Daily Archive : Wednesday December 12, 2012


    Walt Meder of Arlington Heights inspired the Hope for the Holidays toy drive. Here, Meder is hugging M. Eileen Brown, the director of innovations at the Daily Herald Media Group.

    $18,000 raised in Daily Herald Hope for the Holidays drive

    Readers have donated more than $18,000 in two weeks to a Daily Herald fundraising drive to buy toys and gifts for children and families at a Palatine-based emergency shelter. Kindness and goodwill abound in the suburbs, just as an Arlington Heights man predicted. "People are pretty good if they just get the chance," said 90-year-old Walt Meder who spurred the drive.

    According to an FBI news release, Martin Crossley, 37, was arrested Monday by agents, who found him at a relative’s home in Lombard.

    Lombard man charged in Des Plaines bank robbery

    A Lombard man suspected of committing three Chicago-area bank robberies is in custody, according to an FBI news release. Martin Crossley, 37, was arrested Monday by FBI agents, who found him at a relative's home in Lombard, the release stated. He was charged Tuesday with one count of bank robbery in connection with the Nov. 30 robbery of the First Merit Bank at 678 Lee St. in Des Plaines.

    Carlos Garcia of Chicago and his daughter Ashley place roses at the Our Lady of Guadalupe shrine in Des Plaines.

    Thousands come to Lady of Guadalupe festival

    As many as 100,000 Catholic pilgrims converged on Des Plaines Tuesday night and Wednesday for the annual Our Lady of Guadalupe celebration, the largest gathering of its kind in the Northwest suburbs. The festival honoring the Patroness of the Americas began about 4 p.m. Tuesday and continued through the closing Mass at 8 p.m. Wednesday at the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe, 1170 N. River Road,...

    Photo courtesy of the FBI

    Police search for Wheaton bank robbery suspects

    Police are searching for two suspects in an armed robbery at a Wheaton bank Tuesday. The two masked men entered the West Suburban Bank at 221 S. West Street around 5:30 p.m. and announced a robbery, according to a news release from the FBI.


    Dist. 15 to seek bids for privatizing bus service

    Reiterating that no decision has been made either way, the Palatine Township Elementary District 15 school board is taking a step toward privatizing its transportation system. Despite impassioned pleas by several dozen supporters to keep busing in-house — many of whom wore black at Wednesday's board meeting in a sign of solidarity — officials said they'll seek bids from private firms...


    Dist. 10 OK’s one tax increase question, rejects another

    After mulling one or two possible tax increase proposals this spring and collecting community input for several months, the Itasca Elementary District 10 school board chose to pursue only one spring referendum question.


    Consultants: Don’t merge Cary, Fox River Grove districts

    Consultants that have been exploring consolidating Cary Community Consolidated District 26 and Fox River Grove District 3 told a group of school and community members Wednesday they didn't recommend the move.


    Knocked over utility pole caused delays in Elgin

    Traffic along Route 31 in Elgin was closed for about 10 hours into early Wednesday after a single-vehicle crash snapped a utility pole. The driver suffered non-life threatening injuries.

    South Koreans at a Seoul railway station watch a TV news account of the launch of a North Korean rocket Wednesday.

    N. Korea hails launch despite risk of consequences

    North Korea, though struggling to feed its people, is now one of the few countries to have successfully launched a satellite into space from its own soil. But leaders in Washington, Seoul and Tokyo immediately pushed for consequences over a rocket launch widely seen as a test that takes the country one step closer to being capable of lobbing nuclear bombs over the Pacific.

    Herbert Burgess

    Trial begins for man charged with sexually assaulting teen

    The trial of Herbert Burgess, 58, of Mount Prospect, charged with aggravated criminal sexual assalt of a 15-year-old boy, began Tuesday in Rolling Meadows.

    James Washington, left, poses with his girlfriend, Delina Gonzales, and their baby daughter, Maliyah LaShae Washington, born at 12:12 p.m. on Wednesday at Memorial Hermann Northwest in Houston.

    Images: 12-12-12 births and weddings
    12-12-12 will be a memorable day for a number of people. Several mothers across the country gave birth to babies at 12:12 p.m. on Wednesday and a many couples picked the day to get married.

    Frank Sabo

    Police: Man admits breaking into 37 vehicles

    A Des Plaines man who was recently apprehended by police while breaking into a vehicle has admitted to burglarizing 37 other vehicles in the city since Oct. 1, police said. Frank Sabo, 26, of the 1200 block of Brown Street, was arrested around 3:40 a.m. on Nov. 30 while breaking into a vehicle on the 900 block of Greenview Avenue. He was charged with one count of burglary to a vehicle and will...


    Tense exchange delays Mt. Prospect sex assault trial

    A rare, mid-trial request by the defense delayed the start of the second day of testimony in the sexual assault trial of Mt. Prospect resident Herbert Burgess.

    Christopher Brooke Beal

    Former SWANCC executive gets 7 years for stealing from agency

    A judge sentenced Christopher Brooke Beal to seven years in prison for stealing $850,000 during his tenure as executive director of the Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County after he admitted falsifying expense reports and submitting reimbursement requests for out-of-pocket expenses for training.

    Tavarius Smith

    Two DuPage men accused of robberies

    Two men are facing criminal charges in connection with a series of robberies of pizza delivery drivers in Addison. Tavarius Smith, 24, of Chicago, and Shaun Frye, 18, of Bloomingdale, each have been charged with one count of aggravated robbery. Smith and Frye are accused of using BB guns to commit four separate robberies of pizza delivery drivers, prosecutors said Wednesday.


    St. Charles youth center not getting any more residents yet

    Despite an Illinois Supreme Court ruling this week favoring Gov. Pat Quinn's plan to close prisons, there's still no timetable for the closure of the state's youth center in Joliet and the subsequent possible move of some residents there to Illinois Youth Center St. Charles, state officials said Wednesday.


    Bree to lead Kane County child advocacy center

    Debra Bree, a prosecutor in the Kane County State's Attorney's Office that handles child sex crimes, has been named the new executive director of the Child Advocacy Center. The center investigates sex crimes against children and Bree hopes that her experience in the courtroom will help her in her new role. Bree, 38, began her career in the state's attorney's office handling cases for abused and...

    Rise Jones, co-founder of youth arts group Hamilton Wings, was appointed to fill an Elgin Community College trustee position vacated by John Dalton when he was elected Kane County Circuit Court judge in November.

    Elgin Community College board names Rise Jones new trustee

    Rise Jones, co-founder of the youth arts organization Hamilton Wings and an Elgin evaluator, became the latest member of Elgin Community College's board of trustees Tuesday when she was appointed to fill the vacancy left by John Dalton. Dalton was elected in November to be a Kane County circuit court judge. Jones will add racial diversity to the college's all-white board and bring her public...

    Sgt. Daniel Tsutsumi, 27 of Arlington Heights.

    Hockey for Heroes tournament to benefit local soldier

    Local military members will join suburban firefighters and police officers in a floor hockey tournament on Friday night to support an injured Arlington Heights soldier. Salute, Inc., a Palatine-based nonprofit organization has planned the fundraiser with area first responders to help raise money for Sgt. Daniel Tsutsumi, who survived two tours in Iraq but was left paralyzed after a swimming...


    Mundelein Police searching for bank robber

    Police are asking for the public's help in gathering more information about a Wednesday morning bank robbery in Mundelein. A single offender entered the U.S. Bank at 2000 South Lake Street shortly after 11 a.m. and presented the teller with a note demanding money from the cash drawer, according to a news release from the Mundelein Police Department.


    Lombard fire lieutenants look to unionize

    Lombard Fire Department lieutenants are seeking to unionize, becoming the fourth employee group in the village to join or form a union within about a year, officials say. Lieutenants last week sent a letter to Village Manager David Hulseberg saying they intend to join Local 3009 of the International Association of Fire Fighters, which already represents the department's firefighters and...


    District 129 admits aide brought hot pot into classroom

    West Aurora High School District 129 is fighting a lawsuit filed by parents of a pre-kindergarten special needs student who was severely burned by a teacher's cup of tea. In court filings though, the district acknowledges that an aide brought a hot pot into the classroom to heat water, a violation of oral school policy.


    Fox Valley police reports
    Jose A. Perez, 36, of the 800 block of Gifford, Elgin, was arrested Saturday at the intersection of St. Charles and Sherman Streets and charged with unlawful use of weapons, police reports said. He was stopped for speeding and had brass knuckles on the center console.


    Labor board reviewing contract offers in District 33 dispute

    Both sides in the West Chicago Elementary District 33 labor impasse have submitted their final contract offers. The clock is now ticking on the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board to review the offers and make them public. Earlier this month, school board officials declared teachers and administrators were at an impasse after 14 months of contract negotiations.


    District 2 brick sale offers piece of Bensenville history

    Bensenville Elementary District 2 will sell bricks for $25 from the former Chippewa School building in a fundraiser this weekend. "I think that building means a lot to many people in Bensenville, and many who grew up here, who want to keep that memory alive," a school offical said.


    Waukegan Y hosts “Reason for Season”

    The community is invited to celebrate the holiday season at a free family-oriented program of music and dance from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 21, at Northern Lake YMCA, 2000 Western Ave., Waukegan.


    Associate judge candidates

    The Nineteenth Judicial Circuit nominating committee has selected four applicants for placement on the ballot for two associate judge vacancies.


    Education topic of citizen council meet

    Fifty-ninth District state Rep. Carol Sente will be discussing issues concerning education at 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 13 during a citizens' advisory council meeting at the Laschen Community Center, 294 Evergreen Drive, Vernon Hills.


    Island Lake board meets

    The Island Lake village board will meet tonight to discuss borrowing $51,507 to purchase police vehicles and other business.


    EIU football player, student stabbed at party

    Police are investigating a pair of stabbings that injured two Eastern Illinois University students at a party, including a football player. Charleston Police Lt. Brad Oyer says police were called to a party early Sunday near campus after a reported stabbing and a large fight. Police later discovered that a second student was stabbed and being treated at a local hospital.


    Batavia to start charging for fingerprinting

    Need to be fingerprinted for your job, visa or volunteer position? Batavia has decided to start charging for the task, and will only offer it to people who live or work in Batavia.


    Northwest suburban police blotter

    Barrington police and the Lake County Metropolitan Enforcement Group arrested four people on drug charges after receiving a tip that the offenders were doing drugs, Barrington Chief Jerry Libit said.


