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Consulting firm to evaluate Chicago casino feasibility

Consulting firm to evaluate Chicago casino feasibility

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — The Illinois Gaming Board has selected a consulting firm to conduct a feasibility study for a casino in Chicago.

The Gaming Board announced last week that it had selected Union Gaming Analytics of Las Vegas.

The study is required by the gambling expansion law Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed into law last month . It’s to generate revenue for a $45 billion capital improvement plan.

A Gaming Board spokesman said the contract will not exceed $100,000.

Union Gaming will present its study regarding the feasibility and ability to finance a casino in Chicago to Pritzker and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot in August. Chicago will pay for the study.

Union Gaming’s bid was one of three the Gaming Board received. But two were disqualified because they were submitted after the deadline.

Published at Mon, 15 Jul 2019 09:26:00 +0000

Florida expert flies to Chicago to help catch alligator

Florida expert flies to Chicago to help catch alligator

An expert from Florida has been summoned to Chicago to help authorities catch an elusive alligator in a public lagoon.

Sections of Humboldt Park are closed Monday while the search continues for the gator, which is at least 4 feet long. Investigators confirmed the sighting last week but don’t know what’s it doing in Chicago.

Frank Robb of St. Augustine, Florida, arrived on Sunday and immediately began assessing the park and lagoon.

Chicago Animal Care and Control says Robb recommended that certain areas be closed to the public so the alligator isn’t spooked. Photos of the gator started showing up on social media about a week ago.

Published at Mon, 15 Jul 2019 19:26:52 +0000

Hoffman Estates aims to jump-start stalled development

Hoffman Estates aims to jump-start stalled development

Intent on making vacant land west of The Arboretum of South Barrington shopping center viable for development, Hoffman Estates officials may create a tax increment financing district to pay for sewer and water utilities on the site.

The land in question is a 24-acre parcel and a 16-acre parcel at the northeast and northwest corners of Higgins and Old Sutton roads. Along with adjacent right of way, a total of 64 acres would be included.

Among the possible developments would be a gas station and convenience store along Old Sutton, 100,000 square feet of self storage along the CN Railroad tracks and a 150,000-square-foot retail center.

Under those assumptions, a TIF district would generate an estimated $20.7 million over 23 years.

The property is just part of the 185-acre Plum Farms commercial and residential development, which has been stalled for the past two years. The new plan for a village-initiated TIF district would focus exclusively on commercial development.

“This is absolutely the village’s TIF,” Village Manager Jim Norris said. “It’s not at the request of any developer.”

The development partnership behind Plum Farms dropped its request for a TIF district amid controversy over its plans for dense residential development, a proposal that drew objections from school officials and others.


A TIF district works by freezing the amount of property taxes local governments receive at the level of the district’s first year. As taxes gradually rise, the increases go to a special fund to pay for public improvements within the district.

With Hoffman Estates Mayor Bill McLeod and Trustee Anna Newell adamantly opposed to a TIF district including the residential portion of Plum Farms, the request for one was dropped.

Nevertheless, the density alone of Plum Farms sparked a lawsuit by residents of the Regency at the Woods of South Barrington subdivision, an age-restricted community across Sutton Road.

The original lawsuit has been settled, according to the residents’ attorney, but the concerns of Barrington Unit District 220 — which intervened on the side of the residents — have not. Superintendent Brian Harris said the district’s fears are centered on the expected impact on schools of proposed new homes in the development.


Dense residential development can cause concern for local governments — especially school districts — if they believe cost of providing services to people moving in will exceed the additional tax revenue. This is even more pronounced in the rare instance of a TIF district for residential development, when the increased tax money doesn’t arrive for up to 23 years.

The Plum Farms annexation agreement allowed for 1,250 homes of various types across the site, though the most recent version of the developer’s plan calls for only 1,035 units.

The two corners at which Hoffman Estates is studying the eligibility for a TIF district are in Community Unit District 300 and don’t involve District 220.

In the case of the newly proposed TIF district, Director of Development Services Mark Koplin told village board members they can choose to exclude residential development.


Consultants from SB Friedman Development Advisors in Chicago already have found the site eligible for a TIF district due to its being blighted, vacant land prone to flooding. Last week, the village board approved a contract with SB Friedman for $13,820 to take the eligibility study to the next step, including scheduling a joint review board meeting that would include representation by all the affected local governments.

A joint review board can’t prohibit a TIF district, but its negative vote would require a supermajority vote by the village board to approve one.

