t discriminate.

That may change now that the water is gone.

The poorer victims of the storm are in danger of falling deeper into poverty or homelessness, while the wealthier are expected to rebound more quickly. Those in the middle will now struggle harder to stay afloat.

Photo Credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[Southern Calif. Braces for Wildfire Threat Amid Extreme Heat]]> Mon, 23 Oct 2017 14:23:40 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/wildfirescalfirefighter_1200x675.jpg

The National Weather Service issued red flag warnings and fire weather watches in Southern California after meteorologists said temperatures are expected to reach in the triple-digits along with gusty winds, NBC News reported. 

The red flag warnings and fire weather watches were issues for areas across Southern California, stretching from San Diego, Los Angeles, Ventura, and Santa Barbara counties through Wednesday evening. The service said temperatures hovering around 100 degrees on Monday and Tuesday could break records for some areas.

The fire warnings comes as Californians are bearing the weather phenomenon known as the Santa Ana winds.

"You get these areas where the winds are blowing harder and so ultimately what that sets up is a very hot, very dry and very low humidity situation with storm winds and so that increases the fire danger in that area," Frank Giannasca, senior meteorologist at The Weather Channel, told NBC News. 

Photo Credit: AP/Jeff Chiu, File]]>
<![CDATA[Foo Fighters to Play Wrigley Field Next Summer]]> Mon, 23 Oct 2017 14:06:13 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-482013226.png

We already have our first glimpse at Wrigley Field's 2018 summer concert schedule. 

The Foo Fighters will be returning to perform at the ballpark next year, the band announced Monday. Dave Grohl and company will take the stage at the Friendly Confines on Sunday, July 29, as part of their "Concrete and Gold" world tour that kicked off on Oct. 12.

Tickets are scheduled to go on sale at 10 a.m. on Nov. 10, according to the Cubs' website, with an exclusive presale for Capital One cardholders on Nov. 6.

This will be the band's second performance at Wrigley, after selling out the ballpark during the 2015 "Sonic Highways" tour. 

The Foo Fighters' Chicago show is the first to be announced as part of Wrigley Field's 2018 summer concert schedule. Last year, the ballpark hosted a record number of performances, beginning with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers in June.

Other headliners included Dead & Company, James Taylor, Billy Joel, Florida Georgia Line, Green Day, Lady Gaga and Zac Brown Band - marking an all-time high of 10 concerts since Jimmy Buffett (who also returned in 2017) played Wrigley Field's first show in 2005.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Sessions Designates MS-13 as 'Priority' for Law Enforcement ]]> Mon, 23 Oct 2017 12:53:00 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/205*120/Jeff+Sessions+IACP+Philadelphia+MS13.JPG

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Monday that he has designated MS-13, the violent street gang, as a top priority for a Justice Department task force that focuses on organized crime.

"Now they will go after MS-13 with a renewed vigor and sharpened focus," Sessions said at gathering of police chiefs in Philadelphia. "I am announcing that I have authorized them to use every lawful tool to investigate MS-13."

The Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces involve federal prosecutors from the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), FBI, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), as well as other agencies. 

The designation directs officials to pursue all possible charges during prosecutions, including racketeering, gun and tax law violations.

"Just like we took Al Capone off the streets with our tax laws, we will use whatever laws we have to get MS-13 off our streets," Sessions said at the International Association of Chiefs of Police in Center City Philadelphia. 

MS-13 has become a prime target of President Donald Trump’s administration amid its broader crackdown on immigration. 

The international criminal enterprise has tens of thousands of members in several Central American countries and many U.S. states. The gang originated in immigrant communities in Los Angeles in the 1980s then entrenched itself in Central America when its leaders were deported.

MS-13 is known for hacking and stabbing victims with machetes, drug dealing, prostitution and other rackets. Its recruits are middle- and high-school students predominantly in immigrant communities and those who try to leave risk violent retribution, law enforcement officials have said.

