<![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-usThu, 30 Jun 2016 19:02:52 -0500Thu, 30 Jun 2016 19:02:52 -0500NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Lanes Reopen After Hazmat Closes Inbound Chicago Skyway]]> Thu, 30 Jun 2016 09:44:11 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Sky54.png

All lanes on the inbound Chicago Skyway were temporarily closed Thursday morning after an overturned semi prompted a HazMat response on Chicago’s Southeast Side.

The truck was traveling near 79th Street and Stoney Avenue around 12:30 a.m. when it rolled over, officials said, spilling diesel fuel and steel beams onto the roadway.

The crash created a HazMat incident while Chicago fire crews cleaned up fuel from the spill.

All of the inbound Skyway traffic was being forced off at 87th Street before the Tollway Plaza until the roadway was reopened just after 7 a.m., officials said.

Photo Credit: Sky5
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<![CDATA[RNC Rule Proposal Aims to Thwart 'Stop Trump' Forces]]> Thu, 30 Jun 2016 12:39:07 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/trump-AP_16165715343393.jpg

In an attempt to block the "Stop Trump" movement that aimed to upend the Republican National Convention, delegates began circulating a draft rule that would effectively lock-in Donald Trump as the GOP nominee.

Anti-Trump forces have talked up rules that could let delegates vote against Trump, regardless of the primary results. But the first proposed rule for this year's convention in Cleveland, obtained by MSNBC, proposes to freeze 2012 rules so that no new amendments can take effect until after this year's convention.

If the proposal passes, it guarantees that if amendments designed to stop Trump, such as a "conscience clause" that would function as a delegate escape hatch, are also passed, they would only go into effect at "the 2020 National Convention."

That sentiment could be a compelling argument for delegates heading to Cleveland. Even Trump's detractors within the RNC have said it would be unfair to change the rules in the middle of the game.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Chicago City Sticker Grace Period Ends]]> Thu, 30 Jun 2016 18:56:03 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/chicago+vehicle+sticker+0630.jpg

Beginning Friday, cars can be ticketed and fined immediately after their Chicago City Vehicle sticker expires.

The fine is $200, and a new ticket can be issued daily, beginning the day after a sticker expires. If a driver’s sticker expires on June 30, their car is eligible to be ticketed on July 1.

The reason for the new policy is a change to the Chicago Municipal Code, ending the grace period that gave motorists leniency when it comes to purchasing new stickers.

The grace period to purchase a new sticker without a late fee has been extended, however. Drivers with a sticker that expires June 30 have until July 30 to purchase a new sticker without paying an additional $60 late fee. But they may still accumulate daily fines in the meantime.

There are over 350 places throughout the city to purchase a new sticker, and drivers can also complete the process online

All three of the Chicago City Clerk’s offices will also be open from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Saturday, July 2 to accommodate drivers who need to purchase new stickers.

<![CDATA[Brookfield Zoo Gets CT Scanner]]> Thu, 30 Jun 2016 18:38:56 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/WMAQ_000000018514040_1200x675_716367427585.jpg Imagine trying to give a 300-pound bear his yearly checkup. Thanks to new technology, that just got a lot easier for staff at Brookfield Zoo. Emily Florez reports.]]> <![CDATA[U of C Professor Joins Women's Chinese Volleyball In Rio]]> Thu, 30 Jun 2016 17:57:27 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/160*120/beach+volleyball+generic+sand+50909958.jpg

An associate professor of orthopedic surgery at the University of Chicago Medicine will head to Rio with the Chinese Women’s National Volleyball Team as their head doctor and orthopedic surgeon.

Dr. Sherwin Ho was recruited by the Chinese team’s head coach after he worked with the U.S team during the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Dr. Ho was the head doctor for the U.S team starting in 2006.

According to News and Research from the University of Chicago, while Ho was working with the American team, the coach at the time, Jenny Lang Ping was a former player for China. After the Beijing games, Ping returned to China to coach a professional team and sometimes would ask Ho to treat some of her players.

In the summer of 2013, Ping requested Ho to become the official physician for the Chinese national team.

Ho travels to China multiple times each year and consults with doctors and trainers in Beijing several times a week. Some of the Chinese players have also come to the U.S to seek his care. He oversees the well-being of about two dozen players even though he is living in Chicago.

While a head physician for the Chinese national team, Ho also serves as the team physician for Concordia University Chicago, where he first started working in 1991, a year before he began his career at the University of Chicago. 

Ho's familiarity with volleyball is personal, as he grew up playing the sport in Hawaii. 

Ho, an expert in sports medicine who specializes in minimally invasive arthroscopic procedures, received his Bachelor of Arts in Zoology from the University of Hawaii and earned his M.D. from the University of Hawaii’s John A. Burns School of Medicine.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Tatyana McFadden Sets Sights on 7 Gold Medals in Rio]]> Thu, 30 Jun 2016 17:49:34 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/mcfadden_1024x576_nbc.jpg

Illinois graduate Tatyana McFadden has high expectations for herself for the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio.

The Russian native by way of Clarksville, Maryland plans to compete in six events and a marathon – and take gold in each one. The trip to Rio will mark her fifth Paralympic Games appearance.

“I’m only 27 and to already compete in five games is unbelievable,” said McFadden. “It’s always really honoring, humbling and it takes a lot of work to make the team. It’s quite a journey that I love and a journey that I’ve wanted ever since a young child. I love racing and it’s what I think about all the time. I love traveling and I love what’s it’s brought to my life at the moment. I love it all.”

In a recent interview with NBC this year, McFadden shared the she will compete in the 100, 400, 800, 1,500, 5,000, 4x400 meters and a marathon. There may be the possibility of her competing in a relay at the end.

Affectionately known as “The Beast,” McFadden has proved that she is an asset to the team since her first Paralympic appearance in 2004 at Athens. Since that time, McFadden has collected three gold medals, four silver, and five bronze medals during the Paralympics Games.  

McFadden’s events can be watched during the September 7-18 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Follow updates with Tatyana McFadden on Twitter @TatyanaMcFadden. For all Paralympic updates, follow the U.S. Paralympic Facebook and Twitter

Photo Credit: NBC]]>
<![CDATA[Thief Steals Coin Given by Obama]]> Thu, 30 Jun 2016 18:36:11 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/betty-unsquished.jpg

A thief broke into the home of the nation's oldest full-time park ranger, punched her and stole a special coin given to her by President Barack Obama when she was honored before Christmas in Washington, D.C., according to police in Richmond, California.

But it seems the president will soon send her a replacement coin, according to Betty Reid Soskin's boss at the National Park Service.