    Tri-Cities police reports
    A wallet and a cellphone were stolen out of a customer's jacket, which had been placed over a coat rack near the fitting rooms, between 8:35 and 8:53 p.m. Monday at the Goodwill store, 450 N. Randall Road. The jacket was found in the rear of the store.


    Chief judge bans cellphones at Cook County courthouses

    If you have business at a Cook County courthouse in 2013, you'll have to handle it without your cellphone. Circuit Court of Cook County Chief Judge Timothy C. Evans announced that beginning Jan. 14, 2013, members of the public will not be allowed to bring cellphones or electronic devices into any Cook County courthouse facility where criminal matters are heard.

    Donald Berthiaume

    Judge approves bond change for Wauconda firefighter

    The bond for Wauconda firefighter Donald Berthiaume, who is accused of having sex with a teenager in 2005, was altered in Lake County court Wednesday to allow him to have supervised visits with children from family and friends during the holidays.

    U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin

    Durbin chairs first hearing on school to prison pipeline

    U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin Wednesday chaired a hearing looking at the the relationship between schools and the criminal system. The hearing follows a change in state law to futher information sharing between schools and police prompted by an attack on an Elgin teacher and subsequent Daily Herald investigation.

    Virginia Weidner Raupp

    Buffalo Grove mourns one of its original residents
    Virginia Weidner Mueller Raupp didn't have to look far for her family tree. One walk through the historic St. Mary Cemetery, adjacent to St. Mary Church in Buffalo Grove, provided her with all of her research. Raupp, who died Dec. 2 at 89, was the granddaughter of one of the first families in Buffalo, Pancratz and Mary Weidner, who came to the U.S. from Germany in 1851.

    The Haight Warehouse in downtown Elgin will open its doors Fridays and Saturdays, now through Dec. 22, for Holidays at the Haight, a winter market for local artisans and vendors.

    Local artisans sell wares at Elgin’s Haight Winter Market

    Shoppers looking for a unique holiday experience are invited to attend this year's Holidays at the Haight Winter Market. Close to 40 artisans will be housed inside the historic Haight Warehouse, where they'll feature a variety of gift options, ranging from jewelry and clothing to meats and cheeses, home furnishings, accessories and paintings, ceramics and more.

    Jitka Vesel

    Gun control group sues website that sold gun in Oak Brook murder

    The brother and a longtime friend of a woman shot and killed last year in Oak Brook by her ex-boyfriend are supporting a lawsuit filed Wednesday at an online classified ad site the man used to find his murder weapon. "It makes me angry that some murderous guy would just go and buy a gun on the Internet," said Alex Vesely, brother of victim Jikta Vesel.

    Jim VanDerBosch, center, plays Snoopy, with ensemble members.

    BGHS production of ‘Charlie Brown’ invited to state theater festival

    Buffalo Grove High School's fall play, "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown," has been selected as one of approximately 25 full-length productions from schools across the state to be performed at the 2013 Illinois High School Theatre Festival, Jan. 10-12.

    Fremont School third-graders Payton Regan, left, and Bethel Mensah look at dolls as students shop for clothes and toys Wednesday at Target in Mundelein to help needy families for the holidays. It was part of the school’s Sponsor A Family program, which helps provide gifts for 30 children.

    Fremont Elementary students shop for needy kids, learn about being charitable

    Hoping to bring needy families some Christmas cheer, about 125 Fremont Elementary School students invaded Mundelein's Target store in search of presents Wednesday morning. Accompanied by parents and teachers and armed with shopping lists, the kids — all from the school's multi-age classrooms — scoured the store for books, clothes, toys and other gifts.

    Byron Saum, a member of the Rotary Club of Aurora and co-chairman of the Festival of Lights, tightens bulbs on the tunnel near the beginning of the festival’s circular milelong route. The sixth annual drive-through lights show runs until Dec. 26.

    ‘Bright, cheerful’ scene awaits at Aurora’s Festival of Lights

    Drive through Phillips Park in Aurora any night until the day after Christmas and a "very bright, very cheerful" scene awaits. The sixth annual Festival of Lights offers a milelong drive-through show featuring almost 50 holiday displays along a scenic, circular route.

    Thomas Nelson of South Elgin turns 12 years old today.

    South Elgin boy turning 12 on 12/12/12

    Everyone gets a golden birthday, but for Thomas Nelson of South Elgin, it's platinum. The sixth grader turns 12 Wednesday — on 12/12/12. He's been making the family aware of it for a few years now, but was actually something he'd figured out on his own long before that."I was probably 6 or 7," Thomas said.

    Nick Hanson

    Huntley trustee fined, sentenced to supervision for role in feud

    A Huntley trustee has been reprimanded for his part in a feud with a local bar owner that the trustee says involved a woman. Nick Hanson pleaded guilty to attempted disorderly conduct and was sentenced Tuesday to a year of supervision and a $50 fine. Hanson, 33, was originally charged with criminal trespass to property and harassment through an electronic communication device — Class B...

    Whitney Houston accepts an award at the Warner Theatre during the 2010 BET Hip Hop Honors in Washington. Houston was the “top trending” search of the year, according to Google Inc. People around the globe searched en masse for news about the superstar singer’s sad, accidental drowning.

    Images: Top 2012 Google searches
    The world's attention wavered between the tragic and the silly in 2012, and along the way, Web surfers searched in huge numbers to find out about a royal princess, the latest iPad, and a record-breaking skydiver. Whitney Houston was the "top trending" search of the year, according to Google Inc.'s year-end "zeitgeist" report. Google's 12th annual roundup is "an in-depth look at the spirit of the...


    Lombard considering year-round budget review

    Lombard trustees just finished reviewing and approving the village's 2013 budget, but they're already beginning to consider changes to the process of reviewing and approving future budgets. Village Manager David Hulseberg said staff members are preparing a report about possible changes to the current method of budgeting, which divides expenditures into cost centers by fund and department. But the...

    Developers of the former Applied Composites site on North Sixth Street in St. Charles will likely not be getting any money from the city, effectively killing a new homes project.

    St. Charles rejects Lexington Club project, developer outraged

    St. Charles aldermen rejected a request to establish a $6 million tax increment finance district for the Lexington Homes project this week. The vote essentially kills the project, possibly leaving the city with a brownfield site. The attorney for the developers gave aldermen a resounding tongue lashing in response.

    Dance groups performed during Lunchapalooza events.

    Palatine’s Promise events combat bullying

    To celebrate and encourage anti-bullying behavior, Palatine High School's Palatine's Promise hosted two recent events: "Lunchapalooza," which was during student lunch hours, and "Do Don't Be Rude," an activity that encourages manners and respect toward others.

    Jim Harney of Des Plaines squeezes in with some of the toys for this year’s drive. He sorts them by age and by gender.

    Donations to area toy drive drop, more are needed

    One of the area's biggest Christmas toy drives has a shortage of donations this year, and organizers are hoping people will step up in the last days before the holiday. "People are expecting us," says Jim Harney, whose drive supplies toys to 61 area hospitals each year. "They know we're going to be delivering toys."


    Census: Whites no longer a majority in U.S. by 2043

    White people will no longer make up a majority of Americans by 2043, according to new census projections, part of a historic shift that is already reshaping the nation's schools, workforce and electorate.


    South Elgin Lions Club needs your help

    The South Elgin Lions are looking for community help with its annual holiday gift baskets giveaway.

    Senior Amanda Sigler serves turkey tortilla soup.

    Schaumburg High students serve soup to help others

    Each year, Schaumburg High School's Chemistry of Foods classroom is transformed into a charitable restaurant that serves hearty homemade soups for a cause. This year, "Cool Beans" benefited the Elgin Community Crisis Center and the SHS Magic Closet.

    Owner Ed Schleining mans the counter at the Wurst Kitchen in Aurora. The shop has been making sausages and smoked meats in the same location for 117 years.

    Aurora shop turns out sausage the old-fashioned way

    Before airplanes, TV or even the Spanish-American War, Wurst Kitchen was selling its locally famous handmade sausages and smoked meats in Aurora. The store still does a brisk business where it opened in 1895, especially during the holiday season. Former Aurora residents visiting family stock up on their favorites among the more than 80 kinds of sausage the shop makes. Even European visitors have...

    Fans of some of music’s biggest names will feel lucky to see them share a stage Wednesday in New York’s Madison Square Garden. The charity show for Superstorm Sandy victims has been dubbed the “12-12-12” concert and will include Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, Paul McCartney, the Rolling Stones, the Who, Eric Clapton, Billy Joel, Kanye West, Alicia Keys and Bon Jovi.

    Americans finding dozens of ways to mark 12-12-12

    With a once-a-century date arriving Wednesday, some people across the United Stated are betting on good fortune for 12-12-12.

    Zdravko Tolimir, right, a former high-ranking Bosnian Serb army officer charged with crimes including genocide in the 1995 Srebrenica massacre, crosses himself as he waits for the Yugoslav war crimes tribunal to deliver its judgment. The tribunal convicted him and sentenced him to life imprisonment.

    UN court convicts Bosnian Serb of genocide

    The Yugoslav war crimes tribunal convicted a former senior Bosnian Serb Army commander Wednesday of genocide for playing a key role in Europe's worst massacre since World War II and sentenced him to life imprisonment.

    Islamist protesters supporting Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi chant slogans in front of the Media City complex in Giza, Egypt, Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2012. The Arabic sign at right reads, “journalist remnants will destroy Egypt.” An Egyptian opposition alliance urged supporters on Wednesday to vote “No” in the referendum on a disputed constitution but said it may still boycott if its conditions are not met.

    Egypt opposition urges ‘No’ vote on constitution

    Egypt's main opposition alliance called for a "No" vote in the referendum on a disputed constitution rather than a boycott, hours after Islamist President Mohammed Morsi's government forged ahead by starting overseas voting in diplomatic missions for expatriates.


    U. of Ill. Study to focus on food-crop production
    Researchers at the University of Illinois will use a $25 million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to study plant photosynthesis to see if food-crop production can be increased.


    Wisconsin Planned Parenthood sues over medication abortions
    Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin has filed a legal challenge to the state law that subjects doctors who perform medication-induced abortions to possible criminal charges. Planned Parenthood stopped offering the medication abortions when the law took effect in April. The organization continues to offer surgical abortions at its clinics in Madison, Appleton and Milwaukee.


