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Daily Archive : Friday December 21, 2012

News

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    Dist. 15 to keep Inverness plot

    Palatine Township Elementary District 15 officials have decided to hold onto 40 vacant acres in Inverness until the real estate market improves.

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    A lighted pedestrian crossing gate warns people at the Villa Park Metra station when trains are approaching. Through improvements sponsored by Union Pacific and Metra, the station also was equipped with a system to warn when a second train is passing the station on the heels of a previous one. Some other stations on the UP West Line, however, will get more expensive upgrades, such as a pedestrian underpass.

    Train safety too costly for some suburbs

    How much is saving someone from death or injury at a railway crossing worth? The deadly statistics don't match the dwindling funding. “Everyone understands the need to do (upgrades in the suburbs), but the lack of funding is a major detriment,” ICC Rail Safety Program Administrator Michael Stead said. And the safety varies greatly from suburb to suburb.

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    Joseph “Jose” Banks

    Bank robber likely going back to jail he escaped

    A convicted bank robber captured days after a daring escape from a high-rise jail in downtown Chicago will likely return to the same federal lockup, though this time he'll most likely be held in a special isolation unit, his attorney said Friday. Joseph "Jose" Banks, 37, made an initial appearance in court, shackles on his leg, arms and wrists clanging as he shuffled in.

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    Authorities recovered 85 iPads valued at over $50,000 as part of a monthlong undercover sting operation dubbed “Operation Whoville” targeting retail theft rings operating in Chicago and the suburbs.

    108 arrested in shoplifting sting

    A monthlong undercover sting operation during the holiday shopping season has resulted in the arrest of 108 individuals involved in large scale retail theft rings throughout Chicago and the suburbs, authorities said Friday. Cook County State's Attorney officials announced that the arrests were made at Woodfield Mall, Gurnee Mills, the Aurora Outlet Malls, as well the North Riverside, Old Orchard...

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    Shop owner and flute player Larry DeAngelo smiles following a performance with a jazz trio at a lunchtime jam session at Al's Shoe Service in Mount Prospect.

    Moving Picture: Mt. Prospect shoe shop offers service, music

    Walk into Al's Shoe Service in Mount Prospect to get a pair of shoes repaired, and you may encounter a jazz ensemble performing in the center of the store. Larry DeAngelo, the shop's owner, has managed to combine his love for music and his trade. "If we're graced by the wonderful musicians that walk through the door, and they happen to bring their instruments, away we go," DeAngelo says.

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    District 33 teachers could strike as early as Jan. 7

    Teachers in West Chicago Elementary District 33 delivered an intent to strike notice to school district offices Friday — a procedure that allows them to legally strike as early as Jan. 7. That would be the first scheduled day back from winter break, which started Friday afternoon after classes were dismissed. "We want to compromise and the board has pushed us into this corner because they...

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    No change in DuPage ballot provider

    The DuPage County Election Commission will keep its existing ballot provider, despite attempts by other vendors to get the contract to print ballots for the February and April local elections.

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    Customers leave a Mundelein Hobby Lobby in 2007.

    Hobby Lobby takes insurance rule to Supreme Court

    Hobby Lobby Stores asked the U.S. Supreme Court on Friday to block part of the federal health care law that requires it to provide insurance coverage for the morning-after pill and similar emergency contraception pills.

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    Stay hydrated and take frequent breaks when you shovel snow, experts advise.

    Cardio experts: Go slow when shoveling snow

    With the year's first major snowfall, Northwestern Medicine cardiovascular experts are warning people to take to take it easy while shoveling. Those with known heart disease should be especially careful.

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    Sen. Mark Kirk talks with staff members at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago.

    Kirk pays first visit to office since stroke

    U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk has briefly returned to his Senate office for the first time since suffering a stroke last January. The Highland Park Republican spent about a half-hour meeting with aides on Thursday.

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    Deputies from the Jackson County sheriff’s office work at the scene of an accident where an Amtrak train hit a farm tractor near Parma, Mich., on Friday.

    Chicago-bound train hits tractor in Michigan

    Officials say a Chicago-bound Amtrak train collided with a farm tractor in southern Michigan, delaying the train while authorities investigated the crash. No injuries were reported.

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    Business owner gets 10 years for health care fraud

    A federal judge has sentenced a South suburban Chicago man to 10 years in prison for defrauding Medicare of more than $2.9 million in a home health-care scheme. U.S. District Judge Charles Kocoras handed down the sentence Thursday against Bahir Haj Khalil of Palos Heights. He also ordered Khalil to pay restitution and forfeit his assets.

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    Richard Vanecko

    McHenry County judge will preside over Daley nephew’s trial

    The Illinois Supreme Court has ruled that a judge from outside Chicago can preside over the involuntary manslaughter case of a nephew of former Chicago Mayor Richard Daley. Richard Vanecko is charged in the 2004 death of Mount Prospect resident David Koschman, who died days after he fell and struck his head during a fight with Vanecko outside a Chicago bar.

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    Cook County Commissioner William Beavers

    Another new date set for Beavers’ trial

    Cook County Commissioner William Beavers' trial was supposed to get under way this December. But Judge James Zagel agreed to push the trial back to January because defense attorney Victor Henderson fell ill with bronchitis. In a new filing, Zagel says the trial will now start on March 11.

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    Adolfo Gomez

    Parents in case of bound kids plead no contest

    LAWRENCE, Kan. — Two Northlake parents accused of binding and blindfolding two of their children in a Walmart parking lot in Kansas have pleaded no contest to various charges.

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    Michael Johnson

    North Chicago man accused of trying to lure girl into car

    A Waukegan man was arrested Friday on child abduction charges for attempting to lure an 11-year-old girl into his car. Police said Michael Johnson, 52, of the 1600 block of 17th Street in North Chicago, tried to talk to the girl on two separate occasions as she was walking home from school.

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    A COSCO Pacific Ltd. container ship enters the Port of Long Beach in Long Beach, Calif. The union dock workers’ dispute centers on so-called container royalty fees, or levies on cargo that supplement wages. Employers seek to cap the payouts that the workers say are “untouchable.”

    Import, export cargo at risk as port strike looms

    Shipments of clothing, auto parts and frozen food risk being gridlocked at U.S. ports from Maine to Texas as about 15,000 dock workers prepare to strike.

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    Jonathan Garcia

    Two drug arrests made in Waukegan

    Two Waukegan men were arrested on drug possession charges following the execution of a search warrant at an apartment Thursday, authorities said Friday. Officers with the Waukegan Police Department's Gang Intelligence Unit searched a home in the 2200 block of Mohican Road and found 710 grams of cannabis, a loaded .25-caliber semiautomatic handgun, nearly $3,000 and several items of drug...

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    Scott Hart

    Hart takes over as CEO of Moose International

    A week after a lawsuit was filed against the Moose International CEO and Director General William Airey, the organization's board of directors has announced that Scott Hart will take his place. Airey will stay on as a consultant until the end of January to ease the transition for Hart, who has served as Mooseheart Child City and School executive director and will the 10th Moose International CEO.

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    The National Rifle Association executive vice president Wayne LaPierre pauses as he makes a statement during a news conference in response to the Connecticut school shooting, on Friday, Dec. 21, 2012 in Washington. The National Rifle Association broke its silence Friday on last week's shooting rampage at a Connecticut elementary school that left 26 children and staff dead.

    NRA calls for armed police officer in every school

    Guns and police officers in all American schools are what's needed to stop the next killer "waiting in the wings," the National Rifle Association declared Friday, taking a no-retreat stance in the face of growing calls for gun control after the Connecticut shootings that claimed the lives of 26 children and school staff. "The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,"...

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    New associate judges named

    Two Lake County attorneys have been selected as the next associate judges of the 19th Judicial Circuit, Lake County judicial officials announced Friday.

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    Vernon Hills senior organization

    Village officials are reminding seniors that any resident of Vernon Hills over 55 is eligible for membership in the Vernon Hills Senior Organization, which was established by ordinance in 1995.

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    Auditions for musical comedy

    An audition call for teen actors (eighth grade through high school) for the classic musical comedy, "You're a Good Man Charlie Brown", an IP-Elite Highland Park production, will be held on from 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 9 at the new IP Highland Park Studios, 1991 Sheridan Road-rear (Highland Park Community House).

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    Learn about college aid at MHS

    Mundelein High School college and career counselor, Joe Tullo, will hols a college financial aid program on Jan. 10.

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    Lake Zurich woman making snowflakes for Connecticut students

    Working with other parents and children, Lake Zurich resident Lora Rampino and friend Angie Schroedel will make paper snowflakes that will decorate the school Sandy Hook students will attend when classes in Newtown, Conn., resume after winter break. They've set up two events -- in Kildeer and Crystal Lake -- to make the snowflakes.

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    Robert Russell

    Kane Co. to investigate hospice deaths, resume inquests

    Kane County Coroner Rob Russell said during his recent campaign that investigating every hospice death would be an inefficient use of the office. But on Friday, Russell announced a new initiate that will see the coroner's office perform random checks of hospice deaths. Asked about the change of heart, Russell said the new policy will silence critics calling for hospice investigations.

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    Man hit by ambulance sues Geneva

    A Carpentersville man has sued the city of Geneva, saying he was severely injured in a December 2011 crash in which he was rear-ended by an ambulance that did not have its lights or sirens activated. The attorney for Alfredo Garcia says his client missed at least a month of work at a Batavia manufacturing firm and the city's insurance has refused to offer a reasonable settlement.

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    Brandon M. Brown

    Waukegan H.S. teacher charged in sexual assault

    A Waukegan High School physical education teacher has been charged with criminal sexual assault after admitting he had a sexual relationship with a former student, police said Friday. According to police Brandon Brown, 30, of the 3000 block of Kathe Lane in Waukegan, engaged in sexual conduct on one occassion with the 17-year-old female at his home in 2010.

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    Woodridge luminarias to honor shooting victims, support neighbor

    A Woodridge subdivision will shine bright on Christmas Eve to both remember the Newtown, Conn., shooting victims, and to support a grieving neighbor with ties to Sandy Hook Elementary School. A resident said the goal is to completely light the subdivision with luminarias. "This tragedy has hit this country in a unique way," he said. "People realize it could have been here, it could have been our...

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    Robert Morris University offers scholarships

    5.92Robert Morris University is offering scholarships to adults to start for February 2013.

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    Department of Parks and Recreation employee Phillip Forney shovels snow and ice Friday in downtown Columbus, Ind.

    Snowstorm weakening after dumping snow in Midwest

    The storm, part of a system that began in the Rockies earlier in the week, was blamed for deaths in at least five states. Snow was forecast Friday in Pennsylvania, and the system was developing a second front with a mix of snow and rain in the New York City area and New Jersey.

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    Streetcar hooligan arrested in Elgin, 100 years ago

    The last streetcar to leave the Dundee area for Elgin each night was called the "Owl Car" and some of the "rowdy" behavior that went on in 1912 finally led to an arrest. Here's a look at this and other stories that made Elgin area news in late 1912.

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    Expect miracles in your life

    Miracles pave the way to our faith, and our faith paves the way to miracles, says columnist Annettee Budzban.

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    Ben Toby of Sandy Hook visits a memorial to the Newtown shooting victims during a heavy rain in the Sandy Hook village of Newtown, Conn., Friday, Dec. 21, 2012. The shooter, Adam Lanza, walked into Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Dec. 14, and opened fire, killing 26 people, including 20 children, before killing himself.

    Bells toll for victims one week after shooting

    The chiming of bells reverberated throughout Newtown on Friday, commemorating one week since the crackle of gunfire in a schoolhouse killed 20 children and six adults in a massacre that has shaken the community — and the nation — to its core.

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    Despite dire forecasts, the first snow of the season ended up just being a dusting but it was enough to lend a holiday mood to Long Grove Friday morning.

    Storm brings rain, little snow to suburbs

    Winter Storm Draco didn't hit the Chicago area as hard as expected, as most suburbs experienced only a light dusting of snow on the first official day of winter. AccuWeather senior meteorologist Tom Kines said the biggest bust was probably in the western suburbs, where snowfall didn't come close to the four to six inches that were predicted.

