Daily Archive : Sunday July 31, 2011


    The new Primrose School of South Elgin will host an open house Aug. 6 to celebrate the opening of its first preschool in the Chicago area.

    Primrose School invites guests to open house

    The owners of the recently opened Primrose School in South Elgin are ready to show off their new facility and are inviting the community to an open house.


    Report: HSBC plans to announce 30,000 job cuts

    HSBC Holdings Plc, Europe’s largest bank, plans to cut 30,000 jobs by the end of 2013.

    Christopher Lyon, assistant to the manager of fleet services at the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County, fuels a van with compressed natural gas at the Blackwell Forest Preserve fueling station.

    Suburban fleets switching to new fuel: Compressed natural gas

    Could the same natural gas used in our homes and businesses be used to power our vehicles? For fleet-driven governments and businesses, the answer is yes. More local agencies are using compressed natural gas.

    Formerly a U.S. senator who lived in Inverness and a lifelong banker, Peter Fitzgerald criticizes congressional representatives who “are more worried about their next re-election” than about the nation's financial future.

    Fitzgerald: U.S. could face European-style ‘catastrophe'

    Former suburban Senator Peter Fitzgerald, who now runs a bank in McLean, Va., says the U.S. could be headed toward a similar path as Ireland or Greece if Congress doesn't step up its act.

    ComEd crews work to restore electricity near Sugar Grove after an experimental airplane clipped the power lines before crashing into a cornfield Sunday west of Aurora. The crash killed the plane's pilot, a 73-year-old Aurora man who'd survived two previous crashes.

    Aurora pilot killed on homemade plane's maiden voyage

    An Aurora man who twice before walked away from crashes in small experimental aircraft was killed Sunday morning when the plane he was flying went down in a cornfield shortly after takeoff from Aurora Municipal Airport.


    Father, son rescued from burning building in W. Chicago

    A West Chicago father and son were rescued from a third-floor balcony Sunday night after a fire inside an apartment building filled the stairwells with heavy smoke, preventing them from escaping, according to fire officials.

    Uncertainty on Wall Street over whether Washington will resolve the debt crisis has led to a very jittery market.

    Deal in sight, markets look to Monday

    Investors around the world may be breathing more easily now that congressional leaders and the White House reached agreement on a deal to raise the country’s borrowing limit and avoid a U.S. debt default.


    Blagojevich name still appropriate for tollway signs

    Other than state impeachment papers and federal jury forms stamped “guilty,” the most appropriate place for Rod Blagojevich’s name was always on Illinois tollway signs.


    Obama, Congress reach a debt deal

    Racing the clock to avoid a government default, President Barack Obama and Republican congressional leaders reached historic agreement Sunday night on a compromise to permit vital U.S. borrowing by the Treasury in exchange for more than $2 trillion in long-term spending cuts.

    Ben Alfas of Crystal Lake, and Derek Palmer of McHenry, finish strong at the Columbia Muddy Buddy Chicago bike and foot race competition at Indian Hills Farm in Gilberts. Their team was named A-tec Team II.

    Columbia Muddy Buddy Chicago Race
    The Columbia Muddy Buddy Chicago race is a bike and run competition on a 6-mile course sectioned off by various obstacles, including a giant mud pit at the finish line. One of 16 races nationwide, the Sunday event at Indian Hills Farm in Gilberts brought 2,500 participants from throughout the region to have fun and get dirty.

    Sharon price of Palatine reads a story to Vincent Polizzi, 2, from West Dundee, during Bebe Paluzza Sunday afternoon at the Schaumburg Convention Center. Vendors showcased products for soon-to-be parents and current parents of babies and toddlers.

    Parents score at Schaumburg baby expo

    Expectant parents, new parents and grandparents received a taste of the cutting edge in baby products this weekend in Schaumburg.

    Former U.S. speaker of the House Dennis Hastert talks to a group of visitors at the Wheaton Center for History on Sunday, to mark the launch the center’s new Civil War exhibit.

    Hastert helps open Wheaton Civil War exhibit

    Former U.S. Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert knows a little something about human conflict. That background is one reason why the Wheaton Center for History invited Hastert to Sunday’s opening of the center’s new Civil War exhibit, “War of the Rebellion: On and Off the Battlefield.”

    Daniel Gonzalez, 18, treks through the mud pit at the Columbia Muddy Buddy Chicago bike and foot race competition on Sunday at Indian Hills Farm in Gilberts.

    Muddy Buddy race helps challenged athletes

    After tackling a half marathon last year, Arlington Heights resident Jessica Hutchison and her cousin Jaclyn Marks of Tinley Park mistakenly thought the Columbia Muddy Buddy Chicago race held Sunday in Gilberts would be a bit less work.

    Megan Anderson

    Elgin lifeguard named Golden Guard

    Megan Anderson, 19, of Elgin has worked five summers in the Lords Park and The Centre pools. This year, she became the city's first Golden Guard recipient by a company that certifies lifeguards for her embodiment of the "perfect guard."


