CHICAGO (CBS) — Nearly 50 members of a notorious South Side street gang have been charged with drug and weapons trafficking, following a more than two-year, federal and local law enforcement investigation.
At least 45 members of the Two-Six street gang, which authorities said has been terrorizing Chicago neighborhoods and the suburbs for decades, were arrested on both federal and state charges involving drug and gun distribution and possession.
A total of 21 of the gang members face federal charges of possession of a firearm by a felon, officials said at a news conference on Friday. The remaining members face state weapons and drug trafficking charges.
Those facing federal weapons possession charges could face up to 10 years in jail.
The investigation, called Operation Bunny Trap, was launched in November of 2014.
Authorities said they have confiscated a total of 118 firearms, including about 15 assault rifles. The drugs involved included cocaine, crack and methamphetamine.
Officials with ATF, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office and Chicago Police all assisted in the probe.
Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson said most of the criminal activity occurred in the eighth, ninth and 10th police districts on the South and Southwest Side.
Authorities would not say whether those arrested were high-ranking members of the gang.
By John Dodge
CHICAGO (CBS) — In a not-so-diplomatic maneuver, President Donald J. Trump on Thursday pushed aside Montenegro’s prime minister, Dusko Markovic, as leaders of the NATO alliance were making their way to a photo opportunity.
Making the moment even more awkward, Montenegro is the newest member of the alliance.
The country is expected to be officially welcomed into the fold in the next few weeks. The Russian government opposed the move, calling NATO’s invitation “a provocation.”
The moment occurred after Trump said NATO member nations “owe massive amounts of money” to pay for the alliance’s operations–at a time when terrorism is of major concern in Europe. Just his week, ISIS claimed responsibly for a suicide bombing that killed 22 people in Manchester, England.
Here is a frame-by-frame look:
Markovic appears a bit startled as Trump puts his hand on Markovic’s arm.
Trump pushes Markovic aside:
Trump moves ahead of Markovic:
Trump adjusts his suit jacket after moving to the front of the group:
By John Dodge
(CBS) — A private, Christian school in Indiana became the focus of the school choice debate this week when U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos refused to say whether she would deny taxpayer funds to schools that discriminate based on sexuality.
During a House Appropriations subcommittee hearing Wednesday, Massachusetts Rep. Katherine Clark asked about Lighthouse Christian Academy in Bloomington. In its school handbook, the school states certain home life “activities”–including “homosexual or bisexual activity” or “practicing alternate gender identity”–could bar a student from admission.
LCA says it “reserves the right, within its sole discretion, to refuse admission or discontinue enrollment of a student” in event a child’s home life violates their standards.
The school received about $650,000 in taxpayer money to help cover some students’ tuition costs. According to the Herald-Times in Bloomington, that’s about a $250,000 increase in voucher money received the previous year.
Clark asked DeVos whether she would in any instance overrule a state-approved voucher program based on discrimination. DeVos was testifying about the Education Department’s budget for the next fiscal year.
DeVos refused to cite any example, saying: “The bottom line is we believe parents are best equipped to make choices for their children. Too many children today are trapped in schools that don’t work for them.”
Clark responded: “I am shocked that you cannot come up with one example of discrimination that you would stand up for students.”
The Lighthouse handbook also states that students could be denied admission for “use of vulgar or profane language” or if there is evidence of “premarital sex, cohabitation or adultery” in the home.
In a statement, the school defended its policies.
“Parents are free to choose which school best comports with their religious convictions. For a real choice and thus real liberty to exist, the government may not impose its own orthodoxy and homogenize all schools to conform to politically correct attitudes and ideologies.
“We see no reason why socio-economic status should bar a child from an educational environment committed to a transcendent moral order.”
Proponents of voucher programs say providing taxpayer money helps students afford tuition for a school of their choosing. Opponents say vouchers siphon off money needed to fund public schools.
CAMBRIDGE (CBS) – Looking for an excuse to eat chocolate?
There’s good news out of Harvard University, where researchers say including chocolate in your diet could keep your heart healthy.
A study involving more than 55,000 people in Denmark found that those who ate moderate amounts of chocolate were at a lower risk for being diagnosed with atrial fibrillation – a dangerous type of irregular heartbeat that can lead to stroke, heart failure, dementia and death.
Men who love chocolate will be happier than women about the results of this study. The irregular heartbeat risk went down as much as 20 percent for men who ate two to six one-ounce servings per week, while women saw their best results when only eating one serving of chocolate per week.
Lead study author Elizabeth Mostofsky concluded there’s a “significant association between eating chocolate and a lower risk of AF—suggesting that even small amounts of cocoa consumption can have a positive health impact.”
Researchers noted previous studies have found that chocolate, especially dark chocolate, can promote healthy blood vessels. Just don’t take it too far.
“Eating excessive amounts of chocolate is not recommended because many chocolate products are high in calories from sugar and fat and could lead to weight gain and other metabolic problems,” Mostofsky said in a statement. “But moderate intake of chocolate with high cocoa content may be a healthy choice.”
