Daily Archive : Sunday December 30, 2012


    Little City Residential Assistant Howard Rogers helps resident Steve Bloom as he sets the table for dinner at a group home in Palatine for developmentally and intellectually disabled men.

    Understanding group homes

    You'd be hard-pressed to pick out many of the hundreds of nondescript group homes throughout the Chicago suburbs. But the uproar — from neighbors concerned about their property values and who will be living next door or from municipal officials who cite a number of nuisance and life safety issues — has kept some homes from opening, despite having federal law on their side. And there...


    Little City group home a flurry of activity

    Afternoons at one of Little City's group homes in Palatine are often a flury of activity as the eight male residents, all with varying degrees of developmental and intellectual disabilities, share stories, go over goals and set the table for dinner. "We don't want to do everything for them," Director of Residential Operations Regina Brown-White says. "We want to enhance them to be better...


    Democratic officials: Fiscal 'cliff' deal reached

    Racing the clock, the White House reached a New Year’s Eve accord with Senate Republicans late Monday to neutralize across-the-board tax increases and spending cuts in government programs due to take effect at midnight, according to administration and Senate Democratic officials.

    Adrian College President Dr. Jeffrey R. Docking stands at Commencement Plaza overlooking the campus “mall” at the school in Adrian, Mich. He has added sports and pre-professional degree programs and nearly doubled enrollment.

    Liberal arts colleges forced to evolve with market

    Today's increasingly career-focused students mostly aren't buying the idea a liberal arts education is good value, and many small liberal arts colleges are struggling. The survivors are shedding their liberal arts identity, if not the label.

    Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl of Arizona walks between the Senate chamber and the office of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, as Democrats and Republicans try to negotiate a legislative path to avoid the so-called “fiscal cliff” Sunday.

    Deal reached for stopping spike in milk prices

    The top leaders in both parties on the House and Senate Agriculture committees have agreed to a one-year extension of the 2008 farm bill that expired in October, a move that could head off a possible doubling of milk prices next month.

    Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has been hospitalized after doctors discovered a blood clot during a follow-up exam for the concussion she suffered last month, according to Clinton's spokesman.

    Secretary of State Hillary Clinton hospitalized with blood clot

    Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is under observation at a New York hospital after being treated for a blood clot stemming from the concussion she sustained earlier this month.

    This publicity file photo released by Warner Bros., shows the character Gollum voiced by Andy Serkis in a scene from the fantasy adventure “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.” The film made nearly $33 million to hang on to the top spot at the box office.

    ‘The Hobbit’ is No. 1; Bond hits $1 billion

    “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” continues to rule them all at the box office, staying on top for a third-straight week and capping a record-setting $10.8 billion year in moviegoing. It’s now made $222.7 million domestically alone. The smash-hit James Bond adventure “Skyfall” has now made $1 billion internationally to become the most successful film yet in the 50-year franchise, Sony Pictures...

    A group of snowboarders hit the slopes at Four Lake Ski Area in Lisle Thursday.

    Images: The Week in Pictures
    This edition of The Week in Pictures features New Year's Eve parties for kids, a yule log hunt, sledders and random Santa Claus appearances.


    Fire damages Naperville home

    A fire Sunday afternoon displaced a Naperville family after causing an estimated $275,000 in damage to their home. The Naperville Fire Department responded to a call at about 2:45 p.m. to a home in the 400 block of Douglas Avenue, where they could see thick smoke and fire coming from the third story. Occupants of the home were able to escape uninjured, and firefighters were able to bring the...


    Hit-and-run driver strikes squad car

    The driver of a vehicle involved in a hit-and-run Sunday afternoon returned to the scene and struck a second vehicle - an Arlington Heights squad car. Police responded to a call at about 1:30 p.m. at Mitsuwa Marketplace, 100 E. Algonquin Road, of a crash in which the vehicle left the scene of the accident. While police officers were investigating the crash, the driver who left the scene returned...

    Josh Nelson, campaign manager, CREDO Mobile, speaks Dec. 21 after his group was denied entrance to a Washington hotel where they wanted to deliver a petition to the National Rifle Association calling for the NRA to get out of the way of gun control.

    In gun debate, two sides speak different languages

    This divide has existed for decades, separating America into hostile camps of conservative vs. liberal, rural vs. urban. As the nation responds to the massacre of 20 children and six adults in Newtown, Conn., the gulf has rarely felt wider than now.

    President Barack Obama called Dec. 14, the day a gunman in Newtown, Conn., killed himself and 27 others, mostly children, “the worst day of my presidency.” He said he’s not ready to embrace gun-rights advocates’ support for placing armed guards at schools throughout the country.

