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Daily Archive : Friday January 11, 2013




    A postal worker leaves a Hostess Wonder grocery store in Santa Clara, Calif.

    Hostess to sell breads to Flower Foods for $390 million

    The deal with Flower Foods includes $360 million for the Wonder, Nature’s Pride, Butternut, Home Pride and Merita brands, along with the bakeries and depots. The sale of Beefsteak bread is being made in a separate deal for $30 million.

    Clubhouse rendering for the proposed Oaks of Vernon Hills luxury rental community.

    High-end rental community approved for former Kelly’s Day Camp in Vernon Hills

    A luxury rental community of 304 apartments and row houses has received the informal go ahead from the Vernon Hills village board. The Oaks of Vernon Hills would be built on property along Route 45 formerly occupied by Kelly's Day Camp and the Leikam Tap. Village officials in 2007 approved the property for office and warehouse use but the project never materialized.

    Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn speaks to reporters Wednesday on pension reform legislation.

    Fitch downgrades Illinois outlook to ‘negative’

    Illinois faces a possible downgrade by Fitch Ratings on $26.2 billion of general-obligation debt after lawmakers this week failed to repair the nation’s worst- funded state retirement system.Fitch today changed its outlook on the state to negative from stable. The company rates Illinois A, its sixth-highest grade. The state has unfunded retirement obligations of about $95 billion, according to the company.The outlook “reflects the ongoing inability of the state to address its large and growing unfunded pension liability,” Karen Krop, a Fitch analyst, wrote in a report released today.The state had the weakest pension system in the U.S., with 39 percent funding for five major groups of public employees, according to the Civic Federation, a Chicago-based nonprofit research group.“The burden of large unfunded pension liabilities and growing annual pension expenses is unsustainable,” Krop said.Moody’s Investors Service and Standard & Poor’s also grade the state their sixth-highest level.

    Trader Kevin Coulter, right, works Thursday on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

    Stocks gain for second straight week

    Currently, analysts expect fourth quarter earnings for S&P 500 companies to grow at a rate of 3.3 percent, according to the latest data from S&P Capital IQ.

    Wells Fargo, the biggest U.S. mortgage lender, says it earned a record $4.9 billion in the fourth quarter, up 25 percent from the same period a year before. Revenue rose 7 percent, to $21.9 billion, beating the $21.3 billion expected by analysts polled by FactSet.

    Wells Fargo’s net rises, but mortgages slow

    Wells Fargo, the country’s biggest mortgage lender, reported a 25 percent increase in fourth-quarter earnings Friday, beating analysts’ expectations for both profit and revenue. Investors weren’t impressed, however, and worried that the bank’s mortgage business could be slowing.


    Merck warns docs to stop prescribing Tredaptive

    Drugmaker Merck & Co. is suspending its sale of the cholesterol drug Tredaptive after initial results from a study showed that it wasn’t effective and could raise the risk of some serious side effects.

    Shares of Best Buy Co. jumped on Friday after the electronics chain showed signs of starting to reverse declining sales during the critical holiday selling season, a better-than-expected result.

    Best Buy shares jump on holiday results

    Shares of Best Buy Co. jumped on Friday after the electronics chain showed signs of starting to reverse declining sales during the critical holiday selling season, a better-than-expected result. Shares rose 12 percent during midday trading. Best Buy has been facing tough competition from discounters and online retailers, as people browse electronics in stores and then go home to buy them more cheaply online, a practice known as “showrooming.”

    The Cookoo watch is modeled at the Consumer Electronics Show, Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013, in Las Vegas. The watch allows users to stay connected with their mobile devices alerting them of incoming calls, emails or text messages.

    Gadget Watch: Long-battery watch talks to iPhone

    “Smart” watches that talk to cellphones have been around for some time, but they’ve been hampered by their high battery drain — usually needing recharging every few days. At this week’s International CES electronics trade show in Las Vegas, a startup launched a smart watch, the Cookoo, that runs for a year on a standard button cell.

    The U.S. trade deficit expanded in November to its widest point in seven months, driven by a surge in imports that outpaced modest growth in exports.

    U.S. trade gap hit $48.7 billion in November

    The U.S. trade deficit expanded in November to its widest point in seven months, driven by a surge in imports that outpaced only modest growth in exports. The Commerce Department said Friday that the trade gap widened 15.8 percent to $48.7 billion in November from October. Imports grew 3.8 percent to $231.3 billion, led by gains in shipments of cellphones, including Apple’s new iPhone.

    Federal regulators say they are ordering a comprehensive review of the critical systems of Boeing’s 787s, the aircraft maker’s newest and most technologically advanced plane, after a fire and a fuel leak earlier this week.