An unknown assailant broke into the 94-year-old's second-floor apartment about midnight on Monday, punched her several times and dragged her out of her bedroom into the hallway, according to police Lt. Felix Tan. He asked that anyone with information about the attack call detectives.

"This is a vicious, heinous crime," Tan said. "This is vicious enough for anyone at any age."

Tan said Soskin received medical attention for the bruises on her face and is recovering at her Hilltop-area home. She has not returned to work at the Rosie the Riveter WWII National Home Front National Historical Park, where she gves tours five days a week.

Obama honored Soskin for her life's work on Dec. 4 at the White House Christmas tree lighting ceremony. The two hugged, and she said at the time that "nothing else tops this." 

On the night of the attack, Soskin was awakened by the intruder, who wrestled her cellphone away from her when she tried to reach for it, Tan said. He then punched Soskin several times in the face. She fell. Then he dragged her out of the bedroom and into the hallway, where he punched her again and again.

Soskin was able to crawl into the bathroom and lock herself inside until the suspect left, Tan said. When she finally came out, she discovered that her cellphone, iPad, laptop, camera, jewelry and the special commemorative coin were missing. She called police for help about 1:45 a.m.

The only suspect information immediately available is that the thief was a thin man in his 20s.

Soskin was not immediately available for comment on Thursday. She is an active blogger but mentioned nothing about the home invasion on her site. Her son declined to be interviewed.

Soskin's neighbor doesn't believe it was a random attack.

"Whoever did it had to know something," said Kenneth Moody. "What, I don't know, and I can't tell you."

Her boss, Park Supt. Tom Leatherman, told NBC Bay Area on Thursday that he was one of the first people that Soskin called after the attack. Since then, he’s been over to see her every day.

“She’s part of our park service family. We’re all pretty emotional,” he said. “We go from disbelief to figuring out what we can to do help.”

In addition to setting up a fund to help Soskin replace her belongings, Leatherman said he got an email this week from Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, saying that Obama would replace the coin. “There’s a lot of people looking out for her,” Leatherman said.

White House and Department of the Interior representatives did not have a comment for this story. 

Soskin works full-time, explaining her slice of history to student groups and adults 40 hours a week. During World War II, Soskin worked as a clerk for the all-black Boilermakers A-36.

She's been known as a "Rosie the Riveter," though in the true sense of the word, that title is typically given to female wartime shipyard workers.

Soskin didn't start working for the park service until she was 85, she explained in a YouTube video, and was a stay-at-home mom, raising four children, until she was 50. 

In 1995, Soskin was named “Woman of the Year” by the California State Legislature. In 2005, she was named one of the nation’s 10 outstanding women, “Builders of communities and dreams,” by the National Women’s History Project.

Soskin also made headlines in 2013 when she publicly urged Congress to get its act together and end the furloughs many of nation's federal workers were undergoing. She said she didn’t want to waste any time sitting around at home at her age.

Before becoming a ranger, Soskin had been a social activist and, with her late husband, owned a record store in Berkeley.

As for when she’ll return to work, Leatherman expected it might be a couple of weeks: “She has some bruising on her face, and she wants to wait for that to heal first.”

The specific fund to help Soskin has not yet been created, but it will soon be on the Rosie the Riveter Trust site. Anyone with information should call Richmond Police Detective Florencio Rivera at 510-621-1755. 

NBC Bay Area's Shawn Murphy contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: National Park Service/National Tree Lighting
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<![CDATA[Trump Has a 3 Percent Chance in Illinois: Report]]> Thu, 30 Jun 2016 16:51:43 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/trump-muslim-ban.jpg

Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has just a 3 percent chance of winning Illinois in November, according to political analysis website FiveThirtyEight.

The site, whose editor editor-in-chief Nate Silver successfully predicted 49 of 50 states in the 2008 presidential election, used four recent polls to shape their analysis.

Those polls show presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton leading Trump from anywhere between 13 percent and 24 percent. According to the report, her odds of winning the Land of Lincoln sit at 97 percent.

"Our win probabilities come from simulating the election 20,000 times, which produces a distribution of possible outcomes for each state," the report said.

The site predicts that Clinton will receive 56 percent of the vote in Illinois, while Trump will receive 37 percent. Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson is expected to receive roughly 7 percent of the vote.

According to the same analysis, Trump only has a 20 percent chance of winning the presidency. Of the 538 electoral college votes that will be up for grabs in November, the site predicts Clinton will win 354, Trump will win 183 and Johnson will win 1. 

Additionally, the report predicts that Clinton will win 49 percent of the popular vote, while Trump will take 42 percent. Johnson is predicted to win 8 percent.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Three Positions the Blackhawks Should Address in Free Agency]]> Thu, 30 Jun 2016 15:48:39 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Brian+Campbell+5112011.jpg

The NHL’s free agency period starts on Friday morning, and teams will be looking to fill in gaps as they pursue a Stanley Cup championship next season.

As is usually the case, the Blackhawks won’t be big spenders in the free agent market, focusing instead on adding pieces to give their roster depth rather than adding high-profile players. Their last major free agent signing was Marian Hossa way back in 2009, and although they’ve made additions such as Brad Richards during that span, none of them have ever come close to matching the yearly salary or term that Hossa received on his 12-year deal.

Even with that in mind, the Blackhawks will still be looking to add a few veterans, and we’re previewing the positions that they’ll need to address as the free agent signing period begins.


The Blackhawks have already made an addition in this area over the offseason, bringing in Czech-born defenseman Michal Kempny on a deal, but they’ll still likely be looking for a veteran puck-mover to help bolster their blue line for the coming year.

That’s where Brian Campbell comes in. The defenseman has gone on record saying that he would love to return to Chicago, and although he would have to take a pay cut to do so, the Hawks do have $5.2 million in cap space to play with, and he would certainly help the team offensively and give Brent Seabrook a reliable partner to play with on a nightly basis.

Scoring Winger

The Blackhawks had to part ways this season with Teuvo Teravainen, and it seems highly unlikely that the team will be able to bring back Andrew Ladd on a new contract. Add to that the fact that Joel Quenneville will likely be cautious about breaking up Artemi Panarin and Patrick Kane, and that the team will likely try to ease Nick Schmaltz into the lineup instead of throwing him straight into the fire, and there is certainly an argument to be made that this area presents a need.

Players like Kyle Okposo will be out of the Blackhawks’ price range, but a player like Thomas Vanek, who was just bought out by the Minnesota Wild, could conceivably be a fit. A player like P.A. Parenteau could also be a possibility depending on how much a Campbell contract would cost, but the Hawks would have to be very careful on how much money they dedicate to this position.

