Daily Archive : Friday August 12, 2011


    Ross W. Jones

    Volunteer charged with burglary at Bloomingdale-area church

    A 61-year-old church volunteer from Carol Stream has been charged with burglary after surveillance videos showed him stealing money from his parish’s safe and donation boxes, authorities said Friday.

    Common nighthawks are masters of disguise when sitting still but easily recognized in flight. Only the male has a white throat.

    Watch for spectacle of migrating nighthawks

    Our Jeff Reiter loves telling new birders about the nighthawk because often it's an unfamiliar bird, yet it's easily observed. Now through early September is the peak viewing time. Go outside around dusk and with patience you are almost certain to see a common nighthawk. With luck, you might see a large flock.

    These community members recently completed Fox Valley Volunteer Hospice’s Bereavement Training Program. From left, front row, are John Uhrich, Angie McKinney, Donna Newbold and Ken Karczewski; back row, Marrisa Rakes, Carla Grossett, Carolyn Pugh, Connie Jeske and Rob Anderson. These volunteers represent Algonquin, Elgin, St. Charles, Geneva, Warrenville, North Aurora, Naperville and Sugar Grove.

    How you can aid Fox Valley Volunteer Hospice

    Fox Valley Volunteer Hospice, a community-based, nonprofit organization dedicated to serving those with life-threatening illnesses and the bereaved, is in need of volunteers to serve clients in the Fox Valley area.

    Alexander Georg

    Naperville man charged with trying to kill mom

    A Naperville man accused of chasing his mother into the street and repeatedly stabbing her with a butcher knife after she offered him a sandwich was ordered held Friday on $1.5 million bail. “The bludgeoning was so severe and vicious ... the weapon snapped” at the handle, Assistant State’s Attorney Deb Brewer told Judge Michael Wolf.

    Hicham Chehab, a former Muslim extremist from Lebanon, now calls himself a Muslim follower of Jesus. He lives in Hanover Park. He runs his Salam fellowship out of Peace Lutheran Church in Lombard and Immanuel Lutheran Church in Batavia, helping refugees get on their feet, teaching them American customs and introducing them to God.

    Guest Muslim pastor in W. Dundee: ‘God saved me from myself’

    From the time he was a little boy growing up in Lebanon until he was 21, Hicham Chehab was consumed with hatred toward Christians. This weekend, the former Muslim extremist will talk to a West Dundee congregation how he turned his life around. “When involved in something, you are kind of drowned in it. You don’t see the other side of the coin. I saw the other side of the coin reading the Bible.”


    Felon charged with having loaded revolver

    A Cook County judge set bail at $75,000 Thursday for a felon who police say admitted having a loaded gun in his possession.


    Cary driver gets 3 years in prison

    Michael W. Rohn, 24, was sentenced to three years in prison Friday. He was convicted of three felony counts of aggravated battery in June, though a McHenry County jury also ruled that Rohn was not guilty of more severe attempted murder charges.

    Engineers work on the Orion spacecraft Friday at the Lockheed Martin facility in Denver. Vibration testing on the spacecraft is expected to get underway today.

    NASA’s Orion spaceship set for new tests

    A spaceship that could carry the next wave of astronauts to an asteroid or beyond is being prepared.


    Some unions to skip 2012 Democratic convention
    About a dozen trade unions plan to sit out the 2012 Democratic convention because they’re angry that it’s being held in a right-to-work state.


    Judge sentences Ohio killer of 11 to death

    A serial killer was sentenced to death Friday for murdering 11 troubled women and scattering their remains around his property, horrors that shook the city over police handling of crime in poor neighborhoods.

    Owner Sharon Rossman is closing Peep's Hot Dogs near Hersey High School. Cindy Barnett and her daughter Laura, 16, and son, Mitch, 14, were disappointed Thursday to hear the news.

    Peep's Hot Dogs closes tonight

    Peep's Hot Dogs, an Arlington Heights restaurant that has served all kinds of fast food to generations of students and staff from Hersey, St. Viator and Prospect high schools, will close for good tonight after 44 years. “I have one customer, he's been coming here since he was a kid. When my husband was so sick he visited him in the hospital,” owner Sharon Rossman said. “This man...

    Community Unit District 300 Superintendent Michael Bregy leads more than 3,000 district staff members Friday in a back-to-school rally at the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates.

    District 300 staff pumped for new year

    With the new school year starting Monday, the Dist 300 staff pep rally focused on unifying the district, which in recent months settled a charged labor dispute, overcame budget reductions and transitioned into new leadership.


    Metra will crack down on conductors

    There are no decisions yet on whether to go with fare hikes, service cuts or both, but Metra directors did agree Friday it’s time to crack down on conductors who don’t collect fares.

    Jeff Milstein, past president of the Schaumburg-Hoffman Estates Rotary Club, arrives at the May 2011 groundbreaking for the St. Alexius Children’s Hospital in Hoffman Estates.

    Renowned local jeweler was dedicated to new children’s hospital

    A Schaumburg jeweler, who was among the first in the area to use cutting edge technology in measuring the value of diamonds for his customers, has died. Jeffrey Milstein, founder of Wyatt-Austin Jewelers, passed away Aug. 3 after an 18-month battle with brain cancer. He was 55.

    Daniel Baker

    Suspect in Vernon Hills murder likely to contest fitness finding

    Daniel Baker’s defense attorneys said Friday they are likely to challenge a psychologist’s report saying their client in mentally fit to stand trial for the killing of a Vernon Hills woman.


    Man wanted in Minnesota, arrested in Hanover Park for DUI

    A 25-year-old Streamwood man with four outstanding warrants from Minnesota is being held on a $100,000 bond after authorities say he drove drunk with an unsecured child in the car. Rafael Garcia-Rodriguez registered a blood-alcohol content of .226 following his arrest Wednesday in Hanover Park.


    Mom with cancer decries court’s custody ruling

    Alaina Giordano has Stage 4 breast cancer, and she says that's why she lost custody of her children. The court’s decision means the two children, who are 11 and 6, will be heading to live with their father in Chicago.


    Is the Fritos Rock Island Line coming? Metra looks at naming rights

    You may soon be seeing a Metra car sponsered by Coke or even Pepsi. Metra directors agreed Friday to see if there’s a business out there willing to trade cash for naming rights to stations, train lines or products such as system maps, timetables and a school safety program.


    Suburban woman sentenced for bank fraud

    Federal prosecutors in Virginia say a South suburban woman has been sentenced to three years in prison for access device and bank fraud because of her use of counterfeit credit cards in a multistate shopping spree.


    Flea market thefts reported at Kane County Fairgrounds

    Three vendors reported their goods stolen at the Kane County Fairgrounds in St. Charles last weekend. A police report indicates the organizer of the flea market wouldn't cooperate with a search for the goods.

    Effective Monday, Aug. 22, travel options for riders in Elgin, Streamwood, Hanover Park, Hoffman Estates and Schaumburg will expand with the combination of Route 544 Chicago Street in Elgin with Route 554 Elgin-Woodfield.

    Pace combines Elgin to Schaumburg bus routes

    Travel options for riders in Elgin, Streamwood, Hanover Park, Hoffman Estates and Schaumburg will soon expand with Pace's announcement it's combining Route 544 Chicago Street in Elgin with Route 554 Elgin-Woodfield. “All the communities wrote letters of support because we wanted this,” Hanover Park Mayor Rod Craig said.


    Grayslake District 46 boss on hot seat

    Grayslake Elementary District 46 Superintendent Ellen Correll’s proposed contract extension remains on hold after some testy discussion about it during a board meeting this week. Board member Shannon Smigielski pushed the request, saying the extension shouldn’t be voted on after just one night of discussion.


    Naperville begins resurfacing Jefferson Avenue

    Work began Friday to resurface Jefferson Avenue from Ogden Avenue to Birchwood Drive in Naperville and is expected to continue until mid-September.

    Ellen Wildman moves a table earlier this month to display more items for sale at Ellen’s Excellent Sale, a Geneva fundraiser she started to benefit Lazarus House homeless shelter in St. Charles. This was the eighth and final year of the sale, since Ellen will be a senior in high school this fall and will be preparing to leave for college this time next year.

    Geneva girl’s fundraising for shelter draws to a close

    The 10-year-old Geneva girl who held a garage sale to raise money for a homeless shelter is now a senior in high school, with her last "Ellen's Excellent Sale" behind her. But she and her family hope others are inspired to take up the cause. "You never are too young. If you have a good idea, do it," Ellen says.


    Police reports
    Police found $7,500 in a bundled wad of cash on the ground near the 1300 block of Hampton Course Road in St. Charles Aug. 4. The money was found after a homeowner reported his car had been burglarized. Police believe the cash found near the scene is related to a burglary in Wayne where $10,000 was taken from a vehicle.


    North Aurora police investigating mailbox vandalism

    Vandals struck about 15 homes in two North Aurora subdivisions early Friday morning, knocking over mailboxes and lawn statues. At least one victim told police later in the day that they had heard a group of people moving around, but didn't call police.


    Hoffman Estates branch library to stay open until at least Sept. 30
    The Palatine Public Library board has extended the Freeman Road Branch Library’s lease for one month so it stays open through Sept. 30. The branch at 1262 Freeman Road in Hoffman Estates is in danger of permanently closing after officials learned last month the building had gone into foreclosure.

    Several residents who live near the retention pond at May Watts Park oppose plans for a proposed walking trail.

    Naperville Park District unveils 22 projects for 2012

    Naperville residents got a sneak peek at plans to improve 22 parks in 2012 and the chance to comment on what they liked and didn't like. “We want to gather community input and feedback to help us define the scope and determine what goes in for 2012 and what dollars are spent,” Planning Director Eric Shutes said.


    Lake Zurich district unveils drug test consequences

    Lake Zurich High School students who test positive for drugs would be suspended from sports and activities and lose parking privileges, under a draft of the plan discussed this week. Those penalties would range from half the extracurricular season for a first offense to the entire year for a second positive test.


    Pfister on state health council:

    The Lake County health department’s Mark Pfister was recently selected to be an at-large member of the 15-member executive council for the Illinois Public Health Association.

    Elizabeth Ariss, 13, left, and Jennifer Cale, 14, both of Geneva have been coming to the new disc golf course at Wheeler Park in Geneva about four times a week the past two weeks.

    Geneva to celebrate new disc golf course

    Visitors to Geneva's Wheeler Park can choose from two kinds of golf to play. Besides the popular Stone Creek miniature golf course, people can now play disc golf on a newsly installed course.


    Hanover Park Car and Motorcycle Show set for Sunday
    The 2011 Hanover Park Car and Motorcycle Show will be held noon-4 p.m. Sunday at the Metra parking lot, Lake Street and Barrington Road, Hanover Park.


    Hoffman Estates wins budget award
    The Village of Hoffman Estates has been awarded the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award from the Government Finance Officers Association of the U.S. and Canada, for the 2010-11 fiscal year budget.


    Fox River Grove castle tour battle heating up

    Despite having been warned that bus tours are not permitted in residential areas in Fox River Grove, the owners of Bettendorf Castle were issued a zoning ordinance violation notice after hosting a tour on Wednesday. Another tour is scheduled later this month, but it's uncertain whether it will be held.

