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Updated: 4 years 18 weeks ago

Vehicle crashes into wall on I-55 near Plainfield, snarls morning traffic

Wed, 01/17/2018 - 13:42
PLAINFIELD – Traffic on Interstate 55 north ground to a halt Wednesday morning after a vehicle crashed into a wall near Plainfield.

Plainfield firefighters and Illinois State Police responded just before 9 a.m. to mile marker 259, near Plainfield, for a reported crash, Plainfield Fire Deputy Chief Jon Stratton said.

Richard J. Guerra, 61, of Joliet, was driving a pickup truck north on I-55 when he crossed all the lanes to his right and went off the roadway, Illinois State Police Master Sergeant Don Orseno said. The front of Guerra's truck struck the concrete wall, the truck spun and it came to rest facing the opposite direction.

No one was injured in the incident, but the crash snarled traffic northbound from Route 30 into Bolingbrook.

Guerra was cited for driving too fast for conditions.

State will hold meeting in Joliet on I-80 plans

Wed, 01/17/2018 - 13:33
JOLIET – The state will detail proposed Interstate 80 improvements at a Jan. 31 public meeting in Joliet.

The meeting will be 4 to 7 p.m. at Joliet Junior College.

The Illinois Department of Transportation will host the meeting on proposed improvements for I-80 from Ridge Road in Minooka to U.S. 30 in New Lenox.

Project team members discuss the plans at the meeting, which also will include exhibits and an audiovisual presentation.

"The purpose of the meeting is to provide updates on the project status, present the alternatives developed and evaluated, and to obtain public input on the selection of a preferred alternative," IDOT said in a news release announcing the meeting.

The meeting will be in the Joliet Junior College Event Center on the main campus at 1215 Houbolt Road.

Written comments can be submitted at the meeting, mailed afterward or made through the project website at

Comments received by Feb. 14 will be part of the official meeting record.

The meeting will be accessible to people with disabilities. Anyone needing special assistance should contact Leisa Niemotka of Images Inc. at 630-510-3944, Ext. 115.

'It looked like a volleyball ... on fire,' Joliet resident describes spotting Michigan meteor

Wed, 01/17/2018 - 13:31
JOLIET – As Joliet resident Ken Whennen drove home from work in Channahon on Tuesday night, he noticed something on the horizon he couldn't quite explain.

"It looked like a volleyball or basketball on fire," Whennen said.

Experts from the American Meteor Society said they received hundreds of reports of a fireball Tuesday night, spotted mainly in Michigan, but also throughout Illinois, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Missouri and Canada.

Around 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, the National Weather Service Detroit tweeted, "the flash and boom was NOT thunder or lightning, but instead a likely meteor."

Whennen was riding in the passenger seat, traveling east on Caton Farm Road. He had left work at the Joliet Exxon Mobil Refinery around 6:30 p.m.

He said he saw something fiery descending to the northeast.

"I was like, 'Was that fireworks?'" Whennen said.

He slowed his car down to see if there were any children nearby shooting them off. When he didn't see any children in the street, Whennen said the experience stuck with him.

The American Meteor Society announced a space rock likely penetrated deep into the Earth's atmosphere before it broke apart. The meteor caused a 2.0 magnitude earthquake in Michigan, according to the U.S. Geological Service.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Huey Lewis and the News will play Taste of Joliet

Wed, 01/17/2018 - 13:06
JOLIET – Huey Lewis and the News will play the first night of Taste of Joliet this year.

The Joliet Park District on Wednesday announced that the band – one of the most popular rock bands of the 1980s and early 1990s – will perform at 9 p.m. on June 22.

Tickets went on sale Wednesday at $11 for general admission and $47.50 for front section reserved.

Taste of Joliet runs through June 24.

Huey Lewis and the News will play on what is typically rock night for the Taste. The band was the first headline act announced for the weekend event.

Joliet police searching for missing woman

Wed, 01/17/2018 - 12:20
JOLIET – Joliet police are searching for a woman who has been missing from her home since Jan. 10, authorities said.

Jovita Zamudio-Paramo, 42, lives on the West Side of Joliet and has been missing for more than a week, police announced on Facebook Wednesday.

Paramo is described being 5’2’’ in height and weighing 150 pounds. She has a scar on the left side of her nose and a scar on her left forearm.

Anyone with information about her whereabouts are encouraged to contact Joliet Police Det. David Jackson at 815-724-3024.

