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Daily Archive : Friday December 28, 2012

News

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    Joe Jessop, a truck driver from Orderville, Utah, sets his pole as while fishing on the frozen Missouri River in Williston, North Dakota, U.S., on Sunday, Feb. 12, 2012. North Dakota will hold its Republican presidential caucus on March 6.

    Images: National Photos of the Year
    Across the county and the world, 2012 was a year full of joy, tragedy, destruction and change. From the presidential election to Superstorm Sandy, these are the best national and international photos of 2012 from the Associated Press.

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    Possible arson in North Chicago

    Authorities were investigating a fire at a one-story house in North Chicago Friday evening as a possible arson. When firefighting crews arrived to the house on the 1600 block of 16th Street just after 5:30 p.m., they saw flames coming from a basement window. All of the other windows on the house were boarded up, and a padlock was on the front door, according to the North Chicago Fire Department.

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    Mexico finds smuggling tunnel near U.S. border

    Mexican authorities have discovered a sophisticated smuggling tunnel equipped with electricity and ventilation not far from the Nogales port of entry into Arizona, U.S. and Mexican officials said Friday.

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    A Bensenville church that once operated the St. Johannes Cemetery near O’Hare International Airport was awarded $1.3 million in a settlement with the city of Chicago, which acquired the 5-acre site in 2010 as part of eminent domain proceedings.

    Dispute over cemetery land for runway comes to an end

    The city of Chicago will pay a Bensenville church $1.3 million for land that included a cemetery, bringing to an end more than a decade of litigation surrounding O'Hare International Airport expansion. But the two sides had drastically different opinions of the settlement. "Chicago, in my estimation, clearly lowballed this thing," said Randy Putman, the council president of the former St. John's...

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    Claudette Flanagan-Jones, left, Jade Morris’ grandmother, Tejuana Reeves-Morris, Jade’s mother, and Andres Mack, Jade’s grandfather, sit while Brenda Stokes Wilson appears at Clark County Justice Court, Friday in Las Vegas. Wilson is accused of slashing a Bellagio blackjack dealer and is suspected of kidnapping and slaying 10-year-old Jade Morris. A judge raised bail for Wilson from $60,000 to $600,000 on Friday in light of expected murder charges to be filed Friday afternoon.

    Body of missing girl found in empty Las Vegas lot

    Authorities said Friday they believe a casino worker killed a 10-year-girl several days before Christmas, then went to the Bellagio resort on the Las Vegas Strip and slashed the face of a co-worker with a pair of razor blades. The weeklong search for Jade Morris ended Friday afternoon when officials confirmed that her body had been found Thursday in an undeveloped housing tract.

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    Tens of thousands still without power in Arkansas

    A cold rain fell across Arkansas on Friday, washing away some of the Christmas Day ice and snow that knocked out power to 194,000 customers — including businesses that rely on post-holiday sales — of the state's largest electric utility. Entergy Arkansas said it had completed about 40 percent of its repairs by Friday, but that just under 100,000 were still without electricity.

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    President Francois Bozize addresses crowds in Bangui, Central African Republic. The president of Central African Republic on Thursday urgently called on France and other foreign powers to help his government fend off rebels who are quickly seizing territory and approaching the capital Bangui. French officials, however, declined to offer any military assistance in response to the plea from Francois Bozize.

    Central African Republic neighbors to send help

    Central African Republic's neighbors agreed on Friday to dispatch a contingent of soldiers to intervene in the troubled country, where a coalition of rebel groups is seeking to overthrow the president of nearly a decade.

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    St. Charles school, park board incumbents face challengers

    The St. Charles Unit District 303 school board may see major changes as the four incumbents up for re-election have challengers. They include a Tea Party member and a critic of the district's decision to turn Davis and Richmond Elementary Schools into grade level centers.

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    Contested school races everywhere but Kaneland

    Not enough people are running in the Kaneland school board election to fill all available posts, but that's not the case in the Batavia, West Aurora and Geneva districts.

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    Candidates line up for DuPage school boards facing contentious issues

    Candidates seeking school board seats in the April 9 DuPage County election will face issues ranging from budget deficits to overcrowded buildings to teacher contracts to curriculum questions. As daunting as it seems, relatively large numbers of candidates have filed to pursue seats on several area school boards.

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    Chicago officially reaches 500 homicides

    Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy says the city has logged its 500th homicide of the year. McCarthy issued a statement Friday calling the milestone a "tragic number that is reflective of the gang violence and proliferation of illegal guns that have plagued some of our neighborhoods."

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    Commuters wait on the platform Friday as a train passes through the 40th St-Lowry St Station, where a man was killed after being pushed onto the subway tracks, in the Queens section of New York. Police are searching for a woman suspected of pushing the man and released surveillance video Friday of her running away from the station.

    Mayor: Keep 2 NY subway push deaths in perspective

    As police sought on Friday to locate the unidentified woman who pushed a man into the path of an oncoming train, Mayor Michael Bloomberg urged residents to keep the second fatal subway shove in the city this month in perspective. "It's a very tragic case, but what we want to focus on today is the overall safety in New York," Bloomberg told reporters following a police academy graduation.

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    Crowded field of candidates vying for Dist. 15 board

    Despite widespread sentiment that Palatine Township Elementary District 15 has made strides toward righting its ship, voters will see the board's most crowded field of candidates in at least 18 years. Nine people will seek four open seats in the April election.

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    Grants awarded to improve housing for people with HIV

    The Chicago Department of Public Health has awarded $6 million to 22 community organizations for housing assistance and support services for people living with HIV and AIDS and their families.

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    Midas, a golden eagle, was found suffering from a broken wing in a field near Sadorus, Ill.

    Rare golden eagle rehabbing broken wing in Decatur

    A rare golden eagle found in a central Illinois field with a broken wing has been undergoing rehabilitation at the Illinois Raptor Center. The 8-pound bird is now named Midas.

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    A nearly 15-year experiment with the super maximum-security prison in Tamms has ended. Shuttering Tamms is part of Gov. Pat Quinn’s plan to save money.

    ’Supermax’ era ends as last Tamms inmates leave

    One of the more contentious episodes in the history of Illinois prisons ended Friday as the last inmates in the "supermax" lockup in Tamms were moved out and Gov. Pat Quinn's administration prepares to shut it down. The final five inmates of the high-security home for the "worst of the worst" were shipped to the Pontiac Correctional Center.

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    Ambulances are parked Friday outside the accident and emergency entrance at Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore. After 10 days at a New Delhi hospital, the victim of a gang-rape in New Delhi was flown to Singapore on Thursday for treatment at the Mount Elizabeth hospital. She died early Saturday.

    Indian rape victim dies in hospital

    A young Indian woman who was gang-raped and severely beaten on a bus in New Delhi died early Saturday at a hospital in Singapore, the hospital said. The 23-year-old victim "died peacefully," according to a statement by Singapore's Mount Elizabeth hospital where she was being treated.

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    Wayne man accused of car theft, house burglaries

    A Wayne man has been charged with felony residential burglary and auto theft.

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    Fox Valley police reports
    Tri/Fox blotter

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    Andrew P. Quinn

    Carol Stream police arrest two men on child porn charges

    Carol Stream police on Friday announced the arrests of two men in connection with separate child pornography investigations. On Friday, police arrested Andrew P. Quinn, 33, of the 17W300 block of Birnam Trail in an unincorporated area near Willowbrook, on seven felony counts of aggravated possession of child pornography. On Dec. 13, police arrested Patrick E. Riley, 20, of the 300 block of...

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    Northwest suburban police blotter

    A 29-year-old Chicago woman was arrested Dec. 15 in Schaumburg and charged with endangering the life/health of a child after witnesses saw a small child and an infant alone inside a locked car with the engine running. The woman reportedly was returning merchandise to a clothing store.

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    Heriberto Ramirez

    Husband receives 45-year sentence for murder

    A 50-year-old Des Plaines-area man convicted of killing his wife of 26 years was sentenced to 45 years in prison Friday. In November, jurors took 40 minutes to decide Heriberto Ramirez stabbed his wife 34 times during a Valentine's Day fight in 2011 inside their mobile home in an unincorporated portion of Cook County near O'Hare International Airport.

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    Joseph O’Brien

    Sex offender accused of hanging around play area

    A convicted sex offender was arrested on criminal trespassing charges for hanging around a McDonald's children's play area in Elk Grove Township, authorities said Friday. Joseph O'Brien, 36, of the 9900 block of Linda Lane in Maine Township, was arrested Dec. 22 at the restaurant after the manager called to report him loitering there, according to the Cook County sheriff's office.

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    Protesters chant slogans and wave the Syrian revolution flags during a rally after the Friday prayer at Al-Azhar mosque in Cairo, Egypt. Syrian rebels are fighting a 21-month-old revolt against President Bashar Assad’s regime. Activists say more than 40,000 people have been killed in the crisis, which began with pro-democracy protests but has morphed into a civil war.

    Rebels besiege airports in northern Syria

    Syrian rebels stepped up their siege of a government helicopter base and clashed with soldiers near Aleppo's international airport on Friday, part of an effort to chip away at the air power that poses the biggest challenge to their advances against the regime of President Bashar Assad.

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    Vehicle stickers in Fox River Grove are on their way out, but they will be replaced by a new fee on water bills.

    Fox River Grove scrapping vehicle stickers, hiking water bills

    Fox River Grove officials have agreed to end the village's vehicle sticker program and intend to make up for the lost revenue by adding a $36 annual fee to residents' water bills.

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    Did you get a present that knocked your socks off this Christmas?

    Poll Vault: What was the best gift you received this Christmas?

    If you got a car for Christmas like in those commercials, no need to answer. If you didn't, was it jewelry, a trip, a child's craft, or a simple gathering that pleased you the most this holiday?

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    Cops say Darien death likely alcohol-related

    Alcohol was likely a factor in the death of a 49-year-old man whose body was discovered this week on a parkway in Darien, police said Friday. Police Chief Ernest Brown identified the victim as Joseph Crockett, who had addresses listed in Carol Stream and Westmont.

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    Batavia 4th Ward Alderman Jim Volk

    More candidates discuss Batavia City Council run

    Incumbents Robert Liva and Jim Volk, and new candidate Jamie Saam, explain why they want to be on the city council.

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    David McSweeney

    McSweeney to start serving in House early

    Republican David McSweeney will start his Illinois House career several days early after state Rep. Kent Gaffney resigned from his seat.

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    Lake Villa man’s death in truck from natural causes

    A Lake Villa man found dead in his truck in Antioch on Christmas Eve died of natural causes. Lake County Coroner Thomas Rudd said. David Heaton, 26, of Lake Villa had elevated levels of glucose and alcohol, which combined with the cold led to his death.

