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Daily Archive : Wednesday December 19, 2012

News

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    The Rev. William Beckmann of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Batavia shared his annual holiday message to the Tri-Cities Exchange Club last week.

    Annual holiday message has a few new twists

    Maybe the stores that begin decorating for Christmas in late summer know something the rest of us don't. It's quite possible that Jesus was born on Sept. 29, 5 B.C., according to Rev. William Beckmann of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Batavia, while sharing his annual Christmas message with the Tri-Cities Exchange Club.

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    Matt Plackowski of Naperville works with Petland Sales Manager Jacob Friedl on picking out dog shampoo.

    Puppy brings smiles to man touched by double homicide

    A few weeks ago, Matt Plackowski walked into a Naperville pet store looking for a dog to keep him company after his little brother and dachshund were killed in a horrific knife attack. He got a new one Wednesday, courtesy of that store. He gave her the same name: Tootsie. "We'll definitely work out," he said, smiling and admiring her spots. "I love her colors."

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    Dozens of former and current Maine West High School soccer players, including Joey Ruffolo, at right, voiced their support Wednesday night for head boys varsity soccer coach Michael Divincenzo, who was fired from his job after a hazing scandal at the high school.

    Hazing scandals get Maine West coach fired

    The Maine Township High School District 207 school board voted to dismiss head boys varsity soccer coach Michael Divincenzo after hazing scandals at Maine West High School. "In taking this action to dismiss Mr. Divincenzo, it is important to recognize that the school board is not conceding the accuracy of the allegations made in the lawsuit now pending against the district," the board said.

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    Carol Stream library has two finalists for director’s job

    Six months after the controversial firing of Ann Kennedy as Carol Stream library director, there are now two finalists for the job to be her successor, library officials said Wednesday. Both candidates were interviewed by the library’s management team on Saturday, said Interim Library Director Marilyn Boria. The library board met in closed session Saturday to discuss the director search, but...

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    Antinette “Toni” Keller

    Trial delayed for man accused in NIU student's death

    A DeKalb County judge has delayed William Curl's murder trial. The 36-year-old Curl is accused of killing freshman Antinette "Toni" Keller, a Neuqua Valley High School graduate from Plainfield, in October 2010.

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    As public pension funding comes to a head in Springfield, a union coalition released a report about what its members could agree to when it comes to cutting benefits.

    Unions OK with paying more toward retirement

    A union report released Wednesday says its member teachers and Illinois workers would be willing to pay up to 2 percent more of their salaries toward retirement in order to help ease the state's quickly growing pension costs. But the group strongly opposed cuts in cost-of-living pension hikes that many lawmakers have targeted.

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    This May 17, 2000, photo shows Sue, the largest and most complete Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton ever found, on display at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago. The museum has announced plans to cut staff, overhaul operations and limit the scope of its research because of a high debt load and recession.

    Field Museum will lay off staff, limit research

    Chicago's renowned Field Museum, a major center of global scientific research, has announced plans to cut staff, overhaul operations and limit the scope of its research because of a high debt load and the recession.

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    Kenneth Conley, left and Jose Banks escaped from the Metropolitan Correctional Center in downtown Chicago Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2012.

    FBI: Convicts caught a cab after jail escape

    Two convicted bank robbers who pulled off a daring overnight escape from a high-rise Chicago jail had changed from their prison garb by the time they hopped into a cab near the lock-up, investigators said Wednesday as they expanded their manhunt for the men.

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    Bloomington woman convicted of strangling mother-in-law

    BLOOMINGTON — A Bloomington woman has been found guilty of strangling her mother-in-law in what she claimed was an act of self-defense.A jury convicted Misook Nowlin of first-degree murder on Tuesday in the death of 70-year-old Wenlan Linda Tyda of Crest Hill in September 2011.

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    2 more students surrender in NIU hazing death

    Two more fraternity members charged with hazing after a pledge from Palatine died following a night a heavy drinking have surrendered to police.

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    One injured in tollway accident

    One person was injured Wednesday evening in a one-car accident on the Northwest Tollway, according to police. A spokesman for the Illinois State Police said the accident occurred at 9:47 p.m. in westbound lanes, near the northbound exit to Route 53.

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    Man dies when car hits tree near Glen Ellyn

    A man died Wednesday morning when his vehicle left the roadway and struck a tree in an unincorporated area near Glen Ellyn, authorities said. The crash occurred at 7:25 a.m. on Park Boulevard south of Butterfield Road. The vehicle, a Mercedes-Benz, was headed south toward Route 53 when it struck the tree, according to the DuPage County sheriff’s office. The unidentified driver was pronounced dead...

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    Elzbieta Plackowska

    Courtroom cameras denied again in DuPage

    For a second time, a DuPage County judge has denied camera access to a courtroom. The request to cover an appearance for Elzbieta Plackowska, accused of stabbing to death two children in Naperville, was denied by Judge Robert Kleeman. He said nothing of substance would occur during the appearance, and moving it to another courtroom would be disruptive.

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    Lt. governor urges holiday help for hungry

    Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon is encouraging residents to spend some time this holiday season helping curb hunger. Simon and members of her staff volunteered Tuesday at the Central Illinois Food Bank in Springfield.

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    Dist. 300 teachers approve contract

    It has been almost a year since Community Unit District 300 officials first met with representatives of the LEAD 300 union to discuss their labor contract. But at long last, the district is just one step away from having a done deal. Teachers, social workers, guidance counselors, speech language pathologists and nurses voted Wednesday to approve the contract. Now it's up to the board of education...

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    Former mail carrier gets prison for thefts

    A former mail carrier in the suburbs has been sentenced to 2½ years in federal prison for stealing mail containing more than $275,000 in charitable donations. U.S. District Judge Amy J. St. Eve sentenced 41-year-old Frederick Taylor of Chicago on Tuesday.

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    Cook County officials propose land bank

    Two Cook County elected officials want to create a land bank they hope would help turn sites left abandoned or vacant by foreclosure into productive properties. Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and Commissioner Bridget Gainer on Tuesday introduced their plan to create a Cook County Land Bank Authority. A public meeting on it is scheduled for Jan. 15.

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    One injured in I-88 rollover

    One person was hospitalized after a rollover crash on westbound I-88 Wednesday, according to officials. The male driver was transported to Edward Hospital in Naperville with minor injuries after the accident, said Lisle-Woodridge Fire Protection District Battalion Chief Jim Bateman.

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    Speaker John Boehner scrambled Wednesday to rally House Republicans behind a plan to extend tax cuts on income up to $1 million, defying President Barack Obama’s veto threat and setting up a showdown that could send Washington over the year-end “fiscal cliff.”

    Obama, Boehner clash as cliff edge approaches

    Fiscal cliff talks at a partisan standoff, President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner swapped barbed political charges on Wednesday yet carefully left room for further negotiations on an elusive deal to head off year-end tax increases and spending cuts that threaten the national economy.

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    President Barack Obama is launching an administration-wide effort to curb gun violence, underscoring the growing political consensus over tightening gun restrictions following the horrific massacre at a Connecticut elementary school.

    Obama sets January deadline for gun proposals

    Declaring the time for action overdue, President Barack Obama promised on Wednesday to send Congress broad proposals in January for tightening gun laws and curbing violence after last week's schoolhouse massacre in Connecticut.

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    ‘Forgetting ourselves in giving ourselves’

    Our Ken Potts says at this time of year it pays to remember the value of giving. In putting aside our individual needs and wants,he says, we are in fact more in touch with our individual potentials. We become more when we concentrate on us less.

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    Gov. Pat Quinn will personally deliver cards written by Illinois residents when he visits service members at the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany.

    Quinn leaves for Germany to visit Illinois troops

    Gov. Pat Quinn has left on his annual trip to Germany to deliver cards to service members at a medical center. He departed Wednesday and plans to return over the weekend.

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    Former state Rep. Robin Kelly says she supports Illinois’ ban on carrying concealed weapons, which a federal court ruled unconstitutional last week.

    Democrat says congressional hopefuls should back gun limits

    A Democrat hoping to replace former U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. says her primary opponents should agree to her proposals to curb gun violence. Former state Rep. Robin Kelly said Wednesday that her congressional rivals should "speak with one voice" in trying to prevent tragedies like the Connecticut school shooting Dec. 14.

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    The Tamms Correctional Center’s days are numbered.