MS-13 members have been accused in a spate of bloodshed that included the massacre of four young men in a Long Island, New York, park and the killing of a suspected gang rival inside a deli. The violence has drawn attention from members of Congress and Trump, who has boasted about efforts to arrest and deport MS-13 members across the United States.

"MS-13 threatens the lives and well-being of each and every family and each and every neighborhood that they infest," Sessions said. "They leave misery, devastation and death in their wake. They threaten entire governments."

Law enforcement officials believe some of the recent violence has been directed by members of the gang imprisoned in El Salvador.

In July, Sessions went to El Salvador for a series of meetings with law enforcement officials in an attempt to step up international cooperation against the violent gang. 

Both Trump and Sessions have blamed Obama-era border policies for allowing the gang's ranks to flourish in the U.S., though the Obama administration took unprecedented steps to target the gang's finances. Federal prosecutors have gone after MS-13 before but say they've recently seen a resurgence.

Sessions also addressed the gathering of law enforcement leaders on Saturday, focusing on "forging new relationships" between local and federal authorities.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: NBC10]]>
<![CDATA[Fioretti Considering Challenging Preckwinkle]]> Mon, 23 Oct 2017 12:53:36 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/T5P+PKG+FIORETTI+MAYORAL+RACE++-+00002209_29403961.png

Former Chicago Ald. Bob Fioretti is considering challenging Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle.

Fioretti told NBC 5 on Monday that he planned to make a final decision in the next 10 days. He acknowledged supporters are already circulating petitions for his potential campaign, as the signatures are due Dec. 4.

After the redistricting map pushed him outside the boundaries of the 2nd Ward that he had represented since 2007, Fioretti in 2015 decided instead to run for Chicago mayor.

He eventually dropped out and later endorsed Mayor Rahm Emanuel's re-election bid ahead of the runoff vote against Jesus "Chuy" Garcia.

Later that year, Fioretti launched an unsuccessful campaign for state Senate, looking to unseat incumbent Democrat Sen. Patricia Van Pelt in the 5th District encompassing parts of Chicago's North and West Sides. 

Fioretti's potential run for Cook County Board President comes less than two weeks after commissioners voted in favor of repealing the controversial sweetened beverage tax spearheaded by Preckwinkle.

The tax - enacted to balance the county budget and, according to Preckwinkle, stave off massive social service cuts - fueled public outcry from shoppers and business owners across the county.

While Preckwinkle was once so popular that she seemed to be a likely contender to unseat Emanuel, the tax has taken a toll on her approval ratings and made her more vulnerable to challengers like Fioretti.

<![CDATA[Megyn Kelly: I Complained About Bill O'Reilly to Fox News]]> Mon, 23 Oct 2017 12:39:01 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AP_17296540408769-Megyn-Kelly.jpg

Megyn Kelly said Monday that she complained about Bill O'Reilly while they were both working at Fox News, contradicting a statement from an O'Reilly spokesman who claimed, in response to a report that O'Reilly settled a $32 million sexual harassment claim, that no complaints were ever made about him at the network. 

On NBC's "Megyn Kelly Today," Kelly went on to assail a culture of silencing sexual harassment victims — "not unique to Fox News," she noted — that makes women afraid of public shaming, being sued or losing their careers. She said it gave her no pleasure to talk about her former workplace but felt it was important to speak out. 

In November 2016, O'Reilly had gone on CBS to discuss the sexual harassment allegations that led to then-Fox News Chief Roger Ailes' downfall. That day, Kelly said, she wrote the company's co-presidents a letter saying that O'Reilly's "history of harassment of women" may have "blinded him to the folly of saying anything other than, 'I am just so sorry for the women of this company who never should have had to go through that.'"

O'Reilly was later ousted from the network after allegations against him came to light in April. But the Times reported that O'Reilly was re-signed in February, after he made the $32 million settlement with a woman who worked as a Fox News analyst for 15 years.

Of Saturday's report, which has not been verified by NBC News, a spokesman for O'Reilly said, "in the more than 20 years Bill O'Reilly worked at Fox News, not one complaint was filed against him with the Human Resources Department or Legal Department by a coworker, even on the anonymous hotline."

