<![CDATA[NBC Chicago - Top Stories]]>Copyright 2016http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/top-stories http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/5-Chicago-Blue.png NBC Chicago http://www.nbcchicago.comen-usSun, 29 May 2016 02:55:56 -0500Sun, 29 May 2016 02:55:56 -0500NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[North Side Parolee Charged with 2 Nuts on Clark Burglaries ]]> Sat, 28 May 2016 17:36:08 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/nuts+on+clark+parolee.jpg

A man who already had multiple convictions for burglary has been charged in connection with two break-ins at an iconic Chicago popcorn shop.

Armando Vadillo, 51, of the 3900 block of N Clark St in Lakeview is facing two felony counts of burglary after he was identified as the suspect who broke into Nuts on Clark twice in late May, according to police. 

The first burglary at the store, located in the 3900 block of N Clark St, occurred around 1:25 a.m. on May 20. The second break-in was on May 27 at 2:05 a.m. When officers arrived on the scene, they secured a perimeter and found Vadillo a short distance away, according to police. 

He was identified as the offender in both burglaries using surveillance video, officials said, and had allegedly broken into the business through the air conditioning duct. 

According to police, Vadillo has multiple previous convictions for burglary. He was most recently sentenced to seven years in prison in 2012, but released on parole. 

The popular snack shop was also burglarized twice in the beginning of April, but Vadillo is not facing charges in connection with those incidents. 

Photo Credit: Chicago Police]]>
<![CDATA[Sanders Warns Clinton on Running Mate Pick ]]> Sat, 28 May 2016 19:05:41 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/split2-clinton-sanders.jpg

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders sent a warning to rival Hillary Clinton again about her pick for a running mate. 

During an interview to air on Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Sanders doubled down on his warning, saying Clinton’s choice for vice president will be critical in winning his supporters going into the general election.

"That means having a candidate who can excite working families, excite young people, bring them into the political process, create a large voter turnout," Sanders told host Chuck Todd. 

The Vermont senator said Clinton should pick a hardline progressive as a running mate if she secures the Democratic nomination for president. That, he said, could appeal to supporters who flocked to the Sanders campaign during the primary.

Photo Credit: Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[Suburban Dad Completes 50-State Marathon Quest]]> Sat, 28 May 2016 15:59:53 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/marathon+dad+0528.jpg

A west suburban Chicago man has completed a lofty goal of running a marathon in all 50 states. 

On Saturday, Kevin Ely of Geneva, Illinois, ran the 34th annual Bayshore Marathon in Traverse City, Michigan, the final state in his quest.

Ely initially set the goal of running 50 marathons in 50 states as a personal milestone. He had already checked 13 states off the list when he attended an expo in California, where he learned about the Free Wheelchair Mission, a nonprofit that offers cost-effective wheelchairs to people with disabilities. 

"I thought, 'I need to turn this from being a selfish thing for me and what I could accomplish for myself,'" he said. "At the end, nobody would have really cared. It was a realization that I needed to do something to make an impact." 

As the father of a 7-year-old with cerebral palsy, his understanding of the importance of mobility, the cost to provide methods of movement, and the fact that millions of people around the world don't have access to those methods eventually led him to a fundraising mission: Marathons for Mobility. 

Ely originally set a fundraising goal of $42,000 to be donated to the Free Wheelchair Mission. But by Saturday, he had exceeded that goal, raising $45,461, which will provide 583 wheelchairs.

Since setting the summer 2016 completion date more than two years ago, Ely has averaged one marathon every three or four weeks, and he plans to hang up his running shoes and never run again after Saturday's race. 

"I've lost quite a few weekends with my family. It's one of the things I want to get back when I stop running," Ely said. "As patient and supportive as they've been, it's time to give my time and support back to them."

As for his time? Ely said he ran his final marathon in 3:57:29. 

Photo Credit: Kevin Ely
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<![CDATA[Boy, 8, Struck By CTA Train in Evanston]]> Sat, 28 May 2016 18:24:37 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/evanston+8yo+boy+0528.jpg

A young boy was injured after being struck by a train in north suburban Evanston Saturday afternoon.

According to Evanston police, officers responded to a report of a child hit by a CTA train south of the Dempster St station at 1318 Sherman Ave, just after 1 p.m.

Upon arrival, officers found an 8-year-old boy who had been hit by a southbound Purple Line train. The victim was walking with another young boy, who was not injured in the incident, police said.

Both were rushed to St. Francis Hospital from the scene. The boy who had been hit by the train was taken in critical condition with a head injury, but a doctor confirmed early Saturday evening that his condition had been stabilized and he was subsequently transferred to a trauma center. 

Witnesses said they saw the boys on the tracks as the train approached, and tried to help.

"There were unattended children on the very dangerous train tracks," said Abran Keranen. "We noticed kids on the track and notified the conductor and they took action."

