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Local News

Northwest Herald Recent news from Northwest Herald

  • Breaking: McHenry County under hazardous weather outlook
    published on February 17th, 2018 at 04:56 PM
    CRYSTAL LAKE – McHenry County is under a hazardous weather outlook as snow begins to fall this afternoon. The National Weather Service issued the alert Saturday for limited excessive cold risk and limited snow risk. Light snow is expected this afternoon with very light accumulation. There may be flooding and thunderstorm risks Monday, according to the service.
  • Norge's Kevin Bickner finishes 20th in large hill competition
    published on February 17th, 2018 at 04:56 PM
    PYEONGCHANG, South Korea – Another event, another milestone for Norge Ski Club product Kevin Bickner in the Winter Olympics. The Wauconda native, just 21, smiled after jumping to a 20th-place finish in Saturday’s large hill event, becoming the first U.S. jumper to place in the top 20 since Alan Alborn placed fourth in Salt Lake City’s 2002 games. Bickner did so with a jump of 124 meters, good for a combined final round score of 235.4. “To be in the top 20 in both events is an accomplishment,” Bickner said. “It shows the level I’m at now I think.” The competition will air at 1:30 p.m. Saturday on NBCSN. U.S. teammate and fellow Norge ski jumper Michael Glasder, of Cary, finished 46th after jumping 114 meters for a score of 90.5. Glasder, 28, jumped only once because skiers that don’t place in the top 30 after the first jump don’t jump a second time. Poland’s Kamil Stoch took the gold medal with a combined scoreof 285.7. After winning gold in the normal hill, Germany’s Andreas Wellinger earned silver on Saturday with a combined score of 282.3 after a second jump of 142 meters, the furthest of the night. Normal hill silver medal winner Robert Johansson took bronze on Saturday. Bickner said his performance was not “my best,” but that he “wouldn’t complain” with a top-20 finish. “Back at the beginning of my season that was my ultimate Olympic goal,” he said.Casey Larson, the third Norge ski jumper to compete in this month’s Olympics did not qualify for Saturday’s final rounds after placing 53rd in Friday’s qualifying event. Larson, 19, of Barrington, will join Bickner, Glasder and Utah’s Will Rhoads, the fourth member of the U.S. team, for team competition finals on Monday. That event will begin at 8:30 a.m. Monday on NBCSN.
  • Olympic ski jumpers Kevin Bickner, Mike Glasder advance in large hill competition
    published on February 17th, 2018 at 04:56 PM
    PYEONGCHANG, South Korea – Two of the three first Olympic ski jumpers from Norge Ski Club in Fox River Grove made it 2 for 2 Friday in qualifying for the final day of competition during their first events of the Winter Games. U.S. ski jumpers Kevin Bickner, 21, of Wauconda and Mike Glasder, 28, of Cary qualified for Saturday’s final in the large hill event by cruising to top-50 finishes in Friday’s qualifying jump, while Casey Larson of Barrington finished 53rd. “I made a small mistake in my flight where I pushed a little bit too much in the air,” Glasder said. “I wanted it a little bit too much, and more times than not if you try too hard it hurts you.” Glasder recorded the longest jump of the night for the Americans at 124.5 meters, but it was Bickner who again led the way on the scoreboard, which factors distance, wind and jumpers’ style. Bickner’s score of 91.1 was good for 35th in the stacked field of the world’s best ski jumpers, while Glasder’s 88.7 tally placed him 38th overall.  Bickner has notched the top score for the U.S. in each of the qualifying and championship events this Olympics. Despite that feat, he stood frowning and shrugging his shoulders after Friday’s jump. “There was a huge gust of wind that knocked me around a bit. I wasn’t on balance at takeoff, so my flight was a little bit twisted at the start,” he said. “I probably could have handled it a little bit better.” Larson scored 61.1 points after a jump of 104.5 meters. And like Larson, U.S. jumper Will Rhoads of Utah also failed to qualify for Saturday’s final after finishing 51st Friday. Qualifying round leaders Robert Johansson and Johann Andre Forfang of Norway recorded jumps of 135 and 137 meters, with Johansson earning more points despite the shorter jump because of wind.  Friday’s results will not be factored into Saturday’s final rounds other than setting the order of the jumpers. Friday’s 50th-place finisher, Sebastian Colloredo of Italy, will jump first Saturday, and Johansson will jump last. Saturday’s championship will air at 1:30 p.m. on NBCSN with the long jump’s first round, which will narrow the field from 50 to 30. The final jump to determine large hill medalists will follow.  For Larson, Friday’s failure to qualify was “frustrating” despite being well-rested and not having nerves different than “the usual” before his events. The Barrington native said he was frustrated knowing he’s capable of a jump that’s “pretty darn good.” He’ll have another chance to compete for a medal as a member of the four-person U.S. team during team jumps Monday. “It’s awesome to be here, but you still want to be able to show your best jump,” Larson said. “It’s nothing other than me; I’m the one up there getting flagged, so I have to throw it down.” The local trio earlier advanced from the normal hill qualifying round Feb. 8 before competing in the event’s final rounds Feb. 10.