Kelly said Monday that she knew that statement to be false because she had  complained about him. 

"This must stop," Kelly said of the wider culture of silencing accusers. "The abuse of women, the shaming of them, the threatening, the retaliation, the silencing of them after the fact, it has to stop."

O'Reilly responded Monday, saying on former colleague Glenn Beck's radio show that it was "incomprehensible" that Kelly would speak out against him, saying that "I helped her dramatically" in her career.

He posted online an undated thank-you note Kelly had written to him for giving a gift at a baby shower.

Asked for comment on Kelly's report Monday, a representative for 21st Century Fox, the parent company of Fox News, said the company "has taken concerted action to transform Fox News, including installing new leaders, overhauling management and on-air talent, expanding training, and increasing the channels through which employees can report harassment or discrimination. These changes come from the top, with Lachlan and James Murdoch personally leading the effort to promote civility and respect on the job, while maintaining the Company’s long-held commitment to a diverse, inclusive and creative workplace."

The company offered the same statement when asked about the Times report on O'Reilly Saturday. It also confirmed that it was aware of O'Reilly's settlement with his accuser, noting the settlement was made personally by O'Reilly with terms that were not disclosed.

Photo Credit: Charles Sykes/Invision/AP, File
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<![CDATA[Governor Rauner Announces Re-Election Bid]]> Mon, 23 Oct 2017 06:59:22 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/I+Choose+to+Fight+_+Bruce+Rauner+_+Illinois+-+00015614_29399642.jpg

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has officially announced that he will run for re-election in 2018.

Rauner, who has been running new TV campaign ads touting progress on issues such as education reform, announced the news in a new video Monday. The announcement comes the day before the General Assembly begins its veto session in Springfield.

"They said it couldn’t be done, that it was crazy to think this place could be saved, that we should give up, give in and resign our hopes and dreams to a corrupt culture of permanent political failure," Rauner says at the start of his announcement. "The Madigan machine is just too strong, they say. It will never go away, it will never fail to fail us. It’s time to just accept corruption and staggnation as not only what we have but who we are. Well, I say we can’t and we won’t." 

Rauner has already raised $70 million for his re-election bid, $50 million of which he donated to his own campaign.

The governor has played his cards close to the vest when it comes to his re-election bid.

“I will never give up on working to protect Illinois, (or on) working to create a better future for the people of Illinois,” he said earlier this month when asked about his intentions.

In his newest announcement, Rauner said Illinois still needs "property tax relief, real term limits and a budget that won't bankrupt or break us." 

"In spite of the odds, millions of us believe," he said. "Now, we have a choice: we can throw in the towel, walk away and leave our future to the same corrupt career politicans or we can fight. I choose to fight."

With Rauner’s entry into the race, Republicans will be left deciding whether to challenge him in the primary after his controversial decision to sign House Bill 40, a bill that expanded abortion coverage for women on Medicaid in the state.

That decision has a coalition of conservative anti-abortion groups seeking an alternative candidate, and one of those potential contenders is State Representative Jeanne Ives of suburban Wheaton. 

The deadline to turn in petitions to run in the primaries is set for December, so candidates will have to act quickly if they intend to take Rauner on. 

<![CDATA[Mann's Recalls Vegetable Products Due to Listeria Concerns]]> Mon, 23 Oct 2017 09:44:26 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Broccoli+Cauli+Generic.png

A California-based company is recalling a litany of vegetable products -- from broccoli florets to brussels sprouts to cauliflower and stirfry medleys -- over concerns about possible listeria contamination. 

Mann Packing announced last week it was voluntarily recalling the items, distributed throughout the U.S. and Canada, because of a single positive result found on one product during random sampling by the Canadian Food Inspection.

