Daily Archive : Thursday August 16, 2012


    Frank Kania was photographer for several USO shows during World War II. Here, in August 1944, Patty Thomas and Bob Hope entertain the troops.

    100th birthday, Honor Flight key memories of Hoffman Estates man

    Frank Kania was the life of the party at his 100th birthday bash, held Aug. 2 at the assisted living facility in Hoffman Estates where he lived. "He was so sharp and had a great sense of humor," Mayor Bill McLeod said. Just eight days later, Kania died.


    ‘A Christmas Carol’ auditions Aug. 28 in Libertyville

    An audition call for third to ninth graders for the Charles Dickens' classic "A Christmas Carol" ise set for 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 28, at the Improve Theater, 735 N. Milwaukee Ave., Libertyville.


    6 arrested after Schaumburg standoff involving 19

    Six people were arrested after a standoff with 19 people who barricaded themselves in a Schaumburg apartment ended peacefully Thursday morning, police said. A woman was heard screaming to be let out of the apartment, and a person was taken to the hospital when the standoff was over about 6:30 a.m.


    Northwest suburban police blotter

    Two men were charged with felony aggravated battery of a 41-year-old man outside Rivers Casino in Des Plaines. Reports and videotape indicate one of the men punched the victim in the face two times, caught him again in the parking lot, punching him, pulling him to the ground, kicking him in the face and stomping on his head, while his partner was laughing and clapping his hands.


    Winfield considering ways to keep police

    As Winfield trustees seek to solidify the details of a controversial plan to disband the village's police force to pay for road repairs, several alternatives geared at keeping the department intact are being proposed. The options include downsizing the Winfield Police Department, asking voters to approve a property tax increase and allowing commercial development along Roosevelt Road.

    Graue Mill and Museum provides demonstrations of early settler activities like spinning and weaving and houses objects pioneers used in their daily lives. “It's really a step back in time,” Executive Director Leslie Goddard said.

    Graue Mill and Museum program links kids to the past

    Children can learn about Native American traditions and legends, and make their own corn husk dolls at Graue Mill and Museum's Make 'n' Take a Corn Husk Doll event, which runs from noon to 3 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 19. "Corn husk dolls were one of things Native Americans passed on to pioneer settlers, so they were extremely popular in both cultures," said Leslie Goddard, executive director at Graue...

    Former Chicago Bears defensive lineman Steve McMichael said he plans to run for mayor of Romeoville.

    Former Bear Steve McMichael plans to run for mayor

    Former Chicago Bears defensive lineman Steve McMichael says he wants to enter the political field after being a star on the football one. McMichael was a fan favorite as a member of the Super Bowl-winning Bears and he says he plans to run for mayor of Romeoville. McMichael is co-owner of Mongo McMichael's sports bar in the suburb.

    Matt Murphy

    Suburban Republicans for governor in 2014?

    Even though there are still months before the 2012 election, several Republicans at a GOP event Thursday were willing to speculate about the party's 2014 opponent to Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn. Republican state Sens. Kirk Dillard of Hinsdale and Matt Murphy of Palatine both said they're gauging support for possible candidacy.


    Powerball ticket worth $337M sold in Michigan

    LAPEER, Mich. — Speculation about who bought the $337 million-winning Powerball ticket at a gas station is the buzz of a small Michigan city.The Michigan Lottery says the ticket was sold in Lapeer, about 45 miles north of Detroit. There wasn’t immediate word about the buyer’s identity.

    Drew Peterson

    Pathologist testifies Savio was murdered

    A forensic pathologist who performed a second autopsy on Drew Peterson's third wife years after she was found dead in her dry bathtub testified Thursday that there's just one plausible explanation for her death: She was murdered. But under aggressive questioning by the defense, Dr. Larry Blum conceded that some of his well-respected counterparts disagreed and still maintained her death was an...

    Stanley J. Helmer

    Cary man sentenced to seven years

    A 60-year-old Cary man has been sentenced to seven years in prison for attempting to solicit a murder for hire, according to prosecutors. Stanley J. Helmer was arrested in March 2011 on charges of attempted solicitation of murder for hire and solicitation of aggravated discharge of a firearm.


    6 arrested after Schaumburg standoff involving 19

    Six people were arrested after a standoff with 19 people who barricaded themselves in a Schaumburg apartment ended peacefully Thursday morning, police said. A woman was heard screaming to be let out of the apartment, and a person was taken to the hospital when the standoff was over about 6:30 a.m.

    Jesse Jackson Jr.

    Kennedy: Congressman Jackson in deep depression

    U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. is in a "deep" depression and has a "lot of work" ahead of him on the road to recovery, former Rhode Island U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy said Thursday after visiting the hospitalized Chicago Democrat. Jackson has been on a secretive medical leave since June 10, when, family members said, he collapsed at their home in Washington.

    Policemen surrounded by teargas and dust open fire Thursday on striking miners at the Lonmin Platinum Mine near Rustenburg, South Africa.

    South African police shoot, kill striking miners

    South African police opened fire Thursday on a crowd of striking miners that charged a line of officers trying to disperse them, killing some and wounding others in one of the worst shootings by authorities since the end of the apartheid era.

    Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney writes on a white board as he talks about Medicare during a news conference Thursday at Spartanburg International Airport in Greer, S.C.

    Romney says he never paid less than 13 percent in taxes

    Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney declared Thursday he has paid at least 13 percent of his income in federal taxes every year for the past decade, offering that new detail while still decrying a "small-minded" fascination over returns he will not release. President Barack Obama's campaign shot back in doubt: "Prove it."

    A member of the Navy Experimental Diving Unit swims in the Shedd Aquarium’s Caribbean Reef exhibit on Thursday in Chicago.

    Navy divers plunge into Shedd Aquarium

    Members of the Navy's Experimental Diving Unit plunged into the Shedd Aquarium's Caribbean Reef exhibit to showcase their capabilities as part of Chicago Navy Week. Dozens of excited visitors were treated to a presentation Thursday from divers Petty Officer First Class Mike Panek and Petty Officer First Class Chad Ernst.

    Marty Moylan

    Former deputy chief accuses Des Plaines of covering up police brutality

    A former Des Plaines deputy police chief has sued the city of Des Plaines, Mayor Marty Moylan, former Police Chief Jim Prandini and former City Manager Jason Slowinski in federal court for allegedly covering up police brutality within the Des Plaines Police Department. Des Plaines Mayor Marty Moylan called the allegations "preposterous."


    Lincolnshire police enforcement

    The Lincolnshire Police Department will participate in the 2012 Labor Day "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over/Click It or Ticket" crackdown, officials said.


    Island Lake to review building plans

    Island Lake officials will meet with a consultant Tuesday to discuss possible floor plans and designs for a proposed municipal building at Water Tower Park.


    Route 176 crossing closed

    Route 176 (Maple Street) at the Canadian National Railroad, east of Route 45 in Mundelein, will be closed from 6 a.m. Friday, Aug. 17 through 6 p.m. Friday, Aug. 24 for repairs to the crossing.


    Streetscape improvements coming to Downer in downtown Aurora

    When drivers or pedestrians cross the soon-to-be rebuilt bridges on Downer Place in downtown Aurora, a streetscape improvement project will ensure they find an area with landscaping, rain gardens and brick-paved crosswalks. Work is set to begin Monday on streetscape upgrades, which will bring wider sidewalks, shorter crosswalks, new curbs and gutters and landscaped areas to the section of Downer...


    Juvenile charged in Waukegan mugging

    A juvenile has been charged with stealing $2,000 from a man outside a Waukegan bakery while holding the victim at gunpoint, according to police.

    A 3,000-pound granite marker sits at the corner of Dorchester and 53rd streets where President Barack Obama first kissed first lady Michelle Obama in Chicago.

    Plaque marks Chicago site of Obamas’ 1st kiss

    The president first kissed his now-wife outside a Chicago ice cream shop — and there's a plaque to prove it. The owners of a Hyde Park shopping center installed the 3,000-pound granite marker this week with a plaque reading "On this site President Barack Obama first kissed Michelle Obama."

    State Rep. Derrick Smith pleaded not guilty to a federal charge of bribery.

    House poised to expel member on bribery charge

    Illinois House members will gather Friday to consider something lawmakers in the state haven't done in more than a century: expel one of their own. State Rep. Derrick Smith could be tossed out of office after federal prosecutors charged him with accepting a bribe last spring. The Chicago Democrat has pleaded not guilty.

    Adolfo Gomez

    Parents of bound children will be tried separately

    A Kansas judge has ordered separate trials for a Northlake couple accused of tying up and blindfolding two of their children outside a Walmart in Lawrence.

    Associated Press/Feb. 20, 2012 Customers walk into and out of a Wal-Mart store in Methuen, Mass. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. reported a 5.7 percent increase in second-quarter net income and raised its outlook for the full year.

    S&P 500 creeps near four-year high

    Encouraging earnings from Cisco and hopeful signs in a housing report lifted the stock market Thursday. The gains nudged the Standard & Poor's 500 index near the four-year high it reached earlier this year.


    Chicago says island will become urban camping hub

    Chicago officials say they have a new plan for getting urban kids up close and personal with nature. They're creating a camping hub at Northerly Island, a strip of land in Lake Michigan that once was an airport serving downtown businesses.


    Postman pleads guilty to stealing mailed donations

    A former U.S. Postal Service carrier has pleaded guilty to stealing nearly 29,500 donation envelopes filled with more than $275,000 for a charity on his route. Federal prosecutors said Thursday that 41-year-old Frederick Taylor of Chicago was assigned to the Berwyn post office.


    Emanuel announces $275K for immigrant scholarships

    Chicago officials say they've raised $275,000 so far in private donations for an immigrant scholarship fund. A news release from Mayor Rahm Emanuel says the private donations include $100,000 from Univision's chairman Haim Saban and $150,000 from unused and privately raised NATO funds.


