Daily Archive : Thursday November 22, 2012


    Tyler Henson, 11, practices batting outside his home in Oak Forest. Tyler and his brother both play on separate year-round travel baseball teams and also manage to play football and basketball on their local park district teams. It means that sports has become their family’s main focus, with their parents spending thousands of dollars each year for travel and gear.

    Parents pushing kids to extremes in sports

    Parents driven by a desire to help their children stand out are often traveling hundreds if not thousands of miles a year for athletic games and tournaments. Some parents send their children to personal trainers, or to the growing number of so-called elite training facilities that have opened in recent years. For many, sports has become their family's main focus, with their parents spending...


    Hoops tourney moves to Mundelein after violence

    Boys basketball tournament action that was supposed to resume Friday at Warren Township High School in Gurnee will occur at another venue because of fights in the stands and outside earlier this week, officials said.

    Glen Ostgaard of Geneva fills a plate at Lazarus House’s annual Thanksgiving Day dinner at the Salvation Army in St. Charles. Ostgaard has been coming to the dinner for the last several years.

    Lazarus House feeds 400 in St. Charles

    Not only have dozens of volunteers been signing up since early October to prepare and serve as many as 400 meals but Lazarus House Volunteer Coordinator Donna Bauer said just as many have been donating everything from ice, whipped cream and gravy to the 42 turkeys roasted and prepared by members of the St. Charles Moose Lodge.

    A radiologist uses a magnifying glass to check mammograms for breast cancer in Los Angeles. A big U.S. study published in the New England Journal of Medicine shows that mammograms have done surprisingly little to catch deadly cancers before they spread. At the same time, they have led more than a million women to be treated for growths that never would have threatened their lives.

    Study finds mammograms lead to unneeded treatment

    Mammograms have done surprisingly little to catch deadly breast cancers before they spread, a big U.S. study finds. At the same time, more than a million women have been treated for cancers that never would have threatened their lives, researchers estimate.

    Cars and Trucks are piled on Interstate 10 in Southeast Texas Thursday. Two people died and dozens were hurt Thursday when at least 100 vehicles collided in Southeast Texas in a pileup that left trucks twisted on top of each other and authorities rushing to pull survivors from the miles of wreckage.

    2 killed, dozens injured in massive Texas pileup

    Two people died and more than 80 people were hurt Thursday when at least 140 vehicles collided in Southeast Texas in a pileup that left trucks twisted on top of each other and authorities rushing to pull survivors from the wreckage.

    Denis Magoolaghan, 67, enjoys a free Thanksgiving dinner in the Rockaways section of Queens Thursday in New York. Portions of the Northeast are still reeling from Sandy’s havoc, and volunteers served thousands of turkey dinners to people it left homeless or struggling.

    Sandy victims cheered by NYC’s Thanksgiving parade

    Victims of Superstorm Sandy in New York and elsewhere in the Northeast were comforted Thursday by kinder weather, free holiday meals and — for some — front row seats to the annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

    A Hamas militant talks during a press conference in Gaza City on Thursday. The poster in the background reads: “Gaza won” and shows the picture of Ahmed Jabari, a Hamas leader assassinated Nov.14 — the act that set off the last round of fighting between Israel and Hamas.

    Hamas emerges with gains from Israeli offensive

    Hamas has emerged from battle with the triumphal sense of a hard-won game change: By stopping its offensive when it did, Israel's hard-line government seems to have grudgingly accepted that the Islamic militant group cannot soon be dislodged from power in Gaza.


    Hawthorn Woods holds holiday craft fair

    Hawthorn Woods hosts its annual Holiday Craft Fair from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 23, at village hall, 2 Lagoon Drive. Several home-based businesses and many crafters will be on hand.

    Republican senators have angrily criticized U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice, seen here, over her initial account of the deadly Sept. 11 attack in Libya.

    Rice rejects criticism of her remarks on Benghazi

    Susan Rice, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, rejected criticism of her remarks about the deadly attack on an American diplomatic mission in Libya, saying they were based on initial intelligence community assessments.

    Erskine Bowles, right, Alan Simpson, co-chairmen of the president’s deficit reduction commission, are seen outside the White House in this file photo from April 14, 2011. Lobbyists, advocates and trade groups are fighting fight to shape the government’s response to the looming fiscal cliff.

    Election over, but campaign to influence continues

    The election may be over, but a new campaign is being waged in the nation's capital as lobbyists, advocates and trade groups fight to shape the government's response to the looming fiscal cliff. It's a twist on the usual lobbying effort: Instead of digging for more tax dollars, they're trying to protect what they've got.


    Mount Prospect approves 9.5% water rate hike

    Mount Prospect residents can look forward to ringing in the New Year with higher water bills. The village board this week approved a 9.5 percent rate hike that will go into effect Jan. 1.


    Hoffman Chamber offers cash drawing as incentive to shop local

    As an extra incentive to get residents to shop local on Small Business Saturday, the Hoffman Estates Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring a drawing for $50. Shoppers who visit any chamber member on Saturday, Nov. 24, should keep their receipts and bring them to the chamber office, 2200 W. Higgins Road, Suite 201.


