<![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 Thu, 05 Mar 2015 04:56:07 -0600 Thu, 05 Mar 2015 04:56:07 -0600 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Polar Plunge Raises Record $1.2 Million]]> Wed, 04 Mar 2015 17:31:40 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/GettyImages_464871218.jpg

This year's Polar Plunge went more than swimmingly.

Sunday's event raised more than $1.2 million for Special Olympics Chicago, breaking the record set in 2014. Last year's event, which featured Jimmy Fallon and Mayor Rahm Emanuel, raised $1 million.

This year's Plunge also had record attendance and record star power. More than 4,500 people took the icy dip, including Vince Vaughn, Lady Gaga and some cast members from "Chicago Fire" and "Chicago P.D."

Vaughn was the celebrity guest of honor at the event after Special Olympics Chicago recruited him in a social media campaign using the hashtag #VinnyDippin. The "Wedding Crashers" actor showed his Chicago pride and donned a Blackhawks jersey for the plunge.

Lady Gaga made a surprise appearance at the event with her "Chicago Fire" fiance, Taylor Kinney. The two were joined by Kinney's co-star David Eigenberg and "Chicago P.D.'s" Jon Seda.

The Polar Plunge began in 2000 when it raised just $40,000 to benefit Special Olympics Chicago. Since then, the event has grown exponentially.

"The weather may have been chilly and the water temperature 32 degrees, but this was a day filled with warmth and love for our athletes who work so hard all year," Casey Hogan, president of Special Olympics Chicago, said.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Willis Tower Could Have New Buyer]]> Wed, 04 Mar 2015 19:26:52 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/SearsTowerGeneric.jpg

Chicago's Willis Tower is on the market and could soon be under new ownership.

Building management confirmed to NBC Chicago on Wednesday that the 110-story tower was on the market. New York City-based real estate broker Eastdil Secured LLC was tapped to handle the sale.

News of the building being put on the market was first reported Tuesday by Crain's Chicago Business. The Chicago Tribune later published a report, citing a source, that a new buyer may have already been secured.

There was no official comment Wednesday from building management or Eastdil Secured officials about a potential buyer, or the reported $1.5 billion sale price.

The building is currently owned by New York investors Joseph Chetrit and Joseph Moinian and Skokie-based American Landmark Properties. The parties bought the building in 2004 when it was still known as the Sears Tower.

It became known as the Willis Tower in 2009 after London-based insurance broker Willis Group Holdings earned naming rights as part of a lease deal.

The commercial property is currently 84 percent leased, with the largest tenants being United Airlines and the law firm Schiff Hardin LLP.

The Willis Tower, at 1,451 feet tall, held the designation as the nation's tallest building until late in 2013 when it was eclipsed by the new One World Trade Center in New York City. An expert committee of architects said the structure atop the latter building was a spire and not a broadcast antenna, bringing the height of the building to 1,776 feet.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Garcia Pledges to Hire 1,000 Police Officers]]> Wed, 04 Mar 2015 21:11:44 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/TLMD-Emanuel-Garcia1.jpg

Jesus “Chuy” Garcia defended his pledge to hire 1,000 new police officers Wednesday, a promise that Rahm Emanuel's campaign calls “fairy dust.”

“Going back to a day in which you make pledges where you can’t afford them will get us right back where we were before,” Mayor Emanuel said Wednesday.

Emanuel made that same pledge four years ago before having to revise it.

Garcia fired right back to the mayor's remarks, saying he is "the last one, the last person who can criticize anyone else."

As for why?

"Because Chicago appears to be in a financial free fall that happened under his watch,” Garcia said.

Garcia’s plans were not the only subject of criticism coming from the mayor Wednesday, as he headed to a Chicago firehouse to speak on how he believes Gov. Rauner’s budget cuts will hurt the city departments including fire and police.

Garcia, on the other hand, believes Emanuel is using the event as an attempt to distance himself from Rauner, who the mayor has been photographed vacationing and sharing a bottle of wine with in the past.

“The mayor should go to Springfield and sit with Rauner,” Garcia said. “Maybe open up one of those expensive bottles and figure out how he’s going to really fight for the people of Chicago.”

In Emanuel's first television ad for the runoff, which began airing Wednesday, he admits he can be too aggressive.

“If I made a mistake, I own it,” Emanuel said in his appearance at the Chicago firehouse. “It's on me.”

As for the biggest change since the mayor was placed in a runoff? He's more accessible to reporters. Emanuel took more than a dozen questions from reporters, the most ever taken in his four years.

<![CDATA[Preservation Chicago Names 7 Threatened Buildings]]> Wed, 04 Mar 2015 17:10:52 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/IIT+main+building.jpg

A Chicago architecture organization named seven historic buildings in the city that it believes are in danger of being demolished this year.

Preservation Chicago publishes an annual list of the seven most threatened buildings in the hopes of preserving them and highlighting their importance in their respective neighborhoods.

This year's list includes buildings all over Chicago:

-- Agudas Achim North Shore Synagogue: This Uptown structure was built in 1922 and has been described as "the last grand Chicago synagogue," according to Preservation Chicago. The building is now up for sale, and Preservation Chicago says a new developer may choose to demolish the historic building. Levi Lefkowitz, the son of the synagogue's rabbi and an agent for the building, said the developers fully intend to preserve the facade of the building, however.