    Obama wants gun violence measures passed in 2013

    Recalling the shooting rampage that killed 20 first graders as the worst day of his presidency, President Barack Obama pledged to put his “full weight” behind legislation aimed at preventing gun violence.

    John Knoepfle of Naperville, along with his daughter, Nikki, and wife, Cristina, saw the Yule Log in half after following clues to its location during The Morton Arboretum 35th annual Hunt for the Yule Log Sunday.

    Hunting the elusive yule log in Lisle

    More than 100 hunters scoured the Morton Arboretum in Lisle on Sunday in search of the hidden yule log, part of a 35-year holiday-season tradition at the arboretum.

    Tom Poynton

    Lake Zurich to use $522,000 from CN on noise wall

    Lake Zurich will construct a noise wall to protect some homeowners, using more than $500,000 received from Canadian National Railway through a 2010 legal settlement. CN provided nearly $2 million to Lake Zurich for safety upgrades, noise reduction and other measures deemed necessary because of an expected increase in freight trains the company runs through the village.

    Kaia Mavradas, 5, of Mount Prospect, wears a party hat and glasses during the New Year’s Eve-Eve Celebration Sunday at Bristol Court Banquets in Mount Prospect. The Mount Prospect Downtown Merchants Association hosted the fifth annual party for all ages.

    Mt. Prospect families celebrate New Year’s Eve-Eve

    There are ample opportunities for adults to celebrate the coming of the new year, but events for entire families — and especially young children — are relatively few and far between. The Mount Prospect Downtown Merchants Association provided just such an opportunity with its New Year’s Eve-Eve celebration Sunday. The event, held at the Bristol Court Banquets, offered fun for family members of all...


    Villa Park community center closes for repairs

    The Iowa Community Center in Villa Park will be closed Jan. 2 and 3 while repairs are made to the building's boiler.


    Water availability topic of Mundelein meeting

    An overview of current and future water availability will be the topic from 7 to 8:45 p.m. Jan. 8 at the monthly meeting of the Lake-to-Prairie Chapter of Wild Ones and the Fremont Public Library, 1170 North Midlothian Road, Mundelein.


    Hoffman Estates crash injures one, closes Roselle Road

    The southbound lanes of Roselle Road near Illinois Boulevard in Hoffman Estates were temporarily closed Sunday morning while authorities investigated a two-vehicle crash that sent one person to a hospital for treatment.


    Illinois dragging its feet on huge pension problem

    Illinois, a state with a reputation for political wheeling and dealing, backroom handshakes and 11th-hour bargains, is dragging its feet on the one deal needed to solve its biggest crisis in a generation. Lawmakers will convene again the first week in January in hopes of fixing the nation’s worst case of underfunding state employees’ pensions, a problem approaching $100 billion and mounting by...


    Crystal Lake man arrested after armed standoff

    A 45-year-old Crystal Lake man who police say barricaded himself inside a home Saturday while armed with a gun and threatening violence was behind bars Sunday facing multiple felony and misdemeanor charges.

    Under the proposal, driver's licenses for illegal immigrants in Illinois would be modeled after the state's temporary visitor driver's licenses.

    Some illegal immigrants fear applying for licenses

    When Illinois' top political leaders touted a proposal to allow illegal immigrants to obtain driver's licenses, it was painted as public safety measure and had the backing of immigrant rights advocates, who deemed it a positive step in the fight for immigration reform. But the idea has run into some resistance among illegal immigrants themselves.

    A framed memorial shows some of the people who have lost their lives to street violence in the Auburn-Gresham neighborhood on Chicago's South Side.

    Violence, gangs scar Chicago community in 2012

    In an empty lot on a corner of West 79th Street, a wooden cross stands tall in the winter night. Painted in red is a plea: "STOP SHOOTING." Gang violence isn't new, but it became a major theme in the Chicago narrative this year.

    Former speaker of the House Dennis Hastert talks about his work ahead as his government office formally closes at the end of this year.

    Hastert: 'You get things done by finding compromise'

    Packing up his government office, former House Speaker Dennis Hastert of Plano reflects on his past and future, and the state of the Republican party. "Whether a union is marriage or not a marriage, we get down in this minuscule debate all the time, and we end up pushing away the people who can make contributions to the party," Hastert said.


    New Year’s resolutions our pets love

    The Buddy Beat's Ellaine Kiriluk shares some of her pets favorite New Year's resolutions with readers. Most of them have to do with spending more time with their owners.


