Daily Archive : Monday December 31, 2012



    Tri-Cities police reports
    A Toyota 4Runner was stolen between 10 p.m. Dec. 26 and 3 p.m. Dec. 27 out of a parking lot behind a business in the 300 block of West State Street, Geneva police said.


    Stroger sales tax hike rolled back

    Cook County shoppers could save a little money on their purchases starting Jan. 1. The final one-quarter percent of an infamous sales tax increase championed by former Cook County Board President Todd Stroger rolls back, moving the county's share of local sales taxes back to 0.75 percent.

    Aindrila Gupta holds her daughter, Naija Niyogi, as dad, Shiladitya Niyogi lends support. The couple’s first child was born at 12:39 a.m. at NorthShore Highland Park Hospital, the first of the new year in Lake County.

    First babies arrive in Northwest Cook, Lake counties

    The first baby of the New Year in Northwest suburban Cook County came at 12:13 a.m. at St. Alexius Medical Center in Hoffman Estates, more than a week earlier than expected for an Aurora couple. The first born in Lake County was delivered at 12:39 a.m. at NorthShore University HealthSystem Highland Park, ending about 29 hours of labor. The Highland Park couple had been expecting around Christmas.

    Mary Rose Noel Ray

    Libertyville public relations executive rubbed elbows with celebrities in 40-year career

    Pioneering public relations professional Mary Rose Noel Ray of Libertyville died Dec. 23 at age 95. Ray dealt extensively with dignitaries and celebrities during a career with American Airlines that spanned nearly four decades. "It was just part of her job and she throughly enjoyed it," said her niece, Peg Ray. "She thrived on being a career woman."

    Marty Moylan

    Moylan steps down as Des Plaines mayor

    Des Plaines Mayor Marty Moylan resigned Monday night, but the special meeting he called so aldermen could name an acting mayor was not held because only two aldermen attended. Moylan resigned because next week he will start representing the 55th state House District.

    The Elk Grove High School marching band, shown in September at Lake Park High School in Roselle, will perform on a much larger stage Wednesday night when they take to the turf of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans for the halftime show of the Allstate Sugar Bowl.

    Elk Grove High School band performing at Sugar Bowl

    About 75 members of the Elk Grove High School marching band are enjoying the sights and sounds of New Orleans while gearing up to perform at the Allstate Sugar Bowl Wednesday night. They will play three songs on the field during halftime with about 1,400 other high school musicians, dancers and cheerleaders from across the nation.

    Melissa A. Reilly

    Wadsworth woman accused of ripping off 93-year-old man

    A Wadsworth woman has been charged with fraudulently using a 93-year-old man's credit cards and checking account, along with convincing him to give her $30,000 from a certificate of deposit, authorities said. Melissa A. Reilly, 57, of the 14000 block of Kaiser Road, is held on $150,000 bail at the Lake County jail.


    Water damage displaces two Naperville families

    A single water sprinkler struck out a fire before it could spread throughout a Naperville apartment complex Monday afternoon, but water damage ultimately left two families displaced.


    Girl dies from injuries in suspected arson

    The Cook County medical examiner's office said 4-year-old Nariyah Beller died Monday at Stroger Hospital from burns suffered in the Saturday fire in Chicago's Lawndale neighborhood. She suffered burns over her entire body.

    Senate Homeland Security Committee Chairman Sen. Joseph Lieberman listens at right, as the committee’s ranking Republican, Sen. Susan Collins, speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill Monday to discuss the committee’s report on the security deficiencies at the U.S. Mission in Benghazi, Libya.

    Report details changes in Benghazi explanations

    The FBI, CIA and other intelligence agencies — but not the White House — made major changes in talking points that led to the Obama administration's confusing explanations of the attack on U.S. diplomatic facilities in Benghazi, Libya, a Senate report concluded Monday.

    Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has been admitted to a New York hospital after the discovery of a blood clot stemming from the concussion she sustained earlier this month.

    Doctors: Blood clot located in Clinton’s head

    Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton developed a blood clot in her head but did not suffer a stroke or neurological damage, her doctors said Monday. They say they are confident that she will make a full recovery. In a statement that revealed the location of the clot, Clinton's doctors said it is in the vein in the space between the brain and the skull behind the right ear.

    Tourists pose as they carry umbrellas with numbers to welcome the New Year 2013 on the terrace of a hotel in the backdrop of Taj Mahal in Agra, India, Monday.

    US, Europe hope the new year brings better times

    From teeming Times Square to an Asian capital hosting its first public New Year's Eve countdown in decades, the world looked to the start of 2013 with hope for renewal after a year of economic turmoil, searing violence and natural disasters. Fireworks, concerts and celebrations unfolded around the globe to ring in the new year and, for some, to wring out the old.


    Ride the CTA for a penny tonight

    The Chicago Transit Authority reminds partygoers that rides on CTA trains and buses will cost one penny during the hours surrounding the arrival of 2013.

    Orlando Salazar

    Four charged in recent Waukegan armed robberies

    Four people were arrested during a traffic stop in Waukegan Saturday and charged with three recent armed robberies after officers noticed a gun, two masks and a purse in the vehicle. A Waukegan police officer stopped a vehicle at 10:30 p.m. driven by Orlando Salazar, 19, of the 20 block of North Victory Street in Waukegan.

    Joyce Marcus’ Riverwoods home was selected “The House of the Year” by The Wall Street Journal readers, beating out 48 others selected from the newspaper’s “House of the Day” feature.

    Suburban pagoda home The Wall Street Journal’s house of the year

    Joyce Marcus' Riverwoods house has more than 50,000 fans. Now she and her husband hope one of them loves it enough to pay $2 million for it. Readers of The Wall Street Journal picked the 5,700-square-foot suburban home as their "House of the Year," rating it above 48 others that editors winnowed from 200 for-sale properties featured during 2012 as the newspaper's "House of the Day."


    U-46 school board race has 7 candidates for 3 seats

    Seven candidates are vying for three open seats on the Elgin Area School District U-46 board of education. Longtime board member Joyce Fountain decided not to run for re-election after almost 20 years of service and Bartlett resident Dale Spencer also did not file candidate paperwork, leaving new faces to fill the void. South Elgin High School senior Andrew Giggey will run as well as two...

    Benjamin Nadorf, 4, fools around with his new glasses while waiting for the New Year in Times Square in New York, Monday, Dec. 31, 2012. One million people are expected to cram into the area for the countdown.

    Images: Celebrating 2013 Around the World
    Images of celebration of the New Year from around the world. From Hong Kong to Australia, people celebrated the hope and promise for the year 2013.


    University of Minnesota to review nonresident tuition

    The University of Minnesota dropped its nonresident tuition four years ago to attract more undergraduates from elsewhere. It is now the cheapest school in the Big Ten for those students, but it's the fourth-most-expensive for residents.

