Jun 10

Police seek 2 men, vehicles in Sycamore homicide

SYCAMORE – Police are searching for two men, one of whom might have been armed with a handgun, in connection with an incident where a woman was found dead in her car at the Illinois Department of Human Services building, 1629 Afton Road.

Update:  Other media outlets have confirmed with the Daily Chronicle that the license plate of a black Chrysler involved in a shootout with police in Lyons match those of the black Chrysler involved in the Sycamore incident.  The vehicle was stopped near the intersection of Ogden ave and Joliet Ave in Lyons, surrounded by 3-4 marked nad 3 unmarked police vehicles, according to witnesses. Witnesses then heard between 20-25 shots fired within less than a minute.  The driver of the vehicle is dead.

Read more about the investigation here.

This is a developing story. Stick with the Daily Chronicle as it develops, and more information will be posted.

Jun 05

Photos: House fire in Sycamore on Monday

Sycamore firefighter/paramedics battle a house fire at 333 Swanson Road on Monday, June 05, 2017 in Sycamore.

Jun 01

Waterman Road to close Monday for repairs

DeKALB – Waterman Road between Perry and Duffy roads will be closed from Monday until Aug. 18 for repairs to that five miles of roadway in Afton and Clinton townships.

The project is set to cost $1,437,252.35 and will be done by Civil Constructors, Inc. from Freeport.

Updates to the project will be posted online to dekalbcounty.org/highway.

Questions or concerns can be directed to County Engineer Nathan Schwartz at 815-756-9513 or highway@dekalbcounty.org.

May 27

New Dennis Hastert accuser sues former speaker, Yorkville School District 115

YORKVILLE – Another former Yorkville student has filed a lawsuit against former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert, as well as Yorkville School District 115, detailing allegations of a rape that occurred in the 1970s.

The alleged victim, named Richard Doe in the lawsuit that was filed Friday in Kendall County Circuit Court, states in his lawsuit that Hastert sodomized him in a bathroom when the victim was in fourth grade, and that the county state’s attorney at the time threatened him with criminal charges upon hearing the story years later.

A court hearing is set for 9 a.m. Tuesday at the Kendall County Courthouse in Yorkville on a request by the alleged victim’s attorneys to use a pseudonym instead of Doe’s real name.

Doe and his attorneys named Hastert as a defendant in the civil lawsuit and the school district as a “respondent in discovery,” which means the district is not a defendant in the lawsuit but could be if enough information is obtained to make it a defendant.

The lawsuit accuses Hastert of battery, false imprisonment, negligent infliction of emotional distress and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

When asked about the lawsuit, District 115 spokeswoman Kristine Liptrot said she was “unaware of the new allegations that have been brought forward” and that she “cannot comment on pending litigation.”

“However, if law enforcement needs our assistance, we are always available to help in an investigation,” Liptrot said.

The lawsuit was filed by attorney Kristi Browne of the Patterson Law Firm of Chicago, which also is representing a person known as Individual A, a former Yorkville student who initially accused Hastert of abuse and whose hush-money agreement with Hastert led to the federal indictment and conviction of the former speaker for banking violations.

Hastert was convicted and sentenced for those violations in April 2016, and he is slated to be released Aug. 16 from the Federal Medical Center in Rochester, Minnesota.

Attack and intimidation alleged

The lawsuit states that when Doe was nine or 10 years old and in fourth grade, in the spring or summer of 1973 or 1974, he was riding his bike along Game Farm Road in Yorkville and stopped in what was then the state Game Farm Building (now the location of Yorkville City Hall) to use the bathroom.

Doe claims he was sitting on a toilet in a stall in a bathroom when he heard “a male voice mutter something outside the stall door.”

“Suddenly, the stall door opened and a large man (now known to be Hastert) entered the stall,” the lawsuit states. “(Doe) believes the man’s genitals were exposed at that time. Hastert grabbed (Doe) by the neck, bent him over the toilet, and proceeded to forcefully sodomize (Doe).”