    Detroit Lions cornerback Chris Houston breaks up a pass intended for Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall during the fourth quarter Sunday at Ford Field in Detroit. The Bears won 26-24 but still missed out on the postseason party.

    Out of their hands, so Bears out of playoffs

    The Bears did their part Sunday with a 26-24 victory at Detroit. Unfortunately for them, the Green Bay Packers didn't do theirs later in the afternoon and were upset by the Minnesota Vikings 37-34, leaving coach Lovie Smith's crew without an invitation to the postseason party. “We just needed to take care of what we could control, and that was winning the game," Smith said.

    Will Bears quarterback Jay Cutler have a new head coach next season? It’s all on general manager Phil Emery now to make that decision.

    Will Bears’ GM consider fans’ discontent?

    OK, Mr. Emery, it's on you now: Are you going to fire Lovie Smith or essentially spit in the faces of Bears fans? Smith will calculate for you that the Bears were in the playoffs one of the past three seasons. He’ll also attempt to con you into believing that the victory over the Lions already establishes the Bears’ record at 1-0 for the 2013 season.

    Chicago Bulls guard Richard Hamilton, right, looks to a pass as Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Chicago on Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

    Bulls coach plans to preserve veteran Hamilton

    Marco Belinelli led the Bulls with 17 points in Saturday’s 87-77 win over Washington and he should continue to play heavy minutes, even with Richard Hamilton back from a foot injury. “The big thing is managing Rip’s minutes so he can remain healthy,” coach Tom Thibodeau said. “That’s what I’m really concerned about.”


    Bulls tipoff
    Charlotte Bobcats at the United Center, 2 p.m.TV: WGNRadio: ESPN AM-1000Update: The Bobcats were a surprising 7-5 on Nov. 24 but have since lost 18 in a row, which is especially bad considering they finished last season on a 23-game losing skid. Second-year guard Kemba Walker is the top scorer at 18.1 ppg, followed by PG Ramon Sessions at 14.2 ppg and SG Gerald Henderson at 13.6. Former Bulls guard Ben Gordon, traded from Detroit during the summer, is averaging 12.8 points.Next: Orlando Magic on at the Amway Center, 6 p.m. Wednesday — Mike McGraw

    Minnesota Vikings kicker Blair Walsh, middle, celebrates with teammates after kicking a 29-yard field goal to knock the Bears out of the playoff picture. But will that be enough to determine the fate of Bears coach Lovie Smith?

    Bears, Lovie run out of luck

    Bears GM Phil Emery certainly didn’t sound Sunday like a man ready to fire his head coach. Was he just saying the right things, or are Bears fans stuck with Lovie Smith another year?


    Wilson leads Seattle past St. Louis 20-13

    SEATTLE — Russell Wilson tied Peyton Manning’s record for most touchdown passes by a rookie with 26, and his 1-yard TD run with 1:39 left gave Seattle a 20-13 win over the St. Louis Rams on Sunday and an 8-0 home mark for the Seahawks. Seattle (11-5) entered the day with hopes of still winning the NFC West and getting a home playoff game, but those dreams were dashed when San Francisco beat Arizona 27-13 to clinch the division. Seattle will be the No. 5 seed in the NFC and face the NFC East champion — either Washington or Dallas — in the opening round next weekend. Seattle finished as the only unbeaten team at home in the NFL. St. Louis’ defensive effort didn’t make it easy for Seattle. The Rams (7-8-1) sacked Wilson six times, but couldn’t do enough offensively to finish with their first winning record since 2003.


    Chargers beat Raiders in Turner’s expected finale

    SAN DIEGO — Micheal Spurlock returned the opening kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown and San Diego beat the Oakland Raiders 24-21 on a wet, gloomy Sunday in what’s expected to be Norv Turner’s final game as Chargers coach.Turner and general manager A.J. Smith are expected to be fired because the Chargers (7-9) missed the playoffs for the third straight season. The Raiders finished 4-12.If Turner does get fired, he’ll finish 56-40 in six seasons with San Diego, but just 24-24 the past three seasons.Spurlock became the first Chargers player to have a kickoff and punt return for touchdowns in consecutive weeks. He returned a punt 63 yards for a touchdown a week earlier in a victory against the New York Jets.San Diego linebacker Takeo Spikes and Oakland running back Mike Goodson were ejected following a skirmish in the second quarter.

    Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson catches a two-yard touchdown pass during the second half of an NFL football game against the Green Bay Packers Sunday, Dec. 30, 2012, in Minneapolis.

