The latest local news

Crews respond to fatal crash on IL-81 near Lynn Center

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LYNN CENTER, Illinois — Emergency crews responded to a fatal crash that took place on Illinois 81 at I-74 just before 2:00 p.m. on Monday afternoon.

According to the Illinois State Police, a passenger van exited I-74 and turned east onto Illinois 81 when it was struck by a westbound semi. Officials say the semi was unable to stop and struck the front driver’s side of the van.

The driver of the van was ejected from the vehicle and sustained fatal injuries.

The Henry County Sheriff’s Department, Illinois State Police, Cambridge and Osco Fire, and the Henry County Coroner’s office all responded to the scene.

The ramp from I-74 east to Illinois 81 and the west lane of Illinois 81 have been closed for reconstruction and recovery efforts.

 

 

A blast of cool air arrives just in time for Tuesday

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Breezy and chilly is the story for Tuesday! We’ll start off the morning in the low 40s, and we’ll only warm up into the upper 40s that afternoon. A few gusts of wind over 30 mph will be possible. Showers are likely during the morning, but we’ll dry off later in the day. Clouds clearing out Tuesday night may help a little frost develop… lows will be in the mid 30s.

A brief warm up is in store by Wednesday and Thursday as we get back into the upper 50s and low 60s. Take advantage of those sunny and warmer days while you can… another blast of cool air will arrive by the weekend. We’ll be back in the mid 40s on Friday and Saturday with more cloud cover. Lows may be getting around freezing.

Meteorologist Taylor Graham

Wanted: 1,000 new Delta flight attendants

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(CNN Money) — Delta is on the hunt for new flight attendants.

The airline has more than 1,000 open flight attendant positions for 2018 and the competition is stiff.

Last year, 150,000 people applied for around 1,200 flight attendant jobs. Fewer than 1% of applicants were hired.

So far, Delta has received more than 125,000 applications for this hiring round.

So what makes it such a tough gig to land?

“You need to not only be a customer service professional, but also a safety expert,” said Ashton Morrow, a Delta spokeswoman.

Related: Delta’s passengers are paying more

It’s a long hiring process: applicants first submit an application, then chosen candidates submit a video of themselves answering a set of questions. Selected candidates are then asked to come in for an in-person interview. Last year, 35,000 people made it to the video interview part. The candidate pool was then whittled down to 6,000 people for in-person interviews.

“After making it through the highly competitive and exhaustive selection process, they put all their previous experience and skills to the test during our flight attendant initial training,” said Allison Ausband, Delta’s senior vice president of in-flight service, in a release Monday.

New hires go through an eight-week training program in Atlanta where they learn how to handle mid-flight emergencies like a fire or a sick passenger. The company describes the training program as “grueling” and that it will “stretch each trainee to the limit” in a video.

Related: Why do European airlines keep going bust?

Average entry-level flight attendants earn roughly $25,000 a year, according to the company, but can earn more depending upon their schedule. Employee benefits include health insurance coverage, 401(k) with a company match and a profit-sharing program. Workers also get travel privileges for themselves and family members.

Work-life balance can be tricky for flight attendants early in their careers since they don’t have a lot of control over their flight schedules.

To be considered, applicants must be at least 21 years old, have a high school degree or GED and be able to work in the U.S. Flight attendants cannot have any tattoos that are visible while in the company’s uniform. Visible body piercings and earlobe plugs are also not allowed.

Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s sentencing hearing postponed until Wednesday

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(CNN) — Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl spent five years held captive by the Taliban. And depending on the outcome of his sentencing hearing, he could spend the rest of his life behind bars.

Bergdahl, 31, pleaded guilty last week to misbehavior before the enemy and desertion. His sentencing hearing was scheduled for Monday, but was postponed until Wednesday due to an attorney’s family emergency.

Bergdahl deserted from his outpost in Afghanistan in June 2009. Hours later, he was captured by the Taliban. He was eventually released in a controversial prisoner swap in exchange for five Guantanamo Bay detainees.

During a hearing last week, Bergdahl told the judge, Army Col. Jeffery R. Nance, that he was trying to reach the base from where he was dispatched.

Bergdahl said he wanted to report “a critical problem in my chain of command,” but did not specify what that problem was.

“I left my observation post on my own,” Bergdahl told the judge last week. “I understand leaving was against the law.”

The judge said Bergdahl faces up to life in prison.

Taliban capture and torture

During his five years in Taliban captivity, Bergdahl made “somewhere between a dozen and 15 escape attempts,” he told the judge last week.

Bergdahl previously described the torture he endured, which included months chained to a bed and years either locked in a cage or chained on all fours.

After five years, the Taliban released Bergdahl in a prisoner swap for five detainees at Guantanamo Bay. At the time, President Barack Obama cited a “sacred rule” in attempting to rescue American service members — no matter the circumstances surrounding their capture.

