Daily Archive : Saturday July 30, 2011


    GOP congressional leaders House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell endorsed an greement with Democrats and the White House that would avert a federal financial default.

    It's a deal: Obama, Congress will avert default

    Ending a perilous stalemate, President Barack Obama and congressional leaders announced agreement Sunday night on an emergency deal to avoid to avert the nation’s first-ever financial default.

    Jeanne Marie Dauray of Round Lake, spokeswoman for Catholics United, reads from a letter that she and her constituents delivered to Rep. Joe Walsh's office in Fox Lake asking him not to default on our children's future on Saturday.

    Protesters gather today at Walsh's Fox Lake office

    About 20 protesters gathered earlier today outside the Fox Lake office of 8th District Rep. Joe Walsh to exhort the congressman to meet his financial obligations to his children after it emerged earlier this week that his ex-wife has sued him for child support.


    Lawyer: 2 Americans held in Iran could be released

    TEHRAN, Iran — Two Americans jailed in Iran on charges of espionage could be released after a court hearing slated for Sunday, their lawyer said.Masoud Shafiei said Saturday the fact that the session in the trial of Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal would coincide with the second anniversary of their arrest may indicate that they will be freed.

    Rick Majewski/rmajewski@dailyherald.com Katie O'Neill makes her way across the Fear Factory course at the DuPage County Fair in Wheaton. Saturday July 30th 2011.

    Monster trucks excite DuPage fair crowds

    It was the DuPage County Fair's first monster truck show. And it didn't disappoint. “I knew it was going to be awesome even when we were driving here,” said 6-year-old Ryan Kalebic of Glen Ellyn at Saturday afternoon's show.

    The broken fuselage of a Caribbean Airlines' Boeing 737-800 is seen after it crashed Saturday at the end of the runway at Cheddi Jagan International Airport in Timehri, Guyana. The Caribbean Airlines flight 523 from New York touched down on the rainy runway, slid through a chain-link fence and broke apart just short of a ravine but there were no immediate reports of death among the 163 people aboard, despite several dozen of injuries.

    Passenger plane crashes in Guyana; no deaths

    Flight 523 from New York had just touched down and passengers were applauding the pilot's landing in the South American country Saturday when something suddenly went wrong.


    Des Plaines man charged with teen’s death

    A 19-year-old Des Plaines man charged with killing a 15-year-old boy and wounding another person in a shooting last Friday on Chicago’s Far North Side was denied bail Saturday.

    Gabriella Drozdz of Lake Zurich, who was killed in a hit-and-run accident, is carried into the St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church in Lake Zurich on Saturday.

    Lake Zurich hit-and-run victim remembered at funeral

    As the hearse containing the casket of 18-year-old Gabriella Drozdz pulled away from St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church Saturday afternoon, Drozdz’s older sister Ilona Gregory softly blew a kiss toward it. About 250 family members and friends gathered to remember Drozdz, killed in a hit-and-run accident July 22 in Lake Zurich.

    Aaron Boyer competes in bronco busting in the Lake County Fair Rodeo in Grayslake on Saturday.

    Images: 83rd Annual Lake County Fair
    Images from Saturday at the 83rd Annual Lake County Fair at the fairgrounds in Grayslake.

    Bishop Thomas G. Doran of the Rockford Diocese blesses the new St. Patrick Catholic School on Crane Road in St. Charles Saturday. St. Patrick’s pastor, Monsignor Joe Linster, stands on the right.

    New Catholic school dedicated in St. Charles

    The new St. Patrick Catholic School, on Crane Road between Bolcum Road and Silver Glen Road, will be ready to welcome students for the 2011-2012 school year. There will be an open house at the school from 10a-1p. Bishop Thomas G. Doran of the Rockford Diocese will conduct a blessing and dedication ceremony at 11:30. There will be about 540 students in the fall, with room to grow to 800. One the...

    Director Israel Villodas, left, and Araceli Magana, members of Orquesta de Cuatro Fenix of East Chicago, Indiana, prepare to go onstage at the 40th annual Puerto Rican heritage festival in downtown Aurora.

    Music brings fun to Aurora Puerto Rican festival

    “Hot and fun.” That’s how 14-year-old Jalissa Torres of Montgomery described the Aurora Puerto Rican Heritage Festival she’s attended for years. The weather always is hot, and the festival’s music, dancing and food always make it fun, said Anna Soto, 13, of Montgomery.

    Elgin police Lt. Sean Rafferty has been suspended for five days concerning two racially charged incidents.

    Councilwoman: Elgin cop suspension shows festering racial problem

    An Elgin police supervisor has been suspended for five days, the result of two racially charged incidents, including his appearance in a photo more than a decade ago in which he seems to support the Ku Klux Klan. Lt. Sean Rafferty starts his unpaid suspension next week. Rafferty, engaged in “unacceptable off-duty conduct,” cccording to the suspension order from Police Chief Jeffrey...

    U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh who’s come under fire this week after allegations he owed $117,437 in child support, still has the support of the Tea Party. “We’ve just adopted Joe’s statement,” Illinois GOP Chair Pat Brady said about the party’s response to news that the 8th District congressman is being sued by his ex-wife for child support payments.

    As protests brew, Walsh still has Republican support

    As suburbanites developed plans to stage a protest at 8th District Rep. Joe Walsh's office Saturday, Republican officials say they're still behind the McHenry tea partyer whose ex-wife accused him this week of failing to pay child support.

    President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, left, in the Cabinet Room of the White House, Saturday, July 23, 2011, in Washington, to discuss the debt.

    Boehner, Obama relationship tested in debt fight

    The fight over the debt ceiling has turned into a dramatic leadership test for President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner, opponents in a divided government who’ve gone from negotiating in secret to facing off in public at a watershed moment for the country and their own political careers.

    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., holds his hand up as he whispers to House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, during a photo opportunity in the House Speaker’s office before a meeting on the debt limit increase on Capitol Hill in Washington.

    Details of rival plans on spending and debt

    House Republicans and Senate Democrats are pressing competing plans to pair an increase in the nation’s $14.3 trillion borrowing limit with spending cuts and to create a special committee to recommend bigger savings for a vote later this year.

    Republican presidential candidate, former Minnesota Gov, Tim Pawlenty speaks to local residents at a Pizza Ranch restaurant in Story City, Iowa.

    Tim Pawlenty aims for strong showing in Iowa
    Associated PressANKENY, Iowa — Republican presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty has been reading his own political obituary for weeks. But he’s still alive as he campaigns across Iowa.


    Egypt: Militants attack gas pipeline to Israel
    Associated PressEL-ARISH, Egypt — Gunmen blew up a terminal along Egypt’s natural gas pipeline to Israel in the northern Sinai Peninsula Saturday, security officials said.


    Kirk, Durbin question airline fare increases

    U.S. Sens. Dick Durbin and Mark Kirk are questioning airline fare increases after a ticket tax holiday was created by the partial shutdown of the Federal Aviation Administration. The two Illinois senators have sent a letter to the head of the Air Transport Association asking why most carriers aren’t passing the savings along to customers.


    Disaster assistance still available in S. Ill

    MARION, Ill. — Southern Illinois residents who suffered damage and losses during recent severe weather have about a week left to apply for federal disaster assistance. The application deadline for assistance is Aug. 8.


    Champaign-Urbana sets heat record

    If there were any doubts that July had been one hot month, the Illinois State Water Survey now has confirmation for at least one slice of the state.According to The News-Gazette newspaper in Champaign, the Water Survey says this July is the second hottest since 1900 in the Champaign-Urbana area.


    IDOT taking input on transit plan

    The Illinois Department of Transportation will seek comments on a long-term transit plan in upcoming meetings in northeastern Illinois. Officials will look for public input as they develop a multiyear construction, maintenance and upgrade plan for the 2013 thru 2018 fiscal years. The first meeting will be held Aug. 5 in Chicago.


