Daily Archive : Thursday June 30, 2011


    Fisheries specialist Bill Taylor of Michigan State University said Thursday that eliminating the man-made connection between the lakes and the Mississippi would be expensive but would solve the Asian carp problem.

    Scientists favor dividing Great Lakes, Mississippi

    Four scientists who study the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River say there’s plenty of evidence that the two aquatic systems need to be separated to prevent invasive species such as Asian carp from moving between them.


    Beaubien aide selected to fill lawmaker's vacancy

    A longtime aide to the Barrington Hills lawmaker who died last month has been chosen to replace him.Party leaders from Lake, McHenry and Cook counties Thursday evening in a weighted vote selected Kent Gaffney to fill late State Rep. Mark Beaubien's vacancy.Beaubien, 68, collapsed at a fundraiser June 5. By law, county leaders had 30 days to select a replacement.


    Remember the volunteers who make Fourth of July fun possible

    Volunteers are the lifeblood of community Fourth of July celebrations. So when chomping down on that hot dog or watching the grand finale at the fireworks show this Independence Day weekend, remember the work they’ve put in. They’ll appreciate it


    Japanese Sister City visiting Schaumburg

    Visitors from Schaumburg's Japanese Sister City of Namerikawa will tour the village and immediate vicinity Tuesday and Wednesday before spending the rest of their U.S. visit seeing the big city sights of Chicago.


    Palatine’s Wellness Place holds golf outing

    The Wellness Place in Palatine will hold its 13th annual Wellness Challenge Golf Classic on Thursday, July 28 in Long Grove. The event if a major fundraiser for the organization that provides free services to suburban residents affected by cancer.

    Gov. Pat Quinn has approved a new Illinois budget but not before making additional cuts to education and health care.

    Quinn OKs new budget with cuts

    Gov. Pat Quinn has approved a new Illinois budget but not before making additional cuts to education and health care.

    The Adam Kromelow Jazz Trio performs at 7 p.m. Tuesday, July 5, at the Indian Trails Public Library, 355 S. Schoenbeck Road, in Wheeling.

    Jazz trio to perform at Wheeling library

    Straight from successful performances in New York City, the Adam Kromelow Jazz Trio will perform at the Indian Trails Public Library, 355 S. Schoenbeck Road, Wheeling, 7 p.m. Tuesday, July 5.

    Pictured, left, Mark Coombs, son of the late Des Plaines Firefighter Robert P. Coombs; Des Plaines Mayor Martin J. Moylan; Max Jacobs, Des Plaines resident and Eagle Scout candidate, Boy Scout Troop 62; Battalion Chief Mike Bronk, North Maine Fire Protection District; and Chief Alan Wax, Des Plaines Fire Department, at the Robert P. Coombs Memorial Rose Garden dedication. Jacobs was inspired to develop the rose garden after researching a small street sign that bears Coombs’ name adjacent to Fire Station No. 3.

    Your news Memorial garden honors Des Plaines firefighter

    Des Plaines' Eagle Scout candidate Max Jacobs, an Elk Grove High School sophomore, saw his dream to build a memorial to the late Des Plaines Firefighter Robert P. Coombs becomes a reality.

    Justin W. Durbin

    Naperville auto dealership among string hit in scams

    A 22-year-old con artist making his way across the country in stolen luxury vehicles never returned after a test drive, hit a Naperville Mercedez Benz dealership in mid-June and is now believed to be in possession of a $100,00 Bentley stolen from a Florida dealership, police said.

    Former IMF leader Dominique Strauss-Kahn appeared at his arraignment June 6 in New York on charges of sexually assaulting a Manhattan hotel maid. A person familiar with the case says former Strauss-Kahn will have his bail substantially reduced because of issues with his accuser’s credibility.

    Accuser’s credibility shakes rape case vs. ex-IMF chief

    Questions about the credibility of a hotel housekeeper who accused former IMF leader Dominique Strauss-Kahn of raping her are leading prosecutors to seek a reduction in his pricey bail, sources say.


    Lake Potomac sediment removal may cost $500,000

    Lindenhurst officials estimate it will cost $500,000 to remove the sediment from Lake Potomac.


    Prairie Crossing teachers get first union contract

    Teachers at Prairie Crossing Charter School in Grayslake have landed their first union contract. Board members voted 9-0 in favor of the one-year contract at a meeting Tuesday night.


    Route 53 expansion inches forward

    Illinois State Toll Highway Authority leaders are creating an advisory panel to look at financing, timing and configuration of a Route 53 extension into Lake County. The draft proposal the tollway is considering would expand Route 53 by 12˝ miles from its terminus at Lake-Cook Road to meet up with Route 120.


    Rollover backs up I-94 traffic near Gurnee

    A semitrailer rolled over as the driver was merging onto I-94 near Gurnee late Thrusday afternoon, causing major traffic delays, according to police.

    Patrick Taylor

    Rolling Meadows murder witness recalls ‘night of terror’

    A witness to the death of Marquis Lovings recounted what prosecutors called “a night of terror” during the third day of Patrick Taylor’s trial for the 2006 shooting.


    Elgin woman gets 8 years for sixth DUI

    An Elgin woman jailed after she showed up at court intoxicated last month was sentenced to eight years in prison and fined $6,950 Thursday in exchange for pleading guilty to her sixth DUI.


    Bartlett man gets boot camp in drug case

    A Bartlett man pleaded guilty to delivery of a controlled substance today in Rolling Meadows. A Cook County judge sentenced Rolando Lopez to Cook County Jail's boot camp in exchange for his guilty plea.

    A sign shows one end of the Elgin-O’Hare Expressway, which stretches between Itasca and Hanover Park, but never reaches Elgin or O’Hare International Airport.

    Could Elgin O’Hare’s finish mean higher tolls?

    A systemwide toll increase and tolls on a segment of I-290 are all on the table as possible ways of paying to extend the Elgin-O’Hare Expressway and build a western bypass around the airport, according to a draft report compiled by a state advisory group.


    Tri-Cities garbage prices going up

    Time for the annual grumbling over the price of getting rid of our junk. July 1 is the day Batavia, Geneva and St. Charles raise the cost of garbage pickup.

    Kevin Burns

    Geneva mayor seeks Kane board chairman spot

    Geneva Mayor Kevin Burns says he will run for Kane County Board chairman. He announced Thursday afternoon he is forming an exploratory committee for the shot at the Republican nomination to replace Chairman Karen McConnaughay. She announced Wednesday she will seek election to the new 33rd state Senate District seat. Burns, who turns 47 in August, has been mayor of Geneva since 2001.

    U.S. Rep. Bob Dold

    The way Washington works? Dold doesn’t like it, but realizes that’s the way it’s done

    With just 30 days left to reach a debt ceiling agreement before the government defaults on its financial obligations, 10th District Congressman Bob Dold knows time is of the essence. Though just a few months into his tenure in Congress, the Kenilworth pest control business owner can see what’s coming down the pike — eleventh hour negotiations between Democrats and Republicans, similar to the way...

    Joe Boshold, a manager at Northrop Grumman Corp., leads a parade of dignitaries as Uncle Sam to kick off festivities at the 20th annual America Day at the global security company’s Rolling Meadows campus.

    Dignitaries, military help Rolling Meadows company celebrate “America Day”

    Soldiers may be fighting on foreign soil, but global security firm Northrop Grumman Corp. took some time Thursday to recognize the people back home who help equip and protect them. The state’s largest defense contractor held its 20th annual America Day on Thursday.


    Author visiting Vernon Area library

    lake county news digest for friday, july 1


    Learn about Lake County’s dragonflies

    lake county news digest for friday, july 1


    Mercy Housing before Grayslake board

    lake county news digest for friday, july 1


    COD: Glen Ellyn’s actions ‘incomprehensible’

    A day after Glen Ellyn village attorneys filed a motion seeking “injunctive relief” that would prohibit the College of DuPage from occupying four new buildings without occupancy permits, college officials called the move “incomprehensible.”


    Kane Co. forest preserve grows with land buy

    Kane County Forest Preserve District officials have closed on their first land purchase since the $30 million spring referendum. The land more than doubles the existing Meissner-Corron Forest Preserve and closes a chapter on a controversy that led, in part, to the incorporation of Campton Hills.

    A bill the would extend incentives the state and Hoffman Estates ofificals gave to Sears Holdings Corp. is in the Senate, part of a larger TIF reform bill. Sears is studying whether it should relocate when the incentives expire next year.

