<![CDATA[NBC Chicago - Top Stories]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/top-stories http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/5-Chicago-Blue.png NBC Chicago http://www.nbcchicago.com en-us Fri, 31 Oct 2014 07:58:59 -0500 Fri, 31 Oct 2014 07:58:59 -0500 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[No Trick: Snow Kicks Off Halloween in Chicago]]> Fri, 31 Oct 2014 07:47:44 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/snow+pumpkin+getty.jpg

It looks like Mother Nature still has a trick up her sleeve for Halloween.

Ahead of a cold, windy day, snowflakes were spotted early Friday in Chicago's north and west suburbs, from Waukegan to Elgin. By 8 a.m. the snow had moved into the city.

And it could get worse as the day goes on.

The National Weather Service issued a Winter Weather Advisory for Jasper, Lake, Newton and Porter counties in Indiana from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday.

Winds of between 25 mph and 35 mph with gusts of up to 50 mph are expected by early Friday afternoon, according to the NWS, and even stronger winds are likely near Lake Michigan.

There also is a threat for heavy bursts of lake-effect snow showers Friday afternoon and evening, resulting in isolated accumulations of one to two inches.

Some heavy snowfall could limit visibility under a mile and make travel hazardous across the area, the NWS reports.

In the Chicago area, a Wind Advisory was issued from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday.

The NWS says the area could see northerly winds of up to 50 mph and gusts of 55 mph along Lake Michigan, blowing down tree limbs and power lines.

Forecast models show a cold front arriving in the Chicago area after midnight, particularly between 2 a.m. and 3 a.m., bringing winds from the north.

Temperatures early Friday aren't expected to climb much higher than the low 40s. Factor in the wind, and it'll be considerably colder.

The system that puts a damper on Halloween Friday will be out of the area by Saturday. While the weekend begins on a cold note but will improve a bit. Sunday will begin with some sunshine before clouds increase later in the day with temperatures in the 50s.

All of this is quite a switch from Monday's high temperatures in the mid- to upper 70s. 

Photo Credit: Photo by William Thomas Cain/Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Family: Latest MRI Shows "Dainty Warrior" Cancer-Free]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 22:52:52 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Ania-Moriarty.jpg

The mother of a 4-year-old Chicago girl known as the “Dainty Warrior” says her daughter's latest MRI results indicate she is free of cancer.

"She has waited patiently for her dya to celebrate cancer freedom," her family wrote on the Dainty Warrior blog. "The day is here!"

Ania Moriarty suffers from retinoblastoma, a rare form of cancer that affects 300 children annually. After failed chemotherapy, After failed chemotherapy, doctors were forced to remove Ania's left eye earlier this year and replace it with a prosthetic.

"This journey is ending and we are ready to close the chapter on this warrior's cancer saga," the family posted. "We have had many followers and many of you have lifted her (and our family) up in good thoughts and prayer. We will never be able to say thank you enough."

Last month, family said Ania was doing well in school and continues to create and sell her paintings, with the proceeds helping other sick kids.

"It really affect all families, and being able to share and help other families out is really important. You just don't know how much is means to other families," Ania's father, Michael Moriarty said. "We're still selling her art, but we're offering the proceeds to St. Baldrick's, one of the best pediatric cancer groups, because they provide most of their money to research."

Ania has also added ballet to her artistry, complete with an outfit with wings. During cancer treatments, Ania liked to share her wings with others battling cancer.

"Even for that moment, when any kids put those wings on, puts their arms out like she does, you see that freedom in the sense of, you know, we're going through cancer but you still feel ... free," Ania's mother, Erica, said.

For information on purchasing Ania's paintings, visit her web site.

<![CDATA[Years After Helmet Safety Study, School Equipment Still Mixed]]> Fri, 31 Oct 2014 00:28:26 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/helmet+investigative.jpg

It’s a hallmark of autumn in America: high school football, played under Friday-night lights on crisp fall evenings, the smack of shoulder pads mingling with the cadences of cheerleaders, and the roar of proud parents and fans.

It’s also the center of a renewed focus on safety as concerns grow over sports-related injuries. What began with heartbreaking stories of one-time NFL heroes left debilitated by too-many blows to the head, led to increasing emphasis on concussion prevention. That includes specific awareness over when concussions happen, so that players can be taken out of the game, along with renewed emphasis on proper tackling techniques, and equipment.

“I got a headache that hasn’t gone away yet,” says Sean Radcliff, now a coach at Rolling Meadows High School. “It’s been ten years and it’s been here every second of every day.”

Radcliff went down with a concussion in his first outing as quarterback when he was a freshman in high school. Today, he still loves the game. But he tells his players, he’s living proof that they should play smart.

“Ninety-nine percent of the time, you’re going to be fine,” he says. “But if you’re playing with a concussion, and that one time you have a mistake and hit your head again, it could be disasterous.”

Because of that, three years ago, Virginia Tech University’s School of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences began testing the most popular brands of helmets, giving those with the best protection five stars, down to zero stars for one model, the Adams A2000.

“When you look at some of the helmets, the differences were dramatic,” says Virginia Tech’s Dr. Stefan Duma. “If you move from a one star helmet to a five star helmet, the risk of concussion is cut by over 50 percent.”

With that in mind, NBC5 Investigates asked for the helmet inventories of over 300 public and private high schools from throughout Chicago and the suburbs. That survey revealed over a dozen schools using lower-rated helmets, which were considered either “marginal” or “not recommended” in the Virginia Tech study.

Eight schools were using a 2 star helmet, the Schutt Air Advantage. Two other schools had the one star Riddell VSR4 in their inventories. Four more were still using the Adams A2000, the helmet which received zero stars in the Virginia Tech study.

Chicago’s Farragut Career Academy had nine VSR4’s, and 15 Adams A2000’s. In the NBC5 survey, many Chicago Public Schools gave incomplete information, however, some of them merely listing brand names such as Adams or Riddell, without revealing a model.

Some schools which once used lower rated helmets have dropped them, as technology and safety improved. One of those is Sandburg High School in Orland Park, which no longer uses the VSR4.

“With all of the reports coming out about concussion, we want to get the best equipment that we possibly can,” said athletic director Mark Krusz, who said concussion prevention is a primary focus for his school’s players.

“A lot of that is going over technique, technique, technique,” he said. “Making sure that they know how to tackle with proper form, to avoid injury.”

Experts say that especially with high school students, that’s critical.

“We can’t look to one thing, one piece of equipment, one notion, to say that’s going to prevent your kids from being injured,” says Dr. Elizabeth Pieroth, a neuropsychologist and concussion expert with NorthShore University Health System. “We’re seeing a lot of products making a lot of claims on how to reduce, prevent, or cure concussions that are just not supported by science.”

Indeed, while Pieroth says she would shy away from the zero and one star helmets, she believes fit is a much more important factor.

“The research has been really very consistent that the brand makes very little difference,” she says. “If you have a four star helmet, and it fits better than a five star helmet, that helmet is better for your child.”

Chicago-based Riddell noted that the VSR4 was considered the most advanced helmet in the marketplace when it was introduced.

“The game has evolved significantly,” the company said in a statement, “making room for major advancements in helmet technology.”

Indeed, the company notes that while it discontinued the VSR4 three years ago, their Revolution Speed helmet was the first to receive a five star rating from Virginia Tech. Two other Riddell helmets, the 360 and Speedflex also received five stars.

Another helmet maker, Schutt, said it has issues with the Virginia Tech rating system.

“We’re concerned about the false sense of security that’s being generated, as parents, coaches, players, administrators, and media place an unhealthy and unwarranted amount of focus on a single data point in the evaluation of helmets,” said Glenn Beckman, the company’s director of marketing. “We understand the desire to seek out easy answers, but the truth is there is no easy answer for this complex biological problem.”

Beckman notes that while its Air Advantage model (2 stars) was also discontinued three years ago, “there are still many Air Advantages in the marketplace. If those helmets have been reconditioned properly, there is no reason to believe they perform any less capably than they did when they were introduced nearly 15 years ago.”

Two Schutt helmets, the Air XP Pro VTD and the Vengeance VTD both rate 5 stars in the Virginia Tech tests. The Schutt ION 4D and Vengeance DCT received 4 stars.

Back on the field, Radcliff said it’s important to note that he firmly believes football can be played safely. Equipment is important, he says, but concussion awareness is a prime focus. And he believes the game has evolved light years in that regard, even in the ten years since he was injured.