    Kenneth Conley

    Search now nationwide for escaped bank robber

    The FBI says it has broadened the search nationally for a convicted bank robber who escaped from a high-rise prison in downtown Chicago. FBI Special Agent Joan Hyde tells WBBM radio Monday that the agency has no recent reports of Kenneth Conley sightings.


    2 giraffes die in Wisconsin Dells park fire

    According to Wisconsin Dells police, someone called 911 at about 6 p.m. Sunday to report the fire at the Timbavati Wildlife Park. The fire department arrived to find the giraffe enclosure fully engulfed. Two 4-year-old male giraffes were killed.

    Katie Harley, 5, of Naperville, tries to catch a bubble as she celebrates at the DuPage Children’s Museum’s Bubble Bash Monday at Wentz Concert Hall in Naperville.

    DuPage museum’s bash features bubbles instead of bubbly

    For hundreds of children dancing Monday inside North Central College's Wentz Concert Hall in Naperville, it didn't matter that the stroke of midnight was 12 hours away. Nearly 600 children and their parents still donned tiaras reading "Happy New Year" and blew noisemakers — as well as lots of bubbles — to celebrate the new year at the DuPage Children's Museum's annual Bubble Bash.


    Lake County retired teachers meeting Jan. 8

    The Lake County Retired Teachers Association will meet at noon Jan. 8 at Lambs Farm restaurant at Route 176 and the Tri-State Tollway near Libertyville. The cost is $14 per person for the buffet luncheon and a short meeting. The scheduled entertainment is a presentation of "Cabins and Mansions" by John Radzinski.


    Fox Valley-area police reports
    A 2003 gray Lexus GS300 was stolen out of a garage in the 1500 block of Darby Court, Batavia, it was reported at 8:23 a.m. Saturday. Police believe the burglar used a garage door opener, stored in an unlocked vehicle on the driveway, to open the garage.


    Who’s running for Batavia, Geneva library seats?

    Who wants to keep the libraries stocked and open? The 13 people running for the Geneva and Batavia library district boards.


    Westmont woman killed in two-vehicle crash

    An investigation is continuing into a two-vehicle crash that killed a 26-year-old woman in Westmont, police said Monday. Police identified the victim as Taisha J. Busch of Westmont. She was riding in the front passenger seat of a 2007 Ford Taurus that turned in front of another vehicle, according to a news release.

    Fox River Grove officials have moved their Fourth of July fireworks show to September, citing positive feedback from residents about the new date. In 2012, a drought forced the village to move its show from July to September and the new date apparently worked out for many residents.

    Fox River Grove moving fireworks show from July to September

    It may be cold outside but it isn't too early for Fox River Grove officials to start planning for next summer's fireworks celebration, which they have moved from July to September. In 2012 a lengthy drought threatened to spoil the fireworks show, forcing village officials to move it from the Saturday after the Fourth of July to the Saturday after Labor Day. The community liked the idea, so the...


    House to miss ‘fiscal cliff’ deadline

    WASHINGTON — The House will miss the midnight Monday deadline lawmakers set for voting to avoid the “fiscal cliff.” House Republicans notified lawmakers that the chamber will vote Monday evening on other bills. They say that will be their only votes of the day.

    Prints of the holiday display at North School Park in Arlington Heights created by artist Joseph Burlini are available in exchange for a donation to the Wheeling Township Food Pantry.

    Artist’s work benefits Wheeling food pantry

    Artist Joseph A. Burlini typically creates large, outdoor sculpture pieces that can be seen at locations around the country, including the Pentagon and the Chicago Botanic Garden, as well as in his hometown of Arlington Heights. His latest work is on a much smaller scale, but serves a great cause.

    The Elgin National Watch Company clock tower, located at National Street and Grove Avenue near the current Grand Victoria Casino, was an Elgin icon for decades. The factory was demolished in the 1960s, but what happened to the clock mechanism? Take this quiz to learn the answer to this and other questions about Elgin history.

    How well do you know Elgin history? Take this quiz

    How well do you know Elgin history? Take Daily Herald columnist Jerry Turnquist's quiz and find out. This column marks his 17th year with the paper. During this time, a regular — and often requested tradition — has been a year-end column with questions taken from his past Elgin area history stories. And, whether you are a regular reader or not, read on. This quiz is meant for all.


    Emergency responses from Wheaton group homes

    Two group homes in Wheaton operated by ChildServ, which supports at-risk children and their families, recorded 61 calls for emergency service between January 2010 and May 2012. Of thoses, 37 involved clients who didn't return home on schedule, with 18 of those involving just two girls. Another girl was involved in two of the four batteries and a drug possession case.


    Fire-alarm calls abound at Palatine group homes

    Between Jan. 2010 and May 2012, 16 group homes that seven organizations operate in Palatine, posted 102 emergency calls. The most common were 38 calls for activated fire alarms, almost always set off because someone was cooking something a little too long. “Our job is to kind of alleviate the stress, kind of diffuse the situation,” said Palatine Deputy Fire Chief Patrick Gratzianna.

    An Elgin patrol officer is suing the city and two of its employees for racial discrimination.

    Elgin officer files discrimination lawsuit against city

    Phillipp Brown, an Elgin police officer since 1996, has filed a racial discrimination lawsuit against the department in U.S. District Court. The lawsuit says the city failed to stop racial discrimination in the police department or remedy a racially hostile work environment. Monetary damages are identified to cover lost sick days and overtime as well as compensatory damages for “emotional...

    Christopher A. Shukin

    Warrant issued for Glen Ellyn man with repeated arrests

    A Glen Ellyn man whose repeated arrests and unusual behavior sparked concern among neighbors will be taken into custody and examined for mental fitness, a judge ruled Monday. Christopher Shukin, 22, of the 400 block of Hill Avenue, was denied bail by DuPage County Judge John Kinsella.


    Provena diabetes prevention program receives $30,000 grant

    Provena Mercy Medical Center in Aurora recently received a $30,000 grant from the Dunham Fund for its groundbreaking diabetes prevention program, "A-List: Achieving Good Health."

    Marmion grad Bobby Winkel is listed on the 2012 NIU roster as a Linebacker.

    Images: Suburban NIU Huskies at the Orange Bowl
    Images of athletes from the suburbs of Chicago on the roster for Northern Illinois University for their Orange Bowl appearance on New Year's Day 2013.

    Free Syrian Army fighters fire at enemy positions during heavy clashes with government forces in the Salaheddine district in Aleppo, Syria. Activists say Syrian rebels have captured an oil pumping station in the north central province of Raqqa after days of fighting.

    Syria says rebels attacked gas pipeline

    Syria has blamed rebels for blowing up a natural gas pipeline Monday in the country's oil-rich east, disrupting distribution. A statement carried by Syria's state news agency blamed a "terrorist group," the regime's description of rebels seeking to topple President Bashar Assad.


