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Daily Archive : Sunday December 9, 2012

News

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    Richard J. Vanecko, 38, is charged with involuntary manslaughter in the 2004 death of 21-year-old David Koschman of Mount Prospect.

    Daley nephew enters not guilty plea in 2004 death

    The nephew of former Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley pleaded not guilty Monday to involuntary manslaughter in the 2004 death of a suburban man whose family suspects a police cover-up in the initial investigation into the fatal fight.

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    The legislature adjourned this week and does not return until Jan. 2.

    Tight deadline could force tough choices

    A review of what suburban lawmakers said during their campaigns suggests many of November’s winners either opposed asking local schools to pay more toward teachers’ retirements or supported the idea only with significant caveats. As lawmakers prepare for an eleventh-hour debate over how to curb the state’s rising pension costs, will they withstand pressure to compromise on those positions?

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    Daniel Biss

    How would new teachers’ pensions work?

    Under the new pension proposal by Democratic state Rep. Elaine Nekritz, all new suburban teachers would have a brand new retirement plan, the generosity of which could be party controlled by school districts. We'll explain how it'd work.

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    Jude Fredericks, 9, and his brother, Eden, 7, of Glen Ellyn, check out the Lego train displays at Cantigny Park’s annual Holiday Lego Train Show in Wheaton Sunday.

    Lego fans flock to Cantigny show

    Hundreds of families visited the annual Lego Train Show at Wheaton's Cantigny Park over the weekend. The show feature elaborate Lego displays and scenes that were connected by moving trains.“I’m pretty blown away,” said David Singer, of Naperville, who brought his 5-year-old son, Josh, to the show.

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    Glen Ellyn investigating attic fire

    Officials are investigating a possible electrical fire that broke out in the attic of a Glen Ellyn home on Saturday afternoon. Damages were contained to the ceiling above the kitchen. The occupants of the home evacuated and there were no injuries.

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    President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner, seen here together on Nov. 16, met Sunday at the White House to discuss the ongoing negotiations over the impeding “fiscal cliff.”

    Obama, Boehner meet to discuss ‘fiscal cliff’

    President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner met Sunday at the White House to discuss the ongoing negotiations over the impending “fiscal cliff,” the first meeting between just the two leaders since they both won re-election.

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    This undated file photo released by Columbia Pictures shows Daniel Craig as James Bond in the action adventure film, “Skyfall.” According to studio estimates Sunday, Dec. 9, 2012, “Skyfall” took in $11 million to move back to No. 1 in its fifth weekend. That puts it narrowly ahead of “Rise of the Guardians,” the animated adventure of Santa, the Easter Bunny and other mythological heroes that pulled in $10.5 million.

    ‘Skyfall,’ ‘Guardians’ duel for box-office bragging rights

    James Bond is in a box-office photo finish with Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny over what looks to be the last slow weekend of the holidays. According to studio estimates Sunday, Sony’s Bond tale “Skyfall” took in $11 million to move back to No. 1 in its fifth weekend.

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    Mary Davidson, 27, left, and Monica Rozgay, 29, smile after saying ‘I do’ at their midnight wedding at The Seattle Yacht Club early Sunday in Seattle. Rozgay and Davidson, of Seattle, were one of the first couples to wed following the passage of a referendum legalizing same-sex marriage in the state of Washington.

    Same-sex couples in Washington start taking wedding vows

    Scores of same-sex couples crowded Seattle City Hall for a day of wedding ceremonies on Sunday, the first day they could marry after the state’s voter-approved gay marriage law took effect. Elsewhere across the state, numerous weddings were taking place.

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    The first family, from left, first lady Michelle Obama, Sasha Obama, President Barack Obama and Malia Obama, pose with children dressed like elves at the National Building Museum in Washington, Sunday.

    Obamas attend annual holiday concert in Washington

    A holiday concert attended Sunday by President Barack Obama and his family included some non-traditional entertainment this year: a performance by South Korean rapper and Internet sensation PSY. Backed by dancers wearing reindeer antlers, PSY performed his popular “Gangnam Style” dance, which mimics riding a horse.

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    DNA links 1989 murder to Stateville inmate

    Police say a man already serving time for another crime has been charged with the 1989 murder of Chicago woman.Fifty-two-year-old Michael Escort has been charged with one count of first-degree murder in the death of Mary Smith. Chicago police re-opened the case and found that DNA evidence links Escort to Smith, who was beaten to death.

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    Officials investigating 4 Chicago wrongful convictions

    Federal officials are investigating the wrongful convictions of four men convicted as teenagers in the 1994 murder of a 30-year-old Chicago woman.

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    Just six blocks from the White House, the FBI’s hulking headquarters overlooking Pennsylvania Avenue has long been the government building everyone loves to hate.

    End may be sight for FBI’s unloved Hoover building

    Just six blocks from the White House, the FBI’s hulking headquarters overlooking Pennsylvania Avenue has long been the government building everyone loves to hate. The verdict: It’s an ugly, crumbling concrete behemoth, an architectural mishap — all 2.4 million square feet of it.

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    People pose beside the statue of former president Nelson Mandela that overlooks Mandela Square in Johannesburg, South Africa, Sunday. Mandela, 94, is in poor health and hospitalized.

    South Africa at crossroads as Mandela hospitalized

    South Africans prayed Sunday for the hospitalized 94-year-old former President Nelson Mandela, who remains almost a secular saint and a father figure to many in this nation of 50 million people that is home to Africa’s top economy.

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    A person holds up an image of Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez among religious images during a demonstration in support of him at the Simon Bolivar square in Caracas, Venezuela, Sunday.

    Chavez faces new cancer battle, surgery in Cuba

    Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez was heading back to Cuba on Sunday for a third cancer surgery after naming his vice president as his choice to lead the country if the illness cuts short his presidency. Chavez’s announcement on Saturday night unleashed new uncertainty about the country’s future.

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    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, center, speaks during the weekly Cabinet meeting in his Jerusalem office Sunday.

    Israel grows jittery of new Palestinian uprising

    The rising confidence and bellicosity of Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip, combined with rapidly deteriorating relations with Israel’s would-be peace partner in the West Bank, are raising jitters in Israel that a new Palestinian uprising could be near.

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    Protesters chant slogans during a demonstration in front of the presidential palace in Cairo on Egypt Sunday. Egypt’s liberal opposition called for more protests Sunday.

    Islamist-leaning draft constitution divides Egypt

    President Mohammed Morsi is unlikely to worry if Egypt’s Islamist-leaning draft constitution passes by only a small margin in a Dec. 15 referendum, since he and his backers tout his 51 percent election victory in June as a “popular mandate” that is beyond any challenge.

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    Mikias Tibebu

    Family mourns as police continue hunt for hit-and-run driver

    The father of a Schaumburg High School student killed in a weekend hit-and-run crash said Sunday his family has faith that the driver responsible will be brought to justice. “We believe in the justice system and we would like to see justice served and we trust that will happen,” said the father of 18-year-old Mikias Tibebu. “We believe that will give closure to the family.”

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    Wauconda reveals new logo, message

    Wauconda officials have revealed a new logo and slogan for the town.

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    Mundelein High Orchesis show

    The Mundelein High School Orchesis Club will present its second show of the school year Monday, Dec. 17, at 7 p.m. in the MHS Auditorium.

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    Mundelein village board meets

    The Mundelein village board will meet tonight to review proposed appointments to several local committees, including the plan commission and the police pension board.

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    CASA Kane County nears end of $1M endowment quest

    CASA Kane County is going down to the wire in its mission to raise $1 million for an endowment, and in the process secure $500,000 from a St. Charles grant. CASA, which stands for Court Appointed Special Advocates, still needs about $240,000 to hit its goal, said Executive Director Gloria Bunce.

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    Lions returning to Buffalo Grove

    A new chapter of the Lions Club has returned to Buffalo Grove with only one more member needed to have its own charter. Members are collecting eyeglasses and hearing aids at various locations around town, including village hall. They are assembling the needs of local food pantries on their website.

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    Academic excellence recognized in districts U-46, 300, 158

    Hundreds of students across Fox Valley districts have been named 2013-2014 Illinois State Scholars in recognition of their academic success. Through exemplary college entrance exam scores and high grades in their individual schools, 262 Elgin Area School District U-46 students, 164 Carpentersville-based Community Unit School District 300 students and 81 students from Huntley High School in...

