Daily Archive : Thursday February 24, 2011


    Mark Curran

    Lake sheriff says coroner's office is a ‘hornet's nest of bad management'

    Lake County Sheriff Mark Curran said Thursday he “essentially walked into a hornet's nest” this week when he was named interim coroner. And he's ordered an audit of the coroner's office.

    Robert Meza

    Man convicted in Addison murder gets more time for contempt

    A Joliet man convicted of an Addison murder faces additional prison time after pleading guilty to contempt of court charges Thursday for refusing to testify against a co-defendant who was subsequently acquitted of the same murder. Prosecutors said Robert Meza, 23, was adhering to his gang's code of silence last June when he refused to testify.

    Dan Netzel of the U-46 Citizens Advisory Council speaks at Kimball Elementary School in 2004 in Elgin about changes in school boundaries. Similar meetings were held at six other schools that night.

    U-46 desegregation trial: The issues

    Few people would dispute that Elgin Area School District U-46 is racially diverse, and that ethnic groups are spread unequally among its 53 schools. What is very much in dispute is whether that constitutes discrimination.


    Hawaii earthquake jolts Honolulu

    A small earthquake hit Hawaii on Thursday, with a jolt felt across Honolulu. The U.S. Geological Survey said the magnitude 3.6 temblor struck at 2:12 p.m., about 12 miles deep in the Kaiwi Channel, between the islands of Oahu and Molokai.


    Fire at Houston daycare center kills 3, injures 4

    A kitchen fire filled a home daycare center with smoke on Thursday, killing three children and injuring four others. Firefighters ran with babies and small children in their arms to nearby ambulances on the crowded street, a fire official said.

    People outside Tripoli's International airport. European countries are sending planes and ferries to Libya to evacuate their citizens.

    Gadhafi forces strike back at revolt near Tripoli

    Foreign mercenaries and Libyan militiamen loyal to Moammar Gadhafi tried to roll back the uprising against his rule that has advanced closer to his stronghold in Tripoli, attacking two nearby cities in battles that killed at least 17 people. But rebels made new gains, seizing a military air base, as Gadhafi blamed Osama bin Laden for the upheaval.

    Chinese evacuees wait in a lane to pass the passport control at the port of Iraklio city, on the Greek island of Crete, Thursday.

    High winds, rough seas hamper Libyan evacuations

    Two ships braved churning seas Thursday to whisk some 4,500 Chinese workers away from strife-torn Libya to the island of Crete, while rough weather further west in the Mediterranean left hundreds of Americans stranded on a ferry in Tripoli.

    Recovery operation workers are lowered by crane onto the top of the Christchurch Cathedral in Christchurch, New Zealand, Friday.

    New Zealand quake toll rises to 113 dead

    Relatives of people still missing three days after an earthquake shattered the New Zealand city of Christchurch arrived Friday from several countries to join an anxious vigil for news that looked increasingly likely to be grim.


    4 killed in an attack on NATO convoy in Pakistan

    Militants in Pakistan attacked tankers bringing fuel to NATO and U.S. forces in Afghanistan on Friday, killing four people and causing a massive nighttime blaze. A group of around 15 militants armed with rockets and guns stormed a roadside terminal on the outskirts of the northwestern city of Peshawar. At least 12 tankers were set ablaze in the attack, said police officer Liaquat Ali Khan.

    Doug Krause

    Naperville candidates discuss Ogden Avenue

    As Naperville prepares to rebound from the recession, the city’s three mayoral candidates say a thriving Ogden Avenue corridor is key if they hope to build on the recent predictions of increasing sales tax revenues.

    Mark Buschbacher

    Sugar Grove village candidates discuss growth

    Getting businesses to come to Sugar Grove is key to improving life in the village in several ways, according to village board candidates who spoke at a forum Thursday night.

    The Wisconsin Senate issued a call of the house, which means Wisconsin State Patrol was dispatched Friday to find a Democratic state senator who fled the Capitol to delay the near-certain passage of a bill to end a half-century of collective bargaining rights for public workers, a measure that's attracted thousands of protesters for four days.

    Troopers sent to homes of some Wisconsin Democrats

    Wisconsin state troopers were dispatched Thursday to the doorsteps of some of the AWOL Democratic senators in hopes of finding at least one who would come back to allow a vote on a measure to curb the power of public-employee unions.


    Man charged with threatening to kill Ind. governor

    A northern Indiana man was accused Thursday of mailing letters threatening to kill Gov. Mitch Daniels and the executive director of Indiana's anti-smoking agency if they didn't stop promoting workplace anti-smoking campaigns.


    Nanny charged with abusing toddler

    Police say a Chicago woman is facing aggravated battery charges after she was allegedly caught on a "Nanny Cam" choking and shaking a 15-month-old girl in a high chair.


    Quinn backs away from addiction cuts

    Gov. Pat Quinn's administration on Thursday scaled back plans to slash spending on drug and alcohol treatment, responding to cries of outrage that could be repeated as other programs go under the knife. Instead of cutting $208 million, Quinn budget office now says addiction programs will be cut only $100 million next month. Deeper cuts are still likely to take effect this summer.


    Island Lake due revenue from 21 years of parking violations

    A representative from an Ohio collection agency did his best Thursday night to sell the Island Lake village board on his firm’s ability to collect on long-overdue parking tickets. Whether trustees will approve a deal with TekCollect won’t be known until a future meeting, however.


    Kane County assistance programs stuck in federal funding debate

    As Kane County braces for possibly a huge federal cut to Community Development Block Grant funds, it tentatively doled out what it’s guessing to be about $1.25 million in funding this year. The money goes for affordable housing, infrastructure, homeless prevention and public facilities projects in a competitive grant process.

    Mucia Burke

    D211 candidates discuss how they would control costs

    District 211 could face cuts in the future, thanks to reductions in state funding and a sluggish economy. What would the candidates for school board cut if forced?

    Lt. Mark Heussner, left, a Wheeling native and a Coast Guard helicopter pilot, describes his participation in the rescue of Alaskan fishermen on the Midnite Sun. At right is Petty Officer 3rd Class Michael Wallace.

    Wheeling native recounts daring Alaska rescue

    A Wheeling native and St. Viator graduate who is part of the Coast Guard in Alaska was part of a daring rescue mission earlier this month that saved five fishermen's lives.


    Fire destroys Gurnee garage space

    A space heater might have caused a fire that destroyed a living area above a Gurnee garage Thursday afternoon, according to fire officials.


    Mexican drug gang suspects rounded up

    Federal, state and local authorities across the country are sending an unequivocal message to Mexican drug cartel members in the U.S. and Latin America: If you kill a U.S. agent, there will be repercussions.


    Senate Dems consider spending cuts

    Senate Democrats signaled Thursday they will call for spending cuts as part of legislation to keep the government in operation through the end of the fiscal year, accepting a bedrock Republican demand for immediate reductions and easing the threat of a March 4 shutdown of federal programs and services.


    Fawell Dam an issue in Warrenville race

    Candidates in the two contested races for Warrenville City Council talk about the challenges that the town is facing when it comes to the issue of flooding.

    Mary Ann Tully

    Village board candidates outline Bensenville’s needs

    Bensenville village board candidates outline changes the village needs.

    Toby Shaw

    Elgin City Council candidates claim diversity

    In a race where 10 candidates are vying for three spots, it becomes the job of each to stake out a place in the lineup. Many Elgin City Council candidates are touting a level of diversity, a new perspective the council needs to be effective.


    ECC board proposes 3-year freeze for faculty

    Elgin Community College says the board of trustees has made progress in negotiating a new contract with the college’s faculty union.


    Kane County construction projects get prioritized

    Fresh off a workshop discussing the priorities for Kane County’s capital projects for the next five years, the list of projects has now been prioritized.

    Algonquin-Lake in the Hills Interfaith Food Pantry president Richard Hoferle, here carrying food items, said he hopes to kick off a fundraising effort next month for a renovation project.

    Interfaith Food Pantry readies for renovation fundraising

    The planned renovation of the Algonquin Lake in the Hills Interfaith Food Pantry is gearing up as a communitywide effort, and organizers hope that a fundraising campaign will help ratchet more support from local donors and volunteers.


    Oak Brook police vote ‘no confidence’ in chief

    The village of Oak Brook plans to hire an outside investigator to look into police department matters following the police union's vote of no confidence in the leadership of Chief Thomas Sheahan.

    Rep. Michael Tryon

    Suburban lawmaker: Tax runaway legislators

    Upset with Wisconsin and Indiana Democratic lawmakers hiding out in Illinois, a suburban Republican lawmaker says the out-of-state politicians should pay Illinois income taxes on the legislative salaries they’re earning while they’re here. That way, Rep. Michael Tryon of Crystal Lake says, they’ll go home and get to work.

    The Illinois Tollway Board of Directors approved a proposal Thursday to build the Balmoral Avenue off-ramp on the northbound Tri-State Tollway (I-294) in Rosemont. Officials say the ramp will ease local traffic congestion and help visitors get to a planned entertainment district nearby.

    Rosemont gets green light for Balmoral Avenue off-ramp

    The Illinois Tollway Board of Directors approved an intergovernmental agreement Thursday authorizing the Village of Rosemont to finance and construct a new, all-electronic exit ramp on the northbound Tri-State Tollway (I-294) to Balmoral Avenue. The locally financed agreement is a first-of-its-kind for the Tollway, and is expected to be approved by the Rosemont Village Board in March.


    District 47 moves toward one site for buses, supplies

    Crystal Lake School District 47 is looking to build a new transportation and warehouse facility in the northeast part of the city. The school board this week signed a tentative contract to buy land near the Pingree Grove railroad station to house transportation overflow.

    Chester Stabrowski

    90-year-old accused in Roselle molestation fit to stand trial

    A 90-year-old Roselle man facing charges he molested two boys at a pool party was found mentally fit to stand trial Thursday.

    David Sinker is the founder of the Comedy Shrine, which is moving from Naperville to Aurora.

    Comedy Shrine plans move to Aurora

    The Comedy Shrine, an improv theater formerly located in Naperville, will move its performance venue, acting school and memorabilia collection into a site near the Westfield Fox Valley Mall at 4034 Fox Valley Center Drive.


    Palatine Polar Plunge on Sunday to benefit Special Olympics

    Special Olympics Illinois is hosting its Law Enforcement Torch Run Palatine Polar Plunge from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 27.


    Police reports

    An Elgin man was being held on bail Thursday. charged with unlawful possession of a fictitious ID card after trying to enter the Grand Victoria Casino, police said.

    Joseph Milder

    St. Charles man gets supervision in scooter assault

    Joseph Milder of St. Charles pleads guilty to a reduced charge Thursday for a July 2009 incident in which he was accused of using a shovel to knock a man off a motorized scooter.


    Northwest suburban police blotter

    A 29-year-old Bellwood man was arrested around 12:35 a.m. Feb. 23 in Des Plaines and charged with traffic violations, felony aggravated driving under the influence, and endangering the life of a child.


    Audit criticizes archaic state accounting systems

    Illinois officials who promise to keep an eye on every tax dollar are trying to do it with 263 different systems for tracking money, including many that are old and incompatible, according to a report Thursday.

    Rod Blagojevich

    Blagojevich to face fewer charges at April retrial

    Prosecutors preparing for the corruption retrial of impeached Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich dropped three of the charges against him Thursday in an attempt to make the case easier for jurors to understand.


    Suspect in 21 killings indicted in Puerto Rico

    A man accused of killing 21 people is among five people indicted on federal racketeering charges involving an organization that sold drugs in Puerto Rico, federal officials said Thursday.


    John Legend: Take my tax cut. Please.

    Singer John Legend was in Washington to sing at the White House on Thursday but he had a few choice words for the politicians in town, too.


    Tweeter pretending to be Rahm Emanuel disappears

    Rahm Emanuel complained that he didn't know it was OK to bring a ventriloquist's dummy to a debate. He marveled at a tiny model of Tokyo somebody gave him and couldn't wait to crush it while wearing a Godzilla suit.

    Steven Hess

    Crystal Lake man guilty in kidnapping case

    A 57-year-old Crystal Lake man faces up to 30 years in prison for kidnapping his ex-girlfriend in a 2009 attempt to rape her in the basement of a vacant store and post a video of the act online.


    Univ. of Neb. calls off search for campus gunman

    No gunman has been found at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's east campus. A statement issued Thursday by the school says buildings were searched after reports of an armed man entering the College of Dentistry but nothing was found.


    District 211 talks class sizes

    The Palatine-Schaumburg High School District 211 board discussed class sizes at Thursday night’s meeting.Of this year’s 3,379 classes, 16 — about .5 percent — were above the maximum of 15 students. Seven of those classes are special education or ESL sections, where the maximum is set at 13.


    Earliest human remains in U.S. Arctic reported

    Some 11,500 years ago one of America's earliest families laid the remains of a 3-year-old child to rest in their home in what is now Alaska. The discovery of that burial is shedding new light on the life and times of the early settlers who crossed from Asia to the New World, researchers report in Friday's edition of the journal Science.

    Jack Wagner

    Palatine District 5 candidates disagree on budget

    The two candidates running for the District 5 council seat in Palatine don’t disagree on much, but newcomer Kollin Kozlowski says the council should have tapped into reserves instead of turning to tax increases to balance its budget.


    Waukegan library layoffs

    Responding to additional funding cuts, Waukegan Public Library will lay off five full-time employees by the end of March and cut its service hours by nearly 22 percent, officials announced Thursday.


    District 95 forums set

    The candidates running for the Lake Zurich Unit School District 95 board will gather for a pair of public forums in March.


    Stevenson debaters win

    Stevenson High School’s debate team won the 17th annual Harvard National Congress Cup last weekend at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass., Stevenson officials announced this week.


    Drug forum in Lake Zurich

    The Ela Coalition Against Youth Substance Abuse will hold a town-hall meeting at 7 p.m. March 2 at the Ela Area Public Library, 275 Mohawk Trail, Lake Zurich.

    Michael Jacobs

    Gurnee trustee kicked off ballot for owing political fines

    Gurnee Trustee Michael Jacobs won’t appear on the April 5 ballot because he owes a state elections agency more than $2,500 in fines connected to his 2008 run for Lake County state’s attorney, officials said.


    Crashes, service calls drop for Campton Hills police

    The 2010 Campton Hills police annual report shows less calls for service, less serious crimes and that many accidents are deer related.

    Spectators watch and take photos of space shuttle Discovery as it lifts off from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla., Thursday.

    Throngs view space shuttle Discovery's last launch

    Discovery, the world's most traveled spaceship, thundered into orbit for the final time Thursday, heading toward the International Space Station on a journey that marks the beginning of the end of the shuttle era.

    A Wheaton City Council candidate says the city should have nothing to do with future funding of the Wheaton Grand Theater. Other candidates, however, say it could be part of a plan that could revitalize downtown.

    Wheaton candidates debate culture funding

    Wheaton city council candidates disagree on whether the city should be involved in funding cultural arts groups, especially if the group seeks autonomy in its spending.