Purple Line service was temporarily halted, but trains began operating with residual delays just before 3 p.m., according to the CTA. 

Authorities said the investigation is ongoing.

<![CDATA[SoCal Schools Probe Animal Abuse]]> Sat, 28 May 2016 14:43:43 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Goat+Pomona+05.28.16.JPG

Officials are investigating two incidents of possible animal cruelty at Southern California high schools, and at least one of them may have been part of a senior prank, authorities said.

Baby, a 5-year-old goat, went missing May 19 after its owner says a group of teens from Ganesha High School in Pomona broke into her property and took her.

"They came in the middle of the night and stole her from our property and took her to the school and painted on her and who knows what else they've done to her," the owner, who asked not to be identified, said.

Baby was found with a broken leg on school campus the next day, a Ganesha High School student told NBC4. "It's one thing to do a prank and one thing to do this, hurt and animal," the student said.

Its owner says her face was swollen and her body, painted in the school's colors, was half shaven.

"If they can do this to an animal what can they do to a human?" the owner said.

Baby died Thursday following surgery, her owner said. The Inland Valley Humane Society was investigating the incident.

Pomona Unified School District issued a statement, saying the "safety of our students, staff and campus facilities, as well as superlative respect to our local community" is a priority.

"As a high school ranked in the top 4th percentile in CA by U.S. News & World Report, we take our role as a model academic high school very seriously and we do not condone injustices toward people or animals," the statement said, highlight their "zero-tolerance policy for deviations to academic and safety standards."

In a separate incident, two rabbits were found dead Friday morning at Riverside Polytechnic High School, according to the Riverside Unified School District.

District officials said staff arrived on campus around 5:30 a.m. and found three dead rabbits as well as toilet paper, trash, graffiti with inappropriate language and symbols and broken windows.

The Riverside School District initially said the incident was an apparent senior prank, adding it was "disheartened at this unfortunate news."

However, Michael Roe, principal at Polytechnic High School later said that these incidents were not part of a senior prank but rather "a coordinated effort to vandalize our school," and called the acts "unnerving." 

"To carry out this kind of act on a high school campus - or anywhere in the community for that matter - is cause for concern and proportionate action," Roe said in a statement. "I am incredibly proud of the response from the Poly community - the district, RPD, parents, wealth of students and staff who have denounced these cowardice acts."

Officials also said the district was working the Riverside Police Department to comb through multiple angles of video footage from the incident, and will be interviewing students who may have been involved.

Photo Credit: Owner]]>
<![CDATA[Gorilla Killed at Cincinnati Zoo After Child Climbs In Enclosure]]> Sun, 29 May 2016 01:02:17 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Cincinnati-Gorilla-.jpg

A gorilla was shot dead Saturday at the Cincinnati Zoo by an employee who feared the animal would harm a small child who climbed into its enclosure, NBC News reported. 

The 17-year-old, 400-pound gorilla was killed with one shot from a long rifle. The child was then taken to hospital with serious injuries, according to the statement.

The child remained conscious during the entire incident, which lasted 10 minutes. First responders "witnessed a gorilla who was violently dragging and throwing the child," Cincinnati Fire Department Chief Marc Monahan wrote in a statement.

The boy climbed under a railing and through wires, falling about 10 feet into the enclosure, according to zoo officials.

Officials said there was no option to tranquilize, since it would take several minutes to take effect in such a large animal.

Photo Credit: Cincinnati Zoo
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<![CDATA[Pelicans Guard Shot & Killed]]> Sun, 29 May 2016 01:17:13 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/052816+Bryce+Dejean+Jones.jpg

Bryce Dejean-Jones, a guard for the New Orleans Pelicans, is dead after breaking into a Dallas apartment and getting shot, according to The Dallas Police Department.

Dallas Police were called to the Camden Belmont apartment complex on the 2500 block of Bennett Avenue at 3:20 a.m. on May 28 regarding a shooting.

Upon arrival, officers found one individual had been shot.

According to police, the resident of the apartment, whose identity is not known, said someone had kicked open the front door and entered his apartment. The resident had been asleep in his bedroom when he heard the person enter and retrieved a handgun. 

The resident told police he called out and heard no response. As the person kicked the bedroom door, the resident fired his gun.

The person left the apartment and collapsed, where he was later brought to a hospital and pronounced dead from a gunshot wound.

Dallas police later identified the individual who entered the apartment and had been shot as 23-year-old Pelicans Guard, Bryce Dejean-Jones.

Agent Scott W. Nichols said Dejean-Jones was in the wrong place at the wrong time. 