    Snoop Dogg to launch youth football league in Chicago

    Rapper and actor Snoop Dogg is launching a youth football league in Chicago.The rapper is holding a press conference about the inaugural season on Saturday at the Chicago Indoor Sports Facility.The Chicago chapter is a division of the youth football league Snoop established in California in 2004. It’s aimed at decreasing youth violence in the area.

    Arliington Park may seek permission to have night races like Churchill Downs has in Louisville, Ky.

    Officials, residents open to night races at Arlington Park

    The horse isn’t even out of the starting gate, but Arlington Heights officials and residents are eager to hear more about a proposal for a few select night racing dates next season at the town’s racetrack.

    A proposal to have tolls cover most of the cost of extending the Elgin-O’Hare Expressway and building a western bypass around O’Hare International Airport doesn’t mean DuPage County would avoid paying its fair share, county board Chairman Dan Cronin said. “We are contributing to the construction of this project by virtue of the fact that we will be paying higher tolls out here,” Cronin said Friday.

    Toll hikes won’t let DuPage off hook for O’Hare bypass

    A proposal to have tolls cover most of the cost of extending the Elgin-O’Hare Expressway and building a western bypass around O’Hare International Airport doesn’t mean DuPage County would avoid paying its fair share, county board Chairman Dan Cronin said. “We are contributing to the construction of this project by virtue of the fact that we will be paying higher tolls out...


    Wheaton, North Central colleges tackle science vs. faith debate

    Wheaton College and North Central College will host a national conference of the American Scientific Affililation, which believes that God created the basic tenets of scientific investigation, namely contingent order and intelligibility. The four-day conference starts Friday and aims to discuss the synergy that Christianity and science can exist under.

    Teens participating in the World Youth Day carry a cross during Friday night Mass at St. Mary Parish in Buffalo Grove. The cross is signed by all the teens traveling to Madrid. About 500 teens from Cook and Lake county will be part of the pilgrimage in August.

    Cardinal blesses suburban teens before trip to World Youth Day

    At a special blessing Mass at St. Mary Parish in Buffalo Grove, Cardinal Francis George encouraged young people to prepare themselves spiritually for the pilgrimage they are about to take to World Youth Day in Madrid.


    Addams Tollway would be 8 lanes from Kennedy to Elgin

    The tollway's 15-year capital plan calls for 62 miles of improvements to the Jane Addams Tollway. I-90 would be widened to eight lanes from the Kennedy to the Elgin Toll Plaza. The “21st century, state-of-the-art corridor” would save motorists up to 25 minutes on the average trip from Elgin to the Kennedy Expressway.


    Route 20 construction to make Elgin commute painful

    If you take U.S. Route 20 through Elgin, your commute is about to get even more annoying. Starting Wednesday, the Illinois Department of Transportation is repairing the highway east of Weld Road to just west of Shales Parkway — weather permitting. The $8.6 million project on the 6-mile stretch of road is expected to conclude in the fall.

    File photo State Sen. Susan Garrett, a Lake Forest Democrat and vice chairman of the Senate’s local government committee, and Martin Sandoval, a Chicago Democrat and chairman of the transportation committee, called a joint hearing Friday in Chicago to grill leaders of Metra and the Regional Transportation Authority.

    Metra: Capital fund in worse shape than operating fund

    State Sen. Susan Garrett was more upset Friday about Metra's infrastructure deficit that threatens to hit more than $7 billion in a few years, than about the $100 million deficit in operating funds that could lead to fare increases and service cuts.


    More single dads fight for custody

    Joe Cioffi, a physician from Fairfield, Conn., settled for visitation rights to his son after he and the boy’s mother split up. Soon, he decided that wasn’t enough, so he spent four years struggling to win primary custody.

    By 2050, India will overtake China as the most populous country in the world.

    World population closes in on 7 billion

    The world’s 7 billionth person will be born Oct. 31 in India, according to a projection by researchers working with data from the United Nations.

    Kevin Hughes, a martial arts instructor at the Decatur YMCA, works with 16-year-old Keith Chapman during a weapons training portion of a class. Hughes specializes in teaching the power of self-control.

    Martial arts instructor teaches power of self-control

    The emphasis is on defense in Kevin Hughes' martial arts classes. He teaches students that soothing words and walking away from conflict is the opening move of choice. “There is no first strike in my karate,” he says. “The best way to stop a conflict is not to start it to begin with. We prefer words.”

    Ray Wilson of Abingdon, Ill., consults files from the archives at the Galesburg Public Library genealogy lock-in. Enthusiasts were locked inside for several hours to hunt and search for missing links in their ancestry.

    Historical detectives find family ties

    Sifting through archives is "an addiction, and once you find one generation you can't wait to find the next," genealogy enthusiasts say.

    Trace Miller, 12, of Wisconsin, won Grand Champion for his steer.

    Images: Friday at the Lake County Fair
    Friday of the 83rd Annual Lake County Fair at the fairgrounds in Grayslake. Events included cow relays, midway atractions, 4-H animals, and more.

    Polish Defense Minister Bogdan Klich has submitted his resignation.

    Poland: Russians made mistakes in 2010 plane crash

    Russian air traffic controllers gave incorrect and confusing landing instructions to pilots of a plane that crashed, killing Poland’s president and 95 other people, a Polish report said Friday.



    Calixte’s grand slam keys Cougars

    In what could be a possible first-round playoff series preview, the Kane County Cougars scored five times in the first inning and held on to defeat the Quad Cities River Bandits 5-4 on Saturday evening.

    Roberto Garza played center Saturday during the Bears' first training camp practice. Garza, normally a guard, is hoping veteran Olin Kreutz signs with the Bears soon. “He's a big part of our offense,” Garza said.

    Garza hoping Kreutz comes to terms with Bears fast

    Hurry back, Olin Kreutz. “Please,” Roberto Garza, dripping with sweat, pleaded after the Bears' first practice of the season, under a blue sky in scorching Bourbonnais on Saturday.

    Wide receiver Roy Williams signs autographs as he walks on the field during the first day of training camp Saturday.

    Roy Williams likes the fit with Martz, Bears

    BOURBONNAIS — Roy Williams has a simple theory on how to put up big numbers in Mike Martz's offense.Williams did just that in back-to-back seasons with the Detroit Lions in 2006 and '07, catching 146 passes for 2,148 yards and 12 touchdowns, the best two seasons of his eight-year career.“Coach Martz's No. 1 rule is be where you're supposed to be when you're supposed to be there and don't fool the quarterback,” Williams said of the Bears' offensive coordinator. “That's it.”Cutler already has called Williams a “go-to receiver,” even though the 6-foot-3, 215-pound former Pro Bowl wideout, cut by the Dallas Cowboys on Thursday can't practice with his new team until next Thursday.Williams says he already has a good relationship with Cutler. “I sat down and had lunch with him (Saturday),” Williams said. “He didn't ask me to get up and leave the table. Maybe I'm in.”Williams was too often left out in three seasons with the Cowboys, catching 94 passes for 1,324 yards.He thinks the Bears are a better fit for his talents, and aside from his success under Martz, he will be reunited with wide receivers coach Darryl Drake, his position coach at the University of Texas.“To be back with Martz and coach Drake, it's a blessing for me to go to a system I already know that I've had success in,” he said. “It was a pretty easy decision.”New blood:Defensive tackle Amobi Okoye, the 10th overall pick in the 2007 draft, agreed to terms on a one-year deal Saturday. The 6-2, 315-pounder started 58 games for the Houston Texans in his first four NFL seasons, making 138 tackles and getting 11 sacks.He set Houston's rookie record with 5½ sacks in '07. Last season he started all 16 games and had just 3 sacks but led Texans linemen with a career-high 45 tackles.Okoye is expected to compete for a spot in the Bears' DT rotation with nose tackle Anthony Adams, rookie Stephen Paea and veteran Matt Toeaina.As a possible backup to Matt Forte, former Cowboys running back Marion Barber was signed to a two-year deal.The 5-11, 218-pound former fourth-round pick out of Minnesota spent his first six seasons in Dallas, rushing for 4,358 yards and 47 touchdowns on 1,042 carries, a 4.2-yard average.Barber was selected to the Pro Bowl in 2007 after rushing for 975 yards and 10 TDs on 204 attempts while splitting time with Julius Jones.But last season Barber rushed for just 374 yards and 4 TDs on 113 carries, a 3.3-yard average.Same old story:Fourth-year defensive tackle Marcus Harrison was held from Saturday's practice because he didn't pass his physical.Harrison was 11 pounds over his prescribed weight of 316. It's the second time in three years that the perennial disappointment has reported overweight.Six-7, 360-pound guard Herman Johnson was waived.And you are?With the absence of an off-season and a deluge of free agents pouring in, you can't tell the players without a scorecard, even if you are one of the players.“We were sitting in the (meeting) room, and there were 40 faces we've never seen before,” quarterback Jay Cutler said. “A lot of new guys, a lot of guys we've got to get familiar with.”

