Daily Archive : Thursday January 31, 2013



    Armed robbers hit Addison Sprint store

    Addison police are investigating an armed robbery that occurred around 2:20 p.m. Thursday at the Sprint store in the 1300 block of W. Lake St.


    No injuries from semi rollover in Elgin

    The driver of a semitruck that rolled over on a highway ramp in Elgin walked away uninjured, according to police. The truck was exiting I-90 westbound onto the southbound ramp of Route 31 around 5:41 p.m. when the load — two large pieces of machinery — shifted within the trailer, causing it to roll off the road.

    From left, former Des Plaines mayor Tony Arredia, 3rd Ward Alderman Matt Bogusz, and 6th Ward Alderman Mark Walsten are vying for the Des Plaines mayoral seat in the April 9 consolidated election.

    Des Plaines mayoral hopefuls discuss downtown vitality

    Des Plaines needs to be aggressive, create more tax incentives, and provide fiscal and organizational stability to attract new businesses to town, say the three mayoral hopefuls vying for the seat in April.The race pits former Des Plaines mayor Tony Arredia against two sitting aldermen, Matt Bogusz (3rd Ward) and Mark Walsten (6th Ward).

    Michael Charewicz

    Des Plaines to choose next interim mayor Monday

    The Des Plaines City Council on Monday will decide whether 8th Ward Alderman Mike Charewicz will continue to serve as acting mayor. Charewicz was appointed by to the role Jan. 7, about a week after former Mayor Marty Moylan stepped down. Moylan was sworn in earlier this month as state representative in the 55th House District.

    Former Schaumburg officer Matthew Hudak appears for a reduced bail hearing Thursday. One of three ex-cops accused of running a drug ring, he will be able to get out of jail for $35,000.

    Former Schaumburg cops closer to getting out of jail

    Three former Schaumburg cops accused of shaking down drug dealers and peddling narcotics in DuPage County are one step closer to getting out of jail. Bond was significantly lowered Thursday for John Cichy, Matthew Hudak and Terrance O'Brien, who have been held in lieu of $750,000 cash.

    Jaime M. Diaz

    Guilty verdict in 1998 double slaying in Aurora alley

    A Kane County jury on Thursday convicted a 35-year-old Aurora man of a double murder that occurred in March 1998. Jaime Daiz faces life in prison for killing Brendon Anderson, 21, and Elias Calcano, 21. “The defendant, ladies and gentlemen, he committed this crime and tried to cover it up. Now, 15 year later, it is time that he pays for it,” said Kane County Assistant State's Attorney...

    Firefighters and workers dig for survivors after an explosion at an adjacent building to the executive tower of Mexico’s state-owned oil company PEMEX in Mexico City on Thursday.

    32 die in Mexico oil company office building blast

    Rescuers searched for survivors Friday and authorities promised a thorough investigation after an office building blast killed 32 people and injured 121 at the headquarters of Mexico's state-owned oil company, Petroleos Mexicanos. The cause of the basement explosion in an administrative building next to the iconic, 51-story Pemex tower in Mexico City remained a mystery, with President Enrique...


    Aurora woman found dead in pickup truck

    A 35-year-old Aurora woman who had been reported missing was found dead inside her boyfriend's pickup truck Wednesday afternoon, authorities said Thursday. Officers discovered the body of Abigail Sanchez about 1 p.m. Wednesday while checking out a suspicious vehicle parked and running for several hours on the 600 block of Front Street.

    Patrick Fitzgerald, left, and Socrates.

    Fitzgerald wins conviction of Socrates

    Patrick Fitzgerald has prosecuted reputed mobsters, terrorists and Illinois governors. Thursday night, the former top prosecutor got a crack at Socrates. Yes, that Socrates, the Greek philosopher. The result? The jury — an audience of more than 1,000 people — found Socrates guilty but spared him death by hemlock and fined him instead.


    State police find $1.5 million in car

    An Arizona woman is being held in the Madison County Jail on money laundering charges after police found about $1.5 million in cash in her car during a traffic stop. Carole I. Galvez of Gila Bend was charged Monday and is being held in lieu of $500,000 bond.


    Schaumburg District 54 sues over pension penalties

    Schaumburg Township Elementary District 54 has sued the state's retirement fund for teachers in an attempt to get back about $97,000 in penalties the district had to pay after giving three consecutive 22 percent raises to an administrator, raising his salary to $341,747.


    Illinois ranked 4th for green-certified buildings

    The United States Green Building Council has ranked Illinois fourth out of all U.S. states in leadership on environmentally sound buildings. The group cites Gov. Pat Quinn's leadership in particular.

    A hedgehog sleeps at the SPCA in Largo, Fla. In the last year, 20 people, including one in Illinois, were infected by a rare but dangerous form of salmonella bacteria, and one person died.

    Hedgehog Alert! Prickly pets can carry salmonella

    Add those cute little hedgehogs to the list of pets that can make you sick. In the last year, 20 people in eight states including Illinois were infected by a rare but dangerous form of salmonella bacteria. One person died. Investigators say the illnesses were linked to contact with hedgehogs kept as pets. Health officials on Thursday say such cases seem to be increasing.

    A student pets Junie, the school's “therapy dog.” unconventional methods, such as therapy dogs, to help students cope. (AP Photo/Martha Irvine)

    Four-legged counselor delights Prospect High students

    The four-legged member of the counseling team at Prospect High School waits patiently, as a crush of students fills the hallways. Her tail wags with the first pat on the head, then another and another."Puppy! Ohhh, puppy dog!" one teenager croons, as he affectionately tousles the ears of the 18-month-old golden retriever. Junie began her role as a "therapy dog" at the Mount Prospect school less...


    Fire engulfs Wisconsin egg plant; no one hurt

    Smoke and flames poured Thursday from a southeastern Wisconsin food processing plant, where dozens of firefighters battled a blaze all night in frigid temperatures. Firefighters from more than 80 fire departments from southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois took turns in fighting the raging blaze at the 70,000 square foot building.

    Sandra Rogers

    Victim testifies in sledgehammer case

    Testifying at the trial of his ex-wife, Rick Rogers testified Thursday that he jumped the man who attacked his wife and wrestled him to the floor of the bedroom in the early morning hours of May 18, 2003. Rogers said he stared directly into the eyes of his daughter's boyfriend, 17-year-old Jonathon McMeekin. “I knew one (of the attackers) was Jon McMeekin,” he said. “I saw him...

    The Conant cheerleading squad gets in one final practice before heading to state.

    Hope is in the air as cheer squads head downstate

    Cheerleading squads from all over Illinois converge on Bloomington Friday as the 2013 IHSA's competitive cheerleading state championships open. The suburbs are well represented in the 100 schools that made the championships. "We're so excited," said Conant cheerleading coach Dana Muszynski. "We're a young team, but they're very determined and driven." Only the top 10 in each of the three...


    5 charged in November bar fight near Wonder Lake

    After a two-month investigation, five motorcycle club members involved in a November bar fight were arrested on warrants Thursday morning, according to the McHenry County sheriff’s office. The arrests were a direct result of the battery and assault of numerous patrons on Nov. 30 at the Lizard Lounge near Wonder Lake.

    Keith Evans of the Key Financial Insurance Agency of South Barrington, center, talks with the Georgeanna Mehr from Hoffman Estates Community Bank and Jeff Miller from Divine Signs and Graphics at the second annual Celebration of Excellence in Hoffman Estates on Thursday. The bank won the President’s Award later in the night.

    Hoffman Estates chamber honors excellence in business

    Local businesses were honored Thursday night at the Hoffman Estates Chamber of Commerce's second annual Celebration of Excellence. About 135 people attended the event at the Stonegate Conference and Banquet Centre. “It’s a good way to honor our members and the stars of our chamber,” said village Trustee and 2012 chamber treasurer Karen Mills.

    Steven L. Robbins

    Killer mistakenly released in Chicago

    Police were hunting for a convicted murderer on Thursday after he was mistakenly released from custody in Chicago, where he was sent to face another charge while serving a 60-year prison sentence in Indiana.

    Police and emergency personal work the scene of a pileup involving more than 30 vehicles Thursday on Interstate 70 in Plainfield, Ind. The crash closed the interstate in both directions.

    30-plus vehicle pileup injures at least 10 in Indiana

    A more than 30-vehicle pileup on a snowy Indiana interstate left at least 10 people injured Thursday, including at least one critically, and shut down a heavily traveled highway for most of the evening, authorities said. Most of the injuries in the afternoon pileup along Interstate 70 were minor, but one victim's condition was "very critical," Indiana State Police Sgt. Rich Myers said.

    The Senate Thursday passed must-do legislation Thursday to permit the government to borrow hundreds of billions of dollars more to meet its obligations, putting off one Washington showdown even as others loom in coming weeks.

    Congress sends Obama bill to raise debt ceiling

    Congress passed must-do legislation Thursday to permit the government to borrow hundreds of billions of dollars more to meet its obligations, averting a first-ever government default that had loomed as early as mid-February. The 64-34 vote in the Democratic-controlled Senate sent the measure to President Barack Obama, who has said he will sign it.


