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Daily Archive : Sunday July 1, 2012

News

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    Cover of “Read Your Tax Bill” in Sunday’s Daily Herald.

    Cook County treasurer markets easy availability of tax information

    Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas, in an effort to highlight the amount of information she is now making available about taxes at cookcountytreasurer.com, placed a 139-page insert inside today's printed copies of the Daily Herald distributed in Cook County. Pappas said her compilation of tax data is the first of its kind in the nation and that it was inspired by a very fundamental reason:...

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    Even the severe storms that swept through the area Sunday couldn't interfere with the preparations of barbecue ribs for judging during the Naperville Ribfest competition.

    Ribfest crowns tasty lineup of winners

    Rain may have delayed Sunday's edition of the Naperville Exchange Club's 25th annual Ribfest, but even the strongest storms couldn't postpone the judging of the annual rib competition. When the judges finished their duties, Armadillo's was declared the winner in the best ribs category and best sauce honors went to Porky N' Beans.

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    Rocker Joe Walsh talks about his support for Tammy Duckworth for the 8th Congressional District of Illinois during an appearance for her campaign at John Barleycorn in Schaumburg Sunday night.

    Eagles' Joe Walsh sings Tammy Duckworth's praises at concert

    Joe Walsh put his arm around Tammy Duckworth, the Democrat running in the 8th Congressional District race, and said she would be "a breath of fresh air" and a "voice of reason" in Washington D.C. No, those words didn't come from U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh, Duckworth's Republican opponent. They came from legendary singer and guitarist Joe Walsh, who performed at a fundraising concert Sunday on...

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    28-year-old drowns in Lake Villa lake

    A 28-year-old Chicago man drowned while attempting to swim to shore from a boat in Lake Villa's Deep Lake Sunday afternoon. Lukasz Barabasz's friends lost sight of him as they were rowing back to a resort and later found his body near the resort's swimming area, according to police.

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    A crowd of 123 gathered at Community Park in Palatine on Sunday to get in the “Guinness Book of World Records” for the most people playing handheld video games at one time. The event as served as a fundraiser for Relay For Life and the American Cancer Society.

    Palatine gamers set Guinness record for handheld game playing

    Andrew McCurley, of Palatine, now has claim to four world records. He joined 122 others at the village's Hometown Fest on Sunday to set a Guinness World Record for most people playing handheld games at the same time in the same place. McCurley also helped set records for the largest number of people simultaneously high-fiving, dressed up as superheroes, and in harmonica band. “Seems like a...

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    Kanye West, left, and Jay-Z accept the award for best group for “The Throne” at the BET Awards on Sunday in Los Angeles.

    Beyonce, Kanye, Jay-Z win at BET Awards

    Cissy Houston's tribute to her late daughter was the emotional highlight of Sunday's BET Awards, a show that was defined by extended bleeps and the vulgarities that censors failed to catch onstage throughout the night. Whitney Houston's mother gave a rousing performance of "Bridge Over Troubled Water" that left the crowd in tears. But the nearly four-hour BET Awards was more like the Bleep...

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    Enrique Pena Nieto, presidential candidate for the Revolutionary Institutional Party (PRI), shows his ink-stained thumbs after he cast his vote during general elections in Atlacomulco, Mexico, Sunday.

    PRI president: Polls irreversibly favor Pena Nieto

    The president of Mexico's formerly long-ruling party says all polls "irreversibly" show that the Institutional Revolutionary Party will return to presidency after 12 years out of office.

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    Tammy Duckworth, left, opposes Joe Walsh in the 8th Congressional District for the 2012 General Election.

    Rep. Joe Walsh says Obamacare is “the issue in 2012”

    On the same day that musician Joe Walsh gave a concert in Schaumburg in honor of Tammy Duckworth, the candidate for the 8th Congressional District, Duckworth's opponent, Joe Walsh, delivered a performance of his own at a town-hall meeting in Elk Grove Village. Before a packed room at Belvedere Events & Banquets, Walsh stoked the partisan fires as he gave his interpretation of the significance of...

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    Cars wait in a traffic line on Vindicator Drive to check in at Eagleview Middle School in order to view their homes Sunday in Colorado Springs, Colo. Even people who know their homes are still standing have some anxiety over temporary visits being allowed today to wildfire-devastated neighborhoods around Colorado Springs.

    ’Unreal’: Residents tour Colo. blaze devastation

    Melted bowling balls in the front yard were among the strange sights that met C.J. Moore upon her return Sunday to her two-story home, now reduced to ashes by the worst wildfire in Colorado history.

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    Round Lake Exchange Club honors

    The Round Lake Area Exchange Club awarded Bruce Johnson as The Exchangite of the Year and Judy Armstrong as Outstanding Past President at the Annual Installation Breakfast held on June 27.