    Veteran center Olin Kreutz remains unsigned, and his Bears teammates already miss him.

    Bears look at life without Kreutz is not pretty

    BOURBONNAIS — It seems as though the only people who don't realize how important 13-year veteran center and unrestricted free agent Olin Kreutz is to the Bears reside in the team's front office.Kreutz is, as yet, unsigned, and his teammates already miss him.“He is one of the offensive leaders,” quarterback Jay Cutler said. “He is the glue up front. He tells everyone what's going on. He's a guy I'd love to have. But I don't make those decisions, so we just kind of have to roll with what we have.”Kreutz's absence was made painfully obvious early and often in the Bears' first training-camp practice Saturday afternoon.Emergency fill-ins Roberto Garza and Chris Williams, who normally would be the starting guards, botched five quarterback exchanges, three of them by Williams.In their defense, neither player has much recent experience at center. “Hopefully it doesn't come to that,” Garza said of the notion of him playing center in a game. “We need Olin's veteran leadership.“He means a lot to this team and makes everybody better around him. But, for whatever unfortunate reason it doesn't get done, then if they put me in, I have to go in there and play and get the job done.“Hopefully it doesn't come to that.” Neither Garza nor Chris Williams would have been in that position Saturday if not for the new rule created by the slapdash nature of this year's free agency.It prohibits free agents of any kind from practicing until Thursday. Otherwise, exclusive rights free agent Edwin Williams, who was re-signed, would have been in the pivot. But he's limited to bystander status for three more days.“We were going to do this in the off-season, for the future, take a look at Chris at center,” offensive line coach Mike Tice said. “We had a couple center-exchange issues with Chris. He hasn't played center since 2004 in spring ball at Vanderbilt, and he's a lefty, so we wanted to give him a couple snaps at the end of each set at center.“I thought he did reasonably OK. It's expected that he was going to have some problems.”Edwin Williams started three games at right guard for the Bears last season, but he was a three-year, full-time starting center at Maryland.He would have performed better than either of the two centers who worked with the first team Saturday, but not nearly as well as Kreutz.“We'd love to have him back,” Tice said of Kreutz. “I understand the business, though. What I have to have in place is a plan for us — for my bosses and my peers — that's going to enable us to win if we don't get him back.“Really, that's where my mind is at right now.“I can't coach someone that's not here, but I can certainly coach the guys that are here and try to put together the best five quickly — much more quickly than last year.”Last year the Bears allowed more sacks than any team in the NFL, and it wasn't until the eighth game of the season that Tice decided on the starting five.After that, there were signs of improvement.“The problem last year,” Tice said, “was that I didn't know what anyone could do. I know what eight or nine guys can do right now.”First-round draft pick Gabe Carimi took his Saturday snaps at left tackle with the second team.The Bears want him to win a starting job, but without any off-season that will be more difficult, and it's still uncertain which tackle spot he will wind up playing as a rookie.On Saturday, J'Marcus Webb was at right tackle and Frank Omiyale at left tackle with the ones, which is where they were for the last 10 games last season.

    The White Sox’s Paul Konerko, right, gets a handshake from teammate Adam Dunn after hitting a solo home run in the seventh inning against Red Sox on Saturday night at U.S. Cellular Field.

    Humber’s results not so hot

    Phil Humber was sharp early in his start against the Red Sox Saturday night but he failed to make it out of the fifth inning. Humber is 0-3 with a 9.00 ERA in his last 3 outings.


    Milton-Jones helps Sparks hold off Sky

    DeLisha Milton-Jones scored 19 points and made a pair of clinching free throws as the Los Angeles Sparks held off a second-half comeback to beat the Chicago Sky 88-84 on Saturday night.The Sky had closed within two points in the final minute, but Milton-Jones' free throws with 10.6 seconds left gave the Sparks an 86-82 lead.Four teammates also hit double figure as Los Angeles (7-10) snapped a four-game losing streak.Chicago (9-11) nearly erased a 20-point deficit behind 12 second-half points from Epiphanny Prince and 10 from Sylvia Fowles. Both finished with 16 points, while Erin Thorn scored 17 off the bench.Tina Thompson had 14 points for Los Angeles and Jantel Lavender added 13. Kristi Toliver chipped in 12.The Sparks used a 23-7 run in the final 6:57 of the first half to open a 51-36 lead. Thompson had two early 3-pointers, but had reduced minutes after collecting three first-quarter fouls.Los Angeles pushed the lead to 20 in the third quarter following Toliver's two free throws. Chicago cut it to 68-66 as Thorn hit consecutive 3-pointers, but Los Angeles extended the lead before one final push trimmed it to 84-82 with 20 seconds left on Thorn's fifth 3-pointer.The Sparks won for just the third time in 12 games and travel to Indiana on Sunday.

    Will Ohman delivers a pitch Saturday in the fifth inning against the Boston Red Sox.

    Lester hurls Red Sox past White Sox, 10-2

    Jon Lester pitched eight strong innings Saturday night and the Boston Red Sox got homers from Adrian Gonzalez and Kevin Youkilis and three RBIs from Marco Scutaro in a 10-2 victory over the Chicago White Sox.


    Silence truly golden from Cutler

    Some criticized Jay Cutler for leaving the NFC Championship game with a knee injury. Cutler didn't respond the entire offseason. Not a peep or a tweet. What a novel idea from an athlete in this age of social media.

    Cubs relief pitcher James Russell looks away as the Cardinals’ David Freese circles the bases after hitting a 2-run homer Saturday.

    Hits just keep on coming against Cubs

    Another day, another way for the Cubs to lose. The St. Louis Cardinals scored 8 runs in the fifth inning Saturday to beat the Cubs 13-5. The Cubs took a 5-0 lead in the first inning.


    Williams, White Sox likely to stand pat today

    White Sox general manager Kenny Williams said it is unlikely he will make a major move before Sunday's non-waiver trade deadline.


    Thomas sculpture to be unveiled today

    The White Sox retired Frank Thomas' No. 35 last season. On Sunday, the "Big Hurt" is honored with a statue on the left-field concourse at U.S. Cellular Field.


    Quade takes losses ‘personal’

    Cubs manager Mike Quade says he's not managing to save his job. Third baseman Aramis Ramirez said the Cubs' current plight is not Quade's fault.

    Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols hit his 432nd career home run in the Cardinals' 13-5 win over the Cubs Saturday.