    38th annual senior exposition
    The College of Lake County’s Grayslake campus will be the site for the 38th annual senior exposition from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 3. The expo is sponsored by the Lake County Council for Seniors in partnership with the college.

    Max Moring of Elgin, 10, won the North American Gurning Championship during the Art and Soul on the Fox/Passeggiatta festival in Elgin on Sunday. Max made the best ugly face, and was chosen the winner by the crowd.

    Elgin gurning winner claims ugliest face

    In keeping with an old English tradition, several Elginites took time away from eating festival food and looking at beautiful art Sunday to see who could make the ugliest face.


    Joanie’s Closet hosts school supply drive in Lake Zurich

    Founded on behalf of a beloved school nurse, Joanie’s Closet, a nonprofit organization in Lake Zurich, is hosting a school supply drive to help Lake Zurich Unit District 95 families in need.


    Bad way to pay down electric bill

    A man who lives near St. Charles has been charged with writing fraudulent checks to cover $8,900 of overdue bills to ComEd. Kane County Sheriff Lt. Patrick Gengler said the checks ranged from $870 on the low end to $8,400 on the high end. In all, court records show, Vanisi is accused of writing nearly $62,300 in bad checks.

    A schoolchild, participating in an international youth soccer tournament, attends a commemoration memorial for the victims of July 22 bomb attack and shooting rampage in Oslo on Sunday.

    Insanity ruling not likely in Norway

    It’s unlikely the right-wing extremist who admitted killing dozens in Norway last week will be declared legally insane because he appears to have been in control of his actions, the head of the panel that will review his psychiatric evaluation told The Associated Press.

    Monster truck “Ballistic” wheelies its self up over a line of cars as the crowd watches from the grandstands at the DuPage County Fair in Wheaton. Saturday July 30th 2011.

    Saturday and Sunday at the 2011 DuPage County Fair
    Saturday and Sunday at the DuPage County Fair

    Masoud Shafiei, the Iranian lawyer for two Americans who have been jailed in Iran on charges of espionage, speaks at his office in Tehran, Iran, Saturday. Two Americans could be released after a court hearing slated for Sunday, their lawyer said. Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal and Bauer's fiancee, Sarah Shourd, were detained on July 31, 2009, and Iran accused them of illegally crossing the border to spy. Shourd was released last year on $500,000 bail and has said she won't return to Iran for trial.

    Verdict for 2 Americans in Iran within a week

    TEHRAN, Iran — The lawyer for two Americans jailed in Iran on charges of espionage said Sunday the court will announce its verdict within a week, dashing hopes for their immediate release after a final hearing in the case.


    9 killed when boat hits barge on Moscow River

    MOSCOW — An overloaded motor boat crashed into a docked barge on the Moscow River in pre-dawn darkness Sunday, killing nine of the 16 people on board, officials said. The other seven passengers swam to safety or were rescued as the boat quickly sank.


    Rival rebel factions clash in Libya, 4 dead

    BENGHAZI, Libya — Libya’s rebels overran the base of a rogue faction suspected of breaking pro-Gadhafi fighters out of an opposition prison, a rebel spokesman said Sunday, escalating concerns of cracks in the rebel movement following the death of their chief military commander.


    Activists: Syrian army kills 62 in attacks

    BEIRUT — Syrian security forces killed at least 62 people Sunday in an escalation of the crackdown on protests ahead of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, activists and residents said. Most died in raids on the flashpoint city of Hama, where a barrage of shelling and gunfire left bodies scattered in the streets.


    Japan PM criticizes nuclear safety agency

    TOKYO — Japan’s prime minister on Sunday criticized the country’s nuclear safety agency for allegedly trying to plant questions aimed at supporting atomic energy at public forums.


    Tropical depression forms in Pacific Ocean

    MIAMI — A tropical depression has formed in the Pacific Ocean, well off the coast of Mexico.U.S. forecasters at the National Hurricane Center in Miami said Sunday morning that the depression’s center was 430 miles (692 kilometers) off the coast of Acapulco, Mexico. It was moving toward the west at 9 mph (15 kph) and was projected to remain far from land.


    Bomb kills 11 at police HQ in southern Afghanistan

    KANDAHAR, Afghanistan — A suicide bomber blew himself up Sunday at the main gate of a provincial police headquarters in southern Afghanistan, killing at least 11 people in a city where Afghans have recently taken control of security.


    Fox Valley police reports

    A headstone that marks the grave of a murder victim in a cemetery on the 1000 block of Villa Street in Elgin was damaged sometime between July 22 and July 29.

    Bob Leonard

    Keep Bob Leonard’s passion alive

    Dave Heun column: The St. Charles River Corridor Foundation has done an excellent job of improving the Fox River’s shoreline the past decade, particularly on the west side in the area between the Illinois and Prairie Street bridges. That’s where the Bob Leonard Walkway sits, named for one of the foundation’s most passionate leaders after his passing.