"Bryce was visiting his girlfriend in Dallas for his daughter’s 1st birthday. This was the first time Bryce visited her new apartment. Later that night, Bryce came back to the apartment, incidentally he went to the wrong apartment on the 3rd floor just below his girlfriends fourth floor apartment. He was attempting to enter the apartment which led to him ultimately being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Bryce was then shot and killed. "

The Camden Belmont Manager, Joshua Pool, sent this email to residents of the apartment complex: [[381214051,C]]

According to Joshua Pool, Dejean-Jones was trying to enter one apartment and broke into the wrong one instead. It is unknown at this time which apartment Dejean-Jones was trying to enter. The manager confirmed that no residents of the apartment complex have been injured.

The New Orleans Pelicans released the following statement on the passing of Bryce Dejean-Jones:

“It is with deep sadness that the Pelicans organization acknowledges the sudden passing of Bryce Dejean-Jones. We are devastated at the loss of this young man’s life who had such a promising future ahead of him. Our thoughts and prayers are with Bryce’s family during this difficult time.” [[381218631, C]]

Bryce Dejean-Jones started playing for the Pelicans in February.

In Dejean-Jones' only NBA season, which ended in February because of a broken right wrist, the 6-foot-6 guard started 11 of 14 games and averaged 5.6 points and 3.4 rebounds.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver called it a "tragic loss."

"Bryce inspired countless people with his hard work and perseverance on his journey to the NBA, and he had a bright future in our league," Silver said in a statement issued Saturday.

Dejean-Jones was part of the 2014-15 Iowa State team that went 25-9, captured a Big 12 title and made a fourth consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament. He was fourth on the team in scoring, averaging 10.5 points in 33 games. He shot a career-best 47.6 percent in his lone season as a Cyclone. He also played at Southern California and UNLV and was signed by the Pelicans last summer after not being selected in the 2015 draft.

"Bryce's dedication and hard work on his journey to the NBA will forever serve as an inspiration to us all," said National Basketball Players Association executive director Michele Roberts, who had posted a link to the story of Dejean-Jones' death on Twitter and wrote that it was "The news I pray every day I never have to hear."

Dejean-Jones was suspended late in the 2013-14 season from UNLV for conduct detrimental to the team, and announced that he was leaving USC midway through the 2010-11 season.

"This is a very, very sad and tragic day for everyone that's a part of the Cyclone basketball family," Iowa State coach Steve Prohm said.

Former Cyclones coach Fred Hoiberg, now the coach of the NBA's Chicago Bulls, added in a statement that Dejean-Jones was a "passionate and talented player that lived out his dream of playing in the NBA through hard work and perseverance."

Nichols said Dejean-Jones had nearly completed his rehab and was set to begin shooting with his right hand again next week.

"It's shocking this happened," Nichols said. "Wrong place, wrong time, I think."

Besides Muhammad, several NBA players reacted on Twitter on Saturday.

"Crazy how life is man," wrote Brooklyn Nets guard Shane Larkin. "Prayers out to Bryce Dejean Jones and his family."

Added Quincy Pondexter, one of Dejean-Jones' teammates with the Pelicans: "This Can't be real life... Rest easy lil bro."

NBC 5 will update this story as we learn more. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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<![CDATA[Girl Killed, Man Injured in Lake Shore Drive Shooting]]> Sat, 28 May 2016 18:09:27 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/veronica+lopez+0528.jpg

A teenage girl was shot and killed while riding in a car on Lake Shore Drive early Saturday morning. 

The 15-year-old girl was a passenger in a car with a 22-year-old man at 2400 N Lake Shore Drive in Lincoln Park around 1:30 a.m. when a black Nissan pulled up and fired shots, according to police.

They took themselves to Presence Saint Joseph's Hospital, but the girl was transferred in critical condition to Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center where she later died, police said. 

The Cook County Medical Examiner's identified her as 15-year-old Veronica Lopez. Family members said she lived in the Belmont Cragin neighborhood on the Northwest Side.

The man is in stable condition, and according to police, is a documented gang member and convicted felon. 

No one is in custody, and authorities continue to investigate. 

At least 3 other people have died and 13 have been wounded in shootings across the city overnight in a bloody start to Memorial Day weekend. 

These incidents occurred as thousands of extra Chicago police officers are on patrol to help prevent shootings over a typically violent holiday weekend. 

Photo Credit: Lopez Family]]>
<![CDATA[Tropical Storm Forms Near Carolinas, 4 Dead in Texas Downpours]]> Sat, 28 May 2016 19:59:54 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Texas+Flooding+2.jpg

A tropical depression strengthened into a tropical storm Saturday off the Carolinas, the latest wild weather expected to hit the country over the holiday weekend, NBC News reported. 

Tropical Storm Bonnie was about 130 miles southeast of Beaufort, South Carolina, and was forecast to drench the Carolinas with up to 3 inches of rain, according to the National Hurricane Center. Forecasters said high winds and dangerous waves could also hit the two states, as well as Georgia and Florida. 

