<![CDATA[NBC Chicago - Top Stories]]>Copyright 2018https://www.nbcchicago.com/news/top-stories http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/5-Chicago-Blue.png NBC Chicago https://www.nbcchicago.comen-usSat, 24 Mar 2018 01:26:08 -0500Sat, 24 Mar 2018 01:26:08 -0500NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA['Chicago Fire' Actress DuShon Monique Brown Dies]]> Fri, 23 Mar 2018 20:07:11 -0500 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/214*120/brownGettyImages-667035364.jpg

“Chicago Fire” actress DuShon Monique Brown died Friday, her talent agency confirmed to NBC 5.

Brown, 49, played Connie, the assistant to Chief Boden, on the popular NBC drama. She died shortly after noon at St. James Olympia Field Hospital, according to the Cook County medical examiner. Her agent, Robert Schroeder, said she died of natural causes, but the medical examiner's office had yet to make an official ruling.

"We are devastated by the loss of a very talented and kindhearted soul," Schroeder said. "She brought laughter and joy to many, and she will be greatly missed."

Dick Wolf, the producer behind the "Chicago" franchise, lamented Brown's death in a statement Friday.

"The Chicago Fire family is devastated to lose one of its own," he said. "Our thoughts and prayers are with DuShon's family and we will all miss her."

A letter was also sent home to parents of Kenwood Academy High School students, where Brown previously worked as a counselor, notifying families of her death, the Chicago Tribune reported. The school did not immediately respond to calls and emails requesting the letter.

DuShon was a film, television, commercial and voice over actress who also graced the stages of many Chicago theaters, Schroeder said.

Her biography on Grossman & Jack Talent's website lists a litany of her theatre roles—including those at Steppenwolf, Goodman and Chicago theatre companies.

In addition to "Chicago Fire," Brown also appeared in shows such as “Empire,” “Shameless,” “Boss” and “Prison Break” among others.

"At this difficult time we ask that privacy of the family and loved ones be respected," Schroeder said.

Photo Credit: Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[Family Flying to Chicago Says Dog Was Left in Germany]]> Fri, 23 Mar 2018 17:54:09 -0500 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/united+dog+germany.png

A family flying from Germany to Chicago said they landed at O'Hare International Airport Friday only to find that their dog had been left in Germany.

Dawn and John MacEnulty said they landed in Chicago Thursday afternoon to discover that their 9-year-old beagle and Australian shepherd mix, Joey, which was scheduled to be on a separate Lufthansa flight, was removed from the plane before takeoff.

Originally from St. Louis, the MacEnulty family said that after living in Germany for a year, they were moving back to the United States following the death of John MacEnulty's mother. 

They booked their flight through United Airlines on March 15, but used a company called Gradlyn Petshipping to handle the transport of Joey and the family's cat, Molly, per the airline's recommendation.

But Gradlyn told the family it was unable to book the pets on the same flight as the family because United Airlines had suspended its PetSafe reservations program beginning March 20.

The animals were instead scheduled to be on a Lufthansa flight departing 30 minutes after the family's flight, and they were cleared to fly. 

Upon landing, the couple said they turned their phones on and received a text message telling them Joey was taken off the Lufthansa flight because he was anxious and had scratched his nose. Molly the cat was on the flight and arrived Thursday evening.

"We got a text that they had to pull him off the plane and we did not know much more than that," said Dawn MacEnulty. 

Lufthansa Group said in a statement that the family's dog was "kept from flying and remained from Frankfurt as he was not fit to fly according to the veterinarian that examined the animal."

"We are working closely with United Airlines and once the dog is given the approval to travel, he will be reunited with his family," the airline said in a statement. 

The family was told the dog would be flown to Chicago as soon as he is healthy with no additional charges.

Gradlyn did not respond to NBC Chicago's requests for comment. 

"It really sucks," Dawn MacEnulty said, adding that she and her family paid $1,700 for Molly and Joey's transport. 

"It’s terrible, the fact that we can’t get any answers," she continued. "I’m really disheartened and will never transport an animal again."

Joey is expected to return to the U.S. Wednesday afternoon. 

The incident is the latest in a string of animal travel problems making headlines in recent weeks.

It follows the announcement from United Airlines, which said it was halting PetSafe reservations while it reviewed the service that ships animals as cargo. 

The company said in announcing the change that it would honor all pet transports booked before March 20, which the MacEnultys say should have included their travel. But United said the flight information was not confirmed in time. 

Earlier this month, a French bulldog died after a flight attendant ordered a passenger to put the pet carrier in the overhead bin. 

Another mishap involved a German shepherd being shipped to Japan instead of Kansas. After that incident, United chartered a private jet to return the German shepherd back from Japan to the U.S. Two days later another flight made an unplanned landing in Ohio because it was carrying a dog that was put on the wrong plane.

Photo Credit: John MacEnulty ]]>
<![CDATA[Up Against NRA’s Might, Students Fight to Change Gun Laws]]> Fri, 23 Mar 2018 16:02:29 -0500 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AP_18073602468778.jpg

Student Chris Grady was in Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School the day a gunman killed 17 people in Parkland, Florida. On Saturday, less than two months later, Grady and his classmates will rally in Washington, D.C., to demand change to the nation's gun laws.

The March 24 rally in Washington, D.C., called March for Our Lives, has more than 800 sister marches around the world in a movement that is asking that public safety be considered an issue that transcends politics.

"People are trying to spin what we’re doing, saying we’re out to take away their Second Amendment rights," said Grady, 19. "Our main goal is to save kids' lives, people's lives. This is a public safety issue that takes place in concerts, churches, airports, not just schools."

As they march and organize, the students are up against the National Rifle Association, a powerful, well-funded organization that has many decades of experience repelling proposed changes to gun laws.

But this time may be different, experts say, because of the mobilized outrage and mounting pressure on the NRA.

"It is only in moments like this when the country is roused that NRA activism can be overwhelmed, but it doesn't happen often," said Dr. Robert Spitzer, a professor at SUNY Cortland who has written extensively about gun policy.

The NRA was founded in 1871 by former Union soldiers with the intention of promoting accurate marksmanship. In 1934, the group founded a legislative division due to growing debates over gun laws. But it wasn't until 1975 that the NRA founded its lobby division, the Institute for Legislative Action, to be a direct influence on policy.

In 2016, the NRA's political arm took in $366 million, according to a the group's Internal Revenue Service filing obtained by Mother Jones. It was a fundraising record for the group.

The NRA is America's most powerful gun lobby, funding politicians who will vote to maintain loose gun measures on its behalf. And beyond financial power, the NRA has strengthened its base by ingraining the notion that guns represent American values.