Veteran Bottom Six Winger

The Blackhawks are going to hit the market needing to replace guys like Tomas Fleischmann and Dale Weise in their bottom six, and it seems unlikely that they’ll want to just go into the season with players like Vincent Hinostroza and Ryan Hartman as the players filling those roles.

A reunion with Weise is possible, but with the way Quenneville approached his usage last season, it’d be hard to blame him for not wanting to come back into the situation. A player like Chris Stewart could also be an intriguing option, but he seems to be a player that a team will overpay for in the belief that he could still be a serviceable top-six forward rather than a depth player. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Witnesses Save Man Stabbed After Protecting Woman on Bus]]> Thu, 30 Jun 2016 15:39:44 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/209*120/cta+rescue+stab.png

A man who was stabbed after protecting a woman with a child on a Chicago Transit Authority bus earlier this week says it was the kindness of strangers that saved his life in return.

“I could’ve lost my life,” Jose Santiago said. “I was just trying to be a hero.”

Santiago was on the Diversey bus Monday afternoon when he says he saw a man harassing a woman with a child over a stroller spot on the crowded bus.

“I seen him kick her stroller, I thought he was going to hit her because he was yelling at her and she had a baby with her,” Santiago said. “So I stood up and said, ‘Just sit here. I’m here to help you. Do you need help? I’m here to protect you.'”

But when Santiago got off the bus at the Western stop a short time later, the man and two women with him followed Santiago.

“I said, ‘Leave me alone’ and he kept saying stuff to me like, ‘What you want to do? What you want to do?’” Santiago said.

That’s when Santiago said the man pulled out a knife and started swinging. 

“I fell to the ground, but then he tried to stab me toward my heart and I pushed his arm and so he got me right here in my shoulder,” Santiago said.

He was left bleeding in the street with a punctured lung, until witnesses came to his aid.

“I want to thank everyone who rushed to help my son,” said Santiago’s mother, Gladys Santiago.

Police identified the man as 23-year-old Gidalthi Rodriguez, who was charged with misdemeanor battery.

“I’m disgusted with what Chicago is doing,” said Santiago’s sister, Elizabeth Ramos. “It should have been attempted murder honestly.”

But for Santiago, thinking of the woman he helped, and the man who helped him, brings him to tears. He hopes to meet them both again someday.

“I don’t remember his name,” Santiago said. “He stood with me and applied pressure to my wound and I thank him for that.”

Photo Credit: NBC Chicago]]>
<![CDATA[Naperville Local Aims to Make Paralympic Swimming Team for Rio ]]> Thu, 30 Jun 2016 15:20:51 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Pool+-+Getty+Images+.jpg

Naperville resident Alyssa Gialamas will begin her quest for a spot on the paralympic team headed to Rio this summer as she competes in U.S. Paralympics Swimming Trials Thursday.

Gialamas is expected to swim in four events over the course of the trials. On Thursday, she will swim in the 200-meter freestyle and 50-meter backstroke.; On Friday, she will take on the 50-meter freestyle and on Saturday the 100-meter freestyle. Results for the Rio Paralympic Games swimming team are to be released on Sunday.

Born with arthrogryposis, a disorder that affects the movement of joints and muscles, Gialamas typically has issues with her jaws, knees and feet. She fell for swimming instantly at a young age and began competitive swimming at 15. At the age of 18, she represented Team USA in the 2012 Paralympic Games in London, coming in fifth in the 200-meter freestyle.  

Gialamas graduated from Waubonsie Valley High School in Aurora and attends Loyola University in Maryland, where she swims under the guidance of coach Brian Loeffler. She is studying communications with a specialization in public relations.

The trials will not be televised, but coverage can be followed on social media through the U.S. Paralympics Facebook or Twitter @USParalympics for updates. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images ]]>
<![CDATA[Indiana Gov. 'In Play' as Possible Trump VP Pick]]> Thu, 30 Jun 2016 15:06:08 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-468209962.jpg

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence is "in play" as a possible contender to be named Donald Trump's running mate at next month's GOP convention, sources familiar with the vice presidential search tell NBC News.

An individual knowledgeable of conversations about the decision tells NBC News that Pence was made aware several weeks ago through an intermediary that he was being considered for the VP slot.

Officials close to the governor stress that Pence has had absolutely no direct contact with the Trump campaign since before Indiana's primary in April. Pence, who is running for his own re-election this November, endorsed Ted Cruz over Trump in the primary contest but noted at the time that the real estate mogul has "given voice to the frustration of millions of working Americans with the lack of progress in Washington, D.C."

In a news conference on Thursday, Pence declined to say whether or not he is being vetted, and there are other possible picks for the job, including New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

Photo Credit: Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[General Assembly Passes Stopgap Budget Compromise]]> Thu, 30 Jun 2016 17:33:39 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/budget+summit+rauner.jpg

The Illinois General Assembly approved a temporary budget compromise Thursday that will ensure schools open this fall and state services continue through the end of the year.

A complete budget, or "grand compromise," is clearly off the table as the state's lingering budget impasse will likely stretch into its second year Friday. The stopgap funding will only serve as a band-aid for the next six months.

During a speech Thursday afternoon, Gov. Bruce Rauner stressed bipartisan solutions and the need to pass a reform-minded, balanced budget. Rauner called the plan "an attempt at good faith compromise to set up the possibility for a grand bargain." 

"I believe, and I firmly hope, that right now we've hit the bottom," Rauner said. "This is the low point in the evolution of Illinois and now we begin to move up. Growth, value for taxpayers, better schools and a political system that is responsive and actually making good decisions for the long-term health of the state."

The impasse has largely hinged on Rauner’s Turnaround Agena, which is focused on pension reform, term limits, freezing property taxes and redistricting workers. The compromise passed Thursday has little trace of the governor's pro-business, union-weakening agenda.

Rauner met with party leaders throughout the week hammering out a stopgap funding compromise for K-12 education and other essential state services, like higher education and social services. The package was broken into a series of bills which were all approved by the Illinois House Thursday.

The first bill ensures that critical state services continue to operate through the end of the year. In total, the bill accounts for a $331 million increase in general state aid funding.

The bill includes $1 billion for higher education and $670 million to fund human services that are not funded by consent decree or court order. All road and transit construction is also funded.

The plan adds $250 million in spending for school districts with low-income students. Roughly $100 million of that would go to Chicago Public Schools, sources told NBC 5.

The compromise also includes a bill requiring the state to contribute $205 million to the Chicago Teachers' Pension Fund. The pension payments, which are only for fiscal year 2017, won't go into effect until June of 2017.