No evacuations were ordered as of Saturday afternoon.

In Texas, at least four people were killed and two others missing after downpours, with the state expecting more rain through Memorial Day. 

The governor of Missouri declared a state of emergency ahead of heavy rains Saturday. Since Tuesday, storms in the state have caused high winds, heavy rains and flash flooding — with more rain predicted into the weekend.

Photo Credit: Mark Preidger
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<![CDATA[Lawmakers Return to Springfield Sunday for Budget Hearings]]> Fri, 27 May 2016 17:13:51 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/madigan+and+rauner.jpg

Illinois lawmakers will return to Springfield Sunday to hash out a potential budget plan with the deadline to make a deal coming at the end of the month.

The General Assembly will also be in session on Memorial Day. The deadline for the legislature to pass a budget with a simple majority is Tuesday.

House Democrats, led by Speaker Mike Madigan, pushed through an out-of-balance budget plan Wednesday. The bill will now be sent to the Illinois Senate. Gov. Bruce Rauner has made it clear that he plans to veto the measure.

Meanwhile Rauner continued to push for a bipartisan, balanced budget.

"I ask the rank and file members, the Democrats and Republicans in the legislature, do the right thing: stand up for your people in your district and your people in the entire state of Illinois,” Rauner said during a press conference. “Get a balanced budget, a truly balanced budget and get reforms to grow our economy and protect property taxpayers from the brutal burden on them.”

Madigan also said he was open to budget negotiations.

“We’re prepared to negotiate with the governor, find the revenue to pay for the spending plan,” Madigan said during a Friday press conference. “My first choice is raise taxes on the wealthy.”

The state’s budget impasse dates back to July of last year and has largely hinged on a battle between Rauner and the Democrat-controlled legislature over the governor’s pro-business, union-weakening Turnaround Agenda.

The stalemate has adversely affected state funding for health and social service groups, as well as the state’s public colleges and universities.

<![CDATA[Goodman Theatre Sign Catches Fire]]> Sat, 28 May 2016 14:33:27 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/goodman+fire+0528.jpg

The iconic sign at the Goodman Theatre in downtown Chicago caught fire early Saturday morning. 

Around 5 a.m., the marquee experienced a "minor electrical fire," according to a release from the theatre. 

Flames could be seen falling from the top of the marquee to the ground in a video taken by an eyewitness. 

The Chicago Fire Department confirmed that the fire was extinguished shortly after, and flames did not spread to the building. 

No injuries were reported and the performances scheduled for this weekend will continue as planned.

<![CDATA['Baby Boom' for World's Rarest Leopard in Russia]]> Sat, 28 May 2016 12:29:58 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Persian+Leopard.jpg

The endangered Persian leopard is being reintroduced to Sochi, Russia, nearly a century after they were hunted to the brink of extinction, NBC News reported.

Today, there are fewer than 400 Persian leopards in the wild, with the only sustainable wild populations in Iran and Turkmenistan.

The Persian Leopard Breeding and Rehabilitation Center in Sochi, created in 2012, has helped the population make a modest recovery in recent years. The project is bankrolled by the Russian government.

Conservationists will release two 3-year-old animals within the next few weeks, followed by another pair later this year. Officials hope a leopard colony will again take root in the southeastern corner of Europe and spread eastward. But vital migration routes the animal needs to thrive are under threat from expanding ski resorts.

Photo Credit: Natural Resources and Ecology Ministry of Russia
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<![CDATA[Power Outage Strands Riders on New Ferris Wheel]]> Sat, 28 May 2016 09:14:51 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AP_442503226551-gondola.jpg

The grand opening of the Centennial Wheel got off to a rocky start Friday night, when a power outage briefly halted the running of the new Ferris Wheel at Navy Pier in Chicago.

Shortly after 8 p.m., Navy Pier officials confirmed that a power outage had caused the wheel to stop. Electricians worked to fix the issue, a spokesperson said, with the priority of keeping people comfortable and getting them down. 

Just after 8:30 p.m., the wheel began moving again. A light show previously scheduled for 9 p.m. Friday went on as planned. 

The wheel holds more than 400 people, but there were "considerably less" than that on the ride when it stopped, officials said. 

"Passengers on the Centennial Wheel were held in place for approximately 20 minutes, were communicated with and have now safety exited the Wheel," a spokesperson for Navy Pier said in a statement just after 9 p.m. "There is a brief interruption of park services due to current weather conditions and there are no injuries reported."

The new attraction has temperature-controlled gondolas, padded seats, TV screens and speakers. At 196 feet tall, the Centennial Wheel reaches 49 feet higher and fits up to 180 more passengers per ride than the previous attraction.

