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Daily Archive : Thursday January 17, 2013

News

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    A staple at the front desk, Gary Steinmann will retire from the West Dundee post office after 40 years.

    Longtime West Dundee postal employees retiring

    There's probably not a West Dundee post office customer that Sue Teas or Gary Steinmann does not know. Together they have been working as either postal carrier or clerk for a total of 69 years. The two longtime employees and customer favorites will retire at the end of January. “When I started, the mail was hand sorted; now, it's all done with automation,” Steinmann said. “After...

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    Former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert.

    Hastert: Boehner should choose next moves wisely

    Former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert says his Republican successor should choose his next moves carefully or he'll find himself a precarious position in the Republican-led House. Hastert, House speaker from 1999 to 2007, is the namesake of the unofficial Hastert rule of bringing legislation to the floor for a vote only if the majority party in the House of Representatives supports it.

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    Schaumburg Police Chief Brian S. Howerton

    Schaumburg leaders says officers' arrests shouldn't taint entire force

    The Schaumburg Police Department is the first and longest accredited law enforcement agency in Illinois, having worn that badge of professionalism since 1986. What impact Wednesday's arrest of three officers on multiple drug conspiracy charges, along with well-publicized stalking claims against Police Chief Brian Howerton, will have on that status and the department's reputation remains to be...

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    D'Andre Howard

    Judge admits girl's dying words in murder trial

    Jurors will hear some of the last words Laura Engelhardt uttered when D'Andre Howard, 24, goes to trial on charges he stabbed her to death, along with her father, Alan Engelhardt, and her grandmother Marlene Gacek in April 2009 at the family's Hoffman Estates home, a Cook County judge ruled Thursday. No trial date has been set for Howard, who was the boyfriend of Laura's older sister, Amanda...

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    Nearly a year after steep fare hikes took effect and a few weeks before additional ones are imposed, Metra leaders approved giving 299 employees raises of up to 33 percent.

    Metra gives 299 workers raises of up to 33 percent

    Nearly a year after steep fare hikes took effect and a few weeks before additional ones are imposed, Metra leaders approved giving 299 employees raises of up to 33 percent. “It brings rhyme and reason to salaries,” Director Jack Schaffer of Cary said. “No one likes raising fares, but if we want to keep up the quality of our management, we have to take care of our people.”

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    Clay Henricksen, right, plays a board game called Racko with 7-year-old Caden Duerkop of Grayslake during “strike camp” at the Grayslake Park District recreation center Thursday. The camp was launched as a result of the teachers strike at Grayslake Elementary District 46.

    Grayslake D46 contract talks fizzle again

    Negotiations on a new employment contract between Grayslake Elementary District 46 board members and the teachers union ended unsuccessfully today, meaning the strike will continue for at least another day. The next session is set for Sunday.

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    Bob Koch of Naperville was one of at least 120 people to attend during the first hour of an open house Thursday night featuring updated designs for the proposed Water Street development in downtown Naperville. Developer Marquette Cos. hosted the open house to gather public input before presenting the proposal to the city council Feb. 19.

    Developers scale back Naperville Water Street plans

    The Water Street development proposed for downtown Naperville has shrunk again. At an open house Thursday night, developer Marquette Companies presented plans that call for shorter buildings and fewer parking spaces as part of the development, which is slated to include a hotel and a mix of retail, restaurant and office spaces. “We've taken height off every building,” said Jeff...

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    Des Plaines City Manager Mike Bartholomew talks about the city's plans for 2013 Thursday during the “State of the City” address at the Des Plaines Chamber of Commerce and Industry annual breakfast.

    Des Plaines spending more on infrastructure in 2013

    Des Plaines city officials on Thursday highlighted the infrastructure projects the city will undertake in the coming year and efforts to draw more businesses into town during the annual Des Plaines Chamber of Commerce & Industry breakfast at Manzo's Banquets.

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    Bloomingdale Park District is planning to renovate the playground structure at Sunnyside Park.

    Bloomingdale Park District seeks input on playground

    Bloomingdale Park District residents can help select color schemes and activity panels for a planned renovation of the playground structure at Sunnyside Park, 291 Glen Ellyn Road, in Bloomingdale. The open house is scheduled for 6 to 7:30 p.m. Feb. 20 in the Community Room of the Johnston Recreation Center. Plans for the new accessible play structures will be on display and refreshments will be...

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    Watchdog: St. Charles youth prison ready for Joliet inmates

    The Illinois Youth Center in St. Charles is both ready to receive juvenile offenders from Joliet and in a better position to provide mental health services than other youth centers if the state would allow that to happen, according to a watchdog organization Thursday. The John Howard Association repeated a call it made in a report last month that said the magnet site for mental health services in...

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    Judge orders man not to have more children

    A northwestern Wisconsin judge has ordered a man not to have any more children until he catches up on past due child support payments. Judge Eugene Harrington also told John Butler that within three minutes of meeting any female, he must tell her that he's a convicted felon and has unpaid child support.

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    Illinois may rank low in pet ownership, but the Daily Herald ranks high. Here is photo editor Jeff Knox's Sam, a 4-year-old Cavachon dog.

    Illinois ranks lowest in pet ownership. Really?

    Illinois residents don't appear to be too fond of pets. Our state ranks in among the lowest in the nation for pet-owning households, with roughly a third of us owning dogs or cats. We have to admit, us animal-loving editors were a bit surprised.

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    Sandra Rogers

    Daughter’s poems can be used in Sandra Rogers’ trial, judge rules

    A teenage girl’s writings that she wanted her father dead can be used in court to prove her mother was not involved in the attack on the man nearly a decade ago. Lake County Judge John Phillips said defense attorneys for Sandra D. Rogers, 56, are allowed to introduce two poems written in a journal by her then-14-year-old daughter that clearly state she wanted to see Rick Rogers dead. The...

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    Wheaton Mayor Michael Gresk says an upscale apartment complex under construction on Wesley Street demonstrates “Wheaton is a very desirable place to live.”

    Gresk: Wheaton moving toward long-term vision for downtown

    Wheaton officials are working on a long-term vision for downtown even as some long-sought developments begin to change the face of the area, Mayor Michael Gresk said Thursday. Gresk touted the benefits of two projects that are expected to be completed in the fall during his annual State of the City address to the Wheaton Chamber of Commerce.

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    Serious crime in Elgin at 40-year low

    Crime in Elgin is at a 40-year low for serious crimes, according to 2012 crime data released Thursday by the Elgin Police Department. Last year, there were only two homicides, compared to five in 2011, along with a 36 percent decrease in burglaries and a 24 percent decrease in rape and criminal sexual assault, Police Chief Jeff Swoboda said.

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    Cases worked by Schaumburg officers under review

    Both Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez and Public Defender Abishi Cunningham have ordered reviews of cases involving the three Schaumburg police officers accused of operating an illicit drug-dealing enterprise for the “thrill” of it. “We're going to be looking at any and all cases they've touched,” said Alvarez spokeswoman Sally Daly. “Whether that's in...

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    Fox River Grove stuck with vehicle stickers

    Vehicle stickers will continue to be a way of life in Fox River Grove, unless the next village board decides to eliminate them. Thursday night, the village board voted to postpone an ordinance that would have killed the program and pushed it off for the next village board to handle.

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    Dist. 211 schedules class for Veterans Day 2014

    In fall 2014, for the first time, students in Palatine-Schaumburg High School District 211 will be in class on Veterans Day. To make up for being in school that day, the students will get the Wednesday before Thanksgiving off.

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    Dist. 214 approves school improvement plans

    The Northwest Suburban High School District 214 school board approved school and district improvement plans as required under the No Child Left Behind Act for failing to make adequate yearly progress two or more consecutive years. “We’re working hard to provide the best opportunities for our students,” said Rosemary Gonzalez-Pinnick, associate superintendent for educational services. “D’s and...

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    Suspicious-looking man follows student home

    Arlington Heights police have issued an alert about a suspicious-looking person who followed a Thomas Middle School student home near West Lynwood and North Kaspar avenues.

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    Skimming device found on ATM in Vernon Hills

    Vernon Hills police have identified a skimming device at the US Bank located at 175 N. Milwaukee Ave. At 7:13 p.m. Wednesday, police said, the device was discovered by a bank customer attempting to use his debit card. The skimming device looks identical to the card reader on the ATM at the bank and was attached with a sticky substance, police said.

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    A new $5 million athletic complex at St. Francis High School in Wheaton is expected to be ready to open in time for the fall sports season in August.

    Wheaton’s St. Francis embarks on $5 million construction campaign

    St. Francis High School in Wheaton is embarking on a $5 million capital construction program that includes a new synthetic turf football field and all-weather track. The project was launched thanks to a $1 million donation from Ron and Teri Franklin, high school sweethearts who graduated from St. Francis in the 1960s and expressed a desire to give back.

