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Daily Archive : Thursday December 20, 2012

News

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    Lombard earmarks $50,000 for downtown organization

    Several issues have divided Lombard trustees over the past few months, but funding for downtown promotion organization Lombard Town Centre is not one of them. Trustees voted unanimously Thursday night to give the organization $50,000 to fund its executive director's salary, payroll taxes, rent and operating expenses in 2013. Trustees Bill Ware and Keith Giagnorio, who voted against a $38,500...

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    Mundelein resident Jay Stein clears the snow from his car window at the Mundelein Metra train station as snow fell for the first time this winter in Lake County Thursday.

    Hundreds of flights canceled as snow starts

    A winter storm warning is now in effect until 3 a.m. Friday. People living in the North and West suburbs can expect to see between 2 and 4 inches of snow, meteorologists said. Worse, though, will be the gusting winds that could top out at about 60 mph, officials said. U.S. airlines have scuttled more than 1,000 flights, hobbling travel just as airports prepare for the peak of the pre-Christmas...

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    Former White House chief of staff Bill Daley says he's seriously thinking about running for Illinois governor.

    Bill Daley considering run for Illinois governor

    Former White House chief of staff Bill Daley says he's seriously thinking about running for Illinois governor. The brother of former Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley spoke Thursday before the civic group City Club of Chicago. In his speech he talked about leadership and his father, former Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley. Bill Daley also talked about Illinois' fiscal problems including the roughly...

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    A group of DuPage County employees produced 885 stockings that were filled by Operation Support Our Troops and mailed to servicemen and women overseas.

    DuPage County employees make stockings for troops

    Every fall for the past five years, dozens of DuPage County employees from various departments come together and devote their time and talents to making homemade Christmas stockings for Operation Support Our Troops. This year, the employees managed to produce 885 stockings during their three-week project. The stockings then were filled by Operation Support Our Troops and mailed to servicemen and...

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    District 300 board approves contract

    The teachers union and officials from Carpentersville-based Community Unit District 300 have agreed to a new three-year contract that calls for increasing salaries and lowering class sizes, the latter beginning next year.

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    House Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor speaks to reporters about the fiscal cliff and “Plan B” at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Thursday. Later in the day, House Republicans abandoned their intention to approve “Plan B,” presumably over a lack of support.

    House GOP puts off vote on ‘Plan B’

    Confronted with a revolt among the rank and file, House Republicans abruptly scrapped a vote Thursday night on legislation allowing tax rates to rise for households earning $1 million and up, complicating attempts to avoid a year-end “fiscal cliff” that threatens to send the economy into recession. "The Senate must now act," said Speaker John Boehner, who has noted recently that he...

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    Naperville man faces sex assault charge

    Naperville man arrested for sexual assault in a parking garage in LaGrange

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    Snow falls on Main Street on Thursday in Winona, Minn. The first major snowstorm of the season began its slow eastward march across the Midwest early Thursday, creating treacherous driving conditions and threatening to disrupt some of the nation’s busiest airports ahead of the holiday weekend.

    Snow in Midwest leaves some travelers scrambling

    The first widespread snowstorm of the season plodded across the Midwest on Thursday, as whiteout conditions sent drivers sliding over slick roads and some travelers were forced to scramble for alternate ways to get to their holiday destinations.

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    Kane County looks to save $2.7 million in debt payments

    Kane County is poised to save about $2.7 million in a bond refinancing deal. Instead of spending the savings, or dialing down the tax levy, county officials appear headed to bank the savings over time. The money would be used to address some potential long-term problems, like pension debt.

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    Tamms Correctional Center, Illinois’ only super-maximum-security prison, is closing Jan. 4.

    Inmate transfers from Tamms prison begin

    Illinois prison officials have started inmate transfers from the high-security Tamms prison in preparation for a Jan. 4 closing date. Department of Corrections spokeswoman Stacey Solano says 25 inmates from the “supermax” prison in far southern Illinois are moving Thursday to Pontiac Correctional Center.

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    Illinois reviewing pensions for gun investments

    Illinois public pension fund managers are reviewing their portfolios for investments in gun manufacturers after last week’s Connecticut school shooting. Illinois State Board of Investment Executive Director William Atwood says that agency’s $12 billion portfolio includes about 84,000 shares worth $1.7 million in three gun-makers — Olin, Sturm Ruger and Smith & Wesson.

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    Former Chicago police officer Anthony Abbate was convicted of aggravated battery in 2009 and sentenced to probation.

    ‘Code of silence’ verdict upheld

    A judge on Thursday refused to toss a jury verdict that suggested Chicago police adhere to a code of silence in protecting rogue officers, citing its “social value” despite claims by the city that the verdict could cost Chicago millions in other litigation. The ruling involves the case of Karolina Obrycka, a local bartender who was attacked by a drunken off-duty police officer as she worked in...

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    The Harrold Independent School District in Harrold, Texas, has a policy allowing teachers and other employees to carry concealed weapons on campus. Some lawmakers in at least five other states are looking into similar legislation in the wake of last week’s deadly elementary school shooting in Newton, Conn.

    Texas town allows teachers to carry concealed guns

    A school district in Texas has allowed employees to carry weapons since 2007. After obtaining a state concealed-weapons permit, each employee who wants to carry a weapon must be approved by the board based on his or her personality and reaction to a crisis.

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    Illinois gun sellers say the rush to buy firearms since last Friday’s school shootings in Connecticut appears to be about self-defense — though many buyers already own guns and appear to be adding to their collections amid talk of tougher restrictions on gun ownership.

    Background checks for gun sales jump in Illinois

    Background checks for gun sales in Illinois have almost doubled since Friday’s school shootings in Connecticut, according to data from the Illinois State Police.

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    Don Schlomann

    Rumors of violence in D303 prove unfounded

    Rumors about a pair of threats about potential violence in store for two St. Charles Unit District 303 schools Friday are not credible, school officials said Thursday. A combination of the Connecticut shooting, end-of-the-world hysteria and misinformation combined to create more concern than necessary about the rumors, officials said.

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    This image provided by the FBI shows the wanted poster for Joseph “Jose” Banks, left, and, Kenneth Conley, who escaped from the Metropolitan Correctional Center in downtown Chicago on Tuesday.

    Chicago jail escape resembles 1985 break-out

    This week’s daring escape from a downtown Chicago jail bore striking similarities to the last time anyone broke out of the high-rise facility nearly three decades ago. During the 1985 escape, two convicted murderers used a weight to break a cell window, then shimmied down the side of the Metropolitan Correctional Center using bed sheets and an electrical cord. The 1985 escapees managed to elude...

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    Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, center, is flanked by area mayors and law enforcement officials to voice their support for stricter gun laws Thursday during a news conference at Chicago’s city hall.

    Emanuel, other mayors push for assault gun ban

    Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel joined several Illinois mayors on Thursday in calling for a statewide ban on the kind of weapons used during the school shooting rampage in Connecticut. The mayors gathered at a news conference designed to show that support for tougher gun laws comes from both political parties and communities big and small.

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    Group offers thoughts on hospital charity care

    A group that helps uninsured patients has recommendations for Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan as she writes rules for hospitals on charity care. The Fair Care Coalition submitted its recommendations Thursday. A new Illinois law requires hospitals to provide free care to patients of certain income levels, and the attorney general was directed to draft rules for hospital financial assistance...

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    Quinn proclaims day of mourning for shooting victims

    Gov. Pat Quinn has proclaimed Friday as a “Day of Mourning” in Illinois for the victims of last week’s Connecticut school shooting. A gunman opened fire in a Newtown, Conn., elementary school on Dec. 14 killing 26 people, including 20 children

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    Northwest suburban police blotter

    An Arlington Heights man faces multiple charges after an accident Dec. 11 involving a school bus. The bus was carrying 41 students, ages 5 to 12. The driver was charged with DUI, illegal transportation of liquor, failure to yield turning left, and failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident.