Photo Credit: PR NEWSWIRE]]>
<![CDATA[Six Numbers That Show Why Clinton Is Still the Favorite in 2016]]> Sat, 28 May 2016 11:04:02 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/CLINTON_AP_485476905075.jpg

The 2016 general election race is now a virtual tie. The most recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll shows the Democratic front-runner clinging to a narrow lead in a head-to-head match up with the Republican nominee.

But an analysis of data from the poll shows that Clinton is still the more likely candidate to emerge as the winner when the voting's all over on Nov. 8, 2016.

The advantage for a generic Democratic candidate over a generic Republican is 4 percentage points. And though both parties are unpopular, the Democratic Party is nearly breaking even on favorability, while the GOP is under water.

The poll also shows President Barack Obama's approval rating is at 51 percent, meaning he'll be a powerful surrogate for Clinton after the primary.

Meanwhile, Trump is under-performing with white women by 10 points and showing a nine-point drop in the suburbs, according to the poll. Clinton has a 10-point advantage on the commander-in-chief test.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[WWII Plane Crashes in NY River]]> Sat, 28 May 2016 20:06:37 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/212*120/AP_16149568884659_edited-1.jpg

A salvage team has recovered a small vintage World War II fighter plane that crashed into the Hudson River between Manhattan and New Jersey Friday evening, killing the pilot onboard.

The Army Corps of Engineers lifted the aircraft out of the river Saturday. The plane was taken to the Downtown Manhattan Heliport near Wall Street.

The P-47 Thunderbolt, a single-seat propeller plane, was on a flight to shoot promotional material for the Bethpage Air Show in Jones Beach when it went down in the water about two miles south of the George Washington Bridge at about 7:30 p.m. on Friday, according to officials.

Police, fire and Coast Guard boats and helicopters swarmed the area as they searched for the pilot, later identified as William Gordon of Key West, Florida.

Scuba divers recovered the 56-year-old pilot’s body about three hours after the crash, according to NYPD Det. Michael Debonis.

The plane suffered some sort of mechanical problem and the pilot tried to ditch in the Hudson, said Gari Lewi, a spokesman for the American Airpower Museum at Republic Airport on Long Island, which owns the plane. It's not clear what the source of the problem was.

Diners at Waterside Restaurant in North Bergen, New Jersey, told NBC 4 New York they saw the small vintage plane appear to start landing, then suddenly plunge into the water nose first.

Other witnesses say they saw the smoke hit the water and at first thought it was an air show for Fleet Week, which draws thousands of people to the nearby Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum for events including live demonstrations.

Bethpage Air Show organizers said in a statement posted online they will proceed with the event "with heavy hearts."

"The pilot was a friend to us all and we send our deepest sympathy to his family and our friends at the American Air Power Museum," the statement read.

Gordon was a veteran air show pilot and had more than 25 years of experience, the AP reported, citing promotional material on a website for a Key West air show last month. Gordon was an "aerobatic competency evaluator" who certified pilots to perform low-level aerobatics, according to the site.

The P47-Thunderbolt was the heaviest single-engine fighter plane used by Allied forces in World War II. The aircraft first went into service in 1942 with the 56th Fighter Group based on Long Island.

Lewi said the museum was going to honor the plane’s 75th anniversary of coming into service this weekend at the air show. The plane that crashed was supposed to fly in this weekend’s airshow.

It has flown periodically, including to other air shows, Lewi said.

The site where the plane crashed Friday, near the Edgewater Marina, is less than five miles upriver from where U.S. Airways Flight 1549 made an emergency landing in the river in 2009 in what is now commonly referred to as “The Miracle on the Hudson”

Jonathan Dienst and Michael Gargiulo contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: AP, Facebook
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<![CDATA[ Missouri Gov. Declares State of Emergency Ahead of More Rains]]> Sat, 28 May 2016 08:36:58 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Missouri-Flooding-GettyImages-503178322.jpg

Missouri's governor declared a state of emergency ahead of expected heavy rains, and warned that levees could be overtopped, NBC News reported.

"Areas along the Missouri River and its tributaries in west-central Missouri are of particular concern because more rain could cause some levees to overtop," Gov. Jay Nixon said in a statement issued on Friday evening.

Since Tuesday, storms in the state have caused high winds, heavy rains and flash flooding — with more rain predicted into the weekend.

Meanwhile, warnings were issued for South Carolina's coast Friday after a weather system that could become a tropical storm formed in the Atlantic, the National Weather Service said.

Heavy rain, whipping winds and dangerous waves could hit the Carolinas, Georgia and Florida over the holiday weekend, forecasters said.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Traveler Cancels Flight Due to Cancer Diagnosis, Fights Rebooking Fees]]> Fri, 27 May 2016 18:12:51 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/responds+cancer+flight+fee.png

A local traveler said her vacation plans were put on hold because of a medical emergency. But instead of a smooth rescheduling process, she said she had to spend hundreds of dollars in rebooking fees before finally getting the resolution she was seeking.