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    Algonquin teen to plead guilty but mentally ill in father’s death in 2010

    A 19-year-old from Algonquin is charged with killing his father in February 2010 with a shotgun is set to plead guilty but mentally ill to second-degree murder at his next court appearance in March, his attorney said. David Szalonek, who was 16 at the time, suffers from Asperger's Syndrome and was initially charged with first-degree murder. He faces four to 20 years in prison.

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    RTA mum on harassment complaint

    Officials aren't talking much about a complaint of sexual harassment involving RTA Executive Director Joseph Costello, other than to indicate they have confidence in him.

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    Algeria raided a remote Sahara gas plant on Thursday in an attempt to free dozens of foreign hostages held by militants with ties to Mali’s rebel Islamists, U.K. and Japanese diplomats said. The militants claimed strafing by Algerian helicopters killed 35 hostages and 15 kidnappers.

    Algeria: Army rescues hostages, toll unclear

    Algerian helicopters and special forces stormed a gas plant in the stony plains of the Sahara on Thursday to wipe out Islamist militants and free hostages from at least 10 countries. Bloody chaos ensued, leaving the fate of the fighters and many of the captives uncertain.

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    Alderman Edward M. Burke proposes a ban on the distribution and sale of energy drinks like 5 Hour Energy in Chicago.

    Chicago alderman wants to ban energy drinks

    A Chicago alderman wants to ban the distribution and sale of energy drinks in the city. Alderman Edward M. Burke cites the popularity of Red Bull, Monster, Full Throttle and 5 Hour Energy among teenagers and young adults and the perceived dangers those drinks pose in his proposed ordinance.

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    In this Dec. 2, 2009 file photo, Montreal Alouettes head coach Marc Trestman holds up the Grey Cup for fans during the victory parade in Montreal. The Bears have hired Trestman to replace the fired Lovie Smith, hoping he can get the most out of quarterback Jay Cutler and make Chicago a playoff team on a consistent basis. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Ryan Remiorz, File)

    Emery gets his man in Trestman

    It took weeks and a gazillion interviews, but Bears GM Phil Emery wanted an offensive-oriented head coach and he finally got one. Sure, he had to go to Canada to do it, but he got his man. Ladies and gentlemen ... Marc Trestman!

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    Glencoe man gets 10 years in federal fraud case

    A Glencoe man has been sentenced to 10 years in federal prison for defrauding investors in a now-defunct sleep disorder business. Federal prosecutors say 52-year-old Kenneth Dachman was sentenced Thursday.

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    People in small Hawaii hometown of Manti Te’o are offering support for the Notre Dame linebacker, after the story of his girlfriend and her death from Leukemia were revealed as a hoax.

    Te’o mentioned `girlfriend’ twice recently

    Not once but twice after he supposedly discovered his online girlfriend of three years never even existed, Notre Dame All-American linebacker Manti Te’o perpetuated the heartbreaking story about her death.

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    Nora Leach Peterson

    Elgin woman unfit for trial in frying pan murder case

    An Elgin woman accused of first-degree murder for hitting her boyfriend with a frying pan, which led to his death in August, has been declared unfit to stand trial. Nora Leach Peterson, 35, of the 100 block of State Street, was interviewed four times by a psychologist at the Kane County Diagnostic Center.

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    DuPage County State’s Attorney Bob Berlin, right, with DEA Special Agent Jack Riley, announces criminal charges Thursday against three Schaumburg police officers accused of dealing drugs.

    Prosecutor: Schaumburg cop said he sold drugs “just for the thrill of it”

    It began as a routine drug investigation but authorities soon realized they were onto something “much more sinister.” That’s how the arrests of three Schaumburg cops were characterized Thursday as they were charged with running a criminal drug enterprise. The officers — John Cichy, Matthew Hudak and Terrance O’Brien — are accused of peddling marijuana and cocaine in DuPage County for at least six...

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    Strike threat growing in West Chicago District 33

    Pressure is mounting in West Chicago Elementary District 33 as both sides in tumultuous contract talks between the school board and teachers union are setting deadlines aimed at forcing a settlement.The school board last week announced it will impose its final contract offer on the district's 284 teachers if an agreement isn't reached by Feb. 21. The teachers responded Wednesday by voting...

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    This combination of 2005 and undated file photos shows one of Charles A. McCoy Jr.’s guns included in evidence during his 2005 murder trial in Columbus, Ohio, left, and a side crash test on a 2008 PT Cruiser by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Nearly as many Americans die from guns as from car crashes each year.

    Will Obama’s order lead to surge in gun research?

    Nearly as many Americans die from guns as from car crashes each year. We know plenty about the second problem and far less about the first. A scarcity of research on how to prevent gun violence has left policymakers shooting in the dark as they craft gun control measures without much evidence of what works.

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    Josephine County Sheriff Gil Gilbertson stands in his office in Grants Pass, Ore. Gilbertson is one of a growing number of rural sheriffs and lawmakers vowing to ignore any new gun control legislation, or even make it a crime for federal officials to enforce federal gun policy.

    Sheriffs, state lawmakers push back on gun control

    From Oregon to Mississippi, President Barack Obama’s proposed ban on new assault weapons and large-capacity magazines struck a nerve among rural lawmen and lawmakers, many of whom vowed to ignore any restrictions — and even try to stop federal officials from enforcing gun policy in their jurisdictions.

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    President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio will play big roles in how the looming battle over the government’s borrowing limit goes in the next two months.

    Poll: Most see damage if debt limit not raised

    Most Americans think jarring economic problems will erupt if lawmakers fail to increase the government’s borrowing limit. Yet they’re torn over how or even whether to raise it, leaning toward Republican demands that any boost be accompanied by spending cuts.

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    Ronald Stolberg

    Vernon Hills man says police violated his rights

    Defense attorneys for a Vernon Hills man accused of killing his wife in June 2011, argued in court Thursday that Ronald Stolberg was denied his rights before being questioned by police. That questioning led police to charge Stolberg, now 49, with first-degree murder of Rachel Stolberg, 54. If found guilty, he could spend 60 years in prison.

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    Sheriff seeks help locating potential victims

    Cook County Sheriff Thomas J. Dart is asking for the public’s help in locating additional victims of a man suspected of criminal sexual assault. Brian Thurman, 28, of Melrose Park, was charged Sunday with one count of predatory criminal sexual assault. He is being held at Cook County jail on $480,000 bond.

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    Family calls $22.5 million police settlement ‘bittersweet’
    The parents of a California woman who was raped and injured after Chicago police released her from custody in a troubled neighborhood despite her obvious mental problems said Thursday that a $22.5 million settlement with the city is a “bittersweet victory” that will help pay for her extensive continuing therapy.

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    Researchers release study on Chicago police corruption

    Researchers at the University of Illinois in Chicago are releasing a study that cites 300 cases of Chicago police officers convicted in the last 50 years of serious crimes ranging from murder to running a ring of jewel thieves.

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    Chicago mayor proposes tougher gun regulations

    Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has sent a proposal to the city council to increase jail time for anyone who fails to report that their guns have been lost, stolen or sold.

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    In this Dec. 2, 2009, courtroom sketch, Tahawwur Hussain Rana appears before federal Magistrate Judge Nan Nolan in Chicago. Rana was convicted in 2011 of providing material support to overseas terrorism, including a Pakistani group whose 2008 attacks in Mumbai, India, left more than 160 people dead.

    Chicago man who backed terror group gets 14 years

    A Chicago businessman was sentenced to 14 years in prison Thursday for providing material support to overseas terrorism, including a Pakistani group whose 2008 attacks in Mumbai, India, left more than 160 people dead.

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    Kenneth Conley

    Bank robber indicted in Chicago high-rise escape

    A bank robber has been indicted on a federal escape charge after he and a cellmate broke out of a high-rise Chicago lockup. The U.S. attorney’s office announced Kenneth Conley’s indictment on Thursday.

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    Former Glen Ellyn student guilty of attempted computer tampering

    Prosecutors say Abraham Ali was trying to be subtle when he hacked into his school’s computer system and changed two failing grades to Ds. What he apparently didn’t count on was causing the entire system to crash, prompting an investigation that resulted in his arrest on felony charges.

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    Urooj Khan, 46, was fatally poisoned with cyanide just as he was about to collect his $425,000 lottery payout.

    Lottery winner’s body to be exhumed Friday

    Authorities plan to exhume the body of a Chicago businessman Friday in hopes of learning exactly how he ingested a lethal dose of cyanide.

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    State Sen. Donne Trotter, a Chiago Democrat, is accused of trying to board a flight with a gun and ammunition in his bag.

    March trial set for state senator on gun charge

    A judge in Chicago has scheduled a March 12 trial date for an Illinois state senator accused of trying to board a flight with a gun and ammunition, but a police officer’s testimony about having trouble finding the small gun in a garment bag may help establish the politician had forgotten the weapon was there.

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    Deb Darzinskis

    New housing chief named in DuPage

    Impressed with her work in an interim role, the DuPage Housing Authority board has named Deb Darzinskis the agency’s executive director. Darzinskis had been serving as interim executive director since the August termination of David Hoicka, who was let go just eight months after being hired to help overhaul the housing authority that once mismanaged more than $10 million in federal funding.

