Cards Against Humanity takes on Trump

Chicago Real Estate - Wed, 11/15/2017 - 05:26
The first of six mystery gifts in a holiday promotion is part ownership of a sliver of land along the U.S.-Mexico border, touted as a means of preventing the president from building his proposed border wall.

Living In: Perth Amboy, N.J.: Historic Buildings and Affordable Housing

More budget-conscious buyers are looking to Perth Amboy, drawn by the relatively low-priced homes, the waterfront and the easy transit connections.

Living in ... Perth Amboy, N.J.

More budget-conscious buyers are looking to Perth Amboy, drawn by the relatively low-priced homes, the sea breezes and the easy transit connections.

Beginning of end for Metra?

Chicago Real Estate - Wed, 11/15/2017 - 05:00
The must-read stories to get your day started.

Oak Lawn Trustees Pass Homeless Shelter Ordinance -

Oak Lawn Home Inspector News Feed - Wed, 11/15/2017 - 01:58

Oak Lawn Trustees Pass Homeless Shelter Ordinance
OAK LAWN, IL -- Oak Lawn trustees approved the first-ever ordinance that will regulate the village's homeless shelters, but with the changes and amendments recommended by pastors, whose churches currently serve as overnight shelters for homeless ...

Recent Commercial Real Estate Transactions

Recent commercial real estate transactions in New York City.

Sessions denies lying on Russia, pleads hazy memory

Plainfield News - Tue, 11/14/2017 - 23:42
WASHINGTON – Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Tuesday displayed a hazy memory of the Trump campaign’s discussions about and dealings with Russians in the 2016 election, denying he ever lied to Congress about those contacts but blaming the chaos of the race for fogging his recollections.

During more than five hours of testimony to Congress, Sessions sought to explain away apparent contradictions in his earlier accounts by citing the exhausting nature of Donald Trump’s upstart but surging bid for the White House. He also denied under repeated questioning from Democrats that he had been influenced by Trump.

But after saying under oath months ago that he was unaware of any relationship between the campaign and Russia, Sessions acknowledged for the first time that the arrest of a low-level campaign adviser reminded him after all of a meeting at which the aide, George Papadopoulos, proposed setting up a get-together between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“After reading his account and to the best of my recollection,” Sessions told the House Judiciary Committee, “I believe that I wanted to make clear to him that he was not authorized to represent the campaign with the Russian government or any other foreign government for that matter.

“But I did not recall this event, which occurred 18 months before my testimony of a few weeks ago,” he added, “and I would gladly have reported it had I remembered it because I pushed back against his suggestion that I thought may have been improper.”

Papadopoulos was arrested by the FBI and pleaded guilty last month to lying to authorities about his own foreign contacts during the campaign. That guilty plea came in a wide-ranging criminal investigation led by former FBI Director Robert Mueller, who as the Justice Department’s special counsel is looking into whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Russia to sway the outcome of the 2016 presidential election and into whether the firing of James Comey as FBI director was an effort to obstruct justice.

During the Trump campaign, Sessions, then an Alabama senator, led a campaign foreign policy advisory council on which Papadopolous served. The attorney general has struggled since January to move past questions about his own foreign contacts and about his knowledge of Russian outreach efforts during the election effort.

Each congressional hearing, including Tuesday’s, has focused on Sessions’ own recollections, and he recused himself in March from the Justice Department’s investigation into election meddling after acknowledging two previously undisclosed encounters during the campaign with the Russian ambassador to the United States.

Questions for Sessions have only deepened since the guilty plea last month of Papadopoulos and recent statements to congressional investigators by another foreign policy adviser, Carter Page, who has said he alerted Sessions last year about a trip he planned to take to Russia during the campaign. Sessions insisted Tuesday that he did not recall that conversation with Page at all and appeared incredulous at times that he could be expected to remember the details of conversations from more than a year ago.

“In all of my testimony, I can only do my best to answer all of your questions as I understand them and to the best of my memory,” Sessions told the House Judiciary Committee. “But I will not accept, and reject, accusations that I have ever lied. That is a lie.”

Sessions insisted that his story had never changed and that he had never been dishonest. But he also suggested to the committee that it was unfair to expect him to recall “who said what when” during the campaign.

“It was a brilliant campaign, I think, in many ways, but it was a form of chaos every day from day one,” Sessions said. “We traveled sometimes to several places in one day. Sleep was in short supply and I was still a full-time senator ... with a very full schedule.”

