Joliet man arrested on aggravated battery, torture charges

Plainfield News - Mon, 01/15/2018 - 23:32
JOLIET – A Joliet man was arrested on aggravated battery charges, including allegedly causing great bodily harm and torture, according to the Will County jail records.

Philip L. Hannon, 35, of the 1400 block of Sehring Street in Joliet was arrested by Will County sheriff’s deputies on charges of aggravated domestic battery, domestic battery, aggravated battery causing great bodily harm and torture and interfering with emergency communication.

Calls to Kathy Hoffmeyer, the spokeswoman for the Will County Sheriff’s Office, were not returned Monday.

Hannon’s alleged offenses occurred after midnight Saturday.

On Sunday, Hannon was booked into the jail.

Hannon’s bond was set at $5,000, of which he will need 10 percent to post bail for his release.

Hannon’s next court date is Wednesday.

Local state police district releases yearly activity statistics for 2017

Plainfield News - Mon, 01/15/2018 - 23:31
JOLIET – The Illinois State Police District 5 released data on its yearly activity and enforcement for 2017.

According to a news release, troopers in the district, which includes Grundy, Kendall and Will counties, answered 9,079 calls for service and initiated 20,201 incidents in the field throughout the year.

Troopers also issued 16,454 citations and 15,333 written warnings, including 7,051 speeding citations, 386 DUIs, 1,755 seat belt citations, 97 child restraint citations, 2,162 written warnings for speeding and 336 criminal arrests. They also assisted 3,664 motorists, conducted 3,306 Motor Carrier Inspections and investigated 3,537 traffic crashes.

There also were 63 fatal traffic crashes, resulting in 74 fatalities in 2017.

Joliet committee sticks with $800,000 Speedway rebate plan

Plainfield News - Mon, 01/15/2018 - 23:31
JOLIET – A tax rebate aimed at providing Speedway $800,000 to add traffic lights to a Route 53 intersection is expected to go to the City Council for a vote on Feb. 6.

The council’s economic development committee last week hashed out the plan, which it approved in December, after reconsidering the advantages a state grant that would pay all the costs of a new intersection at Emerald Drive.

The state grant, if it came through, also would fund improvements at the Laraway Road intersection.

The committee opted to go with the Speedway rebate because of uncertainty on when the state funding would come through.

“I wish we could put a signal light out there tonight,” Councilman Terry Morris said at the committee meeting on Thursday. “The sooner the better. The $800,000 can be recaptured in future development annexed into the city.”

The Speedway development opens up the possibility of future annexations to the west of the truck stop/gas station by extending a road in that direction.

Speedway wants to put a truck stop/gas station at the intersection of Route 53 and Emerald Drive, which now only goes east of Route 53, but needs a traffic light there to do it.

The city already has approved a 10-year sales tax rebate worth more than $1.4 million to pay for infrastructure improvements at the intersection. Adding the traffic signals and more improvements add an additional five years and $800,000 to the Speedway rebate.

City Economic Development Director Steve Jones, who previously said a state grant could delay the project two years, on Thursday estimated that the grant would add an additional six months depending on whether it ultimately is approved.

Speedway representatives told the committee that they believed waiting on the state grant would add at least 16 months to the project.

The company estimates the traffic lights could be working sometime in 2019 if if the improvements are made through the tax rebate.

The Illinois Department of Transportation is considering a grant to fund the improvements but also wants to include additional right-turn lanes at the intersection Route 53 and Laraway Road.

The city faces the prospect of losing grant funding for the Laraway improvements if it does not combine them with a single grant that includes the Emerald Drive intersection, which committee Chairman Larry Hug called “insane.”

But Public Works Director James Trizna said he would look into the possibility that the city may be required to at least partially fund the Laraway improvements if it turns down the grant.

“I just want to make sure we’re covered so we don’t have to spend another million out of MFT [motor fuel tax funds],” he told the committee.

More snow showers expected for Joliet, Will County

Plainfield News - Mon, 01/15/2018 - 23:31
JOLIET – Scattered snow showers are expected for Tuesday, but the weather should clear up for the rest of week.

As of 3 p.m. Monday, Joliet recorded 4.7 inches of snowfall, according to the Joliet Weather Center. More snow was likely for the rest of the day with scattered snow showers and a wind chill of minus 8 degrees, National Weather Service meteorologists said.

The National Weather Service issued a hazardous outlook for northeast Illinois on Monday because of elevated excessive risk of cold and snowy weather. The same weather risks are anticipated for Tuesday.

“Be safe and use caution on the roads, even though winter weather advisories have been allowed to expire,” Jeremy Hylka, Joliet Weather Center director and lead forecaster, said in a Facebook update.

On Monday morning, the heaviest snowfall was in counties to the west of Will County, according to the National Weather Service.

