Daily Archive : Wednesday January 2, 2013


    U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk says relearning to walk was a frustrating, exhausting process that came with a breakthrough moment.

    Senator Kirk speaks for the first time about his stroke

    For Mark Kirk, there was no white light, no tunnel. What Illinois' junior U.S. senator experienced was three angels standing at the foot of his bed. "You want to come with us?" Kirk was asked. "No," he told them. "I'll hold off." Kirk plans to return to the Senate Thursday.


    Blackberry Twp. supervisor not running again

    There will be a new supervisor in Blackberry Township come May, as Dave Richmond decided not to run again. Richmond said he is stepping away to concentrate more on his business and to spend more time with his children.


    N. Aurora couple sues neighbors after hidden camera found in bedroom

    A North Aurora couple has sued their neighbors, alleging the family's 16-year-old son placed a hidden camera in the couple's bedroom. David and Katerina Speers also have obtained an order of protection against the teen, who used to baby-sit for the Speers family. Police searched the other family's house in November and seized computers, cables, memory sticks and an empty camera box, records show.


    Retired teachers balk at proposal to shift pension costs

    Retired teachers revived their detention slips for two suburban lawmakers Wednesday night in Aurora as the former instructors rebuffed a plan to shift the cost of Illinois' underfunded teacher pensions to local school districts. State Rep. Elaine Nekritz, a Northbrook Democrat, joined state Rep. Linda Chapa LaVia, an Aurora Democrat, at East Aurora High School to brainstorm solutions to the...

    Jennifer Maltas

    Buffalo Grove hires deputy village manager

    Buffalo Grove has hired a new deputy village manager following the departure of Ghida Neukirch, who resigned this summer to take a similar position in Highland Park. Jennifer Maltas, currently assistant to the village manager in Deerfield, will take over the post as of Jan. 21.

    Aurora made it through an entire calendar year in 2012 without a murder for the first time since 1946

    Aurora murder-free for first time since 1946

    A year without a murder. That's what Aurora experienced in 2012. Illinois' second-largest city did not see a murder during an entire calendar year for the first time since 1946, and police Chief Greg Thomas says the lack of a homicide shows Aurora has moved away from its dangerous reputation. "I think the safety of Aurora has definitely improved," Thomas said.

    Jesse Tyler Ferguson, a star on ABC's “Modern Family,” and his fiancee Justin Mikita, left, speak Wednesday at The Tie Bar office in Naperville to launch “Bow Tie Lobby Day” to support marriage equality.

    'Modern Family' star in suburbs to support gay marriage

    An Emmy-nominated actor and Illinois politicians are using a fashion statement to make a political statement. Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon and Jesse Tyler Ferguson, a star of ABC's comedy "Modern Family," traveled to Naperville and Chicago Wednesday to launch Bow Tie Lobby Day. The idea was to encourage marriage equality advocates to contact their state legislators on Wednesday and then don their bow...

    President Barack Obama walks down the stairs from Air Force One upon his arrival in Honolulu on Wednesday. The president is back in Hawaii for vacation after a tense, end-of-the-new-year standoff with Congress over the fiscal cliff.

    Obama signs cliff deal to boost taxes on wealthy

    HONOLULU — President Barack Obama has signed a bill that boosts taxes on the wealthiest Americans, while preserving tax cuts for most American households.


    Obama signs $633 billion defense bill

    President Barack Obama has signed a $633 billion defense bill for next year that tightens penalties on Iran and bolsters security at diplomatic missions worldwide after the deadly attack in Benghazi, Libya.


    State senate starts moving on gun control plans

    The Illinois Senate Wednesday began moving a gun control plan that would ban a wide scope of firearms including "military-style" semiautomatic rifles and hand guns, as well as a proposal from including state Sen. Dan Kotowski of Park Ridge that would bar sales of ammunition clips that can carry more than 10 bullets.

    Kory Atkinson

    Roselle candidates face removal from April ballot

    Hotly contested races for Roselle village president and trustee could become less crowded if two candidates succeed in getting some of their opponents knocked off the April ballot. Trustee Kory Atkinson on Wednesday filed objections to the nominating paperwork of four candidates seeking election, including two village president hopefuls. Atkinson filed the objections on behalf of himself, fellow...

    Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, right rear, leaves New York-Presbyterian Hospital after being discharged Wednesday. Clinton is expected to make a complete recovery after being treated for a blood clot in a vein behind one of her ears.

    Clinton leaves hospital after treatment for clot

    Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton was released from a New York hospital on Wednesday, three days after doctors discovered a blood clot in her head. Clinton's medical team advised her Wednesday evening that she was making good progress on all fronts and said they are confident she will fully recover.


    Barrington makes precautionary move on medical pot

    Barrington officials made it clear Wednesday that they want the local economic recovery to have as little help as possible from a potential legalization of medical marijuana in Illinois. As a precautionary measure, trustees passed a resolution that would get the ball rolling on zoning restrictions on "cannabis dispensaries or related facilities."

    Rep. Peter King, a New York Republican, whose district includes Long Island, expresses his anger and disappointment Wednesday during a cable TV interview on Capitol Hill, after the House GOP leadership decided late New Year’s Day to allow the current term of Congress to end without holding a vote on aid for victims of Superstorm Sandy.

    Boehner agrees to Sandy aid vote on Friday

    Under intense pressure from angry Republicans, House Speaker John Boehner agreed Wednesday to a vote this week on aid for Superstorm Sandy recovery. The speaker will schedule a vote Friday for $9 billion for the national flood insurance program and another on Jan. 15 for a remaining $51 billion in the package, a lawmaker said.

    Pat Brady

    GOP chair urges support for same-sex marriage

    Illinois Republican Party Chairman Pat Brady of St. Charles is calling GOP lawmakers asking them to support a proposal to legalize same-sex marriage, he said Wednesday. Brady said he was making the calls as a citizen, outside of his official role with the Illinois Republican Party. "I think it's time for people to support this," Brady said. On the other side of an issue that could be debated by...

    Gov. Pat Quinn wants lawmakers to send him a pension reform bill by Jan. 9.

    Quinn: Pension crisis is Illinois’ ‘fiscal cliff’

    Gov. Pat Quinn is calling on lawmakers to resolve Illinois' pension crisis in the next week, calling it "our state's own fiscal cliff." In a news release Wednesday, Quinn says he salutes President Barack Obama and Congress for coming up with a bipartisan solution to avert the so-called fiscal cliff and prevent "devastating fiscal disaster." He says Illinois legislators now must do the same in...


    Challenges filed against two candidates in Wheeling

    Challenges have been filed against two men running for office in Wheeling, by another candidate, and sorting out the complaints may get complicated, officials said. Patrick Horcher, who is running for village president, on Monday filed challenges against the petitions of Trustees Ken Brady and Dean Argiris on the grounds that they had too many signatures on their petitions.