Another bill, which could bring in up to $250 million for Chicago, allows the city to use a property tax to help pay for teacher pensions. The tax, which was eliminated in 1995, will be a seperate line item on Chicago property tax bills.

A tax increment financing bill that was added at the last minute Thursday allows Mayor Rahm Emanuel to access $1 billion in federal money without the approval of the legislature. 

Voting was briefly delayed Thursday when the Black Caucus introduced a last minute amendment and House Republicans broke for a party meeting.

The amendment included $9.3 million for Bridge funding, minority teacher scholarships and other programs.

A spirited debate broke out on the House Floor when representatives returned to session in the afternoon. Rep. Will Franks took offense after members of the assembly applauded when the amendment was dropped. 

"I heard applause from the other side of the aisle," Davis said. "And I couldn't understand why they would be applauding the fact that programs to help minorities are not being debated, they're not being taken into consideration, that they're not being prioritized in a way that they should be."

Davis took aim at House Minority Leader Jim Durkin, claiming the Republican leader wasn't concerned enough about minority communities.

"I understand, you don't care about minority communities as much as I do," Davis said to a smattering of groans. 

Later, Rep. Ron Sandack explained that Republicans were applauding the fact that a hastily introduced amendment was dropped and that the reaction had nothing to do with race.

After approving the stopgap measures earlier in the day, members of the House ultimately voted to appropriate money for the stopgap funding Thursday afternoon.

Madigan addressed the assembly after the vote. He acknowledged that lawmakers still had work to do to pass a full budget, but lauded the bipartisan compromise as a sign of progress.

"This is a compromise effort that also makes important progress for fulfilling our obligations to Illinois' middle class, the elderly, children, the most vulnerable," the speaker said. "Progress that must continue as we move forward."

Durkin praised the bipartisan effort, thanking Democratic leaders for engaging Republicans.

The Illinois Senate unanimously approved the stopgap budget shortly after the plan passed the House.

After the legislature failed to pass a complete, balanced budget before the end of the spring legislative session last month, Rauner introduced his original stopgap plan and embarked on a tour of the state, pushing legislation and railing against a “bailout” for Chicago Public Schools. 

On Thursday, Rauner explained that he shifted his attention to a stopgap plan after Democratic leaders made it clear that, although some reform compromises made sense, they wouldn't vote on them in the lead-up to the November election.

The governor’s stopgap tour culminated in the introduction of revamped bills to fund schools and other services, measures that were filed Tuesday by Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno and House Minority Leader Jim Durkin. 

Democrats also outlined a separate funding plan this week, but no portion of either plan was introduced when lawmakers reconvened in Springfield Wednesday for a special legislative session.

Instead, attention shifted to the bipartisan compromise that passed Thursday. The governor drafted the legislation with Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton, as well as Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno and Durkin.

The nearly year-long impasse has adversely affected health and social services, as well as public colleges and universities in Illinois.

The state has relied on court orders and consent decrees for funding over the course of the impasse and has failed to make payments for certain schools and services because money was not appropriated in a budget.

As a result, a group of Illinois-based human and social service agencies and companies filed a lawsuit against Rauner and members of his administration in May seeking payment of over $100 million. An early childhood education nonprofit led the the governor’s wife, Diana Rauner, joined the lawsuit later in the month.

Additionally, Chicago State University was forced to lay off more than 300 employees in April after cutting the semester short to save critical funds.

<![CDATA[Reporter Plans to Cut Budget Beard Stopgap Funding Passed]]> Thu, 30 Jun 2016 14:01:29 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/kaegard1.png

The reporter who vowed not to shave his beard until a budget deal is reached in Springfield has decided to chop off the facial hair if lawmakers approve a stopgap funding compromise Thursday.

Chris Kaergard, who covers politics for the Peoria Journal Star, started growing his beard after lawmakers failed to reach a budget deal before the end of the spring legislative session last May. As the state's budget impasse stretches into its second year Friday, he is understandably antsy for a makeover.

"I absolutely cannot wait to get rid of the beard,” Kaergard told Ward Room Wednesday. "Never did I imagine it would measure more than nine inches of growth.”

He explained that he was originally holding out for a full budget, but with the outlook looking grim, he chose to settle for the stopgap.

"My hope had been for a full-year budget, but the climate had gotten so bad, so disheartening, that the progress we've seen the last few days with real negotiations and give-and-take -- and at least a halt to the rancor and attacks -- should be encouraged,” Kaergard said. "I think shaving the beard is a symbol of that.”

Kaergard called the stopgap “imperfect” and said he was looking for a new way “to show the continued delay on getting a full budget.”

Lawmakers in Springfield are considering a stopgap budget compromise Thursday that would ensure schools open in the fall and essential services continue through the end of the year.

<![CDATA[New Zika Studies Reveal Invisible Damage to Babies]]> Thu, 30 Jun 2016 13:32:35 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/BabyZika-AP_698041135257.jpg

Zika virus causes different types of brain damage in babies, not just microcephaly, according to two new reports.

Brazilian researchers found as many as one in five babies born with brain damage caused by Zika had normal-sized heads, NBC News reports. That means babies who may seem normal may in fact suffer from serious conditions that parents and doctors may not notice until they get older.

Worse, one study confirms that many of the pregnant women whose babies were affected didn't have the obvious symptoms of Zika, such as a rash. The virus is known to cause invisible infections in most people who catch it — usually good news, but that's bad news for pregnant women who may not know anything is amiss until their babies start showing symptoms as they grow.

And the study also found that even late in pregnancy, babies can suffer brain damage caused by Zika. In other words, there's no stage of pregnancy that's safe.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Where To Watch Parades in Chicago Area This Fourth Of July]]> Thu, 30 Jun 2016 13:11:44 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/july+4+lead.jpg

As the Fourth of July weekend kicks off, families can enjoy watching the Independance Day parades. Below is a list of parade routes and times in the Chicago area.

July 1

Evergreen Park: 95th and Springfield, 6:30 p.m.

July 2

Fox Lake: Grant High School 2 p.m.

July 3

Bartlett: Oak Avenue to Stearns Road, 1 p.m.

Crystal Lake: City Hall to Lakeside Festival grounds, 1 p.m.

Warrenville: Downtown Warrenville south on Warren Avenue, 3 p.m. 

July 4         

Arlington Heights: Oakton at Dunton to Miner, 10 a.m.

Aurora: Benton and River Streets, 10 a.m.

Barrington: Barrington High School to train station, 10 a.m.

Beecher: Corner of Miller and Elliot, 4 p.m.

Bensenville: Downtown Bensenville, 10 a.m.

Carol Stream: Corner of Lies Road and County Farm Road, 10 a.m.