Dozens of products, including items sold at Trader Joe's and Walmart in the U.S., are affected by the recall, which applies to products with "best if used by" dates from Oct. 11 to Oct. 20. For a full list and details, click here

Listeria can cause high fever, severe headaches, neck stiffness and nausea. It can also cause miscarriages and stillbirths in pregnant women, and sometimes fatal infections in people with compromised immune systems.

No illnesses have been reported in connection with the recall, and Mann Packing says it has issued it out of an abundance of caution. Anyone who has purchased any of the recalled products is urged not to consume them, and to toss them or return them to the place of purchase for a full refund. 

"As an owner of this company and a mom, providing safe and healthy foods to our consumers and their families is always our top priority," Gina Nucci, director of corporate marketing for Mann Packing, said in a statement. "This voluntary recall is a reflection of our commitment to ensuring the safety of our consumers."

Customers with questions can call Mann Packing's 24-hour consumer line at 888-470-2681 or visit veggiesmadeeasy.com/products. 

Photo Credit: Courtesy Mann's
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<![CDATA[Trubisky Joins Interesting Club With Win Over Panthers]]> Sun, 22 Oct 2017 17:47:41 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-865117886.jpg

The Chicago Bears won thanks to their defense on Sunday afternoon, but they made an interesting bit of history with their offense.

In the game, quarterback Mitchell Trubisky attempted just seven passes, completing four of them for 107 yards and a 101.8 quarterback rating. One of those passes was a 70-yard completion to Tarik Cohen, but other than that the offensive gameplan for the rookie seemed to be a very conservative one.

According to Pro Football Reference, no team in the NFL has won a game with seven or fewer passing attempts since the Carolina Panthers accomplished the feat on Christmas Eve in 2006. In that game, the Panthers, coached by current Bears head coach John Fox, beat the Atlanta Falcons 10-3, as Chris Weinke completed four passes for 11 yards and a touchdown.

Only one other team in the last 30 years has attempted seven or fewer passes in a win, with the 2004 San Diego Chargers attempting just six passes in a 21-0 win over the Cleveland Browns.  

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Jake Arrieta's Beard is Gone]]> Sun, 22 Oct 2017 16:17:05 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/jake0726.jpg

The Chicago Cubs' season is over with, and that means it's time to say goodbye to the famous beard of one of the team's best hurlers. 

That pitcher is Jake Arrieta, and his legendary facial hair is no more, as he shaved it off following the Cubs' elimination from the postseason. 

Arrieta's wife Brittany posted a photo of the clean shaven pitcher, who will head into free agency once the World Series concludes: 

Arrieta will be free to sign with any team this offseason, but has not ruled out a return to the Cubs. He has won a World Series title, and two games in that series, and a Cy Young Award during his time in Chicago, but he will be an unrestricted free agent after agreeing to a one-year deal that covered the 2017 season. 

Photo Credit: Jon Durr/Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Tampa Police Say 3 Killings in 11 Days Are Linked]]> Mon, 23 Oct 2017 06:13:58 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Tampa-Sting-of-Homicides-Investigation-Person-of-Interest.jpg

Three unexplained killings have rocked Tampa over the last two weeks, and as fear grips local residents, police say the slayings are linked, NBC News reported.

The first apparent victim, a 22-year-old college student named Benjamin Mitchell, was shot dead while waiting for a bus on Oct. 9. Sign language teacher Monica Hoffa, 32, was shot on Oct. 11. And 20-year-old Anthony Naiboa was killed on Oct. 19. His body was found 300 yards from Mitchell's.

Police have not yet identified a suspect or determined a motive but said the killings are believed to be linked to each other. However, Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan has declined to describe the string of deaths as the work of a serial killer, saying too little is known about the crimes.

"We've always had small, petty crimes," said local leader Stan Lasater. "But when we had the first murder, the community was really shaken. And then we had the second, and third, and now the community is definitely on alert."

Photo Credit: Tampa Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[Thieves Target Cans of Spam at Hawaii Stores]]> Sun, 22 Oct 2017 11:46:09 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-81285817.jpg

Cans of Spam have become a common item that's being stolen from Honolulu stores and then sold on the streets for quick cash, according to authorities.