“If we see anyone who may have had his bell rung, may have any doubts that he might have a concussion, he’s getting out and he’s going to be checked by a trainer, and they’re going to run tests before he can come back and play,” he says. “If we can come up with a solution that works for everyone, I think we can make the game safer, and better.”

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<![CDATA[Michael Jordan Takes Shot at Obama's Golf Game]]> Fri, 31 Oct 2014 02:49:38 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/160*120/obama+golf+swing-640.jpg

Michael Jordan took a shot at President Barack Obama’s golf game in a recent interview.

When Back 9 Network’s Ahmad Rashad asked Jordan who he would want to play golf with, Jordan said he would like to play with Obama. He then changed his mind. "He’s a hack," he said. "It would be all day playing with him."

"I never said he wasn't a great politician. I'm just saying he's a s----- golfer," Jordan said in the interview.

The president has been known to take time out of his schedule for the occasional golf game. He’s even played a round of golf with Tiger Woods before.

According to Golf Digest, Jordan is a 3-handicap. Obama, on the other hand, has never revealed his handicap.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[TODAY'S FORECAST: BRACE YOURSELF!]]> Fri, 31 Oct 2014 07:32:30 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Andy+Avalos+Updated.jpg

Friday: (HALLOWEEN) Mostly cloudy, windy and cold with a few snow showers and flurries at times this morning.  Extremely windy this afternoon and evening with periods of Lake Effect rain showers likely mixing with snow at times. A few thunderstorms will be possible along the south shore and NW Indiana where there could be snow accumulation on grassy areas by late afternoon and evening with 1 to 3 inches possible. Areas well inland towards the Fox Valley will likely see little, if any rain or snow. Highs in the upper 30s to low 40s. NW/N winds 15-25 gusting to 35 mph, but gusts to 50 mph along the shoreline of Lake Michigan with huge waves likely and minor flooding possible.

Tonight:  Lake Effect rain showers mix with or changes to all snow with some accumulation likely in spots; still very windy and cold. Lows upper 20s well inland, moderating to mid to upper 30s in the city and lakefront. N wind 25 to 35 with gusts to 45 mph.

Saturday: Any early moring snow showers end, then mostly sunny, unseasonably chilly, but a lot less wind. Highs in the mid to 40s.

Sunday: Increasing clouds, becoming windy and a liltte milder.  Highs in the mid to upper 40s. Wind: SSW 15 to 25 mph.

Monday: Partly cloudy, windy and seasonably cool with showers late.  Highs in the mid to upper 50s.

Tuesday:  Mostly cloudy with any morning showers ending, turning partly sunny; breezy and a little cooler. Highs in the mid 50s.

Wednesday: Mostly sunny and seasonably cool. Highs in the mid 50s.

<![CDATA[Chicago Lands Starring Role in "Batman vs. Superman"]]> Fri, 31 Oct 2014 07:22:41 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/tlmd_batman_vs_superman_st_ben_afflec_calvin.jpg

Chicago has landed a starring role in the upcoming movie, "Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice."

The city's film office confirmed crews are scheduled to shoot scenes in Chicago and the suburbs beginning Monday.

There are no details yet on exactly where Director Zack Snyder will point the camera.

Chicago is no stranger to big-screen comic book franchises. Snyder chose suburban Plano to serve as Superman's hometown and the Willis Tower as "The Daily Planet" in the 2013 movie, "Man of Steel."

"Transformers: Age of Extinction," the fourth installment of the film series, also was the second to shoot in Chicago.

Henry Cavill returns as Superman in the upcoming movie, and Ben Affleck will star as Batman.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Shake Shack Opens First Chicago Location Next Week]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 13:22:29 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/221*120/shake+shack+burger.jpg

New York-based Shake Shack, as famous for its lines and web cam as its burgers and shakes, has a Chicago opening date.

The fast-casual chain makes its Second City debut at 11 a.m. on Nov. 4 at the corner of Ohio and Rush streets in the River North neighborhood.

This summer, the company announced another location to open next year on the ground floor of the new Chicago Athletic Association Hotel at Michigan and Madison.

Both locations will serve the modern-day, “roadside” burger-stand staples Shake Shack is known for: burgers, flat-top dogs made with Chicago’s Vienna Beef, frozen custard, craft beer and wine.

The original Shake Shack is so popular in New York that it has become known for long lines and a web camera that shows the real-time wait.

Leading up to the opening, Shake Shack unveiled six life-size, interactive sliding puzzles on Ohio Street. The puzzles featured artwork by artist Noah MacMillan, known in the city for the Chicago Loop District’s iconic “Float” mural.

"In the spirit of Chicago’s vibrant public art collection and in homage to Shake Shack’s roots as a hot dog cart art installation in New York City," organizers said, "the puzzles invite the neighboring community to engage with them."

Photo Credit: shakeshacknyc.com]]>
<![CDATA[Opinion: Will Karen Be A Kingmaker?]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 11:21:12 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Karen_Lewis_8-19.jpg

As mayoral candidates, Bob Fioretti and Jesus “Chuy” Garcia have a number of things in common.

Both are true progressives, ready to fight for those left out of Chicago’s political process. Both are mounting fledgling campaigns that need money, volunteers and enthusiasm to reach the finish line. And both have an uphill climb in their quest to unseat Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

But there’s perhaps one thing more important that they both share at the moment: a clear desire to receive an endorsement from Karen Lewis.

It’s easy to see why. Without even announcing a formal candidacy, Lewis generated an almost unprecedented amount of political expectation and hope for a potential mayoral run among a diverse set of supporters across the city.

As president of the Chicago Teachers Union, Lewis was at the forefront of a number of critical battles in Chicago: education policy, pension funding, poverty and social justice. Before she was forced to bow out of the race due to health concerns, just the mere prospect of her running fired up progressives and others in a way the city hadn't seen in many a year.

Plus, she’s a charismatic figure. Which, for all of their own likeability, both Fioretti and Garcia will have a difficult time matching.

As a result, a nod from Lewis could go a long way in helping one candidate or the other garner the kind of support needed to make a serious run at Rahm. While on the surface it may look like any other endorsement, official backing from Lewis would be a clear signal to everyone from progressive activists, union funders and voters to who the larger anti-Rahm coalition building in Chicago sees as their standard-bearer.

As a result, both campaigns are in one way or another seeking Lewis’ endorsement. While Fioretti hasn't explicitly said he’ll ask for her blessing, his campaign has publicly praised her during her illness and recovery. Meanwhile, there’s little doubt a Lewis endorsement for Fioretti could make him a stronger challenger, almost overnight.

For his part, Garcia is more explicit in his desire for Lewis’s public support. In an interview with Carol Marin of NBC 5, Garcia said “I hope to earn her endorsement,” before adding that he has spoken to Lewis about his run and received her encouragement.

Which, behind the scenes, looks to be much the case. While not publicly coming out for Garcia, CTU spokesperson Stephanie Gadlin said the organization is "very enthusiastic about Garcia's possible candidacy," and union members will help him circulate nominating petitions. Garcia has also been invited to speak at a CTU fundraiser this week, without Fioretti.

Should she choose to make an endorsement, questions may arise over whether she does it as a private citizen or in some official CTU capacity. Earlier this month, Lewis temporarily stepped down as CTU president as a result of her health challenges. That means there could be two potential endorsements on the table in the coming weeks—one from Lewis and one from the powerful teachers’ union itself.

Of course, not a lot is known publicly about Lewis’ illness and the pace of her recovery. As a result, any speculation over her endorsement could well be moot.

Nevertheless, an endorsement from almost no figure in Chicago politics today carries as much real and symbolic weight as one might from Lewis. And, whether they say so out loud, both campaigns are fully aware what Lewis blessing would mean.

The only question is: Lewis may no longer in the mayoral election game. But will she be in the mayoral endorsement game? 

<![CDATA[Waukegan Teachers Approve New Contract]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 20:26:04 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/waukegan-teacher-strike-1.jpg

Waukegan teachers voted "overwhelmingly" to approve a three-year deal with the school district Thursday, ending a month-long strike in the north suburban community and sending students back to the classroom on Monday.

"The teachers are just thrilled," said Waukegan Teacher Council President Kathy Schwarz.

Schwarz said the school board still needs to approve the proposal and they are expected to do so at their next board meeting. The teachers will return to work prior to that meeting, however.