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    Cindy Ogasawara stands with other well-wishers greeting newly married couples as they depart Seattle City Hall Sunday. Washington state Gov. Chris Gregoire signed a voter-approved law legalizing gay marriage Wednesday, and weddings for gay and lesbian couples began Sunday.

    Hope and fear in gay marriage cases at high court

    Gay marriage supporters see 41 reasons to fret over the Supreme Court’s decision to take up the case of California’s ban on same-sex unions. While nine states allow same-sex partners to marry, or will soon, 41 states do not. Of those, 30 have written gay marriage bans into their state constitutions.

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    Maxwell S. Younger

    Wheeling man charged in Lake Zurich restaurant stabbing

    A Wheeling man faces three counts of aggravated battery in connection with a stabbing last week outside a Lake Zurich McDonald’s, police said Sunday. Maxwell S. Younger, 21, of the 600 block of Cherrywood Drive, was taken into custody Friday night by authorities investigating the Dec. 5 stabbing in the restaurant’s parking lot.

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    Jane Barbosa is hopeful about the political potential within Elgin’s Latino community, although not a single Latino joined 23 candidates filing for five open city council seats for the April 2013 election. Barbosa worked with a group of other residents to find potential candidates within the Latino community and expects more leadership within the next five years.

    Not one Latino among 23 Elgin council candidates

    Of the 23 candidates for the Elgin City Council, not one is a Latino. That will leave Latinos, who comprise the largest segment of Elgin's population, without representation in city government. A longtime leader in the community, however, sees hope on the horizon. “It’s telling me people are interested; however, they don’t want to just go in there and warm up a seat," resident Juan Barbosa said.

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    Twins, teammates and buddies, brothers Nick, left, and Griffin Shirey of Island Lake are pictured during a swim meet. Griffin was killed a year ago in a car crash. “Grif is my brother. End of story. He is with me. Always,” Nick said during a dedication of a picnic table in his brother’s honor.

    Missing Griffin a year after car crash, family focuses on life

    A year ago, Britt Steinhoff was busy getting ready to celebrate the holidays with her 10-year-old twin sons. This year, she is trying to rebuild her life with one of her sons and dealing with the frustrating criminal case resulting from the crash that killed her other boy, Griffin. “I miss my brother every day and always will,” Nick Shirey writes about Griffin.

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    Brian Greene

    Fired principal still fighting Grayslake charter school in court

    Brian Greene is continuing his legal fight with Prairie Crossing Charter School in Grayslake, where he was the focus of public meetings about a year ago before he was fired. The next hearing for his lawsuit against the school is set for Tuesday. “I remain confident that the truth in what occurred there will be revealed, and my name and credibility can be restored,” Greene said.

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    Chris Gustaitis of Naperville volunteers for the Waifs and Strays Animal Rescue group, which shelters some animals at the All Pet Pantry in Lisle.

    Lisle volunteers work to rescue, adopt out pets

    If compassion was all it took to place every cuddly kitten or playful pup into a permanent home, Waifs and Strays Animal Rescue would have it easy. The all-volunteer group has plenty of care and concern for homeless animals. Even so the organization also needs volunteers, foster homes and donations. "We are a small shelter, so it is hard for us to get our word out," rescue volunteer Donna Finch...

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    The Golden Wishes program in Bensenville this fall gave Chicago Bears tickets and a round-trip limo ride to the game for Jim and Lauri Collins, pictured, as well as resident Betty Madland and her son, George.

    Bensenville’s ‘Golden Wishes’ uses donations to help seniors, disabled

    Bensenville's Golden Wishes program grants the wishes of senior citizen and disabled residents, often for requests many people take for granted. And the fairies who make them come true are local residents and businesses who donate to the cause. "You're thankful someone has that kind of consideration for you," said one recipient.

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    People roll joints at a marijuana party near the University of California at Berkeley campus in Berkeley, Calif, in 1966. In 2012, Washington state and Colorado voted to legalize and regulate its recreational use. But before that, the plant, renowned since ancient times for its strong fibers, medical use and mind-altering properties, was a staple crop of the colonies, an “assassin of youth,” a counterculture emblem and a widely accepted — if often abused — medicine.

    As pot goes proper, a history of weed

    The grass is no greener. But, finally, it's legal — at least somewhere in America. It's been a long, strange trip for marijuana. Washington state and Colorado voted to legalize and regulate its recreational use last month. But before that, the plant, renowned since ancient times for its strong fibers, medical use and mind-altering properties, was a staple crop of the colonies, an "assassin...

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    The deadline for entering the Daily Herald’s holiday lights contest is midnight Sunday.

    Holiday lights contest deadline is midnight tonight

    Traditional or modern? White or multicolored? Blinking, chasing or constatly lit? It doesn't matter what your preference, we want to see your holiday lights. The deadline to enter the Daily Herald's holiday lights contest is midnight tonight.

Sports

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    Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers shakes hands with Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford after the Packers’ victory Sunday at Lambeau Field.

    Packers take NFC North lead

    The Green Bay Packers are a victory away from clinching the NFC North title after beating the Detroit Lions 27-20 on Sunday night.

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    Bulls center Joakim Noah grabs one of his career-high 23 rebounds in Friday’s victory at Detroit. He also scored a career-high 30 points.

    Bulls’ Noah finds ways to handle heavy minutes
    There are different ways to spend the summer besides hanging out at the Berto Center until all hours of the night. Bulls center Joakim Noah decided to try some different tactics this year and thinks a couple have helped him play a heavy load of minutes.

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    Soul falls to Comets 14-11

    The Chicago Soul (2-7) was on its way to complete a late comeback, but the Missouri Comets (5-3), powered by Byron Alvarez’s hat trick, hung on for the 14-11 victory Sunday at the Independence Events Center. The Soul saw plenty of opportunities for a rally in the fourth quarter but were simply unable to capitalize.

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    Bears quarterback Jay Cutler, right, runs from Minnesota Vikings safety Harrison Smith, left, and defensive end Everson Griffen (97) during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 9, 2012, in Minneapolis. The Vikings won 21-14.

    Bears’ season coming apart at the seams

    Vikings running back Adrian Peterson outdueled and outproduced the Bears' Jay Cutler-Brandon Marshall combination, as the Vikings took advantage of a fast start and hung on for the upset, the fourth loss in five games for the Bears, whose once-promising season appears to be slipping away.

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    Eli throws 4 TDs, Giants stomp Saints

    EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Rookie David Wilson finally delivered on all the promise and might have provided the spark that gets the New York Giants back to the playoffs.Wilson returned a kickoff 97 yards for one touchdown, ran for 100 yards and two more scores and piled up a team-record 327 all-purpose yards in a 52-27 win over the New Orleans Saints on Sunday that also featured four touchdowns pass by Eli Manning.The first-round draft pick from Virginia Tech is the first NFL player to have 200 yards in kickoff returns and 100 yards rushing in a game, with his total breaking the Giants mark of 303 set by current teammate Domenik Hixon in 2009.The Giants (8-5) maintained their one-game lead in the NFC East over Washington and Dallas. The loss all but ended the playoff hopes of Drew Brees and the Saints (5-8). New York also ended a three-game losing streak against the Saints, who turned over the ball four times in losing their third straight.Manning had TD passes of 6 yards to Martellus Bennett, 5 yards to Hixon, 25 yards to Hakeem Nicks and 10 yards to Victor Cruz. Wilson scored on runs of 6 and 52 yards and reached the century mark on only 13 carries for the biggest day of his short career.The 52 points were their most since scoring 55 against Green Bay in 1986. It also was the most given up by New Orleans, whose defense is run by former New York coordinator Steve Spagnuolo.Darren Sproles scored on a 13-yard run and caught a 9-yard touchdown pass from Brees late in the third quarter, cutting the Giants lead to 35-27.However, Jerrel Jernigan returned the ensuing kickoff 60 yards to set up Manning’s touchdown pass to Cruz. New York iced the game when Stevie Brown returned one of two interceptions thrown by Brees to set up Lawrence Tynes’ 39-yard field goal.The biggest play was Wilson’s kickoff return, which came one play after Elbert Mack intercepted Manning in the left flat and returned it 73 yards to give the Saints a 7-0 lead. lThe touchdown came minutes after Dallas rallied for a 20-19 win over Cincinnati and Washington beat Baltimore 31-28 in overtime despite losing Robert Griffin III to a knee injury.The Giants could have folded against a team that had routed them the past two meetings. Instead, Wilson, who has been threatening all season to break a kickoff, fielded one at the 3, went up the middle and then veered toward the right corner of the end zone. He capped it with a somersault.A fumble near midfield Jed Collins led to Manning’s touchdown pass to Bennett and New York never trailed again.Manning finished 22 of 35 for 259 yards and two interceptions. Brees, who had never lost to the Giants and had eight TD passes and no interceptions in the last two games, finished 26 of 43 for 354 yards. New Orleans outgained New York 487-394, but mistakes were its undoing.The Giants didn’t cash in after Wilson’s returns of 58 and 52 yards, but his 20-yarder late in the half after a short kickoff set up a 69-yard touchdown drive. Manning capped it with the fade route to Hixon.Defensive tackle Linval Joseph returned Collins’ miscue 16 yards to the Saints 35. A 16-yard pass to Hixon and a couple of penalties set up a 6-yard touchdown toss to Bennett for a 14-7 lead.Brees took the Saints on drives of 81 and 67 yards in the second quarter, but each time the NFL’s top red-zone offense settled for field goals of 32 and 25 yards by Garrett Hartley.