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    Chicago Blackhawks President and CEO John McDonough helps out Thursday in the food pantry at the People’s Resource Center in Wheaton.

    Blackhawks brass lends hand at Wheaton pantry

    With the NHL lockout leaving the Chicago Blackhawks season on thin ice, the team’s president and CEO found another way to keep busy Thursday and lend a hand for a good cause. John McDonough worked the afternoon shift at the People’s Resource Center in Wheaton helping families in need shop for fresh produce and other groceries at the nonprofit group’s food pantry. “We have to make the most of the...

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    Suburban police departments participate in “Drive to Survive”

    During the holidays, multiple police departments in the Northwest suburbs are participating in a “Drive to Survive” campaign sponsored by the Illinois Department of Transportation. From now through New Year’s Day, increased traffic enforcement will be found in Arlington Heights, Barrington, Bartlett, Hanover Park, Elk Grove Village, Palatine, Rolling Meadows and Wheeling. The departments will...

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    Mount Prospect hires engineer for flood work

    The Mount Prospect village board this week awarded a contract to consulting engineer Burns & McDonnell for design engineering and bidding assistance for recently approved $2.5 million in flood control projects. The contract would not exceed $109,000.

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    Probation for Elburn man, 20, caught with child porn

    A 20-year-old Elburn man is sentenced to 3.5 years of sex offender probation after pleading guilty to felony child pornography possesion. Scott Burgholzer had hundreds of images and videos on his laptop, which is parents bought him for high school graduation. He had treatment in high school for viewing child pornography and if he violates probation, could go to prison for up to seven years.

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    Grayslake Elementary District 46 teachers seeking a new contract rallied outside Park School Campus in Round Lake in October. District 46 wants applicants for temporary jobs from appropriately certified teachers in the event a strike occurs if a deal isn’t reached with the regular instructors by Jan. 16.

    Grayslake District 46 seeks replacement teachers in event of strike

    Grayslake Elementary District 46 is seeking replacement teachers to work on a temporary basis should the regular instructors strike if they don’t have a new contract by mid-January, officials announced Thursday. District 46 issued a statement about the potential job availabilities but officials said they remain optimistic a new deal with the teachers union can be achieved before the strike date.

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    21-year-old man killed in Carpentersville crash

    Cody A. Welch, a 21-year-old Crystal Lake man, was killed Wednesday in an early morning crash in Carpentersville that also injured his male passenger, police said. According to police, Welch was driving a 2001 Volkswagen Jetta when his vehicle struck a tree.

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    Buffalo Grove High School senior Matt Schulstad of Arlington Heights practices Wednesday at the school’s pool. School District 214 officials have approved a plan for $11 million in renovations at the 40-year-old facility.

    D214 approves $11 million pool upgrade for Buffalo Grove High

    Northwest Suburban High School District 214 leaders have approved $11 million in renovations to the Buffalo Grove High School pool, but not before facing questions about why they're spending money on a old pool instead of building a new one at another school.

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    Fatal crash victim has ties to Naperville area

    The victim of a fatal car crash Wednesday morning has been identified as a 26-year-old man from San Francisco who has roots in the Naperville area. Officials from the DuPage County coroner’s office on Thursday identified the victim as Shaneal Manek, who died after his Mercedes-Benz left the roadway and struck a tree in an unincorporated area near Glen Ellyn.

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    Zervont S. Thomas

    Man facing murder charge wants to represent himself in trial

    A Waukegan man facing 60 years in prison in a murder case was warned by a Lake County judge that it would not be in his best interests to represent himself in his upcoming trial. Lake County Judge John Phillips told Zervont Thomas, now 20, that he will give Thomas a week to think about the decision to represent himself in his August 2011 case.

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    Park director contract extended

    Bob Newport, executive director of the Round Lake Area Park District, will receive a three-year contract extension.

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    Inmate asks for 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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    Warren’s National Merit Scholars

    Gurnee-based Warren Township High School has recognized 11 National Merit Scholarship Program students.

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    Mettawa Mayor Jess D. Ray

    Mayors in Mundelein, Mettawa and Round Lake Park won’t run in 2013

    With the candidate filing period well under way, a trio of Lake County mayors has opted not to seek re-election in 2013. Mettawa’s Jess D. Ray, Mundelein’s Kenneth H. Kessler and Round Lake Park’s Jean McCue will make way for new leaders in their villages.

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    Fox Valley police reports
    Suzanne L. Austin of Lake Zurich was charged Tuesday with intimidation after she called a woman who lives in Carpentersville and demanded the woman drop charges against a relative of Austin’s, court documents show.

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    Tri-Cities police reports
    A 36-inch tall lighted pig with a Christmas hat decoration, valued at $50, was stolen from the 39W400 block of West Mallory Drive near Geneva between 11 p.m. Sunday and 7:30 a.m. Monday, according to a sheriff ‘s report.

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    You can't always get a pony for Christmas

    Our Stephanie Penick says you can't always get what you want for Christmas -- even if you really, really need a pony -- but the memories always stay with you.

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    Wayne man acquitted of beating at underage drinking party

    The last of three men charged with beating a Glendale Heights man at an underage drinking party in August 2011 was acquitted Thursday by a DuPage County judge. Judge George Bakalis found Tom Randich, 21, of Wayne, not guilty of aggravated battery.

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    As if transported back in time, students Jack Grundman and Caroline Kubacki, with the help of North Central College producer Mike Allison, tell the Christmas story as if they were radio reporters on the scene. Ss. Peter & Paul School seventh-graders have been preparing an original radio play that will air Sunday on WONC 89.1-FM.

    Ss. Peter and Paul students to share Christmas story

    Ss. Peter & Paul School seventh grade students have been preparing and will be performing an original radio play on WONC-FM, the North Central College station, which will be broadcast on Sunday, December 23 at 7:30 am. “The Good News Chronicles” tells the story of Jesus’ birth from the different perspective of “on the scene” news reporters "interviewing" the...

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    Warrenville man faces burglary charge

    A 21-year-old Warrenville man has been charged in connection with a residential burglary this fall in Warrenville, police said Thursday. Bernardo Carrera, of 30W140 Linden Square, has been charged with one count of residential burglary. He was being held at DuPage County jail in lieu of $75,000 bond.

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    Wintertime truth and fiction in old Arlington Hts.

    John Annen's stories were a microcosm of Arlington. He started earning his own money when he was 10. When he was 11, he was the family driver. His mother did not drive so, like many kids in town, he ferried mom around on all her errands and visits. When he was 15, he was allowed to take a date and three other couples to the Aragon Ballroom in Chicago.

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    Buffalo Grove approves $80.7 million appropriations ordinance

    Buffalo Grove village trustees this week passed an $80.7 million appropriations ordinance for next year, setting a maximum amount of spending for the village, but well in excess of what officials anticipate they will expend. The primary purpose of the ordinance, Finance Director Scott Anderson said, is to allow for emergency spending not contemplated at the time the 2013 budget was being...

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    More than 20 percent of Thursday’s cancellations are tied to Chicago O’Hare International Airport, the nation’s second-busiest for passenger traffic and a hub for United and American.

    Airlines cancel hundreds of flights in Chicago

    Hundreds of flights in Chicago have been canceled as a winter storm bears down on the Midwest.Chicago aviation officials are reporting delays and more than 350 flight cancellations at O’Hare and Midway international airports.

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    Brad Hettich

    New trustee appointed to Lisle board

    A Lisle Village Board candidate has been appointed to finish the term of former Trustee Joe Schmitt, who died earlier this month. Brad Hettich will be sworn in as trustee during the Jan. 7 board meeting and serve through April.

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    Man charged in courthouse disturbance

    An Evanston man was charged with disorderly conduct and obstructing a peace officer after making a ruckus in the Lake County Circuit Court Clerk’s Office on Wednesday, officials said. Lee Fainman, 37, of the 1300 block of Oak Street, was taken into custody about 2:15 p.m., Lake County Sheriff’s Sgt. Sara Balmes said Thursday.

