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Northwest Herald Recent news from Northwest Herald

  • Inspectors collect samples from Syria site
    published on April 22nd, 2018 at 07:01 AM
    BEIRUT – Chemical weapons inspectors collected samples from Syria’s Douma on Saturday, two weeks after a suspected gas attack there followed by retaliatory strikes by Western powers on the Syrian government’s chemical facilities. The site visit, confirmed by the Organization of the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, would allow the agency to proceed with an independent investigation to determine what chemicals, if any, were used in the April 7 attack that medical workers said killed more than 40 people. Douma was the final target of the government’s sweeping campaign to seize back control of the eastern Ghouta suburbs of Damascus from rebels after seven years of revolt. Militants gave up the town days after the alleged attack. OPCW inspectors arrived in Damascus just hours before the April 15 strikes but were delayed from visiting the site until Saturday, leading Western officials and Syrian activists to accuse Russia and the Syrian government of staging a cover-up.
  • Laughter, tears as former first lady Barbara Bush remembered
    published on April 22nd, 2018 at 07:01 AM
    HOUSTON – Barbara Bush was remembered as the “first lady of the Greatest Generation” during a funeral Saturday attended by four former U.S. presidents and hundreds of other people who filled a Houston church with laughter as much as tears, with many recalling her quick wit and devotion to family. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush joked that his mother called her style of raising him and his siblings “’a benevolent dictatorship’ – but honestly, it wasn’t always benevolent.” She was widely admired for her plainspoken style during her husband George H.W. Bush’s presidency and was known as “The Enforcer” in her high-powered family. Jeb Bush said he could feel her presence Saturday inside the nation’s largest Episcopal church and that she would likely have given him advice: “Jeb, keep it short. Don’t drag this out,” he said to chuckles. He met her expectations with a speech lasting about seven minutes. He choked up at one point while addressing the roughly 1,500 people seated inside St. Martin’s Episcopal Church, where his parents regularly worshipped, when saying his mother – known for her self-deprecating remarks about her wrinkles and white-gray hair – was “beautiful” until the very end. His father, a prolific writer of love letters to his wife, laughed when his son read a letter from their wedding anniversary in 1994. It began: “Will you marry me? Oops! I forgot we did that, 49 years ago.” But when his son continued reading, about how his father grew happier each year spent with his wife, his father closed his eyes and cried. Jeb Bush later hugged his father and kissed him on the cheek. Presidential historian Jon Meacham, who wrote a 2015 biography on the former president, recalled during his eulogy Barbara Bush’s devotion to her husband of 73 years, noting he was the “only boy she ever kissed.” Theirs was the longest marriage of any presidential couple. Meacham said Barbara Bush also was known for bringing awareness to AIDS patients and for her work promoting literacy, which her husband subtly honored Saturday by wearing socks printed with blue, red and yellow books. “Barbara Bush was the first lady of the Greatest Generation,” Meacham said, a nod to the generation that fought in World War II. The couple’s family, including their five children, 17 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren, played prominent roles in the service. Granddaughters offered readings, some of their voices shaky with emotion, while their eight grandsons were pallbearers. The Bush family was seated in front of the church. Nearby, two other former presidents – Bill Clinton and Barack Obama – along with their wives and current first lady Melania Trump were seated in the same pew. A eulogy also was given by Barbara Bush’s longtime friend, Susan Baker, wife of former Secretary of State James A. Baker III. She said Bush – the wife of the nation’s 41st president and mother of the 43rd – was “the secret sauce of this extraordinary family.” As the funeral ended, George H.W. Bush was pushed in his wheelchair by another son, former President George W. Bush, as they followed the casket out of the church’s cavernous sanctuary, which had been adorned with sprays of yellow garden roses, yellow snap dragons and antique hydrangeas. They stopped along the way to shake hands as mourners sang “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee,” which Barbara Bush had requested as the final song. She died on Tuesday , with her husband by her side, at their home in Houston. She was 92. Barbara Bush was buried Saturday afternoon at her husband’s presidential library at Texas A&M University in College Station, about 100 miles northwest of Houston. The burial site is in a gated plot surrounded