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    Parking lot volunteer attendant Gary Holmes directs traffic at Nature Ridge Elementary School in Bartlett Friday, the last day of school before the holiday break. Earlier in the day, he dressed up as Santa for the students. Principal Susan Smith praised Holmes for his willingness to do the job free for years because of his dedication to the school.

    Bartlett dad brings Christmas fun to school’s traffic job

    Every morning and afternoon, Gary Holmes keeps a watchful eye on students while directing traffic outside Nature Ridge Elementary School in Bartlett. On Friday, the Bartlett resident decided to throw some holiday cheer into the mix by dressing as Santa. "The kids loved him. They were saying 'Hello Santa!'" said assistant principal Charlotte Coleman.

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    Adam Belmont

    Woodridge murder suspect collapses in court

    A man accused of murdering and then sexually assaulting his ex-girlfriend collapsed in front of a DuPage County judge Friday, seconds after she denied his request for release on bond. Adam Belmont, 23, curled into a fetal position and put his shackled hands over his face. From the galley, Belmont's father yelled for him to "breathe" while the room was evacuated.

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    Jeff Janus, left, is the new deputy chief of the Bloomingdale Fire Protection District. In October, he received the Instructor of the Year helmet from the Illinois Society of Fire Service Instructors, presented by Forest Reeder, Des Plaines Fire Department chief of training and safety and last year’s winner.

    Bloomingdale fire department names deputy chief

    The Illinois Fire Instructor of the Year is now also the deputy chief in Bloomingdale Fire Protection District 1.Jeff Janus, a former battalion chief, was named to the post this week and will begin serving on Jan. 1.

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    Buffalo Grove close to unveiling phone app

    Buffalo Grove residents will be able to get the latest information about the village and several other local government bodies on their iPhones or Androids. "If they see a streetlight is out in the park, they can take a picture of the streetlight with the phone, they can send the GPS location that the streetlight is out, and that will go to the park district for their maintenance crews to deal...

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    Fox Valley police reports
    Rashida Thompson, 26, of the 100 block of Austin Avenue in Carpentersville, faced several charges Thursday, after police said she roughed up an officer. According to reports, Thompson kicked the male officer in the groin, punched, pushed and shoved him to avoid her arrest on a domestic battery and pulled the victim away from the officer.

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    Dist. 15 schools to change next year’s schedules

    District 15 is finalizing a plan effective next year to start 40 minutes late on Wednesdays and 10 minutes early each of the other four days, giving teachers more professional development time. Supporters say it will result in less use of substitute teachers, but some are concerned about the strain on working parents.

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    Former Nebraska Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel

    Hagel apologizes for gay comment

    The former U.S. senator believed to be President Barack Obama's leading choice for defense secretary, Chuck Hagel, is apologizing for remarks he made in 1998 about an openly gay nominee for an ambassadorship.

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    Shelby Bowman, 13, from Spanish teacher Carey Sloan’s class at Geneva Middle School North fills a paper shoe she colored and wrote a message on for a community service project sending “Happy Holidays” notes and care packages to military men and women stationed overseas.

    Geneva middle school students finish ‘Happy Holiday’ project

    Geneva Middle School North and South Spanish class students completed a community service project intended to remember the men and women serving in the military overseas.

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    Tyrone Young

    Suspect in 2010 Aurora attack wants DNA disallowed

    The defense attorney for a man accused of attacking a woman in 2010 at garden plots in Aurora wants a judge to ban DNA evidence from the case. Tyrone Young was being questioned for a 2010 attack in a women's washroom at a hardware store when police tried to question him about the garden plot attack. He refused, but police still took a DNA swab from his cheek, thus violating his rights, his...

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    Maria Rodriguez

    Long Grove village president stepping down

    Maria Rodriguez is stepping down after eight years a Long Grove village president. Economic development has been her focus, and she hopes to continue that work in another role. "I ran on the idea of restoring the downtown because the downtown is the heart of the village," Rodriguez said Friday. "It really is worth saving."

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    Joseph Lazzo

    Suspects charged with home repair fraud in DuPage

    Two men accused of home repair fraud against an elderly DuPage County woman were jailed Friday on $250,000 bail. Joseph Lazzo, 44, of the 4700 block of Calvert Street in Rolling Meadows, and Tony Reed, 21, of the 3400 block of West Irving Park Road in Chicago, appeared in bond court before Judge Thomas Else.

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    Buffalo Grove cuts its levy request

    Buffalo Grove trustees passed an ordinance this week abating real estate taxes for the 2012 levy, which will be collected in 2013. The board agred to abate $419,000,or 2.8 percent of the initial request. The initial levy was $14.7 million. With the abatement, it is $14.3 million, for a net increase of 1.16 percent over last year.

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    Bob Schultz, a longtime employee in the circuit court clerk’s office in Rolling Meadows, has been decorating the office for the holidays over the past several years.

    Circuit court clerk spreads holiday cheer

    One doesn't usually associate the word "festive" with governmental decor. But that is the word people use to describe the circuit court clerk's office at the courthouse in Rolling Meadows, which for the last month or so, has resembled Santa's workshop thanks to the efforts of staffer Bob Schultz, who each year brings a bit of cheer to a place where cheer is typically in short supply. "Most of the...

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    President Barack Obama on Friday nominated Sen. John Kerry as his next secretary of state.

    Obama nominates Kerry for secretary of state

    President Barack Obama today nominated Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., as his next secretary of state. Kerry's nomination marks Obama's first move in a sweeping overhaul of his national security team heading into a second term.

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    State reps. Daniel Biss and Elaine Nekritz say their pension plan would save Illinois $2 billion next year.

    Analysis: Pension cuts could save $2 billion next year

    Two suburban Democrats said Friday their plans to cut teachers' and state workers' pension benefits could save the state $2 billion next year and immediately cut its retirement debt by nearly $30 billion.

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    Northwest suburban police blotter

    A Chicago man was arrested around 10:50 p.m. Dec. 1 on the 1000 block of North Roselle Road and charged with resisting a peace officer and obstructing identification; he was also wanted on a probation violation warrant out of Cook County. He ran from officers, gave them a false name when caught, and struggled during the arrest, reports said.

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    Angelo T. Brown

    Carpentersville police charge teens in Dundee-Crown robbery

    Carpentersville police have arrested two teenage boys in connection with an armed robbery that occurred earlier this week outside of Dundee-Crown High School.

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    Wheaton primary scrapped after candidate drops out

    Wheaton won't need a February primary election now that a candidate has removed himself from the race to represent the city's north side. Robert Molenhouse has abandoned his bid for the North District seat held by Councilman Phil Suess. As a result, Suess, who is seeking his third term, must face three challengers: Alberta Adamson, Ted Rodgers and J.T. Del Alcazar.

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    Kane panel OKs study of centralizing public-safety documents tech support

    A county panel OK'd a study Wednesday of how technical support for public-safety agencies could be centralized.

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    Vernon Hills lowers investment expectation for police pension

    Vernon Hills officials are taking a conservative approach to funding its police pensions by lowering the amount it expects to receive as investment income. That and other factors means the village will pay about 10 percent more during the next fiscal year but officials say the strategy is a more realistic way to keep pace.

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    President Barack Obama stands with Vice President Joe Biden as he makes a statement Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012, in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington, about policies he will pursue following the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Ct. Obama is tasking Vice President Joe Biden, a longtime gun control advocate, with spearheading the effort.

    Obama on gun violence: ‘We hear you.’

    President Barack Obama says his administration has received an outpouring of support for stricter gun laws following last week's elementary school massacre in Connecticut, telling respondents to an online petition, "We hear you."

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    State lawmakers, governors talk guns after Newtown

    Here’s a sampling of proposals and policy statements that state legislators and governors have made since a gunman killed 20 children and six adults at a Newtown, Conn., school.

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    Kenya Red Cross: 39 people killed in clashes

    NAIROBI, Kenya — At least 39 people were killed when farmers raided a village of herders in southeastern Kenya early Friday in renewed fighting between two communities with a history of violent animosity, a police official said. Thirteen children, six women, 11 men and nine attackers were killed said police official Anthony Kamitu.

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    North Korea says it has detained a U.S. citizen

    PYONGYANG, North Korea — North Korea said Friday that an American citizen has been detained after confessing to unspecified crimes, confirming news reports about his arrest at a time when Pyongyang is facing criticism from Washington for launching a long-range rocket last week.

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    France’s President Francois Hollande, second left, and France’s Defense Minister Jean YvesLe Drian, left, talk with French army General Eric Hautecloque Raysz, center, during a ceremony to honor French troops home from Afghanistan, at the Elysee Palace, in Paris, Friday, Dec. 21, 2012. Hollande has declared “mission accomplished” for French combat troops who returned home recently from Afghanistan. France still has 1,500 troops in Afghanistan repatriating equipment or working in roles like providing medical care or helping run Kabul’s airport. Hollande said the numbers will decline to 500 by mid-2013.

    French leader honors troops home from Afghanistan
    $PHOTOCREDIT_ON$Associated Press$PHOTOCREDIT_OFF$PARIS — President Francois Hollande has declared “mission accomplished” for French combat troops who returned home recently from Afghanistan.The French leader congratulated troops in a ceremony at his palace Friday.

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    Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, joined by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., left, speaks to reporters about the fiscal cliff negotiations at the Capitol in Washington, Friday, Dec. 21, 2012. Hopes for avoiding the “fiscal cliff” that threatens the U.S. economy fell Friday after fighting among congressional Republicans cast doubt on whether any deal reached with President Barack Obama could win approval ahead of automatic tax increases and deep spending cuts kick in Jan. 1.

    Boehner on averting fiscal cliff: ‘God only knows’
    House Speaker John Boehner says he's still open to talks with President Barack Obama on avoiding the double economic hit of automatic tax hikes and spending cuts but he needs Obama to compromise more.

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    No one injured in early Friday fire on Sixth St.

    Garage fire Friday morning in St. Charles causes $35,000 damage. There were no injuries, according to the fire department.

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    Shedd Aquarium/Brenna Hernandez

    3 Asian carp now at Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium

    Three Asian carp now call Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium home.Shedd Aquarium debuted the fish on Thursday. Fisheries biologists with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources found the fish in an inland lagoon at Chicago’s Humboldt Park in October.Officials say they’re unsure how the invasive species ended up in the lagoon. The carp are now on public display.

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    People gather in front of the Kukulkan Pyramid in Chichen Itza, Mexico, Thursday, Dec. 20, 2012. American seer Star Johnsen-Moser led a whooping, dancing, drum-beating ceremony Thursday in the heart of Mayan territory to consult several of the life-size crystal skulls, which adherents claim were passed down by the ancient Maya.

    Mexico’s Maya heartland greets dawn of new era

    Ceremonial fires burned and conches sounded off as dawn broke over the steps of the main pyramid at the Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza Friday, making what many believe is the conclusion of a vast, 5,125-year cycle in the Mayan calendar. Some have interpreted the prophetic moment as the end of the world. The hundreds gathered in the ancient Mayan city, however, said they believed it marked the birth...

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    Young reindeer, Hope, stretches for oats while co-owner Julie Hardy gives a tour of Hardy’s Reindeer Ranch in Rantoul.

    3 calves born at Rantoul reindeer ranch

    It's been said that three's a crowd, but at Hardy's Reindeer Ranch in Rantoul, three was the miraculous number of reindeer born this year to ranch co-owners Mark and Julie Hardy, and for them, it was the perfect number."We had three babies born this year in April and May," said Julie Hardy of new arrivals Hallelujah, Blitzen and Hope.

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    Dawn Patrol: New contract in Dist. 300; Mayans miscalculated

    The school board in Carpentersville-based District 300 approved a new teacher contract in a special meeting. A DuPage County judge acquitted a Wayne man accused of beating another partygoer. And it turns out the Mayans were wrong.

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    COURTESY OF MGM The triple-dog-dare gets Flick every time in “A Christmas Story.” TBS is running the film for 24 hours straight starting at 7 p.m. Christmas Eve.

    Poll Vault: What's your favorite Christmas movie?