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    Dist. 95 preschool screening

    Lake Zurich Unit District 95 will offer a preschool screening on Thursday, July 19 for 3- and 4-year-old children for whom there may be concerns in the areas of gross or fine motor skills, speech-language, or conceptual development.

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    Andre Dawson book signing

    Former Chicago Cub and Hall of Famer Andre Dawson, will sign copies of his new memoir, "If You Love This Game: An MVP's Life in Baseball" at the Vernon Hills Sam's Club on Monday, July 2 from 7 to 8:30 p.m.

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    Storyteller coming to Ela library

    Professional storyteller and actor Paddy Lynn returns to the Ela Area Public Library in Lake Zurich with a fun-filled storytime adventure on Wednesday, July 11.

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    In this May 14, 1968, photo, President Lyndon Johnson, right, poses at the White House with four winners of the nation’s highest award, the Medal of Honor. Decorated for valor in Vietnam, they are, from left: Air Force Capt. Gerald O. Young, Navy Bosn’s Mate James E. Williams, Marine Sgt. Richard A. Pittman and Army Spc. 5 Charles C. Hagmeister

    Veterans angered over overturned lying law

    Jack Jacobs can proudly — and truthfully — say he was awarded the Medal of Honor for his valor in Vietnam. After a recent Supreme Court ruling, anyone else is free under the First Amendment to make the same claim, whether it's true or not. A lot veterans aren't happy about it.

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    Mundelein teen dies in one-vehicle crash near Grayslake

    Lake County Sheriff's deputies are investigating a one-vehicle crash near Grayslake early Sunday morning that took the life of a 17-year-old boy. Harrison C. Fischer of Mundelein was the only person in the vehicle and was pronounced dead at the scene, said Lake County Coroner Artis Yancey.

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    Man found dead after police standoff in Algonquin

    An Algonquin man was found dead in his home from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound after a standoff with police Sunday afternoon. Officers from a half dozen law enforcement agencies, including a SWAT unit from the McHenry County Sheriff's Office, responded to the home in the 900 block of Glacier Parkway after Algonquin police received a call 11 a.m. call about a suicidal man in his home...

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    Tyler Taylor, 14, of Falls Church, Va., walks across a large downed tree in Falls Church, Va., Sunday. A severe storm late Friday knocked out power to approximately one million residents, traffic signals and businesses in the region.

    Mid-Atlantic power outages could last days

    A day after seeking refuge at shopping malls and movie theaters, hoping the lights would be back on when they returned, 3 million residents faced a grim reality Sunday: stifling homes, spoiled food and a looming commute filled with knocked-out stoplights.

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    Two McHenry Co. teens killed in single-vehicle crash

    Two 16-year-old McHenry County boys died early Sunday in a single-vehicle car crash near Woodstock, authorities said. Alec J. Kaiser and Jacob S. Norys, both of Woodstock, were in a 2010 Hyundai Elantra that crashed into a brick pillar and a tree about 2 a.m. Sunday, according the McHenry County Sheriff's Office.

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    Ivan Umphress, of Streator, Ill., sits on the porch of his home. Umphress had his right arm amputated after surviving a Dec. 13, 1946, train accident in Mansfield, Ohio, while he was enlisted in the U.S. Army.

    Memories of 1946 train crash don’t fade with time

    OTTAWA, Ill. — For Ivan Umphress, Friday the 13th is a day to be reckoned with.That was the day, in December 1946, the Streator man’s life changed forever.

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    A GFC Bale Band-It is seen outside company headquarters in Pittsfield, Ill. Owen Brown developed the Bale Band-it after soil erosion on his land forced him to switch from row crops to raising hay. Since the best demand was for small square bales, and labor-saving equipment on the market did not impress him, he decided to design his own. He sold the first unit in 1999 and since has sold units in the U.S. Canada, South Africa, Great Britain and Australia. His company GFC (God, Family and Country), will host the 2012 Illinois Forage Expo in July.

    Downstate farmer scores big with hay-bailer invention

    PITTSFIELD, Ill. — Owen Brown turned a trade-off into a profit thanks to some problem-solving skills. With soil erosion a concern on his farmland southwest of Pittsfield, Brown targeted raising hay instead of row crops and trying to meet the market demand.

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    A map outlines what towns pull water from the Mahomet Aquifer in Illinois.

    What is the Mahomet Aquifer?

    CLINTON, Ill. — The Mahomet Aquifer, an important source of drinking water for central Illinois, is a formation of sand and gravel that runs roughly from the Indiana state line west to the Illinois River in Cass County.

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    Aspen

    Fourth of July can be stressful time for your pet

    The Fourth of July is almost here. Families and friends getting together outside for picnics, BBQs, games of Frisbee, inspiring parades, and when the sun goes down, fireworks. Independence Day can be very stressful on some of our pets. While some dogs can sleep peacefully through the booming and noise of the fireworks display, other dogs have a difficult time.

