Daily Archive : Thursday December 27, 2012


    Adults and kids alike bond with the dogs.

    What to do for Newtown? Three local organizations could use your support

    Send money, send dogs, send comic books. Many suburban residents feel compelled to do something, anything, to help the community of Newtown, Conn. Here are three local organizations that are helping in their own way, and could use your support.


    Cook Memorial Public Library offers computer classes

    Some of the Cook Memorial Public Library District's upcoming computer classes still have openings, officials announced.

    JOE LEWNARD/jlewnard@dailyherald.com Minor league baseball returned to Schaumburg in the form of the Boomers team after a year's hiatus due to the financial troubles of the team that formerly occupied the stadium.

    The Northwest suburbs' top stories of 2012

    A hazing scandal at Maine West, a new entertainment district in Rosemont, fights over downtown redevelopment and the Dimucci property in unincorporated Lake County, the return of minor league baseball to Schaumburg -- those were a few of the top stories of the year in the Northwest suburbs.

    Dwarf Mongoose pups Born at Brookfield Zoo with mom “Tavi”

    Mongoose pups born at Brookfield Zoo

    Two litters of dwarf mongoose pups were born since September at Brookfield Zoo. The litters were born Sept. 12 and Nov. 24 and totaled seven pups. The mother is 3-year-old Tavi. The father is 13-year-old Gimbi. The two were paired based on recommendations from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums' Dwarf Mongoose Species Survival Plan. The Brookfield Zoo has had dwarf mongooses for nearly 20...

    FILE - In this June 2, 2012, file photo, Hall of Fame catcher Carlton Fisk waves to the crowd before throwing the ceremonial first pitch before a baseball game between the Chicago White Sox and the Seattle Mariners in Chicago. Fisk has been charged with driving under the influence after he was found asleep in his pickup truck in an Illinois cornfield. New Lenox police say officers found the 64-year-old Fisk asleep on Monday night, Oct. 22, 2012, behind the wheel of his truck and an open liquor bottle on the floor. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh, File)

    Hall of Famer Carlton Fisk pleads guilty to DUI

    JOLIET — Hall of Fame catcher Carlton Fisk has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor drunken-driving charge.Fisk, who finished his career in 1993 with the White Sox, was sentenced Thursday to one year of court supervision and he must pay $1,250 in court costs. The 64-year-old Fisk also must undergo a drug and alcohol evaluation, and counseling.

    The Geneva Vikings take to their new field for the season opener against Oswego in Geneva.

    Fox Valley's top stories from 2012

    Money issues continued to dominate the headlines in 2012 and showed themselves in different forms. There was a teacher strike in Community Unit District 300, the threat of teacher strikes elsewhere, new taxes in Elgin, investment in Huntley in the form of a new hospital and interchange and Wal-Mart's looming withdrawal from East Dundee.

    President Barack Obama returns a Marine honor guard's salute as he steps off the Marine One helicopter and walks on the South Lawn at the White House in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 27, 2012, as he returned early from his Hawaii vacation for meetings on the fiscal cliff.

    White House meeting a last stab at a fiscal deal

    Amid partisan bluster, top members of Congress and President Barack Obama were holding out slim hopes for a limited fiscal deal before the new year. But even as congressional leaders prepared to convene at the White House, there were no signs that legislation palatable to both sides was taking shape.

    In this Jan. 13, 1991 file photo, General H. Norman Schwarzkopf, commander of U.S. troops in the Gulf, gazes from the window of his small jet on his way out to visit U.S. troops in the desert in Saudi Arabia.Schwarzkopf died Thursday in Tampa, Fla. He was 78.

    Desert Storm commander Norman Schwarzkopf dies

    Truth is, retired Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf didn't care much for his popular "Stormin' Norman" nickname. The seemingly no-nonsense Desert Storm commander's reputed temper with aides and subordinates supposedly earned him that rough-and-ready moniker. But others around the general, who died Thursday in Tampa, Fla., at age 78 of complications from pneumonia, knew him as a friendly, talkative and...

    Kristina Kovarik

    Gurnee Mayor Kovarik, Trustee Morris continuing political rivalry for April election

    Two Gurnee political rivals wiil continue with their differences, this time as mayoral opponents. Trustee Kirk Morris is challenging Mayor Kristina Kovarik in the April election. Kovarik and Morris have been at odds for more than three years since she removed the trustee’s private foundation as developer of the Heroes of Freedom Memorial Park.


    Lombard broadens taxi codes to level playing field

    The definition of “taxi” hasn’t changed in the dictionary, but it has in Lombard’s village code. Trustees have approved amendments to the taxi and liveries section of the code in a move that could benefit transportation companies that determine fares using a GPS device instead of a meter. Lombard-based HYPERLINK "http://www.flatratecab.net/"Flat Rate Cab is one such company that could gain extra...


    Thieves target ATM users in Waukegan

    The Waukegan Police Department is urging residents to use caution when visiting ATMs after dark. Over the past few days, the police have responded to calls at ATMs at various banks in the city. There were two robberies and two attempted robberies.

    This 1991 file photo shows Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf. He died Thursday, Dec. 27, 2012 in Tampa, Fla. He was 78.

    Images: Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf, 1934-2012
    Images of retired Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf, who led coalition forces during the Gulf War. Schwarzkopf died Thursday at age 78.


    Fox Valley police reports


    Four candidates for trustee in Vernon Hills

    Barbara Williams was not included in a listing of candidates running for village trustee in Vernon Hills that ran Thursday in some editions of the Daily Herald.

    Steve Harlfinger

    Four candidates for Lake in the Hills village board
    Three incumbents and one newcomer are vying for three seats on the village board in Lake in the Hills. Resident Kenneth Tentler, and trustees Bob Huckins, Denise Barreto, and Steven Harlfinger, filed nominating petitions for the April election.


    Items sought for overseas troops

    Grayslake area residents through Jan. 27 are encouraged to drop off items that will be shipped to troops serving overseas. Visit www.grayslakefire.com or call (847) 223-8960.


    Schaumburg park project wins landscape award

    An enhancement project at Schaumburg's Olde Schaumburg Centre Park near the intersection of Schaumburg and Roselle roads has won an Excellence in Landscape Silver Award from the Illinois Landscape Contractors Association. The project included new boardwalks and railings, a new bridge deck and railing, brick paver fields, new furnishings and a new gazebo.


    Sixth candidate for Bartlett trustee

    The village of Bartlett saw one further candidate file for trustee just before the close of the filing period Wednesday evening. Michelle Hughes was the last candidate to file, joining incumbent Dennis M. Nolan and newcomers Aaron Reinke, Vincent Carbonaro, Michael E. Camerer and Angelina M. Filippo in the race for three open seats.


    St. Charles: Contested races from top to bottom of ticket

    With current St. Charles Mayor Don DeWitte off the ballot, a slew of candidates stepped forward to take over the top elected position in the city. Some of them are familiar to local residents, but there are a couple of new faces entering the political realm for the first time. Most of the city council races are also contested.


    Trustee races mostly contested in Fox Valley

    Nominating petitions are in and most of the village board races in the northern Fox Valley will be very competitive. In one case, eight candidates are vying for just three slots. On the opposite end of the spectrum, several races are uncontested. .


    Here’s who’s running for municipal seats in DuPage
    A look at the candidates who have filed for municipal offices in DuPage County in the April 9 election.

    Mike Bruno, running for 1st Ward alderman in Geneva.

    Only 1st Ward contested in Geneva

    Only one Geneva ward has a contested race in April _ the 1st.


    Hot municipal races taking shape across DuPage

    Voters will be asked to sort through large numbers of candidates this spring in races for village boards and city councils in many DuPage County communities, including Bensenville, Glendale Heights, Lombard, Roselle, Villa Park and Winfield. The filing period closed Wednesday for the April 9 municipal, park, library and school board elections and the large fields of candidates in those towns...

    Susan Westgate

    Carol Stream library picks new director

    A Glenbard North High School graduate who grew up near Carol Stream will become the new director of the Carol Stream Public Library, officials announced Thursday. Susan Westgate, 52, the current assistant director of the Bartlett Public Library, will begin her new role in Carol Stream Jan. 28, 2013. In job interviews with the library board and management, she says both groups expressed their...

    Batavia 5th Ward Alderman Eldon Frydendall

    32-year Batavia Alderman Frydendall challenged

    Two longtime Batavia aldermen face challengers for their seats in the April election. Fifth Ward Alderman Eldon Frydendall — the longest-serving alderman, with nearly 32 years in office — will face insurance agency owner Steve Vasilion.


    Three new names in race for Arlington Heights Park Board

    The Arlington Heights Park District board will have two new faces after the 2013 election, as two longtime commissoners are retiring and four candidates are vying for three seats.