    What's the Christmas movie you must watch in full each year? "A Christmas Story"? "It's A Wonderful Life"? "A Christmas Carol"? (And if that one, which version?) Or do you stick with the TV specials?

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    Crews work on repairs to a pedestrian bridge between the Carol Stream Public Library and Armstrong Park.

    Carol Stream pedestrian bridge to reopen soon

    A 34-year-old pedestrian bridge connecting the Carol Stream Public Library with Armstrong Park is undergoing repairs and should be open after the new year, officials said. The bridge has been closed since March when a concrete slab fell off and into Klein Creek, which passes about five feet below.

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    Meet the DuPage County Leadership Team. From left: Alex Senak, Benet Academy; Emily Rohman, Glenbard West High School; Sarah Huddleston, St. Francis High School; Tara Tsaparis, Wheaton North High School; Christine Young, Lisle Senior High School; Venkata Surapaneni, Neuqua Valley High School; Kelsey McDonnell, Neuqua Valley; William B. Dawes, Montini Catholic High School and Kate Berens, Timothy Christian High School. Not pictured, Adam Graham Erickson, Wheaton Warrenville South High School.

    2012-2013 DuPage County Leadership Team
    There are students from high schools throughout suburbs giving their time to help others in the community. But the members of the Daily Herald Leadership are the ones who stand out among their peers. Here is a look at the 10 members of the 2012-13 team from DuPage County.

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    A flight information screen displays canceled flights at Midway airport in Chicago, Thursday, Dec. 20, 2012. The first widespread snowstorm of the season crawled across the Midwest on Thursday, with whiteout conditions stranding holiday travelers.

    Travelers hope to be on their way after snowstorm

    Travelers facing canceled flights and closed roads were hoping to finally head to their holiday destinations as a widespread snowstorm that dumped more than a foot of snow in parts of the Midwest moved across the Great Lakes toward Canada. Most of the canceled flights were in Chicago, where aviation officials said more than 350 flights were called off at O'Hare and more than 150 at Midway.

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    Austin D. Anderson

    Fox Valley Leadership honorable mentions
    2012-2013 Fox Valley Leadership Team honorable mentions

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    Jason Adlam

    Lake Leadership Team honorable mentions
    2012 -2013 Lake County Leadership Team honorable mentions

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    Sarah Ahmed

    DuPage Leadership Team honorable mentions
    2012-2013 DuPage County Leadership Team honorable mentions

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    Victoria Bilello

    Northwest Suburban honorable mentions
    2012-2013 Northwest Suburban Leadership Team honorable mentions

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    Anthony Orlandino, 64, of Algonquin, had a “Happy Birthday, Jesus” sign stolen from in front of his barbershop, also in Algonquin. He put it up to remind people of the reason for Christmas. Orlandino reported the theft to police, but officers have made no arrests.

    Jesus sign stolen from Algonquin barbershop

    For the past nine years, the holiday season has inspired Anthony Orlandino to put a “Happy Birthday, Jesus” sign in front of his Algonquin barber shop — his way of sharing his meaning of Christmas. But police say it's likely the holiday season also inspired someone to steal the sign. “Right after all this stuff in Connecticut we get the morons stealing 'Happy Birthday,...

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    Meet the Northwest Suburban Leadership Team. Clockwise from the upper left: Harmeet Bawa, Palatine High School; Jamie Hillner, Buffalo Grove High School; Samantha Galbavy, Fremd High School; Kaley Wendorf, Elk Grove High School; Lauren Nagle, Hersey High School; Alex Baratta, Hersey; Devi Shastri, Hoffman Estates High School; Jake Herb, Barrington High School; Kylie Mena, Barrington and Mundeep Bawa, Palatine.

    2012-13 Daily Herald Leadership Team: Meet the leaders of tomorrow
    Welcome to another year of the Daily Herald Leadership Team, our salute to teenagers who go above and beyond their own interests to involve themselves in their school and their community. These are teens who have seen a need and risen to meet the challenge. We hope you’ll be amazed, and inspired, by their accomplishments.

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    Meet the Fox Valley Leadership Team. Sitting, from left: Matthew Switzer of Marmion Academy; Ethan Gordon, Illinois Math and Science Academy; Julia Hoyda, Rosary High School and Katie Kull, St. Charles East High School. Standing, from left: Annalise Marie Gaston, Larkin High School; Vito Maglio, Elgin Academy; Siyona Ravi, Elgin Academy; Diana Castillo, Larkin; Kristen Kummen, Marian Central Catholic High School and Amy Arvayo, Rosary.

    2012-2013 Fox Valley Leadership Team
    The Daily Herald's 2012-13 Fox Valley Leadership Team represents some of the most active and involved students in our communities. From volunteering at Girl Scout camp, to serving at soup kitchens and building homes for the needy, they touch the lives of many. Students are from Larkin, Rosary, St. Charles East and Marian Central Catholic high schools; and Marmion, Elgin and Illinois Math and...

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    Daniel Cekay

    Meet this year’s Leadership Team judges
    Meet the educators from across the suburbs who served as judges for our 2012-2013 Daily Herald Leadership teams. Thanks to all of the judges for helping us recognize these deserving young people.

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    Meet the Northwest Suburban Leadership Team. Clockwise from the upper left: Harmeet Bawa, Palatine High School; Jamie Hillner, Buffalo Grove High School; Samantha Galbavy, Fremd High School; Kaley Wendorf, Elk Grove High School; Lauren Nagle, Hersey High School; Alex Baratta, Hersey; Devi Shastri, Hoffman Estates High School; Jake Herb, Barrington High School; Kylie Mena, Barrington and Mundeep Bawa, Palatine.

    2012-2013 Northwest Suburban Leadership Team
    The Northwest Suburban Leadership Team has teens who travel to Third World countries to help impoverished children, tutor younger students during their lunch periods and who raise money for good causes in their own backyards. This year's winners are from Buffalo Grove, Hersey, Palatine, Barrington, Fremd, Hoffman Estates and Elk Grove high schools.

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    Meet the Lake County Leadership Team. Back row, from left: Leila Sherbini, Grayslake Central High School; Kathleen Morris, Libertyville High School; Kenneth Pechtl, Mundelein High School; Ian Fleming, Carmel Catholic High School; Erin Bradley, Lakes Community High School and Michelle Kelrikh, Adlai E. Stevenson High School. Front row, from left: Lexi Miles, Carmel Catholic; Lauren Sylvia Auster, Lake Zurich High School; and Amanda Hermsen, Woodlands Academy of the Sacred Heart. Not pictured, Allison Tran of Vernon Hills High School.

    2012-2013 Lake County Leadership Team
    The 2012-13 Lake County Leadership Team is made up of students from Lake Zurich, Carmel Catholic, Lakes Community, Adlai E. Stevenson, Libertyville, Mundelein, Grayslake Central and Vernon Hills high schools, and Woodlands Academy of the Sacred Heart.

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    A water lily blossom sits on the rippling water at the Chicago Botanic Garden this fall.

    Images: Photo Contest Finalists
    Each week you submit your favorite photo. We pick the best of the bunch and select 12 finlaists. Here are the finalists for the week of December 17th.

Sports

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

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

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

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

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

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

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    Elk Grove keeps pace in MSL East

    Elk Grove's girls basketball team remained one game behind Rolling Meadows in the Mid-Suburban East as the Grenadiers recorded a 56-42 victory over visiting Wheeling.

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    Inside presence lifts Naperville C.

    Senior Mike Blaszczyk and the Naperville Central boys basketball team were so dominant inside during the second quarter Friday at Glenbard North that the Redhawks converted three conventional three-point plays in a row.On the third Blaszczyk lofted an inbounds pass from in front of the scorer’s table to 6-foot-9 junior Nick Czarnowski for an easy basket and foul.“There was a smaller guy fronting him so his back side was open. He’s 6-9 and the other kid was like 6-2, so I just lobbed it up and he made a great catch and put it in,” Blaszczyk said.The quarter proved to be the difference in the Redhawks 80-68 DuPage Valley Conference victory in Carol Stream. The Redhawks (6-3, 2-2) scored 23 points, more than the entire first-half output by the Panthers (2-5, 1-3), for a 40-22 halftime advantage.Both teams scored 23 points in an energetic fourth quarter during which the Panthers came as close as 59-51 with 6:10 to play.“An offensive showcase,” said Naperville Central coach Pete Kramer, whose team scored 80 in its season opener. “The first half we were outstanding defensively. I thought in the second half, we just kind of let up, like it was going to be easy. It wasn’t easy.”Blaszczyk and Czarnowski led the Redhawks’ scoring spree with 24 points apiece. Nicky Lopez and Austin Pauga combined for 13 points in the fourth quarter.Glenbard North received 20-point efforts from Justin Jackson and Chip Flanigan, who drew two early fouls and sat much of the first half.The Redhawks outscored the Panthers 23-9 in the second quarter by making 9 of 16 shots and all 5 free throws and dominating 12-2 in rebounds.The Panthers had 1 offensive rebound the entire first half and 4 overall. Blaszczyk had 12 rebounds, 9 defensive, with 8 by Czarnowski.“We did a great job of boxing out,” Blaszczyk said. “Other than Nick, we’re really not that big of a team. We have to box out in order to get rebounds.”Glenbard North came alive, using three 3s and two three-point plays to close to 57-45 entering the fourth quarter. After back-to-back baskets by Jackson cut the deficit to 59-51, Czarnowski made a key block and the Redhawks scored the next 4 points.“(In the second half) we just played more aggressive defensively, offensively, cut harder,” Glenbard North coach Joe Larson said. “We’ve got play with that kind of aggressive mentality. In the first half we were way too passive.”

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    Geneva’s Connor Chapman attempts to pass around St. Charles North’s Chris Preocanin in the third quarter on Friday, December 21.

    Geneva quiets Payne, St. Charles North

    Before meeting with reporters after his team's 51-40 victory at St. Charles North Friday night, Geneva coach Phil Ralston wanted a look at the scorebook.

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    Stevenson opens Showcase with victory

    Taylor Buford and Alex Elzinga each scored 12 points, and Stevenson’s girls basketball team opened the Suburban Holiday Showcase with a 54-30 win over Waukegan at Lake Zurich on Friday night.Sophia Way added 10 points for the Patriots (9-4), who won their ninth game in a row.The Patriots have a first-place showdown at Zion-Benton today.Woodstock North 37, Lakes 35: At McHenry, Aleecia Braun sank a running shot in the lane with four seconds left, lifting the Thunder in the third-place game of the Northern Illinois Holiday Classic.Braun, who sank 9 of 9 free throws, finished with a team-high 15 points.Samantha Ahr added 10 points and 9 rebounds for Woodstock North, which led 35-33 before Lakes’ Heather Hurlbut tied the game by hitting a pair of free throws with 57 seconds left.Hurlbut led all scorers with 18 points, going 8 of 8 from the stripe. The junior scored 10 points in the fourth quarter to keep the Eagles in the game.“Heather played well,” Lakes coach Pete Schneider said. “She’s a good kid. Heather’s really stepped up. Heather is one of the kids that has mental toughness. She’s shown it on the floor.”Crystal Lake South 51, Lakes 29: At McHenry, Sara Mickow scored a game-high 10 points and grabbed 9 rebounds, as the Gators advanced to the championship game of the Northern Illinois Holiday Classic.Rachel Rasmussen added 8 points coming off the bench, while Carly Nolan had 10 rebounds.Lakes was led in scoring by Heather Hurlbut with 7 points. Alexis Lee had 6 points on pair of 3-pointers.Crystal Lake South led 8-5 after one quarter and slowly pulled away, extending its advantage to 19-10 by halftime and 39-16 after three.Grayslake North 53, Woodstock North 39: At McHenry, Brittney Thibeaux scored 13 points, as the Knights won the opening game of the day to advance to the championship game.Grayslake North also got 11 points from Jordyn Bowen and 10 from Kendall Detweiler. The Knight led 13-3 after one quarter and 27-12 at halftime.McHenry 46, Wauconda 40: At Woodstock, the Bulldogs (4-11, 2-3) completed the Northern Illinois Holiday Classic with their second loss of the day.Jessie Woods had 9 points, 6 rebounds and 2 steals for Wauconda. Dani Sturm added 7 points and 8 rebounds.Marian Central 47, Wauconda 32: At Woodstock, Lexie Redmann had 8 points for the Bulldogs.Shannon Wuensch scored 16 points for Marian Central.

