CHICAGO (CBS) — The heinous case of murdered Chinese student Yingying Zhang is grabbing headlines from Chicago to China, and community leaders say students are thinking twice about heading to universities here.
Those leaders say the schools, which have significant numbers international students from China, will feel an impact.
“Safety is number one concern for Chinese students who want to study overseas, particularly Chicago,” said Dr. Kim Tee, who added that the story made headlines almost every day in China.
Many are now looking north.
“They are talking about looking at alternatives, like going to universities in Canada instead of the United States,” Tee said.
And with a significant number of Chinese international students at Chicago-area colleges and universities, Tee says local schools could take a hit.
“When safety is a big concern, enrollment will decline, for sure.”
At the University Of Illinois, where Yingying Zhang was a visiting scholar, there are more international students from China than any other country combined.
DePaul reports China is their largest source of international undergrads. The vast majority of international students at Northwestern are also from China.
Northwestern sent a message to those students in June, assuring them they were committed to their safety, after the Chinese government issued a warning for those studying in the United States.
U of I’s director of International Student Services, Martin McFarlane, says the university doesn’t expect a big drop in Chinese enrollment this coming year, but they won’t know until this coming fall.
CHICAGO (CBS) — President Trump is considering allowing no refugees into the country next year.
CNN is reporting the president floated the idea in a meeting with several government departments but it’s already getting push back from some officials. This also comes at a time when programs to help refugees are already struggling to survive.
Ruth Kidane fled her homeland, Eritrea, at age 15 by herself. She spent the next six years on a solo journey to safety. She fled to get medicine she needed and escape religious persecution.
She now works at Chicago’s Swisshotel, welcoming visitors, two years after the United States welcomed her as a refugee.
Ruth Kidane, a refugee from Eritrea.
“I was scared because I didn’t want to get away from my family,” said Kidane. “I was the only one to be separated from my family, actually.”
“I lot of Eritreans flee the country, scared for their lives.”
Kidane received almost immediate help from Chicago’s Heartland Alliance and its resettlement services.
One such service is the hospitality program, which trains and places refugees like Kidane in hotel jobs throughout the city.
“They’re inspiration to work hard to find a new way in a new country is really, really interesting.” said Ted Selogie, the Swisshotel general manager.
“For a lot of them, that makes them feel like themselves again. It really brings back their humanity, their productivity and it brings back stability,” said Nancy Joyce Callahan, vocational training coordinator at Heartland Alliance.
But many refugee resettlement programs are now struggling to survive. Lea Tienou-Gustafson, Heartland’s refugee director, said that is because President Trump’s administration has drastically cut the number of asylum seekers allowed into the United States.
In 2016, according to the U.S. State Department, the number of refugees was capped at 85,000. This year, just 30,000 of those already vetted and on asylum lists will be allowed to enter the United States.
“Much of the refugee funding is actually tied to the number of arrivals and so for many agencies they see a sharp decrease in funding and well as a decrease in arrivals. Some agencies are not able to stay open.” said Tienou-Gustafuson.
Heartland Alliance is no exception, helping 75 percent fewer refugees than just three years ago.
“Historically, the United States took the largest number of refugees and as we’ve decreased our arrivals, the whole resettlement structure in the entire world has also changed,” said Tienou-Gustafson. “So many more refugees are without safe housing or homes right now.”
Kidane says she is grateful for her new life here. Grateful for her job. She hopes, someday, to help other refugees build new lives, too.
“We are all human beings,” Kidane said “We are the same.”
Resettlement experts say federal dollars are based on the number of refugees.
They say if there is a future policy change and the refugee ceiling rises, there might not be enough programs to help them.
CHICAGO (CBS) — Two men are believed to be behind a pair of burglaries in Gage Park, and the victims are baffled by what was taken and what was left behind.
CBS 2’s Eric Cox talked to one of the victims who is now dealing with having her identity stolen.
The burglars hit two apartments on 57th and Fairfield in Chicago’s Gage Park neighborhood.
The victims are now hoping what was captured on surveillance cameras will help catch the criminals and reclaim what was stolen.
“Like, it’s just so scary,” said burglary victim Maria Rivas who lives in a garden-level apartment in Gage Park with her husband, two little boys and three-month-old puppy. She said earlier this month burglars broke in.
“Our backdoor was broken into like somebody kicked it in.” Rivas said, who added that their home was left in disarray.
“Our room was completely trashed. They, like, destroyed everything,” she said.
A nearby surveillance camera was recording as a pickup truck pulled up outside the family’s apartment. The vehicle, parked just outside the camera’s view as a man loads up belongings Rivas she said she recognized.
When the family returned later they were surprised.
“We still had our TV, our sound systems, other stuff that usually would get stolen was still there,” Rivas said.
But other things weren’t.
“Yeah, to me, that’s really weird that some of that was missing,” Rivas said.
Important documents, also nowhere in sight.
“Yeah, birth certificates, some of my bank account information too,” Rivas said, all taken from Rivas and her family along with their Social Security numbers and documents. The entire family’s identities stolen.
“Somebody can do a lot of damage with those,” she said.
Rivas and her family are working to report their identities as stolen.