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    West Chicago Elementary District 33 school board member Dave Barclay explains the district’s side of its contract dispute with the teachers union that could lead to a strike as early as Jan. 7.

    District 33 residents divided on teacher contract dispute

    The bitter contract dispute between the West Chicago Elementary District 33 school board and its teachers union is beginning to cause divisions in the community, too, as parents and others begin choosing sides. With the threat of a strike looming as soon as Jan. 7 when classes are scheduled to resume after winter break, more than 100 residents and teachers attended a town-hall meeting Wednesday...

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    Palatine HS principal dispels rumors of gun threat

    Palatine High School Principal Gary Steiger issued a statement to students and parents Thursday morning dispelling rumors that someone was bringing a gun to the school Friday. According to the statement, school officials investigated the “noncredible” rumors, which were being posted on Twitter and possibly other social media sites, after hearing reports of them Wednesday.

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    Man stabbed at Prospect Hts. holiday party

    A 29-year-old homeless man is being sought for questioning in connection with the stabbing of a male co-worker inside a Prospect Heights business during a holiday party about 9:30 p.m. Dec. 15, police said. Officers were dispatched to MVP (Most Valuable Personnel), 65 E. Palatine Road, for an ambulance assist and found the 19-year-old victim lying on the grass on the 500 block of Piper Lane,...

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    Woodfield Macy’s temporarily evacuated Thursday morning

    The Macy’s store at Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg was evacuated briefly Thursday morning due to a water flow alarm. Shoppers were allowed back into the store within 20 minutes.

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    Automated pay system approved for Aurora parking garage

    The first aspect of downtown parking changes being considered in Aurora will bring an automated payment system and 24-hour access to the Stolp Island parking deck at Downer Place and Stolp Avenue. The city council this week approved a $209,387 contract for the automatic payment system and began discussing another technology upgrade that could help enforce parking time limits if aldermen choose to...

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    Illinois geneticist fined in Texas deer semen case

    An Illinois geneticist must pay $30,000 and serve three years of probation for illegally obtaining valuable semen from whitetail deer in East Texas. A federal judge in Tyler sentenced 55-year-old Raymond Favero of Braidwood, Ill.

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    Ill. Secretary of State targets illegal drinking

    Illinois Secretary of State Police officials have intensified enforcement of underage drinking in bars during the holiday break. Secretary of State Jesse White says a recent check at bars at Division Street and Lincoln Avenue in Chicago netted 14 arrests of minors with fake identification cards.

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    Workers hide from gunmen at Fort Wayne post office
    Police say four workers hid inside a Fort Wayne post office for more than two hours after two masked gunmen entered the building.The gunmen were no longer inside when officers entered the building Wednesday evening. City police spokeswoman Raquel Foster tells WANE-TV that officers surrounded the post office and treated it as a possible hostage scene since a worker calling from a safe area didn’t...

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    Wis. court expected to rule on domestic registry

    A state appeals court is expected to rule on whether Wisconsin’s domestic partnership registry violates the state constitution’s ban on gay marriage.The registry was created under a 2009 law. It grants same-sex couples a host of legal rights such as the rights to visit each other in hospitals and make end-of-life decisions.

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    Chicago police get new wheels from Ford
    Police in Chicago have some new wheels.The Chicago Police Department has received about 50 new Ford Interceptor law enforcement vehicles made at the Ford Plant on the city’s South Side.

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    Hundreds of schools closed in Wisconsin

    Students across Wisconsin have a day off. Hundreds of schools canceled classes as a major snowstorm moved into the state. Madison, Prairie du Chien. La Crosse and Tomah were among the many school districts closed Thursday.

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    Dawn Patrol: Maine West coach fired; Dundee-Crown teen robbed

    Maine West soccer coach fired by school board. Puppy donated to Naperville man touched by double homicide. Armed robbery outside Dundee-Crown. Prospect Heights man charged for soliciting teen for sex. Mundelein man charged in crash that killed Round Lake Beach mother. Mundelein man charged in crash that killed Round Lake Beach mother. Olympic gymnast coming to Westmont and Elgin.

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    In our “copy/paste, Facebook, tweet, file-and-forget world” where everything seems to be available through a computer or phone, many people don't even bother to memorize phone numbers, notes Tom Meyer, a Lombard native. On Friday, the 12/21/12 date some forecast as the end of the world, Meyer will be reciting from memory the Bible book of Revelation at Grace Baptist Church in Lombard.

    Looking for Revelation as world ends? This guy nails it

    At some point on 12/21/12 as you are cursing the Mayans and observing the end of the world with looting, pillaging or soft weeping, you might want to take a break and listen to Lombard native Tom Meyer recite the entire biblical book of Revelation by memory. “Dude, it is so hard for me to memorize. It takes a month for each chapter,” says Meyer, 36, who has memorized all 22 chapters.

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    This year's winner is Jeffrey Lawnicki's Light Up the Sky display at 15N800 Pheasant Fields Lane in Hampshire. Jeffrey wins a Toro snow blower valued at $850.

    Images: Holiday lights in the suburbs 2012
    More than 60 people entered the Daily Herald's 2012 holiday lights contest. Jeffery Lawnicki, 19, of Hampshire is the winner. Here are pictures from all the entries, including the other top vote-getters. Thanks to all who entered; we hope you enjoy the lights. An interactive map with addresses for all contest entries can be found at http://bit.ly/URMiez

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    The railroad crossing at Monroe Street and Hinsdale Avenue in Hinsdale has four-quad gates to make it a safer crossing. The gates come all the way across, so a driver can't go around.

    Making railroad crossings safer is father's crusade

    His daughter's death at a railway crossing near her Hinsdale home in 1994 put Lanny Wilson on a crusade to improve safety along train lines, with better gates and other measures. "Death should not be the penalty for making a mistake," said Wilson. From 2006 through 2011 in the Chicago region, there were 641 collisions with trains involving vehicles or pedestrians, a Daily Herald analysis found.

Sports

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    Northwestern guard Drew Crawford, left, earned Player of the Week honors in the Big Ten for leading the Wildcats to impressive road wins over Wisconsin and Minnesota last week. Crawford, a Naperville Central grad, had 30 points against the Badgers and 17 points against Minnesota.

    Big Ten honors for Naperville’s Crawford

    After helping to lead Northwestern to road wins against No. 14/13 Wisconsin and Minnesota, fifth-year senior Drew Crawford has been named the Big Ten Co-Player of the Week, conference officials announced Monday.

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    Swim champ Anna Miller joins NU staff
    Seven-time all-American Anna Miller will join the Wildcats women's swimming and diving program as an assistant coach, Northwestern head coach Jimmy Tierney announced Friday.

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    Utah State head coach Gary Andersen rallies his players before playing against Wisconsin in Madison, Wis. Andersen was officially hired as Wisconsin's new coach Thursday and will be formally introduced at a news conference Friday morning. He replaces Bret Bielema, who left for Arkansas this month.

    Wisconsin hires Utah State's Andersen

    Several schools tried to lure Gary Andersen away from Utah State. Wisconsin finally got him. Andersen was officially hired as the Badgers' new coach Thursday, and will be formally introduced at a news conference Friday morning. He replaces Bret Bielema, who left the Badgers for Arkansas this month. “I don't know if I can really have a word for how excited I am to be at Wisconsin and have this opportunity,” Andersen said in a video on Wisconsin's website.

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    In this photo taken July 19, 2012, Suzy Favor Hamilton runs near her home in Shorewood Hills a suburb of Madison, Wis. The three-time Olympian has admitted leading a double life as an escort. She apologized Thursday after a report by The Smoking Gun website said she had been working as a prostitute in Las Vegas.