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    Downey, Lake Forest stops Cats

    Yale-bound center Sam Downey scored 15 points, and guard Ben Simpson added 12, as Lake Forest’s boys basketball team defeated host Libertyville 61-45 in North Suburban Lake Division action Friday night.Lake Forest (7-2, 3-2) played without sophomore forward Evan Boudreaux, who injured his ankle against Stevenson on Tuesday.George Quall chipped in 10 points for the Scouts, who trailed 16-13 after one quarter.Libertyville (1-9, 0-5) received 10 points from Jack Deichl and 9 apiece from Drew Cayce and Joe Borcia.

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    Fremd’s Ashley McConnell gets fouled by Barrington’s Maddie Bartz on a drive to the basket during Friday’s game.

    McConnell, Fremd grab share of West MSL lead

    Ashley McConnell had the game of her career. And now, Fremd's girls basketball team is back in the game. After a loss to Palatine in its Mid-Suburban League West opener after 25 straight conference wins, the Vikings have started a new streak by winning their third in a row with a superb come-from-behind win over visiting Barrington on Friday night. The Vikings, who fell behind 19-4, surged back and finally grabbed their first lead with under five minutes in the final quarter before posting a 47-44 victory that improved their record to 12-2 and 3-1. They are tied for first with Hoffman Estates (8-2, 3-1) followed by Palatine (11-3, 3-2) and Barrington (9-5, 3-2).

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    Brownridge steps up for Waubonsie Valley

    In every sport, not just boys basketball, coaches say the same thing — big players make big plays.

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    Fanter’s flurry helps CL South edge Grayslake N.

    This was sillier than Grayslake North's socks. Silly sensational. With her Crystal Lake South basketball teammates locked up in a tight battle against their undefeated opponent in the championship game of the Northern Illinois Holiday Classic, Chanel Fanter took over with an ice-water-in-her-veins fourth quarter. Mind you, she's a freshman, who only just recently stepped into the starting lineup. Fanter scored 7 of her season- and team-high 15 points in the fourth quarter, allowing Crystal Lake South to rally from a 3-point deficit after three to pull out a 39-36 win over Grayslake North at McHenry.

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    Knot to worry: Spencer, Lakes look sharp

    Lakes ran away with a 69-52 North Suburban Conference Prairie Division victory over Grant thanks to a career-high 27 points and a career-high six 3-pointers from Andrew Spencer.

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    Andersen’s 21 leads Aurora Christian

    Aurora Christian 42, Immaculate Conception 33: Alyssa Andersen poured in a game-high 21 points as the Eagles notched a key Suburban Christian Gold victory in Aurora. Alex Hultine added 7 points for Aurora Christian (8-5, 3-2) while Melissa Moser 6 and Kirsten Madsen scored 6 points each. Erin Maloney paced the Knights with 14 points.

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    WW South takes tourney title

    Asked about her physical condition, Meghan Waldron minced no words. "I'm beat up," said the Wheaton Warrenville South junior. "We're all beat up." Beat up, but not beaten. Waldron's short runner with seconds left in regulation forced overtime, where the No. 3 Tigers shut out DeKalb for a gritty 39-32 win in Friday's final of the Naperville North/Benet Holiday Tournament.

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    Anthony Rehayem of Naperville North takes a shot during the Naperville North vs. York boys basketball game Friday.

    Naperville North pulls rank on York

    Naperville North's boys basketball team made a statement Friday night. The Huskies aim for another on Saturday. A loaded weekend started well for Naperville North, which rallied to beat York 54-51 in a key nonconference game in Elmhurst. With one big win in the bag, the Huskies (7-2) want to keep the momentum in Saturday's DuPage Valley Conference showdown against Glenbard East in Naperville.

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    Burlington Central wins twice

    Burlington Central takes two: The Rockets won both their games in the Northern Illinois Holiday Classic Friday, beating McHenry 51-33 and Marian Central 40-35. Shelby Holt scored 17 points and Samantha Pryor added 13 in the win over McHenry, then Holt came back with 11 and Alison Colby added 10 in the win over Marian, as the Rockets (13-2) finished 4-1 in the tournament, losing only to champion Crystal Lake South. BC has now won 4 straight and 11 of its last 12.

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    Burlington Central makes it 3 straight

    Burlington Central's Moter Deng looked for a dunk whenever he had the opportunity Friday night. Instead, he watched 6-foot 9 Duncan Ozburn, who woke up not thinking about slamming his first one of season home, put the hammer down. "I wanted it so bad, and then I missed it," said Deng, who had a chance in the third quarter to stick a two-handed slam but only came up with iron on a whistled call. But when Ozburn completed the right-handed stuff during Burlington's 59-38 Big Northern East boys basketball win over Harvard on Rocket HIll for Central's third-straight victory, it was part of a 14-4 run for the Rockets (3-7, 3-0) during the fourth quarter where they distanced themselves from the one pass, one dribble sequences that had been a habit during the previous quarters.

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    New York Knicks guard Jason Kidd, left, and Bulls guard Kirk Hinrich, second from right, separate Bulls forward Joakim Noah (13) and Knicks center Tyson Chandler, right, Friday during the second half at Madison Square Garden in New York. The Bulls defeated the Knicks 110-96.

    Bulls dominate Knicks with physical play

    The world didn't end on Friday, but chaos reigned at the World's Most Famous Arena. Essentially, what happened in New York was the Bulls executed their game plan to perfection and took apart the East-leading Knicks. The Bulls beat New York for the second time this season 110-106 after leading by as many as 25 points in the third quarter. The game will be remembered, though, for its fourth-quarter meltdowns.

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    Typically frantic finish favors Lake Zurich

    Was a third straight wild North Suburban Conference dual meet in store for the Lake Zurich wrestling team Friday night? After nipping Mundelein 29-28 two weeks ago and falling 33-30 to Warren in a thriller last week, the host Bears built a 25-6 lead over Stevenson midway through their Lake Division dual meet. As usual lately, yes, the final outcome ultimately went down to the wire, but Lake Zurich made it two out of three as the Bears held off the Patriots 28-27 in yet another exciting finish before their home crowd on senior night.

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    St. Charles East holds off Elgin

    Hound Arie Williams all night and make his Elgin teammates beat you. It was a simple plan executed to near perfection by St. Charles East in a 57-43 Upstate Eight River victory at Elgin's Chesbrough Field House Friday night. "Arie doesn't come out of the game," said St. Charles East guard Kendall Stephens, Williams' close friend since grade school. "That's a lot of minutes if you look at it. You get tired. We just tried to keep throwing guys at him and make him work for his shots. It's hard to shoot when your legs are tired."

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    Vernon Hills’ TJ Flis, left, and Antioch’s Cody Gwinn find themselves in a footrace for a loose ball at Vernon Hills on Friday during North Suburban Conference Prairie Divison play.

    Vernon Hills shoots like a champion

    It was the Night of Champions at Vernon Hills on Friday night. All of the successful teams of the 2011-12 seasons were brought back and saluted for their various athletic accomplishments. And just maybe the boys basketball team was a tad jealous of all of the other Cougars teams. Instead of pouting, coach Matt McCarty's team may have set a school record during the 66-35 rout of visiting Antioch. The Cougars (6-6) landed 15 3-pointers spread out over eight shooters.

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    Bulls forward Luol Deng, left, and New York Knicks’ Jason Kidd chase a loose ball Friday during the first half at Madison Square Garden in New York.

    Bulls beat Knicks in foul-filled game

    New York's Carmelo Anthony and three others were thrown out of a foul-filled game, and the Chicago Bulls beat the Knicks for the second time this season, 110-106 on Friday night. Knicks center Tyson Chandler and Bulls counterpart Joakim Noah were tossed after a fourth-quarter altercation, shortly after New York coach Mike Woodson had been ejected following his second technical, drawing a loud ovation from Knicks fans who angrily booed the officiating for much of the second half.

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    Potnick cooks up 45-point effort as Buffalo Grove hangs on

    Luke Potnick was in such a zone Friday that he couldn't even miss when he was trying to. His made free throw that banged off the glass and rattled in with 2.1 seconds remaining gave him a share of the Buffalo Grove boys basketball single-game scoring record. His 45-point explosion equaled Brian Coderre's effort against Springfield during the 1983-84 season, and his 9 3-pointers was 1 more than Alex Fritz's record set last season against Lindblom. All of that happened as the Bison (5-6, 2-2) were finishing a 70-65 Mid-Suburban East victory over Hersey, a game that they seemingly had in hand and then had to win all over again in the final 21 seconds.

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    Emotional win for Mundelein

    Dedicating the game to longtime scorekeeper Jim Ackley, who passed away Tuesday at the age of 82, Mundelein started strong and never looked back in an 84-64 dismantling of host Zion-Benton Friday night. The Mustangs (6-4, 4-1) wore warm-up jerseys recognizing Ackley for his 50 years of service, then honored him with a performance that would have kept the popular scorekeeper busy all night. All five of Mundelein's senior starters scored in double figures in the North Suburban Lake Division contest.

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    St. Charles North swims by St. Charles East

    There was something wonderful about Friday's annual St. Charles North-St. Charles boys swim meet, won this year 111-75 by the visiting North Stars. Former athletes — boys and girls — populated the Norris Center bleachers. Parents whose swimmers had graduated returned. There were a lot of hugs and "what's going on with you now?" discussions.

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    Batavia snaps 6-game skid

    No matter how sloppy things got Friday between Batavia and Streamwood in an Upstate Eight River clash, something good was going to happen to a basketball team in the throes of a losing streak. And things got plenty sloppy, especially in a third quarter in which Streamwood outscored the Bulldogs 8-7. But something good happened to Batavia because Micah Coffey cashed in a career-high 26 points, including 18 in the first half, to snap the Bulldogs' six-game losing streak with a 53-36 victory. Streamwood limped home with its fifth straight setback.

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    Prasse, Benet sink Geneva in final seconds

    Christen Prasse was in an ideal situation. The Benet guard found herself all alone at the free-throw line with 1.3 seconds to play in the consolation championship of the Redwings' Christmas Tournament on Friday night. She did not disappoint. Capping the last of her game-high 25 points, Prasse converted both free throws--after being fouled on an inbounds pass--to give Benet a 64-62 victory over hamstrung Geneva in Lisle.

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    WW South beats W. Chicago in OT

    One might think that the last conference game of the year before the holiday tournament isn't the type of game that would have the potential to be a postseason-like battle especially with so much of the league season remaining.

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    Bartlett stops Metea Valley comeback bid

    Bartlett boys basketball coach Jim Wolfsmith saw two familiar sights when his squad traveled to Metea Valley on Friday night for a critical early-season Upstate Eight Conference Valley Division contest.

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    Wheaton North hangs with West Aurora

    A talented Wheaton North squad proved on Friday night that it could hang with the top teams like West Aurora.

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    Dundee-Crown charges back to beat Johnsburg

    All signs seemed to point to a dead end for Dundee-Crown to its Fox Valley Conference boys basketball crossover road trip to Johnsburg on Friday night. Johnsburg was on a shooting tear that resulted in 31 points in less than 10 minutes. And D-C had less than six minutes to try to overcome an 11-point deficit. But one sign the Chargers ignored was to stop playing. They ratcheted up the intensity to go on a 15-point run and scored 19 of the final 21 points in a 55-49 victory.

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    Fremd’s Xavier Williams, left, guards Barrington’s Brad Zaumseil during Friday’s game at Barrington.

    West test goes to Fremd

    A typical game for Sean Benka entails chasing around the other team's best player. The senior did just that on Friday night at Barrington, using his 6-foot-5 frame to hound Barrington standout point guard Brad Zaumseil for most of the night. And Benka found ways to contribute on the offensive end with a team-high 8 points, including the go-ahead basket in the fourth quarter as Fremd beat Barrington 39-34 to move into a first place tie with the Broncos in the Mid-Suburban West.