    Alex Midlash of Hinsdale as the Joker and Grace Gill of Clarendon Hills as Harley Quinn roam the Wizard World Chicago Comic Con.

    Images: Wizard World Chicago Comic Con
    Tens of thousands of suburban comic-book, movie and television fans will descended on the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont Friday to meet their favorite stars and pick up some comics at the annual Wizard World Chicago Comic Con which continues through Sunday.


    Buffalo Grove man admits $38,000 theft

    A Buffalo Grove man was placed on probation for 30 months Friday after he admitted stealing more than $38,000 from a Riverwoods house where he was a party guest. Daniel McGovern, 19, pleaded guilty to felony theft during a hearing before Lake County Associate Judge George Bridges.

    Sculptor Sharon BuMann of Central Square, N.Y., sculpts the Illinois State Fair Butter Cow in its refrigerated display case in the Dairy Building Friday at the state fairgrounds in Springfield.

    State fair is an investment in farm jobs, Quinn says

    Gov. Pat Quinn opened the state fair Friday by defending the event as an investment in jobs, even if it costs the state millions. The Democrat said the festival, which has lost an average of $3.8 million a year for the past decade, educates taxpayers about the state’s leading industry, farming.


    Police reports
    At 2:51 a.m. Wednesday, a shirtless man used a broken beer bottle to hold up a the 7-Eleven Convenience Store in the 900 block of Summit Street, police said. He escaped with between $300 and $400.


    Barrington duck races are Saturday at Langendorf Park

    The annual Barrington Duck Races are back — the kind that benefit Hospice & Palliative Care of Northeastern Illinois. The duck races and pool party will be held 4-7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 13, at Langendorf Park, 235 Lions Drive, Barrington.


    Disabled residents uninjured in Buffalo Grove kitchen fire

    Buffalo Grove firefighters put out a small blaze Wednesday afternoon in the kitchen of a home in the 300 Block of Satinwood Court South.

    As the varsity softball coach at Lisle High School, Jen Pomatto, right, has honed her coaching and mentoring skills. In her new faculty role as the school’s problem solving coach, she’ll help teachers reach students and help them achieve.

    Lisle High School teacher takes on new role to help students improve

    When Lisle High School opens for the new school year, among the changes its students will find is an interventionist specialist. Former math teacher Jen Pomatto will be known as the “problem solving coach.”

    Nicole Anderson, left, enjoys a dance with a volunteer at a dance Aug. 5 at the Blackberry Township Town Hall. It was organized by Chassidy Mangers of Elburn, for children with special needs.

    Elburn woman doesn’t forget children with special needs

    An Elburn collegian organizes a dance for people with special needs, Tri-Cities area residents take their political wishes to the streets, and Batavia is going nuts for those bulldog statues throughout the downtown, columnist Susan Sarkauskas writes.


    Hemmens to host Elgin Short Film Festival
    Applications are due Wednesday, Aug. 17, for filmmakers to enter into the third annual Elgin Short Film Festival. Film must be 20 minutes or less, including credits.


    McHenry college business leadership series to start
    McHenry County College Shah Center, 4100 W. Shamrock Lane in McHenry, is partnering with Development Dimensions International and is using certified instructors to offer the Frontline Leadership Series beginning Aug. 17.


    Historical society tour brings Lake Zurich’s history to life

    Before it became a modern suburban town of around 20,000 people, Lake Zurich was the hot spot for city folk to visit, stay at beautiful private homes on the lake, boat, dance, and even watch plays from a private playhouse, where many actors and actresses got their start.


    Stevenson High to welcome musicians, improv troupe

    Professional performers specializing in comedy, Broadway music and kids tunes are scheduled to play at Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire in late 2011 and early 2012.


    Workshop can teach you to improve your memory

    The Algonquin/Lake in the Hills Chamber will host a workshop for individuals who are interested in learning how to train their memory and mind for business, home and school.


    Elgin YMCA offers before-, after school programs
    Prairie Valley Family YMCA in Elgin and Gilberts is currently taking registrations for its 2011-2012 before- and after-school care programs.


    Potts: Healthy sexual expression is essential to marriage

    Sex is everywhere. It's used in television, movies, books, magazines and advertising to entice us to tune in, listen, read, approach and, especially, to get us to spend money. But when it comes to knowledge about sexuality and its positive expression in human relationships, however, we are hardly so well-supplied.


    Palatine’s Wellness Place welcomes 5 to board

    Wellness Place welcomes five new members to their current Board of Directors.

    Pressman Franz Sinkovits inspects the Daily Herald for color, registration errors and overall quality.

    Daily Herald Printing Center gets the news out

    Behind the scenes with employees at the Paddock Publications printing center in Schaumburg, where state-of-the-art MAN Roland presses print the Daily Herald and numerous other pubilcations each week.

    The Daily Herald Printing Center in Schaumburg publishes The Great Lake Bulletin plus many other publications besides the Daily Herald, with as many as 75 press runs per week.

    Images: Behind the scenes at the Paddock Publications printing facility
    Behind the scenes with employees at the Paddock Publications printing center n Schaumburg, where state-of-the-art MAN Roland presses print the Daily Herald and numerous other pubilcations each week.


    Lindenfest parade rain date

    The Lindenfest parade rain date is set for 10:30 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 14.


    One day Jazzercise sale:

    For one day only, Monday, Aug. 22, new customers can register for Jazzercise at the Libertyville Sports Complex and receive a month of unlimited classes for free.


    Hydrant flushing in Volo

    All of the water systems in Volo will be flushed during the week beginning Monday, Aug. 15


    Forest district offers turtle program

    Preschoolers and their parents can make crafts and learn about turtles Aug. 23 in a program at the Lakewood Forest Preserve near Wauconda.

    Bryan Roehr

    Wood Dale man accused of stockpiling bomb materials

    A Wood Dale man accused of threatening to put a bomb in a 2-year-old’s bedroom was charged Friday with stockpiling explosives in his basement and blowing up a Dumpster outside a Bensenville church.


    Health-care mandate ruled unconstitutional

    President Barack Obama’s health-care reform law’s provision requiring individuals obtain coverage “exceeds Congress’s commerce power” and is unconstitutional, a U.S. appeals court ruled Friday, affirming a federal judge’s January decision to invalidate that portion of the act in a lawsuit brought by 26 states.

    Tom Dart

    Cook sheriff asks public’s help hunting fugitives

    Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart is seeking the public's help in tracking down close to 45,000 fugitives wanted for an array of crimes. A new online database allows the public to search for people with outstanding warrants.


    Feds indict Aurora doctor for fraud

    A doctor who ran a clinic in Aurora is indicted on federal income tax and health care fraud charges. Federal prosecutors claim 65-year-old Joseph Tages of Plainfield diverted nearly $800,000 from his practice.

    FILE - In this June 8, 2011 file photo, Casey Anthony stands for the entrance of the jury during her murder trial at the Orange County Courthouse in Orlando, Fla. Judge Belvin Perry ruled Friday, Aug. 12, 2011, that Anthony must follow a probation order issued by another judge earlier this month. Anthony has been out of the public eye since she was acquitted last month in the death of her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee. (AP Photo/Joe Burbank, Pool, File)

    Judge: Anthony must serve check fraud probation

    Casey Anthony must return to Orlando within two weeks to serve a year’s probation for check fraud, a Florida judge ruled Friday.


    Ohio high court: Healthcare ballot measure will go forward

    Opponents of a federal health care overhaul scored a key legal victory in Ohio on Friday that should clear a proposed ballot measure for a fall vote.


    Four die, dozens injured in Poland train crash

    Police say a train has derailed in central Poland, killing four passengers and injuring dozens of others.


    11 actions put end to Island Lake mayor's lawsuit

    Island Lake trustees Thursday night agreed to settle Mayor Debbie Herrmann's controversial lawsuit against two trustees, by approving 112 actions. “It's an excellent night for Island Lake,” Herrmann said. “We can move forward.” But the two trustees remained dissenters.


    Teen killed was moving to Rolling Meadows

    A downstate teen who was preparing to move to Rolling Meadows to join his mother, was killed in a single car crash in downstate Galesburg, Knox County authorities said Friday. Quinn J. Dombrow, 16, was a passenger in a BMW SUV at 8:56 a.m. Wednesday when the car driven by a friend lost control.


    Jubilee! festival is Sunday in Bartlett

    Jubilee!, a community wide get-to-know-your-neighbor festival, is being held from 2-8 p.m. Sunday on the grounds of Poplar Creek Church, 300 Schick Road, Bartlett.


    Kelly Miller Circus coming to Rolling Meadows for fundraiser
    The Kelly Miller Circus will perform Sept. 23-24 in Rolling Meadows as a fundraiser for the Palatine District 15 Educational Foundation and Rolling Meadows Park District Foundation. Tickets are expected to sell out.


    Salt Creek to host Sunday Fun Day

    Salt Creek Park District will host a Sunday Fun Day from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday at the Twin Lakes Recreation Area, 1200 E. Twin Lakes Drive, Palatine. There will be a moon bounce, boating and driving range discounts and a music performance by According to Andrew.


    Hanover Park officials host coffee talk Saturday

    Hanover Park’s elected officials will host their quarterly Coffee with the Board event at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at the Hanover Park Branch Library, 1266 Irving Park Road. Residents are invited to attend and ask questions about village services and policies.


    South Elgin trolley museum looks at WWII on home front

    On Sunday, Aug. 14, the Fox River Trolley Museum in South Elgin will turn back the clock as it hosts a U.S. Home Front Living History Day, complete with tents, vehicles and displays of weaponry.

    Tom Hejnowski

    Des Plaines parks appoints new golf supervisor

    The Des Plaines Park District appointed Tom Hejnowski to assistant golf supervisor. Heinowski has worked at the Golf Center for the past eight years as a part-time facility manager, supervising a staff of more than 25 employees.


    Cook County sheriff puts fugitives’ names online
    The Cook County Sheriff’s office has posted the names of 45,000 people wanted for crimes and unpaid child support on its web site.

    PAUL VALADE/Daily Herald File Photo The booster club for the Mundelein High School baseball team is among those that could be consolidated into one group.

    Mundelein High may consolidate booster clubs into one group

    Mundelein High School officials are considering consolidating all of the campus’ booster clubs into one organization. A single booster club will ”serve all students equally,” Superintendent Jody Ware said. It also would help smaller, nonathletic groups, such as a robotic club, with fundraising, she said.


    Man charged in murder of friend
    A man in Chicago is facing murder charges in the death of a friend seen with cash-filled envelopes.Assistant Cook County State's Attorney Melissa Howlett said Thursday that Rashad Kamal Smith and another man were smoking marijuana and playing video games with Dushawn Davis when Davis showed them the cash.


    Police: Naked shooter flees from Ill. into Mo.
    CAHOKIA — Police say a man who witnesses say was naked while firing a gun into the air near a southwestern Illinois apartment complex managed to speed away from law enforcers and into Missouri.It isn’t clear if the man sought in connection with the gunshots early Friday is in custody. Cahokia police haven’t returned messages seeking updated information.