"The raise that the teachers have gotten under this will make it easier for them to live on and it's been a long time coming," said Schwarz.

Teachers were scheduled to vote on the proposal at 11 a.m. Thursday. Details on the deal were not made available.

"If it ratifies, [teachers] will be back in the classroom on Friday. The students will return on Monday and that teachers will be back on Friday to, you know, set up the classrooms and do whatever needs to be done," said Schwarz.

About 17,000 students have been out of class since Waukegan Community Unit School District 60 teachers walked out on Oct. 2.

The tentative deal was reached after a marathon 14-hour day of talks that included Gery Chico, the chairman of the Illinois State Board of Education. Chico was asked by Gov. Pat Quinn to take part in the Wednesday discussions in hopes of ending the standoff that reached an emotional high during a Tuesday evening school board meeting when board member Victoria Torres told attendees to "sit down and shut up."

Union representatives told NBC Chicago that Chico's participation and the fiery school board meeting helped both sides come together on the deal.

"The agreement addresses working conditions, duration of contract, salary and health care. We believe it's an agreement that's fair for both parties," said Mary Lamping, the district's deputy superintendent.

Torres on Wednesday apologized for her behavior during Tuesday's school board meeting, explaining that she lost her temper when she "felt attacked."

"As a leader, I realize I set a poor example for the students of Waukegan Public Schools, and for the community, and I am truly sorry for how I acted," Torres said.

Michelle Standridge, a representative for Illinois Federation of Teachers Lake County Local 504, said some hope the school board would call for Torres' "immediate resignation."

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<![CDATA[Wallenda Says Biggest Challenge is Overcoming Fear]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 22:52:02 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/tlmd_acrobata_nik_wallenda_rascacielos_chicago.jpg

Nik Wallenda spent time in Chicago Thursday, 600 feet below his precarious position set for Sunday.

“I love this city,” he said. “That’s why I’m here.”

The death defying daredevil says he has always had a special place in his heart for Chicago, and that’s why he chose to use the city for his latest stunt.

“This Discovery Channel special will air in over 220 counties around the world, and so I’m able to pick and choose where to go,” he said. “I’ve loved this city for years, loved these buildings, so I’m just happy to be in such an incredible city.”

Wallenda, a 7th generation member of the famous family of daredevils, plans to walk a tightrope between two sets of Loop skyscrapers at around 6 p.m. on Sunday in what he calls “the steepest incline that I’ve ever walked.”

He’s expected to walk on a wire no wider than a nickel.

Wallenda first plans to walk from Marina City’s 534-foot-tall west tower, across the Chicago River, to the 635-foot-tall Leo Burnett Building at a 15-degree angle, uphill without a net or harness. The stretch spans two city blocks.

He then will walk between Marina City’s west and east towers, blindfolded.

“I won’t be wearing a harness no matter what,” he said. “I could postpone because of weather, but that would be a last resort.”

The windy and potentially rainy Sunday forecast has prompted concerns over the event, but Wallenda says he’s trained in winds topping 100 miles per hour.

“I don’t ever look at the forecast because it changes so rapidly,” he said. “It doesn’t help me in any way. Who cares what tomorrow is like, because Sunday night is what matters to me.”

Wallenda maintains that, despite his shocking and breathtaking stunts, he’s no different than anyone else.

“The biggest challenge is overcoming, well, you know, fear,” he said. “We all have fear. I’m just like anyone else.”

<![CDATA[Blackhawks Beat Senators 5-4]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 21:54:21 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/185*120/458130852.jpg

The Chicago Blackhawks coughed up a third period lead, but thanks to two points from Marian Hossa (including a third period goal that represented the 1000th point of his NHL career) and a shootout goal by Patrick Sharp they were still able to emerge with a 5-4 victory over the Ottawa Senators on Thursday night.

Jonathan Toews scored twice in the game for the Blackhawks, and Kris Versteeg scored his second goal of the season as they opened up their two-game road trip with a victory.

Despite some early pressure by the Blackhawks, it was Ottawa that got on the board first. Cody Ceci fired a transition pass up the ice to Mark Stone, and when Curtis Lazar put a shot toward the goal, Stone was able to redirect it in between Scott Darling’s leg pads, and the Senators seized a 1-0 lead less than three minutes into the contest.

The Blackhawks responded well to the goal as they continued to press the tempo, and they got a power play as a result. Andrew Shaw made a silly mistake and was sent to the box to end that man-advantage situation, but Chicago still got a couple more chances on goal in the ensuing 4-on-4 action. Duncan Keith’s centering pass to Ben Smith was tipped up as it crossed the ice, and Craig Anderson made a nice glove save to keep his team in front.

After another unsuccessful power play in the middle stages of the period, the Blackhawks continued to get chances, and they eventually scored to tie things up. With Toews crashing the net, Hossa ripped a shot in toward Anderson. The puck found its way through a sea of skates onto Toews’ stick, and he forced it across the goal line to make it a 1-1 game with about eight minutes remaining in the period.

Four minutes later, the Blackhawks took the lead on a spectacular goal by Versteeg. Erik Karlsson made a nice play to deny Versteeg on his initial rush, but the forward didn’t give up. Making a nifty move to get around Karlsson, Versteeg got in alone on Anderson and made a nice deke before popping the puck into the open net to make it a 2-1 lead for the Hawks.

As the second period got underway, the Hawks kept giving the Senators chances, and the home side happily obliged by scoring to tie things up on an early power play. After receiving a pass from David Legwand, Clarke MacArthur made a smart decision to drive through an open seam to the net, and he was able to force a shot past Darling to tie things up at 2-2 just under three minutes into the frame.

With the period wearing on, both sides continued to trade quality scoring chances. Jeremy Morin and Bryan Bickell looked to have a sure goal a few minutes after the MacArthur tally, but Anderson was able to make an excellent save. MacArthur then fed a pass in front of the net to Bobby Ryan, but the winger’s deflection sailed just wide. Versteeg then pushed a pass across to a streaking Morin at the other end, but Anderson once again kicked out his leg pad to make an excellent stop.

Late in the period the Blackhawks got another power play, but they were once again unable to capitalize. Keith fired a high shot off Anderson’s blocker early in the sequence, and Seabrook whistled in a tough shot as well, but the Hawks were kept off the board as the game remained tied through two periods.

Early in the third period, some sloppy puck-handling by the Blackhawks cost them a goal. Bryan Bickell was the guiltiest of the parties involved, blindly passing the puck into the middle of the ice. It ended up directly on Ryan’s stick blade, and the sniper lived up to his reputation by ripping a shot past Darling to give Ottawa a 3-2 advantage.

After killing off two straight penalties, the Blackhawks finally were able to right the ship and tie the game with 12:30 remaining in the contest. Seabrook got things started when he hit a low slap shot toward the net, and it bounced off of Toews’ skate. While it was unclear whether Toews hit the puck with a kicking motion, that argument was rendered moot as the captain was able to tap a shot in with his stick to tie things up at 3-3.

Morin went to the box just a few seconds after the goal, but the Hawks were able to kill off the penalty. Seizing on that successful kill, the Hawks generated more momentum and eventually scored with six minutes to go. When Versteeg won a puck battle in behind the Ottawa net, he was able to muscle a pass to Hossa on the other side of the cage. Hossa quickly jumped out and snuck in a wraparound shot past Anderson’s left skate, and in the blink of an eye the Hawks led by a goal.

Unfortunately for Hossa, his 1000th career point didn’t end up as the difference in the contest. With the Blackhawks scrambling to re-establish their defensive zone coverage, Mika Zibnaejad picked up the puck in the middle of the ice and rifled a shot past Darling to tie the game at 4-4 with two minutes remaining.

Neither team was able to score in the final minutes of regulation, and the Hawks opened up the overtime period strong. Patrick Kane had a couple of good opportunities, but neither of them went in. They did get a power play late in overtime, but nothing evaded Anderson as the Senators forced a shootout.

The first five shooters in the skills competition came and went without anyone scoring a goal, but Patrick Sharp finally ended it on the Hawks’ third attempt. His deke sent Anderson sprawling to the ice, and Sharp simply lifted a shot up over Anderson and under the crossbar to give the Hawks the victory.

