<![CDATA[NBC Chicago - Top Stories]]> Copyright 2015 http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/top-stories http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/5-Chicago-Blue.png NBC Chicago http://www.nbcchicago.com en-us Wed, 29 Jul 2015 00:04:25 -0500 Wed, 29 Jul 2015 00:04:25 -0500 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[ME: Mom, 3 Kids in Chatham Were Strangled to Death]]> Tue, 28 Jul 2015 16:15:49 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/206*120/chatham+jackson+family.jpg

A young mother and her three children whose bodies were found inside a home in the South Side Chatham neighborhood were strangled to death, according to the Cook County medical examiner's office.

The medical examiner ruled the cause of death for 28-year-old Latoya Jackson and the three children was strangulation and the manner of death was homicide. An autopsy was performed July 20, but it did not yield many answers.

Jackson and the three children were found inside a home in the 8300 block of South Drexel on July 18 after neighbors noticed a potent smell coming from the home and realized they had not seen the children, all boys, outside playing for several days.

Police then investigated the home and found four bodies deceased inside. Leon Ervin, the boys' grandfather, identified the boys as 11-year-old Andrew Simms, 9-year-old Cameron Jackson and 5-year-old Kentrell. He said all of the children attended Caldwell Elementary School.

Police and the medical examiner's office have not yet officially identified the boys.

It remains unclear who strangled Jackson and her children and how long the family was dead before they were found.

<![CDATA[Boy, 6, Killed in Indiana Church Bus Crash]]> Tue, 28 Jul 2015 22:29:21 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/church+crash.jpg

A 6-year-old boy was killed and 7 others were injured when a church bus rolled over in Indiana Tuesday.

The bus was carrying 10 members of a Gary, Indiana congregation around 4 p.m. on Interstate 70 east of Indianapolis when it spun off the south side of the roadway and flipped over, according to police.

A 6-year-old boy on board was ejected from his seat in the crash and pronounced dead on the scene by the Hancock County Coroner.

The driver of the bus, Charles Goodman of Gary, Indiana, was also displaced from his seat in the impact and pinned underneath the vehicle, according to authorities. Police said the man was still alert and conscious at the scene before being transported to the hospital by a Lifeline helicopter.

The reason Goodman lost control of the bus is still unknown, but upon further investigation police discovered the 53-year-old was allegedly operating on a suspended license and had an active warrant out for his arrest at the time of the accident.

The arrest warrant was issued out of Lake County, Indiana for failing to appear in court on a prior traffic offense, police said.

“Based on preliminary investigation this crash appears to be a result of driver error, there is no evidence at this time of any mechanical failure,” Indiana State Police said in a Tuesday evening release.

At least 6 others were injured in the fatal rollover. A medical helicopter that landed in the eastbound lanes of I-70 transported two more adults and two children to area hospitals.

The passengers on the bus were a group from St. Jude Deliverance Center who were traveling to a youth convention in Dayton, Ohio at the time.

Police said although the bus does not qualify as a commercial motor vehicle by definition, due to the circumstances of the crash it will be inspected by the Indiana State Police Commercial Motor Vehicle Division.

Photo Credit: WTHR]]>
<![CDATA[What Caregivers Need To Know About Car Seat Expiration Dates]]> Tue, 28 Jul 2015 22:43:19 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/NBC+5+Investigates+Car+Seats.jpg

It is Parenting 101. Most know to check the expiration date on milk, baby food and medicine before giving it to kids. But there’s another critical item on that list that many caregivers don’t know about that could put children in serious danger – the little known fact that car seats expire too.

Just ask Diana Kozlowski. The new mom from Hammond, Indiana, got a brand new car seat as a baby gift from her parents in May of last year. They bought it from Toys R Us for their now 7 month-old grand-daughter Evey Grace.

“They were flabbergasted at the fact it was expired,” Kozlowski recalls. “It was on sale because obviously they were trying to get rid of it, make a good deal, sell it.”

What her parents didn’t know to check, Kozlowski did.

“I mean my parents wouldn’t willingly go buy an expired seat, let alone the store sell it expired for two years when they bought it. I was two years. It was like 2012!” Kozlowski said.

Safety advocates told NBC 5 Investigates car seats expire because over time, they wear out.

“Car seats are exposed to extreme temperatures. Extreme heat in the summer, extreme cold here in Chicago in the winter. Those materials tend to degrade over time because car seats are made out of styrofoam and plastic and they tend to degrade,” according to Kids In Danger’s Laura Nikolovska.

Another factor: technology changes. And although recommended by safety experts and widely adopted by seat-makers, the actual expiration dates can be tricky to find.

“There’s no standard that it has to be a certain size,” Nikolovska added.

Or in a certain spot. Each car seat is different. Kozlowski’s expiration date was on the bottom of the car seat, imprinted it the plastic.

So why was a car seat several years past its prime still on store shelves? Kozlowski told NBC 5 Investigates when she tried to get a new car seat from Toys R Us, the retailer gave her the runaround.

We sent Toys R Us Kozlowski’s complaint, along with her email address and asked the company to look into the case. Kathleen Waugh, the Vice President of Corporate Communication, told us it had “no record of this customer contacting the company, so we were unable to properly research the complaint. As a rule, we purge product from our stores on a regular basis. It is possible that an older item was missed in this purge, but we would need more information in order to research this issue properly. That said, if a customer was sold a car seat past its stamped expiration date, we would exchange it or provide a refund."