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    Elk Grove shares the burden in victory

    When Elk Grove leading scorer Austin Amann has his shot going, the Grens are usually in good shape. When Amann has only attempted 3 shots and his team has a 21-point halftime lead, the Grens are in really good shape. That was the case for an Elk Grove squad that got a balanced scoring effort on Friday night and cruised to a 65-31 win at Wheeling to keep a share of the Mid-Suburban East lead with Prospect.

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    Jacobs’ Payton Berg drives to the hoop against Dundee-Crown in Carpentersville on Friday night.

    Jacobs knocks off Dundee-Crown for 1st win

    The Jacobs girls basketball team couldn't have picked a better time to pick up its first win of the season. Merry Christmas, Golden Eagles. Jacobs took rival Dundee-Crown's best shot, then came back with some good shots if its own as the Golden Eagles downed the Chargers 45-40 Friday night in Fox Valley Conference Valley Division action at D-C. "That's part of the culture that's growing in the girls basketball program at Jacobs," said first-year Eagles coach Joe Neoit of his team's perserverance in Friday's win. "I'm having a great time and I'm proud of the kids. They're working hard every day and they don't quit. They're a pleasure to coach."

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    More defensive highlights for Conant

    "This is 40" is not just popular new movie. If you're lucky, it's about what you can expect to score against Conant. The Cougars continued their midseason assertive defensive statement Friday night in a tightly wound 46-41 Mid-Suburban West win at Schaumburg.

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    In the end, Stevenson homes in on a victory

    As far as home openers go, it felt like anything but for Stevenson and sophomore standout Jalen Brunson against Lake Zurich on Friday night. "We fell behind by 16 points and we were embarrassed to play like that in front of our home fans for the first time," Brunson said. "We didn't want to come out and play like that on our home court for the first time." Visiting Lake Zurich had the Patriots chasing and built an advantage to 38-22 early in the third quarter before the light finally went on for the Patriots. A 19-2 run to close the third quarter and scintillating defense in the final 10 minutes lifted the hosts to a 58-51 win over the visiting Bears. The win was the third in a row for Stevenson (7-2, 3-2). Lake Zurich lost its third in a row and fell to 4-7, 1-4 in conference play.

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    Northwestern guard Tre Demps (14) drives to the basket as Stanford forward John Gage (40), guard Chasson Randle and forward Josh Huestis, right, defend Friday during the second half. Stanford won 70-68.

    Northwestern falls to Stanford 70-68

    Josh Huestis tied a career-high with 18 points and grabbed 12 rebounds, Aaron Bright hit the go-ahead 3-pointer and Stanford came away with a wild 70-68 victory over Northwestern on Friday. The Cardinal (8-4) built an 18-point lead in the first half and took a four-point advantage to the locker room after Northwestern (8-4) pulled within one. But they prevailed down the stretch, ending a rough week on a positive note.

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    East Aurora downs South Elgin

    Two high school boys basketball teams were sorely in need of a victory Friday night. Unfortunately for injury depleted South Elgin (2-10, 0-6), it was East Aurora (2-9, 1-5) that emerged with its first Upstate Eight Conference Valley Division win of the season, handing the Storm a 69-57 setback in Aurora. Jonathon Villezcas, Peetie Davis and Tyree Willis all reached double-figure scoring by halftime, as the Tomcats blistered the net at a 70 percent clip from the field (19-for-27) on their way to a 48-27 lead at the intermission.

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    Hoffman Estates shoots down Palatine

    Hoffman Estates was coming off a big 40-30 Mid-Suburban League West victory over Barrington on Wednesday night. And the Hawks stayed hot on Friday. Senior Destinee Young scored 15 points and senior Becca Stoczynski had 14 in leading host Hoffman Estates (8-2, 3-1) to an impressive 47-39 MSL West victory over Palatine.

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    Another big scoring night for Palatine

    After struggling offensively early in the season, Palatine has begun to hit its stride. For the second consecutive game, the Pirates were surging offensively, knocking down 13 3-pointers as Palatine surged past Hoffman Estates 76-55 Friday in Palatine.

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    Frasco, Prospect steadily getting it done

    Earlier in the year when 6-foot-4 junior guard Bobby Frasco of Prospect would miss a shot, he seemed to get down on himself. "The difference between then and now is attitude," said Frasco. "Now if I miss a shot, I just let it go." Friday night at the Jean Walker Fieldhouse in Mt. Prospect, Frasco didn't have much to hang his head about. He scored 19 points, including five 3s, in the Knights' 53-36 Mid-Suburban East victory over Rolling Meadows. The win gives Prospect an overall record of 8-2 and a spotless 4-0 in the Mid-Suburban East. The Mustangs fell to 3-8 and 1-3.

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    Prospect completes pre-holiday test with win at BG

    Days before the new season was under way, Prospect coach Tom Whalen figured he could best discuss the state of his wrestling teams once three consecutive Friday night duals against Mid-Suburban East Division foes had been completed just before the holiday break. With victories over Hersey, Wheeling and then a Friday night win over Buffalo Grove, it appears Prospect and its coach has already made a statement. The Knights fought off a valiant effort from the host Bison to grab a 44-27 victory to stay a perfect 3-0 in the division and earn a few days off in advance of an annual visit to DeKalb and its two-day mega duals.

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    Meadows keeps up winning pace against Prospect

    The Rolling Meadows girls basketball team plays the game at a pace that might best be described as frenetic. Friday night visiting Prospect was able to stay right with the Mustangs for two quarters — but the second half was a different story. Meadows used a 15-5 run to open the third quarter enroute to a 60-40 Mid-Suburban East victory. "They're the best — and fastest — team we've played this season by far," said Knights sophomore guard Taylor Will, who scored 15 points. "We tried to slow them down because they like to go coast-to-coast and get a lot of layups, but it didn't work out as well as we'd hoped."

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    Palatine, Hoffman Estates earn narrow victories

    In a matchup of what might be the Mid-Suburban League's two most improved boys swimming teams, Palatine ended up with a slight edge. The Pirates pulled out a 98-88 victory over host Wheeling on Friday.

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    Hampshire stays heated up, edges Marmion

    An extra day off didn't cool off the Hampshire boys basketball team. The Whip-Purs won their ninth consecutive game Friday evening, but it wasn't easy. Hampshire built a 16-point lead and had to hold on for a 63-60 victory over Marmion in the Chuck Dayton Holiday Tournament at DeKalb. "We escaped. We got away," Whip-Purs coach Bob Barnett said.

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    York High School hosted Naperville North Friday night for boys basketball.

    Images: Naperville North vs. York, boys basketball
    York High School hosted Naperville North Friday night for boys basketball.

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    Second straight win for Hampshire

    Hampshire might just be getting on a roll. After opening the season with 9 straight losses, the Whip-Purs' girls basketball team won its second in a row by defeating Westminster Christian 46-40 in nomconference action in Hampshire. Emma Benoit scored 19 points to lead the way for Hampshire. Claire Speweik nearly matched that with 16 points for Westminster, which fell to 11-3.

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    Images from the Geneva vs. St. Charles North boys basketball game Friday, December 21, 2012.

    Images: Geneva vs. St. Charles North, boys basketball
    St. Charles North hosted Geneva in a boys basketball matchup Friday night in St. Charles.

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    Batavia's Taylor Schmidt will be going to SMU in the fall on a full ride equestrian scholarship.

    Equestrian skills earn Batavia's Schmidt scholarship to SMU

    Who knew there were college scholarships for theatre? I didn't until about 10 years ago when my neighbor told me that her son, an actor in the high school plays, was in line for one. It was déjà vu for me this week when I got an education about equestrian. Who knew there were college scholarships for that, too? Taylor Schmidt, 17, has been riding horses since she was 8 years old, and competing in national competitions since she was 13. Yet, even she didn't know that going to college for free was a possibility through riding.

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    Jacobs’ Tiffany Frighetto, left, tries to get past Dundee-Crown’s Franchesca Cavallaro.

    Images: Jacobs vs. Dundee-Crown, girls basketball
    The Jacobs and Dundee-Crown girls basketball teams squared off Friday night in Carpentersville in one of the area's best rivalries.

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    Notre Dame forward Jack Cooley, front, drives the lane Friday during the second half against Niagara in South Bend, Ind. Notre Dame won 89-67 with Cooley leading all scorers with 24 points.

    Cooley leads No. 22 Notre Dame past Niagara 89-67

    Jack Cooley had 24 points and 15 rebounds, both season highs, to lead No. 22 Notre Dame to an 89-67 win over Niagara on Friday night. The 6-foot-9 senior jumped out to a quick start, tying his season-high game total of 20 points by halftime. The Fighting Irish led 42-34 at the break.

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    Illinois guard Brandon Paul drives against Eastern Kentucky Sunday during the first half. Illinois won 66-53.

    For Illini, Missouri more on the line than Braggin’ Rights

    CHAMPAIGN — There is a little something extra in this year’s Braggin’ Rights game between Missouri and Illinois.For the first time in a decade, both teams are ranked in the top 15 and it’s a big early-season test for a couple of teams still trying to figure out who they are.No. 10 Illinois (12-0) has surprised pretty much everyone under first-year coach John Groce, bringing an undefeated record into today’s game in St. Louis. They certainly surprised a couple of teams in Gonzaga and Butler to help build their resume.Missouri, two spots back at No. 12, is playing with a largely rebuilt roster and getting ready for its first run through the SEC. Only two of coach Frank Haith’s players have ever played in a Braggin’ Rights game, but the Tigers (9-1) are off to a strong start.Missouri has won three in a row against their rival and for Brandon Paul, D.J. Richardson and Tyler Griffey, the three seniors who are the heart of the Illini lineup, this is their last shot at beating the Tigers unless there’s a postseason meeting.“You try to prepare for every game the same, you know,” Paul said. “But no matter what anyone says, it’s a lot different. It’s an incredible atmosphere and it’s a blessing to play in this every year.”Groce said that since virtually the moment he left Ohio for the Illinois job back in March he’s heard about how big a deal the game is — the loud, sellout crowd, divided right down the middle between fans in orange and blue and those in gold and black, national TV, the hype and buzz of a game played over the holidays just before the teams head off to their conference schedules.Groce knows the opening few minutes of the game will be all energy and crowd noise and hustle. But after that?“Frank will coach his team and I’ll coach mine and we’ll both try to execute,” said Groce, who is worried about Missouri’s size and rebounding.Missouri is No. 1 in the country in rebounding at 46.1 a game, and averages 13.3 more a game than the teams they’ve played.Alex Oriakhi, a 6-9, 255-pound forward, leads the team with 8.6 boards a game. But the Tigers’ starting lineup also includes 6-8, 227-pound Laurence Bowers (6.4 rpg) and 6-11, 230-pound Stefan Jankovic (2.1).Outside of 6-11 center Nnanna Egwu and 6-9 forward Griffey — known more for his shooting than inside play — the Illini don’t have players who, on paper, match up. Most of Illinois’ 36.6 rebounds a game come from their guards. Paul (5.1 rpg), Richardson (4.6) and point guard Tracy Abrams (3.5) lead the team. “The biggest thing is the rebounding,” Groce said, “and obviously those (Missouri) guys can post the ball. We’ve got to block out well and we’ve got to be willing to hit people when the shot goes up, and we’ve got to snatch our fair share.”

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    Patrick Peterson returned 4 punts for touchdowns last season, tying the league mark set previously by Devin Hester and Detroit’s Jack Christansen.

    Bears concerned about Cardinals’ Peterson

    Usually it's the Bears' opponents who have to be concerned with defending punt returns beacuse of Devin Hester's presence. But the Cardinals, Sunday's opponent, have a major threat of their own in cornerback Patrick Peterson, who returned 4 punts for touchdowns last season, tying the NFL record that Hester also shares.

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    Former Fremd basketball star Todd Leslie makes a three-point-shot for the Northwestern Wildcats. Leslie holds the NCAA record for consecutive three-pointers made with 15 in a four-game span in December 1990. A guard from Auburn has 11 straight going into today's action.