Chicago will look to finish off a perfect road trip through eastern Canada when they tangle with the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night at 6pm.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Street Closures Set for Wallenda's High-Rise Walk]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 19:46:57 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Nick_Wallenda_9-17.jpg

Several Chicago streets are closing this week in advance of the highest skyscraper walk in Flying Wallenda history.

Nik Wallenda, a 7th generation member of the famous family of daredevils, plans to walk a tightrope between two sets of Loop skyscrapers at around 6 p.m. on Sunday.

"This is the steepest incline that I've ever walked, but again it's about me pushing myself to the limit within reason," Wallenda said.

Between 9 p.m. Thursday and 6 a.m. Friday, Wacker Drive will close from Dearborn Street to State Street, and the Dearborn Street and State Street bridges will shut down for the set up of stage and production areas.

Between 5 p.m. and midnight on Sunday, Wacker Drive will close from Clark to Wabash Street. In addition, State Street closes from Lake to Kinzie and Dearborn closes from Lake to Kinzie, though local access to buildings and businesses will be managed by Chicago Police and security.  

The public can view Wallenda's stunt on Wacker Drive from Clark Street to Dearborn Street, entering from Clark, and Wacker Drive from Wabash Street to State Street, entering from Wabash.

Wallenda first plans to walk from Marina City’s 534-foot-tall west tower, across the Chicago River, to the 635-foot-tall Leo Burnett Building at a 15-degree angle, uphill without a net or harness. The stretch spans two city blocks.

He then will walk between Marina City’s west and east towers, blindfolded. The stunt will be televised live on the Discovery Channel.

"Chicago, the Windy City, that was, believe it or not, very alluring to me," Wallenda said. "Most people would think a wire walker doesn't want to go to the Windy City, but I enjoy the challenges."

<![CDATA[Dad of Boy Who Shot Pal Dead Pleads]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 19:44:14 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/anthony+senatore+guilty+plea.jpg

The father of a then-4-year-old New Jersey boy who fatally shot his 6-year-old neighbor with his father's unsecured gun has pleaded guilty to two counts of endangering the welfare of a child in exchange for less jail time, NBC 4 New York has learned.

Anthony Senatore of Toms River pleaded guilty Thursday to the charges in connection with the April 2013 shooting death of Brandon Holt. Senatore's young son shot Holt once in the head with Senatore's gun -- a .22-caliber rifle the father was accused of keeping loaded, unsecured in his bedroom.

Senatore's lawyer previously said his client was "deeply horrified over what took place and feels awful about it," but that the case should've been tried in civil, not criminal, court.

Last November, Senatore rejected a plea deal that would've required him to serve seven years in prison. In exchange for the guilty plea Thursday, Senatore will serve two three-year jail terms simultaneously when he is sentenced Feb. 5.

Senatore had originally faced six counts of child endangerment -- one for each of the five unsecured firearms investigators say they found accessible to his three children and one for endangering the welfare of Holt by leaving his gun in a place where his own child could get it. . 

The Holt family has filed a lawsuit against the Senatores accusing Senatore and his wife of recklessness that led to their son's death. .  

Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York]]>
<![CDATA[Cupich Talks Move to Chicago, Addresses Controversies]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 22:53:43 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/210*120/tlmd_obispo_blases_cupich_arzobispo_chicago.png

Archbishop Blasé Cupich is wrapping up his time in Spokane Washington and will be moving to Chicago in less than three weeks.

In an interview with NBC Chicago, Cupich says he's looking forward to his leading the Chicago Archdiocese "rich with talents and abilities."

He’s about to take on an archdiocese more than 20 times the size of his current one, but he said he knows what’s ahead—including issues with closing schools, gay marriage, and a priest sex abuse crisis.

As he wraps up his tenure, Cardinal Francis George will soon disclose more priest sex abuse files that have secret for years.

“There I think are going to be a lot of things that have happened in the B.C. era, that is Before Cupich,that people will want to revisit,” he said. “I’m very reluctant to do that.”

Cupich recently removed a retired priest accused of abuse, however, SNAP notes parishioners were not immediately told.

“If a mistake was made it was not an immediately getting out to the public media, which is a matter of course here, but we’re talking about a day or two difference,” he saud.

As more Chicago Catholic schools close, Cupich notes the financial strain.

“There really is a large footprint in the inner city not only in Catholic education but in all of our services in Catholic charities and others,” he said. “There’s a commitment there that I intend to continue.”

Since he’s choosing to live at Holy Name’s rectory, Cupich has appointed a committee to determine the future of the Cardinal’s mansion.

He’s likely to miss the beautiful Spokane falls, and Silas, the golden Labrador who lives at his seminary home, but at the same time he’s looking forward to his new role.

As one of nine, many of his extended family from Omaha, Nebraska will be in Chicago for the installation mass. Cupich sees it as a Midwest homecoming.

<![CDATA[Gore Still on Pole Days After Crash]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 19:27:41 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/214*120/human+remains+midtown.JPG

A Manhattan resident is frustrated by the runaround she says she's gotten from the city while trying to get gore removed from the scene of a gruesome midtown crash last week. 

Cassandra Dunn first contacted NBC 4 New York with photos of what appear to be small bits of remains spattered on a light pole at 33rd Street and Lexington Avenue.

Dunn said she believes the remains were left from a crash involving an SUV, taxi cab and several pedestrians last Thursday. The FDNY confirmed two pedestrians were hurt in the crash. 

She said the carnage included fat, blood and hair.

"It's pretty gross, definitely a major biohazard," she said. "People are walking by with their dogs, their children." 

Though the remains haven't been tested, biowaste worker Sal Pain of Bio Recovery Corporation said at the scene Wednesday he's positive they are human.

"You have human hair, all different types of fluids," said Pain, whose company has several high-profile contracts with the city, including for potential Ebola waste removal. 

Pain said the remains will likely "just sit there until someone decides to hose it down." 

Dunn has been on a mission to get the scene cleaned up since the accident, but can't find anyone to help. She called 311, who referred her to the NYPD, who referred her to the sanitation department. 

She then called the state health department, who referred her to the medical examiner -- who then referred her to the forensics department. 

She tried the CDC, who pointed her back to the state health department.

Dunn finally emailed the mayor's office, and she said she's still waiting for a response. 

"Basically, I've been run around and no one wants to help me with this," she said. 

NBC 4 New York's attempts to reach the same departments and agencies yielded the same results: each department referred questions to another. 

A spokeswoman at the city's sanitation department said it was their understanding that "NYPD generally calls a medical waste removal company to crime/accident senes to remove any potential medical waste." 

The NYPD did not respond to a message Wednesday. The FDNY said in certain instances, it hoses down accident scenes as a courtesy but they are not responsible for doing so. The department said it was not asked to do that in this case.

But the mayor's office said Thursday the FDNY typically does wash down the street in those situations and that it cleaned the scene the night of the accident, despite evidence of remains still there Wednesday night. A spokeswoman said a fire battalion went back after NBC 4 New York's report aired and washed it down a second time. 

-- John Chandler contributed to this report. 

<![CDATA[An "Oasis From Crime"]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 19:11:01 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/WMAQ_000000009467725_1200x675_350081603948.jpg The Salvation Army Ray & Joan Kroc Corps Community Center is located in the West Pullman community. This center is Making A Difference by providing teens, families and the elderly a safe zone from the gangs and violence that surround the community center. NBC 5's Art Norman reports.]]> <![CDATA[South Suburban Airport Project Gaining Steam in Illinois]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 22:54:11 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/221*120/airport+investigative.jpg

While you were not looking, the state of Illinois gobbled up more land for a controversial airport project more than twenty years in the making. According to government records, the state has spent $38,600,610 on land acquisition for the project in 2014. The year’s purchases include Bult Field, a general aviation and corporate aviation airport near Monee.

NBC 5 Investigates has learned the total amount spent on the South Suburban Airport project so far, according to state records, is $86,279,555. That includes the purchase of 3600 acres out of the proposed 5800 acres needed for the project. The acquired land is in a section of Will County that includes parts of Peotone, Monee and Beecher.

Supporters said the proposed airport would serve a passenger service area of an estimated 2.3 million people by 2030.

Governor Pat Quinn has said the South Suburban Airport will be an “economic engine”. Thousands of construction jobs are expected to be created and a large work force would be needed after the airport begins operation.

“There’s a lot of momentum behind this project. It’s been around for a long time. But it’s a very important one for the state and we believe it’s a project whose time has come,” said Guy Tridgell, spokesperson for the Illinois Department of Transportation.