    Quinn gets go-ahead to close prisons

    Gov. Pat Quinn says two major prisons and other state facilities will be closed within weeks after a judge's order. An Alexander County judge on Wednesday dissolved an injunction stopping the closures. The Illinois Supreme Court last week ordered that the injunction be lifted.

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    A Newtown resident who identified himself only as Andrew, holds roses as he visits a memorial for the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting victims, Tuesday in Newtown, Conn.

    One by one, shattered Newtown buries its dead

    One by one by one by one, each with fresh heartbreak, hearses crisscrossed two New England towns on Wednesday, bearing three tiny victims of the Sandy Hook school massacre and a heroic teacher in a seemingly never-ending series of funeral processions.

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    Christmas lights hang from a tree and a fence dusted with new snow, as the pre-dawn sky glows blue, in Boulder, Colo., Wednesday. A storm that has dumped more than a foot of snow in the Rocky Mountains is heading east and is forecast to bring the first major winter storm of the season to the central plains and Midwest.

    Snowstorm causing problems from Rockies to Midwest

    A storm that has dumped more than a foot of snow in the Rocky Mountains was causing problems for travelers as it spread across the Plains on Wednesday.

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    Ricardo Campos Jr.

    Grayslake man accused of stealing from Allstate

    A Grayslake man has been arrested for taking more than $700,000 from a former employer, according to the Cook County sheriff's office. Ricardo Campos Jr., 36, was arrested after an investigation showed he embezzled the money from Allstate Insurance Co., the sheriff's office said.

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    Judge Robert Bork, nominated by President Reagan to be an associate justice of the Supreme Court, is sworn before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill at his confirmation hearing in 1987. Robert Bork, whose failed Supreme Court nomination made history, has died.

    Bork, whose failed nomination made history, dies

    Robert H. Bork, who stepped in to fire the Watergate prosecutor at Richard Nixon's behest and whose failed 1987 nomination to the Supreme Court helped draw the modern boundaries of cultural fights over abortion, civil rights and other issues, has died. He was 85.

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    Fox Valley police reports
    Deborah S. Roche, 41, of Elgin, was charged Tuesday with unlawful use of a credit card, court documents said. Roche is an employee of a Carpentersville restaurant where someone left a purse with a wallet containing the credit card Dec. 4.

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    Round Lake Beach trustees say they will work with a former Golden Gloves boxer on a proposal to open a boxing club the former Altman’s Emporium on Cedar Lake Road.

    Round Lake Beach officials want details on boxing club plan

    Round Lake Beach trustees will work with a former Golden Gloves boxer who wants to open a boxing club in the long vacant former Altman's Emporiumon Cedar Lake Road. Because it would not be a retail use, local code requires the building to have a sprinkler system installed. Jose Hernandez says he is willing but is seeking two years to do so, which would require a change in village code.

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    Mark Oelerich

    Mundelein man charged in crash that killed Round Lake Beach mother

    A Mundelein man who told police he drove into oncoming traffic to "test his mortality" was indicted on first-degree murder charges for killing a 25-year-old Round Lake Beach mother. The indictment handed down by a Lake County grand jury Wednesday against 22-year-old Mark Oelerich was for intentionally driving into oncoming traffic while heading north on Cedar Lake Road at 9:17 p.m. on...

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    North Central College is buying a vacant one-story building at 420 S. Washington St. in downtown Naperville and is working with the city to convert the site into a park.

    Naperville razing downtown building to create new park

    An eyesore in downtown Naperville that city officials once tried to transform into part of the Riverwalk will become a public park after all, thanks to a joint effort by North Central College and the city. The college plans to purchase the half-acre parcel, which houses a deteriorating strip mall along Washington Street near Aurora Avenue. The city then will demolish the vacant building so the...

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    Jose D. Rodriguez

    Cicero man gets 8 years in Oak Brook DUI crash

    A Cicero man was sentenced to eight years in prison Wednesday after he was convicted in a drunken driving crash that seriously injured a woman and two 6-year-old girls in Oak Brook last year as they drove home from seeing "The Sound of Music." Jose D. Rodriguez, 26, must serve more than six years, or 85 percent of that sentence given by Judge George Bakalis. He has been in the DuPage County jail...

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    Canceled Barrington High School dance rescheduled

    A Barrington High School dance canceled last week after a gun threat at the school has been rescheduled for Saturday, Jan. 26, school officials reported Wednesday. Officials postponed the Dec. 15 dance after receiving reports that students overheard classmates talk about bringing a firearm to the event.

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    Dundee-Crown student robbed outside of school

    A 16-year-old Dundee-Crown sophomore was robbed by a young man armed with a gun outside of the Carpentersville high school, authorities said Wednesday. The armed robbery, which happened shortly before 6 p.m. Tuesday, took place in the school's south parking lot during a girls basketball game.

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    Prospect Heights man charged with indecent solicitation of a teen

    A Prospect Heights man tried to force a high school student to perform a sex act and then offered to pay the student for the act, Cook County prosecutors said. Jesus Castillo-Vasquez, also known as Mario Vasquez, is being held on $50,000 bail.

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    Mt. Prospect OKs police contract

    Mount Prospect and the Metropolitan Alliance of Police Chapter 84 have reached a tentative labor agreement that covers 69 police officers. The agreement, which was approved by the village board Tuesday, will be retroactive to May 1 and will expire on Dec. 31, 2016. Agreement was reached after six months of negotiation discussions, the village stated.

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    Grass Lake approves anti-drug class

    Drug and alcohol education again will be offered to the fifth grade class in Grass Lake Elementary District 36 through a program approved Tuesday.

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    Inmate requests special meals

    A woman accused of murdering an infant in Waukegan is requesting special medication and meals after she was diagnosed as being reactive hypoglycemic by a doctor.

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    D73 kindergarten parent meeting

    The Hawthorn Kindergarten Parent Information Night is planned for Thursday, Jan. 31 at 7 p.m.

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    Holiday decorating contest

    There's still time for Round Lake Beach residents to join the holiday home decorating contest. Judging ends at 5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 22.

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    Aurora pays $10,000 for bird cleanup at hoarder’s home

    The Aurora City Council on Tuesday night authorized a $10,975 payment for bird removal this fall from a townhouse where a man had been hoarding hundreds of birds.

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    ‘Suspicious’ man reported near Glen Ellyn school

    Glen Ellyn Elementary District 41 officials have alerted parents to reports of "suspicious behavior" involving a man in the area of Abraham Lincoln Elementary School. A safety alert sent to parents said school staff members are aware of the reports and are "exercising vigilance."

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    Twenty-two people, most of them children, were hurt Wednesday when a school bus from Palombi Middle School in Lake Villa was involved in a crash on the Tri-State Tollway.

    22 people, mostly kids, hurt in Tri-State Tollway bus crash

    Twenty-two people, most of them children, were hurt Wednesday when a school bus from Palombi Middle School in Lake Villa was involved in a crash on the Tri-State Tollway, police said. The crash occurred about 9:30 a.m. near Deerfield Road, Illinois State Police Sgt. Timothy Moore said. All of the injuries were minor. "Bumps and bruises, mostly," Moore said.

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    Aurora tax levy increases 2.5 percent

    The 2013 budget Aurora aldermen passed last week was based on the assumption the city would levy $74.4 million in property taxes. On Tuesday night, that assumption became fact as aldermen voted 10-1 to approve the $74.4 million levy, which supports city operations, pensions, Aurora Public Library operations and the library's $30 million construction and technology improvement plan.

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    Police: Pickup truck driver at fault for Palatine school bus crash

    The 35-year-old man whose pickup truck collided with a school bus Tuesday afternoon in Palatine — sending three students to the hospital with minor injuries — was at fault, authorities said. Ignacio Gonzalez-Perez, of the 1500 block of Winslowe Drive in Palatine, was cited for failure to yield while turning, driving without a valid drivers license and having no valid insurance.

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    The Army says it will seek the death penalty against Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, seen here, who is accused of massacring 16 Afghan villagers during pre-dawn raids in March.

    US Army seeks death penalty in 16 Afghan killings

    SEATTLE — The U.S. Army said Wednesday it will seek the death penalty against the soldier accused of killing 16 Afghan villagers in a predawn rampage in March.The announcement followed a pretrial hearing last month for Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, 39, who faces premeditated murder and other charges in the attack on two villages in southern Afghanistan.