Laura Voss said she cancelled a flight last summer due to a cancer diagnosis. She needed surgery to remove a kidney, which was scheduled several days before her flight.

Voss received a travel voucher to use at a later time.

“Since I have recovered, my son and I made new vacation plans and was charged a $200 rebooking fee for each ticket,” Voss wrote to NBC 5 Responds.

Voss said she and her son did make it to North Carolina this month, almost a year after their original planned vacation. However, she said she spent months trying to get United Airlines and Expedia to remove the rebooking fees.

“So that is when my husband suggested I contact NBC 5 for help,” Voss wrote.

NBC 5 Responds contacted United regarding Voss’ rebooking fees. The airline responded by saying it would look into the matter.

Voss said she was told she would have to wait until all of her travel plans were completed before the refund process could continue.

Later, the airline later told us it was processing a refund to Expedia.

And Voss told us what followed was more waiting.

“More phone calls, sitting on hold for 90 minutes, being told that I had to call United back numerous times,” Voss wrote.

Finally, Voss said her family received a $400 credit.

“Nobody should have to go through such an ordeal to get a refund, especially for a medical emergency and since all my documentation was in order,” Voss wrote. 

Expedia issued a statement to NBC 5 Responds. 

“We appreciate NBC 5 Chicago reaching out to us on behalf of Ms. Voss and regret the inconvenience and this experience has caused her,” the statement read. “Ms. Voss has been refunded for the change fees in full.”

Expedia said it offers travel insurance “so travelers an best prepare for unexpected circumstances ahead of travel.”

Travel experts also urge travelers to consider travel insurance, which they say may protect against rebooking fees.

AAA said it’s a good idea to purchase the insurance as soon as possible.

“If you wait too long, sometimes that length of time will cost you in the end,” said AAA spokesperson Beth Mosher.

Mosher also said travelers need to check the policies of different airlines and look what happens should they need to cancel or rebook their flight.

“Some airlines have much more forgiving policies than others,” Mosher said.

<![CDATA[Search for Teen Believed Kidnapped]]> Sat, 28 May 2016 01:32:22 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/0527-2016-PearlPinson.jpg

Family and friends of 15-year-old Pearl Pinson are asking their community to keep looking for a teen missing from Northern California, a day after the man thought to have kidnapped her at gunpoint was killed.

Investigators believe the teenager was kidnapped Wednesday morning as she walked to a school bus stop in Vallejo. Her suspected abductor, a 19-year-old whom she knew, was killed in a shootout 300 miles away in Santa Barbara County Thursday, authorities said.

"Pearl if you're out there fight your way home, find a way. Do whatever you can to get out of wherever you are," sister Rose Pinson said in an interview with NBC Bay Area on Friday. "I love you so much Pearl, we're here praying for you."

Officials on Friday afternoon said the search for Pinson was concentrated in Sonoma County, about 1½ hours north of San Francisco. A rescue helicopter covered roughly four square miles of rough terrain outside the small coastal town of Jenner, scouring the area for Pinson. The search was suspended late Friday, but is expected to be resumed early Saturday.

Solano County and Sonoma County sheriff's deputies searched the Willow Creek Road area of Jenner. The search was prompted by new information the Solano County Sheriff's Office received during its investigation, but did not publicize.

Christine Castillo, with the Solano County Sheriff's Department, promised to answer the question of "Why Jenner?" in the "very near future."

For their part, Jenner residents were overwhelmed by the influx of law enforcement officials and search-and-rescue teams.

Robert McShea said the city is a "retirement area" that doesn't often see "this much action."

"We're used to kayaks and stuff, not choppers and news cameras," he admitted.

Although two-plus days have passed since Pinson was last seen or heard from, officials continue to deploy boats, dogs and rescue teams with the hope of finding her. 

"Our number one priority is bringing Pearl home safely to her family and we do believe that is possible," Castillo said.

Family and friends searched for Pinson in Vallejo Friday afternoon and plan to be in Jenner Saturday morning to be close to investigators. The Solano County Sheriff's Office is working with Pinson's family to determine the areas where the searches will be held.

Pinson has green hair and was last seen wearing a gray sweater, black leggings and had a black and turquoise backpack. Her family has set up a GoFundMe account to help with their search.

The sheriff's office set up a tip line at 707-784-1963 but anyone with urgent information is asked to call 707-421-7090.

Investigators have also spent time searching the area of Sir Frances Drake Boulevard near the San Rafael Bridge in Marin County after officials said Castro was seen on surveillance cameras in the area at about 9:30 a.m. Thursday.

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Coroner's Office identified the man killed in the police shootout as 19-year-old Fernando Castro, and authorities identified the Vallejo resident as a suspect in Pinson's disappearance. Officials also said there is no indication Pinson is in Santa Barbara County.