After the alleged assault took place, Hastert left the bathroom, the lawsuit states. The lawsuit says Doe “saw Hastert’s face at that time but did not recognize him.”

The lawsuit states that several weeks after the alleged attack, Doe was in gym class at Yorkville Grade School, which is located next door to the old Yorkville High School, where Hastert was a teacher and coach at the time. Doe claims Hastert walked into the gym class and talked to his teacher. Doe said upon recognizing Hastert, he began “shaking and crying.” Hastert then approached Doe, the lawsuit states.

“Hastert took (Doe) by the neck and led him into the hallway,” the lawsuit states. “In the hallway, Hastert dropped to his knees and asked (Doe) if he told anyone about the assault. (Doe), still crying, said no. Hastert warned (Doe) against reporting the attack, threatening that Hastert’s father was the sheriff and, if (Doe) told, his parents would be put in jail.”

Hastert’s father, Jack Hastert, was never the sheriff of Kendall County. He worked in funeral homes and ran a feed store and restaurant.

The lawsuit states that because of Doe “being a student in the district in which Hastert taught and coached, Hastert owed (Doe) a special duty to ensure (Doe’s) well-being and to protect (Doe) from physical, mental, and emotional harm,” the lawsuit says. “Hastert violated this duty by sexually assaulting (Doe) and both threatening (Doe) to prevent him from reporting the crime and failing to inform (Doe) that he had a cause of action against Hastert.”

The lawsuit says that Doe’s “severe mental and emotional distress” was “only exacerbated by (Doe’s) fear of reprisal by Hastert and his family if he attempted to talk to someone about the attack.”

Threats alleged after attempted report

Doe says in the lawsuit that it was not until 1984 or 1985, when he was 20 or 21, that he “began to comprehend the scope of the malevolent acts perpetrated by Hastert on him as a child.”

At that time, the lawsuit says, Doe visited the Kendall County State’s Attorney’s Office to report the crime and spoke to then-State’s Attorney Dallas Ingemunson. Doe says in the lawsuit that he did not know that Ingemunson played a prominent role in Hastert’s political career and had been involved with Hastert as his personal attorney and a partner in various business ventures, the lawsuit states.

“Upon hearing (Doe’s) report, Ingemunson threatened to charge (Doe) with a crime and accused him of slandering Hastert’s name,” the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit states that Ingemunson’s “threats were intended to prevent (Doe) from discovering the full extent of the crimes committed against him” and that his “threats were made for the benefit and on behalf of Hastert, whose political career was just taking off, and who could not afford to be labeled a child molester.”

As a result of that incident, Doe states that he “was traumatized, repressed the sexual assault by Hastert, and was intimidated into silence.”

When reached by cellphone on Saturday, Ingemunson said “all these things [Doe] is saying are untrue.”

“I never even met the guy,” Ingemunson said. “He’s never been in my office. I have no idea what he’s talking about. He’s just making it all up.”

Regarding the Hastert accusations, Ingemunson said, “I wish this stuff would all just go away.”

“I have no idea how this is going to blow up now, with all this crap,” he said. “It’s just all untrue nonsense.”

May 24

SMS names April Students of the Month

Sycamore Middle School has named its Students of the Month for April. The sixth-grade students are Amanda Fitzpatrick, Haroon Quddus, Cassandra Chamoun and Thomas McComb. The seventh-grade students are Natalie Pasillas, Jacob O’Donnell, Aaliyah McCormick and Garrett Harms. The eighth-grade students are Lauren Lee, Ella Johnson, Ainsley Petit and Chelsea Smith.

May 20

Report: FBI probe moves into White House

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump told Russian diplomats last week his firing of “nut job” James Comey had eased the pressure on him, even as the FBI’s Trump-Russia investigation had moved into the White House, according to reports Friday that pursued the president as he began his maiden foreign trip.

White House hopes that Trump could leave scandalous allegations at home were crushed in a one-two punch of revelations that landed shortly after his departure.