Meteor credited for bright light, noise rattling Michigan, Illinois

Wed, 01/17/2018 - 09:38
DETROIT — Experts say a bright light and what sounded like thunder in the sky above Michigan was a meteor.

The American Meteor Society says it received hundreds of reports of a fireball Tuesday night over the state, including many in the Detroit area. Reports also came in from several other states and Ontario, Canada.

Some Michigan residents reported their homes shaking.

The society says the reports suggest a space rock penetrated deep into the Earth's atmosphere before it broke apart. The U.S. Geological Service says it registered as a 2.0 magnitude earthquake in Michigan.

Bill Cooke with NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office tells The Detroit News it was "definitely a meteoroid" and a rare sight for Michigan.

Other states where people reported seeing a fireball included Illinois, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana and Missouri.

Police: Joliet man slaps, strangles girlfriend after she doused him with water

Tue, 01/16/2018 - 23:57
JOLIET – A Joliet man allegedly attacked his girlfriend after she threw water on him during an argument, police said.

On Sunday afternoon, a 25-year-old woman and her live-in boyfriend, Drew J. Gallagher, 22, of the 2300 block of White Birch Lane in Joliet, got into an argument at her apartment, Joliet police Capt. Bruce Larson said in an email.

The argument escalated when the woman threw water on Gallagher and he responded by allegedly pushing, slapping and choking her to the point of restricting her ability to breathe, Larson said.

The woman reportedly defended herself by biting Gallagher on the arm. She tried to leave but Gallagher refused to allow her to leave so she retreated to a restroom, where she called the police, police said.

When officers arrived, she was outside of her apartment and they were approached by Gallagher, police said. The officers saw that the woman had injuries to her neck, lip and left finger and Gallagher had a bruise on his left arm consistent with being bitten, police said.

Gallagher was arrested on charges of aggravated domestic battery and interfering with a report of domestic violence. He was booked into the Will County jail and his bond was set at $7,500, of which 10 percent is needed to post bail.

Gallagher posted bail and was released from custody after midnight Tuesday.

House panel wants Bannon to explain Comey firing

Tue, 01/16/2018 - 23:44
WASHINGTON – A House panel questioned Steve Bannon on Tuesday, aiming to find out President Donald Trump’s thinking when he fired FBI Director James Comey, according to a person familiar with what the panel was planning to ask the former White House chief strategist.

The committee also planned to press Bannon on other “executive actions” taken by Trump that have drawn interest from congressional investigators prying into ties between Trump’s campaign and Russian operatives, said the person, who wasn’t authorized to speak on the record about the closed-door session and spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity.

Those key elements bear directly on the criminal investigation now underway by special counsel Robert Mueller, who is charged with determining if collusion existed between the Trump campaign and Russia and whether the president obstructed justice by firing Comey or by taking other actions to thwart investigators.

As of early Tuesday afternoon, it appeared possible that Bannon could be interviewed all day by the House Intelligence panel – on par with other top-tier witnesses who have been called before congressional investigators for marathon sessions. Bannon started with the committee at 8 a.m., but questioning did not start until later in the morning.

His interview follows his spectacular fall from power after being quoted in a book that he sees the president’s son and others as engaging in “treasonous” behavior for taking a meeting with the Russians during the 2016 campaign.

In Michael Wolff’s “Fire and Fury,” Bannon accuses Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort of essentially betraying the nation by meeting with a group of Russian lawyers and lobbyists who they believed were ready to offer “dirt” on Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.

More recently, Bannon has said he was not referring to Trump Jr. but rather to Manafort. Wolff stands by his account.

After the book’s release, Trump quickly disavowed “Sloppy Steve Bannon” and argued extensively there was no evidence of collusion between his presidential campaign and operatives tied to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Bannon apologized a few days later but was stripped of his job leading the pro-Trump news site Breitbart News.

Bannon last year had largely avoided the scrutiny of congressional investigators, who instead focused much of their energy on trying to secure interviews with top witnesses like Manafort and former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

But Bannon played a critical role in the campaign, the presidential transition and the White House – all during times now under scrutiny from congressional investigators looking for possible evidence of a connection between Trump’s operations and Russia.

Bannon recently retained the same lawyer being used by former Trump chief of staff Reince Priebus and current White House general counsel Don McGahn.

Neither Bannon nor his lawyer immediately responded to a request for comment Monday.