Chicago: Independence Park, 10 a.m.

Darien: North on Cass Avenue to 71st Street, 9:30 a.m.

Deerfield: Deerfield High School to Park Avenue, Noon

Des Plaines: Main and Grant Streets, 12:45 p.m.

Elgin: Slade and Douglas Streets, 9 a.m. 

Evanston: Central Street, 2 p.m.

Flossmoor: Ridge Road to Izaak Walton Preserve, 10 a.m.

Glencoe: Central School, 2 p.m.

Glen Ellyn: Ellyn Avenue, Noon

Glenview: Harlem Avenue and Glenview Road, 11:15 a.m.

Hawthorn Woods: Falkirk and Carlisle, 10 a.m.

Highland Park: Laurel and St. Johns Avenues, 10 a.m.

Hinsdale: Sixth and Garfield Streets, 10 a.m.

Hoffman Estates: Illinois Boulevard, 9 a.m.

Lisle: Travels through Downtown Lisle and ends at Museums of Station Park, 11 a.m.

Lincolnshire: Kings Cross Drive to Lincolnshire Drive, 11 a.m.

Lyons: 46th Street and Lawndale Avenue, 1 p.m.

Mount Prospect: Corner of Emerson Street and Prospect Avenue, 1 p.m.

Morris: Behind junior high school, 2 p.m.

Morton Grove: Dempster and Central, 2:30 p.m.

Niles: Notre Dame College Prep to Grennan Heights Park, 9 a.m.

Northbrook: Cherry Lane and Western Avenue, 2:30 p.m.

Oak Lawn: 95th and 51st Avenue, 10 a.m.

Oak Park: Longfellow Park, 10 a.m.

Palos Hills: Harlem Avenue to 119th Street, Noon

Park Forest: Corner of Main Street and Orchard Drive, 6 p.m.

Skokie: Oakton Community College to Oakton Park, Noon

Vernon Hills: Corner of Deerpath and Atrium Drive, 9 a.m.

Wheaton: Liberty Drive to Main Street, 10 a.m.

Winnetka: Elm Street and Glendale Avenue, 10 a.m.

Yorkville: Yorkville High School to Church Street, 9 a.m.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Turkey Arrests 13 as Death Toll Climbs to 44: State Media]]> Thu, 30 Jun 2016 09:09:18 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/ISTANBUL_GettyImages-543751396.jpg

Police in Turkey arrested 13 for a possible connection to the attack on Istanbul's airport as the death toll as the death toll climbed to 44 on Thursday and funerals continued for the victims, NBC News reported.

Along with the dead, more than 200 were injured when assailants with guns and explosives hit the airport on Tuesday.

Officials have said the coordinated assault on Ataturk airport bore the hallmarks of ISIS, but there has been no official claim of responsibility. Turkish officials have not publicly identified the attackers. Police sources told NBC News that assailants were Russian, Uzbek and Kyrgyz.

Police carried out 16 raids targeting ISIS suspects in Istanbul overnight. The state-run Anadolu Agency said 13 people were taken into custody — including three foreign nationals.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Chicagoans Reunite With Loved Ones After Airport Attack]]> Wed, 29 Jun 2016 23:27:28 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/istanbul+chicago+ohare+reunion+0629.jpg

On Wednesday night, travelers who were in Istanbul when the deadly airport attacks occurred arrived in Chicago, sharing their stories and reuniting with loved ones after a particularly terrifying experience.

Ann Brooks could not stand still at O’Hare International Airport, waiting for a glimpse of her 23-year-old daughter Sarah.

“I was pretty anxious and I’m just happy to see her,” Brooks said.

Like many passengers, Brooks’ daughter Sarah Brenne said security was tight at the Istanbul airport, and she went through three security checkpoints.

“I was a little freaked out to begin with but then I was there, I felt completely safe, security was extremely high, everyone was doing a great job,” Brenne said.

The attacks occurred outside the security checkpoints, a vulnerability at many airports across the world that has security experts concerned.

“If the threat level persists, we may have to go to levels like that of strengthening the outer perimeter,” said Arnette Heintze, CEO of Hillard Heintze

The TSA has stepped up security at airports across the U.S. right before the holiday weekend. Transportation and security experts expect more changes in the near future, but at O'Hare Wednesday night, the focus was on hugging loved ones who just arrived home, and keeping them close.

“You want to live your life to the fullest every day but at the same time at the back of your head theres always this question,” said Baran Mutlu, whose brother lives in Turkey. “Anything can happen at any moment.”

Ozlem Parlar hasn't seen her brother in two years, so when he arrived at O’Hare Wednesday, they shared a relieved and bittersweet reunion.

“I’m praying for them and I hope everything will be better soon,” Parlar said.

<![CDATA[Suspicious Bags Temporarily Halt Brown Line Trains]]> Thu, 30 Jun 2016 13:11:36 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/CTA+Brown+Line.png

The Chicago Transit Authority's Brown Line train service was suspended between Fullerton and Chicago's Loop Thursday due to police activity.

Chicago police said the activity stemmed around 11 a.m. from reports of a suspicious package on the Near North Side.

Just after 11 a.m., the Chicago Police Bomb Unit was on the scene investigating two bags found on a roof in the 1500 block of North Hudson, police said. 

As of 1 p.m., Brown Line service was still shut down and CTA officials urged to commuters to find alternate routes. Just before 1:30 p.m., service was resuming, but officials said to expect "residual delays."

Check back for more on this developing story.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Rauner, Lawmakers Reach Tentative Stopgap Funding Deal]]> Wed, 29 Jun 2016 21:08:45 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Springfield2.jpg

Lawmakers returned to Springfield Wednesday for a special legislative session as Gov. Bruce Rauner and party leaders reportedly reached a tentative deal on stopgap funding measures just days before Illinois' budget impasse is set to hit the one year mark.

Rauner met with House Speaker Mike Madigan, Senate President John Cullerton, House Minority Leader Jim Durkin and Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno at length on Tuesday evening and throughout the day Wednesday, giving many a glimmer of hope that a compromise is close.

During a break Wednesday, Cullerton was cautiously optimistic, noting that the meetings marked the first time this sort of negotiation had taken place.

“We’re continuing to negotiate with the governor,” Cullerton said. “People are making offers and counteroffers and we look forward to continuing to try to come up with a solution.”

A tentative deal was reportedly reached Wednesday and lawmakers could vote on the measure as early as Thursday morning when the General Assembly reconvenes for another special legislative session.

The plan includes $250 million in added spending for school districts with low-income students, sources told NBC 5. Roughly $100 million of that would go to Chicago Public Schools.

