A pair of peregrine falcon parents are raising three chicks along Chicago’s busy Wacker Drive, and beware to any pedestrian who ventures too closely to their nest. Just ask Chuck Valauskas. He was leaving work last week, walking below the nest situated on a seventh-floor ledge when he felt a…
An attorney for the Chicago woman facing federal conspiracy charges in the 2014 killing of her mother during a luxury vacation in Bali says she plans to plead guilty. The details of any plea agreement or penalties under discussion by Heather Mack and U.S. prosecutors remain unclear. Her atto…
A jury has convicted a former contestant on the television game show “Family Feud” of first-degree murder and home invasion in the shooting death of his estranged wife in western Illinois. Forty-year-old Timothy Bliefnick was found guilty Wednesday in the Feb. 23 shooting death of Rebecca Bl…
Three Filipino restaurants in three different parts of the U.S. are among the nominees at this year's James Beard Awards, the culinary world's equivalent of the Oscars. It's a sign that a cuisine that's historically been stifled by colonialism and generally unappreciated is coming into its o…
Illinois lawmakers have finally approved a new state budget, sending it to Democratic Gov. JB Pritzker for his signature with just over a month to spare before it takes effect with the new state fiscal year July 1. The Illinois House approved the $50.5 billion spending plan on a 73-38 vote j…
A new study suggests dozens of U.S. cities are at risk for mpox outbreaks this summer. Health officials say they are working to prevent the scale of infections that surprised the nation last summer. Most of the cases reported last year were spread during sexual contact between gay and bisexu…
Race has emerged as a central issue, and a delicate one, in the 2024 presidential contest as the Republican Party fields one of its most racially diverse group of primary candidates ever. In most cases, the candidates of color play down the significance of their racial heritage. They also op…
Illinois lawmakers have finally approved a new state budget, sending it to Democratic Gov. JB Pritzker for his signature with just over a month to spare before it takes effect with the new state fiscal year July 1. The Illinois House approved the $50.5 billion spending plan on a 73-38 vote just after 2:30 a.m. Saturday after it passed the Illinois Senate 34-22 early Friday. The General Assembly delivered the budget to Pritzker more than a week late after lawmakers failed to meet a self-imposed May 19 deadline to adjourn despite Democrats controlling both chambers.
Police investigators in northern Illinois say police officers shot and killed a man Sunday night after he lunged at them with a knife. Law enforcement officials say a 43-year-old woman at the home was hit in the leg by a police gunshot, though the wound was not life-threatening. Police shot the man while trying to arrest him in connection with a report that he had thrown a golf club at someone at a nearby home. Police say officers fired when the 47-year-old Wauconda man refused to drop the knife and instead lunged at them. Fox Lake is 60 miles northwest of Chicago.
A new study suggests dozens of U.S. cities are at risk for mpox outbreaks this summer. Health officials say they are working to prevent the scale of infections that surprised the nation last summer. Most of the cases reported last year were spread during sexual contact between gay and bisexual men. Infections exploded in the wake of Pride gatherings in June. Health officials and event organizers say there are many reasons to be optimistic that history will not repeat this year. But they also worry that people may think of mpox as last year’s problem. They're encouraging people to get vaccinated.
Race has emerged as a central issue, and a delicate one, in the 2024 presidential contest as the Republican Party fields one of its most racially diverse group of primary candidates ever. In most cases, the candidates of color play down the significance of their racial heritage. They also oppose policies around policing, voting rights and education that are specifically designed to benefit disadvantaged communities and combat structural racism. But the GOP's increasingly diverse leadership, backed by evolving politics on issues such as immigration, suggest the party might have an opportunity to widen its appeal in 2024.
Memorial Day is supposed to be about mourning the nation’s fallen service members. But it’s come to anchor the unofficial start of summer and a long weekend of retail discounts. Memorial Day has long been a source of contention and contradiction, from its shifting origin stories to today’s mattress sales. Auto club AAA forecasts that this holiday weekend could be “one for the record books, especially at airports.” More than 42 million Americans are projected to travel 50 miles or more. Compared to last year, 2.7 million more people will travel for the unofficial start of summer. And that's despite inflation.