    Help single moms in crisis in Round Lake Beach

    Yong Tae Kwon Do in Round Lake Beach plans a drive at 6 p.m. Friday, Dec. 7, to raise money for Nicasa and a special fund for single mothers in crisis. Round Lake Beach Mayor Richard Hill, village trustees and Nicasa Chief Executive Officer Bruce Johnson are expected to attend.


    Stevenson High may change soda vendors

    Stevenson High School officials are debating whether to change soft drink vendors. The Coca-Cola Co. has supplied cold drinks on the Lincolnshire campus since 2007. Before then, PepsiCo was the school's vendor.


    Fundraiser for Arlington Heights soldier a success

    More than 500 people attended a fundraiser last week for an injured Arlington Heights soldier who is fighting to learn to walk again. "It was an amazing evening; we were truly lifted up by communities of friends," Barbara Tsutumi, the soldier's mother, wrote in an email.


    Nearly $20,000 in damages in Batavia garage fire

    Officials investigating Thanksgiving Day Batavia fire at a house that was contained to the garage. No one was injured.


    Snowman Fest kicks off new Hometown Holidays

    Many Napervillians are likely to have their holiday traditions shaken up a bit this year but city officials say it's for a once in a lifetime opportunity to allow more residents to participate in the city's Hometown Holidays festivities. Katie Wood, executive director of the Downtown Naperville Alliance, said the organization is taking advantage of a very rare fifth Saturday in December and moved...

    This is an artist’s rendering of a high-speed train station designed for California’s proposed system. Illinois high-speed rail efforts have taken a modest step forward recently with a new top speed of 110 mph over a short section of the Amtrak route between Chicago and St. Louis.

    110 mph service starts on Chicago-St. Louis route
    After a test phase, Amtrak is whisking rail passengers at a new top speed of 110 mph over a short section of its route between Chicago and St. Louis in a step forward for the Midwest high-speed rail program, officials said Thursday.

    Daniel Lopez, 9, of Elgin chows down on a slice of turkey at Elgin’s fourth annual community dinner held Thursday for the first time at the First United Methodist Church. This is the third year his family has attended the gathering.

    Elgin’s Thanksgiving meal debuts at First United Methodist Church

    First United Methodist Church in Elgin brimmed with good food Thursday for its debut as the host venue for a free Thanksgiving Day meal served to anyone who wanted it. At least 1,200 visitors were expected for the community meal. Those who left enough room had their pick of roughly 2,500 plates of scrumptious desserts donated by home cooks and businesses.


    Turkey fryer blamed for Crystal Lake garage fire

    No injuries were reported from a garage fire caused by the deep frying of a turkey Thursday, according to the Crystal Lake Fire Department.

    Rep. Bobby Rush, right, and Rep. Danny Davis listen to a question at a news conference in Chicago on Wednesday. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., son of a civil rights icon whose rising star aspirations and work as an effective local leader became engulfed by personal and ethical issues in recent years, quietly resigned from Congress Wednesday on an ominous tone.

    Jockeying under way to replace Rep. Jackson Jr.

    The jockeying to replace Jesse Jackson Jr. began before the ink was dry on the former congressman's resignation letter. Among those expressing an interest: Chicago aldermen, a former NFL linebacker and a defense attorney who represented R&B singer R. Kelly and former Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

    Church volunteer Dee Gray of Palatine serves up a hot turkey dinner to Yenice Benitez,11, of Rolling Meadows at the All Saints Lutheran Church on Thanksgiving Day.

    Images: Thanksgiving in the suburbs
    Suburban residents celebrated Thanksgiving in many ways Thursday. Some of the highlights were dinner for sailors in Gurnee, Thanksgiving meals for members of the community in Palatine, Elgin and St. Charles, and multiple turkey trots incuding those in Batavia, Wauconda and Naperville.


    Tri-Cities police reports
    Tomas Jaquez, 27, of Aurora, was charged with possession of less than 2.5 grams of marijuana and improper lane use after a traffic stop at 9:14 a.m. Sunday at West Benton Street and Woodlawn Avenue near Aurora, according to a sheriff's report.

    Karen Dawn and her pet turkey, Russell. He’s getting his feathers blown dry at home in Pacific Palisades, Calif.

    Turkeys: Some eat ’em, some feed ’em

    Turkeys: Main course or animal companion? OK, so it isn't even close. According to the industry group National Turkey Federation, more than 46 million of the big birds were to be served as Thanksgiving dinner this year. Just a few hundred got to experience the holiday as a pet, said turkey rescue Farm Sanctuary.

    Protesters remain seated during an opening prayer during Hamilton County Commission meeting in Chattanooga, Tenn.

    Lawsuits challenge prayer at public meetings
    It happens every week at meetings in towns, counties and cities nationwide. A lawmaker or religious leader leads a prayer before officials begin the business of zoning changes, contract approvals and trash pickup. At least five lawsuits around the country — in California, Florida, Missouri, New York, and Tennessee — are actively challenging pre-meeting prayers.

    Tom Karambelas

    Family of missing St. Charles man still searching for answers

    It's been 11 months since the family of Tom Karambelas has seen or heard from him. The 42-year-old St. Charles man disappeared Dec. 22. As his parents and brother sit down to celebrate Thanksgiving without him, they do so with weighted hearts. "It's changed us," said Karambelas' brother, Bill Karambelas. "It's dominated our lives."

    Extreme weather isn’t isolated to the coasts. Here flooding is seen threatening the Omaha Airport in Nebraska in June 2011.