A Washington Post report, citing anonymous sources familiar with the matter, said a senior Trump adviser is now considered a “person of interest” in the law enforcement investigation into whether Trump’s campaign associates coordinated with Russia in an effort to sway the 2016 election.

And The New York Times reported that the president had told Russian officials he felt the dismissal of his FBI director had relieved “great pressure” on him. The White House has said the firing was unrelated to the FBI’s Russia investigation.

Late Friday, the Senate intelligence committee announced that Comey had agreed to testify at an open hearing at an undetermined date after Memorial Day.

Comey will certainly be asked about encounters that precipitated his firing, including a January dinner in which, Comey has told associates, Trump asked for his loyalty. In the Oval Office weeks later, Comey told associates, the president asked him to shut down an investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

Comey is known to produce memos documenting especially sensitive or unsettling encounters, such as after the February meeting.

Comey turned down an invitation to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The new headlines were a fresh indication that Trump would not be able to change the subject from what appears to be an intensifying investigation reaching toward the president and his inner circle. The White House repeated its assertion that a “thorough investigation will confirm that there was no collusion between the campaign and any foreign entity.”

It did not deny the Times report that Trump was critical of Comey to the Russians the day after he fired him.

The Times reported Trump noted the Russia investigation as he told Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak of his decision to fire Comey.

“I just fired the head of the FBI. He was crazy, a real nut job,” the Times reported that Trump said during the May 10 meeting. “I faced great pressure because of Russia. That’s taken off.”

White House spokesman Sean Spicer called the president’s rhetoric part of his deal-making.

“By grandstanding and politicizing the investigation into Russia’s actions, James Comey created unnecessary pressure on our ability to engage and negotiate with Russia,” Spicer said.

“The investigation would have always continued, and obviously the termination of Comey would not have ended it. Once again, the real story is that our national security has been undermined by the leaking of private and highly classified conversations.”

As for the separate report of a “person of interest” under investigation, the Post said the senior White House adviser “under scrutiny” is someone close to the president but did not name the person.

Among Trump’s senior White House advisers are several former campaign officials, including his son-in-law Jared Kushner, Steve Bannon, Stephen Miller and Kellyanne Conway. In March, Kushner volunteered to answer lawmakers’ questions about meetings he had with Russian officials during the transition.

A spokeswoman for House Speaker Paul Ryan said he would not discuss information provided in classified briefings and said the House Oversight committee had already asked for documents related to Comey’s firing.

Earlier this week, the Justice Department appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller to take over the federal investigation in an effort to re-establish independence from the White House.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein told Congress Friday he stands by a memo he wrote bluntly criticizing Comey. But he made clear it was not his intention for Trump or other White House officials to use the document to justify firing Comey, which is what they have done.

In closed-door meetings with lawmakers on Thursday and Friday, Rosenstein said he wrote the memo after Trump told him one day before the May 9 firing that he wanted to dismiss Comey. Rosenstein said that although he was personally fond of Comey, “I thought it was appropriate to seek a new leader.”

The Justice Department on Friday released the text of Rosenstein’s opening remarks for the briefings on Capitol Hill.

Trump has said he plans to nominate a new FBI director soon, but there was no announcement Friday.

The appointment of Mueller as special counsel has drawn generally favorable comments from Democrats and from some Republicans as well. But lawmakers at both congressional sessions expressed frustration that Rosenstein would say little in answer to their questions about his actions – or others’ – before Comey’s firing.

“There was considerable frustration in the room,” said Rep. Seth Moulton, D-Mass., a member of the Armed Services Committee. “This renewed my confidence that we should not have confidence in this administration. I don’t think (Rosenstein) did a lot to bolster our confidence in him today.”

The White House has struggled since Comey’s firing to explain the chain of events that led to it and the Justice Department’s involvement in that decision. Trump has insisted at times that the decision was his alone, but he also has pointed to the “very strong” recommendation from Rosenstein.