The oversight hearing divided along stark partisan lines.

Republicans, buoyed by the announcement a day earlier that the Justice Department might be open to a new special counsel to investigate an Obama-era business transaction that Trump himself has railed against, repeatedly challenged the underpinnings of Mueller’s investigation. Democrats grilled him on the evolving explanations about how much he knew of communication during the campaign between Trump associates and Russian government intermediaries.

A day earlier, the Justice Department said Sessions had directed federal prosecutors to look into whether a special counsel might be merited to investigate allegations that the Clinton Foundation benefited from a uranium transaction involving a Russia-backed company during the Obama administration.

On Tuesday, Sessions said that any such review would be done without regard to political considerations.

“A president cannot improperly influence an investigation,” Sessions said in response to questions from the committee’s top Democrat, Rep. John Conyers of Michigan.

“And I have not been improperly influenced and would not be improperly influenced,” he added. “The president speaks his mind. He’s bold and direct about what he says, but people elected him. But we do our duty every day based on the law and the facts.”

Prosecutor: No more indictments in Laquan McDonald shooting

Plainfield News - Tue, 11/14/2017 - 23:42
CHICAGO – A grand jury that indicted three Chicago police officers on charges that they conspired to cover up what happened when a fellow officer fatally shot black teen Laquan McDonald has disbanded without indicting anyone else in the department, the special prosecutor announced Tuesday.

“The Special Grand jury met numerous times; issued subpoenas for, received and reviewed evidence, heard testimony from witnesses...” Special Prosecutor Patricia Brown Holmes said in a statement. “After issuing the indictment at the end of June, the Special Grand Jury continued its investigation, including examining the conduct of other individuals, but concluded its inquiry without returning any further indictments.”

The announcement means that the indictments will stop at two officers who were at the scene the night of Oct. 20, 2014 when Officer Jason Van Dyke shot McDonald 16 times, and a detective who investigated the shooting and cleared Van Dyke of any wrongdoing. The indictments also will not include any high-ranking members of the department.

Van Dyke was later charged with first-degree murder in November 2015, the day before the now-famous video was released.

The news angered some critics of the department, who said a host of Van Dye’s superiors who had watched the now-famous video showing Van Dyke shooting McDonald as he walked away from the officer, signed off on then-Detective David March’s report that cleared Van dyke of any wrongdoing.

“I don’t want to undermine the indictments that were first issued in this case because they were historic, something that has never happened before, but the official narrative was approved by the entire chain of command that knew it was a lie (because) they had the video and watched the video within hours of the shooting” said Craig Futterman, a University of Chicago law professor who has studied the department and was part of the legal team that fought the city over its refusal to release the video.

Futterman said Tuesday’s announcement “underscores for me there is little hope in bringing end to code of silence without vigorous and sustained court oversight” of the police force.

The three officers are charged with official misconduct, conspiracy and obstruction of justice.

Brandon Road bridge set to open and close again

Plainfield News - Tue, 11/14/2017 - 23:41
JOLIET – Brandon Road bridge was slated to open again Tuesday night, although repairs would continue.

The bridge would be open during the morning and evening rush hours on Wednesday but work would continue at other times during the day, said Gianna Urgo, spokeswoman for the Illinois Department of Transportation.

“We need equipment that is unavailable tonight,” Urgo said Tuesday, explaining that the job could not be completed immediately.

She did not have a completion time for the repair work.

The bridge was shut down Friday after problems developed again with the center lock mechanism, which is used to connect the two ends of the drawbridge.

It was the fifth time the bridge has been shut down in little more than a year since it was first closed in September 2016 for scheduled repairs.

The bridge then had to be closed again in December for work that continued into March. It was closed again for two days in June. Then on June 30 it was closed until Sept. 18 as the center lock mechanism was sent away to be refurbished.

Police: Joliet man busts open woman's apartment window, demands money

Plainfield News - Tue, 11/14/2017 - 23:41
JOLIET – A Joliet man allegedly broke the second-floor window of an apartment building and then demanded money from a woman who supposedly owed him, police said.

On Monday evening, Hambi T. Cetewayo, 32, of the 300 block of East Washington Street, was accused of breaking the rear window of an apartment belonging to a 34-year-old woman, Joliet Deputy Police Chief Ed Gregory said.

The woman told police that Cetewayo believed she owed him money and that he asked for it back, Gregory said.

Cetewayo also was seen breaking into the apartment by the 61-year-old owner of the building, Gregory said. The owner later reportedly told police Cetewayo caused $550 in damage because of the broken window.