    NYC couple arrested; explosive substance found

    Authorities say a New York City couple has been arrested on weapons charges after a substance used to make bombs and papers titled "The Terrorist Encyclopedia" were found in their Greenwich Village apartment.


    Indiana city’s 25-year-old mayor making mark

    Before even stepping foot into his office in City Hall, Frankfort Mayor Chris McBarnes was making headlines. In November 2011, at age 23, McBarnes handily outpaced the competition to become the top representative of his hometown and the youngest mayor in the state. Now, at the end of his first year in office, the 25-year-old Butler University graduate seems to be a lifetime wiser and has even...


    Maine man accused of killing tenants due in court

    A 74-year-old Maine man was scheduled to appear in court Monday to face charges in the shooting deaths of two of his tenants after a possible dispute over where they parked their cars during a snowstorm, state police said. James Pak was arrested at about 10 p.m. Saturday after a three-hour standoff at his home in Biddeford, about 15 miles south of Portland, police said.


    Springfield’s teen tanning ban begins Tuesday

    SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — A Springfield ordinance that bans people younger than 18 from commercial tanning beds goes into effect Tuesday.

    It took Brian and Kelly Bielski of Roselle much longer than anticipated to adopt their son Mason, now 4, from a Russian orphanage in 2011 because of political and legal entanglements that have only gotten worse in recent days.

    Weekend in Review: Local adoptions, 'fiscal cliff' and pensions

    What you may have missed this weekend: Bears, Lovie run out of luck; no deal on 'fiscal cliff' but at least we won't have to pay more for milk; Hillary Clinton hospitalized for blood clot; Hastert says compromise necessary for all politicans; misconceptions often follow group homes; suburban families react to Russia's adoption ban; and see the best images from the DH photographers from this year.

    A giant portrait of former president Nelson Mandela adorns a cooling tower of a now defunct power station in Soweto, South Africa. Mandela is recovering at his Johannesburg home since being hospitalized for a lung infection and undergoing gallstone surgery.

    South Africa: Mandela convalesces, legacy secure

    South Africa's agonizing past swept over Alex McLaren, who stepped into sunlight with tears in his eyes after a tour of the Apartheid Museum, an unsparing study of white minority rule and the costly fight against it.Yet South Africa-born McLaren, an American citizen, also found inspiration within the bleak brick, concrete and steel of the museum, which includes an exhibition about Nelson Mandela,...

    An Iraqi army soldier on top an armored vehicle stands guard as Shiite pilgrims march to Karbala for Arbaeen in Baghdad, Iraq, on Sunday. The holiday marks the end of the 40-day mourning period after the anniversary of the 7th-century martyrdom of Imam Hussein the Prophet Muhammad’s grandson.

    Blasts aimed at Iraqi Shiites, police kill 23

    Insurgents launched a wave of attacks across Iraq on Monday, primarily targeting Shiite communities and pilgrims and killing at least 23 people, officials said. The attacks appeared aimed at undermining security and confidence in the government by fomenting sectarian conflict.

    U.S. Army 1st Lt. Aaron Dunn kisses his wife, Leanne, holding their baby Emma, age 14 months, as they reunite during an arrival ceremony for soldiers returning from a deployment in Afghanistan at Ft. Carson, in Colorado Springs, Colo.

    Soldier adjusts to life at home after Afghanistan

    First Lt. Aaron Dunn deployed to Afghanistan in early March 2012. His 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, was charged with engaging Taliban fighters in Kunar Province and mentoring Afghan government soldiers. Upon returning, here are some of his views. "War and coming home are going to mean different things to each soldier. For me it was God and family."


    Afghans: Next force transition starts in 2 months

    The next phase of transferring security from NATO to Afghan control will begin in two months and aim to cover nearly 90 percent of the country's population, the Kabul government announced Monday. The transition, which began in early 2011, is slated to give Afghan forces full responsibility for security by the end of 2014, when most NATO troops will have withdrawn.


    AU warns of sanctions if rebels take over CAR

    Rebels advancing to the capital of the Central African Republic of will face sanctions and the country suspended from activities of the African Union if they seize power, an AU official warned Monday.


    Dawn patrol: Driver hits cop car, fire in Naperville

    Driver hits vehicle then Arlington Heights squad car; Fire displaces Naperville family; Lake Zurich approves noise wall; Hoffman Estates crash injures one; Kids ring in new year early in Mt. Prospect; Season ends for Bears despite win

    Larry Lefferts examines odds and ends that belonged to his son, John, on a bookcase in his office. John died suddenly and unexpectedly of an aortic dissection at age 22. More than 37 people have received tissue donations following his death. The Lefferts’ believe that by choosing the path of tissue donation they are keeping their son’s memory alive by helping others live.

    Ill. family volunteers to remember son

    Since John Lefferts died suddenly and unexpectedly of an aortic dissection at age 22, his family has been on a journey. "After my son died, I thought 'How will I tell people about John? How will I keep his memory alive?'"said his mother, Vivian Lefferts of Normal. A path chosen by Vivian and Larry Lefferts was to keep their son's memory alive by helping others to live. They agreed that their son...


    Fire destroys grocery store in rural NW Ind. town

    Fire investigators are trying to determine what caused a blaze that destroyed a grocery store in a rural northwestern Indiana town. Firefighters from Morocco and several other departments spent more than 10 hours at Morocco Finer Foods after the fire was first reported Saturday night.


    Lincoln museum offers special coupon via Facebook

    The New Year is bringing new savings for families visiting the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield. Families who download a special coupon found on Facebook will pay a $10 admission fee for the whole family.


    Chicago hosts Christmas tree recycling effort

    Mayor Rahm Emanuel is urging Chicago residents to participate in the city's annual Christmas tree recycling program. Christmas trees can be recycled at various locations around the city starting Wednesday.


    Ethanol spills from derailed train in S. Ill.

    Authorities in southern Illinois are trying to determine what caused a train derailment that spilled a few thousand gallons of ethanol.

    Korean War veteran James McEachin, 82, shows off the Rose Parade float “Freedom is not Free” by the Korean War Commemoration Committee Saturday in Pasadena, Calif. McEachin is scheduled to ride the float in the Rose Parade on Tuesday.

    Pentagon debuts float in Rose parade to honor vets

    It's been almost 60 years since James McEachin returned home with a bullet still lodged in his chest, finding an America indifferent toward the troops who fought in Korea. Now he will get the homecoming parade he had expected. The Defense Department for the first time will put a float in Pasadena's Tournament of Roses — one the most watched parades — to commemorate the veterans from a...

    The crowd packs New York’s Times Square during the New Year’s Eve celebration as seen from the Marriott Marquis hotel. It’s no small task making sure the annual celebration remains safe, but the New York City police use an array of security measures for the event that turns the “Crossroads of the World” into a massive street party in the heart of Manhattan.