    South suburban police chief accused of DUI again

    The police chief of the South suburban Robbins has been arrested for drunken driving — for the second time in three years — authorities said.


    Police: Chicago baby sitter was falling-down drunk

    A 23-year-old woman has been charged with a misdemeanor after the Chicago couple who hired her to baby-sit came home to find her falling-down drunk, police said.


    New Chicago high school grooms future lawyers

    The school principal has a law degree. There are field trips to law firms. And a biology class is inspired by the science of crime scene investigations. That's part of the formula at Legal Prep Charter Academies, a new Chicago charter school whose founders hope to increase diversity in the legal profession.


    Kankakee man dies in forklift accident

    Jacob Dluzak, 21, of Kankakee died Wednesday morning. A co-worker at St. Anne Farmers Consignment Auction found Dluzak trapped in the bars of a boom forklift.

    Automated external defibrillators like this one have become cheaper and easier to use. Now Metra will install defibrillators on every train.

    Metra trains getting defibrillators

    The Metra commuter rail service is installing hundreds of portable, easy-to-use defibrillators on all of its trains, becoming only the second major transit system in the country to make the lifesaving machines available on trains, Metra officials said Thursday.

    Gregory Arthur Weiler II

    Hearing set for Elk Grove man charged in bomb plot

    An Elk Grove Village man who has received a mental health examination after being charged with plotting to attack dozens of northeastern Oklahoma churches with Molotov cocktails will be back in court next month.

    Illinois State Reps. Daniel Biss and Elaine Nekritz talk about pension reform with the Daily Herald Editorial Board earlier this month.

    Does shortened schedule hurt pension-cutting effort?

    The cancellation of some of state lawmakers' upcoming meeting dates could doom last-minute attempts to get the state's retirement costs under control. But top Democrats pushing to cut teachers' and state workers' pension benefits say they're still hopeful a proposal could be approved before new lawmakers take office Jan. 9.


    Police probe man’s death in Darien

    Darien police are investigating the death of a man whose body was discovered on a parkway, authorities said Thursday. The DuPage County state's attorney's office confirmed the man was found dead Wednesday morning and police have launched an investigation.


    Three incumbents, newcomer running in Algonquin

    Three incumbents will face a lone challenger in the race for available seats on the Algonquin village board. Longtime incumbents Robert Smith, Jerry Glogowski and Brian Dianis are seeking another term, while resident Richard Flynn, a business manager for J.P. Morgan Chase, is also running.

    All four lanes on Route 31 between Wing Street and Big Timber Road in Elgin were closed for about four hours while public works crews repaired a water main break.

    Water main break closes part of Route 31 in Elgin

    Route 31 between Wing Street and Big Timber Road in Elgin was closed for about four hours Thursday while public works crews repaired a water main break.


    Law students charged in Vegas bird-beheading case

    Prosecutors filed charges Thursday against two University of California, Berkeley, law school students accused of decapitating an exotic bird at a Las Vegas casino earlier this year. The charges against Justin Teixeira, 24, include felony killing and felony torturing of an animal, while Eric Cuellar, 24, faces a misdemeanor charge of instigating, engaging in or furthering an act of animal cruelty.

    A thank you message was posted after officials announced the closing of the Central LakeYMCA in Vernon Hills.

    A look back at 2012's top Lake County stories

    From the weather to crime to the extracurricular activities of local officials, 2012 featured a wide range of stories that made news in Lake County. Lingering drought, big news from the top prosecutor's office, controversy on the business front, the arrival of video gaming and tragedy for a local fan in Florida for a Bears game were among the top stories in Lake County in 2012.

    U.S. Army Spc. Samuel Watts, 20, a 2010 Wheaton North High School graduate, died April 25, about a month after suffering wounds from an explosion while serving in Afghanistan.

    Looking back at big DuPage stories of 2012

    It was, in many ways, a difficult and troubling year in DuPage County. There were too many senseless acts of violence. Not one, but two of our mayors died in office. In an era of supposed government transparency, we once again saw too many high-ranking public officials leave their posts amid clouds of secrecy. We argued over whether or not we should eat at a chicken restaurant. There were...

    Santa's helpers from the Daily Herald load up toys for the Hope for the Holidays campaign at the Meijer store in Rolling Meadows.

    Daily Herald's holiday toy drive amazes benefactor

    Walt Meder's fantasy raised more than $30,000 and made the holidays so much brighter at WINGS, the Palatine-based not-for-profit agency that provides help for homeless and abused women and children. "Holy mackerel!" the Arlington Heights man said. "Geez. That's great. Most people, if you give them a chance, they are pretty good."


    Northwest suburban police blotter

    Two men pushed a 72-year-old man to the ground on the 900 block of South Third Avenue in Des Plaines around midnight Dec. 21, punched him, and stole his wallet and a brown flannel shirt containing a small digital camera. Value was estimated at $80.

    Yashesh Desai

    Woodridge man to stand trial in dad’s weed trimmer slaying

    A Woodridge man's mental state at the time he allegedly beat his father to death with a weed trimmer will be the focus of his bench trial next month, prosecutors said. Attorneys on both sides of the case have agreed to independent psychological evaluations finding 22-year-old Yashesh Desai insane during the August 2011 slaying.

    Fremont Township Supervisor Pete Tekampe looks over tomatoes in the township’s garden. Tekampe won’t seek re-election in 2013.

    Diana O’Kelly, Glenn Garamoni to seek Fremont Township’s top post

    The race for Fremont Township supervisor will pit a veteran politician from the Mundelein area against a relative electoral newcomer. Diana O'Kelly, a Lake County Board member since 1994, is looking to lead the township government. So is Glenn Garamoni, a local business owner.


    Holiday lights may have caused Streamwood fire

    Officials are investigating a house fire in Streamwood that may have been started by outside holiday lights.

    The DuPage County Forest Preserve District will begin accepting 2013 reservations for picnic areas and campsites at 8 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 2.

    DuPage picnic, camping reservations accepted soon

    When winter snows fall and cold winds blow, few people are likely thinking about camping or picnicking in DuPage County. But warmer days will be here again and it's never too early to start planning outdoor gatherings.


    Putin says he will sign anti-US adoptions bill

    Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday he will sign a controversial bill barring Americans from adopting Russian children, while the Kremlin's children's rights advocate recommended extending the ban to the rest of the world. The bill is part of the country's increasingly confrontational stance with the West and has angered some Russians who argue it victimizes children to make a...


    Blizzard hits southern Illinois

    CARBONDALE — A winter storm has slammed into southern Illinois, leaving roads covered in snow and ice and prompting officials to urge residents to stay home if they can.National Weather Service meteorologist Dan Spaeth says 8 to 10 inches of snow is on the ground from Carbondale over to Marion.


    Whooping cough hits Wisconsin hard this year

    The whooping cough hit Wisconsin residents hard this year.According to the Wisconsin Division of Public Health, there were nearly 5,700 confirmed and probable cases as of Dec. 14. During 2011, nearly 1,200 cases were reported.


    East St. Louis man accused of hijacking UPS truck

    An East St. Louis man is jailed on $1 million bond after being accused of hijacking a UPS truck and later shooting a 15-year-old girl.St. Clair County prosecutors charged 20-year-old Anthony Moore with attempted murder, aggravated vehicular hijacking, armed robbery and aggravated kidnapping.

    Associated Press Travel on University Parkway west of Evansville, Ind. on Wednesday morning.

    Storm’s high winds, snow, sleet lash Northeast

    A powerful winter storm system that pounded the nation's midsection, wrecking holiday travel plans and dumping a record snowfall in Arkansas, began lashing the Northeast on Wednesday with high winds, snow and sleet. The storm, which knocked out power to thousands of utility customersm mainly in Arkansas, was blamed in at least six deaths.Hundreds of flights were canceled or delayed, scores of...


    Dawn Patrol: Repeat DUI arrest in Hampshire; sad Gurnee house fire

    Gurnee village board approves lawsuit settlement. Geneva resident files for three offices. Man who injured Hampshire couple gets second DUI. Carol Stream apartment fire displaces seven families. Family displaced, three dogs killed in Gurnee house fire. Interest high in most Northwest suburban races. Five Bears heading to the Pro Bowl. Bulls game postponed due to snow.

    Singer Whitney Houston performs in London as part of her European tour. Houston, 48, died Feb. 11.

    Whitney Houston, Neil Armstrong among notable deaths in 2012

    Neil Armstrong would always be taking that first step onto the moon, and Dick Clark was forever "the world's oldest teenager." Some of the notables who died in 2012 created images in our minds that remained unchanged over decades. Sadly, for others, such as Whitney Houston, an established image was shattered by a fall from grace. Here is a roll call of some of the people who died in 2012.