    Suzy Favor Hamilton says she has worked as escort

    Three-time Olympian runner Suzy Favor Hamilton has admitted leading a double life as an escort. She apologized Thursday after a report by The Smoking Gun website said she had been working as a prostitute in Las Vegas. The 44-year-old Favor Hamilton lives in Madison, Wis., where she won nine individual NCAA titles as a standout middle-distance runner for the Wisconsin Badgers. She was named Athlete of the Decade in the 1990s by the Big Ten, and the conference's female athlete of the year award is named after her. The Smoking Gun said she has been working for the last year for an escort service.

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    With the departure of A.J. Pierzynski, Tyler Flowers, above, finally gets his shot at being the White Sox’ everyday catcher.

    Pierzynski signs with Rangers

    After eight colorful seasons with the White Sox, A.J. Pierzynski has moved on. The veteran catcher signed a one-year, $7.5 million contract with the Texas Rangers. With Pierzynski’s departure, Paul Konerko is the lone remaining player from the 2005 World Series champions.

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    Thursday’s wrestling scoreboard
    Here are the varsity boys wrestling results from Thursday as reported to the Daily Herald.

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

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

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

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

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

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    Benet has seen enough of DeKalb

    It’s safe to say Benet has had its fill of DeKalb. For the second time this season, the Barbs beat Benet in the final seconds. This time, a shot by freshman guard Brittney Patrick gave DeKalb a 50-48 win in Thursday’s first semifinal of the Naperville North/Benet Holiday Tournament.

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    Coach John Camardella and Prospect test the waters amid a tough tournament field at Wheeling starting Wednesday.

    Hardwood Classic maturing quite nicely

    Turning 35 has not resulted in a midlife crisis for the Wheeling Hardwood Classic. And that’s saying something in an era of boys basketball holiday tournaments where Illinois teams are free to travel anywhere in the country. Prestigious events such as Proviso West are super-sizing and doubling their fields from 16 to 32 teams while other tourneys battle to survive and continue on with fields that really aren’t compelling. But the Hardwood Classic continues to give basketball coaches, players and fans what then head coach Ted Ecker envisioned when he started the event in 1978. A first-class experience that makes for a happy holiday — unless you’ve gone 0-4 and just played three straight 9 a.m. games. The Hardwood may not have the eight decades of tradition and talent of Pontiac or the star power of Proviso West. But starting Wednesday it will continue to thrive by providing four days of good basketball with a local-oriented flavor and hospitality that is second to none.

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    Hayes’ 30 points not enough for Glenbard West

    Everyone was looking for Glenbard West sophomore guard Keith Hayes during Thursday’s boys basketball game against Bolingbrook. His teammates found him most, but it was the Raiders who found the second wind come crunch time and pulled out a 68-53 victory in Glen Ellyn despite 30 points from Hayes with five 3-pointers.

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    St. Charles East wins at Elgin

    St. Charles East (7-6, 5-0) stayed alone in first place in the Upstate Eight Conference River Division by beating Elgin 51-32 on the road Thursday.

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    Freshman Aidan Einloth is having a ball getting meaningful varsity playing time for Grayslake North’s boys basketball team.

    Fresh-faced Einloth fitting in just fine at Grayslake North

    Not many high school athletes have their own cheering section. But Grayslake North forward Aidan Einloth has a dedicated group of friends who come to most of his games. They probably figure he could really use the support. Einloth is a freshman. Just last year, he was navigating through the awkward middle school years and playing 8th grade feeder basketball with his fellow tweens. Now, he’s starting on varsity for a 5-3 team that is veteran-heavy, but better because he’s in the lineup. He got his first start in the third game of the season, after being one of the first players off the bench before that.

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    Carmel’s Jenny Behan has committed to a softball future at James Madison.

    Driven to succeed, Behan finds a college destination

    All of 15 years old for another month, Carmel Catholic sophomore Jenny Behan cannot legally drive a car yet. “Well,” she said with a laugh, “I’m driving. But, yeah, I haven’t gotten my license yet. I can drive a car — but not by myself.” She needs no paper to drive base runners in. Two years from now, she’ll have documentation. That’s when Behan plans to sign a national letter of intent with James Madison University to play softball. Talk about a trip. She won’t graduate from high school for two-and-a-half years, but she’s already decided on her college destination.

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    Wheeling’s Brie Majkowski drives the lane against Highland Park at Wheeling on Thursday.

    Highland Park stands tall at Wheeling

    A week from today Highland Park’s girls basketball will be playing basketball in sunny Florida. Things sure looked bright for the Giants at Wheeling on Thursday night. And shining the brightest was senior standout Lena Munzer, who scored a game-high 19 points with 8 assists as the Central Suburban North leaders posted a 53-36 victory.

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    Theresa Scheet of Glenbard South and Nicole Landrosh of Downers Grove South go up for a rebound during girls game action Thursday in Glen Ellyn.

    Glenbard South thinks big

    Looks can be deceiving when it comes to Glenbard South. Playing with a bench down to three healthy players, none of them post players, against a team with five 6-footers from a school more than twice Glenbard South's size, the Raiders nevertheless enjoyed an impressive 45-22 nonconference victory against visiting Downers Grove South on Thursday night.

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    St. Charles East’s Cam Carlso defeats Batavia’s Nick Offutt at 170-pounds during Thursday’s wrestling action at St. Charles East.

    St. Charles East takes command of River

    Batavia had all the momentum. That is, until the Bulldogs’ wrestlers were confronted with the Rubino brothers. In a critical Upstate Eight Conference River Division dual match, Anthony and Ryan Rubino made sure St. Charles East would emerge victorious. The brothers’ convincing victories, coming on the heels of Batavia scoring 15 consecutive points, enabled the Saints to capture the battle between league unbeatens 43-24 Thursday night in St. Charles.

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    Thompson shines in WW South’s semifinal win

    At 6-foot-4, Diamond Thompson always posseses the potential to be a difference-maker. Transitioning to a new school surely make it more difficult. Needed more than ever now, she’s responding.Playing perhaps her best game since transferring to Wheaton Warrenville South, Thompson had 12 points, 10 rebounds and 6 blocked shots, and the No. 3 Tigers dominated the second half in beating No. 18 Geneva 58-47 in Thursday’s semifinal of the Naperville North/Benet Holiday Tournament.

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    Streamwood senior Jessica Cerda, working against Bartlett on Wednesday night, scored her 1,000th career point at Batavia on Thursday.

    Cerda reaches 1,000 as Strewamwood tips Batavia

    On a night Jessica Cerda made Streamwood history with her offense, it was the opposite end of the court the 5-foot-9 senior guard sealed the Sabres’ 53-50 win at Batavia.

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    For Neuqua’s Braasch, Hedrick, basketball is an escape

    Kennedy Braasch sounded like a big sister with her parting words. “Be careful when you’re talking to Allison,” said Braasch, speaking of fellow Neuqua Valley senior Allison Hedrick. The only seniors on Neuqua Valley’s basketball team are bound by their own separate pain, physical and emotional. Basketball brought them together as freshmen. Basketball, and friendships formed there, in part keeps them going. Four years ago, a day after Thanksgiving 2008, the Hedricks got a call that changed their life.

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    Elgin’s Arie Williams, front, is one of the leading scorers in the area this season. Williams and the Maroons host the 38th annual Elgin Holiday tournament, which they won last year, next week.

    Boys basketball/Scouting Fox Valley holiday tournaments

    Scouting boys basketball holiday tournaments in the Fox Valley.

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    Glenbard South hosted Downers Grove South Thursday night for girls basketball.

    Images: Glenbard South vs. Downers Grove South, girls basketball
    Glenbard South hosted and won 45-22 over Downers Grove South Thursday night for girls basketball.