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    The leaders of an independent panel that blamed systematic State Department management and leadership failures for gross security lapses in the deadly Sept. 11 attack on a U.S. diplomatic mission in Libya will explain their findings to Congress on Wednesday. Ambassador Chris Stevens died in the attack.

    State Dept security chief resigns after Benghazi

    Three State Department officials resigned under pressure Wednesday, less than a day after a damning report blamed management failures for a lack of security at the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, where militants killed the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans on Sept. 11.

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    A Metra train car derailed after a collision with a loaded dump truck whose driver ignored a lowered gate at a Mount Prospect crossing in May 2011.

    Suburbs fail to mirror state's drop in train collisions

    At least three people a month will die when they are hit by a train in the Chicago region next year, according to statistical forecasts. Nearly three people a month will be injured. And twice a week, collisions between trains and vehicles or trains and pedestrians will snarl traffic, delay commuters and break hearts. In Part 1 of a three part series, Marni Pyke looks at which suburbs have the...

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    Closed businesses, like this former car dealership along Roosevelt Road in Wheaton, are one reason property taxes are shifting onto homeowners' shoulders.

    Property tax burden grows for homeowners

    Illinois homeowners are shouldering more of the property tax burden than ever before. Meanwhile, the share of property taxes paid by commercial and industrial property owners shrank. Much of the increase is fueled by shifts in Cook and DuPage counties, where the proportion paid by homeowners increased 11.3 and 4.6 percentage points, respectively, from 2001 to 2010.

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    Nicole Toeiana holds her daughter, Mia, 18 months, as they talk to Sam's Club sales associate Mica Stitt while Chicago Bears players' wives shop for clothes, household products, and toys for local families in need at the Sam's Club in Vernon Hills. It's the sixth consecutive year, Sam's Club has teamed with Off The Field, a nonprofit organization comprised of Bears players wives, to help 20 families in the Chicago area selected by the Salvation Army during the holiday season. Nicole is the wife of Bear Matt Toeiana.

    Bears wives, Sam's Club help those in need for Christmas

    For the sixth year, Sam's Club teamed up with Off The Field, a nonprofit organization comprised of wives of the Chicago Bears players, to help 20 families in the Chicago area selected by the Salvation Army during the holiday season.The players' wives shopped for clothes, household products, and toys for local families in need at the Sam's Club in Vernon Hills.

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    Mt. Prospect property tax levy rising 3.95%

    The Mount Prospect village board has passed a 2013 budget that Finance Director David Erb said contained the first increase in the operating budget since 2010. The village also approved a 3.95 percent increase in the property tax levy. And the budget includes a 9.5 percent water rate increase approved earlier that is a direct result of higher charges for Lake Michigan water provided by the City...

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    From left, actors Jake Rosenberg, Sarah Rosenberg and Natalia Torchalski.

    RMHS play earns spot at state theater festival

    Rolling Meadows High School's inventive fall play, "Figments," by Billy St. John, was selected to be performed during the 2013 Illinois High School Theatre Festival at the University of Illinois, Urbana, Jan. 10-12.

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    James J. Slobodnik

    Bartlett dad gets probation for shoving S. Elgin football coach

    A 52-year-old Bartlett man accused of felony battery to a school employee after an altercation with his son's South Elgin High School football coach, pleaded guilty to lesser misdemeanor charges and was sentenced to 18 months probation. James J. Slobodnik must pay a $1,465 fine and perform 100 hours of community service.

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    Buffalo Grove man scammed in property sale

    A Buffalo Grove resident was scammed out of $12,000 between June 29 and Dec. 17, police said. A man contacted the male victim and asked if he would like to sell his time share with Wyndham Properties. The victim agreed; the scammer requested initial funds for a title fee. The subject made additional requests for closing costs and other fees. The money was always sent through Western Union. The...

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    Northwest suburban police blotter

    A 59-year-old Arlington Heights man was arrested Dec. 14 and charged with felony aggravated home repair fraud after he reportedly took $3,500 from a resident on the 200 block of Lake Boulevard, but did not do the work and refused to return the money.

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    Juan Chavez-Belmont

    Student, dad shopped on teacher’s card

    A Carol Stream man was sentenced to jail and probation Tuesday for taking his 12-year-old stepson shopping with a credit card stolen from the child's teacher. Juan Chavez-Belmont also faces deportation after pleading guilty to a felony charge of contributing to the criminal delinquency of a minor.

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    Bartlett Deputy Police Chief Patrick Ullrich helps his daughter, Ava, 7, with a wood craft at the city’s National Night Out pre-party at Jim Jensen Pavilion last August.

    Bartlett recognized for National Night Out celebration

    For a fifth time, the village of Bartlett has received a national first-place award for its National Night Out celebration. Bartlett police presented the award to the village board during a meeting Tuesday night.

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    Matt Lundgren, left, and Alisha Thomas sing during dress rehearsal Tuesday for Willow Creek Community Church’s Christmas services in South Barrington.

    Willow Creek Christmas services begin Thursday

    Willow Creek Community Church's Christmas services, titled "When All Hope Was Lost, the Salvage Mission Began," tells the epic story of God's plan to restore the world through a most unlikely hero — a baby. Each service is rich with dance, film and live music.

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    CPS document shows city has school closure plans

    CHICAGO — An internal Chicago Public Schools document reveals that Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration has more extensive school-closing plans than it has acknowledged publicly.The Chicago Tribune reports that it obtained the document, dated Sept. 10. That’s when teachers in the nation’s third-largest school district were on strike.

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    $1 million Mega Millions winner in Milwaukee

    MADISON, Wis. — Someone who bought a Mega Millions ticket on Milwaukee’s south side will be having a very merry Christmas.

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    Man convicted of stabbing, disfiguring girlfriend

    BELLEVILLE — A southwestern Illinois man faces up to 14 years in prison after being convicted of using a knife to stab and permanently disfigure his girlfriend.

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    Officials probing death of Macoupin County inmate

    CARLINVILLE — Authorities in southwestern Illinois’ Macoupin County say they’re investigating the death of a man a day after he was jailed on an outstanding warrant.The (Alton) Telegraph reports that 45-year-old William Smith of Virden died Monday at a Carlinville hospital, shortly after jail workers found him unresponsive in his cell.

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    Wis. judicial candidate calls on others to declare ideology

    MADISON, Wis. — A candidate for Wisconsin Supreme Court who has already declared he is a Democrat is now calling on other candidates in the race, including a sitting justice, to state their political ideology. Milwaukee lemon law attorney Vince Megna issued the call on Wednesday, saying it is the only way for a fair and truthful election.

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    DNA could back innocence claim in ‘93 ISU killing
    CHAMPAIGN — A lawyer says another set of DNA test results strengthen the claims of innocence of a man who spent 13 years in prison for the killing of his ex-girlfriend.The Illinois Supreme Court reversed Alan Beaman’s conviction in 2008 and he is seeking a certificate of innocence.

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    Indiana governor making last trip in campaign RV

    INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels is riding his signature-covered campaign RV on a final trip after it first helped him win the governor’s office eight years ago.

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    Naperville’s Millennium Carillon.

    Naperville bell to toll for lives lost in Newtown

    "Big Joe" — the largest of the 72 bells housed in Naperville's Millennium Carillon in Moser Tower — will toll 26 times at 8:30 a.m. Friday, Dec. 21, as a symbolic act to remember the lives lost in Newtown, Conn. The event will coincide with the "day of mourning" proclaimed by Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy that will begin with a moment of silence at 8:30 a.m. Malloy also has asked for...

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    Ruling-party candidate Park Geun-hye was elected South Korean president Wednesday, becoming the country’s first female leader despite the incumbent’s unpopularity and her own past as the daughter of a divisive dictator.

    Park Geun-hye elected SKorea’s 1st woman leader

    SEOUL, South Korea — Ruling-party candidate Park Geun-hye was elected South Korean president Wednesday, becoming the country’s first female leader despite the incumbent’s unpopularity and her own past as the daughter of a divisive dictator. The victory sets up the possibility of greater engagement with rival North Korea, despite a controversial rocket launch by Pyongyang last week.

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    Medical examiner seeks genetic clues to shooter
    Associated PressHARTFORD, Conn. — Connecticut’s chief medical examiner says he’s seeking genetic clues to help explain why a shooter killed 20 children and six adults in a Newtown elementary school.