Back in Hammond, Indiana, Kozlowski ultimately did get a new car seat from Toys R Us after reaching out to NBC 5 Investigates. Her biggest fear?

“That we were in a car accident and because of it being an expired seat, the plastics weren’t up to demand and it would break, not work correctly,” Kozlowski said.

It’s hard to know precisely how long they will last. The Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JMPA) told NBC Investigates expiration dates are not overseen by government and car seat manufacturers voluntarily include expiration dates for their products. The industry group added that while the average expiration date was 6-8 years for the majority of car seat manufacturers, in recent years the average life span for a car seat has increased to an average of 8-12 years.

JMPA says because there are no federal regulations on car seat expiration dates there are no specific requirements for size, location, or verbiage in communicating an expiration date. The majority of manufacturers have committed to providing expiration dates with their car seats and placement of this information is at their discretion.

The location of the expiration date on a product can vary from manufacturer to manufacturer but is usually found molded into the back of the car seat, either front or back or on the bottom of the car seat. Some manufacturers may include the manufacturing date on the seat and provide the time frame of expiration in written materials or customer service. Although the majority have shifted in recent years to imprinting the information on the seat itself. At this time JPMA is unaware of a proposal to change this voluntary practice by manufacturers to mandated federal regulations.

Safety experts worry that because of the lack of regulation, there is no way to monitor if an expired car seat contributes to an injury.

“If a child in a car seat was fatally or even seriously injured, I don’t think the first thing people are going to think is ‘is the car seat expired?’” Nikolovska said.

<![CDATA[Chicago Flight Makes Emergency Landing, Tillman Tweets Experience]]> Tue, 28 Jul 2015 23:42:45 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/American-Airlines.jpg

An American Airlines flight traveling from Chicago O’Hare to Charlotte made an emergency landing Tuesday night.

Flight 1277 was diverted to Indianapolis before making it to North Carolina after the plane showed “indication of a mechanical issue,” according to an airline spokesperson.

The plane landed in Indiana about 9:15 p.m., officials said. American Airlines said the aircraft has since been checked out by an Indiana Mechanical Team and has been cleared to fly. The same aircraft is scheduled to take off at 11:30 p.m.

From the looks of social media it seems that the diverted flight may have had some NFL cargo on board.

At the same time as the emergency landing former Chicago Bears’ Charles "Peanut" Tillman posted a video on Twitter from the passenger seat of a flight that wrote, “Hopefully this will be my first and only emergency landing… #changingmyunderwearnow #thankyoujesus”

After playing for the Bears for 12 years, Tillman signed a one-year contract with the Carolina Panthers in 2015. Tillman, a Chicago native, still lives in the area with his wife and children.

The Panthers first practice is scheduled for Friday.

A request for comment from the Bears legacy was not immediately returned.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[1 Killed, 9 Hurt as Bible School Van Rams Train in Ohio]]> Tue, 28 Jul 2015 21:53:01 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/150728-middletown-oh-crash-bible-school-van-train.jpg

A Bible school van crashed into a train Tuesday night in Middletown, Ohio, killing a woman, seriously injuring the driver and sending all eight children on board to area hospitals, authorities told NBC News.

State Highway Patrol Lt. Clint Arnold said the van was moving at only 2 mph when it drove past multiple flashing warning signals and through a downed gate.

One of the van's occupants, an adult woman passenger, died of her injuries, authorities told NBC News. The driver — the only other adult on board — was seriously injured.

Police told NBC station WDTN of Dayton that all eight children suffered only minor injuries. The van was picking up its last load of children for the Church of Mayfield's summer vacation Bible school.

Photo Credit: Justin Kraus — WDTN]]>
<![CDATA[Falling Tree Injures 8 at Museum]]> Tue, 28 Jul 2015 22:37:58 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/150728-fallen-tree-pasadena.jpg

Eight children were injured, including two critically, after a 75-foot tree fell on them as they were leaving a summer day camp in Pasadena on Tuesday, officials said.

The 75-year-old pine tree was uprooted about 4:45 p.m. as campers and their families were walking through Brookside Park outside the Kidspace Children's Museum, officials with the Pasadena Fire Department said.

Two children were taken to Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center in critical condition and six others suffered minor injuries, said Lisa Derderian, a fire department spokeswoman.

Derderian initially said at least one adult had been injured.

Aerial footage captured by NewsChopper4 showed two children on stretchers and an Urban Search and Rescue team using chainsaws to cut away branches from the toppled tree as they searched for more possible victims.

A statement on the Kidspace Children's Museum website said all staff, campers, volunteers and guests were accounted for.

Thirty-three children ages 6 to 8 were enrolled in the summer camp, said Kidspace CEO Michael Shanklin.

The museum was expected to open Wednesday, he said.

Refresh this page for updates on this developing story

Photo Credit: KNBC]]>
<![CDATA[Drivers Can Now Rent Out Their Cars at O'Hare]]> Tue, 28 Jul 2015 19:32:35 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/airport+parking+free+parking+generic+lot.jpg

Chicago travelers who frequent O'Hare International Airport now have an option to make a little money — instead of spending it — when they park their cars at the airport.

San Francisco-based FlightCar announced its expansion to O'Hare on Tuesday. The company offers an alternative to simply parking and paying by allowing someone else to rent the cars that would normally just sit in the lot.