The Solano County Sheriff's Office, Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office and FBI are working together to examine crime scenes in the city of Solvang, where the shootout occurred following a pursuit on Thursday.

The search for Pinson started Wednesday morning when the Solano County Sheriff's Office said they received reports of shots fired near the Interstate Highway 780 pedestrian over-crossing in the area of Home Acres and Taylor avenues in Vallejo.

A witness reported seeing a man with a gun pulling a female, who was bleeding and yelling for help, on the over-crossing. The witness heard a gunshot while running for help, and responding deputies found blood on the ground, sheriff's officials said.

"I heard screaming, panicking screaming, and then after that, I heard two gunshots and the car went off really fast," said witness Leslie Caro.

The sheriff's office has not confirmed Pinson was shot or the extent of her injuries.

As of Friday evening, the overpass is the site of a growing memorial where people have placed pearls for Pearl Pinson. 

Castro was spotted in San Luis Obispo County on Thursday after the California Highway Patrol had issued an Amber Alert for Pinson. CHP officers pursued him into Santa Barbara County, over 300 miles south of the scene of the suspected abduction in Vallejo.

Photo Credit: Handout
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<![CDATA[13 Blackhawks Set to Play in World Cup of Hockey This Summer]]> Fri, 27 May 2016 18:02:58 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Blackhawks1.png

The Chicago Blackhawks already knew that they were going to be well-represented at the upcoming World Cup of Hockey, but on Friday fans found out just how many Hawks players will suit up for their countries in Toronto.

In total, 13 Blackhawks players will participate in the event, which will take place before the 2016-17 season at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto.

The United States team will be led by Patrick Kane, who led the NHL in scoring this season and is considered to be a favorite for the Hart Trophy. Other notable players for the squad include Zach Parise, John Carlson, and Jonathan Quick as the Americans look to make some noise in the tournament.

Team Canada will feature three Blackhawks, as Corey Crawford was added to the team after being left off of the initial roster earlier this spring. Jonathan Toews and Duncan Keith will also suit up for the Canadians, who will look to defend home turf in the event.

Team Sweden will feature a pair of Blackhawks, as Marcus Kruger and Niklas Hjalmarsson will both play for the squad that is going to be considered a serious contender for the championship.

Team Finland will also feature two Blackhawks players, with Teuvo Teravainen and Ville Pokka (who already represented Finland in this year’s IIHF World Championships in Russia) both playing for the blue and white.

Artemi Panarin and Artem Anisimov were both on Russia’s initial roster for the tournament, and both players will play for their country in the World Cup. The Czech Republic team will also feature a Blackhawks player, as new acquisition Michal Kempny will man the blue line for the Czechs.

Finally, Team Europe will be represented by a pair of Blackhawks, as Christian Ehrhoff and Marian Hossa will play for the team that collects players from all nations in Europe not represented by their respective national teams.

The tournament will get underway with pool play starting on Sept. 17, with the championship game set for Oct. 1 in Toronto. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Hundreds of Cars Line Up for Vehicle Emissions Test]]> Fri, 27 May 2016 21:27:38 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/226*120/illinois+emissions+line.png

Incredibly long lines stretching for at least a mile were seen at an emissions testing facility in Illinois as drivers scrambled to get their vehicles tested before the end of the month.

The Illinois Secretary of State’s office sent notices to drivers this week reminding motorists that as of June 1, they must pass an Illinois Environmental Protection Agency vehicle emissions test before they can renew their registration.

Friday morning, hundreds of cars were seen lining up outside of a Naperville facility waiting to get their tests. The line stretched around area roadways outside of the facility at 435 Weston Ridge Dr., despite a voicemail at the facility reporting a wait time of 22 minutes.

The IEPA said it was experiencing long lines at all facilities, particularly those in the Chicago area. Spokesperson Kim Biggs blamed the wait times on the state budget impasse, which caused a delay in notifications being sent out to motorists.

In December of 2015, the Secretary of State’s office temporarily suspended requiring the tests because of a historic state budget impasse that left Illinois agencies unable to send mail reminders to drivers about the test. Previously, the only way drivers knew if their cars were due for an emissions test was via the mail notice.

The IEPA began sending out notices once again on April 6, though notices for those who need to renew their license plate stickers are still not being sent out.

Drivers can call 877-927-7587 to set up an emissiont test appointment in Illinois.

<![CDATA[Officer Hurt, Suspect Killed in Shooting at Grocery Store]]> Thu, 26 May 2016 23:00:34 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/cal+city+shooting+0526.jpg

A suspect is dead and officer wounded after an attempted robbery at a south suburban grocery store. 

A large police presence could be seen in the parking lot of a shopping center located at 168th St and Torrence Ave in Lansing around 4 p.m.

Police said officers were responding to an attempted robbery, and one officer was wounded in a shooting. He is being treated at an area hospital and expected to be fine, authorities said. 