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    Kaepernick back on track in Niners win

    SAN FRANCISCO — Frank Gore purchased a gray hooded sweatshirt months ago specifically for this day, featuring an upside down teal dolphin in distress. Miami’s mascot, on its head — with a first-aid symbol and an “X” over each eye to boot.“I said, `We’ve got to turn him upside down,”’ he said.A Miami man through and through, Gore sure did his part.Gore ran for a 1-yard touchdown and reached 1,000 yards rushing for the sixth time in his career, and even took the fake on Colin Kaepernick’s late 50-yard scoring run in the San Francisco 49ers’ 27-13 victory against the Dolphins on Sunday.Gore, Kaepernick and Michael Crabtree pulled off just the kind of grind-it-out win coach Jim Harbaugh wants to see during the December stretch run.Gore finished with 63 yards rushing, caught two passes and also matched his mentor, Roger Craig, and late Hall of Famer Joe Perry for the franchise record in rushing touchdowns with 50. And, no, Gore didn’t grow up a Dolphins fan in his native South Florida.“It’s a blessing. Everybody says when you turn 29 and 30, you can’t do it anymore. When I got to 29, I told myself, `I’m going to overcome that,”’ Gore said. “I’ve still got the explosiveness. When I see something, I go get it.”Anthony Dixon also had a 1-yard scoring run, while Kaepernick came through with a the touchdown run and also passed for 185 yards in his fourth straight start since being promoted over Alex Smith.Gore drew Miami’s defense his way on that game-clinching play.“Everybody came to me and Mr. Everything did his thing,” Gore said of Kaepernick.NFL sacks leader Aldon Smith added two more to his total for 19½ , passing Fred Dean’s franchise-best single-season mark of 17½ set in 1983. Smith also moved within three sacks of Michael Strahan’s seasonal NFL record set in 2001 with the New York Giants.“Couple more, baby!” Gore hollered to Smith in the locker room.Crabtree had nine catches for 93 yards and rookie LaMichael James ran for 30 yards in a solid NFL debut for the 49ers (9-3-1), who kept hold on the No. 2 seed in the NFC behind Atlanta. Anthony Fasano made a diving 3-yard touchdown catch for Miami (5-8) midway through the fourth quarter on a pass from Ryan Tannehill. Fasano’s right knee landed in the end zone as he fell out of bounds under pressure from safety Donte Whitner.Miami went for it on fourth-and-10 from the 35 with 4:16 remaining and Tannehill overthrew Marlon Moore on the left sideline.“In the fourth quarter, we had some opportunities to put some more points on the board. We didn’t. We were too generous,” Dolphins coach Joe Philbin said. “It’s just a lack of playmaking at critical times. That’s it.”The sold-out crowd at Candlestick Park was treated to a spectacular, clear Bay Area day. The football didn’t quite live up to it until both teams performed down the stretch.Harbaugh’s NFC West-leading Niners hardly looked like a power for most of the afternoon against overmatched Miami — the team Harbaugh considered coaching before accepting a $25 million, five-year contract with San Francisco in January 2011.“These games are really hard,” Harbaugh said. “You’ve got to stay patient. We also took our shots.”The 49ers took advantage of a special teams blunder to end a stretch of five quarters and an overtime without a touchdown. Marcus Thigpen fumbled trying to catch Andy Lee’s punt early in the third quarter, and C.J. Spillman recovered on the Dolphins 9 to set up Gore’s short TD burst.Cameron Wake had three first-half sacks to highlight a lackluster day by the Dolphins. On offense, Tannehill faced constant pressure.Dan Carpenter kicked a 53-yard field goal in the third quarter for the Dolphins and also an earlier 28-yarder. Miami was held to 227 total yards.“We just have to finish,” Miami defensive tackle Paul Soliai said. “We just can’t let this happen.”

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    Seattle racks up 58 points against Cardinals

    SEATTLE — Richard Sherman and Bobby Wagner stood face to face, screaming at each other in celebration, counting up all the turnovers the Seattle Seahawks accumulated.There were plenty, along with a franchise record for points in a 58-0 rout of the inept Arizona Cardinals on Sunday.Sherman and Wagner each had two interceptions, part of the eight turnovers forced by the Seahawks. Marshawn Lynch had three touchdown runs and Seattle (8-5) kept firm grasp on the final NFC wild-card spot. It also kept alive slim chances of catching San Francisco in the NFC West. The Seahawks also picked up their first division victory of the season and gave coach Pete Carroll his first eight-win season in three years with the Seahawks. Leon Washington’s 3-yard run with 2:32 left pushed the Seahawks past the old record of 56 points scored against Buffalo in 1977. The eight takeaways were their second most, equaling a 1998 achievement. Lynch ran for 128 yards on 11 carries and scored on runs of 20, 4 and 33 yards. His last score on the first drive of the second half tied his career high for TD runs in a game and was the capper to his afternoon. Lynch’s backup, Robert Turbin, also topped the century mark with 108 yards. Rookie quarterback Russell Wilson wasn’t asked to do much, completing 7 of 13 for 148 yards and one touchdown. But unlike last week in Chicago, the Seahawks didn’t need any heroics from Wilson. In fact, Wilson got to be a spectator for the last 25 minutes while Matt Flynn finally got his first regular-season action in a Seahawks uniform. The Seahawks scored nearly every way possible, turning their first home game in about a month into a rout that will only increase debate in Phoenix whether Ken Whisenhunt will be back as Cardinals coach. It was an effortless performance by the Cardinals (4-9), who have lost nine straight, the longest slide for the franchise since 1944. It was the worst shutout loss in Cardinals history and their first time being shut out since losing 38-0 to the Seahawks in 2003. The Cardinals gained just 143 yards and almost as many turnovers as first downs (10). Larry Fitzgerald had one reception and that didn’t come until the fourth quarter. John Skelton made numerous ill-advised throws into coverage and was intercepted four times. Arizona actually started well, with Skelton completing his first three passes. When Skelton finally threw in the direction of Fitzgerald the day quickly spiraled out of control. Skelton’s pass found Fitzgerald’s hands, but was wrestled free by K.J. Wright, tipped from hitting the ground by Walter Thurmond and into Wagner’s hands. Wagner’s return set up the first of Steven Hauschka’s three field goals. The Seahawks then went 85 yards in 11 plays capped by Lynch sprinting around the edge for a 20-yard TD. Wilson later hit Anthony McCoy for 67 yards to set up Lynch’s 4-yard TD.Skelton was stripped by Chris Clemons and fell on the loose ball for the second Arizona turnover. Skelton threw into triple coverage to Fitzgerald and Sherman caught the poor throw, returning it 19 yards for a touchdown. Patrick Peterson muffed a punt deep in his zone, the ball was batted around and eventually tipped to Malcolm Smith, who recovered in the end zone for a 31-0 lead. And finally, Peterson was hit from behind and fumbled on a punt return late in the first half. Wilson hit Zach Miller for a 24-yard TD with 6 seconds left in the second quarter.About the only bit of fight shown by the Cardinals came late in the third quarter during a pushing and shoving match that resulted in Daryn Colledge getting a personal foul for unnecessary roughness. By that point, the Seahawks led 51-0.