    2 sent to prison for stealing checks from Obama campaign

    Two brothers from the South suburbs will serve prison time for stealing more than $50,000 in checks from President Barack Obama's campaign headquarters.

    Carpentersville Fire Chief John Schuldt took part in the department’s dedication of its firefighter and Sept. 11 memorial in September 2011.

    Carpentersville fire chief put on administrative leave

    Carpentersville Fire Chief John Schuldt has been put on administrative leave, according to a report confirmed by WBBM radio. Schuldt has had a long career with the Carpentersville department and has been recognized for his work at the state, national and international level.

    Patricia Golden

    Judge Golden remembered for patience, giving others a voice

    Kane County Associate Judge Patricia Piper Golden, who in 1976 was the first female elected to a state's attorney post in a contested race in state history, retired this week. Golden, who also served as a prosecutor in Kane and Ogle counties, helped found the Kane County Child Advocacy Center in 1993 and has been the presiding judge in Kane county's drug court. Her colleagues recalled her as a...

    Republican Chuck Hagel, President Obama’s choice for defense secretary, testifies before the Senate Armed Services Committee during his confirmation hearing, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 31, 2013. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

    Republicans hammer defense nominee Chuck Hagel

    Republican senators hammered former GOP Sen. Chuck Hagel at his confirmation hearing Thursday on issues ranging from Israel and Iran to his support for a group that advocates the elimination of nuclear weapons. But with most Democrats in his corner, an unflustered Hagel seems headed for approval as defense secretary.


    4 indicted in Joliet strangulation deaths

    Four young adults have been indicted in the strangulation deaths of two Joliet men. Police believe the men were lured to the home before being robbed and killed.

    High school students participate in a floor hockey game in St. Paul, Minn., Tuesday. Floor hockey is one of the “adapted athletics” programs the state high school league has run since 1992. Minnesota has become a model state as the federal government pushes schools to include more disabled students in sports. Coaching the Hawks is Mary Bohland, background left.

    A map for including disabled students in sports

    As the federal government pushes schools to include more students like Anderson in sports, Minnesota offers a map for how to do it and a look at the challenges that come along the way.


    Police investigate suspicious encounter in Woodridge

    Police are investigating a suspicious encounter that occurred Thursday morning between a student and a young man near a Woodridge School District 68 school. A fifth-grader reported that she was approached by a white, possibly Hispanic, male in his mid-20s with short dark hair around 7 a.m. while walking to school on the 7800 block of Woodridge Drive, according to police.

    Daily Herald File Photo Improvements to Midway in the 2000s transformed the airport.

    Durbin wants cash payback before privatizing Midway

    Are there unfriendly skies between U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel over privatizing Midway Airport? Durbin has urged the U.S. Department of Transportation to think carefullly before putting the private sector in charge.

    Kevin Geary

    Sugar Grove president candidates talk business, roads, vision

    Kevin Geary and Sean Michels discuss what they think Sugar Grove needs, and what they would do if elected village president in April.

    Andy Yuscka

    Political newcomer takes on longtime trustee for W. Dundee mayor spot

    Longtime West Dundee Trustee Andy Yuscka describes himself as a quiet guy who listens first and then speaks. He has been involved with West Dundee government for 14 years and has never once missed a board of trustees or liquor commission meeting. In a race to fill the village president spot for which Larry Keller has decided not to seek re-election, resident Chris Nelson argues it's his passion...


    Wheeling High School staff raises $16,000 for United Way

    The Wheeling High School staff recently finished its United Way Contribution Campaign for 2013 with the most money raised of any school in Northwest High School District 214. Collectively, teachers, administrators and support staff contributed $16,156 to help fund the agencies and programs sponsored by the United Way, more than double the amount raised at any of the other five District 214...

    Mitchell Brady

    Naperville man charged with child pornogrophy

    A Naperville man faces six charges of felony possession of child pornography after authorities found unlawful images on his computer, Naperville police said Thursday.


    Glen Ellyn District 41 approves security upgrades

    New security cameras, an advanced intercom system and panic buttons are part of the security upgrades coming to Glen Ellyn District 41's five schools. Officials say the $55,000 in upgrades approved this week by the school board will be made by spring break. They said the improvements are not directly related to recent school shootings. "This is something that was recommended to the district as a...

    From left, Ron Drake, Thomas Hayes and Mark Hellner.

    Mayoral candidates discuss slots at Arlington Park

    With one of the strongest proponents of slots at Arlington Park scheduled to leave office in April and no gambling bill yet signed in Springfield, eyes are on the three candidates running for Arlington Heights village president.


    District 220, teachers submit final offers

    Barrington Unit District 220 and its teachers union sent their "last and final" offers to the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board Thursday afternoon, having failed to reach a contract agreement Wednesday night. Two further negotiation meetings are scheduled for Friday and Tuesday as they try to reach a deal ahead of a potential strike Feb. 21.

    Ronaiah Tuiasosopo fell in love with Manti Te'o and said all his energy went into pretending to be the woman the Notre Dame linebacker came to know as Lennay Kekua. Tuiasosopo, the 22-year-old mastermind of the elaborate hoax that embarrassed Te'o and left him looking gullible, spoke publicly for the first time in an interview with Dr. Phil McGraw for the "Dr. Phil Show," the first part of which aired Thursday.

    Man at center of Te'o hoax says he was in love

    Ronaiah Tuiasosopo fell in love with Manti Te'o and said all his energy went into pretending to be the woman the Notre Dame linebacker came to know as Lennay Kekua. Tuiasosopo, the 22-year-old mastermind of the elaborate hoax that embarrassed Te'o and left him looking gullible, spoke publicly for the first time in an interview with Dr. Phil McGraw for the "Dr. Phil Show," the first part of which...


    Current trustees are sole applicants for Fox River fire board election

    Five people have filed for election to the Fox River and Countryside Fire/Rescue District, in its first election this spring. All five are already serving as appointed trustees. Thursday was the deadline to file nominating papers.

    Mundelein Police Chief Raymond J. Rose hugs Mundelein Fire Department administrative assistant Jen Rogers during his retirement ceremony at the police station Thursday. It was Rose's last day on the job after 20 years as chief.

    Chief Raymond J. Rose retires from Mundelein Police Department after 20 years

    Mundelein Police Chief Raymond J. Rose stepped down Thursday after more than 20 years leading Mundelein's police force. He marked his last day with meetings, an inventory report and coffee, cake and well-wishes from village staff members and others. "I haven't even had time to pack up stuff," Rose said. "I might have to come back tomorrow to get the rest."


    New contract provides pay bumps for Glen Ellyn cops

    Glen Ellyn police officers will receive pay bumps over the course of the next four years, under terms of a new collective bargaining agreement approved by their union and the village board this week. The four-year contract was approved unanimously by the village board and ratified by the police union. "It locks us in and provides some labor stability for four years," said Police Chief Phil Norton.


    Tri-Cities police reports
    Miranda M. Grocesley of Aurora and Cornelius D. McCrary of Chicago were charged with felony burglary and misdemeanor theft in connection with an incident at 2 p.m. Jan. 25 at Tilly's, 514 Commons Drive, Geneva, according to a police report.

    Dale Flagg

    Naperville man gets 15 years for shooting at tattoo session

    If you're looking for a tattoo artist, you can probably do better than Dale Flagg. The Naperville man was sentenced Thursday to 15 years in prison for shooting a man during an apparent tattoo session in Addison.

    Jay Moffat

    Moffat remains on Geneva Library ballot

    The Geneva Library has decided to keep Jay Moffat on the April ballot, after questioning whether running for park board and library board was possible due to an issue with the compatability of offices.


    Fox Valley police reports
    Elizabeth M. Ramirez, of Elgin, was charged Wednesday with criminal damage to property and contributing to the criminal delinquency of a minor, according to court documents. Video surveillance showed Ramirez damaged the window and front door of a residence in the 700 block of Walnut Avenue during an incident involving a minor younger than 17.


    State rep seeks advisers:

    State Rep. Sam Yingling is looking for residents to join advisory committees to discuss legislation being considered in the House and to help develop new legislation that can be introduced in the spring session.


    SHS club raising cash, awareness:

    Stevenson High School's Relay For Life committee will start its fundraising Friday ahead of the sophomore and varsity boys basketball games against Libertyville.


    Women unite against abuse:

    Lake County women are uniting against domestic abuse in a program to be held at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 14 at the Round Lake Beach Cultural and Civic Center, off Hook Drive west of Route 83.


    New Ela Township trustee hopeful:

    Tony Lombardo of Lake Zurich has been added to the Ela Tax Reform Party slate as one of four Ela Township trustee candidates.


    Judge denies restraining order in East Dundee Walmart dispute

    A judge declined to issue a temporary restraining order against Walmart receiving financing from a special taxing district when it builds a new store in Carpentersville and closes an old one three miles away in East Dundee. East Dundee sued, saying the new location is less than the 10-mile threshold under state law to receive tax increment financing.