    U.S. roads, airports unprepared for natural disasters

    The nation’s lifelines — its roads, airports, railways and transit systems — are getting hammered by extreme weather beyond what their builders imagined, leaving states and cities searching for ways to brace for more catastrophes like Superstorm Sandy. Even as they prepare for a new normal of intense rain, historic floods and record heat waves, some transportation planners find...

    A male giraffe calf born at Brookfield Zoo on Nov. 12, 2012 with his mom, Arnieta. This calf is the 58th giraffe born at Brookfield Zoo. His birth marks three generations of giraffes at Brookfield Zoo, and he can can be seen indoors in the zooís Habitat Africa! The Savannah exhibit.

    Baby giraffe makes debut at Brookfield Zoo

    A baby giraffe has made his debut at Brookfield Zoo. Zoo officials say the baby boy was born Nov. 12 but didn't go on public display until Wednesday. His mother is 5-year-old Arnieta and his father is 4-year-old Hasani. The baby boy weighs 140 pounds and is 6-feet, 2-inches tall.


    Illinois man not guilty in grandmother’s murder

    BELLEVILLE, Ill. — A judge in southwestern Illinois has found a man not guilty by reason of mental illness or defect in the 2008 stabbing death of his grandmother.The Belleville News-Democrat (http://bit.ly/T5fa19) reports that St. Clair County Associate Judge Vince Lopinot returned the verdict Tuesday against 25-year-old Logan Dyjak of Belleville.


    Authorities collect DNA from Chicago sex offenders

    Authorities in Illinois have collected DNA from more than 100 people living in Chicago who were convicted of serious sex crimes in other states. The effort this week was led by Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s office and was in line with an Illinois law that requires all sex offenders to submit specimens to the state’s DNA database even if they were convicted outside Illinois.


    Police chief’s wife admits defrauding ex-employer

    EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. — The wife of a southwestern Illinois police chief faces up to a year and nine months in federal prison now that she’s admitted defrauding a former employer of as much as $120,000.


    Governor urges Illinoisans to help food banks

    Gov. Pat Quinn is reminding state residents to support food banks around Illinois during the holiday season and throughout the year.In a news release, Quinn’s office says the governor visited the Greater Chicago Food Depository the day before Thanksgiving to help volunteers prepare holiday meals.

    U.S. soldiers pray before eating a Thanksgiving meal at a dining hall at the U.S.-led coalition base in Kabul, Afghanistan, Thursday, Nov. 22, 2012. The dining hall at the U.S.-led coalition base in the Afghan capital served up mac-and-cheese along with traditional Thanksgiving Day fixings.

    US troops in Afghanistan celebrate Thanksgiving

    American troops are celebrating Thanksgiving Day with food and football at a U.S.-led coalition base in the Afghan capital. Huge hunks of beef greeted the estimated 2,500 diners as soldiers lined up in the dining hall. Red-white-and-blue decorations filled the room. Brochures titled "Learn about combat stress" served as table centerpieces.


    Police officer quits after comments about Obama

    JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A Jacksonville police officer has quit after admitting he told colleagues that he would volunteer to assassinate President Barack Obama.Sam Koivisto told the Florida Times-Union (http://bit.ly/10zfc6q) on Wednesday that his comments had been blown out of proportion and that he’d planned to retire in five months anyway.

    A worker cuts a shark fin at a fish market in Dubai , United Arab Emirates. The global trade in shark fins totals hundreds of millions of dollars a year, and tens of millions of sharks around the world may be caught every year for their fins. Some experts estimate that stocks of some shark species in inshore reef systems around the world have fallen by up to 90 percent.

    EU takes major step to protect sharks

    BRUSSELS — The European Union has taken a major step to protect sharks, banning the brutal practice of slicing off their fins before throwing the fish back into the sea to perish.

    A northern spotted owl flies after an elusive mouse jumping off the end of a stick in the Deschutes National Forest near Camp Sherman, Ore.

    U.S. aims to double habitat for spotted owl

    GRANTS PASS, Ore. — The last building block of the Obama administration’s strategy unveiled Wednesday to keep the northern spotted owl from extinction nearly doubles the amount of Northwest national forest land dedicated to protecting the bird by the Bush administration four years ago.

    This artist impression provided by the European Southern Observatory and the journal Nature, shows the surface of the distant dwarf planet Makemake. This dwarf planet is about two thirds of the size of Pluto, and travels around the Sun in a distant path that lies beyond that of Pluto.

    Study: Distant dwarf planet has no atmosphere

    WASHINGTON — Astronomers say Pluto’s icy more distant sister seems even more alien than thought because it doesn’t have an atmosphere.

    Candy Bishop of Lombard has been baking cookies and writing letters to troops through the nonprofit Soldiers' Angels, connecting with more than 4,000 military members in four years. Here, she holds her favorite gift from someone she's written — an American flag flown July 4, 2009, over Forward Operating Base Gardez in Afghanistan, sent by an Air Force sergeant.

    Lombard woman's letters, cookies are troops' escape

    Candy Bishop, 67, of Lombard, has sent thousands of letters and hundreds of batches of homemade cookies to troops in action. The escape her letters and care packages provide is fleeting, but significant. "They love letters because it takes them out of the desert for just a minute," Bishop said. "They love anything that lets them forget where they are."