Owners of the land did not return phone calls seeking comment.

Published at Mon, 15 Jul 2019 03:22:02 +0000

‘Hobbs & Shaw’ Premiere Focused on Family and Fun

‘Hobbs & Shaw’ Premiere Focused on Family and Fun

After eight films and more than $15 billion dollars earned worldwide, The “Fast and Furious” franchise has its first stand alone film in “Hobbs & Shaw.” We spoke with the cast at the premiere in Hollywood, who tell us the film focuses on family, action and fun.

“We doubled down on the comedy for this one,” star Jason Statham said. He plays Deckard Shaw, a former British military elite operative. He begrudgingly partners with Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) a loyal agent of America’s Diplomatic Security Service (DSS). The two have history, very entertaining history, which we saw in “The Fate of the Furious.” Audiences and critics loved their chemistry so much in that film that it sparked the idea to put them together in their own stand alone piece.

Now Hobbs and Shaw have to work together along with Shaw’s sister Hattie (Vanessa Kirby) to stop cyber genetically enhanced bad guy Brixton Lorr played by Idris Elba. He tells us this character was immensely fun to play.

“He was a complex character to play,” Elba said. “He’s part man, part machine and he’s got a bit of an ego.”

J. Lo Concert in NYC Cut Short by Power Outage

[NATL] J. Lo Concert in NYC Cut Short by Power Outage

Writer/Producer Chris Morgan says he’s definitely leaving the door open for the possibility of another “Hobbs & Shaw” film. What exactly that will be remains to be seen.

The “Fast and the Furious” presents “Hobbs & Shaw” opens nationwide August 2. It was Directed by David Leitch (“Deadpool 2,” “Atomic Blonde”) and stars Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Idris Elba, Vanessa Kirby and Helen Mirren.

Published at Sun, 14 Jul 2019 18:28:26 +0000

Protesters line Arlington Heights road over migrant conditions near U.S.-Mexico border

Protesters line Arlington Heights road over migrant conditions near U.S.-Mexico border

Protesters gathered near the downtown Arlington Heights train station Friday night to demonstrate against the conditions in migrant detention centers along the U.S. border.

The “Lights for Liberty” street-corner rally was part of a series of events held nationwide and in such suburbs as Downers Grove, Elgin, Elmhurst, Glen Ellyn and Naperville. The crowd, which easily exceeded 100 people, stood on the grassy area between the Union Pacific tracks and Northwest Highway from Arlington Heights Road to Evergreen Avenue.

People lifted signs and banners bearing such messages as “KIDS DON’T BELONG IN CAGES” and “SEEKING ASYLUM IS NOT A CRIME.” The crowd was greeted largely with honks of support from passing vehicles, although one passerby yelled support for President Donald Trump.

Some of the signs incorporated images of the Statue of Liberty and the words used on the statue. Randy Longstreet of Arlington Heights held a sign that juxtaposed the statue and the words “Bring me your tired, your poor” with a drawing depicting the father and daughter who drowned at the border.

“To me, America has always been a beacon of hope and chance,” said Longstreet, a descendant of an Irish grandmother and African American slaves. He said of his sign, “It’s an indictment of this current administration, the lengths of depravity that they are willing to go to to push their agenda at the cost of human lives.”

Trump administration officials have defended conditions at U.S. Border Patrol stations after reports of crowded and unsanitary conditions. Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan said that since the first of the year, 200 medical providers have been added to facilities, including personnel from the U.S. Coast Guard and Public Health Service Commission Corps.


Just this week, a former oil field worker camp in rural Texas became the government’s newest holding center for detaining migrant children after they leave Border Patrol stations. Long trailers once used to house workers in two-bedroom suites have been converted into 12-person dorms with two pairs of bunk beds in each bedroom and the living room. The Department of Health and Human Services said about 225 children are being held at the site in Carrizo Springs, with plans to expand to as many as 1,300, making it one of the biggest camps in the U.S. government system to help provide capacity.

The Arlington Heights event was organized by Mount Prospect resident Erika Burch, who has led similar street corner protests in her village.

She said she feels she is making a difference.

“What started off with just me holding a sign came to many friendships being made, other protests being started, lots of encouragement, lots of comfort knowing that there are other people,” Burch said.

Speakers included Father Corey Brost of Viator House of Hospitality, which offers services such as housing, food and referrals to young men seeking asylum.