    Grayslake paying extra for faster road work

    Final approval has been granted for a plan to expedite a road project in Grayslake by paying extra money to construction crews so that can work six days a week.


    Natural gas-powered cars not in immediate future

    Fleets of garbage trucks and forest preserve vehicles are switching to compressed natural gas, but that doesn’t mean average suburban residents will be doing the same, alternative fuel experts say. “It’s a niche fuel,” said Darwin Burkhart , clean air programs manager for the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency. And for personal users, it may still be “a hard sell,” he said.

    Johnsonville’s Big Taste Grill will roll into Arlington Heights Saturday, Aug. 13, and Vernon Hills Sunday, Aug. 14, at Mariano’s Fresh Market to benefit the Elk Grove Village Rotary Club.

    Touring grill ready to sizzle in Arlington Heights

    The Johnsonville Big Taste Grill — the world’s largest touring grill — will be rolling into town Saturday, Aug. 13, at the Northwest Highway store, in Arlington Heights and on Sunday, Aug. 14, for the Vernon Hills Grand Opening, located on Milwaukee Avenue. Brat proceeds will benefit the Elk Grove Village Rotary Club.

    Courtesy of Patrick Spence Patrick Spence of Naperville won first place in the inaugural DuPage County Fair Photography Shoot-Out contest with his close-up of a hot dog with the works.

    Naperville man wins DuPage Fair photo contest with hot dog shot

    Not every guy with a camera can turn a challenge to photograph fair food into a prize-winning piece of art. But Patrick Spence of Naperville can boast that he earned top honors in the first Photography Shoot-Out at the DuPage County Fair. “This is really cool,” Spence said. “I did not expect to come here and win it.”


    If your dog is a swimmer, take special care of its coat
    Eve Adamson, author of “The Simple Guide to Grooming Your Dog” and contributor to the American Kennel Club’s AKC Family Dog magazine suggests several ways to keep your dog’s coat in good shape according to where your dog swims.

    Every summer, Iranian police get tough on women who violate the country’s strict Islamic dress code by adjusting their veils and long coats to try to cope with the rising temperatures. But this year, amid the annual crackdown, the issue of how women wear the veil — and what the government does about it — has become part of an intensifying rift between President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and powerful Shiite clerics.

    Iranian women struggle with dress code in heat

    TEHRAN, Iran — Every summer, Iranian police get tough on women who violate the country’s strict Islamic dress code by adjusting their veils and long coats to try to cope with the rising temperatures.

    An East Timorese man wearing traditional tribal clothing stands at attention during Integration Day celebrations at the governor’s office in Dili, about 1,250 miles east of Jakarta. The annual celebration marked the former Portuguese colony’s annexation by Indonesia in 1976 following its invasion a year earlier. East Timor became a sovereign state in 2001.

    U.N. seeks to sweep away last traces of imperial age

    After World War II, decolonization surged ahead under the newly founded United Nations. More than 80 colonies comprising about 750 million people became self-governing. But the last traces are proving hard to erase.



    Walk-off homer beats Cougars

    Chris Edmondson rocketed a 2-2, two-out pitch onto the right-field deck in the bottom of the ninth, breaking up a pitchers duel and giving the Quad Cities River Bandits a 3-1 victory over the visiting Kane County Cougars on Sunday in Davenport, Iowa.

    The Cubs’ Starlin Castro connects for a double in the sixth inning Sunday night at St. Louis.

    Cubs’ Pena looking for better ‘chemistry’

    Nobody’s kidding anybody about how bad a season this has been for the Cubs.Carlos Pena was asked Sunday what needed to change. His answer was somewhat surprising.

    Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Ryan Dempster works against the St. Louis Cardinals on Sunday in St. Louis.

    Cubs solve Westbrook in 6th, beat Cardinals 6-3

    Starlin Castro and Marlon Byrd had key hits as the Chicago Cubs broke up Jake Westbrook's perfect game with a four-run sixth inning and held off the St. Louis Cardinals 6-3 Sunday night to avoid a three-game sweep.


    Small-market teams turn buyers at deadline

    Michael Bourn went from the bottom of the NL Central in Houston to the top of the wild-card standings with Atlanta, and he wasn’t the only player who suddenly found himself in a pennant race.


    Pitch hits a nerve near Konerko’s knee

    Paul Konerko's playing status for Monday night's game against the Yankees is uncertain after he was hit by a pitch on the side of his left knee during Sunday's loss to the Red Sox.


    For Cubs, it’s no deal

    The symbolism of the July 31 trading deadline often outshines the substance.Even Cubs general manager Jim Hendry conceded Sunday that the Cubs didn’t fare well in the symbolism department as they did not make a trade by the 3 p.m. nonwaiver deadline.