Rosenstein made it clear to the lawmakers that he drafted his memo only after Trump told him of his plans to dismiss the FBI director. “My memorandum is not a statement of reasons to justify a for-cause termination,” he said. But he added, “I wrote it. I believe it. I stand by it.”

The memo focused on Comey’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation, particularly the FBI director’s decision to divulge details to the public at various junctures during her presidential campaign against Trump. Rosenstein denounced that decision as “profoundly wrong and unfair.”

Trump has reacted furiously to the appointment of a special counsel, a prosecutor with wide authority to investigate Russia’s interference and other potential crimes uncovered. However, at a combative news conference Thursday, he fell short in trying to resolve questions about investigations into his campaign and his first four months in office.

Asked point-blank if he’d done anything that might merit prosecution or even impeachment, Trump said no – and then added of the lingering allegations and questions: “I think it’s totally ridiculous. Everybody thinks so.”

May 16

Photos: Local police pay respects to fallen officers

Local law enforcement personnel pay their respecgts during a memorial for fallen police officers on Monday, May 15, 2017 at the DeKalb County Courthouse in Sycamore. Four Illinois police officers, including Officer James Brockmeyer of South Jacksonville Police Department, Officer Jason Gallero of Cook County Sheriffs Police, Correctional Officer Adam Scott Conrad of Marion County Sheriffs Office, and Officer Scot Fitzgerald of Chester Police Department, died in the line of duty in 2016.

May 11

Tourism director highlights 2016 tourism statistics during presentation

DeKALB – The state’s tourism director spoke Thursday at the Egyptian Theatre about how his office has managed to do more with less.

Despite little funding from the state to market its various tourism destinations, Illinois welcomed 110 million domestic visitors in 2016, one million more than previous year, Cory Jobe said.

Due to the increase, domestic travelers spent $35.1 billion in 2016, a 1.8 percent increase from 2015. That growth helped support an additional 9,600 jobs in Illinois in 2016, Jobe said.

“Tourism is big business,” Jobe said. “For every dollar we spend, it continues to generate over nine dollars in economic return.”

Jobe was wrapping up a series of presentations across the state, as part of National Travel and Tourism Week, which recognizes the positive effects of tourism on the state and wraps up Saturday.

“Tourism is an industry that continues to grow and evolve, and it continues to be an economic engine for the state, and I want to thank everyone for driving economic tourism in the state,” Jobe said.

He also complimented the Enjoy Illinois website for making leaps and bounds in promoting Illinois tourism.

In addition to statistics, Jobe highlighted the Illinois Made program, which features various artisans and small business owners around the state who help to drive tourism.

In 2016, less than $4 million was spent on marketing Illinois tourism, Jobe said, yet $15 million is projected to be spent in 13 Midwest markets and six international markets this year.

“The hope is for Illinois Made to get more of the state involved in marketing efforts,” Jobe said. “Illinois is a big state with a lot of great product, but it’s hard to capture all of that great product in a 30- to 60-second video,” Jobe said.

DeKalb Mayor Jerry Smith said a possible opportunity to promote local tourism is collaboration between small businesses – for instance, Waterman Winery and Whiskey Acres Distilling Company holding some type of countywide sampling.

Jobe said the goal is to keep visitors in the state as long as possible, and craft spirits are often a strong passion point of travel.

“That’s an idea I think we can perhaps collaboratively put together,” Smith said.

May 06

Community Action scholarships available

The DeKalb County Community Action Department and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity announce the 2017‐2019 Community Services Block Grant college scholarship program.

To be eligible to apply, the applicant must be a permanent DeKalb County resident, and be a member of a family whose gross income from the past 90 days does not exceed 125 percent of the poverty level.

Deadline for applicants is 4:30 p.m. June 23.

For complete information on eligibility and how to apply, visit www.dekalbcountycommunityaction.org or call 815‐758‐3910.

May 03

2017 Sycamore Cinco de Mayo Festival schedule

What time, where and what’s going on at the 2017 Sycamore Cinco de Mayo Festival

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