    This image by NASA shows marks in the Martian soil made by the rover Curiosity. The space agency said the six-wheel rover is set to drive to a new destination soon. It landed in August on a two-year mission to study whether the environment is suitable for microbial life.

    NASA scientists eyeing regional dust storm on Mars

    PASADENA, Calif. — NASA is tracking a regional dust storm on Mars, but says it has not affected the operations of its two rovers on the surface.The space agency said Wednesday the storm raging in the Martian southern hemisphere was spotted earlier this month by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter circling overhead.

    The Diamond Shoals Light Tower, located 13 miles off Cape Hatteras, N.C., was purchased from the federal government for $20,000.

    Man buys surplus Atlantic light tower for research

    RALEIGH, N.C.— To the government, it was a defunct offshore light tower that hadn’t helped ships navigate the waters off North Carolina in more than a decade. To a Minnesota entrepreneur, the platform out in the Atlantic is a launching pad for research into wind power and other technologies.

    How many turkeys will be raised in the U.S. this year? 254 million, the U.S. Census Bureau says. We also import roughly $12 million in turkeys from Canada.

    Random facts to gobble up for Thanksgiving

    How many turkeys will be raised in the U.S. this year? 254 million, the U.S. Census Buruau says. We also import roughly $12 million in turkeys from Canada. In addition, there are four towns in the United States named Turkey. Here are some facts on Thanksgiving you can chew on while you try to avoid ruffling too many relatives' feathers.

    While they all have different reasons for appreciating the La Brea Tar Pits, Ross, Ben and Will smile about this tourist stop during our Los Angeles vacation.

    Three teenage sons add to Constable cornucopia of thanks

    The list of things for which my family gives thanks has changed since that Thanksgiving in 1995 when my wife gave birth to our twin sons. But we are fortunate that life with three boys continues to add to our list. Every Thanksgiving since my wife and I became parents, I've used this Thanksgiving column as an annual listing of things from the last year for which we are thankful. Thanks for your...

    Grover Cleveland had parsnip fritters with nutmeg served for Thanksgiving dinner.

    White House Thanksgiving full of tradition

    Here in the snug, stainless-steel kitchen of the White House, generations of chefs have heard the same request for adherence to tradition that first lady Michelle Obama has delivered to Comerford since 2009. Our presidents and their families are forever asking for a Thanksgiving meal that will feel familiar to them, and, it goes without saying, to the American people. But tradition is a funny...


    Last week Northern Illinois University quarterback Jordan Lynch threw for 407 yards against Toledo and ran for 162 yards. He needs just 199 rushing yards to break the single season mark by Michigan’s Denard Robinson.

    EMU in Huskies’ path for 11th straight win

    Northern Illinois will have more than one thing to worry about when it closes its regular season Friday afternoon at Eastern Michigan. The Eagles play two quarterbacks, meaning NIU must game plan for both. The Huskies, however, can counter with one of the best in the country with Jordan Lynch, the first QB in FBS history to throw for more than 400 yards and run for more than 150 in a game.


    Griffin shines, Redskins hold off Cowboys

    ARLINGTON, Texas — Robert Griffin III raised his fists, took a knee for a quick prayer, jumped up and pointed to the sky.That’s the routine on touchdown passes for the Heisman Trophy winner from Baylor, and he got to do it four times in his impressive return to Texas.Griffin threw for 311 yards and Washington built a huge halftime lead against Dallas before holding on for a 38-31 victory that conjured memories for some of a rally that helped make Cowboys vs. Redskins on Thanksgiving famous.“He’s kind of like `Cool Hand Luke,”’ Redskins coach Mike Shanahan said. “He doesn’t get too upset about anything.”Griffin made the Cowboys look like an overmatched college team in the second quarter, throwing for three scores in Washington’s first 28-point quarter in 13 years as the Redskins (5-6) built a 28-3 halftime lead. After Tony Romo threw the longest touchdown of his career — an 85-yarder to Dez Bryant late in the third quarter — Griffin answered by becoming the first Redskins quarterback with four touchdown passes in consecutive games.And finally, when the Cowboys got within a touchdown and really had people thinking back to Clint Longley’s miracle TD to Drew Pearson in the final seconds of a one-point Dallas victory over Washington on Thanksgiving in 1974, Griffin calmly led the Redskins on a clock-killing drive to a field goal and a 38-28 lead in his first pro game in Texas since his sparkling run at Baylor.“Anytime you have a guy like him, you never worry about him,” said Washington cornerback DeAngelo Hall, who set up a first-half score with an interception. “You worry about the guys around him being able to keep up with the pace.”Romo lost for the first time in six starts on Thanksgiving, despite a career-high 441 yards and three second-half touchdowns. After the long TD to Bryant, who matched his career high from last week with 145 yards receiving, Romo ran in a 2-point conversion after a TD throw to Felix Jones and threw another scoring pass to Bryant to help Dallas close to 35-28 with 8:24 remaining. “I thought we had a good chance,” said Romo, who tied a career high with 62 pass attempts.Griffin responded by completing three passes for first downs, including one on third-and-1 near midfield — and the Redskins ran nearly 5½ minutes off the clock before Kai Forbath’s 48-yard field goal with 3:03 remaining.“I told the guys that that was probably the drive that saved our season,” Griffin said. “You have a huge lead, the other team’s roaring back, they have all the momentum, and then you go out there and you convert third down after third down after third down and get in field goal range.”Dallas drove to a field goal with 23 seconds left, but Hall easily picked up the onside kick and ran untouched before sliding down short of the goal line, clinching Romo’s third loss in three career 400-yard games. It also was the Cowboys’ first loss to the Redskins in seven games on Thanksgiving.“That quarterback is obviously a very good player, and they use him well,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said of Griffin. “It was challenging for us to slow those guys down. We didn’t do enough offensively to keep up with them in the first half.”The Cowboys (5-6) actually contained Griffin in the first quarter, getting a sack and forcing an intentional grounding penalty that gave them good enough field position for an easy drive to a 3-0 lead.Everything changed on Griffin’s first big NFL play in Texas. He hit Aldrick Robinson in stride for a 68-yard touchdown and a 7-3 lead to spark the first 28-point quarter in 13 years for the Redskins (5-6).Griffin’s next big throw wasn’t nearly as accurate, but Garcon somehow came down with it and outran the Dallas defense the final 45 yards on a 59-yard score for a 21-3 lead.“As Pierre is running on his long touchdown, and I was like, `Man, that was a great catch.”’ Griffin said. “I had to throw it to only that spot, and you don’t see many guys make catches like that.”