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    Grading the Bears at Minnesota

    Grading the Bears at Minnesota

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    Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall tries to elude a tackle by Vikings linebacker Erin Henderson after making a catch in the first half Sunday. Marshall finished with 10 catches for 160 yards.

    Receivers let down Bears in big road test

    Dropped passes, throws deflected, overthrows by quarterback Jay Cutler and missed opportunities mixed with a record-setting day for wide receiver Brandon Marshall on Sunday. All that and the end result was a passing game that seemed out of sync in a 21-14 defeat at Minnesota. “We all let the team down,” Marshall said.

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    Bears coach Lovie Smith looks on during the second half of Sunday’s 21-14 loss to the Minnesota Vikings.

    Bears, Smith in serious trouble now

    It would be easy to say the wheels have come off for the Bears. But that would be patently unfair to the doors, the hood and the engine, all of which were left scattered throughout the field in Minnesota. Yes, the Bears are now officially in free fall after losing for the fourth time in five games.

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    Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, left, tries to break a tackle by Chicago Bears safety Chris Conte during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 9, 2012, in Minneapolis.

    Images: Bears vs. Vikings
    The 8-4 Chicago Bears traveled north to face the 6-6 Minnesota Vikings on Sunday, December, 9th. The Bears lost the game 21-14 to the Vikings as a snowstorm fell on the Metrodome.

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    Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III is helped off the filed after an injury during the second half of an NFL football game against the Baltimore Ravens in Landover, Md., Sunday, Dec. 9, 2012.

    Redskins win despite RG3 injury

    LANDOVER, Md. — With Robert Griffin III sidelined with a sprained right knee, the Washington Redskins rallied behind backup Kirk Cousins to tie the game in the final minute of regulation, then Kai Forbath kicked a 34-yard field goal in overtime Sunday for a 31-28 victory over the Baltimore Ravens.Griffin was hurt at the end of a 13-yard scramble while attempting to lead the game-tying drive with the Redskins trailing 28-20. He left for one play, returned for four, then was no longer able to continue. Cousins stepped in and hit Pierre Garcon for an 11-yard touchdown pass, then ran in the 2-point conversion with 29 seconds to play.The Redskins have won four straight to improve to 7-6. The Ravens lost back-to-back games for the first time since 2009 and fell to 9-4.

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    Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton looks to pass against the Atlanta Falcons during the first half of an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Dec. 9, 2012.

    Newton, Panthers stun Falcons 30-20

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy promised “payback” and “punishment” for the Atlanta Falcons last week, and he and his Carolina teammates delivered on Sunday.Despite playing without four starters and having 13 players on injured reserve, the Panthers dominated the NFC South champions as Cam Newton threw for 287 yards and two touchdowns and scored on a 72-yard run in a 30-20 victory.Newton piled up a career-high 116 yards on the ground and the Panthers racked up 475 total yards to avenge an early-season loss with a dominating performance against their Interstate-85 rivals.Carolina’s defense was superb through 2½ quarters building a 23-0 lead and holding a 356-86 edge in total yards to snap a five-game losing streak against the Falcons.Carolina (4-9) came in with little to play for except to gain a measure of revenge on Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan, whom they felt disrespected them after Atlanta’s 30-28 come-from-behind win earlier this season at the Georgia Dome.Hardy was upset when television cameras caught Ryan cursing at the Panthers sideline after that game telling them to get off their field. After Sunday’s win Hardy turned the tables on the Falcons, telling them the same thing.Ryan threw for 342 yards and two scores, but had a costly fourth-quarter interception. It was all Carolina in the first half, beginning with the coin toss.The Panthers hadn’t won a coin flip all year until Sunday, causing team captain Jordan Gross to exalt at midfield by thrusting both arms into the air. Including one overtime game, the Panthers had lost 13 straight coin flips this season.Carolina quickly took advantage, taking the opening kickoff and going 77 yards in 11 plays with Greg Olsen making a leaping grab in the back of the end zone from Newton for a 7-0 lead.That set the tone for the first half.By the time Graham’s Gano’s third field goal of the first half sailed through the uprights as time expired, the Panthers led 16-0 and had run 45 plays to Atlanta’s 13 and outgained the Falcons 270-35.Led by Newton, who had some big runs on third-and-long, including a highlight-reel 14-yard scamper on third-and-11, the Panthers had 15 first downs to Atlanta’s two.Carolina didn’t let up in the second half.After the Panthers stuffed Atlanta on its first drive, Newton faked a handoff to DeAngelo Williams on a zone read option and raced 72 yards for a touchdown, getting an assist from receiver Steve Smith along the way. Smith took out two would-be tacklers with a big block around the 20 before Newton somersaulted into the end zone for a 23-0 lead early in the third quarter.Atlanta came back, with Ryan converting a fourth-and-4 with a 4-yard shovel pass to Jason Snelling, setting up a short TD pass to Roddy White.The Falcons came right back with Ryan hitting Julio Jones for an 11-yard scoring toss to cut the lead to 24-13. Atlanta’s 2-point conversion toss to White was ruled incomplete as officials said he bobbled the ball going out of bounds.Atlanta got the ball back early in the fourth quarter and moved to midfield, but Ryan was flushed out of the pocket on fourth-and-7 and was intercepted by linebacker Thomas Davis with 6:19 remaining.The Panthers, who’ve surrendered four fourth-quarter leads this season, put the game away on the next drive.The Panthers capitalized on a defensive holding call by Falcons cornerback Dunta Robinson on third-and-10 on their next possession as Williams caught a screen pass from Newton and raced 53 yards for a touchdown and a 30-13 lead.

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    Foles rallies Eagles to end 8-game losing skid

    TAMPA, Fla. — Nick Foles threw a pair of touchdown passes in the final four minutes, including a 1-yarder to Jeremy Maclin with no time remaining Sunday as Philadelphia rallied to beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 23-21 and end an eight-game losing streak — the Eagles’ longest in 42 years.Foles completed 32 of 51 passes for 381 yards in his fourth start in place of the injured Michael Vick. The rookie threw an 11-yard TD pass to Clay Harbor with 3:55 remaining, then led the Eagles on a 64-yard game-winning drive after the Philadelphia defense forced a Tampa Bay punt.Doug Martin rushed for 128 yards and Josh Freeman shrugged off a slow start to throw for two second-half touchdowns to help Tampa Bay overcome a 10-0 halftime deficit and take a 21-10 lead on Martin’s 4-yard TD run midway through the fourth quarter.That’s when Foles, who also scored on a 10-yard run in the first half, took over.

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    Bradford leads Rams to 15-12 win over Bills

    ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — The St. Louis Rams are staying in the playoff race by suddenly showing they can win in the clutch.Sam Bradford capped a 14-play, 84-yard drive with a 13-yard pass to Brandon Gibson with 48 seconds left to seal a 15-12 win over the Buffalo Bills. It was Bradford’s second consecutive fourth-quarter comeback after rallying the Rams in a 16-13 overtime win over San Francisco last weekend.In keeping St. Louis (6-6-1) in the playoff picture, Bradford helped his team win three straight for the first time since 2006. And the victory came on the road, where the Rams had traditionally struggled.They improved to 2-3-1 away from St. Louis this season, and 9-36-1 since the start of 2007.Bradford finished 19 of 39 for 209 yards and an interception. Steven Jackson had 64 yards rushing and scored on a 1-yard plunge, while Gibson made six catches for 100 yards.It was a loss for which the Bills (5-8) could only blame themselves. Safety George Wilson twice had chances to intercept Bradford on the final drive, only to drop the ball. Buffalo’s defense also allowed the Rams to convert two third-down chances and a fourth-and-1 on which Bradford hit Austin Pettis for 9 yards.This marked the second time Buffalo has squandered a lead at home in the final minutes, falling 35-34 to Tennessee on Oct. 21.The Bills’ final drive ended with 12 seconds left when Ryan Fitzpatrick fluttered a pass up the right sideline and linebacker Jo-Lonn Dunbar intercepted.Fitzpatrick went 25 of 33 for 247 yards passing, including a 2-yard touchdown to Lee Smith.The Bills’ offense shared much of the blame after lacking finish in the first half. Buffalo came away with two field goals on three drives inside the Rams 25. That included Fred Jackson losing a fumble at the Rams 14.The news got even worse for Jackson, who was helped off the field after appearing to hurt his right leg with about 5 minutes left.Jackson’s leg was sandwiched by two Rams as they made a tackle on a 2-yard run near midfield. With a towel over his head, Jackson was then carted off from the sideline, with fans chanting “Freddie! Freddie!”Credit the Rams’ defense, which limited the Bills to 281 yards and forced two turnovers. Rookie tackle Michael Brockers had 1 1/2 of St. Louis’ five sacks.The Rams persevered on a chilly and wet day, with temperatures in the high 30s, and a light drizzle beginning to fall in the second half.After being limited to 71 yards and four first-downs in the first half, the Rams got on track to open the second half. Bradford directed an 11-play, 70-yard drive capped by Jackson’s plunge to put St. Louis ahead 7-6.The Bills responded immediately with Smith scoring to cap a seven-play, 75-yard drive.Buffalo, however, failed on the extra point after the snap slipped through the hands of holder Shawn Powell.The Rams mustered just three first downs and 66 yards on their next three possessions before Bradford began the decisive drive at his 16 with 4:55 left.