    Chicago Bears center Olin Kreutz (57) and tight end Greg Olsen (82) react on the sideline in the second half of an NFL football game against Philadelphia Eagles in Chicago, Sunday, Nov. 28, 2010. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

    Kreutz’s agent says Bears made Pro-Bowl center feel unwanted

    Olin Kreutz never got the feeling the Bears wanted him back. That’s what Mark Bartelstein, the six-time Pro Bowl center’s agent, told reporters Sunday. Kreutz didn’t receive an offer from the Bears until Thursday, even though they were permitted to contact him as soon as there was agreement on a new collective bargaining agreement.

    Chicago Bears general manager Jerry Angelo speaks at a news conference after NFL football training camp on Sunday, July 31, 2011, at Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, Ill. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

    Fired-up Angelo rips media

    General manager Jerry Angelo took exception to media reports that said there was a divide between the front office and the coaching staff on the decision not to re-sign veteran unrestricted free-agent center Olin Kreutz.

    Frank Thomas, considered the best hitter in White Sox history, poses with a statue of himself during an unveiling ceremony Sunday at U.S. Cellular Field.

    New role in Thomas’ future? Maybe

    Frank Thomas was honored before Sunday's game with a statue at U.S. Cellular Field. As for his future, how does Thomas as White Sox hitting coach sound?


    No trade, no buzz, just more of the same for Sox

    Inadequate attendance at Comiskey Park is a good indication of how little interest there is in the supposedly contending White Sox. That's why a trade, any trade, before Sunday's deadline would have been nice if only to shake things up.

    Chicago White Sox's Carlos Quentin reacts to striking out against the Boston Red Sox during the fourth inning of a baseball game in Chicago, Sunday, July 31, 2011. Boston won 5-3. (AP Photo/Paul Beaty)

    Lethargic White Sox offense leads to 5-3 loss

    Trade-deadline day in baseball should be a time of optimism for teams that consider themselves contenders. It was anything but that for the White Sox on Sunday. Not only did Kenny Williams let the deadline pass without making a significant move, the Sox again looked lethargic offensively in a 5-3 loss to the Boston Red Sox.

    The Bears have said goodbye to veteran center Olin Kreutz, who had started 134 consecutive games for the team.

    Bears sign Spencer, say bye to Kreutz

    After 13 years and six Pro Bowls with the Bears, the Olin Kreutz era is over.The Bears broke off negotiations with Kreutz and instead signed ex-Seahawks center Chris Spencer as his replacement.


    Cubs scouting report
    Cubs scouting report


    White Sox scouting report
    Scouting report: White Sox vs. Yankees

    Chicago White Sox starter Mark Buehrle delivers a pitch Sunday against the Boston Red Sox during the first inning in Chicago.

    Red Sox get strong relief to beat White Sox

    Dustin Pedroia hit a go-ahead two-run single in the seventh, Jason Varitek homered and the Boston Red Sox beat the Chicago White Sox 5-3 Sunday to capture two of three games in their series at U.S. Cellular Field.

    Guard Jon Scheyer, shown playing for Duke in the 2010 NCAA men’s title game, has joined perennial basketball powerhouse Maccabi Tel Aviv in Israel.

    Israel becomes haven for U.S. Jews’ hoop dreams

    While the Israeli basketball league has long been a refuge for second-tier players in the twilight of their careers, it is now increasingly recruiting top-notch Jewish talent.


    Elgin second at state Legion

    Elgin saw its hopes of winning a third American Legion baseball state title end with a 9-0 loss to Rock Island in Saturday's championship game in Galesburg.

    Fedor Emelianenko, of Russia, left, tries to hit Dan Henderson, right, during their fight at Sears Centre Saturday night. Henderson won by TKO in the first round.

    Henderson scores TKO of Emeilanenko

    Dan Henderson stopped Fedor Emelianenko in a Strikeforce M-1 Global heavyweight bout Saturday night at the Sears Centre.

    Alex Rios was benched earlier this week. Rios returned to the lineup Saturday night against Boston and struggled.

    Sox’ Rios not affected by benching

    Alex Rios' poor two-way play was on display during the White Sox' 10-2 loss to the Red Sox Saturday night, and the crowd of 33,919 at the Cell was not happy with the performance.

    HANDOUT PHOTO Northwestern has started a billboard campaign hyping quarterback Dan Persa as a Heisman contender.

    NU gets behind its QB for Heisman

    Northwestern has launched a national Heisman Trophy campaign on behalf of senior quarterback Dan Persa. The Wildcats want the college football world to be "PersaStrong."