“We still get an American soldier back if he’s held in captivity. Period. Full stop. We don’t condition that,” Obama said at the time.

Since then, Bergdahl has been called both a traitor and a hero.

Celebrated at first, Bergdahl’s release raises more questions

In 2015, an Army Sanity Board evaluation said Bergdahl had schizotypal personality disorder. That information was included in the hundreds of pages of documents that Bergdahl’s defense team released on a website called The Bergdahl Docket.

Former comrade: ‘He’s still a coward’

Retired Army Spc. Cody Full, a member of Bergdahl’s platoon in Afghanistan, called Bergdahl a “coward.”

He said the military has an open-door policy for service members to voice concerns about chains of command, so Bergdahl had no reason to desert.

“He was a coward nine years ago when he deserted, and I think he showed he’s still a coward,” Full said. “He refuses to take responsibility for his actions.”

Who is Bowe Bergdahl?

Those actions, Full said, jeopardized the safety of other service members.

“He literally put thousands and thousands of people’s lives at risk just so he could go and want to complain for whatever transgressions he thought happened or didn’t happen,” Full said.

The prosecution has said it intends to call two soldiers and a Navy SEAL who they say were wounded during the search for Bergdahl.

But the Army general who led the investigation into Bergdahl’s actions in Afghanistan testified that jail time for him would be “inappropriate.”

Maj. Gen. Kenneth Dahl said he did not find any evidence to corroborate reporting that Bergdahl was sympathetic to the Taliban.”

And Terrence Russell, who debriefed Bergdahl while working for the Department of Defense’s Joint Personnel Recovery Agency, said the sergeant suffered “horrific” conditions while in Taliban captivity.

“An army of one, he had to fight the enemy alone for four years 11 months,” Russell testified in 2015. “You cannot overestimate how difficult that is.”

On Sunday, Eugene Fidell, Bergdahl’s civilian defense attorney, would not share with CNN whom the defense plans to call as a witness during the sentencing phase of the trial.

Trump: Bergdahl ‘should be shot’

During the 2016 presidential campaign, Donald Trump said Bergdahl “should be shot” for walking off his post.

“In the good old days, he would have been executed,” Trump said.

After Trump took office, Bergdahl’s lawyers argued the judge should dismiss the charges because of Trump’s comments, claiming Trump violated Bergdahl’s due-process rights and saying it would not be possible for Bergdahl to get a fair trial.

Bowe Bergdahl: I wanted to be Jason Bourne

But a military judge ruled against dismissing charges. Bergdahl later chose to be tried by a military judge rather than a jury.

In an exclusive interview obtained by ABC last year, Bergdahl said he didn’t think he would be able to get a fair trial after Trump’s comments that he should be shot.

“We may as well go back to kangaroo courts and lynch mobs. They got what they wanted,” Bergdahl said. “People who are to the point of saying, ‘Yeah, just shoot him’ — you can never convince those people to change their minds.”

Justin Timberlake to perform at his first Super Bowl since ‘Nipplegate’

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(CNN Money) — Justin Timberlake is returning to the Super Bowl stage for the first time since Janet Jackson’s notorious “wardrobe malfunction.”

The NFL announced Sunday that Timberlake, 36, is set to perform in Super Bowl LII’s halftime show on Feb. 4 in Minneapolis.

The last time he graced the game’s halftime stage was at Super Bowl XXXVIII in 2004. During the show, Timberlake ripped away part of Jackson’s costume, exposing one of her breasts to a TV audience estimated at roughly 140 million.

Jackson’s spokesman said it was a costume reveal gone wrong, but critics questioned whether it was really accidental, sparking a controversy dubbed “Nipplegate.”

Related: NFL, Facebook partner to show game highlights, recaps

Timberlake apologized for the incident and said it was “not intentional and is regrettable.” Jackson suffered criticism about it for years.

The Federal Communication Commission hit CBS, which broadcast the 2004 halftime show, with a $550,000 fine. However, the Supreme Court later tossed out the punishment.

In the aftermath of the incident, broadcasters introduced a short video delay for live events. Super Bowl LII will air on NBC.

It will be Timberlake’s third time performing at the game. He previously appeared at Super Bowl XXXV in 2001 with his band *NSYNC.

It’s unclear whether anyone will be joining him on stage this time around.

In February of this year, Lady Gaga performed during the game’s halftime show.

Amazon’s next target? Etsy-styled arts and crafts

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(CNN Money) — Is there any part of the retail world that Jeff Bezos doesn’t want to dominate?

Amazon announced a new section on its handcrafted gifts site on Monday. And shares of arts and crafts e-commerce site Etsy fell more than 4% on the news.