    Auburn guard chasing suburban star’s NCAA mark

    Jordan Price isn't worried about jinxing himself during his can't-miss stretch of 3-pointers. The Auburn freshman isn't superstitious and will happily talk about those 11 straight makes over the past three games that are approaching an NCAA record held by former Fremd and Northwestern guard Todd Leslie. If he keeps making them Saturday night when Winthrop visits, Price has a chance at the NCAA record of 15 consecutive made 3-pointers set by Leslie, another 6-foot-5 shooter in 1990 for the Northwestern Wildcats.

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    The NHL lockout has already wiped out half of the pro hockey season.

    Players grow antsy as NHL lockout persists

    With an unexpected surplus of free time in recent months thanks to the NHL lockout, Jay Beagle has tried to keep himself busy.In addition to his training schedule, the Washington Capitals forward works on his pickup truck, cooks dinner for his wife Ashley, brushes up on his tennis skills, hunts -— he got an eight-point buck last week — and tackles improvement projects on the house he bought in Alexandria, Va. this summer. But when constantly in search of something to do, it's easy to get carried away."During the first month of the lockout, I was going to try to knock down a wall in the house," Beagle said with a laugh. "My wife came home and stopped me. She asked me to not do that big of a renovation just yet."

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    Brewers sign ex-Cub Gorzelanny

    The Milwaukee Brewers signed left-handed reliever Tom Gorzelanny to a two-year contract Friday. The 30-year-old Gorzelanny went 4-2 with a 2.88 ERA and one save in 45 games with Washington last season, a stint that included one start. He posted a 1.33 ERA in 27 innings pitched out of the bullpen following the All-Star break.

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    Pasqua to direct Bulls/Sox Academy in Lisle

    Former White Sox slugger Dan Pasqua has been named the new Academy Director for the Bulls/Sox Academy in Lisle, officials announced Friday. Pasqua will be introduced to the public at a special meet-and-greet session from 12:30 to 2 p.m. Wednesday at the Lisle facility, 6200 River Bend Drive. He will sign autographs and talk White Sox baseball immediately following the first session of the White Sox Holiday Camp.

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    Right-handed starting pitcher Edwin Jackson must clear a physical before his $52 million, four-year deal with the Cubs is official. The Cubs will be Jackson’s eighth MLB team, which includes the White Sox. Jackson pitched last season for the Nationals, but they declined to make him a one-year qualifying offer after paying him $11 million in 2012.

    Why Nationals didn’t make Jackson an offer

    The Washington Nationals never showed any intention of re-signing Edwin Jackson this winter and now, after making $11 million from the Nationals in 2012, Jackson is moving toward a four-year, $52 million deal with the Chicago Cubs, according to a report from ESPN's Buster Olney. Jackson's itinerant career will at last come to rest — only 22 more teams and Jackson will have played for them all.

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    Gabrielle Douglas, the first African-American gymnast to claim the all-around Olympic title, is The Associated Pressí 2012 female athlete of the year.

    AP female athlete of the year: Douglas

    When Gabby Douglas allowed herself to dream of being the Olympic champion, she imagined having a nice little dinner with family and friends to celebrate. Maybe she'd make an appearance here and there."I didn't think it was going to be crazy," Douglas said, laughing. "I love it. But I realized my perspective was going to have to change." Just a bit. The teenager has become a worldwide star since winning the Olympic all-around title in London, the first African-American gymnast to claim gymnastics' biggest prize. And now she has earned another honor. Douglas was selected The Associated Press' female athlete of the year, edging out swimmer Missy Franklin in a vote by U.S. editors and news directors that was announced Friday.

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    Bears coach Lovie Smith watches the action against the Green Bay Packers in the second half Sunday at Soldier Field.

    Spellman’s Scorecard: Survival kit full of food for thought

    Spellman's Scorecard takes a look at the arrival of the first winter storm and the departure of A.J. and Jabari. Might Lovie be next?

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    Chicago Bears fans haven't liked what they've seen on the field in the second half of the season, or they reaction they've gotten from players.

    Bears fans deserve better from players

    With the price that Bears fans pay for skyboxes, they feel they deserve better treatment from players like Brian Urlacher and Jay Cutler. Mike North thinks the team better realize the NFL could mean Not For Long.He also discusses the disastrous New York Jets season and why hockey isn't even as popular as bowling.

Business

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    Midway International Airport was dedicated in 1927 and is home to the Chicago operations of Southwest Airlines Co. The facility handled about 16.4 million passengers in 2012 through October.

    Chicago to explore leasing Midway airport

    Chicago plans to explore leasing Midway International Airport and would proceed with a deal only if a transaction would benefit taxpayers and travelers, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said. The decision by Emanuel, who has criticized a 75-year lease of the city's parking-meter system pushed by his predecessor, Richard M. Daley, revives an idea that died in 2009.

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    Fisk Johnson, Chairman and Ceo of SC Johnson, reacts after he powers up two new, state of the art wind turbines Tuesday at Waxdale manufacturing, the company’s largest global manufacturing facility, in Mt. Pleasant, Wis. The turbines are the first of their kind in Wisconsin and the largest onsite company-owned wind turbine manufacturing project in the Midwest. Waxdale will now be able to generate on average 100 percent of its electrical energy on site.

    Wind power beating gas before tax credit expires

    A surge of wind-farm connections in November and December could double the amount of wind capacity added this year to as much as 12 gigawatts, outpacing the additional gas turbines, according to New Energy Finance.

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    A person exits a business Tuesday with a “Closing Sale” sign, in Philadelphia. Spending has continued despite confidence among consumers sinking to its lowest point since July.

    Signs suggest better economy if ‘cliff’ is averted

    Consumers spent and earned more in November. And for a second straight month, U.S. companies increased their orders for a category of manufactured goods that reflects investment plans.In light of the latest figures, some analysts said the economy could end up growing faster in the current October-December quarter — and next year — than they previously thought.

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    Office Max in West Dundee, which has been open since 1993, is closing in March. An official said the company is closing that location to focus on newer stores nearby. Its 16 employees will be placed at other stores.

    Office Max to leave West Dundee

    Office Max,a West Dundee staple since the early 1990s, has announced plans to close up shop by next March, citing a desire to focus on the younger stores it has in other communities. Its lease is also expiring.

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    Nic Mink of Sitka Salmon Shares in Galesburg, Ill., holds up a freshly caught king salmon seven miles southwest of Sitka, Alaska. Mink is president of one of Galesburg’s most successful start-up companies. Congressional opposition to an engineered fish has so far been led by members of the Alaska delegation, who see the modified salmon as a threat to the state’s wild salmon industry.

    FDA says fast-growing fish would not harm nature

    WASHINGTON — Federal health regulators say a genetically modified salmon that grows twice as fast as normal is unlikely to harm the environment, clearing the way for the first approval of a scientifically engineered animal for human consumption.The Food and Drug Administration on Friday released its environmental assessment of the AquaAdvantage salmon, a faster-growing fish which has been subject to a contentious, yearslong debate at the agency. The document concludes that the fish “will not have any significant impacts on the quality of the human environment of the United States.” Regulators also said that the fish is unlikely to harm populations of natural salmon, a key concern for environmental activists.The FDA will take comments from the public on its report for 60 days before making it final. The FDA said more than two years ago that the fish appears to be safe to eat, but the agency had taken no public action since then. Executives for the company behind the fish, Maynard, Mass.-based Aquabounty, speculated that the government was delaying action on their application due to push-back from groups who oppose genetically modified food animals.Experts view the release of the environmental report as the final step before approval.“We are encouraged that the environmental assessment is being released and hope the government continues the science-based regulatory process,” AquaBounty said in a statement.If FDA regulators clear the salmon, as expected, it would be the first genetically altered animal approved for food anywhere in the world.Critics call the modified salmon a “frankenfish.” They worry that it could cause human allergies and the eventual decimation of the natural salmon population if it escapes and breeds in the wild. Others believe breeding engineered animals is an ethical issue. AquaBounty has maintained that the fish is safe and that there are several safeguards against environmental problems. The fish would be bred female and sterile, though a very small percentage might still be able to breed. The company said the potential for escape is low. The FDA backed these assertions in documents released in 2010.Since its founding in 1991, Aquabounty has burned through more than $67 million developing the fast-growing fish. According to its midyear financial report, the company had less than $1.5 million in cash and stock left. It has no other products in development.Genetically engineered — or GE — animals are not clones, which the FDA has already said are safe to eat. Clones are copies of an animal. In GE animals, the DNA has been altered to produce a desirable trait.The AquaAdvantage salmon has an added growth hormone from the Pacific Chinook salmon that allows the fish to produce growth hormone all year long. The engineers were able to keep the hormone active by using another gene from an eel-like fish called an ocean pout that acts like an “on” switch for the hormone. Typical Atlantic salmon produce the growth hormone for only part of the year.It is still unclear whether the public will have an appetite for the fish if it is approved. Genetic engineering is already widely used for crops, but the government until now has not considered allowing the consumption of modified animals. Although the potential benefits — and profits — are huge, many people have qualms about manipulating the genetic code of other living creatures.If the salmon are eventually approved for sale, consumers may not even know they are eating them. According to federal guidelines, the fish would not be labeled as genetically modified if the agency decides it has the same material makeup as conventional salmon. AquaBounty says that genetically modified salmon have the same flavor, texture, color and odor as the conventional fish, and the FDA so far has not shown any signs of disagreeing.

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    Andrew Mason, chief executive officer at Groupon Inc., speaks during a keynote address at the Mobile Loco conference 2012 in San Francisco.

    Groupon to buy online service CommerceInterface
    Associated PressCHICAGO — Online deals company Groupon says it will buy online retail manager CommerceInterface for an undisclosed amount.Groupon said Friday that the acquisition of the Salt Lake City-based company will help it manage Groupon Goods, an e-commerce business that sells products from thousands of vendors. CommerceInterface will no longer work with other customers that will transition to another service over the next six months.Groupon Inc. pioneered the online daily deals market, offering subscribers deep discounts on everything from spa sessions to toe fungus treatments. To expand its business, and in an attempt to distinguish itself from copycat online deals websites, Groupon has tried to establish itself as a local e-commerce company. It now also sells electronic gadgets and other goods.Groupon shares rose 3 cents to close at $4.82.

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    Specialist Anthony Rinaldi works Friday on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

    Stocks sink after Republicans cancel budget vote

    The market's decline demonstrated that investors' nerves are raw as they await a resolution. "Where we are today, the market would be satisfied with the announcement of a stopgap measure," said Quincy Krosby, a market strategist at Prudential Financial. "The more the clock ticks, the more the market is saying, `Just give us something."'

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    Westmont.-based energy firm to buy Kodak power plant

    ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Officials say Westmont-based Recycled Energy Development will buy, upgrade and operate utilities on the grounds of Kodak's Eastman Business Park in Rochester.RED Chief Executive Officer Sean Casten says Friday the company plans to invest $40 million to $80 million to upgrade a coal-fired power plant to natural gas.The utilities provide power, steam, water, refrigeration, compressed air and nitrogen, and wastewater treatment for 37 tenants.The business park was seen as vital toward keeping businesses in Rochester, made more pressing by Kodak's bankruptcy filing.RED, which operates about 200 energy recycling projects similar to the one in Rochester, will pay $10 million for the plant. The sale is subject to court approval and requires regulatory approvals and permitting, including from the New York State Public Service Commission.

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    Oreo cookie maker Mondelez gives CEO $10M award

    NEW YORK — The company that makes Oreo cookies is sweetening the pay for its CEO with a special stock award valued at $10 million.Mondelez Inc. says in a regulatory filing that the reward recognizes Irene Rosenfeld for “top-tier performance,” including the recent “highly successful” spinoff of its Kraft Foods grocery business. Mondelez, which also makes Cadbury chocolates and Trident gum, says the pay also is intended to give her incentive to continue delivering strong results. It includes restricted stock that will vest after three years and restricted stock based on the company’s performance.Rosenfeld, who took over as CEO in 2006, received a pay package worth $15.7 million as CEO of Kraft Foods Inc. last year, according to an Associated Press calculation.Mondelez is based in Deerfield.