    Grayslake Elementary District 46 teachers seeking a new contract rallied outside Park School Campus in Round Lake in October. District 46 plans to host another town-hall meeting at Grayslake Middle School at 6 p.m. Jan. 9 that would focus on a possible walkout. Teachers intend to strike Jan. 16 if they don’t have a new contract by then.

    Dist. 46 sets town hall as teacher strike looms

    Grayslake Elementary District 46 school board members plan to host another town hall meeting to discuss with the public the potential impact of a looming teacher strike later this month. The town hall session will take place at 6 p.m. Jan. 9 at Grayslake Middle School, Route 83 and Library Lane, before a regular board meeting that night. Teachers plan to strike Jan. 16 if a new agreement isn't...


    Civil-rights pioneer’s descendant to speak in Elgin

    Dan Duster of Chicago, a great-grandson of civil rights pioneer Ida B. Wells, will kick off the three-day Martin Luther King, Jr. Day celebration in Elgin, which will also feature — for the second year in a row — a community food drive and youth leadership conference.

    Gregory D. Rich

    S. Elgin man arrested for 5th DUI after chase, crash

    A 55-year-old South Elgin man was arrested last week and charged with what authorities said was his fifth DUI. Gregory D. Rich crashed his SUV in a ditch trying to escape Hampshire police, who also ticketed him for going more than 40 mph over the limit, according to a police report and court records. Officers found a open bottle of brandy in Rich's SUV after the arrest at 10:30 a.m. Friday.

    Green space will replace the old Sherman Hospital location on Center Street in Elgin, which was torn down in mid-December.

    Old Sherman Hospital to become green space

    The old Sherman Hospital off Center Street in Elgin has been demolished and will be turned into green space — at least for now.The building had been empty since the hospital moved to its current location across town on Randall Road in December 2009.

    You may be surprised to know that the ‘fiscal cliff’ legislation passed by Congress on New Year’s Day encourages NASCAR race track construction by offering millions of dollars in tax breaks.

    10 weird parts of the ‘fiscal cliff’ deal

    In addition to avoiding the "fiscal cliff," Congress also managed to stuff all sorts of corporate tax breaks and other arcane provisions into the bill, covering everything from electric scooters to NASCAR racetracks to taking the subway to work.


    How suburban lawmakers split on fiscal cliff vote

    U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam, part of the GOP leadership of the U.S. House, said insufficient federal spending cuts led him to split with Speaker John Boehner and vote against the fiscal cliff deal. "It's clear that President Obama wants to govern the United States how Pat Quinn is governing Illinois," Roskam, the GOP's chief deputy whip, said. However, a few Republicans from the suburbs voted for the...


    Fox Valley police reports
    Asia J. Payton, 18, of the 1100 block of Fleetwood Drive, was recently arrested and charged with retail theft under $300 and obstructing identification, court records show. Payton gave a false name and date of birth to police after having been arrested.


    Waukegan library workshop for e-readers

    The Waukegan Public Library, 128 N. County St., Waukegan will host a hands-on workshop to learn how to use the most popular e-readers and how to connect with Overdrive, the library's eBook download service. The workshop is scheduled for 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 6.

    Naperville police are searching for a man they believe robbed the same gasoline station twice in less than two weeks.

    Naperville cops seek gas station robber

    Police are searching for a man who robbed a Naperville gasoline station for the second time in less than two weeks. Police said the man entered the Mobil station at 1304 Naperville/Plainfield Road shortly before 5 a.m. Wednesday and demanded money from the cash register. After the clerk complied, the man fled.

    Police officers Jack Azar, left to right, William Cozzens, Jimmy Armstrong, Carl Faust, Curtis Miller and Thomas Doig were sworn in Wednesday by Des Plaines City Clerk Gloria Ludwig in the city council chambers at Des Plaines City Hall.

    Des Plaines hires new police, fire personnel

    The Des Plaines police department added six officers to its ranks Wednesday, while the fire department swore in three new firefighter recruits, all of whom will be starting their respective academy training this month.It's the largest group of new hires in the city since budget cuts began and citywide staffing reductions were implemented a few years ago.

    Martin Favela

    West Chicago stabbing victim recovering, family says

    A 20-year-old West Chicago man is recovering after he was repeatedly stabbed during a dispute over $40, according to a family member. The victim suffered injuries to his face and chest in the Saturday knife attack on Allen Avenue in West Chicago, prosecutors said Wednesday.


    District 33 resuming contract talks

    The West Chicago Elementary District 33 school board and its teachers union are set to resume negotiations Thursday and Friday in hopes of reaching an agreement and heading off a possible strike after roughly 16 months at the bargaining table. The two sides will meet with a federal mediator for the first time since talks broke down on Dec. 3.


    National Museum of Surveying closes in Springfield

    Officials say a sharp drop in corporate donations, the lagging economy and the failure of a fundraising campaign prompted the closing of the museum Wednesday The museum, which opened in 2010, highlighted Abraham Lincoln's time from 1833 to 1837 as a central Illinois surveyor.

    Rita Crundwell, former comptroller for Dixon, Ill.

    Crundwell properties sold for $3 million

    The U.S. Marshals Service says it will raise more than $3 million from the sale of three properties belonging to disgraced former Dixon comptroller Rita Crundwell. Crundwell pleaded guilty in November to federal charges alleging she stole more than $53 million from the city.

    Roger F. Coleman, former publisher of the Kane County Chronicle.

    Former Kane County Chronicle publisher Coleman dies

    Roger F. Coleman, former publisher of the Kane County Chronicle, died Monday at his Kentucky home. He was 61. He had worked for the Kane County Chronicle and its predecessors for 20 years, until 2002.

    Patrick Finlon

    Lake Zurich tweaks liquor law to allow BYOB eateries

    Lake Zurich has an amended a local liquor law addressing bring-your-own-bottle restaurants and businesses such as spas that want to provide complimentary alcoholic beverages with services. The move will allow the village some oversight over the establishments.

    Elgin Community College is getting a grant to help train students 50 and older in selected fields.

    ECC receives grant money to train adults 50 and older

    Elgin Community College will join dozens of colleges across the country in dedicating new resources to retrain students 50 and older. ECC received a three-year, $15,000 grant from the American Association of Community Colleges as part of the organization's Plus 50 Encore Completion Program, which aims to help 10,000 adult students earn certificates or degrees in health care, education and social...


    Libertyville church hosts diversity event

    The First Presbyterian Church of Libertyville will be hosting a program Jan. 21 to celebrate diversity and culture in honor of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., for kids in grades K through 5.

    Geneva children's author Laura Crawford signs her book, “The Pilgrims' Thanksgiving from A to Z,” at the Barnes and Nobles Books at Spring Hill Mall in West Dundee. For those interested in writing a children's book of their own, Crawford will lead a seminar called introduction to writing on Saturday, Jan. 12 at the bookstore.