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    San Diego Chargers wide receiver Danario Alexander (84) goes up to make a touchdown catch in front of Pittsburgh Steelers defensive back Josh Victorian in the fourth quarter of an NFL football game in Pittsburgh, Sunday, Dec. 9, 2012.

    Chargers embarrass lifeless Steelers

    PITTSBURGH — Philip Rivers threw three touchdown passes, two to Danario Alexander, and the San Diego Chargers beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 34-24 on Sunday.The win was San Diego’s first in 15 regular-season visits to Pittsburgh and snapped a four-game losing streak. The Chargers (5-8) dominated from the outset, never letting Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger get comfortable in his first game in nearly a month.Roethlisberger completed 22 of 42 passes for 285 yards and three second-half touchdowns. But he also threw an interception and had a botched screen pass turn into an easy San Diego score as Pittsburgh (7-6) hardly played like a team readying for a postseason run.

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    Jets stay in playoff hunt win over Jags

    JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The New York Jets stayed on the ground and stayed in the playoff hunt.Shonn Greene and Bilal Powell ran for short touchdowns and the Jets kept their postseason hopes alive with a 17-10 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday.The Jets (6-7) were shut out at halftime for the second consecutive week, but they didn’t need to change quarterbacks to spark the offense this time around.Instead, they just pounded the Jaguars (2-11) up the middle.Mark Sanchez, benched last week in a 7-6 win against Arizona, was hardly a factor. Neither was backup Tim Tebow, who spent his homecoming on the sideline.Greene scored on a 1-yard plunge in the third quarter, and Powell added a 4-yarder early in the fourth. Powell’s score made it 17-3 in a game that looked every bit like one featuring two of the NFL’s worst offenses.Greene finished with 77 yards rushing. Powell added 78 yards on the ground.Although the Jaguars turned Sanchez’s first-half fumble into a field goal, he ended up having a decent day. He completed 12 of 19 passes for 111 yards, including a 37-yard completion that helped the Jets milk the clock in the closing minutes.Tebow was healthy enough to serve as New York’s backup quarterback in his hometown, but he never got off the bench.Jets coach Rex Ryan had planned to have all three quarterbacks active, including third-stringer Greg McElroy, but Joe McKnight’s migraine headache before the game prompted Ryan to suit up an extra running back.The Jaguars were inept most of the day, no surprise given how they have played at home in 2012.Montell Owens seemed to catch the Jets by surprise on a second-and-17 play, running 32 yards for a touchdown that made it 17-10 with 7:06 remaining. He finished with 91 yards on 14 carries.But Jacksonville mustered little else, clearly hampered without leading receiver Cecil Shorts III and left guard Mike Brewster. Shorts (concussion) and Brewster (hand) missed the game, and their backups were less than impressive.Kevin Elliott dropped two passes and was flagged for illegal touching on a key play with about a minute left. Eben Britton was manhandled inside, giving up several sacks.Chad Henne completed 21 of 43 passes for 185 yards, with two interceptions.The Jaguars managed just 6 yards in the third quarter, futile enough that veteran tight end Marcedes Lewis called an offensive meeting on the sideline to get things turned around.It did little to change the outcome.Henne hooked up with Jordan Shipley for 28 yards on fourth down with 48 seconds remaining, moving the Jaguars into Jets territory. But Ellis Lankster ended with the game with an interception — one that came two plays after Elliott stripped a near-pick out of his hands.The Jets have won two in a row and three of four. But they might be without rookie receiver Stephen Hill, who injured his right knee and had to be helped off the field.

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    Dallas Cowboys players hang their heads during a moment of silence honoring teammate Jerry Brown who was killed in an automobile accident prior to an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday, Dec. 9, 2012, in Cincinnati.

    ‘Grieving’ Cowboys edge Bengals 20-19

    CINCINNATI — The grieving Cowboys rallied for a significant win.Dan Bailey’s 40-yard field goal as time ran out sent Dallas to a 20-19 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday, ending a tough afternoon with playoff chances enhanced and more emotional days ahead.Dallas overcame a nine-point deficit in the closing minutes behind Tony Romo, who held his hand over his heart during a moment of silence to honor teammate Jerry Brown before the kickoff. Brown died in an auto accident early Saturday. Defensive lineman Josh Brent, who was driving, remained in jail in Irving, Texas, charged with intoxication manslaughter. The Cowboys (7-6) learned about Brown’s death on their flight to Cincinnati on Saturday. Coach Jason Garrett told his team that the best way to honor him was to play well in a game with playoff implications for both teams. A late comeback was just enough to beat the Bengals (7-6), who had won four in a row and had a chance to move into position for an AFC wild-card berth with a victory.Instead, Romo pulled it out with another late comeback, which has been the Cowboys’ way while winning four of their last five games.Romo threw a 27-yard touchdown pass to Dez Bryant with 6:35 to go. Anthony Spencer’s sack of Andy Dalton forced a punt, and Romo completed four passes on the drive to Bailey’s winning kick.Defensive tackle Jason Hatcher held up Brown’s No. 53 jersey on the sideline as the Cowboys headed onto the field to celebrate.Romo finished 25 of 43 for 268 yards with a touchdown, an interception and three sacks. DeMarco Murray converted a third-and-5 play to extend the final drive and ended up with 53 yards on 21 carries.Newcomer Josh Brown kicked field goals of 25, 33, 25 and 52 yards for Cincinnati, which wasted an opportunity to move ahead of Pittsburgh for the second AFC wild card.Cowboys owner Jerry Jones described his team as “grieving” before the opening kickoff. Dallas played a sloppy game until the closing minutes — nothing out of character there — and had a few especially bad moments.Defensive coordinator Rob Ryan went onto the field arguing for a holding call against the Bengals in the third quarter, and the officials penalized the Cowboys for unsportsmanlike conduct. Dallas also was penalized for 12 men on the field during the drive, which ended with Brown’s third field goal and a 16-10 Cincinnati lead.In the end, a defense that has allowed only three touchdowns in the last four games couldn’t hold on. And the Bengals made it tough on themselves by using all three of their timeouts early in the second half, leaving them unable to stop the clock on Dallas’ final drive.Dalton was 20 of 33 for 206 yards with five sacks, one touchdown and an interception that Brandon Carr returned 37 yards to set up Murray’s 1-yard touchdown dive in the second quarter.