    Vikings edge Packers in must-win game

    MINNEAPOLIS — Adrian Peterson came within 9 yards of Eric Dickerson’s rushing record on Sunday, finishing with 199 yards and powering the Minnesota Vikings into the playoffs, 37-34 over Green Bay.That forced a rematch with the Packers next weekend in a wild-card game.Peterson rushed for 36 yards on the last drive, plenty for rookie Blair Walsh’s 29-yard field goal as time expired to put the Vikings (10-6) in the postseason. The Packers (11-5) fell to the NFC’s No. 3 seed.Aaron Rodgers completed 28 of 40 passes for 365 yards and four touchdowns and no turnovers, connecting with Jordy Nelson from 2 yards to tie the game with 2:54 remaining. But Christian Ponder threw for three scores, including one to Peterson.

    Bears running back Matt Forte is congratulated by teammates after his 1-yard touchdown during the second quarter of an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field in Detroit, Sunday, Dec. 30, 2012.

    Bears' season ends despite win

    The Bears held on against Detroit before their playoff hopes faded away for good. Lovie Smith's Bears needed a win over the Lions and a loss by Minnesota on Sunday to make the postseason. The Bears took care of their end, beating Detroit 26-24, but the Vikings edged the Packers 37-34 to earn a wild card. Chicago (10-6) became only the second team since the playoffs expanded to 12 teams to miss out after a 7-1 start, according to STATS, LLC. The other was Washington in 1996.


    Wolves rally for 3-2 win

    The Chicago Wolves surrendered goals on Abbotsford’s first 2 shots Sunday but turned things around for a 3-2 victory at the Allstate Arena that snapped a three-game winless streak.

    Alshon Jeffery had 4 catches for 76 yards, including a 55-yarder on the Bears’ first play from scrimmage. Jeffery

    Marshall’s peers finally step up for Bears

    On a day when record-setting wide receiver Brandon Marshall did not play anywhere near as well as he had most of the season, the Bears’ offense got some huge contributions from other receivers. Earl Bennett re-emerged at the most opportune time with a career day after having caught just 2 passes in the past four games, two of which he missed with a concussion. Rookie Alshon Jeffery had 4 catches for 76 yards, including a 55-yard grab on the opening possession. It was his most receiving yards since opening day and the most catches since Week 3.

    Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte (22) runs during the second quarter of an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field in Detroit, Sunday, Dec. 30, 2012.

    Images: Bears vs. Lions
    In their final regular season game of the year, the Chicago Bears faced the Detroit Lions on Sunday, December 30th, in Detroit. The Bears defeated the Lions 26-24 to keep their playoff hopes alive.


    Spiller leads Bills to season-ending win over Jets

    ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — C.J. Spiller scored on a 66-yard catch and run in helping the under-achieving Buffalo Bills end their season with a 28-9 win over the New York Jets on Sunday.Safety Bryan Scott also returned an interception 20 yards for a touchdown for the Bills (6-10), who snapped a three-game skid. Both AFC East rivals had already been eliminated from playoff contention.Despite the win, the Bills could only manage to match last year’s record, and they still finished last in the division for a fifth straight season. That’s led to questions about coach Chan Gailey’s job security.Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez turned over the ball twice in making what could be his final start for New York (6-10), which closed its season with three consecutive losses amid all sort of turmoil.


    Eli throws 5 TDs, but Giants miss playoffs

    EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Eli Manning threw a career-high five touchdown passes and the New York Giants won 42-7 over Philadelphia on Sunday in what might have been Andy Reid’s final game as the Eagles’ coach.The Giants (9-7) needed to beat the Eagles (4-12), have Chicago and Minnesota lose and have Dallas either lose or tie against Washington to advance to the postseason. The Bears dashed those hopes with an early Sunday win over Detroit.The defending Super Bowl champions did their part against Michael Vick and their NFC East rivals. The Giants put themselves in a tough spot to reach the playoffs, losing five of seven prior to Sunday, including two games by a combined 67-14 margin to playoff-bound Atlanta and Baltimore.


    Steelers avoid a losing season with win over Cleveland

    PITTSBURGH — Ben Roethlisberger threw three short touchdown passes, and the Pittsburgh Steelers avoided their first losing season in nearly a decade with a 24-10 victory over the Cleveland Browns on Sunday.Antonio Brown, Leonard Pope and Plaxico Burress scored for the Steelers (8-8), who mustered enough energy to end a disappointing season on a positive note. Pittsburgh’s top-ranked defense forced four turnovers as the Steelers won for just the second time in the last six weeks, a slide that knocked them out of the playoffs for the first time since 2009.Cleveland’s third-string quarterback, Thaddeus Lewis, passed for 204 yards with a touchdown and an interception in his first NFL start. But the Browns (5-11) dropped their third straight in what is likely coach Pat Shurmur’s final game on the sideline.