    Hundreds of thousands to ring in 2013 in NYC

    Hundreds of thousands of revelers from around the globe are expected to cram into New York City's Times Square to see the ball drop and ring in 2013. The giant ball is covered with 2,688 Waterford crystal triangles and illuminated by more than 32,000 LEDs in red, blue, green and white. Security will be tight.

    Emergency personnel respond to the scene of a multiple-fatality accident Sunday after a tour bus careened through a guardrail along an icy highway and fell several hundred feet down a steep embankment about 15 miles east of Pendleton, Ore., authorities said.

    9 die as tour bus crashes on icy Oregon highway

    The stretch of rural Oregon interstate where a tour bus crashed through a guardrail and plummeted 100 feet down a steep embankment is so notorious that state transportation officials have published a specific advisory warning of its dangers. Nine people were killed and more than two dozen injured when the charter bus veered out of control around 10:30 a.m. Sunday on snow- and ice-covered lanes of...

    Snow-covered stuffed animals with photos attached sit at a memorial in Newtown, Conn. Police escorted parents and other family members of children and educators killed at Newtown’s Sandy Hook Elementary School on Friday to the massive memorial of candles, handwritten cards, stuffed animals and more before the items were removed.

    Families make final visit to Newtown memorial

    Parents and other family members of children and educators killed at Newtown's Sandy Hook Elementary School have made one last visit to a memorial to the victims. Police escorted the group on Friday to the massive memorial of candles, handwritten cards from around the world, stuffed animals and countless other expressions of grief and condolences.

    Motorola Mobility in Libertyville is expected to move to Chicago in late 2013.

    Some things to watch in Lake County in 2013

    It's time to take a look at some of the major stories to expect in Lake County in 2013. The list includes road construction, high-profile criminal trials, a major business departure and local politics.

    Lake Barrington Village President Kevin Richardson

    Northwest suburban mayors look ahead to coming year

    Northwest suburban mayors and village presidents weigh in on the question: What's your biggest expectation/hope for your town in the coming year?

    In November, ChildServ bought this house from Lisle Township for about $375,000. The township had been leasing the home to the agency, but decided it wanted out of the landlord business after learning of the volume of police complaints there.

    How suburban group homes work to reduce calls to police

    While most group homes operate quietly, others create a surprisingly high volume of calls to emergency services. A single 13-year-old client at an Elgin group home who was a chronic runaway generated 130 police contacts in 2010 and 2011. And a Naperville group home for troubled teen girls operated by ChildServ generated 723 calls to emergency services between January 2010 and May 2012.

    Will 2013 give rise to cheaper gas and increased flights at O'Hare International Airport after years of scaling back?

    Planes, trains and automobiles: A look at 2013

    Today we will journey — to the future! Sort of. Four experts have lent their visionary powers to forecast the major transportation stories of 2013, including the deadline for Chicago to resolve a dispute over expansion at O'Hare, better baggage platforms that would make things easier for Metra riders and the Illinois tollway will spend about $412 million for widening the eastbound Jane...


    Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith was fired Monday after nine seasons with the team. The Bears will hold a news conference on Tuesday with general manager Phil Emery.

    New Bears regime sends Lovie Smith packing

    It took two straight losing seasons and a combined record of 11-21 before the Bears fired Dick Jauron as head coach after the 2003 season. It took three straight losing seasons and back-to-back 4-12 campaigns before Dave Wannstedt got whacked after the 1998 season. Shortly after 11 a.m. Monday, Bears general manager Phil Emery confirmed that Lovie Smith was fired after a 10-6 season and the team narrowly missing the playoffs. In a statement released to the media, Emery said that he met with Smith early Monday and told him he would not return as the team's head coach for the 2013 season. The Bears will hold a news conference at 10 a.m. Tuesday at Halas Hall. It's a new era at Halas Hall.

    Minnesota guard Andre Hollins drives against Michigan State guard Travis Trice in the second half Monday in Minneapolis. The Golden Gophers won 76-63.

    Minnesota makes a statement against Michigan State

    Michigan State coach Tom Izzo knows when a game is there for the taking, and this was one of those games. The Spartans led Minnesota by five points with less than 8:30 to play and were throwing their weight around at Williams Arena once again. Then the Golden Gophers did something they rarely do against Michigan State — they pushed back.

    Indiana guard Victor Oladipo, center, grabs a rebound between Iowa defenders Josh Oglesby, left, and Aaron White during the second half Monday in Iowa City, Iowa.

    Iowa can’t pull off upset of No. 5 Indiana

    Iowa opened the Big Ten with an encouraging effort against fifth-ranked Indiana, which many think might win the league in 2013. But the Hawkeyes didn't finish the job against the Hoosiers, instead letting a huge opportunity at home to slip away.

    Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez, left, gets a high-five from Mickey Mouse as Stanford coach David Shaw, right, watches. Alvarez will coach the Badgers in today’s Rose Bowl against the Cardinal in Pasadenda, Calif.

    Badgers’ Alvarez relishes return to the Rose Bowl

    When the Wisconsin players asked Barry Alvarez to return to the sideline, he couldn't resist. After all, it's the Rose Bowl sideline, and that old stadium has an irresistible lure for lifelong football people. But when Bret Bielema abruptly left the Badgers for Arkansas after they clinched their third straight trip to Pasadena, Alvarez also felt a compulsion to protect the program he built into a power.

    Tulsa’s Alex Singleton runs past Iowa State defender Durrell Givens during the fourth quarter of the Liberty Bowl on Monday in Memphis, Tenn.

    Tulsa gets revenge in Liberty Bowl

    Tulsa capped one of the greatest seasons in school history by relying on the two strengths that carried the Golden Hurricane all season: running the ball and rushing the passer. Trey Watts rushed for 149 yards, Alex Singleton ran for three scores and Tulsa avenged a season-opening loss to Iowa State with a 31-17 victory in the rainy Liberty Bowl on Monday.

    Georgia Tech players celebrate their 21-7 win over Southern California in the Sun Bowl on Monday in El Paso, Texas.

    Georgia Tech beats USC in Sun Bowl

    Southern California was ranked No. 1 at the beginning of the season, and Matt Barkley was a strong contender for the Heisman Trophy. The year ended with Barkley on the sideline as the Trojans lost to Georgia Tech in the Sun Bowl.

    Clemson players hoist kicker Chandler Catanzaro (39) into the air after his game-winning 37-yard field goal in the Chick-fil-A Bowl against LSU on Monda in Atlanta.

    Clemson wins Chick-fil-A Bowl on last-second FG

    Chandler Catanzaro kicked a 37-yard field goal as time expired to give No. 14 Clemson a wild 25-24 win over No. 9 Louisiana State in the Chick-fil-A Bowl on Monday night. Trailing 24-22, Clemson (11-2) took possession on its 20 with 1:39 remaining. Tajh Boyd completed a pass for 26 yards to DeAndre Hopkins on a fourth-and-16 play during the decisive 10-play drive.