The measure would also allow the City of Chicago to raise property taxes to help pay for teacher pensions, which would create another $250 million. The stopgap budget would also fund $2 billion in road projects.

Although lawmakers are reportedly close to an agreement on stopgap spending for essential government services, like higher education and social services, K-12 education funding has remained a major point of contention between Democrats and Republicans.

Rep. David McSweeney, who opposes the plan, pointed to potential tax hikes.

"I plan to vote against the stopgap funding bill because it will worsen our fiscal problems and increase the likelihood of a major tax increase in January," McSweeney told NBC 5. "The bill is the equivalent of putting a band-aid on a gaping wound."

After the General Assembly failed to pass a budget agreement before the end of the spring legislative session in May, Rauner shifted his attention to funding education and critical state services.

Rauner toured the state throughout the month of June, pushing his stopgap funding plan and railing against a “bailout” for Chicago Public Schools.

"I have said it before, and I say it again today: we must not bail out a broken system that refuses to change the way it does business," Rauner said in a statement Tuesday. "Forcing Illinois to raise its income tax to bail out CPS is fundamentally unfair to our school children, parents, homeowners, and small business owners across the state."

The governor's stopgap tour culminated in the introduction of revamped bills to fund schools and other services, measures that were filed Tuesday by Radogno and Durkin.

In total, the package includes $50.3 billion in funding for fiscal year 2017, as well as $25 billion to shore up fiscal year 2016. The new plan would fund K-12 education for the full year with a funding increase of $240 million. All told, schools would receive $7 billion.

A “hold harmless” clause, which gives all school districts as much money as they received the previous year, is included in the education funding bill.

The Democrats’ plan, which was also announced this week, is broken up into five separate bills. The bills individually fund: education, state operations, higher education, human services and highway construction.

The education bill would increase funding for schools by $760 million. It would increase CPS’ funding by $286 million and give the district $112 million for pension payments.

Nevertheless, no portion of either plan was introduced Wednesday.

The nearly year-long impasse has adversely affected health and social services, as well as public colleges and universities in Illinois.

The state has relied on court orders and consent decrees for funding over the course of the impasse and has failed to make payments for certain schools and services because money was not appropriated in a budget.

As a result, a group of Illinois-based human and social service agencies and companies filed a lawsuit against Rauner and members of his administration in May seeking payment of over $100 million. An early childhood education nonprofit led the the governor’s wife, Diana Rauner, joined the lawsuit later in the month.

Additionally, Chicago State University was forced to lay off more than 300 employees in April after cutting the semester short to save critical funds.

The impasse has largely hinged on Rauner’s Turnaround Agena, which is focused on pension reform, term limits, freezing property taxes and redistricting workers. However, the recent stopgap funding plans have little trace of the governor's pro-business, union-weakening agenda.

A complete budget, or "grand compromise," is presumably off the table as the state's lingering budget impasse will likely stretch into its second year Friday. The stopgap funding will allow schools to open and essential services to continue, but only for six months.

<![CDATA[Tracking Chance of Storms]]> Thu, 30 Jun 2016 12:38:32 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/WMAQ_000000018503439_1200x675_716082755731.jpg NBC 5's Byron Miranda gives us a look at the forecast.]]> <![CDATA[Cult Pepsi Crystal Returns]]> Thu, 30 Jun 2016 05:45:45 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/pepsi+crystal.jpg

A short-lived cult soda from the '90s returns this summer.

PepsiCo announced the comeback of Crystal Pepsi this week. The Purchase, New York-based soda company said the translucent soda will be available in the U.S. and Canada later this summer.

Crystal Pepsi will be available for a limited time, beginning July 11 in Canada and Aug. 8 in the U.S. It will be sold in 20-ounce bottles at major retailers.

The soda was sold for a brief time — from 1992 to 1994 — before it was pulled from store shelves because of lagging sales. But it ultimately developed a cult following over the years, with a #BringBackCrystalPepsi movement gaining steam online.

After months of speculation, Pepsi brought the crystal-clear soda back late last year as part of a contest for members of its brand loyalty program. Thirteen-thousand six-packs of the soda were awarded to 13,000 winners. Many ended up on eBay, where some are still selling for well over $100. An original 16-ounce bottle was listed at $149.

"We've always had a special place in our heart for Crystal Pepsi, and there has been a huge groundswell of support to bring it back," marketing director Stacy Taffet said in a statement this week.

The return of Crystal Pepsi comes as Pepsi's sales are lagging behind Coca-Cola. Just this week, PepsiCo said it will reintroduce aspartame to some of its beverages less than a year after pulling the artificial sweetener as part of a marketing move. It was met with backlash from fans who said the new soda didn’t have the same flavor.

To seal the deal with the '90s nostalgia crowd, Pepsi said it's kicking off the "Summer of Crystal Pepsi" with the release of "The Crystal Pepsi Trail" online, a take on the popular '90s computer game "The Oregon Trail."

"What better way to celebrate this iconic 90s cola than to introduce a new take on one of the most beloved games of the decade. Totally rad!" Taffet said. 

In a well-timed coincidence, Hi-C Ecto Cooler is returning to store shelves this week. The bygone Ghostbusters-themed beverage was introduced in 1987 and eventually pulled from store shelves in 2001. Like Crystal Pepsi, the neon-green drink also developed a cult following over the years. It’s marketed by Coca-Cola.

Photo Credit: PepsiCo
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<![CDATA[Illinois' Budget Impasse Gets 'Daily Show' Treatment]]> Thu, 30 Jun 2016 11:53:54 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AP_686400904508.jpg

Illinois’ ongoing budget battle may have no clear end in sight, but that didn’t stop “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah” from taking on the crisis in the latest installment of “Jordan Klepper’s Happy Endings.”

The six-minute segment featuring “Daily Show” correspondent and actor Klepper, follows a previous piece the show aired last year, featuring an Illinois couple who had won the lottery but weren’t able to receive their winnings due to the historic budget impasse.

The latest segment returns to those winners, who now say they have received their winnings – but things don’t end there.

The state’s budget crisis is set to enter its second year this week. If a deal isn't reached, schools may not open and services could shut down after July 1.

“In short, Illinois is more of a sh** show than ever,” Klepper said.

Klepper then catches up with Rep. Ron Sandack and Sen. Daniel Biss, who can’t seem to agree on much when it comes to the impasse.

“Well of course Illinois is screwed with bickering Muppets running the state,” Klepper said.

The segment ends with Klepper saying, “apparently the only thing this state is capable of doing is paying lottery winners.”

But that too is now facing cuts.