"We aim to change the way people park at airports and rent a car at airports," Lee Hillman, location manager for FlightCar, said. "The way we do that is sort of fuse the two things together, then we add value to the parking realm and the airport car rental realm."

FlightCar is just getting off the ground at O'Hare, but the car sharing service has already taken wing in 15 other cities, including Boston, Dallas and Los Angeles.

Every potential renter is screened to ensure safety, Hillman said. The renter's license is checked and no one with even a minor violation on his or her driving record is allowed to rent. Every car that owners put up for rent is also covered by a $1 million insurance policy.

While car owners can make money, FlightCar says renters can also save. The company claims its rates are 40 to 50 percent less than major rental car companies.

FlightCar service includes free airport pick up and drop off for both owners and renters. Customers get the benefit of free airport parking and a complete car cleaning, even if FlightCar does not rent out their vehicle.

<![CDATA[Chicago-Area Electricity Costs Could Increase]]> Tue, 28 Jul 2015 18:05:28 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/comed+truck.jpg

Chicago-area residents may see higher electricity bills beginning as early as next summer due to new rules prompted by the extreme cold of the Polar Vortex two years ago.

The new rules, which will not fully take effect until 2020, were created after nearly a quarter of power producers in the Chicago regional electric grid became inoperable due to a frigid day when temperatures dropped well below zero, according to the Chicago Tribune.

ComEd, as well as all other companies that distribute electricity in the Chicago area, will be affected by the new rules.

Customers could see increases of as little as a few dollars per month or as high as $12 per month, according to the Tribune. Next summer, customers could begin seeing small increases, but they likely will not see significant hikes until 2018.

The new rules allow power companies to charge more so they can have extra money and power in reserve in case of future Polar Vortexes, but opponents of the rule change say they are wary of that tactic.

"There's nothing in the rules that guarantee that the money that power producers get through this rule change will actually be used to make the system more reliable," said Jim Chilsen of the Citizens Utility Board.

The rule change is meant to make power suppliers more reliable when they are needed most. Exelon, which would benefit from the price increase, called the new rules "critical" because the extra money would go toward improving power plant reliability.

"These critical reforms will increase electric reliability now and in years to come by paying only those power plants that deliver on their commitments and imposing financial penalties on those that don't, especially during extreme weather conditions," Paul Elsberg, a spokesperson for Exelon, said.

Chilsen, however, says raising prices is the wrong focus.

"We need a greater emphasis on energy efficiency," Chilsen said. "We don't need to give power generators a potential windfall."

<![CDATA[Bears Sign David Carter, A.J. Cruz to Contracts]]> Tue, 28 Jul 2015 16:05:20 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-168333039.jpg

The Chicago Bears will report to training camp in Bourbonnais on Wednesday, and they will do so with two new faces on the roster as they signed David Carter and A.J. Cruz to contracts.

Cruz’s deal was for three years, and Carter inked a one-year deal, the team announced Tuesday.
The Bears also announced that they were placing linebacker Jonathan Brown on waivers to make room on the 90-man camp roster.

Carter, a defensive lineman, didn’t play in the NFL last season after spending the previous three years with the Arizona Cardinals and Dallas Cowboys. He has appeared in 35 career games, recording 30 tackles and a sack.

As for Cruz, the wide receiver has spent the last two seasons in the Arena Football League, including this season with the Arizona Rattlers. Cruz returned kicks and played receiver for the team, scoring a combined 14 touchdowns (six returns, five TD receptions, and three rushing TD’s) and playing a key role in the team’s offense.

<![CDATA[Missing 14-Year-Old St. Charles Girl Found: Police]]> Tue, 28 Jul 2015 18:24:27 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Emily+Czajkowski.jpg

A missing 14-year-old girl from west suburban St. Charles has been found.

Emily Czajkowski was found at a friend's home around 7:45 a.m. Tuesday by St. Charles Police, according to authorities.

The mother of the young girl's friend contacted police when she discovered the teen was inside the home with her son, police said. 

"It is with tremendous joy that we would like to tell you ..... All 17,000 of you.....That Emily is officially HOME!!!!" the latest post on the "Help find Emily Czajkowski" Facebook page read.

Czajkowski walked away from the Pottawatomie Community Center at 8 North Ave. in St. Charles about 6:35 p.m. Wednesday after being dropped off for a dance class, according to St. Charles police. She did not attend the class.

Video surveillance showed her leaving the building and talking on her cell phone, police said. Soon after, she posted a message to friends on social media that she intended to hurt herself, but the message was quickly deleted.

Emily was spotted walking westbound on West Main Street (Route 64) after leaving the community center, and then was seen between 7 and 8 p.m. near Main and 14th streets.

She had not been seen since, and her cell phone was either off or without power, police said.

Police said Czajkowski was not the victim of any criminal acts and they now consider the incident to be a "private, family matter." 

Photo Credit: St. Charles Police]]>
<![CDATA[Emotional Support Animals 'Growing Problem' on Flights]]> Mon, 27 Jul 2015 22:41:01 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/NBC+5+Investigates+Emotional+Support+Animals.jpg

If you dread the prospect of sitting next to a small child on an airplane, you may want to think again. 

There’s an increasing likelihood that your next seatmate could be a dog -- or a cat -- or a turtle -- or a chicken or a pig or even a kangaroo – and there’s really not much you can do about it.