    Want to learn how to write a children's book?

    Has it ever been your dream to pen a children's book? If so, the Barnes and Noble at Spring Hill Mall is holding a seminar called Introduction to Writing that will give you an overview of the process through publication and include an extended question and answer session. The event is scheduled from 1 to 3 p.m. Jan. 12 at the store, located within Spring Hill Mall.

    Julie Kolakowski-Jeong of Roselle took this picture of her nephew, Nathan, enjoying the jellyfish at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago.

    Contest entries demonstrate magic of color, black and white
    Each week's DuPage County Neighbor section includes at least one entry in our Photo Finish contest. Our photo staffers pick some of their favorite submissions to run each week and then one overall monthly winner. This week's entries celebrate color or, in one case, the lack of it.


    84-year-old man dies in Algonquin fire

    A Tuesday night house fire in Algonquin claimed the life of an 84-year-old Algonquin man, whom authorities say died the following morning of smoke inhalation. Patrick Sheahan was found dead after the fire burned through the floor of his ranch home on the 4700 block of Iroquois Road, according to the Algonquin-Lake in the Hills Fire Protection District.


    Villa Park fire victim identified

    Authorities have identified the woman killed Sunday in a Villa Park apartment fire as Kathleen Hoffman, 58. The DuPage County coroner's office said Wednesday morning Hoffman's cause of death is pending investigation and completion of test results after the Sunday morning fire that killed her and her dog.


    Gunman robs Lombard hair salon

    A man who displayed a handgun during a robbery Wednesday at Hair Cuttery on Roosevelt Road in Lombard got away with an undisclosed amount of cash, police said. The man, described as white or Hispanic in his 20s or 30s, entered the store about 10:45 a.m. and showed the gun, Deputy Chief Pat Rollins said. The man left on foot after being given cash and headed west from the salon at 213 E. Roosevelt...

    Syrian rebels gather around a fire Wednesday as they plan patrols in the Saif al-Dawlah neighborhood of Aleppo, Syria. The United Nations estimated Wednesday that more than 60,000 people have been killed in Syria’s 21-month-old uprising against authoritarian rule, a toll one-third higher than what anti-regime activists had counted. The U.N. human rights chief called the toll “truly shocking.”

    U.N. estimates Syria death toll more than 60,000

    The United Nations estimated Wednesday that more than 60,000 people have been killed in Syria's civil war, a toll one-third higher than what anti-regime activists had counted in the 21-month-old conflict. The U.N. human rights chief called the toll "truly shocking."


    No injuries after train from Chicago hits car in Mich.

    Authorities say no injuries were reported after an Amtrak train from Chicago collided with a car in Michigan. The Detroit News says emergency crews responded Tuesday night in Ann Arbor and two people in the car got out before the collision.


    American journalist missing in Syria

    An American journalist has been missing in Syria since he was kidnapped more than one month ago, his family said Wednesday, less than two years after he was held by government forces in Libya while covering that country's civil war.The family of James Foley, of Rochester, N.H., said he was kidnapped in northwest Syria by unknown gunmen on Thanksgiving day.


    Theater shooting relatives reject movie invitation

    elatives of the majority of people killed in a Colorado movie theater are rejecting an invitation to attend its reopening, calling it a "disgusting offer."

    A 2012 file photo of an image taken from video and provided by Sen. Mark Kirk's office shows Kirk going through a walking exercise at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago.

    Kirk: Experimental therapy helped him relearn to walk

    A beaming Mark Kirk emerged from a Willis Tower stairwell on Nov. 4 after climbing more than three dozen flights of stairs on his own. The U.S. senator, who lost much of the function in his left arm and leg after suffering an ischemic stroke on Jan. 21, 2012, credits an experimental program at the Rehabilitation Institute with restoring his ability to walk.

    Frank Munao

    Changing of the guard in South Barrington mayor’s office

    Come May, South Barrington Village President Frank Munao expects to continue his more than 40 years of public service to the village, but only as emergency management coordinator, a role he took on in the wake of 9/11. Two-term Trustee Paula McCombie, the only candidate to file nominating petitions for village president, is his likely successor.

    Cardinal Francis George

    Chicago Cardinal urges opposition to gay marriage

    Chicago's Cardinal Francis George is urging parishioners to let state lawmakers know they oppose gay marriage. George's letter to priests in the Roman Catholic archdiocese comes as Illinois legislators are poised to consider a bill that would legalize same-sex marriage.


    Dawn Patrol: Villa Park woman, dog killed in fire; no fiscal cliff

    House passes fiscal cliff compromise. Villa Park fire kills woman, dog. Elgin man faces felony drug charges. Woodridge fire leaves home uninhabitable. Northwestern wins first bowl game since 1949. NIU loses Orange Bowl to Florida State. Local fans celebrate and grieve over bowl game results.


    Coroner: 2 dead in Springfield were homicides
    SPRINGFIELD — The Sangamon County Coroner says two people found dead inside a Springfield home were apparently the victims of a double homicide.

    Associated Press Potter’s Alley owner Marie McCarty at her new studio on Gilbert Street. The shop offers unfinished ware for customers to decorate.

    Pottery business expands into Danville law office

    Marie and Jon McCarty have a unique business arrangement that has expanded to Danville. Jon is an attorney who moved from Chicago to Covington, Ind., where he opened a law practice. He later opened an office on Gilbert Street in Danville, his hometown. Marie opened Potter's Alley in the back part of Jon's office in Covington three years ago. Many of Marie's customers were from Danville who were...


    Autopsy: Fort Wayne store worker fatally beaten
    Authorities say an autopsy determined that a worker found dead inside a Fort Wayne antiques store was fatally beaten.


    Kids ask about history of droughts
    "What was the biggest drought in the world?," asked students in Jen Janik's third grade class at Big Hollow Elementary School in Ingleside.


    Experts: Stroke could make Kirk a tougher opponent in 2016

    U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk hasn't said whether he'll seek re-election in 2016, but experts say if he does, his recovery and return to Congress could make a campaign challenge by Democrats more difficult.

    Lawmakers reconvene under Springfield’s Capitol dome today, but whether they will do anything is up in the air.

    Gay marriage, pensions, gambling top lawmakers’ agenda in final week

    State lawmakers return to Springfield today with a week left on their terms in office, nearly three dozen lame duck lawmakers in their ranks and options whether to sprint through an aggressive agenda before Jan. 9 or wait out the clock and start anew. "Anything is possible," said State Sen. Terry Link, a Waukegan Democrat, speaking specifically to the gambling issue.


    Louisville head coach Charlie Strong celebrates following a 33-23 win over Florida in the Sugar Bowl Wednesday in New Orleans.