    Former Bears head coach Lovie Smith

    Bears need to be shaken from their comfort zone

    Does Bears GM Phil Emery look for another players' coach like Smith who treats his charges like men or another Ditka who will clean out a player's locker at the drop of a pass? Maybe there's somebody out there who has Smith's demeanor but with the ability to get plays in on time, assemble a quality coaching staff and identify quality players.

    Two Chicago Bulls fans hold up a sign and watch themselves on the big screen before an NBA basketball between the Bulls and the Charlotte Bobcats on Monday, Dec. 31, 2012, in Chicago. The Bobcats won 91-81.

    Gordon finally beats his former team

    Two long streaks came to an end Monday at the u Cener. Charlotte snapped an 18-game losing streak, obviously, but former Bulls guard Ben Gordon also beat hisformer team for the first time in 12 tries.

    Marco Belinelli, left, and Joakim Noah sit on the bench during the closing seconds of the Bulls’ 91-81 loss to Charlotte on Monday at the United Center.

    Bulls stink up the joint against the Bobcats
    Instead of a New Year's resolution, the Bulls made an admission Monday the bump in the road they hit after beating New York on Dec. 21 has become a full-fledged slump. The Bulls horrified most in attendance at the United Center by losing 91-81 to the Charlotte Bobcats, who hit town on an 18-game losing skid.


    Orange Bowl matchup
    Orange Bowl at a glance


    Gator Bowl at a glance
    Gator Bowl at a glance


    Gator Bowl winners
    List of Gator Bowl winners

    Northern Illinois play-by-play commentator Bill Baker, right, has been calling Huskies football and basketball for 33 years, and Tuesday he’ll call his first Orange Bowl game when the Huskies play Florida State.

    NIU’s Baker ready for team’s biggest stage

    While Northern Illinois' trip to the Orange Bowl is the feel-good story of the college football bowl season, it's also quite a thrill for the man who will be calling the action, the longtime voice of the Huskies, Bill Baker.

    With his mother battling breast cancer, Florida State quarterback EJ Manuel has endured a difficult year. He’ll lead the Seminoles against Northern Illinois in Tuesday’s Orange Bowl clash.

    Challenging year for FSU’s quarterback

    When quarterback EJ Manuel takes the Orange Bowl field Tuesday for his final game at Florida State, his mother will be home in Virginia, recovering from her final round of chemotherapy to treat breast cancer. The turn of the calendar marks the end of an emotional year for the family. Jackie Manuel was diagnosed shortly before the season, and for EJ, trying to win games became a welcome diversion rather than his primary concern. Many of EJ's relatives — his mom included — will gather at his grandmother's house in Virginia Beach to whoop it up as they watch the No. 13-ranked Seminoles play No. 15 Northern Illinois.

    Former all-American quarterback George Bork, who led an unbeaten 1963 NIU football team to the small college national title, believes the Huskies can compete with Florida State in their Orange Bowl matchup. Bork, who played at Arlington High School, was the first major college quarterback to pass for more than 3,000 yards.

    NIU legend Bork likes Huskies’ chances

    Before there was Jordan Lynch and Chandler Harnish at Northern Illinois, there was George Bork. The most prolific throwing quarterback of his time and a member of the college football Hall of Fame, Bork will be watching Tuesday night along with thousands of other NIU alums as the Huskies take on Florida State in the Orange Bowl. The former Arlington High School star agrees that it's going to be the biggest football game in NIU history.

    Northern Illinois defensive end Alan Baxter of Buffalo Grove has been able to get past bigger and heavier linemen all season, and collected 9.5 sacks to lead NIU.

    Undersized Baxter a big key for NIU defense

    When sports pundits ripped the BCS bowl bid going to MAC champion Northern Illinois, senior defensive end Alan Baxter of Buffalo GRove chose not to tune it out. "It was kind of expected," Baxter said as the Huskies put the final touches on preparations for Tuesday night's Discover Orange Bowl date with Florida State. "We just kind of used it as fuel for the team, the players." Like NIU, Baxter has proven his critics wrong before. Despite his size (6-foot, 245) he garnered first-team all-Mid-American Conference honors after leading the Huskies in sacks (9.5) in the regular season, a total that is second in the league and 31st nationally.And he's ready to prove them wrong again.

    Northern Illinois coach Rod Carey poses for photos after the coaches’ news conference for the Orange Bowl NCAA college football game in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Monday, Dec. 31, 2012. Northern Illinois is scheduled to play Florida State in the New Year’s Day game.

    Orange Bowl win would put NIU on the map

    Florida State's biggest weakness heading into their Orange Bowl game against Northern Illinois might be Midwestern geography. The Seminoles concede they'd be hard-pressed to locate their opponent in an atlas. "I could probably find Illinois," receiver Rashad Greene said. "I don't really know where the town is. Actually I don't even know the town." It's DeKalb, and while some may believe the No. 16-ranked Huskies are unworthy of a BCS bowl berth, No. 13 Florida State isn't one of them. "We're playing a team that is going to be willing to bloody their noses and get after you," Seminoles offensive coordinator James Coley warned.

    Charlotte Bobcats guard Kemba Walker (15) splits the defense of Chicago Bulls’Taj Gibson (22) and Marquis Teague during the first half of an NBA basketball game Monday, Dec. 31, 2012, in Chicago.

    Bulls drop afternoon game to lowly Bobcats

    Kemba Walker had 18 points and eight rebounds, and the Charlotte Bobcats ended an 18-game losing streak with a 91-81 win over the Bulls on Tuesday at United Center.Gerald Henderson added 16 points and reserve Ben Gordon had 15 to help Charlotte snap the second-longest skid in team history. It was the Bobcats' first win in their last 10 road games.\Luol Deng scored 20 points and grabbed 12 rebounds for the Bulls. Carlos Boozer also had a double-double with 19 points and 14 boards. Charlotte fended off several rallies by the Bulls, who never held a lead, to win for the first time since Nov. 24.Tied at 65 heading into the fourth quarter, Charlotte went on a 10-0 run to pad its lead as boos began raining down from the irritated Bulls faithful, who have endured inconsistency as they await the return of former MVP Derrick Rose, who is recovering from knee surgery.The Bulls chipped away at a 12-point deficit in the third quarter, eventually tying the game at 65 on Richard Hamilton's second-chance jumper with 39 seconds left, but Chicago went ice-cold from the field in the fourth.Squandering an ample lead is nothing new to the Bobcats hanging onto one is.Charlotte led by as many as 21 in the first half Saturday against New Orleans, eventually losing 98-95.It looked to be the same old story for the Bobcats heading into the fourth, but a 10-0 run to start the quarter gave the Bobcats enough momentum to stop a seemingly never-ending losing streak.The new year couldn't come quick enough for Charlotte (8-23), which narrowly avoided posting a 0-16 calendar month for the second time in 2012. The Bobcats went 0-16 in April to end last season on a franchise-worst 23-game losing streak.Ramon Sessions scored 11 first-half points to give Charlotte a five-point advantage at the break. He finished with 15.The Bobcats shot over 50 percent from the field in the first half, but struggled from the free throw line, hitting just six of 15 attempts to keep Chicago in the game.Chicago (16-13) shot 35.1 percent from the floor and hit just four of 16 3-point attempts.