-- Clarendon Park Community Center and Field House: This building in Uptown was originally built in 1916 as a modern facility for a popular lakefront beach. Preservation Chicago says the building has been changed "inappropriately" many times over the years and wants to see a renovation and restoration of the original historic structure.

-- A. Finkl and Sons Steel Plant: This West Lincoln Park series of structures was built in the early 20th century and is a symbol of Chicago's industrial past. Preservation Chicago says the site is now vacant and demolition permits have been issued for some of the structures as a result.

-- Illinois Institute of Technology Main Building: Construction of this Bronzeville building was completed in 1893 and was the first building on the IIT campus. It is also a designated Chicago landmark. Preservation Chicago says the building is in need of significant funds to repair and restore it.

-- Neon Signs: Preservation Chicago also named the historic neon signs throughout the city, saying they are "a prominent part of Chicago's landscape and cityscape." The organization listed them as threatened because of the high cost to maintain them.

-- Pioneer Arcade and New Apollo Theater: Preservation Chicago described Pioneer Arcade in West Humboldt Park as "Chicago's largest surviving 1920s-era commercial recreation center." It is located in the business and entertainment district at North Avenue and Pulaski Road and faces the New Apollo Theater. The organization says these structures are currently vacant and have suffered from a notable lack of maintenance over the years.

-- South Side Masonic Temple: This Englewood structure was built in 1921 when the retail and entertainment district at 63rd Street and Halsted was booming. Preservation Chicago says the building is a landmark in the neighborhood, but it has sat vacant and deteriorated significantly over the years.

Photo Credit: Preservation Chicago]]>
<![CDATA[Teen Accused of Helping Another Join ISIS]]> Thu, 05 Mar 2015 04:34:18 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/TLMD-isis-generico.jpg

A teenager from Woodbridge, Virginia, is in custody accused of helping another young man travel to Syria to join ISIS.

Sources tell News4 they fear the 17-year-old Osborne Park High School student may have tried to recruit other students to join ISIS.

His name has not been released.

He is being held in an undisclosed location as a juvenile.

The older teen, who traveled to Syria, is facing indictment in this case, but it's not clear where he is.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Nun Fights Fines Blamed on Vanity Plate Problem]]> Wed, 04 Mar 2015 22:44:05 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/214*120/investigates+trinity+plate.jpg

Sister Michelle Germanson, president of Trinity High School in River Forest, takes her school pride with her -- literally -- everywhere she drives. The word "TRINITY" has been emblazoned on the vanity plate of Sr. Michelle’s car for the better part of two decades. Her passion for her job is hard to miss.

"I’m in my 23rd year here, come on, get a life! I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. I love this school. I love watching young women be empowered. This is family," she recently told NBC 5 INVESTIGATES.

It was this very public symbol of commitment to her job that created an 18-month nightmare for the beloved nun. The first red flag came with a call in 2013 from the Dominican Mother House in Sinsinawa, Wisconsin -- the order of nuns to which the car is registered

"Sister, you have a ticket here, and it’s rather large," she recalled being told. "And I say, 'Really? Well, what happened?'"

What happened was months and months of erratic parking, all over New York City, in a car that seemed to have an identical vanity plate with the word "TRINITY" and also registered in the state of Wisconsin.

The trouble, according to Sr. Michelle: "I haven’t been to New York, and certainly my car hasn’t been because I haven’t been."

Facing hundreds of dollars in fines, the sister and her assistant, Andrea Lamacki, took to mounting a defense. They compiled proof that Sr. Michelle's car was a different color than the one in the tickets, though both were Toyotas registered in Wisconsin with the word "TRINITY" on the plate -- or, as it turns out, almost the same vanity plate.

Upon closer look, the other car’s plate was actually spelled "TR1NITY," with the first "I " replaced by the number one. It's a distinction with a huge difference, they argued.

Still, the tickets kept coming. Help from a lawyer and other connections who offered help fell flat, and that’s when Sr. Michelle and Lamacki saw a report last December about a man who'd received incorrectly-issued parking tickets. NBC 5 INVESTIGATES at that time revealed that Illinois law offers scores of designer plate options, allowing different versions of the personalized plates to share the same words or initials.

That report, Sr. Michelle said, gave her hope just when she toyed with the idea of giving in.

"What I do here at Trinity is empower women to be themselves and standup for what they believe in. I thought, 'Hello? Self? Do something here!' And I’m like, 'No, I’m not changing my plate.'"

NBC 5 INVESTIGATES confirmed with the state of Wisconsin that the driver of the other car – the one with the plate "TR1NITY" -- is a woman from Milwaukee. It was a conflict that convinced the New York Department of Finance – after our calls – to dismiss all of Sr. Michelle’s tickets.

A spokesperson for the department said Sr. Michelle’s files were now "flagged" so the issue won't pop up again.

After a year and a half of hassle, it was news Sr. Michelle greeted with relief, and her signature humor.

"I don’t look so good in orange, so I hope this stops!" she said.

Photo Credit: NBCChicago]]>
<![CDATA[One Killed in Rolling Meadows Apartment Building Fire ]]> Wed, 04 Mar 2015 22:55:18 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/firefighter-generic-san-die.jpg

One person has died after jumping from the third floor of an apartment building that caught fire in Rolling Meadows Wednesday evening.

