Daily Archive : Sunday December 23, 2012



    Two airlifted from Richmond crash

    A head-on collision in Richmond Sunday afternoon sent four people to the hospital, officials said. The Richmond Fire Department responded to the crash on Route 12, south of Hill Road, around 3:20 p.m. Sunday, officials confirmed. A woman and a young passenger from an SUV involved in the crash were taken by helicopter to Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville with serious injuries. An...

    The National Weather Service is predicting more than 6 inches of snow for some parts of the Chicago suburbs during the first half of the week.

    Snow expected for Christmas Day

    The National Weather Service is warning that a few different snow events could bring more than 6 inches of snow to parts of the Chicago suburbs during the first half of the week when thousands of people will be traveling for Christmas.

    Egyptians read notes and massages in Arabic in Tahrir Square, Cairo, Egypt, Monday, Dec. 17, 2012. Egypt’s political crisis shows no signs of abating as the opposition to the country’s Islamist government levels new challenges against the legitimacy of a referendum on a draft constitution. Morsi also confronts criticism from the judiciary, as prosecutors hold a sit-in to demand removal of a new prosecutor general he appointed.

    Analysis: Egypt’s Islamists tighten grip on power

    With the passage of a divisive constitution, Egypt's Islamist leadership has secured its tightest grip on power since Hosni Mubarak's ouster nearly two years ago and laid the foundation for legislation to create a more religious state. The opposition's response — a vow to keep fighting the charter and the program of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi — ensured that the turmoil of the...

    A protester chains his hands during a protest in Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt, Monday, Dec. 17, 2012. Egypt’s political crisis shows no signs of abating as the opposition to the country’s Islamist government levels new challenges against the legitimacy of a referendum on a draft constitution. Morsi also confronts criticism from the judiciary, as prosecutors hold a sit-in to demand removal of a new prosecutor general he appointed.

    Egypt opposition alleges vote fraud in referendum

    Egypt's opposition said Sunday it will keep fighting the Islamist-backed constitution after the Muslim Brotherhood, the main group backing the charter, claimed it passed with a 64 percent "yes" vote in a referendum. The opposition alleged vote fraud and demanded an investigation — a sign that the referendum will not end the turmoil that has roiled this country for nearly two years since the...

    Jeremy Jones, 19 of Elgin, was charged with unlawful use of a weapon and unlawful possession of a firearm by a street gang member, according to Chicago police.

    Elgin 19-year-olds arrested with loaded gun in Chicago

    Two Elgin 19-year-olds were arrested in Chicago after police found them with a loaded gun Saturday night, police said.


    Illinois clergy members advocate for gay marriage

    A group of clergy members is pushing to legalize same-sex marriage in Illinois. More than 200 pastors and rabbis released an open letter Sunday calling for legislators to approve legislation allowing gay marriage. They say it’s a matter of equality, conscience and justice. The group plans to send the letter to lawmakers.


    Police question family in fire that killed 2 kids

    Chicago authorities are investigating the family members of two children who were allegedly left alone in an apartment on the city’s South Side and died in a fire.

    The first service at St. Paul’s featured a re-enactment of the birth of Jesus by the children of the church. The Rev. Jill Terpstra, center, delivered a message of gratitude to the church community for their patience, prayers and participation in making the new church a reality.

    New St. Paul’s United Church of Christ hosts first service

    A handwritten “Welcome” sign greeted the St. Paul’s United Church of Christ community to their new church in unincorporated Elgin Sunday morning. But the 137-year-old congregation focused on welcoming the birth of Jesus during its first gathering in the $1.75 million new church building on Plank Road.

    In this Dec. 19, 2012 file photo, mourners walk past a Frosty the Snowman Christmas decoration after visiting a memorial for the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting victims, in Newtown, Conn. In the wake of the shooting, the grieving town is trying to find meaning in Christmas. (AP Photo/David Goldman, File)

    Connecticut town grapples with Christmas after school shootings

    Could anyone imagine celebrating Christmas under the pall that has spread in Newtown, Conn., since the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School? The answer, somehow, is yes. The spirit of Christmas has pushed through, even here, where people are seeing lights and hearing bells in ways they never had before, and reminding themselves which gifts are truly most precious.

    In this Friday, Dec. 21, 2012 photo, workers, from left, Aaron Roaf, Levi Wilson, and Jason Ray stack pieces of milled wood trim at Belco Forest Products in Shelton, Wash. The workers were hired after an audit by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Department resulted in the layoff of more than 20 workers for having suspect documents authorizing them to work in the United States.

    Audits of businesses to find illegal immigrants rising
    U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement reached its highest number yet of companies audited for illegal immigrants on their payrolls this past fiscal year. Audits of employer I-9 forms increased from 250 in fiscal year 2007 to more than 3,000 in 2012. From fiscal years 2009 to 2012, the total amount of fines grew to nearly $13 million from $1 million.

    Waukegan High School history teacher Joshua Bill is the winner of the National History Teacher of the Year award. More than 1,000 candidates nationally were nominated.

    Waukegan High history teacher Joshua Bill wins national award

    For Joshua Bill, teaching history isn't about asking students to memorize dates, places and names. He wants his students to become historians. It is his passion to teach history and his commitment to his students that led the Waukegan High School teacher to be named the National History Teacher of the Year. It is co-sponsored by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, HISTORY, and...

    Paper ornaments hang from a Victorian Christmas tree at Kline Creek Farm in West Chicago on Sunday.

    Kline Creek Farm looks at Christmas of yesteryear

    Kline Creek Farm, a living-history museum in West Chicago that preserves the buildings and traditions of late 19th century farm life, offered tours of its farmhouse Sunday, giving visitors a glimpse at what Christmas was like in the 1890s.

    Jean-Louis Clerc stepped down Dec. 14 as executive chef of the Waterleaf restaurant at College of DuPage.

    Waterleaf chef quits amid COD faculty complaints

    The resignation of the executive chef of the College of DuPage's professionally-run restaurant has brought to a boil a debate on campus of the purpose and role of the fine dining venue. Jean-Louis Clerc stepped down effective Dec. 14 after more than a year at the helm of the Waterleaf, a 130-seat restaurant that opened on the Glen Ellyn campus in October 2011. It features Italian and French fare,...

    This file photo of March 2, 2010 shows a brick-lined drain pipe feeding into Gowanus Canal, which was added to the Superfund National Priorities List in 2010 for being heavily contaminated with PCBs, heavy metals, volatile organics and coal tar wastes. New York, New Jersey and EPA officials say toxic sites are OK after superstorm Sandy, but the Associated Press has found that few actual tests have been done.

    Few tests done at toxic sites after superstorm

    For more than a month, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has said that the recent superstorm didn't cause significant problems at any of the 247 Superfund toxic waste sites it's monitoring in New York and New Jersey. The EPA conducted a handful of tests right after the storm but couldn't provide details or locations of any recent testing when asked this week.

    This Dec. 19, 2012 image shows a frame grab of gofundme.com. This web page solicits donations to rebuild a New York restaurant, The Good Fork. In the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, some who lost their homes or businesses have turned to crowd-funding websites.

    Crowd-funding draws donations for Sandy relief

    In the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, some who lost their homes or businesses have turned to crowd-funding websites to elicit a faster and more direct response than they could expect from the government or traditional charities. While Congress considers a $60 billion disaster aid package for the storm victims, hundreds of them have gotten quicker results by creating personalized fundraising...


    Dist. 73 parent meeting

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


    22 years for gang member in Labor Day 2011 Aurora shootings

    An Aurora man who shot at supposed gang rivals in two separate attacks during Labor Day weekend in 2011 recently was sentenced to 22 years in prison.Kane County Judge David Akemann issued the prison term to Alejandro Rodriguez, 21, of the 1300 block of Indian Avenue, last week.

    In this photo taken Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2012, at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago, Marty Rapp relaxes at at ICE Bar in Terminal 3 between flights. Getting stranded at an airport once meant camping on the floor and enduring hours of boredom in a kind of travel purgatory with nothing to eat but fast food. Tough economic times are helping drive airports to make amends and transform terminals with a bit of bliss: spas, yoga studios, luxury shopping and restaurant menus crafted by celebrity chefs.

    Airports trade layover horror for 'terminal bliss'

    Stung by airline bankruptcies and mergers, more U.S. airports are hunting for alternative revenue streams by hiring top design firms to transform once chaotic and dreary way stations into places of Zen-like tranquility and luxury where people actually want to get stuck — and spend money. As the holiday travel season is in full gear, airports are putting what one designer calls "terminal...

    Senior software engineer, Josh Faust, seen on screen, navigates his company’s office using a Beam remote presence system, as fellow engineer Stephanie Lee, at right, works on a project at Suitable Technologies in Palo Alto, Calif., Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2012. More employees are working from home, but there’s still no substitute for actually being at the office. Enter the Beam. It’s a roving computer screen — with video cameras, microphones and speakers — that stands 5 feet and rides on motorized wheels.

    Telepresence robots let employees ‘beam’ into work

    More and more employees are working remotely, thanks to computers, smartphones, email, instant messaging and video-conferencing. But those technologies are no substitute for actually being in the office, where casual face-to-face conversations allow for easy collaboration and camaraderie. Telepresence-robot makers are trying to bridge that gap with wheeled machines that give remote workers a...

    In a Tuesday, June 12, 2012 file photo, former President George H.W. Bush, and his wife former first lady Barbara Bush, arrive for the premiere of HBO’s new documentary on his life near the family compound in Kennebunkport, Maine. The 41st president’s monthlong stay in a Houston hospital for treatment of a bronchitis-related cough appears to be nearing an end.