    Retired neurosurgeon Dr. Tom Brown shows his purple pride as he unfurls his Northwestern flag at his Elmhurst home. He’ll be in Florida to watch his team take on Mississippi State Jan. 1 in the Gator Bowl.

    Suburban Wildcats, Huskies fans all over Florida

    It'll be difficult to not bump into suburban college football fans in Flordia because they have invaded the state to watch two local teams play in separate major bowl games. Up first Tuesday at 11 a.m. will be Northwestern University against Mississippi State. Then Northern Illinois University will face Florida State University at 7:30 p.m. in the Orange Bowl.

    After nine seasons in Chicago, Bears coach Lovie Smith has been fired with one year left on his contract.

    Fired Smith too arrogant for own good

    Lovie Smith's response to a free fall was generally to tell everyone that all was well, and to stick with the program. Smith always knew best, and as he famously said when he dumped Ron Rivera, Bears fans should trust him to get it right. He did not, and now he has paid the price.

    Chicago Bears head coach Lovie Smith watches from the sidelines during the second quarter of an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field in Detroit, Sunday, Dec. 30, 2012.

    Images: Lovie Smith Through The Years
    Images of Lovie Smith through the years. Smith, the team's sixteenth head coach, led the team to a Super Bowl, losing to the Colts in 2007. Smith was dismissed by the Bears on Monday following a 10-6 season where the team failed to reach the playoffs.


    Huskies happy but hardly satisfied with bowl trip

    While many of us alums are simply thrilled with the opportunity, don't mistake anyone close to the NIU football program for feeling the same way. The Huskies are in Miami to win a football game.


    The draft bill would extend current law, along with disaster aid for producers affected by this year’s U.S. drought and changes to current milk policy, through Sept. 30.

    Foot-dragging USDA may be milk drinkers’ friend

    The specter of milk jumping to $7 a gallon as U.S. farm programs expire probably will be held off because regulators will need time to write new pricing rules, even if Congress fails to avert a so-called dairy cliff.

    Tribune Co. announced it is emerging after more four years of bankruptcy.

    Tribune leaves bankruptcy after 4 years

    Tribune Co. emerged from a Chapter 11 restructuring Monday, more than four years after the media company sought bankruptcy protection. The reorganized company is starting with a new board of directors and new ownership that includes senior creditors Oaktree Capital Management, Angelo, Gordon and Co., and JPMorgan Chase and Co.

    A trader wearing “2013” glasses works on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange in New York on Monday. U.S. stocks surged on the last day of the year by the most since 1974 as Congress neared a deal to avert more than $600 billion in tax increases and spending cuts.

    Stocks shoot up as investors bet on ‘cliff’ deal

    The stock market shot higher on Monday even as the "fiscal cliff" neared. By the time trading ended, Republicans and Democrats still hadn't reached a budget compromise — but investors were betting that they would.


    Amazon apologizes for Christmas Eve disruption affecting Netflix

    Amazon.com Inc. apologized for a disruption that affected customers of its cloud-computing services starting on Dec. 24, saying that it's taking steps to prevent a recurrence. Netflix Inc. said last week that many customers in the Americas were unable to access online content on Christmas Eve because of a disruption caused by Amazon's Web storage and computing system.


    Arlington Heights home to first Max Muscle Sports Nutrition

    A father and his three sons open Max Muscle Sports Nutrition in Arlington Heights. The store, the first in the Midwest, offers an array of nutrition supplements for weight loss, muscle gain and healthy lifestyle.


    Small business borrowing outlook brightens for 2013

    If you've been hoping banks will loosen their loan purse strings Small Business Columnist Jim Kendall says 2013 may be your year. But he finds bankers will make up for continuing low loan rates with higher fees and compensating balances, and risk will be a big part of the loan equation.


    Qihoo soars as Google pact to fuel sales growth

    Qihoo 360 Technology Co. surged in New York, driving the benchmark index of Chinese U.S.-listed stocks to seven-month high, on prospects a partnership with Google Inc. will bolster revenue this year.


    U.S. gasoline at pump averaged record high in 2012, AAA says

    Motorists in the U.S. paid record high prices for gasoline in 2012, as severe weather and political tensions drove up the cost of fuel. The national average price of gasoline in 2012 was $3.60 a gallon, nine cents more than the previous annual record set last year, said Heathrow, Florida-based AAA, the nation's largest motoring group.


    Billionaire Bbulgheronis agree to $1.5 billion in YPF shale deal

    Bridas International SA, an oil holding controlled by Argentina's billionaire Bulgheroni brothers, agreed to invest $1.5 billion with YPF SA to develop shale oil reserves in Patagonia.Bridas and state-controlled YPF will have 60 days to negotiate terms of the accord, which will give Bridas 50 percent stakes in the Bajada Anelo and Bandurria areas in southwestern Argentina, the Buenos Aires-based company said late Dec. 28 in a regulatory filing. The partnership plans to drill 130 wells, YPF said in a separate statement.


    U.S. on pace for slowest decade of population growth since 1930s

    The U.S. population is on track for its slowest decade of growth since the Great Depression.The Census Bureau estimates there will be 315.1 million people living in the country on New Year's Day, a 0.73 percent rise from last year's estimate and 2.05 percent more than the most recent census count in April 2010. At the current pace, the nation's population will grow by 7.3 percent during the decade, the lowest level since the 7.25 percent increase recorded between 1930 and 1940, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

    Terry Howerton

    A look back at inspiring people in the suburbs

    Kukec's People features a look back at the people who inspired us in some way, including local and national heroes.

    The Rock Bottom Brewery in Lombard is the only one of 37 locations across the country unable to sell kegs of its house-brewed beer, but the Lombard village board may loosen regulations during a meeting at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 3.

    Keg sales discussion on tap in Lombard

    The Rock Bottom Brewery in Lombard is the only one of 37 locations across the nation not allowed to sell kegs of its house-brewed beer, but that could change as soon as this week. The village board plans to consider at its meeting Thursday night loosening regulations to allow the restaurant to sell kegs of beers brewed on premise. "This is definitely something we've wanted since we opened," said Jennifer Verde, general manager of Rock Bottom's Lombard location.


    NW Ind. factory delays some of planned 100 layoffs

    A northwestern Indiana factory that makes springs for rail cars is delaying some of the planned layoffs of nearly 100 workers. Amsted Rail had announced layoffs starting in mid-December for its Hammond factory but has told state officials it's holding off on the layoffs of about 40 workers until February. At least a dozen workers are being recalled in January for training.