    Illinois cameras in courts expands to 24th county
    The Illinois Supreme Court has added the first county in central Illinois to its cameras in courtrooms pilot program.


    Sycamore pilot recovering after plane crash
    A Sycamore man is in good condition in a Rockford hospital after crashing his small plane south of the DeKalb Airport. WNIJ Radio reports that 62-year-old James Auman was flown by helicopter to St. Anthony Medical Center after he was pulled from the plane’s wreckage. Auman was alone in the plane Tuesday when it lost power, crashed and flipped in a cornfield.


    Dawn Patrol: Shaken-baby conviction review; concealed carry review

    Bartlett shaken-baby conviction investigated by Northwestern students; concealed carry ruling draws mixed response; Jewel sells out of Hostess baked goods; search continues for Lisle burglary suspect; Prospect Heights studies water options; Algonquin officials go with traditional pedestrian bridge design; Bears going nowhere fast.

    Ralph Frese of Niles founded the Des Plaines River Canoe Marathon 50 years ago.

    Des Plaines River canoe marathon founder dies at 86

    The founder of the Des Plaines River Canoe Marathon, known throughout the state as "Mr. Canoe,' has died. Ralph Frese of Niles died Monday after a short battle with prostate cancer. He was 86. His death sent shock waves through the river sport and conservation communities.

    Kane County Board Chairman Chris Lauzen presented all the non-returning county board members with plaques recognizing their service Tuesday morning. The departing members take a combined 80 years of experience with them.

    Lauzen pushes changes to Kane County government structure

    Kane County Board Chairman Chris Lauzen announced committee appointments as well as a new structure Tuesday. Lauzen introduced the concept of committee co-chairs (one Democrat, one Republican) for a handful of committees. He's also pushing the board to give him the power to name a "deputy chairperson."

    Republican Lake County Sheriff Mark Curran says he's seriously considering making a bid for attorney general.

    Lake County Sheriff Curran planning attorney general run

    Citing a statewide need to better combat crime and corruption, Republican Lake County Sheriff Mark Curran says he's seriously considering making a bid for attorney general. And, he said, he would do so regardless of whether current Democratic Attorney General Lisa Madigan — who is rumored to be weighing a run for governor but has not yet announced her intentions — seeks re-election.

    Annette White of Arlington Heights enjoys running any chance she gets, but she says “once the snow comes it gets really slippery and becomes a problem,” so she’s enjoying the record of 282 days without snow.

    Where’s the snow? We’ve gone 282 days without real snow

    The Chicago area this week set a record for the most consecutive days without snow: 282 days as of Tuesday, and counting. The National Weather Service says the last time measurable snow fell in the Chicago area was March 4. The 281st day broke the old record of 280 set in 1994, when no real snow fell between March 1 and Dec. 5.

    Kristen and Matthew McKellar compete with other high school students on the robotics team, got robot?

    Elgin teens win state robotics contest, headed to worlds

    Two 15-year-olds from Elgin compete in tournaments packed with future engineers and programmers, not jocks. But the excitement, competitive energy and sportsmanship rival the traditional. And in their fifth year of competition, their team -- got robot? -- has secured a place in the world championships. “Even though we’re there to compete, we’re all there to learn,” said...


    Carmel Catholic's Kathleen Felicelli, front, passes passes with Marian Catholic's Kauai Bradley defending.

    Images: Marian Catholic vs. Carmel Catholic, girls basketball
    Carmel Catholic High School hosted Marian Catholic for girls basketball action on Wednesday, Dec. 12 in Mundelein.

    If the Green Bay Packers decide to double team him on Sunday, Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall says he has confidence that Matt Forte (22) and receivers Alshon Jeffery and Devin Hester can step up and help the Bears’ offense.

    For Bears’ Marshall, it’s a grudge game vs. Packers

    Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall wants a piece of Packers defensive backs Tramon Williams and Charles Woodson, and he can hardly wait until Sunday to get it. Marshall was limited to 2 receptions for 24 yards in Week Two when the Packers double-teamed him constantly. "I take it as a slap in my face when guys talk about my lack of ability to do something against them when they had help all over the place," Marshall said.


    Wednesday’s girls gymnastics scoreboard
    Here are the varsity girls gymnastics results from Wednesday's events, as reported to the Daily Herald.


    Wednesday’s girls bowling scoreboard
    Here are the varsity girls bowling results from Wednesday's events, as reported to the Daily Herald.


    Wednesday’s girls basketball scoreboard
    Here are the results from Wednesday's varsity girls basketball results as reported to the Daily Herald.


    Wednesday’s boys basketball scoreboard
    Here are the results from Wednesday's varsity boys basketball results as reported to the Daily Herald.

    Carmel Catholic’s Kathleen Felicelli, left, passes over and Marian Catholic’s Kauai Bradley during their game Wednesday night at Carmel Catholic.

    Dozens of reasons this Carmel loss wasn’t a complete loss

    Kathleen Felicelli, Carmel Catholic's No. 12, wasn't going to boast about the 12 points her basketball team scored in the first half against undefeated Marian Catholic on 12-12-12. But at least the Corsairs made good on their goal of limiting the visiting Spartans' point total to below five dozen (60). Marian Catholic defeated Carmel 58-22 Wednesday night in the teams' East Suburban Catholic Conference contest in Mundelein. On Sunday, Marian Catholic had dropped 101 points on Kenosha Tremper (Wis.) in the Battle of the Borders Showcase at Zion-Benton.

    Carmel Catholic’s Kathleen Felicelli, front, passes passes with Marian Catholic’s Kauai Bradley defending.

    Images: Marian Catholic vs. Carmel Catholic, girls basketball
    Carmel Catholic High School hosted Marian Catholic for girls basketball action on Wednesday, Dec. 12 in Mundelein.

    Images from the Elgin vs. Larkin boys basketball game Wednesday, December 12, 2012.

    Images: Elgin vs. Larkin, boys basketball
    The Elgin Maroons lost in OT 76-73 to the Larkin Royals in the latest cross-town boys basketball matchup Wednesday night in Elgin.


    West Aurora's Carlini wins Gatorade’s Player of Year honors

    West Aurora senior Lauren Carlini was named the 2012-13 Gatorade National Volleyball Player of the Year Tuesday.Carlini, a 6-foot-1 senior setter/right-side hitter, recorded 333 kills, 303 assists, 156 digs, 92 aces and 50 blocks this fall, leading the Blackhawks to a 32-6 record. Carlini also compiled a hitting percentage of .462 and a kill percentage of .594.A Wisconsin recruit, Carlini is rated the nation’s No. 1 recruit in the Class of 2013 by PrepVolleyball.com. Carlini is now a finalist for the Gatorade Female High School Athlete of the Year award.This past summer, Carlini led the U.S. Girls Youth National Team to a gold medal at the 2011 USA Volleyball High Performance Championships, earning MVP honors in the process. She also started for Team USA at that summer’s FIVB Girls Youth World Championships in Turkey.Carlini has maintained a 3.73 GPA. She has volunteered on behalf of the Geneva Police Department and the Illinois Math and Science Academy. She is also a youth volleyball coach.More honors: In its 28th year of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company, in collaboration with USA TODAY High School Sports, announced Carlini as its 2012-13 Gatorade Illinois Volleyball Player of the Year. Carlini is the first Gatorade Illinois Volleyball Player of the Year to be chosen from West Aurora.The award, which recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field, distinguishes Carlini as Illinois’ best high school volleyball player. Carlini joins an elite alumni association of past state award-winners in 12 sports, including USA Volleyball players Kim Glass (2001-02, Horseshoe HS, Penn.), Kim Willoughby (1998-99, 1999-00, Assumption HS, La.) and Ogonna Nnamani (1999-00, University HS, Ill).Carlini joins recent Gatorade Illinois Volleyball Players of the Year Alexis Viliunas (2011-12, Lyons Township High School), Kelly Lamberti (2010-11, Cary-Grove High School), Annemarie Hickey (2009-10, Joilet Catholic Academy), Hannah Werth (2008-09, Joilet Catholic Academy) and Kelly Murphy (2007-08, Joliet Catholic Academy) among the state’s list of former award winners.The Gatorade Player of the Year program annually recognizes one winner in the District of Columbia and each of the 50 states that sanction high school football, girls volleyball, boys and girls cross country, boys and girls basketball, boys and girls soccer, baseball, softball, and boys and girls track & field, and awards one National Player of the Year in each sport. The selection process is administered by the Gatorade high school sports leadership team in partnership with USA TODAY High School Sports, which work with top sport-specific experts and a media advisory board of accomplished, veteran prep sports journalists to determine the state winners in each sport.

    Larkin’s Brayden Royse shoots over Elgin’s Malik Parham-Dunner and Eric Sedlack Wednesday at Larkin High School in Elgin.

    Larkin tops Elgin in 2 OT thriller

    The city of Elgin experienced a changing of the guard in basketball terms Wednesday night after one of the greatest fights in the 120-game history of the Elgin-Larkin series. Host Larkin, which had lost 5 straight games to Elgin and 8 straight when a 2009 forfeit is factored in, tied the Upstate Eight River contest with 4 points in the final 30 seconds of regulation and outscored the rival Maroons 11-8 in double overtime to win 76-73. Larkin senior guard Quantice Hunter scored 6 of his career-high 32 points in the second overtime, including a 3-pointer with 1:07 left that put the Royals ahead to stay. Hunter's heroics offset a brilliant night by Elgin senior point guard Arie Williams, who finished with 8 3-pointers and a career-best 39 points.

    Arie Williams

    Basketball: Week 3 MVPs

    Elgin senior guard Arie Williams and Wheaton Warrenville South junior guard Meghan Waldron have earned MVP honors for their recent outstanding basketball performances.

    Joakim Noah reacts after scoring in the second half Wednesday night, when he finished with 21 points for the Bulls.

    Motivated Noah sparks Bulls to win over 76ers
    The Bulls had plenty of reasons not to play well in Philadelphia. Joakim Noah stayed focused on memories of last season's playoff loss to Philadelphia, specifically the moment in Game 3 when his series ended with a badly sprained ankle. Then he scored 21 points to lead the Bulls to a 96-89 win on Wednesday.


    Andersen scores 18 in Aurora Christian’s win

    Alyssa Andersen scored 18 points to lead Aurora Christian to a 47-42 win over Ottawa Marquette on Wednesday.