    Sparks shoot lights out to top Sky

    They come from the land of glitz and glamour, so the Los Angeles Sparks know all about bling, bling and more bling.On Saturday night, they brought the real gaudy kind to Chicago, in the form of an outrageously sparkly shooting percentage.The Sparks, playing without injured Naperville native and star forward Candace Parker (knee), hit 56 percent of their shots, 58 percent of them while building a 16-point halftime lead, en route to an 88-84 victory in front of 5,909 at the Allstate Arena.“Credit to them, they’re a great offensive team,” said Sky reserve guard Erin Thorn of the Sparks, who lead the WNBA in 3-point shooting percentage at a sizzling 45 percent.“But we were giving them a lot of open looks. And when you get a team confident to start a game, the basket gets big, the ball gets small, and everything starts going in.”The Sparks, 7-10 after snapping a four-game losing streak, were extremely on target from 3-point range. They hit 56 percent of their long-range shots (5 of 9) in the first half as they coasted into the locker room with a 51-35 halftime lead.It was the perfect storm for the Sky, which was foiled not only by the Sparks’ hot shooting but by its own defensive lapses, a shortcoming that was uncharacteristic of most games this season.The Sky, which picked up its third loss in four games and dropped to 9-11, entered the game as one of the best defensive teams, holding opponents to a WNBA-low 40.5 percent field-goal percentage.“They’re good shooters, credit them,” Sky coach Pokey Chatman said of the Sparks. “But I’m also a good shooter if I can catch it, set my feet, fix the ball, read it. They were wide open. That was their good offense but also our lack of discipline defensively.”Defensive discipline improved in the second half.After rolling up 51 first-half points, the Sparks managed just 37 in the second half. Individual players also were kept in much better check. For instance, forward DeLisha Milton-Jones led Los Angeles with 19 points but scored only 2 after halftime.But 20 minutes of basketball isn’t enough for most teams, let alone the young Sky, Chatman warns.“We lost the game in the first half,” Chatman said. “We’re not good enough to play 20-minute games. We’re not good enough to come back from (huge deficits). We don’t have the depth. We don’t have the experience. We’re not that team. We have to play hard early. We have to play ugly.”Two pretty parts of the Sky’s effort came from the bench. Thorn scored a team-high 17 points, hitting 5 of 6 of her 3-pointers. Forward Shay Murphy, brought in this week on a seven-day contract, scored 10 points and pulled down 7 rebounds.Chatman said she will sign Murphy to another seven-day contract starting Sunday.“I was excited for the opportunity to be able to play and learn from someone like Pokey,” Murphy said. “I’m the type of player that I just want to help the team out and do whatever I can.”The Sky also got 16 points from both Epiphanny Prince and Sylvia Fowles. A total of five players scored in double figures for the Sparks, including former Sky guard Kristi Toliver (12).ŸPatricia Babcock McGraw, who covers the WNBA for the Daily Herald, also provides color commentary for Chicago Sky broadcasts.


    Traders Jonathan Corpina, from left, Bradley Bailey, and William Sachs work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. The political brinkmanship over raising the U.S. debt ceiling continued to weigh on markets Thursday, and the Dow Jones industrial average fell 62.44 points to close at 12,240.11.

    Dow skids on manufacturing report, giving up gains Dow?

    Dow skids on manufacturing report, giving up gainsDow skids on manufacturing report, giving up gainsDow skids on manufacturing report, giving up gainsDow skids on manufacturing report, giving up gainsDow skids on manufacturing report, giving up gainsDow skids on manufacturing report, giving up gainsrial average will reach 13,000 or tumble to 12,000:

    If the government defaults on its debt, some borrowers could find it more difficult to get approved for a mortgage.

    Q&A: How the debt talks could affect homeowners

    Whether you’re a homeowner or thinking of buying, here’s what you should know about the political showdown over the country’s debt ceiling.

    Some banks do post certain details about their checking-account policies on their websites, but the information they provide is inconsistent and hard to compare.

    Most support tougher checking disclosure rules, survey finds

    Even those in the U.S. who complain about excessive government regulation say they’re in favor of rules that would require banks to clearly disclose the fees they attach to checking accounts, a new survey shows.

    Hospitals are reporting fewer surgeries, which could signal that the medical industry may not be immune to the recession that’s hit other industries.