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    Colts rally to top Titans

    INDIANAPOLIS — Andrew Luck and Adam Vinatieri are at it again.The rookie quarterback led the Colts back from a 13-point second-half deficit Sunday, and the veteran kicker made a 53-yard field goal in the fourth quarter to give Indianapolis the lead and a 40-yarder a little later to seal a 27-23 victory over Tennessee.Luck has now engineered six fourth-quarter comebacks this season, and Indy (9-4) is 8-1 in one-possession games. And Vinatieri, long considered the best clutch kicker in league history, delivered again as the surprising Colts moved a step closer to making the playoffs with coach Chuck Pagano watching his third straight game from inside Lucas Oil Stadium.Tennessee (4-9) dropped to 0-5 all-time at Lucas Oil Stadium and wasted a brilliant first-half performance from Jake Locker.Luck certainly did his part Sunday. He went 16 of 34 for 196 yards and one touchdown. And despite throwing two interceptions, he broke Peyton Manning’s franchise record for yards passing by a rookie. Luck now has 3,792 yards, the second most by a rookie in league history behind only Cam Newton (4,051).Reggie Wayne caught six passes for 64 yards and Indy’s first score, a 4-yard TD catch in the first half, and he passed Andre Reed for 10th on the league’s career receptions list. Reed had 951. Wayne now has 956.And Vick Ballard ran for a season-high 94 yards.It was the way Indy opened the second half that changed the game.Luck led the Colts on a methodical 14-play, 80-yard drive that ended with a 1-yard TD run from Delone Carter, closing the halftime deficit to 20-14 midway through the third quarter.But it wasn’t just Luck and the offense.After Pat McAfee sent a 52-yard punt out of bounds at the Titans 1, Cassius Vaughn jumped in front of Nate Washington, picking off Locker’s pass and diving in from 3 yards out to give Indy a 21-20 lead with 5:36 left in the third quarter.Tennessee answered with a 16-play drive that consumed 10 minutes, 8 seconds, but wound up settling for a 25-yard field goal from Rob Bironas. That gave Tennessee a 23-21 lead with 10:28 to play.Luck then led the Colts back down the field, setting up Vinatieri’s 53-yarder, which he knocked right down the middle with 6:23 to go.And after Locker was picked off by Darius Butler, Vinatieri made the 40-yarder.Tennessee had one last chance, but after picking up a first down at the Colts 30, Locker rushed to the line of scrimmage and ran a quarterback sneak for no yards on first down. Three plays later, the Titans punted the ball on fourth-and-10 and never got the ball back.Locker was 22 of 35 for 262 yards with one TD and two interceptions. Kenny Britt had a season-high 143 yards on eight catches, and Chris Johnson ran 19 times for 44 yards.

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    Bears quarterback Jay Cutler, center, watches the end of Sunday’s game from the bench after taking a hit to the head in the Bears’ loss to Minnesota.

    Cutler hurt near end of loss to Vikings

    MINNEAPOLIS — Adrian Peterson has his sights set squarely on 2,000 yards. Thanks to his latest jaw-dropping performance and an opportunistic defense, the Minnesota Vikings still have their eyes on the playoffs.Peterson rushed for 154 yards and two touchdowns and Harrison Smith returned an interception for a score to lead the Minnesota Vikings to a 21-14 victory over the free-falling Bears on Sunday.Jay Cutler was 22 for 44 for 260 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions and couldn't finish the game for the Bears (8-5), who have lost four of their last five. He took a wicked hit to the head from Everson Griffen in the fourth quarter, remained in the game for the rest of that drive, but was replaced by Jason Campbell with 3 minutes to play.There was no immediate word on Cutler's health, and Campbell threw a 16-yard TD to Brandon Marshall with 1:48 to play, but Kyle Rudolph recovered the onside kick to seal the victory.Peterson topped 100 yards before the first quarter was over, helping the Vikings (7-6) overcome another lackluster day from quarterback Christian Ponder to get a victory that will keep their playoff hopes alive.Marshall had 10 catches for 160 yards, but Chicago's struggling offense couldn't do enough to overcome the two turnovers and Peterson's relentless effort.Peterson's remarkable comeback from a torn ACL late last season seems to get more impressive every week. Not even a year removed from that major injury in Washington, he broke the 100-yard mark for the seventh straight game. He has 1,600 yards with three games to play, putting a hallowed 2,000-yard season within reach. He ran for 51 yards on the opening play of the game and continued to gash the broken-down Bears the rest of the way.No one was happier to see it than Ponder, who continued to look skittish in the pocket and out of whack with his mechanics. He finished 11 of 17 for 91 yards, including an ugly interception off his back foot late in the first half. For once, his performance didn't doom the Vikings.Vikings fans trudged through a snow storm to get to the Metrodome, and they were ornery and ready to give Ponder all the grief they could. They booed him in pregame introductions, then Peterson touched the ball on five of six plays in the opening drive. He also ripped off a 16-yard run and finished it with a 1-yard TD.Josh Robinson intercepted Cutler on the next possession, returning the ball to the Chicago 5 to set up Peterson's second touchdown. The Vikings were off and running, exactly what they were hoping to do.Cutler responded, hitting Alshon Jeffery with a 23-yard TD pass that got a healthy contingent of Chicago fans chanting "Let's Go Bears!"'Just as the Bears appeared to seize momentum, Cutler floated a pass over Marshall's head right into the arms of Smith, who headed down the Chicago sideline for a 56-yard touchdown late in the third quarter and a 21-7 lead.The Vikings haven't made big plays in the passing game ever since Percy Harvin was lost for the season with a severely sprained left ankle against Seattle on Nov. 4. They finally did it Sunday, but it was the defense that made it happen.Robinson and Smith combined for 100 return yards, more than the Vikings' passing game had through the air.Now the Bears must try to hold off another December malaise under coach Lovie Smith. They started 7-1, but Smith tried to ratchet up the intensity this week, saying the Bears had to win out to get into the playoffs.Cornerback Tim Jennings was out with an injured shoulder and linebacker Brian Urlacher, the man in the middle of the proud veteran defense, could be out for the rest of the season with an injured hamstring. Defensive tackle Henry Melton hurt his shoulder in the first half and kicker Robbie Gould was limited by a strained left calf that he suffered in pregame warm-ups.

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    Referee Kenny Bayless, center, sends Juan Manuel Marquez, from Mexico, right, to his corner after he knocked out Manny Pacquiao, from the Philippines, left in the sixth round of their WBO world welterweight fight Saturday, Dec. 8, 2012, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Eric Jamison)

    Marquez knocks Pacquiao out cold in 6th

    Juan Manuel Marquez knocked Manny Pacquiao out cold with a vicious right hand at the end of the sixth round, putting a ferocious end to the fourth fight between the two boxers. Pacquiao had been down in the third round but knocked Marquez down in the fifth before Marquez threw a right hand that flattened Pacquiao face down at 2:59 of the sixth.

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    Illinois’ Brandon Paul (3) drives down court against Gonzaga in the first half.

    Illini’s Brandon Paul rings up Gonzaga

    SPOKANE, Wash. — Brandon Paul scored 35 points to lead No. 13 Illinois over No. 10 Gonzaga 85-74 on Saturday in a matchup of unbeaten teams.Tracy Abrams added 14 points for Illinois (10-0) and new coach John Groce is off to the best debut for an Illinois coach in the team’s modern history.Kelly Olynyk scored 16 points to lead Gonzaga (9-1).Myke Henry’s basket gave Illinois its first lead of the game at 44-43 in the opening seconds of the second half, and the Illini pushed that to 54-49 by making all 5 of their field goals to open the half. Henry’s 3-pointer gave Illinois a 59-51 lead. Two baskets by Przemek Karnowski cut Illinois’ lead to 61-58.But shooting woes hurt Gonzaga in the second half, and D.J. Richardson’s 3-pointer gave the Illini a 68-59 lead. Gonzaga was held without a field goal for six minutes, then got consecutive baskets from Olynyk and Gary Bell Jr. to close within 68-64.Paul replied with 2 baskets for a 73-64 Illini lead with 5:45 left.Gonzaga rallied, and Kevin Pangos’ free throw cut Illinois’ lead to 75-71 with 2:51 left. But Paul completed a 3-point play to give Illinois a 78-71 lead with 2:29 left. Tracy Abrams hit 2 more free throws for an 80-71 Illini lead, and Gonzaga started taking desperation shots.In the first half, Gonzaga made 6 of its first 7 shots to jump to a 14-6 lead. Paul’s free throw cut Gonzaga’s lead to 20-16, but David Stockton replied with a 3-pointer for the Bulldogs, and they went on to build a 31-20 lead. Illinois fought back with a 12-2 run, and Paul’s free throws tied the score at 35-35.The score was tied at 41-41 at halftime, and Paul led all players with 18 points in the half for the Illini.Illinois, which leads the NCAA with an average of 10.8 3-pointers per game, made 11 of 26 from long range.Illinois had lost five straight games to ranked teams. Illinois’ previous road win over a ranked team came in 2010.

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    Grant redoubles its effort in OT

    Grant’s boys basketball team will take them any way it can get them.This weekend, it took overtime.Twice.Grant played OT in a nonconference game Saturday for the second time in as many nights, and the Bulldogs prevailed again, edging host Highland Park 57-53.Junior forward Steve Dunning scored a career-high 21 points, as Grant (4-4) rallied from a 36-29 deficit after three quarters. The Bulldogs outscored the Giants 18-11 in the fourth and 10-6 in extra time.Matt Malmberg added 11 points for Grant, while Rayvon Jones had 8.