Fire officials received a call reporting the flames at about 8:30 p.m. at the three-story Northwest suburban apartment building at 5201 Carriageway Drive.

The remaining residents of the building were evacuated.

Firefighters spent hours trying to douse the flames. No other injuries have been reported.

Jerry Holmes from the Red Cross says they are helping three families find housing, food and clothing.

This story is developing, check back for details.

Photo Credit: File Photo]]>
<![CDATA[Beagle Puppy Saved From Home Blaze]]> Wed, 04 Mar 2015 20:06:52 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Duke-Dog-Rescued-Fire-St-Albans.jpg

A 1-year-old beagle mix is recovering at a New York City animal clinic after being rescued from a burning apartment in Queens, officials say.

The dog, named Duke, was taken to BluePearl Veterinary Partners after the fire at his home in St. Albans Tuesday, the clinic said.

The dog’s fur was matted with soot, but he wasn’t burned. Firefighters were initially not able to find the pup's owner, but later located the owner in the hospital.

“When we saw the dog, he was covered with soot and he was shaking,” said Det. Tara Cuccias. “It was clear that he was in distress.”

The NYPD took the dog over to BluePearl, where it is being treated for exposure to carbon monoxide. Veterinarians are using a special mask to pump oxygen into Duke’s lungs.

The pet charity Frankie’s Friends is paying for Duke’s care, which BluePearl estimates at about $6,000. Donations can be made at the group’s website.

<![CDATA[CT Responders Shovel Victim's Roof]]> Wed, 04 Mar 2015 20:01:22 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/manchester+scott+drive+shoveling.jpg

Emergency responders in Manchester made every effort to save a man who suffered a heart attack while shoveling Tuesday morning. He didn't make it, so they did the only thing left to do and finished the job.

Miroslaw Dabrowski, 57, collapsed while shoveling his roof on Scott Drive around 9:45 a.m. Tuesday, Manchester Fire Chief David Billings said.

Police arrived first and climbed onto the roof to perform CPR. Firefighters took over, using an automatic CPR device to administer chest compressions while they put Dabrowski on a back board and lowered him to the ground, Billings said.

They tried to resuscitate Dabrowski on the way to the hospital, but he couldn't be saved.

Billings said emergency responders can feel helpless when a life is lost, so they went back to Scott Drive and did the only thing they could: finished shoveling Dabrowski's roof while his family was at the hospital.

They felt compelled to help and knew it would be the last thing on the family's mind when they returned home, according to Billings.

He said Dabrowski leaves behind a wife and large family.

Photo Credit: Manchester Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[Cops Hurt in Skid Row Scuffle: LAPD]]> Wed, 04 Mar 2015 19:58:15 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/186*120/03-04-15_Skid-Row-Scuffle.JPG

Two police officers were hurt in a struggle with a homeless man after he attacked a TV cameraman on Los Angeles’ Skid Row Wednesday, authorities said.

A KTTV cameraman was filming outside the Midnight Mission around noon when the homeless man assaulted him, according to an officer with LAPD’s media relations section.

At least one witness said the man bit an officer on the arm.

Officers tried to subdue the man, and during the confrontation, the man reached for an officer's holstered gun, according to police spokesman Officer Jack Richter.

Two officers received minor injuries in the scuffle, but police were able to subdue the man with a Taser, the LAPD said.

The man was uncooperative and would not immediately give his name to police after his arrest.

Photo Credit: KNBC]]>
<![CDATA[Mom Who Jumped With Baby Charged]]> Wed, 04 Mar 2015 19:49:06 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/tlmd_patricia_shurig.jpg

A mother has been indicted in the attempted murder of her infant daughter after jumping into ocean from a jetty with the young girl, prosecutors in Atlantic County, New Jersey said.

Patricia Shurig, 24, was indicted on Tuesday in the incident that happened in Atlantic City on the evening of Oct. 26, 2014. Authorities said she leapt off a rock jetty on the Atlantic City Inlet holding her one-month-old daughter, Krishna.

Witnesses called 911 and rushed to pull them from the water. Krishna was not breathing, but was revived after the good Samaritans performed CPR.

Shurig's sister, Amanda Husta, told NBC10 last year Shurig was suffering from postpartum depression but did not indicate she planned to harm the child.

"I don't want people to think poorly of her because of her mental illness," said Husta. "I definitely want them to be understanding of the situation."

Police previously charged the mother with Aggravated Assault. She is out on $100,000 full cash bail.

If convicted, Shurig could face a maximum of 30 years in prison.

<![CDATA[Oakland Mayor Woos George Lucas for Museum]]> Tue, 03 Mar 2015 19:25:47 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/221*120/lucas3.JPG

Oakland wants the force to be with it.

Mayor Libby Schaaf hopes that film director and entrepreneur George Lucas will consider bringing his proposed Lucas Museum of Narrative Arts to the East Bay if plans to build the $70 million project in Chicago don't work out.

Schaaf said in a statement given to San Francisco Business Times that there is "strong interest in engaging Mr. Lucas in further discussion."

But Oakland would have some stiff competition within California; Lucas told the Los Angeles Times in January that Los Angeles would make sense to him if Chicago fell through.

"The advantage Los Angeles has is that it's on the USC campus and I don't have to go through all the rigmarole of years and years of trying to get past everything. That's an advantage because I do want to get it done in my lifetime," Lucas, 70, said.