    Former President Bush still hospitalized

    President George H.W. Bush, who has been in a Houston hospital with a lingering cough since November, needs to "build up his energy" before he can be released, doctors said Sunday. Methodist Hospital spokesman George Kovacik said in an emailed statement that doctors are still optimistic the 88-year-old Bush will make a full recovery, but are being "extra cautious" with his care.

    The National Rifle Association executive vice president Wayne LaPierre, gestures during a news conference in response to the Connecticut school shooting on Friday, Dec. 21, 2012 in Washington. The nation’s largest gun-rights lobby is calling for armed police officers to be posted in every American school to stop the next killer “waiting in the wings.”

    NRA opposes any new gun restrictions, backs armed guards in schools

    An unwavering National Rifle Association said Sunday that not a single new gun regulation was needed to prevent mass shootings such as the one at a Connecticut elementary school. "Look, a gun is a tool. The problem is the criminal," the CEO of the nation's largest gun-rights lobby said in a nationally broadcast television interview, mocking supporters of gun controls.


    Lawmakers: Time running out for ‘fiscal cliff’ deal

    Time is running out for U.S. lawmakers and President Barack Obama to agree on a budget deal by year end to avoid triggering more than $600 billion in tax increases and spending cuts, Sen. Joseph Lieberman said. "What we ought to do is take Speaker Boehner's last offer, the president's last offer, split the difference, and that would be a package of about $2.6 trillion," Sen. Kent Conrad, a North...

    In this Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2012 file photo, Syrians walk past damaged homes during heavy fighting between Free Syrian Army fighters and government forces in Aleppo, Syria. Christians, who make up about 10 percent of Syria’s population of more than 22 million, say they are particularly vulnerable to the violence that has been sweeping the country since March 2011. They are fearful that Syria will become another Iraq, with Christians caught in the crossfire between rival Islamic groups.

    Syrian Christians fear bleak future after Assad

    Christians, who make up about 10 percent of Syria's population of more than 22 million, say they are particularly vulnerable to the violence that has been sweeping the country since March 2011. They are fearful that Syria will become another Iraq, with Christians caught in the crossfire between rival Islamic groups.


    Syria jets kill tens as international envoy visits

    A government airstrike on a bakery in a rebel-held town in central Syria killed more than 60 people on Sunday, activists said, casting a pall over a visit by the international envoy charged with negotiating an end to the country's civil war. The attack appeared to be the government response to a newly announced rebel offensive seeking to drive the Syrian army from a constellation of towns and...


    Richard Adams, early figure in gay marriage, dies

    Richard Adams, an early mover in the push for same-sex marriage both at the altar and in the courts, has died. Attorney Lavi Soloway says Adams died last Monday at his Hollywood home at age 65 after a brief illness.

    Stephanie Brown lives in a supportive housing apartment in Evanston.

    Evanston woman espouses benefits from housing program

    Stephanie Brown said when she was able to move from a nursing home where she lived in fear for three years to her Evanston apartment, "it felt like I'd been released from prison." Brown, 61, who struggles with depression, was able to move into the kind of supportive housing for the mentally ill that is in short supply in the suburbs.


    Quinn: Donate unused frequent flier miles to vets
    Gov. Pat Quinn is urging Illinois residents to support military veterans this Christmas by donating their unused frequent flier miles to Operation Hero Miles.The program aims to make sure service members are able to travel to visit their families while on leave.

    Esteban Hernandez shows his Christmas card to his mother, Belinda Hernandez. Cub Scouts from Whittier School in Wheaton wrote cards and packed gifts that were distributed Saturday to veterans in the Midwest Shelter for Homeless Veterans in Wheaton.

    Scouts answer wish lists for homeless vets

    Wearing vests and badges, they snapped to attention during a presentation of the flag before pursuing their task at hand: spreading some Christmas cheer for those who served in another kind of uniform. Cub Scout Pack 61, a group of 55 boys in first- through fifth-grade at Whittier Elementary School in Wheaton, decided not to depend on Santa this year and instead took it upon themselves to answer...

    D.W. Presley, president of the Bald Knob Cross of Peace, addresses the crowd before four LED light panels are turned on to illuminate the cross Saturday in downstate Alto Pass. The lighting ceremony marked the completion of a renovation project that began in 2009.

    Rehabbed S. Illinois landmark alight again

    CARBONDALE — Looming 11 stories atop southern Illinois' tallest peak, the Bald Knob Cross of Peace was inelegantly showing its half-century age. Hundreds of white porcelain panels were rusting, missing or hanging on by coat hangers and bailing wire. But the landmark's luster is back, courtesy of a feverish restoration effort.Just in time for the Christmas holiday, caretakers on Saturday...

    The Palatine High School Choir’s Midnight Blues group performed Saturday at the White House in Washington, D.C.

    Palatine High School choir group performs at White House

    The Palatine High School Choir's Midnight Blues group performed Saturday for visitors to the White House in Washington, D.C. Songs included "Home for the Holidays," "Let it Snow" and "Hannukah in Santa Monica." "It is a once-in-a-lifetime pportunity," said Kara Sandquist, a senior.

    Jessica Clute talks about her 12-year-old son at her home in Buffalo Grove. “He’ll tell me he’s going to kill me,” she says, but, “He later becomes very remorseful.”

    Parents struggle to control Buffalo Grove 12-year-old’s violence

    A Buffalo Grove mother wonders if the public really understands the challenges for the family in dealing with mental health issues. She has a son, 12, who is smart but can be violent. Her son is making progress, but she wishes more help was available from the state in dealing with the challenges. "I don't know why," the boy says of the violent threats he sometimes makes.

    The Guagenti family — mom Shirley, daughter Amanda and father Lou, all of Arlington Heights — are hoping for supportive living housing for people with mental illness in the suburbs. Amanda is battling mental illness.

    Mentally ill say more suburban housing options needed

    Having a home of their own is one more struggle for those living with mental illness. "People with mental illness in this area are forced to live with their parents or in nursing homes, or they have to leave their communities to live in the city," an expert at one suburban agency says. But specialized housing, as proposed in Arlington Heights and Wheeling, is often opposed by residents.

    Zara Seid talks to her daughter Fatime Mahamat, 3, who is being treated for severe malnutrition at a nutritional health clinic run by Action Against Hunger with the support of UNICEF, in Mao, Chad. In this Sahel nation, childhood malnutrition and related mortality persist at alarming rates, despite the fact that many affected families live within a day’s journey of internationally-funded nutrition clinics.

    Traditions in Chad harm, kill underfed children

    The world poured more than $1 billion into the band of countries just south of Africa's vast Sahara to address hunger this year alone, according to a United Nations database. A third of that money went to Chad, where 15 percent of children are acutely malnourished, says a report by aid group Save the Children. That's among the highest rates in Africa. Yet acute malnutrition is only getting worse.

    Jan Bolsoni of Glen Ellyn, a member of Peace Lutheran Church in Lombard, loads presents as the Humanitarian Service Project distributes holiday packages to area families in need.

    Humanitarian Service Project strives to ease pain and suffering brought by poverty

    Carol Stream-based Humanitarian Service Project began in 1979 when Karole and Floyd Kettering decided to help needy area families with groceries and gifts for the Christmas season. In the years since, the program gradually has expanded to include numerous other programs. Humanitarian Service Project co-founder and Executive Director Karole Kettering tells us more about the group and the good it...

    Angela Cichosz of Carol Stream used a macro lens to take this abstract photo of a large blown-glass paperweight.

    Winning photos range from abstract to literal
    Each week’s DuPage County Neighbor section includes at least one entry in our Photo Finish contest. Our photo staffers pick some of their favorite submissions to run each week and then one overall monthly winner. This week’s entries range from the abstract to the literal.

    The Morton Arboretum will sponsor its 35th annual hunt for the yule log starting at 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 30, at the museum in Lisle.

    Morton Arboretum gears up for annual yule log hunt

    Think yule logs only make for anticlimactic television? The uninterrupted hours and hours of just a burning log on screen have long been a holiday staple for homebodies and couch potatoes. But at the Morton Arboretum in Lisle, there's a more cryptic — and healthier — spin on the yule log.

    Santa and the Gilberts Fire Department collect donations during a previous Santa Run. The local tradition, sponsored by the Rutland Dundee Firefighters’ Association, has been going on for 40 years.

    Annual Santa run nets donations for needy

    After Halloween, it doesn't take long for Sleepy Hollow and Gilberts residents to look forward to one of the longest standing traditions in Dundee Township: the annual Santa Run sponsored by the Rutland Dundee Firefighters' Association.

    Naperville Mayor George Pradel, who has a hat for nearly every occasion, will lead kids and their parents in a countdown to noon on Dec. 31 as part of the DuPage Children’s Museum’s annual Bubble Bash celebration, being held this year at North Central College.

    DuPage Children’s Museum’s Bubble Bash offering countdown to noon

    The DuPage Children's Museum will offer little ones a chance to dance, blow bubbles and, finally, count down to noon on New Year's Eve as part of its annual Bubble Bash celebration.

    Neighbors of 60-year-old Arlington Heights resident Carl Kunstman have rallied around him this holiday season to help him keep his home after he fell prey to financial scam artists. They’re holding a “Carl’s Village” fundraiser to benefit him next week.

    Arlington Heights holiday display for a cause

    Neighbors of 60-year-old Arlington Heights resident Carl Kunstman have rallied around him this holiday season to help him keep his home after he fell prey to financial scam artists. They're holding a "Carl's Village" fundraiser to benefit him next week.

    Toys from Daily Herald Hope for the Holidays campaign load up the checkout at the Meijer store in Rolling Meadows.

    Talk with the Editor: The joy of reporting on Hope for the Holidays

    In this Talk with the Editor, John Lampinen describes the success of the Daily Herald Hope for the Holidays campaign -- and the joy of reporting on it.