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    U.S. companies increased their orders for long-lasting manufactured goods in November, with a second consecutive monthly gain in a key category that reflects businesses’ investment plans. The Commerce Department reported Friday, Dec. 21, 2012, that orders for durable goods rose a seasonally adjusted 0.7 percent in November, compared to October, when orders had risen 1.1 percent.

    U.S. durable goods orders up 0.7 percent

    U.S. companies boosted their orders in November for long-lasting manufactured goods that reflect investment plans. It was the second straight such increase, an encouraging sign for the economy. The Commerce Department said Friday that overall orders for durable goods rose a seasonally adjusted 0.7 percent in November over October.

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    Consumers spent and earned more in November, reflecting a rebound from the disruptions caused by Superstorm Sandy. The Commerce Department says, Friday, Dec. 21, 2012, consumer spending rose 0.4 percent compared with October. Personal income jumped 0.6 percent, the biggest gain in 11 months.

    U.S. consumer spending rose 0.4 percent in November

    Consumers spent and earned more in November, reflecting a rebound from the disruptions caused by Superstorm Sandy. The Commerce Department says consumer spending rose 0.4 percent compared with October. Personal income jumped 0.6 percent, the biggest gain in 11 months.

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    GE to buy aviation unit of Italy’s Avio for $4.3B

    Industrial conglomerate General Electric plans to buy the aviation business of Italian manufacturer Avio for $4.3 billion to grow its jet propulsion business and strengthen its supply chain.

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    Former Anglo Irish Bank chief executive and chairman Sean FitzPatrick, front center, leaves District Court, in Dublin, Ireland, after being given bail appearing on charges of giving auditors false or misleading information on directors’ loans over a five-year period, Friday Dec. 21, 2012. The 64-year old former chief of Ireland’s collapsed Anglo Irish Bank, FitzPatrick, has been arraigned Friday on fraud charges of misleading auditors and shareholders alleging over $180 million in personal loans.

    Ex-Anglo Irish Bank chief faces new fraud charges

    The former chief executive of Ireland's collapsed Anglo Irish Bank, Sean FitzPatrick, was arraigned Friday on new fraud charges that he misled auditors and shareholders over $180 million in personal loans that the bank surreptitiously provided — and he never repaid.

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    House Speaker Rep. John Boehner of Ohio, speaks to the media about the fiscal cliff at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, on Thursday.

    Boehner, White House vow to press ahead

    House Speaker John Boehner signaled on Friday he's still open to negotiations with President Barack Obama on avoiding across-the-board tax increases set to hit taxpayers Jan. 1, but sounded pessimistic about reaching a grand deal with the president. "How we get there, God only knows," Boehner told a Capitol Hill news conference just hours after his rank-and-file handed him a stunning tactical defeat.

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    Walgreen Co.’s fiscal first-quarter earnings sank nearly 26 percent as the nation’s largest drugstore chain filled fewer prescriptions and absorbed costs tied to acquisitions and Superstorm Sandy.

    Walgreen fiscal 1Q profit sinks nearly 26 pct

    Walgreen Co.'s fiscal first-quarter earnings sank nearly 26 percent as the nation's largest drugstore chain filled fewer prescriptions and absorbed costs tied to acquisitions and Superstorm Sandy.The Deerfield, Ill., company's performance fell short of Wall Street expectations, and the stock slipped Friday before markets opened.

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    When it comes to resolving their “fiscal cliff” impasse, the dollar gap between President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner is tiny in federal terms. That masks a monumental political ravine the two men must try to bridge, with most of the burden on the now beleaguered Boehner.

    Cliff poses tiny dollar gap, wide political ravine

    When it comes to resolving their "fiscal cliff" impasse, the dollar gap between President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner is tiny in federal terms. That masks a monumental political ravine the two men must try to bridge, with most of the burden on the now beleaguered Boehner.

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    Boeing wants to buy more land in North Charleston

    NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. — Boeing wants to buy more than 1,000 acres near its plant in North Charleston.The Charleston County Aviation Authority voted Thursday to begin the process of selling 320 acres to Boeing Co. The price has not been set.The authority voted to give Boeing first rights of refusal on nearly 500 more acres, as well as an option to buy another 265 acres.Boeing has not announced any plans for the land. But Boeing South Carolina chief counsel Mark Fava says the company doesn’t “bank” land it doesn’t plan to use.Fava says the company brought up the idea of buying more land from the aviation authority months ago.Charleston Mayor Joe Riley says the purchase plans are good news for the area.Boeing makes 787-passenger jets in North Charleston.

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    Ill. restaurant settles sexual harassment lawsuit

    A company that owns a KFC and Taco Bell restaurant in Mendota has agreed to pay $150,000 to settle a sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit. In a news release Thursday, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission says it filed a lawsuit that alleged a store manager harassed female employees for more than a year. A federal judge and magistrate judge entered a consent decree to resolve the case.The EEOC says the money is to go to 12 victims. Also, the company that owns the restaurant, Mendota Restaurants, Inc., must pay money to 12 victims.

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    A record number of Americans took to the Web to order holiday gifts after retailers flooded their inboxes with offers of extra discounts, free shipping and easy returns.

    Shoppers: All I want for Xmas is my gifts on time

    Will Santa's sleigh be late? A record number of Americans took to the Web to order holiday gifts after retailers flooded their inboxes with offers of extra discounts, free shipping and easy returns. But a storm bringing heavy winds and snow to much of the Midwest on Thursday — the heaviest shipping day of the year — could mean that some packages might not make it under the tree in time for Christmas.

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    “Wiki Weapons” project leader Cody Wilson points to his laptop screen displaying an image of a prototype plastic gun on the screen, while holding in his other a weapon he calls “Invivdual Mandate,” in Austin, Texas.

    Click, print, shoot: Downloadable guns possible

    Downloading a gun's design plans to your computer, building it on a three-dimensional printer and firing it minutes later. No background checks, no questions asked. Sound far-fetched? It's not. And that is disquieting for gun control advocates. Rep. Steven Israel, D-NY, said the prospect of such guns becoming reality is reason enough for the renewal of the Undetectable Firearms Act, which makes illegal the building of guns that can't be detected by X-ray or metallic scanners. That law expires at the end of 2013.

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    Oil drops as US ‘fiscal cliff’ approaches

    Oil prices fell below $90 per barrel Friday as doubts intensified that political leaders in Washington would be able to reach a deal on the budget before a costly and potentially detrimental package of tax hikes and spending cuts automatically kicks in at year's end.

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    Stores brace for snow during final shopping days

    Midwesterners aren't the only ones who could get slammed by the storm that's expected to bring heavy snow, winds and rain to the middle of the country over the next couple of days. Stores could get hit too. With sales during the holiday shopping season disappointing so far, the nation's retailers are depending even more on these final days leading up to Christmas for a boost in business. Retailers are hoping the storm won't change shoppers' plans.

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    Nokia, RIM settle old disputes in new patent pact

    Nokia Corp. says it has entered into a new license agreement with Canadian smartphone rival Research In Motion which will end all existing patent litigation between the two struggling companies.Nokia said Friday that the agreement includes a "one-time payment and on-going payments, all from RIM to Nokia," adding that the terms were confidential.

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    Money traders work under flags of the United States and Japan at a foreign exchange firm in Tokyo Friday.

    U.S. budget negotiations setback drives stocks down

    Another failed attempt find a compromise in U.S. budget negotiations sent world stock markets plummeting Friday, as investors feared the world's largest economy could teeter into recession if no deal is found. Without an agreement, the U.S. economy will fall off the so-called "fiscal cliff" on Jan. 1 when Bush-era tax cuts expire and spending cuts kick in automatically.

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    This season, the deadline for orders with guaranteed Christmas delivery is the latest ever, with L.L. Bean offering free shipping as late as noon Friday.

    It’s all-hands-on-deck for final retail push

    With the final retail push under way, L.L. Bean CEO Chris McCormick is playing Santa's helper against a backdrop of conveyor belts and beeping front-end loaders as he boxes up slippers and shirts. But there's little time to reflect on the holiday cheer those gifts will bring because he's busy concentrating to make sure no shipments go astray.

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    Traders Patrick McKeon, left, and Joel Lucchese work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

    Futures tumble on stalemate in Washington

    U.S. stock futures are moving sharply lower after GOP leaders unexpectedly postponed a vote on legislation that would raise taxes on wealthier Americans, bringing the country closer to the so-called fiscal cliff. Dow Jones industrial futures are down 163 points to 13,104. The broader S&P futures have given up 19 points to 1,421.60. Nasdaq futures are down 34.50 points to 2,665.50.

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    The nationwide telephone poll found 51 percent in favor of sports betting and 27 percent backing Internet gambling.

    Poll: U.S. OK with sports betting, but not Internet

    A new poll finds just over half of Americans favor making sports betting legal everywhere, while almost three-quarters are against legalizing Internet gambling.The Fairleigh Dickinson University PublicMind poll touches on two forms of gambling that New Jersey is avidly pursuing. State lawmakers gave final approval Thursday to an Internet gambling bill and sent it to Gov. Chris Christie, who hasn't indicated whether he'll sign it. And New Jersey is embroiled in a lawsuit over its plans to offer sports betting next year despite a federal ban on it in all but four states.

Life & Entertainment

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    An enthusiastic audience greeted the arrival of the deliciously subversive, Tony Award-winning “The Book of Mormon” at the show's official opening Wednesday at the Bank of America Theatre.

    Sacred meets profane in stellar 'Book of Mormon'

    The long-awaited national tour of the Tony Award-winning "The Book of Mormon" arrived in Chicago Wednesday and the enthusiastically irreverent, cleverly crafted and expertly sung show is everything lovers of satire (who also appreciate genuine sentiment) could want. Taking Chicago by storm at Wednesday night's press opening, the Broadway tour is poised to reign supreme for some time.

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    Paul Rudd’s ready for a dose of goofy comedy after taking on his latest dark stage role in “Grace.”

    Paul Rudd needs dose of comedy after Broadway role

    Paul Rudd has been killing himself every night. The actor best known for comedies such as "Knocked Up" and "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" has been performing a decidedly darker role on Broadway recently, as a devout man whose loss of faith makes him suicidal in "Grace."

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    Tom Cruise in a scene from “Jack Reacher.”

    Cruise goes back to what he does best in ‘Reacher’

    Tom Cruise is right where he was when 1986's "Top Gun" vaulted him to superstardom: On top. Maybe not the same level of on top as the 15-year stretch that began in the early 1990s, when practically every Cruise film was bound to be a $100 million hit.

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    The Lauren Wolf Band won a national contest for the chance to play Chicago's House of Blues Thursday, Dec. 27.

    National contest puts local band on House of Blues stage

    The Lauren Wolf Band was winning the national Live Nation/Mamba Battle of the Bands contest when guitarist Patrick Dugan discovered something was wrong. “One day we pulled up the page and our video was just gone,” he said. Turns out the band had been disqualified, but not for long. They posted a new song, "Bounce Back," and ended up winning a spot performing with four other bands at the House of Blues in Chicago on Thursday, Dec. 27.

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    Author, playwright Larry L. King dies

    Larry L. King, a writer and playwright whose magazine article about a campaign to close down a popular bordello became a hit Tony Award-nominated musical "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas" and a movie starring Burt Reynolds, died Thursday. He was 83.

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    Mickey (Amy Adams) tries to help her aging baseball scout father (Clint Eastwood) keep his job in Robert Lorenz’s “Trouble With the Curve.”

    Eastwood scores with ‘Curve,’ out on DVD

    In "Trouble With The Curve," now on DVD, Clint Eastwood stars as an old-school baseball scout with the Atlanta Braves fighting to save his job. Given one last chance, he is joined on the road by his daughter (Amy Adams) in this heartfelt drama directed by Rolling Meadows native Robert Lorenz.

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    Eggnog is a popular dairy-based cocktail. Try making it by the glass instead of by the pitcher.