    Rockford removes streetlights to save money
    ROCKFORD — The city of Rockford is getting a little darker under a plan to save $500,000 by removing 2,400 streetlights.The Rockford Register Star reports that city officials and ComEd crews have already removed more than a third of the targeted streetlights.

    A malnourished child from southern Somalia at a refugee camp in Mogadishu, Somalia, Tuesday, Aug. 9. The number of people fleeing famine-hit areas of Somalia is likely to rise dramatically and could overwhelm international aid efforts in the Horn of Africa, a U.N. aid official said Tuesday.

    Famine forces parents to make unthinkable choice

    After walking for two weeks with her 1-year-old daughter on her back and 4-year-old son at her side to flee Somalia's drought and famine, a mother had to make a choice that no parent should have to make after her son collasped. “Finally, I decided to leave him behind to his God on the road,” Wardo Mohamud Yusuf said days later. “I am sure that he was alive, and that is my...


    U of I gets grant for nuclear research
    URBANA — The University of Illinois is getting a $538,000 research grant to find ways to make nuclear power plants safer and more efficient.The (Champaign) News-Gazette (http://bit.ly/o0nOkg ) reports that the Energy Department grant focuses on developing new technology and educating the next generation of leaders in the U.S. nuclear industry.


    Native American powwow coming to Busse Woods in September

    The American Indian Center of Chicago and Cook County Forest Preserve District will hold a Traditional Powwow, Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 17-18, near the boating center at the Busse Woods Forest Preserve near routes 72 and 53 in Elk Grove Village.


    Palatine District 15 launches new website

    Palatine Township Elementary District 15 has unveiled its new website. While the web address, ccsd15.net, didn’t change, plenty of other offerings did.

    WWII veteran Donald Carter receives an American flag as he attends a surprise block party in his honor Thursday in Libertyville. Carter returned recently from an Honor Flight to Washington D.C.

    Libertyville neighborhood salutes World War II veteran

    Valerie Van Winkle of Libertyville said when neighbor Mary Carter shared that her husband Donald, 86, would be coming home from an Honor Flight recognizing his service during World War II, her neighborhood organized a surprise party to thank him as well. “We thought this was the perfect time to have a block party and have the neighborhood honor him,” Van Winkle said.

    Linda DiStefano, left, and her daughter, Vanessa, debut their mosaic-tiled welcome sign at DuPage Habitat ReStore in Addison.

    Glen Ellyn pair create unique sign for Habitat store

    When DuPage Habitat for Humanity announced the opening of DuPage County’s first ReStore in Addison earlier this summer, an unexpected opportunity presented itself to public relations intern Vanessa DiStefano of Glen Ellyn.Vanessa’s challenge was to design a welcome sign for the ReStore grand opening.

    For the second time the Run for the Athletes 5K also will include the Police vs. Fire 5K Team Challenge. This year the race, a cross country-style competition between police and fire personnel, will be open to all police and fire departments.

    Aurora race helps fund state Special Olympics

    To raise funds for Illinois Special Olympics programs the Aurora Police Department will host its fourth annual Run for the Athletes 5K. The event, generally held in November, has been moved to the evening of Aug. 17. "I got tired of getting up at 5 a.m. on Saturday or Sunday and freezing," said Aurora Police Sgt. Doug Podschweit.


    Arlington Hts. may re-think marketing campaign

    Arlington Heights may want to rethink its Discover Arlington campaign, several trustees suggested at a recent idea session for the village board.


    Police reports
    Terry S. Pertell, 45, of the 500 block of East Middle Street in South Elgin, and Paul Buckholz, 38, of the 100 block of North Main Street in Burlington, appeared in bond court Thursday on charges of aggravated battery and mob action for attacking a man and cutting him with a knife at 2 a.m. Thursday in the 0-99 block of South Grove Avenue in Elgin, according to court documents and police reports.

    Pat Quinn

    Quinn rewrites scholarship legislation

    :Gov. Pat Quinn flexed his veto power Wednesday by rewriting legislation in a way that would end the long practice of letting Illinois legislators hand out scholarships to state universities.


    Grafton Township wins court fight over attorney

    An Illinois appellate court has reversed a lower court's decision that directed the Grafton Township Board to confirm the township supervisor's nominee for attorney. Supervisor Linda Moore's nominee for attorney was voted down 4-1 by the board, but in an injunction, the circuit court of McHenry County compelled the board to approve the nominee.

    Poet Helen Degen-Cohen

    Palatine poety workshop explores obsession

    The Northwest Cultural Council announces a Second Saturday Poetry Workshop will be from 9 a.m.-noon Saturday, Aug. 13, led by Helen Degen-Cohen. Saturday’s topic will be “Giving in to Obsession.”


    Residents asked to take Lake Forest Preserve Distict trails survey

    To collect ideas and help plan for potential future recreation improvements, the Lake County Forest Preserve District is asking the public to take a survey about its existing multiuse trails and equestrian facilities. The brief, anonymous survey takes about 10 minutes to complete, and will be available online until Sept. 30.


    Lake Bluff Yacht Club to host major sailing regattas

    The Lake Bluff Yacht Club will host two major sailing regattas during the summers of 2011 and 2012, officials said.

    The Rev. Edward A. Blonski will be installed as assistant pastor at St. Matthew Lutheran Church in Hawthorn Woods Sunday, Aug. 14.

    Hawthorn Woods church names new assistant pastor
    On Sunday, August 14, the Rev. Edward A. Blonski will be installed as assistant pastor at St. Matthew Lutheran Church, Hawthorn Woods. A reception will follow the Installation Service.

    Republican presidential candidates former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, from left, businessman Herman Cain, Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

    Republicans duke it out at Iowa debate

    Minnesota rivals Tim Pawlenty and Michele Bachmann sparred bitterly Thursday night during an eight-candidate Republican debate in advance of Saturday's straw poll.

    A rendering of the same 128-bed hospital Centegra Health System hopes to build in Huntley.

    Mercy, Centegra to try again for hospitals in McHenry County

    Two health care providers whose plans to build 128-bed hospitals — one in Huntley, the other in Crystal Lake — may have been shot down by state regulators in June, but they’re not giving up the fight. Their tactics, though, are different this time. One has scaled back its plan to just 70 beds - which doesn't meet the state's minimum for a new hospital - and the other plans to pitch the same plan,...

    Oakwood Farms, as seen from Bateman Road in Barrington Hills. A new lawsuit has been filed accusing village officials of taking part in a “pay to play” scheme to make the commercial boarding of up to 60 horses there legal.

    Barrington Hills horse farm suit alleges political favoritism

    Two Barrington Hills residents suing to stop their neighbors’ horse boarding now say the Oakwood Farms owners donated to three trustees who are allies of Village President Robert Abboud to curry favor. “As my neighbor says, we’re going to become the horse motel for all the other communities in the Chicago area,” one of the residents said.

    Congressman Joe Walsh answers questions during a town-hall meeting last week in Wauconda.

    Rep. Joe Walsh: ‘I am not a deadbeat dad’

    Congressman Joe Walsh of McHenry says he “absolutely” does not owe ex-wife Laura Walsh or their three children $117,437 and vows to fight what he says are “wildly inaccurate” claims.“I am not a deadbeat dad. My life has been my kids, and I have provided for and been there for and loved my kids,” he said while talking candidly for the first time about the child-support claim.

    Concert goers enjoy improved sightlines of the stage as a result of the improved grading at Central Park.

    Naperville celebrates Central Park renovations

    Naperville residents loved Central Park's improvements, unveiled Thursday night as the municipal band performed. “I know we don’t have to come so early now to sit in front,” Mary Jo Jennings said. “Now you can see over the person in front of you, no matter where on the hill you put your chair."


    Mistaken identities keep Janus’ audiences laughing
    Janus Theatre presents its first Summer Rep 2011 series featuring “The Importance of Being Earnest” by Oscar Wilde and “Twelfth Night” by William Shakespeare. The Summer Rep 2011 series will run through Aug. 28.

    Several girls wear tutus as they are photographed underwater while they float in a swimming pool in Mundelein.

    Images: Photo contest finalists
    Each week you submit your favorite photo. We pick the best of the bunch and select 12 finlaists. Here are the finalists for the week of August 8th.



    Hat’s off to Santina Dond in the Hatoof

    Sure, the crowd of 31,069 at Arlington Park was provided with an abundance of excitement from the three Grade I stakes races on the International Festival Day of Racing. But they got a bonus, too, from a minor stakes race. The $65,000-added Hatoof, carded immediately before the Secretariat, brought plenty of cheering with an electrifying finish.

    Choking up often during an emotional speech, Rodman was enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Friday night, giving a look at what's underneath all the tattoos and outrageous outfits that he became as famous for as anything he did on the court.

    Emotional Rodman caps Hall ceremony

    An emotional Dennis Rodman was joined by Tex Winter and Artis Gilmore in making the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. “I didn't play the game for the money, I didn't play the game to be famous,” he said. “What you see here is more just an illusion that I love to just be an individual that's very colorful.”

    Matt Thornton wipes his face after giving up a 3-run homer to Melky Cabrera during the ninth inning of Kansas City's victory over the White Sox on Friday.

    U.S. Cellular still a dead zone for Sox
    After getting hopes up with a 6-1 road trip, the White Sox returned to U.S. Cellular Field Friday night. It was the same sad story in a 5-1 loss to Bruce Chen and the Royals.

    Atlanta Braves batter Freddie Freeman, right, rounds third base after hitting 1 of 5 home runs given up by Carlos Zambrano on Friday in Atlanta.

    Is Zambrano really retiring?

    Is this it for the Cubs and pitcher Carlos Zambrano? After Friday night's 10-4 loss to the Braves in Atlanta, a game Zambrano was ejected from, he cleaned out his locker and apparently told people he was retiring from baseball.


    De Aza taking grounders at first base

    Adam Dunn sat out anothe rgame against a left-handed starter Friday night. Is there a plan in place to sit the White Sox' struggling DH for good?


    Cougars fall but maintain 3-game lead

    The Kane County Cougars trailed the whole way and fell 7-2 against the Peoria Chiefs in front of a season-high 12,586 at Elfstrom Stadium on Friday. The Cougars lost two of three in the series and ended up with a 3-4 mark on their seven-game homestand.Clinton also lost, though, which means the Cougars keep a 3-game lead for the top second-half playoff spot in the Midwest League’s Western Division with 23 games left.Starter Jason Adam (5-7) entered the sixth in a 1-1 tie but ended up with a loss because the Chiefs scored 4 runs in the inning. The Cougars made a couple of mistakes defensively, and the Chiefs produced 5 hits to make it 5-1. The Cougars next hit the road for a three-game series against the Cedar Rapids Kernels that begins Saturday.

    The Sox were again stymied by Royals starter Bruce Chen and fell to the Royals 5-1 Friday night.

    Sox still can’t solve Chen

    Billy Butler and Melky Cabrera homered to lead the Kansas City Royals to a 5-1 win over the White Sox on Friday night.

    Zambrano (9-7) gave up eight runs and eight hits, including a career-worst five homers, in 4 and a third innings.