    Cubs blow early lead, lose to Cardinals 13-5

    Albert Pujols and David Freese each homered and Ryan Theriot added four hits and three RBIs on Saturday to help the St. Louis Cardinals overcome a five-run deficit in a 13-5 victory over the Chicago Cubs.


    UI’s Ashante Williams suspended indefinitely

    CHAMPAIGN — Illinois football coach Ron Zook says junior linebacker Ashante Williams has been suspended indefinitely following a violation of team rules. No further details about the suspension were immediately available Saturday. A message left for a university spokesman wasn’t immediately returned.Williams, a junior from Mayfield, Ohio, was redshirted the 2008 season and enrolled at the University of Illinois in January 2008.

    David Ragan drives through the first turn Saturday during practice for the NASCAR Brickyard 400 auto race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis. Ragan later qualified on the pole for the race.

    David Ragan wins pole at Indianapolis

    INDIANAPOLIS — David Ragan has won the pole for the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Ragan was one of the last drivers to make a qualifying run Saturday and turned a lap at 182.994 mph to bump Jimmie Johnson from the pole. It is the second pole of Ragan’s career. The other came at Texas in April. Kasey Kahne then made his qualifying run and his lap of 182.927 grabbed the second spot. Johnson dropped to third after holding down the top spot on the leaderboard for most of the qualifying session. Penske Racing teammates Kurt Busch and Brad Keselowski qualified fourth and fifth for Sunday’s race. AJ Allmendinger, Juan Pablo Montoya, Jeff Gordon, Matt Kenseth and Carl Edwards rounded out the top 10.

    Jeff Gordon climbs out of his car Saturday after he qualified for the NASCAR Brickyard 400 auto race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis.

    Stewart soaring at Indianapolis Motor Speedway

    INDIANAPOLIS — Tony Stewart seemed to be on a date with destiny in both of his wins at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where there was an overwhelming sense in 2005 and 2007 that nothing could get in his way in the race to Victory Lane. Even though he seemed to be a lock both of those years, Stewart never allowed himself to think the race was his for the taking. He’d suffered too many heartaches at the Brickyard to assume anything was a given. “I know how much this track can change. You can have a great race car in practice and then when you start the race, the conditions seem to change a little bit,” Stewart said. “It’s just a battle of trying to keep the car balanced all day. Even during the race, you can have a fast car at the beginning and lose the handle at the end. You have to make sure you have a car that’s adjustable all day.”Stewart doesn’t appear to be a lock to win Sunday, but he should at least be a contender. His Stewart-Haas Racing team turned a corner two weeks ago at New Hampshire, where Ryan Newman led his boss to a 1-2 finish in both qualifying and the race. The roll continued into this week, when Stewart won his first ever World of Outlaws race. So his mood was sky high when he arrived at the Brickyard. That’s a bit of a change for Stewart, who has admittedly gotten himself too stressed out about racing at the track he so adores. He had a shot to win the 1996 Indianapolis 500 as a rookie until a broken part ended his race on lap 82. He was leading in 1998 when his engine failed right after he’d moved to the front. Then came NASCAR, where Stewart was a threat to win in 2001 until he bounced off the wall racing with Dale Jarrett for the lead. He admitted afterward, “I was just trying too hard.” The next year he led four times for 43 laps but faded at the end, and 2003 saw a slow final pit stop and a late caution ruin another chance. The 2005 victory came when Stewart had finally found some peace both with himself — he had moved home to Indiana earlier that year in a search for some serenity — and the track. That breakthrough win ended the love-hate relationship Stewart always had with Indy. “I think I got by the hate part once we won the second one,” he said. “You love the place because of the history of it, because it’s home. The hate part was we worked so hard, led so many laps, couldn’t win. Once we won the race, think it took that side of the equation away, made it that much better. We got to enjoy it that much more afterward.” ———GORDON’S GUILT: With a record $119 million in winnings in his NASCAR career, Jeff Gordon is quite accustomed to the finer things in life. A fact-finding mission to Congo last week has left the four-time NASCAR champion feeling a bit guilty about the luxuries he enjoys. “It was an experience that will change me forever,” Gordon said of last week’s trip with the Clinton Global Imitative. “I feel guilty about buying a bottle of water for two bucks. You look at your refrigerator and you go like, `Oh my gosh, there’s so much waste here.’ You just start looking at every aspect of your life and the things you take for granted.”Gordon made the 28-hour flight to Africa following the July 17 race at New Hampshire. He spent almost three days in Congo, where he saw children walking barefoot along busy roads and women carrying sacks of coal on their backs. The father of two young children said he didn’t expect to see such struggles. “When you come back, you can’t help but have that impact every decision you make, the way you look at things,” he said. “It just makes me want to cut back on a lot of things that I would say are not necessary.”

    U.S. Michael Phelps looks at the scoreboard after completing his men’s 200m Freestyle final at the FINA Swimming World Championships in Shanghai, China.

    Phelps takes 3rd gold at swim worlds in 100 fly

    SHANGHAI — Michael Phelps registered a comfortable win in the 100-meter butterfly at the swimming world championships Saturday without Milorad Cavic or Ryan Lochte to challenge him.Phelps used his usual strategy for his third gold of the championship: Touching third at the turn and pulling ahead in the second lap to finish in 50.71 seconds. Konrad Czerniak of Poland took the silver in 51.15 while another American, Tyler McGill, earned bronze in 51.26.Cavic, who is still regaining his form following back surgery, didn’t advance from morning heats Friday. Lochte, who edged Phelps for gold in the 200 freestyle and 200 individual medley, wasn’t entered.Meanwhile, American teenager Missy Franklin continued to impress at her breakout meet, and Rebecca Adlington won the 800 free to give Britain its first gold in the pool and a big boost going into next year’s London Olympics.The 16-year-old Franklin won the first major individual gold of her career in the 200 backstroke, then came back an hour later and swam the anchor leg as the United States claimed gold in the 4x100 medley relay.Franklin has three golds and five medals in all, having also set up the Americans’ victory in the 4x200 free relay two days ago, when she swam faster than Federica Pellegrini did in winning the individual 200.“I totally made sure I came in here and left everything in the pool, and I did,” Franklin said, flashing a wide smile that revealed a set of braces. “I’m thrilled.”Rebecca Soni set up the relay win with a solid breaststroke leg, and she also has three golds. It was the first time the Americans won this relay at worlds since 1998 in Perth, Australia.Also, Cesar Cielo retained his title in the 50 free, adding to his gold in the 50 fly. Having been cleared of doping by the Court of Arbitration for Sport last week and allowed to compete in worlds, Cielo broke down into tears after his fly win Monday. This time he remained composed and waved his arms in celebration.Dutch speedster Inge Dekker won the women’s 50 butterfly, a non-Olympic event, in 25.71.Cavic posed the most serious threat to Phelps’ record eight gold medals at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, losing the 100 fly by a hundredth of a second in a finish so close that the video had to be reviewed down to the 10-thousandth of a second.Their rematch at worlds two years ago in Rome was dramatic, too. Both swimmers traded trash talk beforehand. Then Phelps rallied over the last lap to break the world record set by Cavic in the semifinals, with the Serb settling for silver again, prompting an unusually large outburst of emotion from Phelps.Phelps didn’t celebrate at all this time, even though it was his third consecutive world title in this event.“I thought I was going to be a little bit faster,” Phelps said. “In all, it’s been an OK week. There will be a lot of helpful things I can work on for next year.”Phelps has three golds, two silvers and a bronze with one more event to go — the 4x100 medley relay on the final night of competition Sunday.In the 200 back, Franklin led from start to finish in 2:05.10 — the third fastest swim of all-time in this event. She finished nearly a second in front of silver medalist Belinda Hocking of Australia, while Sharon van Rouwendaal of the Netherlands took bronze, a massive 2.68 seconds behind.Returning from a year off, Olympic and defending champion Kirsty Coventry of Zimbabwe failed to qualify for the final.Adlington, the Olympic champion, traded the lead with Denmark’s Lotte Friis throughout the race and posted a narrow 800 victory in 8:17.51. Defending champion Friis took the silver in 8:18.20 and Kate Ziegler of the United States took bronze.Adlington trailed Friis at the 750-meter mark, but dug deep to pull out the win.