They’re asking anyone with information on the pick-up truck or the people seen on surveillance to please call police.
CHICAGO (CBS) — Despite the intense heat, some high school athletes are getting in an extreme workout today.
But it’s all for a good cause.
Members of the Barrington High School football team carried cinder blocks, did push-ups and lunges. And some of the players even carried each other.
They invited Earl Granville, a wounded warrior, to work out with them.
“You have to have so much grit to play football in general and I think today, being so hot, you’ve got to find something deeper,” said Hayden Kraus, a Barrington High School senior. “Knowing that you’re doing something bigger than yourself.”
All of the money raised goes to the Oscar Mike Foundation which helps wounded and disabled veterans participate in adaptive events.
CHICAGO (CBS) — Close to 2 billion prescription painkillers were distributed to Illinois between 2006 and 2012, according to new data released by The Washington Post.
Yes, billion — enough for nearly 180 pills for every single person in the state.
The data, which chronicles the purchase of each opioid pain pill during those years, offers new insights into how the addictive medications filled communities across Illinois and nationwide. Maintained by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), it shows the number of doses purchased by distributors and retail pharmacies, as well as detailed information about the type of medication used.
In Chicago, the nation’s third-largest city, more than 218 million pills were distributed. But no corner of Illinois was spared, the data shows. From Chicago to tiny communities interspersed between miles of rural land, millions of doses of the heroin-like drugs were bought and sold.
In Rockford, with its population of about 150,000: 53 million doses. In Springfield, the state’s capitol where about 116,000 people lived: 42 million. And in the tiny community of Wilmington, with a population of just over 150, a staggering 2 million doses of opioid painkillers were distributed. That’s nearly 14,000 doses for every person who lived there.
There’s no way to know for sure where each pill went after it was sold; the data only shows where the pills were bought, not who ultimately took them. But it does portray the remarkable scale of what is now widely called the opioid epidemic.
That epidemic killed nearly 5,000 people across Illinois from 2006 to 2012 — enough to fill more than 30 commercial airplanes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Many more have suffered overdoses, and more still have become addicted to opioid medications.
Close to half of the pills were manufactured by a company called Actavis Pharma, a company that makes the drugs Hydrocodone, which is as strong as morphine, and Oxycodone, which is stronger.
After being made, the pills are distributed by companies to retail pharmacies, where they’re sold to patients, many of whom become addicted.
Many of the pills — more than 700 million, to be exact — were distributed by Deerfield-based Walgreen’s, the nation’s second-largest distributor of opioids. Many were also sold by Walgreens’ retail stores, as well as at thousands of other storefront pharmacies in communities seemingly everywhere.
Those storefront pharmacies distributed and sold vast numbers of pills. A single pharmacy in Des Plaines described as a “long term care pharmacy” distributed nearly 16.5 million doses.
Like the rest of the country, Illinois has been grappling with how to combat the growing problem. In 2017, former Governor Bruce Rauner’s administration released an Opioid Action Plan, which aimed to reduce the number of opioid overdoses by providing education and resources to those affected, as well as through increased monitoring of prescription rates.
And in 2018, Rauner signed the Alternative to Opioids Act of 2018, which grants people with opioid prescriptions access to medical cannabis, which many see as a less dangerous alternative to prescription painkillers.
CHICAGO (AP) — Anthony Rizzo hit a go-ahead grand slam and the Chicago Cubs overcame an early home run by Manny Machado to beat the San Diego Padres 6-5 Friday.
Javier Báez also homered for the NL Central-leading Cubs, who have won six of seven since the All-Star break.
Josh Naylor tied the score 5-5 in the eighth inning against Pedro Strop (2-3) with his first career pinch homer, but the Cubs went back ahead in the bottom half.
Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Jon Lester (34) throws the ball against the San Diego Padres during the first inning of a baseball game, Friday, July,19, 2019, in Chicago. (AP Photo/David Banks)
Anthony Rizzo singled off Craig Stammen (6-5), rookie shortstop Fernandez Tatis Jr. threw Addison Russell’s grounder into center field for an error, Jason Heyward was intentionally walked and David Bote hit a grounder to third. Machado threw home for a forceout and catcher Francisco Mejia threw to first, even though he didn’t have a play on Bote. The ball hit off the glove of first baseman Eric Hosmer and bounced into short right field as Rizzo scored on Hosmer’s error.
Craig Kimbrel struck out three around a four-pitch walk in the ninth for his fourth save in five chances. San Diego has lost five of six and 11 of 15.
Jon Lester made his 400th big league appearance and matched his career high by allowing 12 hits, giving up four runs in six innings. Lester needed 26 pitches to get through the first on a muggy afternoon with a 93-degree temperature at game time.
Eric Lauer gave up four runs, five hits and three walks in 4 2/3 innings in his first appearance since July 5. Lauer had gone on bereavement leave following the death of his father. He remained in the game after he was hit on the back by Albert Almora Jr.’s single in the third.
Hunter Renfroe hit a sacrifice fly in the first and Machado made it 3-0 in the third with his 24th homer, a two-run drive.