The House Intelligence Committee is speeding toward a conclusion of its interviews in its Russia investigation.

The final result could be marred by partisan infighting, raising the probability that Republicans on the panel will issue one set of findings and the Democrats will issue their own report.

Will County Historical Museum discovered flowers from Lincoln’s funeral

Tue, 01/16/2018 - 23:43
LOCKPORT – The Will County Historical Museum and Research Center recently announced the discovery of a collection of flowers that were lain on the funeral bier of President Abraham Lincoln in Washington, D.C., in 1865.

Will County Historical Museum and Research Center President Sandy Vasko was the one who found the box of flowers as she and some volunteers were going through some of their many items at the museum in December.

Volunteer Al Smuskiewicz said that the box must have been lying around for about 50 years. He said it used to be at the Joliet Public Library and then somehow ended up at the museum, which has received thousands of donated historical items from all over the county throughout the years.

“It’s fascinating how it’s been lying around for all these years and it’s never really been discovered by anybody at the historical society,” Smuskiewicz said.

Smuskiewicz said the flowers were clipped off by a general related to the president’s wife, Mary Todd Lincoln, and then changed hands multiple times before eventually finding its way into the possession of the wife of former Joliet Mayor James Elwood.

A note by the box gives a short description of its history:

“Among the James G. Elwood collection this small box was found to contain a dried flower and a note on the back is written:

‘Flowers from the bier of President Lincoln, while the remains were lying in state at the capital in Washington, D.C. April 20, 1865. Presented by General J.S. Todd to General I.M. Haynie, and by him presented of Mrs. Jas. G. Elwood (nee Pearce).’

Dr. James Cornelius, Lincoln curator at the Abraham Lincoln Museum in Springfield, has determined they are genuine.”

To celebrate the discovery, the center will hold an unveiling on Saturday, Feb. 17, at 4 p.m. with limited tickets going for $50 a person. After the presentation, participants will be treated to a buffet dinner, silent auction and a speaker from an expert on Lincoln.

The Will County Historical Museum and Research Center is located at 803 S. State St. in Lockport.

Snow, subzero wind hit area

Tue, 01/16/2018 - 23:43
Snow continued to fall around Will County on Tuesday morning, causing slick roadways.

The area received 3 to 4 inches of snow over the long weekend, according to National Weather Services estimates, and a chance of flurries persisted through Tuesday.

Wind-chill values could fall as low as minus-3 degrees during the day, and meteorologists predicted a high near 21 degrees. The service warned of significant excessive cold and snow risks as well.

Police and fire officials responded to several multi-vehicle crashes Tuesday morning, as Illinois Department of Transportation officials urged motorists to drive safely during the morning commute on Twitter.

Partial opening of Joliet train station expected by March

Tue, 01/16/2018 - 23:43
JOLIET – The new train station could at least be partially open by early March.

The station will open to accommodate Metra passengers who need to get inside to get access to the new tunnel that will take them to the Heritage Corridor platforms, said Lisa Dorothy, the city’s project engineer for the new transportation complex.

“I’m hoping for the end of February or early March,” Dorothy said.

If the station is not completed by then, she said, a rolling door will shut off the rest of the station from the walkway to the new tunnels.

Commuters will use the tunnels to get to a boarding area that is in the middle of the four tracks, including freight lines as well as Metra and Amtrak lines.

Dorothy did not have a firm date for the opening of the station when interviewed last week.

Construction of the boarding area has started, and contractors are on a strict 35-day deadline to finish after starting Jan. 8 on the platform project, which does interrupt the normal flow of train traffic.

“I have a maximum allowable of 35 days from the railroads,” Dorothy said. “They don’t care about weekends. They count every day.”

The construction will not change the routine for Heritage Corridor passengers until the city is ready to open the tunnels. At that point, commuters will use the tunnels to get to the new platform.

The Heritage Corridor platforms and train station are part of the Gateway Center transportation complex that the city is building downtown on the other side of the tracks from the old Union Station, which no longer is used as a train depot.

The project includes the new platform for the Rock Island Metra line, which already is in use.

The city also hopes to build a bus station, which originally was part of the plans for the $51 million project but was put on hold because of cost overruns.

Joliet OKs Chicago Street agreement

Tue, 01/16/2018 - 23:43
JOLIET – The project considered a catalyst to downtown development moved a step closer to reality on Tuesday.