    Illinois lawmakers continue talks to keep Sears in Hoffman Estates

    A bill the would extend incentives the state and Hoffman Estates ofificals gave to Sears Holdings Corp. is in the Senate, part of a larger TIF reform bill. Sears is studying whether it should relocate when the incentives expire next year.

    Alex West locks in a batting practice pitch from coach Joe Taormina as the Dubai Falcons Traveling Team prepared Thursday for this weekend's Naperville Firecracker Classic tournament.

    Dubai Little League team's biggest thrill: playing on grass

    American and Dubai baseball rules are the same but members of the 12-and-under Dubai Falcons Traveling Team, practicing in Naperville this week, say the game is different without the desert sand blowing in their eyes.

    Modesto V. Rico, 24, of 5000 block of West Fullerton Avenue in Chicago, is pleaded guilty to armed robbery and aggravated criminal sexual abuse during a hearing before Lake County Circuit Judge Fred Foreman.

    Man gets 40 years in Round Lake robbery, sexual attack

    The second of two brothers accused of robbing a Round Lake jewelry store and sexually attacking the store owner’s wife was sentenced to 40 years in prison Thursday.

    Brian Costin

    Schaumburg mayoral hopeful Costin warned for campaign violations

    The State Board of Elections has determined that recent Schaumburg mayoral candidate Brian Costin committed two minor violations of campaign finance disclosure rules.

    Bridgette L. Buckner

    Bartlett woman lied about husband’s, daughter’s deaths

    A Bartlett woman admitted in court Thursday she lied about the deaths of her daughter and husband in a bizarre scheme to receive a $25,000 insurance payout. Bridgette Buckner, 50, faces up to seven years in prison after pleading guilty to insurance fraud and mail fraud.

    Augusta Kportufe, originally from Ghana, takes her oath of allegiance Thursday during a citizenship ceremony at Cantigny Park in Wheaton. A total of 94 people from 34 countries became U.S. citizens.

    94 immigrants become U.S. citizens at Cantigny

    Almost 100 immigrants will celebrate their first Fourth of July as United States citizens on Monday. A citizenship ceremony was held Thursday at Cantigny Park in Wheaton.

    Gwen Moser, a member of the Antioch church group heading to Haiti on Saturday, chops wood at the home of an elderly couple during the Red Bird Mission in Southeastern Kentucky last year.

    Antioch church team to lend a hand in Haiti

    Ten members of the United Methodist Church of Antioch leave Saturday on a mission to show the people of Haiti they have not been forgotten.


    Place a bid, help your neighbors

    Family Service, a provider of vital behavioral health care services for hundreds of McHenry County individuals and families, is hosting a unique fundraiser in the form of a virtual auction to benefit the many programs it supports.

    The bad news won’t come late any more, now that tollway officials have decided to get fines notices out more quickly.

    Tollway vows to speed up violation notices

    Recognizing a trend of tardy fine notifications for missing three toll payments in a row, Illinois State Toll Highway Authority directors today vowed to alert customers within 90 days of the third violation.

    Recruiter Demetrius Lash tries to get Paige Breslin to laugh while she stands for inspection. Personnel from the Navy visited the summer camp Thursday at the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy in Aurora to talk about the Navy and have fun with the kids.

    Sailors tout importance of science at IMSA

    Sailors stopped by the Illinois Math and Science Academy in Aurora on Thursday to discuss the importance of science in the Navy's mission of being "a global force for good."

    An Amtrak coach car is seen at the site of a collision between an Amtrak westbound train and a truck on U.S. 95 about 4 miles south of Interstate 80 on Friday, June 24, 2011, 70 miles east of Reno, Nev. The truck driver and one person on the train were killed said Nevada Highway Patrol Trooper Dan Lopez.

    Amtrak sues Nevada truck company over fatal crash

    Following the lead of an injured onboard attendant, Amtrak is suing a Nevada trucking company for at least $10 million for negligence in the hiring and training of a driver who slammed a tractor-trailer into the side of a passenger train last week, killing six.

    Adrian Perez

    West Chicago man charged with abusing girl, 13

    A West Chicago man accused of having sex with a 13-year-old girl after more than a year of pursuing her told police his “hormones got the best of him,” prosecutors said Thursday. Bail was set at $150,000 for 22-year-old Adrian Perez.


    Arlington Heights offers whooping cough vaccines

    Arlington Heights is making available low-cost vaccines for pertussis, better known as whooping cough. The vaccines also cover tetanus, and are available for all adults, but especially encouraged for those who care for infants.

    2011 Mundelein Junior Miss Emily Hay

    Mundelein names three pageant queens

    Mundelein has three new pageant queens.


    Barrington police increase July 4 patrols

    Barrington police Thursday announced the start of a late-night enforcement crackdown targeting impaired drivers over the July Fourth weekend.

    Louis Bianchi

    Charges thrown out for second Bianchi investigator

    A judge has dismissed misconduct charges against two investigators for McHenry County State's Attorney Louis Bianchi. Michael McCleary's case was dismissed late Wednesday and Ron Salgado's was tossed last month. But misconduct charges against Bianchi remain, and he is set for trial on Aug 1. His first trial ended with he and his secretary being exonerated halfway through.

    Gary Gauger

    Gauger civil case ruling upheld

    An appellate court has upheld an civil court's 2009 ruling that three McHenry County investigators did not conspire against Gary Gauger, a Richmond man convicted of the April 1993 murder of his parents. Two other men were convicted and Gauger was later freed and pardoned by then-Gov. George Ryan in 2002. Gauger sued for $20 million but lost.

    Geneva is seeking residents’ input about how to pay for water and sewer, including paying the debt for the water treatment plant it opened in 2008.

    Geneva seeks input on water, sewer bills

    Geneva is seeking four residents to serve on a committee to study water and sewage costs. The Water and Wastewater Rate Structure Task Force will recommend whether the existing billing rate structure should be changed. Besides residents, three aldermen will sit on the committee.


    Telemarketer admits role in $30 million scheme

    EAST. ST. LOUIS — A New Jersey woman has pleaded guilty to federal charges linked to a telemarketing scheme that prosecutors say defrauded more than 22,000 victims throughout the U.S. and Canada of $30 million.

    Dan Krause

    Willowbrook principal signs for three more years

    The DuPage High School District 88 board of education renewed the contract for Dan Krause, principal of Willowbrook High School in Villa Park, for another three years.


    Navy Pier plan includes Chicago Children's Museum

    Chicago tourist hub Navy Pier has released a new plan for its future that includes the Chicago Children's Museum.The plan released Thursday says the pier would be the museum's permanent home and would allow it to occupy an expanded 100,000 square feet. Previous plans to move the Chicago Children's Museum to Grant Park met with controversy.


    Disc golf in Aurora taking flight

    Like many sports, disc golf had humble beginnings, tracing back to backyards and parking lot tailgate parties.


    Sudden change can come at any time
    Even if you have been stuck in a certain situation for a long time, don't give up hope. Sudden changes can occur at any moment.


    Road closures, heavy traffic expected after Arlington Park fireworks

    Motorists traveling in the area of Arlington Park racetrack this Saturday can expect to experience long traffic delays and road closures at night as a result of the Arlington Park fireworks show.


    Mundelein man denies growing marijuana

    One of two Mundelein men accused of growing marijuana inside their house pleaded not guilty Thursday in Lake County Circuit Court.

    Susan Czach of Des Plaines holds up a brochure, left, from Godfather Construction warning people about storm chasers, fly-by-night companies that move into storm-damaged areas, which, ironically, is exactly what they are accused of doing. At right is her contract with the company.

    Company sued for ripping off storm victims

    The Cook County State’s Attorney’s Consumer Fraud Unit has filed a lawsuit against a Texas construction company and its agents for bilking thousands of dollars from Northwest suburban homeowners whose houses were damaged by hail and heavy winds last year.

    A business round-table Aurora mayor Tom Weisner created in January is working on an economic development plan in hopes of finishing it by the end of the year and implementing it in 2012.

    Aurora hopes new businesses spark economy

    With the recent announcement that two major corporations will be renting space in Aurora, city officials now are saying it's economic base is developing in positive ways. And they're working to complete an economic development plan by the end of the year that could guide further progress in the business arena.