    Jacobs suffers tough loss in season opener

    The Jacobs boys basketball team opened the season Thursday night with a tough 58-56 loss to Urbana at the Quincy Thanksgiving Tournament. Lake Ojo and Will Schwerdtmann led Jacobs with 11 points each and Ryan Ross added 8.


    Cutler practices, but status for Sunday unknown

    Quarterback Jay Cutler practiced on a limited basis Thursday but still must be cleared by an independent neurologist before he can play Sunday.


    Texans top Lions in OT after coach’s mistake

    DETROIT — The Houston Texans took advantage of a big mistake by Detroit Lions coach Jim Schwartz.Shayne Graham’s 32-yard field goal with 2:21 left overtime lifted Houston to a 34-31 win over Detroit on Thursday after Schwartz broke an NFL rule on a scoring play.Detroit kicker Jason Hanson had a chance to get Schwartz off the hook, but his 47-yard field goal attempt on the fifth possession of the extra period hit the right upright.Schwartz threw a challenge flag when Houston’s Justin Forsett scored on an 81-yard touchdown run in the third quarter. Replays showed Forsett was down near midfield, but Schwartz negated the automatic review by challenging the play and was called for unsportsmanlike conduct.“It’s on me,” Schwartz said to his assistant coaches and players on the sideline as he tapped his chest. “It’s on me.”Yes, it was.That touchdown pulled Houston within three points counted and Schwartz was called for unsportsmanlike conduct.AFC South-leading Houston (10-1) took its first lead when Graham made up for missing a field goal earlier in a turnover-filled OT. The Texans have won five straight — two in a row in OT — and if a handful of teams lose they might be in the playoffs by the time they get back on the practice field after a long weekend.Detroit (4-7) has lost three straight to make it extremely difficult to reach its goal of earning a spot in consecutive postseasons for the first time since the mid-1990s.And as if the Lions don’t have enough problems, defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh could be in trouble with the league again after his left cleat connected with Matt Schaub’s groin area in the first quarter. It wasn’t clear on replays Thursday whether it was intentional, but it might be tough for Suh to get the benefit of doubt.Suh was on his chest, taken down by an offensive lineman, when he extended his left foot below Schaub’s belt.Last year on Thanksgiving, Suh was ejected for stomping on the right arm of Green Bay offensive lineman Evan Dietrich-Smith and was suspended for two games. He has been fined in previous seasons for roughing up quarterbacks: Cincinnati’s Andy Dalton, Chicago’s Jay Cutler and Cleveland’s Jake Delhomme.

    NHL Players’ Association executive director Donald Fehr isn’t a puppeteer for the players, and he always means what he says.

    NHL shouldn’t underestimate the Fehr Factor

    In his 32 years as general counsel, then head of the baseball union, I didn't really interview Don Fehr 1,000 times. But it sure felt like it. My head still hurts. Now, hockey has the migraine. Two years ago, Fehr became the head of the NHL union that got drubbed nearly eight years ago when a season was canceled but owners won a 24 percent rollback in player salaries. This time, owners want more concessions. Result: a lockout with 327 canceled games. So far.

    Like players scoring a touchdown, oddsmakers in Las Vegas would be jumping for joy if the BCS title game pits Notre Dame against Alabama, two of the most storied programs in college football history.

    Would Irish-Alabama game set wagering record?

    A national championship matchup with Notre Dame and Alabama probably would be the most-wagered college football game in history, Las Vegas oddsmakers said, with a worldwide betting handle of more than $2 billion."You'd have two storied programs and almost five weeks of buildup," said Jimmy Vaccaro, a spokesman for William Hill U.S., which represents 150 sports books in Nevada. "The intrigue about it is going to make it a monster."

    Bears right tackle Gabe Carimi, who has been penalized nine times this season, was benched Thursday.

    Bears bench right tackle Carimi

    Another day, another change on the Bears' beleaguered offensive line. Jonathan Scott took first-team reps at offensive right tackle Thursday in place of 2011 first-round draft choice Gabe Carimi, who vowed to battle back from his demotion.