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    Dawn Clark Netsch

    Dawn Clark Netsch discloses she has ALS

    Former state Comptroller Dawn Clark Netsch — who spent 18 years serving in the state senate and was the first woman to run on a major ticket for governor in Illinois — has been diagnosed with a fatal nerve disorder. “Basically it’s ALS, Lou Gehrig’s disease,” Netsch said in an interview with WMAQ-TV and the Chicago Sun-Times. ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, is a degenerative disorder that...

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    Expert to speak on Iran policy

    John Mearsheimer, the E. Wendell Harrison Distinguished Service Professor and Co-Director of the Program on International Security at the University of Chicago, will speak at 2 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 27 on the topic of “America’s Misguided Policy Concerning Iran.”

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    Dist. 50 to hold dual language informational meeting

    Woodland Elementary District 50 will host an informational meeting about the district’s dual language program for parents of students entering kindergarten in the fall. The meeting will be at 6 p.m. Jan. 23 at Woodland Primary School, 17366 W. Gages Lake Road, Gages Lake.

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    Phone in for free legal advice Saturday

    Chicago Bar Association members offer free legal advice from 9 a.m. to noon Jan. 19 as part of a call-in program. Callers may dial (312) 554-2001 to speak to an attorney about a legal question or issue.

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    Election board allows Ela Township candidates to stay on ballot

    Efforts by one group of Ela Township candidates to get their opponents knocked off the April 9 ballot have proved fruitless, officials confirmed Thursday. An electoral board has ruled the members of the Ela First slate, led by incumbent Township Supervisor Lucy Prouty, can stay in the race.

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    Barrington bicyclist’s volunteerism wins award

    Barrington resident Bob Lee has been named the winner of the 2013 Outstanding Volunteer Award by the Chicago chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals. The prestigious award is given to the individual who has demonstrated exemplary volunteerism through the dedication of significant personal time, talents and resources.

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    Cruz sniffs a training rattle.

    Chicago aquarium takes in blind sea lion pup

    Two rescued California sea lions, including a pup found blinded from gunshot wounds, now have a home at Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium.The blind 9-month-old male pup comes to Chicago from The Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito, Calif. Aquarium officials say the pup is the first blind marine mammal to undergo rehabilitation at Shedd.

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    Lawyer: Surgeons left 16 items in German after op

    BERLIN — A lawyer in Germany claims surgeons left up to 16 objects in her client’s body after an operation for prostate cancer.Annette Corinth says doctors removed a needle, compresses and surgical strips from banker Helmut Brecht after his wounds failed to heal properly following surgery in 2009.

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    Moylan hosts town hall meeting in Park Ridge

    State Rep. Marty Moylan, a Des Plaines Democrat representing the 55th House District, will host a town hall meeting from 7 to 9 p.m. Monday, Jan. 28, at the Maine Township offices, 1700 Ballard Road, Park Ridge. The meeting is to garner input from constituents on current issues facing Illinois.

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    Elk Grove Township Supervisor Nanci Vanderweel is retiring this April after nearly 28 years with the township. Vanderweel was the township’s first female supervisor and previously served as an Elk Grove Village trustee.

    Elk Grove supervisor reflects on long career

    After nearly 28 years with Elk Grove Township, Supervisor Nanci Vanderweel is stepping down at the end of her elected four-year term this April. “This has been very satisfying ... now, it’s time to move on and let somebody else sit here,” said the 75-year-old who became the first woman supervisor in the township’s 162-year history. She reflected this week on her long...

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    Christian Friberg of St. Paul, Minn., launches from the 150-foot ramp at last year’s Norge International Ski Jumping Tournament in Fox River Grove. This year’s tournament takes place Jan. 26-27.

    Enjoy international competition at Norge Ski Club

    If you want to watch U.S. ski jumpers compete against international jumping teams on a 70-meter hill, then mark your calendars for the upcoming 108th annual Norge International Ski Jumping Tournament in Fox River Grove. The tournament will be on Saturday, Jan. 26, and Sunday, Jan. 27, at the Norge Ski Club, north of routes 14 and 22 in Fox River Grove.

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    Melanie Jane Nicolas and her children, Jayden, 5, Dylan, 6, Dean, 4, and Jardeleza Javier, 9, show the six labeled money jars the kids use to divide their money.

    Naperville woman teaches kids the value of a dollar

    Naperville resident Melanie Jane Nicolas believes kids should manage their own money as soon as they understand the difference between wants and needs and she's teaching them how to do this through the Kids Wealth International Club. Our thoughts, attitudes and beliefs determine our wealth potential, she says.

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    A subdivision of homes built on the 11.5 mile levee designed to protect Augusta, Ga. from the Savannah River. Inspectors with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers taking the first-ever inventory of flood control systems overseen by the federal government have found hundreds of structures at risk of failing and endangering people and property in 37 states, many because of building encroachment.

    AP: Deficient levees found across America

    Inspectors taking the first-ever inventory of flood control systems overseen by the federal government have found hundreds of structures at risk of failing and endangering people and property in 37 states. Levees deemed in unacceptable condition span the breadth of America. They are in every region, in cities and towns big and small: Washington, D.C., and Sacramento Calif., Augusta, Ga., and...

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    Syrian activists: More than 100 killed in village

    Forces loyal to President Bashar Assad swept through a small farming village in central Syria this week, torching houses and shooting and stabbing residents in an attack that killed up to 106 people, including women and children, activists said Thursday.

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    Steven Gee

    Third suspect pleads not guilty in fatal Waukegan shooting

    The third man charged with the murder of a 42-year-old Waukegan man during a drug deal that went bad pleaded not guilty in Lake County court Thursday. Steven Gee, 21, of the 1700 block of North McAree Road in Waukegan, faces eight counts of first-degree murder for the Dec. 13 shooting death of Randy Hardy of Waukegan.

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    Editorial: RTA’s tax questions merit broader study

    A Daily Herald editorial says that while it may be true that there's nothing illegal about downstate offices many Chicago-area corporations have set up, the RTA and other groups have raised serious questions that deserve scrutiny.

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    A new exhibit at the Harley-Davison Museum features a behind-the-scenes look into the design process behind its anniversary celebrations.

    Harley museum opens exhibit on anniversary designs

    A new exhibit at the Harley-Davison Museum features a behind-the-scenes look into the design process behind its anniversary celebrations.The exhibit includes dozens of sketches showing the development of logos, displays demonstrating the manufacturing processes used to create the special anniversary parts, and examples of the limited-edition anniversary motorcycles.

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    French troops pressed northward in Mali toward territory occupied by radical Islamists on Wednesday, military officials said, announcing the start of a land assault that will put soldiers in direct combat “within hours.”

    Town 90 miles from Mali capital on alert

    BAMAKO, Mali — A town 90 miles from Mali’s capital was put on alert Wednesday, and roughly 100 Malian soldiers sped there after a reported sighting of jihadists in the vicinity.Banamba is connected by a secondary road to the garrison town of Diabaly, which was taken by Islamic extremists and has been the scene of intense fighting with French special forces.

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    People familiar with White House thinking say President Barack Obama is likely to name top national security aide Denis McDonough as his next chief of staff, Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013.

    AP: McDonough likely for chief of staff

    President Barack Obama is likely to name Denis McDonough, one of his closest national security advisers, as his next chief of staff, according to people familiar with the White House thinking. However, White House officials say a final decision has not been made.

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    President Barack Obama’s sweeping gun-control package faces an uncertain future on Capitol Hill, where majority House Republicans are rejecting his proposals while the president’s allies in the Democratic-controlled Senate are stopping well short of pledging immediate action.

    Obama’s gun measures face a tough road in Congress

    President Barack Obama’s sweeping gun-control package faces an uncertain future on Capitol Hill, where majority House Republicans are rejecting his proposals while the president’s allies in the Democratic-controlled Senate are stopping well short of pledging immediate action.

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    Bobbi Braico, a FISH Food Pantry volunteer from West Dundee, gets ready to deliver a cart filled with food to a needy family.

    Lean time of year for food pantry

    Volunteers at the FISH Food Pantry in Carpentersville distributed food to slightly more than 290 additional Dundee Township families last year than the previous year. When the clock struck midnight on Jan. 1, 5,252 had walked through the pantry’s door in the Meadowdale Shopping Center, said FISH President Mary Graziano.

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    Naperville Patriots teams win national championships

    Add a couple more national titles to the Naperville Patriots mantle. The youth football program recently won its fifth and sixth titles in nine years.

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    NE Ind. schools to consider arming teachers

    Teachers in a northeastern Indiana county may soon be carrying guns in school if officials accept a proposal from the county sheriff.Under Noble County Sheriff Doug Harp’s plan, officials would choose up to four teachers in each school to undergo firearms training and be appointed as special deputies. The teachers’ authority would be limited to school buildings.