    Hersey’s Annie Johnson competes on the balance beam during Wednesday’s gymnastics meet at Prospect.

    Depth carries Prospect to triangular win

    Prospect's top all-around gymnast, Gianna Scala, was limited to one event at Wednesday's Mid-Suburban League East triangular. But the Knights still rolled. Sophomore Maddie Larock took first in the all-around (36.05) leading host Prospect to the first-place finish with 138.35 points. Hersey took second with 121.45 points followed by Wheeling (118.30 points).


    Neuqua Valley runs by Batavia

    There were many telling signs when Neuqua Valley and Batavia met in third-round action of the Oswego Girls Basketball Holiday Classic.

    Streamwood’s Hannah McGlone pushes her way past Geneva’s Abby Novak after grabbing a Vikings rebound in the fourth quarter on Wednesday, December 12.

    Cerda, Streamwood shoot past Geneva

    Shooters shoot. Even after 4-of-17 nights, shooters shoot. If Streamwood senior Jessica Cerda didn't know that after her rough game Tuesday against St. Charles East, her teammates certainly reminded her.


    South Florida grapples with a slithery problem

    Released by their owners, pythons are now a fact of life in south Florida, breeding in the wild and upsetting the natural order.

    Ralph Frese, who founded the Des Plaines River Canoe Marathon, died this week at 86.

    Chicagoland Canoe’s Frese was truly special

    Ralph Frese, the 86-year-old founder and spearhead of the Chicagoland Canoe Base, died this week. Outdoors writer Mike Jackson has that and more fishing and hunting news in this edition of outdoors notes.


    Antioch’s Scroggin thrives on life in the fast lane

    Antioch's Sammie Scroggin knows how deal with pressure, which certainly helped out Wednesday afternoon as it all came down to the last ball, in the last frame. Scroggin, a freshman, picked up a 7 pin on her last shot which gave Antioch a 1-pin victory over Wauconda in the final game Wednesday afternoon. It might seem like a lot for a freshman, but Scroggins isn't your typical freshman. Her other sport, the one she spends time with when she's not bowling, is drag racing. Scroggin posted a 197 in that last game Wednesday as Sequoits won 912-911. Antioch also won the opening game 783-767. But Wauconda outscored Antioch in the second game 936-823 to win the series 2,604 to 2,518 at 3D Bowl in Island Lake. The Bulldogs took the match points 5-4. Scroggin rolled 176 and 159 in her other games for a 534 series. Her drag racing interest brings her to Great Lakes Dragaway in Union Grove, Wis., on Saturdays from March through October.

    Bulls center Joakim Noah reacts after the Philadelphia 76ers’ Spencer Hawes failed to score Wednesday at the end of the first quarter in Philadelphia.

    Bulls beat 76ers 96-89 for 4th straight road win

    Not only were the Bulls short-handed, they were a bit weary after a tough five-point loss to the Los Angeles Clippers at home on Tuesday night. The Bulls sure didn't look tired or depleted less than 24 hours later. Joakim Noah scored 21 points, Luol Deng added 19 points and 12 rebounds, and the Bulls won their fourth in a row on the road with a 96-89 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday night.


    All-Americas, national champs abound among DuPage collegians

    It’s the end of fall. Our mailbag of college achievers is bursting. Let’s get on with it ...Benedictine running back Johnny Borsellino, who elevated the bubble screen to an art form at Montini, earned repeat Division III All-America honors by the American Football Coaches Association as an all-purpose selection. A three-time Northern Athletics Conference First-Team selection and the league’s first repeat All-America, Borsellino’s 1,916 all-purpose yards — despite teams kicking to him just twice in the Eagles’ last seven games — ranked seventh in Division III. Benedictine’s career leader in touchdowns, scoring and rushing attempts will play in the all-star Aztec Bowl Friday in Monterrey, Mexico, along with Eagles senior linebacker Chris Buonavolanto (Lake Park). A running back on that AFCA All-America squad was Elmhurst College senior Scottie Williams (Downers Grove South), who won the Gagliardi Trophy as the nation’s best Division III player, it was announced Wednesday night. Williams, who led the Bluejays to their first playoff win in history and first College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin title since 1980 while earning CCIW offensive player of the year, ran for program records of 2,046 yards and 22 touchdowns, second in the nation with 170.5 yards rushing per game. An Academic All-America in 2011 and D3football.com First-Team North Region this season, Williams was just 17 yards shy of the CCIW all-time rushing mark; overall his 5,203 yards, 50 touchdowns and 332 points are all Elmhurst records.A strong ground game opens up the pass, and vice versa. Elmhurst’s four-year starting quarterback Joe Furco (Wheaton Warrenville South) completed 60 percent of his passes this season for 2,064 yards, 14 touchdowns. In the process Furco set Elmhurst career records for total offense and passing completions, attempts, yardage and touchdown passes.Also on the D3football.com All-North Region squad was Wheaton College senior safety Garrett Cook (WW South) and junior linebacker Erik Westerberg (York), Augustana’s MVP, two-time Academic All-America and CCIW defensive player of the year. Wheaton College linebacker Pat Dansdill (WW South) and North Central safety Shane Dierking (WW South) made second-team defense. North Central senior running back Nick Kukuc (Naperville Central) somehow made only third-team offense after setting eight career or season records for the powerful Cardinals and catching a 27-yard touchdown pass in the National Bowl last Sunday.It was a great year for former WW South quarterbacks. Elmhurst’s Tim Lester was named CCIW coach of the year. At Drake, Eric Piatkowski — Furco’s predecessor and former Wheaton Rams youth teammate — earned team MVP and first-team all-Pioneer Football League honors each for a second straight year. Piatkowski set career program records for passing yardage, attempts and touchdowns and extended his records for completion percentage and completions while leading the Bulldogs to a second straight PFL title.Locals swept Augustana men’s soccer offensive and defensive awards. Junior defender Evan Johnson (Glenbard South) was named best defensive player, while sophomore forward Josh Bennett (Wheaton North) took the Vikings’ offensive honors.Playing midfield for the Indiana Hoosiers men’s soccer team, sophomore Patrick Doody’s (Neuqua Valley) cross from the far left led to a header then a chip-in goal in the 64th minute of the NCAA Division I National Championship last Sunday in Hoover, Ala. The goal stood up for a 1-0 victory over Georgetown to give Indiana its eighth national title. After playing in 17 games as a freshman in 2011, Doody started 21 of the Hoosiers’ 24 games this season, with 3 assists.

    Hoffman Estates’ Sang W. Han churns toward victory in the 100-yard breaststroke in the Mid-Suburban League meet last season at Barrington.

    Jessee, Han setting the standard at Hoffman Estates

    The boys swimming team record boards at area pools, as a general rule, are most heavily populated by the performances of seniors. A notable exception is Hoffman Estates, where Nick Jessee and Sang W. Han had the gall to practically rewrite their program's all-time marks as juniors. Yes, both Jessee and Han are seniors this year — the kind who have already made their mark. They are also the kind who aren't yet satisfied.


    Thunder extend win streak to 9 with 92-88 victory

    Kevin Durant scored 35 points and the Oklahoma City Thunder extended their winning streak to nine games with a 92-88 victory over the New Orleans Hornets 92-88 on Wednesday night. The Thunder rallied from an 11-point second-half deficit and matched their longest streak since the franchise moved from Seattle.


    Harden scores 31 to lead Rockets over Wizards

    James Harden scored 31 points to lift the Houston Rockets to a 99-93 victory over the Washington Wizards on Wednesday night. After suffering a sprained ankle last Saturday against Dallas and missing Monday night's loss to San Antonio, Harden returned to lead the Rockets to their first victory under coach Kevin McHale in more than a month.


    Jennings, Ellis lead Bucks in 98-85 win over Kings

    Brandon Jennings scored 19 points, Monta Ellis had 17 points and 11 assists and the Milwaukee Bucks beat the Sacramento Kings 98-85 on Wednesday night. Ersan Ilyasova added 16 points and a season-high 14 rebounds, and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute scored a season-high 17 points in his first start of the season for Milwaukee (11-9), which has its best 20-game start since 2005-06.


    Pekovic leads Timberwolves over Nuggets 108-105

    Kevin Love spent the morning backpedaling and Nikola Pekovic spent the evening plowing full steam ahead. Pekovic had 22 points and 11 rebounds and the Minnesota Timberwolves used a big advantage at the free throw line to overcome Love's shooting struggles in a 108-105 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday night.

    Images from the Streamwood vs. Geneva girls basketball game Wednesday, December 12, 2012.

    Images: Streamwood vs. Geneva, girls basketball
    Streamwood visited Geneva for a Upstate Eight River Conference girls basketball matchup Wednesday in Geneva.

    The Golden State Warriors’ Draymond Green (23) celebrates Wednesday with Jarrett Jack (2) after making a layup with 0.9 seconds remaining to give them a 97-95 win over the Miami Heat in Miami.

    Warriors slip past Heat 97-95

    raymond Green made a layup with 0.9 seconds left to give the Golden State Warriors a 97-95 win over the Miami Heat on Wednesday. Klay Thompson tied a season high with 27 points to lead the Warriors, who have won five straight.


    Sullivan, Christian Liberty win on the road

    The Christian Liberty Academy girls basketball team improved to 7-1 on Wednesday night at Mooseheart. The Chargers posted a 65-14 win as junior guard Meg Sullivan scored a season-high 21 points (3 3-pointers) with 8 steals and 5 assists.

    The Indiana Pacers’ George Hill is fouled by Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving as he goes up for a shot Wednesday during the second half in Indianapolis. The Pacers defeated the Cavaliers 96-81.

    Pacers rally from 16 points down, beat Cavs 96-81

    Paul George scored 27 points, and the Indiana Pacers overcame a 16-point deficit to beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 96-81 on Wednesday night. David West had 18 points and nine rebounds and George Hill added 17 points for the Pacers, who snapped a two-game skid. Indiana, third in the NBA in scoring defense and No. 1 in opponent field-goal percentage coming in, held the Cavaliers to 23 points on 8-for-41 shooting in the second half. It was Cleveland's lowest-scoring half of the season.

    Toronto Raptors forward DeMar DeRozan, right, battles for the ball against Brooklyn Nets forward Kris Humphries, left, Wednesday during the first half in Toronto.