by trees and near a creek where the couple’s 3-year-old daughter Robin is buried. She died of leukemia in 1953. “It was a very brief but poignant and beautiful ending to a very moving and incredible day. It would have been exactly what Barbara Bush wanted,” family spokesman Jim McGrath said. Hundreds of people lined both sides of the street near the campus as the funeral procession passed on a gray, cloudy day. Flags were flown at half-staff. Other guests at the invitation-only funeral included former Rep. Gabby Giffords and her husband, retired astronaut Mark Kelly, and professional golfer Phil Mickelson, along with Karl Rove and other former White House staff members. Melania Trump said in a statement it was an honor to give her respects to a “fearless” first lady, adding: “Today the world paid tribute to a woman of indisputable character and grace.” President Donald Trump didn’t attend to avoid security disruptions, according to the White House, but he released a statement saying his thoughts were with the family. Former President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, also didn’t attend because he was traveling overseas and she was recovering from surgery, according to the Carter Center. On Friday, more than 6,200 people visited the Houston church during a public viewing. Many of the women wore the former first lady’s favorite color, blue, and her trademark pearl necklaces. George H.W. Bush was so moved by how many people lined up Friday to pay their final respects to his wife that he decided to go . From his wheelchair, he spent about 15 minutes shaking hands with people who had come. ___ Associated Press journalists John L. Mone and Mark Humphrey in College Station, Texas, and Julie Watson in San Diego, contributed to this report.
  • Retail vacancies in McHenry County point to changing market
    published on April 22nd, 2018 at 07:01 AM
    A drive down Randall Road between Crystal Lake and Algonquin yields a common site on both sides of the road. Vacant retail spaces. The southern part of McHenry County – much like the numerous shopping centers stretching down the thoroughfare to Batavia – is full of them, and it’s part of Linda Kost’s job to fill many of them. She’s a senior broker and partner at Algonquin-based Realty Metrix. Her specialty is commercial real estate, and she’s been watching how the retail market has transformed over the past decade. “The dynamics of retail real estate have changed dramatically,” Kost said of a market that peaked in 2007 and bottomed out in 2011. “It’s not terrible – just changing.” Before the recession, a building boom heaped a surplus of retail spaces into markets where the economic collapse would later make it difficult to find businesses to fill those spaces. On top of that, Kost said, the internet happened.  Equipped with smart phones and Amazon Prime accounts, shoppers no longer felt tied to the big-box retail shops where they once did their shopping – stores such as Office Depot, OfficeMax and Best Buy. “It’s really thwarting any sort of big-box development,” said Kost, who is part owner of an old Dominick’s property in Geneva.  Instead of filling the 71,000-square-feet of space with a single grocer, Kost’s team split the property in two: About 28,000 square feet of that space will be a Fresh Thyme Market and the balance will be a Burlington Coat Factory. A similar move is happening at the old Dominick’s in Crystal Lake, where developers broke the property in two for different organizations to occupy. Repurposing is another trend that shows how much the retail market has changed. Kost pointed to a bank on Randall Road redeveloped into a McAllister’s Deli and a Med Express. Then there’s Dania Furniture Co. building in Algonquin, where a soccer club is considering moving into the long-vacant space. Ask Jack Minero why a soccer club is a good choice for such a property, and he surely mention these two words: “Specialty” and “service.” A real estate agent with Berkshire Hathaway, Minero is the man behind the Winding Creek Shopping Center, one block west of Randall Road on Algonquin Road. The center has 16 units, eight of which are leased. Of those eight rented units, five of them are specialty shops that offer services to customers. “Insurance, beauty salon, physical therapy, martial arts and day care,” Minero said, describing some of the businesses that seem to stick in the suburbs. Kost offers this advice to landlords and tenants hoping to make a splash in the retail scene: try to go toward service. There’s another factor stifling the retail market: Rent isn’t cheap in McHenry County. The average price for an redeveloped property is between $16 and $22 per square foot. Rent on brand-new spaces could push past $40 per square foot, Kost said. That’s on top of the additional rent tenants pay for common area fees, maintenance, taxes and insurance. “A lot of these retailers are struggling,” Minero said, pointing to McHenry County’s “steep” property taxes. “It’s something that goes along with the economic climate we’re in.”