The NRA says it supports the Constitution and gun rights for all Americans. But it only truly represents its base members -- nearly 5 million, according to the NRA’s website, on top of another 10 million who identify with the the group, Spitzer said.  

Spitzer said the NRA maintains power through a small, highly motivated minority that wins over a "larger, but relatively apathetic majority."

"There is a general sense among some gun owners that the NRA champions their values -- not just gun ownership, but how they view the world," he said. 

The organization has been thrown in a harsh spotlight after the the school shooting in Parkland, Florida. Nikolas Cruz was charged with killing 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14, using a semiautomatic rifle. The NRA was silent for a week after the shooting before going on the offensive; NRA leader Wayne LaPierre called for President Donald Trump to arm teachers and "harden our schools" as a defense against shootings.

The group has already increased its influence in schools in recent years-- the NRA has given more than $7 million to about 500 schools across the U.S. from 2010 to 2016, according to an analysis by The Associated Press. Most of the money was given through competitive grants used to promote shooting sports, including the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps, rifle teams, hunting safety courses and agriculture clubs.

Although it’s a small portion of the $61 million the NRA has given to local groups in the same time frame, The Associated Press analysis revealed the $7.3 million was a rapid increase from previous years, nearly four-fold from 2010 to 2014. Some opponents call it a thinly veiled attempt to recruit the next generation of NRA members.

But the attempt may not inspire a generation of students who have been entrenched in an era of deadly gun use. Each year from 2000 to 2013 there was an increase in shootings, and casualties per shooting, according to a study by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Of the 160 situations examined by the FBI in that span, there were only four instances in which an armed civilian ended the shooting. Twenty-one of them ended after an unarmed civilian restrained the shooter -- eleven of them were principals, teachers, other school staff and students.

"[Arming teachers] won’t have a significant effect on public safety," Adam Winkler, a UCLA law professor, told NBC's "Nightly News." "Measures like this could actually make schools less safe.”

After the Parkland shooting, LaPierre said the NRA is happy to work with schools to make them safer. But the sentiment echoes his assertion after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012, when he said, "the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is with a good guy with a gun."

The NRA did not return NBC’s request for comment. 

Immediately after the shooting in Parkland, Trump took a hard line on guns and showed signs of supporting stricter gun measures. He attacked members of Congress who he said were “afraid of the NRA.” But shortly after that, the president waffled on his stance, withdrawing support for a raised minimum gun age and instead backing LaPierre’s call for armed teachers.

Aashish Kumar, the co-director at the Center for Civic Engagement at Hofstra University, said the NRA has tapped into a cultural underpinning to the gun rights movement, successfully exploiting and heightening people’s sense of urgency to own weapons. He said the increase in political engagement by young Americans can be attributed, in part, to the Trump administration.

"We're seeing students take on these leadership roles, which shows us very clearly that they’re not waiting for others to do the things they feel need to be done," Kumar said. "Parkland was a rupture in 'Politics as usual.'"

After the shooting in Parkland, public support for gun control reached its highest point in 25 years, with two-thirds of Americans wanting stricter measures, according to a Gallup Poll released in mid March. But even with a changing public opinion, the NRA has political clout to keep its agenda afloat -- during the 2016 election cycle, the group spent an unprecedented $54.4 million on key Republican candidates, including more than $30 million on Trump.

And stricter gun legislation faces an uphill battle in most states, according to a review by The Associated Press. The review deemed in unlikely for Republican lawmakers to defy the NRA to pass new regulations -- and Republicans have sponsored over 80 percent of bills to expand gun rights. The GOP controls most statehouses nationwide.

The review brings reality to the student-led gun control movement. Survivors of the Parkland shooting have been calling out the NRA on social media, on television, and pressuring politicians like Sen. Marco Rubio who have accepted donations from the gun group.

LaPierre said the Parkland students "exploit tragedy for political gain."

Grady said the NRA's attempts to discredit Parkland students is how they know they're getting to the gun group. 

"It’s good to be a nuisance," he said. "We’re pissing them off."

Several companies have cut ties with the NRA and some have raised the age limit to purchase a rifle to 21. Spitzer noted that it isn't the first time companies have distanced themselves from the gun group, but called the current round of severed ties "a bigger step" by damaging the NRA's image with the potential for "long-term business consequences."

While the movement was started by students, the expectation of students to change the status quo of gun policy is unrealistic without the support of the larger public against groups like the NRA, Kumar said.

"Students can only initiate that voice, show that outrage," he said. "They have been direct, honest, vulnerable -- a reminder of what it is really about."

Grady said the NRA is fully within its right to keep promoting its agenda, but doesn't believe it'll withstand the growing opposition.

"It’s their right to do what they want to do, but they’re just choosing the wrong side of history if they’re gonna continue to fight against these bills we want to see passed," he said. "It’s just a matter of choosing the right side of history."

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana
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<![CDATA[Parking Disappearing Due to Dwindling Car Ownership: Report]]> Fri, 23 Mar 2018 17:31:07 -0500 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Parking+lot+generic+cars.jpg

Parking in downtown Chicago is scarce and usually comes at a price.

But parking lots in general might be disappearing as real estate developers see more value in the land for building residential buildings as the rise of rideshare apps like Uber and Lyft make urban denizens less dependent on owning a car.

According to Chicago Tribune columnist Ryan Ori, there’s “anecdotal evidence” more parking lots are being built over as the demand for downtown living increases.

“I’ve been doing this 30 years, and I’ve bought many a parking lot,” developer Alan Lev, president and CEO of Belgravia Group, told the newspaper. “The rate of parking lots disappearing is accelerating.”

Ori reports Chicago’s Department of Planning and Development as having conducted a 2013 downtown parking survey that counted 91,747 between Roosevelt Road, Chicago Avenue and Halsted and LaSalle streets.

But the development boom downtown doesn’t show any signs of slowing and parking lot surfaces are an increasingly hot commodity, some developers say.

“Keep in mind that Chicago has been the fastest-growing urban center in the United States over the past decade,” Steve Fifield, founder and CEO of development firm Fifield Cos, told the Tribune. “People are coming here for jobs, so all of us entrepreneurs are trying to source deals (for new developments).”

According to the column, even Steppenwolf Theatre Company plans to sell property that includes a parking garage on North Avenue. The buyer plans to build a 92-unit apartment building alongside a retail building, the paper reports.

Parking in downtown Chicago is scarce and usually comes at aprice.

But parking lots in general might be disappearing as realestate developers see more value in the land for building residential buildingsas the rise of rideshare apps like Uber and Lyft make urban denizens lessdependent on owning a car.