    Quade: Zambrano walks out on team, talks retirement

    Mike Quade says pitcher Carlos Zambrano cleaned out his locker and “walked out” on the team after giving up five homers in Friday night's 10-4 loss to the Atlanta Braves.

    Dennis Rodman, left, is embraced by coach Phil Jackson at Rodman’s Basketball Hall of Fame enshrinement.

    Images: Bulls Legends Enter Hall of Fame
    Bulls legends Tex Winter, Artis Gilmore, and Dennis Rodman were inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame on Friday night.

    Lake Zurich linebacker Jack Lynn is headed to Minnesota.

    Lynn’s in at Minnesota

    Lake Zurich senior linebacker Jack Lynn feels right at home in the state of Minnesota. It's no wonder the three-year starter recently gave a verbal commitment to the University of Minnesota.


    Jacobs baseball coach Kehoe resigns

    Jacobs baseball coach Erik Kehoe resigned Thursday after one season. Kehoe made the difficult decision to relocate his young family to Arizona once it was clear he would not obtain a teaching position within District 300 for the upcoming school year.

    If Matt Forte plays at all in Friday's preseason game against Buffalo, it figures to be for no more than a series or two.

    Preseason gives Bears rookies chance to shine

    Younger players hoping to earn spots on the Bears' roster should see plenty of action in Saturday's preseason opener against the Bills at Soldier Field.


    Bears say Soldier Field turf is ready

    According to Bears head groundskeeper Ken Mrock, the playing surface at Soldier Field should be fine for tonight’s preseason game against the Buffalo Bills.

    The Irish-bred Cape Blanco goes through the paces at Arlington Park in preparation for today's Arlington Million. Cape Blanco is the morning-line favorite in the prestigious race.

    Strong international field among Arlington favorites

    The morning-line favorites for the Arlington Million (Irish-bred Cape Blanco) and Secretariat (English-bred Treasure Beach) and the No. 2 choice for the Beverly D. (South African standout River Jetez) have all shipped in from overseas for their respective Grade I races.

    Consecutive double-bogeys at the 11th and 12th holes ruined any hopes Tiger Woods had of making it to the weekend. He finished with a 3-over 73 on the heels of an opening-round 77.

    Woods heads home after missing cut in Atlanta

    Tiger Woods’ stunning downfall has gotten worse: He missed the cut at the PGA Championship.And it wasn’t even close.


    Arlington purse increase stays — for now

    The purses are larger at Arlington Park - at least until Aug. 30, when the Illinois Racing Board next convenes.

    Former NPF star Stacy May-Johnson returned to the Chicago Bandits lineup on Thursday and belted a two-run homer against the league-leading USSSA Pride. The Bandits won the game 6-5.

    Softball star un-retires in time to help Bandits

    Former NPF Most Valuable Player Stacy May-Johnson came out of retirement this week to help the Bandits make a run in the upcoming playoffs, and she hit a home run in her first game back.

    Legendary jockey Laffit Pincay rode in nine Arlington Million races.

    Three key figures share their Million memories

    Over the last 30 years, there have been a million memories of the Arlington Million. Three people who have been involved with the race throughout the years share their favorite moments.


    Arlington Million by the numbers
    Here are some interesting facts and figures about the Arlington Million, the Grade I stakes race at Arlington Park race track on Saturday. WGN TV will televise the race at 5 p.m.


    3 Rush players named to All-Arena teams

    Three Chicago Rush players earned All-Arena honors for their play in the 2011 season. Defensive back Vic Hall, and linebacker Kelvin Morris earned first-team honors while receiver Reggie Gray was named second-team All-Arena.


    Lake Forest golfer wins Illinois Amateur

    Brad Hopfinger of Lake Forest captured the 81st Illinois State Amateur Championship at Glen Oak Country Club in Glen Ellyn. Hopfinger closed with a 2-under 69 on Thursday to finish at 272, four strokes ahead of Chris Brant of Edwardsville.


    UIC basketball coach promotes 3 assistants

    UIC head men’s basketball coach Howard Moore announced three promotions on his coaching staff Thursday, including naming former assistant coach Al Biancalana as the program’s Associate Head Coach.

    Quarterback Aaron Rodgers presents President Barack Obama a jersey during a ceremony honoring the Super Bowl XLV champion Green Bay Packers on Friday on the South Lawn of the White House.

    Bears fan Obama hosts Packers at White House

    Welcoming the Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers to the White House was no easy task for President Barack Obama.The president is a die-hard fan of the Packers’ rivals, the Chicago Bears, the team Green Bay beat in last year’s championship game to move on to the Super Bowl.

    Trevor Gretzky, 18, prepares to bat during the Southern California Invitational Showcase held by the Major League Baseball Scouting Bureau last February in the Compton, Calif. Gretzky, the son of hockey great Wayne Gretzky, has signed a minor league deal with the Cubs.

    Cubs sign Wayne Gretzky’s son, Trevor

    The Chicago Cubs have signed infielder Trevor Gretzky, their seventh-round selection from the 2011 First-Year Player Draft. Gretzky, the son of hockey star Wayne Gretzky, finished his senior season with a .393 batting average and 27 RBI in 31 games for Oaks Christian High School.

    Rory McIlroy, of Northern Ireland, reacts to his tee shot on the 18th hole during the second round of the PGA Championship golf tournament Friday, Aug. 12, 2011, at the Atlanta Athletic Club in Johns Creek, Ga.

    McIlroy has lot of work to do to catch Stricker

    Rory struggled through the second round of the PGA Championship with his injured wrist all taped up. A 3-over 73 — which included a triple bogey — left a daunting 10-stroke deficit when he walked off the course Friday. Even with an aching right wrist, he's not giving up on chasing down Steve Stricker.

    Randy Romero, left, listens as veteran jockey Mark Guidry talks Friday before making his return to racing in the jockeys vs. legends race at Arlington Park.

    For racing champ Guidry, nervousness a good sign

    Mark Guidry is ready to return to the saddle.Really, really ready. “I’m really nervous and I never thought I would be,” the two-time Arlington Park riding champion said Friday, prior to participating in a special jockey legends race.

    Chicago rookie Alisa Goler blasts her 11th home run of the National Pro Fastpitch season on Thursday against the USSSA Pride. The walk-off homer gave the Bandits a 6-5 win.

    Bandits rookie Goler leads NPF in homers

    Chicago Bandits rookie Alisa Goler has become a dominant force in the NPF league, leading the league in home runs and ranking fourth overall in hits and batting average. She needs two more homers to tie the season record.


    Cubs scouting report
    Cubs scouting report


    Retail sales in the U.S. climbed in July by the most in four months, showing consumers are holding up even as employment slows.

    U.S. retail sales' climb in July most in 4 months

    Retail sales in the U.S. climbed in July by the most in four months, showing consumers are holding up even as employment slows.The 0.5 percent increase reported by the Commerce Department in Washington today matched the median forecast of 81 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News and followed a 0.3 percent increase in June that was larger than previously estimated. Excluding auto sales, purchases rose more than projected.More Americans drove away from auto dealerships in new cars last month as an easing of supply-chain constraints caused by Japan’s March disasters provided consumers with more variety and better pricing. Even so, Federal Reserve policy makers this week said they were concerned that household spending had “flattened out” and the recent plunge in stocks is hurting confidence.The gain in spending is “pretty relieving,” said Michael Feroli, chief U.S. economist at JPMorgan Chase & Co. in New York. “The upward revisions suggest that the trajectory of consumer spending heading into the third quarter wasn’t as bad as previously thought.”Stock-index futures extended earlier gains after the report. The contract on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rose 0.8 percent to 1,178 at 8:42 a.m. in New York. Treasury securities also climbed, sending the yield on the benchmark 10-year note down to 2.29 percent from 2.34 percent late yesterday.Economists’ estimates ranged from increases of 0.1 percent to 1.5 percent. Non-auto sales were projected to rise 0.3 percent, according to the survey median.Nine of 13 major categories showed a gain in sales last month, led by electronics stores, furniture retailers, auto dealers and service stations.Excluding automobiles and service stations, sales climbed 0.3 percent after a 0.5 percent gain in June that was larger than previously estimated.Excluding autos, gasoline and building materials, which are the figures used to calculate GDP, sales rose 0.3 percent after a 0.4 percent gain the prior month.Auto sales showed a 0.4 percent increase. Cars and light trucks sold at a seasonally adjusted pace of 12.2 million in July, up from 11.4 million in June yet trailing the 12.5 million average pace through the first half, Autodata Corp. said. Deliveries at Detroit-based GM climbed 7.6 percent from the same month in 2010 to 214,915.“Although the economy has clearly lost some momentum, we do believe that it will continue to recover, but more gradually than we had originally anticipated as we move through the second half of the year,” Don Johnson, GM’s vice president of U.S. sales, said on an Aug. 2 conference call. Moderating gas prices have “provided some needed relief to consumers.”Beating EstimatesRetailers, including Macy’s Inc. and Limited Brands Inc., reported July sales that exceeded analysts’ estimates. Purchases at Macy’s rose 5 percent, surpassing the 4.4 percent average projection compiled by Retail Metrics Inc. Limited, operator of the Victoria’s Secret chain, posted a gain of 6 percent from a year earlier.The economy expanded at a 1.3 percent annual rate in the second quarter of 2011, less than forecast, from a 0.4 percent pace in the first three months of the year, Commerce Department figures showed last month. Household spending rose at 0.1 percent pace in the second quarter, the weakest since the same period in 2009.Fed ActionFed policy makers on Aug. 9 said economic growth this year had been “considerably slower” than expected. What’s more, “temporary factors,” including Japan’s disaster and high fuel costs, likely accounted for “only some of the recent weakness in economic activity,” they said.They announced this week that they would hold their benchmark lending rate near zero at least through mid-2013 to spur the economy.

    Specialist John O’Hara smiles Friday as he works at his post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Is it because it’s been more than a month the markets finished up for a second day in a row?

    Dow finishes wild week; is the madness over?

    The wildest week in Wall Street history ended with a second day of gains. The Dow Jones industrial average finished Friday with a gain of 125 points. By this week’s standards, it was a sleeper. "It was a sharp and violent week in the stock market, but it’s my sense that the worst is over,” said Michael Kaufler, a portfolio manager at Federated Investors.