They’re called Emotional Support Animals – ESAs. Almost anybody can bring one, or two, or three -- or even more - on board a plane, and virtually all species (other than snakes) are allowed. All you need is a letter from a licensed mental health professional, saying that you would benefit by having an ESA during plane travel. That allows your animal sit with you for free, and you don’t have to pay the $125 fee that you’d otherwise likely be charged to bring your pet on board.

NBC5 Investigates has learned that some flight attendants are concerned with the growing number of ESAs on flights, to the point that they fear the animals could potentially pose a safety hazard – especially in the event of an emergency evacuation.

And NBC5 has also found an online cottage industry of websites where doctors are willing to write ESA letters, for a fee. In fact, an NBC5 producer easily obtained her own ESA letter by answering a few questions and paying a fee, which allowed her to take two flights accompanied by her dog Bailey -- plus a Sulcata Tortoise named Xena, on loan from AnimalQuest in north suburban Lake Villa, a company whith offers exotic animal exhibitions and educational presentations to local schools and organizations.

“It really is getting to the point where it’s become uncomfortable for other passengers,” says Laura Glading, National President of the Association of Professional Flight Attendants. “And flight attendants are getting put in the middle.”

Glading adds: “We’ve had over fifty documented cases … dozens of instances where planes have returned to the gate; passengers have unruly pets; dogs maybe snapping at other passengers, or barking at other dogs and causing disruption.”

“A couple of weeks ago I was on a delayed flight because a dog had relieved himself in the bathroom,” she says. “We took a delay so the service people could come on and clean the toilet with their hazmat materials.”

ESAs are not service animals, which provide specific and much-needed assistance to people with physical, emotional, or mental disabilities. Service animals are highly trained and protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which ensures they have full access to accompany their companions anywhere – including planes. It is against federal law to misrepresent an animal as a service animal.

Glading points out that true service animals are consistently well-behaved on airplanes, and provide real help in the event of an evacuation, by assisting their companion as needed.

In contrast, ESAs are regulated by the Air Carrier Access Act – which does not grant them the broad range of access allowed by the ADA. It simply allows them on a plane – provided the passenger provides has a letter.

Another flight attendant and union representative tells NBC5 that these ESAs could truly jeopardize an emergency evacuation, because they are not trained for an emergency, and could get in the way of passengers – especially as their numbers increase. (She says she sees at least one ESA on nearly every flight she works.)

That same attendant tells NBC5 that her airline discourages attendants and gate staff from challenging the validity of an ESA or an ESA letter, for fear of a lawsuit.

“The same people who ‘game’ the system are also the same people who are most likely to make a scene if you try to challenge them on their animal or animals, so we are strongly encouraged to ‘just deal,’” the attendant says.

She does not want her name used by NBC5 because she does not want to reveal the airline she works for.

A spokeswoman for the airline industry takes issue with the idea that more people are flying these days with ESAs, but at the same time she says the industry does not keep track of the numbers. “We trust our passengers are honest in communicating their need for service assistance animal support,” she said in a statement.

The two flight attendants who spoke to NBC5 say that individual airlines track ESA – and ESA problems – internally.

But NBC5 Investigates has examined the few figures that are on file with the U.S. Department of Transportation, which show that complaints about assistance animals in general have risen steadily over recent years, and nearly nine out of every ten of those complaints now relate to animals traveling with people with “unspecified” disabilities – not any of the variety of disabilities commonly associated with true service animals. Although it cannot be confirmed that these “other” animals are ESAs, it may indicate a trend.

Here’s the breakdown of the assistance animal complaints to U.S. airlines in 2011 – the most recent year these reports have been tracked:

• Animals with vision-impaired passengers – 9 complaints
• Animals with hearing-impaired passengers – 8 complaints
• Animals wheelchair-bound passengers – 9 complaints
• Animals with passengers with other assistive devices – 11 complaints
• Animals with mentally-impaired passengers – 17 complaints
• Animals with passengers with allergies – 1 complaint
• Animals with passengers with “other disabilities” – 411 complaints

And here’s how assistance animal complaints have increased over the most recent eight years of reporting by U.S. airlines. Note that those complaints related to people with “other disabilities” now account for most all the complaints each year:

That’s an increase of more than a thousand percent, for problems reported concerning animals who are traveling with people not with sight or hearing problems, or seizures or mental issues, but passengers with “other” disabilities.

The flight attendants who spoke to NBC want a crackdown on the dozens of websites marketing ESA letters. They also would like to see airlines reduce the fee to travel with pets in approved containers, so that more people would be willing to go through the regular process of flying with their pets on planes.

<![CDATA[Madeleine McCann Cops Eye Body Found in Suitcase]]> Tue, 28 Jul 2015 10:15:32 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/missing+kid+1.jpg

Police investigating the 2007 disappearance of Madeleine McCann have contacted authorities in Australia following the discovery of a child's remains in a suitcase, NBC News reported. 

The British girl was 3 years old when she disappeared from her family's holiday apartment in Praia da Luz, Portugal.

No one has been charged with her disappearance and there have been no confirmed sightings.

Earlier this month, South Australia Police found what they believed were the remains of a girl, aged between 2 ½ and 4 years old, dumped in a case on the side of a highway near the city of Adelaide.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Gov. Rauner Stops Payment of Video Gambling Profits]]> Tue, 28 Jul 2015 18:35:15 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/video+gambling+getty.jpg

Gov. Bruce Rauner has frozen all the money cities and towns in Illinois make from video gambling and riverboat casinos until a state budget passes.