    Markets calm despite looming fiscal cliff

    Markets appeared Monday to be taking in stride the prospect that U.S. politicians will fail to agree a budget deal in time to avoid automatic tax increases and spending cuts that many economists think could tilt the world's largest economy back into recession.

    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.

    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.Obama voiced skepticism about the National Rifle Association's proposal to put armed guards in schools following the Dec. 14 tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. The president made his comments Saturday in an interview that aired Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press."


    Oil steady as ‘fiscal cliff’ deadline approaches

    Oil prices were little changed Monday as a U.S. budget deadline neared with rival politicians still at odd over key issues. Benchmark oil for February delivery was down 8 cents late morning London at $90.72 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 7 cents to finish at $90.80 per barrel in New York on Friday.

    An Egyptian flowers vendor reads a newspaper in Cairo, Egypt The official approval of Egypt’s disputed, Islamist-backed constitution held out little hope of stabilizing the country after two years of turmoil and Islamist President Mohammed Morsi may now face a more immediate crisis with the economy falling deeper into distress.

    Egypt pound weakens to record as central bank sells dollars

    The Egyptian pound extended its decline to a record after the central bank sold $74.8 million to banks in the second of daily dollar sales even as President Mohamed Mursi said the currency was bound to stabilize.The pound weakened almost 1 percent to 6.3637 a dollar at 12:18 p.m. in Cairo after the central bank sold $74.8 million at a cut-off price of 6.3050 a dollar, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The auctions, which followed the government's delay in securing a $4.8 billion International Monetary Fund loan,

Life & Entertainment

    Rapper Kanye West announced at a concert Sunday night that his girlfriend, Kim Kardashian, is pregnant. He told the crowd of more than 5,000 at the Ovation Hall at the Revel Resort in song form: “Now you having my baby.”

    Kardashian, West feel ‘blessed’ over baby news

    Kim Kardashian and Kanye West are feeling lucky about their first child together. "It's true," the 32-year-old reality TV star said in a statement on her site Monday. "Kanye and I are expecting a baby. We feel so blessed and lucky and wish that in addition to both of our families, his mom and my dad could be here to celebrate this special time with us."


    Armstrong better, Green Day's first tour stop is Allstate

    Green Day is going back out on the road. The tour is scheduled to begin March 28 at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont.

    ESPN anchor Hannah Storm will return to the air on New Year’s Day, exactly three weeks after she was seriously burned in a propane gas grill accident at her home.

    ESPN’s Hannah Storm returns 3 weeks after accident

    ESPN anchor Hannah Storm will return to the air on New Year's Day, exactly three weeks after she was seriously burned in a propane gas grill accident at her home.Storm suffered second-degree burns on her chest and hands, and first-degree burns to her face and neck. She lost her eyebrows and eyelashes, and roughly half her hair. Storm will host ABC's telecast of the 2013 Rose Parade on Tuesday.

    1955 Ford F100

    '55 Ford pickup sets a leisurely pace

    Often life, and the open road, are best absorbed rolling down the slow lane. That's why Jeff Grubba bypassed the traditional Detroit muscle car when it came time to add this 1955 Ford F100 to his personal collection. “Ever since I was a little kid, I've liked trucks," he said. “I settled on this particular one because of the factory Mountain Green paint. It's just a fantastic, eye-catching color that really stands out.”

    Start 2013 with boldly flavored beefy wraps that help counteract December’s indulgent eating.

    Fight post-holiday hunger with Asian wraps

    New Year's resolutions aside, after six weeks of mostly eating outside our normal guidelines, January needs to be a "slimmer" month. Kitchen Scoop's Alicia Ross turns to Asian-inspired flavors that are bold and mouth-popping and that don't have high levels of fat and calories of cream, butter and sugar.

    Start 2013 with boldly flavored beefy wraps that also happen to be low in fat.

    Beefy Asian-style Lettuce Wraps
    Asian Beef Lettuce Wraps: Kitchen Scoop


    Readers offer advice on privacy and having kids

    While Carolyn Hax takes some time off, her readers offer advice.


    ‘Fiscal cliff,’ ‘spoiler alert’ make list of overused words

    Spoiler alert: This story contains words and phrases that some people want to ban from the English language. "Spoiler alert" is among them. So are "kick the can down the road," "trending" and "bucket list." A dirty dozen have landed on the 38th annual List of Words to be Banished from the Queen's English for Misuse, Overuse and General Uselessness. The nonbinding, tongue-in-cheek decree released Monday by northern Michigan's Lake Superior State University is based on nominations submitted from the United States, Canada and beyond.


    Glasses can correct blurred vision caused by astigmatism

    Astigmatism means that the cornea of the eye has an irregular shape. The cornea is the clear covering over the lens and the iris. The cornea is normally round, but in people with astigmatism, it may be an oval. As a result, light scatters as it passes through the cornea; the light rays do not focus on a single point on the retina. The result of uncorrected astigmatism is blurred vision.

    Longer waits to see a doctor is becoming more common in many parts of the country.

    Even larger cities begin to see shortage in doctors

    In the Las Vegas area, patients and doctors said it can take six months to see a primary-care doctor for a simple checkup. For more serious matters, the waits are longer than a year, for example, to get an appointment with a neurologist who specializes in autism. Once a problem limited to rural areas, the doctor shortage is now hitting large population centers where people are forced to wait weeks or months or travel hundreds of miles for care.

    Captain Erik S. Johnson, left, an Army occupational therapist, works with wounded warriors like Army Sargeant Monte Bernardo, helping them achieve some of the things they used to do before receiving their severe injuries.

    Triple amputee veteran forms a healing bond with therapist

    Army Sgt. Monte Bernardo and Capt. Erik Johnson are very different men. Amid thousands of encounters between soldier and caregiver in recent years, these two men, marked by war and service, have formed a unique friendship and bonded as Bernardo struggles to heal and make a new life following devasting injuries suffered in Afghanistan.


    Obesity decreases among preschoolers

    Obesity rates fell among U.S. preschool-age children in 2010, reversing a trend of the past decade, according to the first national study to spot a decline in the condition among young kids.The rate of obese 2- to 4-year-olds from low-income families dropped 1.8 percent in 2010 from 2003, while it fell 6.8 percent for those who were extremely obese, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported in a research letter.


    Sudden cardiac death less likely following exercise, study finds

    People who have heart attacks during or shortly after exercising are three times more likely to survive than those who have cardiac arrest unrelated to working out, researchers said. The Amsterdam Resuscitation Study looked at 2,517 cardiac arrest cases in the Dutch capital's greater metropolitan area over a three-year period, according to the research.


    Vision loss increases among Americans as diabetes rates rise

    The number of Americans with vision loss not correctable by glasses is rising, caused in part by increasing diabetes rates, a study found. The rate of non-refractive visual impairment jumped 21 percent in 2005-2008 from 1999-2002, according to research in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

    Scientists say the number of medications that react adversely with grapefruit has increased.