    The 1992 Tom Lynch painting.

    Images: Tom Lynch Christmas Day paintings
    For several years, Aurora artist Tom Lynch's holiday paintings have graced the the front page of the Daily Herald's Christmas Day edition. Here's a look back at many of the paintings.


    Seattle Seahawks’ Richard Sherman jumps over San Francisco 49ers’ Michael Crabtree as Sherman celebrates his interception in the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 23, 2012, in Seattle.

    Seahawks rack up another huge win

    SEATTLE — Fueled by its deafening home crowd, the Seattle Seahawks locked up their spot in the postseason Sunday night.They also reinforced the notion no one in the NFC wants to see them when the playoffs begin, even if they are a wild card.Russell Wilson threw a career high four touchdown passes to move into second place for most TD passes by a rookie. Marshawn Lynch scored two first-quarter TDs, and the Seahawks blew out the San Francisco 49ers 42-13. Richard Sherman returned a blocked field goal 90 yards for another touchdown as the Seahawks (10-5) jumped to a 21-0 lead. That only added to an already hyped crowd on a typically cold and rainy December night, with noise echoing off the walls and overhanging roof of CenturyLink Field that might have been heard all the way across Puget Sound. No one cared about the cold rain. Not with the performance they were seeing on the field. And not with a ticket to the postseason guaranteed thanks to Seattle’s first 10-win season since 2007. Most likely Seattle will be the No. 5 seed in the NFC. There remains a slight chance of winning the NFC West if the Seahawks beat St. Louis in the season finale and Arizona can upset the 49ers in San Francisco. The Seahawks, 7-0 at home, delayed San Francisco (10-4-1) from celebrating a division title on Seattle’s turf. They turned Jim Harbaugh’s 49th birthday into a miserable, wet evening. Whether home or road, the Seahawks are a scary postseason opponent with the way they are playing. Seattle was the first team since 1950 to score at least 50 points in consecutive weeks thanks to its 58-0 win over Arizona and 50-17 victory against Buffalo. It seemed inconceivable the scoring binge could continue against San Francisco, the best scoring defense in the NFL.But it did. Seattle has outscored its last three opponents 150-30.The 42 points were the most allowed since Harbaugh took over the 49ers, and the most San Francisco yielded since 45 to Atlanta in 2009. It was the perfect way for Pete Carroll to snap a three-game losing streak against his rival. Lynch finished with 111 yards on 26 carries, his third straight game against the 49ers topping 100 yards. Wilson wasn’t asked to do much — other than throw touchdown passes.He hit Lynch on a 9-yard TD in the first quarter, Anthony McCoy for a 6-yarder late in the first half, and Doug Baldwin on 4 and 6 yard TDs in the second half. Wilson now has 25 TD passes, one behind Peyton Manning’s NFL rookie record of 26. He finished 15 of 21 for 171 yards. His only incompletion in the first half was a deflected pass that Patrick Willis intercepted.Wilson led Seattle on scoring drives of 9, 12, 13 and 15 plays. He was never threatened by Aldon Smith, who remained stuck on 19 1-2 sacks for the season thanks to the play of Seattle left tackle Russell Okung.The Seahawks were 11 of 13 on third-down conversions. And Wilson was the clear winner in the matchup of young quarterbacks. San Francisco’s Colin Kaepernick had already proven himself capable of winning on the road with victories in New Orleans and last week in New England. But Seattle is a different beast, widely regarded by players as the loudest venue in the NFL. His inexperience playing in such an environment showed. He was flustered and disorganized at the line of scrimmage, letting the noise from Seattle’s fans affect him. Kaepernick’s forgettable night was capped when Sherman stepped in front of his pass for Randy Moss at the back of the end zone on the first play of the fourth quarter for his seventh interception of the season. Kaepernick was 19 of 36 for 244 yards with an 18-yard TD pass to Delanie Walker with 1:40 left. Frank Gore had just 28 yards on six carries after rushing for a season-high 131 when the teams met in Week 7.

    Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall finished with 6 catches for 68 yards in Sunday’s victory, but he was less than happy with his performance.

    Bears’ Marshall promises to do better next time

    Brandon Marshall needed just 3 yards to break Marcus Robinson’s franchise record of 1,400 receiving yards for a single season, and he got it early in the second quarter on a 30-yard reception. Marshall was targeted five times before the record-breaking reception and had 2 drops after that.

    Chicago Bears defensive back Zack Bowman celebrates his touchdown with teammate Tim Jennings against the Arizona Cardinals during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 23, 2012, in Glendale, Ariz.

    Images: Bears vs. Cardinals
    With their playoff hopes on the line,The Chicago Bears headed west to face the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday, December 23rd. The Bears defeated the Cardinals 28-13 and keep their playoff hopes alive.

    Bears running back Matt Forte scores a touchdown as Cardinals free safety Kerry Rhodes defends during the first half of Sunday.

    Bears keep playoff hopes alive with win over Cards

    The Bears' playoff hopes are still alive. Because the Minnesota Vikings already had upset the Texans in Houston earlier Sunday, a Bears loss to the Cardinals would have eliminated them from the playoffs. "We were focused on us," defensive lineman Israel Idonije said. "Everything that's going on with needing help, this and that, that's not our focus. Our focus is in-house. "What do we have to do as a team to win football games. That's it."

    Zack Bowman (38) celebrates his touchdown with teammate Tim Jennings (26) on Sunday in Glendale, Ariz.

    Peppers, Tillman, Bowman lead charge against Cardinals

    In the most important game of the season, defensive end Julius Peppers turned in his best performance of the year with a season-high 3 sacks, giving him a team-best 11½ for the season. Cornerback Charles Tillman did what he's done better than almost anyone else for the past decade. He took the ball away with an interception and then scored on a 10-yard return. Tillman has 3 interceptions this season, and he's scored on each of them.

    The Bears’ Alonzo Spellman closes in on Ryan Lindley as the Cardinals’ quarterback looks for an open receiver.

    Smith, Bears can survive with a little help

    The world, the Bears' season and Lovie Smith's coaching tenure all survived to live at least one more weekend. All of this was predictable regardless of what the Mayan calendar blabbed — the world always has at least another week before imploding.

    Bears coach Lovie Smith, right, was more than happy to receive the gifts provided by coach Ken Whisenhunt’s Cardinals team Sunday in Arizona.

    Bears happy to accept Cards’ gift

    Taking a page out of their early-season playbook, the Bears were great on defense and terrible on offense Sunday, but Arizona is so bad that it really didn't matter. The Bears' win certainly had Lovie Smith's name written all over it — it had all the earmarks of a Smith victory during his nine-year run as head coach in Chicago.


    Ravens clinch division with win over Giants

    BALTIMORE — A celebration four weeks in the making featured laughs and hugs, a surprise appearance by team owner Steve Bisciotti and the distribution of hats announcing the Baltimore Ravens’ stature as AFC North champions.Joe Flacco threw for 309 yards and two touchdowns, and the Ravens defeated the New York Giants 33-14 Sunday to end a three-game losing streak to secure their second straight division crown.“It feels good,” wide receiver Torrey Smith said in the upbeat locker room. “I’m just glad we finally got it done.”The Ravens (10-5) led 24-7 at halftime and cruised behind a short-handed defense that harassed quarterback Eli Manning and limited New York to 186 yards.Playing its second game with Jim Caldwell as offensive coordinator, Baltimore scored touchdowns on its first two possessions and amassed a season-high 533 yards — 289 in the first half alone.“It’s about execution, man. It’s a simple word, but it’s a very tough task to do,” said running back Ray Rice, who ran for 107 yards and caught six passes for 51 yards and a touchdown. “This was a championship game for us.”After ending their longest losing streak since 2009, the Ravens are assured a home playoff game on the first weekend of January.“We know what’s at stake. We want the AFC championship and it starts tonight,” safety James Ihedigbo said. “We’re not looking at regular season. Playoffs started for us and we’re going to keep on playing.”The defeat eliminated the defending Super Bowl champion Giants (8-7) from contention in the NFC East and severely damaged their chances of qualifying for the playoffs.New York has lost five of seven and was coming off a 34-0 defeat at Atlanta. In this one, Manning went 14 for 28 for 150 yards and was sacked three times.“Obviously, we have a bad formula going on right here,” coach Tom Coughlin said. “We’re having trouble stopping people and our offense doesn’t hold the ball at all to give the defense a chance to catch their breath. We’ve had two games in a row, pretty much the exact same scenario.”Flacco, meanwhile, rebounded from a stretch in which he committed two turnovers in each of Baltimore’s three straight defeats. He completed 25 of 36 passes, ran for a score and did not throw an interception or lose a fumble.He repeatedly picked on cornerback Corey Webster, who simply couldn’t contain Smith or Anquan Boldin. Smith caught five passes for 88 yards and a touchdown, and Boldin finished with seven receptions for 93 yards.Backup Bernard Pierce gained 123 yards as part of a running attack that generated 224 yards.Baltimore’s defense was also impressive despite missing injured linebackers Ray Lewis and Jameel McClain, along with safety Bernard Pollard.New York fell out of a first-place tie in the NFC East. The Giants will need a win over Philadelphia next week and help from other teams to squeeze into the postseason.“I feel badly for everyone in that locker room because they can’t turn this thing around either,” Coughlin said. “What has happened over the course of the last couple of weeks is very difficult to explain. We just don’t look like a well-oiled machine offensively at all.”Said Manning: “We knew we had to play our best football at the end of the season to get into the playoffs, and we haven’t done that. When you’re not playing your best, teams can come out and embarrass you.”Baltimore’s first drive ended with a 6-yard touchdown pass from Flacco to Smith after officials overturned a fumble by Jacoby Jones at the New York 5 following a replay review.The 73-yard march featured a few new wrinkles from the Ravens, most notably an option pitch from Flacco to Rice. and third-string running back Anthony Allen’s first catch of the season, a first-down grab at the New York 40.After the Giants went three-and-out for a second straight time, Smith made an outstanding catch behind Webster for a 43-yard gain and Flacco scored from the 1.