    FAA to review of Boeing 787, but calls plane safe

    The Federal Aviation Administration is conducting a comprehensive review of the design, manufacture and assembly of the Boeing 787, even while government officials declared the plane safe despite recent incidents including a fire and a fuel leak earlier this week. "I believe this plane is safe and I would have absolutely no reservations about boarding one of these planes and taking a flight," Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said.


    Japan ANA reports 2 new problems with Boeing 787s

    Japan's All Nippon Airways has reported two new cases of problems with its Boeing 787 Dreamliners.ANA spokeswoman Ayumi Kunimatsu said Friday a very small amount of oil was discovered leaking from the left engine of a 787 flight from southern Japan's Miyazaki airport to Tokyo. The jet returned to Miyazaki, but after checks found no safety risk it flew to Tokyo.

    A man walks by the electronic stock board of a securities firm in Tokyo, Friday.

    Japan’s Nikkei jumps on Abe’s stimulus package

    Japan's Nikkei stock index jumped Friday after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced a massive spending package intended to breathe life into the country's moribund economy. But stock markets elsewhere were lackluster.

    Luis Cuevas changes the gas prices at the Shell station off California State Route 99. Forecasters say that ample oil supplies and weak U.S. gasoline demand will keep a lid on prices in 2013.

    Oil near $94 as China inflation picks up

    Oil prices edged up Friday but gains were contained by a rise in China's inflation that if sustained could limit measures to support growth.Benchmark oil for February delivery was up 3 cents to $93.85 per barrel at midday Bangkok time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.


    Apple CEO: China will be biggest market

    Apple expects China to overtake the United States as its biggest market, CEO Tim Cook told a Chinese government news agency."China is currently our second largest market. I believe it will become our first. I believe strongly that it will," the Xinhua News Agency quoted Cook as saying in an interview.

    A road construction goes on in Tokyo Friday.

    Beset by risks, Japan seeks boost from stimulus
    Japan's newly installed prime minister Shinzo Abe has delivered a 20 trillion yen ($224 billion) stimulus package of public works and other projects aimed at revitalizing the sagging economy and providing support for struggling manufacturers. Abe said the measures announced Friday are intended to spur a 2 percent rise in real economic growth and create some 600,000 jobs.

    President Barack Obama had a clear political edge in his fight with Republicans over the fiscal cliff, and used it to his advantage. In the upcoming battle over federal borrowing and spending, the leverage will be more evenly divided and the outcome less predictable.

    Q&A: Obama lacks clear edge in next fight with GOP

    President Barack Obama had a clear political edge in his fight with Republicans over the fiscal cliff, and used it to his advantage. In the upcoming battle over federal borrowing and spending, the leverage will be more evenly divided and the outcome less predictable.In the fiscal cliff fight, Obama wanted to block automatic New Year's Day tax increases on everyone but the country's highest earners.

    In 2006, Warner Brothers’s “Superman Returns,” with Brandon Routh, earned $200 million at the domestic box office.

    Warner wins legal victory for control of Superman

    Superman belongs to Warner Bros., according to the latest legal victory granting the film and television studio complete commercial control of the lucrative Superman franchise.A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit of Appeals unanimously ruled Thursday that the heirs of Superman's co-creator Jerome Siegel must abide by a 2001 letter written by the family's attorney accepting Warner Bros.' offer for their 50 percent share of Superman.

Life & Entertainment

    Jennifer Hudson plays Veronica Moore in the second season of “Smash.”

    ‘Smash’ season debut sneak peek begins Monday

    NBC is giving viewers a sneak peek at the new season of “Smash.” Starting next week, the first hour of the drama’s two-hour season debut can be seen online and in the air — where it will be screened on American Airlines flights.

    Tina Fey and Amy Poehler are ready to crack each other up at the Golden Globe Awards on Sunday. The two multi-hyphenate talents offered a taste of their quick-witted banter during a conference call with reporters Wednesday, during which Fey promised, “We’re going to sing the whole show.”

    Expect 16 perspectives on stars at Golden Globes

    It’s a few days before the Golden Globes, and the Beverly Hilton International Ballroom is having a little work done. Crystal chandeliers are being hung from the ceiling, where they’ll illuminate stars including Jennifer Lopez, George Clooney, Dustin Hoffman and dozens more. By showtime at 7 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 13, on NBC, the ballroom will be beautiful, and the producer and director say they’ll be ready for whatever the 70th annual Golden Globe Awards may bring.

    Ben Affleck accepts the award for best director for “Argo” at the 18th Annual Critics’ Choice Movie Awards on Thursday in Santa Monica, Calif.