    Bengals beat Ravens 23-17

    CINCINNATI — Carlos Dunlap returned an interception 14 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter Sunday, sending the Cincinnati Bengals to a 23-17 victory over the Baltimore Ravens in a game that didn’t much matter to either playoff-bound team.The Ravens (10-6) had already clinched their second straight AFC North title, putting them in line to host a game next weekend.The Bengals (10-6) were locked into the sixth seed as the final wild-card team. The only question was who they would play in the opening round, and that wouldn’t be answered until games were completed later in the day.So, they went into preseason mode on a 26-degree afternoon with a wind chill of 16.The Ravens let quarterback Joe Flacco and running back Ray Rice play only two series. Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton and receiver A.J. Green sat out the second half.


    Titans rout Jaguars 38-20

    NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee became the first team in NFL history with two players scoring twice on returns in a game as the Titans beat the Jacksonville Jaguars 38-20 Sunday in their season finale. Darius Reynaud scored on two punt returns and rookie linebacker Zach Brown returned two interceptions for touchdowns.The Titans (6-10) finished by winning two of their final three games, which may be enough for owner Bud Adams to keep coach Mike Munchak with two years left on his contract. Reynaud became the first player in franchise history to return two punts for TDs on a day the Titans also set a franchise mark for most points allowed in a season with 465.The Jaguars (2-14) wrapped up their worst season with their 12th loss in 13 games. Now owner Shad Khan has to decide whether to fire general manager Gene Smith and possibly first-year coach Mike Mularkey.


    Pagano returns as Indianapolis beats Texans 28-16

    INDIANAPOLIS — The Indianapolis Colts made Chuck Pagano a winner in his return to the sideline.Andrew Luck threw for two touchdowns and Deji Karim swung the game with a 101-yard kickoff return in the third quarter, giving the Colts a 28-16 victory over Houston. It was Pagano’s first game back as coach since starting treatment for leukemia Sept. 26.Indianapolis (11-5) heads into the playoffs as the No. 5 seed and on a roll.Slumping Houston (12-4) won’t know its playoff seed until later Sunday. The Texans lost three of their last four games, and J.J. Watt failed to break Michael Strahan’s single-season sacks record.The game swung on two big plays: Karim’s kickoff return, which wiped out a 16-14 Houston lead, and Luck’s 70-yard TD pass to T.Y. Hilton.


    Falcons fall flat against Bucs

    ATLANTA — The Falcons couldn’t follow through with their plan to gain momentum for the playoffs as Josh Freeman threw a touchdown pass to Mike Williams, Doug Martin ran for 141 yards and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat Atlanta 22-17 on Sunday.The Falcons (13-3) had little to play for as they already have home-field advantage through the NFC playoffs. Coach Mike Smith said he wanted to “finish the regular season the right way,” and he stayed with his starters through the game.The danger to Smith’s strategy was losing a top starter to an injury. Defensive end John Abraham, Atlanta’s best pass rusher, left with an apparent left ankle injury in the fourth quarter. Abraham couldn’t put his weight on the ankle as he was helped off the field.Starting cornerback Dunta Robinson suffered a head injury in the first quarter and did not return.


    Girls basketball/Top 20
    Montini (18-1) beats Rolling Meadows (16-1) to reclaim the top spot in Daily Herald's Top 20 rankings. Vernon Hills (17-0) moves up to No. 4.

    Bears coach Lovie Smith looks down at the end of the game as quarterback Jay Cutler heads off the field in the 23-17 loss the the Seahawks at Soldier Field in Chicago.

    Bears have serious coach, QB questions

    No NFL coach can succeed without a quarterback, no quarterback without a coach, and no franchise without both. It's not a mystery in most NFL cities.


    Carmel loses — and wins — at Warren

    Warren’s Blue Devil Classic didn’t end the way Carmel Catholic senior center Kayla Quinn would have preferred, but it wasn’t all bad. Heck, Quinn couldn’t help but smile when studying the all-tournament trophies that she and teammate Claire Ogrinc received. “They’re girls,” Quinn said with wide eyes of the bronze-colored basketball players, which featured long hair, on the trophies. “Normally they’re boys.” This was good, too, for Carmel: Despite Wheeling winning 40-36 in Saturday night’s tournament finale, the Corsairs won the championship. Carmel (11-5 overall) and Palatine both went 4-1 in the tourney, but the Corsairs were declared the champion based on their 45-36 over Palatine on Wednesday. Wheeling (8-12), Warren and Grayslake Central all went 3-2 in the tourney.