According to Chicago Tribune columnist Ryan Ori, there’s “anecdotalevidence” more parking lots are being built over as the demand for downtownliving increases.

“I’ve been doing this 30 years, and I’ve bought many aparking lot,” developer Alan Lev, president and CEO of Belgravia Group, toldthe newspaper. “The rate of parking lots disappearing is accelerating.”

Ori reports Chicago’s Department of Planning and Developmentas having conducted a 2013 downtown parking survey that counted 91,747 betweenRoosevelt Road, Chicago Avenue and Halsted and LaSalle streets.

But the development boom downtown doesn’t show any signs of slowingand parking lot surfaces are an increasingly hot commodity, some developerssay.

“Keep in mind that Chicago has been the fastest-growingurban center in the United States over the past decade,” Steve Fifield, founderand CEO of development firm Fifield Cos, told the Tribune. “People are cominghere for jobs, so all of us entrepreneurs are trying to source deals (for newdevelopments).”

According to the column, even Steppenwolf Theatre Companyplans to sell property that includes a parking garage on North Avenue. Thebuyer plans to build a 92-unit apartment building alongside a retail building,the paper reports.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
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<![CDATA[Winter Storm Warning Issued for Parts of Chicago Area]]> Fri, 23 Mar 2018 23:32:04 -0500 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/winter+storm+watch+3-22.jpg

Part of the Chicago area will be under a Winter Storm Warning heading into the weekend, with several inches of snow possible for some suburbs.

The watch begins Friday night and continues through Saturday afternoon for LaSalle and Livingston counties in Illinois and Newton and Jasper counties in northwest Indiana.

Anywhere from 4 to 8 inches of snow will be possible with the system far south and west of the city, but several factors will likely limit accumulation north of Interstate 80. Those factors include the potential for a strong easterly wind, which would feed in dry air, and temperatures at or above freezing.

Currently, temperatures are expected to be in the mid-30s along the lakefront, making way for a possible rain-snow mix as the precipitation moves through.

While a few light rain showers will be possible late Friday evening, the main band of precipitation will develop after midnight and continue through Saturday morning.

The snow and rain could make for hazardous travel conditions across the area.

The system will likely move out by Saturday afternoon, making way for a mostly sunny and cool Sunday.

This forecast is developing. Check back with Storm Team 5 as we monitor for the latest updates.

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<![CDATA[Chicago Police Burst in Door of Wrong Home: Lawsuit]]> Fri, 23 Mar 2018 23:01:04 -0500 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/CPD+RAID+WRONG+HOUSE+-+00004713_31392871.jpg

Chicago police officers illegally searched, verbally abused and assaulted a couple and their two young children according to a lawsuit filed Friday in Cook County court—and they say they have video to back up the claim.

Surveillance video from the Franklin family’s Lawndale home shows female family members in pajamas with their hands up about 6 a.m. last March. The couple says their son and daughter, 12 and 19, were home at the time when they were all startled awake by police officers. The police, the Franklin’s say, were looking for a man who did not live there.

“They have their guns drawn on us,” Ashanti Franklin said. “I’m telling them he doesn’t live there!”

Rommel Franklin described the apartment door swinging open and seeing guns and flashlights.

“They never ID themselves,” Ashanti said.

The family’s attorney, Rahsaan Gordon, said it was clear the officers made an error and went to the wrong place.

The officers, the family says, refused to give their names or badge numbers. They used threatening and racially charged language, the family said.

The Franklin’s are asking for the city to pay for property damage and emotional trauma and for the officers to be held accountable.

Chicago police did not immediately respond to request for comment Friday evening.

<![CDATA[Loyola Honored With Navy Pier Ferris Wheel Discounts]]> Fri, 23 Mar 2018 15:57:16 -0500 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Navy+Pier+Ferris+3-23.png

With the Loyola Ramblers in the Elite Eight, one of Chicago’s biggest tourist attractions is helping fans to celebrate in a unique way.

The iconic Ferris Wheel at Navy Pier will light up in the team’s colors on Friday and Saturday, with the Ramblers’ logo projected into the middle of the wheel, according to a press release.

In addition to the change in color, Navy Pier will also offer discounted rates for the ride, charging patrons just $8 in honor of the team’s Elite Eight appearance. That is a 50 percent discount from the usual $16 that adults have to pay, and the tickets will be available on Navy Pier’s website using the promo code “Ramblers.”

Visitors to Navy Pier will have to hurry to take advantage of the discount and the color scheme, as the wheel will only be lit up in Loyola colors from Friday to Saturday. 

<![CDATA[Shatner Reps Chicago in Commercial Meant to Entice Amazon]]> Fri, 23 Mar 2018 16:00:15 -0500 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-480079144_ComicCon.jpg

Chicago unveiled its new secret weapon Friday in the bidding war to bring Amazons’ second corporate HQ to the city.

William Shatner.

His signature gravelly and staccato voice harkens back to the Great Chicago Fire.

“Did we cry uncle,” Shatner asks of Chicago after the historic inferno. “No.”

He continues to describe Chicago as a cultural hub with achievements in economics, transit, business and tech.

“A destination for doers and dreamers alike,” Shatner says.

It’s day one in the Second City, Shatner says, appealing to Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos, who is reportedly a “Star Trek” fan.

“Let’s he get started,” he says.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[United Gives DC Woman $10K Voucher to Give Up Her Seat]]> Fri, 23 Mar 2018 10:48:30 -0500 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/United+Plane1.jpg

A D.C. woman will be flying for free for the next year after getting a $10,000 voucher from United Airlines. But she said the experience leading up to the voucher was not a pleasant one.

Allison Preiss said she was getting ready to board her flight from Washington Dulles International Airport to Austin, Texas, Thursday morning when ticketing agents said the flight was overbooked and they were looking for volunteers to take the next flight.

When no one volunteered, they told Preiss she had to give up her spot on the flight because she had paid the lowest fare.

Preiss started tweeting her frustration with the airline. She said she didn't want to give up her spot because she was flying to a friend's bachelorette party.

The gate agent told her the plane had a broken seat and that’s why she had to get bumped, according to Preiss.

The gate agents offered her a $2,000 voucher, but Preiss told them she would rather have a check.

They were about to write her a check for $650, when an agent offered her a $10,000 voucher and a seat on the next plane.

"I'm not going to lie, I'm pretty pumped," Preiss said of the voucher.

Preiss made it to Austin in time for her friend's bachelorette weekend.

The airline announced in April 2017 that it would raise its cap for those who voluntarily gave up their seat to $10,000. The move came amid fallout over a passenger who was injured while being dragged off a plane for refusing to give up his seat. Dr. David Dao suffered a concussion, broken nose and other injuries. 