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    Pace will become the beneficiary of a new influx of federal transit funds along with the CTA and Metra.

    Transportation bill good for Chicago area, officials say

    Illinois will get a chunk of change for highways and transit now that Congress has ended its squabbling on a new transportation funding bill. But funding for the Elgin O'Hare extension and other items on the region's wishlist isn't a slam dunk.

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    Riders with disabilities protest proposed fare hikes at Pace headquarters in Arlington Heights in 2009.

    Budget problems loom for paratransit

    Once again, Pace is challenged to balance its budget for providing rides to disabled passengers. And a new influx of cash from sales taxes isn't enough. "We need to monitor this throughout the year," RTA Chairman John S. Gates Jr. said.

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    Thompson Square — with Shawna, left, and Keifer Thompson — is among the nationally touring acts performing this year at Ribfest. Booking a five-day lineup of big-name acts takes a lot of work — the planning is year-round, says Matt Kaley, Ribfest's entertainment chairman.

    Ribfest planning is a year-round effort

    The Naperville Exchange Club's Ribfest celebration may begin and end over a period of five days, but the planning is year-round. Budgets need to be set, bands need to be booked and efforts need to be coordinated for the festival, which runs through Tuesday, July 3, at Knoch Park near downtown.

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    Aman enters a building with a sign that prohibits smoking within 20 feet of the door on the University at Buffalo campus in Buffalo, N.Y. Tobacco use bans are sweeping campuses nationwide.

    Colleges move toward absolute bans on smoking

    Bans on use, advertising and sales of tobacco in all its forms are being enacted or considered at perhaps half of college campuses nationwide, sometimes over the objections of student smokers, staff and faculty. The movement is driven by mounting evidence of the health risks of secondhand smoke, the reduced costs of smoke-free dorms and a drive to minimize enticements to smoke at a critical age...

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    Dr. Amy Bobrowski and Tina Saavedra, of Carpentersville, discuss Nathan's recovery since the successful kidney transplant at Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago, which occurred June 21. Nathan, 3, is off the ventilator and recovery is looking smooth at this point. Bobrowski said he could go home as soon as the Fourth of July. “I think there's been a lot of tears ... for happiness shed for Nathan's story,” Bobrowski said.

    Doctor: Kidney in Carpentersville boy working 'perfectly,' he could go home this week

    Those rooting for Nathan Saavedra, 3, of Carpentersville, are hopeful that the new kidney he just received marks the beginning of a new Nathan. He remains in intensive care on oxygen, but if all continues to go well, he could be home by the Fourth of July. "It's definitely in reach, but we make no promises," his doctor said.

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    Tammy Duckworth, left, opposes Joe Walsh in the 8th Congressional District for the 2012 General Election.

    Healthcare ruling affects suburban candidates' spin

    Some suburban congressional candidates in swing districts are tempering their statements on the Supreme Court's decision on the Affordable Care Act as they seek to draw independent votes in the Nov. 6 election. The question is "who can put who on the defensive," said Bruce Newman, a political marketing professor at DePaul University in Chicago.

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    Carlos Robles, left, and his brother Rafael say they are thankful for the Obama administration's policy that allows many young immigrants staying in the United States illegally to step out of the shadows and obtain driver's licenses and jobs and to continue their education.

    Sen. Durbin highlights Palatine brothers for DREAM Act

    Apprehended by immigration officers during a train trip to visit a buddy at Harvard University and fearing deportation, the Robles brothers of Palatine are thrilled with the recent change in immigration policy that allows them to continue their college careers and keep their dreams of eventually becoming U.S. citizens. "Would America be a better place if Carlos and Rafael are deported? Of course,...

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    Belle Staurowsky of Oakwood Hills spent April in India training girls who are victims of sex trafficking in self-defense. Here she makes a Shotokan karate move.

    McHenry County woman teaches self-defense to sex-trafficking victims

    Belle Staurowsky, 48, of Oakwood Hills, is the founder of Green Tara Project, which teaches self-defense to girls who are victims of human sex trafficking. "One girl had probably about 12 cigarette burns on one arm. Another had her front tooth knocked out," Staurowsky said of girls she has trained on two trips to India.

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    Kofi Annan, Joint Special Envoy of the United Nations and the Arab League for Syria, speaks Saturday during a news conference following the Action Group on Syria meeting in the Palace of Nations at the United Nations’ Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.

    Syria conference leaves open Assad question

    An international conference on Saturday accepted a U.N.-brokered peace plan that calls for the creation of a transitional government in Syria, but at Russia's insistence the compromise agreement left the door open to Syria's president being part of it.

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    Bicyclist hurt in accident near Glendale Heights

    DuPage County Sheriff's police are investigating a hit-and-run accident that injured a bicyclist near Glendale Heights Saturday morning.