    His defensive skills often relegate Carlos Boozer to the Bulls bench in the fourth quarters of games. The Bulls are struggling to score points to close out games with both Boozer and Richard Hamilton sitting out.

    Bulls need a solution for fourth-quarter funk

    There's little doubt that fourth quarters have been a failure for the Bulls during the circus road trip. The question is whether the Bulls are playing the wrong lineup in the fourth quarter or the poor performances are due to bad execution.

    The mischief of White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski is one of Mike Imrem’s reasons to give thanks.

    Sports fans have many reasons to give thanks

    Mike Imrem offers some reasons, sports and otherwise, serious and silly, to be thankful on this Thanksgiving Day.

    Glenbard North’s all-around standout Justin Jackson heads for the end zone after catching a touchdown pass during the Class 8A semifinals last weekend against Loyola Academy.

    Pickin’ over high school football’s final helping

    Veteran sports writer Marty Maciaszek breaks down all eight high school state championship matchups this weekend. His pick-the-winners approach ought to please several area schools.


    Football: Scouting the Class 3A state championship
    Here's a look ahead to Friday's Class 3A state championship game featuring Aurora Christian and Tolono Unity.


    Justin Jarvinen

    Naperville entrepreneur goes backstage to give consumer rewards

    Justin Jarvinen of Naperville, founder and CEO of BCKSTGR EP, has created a new platform that can be used by companies to track how their brand is mentioned online by consumers and allow those consumers to earn entertainment options as rewards.

    People walk in front of a giant banner for the euro currency outside of an EU summit in Brussels on Thursday, Nov. 22, 2012. Leaders from around Europe are arriving in Brussels Thursday for what promises to be a turbulent summit on the budget for the 27-country European Union. And for once, Britain will be at the heart of the debate.

    EU leaders prepare for bitter fight over budget

    British Prime Minister David Cameron set the tone Thursday for what is expected to be a bitter fight over the European Union's budget, warning that the latest proposal for a spending ceiling does not go far enough. Arriving at a summit of the 27 EU leaders, Cameron voiced the concerns of several countries that do not want to see an increase in the bloc's seven-year spending plan at a time when tough spending cuts are being imposed back home.

    Annual holiday catalog circulation by retailers has actually dipped substantially because of a postage increase, a weak economy and more shoppers making purchases online.

    Fewer holiday catalogs but still plenty in mail

    Despite the flood around the holidays, annual catalog circulation by retailers has actually dipped substantially because of a postage increase, a weak economy and more shoppers making purchases online. Nearly a third fewer catalogs are mailed than were four years ago.

    Rebekah Brooks, former chief of News Corp.’s British operations, leaves the Old Bailey court in London. Two former confidants of Britain’s prime minister, former tabloid editors Andy Coulson and Brooks, were charged Nov. 20 with conspiring to pay public officials in exchange for stories and information.

    Judgment day: UK media faces moment of truth

    It's judgment day for Britain's press. After nearly 18 months of damaging revelations about widespread media misconduct, the senior judge tapped to investigate the ethics and practices of some of the English-speaking world's most powerful newspapers will deliver his verdict next Thursday.

    Facebook is proposing to end its practice of letting users vote on changes to its privacy policies, though it will continue to let users comment on proposed updates.

    Facebook proposes to end voting on privacy issues

    Facebook is proposing to end its practice of letting users vote on changes to its privacy policies, though it will continue to let users comment on proposed updates.

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel, center, speaks with the media as she arrives for an EU summit at the EU Council building in Brussels on Thursday. EU leaders begin what is expected to be a marathon summit on the budget for the years 2014-2020. The meeting could last through Saturday and break up with no result and lots of finger-pointing.

    EU leaders enter bitter fight over budget

    The leaders of Britain and France staked out starkly different visions of Europe's future Thursday as talks began in Brussels on how much the European Union should be allowed to spend, setting the stage for a long, divisive and possibly inconclusive summit.

    The Galaxy Note 10.1 is for the creative type. It’s the only tablet in our roundup that comes with a “pen” that can be used to write and draw on the screen.

    Want to buy a tablet? Here’s a look at options

    Tablets are at the top of many wish lists this holiday season. But what to get? The choice used to be pretty limited, with the iPad dominating the latecomers. But this year, the field is more even, as tablets from Apple's competitors have matured. In addition, Google and Microsoft are diving in with their own tablets, providing more choice.

    Adrienne Sherard relaxes as she gets a spa treatment at Eden Organix spa from owner Valerie Mason-Robinson, in Highland Park, N.J. After the crowds have shopped at large stores and sprawling malls on Black Friday, many smaller businesses are hoping Saturday will be their day. Eden Organix, a spa in Highland Park, N.J., will give customers a 10 percent discount on the products it sells from 9 a.m. to noon, says Robinson, who is promoting the event on Facebook, Twitter and on her own website. She doesn’t expect to get a big revenue boost from the day, but she hopes it draws in new clients and cements her relationship with current ones.

    Small businesses step out of Black Friday’s shadow

    After the crowds have shopped at large stores and sprawling malls on Black Friday, many smaller businesses are hoping Saturday will be their day. Thousands of small stores, restaurants, spas — and even dry cleaners — across the U.S. will offer their own discounts and promotions to draw holiday shoppers on what's known as Small Business Saturday. American Express created the day three years ago, it says, to help small businesses struggling during the recession.

