‘Porch Pirates’ a Holiday Menace in Chicago, Data Says

‘Porch Pirates’ a Holiday Menace in Chicago, Data Says

As more Americans turn to online shopping to finish off their Christmas lists, package thefts are rapidly on the rise and Chicago is one of the worst cities in America for those choosing to have items delivered to their doorsteps.

According to Safewise.com, Chicago is the sixth-worst city in America when it comes to thieves stealing packages from doorsteps and mailboxes. The San Francisco-metro area is the worst in the country, followed by Salt Lake City, Portland, and Baltimore.

During the holiday season, things are even worse in Chicago, as the city has the third-highest larceny-theft rate in the country during the holidays.

Even though some residents have taken steps to try to deter thieves, including doorbell cameras, it doesn’t seem to work, and residents in a wide variety of areas are having to deal with the issue.

“I don’t even have them sent to my house,” Chicago resident Mary Lawson said. “I have them sent to a family’s house or somewhere else so I don’t have to deal with this.”

While doorbell cameras aren’t a foolproof solution, some holiday shoppers are wary of using other services to protect their purchases, including an Amazon service that offers shoppers the option of having packages delivered to the trunk of their car or even to the inside of their home.

“Once they start going into your house, what’s security at that point?” resident Andrew Dilley said.

Other services, including Amazon locker facilities, are jam-packed with customers this time of year, and with seemingly all options exhausted, some shoppers are turning back to the old-school method of picking up items at stores themselves.

“With so many people here and so many different things going on, anything can happen,” Dilley said.

Consumer groups advise shoppers that they can have their local post office, UPS, or FedEx store keep their packages at their facilities as a way to prevent theft.

Doorbell cameras can also be effective in keeping a video record of thefts, which can expedite the process of replacing a stolen item or receiving a refund for it.

Published at Tue, 26 Nov 2019 22:13:32 +0000

Bears vs. Lions: Braunecker, Gabriel Dealing With Concussions

Bears vs. Lions: Braunecker, Gabriel Dealing With Concussions

With a short week ahead of Thursday’s Thanksgiving showdown with the Detroit Lions, the Chicago Bears released an extensive injury report on Monday.

According to the team, tight end Ben Braunecker and wide receiver Taylor Gabriel would not have practiced had the team conducted a workout Monday. Both players are in the NFL’s concussion protocol, according to the team.

The concussion is the second of the season for Gabriel.

The Bears also said that right tackle Bobby Massie, who left Sunday’s win over the New York Giants early with an ankle injury, would not have practiced Monday. Special teams ace Sherrick McManis also would have missed Monday’s practice after suffering a groin injury during Sunday’s contest.

Finally, tight end Adam Shaheen and linebacker Danny Trevathan would have missed a hypothetical Monday workout.

With this week’s constrained schedule, Braunecker and Gabriel are both facing an uphill climb to be back on the field, potentially limiting the team’s offensive options. The Bears are already very thin at tight end, with Jesper Horsted and Bradley Sowell likely the best of the limited offensive options the team has at the position.

Published at Tue, 26 Nov 2019 00:20:57 +0000

NASA Unveils Experimental Electric Plane

NASA Unveils Experimental Electric Plane

NASA is developing a plane that may pave the way for greener air travel.

The NASA X-57 Maxwell plane–referred to as the X-Plane–is an all-electric experimental aircraft. Instead of fuel-powered turbine engines, the X-Plane gets its juice from lithium ion battery packs.

It can perhaps best be described as a Tesla with wings.

Brent Cobleigh, NASA Flight Demonstrations and Capabilities Project Manager, said the X-Plane serves as a glimpse into the future.

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[NATL] Family Says Vaping Killed Their 28-Year-Old Son

“To see the era of the Jetsons be something that’s potentially real is pretty exciting,” Cobleigh said.

The X-Plane is currently in its Modification II configuration, and is one of three all-electric configurations being used to develop certification standards for electric aircraft markets.

Each of the lithium ion battery packs used in the plane weighs about 51 pounds, and the X-Plane uses about 800 pounds of battery packs in total to function.

“That battery can put in about the amount of power you need to power 100 average American houses,” Cobleigh said.

The plane also features 14 electric motors and propellers, which allow for greater efficiency and zero in-flight carbon emissions. The aircraft’s electric components also alter the noise it emits, resulting in a softer, higher-pitched sound when compared to regular planes.

The X-Plane will begin air testing as early as next year when it is shared with the government and the airline industry.