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    Alberto Ulage is an Aurora business owner who voted in the Mexican presidential election via absentee ballot. He believes Mexicans abroad must make an effort to vote.

    Few in suburbs cast absentee ballots for Mexican president

    Blanca Trejo, 39, a student at College of DuPage, is among about 45,500 Mexicans living in the United States who registered to vote from abroad in today's Mexican presidential election. But most, like Elginite Jaime Garcia, aren't voting. "Yes, I had the chance, but I just never did it. I guess it just wasn't a priority."

Sports

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    The Cubs will have two representatives at this year's MLB All-Star Game in Kansas City. Shortstop Starlin Castro was named to the NL team, and Bryan LaHair was selected as a reserve.

    All-Star Game nods to Cubs’ Castro, LaHair
    Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro was named to the MLB All-Star Game for the second consecutive year, and the Cubs also got a surprise selection when first baseman Bryan LaHair was named to the NL squad as a reserve.

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    Tiger Woods hits onto the 16th fairway during the final round of the AT&T National at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Md., Sunday.

    Woods’ win caps wild weekend in Washington

    One day after spectators were kept away from the golf course because of debris from a violent wind storm, they returned Sunday in full force and got what they expected — Tiger Woods in his red shirt, outlasting Bo Van Pelt in a back-nine duel, and posing with another trophy.

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    Sky rallies to stop losing streak at 4

    The Chicago Sky's hair-raising 71-69 victory Sunday over the Atlanta Dream at the Allstate Arena sure had the feel of the improbable magic that Epiphanny Prince worked early in the season.

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    Omer Asik (3) dunks in front of Charlotte Bobcats’ D.J. White (8) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Charlotte, N.C., Wednesday, April 18, 2012. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

    Rockets’ offer to Asik may be too big for Bulls to match

    The Bulls always loved Omer Asik's potential to become a quality all-around center. So do the Houston Rockets. According to multiple reports, the Rockets came to an agreement Sunday with Asik for an offer sheet of $25.1 million over three years.

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    Travis Wood waves to the crowd as he walks back to the dugout after relief pitcher Shawn Camp replaced him during the eighth inning Sunday at Wrigley Field.

    ‘Dominating outing’ by Cubs’ Wood in win over Astros

    Don't look now, but Travis Wood is making a charge for the Cubs. The 25-year-old lefty picked up his third straight victory Sunday as the Cubs beat the Houston Astros 3-0 to sweep the three-game series and gain their fifth win in six games.

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    White Sox pitcher Chris Sale was selected to the American League all-star team as a reserve, along with Paul Konerko and Adam Dunn. Two Cubs (Starlin Castro and Bryan LaHair) were named to the NL squad.

    Sale ecstatic to join all-stars Konerko, Dunn

    For the first time since 2006, the Chicago White Sox will send more than two players to the MLB All-Star Game. Pitcher Chris Sale, first baseman Paul Konerko and designated hitter Adam Dunn were all named to the 2012 American League all-star team Monday as reserves. "It's awesome," Sale told reporters after Sunday's announcement. "It's something I've honestly thought about for a long time since I was a kid, playing baseball, being a fan of baseball. I was kind of speechless. They told me. It was just crazy."

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    Associated Press Cubs starter Travis Wood waves to the crowd as he walks back to the dugout Sunday in the eighth inning at Wrigley Field.

    Wood, Rizzo lead Cubs to sweep over Astros

    Travis Wood pitched shutout ball into the eighth inning and used some nifty baserunning to set up Anthony Rizzo's go-ahead single as the Cubs completed a three-game sweep of the Houston Astros with a 3-0 win on Sunday.

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    Cubs fans, says broadcaster Len Kasper, understand the importance of young slugger Anthony Rizzo, and the hype around his promotion hasn't been too much.

    On long seasons, Rizzo hype and Samardzija woes

    In his weekly Cubs column, broadcaster Len Kasper talks about the "long" season, the hype surrounding Anthony Rizzo, the division race and the struggles of late by pitcher Jeff Samardzija, and why he still believes Samardzija has a chance to develop into a No. 1 starter.

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    The deal for third baseman Kevin Youkilis was a good one, says Chris Rongey, because the White Sox didn't have to give up a top pitching prospect or a reliever off the 25-man squad. The White Sox, Rongey contends, will need every pitcher they have this season.

    On Youkilis, young Sox bullpen and the new Rios

    In his weekly White Sox column, broadcaster Chris Rongey talks about the positives of adding Kevin Youkilis at third base, and explains his view as to why Alex Rios is playing at such a high level this season. He discusses the challenges ahead for a young bullpen.

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    White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski, left, and starting pitcher Gavin Floyd wipe their brows amid the heat and humidity Sunday at Yankee Stadium.