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    Constance Collins

    Feds award $500,000 grant for proposed Round Lake High School health center

    Federal officials have approved a $500,000 grant to help pay for construction of a proposed health center at Round Lake High School. The project has drawn opposition from a local organization against abortion. Round Lake Area Unit District 116 plans to hold public discussion on the proposal in mid-January.

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    Fiber artist displays works at NCC

    North Central College will showcase works by fiber installation artist Jan-Ru Wan in the exhibit "ReMaterialization/Relive Memory" Jan. 11 through March 24.

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    Dawn Patrol: Students hurt in bus crash; Victim loved helping others

    Woodridge woman remembered for giving; NIU students accused of hazing begin turning themselves in; Three students injured in Palatine bus crash; Premature baby left in trash near Yorktown Shopping Center; Sugar Grove may reverse video gambling; Bulls beat the Celtics

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    FBI: Ex-Naperville nonprofit CEO fled amid theft scandal

    The founder and former CEO of a Naperville children's charity is on the run amid allegations he embezzled more than $200,000 from the agency, according to the FBI. Robert Geniesse, 50, is accused of funneling the money from Our Children's Homestead, a nonprofit foster-care and adoption agency, to a film company he operated with his wife.

Sports

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    Free agent pitcher Carlos Villanueva, according to several reports, has signed a $10 million, two-year deal with the Cubs, pending a physical. Villanueva was 7-7 as a starter last season, and he also has been used in the bullpen.

    Reports: Cubs sign Villanueva to 2-year deal

    While the Cubs have not made any official announcement, multiple reports Thursday say the club has signed 29-year-old right-hander Carlos Villanueva to a two-year-deal, and they remain in the running for much-traveled starter Edwin Jackson.Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reported the Villanueva deal is worth $10 million over that period.

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    Carmel Catholic wrestler Cristian Migliarese hasn't let a little thing like spina bifida slow him down. He's won twice by pin this year.

    Physical challenges don't keep down Carmel wrestler

    On bright gold and brown mats in Carmel Catholic's second-floor wrestling room, Cristian Migliarese walks the walk. He crawls, actually. The diminutive senior with the torso shaped like a “V,” which may as well stand for victory, is too modest to talk the talk. And, please, don't pity him because he uses crutches to traverse wherever he roams.

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    Notre Dame guard Scott Martin, left, punches the ball away from Kennesaw State forward Brandon Dawson Wednesday during the first half in South Bend, Ind.

    Jack Cooley leads No. 22 Notre Dame past Kennesaw State

    Jack Cooley scored 14 points and pulled down 13 rebounds to lead No. 22 Notre Dame to an 85-57 victory over Kennesaw State on Wednesday night. It was Cooley's fifth double-double in the past seven games, and he is tied for second nationally in that statistic. Notre Dame's Jerian Grant also scored 14 points in a game that got away from the Owls early in the second half.

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

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

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    Wednesday’s boys swimming scoreboard
    Here are varsity boys swimming results from xxxday's meets, as reported to the Daily Herald.

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

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    Here's P.J. Fleck, above speaking after being named as Western Michigan's new football coach on Tuesday, and below during his senior year 13 years ago playing football at Kaneland High School.

    Maddie excited about new WMU coach, Kaneland-grad Fleck

    For Anthony Maddie it was must-see TV on the computer.

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    Images from the Hoffman Estates vs. Barrington girls basketball game on Wednesday, December 19th, in Barrington.

    Images: Hoffman Estates vs. Barrington, girls basketball
    The Barrington High School girls basketball team hosted the Hoffman Estates High School girls on Wednesday, December 19th.

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    North Chicago prevails at Vernon Hills

    Junior guard JayQuan McCloud scored 27 points to lead North Chicago's boys basketball team to a 68-51 win over host Vernon Hills in North Suburban Prairie Division action Wednesday night.

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    Black mark: 20.60 in 50 free at Vernon Hills

    Mundelein senior Connor Black broke an Olympian's pool record at Vernon Hills on Wednesday night. Leading off the 200-yard freestyle relay, the Stanford-bound Black covered his 50 yards in 20.60 seconds. Former Lake Forest star and 2012 Olympian Matt Grevers clocked a 20.66 in 2003. "Pretty cool," said coach Rahul Sethna, whose Mundelein squad defeated the host Cougars 118-67 in a North Suburban Conference meet.

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    Quantice Hunter

    Basketball: Week 4 MVPs

    Senior guards Quantice Hunter of Larkin and Ashley McConnell of Fremd have earned MVP honors from the Daily Herald for their recent basketball performances. Hunter led Larkin with 32 points in double overtime victory over Elgin and also helped the Royals win two shootout games in Missouri. McConnell led Fremd to three Sterling Shootout wins and had a season-best 27 points in a victory over Sterling.

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    Wheaton Warrenville South’s Michael Kramer, right, moves around a screen against Addison Trail during the Addison Trail High School Pre Holiday Boys Basketball Tournament.

    WW South gets offensive on defense

    A struggling offense can always lean on its defense. That's what Wheaton Warrenville South's boys basketball team did on Wednesday at Addison Trail, beating the host Blazers 50-32 in the Addison Trail Pre-Holiday Tournament.

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    Blackwell, Schaumburg handle Harlan

    Sophomore Jada Blackwell's season-high 23 points led four players in double figures for Schaumburg's girls basketball team in a 82-63 homecourt win over Chicago Harlan on Wednesday night.

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    Local athletes continue to rack up the awards

    There were plenty more college achievers we couldn't report in last week's column ...

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    Prospect clinches in East, keeps looking forward

    Prospect's girls gymnastics team has set some high goals for itself this season, and the Knights took another step toward them on Wednesday night at Rolling Meadows. Sophomore Maddie Larock tied for first in the all-around (37.75) leading Prospect to a Mid-Suburban League East triangular victory with 140.85 points. The victory clinched the MSL East Division title for Prospect, and after their early season performance the Knights have to be considered a threat to qualify for their first state meet.

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    Streamwood’s Deja Moore approaches the basket with Bartlett’s Ally Giampapa defending in the fourth quarter on Wednesday at Bartlett.

    Streamwood snaps Bartlett hex

    Streamwood senior Jessica Cerda may not have scored her 1,000th career point at Bartlett Wednesday night, but points 997, 998 and 999 were awfully important for the Sabres. Cerda's 3-pointer with 4:26 left in the game capped Streamwood's long road back to a tie, then the Chicago State recruit let her teammates win it from the free throw line as Streamwood knocked off Bartlett 43-36 in a nonconference girls basketball game between the Elgin Area School District U-46 rivals that had to be scheduled outside of the UEC crossover puzzle.The Sabres snapped a 12-game Bartlett hex with the victory, winning over the Hawks for the first time since Jan. 10, 2002.

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    Hoffman Estates’ Destinee Young, middle, draws contact as she drives to the basket against Barrington’s Bryana Hopkins, left, and Alexa Resch during Wednesday’s game.

    Hoffman Estates’ win creates MSL West logjam

    Hoffman Estates senior Becca Stoczynski spent a lot of time at the free throw line Wednesday night. As far as the Hawks were concerned, it was time well spent. The 6-foot guard-forward, who battled inside for rebounds and often played point guard, made the first 11 of her 12 free throws and scored a game-high 15 points as Hoffman led nearly all the way in 40-30 triumph at Barrington. The Hawks' win means the top fours team in the Mid-Suburban West girls basketball standings now have one loss — Palatine (3-1), Barrington (3-1), Fremd (2-1) and Hoffman (2-1).

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    Senior guard Tahron Harvey will lead Glenbard East into action at Proviso West’s holiday tournament, while Naperville Central and Mike Blaszczyk head to Wheeling again.

    Boys basketball/Scouting DuPage County holiday tournaments

    Taking a look at boys basketball holiday tournaments involving DuPage County boys basketball teams.

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    Vernon Hills extends perfect start

    Vernon Hills' girls basketball team will head into Mundelein's holiday tournament next week still undefeated. The Cougars defeated host Round Lake 61-33 Wednesday night to improve to 14-0 and 7-0 in the North Suburban Prairie Division.

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    Addison Trail’s Jordan Garcia, left, battles Wheaton Warrenville South’s Adam Rogers, right.

    Images: Wheaton Warrenville South vs. Addison Trail, boys basketball
    Wheaton Warrenville South took on Addison Trail Wednesday night in a boys basketball matchup.