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    Two injured in Fox Lake crash

    Two people have been hospitalized after a three-car crash in Fox Lake Friday morning.

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    McHenry fire causes $250,000 in damages

    A townhouse fire in McHenry caused about $250,000 in damages and killed two cats, according to fire officials. The fire occurred about 9 p.m. Wednesday at a four-unit townhouse on the 500 block of Legend Lane, said Rudy Horist, deputy chief for the McHenry County Fire Protection District.

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    The Central Lake YMCA in Vernon Hills will become the Lakeview Fitness Center as of Jan. 1.

    Vernon Hills Park District takes over YMCA

    At 8 a.m. Jan. 1 the Vernon Hills Park District will take over ownership of the Central Lake YMCA, or soon the Lakeview Fitness Center, with a mission to make improvements and boost membership. "Our parks staff has put together a 48-hour, a 10-day and a 30-day checklist," Executive Director Jeff Fougerousse said.

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    Dawn Patrol: Ballots grow in Arlington Hts., Gurnee, St. Charles, DuPage

    Hot contested races in next April's election are shaping up on the Arlington Heights park board, in Gurnee, in the St. Charles city council, in DuPage County municipal races, in Lake in the Hills and the rest of the Fox Valley.

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    Anne Faulkner and her husband Roy Czach installed a Little Free Library in their front yard at 1010 Center St. in Elgin.

    Elgin couple runs little library that could

    If you ever had the urge to get a book at 3 a.m., the Little Free Library is the way to go with books for everyone's enjoyment — no membership or money required. According to the webite, there are libraries in Elgin, St. Charles, Batavia, Glen Ellyn and Wheaton.

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    Cary police officer Kathy Eiring makes her rounds socializing with seniors during the Kraus Senior Center's Christmas party at the Community Center in Cary on Dec. 14. Eiring has been working with the senior community for eight years and was certified as an ESO four years ago.

    Moving Picture: Cary officer on guard for seniors

    Cary Police Officer Kathy Eiring meets all sorts of people on the job, but her favorites are the oldest ones. An elderly services officer with the department, Eiring has a special bond with the seniors in her community. "When I walk into the room I'm told I'm beautiful, I get hugs and kisses from everyone; it makes me realize all the little stuff that get us down means absolutely nothing," she...

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    One injured in Prospect Heights rollover crash

    A 64-year-old Buffalo Grove woman has been hospitalized after her car was hit by an unlicensed driver Thursday night in Prospect Heights, according to police. Pablo Patricio, 32, of the 1700 block of Greenwood Road in Glenview, was cited for failure to yield and driving without a valid driver's license.

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    Jim Ackley was all smiles after being honored earlier this month for 50 years of service at Mundelein High School.

    Memorial service Saturday for longtime Mundelein High School scorekeeper

    Longtime educator, volunteer and Mundelein High School scorekeeper James Ackley will be remembered in a memorial service on Saturday. “My dad was probably the best role model anyone could have,” said daughter Rebecca Cooley. “He had kind eyes and a welcoming smile. To know him was to be blessed.”

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    In this photo provided by the Newtown Bee, a police officer leads two women and a child from Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., where a gunman opened fire, killing 26 people, including 20 children, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012.

    AP: Mass shootings voted year's top news story

    The horrific massacre of 26 children and staff at a Connecticut elementary school, along with other mass shootings, was the top news story of 2012, narrowly edging out the U.S. election, according to The Associated Press' annual poll of U.S. editors and news directors.

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    Putin signs anti-US adoptions bill

    President Vladimir Putin on Friday signed a bill banning Americans from adopting Russian children, part of a harsh response to a U.S. law targeting Russians deemed to be human rights violators. Although some top Russian officials including the foreign minister openly opposed the bill and Putin himself had been noncommittal about it last week, he signed it less than 24 hours after receiving it...

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    Finding the right balance in our kids’ self-esteem

    Building self-esteem is an important aspect of parenting, our Ken Potts says. But recent research indicates we've got to be careful not to go overboard. Here are some tips.

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    Art Schuetz, left, holds the reins of Mr. Casanova as Scott Schuetz, right, holds C. L. Check Me Out.

    Highland show horses win top awards

    They aren't your typical horse, they are the hot house flowers of the show circuit world. Kept under lights 18 hours a day in a heated barn and blanketed against chill and to prevent winter hair from growing, the five paint horses in Scott Schuetz's show string are pampered and well-fed. Just one year after beginning to compete heavily on the national halter horse show circuit, Schuetz Farms in...

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    Ill. secretary of state offices to close Jan. 1

    Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White is announcing that all offices and driver service facilities will be closed Tuesday for the New Year's Day holiday.

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    Chicago demolishes more than 250 vacant buildings

    The city of Chicago has demolished more than 250 vacant buildings this year in an effort to eliminate potential gang hangouts in high-crime neighborhoods.

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    Husband charged in Wis. officer’s shooting death

    An Iraq War veteran charged with ambushing his wife Christmas Eve as she worked as a Milwaukee-area police officer told investigators he shot her in the head repeatedly because he didn't want her to suffer before she died.

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    Woman, girl struggled after crash into frigid lake

    A woman says she struggled to hold her 5-year-old daughter above water before pushing her to a man who jumped into a frigid lake to help after their SVU left a suburban Indianapolis road.

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    Remembering the lives of residents who died this past year

    At the end of the year — this year, any year — there is always a tinge of sadness, a dollop of melancholy for those we have lost along the way. This time around is no different and, as always, it's impossible not to be struck by how fragile our presence on this earth is. Some of the people we remember today clearly led full and complete lives. Others, often through no fault of their...

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    Spencer Loomis of Lake Zurich was an honored World War II vet and recipient of the Studs Terkel humanitarian award for Lake County.

    Remembering Lake County residents who died this year

    Several well-known Lake County residents died in 2012, leaving behind impressive accomplishments and years of service as their legacy. The list includes politicians, philanthropists, historians and even a newspaper reporter, each of whom had a lasting influence on communities across the county.

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    This is my nephew, Nathan, at the Shedd Aquarium on December 15th. We went to see the jelly fish.

    Images: Photo Contest Finalists
    Each week you submit your favorite photo. We pick the best of the bunch and select 12 finlaists. Here are the finalists for the week of December 24th

Sports

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    Sources say that Sean Payton and the New Orleans Saints have agreed on a multiyear contract extension.

    Saints, coach Sean Payton agree to terms on deal

    The New Orleans Saints and suspended coach Sean Payton will indeed be together again next season as the bounty scandal fades into history and the bid to win a second Super Bowl resumes. Payton has agreed in principle to a multiyear contract extension, the team said. "Very happy it is official," quarterback Drew Brees said in an email to the AP. "Never had any doubts."

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    Naperville Central in D-C title game

    Victoria Trowbridge scored a season-high 24 points with 13 rebounds, and No. 4 Naperville Central dominated previously unbeaten Evanston 55-32 to advance to the championship game of the 30th Dundee-Crown Charger Classic.The Redhawks (16-1), who last won the tournament in 2003 — Candace Parker’s senior year — will play Maine South (15-2), which beat Fenwick 69-61, in tonight’s title game.Trowbridge scored 10 of her points in the first quarter, Naperville Central getting out to a 15-9 lead that Evanston (15-1) could never come back from. Evanston was playing without leading scorer and rebounder Alecia Cooley, out with a sprained ankle.Laura Dierking added 9 points and 7 rebounds, her free throw sparking a 15-0 second-half Naperville Central run that all but sewed up the win.Metea Valley 50, Downers Grove South 37:Lori Obendorf powered in 16 points and Bria Walker 13, and the No. 17 Mustangs (13-3) remained unbeaten in the Oswego East Holiday Tournament. Metea will play Oswego East today for the championship. Brittany Dietz paced Downers Grove South (9-5) with 10 points.Lisle 47, Antioch 38:Kelly Urban scored 15 points and Kristina Fernette 14, and the Lions (15-2) advanced to the championship game of their Lisle Cage Classic with their 13th straight win. Sierra Birdsell added 10 points for Lisle, who advances to play Newark, a winner over defending champ Walther Lutheran, in tonight’s 8 p.m. final.Oswego East 49, York 42:Molly Schlecht scored 12 points and AnnaBell Lansdowne 11 for the Dukes (7-7) at the Oswego East Holiday Tournament.West Chicago 52, Addison Trail 48:Laura Panicali poured in 26 points for the Wildcats (2-11) at the Oswego East Holiday Tournament. Kelsey Horvath and Claudia Denigris scored 13 apiece for Addison Trail (4-11).Willowbrook 57, Hersey 54:Molly Krawczykowski scored 17 points, going 11-for-12 at the free-throw line with the go-ahead tosses and two big steals in the final minute of overtime in consolation bracket play at the Bill Neibch Falcon Holiday Classic. Anita Sterling added 15 and Angela Bruno 12 for Willowbrook (12-3), which rallied with 2 tying free throws in the final seconds of regulation.Downers Grove North 62, Schaumburg 52:Sarah Costello tossed in 22 points and Jaida Green 17 for the Trojans (7-9) at the Bill Neibch Falcon Holiday Classic.Glenbard North 45, Jacobs 37:Laila Pickens poured in 15 points with 11 rebounds and Amy Falson scored 12 points for the Panthers (5-9) in the consolation of the Bill Neibch Falcon Holiday Classic.Elk Grove 57, Hinsdale Central 47:Diamond Boyd powered in 26 points and 9 rebounds, leading the Grenadiers in the consolation bracket at the Bill Neibch Falcon Holiday Classic. Gabrielle Rush scored 23 for Hinsdale Central (10-4), which had led 27-26 at the half.Wheaton Academy 53, Latin 42:Ali Grant scored 16 points and Jamie Netzley 12 for the Warriors at the Lisle Cage Classic.Coal Cith 45, Immaculate Conception 40:Brittney Reaber had 10 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists, and Erin Maloney and Chiara Gaudio 10 points apiece for the Knights (9-6) at the Lisle Cage Classic.

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

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

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

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

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    Ball-handling lets down Aurora Christian

    It didn't take long for Aurora Christian coach Pat McNamara to burn his first timeout Friday night in the semifinals of the 50th annual Plano Christmas Classic. The Eagles fell into a 6-0 hole less than two minutes into the game, and they spent the rest of the night trying to climb out of it. That's not a recipe for success against any team, let alone No. 1 seed Belvidere North.

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    Derek Westman of Naperville North, left, tries to hang onto the ball as Eric Alvarez of UIC College Prep makes a steal at the Jack Tosh Holiday Classic on Friday at York. The Huskies rolled to a 61-29 victory.