Meanwhile, those in the Presidio can visit the iconic Yoda fountain statue, a reminder that Lucas' museum could have been in San Francisco.

<![CDATA[Emanuel: "I Can Rub People the Wrong Way"]]> Wed, 04 Mar 2015 10:02:49 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Emanuel-Ad-Chicagos-Future-.jpg

Mayor Rahm Emanuel's latest political advertisement takes on critics who say he's too gruff.

The ad, out Tuesday, and his first since failing to win a second term outright, strikes a strategic mix of contrition and determination.

"I can rub people the wrong way or talk when I should listen. I own that," Emanuel says squarely into the camera. "But I’m driven to make a difference. .... I’m not going to always get it right. But when it comes to fighting for Chicago and Chicago’s future, no one’s going to fight harder."

Emanuel garnered 46 percent of the vote in the Feb. 24 election, short of the majority support he needed to earn a second term. He faces Cook County Commissioner Jesus "Chuy" Garcia, who came in second place, with 34 percent of the vote, in the April 7 runoff.

Garcia said Emanuel finds himself in a runoff because he "broke his promise to put more police on the street."

"The mayor seems to have missed the most important lesson from the runoff election: people want a change," Garcia campaign manager Andrew Sharp said in response to the mayor's ad.

Emanuel, the former White House Chief of Staff, has been criticized during his first term and the latest campaign not only for his decisions but the way he's carried them out. He closed dozens of schools, frustrated unions during pension deal talks, angered some small business owners during minimum wage discussions, and has balked at or flat-out ignored questions posed to him by the media.

But he says those actions show a candidate who is self-aware and determined to make the decisions he thinks are best.

Emanuel's ad seems to follow advice posited by Ward Room blogger Brooke Anderson the day after the Mayor's primary defeat.  

"He could warm up his appeal to voters by acknowledging, at the right moment in the weeks ahead, that he hasn’t done everything right. And while his supporters say he’s been making tough choices to move the city forward, sending some smoke signals that he will take a more inclusive approach to governing in his second term would probably go a long way," Anderson wrote in a Feb. 25 piece opining how Emanuel could gain momentum in the race. "Imperfection resonates. It’s human. Some off-message sincerity -- even vulnerability -- could be just what the mayor needs."

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<![CDATA[Fifth Man Arrested in Series of Smash-and-Grabs]]> Wed, 04 Mar 2015 12:52:48 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Damarco+Darring.jpg

A fifth man has been arrested in connection with a series of smash-and-grab burglaries at high-end stores on Michigan Avenue and the North Side.

Damarco Darring, 22, was pulled over for a minor traffic violation Tuesday night in the 8600 block of South Morgan Street. Upon further investigation, police discovered Darring was wanted in connection with the Sept. 22 burglary of Luxury Garage Sale near Wells Street and North Avenue in Chicago's Old Town neighborhood.

Darring was charged with two felony counts for burglary and theft. He was also charged with two misdemeanor counts for possession of marijuana and for driving with a suspended license.

Four other men were charged this week in connection with smash-and-grab burglaries in the Chicago area and beyond over the last two years. The group is responsible for 40 incidents during this time period and is believed to be a part of the Gangster Disciples street gang, police said.

The thieves first used crow bars and other tools to break into stores, but they later began using stolen vehicles when stores increased their security, police said.

Photo Credit: Chicago Police]]>
<![CDATA[Boston Bombing Trial: What to Know]]> Wed, 04 Mar 2015 16:04:46 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/TLMD-tsarnaev-maraton-boston-sketch-jane-collins.JPG

Nearly two years after bombs exploded at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing three and injuring more than 260 others, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is going on trial in the city, accused of making the bombs with his brother and detonating them in a crowd of spectators cheering on the runners.

Tsarnaev, who has pleaded not guilty, faces the death penalty if found guilty of some of the charges.

Who is Dzhokhar Tsarnaev?
Tsarnaev, 21, is an ethnic Chechen who came to the United States about a decade ago. His family, parents Anzor and Zubeidat, his brother, Tamerlan, and two sisters settled in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

He was well liked at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School, where he was captain of the wrestling team and took honors classes, and he was enrolled at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed after the bombings during a shootout with police, after he received gunshot wounds and was apparently run over by his brother.

The charges he faces

Tsarnaev faces a 30-count indictment that includes 17 charges that carry the death penalty. He is accused of improvising bombs from pressure cookers, explosive power and shrapnel, and detonating them at the finish line of the Boston Marathon.

Among the charges: conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction resulting in death, possession and use of firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence resulting in death and malicious destruction of property resulting in personal injury and death.

Dodging the death penalty?

A prominent addition to Tsarnaev’s defense lawyer is Judy Clarke, a defense attorney noted for keeping her clients off death row.

Her infamous clients have included Ted Kaczynski, known as the Unabomber; Susan Smith, the mother who drowned her two children; Jared Loughner, responsible for killing six people and injuring then-U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords; and Eric Rudolph, the Olympic Park bomber. All received life sentences.

Clark, a staunch opponent of the death penalty, knew at a young age that she wanted to be a lawyer, according to a profile by The Associated Press. She told an audience at Loyola Law School in 2013 that many people charged with capital crimes have suffered severe trauma.

"They're looking into the lens of life in prison in a box," she said. "Our job is to provide them with a reason to live."