    Reward $24,000 for identifying girl’s shooter

    Chicago police say the reward is now $24,000 for identifying the shooter who killed a 15-year-old girl who performed at events for President Barack Obama's inauguration. Police say a gunman opened fire on Hadiya Pendleton and her group, thinking they were rival gang members.

    Hadiya Pendleton, 15, of Chicago was shot and killed Tuesday.

    Teen shooting victim appeared in anti-gang video

    The 15-year-old girl who was shot in a park near President Barack Obama's Chicago home appeared in an anti-gang video four years ago. Hadiya Pendleton is seen telling other students to "say no to gangs and yes to a great future." She was killed Tuesday, about a week after she performed with her high school in Washington at events for Obama's inauguration.


    Chicago officials step up fight of gun violence

    Officials are stepping up their fight against gun violence in the wake of several shootings, with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announcing that 200 more officers will soon hit the streets and Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart proposing tougher gun laws

    David Wayne McMurray

    Winthrop Harbor man faces child porn charges

    David Wayne McMurray, 52, of Winthrop Harbor, faces child-pornography charges following an arrest this week, the Illinois attorney general's office announced Thursday. He was charged with three counts of possession of child pornography. He is held in the Lake County jail on $100,000 bond.


    Bond sale scuttled because of downgrades

    Illinois officials have delayed borrowing $500 million for construction projects because the pension crisis makes the state's debt more expensive. Abdon Pallasch, a spokesman for Gov. Pat Quinn's budget office, said a bond sale scheduled for Wednesday was postponed after potential bidders warned of an "unsettled" market.


    Groups push for roadwork funding

    Business and trade groups say Illinois lawmakers must act quickly on $675 million for new transit projects if they want to see road-graders moving this spring.

    Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago had 3.5 million visitors in 2012.

    Museums, zoos see bump in 2012 attendance

    Attendance increased by about 600,000 at Chicago-area zoos and museums last year. Fifteen Chicago-area attractions are members of the Museums Work for Chicago group, which released attendance data on Thursday.

    Ron Gbur

    Palatine Park District renaming athletic fields after former leader

    Palatine Park District officials generally try to avoid naming facilities after people, preferring instead to highlight native plants and animals. But some people, they agree, warrant an exception. The park district board this month voted to rename the baseball and soccer fields at Hamilton Reservoir after Ron Gbur, who served as executive director from 2002 until his retirement last year.


    Northwest suburban police blotter

    OnStar was used to track and disable a stolen vehicle in Arlington Heights. Thieves stole a 2011 Chevrolet Traverse Recreation Park, 500 E. Miner St., between 6:50 and 6:55 p.m. Jan. 28 while it was unlocked and the engine was running. OnStar tracked the car to a public garage at 155 E. Eastman. The vehicle was undamaged and nothing was missing.


    Ring recovered after Des Plaines chase, police say

    Four employees of a Des Plaines jewelry store chased down a man they say attempted Tuesday to steal a $19,500 ring. A Hazel Crest man has been charged with the theft.


    Glenview man gets four years for growing pot

    A Glenview man convicted in October of the manufacture of cannabis and possession of cannabis was sentenced this week in Skokie. A judge sentenced Juro Konstantiinov, 35, to four years in prison and ordered him to pay nearly $3,000 in fines.


    Police: Drugs possibly involved in Aurora stabbing

    Aurora police say drugs may have been involved in a home invasion that sent two men to a hospital with stab wounds. Police are continuing to investigate the invasion that took place around 7:25 p.m. Wednesday at an apartment in the 500 block of Fourth Avenue on the city's near east side. The event does not appear to be a random act of violence, authorities said.


    Treasurer Rutherford to speak in Barrington

    Illinois State Treasurer Dan Rutherford will address the Barrington Breakfast Rotary Club at 7 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 21 at the Garlands of Barrington, 1000 Garlands Lane in Barrington. Rutherford will speak about Illinois' economy and his office will give attendees easy access to check the state's I-Cash program so people can see if the state owes them money or if they're entitled to other assets.


    Syria threatens to retaliate for Israeli airstrike

    Syria threatened Thursday to retaliate for an Israeli airstrike and its ally Iran said the Jewish state will regret the attack. Syria sent a letter to the U.N. Secretary-General stressing the country's "right to defend itself, its territory and sovereignty" and holding Israel and its supporters accountable.


    Grayslake District 46 teachers approve their end of contract

    While Grayslake Elementary District 46 teachers have voted in favor of a tentative new contract, the deal won't be official unless school board members do the same next week. District 46 instructors voted 247-60 in favor of the two-year contract at a meeting Wednesday, said Lake County Federation of Teachers union business agent Jim Pergander.

    “Coop,” the Schaumburg Boomers’ mascot, at his introduction last April. The Boomers will audition candidates to fill Coop’s suit March 16.

    Are you chicken? This job’s for you!

    If you don't chicken out, you could win a new job being the center of attention before adoring crowds of thousands this summer. The Schaumburg Boomers baseball team will seek to fill the role of its fan-friendly mascot — a giant male prairie chicken — at an audition at 10 a.m. Saturday, March 16.

    Animal handler Mark Szafarn of Chicago holds Woodstock Willie at last year's Groundhog Day prognostication in the Woodstock Square.

    City celebrates 20th anniversary of 'Groundhog Day'

    It's been more than 20 years since the movie "Groundhog Day" was filmed in Woodstock, but the town hasn't forgotten. The 20th anniversary of the 1993 film will be celebrated in the city where much of it was shot. Woodstock's Groundhog Days festival continues through Sunday with a dinner dance, prognostication on the square, chili cook-off, storytelling, tour of filming sites, and more.


    Take action to get out of the doldrums

    Certainly, we can wait for our depression or anxiety to subside of their own accord. They usually do, our Ken Potts says. It is possible, however, to feel less depressed or less anxious almost immediately if we are willing to use either of two simple remedies, he explains.

    Bambi is an adorable and playful tabby with beautiful green eyes that shift from sea-green to emerald. She has been at the shelter for quite a while and saw her two siblings adopted long ago. Like Bambi, they were a little shy, but have blossomed into wonderful cats. Bambi is just like most typical cats — she’s a little reserved at first but needs the reassurance that she can trust you and you’ll see her personality underneath. Bambi is a very active and agile girl. Bambi is best friends with Baby.

    Tips for bringing a shy cat into your home

    How can I bring attention to our Buddys who have been at the shelter facility from the start? I decided to visit a living room at the shelter and get a feel for the residents. The Buddy Foundation has several living rooms for the cats. Some remind you of the shore and summer, while others bring to mind a Winter Wonderland.

    U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth visited Elgin VFW Post 1307 on Wednesday night to contribute to efforts to donate supplies for wounded soldiers overseas.

    Duckworth visits benefit for wounded military

    U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth knows full well what it's like to wake up in a military hospital almost naked, vulnerable and with no possessions to claim. That's why, she said, it was important for her to contribute to the "Send Something to Landstuhl, Sharana or Bagram" event organized Wednesday evening by VFW Post 1307 in Elgin. “I wanted to come and say 'thank you' from the bottom of my...

    New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez’s office says he traveled on a plane owned by a Florida physician who is a friend and political donor, but denied that the Democratic senator had engaged with prostitutes in the Dominican Republic.

    Menendez says he reimbursed donor for 2 jaunts

    Sen. Robert Menendez's office says he reimbursed a prominent Florida political donor $58,500 on Jan. 4 of this year for the full cost of two of three trips Menendez took on the donor's plane to the Dominican Republic in 2010. Details of Menendez's trips emerged as his office said unsubstantiated allegations that the senator engaged in sex with prostitutes in the Dominican Republic are false.


    Roadside bomb kills 2 polio workers in NW Pakistan

    A roadside bomb killed two Pakistani polio workers on their way to vaccinate children in a northwestern tribal region near the Afghan border on Thursday, an official said. The two men were on their way to Malikhel village as part of the U.N.-backed anti-polio campaign when the bomb hit their motorcycle, said government administrator Yousuf Rahim.

    Iran is poised for a major technological update of its uranium enrichment program, allowing it to vastly increase production of the material that can be used for both reactor fuel and nuclear warheads, diplomats told The Associated Press.

    Diplomats: Iran prepared to up nuclear program

    The U.N. nuclear agency has told member nations that Iran is poised for a major technological upgrade of its uranium enrichment program, in a document seen Thursday by The Associated Press. The move would vastly speed up Tehran's ability to make material that can be used for both reactor fuel and nuclear warheads.


    Pa. girl back to class after toy bubble gun suspension

    A 5-year-old kindergartner is headed back to class in central Pennsylvania after being suspended for comments she made to another girl about a pink toy gun that blows soapy bubbles.


    Lindenhurst hospital plan delayed for 2 months

    A decision on a proposed 132-bed Vista Medical Center Lindenhurst will be delayed for two months. The application was to have been considered next week by the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board but the petitioner asked that it be deferred until March 26.