    Man sneaks on plane with invalid pass

    A Nigerian man boarded a Virgin America airplane last week with an invalid boarding pass making it through a federal security checkpoint where travelers must show identification and their boarding passes.


    Fenugreek seeds blamed for E. coli outbreak

    Contaminated Egyptian fenugreek seeds are likely the source of Europe’s deadly E. coli outbreaks, health experts warned Thursday.


    Federal jobless tax for employers expires

    Nearly every private employer in the U.S. will get a tax cut on Friday, thanks to the expiration of a 35-year-old “temporary” unemployment tax.

    Taylor Stinchcomb, 15, and her dog Romulus, were killed when a minivan crashed near Gurnee. A teenager has been given a traffic citation.

    Teen cited in Gurnee crash that killed friend, dog

    Lake County Sheriff's officials say the 15-year-old who was behind the wheel of a minivan when it crashed June 21 and killed her friend and her dog near Gurnee was given a traffic citation immediately after the accident.


    U of I-Chicago names new provost

    The University of Illinois-Chicago has chosen a plant biologist and veteran administrator to be its next provost.The (Champaign) News-Gazette reports that Lon Kaufman was named provost on Wednesday.Kaufman takes over for Michael Tanner. Tanner recently left the university after serving as provost since 2002.


    Parking on Batavia’s Houston Street closed Friday

    People visiting Batavia’s Riverwalk Friday morning will have to park somewhere else besides Houston Street. The parking stalls along Houston, from Island Avenue to Water Street, will be closed from 7 a.m. to noon. City workers will be patching holes in the pavement. Both lanes of the street will remain open, with flaggers to direct traffic around equipment and workers.


    Top Elgin headlines from 1911
    The “death cup” would be eliminated in 1911 while teachers said those newfangled motion pictures were causing some students to cheat. Here’s a look at the stores that made Elgin area headlines in early summer, 1911.


    Judge backs scientists on polar bear danger

    WASHINGTON — A federal judge is upholding a decision by government scientists that global warming is threatening the polar bear’s survival. U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan on Thursday ruled that a May 2008 decision to place the bear on the endangered species list as threatened because of melting sea ice was rational based on science.


    Future mother-in-law’s blunt advice goes viral

    LONDON — An Internet lesson for future mother-in-laws: If you’re unhappy with your future daughter-in-law’s behavior, keep your thoughts to yourself, or at least don’t email them to her.One British woman has learned that the hard way after her blunt email went viral on the Internet and was reprinted Thursday in British newspapers.


    Woman charged for preacher kiss at gay pride event

    RALEIGH, N.C. — A North Carolina woman has been charged with simple assault after she kissed a Bible-waving preacher at a gay pride parade.Joan Parker of Colfax admits she kissed a man on the cheek at the event Saturday, called Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Day. She says he was yelling and waving his Bible, and she just thought he needed a hug.

    United States Marshal vehicles, center and center left, along with a Massachusetts State Police cruiser, far left, transport James "Whitey" Bulger to the federal courthouse, behind, in Boston, Thursday, June 30, 2011. Bulger was arrested a week ago in Santa Monica, Calif., after 16 years as a fugitive. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

    Bulger flown by copter to Boston for hearings

    BOSTON — A Coast Guard helicopter has flown reputed mob boss James “Whitey” Bulger to Boston for his latest set of hearings in federal court.Twice before, Bulger had been driven the approximately 40 miles from the jail in Plymouth where he’s being held.


    Mortgage exec gets 30 years for $3B in fraud

    ALEXANDRIA, Va. — An executive convicted of orchestrating a $3 billion fraud as chairman of one of America’s largest private mortgage companies has been sentenced to 30 years in prison.


    Beached sea turtle had ingested 317 platic pieces

    SYDNEY — A marine biologist says a green sea turtle that washed ashore in Australia likely starved to death after swallowing 317 pieces of plastic.Rochelle Ferris with Australian Seabird Rescue says a necropsy on the turtle found fishing line, packing tape, lolly pop sticks, lids and a variety of plastic bags.


    Police: Pa. woman assaulted grandson over bacon

    CLIFTON HEIGHTS, Pa. — A southeastern Pennsylvania woman is accused of beating her 9-year-old grandson and blasting him in the face with a garden hose because he ate too much bacon.The Delaware County Daily Times reports Marilee Ann Kolynych was arrested Tuesday.

    Casey Anthony, left, talks with her attorney Dorothy Clay Sims during Casey’s murder trial at the Orange County Courthouse Thursday, June 30, 2011 in Orlando, Fla. Casey Anthony, 25, has plead not guilty in the death of her daughter, Caylee, and could face the death penalty if convicted of that charge.

    Casey Anthony’s parents on witness stand again

    ORLANDO, Fla. — The parents and brother of Casey Anthony returned to the witness stand Thursday to answer questions about how the family buried pets, as Anthony’s attorneys began wrapping up their defense in her Florida murder trial.

    Jorge Horijuela is being held on $300,000 bond while awaiting trial on two counts of predatory criminal sexual assault of a child.

    Palatine man charged with assaulting child

    Bond has been set at $300,000 for a Palatine man facing two counts of predatory criminal sexual assault of a child alleging he had a sexual relationship with a 12-year-old girl.

    Crews will face off for the 18th year at the annual Lake Ellyn Cardboard Regatta in Glen Ellyn on Saturday, July 2. Races begin at 12 p.m. with separate categories for beginners, intermediate and advanced seafarers.

    Glen Ellyn's Cardboard Regatta sets sail

    Daring skippers set sail in handmade boats of all shapes and sizes on Saturday, July 2, in the Lake Ellyn Cardboard Regatta. But will they float? And for how long?


    ECC, MCC get grants to design new program

    McHenry County College and Elgin Community College are among eight community colleges that are getting grants to design programs aimed to help adult education students get certificates and degrees in manufacturing and health sciences.

    Glen Ellyn Historical Society members Doug and Ruthann Ward sit on a bench in Ward Plaza that will be dedicated in their honor on July 3. The plaza is part of the Glen Ellyn History Park, for which the Wards worked long and hard to make a reality.

    Plaza dedication marks milestone for Glen Ellyn History Park
    Doug and Ruthann Ward worked for more than a decade to help the Glen Ellyn Historical Society establish a history park. As the plan comes to fruition, a plaza and gardens will be dedicated in the couple's honor.


    Police searching for Maine Township teen

    The Cook County Sheriff's Office said Thursday a missing teenager for whom it issued an alert on Tuesday has been found. The 15-year-old girl was discovered missing from her Maine Township home around 10 a.m. Sunday morning.


    Northwest suburban police blotter

    Two store clerks in Des Plaines were charged with unlawful sale of alcoholic liquor to a minor after a 20-year-old undercover agent purchased beer during a police department alcohol enforcement check.Both clerks looked at an ID, which correctly stated the agent’s age as 20, but in both cases, the clerk sold the beer anyway, police reports said.


    Naperville man dies in Oswego roll over

    A Naperville man was killed Tuesday in a single-car crash at the corner of Wolf and Harvey roads near Oswego. Vincent O’Reilly, 53, of the 2000 block of Schumacher Drive in Naperville was pronounced dead at Rush-Copley Medical Center in Aurora, Kendall County Public Information Officer Craig French said.

    Spectators gathering along the route of Sunday’s Stampede Run during Arlington Heights’ Frontier Days should see a record number of participants this year, race organizers say.

    Record turnout expected for Arlington Heights Stampede

    Organizers of the Stampede Run at Arlington Heights’ Frontier Days are expecting record crowds to turn out for the races Sunday. As of Wednesday, more than 1,200 runners had registered for the 5K, 10K and kids’ quarter mile dash events, as well as the 5K walk

    Dorothy Deer, president of Warrenville in Bloom, says she’s concerned about a proposal to suspend the city’s hotel-motel grant program, which provided her group with $21,000 for citywide beatification efforts.

    Warrenville tax plan could cut into community grants

    A proposal that would eliminate Warrenville's hotel-motel tax grant program to help raise money for capital improvements has some community groups concerned.

    Patrons of all ages enjoyed HainesvilleFest at Union Square Park in 2009.

    Hainesville finalizing late-summer festival plans

    It's a little later than some officials would have preferred, but final plans are being made for Hainesville's annual festival in late August.


    Should he still get a reward? Tell us what you think
    Do you think 54-year-old Robert J. Adams of Arlington Heights should still get a reward for turning in a bag with $17,021 in cash that he found, even though he lied to authorities about how he found it? Let us know what you think by adding your comments to this file. Answers that are relatively brief and are civil will be considered for print publication.