    Maruti cuts output as Indian car deand slows for second month

    Maruti Suzuki India Ltd., maker of almost half the cars sold in India, cut production after sales fell for the second straight month in July.The carmaker, which sold 75,300 vehicles in July compared with 100,857 units a year earlier, will scale back output of most models this month because of poor demand, Chairman R.C. Bhargava said yesterday at a briefing in New Delhi, where the company is based.The reduction comes ahead of India’s festival season that starts with homage to Ganesh, the elephant god of prosperity, on Sept. 1 and runs through Oct. 26 with Diwali, the festival of lights. Higher interest rates boosted by inflation and costlier fuels have damped demand for vehicles, prompting Maruti to say in June it may miss its forecast of as much as 15 percent sales growth this fiscal year.“Until there is clarity on inflation and interest rates, sales will continue to decline at Maruti,” said Aditya Shekhawat, a Mumbai-based analyst with Khandwala Securities Ltd.The Reserve Bank of India has raised its benchmark repurchase rate 11 times starting March 2010 by 3.25 percentage points, denting demand in the world’s second-most populous country where loans fund 80 percent of car purchases. Wholesale- price inflation has averaged 9.6 percent starting 2010.Dip in SalesLocal sales at the Suzuki Motor Co. unit fell 26 percent last month to 66,504 units and exports declined 18 percent, it said in a statement on August 1.Maruti said at the time sales fell because production of the Swift hatchback was stopped before the introduction of a new variant and also as the company shifted output of the DZire sedan to its factory in Gurgaon from Manesar.“There’s no doubt demand for petrol cars has fallen,” Bhargava said. “Production of all models, barring Swift and Dzire, will be reduced. We’ll produce depending on our ability to sell,” he said.State-owned Indian Oil Corp., the country’s largest refiner, increased the price of gasoline by 5 rupees a liter to 63.37 rupees ($1.4) in New Delhi in May. That was the biggest increase since June 2008.Maruti’s shares declined 0.1 percent to 1,246.35 rupees at the 3:30 p.m. close of trade in Mumbai yesterday, compared with a 1.3 percent drop in the Sensitive Index of the Bombay Stock Exchange.“Sales should pick up in the festive season,” Khandwala Securities’s Shekhawat said.


    BP says coker opeating normally at Texas City, Texas

    BP Plc said a coker at its Texas City, Texas, refinery was operating normally after a relief valve lifted.The valve lifted at about noon local time for several minutes, according to Daren Beaudo, a Houston-based spokesman for the company.“It lasted for a matter of minutes,” said Beaudo in a telephone interview. “The coker returned to normal operations.”To contact the reporter on this story: Aaron Clark in New York at aclark27bloomberg.net


    Canada stocks fall after financials erase gain

    Canadian stocks declined as financial shares erased an earlier gain and gold producers fell.The Standard & Poor’s/TSX Composite Index slipped 14.69 points, or 0.1 percent, to 12,525.11 at 2:48 p.m. in Toronto, after rising as much as 0.5 percent earlier.Royal Bank of Canada fell 0.9 percent to C$50.93, to lead financial stocks lower. The group had gained 1.1 percent earlier. Barrick Gold Corp., the world’s biggest producer of the metal, slumped 1.1 percent to C$49.23 as gold futures retreated a second day.


    Manistique Papers files for bankruptcy protection in Delaware

    Manistique Papers Inc., a producer of recycled paper products based in Michigan, filed for bankruptcy protection in federal court in Delaware.To contact the reporter on this story: Dawn McCarty in Wilmington at dmccartybloomberg.net


    Postal service job-cut plan ‘tought’ to get done
    The U.S. Postal Service, which expects to run out of money next month, would have a hard time carrying out a proposal to cut 220,000 jobs by 2015, a labor professor said.The Postal Service, which this week circulated a proposal to cut 39 percent of its full-time employees, including through mass firings, would need congressional permission and President Barack Obama’s signature on a law to break a labor contract with its largest union.“It would be tough,” Harley Shaiken, a labor professor at the University of California at Berkeley, said in a telephone interview. “It would make the federal government the largest contract breaker in the country.”The Postal Service, based in Washington, is seeking to reduce costs and return to solvency. Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe said last week that, unless Congress allows the agency to change required payments and operations, he may seek to raise the agency’s $15 billion debt limit. The Postal Service expects to reach that limit in September, he has said.The plan would be challenging for the Obama administration because of the country’s high unemployment rate, Shaiken said. The jobless rate has exceeded 8 percent since February 2009.“Politically, it would be very damaging to the administration,” Shaiken said. “This would cause a huge uproar because it would take place in a context where unions have been under attack by state governments.”Little ChoiceThe Postal Service is left with little choice other than to propose the job cuts, Chief Human Resources Officer Anthony Vegliante said today in a telephone interview. The Postal Service, which has posted losses for the past eight quarters, needs to reorganize its business and reduce costs, he said.“This isn’t about just passing expenses on to the customer or passing our problems on to someone else,” he said. “We’re trying to fix it.”Labor unions yesterday criticized the job-cut proposal and a separate one to pull employees out of federal retirement and health-benefit programs.“The issues of lay-off protection and health benefits are specifically covered by our contract,” National Association of Letter Carriers President Fredric Rolando said in an e-mailed statement. “The Congress of the United States does not engage in contract negotiations with unions and we do not believe they are about to do so.”Starting NegotiationsThe Postal Service is scheduled to begin negotiations with the letter carriers union and the smaller National Postal Mail Handlers Union next week. In November, it signed a 3 1/2-year agreement with the American Postal Workers Union, which represents the largest number of postal employees.That agreement only allows mass firings of employees with less than six years of experience, Vegliante said. The Postal Service has about 560,000 full-time employees. About 20,000 have worked less than six years for the service, Vegliante said.The Postal Service’s average employee age is about 60, and it has about 460,000 retirees, he said.Senator Thomas Carper, a Delaware Democrat who has proposed legislation that would allow the service to cut delivery to five days a week and more easily close post offices, said the proposal underscores the seriousness of the “financial predicament.”“I am open to considering any idea that can prevent the Postal Service from going bankrupt,” he said in an e-mailed statement.


    Ex-Nasdaq official gets 3 1/2 years for insider trading

    Former Nasdaq Stock Market Managing Director Donald Johnson was sentenced to 3 1/2 years in prison for using information obtained from his position with the exchange to engage in insider trading and ordered to pay back $755,066 he made from illegal trades.Johnson, 57, who pleaded guilty in May to one count of securities fraud, was sentenced today in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia. He faced as many as 20 years at sentencing, though U.S. sentencing guidelines recommend a 37 to 46 month range. The judge said Johnson deserved the 42-month sentence because he violated his duty to investors.“The conduct fundamentally compromises the integrity of the securities market,” U.S. District Judge Anthony Trenga said, adding that Johnson’s case is “sad and tragic” and “directly undermined the confidence the investing public has in the securities exchange.”Johnson bought and sold shares of five Nasdaq-listed companies based on inside information from 2006 to 2009, he said at his plea hearing, and often made the trades from his work computer at Nasdaq, according to a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in Manhattan federal court.At his sentencing hearing today, Johnson, wearing a dark suit and yellow tie, expressed remorse to the judge, saying he wanted to “make amends.”“If I had to come up with a word for what I did, it is stupidity,” Johnson said. “There aren’t any answers to explain my activity.”Intelligence DeskJohnson, a former managing director at Nasdaq’s market intelligence desk in New York, admitted making more than $640,000 from the illegal trades. Among the shares he traded was United Therapeutics Corp. based on inside information about test results for the drug Viveta, now called Tyvaso, and about the approval of the drug, the Justice Department said.“Insider trading is an insidious crime,” said Justin Goodyear, a trial attorney with the fraud section of the U.S. Justice Department’s criminal division at the hearing today. “He took advantage of his position of trust and used information for his own benefit.”“Today’s sentence should leave no doubt in the minds of investors inclined to cheat that insider trading is a serious crime, with serious consequences,” Assistant U.S. Attorney General Lanny Breuer said today in an e-mailed statement.“He learned what every other trader on Wall Street must now realize: We’re watching, and when you’re caught you’ll face serious time in prison,” Breuer said.In the case of Pharmaceutical Product Development Inc., Johnson bet the stock would rise when the public learned it would be included in the Nasdaq-100, he admitted in his plea.Poor Earnings“The penalties of these actions are nothing short of crushing,” said Johnson’s defense lawyer Jonathan Simms, who asked for a jail term of no more than 18 months during today’s hearing. “This man has endured a lot.”Johnson used a brokerage account in his wife’s name to conceal the illicit trades, the Justice Department said. Other securities he traded based on inside information were Central Garden and Pet Co., Digene Corp., Idexx Laboratories Inc. and Pharmaceutical Product Development Inc., according to the government.Earnings ReportsNasdaq OMX said in May that it was cooperating with the probe. The second-largest U.S. exchange operator, Nasdaq OMX is one of only two venues in the country for public companies to list their shares. Those companies often supply the exchange with confidential financial information, such as earnings reports, which Johnson handled. Nasdaq spokesman Frank De Maria wasn’t immediately available for comment on the sentencing.Nasdaq OMX, based in New York, opened its market intelligence desk in 2002, offering companies analysis of their stocks’ trading and market statistics and information. Nasdaq OMX got about 19 percent of its first-quarter revenue from its global listing services unit, which includes annual fees charged to companies it lists.


    U.S. Seeks As Much as 46 Months in Prison For Lawyer Goldfarb c.2011 Bloomberg News

    Aug. 12 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. prosecutors are seeking a sentence of as much as 46 months in prison for lawyer Jason Goldfarb, who pleaded guilty to passing inside information as part of a nationwide investigation of illegal trading by hedge funds.To contact the reporter on this story: Bob Van Voris in New York at rvanvorisbloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: David E. Rovella at drovellabloomberg.net


    U.K. police wathdog opens probe of officer in News Corp.

    Britain’s police watchdog said it’s probing claims that an officer in Surrey, England, leaked information about an investigation into a schoolgirl’s murder in 2002 to News Corp.’s News of the World tabloid.The probe began after the Independent Police Complaints Commission received a “voluntary referral” from Surrey police, the London-based regulator said today in a statement.Revelations that the newspaper hacked into the mobile-phone voice mail of the murdered girl, Milly Dowler, forced News Corp. to shutter the 168-year-old tabloid and abandon its 7.8 billion- pound ($12.7 billion) bid for all of British Sky Broadcasting Group Plc. Sara Payne, the mother of another murdered girl, said she may also have been targeted by an investigator at News of the World.Police and at least two parliamentary committees are investigating whether News of the World reporters bribed police and the extent to which politicians, celebrities, and murder and terror victims had their phones or computers hacked.