Scattered snow showers will continue Tuesday morning with a chance of flurries after 1 p.m., meteorologists said. The weather will be mostly cloudy with a high near 22 degrees and wind chill as low as minus 6 degrees.

The weather will be cloudy with a chance of snow showers in Will County Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service.

Wednesday will be mostly sunny with temperatures as high as 21 degrees. The sunny weather will continue until Saturday, when there will be a chance of rain and temperatures as high as 46 degrees.

Rain and snow are likely for Sunday.

Volunteers give a Day of Service on MLK Day in Joliet

Plainfield News - Mon, 01/15/2018 - 23:30
JOLIET – Audrey Davis was among a dozen volunteers painting a mural at the Spanish Community Center for the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service on Thursday.

They were among 500 volunteers participating in the local MLK Day of Service event at 35 locations.

“It’s not what I expected,” said Davis, who thought she would be painting walls with a roller and not an artist’s brush when she and students at the University of St. Francis signed up to volunteer for the day.

“The Social Work Club wanted to do a service event,” said Davis, a social work professor at USF.

The volunteers were doing well, said Roho Garcia of Joliet, an artist who instructed the volunteers as they painted a mural that would be placed on a wall inside the center later.

“I hope this is going to be one of many murals that we can do for this center and other centers,” Garcia said.

Outside the Spanish Community Centers, other volunteers shoveled the snow that fell overnight.

Volunteers also painted walls, helping out with a remodeling project at First Presbyterian Church in Joliet, picked up wreaths at freshly snow-filled grave sites at Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery, and made “plarn,” or plastic yarn, out of plastic shopping bags.

“It would go on the ground, and a sleeping bag or a blanket would go over it,” said Rosie McCune, who instructed more than 50 volunteers through the morning on how to make the plarn.

McCune of Joliet makes half-inch mats out of the plarn for New Life for Old Bags, a group out of Plainfield that makes the mats available to the homeless.

“They create a barrier between the ground and what keeps the person warm at night,” she said.

Marsalis Johnson, 18, of Matteson, was among a group of Boy Scouts based out of New Faith Baptist Church in Matteson, who helped make the plarn.

“I like giving back,” Johnson said. “This is a good thing – helping the homeless – especially with the elements like they are today.”

It was cold and snowy, but that did not deter a 5-year-old from joining volunteers who helped Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery by picking up wreaths – an annual volunteer task provided by MLK Day of Service regardless of the weather.

“In life, this is what you should do is help somebody,” R. Dale Evans, the coordinator for the event told the volunteers when they regathered at Joliet Central High School for a free lunch that included food provided by Babe’s Hot Dogs.

“Everybody needs a helping hand sometime,” Evans told the gathering. “When you get a helping hand, you should turn around and help somebody.”

This was Evans last year as coordinator for MLK Day of Service in Joliet, an event he helped start. He has moved to California and came back to help one more time.

The event in Joliet goes back 12 years helping a local church, Evans said, but has grown to the point that it now attracts hundreds of volunteers.

Evans said he won’t miss the January weather in Joliet, but he will miss MLK Day of Service.

“I walk in every year, and I see the diversity of Joliet through the volunteerism – primarily the youth,” he said. “I think we get people engaged in volunteerism.”

Ericka Williams, who has been a lead coordinator for the volunteer effort with Evans, will continue to organize the event with the help of the Joliet Township High School district, which provide facilities.

“We’re definitely going to keep it going,” Williams said, “and the more the merrier.”

Morris Queen of Hearts pot reaches $1,108,447

Plainfield News - Mon, 01/15/2018 - 19:32
There was no big winner again Monday at the Morris VFW's Queen of Hearts drawing as the pot is now at $1,108,447 for next week's drawing.

The five of spades was drawn for $50.

The winner of the lottery to draw a card was announced as John Logan. Logan did not step up to draw the card himself.

If the winner draws the queen of hearts, it pays 70 percent of the full pot. The other queens and jokers pay 5 percent of the pot. If the pot reaches $1.5 million, the VFW will halt ticket sales and hold a draw-down regardless of what week it reaches that number.

There have now been 12 cards drawn out of the 54-card deck.

Tickets only will be on sale from 6 to 9 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday, from noon to 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, and from noon to 5 p.m. on the Monday drawing days. The cost of a ticket is $5.

Survey Results: What Keeps Brokers Up at Night?

Real Estate News - Mon, 01/15/2018 - 17:44

As we begin a new year, what are the most pressing issues on the minds of the nation’s real estate brokers? What are they most looking forward to in the year ahead? What strategies do they have in place to address inventory issues, technology adoption, agent retention or to ensure their continued profitability? Better Homes & Gardens® Real Estate and RISMedia recently teamed up to find out the answers to these and more questions through a survey on “What Keeps Brokers Up at Night?” Their answers provide a detailed map into the best practices every company can follow to success.