    Oregon man stung by scorpion on plane

    An Oregon man got a big surprise on a commercial flight from Seattle to Anchorage, Alaska, when he was stung by a scorpion in his seat.

    Theatre-Hikes productions will return to Morton Arboretum Saturday.

    Theater season starts at Morton Arboretum

    There's theater, where you sit and watch a live performance. And then there's Theatre-Hikes, which takes you on a two-mile hike through Morton Arboretum as you move from setting to setting for each scene.

    Glenn Beck will speak on Oct. 1 at the two-day Midwest tea party Convention held at the Renaissance Schaumburg Hotel and Convention Center. The conservative pundit last year visited the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates for the RightNation event.

    Glenn Beck will keynote tea party convention in Schaumburg

    Glenn Beck may go off Fox airwaves on Thursday, but in October he'll join fellow conservative pundits for the second-straight year in the Northwest suburbs. A Tea Party Convention will take place in September in Schaumburg featuring Beck, Andrew Breitbart and others.

    A report that Oxford University had changed its comma rule left some punctuation obsessives alarmed, annoyed, and distraught. Passions subsided as the university said the news was imprecise, incomplete and misleading. Oxford University Press, birthplace of the Oxford comma, said Thursday that there has been no change in its century-old style, and jumped into the Twittersphere to confirm that it still follows the standard set out in “New Hart’s Rules.”

    Word of Oxford comma change causes bit of panic

    A report that Oxford University had changed its comma rule left some punctuation obsessives alarmed, annoyed, and distraught. Passions subsided as the university said the news was imprecise, incomplete and misleading.


    Mechanical failure caused emergency landing of Chicago United ’10 flight

    Investigators say a mechanical failure and a confusing flight manual contributed to an emergency landing of a United Airlines flight out of Chicago at Newark Liberty International Airport last year.The flight, carrying 48 passengers and five crew members, landed at Newark with part of its landing gear not fully extended.


    2 airmen struck by lightning

    AURORA, Colo. — Two members of the Colorado Air National Guard have been hospitalized after they were struck by lightning. Authorities say the airmen were hit by the same lightning bolt while they were on the flight line at Buckley Air Force Base in Aurora.Staff Sgt. Brian Nelson and Airman 1st Class Chad Thrane of the 140th Maintenance Squadron were on duty when they were struck.


    NATO blames al-Qaida netowrk for Kabul hotel attack

    KABUL, Afghanistan — The U.S.-led coalition on Thursday blamed an al-Qaida affiliated network working jointly with Taliban fighters for a deadly attack on a luxury hotel in Kabul — an assault that raised doubts about the ability of Afghan forces to handle security as foreign troops withdraw.

    Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., left, Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, and Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., leave a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington where they and other GOP senators said they want to forgo the holiday recess to stay in Washington and work on the debt crisis.

    Senate cancels July 4 break, will stay to work on debt impasse

    The Senate has abandoned plans for a July 4 break and instead will work next week as lawmakers race the clock in an attempt to strike a compromise on avoiding a government default and reducing mammoth federal deficits.

    This is a drawing of the Lindenhurst Medical Office Building presented Wednesday during the groundbreaking ceremony by Vista Health System.

    Vista breaks ground on Lindenhurst medical office building

    Vista Health System broke ground Wednesday on a new $6.3 million medical office building on the company’s budding medical campus in Lindenhurst.

    Father and son team Josh and Bob Guge are both world champion woodcarvers and own The Guge Institute of Wildlife Art in Gilberts, where they teach classes.

    Father-son duo excelling in niche art, spreading gifts locally and nationally

    A woodcarving institute in Gilberts is a father-son success story. Bob Guge first learned how to wood carve from his father. His son Josh followed suit. Now, they travel all over to teach the craft to others.


    UK sends body armor, police uniforms to Libya

    LONDON — Libya’s opposition leader said Thursday that rebels need more weapons and funding, as Britain offered new body armor and uniforms for civilian police officers in the country’s eastern cities.

    Herve Ghesquiere, right, is greeted by a colleague upon his arrival from Kabul at a military airbase in Villacoublay ,outside Paris, Thursday June, 30, 2011. Two journalists held hostage for 18 months in Afghanistan returned home to France on Thursday to a presidential welcome and nationwide relief.

    Journalists return after Afghan hostage ordeal

    VILLACOUBLAY, France — Two journalists held hostage by the Taliban for 18 months in Afghanistan came home to France on Thursday to an emotional welcome and nationwide relief.


    U.S. plans ‘limited’ engagement with Muslim Brotherhood

    BUDAPEST, Hungary — The Obama administration is reaching out to the Muslim Brotherhood in a “limited” effort to build ties and promote democratic principles ahead of Egypt’s upcoming parliamentary and presidential elections.


    Russian lawmakers delay human rights bill

    MOSCOW — Russia’s lower house of parliament decided Thursday to delay debate on a bill that would let the country ignore rulings by the European Court of Human Rights.The bill submitted by deputy upper house speaker Alexander Torshin would free Russian courts of the need to reconsider their rulings if the Strasbourg-based court finds they breach a European rights convention.


    UN: China should have arrested al-Bashir

    GENEVA — The U.N.’s top human rights official criticized China on Thursday for failing to arrest Sudan’s president so that he can be brought to trial on war crimes charges.


    Assailant grabs French leader Sarkozy in crowd

    PARIS — A man in a crowd yanked French President Nicolas Sarkozy by the shoulder Thursday and nearly knocked him to the ground before being tackled by security officers and detained.The unusually aggressive incident occurred as the president shook hands with a crowd in the town of Brax in southern France.


    Savannah River seals up 2 nuclear weapons reactors

    AIKEN, S.C. — The U.S. Department of Energy has sealed off access to two reactors at a former nuclear weapons plant near the South Carolina-Georgia border.Energy officials say the P and R reactors at the Savannah River Site were sealed off Wednesday with about 260,000 cubic yards of concrete grout.


    UN court issues indictment in Hariri assassination

    BEIRUT — A U.N.-backed court investigating the 2005 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri delivered four arrest warrants Thursday, the latest turn in a case that transformed this Arab nation and brought down the government earlier this year.


    Terrorism crackdown spawns new growth in prison recruiting

    PORONG PRISON, Indonesia — A sweeping crackdown on terrorism in the past decade has spawned a new problem in Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation: Militants in jail are recruiting new followers to their cause.


    500-pound white piano is stolen from NYC park

    NEW YORK — How do you steal a white 500-pound piano sitting in a public park?That’s what a nonprofit arts group that placed the piano in New York City wants to know.


    Defenseman Steve Montador, right, shown playing for the Anaheim Ducks in 2009, will join the Blackhawks this season.

    Hawks focused on finding role players

    Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman expects to stick with his plan of pursuing gritty, physical players when NHL free agency begins on Friday.

    Geovany Soto celebrates his game-winning, 3-run home run off San Francisco Giants relief pitcher Ramon Ramirez during the 13th inning of the Cubs' victory Thursday.

    Cubs win a crazy one

    On a wild and crazy Thursday at Wrigley Field, the Cubs scored a 5-2 victory over the Giants as Geovany Soto hit a 3-run homer in the 13th inning. But the Cubs are concerned about pitcher Carlos Zambrano, who left the game with lower-back soreness.

    Juan Pierre hits a 2-run single in the 10th inning of the Sox’ 6-4 victory over the Rockies on Thursday.

    Pierre rocks ex-mates during Sox’ win

    Maybe three days back in the Coors Field thin air was the prescription for what perplexes Juan Pierre. Whatever works, right?

    Bandits pitcher Nikki Nemitz works against the NPF Diamonds on Thursday. Nemitz fired a 2-hit shutout.

    Bandits blank NPF Diamonds

    The Chicago Bandits were unfazed by a lightning delay that lasted an hour-and-a-half earning a 4-0 victory over the NPF Diamonds in Rosemont on Thursday night.