    Veterans group trying to save Aurora parade

    Aurora-Roosevelt American Legion Post 84 is raising money to host Aurora’s Fourth of July parade this summer, and will be supported by up to $15,000 in matching funds from the city.

    The Schaumburg Flyers received notice of their eviction from Alexian Field Thursday. The question of which, if any, baseball team will call the stadium home when spring returns has loomed throughout the offseason.

    Schaumburg Flyers evicted from Alexian Field

    The Schaumburg Flyers received an eviction notice from their longheld lease at Alexian Field Thursday, but may have until March 6 to be sold to a new owner before they have to pack their bags.


    April groundbreaking eyed for West Chicago Educare

    Educare of West DuPage has received a $1.5 million grant to support construction of its new facility in West Chicago.

    Carolina Biological Supply Company in Burlington, N.C. is shown in this Thursday, Feb. 24, 2011 photo. A young college student from Saudi Arabia who studied chemical engineering in Texas purchased explosive chemicals over the Internet as part of a plan to hide bomb materials inside dolls and baby carriages to blow up dams, nuclear plants or the Dallas home of former President George W. Bush, the Justice Department said Thursday. One of the chemical companies, Carolina Biological Supply, reported suspicious purchases by Khalid Ali-M Aldawsari, 20, of Lubbock, Texas, to the FBI on Feb. 1.

    Saudi man charged with plotting terrorist attack

    A young college student from Saudi Arabia who studied chemical engineering in Texas purchased explosive chemicals over the Internet as part of a plan to hide bomb materials inside dolls and baby carriages to blow up dams, nuclear plants or the Dallas home of former President George W. Bush, the Justice Department said Thursday.

    Greg Murrey

    Fox Lake trustee hopefuls share ideas

    The candidates vying for Fox Lake village board spots have very different ideas on what could be done to better the community in the near future.

    John Carbonaro

    Naperville North counselor denies sex charges

    The Naperville North High School counselor charged with sexually abusing a student denies the allegations and will “fight them all the way,” his attorney said Thursday.


    Police reports

    Two people ere arrested Wednesday on drug charges in Batavia, police said.


    Mussman to host town hall Monday

    Democratic state Rep. Michelle Mussman will hold a town hall meeting Monday, Feb. 28 at Elk Grove Village Village Hall.


    State investigating Prospect Heights nursing home resident’s death

    The Illinois Department of Public Health is investigating the death of a Prospect Heights man struck and killed by a car late Tuesday night after walking out of his nursing home.

    Honor Roll inductees, from left, the late Terry Veller's family, son Bob Veller; daughter Cathy Veller; and wife Susan Veller, who accepted the award on Terry's behalf; Jim Nolan and Bob Haas.

    Palatine parks honors past, present volunteers

    The Palatine Park District names three Distinguished Volunteers to its prestigious Honor Roll.


    Roosevelt seeks future entrepreneurs

    Chicago and suburban high school administrators and faculty can nominate current sophomores and juniors for Roosevelt University's "Project Green Teen$" Entrepreneurship Academy through March 31.


    Polar Plungers will be freezin’ for a reason

    It’s not every day that people are willing to “go jump in a lake” – particularly in the winter – let alone do so with thousands of other people, including members of the law enforcement community.


    Elgin grant program will push sustainability goals

    After a one-year hiatus for fear of lacking funds, Elgin’s Neighborhood Improvement Grant Program is back – but with a bit of a facelift. The program is now funding projects exclusively committed to sustainability.


    Elgin Township could take over garbage contract negotiations

    There are four or five garbage contractors picking up waste from unincorporated Elgin Township homes. That means multiple “garbage days” and many more truck trips than necessary. If a proposition passes in a referendum vote April 5, that may not always be true.

    From left, Tara Folino, Gabriella Piagari, Madison Kallio and Marissa Parcell sing, “YMCA.”

    Des Plaines dads, daughters are royalty for one night

    The annual Dad-Daughter date night brought out the best-dressed in Des Plaines on Feb. 12. Young princesses and their dance partners enjoyed a catered dinner, played games and had their portraits taken, and of course, danced the night away.

    Ahalya Satkunaratnam, Ph.D., a classically trained South Indian dancer, discussed and performed Bharatanatyam dance at the South Asian Student in March 2010 at CLC. She returns 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday, March 1, during the Asian Indian Festival.

    Your news Asian Indian Festival coming to CLC Monday

    A four-day festival celebrating Asian Indian culture will be held Monday, Feb. 28 through Thursday, March 3, at the College of Lake County in Grayslake. The public is invited to attend the free events. The festival is a collaborative effort between the CLC International Center and the Multicultural Student Center.

    The new PACT Humane Society, which stands for People and Animals in Community Together, opened last fall inside the Petco store, 412 W. Army Trail Road, Bloomingdale.

    Bloomingdale pet shelter needs volunteers

    PACT, which opened last fall in Bloomingdale, is a no-kill rescue shelter run entirely by volunteers.


    Maine West’s ‘The Wiz’ opens Friday

    Maine West High School in Des Plaines will perform "The Wiz" this weekend and next at the school, Wolf Road and Oakton Street. Show times are 7:30 p.m.


    ‘Montgomery’s Barbershop’ on stage Saturday at Schaumburg Prairie Center

    "Montgomery's Barbershop" is onstage Saturday at Prairie Center for the Arts in Schaumburg, a lively original production with singing, dancing and rapping.

    “Cinderella’s Glass Slipper,” a musical for the entire family, will be performed Friday, Feb 25-Sunday, Feb. 27, at the Community Recreation Center in Schaumburg. For tickets, call (847) 490-7015 or visit parkfun.com.

    ‘Cinderella’s Glass Slipper’ in Schaumburg

    The audience will meet playful new characters in this fresh musical adaptation of the classic fairy tale telling the story of Cinderella, a missing glass slipper and the handsome prince at the Community Recreation Center, 505 N. Springinsguth Road, in Schaumburg.

    Mary Kane, a student at Willows Academy, discusses her science project with Dianna Coleman and Dr. Kristen Brown.

    Willow Academy girls qualify for regional science fair

    The Willows Academy, in Des Plaines,will be sending 24 girls to the Regional Science Fair after qualifying at the school's annual event. Students presented their projects and findings to a team of judges and were scored according to the standards of the Illinois Junior Academy of Science.

    Ahalya Satkunaratnam, Ph.D., a classically trained South Indian dancer, discussed and performed Bharatanatyam dance at the South Asian Student in March 2010 at CLC. She returns 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Tuesday, March 1, during the Asian Indian Festival.

    Asian Indian festival at CLC

    A four-day festival celebrating Asian Indian culture will be Monday, Feb. 28 through Thursday, March 3, at the College of Lake County in Grayslake. The public is invited to attend the free events. The festival is a collaborative effort between the CLC International Center and the Multicultural Student Center.

    A colony-founding queen of the invasive fire ant species Solenopsis invicta. The queen's first brood includes worker larvae and pupae that, when they emerge as adults, will perform all tasks necessary for colony maintenance and growth.

    Genetic tests show fire ants in Asia came from U.S.

    Even as the United States battles the spread of fire ants within its borders, this country is serving as the jumping-off point for the pest to invade other nations. The aggressive, stinging ants arrived from South America and got a foothold in the United States in the 1930s, gradually spreading across the South.

    COURTESY OF ABC 7 Natalie Chastain

    Elgin wheelchair theft victim now loses mother

    In the fall, people in Elgin and surrounding towns rallied around Natalie Chastain, an Elgin High School senior whose specialized wheelchair was stolen.Now, they are coming to Chastain's aid again — she recently lost her mother, Mary, unexpectedly.


    Arlington Hts. parking officers get computers

    Arlington Heights will purchase hand-held computers to help parking enforcement officers enforce downtown parking time limits and catch scofflaws who aren't paying their tickets.


    Pei Wei ready to open Monday in Mount Prospect

    Pei Wei Asian Diner, owned and operated by P.F. Chang’s China Bistro, will open Monday at the Randhurst Village in Mount Prospect.


    Forest preserve to offer retirement incentive

    The Lake County Forest Preserve District likely will offer voluntary retirement incentives to eligible employees as a way to cut costs in the face of unprecedented budget challenges.


    Hoffman Estates school lift lockdown after police arrest armed suspect

    Two Schaumburg Township Elementary District 54 schools went on a soft lockdown for an hour this morning after Hoffman Estates police told officials they believed someone with a gun was in a nearby business.

    Rod Blagojevich faces 20 charges now instead of 23 at his April retrial.

    3 of 23 charges against Blagojevich dropped

    Two racketeering charges and a wire fraud count against impeached Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich have been dropped. The agreement between prosecutors and defense attorneys came at a Thursday status hearing. It cuts the number of charges Blagojevich will face at his April retrial to 20 from 23.

    A trio from the McHenry County Youth Orchestra performs at an art gallery opening in August 2010. From left are Elisah Vanden Bussche, Lake in the Hills (violin), Kelly Halpin, Algonquin (cello), and Kristen Hector, West Dundee (viola). The orchestra will perform a concert Sunday, Feb. 27, at the Raue Center for the Arts in Crystal Lake.

    McHenry County Youth Orchestra’s “Music in Time”

    The McHenry County Youth Orchestra invites you to journey through history’s musical hits. On Sunday, Feb. 27 the orchestra will be presenting “Music in Time,” a performance that puts together several hit classical pieces from different time periods. The performance will be held at 4 p.m. at the Raue Center for the Arts, 26 N. Williams St. in Crystal Lake. Tickets are $18 for adults and $15 for...

    As part of a 12-year-old lawsuit against the tobacco industry, the government on Wednesday released 14 "corrective statements" that it says the companies should be required to make.

    Gov't and big tobacco in dispute over proposed ads

    The Justice Department wants the largest cigarette manufacturers to admit that they lied to the public about the dangers of smoking, forcing the industry to set up and pay for an advertising campaign of self-criticism for past behavior.


    Businesses tout their wares at Wauconda chamber’s EXPO

    Wauconda Chamber of Commerce's annual EXPO and the American Legion's craft fair is Feb. 26 and 27.

    Summer in the city? No, downtown Naperville. Urban-style downtowns are a draw for new residents, experts say.

    Debunking the top myths about our suburbs

    Why are so many people leaving Chicago and moving to the suburbs? Because the suburbs have a lot going for them. Let's start by debunking the top myths about the suburbs, using the new U.S. Census numbers to prove it. While Chicago's population shrank by 200,000 people this past decade, the suburban population grew by 425,000 people.

    The snow melted away exposing the raw ice and all its imperfections on the Middlefork Savanna in Lake Forest.

    Images: Weekly Photo Contest Finalists

    Carol Corter of Libertyville walks her dog, Izzo, along Rockland Road in Libertyville Tuesday after snow fell overnight around Lake County. The snow we received Tuesday and Wednesday haven't been enough to set a record, but we may tonight.

    February snowfall record expected to fall tonight

    If predictions hold true, a 115 year record should fall tonight. Weather officials are predicting between 3-inches and 5-inches of snow will fall over the Chicago area, which would make February of 2011 the snowiest February of all time.


    Councilman wants vision for downtown Palatine

    After the Palatine village council delayed a vote on Hotshot Saloon's request for later hours and a live entertainment license, Councilman Aaron Del Mar says it's time for officials decide whether they want the downtown area centered around night life or retail.

    Richard Hetzer

    Schaumburg library cafe still up for debate

    Schaumburg Township District Library candidate Richard Hetzer is criticizing the long-term lease given the operator of the cafe at the central library, but his three opponents say the current arrangement is working well.


    Pakistani officials: U.S. missiles kill six

    Suspected U.S. missiles hit a house and car in a village in northwest Pakistan close to the Afghan border Thursday, killing at least six people, Pakistani intelligence officials said.


    Lombard continues assessing community’s health

    The Tri-Town YMCA in Lombard is working to evaluate data from a community survey about what residents need from policymakers in order to achieve healthier lifestyles. While survey results are not available yet, the YMCA gathered about fifteen residents Wednesday night to look over the surveys and share ideas they believe would encourage healthy eating and increased physical activity.

    A Saginaw County Road Commission plow clears snow on in Saginaw, Mich. A massive winter storm dumped heavy snow with with fierce winds out of the north causing limited visibility that has made road travel extremely hazardous.

    25,000 of 195,000 still blacked out from snowstorm in Michigan

    CMS Energy Corp. says about 25,000 of the 195,000 electricity customers blacked out by Michigan's latest winter storm remain without power.


    Ind. authorities: 1 dead in small plane crash

    State police say at least one person is dead following a small plane crash in rural eastern Indiana.


    Bond set at $1 million in armed robbery

    Authorities say a South Peoria man is being held on $1 million bond in the shooting of two employees during the armed robbery of a gyros restaurant.


    Chemical reaction at plant under investigation

    The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency is sending an investigator to a Caseyville company where a dense plume of smoke was sent up by a chemical reaction involving what sounds like a modern-day version of a witches' brew.


    Preliminary autopsy results: Westville man drowned

    Vermilion County Coroner Peggy Johnson's office says preliminary autopsy results show a Westville man drowned to death.



    Bulls gain more than just a victory

    Great game. Wild finish. Fun night. But it was just one game, and the Bulls' 93-89 victory over Miami on Thursday night at the UC will have little impact on the playoffs that begin almost two months from now.


    A painful, emotional ending for Cary-Grove

    The pain was so evident it slapped you in the face like a cold winter morning.Cary-Grove senior guard Megan Straumann emerged from the Trojans' locker room and you could tell right away it was going to be a few minutes before she could talk.A few hugs with family and coaches and then she acknowledged the lurking sports writer who, no matter how many times he's done it, still feels the pain with the kids.A miraculous comeback attempt had fallen short and the Trojans had just lost to Geneva 55-53 in the championship game of the Class 4A sectional at Jacobs.It was a step further than Cary-Grove had gone last year; in fact, the plaque Geneva was passing around would have been Cary-Grove's first like it in girls basketball since 1989.Just being in the sectional was further than Straumann got last year on the court, when she lost her junior season to an ACL injury.She came back strong this year, and got stronger and stronger as the season went on. So strong, in fact, that Geneva coach Gina Nolan knew she had to defend Straumann with Kat Yelle, Straumann's AAU teammate and friend who held the Cary-Grove floor leader to 2 points.“I knew she was an outstanding player,” Yelle said. “I might have had an advantage playing defense on her because I know her so well and know her game. I have great respect for how she plays.”Straumann gave Yelle her props, but it wasn't easy through the tears.“She's a great player and I have so much respect for her even if I didn't know her,” Straumann said of Yelle. “I give her all due respect as a friend and as a player.”See, that's why Cary-Grove athletes are so easy to follow and write about. They always, and I mean always, show respect, win or lose.On this night, even in defeat, they deserve a bit of respect, too. And a ton of admiration.And that goes tenfold to Straumann and her senior classmate Claire Jakubicek, who both left every bit of their hearts on the floor Thursday night, especially in the second half when they stormed back from as much as a 14-point deficit to make the sectional championship game as exciting as, well, a sectional championship game should be.“At halftime we told each other we weren't going down without a fight,” said Straumann, who had 5 steals and 4 assists. “We were going to claw for every point and make them claw for every point.“We did that and that makes it hurt ten times more. It also, I guess, makes it that much more rewarding.”Jakubicek scored 23 points, 13 of them in the second half as the Trojans climbed back into the game. But in the end she didn't have enough offensive support to overcome Geneva's Yelle, Ashley Santos and Katelyn Allen, whose 2 free throws with 3.6 seconds to play won it for the Vikings.“Our team worked our butts off and came back and I couldn't ask for anymore than that,” said Jakubicek, who will take her talents to NIU this fall. “We all wanted it so bad. We knew we had to play together and believe in each other.”Which is what this band of eight Cary-Grove girls did all year, led by Straumann and Jakubicek.“It's been an incredible season,” said an emotional C-G coach Rod Saffert, whose team finished 27-4. “Claire and Meg have taken us to new heights. We're 101-19 with them the last four years, we won three conference championships and three regionals.”It's of small consolation but Straumann and Jakubicek each advanced to state in the IHSA 3-point contest prior to Thursday's game, so they will get a chance to experience the Redbird Arena floor. Saffert believes they may be Cary-Grove's first two qualifiers in the event.And when they walk onto the Redbird floor next Thursday they will surely be thinking about what might have been.