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    Streamwood’s Hannah McGlone attempts to block a shot by Bartlett’s Elizabeth Arco in the second quarter.

    Images: Streamwood vs. Bartlett, girls basketball
    Streamwood won 43-36 over Bartlett Wednesday night in a girls basketball matchup in Bartlett.

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    Rick West/rwest@dailyherald.com West Aurora's Jontrel Walker lets out a scream after scoring a bucket and being fouled against Glenbard North during Friday's game at West Aurora.

    Tradition-rich Pontiac, Proviso West highlight holiday tourneys

    If you're a high school basketball fan, late-December is one of the most wonderful times of the year. It is holiday basketball tournament season at various gyms across the state of Illinois. At Pontiac, St. Charles North and West Aurora will participate in the country's oldest high school Christmas tournament.

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    Joey Rhattigan of Neuqua moves the ball during the Mt. Carmel at Neuqua Valley Class 8A football semifinal game Friday in Naperville.

    Neuqua Valley’s Rhattigan commits to Princeton

    There could not be a more appropriate college commitment story.

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    Saint Louis rolls past Eastern Illinois 72-45

    Mike McCall Jr. scored 13 points, including three 3-pointers, to lead Saint Louis to its fourth straight win, 72-45 over Eastern Illinois on Wednesday night.

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    Carmichael, Illinois State edge Dayton 74-73

    Jackie Carmichael scored 25 points and grabbed 12 rebounds as Illinois State held off Dayton 74-73 Wednesday night. The Redbirds (8-3) led 74-67 with 1:59 to go, but the Flyers scored six straight points, capped by Devin Oliver's layup with 35 seconds left.

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    The Bulls’ Joakim Noah said that Vlade Divac was his role model when he was younger.

    Bulls’ Robinson channels his inner Peter Pan

    Nate Robinson was in the starting lineup when the Bulls hosted Boston on Nov. 12 and had a rough night against Celtics guard Rajon Rondo. In Tuesday's remach, Robinson's shots were falling and he credited a new attitude.

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    Quarterback Jay Cutler and the Bears are just concentrating on one thing this week: getting their record to 9-6 with a victory Sunday at Arizona.

    Bears’ offense on the defensive

    The stagnant offense has been as much to blame as anything for the Bears' current tailspin, which has them in danger of missing the playoffs. Quarterback Jay Cutler says rather than looking at playoff possibilities, the focus must be solely on defeating the Cardinals, whose stingy defenseled by cornerback Patrick Peterson, will be a challenge.

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    Coach Tom Thibodeau talks things over with guard Marco Belinelli during the Bulls’ victory over the Nets last weekend.

    Bulls’ Thibodeau busy doing what he does

    Maybe it's time for Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau to start tooting his own horn a little bit. At the start of Bulls broadcasts, instead of the same old, "I'm coach Tom Thibodeau and here's my starting lineup," he could say, "I'll take any team, any amount of newcomers, and teach it how to play defense."

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    Fehr says players waiting for NHL to resume talks

    Donald Fehr and the players' association are ready to get back to the bargaining table at any moment. They are now just waiting for the NHL to feel the same way. "(We aren't talking) because the owners have not indicated a desire to resume," the NHLPA's executive director said Wednesday night before a charity hockey game. "We've indicated any number of times that we're willing to resume when they are (and) we're willing to resume without preconditions."

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    Jake Dalton of the University of Oklahoma works out on the pommel horse in preparation for the men’s NCAA college gymnastics championships in April. The U.S. Olympic gymnast will appear Saturday at gymnastics academies in Westmont and Elgin.

    U.S. Olympic gymnast to visit Elgin, Westmont

    Regular people often travel to spend Christmas with their loved ones' families, but if you're an Olympic gymnast, you do that and make public appearances bound to delight fans.Jake Dalton, a gymnast who competed with Team USA at this summer's Olympic Games in London, will hold two meet-and-greet sessions on Saturday in the suburbs, at the Illinois Gymnastics Institute in Westmont and Spring Hill Gymnastics in Elgin.

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    Since the Northern Illinois Huskies celebrated their MAC title win over Kent State, enrollment requests are up 33 percent at the university. NIU (12-1) will play Florida State in the Orange Bowl on Jan. 1.

    NIU basking in Orange Bowl attention

    What does going to Miami to play Florida State in the prestigious Orange Bowl on Jan. 1 mean to the Northern Illinois University football team, students, fan base and alumni? A lot. It's the first time a team from the Mid-American Conference has played in a BCS Bowl, a stunning accomplishment for the mid-major school and league."It validates who we are as an institution, who we are as a football program," said athletic director Jeff Compher. "It puts us in a different mindset as to how people look at us. We've legitimized ourselves in a way. That means a lot to our alums."

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    Chicago Wolves winger Darren Archibald battles for position against defenseman Nick Tuzzolino of the Abbotsford Heat. The Wolves earned a 1-0 win in their School-Day game Wednesday afternoon at Allstate Arena.

    Early goal gives Wolves a 1-0 win

    Chicago Wolves goaltender Matt Climie and Abbotsford Heat goalie Barry Brust dueled for 60 minutes, but the Wolves posted the lone goal to earn a 1-0 win in their School-Day game Wednesday afternoon at the Allstate Arena. Right winger Darren Haydar's first-period goal was all Climie (6-7-0) would need as he kicked out all 27 shots he faced in helping Chicago (13-9-2-1) to its fourth straight victory, which matched a season-high.

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    Julian Posada

    Posada steps down as Fire team president

    The Fire announced Wednesday that team president Julian Posada will leave the club effective Dec. 31. Posada joined the club about two years ago.

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    Minnesota Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder confirmed Wednesday that he married ESPN reporter Samantha Steele on Monday in a Wisconsin courthouse ceremony.

    Vikings’ Ponder marries ESPN’s Steele

    EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Minnesota Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder and ESPN reporter Samantha Steele have tied the knot. Ponder confirmed on Wednesday that the two were married at a courthouse in Wisconsin on Monday. A Minnesota quarterback getting married in Wisconsin? Ponder says he knows some Vikings fans won't be happy that their quarterback decided to get married across the border, but he was just trying to keep it quiet.

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    Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly, who led the Fighting Irish to the BCS championship game this season, was voted Associated Press college football coach of the year Wednesday.

    Notre Dame’s Kelly grabs top coaching honor

    For leading the Fighting Irish to the BCS championship for the first time, Notre Dame's Brian Kelly was voted Associated Press college football coach of the year."When you're talking about the coach of the year, there's so many things that go into it," Kelly said. "I know it's an individual award and it goes to one guy, but the feelings that I get from it is you're building the right staff, that you've got the right players and to me that is a validation of the program. That you put together the right business plan."

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    A wish list that’s getting harder to satisfy

    Don't bother trying to gift Mike Jackson with fishing tackle. No, the things he's after are for more precious ... and elusive.

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    Federal judge overturns night deer hunt ruling

    In this week's outdoors notebook, Mike Jackson shares the latest ruling by a federal court over night deer hunting requests by Native American tribes in the Great Lakes region. He also provides a fishing update on Lake Michigan and the Fox Chain.

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    Mike North video: Brian Urlacher is no Dick Butkus

    Mike North thinks Brian Urlacher has been a very good player for the Chicago Bears but he has missed the mark on public relations. He was good enough to play for the 85 Bears, but he still didn't bring us a Super Bowl ring and he wasn't as good as Butkus.

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    Bears quarterback Jay Cutler is hit by Seattle Seahawks strong safety Jeron Johnson during a loss at Soldier Field in early December.

    No Bears should be safe, not even Cutler

    Phil Emery has much work to do to fix the Bears. So where does he start? By leaving all options on the table — even cutting Jay Cutler loose. Ten years ago you would never have considered dropping a QB like Cutler because that sort of physical ability was so hard to find. Today, you can find college quarterbacks ready to play in the NFL because they're playing in NFL-style offenses for NFL-style coaches.

Business

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    The Dave & Buster’s chain of amusement centers plans to open its fourth Chicago area location at Westfield Hawthorn mall in Vernon Hills.

    Dave & Buster’s considers new location in Vernon Hills

    The Dave & Buster's chain of amusement centers plans to open its fourth Chicago area location at Westfield Hawthorn mall in Vernon Hills. Company executives got an informal thumbs up from village trustees to locate the facility in several existing spaces on the south side of the malll facing Route 60. As proposed, the restaurant/dining areas would have 568 seats and as many as 200 individual amusement machines.