Courthouse protests

Supporters of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev could be outside the federal courthouse in Boston protesting throughout the trial — over the objections of his lawyers. Tsarnaev’s defense team had argued that he would be unfairly associated with their outrageous conspiracy theories and wanted them kept a reasonable distance away.

“Survivors, jurors, witnesses, and members of the public must be able to attend court without being assaulted by inflammatory accusations from any source,” the lawyers wrote. “If they cannot, the fairness of the defendant’s trial is likely to be gravely harmed.’’

But U.S. District Judge George A. O’Toole Jr. ruled against them, though he gave no written explanation for his decision.

Tsarnaev's supporters include the mother-in-law of Ibragim Todashev, a friend of Tsarnaev’s brother, Tamerlan, who was shot and killed in Florida while being questioned by law enforcement officials. Elena Teyer traveled to Boston in December to shout encouragement to Tsarnaev during one of his court appearances.

Some of the protestors insist that the bombings were the result of a government conspiracy, and that Tsarnaev was framed with flimsy evidence.

Unhappy in Boston

Tsarnaev’s lawyers have tried repeatedly to move the trial out of Boston, arguing that it would be impossible to find an impartial jury in a city so affected by the bombings, but O’Toole has rejected all of their requests.

The lawyers appealed to a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in Boston, but on Feb. 28, a divided panel rejected their petition.

The majority wrote that Tsarnaev had not met the well-established standards for the court to intervene. The dissenting judge wrote that the media coverage had been unparalleled in American legal history, making the idea that Tsarnaev would receive a fair and impartial trial absurd.

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<![CDATA[JRW Whistleblower Arrested in Evergreen Park]]> Tue, 03 Mar 2015 19:45:37 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/214*120/chris+janes.jpg

The rival Little League coach whose accusations cost Chicago's Jackie Robinson West their U.S. championship title was arrested early Tuesday after police say he chased a stranger into her home.

Chris Janes, the vice president of the Evergreen Park Athletic Association, told NBC Chicago he "doesn't remember" what happened but thinks he simply went to the wrong home after having a few too many drinks.

"I did something really stupid, and I feel awful," he said.

Police say Janes chased the woman, who said she had never met him, into her home and began banging on her door after she pulled into her driveway, police said.

The woman said Janes shouted into the home asking for her husband to come out and fight him, then ran down the street, Capt. Peter Donovan said.

Janes was charged with misdemeanor disorderly conduct, assault and resisting and obstructing a police officer. He was ticketed for public intoxication and using vulgar and threatening language.

His car was located on the woman’s block, police said, but he denied using it.

Janes was thrust into the spotlight of the Jackie Robinson West controversy after he filed the initial complaint that the team violated residency rules and alleged they used top suburban players to boost their roster.

Earlier this year, the team was stripped of their U.S. Championship Title following an investigation from Little League International. Janes later became the target of criticism, even saying he received death threats from upset fans.

"It was evident to us that there was some wrongdoing and there's rules in place," Janes said. "As tough as it must have been for Little League, they needed to hold these guys accountable for breaking the rules."

Photo Credit: Evergreen Park Police]]>
<![CDATA[Family of Man Killed by Chicago Police Sues The City]]> Wed, 04 Mar 2015 16:35:01 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/chicago-police11.jpg

The family of a 19-year-old man who was fatally shot by Chicago police last summer filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday against the city and two Chicago police officers, hoping to find answers to some of their questions surrounding his death.

On Aug. 24, 2014, Roshad McIntosh was standing on a street in the North Lawndale neighborhood with friends when the group was confronted by police.

McIntosh’s lawyers say the teen fled the scene in the 2800 block of West Polk, but surrendered shortly after, unarmed. Police, however, claim McIntosh pointed a gun at officers, prompting them to open fire.

“I lost my son, he was taken from me. I’m really hurt,” McIntosh’s mother Cynthia Lane said in a statement. “Roshad’s death has affected me emotionally in ways I never knew were possible. The law suit will never bring him back; but it will help answer a lot of questions that we have. Our family needs to know why they shot and killed him.”

The wrongful death lawsuit filed in the name of McIntosh’s 3-year-old son claims the city failed to “adequately train, supervise and discipline officers who shoot civilians” and failed to “thoroughly investigate police shootings.”

“The death of Roshad McIntosh was beyond tragic and is unjustifiable. It is unconscionable that the City of Chicago continues to fight transparency and shield the wrongdoing of their police officers instead of thoroughly investigating this and other instances of police violence,” said Sarah Gelsomino, a lawyer with People’s Law Office representing the family of Roshad McIntosh. “This lawsuit seeks not only justice for the family of Roshad McIntosh but to finally bring to light the circumstances of Roshad’s death, which the CPD has kept hidden from his family and from the public.”

Gelsomino noted the shooting took place a few weeks after the shooting of unarmed black teen Michael Brown, whose death continues to make national headlines.

The city and Chicago Police Department did not immediately respond to NBCChicago’s request for comment. The identities of the two officers involved in the shooting were not released.

Photo Credit: NBC Chicago]]>
<![CDATA[Kids Can't Sled on Capitol Hill]]> Wed, 04 Mar 2015 18:28:01 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/20150304+Sledding.jpg

Despite a request from D.C.'s congresswoman, there will be no sledding on Capitol Hill during the snowstorm expected to sock the D.C. area tomorrow.