    Thursday’s girls basketball results
    Thursday’s summaries*CLASS 4A SECTIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPSAT MUNDELEINzion-Benton 41, Barrington 37 (OT)Barrington — Chandor 2 3-4 8, Mass 4 0-0 8, Kirchoff 3 4-5 11, Maasarani 0 0-0 0, Collins 1 0-0 2, Tinkoff 0 0-0 0, Deuel 0 0-0 0, Shoults 0 0-0 0, Whigham 4 0-0 8. Totals 14 7-9 37.Zion-Benton — Crump 9 0-2 18, H.Rodriguez 1 3-5 5, S.Rodgriguez 2 0-0 4, Robinson 3 1-2 7, Garrett 3 1-3 7, Stabenow 0 0-0 0, Clarke 0 0-0 0. Totals 18 5-12 41.Barrington 11 4 9 8 5—37Zion-Benton 7 4 10 9 9—413-point baskets: Bar: Chandor, Kirchoff.Fouled out: None.*AT JACOBSGeneva 55, Cary-Grove 53Geneva — Yelle 8 0-0 17, Scofield 2 0-0 4, Allen 4 2-2 10, Pease 3 0-0 6, Santos 7 2-2 16, Hinchman 0 0-0 0, Binette 0 0-0 0, Pawlak 0 0-0 0. Totals 24 4-4 55.Cary-Grove — Straumann 1 0-0 2, Linicum 3 1-2 7, Geegan 0 0-0 0. O. Jakubicek 6 2-2 14, C. Jakubicek 8 7-8 23, Nicholson 3 0-0 7. Totals 21 10-12 53.Geneva 18 16 9 12 —55Cary-Grove 12 12 15 14 —533-point baskets: Gen: Allen 2, Yelle; CG: Nicholson.*AT YORKProviso East 55, Trinity 47*AT LINCOLN-WAY NORTHChicago Heights Marian 57, Marist 42*AT LYONSWhitney Young 84, Mother McAuley 48*AT NORMAL COMMUNITYEdwardsville 34, Moline 28*AT MAINE EASTMaine South 54, Niles West 47*AT ROMEOVILLEBolingbrook 64, Benet 44Benet — Canulli 4 2-2 11, N. Valentine 4 1-2 9, S. Prasse 2 1-2 5, Ernsting 0 0-0 0, Veselik 2 0-3 5, C. Prasse 6 2-3 14, Panko 0 0-0 0, Munaretto 0 0-0 0, T. Valentine 0 0-0 0, Malley 0 0-0 0, Hoster 0 0-0 0, Eilers 0 0-0 0, Martin 0 0-0 0. Totals 18 6-12 44.Bolingbrook — T.Tuck 3 1-2 8, Massengale 8 6-7 22, Ray 2 2-2 6, A.Hill 1 0-0 3, M.Tuck 5 4-8 15, Capers 4 0-0 8, Cattenhead 0 0-0 0, Edwards 0 0-0 0, Williams 0 0-0 0, Moore 1 0-0 2, Anderson 0 0-1 0, C.Hill 0 0-0 0. Totals 24 13-20 64.Benet 9 12 12 11 —44Bolingbrook 15 11 26 12 —643-point baskets: Ben: Canulli, Veselik. Bol: A.Hill. T.Tuck, M.Tuck.Fouled out: Ben: Veselik.*CLASS 3A SECTIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPSAT BURLINGTON CENTRALMontini 56, Belvidere North 27Montini — Reaber 1 0-1 2, Holloway 4 8-9 16, Wilson 3 0-0 8, W.Adams 3 2-2 9, Brown 2 1-3 5, Edom 0 0-0 0, Thompson 3 1-4 7, Ross 1 0-1 2, Johnson 2 0-0 4, H.Adams 1 0-0 3, Stone 0 0-0 0, Talley 0 0-0 0, Lumpkin 0 0-0 0. Totals: 20 12-20 56.Belvidere North — Berkenpas 0 0-0 0, Johns 1 1-2 4, Hilden 2 0-0 5, Simmons 3 0-0 7, Dovenmeuhle 2 0-1 4, Hartfiel 0 0-0 0, Mortensen 0 0-0 0, Larson 1 2-4 5, Johnson 1 0-0 2. Totals: 10 3-7 27.Montini 16 12 21 7 —56Belvidere 7 4 10 6 —273-point baskets: Mon: Wilson 2, W.Adams, H.Adams; BlvN: Johns, Hilden, Simmons, Larson.Fouled out: none.Rebounds: Mon: 39 (Adams 10). BlvN: 19 (Hartfiel 4). Assists: Mon: Wilson 6. Steals: Mon: Holloway 7. Blocks: Mon: Thompson 5.*AT CHAMPAIGN CENTRALSpringfield 64, Champaign Centennial 47*AT MARINE MILITARY ACAD.Marshall 64, Crane 56*AT GRAYSLAKE CENTRALgrayslake central 69, johnsburg 46Johnsburg — Dixon 8 5-6 23, Conroy 2 0-2 6, Schuld 0 0-0 0, Wright 2 2-2 7, Berge 0 0-0 0, Kara DiTusa 1 0-0 2, Cherwin 1 1-2 3, Kallie DiTusa 0 0-0 0, Stark 2 0-1 4, Neiss 0 0-0 0, Nusser 0 1-3 1, Medrano 0 0-0 0, Gallina 0 0-0 0, Weingart 0 0-0 0. Totals 16 9-16 46.Grayslake Central — Scarbro 4 7-9 15, Dickson 1 0-0 2, Llorens 14 9-15 37, Jessop 5 0-2 12, Miller 0 0-0 0, Brennan 0 1-2 1, Acoff 0 0-0 0, Secler 0 0-0 0, Kuligowski 0 0-0 0, Daly 0 0-2 0, Dahlstrom 0 0-2 0, Shepard 1 0-0 2, Arnold 0 0-0 0. Totals 25 17-32 69.Johnsburg 11 8 12 15 —46Grayslake Central 16 19 16 18 —693-point baskets: Jbrg: Dixon 2, Conroy 2, Wright; GLC: Jessop 2.Fouled out: Jbrg: Wright.*AT METAMORAGalesburg 74, Peoria Richwoods 76*AT RICH EASTHillcrest 81, Morgan Park 76*AT RIVERSIDE-BROOKFIELDSt. Joseph 71, Riverside-Brookfield 43*AT SALEM


    Thursday’s boys basketball results
    Thursday’s summaries*St. Francis 60, Aurora Central Catholic 58 (OT)St. Francis — O’Donnell 1 2-2 4, Stout 1 0-0 3, Scholl 6 0-0 17, Coyle 10 2-6 23, Roswold 1 0-0 2, Spahn 4 3-4 11, Yanan 0 0-0 0. Totals 23 7-12 60.Aurora Central Catholic — Medgyesi 1 0-0 3, Harrel 4 3-4 14, McEachern 4 5-6 13, Fernandez 2 0-1 4, DeMyers 7 0-1 14, Meyers 0 2-2 2, Brauweiler 0 0-0 0, Kaminski 3 1-1 8, Andujar 0 0-0 0, Czerek 0 0-0 0, Abens 0 0-0 0. Totals 21 11-15 58.St. Francis 14 8 16 18 4 —60Aurora Central 18 12 13 13 2 —583-point baskets: SF: Scholl 5, Stout, Coyle. ACC: Harreld 3, Medgyesi, Kaminski.Fouled out: None.*richmond-burton 61, burlington central 56Burlington Central — Klein 4 1-1 10, Fitzgerald 3 2-2 8, Hunnicutt 5 2-5 12, Sullivan 1 2-4 4, Ritchie 6 0-0 15, Parker 0 0-0 0, Moxness 3 0-0 6, Fleming 0 0-0 0, Warner 0 1-2 1, Lopez 0 0-0 0. Totals 22 8-14-56.Richmond-Burton — Kinsella 9 4-4 25, Hendrixson 0 2-3 2, Hill-Male 3 0-0 7, Z. Rygiel 3 -01 6, M. Rygiel 3 2-4 8, Clary 2 1-3 5, Vlasak 2 0-0 6, Gunderson 1 0-2 2, Flood 0 0-0 0. Totals 23 9-17 61.Burlington Central 11 18 9 18 —56Richmond-Burton 11 19 13 18 —613-point baskets: BC: Ritchie 3, Klein; RB: Kinsella 3, Vlasak 2, Hill-Male.Fouled out: none.Sophomores: Burlington Central 45, Richmond-Burton 37.*

    Retiring Hoffman Estates boys basketball coach Bill Wandro built one of the Mid-Suburban League’s most successful programs during his 20-year tenure.

    Memorable run for Wandro at Hoffman

    Bill Wandro found it wasn’t easy to leave Fremd back in the early 1990s.It had been a wonderful place to work for 13 years. He loved teaching business and coaching basketball and soccer there.But someone close to him and Hoffman Estates made some pretty convincing arguments that he would find plenty of happy days there.So, Hoffman does not have just Bill Wandro to thank for one of the school’s most successful athletic eras. Credit his wife Kathy, who just retired a month ago as a teacher there, with a pretty big assist.“The opportunity was there and Kathy Wandro and (former athletic director) Tom Heidkamp were very convincing in bestowing the virtues of Hoffman Estates High School,” Wandro recalled fondly. “Fred Bryant (longtime teacher and coach) said some great things.“I felt very fortunate I got the call saying I got the job.”Twenty years later, that job is coming to a conclusion for the Iowa native. It has been one of the most successful tenures in the history of the Mid-Suburban League as Wandro takes a 337-225 record into Monday’s regional opener against Lake Park at Glenbrook North.There were Elite Eight trips in 1996 and 2004 that nearly ended up with final-four trophies. Wandro’s second team to reach Peoria set an MSL single-season record for victories with 30.There were two MSL titles and eight regional crowns at a program that was 71 games below .500 when Wandro arrived. It will be at least 40 games above break-even when he leaves.“Very competitive,” said Pat Ambrose, who was an assistant for Wandro for three years before moving into his current job as Stevenson’s head coach in 1999. “Don’t let him get you wrong, Bill wants to win.“But he’s going to compete with class and do the best for kids and make everyone better around him.”That doesn’t apply to just players and coaches. Brian Staunton has been a part of the program for 18 years — first as a student manager and then as one of the best around at keeping track of game stats.Keeping tabs on shots, rebounds and assists is nothing compared to six years in a job of handling 911 emergency calls.“He’s taught me so much, not only about the game,” Staunton said. “I owe a lot of the successes I’ve had in my personal life to things he taught me.“He taught me how to take criticism and how to be part of a winning tradition. He took me back into this program (after a year at Western Illinois) when he really didn’t have to. It’s been an honor and privelege to serve for him as long as he’s allowed me to.”Building that tradition wasn’t easy, however. But Wandrow was going to take what he had learned from people such as Fremd coach Mo Tharp and friend, former assistant coach and athletic director Jack Drollinger, put his stamp on it and make it work at Hoffman.“My first year wasn’t very productive,” Wandro said of a 9-17 season that will be one of only three that ended with a losing record. “But it was defining in terms of what we needed to do. It wasn’t an easy transition and there wasn’t a lot of acceptance to it right away.”But he knew how he was going to succeed during a run that didn’t include a single Division I basketball player.“The team philosophy is something he always preached,” said Marty Manning, the all-area point guard on the 1996 Elite Eight team and now a successful head coach at Huntley. “It makes the team better if you rely on one another. It makes you a stronger team if you believe in one another.”Which was evident in two vastly different teams achieving the same goal of reaching Peoria.Two different teams, same Elite result.

    Grayslake Central’s Rebekah Llorens, who poured in 37 points and grabbed 20 rebounds, skies for a shot over Johnsburg defender Ashley Schuld during the Class 3A girls sectional final Thursday at Grayslake Central.

    Llorens lifts Grayslake Central to crown

    They all drove from Chicago to Grayslake to watch her play basketball. An aunt. An uncle. A cousin. Friends with whom she had played AAU ball. And Rebekah Llorens couldn’t make a shot. Thank goodness for her, it was only pregame drills.


    First points of postseason? IHSA awards them

    So what’s it worth to you?It’s a good question at this time of year because, believe it or not, home boys basketball games in the playoffs used to be something teams earned. Now they’re handed out by the IHSA based on noncompetitive criteria.Because of that criteria, competition is the very thing affected. Playing host to a playoff game could mean the difference between moving on and ending your season.When the IHSA switched to fixed regional sites in 2003, it proved to be a significant step that ended a system where higher seeds hosted regional games. Teams negotiated a successful regular season to claim that reward, and although the value of a home game varies from site to site, it’s a definite value.“I think it’s probably worth somewhere between 8 to 10 points,” said Wheaton Academy coach Paul Ferguson, whose team hosts a Class 3A regional next week. “I think especially in basketball, it’s always easier to shoot in the facility you spend most of your time practicing and playing games in.”Ferguson said his school simply logged into the IHSA website, answered a few logistical questions and submitted the request to host a regional. The IHSA granted the request based on the number of fans the Warrior Dome can seat, the layout of the gymnasium, and so on. That decision may change the course of Wheaton Academy’s postseason. It’s true the Warriors lost at home to St. Francis in last year’s regional, but any advantage in the wicked Riverside-Brookfield sectional is worth pursuing.Despite a 24-1 record Wheaton Academy garnered only a No. 4 seed behind powerhouses Crane, Riverside-Brookfield and Marshall. With North Lawndale looming as a possible regional final opponent, that 8-to-10 point estimated gain might come in handy.It’s an advantage other schools would love to have in next week’s regional.Benet, for example, put in an immense amount of work compiling a 26-0 regular-season record, but now the Redwings, top-seeded in the Class 4A East Aurora sectional, head to the Naperville North regional where they may face the host Huskies. Benet would be favored if that matchup came to fruition, but why should the game be on Naperville North’s court? One of the IHSA’s reasons for creating fixed regionals was to shorten driving distances, but Naperville North and Benet are only about 4 miles apart.After winning tough road games and even tougher games on neutral courts, a regional at Naperville North likely won’t be much of a disadvantage for the Redwings. But if the seeds hold up, Benet also would be forced to play No. 4 East Aurora on its home court in the sectional semifinals. “It is a difficult path, but our kids have played in so many situations and environments,” said Benet coach Gene Heidkamp. “With the senior leadership we have we won’t make a big deal out of it.”Glenbard East, on the other hand, will make a big deal out of hosting a regional. The Rams, seeded third at East Aurora, thrive at their rowdy venue. Any advantage helps in the playoffs, and Glenbard East is glad to have it.As a top-four seed, the Rams also earned it.“It can be a huge advantage for us,” said Rams coach Scott Miller. “There’s no doubt you’re more comfortable at home. That can make a big difference in the playoffs.”