The Joliet City Council approved a land swap with Will County that will make it possible to redesign Chicago Street so that it runs straight from Interstate 80 into the heart of downtown.

Construction is expected to start in spring 2019.

The Will County Board votes on the agreement on Thursday.

The votes finalize an agreement in principle announced in May.

The council on Tuesday approved the agreement with little comment.

But Mayor Bob O’Dekirk after the meeting called it “a huge step forward. It seemed like every downtown development plan talked about doing it.”

O’Dekirk noted downtown developers including John Bays have said that the reopening of Chicago Street was needed to draw name-brand businesses.

“Some of the high-profile people they contacted said that downtown will be dead until that happens,” O’Dekirk said.

The agreement gives Joliet a segment of land just east of the Will County Courthouse that will be used to connect Chicago Street between Jefferson and Washington streets.

Consultant reports for years, including the Camiros study done in 2015, have called for reopening the street to bring I-80 traffic into the heart of the downtown business district. Traffic coming off of I-80 now is directed onto Scott Street, which, while also going through downtown, bypasses the traditional restaurant-retail district.

“I’ve been waiting for this for a very long time,” Council member Jan Quillman said as she voted.

Phase Two engineering on the project is underway.

Public Works Director James Trizna said construction is likely to start in spring 2019.

The project involves more than connecting Chicago Street.

Chicago Street also would be redesigned between Jefferson and Van Buren streets to create more street parking.

Joliet also plans to expand Van Buren Plaza to create a large outdoor gathering area.

The agreement also:

• Gives the city the former state’s attorney building at 121 N. Chicago St., which will be demolished with a contribution of as much as $300,000 from the county and make room for an expanded Van Buren Plaza;

• Combines the city-owned Union Station parking lot with the county-owned parking lot outside of the courthouse with improvements to be made at the city’s expense;

• Gives the county the ability to remove street parking outside of the future courthouse, which is now under construction, for space that will be used for planters.

Channahon Village Board straightens out property mix-up

Tue, 01/16/2018 - 23:42
Only one item was on the agenda when the Channahon Village Board met this week, and it involved a case of mistaken property ownership.

In 2009, a house located on 80 acres at 25218 Canal St. was declared abandoned by the Will County Circuit Court, deeded to Channahon and demolished.

The homeowner to the north then bought the northernmost 40 acres of the property. Village Administrator Thomas Durkin said that there was some interest in the remaining 40 acres by the neighbor to the south, but that transaction did not take place. The owner has since moved out of the community.

Durkin said the Will County Supervisor of Assessments Office recently discovered that the owner who bought the northern parcel has been paying property taxes on the entire parcel for the past six years.

Since discovering the error, the county placed ownership of the southern 40 acres of land back to the village.

At Monday’s Village Board meeting, trustees approved first declaring the property as surplus, then selling it to the north property owner.

Channahon trustees Monday also went into executive session to begin discussions on collective bargaining for the unions that represent the village’s police officers, sergeants, and public works and administrative staff. Current contracts are set to expire at the end of the village’s fiscal year, April 30.

Also at this week’s meeting, a resident thanked the village for posting signs of a speed limit reduction on Center and Bridge Streets.

Durkin said that the change from 30 and 35 mph to 25 mph was made a couple of years ago, and the signs recently were posted. The complete list of speed limits can be found on the village’s website,

Police: Homeless man tried luring teenage girl into van

Tue, 01/16/2018 - 23:41
JOLIET – A homeless man was arrested after allegedly trying to lure a 14-year-old girl into a van, police said.

John E. Jarnagin, 55, was arrested by Joliet police on Friday morning on a charge of luring a minor.

Jarnagin also faces a charge of public indecency in connection with an October incident in which he allegedly chased a woman while exposing and touching himself.

Joliet Police Capt. Bruce Larson said in an email that Jarnagin was at the 1515 W. Jefferson St. McDonald’s when he bought a soft drink for a 14-year-old girl and struck up a conversation with her.

Jarnagin allegedly told the girl “she would look good in his van” and he could “show her around Joliet.”

The girl became extremely upset and retreated to the women’s restroom to call her father, police said. The father reportedly contacted the Joliet police and officers met with the girl, who identified Jarnagin.

Jarnagin allegedly told the police that he didn’t speak to the teen but this was reportedly rebutted by video footage of the incident.

Jarnagin was arrested and booked into the Will County jail. His bond was set at $50,000.