    Manning’s 3 TDs lead Broncos over Browns

    DENVER — By his own estimation, Peyton Manning is not the quarterback he used to be. Try telling that to the Cleveland Browns. Manning threw for a season-high 339 yards and three touchdowns, two of which he zinged into impossibly tight windows to well-covered receivers, That pushed the Denver Broncos into a first-place tie in the AFC standings with a 34-12 win over the Browns.The 36-year-old quarterback got his 72nd career three-touchdown game Sunday as Denver (12-3) won its 10th straight. Manning has 34 touchdowns and 4,355 passing yards this season — second-most touchdowns he’s thrown in his 14 seasons and 203 away from second-most yards, as well. Yet, when asked if he’s playing as well as he did in his prime, Manning didn’t hesitate: “I don’t. I do not. I don’t,” he said.“A 36-year-old quarterback coming off a year and a half off, playing on a new team, I’m trying to be as good as I possibly can in this scenario,” he said in an unusually candid news conference. “It’s a different kind of body I’m playing in and just a different kind of quarterback play for me.”Yes, Manning says, it takes more time with the trainer, more time in the weight room and there’s more mystery because of the injury. But when he hits the field, he looks like the quarterback who has a record four Most Valuable Player awards and is in the running for a fifth. His first two touchdown passes, to Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker, were Exhibits A and B of his prowess on a breezy, warm day the quarterback used to test out an orange glove. He may use it when the weather gets colder come playoff time. The throw to Thomas was a 22-yarder lobbed to the back of the end zone. The 10-yard touchdown to Decker was more of a laser. Like the Thomas touchdown, it was thrown in leaping range of the receiver where only he could catch it. “People call that the Dwight Clark throw,” Manning said of the iconic Joe Montana-to-Dwight Clark touchdown that won the 1981 NFC title game for San Francisco. Browns cornerback Sheldon Brown had blanket-tight coverage on both balls. Sometimes the other guy is simply better. “I’ve seen him do a lot of special things,” said receiver Brandon Stokley, who also played with Manning in Indianapolis. “It would be hard, at this point, for anything he does to surprise me.”Manning’s mastery opens things up for the Denver defense to get aggressive, and it did — finishing with six sacks, all in the second half.Von Miller was in on two, the second of which knocked quarterback Brandon Weeden out of the game with an injury to his right shoulder. Late in the fourth quarter, Browns running back Trent Richardson was carted off the field, with trainers looking at his left ankle. Coach Pat Shurmur offered no additional information on the injuries.Cleveland (5-10) lost its second straight after winning three in a row. “Our record (stinks) and everybody is disappointed,” defensive back Joe Haden said. “Every week it seems like you lose a game and you try to explain why it happened, that you just lost. We need to do better. We just need to win. We can’t keep coming here talking all the same.”As good as the Broncos were, there were frustrations. Denver finished with a season-high 11 penalties; Manning threw an interception that ended a long second-quarter drive inside the Cleveland 10; Broncos kick returners bobbled the ball twice, but recovered both; Browns lineman Billy Winn plowed guard Zane Beadles into Manning, altering the trajectory of the pass 30 feet into the air for an incompletion. Manning pounded his fist into the turf after that one.

    Here’s hoping for fans that Tom Thibodeau is just starting a long, successful run as coach of the Bulls.

    These gifts should be on Bulls’ lists

    With two days of rest before the colossal, Christmas return of Omer Asik to the United Center, this is a good time to pass out some gifts to Luol Deng, Joakim Noah, Derrick Rose and some of their NBA friends.

    Bears defensive back Zack Bowman (38) celebrates his touchdown with teammate Tim Jennings (26) against the Arizona Cardinals during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 23, 2012, in Glendale, Ariz.

    Bears keep playoff hopes alive

    GLENDALE, Ariz. — Chicago's defense outscored Arizona all by itself on a day when the Bears had to win to keep their playoff hopes alive.Charles Tillman returned an interception 10 yards for a score and Zack Bowman returned a fumble 1 yard for another TD in the Bears' 28-13 victory over the punchless Cardinals.It was the third pick Tillman has brought back for a touchdown this season and the eighth overall by Chicago, one shy of the NFL record. Brandon Marshall caught six passes for 68 yards and a TD, breaking the Bears franchise record for yards receiving in a season in the process.Chicago (9-6) snapped a three-game losing streak and won for just the second time in seven tries. The Cardinals (5-10) lost for the 10th time in 11 games.To make the playoffs as a wild card, the Bears must win at Detroit in their regular-season finale next Sunday, then have Minnesota lose to Green Bay or have Seattle lose its final two games. The Seahawks were home against San Francisco Sunday night.Matt Forte gained 88 yards in 12 carries, including a 4-yard TD run, for Chicago before leaving with an ankle injury early in the second half.Jay Cutler completed just one of his first 11 passes, then went 5 of 5 on a touchdown drive in the final minutes of the first half. He finished 12 of 26 for 146 yards and a touchdown.It was the defense's dominance of Arizona's NFL-worst offense that determined the outcome.The Cardinals continued to search for someone to move the ball.After he threw the interception to Tillman put Chicago up 28-6 on Arizona's first offensive series after halftime, rookie Ryan Lindley was benched in favor of Brian Hoyer, claimed off waivers from Pittsburgh 13 days earlier. Kelvin Hayden picked off Hoyer's pass late in the game and returned it 39 yards to the Arizona 10.But Adrian Wilson blocked Olindo Mare's 20-yard field goal try and Justin Bethel returned it 82 yards with 1:46 to play for the Cardinals' lone TD of the day.Arizona's Larry Fitzgerald caught eight passes for 111 yards, just his second 100-yard receiving game of the season. The first was in Week 3 against Philadelphia when the Cardinals were off to a 4-0 start.Marshall made a diving grab of Cutler's long pass at the Arizona 14 early in the game, but Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt threw the challenge flag before the Bears could get the next play off. After the review, the pass was ruled incomplete.No matter, the Bears scored a moment later anyway.Chicago pinned the Cardinals deep and, on second-and-11 from the 3, Beanie Wells' right knee gave way and he dropped the ball as he went backside first to the ground. Bowman grabbed it and skidded over the goal line for the first touchdown for the Bears defense since Nov. 4. Fitzgerald's leaping grab of Lindley's 18-yard pass helped set up Jay Feely's 49-yard field goal that cut it to 7-3.But Forte rambled 36 yards on the final play of the first quarter and Cutler threw 30 yards to Marshall to the Arizona 4 the Bears quarterback's first completion of the game in seven throws. Forte carried it in from there and Chicago led 14-3.Arizona's defense forced a Bears punt from their 6, and the Cardinals took over at the Chicago 32. But Lindley threw three errant passes, and a fake field goal of what would have been a 50-yard attempt went nowhere.Chicago soon gave Arizona another chance when Dave Zastudil's punt careened off the Bears' D.J. Moore and bounced into the hands of the Cardinals' Michael Adams. Adams raced to the end zone but, as a muffed punt, it was brought back to the Chicago 36. Arizona advanced to the 18 before Feely's 35-yard field goal cut the lead to 14-6 with 2:18 left in the half.

    Northwestern guard James Montgomery III, right, and Brown forward Tyler Ponticelli battle for a loose ball during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Evanston, Ill., Sunday, Dec. 23, 2012. Northwestern won 63-42.

    Northwestern tops Brown 63-42

    EVANSTON — Northwestern was without two of its starters on Sunday. The Wildcats responded by spreading the offense around.Six players scored at least eight points apiece as the Wildcats ended nonconference play with a 63-42 victory over Brown.Dave Sobolewski scored 14 points to lead Northwestern and Kale Abrahamson, Alex Marcotullio and Tre Demps each had nine points for the Wildcats (9-4) in their final game before Big Ten play begins.“That just shows we’re running our offense well,” Sobolewski said about the scoring balance. “Without Drew (Crawford) and Reggie (Hearn), we’re going to need other guys to score. Having six guys over eight points is huge for us. If we get that consistent scoring from that many different guys, I think we’ll win a lot of games.Sean McGonagill, a native of nearby Brookfield, Ill., scored 20 points to lead Brown (3-6), which has lost three straight and five of six. It was the Bears’ first game since Dec. 8, when they lost 84-57 at No. 22 Notre Dame.Northwestern, which never trailed, made 13 of 24 from 3-point range, with Sobolewski and Marcotullio each hitting three.Six Wildcat players made at least one 3-pointer. The Wildcats scored the first 15 points of the game, all on 3-pointers. The Wildcats had 21 assists and just 12 turnovers.Hearn, leading Northwestern with 14.5 points per game, did not play because of an ankle injury suffered in Friday’s 70-68 loss to Stanford. Marcotullio started in Hearn’s place.The Wildcats are already without Crawford, who will miss the rest of the season. Crawford, who was averaging 13.5 points per game, underwent surgery for a torn labrum in his right shoulder on Thursday.The fire alarm in Welsh-Ryan Arena went off with about a minute to play. The game stopped briefly with 40.8 seconds remaining, and officials announced to the crowd that it was a false alarm though many fans were already leaving.Northwestern shot 49 percent from the field while Brown made just 31 percent.“Time off gave us a chance to recharge and work on some things. We showed some flashes, but not for 40 minutes,” Brown coach Mike Martin said.Matt Sullivan, a native of nearby Wilmette, Ill., who leads the Bears in scoring with 16 points per game, scored two on Sunday. Only eight players suited up for Brown.“They put (Jared) Swopshire on him, and his length might have bothered Matt a little bit,” Martin said. “Credit Northwestern for the job they did. Matt missed a couple open ones. He could never get in that rhythm, even when he got to the foul line.”Northwestern’s biggest lead was 33 points with 8:32 remaining after a 17-0 run. Sobolewski, Swopshire and Marcotullio combined to hit four consecutive 3-pointers during the run. Sobolewski was fouled on his second 3 and made the foul shot for a 60-27 lead.Northwestern coach Bill Carmody instructed Sobolewski, a sophomore guard, to show more variety in his offensive game.“He’s a bulldog. He’s a hard guy, dropping his elbow and his shoulder,” Carmody said. “I told him he’s gotta be more like a French poodle, not quite that, so he’s shooting off the bounce. There’s space, shoot it, not just to catch and shoot, but off the bounce.“Don’t just go in there and hope for the best. He hit some big shots out there today, and that’s really going to help his whole game.”The Wildcats went 6 of 13 from beyond the arc in the first half to lead 28-18 at the break.After Northwestern’s 15-0 start, Tucker Halpern hit a 3-pointer for Brown’s first points with 15:21 left in the half. Brown had four 3-pointers in the game, with McGonagill making the other three.The Bears hadn’t played in two weeks due to final exams.“Brown was a little rusty out there,” Carmody said. “That helped us also. You gotta recognize that. Exams are rough at Northwestern and Brown.”The Wildcats, who are now 6-4 at home, entered the game shooting 37 percent from 3-point range.

    Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green (18) is hit by Pittsburgh Steelers strong safety Troy Polamalu (43) as he tries to catch a pass in the second quarter of an NFL football game in Pittsburgh, Sunday, Dec 23, 2012. The pass was incomplete.

    Bengals headed back to playoffs

    PITTSBURGH — Andy Dalton and A.J. Green have the Cincinnati Bengals back in the postseason.Dalton hit Green for a 21-yard pass in the final moments, setting up Josh Brown’s 43-yard field goal with 4 seconds remaining. That lifted the Bengals over the Pittsburgh Steelers 13-10 on Sunday, sending Cincinnati into the playoffs for a second straight season.It’s the first time since 1981-82 that Cincinnati made the playoffs in consecutive years — and the first time not involving a strike season.Brown missed a 56-yarder earlier in the quarter. He earned a second chance when Reggie Nelson picked off Ben Roethlisberger and returned it to the Pittsburgh 46 with 14 seconds remaining. Andy Dalton found Green down the right sideline, setting up Brown’s winner.Dalton completed 24 of 41 for 278 yards and two interceptions for the Bengals (9-6), who snapped a five-game losing streak to Pittsburgh (7-8). Green caught 10 passes for 116 yards for Cincinnati.Roethlisberger completed 14 of 28 passes for 220 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions, including his costly mistake in the final seconds that ended Pittsburgh’s playoff hopes. It marked the second straight week a Roethlisberger pick cost the Steelers: He threw an interception on the second play of overtime in last week’s loss at Dallas.The Steelers needed to win out to play into January, but couldn’t manage any momentum against a Cincinnati defense that gave Roethlisberger problems all afternoon. The Bengals sacked Roethlisberger four times and allowed Pittsburgh to complete just 2 of 14 third downs.Cincinnati wasn’t much better, managing all of 14 yards rushing against the NFL’s top-ranked defense. But Dalton and Green worked just enough magic.Pittsburgh did a decent job of keeping Dalton and Green in check, forcing a season-high three turnovers and making a season-high six sacks. But the offense couldn’t take advantage.Still, the Steelers had one last chance when they took over with 44 seconds left. Roethlisberger rolled right and tried to hit Mike Wallace down the sideline. The ball sailed over Wallace’s head and into the arms of Nelson, who had dropped an earlier pick.It was just enough time for Dalton and Green to get together one last time and help Cincinnati take one more step away from its mediocre past.The Steelers, meanwhile, head into next week’s season finale trying to avoid their first losing season under coach Mike Tomlin after falling for the fifth time in six games.Both teams squandered opportunities earlier in the fourth quarter.The Bengals drove into Pittsburgh territory before stalling at the Steelers 38. Cincinnati coach Marvin Lewis sent out Brown to attempt a 56-yard field goal into the tricky Heinz Field winds.The kick was never close, giving the Steelers premium field position with 3:18 left.Pittsburgh, however, had its own kicking issues. The Steelers moved to the Cincinnati 36, then brought out Shaun Suisham for a 53-yard attempt that was short all the way.The Steelers spent the week insisting they play their best when backed into a corner, then spent most of the first half getting pushed around by the Bengals. Roethlisberger, who had been critical of offensive coordinator Todd Haley after the loss to Dallas, struggled getting into a rhythm.The quarterback had voiced concern over the inability to get the ball to tight end Heath Miller against the Cowboys and tried to make up for it early. Cincinnati was waiting.Leon Hall stepped in front of a crossing pass to Miller late in the first quarter and sprinted 17 yards for a touchdown to give the Bengals the lead. Pittsburgh, fueled by the return of running back Rashard Mendenhall following a one-game suspension for conduct detrimental to the team, drove deep into Cincinnati territory only to have Suisham shank a 24-yard field goal wide left following a botched snap.


    Saints hold off Cowboys rally for 34-31 win

    ARLINGTON, Texas — Garrett Hartley kicked a 20-yard field in overtime, and the New Orleans Saints damaged Dallas’ playoff hopes with a 34-31 victory against the Cowboys on Sunday.Drew Brees threw for 446 yards and three touchdowns and led a drive to the winning kick. The Saints all but clinched it when a fumble by Marques Colston rolled forward about 20 yards to the Dallas 2. Jimmy Graham recovered.The Cowboys lost despite rallying for two touchdowns in the final 3:35 of regulation. Tony Romo, who threw for 416 yards and four scores, hit Miles Austin for the tying touchdown with 15 seconds left in regulation.The playoff hopes for the Saints (7-8) ended with Minnesota’s victory against Houston. The Cowboys (8-7) had a three-game winning streak snapped and lost control of their playoff fate.


    Redskins can clinch divison next week

    PHILADELPHIA — Robert Griffin III threw two touchdown passes in his first game back from a knee injury, Kai Forbath set the NFL record for consecutive field goals to begin a career and the Washington Redskins held on to beat the Philadelphia Eagles 27-20 Sunday for their sixth straight win. Nick Foles drove the Eagles to the Redskins 5 before his intentional grounding penalty ended the game. The Redskins (9-6) can clinch the NFC East with a victory over Dallas at home next Sunday. They haven’t won it since 1999 and last reached the playoffs in 2007.Trying to play spoiler, the Eagles (4-11) fell short in what could’ve been Andy Reid’s last game coaching the team at the Linc. Reid is unlikely to return to Philadelphia for his 15th season next year.


    Patriots hold on to beat Jaguars 23-16

    JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Tom Brady and the playoff-bound Patriots settled down in time to beat the woeful Jaguars.Brady overcame a rough start by throwing two touchdown passes, and New England held on for a 23-16 win Sunday.Brady had two interceptions in the first quarter, the second one helping the Jaguars (2-13) build a 10-0 lead.But the Jaguars faded in the third quarter for the fourth consecutive week, lost for the 11th time in the last 12 games and set a franchise record for losses in a season.Brady had a lot to do with the home team’s latest setback, finding his rhythm after a sluggish start and picking apart Jacksonville’s defense.He hooked up with Wes Welker for a 2-yard score on the second play of the fourth quarter, putting the Patriots (11-4) ahead 23-13 — what seemed like plenty of cushion against the offensively challenged Jaguars.But Jacksonville had two chances to tie things in the closing minutes.Trailing by a touchdown, they were facing third-and-goal at the 1 when tight end Zach Potter jumped before the snap. So the short-yardage situation became a passing play, and Chad Henne was sacked, leaving Jacksonville with a fourth-and-goal play at the 10.Chandler Jones hit Henne as he tried to throw, and Patrick Chung intercepted the floater over the middle.The Patriots, though, couldn’t run out the clock, and the Jaguars had the ball near midfield with less than a minute to play. Henne connected with Toney Clemons on fourth down with 22 seconds remaining, then found Jordan Shipley for an 18-yard gain that put them at the New England 12. But Chung intercepted Henne’s final pass, essentially a jump ball to the middle of the end zone.New England, coming off a 41-34 home loss to San Francisco, avoided consecutive losses in December for the first time since 2002.Brady completed 24 of 41 passes for 267 yards, his worst outing in six games against Jacksonville. Welker caught 10 passes for 88 yards. Stevan Ridley ran 18 times for 84 yards.Brady entered the game having thrown for 1,207 yards, with 13 touchdowns and no interceptions, in five wins against the Jaguars. His string of success ended with his first pass, though.Ridley tipped the ball down the sideline, and safety Chris Prosinski picked it off for his first interception of the season. Jacksonville moved the ball, but settled for a field goal.And that was the story of the day for coach Mike Mularkey’s team.The Jaguars had the ball inside New England’s 25-yard line seven times, but came away with a touchdown and three field goals.And settling for field goals against the league’s most prolific offense is hardly a formula for success.Henne completed 29 of 51 passes for 348 yards, with a touchdown and three interceptions. His 3-yard TD pass to Justin Blackmon to open the game was Jacksonville’s first touchdown on its opening possession since Oct. 9, 2011, against Cincinnati.But the ending is all that matters for Jacksonville, which finished 1-7 at home and left owner Shad Khan with decisions to make about Mularkey and general manager Gene Smith.