Ra Long, who owns a convenience store in the city, said shoplifters have typically targeted alcohol in the past, but recently more cans of Spam have gone missing, Hawaii News Now reported.

"I mean you try to keep an eye on it, but if they run, you just can't leave the counter and chase them," Long said. "So you just got to take the hit."

Honolulu police said they took a report of a man lifting a case of the canned meat from a store earlier this month.

Kimo Carvalho, a spokesman for the Institute for Human Services, said people are stealing Spam because it's easy to sell. "It's quick cash for quick drug money," Carvalho said.

Hawaiians eat millions of cans of Spam a year, the nation's highest per-capita consumption of the processed meat, which is cobbled together from a mixture of pork shoulder, ham, sugar and salt.

The state's love affair with Spam began during World War II, when rationing created just the right conditions for the rise of a meat that needs no refrigeration and has a remarkably long shelf life (indefinitely, the company says).

Ann Kondo Corum, who grew up in Hawaii in the 1950s and has written several Spam-inspired cookbooks, has attributed Spam's popularity partly to Hawaii's large Asian population. "Asians eat a lot of rice. Spam is salty, and it goes well with rice," she told The Associated Press in 2009.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[CTA Wilson Station Reconstruction Project Hits Big Milestone]]> Mon, 23 Oct 2017 09:34:59 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/cta+wilson+thumb.jpg The Chicago Transit Authority on Monday opened the new main stationhouse for the Wilson Red Line stop, marking a major milestone in the $203 million reconstruction of the station and its tracks.

Photo Credit: Kye Martin]]>
<![CDATA[National Cuatro Festival Coming to Millennium Park]]> Mon, 23 Oct 2017 09:33:52 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-468233772.jpg

The 19th annual National Cuatro Festival will bring "El Show Big Bands de Puerto Rico" to Chicago's Millennium Park next month, organizers announced.

The event, which aims to bring the best Puerto Rican big band-era music interpreted by several artists, will feature internationally acclaimed musicians including Charlie Aponte, NG2 and members of the Puerto Rican Philharmonic Orchestra.

"Move to the Latin rhythms of salsa, danza, bolero, el seis and plena and enjoy the Puerto Rican cuatro as it powerfully reminds us of our roots and the evolution of Puerto Rican music today and beyond," organizers wrote in a release for the event. 

The musical performance takes place from 7-10 p.m. Nov. 4 at the Harris Theater in Millennium Park. 

Tickets are available here for $25-75. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Morning Rundown: Rauner, Wheaton College, Palatine Strike]]> Mon, 23 Oct 2017 08:58:04 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/WMAQ_000000026287689_1200x675_1079348803908.jpg

The top headlines you need to know as you start your day on Oct. 23, 2017.

<![CDATA[No Deal: Striking School Support Staff Return to Picket Line]]> Mon, 23 Oct 2017 08:55:22 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/4A+VO+PALATINE+NEGOTIATIONS+-+00000115_29401379.jpg

Support staff in Palatine schools will return to the picket line Monday as a strike in District 15 enters its second week. 

After 14 hours of contract negotiations Sunday, the staff's union and the district failed to reach a deal. 

A judge ruled last week that a third of the union members, which includes secretaries, nurses and program assistants, couldn't strike due to safety concerns for students. 

Another bargaining session is expected to take place next Sunday. 

The more than 450 educational support workers in the Illinolis' second-largest school district declared a strike last week after being without a contract since July. 

The 454 members of the Educational Support Personnel Association include secretaries, clericals, classroom aides, nurses and sign language interpreters in the district.

“Our members work with the most vulnerable students in the district and also happen to be among the lowest paid. We believe asking for a 2.5 percent salary increase is a humble request,” ESPA President Angie Drazkowski said in a statement last Monday. “Those extra dollars will help ensure talented individuals continue to work within District 15 providing a better future for our students and our community.”

District Superintendent Scott Thompson said there are "presently 14 areas of contract agreement and three oustanding items remaining" following Sunday's negotiations. 