    Illinois joins push to end texting and driving

    Illinois is one of several states backing a campaign by AT&T to get Americans to sign a pledge not to text behind the wheel, with Gov. Pat Quinn declaring September "Texting and Driving Awareness Month." The issue has gained national attention with more crashes linked to email and text messaging and research showing the practice is especially widespread among teens. U.S. Transportation Secretary...


    Rash of burglaries of unlocked Des Plaines garages continues

    The rash of burglaries of unlocked garages in Des Plaines is continuing. After reporting five such burglaries about 10 days ago, six more were reported over last weekend.


    Hoffman Estates chosen for fire grant

    The Hoffman Estates fire department will have an opportunity to hire new firefighters for the first time since 2008 thanks to a $581,000 grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Fire chief Robert Gorvett said he hopes to add three new firefighters. "We would certainly like to work toward raising our staffing level up and obviously if we're going to be able to do this with federal money...


    Tri-Cities police reports
    Two people were arrested at 10:24 p.m. Saturday in the Sauer Forest Preserve, 44W705 Lasher Road, Sugar Grove, after a caller reported seeing someone in a car injecting themselves. William H. Mollohan, 25, of the 2S200 block of Harter Road in Elburn, was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia, according to a sheriff's report. Nichole I. Nortman, 24, of the 500 block of Birchwood Drive in...


    Elgin police reports
    Tangier M. Winton, 42, of the 200 block of South Melrose Avenue in Elgin, was arrested shortly after 4:30 p.m. Wednesday and later charged with damage to property and possession of drug paraphernalia, according to police reports. Winton is charged with breaking the windows of a home in the 300 block of Douglas Avenue with a brick and a small baby stroller, reports said. She was stopped by police...


    Groupon stock hits another low after 2Q results

    Groupon's stock hit another low, days after the online deals company issued a lackluster quarterly report.

    Pedestrians pass in front of the Nasdaq MarketSite Thursday in New York, U.S., on Thursday, Aug. 16, 2012. Facebook Inc. fell to an intraday low after freeing up an additional 271.1 million shares.

    Facebook hits new low as IPO lock-up ends

    Facebook's stock plunged to a new low Thursday after the expiration of a ban that had prevented some early investors and insiders from dumping millions of additional shares they own in the social-networking leader.

    Grant Gambaiani

    No bail for Naperville man granted new child molestation trial

    A judge denied bail Thursday for a former Naperville man who won a new trial on child molestation charges that had resulted in a 43-year prison sentence. Grant Gambaiani, 29, will remain in the DuPage County jail after Judge Daniel Guerin found he could pose a "real and present threat" to the public.

    Former Island Lake Mayor Charles Amrich

    Amrich to run for mayor again in Island Lake

    Saying he wants to return "good government" to his hometown, former Island Lake Mayor Charles Amrich on Thursday said he will run again in 2013. Amrich, 64, had held the post for two decades before stepping down in 2005.

    William Muth

    South Elgin man gets 40 years for sex assault of child

    A South Elgin man was sentenced Thursday to 36 years in prison for sexually assaulting a child he knew. William Muth, 46, was also sentenced to four years in prison for aggravated criminal sexual abuse. Kane County Circuit Judge David Akemann could have sentenced Muth to as many as 120 years in prison.


    Naperville may approve 2015 election district maps

    Naperville City Council members may give preliminary approval Tuesday to a proposed map that would create election voting districts for the first time. The newly updated maps are up for a first reading on the city council agenda, but some officials say that reading may be waived to allow for a final vote. Beginning in 2015, five city councilmen will be elected from districts and three councilmen...

    Pat Weber, senior ranger, adjusts advanced archery range targets at Blackwell Forest Preserve near Warrenville. The range has undergone $504,000 in upgrades and visitors can tour the site and try their hand at archery Saturday.

    Blackwell to unveil centers for archery, urban stream studies

    Archery's popularity surged this spring when "The Hunger Games" and its bow-wielding heroine came to theaters. Then at this summer's Olympic Games in London, archery attracted roughly 1.5 million viewers on cable networks, according to NBC. Now, DuPage County residents can test their own skills Saturday, Aug. 18, when Blackwell Forest Preserve near Warrenville plays host to the grand opening of...


    Hoffman Estates man killed, 2 hurt in Campton Twp. crash

    A 24-year-old from Hoffman Estates was killed early Friday when his 2007 Nissan Altima skidded off a roadway in unincorporated Campton Township and into a grove of trees, according to Kane County Sheriff's officers.


    Get creative when searching for the perfect cat toy

    Buddy Beat columnist Mary Hayashi says if your cat doesn't respond to store-bought toys, don't despair. By watching their behavior you can come up with toys around the house that they simply love. "Use your imagination and enter your feline's state of mind," she says.

    Nicole Magerkurth, 5, displays her first quilt. Inspired by Batavia’s Quilt and Textile Show, Nicole plans to enter a quilt in next year’s show.

    5-year-old Batavia girl is already quite the quilter

    The recent Quilt and Textile Show produced some amazing talent, one of whom was only five years old. Tiny Nicole Magerkurth visited the quilt show two years ago and was so taken by the show that she wanted to make a quilt. “I went to Prairie Shop Quilts and got a Christmas Doggie Quilt to make by myself,” said Nicole. “And I’m going to show that in the quilt show.”


    Let your inner child come out and play

    Somewhere in each of us, perhaps deep inside, is a small child, just waiting to be set free. Our Ken Potts says the happiness we find in our lives ultimately may depend on how able we are to let this little kid "come out and play."

    Ushma Shah

    Changes keep coming in U-46 administration

    The organizational structure in Elgin Area School District U-46 continues to be reshaped as new hires fill vacant positions and familiar faces move into new positions.

    Tony Borcia

    Suspect in fatal boating crash had prior OUI conviction

    The Bartlett man who faces alcohol- and drug-related charges in the boating death of a 10-year-old Libertyville boy, has a prior conviction for operating a boat while intoxicated on the Chain O' Lakes, Lake County authorities said Thursday. David Hatyina, 50, had been arrested and convicted in a 1996 operating under the influence case.

    Bali Mynah bird

    Three rare birds hatched at Lincoln Park Zoo

    Chicago's Lincoln Park Zoo has some good news for one of the world's rarest birds. The zoo says it is caring for a newly fledged clutch of three Bali mynah chicks. It's the first time in 12 years the zoo has seen a successful hatching of the birds. Bali mynahs are exceedingly rare. The zoo says there are only 115 wild birds on its native range on Indonesia's island of Bali and an estimated 1,000...


    CDC to baby boomers: Get tested for hepatitis C

    ATLANTA — All baby boomers should get a one-time blood test to learn if they have the liver-destroying hepatitis C virus, U.S. health officials said Thursday.It can take decades for the blood-borne virus to cause liver damage and symptoms to emerge, so many people don’t know they’re harboring it. Baby boomers account for about two-thirds of the estimated 3.2 million infected Americans.

    Mimi Anderson

    Fenton school board president resigns

    The Fenton Community High School District 100 school board president resigned after nearly a decade Wednesday to spend more time with family, and now the district must appoint a resident to fill her term that ends in April. Candidates have until Aug. 27 to apply.


    Old National to sell, consolidate 27 bank branches

    Old National Bancorp said Thursday that it will sell or consolidate 27 bank branches in Indiana, Kentucky and Illinois as part of a push to become more efficient.


    Man dies from rare rodent disease at Yosemite

    Yosemite National Park officials say a man is dead and a woman is recovering after contracting a rare rodent-borne disease in popular lodging area.

    Extending Route 53 will help solve traffic problems, supporters say, although some detractors argue four lanes and 45 mph won’t fix anything.

    Route 53 extension inching along in Lake County

    At 45 mph, the proposed extension of Route 53 into Lake County would be friendly to wetlands, wildlife, businesses and almost everything but speeders, supporters say. But it's also expensive -- and could mean tolls on the section of Route 53 in Cook County that currently is free. Illinois tollway directors discussed proposals but made no decisions Wednesday on whether to undertake extending...


    District 200 seeks community input on facilities

    Wheaton Warrenville Unit District 200 officials will seek community input this fall as they explore scenarios to revamp their aging facilities. Prime among the district's concerns is the future of the Jefferson Early Childhood Center. Opened in 1958, officials say the building at 130 N. Hazelton Ave. in Wheaton was designed for elementary school students, not the district's youngest learners.

    Fourth-grade teacher Nancy Hellstrom, second from right, and literacy coach Melissa Howard, right, talk to Syed Rahman on Wednesday as teachers and staff from Anne Fox Elementary School in Hanover Park visit the homes of students to welcome them back to school.

    Hanover Park students get personal invite back to school

    The first day back in school can be an overwhelming experience for children: Loaded with books, backpacks and lunchboxes they have to figure out where their lockers and classrooms are and get to know their new teachers. Anne Fox Elementary School in Hanover Park, however, took care of that last part nearly a week early. Teachers from the school swarmed its surrounding neighborhood Wednesday...

    Bob Garrod of the Wauconda Public Works Department operates the aquatic plant harvester on Bangs Lake in late May.

    Wauconda seeks Bangs Lake environmental plan

    Hey and Associates Inc., has informally been selected by Wauconda officials to craft a five-year management/conservation plan for Bangs Lake. "We don't have a lake management plan," said Jackie Soccorso, the village's director of environmental quality. "It's kind of a menu of options." Invasive plants, fish stocking, water levels and channel conditions will be addressed in the conservation plan.

    Prospect High School graduate Jean Laurenz is now in her fifth summer as Arlington Park’s bugler. The 25-year-old also sings the national anthem there and is entering her final year of a master’s in music program at Yale University.