    Law enforcement personnel load provisions into a bus during the third day of a hostage crisis involving a 5-year-old boy, in Midland City, Ala, Thursday, Jan 31, 2013. A standoff in rural Alabama went into a second full day Thursday as police surrounded an underground bunker where a retired truck driver was holding a 5-year-old hostage he grabbed off a school bus after shooting the driver dead.

    Alabama child hostage standoff in 2nd day at bunker

    A standoff in rural Alabama went into a second full day Thursday as police surrounded an underground bunker where a retired truck driver was holding a 5-year-old hostage he grabbed off a school bus after shooting the driver dead.

    Nathan Varnes, of Cartersville, Ga., right, helps Georgia Search and Rescue firefighter Billy Green, left, search a destroyed home for a dog after a tornado struck, Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013, in Adairsville, Ga.

    2 dead after storms rake South, take aim at East

    Kandi Cash trudged in rain through the splintered debris of her grandparents' home, hoping to salvage photos and other keepsakes after violent storms and tornadoes scoured the Southeast, leaving two people dead before the system advanced on the Northeast.

    Perennial candidate James Creighton Mitchell Jr., of Lindenhurst, had filed to run for seats on four local government boards in the April 9 election. His named was removed from three of those races Wednesday because of a conflict of interest, officials ruled.

    Lake County candidate knocked off three ballots

    James Creighton Mitchell Jr., a perennial Republican candidate from Lindenhurst who had intended to run for seats on four government boards in April, can't do so because of potential conflicts of interest, officials have ruled. He will remain on the ballot for the Lake Villa Public Library District board. “I'm disappointed that this was an oversight on my part,” he said.


    Police dog found after 8-mile trek from its kennel

    A northeastern Indiana police chief says a police dog that escaped from a kennel was found in good health about eight miles away following a long night of wandering. Columbia City Police Chief Tim Longenbaugh says the Dutch shepherd named Stryker escaped Tuesday afternoon from his kennel in the Whitley County town of Collins.


    Fort Wayne may see big influx of Burmese refugees

    The U.S. State Department says the city of Fort Wayne could see its biggest influx of refugees in years from the Southeast Asian nation of Myanmar. Human-services agencies say Fort Wayne has one of the nation's largest concentrations of refugees from the country formerly known as Burma.


    Group asks Quinn to reconsider closing prison

    A prison watchdog group is asking Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn to reconsider plans to close the Dwight women's prison. A statement from John Howard Association executive director John Maki (MA'-kee) on Wednesday says Dwight is the state's only maximum-security prison for women.


    Milwaukee officer due in court on theft allegation

    A Milwaukee police officer who's accused of stealing about $200 from a store where he was investigating a separate burglary is scheduled to appear in court. Carl V. Howell has a preliminary hearing set for Thursday morning. The 37-year-old is charged with felony misconduct in office and misdemeanor theft.


    Wisconsin warns businesses to be wary of scam

    The state is warning Wisconsin businesses about a scam from a company calling itself Corporate Records Service.The Department of Financial Institutions says there is no state requirement to fill out a so-called Annual Minutes Form and submit a fee of $125.


    Illinois poison control calls down in 2012

    The Illinois Poison Center says it fielded almost 82,000 calls for help in 2012. That's down from nearly 87,000 a year earlier.

    Three Schaumburg police officers who face drug conspiracy charges in DuPage County — from left, Matthew Hudak, Terrance O’Brien and John Cichy — will face cameras in the courtroom today in a hearing over whether to reduce their bail.

    Dawn Patrol: Missing heroin in Schaumburg? Charges in stabbing

    State police look into whether drugs missing from Schaumburg police department. 3 Schaumburg cops to face cameras in court today. Hoffman Estates teen accused of stabbing girlfriend. Two stabbed at Aurora apartment. Blackhawks face first loss. Bulls win against Bucks.


    Area schools not planning drill like Cary-Grove’s

    School district officials across the region were well aware of the code red drill Wednesday at Cary-Grove High School, which drew criticism from near and far for including gunshots. No other schools contacted Wednesday plan to expose students to such stimuli, even in the name of safety.

    Alex Taikwel

    Legally blind, Palatine teen's vision for life is clear

    Being legally blind is no reason to sit on the sidelines altogether, Alex Taikwel says. Although becoming a traditional medical doctor, reading his short stories in public and taking the football field with the marching band may not be in the cards, the Palatine teen still volunteers in a hospital, writes and plays instruments. "Sometimes it's frustrating that I face limitations," Alex, a Fremd...

    During this dinner out two months ago, Mom and I both managed smiles even though we knew our family's deadly 86th-birthday curse was looming.

    Mom 86s fear of our family's fatal birthday curse

    Mom, my sisters and I knew we really couldn't believe in our family curse, even with the overwhelming mountain of evidence supporting it, columnist Burt Constable writes. In the year leading up to Mom's 86th birthday on Jan. 28, the curse crept into our conversations. When we would talk about plans for 2013 and beyond, Mom would beg off. “Well,” she would say, “let's just wait...



    Warren honors Volpert with court-ordered excellence

    Warren had more to celebrate than team mom Patti Volpert’s birthday and retirement from the police department. Freshman Kylie Nedelka came off the bench to score 9 points, and Phillips added 8 points and 8 rebounds, as Warren defeated host Lake Zurich 50-33 in North Suburban Lake Division action Thursday night.


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


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


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


    Panicali, West Chicago defeat Glenbard East

    West Chicago has become quite dependent of Laura Panicali this season, and Thursday night was no different.

    Brooke Schanowski of Wheaton North tries to block Victoria Trowbridge of Naperville Central during the Naperville Central at Wheaton North Girls basketball game Thursday.

    Wheaton North is back on track

    Mandy Traversa and Wheaton North’s midseason swoon?It’s so over.Traversa scored 17 points, and surging No. 7 Wheaton North won its fifth straight, beating No. 8 Naperville Central 64-52 on Thursday in Wheaton.


    Team effort lifts Batavia

    Batavia 71, Larkin 43: Batavia (16-9, 7-4) topped Larkin for the second time this season Wednesday in Elgin. Sophomore call-ups Alexis Bryl, Sara Zeyen and Jess Koch all got time on the floor and played well. Seniors Jenny Welday and Grace Andrews combined for 10 second-half points.

    Libertyville coach Tiffany Owens congratulates gymnast Jenna Dunsing after her routine on the uneven parallel bars during regional action Thursday at Stevenson.

    Libertyville’s Dunsing gets it done

    Jenna Dunsing of Libertyville knows this might be her last, best chance of reaching the girls gymnastics state meet.It’s a goal that Dunsing has been trying to reach over the last three years. She made her first appearance back from a grade II ankle sprain suffered at the Palatine Invitational six weeks ago, and another one Thursday night at the Stevenson regional. She’ll get at least one more appearance. Dunsing advanced to next week’s Stevenson sectional, tying for second on the floor exercise with Valerie Fung of Niles West with a 9.075 in her best event. Stevenson won the team title with 140.175, and Libertyville placed second at 138.75.


    Balanced Aurora Christian picks up win

    Aurora Christian 53, Guerin 41: Jonathan Harrell led the Eagles with 12 points. Cory Windle had 11 and Haydn McNelis had 9.

    Conant’s Sarah Starzynski is happy with her performance on the uneven parallel bars at Thursday’s Conant regional.

    Conant’s Starzynski, Prairie Ridge impress at regional

    Conant was looking for a lift at its own regional on Thursday night, and the Cougars got one from senior Sarah Starzynski. Starzynski missed over a month due to a broken wrist, but the Cougar senior didn’t miss much on Thursday. Limited to two events, Starzynski made the most of them, taking third on the beam (9.025) and tying for sixth on the bars (8.925) in leading the Cougars to a second-place finish with 139.0 points in Hoffman Estates. Conant advanced to the Fremd sectional on Monday night at 6:30 p.m by securing the second at-large bid. Sophomore Rachael Underwood (37.60) and sophomore Riley Mahoney (37.225) went 1-2 in the all-around in propelling Prairie Ridge co-op to the regional title with an impressive 147.175.


    Despite injury, St. Charles rolls to regional title

    St. Charles co-op took yet another step toward its first state appearance since 2008, winning Thursday’s York regional in impressive fashion with 145.2 points.


    Lisle completes perfect conference season

    Lisle can call itself Interstate Eight Conference champion.

    Brendan King

    Chicago Fire roster spot fit for King

    After seven years away pursuing a soccer career, Naperville native Brendan King is coming home.The Chicago Fire announced Thursday it signed the 22-year-old midfielder, ending his stay in Europe that included stops in Ireland and Norway.


    Your concern for Cummings is appreciated but not needed

    Sam Cummings is used to the concerned questions from strangers. “A lot of people are nice, they ask me how I’m doing,” said the Lake Park senior, a member of the Lancers girls basketball team. “They ask if I’m in radiation. Most people on the street assume I have cancer.” ummings does not have cancer. The condition she has is Alopecia.