  • State Rep. David McSweeney calls Algonquin Township a 'disgrace'
    published on February 17th, 2018 at 04:56 PM
    ALGONQUIN TOWNSHIP – In response to recent comments from Algonquin Township trustees telling him to mind his own business, state Rep. David McSweeney said the officials “should be ashamed of themselves.” The Barrington Hills Republican swiped at Algonquin Township trustees after a meeting Wednesday, where a majority of them spoke against the representative’s ongoing efforts to give voters the power to abolish township government at the polls. “You’re wasting taxpayer money,” McSweeney said. “You can run, but you can’t hide from you constituents.” McSweeney filed a bill in January that would give voters the power to eliminate McHenry County townships with a majority vote. The move would shift the services provided by townships to local municipalities and the county. McSweeney is using Algonquin Township as the “poster child” to push his agenda in Springfield. McHenry County’s most populous township has endured unruly in-house lawsuits, budget-busting legal fees and numerous corruption allegations leveled against the former leader of the highway department. McSweeney has taken a particular interest in Algonquin Township’s ballooning legal costs – more than $340,000 through Wednesday – and the failure of elected officials to communicate or govern. The push to consolidate small governments in McHenry County comes at a time when the attack on townships is as intense as ever. Voters and homeowners tired of high property taxes and the state’s worsening economic climate have been looking to cut anything from anywhere they can. Trustee Dan Shea called McSweeney’s bill political grandstanding. Trustee Dave Chapman said the consolidation movement is moving too fast for voters and township officials to get a grasp on whether eliminating governments would save taxpayers money. Trustee Melissa Victor said she does not believe consolidation is the answer to lowering property taxes. Trustee Rachael Lawrence did not attend the meeting Wednesday and could not be reached for comment on this story. “We’ll take care of our township,” Chapman said at the meeting. “You take care of your job, David McSweeney, and stay out of Algonquin Township.” McSweeney said there’s no chance he’s backing off. “The taxpayers know what a disgrace Algonquin Township is, and strongly support my efforts to consolidate local governments and cut property taxes,” McSweeney said.
  • Prairie Ridge teacher, basketball coach facing felony charges still works at high school
    published on February 17th, 2018 at 04:56 PM
    CRYSTAL LAKE – A Prairie Ridge High School teacher and basketball coach facing felony financial exploitation charges continues to work at the school, district officials confirmed in an email Friday evening. Until Friday, Community High School District 155 had remained silent about the charges against physical education teacher and varsity girls basketball coach Rick Lima. “Rick Lima is employed by District 155 and is in the classroom,” District 155 director of communications Shannon Podzimek wrote in an email Friday. “We cannot comment on personnel and/or private matters, and cannot discuss this matter further.” Lima was arrested Jan. 30 and charged with financial exploitation of an elderly person – an offense that typically is punishable by one to three years in prison. Police have said that Lima stole more than $50,000 from an elderly woman and used the money to buy a home. Sophomore coach Brett Collins served as the interim varsity girls basketball head coach in Lima’s temporary absence, sources with knowledge of the situation said. Lima has hired a private attorney, Michael Krejci, to represent him. Krejci did not return a phone call seeking comment about the teacher’s charges. Lima is scheduled to appear in court March 23.
  • Main Street in Crystal Lake reopens after electrical problem
    published on February 17th, 2018 at 04:56 PM
    CRYSTAL LAKE – Main Street was closed temporarily Friday because of an electrical problem. Crystal Lake police said in a Nixle alert about 8:44 a.m. that drivers should avoid northbound Main Street between Congress Parkway and Crystal Lake Avenue. A police dispatcher said Friday afternoon that the road had reopened. The road closed because of an electrical problem with the electrical transformer box.