Business

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    Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) runs for yardage between Detroit Lions’ Nick Fairley (98) and DeAndre Levy (54) during an NFL football game Sunday in Green Bay, Wis. NBC broadcast the game nationally.

    NBC Sports partners with Yahoo for content deal

    NBC Sports and Yahoo are taking on the crowded sports media landscape with a partnership that fills in gaps for both companies.

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    Gasoline falls to $3.3766 a gallon

    The average price for regular gasoline at U.S. pumps fell 9.62 cents in the past three weeks to $3.3766 a gallon, according to Lundberg Survey Inc

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    Sheryl Sandberg is chief operating officer of the social network service Facebook. She joined Facebook from Google in 2008, as the first woman on Facebook’s board of directors.

    COO Sandberg sells Facebook shares for $26.2 million

    Facebook Inc. Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg sold 946,588 shares, netting about $26.2 million.

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    Former International Monetary Fund leader Dominique Strauss-Kahn is seen at left, and Nafissatou Diallo is seen at right. Dialloís sexual assault lawsuit against the former IMF leader could wrap up as soon as Monday in a quiet deal.

    NYC suit against Strauss-Kahn could end in deal

    Her side said she was seeking justice after prosecutors gave up on her sexual assault case. His said she slandered him in a grab for money. But a hotel housekeeper’s lawsuit against former International Monetary Fund leader Dominique Strauss-Kahn may soon end without public vindication for either of them.

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    Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras speaks at a memorial service for Cyprus’ late President Tassos Papadopoulos near the island’s capital, Nicosia, Sunday. Samaras is in Cyprus for two-day unofficial visit.

    Greek PM: bond buyback going ‘very well’

    Greece’s prime minister says the bond buyback scheme aimed at lessening the crisis-hit country’s debt load is “going very well” and that he will have definite results Monday or Tuesday, according to state TV NET.

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    If decade-old tax cuts are allowed to expire at the end of this year, dividends will be taxed like ordinary income, and the top rate for ordinary income will rise to 39.6 percent from 35 percent. So, companies are rushing special payments to shareholders.

    Just how special are special dividends?

    Companies are rushing special payments to shareholders to take advantage of lower dividend tax rates before they go up Jan. 1. But investors should beware: Not all special payments are created equal.

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    Is your office full of sloppy co-workers?

    Work advice: Loud, but no longer proud

    Karla L. Miller writes an advice column on navigating the modern workplace. Each week she will answer one or two questions from readers. This week, Miller is answering questions about loud co-workers and people who don't clean-up after themselves in the office.

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    Grower Pablo Planchar, center, and workers gather the pulp and seeds they scooped from cacao pods into sacks, at a cacao plantation in Cano Rico, Venezuela. Cacao pods that ripen in the forest-shaded plantations of Venezuela are transformed into some of the world’s finest chocolate.

    Venezuela chocolate king thrives despite controls

    Cacao pods ripen to colors from bright yellow to crimson in the forest-shaded plantations of Venezuela, where some of the world's finest chocolate is born. The crop is transformed into gourmet bars that sell briskly in Venezuela and are exported to the United States, Europe and Japan by the country's premier chocolate maker, Chocolates El Rey, or The King. As the company has won success and international acclaim, though, it has also had to cope with difficulties brought on by President Hugo Chavez's socialist government.

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    Bridge Cafe General Manager Ludmila Silva and proprietor Adam Weprin take down the restaurant’s neon sign Tuesday at the restaurant in New York’s South Street Seaport. Like many small business owners in the Northeast whose stores, restaurants, factories and offices were devastated or destroyed by the Oct. 29 storm, Weprin is hoping that federal, state and local officials will quickly come up with grants to help him rebuild and survive.

    Small businesses want grants to aid Sandy recovery

    Stores, restaurants, factories and offices across the Northeast were damaged or destroyed by the Oct. 29 storm. So far, almost all the recovery money that's being offered to small businesses by government agencies is in the form of loans, but taking on debt is one of the last things owners want to do as they try to recover from the storm in an already challenging economy.

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    A Mongolian miner smiles while working at Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi, a coal mining company in Tavan Tolgoi, southern Mongolia. Chinese demand for copper and especially coal has propelled the Mongolian economy to one of the world’s fastest growing, making some wealthy and driving down poverty in a still poor country, and China wants a larger share of the resources.

    Mongolia finds China can be too close for comfort

    After years of testy debate, Mongolia broke ground this spring for a railroad that will haul coal across the pebbled Gobi desert to China, but with one costly condition. Citing national security, the government ordered the rails be laid 1,520 millimeters apart. The width ensures that the rails cannot connect to China's, which are 85 millimeters (about 3 1/2 inches) closer together. When it comes to China, Mongolia will only go so far and no further.

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    Ricardo de Campano of Spain waits prior to an interview with The Associated Press at the Pankow public language school for foreign students in Berlin, Germany. The European Union was built on a grand vision of free labor markets in which talent could be matched with demand in a seamless and efficient manner, much in the way workers in the U.S. hop across states in search of opportunity. But today only 3 percent of working age EU citizens live in a different EU country, research shows.

    Class of 2012: Young Europeans trapped by language

    The European Union was built on a grand vision of free labor markets in which talent could be matched with demand in a seamless and efficient manner, much in the way workers in the U.S. hop across states in search of opportunity. But today only 3 percent of working age EU citizens live in a different EU country, research shows.

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    Liz Ann Sonders, chief investment strategist for Charles Schwab Corp., believes that in 2012 housing is recovering to such an extent that it will be one of the key drivers of the economy in 2013 and could add as much as 1 percentage point to growth.

    Charles Schwab: Housing recovery to boost economy

    The housing market is recovering from its collapse to such an extent that it will be one of the key drivers of the economy next year, and could add as much as 1 percentage point to growth, says Liz Ann Sonders, chief investment strategist at Charles Schwab & Co. Inc.

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    Walgreens wants to reward customers for merely taking a walk, and Rite Aid will help cover trial gym memberships for some of its frequent shoppers. All the national drugstore chains now offer a free customer loyalty program loaded with incentives to use their cards. Walgreen Co., the nation’s largest drugstore chain, became the latest when it unveiled its Balance Rewards program in September 2012.

    4 questions to ask about drugstore loyalty cards

    All the national drugstore chains now offer a free customer loyalty program loaded with incentives to use their cards. Walgreen Co., the nation's largest drugstore chain, became the latest when it unveiled its Balance Rewards program in September. Experts say frequent shoppers should consider enrolling but also should be aware that they're sacrificing some privacy. Here are four questions to consider before a store clerk asks you to sign up during your next visit.

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    Career Coach: Want to be an ‘expert’ here’s how

    People often tell me they would like to be seen as an expert in their field. They understand how promoting their expertise can help their careers. But they often have no idea where to begin. If you truly have expertise in a particular area and you're willing to devote time to get there, you can become a recognized authority on a topic or field.

Life & Entertainment

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    Some bling to make your landscape sing

    Laura Christensen, a Wheaton-based landscape architect and designer took members of the Lombard Garden Club, step by step as she described transforming her front and backyards, into lush garden displays.

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    Mexican-American singer and reality TV star Jenni Rivera poses during an interview in Los Angeles. Mexican authorities confirmed the plane in which she was traveling disappeared early Sunday, after leaving the Mexican northern city of Monterrey where she performed in concert on Saturday night.

    NTSB: singer Rivera dead in Mexican plane crash

    U.S. authorities confirmed Monday that Jenni Rivera, a U.S.-born singer whose soulful voice and openness about her personal troubles made her a Mexican-American superstar, was killed in a plane crash in northern Mexico. The National Transportation Safety Board said it was sending a team to help investigate the crash, and the board said Mexican authorities had informed them that Rivera had died in the accident.

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    See the lights from the comfort of a warm trolley on a Chicago Trolley Holiday Lights Tour.

    On the road: Trolley tour of Chicago’s holiday lights

    Enjoy Chicago's holiday lights and sights by trolley. Hop on a trolley and you'll be able to visit the Magnificent Mile, State Street and Macy's holiday windows, lights at Lincoln Park Zoo, Daley Plaza's 40-foot tree and the Christkindlmarket. Also, treat the family to drumming, jazz improvisations and dance as Taiko Legacy 9 takes the stage at the Museum of Contemporary Art.