Delta had previously raised its cap to passengers who gave up their seats to $9,950, The New York Times reported.

United Airlines is still dealing with fallout after a French bulldog puppy died on a flight. A flight attendant had insisted the dog's owners put it in an overhead bin.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[How to Watch the Shamrock Shuffle Live]]> Fri, 23 Mar 2018 11:25:34 -0500 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/2015+shamrock+shuffle+15.jpg

NOTE: Full live stream coverage will be available beginning at 8 a.m. Sunday right here. Watch live above.

Not able to make it to Chicago Sunday to watch 2018 Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle 8K runners hit the streets in person? 

We've got you covered. 

Whether you're at work, on the go or at home you can watch complete live coverage of the race, including starting and finish line coverage, on the NBC Chicago app. You can also watch NBC 5 for live reports of the race kickoff and winners. 

We will offer a live stream with complete coverage beginning at 8 a.m. online. The coverage will continue until 1 p.m. 

Beginning at Chicago's Grant Park, we will take you along the 4.97-mile race route with the runners and the fans. 

The first wave of runners steps off at 8:30 a.m. 

The NBC Chicago app will offer a live stream of the event from 8 a.m.-11 a.m. 

Photo Credit: Bethany Stripp]]>
<![CDATA[Olympian Carrie Tollefson Has Message for Shufflers]]> Fri, 23 Mar 2018 16:29:50 -0500 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/FlippedForAlex+-+00000023_31391238.jpg

Olympian Carrie Tollefson has a message for runners joining her in Sunday's Shamrock Shuffle. 

<![CDATA[Thousands Gather for "March For Our Lives"]]> Fri, 23 Mar 2018 15:59:16 -0500 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/NC_march160323_1920x1080.jpg

The march is part of an ongoing grass roots movemnt started by students from Parkland, Florida after a gunman killed 17 people during an attack on Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. They're calling on lawmakers to change gun laws as part of their promise to help keep schools safe. 

<![CDATA[Spending Plan Protects Medical Marijuana Laws From Feds]]> Fri, 23 Mar 2018 15:41:05 -0500 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/180*120/nuevas-leyes-2018-015.jpg

The massive spending plan signed by President Donald Trump Friday includes language barring the Department of Justice from using federal funds to prosecute medical marijuana programs in states where they are legal, defying Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Sessions had made personal pleas to lawmakers not to renew the  Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment, which bars the Justice Department from using money allocated by Congress to prevent states from "implementing their own sate laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession or cultivation of medical marijuana."

But the language was in the version approved by Congress, and signed by the president.

"Patients across the country will be relieved to hear that Congress has maintained the current policy of allowing states to make their own decisions on medical marijuana policy," said Matthew Schweich, executive director for the advocay group Marijuana Policy Project, in a statement to NBC. He added "It is imperative that Congress continue to include these temporary protections in the federal budget until comprehensive marijuana policy reforms are passed."

Because the provision was originally approved in 2014 as a budgetary amendment, Congress must explicitly reauthorized it in each new fiscal year spending bill in order for it to remain in effect.

Sessions pleaded in a letter to congressional leaders not to include the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment in the appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2018.

"I believe it would be unwise for Congress to restrict the discretion of the Department to fund particular prosecutions, particularly in the midst of a historic drug epidemic and potentially long-term uptick in violent crime," Sessions wrote in a May 2017 letter obtained by MassRoots. "The Department must be in a position to use all laws available to combat the transnational drug organizations and dangerous drug traffickers who threaten American lives."

Marijuana remains classified as a Schedule 1 drug and illegal under federal law. However, the Justice Department during the Obama administration had issued guidance — which Session revoked in January — directing federal prosecutors not to enforce federal marijuana laws in states that had legalized the substance.

Adding to the concerns of marijuana law advocates, when Trump signed the Fiscal Year 2017 omnibus appropriations bill, he issued a signing statement indicating he could undermine the policy.

"I will treat this provision consistently with my constitutional responsibility to take care that the laws be faithfully executed," he wrote.

The move was contrary to statements then-candidate Trump made during the presidential campaign. He repeatedly pledged to respect state marijuana laws if elected, and said that he supports medical cannabis "100 percent," going so far as to note that he personally knows people who have benefited from it, according to Politifact.

But while a bipartisan group of lawmakers support protecting states’ medical marijuana laws, the House GOP blocked an amendment on Wednesday that would have extended the same protections to state-legal recreational programs.

"While I’m glad that our medical marijuana protections are included, there is nothing to celebrate since Congress only maintained the status quo," said Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) in a statement. "These protections have been law since 2014. This matter should be settled once and for all. Poll after poll shows that the majority of Americans, across every party, strongly favor the right to use medical marijuana."

Marijuana is currently legal for medical or adult use in 28 states, accounting for more than 60 percent of the U.S. population, according to the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA), an advocacy group that lobbies for federal marijuana reform.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA['60s Activists Praise Today's 'Creative' Student Protesters]]> Fri, 23 Mar 2018 16:02:56 -0500 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/tinker-gonzales.jpg

Students furious about school shootings in Parkland, Florida, and confronting the National Rifle Association and its political allies as they demand gun control laws with new urgency, are impressing an earlier generation of protesters who took to the streets 50 years ago.

As survivors of the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School prepare to lead a march in Washington, D.C., on Saturday, veterans of the civil rights and anti-Vietnam War protests of the 1960s are praising them for their quick mobilization and their fearlessness.

"I think they're focused, and I think they're creative," said Abe Peck, an editor at the underground newspaper, the Chicago Seed, in the 1960s and the author of "Uncovering the ‘60s: The Life and Times of the Underground Press." "They've also done something which all movements have to do, they've identified an enemy."

"They're osmosing certain previous movements," he said.

Saturday's March for Our Lives, in Washington, D.C., and smaller marches in every state in the nation come a little more than a month after 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, a former student at at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, returned to the school and opened fire. As students and teachers hid in closets and huddled under desks, he killed 17 of his former schoolmates.

Almost immediately, the students upended what had become the accepted response to bloody school shootings: thoughts and prayers from politicians and others but no action on curbing the prevalence on guns in the United States. They debated the NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch at a televised town hall on CNN. One student, Cameron Kasky, 17, demanded Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio stop taking donations from the NRA. Another, David Hogg, also 17, told Bill Maher that he had hung up on the White House asking him to attend President Donald Trump's listening session on gun violence. Trump needs to the screams of the students, Hogg said.

At a gun-control rally in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, days after the shooting, 18-year-old Emma Gonzalez, a senior at the school, vowed: "We are going to be the kids you read about in textbooks. Not because we're going to be another statistic about mass shooting in America, but because … we are going to be the last mass shooting. Just like Tinker v. Des Moines, we are going to change the law."