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    Girls basketball/Fox Valley roundup

    East Aurora 56, South Elgin 46: Kennede Miller had 13 points and Anna Tracy added 12 but South Elgin (7-6, 2-3) fell behind 20-5 after one quarter and couldn’t recover in this Upstate Eight Valley loss.St. Charles East 51, Elgin 32: Elgin played the Saints even in the second half but couldn’t overcome a slow start in this Upstate Eight River loss. Kristin Tayag scored 12 points to lead the Maroons (3-10, 0-7).Neuqua Valley 76, Larkin 29: Sayvon Adams had 7 points to lead Larkin (1-14) in an Upstate Eight crossover loss.

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    Metea Valley defeats Bartlett for first time

    Before Bartlett showed up Thursday night, Metea Valley’s players already had their hands full with final exams and the flu virus that’s been going around.

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    ECC slates baseball camp

    The Elgin Community College baseball program will hold a December tune up camp Dec. 28 and Dec. 29 at the ECC Events center.

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    Wheeling’s Brie Majkowski looks to pass over Highland Park defender Tina Berardi.

    Images: Wheeling vs. Highland Park, girls basketball
    The Wheeling High School girls basketball team hosted and lost 53-36 to the Highland Park High School girls on Thursday, December 20th.

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    Hernandez paces Christian Liberty victory

    Junior forward Shelbi Hernandez had a double-double with 14 points and 14 rebounds to help lead Christian Liberty Academy girls basketball team to a 52-28 victory at Schaumburg Christian on Thursday night.

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    Hoffman Estates coach Luke Yanule takes his team to Elgin’s tournament, with a first-round game Wednesday.

    Boys basketball: Holiday scouting, Northwest

    Many of the Mid-Suburban League's boys basketball teams will be competing at Wheeling's Hardwood Classic next week; here's a look at the programs who will be hitting the road for farther-flung holiday tournament destinations.

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    Chicago's Simeon Career Academy's Jabari Parker announces Thursday he will be attending Duke during a news conference at his high school.

    Jabari Parker to play basketball for Duke

    Jabari Parker still had just about everyone guessing. Then, he pulled out that blue T-shirt with a white "D," and, finally, it became clear. The prized prospect from Chicago's Simeon Career Academy, one of the most highly touted recruits in years, is headed to Duke to play for Mike Krzyzewski. Parker made the announcement in front of a national TV audience Thursday, in his high school gym, surely delighting Blue Devils fans.

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    Bartlett’s Chantel Zasada (21) dribbles against the defense of Streamwood’s Holly Foret Wednesday night in Bartlett. Bartlett is the defending champion at the Dundee-Crown Charger Classic next week, while Streamwood travels to the Mundelein Holiday Tournament.

    Girls basketball/Scouting Fox Valley holiday tournaments

    Taking a look at holiday tournaments involving girls basketball teams from the Fox Valley.

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    Weather postpones Fox Valley games

    Thursday’s forecast for bad weather caused the postponement of first-round boys basketball games at the Chuck Dayton Holiday Tournament in DeKalb as well as semifinal night in the Northern Illinois Holiday Classic girls basketball tournament.Hampshire’s boys basketball team will now play Marmion at 5 p.m. today as DeKalb will use both its gym and its field house to stay on schedule.Games in the NIH Classic girls tournament will begin at 3 p.m. today.Crystal Lake South will take on Lakes in a 4:30 p.m. game of the championship bracket at McHenry, while Burlington Central will play McHenry at the same time at Woodstock in the second-place bracket.The Gators and Rockets will each play a second game tonight. Winners at 4:30 will play at 7:30 p.m., with the 4:30 losers coming right back to play at 6 p.m.Opposite CL South and Lakes in the championship bracket are Richmond-Burton and Grayslake North. Opposite BC in the second-place bracket are Wauconda and Woodstock North.

  •  
    Cardinals rookie quarterback Ryan Lindley will be making his fourth NFL start Sunday when the Bears visit Arizona.

    Cardinals’ quarterback a mystery to Bears

    The Bears' players say they don't know much about Cardinals rookie quarterback Ryan Lindley, but they know they need to get back to playing the way they did earlier in the year, when they were piling up sacks and takeaways, not to mention victories.

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    Bulls guard Kirk Hinrich is pressured by the Grizzlies’ Jerryd Bayless.

    Bulls point guard situation remains unsettled
    Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau has said several times this season that he judges his point guards by how well the team functions. So, who is winning that battle right now? Kirk Hinrich, Nate Robinson and rookie Marquis Teague have all done some good things.

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    Rod Carey was the obvious choice to take over as coach of the NIU football team when Dave Doeren left for North Carolina State.

    Carey perfect choice to lead NIU through transition

    Northern Illinois athletic director Jeff Compher made only one phone call when football coach Dave Doeren left for North Carolina State. That call went to Rod Carey. “I didn’t really want to talk to anybody else because our program is not broken,” Compher said. “It’s just the opposite. It’s working really well and I didn’t feel like this team needed to go through another major coaching change for their third head coach in three years.

  •  

    Bulls tipoff
    New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden, 6:30 p.m.TV: Comcast SportsNetRadio: ESPN AM-1000Update: The Knicks (19-6) continue to lead the Eastern Conference and have won 10 of their last 12 games. One of those losses was to the Bulls at the UC on Dec. 8. Carmelo Anthony sat out that game with a finger injury but should be on the floor for this one. He’s second in the league in scoring at 28.0 points per game. PG Raymond Felton (15.9 ppg) and SG J.R. Smith (14.4) are New York’s other top scorers, while C Tyson Chandler averages 13 points and 10 rebounds.Next: Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena, 6 p.m. Saturday— Mike McGraw

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    John Dietz says Tony Romo is a great play this week as the Cowboys take on the Saints.

    Some fun ways to make the fantasy football season last and last

    The fantasy football season is over for 80 percent of you, but John Dietz takes a look at a few ways to keep the fun rolling into the latter parts of the season for everyone.

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    Rolling Meadows’ Alexis Glasgow, right, takes a shot against Fremd defenders Jessi Wiedemann, left, and Haley Gorecki during last season’s Mid-Suburban League championship game in Palatine. Both teams compete in Montini’s tough tournament starting Dec. 26.

    Rolling Meadows, Fremd join the fun at Montini

    Averaging a school-record 73.3 points per game, the Rolling Meadows girls basketball team has proved to be one of the toughest teams in the state this season. Now the Mustangs (12-0) will compete in one of the toughest Christmas tournaments in the state. The Montini Christmas Tournament includes a field of four undefeated and a fifth got beat for the first time last week. All are generally regarded among the top 20 in the Chicago area.

  •  

    NIU assistant leaving to join Doeren
    Richard McNutt is going with Dave Doeren from Northern Illinois to North Carolina State. N.C. State announced the hiring of McNutt as its cornerbacks coach on Thursday.

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    Coach Dick Knar and his Mundelein players are excited about their first appearance in a post-Christmas tournament in Torrey Pines, Calif.

    A warm holiday season awaits Mundelein

    Mundelein's boys basketball team has earned an invitation to compete in a post-Christmas tournament in Torrey Pines, Calif.

  •  
    Lakes’ Justin Bergeron, at right battling for possession with Grayslake North’s Danny Mateling last season, is part of a savvy senior Eagles crew.

    Seasoned seniors helping Lakes get it done

    Seniors Direll Clark, Justin Bergeron, Jake Kohler, Andrew Spencer and Troy Swindle brings Lakes' boys basketball team a wealth of varsity experience.

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    NYC Marathon runners can get refund

    NEW YORK — New York City Marathon runners can receive a refund of their entry fee after this year’s race was canceled because of Superstorm Sandy. When the event was called off last month, officials said they had a no-refund policy but had not made a final decision on whether to make an exception. Organizer New York Road Runners informed entrants Thursday that they had three options to choose from — one of them a refund.

  •  
    Michael Phelps, who closed his Olympic career with more gold medals (18) than anyone in history, added another triumph Thursday to his list of accomplishments: The Associated Press male athlete of the year.