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    Teen killed outside high school basketball game

    Police are investigating the death of a 17-year-old boy who was shot outside a gym at Chicago State University after a high school basketball game. The Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office says Tyrone Lawson was shot multiple times and died late Wednesday at Advocate Christ Medical Center.

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    Urbana High School sophomore Yue “Penny” Xu, 16, surrounded by a table full of chess trophies, at her home in Urbana.

    Urbana sophomore is chess champion

    Talk to Urbana High School student Yue “Penny” Xu, and you’d find her a good-natured, talkative high school sophomore. But play chess with her, and you might get a different impression.Her coach at Urbana, Jeff Davis, has played her in tournaments and said she’s focused and serious while playing. “You wouldn’t know she’s a kid after you start playing,” Davis said. Hector Hernandez, who coaches...

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    A bow tie always makes a fashion statement, but gay activist and actor Jesse Tyler Ferguson, getting a tie adjustment from Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon during a trip this month to Naperville, is making a political statement with his Tie The Knot campaign to support marriage equality.

    Tie that binds Lincoln, Marx, Sinatra and Magilla Gorilla

    The one fashion accessory that President Obama seems certain to sport at Monday's inauguration ball is the same one that Abraham Lincoln, lots of other presidents and even some suburban characters have favored: the bow tie.

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    The owners of the Madison Mallards team is unveiling a plan for a $1 million renovation of the 83-year-old Simmons Field in Kenosha.

    Fielders' problems open door for Kenosha team

    The owners of the Madison Mallards team will bring a Northwoods League baseball franchise to Kenosha. The group on Thursday will unveil a plan in partnership with the city for a $1 million renovation of the 83-year-old Simmons Field. The market area includes northern Lake County, where the Lake County Fielders played in 2010 and 2011.

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    Dawn Patrol: Arrested Schaumburg cops in court; day 2 of Grayslake Dist. 46 strike

    Arrested Schaumburg cops in court today; Dist. 46 teachers start second day of strike; Dist. 33 teachers agree to set date for strike; voters may have say on making Longmeadow Parkway project a tollway; Elgin talks video gambling; Marc Trestman NFL material?

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    Elgin businesses and organizations are lobbying the city to allow video gambling. Pictured is a video poker machine at The Assembly in Hoffman Estates.

    Elgin to hear push for video gambling

    Elgin businesses and organizations plan to ask the city council next week to allow video gambling, arguing customers and members are flocking to towns that allow the practice.“Elgin is an island surrounded by cities that have video gambling,” said American Legion Post 57 Commander Norm Bellows. “It hurts businesses. It’s about having an equal playing field,”

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    Dist. 15 parents want Friday early release option

    Parents in Palatine Township Elementary District 15 are speaking out against plans that could put a late start or early release on Mondays or Wednesdays next year. Parents are instead asking for an early release on Friday afternoons, which was not an option in an online survey the district created. “We are all for excellence in teaching, but there are better ways to accomplish this without a...

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    Pepper spray released at Barrington High

    Pepper spray was released in the crowded hallways of Barrington High School Wednesday afternoon as students were dismissing for the day. A student released a small amount of pepper spray in what appears to be an accident, according to a post on the school's Facebook page.

Sports

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    Trestman takes Bears, Cutler into new era

    Bears GM Phil Emery has taken a gamble hiring a head coach who’s been out of the country the last five years, but high risk with high reward is precisely what this stodgy, old franchise needs. The last decade of Bears football had brought a shocking reality on game day. The coaching staff’s inability to adjust — to the opponent, its own personnel or the elements, to name a few — was hopelessly apparent.

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    Bears’ Trestman might just be guy for the job

    For 30 years the McCaskey family has been looking for a head coach with "academic intellect" and Marc Trestman fits the description. Ever since then-president Mike McCaskey, the Ivy Leaguer, fired Mike Ditka 20 years ago, the Bears have been looking for a sort of a football philosopher.

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    Frantic Lisle comeback falls one point short

    Even Lisle coach Dan Murray, the picture of intensity on the bench, couldn’t help but let a smile creep onto his face during the last timeout. After all this, his Lions could win this thing. Lisle missed two shots in the game’s final seconds, and Plano hung on for a 33-32 win in Thursday’s championship game of the Interstate Eight Conference Tournament in Wilmington after being up 15 with five minutes and change left.

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

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

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

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

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    Thursday’s boys swimming scoreboard
    Here are varsity boys swimming results from Thursday's meets, as reported to the Daily Herald.

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

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    In this July 19, 2009, file photo, Lance Armstrong crosses the finish line during the 15th stage of the Tour de France cycling race in Verbier, Switzerland. Armstrong confessed to using performance-enhancing drugs to win the Tour de France during a taped interview with Oprah Winfrey that aired Thursday, reversing more than a decade of denial.

    Armstrong to Oprah: ‘I’m a flawed character’

    He did it. He finally admitted it. Lance Armstrong doped. He was light on the details and didn’t name names. He mused that he might not have been caught if not for his comeback in 2009. And he was certain his “fate was sealed” when longtime friend, training partner and trusted lieutenant George Hincapie, who was along for the ride on all seven of Armstrong’s Tour de France wins, was forced to give him up to anti-doping authorities.

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    Point guard Jalen Brunson is having a ball leading a Stevenson team that’s finding plenty of success this season.

    Brunson’s brush with fame? It’s just getting started

    Stevenson point guard Jalen Brunson has NBA bloodlines and still regrets a missed opportunity to have a Michael Jordan jersey autographed by MJ. But it's looking like Brunson has plenty to look forward to in his basketball life.

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    Back in Aurora, Clanton making herself at home again

    Ashley Luke Clanton could do without the traffic, but her return home to Chicago does come with its perks. “Starbucks,” she laughed. “It was five years since I had been to Starbucks.” Clanton, a high school All-America at Waubonsie Valley and three-time Daily Herald All-Area captain, is back in sweet “home” Chicago this year, taking the girls basketball coaching position at Mother McAuley. Clanton coached the last five years at Danville, three hours south of Aurora and east of Champaign.In a way, leaving Danville was leaving home.

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    Luol Deng, who made his first all-star appearance last year, has the best statistics of the three Bulls who might make the all-star team as reserves.

    Assessing Bulls’ all-star chances
    All-star starters were unveiled Thursday night, so the next logical step is to assess the Eastern Conference reserves and which Bulls, if any, are likely to draw an invite. Here’s the problem: The race is too close to call.

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    Kym takes control for Libertyville

    Libertyville senior forward Dana Kym was around the rim Thursday night. Kym dominated the boards, grabbing 19 rebounds and scoring 11 points, as the Wildcats defeated visiting Lake Zurich 50-25 in North Suburban Lake Division action.

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    McInerney, Benet win a thriller

    This one had it all, from four-point plays to acrobatic drives to the basket and dominant play on the interior. It was another typical night in the ultracompetitive East Suburban Catholic Conference. Benet, playing its first home game since Nov. 30, treated its fans to a stirring 51-50 victory against highly regarded Marian Catholic on Thursday night thanks to the heroics of senior forward Pat McInerney. It was McInerney’s free throw with 1.8 seconds remaining that broke a 50-50 tie.

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    Illinois guard Brandon Paul, right, tries to move past Northwestern forward Jared Swopshire (12) during Thursday night’s game between the Illini and the Wildcats. Illinois’ 68-54 loss could cost the team its Top 25 ranking.

    Wildcats hand Illini 3rd straight loss

    CHAMPAIGN — Northwestern and Illinois were both looking to bounce back from bad blowout losses, games where neither team could shoot or play defense. Only the Wildcats improved, extending No. 23 Illinois’ losing streak to three games while handing the Illini a 68-54 home loss Thursday night that could cost them their Top 25 ranking.

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    Batavia teammates cheer for Liza Fruendt, center, after she scored her 1,000th career point Thursday against Larkin at Batavia.

    Batavia's Fruendt reaches 1,000 points

    The last thing Liza Fruendt expected when she began her career at Batavia was a night like Thursday. But not only did that night arrive — when Fruendt reached the 1,000-point milestone — she accomplished it early enough in her career it's a good bet there's more records to come. Batavia hosted Larkin with Fruendt needing 6 points. The first three came on a 3-point basket that opened the scoring in Batavia's 80-29 win. Moments later Fruendt passed into the post to her best friend Erin Bayram who kicked the ball back to Fruendt for another 3 from the wing and her 1,000th point.

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    Surging Jacobs looking forward to MLK tests

    Retiring Jacobs coach Jim Hinkle has his final team on a roll following a slow start. The Golden Eagles improved to 8-7 on Tuesday with a thrilling 76-66 double-overtime victory over rival Dundee-Crown at the Eagles’ Nest, highlighted by senior Nick Ledinsky’s game-tying 3-pointer at the regulation buzzer. Jacobs opened the year with 3 losses at the Quincy Thanksgiving Tournament before dropping its home opener against Huntley on Dec. 7.

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    Warren outfielder Megan Sowa will continue her softball career at Drake University.