    Ignacio “Nacho” Cervantes Jr. of Aurora is a junior at Aurora University, where he serves as president of the Latin American Student Organization. He’s also the youngest person ever to serve on the East Aurora School District 131 Board of Education. He says his parents, Ignacio Sr. and Lourdes Cervantes, always pushed him to work hard and aim high.

    Latino student youngest school board member in burbs

    Ignacio "Nacho" Cervantes Jr. is the kind of guy who won't go out all weekend unless he's done with his work. These days, that means balancing his duties as the youngest board member in the history of East Aurora High School District 131, his studies at Aurora University and his work for the family catering business. "I am very dedicated in everything that I do," he says.

    Actor Andy Griffith, whose homespun mix of humor and wisdom made “The Andy Griffith Show” an enduring TV favorite, died July 3 in Manteo, N.C. He was 86.

    Images: Notable deaths in 2012
    Here is a roll call of some of the notable people who died in 2012.


    Silver medalist McKayla Maroney may have captured the Best Sports Smirk of 2012, but Bob Frisk collected the Best Sports Quotes from the past year for today’s column.

    Bob Frisk’s favorite sports quotes of 2012

    Former Daily Herald Sports legend Bob Frisk returns with his annual treat: his favorite sports quotes of the year. Check out the gems he tucked away in his desk drawer at home throughout the year, and pick out your favorite. We guarantee a few of them will make you laugh.


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


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


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


    Rolling Meadows wins again

    Jackie Kemph listened well at the walk-through for the Rolling Meadows girls basketball team on Thursday. Then later that night, she raced through the Zion-Benton defense. The Mustangs junior guard delivered a career-high 34 points as Meadows topped the Zee-Bees 78-65 in the quarterfinals finals of the Montini Tournament. The 16-team event had been billed as one of the finest in the state. And it doesn’t get much better than tonight when undefeated state powers Rolling Meadows (15-0) and Marian Catholic (13-0) will square off in the 8:15 p.m. semifinal. The first semifinal features highly-regarded Montini (16-1) and Plainfield East (14-0) at 6:30 p.m.


    Grant’s ‘big’ three step up against Richmond-Burton

    Three might be a crowd in social circles, but it’s been a winning combination for the Grant boys basketball team. The Bulldogs’ Big Three big men have been tough to defend all season, and they were especially lethal Thursday in the third round of the Grant Holiday Basketball Tournament. Against Richmond-Burton, 6-foot-4 forward Keion Miller, 6-foot-3 forward Tom Blanchette and 6-foot-2 forward Steven Dunning combined for 51 points in Grant’s 70-63 victory.


    Cuny scores 23 in Naperville Central victory

    Jamie Cuny poured in 23 points, hitting four 3-pointers, and No. 4 Naperville Central beat New Trier 56-41 on Thursday to advance to the semifinals of the Dundee-Crown Charger Classic for the first time since 2003.

    St. Charles North’s Tony Neari battles Waukegan’s Quintin Davis for a loose ball Thursday at the Pontiac Holiday Tournament.

    St. Charles North wins rematch

    Quinten Payne is averse to being compared to his older brother Cully.

    West Aurora’s Reynaldo Acevedo and Roland Griffin converge on Lockport’s Andrew Gosney Thursday in Pontiac.

    West Aurora crushes Lockport

    Over the course of the last four decades West Aurora and Lockport have met in every conceivable boys basketball venue: from the Class AA state tournament in Champaign to a memorable supersectional at the All-State Arena six years ago.


    Glenbard West wins again

    A roundup of Thursday's boys basketball games for the DuPage County coverage area.


    Deere, Warren edge Oak Park at Pontiac; Lakes 3-0 at Jacobs

    Warren’s boys basketball team has had a history of success at the Pontiac Holiday Tournament.The Blue Devils got off to another good start Thursday, winning their opener 53-51 over Oak Park River Forest.Adrian Deere scored 20 points, tying his season high, and grabbed 6 rebounds for Warren (7-5), which trailed 36-34 after three quarters. Aarias Austin added 14 points, hitting a pair of 3-pointers, as the Blue Devils advanced to today’s 11 a.m. game against Peoria Manual.Lakes 71, Marian Central 44: At Jacobs, the Eagles moved into the championship bracket, shaking off a slow start to finish with a 3-0 record in pool play to win their pool.Lakes (12-3) boasted four players in double figures, led by Justin Bergeron with 16 points. Direll Clark added 15, Jake Kohler had 13 and Andrew Spencer chipped in 12.The Eagles, who have won five in a row, play Crystal Lake Central at 7:30 p.m. today.Vernon Hills 58, Wheeling 49: At Wheeling, the Cougars overcame a 40-39 deficit after three quarters, outscoring the Wildcats 19-9 in the fourth to win their first game in the Hardwood Classic.Trenton Fulton scored a season-high 14 points and collected 9 rebounds for Vernon Hills (7-7, 1-1), while Stephen Curry had a double-double of 11 points and 10 rebounds. Brett Peterson all scored 11 points for the Cougars, who play Maine West at 12:15 p.m. today.Grayslake Central 57, Chillicothe IVC 51: At Normal Community West, Danny Reed scored 20 points and the Rams rallied to snap a nine-game losing streak, improving to 1-2 in the State Farm Holiday Classic.Grayslake Central (2-10) received 8 points apiece from Matt Spalding and Alex Lennartz. The Rams, who were playing their second game of the day, trailed 41-38 after three quarters.Thornwood 70, Grayslake Central 42: At Illinois Wesleyan University’s Shirk Center, the Rams fell to 0-2 in the State Farm Holiday Classic, falling behind 19-9 after one quarter.Grayslake Central (1-10) got 7 points from Jack Spicer. Joey Mudd made a pair of 3-pointers, and Danny Reed also had 6 points.Evanston 58, Lake Zurich 51: At Pekin, in opening-round action, the Wildkits went on a 7-0 run to close the first half and go up 29-26. Brad Kruse had 19 points and Mike Travlos added 16 (three 3-pointers) to lead Lake Zurich (4-8), which dropped its fourth in a row. Evanston outrebounded LZ 35-21.“We handled the ball well against their full court press,” said coach Billy Pitcher, whose Bears committed only 5 turnovers. “But all the second chances really hurt us.”Wauconda 51, Woodstock 41: At Marengo, Austin Swenson scored 15 points and Ricky Sidlowski added 14 for the Bulldogs, who improved to 2-1 in the tournament.Dion Head contributed 13 points for Wauconda (7-6).


    Gallimore’s big effort paces Antioch

    Paige Gallimore scored a career-high 31 points and added 11 rebounds for her third double-double of the season, as Antioch’s girls basketball team improve to 2-0 at Lisle with a 51-42 win over Chicago Latin on Thursday night.

    Elgin senior Arie Williams puts up a shot that would score the 1,000th point of his career during the Maroons’ 53-52 win over Dundee-Crown at the Elgin Holiday Tournament Thursday night. Defending is Dundee-Crown’s Cordero Parson (21).

    A ‘grand’ night for Elgin’s Williams

    Though he topped 1,000 career points early in Thursday’s 53-52 victory over Dundee-Crown, achieving that milestone was not the highlight of the evening for what-will-he-do-next Elgin point guard Arie Williams. One night after Williams hit a buzzer-beating 3-pointer from half court to beat Francis W. Parker, the 5-foot-8 senior sank a fadeaway jumper from the right corner with 14 seconds left to send the host Maroons to the semifinals of their own tournament for the third consecutive season.


    Geneva’s 9-point lead slips away

    Call it a learning experience. Geneva led defending Class 3A state champion Peoria Central by 9 points with 7:14 to play, and by 5 with 3:03 left only to lose 54-49 in the second day of play at the 47th annual East Aurora Holiday Boys Basketball Tournament on Thursday.


    Barrington improves to 3-0 at Jacobs

    Senior guard Brad Zaumseil scored a game-high 20 points to help Barrington post its third straight victory in Jacobs tournament play with a 53-51 decision over Rockford Jefferson in the first game of the day Thursday.


    No. 13 Aurora Christian reaches Plano semis

    Aurora Christian reached the semifinals of the 50th annual Plano Christmas Classic with a 56-46 victory over Hinckley-Big Rock Thursday, and the Eagles did it as the No. 13 seed in the 24-team tournament.