    Phelps voted AP male athlete of year

    Now that he’s away from the pool, Michael Phelps can reflect — really reflect — on what he accomplished.Pretty amazing stuff. “It’s kind of nuts to think about everything I’ve gone through,” Phelps said. “I’ve finally had time to myself, to sit back and say, ‘ ... that really happened?’ It’s kind of shocking at times.”Not that his career needed a capper, but Phelps added one more honor to his staggering list of accomplishments Thursday — The Associated Press male athlete of the year. Phelps edged out LeBron James to win the award for the second time.

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    Mike North video: DePaul basketball, 5 Years too late.

    Mike North knows Ray Meyer and Joey Meyer were part of the golden age for DePaul, but they have progressively tanked since then under Pat Kennedy, Bill Bradshaw and Jeannie Ponsetto. They are just now waking up.

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    Petition deadline nears for Buffalo Grove parks seats

    9.71-Two current Buffalo Grove Park District Commissioner positions for four-year terms and one unexpired two-year term are open for election in the April 9, 2013 Consolidated Election. Petitions can be picked up between 8:30 a.m. and 8 p.m., Mondays and 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays at the Alcott Center, 530 Bernard Drive in Buffalo Grove

Business

  •  

    Sun-Times to close suburban offices

    The Chicago Sun-Times said Thursday it intends to close its suburban newspapers offices around the region.

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    Associated Press U.S. stocks rose, with the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rebounding from its biggest drop in five weeks, as House Speaker John Boehner said he expects to keep working on a budget plan with President Barack Obama.

    Waiting on fiscal cliff compromise, stocks inch up

    The stock market ended higher Thursday after flipping between small gains and losses throughout the morning. Uncertainty about the “fiscal cliff,” just days away, was top of mind for many traders.

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    Mobile technology continues to change the way you shop

    Kukec's eBuzz column shows how a Motorola Solutions survey focuses on how mobile technology steadily has been taking over the way you shop. It also continues to play a dominant role for retailers. The survey showed that 61 percent of responding retail managers believe that shoppers are better connected to information than in-store associates.

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    Chrysler is going back to its successful “Imported From Detroit” ad campaign narrated by Eminem by launching on Thursday a new campaign that relies on another homegrown entertainment figure: Motown Records founder Berry Gordy.

    Chrysler ad features Motown Records founder Gordy

    Chrysler recruited hometown star Eminem for a memorable 2011 Super Bowl ad that introduced the tagline “Imported From Detroit.” The automaker is going back to that well with an ad campaign it launched Thursday relying on another homegrown entertainment figure: Motown Records founder Berry Gordy.

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    After new ad campaigns touting the quality of its food failed to spark sales, the parent company of Olive Garden and Red Lobster restaurants is retooling its strategy to attract diners with more promotional deals.

    Olive Garden owner shifts course to focus on deals

    After new ad campaigns touting the quality of its food failed to spark sales, the parent company of Olive Garden and Red Lobster is retooling its strategy to attract diners with more promotional deals.

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    Ill. jobless rate falls to 8.7 percent in November

    Illinois' unemployment rate dipped to 8.7 percent in November as the economy added 16,400 jobs. Preliminary data released Thursday by the Illinois Department of Employment Security indicate the largest monthly job gain of the year. There still are 574,600 Illinoisans out of work. The rate does not reflect unemployed people who've quit looking for work.

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    Twitter is offering a new tool designed to make it easier for people to review all their activity on the trend-setting messaging service.

    Twitter offers users scrapbook of past tweets

    Twitter is offering its more than 200 million users a chance to keep a digital scrapbook of all their tweets. The tool, announced this week, is designed to make it easier for people to review all their activity on Twitter’s trend-setting messaging service.

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    Intercontinental Exchange Inc. Chairman and CEO Jeffrey Sprecher, left, and NYSE CEO Duncan Niederauer prepare for an interview on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange Thursday. The New York Stock Exchange is being sold to a rival exchange for about $8 billion, ending more than two centuries of independence for the iconic Big Board.

    Sell order at the New York Stock Exchange — itself

    The New York Stock Exchange is being sold to a little-known rival in Atlanta for about $8 billion, ending more than two centuries of independence for the iconic Big Board.

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    Levi Lampi with Sonic Equipment of Iola, Kan., works on the installation of the new digital projector at the Catlow theater in Barrington. The new projector, which will allow the theater to remain open, was purchased through patron donations.

    Catlow to enter digital age Friday night

    The Catlow theater in Barrington will reopen to the public at 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 21, for the James Bond movie “Skyfall,” marking its entry into the digital age.

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    Riverwoods-based Discover’s fourth-quarter net income rose 6 percent as more customers paid off credit card balances on time and it wrote off fewer unpaid balances.

    Discover Financial Services 4Q net income rises

    Riverwoods-based Discover’s fourth-quarter net income rose 6 percent as more customers paid off credit card balances on time and it wrote off fewer unpaid balances. Consumers also used their cards more as they dealt with the tail end of the back-to-school shopping season and the ramp up to the December holidays.But Discover’s earnings missed Wall Street’s view, and the company set aside more money to cover souring loans. Its stock dropped more than 2 percent before the market open Thursday.

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    U.S. sales of previously occupied homes jumped to their highest level in three years last month, bolstered by steady job gains and record-low mortgage rates.

    U.S. home sales jump to highest level in 3 years

    U.S. sales of previously occupied homes jumped to their highest level in three years last month, bolstered by steady job gains and record-low mortgage rates. The National Association of Realtors said Thursday that sales rose 5.9 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.04 million in November. That’s up from 4.76 million in October. Previously occupied home sales are on track for their best year in five years. November’s sales were the highest since November 2009, when a federal tax credit that was soon to expire spurred sales.

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    Measure of future US growth dips 0.2 percent

    A measure of the U.S. economy designed to signal future activity fell in November, suggesting that growth could remain weak in the early part of next year.The Conference Board says its index of leading indicators dropped 0.2 percent in November, compared with October, when the index had risen 0.3 percent. It was the first decline in the index since a 0.4 percent fall in August. The index is intended to anticipate economic conditions three to six months out.

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    The New York Stock Exchange is being sold to a rival exchange for about $8 billion, ending more than two centuries of independence for the iconic Big Board.

    IntercontinentalExchange to buy NYSE for $8.2 billion

    The New York Stock Exchange is being sold to a rival exchange for about $8 billion, ending more than two centuries of independence for the iconic Big Board. IntercontinentalExchange Inc., an upstart exchange based in Atlanta, said Thursday that NYSE Euronext Inc. shareholders can chose to receive either $33.12 in cash, .2581 IntercontinentalExchange Inc. shares, or a combination of $11.27 in cash plus .1703 shares of stock.

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    U.S. economy grew at 3.1 percent in summer

    The U.S. economy grew at an annual rate of 3.1 percent over the summer as consumers spent more and state and local governments added to growth for the first time in nearly three years. But the economy is likely slowing in the current quarter.The Commerce Department’s third and final estimate Thursday of growth for the July-September quarter was revised up from its previous estimate of a 2.7 percent annual growth rate.

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    A help wanted sign on the front window of a clothing boutique in Los Angeles.

    Americans seeking unemployment aid rises by 17,000

    The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits rose last week by 17,000, reversing four weeks of declines. But the number of people seeking aid is consistent with a job market that continues to grow modestly.Unemployment claims rose the week of Dec. 15 to a seasonally adjusted 361,000 from a revised 344,000 the week before. The less-volatile four-week moving average fell 13,750 to 367,750, lowest since late October. Applications had surged in early November after Superstorm Sandy, then dropped back.

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    U.S. budget talks keep markets nervous

    World markets were mixed Thursday as investors weighed an apparent turn for the worse in U.S. political leaders’ attempt to reach an agreement on fiscal policy before the end of the year.After a week of taking baby steps toward a compromise, President Barack Obama threatened Wednesday to veto a new plan floated by the speaker of the Republican-controlled Congress, John Boehner — sparking an early sell-off on global markets.The markets later recovered their poise, however, as some investors viewed the latest spat mostly as posturing.