    Bugle takes Prospect High grad around world

    The endless hours Jean Laurenz spent cooped up rehearsing have helped propel her across the globe. The Prospect High School grad has played in Hong Kong, Colorado, Maine and Texas, helped run music clinics in South Africa and backed Kanye West. But she's most at home at Arlington Park, where the track bugler has become one of the track's most familiar (human) faces. "I just love it here," Jean...

    The East Dundee village president is so fed up with the fight between the Clarkes and the O’Learys, whose house is on right, that he’s talking about disconnecting them from East Dundee. But the law says the disconnection process cannot start until the property owners initiate it. And that is not in the cards.

    East Dundee can’t force de-annexation of feuding neighbors

    It looks like East Dundee is stuck with a pair of feuding families, as it does not appear the village has the authority to de-annex them from town. According to state law, disconnection cannot begin until the property owner initiates it. This week, East Dundee Village President Jerald Bartels raised eyebrows when he threatened to "de-annex" the warring Clarke and O'Leary families from the village.

    With the village falling behind on road maintenance, Mount Prospect leaders are considering proposals such as hiking the town’s fuel tax or raising vehicle sticker fees to bring in additional revenues.

    Mt. Prospect could raise sticker fees, gas and property taxes

    Mount Prospect residents may be paying more for vehicle stickers and more at the fuel pump as the village seeks way to boost funding for road maintenance. Residents could also see a slight rise in real estate taxes to pay for flood control projects in troubled areas of town.


    Elk Grove Village establishes video gambling commission

    The Elk Grove Village Board Tuesday approved an ordinance establishing a video gaming subcommission to provide oversight and appointed Mayor Craig Johnson as video gaming commissioner. In July, the village board adopted an ordinance allowing video gambling.

    Elk Grove Mayor Craig Johnson announced Tuesday that he and three village board members will be running for re-election in April.

    Elk Grove mayor, trustees to run for reelection

    Elk Grove Village Mayor Craig Johnson and three veteran village trustees announced Tuesday that they will be running for re-election in the April 9 municipal election. Board members running for re-election are Pat Feichter, 67, and Chris Prochno, 60, both of whom have served four terms as trustee, and Jeffrey Franke, 56, who has served six years on the board.

    More than a month after an explosive investigative report accused Penn State’s ousted president of burying child sex abuse allegations against Jerry Sandusky, Graham Spanier has so far avoided criminal charges. That doesn’t mean he’s in the clear, according to legal experts.

    Experts: Ex-PSU president could still face charges

    More than a month after an explosive investigative report accused Penn State’s ousted president of burying child sex abuse allegations against Jerry Sandusky, Graham Spanier has so far avoided criminal charges — unlike two of his colleagues.That doesn’t mean he’s in the clear, according to legal experts.

    Doc Sheehan of the Elgin VFW Post 1307 was named August’s veteran of the month by the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs. He attributes the honor to a great team working beside him while he was commander from 2009-2012.

    Elgin veteran attributes success to those around him

    Arthur "Doc" Sheehan is proud of recognition he received this month but uneasily speaks of the honor, worried others are more deserving. Sheehan, of Elgin, was named August's veteran of the month by the Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs. "In order to honor the guys and girls that didn't come home, it's our job to help the younger veterans and do what we can for the communities," he said.

    You never know what you’ll find at the art and wine fest, like this aluminum wire and glass bead art by two Florida artists at a previous fest.

    Art and wine go together at Long Grove fest

    More than 100 juried artists will set up shop Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 18-19, in historic Long Grove for the annual Long Grove Fine Arts & Wine Fest.


    7 U.S. troops die in Afghan helicopter crash; Taliban claims credit

    Seven American troops and four Afghans died in a Black Hawk helicopter crash on Thursday in southern Afghanistan, the NATO military coalition said. The Taliban claimed their fighters shot down the aircraft.

    The trial for the Army psychiatrist Nidal Hasan charged in the deadly 2009 Fort Hood shooting was put on hold Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2012, while an appeals court considers his objections to being forcibly shaved.

    Fort Hood suspect’s trial on hold over beard

    FORT HOOD, Texas — For the past two months, the military judge presiding over the Fort Hood shooting suspect’s case has said he wants to avoid disruptions in court.So after Maj. Nidal Hasan showed up wearing a beard for a June pretrial hearing, Col. Gregory Gross banned him from the courtroom until he shaves.

    Washington Police Chief Cathy Lanier meets with reporters near the Family Research Council in Washington, Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2012, after a security guard for the lobbying group was shot in the arm.

    Security guard credited for thwarting D.C. shooting

    WASHINGTON — A man who had been a volunteer at a community center for gays walked into the lobby of a conservative political organization, made a negative comment about what the group stands for, pulled a gun and opened fire, authorities said.


    2 sheriff’s deputies dead, 2 hurt in La. shootout

    LaPLACE, La. — Two sheriff’s deputies in Louisiana have been shot to death and two other deputies were wounded in an early morning shootout in St. John the Baptist Parish, west of New Orleans.Parish sheriff’s spokesman Capt. Dane Clement confirmed the deaths of the two deputies Thursday.

    This combo made from file photos shows Vice President Joe Biden, left, and Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan. In some ways, these presidential ticket No. 2s could not be more different. But in other ways, the 42-year-old Republican congressman and 69-year-old Democratic vice president are very much alike. (AP Photo)

    Biden vs Ryan: No. 2s rising in presidential race

    Paul Ryan likes exercise, budget charts and the Green Bay Packers. Joe Biden likes train rides, foreign policy and talking — a lot. In some ways, these presidential ticket No. 2s could not be more different. They are separated in age by nearly three decades and have views on opposite ends of the political spectrum. But in other ways, the 42-year-old Republican congressman and 69-year-old...

    Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with his regional human rights representatives in Moscow’s Kremlin on Thursday, Aug. 16, 2012.

    Pussy Riot verdict caps Putin’s hundred days

    Associated PressMOSCOW (AP) — The verdict in the trial of the feminist punk rockers Pussy Riot comes barely more than 100 days into Vladimir Putin’s new term as Russian president — a notably hard hundred.


    Syrian envoy lauds China, Russia stance on crisis

    BEIJING — A visiting Syrian government envoy praised China and Russia for not acting like “colonizers” in their response to her country’s 18-month conflict, as the regime reached out to Beijing for support while it deals with major defections.

    Marcus Johns with the Department of Natural Resources, watches as the Taylor Bridge Fire burns on the south side of Highway 970 near Swauk Prairie Road on Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2012 near Cle Elum, Wash. The Taylor Bridge Fire has forced hundreds to evacuate and has burned dozens of homes.

    Idaho towns pack up as massive wildfire nears

    FEATHERVILLE, Idaho — Lorie Winmill grew teary as she loaded her vehicle and prepared her 4-year-old granddaughter to stay with relatives as a wildfire burned closer to this small town in central Idaho.“This is the only home Lizzie has ever known,” said Winmill.


    More than 40 killed in Syria’s Azaz airstrike

    BEIRUT — Syrian government airstrikes on a residential neighborhood in a rebel-held town killed over 40 people and wounded at least 100 others including many women and children, international watchdog Human Rights Watch said Thursday.

    In the two months since WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange ducked into Ecuador’s London embassy to seek political asylum, President Rafael Correa has been consistently deferential to Britain while insisting on his right to protect what he sees as a free speech advocate facing persecution.

    Ecuador grants asylum to WikiLeaks’ Assange

    Ecuador said Thursday that it was granting asylum to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, a decision that thrilled supporters but will do little to defuse the standoff at the Latin American nation's London embassy, where the Australian ex-hacker has been holed up for almost two months.

    There will be plenty of fun for the kids at the Round Lake Home Town Festival this Saturday.

    Home Town Fest provides low-cost fun in Round Lake

    There are a few new twists but the single-day Home Town Fest in Round Lake is sticking to a tried and true formula: lots of fun at a low cost.

    Tennis rackets were used as oars during last year’s Fox Lake Cardboard Cup Regatta at Lakefront Park.

    Win gold Sunday at Fox Lake’s annual Cardboard Boat Race

    People can race for the gold (plated) medal during the 15th annual cardboard boat race Sunday in Fox Lake, officials said. The annual event kicks off at 8 a.m. with registration and on-site boat building at Lakefront Park at 71 Nippersink Drive, officials said. Races begin at noon.

    Retired anesthesiologist Dr. Paul DeBruine at his home in Decatur with one of his model airplanes.

    Retired doc turns to woodcarving hobby

    Handy with his hands, Dr. Paul DeBruine crafted furniture to fill his home until his wife, Ruth, put up the stop sign: "No more room." Then the Decatur anesthesiologist turned to carving duck decoys, with Smitty Roper, a friend, as a mentor. "I did this for maybe 20 years," he remembers. "I didn't sell them, I gave some to friends."


    Chicago police investigate death of dog owner

    Police in Chicago are investigating the death of a 44-year-old man after one of his dogs was discovered gnawing on the man's dead body.


    Wrong-way driver on I-94 blamed for fatal Indiana crash

    Two people have been killed on Interstate 94 in northern Indiana in a crash that state police say was caused by a driver going the wrong way on the highway.


    Man shot by South Bend police charged with murder

    A man wounded by South Bend police officers has been charged with killing one man inside a house and another man who was walking a dog. St. Joseph County prosecutors filed two counts of murder and six counts of attempted murder against 29-year-old Brandon Biffle on Wednesday for Sunday's shootings.


    Rice to speak at King luncheon in Peoria

    PEORIA — Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will speak at next year’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. luncheon in Peoria.


    Republicans plan rally at Illinois State Fair

    Republicans plan an Illinois State Fair rally that promises to be much calmer than the one held by Democrats. Union protesters called Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn a liar and booed throughout his short speech Wednesday. They feel betrayed by his efforts to cancel raises, cut jobs and reduce retirement benefits.