  • Stand Up for School Bus Safety coalition claims Harvard D50 busing service dangerous
    published on April 22nd, 2018 at 07:01 AM
    A local group has claimed the busing service that Harvard District 50 uses is unsafe. Several people warned Harvard District 50 school board members against Durham School Services at the district’s last board meeting. The individuals are part of a nationwide coalition Stand Up for School Bus Safety, which originated in Tennessee after a fatal crash occurred in Chattanooga. The crash killed six students and the Durham driver has since been charged with vehicular homicide and a handful of other charges, according to local media reports. The coalition argues the incident isn’t isolated. Durham is operated by its parent company, United Kingdom-based National Express Group. The company’s school bus operations have experienced a 25 percent higher rate of crashes per million miles traveled compared with its main competitors First Student and Student Transportation Inc., according to a study based on data from the Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Federal safety violations were also higher than competitors, according to the study. Susan Bartos, a Harvard resident who drives for First Student, said that she was concerned about the potential safety hazard. “I don’t want what has happened in other communities to happen here in Harvard,” she said. “I take great pride in my work and the safety of our children and our drivers. “That’s why I’m so concerned and need to speak up.” Terressa Langston, who is a school bus monitor with First Student, said she used to drive for Durham and didn’t feel the training was adequate. “When I got my license, that was the end of it,” she said. “With First Student the training goes on and on. It’s every month. … We are transporting precious, irreplaceable cargo.”   She added that the equipment provided by Durham wasn’t always adequate. A call to the Harvard Durham location was directed to the company’s corporate office. Durham officials at that office didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. District 50 Business Manager Mary Taylor said the district is in the process of bidding for its transportation services and would take into account the recently raised concerns. “Student safety is definitely a primary concern for us,” she said. “We will take that into consideration when looking into bids as normal.”
  • Rear-end collision in Crystal Lake causes moderate damage to car
    published on April 21st, 2018 at 07:01 AM
    Two cars were involved in a rear-end collision Saturday afternoon in Crystal Lake. Crystal Lake Fire Rescue Lt. Darrell Cook said one car crashed into the rear of another about 12:20 p.m. at Hillside and Walkup roads. Cook said he did not know the cause of the crash, which is being investigated by the McHenry County Sheriff's Office. "One of the vehicles had moderate to heavy damage, and the other had minor to moderate damage," Cook said. No one was injured or taken to a hospital. Police were not available for more information. Attempts to reach McHenry County Sheriff's Office were unsuccessful.
  • Fox Lake fire causes about $120,000 in damage
    published on April 21st, 2018 at 07:01 AM
    A Fox Lake garage was severely damaged Saturday after a fire broke out. The Fox Lake Fire Protection District responded to a call about 1:10 p.m. at 31 Atwater Parkway, Battalion Chief Larry VanHoorelbeke said. The fire was contained to the garage and a small area of the master bedroom next to the garage. VanHoorelbeke estimated the fire caused about $120,000 worth of damage. The garage was severely damaged, he said. "The residents were at home, but they all quickly got out, and no one was hurt," VanHoorelbeke said. Firefighters had the fire under control within 15 to 20 minutes, he said. The cause of the fire is still under investigation, VanHoorelbeke said.