The U.S. brokers we surveyed represented a wide swath of company structures, from companies with less than three offices and single digit agent counts to those with more than 400 offices and 13,000 agents. Respondents’ average age range was 51-70 and responded from all regions of the country. Annual sales volume listed by respondents ranged from approximately $650,000 to over $4.8 billion.

Check out this infographic based on part of the survey results. Full results to follow in article after the graphic.

Top Concerns

Taking a look at brokers’ most pressing, high-level concerns, the top three ‘most disruptive to the current real estate model’ were: Direct-to-consumer, online, flat-fee and 100% commission models. The top three ‘most pressing issues facing the industry’ were lack of inventory, recruiting and non-traditional competition. Top obstacles to profitability were lack of inventory, increasing agent productivity and pressure on commissions. Some responses entered in the ‘Other’ category for this question included discount brokerages, Zillow, too many agents, lead generation and ‘declining market without increase in sales volume on top of rising labor costs.’

On the subject of budgeting, brokers listed online marketing and technology as some of their top investments; also included were administrative, office expenses, labor, rent occupancy, advertising, recruiting and training. ‘Client services’ was the clear winner in what sets their firms apart, showing per tradition that nothing can replace good, old-fashioned customer service. Agent tools, technology and commission structure were the runners up for budget dollars.

Brokers listed their top operational challenges as recruitment of agents, agent productivity and business model competitiveness. And to the question, “What keeps you up at night the most?” brokers listed recruiting more agents as the top answer, followed by new business models, uncertain economy, keeping up with technology, lack of inventory and housing legislation issues.  ‘Other’ answers in this category included: relevance to agents, inspection repairs, Zillow, lack of agent experience, builders and owners reaching buyers directly and lead generation.

Is the key to success being organized? One respondent wrote, “I sleep like a baby because I am organized.” This can only help in business—and with sleep.

Deeper Dive on the Issues

With lack of inventory rising to the top of the most pressing issues, we asked how brokers believe this challenge should be addressed. The top response was ‘increase percentage of new home construction,’ followed by ‘better education of clients on rent vs buy and view of current inventory,’ ‘motivating agents to be more proactive with lead generation,’ ‘reevaluation of local zoning and permit laws,’ ‘changes to tax structure,’ ‘reevaluation of national housing regulations,’ and ‘creative solutions such as manufacture housing.’

Some ‘Other’ responses included: More affordable and entry-level housing and home-buying incentives. One broker stated, ‘Time will solve the problem.’

In an effort to garner some insight from brokers in their own words, our survey included several open-ended questions. On the question, “What best practices do you have in place to ensure your firm and agents remain relevant to today’s consumers?” some answers included: Continuing education, communication, staying on top of technology, training, brand awareness, quality service, integrity, strong online presence, easy-to-use tools, response time, being able to change with the trends, strong marketing and pricing and market knowledge.

We also asked for insight into brokers’ approaches to adopting technology in their firms. Responses primarily indicated this is a high priority, with some having to outsource IT help and other larger firms with dedicated in-house tech departments.

Here’s a sampling of broker responses:

“Technology is a primary focus and one we will continue to put a high priority on keeping up and implementing.”

“The highest priority is absorbing the skills and needs of our millennials.”

“I do not feel like we need to be on the cutting edge of technology because most agents won’t use it anyway. More important to invest in technology that makes agents more productive, happier, gives more free time and easy to learn/implement. Once you make the decision, thorough on-boarding and education is key.”

“Our founder has allocated over $40 million to improve technology for our associates.”

“We have a small brokerage It is a challenge to offer the technology that new agents expect.”

“I outsource all of it.”

“We do not have an IT staff. I handle the company’s technology needs as we are a small brokerage. The implementation of CRM or lead management, developing effective on-line marketing and advertising campaigns has become too great a task for the small broker who wants to grow their business. It appears we are entering a period that will greatly benefit national franchise brands.”

“We are continually looking at improving our technology and investing on upgrading our website design to attract customers. Growing our Facebook presence as well.”

“Not the highest priority. Too much industry emphasis on tech and not enough on high-quality, personalized service itself.”

“Moved to paperless system which has been working. This makes everyone more productive. Challenge is learning how to use the technology and staying on top of it. Like marching forward in a sandstorm – you just keep moving and try to pay attention only to those grains of sand that will help you succeed.”

Q. How do you ensure your agents are utilizing the technology systems you have in place?

Many respondents indicated that constant training and education is key to tech adoption by agents. One-on-one support, sales meetings, using technology that monitors agent tech use and providing incentives were also noted.

“Constantly educate them at weekly staff meetings, using case studies or real-world examples. Following up with agents at quarterly reviews to see what issues they’re having.”