    The international organization of fishing countries has decided to follow the scientific recommendations and maintain strict quotas on the fishing of endangered Atlantic bluefin tuna.

    Fishing nations maintain tuna quotas

    The international organization of fishing countries has decided to follow the scientific recommendations and maintain strict quotas on the fishing of endangered Atlantic bluefin tuna.

    Herdsman Billy Freeman checks on a cow and her calves. The conservancy’s beef operation is certified Animal Welfare Approved and American Grassfed, both stringent labels. “The reason we did these certifications,” Freeman says, “is because we want people to know that the animals live their lives out naturally and that they were treated humanely.”

    Food labels multiply, some confuse consumers

    Want to avoid pesticides and antibiotics in your produce, meat, and dairy foods? Prefer to pay more to make sure farm animals were treated humanely, farmworkers got their lunch breaks, bees or birds were protected by the farmer and that ranchers didn't kill predators? Hundreds of so-called eco-labels have cropped up in recent years, with more introduced every month — and consumers are willing to pay extra for products that feature them.

    The Apple Inc. iPhone 5.

    Smart phones: Screen v. speed v. compatability

    Gadget-shoppers: Pick your path carefully. Before you add to your shopping cart, consider. Here is a guide to smart phones.

    Signs at Sears in Woodfield Mall urge shoppers to start shopping for Black Friday deals before their turkey dinner is digested. Sears is one of several national retailers starting Black Friday sales at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving this year.

    “Black Friday creep” another sign of changing times

    At 8 p.m. today, some of the suburbs' biggest national retail chains — including Target, ToysRUs, Walmart and Hoffman Estates-based Sears — will start their big holiday shopping sales.“Black Friday creep,” as it's known, has drawn mixed reactions from suburban shoppers. "Shopping is a sport to many people, and this is the Super Bowl," Sears spokesman Brian Hanover said.

    A worker from the San Diego River Conservancy sprays previously-mowed, re-sprouting Arundo donax in Santee, Calif. California has spent more than $70 million trying to eradicate the invasive, self-propagating perennial.

    Is giant reed a ‘miracle plant’ or the next kudzu?

    To people in the renewable fuels industry, Arundo donax — also known as "giant reed" — is nothing short of a miracle plant. It's fast-growing and drought-tolerant, producing tons of biomass per acre. It thrives even in poor soil and is a self-propagating perennial, so it requires little investment once established.

    The Samsung Corp. Slate tablet computer.

    Tablets: It comes down to what you want to do with it

    Gadget-shoppers: Pick your path carefully. Before you add to your shopping cart, consider. Here is a guide to tablets.

    Powermats are useful, inexpensive gifts.

    Powermats and other tech gifts under $100

    Gadget-shoppers: Pick your path carefully. Before you add to your shopping cart, consider. Here is a guide to tech gifts under $100.

Life & Entertainment

    In this Oct. 4, 2002 file photo, police expert Jan Dekezel shows a hiding place behind the altar of the Saint Michael church in Wetteren, Belgium.

    Art’s perfect theft: the ‘Ghent Altarpiece’

    The main suspect in the legendary art heist is said to have whispered with his dying breath: "Only I know where the `Adoration' is..."More than seven decades later, the whereabouts of a panel belonging to one of Western art's defining works, the "Adoration of the Mystic Lamb," also known as the "Ghent Altarpiece," remains a mystery.

    Josh Peck, left, joins Josh Hutcherson and Chris Hemsworth as freedom fighters in the USA invasion thriller remake “Red Dawn.”

    Josh Peck enjoys taking on sacred ‘Dawn’

    "Red Dawn" gave actor Josh Peck his first chance to brandish some military firearms. How did he like it? "Super fun!" he told me. "When you're letting that aggression — these are real guns shooting blanks — there's an odd sort of fantasy fulfillment that has to do with it. It was just exciting! I don't know anyone, male or female, who hasn't had that fantasy of letting a machine gun roar."

    Alma Reville (Helen Mirren), left, and her husband Alfred Hitchcock (Anthony Hopkins) go over a script in the amusing but flawed biographical drama “Hitchcock.”

    Revealing story behind ‘Psycho’ fun, but has a few hitches

    "Hitchcock" would be more intriguing had it delved into the specifics of making "Psycho." John J. McLaughlin's screenplay plays like the work of a Hollywood committee. It's an amusing but standard story about a misunderstood genius who puts it on the line (Hitchcock put up his own money to make "Psycho") against incredible odds (the Production Code was conservative in 1960) to win the day.

    Ang Lee poses at CinemaCon 2012, the official convention of the National Association of Theater Owners in Las Vegas.

    For Ang Lee, all movies are a leap of faith

    Is there anything Ang Lee can't do? In his incredibly varied filmography, Lee has steadily steered films that could very well have turned disastrous into box-office hits and Oscar bait. Few filmmakers have been so drawn to delicate material where even slight shifts in tone or execution could mean the difference between a hit or a flop. That couldn't be truer for Lee's new film, "Life of Pi," a supreme balancing act for a filmmaker accustomed to working on tightropes.