    Steve Inman of the Warwick Post 2 team swings at a pitch during a game in West Warwick, R.I.

    Youth baseball league shuns metal bats for wood

    For years, the Rhode Island teams in the American Legion Baseball league played with aluminum bats that make the characteristic crack of America’s game sound more like a dull clang. But Rhode Island is once again playing with wood, one of at least three states nationwide where the American Legion has mandated a switch.

    People cheer on during the London 2012 Olympics one-year-to-go ceremony Wednesday at Trafalgar Square in London.

    London raises bar with 2012 Olympic preparations

    Preparations for next year’s Summer Games in London are on time and under budget, with 88 percent of construction completed a year ahead of the opening ceremony. Development costs may drop $26 million, the U.K. Department for Culture, Media and Sport said on July 19.


    Veterinarian Dr. Laura Brown discusses the equipment in the operating room of Greentree Animal Hospital's new location in Libertyville. The practice moved to the larger location earlier this year after 15 years on Milwaukee Avenue.

    Libertyville veterinarian moves practice to new location

    Though Greentree Animal Hospital has moved to a new location in Libertyville, owner Dr. Laura Brown said the clinic's priority remains the same — pets' health. The practice moved earlier this year to a new stand-alone office building at 800 E. Park Ave., after 15 years on Milwaukee Avenue.


    Thousands of Israelis protest high cost of living

    JERUSALEM — Tens of thousands of Israelis took to the streets nationwide on Saturday to protest rising housing prices in the largest turnout in a grass-roots movement that began two weeks ago and is demanding steps from the government to ease the burden.The protests over housing costs have tapped into wider discontent among Israelis over the high cost of living and the growing gaps between rich and poor. Other protests include doctors striking over working conditions and pay, parents demonstrating against expensive child rearing costs and similar outpourings over increasing gas prices.Thousands thronged the streets of Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and other major cities and chanted, “The people demand social justice.” Protesters waved Israeli flags and placards that read: “work 3 jobs but don’t make ends meet,” “killing ourselves to live” and “social gaps are killing us.”Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said more than 100,000 people protested in 10 cities across the country from Beersheba in the south to Kiryat Shmoneh at the northern tip of the country Saturday night. Police closed major streets for the protesters to march.The demonstrations began two weeks ago in Tel Aviv, where young activists set up a small tent encampment in a central neighborhood to draw attention to the country’s housing crunch. The protests, inspired in part by unrest in neighboring Arab countries, have continued to gain steam and show no signs of slowing.“This is a great success; people are marching in the streets and living in the streets for the past two weeks,” Stav Shafir, one of the protest leaders said. “Finally people are choosing to determine how they want to live. We want affordable housing, health, education and welfare.”The weeks of popular demonstrations are becoming a headache for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with polls showing a sharp drop in his approval ratings and strong support for the protesters. Netanyahu announced a package of reforms meant to lower housing prices last week but it did little to defuse the anger.In Jerusalem, thousands marched through the city center to the prime minister’s house.Protesters held up signs reading, “Netanyahu go home.” The protests have brought together people from diverse background and a wide range of political views. Recent demonstrations have included marches against the prices of gasoline, boycotts of expensive cottage cheese that forced manufacturers to lower prices and lengthy strikes by social workers and doctors over pay and working conditions.The average Israeli salary stands at about $2,500 per month, with key professions like teachers, civil servants and social workers typically earning less than $2,000 a month.Home prices jumped some 35 percent between December 2007 and August 2010 and rental rates have also risen steadily. Rent on a modest three-bedroom apartment in central Jerusalem can cost more than $1,000 per month and costs even more in Tel Aviv.A standard, 1,000-square-foot (100-square-meter) apartment can easily top $600,000 in metropolitan centers like Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, and $200,000 to $300,000 in second-tier areas.Protest organizers addressed a crowd of 50,000 people in Tel Aviv.“We are here today to tell our elected representatives in the clearest manner that the government has a responsibility toward its citizens,” Daphni Leef, one of the leaders said. “Public housing isn’t a dirty word. No more tricks.”Opposition leader Tzipi Livni said parliament should cancel its summer break to deal with the crisis.Cabinet secretary Tzvi Hauser tried to defend the government’s policies on Channel 10 TV but was heckled and silenced by questions from a panel of critics. Hauser said the government had inherited the problems from previous governments and was working hard to solve them.


    Venezuela breaks up fuel smuggling ring, detains 9
    CARACAS, Venezuela — Venezuelan authorities say they have broken up a gang that smuggled subsidized diesel fuel out of the country to be sold abroad at a hefty profit.Deputy Justice Minister Nestor Reverol says a Panamanian-flagged boat was seized as it was about to load more than 150,000 liters (39,000 gallons) of fuel from a hidden underground storage site. He says nine people are under arrest, including a Colombian and eight Venezuelans.Reverol says the storage site in Venezuela’s western Falcon state could hold up to 1 million liters (more than 260,000 gallons).Fuel is heavily subsidized in oil-producing Venezuela and smuggling to neighboring Colombia is a problem.


    NJ figures in dispute over cap-and-trade success

    TRENTON, N.J. — New Jersey’s expected pullout from a 10-state pact to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is among the latest developments in a nationwide dispute over whether cap-and-trade programs work and what limitations states should place on energy producers to curb the heat-trapping gases blamed for global warming.In New Jersey and elsewhere, the outcome of the dispute could affect everyone — from the quality of air in their communities to the price they pay to heat and light their homes and businesses. Cap-and-trade programs set limits on the amount of pollution a company can release, require companies to get permits for each ton they emit and allow them to trade emission allowances using the market to set the price. The programs came into practice after the 1990 Clean Air Act established a market-based approach to reducing acid rain. But opponents say the programs hurt the economy when power plants pass the cost of buying emissions on to customers. They say emissions are dropping not because of cap-and-trade programs but because of the economic downturn and the reduced cost of natural gas, a cleaner source of energy.Gov. Chris Christie announced in May that by the end of 2012, New Jersey would withdraw from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. He called the program a failure.Emissions in the region are down about 30 percent below the cap, and the three-year-old program has generated almost $900 million in proceeds, including $105 million for New Jersey, according to RGGI Inc., the group that administers the initiative. Christie used more than $60 million to ease the state’s budget crisis, as officials have in other states.There also is an excess of available permits, which are selling at just under $2 per ton — the absolute lowest allowed at the quarterly auctions where permits are sold. The number of bidders is steadily decreasing, from 82 at the first auction to just 47 at the most recent one in June. That eliminates any incentive for power companies to lower their own emissions so they can sell unused permits to other companies at a higher price.“This leads people to think, `Well, what’s the deal with this program? This is a tax,”’ said Paul Tesoriero of Evolution Markets, an emissions brokerage firm. “It causes people to question the validity of cap-and-trade.”Almost everyone agrees the initial cap — which was set in 2005 — was way too high. Most expect it will be adjusted down at the next opportunity, in 2012. But program supporters say that is not proof the program has failed, and add that diverting the funds for other uses amounts to impairing the program’s success and then blaming it for failure. “Christie got it right in one respect, which is that emissions are way down, and it’s not primarily due to RGGI,” said Peter Shattuck, carbon markets policy analyst for the nonprofit Environment Northeast. “Where he makes a jump is saying RGGI is a failure.”The initiative established a long-term framework and sends a signal that unlimited emissions are a thing of the past, he said. Focusing exclusively on emission rates ignores the revenues the pact has generated for clean energy projects, Shattuck and others said.“There’s no question the cap is inflated,” said Dale Bryk, director of Air and Energy Programs for the Natural Resources Defense Council. “The cap is not what’s reducing pollution. It’s the reinvestments in reducing energy costs, energy efficiency and downward pressure on demand.”Xavier Walter of Home Energy Team, a Southampton, N.J.-based energy efficiency firm, said he’s hired 12 full-time staff and a half-dozen part-time staff in the past two years as a direct result of funds generated from the permit sales. Walter’s group was one of about 225 businesses that signed a July letter to governors in the 10 states urging them not to abandon the pact.