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    Peugeot, GM unveil joint-venture models

    SA Peugeot Citroen and GM have unveiled the first vehicles they will develop together as part of a joint venture they hope will reduce costs and re-energize their businesses.The French and American automakers said Thursday that they plan to share development for three kinds of cars: a small family van, a small multi-purpose van and a low-emissions vehicle.

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    Bernard Madoff brother to face victims in NY court

    The suspense surrounding the sentencing of the brother of Ponzi king Bernard Madoff will largely be absent because a plea agreement makes a 10-year prison term all but certain.But drama will likely fill the courtroom Thursday in U.S. District Court in Manhattan anyway as 67-year-old Peter Madoff faces some of the heartbroken investors who lost their savings when the unprecedented fraud was revealed four years ago this month.

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    Government prepares to sell General Motors stock

    The U.S. government’s short stint in the auto business is coming to an end. The Treasury Department said Wednesday that it will sell its remaining stake in General Motors by early 2014, writing the final chapter of a $50 billion bailout that saved the auto giant but stoked a heated national debate about the government’s role in private industry.

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    Customer Bob Dalziel removes a gas pump from his truck after filling up at a gas station in Princeton, Illinois.

    Oil prices drop as US ‘fiscal cliff’ talks stall

    By midday in Europe, benchmark crude for February delivery was down 10 cents to $89.88 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract jumped $1.58 on Wednesday, the biggest one-day price rise in a month.

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    People walk by the Bank of Japan head office in Tokyo Thursday.

    Hopes for new leader to pressure Bank of Japan

    Hopes are high in Japan Inc. for the new prime minister. Stocks are recovering. The central bank is set to supercharge an already loose monetary policy. The soaring yen, a big minus for exporters, is reversing course.The bullish mood in the air is all about “Abenomics” — a reference, as dubbed by experts and market players, to Shinzo Abe, the shoo-in comeback prime minister when Parliament votes next week. But experts are already wondering how long that celebration is going to last.

  •  
    This undated photo provided on Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012 by the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia shows a nonsense test piece. The Mint has been testing different materials to fiend less expensive ways to make coins.

    U.S. Mint testing new metals to make coins cheaper

    When it comes to making coins, the Mint isn’t getting its two cents worth. In some cases, it doesn’t even get half of that. A penny costs more than two cents and a nickel costs more than 11 cents to make and distribute. The quandary is how to make coins more cheaply without sparing our change’s quality and durability, or altering its size and appearance.A 400-page report presented last week to Congress outlines nearly two years of trials conducted at the Mint in Philadelphia, where a variety of metal recipes were put through their paces in the massive facility’s high-speed coin-making machinery.

  •  
    Vice President Joe Biden, third from right, looks down as President Barack Obama gestures as he talks about the fiscal cliff negotiations during a news conference in the briefing room of the White House on Wednesday

    Medicare premiums could rise for many retirees

    Higher Medicare premiums are probably in store for many seniors if there’s a budget deal between President Barack Obama and Republicans in Congress.Both sides agree on expanding a current, little-known law so more retirees considered well-off by the government are required to pay higher premiums for outpatient and prescription coverage. That would raise $20 billion or more over 10 years. But it could come as a shock to many seniors who consider themselves solidly middle-class, and by no means wealthy.Right now about 5 percent of Medicare beneficiaries pay higher premiums. That number could grow to 25 percent if the change goes through.The higher premiums kick in for individuals making more than $85,000 and couples earning above $170,000.

  •  
    Google Inc. agreed to sell its Motorola Home business to Arris Group Inc. for $2.35 billion, finding a buyer for a division that sells television set-top boxes while it focuses on expanding in smartphones.

    Google to sell Motorola Home to Arris for $2.35 billion

    Google Inc. agreed to sell its Motorola Home business to Arris Group Inc. for $2.35 billion, finding a buyer for a division that sells television set-top boxes while it focuses on expanding in smartphones. Arris, a cable-equipment maker, will pay about $2.05 billion in cash and about $300 million in newly issued shares that will give Google a stake of about 15.7 percent, the companies said yesterday in a statement.

  •  
    FedEx workers unload packages from a cargo plane at the Oakland Regional Sort Facility Tuesday.

    FedEx buying 4 new Boeing freighters

    FedEx Corp. has ordered four new Boeing 767 freighters in an ongoing effort to replace its old workhorses with more fuel-efficient planes. Financial terms weren't disclosed. The sticker price on a 767 freighter is about $182.8 million but discounts are commonplace.The planes will allow the world's second-largest package delivery company to dump some of its MD-10 aircraft, many of which are more than 30 years old. The new planes are also larger and can carry more on fewer flights.

  •  
    The quality of Geneva's public schools was cited by Bloomberg's Businessweek as a factor in making Geneva one of its Best Places to Raise a Kid.

    National biz magazine says Geneva is a great place to raise kids

    Geneva is basking in the glow of being named one of the top 50 places to raise a child in the United States by Bloomberg Businessweek magazine. Mayor Kevin Burns already knew that. He grew up in the city and raised his three daughters “in the atmosphere we (he and their mother) were raised in here,” he said. The magazine said Geneva had “many charms,” including diverse architecture, the Fox River Trail along which parents and children can travel, and a minor-league baseball team.

Life & Entertainment

  •  
    The Mayan calendar’s end of the world prediction has spawned T-shirts, parties and events, including this one ($19.99, cafepress.com).

    Suburbs mock “doomsday” prediction with parties, shows

    When the Mayan calendar ends Friday, some people believe the world is going to end along with it.Most people — and scientists — find the doomsday prediction preposterous, and in the suburbs, they’re using it as an excuse for a party, a topic for sketch-comedy performances, and even an apolocolypse-themed art show.

  •  
    A new study finds that an early death is twice as likely for solo musicians like British singer Amy Winehouse than for members of bands.

    Solo rockers face higher death risk than bands

    Rock’n’ roll will never die — but it’s a hazardous occupation.A new study confirms that rock and pop musicians die prematurely more often than the general population, and an early death is twice as likely for solo musicians as for members of bands.

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    Seven-year-old Alana “Honey Boo Boo” Thompson is a beauty pageant regular and a reality show star.

    Hollywood’s wacky and tacky for 2012

    Who knew that in the ancient Mayan calendar, they would have predicted so much that pointed to the end of the world? Like the exact date that Lindsay Lohan’s horrendous Elizabeth Taylor biopic “Liz & Dick” would air on Lifetime? That Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj’s egos would collide during “American Idol” auditions? That Donald Trump would act even more bizarrely than he did in 2011? And that Brad Pitt was even making a Chanel ad? Seeing all that in their crystal ball, it’s understandable that the Mayans would have predicted doomsday in 2012.

  •  
    Miss USA Olivia Culpo waves to the crowd after being crowned as Miss Universe during the Miss Universe competition Wednesday in Las Vegas.

    Miss USA Olivia Culpo is crowned Miss Universe

    A 20-year-old Boston University sophomore and a self-described “cellist-nerd” brought the Miss Universe crown back to the United States for the first time in more than a decade when she won the televised contest Wednesday. Olivia Culpo beat out 88 other beauty queens from six continents at the Planet Hollywood casino on the Las Vegas Strip to take the title from outgoing champion Leila Lopes of Angola.

  •  
    Lucas (Tom Holland) comforts his wounded mother (Naomi Watts) after they survive a horrific tsunami in the survival thriller “The Impossible.”

    Survival thriller ‘Impossible’ perfect blend of danger, humanity

    Dann calls the new fact-based disaster film "The Impossible" the greatest vacation-gone-bad movie of all-time so far. Dann also reviews the unlikely romance between two broken souls in "Rust and Bone," devoid of sentiment and gooey manipulation, yet radiant with an honesty that comes from earning trust and respect. Plus, Dann shamelessly plugs Dann & Raymond Movie Club programs in January.