Jarnagin was also charged with violating his parole. He had been sentenced to two years in prison on an attempted burglary conviction and paroled March 16.

The Joliet police previously arrested Jarnagin after a 36-year-old woman complained that he chased her outside of an apartment building while exposing and touching himself, police said. He had also allegedly yelled for the woman for about an hour and a half.

Will County Clerk announces dates for early voting for March primary election

Tue, 01/16/2018 - 23:41
JOLIET – The Office of the Will County Clerk announced dates and times for early voting before the March 20 primary election.

According to a news release, any registered Will County voter can cast a ballot at the Will County Clerk’s Office located at 302 N. Chicago St. in Joliet starting Feb. 8 through March 19.

From Feb. 8 through March 9, voters can cast their early ballot on weekdays from 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. including on Feb. 12 (Lincoln’s birthday) and Feb. 19 (Presidents’ Day).

On weekdays from March 12 until March 19, the office will be open from 8:30 a.m. until 7 p.m.

The office also will be open on the two weekends prior to election day, from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, March 10, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, March 11, from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, March 17, and from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, March 18. On election day, March 20, the office will be open for voting from 6 a.m. until 7 p.m.

Dates and times are subject to change so keep an eye on the Will County clerk’s website for updates.

Joliet woman grateful to have survived blaze that destroyed historic home

Tue, 01/16/2018 - 23:38
JOLIET – The chain of events that led to the ruin of a historic home on Union Street in Joliet apparently began with an act of kindness.

Fannie Brown-Burford, also known as Sister Karriema Muhammad, said she rescued a homeless man named Douglas from the harsh cold in December and gave him shelter at her home at 114 Union St.

But when Douglas went outside at night to have a smoke Dec. 28, he returned to see a candle he lit in the basement had caused a fire that eventually consumed the home.

Nobody was injured in the fire, including Brown-Burford, who was so grateful to be alive that she was smiling and praising God. She said it was God who put her in the home to help neighborhood youths and others stay out of trouble.

“Whatever it is God wants me to do, no man can stop that and I’m happy enough knowing he let me live,” she said.

The home Brown-Burford lived in was known as the Alpine Home and dates to 1884, according to a document nominating the Joliet East Side Historic District to the National Register of Historic Places Inventory. The two-story home has an enclosed front porch and three-story tower.

Brown-Burford said she became a resident of the home in the late 1980s by helping out the previous owners with mortgage payments as they were planning to move out. Joliet at the time was “horrific” with drive-by shootings, and people were scared to come out of their homes, she said.

She quarreled with rowdy neighborhood youths causing trouble at one point but then thought to put up a basketball court at her home to give them a place to play.

Brown-Burford said she began a youth program where she would feed youths and allow them to play at her home so long as there was no fighting, shooting or drug use.

“They all came off the Hill. They came from the west side. They came from all over,” she said of the youths who could come by.

Soon, Brown-Burford was working with city officials to help the youths find jobs, including in places such as Bolingbrook and O’Hare International Airport, she said.

In the time leading up to the fateful fire, Brown-Burford said she was driving by an area near MorningStar Mission when she saw a homeless man named Douglas sleeping under a bridge. He was a veteran who wanted to stay at the Joliet shelter but chose not to because he feared someone might steal his medication, she said.

Brown-Burford offered him a ride to a store but didn’t feel like she could go home knowing he would go right back to sleeping under a bridge. She brought him to her home to save him from the cold.

Douglas was in the basement of the home when he went outside to have a smoke. Sitting on his desk was a candle he kept and when he returned, he saw it was burning brighter than normal, she said. What happened was a fire had spread throughout the room, she said.

Firefighters were called to the scene to put out the blaze. None of the several residents inside were injured. The city’s building department staff determined the home needed to be demolished because of the extensive damage.

Joliet Deputy Fire Chief Greg Blaskey said an investigation determined the fire was accidental and caused by a candle.

Despite the destruction of her home, Brown-Burford said she really didn’t lose anything and took the event as a sign from God that “I got bigger work to do.”

She took photos of the smoke from her home and claimed she saw the shapes of human faces.

Currently, Brown-Burford said she’s staying at a hotel in Joliet and if anyone is willing to provide her help, they should call 815-272-8879.

“God sent me here helping somebody and God is taking me away from this house helping somebody,” she said.