Long-time property owners who are packing up to make room share mixed emotions.

Jimmie Clayton, 80, recently sold his Monee property to the state. He had lived in his house since 1967. He said he used the money to buy a home several miles away.

“I wanted to upgrade my house instead of selling it to the state,” Clayton said. “I don’t think I got enough for my house.”

Rocky Batterman’s property is also in the path of the airport project. He lives down the road in Peotone and said he is not selling just yet. He said the state needs to offer more for the property he’s owned since the mid-1980s. But Batterman said he is being threatened with imminent domain.

“We want to walk away with the same lifestyle we had,” Batterman said. “We’re not trying to get rich. Just move on.”

IDOT, which is tasked with acquiring land parcels for the project, said it negotiates with sellers.

“We believe the vast majority of the people have been pleased with the outcome,” Trigdell said.

The state of Illinois has spent $1.3 million on legal fees related to condemnation and $4.98 million on direct maintenance costs of the land its acquired. Tridgell noted most of the maintenance costs have been recouped by leasing the property, in many cases to the original land owners.

So how soon could construction begin? The state said as early as a few years from now.

The Federal Aviation Administration said it still needs to analyze the state’s master plan and perform an environmental analysis before it green lights construction.

The Illinois General Assembly passed Senate Bill 20 in the spring of 2013, which created a Public Private Partnership between the private sector and IDOT to build the South Suburban Airport.

“The decision of whether to build the airport or not will be driven by the business community,” said Will County Executive Lawrence Walsh. “The most knowledgeable people in the airport industry will help make this decision based on the facts and economics of this project.”

Several major airlines, including Southwest Airlines and United Airlines, have yet to express interest in using South Suburban Airport.

“Our position has not changed. We believe a third airport would divert financial resources from O’Hare and Midway, and we would not fly in or out of Peotone,” said United spokesperson Christen David.

Republican gubernatorial challenger Bruce Rauner’s campaign team also weighed in on the airport issue.

“Bruce believes any new airports must have enough demand to be self-sustaining, and not reduce economic activity at other airports in the region,” wrote Rauner spokesperson Lance Trover in an email to NBC 5 Investigates.

Anti-airport signs can still be seen along the roads in and around the proposed site.

The Beecher School District superintendent said he fears the district’s tax base will erode as a result of the properties that have been purchased by the state.

“Every dollar is valued and when you start losing revenue it will impact the classrooms eventually,” superintendent Jeff McCartney said.

However, IDOT said it provides funding to local taxing districts to offset the loss in local property taxes from the increase in state-owned, tax-exempt property while land is being acquired.

“We have paid Will County more than $800,000 to distribute to these taxing bodies since we began acquiring property,” Tridgell said.

IDOT insists it is building for the future and said the demand for a third Chicago airport is there. The agency points to a vendor forum in September attended by an airline and organizations with “strong international” backgrounds on major infrastructure projects.

<![CDATA[Chicago Named Among Top Cities for Trick-or-Treating]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 22:54:37 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/tlmd_halloween_trick_or_treat.jpg

This is no trick. Chicago is one of the best cities for scoring Halloween treats this year, according to a new report.

According to Real Estate website Zillow, Chicago is ranked as third-best city in the nation for trick-or-treating.

The rankings were based on median home values, walk score values, population density and crime, indicating the cities that will give out “the most candy, in the least amount of time, with the fewest safety risks.”

In Chicago, the five-best neighborhoods for candy lovers are Roscoe Village, Edison Park, Bucktown, Sheffield Neighbors and Belmont Heights, according to the city.

The top treat destination for Halloween lovers was San Francisco followed by Los Angeles. Philadelphia, San Jose, Honolulu, Boston, Seattle, San Diego and Portland also followed Chicago to make the top 10 on the list.

To see the full list of cities click here.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Survey Ranks Best Outlet Stores to Shop]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 16:14:19 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/shopping-generic-group.jpg

Bargain hunters know how to search for the best possible price on the items they want, and with so many outlets stores in the Chicago area boasting big deals it might seem like a treasure map for savvy shoppers. But a new report shows some outlet mall stores aren’t exactly offering up outlet store prices.

Chicago is surrounded by prominent outlet stores like Fashion Outlets of Chicago, Gurnee Mills, Chicago Premium Outlets in Aurora and Prime Outlets in Huntley, to name a few, but a survey from Consumer Reports shows that some stores in outlet malls may not even be outlets at all and others may actually be selling items of lesser quality.

“By the industry’s definition, an outlet center is a shopping center in which most of the individual tenants are owner-operated outlets,” the report states. “During the leasing agreement process, developers usually require tenants to maintain a certain percentage of merchandise that is sold at a discount compared with retail-store prices.”

How much that discount is, however, is might not be specified.

In addition, manufacturers have also started making items solely for outlet locations, taking the stores away from their reputation of selling “seconds” and instead providing stores with items using different materials or fewer embellishments.

Consumer Reports sent secret shoppers to several different outlet malls in the country and those shoppers then ranked stores based on price, product availability, quality, customer service and overall satisfaction, the TODAY show reported.

The stores that the shoppers ranked the highest were:

  • Bon Worth
  • L.L. Bean
  • Haggar
  • Carter’s
  • OshKosh B’Gosh
  • Jockey
  • Bose
  • Coach/Coach Men’s
  • Bath & Body Works
  • Vitamin World
  • Corningware Corelle

Among the worst-ranked stores were:

  • Nike
  • Levi’s
  • GAP
  • Old Navy
  • J. Crew


Overall, survey respondents reported they were happy with outlet stores, finding savings ranging from 3 percent to 72 percent. Roughly 17 percent, however, felt prices were actually higher.

And with industry experts predicting shoppers will spend $42 billion at outlet stores this year, Consumer Reports has offered these tips for making sure shoppers get the best deals.

Time your trip.
Discounts are often highest during the holidays and traditional retail sales periods, including Black Friday. When possible, try to shop in the middle of the week when there are fewer shoppers and arrive early to shop before items get “picked over.”

Use a map.
Download a map and determine which stores you want to go to. This way, you’ll avoid walking around in circles trying to find the stores you like.

Use coupons.
Some stores offer printable coupons or downloadable coupon books.

Use apps.
Using price-checking apps like Red Laser, which can scan bar codes, will help you make sure the item you want isn’t available for less money at a nearby store or online.

Know the return policy.
Most retailers won’t take returns from outlet stores and some outlet stores might not take returns from their websites.

Photo Credit: clipart.com]]>
<![CDATA[Man Attacks Cook County Judge in Courtroom: Officials]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 17:32:50 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Michael+Ganter.jpg

A man who appeared in Cook County Court Thursday morning on aggravated battery charges attacked the judge after his hearing, sending him to the hospital, Cook County Sheriff's authorities said.

The sheriff's office said Michael Ganter was being escorted by two sheriffs to a holding cell just before noon when he broke free near the side of the judge’s bench. Ganter went to the judge and punched him in the head and face, authorities said.

Sheriff's officers and other law enforcement in the courtroom assisted in subduing him.

A taser was deployed during the incident, sheriff's authorities said, and officials confirmed the judge was hit in the hand with a probe from the device.

The judge was transported to Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood. His condition wasn't immediately released.

Sheriff's authorities said Ganter was not cuffed at the time, which officials said is normal procedure.

New charges are expected to be filed against Ganter.

Photo Credit: Cook County Sheriff's office]]>
<![CDATA[Man Put Acid Bombs in Ex's Car]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 20:29:02 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/bottle-bomb-083011.jpg

A 53-year-old Florida man will spend 10 years in prison after stalking an ex-girlfriend who lives in Stamford and planting bombs filled with hydrochloric acid in her car, severely burning her, prosecutors say.

"I don't know what possessed me to do what I did," Frank Mendoza wrote in a letter to the court just before he was sentenced Thursday, apologizing and saying he had intended only to "scare" his victim.

Mendoza was sentenced to 10 years followed by three years of supervised release, after he pleaded guilty to one count of interstate stalking in June. His plea deal had stipulated a sentence ranging from seven to 10 years.

Mendoza, formerly of Jacksonville, Florida, was arrested in Jacksonville on Aug. 17, 2012, almost two years after he is accused of having planted the bombs that left his ex-girlferiend with severe burns.