    Lake Park makes Wheeling consolation

    Lake Park shot 20 of 31 from 2-point range to beat Prospect 63-55 on Friday, the Lancers’ second straight win at Wheeling. That puts the Lancers in Saturday’s consolation championship game against Maine West at 5:30 p.m.Senior guard Carlos Cortez led the way for Lake Park with 15 points, and senior center Jake Ktsanes had 13 on 5-for-8 shooting from the field. Mikey Van Aswagen (11 points) and Sean Moore (10) also reached double figures for Lake Park.Devin O’Hara had a game-high 18 points along with 6 rebounds and 3 assists. Prospect (9-4) shot 52.6 percent from the field, made 7 of 13 3s and outrebounded Lake Park 22-16.The Knights meet Vernon Hills in their tournament finale at 2 p.m. Saturday.St. Francis 50, Timothy Christian 38: Andrew Kimball and Jason Pisarski each scored 10 points for the Spartans (9-2) to advance into the third-place game at the Glenbard West Holiday Classic. Connor VanderBrug led all scorers with 19 points for Timothy Christian (4-10) while Danny Leach added 13 points.West Chicago 60, Fenton 48: John Konchar continued to light it up at the Glenbard West Holiday Classic, pouring in a game-high 33 points for the victorious Wildcats (3-9). Ryan Weier chipped in 11 points. Will Harris paced Fenton (2-10) with 13 points and Greg Wagner scored 10 points.Wheaton North 49, WW South 42:The Falcons (4-5) scored a win over the rival Tigers (3-7) at the Romeoville tournament. Jaylen Howze led Wheaton North with 18 points. Addison Trail 41, Glenbard South 38:The Blazers (6-9) pulled out a close one at the Romeoville tournament behind Jordan Garcia’s 13 points. Alex Jeske led all scorers with 17 points for Glenbard South (2-10).Pinckneyville Tournament:Montini improved to 10-2 with a pair of victories. The Broncos beat Lawrenceville 56-44 as Simmie Cobbs scored 25 points and Patrick Mooney added 14 points. Montini also posted a 55-34 win over DuQuoin. Cobbs again led the way with 16 points while Logan Goss scored 11 points.Lisle 49, Plano 33:Taking a 14-2 lead on the Christmas Classic host after one quarter, Lisle (8-6) got 21 points, 8 rebounds and 3 steals from Lamont Ross, 10 points from point guard Cody Monson and 13 rebounds by Jeremy Glavanovits. Lisle forced Plano into 13-of-50 shooting and will play Mendota for ninth place.Immaculate Conception 57, Evergreen Park 42:The co-host of the IC/Westmont Tournament will play St. Edward for the title at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Westmont. IC (11-3) led 21-6 after a quarter. Clark Brinkman scored 17 points, Demetrius Carr 16 and Adam Muellers 11 for the Knights.

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    Elgin to defend tourney crown against Larkin

    The Elgin boys basketball team is making a habit of cutting giants down to size. Last December, the Maroons upset nationally ranked favorite La Lumiere (Ind.) in the title game of their annual holiday tournament. Elgin pulled off the improbable again Friday night: a 60-58 tournament semifinal upset over once-beaten Las Vegas Centennial, which is led by Stanford-bound twins Marcus and Malcolm Allen.

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    Meadows still perfect after beating Marian

    Add another first to the resume of the still-undefeated Rolling Meadows girls basketball team. For the first time this season, the Mustangs were down at half — by 9 points. But there was no panic. "We practice like that," said junior standout Jenny Vliet. "We practice being down." And when Vliet hit a corner 3-pointer off a drive and kick from classmate Jackie Kemph, the Mustangs were up — for good. It gave them a 57-55 lead with 1:41 left and they went on to post a 61-55 victory over previously unbeaten Marian Catholic in the semifinals of the Montini Tournament. Meadows (16-0) will face host Montini (17-1) for tonight's 8:15 championship bout in Lombard.

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    St. Charles East reaches consolation title game

    St. Charles East 52, Waubonsie Valley 27: The Saints advanced to the consolation championship of the Wheaton North Falcon Classic and improved their record to 9-7 with the 25-point win Friday.

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    Marmion falls short in 3rd-place game

    Hampshire 50, Marmion 44: Despite a 15-point performance from Mike Sheehan, the Cadets (5-10) lost to the Whip-Purs for the second time in the Chuck Dayton Holiday Tournament at DeKalb.

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    Fremd’s rally comes up short

    Ben Carlson led a fourth-quarter rally for Fremd, but the Vikings came up a bit short, dropping a 51-49 contest to Loyola on Friday at the Wheeling Hardwood Classic.

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    ND’s defense stops Naperville Central

    Notre Dame's Anthony Serrano didn't score much, but he sure was the dominant force in the Dons' 47-40 victory over Naperville Central in a championship bracket semifinal win at the Wheeling Hardwood Classic on Friday night. The Dons (12-1) meet Niles North for the championship tonight at 8:45 p.m. Saturday. Serrano only scored 2 points, but they came at a key time. And he dominated on the defensive end, finishing with 12 rebounds, 4 steals and 2 blocks.

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    Ottawa shoots by Kaneland

    When a team hits every 3-pointer it throws up — even ones from half-court — maybe it's not going to be your night. Ottawa couldn't miss in the first half of the 50th annual Plano Christmas Classic on Friday, going 6 for 6 on 3-pointers. The Pirates built a 30-18 halftime lead, then held off Kaneland's second-half surge for a 60-50 victory.

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    A signature victory for Willowbrook

    At some point, every team needs a defining win.Willowbrook's boys basketball team may have claimed its on Friday. The Warriors advanced to the title game of the Glenbard West Holiday Classic with a 49-46 victory over the host Hilltoppers in Glen Ellyn. Willowbrook faces Leyden at 8 p.m. Saturday.

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    Warren surprises Peoria Manual

    Warren's boys basketball team is onto the semifinals of the Pontiac Holiday Tournament. The Blue Devils, unseeded going into the prestigious tourney, upset No. 2 seed Peoria Manual 65-40 Friday, as Aarias Austin scored a game-high 17 points, including a pair of 3-pointers. Adrian Deere added 13 for the winners. Warren (8-5) will play Aurora West at 1 p.m. today. The winner will play in the championship game at 9 p.m.

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    Neuqua Valley’s Pat Kenny takes the ball to the hoop against Peoria Central on Friday at East Aurora.

    Nice finish by Neuqua Valley

    The entire first quarter Friday, Neuqua Valley coach Todd Sutton looked less than impressed. By the end of the game the Wildcats had cheered him up.

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    Extra special win as Montini makes title game

    Jason Nichols saw that extra spark in his Montini kids, and smiled. This one, this was a little personal. Facing ex-teammate Nikia Edom, who transferred after three years at Montini, the No. 2-ranked Broncos built a 14-point second-half lead, nearly lost it all, but held on to beat previously undefeated Plainfield East 58-51 in Friday's first semifinal of the the Montini Christmas Tournament in front of a large, raucous crowd in Lombard. Montini (17-1) moves on to meet No. 1 Rolling Meadows (16-0), a 61-55 winner over Marian Catholic, in tonight's 8:15 p.m. championship game. It won't get more emotional than this one.

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    Adduci’s half-court shot lifts St. Charles East

    Dom Adduci might soon be on the receiving end of a few free meals from his teammates. With 1.6 seconds remaining and the game between St. Charles East and Glenbard East tied at 61-61, the Saints' junior guard stole the long inbound pass, took a dribble and let fly with a desperation heave near midcourt.

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    Geneva’s Connor Chapman shoots in front of Aurora Central Catholic’s Jacob May as part of his 27-point night Friday at the East Aurora Holiday Tournament.

    Chapman stars in easy Geneva win

    Two losses in two days at the 47th annual East Aurora Boys Basketball Tournament did wonders for Geneva — on the third day.

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    Barrington bounces back against New Trier

    Barrington's girls basketball assured itself of at least a .500 record in its first appearance in the prestigious Dundee-Crown Charger Classic.And with a win today at 5 p.m. against Mother McAuley, the Fillies would end up in fifth place with a 3-1 record.Coach Babbi Barreiro watched her young Fillies (11-6) improve to 2-1 in the 30th edition of the Classic by posting a 38-22 win over New Trier on Friday afternoon.

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    Carmel shows finishing flair

    In danger of losing to a team with only half as many wins as it had earned this season, and on the verge of dropping its first game in the Blue Devil Classic, Carmel finally got its act together in the fourth quarter Friday night. Scoring more points in that last stanza (21) than they had put on the board in the entire first half, the Corsairs pulled away for a 49-39 victory over Lake Forest. It marked Carmel's fourth triumph in four games in the tournament, while the Scouts fell to 2-2 in tourney play.

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    Maine West makes consolation title game at Wheeling

    Maine West 54, Vernon Hills 41: Sophomore Joel Ferreren made 8 of 10 shots from the field and scored a game-high 16 points to give the Warriors their second straight win and a spot in the Wheeling Hardwood Classic consolation championship game at 5:30 p.m. Saturday against Lake Park.Tom Kukec canned a pair of 3s and finished with 15 points for Maine West, which finished 9-for-9 at the foul line thanks to Kukec (3-for-3), Allante Bates (4-for-4) and Tony Volk (2-for-2).Stephen Curry had a team-best 13 points and 7 rebounds for Vernon Hills (7-8, 1-2), which meets Prospect in Saturday’s consolation third-place game at 2 p.m. Saturday. Trenton Fulton finished with 12 points on 6-for-10 shooting from the field for the Cougars.Lake Park 63, Prospect 55: The Lancers shot 20 of 31 from 2-point range to earn their second win at Wheeling and a spot in Saturday’s consolation championship game against Maine West at 5:30 p.m.Senior guard Carlos Cortez led the way for Lake Park with 15 points, and senior center Jake Ktsanes had 13 on 5-for-8 shooting from the field. Mikey Van Aswagen (11 points) and Sean Moore (10) also reached double figures for Lake Park.Devin O’Hara had a game-high 18 points along with 6 rebounds and 3 assists. Prospect (9-4) shot 52.6 percent from the field, made 7 of 13 3s and outrebounded Lake Park 22-16.The Knights meet Vernon Hills in their tournament finale at 2 p.m. Saturday.Maine West 54, Vernon Hills 41: Sophomore Joel Ferreren made 8 of 10 shots from the field and scored a game-high 16 points to give the Warriors their second straight win and a spot in the Wheeling Hardwood Classic consolation championship game at 5:30 p.m. Saturday against Lake Park.Tom Kukec canned a pair of 3s and finished with 15 points for Maine West, which finished 9-for-9 at the foul line thanks to Kukec (3-for-3), Allante Bates (4-for-4) and Tony Volk (2-for-2).Stephen Curry had a team-best 13 points and 7 rebounds for Vernon Hills (7-8, 1-2), which meets Prospect in Saturday’s consolation third-place game at 2 p.m. Saturday. Trenton Fulton finished with 12 points on 6-for-10 shooting from the field for the Cougars.Libertyville 73, Wheeling 62: In the Hardwood Classic’s Friday morning opener at Wheeling, Jack Deichl’s double-double of 19 points (season high) and 10 rebounds helped Libertyville snap a 10-game losing streak.Libertyville (2-11, 1-2 tournament) trailed 13-8 after one quarter, but outscored Wheeling (0-3 tournament) 24-9 in the second. Jack Lipp added 18 points — hiking his tournament total to 70 in three games — and added 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals and 2 blocks. Libertyville also got double-digit points from Joe Borcia (14) and Matt Reed (13).Wheeling’s Jeremy Stephani led all scorers with 21 points, including four 3-pointers. Nick Ricciardi had 12 points, and Kameron Hill (9 points, 8 rebounds) just missed posting a double-double.At Hinsdale South: It was a second consecutive day of heartbreak for Schaumburg.The Saxons (7-7) had suffered a double-overtime loss to Brother Rice on Thursday night, and fell again Friday, again in overtime, this time 57-53 to Providence.The double-OT loss was particularly tough since Schaumburg led by 7 with one minute left in regulation, and by 6 with 42 seconds left in the first OT. Cole Reyes led the Saxons in that one with a career-best 31 points, and Kyle Bolger had 19.On Friday against Providence, Jimmy Lundquist had 18 points, Bolger had 14 and Reyes had 13.Schaumburg coach Matt Walsh likes the effort he’s seeing but would like to see better teamwork when games get tight.“Our guys are playing really hard,” Walsh said. “We feel like we’re close to becoming a really good team. We have to learn to trust each other, and to play for one another, if we’re going to be the team we think we can be.”