    Yankees outlast Sox in the heat

    Robinson Cano hit a tiebreaking two-run homer after wasting a chance with the bases loaded his first time up against Gavin Floyd, and the New York Yankees again rode the long ball to a 4-2 win Sunday over the White Sox for a series split between division leaders.

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    After earning a a +11 plus/minus rating last season with the Anaheim Ducks, defenseman Sheldon Brookbank has signed a two-year deal with the Chicago Blackhawks, team officials announced Sunday.

    Hawks sign free-agent defenseman Brookbank

    With the first day of the NHL free-agency signing period under way, the Blackhawks agreed to terms with Anaheim defenseman Sheldon Brookbank on a two-year contract. Brookbank, 31, recorded career highs in goals (3), assists (11) and points (14) and led the Anaheim Ducks with a +11 plus/minus rating while appearing in 80 regular-season games in 2011-12.

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    Scouting report: Atlanta Dream at Chicago Sky

    It's Gospel Night, and the Sky, which will host a gospel concert after the game, could use some divine intervention. A loss to Phoenix on Friday extended the Sky's losing streak to four straight.

Business

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    Southwest Airlines plans to sell live television service on five planes and expand it to more aircraft by mid-July. The airline said that it would offer seven sports and news channels for passengers to watch on their own devices. Southwest said it will test prices from $3 to $8 during a trial period. Passengers will need a Wi-Fi-enabled device such as a smartphone, tablet or laptop computer.

    Southwest Airlines to sell live-TV service on 5 planes

    Southwest Airlines plans to sell live television service on five planes and expand it to more aircraft by mid-July. The airline said that it would offer seven sports and news channels for passengers to watch on their own devices. Southwest said it will test prices from $3 to $8 during a trial period. Passengers will need a Wi-Fi-enabled device such as a smartphone, tablet or laptop computer.

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    Pat Burns, of San Diego, prepares her luggage for check-in at Miami International Airport in Miami last Friday. Burns, after an overnight stay in Miami, is traveling to the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador for the Fourth of July holiday. For the first time in five years Independence Day falls on a Wednesday, leaving travelers unsure when to celebrate and worrying those who make a living off tourists.

    Midweek July Fourth causes muddle for travelers

    Who knew the calendar could cause so much vacation heartburn? For the first time in five years Independence Day falls on a Wednesday, leaving travelers unsure when to celebrate and worrying those who make a living off tourists.“The midweek holiday seems to have travelers confused,” said Anthony Del Gaudio, vice president of hotel sales for Loews Hotels, which isn’t seeing the normal July Fourth spike in bookings.

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    Senate Republican Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell said on Sunday of the Affordable Care Act: “We’ve got one last chance here to beat Obamacare, and we can do that in the November election.”

    GOP: Voters will have final say on health care law

    Republican congressional leaders said Sunday that voters — not the Supreme Court — will have the final word on President Barack Obama's health care law come November. And they are betting that the law's unpopularity will be enough to drive Democrats from power.

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    Traders and specialists work on the trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange in New York shortly before the closing bell on Friday.

    Surprise: Stocks are having a strong year

    NEW YORK — For all the scary headlines — a bailout of Spanish banks, JPMorgan’s huge trading loss, the sputtering job market, Facebook’s failed initial public offering — it’s a wonder stocks aren’t down more this year.Actually, stocks aren’t down. That was a trick sentence. At the halfway mark for 2012, stocks are up more than 8 percent.“People think we’re down because memories are short,” says Rex Macey, chief investment officer at Wilmington Trust Investment Advisors. “It feels like the market’s been worse than it actually has.”The year began with investors focusing on corporate America’s record profits and scooping up stocks. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index surged 12 percent from January through March.It looked like that gain might be wiped out in the second quarter. Investors worried about Europe’s inability to find a lasting solution to its debt crisis and about slower job growth in the United States.Then came Friday: European leaders announced a broad strategy to funnel money into failing banks and keep borrowing costs down for governments, and stocks soared around the world.It all left the S&P 500 up a healthy 8.3 percent for the year.What happens next will probably depend on corporate earnings again. For April through June, they are expected to fall 0.7 percent from a year ago, according to S&P Capital IQ, a research firm. That would be the first drop in nearly three years.So far, though, stocks in the U.S. are trouncing those in many countries. European markets are nearly all down this year, and several are down more than 10 percent. And many big emerging markets are struggling. China is down 1 percent, Russia 7 percent and Brazil 14 percent.The backdrop is a darkening economic picture. China’s economy is slowing, consumer confidence in the U.S. has sunk for four straight months, and a report next Friday is expected to show a fourth straight month of weak job growth.As if that weren’t bad enough, U.S. companies, from retailers to consumer goods makers to technology firms, are talking down investor expectations for how much they’ll earn over the next several months, and that is sinking their stocks.In mid-June, defense contractor AAR dropped 11 percent after cutting its outlook. Then Philip Morris fell 3 percent after it trimmed earnings estimates. Ryder System, a truck leasing company, reined in guidance last week and fell 13 percent.Then there’s the sorry case of Bed Bath & Beyond, which had been an investor favorite. It lowered earnings estimates June 21 and disclosed it had to give out more coupons to get people to shop. The stock plummeted 17 percent, erasing in hours most of what it gained over several months.Tally them up, and for every company raising its expected earnings, nearly four are lowering them, according to Thomson Reuters, a financial information company. Projections haven’t been that negative in more than a decade.“We began the year thinking we’d achieved escape velocity,” says Barry Knapp, chief U.S. equity strategist at Barclays Capital. “But the second quarter data has deteriorated.”Well, not all of it. The price of gasoline has dropped to a five-month low, which means Americans have more money to spend elsewhere and boost the economy. And the housing market may finally be recovering.Prices of homes in most major cities rose in April, the latest month for which data are available, and the trend may continue. People have been signing contracts to buy existing homes at the fastest pace in two years, encouraged by low mortgage rates. The average rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage has fallen to 3.66 percent, the lowest on record.James Paulsen, chief investment strategist at Wells Capital Management, says falling gas prices and mortgage rates have kick-started economic growth in the second halves of the previous two years, and he thinks they will this time, too.He thinks the S&P 500 could end 2012 at 1,500, up 19 percent for the year. It closed Friday at 1,362.