    Hospitals see drop in surgeries

    HCA Holdings Inc.’s report of a drop in expensive surgeries may signal a broad slowdown for hospitals because of rising unemployment and tepid consumer spending.Patients at HCA, the biggest U.S. hospital chain, sought less-expensive procedures during the quarter, according to the company. Per-patient income from Medicare, the government plan for the elderly, also fell. Until more hospitals report earnings, the possibility of a wider decline in spending will weigh on the industry, said Arthur Henderson, an analyst at Jefferies & Co. in Nashville, Tennessee, where HCA is based. “What I’m particularly worried about is that this could be another systemic issue related to the economy that could spell trouble going forward,” Henderson said in a telephone interview. HCA “can fix a company-specific issue, but they’re going to have a lot tougher time fixing a macro systemic issue.” It’s not clear whether the economy was responsible for the shift in procedures among Medicare patients or whether HCA lost customers to competitors, Henderson said. Positive reports in the future could lift all hospital stocks, Henderson said. Surgery admissions at HCA’s hospitals fell 1.6 percent for the quarter, on a same-facility basis, while total admissions rose 1.9 percent. Medicare revenue per admission declined 1.3 percent. Cardiovascular surgeries declined 3.7 percent and general surgeries were down 2.5 percent, Chief Financial Officer Milton Johnson said in a conference call Monday. At HCA, Medicare patients make up about 42 percent of customers, the highest rate among publicly traded acute-care hospitals, according to data compiled by Bloomberg Industries. The company also has the lowest revenue per patient, adding to the impact from fewer high-cost surgeries. “We didn’t like the quarter, clearly,” said Richard Bracken, chairman and chief executive officer at HCA, in a conference call with analysts. “We are looking to continue to manage expenses appropriately.” Lower costs of services would be good news for managed care companies, according to David Windley, an analyst at Jefferies & Co. UnitedHealth Group Inc. and WellPoint Inc. are the largest U.S. health insurers. “HCA missed their numbers, but that’s good news for managed care companies, who will be more profitable as utilization of medical services fall,” Windley said in a telephone interview. HCA reported second-quarter profit, excluding $75 million to pay off debt, of 51 cents a share, 9 cents less than the average estimate of 23 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. Revenue climbed 4 percent to $8.06 billion, also missing estimates. Admissions of uninsured patients increased 11 percent in the second quarter from a year earlier and accounted for 7.4 percent of same-facility admissions, the company said. HCA operates 164 hospitals and 111 free-standing surgery centers.

    Adam Moore shown with his sister, Stephanie logged 3,839 miles on his 1987 BMW so he could visit every Chipotle in the state of Colorado. Call it fanaticism or simply dedication, but these are the type of ultra-enthusiastic fans that every restaurant craves.

    Restaurant super fans go the distance

    They drive thousands of miles. They camp out overnight in parking lots. They create special websites. And they even ask mascots to be in their weddings. They are restaurant super fans -- and restaurants love 'em.

    People who paid all the taxes when they bought airline tickets before midnight July 22 but are flying now might be owed a refund.

    Travelers may be owed a tax refund

    Travelers who paid all their federal airline taxes when they bought tickets might get a refund if they’re flying now, after some of the taxes expired. The situation has airlines confused. Some are telling customers to file refund claims with the IRS, while others invite them to contact that airline.

    A fifth-grade student shops for school items at Staples in Menlo Park, Calif., last year. Prices on everything from socks to notebooks are rising 10 percent on average this fall, just in time for back-to-school shopping.

    5 ways to be smart about back-to-school shopping
    Prices on back-to-school items from socks to notebooks are rising 10 percent on average, but there are lots of great deals — and new ways to find them.

    Charles Schwab Corp. hopes to take its reputation as a low-cost retail investing business into the 401(k) arena by lowering costs and simplifying investment choices.

    Schwab to launch new low-cost index, ETF 401(k)

    Charles Schwab Corp. is launching a new lower-cost 401(k) with only index funds next year. Index funds are mutual funds assembled to match the performance of a market index.


    Frustrated execs says debt showdown hinders hiring

    Business leaders interviewed in Chicago are becoming exasperated with Washington. And the dysfunction they see in the political system is holding them back from hiring and investing.

    Analysts and industry observers say people tend to hold off on elective surgeries or skip doctor visits after a deep recession. Insurers consider this trend when they determine what they will need to collect in premiums to cover future claims.

    Health care trend may temper premium hikes

    Consumers may catch a little break when their health insurance policies renew. Lower-than-expected use of health care has helped push insurer earnings higher and that may temper how much they increase premiums.

    Brian Lazorishak is co-manager of the Chase Mid-Cap Growth Fund.

    5 things you should know about mid-cap stocks

    Investors tend to dwell on how their small company stocks are faring versus their large-caps. They often overlook mid-caps, the stocks occupying the space between the two extremes, with market values in the $1 billion to $10 billion range.

    Nike Inc. didn’t grant any of its executives long-term incentive pay in the 2011 fiscal year because of the company’s performance during the three years prior

    Nike CEO’s compensation down 16 percent

    Nike Inc. CEO Mark Parker saw his compensation fall 16 percent to about $11 million during fiscal 2011 largely due to a drop in his pay based on the company’s performance, which has hurt during the economic downturn.

    Under CEO Sally Smith’s leadership, Buffalo Wild Wings has since grown to about 750 restaurants, including one in Ontario that opened in May, marking Buffalo Wild Wings’ first international expansion. Now, Smith is eyeing London.

    Sally Smith’s (chicken) wings are soaring

    Buffalo Wild Wings Inc. CEO Sally Smith talks about when to get the biggest chicken wings, what she looks for in job applicants and what’s worrying the restaurant industry.

Life & Entertainment


    Law talk: Lease takes precedence

    We rented a small house and have a one-year lease. Now the house has been sold and the owner says we must move. Does our lease give us any rights against the new owner, or are we out of luck because of the sale?