Gonzalez was referring to Mary Beth Tinker and her older brother John, who when they were 13 and 15 in 1965 wore black armbands to school in Des Moines, Iowa, to protest the Vietnam War. They and other students were suspended when they refused to remove them.

With the help of the ACLU, they sued and the U.S. Supreme Court eventually ruled 7-2 that students do not "shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gates."

Mary Beth Tinker, now 65, said that she and the others were ordinary people living in extraordinary times just as the students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas are. She predicted that their protests would be turning point in what the former nurse called an epidemic of gun violence.

"This issue has been percolating for awhile," said Tinker, who now speaks to students about the First Amendment and visited Marjory Stoneman Douglas in 2013 as part of a tour of schools. "It really started with Black Lives Matter and it's just the mistreatment of young people has gotten to the breaking point. And it’s good that young people are turning their grief into action and they're also joining together across racial divides and economic divides and that’s very exciting to see."

Their activism isn't coming in a vacuum, said Angus Johnston, a history professor at the City University of New York who specializes in student activism.

"We're seeing a tremendous upsurge of student protest and youth activism and generally lots of people in the streets and organizing and running for office and taking action in all sorts of ways," he said.

Many of the Florida students are in Jeff Foster's AP government class and had been studying the NRA even before the shooting. They consciously used the protests of the 1960s as a model, they say.

The junior-class president, 17-year-old Jaclyn Corin, told the liberal political podcast "Pod Save America" this week that they were following the example of students from the Vietnam War era and especially Martin Luther King Jr.'s principles of nonviolence.

"We are peacefully protesting," she said. "That's what the school walkout encompassed. That's what the march is going to be like. And we're just not fighting fire with fire, we're fighting the NRA with the hopeful voices of the generation that's going to soon be the core power of America."

Sixty-six percent of Americans want stricter gun laws, a Quinnipiac University poll released Feb. 20 found, the highest level since it started asking about the topic after the shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Support jumped almost 20 points since 2015. Sixty-seven percent polled wanted a ban on assault-style weapons.

The students want assault weapons banned, the sale of high-capacity magazines prohibited and background checks to be required for all sales at gun shows and online.

They are prominent on Twitter and Facebook and other social media, and it’s where they take on the NRA and call out trolls who try to falsely label them actors not survivors.

When the NRA posted a video featuring Loesch flipping an hourglass and warning "every lying member of the media" and "every Hollywood phony" that their time was running out, 16-year-old Sarah Chadwick struck back with a spoof. She mocked Loesch in her own video, with her own hourglass. "To every spokeswoman with an hourglass who uses their free speech to alter and undermine what our flag represents," Chadwick said, "your time is running out."

Peck chronicled the earlier decade of upheaval, from the Summer of Love in San Francisco and the Pentagon demonstration in 1967, to the Democratic Convention in Chicago the following year, when police outside clashed violently with protesters. These students are non-violent and "just so smart and so organized," he said. The question will be whether they can keep it up.

"The war was a root canal for us, year after year," Peck said. "What happens when the seniors graduate? What happens when ordinary life takes over? Obviously this was a life changing event for many of these kids but can they sustain it?"

Bill Zimmerman, an anti-war activist who helped lead the Indochina Peace Campaign and Medical Aid for Indochina, said both groups were motivated by public policies that put their lives at risk.

The earliest anti-war demonstrators were driven by moral objections, but young people joined in massive numbers after the number of men drafted into military service surged in 1966 to more than 380,000, he said. 

"And it helped create a movement that eventually had a major impact on the public policy that before had only been addressed by people concerned with morality," he said. "So there may be a parallel today, because these kids are not dealing with gun control as an abstract issue. They’re dealing with it in terms of their own safety."

The students successfully organized a school walkout on March 14, a month to the day of the shooting, when students left their classrooms by thousands in cities across the country, sometimes defying authorities as they did. They pushed Florida lawmakers to pass modest but unprecedented new gun control laws, the first in the state in two decades, raising the age to buy all firearms to 21 and restricting gun access to people who show signs of mental illness or violence, among them.

Looking forward, they plan another walkout for April 20, the anniversary of the Columbine High School shootings, and will try to vote out opponents to gun control in the midterm elections.

Dawson Barrett is an assistant professor of U.S. history at Del Mar College in Corpus Christi, Texas, and the author of "Teenage Rebels: Successful High School Activists, from the Little Rock Nine to the Class of Tomorrow." High school students have been a part of every one of the country's movements, but what is new now is the size of the protests.

"I think we are very likely witnessing what are almost certainly the largest protests by high school students in U.S. history," he said.

To be effective, he said, students have to recruit adult allies, which this group has done from organizations urging gun control.

"If they want to play a role in the fall elections, they’re going to have to maintain momentum after this weekend and after the April 20 walkout and how they do that, I don’t have those answers," he said. "But that’s going to be so important.

Zimmerman, now a partner in Zimmerman & Markman, a national political consulting firm based in Santa Monica, said that to keep attention on their issue, the students will have to address the public policy questions seriously but also take actions that could involve civil disobedience and offend some people.

"The stakes for some kids are going to be life and death so the kids of action they take need to comparatively militant and dramatic and forceful," he said.

It is hard to know whether their protests will explode into a national movement or fizzle, he said. The gun control laws they convinced Florida lawmakers to pass, though limited, were enormous symbolically, he said.

"So the elements are there," he said. "It hasn’t happened yet but the elements are definitely there for this thing to turn into a major national mass movement."

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[White Sox Team Up With Revolution for New Tap Room]]> Fri, 23 Mar 2018 15:23:11 -0500 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Brewing+Lounge+3-23.png

The Chicago White Sox and one of the city’s top breweries are teaming up for an incredible new fan experience at Guaranteed Rate Field this season.

The White Sox will team up with Revolution Brewing to open a new social media lounge, called the Revolution Brewing #Sox Social Tap Room, the club announced in a statement on Friday.

The new space, located in the 200-level of the ballpark, will feature a wide variety of beer and food options, and will also feature interactive activities and #SoxSelfie photo spots, according to the team.

“Revolution Brewing is an established hometown brewery that shares our passion for connecting with fans who love White Sox baseball in new ways,” Sox Senior VP of Sales and Marketing Brooks Boyer said in a statement.

According to the Chicago Tribune, the tap room will feature 38 different beers, including the brewery’s Deth’s Tar stout, weighing in at 14.8 percent alcohol by volume.

The tap room will be open to White Sox fans of all ages, and will be located above section 157, according to the team. 