    Louisville beats Florida 33-23 at Sugar Bowl

    NEW ORLEANS — Louisville safety Calvin Pryor predicted the Cardinals would "shock the world" against Florida in the Sugar Bowl. Brave words that he and his teammates backed up from start to finish.Terell Floyd returned an interception 38 yards for a touchdown on the first play, dual-threat quarterback Teddy Bridgewater directed a handful of scoring drives and No. 22 Louisville stunned the fourth-ranked Gators 33-23 in the Sugar Bowl on Wednesday night.


    DePaul falls to Seton Hall 73-72

    Give credit to sophomores Jamee Crockett and Charles McKinney and freshman Durrell McDonald for stepping up and helping pull DePaul out of a big hole Wednesday night at the Allstate Arena. But the Blue Demons typically soar or swoon with Cleveland Melvin, and their star junior forward was off his game again in the Big East opener against Seton Hall. Melvin was on the floor for 21 minutes in the Blue Demons' 73-72 loss to the Pirates, but the Big East's eighth-leading scorer was held to 6 points on 3-of-11 shooting.

    The Bulls’ Carlos Boozer, who finished with a season-high 31 points, goes to the basket in front of Orlando’s Josh McRoberts.

    Bulls bounce back, hold on to win
    The Bulls had a terrible start and rough finish on Wednesday in Orlando. They also played without Joakim Noah, who stayed at the hotel with flu-like symptoms. Magic guard Jameer Nelson scored 32 points and it wasn't enough as the Bulls got a 96-94 bounce-back in at the Amway Center.


    UIC defeats Youngstown State 65-60

    CHICAGO — Gary Talton drilled a go-ahead 3-pointer with 17 seconds remaining and made three free throws to protect the lead as Illinois-Chicago defeated Youngstown State 65-60 on Wednesday night.

    Illinois guard D.J. Richardson (1) shoots over Purdue forwards Travis Carroll (50) and D.J. Byrd Wednesday in West Lafayette, Ind. Purdue beat the No. 11 Illini 68-61

    Purdue’s late charge beats No. 11 Illinois 68-61

    WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Purdue figured out how to slow the pace — and still score a little, too, Wednesday night. Terone Johnson finished with a career-high 25 points and D.J. Byrd scored nine of his 15 during a key 19-3 second-half run, sending the Boilermakers past No. 11 Illinois 68-61.


    Loyola beats Valparaiso 63-54

    VALPARAISO, Ind. — Ben Averkamp scored 16 points and had four blocked shots Wednesday night as Loyola of Chicago beat Valparaiso 63-54 in the Horizon League opener for both schools.

    The Bulls’ Luol Deng makes an uncontested shot off a fast break against the Orlando Magic during the first half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday in Orlando, Fla. The Bulls won 96-94.

    Boozer leads Bulls to 96-94 win over Orlando

    ORLANDO, Fla. — Carlos Boozer had a season-high 31 points and 11 rebounds, Luol Deng scored 23 points and the Bulls hung on to beat the Orlando Magic 96-94 on Wednesday night. Taj Gibson added 21 points and 10 rebounds for the Bulls, who played without center Joakim Noah. Chicago was outrebounded 37-34 in Noah's absence but exploited an injury-plagued Magic front court, outscoring them 42-32 in the paint.


    SIUC falls to Bradley 66-60

    CARBONDALE — Walt Lemon Jr. scored 20 points Wednesday night to help Bradley to a 66-60 victory over Southern Illinois.Lemon’s basket with 2:58 left gave the Braves (10-4, 2-0 Missouri Valley) the lead for good at 57-56. Lemon finished 8 for 11 from the field and also contributed five steals for Bradley, which was 0-9 on the road in the MVC last season. Dyricus Simms-Edwards and Jordan Prosser had 11 points apiece for the Braves.Desmar Jackson led the Salukis (7-6, 0-2) with 15 points and nine rebounds. Jeff Early scored 11 and Anthony Beane Jr. added 10 points for SIU.Bradley shot 50 percent from the field and led 28-23 at halftime. Southern Illinois shot 42 percent and was just 13 for 23 from the free-throw line. Bradley was 14 of 18.

    Creighton’s Gregory Echenique (00) guards against a shot by Illinois State’s Jackie Carmichael (32) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday in downstate Normal. Creighton won 79-72.

    No. 16 Creighton beats ISU 79-72

    NORMAL — Junior forward Ethan Wragge was 6 of 9 from 3-point range for his 18 points to lead No. 16 Creighton to a 79-72 victory over Illinois State on Wednesday night.

    Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer, right, poses with newly signed right-handed pitcher Edwin Jackson during an introductory news conference Wednesday at Wrigley Field.

    Jackson feels right at home with Cubs

    The Cubs on Wednesday made official their signing of right-handed pitcher Edwin Jackson to a four-year deal. It's not the only long-term commitment Jackson is making. He's to be married Saturday. The Cubs hope all live happily ever after.


    Man attacked by coyotes in Washington state

    Mike Jackson offers the latest fishing report, and ice conditions, in this week's outdoor notebook, along with a story about a startling coyote attack.

    Northwestern quarterback Kain Colter (2) breaks a long run during the second half of the Gator Bowl on Tuesday in Jacksonville, Fla. Northwestern beat Mississippi State 34-20.

    Fitzgerald excited about Northwestern’s future

    What does a football program do for an encore after snapping a 9-game bowl losing streak that spanned the course of 64 years?Why, aim higher of course.That's just the plan for the folks at Northwestern, who were, no surprise here, sky-high after defeating Mississippi State 34-20 in the Gator Bowl on New Year's Day.

    Jay Cutler is definitely a franchise quarterback, according to Bears GM Phil Emery.

    Bears looking to maximize Cutler’s skills

    Bears general manager Phil Emery believes that Jay Cutler is the franchise quarterback who can lead the offense to consistent playoff appearaces. But Emery's selection as the team's next head coach will be someone he believes can get more from Cutler and the rest of the offense.

    Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett said Wednesday the NCAA overstepped its authority by imposing hefty sanctions on Penn State University in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child molestation scandal. Corbett filed a federal lawsuit against the college athletics governing body.

    Governor seeks to overturn NCAA sanctions against PSU

    In a bold challenge to the NCAA's powers, Pennsylvania's governor claimed in a lawsuit Wednesday that college sports' governing body overstepped its authority and "piled on" when it penalized Penn State over the Jerry Sandusky child molestation scandal.

    Northern Illinois quarterback Jordan Lynch said the team learned a lot in his 31-10 loss to Florida State in Tuesday night's Orange Bowl, and has enough young talent to come back stronger.

    NIU coaches, players react to Orange Bowl loss

    While NIU head coach Rod Carey was too upset with the outcome after the game to put the loss into perspective, his star quarterback faced the postgame questions like he did opposing defenses: head on. "We stuck around with them for a little bit, and we competed with them and we played hard," said Jordan Lynch after the 31-10 Orange Bowl defeat. "We had a lot of young guys on our team, and I feel like we can carry this over until next year. "It's just a learning experience."

    Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly talks to reporters Wednesday after arriving in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Notre Dame takes on Alabama in the BCS national championship game next Monday in Miami.

    Images: Notre Dame, Alabama arrive for BCS title game
    Notre Dame and Alabama arrived in Miami Wednesday in advance of Monday's BCS title game. Alabama is playing for its second straight national championship. Notre Dame is playing for its first title since 1988.


    NIU lost bowl, but Huskies came out winners

    It was frustrating to see NIU lose a game they might have had a chance to win, but by Wednesday morning it was easy to remember that the journey to the Orange Bowl was a genuine victory.

    Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly talks to reporters Wednesday after arriving in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Notre Dame takes on Alabama in the BC national championship NCAA college football game next Monday in Miami.

    Notre Dame, Alabama arrive for BCS title game

    With buses adorned in Notre Dame colors awaiting them on the tarmac, the plane carrying the top-ranked Fighting Irish landed Wednesday afternoon as they begin final preparations for Monday night's national title matchup with No. 2 Alabama. The Crimson Tide is scheduled to land in Miami later Wednesday.

    Northern Illinois University head coach Rod Carey will have 14 starters returning next fall, including 8 on offense.

    Huskies loaded with talent for next season

    It's not all doom and gloom for Northern Illinois despite Tuesday's 31-10 loss to Florida State in the Orange Bowl. The Huskies are losing only eight starters from a team that finished 12-2, won the Mid-American Conference for a second straight year and went to a BCS bowl for the first time in school history — three on offense and five on defense.


    NHL players respond to latest offer in labor talks

    The NHL players' association delivered its latest counteroffer to the league Wednesday as the two sides try to resolve the lockout. That makes four offers between the sides since the NHL restarted the negotiation process Thursday with a new contract proposal.

    Oregon head coach Chip Kelly, left, and Kansas State head coach Bill Snyder pose Wednesday with the Fiesta Bowl champions trophy in Scottsdale, Ariz. Oregon and Kansas state play Thursday in the Fiesta Bowl.

    Fiesta Bowl gets prime matchup of Wildcats, Ducks

    Kansas State and Oregon were in perfect position at the start of Nov. 17, Nos. 1 and 2 in the BCS standings, seemingly on a crash course toward the national championship game. By day's end, the Wildcats had been run over by Baylor, the Ducks lost a heartbreaker to Stanford and both of their national title hopes were all but gone.


    Satisfying close-to-home trips are always in the budget

    Part of the fun of the fishing off-season is the chance to plan next year's trips. So go ahead and think about that trip of a lifetime, but remember, there are plenty of great opportunities close to home, and you can hit a bunch of them for just a few bucks in traveling costs.

    Baltimore Ravens inside linebacker Ray Lewis sits on the bench Sunday during the second half against the Cincinnati Bengals in Cincinnati. Lewis plans to retire at the end of the Ravens' season.

    Ravens' Ray Lewis to retire after playoffs

    Ray Lewis will end his brilliant 17-year NFL career after the Baltimore Ravens complete their 2013 playoff run. Lewis has been sidelined since Oct. 14 with a torn right triceps. The 13-time Pro Bowl middle linebacker intends to return Sunday to face the Indianapolis Colts in what will almost certainly be his final home game. "Everything that starts has an end," Lewis said. "For me, today, I told my team that this will be my last ride."

    Northern Illinois tight end Desroy Maxwell (37) is tackled by Florida State defensive back Ronald Darby (13) during the first half of the Orange Bowl NCAA college football game, Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013, in Miami.

    Images from the Orange Bowl
    Images from the Orange Bowl game between the Northern Illinois Huskies and Florida State Seminoles at Sun Life Stadium in Maimi Gardens Florida, Tuesday January 1, 2013.

    Before the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, Florida at Everbank Field.

    Orange and Gator bowl images from Daily Herald readersv
    Daily Herald readers that were at the Northwestern and Northern Illinois bowl games submitted their photos from the Orange bowl and the Gator bowl Tuesday.


    Abbott Laboratories’ headquarters is in Lake County’s Libertyville Township.

    Abbott completes split with AbbVie

    Abbott Laboratories said Tuesday it has completed the separation of its research-based pharmaceuticals business.The new company. AbbVie, began trading independently on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "ABBV."AbbVie is a specialty pharmaceutical company with a broad portfolio of medicines, including leadership in immunology and virology, and a pipeline of breakthrough therapies. With the split, AbbVie's portfolio include drugs such as Humira, Vicodin and Niaspan.

    President Barack Obama smiles Tuesday as he arrives with Vice President Joe Biden to make a statement regarding the passage of the fiscal cliff bill in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington.

    Taxes to rise for most Americans despite cliff deal

    While the tax package that Congress passed New Year's Day will protect 99 percent of Americans from an income tax increase, most of them will still end up paying more federal taxes in 2013. The Tax Policy Center, a nonpartisan Washington research group, estimates that 77 percent of American households will face higher federal taxes in 2013 under the agreement negotiated between President Barack Obama and Senate Republicans.

    U.S. stocks rose, giving the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index its biggest gain in more than a year, as lawmakers passed a bill averting spending cuts and tax increases threatening a recovery in the world’s biggest economy.

    Stocks soar on budget deal, but problems lurk

    The "fiscal cliff" compromise, even with all its chaos, controversy and unresolved questions, was enough to ignite the stock market on Wednesday, the first trading day of the new year.

    Middleby Corp. CEO Salim Bassoul at the company’s Elgin facility.

    Elgin’s Middleby Corp. acquires Viking Range

    The Middleby Corp. announced plans Wednesday to acquire Viking Range Corp. for $380 million in cash. Middleby CEO Selim A. Bassoul's belief of a recovery in the U.S. housing market and Viking's willingness to sell are two key factors in the sale. Headquartered in Greenwood, Miss., Viking has approximately $200 million in annual revenues.

    Owner of Soccer Plus, Bob Naughtrip, inside his store in Palatine.

    Soccer Plus stores closing in Palatine, Libertyville

    One of the first business casualties of the new year will be Soccer Plus, a longtime retailer of soccer and lacrosse equipment and attire. The specialty retailer will close its stores in Palatine and Libertyville starting this weekend.After nearly 18 years, SoccerPlus owner and President Bob Naughtrip said Wednesday that the Libertyville store will close by Sunday.

    Tesla workers cheer on one the first Tesla Model S cars sold during a rally at the Tesla factory in Fremont, Calif., last June 22.

    2013 auto sales will be strong, firm predicts

    A healthier economy and more model introductions should push U.S. auto sales above the 15 million mark this year, predicts an auto industry research firm. The Polk research firm says auto sales should continue to lead the country's economic recovery, rising nearly 7 percent over 2012 to 15.3 million new vehicle registrations.

    Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt will be traveling to North Korea on a private trip led by former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson that could take place as early as this month, sources told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

    Google exec chairman to visit N. Korea

    Google's executive chairman is preparing to travel to one of the last frontiers of cyberspace: North Korea. Eric Schmidt will be traveling to North Korea on a private trip led by former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson that could take place as early as this month, sources told The Associated Press on Wednesday.


    Microsoft renews plea for crackdown on Google

    Microsoft is making a last-ditch effort to convince government regulators that they need to crack down on Google to preserve competition on the Internet and in smartphone markets.

    Corn stalks stand in a snowy field near La Vista, Neb. Despite getting some big storms in December, much of the U.S. is still desperate for relief from the nation’s longest dry spell in decades. And experts say it will take an absurd amount of snow to ease the woes of farmers and ranchers.

    Extraordinary snowfall needed to relieve drought

    When his drought-stricken Nebraska farm was blanketed with several inches of snow, Tom Schwarz welcomed the moisture. But it wasn't nearly enough. He had hoped for a wet, snowy winter. Instead, he's watched with worry as the sky spits mostly flakes that don't stick. "I just shudder to think what it's going to be if we don't get snow," Schwarz said.


    Oak Brook company acquires Michigan firm

    An area dredging, demolition and remediation business is acquiring the assets of Michigan-based Terra Contracting LLC for about $20 million.The agreement was announced Wednesday by Oak Brook-based Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Corp.Kalamazoo-based Terra Contracting provides of a variety of environmental, maintenance and infrastructure-related services. Terra Contracting employs about 200 engineering, operations and administrative staff and serves customers in more than 30 states.Great Lakes Dredge says the acquisition will help it expand into the market for environmental remediation and boost its demolition business.Steve Taplin founded Terra Contracting in 2001 and has been named president of Terra Contracting Services LLC, a company formed by the deal.


    Best vehicle sales streak since 1973 boosts U.S. dealers

    U.S. light-vehicle sales probably rose in December to wrap up a three-year run unrivaled in almost four decades as consumers replaced cars and trucks that are, on average, the oldest ever on the nation's roads.Car and light truck sales in the U.S. probably rose 9.8 percent in December, according to a Bloomberg survey of analysts. That would cap a third-straight annual gain of at least 10 percent, the first such industry streak since 1973.


    Tiffany reaches licensing deal to sell jewelry by Elsa Peretti

    Tiffany & Co., the luxury jeweler whose profit has trailed analysts' estimates for four straight quarters, reached an agreement to continue selling jewelry by Elsa Peretti, which accounts for about 10 percent of its sales.


    Algonquin buys 109.5-Megawatt Illinois wind farm from Goldwind

    Algonquin Power & Utilities Corp., a Canadian renewable-energy producer, purchased a 109.5-megawatt wind farm in Illinois from China’s Xinjiang Goldwind Science & Technology Co.Algonquin paid $148.9 million for the Shady Oaks project about 50 miles west of Chicago, the Oakville, Canada-based company said in a statement today.Shady Oaks was completed in June and is selling electricity to Exelon Corp.’s Commonwealth Edison under a 20-year contract. Goldwind will be responsible for operating the plant.


    European stocks jump to 22-month high as U.S. passes budget deal

    European stocks rallied to the highest in nearly 22 months as U.S. lawmakers passed a budget bill that avoided most scheduled tax increases threatening a recovery in the world's largest economy. Rio Tinto Group and Volkswagen AG climbed more than 3 percent to lead mining companies and automakers higher as Chinese manufacturing grew. ArcelorMittal gained the most in 11 weeks after selling a stake in its Canadian unit for $1.1 billion.


    Boeing 737 max orders top 1,000 with $6 billion lessor deal

    Boeing Co. won an order for 60 of its upgraded single-aisle 737s, with a catalog value of $6 billion, from Aviation Capital Group LLC. The purchase brings total orders for the 737 Max, the latest variation of the world's most widely flown passenger jet, to 1,029, the Chicago-based planemaker said in a statement. The airliner will feature more fuel-efficient engines and compete with Airbus SAS's upgraded A320neo series after a commercial debut now scheduled for 2017.

    Mexican telecom tycoon Carlos Slim remained the world’s richest person in 2012.

    World’s billionaires seek ‘advantage’ in 2013

    The richest people on the planet got even richer in 2012, adding $241 billion to their collective net worth, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, a daily ranking of the world's 100 wealthiest individuals.The aggregate net worth of the world's top moguls stood at $1.9 trillion at the market close on Dec. 31, according to the index. Retail and telecommunications fortunes surged about 20 percent on average during the year. Of the 100 people who appeared on the final ranking of 2012, only 16 registered a net loss for the 12-month period.


    Samsung loses bid to seal sales data

    Samsung Electronics Co. lost a bid to keep sales data of some of its products sealed in a U.S. patent dispute with Apple Inc.U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose Monday denied Samsung's request to keep the sales figures secret while the company appeals an earlier sealing order.Apple won a $1.05 billion award Aug. 24 after a jury found Samsung infringed six Apple patents on technology used in Samsung phones and devices.

    Philippine Stock Exchange President and CEO Hans Sicat, second from right, gestures as PSE treasurer Ma. Vivian Yuchengco rings the bell to signal the start of the first day of trading at Philippine Stock Exchange at the financial district of Makati, south of Manila, Philippines on Wednesday Jan. 2.

    Markets rally after US ‘fiscal cliff’ deal

    Markets breathed a huge sigh of relief Wednesday that U.S. lawmakers agreed on a budget deal that will stop hundreds of billions of dollars in automatic tax increases and spending cuts that risked plunging the world's biggest economy into recession.


    Report: Small biz still cautious about borrowing

    The erratic pace of borrowing by small businesses owners continued in November — a sign that they were still cautious about hiring.A report released Wednesday by PayNet, which provides credit ratings on small businesses, showed just a 1 percent increase in borrowing in November. That followed an 11 percent jump in October. Borrowing fluctuated throughout 2012.


    Thieves break into Paris’ flagship Apple store

    Masked and armed thieves used the New Year's Eve fete to rob the flagship Apple store in Paris.The French press reported that up to (euro) 1 million ($1.3 million) in goods were stolen at the store selling products such as Apple's iPhones and iPads behind the Paris Opera house, a figure police would not immediately confirm.

    A croupier counts the chips at a baccarat gaming table inside a casino during the opening day of Sheraton Macao Hotel at the Sands Cotai Central in Macau.

    Macau casino revenue in 2012 rose to $38 billion

    Casino revenue in Macau climbed 13.5 percent last year to a record $38 billion, as the Asian gambling hub reinforced its position as the world's biggest gambling market. Gross revenue from Macau's 35 casinos also hit a monthly record in December, rising 20 percent to 28.2 billion Macau patacas ($3.5 billion), according to data posted on the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau on Wednesday.