    At Zen Compound, which is home to Temple night club and Ki restaurant in San Francisco, rooftop bees have been a fixture since 2009.

    Restaurants putting own bee hives on roofs

    A good restaurant is always a buzz of activity, but some chefs are taking the concept literally, installing rooftop beehives. The idea appears to be mainly to give the ailing bee population a boost, something that became a concern with reports of colony collapse disorder a few years back.

    When the Dorame family got Bolto as a puppy last year, they decided to have a microchip implanted in the dog with an identification number that makes it easy to reunite lost pets with owners.

    California may pass microchip law for shelter pets

    Some lawmakers believe microchips in pets can save money by cutting costs at shelters where lost cats and dogs are cared for and sometimes euthanized. California lawmakers will vote later this summer on a bill requiring microchips in every dog or cat adopted or claimed from a shelter.

    Steve Charest hugs Christine Smith as they watch balloons launched in honor of the late Army Spc. Jack Gallaher, Smith’s son, float away in Springfield earlier this month.

    Organ donation brings together families

    Christine Smith’s son, the late Spc. Jack Gallaher, died in a shooting accident four years ago while serving in the Army at Fort Lewis, Wash. But for her, he lives on in Steve Charest.


    Art in the garden: Tall perennials add needed structure

    Large plants create a vertical profile in a landscape. They create silhouettes of leaves against sky in the landscape. Frequently, shrubs and small trees are chosen to accomplish this task, but don’t forget about the structural qualities of herbaceous perennial giants.

    A military chapel is illuminated during a night tour of Alcatraz Island.

    Eerie Alcatraz night tour offers unique experiences

    Most of the more than 1 million tourists who visit annually never get to experience Alcatraz Island at night or see its spooky, decrepit hospital — experiences unique to the night tour. “At night it was kind of eerie with the fog and the lights,” visitor Steven Winslade said.


    Mom needs elixir to calm her competitive spirit

    Q. How do I get over my innate competitive urge when it comes to my sons? The elder will start school next year and while I assume rationally that he can’t be the amazing exceptional one in everything like I embarrassingly frequently like to believe, I do actually feel my mood change when I get a blast of reality that other peers may be better than him at something.

    This ‘crown of thorns’ frame was probably made in the U.S. in the early 20th century.

    Treasures in your attic: A ‘crown of thorns’ tramp-art frame

    Q. I have a very large — 55 inches by 35 inches — piece that I believe is a “crown of thorns” tramp-art frame. I have been unable to find one similar in style or size. It does have some condition issues. What is it exactly, and how much is it worth?

    Amanda Jakovich shows off her new backyard with Alison, 3; Jack, 1; and Jake, 4.

    Plainfield couple charms their way to yard facelift

    First you find Ahmed Hassan, who's cruising the Home Owners Bargain Outlet (HOBO) store in Villa Park, and convince him he wants to bring his “Yard Crashers” magic to your yard. Then all you have to do is talk friends and relatives into flying in from Arizona and driving from points closer to help with a touch of manual labor.

    Paul McCartney headlines Wrigley Field in concerts Sunday and Monday.

    Weekend picks: Sir Paul plays Wrigley

    Rock legends don't get much bigger than former Beatle Paul McCartney, who's playing Sunday and Monday shows at Wrigley Field. McCartney will certainly play a generous selection of classic Beatles songs as well as the hits he's enjoyed as a member of Wings and a solo artist.


    Home repair: Tile shingles rarely used in nthe U.S.

    Q. I have been replacing the roofing on most of my house with architectural-grade asphalt shingles, which I hope will outlast me -- I’m 75. However, on a recent trip to Europe, I saw no asphalt shingles. Most roofs were red tile. It looks as if tile roofs hold up the best and slate has a few problems. The tile is not fastened; it stays there with its own weight. I started to wonder about becoming the only local resident with a red-tile roof.

    Rust can harm a new sink and faucet, and it isn’t great for drinking water, either.

    Ask the plumber: Old pipes causing trouble for new sink

    Q. Our new sink is in the same spot as the old one, I reconnected it myself to the existing water and drain lines. Well, now it appears that my old galvanized water lines have been blocked with rust and I'm afraid they will harm our new sink and faucet.


    Ask the broker: Does sale of rented house negate our lease?
    Q. Is there any evidence we’ve hit bottom and that the market is beginning to recover? A. It’s possible to tell how far we’ve fallen, but whether we’ve hit bottom is something we’ll only know after the fact.

    The home Vickie Kotel shares with husband Dan, general manager of G.M. Sloan Tile and Marble in Mundelein, won the Tile Contractors Association Project of the Year Award for 2010.

    Tile moves from floors to the wall

    Gone are the days when tile had to be a uniform size and color and a daring look consisted of some gold speckling on the surface. Although Midwesterners still prefer a lot of neutral colored tiles in their bathrooms and kitchens, those areas are being enlivened with insets of smaller or larger tiles, sometimes in rectangular or other shapes, sometimes with bold colors, all offering a sense of interest and personalization that says: “This space is mine.”