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    Motorola Solutions will move some staff members out of its Schaumburg headquarters to downtown Chicago beginning in January.

    Motorola Solutions gears up to move some staff to Chicago

    Motorola Solutions insists that Schaumburg will remain its headquarters while it moves a portion of the staff to downtown Chicago, beginning in late January. The leadership of Motorola Solutions' North American sales unit will be among the first to move into the Chicago office. That means "a small number" of those workers will start moving from Schaumburg in the next month.

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    A woman browses through a display of jewelry on sale at a J.C. Penney store in Las Vegas. In the midst of the busy holiday shopping season, when retailers can make up to 40 percent of their sales, promotions are actually down 5 percent year over year so far, according to BMO Capital market’s sales rack index.

    Discounts abound as stores try to salvage season

    When it comes to fat holiday discounts, better late than never. During the final weekend before Christmas, shoppers should expect to see more "70 percent off" and "buy one, get one free" signs as stores try to salvage a season that so far has been disappointing.

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    U.S. stocks fell, pulling the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index down from a two-month high, as deteriorating federal budget negotiations fueled concern that automatic tax increases and spending cuts will be triggered.

    Stocks fall as sides snipe in ‘cliff’ talks

    Stocks dipped Wednesday, recording their first loss of the week. President Barack Obama and Republicans in Congress sniped at each other, and a deadline to avoid sweeping tax increases and government spending cuts drew closer.

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    Package handlers J.D. Mansfield, left, and Carlos Campos position incoming packages for bar code scanning going through the Kansas City, Mo., FedEx Ground Hub Tuesday.

    FedEx: cost plan can counter sluggish growth

    FedEx is more pessimistic about the U.S. economy than it was three months ago, but more assured of its own ability to grow earnings.

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    The $9.3 billion spent on Internet ads from July through September is an 18 percent increase from $7.8 billion at the same time last year, according to a breakdown released Wednesday.

    Internet ad revenue rises 18 pct to $9.3B in 3Q

    Internet advertising hit a new high in the third quarter as marketers continued to shift money from print and broadcasting.

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    DAILY HERALD Major tobacco companies are noncommittal over getting into the legal marijuana business, now that two states have approved its recreational use, but it appears there are some other companies ready to step in.

    Will cigarette makers jump into pot market?

    Will the Marlboro Man light up a joint soon? The states of Washington and Colorado legalized possession of small amounts of marijuana in the November elections, but it is unclear if any cigarette makers plan to supply either market.

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    This undated product image provided by Dr. Pepper shows one of the company’s new drinks slated to come out in January 2013. The U.S’s No. 3 soft drink company plans to roll out 10-calorie versions of five of its biggest soda brands: 7-Up, Sunkist, Canada Dry, RC Cola and A&W Root Beer.

    Dr Pepper maker fills out 10-calorie lineup

    When it comes to the calories in diet soda, Dr Pepper thinks 10 is the new zero. Starting next month, the country's No. 3 soft drink company plans to roll out 10-calorie versions of five of its biggest soda brands: 7-Up, Sunkist, Canada Dry, RC Cola and A&W Root Beer.

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    Swiss bank UBS announced Wednesday it will pay $ 1.53 billion in fines to resolve investigations that it helped manipulate the benchmark LIBOR interest rate.

    UBS to pay $1.5B to settle interest rate case

    Swiss bank UBS agreed Wednesday to pay $1.5 billion in fines for trying to manipulate a key interest rate that affects borrowers around the world. The settlement with U.S., British and Swiss regulators caps a tough year for the company and the reputation of the global banking industry. The fine on UBS is triple the amount that British bank Barclays PLC agreed to pay.

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    Getco buying Knight Capital in $1.4B deal

    Nearly five months after a major software malfunction at Knight Capital roiled financial markets, the trading firm has agreed to sell itself to a competitor, Getco, in a cash-and-stock deal that the companies value at $1.4 billion.

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    U.S. builders broke ground on fewer homes in November after starting work in October at the fastest pace in four years. Superstorm Sandy likely slowed starts in the Northeast.

    U.S. housing starts slowed to 861K in November

    U.S. builders broke ground on fewer homes in November after starting work in October at the fastest pace in four years. Superstorm Sandy likely slowed starts in the Northeast. The Commerce Department said Wednesday that builders began construction of houses and apartments at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 861,000. That was 3 percent less than October's annual rate of 888,000, the fastest since July 2008.

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    Heavy price: Medicare overpaying for back braces

    Internet sale price for a standard back brace: $99.99. What Medicare pays for the item: $900-plus. A federal report released Wednesday offers a look at how wasteful spending drives up health care costs as investigators found that Medicare paid $919 on average for back braces that cost suppliers an average of $191 each.

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    The Treasury plans to sell its remaining stake in General Motors over the next 15 months, allowing the automaker to shed the stigma of being partly owned by the U.S. government.

    GM to buy back 200M shares as part of gov’t exit

    The Treasury plans to sell its remaining stake in General Motors over the next 15 months, allowing the automaker to shed the stigma of being partly owned by the U.S. government. GM said Wednesday it will spend $5.5 billion to buy back 200 million shares from the Treasury by the end of this year. The government, in turn, plans to sell its remaining stake of 300 million shares on the open market over the next 12 to 15 months.

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    Lisle-based Navistar International Corp. reported a fourth quarter loss of $2.7 billion.

    Navistar reports $2.7 billion 4Q loss

    Navistar International Corp., the truckmaker under pressure from shareholders including Carl Icahn to boost its performance, fell the most since August after a $2 billion tax expense led a quarterly loss of $2.77 billion.

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    Good Sam, Allstate Roadside Services extend agreement

    Good Sam Enterprises has extended its long-term business agreement with Allstate Roadside Services into 2019. Good Sam Roadside Assistance has contracted with Allstate Roadside Services to provide customers with multilayered roadside assistance

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    Commercial air growth lifts AAR 2Q sales

    Aircraft maintenance and support provider AAR said second quarter 2013 sales were up thanks to strong business from the commercial airline sector.

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    Instagram unveiled a new privacy policy and terms of service on Dec. 17 that will give advertisers more flexibility in using photos, user names and likenesses in ads.

    Instagram backlash prompts reversal on ads

    Facebook Inc.'s policy changes to its Instagram photo-sharing site has drawn withering criticism from consumers, photographers and privacy advocates who said the update forces them to cede control over content. After thousands of complaints on Facebook, Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom said yesterday the new terms will remove language suggesting that users’ photos could appear in advertisements.

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    A TV journalist reports in front the electronic stock board of a securities firm showing Japan’s Nikkei 225 index that rose 119.00 points to 10,042.01 in Tokyo Wednesday morning.

    World stocks rally over U.S. budget deal optimism

    World stock markets rose Wednesday after U.S. political leaders appeared to be closing in on a budget deal to avert the "fiscal cliff" by the year-end deadline. Economists have been warning the U.S. economy could be thrown back into recession without a deal.

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    President Barack Obama’s offer to slow the growth of Social Security benefits would force fellow Democrats in Congress to abandon promises to shield the massive retirement and disability program from cuts as part of negotiations to avoid the year-end fiscal cliff.

    Obama Social Security offer at odds with top Dems

    President Barack Obama's offer to slow the growth of Social Security benefits would force fellow Democrats in Congress to abandon promises to shield the massive retirement and disability program from cuts as part of negotiations to avoid the year-end fiscal cliff.

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    Ford’s rankings suffered because of problems with its MyFord Touch and MyLincoln Touch audio, entertainment and navigation systems and defects with models such as the Explorer sport-utility vehicle and Fiesta and Focus cars, Consumer Reports said in October.

    Ford exec says automaker isn’t losing customers after recalls

    A spate of recalls on Ford Motor Co.'s redesigned Escape sport-utility vehicle and Fusion sedan, among its most important offerings, is not slowing sales of those models, the company said yesterday. "Our sales are doing well and the perception of our products are doing well," Chief Operating Officer Mark Fields, 51, told reporters.

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    German prosecutors have charged two former Porsche executives with market manipulation in connection with the sports car company’s failed takeover of Volkwagen AG.