Lawmakers returned to Springfield Wednesday for a special legislative session as Gov. Bruce Rauner and party leaders reportedly reached a tentative deal on stopgap funding measures. Lawmakers are set to vote on the measures Thursday morning when the General Assembly reconvenes for another special legislative session.

Photo Credit: Evan Agostini/Invision/AP
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<![CDATA[Blackhawks Sign Rozsival and Mashinter to Contracts]]> Thu, 30 Jun 2016 11:06:05 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/180*120/170769033.jpg

Short on options and looking to preserve salary cap space for other moves, the Chicago Blackhawks have agreed to one-year contracts with defenseman Michal Rozsival and forward Brandon Mashinter.

According to Pierre LeBrun of ESPN, Rozsival will be paid $600,000 next season, and Mashinter will carry a salary cap hit of just $575,000 for the 2016-17 season.

The signings leave the Blackhawks with 19 players on their NHL roster, according to CapFriendly, and they’ll have around $5.2 million to spend when free agency officially begins on Friday.

In 51 games for the Blackhawks last season, Rozsival scored one goal and dished out 12 assists, which both matched what he had produced in the previous season. He also appeared in four playoff games for the Blackhawks, with one minor penalty and zero points to his credit.

Mashinter played in 41 games for the Blackhawks, scoring four goals and tallying one assist in those contests. He also racked up 62 hits for the Blackhawks, who will look to him as a player who can get physical in the corners and jar the puck loose to help a shaky defensive corps.

The Blackhawks will still likely look for another defenseman when free agency opens, and adding a veteran forward will almost certainly be on Stan Bowman’s wish list when the team is able to sign players beginning on Friday. 

<![CDATA[Joakim Noah Likely Heading to New York: Reports]]> Thu, 30 Jun 2016 11:31:08 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/joakim+noah+getty.jpg

Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah isn’t thrilled with the direction the team is going, and on Thursday reports began swirling that he has chosen his new destination.

According to a report by ESPN’s Marc Stein, NBA teams have dialed back on their pursuit of Noah because they have learned that his preferred destination is New York to rejoin Derrick Rose with the Knicks:

“The New York Knicks have emerged as the strong favorite to sign free-agent big man Joakim Noah, according to league sources.

“Sources told ESPN that multiple teams interested in Noah have all but conceded that the Knicks are his runaway preferred destination.”

As for price on a contract, Tim Bontemps of the Washington Post had some details, reporting that Noah is expected to sign a deal worth around $18 million per season.

The money is high, but with the NBA’s salary cap expected to take two giant leaps forward over the next two seasons, players at every skill level should expect to receive massive pay bumps as the league really starts to see the impact of their new television contracts with Turner Sports and ESPN.

As for what all this means for the Bulls, the answer is that they’re already prepared for Noah to be playing elsewhere. The team did acquire Robin Lopez in the trade with the Knicks that sent Rose to the Big Apple, and they’ll likely target another big man in free agency, which officially kicks off at 11 p.m. Thursday night. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[US Contractor Charged With Okinawa Murder]]> Thu, 30 Jun 2016 10:51:51 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Okinawa-US-Base-Protest-AP_16171313374474.jpg

An American contractor at a military base on Okinawa was charged Thursday with murdering a local woman — a case that has inflamed anti-American anger on the Japanese island, NBC News reported.

Kenneth Shinzato is accused of stabbing the 20-year-old victim multiple times in the neck in April, according to indictment documents seen by Japan's Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper.

Local reports, quoting anonymous sources, said the retired marine was working as a contractor in IT services before the alleged crime, the Associate Press reported.

The incident has sparked fresh anger and mass protests by locals, flared in the past over a high crime rate linked to American troops. Okinawa has been home to U.S. military bases since the end of World War II.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Philippines President Eyes Closer China Ties]]> Thu, 30 Jun 2016 09:21:34 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/RodrigoDuterte-AP_16129422375104.jpg

Rodrigo Duterte, a firebrand who has drawn comparisons to Donald Trump for his coarse defiance of the traditional ruling class, was sworn in as president of the Philippines on Thursday.

The 71-year-old said the U.S. ally "will not be dependent on America," while signaling his readiness to expand economic ties with Beijing, citing a Chinese offer to build a railway project in the Philippines.

Duterte wants to bring back the country's death penalty and said he would pardon himself for mass murder and kill any of his children if they were involved with drugs. He also jokingly threatened to cut off the penises of men who don't use birth control.

He has been likened to presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, although he detests the comparison and says the American billionaire is a bigot and he's not.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Amazon Brings Back Prime Day Shopping Blitz]]> Thu, 30 Jun 2016 09:47:14 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AP_93380942358.jpg

Amazon announced it will host its second annual summer shopping event, known as Prime Day, on Tuesday, July 12.

The e-commerce giant debuted Prime Day last year on July 15 to celebrate Amazon's 20th anniversary. The one-day sale is exclusive for members of the online retailer's Prime subscription shopping service, which costs $99 a year for unlimited two-day shipping among other perks. The sale is opened to new and existing members in the United States, the United Kingdom, Spain, Japan, Italy, Germany, France, Canada, Belgium, and Austria.

This year's Prime Day will kick off at midnight PT (3 a.m. ET) and Amazon says it will launch new deals as often as every five minutes over the 24 hours of the sale. Overall, there will be more than 100,000 deals worldwide.

Additionally, there will be "countdown deals" in the run-up to Prime Day starting on July 5. U.S. Prime members will have access to "summer entertainment deals," including a 32-inch TV bundle with a Fire TV Stick for $120.

Amazon faced a backlash on social media during last year's Prime Day event — with the hashtag #PrimeDayFail trending — after many members complained about a lack of in-demand deals and items selling out too quickly.

In response, Amazon Prime Vice President Greg Greeley said the company has "dramatically increased the inventory behind many deals," for this years event and has nearly double the number of TV units in the U.S. "compared to Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined."

Amazon has also created a number of new tools for shoppers to find and track deals. Newly-enhanced deal shopping will help customers sort deals by category. Shoppers will be able to track specific deals and be notified when a deal is about to go live, a feature originally launched for Cyber Monday last year. Owners of an Amazon Echo, Echo Dot or Amazon Tap will benefit from "Alexa Specials." Amazon did not provide any further information on what those rewards may be.

CEO Jeff Bezos said in the company's annual letter to shareholders this year that he wants to make Amazon Prime indispensable.

"We want Prime to be such a good value, you’d be irresponsible not to be a member," Bezos wrote.

Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[Man, 26, Dies After Gold Coast Shooting]]> Thu, 30 Jun 2016 08:28:05 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Gold+Coast+Shooting.png

A 26-year old man has died after being gunned down in Chicago’s Gold Coast neighborhood Wednesday night. 