Gamblers can still spend their own money, but the city or town cannot collect or use it. The move is the latest maneuver in the governor's push to get a state budget passed, but for those who rely on those funds, it spells trouble.

Since Illinois approved video gaming a few years ago, it has become very popular. Without a state budget, however, Rauner announced Tuesday that he will not send the state share to the towns with the machines.

"The state does not have appropriation authority to distribute local municipalities their shares from video gambling because Speaker Madigan and the legislators he controls failed to pass a balanced budget," Catherine Kelly, a spokesperson for the governor, said in a statement.

Video gambling is fairly new, but towns like Oak Lawn have come to rely on it in their budget. Oak Lawn receives 5 percent of the net profits from the gambling.

"It's painful across the board," Oak Lawn Mayor Sandra Bury said. "I think when everyone just can't stand it anymore it'll get resolved."

Oak Lawn has 30 restaurants and bars with video gambling, and the village anticipates more than $400,000 in revenue this year. The money from video gambling helps fill a much-needed hole for public safety salaries.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Suburban Police Investigate Viral Video of Cop's Tirade]]> Tue, 28 Jul 2015 17:09:36 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/south+holland+viral+video.jpg

Police in suburban South Holland have opened an internal investigation after a short clip from a video showing a cop using profanity during a traffic stop went viral.

Harvey resident Rodney Wilson, 19, was dropping some friends off in South Holland when he was pulled over by police and approached by two officers, he told NBC Chicago. When Wilson and the other passengers asked the officers why they were pulled over, one of them responded, "Because you're you," according to Wilson.

The officer then asked Wilson for his ID. When Wilson asked for it back, the officer allegedly told him to step out of the car and he would give it to him. That's when Wilson said he started recording the encounter on his cellphone. The 30-second video, which shows the officer using foul language, went viral.

"He had no right to do so because I wasn't under arrest," Wilson said. "I wasn't resisting anything. I was in complete compliance with the officer. I felt very threatened. As of now, I'm very afraid to go through South Holland." 

The video shows the officer telling Wilson he could "command " him to get out of the car. Since the video was posted on Twitter, it has been retweeted nearly 17,000 times.

"If I wanted you out of the car, I could command you to get out of the car," the officer says. "And if you didn't get out of the car, I could pull you out of the [bleep] car."

Police say the video does not show the whole story, however. The traffic stop lasted 37 minutes, but the video only shows 30 seconds. During a press conference Tuesday, Police Chief Greg Baker said the officers were helping out with a police investigation in neighboring Lynwood, and a passenger in the car was detained as a result.

The South Holland Police Department issued a statement after the video went viral saying they were conducting a thorough internal investigation.

"The behavior of the officer is in violation of the Village of South Holland's code of conduct and goes against the organization's foundational values of professionalism, respect and customer care," the statement read.

Police say the traffic stop was "investigative" and was made "at the request of a neighboring municipality."

According to Wilson, Lynwood Police officers later showed up and arrested his cousin, 18-year-old Jordan James, who was also in the car. Wilson said he did not know why James was arrested.

Wilson was not arrested in this incident, but he said South Holland Police did arrest and "threaten" him on July 21 for trespassing at Thornwood High School, where he was taking summer school classes.

Photo Credit: Twitter]]>
<![CDATA[Chicago Named 2018 WJC Finalist ]]> Tue, 28 Jul 2015 15:55:56 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-460938574.jpg

 The city of Chicago has become used to hosting Stanley Cup Final games over the years, but in 2018, they could be playing host to an even bigger tournament as they’ve been named as a finalist for the World Junior Championships.

The bid, which has been spearheaded by Chicago Blackhawks owner Rocky Wirtz, would bring the tournament to the city for the first time in history. The event was last held in the United States in 2011, when Buffalo and Niagara served as host cities.

St. Louis, Buffalo, Tampa, and Pittsburgh were also named finalists by USA Hockey

The World Junior Championships are put on by the International Ice Hockey Federation, and take place in late December. The 2018 tournament will take place from December 27, 2017 through January 5, 2018. According to the Chicago Tribune, the tournament would be hosted at the United Center and at a new practice facility that the Blackhawks plan to construct near the building.

In the 2015 tournament, held in Toronto, Canada took home the gold medal with a 5-4 victory over Russia. Slovakia won the bronze medal, while the United States was eliminated thanks to a quarterfinal loss to the Russians.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[ Trump's Attorney Says 'You Can't Rape Your Spouse']]> Tue, 28 Jul 2015 08:28:58 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AP_494289661587.jpg

Donald Trump is making headlines again Tuesday, this time over something his lawyer said while trying to defend the Republican presidential candidate against decades-old allegations of rape, NBC's "Today" show reported. 

Michael Cohen, a lawyer for the Trump Organization reportedly told the Daily Beast: "You're talking about the front-runner for the GOP, presidential candidate, as well as private individual who never raped anybody...And of course, understand that by the very definition, you can't rape your spouse." 

Cohen went on to say, "I think you should go ahead and you should write the story that you plan on writing. I think you should do it. Because I think you're an idiot. And I think your paper's a joke, and it's going to be my absolute pleasure to serve you with a $500 million lawsuit, like I told [you] I did it to Univision."