    Eibner’s blast boosts Cougars

    Brett Eibner hit a 3-run homer in the bottom of the eighth inning Thursday night to spark the Kane County Cougars to a 4-3 victory over the Beloit Snappers in the opener of a six-game homestand at Elfstrom Stadium in Geneva.The win vaulted the Cougars into sole possession first place, a game ahead of the Snappers after a week of second-half action. Eibner’s homer came off Michael Tonkin (3-2) with Julio Aparicio and Angel Franco on base. It was Eibner’s fifth homer in seven games and the Cougars’ 13th homer in seven games. The Cougars, who averaged 6 runs and over 11 hits per game during their six-game road trip, had scored 1 run on 3 hits to that point. Cougars starter Jason Adam gave up 2 runs — 1 earned — in the fifth inning and ended up with a no-decision. He yielded 4 hits, walked one, hit two batters and struck out four in 5 innings.Allen Caldwell (2-0) worked 3 relief innings and fanned five to earn the win, and Nick Rogers logged a 1-2-3 ninth to get the save in his Cougars debut. Fielders return home:Manager Tim (T.J.) Johnson’s Lake County Fielders play their home opener Sunday against Jose Canseco and the Yuma Scorpions at 6:30 p.m. The Fielders will offer several pregame and postgame activities in honor of their second season. The ceremonial band and color guard from the Great Lakes Naval Base will perform the national anthem and there will be fireworks following the game.Parking areas are located along Green Bay Road and Route 173.


    Hawks all Montador was looking for

    With the Blackhawks, Steve Montador sees everything he was looking for in a team as he approached free agency.

    Geovany Soto celebrates his walk-off, game-winning, three-run home run off San Francisco Giants relief pitcher Ramon Ramirez during the 13th inning Thursday at Wrigley Field.

    Soto's 3-run HR lifts Cubs over Giants 5-2

    Geovany Soto hit a three-run homer to cap a four-run 13th inning and send the Chicago Cubs to a wild 5-2 victory over the San Francisco Giants on Thursday.

    Juan Pierre hits a two-run double against the Colorado Rockies during the 10th Thursday in Denver.

    Pierre's 2-run single in 10th lifts White Sox

    Known as a punch hitter, Juan Pierre showed he has some pop, too. The light-hitting outfielder laced a tiebreaking, two-run single off the wall in the 10th inning, helping the White Sox rally for a 6-4 win over the Colorado Rockies on Thursday.

    It’s another round of the city series for Cubs and White Sox fans, and this time it’s the way it always should be: weekend games during the day. These two got to U.S. Cellular Field early last week, and that’s good advice for this weekend’s games at Wrigley Field.

    Spellman’s Scorecard: Fireworks, Cub-Sox, & Ditka

    Mike Spellman's weekly Scorecard column touches on the Cubs-Sox city series, Mike Ditka's HBO appearance, fireworks at Arlington Park and much more.

    Two years will have passed since Tom Ricketts took over, and all that remains is to see how bad it will get this season, or whether it improves between now and October.

    No sure bet Ricketts will overhaul front office

    While there is rampant speculation about the future of the Cubs' front office, there is no evidence yet to suggest that Tom Ricketts thinks anything's wrong.


    Race to Mackinac reaches boat limit

    The 103rd Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac has reached 361 boats and entries are now closed, race officials announced Thursday.The race will have about 3,400 sailors competing. The Cruising fleet will set sail at 3 p.m. July 15, and the Racing fleets will start at 11:30 a.m. July 16.

    NBA union chief Billy Hunter speaks with reporters after a meeting with the NBA on Thursday in New York. Despite a three-hour meeting, the sides could not close the enormous gap that remained in their positions.

    NBA lockout looms as sides fail to reach deal

    Representatives for NBA players and owners have arrived for a meeting that could determine if there is a lockout. The sides started their meeting about 12 hours before the expiration of the collective bargaining agreement.

    Maria Sharapova serves to Germany's Sabine Lisicki during their semifinal match Thursday at the All England Lawn Tennis Championships at Wimbledon.

    Sharapova, Kvitova advance to Wimbledon final

    Her serve all over the place, Maria Sharapova overcame 13 double-faults Thursday to defeat wild card Sabine Lisicki 6-4, 6-3 and return to the Wimbledon final. She will play for the title against Petra Kvitova, who reached her first major final.

    NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, left, and National Football League Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith, right, speak to the media outside of the Ritz-Carlton hotel after addressing players during the NFLPA rookie symposium on Wednesday in Sarasota, Fla.

    NFL, players resume negotiations in Minneapolis

    NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and NFLPA head DeMaurice Smith resumed talks Thursday aimed at reaching a new collective bargaining agreement and ending a lockout nearly four months old.


    Chicago Sky game day
    Chicago Sky scouting report by Patricia Babcock McGraw


    Chicago Rush game day
    Chicago Rush game day: home vs. Utah Blaze at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Allstate Arena in Rosemont.

    Carlos Zambrano leaves during the second inning against the San Francisco Giants Thursday at Wrigley Field. The pitcher had soreness in his lower back.

    Zambrano leaves with back soreness

    Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano left Thursday's start against San Francisco in the second inning because of soreness in his lower back.

    Indiana Fever forward Katie Douglas, left, is congratulated by teammates Jeanette Pohlen (32) and Tamika Catchings in a recent game against the Minnesota Lynx. Catchings is the leading vote-getter for the WNBA All-Star Game.

    Catchings leads WNBA All-Star voting

    Indiana Fever forward Tamika Catchings, a former star at Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire, leads all players in early returns of the 2011 WNBA All-Star balloting.


    Signs are posted and barricades are out closing the rest areas on the east and west bound lanes of Interstate 94 near Avon, Minn., Wednesday, June 29, 2011. Rest areas around St. Cloud, Minn., are being closed because of the possible state shutdown.

    Vulnerable feel the pinch of Minn. gov't shutdown

    The blind are losing reading services. A help line for the elderly has gone silent. And poor families are scrambling after the state stopped child care subsidies. Hours after a political impasse forced a widespread government shutdown, Minnesota's most vulnerable residents and about 22,000 laid-off state employees began feeling the effects on Friday.


    Lifespace acquires Downers Grove center

    Lifespace acquires Downers Grove firm


    Midwest Heart to merge with Advocate Medical Group

    Advocate merges with a cardiology group.


    S&P says U.S. will get lowest rating if it defaults

    WASHINGTON — A Standard & Poor’s executive says the agency will give the U.S. government its lowest credit rating if lawmakers fail to raise the borrowing limit and the United States defaults on its debt.The U.S. reached its $14.3 trillion borrowing limit in May. The U.S. Treasury says the government is at risk of defaulting if the limit isn’t raised by Aug. 2. John Chambers, managing director of sovereign ratings at S&P, says in an interview with Bloomberg Television that the U.S. would lose its AAA rating if that happens, and receive a D instead.Chambers says: “If any government doesn’t pay its debt on time, the rating of that government goes to D.” A lower credit rating would mean consumers would pay higher rates on mortgages and other loans.

    U.S. and world markets moved higher Thursday after Greece’s final stamp of approval on a package of harsh austerity measures aimed at preventing the heavily indebted country from defaulting.

    U.S. stocks rising

    NEW YORK — Stocks rose sharply Thursday, putting the market on track for its fourth straight gain, after Greece cleared a final hurdle toward receiving its next installment of emergency loans. A pickup in manufacturing around Chicago also pushed indexes higher. Greek lawmakers passed a cost-cutting bill that has been working its way through that country’s parliament since Tuesday. The bill, which has caused violent protests in Greece, had to be approved before international lenders would release $17 billion in rescue funds that the country needs to avoid defaulting on its debt. A default by Greece would disrupt financial markets and lead banks to freeze lending to other heavily indebted European countries. Traders were also reassured by encouraging signals on the U.S. economy. A trade group reported that manufacturing in Chicago sped up unexpectedly in June. Analysts had forecast a decline. Stocks are still below the 2011 highs they reached in late April, when a series of weak economic reports indicated that the U.S. economy was slowing down. Since then investors have been debating whether or not the slowdown would be a short-term blip before the recovery gets back on track. “We have been in the camp that says it’s temporary,” said Brad Sorensen, a market analyst at Schwab. The pickup in Chicago manufacturing was the latest proof that the short-term slowdown view is correct, Sorensen said. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 144 points, or 1.2 percent, to 12,405 in afternoon trading. About half of the gains came after the Greek parliament passed its austerity bill. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 13, or 1 percent, to 1,320. The Nasdaq composite rose 34, or 1.2 percent, to 2,773.Relief that Greece is buying more time to repair its budget has sent U.S. stocks higher all week. The Dow and S&P 500 are both up 4 percent this week and have risen very day since Monday. Prior to this week, the Dow and S&P had only one week of gains out of the past eight. European stock indexes also jumped after the Greek vote. Germany’s benchmark DAX index rose 1.1 percent. Most of the gains came shortly after the vote. The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares and France’s CAC-40 both rose 1.5 percent. Metals manufacturer Worthington Industries Inc. jumped 9 percent after the company raised its quarterly dividend and said it would buy back up to 10 million shares of its own stock.Callaway Golf Co. fell 1.1 percent after the company shook up its leadership, announced job cuts and said it expects to have weak results in the second quarter. Fertilizer maker CF Industries Holdings Inc. fell 4 percent on news that farmers planted more corn in spring, which may weigh on prices and reduce farmers’ income.Major indexes could eke out a small three-month gain as a volatile quarter comes to a close. The Dow is up 0.6 for the three month period ending in June, but the S&P 500 is down 0.5 percent. Slightly fewer people applied for unemployment benefits last week, but the level of claims is still high at 428,000. New unemployment claims have stayed above 400,000 for 12 straight weeks, a sign that companies aren’t hiring at a rate that can sustain job growth. The slowdown in hiring has caused concerns that the U.S. economy will take longer than expected to return to health.