    Notre Dame clamps down on Carmel

    Carmel stayed with conference rival Notre Dame into the third quarter of their Wheeling Hardwood Classic second-round game Thursday, but a third-quarter blitz put the Corsairs into a hole from which they couldn’t recover. Carmel (5-5) saw a 26-all tie turn into a 41-28 deficit when the Dons (11-1) went to a zone press, scoring 8 points in a 23-second span in the third. The Corsairs’ 63-44 loss drops them into a consolation game against Deerfield at 5:30 p.m. today, while Notre Dame advances to a semifinal game against Naperville Central at 8:45.


    St. Charles East rebounds at Wheaton North

    St. Charles East 62, Jacobs 49: Paige Jordan (14 points), Carly Pottle (12 points) and Amanda Hilton (10 points) Thursday at the Wheaton North tournament helping the Saints (8-7) to a 13-point victory.


    Defense saves the day for Lisle

    Lisle couldn’t get much going with its offense during Thursday’s quarterfinal contest against Wheaton Academy in the Lisle Holiday Cage Classic.


    Huntley, Burlington grab wins

    Zach Gorney scored 12 points while TJ Adams and Jake Wagner added 10 each Thursday to lead the Huntley boys basketball team to a 52-37 win over Plainfield South at the State Farm Classic in Bloomington.Tommy Regan added 7 points for Huntley (5-5).Burlington Central 58, Princeton 32: Moter Deng had 15 points and Malik Harris added 11 to lead the Rockets (5-8) at the Plano Christmas Classic. Bryce Warner added 8 points for BC.St. Edward 65, Morgan Park Academy 38: Nick Duffy had 12 points, Logan Daner 10 and Davontae Elam and Antonio Domel 9 each to lead the Green Wave (12-2) at the IC/Westmont tournament.Harvest Christian 63, Alden-Hebron 51: Dan Turpin scored 16 points and had 13 rebounds and Noah Fox added 14 points to lead the Lions at the Hebron tournament. Stuart Wolff and John Vislisel had 11 points each for Harvest.Harvest Christian 54, Faith Lutheran 40: Kyle Fritz scored 15 points and Dan Turpin added 13 points and 16 rebounds as the Lions (6-5) won their second game of the day at the Hebron tournament. Noah Fox added 12 points for Harvest, which won its fourth straight game.Westminster Christian 48, Antioch 33: Will Woodhouse had 27 points to lead the Warriors (5-8) at the Marengo tournament. Colin Brandon added 10 points for Westminster and Sam Carani had 9.Zion-Benton 62, CL South 48: Austin Rogers had 16 points to lead the Gators (4-6) in this loss at the Jacobs tournament.Prospect 58, Streamwood 50: Zack Harris had 21 points and Joel Lightbourne added 9 for Streamwood (3-9) at the Wheeling tournament.John Radtke contributed to this report

    Palatine center Monica Masini shoots over Warren center Kristin Jacobs during action in the Blue Devil Classic Thursday in Gurnee.

    Palatine adjusts, tops Warren

    Eventually, Palatine was going to get comfortable on the court, even if senior standout Nia Pappas was still uncomfortably sidelined with a bad left ankle. Thursday night, the Pirates looked much more comfortable, and they did so at the expense of host Warren at the Blue Devil Holiday Classic. Playing their second game in as many nights without Pappas, who injured her left ankle in a win over Deerfield on Saturday, the Pirates bounced back from the disappointment of Wednesday night’s loss to Carmel with a 38-34 hard fought win over the host Blue Devils. Palatine (13-4) finished second in its pool and will play Wheeling at 6 p.m. Friday night. Warren (7-7) ended up 1-2 in pool play and will face Niles North at 4:30 p.m.


    Larkin dumps Glenbard North

    Trailing Glenbard North by 12 points in the fourth quarter with a 6-game winning streak in jeopardy, the Larkin boys basketball team remained calm and confident. “We were talking to each other and we knew it wasn’t over,” Larkin senior guard Quantice Hunter said. “I think because of our conditioning in practice we’re able to wear out teams at the end.” The Royals indeed dominated the final six minutes of a 74-67 victory at the 38th Annual Annual Elgin Holiday Tournament Thursday to extend their streak to 7.


    R-B tandem deals Palatine a setback at York

    The Riverside-Brookfield duo of Damonta Henry and Eric Loury were just a little to much for Palatine to cope with as the Pirates fell 58-51 to the Bulldogs on Thursday in York’s Jack Tosh Holiday Classic. The Pirates (8-5) will play the host Dukes today at 6 p.m. Friday. They hope to improve on their pool-play mark in the tournament, which stands at 1-1. Henry led the Bulldogs (10-3) with 22 points and 7 rebounds while Loury ended up with 15 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists.


    Kaneland stymies Newark

    There’s several kinds of pressure in basketball, and Kaneland faced a somewhat unique one Thursday night at the 50th annual Plano Christmas Classic.


    Libertyville again provides finishing touch

    Libertyville wasn’t finishing as it was starting the girls basketball season with five straight losses. Now the Wildcats are starting to put everything together and are looking at a final four finish in the Mundelein Holiday Classic. They built a 14-point halftime lead in Thursday’s quarterfinals and closed out an impressive 55-28 victory over Prairie Ridge.


    Turnovers plague Marmion

    The pace of which Winnebago plays is the same up-tempo pace Marmion wants to play. For much of the first half Thursday night, the Cadets struggled to keep pace. Marmion turned the ball over 15 times, shot 38 percent in the first half and trailed by 10 at halftime. The Cadets’ second-half rally fell short as they lost to Winnebago, 61-49, in the semifinals of the 85th Chuck Dayton Holiday Tournament at DeKalb.


    Stevenson tandem too much for St. Charles East

    At Proviso West, Stevenson sophomores Jalen Brunson and Connor Cashaw both tallied 16 points to tie for game-high honors in leading the Patriots to a 58-49 win over St. Charles East. Stevenson (9-2), a first-time participant in this tournament, advances to the quarterfinals to face Maine South at 7 p.m. St. Charles East (8-3), which lost Purdue-bound senior Kendall Stephens to a right shoulder injury in the fourth quarter, moves into the consolation bracket and will face Glenbard East at 6 p.m.

    Thunder forward Kevin Durant, center, goes up for a basket in front of the Dallas Mavericks’ Elton Brand during the second half Thursday in Oklahoma City.

    OKC beats Dallas 111-105 in OT

    Kevin Durant scored 40 points while Russell Westbrook added eight of his 16 points in overtime to help the Oklahoma City Thunder beat Dallas 111-105 on Thursday night for their 11th straight win at home.

    Cincinnati forward Justin Jackson (5) and New Mexico center Alex Kirk (53) go for a rebound during the first half Thursday in Cincinnati.

    New Mexico upsets No. 8 Cincinnati 55-54

    Alex Kirk scored 15 points and blocked Sean Kilpatrick’s shot just before the buzzer Thursday night, preserving New Mexico’s 55-54 win that handed No. 8 Cincinnati its first loss.

    Batavia guard Mike Rueffer (10) knocks a rebound away from Rockford East at the 38th Annual Elgin Boys Holiday Basketball Tournament Thursday December 27, 2012.

    Batavia wins 3rd straight

    There will be a distinct Upstate Eight Conference River Division feel to the semifinal round of the 38th annual Elgin Boys Holiday Basketball Tournament. While Larkin and Elgin staged fourth-quarter comebacks to reach the semifinals, Batavia (5-7) fought off a late challenge from Rockford East to earn a 69-63 quarterfinal victory over the E-Rabs Thursday evening.

    Brendon Kay threw for 332 yards and a Belk Bowl-record four touchdowns, and Cincinnati capitalized on Duke’s inept play in the closing minutes to beat the Blue Devils 48-34 on Thursday night.

    Kay leads Cincinnati over Duke 48-34 in Belk Bowl

    Brendon Kay threw for 332 yards and a Belk Bowl-record four touchdowns, and Cincinnati capitalized on Duke’s inept play in the closing minutes to beat the Blue Devils 48-34 on Thursday night.


    Neuqua Valley rolls past ACC

    Neuqua Valley boys basketball coach Todd Sutton said Aurora Central Catholic’s tempo is a little faster than he prefers. The Wildcats’ 66-46 victory on Thursday at the 47th annual East Aurora Tournament looked comfortable enough.

    Baseball player Hideki Matsui smiles during a news conference to announce his retirement Thursday in New York.

    Matsui retires from baseball

    Free agent slugger Hideki Matsui retired Thursday from professional baseball, saying he is no longer able to perform at the level that made him a star in two countries.


    Western Illinois defeats Oakland 73-63

    Terell Parks scored 19 points to lead Western Illinois over Oakland 73-63 on Thursday night in Summit League play. Parks, who was 8 of 10 from the field, had a team-high eight rebounds.

    Prosecutors said he gave a rambling confession that included references to Godzilla and claims his father owed him money.