    ¬ Raysean Parker of Metea puts up a shot during the Metea Valley at Lake Park boys basketball game Thursday.

    Metea Valley nearing end of strong first season

    Its first boys basketball playoff game coming Monday at Bolingbrook, Metea Valley has performed as anticipated in its first varsity season.That’s to say, the Mustangs have been pretty good.Sometimes preseason reviews pan out. The opening of Metea’s preview capsule provides a fair portrayal of the Mustangs (14-12) entering Friday’s big regular-season finale at Neuqua Valley.“It is realistic to assume last year’s gaudy underclass record (22-3) will not stand up to the first year of varsity ball,” the preview stated. “Still, fans may entertain a fast track to success.”Offering a multitude of scoring options primarily in Kenny Obendorf, LaShawn Cargo, Ryan Solomon, Milan Bojanic and Raysean Parker, Metea’s on-the-job training the first half of the Upstate Eight Conference schedule helped earn marquee second-round wins over East Aurora and, a week ago, Waubonsie Valley. “I think we’re starting to understand our roles and how we need to play and how we as a group can be successful,” said Mustangs coach Bob Vozza, who on Friday revisits his mentor, Todd Sutton. Neuqua (21-6) won the first meeting 70-64.“We’re getting to the point where I think they understand the concentration level and how to respond when things don’t go too well. Our bad minutes are decreasing, and we kind of put it all together against Waubonsie,” Vozza said.Asked his goal for success in the Mustangs’ first varsity season, Vozza said he initially “didn’t really have any.”“I didn’t really know how we would react to the big jump,” he said. “Early on it was all about getting better, then as we started pretty fast we set our goals higher.”Finishing fourth at DeKalb’s Chuck Dayton Holiday Tournament then starting the new year 4-1, Vozza updated his expectations to a winning record. Win or lose Friday at Neuqua, the 12th-seeded Mustangs will enter their regional opener against No. 22 Bolingbrook over .500 and with what Vozza calls “kind of a buzz around the building.”“Overall, we’re looking forward to our first action in the playoffs and the opportunity to compete in a sectional and in big-time games,” he said. “I think it’ll be good for our kids. I think our schedule has prepared us all year for what a sectional is like.”Back in the black:Lisle is aiming for its first regional title since 2005 as it takes its home court Friday against No. 3 seed Aurora Christian.The fourth-seeded Lions (10-19) defeated Aurora Christian 80-70 way back on Dec. 18 behind Phil Palicka’s 25 points and 15 rebounds, the same numbers Palicka compiled Tuesday night in Lisle’s 68-45 regional-opening win over Chicago Richards.Chris Wray totaled identical points in that one, then the two Lisle “bigs” totaled 34 points in Lisle’s 41-37 win over Westmont to reach Friday.On both nights “the No. 1 thing was we controlled the glass,” Lions coach Mark LaScala said. Lisle had the second-chance opportunities it denied Westmont and Richards.“We’re definitely trying to control the paint area,” LaScala said, while pushing teams outside.Aurora Christian (12-16) poses a different problem. Along with a penetrating point guard in Dean Danos and a solid big man in Ryan McQuade, the Eagles have a slew of outside shooters in Nick Marema, C.J. Schutt and coach Steve Hanson’s son, Jake.“I think we have a size advantage across the board. I think (forward Kyle) Frazier, Phil and Chris will each have an inch on their guys. We need to use that advantage by getting good shots and getting the ball inside,” LaScala said.“In many ways I think it’ll be a perimeter-vs.-inside battle,” he said. “I’m concerned that their 3s are going to add up faster than our 2s.”Tough assignment:So many factors played into Benet’s 58-54 win over Simeon in Saturday’s City-Suburban Showdown. One of the most important was Pat Boyle’s defensive play on Wolverines standout Jabari Parker.


    South Elgin’s Hasemann excited for state

    It’s a term 99 percent of the general public would have no inkling what it means.But for South Elgin sophomore boys swimmer Nick Hasemann, the meaning is quite significant.“I’ve been working hard on my underwaters,” Hasemann said of the technique he employs during the backstroke. “You see a lot of swimmers use it when they are in the pool. My coach and I have really focused in on my backstroke.”How about a swimming definition for idiots lesson?“It’s basically when you are underwater you need a really tight streamline,” Hasemann explained. “You need to use from your core down to your legs and whip your hips so you can propel under water. It gives you an advantage when you are swimming against others. My underwaters have come a long way from where they were at last season.”And so has Hasemann’s overall performance in the pool. The Storm 10th grader will make his second state finals appearance in as many years in the 100 backstroke and the 200 freestyle today at New Trier High School in Winnetka.Hasemann is seeded fifth in the backstroke and eighth in the 200 free. The Top 12 swimmers from today’s action advance to Saturday’s finals.“The 200 comes down a lot to the flip turns and your breathing,” he said. “It’s also about how I’m swimming during the face and even how I feel before the race.”Hasemann took 16th in the state in the backstroke last year and 22nd in the 200.“I feel like I gained a lot of experience last year as a freshman,” he noted. “Things are a lot better for me now. I know what to expect at state. It’s nice to have that experience under my belt. I look forward to swimming again this weekend.”Hasemann has swam as fast as 51.8 in the backstroke and 1:43.2 in the 200.“Hopefully I will improve from last year and be able to get in at least the Top 12 if not the Top 6,” said Hasemann, who sports a 4.2 grade-point average and has been swimming for 7 years. Because South Elgin has no formal boys team, Hasemann only represents the school at the sectional and state levels. Six South Elgin swimmers competed in the sectional. The rest of the year, Hasemann competes for coach Marcelo Possato at the Bartlett Electric Swim Team (BEST).“Not too many people know about me going into the high school season,” Hasemann said. “I’d like to make my name for South Elgin and for myself.”Hasemann is far from the only Fox Valley-area swimmer competing at New Trier today.Cary-Grove sophomore standout Michael Hamann is seeded sixth in the 200 IM (he won the sectional last week) and 10th in the backstroke.Jacobs junior Alex Elston is seeded 10th in the butterfly (he won the sectional last week). Elston will also compete in the 50.The Jacobs 200 medley relay team will also compete at New Trier. That quartet features Jacobs freshman Alex Reinbrecht (backstroke), Jacobs junior Ryne Quinlan (breaststroke), Elston (butterfly) and homeschooled junior John Jost (freestyle).Hampshire sophomore Josh DeDina will swim the breaststroke.


    Warren’s Schumacher doubles her skating pleasure

    Shannah Schumacher has been double trouble this season.She’s a sophomore captain for the Warren girls hockey team, which finished its Metro season with a 2-22 record, ahead of only Barrington in the 13-team league. She had 11 of the team’s 22 goals in Metro play, along with 2 assists. Schumacher tallied a hat trick last November against Barrington.She also plays forward for the Maulers midget house league team (11-6-1), based at the Rink Side Sports & Family Entertainment Center in Gurnee. Schumacher and Katie Fritz, a junior wing from Lakes High School, are the only girls on the team.“I’m having fun this season,” said Schumacher, 15, who lives in Wildwood. “I really enjoy the environment on the Warren team, that locker room bonding time with the girls. On the Maulers, I really like the competition, the challenge and the speed of the game.”She also enjoys wearing her high school colors of blue and gold, despite the Blue Devils’ struggles.“It’s been a rough year, but we’re still able to keep our heads up, keep our heads in the game,” Schumacher said. “We’re able to work together as a team, even though we haven’t won as many as we would have wanted to. But in our hearts, we know that we’ve tried our best.“Playing with the Maulers is playing at a higher (skill) level, and I’ve played on boys teams my whole life.”And the physical play of the boys game is just fine with her. In fact, she said she prefers that style of play — and actually gets a lot of penalties on the Warren team because she forgets it’s a no-contact league. Schumacher had 42 penalty minutes in Metro play this season, which tied her for the league lead.“I don’t know if I enjoy one (team) more than the other. I enjoy playing for them both,” said Schumacher, a fast, physical player with playmaking skills. “Sure, it’s been a frustrating season at times (for Warren), but we’re all there for each other, for support.” The Blue Devils, coached by Stephanie Cole, have a roster of 12 skaters and two goalies. Senior defenseman Stephanie Derks is second on the team behind Schumacher in scoring (8 goals, 1 assist, including 2 short-handed goals), while junior defenseman Kaitlyn Fritz has 4 goals, 4 assists. Fritz was the lone Blue Devil named to the all-state team.Aeriell Pendley has seen the majority of the action in goal for the Blue Devils this season. She’s faced almost 800 shots in her 18 Metro games.The Upper Fox Valley co-op team won the Metro girls regular-season race with a 19-5 record, 1 point ahead of Lake Forest and New Trier (37 points). Loyola (36 points) was fourth, followed by co-op Naper Valley (35) and Oak Park River Forest (32).The top four girls teams started play in the Scholastic Cup last week.Off the ice, Schumacher boasts a 3.85 GPA. Not bad considering she often is skating twice a day and even has had two games in one day this season.“Shannah is a great all-around player,” Cole said. “She plays with a lot of passion and is extremely dedicated to the sport. She’s a big part of our team, a leader. She doesn’t give up, and that makes a big difference, especially when you’re trying to win games from behind,” which has often been the situation this season.”Schumacher’s hockey roots are homegrown. She’s following her brother, Michael, who also was a Warren captain. Now 20 and attending school at the Milwaukee School of Engineering, Michael Schumacher also was named Warren’s team captain as a sophomore.“She’s doing phenomenal,” Michael said of his sister. “I’m not able to get to as many of her games as I’d like to, but when I do, I see that she’s chuggin’ along.“It looks like she’s got that same Schumacher stride.”The hockey siblings have a lot in common, in truth.

    Schaumburg’s Brooke Shimon competes on the balance beam at the IHSA state gymnastics finals at Palatine on Saturday. Shimon finished third after earning a score of 9.55.

    Saxons’ Shimon makes most of her last chance

    Schaumburg senior Brooke Shimon was the last one to perform on the balance beam at the IHSA state girls gymnastics finals Saturday — and by that time the Saxons had already secured their first state trophy with a third-place finish.But there was still a bit of unfinished business for Shimon and the Saxons.Shimon entered Schaumburg with plenty of potential, but two elbow surgeries and a broken ankle detoured her route to state glory.Saturday’s beam routine offered Shimon one last chance to secure a coveted individual state medal — and the senior did n0t disappoint.Shimon, who had hit a 9.2 in Friday’s beam preliminaries, nailed a flip-flop full back on her dismount to earn a 9.55 and the third-place medal.“Pretty awesome,” Shimon said. “It was icing on the cake.”Shimon had entered the state meet with a twisted left ankle, which was pretty swollen after two days of competition.“It was so Brooke,” said Saxons coach Jami Stilling. “Perfect way to end her high school career, especially with an injured ankle, she was still able to get up and suck it up.”Shimon brought much more to the table than just her skills. She is an honor roll student and has been the inspirational leader of the Saxons.“Our team wouldn’t be anywhere near where we are without Brooke,” Stilling said. “They are a talented group of girls, and she has forced them to become better gymnasts, better students and better people.”“She’s not afraid to challenge her teammates, and they all respect her because of that. Those are things you can’t teach someone.”Miller gets a grip:Schaumburg junior Ashley Miller got a grip on things this season.As a sophomore, Miller qualified for the state finals on the uneven parallel bars. But after performing a flawless routine, she lost her grip and slipped on her dismount, finishing 11th.After a slow start to her junior season, Miller found her groove — capping the season with two individual state medals that included a third place on bars.Miller showed her toughness this season by overcoming a back injury. She also hyperextended her knee during the regional and tweaked her right knee before the sectional.The junior won her second consecutive Mid-Suburban League all-around title this season and finished third in the state all-around and sixth on beam. Miller will enter the 2011-12 season as one of the top returning gymnasts.“She is one of the fiercest competitors,” Stilling said. “She wants to win more than anyone and puts a lot of pressure on herself, but not to the point where it destroys her.”Fremd pulls it together:The regular season was real grind for Fremd, but the Vikings put things together in the state series.Senior Maegan Wochinski took fifth on bars (9.55) and senior Kelsey Onesto added a seventh on beam (9.15).Fremd will lose three seniors including Alyssia Van Duch, whose season was wiped out in early December because of a torn ACL.But the Viking have plenty of reason to be optimistic next year.Juniors Elizabeth and Stephanie Uhrich and sophomores Stephanie Gallo, Emily Pinderski and Anna Johnson all gained state experience this season.Add sophomore Shannon LeMajeur and freshman Christine Jensen, who both are hoping to come back from injuries, and the Vikings have a solid nucleus to continue their unprecedented quest of a 21st state appearance.Barrington’s Marsella finishes strong:Senior Lexi Marsella ended her junior year on the sidelines watching the state meet after breaking her ankle three days before sectionals.But Marsella came back to qualify on floor exercise. She went second in Friday’s preliminaries and hit a 9.0 with a revised routine that included two new passes added just before state.

    Buffalo Grove junior Ian Rodriguez has the third-fastest qualifying time in the state for today’s preliminaries in the 100-yard backstroke.