    Operator of fake hedge fund sentenced to 63 months in prison

    Benjamin Koifman, who pleaded guilty to conspiracy for his role in a scheme to cheat investors with a phony New York-based hedge fund, was sentenced to five years and three months in prison.Prosecutors in the office of Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara claimed Koifman and William Shternfeld ran A.R. Capital Global Fund LP, an unregistered investment adviser, and ARC Global Fund, a hedge fund that claimed to invest in equity of international real estate.Koifman was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Sidney Stein in a hearing in Manhattan today. Shternfeld is scheduled to be sentenced later today.Prosecutors claimed that, from 2004 to 2006, Shternfeld and Koifman engaged in a scheme with co-conspirators to get at least 70 investors to invest about $20 million in the ARC Global Fund by making false statements about it.Two other men in the case, Igor Levin of Brooklyn, New York, and Yevgeny Shvartsshteyn of Belle Harbor, New York, pleaded guilty to conspiracy in December.T


    Air Lease rises after affirming growth plans amid earnings gain

    Air Lease Corp., the jet-leasing company led by Steven Udvar-Hazy, surged the most since selling shares in April after the company topped earnings estimates and affirmed expansion plans.Air Lease’s second-quarter net income of 8 cents a share topped the 6-cent average from analysts surveyed by Bloomberg, while sales of $74.3 million outpaced estimates of $72.1 million. The company added 16 planes in the second quarter, bringing its fleet to 65, and Air Lease said in a statement yesterday that it expects to have about 100 planes by year-end.“The current availability of new aircraft from all lessors is still insufficient to satisfy demand over the next five years,” Udvar-Hazy said yesterday on a conference call with analysts and investors.“Even if economic conditions drive airlines to cancel or defer as much as 5 percent of their firm orders during this time period, and those cancellations and deferments add to total new aircraft availability, Air Lease Corp. believes that the total demand still outstrips total supply,” he said.Air Lease has signed letters of intent to purchase as many as 83 new planes from Airbus SAS, Boeing Co. and Embraer SA to be delivered between 2012 and 2020. The company currently leases to 43 airlines in 26 countries.Air Lease rose $1.26, or 5.9 percent, to $22.56 at 12:41 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading, after gaining 16 percent, the largest intraday increase since the shares began trading April 19.Air Lease posted income of $7.02 million in the three months through June, compared with a loss of $41.1 million, or $2.37 a share, a year earlier, the company said in yesterday’s statement.-


    SEC opens whistle-blower website as Dodd-Frank program begins

    The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, trying to encourage employees to report corporate wrong-doing, opened a website today to gather tips as its new bounty program for whistle-blowers officially begins.The Dodd-Frank Act’s new incentive program, which rewards tipsters with as much as 30 percent of penalties collected, has been operating on an interim basis since the law was enacted last year.Sean McKessy, chief of the SEC’s whistle-blower office, said in an interview that tip quality -- if not volume -- has already improved since last year’s enactment. Some recent tips will be eligible for the bounties, he said.The SEC’s Office of Market Intelligence will do most of the “wheat versus chaff work” to filter incoming tips, McKessy said, noting that the SEC whistle-blower office has just seven staffers. “We just don’t have the resources to read every single one of them.”Today’s formal opening means whistle-blowers will now have to submit tips in the agency’s approved formats, such as a questionnaire accessed through the website.Companies have told the SEC they’re concerned that the program will cause whistle-blowers to ignore firms’ internal compliance programs.McKessy said employees who first report a securities law violation to their companies will get the same reward consideration as if they reported it to the SEC. They also “receive the benefit of all the information uncovered by the company in connection with its own internal investigation of the alleged wrongdoing,” he said.


    Russia offers land for southeast Asian farmers to make food

    Russia is offering agricultural land to Southeast Asian nations to grow crops and help secure reliable food supplies, part of wider efforts to foster trade and investment ties in new markets.“We suggested today to companies in the region to enter the Russian market given its large scale and to establish themselves to produce food for your own supply,” Deputy Economy Minister Andrei Slepnyov said yesterday in an interview in Manado, Indonesia, where he is attending a meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations trade ministers.Russian President Dmitry Medvedev is turning to Asia to boost exports as his country’s economy struggles to grow at the pace it did before a 2009 recession. Russia is targeting grain buyers in Southeast Asia to regain its share of the world market after lifting an export ban in July, the Moscow-based Institute for Agricultural Market Studies said Aug. 1.“Many Asian governments are exploring alternatives to secure food supplies over the long term given that the demographic and environmental pressures in Asia could lead to structural food shortages in the years to come,” said Frederic Neumann, co-head of Asian economic research at HSBC Holdings Plc in Hong Kong. “In fact, it’s already showing up in greater inflation pressures in the agricultural sectors in the region.”Stable SuppliesAsian nations are seeking stable food supplies after data compiled by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization showed global prices surged to a record this year. India’s food inflation accelerated to a three-month high, a report showed yesterday.Indonesia, the world’s third-largest rice consumer, may seek to negotiate an agreement with India and Pakistan to secure rice supplies, the Southeast Asian nation’s Trade Minister Mari Pangestu said in a separate interview yesterday.Russian farmers are leaving about a quarter of the nation’s 165.9 million hectares (409.9 million acres) of agricultural land unused, Federal State Statistics Service data show. A further 20.7 million hectares of land lies fallow, Alexander Korbut, vice president of the Grain Union, said by phone today.Russia has about 24 million hectares of undistributed arable land that should be sold at below-market prices to people already working there as the government seeks to boost production, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said in March.The government plans to annul ownership rights to farmland that has been left uncultivated for at least three years.Japan, South KoreaJapan, the world’s largest grain importer, said in April it will help local companies invest in purchases and leasing of farmlands overseas to ensure stable food supply as the country lacks arable land. South Korea, the world’s third-biggest corn buyer, plans to acquire a total of 380,000 hectares of overseas farmland by 2018 to grow crops.Food prices will remain higher in the next decade than in the past 10 years as agricultural production slows and demand increases, the OECD and the United Nations said in a joint report in June.Russia, the world’s largest energy exporter, is exploring possible investments with Southeast Asian nations in power generation, alternative energy and natural-resources exploration as it seeks to boost demand for the commodities it produces, Slepnev said.“The center of world development is shifting to the Asian region,” he said. “Of course, the region will become an even bigger energy consumer.”Russia’s economy, which grew at an average of 7 percent annually from 2000 to 2008, expanded 3.4 percent from a year earlier in the second quarter, missing economists’ forecasts, a report showed yesterday.-


    ConocoPhillips Buys Diesel in Europe; Gasoil Rises: Oil Products c.2011 Bloomberg News

    Aug. 12 (Bloomberg) -- ConocoPhillips bought a cargo of diesel in northwest Europe from Morgan Stanley. Barges of the ultra-low-sulfur grade traded at a cheaper price than yesterday.Gasoil gained on London’s ICE Futures Europe exchange as Brent advanced. Gasoline barges for immediate loading rose as stockpiles fell for a fourth week.Light ProductsEurobob gasoline for loading in Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp traded from $967 to $980 a metric ton, according to a survey of traders and brokers monitoring the Argus Bulletin Board. That compares with deals yesterday from $946 to $965.Vitol Group bought 4,000 tons of the 7,000 tons that changed hands. Ethanol is added to Eurobob to make finished motor fuel. The trades are typically for 1,000 or 2,000 tons.Gasoline inventories in independent storage in the ARA-area dropped 10 percent to 554,000 tons in the week to yesterday on exports to Canada, Nigeria, the U.K. and the U.S., according to PJK International BV, a researcher based in the Netherlands. That’s the lowest level since Dec. 30.The fuel’s crack shrank to $6.38 a barrel from $6.45 yesterday, according to PVM Oil Associates Ltd., a crude and refined products broker in London.Naphtha’s discount to Brent shrank to $4.96 a barrel from $5.11 yesterday, according to PVM. That’s the lowest spread since May 27.Middle DistillatesConocoPhillips bought the diesel cargo at a premium of $34 a ton to September gasoil, priced for delivery to Bremen in Germany from Aug. 27 to Aug. 31, according to a survey of traders and brokers monitoring the Platts pricing window which ends at 4:30 p.m. in London. Vitol also bought a cargo from Royal Dutch Shell Plc at a $40 premium, priced for delivery to the Turkish port of Aliaga, the survey showed.Diesel barges traded three times at a premium of $26 and once at $27.50 a ton to September gasoil, according to the survey. That’s lower than yesterday’s deals at $28 more than the gasoil contract.Gasoil for September advanced 3.5 percent to $918.25 a ton as of 5:03 p.m. London time on the ICE exchange. Brent for the same month rose 0.4 percent to $108.50 a barrel.The fuel’s crack, a measure of refining profitability, was little changed at $14.84 a barrel at 4:30 p.m. London time yesterday, according to ICE data.Jet fuel traded at $71 and $72 a ton more than September gasoil, the survey showed. That compares with Aug. 10 trades at a premium of $71. A deal was also done today at $985 a ton.ResiduesHigh-sulfur fuel oil barges rose, trading from $602.50 to $603.75 a ton, according to the Platts survey. That compares with deals yesterday from $595 to $596.50. Low-sulfur grade traded at $632.25 a ton, higher than the $629 done yesterday, the survey showed.RefinersU.S. refiners may start exporting more fuels as refinery processing rates rose to close to the highest level in a year, at 90 percent of capacity, “much to the woe of European and Asian refiners,” according to JBC Energy GmbH.Zambia’s only oil refinery will shut for maintenance from Oct. 1 to Nov. 10, October, the Times of Zambia reported today citing Teddy Kasonso, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Energy and Water Development.The government will increase imports of gasoline and diesel before the shutdown to avert shortages, he said.--With assistance from Rachel Graham in London. Editors: Raj Rajendran, Rachel Graham.To contact the reporter on this story: Nidaa Bakhsh in London at nbakhshbloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Stephen Voss at sevbloomberg.net


    Honda to build new factory in Mexico
    DETROIT — Honda Motor Co. says it will build an $800 million factory in Mexico to make small cars for customers in North America.The company says the plant will meet growing demand for small cars in the region.The automaker will hire 3,200 workers for the plant in the state of Guanajuato (Wan-a-WAH-toe). The factory will be able to make 200,000 cars and engines a year. It’s expected to open in 2014.Honda also says it will restart a second shift at a factory in Marysville, Ohio, to build more Accord and Acura TL midsize cars. Shifts also will be added at plants that make the Civic in Greensburg, Indiana, and Alliston, Ontario.


    OfficeMax appoints two to lead Contract organization
    PRnewswireNAPERVILLE — OfficeMax Incorporated appointed Mike MacDonald as executive vice president and president of the global contract organization and Steve Mongeau as senior vice president of sales and growth initiatives.MacDonald will report to Ravi Saligram, president and CEO of OfficeMax, and will be responsible for all aspects of the global Contract business P&L. Mongeau will report to MacDonald and will spearhead initiatives to enhance the company’s proposition for small to mid-market customers and the sales aspects of growth opportunities such as print services and solutions. In addition, the OfficeMax Contract leadership team, including the field sales and vertical leaders, functional heads and the leaders of the customer service operations team and the Australia/New Zealand and Canada business will report to MacDonald. He will also oversee OfficeMax’s relationship in Europe with Lyreco to serve OfficeMax’s global customers.“The appointment of these two strong leaders to our Contract business is an exciting and pivotal move as we drive innovation and expand our offerings to targeted segments of our business customers,” said Saligram.MacDonald has more than 30 years of experience at Xerox Corporation in general management, sales and marketing leadership roles.  His last 10 years of experience includes serving as president of North America, where he had P&L responsibility for all products, services and solutions sold by the direct sales force representing about $6.5 billion in revenue, president of marketing operations and global accounts; and most recently corporate senior vice president of operational effectiveness.  He also served on the company’s strategy committee.  He currently serves as lead director for PAETEC Holding Corporation and is a director of Medifast, Inc.  He is a graduate of Rutgers University.Mongeau has experience in driving sales efforts for office solutions and leading small businesses.  He was most recently chief executive officer of Pietzo Hybrid Electric Bikes in Bedford, Mass., and before that, senior vice president of sales and marketing for Eduventures, Inc. in Boston.  He previously spent 14 years with Staples, Inc., including serving as senior vice president of Staples Business Advantage where he drove significant growth.  He was also vice president of sales and marketing for Staples Direct, where he helped develop and grow a direct/delivery model for small business customers.  He is a graduate of Cornell University and serves as chair of the board of directors for Samaritans of greater Boston.