The Capitol Police Board issued a statement late Wednesday that said it would not grant Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton's request to allow sledding.

In a statement, Frank Larkin, chairman of the Capitol Police Board, said, "for security reasons, the Capitol grounds are not your typical neighborhood hill or playground."

The statement also said it was the job of Capitol Police to protect the Capitol grounds from being damaged. And, read the statement, sledding isn't that safe, anyway.

"According to recent media reports, at least 20,000 sledding injuries occur in the U.S. each year," Larkin's statement read.

Wednesday, Norton had asked for a one-time waiver of the ban.

"This could be the last snowstorm the D.C. area gets this winter, and may be one of the best for sledding in years," Norton said in a statement. "Children and their parents should able to enjoy sledding on one of the best hills in the city.

"Have a heart, Mr. Larkin," Norton wrote, "a kid’s heart, that is.”

Playing on Capitol Hill in the snow is a goal of many kids in the District. During a late February snow, News4's Tom Sherwood got tweets from a skier who managed to hang on the Hill long enough to capture a video. That same skier later tweeted Tom that a "sad boy" had just been turned away from the tempting, pristine powder.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Homeless Man Stole Bridge Light: PD]]> Wed, 04 Mar 2015 20:39:14 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Zakim+Bridge+Light.jpg

A homeless man stole aircraft warning lights from Boston's Zakim Bridge and left them at historical sites around the city, state police said Wednesday.

Clifford W. Beckford, 34, who was arrested Tuesday evening, has been charged with breaking and entering, larceny, receiving stolen property, malicious destruction of property, committing injury to a bridge and defacement of property.

Massachusetts State Policesay they began investigating after Beckford stole a red beacon — measuring 18 inches in diameter and 3 feet tall and weighing at least 60 pounds — around 9 p.m. on Feb. 3.

Beckford allegedly walked up a ramp to reach the Zakim Bridge, broke into the bridge's south tower, climbed a ladder to the top and took the beacon. Police say he then came down the ladder and left the beacon in the snow bank on the side of I-93, went to his car parked nearby, drove to the side, put it in his car and drove away.

Beckford, who police say lives out of his car, was arrested near a relative's Melrose home, but police still had to find the beacon.

Authorities say their investigation led them to the Warren Tavern in Charlestown, the state's oldest tavern, which counts famous figures such as George Washington and Paul Revere as past customers.

State troopers went to the tavern and, after speaking with the manager, found the beacon in the establishment's cellar. Beckford had left the beacon outside the tavern recently, and an employee took it inside without knowing what it was, authorities said.

This wasn't Beckford's first time stealing a Zakim Bridge airplane warning beacon, state police say their investigation showed.

He stole another beacon sometime in the early 2000s during the bridge's construction, when the beacon was property of an electrical contractor and was never reported stolen, police said.

As state police investigated further, they found that the beacon stolen in the 2000s was recently left at the office of The Bostonian Society, which currently operates out of the Old State House Museum in Boston, another historical site in the city.

Police say neither the Warren Tavern, The Bostonian Society nor the Old State House Museum knew where the beacons had come from and were not involved in the thefts.

Information on a lawyer for Beckford was not immediately available.

Beckford was arraigned Wednesday and was ordered to undergo a 20-day mental health evaluation. 

Photo Credit: Massachusetts State Police]]>
<![CDATA[Bill de Blasio Won't Endorse Rahm]]> Wed, 04 Mar 2015 14:37:20 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/de+blasio+budget1.jpg

New York City's progressive mayor Bill de Blasio said this week that he wouldn't endorse his counterpart in Chicago. 

De Blasio was asked at an event in Brooklyn Wednesday whether he supported Rahm Emanuel in his reelection bid for mayor of Chicago, according to the Observer

He declined the opportunity. 

“I have worked closely with Mayor Emanuel. I think he’s done some important work in areas like early childhood education and raising the minimum wage, so I respect him a lot,” de Blasio told the Observer. “But the bottom line is, that is for the people of Chicago to decide.”

De Blasio was elected in New York City thanks to a wave of support from the Working Families Party. A sister organization to Working Families called United Working Families has been fighting to elect Emanuel's opponent in Chicago, Jesus "Chuy" Garcia. 

<![CDATA[Drone Video Shows Stunning View of Frozen Chicago]]> Wed, 04 Mar 2015 13:55:02 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/WMAQ_000000011322196_1200x675_408116803850.jpg Troy Walsh of Drone Media Chicago captures an amazing view of Chicago during the 2015 winter season. Walsh said the footage was filmed over a two-month period. See the original video here.]]> <![CDATA[Fitbit Ranks Illinois 7th Most Active State in Summer]]> Wed, 04 Mar 2015 11:32:02 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/power+walking+getty.jpg

Illinois residents are an active bunch, according to the number crunchers at Fitbit.

The activity tracking company ranked Illinois the seventh most active state in the summertime based on the average step count per Fitbit-using resident. During the summer when the average temperature for the state is 71 degrees, Illinoisans take approximately 8,456 steps.

The data changes during the winter season when the average temperature across the state drops to 31 degrees. Illinois manages to hang on to a top-10 ranking in spite of the cold, however, coming in at No. 10 with an average of 7,410 steps per person.

The No. 1 state for both summer and winter is New York, according to the Fitbit data.

Weather was one indicator of how many steps people take in a given state. For example, like Illinois, many northern states drop to a lower ranking in the winter when temperatures plunge.