    “Every Day is an Atheist Holiday!” by Penn Jillette

    Penn Jillette’s book will make you laugh

    Penn Jillette of the comedy-magic duo of Penn & Teller follows up last year's "God, No!" with "Every Day is an Atheist Holiday!" filled with humorous essays that provide new perspectives on familiar life struggles. Readers will enjoy extremely funny stories from a man who loves his family and doesn't let his celebrity go to his head.

    Jeff Turner, left, and Daniel Clarkson act out key moments from the Harry Potter books for “Potted Potter: The Unauthorized Harry Potter Experience — A Parody by Dan and Jeff.” It plays the Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place before moving to the Harris Theater.

    British duo work their magic on 'Potted Potter'

    "Potted Potter" comes on at first like a community-theater lampoon of the Harry Potter saga. Yet the two-man British comedy team of Jeff Turner and Daniel Clarkson simply will not be denied. They work relentlessly from even before the opening curtain to cram J.K. Rowling's seven Potter novels into 70 minutes, and allowed an introduction of five minutes or so — and an all-encompassing final musical number based on "I Will Survive" — they pull it off.

    Chevy Chase will not be returning to his role as Pierce Hawthorne on NBC’s sitcom Community.”

    Chevy Chase leaving NBC’s ‘Community’

    LOS ANGELES — The NBC series "Community" will finish the season without Chevy Chase. Sony Pictures Television said Wednesday that the actor is leaving the sitcom by mutual agreement with producers. His immediate departure means he won't be included in the last episode or two of the show's 13-episode season, which is still in production.



    Editorial: The essence and the evolution of Thanksgiving

    A Daily Herald editorial recommends that rather than getting sucked into the contoversy about whether Black Friday Creep is an enfringement on Thanksgiving, we stop instead to count our blessings. This is, after all, Thanksgiving. And blessings, not complaints, are the essence of it.


    For this, we give thanks

    Columnist George Will: Among the things for which Americans can, on this weekend of feasting, be thankful is Washington's resolve to temper severity with mercy: It will seriously — this time we really mean business, we are not going to be Greece, or worse, Illinois — restrain spending but will not balance the budget on the backs of popcorn eaters.


    Post elections, attitude will be key

    Guest columnist Lee Hamilton: It's anyone's guess how Congress will deal with this chance to start afresh. That's up to each of its members. The pressures that drove them toward hostilities before the election haven't gone away. But the signals being sent by political leaders suggest they understand that Americans expect flexibility and pragmatism.


    Happy with Bush win in Senate
    A Mundelein letter to the editor: With Melinda Bush winning the 31st District state Senate, I for one was very pleased with the results.


    It’s fiscal abyss we should fear
    A Mundelein letter to the editor: Perhaps the gravest threat our country has ever faced is upon us. That's the bad news. The good news is that there is no need to send our troops overseas, no risk to property necessary, no need to shed blood to neutralize this threat.


    Report shows value of sex education
    A Lake Zurich letter to the editor: Reuters has reported that teens who are taught comprehensive sex ed in school put off sexual activity longer and use birth control more than students in abstinence only programs.


    Compromise is a two-way street
    An Arlington Heights letter to the editor: After all, 49 percent of the people voting in this last election felt that goverment is headed in the wrong direction. Why can't both sides compromise?


    Families of all types must be accepted
    An Arlington Heights letter to the editor: Groups and organizations should be created to support same-sex parenting in our community. Gay parenting has been a controversial issue for decades, and it is our job to accept every family, regardless of their sexual orientation.


    Rubio could have changed election
    A Schaumburg letter to the editor: I feel, as many others do, that if Mitt Romney had chosen Florida Sen. Marco Rubio as his running mate, the election would have had a good chance of turning out differently.


    How about honoring veterans on coins?
    A Mount Prospect letter to the editor: The "heads" side of the coin would remain the same — a president — but the "tails" side would commemorate each branch of the service. For example, an image of a pilot or F16 jet to represent the Air Force.


    Abortion questions need women’s answers
    A Hoffman Estates letter to the editor: Richard, you asked five questions, and I can only come up with one answer. It's none of your business.


    Support temporary immigrant licenses
    A Naperville letter to the editor: With thanksgiving heart and pilgrim spirit, this letter urges everyone to contact their representative and senator in the Illinois General Assembly asking them to provide the opportunity for immigrants to receive temporary visitor driver's licenses.


    Marklund thankful for patrons, volunteers
    A Geneva letter to the editor: From all of us at Marklund, thank you for sharing with us and helping us to fulfill the vision that has driven this organization for almost 60 years: Making everyday life possible for individuals with profound disabilities. We could not do this work without the help of people like you. God bless you!


    Ease up on spending, D303
    A South Elgin letter to the editor: Why does our school district want a tax levy hike? Well the article states they want to "cover their bases on collecting all they can because the exact value of property in the district won't be determined until spring." Is this for real?


    Big money has nation in its grip
    A Wheaton letter to the editor: The election over, we are looking back in dismay at the hundreds of millions of dollars contributed by wealthy individuals and corporations — much of it anonymously — in order to elect politicians sympathetic to their self-serving agendas.


    Networks gave election to Obama
    An Elmhurst letter to the editor: Obama won the election with the help of NBC, ABC and CBS. The last four years they were fawning over Obama instead of telling the truth. They suppressed the truth — that Obama and his administration were responsible for the tragedy in Libya — our ambassador and 3 others were killed and property was destroyed.


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