    Holly Bryan stocks up on Christmas wrapping paper and other holiday items while shopping the day after Christmas deals at a Target store in Chattanooga, Tenn. Wednesday.

    Will retailers rebound after weak holiday season?

    As signs emerge that holiday sales this year grew at the weakest pace since 2008, investors are dumping retail stocks. Analysts are crowing about the missing “consumer engine” without which the economy may stagnate.

    The all-new 2013 Ford Escape is seen above. Ford said 2012 will be the second year in a row it will sell more than 2 million cars.

    Ford expects to sell 2.2 million autos in 2012

    DEARBORN, Mich. — Ford says it expects to sell 2.2 million vehicles this year, with the Ford Focus compact car being its most popular model.The Dearborn, Mich., company says it is the second year in a row it will sell more than 2 million cars. It sold 737,856 Ford Focuses through September. The Ford Fiesta sedan and hatchback and F-series trucks were other popular models, with Ford selling 560,061 Fiestas and 576,339 F-Series vehicles through September.Ford Motor Co.’s EcoBoost engines, which save energy, are on track to be sold in 520,000 cars by year-end since their launch in 2009. A new 1-liter, 3-cylinder engine will be available in 2013 in new Fiesta cars in the U.S.

    A worker uses a wheelbarrow to carry boxes of Pinot Noir grapes during the grape harvest of Roederer Champagne in Ay, in the Champagne production area of Epernay, near Reims, eastern France. Europeans are finding fewer reasons to pop open a bottle of Champagne as another year of economic troubles and high unemployment saps the region's joie de vivre, latest industry figures show.

    Champagne losing its fizz in Europe after tough year

    Europeans are finding fewer reasons to pop open a bottle of Champagne as another year of economic troubles and high unemployment saps the region's appetite for the finer things. But while the latest industry figures show that sales might be on the wane in Europe, other markets, particularly Japan and the United States, are developing a taste for a glass of bubbly.


    Colleges help students scrub online footprints

    Before Samantha Grossman graduated from Syracuse University last spring, the school provided her with a tool that allowed her to put her best Web foot forward. Now when people Google her, they go straight to a positive image that she credits with helping her land a digital advertising job in New York. "I wanted to make sure people would find the actual me and not these other people," she said.

    If you feel you need to enlist a personal trainer, turn the spare room into a home gym or join a fitness club, you don’t have to spend a bundle.

    8 tips to stay fit without breaking the bank

    The start of a new year inspires many of us to commit to get fit and live healthier. Such an undertaking requires steeling one's resolve to eat right and exercise. What isn't required is emptying out one's wallet just to break a sweat and shed a few pounds. But if you feel you need to enlist a personal trainer, here are eight tips on how to tackle your New Year's fitness resolutions without straining your finances.

    James Schrager, a professor of entrepreneurship at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, warns that banks aren’t just cautious about small business loans, but that home equity loans, a traditional source of money for people starting or expanding a business, remain difficult to get, the result of the collapse in the mortgage market in 2008.

    5 issues small business owners will face in 2013

    In 2013, small business owners will contend with many of the same issues that made it hard to run their companies over the last 12 months. They're also heading into the new year with a lot of uncertainty. "Uncertainty is the bane of every small business," says Scott Shane, a professor of entrepreneurship at Case Western Reserve University's Weatherhead School of Management in Cleveland.

    Judy Neiman holds a photo of her daughter, Sydnee, in front of her 2006 Cadillac Escalade at her home in West Richland, Wash. Sydnee died in late 2011 after Neiman accidentally backed over her with the SUV. Although there is a law in place that calls for new manufacturing requirements to improve the visibility behind passenger vehicles, the standards have yet to be mandated because of delays by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

    Delays litter long road to vehicle rearview rules

    In the private hell of a mother's grief, the sounds come back to Judy Neiman. The SUV door slamming. The slight bump as she backed up in the bank parking lot. The emergency room doctor's sobs as he said her 9-year-old daughter Sydnee, who previously had survived four open heart surgeries, would not make it this time. "They have to do something, because I've read about it happening to other people. I read about it and I said, I would die if it happens to me,'" Neiman says. "Then it did happen to me."

    Students wave the national flags at an evening dancing party and performance at Kim Il Sung Square to commemorate late President Kim Il Sung's 100th birthday in Pyongyang, North Korea.