In the south, many states' residents take fewer steps in the summer when temperatures soar to sometimes unbearable highs. For example, Florida comes in at No. 18 for most steps taken during the winter, but in the summer the state comes in dead last.

Although weather is an important factor, the data showed that other factors actually mattered more. Walkability and urban density played the biggest roles in the results, Fitbit said. This is why states with large walkable cities, like New York, Boston, D.C. and Chicago, ranked near the top of the list.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Teen in Custody in Connection With Fatal Stabbing]]> Wed, 04 Mar 2015 20:59:58 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/cedar-lake-indiana.jpg

A Lansing, Illinois teen was in police custody Wednesday morning in connection with the stabbing of two high school students -- one fatally -- in Northwest Indiana the night before.

Charges were pending against 19-year-old Tyler McAfee, who allegedly attacked the 17-year-old and 18-year-old Hanover Central High School Students.

Cedar Lake, Indiana Police Chief Jerry Smith said the attack happened following a two-car crash near West 142nd Place and Lauerman Street.

The two younger teens had stopped their vehicle to talk to two people walking along the side of the road at about 8:30 p.m. when a second vehicle, allegedly driven by McAfee, crashed into them. During an argument, the 17-year-old and 18-year-old boys were stabbed.

Both were later taken to St. Anthony's Medical Center in Crown Point, where the youngest teen was pronounced dead. The Times of Northwest Indiana identified the slain teen as Alton Bradley of Cedar Lake. The 18-year-old was in stable condition on Tuesday morning, Smith said.

McAfee was also taken to St. Anthony's and was treated for injuries before being turned over to police.

The attack comes as a shock to Hanover Central High’s administration, the school’s superintendent Tom Taylor said, because “this type of thing doesn’t happen around here.”

Bradley, who worked in the school's Building Trades program, was "the person people could count on to believe in when they couldn't believe in themselves," his family said in a statement.

"He was the person anyone could call on if they just wanted someone good to be around," they said of his passing.

<![CDATA[More Record-Breaking Cold Possible ]]> Wed, 04 Mar 2015 12:39:35 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/frozen+flower.jpg

The spring thaw is almost here, but before it arrives, temperatures will take one more plunge to potentially record-breaking numbers.

Tuesday's icy snow system has completely moved out, but bitter, breezy conditions remain in its wake. Wednesday's predicted high of 20 degrees likely won't break the record lowest high of 17 degrees set in 1890, according to the National Weather Service, but it is well below the average of 42 degrees.

Temperatures remain in the teens most of the day Wednesday, but wind chill values will be in the single digits.

Temperatures drop to near zero degrees overnight and into Thursday morning. The predicted high temperature at O'Hare Wednesday night is 3 degrees, barely more than the record lowest high of zero degrees.

Chicago will flirt with another record on Thursday with a predicted high of 14 degrees. The record lowest high temperature is 12 degrees, which was set in 1901.

A break from winter weather finally comes this weekend when temperatures reach average numbers. The warm-up begins Friday during the day with a high of 29 degrees.

Temperatures soar to the high 30s with breezy, dry conditions on Saturday and Sunday for the first taste of spring weather.

The warm-up continues into the week with a high of 42 on Monday and possibly 50 degrees on Tuesday.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[What's Your Take on "Free-Range Parenting?"]]> Wed, 04 Mar 2015 10:04:51 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/flash+survey+new.jpg

NBC Chicago wants your opinion.

From time-to-time we ask questions to gauge your reaction on items in the news. Today we want to know how you feel about what's being dubbed as "free-range parenting."

A Maryland couple recently said they were under investigation because police picked up their 10-year-old son and his 6-year-old sister who were walking about a mile home from a park.

What's your take? Is "free-range parenting" normal and teaching responsibility, or do you think it's unsafe and shows neglect?


<![CDATA[Protesters Few, Crush of Media as Trial Begins]]> Wed, 04 Mar 2015 10:36:22 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Screen+Shot+2015-03-04+at+10.09.41+AM.jpg

The trial of the Boston bombing suspect got underway Wednesday morning with a crush of media and a lone protester outside the Moakley United States Courthouse in Boston.

Joe Kebartas stood before the proceedings began with a sign reading “Death penalty is murder.”

“The government should not be in the business of putting people to death,” he said before slipping away.

Security was tight with a blockade on Northern Avenue and a bomb-sniffing police dog along the barricade holding back journalists from as far as Russia and France. The U.S. Coast Guard was patrolling Boston Harbor behind the courthouse.

Survivors of the April 2013 bombings arrived by Massport buses, normally used to shuttle travelers to Logan International Airport, and were taken into the courthouse through the back.

The federal death penalty trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 21, begins nearly two years after two bombs exploded seconds apart at the finish of the Boston Marathon, killing three and injuring more than 260 others. He is accused of detonating them with his brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who was killed afterward in a shoot-out with police. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was later found hiding in a boat.

The courtroom was crowded with relatives of victims and of Tsarnaev and others. When Tsarnaev walked across the courtroom shortly after 9 a.m. some of the survivors stared intently.

Jury selection took nearly two months, with Tsarnaev’s legal team arguing repeatedly that it would be impossible for their client to receive a fair trial in Boston.