    Soph slump at state meet? Not this year

    A glance at the heat sheet for today’s state swimming and diving prelims at New Trier reveals some familiar truths.Such as, the senior class tends to dominate the proceedings. Surely that has a lot to do with physical maturity, but I’ve always thought the mental part of it is at least equally important.So it’s great to see seniors like Matt Elliott (Peoria Richwoods), Kevin Cordes (Neuqua Valley), Kyle Workman (Stagg) and Jeff Depew (Naperville Central) well positioned in their races. Each is a pretty incredible swimmer in his own way.A closer inspection of the state’s top sectional performances unearths another truth: There are loads of good sophomores this year.I’m not talking about sophs who will define their seasons by simply making the state meet, but rather individuals with legitimate chances to finish in the top six, and even win.Start with Andrew Jovanovic of Loyola. It’s not often you see a sophomore ready to final in the sprints, but he’s already a state meet veteran and his sectional time of 21.3 in the 50 was excellent. He’s also a threat to final in the 100 fly.Bartlett’s Nick Hasemann could move up to a top-six finish with good swims in the 200 free and 100 back. Same for Cary-Grove’s Michael Hamann in the 200 IM and 100 fly.Conant’s Jonathon Burke and St. Charles North’s Kyle Gannon turned heads with excellent qualifying efforts in the 200 and 500 freestyles.Matt Conway of Warren is a threat for top-12 finishes in both the 100 back and 100 fly.The best of all the sophs might be Mundelein’s Connor Black. His sectional times in the 200 IM and 100 fly have him on the verge of joining the elite nationally in those races.Daniel Le of Lakes looks like a lock to finish in the top six in the 100 breaststroke.Barrington’s Jack Strauss has a chance to score in the 100 free, and he’s certainly a big reason behind all three of Barrington’s relays having a chance to score.It might be too much to expect Hoffman Estates soph Nick Jessee to exceed his sectional-winning effort in the 200 free at Barrington, but he’ll almost certainly figure in the scoring at some point. Same goes for Barrington’s Kyle Ujiye (fly). If not this year, then surely some medals down the road.So, what does this all mean? How much will these sophomores affect things at New Trier? Let’s take another look after this weekend, when things will be much clearer.Junior achievement?Last year, as a sophomore, Buffalo Grove’s Ian Rodriguez qualified for the state meet in great position in both the 200 IM and the 100 backstroke.He first-time experience wasn’t what he’d hoped it would be, though, and his state times were slower than at sectional.Coach Jamie Klotz and Rodriguez have worked to avoid a repeat this time around, and it sure looks like they’re positioned for a better result this weekend.For one thing, Rodriguez is simply a much better swimmer. He reached 52 seconds in the 100 backstroke early this season and has been close to that clocking most of the way, even through high-intensity workout periods. His unrested, unshaved winning time of 52.17 at the Barrington sectional qualified him third for state, and not far from top qualifier Sebastian Ostrowski of Hinsdale South.But it’s not Rodriguez’s times that have me convinced he’s ready. It’s how he handled disappointment at the sectional.In the 100 free, Rodriguez’s second-best individual event this year, he missed qualifying for state. Rather than dwell on that, he quickly re-focused, got himself ready for the backstroke and took charge of that race like he owned it.If there’s a better first 25 in the state right now, I’d like to see it. Rodriguez is somehow able to get great turnover from that lanky frame; coupled with his fine form it adds up to devastating speed.Klotz talks about how last year was a learning experience for Rodriguez, who misplaced his goggles at some point on the day of the state prelims.

    Mundelein swimmer Will Davidson, who is a diabetic, qualified for the IHSA state meet in all four of his events.

    Mundelein’s Davidson overcomes adversity

    Need portrait of Mundelein swimmer Will Davidson, who is a diabetic


    Harper wrestlers seek second straight national championship

    The Harper wrestlers are hoping for a smash-hit remake of the story, “How the West Was Won.”Traveling to Spokane, Wash., the fifth-ranked Hawks are seeking to successfully defend their 2010 NJCAA national championship today and Saturday at the Spokane Convention Center.“We’re always been ready to go at this time of year,” said Hawks coach Dan Loprieno, whose main concern is complacency. “I am hoping the kids are not satisfied (being at nationals).”The tournament is hosted by North Idaho College, ranked second in the latest NJCAA poll.“Rankings are only as good as the paper they’re written on,” Loprieno said. “We are ready. I am still very optimistic. If we go out there and wrestle well, we will be in the hunt.”The Hawks qualified eight of their 10 starters for the tournament.The key for the Hawks will be to earn points in every match.“What you need to win the national title is everybody needs to go score points,” Loprieno said. “Most of these tournaments are won in the wrestlebacks. The guys that are mentally tough are going to win.”Wrestling fans can find the tournament brackets on the NJCAA website: nic.edu/athletics/wrestlingNationals/“I think we got a couple of good draws,” said Loprino, who cited Arber Bebo (Addison Trail) as one of the wrestlers that will benefit most from the draw. “I’m hoping a little bit of magic from last year is still in us.”Harper women defeated:The third-seeded Harper women’s basketball team rallied from 15 points behind in the second half, but eventual fell 59-51 to second-seeded Joliet in the NJCAA Region IV Division III semifinals at Rock Valley in Rockford on Thursday.Joliet (16-15) advanced to meet top-seeded Rock Valley (24-7), a 72-47 winner over No. 5 DuPage (15-16), on Saturday at 5:15 p.m.A 10-2 run that featured 8 straight points from Schaumburg grad Sarah Kellermeyer (team-high 14 points) brought Harper to within 48-43 with 4:39 to play. The Hawks’ Larissa Aguero added 12 points, Siobhan Cerney scored 11 and Anna Kirchoff had 10. Crystal Daniels led Joliet with 17 points.


    St. Francis beats ACC in OT

    If Thursday’s regular-season finale was a playoff tuneup, the St. Francis and Aurora Central Catholic boys basketball teams could each take away positives.They also could find areas to improve.St. Francis committed 21 turnovers in the Suburban Christian Conference crossover but escaped with a 60-58 overtime win when Mike Scholl drove the left baseline, pulled up and swished a 10-foot jumper with 3.7 seconds left in overtime. Out of an ACC timeout with 2.5 seconds left, Kent Brauweiler’s court-length baseball pass was knocked to the ground, where it was batted around until time expired.“I got the ball, the 3 wasn’t there so I made a pump fake,” said Scholl, who hit five 3s and scored 17 points, second to teammate Ryan Coyle’s game-high 23 plus 9 rebounds.“It wasn’t the prettiest shot, but we’ll take it,” Scholl said. “If it goes through the hoop it counts. I’ll take it. It was great atmosphere, great comeback, a great way to end the season.”Aurora Central (13-13) squandered a 43-31 lead with 1:43 left in the third quarter, on its home court. St. Francis (14-11) forced the Chargers into 6 turnovers in the first five minutes of the fourth quarter, and Coyle hit a 3 for a 52-51 lead with 3:02 left to play, the Spartans’ first lead since 12-11. Scholl followed with a 3, which was countered by ACC’s Paul Kaminski. St. Francis’ Brian Spahn hit a free throw for the last of his 11 points, and ACC’s Ryan Harreld made 2 free throws with 20.6 seconds left in regulation to tie 56-56.“It hurts,” Harreld said, “but it’ll motivate us to take care of the ball. That’s why we lost the game, obviously.”St. Francis coach Shawn Healy said: “When we got those turnovers in the fourth quarter, I think we scored off of all those turnovers, which was key. When you’re taking a possession away from a team and scoring on that possession, you’re going to make up the difference quickly.”That difference was initially created the same way, as ACC forced the Spartans into 7 third-quarter turnovers. Harreld and Joey McEachern each snagged 2 steals in the stretch. They finished with 14 and 13 points, respectively.With Harreld hitting three 3s and Robert DeMyers rejecting shots right and left — the 6-foot-4 junior blocked 7 shots and scored 14 points — the Chargers led 30-22 at halftime and were up 43-31 on a DeMyers baby hook. ACC still led 51-45 at 4:43 of the fourth quarter.“Outside of the last three or four minutes, I thought we played pretty well tonight,” said Chargers coach Nathan Drye. “It’s a good thing this happened tonight as opposed to on Wednesday.”


    Richmond denies Burlington share of title

    Burlington Central’s hopes for a conference title went up in smoke in Richmond Thursday night. Brandon Kinsella scored 25 points as Richmond-Burton downed Central, 61-56, preventing the Burlington Rockets from claiming a share of the Big Northern East crown. The title would have been their first since 2007-08. Instead, Hampshire wins the BN-East outright.Trailing by 9 early in the fourth quarter, Central rallied to get within a point. Ryan Ritchie’s 3-pointer made it 57-56 with 50 seconds to play. After Kinsella made 2 free throws, Burlington had 3 chances to tie, but couldn’t connect. Kinsella then hit 2 more free throws to ice it. “I can’t fault our effort,” said Central coach Brett Porto. “Our execution on the defensive end was poor at times. But the kids battled and fought back. That’s all you can ask for.” Ritchie finished with 15 points to lead Burlington. Ray Hunnicutt added 12, Sam Klein 10, and Thomas Fitzgerald 8 for Central (15-10, 7-2). Klein also grabbed 8 rebounds. Richmond held Klein and Hunnicutt in check early, but Ritchie scored 10 points in the second quarter to keep Central close. Burlington trailed 30-29 at halftime. But Richmond scored the first 10 points of the second half, and Burlington spent the rest of the game digging out of the hole. Central missed 4 field goals and 2 free throws and committed 6 turnovers during that span. Richmond (13-12, 6-4) was just 1 of 7 from the free-throw line through 3 quarters, but made its last 8 in a row down the stretch. While Kinsella made the court his personal field of dreams, no one else reached double figures for Richmond. Matt Rygiel had 8 points and 8 rebounds, giving the R-B Rockets an inside presence. Central got some big contributions off the bench as Jared Moxness had 6 points and Michael Parker had 3 rebounds, 3 steals and a block.Men’s basketballTrinity Christian 97, Judson 80: The Eagles (15-16) saw their season come to an end in the CCAC tournament semifinals in Palos Heights. Jim Kuban had 15 points to lead Judson.


    Boys basketball/Scouting Fox Valley weekend

    TodayClass 2A Plano regional championshipNo. 1 Westminster Christian (22-5) vs. No. 2 Genoa-Kingston (12-15), 7:30 p.m.: The Warriors vie for the second regional boys basketball title in school history against a team they defeated by 14 points on Dec. 11. The Cogs built a 21-point lead in their semifinal against host Plano and held on to win by 4 points.Upstate Eight (River)Elgin (20-5, 9-2) at Streamwood (7-18, 3-8), 7:30 p.m.: The Maroons already own a piece of the UEC River title. A win over the Sabres or a St. Charles North loss at Geneva would give Elgin the title outright.Larkin (4-21, 0-11) at St. Charles East (12-13, 6-5), 7:30 p.m.: The Royals nearly knocked the Saints off on Jan. 15 before succumbing in Elgin, 53-48. St. Charles East has won 8-of-12 games in 2011.Upstate Eight (Valley)Bartlett (16-13, 5-6) at Waubonsie Valley (15-10, 5-6), 7:30 p.m.: The Hawks put their 6-game winning streak on the line against the Warriors, a team Bartlett defeated 56-50 on Jan. 25.South Elgin (13-11, 5-6) at Lake Park (12-13, 2-9), 7:30 p.m.: The Storm have an opportunity to finish with a .500 record in the brutal UEC Valley if they can win on the road in Roselle.Fox Valley Conference crossoversCrystal Lake Central (21-4, 11-1) at Crystal Lake South (14-10, 4-6), 7 p.m.: Grab a seat early because the annual battle of Crystal Lake should be a doozy. The Tigers are champions of the FVC Fox Division. The Gators have won four straight since the return of their starting point guard, tying their longest win streak of the season.Dundee-Crown (12-11, 4-6) at Grayslake North (18-7, 8-4), 7 p.m.: The Chargers ended a 4-game slide last Friday with a key victory at rival Jacobs. D-C looks to gain momentum with a second straight win heading into next week’s Class 4A Larkin regional.McHenry (14-10, 2-7) at Jacobs (14-12, 6-3), 7 p.m.: The Golden Eagles and Warriors tangle for the second time in four days due to revamped scheduling in the wake of the Blizzard of 2011. Jacobs beat McHenry 51-40 on Tuesday.NonconferenceMarengo (6-20, 2-8) at Huntley (21-4, 9-1), 7 p.m.: The Red Raiders have won 20 games for the third time in coach Marty Manning’s five seasons in Huntley. SaturdayNonconferenceHampshire (19-5) at South Elgin, 6 p.m.: Center Tyler Watzlawick (6-foot-7) is expected to return to action after missing 3 games with an ankle injury. South Elgin point guard Jake Maestranzi is a 90-percent free-throw shooter.


    Geneva turns to some clutch performers for pressure-packed win

    The Geneva girls basketball program has established a tradition like few others, and the Vikings added another most memorable chapter with their 55-53 victory over Cary-Grove Thursday night in the Class 4A Jacobs sectional championship game.So with all the tradition, it’s no surprise you’ll find names like 2006 seniors Caty Whitley and Sara Bernhard behind Thursday’s game-winning play.That play came with 4.6 seconds left in the game and the score tied at 53. It was the third straight inbounds play the Vikings ran.You always hear a sign of a well-coached team is one that executes plays like this out of timeouts. Just getting the ball inbounds can trip up the best of teams with this type of pressure — look no further than the turnover Cary-Grove had with 13 seconds to go that gave the Vikings the ball back.Geneva ran three straight excellent plays. The second would have ended in a Ashley Santos 2-footer for the win if Cary-Grove had not fouled. How often do you pull your hair out watching your favorite team play on TV in these end-of-game situations when they end up launching a 20-foot fadeaway jumper?Geneva wound up with Katelyn Allen all alone under the basket leaving Cary-Grove no choice but foul.That is great coaching, great players and great execution — basically everything we’ve come to expect from Geneva the last six years with their 160-23 record and now three straight sectional championships.They come through under pressure, even in a game like Thursday when they had lost a 14-point lead and all the momentum was on Cary-Grove’s side.“It’s tough whenever you have been up by that much and lose the lead, it took a toll on our confidence,” senior Kat Yelle said. “We just tried to keep our cool. Katelyn making those free throws, I just had a feeling she was going to make them. I was more concerned with not letting them get a 3 off. I just wanted to let them (her teammates) know not to foul on the rebound if Katelyn did miss.”There you go, another heads-up play, but one the Vikings didn’t need after Allen’s 2 free throws. The best 3-point shooter on the team, Allen surprising only hit 52 percent from the free-throw line during the season. But she was money when it mattered.Cary-Grove coach Rod Saffert took timeout before Allen went to the line.During the timeout Allen said she looked over at her fellow seniors — there’s 8 of them on the team — and became determined to win the game for them. She happened to notice Yelle praying.“Me and Sammy (Scofield) pray before each game,” Yelle said. “In tough situations like this I find myself praying. Even in life I pray whenever it gets tough. I just feel confident whenever I pray to God. He was with us tonight.”Allen said she was more nervous when the play was called and she knew the ball was coming to her than shooting the free throws.“My heart was beating so fast,” Allen said. “We usually do our other plays, that one is not key, but she (Nolan) called it and I was like “Oh, it’s my side. “We always practice our free throws the same routine every time. I felt like they were going to go in. I don’t even remember it anymore. I looked at Ashley (Santos) next to me and she said ‘You can do it.’”Santos had a big high-five for Allen after she nailed the first free throw.Sammy Scofield made the pass on all three inbounds plays, the final one named “H.P.” in honor of none other than Harry Potter.“Give Sammy credit, that inbounder needs to be patient and let the play develop,” Geneva coach Gina Nolan said.Which brings us back to 2006, the year Nolan put the play in.“The name we had for it sounded too much like something else,” said Nolan, explaining the Harry Potter name. “It was the day it (Harry Potter) was going to be released or something and they (her players) were all going to go buy it.”