Prosecutors said Mendoza began dating the victim in 2008 and “became emotionally and psychologically abusive” toward her. The victim told authorities Mendoza had a lengthy criminal background and claimed to be part of a gang, and that she also noticed him carrying a gun.

The victim tried to break off the relationship and told Mendoza she was moving to Rhode Island for work-related training in September 2010, prosecutors said. In reality, she moved to Stamford.

A month later, Mendoza discovered her real address and began making harassing phone calls to the victim and her friends and colleagues, according to prosecutors. He allegedly traveled to Connecticut in November and showed up at her home and workplace, then returned home to Florida.

Mendoza returned on Dec. 8, 2010, when he flew into New York City and rented a car to drive to Connecticut, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. He drove to the victim’s home in Stamford and planted two bottle bombs in her car containing hydrochloric acid and aluminum foil wicks, according to prosecutors.

The victim went out to her car around 11 p.m. and noticed the interior was wet. She opened the driver’s side door and noticed a bottle on the floor, which began to “smoke and fizz” when she picked it up, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Prosecutors said the victim put it down, and the bottle exploded behind her as she ran away. Investigators learned that the first bottle had blown up before she arrived at her car. As a result, the victim “nearly suffered a horrible, disfiguring injury at [Mendoza’s] hands,” prosecutors said.

Photo Credit: YouTube]]>
<![CDATA[Suspect Arrested in Road Rage Death]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 15:21:13 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/th-perla-road-rage-16x9---00002804.jpg

Police have arrested the man they say gunned down an Oakland mother of four in a road rage shooting as she and her husband returned from grocery shopping Sunday.

Carlos Stephen Dubose, 20, of Oakland, was arrested Wednesday in Elk Grove on a murder charge, Oakland Police Chief Sean Whent said at a Thursday news conference.

"Perla's life mattered," Whent said. "All life matters in Oakland."

Not many details were released on why police suspect Dubose of being linked to the shooting death of Perla Avina, 30. She was shot on 98th Avenue as she and husband Mando Lopez had just bought breakfast ingredients near their home about 12:30 p.m. She died of her wounds shortly afterward.

Lead investigator Leo Sanchez said he was limited in what he wanted to release about the "road rage" death, which is "still unfolding." Dubose was arrested in connection with a murder, but as of Thursday morning, he was not formally charged.

Sanchez said there are no other known suspects and would not comment on how many other people may or may not have been in Dubose's car at the time.

Police did confiscate a silver four-door Volvo and a firearm from Dubose. He added there was some type of "confrontation" involving Dubose, though he wasn't specific. Police credited "a significant amount" of surveillance video and community tips for the arrest.

Since Sunday, police had been looking for who fired bullets into Lopez's 1998 Toyota Camry in what police spokeswoman Johnna Watson said was likely related to some type of road rage.

Earlier this week, Lopez, whose full name is Luis Armando, told sister station Telemundo that he remembers a car tried to veer in front of him on the way back from the market, and "I guess I didn't let him go."

Avina and Lopez have four children, ages 1 to 14. She was a medical receptionist and, according to neighbor Dwyane Jackson, who performed CPR on Avina before she died, "the heart of the family."

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<![CDATA[Teen Critically Wounded After Being Shot by Police]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 07:16:19 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Tykwon-Davis.jpg

Chicago police officers said they had no choice but to shoot a teenager after shots were fired at them late Wednesday, but the victim's family said it's a case of mistaken identity.

Tykwon Davis' family admits the 17-year-old has had some problems -- he'd recently been released from juvenile jail -- but they're adamant the boy didn't point a gun at officers and say his injuries prove that.

"He didn't shoot the police. They shot him," Davis' mother, said Willette Middleton, told NBC Chicago outside John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital of Cook County, where the teen was in critical condition at 6 a.m. "They shot him five times, for no reason, in the back."

Middleton said her son was running away from gunfire when he was hit.

Officers said they were conducting a traffic stop at about 11 p.m. on the 5100 block of South Wood Street, in the city's Back of the Yards neighborhood, when they saw two males shooting at each other from opposite sides of the street. The officers saw the muzzle flashes of the gun, according to Fraternal Order of Police Spokesman Pat Camden.

When the officers approached and announced themselves, one of the males turned and fired a handgun in the direction of the officers, police said. That's when they fired back.

Davis' father wasn't buying the officers' account of what happened.

"The police always say when they shoot somebody they killed, 'Oh, he pointed a gun at the police.' C'mon now. Out there in the world, how many times do we got to keep hearing this same thing over and over again: 'He pointed a gun?'  said Tyrone Davis. "Only somebody that's really stupid is going to point a gun at a bunch of police officers."

A weapon was recovered at the scene, police said. The second male involved in the exchange of gunfire ran off and was not in custody as of 6 a.m.

As is standard in an officer-involved shooting, the Independent Police Review Authority was called to investigating, spokesman Larry Merritt said.

No police officers were injured.

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<![CDATA[Journalist Returning From Liberia Being Monitored in Chicago]]> Wed, 29 Oct 2014 22:58:55 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/219*120/dipaola+ebola+monitoring.jpg

A freelance journalist reporting in Liberia returned to Chicago nine days ago, but he says it wasn’t until he did a radio interview Wednesday that he was contacted by Chicago health officials about his travels.

“Two hours later I get a phone call from the Chicago Department of Public Health saying, ‘Hey we would like to take your temperature,’” said Marcus Dipaola.

Dipaola said he was not exposed to the virus during his trip, and continues to take his temperature twice a day. He said his temperature was also taken twice at the airport in Liberia, and twice in Morocco. On Oct. 19, he flew to New York, where his temperature was taken again before he returned to Chicago.

But Dipaola said he’s concerned with how health officials handled his return to the U.S.

“[New York Health authorities] said the Chicago Department of Public Health would be in touch within the next 24 hours, that didn’t happen,” he said. “If I were a doctor or a nurse and they were contacting me nine days late, that would be completely unacceptable and that would be a danger to public safety.”

The CDPH, noting that Ebola monitoring protocols were put in place after Dipaola’s return, said in a statement they were “not notified of his arrival” and the radio report was “the first we had heard” of him.

“We immediately contacted the individual and visited him at home the same day to conduct a screening. The individual remains asymptomatic and has agreed to the active monitoring program for the remainder of the 21 day period,” the CDPH said in a statement. “We remind residents that Ebola does not spread easily from person to person and a person with Ebola cannot transmit the disease unless they are showing symptoms.”

Under CDC protocols put in place Monday, any traveler that is asymptomatic upon returning to the U.S. from a nation impacted by Ebola must be monitored for 21 days by local health agencies.

“When a Chicago resident enters the United States through another airport, that airport's jurisdiction will contact CDPH and inform us of the traveler’s return so our team can conduct the necessary active monitoring for the 21 day period,” according to the CDPH.

Dipaola said two nurses arrived at his home Wednesday and will return periodically over the next several days.

<![CDATA[Chicago Archdiocese Unveils School Closings]]> Wed, 29 Oct 2014 20:11:05 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/our+lady+of+destiny.jpg

The Chicago Archdiocese announced the closure of six elementary schools at the end of the school year because of budget shortfalls and low enrollment. Another six schools will merge to become three, and two schools will transition to become early childhood centers only.   

The announcement comes just weeks before Cardinal Francis George’s retirement and the installation of Archbishop Blasé Cupich. The Archdiocese is making the plans known far earlier than they have in past years as Cardinal George looks to hand over the school system to his successor without difficult decisions for him to make.

The Archdiocese announced the following closures:

  • St. Peter, 8116 Niles Center Road in Skokie
  • St. Hyacinth, 3640 W. Wolfram in Chicago
  • St. Ladislaus, 3330 N Lockwood in Chicago
  • St. Turibius, 4120 W 57th St. in Chicago
  • St. Rene Goupil, 6340 S. New England Ave. in Chicago
  • St. Lawrence O'Toole, 4101 Lawrence Ave. in Matteson

St. Dorothy, located at 7740 S. Eberhart, and St. Columbanus, at 7120 S. Calumet in Chicago, will form Augustus Tolton Catholic Academy, at 7120 South Calumet Ave.

Holy Cross Deerfield and St. James in Highwood will merge, and Holy Cross will remain open. Our Lady of Destiny and St. Zachary in Des Plaines will merge, and St. Zachary will remain open.