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A teen running with a dangerous crowd was on the brink of losing it all, but he found a new direction courtesy of some canines.
As CBS2’s Kristine Johnson explained, he helped them as much as they helped him.
“Seeing your friend dead as a teenager, it’s to the point where you don’t even cry anymore,” Stephen ‘Face’ Edghill said, “The police would call it a gang, but it was a bunch of us guys in the neighborhood. We did all kinds of crazy stuff.”
Gang or not, as a teen Edghill, better known as Face, was clearly headed in the wrong direction.
“Stealing cars,” he said. “I got arrested once and that was enough for me.”
He said police paraded him in front of his whole neighborhood.
“I pretty much stopped then, but a lot of my friends didn’t stop. They got deported, some got killed,” he said.
After that, Face knew he needed a new direction. He found it rescuing animals. He said it’s his calling.
“The animals rescued me. They changed my life,” he said.
For the last five years he’s been a volunteer with Guardians of Rescue, a no-kill shelter on Long Island.
He has a truck loaded with fencing, and a ready-to-build kennel. He even provides dog food for those who need it.
“Sometimes it’s scary, sometimes it’s fun, sometimes it’s sad,” he said.
After being part of dozens of rescues, he said it’s always satisfying.
“When you look into a dog’s eyes you see the emotion. Dogs talk to you,” he said.
Now Face is talking too, taking his message into schools.
“I do this because it makes me feel better. i wake up feeling better every day, knowing I rescued an animal,” he said. “I went the right path, and that’s why I’m here today to be able to tell you my story. Some people can’t do that.”
It seems he’s getting through.
“I thought it was great that he actually separated from all his friends that were influencing him to do terrible things,” Hayden Camarda said.
“Now it makes me want to help animals more,” Hanna Schonhoff added.
Face credits his furry friends.
“The animals put me on the right path. They’re putting me on the right path. They’re actually taking me on a path that I didn’t know existed,” he said.
For his animal rescues and school talks Face uses vacation days, or takes unpaid days off from work — he said it’s all worth it to him.
FREEPORT, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A brand new food pantry on Long Island serves as the perfect partnership to help those in need and those needing to lend a hand.
The pantry in Nassau County is providing meals and bringing jobs to a segment of the population facing extremely high unemployment, as TV 10/55 Long Island Bureau Chief Richard Rose reported.
Inside the cavernous warehouse on Hansen Avenue in Freeport, Council of Churches trainer Brenda Ford was teaching an eager group of apprentices the ins and outs of running a large food pantry, TV 10/55’s Richard Rose reports.
“How to stock the shelves, how to assist someone, how to go out into the community,” she explained.
Going out into the community is the whole idea around the new collaboration between the Council of Churches, which debuted its brand new food pantry, and AHRC Nassau, which operates assisted living homes for thousands of developmentally disabled residents.
Now, many of those residents will be trained how to serve the hungry who come into the pantry, while also getting paid to stock and run the pantry’s warehouse. Organizers say it serves two often overlooked populations.
“It’s a place for people coming in with burdens to have some respite, and to sit down and be treated like humans with dignity and not be stigmatized,” Dyanne Pena, of the Long Island Council of Churches, said.
The workers are also being trained how to serve food to help them get jobs in businesses like catering. It’s a group facing daunting job prospects.
“About 70 percent of people with development disabilities are not employed,” Stanfort Perry, of AHRC Nassau, said.
Gloria Waller, of Roosevelt, now lives on her own after learning how to become a kitchen chef. She and her friend, Regina Jones, both have jobs at concession stands.
“I did baking,” Waller said. “I love to cook and to clean everything, and I love to help prepare food.”
A shocking new survey finds that nearly one third of useful food is thrown away daily. Supporters of food pantries say they can be a solution that offers everyone a true helping hand.
NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — She’s only been on the job for nine months, but one New Jersey nurse put all her training to the test recently.
The only thing is — it didn’t happen in a hospital. It was aboard a plane, where she had only seconds to help save a woman’s life. Now, the young woman says she’s prepared to handle anything.
“I was in the right place at the right time,” nurse Courtney Donlon tells CBS2’s Jessica Borg. The place was a plane flying home to New Jersey from Las Vegas after a trip with two of her friends. The time — never more urgent — was when a Jet Blue flight attendant asked the 180 passengers if there were any medical professionals on board.
Donlon — a nurse at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, New Jersey — stood up.
“She looked at me and looked away,” she said of the flight attendant, who thought the 22-year-old looked far too young to be a nurse. But it was quickly obvious that Donlon could help.
She was told a 57-year-old passenger had serious symptoms.
“They told me she was feeling pain up her left arm, all in the back and that they weren’t sure what that meant,” Donlon said, immediately diagnosing the problem as a likely heart attack.
She knew there wasn’t a moment to spare and gave the woman two aspirin, knowing their blood-thinning properties were crucial. Additionally, she also gave her oxygen from a tank — helping to stabilize her.
“I myself felt confident in what I was doing,” Donlon said. “I mean, there was full trust in me.”
So much so, she convinced the captain they needed to make an emergency landing in Charleston.