    Affleck, ‘Argo’ win big at Critics’ Choice Awards

    Hours after a surprise snub in Academy Award nominations, Ben Affleck won best director and his film "Argo" was named best picture at the Critics' Choice Movie Awards. Affleck, whose film was nominated for seven Oscars including best picture but not best director, accepted the award Thursday night at the Broadcast Film Critics Association's 18th annual awards in Los Angeles, joking as he took the trophy that he'd "like to thank the Academy."

    A person familiar with plans for Fox’s “The X Factor” says Britney Spears is out of the show. Spears was a mentor on the singing contest for one season, reportedly drawing a $15 million paycheck but failing to pull reviews to match.

    Source: Britney Spears out of ‘X Factor’

    Britney Spears is out of "The X Factor" after a season in which the pop star failed to deliver a ratings boost for the singing contest, a person familiar with the show's plans said Thursday. Creator Simon Cowell and fellow producers are discussing replacements for Spears and another panelist, record producer Antonio "L.A." Reid, said the person, who lacked authority to comment publicly and insisted on anonymity.

    Singer Rihanna makes an appearance on MTV's Total Request Live in New York in 2008.

    Barrington HS wins visit from Rihanna

    As an aspiring singer, Ashika Sachdev was excited to help her TV production class at Barrington High School with a video contest that would be judged by Rihanna. “For Rihanna to see me sing, and just (see) the video itself, it'd be a great experience,” she said. So it's an understatement to say the high school senior was ecstatic when she found out that her class had won the “Shine Bright Like A Diamond” student video contest — named after one of pop star's hit songs.

    “Jerusalem,” a cookbook by chefs Yotam Ottolenghi, left, and Sami Tamimi, traces their memories of a shared city, the Jewish west and the Arab east, together with the food — the commodity held in common in a city filled with division.

    Food the recipe for peace for London chefs

    "Jerusalem," a bestselling cookbook by New York-based chefs Yotam Ottolenghi, an Israeli, and Sami Tamimi, a Palestinian, is built on their memories of a shared city and its delicious food. "Regardless of all the trouble, food is always there," Tamimi said.

    Detective Joanna Padget Locasto (Meagan Good) uncovers dark secrets as she investigates the death of a wealthy socialite in NBC's "Deception."

    Murder mysteries and dark dramas abound on midseason TV

    A host of dark, mysterious dramas are set to make midseason debuts: Fox's Kevin-Bacon-catching-a-serial-killer series "The Following," NBC's Jekyll-and-Hyde-esque "Do No Harm," ABC's conspiracy thriller "Zero Hour" and organized crime show "Red Widow." Even CW gets in on the act with "Cult," about the dire consequences when fans get too obsessed with a creepy TV series.

    Lena Dunham in “Girls”

    TV series returning in early 2013
    Find out when your favorite TV series is returning in 2013.

    Fiamme in downtown Naperville creates oven-fired pizzas, like this one topped with fresh mozzarella, cherry tomato, prosciutto and arugula.

    Fiamme's Italian-style pizza having a go of it in deep-dish territory

    Fiamme is bringing authentic Italian-style, wood-fired pizzas to Naperville. The new eatery in the town's downtown dining district offers paper-thin pies with traditional toppings, but are they tasty enough to convert deep-dish disciples? Chicago-born restaurant reviewer Martin Cusack gave these pies a try.

    Returning judge Randy Jackson, left, joins with new judges Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj and Keith Urban — as well as host Ryan Seacrest, center — when “American Idol” returns to Fox Wednesday, Jan. 16.

    New judges putting their own stamp on ‘American Idol’

    Thanks to several major changes in the judging panel, "American Idol" is being reborn. Again. Remaining judge Randy Jackson and host Ryan Seacrest will be joined by other music superstars — Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj and Keith Urban — when the Fox talent competition starts its 12th season of twice-weekly airings Wednesday, Jan. 16.


    Easy ways to store your holiday decor

    Well, the holidays are mostly behind us and it's time to pack it all away for another year. Why is it that it seems to take up more space each time you pack it up? Here are some of our favorite tips to help you get everything repacked safely and in as small amount of space as possible.


    Having no gas service prevents proper home inspection

    Q. We sold our house several months ago, and the lady who bought it hired a home inspector. The gas service was turned off at the time of the inspection because the house had just been tented for termites. So the inspector did not test the furnace.


    Housewalk opens homes by Wright, contemporaries
    The eight private homes featured on the 39th annual Wright Plus Architectural Housewalk combine authentic restoration with modern livability. The housewalk showcases the designs of Frank Lloyd Wright and his contemporaries in the historic district of Oak Park.