T.E.A.C.H. Outdoors showcases indoor location

Tue, 01/16/2018 - 17:29
On Monday, T.E.A.C.H. Outdoors showcased its new brick and mortar location in the new community center created out of the former Reed-Custer Primary School located in Custer Park.

The school building, owned by the Godley Public Water District, has been simply renamed The Center and it houses several community based programs.

“We have grown so much this past year, we needed someplace to go up to 10 times per year for our events, we needed a physical home,” T.E.A.C.H. Outdoors President Jim “Smitty” Smith said.

In 2016, Smith and six other board members began an outdoor program for children called T.E.A.C.H. Outdoors.

The name stands for tradition, education, adventure, conservation and habitat.

The mission of T.E.A.C.H. Outdoors has always been to get children outside, pass along outdoor values, and teach the conservation and ethics of being in the outdoors.

In the past, the group could only plan events during the warm weather months, because the meeting place would be under a pavilion in a park in the Morris or Grundy County area. Smith said that even in those warm weather months, rain or inclement weather could affect the class or project.

“It’s hard to find a place with a classroom environment or prepare a class six months out, now we can plan ahead because we have this rain or shine environment,” Smith said.

Smith said just because T.E.A.C.H. Outdoors has the classroom to hold events, it does not mean the children who attend the classes won’t have outdoor hands-on experiences. It just gives the instructors a place to educate before the outdoor adventure begins.

The property includes a gymnasium, kitchen and cafeteria, 10 acres of land, a playground, softball fields, a library area which T.E.A.C.H. Outdoors has helped stock and classroom space. The organization hopes to hold eight to 10 events throughout the entire year, including camp outs, archery lessons, outdoor education classes, nature hikes, first aid, hunter safety courses, fundamental camping and hiking skills classes, fishing derbies, wildflower planting, building of bird houses and wood duck homes, and more.

Smith said they will not be solely attached to The Center location, and will still branch out and hold outdoor events at favorite past venues.

“We want kids to explore nature and get a little mud under their fingernails and dirt on their knees,” Smith said.

Smith has a heart for children and takes pride when he can welcome children and their families to an event, feed them lunch and teach them how to be together with family in nature. He wants the family to have a common activity which bonds them together and allows them to create lifelong memories.

From the beginning, Smith and the board aimed to offer children the ability to experience the outdoors free from restriction.

“If a kid shows up to a camp out and doesn’t have a sleeping bag, we will make sure to get him one. With our fishing derbies, all a child has to do is show up,” Smith said.

Smith said this upcoming year will take approximately $50,000 to run the T.E.A.C.H. Outdoors program the way Smith wants to run it, which means to educate and execute knowledge with an outdoor program. This was why the building was an integral piece to the vision of the nonprofit organization.

Along with local businesses and private donors, T.E.A.C.H. Outdoors has one major fundraiser per year to fund its mission. As stated earlier, in order to provide equipment for those who do not have resources to purchase, cover the costs of rental of The Center space, insurance, lunch, bait and tackle and other expenditures, the organization needs $50,000 this year.

The annual banquet will take place in March. Smith said, “Historically, this fundraiser is the sole income and every penny raised goes to the kids. Every single red cent goes toward hot dogs and worms.”

Anyone can attend the banquet in March, with tickets currently available for purchase as well as table sponsorship.

T.E.A.C.H. Outdoors Annual Banquet

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Doors open at 5 p.m.

Loyal Order of Moose, 25 Springfield Ave., Joliet, IL

Tickets: $30

Dinner, door prizes, outdoor raffles, ladies raffles, kid raffles, live auction, gun raffles and silent auction.

For information or to order tickets, visit the website or call Jim Smith (Smitty) at 815-341-4001. Tickets can also be purchased B&S Firearms at 534 Bedford Road in Morris.

Police: Three men steal headphones, speaker from Walmart store

Tue, 01/16/2018 - 17:28
JOLIET – Three Chicago men were arrested after allegedly trying to steal more than $500 in earbud headphones and a speaker from a Walmart, police said.

On Friday, employees at the 1401 Route 59 Walmart reportedly saw Alfonso Vega, 44, Dennis Vega, 33 and Kevin Serrano, 29, all of Chicago, in the electronics section of the store, where they were picking up earbud headphones and a speaker from a shelf.

The three men left the store and tripped the electronic alarm system but nevertheless refused to stop when approached by store employees, Joliet police Capt. Bruce Larson said in an email.