Gregory said he didn’t know the relationship between Cetewayo and the woman.

Cetewayo left the scene after breaking the window, police said. When officers arrived, they reportedly saw a suspect matching the description given to them and Cetewayo was arrested. Officers also noticed he had an injury to his left hand that was consistent with the incident, police said.

Cetewayo was charged with criminal damage to property. He was booked into the Will County jail and remained in custody Tuesday evening.

Former Will County prosecutor uncertain about judge candidacy

Plainfield News - Tue, 11/14/2017 - 23:40
JOLIET – A former Will County prosecutor who claimed he resigned from the state’s attorney’s office so he could focus on his campaign for circuit judge now says he’s not even sure he’s going to run at all.

Dan Walsh, who resigned from the Will County State’s Attorney’s Office earlier this month, said Tuesday that he’s not sure whether he’ll run for judge but will decide before Dec. 5, the day after candidate petitions are due.

Walsh said his uncertainty was based on a “couple of reasons” but named time as the only one.

“Just time is basically it. I just don’t know if I’m going to have time to commit,” Walsh said.

On Oct. 17, Walsh tendered his resignation from the Will County State’s Attorney’s Office to “pursue other opportunities.”

“I served the citizens for 13 years as a prosecutor and hope that being in private practice will make me a more well-rounded candidate,” Walsh said in an email to The Herald-News.

In his resignation letter, Walsh stated he was resigning to also focus on his campaign. He recently opened his own legal firm called Law Offices of Daniel M. Walsh at 58 N. Chicago St.

Walsh’s campaign website is down. He said he took it down after his campaign continued to receive donations through it while he was uncertain about his candidacy.

According to Walsh’s campaign website, he put almost 20 murderers behind bars during his career and is a lifelong resident of Will County with family roots dating back to 1840.

Walsh grew up in Elwood. He attended St. Joseph Grade School in Manhattan, Providence Catholic High School in New Lenox, Joliet Junior College, Illinois State University and John Marshall Law School, according to his website.

He lives with his wife, Lauren Walsh, a former victim witness advocate with the county prosecutor’s office, and children in Manhattan.

Ex-deputy pleads not guilty to 7 felonies

Plainfield News - Tue, 11/14/2017 - 23:39
DIXON – A former LaSalle County deputy who led police on a four-day, multicounty manhunt after they say he kidnapped a girl pleaded not guilty in Lee County Court Tuesday to seven felonies, including home invasion and kidnapping.

Lowell “Max” Ambler, 46, of Mendota, was indicted Oct. 20 on two counts of home invasion, aggravated kidnapping, two counts of kidnapping, criminal trespass to a residence and unlawful restraint. The first three counts carry six to 30 years in prison; kidnapping carries two to seven years, and the rest one to three years.

Ambler is in Lee County Jail on $1 million bond. He has a pretrial hearing Nov. 30.

He is accused of entering a Compton home on Aug. 26, where his ex-girlfriend’s 14-year-old daughter was baby-sitting, and, while “wearing a hood, robe or mask,” duct-taped her hands and head and held her against her will “with the intent to secretly confine” her.

According to court records, he grabbed the girl, pushed her head into a couch then dragged her through the house, pushing her down the outside steps. He picked her up, choked her from behind, duct-taped her hands behind her back and dragged her to a shed.

As she pleaded for him not to kill her, he duct-taped her around her head and mouth. She couldn’t breathe and passed out, and he tossed her into a bean field.

A car arrived, Ambler took off, the girl broke free and officers were called, court records show.

He was arrested Sept. 15, and posted $25,000 bail on Sept. 20.

While out on bond, Ambler violated the terms of his release by sending text and Snapchat messages to the girl’s mother, who had an order of protection against him, court records show.

Arrest warrants were issued in Lee and LaSalle counties for violating the conditions of his bail bond and violating the protective order.

Authorities were notified Oct. 3 that Ambler had stolen a corn-hauling semitrailer and might be headed to Plainfield, where the girl and her mother were staying. He was believed to be armed with a .45-caliber handgun and considered dangerous, police said.

Plainfield police found the stolen semitrailer, and later, using a handgun, Ambler carjacked a vehicle in Plainfield; it was found in woods south of his hometown of Earlville, where he was arrested Oct. 6 after a standoff, police said.