    Report: John Doe probe expands to Wisconsin state government

    New documents show the John Doe investigation involving Gov. Scott Walker's tenure as Milwaukee County executive has expanded to state government.


    Couple’s attempt to cross Lake Michigan ends

    Currents and exhaustion have kept a Michigan couple from finishing a planned 50-mile swim across Lake Michigan to raise awareness about postpartum depression.

    The Charlie Daniels Band will highlight Jam on the Fox, the last festival of the Downtown Alive! music series, Saturday, Aug. 18.

    ‘Jamming music’ coming to Fox River festival

    "A lot of really great jamming music." That's what Paramount Theatre Executive Director Tim Rater says southern rock and country fans can expect from the final installment of this summer's Downtown Alive! festival series. And why expect anything less from a fest called Jam on the Fox?


    Dawn Patrol: BNSF Metra line back on track; Gurnee home invasion

    Judge blasts prosecutors in Drew Peterson case. Sen. Suzi Schmidt of Lake Villa Township seeks to modify order of protection against her. Board OKs Arlington Heights library renovation. Schools locked down after armed home invasion in Gurnee. BNSF trains back to normal schedule.

    Tony Arredia

    Arredia to run for mayor in Des Plaines

    Former Des Plaines mayor Tony Arredia said this week that he will be running for the Des Plaines mayoral seat in April 2013. He could face a serious challenge if several aldermen who have been considering a run throw their hats in the ring. "The city is going through a period where you need experienced people in there ... This is not the time to be training a new mayor," Arredia said.


    There has been much speculation about when Derrick Rose will play for the Bulls again. Bulls chairman Jerry Reinsdorf will have the biggest vote in the final decision.

    One man will have final vote on Rose’s return

    One voice and one vote will prevail over all others in the matter of when Derrick Rose returns to games. Both belong to Jerry Reinsdorf.


    Could Bears ever lose their grip on Chicago?

    The Cowboys were dethroned as the No. 1 team in Dallas last week, begging the question of whether it ever could happen to the Bears in Chicago.


    With loss of Jauss comes reminiscing

    Another glorious sports writer from the glory days of newspapers left us Wednesday when Bill Jauss died.

    Bears quarterback Jay Cutler scrambles with the ball against the St. Louis Rams at Soldier Field in Chicago.

    Bears win, and that’s all that really matters

    This week should be a lot less controversial for the Bears. A methodical 23-6 victory over the mundane St. Louis Rams will sort of put to rest the restlessness around town. At least for now, that is.

    Arizona’s Paul Goldschmidt watches his solo home run in the ninth inning Thursday in St. Louis.

    D-Backs beat St. Louis with homers in the 9th

    Paul Goldschmidt and Chris Young homered on consecutive pitches from Jason Motte with one out in the ninth inning, leading the Arizona Diamondbacks over the St. Louis Cardinals 2-1 Thursday night.

    Tampa Bay Rays pitcher David Price struck out eight, walked two and lowered his ERA to 2.39 on Thursday in a road win over Anaheim.

    Price so right in Rays’ 7-0 win over Angels

    David Price pitched three-hit ball over seven innings for his AL-leading 16th victory, and the Tampa Bay Rays got home runs from Evan Longoria, B.J. Upton and Ben Zobrist in a 7-0 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Thursday night.

    Atlanta’s Chipper Jones acknowledges the crowd after hitting a home run Thursday for his 2,700th career hit.

    Jones homers twice in Braves’ 6-0 victory over Padres

    Chipper Jones homered twice on a night when a big crowd turned out to get a souvenir from his farewell season, and the Atlanta Braves won their 15th straight game with Kris Medlen as a starter, beating the San Diego Padres 6-0 on Thursday.

    The Brewers’ Corey Hart watches his grand slam off Philadelphia’s Josh Lindblom during the eighth inning Thursday in Milwaukee.

    Hart’s slam lifts Brewers to 7-4 win over Phillies

    No one was happier to see Cliff Lee leave the game than Milwaukee's Corey Hart, and did he ever make the Philadelphia Phillies pay.

    The Rockies’ Carlos Gonzalez, left, congratulates Michael Cuddyer on his two-run home run in the sixth inning Thursday against the Marlins in Denver.

    Cuddyer homers as Rockies defeat Marlins 5-3

    Michael Cuddyer looked overmatched the first two times he faced Ricky Nolasco. His third at-bat, he got even.

    Pittsburgh starting pitcher A.J. Burnett had seven strikeouts Thursday in a home victory against Los Angeles.

    Burnett wins 15th for Pirates

    An angry A.J. Burnett outperformed the even angrier Los Angeles Dodgers. Garrett Jones hit two three-run homers, Burnett became the first Pirates pitcher with 15 wins in 13 years, and Pittsburgh avoided a four-game sweep with a 10-6 victory over Los Angeles on Thursday.


    Thursday’s girls golf scoreboard
    High school varsity results from Thursday's girls golf meets, as reported to the Daily Herald.

    Boston’s Dustin Pedroia looks up as home plate umpire Laz Diaz and teammate Cody Ross signal “safe” when he scores on a sacrifice fly by Adrian Gonzalez Thursday in Baltimore.

    Red Sox down Orioles 6-3

    Clay Buchholz shook off a rocky start to earn his 11th win, Dustin Pedroia singled in the tiebreaking run in the sixth inning and the Red Sox beat the Baltimore Orioles 6-3 Thursday night to avoid a three-game sweep.

    Mets starting pitcher Matt Harvey allowed one run and four hits in 7 2-3 innings Thursday in a road win over Cincinnati.

    Harvey does it all in Mets’ 8-4 win over Reds

    Matt Harvey had very little run support in his first four major league starts, so he took care of business at the plate as well as on the mound.

    The Rangers’ Craig Gentry hits into a fielder’s choice to drive in a run against the New York Yankees in the sixth inning Thursday at Yankee Stadium.

    Rangers avoid 4-game sweep, beat Yankees 10-6

    Craig Gentry turned a spot start into a tiebreaking hit, and the Rangers avoided a four-game sweep in a matchup of AL division leaders, rallying past the New York Yankees 10-6 Thursday.

    Oakland Athletics catcher Derek Norris, left, talks with pitcher Dan Straily after the rookie loaded the bases in the second inning Thursday in Kansas City.

    Oakland shuts out KC

    Dan Straily was surrounded by trouble in the second inning when pitching coach Curt Young made a visit to the mound. Straily went on to earn his first major league victory as Coco Crisp and Yoenis Cespedes homered to lead the Oakland Athletics to a 3-0 victory over the Kansas City Royals on Thursday night.


    Thursday’s boys golf scoreboard
    High school varsity results from xxxday's boys golf meets, as reported to the Daily Herald.


    Boomers blast Bolts 13-3

    The Schaumburg Boomers wrapped up a huge series Thursday night against the Windy City ThunderBolts behind an 8-run second inning to claim a 13-3 victory at Boomers Stadium.The Boomers (46-35) pounded out 12 hits and drew 10 walks, tying a franchise record on their way to a 13-run offensive explosion to improve to 29-13 at home game.Steve McQuail led the charge with a 3-hit, 5-RBI performance with a double and a walk. Not to be outdone, Mike Valadez drove in 4 runs on 3 singles, and every member of the Boomers’ starting lineup reached base at least once in support of starting pitcher Robby Donovan.The Boomers’ righty struggled with his command early but settled in nicely to earn his team-leading ninth victory. Donovan allowed just 5 hits over his 6 innings while striking out five and walking five.

    Chicago White Sox pitcher Francisco Liriano delivers against the Toronto Blue Jays during the first inning of a baseball game, Thursday, Aug. 16, 2012, in Toronto. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Aaron Vincent Elkaim)

    Lirano sharp; Sox top Jays 7-2

    Backed by a five homer barrage, Francisco Liriano earned his first win with the White Sox. Alex Rios hit a three-run homer against his former team, Liriano snapped a six-start winless skid and the White Sox beat the Toronto Blue Jays 7-2 on Thursday night. "He's a big acquisition," Rios said of Liriano. "If he keeps doing what he's been doing lately, he's going to make us so much better and that's what we need right now."

    Defensive end Corey Wootton expects a better showing by the defense Saturday night against the Redskins.

    It’s Williams’ turn at left tackle for Bears

    J'Marcus Webb got a chance in the first preseason game to put a stranglehold on the left tackle job but let it slip through his fingers. Chris Williams will get his chance in Game Two Saturday night at Soldier Field when he gets first-team reps at the position, which is critical to the success of the offense and the health of quarterback Jay Cutler. Bob LeGere has that and more in today's Bears notebook.


    Cougars get help in 5-3 win

    With only 4 hits, the Kane County Cougars took advantage of 4 wild pitches and 2 errors to defeat the Clinton LumberKings 5-3 on Thursday night at Fifth Third Bank Ballpark.Clinton scored before the first out was recorded as Dillon Hazlett started the game by reaching on a three-base error off the glove of Julio Aparicio in right field.Jamal Austin bounced the next pitch into center field, scoring Hazlett to put the LumberKings on top. Austin was in the middle of the action again in the third as he singled and scored on a balk from Kyle Zimmer (2-2).Zimmer didn’t allow another run as he lasted 7 innings while scattering 7 hits.Kane County (61-61, 27-25) didn’t pick up their first hit until the fourth, when Jack Lopez blooped a single against Bobby Shore (3-3), who lost his control from there.Shore hit a batter and walked a batter to load the bases. Lopez scored on a fielder’s choice off the bat of Michael Antonio to put the Cougars on the board.Shore then uncorked 3 wild pitches in the fourth inning to help the tying and go-ahead runs come home. A Ramon Morla error in the sixth assisted Antonio to the dish, giving the Cougars a 2-run cushion.Clinton managed 1 run in the eighth off Rudy Brown (first save), but Brown posted a perfect ninth inning after the Cougars picked up an insurance score in the eighth with Antonio singling home Aparicio.