    A deadline nears for former owners seeking foreclosure refunds

    A Jan. 18 deadline looms for about 2 million homeowners who lost their homes to foreclosure between the start of 2008 and the end of 2011. Five lenders could give each of those borrowers as much as $2,000.


    ‘Cliff’ deal is a bonus for homeownership, at least for now

    WASHINGTON — Although it wasn't a total win for homeowners and sellers, the patchwork legislation that emerged from the "fiscal cliff" fracas on Capitol Hill came pretty close. In fact, it even reached back and resuscitated two key tax benefits for housing that had expired more than a year ago.

    Homes in Klein Creek feature extensive exterior brickwork and a variety of architectural styles.

    Schools are a major draw for Klein Creek

    Twelve years ago, the excellent school district with award-winning Pleasant Hill School within walking distance attracted Mary and John Lamberts to the Klein Creek subdivision in Winfield. Joann Coghill, a school board member and co-owner of Keller Williams Premiere Properties, often sees firsthand the impact of the schools on real estate and enjoys talking about it.



    Editorial: Doing the right thing, no matter the cost

    A Daily Herald editorial asks, "When was the last time you did something even though it would hurt your bottom line because it was the right thing to do?"


    Editorial: Doing the right thing, no matter the cost

    A Daily Herald editorial asks, "When was the last time you did something even though it would hurt your bottom line because it was the right thing to do?"


    Changing channels

    No one forced me, but I finally decided it was time to discover what all the business was about Honey Boo Boo. Even though I’ve made reference to the show featuring a former beauty tot, now 7, and her family, I’d never actually watched a full episode. I still haven’t, but I watched enough to need a jaw adjustment. Alas, a few minutes with “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” confirms that even mindlessness has its limits. It gives me no pleasure to add to the ridicule of Honey, whose real name is Alana, or her family. That they have willingly participated in this spectacle — and, one hopes, are getting filthy rich in the process — is of little consolation. Far more offensive than the show is the fact of an audience. Obviously, people watch because it is so awful. You can’t believe it and so you keep tuning in. But is it right to watch? Only to the extent that it is acceptable to accompany strangers to the restroom. Such diversions are reminiscent of carnival sideshows of my childhood — the bearded lady (who perhaps suffered hormonal excesses) or the fat lady (whose rolls of adipose were spectacularly offensive and, for her, no doubt tragic). Responsible parents steered their children away not only to protect them but also because, we were taught, it wasn’t right to enjoy the misfortunes or disadvantages of others. No such lessons seem to prevail today. If we don’t revel in the hilarity of poor, uneducated people, neither do we protest their exploitation. Our silence conveys approval while ratings disprove objection. Culturally, we are all complicit in the decline of community values. Whereupon, we reluctantly praise free speech. I, too, argue — mostly with myself — that we tolerate the worst in defense of the best. We don’t need a First Amendment to protect the sublime or the popular, but to protect what is unpopular and, in collateral damage, the grotesque. Of course, such notions originally were aimed at unpopular political speech. The goal was to liberate ideas, which is not the same as exploring man’s basest instincts. One needn’t be a scholar to infer that our nation’s Founders were little interested in sharing the details of their ablutions or such bodily bloviations as are aired on so-called reality TV. Reality, after all, is what civilization attempts to mitigate. The Honey Boo Boo family proudly shares even that which Beano intends to prevent. During the episode I watched, one was privy to a family weigh-in on a scale deserving of pity, the labor pains of what appeared to be a teenager, and a smattering of remarks about various anatomical regions once quaintly referred to as “privates.” In urgent need of purification, I changed the channel and, lurching past my usual flat-line pursuits, landed in a documentary about Alexandria (ancient Egypt, not modern Virginia.) How do you spell relief? (Don’t ask Honey Boo Boo.) Hearing about a day 2,300 years ago, when knowledge was valued as much as gold, was like sinking into a warm bath. Alexander the Great, who had conquered much of the world by age 24, had learned early during his tutelage under Aristotle that knowledge is the greatest power and set about to make his city the aggregator of the world’s intellectual bounty. Alexandria’s library, ultimately destroyed by future hordes, was the largest on the planet — the World Wide Web of antiquity. Outdoor classrooms were as ubiquitous as Starbucks today. Undoubtedly, there were plenty who, unable to avail themselves of Alexander’s noble intentions, happily would have cradled a remote-control device that permitted them passive depravity. But what was striking is that the larger culture collectively aimed at something higher. Yes, as some are bound to note, there was blood in the streets. Alexandria through its history was home not only to some of mankind’s greatest intellectual achievements but also to some of the human race’s vilest expressions of violence.