    Warren’s Sowa will be chillin’ at Drake

    Warren's Megan Sowa is warmed comfy-coozy by the fact that this winter she signed a national letter of intent to play Division I softball for Drake University in Iowa.

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    Zeitz double-doubles in West Aurora’s loss

    Wheaton Warrenville South 49, West Aurora 36: The Blackhawks (9-10, 4-6) came up short against the No. 4 Tigers despite 12 points and 10 rebounds from Abriya Zeitz and Erin Jacobsen’s 9 points and 3 assists.

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    Jacobs’ Dalton Baran, bottom, struggles under the control of Dundee-Crown’s Martell Thompson during their 138-pound match at Carpentersville on Thursday night. Thompson won the match with a pin.

    Dundee-Crown battles past Jacobs

    While Dundee-Crown wrestler Ray Griggel continues to deal with an injury he sustained blocking a kick return during football season, it’s not stopping him in his quest for state. The Chargers’ lone senior says it’s taken him out of rhythm this season, a year in which he’s only wrestled in 6 matches. But nights like Thursday, where emotions were high in his final match at Dundee-Crown (11-7, 2-4) on senior night against District 300-rival Jacobs, it can only be of help in reaching that state goal. Griggel was able to defeat Mark Mamola 5-2 in the 220-pound weight class to get his fifth win while he watched his underclass teammates help him leave D-C in style by staving off the Golden Eagles 36-24 in the final Fox Valley Conference meet of the season for both teams.

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    Cully Payne works for an opening against DePaul.

    Turns out Payne is Loyola’s gain
    There aren’t many people who can match or exceed Cully Payne’s total of college choices. What Payne does know is it hasn’t been a mistake to be right by Lake Michigan and playing basketball for Loyola University. The Schaumburg High School graduate feels right at home on Chicago’s far North Side after a long and circuitous odyssey. “I really believe everything happens for a reason,” Payne said. “I’m lucky to land in Chicago with a great athletic program on the rise and at a great academic school. “My family and grandparents are 35-40 minutes away and it’s a great environment in the city. I couldn’t ask for a better place.”

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    For Naperville North’s Daly, a meet worth remembering

    Naperville North senior Kaitlyn Daly was not going to miss a single moment of Thursday’s DuPage Valley Conference meet against Naperville Central.

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    Harvest Christian spanks IMSA

    Harvest Christian 46, IMSA 31: Noah Fox had 17 points to lead the Lions to a Northeastern Athletic Conference win. Stuart Wolff added 9 points for Harvest (12-6, 6-2), which won for the 10th time in its last 11 games. Dan Turpin and Jon Vislisel each had 7 points for the Lions.

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    Girls basketball/Fox Valley roundup

    Bartlett 39, Waubonsie Valley 24: Liz Arco scored 11 points and Alyssa Hernandez added 10 as Bartlett (12-9, 6-2) won in the Upstate Eight Valley. The Hawks led 28-10 at halftime.IMSA 32, Harvest Christian 28: Kylee Knox had 15 points, 7 rebounds and 3 steals to lead Harvest (2-17, 1-5) in the Northeastern Athletic Conference. “Kylee had a great night all around,” said Lions’ coach Kelly Friestad. “She keeps giving us all she’s got. We need more players to have that scoring mentality.” Sarah Kott had 6 rebounds and 3 steals for the Lions, while Sydney Koonce had 6 rebounds and Morgan Lockwood 4 steals.Elgin Academy 36, Cornerstone Christian 20: Alysson Wittmeyer had 8 points while Trennedy Kleczewski and Rachel Cain added 7 each to lead the Hilltoppers (9-10) to a nonconference win.BC to raise funds for Sandy Hook: The Burlington Central girls basketball team will be holding a fundraiser tonight at its home game against Genoa-Kingston, with fund raised to benefit the victims of the Sandy Hook school shootings. Sophomores Jackie Collins and Alison Colby are leading the effort, with the support of Rockets’ coach Mark Smith. The girls will be wearing and selling T-shirts and green ribbons and will be holding a bake sale to raise money. The sophomore game begins at 5:45 p.m. and the varsity game at 7:15 p.m.

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    Metea Valley trio too much for South Elgin

    When South Elgin’s bus turned into the Metea Valley parking lot Thursday night, the Storm must have seen the message on the marquee congratulating senior guard Bria Walker for her 1,000th varsity point.

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    Talk show host Oprah Winfrey interviews Lance Armstrong during taping for the show “Oprah and Lance Armstrong: The Worldwide Exclusive” in Austin, Texas. Armstrong confessed to using performance-enhancing drugs to win the Tour de France cycling during the interview that aired Thursday, reversing more than a decade of denial.

    Armstrong admits doping: ‘I’m a flawed character’

    He did it. He finally admitted it. Lance Armstrong doped. He was light on the details and didn’t name names. He mused that he might not have been caught if not for his comeback in 2009. And he was certain his “fate was sealed” when longtime friend, training partner and trusted lieutenant George Hincapie was forced to give him up to anti-doping authorities.

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    Addison Trail hosted Willowbrook Thursday night for girls basketball.

    Images: Addison Trail vs. Willowbrook, girls basketball
    Addison Trail hosted Willowbrook Thursday night for girls basketball.

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    Batavia teammates applaud for Liza Fruendt, center, during a time out following her 1000th career point.

    Images: Larkin vs. Batavia, girls basketball
    Larkin and Batavia faced off in a girls basketball matchup Thursday night in Batavia. Liza Fruendt scored her 1000th carrer point for Batavia in the game.

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    Emery, Trestman certain have a meeting of the minds

    Phil Emery and Marc Trestman were the happiest men in the land Thursday as a new chapter in Bears history began. Spellman's Scorecard looks at the Emery-Trestman synergy, the T'eo saga, and of course, much, much more.

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    Marc Trestman, the new coach of the Chicago Bears, was introduced Thursday morning at Halas Hall. He met recently with Bears quarterback Jay Cutler, and said he can’t wait to “go to work with him.”

    Trestman says his players must REALLY love football
    New Bears head coach Marc Trestman's area of expertise is on the offensive side of the ball, but he's looking forward to the challenge of leading an entire team, and he has some very specific ideas on the best way to accomplish that.

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    Freshman Monica Hinderer is having a big positive impact on the Harper womens’ soccer and basketball programs.

    Two-sport standout Hinderer grabs the spotlight at Harper

    While most of her high school peers were playing basketball under the bright lights in conferences like the Mid-Suburban League, DuPage Valley and Upstate Eight, current Harper College freshman center Monica Hinderer was playing at lower-profile Willows Academy in Des Plaines. That made it difficult for four-year schools to get a glimpse of the 6-foot-1 center. According to her father Doug, Monica never had interest from four-year schools in high school. That’s starting to change now, as a result of Hinderer’s recent basketball performances at Harper. She tied her career-high with 33 points in a victory over Wright College on Tuesday and leads the Hawks in scoring, rebounds, field goal percentage, steals and blocks. Earlier this school year, Hinderer helped the womens' soccer to a Region IV title.

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    There’s strength in numbers at Grayslake North

    Grayslake North coach Todd Grunloh will use seven or eight players heavily in his rotation. But this year’s team is so deep that he’s often reaching six players down into his bench for what has been an 11-man rotation for many games. The revolving door seems to be working as the Knights sit at 10-5 on the season and could be fighting for a Fox Valley Fox Division title.

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    Relieved of his point guard duties, Vernon Hills’ Stephen Curry is seeing a surge in his scoring.

    Vernon Hills stays committed to 3-point plan

    For a team that usually likes to live by 3-pointers, the Vernon Hills boys basketball team was often dying by them over the holidays. The Cougars went just 1-3 at the Wheeling Wildcat Hardwood Classic as their main 3-point shooters (Robby Nardini, Dylan McNamara and Nate Rathod) combined to hit just 21 percent of their attempts from long range (13 of 63).

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    Fire picks midfielder Emane in MLS SuperDraft

    The Chicago Fire used its only pick in Thursday’s MLS SuperDraft to select 20-year-old midfielder Yazid Atouba Emane from Cameroon.

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    How Emery selected Trestman

    General manager Phil Emery went through an arduous process deciding on the Bears' new head coach, but he found a lot of the qualities he was looking for in Marc Trestman.

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    Blackhawks owner Rocky Wirtz says he understands the anger and frustration some fans feel, but he’s confident that in the long run, fans will return.

    Wirtz Q&A: No long-term damage from NHL lockout
    Blackhawks chairman Rocky Wirtz kept a low profile during the NHL lockout, but he was solidly behind commissioner Gary Bettman. In a Q&A with veteran hockey writer Tim Sassone, Wirtz said he doesn’t believe the NHL suffered any lasting damage during the more than three-month shutdown, and he was prepared for the season to be canceled if it came to that.

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    Rookie Brandon Saad made the Blackhawks roster and will join the team for is NHL opener on Saturday in Los Angeles.