    San Jose State tops Bowling Green in Military Bowl

    So what if San Jose State lost its coach before the Military Bowl. David Fales was still the quarterback, and that was plenty.The dart-throwing junior started strong and finished stronger in the wind and cold at RFK Stadium. Fales, who led the nation in completion percentage during the regular season, completed 33 of 43 passes for 395 yards and two touchdowns Thursday in the No. 24 Spartans' 29-20 win over Bowling Green.


    Montini breezes past Batavia

    Montini set the pace, and Batavia simply couldn’t keep up. The No. 2-ranked Broncos jumped on the Bulldogs in the first few minutes of Thursday’s Montini Christmas Tournament quarterfinal game, got the lead to 20 by halftime and coasted home to a 66-42 win.


    Jacobs comes back with win

    After dropping a disheartening 68-48 decision to Lakes Wednesday night, veteran Jacobs boyts basketball coach Jim Hinkle wasn’t sure how his team would respond Thursday night against Hope Academy. Hinkle didn’t need to worry. Utilizing a full court press which forced 22 Hope turnovers, and receiving 23 points from Ryan Billings, Jacobs ended pool play of the Jacobs Holiday Classic with a 65-51 win over the visiting Eagles in Algonquin.


    Big adjustment benefits Naperville Central

    It seemed Naperville Central’s magical control of the court at the Wildcat Hardwood Classic might be in jeopardy Thursday night. The Redhawks were foundering around out on the court, knotted at 8-8 after one with a Deerfield team that had flustered them out of their up-tempo rhythm. The Warriors, with an upset of Prospect already notched in this tournament at Wheeling, appeared ready to topple the defending champs too, especially when 6-foot-9 center Nick Czarnowski went to the bench in foul trouble. Not to worry, Naperville. The Redhawks fell back on their trademark, turnover-driven defense and turned those Warrior miscues into opportunity baskets en route to a 65-46 quarterfinal victory and a spot in Friday’s 8:45 p.m. semifinal against Notre Dame, a 63-44 winner over Carmel.

    Palatine guard Samantha Heuertz drives to the basket past Warren guard Rachel Brown during the Palatine at Warren girls high school basketball game in the Blue Devil Classic Thursday at Warren High School in Gurnee.

    Images: Palatine vs. Warren girls basketball
    The Palatine Pirates played the Warren Blue Devils in Thursday's game of the Blue Devil Classic on December 27 in Gurnee.


    Streamwood tops Conant in 2 OTs

    Streamwood may have been deflated but it was not defeated when Conant sophomore Haley Anderson hit a pair of game-extending buzzer-beaters in Thursday’s quarterfinals of the Mundelein Holiday Classic girls basketball tournament. But when the final buzzer sounded after 40 minutes and a pair of overtimes, the Sabres were relieved and elated as Hannah McGlone and Jessica Cerda combined for 47 points in a 65-56 victory that put them in the Mundelein semifinals for the first time.


    Hampshire falls to Moline in DeKalb semis

    sThe fortunate breaks the Hampshire boys basketball team had gotten during its run at the 85th Chuck Dayton Holiday Tournament at DeKalb went the other way Thursday night. After the Whip-Purs’ Tyler Crater tied the game at 50-50 with 15 seconds remaining, Moline’s Brandon Vice had an offensive rebound and putback with 1 second remaining to give the Maroons a 52-50 victory in the tournament semifinals.


    Wheaton North’s Traversa lights it up from the arc

    sWheaton North coach Dave Eaton has said for some time now that he believes senior Mandy Traversa is the best shooter in the state. He may not be alone in his assessment after Thursday’s game. The Falcons senior connected on a personal-best eight 3-pointers in powering third-seeded Wheaton North to a 62-42 defeat of No. 7 Hersey in quarterfinal action at the Bill Neibch Falcon Classic in Wheaton.


    Maine South sends Glenbard East into consolation bracket

    Glenbard East’s boys basketball team saw firsthand the difference between one-dimensional and well-rounded. Unfortunately for the Rams they were on the wrong end of the spectrum against Maine South on Thursday. Three players reached double-figure scoring as Maine South advanced to the Proviso West Holiday Tournament quarterfinals with a 60-51 victory over Glenbard East on Thursday in Hillside.


    Improved defense keys Benet victory

    Benet boys basketball coach Gene Heidkamp didn’t even wait for the first question of his postgame media session to be finished. He knew exactly what won this game. “Better defense,” Heidkamp said after notching his 100th victory with the program. “I’ll make it real short for you. In the first half we didn’t defend like we expect to defend. And from the three-minute mark of the second quarter into the second half we played defense like we expect to play defense.”Scoring the first 16 points of the fourth quarter, Benet pulled away to a 63-49 victory over Morton in second-round action from the Proviso West Holiday Tournament on Thursday in Hillside. The Redwings (12-2) advance to the quarterfinals to face powerhouse Proviso East (8-2) at 5:15 p.m. Friday.


    South Elgin outlasts Cary-Grove in OT

    Buffalo Wild Wings is a sponsor of the Jacobs Holiday tournament, but one might have to ask if someone working at the chain’s Algonquin facility that’s within walking distance of the school (and a Jim Hinkle hangout) was watching with intent or shooting another commercial and purposely hit the overtime button during the matchup between South Elgin and Cary-Grove Thursday. The teams combined for 15 3-pointers on the soft Eagles Nest rims, none more important at the time than the step back 3 by Cary-Grove’s Jason Gregorie with 12 seconds to go that tied the game at 59 and forced overtime after a 3-point exhibition in regulation broke loose. But South Elgin (4-11) eventually worked it back inside to 6-foot-4 senior Ryne Lundy during overtime. Lundy scored the first basket near the glass and finished with 10 of his 24 points in the extra session to give the Storm a thrilling 74-67 win.

    Bartlett coach Jim Wolfsmith racked up career win No. 100 Thursday.

    Bartlett gets No. 100 for Wolfsmith

    The key for Bartlett’s boys basketball team Thursday morning, after blowing a 3-point lead in the final seconds to Barrington on Wednesday, was bouncing back against a quick turnaround. Bartlett showed no ill-effects and in fact, turned up the defensive intensity, making Prairie Ridge pay for its miscues in a 48-28 win that earned coach Jim Wolfsmith his 100th victory, as the Hawks finished pool play at 2-1 in the Jacobs Holiday Tournament.

    Bears cornerback Charles Tillman, here defending Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, has earned a spot at the Pro Bowl for the second straight year.

    Bears need all defensive hands on deck

    The Bears' defense placed four of its players on the Pro Bowl squad and they hope to have all of them healthy enough to face the Lions Sunday, although cornerback Charles Tillman and defensive tackle Henry Melton were limited at Thursday's practice.

    Elgin wing Arie Williams (10) shoots one of his free-throws against Dundee-Crown at the 38th Annual Elgin Boys Holiday Basketball Tournament Thursday December 27, 2012.

    Images: Elgin vs Dundee-Crown boys basketball
    Dundee-Crown played Elgin High School during the 38th Annual Elgin Boys Holiday Basketball Tournament Thursday December 27, 2012.

    The Rockets’ James Harden dunks over center Joakim Noah during the Bulls’ 120-97 loss Tuesday night at the United Center.

    Bulls look to rebound, literally
    After surviving a snowstorm and cancelled game in Indianapolis, the Bulls decided to skip practice on Thursday, leaving another day to reflect on the state of the team after back-to-back blowout losses. Strong competition can explain the losing streak, but the Bulls are also struggling in a couple of important stat categories.


    Barrington comes close against Evanston

    They are the new girls on the block. And despite a loss in the quarterfinals of the Dundee-Crown Charger Classic, they showed they are no pushovers. Going up against an undefeated Evanston team, the Barrington Fillies took the Wildkits to the wire before falling 50-46 in Carpentersville. Down by 13 points at half, the Fillies staged a superb comeback in the final two quarters and got as close at 2 points with 1:07 left when senior Maddie Bartz drilled a 17-footer. But Evanston made 3 free throws in the final 26 seconds to seal its 15th win without a loss and advance to today’s 6:30 p.m. semifinal against Naperville Central, a 56-41 winner against New Trier. Barrington (10-6), which is making its first appearance in the 30-year tourney, still has a chance to play for fifth place on Saturday if it can survive a 3:30 p.m. test today with New Trier.


    Niles North nixes Loyola

    Malachi Nix and Niles North got off to a fast start and rolled past Loyola 64-49 in the quarterfinals of the 35th annual Wheeling Hardwood Classic Thursday in Wheeling. Niles North (9-2) will move into the semifinals to face St. Viator at 7:15 p.m. Friday.