    The Turtle Island Quartet will present the music of Jimi Hendrix at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 1, at Millennium Park .

    On the road: Millennium Park hosts Monday concerts in August

    Discover a new wave of music that mixes pop and alternative genres with classical music on Mondays in August in Millennium Park. Dusk Variations will kick off with the two-time Grammy Award-winning Turtle Island Quartet on Monday, Aug. 1.



    Harper remedial program grows successful adults

    Some young adults were disappointed to learn Harper Community College officials believed they needed a bridge into college life. The journey over that bridge took them places that will help them for years to come. A Daily Herald editorial says more colleges and other institutions should join Harper in building bridges.


    The suburbs teem with incredible young people

    There are negative things in the world to be sure, a Daily Herald editorial acknowledges, but there also are people doing incredible things. And many of them are young people right in the suburbs' midst.


    The power of the Big Idea

    Democrats have utterly failed to develop and communicate a Big Idea of their own. Obama talks about “winning the future,” but that’s too nebulous. I’d suggest something pithier: jobs, jobs, jobs.


    The great divide

    I’ve been arguing for this solution: a two-stage debt-ceiling hike consisting of a half-year extension with dollar-for-dollar spending cuts, followed by intensive negotiations on entitlement and tax reform. It’s clean. It’s understandable. It’s veto proof.


    The tea fragger party

    If the nation defaults on its financial obligations, the blame belongs to the tea party Republicans who fragged their own leader, John Boehner. They had victory in their hands and couldn’t bring themselves to support his debt-ceiling plan, which, if not perfect, was more than anyone could have imagined just a few months ago.


    Heed warning on synthetic drugs
    The recent editorial “Know when legal doesn’t mean safe” and the front page article on the young man who smoked synthetic THC, crashing his car and killing himself, should serve as a wake up call to our community.


    Walsh is true to his district
    Grayslake letter to the editor: Joe Walsh, unlike his predecessor, actually does represent his district.


    Proper terms should be used
    Is it a policy of the Daily Herald to print verbatim from news releases? I refer to the July 14 “Northwest suburbs in 60 seconds” column that used the Pro-Life Action League’s term “aborted babies.”


    Do your part to keep the earth clean
    As a Boy Scout I know that our Leave No Trace policy is very important and it is easy to keep the earth clean if everyone does their part.


    Soccer’s day in U.S. is sure to come
    Anyone who does not believe soccer will ultimately triumph here should heed the wisdom of my old man. A Duke grad and eighty-something basketball fanatic, he reminds people no one cared about basketball in the ACC until the late 1950s.


    Had enough of the politicians’ ‘pledges’
    I have become extremely concerned about the proliferation of “pledges” that political candidates, particularly presidential candidates, are signing these days. The oldest, and one that has contributed greatly to our current crisis over the debt ceiling and the budget, is the “no taxes of any kind for any reason” pledge demanded by Grover Norquist.


    Surely another way to portray ‘Marilyn’
    It’s a sad commentary on the life of Marilyn Monroe, who had aspired to be a great dramatic actress with depth and character only to be reduced to a sexual icon. I would rather that a statue of Mother Teresa or my favorite aviatrix, Ameila Earhart, were ennobled in a place of prominence rather than that statue of Marilyn Monroe.


    Try this for a little motivation
    A simple way to resolve the debt crisis is to stop all paychecks to all government officials — Congress and the administration — as the first act of default.


    Take steps now to reduce flooding
    We need to move ahead swiftly with a broader range of alternatives such as low-cost, street-by-street, retrofitting of neighborhoods to better deal with wet weather events (“wetrofitting”).Retrofit measures include disconnecting downspouts, repairing property lateral pipes and installing porous paving, bioswales, rain gardens and super-barrels.


    Graphic posters serve a purpose
    Some people are outraged that while we are displaying the graphic pictures along a road for drivers to see, young children may see them too, even though we place highly visible warning signs alerting drivers. Parents can explain to their children that these aborted babies have been hurt, and that we are trying to prevent this from happening.


    Lauds Harper’s efforts for specials needs kids
    Letter to the editor: Mike Baker, of the Northwest suburban chapter of the Autism Society of America, applauds Harper College, which will offer four new enrichment classes for special needs young adults in the fall.


    Writers made good points on ecology
    Letter to the Editor: Two Fence Post letters included in one day impressed me and can help to show us that it is imperative to learn many easy ways that point to a livable future. Perhaps we deny that climate change is a reality but that is becoming more difficult in the face of an overwhelming plurality of scientists’ reports. Perhaps we say, “What can one person do?” But if many of us each do our part, there is hope.


    What would John Adams say?
    Letter to the Editor: I have no doubt how President John Adams would speak regarding the pro-life movement, and I’m sure he would not agree with the Palatine Jaycees’ decision to ban them from participation in the celebration of the birth of our nation.


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