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    Symm Vafeades, 33, finishes up an iced coffee and breakfast burrito before finishing his 2-mile commute to work as an architect in Denver, Wednesday, June 27, 2012. Vefeades says he briefly lived in the suburbs of Denver but didnít like being far from work and restaurants.

    Big U.S. cities boom as young adults shun suburbs

    For the first time in a century, most of America's largest cities are growing at a faster rate than their surrounding suburbs as young adults seeking a foothold in the weak job market shun home-buying and stay put in bustling urban centers. Driving the resurgence are young adults, who are delaying careers, marriage and having children amid persistently high unemployment.

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    Work advice: Does the friendship justify the means?

    I have gotten myself into a sticky situation at work. I recently hired a person who is a close personal friend; we have worked really well together on previous occasions. I hired her because she seemed enthusiastic about the work, but her performance, while solid, has not been dazzling.

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    Todd McCracken has spent much of the last quarter century listening to both sides on small business issues — company owners on one side, and policy makers on the other. That has given the CEO of the National Small Business Association the ability to look at issues in an evenhanded way as he advocates for the country’s smallest companies and employers, explaining their needs to lawmakers and government agencies. His job also involves explaining how Washington works to businesses. He reports to a board of 32 small business owners and 65,000 small companies that make up the association’s membership.

    Small business advocate finds middle ground

    Todd McCracken's job brings together two of his great interests — the economy and politics. He studied economics at Trinity University in San Antonio and later came to Washington as a member of the staff of then-Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M. But after six months, he was ready to move on, and in 1988, he took a position as a junior government affairs staffer at the NSBA. In 1997, he became CEO. McCracken spoke with The Associated Press recently about some of the issues involving small business. Here are excerpts from the conversation

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    Lawrence Speidell, Chief Investment Officer for Frontier Market Asset Managment, owns stock in a Rwandan beer company, an Iraqi soft drink bottler and a Palestinian telephone company. Looking to spread their bets in case of another market drop, investors are buying oddball assets and heading to risky corners of the globe.

    Seeking elusive ‘alpha,’ investors scour the globe

    You can leap off a mountainside in extreme skiing, kick and claw to near death in extreme fighting and twist yourself into a pretzel in extreme yoga. Why not turn investing into an adventure sport? Professional money managers are scouring the world for oddball assets, desperate to find anything that moves to its own beat rather than rising and falling with everything else in the financial markets.

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    Ready or not, big changes lie ahead for virtually every U.S. taxpayer next year. Tax cuts put into place under the Bush administration that slashed rates on wages, dividends and capital gains are set to expire at the end of 2012. The Social Security payroll tax cut enacted this year also will end, as will the exemption of millions of middle-class families from the alternative minimum tax.

    Midyear tax checkup makes extra sense this year

    Tax cuts put into place under the Bush administration that slashed rates on wages, dividends and capital gains are set to expire at the end of 2012. The Social Security payroll tax cut enacted this year also will end, as will the exemption of millions of middle-class families from the alternative minimum tax. It behooves you to spend a little time examining your own situation ahead of time. A midyear tax review always makes sense, but more so than ever this year.