Photo Credit: Chicago White Sox]]>
<![CDATA[Timeline: What to Expect and When in Late-Winter Storm]]> Fri, 23 Mar 2018 14:22:31 -0500 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/wx+alerts.jpg With a late-winter storm set to bring rain and snow to the Chicago area this weekend, here's a look at what you can expect to see and when in your area. ]]> <![CDATA[Legal Pot Business Owners Ponder Possibility of Death Row]]> Fri, 23 Mar 2018 14:01:07 -0500 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AdobeStock_99027642_a.jpg

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions move to urge federal prosecutors to seek death for drug traffickers "dealing in extremely large quantities" this week has some in the legal cannabis community worried, NBC News reported.

The guidelines for capital punishment include selling 60,000 kilograms of marijuana product annually or $20 million in gross receipts, said Tom Angell, who founded the Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit Marijuana Majority, and that could apply to producers and growers of state-approved recreational pot.

"Regardless of one's feelings about the death penalty, it's completely unacceptable to be applied to a consensual crime like providing marijuana," Angell said.

Experts say that it's almost legally impossible to institute the death penalty for dealing pot, but they were also astonished that the country's top law enforcement official would open the door to it.

Photo Credit: Adobe ]]>
<![CDATA[Chicago Sports Teams Jumping on Loyola Bandwagon]]> Fri, 23 Mar 2018 13:47:01 -0500 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/ramblers.jpg

The Loyola Ramblers are one win away from the Final Four, and Chicago’s sports teams are jumping on the team’s bandwagon.

Loyola, who beat Nevada to advance to the Elite Eight on Thursday, has been getting tweets of support from both teams and athletes, and just about everyone is hoping they can make history and make the next round of the NCAA tournament:

The Ramblers will take on the Kansas State Wildcats on Saturday night in Atlanta, as they try to become just the fourth 11-seed to reach the Final Four in tournament history. 

Photo Credit: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
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<![CDATA[The Loyola Bandwagon Guide to Impressing Your Friends]]> Fri, 23 Mar 2018 14:03:16 -0500 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-936717366.jpg With the Chicago Blackhawks and Bulls eliminated from the playoffs, and with the Cubs and White Sox still a week away from Opening Day, the Windy City’s attention has turned to the Loyola Ramblers.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Garry McCarthy Talks Mayoral Run]]> Fri, 23 Mar 2018 12:34:21 -0500 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/NBC5+4AM+News+Clean+-+06340408_31388468.jpg

Former Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy tells NBC 5's Lauren Petty and Alex Maragos about his newly-announced campaign to take on Mayor Rahm Emanuel. 

<![CDATA[What You'll See Each Mile of the 2018 Shamrock Shuffle]]> Fri, 23 Mar 2018 12:16:25 -0500 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/shamrock+shuffle+2017.jpg

Runners hitting Chicago streets for this year's Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle 8K will not only get to enjoy the start of running season in the city, they'll get a grand tour of Chicago while they're at it.

While participating, runners start in Millennium Park to race through Chicago’s Near North Side, then down through the Loop heading south, back east to Printer’s Row and finishing strong in Chicago’s very own Grant Park.

Over the duration of 4.97 miles, runners and spectators alike will see some of the best sights Chicago’s Loop area has to offer.
Here’s what you can expect to see in each mile of the race:
Start Line
Loop/Millennium Park: At the start of the race, runners can enjoy the views of Millennium Park, including the "Bean," Maggie Daley Park and the Jay Pritzker Pavilion. On the run to the first mile marker, runners will also be able to see the Chicago River while crossing over Columbus Drive and passing NBC Tower.
Mile 1
Near North Side/Magnificent Mile: Runners reach the first mile on the border of the Near North Side and the Magnificent Mile. Runners begin this mile with a view one of the greatest shopping areas Chicago has to offer, spying The Shops at North Bridge as they run down Grand Avenue. While crossing over the Bataan-Corregidor Memorial Bridge on State Street, runners pass House of Blues Chicago and the Marina Towers. Continuing on to the second mile, runners see all the shops the North Loop’s State Street has to offer.
Mile 2
Upper Chicago Loop: Runners race into the heart of Chicago's Loop. In this mile, runners see the financial and governmental sides of the city. Winding through the Loop, runners pass the John C. Kluczynski Federal Building, the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago and Chicago City Hall. As a reminder to save time for a night out, runners pass the Cadillac Palace Theatre right before hitting mile marker three.
Mile 3
Lower Chicago Loop: Runners dash past the Willis Tower; and then run under Chicago’s I-290 Eisenhower Expressway to Harrison Street. They then head under Metra’s Rock Island Train Platform and the LaSalle Street Station leading them past the US Citizenship and Immigration Services building and into Printer’s Row.
Mile 4
Printer’s Row: Once at the fourth mile marker, runners get a glimpse at Chicago’s small neighborhood known as Printer’s Row. In the final mile, continuing down Harrison, if runners look to their left they will see some of Columbia College Chicago's street art. Turning south onto Michigan Avenue, runners finish strong with the landscape of Grant Park to the left and high-rises, college buildings and hotels to the right. In the final stretch down Roosevelt Road to Columbus Drive, runners are treated to views of Rosenberg Fountain, the famous Agora headless iron figures and Grant Skate Park.
Finish Line
South Loop/Grant Park: The finish line puts runners in the middle of Chicago’s Grant Park in Upper Hutchinson Field. Runners can enjoy a post-race party in the park with live music from '80s cover band Sixteen Candles. Then they can move on to the afterparty at the Scout Waterhouse and Kitchen, 1301 S. Wabash Ave. 

<![CDATA[Elite Runners Gearing Up for 2018 Shamrock Shuffle]]> Fri, 23 Mar 2018 14:15:15 -0500 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/2015+shamrock+shuffle+9.jpg

This year's Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle 8K has no shortage of elite runners, and some of them are sharing their excitement on social media in advance of the race's Sunday kickoff.

Reigning champ Stephen Sambu, who has taken first place in the past three Shuffles, posted a picture of his race bib on Twitter with nothing but the statement: "I'm returning to @ChiShuffle #ShamrockShuffle."

Sambu is hoping for an unprecedented fourth consecutive victory. 

Laura Thweatt has been prepping for the Shamrock Shuffle, her first race in 11 months following an injury. She said she can't wait to get back to running.

Wheelchair racer Amanda McGrory of Aurora is back and hopes to take home first place in the wheelchair race for the second year in a row.

"We’re just over a week away from one of my favorite non-marathons of the season, and this time I’m bringing a friend," McGrory wrote in an Instagram post.