    LFA gives Christian Liberty some postseason prep

    Playing its last home game, Christian Liberty's girls basketball team faced it toughest test of the regular season against visiting Lake Forest Academy. "I told the girls this is the toughest game we'll see before regionals," said Chargers coach Steve Rowland. "We just wanted to see how we matched up." Unfortunately for the Chargers, they had to match up for nearly 11 minutes without junior Shelbi Hernandez, due to foul trouble. That allowed the visiting Caxys to make a big 26-7 run to close the first half en route to a 51-27 nonconference victory.


    Montini wins 10th straight conference title

    No matter how the Montini girls basketball roster might change, the results remain the same.


    Soul nets important win

    The Chicago Soul (9-12) held off the Wichita Wings (6-13) to grab an 8-6 victory at the Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates on Thursday night.Led by Bato Radoncic’s pair of goals, the Soul (9-12) solidified fourth place in Major Indoor Soccer League standings and remain in the hunt for a playoff position.

    West Aurora's Alexis Wiggins pulls up with a running one-hander against Naperville North during Thursday's game in Aurora.

    Naperville North too swift for West Aurora

    Having spent way more of Naperville North's game at West Aurora Thursday night on the bench in foul trouble than she wanted, senior guard Zoe Swift made the most of her minutes when she finally got back in. After the Blackhawks had erased Naperville North's 13-point first half lead to go ahead for the first time midway through the fourth quarter, Swift re-entered. Over the final 4:48 Swift scored all 6 of her points and assisted on two other baskets, helping her team turn a 42-39 deficit into a 52-48 victory.

    Elgin’s Arie Williams (10)

    Elgin-Larkin, Jacobs vs. Dundee-Crown set to go

    The Fox Valley area’s two fiercest boys basketball rivalries have produced the season’s two best games to date. Larkin has defeated crosstown rival Elgin twice this season, most recently a 60-51 victory in the Elgin Holiday Tournament title game. But it was the first meeting — Larkin’s 76-73 double-overtime victory on Dec 12 — that will go down as one of the best in the history of the 121-game series, which Elgin still leads 79-42. Not to be outdone, Jacobs and Dundee-Crown battled through two overtimes on Jan. 15 before the Golden Eagles prevailed 76-66. Host Jacobs tied that game at the regulation buzzer when senior Nick Ledinsky drained a step-back 3-pointer from the corner.


    UIC edges Green Bay 60-57

    Josh Crittle scored the last six points of the game and Illinois-Chicago defeated Green Bay 60-57 Thursday night.

    Wheaton North hosted Naperville Central Thursday night for girls basketball.

    Images: Naperville Central vs. Wheaton North, girls basketball
    Wheaton North hosted Naperville Central Thursday night for girls basketball.

    Images from the Naperville North vs. West Aurora girls basketball game Thursday, January 31, 2013.

    Images: Naperville North vs. West Aurora, girls basketball
    Naperville North and West Aurora squared off Thursday night in a girls basketball matchup in Aurora.


    Streamwood blows out Larkin

    History is in the making for the Streamwood girls basketball team.Deja Moore scored 16 points and Hannah McGlone added 15 as the Sabres beat Larkin 62-27 Thursday night in an Upstate Eight Conference River Division game at Larkin.The Sabres (18-6, 9-2) can secure at least a share of the River title on Saturday afternoon when they host Batavia at 2:30 p.m. The conference title would be Streamwood’s first since 1987-88.Jessica Cerda added 8 points for the Sabres in Thursday’s win, while Rachael Martinez led Larkin (3-23, 1-11) with 10 points.

    Former Cary-Grove head coach Bruce Kay has opted to join Andy Bitto’s Carmel program as offensive coordinator.

    Kay opts to run the offense at Carmel

    Former Cary-Grove football coach Bruce Kay is getting back into the sport as offensive coordinator for head coach Andy Bitto at Carmel.


    AFL terminates deal with Chicago Rush owner

    Less than three months after the Arena Football League found new ownership for the Chicago Rush, league officials are taking control of the team again. And despite a promise from league officials that the season will open as scheduled on March 23, the general manager of Allstate Arena, where the Rush has played its games, is concerned about whether there is enough time to make that happen.


    Scouting regional wrestling / Northwest

    Here's a look at Saturday's wrestling regionals, from the perspective of teams in the Mid-Suburban League and the Northwest suburbs.


    Meadows keeps the faith while steadily improving

    Rolling Meadows knew it would be a challenge to replace a senior-dominated group, led by Daily Herald all-area picks Brian Nelms, Michael Rose and Tyler Gaedele, from a team that won last season's Mid-Suburban East title. The challenges have ranged from inexperience to injuries to key players to the five-game losing streak the Mustangs (5-15) take into tonight's visit from Hersey. In an MSL doubleheader, the girls programs tip off at 6 p.m., followed by the boys at 7:30 p.m.

    Mundelein’s Robert Knar, here driving to the hoop last season, is back in action after what seemed like an interminable injury rehab.

    After standing still 6 months, time starts to move for Mundelein's Knar

    Four seconds. That was Robert Knar's latest victory. His life, for the last six months, has been measured in similarly small increments. "It's the small victories that keep you going," Knar said. "Those are what I've been living for lately." Weeks ago, when Knar bent his knee again for the first time in what seemed like an eternity, it was a victory. A small victory, but a victory nonetheless for the Mundelein senior guard.

    Former Hampshire girls basketball coaches Milt Awe and Sue Ellett guide the Whip-Purs during the 2002 Harlem Christmas Tournament. Later that season, Hampshire brought home its first state trophy in basketball when the Whip-Pur girls finished third in Class A.

    Revisiting the magic that was Hampshire girls basketball

    Every once in a while, a team comes along that you just never forget. In this case it's three teams. Time may blur the memory a bit here and there and require searching the archives to be accurate, but what will never be forgotten is how special the Hampshire girls basketball teams of 2001-02, 2002-03 and 2003-04 really were. For three years running the Whip-Purs played on the final weekend of the season at Redbird Arena. The only other basketball program in the Daily Herald's Fox Valley coverage area to do that was the Elgin boys from 1943-45.

    Illinois’ D.J. Richardson, left, puts up a layup next to Michigan State’s Branden Dawson (22) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Thursday in East Lansing, Mich. (AP Photo/Al Goldis)

    No. 13 Michigan State tops Illinois 80-75

    Keith Appling led a pivotal run early in the second half and finished with 24 points and seven assists to help No. 13 Michigan State beat Illinois 80-75 on Thursday night. The Spartans (18-4, 7-2 Big Ten) scored the first 14 points of the second half to take their first lead.

    The Bulls’ Nate Robinson and his teammates celebrate after beat the Miami Heat on Jan. 4 in Miami.

    Bulls’ Robinson intense catalyst

    If he didn't end up playing for the Bulls this season, Nate Robinson had a backup plan in place. He was going to try out for an NFL team at cornerback. At least, in theory. As it turned out, Robinson has become an invaluable contributor for the Bulls.

    Fenton High School hosted Timothy Christian Thursday night for girls basketball.

    Images: Timothy Christian vs. Fenton, girls basketball
    Fenton High School in Bensenville hosted Timothy Christian High School Thursday night for girls basketball.


    Stevenson eager to harvest top seed

    As far as planting a seed goes, the Stevenson boys basketball team has done just that ahead of next week's IHSA seeding process. The 16-4 Patriots, who have won six straight games and nine of their last 11, have proven that they deserve heavy consideration for the No. 1 seed in the Class 4A Waukegan sectional, which includes all of Lake County's Class 4A teams as well as some from northwest Cook County and McHenry from McHenry County.

    Jimmy Butler dunks against the Bucks’ Monta Ellis on Wednesday. In the Bulls’ last two games, Butler has been the first sub off the bench in the third quarter.

    Last two games, Butler first sub of second half

    Ever since Luol Deng was sidelined by a hamstring injury on Jan. 18, it's been impossible to keep Jimmy Butler off the floor. Now that Deng is healthy again, coach Tom Thibodeau has become a fan of playing Butler and Deng together, giving the Bulls a versatile defensive lineup.

    Stevenson’s Justin Weber stands over Austin Pettinato of Libertyville in the 145-pound championship match during last week’s North Suburban Conference tournament at Stevenson.

    By any measure, Stevenson’s Weber is exceptional

    t's difficult for the average person to realize just how much you need to sacrifice to become a great high school wrestler. And while the road to his current No. 3 state ranking has not always been an easy one, Stevenson 145-pound senior Justin Weber knows what it means to pay the price first hand in his quest to ultimately reach the top of this extremely demanding sport.


    Doubleheader time in the MSL

    Today marks the second and final Mid-Suburban League boys/girls basketball doubleheaders this season.All girls games will tip off at 6 p.m. with the boys to follow.The match-ups are as follows: Conant at Barrington, 6 p.m.; Elk Grove at Buffalo Grove, 6 p.m.; Fremd at Palatine, 6 p.m.; Hersey at Rolling Meadows, 6 p.m.; Hoffman Estates at Schaumburg, 6 p.m.; Prospect at Wheeling, 6 p.m.