    AP Enterprise: Enviros, rivals strike odd peace

    LOS ANGELES — Long before studies showed one of the world’s largest solar projects could harm or kill more than 1,100 tortoises in the Mojave Desert, the threatened creature’s longtime champion already had signed off on the project.Months earlier, the Center for Biological Diversity had agreed not to sue or challenge Oakland-based BrightSource Energy Co.’s project — expected to cost $2 billion — in exchange for additional protections and a swath of desert tortoise habitat elsewhere. Any finer points of the deal remain a mystery because the agreement is confidential. The unusual deal is one of several that environmental groups have cut in recent years, offering silence or support for a project in exchange land or money towards conservation efforts. While such settlements aren’t new, experts say they are larger and more controversial as environmental groups have become powerful enough to stall or derail projects and are more willing to settle.Some conservationists have blasted the October agreement but attorneys for the center and BrightSource stand by it, saying that once new tortoise habitat is purchased, the location of that land, but no other details, will be made public. “I’d rather us get beat up a bit for having a `secret agreement’ that actually leads to additional tortoise habitat than one less likely to lead to those protections,” said Brendan Cummings, an attorney for the nonprofit who helped craft the deal. Workers in the desert scrub of the Ivanpah Valley, which has long been habitat for threatened tortoises, will install thousands of mirrors that will focus sunlight into three towers to produce steam and generate electricity. At peak capacity the $2 billion solar project, which is expected to be completed by 2013, will generate enough electricity for 140,000 homes. The desert tortoise is the state reptile, a slow-moving herbivore found in California, Nevada, Arizona and Utah. The creatures do not reproduce very quickly with females breeding at 15 to 20 years old and often only if there is enough food. Since the 1950s, desert tortoise populations have reportedly decreased by 90 percent and in 1990 were listed as federally threatened.BrightSource has hired as many as 100 biologists to find and relocate tortoises found on the solar project’s 3,500-acre construction site in San Bernardino County. The company has also been X-raying female tortoises to see if they’re carrying eggs. Those eggs have been placed in nurseries to hatch and the young tortoises have been kept in pens to increase their survival rate.“It’s all about providing additional mitigations above what is required by law,” said Arthur Haubenstock, BrightSource’s vice president of regulatory affairs and assistant general counsel. “We entered into this agreement because it was something we wanted to do.”Even so, in April, the Bureau of Land Management ordered construction halted on most of the project after biologists found more tortoises than originally estimated. U.S. Fish and Wildlife had earlier estimated that only 32 adult tortoises lived on the 5.6-square-mile site. A more thorough study in June estimated not only adults, but also juveniles, hatchlings and eggs. That brought the number to as many as 1,136 creatures that could be harmed or killed by construction, loss of habitat or relocation. Despite the larger estimate the agency determined that the Mojave desert population estimated at more than 40,000 could withstand the potential loss. Construction resumed.The decision did little to quell sharp criticism toward one of the desert’s leading advocates for tortoise protections, which had once threatened to sue BrightSource before it abruptly settled. Cummings said the center thought the tortoise population was larger than originally estimated and does not regret the deal in light of the revised number.

    Customers stand in line as Jaqueline Henderson, right, prepares to pump gas at a station in Portland, Ore. President Barack Obama and top auto executives unveiled details of a compromise to slash the amount of gasoline cars and trucks will need down the road. The deal will double fuel economy standards to 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025 and further restrict the tailpipe emissions blamed for global warming.

    New auto fuel standards: 54.5 average mpg by 2025

    President Barack Obama and automakers ushered in the largest cut in fuel consumption since the 1970s on Friday. The agreement pledges to double overall fuel economy to 54.5 mpg by 2025. "This agreement on fuel standards represents the single most important step we have taken as a nation to reduce our dependence on foreign oil," Obama said


    Congress not slow with social media

    The snail’s-pace negotiations about raising the nation’s debt ceiling are a good reminder that Congress rarely does anything quickly. But the House and the Senate have managed in recent years to move forward with relative speed on at least one front: joining Facebook and Twitter.


    Internet privacy controls challenge tech industry

    The federal government has put Google, Microsoft, Apple and other technology companies on notice: Give consumers a way prevent advertisers from tracking their movements across the Web — or face regulation.


    Video game industry spent $1 million on Supreme Court case

    WASHINGTON — A big victory at the Supreme Court isn’t priceless, after all. It costs somewhere north of $1,144,602.64. That’s what the video game industry spent to convince the court that California’s law banning the sale or rental of violent video games to minors violated the First Amendment. And it asked the court this week to make the state pay the legal cost of the case, most of which went to the law firm of Jenner & Block. Two industry trade groups — the Entertainment Merchants Association and Entertainment Software Association — relied on civil rights laws in asking for the fees. Federal law allows the prevailing parties in such cases to collect their costs from the losing side. In Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association, according to the motion, the industry “vindicated important First Amendment rights and enjoined enforcement of an unconstitutional law.” The court voted 7 to 2 to strike down the law, with Justice Antonin Scalia writing that the Constitution does not give a state a “free-floating power to restrict the ideas to which children may be exposed.” Christian Genetski, ESA’s general counsel, said: “We certainly feel it’s unfortunate that California taxpayers are suffering the consequences” of the state’s decision to pass the law. But he said the industry warned then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, R, not to sign the legislation because every court that had looked at similar laws found them unconstitutional. The parties received $276,000 (plus interest) from the state when they prevailed at the district court level, and $94,000 at the appeals court level. A spokeswoman said California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris had no comment on the motion. The petition lays out in eye-popping detail — to anyone who doesn’t work for a high-powered Washington law firm — what it costs to retain a high-powered Washington law firm for a Supreme Court case. Nine Jenner & Block lawyers brought in nearly $1.1 million in fees for their work in 2009 and 2010, led by veteran Supreme Court advocate Paul M. Smith. Smith, who argued the case before the court, spent more than 321 hours on the case, at an hourly rate of $765. The price is “similar” to what others charge “in the relevant market of attorneys who regularly practice before the Supreme Court,” the motion says. And all the bills aren’t in yet. The costs for 2011 are still open; the cost of filing the motion will be in that invoice.

    Paramount and Marvel Studios are spending millions on marketing that has included fireworks at baseball games and American-themed products such as Dunkin’ Donuts’ bright red Cherry Coolatta frozen drink, Baskin-Robbins’ vanilla ice cream with blue chocolate chips and a cherry flavored swirl and Wrigley’s Captain America Orbit White and Juicy Fruit gum.

    ‘Captain America’ fighting superhero fatigue

    Paramount and Marvel Studios are spending millions on marketing "Captain America" that has included fireworks at baseball games and American-themed products such as Dunkin’ Donuts’ bright red Cherry Coolatta frozen drink, Baskin-Robbins’ vanilla ice cream with blue chocolate chips and a cherry flavored swirl and Wrigley’s Captain America Orbit White and Juicy Fruit gum.

    A laminated paper solar cell is connected to an LCD screen to demonstrate that it is producing power from ambient sunlight.