“Education. We have literally hundreds of online videos for training on tech systems as well as a marketing company that assists our associates with their online presence and tech skills.”

“Talk about it; demonstrate it and show them personally how to use it. Those that still don’t adopt…they will either grow or go.”

“Offering lots of courses and one-on-one coaching. We track agents’ production based on workshop training attendance.

“My agents are all self-employed independent contractors so I can set company policies that insure legal and ethical practices but cannot require they complete their tasks in a specific manner. I recommend tech and marketing classes whenever available, show agents new and old tech opportunities, explain the advantages of using specific tech tools and make myself available when they feel they need help. I use sugar not a stick.”

Q. What recruiting efforts do you employ to make sure you’re securing the best and brightest?

On this topic, brokers stated they often rely on traditional face-to-face meetings with new recruits, personal relationships and peer recruiting. Some use personality tests. Here are more insights:

“Personal profile of each recruit to learn how they like to work. Tailoring their on-boarding to match their profile. Using our brands extensive recruiting training and tools to help.”

“I mostly do my own recruiting. I try and judge the people that I think would make good sales associates.”

“We are very visible in the local real estate community, interact with agents on a regular basis. Be at their level and not on the “broker pedestal.”

“Ongoing monitoring or local agent’s production. Setting up lunches/coffees to get to know them better and understand what their goals are.”

“Upfront sales personality testing. Create an avatar of our ideal agent, use that to interview and evaluate candidates.”

“Hired a full-time recruiting professional to work with and to hold managers accountable.”

Q. What are your best approaches to retaining agents and how does company culture play a role in that area?

Company culture is paramount to brokers and plays a vital role in agent retention and productivity, and is also key to profitability, many stated.

“We take great pride in the culture we’ve developed over the past 10 years since opening as an independent brokerage. We only recruit/offer to agents that we feel fit our culture…We try to ensure our agents know we expect everyone to act ethically and we ask each of them to know WHY they are in the business and what they want out of it. We make sure they’re in it for the right reasons and support them with their needs.”

“Company culture is essential to retaining agents, as the owner of the company you need to be accessible.”

“Frequently checking in with agents as to how their business and personal lives are going. Showing that you are interested and you care.”

“Maintain a culture of support and focus on agent growth and development. Foster integrity, honesty and sharing among agents. Build a cohesive group of independent contractors who depend on one another.”

“Recognition, incentives, goal setting, accountability – culture is HUGE.”

“Always looking at adding value to our agents’ business through leverage of time through staff, one-on-one coaching, social events, weekly training events, and our culture plays a huge part.”

“Goes to education again. Culture is paramount in our brokerage and we spend a lot of time and energy in bolstering a culture of support, ethics and camaraderie.”

“We offer coaching and focus strongly on building relationships. We have lots of workshops and office parties to have a healthy mix of work hard, play hard.”

“Company culture is critical. As we are small, retention is based upon being involved with each agent’s business.”

“Professional recognition is very important in a ‘sale environment,’ and equally important is being aware of the agent’s personal needs and recognition. Hand-written notes to agents are still effective in a world of impersonal technology.”

“Creating a cohesive and collaborative culture in the office. Offering brokers an attractive split threshold, marketing materials, great websites, attorney PMB and tons of educational opportunities free of charge.”

“Freedom, respect, recognition, mentoring/training, and proper compensation.”

We concluded our survey with a couple of questions about new opportunities and what brokers are most looking forward to heading into 2018. The groups in which brokers see the best opportunities in the year ahead include Millennials and first-time buyers, as well as retirees, move-up buyers, luxury buyers and past clients.

What are brokers most looking forward to in their business in the year ahead? Many said a continued stable economy, continued sustainable growth and sales, low interest rates, more inventory, agent growth and increased productivity, increased market share and new partnerships, and technology platforms. Some also said they were looking forward to retiring in 2018.

In their own words:

“We are going to be trying a new commission structure with our agents/clients with the ability of a flat-fee structure for certain clients. Also, we are going to be taking a more active role in upping the productivity of each of our agents.”

“Having new sales associates joining our firm and hoping an uptick in our local market.”

“Systems, more routine, following the blue print and checking the results.”

“The spring market when buyers are ready to move.”

“Understanding the next technologies that my company has committed to and putting them in motion.”

“Continuing to build successful agent careers. the market may change, but housing needs will always be there.”

And just because we love this…

“We are forming a Golden Girls network of successful women with decades of experience in real estate who are nearing retirement. Our goal is to make the next 5 years our most productive.”

In addition to looking forward to the opportunities to come in the new year, the majority of brokers expressed confidence in the future of the housing industry. Fifty-seven percent of brokers said they are ‘optimistic,’ followed by 20% have a high confidence level. Another 20% stated neutral and only 3% said they had a low confidence level in the housing industry.