    German prosecutors charge ex-Porsche chiefs German prosecutors charge ex-Porsche chiefs

    German prosecutors have charged two former Porsche executives with market manipulation in connection with the sports car company's failed takeover of Volkwagen AG.

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    Credible threats and campaigns of harassment or stalking on sites run by Twitter Inc. and Facebook Inc. will be prosecuted “robustly” under new social-media guidelines, the Crown Prosecution Service said Wednesday in a statement.

    Facebook, Twitter threats should be crimes, U.K. prosecutors say

    Facebook and Twitter users who threaten violence online will face criminal charges in Britain, while people posting "grossly offensive" comments may avoid punishment by hitting the delete button, prosecutors said. Credible threats and campaigns of harassment or stalking on sites run by Twitter Inc. and Facebook Inc. will be prosecuted "robustly" under new social-media guidelines, the Crown Prosecution Service said.

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    German business confidence up more than expected

    A key measure of German business optimism rose slightly more than expected in December, suggesting Europe's largest economy will avoid a recession despite a recent slowdown in growth.

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    U.K. retail-sales growth eased more than economists forecast in December and may cool further in early 2013, according to a monthly report from the Confederation of British Industry.

    U.K. retail sales growth eased in December

    U.K. retail-sales growth eased more than economists forecast in December and may cool further in early 2013, according to a monthly report from the Confederation of British Industry.

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    Civil servants in Greece are on a 24-hour strike against new austerity measures that will see more pay cuts next year as well as a rare round of job cuts.

    State suspensions trigger Greek strike

    Civil servants in Greece are on a 24-hour strike against new austerity measures that will see more pay cuts next year as well as a rare round of job cuts. Wednesday's strike led to public transport stoppages in Athens, while public hospitals were running on emergency staff, and other public services were disrupted.

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    European Union regulators proposed stricter health warnings on cigarettes in the latest bid to curb smoking in Europe, where tobacco-related illnesses are estimated to kill one person every minute.

    EU toughens warnings on cigarettes

    European Union regulators proposed stricter health warnings on cigarettes in the latest bid to curb smoking in Europe, where tobacco-related illnesses are estimated to kill one person every minute. The European Commission drafted legislation to require that all cigarette packages feature a combined pictorial and text alert covering three-quarters of the front and back.

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    French court reviews Strauss-Kahn pimping charges

    A French court is deciding whether to drop preliminary charges of aggravated pimping against former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn. His lawyers have argued the investigating judges in the case are biased. The case revolves around a suspected luxury prostitution ring in northern France.

Life & Entertainment

  •  
    Rory Hohenstein and Christine Rocas dance as the Snow King and Queen in the Joffrey Ballet?s ?The Nutcracker? at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University in Chicago.

    Weekend picks: Splurge on Joffrey Ballet's 'Nutcracker'

    Catch the last few performances of the Joffrey Ballet's “The Nutcracker” today and Saturday at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University. Celebrate Christmas with country music: The Oak Ridge Boys perform “Christmas Time's a Comin'” tonight in Naperville and Martina McBride performs "The Joy of Christmas" in Chicago. Or mark the shortest day of the year today with a Winter Solstice Walk at the Morton Arboretum.

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    Herb roasted Cornish game hen with creamy mustard sauce makes a big impact as a holiday dinner.

    Roast Cornish hens for a small, yet grand holiday Christmas feast

    Cornish game hens fit the bill for an elegant holiday meal that won't leave your belly too full. You can say that they're small, or at least smallish, but Sara Moulton prefers to think about them as individual. They were created during the '50s by a French couple in Connecticut who wanted something that didn't exist at the time — a succulent bird suitable for a single serving.

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    Ex-ABC News veteran Sam Donaldson facing DUI charge

    Former ABC News veteran Sam Donaldson is facing a drunken driving charge in Delaware. Police in the southern coastal town of Lewes say the 78-year-old Donaldson was stopped on Dec. 1 for a traffic violation. Police say the officer determined Donaldson had been drinking and gave him field sobriety tests.

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    President Barack Obama is Time Magazine's Person of the Year. The selection was announced Wednesday on NBC's “Today” show. The shortlist for the honor included Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani teenager who was shot in the head for advocating for girls' education. It also included Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, Apple CEO Tim Cook and Italian physicist Fabiola Giannati. Obama also received the honor in 2008, when he was President-elect. Last year, “The Protester” got the honor.

    President Obama is Time's 'Person of the Year'

    President Barack Obama has been named Time magazine's "Person of the Year" for 2012. "We are in the midst of historic cultural and demographic changes, and Obama is both the symbol and in some ways the architect of this new America," Time Editor Rick Stengel told NBC's "Today" show, where he announced the selection on Wednesday.

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    Beef Potpie is as comforting as it is elegant for Christmas dinner.

    Classic pot pie reinvented for Christmas dinner

    If you want a dinner that's as special as it is comforting consider potpie. Not the typical chicken version, mind you, but a kicked-up model with tender sirloin tips standing in for the poultry. Add a creamy beef gravy and you end up with a savory potpie that is the perfect casual, comforting, yet special way to cap a wonderful Christmas.

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    A fugitive (Hugh Jackman) realizes the consequences of his actions when he finds a young mother (Anne Hathaway) near death in the film version of “Les Miserables.”

    ‘Les Mis’ translates pop opera into bold musical drama

    Hey! Where can you see Marvel Comics superhero Wolverine dressed up in French finery and singing about his feelings to everyone around him? In "Les Miserables," that's where! Tom Hooper's production announces itself as a bold work of cinema, not some stodgy, faithful adaptation of the heart-rending, soul-searing pop opera that's played all over the world on professional and amateur stages.

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    40 years ago, Los Lobos had the boldness, and some might even say the naiveté, to fuse punk rock with Mexican folk tunes.

    Chicano rock pioneers Los Lobos marking 40 years

    They are seen as the progenitors of Chicano rock 'n' roll. Los Lobos was the first band that had the boldness, and some might even say the naiveté, to fuse punk rock with Mexican folk tunes. "They were Latinos who weren't afraid to break the mold of what's expected and what's traditionally played," said Greg Gonzalez of the young Latino-funk fusion band Grupo Fantasma. Now they celebrate 40 years of shaking up rock 'n' roll.

  •  
    Adele, who won six Grammy this year, has been voted The Associated Press Entertainer of the Year.

    Adele voted AP Entertainer of the Year

    Though Adele didn't have a new album or a worldwide tour in 2012, she's still rolling. After a year of Grammy glory and James Bond soundtracking, Adele has been voted The Associated Press Entertainer of the Year. In 132 ballots submitted by members and subscribers of the AP, Adele easily outpaced other vote-getters like Taylor Swift, "Fifty Shades of Grey" author E.L. James, the South Korean viral video star PSY and the cast of "Twilight."

  •  

    Onion and Green Chile Souffle Filling
    Onion and Green Chile Souffle Filling

  •  
    Herb roasted Cornish game hen with creamy mustard sauce makes a big impact as a holiday dinner.

    Herb Roasted Cornish Game Hens with Creamy Mustard Sauce
    Roasted Cornish Hen

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    Apple Mustard Sauce
    Apple Mustard Sauce

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    I’m dreaming of a white wine Christmas

    Red may be the color of the season — what with Santa's suit and Rudolph's shiny nose — but what if you're dreaming of a white wine Christmas? No problem, says Doug Bell, national wine buyer for Whole Foods Market. "The holidays are the times when you just break all those wine mores and try different things."

  •  
    Looking for a quick holiday side dish or dessert? Bring Cranberry Ambrosia to the table.

    Cranberry Ambrosia
    Cranberry Ambrosia: Kitchen Scoop

  •  
    This cranberry version of ambrosia might not make you feel more youthful, but it sure will make a nice addition to the holiday menu.

    Kitchen scoop: Ambrosia a healthy holiday salad

    Cranberry Ambrosia has a modern, mature flavor. It is perfect to pair with any type of roasted meat or vegetable combination, as it stands completely on its own. The leftovers (if you are that lucky) make a luscious side for sandwiches at lunch the next day.

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    Lean and lovin it: Tips for selecting, cooking holiday ham

    Is ham in the plan this holiday season? Is so then you'll want to read Don Mauer's tips for selecting and cooking a Christmas ham. One of his hints: toss the flavoring packet that comes with some brands and opt for a his homemade apple-mustard sauce.