In opening statements, his lawyers are expected to portray him as an impressionable 21-year-old in the sway of his older, radicalized brother. He followed the 26-year-old Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s lead, the lawyers hope to show.

The prosecution counters that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was as much a participant as his brother.

Alysha Palumbo contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: Kaitlin Flanigan
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>
<![CDATA[March Freeze to Bring More Record-Breaking Cold]]> Wed, 04 Mar 2015 07:59:48 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/ice+cold+weather.jpg

It may be March, but winter is not over yet.

More potentially record-breaking cold temperatures are in the forecast for Chicago this week, beginning Wednesday.

Temperatures reached the high 30s Tuesday while rain, snow and sleet pelted the city, but temperatures will decrease overnight as the icy system moves out.

The high temperature for Wednesday is 17 degrees, which would tie for the record lowest high temperature set in 1890, according to the National Weather Service. The predicted low for Wednesday falls at a frigid -2 degrees.

The polar air is expected to stick around on Thursday when the high will be just 15 degrees. The record lowest high temperature for March 5 was set in 1901 when it only reached 12 degrees.

Wind chill temperatures for Thursday will once again reach the negative teens for the Chicago area, feeling like -14 degrees at O'Hare.

These numbers are far from the average for this time of year, which is in the high 30s and low 40s. They are even farther from the record high temperatures -- 73 degrees for March 4 and 75 degrees for March 5, according to the National Weather Service.

The early March cold snap is expected to break on Friday, and the weekend could see the first spring weather of the year.

The high for Friday is expected to be right around freezing, which is still below the average. By Saturday, however, temperatures will reach the high 30s and low 40s with partly sunny skies and no precipitation in the forecast.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Rahm Responds to Sen. Kirk's Unofficial Endorsement]]> Tue, 03 Mar 2015 17:29:17 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/rahm+kirk+and+obama.jpg

Mayor Rahm Emanuel gave a subtle affirmation of Sen. Mark Kirk's not-so-subtle statement comparing Chicago to Detroit without Emanuel as mayor.

"If you make the wrong choices, if you don't have the leadership, the determination, to execute a business plan that brings jobs into the city of Chicago, you can go in a different direction," the mayor said Tuesday.

Kirk unofficially endorsed Emanuel Monday when he claimed Chicago could become the next Detroit if Emanuel was not re-elected, according to Fran Spielman of the Chicago Sun-Times.

"Rahm's re-election is essential to maintaining the value of Chicago's debt market," Kirk was quoted in the Sun-Times. "We need a strong capable leader... I would worry about the value of the Chicago debt if Rahm was not re-elected... It's a concern if we have some of the less responsible people running against him."

Kirk did not explicitly endorse Emanuel or name challenger Jesus "Chuy" Garcia when referring to "the less responsible people running against him," but his strong statement is a definite mark in Emanuel's favor.

The mayor did not exactly clap Kirk on the back for his endorsement, however, perhaps because Emanuel has avoided comparing Chicago to Detroit, as Spielman noted.

The financial concern for Chicago was spotlighted this weekend when Moody's downgraded the city's credit rating to two levels above junk status, making it the second worst after Detroit.

The pension crisis is likely to be a big issue in the April runoff election between Emanuel and Garcia, and the two candidates' financial plans could be a deciding factor in who wins the race.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Former Bears Coaches Say Team Can't Win with Cutler ]]> Tue, 03 Mar 2015 16:42:17 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/173*120/460514190.jpg

The Chicago Bears went through plenty of turmoil and made plenty of headlines last season, but arguably the biggest story to come out of the 2014-15 debacle was the way Jay Cutler’s first season playing under his massive new contract extension went down.

Cutler was eventually benched at the end of the season by former head coach Marc Trestman, but it wasn’t enough to save Trestman’s job as he was fired after just two seasons on the job. In being dismissed, he joined a long list of coaches who have tried to work with Cutler over the years and been fired for their efforts. On Tuesday, those former coaches made their voices heard.

In a story penned by ESPN’s Michael C. Wright, 10 former Bears coaches said that they don’t feel the team can compete for a championship with Cutler at quarterback. The coaches come from both the Trestman and Lovie Smith regimes in Chicago, and they were joined in their thoughts by two current Bears players that Wright interviewed anonymously for the story.

Wright also pointed out that the group’s thoughts on Cutler could explain why Ryan Pace and John Fox have been hesitant to commit to Cutler as the starting quarterback:

“That sentiment might explain why head coach John Fox and general manager Ryan Pace remain uncommitted to Cutler as the team’s starting quarterback for 2015. Deciding whether to commit to Cutler has a time element. If Cutler is on the Bears’ roster on March 12, $10 million of his 2016 salary is guaranteed.”

The Bears have plenty of roster decisions to make, but few have the long-term consequences of deciding what to do with Cutler. Cutting him loose would save them a bit of money in the long-run, but in the short-term it would be a huge financial blow to the team. Losing that kind of salary cap space would compromise their ability to sign defensive players to help transition to the 3-4 defense that Fox and Vic Fangio want to run, and the fact that there aren’t any good quarterbacks available in free agency (and guys like Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota likely won’t be available at the seven slot in May’s NFL Draft) also makes the decision tougher.

At any rate, it’s still interesting to see the way that coaches and even players have reacted to Cutler in Chicago. His on-field demeanor has been broken down to the point of irrelevance, but his performance speaks for itself, and his detractors are seemingly being proven right.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>