Following the survey, John Featherston, CEO and Publisher of RISMedia said, “While real estate professionals are cognizant of the unique challenges facing individual localities or offices, this research overwhelmingly found most to be optimistic about opportunities for success in 2018. From company culture to new technologies to a high confidence level in the housing industry overall, the insights bode well for the industry as a whole and serve as a resource and road map to help others implement best practices and set a productive agenda for the year ahead.”

Sherry Chris, President and CEO of Better Homes and Gardens® Real Estate, had this to say: “I have been fortunate to be in the real estate industry for more than thirty years.  Our industry has undergone far-reaching and important evolution in that time: from being broker centric, to agent driven, to consumer centric, and now to being consumer-data driven. Transformational change is a given in any dynamic industry. Our best advice to broker/owners has always been to stay focused on the aspects of their brokerages that contribute to a singular goal: creating a valuable asset. Strategies vary by company. Competitive pressure varies by market. But some things are universal: consumers will always seek exceptional service. Agents will thrive in values-driven, collaborative environments.”

Beth McGuire is RISMedia’s Online Managing Editor. Email her at

For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark

The post Survey Results: What Keeps Brokers Up at Night? appeared first on RISMedia.

Building a Reputation of Trust and Honesty

Real Estate News - Mon, 01/15/2018 - 15:56

In the following interview, Phyllis Staines, broker associate at RE/MAX Coastal Real Estate in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., discusses disruption, marketing and more.

Region Served: Jacksonville, Fla.
Years in Real Estate: 20
Number of Offices: 1
Number of Agents: 16
Favorite Part of Your Job: The freedom and unlimited potential for earning. I also enjoy solving problems, and those who are needing to buy or sell have a problem that we need to solve for them.
Best Advice for Someone Just Getting Into the Business: Be prepared to work hard in order to build a reputation of trust and honesty that people will gravitate toward.

What factor has the largest influence on the real estate industry today?
As the industry continues to change and evolve, it’s important to remember that technology will never substitute the skill and diligence of a real estate professional. That being said, I believe technology disruption could have the biggest impact on the real estate industry if we don’t recognize that it’s happening. If we sit back and turn a blind eye toward the disruptors coming into the industry, it could impact us more than we realize. Complacency is a concern we must take more seriously. We can’t rely on technology to solve everything. It’s simply a tool.

Is there a specific trend or movement you’re currently paying attention to that has the capacity to disrupt the market?
Instant Offers have become a hot topic within the past year, with Zillow and other technology groups testing out instant-offer platforms. While I don’t necessarily foresee this becoming a huge disruptor in my market, it’s something I will continue to pay attention to.

In what ways does your company stay flexible and current?
The RE/MAX intranet we have access to—which includes RE/MAX University, where agents can take part in constant training—is key to staying flexible and current. Being a leader in the industry, RE/MAX is aware that they must be cognizant of the competition. The development of their new logo is one example that shows just how tuned into the market they are.

You utilize Homes & Land as part of an integrated marketing strategy that includes print publications. How does this benefit you?
I’m a big Homes & Land advertiser, a publication I’ve been advertising in for at least a dozen years. Not only do I recognize the value of print, but I also supplement it with social media, the internet and direct mail. I’m having a great response from both direct mail and Homes & Land, and that’s because so much of my competition isn’t doing it anymore. All in all, I’m a big believer in Homes & Land, as there’s no other magazine in my market that applies solely to homes. We owe it to our sellers to expose their property in every way possible, and print is one of those ways.

Looking ahead, what are you most looking forward to as 2018 gets underway?
While I’m hoping 2018 brings more inventory and drives more people into homeownership, I’m also going to continue to improve my skills and education in order to stay ahead of the competition.

For more information, please visit

Paige Tepping is RISMedia’s managing editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark

The post Building a Reputation of Trust and Honesty appeared first on RISMedia.

Buying Is Better Financially in More Than Half of Markets: Report

Real Estate News - Mon, 01/15/2018 - 15:50

It is more affordable to buy a home than rent one in more than half of markets—but for how long remains uncertain, according to recently released research.

In 54 percent of the over 400 counties analyzed by ATTOM Data Solutions, buying the median-priced home is more affordable than renting a three-bedroom one, according to ATTOM’s 2018 Rental Affordability Report. The biggest counties better for buying are Tarrant County, Texas, home to Ft. Worth; Broward County, Fla., home to Miami; Bexar County, Texas, home to San Antonio; Wayne County, Mich., home to Detroit; and Philadelphia County, Pa.

Big counties in general, however, are better for renters, the research shows.