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    Make someone’s holiday bright and healthy with homemade pancake and waffle mix.

    Flaxseed Pancake and Waffle Mix
    Flaxseed Pancake/Waffle Mix

  •  

    ‘Must be nice’ comment just shows reflexive fatigue

    Reader wants to know if the "must be nice" comments moms make about her new purchases are digs on her disposable income, or just jealousy they can't spend what they want because of the kids.

  •  
    NBC’s chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel and his production team were released unharmed Tuesday after being held captive for five days inside Syria by an “unknown group,” the network says. Engel, 39, has been reporting on the Syrian civil war.

    Newsman’s disappearance largely kept secret

    NBC was able to keep the abduction of chief Middle East correspondent Richard Engel in Syria largely a secret until he escaped late Monday because it persuaded some of this country's most prominent news organizations to hold back on the story. Otherwise, the disappearance of Engel — probably the most high-profile international television reporter on a U.S. network — would have been big news.

  •  
    Cassadee Pope, with her mentor Blake Shelton, won the third season of “The Voice” Tuesday.

    Cassadee Pope wins Season 3 of ‘The Voice’

    Cassadee Pope, who was country singer Blake Shelton's protege on the third season of NBC's "The Voice," has won the show's competition.

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    “Breakfast at Tiffany’s starring Audrey Hepburn will be inducted into the National Film Registry.

    ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ added to U.S. film registry

    "Breakfast at Tiffany's," "Dirty Harry" and "A League of Their Own" will be preserved for their enduring significance in American culture at by the Library of Congress, along with "A Christmas Story" and some pioneering sports movies. They are among 25 selections the library is inducting Wednesday into the National Film Registry.

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    Ask the nutritionist: Lean beef healthy, but limit consumption

    Some studies have shown healthy benefits from eating beef, but nutritionist Karen Collins with the American Institute for Cancer Research warns beef consumption should be limited to no more than 18 ounces of lean beef each week.

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    Local H

    Some other sounds to enjoy on New Year's Eve

    Here's a look at some other notable rock shows happening on New Year's Eve.

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    Lucky Boys Confusion will perform at a special 15th anniversary show on New Year's Eve in Lincolnshire.

    Soul Asylum, Lucky Boys Confusion among the rock acts playing shows on New Year's Eve

    Attention, rock fans! Acclaimed alt-rockers Soul Asylum and local heroes Lucky Boys Confusion are among the rock acts playing in the suburbs or city on New Year's Eve. If you like a little rock with your year-end party, get tickets now.

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    From the food editor: Milk and tea for Santa and his helpers

    Nutrition experts say we should be more like Santa when it comes to drinking milk. Food Editor Deborah Pankey explains milk's benefits and shares a recipe for a healthy pancake and waffle mix that's perfect for last-minute gift giving.

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    “PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale” pits some of gamers’ favorite PlayStation characters in an assortment of game-inspired arenas.

    PlayStation icons join in ‘Battle Royale’

    This year, Sony has expanded its holiday guest list to invite nearly two decades worth of characters to mix it up in "PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale." Fans of the original PlayStation can welcome back old pals like Sir Daniel Fortesque of "MediEvil" and the title character of "Parappa the Rapper." Others will be happy to see Nathan Drake from "Uncharted" and Cole MacGrath from "Infamous." Turn them loose in an assortment of game-inspired arenas and you've got chaos.

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    Music notes: Durty Nellie's hosts up-and-comer Andrew Ripp

    Singer-songwriter Andrew Ripp, a native of Palatine, will play Durty Nellie's Saturday. Here's a chance to see a local talent as he makes a name for himself. Hard-rockers Buckcherry arrive in the suburbs next week with a jolt of driving guitar-based party music.

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    Chief Keef, “Finally Rich”

    Rapper Chief Keef falls short on debut

    Rapper Chief Keef made major noise with his omnipresent song, "I Don't Like," but those three words also describe my thoughts on his major label debut. Unfortunately, the Chicago native fails to follow up on his great single in so many ways on "Finally Rich."

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    Andrew (Seth Rogen), left, gets grief from his mother (Barbra Streisand) in “The Guilt Trip.”

    ‘Guilt Trip’ an all-too-formulaic journey

    “Yentl” goes yenta in “The Guilt Trip,” a creakily old-fashioned comedy that forgot to pack the laughs along with the nudging and kvetching. Possibly the first American film in decades in which characters drive cross-country courtesy of process shots out the back window, this mother-son yakfest blows a gasket and all four tires before it even hits the road. With Seth Rogen in very subdued mode, his fans will smell this one a mile away; it might be a movie only their mothers — or die-hard Barbra Streisand fans — could love.

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    Beef Potpie is as comforting as it is elegant for Christmas dinner.

    Christmas Beef Potpie
    Christmas Potpie

Discuss

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    Editorial: Reach out to help in any way possible

    Simple acts of kindness - a note or card - or something on a larger scale - raising money or comforting traumatized children with a dog - all are good deeds that will help those in Newtown, Conn. and should be acknowledged, a Daily Herald editorial says.

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    Effective gun control needed
    A Libertyville letter to the editor: When will this society wake up? Under the guise of an article in a 200-year-old constitution, people are being slaughtered. We hear the argument that people kill people. Yes, but they are doing it with guns.

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    Thanks for support of hunger charity
    A Lake Zurich letter to the editor: This is a letter to thank many people in the community who work with our group to put food on the tables of local families.

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    Schools should be safe havens from abuse
    A Schaumburg letter to the editor: All kids from preschoolers through college students should feel safe, secure and happy in school, never worried or scared about being hazed, bullied or abused in school. Kids should only be worried about passing a test.

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    Stop spending more than Illinois has
    A Mount Prospect letter to the editor: My checks are getting smaller and my bills/taxes are getting larger. Therefore, in order to make ends meet we spend less as a family. If families spend less, there is no growth and we are back into a recession.

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    Not impressed by holiday coverage
    A Des Plaines letter to the editor: It seems you and all major newspapers completely overlooked Thanksgiving. Nothing but the normal bad news and Black Friday sales were noted on the front pages.

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    Don’t rip me off at the ballgame
    An Arlington Heights letter to the editor: I realize that I am contributing to the dumbing down of the American people by even watching the games on TV, but you will never get me to pay for a ticket to a game that has gotten so out of touch with the average American.

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    Pension crash must minimize damage
    Pension crash must minimize damageIf Illinois public pensions were an airliner, they would be preparing for a crash landing. It’s not a matter of if, but when and how severe.It’s not the passengers’ fault; they paid their full fare and followed all the rules. But the airline management kept diverting maintenance, borrowing from the maintenance budget to supplement often unrelated programs for whatever political reasons appeared compelling at the time — an expedient, short term view.As a passenger on the plane, I have my own frustrations about what’s possibly going to happen. The cabin is rife with rumors offering a wide range of potential outcomes. To sit back, do nothing and hope everything simply works out isn’t a current consideration. Obviously, I want to avoid catastrophe and reach a fair resolution without jeopardizing my own survival.Fair? Of course it isn’t fair. Fair’s role has been significantly diminished. The plane is going to crash land; some damage is inevitable. The best we can prepare for is to minimize the damage while insuring the aircraft will be repairable and able to fly into the future without further such incidents. The maintenance department’s credibility needs to be restored which requires that what is done now in preparation for the crash must be accomplished in an open and thoughtful process, not hammered out behind management’s closed doors moments before impact.Promises were made; not all of them are going to be kept. But it’s time to stop pointing fingers, time to stop vilifying the passengers, time to actually address the very real issues and get this plane safely on the ground with a minimum of injuries.Rich PerryHampshire

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    U-46 should require high school uniforms
    An Elgin letter to the editor: Elgin School District U-46 currently has elementary and middle schools using uniforms. At the high school level, students are no longer focused on school. They focus on what they are wearing and what the other students are wearing.

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    Helps if you know the punishment
    A Carol Stream letter to the editor: Just like to put this out there to Mr. Quinn. Your tough gun laws won't do anything when someone gets caught shooting someone. All it does is put them in a cell for life.

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    Congress, protect private pensions
    An Oak Brook letter to the editor: I am deeply concerned that Congress is not taking action to protect defined benefit pensions. The latest menace to retirees is Verizon's $7.5 billion plan which would effectively turn 41,000 defined benefit pensions into annuity contracts with the Prudential insurance company.

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