    Sweet encore for Libertyville’s Ou at Pine Meadow

    Coming off the buzz of a season-opening 77 at Bonnie Dundee on Tuesday, Libertyville golfer Camilla Ou found herself at even par as she made the turn in Thursday's Libertyville invite at Pine Meadow Golf Club. She then chugged a bottle of a sugary sports beverage. She devoured a chocolate energy bar. Ou's round? Sugary-sweet. Despite shooting 4-over par on her final nine holes, she fired a 76, seven strokes better than runner-up Paige Skinner of Lake Forest. Lake Forest's Lauren Wyatt finished a shot back of her teammate, placing third with an 84.


    Fremd wins second straight dual

    Fremd's girls golf team continued to roll on Thursday at the Palatine Hill Golf Course. After posting their best score (318) in coach Christine Vlaming's four seasons on Tuesday by capturing first place in the Barrington Invite, the Vikings won their second straight dual meet.


    Kukec, Maine West off to record start

    Senior Tom Kukec and the rest of the Maine West Warriors are off to quite a start in the 2012 boys golf season. Kukec, a three-sport athlete, fired a school-record individual round of 72 on Tuesday as West triumphed at the Maine/Niles shootout for the first time ever. The Warriors not only won the tourney, they set another school mark in the process. Their team total of 304 at Chick Evans Golf Course was the best-ever tally in the history of the school, bettering the 309 score set by the 1991 and 2008 squads.

    Larkin’s Dan Lenz, chips to the 9th green during the Geneva boys golf invite Thursday at Mill Creek Golf Club in Geneva.

    Marmion blisters field at Geneva

    The Geneva Invitational proved to be a continuation of the Marmion postseason run from a year ago Thursday afternoon at Mill Creek. In their second boys golf competition after being reclassified to Class 3A after finishing last season as the state runners-up in 2A, the Cadets routed the large-school-dominated 20-team field with a blistering 4-over-par 288 showing on the Geneva layout.

    Darwin Barney, here tagging out the Astros’ Tyler Greene an a stolen-base attempt, has made it his personal mission to become a solid defensive second baseman.

    There’s much more to Cubs’ Barney than offense

    Cubs second baseman Darwin Barney is beating the rap that he is a utility player who can't do enough to play in the big leagues ever day. While holding his own at the plate, Barney is making a bona fide run at a Gold Glove at second base.

    The White Sox’ Dayan Viciedo (24) smiles as he celebrates with Alexei Ramirez (10), Dewayne Wise (28) and Alex Rios (51) following a 7-2 win over the Toronto Blue Jays. Barring an apocalyptic collapse down the stretch, the White Sox are going to the playoffs for the first time since 2008.

    It’s all looking real good for White Sox

    The White Sox kept on rolling with a 7-2 win over the Blue Jays Thursday night. Everything seems to be going the Sox' way heading into the stretch run, and they are also expected to get Paul Konerko back Friday night at Kansas City.

    Mike North believes Derrick Rose could return to action ahead of the schedule and help the Bulls reach the playoffs next season. But whenever he says he's ready, will the Bulls agree?

    A ray of hope in Rose’s return to the Bulls

    The basketball clouds broke for Chicago Bulls fans this week with a picture of Derrick Rose shooting a free throw. Mike North changes his mind regarding the Bulls' prospects for next season, and contends a competitor like Rose will be back sooner than later.

    Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Terrell Owens stands on the sidelines Saturday during the first half against the Tennessee Titans.

    Terrell Owens to play for Seattle against Denver

    Peyton Manning's debut in Denver won't hog all the attention. Terrell Owens will be taking some himself. Owens will make his return to the NFL when the Seattle Seahawks play the Broncos on Saturday night. Seattle coach Pete Carroll didn't give specifics on how many snaps Owens will get in the second preseason game for the Seahawks, but he did say it would be early in the game.

    Carl Pettersson hits from the 16th tee Thursday during the first round of the Wyndham Championship in Greensboro, N.C.

    Carl Pettersson takes 1-shot lead at Wyndham

    If any member's bounces went Carl Pettersson's way Thursday at Sedgefield Country Club, well, there's a good reason for that. "That's right — I am a member," Pettersson said, laughing. "I forgot." Pettersson shot an 8-under 62 to take the first-round lead in the Wyndham Championship. David Mathis and Tim Clark were a stroke back, Tom Gillis, Scott Stallings and Troy Matteson shot 64, and Matt Every had a 65 in the final event before the FedEx Cup playoffs.

    Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o enters the season as the No. 8 tackler in school history with 324. He made 128 last season and 133 as a sophomore, combining speed, instinct and a determined approach to keep improving.

    Manti Te’o determined to go out winner for Irish

    Manti Te'o's lighter, quicker and, best of all for Notre Dame, he's back for a senior season and ready to leave his mark as one of the school's greatest linebackers. "Since it's my senior I want to do this. I want to win to make sure Notre Dame is back up there," Te'o said Thursday during the school's football media day.

    Illinois head football coach Tim Beckman directs his team on the first day of workouts at the Illini’s Camp Rantoul in Rantoul. Beckman replaced Ron Zook who was fired last season. Illinois opens the season Sept. 1 against Western Michigan.

    Illini rebuild under Beckman with key pieces back

    Walking onto the field before the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl last December, Nathan Scheelhaase's football world was cracking wide open. "I remember walking out on the field for that bowl game with (defensive back Terry Hawthorne), remember slapping hands with him and giving him a hug and thinking, Man, is this the last game I'll play with this guy?"' he said. "Because you don't know."


    Nebraska picked to repeat as B10 volleyball champ

    Nebraska has been picked to repeat as Big Ten volleyball champion.The coaches' poll released Thursday has Penn State listed second behind the Huskers, who last season ended the Nittany Lions' eight-year reign as Big Ten champions. Purdue is third, followed by Minnesota, Illinois and Ohio State.Nebraska and Penn State each had three players named to the all-conference team. The Nebraska selections are Lauren Cook, Hannah Werth and Gina Mancuso. Penn State picks are Deja McClendon, Ariel Scott and Katie Slay.The rest of the team: Jennifer Beltran and Liz McMahon, Illinois; Alexis Mathews, Michigan State; Tori Dixon and Ashley Wittman, Minnesota; Stephanie Holthus, Northwestern; Emily Danks, Ohio State; and Ariel Turner, Purdue.

    The Seattle Mariners starter Felix Hernandez Wednesday became the third pitcher this season and the 23rd ever to throw a perfect game.

    So what’s up with all these perfect games?

    Twenty-seven up, 27 down. Again. Seattle’s Felix Hernandez threw Major League Baseball’s third perfect game of the season Wednesday — a record — joining San Francisco’s Matt Cain and the White Sox’s Philip Humber, who also tossed his gem at Safeco Field. That means six of the 23 perfectos in baseball history have come since 2009. Little wonder this is being called the Decade of the Pitcher. Still not impressed? It gets better. Hernandez’s gem was the sixth no-hitter this season. One more and major league pitchers will have tied the seven set in 1990 and matched a season later.There’s only been one year with eight no-hitters. Want to guess? Here’s a hint: Chester Arthur was president.That season was 1884. Let’s look at six reasons why pitchers have become so dominant:Talent on the mound:Headlines these days are more likely going to be made by a Jered Weaver or Johan Santana than a slugger, and rightly so. Pitchers are getting the best of the matchups again. Starting with 1995, the heart of the Steroids Era, the best three years for earned-run average are 2010-2012 — it’s 4.21 this year, third best, according to STATS LLC. Led by hard-throwing Justin Verlander and knuckleballer R.A. Dickey, hurlers have a strikeouts/9 innings ratio over seven (7.09) for the first time since `95, STATS says. Player development:Pitch limits. Cut fastballs. Better training techniques. The trend over the past decade has been to spend on building farm systems and developing pitchers from the draft — and then protecting those assets. The Mariners have rejected all offers for the 26-year-old Hernandez, when their team has needs in all areas. The Washington Nationals are first in the NL East with a rotation topped by homegrown stars Stephen Strasburg and Jordan Zimmermann. The Giants shelled out big money to retain Cain in early April. Raise your own star rather than pay big bucks for a free agent and a team earns some cost certainty, too. It takes six years of major league service to reach free-agent status. That’s why Tampa Bay locked up Matt Moore at a bargain price for at least five years and as many as eight after just three regular-season outings and two playoff appearances. Fielding:The newest of the new baseball metrics focus on the leather. Thanks to comprehensive video recording systems at the ballparks, computers are churning out complex spray charts and helping track batter tendencies with precision. Seattle general manager Jack Zduriencik is a big proponent of runs saved by defense and maybe that helps explain why two of the Mariners’ three no-hitters in club history have come this season. Hitting: Home runs are down. Runs are down. The fact is hitters often look overmatched these days. Opponents’ batting average has not been this low since 1995, according to STATS. Pitchers are holding batters to a .260 average this year. In 2010 and `11 it was .261. The .268 in 2009 looks pretty good now.Luck:No, we’re not talking about players taking a seat far away from a pitcher with a no-no in progress. That’s superstition. We mean the call that goes a pitcher’s way — i.e. Carlos Beltran’s ball ruled foul but TV replays showed it clearly landed on the left field line in Santana’s no-hitter. Or that impossible-seeming play: Cain got two. Mike Baxter made a bone-jarring catch to preserve Santana’s no-hitter in June, slamming into the wall during a play that landed him on the disabled list. Everyone can use a little luck now and then. Drugs:

    Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher is planning to be ready for the Sept. 9 season opener against the Indianapolis Colts. He addressed the media for the first time since his knee surgery on Tuesday.