    A passer-by watches the electronic stock board of a securities firm in Tokyo. Global stocks pushed higher once again on Thursday after Greece cleared the final hurdle required to get bailout cash needed to avert a potential debt default next month.

    World market rallies after Greece bailout

    Global stocks pushed higher once again on Thursday after Greece cleared the final hurdle required to get bailout cash needed to avert a potential debt default next month.

    Constellation Brands, the maker of Robert Mondavi wine, Corona beer and Svedka vodka said Thursday its first-quarter profit jumped 52 percent to $75 million on improved wine and spirits sales in North America.

    Constellation Brands earns $75M profit

    Constellation Brands Inc., which sells Robert Mondavi wine, Svedka vodka and Corona beer, said Thursday its first-quarter profit jumped 52 percent to $75 million on cost-cutting efforts and improved sales of wine, spirits and imported beers in North America.

    Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II walk past guests during the annual summer garden party held at Buckingham Palace in London during a typical Buckingham Palace garden party, which served around 27,000 cups of tea, 20,000 sandwiches and 20,000 slices of cake. It’s unlikely such opulence will be discontinued, despite the queen getting a pay cut.

    Even the queen will have to take a pay cut

    After the pricey glitz of Britain’s royal wedding celebrations, Queen Elizabeth II must prepare for to see her pay cut to 34 million pounds under the country’s austerity measures, lawmakers warned Thursday.

    Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn has been named “governor of the year” by a biotech group for his support of tax credits for investment in new business ventures and for small businesses that create jobs

    Biotech group names Quinn ‘governor of the year’

    A national biotechnology group has named Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn its “governor of the year.” The Biotechnology Industry Organization presented the award to Quinn on Wednesday in Washington, D.C. The award recognizes leadership and support of the biosciences industry.

    Greek lawmakers passed a bill Thursday to fast-track fresh austerity measures demanded by creditors following two days of rioting in Athens that left some 200 people injured.(

    Greece clears final hurdle to get bailout funds

    Greece has bought itself some time to deal with its crippling debt crisis after lawmakers cleared the final hurdle for crucial bailout funds to be released, that will prevent the country from defaulting next month.


    Fixed mortgage rates hold steady for yearly lows

    WASHINGTON — Fixed mortgage rates were mostly unchanged this week, hovering near their annual lows. The average rate on the 30-year loan rose slightly to 4.51 percent, Freddie Mac said Thursday. It hit its lowest level of the year three weeks ago, at 4.49 percent.The average rate on the 15-year fixed mortgage, a popular refinancing option, stayed at 3.69 percent. It reached its low point of the year two weeks ago, at 3.67 percent.Rates typically track the yield on the 10-year Treasury note, which has been rising in the past week.That could change this week when the Federal Reserve’s $600 billion bond buying program ends. The Fed has purchased around $75 billion worth of bonds each month since November. That drove the yield on the 10-year Treasury note lower than 3 percent this spring. As a result, rates on mortgages and other loans also fell. Still, low mortgage rates and plummeting home prices have done little to boost the troubled housing market. Tougher lending standards and bigger down payment requirements have prevented many people from taking advantage of the ultra-low rates. Many people who can qualify are holding off, worried that prices have yet to bottom out.Fewer people purchased previously occupied homes in May. Sales fell to their lowest level of the year. Since the housing market went bust in 2006, sales have fallen in four of the past five years and hit a 13-year low last year.New-home sales fell last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 319,000 homes. That’s fewer than half the 700,000 that economists say must be sold to sustain a healthy housing market.Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said last week that the housing market is dragging down the broader economy. For the market to recover, he said foreclosures must be cleared from the pipeline of homes for sale.Most economists say home prices will keep falling through the rest of the year. Many forecasts don’t anticipate a rebound in prices until at least 2013.To calculate average mortgage rates, Freddie Mac collects rates from lenders across the country on Monday through Wednesday of each week. Rates often fluctuate significantly, even within a single day.The average rate on a five-year adjustable-rate mortgage fell from 3.25 percent to 3.22 percent, the lowest rate on records dating back to 2005. The average rate on a one-year adjustable-rate loan fell to 2.97 percent, slightly above the record low of 2.95 percent.The rates do not include the extra fees known as points. One point is equal to 1 percent of the total loan amount.The average fees for the 30-year and 15-year fixed loans were 0.7, according to Freddie Mac’s survey. The average fees for the five-year and one-year ARM were 0.6.

    Pop star Justin Timberlake has joined a group buying MySpace in the hopes of reviving the downtrodden social media website.

    Justin Timberlake part of group buying MySpace

    Justin Timberlake apparently wasn't satisfied with just playing a social media impresario in the movies, so now he's becoming one in real life. The pop star has joined Specific Media in buying its downtrodden rival, MySpace, from News Corp. in a deal that closed Wednesday.


    Greece set for final vote on cuts after riots

    ATHENS, Greece — Greek lawmakers are set to pass a bill Thursday to fast-track fresh austerity measures demanded by creditors, following two days of rioting in Athens that left more than 300 people injured and 50 stores damaged.Greece’s international creditors have insisted that Greece back an austerity package and the associated implementation bill in return for giving more money to the country. On Wednesday, parliament approved the five-year (euro) 28 billion ($40 billion) package of spending cuts and tax increases, leaving details of the cuts to be approved Thursday.Once, and if, Thursday’s bill to implement the austerity measures is cleared, the eurozone and the International Monetary Fund will be in a position to release the (euro) 12 billion ($17 billion) that is due from last year’s package of rescue loans for Greece. Many of the measures outlined will kick in almost immediately.Without the financial assistance, Greece was facing bankruptcy as soon as the middle of July. A Greek default on its debts could trigger a major banking crisis and potential turmoil in global markets, similar to what happened when the Lehman Brothers investment house collapsed in 2008 in the United States.As a result, markets around the world breathed a sigh of relief after Wednesday’s vote — while municipal authorities in the Greek capital grappled with the damage caused by two days of violent protests.The next (euro) 12 billion EU-IMF loan installment will tide Greece over till mid-September, according to government officials, but it looks like it will need a lot more money in the years to come. Creditors are considering giving Greece a second, major support package to cover upcoming financing gaps.Last year’s (euro) 110 billion ($159 billion) package was predicated on Greece being able to tap bond market investors for cash next year but with the country’s interest rates at exorbitant levels, that looks highly unlikely.The austerity measures being imposed in Greece in return for outside help are being met with resistance.On Wednesday, riots erupted for a second day outside the parliament in Athens, with police clashing and firing tear gas at protesters after a failed attempt to blockade the building. Police said 131 policemen were injured in two days of riotings, while emergency services said 181 civilians were hurt. Thirty-eight people were arrested.Trade associations said about 50 stores had been damaged, mostly cafes and fast food restaurants near parliament, while tourists and other guests were evacuated from a central Athens hotel.Municipal crews worked overnight to clear city center streets that had been strewn with smashed paving stones, mineral water bottles, torched trash bins and smashed glass.Government officials said they were unhappy with policing of the riots which lasted nearly 10 hours Wednesday, but police spokesman Thanassis Kokkalakis said they had succeeded in protecting parliament and preventing serious injuries and property damage.No major protests were planned Thursday, and power company workers called off a strike which had caused days of rolling blackouts. Ferry services to the Greek islands from greater Athens ports were canceled for a third day, however, due to a port workers’ strike.A civil servants’ union said it would stage a central Athens rally later Thursday.The Greek Hoteliers Association issued a call for restraint to police, unions and demonstrators, warning the violence could hit high-season bookings.“Once again, a world audience witnessed television footage (of riots) that would discourage even the most determined prospective visitor from traveling to our country,” as association statement said.But Andreas Andreadis, head of Association of Greek Tourism Enterprises, told The Associated Press he did not believe the riots would have a lasting effect on a generally good year for the Greek holiday industry.