The comments, which went viral overnight, came in response to an article published Monday that resurfaces allegations that Trump raped his then wife Ivana Trump in 1989. Trump has denied those accusations in the past.

His campaign said in a statement overnight, "This is an event that has been widely reported on in the past, it is old news and it never happened. It is a standard lawyer technique, which was used to exploit more money from Mr. Trump especially since he had an ironclad prenuptial agreement. It is just a way for the badly failing and money losing Daily Beast, which has been reporting inaccurately on Mr. Trump for years, to get some publicity for itself."

Previously, Ivana Trump issued a statement saying that she felt "violated"- treated without the usual love and tenderness- by Trump, and that she did not mean to use the term "rape" literally or criminally.  

This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[American Accused in Killing of Famous African Lion]]> Tue, 28 Jul 2015 15:15:16 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/cecil-handout-photo-.jpg

Wildlife officials on Tuesday accused an American tourist of killing Cecil, one of the oldest and most famous lions in Zimbabwe, without a permit after paying $50,000 to two people who lured the beast to its death, Reuters and NBC News reported.

The lion was lured out of Hwange National Park using a bait and was shot by Walter James Palmer with a crossbow, Johnny Rodrigues, chairman of Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force, told reporters.

Rodrigues said Palmer paid Zimbabwean hunter Theo Bronkhorst and Honest Ndlovu, a private game park owner, to lure the 13-year-old Cecil. Bronkhorst and Ndlovu will face poaching charges on Wednesday in Hwange for the killing of the lion on July 1, Rodriguez said.

Palmer told NBC News he had the correct permits, worked with local guides, and had no reason to question the legitimacy of the hunt until after it was over.

Photo Credit: Handout Photo/Zimbabwe National Parks - File
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Oswego Man Meets Jonathan Toews Hiking in Peru]]> Tue, 28 Jul 2015 13:17:03 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/214*120/AP533433648522.jpg

One lucky suburban man got to meet his "hockey hero" in a most unexpected place — Machu Picchu.

Ryan Adorjan, of Oswego, ran into Chicago Blackhawks Captain Jonathan Toews while hiking in the Peruvian ruins, according to Only Oswego. Adorjan told the publication he was hiking with a friend when he caught a glimpse of Toews and his girlfriend. Not wanting disrupt the Stanley Cup champion's vacation, he didn't say anything until he saw them a second time at the ruins.

When Adorjan and his friend finally approached Toews, he said the Blackhawks player seemed surprised that he was recognized in Peru, but he was "humble, genuine" when talking to them.

"He was asking more questions about us and our lives than we were about him," Adorjan told Only Oswego.

Adorjan has been in Peru for the past three months, but the Blackhawks fan said he was able to watch his team win the Stanley Cup from an American bar in Lima, according Only Oswego.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Mayor Touts Record-Breaking Tourism Numbers]]> Tue, 28 Jul 2015 12:46:42 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-148080618.jpg

With Lollapalooza just days away and the haze just clearing from July's Grateful Dead concerts at Soldier Field, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced record-breaking tourism numbers in Chicago this year.

The city's tourism industry has increased by 6 percent since 2011, with 136,000 jobs now in the industry, according to the mayor's office.

Furthermore, the hotel industry in the city is booming, thanks to events such as the Grateful Dead concerts and the NFL Draft. In the first half of 2015, 72.4 percent of all Chicago hotels were occupied, according to the mayor's office.

The hotel tax revenue has also doubled in the last five years amounting to nearly $56 million so far this year, the mayor's office said.

"I've talked to a number of hotel operators in the last few weeks, and I'm going to see a couple this weekend, and they all say this is the best time they've had in 10 years," former Ald. Bob Fioretti said.

A day after the tourism numbers were released, Mayor Emanuel attended a groundbreaking Tuesday at the new Marriott Marquis Chicago Hotel, located across the street from McCormick Place in the South Loop. The new building will stand more than 50 stories high and include a 10,000-seat arena for DePaul University Athletics. The hotel is expected to be open in time for tourist season in summer 2017.

The mayor said the new hotel will help keep Chicago on top of the tourism industry nationwide.

"Not only will this project create thousands of new jobs for Chicago residents during construction and upon its completion, but it will spur hundreds of millions of dollars of additional investment into the historic Motor Row and the Near South Side," Emanuel said.

The hotel project is part of the mayor's "Elevate Chicago" initiative to enhance the city's tourism industry.

<![CDATA[13 Kittens Found in Bag in PAWS Chicago Parking Lot]]> Tue, 28 Jul 2015 20:42:17 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/TopDuffle.jpg

Thirteen kittens were found left inside a duffel bag outside a PAWS Chicago Medical Center parking lot during a blistering summer weekend in the city.

A worker with Feral Fixers, an organization dedicated to practicing and promoting trap-neuter-return, discovered the kittens Sunday when she passed a fabric bag on her way out of the facility and noticed something was moving inside.

She looked inside and saw several kittens before bringing the bag in to shelter workers.

“Kittens die quickly in the heat and thirteen little bodies and 80+ degrees and humidity is dangerous,” a post on Feral Fixers’ website read. “This definitely falls into the land of "meant to be" and its [sic] wonderful that Debbie was in the right place at the right time and was observant enough to rescue these guys.”

PAWS said the kittens are “all safe and sound relaxing in foster homes.” They are expected to be available for adoption in two weeks at the Lincoln Park Adoption Center.