    Joe Johnson scores 23 as Nets beat Raptors 94-88

    Joe Johnson scored 23 points, Andray Blatche had 14 points and nine rebounds and the Brooklyn Nets beat Toronto 94-88 Wednesday night, snapping a season-high five-game losing streak. C.J. Watson scored 16 points and Deron Williams added 12 as the Nets won for the first time since Nov. 30 at Orlando.

    The Atlanta Hawks’ Zaza Pachulia points to his bench after hitting a shot and drawing a foul Wednesday against the Orlando Magic in Orlando, Fla. Atlanta won 86-80.

    Hawks hold off late charge to beat Magic 86-80

    Josh Smith and Jeff Teague scored 16 points apiece, Al Horford added 13 points and 13 rebounds, and the Atlanta Hawks held off a late charge by the Orlando Magic for an 86-80 victory Wednesday night. Atlanta extended its regular-season win streak against Orlando to eight with its second win over the Magic this season.

    Since arriving in Chicago, Jay Cutler has thrown just 8 TD passes with 15 interceptions in seven starts against the Packers.

    Banged-up Bears take it easy

    Scaling back the normal Wednesday practice to a walk-through was practically a matter of necessity for the battered Bears.Eleven of 53 players would not have participated in a practice, even if coach Lovie Smith chose to have one.

    The NHL eliminated 16 more days from the regular-season schedule Monday, and if a deal with the players’ association isn’t reached soon the whole season could be lost. The league wiped out all games through Dec. 30 in its latest round of cancellations. Negotiations between the league and the players’ association broke off last week, but NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said Sunday the sides are trying to restart talks this week.

    NHL, union remain apart on issues and in meetings

    The latest round of NHL labor talks ended with the two sides not even getting into the same room with each other. The players' association and league negotiators met separately Wednesday with federal mediators in suburban New Jersey, holding discussions that didn't immediately appear to have moved the sides any closer to a deal to save the hockey season.

    Stephanie Holthus

    Burlington C. grad Holthus named All-America

    Northwestern University junior outside hitter Stephanie Holthus, a Burlington Central graduate, been named to the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) All-America Third Team. Holthus becomes the fourth student-athlete in program history to receive a national All-America accolade.

    New Orleans Saints head coach Joe Vitt during a game against the Oakland Raiders. Former New Orleans defensive coordinator Gregg Williams said at an appeals hearing in the Saints bounty case that he tried to shut down the team’s pay-for-pain system when the NFL began investigating but was overruled by Vitt, according to transcripts of the session that were obtained by The Associated Press.

    Ex-Saints coach Williams says he tried to stop bounties

    Former New Orleans defensive coordinator Gregg Williams testified that he tried to shut down the team's bounty system when the NFL began investigating but was overruled by interim Saints head coach Joe Vitt, according to transcripts from appeals hearings obtained by The Associated Press.


    Scouting this weekend’s top DuPage County basketball games

    BoysNeuqua Valley (8-0, 4-0) at Bartlett (6-2, 3-0)When: 7:15 p.m. Thursday.Outlook: A quality battle between early Upstate Eight Valley leaders. Bartlett and 6-foot-4 Illinois-Chicago recruit Lance Whitaker come off a three-overtime win against Waubonsie Valley. Western Illinois-bound point guard Jabari Sandifer and the Neuqua Wildcats haven’t allowed more than 46 points in the last five games.BoysImmaculate Conception(6-2, 2-0) atMontini (6-1, 2-0)When: 7 p.m. Friday.Outlook: A man-to-man matchup between IC’s Demetrius Carr and Montini’s Simmie Cobbs sets the blood to boiling. Montini dispatched Suburban Christian Gold suitor St. Edward last week, but here come the Knights with Carr at 17 points a game, forward Clark Brinkman at 15 and guard Sean Sutton swishing from 3. BoysYork (6-1, 2-0) atGlenbard West (6-0, 2-0)When: 7:30 p.m. Friday.Outlook: Stopping York doesn’t only mean stopping Colorado State recruit David Cohn, averaging 21 points. The 6-7 combo of Frank Toohey and Justin Kurash must be matched by the Hilltoppers, who are polar opposites of last year. Small and quick, Keith Hayes, Corey Davis and Dikiria Washington lead the way.BoysMetea Valley (4-4, 3-1) at Waubonsie Valley (5-3, 1-2)When: 6 p.m. Saturday.Outlook: Until Thursday at least — when Metea Valley visited St. Charles East and Waubonsie played at East Aurora — this District 204 and Upstate Eight Valley rivalry found these teams headed different directions. Sean Davis and Metea have won four of their last five while the Warriors have gone 2-3 over that span.GirlsGlenbard South (9-2) atWheaton North (6-3)When: 2:45 p.m. SaturdayOutlook: The streaking Raiders, winners of seven straight, get their stiffest test. Wheaton North’s Mandy Traversa is averaging 17.3 points and hit six 3s on Monday. With Reilly Stewart and Chrissy Baird, Falcons have topped 70 points in three of last four games. Glenbard South’s Stefi Bazigos can score, and Ivana Markovic is fearless.

    Junior point guard Corey Davis is one of the reasons surprising Glenbard West is undefeated so far this season.

    Undefeated Glenbard West ‘pleased’ with start

    After graduating four starters from last season — three standing 6-foot-6 or taller — no one knew what to expect from Glenbard West.Now everyone knows.Sweeping all three games at the District 87 tournament was just the beginning. The Hilltoppers (6-0, 2-0) added West Suburban Silver wins over Lyons Twp. and Downers Grove North in addition to a crossover win against Hinsdale South.Another test comes Friday in a Silver showdown against York (6-1, 2-0).“We’re still trying to figure ourselves out a little bit,” said Glenbard West coach Tim Hoder. “But we’re obviously pleased with the start we’ve had.”Glenbard West’s emphasis shifted from the post to the perimeter with a group that’s quick and athletic across the board. The Hilltoppers’ strong start is even more surprising considering senior guard Jeff Levesque, the team’s lone returning starter, has been out with a stress fracture.The Hilltoppers still have immense athleticism. Corey Davis, one of the few other players with varsity experience, has stepped in at the point guard spot and is averaging 7 assists and 7 rebounds.Dikiria Washington is a defensive stopper on the perimeter, while Keith Hayes, a sophomore, has emerged as Glenbard West’s leading scorer. He’s hitting 50 percent of his 3-pointers and 83 percent of his free throws.With Sean Jenner holding his own inside the Hilltoppers have done a great job accepting roles. “Beating a team like Glenbard East definitely gave us confidence,” Hoder said. “I’m really proud of how the guys have come together.”Roaring Lions:Lisle has had some good pieces before, this 5-3 group looks to be the best at least since coach Mark LaScala went 21-11 with Dan Wenclawski and Derek Leonard in his first season as head coach, 2006-07.“I think that remains to be seen,” LaScala said. “We were pretty good my first year, but this team has a lot more size than that. In our little win streak we have really dominated the glass.”Lisle is 3-0 in the Interstate Eight Conference entering Friday’s game against Manteno and has won five straight after starting 0-3 at Lisle’s own Thanksgiving Tournament.The size LaScala noted comes from Nick Saul, Jeremy Glavanovits and Shane Murray, all 6-foot-5 and taller and mainly in the banger-putback mode. A little shorter but more athletic are 6-2 forwards Lamont Ross and Dawon Burrell, who scored a personal-high 27 points in Saturday’s 65-55 win over Latin.Ross, a senior transfer from Romeoville, averages 10.3 points, second to Burrell’s 11.3. Another senior transfer, point guard Cody Monson of Kentucky, is at 9.4 points. The two transfers mean the Lions still are discovering how to play together, but they assembled a 26-2 run in a 62-32 win over Plano and a 23-2 run in a 75-52 win over Reed-Custer.The big games — against the likes of Seneca, Herscher or improved Wilmington in the Interstate Eight, or at Plano’s holiday tournament — have yet to come. Lisle has shown it can score in bunches, but LaScala is still looking for better shot selection, consistency and the ability to beat teams in a half-court setting.“We have to show we can play four quarters and show we can finish games,” he said.No news is good news:Getting Neuqua Valley coach Todd Sutton to expound on the Wildcats’ success is nearly impossible.“Nothing new here,” the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association hall of famer replied to an email check-in about typically solid Neuqua Valley (8-0). In itself that is really all one needs to know about the Wildcats, who enter Thursday’s Upstate Eight Conference Valley Division game at Bartlett with a spotless 4-0 record. If there were something truly negative Sutton would be all over it.As is, he’s got point guard Jabari Sandifer and post Pat Kenny routinely scoring in double figures, with more recent output from Elijah Robertson, Josh Piotrowski and sophomore Connor Raridon.

    Northern Illinois head coach Rod Carey, left, and Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher will lead their teams in the Orange Bowl on Jan. 1. NIU still has nearly 10,000 tickets available for the BCS contest.

    NIU’s sale of bowl tickets reach 5,500

    Ten days after earning the first Bowl Championship Series game in Mid-American Conference history, Northern Illinois fans have claimed approximately 5,500 tickets to the Jan. 1 Orange Bowl game against Florida State, school officials said Wednesday. According to Eric Schultz, NIU's director of Ticket Operations, Northern Illinois has exhausted its supply of tickets at the $225 level. Approximately 10,000 tickets priced between $75 and $165 remain available in the Huskie sections of the stadium.

    Relief pitcher Sandy Rosario, who last played for the Miami Marlins, was claimed by the Cubs off waivers from Boston.

    Cubs claim pitcher off waivers from Boston

    The Cubs have claimed right-handed pitcher Sandy Rosario off waivers from the Boston Red Sox, team officials announced Wednesday.Rosario has played in parts of three seasons with the Miami Marlins, allowing 13 earned runs in 7 innings over 10 relief appearances. Rosario was claimed off waivers by Boston from the Marlins in October and got traded to Oakland last month. The Red Sox acquired him again off waivers from Oakland on Monday.


    Illini officials sign multimedia sports deal

    The University of Illinois has signed a 10-year deal with Learfield Sports to take over sports multimedia marketing and production. The school says it will help generate an extra $2 million a year.


    Illinois State suspends guard Allen

    NORMAL — Illinois State University’s basketball team has indefinitely suspended guard Geoffrey Allen for an unspecified violation of team rules.In a news release coach Dan Muller said only that he is “very disappointed” in the redshirt sophomore.Allen transferred to Illinois State from Eastern Washington last summer. The NCAA gave the Los Angeles native a waiver that allowed him to play without sitting out the usual year required for undergraduate transfers.Allen has played in six games and averaged 3.5 points and 2.7 rebounds for the 6-3 Redbirds

    Simeon’s Jabari Parker, here trying to stop Warren’s Nathan Boothe in the 2012 IHSA Class 4A state championship game, is expected to declare his college choice on Dec. 20.