Eugene Hoshiko/AP

Published at Mon, 11 Nov 2019 02:10:50 +0000

Why Your Christmas Tree Might be Making Your Allergies Worse

Why Your Christmas Tree Might be Making Your Allergies Worse

It may be the most wonderful time of the year, but according to experts, the Christmas trees and other decorations brought into homes during the holiday season can actually cause serious respiratory illness.

Whether you use live trees or artificial trees, experts at AdvantaClean say that there are hazards present that should be addressed before you put up your holiday decorations.

Citing statistics from the EPA, AdvantaClean says that concentrations of pollutants tend to be two-to-five times higher inside of homes than they are outdoors, meaning that the addition of trees, decorations and other holiday essentials can cause serious respiratory issues for Americans dealing with allergies, asthma and other problems.

With live Christmas trees, experts say that the pollen and mold remaining on trees can cause breathing difficulties. Artificial Christmas trees come with their own sets of issues, as they tend to accumulate dust and mold spores while they’re in storage during the year.

Before you put up a live tree, experts advise you to:

-Hose off the tree to remove pollen and mold, and to let the tree dry before bringing it inside

-Wear gloves and long sleeves while carrying the tree to avoid skin contact with sap

-Wipe down the trunk of the tree with a solution of 1-part bleach, 20 parts lukewarm water

Artificial trees should be treated in similar fashion:

-Wrap your tree securely when it’s not in use, and then store it in a cool and dry place

-Wipe down the tree before setting it up

Any Christmas decorations should be dusted off before use, and those with respiratory issues should avoid scented sprays, artificial snow, scented candles and even poinsettias, which are toxic to some pets and can cause rashes or breathing problems from those who are sensitive to latex.

Published at Mon, 25 Nov 2019 21:38:01 +0000

Hamilton Chicago: What’s next for cast, crew as show heads for final curtain?

Hamilton Chicago: What’s next for cast, crew as show heads for final curtain?

CHICAGO (WLS) — “Hamilton” Chicago is getting closer to its final curtain call in January and cast members are starting to look ahead at what comes next.

By the end of its three-year-long run, our local production will have been attended by more than 2.6 million people.

Akron Watson remembers the first time he saw “Hamilton” on Broadway.

“The show itself was so overwhelming,” Watson said. “The whole package. Everything that was happening behind everyone. All the dancers. All the lighting. It was all just like(gasp)*”

And that was after he was cast in the roll of Aaron Burr for the Chicago production.

“I leaped for joy,” Watson said. “I screamed ten thousand times. Because I was just so surprised. And then I cried.”

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He hadn’t seen the show prior to being cast as Burr because he couldn’t afford the ticket. A year and a half later, a lot has changed and it’s time to look forward.

“It’ll be nice to tell other stories, anywhere, but I will definitely miss Chicago,” Watson said.

“This was a chapter in life and then you kind of go to the next chapter,” said Hamilton Chicago musical director Mike Moise.

Moise helps to onboard new cast members, integrating them with the veteran actors and actresses, even teaching the pros some new tricks. Moise foresees big things for our local cast members.

“A lot of them have new opportunities that are going to open up for them, whether that be in TV or film, or on other Broadway shows that they now have this on their resume so they can go back to New York and say, ‘I’ve done this,’ so now people look at them differently than before coming here,” he said.

Akron expects he’ll be New York-bound, but says this city, its people his fellow cast members, the “ham fam,” have left their mark.

“As soon as I got here to Chicago, it was just like, “Oh! Here is my family. Here’s my circle.” You know?” Watson said. “I’m going to miss it a lot.

Watson says it has been especially rewarding teaching a new generation about history through music. He says it’s a great reminder that he doesn’t just have a great gig, but there is great responsibility in this role and there’s a great payoff in doing it well.

The final “Hamilton” show is scheduled for January 5, 2020.

Copyright © 2019 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.

Published at Mon, 25 Nov 2019 13:47:14 +0000

Welcome to Chicago's Small Business Center

Welcome to Chicago's Small Business Center

Welcome to the City of Chicago’s Small Business Center, a one-stop shop for small business owners and entrepreneurs. Our redesigned website makes it easier to understand and access City services, and to connect with resources in your neighborhood.

‘SNL’ Spoofs Trump’s Response to Sondland Testimony

‘SNL’ Spoofs Trump’s Response to Sondland Testimony

This week’s “Saturday Night Live” episode returned its focus to the impeachment inquiry and again explored the relationships between President Donald Trump and his alleged accomplices.