    CTI sales drop 7.7 percent in 2Q

    LAKE BARRINGTON — CTI Industries Corporation a manufacturer and marketer of flexible packaging and storage products, laminated films and novelty balloons, announced sales decreased 7.7 percent for the second quarter 2011.Consolidated net sales for the second quarter of 2011 were $11.9 million, compared to consolidated net sales of $12.9 million for the second quarter of 2010, a decrease of 7.7 percent.For the six month period ended June 30, consolidated net sales were $24,6 million compared to $25.4 million for the same period in 2010, a decrease of 2.8 percent.


    Pregis sees 11 percent 2Q sales gain
    DEERFIELD — Pregis Corporation, an international manufacturer, marketer, and supplier of protective packaging products and specialty packaging solutions, today announced its second quarter sales rose 11.2 percent over the same period last year.The company generated net sales of $242.2 million, 11.2 percent over $217.8 million in the second quarter of 2010. The increase was driven primarily by the impact of selling price increases and favorable foreign currency translation. Excluding the impact of favorable foreign currency translation, net sales for the three months ended June 30 increased 4.3 percent compared to the same period in 2010.Ross margin as a percent of net sales was flat year-over-year at 21.3 percent.  Year-over-year cost increases of over $9 million in key raw materials were offset by the impact of selling price increases implemented during the past twelve months.   The majority of the products we sell are plastic-resin based, and therefore our operations are highly sensitive to fluctuations in the costs of plastic resins. “I am very pleased with our strong second quarter performance,” said Glenn Fischer, president and chief executive officer, ”Our second quarter sales volumes were essentially flat on a year-over-year basis, with continued strong increases in our key growth areas — inflatable systems and foam-in-place — being offset by softness in our core products.“By continuing to reduce our cost structure, as well as offsetting significant resin cost increases with the impact of our selling price initiatives over the past twelve months,” he added.


    Sg2 names four to leadership team
    MarketwireSKOKIE — Sg2 named four new members to the company’s management team.Tom Potter was named senior vice president of sales and client service delivery, LeAnne Hester will become senior vice president of marketing, Beth Markus-Boles will become associate vice president of client service delivery; and Jeff Ridge was named senior director of technology and product development.The appointments emphasize Sg2’s commitment to transforming health care delivery through its premier growth and value solutions and customer service, said President Steve Lefar.Potter, a 20-year veteran of the health care industry, joins Sg2 after serving as national sales manager of MediRegs, the provider of compliance content and software as a service work flow tools. At Sg2, Potter will oversee more than 35 senior sales and service individuals who support more than 1,200 health care organizations. His responsibilities will include client utilization and satisfaction as well as value delivery to strategic counsel, education, analytics and intelligence customers.As senior vice president of marketing, Hester will drive the company’s marketing strategy as a health care intelligence leader. She will be responsible for the creation and execution of integrated marketing initiatives for Sg2 solutions, including the EDGE Growth Planning System and INSIGHT Clinical Performance Management System. Hester brings a wealth of experience in strategic marketing, product management, communications and sales enablement. With over 15 years of experience in the health care industry, she most recently served as chief marketing and sales officer for Ontario Systems, a leading provider of revenue recovery solutions.Hester formerly served as senior director of business development and marketing for The Advisory Board, a health care research firm. She also held roles as program director for WellPoint’s 360 degreesHealth and as vice president of services and support for Mezzia, a health care software and services company.Markus-Boles will lead the company’s client service delivery, managing a team of client-facing individuals including account executives, solution delivery directors and service line specialists. She will be responsible for ensuring that Sg2’s partner organizations receive the full value of their memberships, products and services, along with the highest level of customer service and satisfaction.Markus-Boles’ background includes 18 years of account management, sales, process improvement, and facility network and contract management. Before joining Sg2, she worked for MedSolutions Inc, where she was instrumental in the development and implementation of a diagnostic imaging service.Ridge comes to Sg2 with 24 years of information technology experience and more than 10 years in IT management. As a senior director in the technology and product development group, he will be responsible for the overall performance of the data and analytics operations group. He will also focus on implementing system improvements to the data processing environment.Before joining Sg2, Ridge was a senior director of technology services at University HealthSystem Consortium (UHC), where he oversaw all areas of the IT department, including custom software development, infrastructure, security and the help desk. Jeff earned a bachelor’s degree in computer science and an MBA in finance and management from Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago, IL.“It is a testament to the strength of Sg2’s brand, capabilities and client relationships that we have been able to attract leading industry talent. While our existing team is incredibly strong, we have added senior leaders to help us drive excellence in all areas of the company,” says Sg2 President Steve Lefar. “Our clients will benefit greatly from the level of investment we are making in our intelligence, advisory, education and analytics services.”


    Arthur J. Gallagher acquires Robinson-Adams Insurance

    ITASCA — Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. said it has acquired the insurance brokerage operations of Robinson-Adams Insurance, Inc. in Birmingham, Ala. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.The acquisition does not involve the affiliated companies, including automotive-related businesses, AutoTec, LLC, Red Mountain Technologies, LLC and Centennial Casualty Company, which will continue to run independently, the company said in a statement.Founded in the 1880s, Robinson-Adams Insurance, Inc. is a retail insurance broker providing commercial property/casualty and risk management insurance services to their clients throughout the United States.  It specializes in insurance coverage for long-term health care facilities and the wholesale automobile auction industry.  Martha Acker, William Dodson, Jr. and their associates will continue to operate from their Birmingham location (as Robinson-Adams Insurance) under the direction of Mitchel Brashier, Southeastern Regional Manager of Gallagher’s retail property/casualty brokerage operation.“For over a century, RAI has built a solid reputation for its depth of insurance expertise and focus on providing the highest quality client service,” said J. Patrick Gallagher, Jr., Chairman, president and CEO.  “Their solid Alabama presence, similar culture and strong specializations will be a wonderful complement to our retail property/casualty brokerage operations.  We are extremely pleased to welcome Martha, Billy and their team to our growing Gallagher family of professionals.”


    Italian local governments resist emergency cuts
    ROME — Premier Silvio Berlusconi’s government is facing fierce resistance to emergency spending cuts from local government officials, who are urging the government to start from scratch.The governor of the northern Lombardy region said the cuts to key services such as transport and welfare would have “a depressive ... effect,” hurting the underclasses the most.Roberto Formigoni told reporters after a meeting with the government Friday that regional, provincial and city administrations were being asked to cut (euro) 6 billion ($8.55 billion) in spending next year. That’s from total proposed cuts of (euro) 20 billion. Austerity measures in 2103 would total (euro) 25 billion.Berlusconi is aiming to approve new measures at a Cabinet meeting later Friday.


    J.C. Penney posts flat 2Q profits

    NEW YORK — J.C. Penney Co. is reporting a flat second-quarter profit as the department store retailer was forced to aggressively mark down prices on fashions to get its middle income shoppers to spend in an increasingly uncertain economy.The retailer is also issuing third-quarter profit guidance that was below Wall Street estimates.The department store chain says that its net income was $14 million, or 7 cents per share, for the three months ended July 30. That compares with $14 million, or 6 cents per share.Analysts has expected higher earnings of 10 cents a share.Revenues edged down slightly to $3.91 billion from $3.94 billion in the year-ago period.Analysts expected revenue of $3.91 billion.

    The logo for the new Sears interactive online series called "Screw D."

    Sears debuts interactive, online series

    Sears is introducing its third interactive, online series called "Screw D," on Sunday. It features a totally inept guy who learns to use tools and attempt some do-it-yourself projects. Sears is offering other programs via the Internet, including on iTunes, podcasts and elsewhere.

    Ross Molho, right, of Clingen, Callow & McLean, speaks as, from left, Liz Smith, executive vice president at Assurance Agency Ltd.; Gayle Nicholas, managing director and vice president at Tandem HR; and Jerry Arnold, vice president, sales manager at Associated Financial Group, listen at the Daily Herald Business Ledger Newsmakers Forum Thursday.

    Experts: Reform, economy vexing HR pros

    CoveSweeping health care reform and the stagnant economy continue to provide sleepless nights for human resources professionals, a panel of experts told suburban business executives Thursday at the Daily Herald Business Ledger Newsmakers Forum on Human Resources, Insurance and Benefits.


    Illinois among states Obama to visit for business ideas

    President Barack Obama will visit Illinois and two other Midwest states as he continues to solicit ideas on the economy with small-business owners and workers.

    Trader William Long works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

    U.S. stock futures rise after week of wild swings

    WASHINGTON — U.S. stock index futures are rising after a week of massive gains and losses on Wall Street. Shares have been swinging by hudreds of points each day as traders react with hair triggers to news about the economy, Federal Reserve policy and a financial crisis that threatens to spill over into U.S. banks.

    Train drivers salute as a CRH high-peed train arrives at Beijing South Station in Beijing Friday.

    China’s enthusiasm for high-speed rail stalls

    BEIJING — China’s infatuation with high-speed rail soured at bullet train velocity.Six months ago, the rail network was a success symbol and the basis of a planned high-tech export industry. But after a July crash that killed 40 people, Beijing has suspended new construction and is recalling problem-plagued trains, raising questions about the future of such prestige projects.It was an extraordinary reversal for a project that once enjoyed political status on a level with China’s manned space program.High-speed rail has been, along with nuclear power, among an array of areas where critics warn that breakneck, government-driven development might be jeopardizing public safety and adding to financial risks.In nuclear power, Beijing said earlier this year that it would press ahead with its rapid expansion of China’s industry despite Japan’s Fukushima disaster.But with bullet trains, the July 23 collision combined with experts’ warnings about costs and dangers to persuade Beijing to take the rare step of scaling back a major project — a move that might have repercussions in other fields and could affect the appeal of Chinese technology abroad.“If they are taking one step back to think again about these railway programs, more broadly it should have an impact on their overall planning of such projects,” said Xianfang Ren, chief China economist for IHS Global Insight.Policymakers are deciding China needs to “rectify the excesses” of its system and slow an unsustainably fast expansion, Ren said in a report. “It is quite clear now that stepping on the brake is the only viable policy option.”The train disaster has been a high-profile illustration of the weaknesses of government-led development, though no one expects the ruling Communist Party to change what many see as the root problem — its pervasive role in the economy, technology and industry.In economics, the ruling party has traded most elements of central planning for market-style reforms. But in science, it still sees direct government involvement as essential to achieving its goal of transforming China from a nation of farmers and factory workers into a prosperous creator of technology.The government has issued development plans for fields from clean energy to computers and has promised money for research and other support.That strategy has led to complaints that decision-making is politicized, authorities ignore environmental and other costs and public money is wasted on dubious projects such as the development of a Chinese mobile phone standard that attracted few users abroad.“The government plays a leading role in all these public projects, which should not really be the case,” said Zhao Jian, a railway expert at Beijing Jiaotong University and one of the most prominent critics of high-speed rail plans.Even before the July crash, the bullet train was a target of critics who said it was dangerously fast and too expensive for a society where the poor majority need more low-cost transportation, not record-setting speeds.Warnings by Zhao and other experts prompted Beijing to cut the top speed in April from 350 kph (220 mph) to 300 kph (190 mph).This week, the government announced another speed reduction for second-tier trains and said it was launching a nationwide safety inspection. On Friday, the manufacturer of bullet trains used on the new Beijing-Shanghai line recalled 54 trains following repeated delays blamed on equipment failures.Those changes solve immediate problems but fail to get at “deeper trouble,” Zhao said.“I don’t see any signs that the government is doing anything to expand this overhaul to other areas or even reshape its development pattern,” he said.In nuclear power, Beijing’s rapid expansion of its industry, both to curb reliance on fossil fuels and to support development of Chinese equipment manufacturers, has prompted similar warnings that it is moving too fast and might jeopardize public safety.