    Simeon’s Parker set to make college choice

    Top high school recruit Jabari Parker of Simeon Career Academy appears set to announce his college choice.


    Indiana girls high school team wins 107-2

    INDIANAPOLIS — An Indiana high school girls basketball team routed an opponent 107-2 this week, prompting an official with the state prep sports association to say he never wants to see anything so one-sided again.


    Wheeling Hardwood Classic brackets released

    Brackets have been released for the upcoming Wheeling Hardwood Classic featuring three teams in the Daily Herald's most recent ranking of the area's top 20 boys basketball teams.

    Green Bay Packers defensive back Charles Woodson intercepts a pass in front of Bears wide receiver Earl Bennett during the second half earlier this season. Packers coach Mike McCarthy says Woodson won’t play against the Bears.

    Packers won’t have Woodson back for Bears game

    Jay Cutler can't catch a break this season. Clay Matthews was back at practice Wednesday for the first time since pulling his hamstring last month, and he's eager to terrorize the Bears quarterback again Sunday when the Green Bay Packers (9-4) travel to Soldier Field. The Packers would be even better if Charles Woodson was ready to go, but coach Mike McCarthy said doctors decided the perennial Pro Bowler needs to give his broken collarbone another week to heal.

    Kansas City Royals pitchers James Shields, left, and Wade Davis, right, pose in their jerseys and hats Wednesday during a news conference at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Mo. The two pitchers arrived in Kansas City to undergo physicals and check out the stadium from the home clubhouse for the first time. Shields and Davis became members of the Royals on Sunday in a blockbuster trade that sent top prospect Wil Myers and three other minor leaguers to Tampa Bay.

    Royals pitchers Shields, Davis arrive in Kansas City

    James Shields and Wade Davis, who were in Kansas City to undergo physicals, will be joined in a new-look rotation by Ervin Santana, who arrived in a trade with the Angels, and Jeremy Guthrie, who was a late-season revelation for the Royals and signed a three-year deal to stay with the team. They'll stand on the mound surrounded by one of the best defenses in the American League, and a collection of young position players who are the envy of many other franchises.

    Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Love dunks Friday against the Cleveland Cavaliers in Minneapolis. Love met with the media on Wednesday morning before the Wolves were scheduled to host the Denver Nuggets to address comments he made to Yahoo! Sports that were critical of Timberwolves leadership.

    Love says he’s happy with Timberwolves direction

    Kevin Love didn't apologize. He didn't make excuses or suggest his words were taken out of context. What the Minnesota Timberwolves power forward did do on Wednesday in the wake of some harsh words toward the organization was offer some balance to the idea of him as another unhappy star in a small market seemingly destined to move on to bigger and better things. "I'm not going to fall back and say I didn't mean the things that I said," Love said.

    Last year, the Chicago Bears Coat Drive collected an estimated 30,000 coats.

    500,000 coats later, Bears drive is still going strong

    In 1988, Gary Haeger was the Bears' head equipment manager and Medlin his assistant. They were driving to Soldier Field on a Sunday to set up for a game. Out on the street were people shivering in the cold. Haeger and Medlin wondered how they could help. The idea of the Bears collecting coats was born. "He started it," Medlin says of Haeger, "and I picked up on it."

    Tom Watson is rumored to be the next U.S. Ryder Cup captain. Golf Digest has reported that the PGA of America plans to pick Watson as the 2014 Ryder Cup captain, and the announcement is scheduled to be made Thursday morning.

    Signs point to Watson as Ryder Cup captain

    In the two months since a stunning loss in the Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club, the PGA of America talked about doing things differently when selecting its next captain. Tom Watson certainly would break the mold. Golf Digest has reported that the PGA of America plans to announced on Thursday morning that Watson will direct Team USA.


    Mike North video: NFL Reversal

    With Paul Tagliabue reversing the New Orleans Saints players' suspensions, Roger Goodell 's star is tarnished for now and probably the future. Mike North thinks it's time for Goodell to go because his effectiveness is just not there.

    NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, right, and deputy commissioner Bill Daly speak to reporters last Thursday in New York. The NHL has rejected the players’ latest offer but negotiations are expected to resume Wednesday. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

    NHL owners pushing fans to brink of apathy

    Just last week, NHL comedian Gary Bettman was complaining about how the number of long-term contracts has risen dramatically the last few years. Bettman reminded us that in 2004 there was only one NHL contract longer than six years, but now there are nearly 90. "The trend has gone completely in the wrong way," Bettman said, "and that has a whole host of consequences to the game and to the operation of our clubs."


    Warren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, was born in Omaha has been a loyal subscriber to the Omaha World-Herald for most of his adult life. Now he owns the newspaper and 79 others. “I’ve loved newspapers all my life — and always will,” he wrote recently.

    Buffett latest billionaire to tackle newspaper revival

    Warren Buffett, the investor famous for betting on aging industries like railroads and insurance, is now trying to pull off something other billionaires have tried and failed to do: save the newspaper business. His company, Berkshire Hathaway, has spent more than $342 million on 80 newspapers.

    Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke speaks Wednesday, following the Federal Open Market Committee meeting. The Federal Reserve sent its clearest signal to date Wednesday that it will keep interest rates super-low to boost the U.S. economy even after the job market has improved significantly.

    Stocks end little changed after Fed rally fizzles

    Stocks ended the day little changed Wednesday after a rally prompted by the Federal Reserve's latest economic stimulus program fizzled out. The Dow Jones industrial average closed down 2.99 points at 13,245.45. It had risen as much as 81 points after the Fed said earlier in the day that it would extend a bond-buying plan and keep interest extremely low.

    Jeffrey Halen

    Lake Zurich providing sales-tax rebates for Mariano’s project

    Lake Zurich has approved a sales-tax rebate agreement that may result in up to $2 million going to a developer planning to build a Mariano's Fresh Market as part of a retail project at Route 22 and Quentin Road. Officials said the incentive package came together quickly last week. The project received village board approval in July.

    In this undated image released by Beef Products Inc., boneless lean beef trimmings are shown before packaging. The term “pink slime” — though certainly not complimentary — became a popular way to describe “lean finely textured beef.”

    Ex-worker sues ABC, chef over ‘pink slime’

    A former worker at a South Dakota beef processor is suing ABC News, celebrity chef Jamie Oliver and a food blogger, saying their use of the phrase "pink slime" to describe one of the company's products led to him being laid off.

    Software company founder John McAfee apparently is returning to the United States after having been detained in Guatemala since he sneaked there from neighboring Belize, where he was sought for questioning regarding the death of his neighbor.

    Guatemala: McAfee to leave for US

    A Guatemala Interior Ministry official says John McAfee is leaving for the U.S. on Wednesday.The official says the software company founder has received written notice of his release from detention and that he has 10 days to put his immigration status in Guatemala in order.

    Rep. Lynn Jenkins of Kansas, accompanied by fellow House Republicans, and others, speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington Wednesday to talk about the effect of the national debt on American families.

    US budget deficit reaches $172 billion in November

    The U.S. federal government's budget deficit widened in November compared to October, a sign that the nation is on a path to its fifth straight $1 trillion-plus deficit.

    In this June 9, 2010, file photo, Federal Reserve Chairman, Ben Bernanke, right, listens with president of the Federal Reserve of Richmond, Jeffrey Lacker, left, at J. Sergeant Reynolds Community College in Richmond, Va.

    Fed sends clearer signal on keeping rates low

    The Federal Reserve sent its clearest signal to date Wednesday that it will keep interest rates super-low to boost the U.S. economy even after the job market has improved significantly.

    Toy maker Hasbro says it has invited 13-year-old McKenna Pope and her family to meet with its Easy-Bake team Monday at its Pawtucket headquarters. Pope started petition demanding the toy company make its Easy-Bake Oven more boy friendly. She was inspired to do so when her 4-year-old brother Gavyn Boscio put the oven on his Christmas wish list. The petition garnered more than 30,000 signatures in a little more than a week.

    NJ girl to meet with Easy-Bake team at Hasbro over gender-neutral colors

    A New Jersey girl who started a campaign calling for an Easy-Bake Oven in gender-neutral colors is planning to meet with the people who design it. Toy maker Hasbro says it has invited 13-year-old McKenna Pope and her family to meet with the Easy-Bake team Monday at its Pawtucket headquarters.

    The Newmont Gold Quarry pit in Battle Mountain, Nev. While the U.S. government reaps billions of dollars in royalties each year from fossil fuels extracted from federal public lands and waters, it does not collect any royalties from gold, uranium or other metals mined from the same lands.

    Lawmakers seek to rekindle mining reform efforts

    While the U.S. government reaps billions of dollars in royalties each year from fossil fuels extracted from federal lands and waters, it does not collect any such royalties from gold, uranium or other metals mined from the same places, congressional auditors reported Wednesday.


    Eli Lilly plans another study for Alzheimer’s drug

    Eli Lilly's experimental Alzheimer's drug has flashed potential to help with mild cases of the disease, but patients and doctors will have to wait a few more years to learn whether regulators will allow the drugmaker to sell it. Lilly said Wednesday that it will launch another late-stage study of the drug, solanezumab, no later than next year's third quarter. The company's stock slipped in midday trading.


    Facebook poised to roll out more privacy controls

    Facebook is trying to make its privacy controls easier to find and understand in an effort to turn the world's largest social network in to a more discreet place. The fine-tuning announced Wednesday will include several revisions that will start rolling out to Facebook's more than 1 billion users during the next few weeks and continue into early next year.


    Fewer U.S. CEOs expect hiring dip over next 6 months

    A survey of U.S. chief executives shows the number of large companies that plan to add jobs or hire more workers is essentially unchanged versus three months ago, although fewer expect hiring to decrease.

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration chief Jane Lubchenco will leave her post at the end of February 2013.

    NOAA chief says she will leave in February

    The woman who led the federal government's response to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010 said Wednesday she will leave her post at the end of February. "I have decided to return to my family and academia," Jane Lubchenco, administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, wrote to NOAA employees.