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    St. Viator’s Mark Falotico takes a jump shot as he moves past Niles North’s JJ Myles during Friday’s semifinal of the Wheeling Tournament.

    St. Viator succumbs to Niles North

    Relentless defensive pressure by Niles North proved too much for St. Viator on Friday in the first semifinal of the Wheeling Wildcat Hardwood Classic. The Lions were unable to cope with the quicker Vikings, dropping a 67-49 decision that pairs them against Naperville Central in today's third-place game at 7:15 p.m. North faces Notre Dame in the 8:45 championship game. The combo of BJ Beckford (17 points), Malachi Nix (15), Lorenzo Dillard (14), and Billy Voitik (10 points and 10 rebounds) was too much for St. Viator (9-3).

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    Grayslake North’s A.J. Fish leaps to shoot while splitting two Northridge Prep defenders at the Grant holiday tournament on Friday.

    McHenry drives by Grant

    Last weekend, the IHSA basketball record books got an update. The McHenry boys team drained a school-record 18 three-pointers against Round Lake Saturday at the Grant Holiday Tournament. Turns out, that ties for eighth-best in state history for a single game. "We looked it up (on the state list) and that was pretty neat," McHenry coach Tim Paddock said. "That definitely is (an M.O. of this team). We have a lot of guys on this team who have the green light to shoot the three." Not that there's a red light on everything else. On Friday night, the Warriors showed that they aren't just a bunch of long-range bombers. They knifed through Grant's defense and drove to the basket with authority over and over again en route to a 66-56 victory over the host Bulldogs.

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    St. Charles North’s Alec Goetz drives against West Aurora.

    St. Charles North no match for West Aurora

    West Aurora smelled blood in the water. Unfortunately for the St. Charles North boys basketball team, there were would be few respites. After taking a double-digit lead into halftime of the second quarterfinal of the Pontiac Holiday Tournament, the Blackhawks exploded in the second half, scoring 47 points on 20-for-31 field-goal shooting. With its 76-52 victory over St. Charles North in the schools' first-ever meeting, top-ranked West Aurora cruised into the semifinals of the famed tournament for the first time in six years.

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    Proviso East bounces Benet

    Billed as a battle between the last two champions of the Proviso West Holiday Basketball Tournament, Benet Academy staged a furious fourth-quarter rally that fell short during its 50-46 quarterfinal loss to Proviso East on Friday night in Hillside.

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    CL Central denies Lakes shot at Jacobs title

    Getting its first shot at a championship appearance in the Jacobs Holiday Classic, Lakes' boys basketball team found its final four matchup to be a grueling one, right down to the final few minutes. Unfortunately for the Eagles, that trip to the finals will have wait. They came up short 66-58 in a semifinal loss to Crystal Lake Central on Friday night.

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    Stempel’s sniping sends Stevenson into semis

    The experience of playing in the 52nd annual Proviso West Holiday Tournament is one Stevenson senior Andy Stempel will likely never forget. His performance in Friday's quarterfinal against Maine South was one that the Hawks coach Tony Lavorato Jr. won't soon forget, either. In the fourth quarter and his team leading 44-41 with 2:07 left, Stempel took a perfect pass from teammate Matt Morrissey and drained a huge 3-pointer. It was the second such combination of pass and score from Morrissey to Stempel, and it proved to be enough to lift the Patriots into the semifinals in their inaugural visit to the tournament with a 54-51 win over Maine South. Stevenson will face Chicago Public League powerhouse Morgan Park in an 8 p.m. semifinal Saturday. Maine South will face Bogan in a consolation game a 3:45 p.m.

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    Phillips fills it up in a Warren win

    The shot — freakishly athletic, a catch-and-throw more so than a catch-and-shoot — soared vertically, hit high on the backboard, bounced on the rim and fell through the hoop. Warren senior forward Alyssa Phillips was even fouled on the play under the Niles North basket. So stunned that the ball dropped in, she smiled. "I just threw it up," Phillips said. "I don't even know how it went in." Phillips had that kind of game Friday in Warren's 54-35 win over the Vikings that evened its record at 2-2 in its own Blue Devil Classic.Phillips' performance — a career-high 20 points and 9 rebounds — was easier to explain than her sweet shot. She's been flashing her potential since scoring 30 points, her "lifetime high," as she called it, in a freshman game against Evanston three years ago.

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    Dundee-Crown downs Johnsburg

    Dundee-Crown 42, Johnsburg 27: Stephanie Magsamen had 11 points, while Emily Michalski added 8 points and 9 rebounds as the Chargers (2-12) picked up a win at the Charger Classic. Jordan Bartelt hit 3 3-pointers for 9 points for D-C, which plays Buffalo Grove at 11 a.m. today.Huntley 47, Grant 33: Sam Andrews had 21 points and Ali Andrews added 17 as the Red Raiders (12-3) won at the Mundelein tournament.West Aurora 79, Elgin 21: Maggie Powers led Elgin (2-13) with 6 points at the Wheaton North tournament.Glenbard North 45, Jacobs 37: Jennifer Barnec and Lauren Van Vlierbergen had 7 points each for Jacobs (1-14) at the Wheaton North tournament.Hampshire 41, Timothy Christian 37: Emma Benoit scored 17 points and Jen Dumoulin added 16 as Hampshire (4-10) won for the second straight night at the Lisle Holiday Classic.Alden-Hebron 45, Harvest Christian 37: Kylee Knox and Rachel Oostydyk each had 13 points for Harvest (2-9) at the Hebron tournament.Westmont 45, St. Edward 30: Rena Ranallo had 11 points and Clarissa Ramos added 7 for St. Edward (1-13) in this loss at the Lisle tournament.Proviso West 48, South Elgin 36: Kennede Miller and Sara Szalay each had 7 points for South Elgin (8-8) at the Montini tournament.

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    Vernon Hills downs Streamwood

    Vernon Hills didn't dig the 8-point hole it fell into against Streamwood to start Friday's semifinal of the Mundelein Holiday Classic girls basketball tournament. But the Cougars didn't panic and bury themselves into an inescapable situation. Last year's Class 3A state runner-up clawed back up to leads of 3 points after a quarter and 15 at halftime en route to a convincing 54-28 victory.

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    Raptors forward Ed Davis, top, fights for a loose ball with Hornets forward Anthony Davis during the third quarter Friday in New Orleans.

    Raptors disptach Hornets 104-97 in OT

    DeMar DeRozan scored 30 points, Kyle Lowry had two big baskets in overtime and the Toronto Raptors held off the New Orleans Hornets 104-97 on Friday night.

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    Atlanta’s Jeff Teague drives past the Cavaliers’ Jeremy Pargo in the third quarter Friday in Cleveland. Teague led the Hawks with 27 points in a 102-94 win over the Cavaliers.

    Teague leads Hawks past Cavaliers, 102-94

    Atlanta coach Larry Drew had a simple message for Jeff Teague a few days ago: Be more aggressive. The Hawks point guard is a good listener. Teague posted a career-high 27 points and Atlanta scored the game's final nine points to beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 102-94 on Friday night.

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    Detroit Pistons guard Will Bynum takes a shot against the Miami Heat in the second half Friday in Auburn Hills, Mich.

    Bynum, Pistons top short-handed Heat 109-99

    LeBron James and the short-handed Heat were no match for Detroit's brilliant bench. Will Bynum had 25 points and 10 assists, leading another spirited performance by the Pistons' reserves, and Detroit beat Miami 109-99 on Friday night despite 35 points by James.

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    Denver’s Corey Brewer (13) and Andre Iguodala celebrate with teammate Danilo Gallinari after Gallinari scored in the second half Friday against the Dallas Mavericks in Dallas. Gallinari had a game-high 39-points in the 106-85 win.

    Gallinari, Nuggets spoil Nowitzki’s return, 106-85

    Danilo Gallinari scored a career-high 39 points and the Denver Nuggets spoiled Dirk Nowitzki's first home game since returning from knee surgery by beating the Dallas Mavericks 106-85 on Friday night.

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    Gonzaga’s Guy Landry Edi dunks during the second half against Baylor on Friday in Spokane, Wash. o

    No. 13 Gonzaga beats Baylor 94-87

    Kevin Pangos made seven 3-pointers and scored 31 points to lead No. 13 Gonzaga past Baylor 94-87 on Friday night. Kelly Olynyk scored 21 for Gonzaga (12-1), Elias Harris had 17 and Gary Bell Jr. added 12.

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    The Spurs’ Tim Duncan (21) works the ball around Houston’s Marcus Morris during the first quarter Friday in San Antonio.

    Duncan, Parker, Ginobili carry Spurs past Rockets

    Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili combined to score 84 points, and the San Antonio Spurs snapped the Houston Rockets' five-game winning streak with a 122-116 victory on Friday night.