Police say the man was in the 1200 block of N. Clark Street near the Chicago Transit Authority’s Clark and Division Red Line stop around 8 p.m. when someone drove up, got out of a vehicle and started firing. 

Some witnesses report seeing the suspect shoot the man before the man then yelled something at the gunman. The gunman then reportedly shot the 26-year-old several more times

“I heard five, if not six shots,” Gold Coast resident Jeff McPherson said. “Actually I thought it was fireworks, I had no idea it was gunshots. Until I got to the corner and I saw the man down in the street, in the middle of the street. He was trying to run across the street when they shot him.” 

The man, whose identity has not been released, was transported in critical condition to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, where he later was pronounced dead. 

Police say the man was a documented gang member and convicted felon out on parole. 

No one is in custody as police continue to investigate the shooting.

Photo Credit: NBC 5]]>
<![CDATA[All-Clear at Joint Base Andrews]]> Thu, 30 Jun 2016 17:41:24 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/202*120/2016-06-30_1014.png

Joint Base Andrews was locked down for nearly three hours Thursday after someone mistook a security exercise for an actual threat, officials said.

The Maryland Home of Air Force One was evacuated just after 9 a.m. because of a report of an active shooter. Personnel exited the building with their hands up, video shows. 

Officials later determined there was no threat and declared an "all clear."

Officials said first responders received reports of an "real-world active shooter situation" about the same time the base was conducting a "no-notice" active shooter exercise. Officials said the drill was set to occur on the east side of the base. The mistaken threat was spotted on the other side of the base, in the medical center. 

Someone on the third floor of the Malcolm Grow Medical Facility saw two people walking across the base with long guns, law enforcement officials told NBC News' Pete Williams. That person did not know a drill had been planned and reported that there was an active shooter in the building.

Reports of a real-world active shooter situation at the medical facility were "miscommunicated" before the drill began, Joint Base Andrews posted to Twitter after the incident.

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Ryan Freeland was shut out of the medical center building during the miscommunication. He said he was worried.

"Just praying for my colleagues who are in there barricaded behind locked doors," he said.

Defense Secretary Ash Carter said personnel need to take mistaken threats seriously but avoid calling in false alarms.

"I think it's important to have a reasonable level of awareness of the possibility of this kind of event and what to do. And I thought the response was strong and solid," he said. "So that's the good news. The bad news is it appears to have been a mistake, and we'd like to reduce the number of mistakes made in this way."

Col. Brad Hoagland, 11th Wing and Joint Base Andrews commander, praised first responders for their quick reaction.

"We take all threats seriously and reacted to ensure the security of those on the base," Hoagland said.

The lockdown was lifted and the investigation at the medical center continued. Rodney Smith, a patient advocate at the Malcolm Grow Medical Facility, told The Associated Press the situation unfolded at the newer of two buildings. Smith was in the older building.

Joint Base Andrews, in Prince George's County, Maryland, is the home of Air Force One and to other emergency reaction units for the area around the nation's capital.

Vice President Joe Biden was scheduled to fly out of the base Thursday morning for an event in Ohio, his office said. Biden was being held at the Naval Observatory during the lockdown. 

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson addressed the investigation during his testimony at the Senate Judiciary Committee's hearing on oversight of the Department of Homeland Security. At the time, he called it an "unfolding situation" and said he would "take a break from this session" if need be.

Some military installations in the D.C. area increased their security in response to the investigation.

Fort Belvoir in Fairfax County, Virginia, said it increased its "security posture," and the Washington Navy Yard in Southwest Washington ordered "100 percent ID check" and "long guns at entrance gates." Security was also heightened at the Naval Observatory in Northwest Washington and the Naval Surface Warfare Center's Carderock Division in Montgomery County, Maryland. 

Prince George's County — which would normally assist Joint Base Andrews during a security incident — said it did not assist with any emergency response.

Last month, Joint Base Andrews was placed on lockdown after a woman walked onto the base and claimed she had a bomb. An Explosive Ordinance Disposal team found the woman had no explosives, and she was apprehended. 

The base has a long, storied history. The first prisoners of war back from Vietnam in 1973 arrived at Andrews Air Force Base as did the U.S. hostages from Iran in 1981.

Soviet Premier Nikita S. Khrushchev was the first foreign head of state to fly into Andrews in 1959.

Construction on a military airfield there began in 1942 under President Franklin D. Roosevelt. It was named Andrews Field in 1945 in honor of one of the founders of the Air Force, Lt. Gen. Frank M. Andrews. He had died in an airplane crash on May 3, 1943, the day the base opened.

The base's name was changed to Andrews Air Force Base in 1947, shortly after the Air Force became a separate service in 1947. It combined with the Naval Air Facility Washington to become Joint Base Andrews in 2009.

Photo Credit: NBC Washington
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<![CDATA[Trump Won't Release Proof He Forgave Campaign Loans]]> Thu, 30 Jun 2016 08:05:05 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-542736078-trump.jpg

Donald Trump said last Thursday he was forgiving over $45 million in personal loans made to his campaign, an announcement that drew plenty of coverage.

But a week later, NBC News has learned the FEC has posted no record of Trump converting his loans to donations.

Trump's campaign has also declined requests to share the legal paperwork required to carry out the transaction, though they have suggest it has been submitted.

Campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks said last week the presumptive Republican nominee was submitting formal paperwork on Thursday, according to the Wall Street Journal. But when asked by NBC News, Hicks said it "will be filed with the next regularly scheduled FEC report.

In his most recent FEC filing, posted June 20, Trump treated all his spending on the campaign as loans. Until Trump formally forgives the loans, he maintains the legal option to use new donations to reimburse himself.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Police Investigate Possible Phoenix Serial Killer]]> Thu, 30 Jun 2016 07:44:18 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-834333591.jpg

Police are investigating whether a serial killer is on the loose in Phoenix after five people were murdered in the Maryvale neighborhood since April, NBC News reported.

All the victims were shot dead outside their homes, near their cars, on weekend evenings in the working-class neighborhood.

Those details and the lack of obvious motive in each case led investigators to link the slayings, but multiple law enforcement sources confirmed there is also physical evidence tying them together.

Phoenix Police Sgt. Jon Howard told NBC News that investigators can't say for sure if it's a single killer or a group working together. There are no known links between the victims, so police have not determined how the shooter chooses the targets.

Victims include Horacio de Jesus Pena, 32, Diego Verdugo-Sanchez, 21, Manuel Castro Garcia, 19, Angela Linner, 31, Maleah Russell, 12.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>