Olympian Carrie Tollefson, who ran in the 2004 Summer Games, posted a picture decked out in her Shamrock Shuffle hat. 

And the official Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle social media accounts are especially excited. They are calling on everyone to help "shamROCK" the town.

Registration for this year's Shamrock Shuffle is now closed, but you can livestream the event on the NBC Chicago app or right here on the NBC Chicago website.

Photo Credit: Celia Johnson
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[$1M Winning Lotto Ticket Sold at Suburban Convenience Store]]> Fri, 23 Mar 2018 12:08:35 -0500 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AP_17234640576182.jpg

A lottery ticket worth $1 million was recently sold at a suburban convenience store, but no one has claimed the prize.

The “Powerball” ticket was sold at the 7-Eleven located at 301 N. Cass Ave. in Westmont, according to the Illinois Lottery. It matched all five numbers - 03, 04, 18, 29, 61 - in Wednesday night's drawing. [[221614871, C]]

The winner is encouraged to sign the back of the ticket and keep it in a safe place until they can bring it to one of the Illinois Lottery’s five prize centers in Chicago, Des Plaines, Rockford, Springfield or Fairview Heights.

The winner has up to a year from the original drawing date to claim the prize.

The store will receive a bonus of $10,000, or 1 percent of the prize amount, for selling the winning ticket.

Photo Credit: AP Photo/G-Jun Yam, File]]>
<![CDATA[Record a Video: Should Illinois Legalize Marijuana?]]> Fri, 23 Mar 2018 11:44:51 -0500 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/SOUND-OFF-1200X675.png

On Election Day, Cook County voters voted in favor of legalizing recreational marijuana use in Illinois. Do you agree?

It's easier than ever to tell NBC 5 what you think. Just click below to record a short video with your answer. Your video could appear on the NBC 5 news and right here on NBCChicago.com.

[[477756973, C]]

Here's how to do it: Grab your phone, device or computer with camera capabilities. Click "record your video" above to get started. A new prompt will pop up and ask you to "Make a video." Hit the red circle and you're on!

A couple quick tips: Say your name and where you live. Record from a quiet spot, keep your video under 30 seconds, and be sure to click "I'd like to share this video with NBCChicago.com." Please use respectful language and tone. 

What happens after you record? If you clicked "I'd like to share this video with NBCChicago.com," we'll get the video. It will be reviewed and among those considered to be posted online or used on TV!

This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[1 Killed, 2 Officers Injured in Aurora Shootout: Police]]> Fri, 23 Mar 2018 07:02:02 -0500 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Aurora+Police+Shooting+Blurred+-+00000000_31382028.png

A man was killed and two officers were injured in a shootout in west suburban Aurora Thursday night, according to police.

Authorities said the incident began around 9:45 p.m. when two investigators followed a car seen leaving what police called a "known gang house" in the 200 block of South Lake Street.

When the officers pulled the vehicle over in the first block of East Galena Blvd., the suspect opened fire before driving away eastbound and striking another vehicle at Galena and Broadway, according to Aurora police.

Officials said the driver then ran from the car and "an exchange of gunfire took place."

The suspect was fatally shot on LaSalle Street between Galena and Downer Place, Aurora police said.

The Kane County Coroner's office could not immediately confirm the fatality and further details were not available. A weapon was recovered at the scene, according to police.

One of the officers was shot in the leg and the other sustained another undisclosed injury that was not a gunshot wound, officials said. Both officers were taken to an area hospital where they were being treated for their injuries, which were not thought to be life-threatening.

A passenger was in the suspect's vehicle and was taken into custody for questioning, according to police.

The Kane County Major Crimes Task Force was handling the investigation, according to Aurora police. It was not clear if any officers were placed on administrative leave in connection with the shooting.

Aurora police planned to hold a news conference Friday at 11 a.m. to discuss the incident and release more information.

Photo Credit: Captured News]]>
<![CDATA[Man Stabbed to Death in Alley on Chicago's Near North Side]]> Fri, 23 Mar 2018 06:36:55 -0500 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/MAN+STABBED++PT+2+-+04143605_31381064.png

A 55-year-old man was stabbed to death in an alley on Chicago's Near North Side early Friday, according to police.

Around 2:27 a.m., the man walked out of an alley in the 400 block of North State Street with a stab wound to the neck, officials said.

Authorities said he was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

The Cook County Medical Examiner's office could not immediately confirm the fatality and further details were not immediately available.

No one is in custody in connection with the stabbing, and police continue to investigate.

<![CDATA[Toys R Us Liquidation Marks End of an Era for Shoppers]]> Fri, 23 Mar 2018 12:27:18 -0500 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Toys+R+Us+Liquidation+Sales.jpg

Friday marked the beginning of the end for toy seller Toys R Us as the toy retailer began liquidation sales on March 23 at hundreds of stores around the country.

The going-out-of-business sales are the latest in a series of sad news for the 70-year-old company. On Thursday, Toys R Us founder, Charles Lazarus died at the age of 94. Lazurus, who began his retail career selling children's furniture, pioneered the creation of what was one of the nation's biggest superstore chains in 1948.

His death comes a week after the company announced it would be shuttering its U.S. operation after unsuccessfully reorganizing following a bankruptcy protection filing in September 2017.

The company also revealed that it planned to start liquidation sales. But sales planned for Thursday were postponed due to "unforeseen circumstances," signs posted outside stores around the country and a person familiar with the matter said on Thursday. 

The mass liquidation event at 740 stores will join the ongoing going-out-of-business sales at 182 stores that began last month. Those locations should be shuttered for good by mid-April.

Toys R Us promised "deep discounts and promotions." But workers at a Toys R Us in New York City's Times Square, where most merchandise had only been discounted 10 percent with a few items on sale at 30 percent off, said Friday that it could be a month before deep discounts come.

Shoppers from around the New York City area visiting the Times Square and Manhattan Mall stores looking for deals found themselves reminiscing about the impact that the store had on their lives.

Chris Rohr, a shopper at a store on Broadway in Times Square, grew up riding the 60-foot-Ferris Wheel inside of the company's flagship store in the area, which closed in 2015. For Rohr, the end of Toys R Us meant the end of an era for a generation of children who viewed it as more than just a place to sell toys.   

"I was in and out of there all the time. There used to be trips and excursions with my mom just taking me out," he said. "She wouldn't even buy me anything but we'd go around, play and look at everything." 

He added that it's "hard to get inspiration from an online posting."   

The liquidation marks a generational shift in kids' interest in toys, according to Ben Bartholomew, a shopper at the Manhattan Mall. 

"The demographics are shifting and it's pretty scary to think about toy stores not doing well," Bartholomew said. "Because there's less kids and I think that will have cascading effects on a lot of industries."