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    Hampshire takes 3rd at DeKalb

    Hampshire 50, Marmion 44: Tyler Crater scored 18 points and Shane Hernandez had 10 as the Whip-Purs (12-2) captured third place at the Chuck Dayton Tournament in DeKalb. Crater and Hernandez were each named to the all-tournament team as well.Huntley 58, T.F. North 44: Bryce Only had 19 points, while Tommy Regan and Jake Wagner added 10 each to lead the Red Raiders (6-5) to a second straight win at the State Farm Classic in Bloomington.Huntley 39, Thornwood 32: The Red Raiders (7-5) claimed the consolation title at the State Farm Classic with their second win of the day. Jake Wagner had 18 points to lead the way for Huntley.St. Edward 72, Elmwood Park 57: Antonio Domel had 18 points and Adrian Ponce 13 as the Green Wave (13-2) rolled to their sixth straight win and earned a shot at the IC/Westmont tournament title. The Wave will play IC at Westmont at 7:30 p.m. today. St. Edward beat IC 51-39 to win the Westminster Christian Thanksgiving tournament. John Butzow added 10 points and Danny Favela had 8 for St. Edward Friday.Streamwood 63, CICS Alcott 55: Zack Harris had 17 points to lead the Sabres (5-9) to a win at the Wheeling Hardwood Classic. Joel Lightbourne and Vince Williams each had 11 points and Trevious Norman added 10 for Streamwood, which snapped a 7-gane losing streak.Westminster Christian 42, Harvard 33: Colin Brandon scored 12 points, while Will Woodhouse, Sam Carani and Dillon Rejman had 8 each to lead the Warriors (6-8) to a win at the Marengo tournament.Cary-Grove 47, Hope 35: Decin McDonough had 12 points and Jason Gregiore added 10 as Cary-Grove (8-5) won at the Jacobs tournament.

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    Cary-Grove gets another shot at Vernon Hills

    Cary-Grove's girls basketball team understood it received a surprise post-Christmas present. Because the Mundelein Holiday Classic had only 12 teams this year one team with a loss wound up getting a spot in Friday's semifinals. That turned out to be the Trojans, who dropped their second-round game Thursday to undefeated Vernon Hills. They displayed how thankful they were for their good fortune by allowing only 14 points in the final three quarters and advancing to the championship game with a 41-24 victory over Libertyville.

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    Cary-Grove's Cullen in command at Berman

    Michael Cullen was in a class of his own during the two days of competition at the 58th Berman Holiday Wrestling Classic at Palatine High School. A quartet of opponents were unable to stop the Cary-Grove sophomore, whose desire to win a state title at 113 pounds was never more evident than in his superb performance Friday in the Berman championship, where he delivered a 14-4 major decision over Noey Carrillo of Zion-Benton. Cullen's work, plus some strong efforts from his teammates, helped the Trojans secure fifth place overall, just 10 points behind Lyons Township (156-146). A sensational second day of wrestling sent Hinsdale Central past challengers Glenbard East and St. Charles as the Red Devils won their second consecutive team title at Palatine.

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    Illinois’ Karisma Penn works against Georgia’s Jasmine Hassell during the second half Friday in Champaign, Ill. Illinois won 70-59.

    Illinois women upset No. 6 Georgia 70-59

    Karisma Penn had 27 points and 19 rebounds, and Illinois sent Georgia to its first loss of the season with a 70-59 victory over the No. 6 Lady Bulldogs on Friday night. Illinois hadn't beaten a team ranked in the top six since a win over then-No. 5 Georgia on Jan. 2, 2000.

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    Indiana’s Will Sheehey puts up a shot against Jacksonville’s Russell Powell during the second half Friday in Bloomington, Ind.

    Fifth-ranked Indiana blows out Jacksonville 93-59

    Indiana continued its roll right through the small-school portion of its schedule Friday night — and its finally ready to start play in the rugged Big Ten. Jordan Hulls scored a season-high 20 points, Cody Zeller added 16 and the fifth-ranked Hoosiers cruised past Jacksonville 93-59 in their final nonconference game.

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    Wheaton North makes tourney final

    After a great first half Friday night, the Wheaton North players started to think how cool it would be to end a two-decades-plus drought and advance to the championship game of their own tournament. You couldn't blame the Falcons, not after jumping ahead of Glenbard South 15-3 after one quarter and leading by as many as 22 in the second quarter in the first of two semifinal match-ups at the Bill Neibch Falcon Classic. But the sixth-seeded Raiders put up a mighty fight in the second half before falling 49-43, which means the Falcons are indeed in the finals for the first time since 1991.

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    Deerfield slips past Carmel

    The team that has trouble finishing isn't done yet. Carmel let a second-half lead slip away Friday night in a second consecutive game at the Wildcat Hardwood Classic in a 68-64 double-overtime loss to Deerfield, the tournament's Cinderella darling so far. The Corsairs (6-7) will face Fremd today at 12:15 p.m. for seventh place in this 16-team tournament.

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    Images from the St. Viator vs. Niles North boys basketball game on Friday, December 28th, at the Wheeling High School holiday basketball tournament.

    Images: St. Viator vs. Niles North, boys basketball
    The St. Viator High School boys basketball team faced the Niles North High School boys Friday, December 28th, in the semifinals of the Wheeling High School holiday basketball tournament.

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    Larkin to meet Elgin for title

    The Larkin boys basketball team played in the first game of the 38th annual Elgin Holiday Tournament. Now the Royals will get to finish the tournament as well. Larkin advanced to today's championship game against crosstown rival Elgin, the defending tournament champion, by beating Upstate Eight Conference River Division foe Batavia, 57-43, in the semifinals Friday night at Chesbrough Field House.

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    Bartlett holds off Elk Grove

    Although Bartlett never trailed, Elk Grove always seemed to be that persistent fly. When the Hawks were up 7 in the early going, the Grenadiers managed to come back and tie it. When the Hawks ran it to 10 in the second quarter and 8 in the third, Elk Grove managed to tie in the fourth behind the shooting of Austin Amann and Joel Melendez. But what the Grens (8-6) couldn't resolve in Bartlett's 66-56 win at the Jacobs Holiday Tournament Friday was Lance Whitaker and the Hawks' moxie.

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    Crystal Lake S. to play for Jacobs title

    Crystal Lake South's boy basketball team saved its best for last. Outscoring Barrington 31-19 in the fourth quarter, the Gators advanced to the championship game oif the Jacobs Boys Basketball Holiday Classic for the first time in 11 years with an impressive 68-59 win over Barrington Friday night in Algonquin.

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    Virginia Tech defensives tackle Zack McCray, left, and Kris Harley, right, celebrate with fans Friday following their 13-10 win in overtime of the Russell Athletic Bowl game against Rutgers in Orlando, Fla.

    Virginia Tech edges Rutgers in OT in Russell Bowl

    Cody Journell kicked a 22-yard field goal on the first possession of overtime to help Virginia Tech beat Rutgers 13-10 in the Russell Athletic Bowl on Friday night. Virginia Tech (7-6) won its third straight game to avoid its first losing season since 1992.

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    Images from the Neuqua Valley vs. Peoria Central boys basketball game in Aurora on Friday, Dec. 28, 2012.

    Images: Neuqua Valley vs. Peoria Central boys basketball
    Neuqua Valley takes on Peoria Central at the East Aurora Holiday Boys Basketball Tournament on Friday.

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    Grayslake North’s Aidan Einloth battles Northridge Prep defender James Stoll for the ball at the Grant holiday tournament in Fox Lake on Friday.

    Images: Northridge Prep vs. Grayslake North boys basketball
    Northridge Prep played Grayslake North in the first game of Friday's Grant Holiday Tournament in Fox Lake on Dec. 28.

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    Calvin Johnson is congratulated by quarterback Matthew Stafford after he broke Jerry Rice’s single-season record for receiving yards last week.

    Can Bears’ Tillman shut down Calvin Johnson again?

    Bears Pro Bowl cornerback Charles Tillman has the unenviable task Sunday of covering the Lions' king-sized wide receiver Calvin Johnson, who already has more receiving yards in a single-season than any player in NFL history.

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    Jacobs’ Chrishawn Orange knocks down South Elgin’s Brian Winsel on the way to the hoop at the Jacobs Holiday Tournament Friday.

    Jacobs lights up South Elgin

    At the conclusion of practice every Thursday, the Jacobs boys basketball team routinely shoots half court shots just in case it's needed in game situations. Little did Golden Eagles' sophomore Chrishawn Orange know how far his halfcourt buzzer-beater at the end of the first quarter would go on Friday. The shot cut an early South Elgin lead to 1 point and would be a major catalyst that signaled the beginning of the end for the Storm, who squandered away the lead in the second quarter and coughed up 13 turnovers in the third that allowed a 6-point halftime Jacobs lead to morph into a 67-50 blowout at the Jacobs Holiday Tournament.

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    Dundee-Crown rebounds for win

    Holiday boys basketball tournaments often provide highly anticipated matchups contested before electric crowds in prime time. They just as often provide matchups between teams with nothing in common winging it with little to no preparation in front of mainly close friends and family during midafternoon matinees. Dundee-Crown's 48-41 victory Friday over Walther Lutheran at the 38th Annual Elgin Holiday Tournament was of the latter variety and impressive in its own right considering the circumstances.

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    Stanford forward Chiney Ogwumike shoots over Tennessee guard Ariel Massengale in a game Dec. 22 in Knoxville, Tenn. Top-ranked Stanford will host No. 2 UConn on Saturday.

    1 vs. 2: Stanford, UConn women renew rivalry

    Whether facing off in the national championship game, playing in the Final Four, or just meeting in the regular season, Stanford and UConn consistently have had compelling matchups. The undefeated teams will renew their annual contest Saturday when the second-ranked Huskies (10-0) visit the No. 1 Cardinal (11-0).

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    Chicago Bulls shooting guard Kirk Hinrich (12) drives to the basket around Atlanta Hawks point guard Jeff Teague (0) in the second half of an NBA basketball game, Saturday, Dec. 22, 2012, in Atlanta. The Hawks won 92-75 (AP Photo/Todd Kirkland)

    Hinrich says having game snowed out was ‘weird’

    If nothing else, the Bulls should be well-rested when they take the floor against Washington on Saturday.Their game at Indiana was snowed out on Wednesday, the first time a Bulls game has been canceled due to weather since 1986. The players were at the hotel, preparing for the Pacers, when word arrived.

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    Jacobs’ Chrishawn Orange, 5 knocks down South Elgin’s Brian Winsel, 34, on the way to the hoop at the 2012 Jacobs Boys Holiday Basketball Classic Friday December 28, 2012 at the Algonquin school.

    Images: South Elgin vs. Jacobs boys basketball
    South Elgin took on Jacobs in a holiday basketball tournament game at Jacobs High School in Algonquin.

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    Warren’s Hicks earns OT triumph at Berman Classic

    It was a great end to a very tough two-day tournament for Warren senior Danny Hicks Friday evening at the 58th Annual Berman Holiday Wrestling Classic in Palatine. Hindsale Central proved to be the class of the powerful 27-team field by toppling runner-up Glenbard East by a 192.5 to 172.5 margin while St. Charles East (162 points) locked up third place. Hicks (17-2) showed he was ready for prime time as he closed out his stellar tourney by capturing a 5-3 overtime victory against Metea Valley senior Breon Hoosier.