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    President Barack Obama campaigns at Hillsborough Community College in Tampa, Fla., on June 22. A federal-court decision has created the possibility that some public television and radio stations that are perpetually challenged financially could see a windfall of cash from political advertising. Stations that get that chance would have to weigh whether the money is worth the risk of alienating their audiences. The Kantar Media Campaign Media Analysis Group estimates as much as $3.3 billion could be spent on such advertising this year, up from $2.1 billion in 2008. Stations that benefit most will be in presidential battleground states.

    Some public stations can air political ads, but should they?

    A federal court decision has created the possibility that some public television and radio stations that are perpetually challenged financially could see a windfall of cash from political advertising. Stations that get that chance would have to weigh whether the money is worth the risk of alienating their audiences. "I haven't spoken with many of my colleagues about this," said Bill Davis, president of South California Public Radio. "But my hope is that they would have the good sense not to take these ads."

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    A new study shows 43 percent of workers have watched TV or a movie while “working” remotely.

    What people really do when they work from home

    Most bosses are dubious about the telecommuting -- and possibly with good reason. A new study shows 43 percent of workers say they've watched TV or a movie while "working" remotely, while 35 percent have done household chores and 28 percent have cooked dinner.

Life & Entertainment

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    Dual-flush toilets are water-savers that let you pick between a full 1.6-gallon flush and a smaller flush of about 1 gallon.

    Ask the plumber: New dual-flush toilets can be twice as easy to use

    Q. My present toilet is located under a shelf and I want to replace it since it is old and uses a lot of water per flush. I want to get a dual-flush style, but the toilets I have seen have buttons on top of the tank and this will not work with my built-in shelf. Do they make regular-looking side-lever dual-flush toilets?

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    Natural stone can be a great choice for any bathroom. However, it’s always best to talk to floor-tile and countertop experts to match up the best stone choices for your countertops, walls and floors.

    Ask the plumber: Stone-cold facts for a new bathroom

    Q. My wife and I are planning to install a new bathroom. We want this to be a green-style bathroom with as many natural products as possible. Can you please give us some information on popular natural-stone products that can be used in the bathroom?

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    Rev.,” a BBC comedy that's available in the United States exclusively on Hulu.

    Turn to the Brits for clergy-based TV shows

    This summer, one reviewer suggests you aim your browser to Hulu, Netflix or Amazon and puzzle over the odd role of vicars and priests in British and Irish life by streaming some great sitcoms and dramas about the clergy.

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    Friends for Life Summer Camp volunteers — from left, Mandy Mckimmy, 12; Daniela Evans, 11; and Casey Hahn, 12 — play with a Chihuahua mix female dog June 25 at the P.D. Pitchford Companion Animal Village & Education Center in Long Beach, Calif. Summer at animal shelters across the country means more animals, more work, more bills and more worries. And there are sometimes fewer staffers, volunteers and donations to handle it.

    Summer months spell trouble for animal shelters

    At the majority of animal shelters in the country, kittens make up problem Nos. 1 through 10 every summer, said Dr. Kate F. Hurley, director of the Koret Shelter Medicine Program at the University of California at Davis Center for Companion Animal Health. "People are more likely to get a dog fixed than a cat, more likely to microchip a dog than a cat and more likely to claim a dog than a cat. Cats are the throwaways, and we end up with way too many litters," said Barbara Bruin, director of the Albuquerque Animal Welfare Department..

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    This image from video released by Sauza shows a fireman holding a bottle of Sauza Tequila for a video directed by Matt Lenski for the “Make it with a Fireman” campaign. The ad, launched in April, reflects a shift in spirits marketing as some producers look beyond traditional male-oriented campaigns.

    Ads for spirits go after female demographic

    Maybe it's the ad's strikingly handsome spokesman dressed in fireman's gear. Maybe it's the fact that his shirt has a winsome habit of disappearing, revealing sculpted pecs. Maybe it's the beret-wearing kitten he chats with. In French. Whatever the reason, you don't have to watch Sauza Blue Tequila's latest YouTube video long before realizing this is not exactly your father's liquor ad. Or your boyfriend's.

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    Paloma Herrera and Angel Corella in “Swan Lake” in New York in 2005. After 17 years with ABT, Corella bids farewell this week to his many U.S. fans with one final performance of “Swan Lake.” He is retiring from ABT to focus on the Barcelona Ballet, the company he founded and directs in Spain.

    Farewell to a ‘charming’ ballet dancer

    In the ballet world, they call him the charming one. In fact, the word "charming" is used so often to describe Angel Corella, American Ballet Theatre's dashing Spanish star, that it seems to have become part of his name. But anyone seeking to disprove the thesis that Corella, now 36, is eternally charming will be sorely disappointed by sitting down with him. His famously sunny smile is in ready supply. He speaks with abundant generosity of the many ballerinas he's partnered. And he seems to be in awe of the 17-year ABT career that he's been privileged to have — and is about to end.