    Kaity Ernsting of Benet looks to pass the ball during the Benet vs. Bolingbrook girls basketball Class 4A Regional Sectional Final game Thursday.

    Bolingbrook nets win over Benet

    How tough an assignment did Benet have Thursday night at the Class 4A Romeoville sectional final? Bolingbrook never considered the traditional cutting down of the nets after winning the sectional plaque.

    Barrington’s Lizzie Deuel feels the agony of defeat as they fall to Zion-Benton in the girls basketball sectional at Mundelein on Thursday night.

    Zion tops Barrington in OT

    For four quarters of the Mundelein Class 4A sectional championship, Barrington’s girls basketball team was never behind on the scoreboard. But in overtime, No. 5-seeded Zion-Benton was never behind.

    St. Charles North’s Chris Dieter swims the 200 free at last week’s St. Charles North sectional.

    St. Charles North hopes to join state’s elite

    There is every possibility that this will be one of the most-open boys state swim meets in history, one in which an unprecedented number of teams have a chance of finishing in the Top 10 and contending for a trophy.

    Geneva’s Kat Yelle hoists up the sectional championship plaque following their win over Cary-Grove .

    Images: Geneva vs. Cary-Grove girls basketball

    Ashley Veselik of Benet Academy puts up a shot while Morgan Tuck and Kierra Ray of Bolingbrook play defense.

    Images: Benet vs. Bolingbrook girls basketball


    Montini clears path through Belvidere North

    Diamond Thompson chased down her unsuspecting opponent and swatted from behind a sure breakaway layup to the delight of Montini’s players and fans. In the sleepy town of Burlington, the Broncos threw their own little block party.

    Geneva’s Kat Yelle hoists up the sectional championship plaque following their win over Cary-Grove Thursday at Jacobs High School in Algonquin.

    Geneva sectional champ again

    Patience, perseverance and finally prayer — Geneva wouldn’t have survived Cary-Grove 55-53 Thursday night in the Class 4A Jacobs sectional championship game thriller without all three. Geneva senior Katelyn Allen’s 2 free throws with 3.6 seconds left broke a 53-53 tie. Johanna Geegan’s half-court shot as time expired hit off the backboard, setting off a wild celebration for the Vikings after their third straight sectional championship, their most improbable one yet.

    Northwestern's Davide Curletti guards Penn State's Talor Battle during the first half.

    Northwestern comes out flat, falls to Penn St.

    Barring an unlikely meeting at the Big Ten tournament, Northwestern finished 0-6 against Talor Battle as Penn State dropped the Wildcats 66-52 Thursday night at Welsh-Ryan Arena.


    Loyola easily beats Valparaiso 68-48

    VALPARAISO, Ind. — Terrance Hill scored 20 points and Loyola of Chicago easily defeated Valparaiso 68-48 Thursday night.Geoff McCammon had 16 points, Courtney Stanley scored 15 and Ben Averkamp scored 13 points for the Ramblers (16-13, 7-10), winners of their last three Horizon League games. Andy Polka had the other four points for Loyola, plus 13 rebounds, four assists and four steals.The loss cost the Crusaders (20-10, 11-6) a chance to be in a four-way tie for the Horizon lead with one game remaining. Instead, Valparaiso drops into fourth place.Cory Johnson was the only Valparaiso player in double figures, with 15 points. He scored the game's first basket, but Loyola scored the next 12 points and never trailed again. The 20-point final margin was the Ramblers' largest of the night.


    Austin Peay holds off Eastern Illinois 65-56

    John Fraley and Caleb Brown scored 14 points each and Austin Peay beat Eastern Illinois 65-56 Thursday night, handing the Panthers their ninth consecutive Ohio Valley Conference loss. Tyshwan Edmonson added 13 points and Josh Terry 12 for the Governors (18-12, 12-5), who shot just 27.6 percent (8 of 29) in the second half after leading 33-23 at halftime.


    Centenary ends nation's longest losing streak ... vs. WIU

    Maxx Nakwaasah tied his career-high with 24 points and added 11 rebounds as Centenary defeated Western Illinois 73-60 on Thursday night, ending Division I's longest losing streak at 33 games. Jonathan Blount added a career-high 19 points and the Gentlemen (1-28, 1-16 Summit League) shot 62.5 percent from the field (10 of 16) in the second half for their first win since defeating IPFW 80-78 on Feb. 6, 2010.

    Blackhawks center Tomas Kopecky celebrates with defenseman Duncan Keith after scoring against the Nashville Predators in the first period.

    Coach Q returns to see Hawks win

    Tomas Kopecky and Marian Hossa scored, and goaltender Corey Crawford stopped 31 shots and the Chicago Blackhawks beat the Nashville Predators 3-0 Thursday night in coach Joel Quenneville's return to the bench.

    NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell arrives for football labor negotiations with the NFL Players Association involving a federal mediator, Thursday.

    Mediator says NFL, union make 'some progress'

    Just as many expected would happen all along, labor negotiations between the NFL and the players' union are heading right down to the wire — and possibly beyond.

    Second baseman Gordon Beckham, left, and third baseman Brent Morel get the job done defensively for the White Sox.

    White Sox more than just pitching and offense

    The White Sox beefed up their offense and have an established starting rotation and bullpen. But defense just might determine the Sox' success in 2011.


    Peavy will pitch for Sox on March 4

    It was pretty quiet on the Jake Peavy watch Thursday at Camelback Ranch.

    courtesy of Richard Storm Vito Andriola

    Andriola hired as Dundee-Crown football coach

    The 17-week search for the fourth football coach in Dundee-Crown’s 37-year history concluded Thursday when athletic director Dick Storm announced the hiring of West Dundee resident Vito Andriola.


    Hawks still in market for veteran defenseman

    The clock is ticking toward Monday’s trade deadline for Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman.


    Harbaugh, Rivera look back at days with Ditka

    Ron Rivera and Jim Harbaugh, two of three most recent Mike Ditka proteges who have joined the fraternity of NFL head coaches this year, talk about his influence on them.

    New Broncos coach John Fox said Thursday that Kyle Orton is his starting quarterback, not the popular but unpolished Tim Tebow.

    Broncos' new coach says Orton is his starter

    Kyle Orton didn't want to return to Denver next season as Tim Tebow's backup. He's getting his wish: his name will be atop the Broncos depth chart at quarterback whenever players reconvene following the league's labor negotiations.


    C-USA reprimands Tim Floyd for outburst at ECU

    First-year UTEP coach Tim Floyd was reprimanded by the Conference USA commissioner Thursday after an on-court outburst that got him ejected and then escorted off the court by a police officer during his team's loss at East Carolina.

    Charlotte Bobcats forward Gerald Wallace, left, drives on Indiana Pacers forward Danny Granger.

    Bobcats send Wallace to Blazers

    The Charlotte Bobcats have agreed to trade forward Gerald Wallace to the Portland Trail Blazers for a package that includes two first-round picks as owner Michael Jordan cuts payroll and eyes the future.


    White Sox’ defensive doings

    Scot Gregor looks at how the White Sox’ projected regulars rate as defensive players.

    Bench coach Joey Cora, left, is happy in his role with the White Sox and manager Ozzie Guillen, but Cora still hopes to get a chance to manage a big-league club some day. He interviewed for the Milwaukee job, which went to Angels bench coach Ron Roenicke.

    White Sox Cora still chasing managerial goal

    White Sox bench coach Joey Cora failed to land another manager job during the off-season, but he's not discouraged and is happy to be back in his old job. The White Sox’ energetic bench coach has been covering a lot of ground at Camelback Ranch, organizing workout schedules, hitting fungoes and working with the infielders.

    Two players watched closely by the Bulls, Houston Rockets' Courtney Lee, left, and Cleveland Cavaliers swingman Anthony Parker, are still with their clubs for now.

    Bulls pass on trade, but buyouts loom

    The Bulls were anxious to acquire an upgraded shooting guard or extra defender before the NBA trade deadline struck on Thursday afternoon, but obviously not too anxious. It appears the Bulls did not make a move.The next step is to wait and see which players accept contract buyouts. Players released by their current teams before March 1 are eligible to join a new team for the playoffs.

    Wheaton Warrenville South players celebrate their victory over Lake Zurich in the 7A state title game last fall at Memorial Stadium in Champaign. Beginning in 2013 the IHSA football finals will need a new place to play in odd years as Illinois must host a Big Ten game every other year. The games will stay in Champaign for even-numbered years.

    Big Ten growth forces IHSA football finals to move

    The Big Ten’s decision to expand to 12 teams next fall means the IHSA Football State Finals will no longer be hosted in Champaign every Thanksgiving weekend. But the finals won’t be leaving Memorial Stadium for good, just every other year.


    Cavs get Baron Davis, high pick from Clippers

    With the NBA's power shifting eastward, the Cleveland Cavaliers didn't want to fall too far behind. Just hours before the league's trading deadline, the struggling Cavs acquired point guard Baron Davis and an unprotected 2011 first-round draft pick from the Los Angeles Clippers for guard Mo Williams and forward Jamario Moon.

    St. Louis Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright will have Tommy John surgery on his right elbow and miss the entire season.

    Season ends before it begins for Cards' Wainwright

    St. Louis Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright will have Tommy John surgery on his right elbow and miss the entire season. Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak confirmed the news Thursday from spring training camp.

    Phil Mickelson chips onto the third green while playing Rickie Fowler during the second round of the Match Play Championship golf tournament Thursday.

    Fowler bounces Mickelson out of match play

    Italian teen Matteo Manassero led another youth movement Thursday in the Match Play Championship, joining Rickie Fowler among the 16 players who advanced to the third round.

    After a season with the Chicago Bandits in the NPF, Nicole Pauly of Palatine will play for the Akron Racers. The former Palatine High grad is working as a graduate assistant softball coach at Loyola University.

    Palatine’s Pauly to play for Akron Racers

    Nicole Pauly, a former Chicago Bandits player and softball star at Palatine High School, will play this season with the Akron Racers of National Professional Fastpitch (NPF).

    The 28th annual Chicago Golf Show gets under way Friday in Rosement and offers area golfers a chance to try new equipment, test their swings, pick up free gifts and check out the goods of more than 300 exhibitors.

    Chicago Golf Show opens Friday in Rosemont

    The 28th annual Chicago Golf Show swings into action Friday at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont with plenty of freebies, including a free 18-hole round of golf for every attendee courtesy of GolfVisions Inc. and a free sleeve of Wilson Staff golf balls to the first 500 people through the door each day.


    Bandits sign pitcher, utility player

    The Chicago Bandits have signed pitcher and utility player Jamee Juarez for the 2011 season, general manager Aaron Moore announced Thursday. Juarez played four seasons for the Akron Racers after an outstanding career at Ohio State.

    Chicago Fire Technical Director Frank Klopas likes the attitude and team chemistry his players are developing at their Florida training camp.

    Fire’s Klopas optimistic with team’s chemistry

    Fire technical director Frank Klopas is happy with the early returns from preseason training. “It’s been a very good attitude with the guys, everybody’s working very hard,” Klopas said by telephone from Ave Maria, Fla. “It’s a work in progress, but so far so good.”

    Len Kasper

    Kasper excited to develop Cubs’ webcasts

    Cubs TV play-by-play announcer Len Kasper will branch out this spring in a new venture as he broadcasts many of the team's Cactus League games over the Internet.


    Anthony scores 27 points in Knicks debut

    NEW YORK — Carmelo Anthony’s debut on the big stage was a huge hit.Anthony had 27 points and 10 rebounds, hitting a pair of clutch buckets down the stretch in front of a crowd that cheered his every move as New York beat the Milwaukee Bucks 114-108 on Wednesday night in his Knicks debut.Anthony made only 10 of 25 shots but was at his best in the closing minutes, helping New York hold on after fellow superstar Amare Stoudemire fouled out. He matched the third-highest scoring game in a Knicks debut since 1964, just 2 points shy of Keith Van Horn’s 29 on Oct. 29, 2003.“I’m just glad I got this game out of my system,” Anthony said, adding the last two days were both “hectic” and a “roller coaster.”Chauncey Billups, who came with Anthony from Denver in Tuesday’s blockbuster trade, finished with 21 points and 8 assists as the Knicks won their third straight.


    St. John’s drops DePaul; Wisconsin wins at buzzer

    Dwight Hardy scored 21 points, and No. 23 St. John’s, playing as a ranked team for the first time in more than 10 years, dominated DePaul throughout in a 76-51 victory Wednesday night in New York.The Red Storm (18-9, 10-5 Big East) controlled the game inside, in transition and on the backboards to win for the eighth time in nine games.Freshman Cleveland Melvin had 16 points for the Blue Demons (7-20, 1-14), who have lost 14 of 15. This was DePaul’s 29th consecutive loss to a ranked team and eighth this season.Wisconsin 53, Michigan 52:Josh Gasser banked in a desperation 3-pointer at the buzzer, and visiting No. 12 Wisconsin (21-6, 11-4 Big Ten) dealt a severe blow to host Michigan’s (17-12, 7-9) NCAA Tournament hopes. Jordan Taylor scored 20 points for Wisconsin. Purdue 72, Indiana 61:JaJuan Johnson had 20 points and 9 rebounds to help No. 8 Purdue (23-5, 12-3 Big Ten) beat host Indiana (12-16, 3-12). E’Twaun Moore had 17 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists for the Boilermakers, who won their fifth straight.Duke 78, Temple 61: Kyle Singler broke out of a slump by scoring 28 points to lead host No. 1 Duke (26-2) past No. 24 Temple (21-6). The Blue Devils have won 35 straight games at Cameron Indoor Stadium and 86 in a row against nonconference teams — both NCAA bests.BYU 84, Colorado St. 76: Jimmer Fredette scored 34 points and Brandon Davies added 14 points and 15 rebounds for host No. 7 BYU (26-2, 12-1 Mountain West) in a victory over Colorado State (18-9, 8-5).Notre Dame 94, Providence 93:Ben Hansbrough scored a career-high 32 points and Tim Abromaitis 28 to help No. 9 Notre Dame (22-5, 11-4 Big East) overcome a Big East-record 52 points by Marshon Brooks to beat host Providence (14-14, 3-12). The Irish are off to their best start in the 11 seasons under coach Mike Brey. Central Michigan 64, NIU 58:Jalin Thomas scored 29 points, and Central Michigan (9-18, 6-7 Mid-American) defeated host Northern Illinois (7-9, 3-10). Antone Christian led the Huskies with 11 points, while Nate Rucker and Xavier Silas each scored 10. Missouri St. 76, S. Illinois 58:Will Creekmore finished with a career-high 26 points and had 11 rebounds as Missouri State (22-7, 14-3) defeated host Southern Illinois (12-17, 5-12). Mamadou Seck led the Salukis with 17 points.WomenLouisville 68, DePaul 55:Monique Reid scored 28 points, and Louisville’s defense shut down visiting No. 7 DePaul (25-4, 12-2 Big East). The Cardinals (18-10, 9-5) knocked off a ranked team at home for the fifth time this season. Keisha Hampton led the Blue Demons with 20 points.