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    Images from the Naperville North vs. UIC College Prep boys basketball game in Elmhurst on Friday, Dec. 28, 2012.

    Images: Naperville North vs. UIC College Prep boys basketball
    Naperville North takes on UIC College Prep in the Jack Tosh Holiday Classic Basketball Tournament at York High School in Elmhurst on Friday.

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    Ohio wide receiver Chase Cochran (8) catches a 68-yard touchdown pass in front of Louisiana-Monroe safety Mitch Lane (38) Friday during the first quarter of the Independence Bowl in Shreveport, La.

    Ohio batters ULM 45-14 in Independence Bowl

    Louisiana-Monroe had the better storyline and what amounted to a home-field advantage. What the Warhawks didn't have was an answer for Ohio's Tyler Tettleton or Beau Blankenship. Ohio jumped out to a big early lead and cruised to a 45-14 victory over Louisiana-Monroe on Friday in the Independence Bowl.

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    Geneva’s Connor Chapman shoots despite an attempt to knock the ball from his possession by Aurora Central Catholic’s Jacob May in the first quarter on Friday, December 29.

    Images: Geneva vs. Aurora Central Catholic boys basketball
    Geneva took on Aurora Central Catholic in a holiday basketball tournament game at East Aurora High School.

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    Illinois’ Brandon Paul, left, heads to the basket as Missouri’s Phil Pressey defends Saturday during the first half in St. Louis.

    Big Ten hoops could be a brutal battle

    Big Ten men's basketball is first in overall RPI nationally as non-conference play winds down this weekend. Five league teams are ranked in the top 12 of the latest AP poll and at least eight of them have a good shot at reaching the NCAA tournament. That means this winter should be a blast for fans — and brutal for members.

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    Minnesota Timberwolves center Nikola Pekovic, left, passes the ball to guard Luke Ridnour as Bulls guard Marco Belinelli, center, reaches.

    How will Hamilton’s return affect Belinelli?

    Richard Hamilton practiced Friday and is expected to play against Washington on Saturday at the United Center. Now the question is whether the Bulls can coax strong performances from both Hamilton and Marco Belinelli, whose production went way up atfer Hamilton went down with a foot injury on Dec. 1.

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    Young Conant team leading by committee

    You won't find any seniors on the Conant girls basketball roster. "We have no seniors but we have leaders," said sophomore sharpshooter Lexi Zades. "We always encourage each other as if we are all seniors." The Cougars have sure looked like a veteran group this week at the Mundelein Mustangs Holiday Classic Tournament. After an upset over Huntley on Wednesday and double-overtime loss to highly-regarded Streamwood on Thursday, the Cougars notched another win on Friday by posting a 41-26 triumph over Prairie Ridge.

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    Gabrielle Douglas, who won the all-around gold at the 2012 Summer Olympics, was The Associated Press 2012 female athlete of the year.

    Running down the top women’s stories of 2012

    Women's Watch takes a look back at the top national and local women's sports stories of 2012.

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    Complete effort helps Conant to seventh straight win

    Holding opponents under 40 points has been a routine occurrence for Conant this season. Breaking 40 points on offense has been a bit more challenging. Conant got its offense going on Friday against Holy Trinity, shooting 55 percent from the floor and netting its second-highest point total of the season in a 67-27 victory in the 39th annual Jack Tosh Holiday Classic at York. The Cougars (9-5), who have won seven games in a row, completed pool play 3-0 and advance to the semifinals today at 11:30 a.m. against Riverside Brookfield (11-2). A victory in that game would sent Conant into the 8 p.m. championship game.

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    Prospect shuts down Bartlett

    Prospect senior guard Michele Molini knows she has the ability to help open up the Knights' inside game. Molini did just that Friday afternoon at the 30th annual Charger Classic at Dundee-Crown.Held scoreless and to only 4 shots in the first half, Molini hit 3 3-pointers and scored all of 14 points in the second half as Prospect defeated Bartlett 50-35 to earn a spot in today's 2 p.m. consolation championship game against Resurrection.

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    Glenbard West edges Geneva for title

    Dominique Brognia posted the best score among 48 competitors on the floor exercise and Ashley Puff finished fourth in the all-around, but Geneva still fell short of Glenbard West during Friday afternoon's 16th Annual Oswego Invitational.

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    NHL makes new offer; lockout enters critical stage

    The NHL made a new proposal to the players' association, hoping to spark talks to end the long lockout and save the hockey season. Deputy commissioner Bill Daly said Friday the league made its offer Thursday and was waiting for a response. The sides haven't met in person since a second round of talks with a federal mediator broke down Dec. 13.

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    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.

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    Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano, one of the very good for 2012.

    Spellman’s Scorecard: The lists just keep on coming

    It's that time of year when everyone publishes their lists. Spellman's Scorecard didn't want to be left out.

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    FILE - In this Dec. 16, 2012, file photo, Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson runs with the ball during the third quarter of an NFL football game against the St. Louis Rams in St. Louis. Peterson was selected to the Pro Bowl on Wednesday, Dec. 26, 2012. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman, File)

    Vikings’ Peterson defied the odds and the skeptics

    Daily Herald readers voted and now the results are in. See who the winners were in the 2012 Fantasy Football awards.

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    Charlotte Bobcats guard Ramon Sessions, left, and rookie forward Jeff Taylor watch as time runs out in Denver’s 110-88 victory over the Bobcats last Saturday. Michael Jordan’s team, which has lost 16 straight games, plays Brooklyn tonight.

    Bears fans need big game from Cutler

    Mike North thinks there is plenty of blame to go around if the Bears don't make the playoffs, but with a big game from Jay Cutler, all will be forgotten. Michael Jordan isn't having a very good run as a GM/owner of the Charlotte Bobcats, and North thinks he should hire Jerry Krause.

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    Glenbard South snaps Willowbrook’s eight-game win streak

    Glenbard South snapped two streaks with one victory Thursday.The Raiders advanced to the Falcon Classic’s semifinals for the first time with a 43-37 win against Willowbrook, ending the Warriors’ eight-game winning streak in the process.

Business

  •  

    Baar Topinka: Fiscal cliff will cost Illinois

    Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka estimated Friday that there will be a $1 billion impact on the state budget if Congress and President Barack Obama don't strike a deal before to stop the scheduled federal spending cuts and tax increases.

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    President Barack Obama speaks to reporters in the Brady Press Briefing Room Friday at the White House in Washington after meeting with Congressional leaders regarding the fiscal cliff.

    Optimism on ‘cliff’

    WASHINGTON — The end game at hand, the White House and Senate leaders made a final stab at compromise Friday night to prevent middle-class tax increases from taking effect at the turn of the new year and possibly block sweeping spending cuts as well.“I’m optimistic we may still be able to reach an agreement that can pass both houses in time,” President Barack Obama said at the White House after meeting for more than an hour with top lawmakers from both houses.Surprisingly, after weeks of postelection gridlock, Senate leaders sounded even more bullish.The Republican leader, Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, said he was “hopeful and optimistic” of a deal that could be presented to rank-and-file lawmakers as early as Sunday, a little more than 24 hours before the year-end deadline.Said Majority Leader Harry Reid: “I’m going to do everything I can” to prevent the tax increases and spending cuts that threaten to send the economy into recession. He cautioned, “Whatever we come up with is going to be imperfect.”House Speaker John Boehner, a Republican who has struggled recently with anti-tax rebels inside his own party, said through an aide he would await the results of the talks between the Senate and White House.Under a timetable sketched by congressional aides, any agreement would first go to the Senate for a vote. The House would then be asked to assent, possibly as late as Jan. 2, the final full day before a new Congress takes office.Officials said there was a general understanding that any agreement would block scheduled income tax increases for middle class earners while letting rates rise at upper income levels. Democrats said Obama was sticking to his campaign call for increases above $250,000 in annual income, even though in recent negotiations he said he could accept $400,000.The two sides also confronted a divide over estate taxes. Obama favors a higher tax than is currently in effect, but one senior Republican, Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona, said he’s “totally dead set” against it. Speaking of fellow GOP lawmakers, he said they harbor more opposition to an increase in the estate tax than to letting taxes on income and investments rise at upper levels.Also likely to be included in the negotiations are taxes on dividends and capital gains, both of which are scheduled to rise with the new year. Also the alternative minimum tax, which, if left unchanged, could hit an estimated 28 million households for the first time with an average increase of more than $3,000.In addition, Obama and Democrats want to prevent the expiration of unemployment benefits for about 2 million long-term jobless men and women, and there is widespread sentiment in both parties to shelter doctors from a 27 percent cut in Medicare fees. The White House has shown increased concern about a possible doubling of milk prices if a farm bill is not passed in the next few days, although it is not clear whether that issue, too, might be included in the talks.One Republican who was briefed on the White House meeting said Boehner made it clear he would leave in place spending cuts scheduled to take effect unless alternative savings were included in any compromise to offset them. If he prevails, that would defer politically difficult decisions on curtailing government benefit programs like Medicare until 2013. Success was far from guaranteed in an atmosphere of political mistrust — even on a slimmed-down deal that postponed hard decisions about spending cuts into 2013 — in a Capitol where lawmakers grumbled about the likelihood of spending the new year holiday working. In a brief appearance in the White House briefing room, Obama referred to “dysfunction in Washington,” and said the American public is “not going to have any patience for a politically self-inflicted wound to our economy. Not right now.”

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    East St. Louis casino now employee-owned

    The 700 employees of an East St. Louis casino now own the company. The Casino Queen Hotel and Casino is operating as an employee stock ownership plan following approval last week from the Illinois Gaming Board.

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    President Barack Obama speaks Friday to reporters in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington after meeting with Congressional leaders regarding the fiscal cliff.

    Obama: Immediate action needed on fiscal cliff

    President Barack Obama says "the hour for immediate action is here" on a deal to avert the fiscal cliff. The president says he remains "optimistic" that an agreement can be reached in Congress before a looming year-end deadline to avoid tax increases and spending cuts.

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    President Barack Obama speaks Friday to reporters in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington after meeting with Congressional leaders regarding the fiscal cliff.

    Last ditch effort to avoid fiscal cliff under way

    The end game at hand, the White House and Senate leaders launched a final attempt at compromise Friday night in hopes of preventing a toxic blend of middle-class tax increases and spending cuts from taking effect at the turn of the new year. "I am hopeful and optimistic" of reaching an agreement after months of gridlock, the Senate Republican Leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, said after a meeting with President Barack Obama.