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    The Olympic rings sit atop the iconic Tower Bridge over the Thames in London. The giant rings will remain in position for the duration of the London 2012 Games.

    Final Olympic countdown for London

    The stadium is up and ready to go, the final rehearsals all completed. In central London's main shopping district, rows of giant flags representing 206 countries flutter over Regent Street, reminding even the most focused shopper: The Olympics are here. London's cheerleading mayor, Boris Johnson, has long boasted that the British capital is more than ready for "the greatest Olympics ever."

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    Contest winners Matt and Anne Edwards, with 10-month-old daughter Katherine, won a grand prize of a $25,000 basement makeover from Matrix Basement Finishing System.

    Arlington Heights couple no longer owns 'ugliest' basement

    Matt and Anne Edwards have lived in their ranch home in the suburbs for two years, and they'll be the first to admit the basement was bad. Real bad. Their basement was so ugly, in fact, the Arlington Heights couple won the Ugliest Basement contest by Matrix Basement Finishing System.

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    U.S. Mint in Philly reopens with new tour

    The last time the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia upgraded its public exhibits, Richard Nixon was in the first year of his presidency and The Beatles had just performed their final concert. On Tuesday, July 3, the Mint opens to the public with a new $3.9 million self-guided tour that is the first update since 1969.

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    U.S. President Abraham Lincoln (Benjamin Walker) has an ax to grind with undead citizens sucking the life out of red-blooded American voters in “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.”

    What if other Founding Fathers were vampire hunters?

    It makes sense that Abraham Lincoln, known for his youthful rail-splitting abilities, would be a top pick to take on vampires, as he does in "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter." But go back a generation and you'll find that some of our local Founding Fathers (and one Mother) had the goods to take on an army of bloodsuckers.

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    Ductless air conditioning is easily installed

    Q. My wife and I are getting too old to install window air conditioners each year. We are considering central air. Is it more cost-effective to have a licensed contractor perform the installation during the peak season, or would we save money by having the work done between Labor Day and early December?

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    Stroll the Esplanade among more than 80 juried artists exhibiting art with a botanic theme, July 6-8, at the Chicago Botanic Garden.

    On the road: Botanic garden hosts art festival

    Art and nature go hand in hand at the Chicago Botanic Garden Art Festival where you can stroll and shop on the Esplanade and view works by more than 80 juried artists. Also, the Grant Park Orchestra Independence Day concerts commemorate our country's 236th birthday with beloved favorites and a few surprises by Gershwin, Copland, Bernstein, Sousa and others.

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    Show how you care for a couple without the high costs

    Q. Lucky me, about half a dozen of my good friends are getting married in the next three months. I would love to be able to express my happiness for them through a lavish gift, but I'm in my mid-20s and have a limited budget. I have prepared for these costs by setting some money aside throughout the past year, but I'm worried I haven't saved enough.

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    ZZ Top headlines the main Ribfest stage on Sunday, July 1.

    Sunday picks: Yes, that's ZZ Top at Ribfest

    Classic rockers ZZ Top headline Naperville's Ribfest tonight. So get some ribs and grab a seat early for this concert. Help celebrate the 110th “birthday” of the Chicago Aurora and Elgin Car 20 trolley with cake, ice cream and trolley rides at the Fox River Trolley Museum in South Elgin. Cap off the day with fireworks at 9:45 p.m. at Lisle's Eyes to the Skies fest.

Discuss

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    Editorial: Dangers to health and the public’s right to know

    Following revelations of official silence in two unrelated cases -- a sludge leak in Schaumburg and investigations into three state nursing homes -- a Daily Herald editorial says such government secrecy must end.

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    Romney’s strategic failure on immigration

    Columnist Michael Gerson: Very few coast to the presidency based on the failures of others. A challenger who does not shape his own image will have it shaped for him.

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    Supreme politics

    Columnist Susan Estrich: The president's speech reacting to the ruling was one of the first times I've heard him carefully, succinctly and convincingly explain everything that is good about the bill.

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    Bible believers must show compassion
    An Arlington Heights letter to the editor: Love and compassion comes from within ourselves, something that many lack even when they sit in a house of worship every Sunday.

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    Concealed carry could lower crime
    An Elk Grove Village letter to the editor: If you don't want to carry, it is your right, but the rest of us would like to protect ourselves and our loved ones.

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    Put a Republican back in White House
    A Mount Prospect letter to the editor: President Obama's lack of experience and socialist background has to have our forefathers spinning in their graves because we are a republic, not a socialist state.

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    Jim Davis, DuPage editor, rib judge. Wearing his official Ribfest judge’s shirt.

    Judging at Naperville Ribfest no laughing matter

    It's been a while since DuPage Editor Jim Davis served as a rib judge at Naperville's Ribfest. He observes that it seems to be a much more formal process today, as he prepares to take the "Rib Judges Oath."

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