    North Korea's caste system faces power of wealth

    For more than a half-century, a mysterious caste system has shadowed the life of every North Korean. It can decide whether they will live in the gated compounds of the minuscule elite, or in mountain villages where farmers hack at rocky soil with handmade tools. It can help determine what hospital will take them if they fall sick, whether they go to college and, very often, whom they will marry.

Life & Entertainment

    Ryan Seacrest presents the great crystal ball that will drop during “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest” on ABC.

    Ryan Seacrest: ‘Rockin’ in another year on ABC

    Yes, Ryan Seacrest has a New Year’s resolution for 2013: improve his skill at dancing. “There’s a Significant Other in my life who’s very good at it,” he notes. That would be professional dancer Julianne Hough, a two-time champ on “Dancing with the Stars” in whose proximity “I feel the pressure to be as good as she is.” So add dancing lessons to the long list of projects that keep Seacrest famously fast on his feet.

    AP photo Housing recovery continues to inch forward as pending home sales rose for the third straight month in November.

    Home sales up for third straight month

    Pending home sales rose for the third month in November, a sign of the housing recovery's resilience in the face of fiscal threats facing the U.S.

    Under the Streetlamp plays engagements at the Genesee Theatre in Waukegan and the Paramount Theatre in Aurora this weekend.

    Sunday picks: Under the Streetlamp pops into Genesee

    Welcome in the New Year by reflecting on pop hits from the 1950s and '60s when Under the Streetlamp performs Sunday at the Genesee Theatre in Waukegan. Dress warmly for The 35th Annual Hunt for the Yule Log Sunday at the Morton Arboretum in Lisle. Don't miss the final performances of the season for The Rockettes at the Akoo in Rosemont. Or take a spin on the outdoor skating rink at The Park at Rosemont today.


    Annoying flies hatch from slime in drainpipes

    Q. My daughter is plagued by moth flies. She lives in a 1957 two-story house. In her laundry room, moth flies have taken over. She has a drain there. Do you have an idea where they are coming from or what to do?

    Made in Bohemia, this centerpiece is in the Art Nouveau style.

    Royal Dux figurines were once hot, now not

    Q. Would you have an idea of the value of this Royal Dux Bohemia centerpiece, No. 647? It stands 16 inches tall and 15-by-10 inches at the base. As far as I can discover, there are not flaws. Any information would be helpful.

    Visitors enjoy West Gulf Beach on Sanibel Island in Florida.

    Shelling and sun on Florida's Sanibel Island

    Visit the beaches on this Gulf Coast barrier island and you're likely to see people doing the Sanibel Stoop. That's the term for the bent-at-the-waist posture used to collect seashells on Sanibel Island, which bills itself as one of the best shelling locations in the world. The island also offers 15 miles of beach, 22 miles of bike paths, and the largest undeveloped mangrove ecosystem in the country.

    Robert Pattinson stars in “Cosmopolis,” released on DVD on Jan. 1.

    DVD previews

    New DVD releases coming out Jan. 1 include "Cosmopolis" starring Robert Pattinson and "The Trouble with Bliss" with Michael C. Hall.


    Readers give out their tried-and-tested advice

    Many, many years ago, when I asked whether I had to turn in a problem set, my math teacher said to me: "The only thing you have to do in this world is die."


    Tenant claims penalty for minor cat damage is unfair

    Q. I am a renter who recently vacated a rental property, and I have an issue with the owner over a pet security deposit. When I moved in, the landlord required both a security deposit and a pet deposit.

    Jimmy Kimmel's show will be moving to the plum earlier time slot, where he'll swim with the big fish, Jay Leno and CBS's David Letterman.

    Jimmy Kimmel ready to take on Leno, Letterman

    NBC late-night host Jay Leno is just like Jason in the "Friday the 13th" movie franchise, Jimmy Kimmel -- Leno's soon-to-be time-slot-competitor -- told reporters recently. "He seems to pop up just when you think he's dead -- he comes alive, and he's got a hatchet," the star of ABC's "Jimmy Kimmel Live" said on the call, which was supposed to be about the historic move of his show to the plum earlier time slot, where he'll swim with the big fish, Leno and CBS's David Letterman, starting Jan. 8.

    Families can learn a lot about birds of prey during Bald Eagle Days at the Quad Cities Expo Center, Jan. 11-13.

    On the road: Swoop in for Bald Eagle Days

    Each year from mid-December through February, thousands of bald eagles migrate south to spend winter along the Mississippi River and the wooded bluffs that serve as an excellent habitat for roosting. Bald Eagle Days at the Quad Cities Expo Center claims to be the largest event in the Midwest dedicated to the American Eagle.

    Confetti falls over revelers in New York’s Times Square as the clock strikes midnight during a New Year’s Eve celebration. The holidays often mean an excess of booze and drugs.