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    Catch a "Sing-Along Messiah" with the choirs Voices in Harmony and McHenry County College Choir at the Raue Center for the Arts in Crystal Lake.

    Sunday picks: Lift your voice at 'Sing-Along Messiah'

    Get your singing voice ready for the “Sing-Along Messiah,” which features the Voices in Harmony and the McHenry County College choirs at the Raue Center for the Arts in Crystal Lake. Celebrate the Jewish Festival of Lights with the Hanukkah Klezmer Brunch Buffet at City Winery Chicago. Meet Santa and fill your belly all in one stop during a special brunch Sunday at Pinstripes in South Barrington, Oak Brook and Northbrook.

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    The Diane Guest Chair is part of The Good Wife collection by Mitchell Gold and Bob Williams.

    ‘Good Wife’ furniture line popular with viewers, owners

    There are certain movies in which the rooms are as interesting as the characters. On the small screen, it's Beth Kushnick's set-decorating that's garnering raves. The apartment, offices and furnishings she creates for the CBS drama "The Good Wife" prompt so many people to email that the New York designer has started a blog, "The Good Look of the Good Wife."

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    The Simpson-Vance house, built in 1892, is in Eureka, Calif.

    Nation’s 12 ‘Prettiest Painted Places” includes colorful, hidden gems

    If you want to see the prettiest painted communities in America, you're going to need a lot of time, several tanks of gas, and a state-of-the-art GPS. The Paint Quality Institute has identified the nation's 12 most beautifully painted neighborhoods and towns, and many are little known and far from the beaten path.

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    Gemma (Katey Sagal) and Clay (Ron Perlman) live dangerous lives, always on alert, in FX’s “Sons of Anarchy.”

    There’s more to ‘Sons of Anarchy’ than its violence

    I want to pay tribute to TV violence. In particular, I want to celebrate "Sons of Anarchy," FX network's bloodthirsty and brilliant drama series about a motorcycle gang. Add "Sons" to the list of hard-hitting series that justify their violent eruptions with the larger stories they tell.

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    Origami artist Beth Johnson designed these origami bears folded from a single sheet of paper with cuts or glue.

    New fans in origami fold

    Sara Goheen, a junior at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, often folds place mats or straw wrappers into interesting shapes while she's waiting at a restaurant for the food to arrive. “It's super satisfying to see a flat piece of paper turn into something — whether it's a rhino or a star,” Goheen said of her passion for origami. Origami, which began hundreds of years ago in Japan, has in recent decades attracted the attention of artists, scientists and mathematicians, said Vanessa Gould, director of the 2010 documentary “Between the Folds.”

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    Rental forum: New parking policy favors garage sales over tenants

    Q. I am a renter and we have a unique situation in our apartment building. When I first moved in a few years ago, there was nothing about assigned parking in my lease, but it does say that parking is available on a "first-come, first-served" basis behind the building. Although there are six garages, the landlord had been using all of them personally, so we could park in front of them and there was plenty of room for everyone's cars.

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    Some emergency rooms are taking reservations

    Hospital emergency departments eager to woo patients are borrowing an idea from the restaurant industry. ER online reservations are available at more than 100 hospitals.

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    Jeremy Renner plays spy Aaron Cross in “The Bourne Legacy” coming out on DVD.

    DVD previews

    Upcoming DVD releases include "The Bourne Legacy" and "Ice Age: Continental Drift."

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    George Clooney portrays Ryan Bingham in “Up in the Air.”

    Financial crisis films you can bank on

    "Killing Them Softly" is a stylish and violent dark comedy about low-level gangsters and thugs, set squarely within the U.S. economic collapse of autumn 2008. In rather heavy-handed fashion, it suggests that the mob functions as a microcosm of American capitalism. Thankfully, Brad Pitt is there to keep it from going under. A lot of movies have tried to get their arms around this complicated topic that affected every single one of us in some way. Here's a look at five that did it successfully

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    Christmas Town returns for a fourth season at Busch Gardens Willimasburg with 6 million lights adorning nearly every building. The display includes 1,500 trees, 700 wreaths and 20,000 ornaments.

    Towns coast to coast celebrate the holidays in style

    From elaborately decorated trees to drive-through lighting displays to boat parades and train shows, a variety of holiday spectacles are being staged through the end of December and into early January around the country.

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    Can she hide happiness to not hurt her friends?

    Q. A few of my close friends have recently gone through difficult breakups; meanwhile, I'm newly in love after many years of being more-or-less-happily single. I'm trying to balance grad school, being a good friend, and developing this great new relationship, but a couple of comments from my girlfriends have made it clear I'm not really balancing the last two very well.

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    Nature provides for birds in the winter, but you can help

    Q. In addition to leaving the seedheads on my plants during the winter for the birds, is there any other help I can provide our feathered friends during the harsh winter months?

Discuss

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    Editorial: Clock is ticking for towns, taxpayers on another pension crisis

    While the focus has been on the state pension crisis, the rising costs of police and fire pensions to municipalities also has created an urgent situation, a Daily Herald editorial says.

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    As an architect, Niemeyer soared

    Columnist Eugene Robinson: Just this once, I wish I could write with pictures instead of words. That would make it easier to explain why the Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer, who died Wednesday at 104, was one of my heroes.

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    Lovie made the right call
    A Lindenhurst letter to the editor: The only way Lovie's call on fourth and one-foot in last week's game was in error was in hindsight.

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    Stop plans for trash, recycling station
    A Round Lake letter to the editor: The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency must refuse the proposal by Groot Industries to build a construction and demolition debris recycling facility and garbage transfer station at the corner of Illinois Route 120 and Porter Road.

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    Decorations brighten everyone’s holidays
    A Vernon Hills letter to the editor: Please take the time to put your outdoor decorations up for the holidays.

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    Be consistent in whom you support
    A Schaumburg letter to the editor: By excluding them, Mr. Guagenti either discriminated against "more citizens than he realizes exist across our country who are different from him" or he demonstrated his affinity for political correctness.

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    Capitalism has made country great
    An Arlington Heights letter to the editor: To not understand these elementary economic facts I would suggest means not knowing about simple capitalism and what made this country great, even with all its flaws.

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    We must be a world of peacemakers
    An Arlington Heights letter to the editor: Let's help establish a United Holy Land Peace Academy to mirror and magnify a United States Peace Academy funded by donations. Education will give birth to an enlightened chosen race of Peacemakers who will be called the Children of the Most High God, of Allah, of Elohim.

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    Term limits, tort reform needed now
    A Wheaton letter to the editor: Two terms for a president has shown to be just right. A president's second term tends to be not as effective as the first. Shouldn't we also have term limits for our Congress? Is it right to have people serving in Congress longer than 40 years?

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    Obama has spent all my money
    A Naperville letter to the editor: Governor Quinn — I have the solution to the pension problem. It's so simple even the Chicago politicians can understand and it won't cost much.

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    Heed risk of first pregnancy abortions
    A Naperville letter to the editor: The Nov. 27 article on premature birth was interesting, but it left out important information. Studies done in Finland and Scotland covering the period of 1981 to 2008 found that abortion significantly increases the risk of preterm babies in future pregnancies. The Finish study covered nearly 301,000 women, while the Scottish study covered about 600,000 women.

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    Only fair to reap promised pension
    A Glen Ellyn letter to the editor: I would like to respond to a Nov. 30 letter from Jan Shaw. She portrays teachers as uncaring, greedy individuals who wish to make others, particularly younger teachers, poor, disabled, and elderly people, suffer.

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    Rich already pay their fair share
    A Wayne letter to the editor: According to the latest IRS data, which takes into consideration all forms of federal taxation, the top 5 percent paid 40 percent of all federal taxes despite earning only 26 percent of all income. Further, the top 1 percent paid 22 percent of federal taxes while earning just 14.3 percent of household income. It is difficult to comprehend how anyone can conclude that the wealthy aren't already paying a disproportionate share of the taxes in our country.

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    So many offices, candidates, so little time

    Illinois leads the nation in the number of units of government. That leads to an abundance of candidates and some unique challenges to the Daily Herald as the buildup to local elections in April gets underway, DuPage Editor Jim Davis says.

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