“As Dr. King said, the arc of history is long, but it’s bent towards justice. But it only bends towards justice when people of faith, people of good heart bend it. And you are, we are bending it tonight,” Brost said. “And we will continue to bend it until our sisters and brothers who are migrating are being treated as the humans that they are and their rights are being respected.”

State Sen. Ann Gillespie also spoke out, lashing out at the federal government.

“This is a matter of a policy embedded in deliberate cruelty,” she said. “That’s what our federal government is doing in our name.”

She also said she is proud of developments in Illinois, where the General Assembly voted to ban private detention centers in the state. She added that Gov. Pritzker signed an executive order saying Illinois is a state that welcomes immigrants, and she praised Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot for making it clear that the Chicago police force will not be used as agents of ICE.

Published at Sat, 13 Jul 2019 02:53:18 +0000

Greek Fest continues Sunday at St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Church in Elgin

Greek Fest continues Sunday at St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Church in Elgin

Greek Fest will wrap up its 40th year at St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Church in Elgin from noon to 10 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free; the church is at 525 Church Road, Elgin, near I-90 and Route 31.

In addition to authentic Greek cuisine dinner dishes such as gyros, Grecian chicken, souvlakia (shish-ka-bob), moussaka, pastitsio, there’s saganaki (flaming cheese), and Greek fries, fried calamari, and Greek salad.

Kids can enjoy games and inflatable rides.

Published at Sat, 13 Jul 2019 19:59:12 +0000

Trubisky Scooter Photo Sparks Worry Among Bears Fans

Trubisky Scooter Photo Sparks Worry Among Bears Fans

Chicago Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky is soaking up his final few days of fun before training camp starts later this month, but a photo he posted on social media is apparently causing some concern among fans.

Trubisky, who is entering his third season in the NFL, posted a photo of himself riding a scooter as part of a partnership with Bird, one of the scooter companies that has been included in a pilot program in Chicago this summer:

Bears fans, likely still scarred from Cody Parkey’s missed field goal in the postseason earlier this year, are harboring big Super Bowl dreams for this season, and they seem rather worried about his safety while riding on the scooter:

Some fans even went so far as to suggest that Trubisky, who is being talked about as a darkhorse MVP candidate going into the 2019 season, should wear his helmet and shoulder pads while riding, just to make sure that he doesn’t hurt himself.

At any rate, the Bears will report to training camp in Bourbonnais on July 25, with their first open practice set for July 27.

Published at Sun, 14 Jul 2019 02:10:10 +0000

Twitter Users Across the World Report Outages

Twitter Users Across the World Report Outages

If Twitter goes down, who is there to tweet about it? 

Twitter appeared to be out for many users for part of Thursday afternoon, with some taking to the social networking company’s page on rival site Facebook, Reddit and other places to spread the word. 

More than 24,000 users on reported problems accessing Twitter, as of 3:20 p.m. ET. The outage-tracking site’s live map showed many parts of the United States, Europe, Japan and parts of South America affected. 

“We are currently investigating issues people are having accessing Twitter,” a message on Twitter’s status page said at 2:58 p.m. ET. “We will keep you updated on whats happening.” 

A later update at 3:56 p.m. ET said the outage “was due to an internal configuration change, which we’re now fixing. Some people may be able to access Twitter again and we’re working to make sure Twitter is available to everyone as quickly as possible.” 

At 5:10 p.m. ET, an update on the status page announced that Twitter was “now back up for most people. We’re working to get to 100% soon.”

But around 7 p.m. ET., it appeared the social media platform was briefly down again.

Another message posted on the status page at 7:45 p.m. ET said Twitter “will be undergoing scheduled maintenance during this time.”

A Twitter spokesperson reiterated in a statement to NBC that the company will post future updates on its own status page.  

Last week, Facebook experienced an outage on its social media platforms, which include Instagram and WhatsApp.

The Twitter outage came the same day President Donald Trump was scheduled to meet with right-wing internet personalities, who the White House said would show “how they have been affected by bias online.” Disinformation experts said the event aimed at legitimizing internet trolls and harassers, NBC News reported.

Published at Thu, 11 Jul 2019 23:51:17 +0000

5 wounded in Gresham drive-by

5 wounded in Gresham drive-by

CHICAGO (WLS) — Five people were wounded Saturday after someone in a vehicle opened fire in Gresham on the South Side.