    Scouting girls bowling sectionals / Northwest

    Here's a look at Saturday's girls bowling sectional involving teams of the Northwest suburbs.

    Barrington lineman Mason Darrow is pointed toward a football future at Princeton.

    Turns out Princeton suits Barrington’s Darrow just fine

    Barrington senior Mason Darrow was not going to narrow his college focus solely to the school which best fit his football future. Darrow also wasn't sure, however, about having the arrow point toward Princeton. He couldn't go wrong academically with the Ivy League. But he wasn't sure if it was the right choice to go where his brother Mack is a senior basketball player. "Initially, I wasn't really looking at Princeton because I didn't want to go to the same place my brother did," Mason said. "It turned for me a little bit after hearing him talk about his experiences and meeting some of his friends and people on campus. My interest level grew."

    Emma Spagnola, a junior at West Aurora, squares around for a bunt last year for her Wasco Diamonds travel team. The talented two-sport standout decided to play softball in college.

    West Aurora's Spagnola picks softball, NIU

    It would come as no surprise to high school sports fans that West Aurora junior Emma Spagnola just committed to Northern Illinois to continue her athletic career at the Division I level.

    JOE LEWNARD/jlewnard@dailyherald.com ¬ Batavia boys basketball coach Jim Roberts leads his team against Geneva during Saturday's High School Hoops Showdown game at the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates.

    20th annual Night of Hoops to honor Roberts

    It is an expression that has probably outlived contemporary usefulness but in the case of former Batavia boys basketball coach Jim Roberts, behind this good man stands a good woman.

    In this photo taken Jan. 24, 2013, Caleb Moore, center, is helped off the snow following his crash during the ESPN Winter X Games snowmobile freestyle competition in Aspen, Colo. Moore died on Thursday, Jan. 31, 2013, after suffering complications from injuries suffered during the crash. He was 25. AP Photo/Aspen Daily News, Chris Council)

    Winter X Games snowmobiler dies after Colo. crash

    Caleb Moore was a Texas kid drawn to the snow, rehearsing complicated tricks on a snowmobile into a foam pit back home until they became second nature and ready for the mountains.

    San Francisco 49ers cornerback Chris Culliver answers questions Thursday, Jan. 31, 2013, in New Orleans, regarding anti-gay remarks he made during Super Bowl media day Tuesday. Culliver apologized for the comments he made to a comedian, saying "that's not what I feel in my heart." The 49ers are scheduled to play the Baltimore Ravens in the NFL Super Bowl XLVII football game on Feb. 3. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

    49ers’ Culliver apologizes for anti-gay remarks

    San Francisco 49ers cornerback Chris Culliver apologized Thursday for anti-gay comments he made to a comedian during Super Bowl media day, saying "that's not what I feel in my heart."


    Mike North video: A-Rod and Ray Lewis - two of a kind?

    A Rod is being exposed again - is he a serial cheater? ESPN has hired Ray Lewis who is also in the midst of a substance controversy. Is this a good choice in light of the questions surrounding him?

    After shutting out the Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday, Vancouver Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo will be in the net Friday again to face the Blackhawks.

    Hawks expect emotional game vs. Canucks

    The Blackhawks and Vancouver Canucks didn't meet in the playoffs last spring, but that doesn't mean the hate has gone away.These two teams don't like each other and never will.They meet for the first time this season on Friday at Rogers Arena, where emotions are expected to run high again.

    Former Cubs first baseman Mark Grace greets the crowd at Wrigley Field before throwing out the first pitch in 2007 game.

    Former Cub Mark Grace gets 4 months for DUI

    Mark Grace has been sentenced to four months in jail under a work-release program. The 48-year-old former first baseman with the Diamondbacks and the Chicago Cubs pleaded guilty Thursday to felony endangerment and misdemeanor driving under the influence of alcohol.

    Baltimore Ravens cornerback Corey Graham was a special-teams star with the Bears before he landed a starting role this season with the Ravens.

    Ex-Bear Graham enjoying his role with Ravens

    Former Bears cornerback Corey Graham had to leave Chicago and the rough neighborhood in Buffalo, N.Y., where he grew up, but he's made it all the way to the Super Bowl, where he'll start at cornerback for the Ravens on Sunday.

    Jared Brownridge

    Basketball: Week 9 MVPs

    Waubonsie Valley senior guard Jared Brownridge and Burlington Central freshman guard Shelby Holt have earned Daily Herald MVP honors for their recent basketball performances. Brownridge had 33 points in a win over Bartlett and 26 to help the Warriors beat Peoria Central. Holt had 6 3s, 21 points, 4 steals and 2 blocks to help Burlington Central clinch a conference championship by winning at Richmond-Burton.

    NFL players union chief DeMaurice Smith was chastised this week by House Oversight and Government Reform Committee chairman Darrell Issa, a California Republican, and ranking Democrat Elijah Cummings of Maryland for standing in the way of HGH testing. The senators warned that they might ask players to testify on Capitol Hill.

    2 NFL seasons since agreement, still no HGH tests

    When the Baltimore Ravens face the San Francisco 49ers in the Super Bowl on Sunday, two complete seasons will have come and gone without a single HGH test being administered, even though the league and the NFL Players Association paved the way for it in the collective bargaining agreement signed in 2011. "I hope guys wouldn't be cheating. That's why you do all this extra work and extra training," said Ravens defensive end Arthur Jones.


    Jeff Williams

    Bizstarters helps mature workers start their own businesses

    Arlington Heights resident Jeff Williams said he has transitioned from a physical office and a staff of 5 workers to a home office with a nationwide, virtual team. Williams is the CEO and founder of Bizstarters.com, which offers training, counseling and other services to people over 50 who want to start their own business.

    ASSOCIATED PRESS U.S. stocks fell, trimming the best January rally for the Dow Jones Industrial Average since 1994, on disappointing earnings as investors weighed economic data ahead of tomorrow’s jobs report.

    Dow logs best January in nearly 2 decades

    The Dow logged its best start to the year in almost two decades. Stocks rallied in the first week of the year after U.S. lawmakers reached a deal to avoid the "fiscal cliff," and then pushed higher toward record levels as optimism about the housing market recovery grew. Decent company earnings for the fourth quarter and an improving job market also helped lift markets.

    ASSOCIATED PRESS The snack food giant Frito-Lay plans to roll out its Doritos in a “Taco Bell” flavor as a limited-time product this spring, aiming to capitalize on the popularity of the Doritos-flavored tacos introduced by the fast-food chain last year.

    Doritos to roll out chips in ‘Taco Bell’ flavor

    Frito-Lay wants a bigger bite of Taco Bell's popular Doritos Locos Tacos. The snack food giant plans to roll out its Doritos in a "Taco Bell" flavor as a limited-time product this spring, aiming to capitalize on the popularity of the Doritos-flavored tacos introduced by the fast-food chain last year.

    ASSOCIATED PRESS The Justice Department on Thursday filed a lawsuit to stop Anheuser-Busch InBev’s proposed $20.1 billion purchase of Mexican brewer Grupo Modelo, which would unite the ownership of popular beers like Budweiser and Corona.

    US challenges deal to merge Budweiser and Corona
    The Justice Department filed a lawsuit Thursday to stop Anheuser-Busch InBev's proposed $20.1 billion purchase of Mexican brewer Grupo Modelo, which would unite the ownership of popular beers like Budweiser and Corona. The government said the deal could lead to higher beer prices in this country because it would substantially reduce competition in the U.S. beer market, particularly in 26 metropolitan areas.


    MFRI CEO steps down; new management appointments made

    MFRI Chairman and Chief Executive Officer David Unger has retired as CEO and will continue as chairman of the board, the company announced. Current President Bradley Mautner will become the Niles-based company's new chief executive officer, the company said in a release.


    Robertson Worldwide adds Hong Kong firm to patent lawsuit

    Lighting ballast manufacturer Robertson Worldwide, based in Blue Island, has filed patent infringement claims against a Hong Kong-based company as part of an ongoing lawsuit over electronic ballast technology used to operate fluorescent lighting.


    AAR awarded medical support contract for U.S. Army

    Wood Dale-based AAR Corp. has been awarded a medical logistics contract for the U.S. Army Medical Material Center — Southwest Asia, located at Camp As Sayliya, Qatar. AAR’s Defense Systems and Logistics business will provide inventory management support to the U.S. Central Command in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. The one-year agreement includes two renewal options.The program marks the first time AAR’s Defense Systems and Logistics business will manage inventories of medical supplies for a defense customer. To date, its programs have focused exclusively on parts and logistics in support of various aircraft platforms and ground equipment.“We appreciate the confidence the U.S. Army has in AAR Defense Systems and Logistics to run this important program in support of the warfighter,” said John Holmes, Aviation Services Group Vice President, Inventory, Management and Distribution. “We thank our personnel on the ground for being responsive and for maintaining great relationships with our customers.”AAR Defense Systems and Logistics provide comprehensive supply chain management services to the U.S. government and its allies. AAR is as ranked one of the Top 100 defense contractors in the world.