    High or dry? Staying sober for New Year’s Eve

    Whether in recovery or not interested for other reasons, the holidays often mean an excess of booze and drugs. Occasional drinkers fail to moderate and addiction programs around the country note upticks in patient loads soon after the new year, high season for relapsers and those seeking treatment for the first time. "Alcohol is often center stage at holiday parties," said Amara Durham, a spokeswoman for a treatment facility in Princeton, Texas. "Many people think they need alcohol to enjoy social occasions such as holiday celebrations."

    Barbara Newman Mannix started the company A Dignified Life, which stands in for family members who can’t be as close as they’d like when an elderly relative begins to decline.

    Help at hand when elderly relative’s health fails

    Marnie Schwartz was in California, a lawyer raising two toddlers. She was in no position to move across the country to care for her mother, who was living alone in New York and whose health was beginning to decline. Schwartz's dilemma was similar to that faced by more and more Americans as the population spreads out, people live longer and giving up a job is out of the question. Those needs have fostered a niche that a variety of enterprises have been filling in recent years.

    TLC scored a hit with Alana Thompson and the reality show “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.”

    From ‘Homeland’ to ‘Honey Boo Boo,’ a look back at 2012 TV

    As with every year, TV in 2012 was a mix of the ridiculous and the sublime. It's not easy to narrow down a Top 10 anything for TV. Still, once this year's thousands of hours are assessed, 10 notable achievements emerge, for better or worse.

    Julie Andrews will be hosting “From Vienna: The New Year’s Celebrations 2013” on “Great Performances” Tuesday on PBS.

    Julie Andrews returns for New Year’s music

    Her elegant and cultured image, has made Julie Andrews, the Oscar, Emmy and Grammy winner, a natural to succeed the late Walter Cronkite as host of PBS' traditional "Great Performances" broadcast of the Vienna Philharmonic's holiday concert, and she'll fill that role for the fourth time when "From Vienna: The New Year's Celebration 2013" airs Tuesday, Jan. 1.


    Car maintenance is also smart finances

    One thing of which we can be sure is 2013 will be a more expensive year for most of us. I have talked about the advantages of good auto maintenance before but in these challenging economic times it is worth bringing up again.


    Standby generators are a smart investment for a home

    Q. Like many homeowners in the Northeast, we were affected by the recent storm. While we were lucky and did not get a direct hit, we did lose power for a couple of days. This is the second year in a row we lost power due to a storm and I have decided that I do need to purchase a generator.

    Gold lamp.

    Gold decor is golden once again

    Make new friends but keep the old. One is silver and the other is gold. That adage now applies to one of the hottest trends in interior design.



    Editorial: Pension crisis: The particular abuse of the taxpaper

    In this installment of Pensions: Time for Reform, the Daily Herald Editorial Board argues that whatever reform is enacted should place a priority on protecting taxpayers.


    Disdain all around

    Columnist George Will: While accusing the Supreme Court's conservative justices of "disdain for democracy," Pamela S. Karlan proves herself talented at dispensing disdain. The Stanford law professor is, however, less talented at her chosen task of presenting a coherent understanding of judicial review.


    Print’s longtime passing

    Columnist Kathleen Parker: I have forced myself to think of the last print edition of Newsweek magazine as a transition rather than yet more evidence of The Death of Print.


    Reduce guns for the common good
    A Mount Prospect letter to the editor: True sportsmen have nothing to fear. If someone wants a pistol for personal safety they are free to have one, but remember the vast majority of people killed by guns in the home are family members, not intruders.


    Let’s not get too reactionary on guns
    A Rolling Meadows letter to the editor: First, immediately pass laws banning the possession of any type of gun, except by military or police. Second, just on the slight chance that the shooter was emotionally unstable, every person over age 13 must undergo a psychiatric evaluation as soon as possible, and at least once a year thereafter.


    FISH grateful for generous donations
    A Downers Grove letter to the editor: The volunteers of the Downers Grove FISH Pantry wish to thank the many people who have donated so generously this Christmas season. In the true spirit of giving, we have received food, clothing, and monetary donations from many local businesses, church groups, school groups, grocery stores and social groups; and the generosity keeps growing.


    Cameras only add to courtroom stress
    A West Chicago letter to the editor: A person on trial for a crime, whether guilty or innocent, is under great emotional stress. Adding access to media coverage with video and still cameras can do nothing but add significantly to that stress. And until the trial is over, one does not know whether or not this is adding to the tribulations of an innocent person, particularly for those of us who are naturally shy.


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