    Green Bay Packers’ Sam Shields reacts after sacking Tennessee Titans quarterback Jake Locker during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 23, 2012, in Green Bay, Wis.

    Packers steamroll over Titans 55-7

    GREEN BAY, Wis. — Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers are in prime playoff form. Rodgers threw for three touchdowns and ran for another, Ryan Grant scored twice and Randall Cobb set a single-season franchise record for net yardage Sunday as the Green Bay Packers routed the Tennessee Titans 55-7. The victory ensured the Packers (11-4) will at least be the NFC’s No. 3 seed. They still have a shot at the No. 2 — and the first-round bye that goes with it — if Seattle beats San Francisco on Sunday night. The Packers have been one of the NFL’s best teams over the last two months, winning nine of 10 games. But they haven’t always been at their best against inferior teams, struggling to put away the likes of the Jaguars, Cardinals and Lions. That wasn’t the case against Tennessee. Far from it. The Titans (5-10) had one of the NFL’s stingiest defenses since giving up 51 points to Chicago on Nov. 4, allowing an average of 17.6 points to their last five opponents. But Rodgers and the Green Bay offense may as well have been playing Madden NFL for as easily as they piled up the yardage and the scores on the Titans. The Packers scored more than 50 points for the first time since 2005, and their 460 yards was a season high. They snapped a three-game losing streak against the Titans. Rodgers was 27 of 38, and matched his season high with 342 yards passing. He connected with Cobb (20 yards), Jennings (1) and James Jones (12) for touchdowns, and also ran 6 yards for Green Bay’s first score. His numbers could have been even better, but coach Mike McCarthy pulled him after the first two plays of the fourth quarter. Cobb’s first punt return of 14 yards broke the Green Bay single-season record for all-purpose yardage set by Ahman Green in 2003. With 2,342 for the year, Cobb has 92 more than Green had. Grant finished with 80 yards on 20 carries, and had touchdown runs of 7 and 9 yards. DuJuan Harris also scored on the ground, giving Green Bay four for the game — one fewer than it managed the entire rest of the season. Green Bay’s defense, meanwhile, made life utterly miserable for Jake Locker and the Titans. Tennessee’s offensive line has been decimated by injuries — it started its fifth combination Sunday — and the Titans also were without leading receiver Kendall Wright. But Locker didn’t help matters. He was sacked seven times — though he tripped over his own feet on one — and picked off twice, and finished 13 of 30 for 140 yards. Tennessee managed to cross midfield just three times during the game, and needed until 1:39 left in the game to avoid the shutout. Kenny Britt caught a 39-yard pass to set up his 2-yard reception.

    New York Jets quarterback Greg McElroy, bottom, is sacked by San Diego Chargers defensive end Corey Liuget, left, during the second half of an NFL football game on Sunday, Dec. 23, 2012, in East Rutherford, N.J. The Chargers won 27-17.

    Jets’ third-string QB sacked 11 times

    EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — San Diego sacked Greg McElroy 11 times, ruining the New York Jets quarterback’s first NFL start, and Philip Rivers threw two touchdown passes in the Chargers’ 27-17 victory Sunday.McElroy, the third-stringer who was starting for the benched Mark Sanchez, moved the offense for the Jets (6-9) early but faced pressure all game. With a chance to get New York back into it with less than 5 minutes remaining, McElroy was sacked by Shaun Phillips and lost the ball. Phillips recovered and San Diego sealed the win.With most of the pregame drama centered around whether Sanchez or Tim Tebow would back up McElroy — it was both — Rivers made long touchdown tosses of 37 yards to Danario Alexander and 34 yards to Antonio Gates to lead the Chargers (6-9). It was Gates’ 82nd touchdown catch, snapping a tie with Lance Alworth for the franchise lead.


    Newton leads Panthers over Raiders 17-6

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Cam Newton threw for 171 yards and a touchdown and ran for 60 yards and another score, and the Carolina Panthers defeated the Oakland Raiders 17-6 on Sunday.The Panthers held the Raiders to 189 total yards and 12 first downs in a game featuring several shoving matches, plenty of heated exchanges and six unnecessary roughness penalties — including one that sidelined Oakland quarterback Carson Palmer for the day.Even Newton drew a flag after bumping an official with his chest for what he perceived as the latest in a series of late hits by Raiders defenders. Newton was not ejected.Newton and the Panthers built a 14-3 lead at halftime and let linebacker Luke Kuechly and defensive end Greg Hardy do the rest.Oakland’s offense was essentially rendered useless after Hardy delivered a blow to Palmer’s back late in the first quarter. Matt Leinart managed only 115 yards passing in three-plus quarters.Newton accounted for 231 of the 271 yards for the Panthers (6-9), who have now won four of their last five under coach Ron Rivera.


    Bush leads Dolphins over Bills

    MIAMI — The Miami Dolphins’ latest victory kept them in playoff contention for another six minutes. Then they were eliminated when Cincinnati beat Pittsburgh.Reggie Bush caught two touchdown passes and scored on a short run Sunday to help Miami beat the hapless Bills 24-10.By the time they gathered in the locker room, the Dolphins (7-8) were out of the race because of the result in Pittsburgh. Miami began the weekend with only a slim chance at the playoffs and will sit them out for the 10th time in 11 years.The Bills (5-10) came into the game assured of missing the playoffs for the 13th consecutive season.While Bush led an efficient offense, safety Reshad Jones recovered two fumbles and made an interception at the Miami 1 with 71 seconds left to seal the victory. The Dolphins forced four turnovers playing with a patchwork secondary that included starting cornerback Dimitri Patterson, acquired Tuesday after being waived by Cleveland.Bush’s first TD catches of the year covered 17 and 12 yards from Ryan Tannehill, helping Miami build a 24-3 lead. Bush also ran for 65 yards, including a 1-yard touchdown.The Dolphins took advantage of Buffalo’s woeful run defense by netting 182 yards on the ground while averaging 5.2 per carry. Backup Lamar Miller had 73 and Tannehill added 44, including 31 on a dash that set up a touchdown.Miami went 7 for 14 on third down and didn’t commit a turnover. Tannehill threw for only 130 yards but had a passer rating of 93.8.The Dolphins had three fumble recoveries, doubling their season total, but their most spectacular takeaway was Jones’ interception. With the Bills at the Miami 1 and 80 seconds left, Jones leaped at the line of scrimmage to snare Ryan Fitzpatrick’s pass and clinch the win. The Dolphins’ flurry of takeaways came after they had one in their previous seven games.Nate Kaeding, signed during the week by Miami, made a 45-yard field goal but had a 46-yard try blocked by Alex Carrington. Buffalo’s C.J. Spiller ran for 138 yards, but missed chances hurt the Bills. Stevie Johnson lost a fumble at the Miami 17 and dropped a pass in the end zone, when Buffalo settled for a field goal. That came after C.J. Spiller’s career-best 62-yard run.The Dolphins led 24-3 in the fourth quarter before the Bills mounted their only touchdown drive.

    Minnesota Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen celebrates after the Vikings defeated the Houston Texans 23-6 in an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 23, 2012, in Houston.

    Vikings stay in playoff hunt, beat Texans

    HOUSTON — The Houston Texans slowed down Adrian Peterson. The same couldn’t be said for how they handled the rest of the Minnesota Vikings.Peterson rushed for 86 yards, falling far short of the 2,000-yard mark, yet helping the Vikings (9-6) keep their playoff hopes alive with a 23-6 upset of the Texans on Sunday.Christian Ponder threw a touchdown pass, Toby Gerhart added a score and Blair Walsh kicked three field goals.The loss kept the Texans (12-3) from clinching home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs. They could still secure a first-round bye if Denver loses later Sunday.Peterson had his lowest rushing total since getting 79 yards on Oct. 14 in a loss at Washington, breaking a streak of eight 100-yard games. He has 1,898 this season and needs 208 yards to break the NFL single-season rushing record held by Eric Dickerson.The Vikings took a 10-3 lead when Walsh kicked a 56-yard field goal. The kick gave Walsh, a rookie, the NFL record with nine field goals of 50 yards or longer this season. The Texans failed to score a touchdown for the first time since 2006. J.J. Watt had a sack to leave him with 20 1/2 this season.Houston got within 10 points before Gerhart’s 3-yard run extended the lead to 23-6 with about five minutes left in the fourth quarter. That drive was helped by a 29-yard run by Ponder.Ponder was 16 of 30 for 174 yards to help the Vikings pile up 345 yards. He finished with seven rushes for 48 yards — 14 more yards rushing than the Texans had. Arian Foster had 10 rushes for 15 yards before leaving with about nine minutes left in the third quarter with an irregular heartbeat. Coach Gary Kubiak said he is OK, but he was taken out as a precaution.Ben Tate took over and didn’t fare much better with four carries for 17 yards.The Texans were foiled by their inability to convert third downs, going 1 of 11. Quarterback Matt Schaub went 18 of 32 for 178 yards. Houston got to the Minnesota 1 with a 12-yard reception by Kevin Walter late in the third quarter. Then came an incomplete pass followed by a run for no gain by Tate. Schaub was sacked by Fred Evans for a loss of 14 yards to make the Texans settle for a 33-yard field to cut the lead to 16-6.Houston had to punt on its first possession of the third quarter, but got the ball right back when Watt sacked Ponder and forced a fumble. Bradie James recovered, but the Texans couldn’t take advantage of the miscue and had to punt again.The Vikings extended their lead to 16-3 when Walsh made a 39-yard field goal on the first drive of the second half. That series was helped when Ponder found Jarius Wright on a 15-yard reception, and the Vikings got 15 more yards when Whitney Mercilus was flagged for unnecessary roughness on Ponder.Houston was on the Minnesota 28 early in the second quarter when Jasper Brinkley forced Foster’s fumble, which was recovered by A.J. Jefferson. Houston had to punt later in the second quarter when Schaub was sacked for a 9-yard loss. A 41-yard field goal by Walsh left Minnesota up 13-3 at halftime. Peterson ran for 20 yards to get Minnesota’s offense going. The Vikings took a 7-3 lead when Kyle Rudolph grabbed a 3-yard touchdown reception. Rudolph also had a 27-yard catch that drive.Houston’s Andre Johnson had seven receptions for 97 yards.Gerhart finished with eight carries for 31 yards.