The kittens, which have since become known as the “Top Gun duffel bag kittens” were each named after “Top Gun” characters, including Iceman, Maverick, Sundown and Wolfman, among others.

The discovery comes just as PAWS launched its summer kitten adoption challenge, a challenge they initiated to help aleviate an “over-abundance of kittens on the streets of Chicago.”

“The warm summer months bring an influx of homeless kittens into the city pound where each are at risk of being euthanized because of space,” said Sarah McDonald, a spokesperson for PAWS. “There are too many kittens and not enough homes.”

The organization said it’s challenging the community to help it find homes for 350 kittens “in hopes of making a life-changing difference for both homeless kittens and our community.”

As part of the challenge, those who adopt two kittens at PAWS Chicago will receive 50 percent off the adoption fee for the second kitten. The challenge runs through Aug. 31.

The organization also plans to launch a “kitten cam” in the coming weeks, which may feature some of the “Top Gun” duffel bag kittens.

Photo Credit: PAWS Chicago]]>
<![CDATA[Rare Blue Moon to Appear This Week]]> Tue, 28 Jul 2015 13:00:14 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/blue+moon+sky.jpg

Be sure to set your gaze skyward Friday night to catch a glimpse of the rare blue moon.

Don't be fooled by the name "blue moon," however. Most likely, the moon will look gray or white as usual, but it will be a full moon.

Blue moons are not actually defined by their color. Instead, by popular definition, a blue moon is the second full moon in a month. The phenomenon only happens every few years, making it a relatively rare occurrence. The first full moon of the month happened July 2 — or technically July 1 for those in Chicago.

A moon that appears blue is caused by dust in the atmosphere, according to Larry Ciupik, an astronomer at the Adler Planetarium. If the atmospheric conditions are just right on Friday, then the blue moon may appear slightly blue in color, but Ciupik says that isn't likely to happen.

The popular definition of a blue moon is as incorrect as the assumption that the moon will actually look blue, however, according to Ciupik. The Farmers' Almanac definition of a blue moon is the third full moon in a calendar season, which is just as rare as the second full moon in a month. The two kinds of blue moons do not usually align, however.

The last blue moon — by popular definition — happened in August 2012, and the next one will not appear until January 2018. The phenomenon can happen any month except February, even during  a Leap Year, because the month does not have enough days, according to Ciupik.

Although Friday's moon may not look any different than any other full moon, Ciupik believes the popularity of the blue moon is due to the general mystery of the moon, including the faces some people see in the orb and the myths that proliferate about full moons causing strange events.

"It's also a kind of romantic thing," Ciupik said. "I think it's kind of primal. You look at the moon, and it's kind of primal. You could be seeing this a thousand years ago, the same thing."

Photo Credit: Jay Hayman]]>
<![CDATA[Farm Aid to Mark 30th Anniversary in Chicago]]> Tue, 28 Jul 2015 06:19:02 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/160*120/061709BrokeCelebs20.jpg

Farm Aid will mark its 30th anniversary with a star-studded performance in Chicago.

Featuring stalwarts Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp, Neil Young and Dave Matthews, the annual music and food festival will be held on Sept. 19 at the FirstMerit Bank Pavilion on Northerly Island, festival organizers announced Tuesday.

Farm Aid 30 will continue with the concert's movement to benefit and support family farms.

“We organized the first Farm Aid concert in Illinois in 1985 to respond to the people suffering during the Farm Crisis,” Farm Aid President and Founder Willie Nelson said in a statement. “Thirty years later, in Chicago, we’ll bring together so many of the people — farmers, eaters, advocates and activists — who have made the progress of the Good Food Movement possible. At Farm Aid 30, we’ll celebrate the impact we’ve had and rally our supporters for the work ahead.”

Nelson, Mellencamp, Young and Matthews have headlined every Farm Aid going back to 2001, but the quartet is always joined by special guests

Also performing at the September event are Imagine Dragons, Jack Johnson, Kacey Musgraves, Mavis Staples and Old Crow Medicine Show.

Farm Aid started in 1985, spurred by a comment Bob Dylan made at Live Aid earlier in the year.

"I hope that some of the money...maybe they can just take a little bit of it, maybe...one or two million, maybe...and use it, say, to pay the mortgages on some of the farms and, the farmers here, owe to the banks," Dylan said.

Since its inception, Farm Aid has raised more than $48 million to help stabilize family farms, according to its official website.

Tickets for this year’s fest go on sale at at 10 a.m. Aug. 3 at Livenation.com with ticket prices ranging from $49.50 to $189.50. The event will also be streamed live on Sept. 19 at farmaid.org  

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Couple's Home Destroyed By Fire Hours Before Wedding]]> Mon, 27 Jul 2015 18:31:15 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/175*120/wedding+cople.png

A few hours before Dayleen Marrero and Andrew Taylor were set to say their “I do’s,” the couple’s apartment building caught fire and the blaze destroyed almost everything they owned.

The fire started before 2 p.m. Friday in a two-story building on the 100 block of North Campbell Avenue. Flames were seen shooting through the roof.

Taylor was at the home at the time of the blaze and at 1 p.m. the fire had not reached their loft space yet. He credits their dog Dharma for saving his life.

"I got a text from my groomsmen, [then thought] 'Let's take the dog for a walk,'" Taylor said.

When he walked out into the hall he saw flames engulfing the area and running all the way up to the ceiling.

