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Patch Flash: Flu Deaths Up to 27 in Illinois

Chicagoland news to talk about: Grayslake teachers go on strike.

With flu deaths up to 27 in Illinois -- up drastically from the zero deaths from the virus reported last year -- Gov. Pat Quinn is urging any individuals who haven't already to get a flu vaccine. 

Gov. Quinn on Monday said that he's already gotten a flu shot this season and that other Illinoisans should follow his lead as the state is one of many nationwide currently experiencing unusually high flu activity. As of Monday, the state is one of 24 with "higher-than-normal" flu activity.

Customs officials made the shocking discovery of 18 severed human heads at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport Monday.

As of Tuesday morning, investigators were checking to ensure the human heads with skin still on—and wrapped in plastic—were less sinister than they seem.

The embalmed heads came from a research facility in Rome on a Lufthansa Airlines flight about a week before Christmas but a "paperwork snafu" snagged the shipment; the final destination of the three coolers was not clearly marked.

Brian Bell, a Chicago-based spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security, said the discovery body parts, which "at first blush" appeared to be for medical purposes, is not entirely uncommon. 

Police say the strangulation and attempted dismemberment of two Illinois men, allegedly at the hands of four young adults, is one of the most heinous cases they've seen.

"This is one of the most brutal, heinous and upsetting things I've ever seen in my 27 years of law enforcement," Police Chief Mike Trafton said. "Not only the crime scene, but the disregard for common decency toward human beings."

Police said  Eric Glover and Terrence Rankins, both 22 and from Joliet, were lured to the home of 18-year-old Alisa Massaro and then robbed and killed. Officers discovered the bodies of Glover and Rankins on Thursday when they were called to the home, where they found Massaro playing video games with Adam Landerman, 19, and Joshua Miner, 24.

The three, who are all from Joliet, were arrested on first-degree murder charges. Bethany McKee, 18, of Shorewood also faces first-degree murder charges. All are being held on $10 million bond and appeared in court Monday.

A ban that would keep electronic devices like cell phones out of Cook County courtrooms — except one in Chicago — has been put on hold.

The rule putting the kibosh on "electronic communication" or Internet devices was supposed to go into effect Monday, but Chief Judge Timothy Evans has opted to stall the ban by three months while the public gets familiar with the change. “We understand this may be an inconvenience to some, but our primary goal is to protect those inside our courthouses and perhaps save lives in the process," Evans said in a statement Friday.

. In a letter to band parents and students Jan. 14, District 128 Superintendent Prentiss G. Lea and LHS Principal Manna Scott said the inappropriate relationship took place when the girl attended LHS several years ago.  

Grayslake District 46 strike is on. In an eleventh hour negotiating session with a federal mediator lasting nearly eight hours Tuesday, the Grayslake District 46 Board of Education and Lake County Federal of Teachers Local 504 could not reach a contract agreement.

As a result, the district's 300-plus teachers are now on strike, with some 4,000 students affected.

Procrustes' Foil January 17, 2013 at 10:27 AM
This current flu epidemic is just a harbinger of another flu pandemic like the one of 1918 which killed 100 million people. If anyone is interested, please read John M. Barry's THE GREAT INFLUENZA.
Just Sayin January 17, 2013 at 12:50 PM
The Great Influenza is a great read on the subject! I might also recommend The Hot Zone by Richard Preston to those who have not read it. Reads like fast paced fiction...only it's griping non-fiction. The world is getting smaller folks...and the viruses are brilliant in their ability to mutate and become essentially un-treatable.
McCloud January 17, 2013 at 02:11 PM
Are greenhouse gases responsible?

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