    Colts clinch playoff spot

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Andrew Luck has the rookie passing record. More importantly, he got the surprising Indianapolis Colts into the playoffs.The Colts’ rookie quarterback completed a 7-yard touchdown pass to Reggie Wayne on third-and-goal late in the fourth quarter Sunday, allowing Indianapolis to squeeze out a 20-13 victory.Luck finished with 205 yards passing to break Cam Newton’s year-old rookie record of 4,051 yards in a season.The fabulous freshman also extended his own rookie record for fourth-quarter comebacks to seven by leading his team downfield in the closing minutes.Darius Butler returned an interception 32 yards for their other touchdown, helping the Colts (10-5) join the Miami Dolphins of 2008 as the only teams in NFL history to win at least 10 games after losing 14 or more the previous season.Most of those wins have come under interim coach Bruce Arians, who has filled in admirably while Chuck Pagano underwent treatment for leukemia. Pagano could rejoin the Colts on Monday and coach for the first time since September in their regular-season finale against Houston.Jamaal Charles had 226 yards rushing for the Chiefs (2-13), including an 86-yard touchdown scamper on the first play of the second half. It was Charles’ second 200-yard game of the season, and came one week after he managed 10 yards on nine carries against Oakland.Charles joined the Titans’ Chris Johnson and former Lions great Barry Sanders as the only players with three runs of 80 or more yards in a season. His third career 200-yard game also set a franchise record, which he had shared with Larry Johnson.Peyton Hillis added 101 yards rushing for the Chiefs, but they didn’t get a whole lot of help from Brady Quinn, who was just 19 of 22 for 162 yards and two interceptions.The Colts also could have reached the playoffs if the Steelers lost or tied, but preferred to take care of it themselves, and before their regular-season finale against Houston.It looked good for them right from the start.On the Chiefs’ fifth offensive play, Quinn threw woefully behind Dexter McCluster — who wasn’t even looking for the ball — and Butler picked off the pass in stride, taking it untouched to the end zone for a 7-0 lead.Kansas City managed to get a field goal out of Ryan Succop, but he missed his next try and the Colts went the other direction to set up the first of Adam Vinatieri’s two field goals.Charles fumbled in the red zone later in the second quarter — the biggest blemish on his otherwise spectacular day. That gave Luck and the rest of the Colts offense enough time to move into Vinatieri’s range, and his 36-yard field goal in the closing seconds made it 13-3 at halftime.Charles electrified a sparse crowd on the first play of the second half, when he angled to the left and then found room down the sideline, cutting back toward the middle of the field and then winning a foot-race with the Indianapolis defense for an 86-yard touchdown run.The Chiefs were in position to take the lead later in the third quarter, but Quinn was picked off by Vontae Davis in the end zone. The defense forced a three-and-out and Kansas City was driving again before settling for Succop’s tying 47-yard field goal.The Chiefs got the ball back again late in the fourth quarter, but Quinn was stuffed on a quarterback sneak on fourth-and-inches from the Indianapolis 27. That turned the ball over to Luck, who completed an 11-yard pass to T.Y. Hilton to convert a third down, and then found Wayne for two more passes to set up his go-ahead touchdown reception with 4:08 left in the game.

    New York Yankees’ Nick Swisher, here giving a high-five to Andruw Jones (22), reportedly has agreed to a four-year deal with Cleveland worth $56 million.

    Report: Indians, Swisher OK $56 million deal

    he Indians' pitch to bring Nick Swisher "home" worked.Two people familiar with the negotiations said Swisher has agreed to a $56 million, four-year contract with the Indians, who used the free agent outfielder's deep Ohio connections to convince him to join the club. The people spoke on condition of anonymity Sunday because Swisher must take a physical before the deal can be finalized. The Indians are expected to announce Swisher's signing after Christmas, one of the people said."Wow! What a crazy few weeks. Hey Cleveland! Are you ready? Because I'm coming home!" Swisher said on Twitter.

    Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder, left, is sacked by Corey Wootton on Dec. 9, 2012, in Minneapolis. Wootton and linemate Julius Peppers will attempt to take advantage of two rookies who will start on Arizona’s offensive line.

    Bears hope to take advantage of Cards rookies

    Bears defensive ends Julius Peppers and Corey Wootton will face a pair of rookie tackles against the Cardinals today, but that doesn't make it an automatic mismatch in favor of the veterans.


    Dielectric substitution testing using potatoes in a Boeing Test & Evaluation laboratory in Arizona.

    Boeing engineers use spuds to improve in-air Wi-Fi

    If the wireless Internet connection during your holiday flight seems more reliable than it used to, you could have the humble potato to thank.While major airlines offer in-flight Wi-Fi on many flights, the signal strength can be spotty. Airlines and aircraft makers have been striving to improve this with the growing use of wireless devices and the number of people who don't want to be disconnected, even 35,000 feet up.


    Work Advice: A Bump on the Road to Recovery

    Karla L. Miller writes an advice column on navigating the modern workplace. Each week she will answer one or two questions from readers. This week's question deals with mooching aides.


    Vanguard exec shares outlook, fears bond bubble

    The name George "Gus" Sauter may not ring a bell for most investors. But it probably should, because Sauter may very well have influenced how their retirement funds are invested. As Vanguard's chief investment officer, Sauter has been instrumental in guiding the company to become the largest mutual fund provider and one of the industry's fastest-growing firms, despite its size.

    A man kneels in front of a makeshift memorial Friday during a moment of silence at 9:30 a.m. in Newtown, Conn. The chiming of bells reverberated throughout Newtown, 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.

    Pension funds reconsider investments in gun makers

    From California to New York, teacher and public-worker retirement funds are reconsidering their investments in gun makers and confronting an uncomfortable fact: Their pensions have supported the manufacture of deadly weapons, in some cases the same type of gun used in the Connecticut school shooting.

    Dane Stangler is the director of the Research & Policy department at the Ewing Marion Kaufmann Foundation. His job is to help the foundation determine how it can encourage and mentor entrepreneurs. His department conducts research and surveys and analyzes studies done by researchers at other institutions. So he is familiar with the issues that entrepreneurs and small businesses face.

    Kauffman a small business expert on taxes, fiscal cliff

    Dane Stangler has never owned a small business, and doesn't expect to ever own one. But he's in a position to understand the challenges facing people who own small companies. Stangler is the director of the Research & Policy department at the Ewing Marion Kaufmann Foundation. His job is to help the foundation determine how it can encourage and mentor entrepreneurs.


    Highest-paid California trooper is chief banking $484,000 salary

    California Highway Patrol division chief Jeff Talbott retired last year as the best-paid officer in the 12 most-populous states, collecting $483,581 in salary, pension and other compensation. Union-negotiated benefits, coupled with overtime that can exceed regular pay and lax enforcement of limits on accumulating unused vacation, allow some troopers to double their annual earnings and retire as young as age 50.

    Ohio State football coach Jim Tressel, left, and university President E. Gordon Gee, second from left, listen as athletic director Gene Smith speaks during a news conference in Columbus, Ohio. Gee made $1.9 million last year as the highest-paid public university president in the U.S.

    Gee takes private jets as $1.9 Million pay roils Ohio students

    Ohio State University President E. Gordon Gee made $1.9 million last year as the highest-paid public university president in the U.S. He also logged $1.7 million in expenses in fiscal 2011, including airfare for trips in private jets, country club dues and fundraising parties at his residence.


    California psychiatrists paid $400,000 shows bidding war's cost

    Mohammad Safi, a graduate of a medical school in Afghanistan, began working as a psychiatrist at a California mental hospital in 2006, making $90,682 in his first six months. Last year, he took home $822,302, all of it paid by taxpayers. Safi benefited from what amounted to a bidding war after a federal court forced the state to improve inmate care. The prisons raised pay to lure psychiatrists, the mental health department followed suit to keep employees, and costs soared.

    Marleine Land, 24, creates a decorative wooden bowl at the Einstein wood shop in Carrefour, Haiti. At least three major U.S. retailers and three high-end designers are now working with at least five artisan groups to export Haitian arts and crafts.

    Artisans are thriving again in post-quake Haiti

    The sharp tang of varnish hangs in the air as a dozen women and a few men cut and scrape logs into bowls destined for U.S. department stores. In other Haitian workshops, vases sparkle with sequins of pink, green and blue, and dragonflies leap from picture frames cut from recycled steel drums. Three years after a devastating earthquake, there's still not much economic traction in this long impoverished Caribbean country, but one small niche has taken off: arts and crafts.

    Elizabeth Sampol holds her daughter Ella, 14 months, who received a toy from Michael Sciaraffo, as Santa, in the Belle Harbor neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York. Using Facebook, Sciaraffo started a charitable enterprise to collect and personally deliver toys to children affected by Superstorm Sandy, dressed as Santa Claus.

    'Sandy Claus' delivers toys to storm-stricken kids

    From his toy-cluttered Brooklyn apartment, the man in the red suit was making his list and checking it twice. But he made no distinction between naughty or nice: Every child on it would receive a gift from this Santa Claus. For the children whose toys floated away during Superstorm Sandy, Michael Sciaraffo is playing the role of a real-life Saint Nick.