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    Toyota acceleration settlement gets preliminary OK

    A U.S. judge gave preliminary approval Friday to a $1 billion-plus settlement with Toyota Motor Corp. in cases involving problems of sudden, unintended acceleration by its vehicles, a plaintiffs' attorney said.

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    MF Global trustee: Some clients may be made whole

    Some customers of the failed brokerage MF Global could get back all the money they lost, according to the trustee working to recover those funds. In a statement Friday the Securities Investor Protection Corp. said there would "likely" be full restoration for securities customers who made "accepted" claims to get their money back.

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    Stocks tumble as 'fiscal cliff' deadline nears

    Stocks fell for a fifth day on concern that Washington lawmakers will fail to reach a budget deal before a self-imposed year-end deadline. The Dow dropped 158.20 points to 12,938.11 points, with losses accelerating in the last 20 minutes of trading as reports circulated that President Barack Obama would not be making a new budget proposal in a meeting with congressional leaders.

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    U.S. banks are closing the year with the strongest profits since 2006 and fewer failures than at any time since the financial crisis struck in 2008. They’re helping support an economy slowed by high unemployment, flat pay, sluggish manufacturing and anxious consumers.

    Fewer US banks failing as industry strengthens

    U.S. banks are ending the year with their best profits since 2006 and fewer failures than at any time since the financial crisis struck in 2008. They're helping support an economy slowed by high unemployment, flat pay, sluggish manufacturing and anxious consumers. As the economy heals from the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, more people and businesses are taking out — and repaying — loans.

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    Facts and numbers on U.S. bank failures since 2008

    The pace of U.S. bank failures has slowed sharply since peaking in 2010 with 157. Since the start of 2008, the year the financial crisis erupted, 465 banks have failed. But their depositors haven’t lost any money. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. insures accounts up to $250,000 per depositor per bank. Some numbers related to the bank failures: — From 2008 through 2011, bank failures cost the federal deposit insurance fund an estimated $88 billion. The FDIC expects failures from 2012 through 2016 to cost about $10 billion more. The insurance fund is replenished by fees paid by banks. The fund fell into the red in 2009. But with failures slowing, its balance turned positive in the second quarter of last year. It stood at $25.2 billion as of Sept. 30.— There were 7,181 federally insured U.S. banks as of Sept. 30, down from 8,533 on Jan. 1, 2008. The ranks have been thinned by closings and mergers. —The 157 failures in 2010 were the most in any year since the height of the savings and loan crisis in 1992. The wave of collapses started in 2008 with 25. The number jumped to 140 in 2009. Ninety-two banks failed in 2011. So far this year, 51 have failed. —Since mid-2010, nearly all the failed banks have been small. The five biggest banks to fail since 2008 are: Washington Mutual, based in Seattle, September 2008, $307 billion in assets; IndyMac Bank, Pasadena, Calif., July 2008, $32 billion; Colonial Bank, Montgomery, Ala., August 2009, $25 billion; Guaranty Bank, Austin, Texas, August 2009, $13 billion; and BankUnited, Coral Gables, Fla., May 2009, $12.8 billion. —The states with the most bank failures from 2008 through 2012 are Georgia, 84; Florida, 66; Illinois, 55; and California, 39. —The number of employees at U.S. banks fell to 2,105,833 as of Sept. 30, down from 2,212,766 as of March 31, 2008.

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    U.S. bank failures this year by state
    Here are the 51 U.S. bank failures so far this year by state. Listed are the date each bank was closed, where it was based and its assets. Georgia: First State Bank, Stockbridge, Jan. 20, $516.8 million Central Bank of Georgia, Ellaville, Feb. 24, $278.9 million Global Commerce Bank, Doraville, March 2, $143.7 million Covenant Bank & Trust, Rock Spring, March 23, $95.7 million Security Exchange Bank, Marietta, June 15, $151 million Montgomery Bank & Trust, Ailey, July 6, $153.2 millionFirst Cherokee State Bank, Woodstock, July 20, $209 millionGeorgia Trust Bank, Buford, July 20, $116.9 millionJasper Banking Co., Jasper, July 27, $206.7 millionHometown Community Bank, Braselton, Nov. 16, $124.6 millionFlorida: Central Florida State Bank, Belleview, Jan. 20, $71.5 million First Guaranty Bank and Trust Co. of Jacksonville, Jacksonville, Jan. 27, $397.1 million Security Bank, North Lauderdale, May 4, $101 million Putnam State Bank, Palatka, June 15, $169.5 millionRoyal Palm Bank of Florida, Naples, July 20, $78.8 millionGulfSouth Private Bank, Destin, Oct. 19, $139.4 millionFirst East Side Savings Bank, Tamarac, Oct. 19, $65.7 millionHeritage Bank of Florida, Lutz, Nov. 2, $225.5 millionIllinois: Charter National Bank and Trust, Hoffman Estates, Feb. 10, $93.9 million New City Bank, Chicago, March 9, $71.2 million Premier Bank, Wilmette, March 23, $268.7 million Farmers’ and Traders’ State Bank, Shabbona, June 8, $43.1 millionSecond Federal Savings and Loan Association of Chicago, Chicago, July 20, $190.9 millionWaukegan Savings Bank, Waukegan, Aug. 3, $83.7 millionFirst United Bank, Crete, Sept. 28, $328.4 millionCitizens First National Bank, Princeton, Nov. 2, $923.9 millionMinnesota: Patriot Bank Minnesota, Forest Lake, Jan. 27, $105 million Home Savings of America, Little Falls, Feb. 24, $434.1 million Inter Savings Bank, Maple Grove, April 27, $481.6 million First Commercial Bank, Bloomington, Sept. 7, $215.9 millionMissouri:Glasgow Savings Bank, Glasgow, July 13, $22.3 millionTruman Bank, St. Louis, Sept. 14, $282.3 millionExcel Bank, Sedalia, Oct. 19, $186.1 millionCommunity Bank of the Ozarks, Sunrise, Dec. 14, $42.8 millionTennessee: Tennessee Commerce Bank, Franklin, Jan. 27, $1 billion BankEast, Knoxville, Jan. 27, $261.9 million Farmers Bank of Lynchburg, Lynchburg, June 15, $163.8 millionMaryland: Bank of the Eastern Shore, Cambridge, April 27, $162.5 million HarVest Bank of Maryland, Gaithersburg, April 27, $163 millionPennsylvania:American Eagle Savings Bank, Boothwyn, Jan. 20, $19.2 million Nova Bank, Berwyn, Oct. 26, $444.7 millionSouth Carolina: Plantation Federal Bank, Pawleys Island, April 27, $486.4 million Carolina Federal Savings Bank, Charleston, June 8, $54.4 millionAlabama: Alabama Trust Bank, Sylacauga, May 18, $51.5 millionCalifornia: Palm Desert National Bank, Palm Desert, April 27, $125.7 million Indiana: SCB Bank, Shelbyville, Feb. 10, $182.6 millionKansas:Heartland Bank, Leawood, July 20, $96 million Michigan: Fidelity Bank, Dearborn, March 30, $818.2 million New Jersey: Fort Lee Federal Savings Bank, Fort Lee, April 20, $51.9 million North Carolina: Waccamaw Bank, Whiteville, June 8, $533.1 million Oklahoma: First Capital Bank, Kingfisher, June 8, $46.1 million

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    Oil down slightly as fiscal-cliff talks continue

    The price of oil fell slightly Friday, as the stock market drifted lower and efforts continued in Washington to strike a budget deal before the year-end deadline. U.S. benchmark crude fell 7 cents to finish at $90.80 a barrel. Hopes that a budget compromise might be reached were still alive as congressional leaders met with President Barack Obama at the White House.

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    A truck driver watches as a freight container, right, is lowered onto a tractor trailer by a container crane at the Port of Boston in Boston. The crane and a reach stacker, left, are operated by longshoremen at the port.

    Strike likely averted at East Coast ports

    The union for longshoremen along the East Coast and Gulf of Mexico has agreed to extend its contract for 30 days, averting a possible strike that could have crippled operations at ports that handle about 40 percent of all U.S. container cargo, a federal mediator announced Friday.

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    Texas-based Star Cinema Grill is expected to upgrade the shuttered Arlington Theaters building in downtown Arlington Heights, adding a restaurant and bar as well, by next summer’s movie season.

    Arlington Heights theater-restaurant on way

    Downtown Arlington Heights may be losing out on the current holiday movie season, but now expects to be back in business by summer with a new theater that will include a full-service restaurant and bar. The village of Arlington Heights and property managers LNR Partners Friday announced a deal for Houston-based Star Cinema Grill to locate in the former Arlington Theaters building, which closed in July.

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    U.S. pending home sales rise to highest in 2½ years

    A measure of Americans who signed contracts to buy homes increased last month to its highest level in two and a half years, the latest sign of improvement in the once-battered housing market. The National Association of Realtors said Friday that its seasonally adjusted pending home sales index rose 1.7 percent in November from October to 106.4.

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    Trains carrying more oil across US amid boom

    Energy companies behind the oil boom on the Northern Plains are increasingly turning to an industrial-age workhorse — the locomotive — to move their crude to refineries across the U.S., as plans for new pipelines stall and existing lines can't keep up with demand. The parade of mile-long trains carrying hazardous material out of North Dakota and Montana and across the country has experts and federal regulators concerned.

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    A Filipino trader blows a horn during the last day of trading this year at the Philippine Stock Exchange in the financial district of Makati, south of Manila, Philippines Friday.

    European stocks down US ‘fiscal cliff’ talks

    European shares traded lower early on Friday on waning hopes that U.S. President Barack Obama and key lawmakers would manage to reach an 11th-hour budget compromise.

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    Attorney: Hobby Lobby won’t offer morning-after pill

    An attorney for Hobby Lobby Stores said Thursday that the arts and crafts chain plans to defy a federal mandate requiring it to offer employees health coverage that includes access to the morning-after pill, despite risking potential fines of up to $1.3 million per day.

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    The towboat Wendy Ann moves an empty barge just north of the Martin Luther King Bridge in St. Louis.

    Mississippi River drops, threatening barge traffic

    The Mississippi River level is dropping again and barge industry trade groups warned Thursday that river commerce could essentially come to a halt as early as next week in an area south of St. Louis. Mike Petersen of the Army Corps of Engineers said ice on the northern Mississippi River is reducing the flow more than expected at the middle part of the river that is already at a low-water point unseen in decades, the result of months of drought.

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    George Walrath, left, and Dominic Vallone are co-founders of 3D FigureWorks in St. Charles.

    St. Charles business makes your image 3-D

    Kukec's eBuzz column features 3D FigureWorks, a business in St. Charles that makes 3D figures or other products of your image or even of your pet.

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    No ethics breaches found in Countrywide VIP loans

    The House Ethics Committee said Thursday it found no violations among House members whose mortgage loans went through the VIP section of the former Countrywide Financial Corp., the company whose subprime loans helped cause the foreclosure crisis.