The Amazon Handmade Gift Shop features gifts like artisan jewelry, personalized flasks, coffee mugs and handmade toys for kids and babies.

In other words, any quirky item you would think of buying on Etsy because it’s not super commercial is now on Amazon too.

“Every item on Amazon Handmade has a story behind it — and after hearing from customers and artisans, we are thrilled to make gift shopping an experience they will look forward to,” said Amazon Handmade head of marketing Katie Harnetiaux in a statement.

It’s worth noting though that Amazon has had a Handmade site since October 2015. And Etsy’s stock plunged two years ago as well when Amazon first introduced it.

What appears to be new here is the gift aspect of Amazon’s handmade site — conveniently just in time for the holidays.

Will the new online store hurt Etsy? The company was not immediately available for comment. But for what it’s worth, Etsy’s stock is having a solid year, up nearly 35%.

Still, shares of Etsy are currently trading only slightly above their initial offering price of $16 a share from 2015. The company is profitable but analysts are forecasting little in the way of earnings growth for 2018 and a slowdown in sales growth too.

Related: Are prescription drugs the next target for Amazon?

Amazon, on the other hand, has been busy disrupting the world of commerce, media and other aspects of retail and technology.

The stock is up more than 30% this year and is not far from an all-time high. Amazon is worth $470 billion. And Bezos is now the second-richest person on the planet according to Forbes — worth nearly $82 billion, trailing only Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates.

And Amazon has created a furor throughout North America lately with its plans to build a new second headquarters to go along with its current home in Seattle.

Cities have been bidding for the Amazon “HQ2” in a fashion reminiscent of what used to be done to try and get the rights to host the Olympics.

Even New York City, home to Etsy — which is based in Brooklyn — has submitted a plan to be the home of Amazon’s HQ2.

Amazon will report its latest quarterly results after the closing bell on Thursday and Wall Street will be very interested to see how the company’s new brick and mortar stores are doing, which includes the recent acquisition of organic grocer Whole Foods.

There have also been rumors that Amazon may be looking to start selling prescription medications online, news that sent shares of drugstore chains Walgreen and CVS lower as well as pharmacy benefits manager Express Scripts.

And there has also been chatter that Amazon may want to start its own delivery service. Those reports caused the stocks of FedEx and UPS to fall. But Amazon told CNNMoney it’s not looking to change its relationship with those companies right now.

Nonetheless, it seems that there are few consumer-related industries out there that are immune to potential threats from Amazon.

‘Stranger Things 2’ builds on eerie nostalgia

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(CNN) — As part of a small subset of the pop-culture universe that thought “Stranger Things” was nice but nothing special, the second season provoked some trepidation. How can one characterize whether the Emmy-nominated Netflix phenom lives up to the hype when you felt it was overhyped in the first place?

The result is a second season that replicates and, indeed, enhances the show’s central charms — its group of pubescent nerds, and nostalgic sense of time and place — while still feeling less compelling with its teenage contingent. All told, it’s an impressive follow-up, if one perhaps burdened by expectations raised by the over-the-moon reaction, to couch it in the fantasy of the era, to the debut.

“Stranger Things 2” has a fair amount of work to do given where season one ended, and that’s accomplished pretty seamlessly. The five boys, for starters, have a new girl, Max (Sadie Sink), to trigger their curiosity and confound them, albeit without quite the impact as the telekinetically gifted Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown), whose return has already been teased, and whose plot is easily the best thing about this second flight.

Meanwhile, Nancy (Natalia Dyer) is still dealing with guilt regarding her friend Barb, Will (Noah Schnapp) is experiencing after-effects of his time in the Upside Down, and his mom Joyce (Winona Ryder) is wracked with concern about him, even as she tests whether it’s possible to have a life of her own.

The Duffer Brothers, who created the show, waste little time setting the scene, as the camera reveals Reagan/Bush yard signs and “Terminator” marquees. It’s a time of “Ghostbusters” Halloween costumes, when strange doings around the town are seen by some (in what feels like a dual nod to “Red Dawn” and “The Americans”) as evidence of a Soviet invasion.

It’s easy to luxuriate in the atmosphere the show conjures, in its knowing references to the pop culture of that moment — from movies to TV to video games to Radio Shack — without fully buying into all of the individual parts.

Although the primary plot is plenty binge-worthy, the series still requires patience with its less-compelling character beats to get there. To its credit, the show steadily builds in intensity, again cleverly uses its cliffhangers to pull viewers from one episode into the next and exhibits an underlying sweetness, especially vis-à-vis the younger kids.

There are also nice additions to the cast, among them Paul Reiser and Sean Astin — offering mid-1980s ties to “Aliens” and “The Goonies,” respectively — while the show continues to borrow (the polite Hollywood term for it) from the best, including a prominent ’70s science-fiction artifact.