    Glenbard East leads the way at Berman Classic

    A stunning quarterfinal performance saw Glenbard East upstage the tournament field at the 58th Berman Holiday Wrestling Classic and give the Rams a 13-point lead when the first day of competition came to an end Thursday night at Palatine. Coach Kevin Carlson’s team was a perfect 8-for-8 to help the Rams finish with 122 points, with defending champ Hindale Central close behind with 109 points. St. Charles East, led by top-seed Isaiah Vela (18-0 at 132) is third at 97.5. Rock Island (80.5) and Lyons Township (79.50) round out the top five. Fox Valley Conference power Cary-Grove is seventh overall with 73 points, with Leyden in 12th after garnering 63.5 points. Semifinals will begin at Palatine at 11:30 a.m. Friday; finals are scheduled for 3:30 p.m.

    St. Viator's Ore Arogundade pushes the ball up the court against Fremd at the 35th annual Wheeling Wildcat Hardwood Classic on Thursday.

    Arogundade helps St. Viator hold off Fremd

    When St. Viator needed him most, Ore Arogundade came through. After Fremd whittled an 11-point fourth quarter deficit down to 2 with under two minutes to play, Arogundade took matters into his own hands. The junior swingman sank 5 of 6 free throws down the stretch to cap a 26-point, 10-rebound performance in leading the Lions to a 52-45 victory in the second round of the 35th annual Wheeling Wildcat Hardwood Classic. St. Viator (9-1) advances to play in today's 7:15 p.m. semifinal against Niles North (9-2), a 64-49 winner over Loyola (8-5).

    Images from the Fremd vs. St. Viator boys basketball game on Thursday, December 27th, at the Wheeling High School holiday basketball tournament.

    Images: Fremd vs. St. Viator, boys basketball
    Fremd played St. Viator High School during 35th annual Wheeling Wildcat Hardwood Classic on Thursday.

    Bartlett's Ally Giampapa gets some air as she tries to defend Dundee-Crown's Jordan Bartelt Thursday at the 30th annual Charger Classic at Dundee-Crown.

    Bartlett bounces back strong

    If there's one thing that drives coaches nuts, it's their players not implementing the important things they work on in practice. Bartlett's girls basketball team helped Hawks' coach Denise Sarna find some sanity Thursday. Crashing the offensive boards with authority and limiting their turnovers as well as they have all season, the Hawks defeated host Dundee-Crown 48-28 in the consolation bracket of the 30th annual Charger Classic.


    Classy effort from Vernon Hills against Cary-Grove

    In a break from her normal weekday morning routine, Meri Bennett-Swanson has been talking basketball, in which she's fluent. Back-to-back 9 a.m. starts to open the Mundelein Holiday Classic haven't fazed the Vernon Hills senior and her teammates, who've looked wide-awake. "For winter break, it's early," Bennett-Swanson said of the start times. "But it's like a regular school day, only I get to go play basketball, instead of going to French first period." Vernon Hills had a Thursday morning test that proved as challenging as learning a second language. The Cougars aced it, leading from start to finish in a 44-33 win over Cary-Grove, which couldn't match its opponent's interior size and strength.

    Images from Batavia vs Rockford East at the 38th Annual Elgin Boys Holiday Basketball Tournament Thursday December 27, 2012.

    Images: Batavia vs Rockford East boys basketball
    Batavia played Rockford East High School during a Thursday game of the 38th Annual Elgin Boys Holiday Basketball Tournament.

    Images from the West Chicago vs. Willowbrook boys basketball game at the Glenbard West Holiday Classic on Thursday, December 27, 2012.

    Images: West Chicago vs. Willowbrook boys basketball
    West Chicago takes on Willowbrook at the annual Glenbard West Boys Basketball Holiday Classic in Glen Ellyn on Thursday.


    New look benefits Maine West

    Maine West coach Erik McNeill wanted to shake things up. As losers of three straight, McNeill decided to bring the emerging junior Allante Bates in off the bench. That meant sophomore Joel Ferraren would get his second career start but with a much bigger offensive role. After Thursday morning, Ferraren might've earned himself a starting spot for good. Ferraren led the way for the Warriors with 18 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks to help fend off a pesky Libertyville squad and earn a 56-54 overtime win on the second day of the Wheeling Wildcat Hardwood Classic Tournament.

    Images from Dundee-Crown vs Bartlett during the Dundee-Crown 30th Annual Charger Classic girls basketball tournament Thursday December 27, 2012 at the Carpentersville School.

    Images: Dundee-Crown vs Bartlett girls basketball
    Dundee-Crown played Bartlett High School during the Dundee-Crown 30th Annual Charger Classic girls basketball tournament Thursday iin Carpentersville.

    Brooklyn Nets head coach Avery Johnson was fired Thursday after losing 10 of their last 13 games.

    Brooklyn Nets fire coach Avery Johnson

    NEW YORK — Avery Johnson was fired Thursday as coach of the Brooklyn Nets, who have fallen to .500 in their season of new surroundings and elevated expectations. After a strong start to their first season in Brooklyn, the Nets have lost 10 of 13 games to fall well behind the first-place New York Knicks, the team they so badly want to compete with in their new home. But after beating the Knicks in their first meeting Nov. 26, probably the high point of Johnson's tenure, the Nets went 5-10 and frustrations have been mounting.


    McElroy has concussion, Sanchez to start for Jets

    In what has been a bizarre season, the Jets' wacky quarterback situation took yet another twist. Greg McElroy has a concussion — which he didn't reveal until Thursday — and will be replaced by Mark Sanchez as the starting quarterback in the season finale at Buffalo on Sunday.


    Mike North video: Cubs and Sox outlook bleak

    Mike North doesn't see any great moves made by either the White Sox or the Cubs so far this year.

    Seattle Seahawks’ Richard Sherman is eligible for the NFL playoffs after winning an appeal of a four-game suspension the league gave him earlier this season.

    Seattle cornerback wins suspension appeal

    RENTON, Wash. — Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman won his appeal of a four-game suspension for use of performance enhancing substances on Thursday, making him eligible for the NFL playoffs. Sherman posted “I won,” on his Twitter account Thursday morning, followed by teammates tweeting their congratulations. Sherman added, “Thank you (at) NFL for upholding the truth! To the 12s Thank you your faith is rewarded! Thank you lord.”The decision was made by former NFL executive Bob Wallace.Sherman was steadfast since news broke of his pending suspension that he believed he would win on appeal. Sherman’s appeal was based on errors in the chain of custody of his sample and that there were mistakes made by the tester. Sherman made his appeal late last week. NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said in an email the league is reviewing the decision, but was declining comment due to confidentiality provisions.The decision makes Sherman eligible for the Seahawks season finale against St. Louis and, more importantly, the playoffs. Seattle has played the last three weeks without fellow starting cornerback Brandon Browner who is serving a four-game suspension for a banned substance violation. Browner’s suspension expires after Sunday’s game against the Rams, so Seattle will have both of its starting cornerbacks available for the postseason. “Congrats to Richard Sherman for winning his appeal! Happy for him & it’ll be great to have him with us as we move forward,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll tweeted Thursday morning. According to STATS, Sherman is tied with Pittsburgh’s Keenan Lewis for the NFL lead with 23 passes defensed. He is tied for second in interceptions with seven.Sherman was a surprise omission from the Pro Bowl roster announced Wednesday. Despite his impressive numbers, Sherman was a first alternate at cornerback for the NFC, behind the Chicago duo of Tim Jennings and Charles Tillman, and Arizona’s Patrick Peterson. Even before the Pro Bowl rosters were announced, Sherman didn’t seem to care about getting a trip to Hawaii.“It don’t mean nothing,” Sherman said Wednesday. “I bet you I’ll be on the first-team All-Pro. That means more to me.”

    Jalen Brunson

    Basketball: Week 5 MVPs

    Stevenson sophomore Jalen Brunson and Streamwood senior Jessica Cerda have earned Daily Herald MVP honors for the recent basketball performances. Brunson had 26 points against Lake Zurich and a career-best 35 against Lake Forest, both North Suburban Lake victories for the Bears. Cerda, a Chicago State recruit, led the Sabres with 16 points in a win over Bartlett. She followed that with 17 in a victory against Batavia; Cerda bettered the 1,000-point career mark in that contest.

    Dr. Mark Molitch of Northwestern University, who helped write medical standards meant to limit HGH treatment to legitimate patients, holds an injector pen that contains approximately a weeks worth of doses for a patient in need of the drug. An Associated Press investigation shows that a federal crackdown on illicit foreign supplies of human growth hormone has failed to stop rampant misuse.