“Although buying is still more affordable than renting in the majority of U.S. housing markets, that majority is shrinking as home price appreciation continues to outpace rental growth in most areas,” says Daren Blomquist, vice president at ATTOM Data Solutions. “Renting has clearly become the lesser of two housing affordability evils in many major population centers, with renting more affordable than buying in 76 percent of counties that have a population of one million or more. And when broken down by population rather than number of markets, this data shows that the majority of the U.S. population—64 percent—live in markets that are more affordable to rent than to buy.”

Gains in home prices are exceeding growth in rents in 59 percent of the counties assessed, including Los Angeles County, Calif., Cook County, Ill., and San Diego County, Calif. The contrary is happening in 40 percent of the counties examined, including Harris County, Texas, home to Houston; Maricopa County, Ariz., home to Phoenix; and Kings County, N.Y., or Brooklyn.

Incomes are also lagging rents in 60 percent of counties, including, again, Los Angeles County, Cook County and San Diego County.

Learn more in the report.

Source: ATTOM Data Solutions

For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark

The post Buying Is Better Financially in More Than Half of Markets: Report appeared first on RISMedia.

How to Sell a House in 2018: 5 Tips to Get the Edge This Year - News

Home Inspection News - Mon, 01/15/2018 - 15:14 News

How to Sell a House in 2018: 5 Tips to Get the Edge This Year News
"People want to be able to move right in, worry-free." To ease any concerns buyers might have about your home's condition, consider having your home pre-inspected—which can reassure buyers that the house is in good shape, or point you toward repairs ...

JCA student earns highest ACT score possible

Plainfield News - Mon, 01/15/2018 - 14:57
JOLIET — A junior at Joliet Catholic Academy scored a 36 on his ACT, the highest score possible according to a press release by the school.

Jack Smith earned the highest score possible on the college entrance test. On average, about one-tenth of 1 percent of students who take the ACT earn a perfect score.

In the U.S. high school class of 2017, 2,760 students out of more than 2 million graduates who took the ACT scored a 36.

"(Jack's) achievement on the ACT is significant and rare," said ACT Chief Executive Officer Marten Roorda in the press release. "While test scores are just one of multiple criteria that most colleges consider when making admissions decisions, (his) exceptional ACT composite score should prove helpful as (Jack) pursues his education and career goals."

The ACT is made up of four main parts: English, mathematics, reading and science. Each scores on a scale of 1 to 36. The student's composite score is the average of the four test scores. There is an optional writing part of the test that is scored and reported separate from the four main parts of the test.

The ACT is a curriculum-based achievement exam which measures what the students have learned in school. Students typically take the exam in their Junior year. The scores for the ACT is accepted by all major four-year colleges and universities across the U.S.

Why this startup gives renters cash back for paying on time - Built In Chicago

Home Inspection News - Mon, 01/15/2018 - 14:43

Built In Chicago

Why this startup gives renters cash back for paying on time
Built In Chicago
“When they reach certain milestones, like saving $450, we send them a notification to tell them they've saved enough for a home inspection — along with an explanation of why they need one,” said McLoughlin. “A lot of people know they need to save up ...

Oak Lawn's Winter Snow Rules In Effect | Oak Lawn, IL Patch -

Oak Lawn Home Inspector News Feed - Mon, 01/15/2018 - 12:09

Oak Lawn's Winter Snow Rules In Effect | Oak Lawn, IL Patch
OAK LAWN, IL -- Oak Lawn has enacted its winter snow rules until snow removal operations are completed. When more than one-inch of snowfall, there is no parking on designated snow routes. The village's off/even ordinance is also in effect. There will ...

and more »

How important is job flexibility? Our survey wants to know.

Chicago Real Estate - Mon, 01/15/2018 - 09:00
How do benefits such as flexibility and remote working influence your satisfaction at work? We're asking readers to tell us in a new survey.

Shopping Guide: Shopping for Decorative Bowls

Whether they’re holding fruit, mail or nothing at all, eye-catching bowls add polish to a room.

January is good time to test your home for radon | Farm Futures - Farm Futures

Radon Testing News - Mon, 01/15/2018 - 02:00

Farm Futures

January is good time to test your home for radon | Farm Futures
Farm Futures
Because radon gas is invisible and odorless, the only way to know if a house, school or other building has a radon problem is to get the building tested.

and more »

Kennedy targets gun violence in Illinois governor campaign

Plainfield News - Mon, 01/15/2018 - 01:25
CHICAGO – Few people running for public office have been more personally affected by gun violence than Chris Kennedy, who was a child when his father and uncle, Sen. Robert Kennedy and President John F. Kennedy, were assassinated.

Now the 54-year-old Democrat has made the issue a centerpiece of his campaign for Illinois governor, talking often about growing up without a father and family trips to Arlington National Cemetery, and saying too many people in Chicago and elsewhere in Illinois are dealing with the same kind of pain.