With its return timed to Halloween, “Stranger Things 2” provides what amounts to a bookend to a resurgence of nostalgia that spiked during the summer in the form of blockbuster results for Stephen King’s “It,” another one of the sources the series lovingly embraces. (Finn Wolfhard, who plays Mike, stars in both, making him, along with the again-terrific Brown, the “it” kid of the moment.)

“I will never, ever let anything bad happen to you ever again,” Joyce tells Will, as he grapples with his latest ordeal.

As long as “Stranger Things” stays this firmly embedded in the cultural zeitgeist, that’s one of those promises that she — and for that matter, all the adults — will be hard-pressed to keep.

“Stranger Things 2” premieres Oct. 27 on Netflix.

Teen uses shirt as tourniquet to save 10-year-old sister’s life after horrific crash

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RED BUD, Ill. -- An Illinois mom said her 13-year-old son saved his 10-year-old sister’s life after the family was involved in a horrific car wreck a few weeks ago, according to KTVI.

Friday night football took on a whole different meaning for the Bass family. The bright lights, the cheers and getting to see her older brother, Seth Bass, play football was an outlet if not a much-needed distraction for 10-year-old Kira Bass.

The family is still reeling from a horrific accident a few weeks ago as they drove back from visiting their eldest daughter in Texas.

“We ended up hitting the side, going off the road hitting a tree and going into a flip and when we landed she came out of the back window,” Brandi Bass told KTVI.

13-year-old Caleb heard his sister’s screams and immediately ran over.

“And he found her, he saw her injury and she was already in shock and thought her knee was broken,” Bass continued.

But it wasn’t her knee -- she was bleeding because of deep wounds on her right leg.

“He ripped off his shirt and wrapped it around a part of her leg and ran back to the car and pulled me out of the car,” the mom said holding back tears.

After help arrived, responders praised the 13-year-old for his quick thinking and response.

Bass said they told her that had it not been for him, her daughter would have died from blood loss.

Kira, though not much of a talker, said that she has her second older brother to thank for what she calls saving her life.

“What was going through my mind was that I have to save her,” Caleb said.

Friday was the first night that Kira was not at the hospital or at a doctor’s office as she finally got to spend it in the stands with her family.

“Without my son and without God I don’t know if we’d be standing here,” Bass said.

It will be about 6 weeks before Kira goes back to school but is expected to make a full recovery.

The accident is still under investigation.

Listeria triggers major recall of veggies across US and Canada

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(CNN) — A leading vegetable supplier in California, Mann Packing, voluntarily recalled products that might have been contaminated with a harmful bacteria called listeria, the company announced last week.

The recall affects packaged produce at multiple supermarkets across the United States and Canada including Walmart, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and Meijer.

“Mann Packing is issuing this recall out of an abundance of caution,” the company said in a statement, adding that it is cooperating with US and Canadian health officials to recall the products.

No illnesses have been linked to the products, the company said. The contamination risk was picked up by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency through random sampling.

The affected items were listed as “best if used by” October 11 to October 20. Customers should not consume these items but should discard them or return them to the place of purchase.

In response, Meijer has recalled several dozen products, including broccoli, cauliflower and asparagus, that were sold in six states: Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky and Wisconsin.

About 1,600 people become infected with listeria each year, and about 260 die, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While the bacteria may cause fever and diarrhea, just like other foodborne bugs, certain people are at greatly increased risk: the elderly, people with a weak immune system, pregnant women and their newborns.

Pregnant women are 10 times more likely than other people to become infected, and the bacteria can be passed on to the developing fetus, the CDC says. The infection can cause miscarriages, stillbirths and premature labor.

Amazon received 238 proposals for second headquarters

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(CNN Money) — Amazon has confirmed the obvious: It’s received a lot of interest from cities vying to host it’s second headquarters.

The tech giant said on Monday that 238 cities and regions put in a bid for the opportunity. The proposals span across 54 states, provinces, districts and territories across North America.

Amazon announced plans for a second headquarters in September, sending cities into a frenzy. The company expects to invest more than $5 billion to build the facility and will create as many as 50,000 “high-paying” jobs.

Amazon says the new headquarters, dubbed HQ2, will be a “full equal” to its Seattle campus.

Related: 8 cities fit for Amazon’s second headquarters

Cities have made elaborate and creative gestures in an effort to woo Amazon. Kansas City Mayor Sly James wrote five-star reviews for 1,000 random items on Amazon’s website; Tucson sent Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos a giant cactus; and New York City lit up landmarks like the Empire State Building in “Amazon orange.”

Amazon estimates that its investments in Seattle from 2010 through 2016 resulted in an additional $38 billion to the city’s economy.

Proposals for HQ2 were due last week.

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