Mayors and police officials around the U.S. are rolling out familiar strategies in response to the traditional summer bump in violent crime. The push for more police and community involvement comes despite a continuing decline in homicides and other violent crimes that spiked in 2020. Chicago and Baltimore are among the large U.S. cities reporting fewer homicides overall. But totals remain far higher than before the pandemic, and crime among young people is a concern. To combat the violence, city officials are promoting more engagement between officers and communities. In some cases, they're enlisting people outside law enforcement to enforce curfews and keep the peace.
Police in a suburb south of Chicago say a 9-year-old boy has been fatally shot and a 20-year-old woman wounded during an altercation outside a home. Matteson police said Friday that officers responded about 6 p.m. Thursday to a report of a shooting and that a caller told 911 dispatchers that her grandson had been shot. The boy suffered a gunshot wound to his abdomen and died at a hospital. The woman's wounds were not considered life-threatening. WMAQ-TV reported that the Cook County medical examiner’s office identified the boy as Omuiri Jones Brown.
Police say a man suspected of shooting a police officer in suburban Chicago has been charged with a separate crime while the shooting is investigated. Police say 29-year-old Samer Hernandez has been charged with armed robbery in connection with a May 20 vehicle theft. He's also suspected of shooting Romeoville Police Officer Dominic Thielman. But charges are pending the completion of an investigation by an outside law enforcement agency. Hernandez is being held on a $5 million bond. The 32-year-old Officer Thielman was shot in a shoulder and is listed in stable condition at Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood.
A 64-year-old Chicago woman says she was beaten and her French bulldog was stolen at gunpoint as she was taking it for a walk in her northwest side neighborhood. Alicja Pierzchala said the attack occurred Wednesday evening in Portage Park. Pierzchala said she struggled with the gunman and was later treated at a hospital for cuts to her wrists, forehead and a concussion. She adopted Peppa nearly two months ago. Police said no arrests have been made. In 2021, a dog walker for pop star Lady Gaga was shot and wounded and two of the singer’s French bulldogs were taken during an armed robbery in Hollywood. The value of the breed can run into the thousands of dollars.
The archbishop of Chicago is urging the Illinois attorney general to provide information about newly uncovered cases of priests who sexually abused minors that were included in a statewide investigative report. Cardinal Blase Cupich says he would gladly include them on his list of credibly accused clergy if the claims were substantiated. Cupich spoke to The Associated Press in Rome in his first interview since the report was released Tuesday. In the report, investigators found that more than 450 Catholic clergy in Illinois’ six dioceses had sexually abused nearly 2,000 children since 1950, making clear the problem was far worse than the hierarchy had acknowledged in 2018 at the start of the state’s review.
A judge has dismissed a lawsuit the city of Chicago filed against an Indiana store that it alleged sold hundreds of guns in straw purchases that ended up in the hands of felons or at crime scenes in the city. Chicago sued Westforth Sports Inc. of Gary in 2021, alleging the store repeatedly violated federal gun laws and that store owner Earl Westforth ignored federal warnings about suspicious purchases at the store. The Chicago Tribune reports that attorneys for Westforth Sports argued the lawsuit should be dismissed because the city’s allegations concerned transactions between Westforth and residents of Indiana. Straw gun sales refer to those that someone purportedly purchases for their own use but actually are bought for others.
Authorities say a man wielding an ax has been fatally shot by a police officer who was called to assist paramedics at a suburban Chicago apartment building. Des Plaines police say 55-year-old Scott MacDonald was shot about 7:37 p.m. Wednesday in a hallway. He was pronounced dead at a hospital. The police department said that before the shooting, officers were advised that MacDonald “was breaking things, possibly having a psychotic breakdown," and may have had access to an ax or machete. Police say Thursday that body-worn camera footage shows MacDonald was armed with an ax while approaching officers in a threatening manner. The officer who shot MacDonald has been placed on paid administrative leave.
A police officer in suburban Chicago is recovering from a gunshot. The officer in Romeoville was wounded while investigating a report about a stolen car early Thursday. The officer's condition was not released. But police Chief Ken Kroll says the updates so far have been “positive.” The shooting occurred shortly after midnight. The 29-year-old suspect was found hours later, hiding in shrubs about a mile outside Romeoville.