In the “SNL” opener, Alec Baldwin reprises his role as President Donald Trump, who’s met by reporters on the White House lawn as a helicopter roars behind him.

Baldwin’s Trump refuses to answer questions from the awaiting reporters and only says that Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland’s impeachment hearing testimony “completely exonerated” him from accusations that his dealings with Ukraine were a quid pro quo, or an exchange of one thing for another.

Sondland (Will Ferrell) appears next to Trump as the president dodges the press’ questions. Trump also professes not to know Sondland, although reporters (Kyle Mooney, Cecily Strong, Mikey Day and Heidi Gardner) point out that Trump appointed Sondland after the wealthy hotelier donated $1 million to Trump’s inauguration — a factually accurate observation. The real Trump also claimed on Wednesday that he didn’t “know him very well.”

Reading a statement written in large handwriting using a black marker, Baldwin’s Trump says that when Sondland asked what he wanted during a phone call, his response was, “Nothing. No quid pro quo, bro.”

Ferrell’s Sondland goes along with Trump’s distancing act and adds, “Keep the quid pro quo on the low-low.”

The real Sondland testified Wednesday that the deal, in this case, was a White House visit for new Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in exchange for Ukraine announcing an investigation into Burisma, a Ukrainian gas company whose board members included the son of former Vice President Joe Biden.

Not only did Sondland say that there was a quid pro quo, but he also said that “everyone” — from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the White House’s acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney to even Vice President Mike Pence — “was in the loop. It was no secret.”

“Elf” and “Daddy’s Home” actor Will Ferrell returned to host the show for the fifth time. He was also quick to remind the audience he was a cast member on the show for seven years.

“I cherished every moment I was here. Really some of the best times…,” Ferrell starts his monologue but trails off once he notices that “Deadpool” star Ryan Reynolds is in the audience.

Ferrell is so distracted that he forgets his rehearsed monologue, fakes a British accent and impersonates comedian Tracy Morgan, another “SNL” alum.

“Can you just pretend I’m not here?” Reynolds asks incredulously.

Morgan joins Ferrell on stage for the end of the monologue, and tells Reynolds that Ferrell “can do what he wants to do.” Morgan also warns Ferrell not to impersonate him.

“I suckled from his comedy bosom, and like a young Luke Skywalker, it filled me with strength,” Morgan said of his relationship with Ferrell.

The “Weekend Update” segment shifted back to impeachment inquiry news.

“Testimony in the impeachment hearing concluded in the House this week and now the debate will shift to your house for Thanksgiving,” Colin Jost opens.

Jost then details reports that Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., who led the impeachment hearings along with Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., allegedly helped Trump “do the crime” by meeting with a Ukrainian prosecutor to get intel on the Bidens.

“Nunes is so deep in this he’s basically living in a pineapple under the sea,” Jost said.

“Weekend Update” co-host Michael Che tackled news that the screenwriter for “Harriet,” a new Harriet Tubman biopic, said a studio executive in the ‘90s suggested that “Pretty Woman” star Julia Roberts play Tubman.

To round off the segment, Jost and Che invited a guy who just bought a boat (Alex Moffat) to give Thanksgiving dating tips. The guest’s friend, a guy who knows the owner (Ryan Reynolds), also offered his two cents.

Mikaela Straus, known by her stage name King Princess, debuted on the “SNL” stage as this week’s musical guest. The New York native picked up a guitar to perform “1950,” for her first performance of the night.

For her second set, the singer-songwriter twirled and jumped around the stage as she sang “Hit the Back.” Both songs are from her Oct. 25 debut studio album “Cheap Queen.”

Published at Sun, 24 Nov 2019 10:29:38 +0000

Nurses, University of Chicago hospital reach agreement

Nurses, University of Chicago hospital reach agreement

CHICAGO — A planned one-day strike by some 2,200 nurses at the University of Chicago Medical Center has been called off after their union reached an agreement with the hospital.

The Chicago Tribune reports that the agreement between the 618-bed hospital and the nurses who have been without a contract since April was reached on Saturday morning.


The union had planned to strike on Tuesday and the hospital had said it would lock the nurses out for another four days to guarantee replacement nurses a certain amount of work.

That’s what happened in September when a one-day strike by nurses was followed by a four-day lockout. The nurses had been seeking lower nurse-to-patient ratios but the terms of the agreement were not immediately made available.

Published at Sat, 23 Nov 2019 15:37:00 +0000