  •  
    Pete (Paul Rudd) and Debbie (Leslie Mann) face a milestone birthday in the comedy “This is 40.”

    Apatow matures with raw, funny ‘This is 40’

    "This is 40" is every inch a Judd Apatow movie, from the pop-culture references and potty mouths to the blunt body humor and escapist drug use. Like all the movies he's directed, it's a good 20 minutes too long. But within that affectionately messy sprawl lies a maturation, an effort to convey something deeper, more personal and more substantive.

  •  
    In “Jack Reacher,” Tom Cruise plays a former military cop investigating a Pittsburgh sniper case.

    Crime thriller ‘Reacher’ a reach for Cruise

    The opening of "Jack Reacher" — a shooter randomly guns down five people along a Pittsburg waterway — can't help but recall the Newtown, Conn., school massacre. So, it requires a few scenes into the story to shake off current events and become engaged with the story about an ex-Army investigator (Tom Cruise) who refuses to carry cellphones, computers, weapons or credit cards. He doesn't even own a car.

  •  
    “Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away 3-D” features many strange and jaw-dropping displays of flexibility.

    ‘Worlds Away’ an emotionally underwhelming 3-D spectacle

    "Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away 3-D" isn't a great film by any stretch of the back muscles, but it can't be beat as a 91-minute commercial for the organization's live circus-based spectacles around the world. Andrew Adamson's surrealistic film seems to get stuck somewhere between a plot-driven fantasy film and a documentary reproduction of the Cirque du Soleil's visually lavish stage shows.

  •  
    Jeffery Lawnicki, 19, did such a fine job decorating the family home in Hampshire that he won the Daily Herald's Holiday Lights Contest. See dailyherald.com to see a video of Jeffery talking about his decorations.

    Hampshire house tops in holiday lights contest

    For Jeffery Lawnicki, winning the Daily Herald's Holiday Lights Contest was all about earning bragging rights in his Hampshire subdivision. "The Christmas spirit inspires me and then I always try to be the best in the subdivision as well," Lawnicki, 19, said. "I get compliments from the neighbors and then the kids always like it, too."

Discuss

  •  

    Editorial: NIU case is another example of hazing’s cynical disguise

    David Bogenberger's NIU fraternity brothers won't have the chance to become lifelong friends with him. A hazing changed everything, a Daily Herald editorial says.

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    The tension between public safety, liberty

    Every mass shooting has three elements: the killer, the weapon and the cultural climate. As soon as the shooting stops, partisans immediately pick their preferred root cause with corresponding pet panacea. Names are hurled, scapegoats paraded, prejudices vented. The argument goes nowhere. Let’s be serious: 1. The WeaponWithin hours of last week’s Newtown, Conn., shooting, the focus was the weapon and the demand was for new gun laws. Several prominent pro-gun Democrats remorsefully professed new openness to gun control. Sen. Dianne Feinstein is introducing a new assault weapons ban. And the president emphasized guns and ammo above all else in announcing the creation of a new task force. I have no problem in principle with gun control. Congress enacted (and I supported) an assault weapons ban in 1994. The problem was: It didn’t work. (So concluded a University of Pennsylvania study commissioned by the Justice Department.) The reason is simple. Unless you are prepared to confiscate all existing firearms, disarm the citizenry and repeal the Second Amendment, it’s almost impossible to craft a law that will be effective. Feinstein’s law, for example, would exempt 900 weapons. And that’s the least of the loopholes. Even the guns that are banned can be made legal with simple, minor modifications. Most fatal, however, is the grandfathering of existing weapons and magazines. That’s one of the reasons the ’94 law failed. At the time, there were 1.5 million assault weapons in circulation and 25 million large-capacity (i.e., more than 10 bullets) magazines. A reservoir that immense can take 100 years to draw down. 2. The KillerMonsters will always be with us, but in earlier days they did not roam free. As a psychiatrist in Massachusetts in the 1970s, I committed people — often right out of the emergency room — as a danger to themselves or to others. I never did so lightly, but I labored under none of the crushing bureaucratic and legal constraints that make involuntary commitment infinitely more difficult today. Why do you think we have so many homeless? Destitution? Poverty has declined since the 1950s. The majority of those sleeping on grates are mentally ill. In the name of civil liberties, we let them die with their rights on.A tiny percentage of the mentally ill become mass killers. Just about everyone around Tucson shooter Jared Loughner sensed he was mentally ill and dangerous. But in effect, he had to kill before he could be put away — and (forcibly) treated. Random mass killings were three times more common in the 2000s than in the 1980s, when gun laws were actually weaker. Yet a 2011 University of California at Berkeley study found that states with strong civil commitment laws have about a one-third lower homicide rate. 3. The CultureWe live in an entertainment culture soaked in graphic, often sadistic, violence. Older folks find themselves stunned by what a desensitized youth finds routine, often amusing. It’s not just movies. Young men sit for hours pulling video-game triggers, mowing down human beings en masse without pain or consequence. And we profess shock when a small cadre of unstable, deeply deranged, dangerously isolated young men go out and enact the overlearned narrative. If we’re serious about curtailing future Columbines and Newtowns, everything — guns, commitment, culture — must be on the table. It’s not hard for President Obama to call out the NRA. But will he call out the ACLU? And will he call out his Hollywood friends? The irony is that over the last 30 years, the U.S. homicide rate has declined by 50 percent. Gun murders as well. We’re living not through an epidemic of gun violence but through a historic decline.

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    Events that test the limits of the goal of restraint

    Columnist Jim Slusher: In the Sandy Hook School shooting, newspapers impose restraint on themselves as they seek to tell a story no one would really want to tell -- or to hear. It is, in short, disconcerting to see how that impulse itself has limits. What a sad thing it is to contemplate the kind of event that tests them.

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    Step 1: Declare we will not accept this

    Columnist Michael Gerson: It is the primary purpose of government to protect the innocent from the evil. At Newtown, Conn., none could be more innocent; none could be more evil.

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    Stick to the law and pass a budget
    A Des Plaines letter to the editor: Congress has sent budget bills to the Senate only to be ignored by Reid and the Senate, so we certainly can't blame the House for not trying to accomplish getting a budget passed. But why is there not more public outcry about this?

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    Who’s protecting whom in Benghazi attack?
    A Palatine letter to the editor: How is it that all the top people in the administration were watching the attack live in the situation room and yet no one authorized troops to deploy immediately to Libya? It all comes down to who refused to give the OK for sending lifesaving help to that embassy.

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    What’s so offensive about a Christmas tree?
    An Arlington Heights letter to the editor: Mr. Chafee claims that it is not tradition to call it a Christmas tree. Really? Last time I checked, we've had a holiday called Christmas for the past 2,000 some years.

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    The problem is culture, not guns
    A Grayslake letter to the editor: Time and time again when tragedy strikes, our adolescent culture avoids the tough issues and looks for "politically correct" causes and solutions.

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    Voters don’t have say in corporate welfare
    A Round Lake Beach letter to the editor: Rarely do I find such a degree of contradiction, hypocrisy and irony as in the Dec 13 issue of the Daily Herald.

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    Why all the grousing about capitalism?
    A Carol Stream lettre to the editor: Jason Turuc's letter of Dec. 8, "Think about true cost of bargains," ultimately indicts capitalism as much as it does Walmart specifically. He accused Walmart's Walton family of paying unduly low wages, strategic scheduling to avoid paying benefits, and simply making too much money. He asked, "When is it enough?"

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    A celebration of Ravi Shankar’s life
    A Glen Ellyn letter to the editor: Thanks for publishing a locally reported article about the life and work of Ravi Shankar, with comments from Anuradha Behari and Madan Kulkari of regional Indian arts communities.

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