"For a lot of people in my generation, Toys R Us was kind of a place where you would want to go and hang out and toy manufactures would use it as a showroom for a really long time," Bartholomew said.

Toys R Us said on its website that customers can continue to shop online for products "for a limited of time," but it was unclear when the retailer's online store would stop accepting orders. All online orders are expected to be fulfilled and customers should expect to receive them.

The retailer said customers can continue to use their Toys R Us credit cards through the end of the liquidation sales, and will honor Toys R Us gift cards until April 20. However, rewards or discounts associated with the card will no longer be accepted. It has also stopped accepting coupons, including from the Geoffrey Birthday Club, on March 22. 

Stores will accept returns on products purchased before the liquidation for the next 30 days. All purchases made after liquidation sales begin are final, which means they cannot be returned or exchanged.

Victor Valez, a shopper at the Manhattan Mall, used Toys R Us stores as more than just a place to buy his children toys, but baby supplies as well. 

"I used to go in there and buy my daughter's milk and diapers," Valez said. "I used to get them by the case because they had good prices."

Formula would cost more at his neighborhood bodega, he said. 

At Babies R Us stores, no new registrants will be accepted, but existing registrants can still continue to access their registries while the online store is still open. They encourage shoppers to save or write down products on their registries as soon as possible to list what they want before the option is turned off. 

The company has been posting job openings recently for temporary positions to help during the liquidation process. But the store closings mean that around 31,000 employees will ultimately be laid off.

"It's sad for the employees," said Rohr, the shopper in Times Square. "I mean think about how many people are losing their jobs because they can't maintain a brick and mortar store."

For additional questions about products, warranties or rewards, customers in the U.S. can contact the Customer Service Department at 1(800) TOYSRUS or 1 (800) 869-7787 between the hours of 8 AM and 11 PM ET. The company also shared customer FAQ information here. 

Photo Credit: James Best]]>
<![CDATA[Teen Girl Shot Inside Md. School Has Died: Sheriff]]> Fri, 23 Mar 2018 09:22:17 -0500 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/jaelynn+willey+web+thumb.jpg

The teenage girl who was shot in the halls of her Maryland high school has died, the St. Mary's County Sheriff's Office announced Friday. 

Jaelynn Rose Willey, 16, was surrounded by her family when she died at 11:34 p.m. Thursday, the sheriff's office says. Her parents announced that they had decided to take her off of life support hours earlier. 

Willey was in the hallway of Great Mills High School in Maryland Tuesday morning when police say Austin Rollins pointed a semi-automatic handgun at her and fired.

Authorities say Willey and Rollins had a previous relationship.

"My daughter was hurt by a boy who shot her in the head...and took everything from our lives," Willey's mother, Melissa Willey, said at a news conference Thursday evening.

Willey, a dedicated student, beach-lover and swim team member, had been in the intensive care unit at UM Prince George's Hospital Center.

"Jaelynn is an amazing young lady whose peaceful presence and love of her fellow students and family is known throughout her Maryland-based school,” her family said in a statement on a Youcaring Fundraiser page set up to help pay her medical bills.

Willey had eight siblings, one older and seven younger. She was a role model to her brothers and sisters, her family said, and helped to take care of them every day.

“It is hard for us not to see her shining, smiling face right now, and to see her light up the room with her presence,” the family’s statement said. “Please keep Jaelynn and our family in your prayers.”

Willey was shot about five minutes before the first period bell was set to ring. Another student, 14-year-old Desmond Barnes, was shot in the leg. He has been released from the hospital.

"Our entire family is eternally grateful that Desmond is alive, doing well and in good spirits. He is an amazing testimony," Barnes' family said in a statement Thursday night. "We remain deeply saddened and shocked by this shooting incident and continue to pray for the other victim and her family during this difficult time. We are also praying for the entire Great Mills High School family and young people around this country."

The nature of Willey’s relationship with Rollins is still unclear. Rollins died after an exchange of gunfire with a school resource officer. It's not clear if the officer's shot killed the teen boy.

The attack is the 12th school shooting that has ended in injury or death this year, according to Everytown For Gun Safety research.

Willey's death comes one day before thousands of young people were expected to rally in the streets of Washington, D.C., to demand stronger gun control laws. "March for Our Lives" was organized by the teen survivors of a deadly school shooting in Parkland, Florida.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of the Willey family]]>
<![CDATA[Was This Woman's Credit Card Duplicated by a Thief? ]]> Fri, 23 Mar 2018 08:59:51 -0500 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/debit+card+generic+responds.png

NBC 5 Responds: the mystery that began inside a Chicago woman's bank account. Was her debit card somehow duplicated by a thief? When she says her battle to get answers from her bank went bust, she asked NBC 5 Responds to take a look. Lisa Parker reports.

<![CDATA[Shamrock Shuffle Race Director Raises More Than $18K]]> Fri, 23 Mar 2018 08:42:27 -0500 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/shamrock+shuffle+2017.jpg

The 2018 Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle's executive race director has broken his fundraising goal of $18,000 for the American Cancer Society.

Carey Pinkowski announced in February that he was running the race for the first time since he took third place in 1988 and that he was raising money for the American Cancer Society.

"I have seen so many people in my life—my father, my dear friends and other individuals—battle cancer, and this cause has always been important to me," Pinkowski said when he announced he would run. "It is humbling to participate among a group of runners who make their running more impactful by raising funds for a charitable cause."

Pinkowski hoped to bring awareness to the race's new donation matching campaign. Bank of America matched donations made at the point of registration from Jan. 29 through Feb. 9. The race partners with 34 charities.

"Over the past 16 years, I have watched more than 100,000 charity runners cross our finish line," Pinkowski said. "It really highlights the beauty of our collective spirit in the sport.

Bank of America made a one-time, $8,000 donation in honor of Pinkowski's own fundraising.

"We're honored to make this donation in recognition of Carey's dedication and passion to the Chicago running community," said Paul Lambert, Chicago market president of Bank of America. "Carey's demonstrated commitment and enthusiasm have shaped both the Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle 8K and the Bank of America Chicago Marathon into the world-class events that they are today."

The Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle 8K returns for the 39th year Sunday at Grant Park. Last year, more than 20,000 runners "turned downtown Chicago into a sea of green" to celebrate the local running community.

<![CDATA[2018 Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle by the Numbers]]> Fri, 23 Mar 2018 08:11:45 -0500 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/UGC+shamrock+shuffle.jpg The Shamrock Shuffle steps off in Chicago this Sunday. Here's a look at statistics from last year’s race and what's ahead for the 2018 event]]>