The woman was rushed to the hospital and is recovering.
Donlon isn’t alone with her life-saving skills — her mom and sister are also nurses at the same hospital.
“It’s a blessing that she was able to keep someone safe and essentially save their life,” Courtney’s mom Renee said.
A lesson learned for the newly minted nurse; that you’re never really off-duty.
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — One of the challenges for people living with autism is finding work as adults.
Fraser helps coordinate employers with potential employees with special needs.
Tyler Thoresen, or DJ Crozzworkz, has been on the turntables since he was 12.
Fifteen years later, he is using his gift to make some cash and show people a good time.
“It is an amazing feeling to be up and performing,” Thoresen said.
Through Fraser, Thoresen got a job as a DJ with GenerationNOW Entertainment.
Owner Nicholas Dircz said Thoresen is a great addition to his team.
“The energy element is so important,” Dircz said. “You have to look like you’re really into what you’re doing and if you are into what you’re doing the crowd is going to reverberate off of that.”
“Inside, you get emotional about it,” Thoresen said. “It’s just powerful.”
Thoresen did not always think he would get to live out his passion for music because of autism, but he is glad he got the opportunity.
“When I go on stage to perform, I’m not defined by what I have as a disability, it’s more like I’m accepted and welcomed,” Thoresen said. “We are all capable of doing some pretty amazing things in our lives.”
CHICAGO (CBS) — Sometimes the simplest of concepts can make a world of difference in someone’s life.
Take, for example, a new wheelchair that allows users to move in both a standing and sitting position.
CBS 2’s Vince Gerasole witnessed how it has already changed one man’s life.
“I can think of many things I can do now that I was not able to do in my wheelchair that I could not do before,” said Jonathan Annicks.
Jonathan Annicks has been testing out a new adjustable wheelchair, which allows him to alternate between sitting and standing positions manually by pushing on his armrests.
“It’s a little bit of independence that I did not have before,” Annicks said.
Now he can easily reach tall cupboards, search through drawers, work at a kitchen island, and even pour out a cup of coffee for a guest.
CBS: You must feel a certain way inside?
A: “It feels awesome. Before what would take me five or six minutes to get a coffee, took five or six seconds.”
“Going from sitting to standing is a very big deal,” said Dr. Todd Kuiken, Shirley Ryan Ability Lab.
Dr. Todd Kuiken from the Shirley Ryan Ability Lab’s Center for Bionic Medicine began working on the concept decades ago, but his team of engineers and doctors helped perfect the chair.
“I am working muscles I can’t in my regular wheelchair,” Annicks said.
The chair’s chains and wheels kind of function like a bicycle, the exercise encourages bone health, and the elevated position for the users’ heart helps cardiac function.
“There’s a lot of physical, functional and psychological benefits,” Dr. Kuiken said.
Let’s get to that psychologic part. Jonathan was paralyzed in a random shooting outside his Little Village home last spring.
“He shot me eight times – only hit me once, but one bullet is all it took,” Annicks said.
But in a matter of months he moved forward, to study communications at DePaul.
“I didn’t push through four years of high school to be stopped,” Annicks said.
Even with his positive attitude, being eye to eye with others makes a difference.
“Psychologically it’s a confidence booster. Looking up can make you feel weird,” Annicks said. “It’s super exciting to know that I can finally do the things I have been missing out on for a year.”
Getting the chair to this phase was made possible by a grant from The National Institute on Disability. It weighs 55 pounds but Dr. Kuiken and team want to get it down to about 35 pounds. The hope is to have it available for general use in two years.
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — One of the biggest challenges facing those with autism is learning communication skills.
Fraser helps with speech therapy for people of all ages.
Jennifer Jenson of Columbia Heights knows firsthand what a big difference the program has made for her 8-year-old son, Cooper.
She had never heard of autism when her son Cooper was diagnosed five years ago.
“You feel kind of lost,” Jennifer said. “You don’t really know what this is.”
Cooper and Jennifer Jenson (credit: CBS)
Cooper has been through years of therapy at Fraser and made vast improvements, according to his speech pathologist, Laura Nathan.
“My favorite part of my job is kiddos exactly like Cooper,” Laura said. “We talk a lot about our emotions … How am I feeling in this? How do I recognize feelings in others and myself?”
Cooper is now able to carry on conversations, but his mother explains it was not that long ago where he could only repeat what he heard instead of communicate a response.
“He could repeat 10, 15 minutes worth of [a] movie he’s seen but he couldn’t communicate ‘hi’ and ‘goodbye’ to me,” Jennifer said.
The simplest pleasure of being able to communicate with her son is not one Jennifer takes for granted.
“I know where he began … and I’ve seen all the struggles that we’ve had to get where we are,” Jennifer said. “He’s such a happy boy, I’m just so proud.”
WCCO is Pulling Together next month for Fraser. Nine teams from St. Paul and Minneapolis will go up against each other in a tug-of-war across the Mississippi.
Each team needs to raise $10,000, with 100 percent of that money going to Fraser. Click here to pick which team you want to support!