The move has brought endorsements from African-American leaders, including U.S. Reps. Bobby Rush and Danny Davis, and could help Kennedy earn support in the March primary from black voters who have been disproportionately hurt by gun violence.

But it’s also put him at odds with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and some others and prompted accusations of race baiting, after Kennedy said much of the violence is because of systemic disinvestment in black neighborhoods. He accused Emanuel, the former White House chief of staff, of pushing black people out of the city through a “strategic gentrification plan” that includes cutting funding for police and public schools.

“Our government needs to be held accountable for subjecting our communities to a life of crimes of survival,” Kennedy told supporters. “We can reduce and control gun violence in our communities, but we need to be honest with ourselves about why it’s happening.”

Emanuel called the comments “hallucinatory” and said he would like to hear “ideas, not insults,” while a mayoral spokesman said it was “a direct assault on one of this city’s greatest strengths – our diversity.”

Kennedy’s other critics, including campaign rivals, called the comment hypocritical, noting he was praising Emanuel not long ago and even donated $5,000 to his campaign. The Chicago Tribune, in an editorial, called it “a cynical and divisive pitch for votes.”

Kennedy is one of six Democrats seeking the party’s nomination March 20 for the chance to unseat first-term Gov. Bruce Rauner, who’s widely considered one of the most vulnerable Republican incumbents up for re-election this fall. Among the other Democrats running are state Sen. Daniel Biss and billionaire businessman J.B. Pritzker, who’s scooped up endorsements from Democratic county officials and major unions, including the Illinois Education Association.

Rush and Davis, who have both lost family members to the city’s violence, said they’re backing Kennedy because he’s put violence prevention and gun control at the top of his agenda.

Speaking at a campaign event this month at a church in a West Side Chicago neighborhood where homicides have spiked in recent years, Rush said it was “the first time in my lifetime” Illinois has a gubernatorial candidate who knows how violence rips apart a family and a community. Kennedy’s father was killed as he ran for president in 1968, years after John F. Kennedy’s assassination.

“He understands. He gets it,” Rush said. “We don’t have to sit down and go over violence.”

Joining them was Nate Pendleton, whose 15-year-old daughter, Hadiya, was shot and killed days after returning from President Barack Obama’s 2013 inauguration, and Kennedy’s running mate, Ra Joy, whose 23-year-old son was fatally shot last summer, apparently by someone trying to steal his cellphone.

Chicago police recorded 650 homicides in 2017, down from the year before but still more killings than in New York City and Los Angeles combined.

Kennedy criticized Chicago officials for celebrating the decrease. He said the city is using a strategy of “selective containment” in which violence is allowed to continue in certain neighborhoods and minorities are pushed out of Chicago, making the city “whiter.”

He said his plan to reduce violence would include more investment in neighborhoods, reducing poverty and tougher gun control measures – an approach similar to that of his opponents.

Emanuel said he has worked to reverse the decline in the city’s black population and reduce violence across Chicago.

Also seeking the Democratic nomination are regional schools superintendent Bob Daiber, activist Tio Hardiman and physician Robert Marshall. Rauner faces a GOP primary challenge from conservative state Rep. Jeanne Ives.

Trump says program to protect 'Dreamers' is 'probably dead'

Plainfield News - Mon, 01/15/2018 - 01:25
PALM BEACH, Fla. – President Donald Trump said Sunday that a program that protects immigrants who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children is “probably dead,” casting a cloud over already tenuous negotiations just days before a deadline on a government funding deal that Democrats have tied to immigration.

At issue is the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program created by President Barack Obama to shield hundreds of thousands of these individuals, known as “Dreamers,” from deportation. Trump, who has taken a hard stance against illegal immigration, announced last year that he will end the program unless Congress comes up with a solution by March.

“DACA is probably dead because the Democrats don’t really want it, they just want to talk and take desperately needed money away from our Military,” the Republican president tweeted. “I, as President, want people coming into our Country who are going to help us become strong and great again, people coming in through a system based on MERIT. No more Lotteries! #AMERICA FIRST.”

Republicans and Democrats already were at odds over funding the government, and the negotiations became more complicated after Democrats – whose votes are needed to pass a government funding bill – insisted immigration be included. Government funding expires at midnight Friday without a deal in place, and some government functions will begin to go dark.

Further roiling the talks are comments by Trump during an Oval Office meeting in which he questioned the need to admit more Haitians to the U.S., along with Africans from “s---hole” countries, according to people briefed on the conversation but not authorized to describe it publicly. He also said in the Thursday meeting he would prefer immigrants from countries such as Norway instead. The White House has not denied that Trump said the word “s---hole,” although Trump did push back on some depictions of the meeting.