    Scientific Games Corp. agreed to buy Waukegan-based WMS Industries Inc. for $1.5 billion

    Unemployment rates fall in most large U.S. cities

    The Labor Department says unemployment rates fell in more than three-quarters of the largest U.S. cities in November compared with the same month a year ago, evidence modest hiring is benefiting most areas of the country.

    Scientific Games Corp. agreed to buy Waukegan-based WMS Industries Inc. for $1.5 billion.

    Scientific Games to buy Waukegan company WMS for $1.5 billion

    Scientific Games Corp. agreed to buy Waukegan-based WMS Industries Inc. for $1.5 billion, the biggest deal in the leisure and recreational-products industry in almost two years, to create a global supplier of video-lottery and gaming machines.


    Pension charge pushes UPS 4Q results into the red

    UPS is reporting a fourth-quarter loss of $1.75 billion because of a $3 billion accounting charge for pension liabilities. Without the pension item, UPS said Thursday that it would have earned $2.05 billion, or $1.32 per share. That includes a loss of 5 cents per share from Hurricane Sandy.


    Global growth boosts MasterCard 4Q net income

    MasterCard's net income rebounded strongly in the fourth quarter as its overseas business continued to expand, the company said Thursday. The results benefited by comparison to the year-earlier quarter, which was weighed down by a massive legal charge. Net income in the three months ended Dec. 31 rose to $605 million, or $4.86 per share, from $19 million, or 15 cents per share, a year earlier.

    Consumer spending in the U.S. climbed in December as incomes grew by the most in eight years, a sign the biggest part of the economy was contributing to the expansion as the year drew to a close.

    Consumer spending in U.S. rose in December as incomes surged

    Consumer spending in the U.S. climbed in December as incomes grew by the most in eight years, a sign the biggest part of the economy was contributing to the expansion as the year drew to a close. Household purchases, which account for about 70 percent of the economy, rose 0.2 percent after a 0.4 percent gain the prior month, a Commerce Department report showed today in Washington.

    U.S. mortgage rates rose for a second week, increasing borrowing costs as tight supplies of listings drive up home prices.

    U.S. mortgage rates rise with 30-year highest in four months

    U.S. mortgage rates rose for a second week, increasing borrowing costs as tight supplies of listings drive up home prices.The average rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage was 3.53 percent in the week ended today, up from 3.42 percent and the highest since September, McLean, Virginia-based Freddie Mac said in a statement. The average 15-year rate rose to 2.81 percent from 2.71 percen t.

    Claims for U.S. unemployment benefits increased more than forecast last week, nearly erasing a slide in the prior two weeks and reflecting the difficulty of adjusting the figures for swings at the start of a year.

    Jobless claims in S.S. rose 38,000 last week to 368,000

    Claims for U.S. unemployment benefits increased more than forecast last week, nearly erasing a slide in the prior two weeks and reflecting the difficulty of adjusting the figures for swings at the start of a year. Initial jobless claims rose 38,000 in the week ended Jan. 26, the most since Nov. 10, to 368,000, the Labor Department reported today in Washington. Economists forecast 350,000 filings, according to the Bloomberg survey median. The increase followed a combined 45,000 drop in the prior two weeks.

    Just as President Barack Obama is pushing new initiatives on gun control and immigration, the gloomy old problem of a sluggish economy is elbowing its way back into prominence.

    Economic jitters compete with Obama agenda

    Just as President Barack Obama is pushing new initiatives on gun control and immigration, the gloomy old problem of a sluggish economy is elbowing its way back into prominence. Consumer confidence is falling, the economy is contracting and large automatic spending cuts are threatening to hit the Pentagon and other programs, with uncertain consequences. These troubles arise as Obama's public approval is improving and as he begins to use his sway to promote the key features of his second-term agenda.


    Viacom adjusted profit falls in 1Q, beats Street

    Viacom Inc. said Thursday that net income rose sharply in its fiscal first quarter compared with results depressed by a large accounting charge a year ago. But its revenue and adjusted earnings fell because of a drop at its Paramount studio business and lower advertising revenue at its Nickelodeon television channels.


    New England fishermen say new regs mean ruin

    Minutes after New England fishery managers took a vote that cast doubt on the historic industry's future, the prospects most clear to Gloucester fishermen Paul Vitale were his own. "I'm bankrupt. That's it," said the 40-year-old father of three. "I'm all done. The boat's going up for sale." The New England Fishery Management Council on Wednesday approved a year-to-year cut of 77 percent on the Gulf of Maine cod limit and 61 percent for Georges Bank cod.


    Jamaica embraces controversial Super Bowl ad

    Jamaica is embracing a controversial Super Bowl commercial that depicts a white office worker from the U.S. Midwest feigning the Caribbean island's lilting patois accent to display a cheerful, upbeat outlook.

    Containers are unloaded from cargo ships at APM Terninals in the Port of Los Angeles. The U.S. economy unexpectedly shrank from October through December, the first quarterly drop since 2009 and a reminder of the economy’s vulnerability as automatic cuts in government spending loom.

    U.S. economy shifted into reverse in late 2012

    The U.S. economy shrank unexpectedly late last year, a reminder of the biggest threat it faces in 2013: sharp government spending cuts and prolonged political budget fights. A plunge in defense spending helped push the economy into negative territory for the first time since mid-2009. The contraction in the October-December quarter came in at an annual rate of 0.1 percent, according to a government estimate released Wednesday.

    A man inspects Honda vehicles displayed in front of Honda Motor Co. headquarters in Tokyo.

    Honda profit surges on sales recovery

    Honda's quarterly profit surged nearly 63 percent as production recovered after disruptions from natural disasters. The Japanese automaker reported a $850 million profit for the October-December period Thursday, as sales jumped nearly 25 percent to $26 billion.


    Oil trades near four-month high as fed maintains asset buying

    Oil traded near the highest price in more than four months in New York as the Federal Reserve maintained an asset-purchase program to boost the economy of the world's largest crude-consuming nation. West Texas Intermediate was little changed, heading for the biggest monthly gain since August.


    Fed says growth pause temporary, keeps up stimulus

    The Federal Reserve said Wednesday that the U.S. economy "paused" in recent months because of temporary factors and reaffirmed its commitment to try to stimulate growth by keeping borrowing costs low for the foreseeable future.

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

    World stocks fall on unexpected dip in U.S. economy

    An unexpected contraction in the U.S. economy at the end of 2012 sent world stock markets into retreat Thursday. The U.S. economy shrank in the fourth quarter for the first time since mid-2009, hurt by big cuts in defense spending, falling exports and sluggish growth in company inventories, the government reported Wednesday. That put the brakes on a Wall Street rally that had pushed the Dow to near-record highs.


    NY Times says Chinese hacked paper’s computers

    Chinese hackers repeatedly penetrated The New York Times' computer systems over the past four months, stealing reporters' passwords and hunting for files on an investigation into the wealth amassed by the family of a top Chinese leader, the newspaper reported Thursday.


    Judge mulls request to cut damages in Samsung case

    It's a billion-dollar intellectual property question that has yet to be answered: Will a $1.05 billion damage award against Samsung Electronics Inc. remain intact? After losing a major copyright case to Apple Inc. over smartphone technology, Samsung asked U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh to reduce the award by as much as $600 million. But Koh was mostly silent on the request in a series of orders issued late Tuesday.

    In just three years, Chrysler has gone from government ward to rising star.

    Chrysler now a rising star among automakers

    In just three years, Chrysler has gone from government ward to rising star. The No. 3 U.S. automaker made $1.7 billion last year thanks to big gains for its much-improved cars and trucks, and it's expecting profits to reach $2.2 billion this year. It's a big improvement over 2011, when Chrysler earned $138 million. And it's even more remarkable considering that Chrysler was in bankruptcy and living on taxpayer loans just three years ago.

    Passengers walks by All Nippon Airways counters at Haneda Airport in Tokyo.

    ANA sticks to forecast despite grounding of 787s

    Japan's All Nippon Airways is sticking to its profit forecast despite flight cancellations caused by the worldwide grounding of Boeing 787 jets. ANA, which is currently the biggest customer for the Dreamliner with 17 of the jets in its fleet, said Thursday that 459 domestic and international flights were canceled this month because of the grounding, causing about 1.4 billion yen ($15.4 million) in lost revenue. It said it was unclear when the aircraft will be cleared by regulators to fly again.

    Japan’s All Nippon Airways is prepared to recoup from Boeing whatever damages it suffers from flight cancellations and other costs caused by the worldwide grounding of 787 jets,

    ANA to seek damages from Boeing for 787 woes

    Japan's All Nippon Airways is prepared to recoup from Boeing whatever damages it suffers from flight cancellations and other costs caused by the worldwide grounding of 787 jets, a senior executive said Thursday. All Nippon Airways Co. Chief Financial Officer Kiyoshi Tonomoto said the airline was focused on investigating the cause of the 787 battery problems, and it was not yet in damage negotiations with Chicago-based Boeing Co.