  • Barbara Bush was 'first lady of the greatest generation'
    published on April 21st, 2018 at 07:01 AM
    HOUSTON – Barbara Bush was remembered as the "first lady of the greatest generation" during a funeral Saturday attended by four former U.S. presidents and hundreds of other people who filled the church with laughter as much as tears, with many recalling her quick wit and devotion to family. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush joked that his mother called her style of mothering him and his siblings "a benevolent dictatorship – but honestly, it wasn't always benevolent." He emphasized how she believed in the power of laughter and that joy should be shared. He said he could still feel her presence Saturday inside the nation's largest Episcopal church and she would likely have given him advice on his eulogy: "Jeb, keep it short. Don't drag this out," he said to chuckles. He met her expectations with a speech lasting about seven minutes. He choked up at one point while addressing the roughly 1,500 people seated inside the St. Martin's Episcopal Church in Houston, where his parents regularly worshipped, when saying his mother – who was known for her self-deprecating remarks about her wrinkles and gray hair – was "beautiful" until the very end. He said he felt privileged that he had a "front row" seat to the incredible love story shared by his mother and father, former President George H.W. Bush, who laughed as longtime friends and family recalled his wife's wicked sense of humor during the nearly two-hour service. After he spoke, Jeb Bush walked over to his father, and hugged him and kissed him on the cheek. Presidential historian Jon Meacham, who wrote a 2015 biography on the former president, recalled Barbara Bush's devotion to her husband of 73 years, noting former George H.W. Bush. is the "only boy she ever kissed." Theirs was the longest marriage of any other presidential couple. One of just two first ladies to have a child elected president, Barbara Bush was widely admired for her plainspoken style and was known as the "Enforcer" in her family, the glue who kept the high-powered clan together. Meacham said it was Barbara Bush's quick tongue that made her so popular, along with her work promoting literacy and bringing awareness to AIDS patients. "Barbara Bush was the first lady of the greatest generation," Meacham said during his eulogy. The couple's family, including their five children, 17 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren, played a prominent role in the service. Granddaughters offered readings, some their voices shaky with emotion, while their eight grandsons were pallbearers. The Bush family was seated in front of the church. Nearby, two other former presidents – Bill Clinton and Barack Obama – along with their wives and current first lady Melania Trump were seated in the same pew. The invitation-only service was also attended by former ambassadors, members of Congress, sports stars and Houston business owners. A eulogy was also given by Barbara Bush's longtime friend, Susan Baker, wife of former Secretary of State James A. Baker III, who said Bush – the wife of the 41st president of the U.S. and mother of the 43rd – was "the secret sauce of this extraordinary family." As the funeral ended, George H.W. Bush was pushed in his wheelchair by his son George W. Bush as they followed the casket out of the church's cavernous sanctuary, which had been adorned with sprays of yellow garden roses, yellow snap dragons and antique hydrangeas. They stopped along the way to shake hands, as mourners sang "Joyful, joyful, we adore thee," which Barbara Bush had requested as the final song. She died on Tuesday , with her husband by her side, at their home in Houston. She was 92. The burial will be held at her husband's presidential library at Texas A&M University, about 100 miles (161 kilometers) northwest of Houston. Hundreds of people lined both sides of the street near the campus ahead of the service. The burial site is in a gated plot surrounded by trees and near a creek where the couple's 3-year-old daughter, Robin, who died of leukemia in 1953, is buried. Other guests at the funeral included former Rep. Gabby Giffords and her husband, retired astronaut Mark Kelly, and professional golfer Phil Mickelson, along with Karl Rove, and other former White House staff. Many were seen embracing in the church before the service on a gray, cloudy day as flags were flown at half-mast. President Donald Trump did not attend to avoid security disruptions and "out of respect for the Bush family and friends attending the service," according to the White House. He said his thoughts were with the family. Melania Trump issued a statement after the funeral saying it was an honor to give her respects to a "fearless" first lady, adding: "Today the world paid tribute to a woman of indisputable character and grace." On Friday, more than 6,200 people visited the Houston church during a public viewing. Many of the women wore the former first lady's favorite color, blue, and trademark pearls. George H.W. Bush was so moved by how many people had lined up Friday to pay their final respects to his wife that he decided to go. From his wheelchair, he spent about 15 minutes shaking hands with people who had come. ___ Associated Press journalists John L. Mone and Mark Humphrey in College Station, Texas, and Julie Watson in San Diego, contributed to this report.