    More drugs adversely affected by grapefruit

    Twenty years ago, Canadian researchers discovered that grapefruit interferes with the body's metabolism of certain drugs, including the immunosuppressant cyclosporine and at least one drug used to treat high blood pressure. The same group of scientists has reported that the number of drugs on the market that react adversely with grapefruit has increased substantially in recent years — from 17 to 43.

    Olivia Cox, a registered nurse at Mercy St. Vincent hospital, returns to her job following a procedure for a cerebral aneurysm. She recently had aneurysm coiling, a minimally invasive endovascular procedure performed to treat the aneurysm.

    Casual talk with colleague may have saved nurse’s life

    It started with a headache and pain in Olivia Cox's shoulder, arm and back. Cox, a longtime surgical nurse at Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center here, continued to work despite a painful case of shingles, and she mentioned her symptoms in a casual operating-room conversation with Dr. Paul Clark, a vascular surgeon.The discussion took place in late September, and it sparked the discovery of a large cerebral aneurysm behind Cox's left eye. A Nov. 27 procedure took place at St. Vincent, where the minimally invasive technique used is so new to the hospital that Cox didn't know about it until she needed it.

    Oats in a variety of different foods can help you maintain good cholesterol levels.

    Your health: Fight that cholesterol
    Fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and "good fats" are all part of a heart-healthy diet. But some foods, like oats and beans, are particularly good at helping bring down cholesterol.


    Binge-eating teenagers more likely to use drugs, study finds

    Binge-eating adolescents are more likely to use marijuana and other drugs and become depressed, according to a study that suggests doctors be aware of their teen patients eating habits to help avert these issues. Teens and young adults who reported being binge-eaters or overeaters were almost twice as likely to start using marijuana than those without the eating disorder, research published in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine found.


    Traffic pollution in baby’s first year may be linked to autism

    Exposure to air pollution from cars and trucks during pregnancy and a baby's first year may be associated with an increased risk of autism, a study found. The study, published in the Archives of General Psychiatry, compared 279 autistic children with 245 children who didn't have the social and communications disorder. Researchers said the children who lived in homes with the highest estimated levels of air pollution from traffic were three times more likely to be autistic than those with the lowest predicted exposure.

    Studies have found that religious beliefs can impact a person’s psychological health.

    Can religion affect your health?

    Religious belief impacts human health in a variety of ways, from blood pressure to psychological well-being. Surveys regularly show that roughly 90 percent of Americans say they believe in God or some higher power and 50 percent say religion is very important to them. Scientists have found a variety of possible ways in which faith affects our bodies and minds, from music and ritual to greater social connection, even the ability to forgive.

    It’s about to get faster and easier to diagnose food poisoning from such sources as this salmonella bacteria in a petri dish. But that progress for individual patients will come with a downside.

    New tests could hamper food outbreak detection

    It's about to get faster and easier to diagnose food poisoning, but that progress for individual patients comes with a downside: It could hurt the nation's ability to spot and solve dangerous utbreaks. Next-generation tests that promise to shave a few days off the time needed to tell whether E. coli, salmonella or other foodborne bacteria caused a patient's illness could reach medical laboratories as early as next year. The problem: These new tests can't detect crucial differences between different subtypes of bacteria, as current tests can.



    Editorial: Framework exists for pension reform solution; seize it

    A Daily Herald editorial says lawmakers have before them the framework of workable, fair pension reform and they should seize the opportunity to put it in place.


    Democrats’ hypocrisy toward blacks

    African-American Republicans catch a lot of flak, but they can also be an illuminating force in the American political system. The reaction they often generate shows that liberals aren’t as progressive as they pretend to be. The left will not hesitate to come after anyone who threatens to weaken its hold on black voters. The reaction also shows that many African-American activists aren’t completely sincere about wanting the community to achieve political power and break barriers. In the end, the only people they want to see arrive at positions of influence are those beholden to the Democratic Party. The same is true with Hispanics, where most of the activists on the left are Democrats first and Hispanics second. They tend to put their party before their community, often with disastrous results. In the African-American community, black Republicans are regarded with suspicion. The few African-Americans who aren’t Democrats are considered unrepresentative and out of step. In this year’s presidential election, President Obama got 93 percent of the African-American vote. It’s tempting to treat the 6 percent of black voters who supported Romney as an anomaly. As evidence, consider the nasty treatment that Rep. Tim Scott, R-S.C., is receiving after South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley announced recently that she would name him to replace retiring Sen. Jim DeMint, who is leaving to run the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank. The appointment is a big deal. Scott will become the first black senator from the South since Reconstruction and, at present, the only African-American in the Senate from either party. Not bad for someone raised in poverty by a single mother. This is an American success story. It’s what progress looks like. So are those on the left celebrating? Of course not. If Scott were a Democrat, they would be raising champagne glasses. The activists would label his arrival in the Senate a historic event, and the media would run stories about how African-Americans in the South are gaining political prominence. But since Scott is a Republican, the left sees nothing positive in this appointment. In fact, Scott becomes a target — just like Hispanic Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and GOP Sen.-elect Ted Cruz of Texas. The goal will be to discredit Scott as an intellectual lightweight, a religious zealot, a right-wing extremist or all of the above. The offensive — and that is the right word for it — has already started. In a snarky op-ed in The New York Times, Adolph L. Reed Jr., a political science professor at the University of Pennsylvania, dismissed Scott as a “token” put up by the Republican Party to camouflage its hostility to African-Americans and other minorities. “I suspect that appointments like Mr. Scott’s are directed less at blacks — whom they know they aren’t going to win in any significant numbers — than at whites who are inclined to vote Republican but don’t want to have to think of themselves, or be thought of by others, as racist,” Reed wrote. “Just as white Southern Democrats once used cynical manipulations — poll taxes, grandfather clauses, literacy tests — to get around the 15th Amendment, so modern-day Republicans have deployed blacks to undermine black interests.” Really? Isn’t it clear to just about everyone by now that what undermines “black interests” -- in the realm of politics — is the fact that African-Americans are taken for granted by Democrats and written off by Republicans? It’s undeniable that Obama inspires pride within that community. But even he has come under fire from some on the left, who are upset over his lack of attention to issues such as urban violence, neglected neighborhoods, and an unemployment rate among African-American youth that hovers around 30 percent.


    Scholarships for illegal immigrants

    Columnist Ruben Navarrette Jr.: When it comes to how California handles illegal immigrants, the state is all over the map. Not unlike the rest of the country, the Golden State can't decide whether it wants to make life comfortable for the undocumented or make them so unhappy that it runs them off.


    The perfect and the good and the shame in between

    Columnist Susan Estrich: What happened to that millisecond after the election when both the president and the speaker said they'd heard the message that Americans wanted the two parties to work together, wanted to make divided government work, and that they would do everything they could to make that happen?Gone?


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