    Urlacher not worried about making Sept. 9 return

    Perhaps we should start calling him Brian "One Note" Urlacher. The Bears captain and eight-time Pro Bowl middle linebacker has one thing in mind during his recovery from knee surgery: getting back in time for the season opener. Speaking for the first time since Tuesday morning's arthroscopic debridement of his injured left knee, Urlacher focused on the date of his projected return, avoiding lengthy responses to other related questions. "Sept. 9," he said. "That's all I care about. Sept. 9 is all I care about." That's when the Bears open the regular season at noon against the Indianapolis Colts at Soldier Field.

    Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald shouts instructions to his players during a game against Minnesota in Evanston. Northwestern’s season opener is Sept. 1, 2012 against Syracuse.

    Northwestern football aiming high again

    All Northwestern can see is the potential. Limits are out of sight. The Wildcats are talking big as another season approaches and insisting this could be the year they finally win a bowl game, maybe a Big Ten championship. "I know it's been, what, 300-plus years since our last one?" quarterback Trevor Siemian said. Well, not quite. It just seems that way.


    Mike North video: Are decathletes the best athletes?

    Bruce Jenner claims decathletes are much better athletes than runners like Usain Bolt. In his latest video, Mike North debates the issue.



    Illinois unemployment edges up again in July

    Illinois' unemployment rate increased again in July with the loss of thousands of government and hospitality jobs. The Illinois Department of Employment Security said Thursday that the July unemployment rate hit 8.9 percent. That's up from 8.7 percent in June and was the second straight increase after nine months of steady decreases.


    Idenix tumbles on hepatitis drug safety concerns

    Shares of Idenix Pharmaceuticals plunged Thursday after federal regulators halted trials of its hepatitis C drug due to the potential for heart damage.

    Aa crew works on a drilling rig at a well site for shale based natural gas in Zelienople, Pa. In a surprising turnaround, the amount of carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere in the U.S. has fallen dramatically to its lowest level in 20 years, and government officials say the biggest reason is that cheap and plentiful natural gas has led many power plant operators to switch from dirtier-burning coal.

    Carbon dioxide emissions in U.S. drop to 20-year low

    PITTSBURGH — In a surprising turnaround, the amount of carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere in the U.S. has fallen dramatically to its lowest level in 20 years, and government officials say the biggest reason is that cheap and plentiful natural gas has led many power plant operators to switch from dirtier-burning coal.Many of the world’s leading climate scientists didn’t see the drop coming, in large part because it happened as a result of market forces rather than direct government action against carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas that traps heat in the atmosphere.Michael Mann, director of the Earth System Science Center at Penn State University, said the shift away from coal is reason for “cautious optimism” about potential ways to deal with climate change. He said it demonstrates that “ultimately people follow their wallets” on global warming.“There’s a very clear lesson here. What it shows is that if you make a cleaner energy source cheaper, you will displace dirtier sources,” said Roger Pielke Jr., a climate expert at the University of Colorado.In a little-noticed technical report, the U.S. Energy Information Agency, a part of the Energy Department, said this month that energy related U.S. CO2 emissions for the first four months of this year fell to about 1992 levels. Energy emissions make up about 98 percent of the total. The Associated Press contacted environmental experts, scientists and utility companies and learned that virtually everyone believes the shift could have major long-term implications for U.S. energy policy.While conservation efforts, the lagging economy and greater use of renewable energy are factors in the CO2 decline, the drop-off is due mainly to low-priced natural gas, the agency said.A frenzy of shale gas drilling in the Northeast’s Marcellus Shale and in Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana has caused the wholesale price of natural gas to plummet from $7 or $8 per unit to about $3 over the past four years, making it cheaper to burn than coal for a given amount of energy produced. As a result, utilities are relying more than ever on gas-fired generating plants.Both government and industry experts said the biggest surprise is how quickly the electric industry turned away from coal. In 2005, coal was used to produce about half of all the electricity generated in the U.S. The Energy Information Agency said that fell to 34 percent in March, the lowest level since it began keeping records nearly 40 years ago.The question is whether the shift is just one bright spot in a big, gloomy picture, or a potentially larger trend. Coal and energy use are still growing rapidly in other countries, particularly China, and CO2 levels globally are rising, not falling. Moreover, changes in the marketplace — a boom in the economy, a fall in coal prices, a rise in natural gas — could stall or even reverse the shift. For example, U.S. emissions fell in 2008 and 2009, then rose in 2010 before falling again last year.Also, while natural gas burns cleaner than coal, it still emits some CO2. And drilling has its own environmental consequences, which are not yet fully understood.“Natural gas is not a long-term solution to the CO2 problem,” Pielke warned.The International Energy Agency said the U.S. has cut carbon dioxide emissions more than any other country over the last six years. Total U.S. carbon emissions from energy consumption peaked at about 6 billion metric tons in 2007. Projections for this year are around 5.2 billion, and the 1990 figure was about 5 billion. China’s emissions were estimated to be about 9 billion tons in 2011, accounting for about 29 percent of the global total. The U.S. accounted for approximately 16 percent.

    Drought-damaged corn sits Thursday in a field near Nickerson, Neb.

    Forecast: Drought lingering but leveling off

    The worst drought in the U.S. in decades may be leveling off or even be easing ever so slightly in some lucky locales, federal weather forecasters announced Thursday in a report of little comfort for farmers and ranchers who already have begun tallying this year's losses.

    Associated Press/July 18, 2009 Jim Donnan, former coach at Marshall and Georgia 1990-2000, waves to the crowd after receiving his blazer during the College Hall of Fame pep rally in South Bend, Ind.

    Ex-Georgia coach Jim Donnan charged in Ponzi scheme

    ormer University of Georgia football coach Jim Donnan used his influence to get high-profile college coaches and former players to invest $80 million into a Ponzi scheme, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said Thursday.

    Twenty-six big U.S. companies paid their CEOs more last year than they paid the federal government in tax, according to a study released Thursday by a liberal-leaning think tank.

    Study: Companies paid more to CEOs than in U.S. tax

    Twenty-six big U.S. companies paid their CEOs more last year than they paid the federal government in tax, according to a study released Thursday by a liberal-leaning think tank. The study, by the Institute for Policy Studies, said the companies, including AT&T, Boeing and Citigroup, paid their CEOs an average of $20.4 million last year while paying little or no federal tax on ample profits, according to regulatory filings.


    Oil prices top $94 on big drop in U.S. supplies

    Oil remained above $94 a barrel Thursday after an unanticipated drop in U.S. crude inventories and stronger retail sales helped keep near three-month high.Benchmark oil for September delivery was down 13 cents to $94.21 a barrel in midday trading in Europe in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

    A Lenovo employee, front, walks near the company logos during a Lenovo promotional event in Beijing, China.

    Lenovo profit up 30 percent but growth slows

    Lenovo Group said Thursday its quarterly profit rose 30 percent on strong sales in developing markets but growth slowed amid global economic weakness.The world's second-largest personal computer maker said it earned $144 million in the three months ending June 30 on $8 billion in global sales.


    Gallagher acquires Sunday and Associates

    Itasca-based Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. announced the acquisition of Sunday and Associates, Inc. of Sugarland, Texas. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.Established in 1982, Sunday and Associates, Inc. offers employee benefits consulting and insurance brokerage services for the private and public sector marketplace in Texas. They specialize in fee-based group health and welfare services, with an emphasis on platform integration of funding/budget planning, consumer-driven plan designs, managed cost containment strategies and value-based client/member services. In addition, they provide fixed fee-based group benefit consulting services to the public sector through their division, City-County Benefits Services. Burke Sunday, Robert Treacy and their associates will continue to operate in their current location under the direction of John Neumaier, South Central Regional Executive Vice President of Gallagher’s employee benefit consulting and brokerage operations.“Sunday and Associates is highly regarded for the value they bring to their clients through their high-quality sales and service capabilities,” said J. Patrick Gallagher, Jr., Chairman, President and CEO. “In addition, their 30 years of industry experience and public entity specialization will be an excellent complement to our employee benefits niche capabilities, and we are pleased to welcome Burke, Bob and their team to our growing Gallagher family of professionals.”

    Hoffman Estates-based Sears Holding Corp. cut expenses and reduced inventory in its second quarter, helping the struggling retailer post a narrower loss than last year.

    Sears 2Q loss narrows; sales keep falling

    Hoffman Estates-based Sears Holding Corp. cut expenses and reduced inventory in its second quarter, helping the struggling retailer post a narrower loss than last year. The company's adjusted results met Wall Street's expectations, but revenue fell short because of weaker sales at both Sears and Kmart stores.

    An aerial view of the grand opening of Randhurst Shopping Center in Mount Prospect, at the time the largest enclosed shopping center in the world.

    Randhurst Shopping Center in Mount Prospect opened 50 years ago today

    It was 50 years ago today that Randhurst Shopping Center opened with much hoopla as the largest enclosed mall in the world. Now, it's the open-air Randhurst Village, a makeover several years in the works, that almost entirely replaces the original structure.


    Pregis Corp. acquires Inter-Pac

    Protective packaging manufacturer Pregis Corp. said it has acquired Inter-Pac Inc., based in Tupelo, Miss., for an undisclosed amount.


    First Midwest Bancorp declares 3Q dividend

    First Midwest Bancorp, Inc, the holding company of First Midwest Bank, said its board of directors declared a quarterly common stock dividend of 1 cent per share, payable Oct. 16 to shareholders of record on Sept. 28.


    ITW divests Wilsonart segment to create new company

    Illinois Tool Works Inc. said it will divest 51 percent of its stake in its Decorative Surfaces segment, consisting of Wilsonart and related international businesses, to a fund managed by Clayton, Dubilier & Rice, LLC.