    Toyota’s Camry performs poorly on new crash test

    The Toyota Camry, the best-selling car in the U.S., performed poorly this year in a new crash test and failed to get the best safety rating from an insurance industry group. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Camry a "Poor" rating on a test that measures how well people are protected when the front corner of a car hits another car or an object.


    Airlines boost third quarter baggage fee collections

    Airlines are raking in more baggage fees. U.S. airlines collected $924 million in baggage fees in the third quarter, up almost 3 percent from the same period last year, the federal Bureau of Transportation Statistics reported on Monday. United Continental Holdings Inc. reported some of the biggest gains. United collected $187.3 million in bag fees in the third quarter, up 10.8 percent from a year earlier.

Life & Entertainment

    People enjoy afternoon tea, a heritage from British colonial days, on the lawn of Thengal Manor in Jorhat, India.

    India experiences growth in tea tourism

    Thengal Manor marked the start of our two-week journey through the world's finest tea-growing areas — India's Assam and Darjeeling. We drank pink gins by the fireplace in colonial-era parlors, and we were seduced by the pampered lifestyle of tea planters. Plus we drank many a cup of Assamese — “bold, sultry, malty” — and Darjeeling — “the champagne of teas, the color of Himalayan sunlight” — enough to send aficionados into ecstasy.

    Rockette reindeer lead Santa’s sleigh in “The Radio City Christmas Spectacular.”

    Rockettes a wholesome, glitzy spectacular

    :For a big dose of Christmas hoopla, you can't go wrong with this year's "Radio City Christmas Spectacular." Starring those famed high-stepping Rockettes, the show is a schmaltzy smorgasbord dishing up singing and dancing, a flying Santa, glitzy costumes, dancing teddy bears, toy soldiers and a double-decker bus tour through New York City.

    The Rockettes' holiday show includes the tap-infused crowd favorite

    Sunday picks: Get a kick out of the Rockettes

    “The Radio City Christmas Spectacular — Starring the Rockettes” features new special effects, new scenes and five new dance numbers by The Rockettes at the Akoo Theatre in Rosemont. Get ready to “Sing-Along With Santa!” today at the Steel Beam Theatre in St. Charles. Take a break from the holidays tonight at Durty Nellie's in Palatine when Hairbanger's Ball belts out songs from the 1980s to the present.

    Adler Planetarium has a full week packed with fun family activities Dec. 26 to Jan. 1.

    On the road: Planetarium hosts Family Week

    Families can enjoy special hands-on activities, workshops and educational programs during Charter One Family Week Dec. 26-Jan. 1, at the Adler Planetarium. There's also the free Frosty Fishing Fair at the Hollows Conservation Area in Cary for those wanting to try ice fishing.


    Three Kings Day celebrations grow

    The Christian holiday — also known as Twelfth Night or Feast of the Epiphany — takes place Jan. 6, ending the 12 days of Christmas. Many Hispanic communities in the U.S. celebrate Three Kings Day with parades and performances depicting the biblical story of three kings following a star to find the baby Jesus, bringing gifts of frankincense, gold and myrrh.


    The truth can hurt when it involves flirting with others

    Q. Recently, someone wrote in about their significant other lying to them about things that might make them angry and you suggested that they try to make telling the truth as easy as possible. That makes a lot of sense and I have tried to put this into practice, since I have also had this issue with the person I'm dating.

    Drummer Patrick Carney is hosting “Serious Boredom,” a new monthly radio show on the SiriusXMU channel.

    The Black Keys’ Patrick Carney hosting radio show

    Have you ever wanted to sit down and have a long conversation about music with The Black Keys? Well, that’s probably not going to happen. But SiriusXM is offering a glimpse into the duo’s world as Patrick Carney debuts a new radio show.

    Kevin Bacon stars as former FBI agent Ryan Hardy in “The Following” premiering Jan. 21 on Fox.

    ‘The Following’ bloody, ghastly and ill-timed

    Even though it features a stellar cast, one TV critic describes the upcoming Fox drama "The Following" as a showcase for gratuitous carnage and cruelty that might best be described as pornographic.

    “The 35th Annual Kennedy Center Honors” this year celebrates the accomplishments of Chicago bluesman Buddy Guy, front left, ballerina Natalia Makarova, actor Dustin Hoffman, rock band Led Zeppelin and comedian David Letterman. The show will air Wednesday, Dec. 26, on CBS.

    Kennedy Center Honors salutes Dustin Hoffman, Buddy Guy

    They're legendary talents from different disciplines. and they're all ending the year with the same, very important date. Rockers, a Chicago bluesman, a singular ballerina, an iconic actor and an after-hours television fixture are in the presidential box for the 35th Annual Kennedy Center Honors. Taped at the start of the month, the ever-classy ceremony will have its yearly CBS telecast Wednesday, Dec. 26.

    Jonathan Adler fills his home with color year-round, but offers some eclectic tips for colorful holiday decor.

    Try unique color palettes for a ‘happy chic’ mood for the holidays

    It’s hard not to be happy when speaking with Jonathan Adler. In just a few minutes, the words and phrases he uses immediately conjure the kind of person who could inject Technicolor life into a black-and-white movie. He says things like, “Orange napkins never hurt,” and “As long as it twinkles, I’m happy.”

    Only the fantastical mind of Jonathan Adler could consider using the phrase “happy chic” as a verb. Yet somehow, that’s exactly what he teaches the reader in his new book, “100 Ways to Happy Chic Your Life” (Sterling Signature, 2012), which is packed with gorgeous photos of interiors, sketches, lists of recommendations and words of whimsy.

    How to ‘happy chic’ your holidays
    Only the fantastical mind of Jonathan Adler could consider using the phrase “happy chic” as a verb. Yet somehow, that’s exactly what he teaches the reader in his new book, “100 Ways to Happy Chic Your Life” (Sterling Signature, 2012), which is packed with gorgeous photos of interiors, sketches, lists of recommendations and words of whimsy.

    Men walk on the rocks in the Chattahoochee River below the City Mills dam near Columbus, Ga. Leaders of a national land trust say a river that runs through metro Atlanta holds the key to realizing a grand vision for outdoor enthusiasts.

    Georgia river could take Appalachian hikers to coast

    A river with a history of ferry boats and Civil War battles may one day provide a new route for hikers who finish the Appalachian Trail to continue south until they reach the Gulf of Mexico, a national conservation group says. Leaders envision the Chattahoochee River as a way to allow Appalachian Trail hikers to reach the Gulf either on trails along its banks or in a canoe or kayak on the river. The trail already stretches from Maine to north Georgia.


    How to creatively integrate today’s TVs into your decor

    The family room used to be the main television viewing room. Now, more families want their TVs in bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchens and outdoors. Televisions have become ultra-thin, so the possibilities have skyrocketed in how to creatively integrate, or hide, them in interiors.


    Victoria Soto, 27, was killed on Dec. 14 when a gunman walked into Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. and opened fire.

    Editorial: Victoria Soto and the devotion of teachers

    A Daily Herald editorial reflects on what the tragedy at Sandy Hook School in Connecticut says about the devotion of teachers. One image we can’t get out of our heads is the story of Victoria Soto. “You have,” said John Harkins, mayor of Soto’s hometown of Stratford, Conn., “a teacher who cared more about her students than herself.”


    Leadership Team, people behind it, simply inspiring

    The maturity, perspective and selflessness of the high schoolers comprising the Daily Herald's annual Leadership Team never fails to inspire, says Jim Davis, news director for the DuPage and Fox Valley editions.


    The filibuster stalker

    Columnist George Will: The point of progressivism, say its adherents, is to progress up from the Founders' fetish with limiting government and restraining majorities. Hence progressives' animus against the filibuster, which protects minority rights by allowing for the measurement of intensity as well as mere numbers.


    Social Security surplus is illusion
    A Grayslake letter to the editor: Mr. Hartman states that Social Security has a surplus of over $2 trillion. That supposed surplus is in the form of Treasury bonds that have been issued to cover the monies that various Congresses have appropriated for general revenue uses to fund the federal government.


    Thanks for support of ‘Shop with Cop’
    A Mundelein letter to the editor: Since 1999, the Mundelein Police Department has worked with community members and business owners to make the holidays a little happier for local children through Shop with a Cop and our other holiday programs.


    Medal of Honor earned, not “won”
    A Kildeer letter to the editor: In the Dec. 18 paper, the obituary for Sen. Daniel Inouye states that “Inouye was a World War II hero and Medal of Honor winner ...” It should be noted that no one “wins” the Medal of Honor.


    Some Latinos didn’t fall for race baiting
    A Naperville letter to the editor: Just finished reading a truly delusional article by Ruben Navarro (Fence Post, Nov. 21), replete with your typical inane anti-immigration straw man arguments concerning Mitt Romney and the Latino vote.


    Unfairly nabbed by tollway camera
    A Geneva letter to the editor: I received a letter recently from the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority regarding toll money due. On Oct. 11, I traveled from Naperville to Painesville, Ohio using the toll roads from Illinois through Ohio.


    Other states are doing more with less
    A Rolling Meadows letter to the editor: Statistics show that only one state out of the five cited has a higher total per capita tax intake than Illinois, and that is Wisconsin. All five of the other states are able to run their affairs without getting into the horrible shape Illinois is in with, in some cases, far less in per capita tax revenue.


    Some thoughts about Metra fares, passengers
    A Mount Prospect letter to the editor: To further decrease the budget hole, Metra needs to eliminate “children ride for free” Currently up to three children may ride with a fare-paying adult. Strike this — these are three fares lost.


    Diminishing benefits is unconstitutional
    An Arlington Heights letter to the editor: Creating and passing any bill that diminishes “promised” benefits, such as COLA that is in place for retired and current teachers, is a breach of contract and trust.


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