    Rookie Saad makes Hawks’ roster for opener

    When rookie left wing Brandon Saad arrived from Rockford the other day, he said this Blackhawks roster was going to be a tough one to crack.Consider it cracked. Saad left with the team for Los Angeles on Thursday as part of the 23-man roster.

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    Cubs reach out to an agreeable Mark Prior

    Cubs minor-leaguers in town for a rookie camp this week got to hear from former players such as Kerry Wood about playing in Chicago. One surprise guest was Mark Prior, who was to address the youngsters late Thursday. Prior's promising career has been derailed by injuries but the Cubs said he wanted to meet the young players.

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    Annie Scholes of Wheaton Academy,left, and Kelly Karlis of Montini go for a rebound during the Montini at Wheaton Academy girls basketball game Tuesday.

    As usual, shootout won’t be easy for Montini

    Jason Nichols has never won a game at the McDonald’s Shootout, and there’s a good reason for that. He always asks to play the best team available. His Montini teams more often than not get it. This year is no different.

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    St. Charles East’s Brad Kearbey, top, pictured earlier in his high school career, is up to 160 pounds where he has a 20-7 record for the 15-1 Saints.

    Catching up with St. Charles East’s Brad Kearbey

    Aurora Christian’s Ryan McQuade hasn’t taken one for the team. He’s taken 32 for the team.

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    Elgin wrestlers Richie Santana, from left, Jeff Morrow and Zack McCullough have a combined record of 70-5 for the Maroons this season.

    Elgin trio having success on the mat

    The more you work at something, the better you become at it. That has most definitely been the case for the Elgin wrestling trio of Zach McCullough, Jeffrey Morrow and Ritchie Santana. Immersed in the sport since they were young children, the trio is enjoying tremendous success this season, sporting a combined 70-5 mark heading into today’s Upstate Eight Conference River Division tournament at Batavia.

  •  
    Marc Trestman, the new coach of the Chicago Bears, was introduced Thursday morning at Halas Hall. He met recently with Bears quarterback Jay Cutler, and said he can’t wait to “go to work with him.”

    Bears GM, coach eager to get to work

    A new era for the Chicago Bears officially began Thursday when general manager Phil Emery took the microphone at Halas Hall and introduced Marc Trestman as the 14th head coach in team history. “Marc is the man who is going to work with all of us to attain our goal to win championships and to be in the mix to win championships,” Emery said. “I’m very happy with the choice.”

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    New head coach Marc Trestman will call plays for the Chicago Bears and work closely with quarterback Jay Cutler, above, next season. While Cutler is the next project for the new Bears coach, here’s a look at other quarterbacks who have been tutored by Trestman:

    Images: The Quarterbacks of Marc Trestman
    Images of quarterbacks that have been under the tutelage of new Bears head coach Marc Trestman through the years. Trestman, announced as the team's 14th head coach during a Thursday Halas Hall press conference, is recognized as an offensive expert. Trestman most recently coached the Montreal Alouettes of the CFL.

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    Blackhawks owner Rocky Wirtz says he understands the anger and frustration some fans feel toward the NHL lockout, but he told the Daily Herald he doesn't believe there will be any long-term damage to the sport.

    Wirtz Q&A: No long-term damage from NHL lockout

    Blackhawks chairman Rocky Wirtz kept a low profile during the NHL lockout, but he was solidly behind commissioner Gary Bettman. In a Q&A with veteran hockey writer Tim Sassone, Wirtz said he doesn’t believe the NHL suffered any lasting damage during the more than three-month shutdown, and he was prepared for the season to be canceled if it came to that.

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    Phil Schuetz

    Basketball MVPs, Week 7

    Senior forward Phil Schuetz of Aurora Central Catholic and senior guard Toni Romiti of Hinsdale South have earned MVP honors from the Daily Herald for their recent basketball performances. Schuetz had 34 points and 6 steals to lead the Chargers to a 4-point win over Joliet Catholic, while Romiti scored 40, 25 and 19 in victories over West Suburban Conference competition.

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    Mike North video: Mike North and Jay Mohr discuss the new Bears head coach

    Mike North wonders why it took so long for Mike Trestman to get a head coaching job. The Bears are historically rich team. Why didn't they go for a bigger name? He really doesn't know what to expect and thinks the team has more problems than just the coaching staff.

Business

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    AAR declares quarterly dividend

    Aircraft maintenance and support company AAR said its board of directors declared a quarterly cash dividend of.0 75 cents per share, to be paid on Feb. 12 to stockholders of record as of the close of business on January 29.

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    John Henkel

    Online publisher allows you to design your own book

    Kukec's eBuzz column focuses on PicabooYearbooks.com, a web site that allows you to publish your own digital book.

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    The burned auxiliary power unit battery from a JAL Boeing 787 that caught fire Jan. 7 at Boston’s Logan International Airport.

    Lithium batteries central to Boeing’s 787 woes

    Lithium batteries that can leak corrosive fluid and start fires have emerged as the chief safety concern involving Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner, a problem that apparently is far more serious than government or company officials acknowledged less than a week ago.

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    U.S. stocks rose, sending the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index to a five-year high, amid better- than-forecast initial jobless claims and housing data.

    S&P 500 surges on housing starts, jobless claims

    The Standard and Poor’s 500 index climbed to another five-year high after strong reports on housing starts and unemployment claims made investors more optimistic about the U.S. economy.

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    Federal officials say they are temporarily grounding Boeing’s 787 Dreamliners until the risk of possible battery fires is addressed.

    Boeing: 787 production continues as planned

    Boeing said 787s will keep rolling off the assembly line while it works to get the planes grounded by regulators back flying again.

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    Critics argue that big banks that were bailed out by taxpayers during the financial crisis are again being favored over the victims of their mortgage abuses.

    Taxpayers will ease banks’ costs in mortgage deal

    Consumer advocates have complained that U.S. mortgage lenders are getting off easy in a deal to settle charges that they wrongfully foreclosed on many homeowners. Now it turns out the deal is even sweeter for the lenders than it appears: Taxpayers will subsidize them for the money they’re ponying up.

  •  
    Subway, the world’s largest fast food chain, is facing criticism after an Australian man posted a picture on the company’s Facebook page on Jan. 16 of one of its famous sandwiches next to a tape measure that seems to shows it’s not as long as promised.

    Subway ‘crisis’: Is footlong sub really 11 inches?

    What’s in an inch? Apparently, enough missing meat, cheese and tomatoes to cause an uproar. Subway, the world’s largest fast food chain with 37,000 locations, is facing widespread criticism after a man who appears to be from Australia posted a photo on the company’s Facebook page of one of its footlong sandwiches next to a tape measure that shows the sub is just 11 inches.

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    Grainger named to 2013 Fortune 100 Best Companies list

    Mettawa-based W.W. Grainger announced that it was named to the 2013 Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For list.“We are honored to receive this distinction,” said Grainger Chairman, President and CEO Jim Ryan.

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    United breaks ground on new Newark widebody hangar
    United Airlines broke ground on a new widebody aircraft maintenance hangar at Newark Liberty International Airport.The airline, which is investing more than $25 million in the 90,000 square foot facility, expects to complete construction by year end.

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    A.M. Castle restructuring to reduce workforce 10 percent

    Metal and plastics specialty manufacturer A. M. Castle & Co. announced plans to restructure the company, which it said will improve its operating profit by $33 million and reduce its workforce by 10 percent once implemented this year.

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    U.S. rate on 30-year mortgage dips to 3.38 pct.

    The average U.S. rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage inched closer to its record low this week, helping to keep home buying more affordable. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac says the rate on the 30-year loan dipped to 3.38 percent. That’s down from 3.40 percent last week.

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    U.S. builders started work on homes in December at the fastest pace since the summer of 2008 and finished 2012 as the best year for residential construction since the early stages of the housing crisis.

    U.S. home construction in 2012 highest in 4 years

    U.S. builders started work on homes in December at the fastest pace since the summer of 2008 and finished 2012 as the best year for residential construction since the early stages of the housing crisis. The Commerce Department said Thursday that builders broke ground on houses and apartments at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 954,000. That’s 12.1 percent higher than November’s annual rate and nearly double the recession low reached in April 2009.

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    Veterans wait to register at a job fair last March at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum in New York.

    Jobless claims in U.S. fall to lowest level in five years

    The number of Americans filing first-time claims for unemployment insurance payments fell more than forecast last week to the lowest level in five years, pointing to further improvement in the labor market. Applications for jobless benefits decreased by 37,000 to 335,000 in the week ended Jan. 12, the lowest level since the period ended Jan. 19, 2008, Labor Department figures showed today. Economists forecast 369,000 claims, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg survey.

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    Qantas Airways Ltd. canceled one of the 15 orders it has for Boeing Co.’s 787 aircraft, according to a person familiar with the matter.