    Schawk Inc. announces quarterly dividend

    Des Plaines-based Schawk Inc. said its board of directors declared a regular quarterly dividend of 8 cents per share, payable on Sept. 28 to Schawk Inc. Class A common stockholders of record as of Sept. 14.It is the 141st consecutive dividend paid by Schawk, Inc. and its predecessor company, the company said in a release.Schawk Inc. is a global provider of brand development and deployment services, enabling companies of all sizes to connect their brands with consumers.


    Aeroflot plane lands in Iceland after bomb threat

    An Aeroflot plane carrying 256 people from New York to Moscow made an unscheduled landing in Iceland on Thursday following a report of a bomb on board, authorities said.The plane, an Airbus A330, landed at Iceland's Keflavik International Airport where baggage and passengers were being inspected as part of the search for explosives.


    7 in UK court on phone hacking charges

    The prime minister's former media adviser and six other people have appeared in a London court on phone hacking charges.Andy Coulson, who edited the News of the World tabloid before joining Premier David Cameron's staff, spoke only to confirm his name and address Thursday during a brief appearance in Westminster Magistrates' Court.

    GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s new promise to restore the Medicare cuts made by President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul law could backfire if he’s elected.

    Undoing Obama Medicare cuts may backfire on Romney

    GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney's new promise to restore the Medicare cuts made by President Barack Obama's health care overhaul law could backfire if he's elected.The reason: Obama's cuts also extended the life of Medicare's giant trust fund, and by repealing them Romney would move the insolvency date of the program closer, toward the end of what would be his first term in office.

    A man and a child look at a securities firm’s electronic stock board in Tokyo Thursday.

    Markets muted despite more Chinese easing hope

    Markets were muted Thursday as trading levels sank in the traditional summer lull that grips trading desks in Europe and the U.S., and as investors opted to stay on the sidelines in the run-up to policy statements from the world's leading central banks.Investors across the world have been fairly optimistic over recent weeks on hopes the world's central banks will do more to shore up the global economy.

    Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is reporting a 5.7 percent increase in second-quarter net income, as the world’s largest retailer is wooing back frugal shoppers by doubling down on low prices.

    Wal-Mart 2Q profit rises 5.7 pct, raises outlook

    Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is reporting a 5.7 percent increase in second-quarter net income, as the world's largest retailer is wooing back frugal shoppers by doubling down on low prices.The discounter also is raising its full-year profit outlook.The company says it earned $4.02 billion, or $1.19 per share, for the quarter ended July 31. That compares with $3.80 billion, or $1.09 per share, a year ago.

    Jeffrey Lacker

    Lacker says Fed’s power to fix economy now limited

    A voting member of the Federal Reserve's policy committee is cautioning that the Fed's power to fix the U.S. economy is limited now. Jeffrey Lacker, the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, said Wednesday in an interview with The Associated Press that the Fed can only do so much to lower the 8.3 percent unemployment rate.

    A Los Angeles restaurant is offering a deal to customers who agree to look at their fellow diners instead of their phone screens.

    LA restaurant offers discount to phone-free diners

    A Los Angeles restaurant is offering a deal to customers who agree to look at their fellow diners instead of their phone screens. Eva Restaurant is giving a 5 percent discount to customers who will leave their cellphones with staff when they are seated.

    Best known for its flat-pack furniture, Ikea is now planning to launch a budget hotel chain in Europe.

    Ikea to launch budget hotel chain

    Best known for its flat-pack furniture, Ikea is now planning to launch a budget hotel chain in Europe.Inter Ikea, which owns the Ikea concept, says it plans hotels in 100 locations across Europe, with the first expected to open in 2014.

Life & Entertainment

    Bartlett native Ryan Suffern shoots footage for a documentary titled "Bidder 70."

    Bartlett native, Elgin High grad plays big role in ESPN film

    Bartlett native and Elgin High School grad Ryan Suffern works at the Kennedy/Marshall Company in California where management doesn't believe in job titles. That means he can do everything, including edit and shoot documentaries, such as Frank Marshall's "Right to Play," presented on ESPN Classic on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. "That was quite a learning curve for both of us," Suffern said.

    Gene Simmons, left, Shannon Tweed, Nick Simmons and Sophie Simmons in their A&E reality series, “Gene Simmons Family Jewels,” which will be ending after seven seasons.

    Gene Simmons’ A&E reality show gets kiss-off

    The A&E Network is kissing Gene Simmons and his family goodbye. The network and the KISS guitarist said that the "Gene Simmons Family Jewels" reality show is ending after seven seasons. Once one of the network's top-rated shows, it has faded over time.

    Disney and its Marvel Studios unit have announced that the sequel to “The Avengers” starring Samuel L. Jackson will arrive in theaters on May 1, 2015.

    ‘Avengers’ sequel planned for May 2015

    "The Avengers" are returning for a superhero sequel three years from now. Disney and its Marvel Studios unit announced Thursday that the follow-up to this year's biggest hit will arrive in theaters on May 1, 2015.

    Jennifer Lawrence plays Katniss Everdeen in “The Hunger Games,” set for DVD release this week. Lawrence is among several teens fighting to the death in a televised competition in post-apocalyptic North America.

    ‘Hunger Games’ set to make mark on DVD

    "The Hunger Games" was one of the most anticipated films of the year, and it did not disappoint. Now on DVD, this is a tale of teens forced to battle to the death in a nationally televised event in which only one will survive. Jennifer Lawrence stars as Katniss, the bow-wielding heroine who volunteers to fight to save her sister's life.


    Online defamation by ex is causing problems

    An ex-girlfriend's online defamation is causing problems for a guy just trying to find a nice girl. He wants to know how to get beyond the troubles. Carolyn Hax offers advice, including why he shouldn't bad-mouth the web accuser.

    Eric Roberts plays crime lord Mr. Racken in IFC’s new action comedy “Bullet In The Face.”

    IFC’s ‘Bullet in the Face’ makes good on its title

    Alan Spencer, creator of the 1980s ABC police spoof “Sledge Hammer!,” has a new series with a title that’s a dead giveaway: “Bullet in the Face” isn’t playing by quaint 20th-century network standards. Making a quick bow on IFC, with its six episodes split between Thursday and Friday (9 p.m. CST), “Bullet in the Face” mixes darkly madcap humor, a silly but sadistic antihero and lots of violence in a stew that even Spencer is hard-pressed to define. “Maybe the world of graphic novels might be the only influence I could cite,” he said.

    Actor Robert Downey Jr sustained an injury to his foot while performing a stunt on the set of “Iron Man 3.”

    Robert Downey hurt filming ‘Iron Man 3’

    Production on "Iron Man 3" is on hold after star Robert Downey Jr. hurt his foot during filming. Marvel Studios said Thursday that Downey was injured while performing a stunt and "there will be a short delay in production while he recuperates." The 47-year-old actor is shooting the third installment in the superhero franchise in North Carolina.

    Michael J. Fox may soon be returning to series TV and starring in a sitcom.

    Michael J. Fox returning to series TV

    Michael J. Fox is planning a return to series TV. According to people with knowledge of the project, he'll star in a sitcom that's in development at Sony Pictures Television for a 2013 debut.

    A memorial to Elvis Presley is displayed outside Graceland, Presley’s Memphis home on Wednesday. Fans from around the world are at Graceland to commemorate the 35th anniversary of Presley’s death.

    A surprise visit for Elvis mourners at Graceland

    Thousands of devotees converged on Graceland to mark the 35th anniversary of Elvis Presley's death and got a surprise welcome from the King's former wife and daughter, the first time Priscilla and Lisa Marie Presley have appeared together at the annual gathering. The two women appeared on an elevated stage in front of the crowd Wednesday night, the eve of the Aug. 16 date when the rock'n'roll icon died at home in 1977 from a heart attack after battling prescription drug abuse.

    A healthy remake of a PB&J sandwich can include fresh berries or a natural fruit spread.

    Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich Makeover
    Healthy PB&J

    A healthier PB&J sandwich starts with whole grain bread.

    Remaking classic PB&J

    Most kids — and many adults who want to remember being kids — love peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Problem is, this lunch box staple is high in fat and sugar. So it's time for a remake of that beloved sandwich.The first fix is the bread. Skip the fluffy white bread and go straight to a multigrain or whole wheat.


    Eating out: La Tosca’s new chef
    La Tosca's new chef; Zest Bistro's burger night;Vie's hog cooking class.

    “Bad Little Falls” by Paul Doiron

    Plot of ‘Bad Little Falls’ is riveting

    Maine game warden Mike Bowditch should have learned by now that he needs to mind his own business. His inability to do so in "The Poacher's Son" (2010) and "Trespasser" (2011) has left both his personal and his professional life in tatters. His superiors, and just about everyone else in Maine law enforcement, consider him a hotheaded, arrogant loose cannon. The woman he loves has left him, taking their baby son with her. And, as his new adventure, "Bad Little Falls," opens, he's been banished to an assignment in Down East, Maine.

    Norman (Kodi Smit-McPhee) tries to protect his town from a 300-year-old curse in “ParaNorman.”

    Filmmakers enjoyed ‘magical’ moments making ‘ParaNorman’

    Dann Gire interviews Chris Butler and Sam Fell, directors of the new stop-motion animated horror comedy "ParaNorman," opening at theaters this weekend. Dann also presents Reel Life critic's notes, including news of an upcoming showing of the dating comedy "Love Stalker" from Prospect High School graduate and Columbia College graduate Matt Glasson, who now works for Comedy Central.


    Music notes: Travel Back to Woodstock at the Arcada

    "Back to Woodstock," a show featuring original members of Big Brother & the Holding Company, is sure to please fans of 1960s and 1970s rock. The show makes a stop Saturday, Aug. 18, at the Arcada Theatre in St. Charles.