    The Royal Dutch Shell drilling rig Kulluk aground off a small island near Kodiak Island.

    Storm impedes salvage of grounded drilling ship

    High seas and strong winds prevented crews from boarding an oil drilling ship to check for any damage after the large vessel went aground off an uninhabited island in the Gulf of Alaska. A Coast Guard plane and a helicopter flew over the Kulluk on Tuesday, but severe weather did not permit putting marine experts on board the drilling rig, which had grounded on a sand and gravel beach in stormy seas. Federal on-scene response coordinator Capt. Paul Mehler said the Royal Dutch Shell drilling rig is carrying about 143,000 gallons of diesel and about 12,000 gallons of lube oil and hydraulic fluid, and appeared stable.

    In this April 14, 2011 photo Zipcar Chairman and CEO Scott Griffith stands with a Zipcar Mini-Cooper before the opening bell at the NASDAQ Market Site in New York.

    Avis buying Zipcar in deal worth nearly $500 million

    Avis is buying Zipcar for $491.2 million, expanding its offerings from traditional car rentals to car sharing services. Car sharing has become a popular alternative to traditional rentals in metropolitan areas and on college campuses, allowing members to quickly procure a vehicle for quick trips. Zipcar, which was founded in 2000, has more than 760,000 members. It went public in 2011.


    China tainted-chicken probe may hurt profit

    New Hope Liuhe Co., China's biggest poultry meat producer, said sales and profits may be affected after a media report said one of its subsidiaries supplied broiler chicken laced with excessive antibiotics.

    Ford Motor Co.’s namesake brand will top 2 million vehicles in U.S. sales this year and its Focus compact car was the top-selling model line worldwide through September, the automaker said.

    Ford brand tops 2 million sales in U.S. for second straight year

    Ford Motor Co.'s namesake brand will top 2 million vehicles in U.S. sales this year and its Focus compact car was the top-selling model line worldwide through September, the automaker said. Ford will be the only auto brand to exceed the 2 million sales level in the U.S. this year, the Dearborn, Michigan-based automaker said in a statement.


    French panel overturns 75 percent tax on ultrarich

    Embattled French President Francois Hollande suffered a fresh setback when France's highest court threw out a plan to tax the ultrawealthy at a 75 percent rate, saying it was unfair.

Life & Entertainment


    Easy Pasta Fagioli
    ½ cup finely chopped onion1 garlic clove¼ cup olive oil3 cans (14.5 ounces each) stewed tomatoes2 cans (14 ounces) reduced sodium chicken broth½ cup chopped Italian leaf parsleyDried basil and oregano (about 1 teaspoon each)Salt and black pepper to taste4 cans (15 ounces each) cannellini beans drained and rinsed (or Great Northern beans)½ pound ditalini pastaIn a large pot, saute onion in the olive oil. Add the garlic and cook until soft. Add the tomatoes, chicken broth, parsley, pepper, basil and oregano. (If desired, lightly mash the tomatoes before adding them.) After bringing it to a boil, add the beans. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer 30 minutes.In the meantime, boil water for the pasta. Cook the pasta and drain, reserving 2 cups of the pasta water. Add the pasta to the soup along with the pasta water. Serve with freshly grated Romano cheese along with crusty Italian bread.Serves eight (1½ cup servings).“101 Foods That Could Save Your Life” by David Grotto (Bantam Press, 2008)

    Nabulungi (Syesha Mercado) and Elder Cunningham (Ben Platt) get excited about baptism in “The Book of Mormon,” now at the Bank of America Theatre in Chicago. The second national tour has extended its Chicago run to Sunday, Sept. 8.

    'Book of Mormon' extended

    "The Book of Mormon" has extended its Chicago run at the Bank of America Theatre from Tuesday, June 4, through Sunday, Sept. 8. The new block of tickets goes on sale 10 a.m. Monday, Jan. 7.

    Police say a paparazzo was hit by a car and killed after taking photos of Justin Bieber's Ferrari sports car in Los Angeles.

    L.A. photographer killed after taking shots of Bieber's car

    A paparazzo was struck and killed by a car while darting across a street after taking pictures of Justin Bieber's Ferrari when it was pulled over along a freeway in Los Angeles, police said Wednesday. Bieber was not in the car at the time. The singer later said his prayers were with the family of the 29-year-old photographer who was pronounced dead at a hospital shortly after the accident late Tuesday afternoon.

    Singer Patti Page, who made “Tennessee Waltz” the third best-selling recording ever, has died. She was 85.

    ‘Tennessee Waltz’ singer Patti Page dies at 85

    Patti Page, who made "Tennessee Waltz" the third best-selling recording ever, has died. She was 85. Page died on New Year's Day in Encinitas, Calif., according to her manager. She was the top-selling female singer in history with more than 100 million record sales.

    Britain’s Royal Mail is marking the 50th anniversary of “Doctor Who,’’ the science fiction program, with a series of stamps featuring each of the 11 actors who have played the title role. Those featured include the present doctor, Matt Smith as well as past Time Lords.

    ‘Doctor Who’ stamps to mark show’s 50th anniversary

    Dr. Who — who usually uses a police box for travel — will be zooming through time and space on the edge of letters in 2013. Britain's Royal Mail is marking the 50th anniversary of the science fiction show "Doctor Who" with a series of stamps featuring each of the 11 actors who have played the title role.

    Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member Bobby Womack, 68, told the BBC in a recent interview that he has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.

    Bobby Womack diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease

    Bobby Womack has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member told the BBC in a recent interview the diagnosis comes after he began having difficulty remembering his songs and the names of people he's worked with.

    Bruce Springsteen will be honored as the 2013 MusiCares Person of the Year at a special event celebrating his artistic achievements as well as his philanthropic work.

    Jon Stewart to host tribute to Bruce Springsteen

    Jon Stewart is hosting the MusiCares salute to Bruce Springsteen. The Recording Academy also announced Wednesday that Elton John, Neil Young, Mumford & Sons, Sting, Mavis Staples and Kenny Chesney will be among more than a dozen performers who will help pay tribute to Springsteen during the Feb. 8 benefit concert, held in Los Angeles two days before the Grammy Awards.

    South Korean pop singer Rain is facing questions after paparazzi photos showed him out on the town with a top actress. Seoul’s Defense Ministry said Wednesday it is investigating whether Rain broke military rules by meeting actress Kim Tae-hee while on duty.

    Pop star Rain in trouble over paparazzi photos

    South Korean pop star Rain is facing questions after paparazzi photos showed him out on the town with a top actress. Seoul's Defense Ministry said Wednesday it is investigating whether Rain broke military rules by meeting actress Kim Tae-hee while on duty.