    China’s legislature has taken a step to ease the tax burden on the country’s poor amid tensions over surging inflation and a wealth gap. The Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress approved a measure Thursday to raise the minimum income level at which workers must pay taxes from 2,000 yuan ($300) to 3,500 yuan ($540) a month.

    China eases tax burn on poor

    China’s legislature raised the threshold for paying income tax, effectively exempting tens of millions of workers in a new effort Thursday to defuse tensions over surging inflation and a yawning wealth gap.

    Activists sit among tents in Trafalgar Square in preparation of the strikes taking place in Britain on Thursday. Thousands of British schools will close and travelers will face long lines at airport immigration Thursday when three quarters of a million workers go on strike.

    Thousands walk off the job in UK in pension protests

    British teachers and public service workers swapped classrooms and offices for picket lines Thursday as hundreds of thousands walked off the job to protest pension cuts. Unions say about 750,000 workers were expected to join the one-day strike.

    Takashi Yamanouchi, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Mazda Motor Corp., says Mazda plans to sell 6,000 units of the new Demio compact car a month in Japan.

    Mazda sees growth with lean gas engines

    Mazda’s president believes gasoline engines will still power 80 to 90 percent of the world’s autos even in 20 years time, and remains confident the carmaker can grow without electric vehicles.


    Taiwan central bank raises key interest rate

    Taiwan raised its key interest rate for the fifth time in a year in a bid to combat inflation.


    Saudi foreign assets hit record $480 billion

    Saudi Arabia’s net foreign assets hit 1.8 trillion riyals ($480 billion) in May, their highest level ever, as surging oil prices helped the kingdom offset increased spending aimed at boosting growth and staving off the protests that have swept through other Arab nations.


    Japan pledges to double sales tax

    Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan’s government modified a pledge to double the nation’s 5 percent sales tax by 2015 after some ruling party members said a specific deadline shouldn’t be set.The government will raise the levy to 10 percent by the “middle” of this decade, according to a statement released in Tokyo today. Economic and Fiscal Policy Minister Kaoru Yosano said the increase would be completed between 2014-2016.Kan’s ability to restore the fiscal health of a nation with the world’s largest debt burden has been hampered by lawmakers calling on him to resign and a record earthquake. A doubling of the sales tax would still be below the 15 percent the International Monetary Fund has recommended for the world’s third-largest economy.“Division between the Cabinet and the Democratic Party of Japan makes it much harder for the government to raise taxes and fix the nation’s finances,” said Hiroshi Miyazaki, chief economist at Shinkin Asset Management Co. in Tokyo.Yosano and Finance Minister Yoshihiko Noda stepped up their calls last week for the tax to be raised by 2015 as proposed by a panel headed by the premier. The extra revenue would be used to fund the nation’s rising welfare cost amid an aging population. DPJ lawmaker Yoichi Kaneko was among those opposing the panel’s recommendations, saying an “unconditional” increase by 2015 would be “unacceptable.”“Everyone knows Japan’s fiscal state will be in danger if the sales tax isn’t raised,” Yosano said at a press conference in Tokyo today. He said the government remains committed to improving the nation’s fiscal health.


    Swiss want to raise tax on wealthy foreigners

    The Swiss Government today asked Swiss Parliament to approve raising the tax rate for wealthy foreigners living in the country.Under the proposal, foreigners would be taxed at least seven times the cost of their accommodation in Switzerland instead of five times under current legislation, the government said in an emailed statement today.Foreigners with no local income pay tax according to their spending on rents or mortgages.


    U.S. banker-bonus rules unfair to Europe, says consultant

    European banks are at a competitive disadvantage in employee compensation compared with their U.S. counterparts because of the different rules imposed by regulators, according to human-resources consultant Mercer.The “unlevel playing field” is caused by the different U.S. and Europe approaches to deferred bonuses, Mercer said in an e-mailed statement today. About 88 percent of European companies surveyed have long-term incentive stock awards depending on performance conditions compared with 50 percent in the U.S., it said.“Put simply, you’re currently more likely to receive your bonus payouts in the U.S. than you are in Europe,” said Mark Hoble, a partner who leads Mercer’s U.K. executive-compensation unit. “Although most deferrals are delivered in stock, they remain based on service in the U.S. As long as an employee remains at the company for three to four years, they will receive their shares.”European Union regulators approved laws to discourage incentives for excessive risk-taking last year, imposing limits on cash payouts and the size of bankers’ bonuses. As much as 60 percent of a bonus payout for risk-takers and senior managers must be deferred for three years, and half of the remaining amount must be in the form of shares.“Globally, there is a patchwork approach in the regulation of financial-services remuneration,” said Vicki Elliott, a senior partner who runs Mercer’s global financial-services human capital consulting team. “On one hand, the European approach has produced more consistency in compensation program design. On the other it has caused some changes that will cost companies more.”


    Illinois company fighting patent on blood thinner

    WASHINGTON — A billion-dollar “technical revision” added to a patent bill passed by the House last week could provide huge financial benefits to one pharmaceutical company and a law firm.On the surface, the barely noticed amendment simply clarifies a process by which the Food and Drug Administration approves a patent for a brand-name drug, and gives the manufacturer 60 days to apply for an extension with the U.S. Patent and Trade Office.In reality, the measure could give a New Jersey drugmaker, The Medicines Co., 2˝ more years of patent protection for its lucrative blood thinner Angiomax. It would also save the law firm WilmerHale $214 million it would owe the drug company under a malpractice lawsuit if a generic alternative is sold in the United States before June 15, 2015.The amendment barely won House approval and it is not a part of the Senate version of the patent system overhaul bill, so it is questionable whether it will ever become law. The amendment would write into law a court decision in favor of the drug company and would pre-empt any appeal. It shows how, hidden behind the lines of obtuse legislative language, huge fortunes can be at stake, sometimes for specific companies.The chairman and CEO of The Medicines Co., Clive Meanwell, said in an interview with The Associated Press that while “we have been the poster child for this problem for some years now,” the congressional action was not a favor bestowed on a single company. “This is a systematic problem that needs fixing for lots of people, not just us.”The company’s troubles began late on a Friday in December 2000 when the FDA approved Angiomax, a hospital drug used for heart patients. Under law, makers of brand-name drugs are allowed to ask for patent extensions to compensate for the time it takes to win FDA approval. The company, thinking the 60-day window for applying for an extension began the next business day, on Monday, filed a day late in February, and the Patent and Trade Office rejected the extension, which would have prolonged the patent from March 2010 to December 2014.The company sued, and last August a federal district court ruled in its favor, ordering the patent office to recognize The Medicines Co.’s application as timely and saying the FDA and the patent office need to better coordinate their rules. APP Pharmaceuticals LLC of Illinois, which wants to market a generic brand of Angiomax, has appealed that ruling. APP Pharmaceuticals officials declined to comment on the issue, saying the litigation is ongoing.The Medicines Co.’s sales of Angiomax exceed $400 million a year. A company spokesman said the typical cost is about $600 of the $11,000 to $14,000 it costs to treat a heart attack patient in the hospital. In February this year, The Medicines Co. reached a settlement with WilmerHale, its legal representative in the patent case. The law firm agreed to pay The Medicines Co. $18 million up front for past expenses and $214 million if the district court’s decision is overturned and a generic drug enters the market early. Of that, $99 million would be provided by malpractice insurance. Loss of the patent could cost The Medicines Co. hundreds of millions of dollars a year in revenue.“This amendment provides the certainty necessary to encourage costly investments in lifesaving medical research,” Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., said in defending the legislation on the House floor. He noted that the same amendment, which some referred to as “The Dog-Ate-My-Homework Act,” had passed the House several times before. But Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith, R-Texas, said that the amendment was a “special fix for one company” and that Congress shouldn’t be interfering in a case that was still being litigated. He added that if The Medicines Co. eventually loses and generics are allowed into the market early, it could potentially save billions of dollars in health care expenses.