"A male white suspect was observed fleeing from the scene," Lansing Police Public Information Officer Fabian Newman said in a statement. "A Lansing Police officer caught up with the suspect and a struggle ensued in the parking lot. During the struggle, the suspect shot the officer in the lower leg and continued to flee."

The male offender was shot and killed by a second police officer in the altercation, officials confirmed. His identity has not been released. 

One witness told NBC 5 that the chaos unfolded like a scene from a movie. 

"I see a cop running down middle of street. I hear shots. He's falling down. I was running to see if I could help," said Ericka Jones, who was getting her hair done at an adjacent salon when the incident occurred. "Then I see another guy with gun, so I jump in my mother's car. Then we heard more shots and that's when we pulled off and hid in parking lot."

"They shoot the cop. You can see he's shot in his lower extremities because he was rolling on the ground," Jones added. "One guy had a gun. I see them running. I saw the other cop. He asked the guy to put the gun down. He didn't put the gun down and the cop shot him... shot him directly in the head."

Both the Illinois State Police and the Lansing Police Department continue to investigate the shooting. 

Photo Credit: Sky5]]>
<![CDATA[Illinois Medical Marijuana Pilot Program Extended to 2020]]> Fri, 27 May 2016 17:14:32 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/91997111-marijuana-generic.jpg

Rep. Lou Lang announced an agreement with Gov. Bruce Rauner Friday to extend the state’s medical marijuana pilot program to 2020.

"Governor Rauner and House Minority Leader Jim Durkin deserve credit for their willingness and commitment to reform and extend Illinois' medical marijuana program,” Lang said in a statement. “I want to thank them for their cooperation to find a bi-partisan legislative compromise on improving a program designed to ease the pain and suffering of seriously ill individuals, including children."

A variety of changes were made to the program.

Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD) and terminal illnesses were added to the list of qualifying medical conditions that can be treated as part of the program.

Patient and caregiver ID cards will now be valid for three years, instead of one. Fingerprinting will also not be required to renew those cards.

Under the new agreement, doctors will no longer be required to recommend cannabis. Instead, they will certify their relationship with a patient and confirm a qualifying condition.

Minors who are part of the program will also be allowed two caregivers under the new plan.

The Medical Cannabis Advisory Board will also be reconstituted. Additionally, a new procedure will be created to accept patient petitions for new conditions to be added to the program.

Photo Credit: Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[Bears Sign First Round Pick Leonard Floyd to Contract]]> Fri, 27 May 2016 16:52:50 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-498224708.jpg

The Chicago Bears are hoping that linebacker Leonard Floyd can make a big impact for the team in his rookie season in the Windy City, and their first round pick is now under contract with the organization, the team announced Friday.

Floyd, who was drafted with the ninth overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft by the Bears, signed a four-year contract, with a fifth year option, according to the team.

The Bears now have eight of their draft picks under contract, with only Florida defensive end Jonathan Bullard, a third-round pick of the team, serving as the only hold-out.

The Bears traded up two spots in the first round to get Floyd, jumping ahead of the New York Giants in the draft order. Floyd had 184 tackles during his career with the Georgia Bulldogs, including 17 sacks. He had four and a half sacks and 10 and a half tackles for loss during his final season with the Bulldogs. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[ISIS Commander in Fallujah Killed in US Strike: Military]]> Fri, 27 May 2016 16:55:47 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/fallujah1.jpg

A U.S. airstrike has killed a local leader of the terror group ISIS in Iraq, a spokesman for an American-led coalition fighting the group said, NBC News reported.

The Wednesday strike on ISIS headquarters in Fallujah killed local commander Maer al-Bilawi, according to U.S. Army Col. Steve Warren.

Warren said the attack was one of more than 20 airstrikes that killed 57 ISIS fighters over the past few days.

Thousands of Iraqi military, police and Sunni tribal fighters are poised to launch an assault on Fallujah to retake the largely Sunni city from ISIS control. Fallujah was the first Iraqi city to fall to ISIS. Retaking it promises to be a major challenge for the country's beleaguered security forces.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Metra Delays Reported After Train Derailment in Chicago]]> Fri, 27 May 2016 21:32:46 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/metra+canal+derailment.JPG

Major Metra delays are expected after a passenger train derailed near Canal Street in Chicago Friday afternoon.

According to the transit agency's website, a passenger train derailed near Canal Street around 3:30 p.m.

Officials said wheels of the lead car on the train had gone off the track. No passengers were on the train at the time of the derailment. 

Trains on several Metra lines were reporting delays following the derailment. 

Train no. 2138 on the Milwaukee District North Line, scheduled to arrive at Chicago's Union Station just before 3:30 p.m., was stoppped at Western Avenue.

It was not clear how long the delays would last, but Metra expected the derailment would impact rush hour.