"The board is committed to negotiating in good faith until a fair agreement to both ESPA and our District 15 taxpayers is reached," Thompson said in a letter to parents Monday. "This has been an emotional time for our staff and community. It is easy to put one side against the other, but I want to emphasize that we are all on the same team. We are all part of the District 15 family with a joint mission of providing an excellent education to our students."

Thompson said schools will remain during the strike.

"The absence of many of our secretaries, clerical staff, program assistants and nurses has been hard on all of us, especially our children," he wrote. "We hope for a resolution soon."

<![CDATA[Jackson Makes History as Bears Beat Panthers]]> Sun, 22 Oct 2017 17:02:11 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-865138880.jpg

Chicago Bears safety Eddie Jackson had himself a day on Sunday, and his performance has landed him in the record books.

During the game, Jackson had a 75-yard fumble return for a touchdown against the Carolina Panthers, and for an encore he intercepted Panthers quarterback Cam Newton and returned the ball 76 yards for another touchdown as the Bears won 17-3 at Soldier Field.

Not only was the performance dominant, it was record shattering. According to the Bears’ Public Relations department, Jackson became the first player in NFL history to register multiple 75-yard defensive touchdown returns in the same game.

According to NFL Research, Jackson also became the first Bears player to register two defensive touchdowns in a game since Fred Evans accomplished the feat all the way back in 1948.

Another Bears record was also set thanks to Jackson, as the Bears recorded 75-plus yard defensive touchdowns in consecutive games for the first time in team history. Last week, Adrian Amos picked up a long interception return for a touchdown against the Baltimore Ravens.

The record-setting day for Jackson helped the Bears to consecutive victories for the first time since 2015, and it gave them an opportunity to get back to the .500 mark next week when they head down to the Big Easy to take on Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[More Than a Dozen ATM Skimming Devices Found Across Chicago]]> Sun, 22 Oct 2017 17:28:59 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/830A+SOTVO+ATM+SKIMMING+TIPS+-+00003304_29392132.png

Chicago police issued an alert Saturday after at least a dozen ATMs were found to have skimming devices attached to them at stores and banks across the city.

The devices – placed over or inside card slots to steal account information from customers – were discovered at 13 separate locations in less than a month, according to police.

Those locations, as well as the date the skimming devices were used, include:

  • Associated Bank in the 5200 block of North Central Avenue on Sept. 23
  • Walgreens in the 1500 block of West Fullerton Avenue on Sept. 26
  • 7-11 in the 10700 block of South Ewing Avenue on Sept. 27
  • Walgreens in the 1600 block of West Belmont Avenue on Oct. 2
  • Fifth Third Bank in the 600 block of West Diversey Parkway on Oct. 4
  • Chase Bank in the 5600 block of West Montrose Avenue on Oct. 6
  • Walgreens in the 400 block of North Michigan Avenue on Oct. 8
  • Walgreens in the 2300 block of West Irving Park Road on Oct. 8
  • Fifth Third Bank in the 0-100 block of West Division Street on Oct. 9
  • Walgreens in the 3100 block of West Irving Park Road on Oct. 11
  • Walgreens in the 200 block of West Madison Street on Oct. 12
  • Walgreens in the 100 block of North State Street on Oct. 12
  • Walgreens in the 0-100 block of West Monroe Street on Oct. 18

In some of these instances, a camera was also placed at the ATM to record PIN numbers as they were entered, police said.

The community alert from police was issued a day after the Better Business Bureau put out its own warning about the three devices found most recently at Walgreens stores in Chicago’s Loop.

To combat the theft of account information or even your identity, experts advise you to inspect a machine before swiping your credit or debit card.

“The Better Business Bureau recommends twist. Twist it, see if it’s actually an actual machine, the card reader, to see if it falls off or something on top of it,” said Chicago BBB President Steve Bernas. 

Walgreens said Friday that a third party owns and operates the ATMs in its drugstores, and the company planned to inspect the machines at each of its Chicago locations. 