    Qantas Airways said to cancel order for one Boeing dreamliner

    Qantas Airways Ltd. canceled one of the 15 orders it has for Boeing Co.’s 787 aircraft, according to a person familiar with the matter. The cancellation is the first since regulators in the U.S. and other nations grounded the Dreamliner after an emergency landing by one of the planes in Japan. Qantas’s decision to scrap the order for its Jetstar unit isn’t connected to the grounding

  •  
    UnitedHealth Group Inc.’s fourth-quarter net income slipped 1 percent, as growing medical costs countered revenue gains for the nation’s largest health insurer.

    UnitedHealth’s 4Q profit slips 1 pct as costs rise

    UnitedHealth Group Inc.’s fourth-quarter net income slipped 1 percent, as growing medical costs countered revenue gains for the nation’s largest health insurer. The Minnetonka, Minn., company said Thursday that it earned $1.24 billion, or $1.20 per share, in the three months that ended Dec. 31. That compares with $1.26 billion, or $1.17 per share, in the last quarter of 2011, when the company had more shares outstanding.

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    Feds finalize protections for mortgage borrowers

    The government’s consumer lending watchdog finalized new rules Thursday aimed at protecting homeowners from shoddy service and unexpected fees charged by companies that collect their monthly mortgage payments. Mortgage servicing companies will be required to provide clear monthly billing statements, warn borrowers before interest rate hikes and actively help them avoid foreclosure, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau said. The rules also require companies to credit people’s payments promptly, swiftly correct errors and keep better internal records.

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    EU budget fight returns to Feb. 7-8 summit

    The European Union’s 27 leaders will try again to reach a seven-year budget deal for the bloc at a summit on Feb. 7-8.EU spokesman Preben Aamann said Thursday that the leaders would be looking `’to find a deal on the first day of the summit” after a cantankerous November meeting ended inconclusively.

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    Fifth Third Bancorp’s Profit Increases 27% on Stake in Vantiv

    Fifth Third Bancorp., Ohio’s largest lender, said fourth-quarter profit rose 27 percent as the firm booked a gain on a stake in Vantiv Inc.

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    EBay finished last year with a flourish as bargain-hunting holiday shoppers flocked to its Internet shopping mall and digital payment service to help lift the company’s fourth-quarter earnings above analyst projections.

    EBay’s 4Q performance caps company’s best year yet

    EBay finished last year with a flourish as bargain-hunting holiday shoppers flocked to its Internet shopping mall and digital payment service to help lift the company’s fourth-quarter earnings above analyst projections. The results announced Wednesday served as the exclamation point on the best year yet for eBay Inc., an e-commerce pioneer founded in 1995 when the concept of buying merchandise online seemed absurd.

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    Wendy’s new value menu and focus on premium burgers helped its fiscal fourth-quarter net income top Wall Street expectations, the hamburger chain said Thursday.

    Wendy’s 4Q adj. profit tops Wall Street’s view

    Wendy’s new value menu and focus on premium burgers helped its fiscal fourth-quarter net income top Wall Street expectations, the hamburger chain said Thursday.Results show Wendy’s push to position itself on the higher end of the fast-food pecking order in terms of quality seems to have gained some traction. Wendy’s has also begun revamping restaurants with a modern look with causal seating areas more reminiscent of fast-casual chains such as Panera Bread Co.

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    A man looks at the share price of Japanese manufacturer GS Yuasa that closed at 305 yen, 16 yen lower than the previous day trading, on the electronic stock board of a securities firm in Tokyo Thursday, Jan. 17, 2013. GS Yuasa is responsible for the battery of the Boeing's new 787 of which safety and reliability came into question again Wednesday when battery problems led to an emergency landing of an All Nippon Airlines, the biggest customers for the plane, temporarily grounded all 24 787s they own. Boeing shares fell more than 3 percent. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)

    Markets steady ahead of next batch of U.S. earnings

    Stocks were flat-footed Thursday as investors awaited the next batch of U.S. corporate earnings to see if there's further momentum to the rally that has pushed many indexes to multi-year highs. The markets have stalled over the past few days as investors move on from the relief generated by a budget deal in the U.S. and signs of progress in Europe's battle to contain its debt crisis.

  •  
    A Bank of America logo is displayed at a branch office in Palo Alto, Calif., Monday, Sept. 12, 2011. Bank of America will cut about 30,000 jobs over the next few years in a bid to save $5 billion per year. The cost-cutting drive is part of a broader effort to reshape and shrink the nation's largest bank as it copes with fallout from the housing bust. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)

    BofA's earnings shrink on mortgage settlements

    Bank of America says its fourth-quarter earnings shrank as it cleaned up old problems from its mortgage unit. The bank made $367 million in the last three months of 2012, down from $1.6 billion in the same period a year ago. The earnings were equivalent to 3 cents per share.

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    From left, Airbus Executive Vice President - program Tom Williams, Chief Operating Officer - for customers John Leahy, CEO Fabrice Bregier, Chief Operating officer Guenter Butschek and Head of Airbus Military Domingo Urena-Raso during the annual press conference for commercial results in Toulouse, southwestern France, Thursday.

    Airbus reports record deliveries in 2012

    Airbus refused to be drawn into the problems afflicting Boeing Co.’s Dreamliner plane as it reported a record number of deliveries for last year. Speaking to reporters at the company’s annual commercial results presentation Thursday, Airbus Chief Executive Fabrice Bregier says it wasn’t his place to “give Boeing lessons” and noted that the European aircraft maker has had problems of its own “in the past.”

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    Lenders took possession of fewer U.S. homes in 2012 than a year earlier, as the pace of new homes entering the path to foreclosure slowed and banks increasingly opted to allow troubled borrowers to sell their homes for less than what they owed on their mortgage.

    Fewer U.S. homes repossessed by banks in 2012

    Lenders took possession of fewer U.S. homes in 2012 than a year earlier, as the pace of new homes entering the path to foreclosure slowed and banks increasingly opted to allow troubled borrowers to sell their homes for less than what they owed on their mortgage. All told, banks repossessed 671,251 homes last year, down nearly 17 percent from 804,423 the year before, according to data released Thursday by foreclosure listing firm RealtyTrac Inc.

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    The luxury liner Queen Elizabeth 2

    Dubai plans Asian home for famed QE2 luxury liner

    After more than four years sitting idle in a Dubai port, the storied passenger liner Queen Elizabeth 2 is bound again for the high seas as part of deal to convert the vessel into a luxury hotel in Asia, officials said Thursday. The precise destination of the QE2 was not disclosed. But a map noted its planned voyage ending in China, raising speculation of seaports such as Shanghai or Hong Kong.

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    NASA is partnering with a commercial space company in a bid to replace the cumbersome “metal cans” that now serve as astronauts’ homes in space with inflatable bounce-house-like habitats that can be deployed on the cheap.

    Space station to get $18 million balloon-like room

    NASA is partnering with a commercial space company in a bid to replace the cumbersome “metal cans” that now serve as astronauts’ homes in space with inflatable bounce-house-like habitats that can be deployed on the cheap. A $17.8 million test project will send to the International Space Station an inflatable room that can be compressed into a 7-foot tube for delivery, officials said Wednesday in a news conference at North Las Vegas-based Bigelow Aerospace.

Life & Entertainment

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    Ex-cop Billy Taggart (Mark Wahlberg) gets caught up in a political scandal in “Broken City.”

    Wahlberg, Crowe wasted in unconvincing 'Broken City'

    It should come as no surprise that every character in a movie called "Broken City" is either rotten to the core, or a liar, or a schemer, or the bearer of seriously damaging secrets. What is surprising — and frustrating, really — is that these characters never feel like real people, despite a series of twists that should reveal hidden, unexpected facets of their personalities and despite being played by big-name stars including Mark Wahlberg, Russell Crowe and Catherine Zeta-Jones.

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    Christine Sherrill stars as Norma Desmond in Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Sunset Boulevard" at Drury Lane Theatre in Oakbrook Terrace.

    Drury Lane ready for closeup with 'Sunset Boulevard'

    Drury Lane Theatre in Oakbrook Terrace presents Andrew Lloyd Webbers' 1990s musical "Sunset Boulevard" practically at the same time as the run of "Now & Forever: The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber" at the Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire.

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    Pauline Friedman Phillips, right, the nationally-syndicated advice columnist best known as “Dear Abby,” and her daughter Jeanne Phillips, pose after the dedication of a Dear Abby star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Los Angeles in 2001.

    ‘Dear Abby’ columnist dies at age 94

    Pauline Friedman Phillips, who under the name of Abigail Van Buren, wrote the long-running “Dear Abby” advice column that was followed by millions of newspaper readers throughout the world, has died. She was 94. Her publicist said Phillips died Wednesday after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease.

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    A small-town sheriff (Arnold Schwarzenegger) prepares to take on an escaped Mexican drug kingpin and his men in “The Last Stand.”

    Arnold's back in mindlessly entertaining 'Last Stand'

    "The Last Stand" is the Arnold Schwarzenegger movie you didn't even realize you wanted to see. This is the action superstar's first leading role in a decade, having left acting to serve as the governor of California and whatnot, and while it may not have occurred to you to miss him during that time, it's still surprisingly good to see him on the big screen again.