    Oil falls below $85 as traders eye EU debt crisis

    SINGAPORE — Oil prices fell below $85 a barrel Friday in Asia as investors tried to make sense of a week of sharp zigzags in the equity and commodities markets.Benchmark oil for September delivery was down $1.08 to $84.64 a barrel at late afternoon Singapore time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Crude rose $2.83, or 3.4 percent, to settle at $85.72 on Thursday.In London, Brent crude was down $1.01 to $107.01 per barrel on the ICE Futures exchange.Crude has dropped from $100 last month and near $115 in May as concerns about the European debt crisis and weakening U.S. economic growth undermined investor confidence. Oil has rebounded from as low as $75.71 earlier this week, whipped around by surges and plunges in global stock markets and quick changes in investor sentiment.“As the interpretation of eurozone conditions ebbs and flows, risk appetite will continue to fluctuate wildly on a day to day basis,” energy analyst Ritterbusch and Associates said in a report. “Growing eurozone debt problems will remain regardless of short-term fixes.”Oil is now the same price as in February, before violence in Libya shut down almost all crude production from the OPEC nation.The Labor Department said Thursday that the number of people who applied for unemployment benefits fell last week below 400,000 for the first time in four months, a sign that the job market may be improving. Traders will be closely watching the latest data on U.S. retail sales and consumer sentiment later Friday.“We anticipate a renewed turn back to the downside that could evolve into fresh lows as early as next week,” Ritterbusch said. “Our longer term outlook remains bearish as we still see an eventual crude price decline to the $73 1/2 area.”Some analysts expect strong crude demand in emerging economies, such as China, to offset weaker growth in the U.S., Europe and Japan. National Australia Bank said it forecasts crude will average $93 in the third quarter and $100 in the fourth.“We still expect oil prices to grow over the medium term,” NAB said in a report. “The growth outlook in the developing world remains robust and should help absorb any further downward pressure on prices.”In other Nymex trading in September contracts, heating oil fell 0.7 cent to $2.89 a gallon while gasoline dropped 0.3 cent at $2.82 a gallon. Natural gas futures advanced 0.6 cents at $4.11 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Life & Entertainment

    Chord Overstreet, Kevin McHale, Cory Monteith and Lea Michele bring down the house in “Glee: The 3D Concert Movie.”

    Performances make ‘Glee' movie tolerable

    “Glee: The 3D Concert Movie” makes you realize just how crucial Jane Lynch is to the Fox TV show's success. She's nowhere to be found in this peppy concert film, shot over two days during the recent North American tour, and her trademark snark as cheerleading coach Sue Sylvester is sorely missed. Instead what we're left with are the musical performances, which are admittedly glossy, high-energy and infectious, but they seem awfully earnest on their own.

    3 Doors Down with lead singer Brad Arnold has released its fifth studio album, "Time Of My Life."

    3 Doors Down takes new approach with ‘Time'

    Multiplatinum rock band 3 Doors Down is moving forward by looking back. “The title of this album really kind of hits it on the head, ‘Time of My Life.' It talks about a lot of things that went on in the past,” says lead singer Brad Arnold.

    The birthday girl gets a group picture, while each attendee goes home with a photo from their personal photo session.

    Venues make birthday parties easy and fun

    Looking for an idea for your child's next birthday party? Whether they love food, dressing up, art or exercise, there are plenty of great options in the area that will take care of the planning and entertaining so you can just enjoy a memorable celebration.

    Marko Germar, Sasha Mallory, Melanie Moore and Tadd Gadduang, faced off in the dance competition series "So You Think You Can Dance." Moore was named the winner Thursday.

    'So You Think You Can Dance' crowns champion

    Melanie Moore easily clinched the grand prize on "So You Think You Can Dance." Viewer votes overwhelmingly awarded the pixie-haired 19-year-old college student from Marietta, Ga., the title of "America's Favorite Dancer" and the $250,000 cash prize. Moore bested fierce runner-up Sasha Mallory, 23, of Bakersfield, Calif., and powerful third-place finisher Marko Germar, 22, of Los Angeles.

    Windham Lane homes typify those in the Bloomfield Hills subdivision of Bloomingdale.

    Neighborhood profile: Bloomfield Hills, Bloomingdale

    The Bloomfield Hills community in Bloomingdale is home to many families. “This is a stable community with little turnover because people tend to stay. There are a lot of original owners who live here,” says real estate broker Kathy Maykut.


    Former Warrant lead singer Jani Lane dies at 47

    Jani Lane, the former lead singer of the metal rock band Warrant, has died in Los Angeles. He was 47. Officer Sara Faden says Lane's body was found Thursday in a Woodland Hills hotel. She had no immediate information on the cause or circumstances of his death.

    Singer Christina Aguilera will be part of the lineup for the Michael Jackson tribute concert in October.

    Aguilera to perform at Jackson tribute concert

    Christina Aguilera is lending her voice to a Michael Jackson tribute concert planned for October in Wales. Organizers of "Michael Forever — The Tribute Concert" announced that Aguilera would be joined by members of the Jackson family, Cee Lo Green, Leona Lewis and the band Alien Ant Farm, which is known for its cover of Jackson's song "Smooth Criminal."

    “Captain America: Super Soldier” doesn't pose too much of a challenge for gamers.

    ‘Captain' game a weak shadow of the hero

    Pegged to the release of the blockbuster film, “Captain America: Super Soldier” launches you right into combat with the baddies. But ... they're easily defeated. Almost too easily.

    Cee Lo Green headlines Macy's 13th annual Glamorama 2011 at the Chicago Theatre.

    Weekend picks: Cee Lo leads Chicago fashion night

    Looking for something to do? Cee Lo marries his music with fashion at Glamorama 2011 Friday, Louie Anderson pays a visit to Schaumburg and the Tall Ships are spending their last weekend at Navy Pier.


    Super Handyman: Tips for pipe-leak preparedness

    The sound of a water fountain is peaceful ... but not when it’s INSIDE your house! Quick, grab a towel, but then what? Let us help you be better prepared for such a disaster.

    Fleet Foxes has added an extra show at the Chicago Theatre.

    Tickets on sale Aug. 12-19
    Tickets on sale for Friday, Aug. 12, 2011.

    The official study guide for the ACT test, published by the creators of the ACT test.

    Prep before the test Entrance exam scores pave college, career path

    There is no more stressful time for parents and students than when they are gearing up for those all-important college entrance exams. Parents are aware how much of their child’s future is dependent upon scoring well. It determines where they will study and the quality of the degree they ultimately receive. It also determines whether they will be offered an academic scholarship to help defray the high cost of that education.


    The nation’s housing: Home write-offs: endangered species?

    WASHINGTON -- If you take mortgage interest tax deductions, the next 100 days could have significant financial implications for you, thanks to Congress’ new federal debt ceiling plan.


    Home inspector: Seller irate over home inspection

    Q. The people who are buying my house just invaded my space with a nosy home inspector, and you should see the crazy repair list they hit me with. Just for samples, they want replacement of some moldings and a new bathtub drain stopper.


    About Real Estate: Tips for buying a ‘fixer-upper’

    Homes that need repairs typically are offered at a deep discount, but buyers must be careful.

    Contestant Jeff Mauro, a chef from Chicago, presents to judges Giada De Laurentiis, Bob Tuschman, Susie Fogelson and Iron Chef Michael Simon during an episode of “Food Network Star.”

    Finale to unveil next ‘Food Network Star’

    The next "Food Network Star" will be unveiled Sunday. Finalists include a private chef from Chicago.

    Filet mignon at Sullivan’s Steakhouse

    Dining news: Midsummer special
    Sullivan’s Steakhouse in Lincolnshire offers a jazzy midsummer special: a three-course prix fixe dinner for two for $79, as well as live jazz every night but Sunday.

    Quentin Earl Darrington — center, who starred as Coalhouse Walker in Drury Lane Theatre’s award-winning production of “Ragtime” — joins the national tour of “Memphis.”

    Local theater: Marriott world premiere
    Marriott Theatre premieres a new musical and Light Opera Works revives a classic operetta this week in suburban theater.


    What’s new in theaters: Aug. 12-19
    Theater Wit’s improvised play, "Shot N/A Beer,” runs at 10:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 12, and Saturday, Aug. 13, at 1229 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago. Chicago bartender and performer Alex Peters directs the show which examines life inside a neighborhood bar. The $15 ticket price includes one beer.


    Night life: Band performs at Ballydoyle
    Catch Allison Wonder Band at Bloomingdale’s Ballydoyle Irish Pub and Restaurant Saturday. Toast the high-energy female-fronted rock cover band with $5 bombs and Jameson all night long.


    Suburban clubs
    Singer Sharon Hartley performs hits of legendary female rockers Stevie Nicks, Blondie, Janis Joplin and others at Caboose's Bar & Grill in Geneva.



    Improving the response to flooding

    Many residents still cleaning up basements that flooded July 23 are frustrated by how their towns handled the deluge. A Daily Herald editorial calls on local leaders to move quickly to help them and find ways to reduce future flooding problems.


    Putting the power with the states

    Washington, D.C., hasn’t been doing a great job of late handling its enumerated powers. Asking the states or the people to deal with the rest may not be a bad idea.


    The death of a principled moderate

    Some of his fellow Christians may not have always agreed with Mark Hatfield, but they couldn’t accuse him of hypocrisy. He consistently lived by the standards he professed and challenged others to do the same.


    Keep the people safe from governors
    I am neutral on video poker and slot machines. However to keep out townspeople safe from societal stigmas I suggest a separate “governor’s room.” We would all be safer.


    (No heading)
    In Des Plaines now, after drinking all day and angry at losing all their money, the casino patrons get in their cars to drive the same roads as you and your family.


    Nothing positive about the changes
    The president was very eloquent in expressing how he would bring hope and change to our country and how business is done in Washington. Here we are 2½ years later. The only changes have been negative: the economy has tanked despite massive government spending, unemployment is higher, and respect for our country is at an all-time low.


    Candidate pledges defy democracy
    Grayslake letter to the editor: There are those who would require our candidates to abide only to a pledge’s tightly scripted approach when dealing with such issues as tax policy, spending restraint, entitlement reform, and abortion, among others.Such candidate pledges are folly.


    Tea party won, but America lost
    I sincerely hope all Americans remember this debacle in November 2012 and vote out of office every politician who was more concerned about “winning” the game so they had their “issue” for next year’s primaries and pushing the ideological agenda than doing what was best for the country.


Aug 2011

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