  • Coroner IDs Round Lake Park woman who died Wednesday in Volo crash
    published on April 21st, 2018 at 07:01 AM
    The Lake County Coroner's Office has identified a 24-year-old Round Lake Park woman who died Wednesday after a Volo crash. Susana Ortega died from multiple traumatic injuries as a result of the crash, according to preliminary autopsy results. Toxicology results are still pending, according to a news release from the Lake County Coroner's Office. Lake County Sheriff’s deputies were dispatched about 12:23 p.m. to Route 120 at Ellis Drive in Volo for reports of a crash with injuries, according to a news release from police. A 55-year-old Gurnee woman was driving an SUV east on Route 120, west of Ellis Drive, when for an unknown reason a Sedan driven by Ortega entered the eastbound lanes of Route 120 and struck the SUV, police said. Ortega was sent to Advocate Condell Medical Center, where she later died, and an autopsy was performed Thursday morning. The driver of the SUV was sent to the hospital with injuries not considered life-threatening. The Sheriff’s Office Technical Crash Investigations Team continues to investigate. – Northwest Herald
  • Woman gets 3 years after guilty plea in videotaped beating of Crystal Lake teen
    published on April 21st, 2018 at 07:01 AM
    A Chicago woman involved in a beating of a mentally disabled teen from Crystal Lake that was shown on Facebook Live has been sentenced to three years in prison. Twenty-five-year-old Tanishia Covington learned her sentence Friday after pleading guilty to a hate crime, intimidation and aggravated battery. Covington apologized in court while the victim looked on. She's the second of four co-defendants to plead guilty in the case that received national attention because it involved a white victim and four blacks who taunted him with profanities against white people. Her sister, Brittany, who livestreamed the video, was sentenced to four years of probation after pleading guilty in December. The cases against the two other co-defendants are pending.
  • Crystal Lake approves budget, votes to lease vehicles to save money
    published on April 21st, 2018 at 07:01 AM
    Crystal Lake City Council approved a balanced budget that includes a new tactic to save: leasing department vehicles. Council members voted, 5-0, to approve the budget Tuesday that spends about $89.8 million, a $16,000 decrease from this year’s budget, according to village documents. A twist on the budget is a new leasing and replacement program for all city vehicles, except ambulances and fire engines. The police department is in need of 10 vehicle replacements. The goal is to use a fleet leasing program instead of purchasing vehicles outright to improve cash flow, implement replacement schedules and reduce maintenance costs. The city has 57 vehicles, and it would cost $4.8 million to purchase the vehicles for the next five years, finance director George Koczwara said. It would cost $3.8 million to replace 120 units through the leasing program, he said. “It’s important we have a fleet that is safe, reliable and provides the necessary functionality at an economical cost,” Koczwara said. “As a vehicle ages, its capital cost diminishes, and its operating costs of maintenance and repair increases.” Koczwara said ideally, vehicles should be replaced when these two costs meet each other. The city would lease from Enterprise Fleet Management and lease terms would span five years. The city would annually determine how many vehicles they will lease each year and Enterprise would pay for all repairs of the vehicles at local repair shops. One fleet maintenance position will be eliminated through attrition once someone retires. The city has budgeted $13.49 million for capital expenditures, including roadway improvements, automotive equipment, computer hardware, information technology equipment, tree replacement, sewer improvements and a water delivery study. The city is expecting revenue to increase in the upcoming fiscal year because of an increase in sales tax with Mariano’s and Steinhafels Furniture opening. The budget included the final year of 11.4 percent increases in water and sewer rates that go into effect May 1, when the city’s fiscal year begins. Additionally, 27¼ positions were eliminated through attrition since the start of the Great Recession. Nonunion employees have the ability to receive a 3 percent raise based on individual performance for the upcoming fiscal year. More than 70 percent of general fund expenditures go to personnel services.

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