As a result, Ambler also was indicted Oct. 25 in Will County on four felonies: armed robbery, which carries six to 30 years, aggravated robbery and robbery of a victim who is older than 60 or disabled, each of which carries four to 15 years, and and unlawful possession of a stolen vehicle, which carries three to seven years.

He pleaded not guilty the next day, and has a pretrial hearing there Wednesday.

He hired attorney Edward Johnson to represent him in both cases.

Joliet now sees Houbolt Road bridge work starting in late 2018

Plainfield News - Tue, 11/14/2017 - 23:39
JOLIET – The city now expects construction on the Houbolt Road bridge to begin in late 2018.

Public Works Director James Trizna suggested the potential timeline at a community meeting this week.

No firm date has ever been given for the start of the $190 million project, which involves CenterPoint Properties building a toll bridge over the Des Plaines River, to connect with a new Houbolt Road interchange to be built at Interstate 80.

But Gov. Bruce Rauner initially said construction would be sometime this year when he announced the project in July 2016. Rauner said then the bridge would open by early 2019.

That start date was later estimated at early 2018 by former Joliet City Manager Jim Hock.

The project sought by local officials for years is aimed at moving trucks from CenterPoint Intermodal Center-Joliet directly onto I-80 and off of local roads and highways.

Trizna said Monday that Joliet officials now are looking at a possible fall 2018 start of construction for the bridge with intersection work to follow soon after.

“Our goal is to have that under contract this time next year if everything goes well,” Trizna told an audience gathered for an informational program on improvements slated for the city’s garbage service.

City officials at the end of the program discussed projects in the works in Joliet, and Trizna reviewed the future Houbolt Road project.

Trizna noted that an intergovernmental agreement does not allow the city to seek bids for future Houbolt Road improvements and the new interchange until CenterPoint Properties has started work on the bridge.

“The developer [CenterPoint] keeps telling us that they almost have their financing in order and they could be under construction this time next year,” Trizna said.

A spokeswoman for CenterPoint was unable to respond immediately as to whether the company planned have the bridge under construction by fall 2018.

The bridge, estimated to cost between $150 million and $170 million, is the biggest part of the project.

The two other parts of the project include the widening of Houbolt Road and the creation of a divergent diamond interchange at I-80 to accommodate the increased number of trucks expected to be using the route.

Houbolt Road would be expanded to five lanes, including a center turn lane, Trizna said.

The state is paying for the $21 million cost of road and interchange improvements, although Joliet could be responsible if those costs exceed the estimate.

Elwood school district board voices its concern over NorthPoint Development

Plainfield News - Tue, 11/14/2017 - 23:39
The Elwood Community Consolidated School District 203 Board of Education weighed in on the matter of NorthPoint Development’s proposed 2,000-plus acre industrial park.

The board voted, 5-1, to adopt a resolution that stated the development is not in the best interest of Elwood CCSD #203. District Superintendent Cathie Pezanoski said this is a resolution that the Board of Education will stand by and will then be presented to the Elwood Village Board.

Pezanoski said the Board of Education asked her to reach out to NorthPoint for them to present at a board meeting. So at their regular September board meeting, NorthPoint representatives did a presentation on what the development would do for Elwood and specifically for the school district.

NorthPoint Development is aiming to build the $1.2 billion Compass Business Park, which has a number of residents of Elwood and the surrounding area very concerned. At that September board meeting, several members of the public spoke about their opinions on the development, which the board took into account when they discussed the project at the October meeting.

Pezanoski said she did not want to speak about the opinions of the board members, but she said some of the parents were very concerned about the project.

“Some became very emotional about the concerns of the truck traffic,” Pezanoski said. “Adding more truck traffic they felt would be a hindrance to the community.”

Some parents also were concerned about the stability of the district with the possibility of the project affecting student enrollment.

One of those concerned was Ann Baskerville of the Illinois Sierra Club, who was at Tuesday night’s meeting to see the resolution adopted. She said her reason for thanking the board on adopting the resolution was based on concerns of the potential impact to the environment and what that means for the children in the district.

“I think this sends a huge message,” Baskerville said. “These people are elected by the community and they are reacting to public comment that was made by the community.

Still, board member Brandon Lipke expressed his doubts about the impact of this resolution, although he did vote for it.

“As a board member, I don’t understand the necessity for this resolution,” Lipke said. “And I don’t know if this resolution will help or hinder the development of this project. Although I will side with the constituents and the community that all spoke and I congratulate you guys for doing that.”