    Wheaton’s PIN KING enjoys wrestling reunion

    Along with the eight individual state wrestling champions DuPage County produced last weekend and the Fenton, Montini and Glenbard North teams competing Saturday in the Dual Team State Tournament in Bloomington, there is another source of local pride on the mat.Al Sears, a third-place state heavyweight at Wheaton Central High School in 1981, produced three state medalists for the first time in the long history of Belleville West, where Sears is in his 10th year as the Maroons’ coach.He’s known as the PIN KING for the NCAA record 110 falls he recorded at Southern Illinois-Edwardsville from 1982-85. (That is not a typographical error. The nickname is in all caps. Just ask Al.)Sears also has a tie-in with Hinsdale Central heavyweight Jack Allen, who just won the school’s first wrestling title in history while setting a program wins record with 143. More precisely, Sears’ tie-in is with Allen’s father. Through the wonders of Internet communication Sears revealed that as a junior at Wheaton Central he wrestled John Allen, a top-ranked senior at Hinsdale Central, and lost 6-5 at the 1979 Hinsdale Holiday Tournament.Sears added that in college he twice faced John Allen, a four-year heavyweight for Purdue. Sears recalled pinning Allen both times, the first at a dual meet at Purdue, the second at The Midlands at Northwestern.“We are now friends and love seeing each other at events such as this past weekend,” Sears said.Earlier this season it hit closer to home, literally. Sears accepted an invitation from Hinsdale Central assistant coach Jim Zajicek for Belleville West to compete at Hinsdale Central’s holiday tourney, now known as the Rex Whitlatch Holiday Wrestling Invite.“We placed fifth,” Sears said. “It was nice to be near my old stomping grounds.”Sears once set an NCAA record by pinning his opponent in 18 seconds. When he says “stomping grounds,” he means it.Top DrawerTop Drawer Soccer recently released its lists of top club players in the country.Out of the Class of 2011, UCLA-bound Megan Oyster, a four-time all-state defender out of Neuqua Valley, pulls in No. 21 nationally, No. 1 in the Midwest. Muriel Battaglia, a center-midfielder headed to play at Yale, pulls in at an even No. 100.In the Class of 2012 Wheaton Academy forward Crystal Thomas is ranked No. 52. Shortly behind, No. 56 nationally, is Waubonsie Valley goalkeeper Kylie Morgan. Both play with the Sockers Football Club.Ryan Dodson, a North Carolina-bound forward from Waubonsie Valley, makes the boys list at No. 57 in the Class of 2011. York forward David Selvaggi, a senior who out of a bevy of choices picked DePaul, came in at No. 65.Wind gets inThe man who started both the boys and girls soccer programs at Benet Academy, Henry Wind, will be inducted into the East Suburban Catholic Conference Hall of Fame on March 10.Wind led the Redwings boys onto the pitch in the fall of 1990 and the girls the following spring. Wind stopped coaching the boys after the 2009 season but continues with the girls, whom he led to a conference co-championship in 2010.The ESCC website lists Wind’s boys teams as having won or shared eight conference titles, his girls teams five. His girls were Class A state qualifiers in 2003 and 2005, while Wind’s boys won state titles in 2000 and 2001 with the Aguilar brothers, Nick and Ben. The 2000 squad went 22-0-4. Wind’s 2001 state champion squad will also be honored at the ESCC banquet.Wind becomes the sixth Redwing to earn induction into the ESCC Hall, following Kate Enoch, Sue Vodrazka, Joe Fedinec, Denise Boylan-Egner and Ron Baumgartner. The sixth induction class will be honored March 10 in McCook. For details call Notre Dame High School athletic director Mike Hennessey at (847) 779-8652.Once were Warriors


    Jazz trades Williams to Nets

    The New Jersey Nets finally landed a big-name all-star in a blockbuster trade that gives them point guard Deron Williams and sends rookie Derrick Favors and point guard Devin Harris to the Utah Jazz.The Jazz also will receive the Nets’ first-round pick in 2011, which could be a lottery pick, cash, and Golden State’s 2012 first-round draft pick.“I feel Deron Williams is the best point guard in the NBA,” Nets general manager Billy King said in officially announcing the blockbuster deal Wednesday afternoon.“I spoke with Deron and he’s excited about it. He understands where we are and where we want to go. In this league, you win with point guards. Jason Kidd turned this franchise around when he came and we feel Deron can do the same thing.”The Nets now hope Williams will sign a contract extension with them, which they can offer this summer. If so, he would become the face of their franchise when they move into their new arena in Brooklyn for the 2012-13 season.The 6-foot-3 Williams was selected third overall in the first round of the 2005 NBA draft by Utah from Illinois. He is in his sixth NBA season and holds career averages of 17.3 points, 3.2 rebounds and 9.1 assists.In 439 career games, including 406 starts, he has shot .466 from the field, .358 from 3-point range and .808 from the free- throw line. In 44 career postseason games, Williams has averaged 21.1 points, 3.7 rebounds, 9.6 assists and 1.2 steals.The deal came two days after the Nets failed to land Carmelo Anthony, who was acquired by the New York Knicks as part of a blockbuster deal with the Denver Nuggets.Jazz CEO Greg Miller said he made the move because of a “gut feeling” that he wouldn’t be able to sign Williams to a long-term deal after next season.“If you look at what happened with Phoenix, Toronto and Cleveland ... they all lost their marquee player and had very little, if anything, to show for it,” Miller said. “This trade allows us to be competitive now and beyond the 2012 season.”Asked how he would be able to market a team in Salt Lake City without a star, Miller said with “classic Jazz basketball.”“It’s lunchpail, work boots ... and everybody’s got to overachieve, which we’ve been known to do for many years,” Miller said. “And who knows, we may have a star player before any of us realizes it.”Harris, a former all-star point guard, and Favors, the No. 3 pick in the draft, were part of the package the Nets were offering the Nuggets all season for Anthony.In other deals Wednesday:Ÿ The New Jersey Nets and Golden State Warriors have made a trade that sends Brandan Wright and Dan Gadzuric to New Jersey for Troy Murphy and a 2012 second-round pick.Ÿ The New Orleans Hornets and Sacramento Kings agreed on a trade sending forward Carl Landry to New Orleans in exchange for shooting guard Marcus Thornton and cash.Ÿ The struggling Atlanta Hawks acquired guard Kirk Hinrich from Washington in a five-player trade, upgrading their backcourt for the playoff run. The Hawks also received forward Hilton Armstrong in exchange for guard Mike Bibby, rookie guard Jordan Crawford, swingman Maurice Evans and a first-round pick in this year’s draft.


    Wolves hold on for 4-3 victory

    The Chicago Wolves built a 4-2 lead and held on through a late rally to collect a 4-3 victory at the Allstate Arena on Wednesday night.The win marked the fourth victory in five games for the Woves (30-24-2-4), who used a 2-goal performance from left wing Nigel Dawes and markers from forwards Ryan Garbutt and Fredrik Pettersson to slip past Rockford.“That late goal in the second to make it 3-2 was a huge turning point,” Wolves coach Don Lever said. “They were coming at us pretty hard all night, but we hung in there and didn’t give them anything there at the end.”The Wolves took a 1-0 lead, 3:48 into the first period when Rockford goaltender Hannu Toivonen came out the play the puck behind the net and Dawes raced in and deposited it in the net before the goaltender could get back in position.Garbutt made the Wolves lead 2-0 at 7:27 of the first frame when he took a pass from center Jason Krog in the slot and flung it past Toivonen.Rockford captain Garnet Exelby cranked a shot from the blue line that flew through traffic in front of the net and past Wolves goaltender Drew MacIntyre to make the score 2-1 at 11:12 of the second period.The IceHogs drew even with 40 seconds left in the second period. Ryan Potulny carried the puck down the left boards before slipping a pass to Jeff Taffe streaking down the slot for a quick rip past MacIntyre.The Wolves answered 20 seconds later to regain the lead at 3-2 when defenseman Mark Matheson slipped a pass out to Dawes from behind the net and Dawes pushed a shot straight down the slot between Toivonen’s legs.The Wolves regained their 2-goal lead at 4-2 39 seconds into the third period. Defenseman Noah Welch put the puck up the ice for Pettersson, who drove in alone and wristed a shot past Toivonen.Toivonen (10-12-3) turned aside 27 shots for the IceHogs.Rockford (21-28-3-4) pulled to 4-3 at 9:27 of the third period. Defenseman Ryan Stanton cranked a shot past MacIntyre from the blue line.MacIntyre (11-5-1) posted 27 saves for Chicago.The Wolves travel to Wisconsin for an Amtrak Rivalry matchup with the Milwaukee Admirals at the Bradley Center on Friday at 7 p.m.


    The Air Force has awarded Chicago-based Boeing Corp. a $35 billion Pentagon contract to build nearly 200 giant airborne refueling tankers.

    Air Force awards $35 billion tanker contract to Boeing

    The U.S. Air Force on Thursday chose Boeing Co. to build its new fleet of aerial refueling tankers, news met with delight, rejoicing — and some outright astonishment — by Washington state aircraft workers and politicians.


    Fannie, Freddie narrow losses but seek more aid

    Government-controlled mortgage buyers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac narrowed their losses in the final three months of last year. But they are asking for more money from taxpayers as the real estate market braces for what could be a new wave of mortgage defaults.

    Motorola's new Xoom tablet computer has enough power under the hood to challenge Apple Inc.'s iPad, according to analysis by market researchers IHS iSuppli.

    Inside Motorola's Xoom: Plenty of horsepower

    Motorola's new Xoom tablet computer has enough power under the hood to challenge Apple Inc.'s iPad, according to analysis by market researchers IHS iSuppli, but buyers might be disappointed to find that it will need new hardware to work on new, high-speed networks.


    MSNBC airs feature on company that was 'partner'

    MSNBC aired a feature touting a company's "incredible" steel-making process this week, two months after saying the company would be its partner on a reporting trip about the American economy.

    Toyota Motor Corp. is recalling 2.17 million vehicles in the United States to address accelerator pedals that could become entrapped in floor mats .

    Toyota recalls 2.17 million vehicles in U.S.

    Toyota Motor Corp. recalled 2.17 million vehicles in the United States on Thursday to address accelerator pedals that could become entrapped in floor mats or jammed in driver's side carpeting, prompting federal regulators to close its investigation into the embattled automaker.

    Jerry Lopatka, managing principal of Dugan & Lopatka in Wheaton, Joseph Krusinski, founder & CEO Krusinski Construction Co., John Zediker, president & CEO of Moser Enterprises Inc., and Jeffrey Ludwig, senior vice president of Alter 360°, talk during a business forum Thursday in Woodridge.

    Experts say “small ball” is game plan for suburban real estate, construction

    In the big game of suburban commercial real estate and construction, the strategy for 2011 is still “small ball,” according to local experts. “We’re not seeing many home runs with our clients right now,” said Jerry Lopatka, managing principal of Dugan & Lopatka in Wheaton. “We are seeing a lot of singles and doubles.”


    AT&T plans a flagship store in Arlington Heights

    AT&T Wireless is planning a new flagship store in Arlington Heights.

    General Motors recorded its first profitable year since 2004.

    GM posts 1st full-year profit since 2004

    In a remarkable financial U-turn, once-bankrupt General Motors recorded its first profitable year since 2004 and is tantalizingly close to reclaiming its title as the world's No. 1 automaker.

    Solid holiday sales and improvements in its branded credit card business helped Target's fourth-quarter profit rise almost 11 percent.

    Target's 4Q profit rises 11% on solid holiday

    Solid holiday sales and improvements in its branded credit card business helped Target's fourth-quarter profit rise almost 11 percent, but a company official cautioned Thursday that the economy is a "wild card."


    Stocks stabilize as crude prices ease; Dow off 37

    Stocks stabilized Thursday after two days of sharp declines brought on by Libya's deepening political crisis. The Dow Jones industrial average recouped much of its losses after oil prices eased in the afternoon, but still ended down for a third straight day.

    Sears Holdings Corp.'s appointment of a new CEO rich in technology expertise but short on retail experience is leaving many wondering what direction the owner of the struggling Sears and Kmart stores is heading.

    Sears CEO pick leaves more questions than answers

    Sears Holdings Corp.'s appointment of a new CEO rich in technology expertise but short on retail experience is leaving many wondering what direction the owner of the struggling Sears and Kmart stores is heading.


    Investors to hunt clues in Buffett's annual letter

    When Warren Buffett's annual letter is released Saturday, investors will again be looking for clues about Berkshire Hathaway's next big investment and any insights on who will run the company after the 80-year-old billionaire is gone.

    Avastin is the world's best-selling cancer drug and is also approved for several types of colon, lung, kidney and brain cancer. Those uses have not been questioned by the FDA.

    FDA grants meeting on Avastin for breast cancer

    The Food and Drug Administration has granted Swiss drugmaker Roche a first-of-a-kind public hearing to defend the effectiveness of its drug Avastin for treating breast cancer, just months after the agency ruled that the drug is ineffective for that use.

    A Continental Airlines plane is fueled at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston. For the first time since late 2008, airlines are adding fuel surcharges _ extra fees to cover the price of gas.

    Airlines raise prices again as oil rises

    Airfares are rising again, and travelers should brace for more price increases. United and Continental started the latest price hike Wednesday by adding $20 per round trip to most domestic flights.


    N. Ind. county closer to banning smoking in bars

    A northern Indiana county is one step closer to banning smoking in its bars, restaurants and private clubs. St. Joseph County's Human Services/Criminal Justice Committee voted 5-2 Wednesday to send the proposed ordinance containing the smoking ban to the full County Council, which will consider the measure at its March 8 meeting.

    Hoffman Estates-based Sears Holdings Corp.'s fourth-quarter net income fell 13 percent, but adjusted results topped Wall Street's expectations thanks to continued strengthening at its Kmart stores.

    Sears 4Q earnings fall, but results top Street

    Hoffman Estates-based Sears Holdings Corp.'s fourth-quarter net income fell 13 percent, but adjusted results topped Wall Street's expectations thanks to continued strengthening at its Kmart stores.Fixing the long-running weakness at Sears will be the challenge for new CEO and President Lou D'Ambrosio, named to the post Wednesday.

    A job applicant receives advice on his resume while attending a job fair in Southfield, Mich.

    Fewer people sought unemployment aid last week

    Fewer people requested unemployment benefits last week, pushing the average number of applications over the past four weeks to the lowest level in more than two and a half years. Applications for unemployment benefits dropped by 22,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 391,000, the Labor Department said Thursday.


    Durable goods orders excluding airplanes drop

    Orders for long-lasting manufactured goods outside of transportation fell in January by the largest amount in two years. Orders for durable goods excluding transportation fell 3.6 percent last month, the biggest drop since January 2009, the Commerce Department reported Thursday.

    Kohl's Corp.'s fourth-quarter net income increased 14 percent Thursday as merchandise profit margins improved through exclusive brand offerings and tight inventory management.

    Kohl's 4Q earnings rise; 2011 outlook falls short

    Kohl's Corp.'s fourth-quarter net income increased 14 percent as merchandise profit margins improved through exclusive brand offerings and tight inventory management. But the department store operator said consumers will remain cautious on spending in 2011 and gave a full-year earnings forecast below Wall Street's expectations.