Officers arrived on the scene and were given a description of the three suspects. They later located them and they were positively identified by a store employee, Larson said.

One pair of earbud headphones was discovered tucked inside the cap that Alfonso Vega was wearing, Larson said. The total value reported stolen and damaged was $511.

All three were charged with retail theft and booked into the Will County jail. Bond was set for each of the men at $3,000, of which 10 percent is needed for bail.

All three men posted bail and were released from custody on Saturday.

Doc: Trump healthy, did 'exceedingly well' on cognitive test

Tue, 01/16/2018 - 17:26
WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump's overall health "is excellent" and he did "exceedingly well" on cognitive screening, the Navy doctor who performed Trump's first medical checkup said Tuesday.

Ronny Jackson had issued a blanket declaration that Trump was in "excellent health" after last Friday's exam, and promised to provide a fuller readout on Tuesday.

He reported that the 6-foot-3 president weighed in at 239 pounds — three pounds heavier than he was in September 2016, the last time Trump revealed his weight to the public.

Trump's blood pressure was 122 over 74, and his total cholesterol was 223, which is higher than recommended.

Trump was 70 when he took office on Jan. 20, 2017, making him the oldest person ever elected to the presidency.

Trump's heart exam was normal, with regular rhythm and no abnormal sounds, which Jackson said led him to conclude with confidence that Trump "has a very strong and a very probable possibility of making it completely through his presidency with no medical issues." Trump has no heart disease and no family history of it.

The 71-year-old president performed "exceedingly well" on cognitive screening, which is not standard but was requested by Trump. The doctor said he had "absolutely no concerns" about Trump's cognitive abilities. He speculated that Trump requested the exam in an attempt to beat back the narrative of the past few weeks that he is mentally unfit for office.

"He's very sharp. He's very articulate when he speaks to me," Jackson said. "I've never known him to repeat himself when he's around me. I found no reason whatsoever to think the president has any issues whatsoever with his thought process."

Trump last revealed details about his health two months before the November 2016 election.

Trump's cholesterol reading from Friday's exam was borderline high even though he takes a low dose of the statin drug Crestor. Jackson said he would increase that dose in an effort to get Trump's so-called "bad" cholesterol, or LDL level, below 120; it currently is 143.

Trump's body mass index, or BMI, of 29.9 puts him in the category of being overweight for his height. A BMI of 30 and over is considered obese.

Jackson said he prescribed a diet lower in fat and carbohydrates, and exercise. He'd like the president to lose 10 to 15 pounds over the next year.

Despite the diet and cholesterol concerns, Jackson stressed that Trump's "cardiac health is excellent." He passed a battery of heart exams including a stress test that Jackson said showed an above-average exercise capacity for a man of his age, despite some calcium buildup in his arteries. He also takes a low-dose aspirin for heart health.

With such a bad dietary history, how can that be? Jackson said Trump has avoided some big heart risks — he's never smoked and isn't diabetic — and has no family history of heart problems.

Trump did not undergo a psychiatric exam. But in a surprise, Jackson said he did perform a cognitive screening test, at Trump's request. Called the Montreal Cognitive Assessment, it is designed to detect early signs of memory loss and other neurologic functions — and Trump had a perfect score.

Cognitive assessments aren't routine in standard physicals, although they recently became covered in Medicare's annual wellness visits for seniors.

Lewis University awarded nearly $1 million STEM grant

Tue, 01/16/2018 - 15:48
ROMEOVILLE — The office of Rep. Dan Lipinski, D-Western Springs, announced Tuesday that the National Science Foundation's Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) program awarded a $961,000 grant to Lewis University.

The money will help support the university's Biology Transitions program, which provides support to low-income students with demonstrated financial need and academic promise in STEM fields at Lewis, according to a press release. The project will go to fund 28 scholarships over five years for transfer students who choose to pursue bachelor's degrees in biological sciences.

"This grant will be a great help as Lewis advances its commitment to training students for careers in STEM fields," said Lipinski in the press release.

The university's Biology Transitions program will also increase the number of underrepresented, economically disadvantaged students who complete four-year degrees and enter the STEM workforce. The program also incorporates intensive mentoring, academic support and undergraduate research opportunities to help at least 80 percent of Biology Transitions participants will graduate.

Lipinski serves on the Science, Space and Technology committee and is the top Democrat on the Subcommittee on Research and Technology and is the co-chair of the Congressional STEM Education Caucus.


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