    Solar cells may be printed on plain paper

    The next generation of solar cells may be printed on ordinary paper. MIT engineers have created ultrathin paper cells that gather enough juice to power an LCD clock and can be glued to a briefcase, stapled to a hat or folded into a pocket.

    Homes near the Olympic Stadium have risen about 19 percent since London won the right to host the 2012 Games five years ago, compared with a gain of 27 percent across the capital.

    Olympic real estate revival fizzles in East London

    Prices of homes close to London’s Olympic Park fell over the past year as signs of revitalization in one of the U.K.’s poorest areas failed to materialize and overseas buyers focused on more central districts.

    Companies such as AT&T and T-Mobile USA say they need more capacity to keep up as their customers increasingly use smart phones, tablets and other portable devices to handle mobile applications, online video and other bandwidth-hungry services.

    Debt fight could bring more airwaves for broadband

    The debt ceiling battle could produce an unlikely winner: smartphone users. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s current plan would direct the Federal Communications Commission to auction off highly valuable radio spectrum to wireless carriers desperate for more airwaves.

    In June, The Nielsen Co. said it found that Americans who watch the most video online tend to watch less TV. The activity was more pronounced among people ages 18-34, a slice of the population advertisers are particularly eager to target.

    Cable companies to give clues on Internet impact

    Are people really cancelling cable to watch TV and movies from the Internet instead? It’s a question that has dogged the pay-TV industry for a year, and a spate of quarterly reports over the next few weeks, starting with Time Warner Cable Inc. on Thursday, could provide important clues.

    San Francisco-based Zynga makes most of its money by charging small amounts of money for virtual items in its games, such as “CityVille.” The company now has launched “Zynga City” in China.

    Zynga expands to China, sans Facebook

    Zynga, the company behind popular Facebook games like “CityVille,” is taking that game to China. Since Facebook is blocked in the country, it’s partnering instead with local Internet portal Tencent.

    Microsoft and Netflix formed a partnership in 2008 to enable consumers to instantly stream more than 10,000 movies and TV episodes from Netflix to the TV via Xbox LIVE.

    Study: Half of Netflix users watch via game console

    A new Nielsen survey finds that in the battle between screens, Netflix users are opting for TVs and Hulu users are siding with computers. Video game consoles have a lot to do with the discrepancy: Half of all Netflix users connect to its streaming service through their Nintendo Wii, Sony PlayStation 3 or Microsoft Xbox consoles, according to the survey.


    LinkedIn launches `Apply with LinkedIn’ button

    Professional networking service LinkedIn Corp. has launched a Web button that lets job applicants submit their profiles on the site to jobs that interest them.

Life & Entertainment

    A fur coat designed by Gucci is modeled for the presentation of Gucci's 2011 Fall/Winter collection. Women's tastes are becoming more refined and younger customers are warming up to fur amid efforts to market pelts as more humane products.

    Images: Fur makes a comback
    Fashion designers are once again working with fur. Women's tastes are becoming more refined and younger customers are warming up to fur amid efforts to market pelts as more humane products.

    This ranch in Arlington Heights has custom cabinetry, hardwood floors and a finished lower level.

    On the Market: Updated ranch in Arlington Heights

    The idea of coming home and sitting out on the patio with a drink has special appeal on those warm spring, summer and fall nights. And no one could imagine a more idyllic setting for such a relaxing evening than the yard of this Arlington Heights ranch home, which is currently on the market.

    New pet products: Planet Dog’s Wood Chuck ($25) has a comfy cork handle and four-pronged claw for easy, slobber-free pickup. The FURminator ($40) cat-grooming tool controls shedding and prevents hairballs; and the FroliCat Bolt laser toy ($20) engages even the most independent kitty.

    Cool new gadgets for your pets

    Legend has it that President Harry Truman once said: If you want a friend in life, get a dog. Or, we might add, a companionable cat. If the number of dog parks, animal fundraisers and pet stores today is any indication, we’re wild about Harry’s advice. For avid pet lovers — you know who you are — here are new ways to lavish attention on Fido and Frisky.Ÿ Does your dog shudder and cry during lightning and thunderstorms? Pet owners have been raving about the Thundershirt as a surefire method to ease animal anxiety. Place the shirt on your dog’s back and attach with the chest and torso straps. The gentle pressure seems to calm them, somewhat like swaddling for a newborn. Who knew? $36 at www.thundershirt.com.Ÿ Talk about the cat’s meow. Just wait until your feline friend tries to pounce on or chase the pattern created by this laser toy. You can put down the FroliCat Boltfor an 15-minute automatic play session or move it manually. Any way you use it is sure to engage even the most independent kitty. $20 at Big Bad Woof in Washington, or www.thebigbadwoof.com.Ÿ Play hours of fetch with Planet Dog’s Wood Chuck. The comfy cork handle makes gripping and throwing a breeze, and the four-pronged claw means easy pickup and slobber-free hands. A ball made of recycled material is included. $25 at www.planetdog.com.Ÿ Orvis has come up with this portable pup tent, perfect for camping your pet inside or out. Pull on the handles, and it pops open, umbrella-style. When it’s not in use, stow it in its own storage bag. Sturdy construction of nylon and fiberglass rods adds to its allure. $104, small; $109, medium; $124 large at www.orvis.com. Ÿ Love your cat but not its hair all over the house? Missouri-based pet-grooming products company FURminator offers cutting-edge solutions, such as this tool for cats, designed to control shedding and prevent hairballs. See www.furminator.com for its line of de-shedding tools for cats and dogs.

    Zara Phillips, eldest granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth and international rugby player Mike Tindall outside Canongate Kirk, Edinburgh, Friday for the rehearsal of their wedding, which will take place Saturday. A regal supporting cast is expected as the queen leads her extended brood to Edinburgh, Scotland for the private festivities. Prince William and Kate Middleton, now the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, are expected, along with Prince Harry (still single) and bright lights from Britain’s sports and show business worlds.

    UK watches year’s second, low key, royal wedding

    EDINBURGH, Scotland — Queen Elizabeth II’s granddaughter Zara Phillips was marrying England rugby star Mike Tindall on Saturday but the country’s second royal wedding of the year was expected to be a low-key affair, with little of the glamor or excitement of Prince William’s showstopping nuptials.Phillips, 30, who is 13th in line to the throne but does not use a royal title, and Tindall, 32, were scheduled to be wed at Edinburgh’s Canongate Kirk in a private ceremony attended by the queen, William, his bride Kate Middleton and a host of other royals and sporting stars.The couple, who largely shun the limelight, won’t have their ceremony carried on live television and crowds gathering in the Scottish city ahead of the service were told by police there would be little to see.Phillips is known better for her sporting achievements than royal heritage, and is a world class equestrian who is likely to compete in the 2012 Olympics. Her longtime partner Tindall is a leading rugby player who has captained England in international matches.Dressed in their trademark style, casually in jeans, the couple greeted well wishers late on Friday as they appeared at Canongate Kirk for a final rehearsal.But the prospect of even a brief glimpse of the royal family on Saturday was enough to entice hundreds of people onto the streets of central Edinburgh, including a few dozen who camped overnight to win a front row view.Waving a Canadian flag, Margaret Kittle, 76, said she had traveled from Ontario, Canada, and staked out a spot on Friday night. “I flew over last Saturday and have been here since last night. I started following the royals after I saw George VI and the Queen back home in Canada when I was four-years-old,” she said.Helen Sutherland, a 65-year-old from Muir of-Ord in the Scottish Highlands, was wrapped in a warm blanket as she waited for a glimpse of Britain’s newest royal couple. “It got chilly through the night but we want to see the bride and her dress. They seem to be a very happy couple,” she said.After Kate’s much admired demure lace wedding gown — designed by Sarah Burton of the Alexander McQueen fashion house — experts predicted Phillips would opt for a more daring style.Phillips, who once sported a tongue stud, is known for her sometimes revealing outfits. “She pushes her style as far as she can and knows where to draw the line. She knows the rules and might bend them a little,” said Peta Hunt, fashion director at You and Your Wedding magazine.William and Kate — now known as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge — joined a glitzy cocktail party with couple and other royal relatives late Friday aboard the former royal yacht Britannia, hired out for the occasion.But the party was a rare moment of public glamor for the usually publicity-shy Phillips, who will celebrate with a private wedding reception at the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the queen’s official home in Scotland.The couple are known for putting their devotion to sport ahead of their celebrity, and plan to postpone their honeymoon as both are due to feature in major events next week — the bride in horse trials, and the groom in England’s rugby international against Wales. Phillips also plans to continue to use her maiden name when she competes.