Rizzo’s fourth career slam put Chicago ahead in the bottom half.
Francisco Mejía tied the score with an RBI double in the fifth, and Báez hit an opposite-field homer to right-center in the bottom half.
Chcago figures to be in the market for a left-handed reliever before the trade deadline. The return of Carl Edwards Jr. (strained left thoracic) from the IL left seven righties among eight relievers. LHP Randy Rosario was optioned to Triple-A Iowa. “It’s always nice to have more than one,” manager Joe Maddon said.
Padres: Manager Andy Green was optimistic RHP Garrett Richards (Tommy John surgery last July) will be available in late August. “He’s on a relatively quick path, all things considered,” Green said. “I think we’re all excited about that possibility.”
Cubs: LHP Cole Hamels (strained left oblique) took part in light throwing and was scheduled for another bullpen session this weekend. … C Willson Contreras (sprained right arch) remained on pace to return from the IL when eligible Wednesday.
CHICAGO (CBS) — Witnesses said two carnival rides collided in Midlothian, sending a part of the ride to the ground and injuring a nine-year-old.
CBS 2’s Tim McNicholas has learned the state never inspected the way the rides were set up. He has the story from the St. Christopher Fiesta in Midlothian where both of the rides are shut down.
Pharaoh’s Fury and the Freak Out rides are both surrounded by yellow tape. Witnesses tell CBS 2 those two were both running when they collided Thursday night.
It was supposed to be a night of fun in the St. Christopher parking lot.
But 14-year-old Dylan Terborg said while he was riding Pharaoh’s Fury, he heard a big crash and realized the ride had hit something.
“And we looked behind us and there was a kid on the ground bleeding. And then, the mom was screaming.”
He said the Freak Out was running with no one on it and somehow collided with Pharaoh’s Fury, sending Pharaoh’s head to the ground.
CBS 2 has learned a nine-year old boy who was standing near the ride went to the hospital and is expected to survive.
Dylan was unharmed. But his grandma is angry.
“Maybe the ride itself as far as mechanical issues were inspected. They probably didn’t even think about the spacing,” said Pamela Terborg.
The Illinois Department of Labor said both rides passed an inspection in May. But that was before Alpine Amusements set the rides up at St. Christopher’s. The Department of Labor said it’s not always on site for ride setups.
And in this case, it wasn’t.
And a spokesperson said the ride manufacturers should have given specific set up instructions to the carnival operator, Alpine Amusements. It’s not clear if that happened.
“Get your stuff together and do your inspections properly and carefully,” said Pamela Terborg.
The state has now shut the rides down and it said the rides won’t be back open until they pass a re-inspection.
“Just don’t go back on that ride at all,” Dylan said.
CBS 2 reached out to Alpine Amusements, the manufacturer of both rides, St. Christopher’s Church and the Archdiocese of Chicago. None of them could answer CBS 2’s questions.
It’s not the first time the Freak Out ride has drawn scrutiny.
The state temporarily banned the ride in 2017 due to its similarities to a ride that caused a fatal accident in Ohio a couple years ago.
CHICAGO (CBS) — Five hours, 75 firefighters and a quarter of a million gallons of water.
That’s what it took to put out a massive chemical fire at a vacant Park Ridge gas station that left two firefighters injured.
CBS 2’s Megan Hickey asked why the building was filled with a potentially hazardous chemical, and why the fire department didn’t know about it.
There were 90,000 pounds of calcium peroxide in the vacant building and the owner will be cited for failing to report it to the city. The fire department said dozens of firefighters were put in danger. And the property owner can also expect a bill from the city.
Park Ridge’s fire chief said they knew something was fueling the massive blaze at a vacant gas station near Oakton and Northwest Highway Wednesday night.
But it wasn’t clear until they saw this: hundreds of thousands of gallons of murky, white water rippling out of the smoky building.
“Nobody suspected that there was such a quantity of product being stored there,” said Jeffrey Sorensen, Chief of the Park Ridge Fire Department.
The building was filled with calcium peroxide and firefighters should have known about it, according to a local ordinance. Instead they went in blind, including neighbors such as Daniel Mariner.
“I smelled, actually it started as burning plastic smell, ” said Mariner, who watched from his window in shock. And he didn’t hear about the chemical commonly used for treating soil until after the Illinois EPA arrived on the scene.
“They’re putting other people at risk. And I heard a couple of firefighters got injured,” Mariner said. “It could have been much worse. People could have died.”
The Illinois EPA said citations haven’t been determined, but the state doesn’t regulate this particular chemical. It’s trying to contain the runoff with vacuums but some of it did enter the sewer system. A team is monitoring the water for contamination.
As for the firefighters, two were treated and released for chemical burns.
But the biggest price will be cleaning and possibly replacing all of the turn out gear, hoses and vehicles, which are now covered with an alarming film. And they don’t know if it’s safe.
Chief Sorensen said that once they have an estimate, they’ll be sending the bill.
“I would say certainly tens of thousands of dollars is very reasonable,” Sorensen said.
CBS 2 has learned the property was recently purchased by a Chicago-based limited liability company and the site was being cleaned up for business use in the future. CBS 2 reached out for comment.