    Hugh Hefner and Crystal Harris exchanged vows at a private Playboy Mansion ceremony on New Year’s Eve.

    Playboy Hugh Hefner marries his ‘runaway bride’

    Hugh Hefner's celebrating the new year as a married man once again. The 86-year-old Playboy magazine founder exchanged vows with his "runaway bride," Crystal Harris, at a private Playboy Mansion ceremony on New Year's Eve.

    Cherry and Portobello-stuffed Pork Chops can help get 2013 off to a healthful start.

    Cherry Portobello-Stuffed Pork Chops
    Cherry and Portobello-stuffed Pork Chops


    Shelled Edamame, Roasted Pepper Pasta
    Edamame and Roasted Red Pepper Pasta

    “Tiger Rag” by Nicholas Christopher

    Novel draws on jazz legend’s music

    Buddy Bolden is a jazz legend whose powerful, original sound at the turn of the last century was so enthralling that some now call him the first big star of that lively American art form. But his own star died quickly. Nicholas Christopher, in his new novel, "Tiger Rag," brings Bolden back to life, full of outsize charm and drive, a virtuoso on his beloved cornet, but quickly losing his mental grip — and ending at the center of a full-blown mystery.


    Bob’s Lemon Squares
    Bob's Lemon Bars: Danea Chatel

    Wheeling native Deborah Voigt stars as Cassandra in Berlioz's “Les Troyens,” which is screened live in HD from the Metropolitan Opera in New York to movie theaters around the world on Saturday, Jan. 5.

    Best bets: See Wheeling native Voigt in 'Les Troyens'

    See Wheeling native Deborah Voigt in the epic opera "Les Troyens," which will be screened live from the Metropolitan Opera in New York to suburban cinemas Saturday. Experience chivalric and comedic combat when “Dirk Perfect” and “Guido Crescendo” appear as The Swordsmen Saturday at Pheasant Run Resort. The Lyric Opera and Second City join forces for “The Second City Guide to the Opera” Saturday at the Civic Opera House.

    In “Paper Mario: Sticker Star,” Mario must search a foldable, papercraft-like Mushroom Kingdom in search of stickers that were scattered by his archenemy Bowser during the kingdom’s comet-watching party.

    Paper Mario, Prof. Layton keep 3DS humming

    Some of the season's most absorbing Nintendo games are available on the portable 3DS. In "Paper Mario: Sticker Star," Mario's nemesis, Bowser, crashes the kingdom's comet-watching party and scatters the kingdom's sticker collection, so Mario and his new pal Kersti have to collect them all. "Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask" is a mix of family-friendly puzzles and a dark mystery, with a few romantic interludes thrown in.

    Asian pears contain enzymes that act as meat tenderizers for this Thai Skirt Steak Salad With Asparagus and Asian Pears.

    Finding ways to use Asian pears

    Asian pears differ from European pears in that they are ripe when harvested and are meant to be crunchy. Tasting the various ilks of Subarashii fruit convinced me the Asian pear could be the love child between a pear and jicama with some melon thrown in. Its flesh is cool, crisp, juicy and firm, with diverse notes.

    Server Jiang Zhao and co-owner Alex Liang show off the specialties of the house at Bao Gourmet in Bartlett.

    Bao Gourmet serves traditional Chinese fare in fast-casual setting

    Bao Gourmet is named for the light steamed buns called bao that this fast-casual eat-in, takeout and delivery restaurant recently added to its already extensive menu. The small strip mall storefront restaurant in Bartlett has just 26 seats but a pleasant, contemporary atmosphere with earth-toned décor.

    Aurora's James Tracy handles production details for the comedy troupe Big Pink Losers. The group is participating in this year's Chicago Sketch Comedy Festival.

    Aurora resident enjoys film role with comedy troupe

    It used to be all you needed for a comedy troupe were a half dozen funny people and a place to perform. Nowadays, you need that — and a guy with a camera. For the Chicago-based troupe, Big Pink Loser, Aurora resident James Tracy is that guy.

    Asian pears contain enzymes that act as meat tenderizers for this Thai Skirt Steak Salad With Asparagus and Asian Pears.

    Thai Skirt Steak Salad With Asparagus and Asian Pear
    Thai Skirt Steak Salad with Asparagus and Asian Pear

    Mushrooms and cherries up the nutrient benefit of pork chops.

    Elmhurst dietian recommends five foods for a healthier 2013

    Want to improve your health in 2013? Instead of making wholesale dietary changes, try eating more mushrooms, cherries, beans, soy and Greek yogurt. According to Elmhurst dietitian David Grotto eat more of these foods and you will improve your overall health and well being in the new year.


    Frugal living: Fruit, veggie purees make meals healthier

    To make your meals healthier, puree fruits and vegetables and incorporate them into your recipes. Some common ways to do this are adding pureed vegetables or fruits into baked goods, such as brownies or muffins (replacing oil with applesauce) or in ground beef dishes, spaghetti sauce, chili or soups.



    Editorial: The broad reach of some resolutions

    Some New Year's resolutions go beyond just self-improvement and can make for stronger communities. A Daily Herald editorial urges readers to try these on for size.


    Getting more for less in health care

    Columnist Froma Harrop: Sad, sad, sad that in talking about budget cuts, we use painful words like "extracting billions from Medicare" or "slashing the Medicare entitlement." Has it ever occurred to the gladiators that improving the quality of health care can also save money


    Overtaxed wealthy will just leave
    A Barrington letter to the editor: Productive individuals and capital will find another home. Britain tried taxing higher-income people, and guess what? They left and tax revenue went down.


    Hate speech has no place in our society
    A Mount Prospect letter to the editor: The vast majority of Americans openly discourage hate speech. Yet, hate speech from the likes of Pamela Geller has smeared American Muslims once again. Pamela Geller's latest hate campaign insinuates Muslims as being violent and a bunch of savages.


    Rational discussion on gun control needed
    An Arlington Heights letter to the editor: Over the years I have had numerous friends at work, neighbors and family members who are in the NRA. They are all anti-gun control; however, their reasoning is based upon mistrust and patriotism that does not allow for any discussion.


    When do children count as children?
    A Glen Ellyn letter to the editor: The account of the fetus found in a Dumpster at Yorktown Mall is heartbreaking, especially during a week when the first names of innocents were read by our president, rightly mourning the slaughter of children.


    Alyssa Van Meter will be truly missed
    A Lombard letter to the editor: I am writing about the stabbing death of Alyssa Van Meter. I want people to know what a wonderful young lady she was, whose life was cut short too soon. She was my son's close friend for at least 10 years, and was like a daughter to me.


    We can change culture of violence
    An Aurora letter to the editor: Vote with your wallets and your opinions. We don't have to wait for politicians to reinstate the ban on assault weapons to decrease the mass shootings that have been on the increase.


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