    Tyree Johnson

    McDonald's $8 man serving $8.75 million CEO shows pay-gap surge

    Tyree Johnson scrubs himself with a bar of soap in a McDonald's bathroom and puts on fresh deodorant. He stashes his toiletries in a Kenneth Cole bag, a gift from his mother who works the counter at Macy's, and hops on an El train. His destination: another McDonald's. Johnson isn't one of Chicago's many homeless people who seek shelter in fast-food joints. He's a McDonald's employee, at both stores.


    Grainger reports sales increase in November

    W.W. Grainger said sales for November increased 8 percent over the same period last year, with strong showing in both domestic and international markets.


    Magenium Solutions acquires social media marketing firm

    IT services firm Magenium Solutions said it has acquired Capable Networks LLC, a social media marketing consultancy in Glen Ellyn. Terms of the acquisition were not announced.


    Culligan Matrix Solutions expands mobile business
    Culligan Matrix Solutions, a division of Culligan International Co., is expanding its mobile water treatment solutions business in response to increasing demand for this service.


    Navistar names Icahn-backed member to board of directors

    Navistar International Corporation appointed Samuel J. Merksamer, managing director at Icahn Capital LP, to the company's board of directors.

    T-shirts advertising the 12-12-12 date sit on display at A Little White Wedding Chapel, Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2012, in Las Vegas. These “once-in-a-century” wedding dates have become more important each year as people increasingly look outside Vegas for nontraditional weddings. Once known as the wedding capital of the world, Vegas’ share of the U.S. wedding market has fallen by a third since 2004.

    Vegas wedding chapels hope to cash in on 12-12-12

    Las Vegas, land of the quickie wedding, is in the midst of a serious love recession, and chapels in a city accustomed to playing the numbers aren't about to let the latest money-making opportunity pass — Dec. 12, 2012. They are hoping the lure of a wedding license stamped with a once-in-a-century 12-12-12 will help boost revenue. Sin City's share of the weddings business has fallen by a third since 2004 as cities from New Orleans to New York have gotten into the elopement industry.

    House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio leaves his office and walks to the House floor to deliver remarks about negotiations with President Obama on the fiscal cliff, on Capitol Hill in Washington.

    Fiscal cliff talks intensify; Obama and Boehner speak

    Despite an intensifying pace, little progress is being reported in talks on averting automatic spending cuts and tax increases that economists fear could send the U.S. economy off a "fiscal cliff." House Speaker John Boehner and President Barack Obama spoke on the phone Tuesday, a day after the president offered to reduce his initial demand for $1.6 trillion in higher tax revenue over a decade to $1.4 trillion. But Obama continued to insist that much of the revenue come from raising top tax rates on the wealthy.

    Playing both sides, President Barack Obama is trying to balance his public pressure campaign on Republicans over the looming “fiscal cliff” with his private negotiations with GOP leaders. The White House is loath to abandon the two-pronged strategy even as the Dec. 31 deadline nears.

    Obama’s fiscal cliff strategy is tricky balance

    Playing both sides, President Barack Obama is trying to balance his public pressure campaign on Republicans over the looming "fiscal cliff" with his private negotiations with GOP leaders. The White House is loath to abandon the two-pronged strategy even as the Dec. 31 deadline nears.

    DVD kiosk operator Redbox is launching a challenge to Netflix’s streaming-video supremacy. Later this month, Redbox will offer an unlimited streaming-video plan that includes movies from Warner Bros. and pay TV channel Epix, along with four nights of physical DVD rentals, for $8 a month, or $9 a month if customers want Blu-ray discs.

    Redbox Instant streaming plan takes on Netflix

    DVD kiosk operator Redbox is launching a challenge to Netflix's streaming-video supremacy.Later this month, Redbox will offer an unlimited streaming-video plan that includes movies from Warner Bros. and pay TV channel Epix, along with four nights of physical DVD rentals, for $8 a month, or $9 a month if customers want Blu-ray discs.The offering is a direct attack on Netflix Inc. and is priced even lower than the $10-a-month DVD and streaming plan that Netflix abandoned a year ago.


    Markets steady ahead of expected Fed action

    Expectations that the Federal Reserve will announce a new stimulus plan to boost the U.S. economy shored up markets Wednesday despite concerns over North Korea's test launch of a long-range rocket. The Fed is widely expected to announce a new bond-buying program to replace one that's about to expire at the end of its two-day policy meeting later Wednesday.


    Holiday shopping beats out Sandy in November

    Spending by holiday shoppers trumped Superstorm Sandy's impact on small businesses in November. A report Wednesday from MasterCard Advisors and Wells Fargo shows that shoppers spent 5.2 percent more at small retailers in November than they did last year. Small businesses even fared better than the industry at large: Total U.S. retail sales increased 4.5 percent for the same period.


    Avon Products to cut 1,500 jobs, leave 2 markets
    Avon Products says it will cut about 1,500 jobs and exit two Asian markets as the struggling beauty products seller takes some initial steps toward its cost-cutting goal.The New York company will leave South Korea and Vietnam to focus on high priority markets as part of a push to save $400 million by 2015. The initial steps are expected to be largely completed by the end of next year.

    This Nov. 16, 2012 file photo shows President Barack Obama, accompanied by House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, speaking to reporters in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington.

    U.S. economy could withstand brief fall off ‘cliff’

    It's the scenario that's been spooking employers and investors and slowing the U.S. economy: Congress and the White House fail to strike a budget deal by New Year's Day. Their stalemate triggers sharp tax increases and spending cuts. Those measures shrink consumer spending, stifle job growth, topple stock prices and push the economy off a "fiscal cliff" and into recession.The reality may be a lot less bleak.

    General view of the meeting of oil ministers of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting countries, OPEC, at their headquarters in Vienna, Austria, Wednesday.

    OPEC ministers signal no change in output target
    OPEC oil ministers signaled Wednesday that they will opt to stick to present output targets at their meeting later in the day while remaining undecided on who should fill a senior post coveted both by Saudi Arabia and arch-rival Iran. The 12-nation cartel is pushing out more than 31 million barrels a day — over 1 million barrels more than it should if member nations were honoring individual quotas.

    Pope Benedict XVI pushes a button on a tablet at the Vatican, Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2012. In perhaps the most drawn out Twitter launch ever, Pope Benedict XVI pushed the button on a tablet brought to him at the end of his general audience Wednesday.

    Pope hits 1M mark as he tweets: ‘Dear Friends... ‘

    Pope Benedict XVI hit the 1 million Twitter follower mark on Wednesday as he sent his first tweet from his new account.In perhaps the most drawn out Twitter launch ever, the 85-year-old Benedict pushed the button on a tablet brought to him at the end of his general audience Wednesday. "Dear friends, I am pleased to get in touch with you through Twitter. Thank you for your generous response. I bless all of you from my heart," his inaugural tweet read.

    Larry Dyer

    Grayslake business owners to complain about taxes

    Some local business owners who remain concerned about escalating property taxes plan to address the subject at a Grayslake High School District 127 meeting Thursday night. They expressed the same concern at a Grayslake Elementary District 46 session in October. Larry Dyer, president of Platford Commercial Realty in Grayslake, said the business community must make its voice heard. "I guess it's got to start somewhere."

Life & Entertainment

    The Brookfield Zoo is lit up for the season on weekends and around Christmas for Holiday Magic.

    Weekend picks: Holiday Magic lights up zoo
    See Brookfield Zoo all lit up with thousands of twinkly lights via its seasonal Holiday Magic displays. Also, former "American Idol" finalist Clay Aiken is one of several performers in town this week. Aiken will be at the Arcada Theatre in St. Charles. Comic Chris Kattan of "Saturday Night Live" fame will perform at The Improv. There also is a wide variety of seasonal performances, such as the Elgin Symphony Orchestra concert "Let It Snow!"


    Good wine: Wine traditions then and now

    Not all that long ago, a drink of water came from the tap and milk was delivered to the front door. It's not surprising, then, that wine — our third oldest beverage — has seen some changes over the years. Mary Ross takes a closer look at the evolution of wine in our society.


    Frugal living: Stock a beginnger’s spice rack

    Frugal Living's Sara Noel suggests stocking a spice pantry with oregano, cinnamon, garlic and onion powder, basil, thyme, rosemary, chili powder, red pepper flakes, nutmeg, paprika, cumin, ginger, cloves, allspice, celery and parsley.

    This image released Wednesday by Starpix shows Bruce Springsteen performing at the 12-12-12 The Concert for Sandy Relief at Madison Square Garden in New York.

    Music, comedy strike defiant tone at Sandy concert

    Music and comedy royalty struck a defiant tone in a benefit concert for Superstorm Sandy victims on Wednesday, asking for help to rebuild a New York metropolitan area most of them know well. The sold-out Madison Square Garden show was televised, streamed online and aired on radio all over the world. Producers said up to 2 billion people could experience the concert live.

    Bruce Springsteen, left, and Jon Bon Jovi perform Wednesday at the 12-12-12 The Concert for Sandy Relief at Madison Square Garden in New York. Proceeds from the show will be distributed through the Robin Hood Foundation.

    Images: 12-12-12 The Concert for Sandy Relief
    New Jersey shore hero Bruce Springsteen opened a benefit concert for victims of Superstorm Sandy on Wednesday by making a plea that what made his boyhood home special not be forgotten when it is rebuilt.

    Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) discovers Gollum's ring in Peter Jackson's prequel "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey."

    Jackson kills the magic of 'Rings' trilogy

    Peter Jackson's prequel to his amazing, award-laden "Lord of the Rings" trilogy is a sloggy trudge by generic characters through endless travelogues, tiresome combat sequences and IQ-challenged moments in which main characters lack the smarts to act with common sense. And if this is an indication of the quality of the next two planned sequels, I may well put Aragorn's Anduril to my throat.

    Bruno Mars is releasing his sophomore album, “Unorthodox Jukebox,” production by Mark Ronson.

    Bruno Mars pushes ahead with sophomore album

    Bruno Mars was jealous of Amy Winehouse because he wanted to do what she did: release genre-bending songs that connected with audiences around the world. "You couldn't put it in a box 'cause it could be played on rock stations, it could be played on rhythmic stations, it could be played on pop radio, and I've always wanted to make music like that — that could be spread out, and can't be pigeon-holed to one thing," he said. This week he's releasing an album full of even more sounds with "Unorthodox Jukebox."