St. Agatha, located at 3151 W. Douglas in Chicago, will become an early childhood center that may be run by Catholic Charities. Nativity Early Childhood Center, at 2740 W. 68th in Chicago, may also be run by Catholic Charities.

The impact of the reconfiguration affects about 1,280 elementary students, 107 full-time teachers and 17 part-time teachers, as well as 47 full- and part-time aides and substitutes, and 58 full- and part-time administrative and operations staff, the Archdiocese said.

“This restructuring is the result of our ongoing efforts to strengthen and support sustainable Catholic schools over the long term,” said Thomas McGrath, chief operating officer for Catholic Schools. “Although difficult in the immediate term, we know taking these steps will increase access for families and students to excellent Catholic school education, now and in the future.” 

"We are very proud of our students, and we will help them through this," St. Peter School Principal Julie Crawford said.

An open letter from outgoing Cardinal Francis George said the Archdiocese simply cannot handle the costs associated with operating more than 240 elementary and high schools in Chicago. 

George wrote that operating expenses for the Archdiocese schools reached as much as $23 million in 2012, and $18 million in 2014. 

"This level is higher than the Archdiocese can afford and still remain financially healthy and has contributed to unsustainable operating deficits in the Archdiocesan budget," George writes. "These deficits stem from our ongoing operations and do not include expenses related to misconduct settlements."

Compounding the budget issue for the Archdiocese is the sagging enrollment at some of its schools, and a reliance on scholarships for low-income families. 

"Too many of our schools suffer from low enrollment, in many cases driven by the inability of families to afford Catholic school tuition" George writes.  "Many of these families have household incomes of $40,000 or less.  With two or three children, the cost of education at a Catholic elementary school, at an average of $4,500 per student, could constitute 20 to 30 percent of the entire household income."

George will be officially replaced by Cupich on Nov. 18, and the school closings could mark the last official act by the current cardinal.

"I believe I need to make these decisions before my retirement because this process was initiated years ago, and many people in our Archdiocese have been working hard to bring these decisions to a conclusion," he writes. "Making these decisions this fall also ensures adequate time to help affected students transition to different schools. I am grateful for the guidance of our Archdiocesan Finance Council and School Board in making these decisions. Archbishop Cupich has also been made aware of these decisions and of the decision-making process. I ask that you keep all affected school families and staff members in your prayers as we embark on these transitions. Thank you and God bless you."

Photo Credit: Charlie Wojciechowski]]>
<![CDATA[Early Voting in Suburban Cook County Surpasses 2010 Numbers]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 19:45:30 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/voting-dfw-generic-01.jpg

The number of suburban Cook County voters who headed to the polls in advance of Election Day has surpassed the number of early voters in the area in 2010.

As of Thursday morning, about 91,000 residents cast their early votes, compared to about 83,000 in 2010, according to the Cook County Clerk's Office.

Numbers were not available midday for the City of Chicago.

Officials from a group called "Raise Illinois," focused on increasing the state's minimum wage, credit their massive get-out-the-vote effort for what they say is a boost across Illinois.

Illinois' minimum wage currently sits at $8.25/hour. A non-binding ballot question asks voters if the minimum wage should be increased to $10.

Incumbent Gov. Pat Quinn is in full support of raising the minimum wage and has made it a campaign issue. His Republican challenger, Bruce Rauner, initially said he supported bringing Illinois' $8.25 rate down to the $7.25 federal level in order to keep the state competitive, but later, and faced with the possibility of voter backlash, he "clarified" his stance and said he would support a minimum wage hike if there were other business concessions.

Early voting is available until Nov. 1

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[A Homecoming Fit for a King]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 12:52:02 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/457402746.jpg

Out in Cleveland they’re talking 70 wins and a championship for the Cavaliers.

Quick reminder I: Only one NBA team has ever won 70 games in a season, and the 1996-97 Chicago Bulls had a guy named Michael Jordan leading the way to a record 72 wins.

Quick reminder II: The Cavs are 0-for-44 in their all-time quest for an NBA championship.

But it’s easy to see why expectations are through the Quickens Loan Arena roof, just off the shores of Lake Erie: On Thursday night, LeBron James will put on a Cleveland uniform in a regular-season game for the first time since 2009-10. 

“This is my first home game,’’ he says in a new Sprite commercial, trumpeting his return to his hometown team.

The ad shows him getting a hero’s welcome as he walks into Akron’s Patterson Park, where he played as a youth. It’s as if he never left Cleveland back in July, 2010, to take “my talents to South Beach.’’ That night he became Public Enemy No. 1, with his once-adoring fans burning his wine-and gold No. 23 jersey and the Cavs’ owner, Dan Gilbert, emasculating the franchise’s all-time greatest player in a venomous email seen ‘round the world.

Now he’s back and the NBA has never seen a homecoming like this one.

The Cavs open the season Thursday at the New York Knicks at 8 p.m. He returns with a new baby in tow, having welcomed daughter Zhuri Nova with his wife last week. James also has two sons.

“They all hated him for leaving, but now it’s a great story because he’s the hero again,’’ NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal said on Monday. “Villain one day, hero the next. Now all is forgiven. That just shows you how fickle fans can be.’’

O’Neal, who played two seasons in Cleveland with James, had an idea that James would be headed back home. It’s not just that LeBron always had it in the back of his mind to return to where he first became a legend, playing for St. Vincent-St. Mary High School. Shaq also saw some basketball logic in James’ decision to leave Miami Heat as a free agent, even after leading the Heat to two titles, in 2012 and 2013, and helping the Heat become only the third franchise in league history to go to four straight Finals.

“When a guy goes to four straight Finals, like LeBron did, you figure everything is good and he’ll be staying,’’ O’Neal said. “But what nobody is talking about is what happened to the Heat.’’

In last June’s Finals the Heat’s vaunted “Big Three’’ was reduced to James trying to go one-on-five and getting obliterated in five games by the San Antonio Spurs. With one-time Finals MVP Dwyane Wade looking calcified, and their top big man Chris Bosh largely ineffective, James found himself trying to outduel the Spurs by himself.

Turns out, he had every reason to head back to Northeast Ohio. But first, he had to hear a very big “I’m sorry’’ from Gilbert, the long-time meddling owner. The two met in secret in Florida before he decided to make the move. Gilbert apologized and James proved to be one forgiving soul.

“You hash it out and move on,’’ the four-time MVP said.

James signed a two-year deal for $42.1 million, with an option to rework his contract next summer. What he went back to was a far cry from what the Cavs have now, as they prepare to take the court for their season-opener against the New York Knicks.

“I didn't envision our team being like this right off the bat," James said during pre-season. “I felt like me coming, we could hopefully add some pieces. Obviously it happened quicker than I thought."

The Cavs have the makings of a championship contender. Kyrie Irving, who was once intent on returning home to the New York area to play for his beloved Knicks, opted to stay when the Cavs gave him the $90 million maximum salary, just before James announced his return. Then the Cavs used their third No. 1 overall pick in the draft in the last four years, Kansas prodigy Andrew Wiggins, and traded him to Minnesota for the Timberwolves' disgruntled All-Star power forward, Kevin Love.

Irving and Love have zero playoff appearances between them and have never had to perform under such lofty expectations, which is probably the reason James refuses to call his new set-up “the Big Three.’’ But they’re bound to benefit from playing with James, who will be seeking his sixth trip to the Finals since 2007 and his third ring. With the King back on his throne, the Cavs had an easy time adding the necessary fill-in pieces for a strong supporting cast. Players with championship pedigree like Shawn Marion, Mike Miller and James Jones ran to play with James. They might be shaky defensively, lacking a big man to protect the rim, but the Cavs should be an offensive juggernaut.

“I don’t see anybody in the East giving them problems,’’ O’Neal said. “Chicago needs to find another scorer to help Derrick Rose. He can’t do it by himself and he’s undersized. The only concern I have about Cleveland is their coach.’’

A veteran of coaching in Russia and Israel, David Blatt, a former Princeton player under legendary coach Pete Carril, has never coached a second in the NBA, not even as an assistant. But he now has the best player on the planet, who still doesn’t turn 30 until December, meaning this is a learning curve that should be relatively easy to negotiate.

Of course, there hasn’t been a champion in Cleveland since the Browns in 1964.