    Drug companies cashing in on human growth hormone abuse

    Whether for athletics or age, Americans from teenagers to baby boomers are trying to get an edge by illegally using anabolic steroids and human growth hormone and not heeding the well-documented risks. An Associated Press investigation shows that a federal crackdown on illicit foreign supplies of human growth hormone has failed to stop rampant misuse, and instead has driven record sales.


    Edkins, Carmel close out Lake Park

    Greg Edkins came up with his own 8-0 run between the first and second quarters to help Carmel Catholic take the lead — and the Corsairs never looked back. Edkins' basket with :50 left in the first quarter gave Carmel a 9-8 lead. The 6-foot senior guard then scored Carmel's first 6 points of the second quarter for a 15-8 lead with 4:21 left in the first half. The last two baskets were the result of his own steals. That was enough for the Corsairs to hold off Lake Park 42-36 in the first round of the Wheeling 35th annual Hardwood Classic to improve to 5-4. The Corsairs meet Notre Dame, which soundly defeated Alcott, in an 8:45 p.m. Thursday game at Wheeling.


    Tribune Co. owns the Chicago Tribune and seven other daily newspapers.

    Investors eye Tribune papers

    The publisher of the Orange County Register said Thursday that at an investor group he leads may want to buy Tribune Co.’s newspapers after the media conglomerate emerges from bankruptcy. “We clearly have the means and the team by which to look seriously at the Tribune papers and, from the outside, they may very well have enough of the elements that we’re looking for,” said Aaron Kushner.


    Daily Herald website named among nation's best for sports

    The Daily Herald earned a Top 10 ranking in the Associated Press Sports Editors annual Web contest for 2012, APSE officials announced Thursday.

    In this Wednesday, Dec. 26, 2012, photo, Daniel Kryger, left, and Kevin Lodewick Jr., right, work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in New York. Stocks are edging higher on Thursday as hopes dim that a budget deal will be reached before a deadline at the end of the year.

    Stocks fluctuate thanks to 'fiscal cliff'

    The "fiscal cliff" took the stock market on a roller coaster Thursday. Small developments in the tense budget standoff yanked stocks back and forth throughout the day. In the end, U.S. stocks closed lower for the fourth day in a row, sending the unwelcome message that the budget standoff is still far from solved, the economy still far from healed.

    U.S. consumer confidence tumbled in December, driven lower by fears of sharp tax increases and government spending cuts set to take effect next week.

    U.S. consumer confidence falls on fiscal cliff fears

    U.S. consumer confidence tumbled in December, driven lower by fears of sharp tax increases and government spending cuts set to take effect next week. The Conference Board said Thursday that its consumer confidence index fell this month to 65.1, down from 71.5 in November. That's the second straight decline and the lowest level since August. The survey showed consumers are slightly more optimistic about current business conditions and hiring. But their outlook for the next six months deteriorated to its lowest level since 2011.

    The average number of people seeking U.S. unemployment benefits over the past month fell to the lowest level since March 2008, a sign that the job market is healing.

    U.S. jobless aid applications fall to 5-year low

    The average number of people seeking U.S. unemployment benefits over the past month fell to the lowest level since March 2008, a sign that the job market is healing. The Labor Department said Thursday that weekly applications dropped 12,000 to a seasonally adjusted 350,000 in the week ended Dec. 22. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, fell to a nearly five-year low of 356,750.


    Grainger agrees to $70 million settlement

    Lake Forest-based national hardware distributor W.W. Grainger has agreed to pay $70 million to settle allegations it didn't meet federal contracts.


    Chicago parking meters will be US’s most expensive

    Chicago soon will have the nation's most expensive downtown parking meters.On New Year's Day, meters in the city's downtown Loop area will begin charging $6.50 an hour — up from $5.75.A report from the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency says the rate change will make Chicago the city with the most expensive metered parking.


    Judge deciding if stores must post tobacco apology

    A federal judge will soon decide whether your next tank of gas or bottle of soda comes with a free apology from the Marlboro man and Joe Camel.A recent ruling ordering a multimedia blitz stating that the nation's largest tobacco companies lied about the dangers of smoking left open the possibility that retailers could be required to post large displays with the mea culpas.


    Justice refuses to block morning-after pill rule

    Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor on Wednesday denied a request to block part of the federal health care law that requires employee health-care plans to provide insurance coverage for the morning-after pill and similar emergency contraception pills.Hobby Lobby Stores and a sister company, Mardel Inc., sued the government, claiming the mandate violates the religious beliefs of its owners.

    Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, before the Senate Banking Committee hearing.

    U.S. Treasury to take steps to avoid borrowing limit

    The U.S. Treasury Department will begin taking steps on Friday to delay hitting the government's $16.4 trillion borrowing limit on Dec. 31. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said in a letter Wednesday to congressional leaders that the department will use accounting measures to save approximately $200 billion. That could keep the government from reaching the limit for about two months.


    Oil hits $91 ahead of ‘fiscal cliff’ talks

    The price of oil hovered around $91 a barrel Thursday as U.S. political leaders geared up for another attempt to reach a budget deal to avoid the "fiscal cliff."


    No deal in sight as deadline for fiscal deal nears

    Lawmakers are engaged in a playground game of "who goes first," daring each political party to let the year end without resolving a Jan. 1 confluence of higher taxes and deep spending cuts that could rattle a recovering, but-still-fragile economy.President Barack Obama returns from Hawaii Thursday to this increasingly familiar deadline showdown in the nation's capital, with even a stopgap solution now in doubt.

    A currency trader looks at the computer monitors near a screen showing the Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI), right, at the foreign exchange dealing room of the Korea Exchange Bank headquarters in Seoul, South Korea, Thursday, Dec. 27, 2012. Most of Asian markets rose Thursday on optimism a new Japanese government will stimulate its sluggish economy. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

    European stocks up in thin trading

    European stocks edged up on Thursday as traders returned from the Christmas break anticipating progress from budget talks in Washington.Britain's FTSE 100 added 0.2 percent to 5,966.55. Germany's DAX rose by 0.3 percent to 7,656.27 while France's CAC-40 was up by 0.4 percent to 3,669.74. Wall Street braced for a flat opening, with Dow Jones industrial futures marginally higher at 13,045. S&P 500 futures rose less than 0.1 percent at 1,413.90.

    In this Oct. 4, 2011 photo, Randi Zuckerberg, former marketing director of Facebook and founder of RtoZ Media, speaks at the Executive Marketing Summit in New York. A picture Zuckerberg posted on her personal Facebook profile was seen by a marketing director, who then posted the picture to Twitter and her more than 40,000 followers.

    Private picture of Mark Zuckerberg’s family leaked

    Even Mark Zuckerberg's family can get tripped up by Facebook's privacy settings.A picture that Zuckerberg's sister posted on her personal Facebook profile was seen by a marketing director, who then posted the picture to Twitter and her more than 40,000 followers Wednesday.


    Retailers to recall 150,000-plus baby recliners

    Four national retailers agreed to recall more than 150,000 Nap Nanny baby recliners after at least five infant deaths and dozens of reports of children nearly falling out of the recliners, the Consumer Product Safety Commission said Thursday.

    Scott Harrison talks with school children as he visits a school water project in India. His organization has funded nearly 7,000 clean water projects in some of the poorest areas of the world.

    Nonprofit tech innovators inspire new philanthropy

    cott Harrison's organization called Charity: Water has funded nearly 7,000 clean water projects in some of the poorest areas of the world. Harrison wanted to add sensors to the wells to give donors more assurances about the projects. But raising millions of dollars for the innovation was a problem.

    A Chinese man uses a computer at an Internet cafe in Beijing. China’s new communist leaders are increasing already tight controls on Internet use and electronic publishing following a spate of embarrassing online reports about official abuses.

    China tightening controls on Internet

    China's new communist leaders are increasing already tight controls on Internet use and electronic publishing following a spate of embarrassing online reports about official abuses.The measures suggest China's new leader, Xi Jinping, and others who took power in November share their predecessors' anxiety about the Internet's potential to spread opposition to one-party rule and their insistence on controlling information despite promises of more economic reforms.

    Bargain-hungry Americans will need to go on a post-Christmas spending binge to salvage this holiday shopping season.

    Stores look to week after Christmas for sales

    Bargain-hungry Americans will need to go on a post-Christmas spending binge to salvage this holiday shopping season. Despite the huge discounts and other incentives that stores offered leading up to Christmas, U.S. holiday sales so far this year have been the weakest since 2008, when the nation was in a deep recession. So stores now are depending on the days after Christmas to make up lost ground.

Life & Entertainment

    Styx plays the Genesee Theatre and the Star Plaza Theatre this weekend.

    Styx guitarist brings bandmates home for two shows

    Styx guitarist and Chicago native James Young is coming home. And he's bringing the rest of the band. Just don't expect to hear "Mr. Roboto," or anything else off "Kilroy Was Here" for that matter, when the rockers take the stage Saturday in Waukegan and Sunday in Merrillville, Ind.