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    Chevron CEO John Watson

    Chevron’s CEO: Affordable energy is crucial

    Chevron CEO John Watson notices something important as he visits his company's operations around the globe: Governments everywhere find high energy prices much scarier than the threat of global warming. And that means the world will need a lot more oil and gas in the years to come. To meet that demand, Chevron is in the midst of an enormous cycle of investment aimed at extracting oil and gas from wherever it hides in the earth's crust.

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    Unilever to phase out ‘microplastics’ by 2015

    Unilever, the maker of Vaseline, Axe deodorants and Dove soaps, among other cosmetic and hygiene products, says it will phase out the use of microplastics by 2015. Many soaps, skin scrubs and shower gels contain microplastics, which are tiny polyethelene beads. Scientists and environmental groups are concerned that they contribute to polluting oceans.

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    The fossil of a Tyrannosaurus bataar dinosaur at the center of a lawsuit demanding its return to Mongolia.

    Fla. man pleads guilty in NY in dinosaur dispute

    A Florida fossils dealer pleaded guilty to smuggling charges Thursday and agreed to give up a celebrated $1 million dinosaur skeleton seized by the U.S. government earlier this year for its eventual return to Mongolia. Eric Prokopi, 38, said he would surrender the 70 million-year-old Tyrannosaurus bataar skeleton known as "Ty" and give up any claims to six other dinosaurs and various other bones in a cooperation deal that might win him leniency from charges that carry a potential prison sentence of up to 17 years.

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    Andrew Neitlich in front of one his investment homes in Venice, Fla.

    Ordinary folks losing faith in stocks

    Andrew Neitlich is the last person you'd expect to be rattled by the stock market.He once worked as a financial analyst picking stocks for a mutual fund. He has huddled with dozens of CEOs in his current career as an executive coach. During the dot-com crash 12 years ago, he kept his wits and did not sell. But he's selling now."You have to trust your government. You have to trust other governments. You have to trust Wall Street," says Neitlich, 47. "And I don't trust any of these."

Life & Entertainment

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    Night life: Get ready for NYE
    Send 2012 out in style at Chandler's Chophouse's New Year's Eve 2013. The evening includes a five-hour open bar package from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m., a five-course dinner with hors d'oeuvres, a video countdown to midnight, champagne toast, balloon drop and favors. There's also thirsty Thursdays at French Quarter New Orleans Kitchen.

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    The FBI has released a new version of files it kept on actress Marilyn Monroe that reveal the names of some of her acquaintances who had drawn concern from government officials and members of her entourage over their suspected ties to communism.

    FBI removes many redactions in Marilyn Monroe file

    FBI files on Marilyn Monroe that could not be located earlier this year have been found and re-issued, revealing the names of some of the movie star's acquaintances who drew concern from government officials and her own entourage.

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    James Gandolfini plays Pat in “Not Fade Away.” In the five years since “The Sopranos” ended, Gandolfini has eschewed the spotlight, instead disappearing into character actor performances such as this one.

    In bite-sized roles, Gandolfini ubiquitous again

    In the five years since "The Sopranos" ended, James Gandolfini has eschewed the spotlight, instead disappearing into a heap of character actor performances that, while they may lack the heft of Tony Soprano, have only further proved the actor's wide-ranging talent. This season offers a gluttony of Gandolfini, albeit in bite-sized parts in David Chase's '60s period drama "Not Fade Away," Kathryn Bigelow's "Zero Dark Thirty" and Andrew Dominick's "Killing Them Softly."

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    Nick Stahl arrested for investigation of lewd conduct

    Los Angeles police say actor Nick Stahl has been arrested for investigation of lewd conduct. The 33-year-old "Terminator 3" star was arrested Thursday night on Hollywood Boulevard. He was booked on a misdemeanor count of lewd conduct and released from custody.

  •  
    Through a photo contest, 100 fans will join Beyoncé onstage during the singer’s halftime show performance at the 2013 Super Bowl on Feb. 3.

    Fans to join Beyonce onstage at Super Bowl

    All the single ladies — and fellas — will have a chance to join Beyoncé onstage at the upcoming Super Bowl. Pepsi announced Friday that 100 fans will hit the stage when the Grammy-winning diva performs on Feb. 3 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans. A contest that kicks off Saturday will allow fans to submit photos of themselves in various poses, including head bopping, feet tapping and hip shaking.

  •  

    The best singles of 2012

    Singles come and singles go. But singles can be the best indicator of the musical landscape. Here are 25 of the best and brightest of 2012.

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    Building department red-tags old additions

    Q. One month after we bought our home, a letter arrived from the local building department. It alleged that we were trying to sell the house with two unpermitted rooms: a bedroom in the basement and another that was added to the garage.

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    Say so long to 2012 with a champagne toast at local restaurants and bars.

    Bars, restaurants ready for their first NYE celebration

    If you're looking to ring in the new year on Dec. 31, there's no better way to do it than going somewhere new. All over the suburbs, bars and restaurants that opened in 2012 are gearing up to make their first New Year's Eve memorable.

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    Naomi Watts calls her role in "The Impossible" among the most challenging of her career.

    ‘Impossible’ a difficult role for Naomi Watts

    Naomi Watts' portrayal of a real-life mother swept away by the Thailand tsunami is already winning her accolades and putting her on the short list for a best actress Oscar nod. "It was a great pressure and responsibility to get it right because of what she went through and how much she suffered," Watts says. "And then on top of her story, it was hundreds of thousands of others."

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    Theater events: Laugh in the new year

    Metropolis and Zanies Rosemont conclude the year with laughter, while Lifeline Theatre ushers in 2013 with a salute to solo performers.

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    The best recordings that went overlooked this year

    Yeah, you've heard the newest Mumford and M83 singles all over the radio. But have you listened to Gunplay's new album? Ever heard of Tyvek? Here are a few of the best unnoticed releases from 2012.

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    Nas, “Life is Good”

    Three critics give their picks for best music of the year

    2012 was packed with hot new releases from current artists. Three Associated press critics narrow down the field to their 10 best albums of the year.

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    Bilal Dardai, who grew up in Downers Grove, was recently named co-artistic director, with Megan Mercier, of The Neo-Futurists.

    Downers Grove native juggles cultures, artistic pursuits

    Growing up in Downers Grove, theater was always a safe haven for Bilal Dardai. He learned to love both writing and acting and now gets to do both -- and more -- at Chicago's Neo-Futurists.

  •  
    E L James’ “Fifty Shades of Grey” trilogy was easily the year’s biggest hit, selling more than 35 million copies in the U.S. alone and topping best-seller lists for months.

    ‘Fifty Shades’ dominates publishing in 2012

    The story of 2012 in publishing was the story of "Fifty Shades of Grey," in more ways than one. E L James' erotic trilogy was easily the year's biggest hit. Through James' books and how she wrote them, the general public was educated in the worlds of romance/erotica, startup publishing and "fan fiction."But the success of James' novels also captured the dual state of the book market — the advance of e-books and the resilience of paper.

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    Jessica Chastain stars in "Zero Dark Thirty," which is film critic Dann Gire's choice for the best movie of 2012.

    'Zero Dark Thirty' tops Dann Gire's list of best movies of the year

    2012 was a very good year for the movies. Here are Dann's top 12 for 2012, led by "Zero Dark Thirty," Kathryn Bigelow's stunning drama about the decade-long hunt for Osama bin Laden, as seen through the eyes of the CIA agent (Jessica Chastain) credited for cracking the case.

  •  

    Save money in just an hour with a new dimmer

    It used to be that the dimmer switch was put on ceiling fixtures to help you add ambiance to your room. Today they are easier to install on a wider variety of fixtures. They also are a super way to turn energy usage down.

  •  

    Government to tighten up on reverse mortgages

    You've probably seen the reverse mortgage pitchmen at work on your TV screen — former Sen. Fred Thompson and actors Robert Wagner and Henry "Fonzie" Winkler prominent among them — urging seniors to pull cash out of their homes through a loan program guaranteed by the federal government.

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    Bars and restaurants will bring out the champagne to help suburbanites welcome 2013.

    Bars, restaurants ready for their first NYE celebration

    If you're looking to ring in the new year on Dec. 31, there's no better way to do it than going somewhere new. Bars and restaurants that opened in 2012 are gearing up to make their first New Year's Eve memorable.

  •  
    This row of townhouses in the at Shelburne Crossing neighborhood includes the Diversey model.

    Shelburne Crossing opens new model townhouse

    Shelburne Crossing is now showcasing the new Diversey model, part of the Uptown Series of townhouses, at its maintenance-free community in Winfield. With a scenic pond, gazebo and walking paths, the community by M/I Homes features residences with two-car garages accessed through motor courts in the rear of the buildings.

Discuss

  •  

    Editorial: Pension reform must address COLAs

    It's a foregone conclusion that many people who had nothing to do with creating Illinois' pension mess are going to have to pay to clean it up. For employees, a Daily Herald editorial says, the contribution must include reform of cost-of-living payments.

  •  

    The door-opener to America

    Columnist George Will: At the end of this year in which election results reinserted immigration into the political conversation, remember that 2012 is the 150th anniversary of "the first comprehensive immigration law."

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    The politics of threat

    Columnist Froma Harrop: The Fiscal Cliff is a phony crisis dropped on us by the politics of threat. Rather than further their goals through the normal process, so-called conservatives are using threats against the economy to get what they want.

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    God has been forgotten
    A Bartlett letter to the editor: Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut brought me to the words of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn: “Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened.”

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    Congress needs to kick the spending habit
    A Schaumburg letter to the editor: I can’t believe how we citizens keep voting these incompetents into office. Are we crazy or stupid, or both? We apparently need to go over the financial cliff to wake up and get our priorities back in order.

  •  

    Israel has the power to make peace
    An Arlington Heights letter to the editor: If Israel really wanted peace in the Mideast, we could have it in one week. Israel needs only to a) march out of the West Bank in exchange for the Palestinian and Arab world acceptance of Israeli borders and sovereignty, b) accept the fact that there will always be extremists calling for its destruction and, c) unless they can resolve this issue right now, make Jerusalem a free city for the benefit of Jews, Christians and Muslims.

  •  

    Better health care answer to tragedy
    A St. Charles letter to the editor: With the recent tragedy in Connecticut, the words “gun control” are abundant everywhere. I’ll offer an outside-of-the-box idea to the nuts who think gun control regulations will prevent these tragedies from recurring; Better health care.

  •  

    Obama’s re-election hardly a mandate
    A Wood Dale letter to the editor: I have seen many people saying that by being re-elected, the president was given a “mandate” to implement his radical socialist policies. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Let’s take a realistic look at those who elected him.

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