It happened at 2:58 a.m., while they were gathered on the sidewalk in the 7900 block of South Loomis Boulevard, Chicago police said. Someone in a grey sedan drove up, unleashed gunfire and hit the group, before driving off.

A 24-year-old man was shot in the chest, and another man 31, was hit in the back and chest, police said. They were taken to Christ Medical Center in critical condition.

A 27-year-old man was shot in the leg and a woman, 29, was hit in the hip, police said. They were taken on the University of Chicago Medical Center; their conditions were stabilized.

A 37-year-old man who was grazed in the wrist refused medical treatment, police said.

No one is in custody. Area South detectives are investigating.

Copyright © 2019 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.

Published at Sat, 13 Jul 2019 13:40:17 +0000

R. Kelly Arrested on Fed Child Porn Charges, Indicted in NYC, Illinois

R. Kelly Arrested on Fed Child Porn Charges, Indicted in NYC, Illinois

UPDATE: R. Kelly Indicted in NYC on Federal Kidnapping, Racketeering and Child Sex Charges — Read the Full Court Document Here

Singer R. Kelly was arrested on federal sex charges Thursday night nearly five months after he was released on bail for additional sexual abuse charges brought by Illinois prosecutors, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s office said.

The 52-year-old was arrested in Chicago by Homeland Security Investigations agents and NYPD Public Safety Task Force, officials told News 4. R. Kelly had stepped out for a smoke and to walk his dog “Believe” when he was taken into custody around 7 p.m. local time, a law enforcement source familiar with the case said.

He was being held at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Chicago, according to the Federal Prisons Bureau website.

Steve Greenberg, an attorney for Kelly confirmed Thursday’s arrest, adding “the agents were courteous and professional, as was Mr. Kelly.” 

“The conduct alleged appears to largely be the same as the conduct previously alleges against Mr. Kelly in his current State indictment and his former State charges that he was acquitted of,” Greenberg said. “Most, if not all of the conduct alleged, is decades old.” 

There are separate federal indictments filed in both Chicago and Brooklyn — and no victim overlap in the cases, authorities said. Kelly made his initial court appearance Thursday night.

An indictment unsealed in the Eastern District of New York Friday charges him with racketeering, kidnapping, forced labor and sexual exploitation of a child. Read the full NYC indictment here.  

A 13-count indictment was handed down Thursday in federal court for the Northern District of Illinois and includes charges of child pornography, enticement of a minor and obstruction of justice. 

Kelly did not enter a plea for the Illinois or Eastern District of New York indictments. He is scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday for the Illinois indictment, and the issues of how he will be detained and moved to New York will be addressed that day as well.

Kelly and his lawyers hope the singer will be released from custody. Federal prosecutors said in a detention memo filed in Illinois Friday that Kelly should be granted no bail pending trial.

Greenberg said Kelly already has a team of “outstanding” federal litigators and was not surprised by the new charges. 

“He and his lawyers look forward to his day in court, to the truth coming out and to his vindication from what has been an unprecedented assault by others for their own personal gain. Most importantly he looks forward to being able to continue to making wonderful music and perform for his legions of fans that believe him.” 

The singer’s crisis manager, Darrell Johnson, says his legal team was expecting the indictment to happen but he doesn’t know what the charges are yet. Kelly, whose legal name is Robert Sylvester Kelly, was in high spirit as he awaits his trial, according to Johnson.

“Mr. Kelly has declared his innocence from day one,” said Johnson, who says he has been working with the R&B star for six months. “I’ve seen nothing, and I do mean nothing, that would lead to any type of guilt.”

Andrea Kelly, the singer’s ex-wife, had no comment following the arrest, her rep said.

The 52-year-old has been the subject of different sexual abuse allegations for nearly two decades, with some of the alleged acts dating back to 1998.

R. Kelly Yells In Explosive Interview: 5 Biggest Bombshells

[NATL] R. Kelly Yells In Explosive Interview: 5 Biggest Bombshells

Back in February, Kelly was charged with aggravated sexual abuse involving four women, three of whom were minors when the alleged abuse occurred. He pleaded not guilty and was released from Chicago’s Cook County Jail after posting bail.

A jury in 2008 acquitted Kelly of child pornography charges stemming from a video showing him having sex with a girl as young as 13, prosecutors claimed at the time. Kelly faced 15 years in prison for that charge, but the young woman in that claim denied it was her and did not testify.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Published at Sat, 13 Jul 2019 02:23:12 +0000