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    Al Pacino will play Joe Paterno in a movie about the late Penn State football coach. Brian De Palma will direct “Happy Valley,” the tentative title of the film, based on Joe Posnanski’s best-seller “Paterno.”

    Pacino to play Paterno in upcoming movie

    Al Pacino will play Joe Paterno in a movie about the late Penn State football coach. Producer Edward R. Pressman confirms Brian De Palma will direct “Happy Valley,” the tentative title of the film, based on Joe Posnanski’s best-seller “Paterno.”

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    Night life events: Celebrate girls' night at Chandler's

    Grab the girls and head to GNO from 5 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 24, at Chandler's Chophouse in Schaumburg. Check out the latest in jewelry, cosmetics, lingerie, handbags and more. Nibble on complimentary hors d'oeuvres or grab a drink from the cash bar.

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    “Long.Live.A$AP” by A$AP Rocky

    A$AP Rocky is impressive on debut album

    Rapper A$AP Rocky meshes his laid-back lyrical persona with a melodic sound, delivering an impressive piece of work with just a few flaws on his debut album, "Long.Live.A$AP." Much of the 12-track set is an easy listen with solid production from Jim Jonsin, Hit-Boy, T-Minus and Clams Casino.

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    Arnold Schwarzenegger in a scene from his newest movie, “The Last Stand.”

    Arnold Schwarzenegger takes aim at gun control

    Arnold Schwarzenegger doesn’t think there’s a parallel between film and real-world gun violence. “I personally feel that this is entertainment,” said Schwarzenegger. “The other thing is a serious real life tragedy. I think that we are going to continue doing entertainment. That is what we are doing as our profession, but at the same time, we all have a responsibility, I think, to improve the situation that we are in.”

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    “I feel like we jell well in a weird, crazy way,” Nicki Minaj declared optimistically of the panel — Mariah Carey, left, Keith Urban, Minaj and host Ryan Seacrest — near the conclusion of the first episode of this season of Fox’s “American Idol” Wednesday.

    Sniping, then singing as ‘American Idol’ returns

    There was no hair-pulling between Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj on the season debut of “American Idol,” although some viewers may have been reduced to it. The pop divas exchanged insults worthy of middle schoolers, fellow freshman judge Keith Urban looked trapped between them, and there was a whiff of make-believe Wednesday about the show’s touted feud. Mercifully, a contestant arrived to break up the bickering and remind viewers that we tuned in to a talent show, not an episode of “Real Housewives of American Idol.”

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    Comedian Paul Reiser is set to headline on Friday and Saturday, Jan. 18-19, at Zanies in Rosemont.

    Paul Reiser talks Zanies gig, family life and making music on Mars

    Comedian and actor Paul Reiser, perhaps best-known for his hit 1990s NBC sitcom "Mad About You," has recently returned to the stand-up comedy stage after a nearly 20-year hiatus. "The audience knows me now — they have watched my shows, they have read my books. So I feel like I am sitting down with a group of friends. There is a real connection." He headlines Zanies in Rosemont this weekend.

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    Damien Echols met his future wife Lorri Davis while in prison on charges of murdering three boys in Arkansas. The two are now producers of Amy Berg's documentary about his case, "West of Memphis."

    ‘West of Memphis’ a real life horror story of injustice

    You can't help but come away from Amy Berg's documentary "West of Memphis" disturbed and even devastated by the failure of the American judicial system to administer fairness and proper justice to its own citizens. Dann calls this "the best horror story of the year so far." He also interviews Damien Echols, of the three teens convicted of the 1993 murders of three little boys in Arkansas.

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    Annabel (Jessica Chastain) tries to protect Lilly (Isabelle Nélisse) and Victoria (Megan Charpentier) in “Mama.”

    Del Toro's 'Mama' delivers old-fashioned horror

    "Mama" is something of a throwback, and at times a stunning one. At its best, this state-of-the-art modern ghost story — another scare saga from the Guillermo del Toro factory — recalls those earlier, less bloody days of fear and (not necessarily) loathing, when horror films were made for adults. I'm not partial to a lot of modern horror movies. But I like most of del Toro's work, and I enjoyed this one.

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    Brighten the walls of a laundry room with some paint or paper, then use baskets to organize laundry-room essentials.

    Three spots to tackle in your house

    I'm one of the most disorganized people in the world. I run at such a high speed, my home is in constant chaos. So this January, I'm resolving to change my ways. I'm going to take three key steps to get my year off to a well-organized start. Here are three spots to start off with.

Discuss

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    An addition helps strengthen the 'mysterious' editorial board

    Columnist Jim Slusher: Renee Trappe, the Daily Herald's assistant managing editor for local news, joined the newspaper's editorial board this week, and that gives me a dual opportunity today.

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    Headlines showing too much bias
    A Rolling Meadows letter to the editor: Normally we enjoy reading the local news of the day and the business and sport sections, but we have noticed the paper has a penchant to lead with articles that are not titled or written truthfully and favor the political "right" more often then the middle of the political spectrum.

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    The debacle of the gun control debate

    Columnist Richard Cohen: The Second Amendment is more strictly interpreted than even the First. (You can't yell fire in a crowded theater, but you can bring a gun into it.) The guy who thought armed Jews could have prevented the Holocaust is the fringe no longer. Now, it's the rest of us.

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    Same-sex marriage should be allowed
    A lMundelein etter to the editor: I believe that it should be a constitutional right to be able to have the freedom to marry — even if it’s the same sex.

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    Proposed hospital endangers programs
    A Libertyville letter to the editor: Vista Health System is proposing to build a new 132-bed hospital in Lindenhurst that would offer basic hospital services and provide more Lake County hospital beds. This will do a disservice to the people of Lake County.

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    Biden’s comments inappropriate
    An Elk Grove Village letter to the editor: The media, as well as general public, is having a field day criticizing Brent Musberger for his comments regarding the girlfriend of the Alabama quarterback. In no way was anything Mr. Musberger said worse than Joe Biden’s comments to the men and women in attendance at the Capitol on Jan. 3.

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    Many factors have weakened marriage
    A Schaumburg letter to the editor: Once accepted as a sacred institution given to people from a higher power, marriage has been reduced to a business transaction and now a civil rights issue, so it is not surprising that so many of the populace embrace the marriage of same-sex partners.

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    Comparing Obama to Lincoln is ludicrous
    A Park Ridge letter to the editor: While many use “entitlement” to include aid to dependent children, food stamps, unemployment insurance, etc., I see these as creating total dependency on government at best and, at worst, enslavement. The redistribution of wealth this president is so adamant to force upon the American people destroys the prosperous system Lincoln envisioned;

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    Some seniors have suffered enough
    A Schaumburg letter to the editor: Most seniors have paid their way through years of taxes, by serving in the military for less than $4 a day, or through their children serving in the military, causing undo stress on seniors. Some children came back in body bags to their moms and dads.

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    Stronger families could limit violence
    A Palatine letter to the editor: Maybe our politicians and the media need to go a little deeper in finding out why this senseless violence seems to be occurring more frequently. Could it be that as more and more children suffer the trauma and the break up of their family that it has a much more devastating impact on their lives and the lives of those all around them?

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    Changes in family have harmed society
    A Des Plaines letter to the editor: The love for many children is not there today, and in the end I could only say their parents wanted the best for them but went the wrong way about it.

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    Will taxpayers get the bill?
    A Schaumburg letter to the editor: Two questions: 1) Isn't it illegal for a U.S. company to hire illegal immigrants? 2) If so, how will illegal immigrants pay for their testing, license, insurance and car? And please don't say the taxpayers will!

  •  

    No easy answers on gun control
    A Bloomingdale letter to the editor: Continuing school shootings has ushered in a wave of voices either demanding a total ban on gun sales or tighter restrictions on persons buying guns. Neither proposal would be the ultimate solution.

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    Join the real humane society
    An Addison letter to the editor: Everytime I see the commercial for the Humane Society to save abused animals, I think of our innocent unborn that are killed and abused in the womb through abortion. Jan. 22 is the 40th anniversary of Roe v Wade, and 53 million children have been killed with the permission of their own mothers and through the hands of doctors destroying the innocent in the womb.

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    Tell of all the ‘pork’ in Sandy relief bill
    An Elgin letter to the editor: Like all news organizations you are not printing what is in the hurricane Sandy relief bill. You could do yourself a big favor and really sell a lot more papers if you print a story telling of all the pork in this relief bill.

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    Why so many guns in the first place?
    An Elgin letter to the editor: The events at Newtown have resulted in a search for why it happened. All we have done is trot out our two favorite whipping boys: guns and mental illness. These are only symptoms of a far deeper problem. I have to ask a few questions that no one has come up with.

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    Thanks for holiday pantry donations
    An Elgin letter to the editor: All People's Interfaith Pantry at 256 E. Chicago St., Elgin would like to send a sincere thank you to all who donated food to the pantry during the holidays.

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