“Any business that offers an ATM as a convenience to their customers could face this issue,” a spokesman for Deerfield-based Walgreens said in a statement.

“The ATMs in our drugstores are owned and operated by a third party and at our request they will immediately begin to inspect all ATMs in our Chicago locations,” the spokesman added.

Chicago police also recommend that you cover your hand when entering your PIN number as an added precaution. Anyone who has used the machines at these locations should also monitor their accounts for any suspicious activity. 

If you see any type of irregularity when placing your card into the reader, or if you suspect that a skimming device has been installed, authorities ask that you notify the establishment or call 911 to report the incident.

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<![CDATA[Lost Calif. Hikers Ended Their Lives in Desperation: Authorities]]> Sun, 22 Oct 2017 16:13:54 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/8-1-17+Missing+OC+Hikers+in+Joshua+Tree.jpg

Now that their pain is forever ended, it's evident that two lost hikers had struggled to survive before losing hope in the scorching heat of the Joshua Tree National Park, authorities and family members have concluded.

On Oct. 15, after nearly three months of searching, the bodies of Rachel Nguyen, 20, and Joseph Orbeso, 22, were found embracing each other beneath a tree in the bottom of a deep canyon, according to the San Bernardino County Sheriff-Coroner's Department. Nearby, authorities found snack food wrappers and empty water bottles. It was apparent they had been trying to extend their food through rationing, said spokeswoman Cindy Bachman. Clothing had been adjusted, apparently to shield sunburned skin. Wounds had been bandaged, his parents said.

Authorities also found a handgun, registered to Orbeso. Autopsies determined both had incurred fatal gunshot wounds. Authorities concluded Orbeso shot Nguyen, then himself, apparently in a final, desperate act to end their suffering.

A "mercy killing" is what Orbeso's parents believe happened.

"I can't even imagine what he went through in his mind to even think that he could do this," Corina Mallari, Orbeso's mother, told NBC affiliate KMIR. "He didn't want to do it ... His heart was broken, his heart was broken for her. It was beyond courage."

Orbeso brought along the gun to protect Nguyen from a stalker, Orbeso's parents said, citing information in an email from a third party.

Nguyen and Orbeso — both from Orange County — had met while students at California State University Fullerton.

The Nguyen family does not seek to blame anyone for her death, Rachel Nguyen's uncle, Son Nguyen, indicated in a statement Friday.

"We extend our heartfelt condolences to the Orbeso Family … they will remain in our prayers," Son Nguyen wrote. "We thank God that we'll be able to give Rachel a proper burial and lay her to rest."

Photo Credit: San Bernardino Dispatch ]]>
<![CDATA[Cubs Offseason Preview: Biggest Needs]]> Sun, 22 Oct 2017 21:13:50 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-863384178.jpg

The Chicago Cubs are one year removed from winning the World Series, but questions are already swirling about the offseason after the team was eliminated from the NLCS by the Los Angeles Dodgers on Thursday night.

The Cubs, who won their second straight National League Central crown and reached the NLCS for the third straight year this season, still have an incredibly young core of talented players, but the accompanying pieces faltered in October, and management seems poised to shake things up this offseason.

What positions will the team look to bolster? What players could find themselves competing for roles next season?

To answer that question, here are the four things the Cubs absolutely must have on their shopping list as the offseason nears.

Middle of the Rotation Starting Pitcher

The Cubs have already made a big splash this year in acquiring pitcher Jose Quintana from the Chicago White Sox, but they’re going to need to make another addition to their rotation with the likely departure of Jake Arrieta via free agency this winter.

If Arrieta does end up leaving, the Cubs will be left either dipping into the free agent pool or the trade market this offseason. Pitchers like Lance Lynn and Andrew Cashner could fit the team’s needs, but pitchers like Alex Cobb could be just out of their price range.

A big splash for someone like Shohei Otani could be possible too, but with limited international signing money, fans shouldn’t bank on his arrival in Chicago.