Authorities say a carjacking suspect and a police dog have both died after a pursuit ended with a crash and a shootout in suburban Chicago. The Kane County Sheriff’s Office says officers were trying to execute a traffic stop Wednesday in South Elgin on a man wanted on a warrant. Authorities say the man then fled to Batavia, where he crashed at an intersection. The sheriff's office says the suspect got out of his car holding a handgun, at which point the police dog was turned loose. The office says the suspect shot the dog, and police opened fire on the suspect. The suspect's name hasn't been released.
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Gov. JB Pritzker and fellow Democrats leading the state General Assembly say they've reached agreement on a budget for the Illinois fiscal year that begins July 1. Pritzker, Senate President Don Harmon and House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch didn't disclose a dollar amount for the budget in a news release Wednesday. But the governor told reporters the budget is “mid-50-plus billion dollars.” Pritzker’s proposed budget plan from February totaled $49.6 billion in spending. Pritzker says the budget makes “historic investments” in higher education and K-12 funding, workforce development and enhanced behavioral health services. There was no immediate reaction from Republicans to the agreement.
Illinois’ attorney general ended a five-year investigation into sexual abuse of children by Catholic clergy in the state Tuesday, releasing a nearly 700-page report that revealed the problem was far worse than the church had said in 2018 at the start of the state’s review. But Attorney General Kwame Raoul and other experts acknowledge the finding is unlikely to lead to any criminal charges. Advocates for victims of sexual abuse believe the report’s release could convince more people it’s safe to discuss what happened to them. They also say it could prompt people to file civil lawsuits, even if the abuse occurred long ago.
'Mother Nature has no mercy': Man gets stuck waist-deep in Alaska mud flats, drowns as tide comes in
A man walking on tidal mud flats with friends in an Alaska estuary got stuck up to his waist in the quicksand-like silt and drowned as the tide came in before frantic rescuers could extract him. Authorities say 20-year-old Zachary Porter, of Lake Bluff, Illinois, was submerged Sunday evening as the tide came in. His body was recovered Monday. The accident was the latest tragedy at Turnagain Arm, a 48-mile-long glacier-carved estuary that travels southeast from Anchorage. The estuary's dangerous mud flats have claimed at least three other lives over the years, and many more have been rescued.
Authorities say a southern Illinois man has been charged with theft for allegedly stealing a backhoe to drive about 10 miles to an airport to catch a flight. The Williamson County Sheriffs Office says security camera footage shows a Carbondale man arriving at Veterans Airport of Southern Illinois and leaving the backhoe in the airport parking lot Thursday. It says footage captured the man walking across the street carrying a guitar case and entering the airport lobby. The owner of the backhoe arrived at the airport a short time later and identified the equipment as belonging to his company.
Illinois’ attorney general has released the results of a sweeping investigation into allegations of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy, saying investigators found that 451 clergy sexually abused nearly 2,000 children since 1950. That's far more than the 103 individuals the church had named when the state review began in 2018. At a news conference Tuesday announcing his office’s findings, Attorney General Kwame Raoul credited accusers for making the review possible. He said state investigators found that 1,997 children across the state were abused by clergy between 1950 and 2019. Cardinal Blase Cupich, archbishop of Chicago, said the church has improved its policies and that it cooperated fully with the attorney general's office investigation.
A prominent Ohio farmer whose image was used in a popular social media meme touting the value of “hard work” has died after he was injured in a crash in Illinois. David Brandt was a nationally known proponent of no-till farming who traveled around the country discussing sustainable agriculture techniques and soil health. But he became most known for comments he made about his occupation, saying “it ain’t much but its honest work.” The statement became a symbol of traditional values and work ethic after it was turned in to a meme a few years later. Relatives have said Brandt enjoyed the meme — even though he didn’t know what a meme was until he learned he was one.
Illinois AG’s investigation finds 451 Catholic clergy sexually abused kids, far more than the 103 the church named
Illinois AG’s investigation finds 451 Catholic clergy sexually abused kids, far more than the 103 the church named.