    Clinton, Geithner to speak at Chicago jobs summit

    Former President Bill Clinton and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner are scheduled to deliver the closing remarks at a jobs summit in Chicago.The closing session of the Clinton Global Initiative conference is set for Thursday evening.Clinton and Geithner are expected to address a variety of topics, including the U.S. and global economies.The Initiative’s two-day conference has focused on reviving the American economy and creating jobs.On Wednesday, Clinton announced that a technology company has promised to create 1,000 jobs in rural Missouri over the next five years with a focus on Joplin, the site of a devastating tornado.


    Caterpillar to add 200 jobs to Georgia

    Caterpillar Inc. is investing $120 million in its Spalding County facility and expects to create at least 200 more jobs in Georgia.The Peoria, Ill.-based company is upgrading its Griffin Engine Center in Spalding County. Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal called Caterpillar “one of the world’s most recognizable and successful brands.” The Caterpillar Griffin Engine Center assembles engines and generator sets for more than six engine models. Rod Shurman, Griffin Engine Center facility manager, said the location has been a success for the company because “it keeps us close to our customers and supply base.” Caterpillar posted sales and revenues of $42.6 billion in 2010. It’s the world’s leading manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, industrial gas turbines and diesel-electric locomotives.

Life & Entertainment

    Xu Yan (Jennifer Lim) meets with Daniel (James Waterston) to discuss his business proposal in the world premiere of David Henry Hwang's “Chinglish” at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago.

    Cultural clashes a comic gold mine in ‘Chinglish'

    David Henry Hwang's comedy "Chinglish" has its world premiere at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago.

    Emma (Katie Cassidy), left, Meg (Leighton Meester) and Grace (Selena Gomez) get involved in a case of mistaken identity in the comic romance “Monte Carlo.”

    ‘Monte Carlo' packs mixed moral message

    "Monte Carlo" is a stilted, romantic comedy in denial that it's a wacky Blake Edwards farce with a decidedly mixed moral message.

    Tracy Letts, left, and Brenda Barrie play two people whose friendship keeps their sadness at bay in Will Eno's gentle, lyrical “Middletown,” which concludes Steppenwolf Theatre's 2010-2011 season

    Steppenwolf's ‘Middletown' chronicles everyday life

    Steppenwolf Theatre examines everyday life in anytown USA with its production of Will Eno's "Middletown."


    CSO marks 75th season at Ravinia

    The Chicago Symphony Orchestra's special summer at the Ravinia Festival is about to begin. This year marks the CSO's 75th season as Ravinia's resident ensemble.

    If fans pay attention to the music on "4," then Beyonce should have no worries.

    A more mellow Beyonce still impresses

    “Run the World (Girls),” the first single from Beyonce's fourth solo album, “4,” has all the hallmarks of a signature No. 1.

    Comedian Stephen Colbert collects cash donations on the sidewalk in front of the Federal Election Commission in Washington on Thursday, after a hearing on his request to form a political action committee.

    Colbert gets conditional OK on campaign finance

    The Federal Election Commission said Thursday that comedian Stephen Colbert can use his TV show's resources to boost his political action committee, but he must disclose some major expenses as in-kind contributions from the show's corporate owners.

    Glenn Beck does his last show Thursday on the Fox News Channel.

    Glenn Beck has last Fox News Channel show

    Glenn Beck, who burned bright and burned fast at Fox News Channel, does his final show on the network Thursday before going into business for himself. Beck is setting up his own Internet network, GBTV, and will begin streaming a two-hour live show there in September.

    Tracy Morgan is in trouble again with jokes he has made about the disabled.

    Tracy Morgan's latest jokes offend the disabled

    Tracy Morgan had just finished apologizing for his anti-gay jokes, and now the comedian is in hot water again. In his standup act in New York last weekend, Morgan mocked the mentally disabled, according to The New York Times. This has led to a demand for an apology from the "30 Rock" star by a group promoting the rights of the mentally and physically disabled.

    Downsized store manager Larry (director Tom Hanks) falls for his college public speaking instructor (Julia Roberts) in the comic romance “Larry Crowne.”

    ‘Larry Crowne' a fresh take on rekindled love

    Tom Hanks directs and co-writes "Larry Crowne" as a fresh take on rediscovering romance and reinventing lives in a sincere and optimistic romantic comedy.

    New York Times media columnist David Carr takes center stage in Andrew Rossi's “Page One: Inside The New York Times.”

    Dann in reel life: A peek behind 'Page One'

    Dann reviews "Page One: Inside The New York Times," plus takes a swipe at quote mongers masquerading as film critics.

    Princess Diana

    Time to speculate: Princess Diana would be 50

    Princess Diana would have been 50 years old on Friday, perhaps the only certainty about the course of what might have been in a life abruptly cut short in a 1997 car crash in Paris, with a new boyfriend, two months past her 36th birthday. But the "what if?" questions abound as the world looks back on Diana's life and legacy.

    Javier Colon, who was coached by Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine, won NBC's new singing contest "The Voice" Wednesday.

    Javier Colon wins NBC's 'The Voice'

    Soulful crooner Javier Colon was crowned the inaugural winner of "The Voice," NBC's new singing contest. Colon triumphed over three other finalists when the audience vote was announced on Wednesday's live season finale. He will receive a $100,000 prize and a recording contract.



    Fewer lawmakers should get stipends

    It’s time to challenge the stipends that boost Illinois lawmakers’ pay and pensions, but are largely out of public view, a Daily Herald editorial says.


    Blagojevich story obscures some serious business

    Jim Slusher says it's hard for hard to think of Gov. Rod Blagojevich as anything other than a creature of the media. Is that why he feels bad for him now?


    Obama gets it from all sides

    It was another day of Obama bashing in the Capitol. What stood out at this particular gripe session, however, was that the speakers were all Democrats.


    Opinion based on incorrect information
    Lawrence Boni of Palatine wrote he had heard that the president ordered the defense secretary to delay and/or reduce the paycheck of the U.S. military, coming to the conclusion that the President dislikes our military.


    We’re fat and lazy; time for a revolution
    Just a little warning from Thomas Jefferson: “The U.S. can never be destroyed from without, but it can from within.” We are already the most decadent country in history. You can get all the porno you need on the Internet and so can your kids. The divorce rate is 68 percent.


    ‘Respect life’ banner belongs in parade
    Is an unborn baby causing emotional stress? Are you afraid to show a picture of what a baby looks like before and after birth? Exactly the same.


    Where can residents turn regarding COD?
    I am a resident of Glen Ellyn and serve as President of the Greenbriar Condominium Association. Our condo building is located on the south side of Fawell Boulevard, directly opposite the construction entrance for the College of DuPage Culinary Center. Three summers ago, COD constructed a new parking lot, with much blowing dust, loud truck and construction noise.


    Troubled youth not a priority for county
    “We can make sure that the populations of both counties receive the best available services,” DuPage County Board member Bob Larsen said. Face facts: No one cares about those kids. If they are locked up they are out of sight and out of mind.


    Once connected, door’s always open
    Same old story — once connected to Kane County politics there’s always a job or position for you. As I read their qualifications, I see no experience in the transportation world to support their consideration for Metra board. To do a job, any job, you need to know what it takes to operate and effectively manage that business.


    Don’t make kids grow up so fast
    Regarding your article on June 26: Little girls between ages of 3 and 13 being given manicures/pedicures, hair styling, with falls, learning how to put make up on by a cosmetologist is gross.How about just letting little girls be little girls. In fact, let all kids just be kids. Stop pushing them to grow up so fast.


    Contributors deserve their Medicare benefits
    This money is for the retired folks who worked their whole life contributing to it so one day they could retire and not worry. Well, it sounds like Medicare is going broke in 10 years and there is nothing they can do about it.


    How could all those kids be missing?
    I’m a little curious about the numbers quoted by Kristi Lafleur and John Jesernik in the letter about child ID cards. They state that 2,100 children per day are reported missing.


    The wealthy don’t need another boost
    While it is true that one of our political parties does practice “survival of the fittest” that party is obviously not the Democratic Party. And, as I’ve said before, if there is “class warfare” occurring in our country it’s pretty obvious who is winning this war.


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