  • McHenry man charged with delivering meth accused of sexually abusing teen girl
    published on February 17th, 2018 at 04:56 PM
    McHENRY – A 33-year-old man arrested Thursday for selling methamphetamine is accused of having a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old girl, court records show. According to an order of protection filed in McHenry County court Feb. 8, a local mother recently learned that her daughter had sexual contact on more than one occasion with Joseph McCormick, of the 4000 block of West Lillian Street, McHenry. McCormick and a McHenry woman, 27-year-old Amber Cechini, were arrested Thursday and taken to the McHenry County Jail. Police had gone to McCormick’s home to arrest him on sexual abuse charges, but when they arrived, they found evidence of drug activity, according to a news release from the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office. Both McCormick and Cechini face a series of drug charges. McCormick additionally is charged with three counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse, a complaint filed Friday afternoon in McHenry County court shows. McCormick called the teen girl from multiple phone numbers while she was at school, the girl’s mother wrote in the order of protection. During the conversations, he reportedly told her to deny the accusations against him and stop talking to the police, and that he would help to have her emancipated so he could “take her with [him].” The alleged abuse began in December, and the girl often was present while McCormick took drugs, according to the order. “I do believe the drugs he provided may have swayed her judgment,” the mother wrote. McCormick remained at the McHenry County Jail on Friday on a $120,000 bond, meaning he would need to post $12,000 bail to be released. Bond for Cechini, who is not connected with the sex abuse investigation, is set at $40,000. Her connection to McCormick and the drugs that police said they found at his home is unclear. McHenry County court officials have notified the girl’s school about the order of protection. Both McCormick and Cechini are due in court Tuesday for bond reduction hearings.
  • Gov. Bruce Rauner: Shifting pension payments to schools will lower property taxes
    published on February 17th, 2018 at 04:56 PM
    CRYSTAL LAKE – Shifting the employer’s portion of teacher pension payments to public school districts is a move that will lower property taxes in McHenry County, Gov. Bruce Rauner said. The Republican visited Crystal Lake on Friday morning to speak with the Northwest Herald Editorial Board. Rauner is trying to win a second gubernatorial term, and he spoke with the board for about 30 minutes, discussing property taxes in McHenry County, pensions and more. “We’re not only shifting pension responsibilities to where the decisions are made on what the pension costs will be in terms of deciding who gets what salaries, when they retire, what their terms are,” Rauner said. “We need to align responsibility for decision-making with responsibility for paying. ... If we align the interests, there will be economic incentive to keep the pension costs reasonable.” Rauner unveiled his plan to redirect pension costs to school districts Wednesday as part of his proposed budget for fiscal 2019, which begins July 1. The pension shift would reverse a long-standing practice of the state paying local schools’ portion of pension costs. The one exception was Chicago Public Schools. The local Chicago school budget paid teacher pensions until an overhaul of education funding last summer. Rauner would save $2 billion in state spending through the pension change and by taking health care costs out of the mix of benefits for which union employees can bargain in contract negotiations. But that must be approved by the General Assembly. The Democrats who control it likely won’t go along. Rauner said other states, such as Maryland, already have adopted such pension measures. “If you look at the states that have deep financial trouble and unfunded pensions and pension problems – the top 12 states that have the biggest problems – they all have the state pick up pension payments, even though the decisions and responsibility for who’s getting the pension and how they’re structured is done at the local level. There’s a disconnect,” Rauner said. The governor shifted his focus to mention the importance of “local control” – a philosophy that also will lower property taxes. “How do we bring down property taxes? Local control of bargaining,” Rauner said. “Local control of bidding and contracting, local control of consolidation, local control of shared services, local control of the property tax levy.” • The Associated Press contributed to this report.
  • Clarification
    published on February 17th, 2018 at 04:56 PM
    A story on page A6 of Thursday’s edition included a quote from Algonquin Township resident Mike Tauler that had inaccurate information. CCleaner is a secure deletion tool.
  • Bruce Rauner tours Spring Grove-based Scot Forge
    published on February 17th, 2018 at 04:56 PM
    SPRING GROVE – On Friday, Gov. Bruce Rauner visited and praised Spring Grove-based Scot Forge, an open die and ring rolling forging company celebrating its 125th anniversary this year. Rauner toured the 350,000-square-foot manufacturing plant Friday morning. Scot Forge is an employee-owned business with plants in Wisconsin, Illinois, Pennsylvania and Michigan. The company works in numerous markets, including aerospace, infrastructure, mining and defense, according to its website. State Sen. Pamela Althoff and McHenry County Board Chairman Jack Franks also attended Friday’s tour and spoke briefly about Forge’s importance to the community. “Not only are you important to Illinois, but you are extremely important to McHenry County and its business community,” Althoff said. “Not just for your leadership and professionalism … but also because you guys are community partners.” Rauner praised the company and said the success of manufacturing in America is necessary for success in many other industries. “Your success – providing high-quality, high-tech products – enables all the other successes of America’s defense, America’s auto industry, America’s construction industry, America’s agriculture industry,” he said. “You guys are the foundation.” Manufacturing in Illinois accounts for 12.7 percent of total state output, according to the latest statistics from the National Association of Manufacturers. McHenry County’s manufacturing sector employs 13 percent of the county workforce, according to the McHenry County Economic Development Corp. Rauner said he wants to see manufacturing grow. “We are driving a major resurgence in America,” Rauner said. “Proud and strong. Build it. Buy it. Hire and grow in America, and we will restore manufacturing to America. [We will] bring manufacturing from around the world and bring it right back home to America, and right home to the great state of Illinois.”

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