Taylor managed to escape with nothing but his tuxedo and their pit bull mix and immediately called his soon-to-be wife.

“I assumed he was going to be excited like getting me pumped for the wedding,” Marrero said. “[But] could hear sirens in the back.”

Their wedding rings and all their belongings were left inside as the fire consumed their home. Two of the groomsmen who were not home at the time of the fire lost a dog and a cat in the blaze.

None of this stopped the pair from getting married.

Their evening wedding went on as planned. There was dancing, cake and even karaoke as the couple celebrated their love.

“They pulled it together,” a GoFundMe page for the couple reads. “They showed up for each other and were both beaming as they each married their best friend.”

Friends and family members set up the fundraising page to help the couple start their new life off on a better note. The page has raised more than $7,600 since Saturday.

“There will be a lot of things they can't get back, but a lot can also be replaced,” the page read. “In replacing these things, they'll need a lot of money. Starting over isn't easy.”

While the couple still hopes to find their wedding rings and salvage what they can, they said they're just happy to have each other.

This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Day Care Investigated After 2 Boys Suffer Severe Sunburns]]> Tue, 28 Jul 2015 20:43:57 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/sunburnboys.jpg

WARNING: Images shown in the video above are graphic.

Two young boys are undergoing treatment for severe sunburns after their day care left them outside all day with little or no sunscreen, their mother said.

Seven-year-old Connor and 5-year-old Trae are currently in a hospital in Galveston, Texas, after suffering second and third-degree burns, NBC affiliate KJRH reported. 

Their mother, Shaunna Oxford, said her sons complained of burns after she picked them up from the Happiness is a Learning Center day care in Vinita, Oklahoma, on Friday. She said the boys were taken to a splash pad by the day care and left to play outside with little to no sunscreen all day.

“You know I can't explain what it's like to be a mother and have your kids asking you why this happened and (say) mom please make it stop,” she told KJRH. “Even to the point of begging me not to go back to work because they don't want to ever go back to day care again.”

Oxford took her sons to a hospital in Oklahoma over the weekend. They were later transferred to a Galveston hospital for treatment. 

The day care center has received 19 previous complaints from the Oklahoma Department of Human Services (OKDHS) for not complying with state regulations, according to KJRH.

OKDHS is investigating the latest allegations. The agency said the day care owner voluntarily closed the business.

When reached by NBC News, the owner of the day care chose not to comment on the case.

Photo Credit: KJRH]]>
<![CDATA[ISIS Left 'Thousands' of Land Mines in Syrian City]]> Tue, 28 Jul 2015 09:03:06 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AP624447153804.jpg

ISIS fighters forced to retreat from the northeastern Syrian city of Hasakah have left “thousands” of land mines in their wake, according to the Kurdish fighters battling to unseat the militants, NBC News reported.

One local commander told NBC News that the Kurdish forces have 1,000 of the militant group's fighters surrounded, but those who have fled have laid so many land mines that at least 15 villages around Hasakah are now uninhabitable.

"There are thousands of mines," said the commander, who goes by the nomme de guerre Lawant Rojava. "They plant large mines that are easily detonated so young boys are blown to pieces."

Some mines have been planted in objects like soda cans, which children are likely to pick up, Rojava said. Fifteen of his fighters have been killed attempting to defuse the mines in just four months, he added.

"We need help," said Rojava. "We don't have the technology or techniques to defuse them." 

<![CDATA[Huckabee on Holocaust Remark: 'We Need to Use Strong Words']]> Tue, 28 Jul 2015 08:13:39 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AP_311446341094.jpg

Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee reiterated his comments on the Iran nuclear deal Tuesday, saying if he was president, he would use the same language when referring to potential deals with Iran.

"We need to use strong words when people make strong threats against an entire group of people as the Iranians have made toward the Jews," the former Arkansas governor said on NBC's "Today" show. 

On Monday, Huckabee refused to apologize for criticizing President Obama's nuclear weapons deal with Iran by comparing it to the Holocaust.

"He would take the Israelis and basically march them to the door of the oven," he said in a recent interview about the plan.

Huckabee said the response from Jewish people to his comments has been "overwhelmingly positive" and that he even heard from Holocaust survivors and their children.

This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Fire Blazes Through South Side Business]]> Tue, 28 Jul 2015 08:26:30 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/224*120/bridgeport+fire1.jpg

A raging fire left a business on Chicago’s South Side in ruins Tuesday morning.

The Chicago Fire Department said the DiFoggio Plumbing and Sewer Contractors warehouse near 32nd Street and Shields Avenue in Bridgeport went up in flames around 1 a.m. Tuesday.

Witnesses reported hearing a loud explosion before the fire broke out. 

When crews arrived on scene, officials said a brick wall was destroyed.

"The exterior wall had already collapsed," said District Chief Arriel Gray. "At that point, other companies arrived on the scene. We set up tower ladders and master streams and we immediately went into defensive attack."

The fire quickly evolved to an extra alarm and took nearly three hours for firefighters to put out. It then rekindled a couple of hours later. 

Deputy District Chief Jeff Lyle said about 100 firefighters responded to the scene. 

Investigators were still working to determine what sparked the fire hours after the blaze, but said they would look into the witness reports. Lyle said a power wash and snow removal company that rents part of the building may have had chemicals that created a possible explosion.

No one was inside the building at the time and no injuries have been reported.

Officials with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were called to investigate.