    Dare to add dairy when mixing up holiday cheer

    Milk and booze might cause a gag reflex in some, but iIf there is ever a time when milk and spirits should come together in harmony, it is for the holiday eggnog. Spirits columnist Jason Wilson, however, says that even this tradition has long swerved in a bad direction. "When I see those cartons of eggnog making their annual appearance in the supermarket, I get queasy," he writes.

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    Leonardo DiCaprio plays Calvin Candle in “Django Unchained,” directed by Quentin Tarantino.

    No escaping violence in popular culture

    Violence and gunplay are baked into the popular culture of television, movies and video games. While gun control and problems with the mental health system have grabbed the most attention as ways to prevent future incidents, the level of violence in entertainment has been mentioned, too.

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    Some varieties of arborvitae, yew and juniper sport yellow foliage, and also have relatively dense, small needles, so the trees look full even when viewed up close, propped by the fireplace.

    Some trees put a natural glow on the season

    Some artificial Christmas trees glow cheerily even without lights: The branches themselves softly glow, fading on and off in different colors at the tips. Could you get the same effect from a real tree? If plain old green evergreens are too ho-hum for you, there's a world of "self-igniting" evergreens awaiting.

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    The future of John Paul White and Joy Williams of The Civil Wars continues to be uncertain. Williams said Thursday in a Twitter chat that she’s been listening to new music, a sign that the Grammy-winning duo who ended their recent European tour due to ‘irreconcilable differences’ may release a new album in 2013.

    Twitter post offers clue to The Civil Wars’ future

    While there still remain questions about the future of The Civil Wars, there's new music on the way. Joy Williams, one half of the Grammy Award-winning duo with John Paul White, said Thursday during a Twitter chat that she was in the studio listening to new Civil Wars songs. It's a tantalizing clue to the future of the group, which appeared in doubt when a European tour unraveled last month due to "irreconcilable differences."

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    Season two winner Tate Stevens performs during “The X Factor” finale Thursday.

    Country singer Tate Stevens wins ‘X Factor’

    Tate Stevens, who was mentored by music exec L.A. Reid on the second season of "The X Factor," has won the Fox singing competition. The 37-year-old country singer from Belton, Mo., beat runner-up Carly Rose Sonenclar, a 13-year-old schoolgirl from Westchester, N.Y., and teenage girl group Fifth Harmony on the finale that aired live Thursday night.

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    About real estate: Clock is ticking for owners to file claims over faulty foreclosures

    Q. I recently received a letter from a group called Rust Consulting stating that I may qualify for a free "Independent Foreclosure Review" and perhaps get some money back because I lost my home to foreclosure in 2010. Is this offer legitimate, or is it a scam? Also, what do you know about Rust Consulting?

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    TV personality Guy Fieri's Times Square restaurant — Guy's American Kitchen & Bar — snagged a scathing review in The New York Times.

    From Guy Fieri to foie gras — the year in food

    Most Americans never will sip the watermelon margarita at Guy Fieri's behemoth Times Square restaurant, nor savor the chicken Alfredo at the Olive Garden in Grand Forks, N.D. Yet both eateries somehow shot to the top of the nation's culinary zeitgeist in 2012, for this was the year of the viral restaurant review, when the rants and raves of seasoned pros and naive octogenarians alike got superstar treatment on the world wide smorgasbord.

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    Book tells the tale of Napa Valley’s rise

    With the holidays approaching, it's time to sift through this year's harvest of wine books. Recommendations for gift giving (and receiving) include an engaging reminiscence by the "First Lady of American Wine."

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    CEO and winemaker Eileen Crane opens a bottle of Brut Cuvee sparkling wine at Domaine Carneros in Napa, Calif. She’s a fan of using sparkling wine is cocktails.

    Tiny bubbles give a big boost to cocktail flavors

    Chad Furuta of Del Frisco's Grille in New York traces the emergence of sparkling-wine-as-mixer to the popularity of Prosecco, the slightly sweet Italian fizz that pairs well with liquors. "It definitely brought a new aspect to the table and gave bartenders like myself a new outlet to bring out the natural flavors in a cocktail, as well as the celebratory factor." He recommends using lighter-tasting spirits when using sparkling wine, and also keeping an eye on the overall alcohol level since you don't want to create a booze bomb.

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    Home inspector: Faulty outlet fried appliances

    Q. About five years ago, we built a detached garage in our back yard. All of the work was inspected and passed by the county building inspector. The electrician who was hired to do the wiring installed an RV receptacle, but we never used it until just recently when we bought a new fifth wheel.

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    Homes in Weathersfield, like these along Syracuse Lane, are single-family residences great for families and neighborly bonding.

    Weathersfield offers family atmosphere near big-city amenities

    In 1959 Alfred Campanelli began construction of Weathersfield, the first large-scale suburban-style development in Schaumburg — built in several phases. Expansion of residential building during the 1960s along with the opening of Woodfield Mall in 1971 changed the character of the village from a quiet rural community to a suburban metropolis.

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    The nation’s housing: On deduction, the polls are mixed

    In the congressional and White House negotiations on tax reform — including the mortgage interest and property tax deductions — who has the crucial political advantage of counting documented public opinion on their side?

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    Victoria Milk Punch
    Victoria Milk Punch

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    Grasshopper cocktail

    Cavalletta
    Cavaletta

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    Dare to add dairy when mixing up holiday cheer, such as with this Baltimore Egg Nog.

    Baltimore Egg Nog
    Baltimore Egg Nog

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    Soldiers (Grayson DeJesus riding black horse Topthorn and Michael Wyatt Cox riding Joey) do battle in the North American tour of “War Horse,” which plays Chicago’s Cadillac Palace Theatre through Saturday, Jan. 5.

    Superbly staged ‘War Horse’ stands tall in the saddle

    "War Horse" is a powerful epic stage show that bursts with theatrical daring and compelling drama centered around a horse's harrowing journey during World War I. The Tony Award-winning play continues through Saturday, Jan. 5, at the Cadillac Palace Theatre in Chicago.

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    What’s new on stage
    The return of "I Love Lucy Live On Stage" is among this week's Chicago area theater openings.

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    Local theater: ‘Oliver’ coming to Cahn
    Light Opera Works' "Oliver!" and Steppenwolf Theatre's prdouctin of "The (expletive) with the Hat" are among the shows opening or beginning previews this week.

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    Super handyman: Here’s how to help your wallpaper last longer

    Wallpaper takes some effort to put up. It's also hard to remove. So if you have wallpapered rooms in your home, it's smart to take care of them and also repair them rather than remove and replace them. Here are some tips and tricks you can try to make your wallpaper last longer and look its best.

Discuss

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    The railroad crossing at Monroe Street and Hinsdale Avenue in Hinsdale has four-quad gates to make it safer.

    Editorial: We can’t let rail safety priority wane

    Even in an era of dwindling funding, it's important to fund safety improvements at railroad tracks, where an average of three people a month are killed in Chicago and the suburbs, a Daily Herald editorial says.. Even more important: setting the right priorities for where scarce dollars should go.

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    Online and in your face

    They don’t like the crowds, the traffic, the parking chaos. They dislike the sameness — the same mall chain stores piping in the same holiday music and selling the same made-in-China sweaters, whether in Spokane, Indianapolis or Raleigh. They stress out when waiting for someone to take their payment. Small wonder that 45 percent of consumers are doing at least some holiday shopping this year via the Internet, according to the Deloitte consulting firm.But if you think Internet shopping is a hassle-free environment overseen by invariably polite computers, you probably haven’t done much of it. No one escapes. Online merchants have mastered the science of getting in your face.Case in point, I looked at a shoulder bag on Amazon. Checking the dimensions and color, that’s all. Now when I do a Google search, up comes an ad for the bag. I look for amusing quotes by Theodore Roosevelt, and there’s the bag. I check out some items on eBay, and the bag’s there. Two questions: When do they give up, and how can you make them go away? The answer to the first is, “I don’t know.” The answer to the second is, “You can’t.”Google, Facebook and the rest shadow your wanderings online, gathering information to sell tailored ads beamed back at you. Very scientific and a bit creepy to those who haven’t totally surrendered yet on matters of privacy.Buy undies at Victoria’s Secret, and the salesperson asks for your email address. Your inbox fills with intimations that the store has your number on lingerie. Look at a Lego V-wing Starfighter online, and some computer assumes that you buy presents for a boy between the ages of 7 and 12.Email messages now wave hysterical discounts in your face — 40 percent, 50 percent, 65 percent — with the proviso that you perform certain tricks. You may have to spend $250 by 11:30 p.m. tonight, Central time.Meanwhile, actual shopping on Internet sites, like through catalogs of yore, is not without its glitches. If the scarf bought in a romantically lit department store doesn’t look so hot in the cold daylight, you can lug it back. Online sellers have more sophisticated means to make cheesy merchandise look amazing. And your web browser’s idea of the color “forest heather” may not match your ideal.Of course, you can ship stuff back. The good online merchants make that as easy as possible, but you still have to put the item back into the container, reseal it, put a sticker on and, in many cases, bring the package to a post office or other shipper, where the lines may be even worse than at the department store. Meanwhile, if there’s a problem with the order that requires human contact, good luck to you.For many, shopping remains an entertainment, and the holiday crowds add to the joy. Understanding this, some strictly online retailers are beginning to open physical shops so that people can touch, see and try on the wares.Bonobos is an example. Once so militantly cyber that its founder gave a speech predicting the end of apparel stores, Bonobos now concedes that a guy other than the male model on the webpage might want to check its cotton chinos for size. He might also like to see how orange “burnt ochre” really is.The unpleasant aspects of Internet shopping may not bother you, and let me say in honesty that I find the online assault more amusing than irritating. But anyone who promotes online shopping as the cure for holiday stress must have greater skill in disposing of Styrofoam packing materials than I do.© 2012, Creators Syndicate Inc.

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    Real “realism” on gun control

    Columnist Froma Harrop: As the shock of Newtown, Conn., mellows, the new theme of gun-rights absolutists is coming together: The problem is not widely sold assault weapons with magazines capable of carrying 30 rounds. It's crazy people who get their hands on them.

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    What’s up with naive letters?
    A Gurnee letter to the editor: There must be something in the water here because I’ve read two letters in the Fence Post since coming home from school that are just unbearably naive.

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    Illinois voters made poor choices
    A Lake Zurich letter to the editor: So another election season has passed and once again, the Democrats in Illinois continue to flourish. Let’s step back a minute and recognize their recent “achievements” and how the voters reacted.

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    Stun guns best immediate answer
    A Mount Prospect letter to the editor: A locked drawer, a small container needing a password, a file cabinet, or a very high shelf are all possible places a stun gun could be retrieved quickly at first warning.

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    Can we learn from the Mayans?
    A Palatine letter to the editor: Here’s my theory. The Mayan calendar maker went to his boss and told him that he had reached Dec. 21, 2012, but had run out of room. The shaman said, “We don’t have enough in the budget for any more stone disks, but not to worry, that’s over 5,000 years from now. Who’s going to notice?”

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    Trade-killing law needs a remedy
    A Huntley letter to the editor: The IRS has issued orders, on behalf of the U.S. government, to all banks worldwide to report the details of every bank account held by an American living abroad. This idiotic law didn't start with the current dictatorial regime in Washington D.C. but the zealous enforcement was speeded up with this administration.

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    Bridge money better spent on schools?
    A Carpentersville letter to the editor: Congratulations to Algonquin for having the additional resources to build a grand walking bridge over Randall Road connecting two area shopping areas. But really, couldn't this money be used more efficiently?

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    Take a stand for president’s plan
    A Glen Ellyn letter to the editor: Our state is fiscally a mess and will be hit further if the federal budget is not settled in the next week. In fact our entire country will suffer.

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    Socialism will lead to communism
    A Bloomingdale letter to the editor: It would appear that politicians and voters generally never bother or care reviewing the past disastrous end results other countries experienced by over taxing to solve problems. Just why don't we buy into the fact history is a learning tool?

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    Only one use for military-style weapons
    An Aurora letter to the editor: It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out we're doing something wrong on gun management in this country. We license drivers because certain skills are required to handle a vehicle. We license beauticians. Having an effective gun licensing system, including gun shows, only makes basic sense.

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