“For LeBron, winning one championship in Cleveland will be the equivalent of winning five titles in Miami,’’ said O’Neal’s TNT teammate, Charles Barkley. “Even if he doesn’t win it this season, you just have to love the fact that LeBron went back home. That’s what I was rooting for and what a lot of people were rooting for.’’

Nowhere more than out in LeBron’s old stomping grounds. He might not win 70 games this season, but no one will be surprised if sometime in June he’s out in front, leading a championship parade.

Longtime New York columnist Mitch Lawrence continues to write about pro basketball, as he’s done for the last 21 years. His columns for NBCNewYork.com on the Knicks, Brooklyn Nets and the NBA, along with other major sports, will appear twice weekly. Follow him on Twitter @Mitch _ Lawrence.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[City's Site Hacked After Dog Shot]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 20:32:05 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Cleburne+TX+city+hall.jpg

The FBI is investigating a cyber attack on the city of Cleburne, Texas, that shut down the city’s website and appears to be motivated by a police officer’s controversial shooting of a dog, the mayor said Wednesday.

"We're under attack as we speak,” said Cleburne Mayor Scott Cain. "We consider an attack on the city an attack on the residents, and we're not going to put up with it."

Video showing a police officer shooting a dog has been viewed more than 200,000 times on YouTube. The officer was dispatched to a report of three vicious pit bulls and shot one of them.

The officer is on paid leave while an investigation is underway.

Hackers are using a “denial of service” attack to overwhelm the city’s servers, slowing emails and all but shutting down the city’s website, which residents use for everything from paying utility bills to reporting potholes.

"Our IT guys are working on it around the clock,” Cain said.

Cain promised a transparent investigation into the dog shooting.

"When the review is completed we are going to let the chips fall where they may,” he said.

Regardless of what happens with that, he said whoever is behind the hacking is picking on the wrong city.

"If somebody thinks that they are going to send a message to an officer or the city of Cleburne, don't mess with Cleburne, Texas,” he said. “We will prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law. And we're not going to put up with it."

Katherine Chaumont, a spokeswoman for the FBI’s Dallas office, confirmed the bureau is assisting Cleburne with the cyber-crime investigation.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Michelle Obama to Continue Campaigning in Illinois]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 11:31:49 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/tlmd_michelle_obama_rap.jpg

Michelle Obama will fly home to her native Illinois this weekend to campaign for Democrats at a rally in the eastern city of Moline, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.

On Saturday, she'll headline an event on behalf of Gov. Pat Quinn, Sen. Dick Durbin and Rep. Cheri Bustos, according to the paper.

The First Lady, an energetic and popular campaigner, recently began stumping for the vulnerable Quinn, a fellow Chicago Democrat, whose political future hangs in the balance against powerful opposition from Republican investor Bruce Rauner.

Earlier this month, FLOTUS spoke at a pro-Quinn rally at the University of Illinois at Chicago while appearing in ads for the governor's campaign. Also in October, POTUS urged voters to support Quinn at another rally held at Chicago State University on the city's South Side.

Both forgot to clean their Hyde Park home before returning to Washington.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[K-9 Heroes Helped Find Girl's Killer]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 11:12:42 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/WMAQ_000000009467583_1200x675_349926467941.jpg 10/27/14: The mother of murdered teen Kelli O'Lauchlin, Brenda, meets the team of bloodhounds that helped find clues that led to the capture of her killer, and a new member fo the bloodhound gang that takes its name from Kelli.]]> <![CDATA[Bear at SoCal Pet Grooming Shop]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 15:18:43 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/214*120/10-30-2014-lancaster-bear-rmg.jpg

A bear visited a Lancaster business district early Thursday in an early morning search for food in trash bins at a pet grooming store before using storm drains to head back toward the wilderness.

The black bear was reported near 15th Street West and West Avenue K in the northern Los Angeles County community in the Antelope Valley. A security guard patrolling the area responded to a report of someone knocking on the business' back door.

"I heard the noise so I know something's out there, but I don't want to meet it face to face," said Lupe Telles, who works in the area.

The security guard arrived to find the bear, which appeared to have a scratch by its eye, going through trash. Deputies arrived before the bear ran down a street and into a storm drain channel.

At about 5:45, the NBC4's crew in Lancaster caught the bear on video as it climbed an embankment above the channel.

Witnesses told NBC4 they think the bear has probably made previous visits. The bear has been seen searching for food at a homeless encampment.

One lifelong Lancaster resident said bears do not usually come "this far down" from nearby mountains.

California's black bear population is at about 25,000 to 30,000, with most living in mountain areas above 3,000 feet, according to what the CA Department of Fish and Wildlife calls conservative estimates. In 1982, the statewide bear population was estimated at between 10,000 and 15,000.

Less than 10 percent of the state's black bear population lives in the central western and southwestern California region, according to agency estimates. About half of the population resides in an area north and west of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

Increased bear sightings -- and other wildlife -- might be partially attributed in recent years to the state's ongoing drought as animals are forced to search for food in areas outside their usual habitat, according to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. California has just finished its third-consecutive dry year with no end in sight to the dry spell.

Photo Credit: RMG]]>
<![CDATA[Apple CEO Tim Cook: "I'm Proud to Be Gay"]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 19:41:28 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/tim-cook.jpg

Apple CEO Tim Cook spoke out publicly about his sexuality in an op-ed for Bloomberg Businessweek, saying, "I'm proud to be gay" and that he hoped to inspire others.

"While I have never denied my sexuality, I haven’t publicly acknowledged it either, until now," Cook said in the article, entitled "Tim Cook Speaks Up" published on Thursday. "So let me be clear: I’m proud to be gay, and I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me."

Cook, who was named CEO in August 2011, has never publicly acknowledged his sexual orientation, but he said many of his colleagues at Apple already knew. He said the choice to come out wasn’t easy as privacy is important to him, but he hopes his public declaration helps others.

“I don’t consider myself an activist, but I realize how much I’ve benefited from the sacrifice of others,” Cook wrote. “So if hearing that the CEO of Apple is gay can help someone struggling to come to terms with who he or she is, or bring comfort to anyone who feels alone, or inspire people to insist on their equality, then it’s worth the trade-off with my own privacy.”

Although Cook had never acknowledged he is a gay man, he spoke out against discrimination against the LGBT community in the past.

In June, he tweeted his support for the White House’s decision prohibiting federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, calling it “a matter of basic human dignity." And in February, he applauded a coach of his hometown college football team for saying he would welcome a gay player on the team.

Photo Credit: Getty]]>
<![CDATA[Texas School Bans Football T-Shirt]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 17:10:25 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Martin+football+t-shirt.jpg

The Arlington Independent School District has banned a high school football team T-shirt with the slogan "Shhhhhhh just let it happen" after the school newspaper's editorial staff questioned whether the message were a rape innuendo.

Martin High School's bi-monthly newspaper The Warrior Post raised concerns about the shirt, designed by senior football team members and printed by the football booster club, in a staff editorial headlined "Out of Bounds" in its most recent edition.

"Can this saying be easily misunderstood? Yes. Though it certainly was not the goal of the shirt, its slogan connotes rape culture. This is not what we want to display as a slogan for our Varsity football program," the editorial read in part.

The shirt reads "Martin Football" in big gray letters above an image of a Native American man that represents the school's Warrior mascot. To the left of the man is a pirate flag, with a skull and crossbones, along with the words "We take what we want," and below the flag is the phrase "Shhhhhhh just let it happen."

The Warrior Post's editor-in-chief Jerred Osterman, 18, a Martin senior, told NBC 5 that the paper's staff was motivated to write its editorial after a female student approached a news staff member with concerns over the T-shirt.

Osterman said neither he nor his staff questions the motivation of the players or their message of team unity behind the shirt — only the wording of the message and how it might be perceived.

"It's inappropriate, and it's not something that you want to represent Martin with," Osterman said.

Both Martin coach Bob Wager and booster club president Kevin White told NBC 5 they never considered the message on the shirt to be potentially inappropriate, saying that if they had, they would have never allowed it to be made or worn. Wager said the shirt's pirate theme denotes the team's mentality of trying to force turnovers.

"Certainly the booster club and the coaches, nobody construed it in that manner," said Leslie Johnston, director of communications for Arlington ISD, who estimates that around 50 of the shirts were printed. "They just thought it was a football shirt. And when that was pointed out, that it could be taken in that way the students have, they are no longer wearing them.

"They would never want to condone any kind of behavior like that," Johnston added.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>