    The Suburbs This Weekend: Holiday magic, ‘Nerdist’ noggin, ‘The Hobbit’ and Star Trek

    Holiday magic from Brookfield Zoo to Randhurst Shopping Center, "Nerdist" noggin and "The Hobbit," are among this weeks sections by Sean and Richard for The Suburbs This Weekend.

    Lindsay Lohan is due to be arraigned on three misdemeanor charges after authorities say they determined the actress lied about being a passenger when her Porsche slammed into the back of a dump truck in June.

    Judge revokes Lohan’s probation, sets hearing

    A Los Angeles judge revoked Lindsay Lohan's probation Wednesday and scheduled a probation violation hearing that could result in more jail time for the closely watched "Liz and Dick" star. The 26-year-old actress faces three counts of reckless driving, lying to a police officer and obstructing an officer from performing duties after an accident in which Lohan's Porsche slammed into the back of a dump truck in June.

    Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean holding Isabelle Allen as Young Cosette in “Les Miserables.” Jackman was nominated as best actor by the Screen Actors Guild

    ‘Lincoln,’ ‘Les Mis,’ ‘Playbook’ lead SAG awards

    The Civil War saga "Lincoln," the musical "Les Miserables" and the comic drama "Silver Linings Playbook" boosted their Academy Awards prospects Wednesday with four nominations apiece for the Screen Actors Guild Awards. All three films were nominated for overall performance by their casts. Also nominated for best ensemble cast were the Iran hostage-crisis thriller "Argo" and the British retiree adventure "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel."

    Whitney Houston was the “top trending” search of the year, according to Google Inc. People around the globe searched en masse for news about the superstar singer’s sad, accidental drowning in February.

    Top 2012 searches include Whitney, PSY, Sandy

    The world's attention wavered between the tragic and the silly in 2012, and along the way, Web surfers searched in huge numbers to find out about a royal princess, the latest iPad, and a record-breaking skydiver. Whitney Houston was the "top trending" search of the year, according to Google Inc.'s year-end "zeitgeist" report. Google's 12th annual roundup is "an in-depth look at the spirit of the times as seen through the billions of searches on Google over the past year," the company said in a blog post Wednesday.

    Former first daughter Jenna Bush Hager announced Wednesday she's pregnant with her first child, due in the spring.

    Ex-first daughter Jenna Bush Hager pregnant

    Former first daughter Jenna Bush Hager announced Wednesday that she's pregnant with her first child, due in the spring. The 31-year-old made the announcement on NBC's "Today" show, where she is a contributing correspondent.


    Frugal living: Tips for pie dough and candy cane treats

    Sara Noel shares readers' tips for creating dipped candy canes to enjoy with hot chocolate or coffee and using pie dough scraps, curing and smoking your own bacon at home and much more.

    Graham Parker's music is being introduced to a new generation in the upcoming Judd Apatow film “This is 40.”

    Graham Parker back with his band after 3 decades

    When Graham Parker decided to reassemble the Rumour, the backup band that played on his first four albums before their breakup more than 30 years ago, no one hesitated to say yes. The reunion includes an album, "Three Chords Good," and theater tour, and is giving the singer a renewed burst of attention. Parker's role in filmmaker Judd Apatow's new comedy, "This Is 40," will get him noticed even more upon its release on Dec. 21.

    Greet guests with a glass of Christmas Sangria and they might not notice that the party food came from the drive-through.

    Christmas Sangria
    Christmas Sangria

    Chai spices and lower-fat milk lighten up eggnog without compromising its luxurious reputation.

    Chai Eggnog
    Chai Eggnog

    These wintry cookies are as light and delicate as a snowflake.

    Snowflake Cookies
    Snowflake Cookies

    Cooking beef for sweet-and-tangy barbecue brisket sliders in a pressure cooker frees up for the oven for other Hanukkah dishes.

    Sweet-And-Tangy Barbecue Brisket Sliders
    Sweet and Tangy Barbecue Brisket Sliders

    Cooking beef for sweet-and-tangy barbecue brisket sliders in a pressure cooker frees up the oven for other Hanukkah dishes.

    Pressure cooker speeds up a classic Hanukkah dish

    The nice thing about cooking a monster brisket for Hanukkah — aside, of course, from the fact that the meat can be mouth meltingly delicious — is that it is a dish you can mostly ignore as it cooks. What's even nicer is cooking that brisket in a pressure cooker and freeing up the oven for other holiday dishes.

    Greet guests with a glass of Christmas Sangria and they might not notice that the party food came from the drive-through.

    Lighter libations for holiday celebrations

    What if — just this once — you don't want to overdo it? How do you cut down the fat and calories in eggnog without losing the drink's signature richness? More precisely, is there a way to keep it creamy without cream?


    Experts share easy entertaining recipes

    It's easy to have romantic visions of the holidays — cozy fires, perfectly wrapped gifts, your house decorated like a magazine spread, all your friends gathered to celebrate, marveling at your culinary prowess. A handful of chefs share their ideas for easy, and we mean really easy, appetizers that will complete that perfect holiday picture.

    Chef Tyler Florence prepares a dish of fried chicken in the kitchen at his Wayfare Tavern in San Francisco.

    Tyler Florence: No more taking success for granted

    sIf you've flipped on the Food Network even once during the past 16 years, chances are good you've encountered Tyler Florence, one of the original and most enduring icons of the now sprawling network. His old school behind-the-stove-style shows were solid, even as so-called "reality" increasingly flavored the network's offerings. He wrote cookbooks, he launched product lines, he worked the festival circuit. It was an empire built almost entirely on celebrity. It didn't occur to him that this might not be a good thing.

    Big Boi, “Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors”

    Big Boi delivers gems on second solo album

    Big Boi is artistic throughout his sophomore solo album, taking risks by meshing electro sounds with his raps and singing. But this collection is classic. "Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors" is a 14-track set full of gems, and flows from the intro "Ascending" to the closing track "Descending," with Little Dragon. And what's in between is just as great.


    Music notes: Make a donation, see some bands

    Maurice Mahon asks fans to bring a nonperishable food item to the Montrose Room gig Saturday, while Blane Fonda, The Noise FM and Archie Powell invite fans to a half-price (with a toy donation) show at Subterranean.

    People raise their hands during a ceremony by Mayan sages in Bacuranao, Cuba. From Russia to California, thousands are preparing for the fateful day, when many believe a 5,125-year cycle known as the Long Count in the Mayan calendar supposedly comes to an end.

    Mayan prophecy sparks dread, celebration worldwide

    The clock is ticking down to Dec. 21, the supposed end of the Mayan calendar, and from China to California to Mexico, thousands are getting ready for what they think is going to be a fateful day. The Maya didn't say much about what would happen next, after a 5,125-year cycle known as the Long Count comes to an end. "I think this tells us more about ourselves, particularly in the Western world, than it does about the ancient Maya," said Geoffrey Braswell, an associate professor of anthropology and at the University of California, San Diego.

    These wintry cookies are as light and delicate as a snowflake.

    Lighter-than-air snowflake cookies a hit for the holidays

    Snowflake Cookies are sometimes called wedding cookies or pecan puffs, but at my house these have always been a special December treat. These delicate cookies are light as a snowflake and melt-in-your-mouth tender.



    Editorial: Key lesson of scandals: Hazing is never acceptable
    A Daily Herald editorial says that recent scandals should be reminders to coaches and adults -- and to victims -- that hazing is never acceptable.


    Country suffers from lack of ideological competition

    Columnist Eugene Robinson: Here's the sad thing: Republicans get this stuff so wrong that Democrats aren't even forced to go to the trouble of getting it right.


    The awkward conversation

    Columnist Michael Gerson: Part of the art of the deal is giving your opponent a soft place to land. Seeing no soft places, Republicans are increasingly concluding that Obama doesn't want a deal.


    Graham, McCain are hypocrites
    An Elgin letter to the editor: GOP Senators Lindsey Graham and John McCain are demonstrating clear hypocrisy be trying to pre-empt the president's nomination of Susan Rice to replace Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State.


    Respect for beliefs needed on each side
    A Prospect Heights letter to the editor: I cannot help but wonder what the Arab countries would have been willing to "return" to Israel if they had been successful in driving the Jews into the sea as they declared they were going to do in 1948 when Israel was born and when Egypt attacked on Yom Kippur in 1967.


    Our teachers do remarkable work
    An Arlington Heights letter to the editor: Outstanding educators at District 25 schools and at St. Viator, Sacred Heart and Rolling Meadows high schools did far more to encourage, empower and educate my five now-grown children than anyone in Tinsel Town could ever dream of doing.


    Candidates must be willing to debate
    An Arlington Heights letter to the editor: I recently ran for U.S. Congress against Jan Schakowsky in the 9th District. She would not debate me (a forum was held at Oakton Community College, but that is not a debate), and she held no town hall meetings that I am aware of. I agreed to two debates.


    Public sector should help fix problems
    A Palatine letter to the editor: Let's start by making their retirement start at 65 like the rest of ours do. How about putting caps on the amount the public sector can get as pension benefits like we have in Social Security?


    Social Security is a savings plan
    A Huntley letter to the editor: I take exception to the letter submitted by reader Wilton Jere Tidwell. In it he lumps Social Security with other programs for which the federal government makes payments to individuals.


    Pols need some ‘skin in the game’
    A Glen Ellyn letter to the editor: "Skin in the game" is a phrase I have heard several times with respect to the current public employee pension underfunding in Illinois. Politicians have been quick to suggest sacrifices from local school districts, current retirees, and working employees.


    Quite simply, county board job is simple
    Quite simply, county board job is simpleDoes it matter who is the messenger? In 1787 our Founding Fathers wrote our Constitution and they gave us a republic. In a republic we elect people to represent our views on issues in a Congress. Our representatives are merely messengers whose job is to vote on issues according to how the majority of the people he represents want him to vote. This is how, in reality a republic works. Richard Franckel (“Proof voters do not know candidates”) was concerned about Lauren Nowak being elected to the DuPage County Board; he should not be, she will be as good a messenger as Kevin Wiley. Why not? The job is simple.Chuck ColettaLombard


    Happy with your endorsement?
    A Wheaton letter to the editor: While I was shocked at your endorsement Mitt Romney for president (whatever happened to "character counts"?), I was absolutely stunned that you would double down on Peter Roskam. This is absolutely the worst Congress in history, accomplishing about 20 percent as much as the relatively industrious "do-nothing Congress" of 1947-48.


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