    “Politico” by Mexican Institute of Sound

    Mexican cheer turns mournful on ‘Politico’

    On "Politico," the darkly pointed new album by electronic artist Camilo Lara (aka the Mexican Institute of Sound), the cheer "Mexico, Mexico, ra ra ra" is a lopsided refrain anchoring the breakout single "Mexico," which sadly declares that the stench of rot remains in that country.


    Book notes: Meet Debbie Macomber at Anderson’s

    New York Times best-selling author Debbie Macomber reads from and signs copies of her newest title, "The Inn at Rose Harbor," at 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 23, at Anderson's Bookshop in Naperville.

    Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham and Terry Crews star in Simon West's action-packed sequel "The Expendables 2.”

    'Expendables 2' fleet-footed and engaging

    The original "Expendables" took place in Latin America. "Expendables 2" relocates to Bulgaria, offering expansive vistas and locations for the Eastern European settings. Taking directing chores from star Sylvester Stallone, Simon West preserves the hardboiled action and wisecracking antics of the original movie, channeling B-movie tonal elements he might have picked up directing "Con Air."

    Norman (voiced by Kodi Smit-McPhee) must deal with his parents, sister and his dead-but-still-talking-to-him grandmother (Elaine Stritch) in “ParaNorman.”

    ‘ParaNorman’ a witty, fast-paced zombie comedy

    The witty and surprising stop-motion animated horror/comedy "ParaNorman" is fairly heady stuff from British directors Sam Fell and Chris Butler, who mine their obvious love of old-fashioned creature features to create a dark and cautionary tale about an outcast boy whose unusual gifts make him the perfect hero to save his tiny, xenophobic New England town from a 300-year-old witch's curse.



    Editorial: Gov. Quinn’s obligation to act on plastic bag recycling

    A Daily Herald editorial endorses a four-year opportunity for the plastic bag industry to establish an effective recycling and reduction program -- or else.


    In fiction as in fact, credibility is king for papers

    Columnist Jim Slusher: The tweet from longtime newspaper blogger Jim Romenesko was not to be resisted. "Netflix says State of Play' is the most popular newspaper film." Wow. Self-indulgence plus a list. What could be more compelling?


    I will take the fairy dust
    A Long Grove letter to the editor: What the president does not realize is that some of us would be pleased to have "fairy dust" in place of the choking deficits and debt, wasteful spending, Constitution-bashing, contempt of Congress and the Supreme Court and our country, foreign policy disaster, health care fiasco, a corrupt Justice Department, and other failures that he has showered on us for the last four years.


    Stories don’t get answers from Duckworth
    An Ingleside letter to the editor: Kerry Lester and Mike Riopell stories use a lot of ink, but they raise more questions about the 8th District Congressional race.


    Ulterior motives for new principal
    A Round Lake letter to the editor: Imagine my surprise when I read the Daily Herald article from Aug. 9 about Juan H. Gardner being hired as Round Lake High School's new principal. Actually I'm not surprised that Gardner was hired, as his credentials show he's obviously been hired to do more than one job.


    Thanks for work on historical project
    A Libertyville letter to the editor: On behalf of the Libertyville-Mundelein Historical Society, I wish to say a public "thank you" to Mike Foley and Roch Tranel for the truly beautiful new exterior of the Cook House in Libertyville


    A question about our gun policy
    An Arlington Heights letter to the editor: Why are all the politicians and activists advocating gun control well protected by men with guns?


    Workplace language must be appropriate
    A Wheeling letter to the editor: In a columnist's July 29 column in Business she said to use the phrase "that must suck" in response to the co-worker's complaining. Really?!


    Seeking the good to come of tragedy
    A Palatine letter to the editor: Perhaps it is the renewal of an interfaith dialogue. Perhaps it is in educating everyone on the glaring sameness of ourselves as human beings.


    Start outcry against assault weapons
    An Arlington Heights letter to the editor: If we who agree with the governor all take the time to make our support felt, to write the governor and our legislators and talk to our friends about the need to get rid of these means of destruction, there is hope that we can make our state safer for everyone.


    Our state needs better leaders
    An Arlington Heights letter to the editor: What I believe is that this negative economic spiral will end on its own. The state will run out of cash and the state will not be able to borrow . The state will then start to default on its obligations.


    Schools appear to be saving too much
    An Arlington Heights letter to the editor: Imagine my surprise to see that District 214 has $157 million in cash and short term investments. The district has over one year of expenses in current assets.


    Democrats too silent on gun control
    A Palatine letter to the editor: Will I bother to vote for a Democrat in November? No, they have failed time and again to check the excesses of the far right, and their timorous silence does nothing to ensure life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.


    Hold lawmakers responsible for pension mess
    A Palatine letter to the editor: All lawmakers responsible for this mess should lose their right to any and all pensions that they have coming from the taxpayers.


    Nuggets of wisdom from Jefferson
    A Palatine letter to the editor: We've had 3½ years of Obama fiscal policy and anti-Kennedy fiscal policy, and maybe its time for a new direction.


    Hold the praise for Obama on GM
    An Elk Grove Village letter to the editor: Mr. Carras believes that the government saved GM. The truth is the government illegally swindled the bond holders and gave them nothing while the unions came out smelling like a rose.


    Tolerant attitudes go both ways
    A Palatine letter to the editor: So why can't the gay rights groups show tolerance to those who value the Bible?


    U.N. needs tougher action against Syria
    A Buffalo Grove letter to the editor: If the United Nations is serious about using nothing more than words to address the civil war in Syria, then I suggest they get serious and remove Syria from the two human rights committees on which that nation now serves.


    Herald should adhere to mission statement
    An Inverness letter to the editor: Since God is the author of marriage, would it not make sense to read what his word says about marriage, or in this case gay marriage?


    Obamacare only reducing liberties
    A letter to the editor: Do you like the hiring of more IRS agents to review your income tax returns for compliance with this law?


    We all must watch over those in need
    A Palatine letter to the editor: The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops described Paul Ryan's budget and social policies as "failing to meet moral criteria by disproportionately cutting programs that serve poor and vulnerable people."


    Work together to limit climate change
    AnEelgin letter to the editor: Sustainability has new meaning for me. It means we must do more to be a community and work together. Adapting to all these changes that are here coming will take tolerance, humanity, and all our better qualities.


    Let’s call them Obama tax cuts
    A Geneva letter to the editor: A recent Wall Street Journal section in the Daily Herald indicates that if the current tax rates are not extended after Jan. 1 there will be great damage to the economy and markets. I believe this would affect the middle class for more than it would the rich.


    Cheap treasuries for infrastructure jobs
    An Elgin letter to the editor: Foreign countries trust America with their money so much that they continue to invest in our Treasury notes even though the yields are so low. Now is the time for our government to borrow to improve our infrastructure, create jobs and economy.


    Outsourcing moralizing to liberals

    It’s a given in many conservative circles that the rise of single-parent families is the biggest cause of increasing economic inequality and that liberals are to blame. The first “given” is correct. The second “given” is entirely in conservative heads — though a means to play politics without doing the heavy lifting.More than 40 percent of births in the United States are to single women, mostly poor or working-class. Their families often suffer a poverty of time and money, for which their children pay the price. By contrast, the great majority of college-educated whites have children within the confines of marriage, conferring an extra set of privileges to their offspring.Many conservatives want to pin this imbalance on a sexual revolution promoted by their fantasy hippie-baby-boomer-everyone-in-the-hot-tub liberals. These “elitist snobs” -- author Charles Murray’s favorite phrase — push free love to impressionable working-class kids, the story goes, while they themselves insist on marriage before children. Murray and company rarely furnish names. The villains are simply “liberals” or “they.”Conservative writer Jonathan V. Last recently complained in The Weekly Standard that a New York Times article on the widening class divide linked to marital status neglected to provide an underlying cause. “It’s a complicated question,” he admitted, but it has something to do with sexual freedom in ways that “readers of The New York Times will not like.”Last hinted at what he was talking about in an earlier piece. “The pill created the possibility of a world where sex would have no dire consequences,” he wrote. And he quoted former colleague David Frum as follows: “The central dogma of the baby boomers is the belief that sex, so long as it’s consensual, ought never be subject to moral scrutiny at all.”Where to start. First off, the pharmaceutical industry invented the pill, not liberals. Secondly, if baby boomers were libertines not heeding the consequences of sex, how come they didn’t have children out of wedlock? Thirdly, isn’t it time to stop beating up the ’60s for what’s happening 50 years later? (Only 30 years separated the licentious 1920s from the puritanical ’50s.)Women giving birth out of wedlock are obviously not taking the pill. The pill prevents pregnancies rather than causes them. That makes conservative attacks on contraception rather inconsistent with their condemnations of single motherhood. Unless this is really about liberals ... er, I mean ... sex.According to my moral compass, children should be protected from sexuality they can’t responsibly handle, but what consenting adults do in their bedroom is no business of mine. If conservatives want to analyze the morality of such couplings, that’s their right. While we may agree that children are best raised in two-parent families, this moralizing about sex has zero to do with the fact that most of these unmarried women are having children on purpose.As for the politics, it bears reminding that the states reporting the lowest incidences of births out of wedlock, with the exceptions of Utah and Idaho, tend to be liberal. In Washington state, only 34 percent of births are to unmarried women. In Oregon and Massachusetts, it’s 35 percent. In conservative Oklahoma, however, 42 percent of births are to single mothers, and in Georgia and Tennessee, it’s 45 percent.Nonetheless, conservative columnist David Brooks writes, “Liberals are going to have to be willing to champion norms that say marriage should come before child rearing and be morally tough about it.” Is that an assignment?Perhaps conservative intellectuals should be making their pitch to conservative America rather than outsourcing the job. The danger, of course, is that the folks they meet might not know one elite from the other.© 2012, Creators Syndicate Inc.


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