Lead-Off Hitter

After losing Dexter Fowler to free agency, the Cubs never really had a solid option to lead games off, as Kyle Schwarber faltered in the role and Ben Zobrist regressed into platoon status, becoming bad from the right side of the plate.

Unfortunately for the Cubs, the free agent market is pretty thin in terms of center fielders that could fill the role (likely the only defensive position where the Cubs will look to make additions this year), but if someone like Schwarber or Ian Happ is dealt for pitching help, then that could open up their options a bit on the market.


This is going to be an interesting situation. Originally, it could be argued that someone like Justin Wilson or Carl Edwards would step into the void that Wade Davis might leave if he leaves in free agency, but with their struggles this year, the closer position is much less settled.

If the Cubs do decide to go in a different direction at closer, they will have a few options, as Fernando Rodney will be on the market as well. The two guys to keep an eye on here are Greg Holland, who racked up 41 saves for the Rockies in 2017, and Brandon Morrow, who has reinvented his career as a set-up man for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Bullpen Arms

The Cubs have made it a point to stock up on as many bullpen arms as they can, and they will definitely do that after their bullpen imploded during the 2017 playoffs.

It’s hard to peg how the Cubs will approach strengthening that area of weakness this offseason, but the team will likely go the route of many other big league clubs on the market: target guys both with high velocity and with good movement on their pitches, as hitters seem to have difficulty in dealing with both of those abilities as games move along.

Pitchers like Pat Neshek could be interesting options, as could Dodgers reliever Tony Watson. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Opinion: Were the Cubs Right to Fire Bosio?]]> Sun, 22 Oct 2017 20:32:37 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-668186728.jpg

The Chicago Cubs made a big splash when they opted not to bring back pitching coach Chris Bosio next season, and in the hours following the decision, debates have been raging over whether it was the right move.

After all, several Cubs pitchers, including Jake Arrieta and Kyle Hendricks, can likely credit their career success to Bosio’s tutelage. He was the one who encouraged Arrieta to go back to the “cross-fire” method that helped lead him to the 2015 National League Cy Young Award, and he has countless other success stories on his resume.

Relievers like Trevor Cahill and Pedro Strop have also found their form thanks to Bosio’s work, and his reputation as a strong groomer of pitchers has allowed him to survive through three different managerial regimes since he was hired in 2012.

Despite that success, there were plenty of arguments to be made that Bosio needed to be shown the door. The Cubs were one of the worst teams in baseball in terms of walking batters this season, finishing with a staggering 554 free passes being issued. That was by far the worst number of any playoff team, and it came back to bite the Cubs in a bad way in the postseason, as they walked 53 batters during 10 games before being eliminated by the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Not only did the Cubs walk a ton of batters, but several relievers regressed badly this season. Justin Wilson is one of those hurlers, as he went from a closeout specialist to completely unavailable as soon as he put on the team’s uniform. He walked batters left and right and looked lost on the mound after his acquisition at the trade deadline.

Hector Rondon also had a rough season, giving up more home runs and struggling badly with his command throughout the year.

Finally, there were criticisms of Bosio’s communication skills, as he repeatedly didn’t have pitchers ready in time in the bullpen, forcing Maddon to yank pitchers in the middle of at-bats.

With all of that in mind, was it the right move to fire Bosio? The short answer is yes, but that doesn’t make the decision any easier. After all, Bosio’s successes were incredible, and no one can ever take away the fact that he was a big part of the reason why Arrieta was able to go on his Gibson-ian run at the end of the 2015 season.

Even with that being the case, cutting Bosio loose is a move that Joe Maddon and Theo Epstein have the capital to execute. Both have shown an ability to get the maximum out of their players and coaches, and if the duo feels that moving on from Bosio was the right move, then they have certainly earned the benefit of the doubt.

Obviously if the move doesn’t pan out, they will receive criticism, and rightfully so. With the team getting bounced from the postseason and having weaknesses that need to be shored up, the duo needs to be given the room to work, and this is a good example of a place where fans should trust the team’s process. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>