Will County Forest Preserve Board approves 2018 budget

Plainfield News - Tue, 11/14/2017 - 23:38
The Forest Preserve District of Will County’s Board of Commissioners approved its 2018 budget on Thursday.

The balanced $47 million budget features a $1 million capital enhancement plan for preserve and trail improvements, according to a news release.

“We’ll continue to focus on enhancing and improving preserves and trails to better accommodate visitors and expand opportunities to enjoy the forest preserve system,” Forest Preserve COO Ralph Schultz said in the news release.

The budget also includes $16.7 million in operating expenses and a $13.8 million corporate fund property tax levy, which pays for district operations in 2018. The corporate property tax rate goes down to 0.0678 from this year’s extension of 0.0702, a 3.4 percent reduction. The district continues to maintain an AA-plus credit rating for the seventh year in a row.

There also will be a $300,000 appropriation for the district’s infrastructure, maintenance and replacement program, which will expand to include bridge and shelter rehabilitation.

“Our commitment to maintaining and enhancing our existing forest preserves helps us protect the investment our communities have made in their forest preserves,” Board President Suzanne Hart said.

There is $759,000 in the budget for a $2.6 million project, a major regional trail connection along Black Road that links the DuPage River Trail in Shorewood with the Rock Run Greenway Trail in Joliet. The link will include pedestrian bridges over both Interstate 55 and the DuPage River. The project primarily is funded by two federal grants from the Illinois Department of Transportation.

The budget includes other projects like a new shelter at the Isle a la Cache Preserve in Romeoville, an upgrade to the trailhead at Schneider’s Passage along the Centennial Trail in Romeoville, and the construction of a nearly mile-long section of the Normantown Trail from 111th Street south to Rockwell Lane in Wheatland Township.

Increasingly connected classrooms require more cyber security from local schools

Plainfield News - Tue, 11/14/2017 - 23:37
In 2016, a little more than half of U.S. students and teachers had access to school-issued personal computers. 

This comes as more school districts, like Joliet Township High School District 204, have become 1-to-1 districts, meaning they have one computing device for each of their students. Students are given Lenovo laptops to work on and take home with them for their schoolwork. But with technology being so pervasive, that requires school districts to take cybersecurity into account.

U of C researchers launch campaign to "evict radon" from Alberta - CTV News

Radon Testing News - Tue, 11/14/2017 - 22:57

CTV News

U of C researchers launch campaign to "evict radon" from Alberta
CTV News
It's a silent danger in Alberta homes and it's the leading cause of lung cancer about non-smokers. University of Calgary researchers believe dangerous levels of radon gas could be found in one out of every eight homes in the province but a new program ...
Evict Radon fact sheetUCalgary News
U of C researchers sound alarm over radon levels in Calgary homesCalgary Herald
Campaign urges Albertans to test for radonMetroNews Canada

all 7 news articles »

Hole fixed on I-55 bridge deck

Plainfield News - Tue, 11/14/2017 - 19:59
WILMINGTON TOWNSHIP – Workers fixed a hole in the bridge deck in an emergency repair job that began Monday afternoon on an Interstate 55 bridge.

It was the second time in two months that lanes on a local interstate bridge had to be shut down for emergency repairs after a hole developed.

The work Monday required the right lane and right shoulder in southbound lanes to be closed overnight as crews fixed the hole on the bridge that carries I-55 over BNSF railroad tracks and Grant Creek. The location is south of Arsenal Road.

The bridge deck is likely to be replaced, said Gianna Urgo, spokeswoman with the Illinois Department of Transportation.

"It's not a new bridge deck," Urgo said. "A new one might be in the works hopefully for next year."

In October, a 4-square-foot hole developed on the Interstate 80 bridge over Rowell Avenue in Joliet backing up traffic for miles.

FBI: Serial bank robber targets TCF Bank inside Lisle Jewel-Osco

Daily Herald - Tue, 11/14/2017 - 18:46
The TCF Bank branch inside the Jewel-Osco at 1156 Maple Ave. in Lisle was robbed Teusday afternoon, and a serial bank robber is suspected of committing the crime.

Anna Chamber of Commerce welcomes latest business - Nueces County Record Star

Home Inspection News - Tue, 11/14/2017 - 18:45

Nueces County Record Star

Anna Chamber of Commerce welcomes latest business
Nueces County Record Star
The Greater Anna Chamber of Commerce welcomed a new business to the folds last week. On Thursday, Nov. 9, the GACC hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony to commemorate Henderson Home Inspection as a new member. The event, which was held at the ...


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