    Albert (Andrew Veenstra) rides his family's horse, Joey (manipulated by John Riddleberger, Patrick Osteen and Jessica Krueger), in the North American tour of "War Horse," playing at Chicago's Cadillac Palace Theatre.

    Weekend picks: Catch 'War Horse' while you can

    "War Horse" at the Cadillac Palace Theatre is only in town for a short run, so now's the time to see it. If you'd rather see a show in the suburbs, there's "Singin' in the Rain" at Drury Lane Theatre in Oakbrook Terrace and The Rockettes finish up their run at the Akoo in Rosemont this weekend. See Tiny Sturgess, the world's tallest professional basketball player, when the Harlem Globetrotters return to the Allstate Arena in Rosemont Friday.

    Small plates of Mexican-inspired cuisine make a big impression at A Toda Madre in Geneva.

    Small plates, big flavors land restaurants on best of 2012 list

    Small is the new big, as in small plates and small spaces. Bigger is also the new big, as in bigger steaks and bigger selections. During 2012, Daily Herald restaurant critics fanned out across the suburbs exploring neighborhood tapas bars and family-run falafel houses, hip gastro pubs and swank steak houses. Here are the 10 spots we found served up the best meals and the best experiences over the past year.

    This film image released by Universal Pictures shows actress Anne Hathaway portraying Fantine, a struggling, sickly mother forced into prostitution in 1800s Paris, in a scene from the screen adaptation of “Les Miserables.”

    With ‘Les Miz,’ a new kind of speech for Hooper

    "I've always had an epic filmmaker within me clamoring to get out," explains British director Tom Hooper. That much becomes clear in Hooper's new film, "Les Miserables." From the musical based on Victor Hugo's novel, the film is an enormous, star-studded affair overlaid on a French revolution canvas yet painted with a naturalistic brush.

    British actress Kate Winslet has married Ned Rocknroll in New York.

    Husband No. 3 for actress Kate Winslet

    Kate Winslet has tied the knot again. The Oscar-winning actress wed Ned Rocknroll in New York earlier this month. The private ceremony was attended by Winslet's two children as well as a few friends and family members, her representative said Thursday.

    Creme fraiche thickened with cornstarch and pepper sauce adds to the oo-la-la factor of Croque Monsieur sandwiches.

    Off the beaten aisle: Creme fraiche looks like sour cream, tastes better

    Not sure what creme fraiche is or why you should care? Consider it a relative of sour cream. Except that while both are white, thick and creamy, creme fraiche is the richer, sexier and more talented relative. Here's the deal. Like yogurt, sour cream and creme fraiche are dairy products produced thanks to the miracle of friendly bacteria.


    Unisex Easy-Bake oven on the way

    It didn't arrive in time for Christmas, but Hasbro says it will soon reveal a gender-neutral Easy-Bake Oven after meeting with a New Jersey girl who started a campaign calling on the toy maker to make one that appeals to all kids. McKenna Pope, 13, of Garfield, N.J., got more than 40,000 signatures on her online petition at Change.org and the support of celebrity chefs including Bobby Flay.

    New Year's Eve is a perfect time to enjoy raclette with family and friends.

    Raclette: Fondue minus cliches and '70s flashbacks

    What is raclette? Consider it a more sophisticated answer to fondue. Raclette — which derives from the French word meaning "to scrape" — involves melting the surface of a wheel of semisoft raclette cheese, then scraping the gooey part onto boiled potatoes and other accompaniments. A tradition of the Swiss Alps, raclette is still little known in the United States. But that may be changing.

    Welcome in 2013 with raclette, a Swiss style of communal dining.

    New Year’s Eve Raclette
    New Year's Eve Raclette

    Global gas spokesman Steve Butler (Matt Damon) tries to persuade a small Pennsylvania town to let his company drill for oil in Gus Van Sant's “Promised Land.”

    'Promised Land' a cynical tale of sales and sellouts

    "Promised Land," Gus Van Sant's restrained examination of personal ethics, shady business practices, energy exploitation and community desperation, takes place during a terrible time in America where small communities hammered by a bad economy have to juggle benefits vs. drawbacks of letting a corporation come to their rescue - with strings attached. Here, the bad guy becomes the good guy.


    Eating out: Brunch in your PJs at Mon Ami Gabi

    After a long night of ringing in 2013, roll out of bed New Year's Day and head to Mon Ami Gabi in Oak Brook for brunch — pajamas encouraged. From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 1, enjoy waffle bananas foster, blueberry French toast and crepes and quiches, which range from $9 to $13 each. Grab mimosas or a spicy Bloody Mary. Guests who dine in their PJs receive a gift card equal to their bill for their next visit.

    Friends Douglas (John Magaro), left, Eugene (Jack Huston) and Wells (Will Brill) try to make it in the music business in “Not Fade Away.”

    'Not Fade Away' chases dream of making it in music

    David Chase's "Not Fade Away" — a somewhat autobiographical drama about a Jersey boy playing drums in a '60s band — would be called a promising first feature from some unknown filmmaker doing the rounds at Sundance. Coming from a Hollywood heavyweight who's spent decades in the TV trenches, it's a hopeful sign, or maybe just wishful thinking, that more of the quality that has fled film for television might somehow be channeled back to the big-screen.

    Dann Gire’s pick for worst movie of the year: “Joyful Noise” starring Dolly Parton and Queen Latifah.

    Worst movie of the year? Try ‘Joyful Noise’

    Dann picks some noteworthy nuggets for 2012 including the most impressive new performer, the best business news coming out of Hollywood and the worst movie of the year. There's also the fifth anniversary of the movie "White Out" made by a group of Northwest suburban residents.

    Roasted pork tenderloin is elegant enough for a holiday meal and easy enough as to not stress out the host.

    Herbed Roasted Pork Tenderloin
    Pork Tenderloin: Kitchen Scoop

    Roasted pork tenderloin is elegant enough for a holiday meal and easy enough as to not stress out the host.

    Herb roasted tenderloin perfect for holiday grazing

    Today's recipe for Herb Roasted Pork Tenderloin is wonderful with roasted or mashed potatoes and steamed green beans or a simple salad. It's also special enough to stand as the star on a table laden with treats for a small to medium gathering.


    Legislators must ensure pensions are fully funded — that's a minimum requirement for any pension reform.

    Editorial: Mandated payments key to viable pension funds

    A key component to any pension reform would be to require government employers to make the agreed-upon payments to the funds, a Daily Herald editorial says. Failure to do so would eventually send us back to where we started, regardless of any changes made to pension benefits.


    When healers are the targets

    Columnist Michael Gerson: In June, a Taliban warlord declared, "Polio drops will be banned in North Waziristan" until American drone strikes cease. It is a strategy both cruel and typical: the intentional infliction of paralysis on Pakistani children as a negotiating ploy.


    $31 billion in benefits, and counting

    Guest columnist: In the decade prior to implementation of customer choice in 1999, electricity prices paid by Illinois consumers averaged 12 percent above the national average. Since then, Illinois prices have averaged 7 percent below the national norm.


    Time for ‘yes’ on budget deal
    A Libertyville letter to the editor: Why can’t our elected officials (President, Senate and House) come to a compromise as to how we can balance the budget?


    Money in stocks doesn’t help economy
    A Schaumburg letter to the editor: So no matter what the internal movement of stocks within the markets is, while that money is inside the market it does not stimulate the economy until it exits the markets regardless of the cause for that cash moving out of the market.


    Lawmakers should OK freedom to marry
    A Round Lake letter to the editor: Recently, legislative leaders in Illinois announced that in early January they will seek to pass a measure winning the freedom to marry for same sex couples in our state. The time is now for the General Assembly to pass this measure of basic fairness and dignity.


    Start over with a rebuilt school
    A Hanover Park letter to the editor: With so many people grieving for the loss of 26 lives in Newtown, Conn., it seems like there would be a way to raise enough money to tear down Sandy Hook Elementary and build another school so that no student will ever have to set foot inside the horrible scene of carnage again.


    Government power grab: Gun control
    A Lombard letter to the editor: What an extremely sad, horrible event in Newtown, Conn. Twenty schoolchildren and seven adults murdered by a deranged gunman. Even sadder, President Obama has immediately turned Sandy Hook into a rallying cry for disarming the nation. He’s trying to convince us that disarming citizens is the magical solution to ending violence in this country.


    No reason to have assault weapons
    A Batavia letter to the editor: There will always be troubled children and adults who need as much extra help as we can provide, and we can probably do a better job as a society and community to help the parents and relatives of those individuals.


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