    Hot enough for you?

    Columnist Eugene Robinson: All right, now can we talk about climate change? After a year when the lower 48 states suffered the warmest temperatures, and the second-craziest weather, since record-keeping began?


    A rallying cry to tame spending

    Columnist George Will: Republicans, whose divisions cause Democratic gloating, could use a balanced-budget amendment to divide Democrats who threw the remnants of their fiscal self-respect off the cliff.


    Building hope for collaboration in Israel

    Guest columnist Susan Drinan: As I stood in Israel recently for Nazareth Academic Institute's cornerstone ceremony, I felt hope that soon we as an institution might be away from the precipice as we expand into a new space. I have wondered many times if this college would really survive.


    Political ironies of the auto industry
    A Wauconda letter to the editor: Remember Biden’s mantra throughout the campaign? “Osama is dead and GM is alive.” What he didn’t say was alive for who.


    Don’t forget residents in unincorporated areas
    A Mundelein letter to the editor: Don’t forget about us. A reminder to voters and the mayor candidates.


    Respect life in all its forms
    A Glenview letter to the editor: In 2013, it’s morally and spiritually imperative for humanity to have more respect for life. We need to reduce wars, homicides, gun shootings, domestic violence, abortions, child abuse, animal abuse, slaughterhouses, hunting fields, fur farms and animal research labs.


    Will Hostess execs suffer like workers?
    A Streamwood letter to the editor: If prices of ingredients have gone up, then raise the price of the product itself. It happens every day. What sacrifices have been made by upper management? Has their salary reduced twice already in the past?


    Walsh’s message needs to be heard
    A Palatine letter to the editor: Too bad the Herald did not listen to what Joe Walsh had to say about the fiscal cliff and the state of our nation. We are almost $17 trillion in the hole, and President Obama and the Democrats do not care or are oblivious to this fact.


    It’s difficult to measure teacher dedication
    An Arlington Heights letter to the editor: For years the Daily Herald Editorial Board has been critical of teacher salaries, their work ethic, student results and pensions. So how can the Editorial Board be surprised when a number of online commentators launches a diatribe against teachers even in light of the heroics and murder of Sandy Hook Elementary School teacher Victoria Soto?


    Give news space to the compromisers
    A Schaumburg letter to the editor: Why did the Daily Herald feel Joe Walsh’s return from his ignominious two-year term as congressman warranted a front-page article on Jan. 4? This is a man whose last official act in Congress was to vote to drive our nation over the fiscal cliff!


    Schakowsky’s statement was misleading
    A Palatine letter to the editor: I suspect Rep. Schakowsky made her statement just because it sounds good and makes people believe she is trying to protect Social Security from the mean old Republicans.


    Lively war of words between father, son
    An Arlington Heights letter to the editor: Mr. Prescott Sr. has just as much right to free expression as anybody else. I am sure that regardless of the father's opinion he will always have his son's best interests at heart.


    Where has the shame gone?
    A Lake Zurich letter to the editor: There used to be a time when getting an unmarried woman pregnant was a scandalously disrupting event that negatively affected both parties involved and their respective families for years to come. Not so anymore.


    Letter misstated position on taxes
    A Mundelein letter to the editor: Greg Jacobs gets it wrong. His letter from Jan. 6 (Don't Raise Taxes in Mundelein) claims I want to raise taxes. Simply put, I do not.


    No protection for the taxpayer
    A Wheaton letter to the editor: The president of the Illinois Retired Teachers Assn. states, "There is a panicked attempt to strip teachers and other public workers of their constitutionally guaranteed pension benefits." Unfortunately, there is no constitutional guarantee that private sector taxpayers won't be robbed of their legitimately earned income in order to pay for public sector pensions improperly managed by the Illinois legislature.


    Hero takes back seat to a celebrity
    A Naperville letter to the editor: Regarding "In Memoriam 12-27-12." This is a real head scratcher. You have Whitney Houston more prominently featured than Neil Armstrong.


    Is this really equal treatment?
    A Wood Dale letter to the editor: Gays are asking to be given equal treatment. I have no problem with that. Then I read a Jan. 3 story in your paper about a couple of lesbians in Kansas who had a child together with donated sperm. After collecting over $6,000 in child support from the taxpayers, they now want child support from the donor.


    Armed school help, different outcome?
    A Villa Park leter to the editor: The national discourse of our mental health system, gun types, and clip sizes may give some of us a sense of accomplishment, but history instructs us there exists a true defense against bad guys with guns.


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