    Tips for painting on weathered wood
    When painting a home with a wood exterior, it’s not unusual to find areas that are worn and weathered. “If the wood exterior you’re about to paint meets one of these descriptions, you’ll need to do some extra surface preparation,” says Debbie Zimmer, spokeswoman for the Paint Quality Institute.


    Historic Bartlett art exhibit seeking entries
    You’re invited to participate in a photography/art exhibit, which features a Bartlett building that is at least 50 years old. High school students and adults are invited to submit photos, drawings, or paintings of Bartlett-area buildings.


    Maximize your garage as a selling point for your home
    When selling your home, your garage can be an attractive part of the overall package you offer buyers. Too often, however, the space is not marketed to its fullest potential.

    Officially, summer has weeks left on the calendar, but retailers have begun the transition from lightweight and lighthearted vacation clothes to the more dressed-up, sophisticated styles that come with fall fashion.

    Summer weather, fall fashion: Time to layer

    It’s fall in the mall. Officially, summer has weeks left on the calendar, but retailers have begun the transition from lightweight and lighthearted vacation clothes to the more dressed-up, sophisticated styles that come with fall fashion.

    In an era of iTunes and Amazon, Spotify and Pandora, album sales don’t tell you what they used to. With so many routes to our eardrums, how do we measure the actual popularity of pop music? Various companies are scrambling to figure out.

    Who’s No. 1 in music? Tech makes it hard to tell

    In an era of iTunes and Amazon, Spotify and Pandora, album sales don’t tell you what they used to. With so many routes to our eardrums, how do we measure the actual popularity of pop music? Various companies are scrambling to figure out.

    Grace Coddington, the creative director of Vogue, will tell her story from the front row of fashion in a memoir. The as-yet-untitled book with be written in collaboration with Vanity Fair style editor-at-large Michael Roberts, a longtime friend and colleague. It will include some of Coddington’s own illustrations.

    Vogue’s Grace Coddington writing memoir

    Grace Coddington’s story from the front row of fashion will be told in a memoir.The book by Vogue’s creative director with be written with Vanity Fair style editor-at-large Michael Roberts, a friend and colleague.

    Hallmark will air “William & Catherine: A Royal Romance” Aug. 27.

    Another William and Kate movie on the way

    Break out the cake: Another movie about Prince William and Kate Middleton is set to debut on TV. Hallmark’s “William & Catherine: A Royal Romance” premieres Aug. 27. In April, the Lifetime network aired the much maligned telefilm “William & Kate.”

    Women’s tastes are becoming more refined and younger customers are warming up to fur amid efforts to market pelts as more humane products.

    Fur makes fashion comeback

    After several seasons in deep hibernation, fur heated up the fall runways. Designers from Alber Elbaz to Zac Posen chose fox, lamb, ostrich and dyed maribou to add texture and drama to their collections. Inspired by the theme, retailers are offering both affordable and politically uncontroversial faux interpretations — scarves, hats, vests, boots, gloves, even full-length coats — perfect for dashing through the snow.

    Fedor Emelianenko and Dan Henderson will spar in UFC's Strikeforce Saturday at the Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates.

    Weekend picks: UFC's Strikeforce at Sears Centre

    A bout between former Pride heavyweight champion Fedor Emelianenko and reigning light heavyweight champion Dan Henderson is the headlining fight in the UFC's Strikeforce event on Saturday at the Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates.

    The average sunroom addition costs between $20,000 and $50,000.

    Sunrooms let the light shine in

    Even with the sluggish economy, homeowners continue to long for a relaxation room that feels different from a family room, said Brian Kinane, director of marketing and sales for Timberbuilt Inc. of St. Charles.


    Mortgage Professor: When paying points makes sense

    Lenders generally offer borrowers alternative combinations of interest rate and points: Low rates are offered when the borrower pays points to the lender, and high rates are offered when the lender pays points to the borrower. Points paid by the borrower are an upfront cash outlay, whereas points paid by the lender are used to pay the borrower’s settlement costs. On a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM), a lender might offer 10 or more combinations.

    With wet, muggy weather common in the Midwest, homeowners are turning on their dehumidifiers to take moisture out of the air. Some examples are, from left, the Frigidaire 30-pint dehumidifier, the Kenmore 50-pint dehumidifier and the Kenmore Elite 70-pint dehumidifier.

    What you need to know about dehumidifiers

    Late spring is the time you'll most commonly find dehumidifiers turned on for the season in damp and moldy basements.


    On homes and real estate: For sale by owner

    Q. What happens if I have an agent and I find a house for sale by owner? Does the agent get a commission?

    Fireworks light up the BT telecom tower in central London during a 500-days-to-go celebration until the start of the 2012 Olympic Games.

    London ready and waiting for Olympics

    The London Olympics will open just over a year from now, amid the stunning and historic backdrops of the Houses of Parliament, the Tower of London and Buckingham Palace — all the monuments that make this city one of the world's most popular destinations.



    The Soapbox

    Today's Soapbox includes Daily Herald editors' thoughts on O'Hare food contracts, Rep. Joe Walsh's financial foibles, teen jobs and storm cleanup.


    The arrogance of Boehner and GOP
    Speaker Boehner and the tea party Republicans all must have been absent from school the day the lesson covered the Gettysburg Address. At least they missed the “for the people” part.


    Put country first — like Bush Sr.
    The first President Bush exclaimed, “No new taxes.” Then he was faced with reality and put his own re-election on the line to do what needed to be done. He put our country first. The extreme factions in today’s Congress learned the wrong lesson from President Bush.


    Letter about Brueder contract misleading
    On July 22, a letter from College of DuPage Faculty Senate Vice-President Bob Hazard appeared in the Daily Herald regarding the COD Board of Trustees’ recent decision to exercise a clause in its contract with COD President Robert L. Breuder by adding an additional year to his service. Mr. Hazard’s letter was factually inaccurate and needs to be clarified.


    Why take from Social Security?
    It’s outrageous that some in Washington want to cut Social Security to help balance our federal books. budget. Social Security did not contribute to our financial mess and should not be used as a piggy bank to pay down our debt. If it weren’t for Social Security, millions of Americans like me would have had little to depend on during this economic nightmare.


    Replace legislators who don’t produce
    What are the other 400-plus representatives doing beside junkets and campaigning? If a half dozen representatives and senators are deciding our future, why do we need the rest of them?


    Math supports private sector
    Mettawa letter to the editor: What is better for our society: to continue to elect the party of bigger/inefficient government and entitlements, or the party that understands that the source of funding for necessary temporary assistance is in a healthy private sector?


    Consider the example Walsh sets
    Lake Villa letter to the editor: Is Joe Walsh really the person we should be looking to for solutions?


    President Bush and the debt ceiling
    Why do you think the tea party was organized? Because a lot of Republicans in power, just like President Bush, didn’t get the message about controlling government spending.


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