    Higher oil prices would hamper global economy

    Just as the U.S. and global economies are finally strengthening, they face a new danger: Rocketing oil prices, which topped $100 a barrel Wednesday.

    Sales of foreclosed homes dropped sharply in 2010, creating a glut of distressed homes that drags down the prices of other properties for sale.

    Sales drop on foreclosed homes here

    Foreclosure sales, a crucial measurement of unloading these often abandoned homes from the real estate market, were down in Illinois nearly 22 percent in 2010 compared to 2009. A glut of foreclosed homes on the market tends to drag down sales prices for other homes.

Life & Entertainment

    Airhart Construction used green materials and technology to build this Blanchard townhouse model at its Courthouse Square community in Wheaton.

    Homebuilders across the suburbs attempt to be more ‘green'

    Green building. Are people daunted by the concept? Are they diving into the deep water or merely getting their feet wet? As new green technologies emerge in the home-building industry, people need to be aware of their options because improvements have changed the way we live today.

    Tatynisa Wilson

    Aurora native joins Reinhart in ‘Idol's' top 24

    Despite getting mixed reviews for a couple of rocky performances, Aurora native Tatynisa Wilson made the “American Idol” top 24 Thursday night. After auditioning for “Idol” five times, it's the first time Wilson has made it this far.


    Government weighs reduction of homeownership tax benefits

    To cut the federal deficit, legislators are weighing cuts in homeowner tax benefits. These include the mortgage interest deduction and the current capital gains tax exclusion for selling a home at a profit, says Washington Post real estate writer Ken Harney.

    Adele, “21” (Columbia Records)

    Adele's second is personal and perfect

    “I heard that you're settled down, that you found a girl, and you're married now,” Adele sings softly on the closing track, “Someone Like You.” “I heard that your dreams came true, guess she gave you things I didn't give to you,” she continues over a simple piano melody.

    Charlie Sheen, from left, Angus T. Jones and Conchata Ferrell are shown during a taping of "Two and a Half Men."

    Plug pulled on this season of 'Two and a Half Men'

    In the wake of an incendiary radio interview with "Two and a Half Men" star Charlie Sheen, CBS and Warner Bros. Television said they are ending production on TV's top-rated sitcom for the season. The decision was based on the "totality of Charlie Sheen's statements, conduct and condition," the companies said in a joint statement Thursday. The show's future was not addressed.

    From left, singers John Legend, Jamie Foxx, and Nick Jonas, perform on stage during the White House Music Series saluting Motown in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Thursday.

    White House reverberates with Motown sound, moves

    The White House reverberated like a long-ago basement sound studio in Detroit on Thursday as the likes of John Legend, Seal, Jamie Foxx, Nick Jonas and Sheryl Crow channeled their inner Motown before Michelle and Barack Obama. Musical pioneers Smokey Robinson and Stevie Wonder joined in for the celebration of all things Motown.

    Britain's Prince William and his fiance Kate Middleton react following a naming ceremony and Service dedication for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution's new Atlantic 85 Lifeboat, at Trearddur Bay Lifeboat Station in Anglesey, Wales, Thursday.

    Prince William, Kate dedicate lifeboat in Wales

    It was only a lifeboat — yet the occasion gave hundreds of people a chance to cheer Thursday as Prince William and fiancee Kate Middleton made an official visit to Wales to dedicate the new boat.

    Chef and master chocolatier Rieko Wada displays her Chocouture jewelry box that will be included in the gift bags for the Academy Award nominees this year. Wada's Chocolatines shop in Schaumburg had its candies included in the Grammy, Emmy and Academy Awards gift bags in 2010.

    Losing Oscar nominees to get their own sweet rewards

    If frontrunner Colin Firth doesn't win the Best Actor Oscar Sunday night, “The King's Speech” star can console himself on Monday with gourmet cookies baked in Wheeling and chocolate truffles shipped from Schaumburg.

    PJ Harvey, “Let England Shake”

    PJ Harvey declares ‘Let England Shake’

    PJ Harvey, “Let England Shake” (Vagrant)Anyone left standing around waiting for PJ Harvey to re-emerge as the screaming banshee she was in the 1990s should just move along.Her latest album, “Let England Shake,” should make it clear — if the rest of her output in the 2000s hasn’t already — that she’s charting a different path, never to return to the proto-rock sound that so electrified rock ‘n’ roll at a time when it desperately needed a kick in the pants.Even by Polly Jean Harvey’s standard, “Let England Shake” is a wild departure from almost anything we’ve seen before from the British singer. Her eighth record is always interesting, at turns beautiful and bewildering. It is an inspiring attempt to make something more than transitory art in 4 minutes or less. This is unique and ageless and permanent.“Let England Shake” is the always thought-provoking Harvey’s way of reflecting the ills of her country as it founders in a new millennium. This is no protest album and there is no preaching to the masses.On the title-track opener she declares “England’s dancing days are done ...,” and then launches into a withering deconstruction of the once great empire. Rather than rail at the masters of war as a young Dylan did, though, she paints pictures of outcomes and end results from decisions made by those forces.She sings of “deformed children” as the “glorious fruit of our land” on “The Glorious Land.” On “The Words That Maketh Murder” she sings “I have seen and done things I want to forget” and goes on to describe the horrors of war.Her portraits of England and its place in the world — past and present — are dark and bleak and have the feel of history. And truth.They leave more questions than they answer: Do these songs resonate in Harvey’s home country? Do they stir shame in the heart of the blind patriot? Do they rouse the rabble? Is this a heroic and subversive protest album or a Stygian travelogue for the discontent?In the end, Harvey as usual ends up accomplishing what very few of her peers can do these days: She’s making us think.Check this out: With longtime collaborators Flood, Mick Harvey and John Parish on board, every song is musically rich and interesting, so let’s head into unusual territory here and highlight “Written on the Forehead.” It’s the least conventional song here, a fever dream of an apocalyptic vision that’s punctuated by a “Blood & Fire” sample from Winston “Niney the Observer” Holness and the haunting chorus, “Let it burn, let it burn ... .”

    Stryper, “The Covering”

    Stryper’s cover album a heavenly delight

    Stryper, “The Covering” (Big3)So this is what heaven is like for shred-heads — wall-to-wall 1970s and ‘80s headbanging anthems, all turned up to 11, played by one of the most talented and inspirational bands of the hair-metal era.On “The Covering,” Stryper sets scripture aside for a bit in favor of the sheer joy of plugging in, turning it way up and rocking out to a dozen classic rock tunes.These are all songs the band grew up listening to and loving, and the treatment they receive here is reverential. The band adds its trademark layered vocal and guitar harmonies to each track, but sticks faithfully to the original arrangements, infusing each with the Stryper sound and style while showing proper respect to the originals.The best of the bunch is an absolutely molten rendition of Deep Purple’s “Highway Star,” with a blazing keyboard solo by quasi-band member Charles Foley. On track after track, singer Michael Sweet summons up unfathomable high notes, some of which only dogs can hear.The Scorpions’ “Blackout” sounds almost exactly like the original, minus Klaus Meine’s heavy German accent; it’s nice to finally hear this song sung in clear English. Black Sabbath’s “Heaven And Hell,” perhaps the greatest heavy metal song of all time, has made-for-Stryper lyrics like “The Devil is never a maker.”More theologically problematic (but musically gratifying) is the inclusion of Judas Priest’s “Breaking The Law,” which doesn’t exactly take a stand against wrongdoing. “Shout It Out Loud” is more fluid and less pounding than the Kiss original, but the band’s harmonies on the choruses are sparkling.Oz Fox is perhaps the most underrated 1980s guitarist, and he shines on this disc, flawlessly handling complex solos like the Randy Rhoads masterpiece on Ozzy’s “Over The Mountain,” as well as his own tasty interpretation of the dueling guitars on Iron Maiden’s “The Trooper.” And he channels his inner Eddie Van Halen with “On Fire.”Check this out: The lone Stryper original on the album, “God,” hearkens back to the band’s classic mid-’80s sound, with the galloping, syncopated bass and drums providing a frenetic foundation for the mayhem above. If “More Than A Man” and “The Way” had a baby, this is what it would sound like.

    Hayes Carll, “KMAG YOYO”

    Carll Hayes celebrates debauchery on new album

    Hayes Carll, “KMAG YOYO (And Other American Stories)” (Lost Highway)As suggested by his title “KMAG YOYO,” an acronym soldiers use that stands for “Kiss My (Expletive) Guys, You’re On Your Own,” Hayes Carll doesn’t concern himself with politeness or discretion. Instead, the Texas singer-songwriter continues to detail the debauched lifestyle of a charming rake who not only acknowledges his rambling ways, but at times celebrates his wayward behavior.Carll climbed from cult favorite to fast-rising Americana star with his previous outing, 2008’s “Trouble In Mind.” His new album shows the fruits of this success: The punkish guitar blast that opens the first song, “Stomp And Holler,” proves that Carll now can afford to take a band on the road instead of touring as a solo act. He makes the best of new economic standing, drenching the drunken country waltz “Hard Out Here” in steel guitar and employing a jaunty banjo and accordion on “Bottle In My Hand,” which features Canadian honky-tonker Corb Lund and Nashville free spirit Todd Snider joining Carll to toast a life free of mortgages and marriages. That’s Carll’s M.O.: He conveys the blurry joy of hosting an ongoing party. Whereas contemporary country star Jamey Johnson anchors his honky-tonking in guilt and self-examination, and Blake Shelton treats partying as a weekend release, Carll convincingly contends that daily decadence has its benefits.Check this out: In the hyper-driven title song, Carll colorfully imagines a hapless soldier’s experience as the subject of a military experiment to use LSD to make him bolder on dangerous missions.

    Marathoner Dean Karnazes, left, with hosts Regis Philbin and Kelly Ripa, will run nearly 3,000 miles across the United States.

    ‘Regis and Kelly’ tracks marathoner across America

    Friday morning, Dean Karnazes will strike out for New York from his native California. His plan: to run the whole route, a journey followed on national TV by “Live! With Regis and Kelly.”

    Lady Gaga brings her Monster Ball Tour to Chicago's United Center on Monday, Feb. 28.

    Concerts: Lady Gaga at United Center Feb. 28

    Lady Gaga brings her Monster Ball Tour to the United Center on Monday, Feb. 28. But Kid Rock will make a stop there first on Saturday, Feb. 26. Find out more concerts rockin' the suburbs and city Feb. 25-March 3.

    Gamers looking for a solidly sufficient first-person shooter will find just that in “Killzone 3.”

    The plot thickens in ‘Killzone 3'

    The latest futuristic first-person shooter series to roll out another installment is "Killzone 3," featuring the same grizzled good guys trading heavy fire with the same grizzled bad guys in a gripping battle over Earth.

    Naperville native Mat Smart's “Samuel J. and K.” is having its Midwest premiere at Steppenwolf.

    Midwest premiere like ‘coming home' for Naperville playwright

    Naperville native Mat Smart's “Samuel J. and K.” is having its Midwest premiere at Steppenwolf for Young Adults in Chicago.


    Homeowner gets shoddy work for a reason

    When you decide to forgo engineering and building permits, you make a deliberate decision to risk the outcome of the home-improvement project. Engineering and permits are required for good reasons, says Barry Stone, House Detective columnist.

    Married pals Fred (Jason Sudeikis), left, and Rick (Owen Wilson) can’t believe their wives gave them a “Hall Pass” to have sex with other women for a week, penalty-free.

    Comic ‘Hall Pass’ not the Farrellys’ best

    You might want to take a pass on this belabored married man's fantasy weighed down by a "grass is greener where you're standing" message.



    Fine compromise on DuPage mosques, churches
    DuPage county officials were wise to decide against a blanket ban on churches and places of worship in unincorporated areas. They should continue to work with religious leaders and neighbors to find specific ways to adjust each proposal so they can approve mosques and other church plans when possible.


    A mother’s search for meaning

    Why do you need a “happiness project” when you have a husband who loves you, plenty of money and two beautiful and healthy children?


    Where are the Latino journalists going?

    What some critics call the media “brownout” is happening at a most inconvenient time. The big story outside the newsroom is the phenomenal growth of the Latino population in the United States over the last 10 years.


    Wisconsin leaders deserve praise
    Hats off to the courageous politicians in Wisconsin who are attempting to get public workers to pay half the costs of their pensions and at least 12.6 percent of their health care coverage. It’s projected to save the state (i.e., taxpayers) $300 million over the next two years.


    Walsh chooses partisanship over progress
    In an interview at last week’s Conservative Political Action Conference, Congressman Joe Walsh promised to shut down the federal government – something the far right leadership won’t even do if he and his party can’t manage to repeal the Affordable Care Act.


    Teach facts, not views on creation
    As a physics professor and taxpayer, I was appalled to read your Feb. 14 article “Candidates: Teach creationism in science classes” about the Fremont school board election.


    Be aware of abuse among dating teens
    One in three adolescent girls in the United States is a victim of physical, emotional or verbal abuse by her dating partner. In addition, teens who are physically abused are more likely to smoke, use drugs, have eating disorders, engage in risky sexual behaviors and attempt or consider suicide.


    A new catchphrase for Wisconsin
    Maybe the Wisconsin Democrats in the state Senate will inspire a new state slogan: “Escape to Illinois.”


    In remembrance of Azeri massacre
    I join with my family and all Azeri-Americans in calling upon you to properly recognize and commemorate this tragedy and to pressure the Armenian government to accept its responsibility for this massacre and withdraw its troops from the occupied regions of Azerbaijan.


    Governor wasn’t straight with voters
    I feel we have elected a governor who is not for the people. He should take a lesson from the Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle. She is working for the people.


    State retirees have too good of a deal
    I think it’s about high time that state workers who retire pay part of their health care coverage like a lot of the rest of us do.


    Obama forgot his campaign promises
    Our president made many, many campaign promises which he seems to have forgotten, such as closing Gitmo, etc.But my main problem is all the promises he made on his health bill. He changed figures to make it look acceptable. It was supposed to save money.


    In a huff over Huff Post
    So now that the already wealthy Arianna Huffington has sold the Huffington Post to AOL for $315 million, pocketing a cool $18 million in cash for herself along with a $4 million per year salary, plus bennies and perks, will she continue whining about the “Evil, Rich CEO’s?”


    Unhappy with Kane blizzard effort
    I was one of the passengers who was stranded for 16 hours in my car due to drifting snow in Hampshire on Route 72 west of Walker Road. I was stranded from 7 p.m. Tuesday to 11 a.m. Wednesday. I was finally rescued by independent snowmobilers and taken to Hampshire. Kane County was of no help.


    When will Obama listen to people?
    When is the president going to listen to the voice of the “people,” and when is he not going to listen and go right on doing what he wants?


    Attention!!! An election is coming up soon

    Someone around here (OK, it might be me) often opines that except for the people directly involved, no one pays attention to local elections until about a week before they occur. But, as we do every two years, we're here to see if we can't spark some interest in these closest-to-home elections.


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