A confidant of Trump’s told The Associated Press that the president spent Thursday evening calling friends and outside advisers to judge their reaction on his inflammatory remarks. Trump wasn’t apologetic and denied he was racist, instead blaming the media for distorting his meaning, said the confidant, who wasn’t authorized to disclose a private conversation and spoke on the condition of anonymity.

The president also rejected as insufficient an immigration deal drafted by the bipartisan group of lawmakers who attended that meeting. The deal had included a pathway to citizenship for the “Dreamers” that would take up to 12 years, as well as $1.6 billion for border security, including Trump’s promised wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Trump’s staunchest supporters consider any route to citizenship for the “Dreamers” amnesty for lawbreakers.

The president has said any deal must include funding for the wall as well as changes to make the immigration system a more merit-based structure.

The debate over DACA’s fate came as lawmakers faced questioning about whether Trump is racist.

Rep. Mia Love, R-Utah, the first black female Republican in Congress and the daughter of Haitian immigrants, denounced Trump’s comments as racist and called on him to apologize. “I think that would show real leadership,” she said on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday.

Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., who was at Thursday’s Oval Office meeting, insisted Sunday that Trump did not say “s---hole” in referring to African countries.

“I am telling you that he did not use that word. And I’m telling you it’s a gross misrepresentation,” Perdue said on ABC’s “This Week.” He said Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., were mistaken in indicating earlier that that was the case.

Perdue and Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., had issued a joint statement Friday saying they “do not recall the President saying those comments specifically.” Cotton said Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation” that he “didn’t hear” the vulgar word used.

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, who also attended Thursday’s meeting at the Oval Office, said, “I don’t recall that specific phrase being used.”

Nielsen did dispute, however, Trump’s assertion that DACA was “probably dead.”

“I do not believe DACA is dead,” Nielsen said on “Fox News Sunday.” She said that the bipartisan proposal rejected by Trump did not address core security issues facing her department and that Trump’s administration was not interested in “half measures.”

Perdue said that “the potential is there” for a deal to protect the “Dreamers” but that Democrats needed to get serious.

Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., defended the agreement as a “principled compromise” on NBC’s “Meet the Press” and said, “I hope people will explore it.”

Man Arrested While Meeting With Parole Officer: Cops -

Oak Lawn Home Inspector News Feed - Mon, 01/15/2018 - 01:23

Man Arrested While Meeting With Parole Officer: Cops
OAK LAWN, IL -- Oak Lawn police arrested a Chicago man at his parole officer's office, prosecutors said. Aaron Butler, 35, appeared before Cook County Judge Peter Felice on a charge of delivery of a controlled substance. Butler is currently on parole ...

Snow still falling throughout Monday morning

Plainfield News - Mon, 01/15/2018 - 00:16
JOLIET – A winter weather advisory was issued for Will, Grundy and Kendall counties beginning at 6 p.m. Sunday until noon Monday.

The National Weather Service warned residents to expect snow and slippery road conditions during the morning commute Monday. Snowfall is expected to accumulate to about 3 to 5 inches.

This warning was for several counties in northern Illinois and northwest Indiana.

The advisory also warned residents to be prepared for reduced visibility at times. which could lead to travel difficulties. Use caution while driving.

The Joliet Weather Center posted on its Facebook page about a storm system that was moving into the Midwest late Sunday that should have caused light to moderate snow.

“Even though we knew snow would occur, accumulations were originally just a few inches,” director and lead forecaster Jeremy Hylka said in the statement. “But as the computer models have been showing and are in well agreement with each other, several inches of a long snow event will occur across northern Illinois.”

Multiple calls to Joliet and Will County officials about preparation for the snowfall were not returned. If snowplows were to be deployed in Joliet, they would start by plowing major streets, bridges and roads around local hospitals, then subdivision mains and collector streets, and then other residential areas.

You can learn more about the city of Joliet snow removal policies on the city website.


Cook, DuPage, Grundy, Kane, Kendall, Kankakee, and Will.

Alsip, Berwyn, Bolingbrook, Bourbonnais, Channahon, Chicago, Chicago Ridge, Crestwood, Crete, Downers Grove, Frankfort, Homewood, Homer Glen, Homewood, Joliet, Lemont, Lockport, Lombard, Kankakee, Manhattan, Midlothian, Mokena, Monee, Naperville, New Lenox, Oak Brook, Oak Forest, Oak Lawn, Oak Park, Orland Hills, Orland Park, Palos Hills, Palos Heights, Palos Park, Plainfield, Posen, Woodridge, Romeoville, Steger, Tinley Park Home Inspector
Merino's Home Inspection & Education Inc.
9029 Pebble Beach Lane
Orland Park, Illinois 60462

Orland Park home inspector
Tinley Park home inspector
Illinois Home Inspector License 450.010091
Illinois Home Inspector Entity License 451.000851

Syndicate content