    Hostess has picked a lead bidder for its famous Twinkies.

    Hostess picks lead bidders for Twinkies

    Hostess has picked a lead bidder for its famous Twinkies.The bankrupt company said late Wednesday that it has selected a joint offer from two investment firms — C. Dean Metropoulos & Co. and Apollo Global Management LLC — as the lead bid for its Twinkies and other snack cakes. Hostess, says the two are offering to pay $410 million for the snack-cake business and five bakeries. The "stalking horse" bid would set the floor for an auction process that lets competitors make better offers. A judge would have to approve any final sale.

    Part-time home health care provider Debra Walker in her home in Houston. President Barack Obama thinks his health care law makes states an offer they can’t refuse. Whether to expand Medicaid _the federal-state program for the poor and disabled_ could be the most important decision facing governors and legislatures this year. The repercussions go beyond their budgets, directly affecting the well-being of residents and the finances of critical hospitals. Awaiting decisions are people like Walker, a part-time home health care provider. She had a good job with health insurance until she got laid off in 2007.

    Some families to be priced out of health overhaul

    Some families could get priced out of health insurance due to what's being called a glitch in President Barack Obama's overhaul law. IRS regulations issued Wednesday failed to fix the problem as liberal backers of the president's plan had hoped. As a result, some families that can't afford the employer coverage that they are offered on the job will not be able to get financial assistance from the government to buy private health insurance on their own. How many people will be affected is unclear.

Life & Entertainment

    Bull Riders World Tour Finale VII comes to the Sears Centre Arena this weekend.

    Weekend picks: Bull Riders World Tour rides into Sears Centre

    Rodeo and bull-riding greats like Neal McCoy ride into town for the professional championship Bull Riders World Tour Finale VII starting Friday at the Sears Centre Arena. Comedian April Macie brings her own brand of often explicit humor to Zanies in Rosemont this weekend. Head to Woodstock this weekend for Groundhog Days, which includes the annual prognostication Saturday, a dinner dance, trivia and more.

    A zombie named R (Nicholas Hoult) narrates his thoughts about a post-apocalyptic world in Jonathan Levine's “Warm Bodies.”

    Zombie romance surprisingly sweet testament to love

    Nicholas Hoult is officially the cutest undead guy in the history of the zombie film genre. He's the star of "Warm Bodies," a dopey, schmaltzy "love will conquer all" premise, carried out with panache and sincerity by Jonathan Levine, who treats the story not as a zombie tale, but a thinly disguised plea for humanity to save our world by letting what unites us triumph over what divides us.

    Beyoncé is expected to face the media Thursday as she previews her halftime performance at the Super Bowl. But the focus will likely be on her performance at that other big event earlier this month. The superstar hasn’t spoken publicly since it was alleged that she lip-synced her rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” at President Barack Obama’s inauguration last week.

    Beyonce admits Inauguration Day pre-recording

    Beyonce faced the music at a news conference Thursday before the Super Bowl, admitting that she sang along to a pre-recorded track when she performed the national anthem on Inauguration Day. The singer said she's a "perfectionist" and wanted her performance for President Barack Obama to be memorable. She called the day "emotional." "I practice until my feet bleed and I did not have time to rehearse with the orchestra," she said.

    A cop (Sung Kang) joins with a hit man (Sylvester Stallone) to catch some killers in Walter Hill's arrested action drama "Bullet to the Head."

    Stallone's brainless action film a real 'Bullet to the Head'

    Walter Hill's "Bullet to the Head" takes its title so seriously that practically everyone who dies in this movie — and that's a fair chunk of the New Orleans' population — winds up with a slug planted neatly between the eyes. That makes this action thriller just about as brainless as the cadavers left in the wake of a hit man's quest for revenge against the people who killed his partner.

    Rock musician Dave Grohl has turned to movies and a colorful piece of music history with “Sound City.”

    Dave Grohl’s ‘Sound City’ film explores human element

    Rock musician Dave Grohl set out to make a recording studio the subject of his first film. He was intrigued not only by the studio but by a specific piece of recording equipment — a 1970s era sound board — that captured every note of music made there.Instead, "Sound City" offers a colorful piece of music history, a candid examination of changes wrought by technology and a defiant statement about not surrendering the human element in creativity.


    About real estate: Congress, Obama extend two key tax breaks for homeowners

    The "fiscal cliff" legislation that was approved earlier this month restored deductions for private mortgage insurance payments and an important tax rule for owners who sell at a loss.

    Old friends Doc (Christopher Walken), left, Hirsch (Alan Arkin) and Val (Al Pacino) hit the town in “Stand Up Guys.”

    Great cast strengthens weak 'Stand Up Guys'

    Watching "Stand Up Guys" feels akin to seeing an old, favorite rock band getting back together for one last gig after decades apart. Stars Christopher Walken, Al Pacino and Alan Arkin are all performing their greatest hits in this con-man comedy, albeit within dialed-down versions of their familiar screen personae. But there's enough humor and tenderness in Fisher Stevens' film to make it a passably enjoyable experience for the most part.

    On Wednesday, prosecutors charged Emmylou Harris with misdemeanor hit-and-run for leaving an Oct. 1 accident on a Los Angeles freeway without exchanging info with another driver.

    Emmylou Harris charged with hit-and-run in L.A.

    Los Angeles prosecutors have charged country star Emmylou Harris with misdemeanor hit-and-run related to an accident last year. The Grammy-winning singer was charged Wednesday for failing to exchange information with a driver whose car she hit on a freeway on Oct. 1.

    Adult film star Ron Jeremy is recovering from surgery at a Los Angeles hospital after an aneurysm near his heart sent him to intensive care.

    Porn star Ron Jeremy in L.A. hospital after aneurysm

    A spokesman says porn star Ron Jeremy is recovering from surgery at a Los Angeles hospital after an aneurysm near his heart sent him to intensive care. Agent Mike Esterman says in an email to The Associated Press that he and others were waiting for Jeremy to awake Wednesday night after a smooth procedure at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

    A prosecutor says the country music star Randy Travis is expected to enter a guilty plea in a drunken-driving case in North Texas.

    Randy Travis to enter drunken driving plea

    Country music star Randy Travis is scheduled to appear in a North Texas court, where prosecutors say he is expected to plead guilty to driving while intoxicated. The hearing in state district court in Sherman would end a drunken driving case that began last summer when Travis was accused of crashing his car while driving naked.

    Singer Patty Andrews, the last survivor of the three singing Andrews sisters, died in Los Angeles at age 94.

    Patty Andrews of singing Andrews Sisters dies at 94

    Patty Andrews never served in the military, but she and her singing sisters certainly supported the troops. During World War II, they hawked war bonds, entertained soldiers overseas and boosted morale on the homefront with tunes like "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company B" and "I Can Dream, Can't I?" Andrews, the last surviving member of the singing Andrews Sisters trio, died Wednesday at 94 of natural causes at her home in the Los Angeles suburb of Northridge

    Grab a bucket of beer during Blackhawks games at Wickets.

    Night life events: Blackhawks game specials at Wickets

    He shoots, he scores with Wickets Bar and Grill's new Blackhawks game specials. Grab a bucket of eight 7-ounce bottles for $13 or choose five 12-ounce bottles for $13. Gibby's Wine Den in Geneva hosts a decidedly grownup Adult Snow Day Saturday with wines paired with Graham's Fine Chocolates.

    Schultz (Christoph Waltz), left, and Django (Jamie Foxx) team up in the ultra-violent “Django Unchained,” directed by Quentin Tarantino.

    Reader: 'Django,' Hollywood feeding the violence problem

    After a reader attacked Dann for his positive review of "Django," Dann sets the record straight saying that he would denounce real violence against innocent people, and fake violence when it's horribly mounted, as in stupid mad slasher films and ineptly made gladiator opuses. However, he says he would celebrate and endorse fake violence when it has been executed with finesse and artistry.



    Editorial: Ryan is out of prison, but little is different in Illinois

    Former Gov. George Ryan's release from federal prison stirs a Daily Herald editorial to reflect that not enough has changed in Illinois government.


    Protecting the currency of trust in all we publish

    Columnist Jim Slusher: With everyone who writes for us, we must by the nature of our work accept a fundamental bond of trust, a trust that says what you write is what you honestly saw, heard or believe and it is your own.


    On torture, a debate we need

    Columnist Richard Cohen: A foggy position of confusion and ambiguityabout the use of torture has been largely missing from the debate over the film "Zero Dark Thirty." Everyone seems so sure of everything.


    Teach kids they have to live with their decisions
    A Schaumburg letter to the editor: Columnist Ruben Navarrette's commentary on balance in parenting reminded me of an impactful book from my parenting days. It was a "how-to" of balance.


    Plant-based diets benefit Earth, people
    A Des Plaines letter to the editor: Numerous studies have confirmed that people who consume fewer animal products have lower rates of obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease. Vegans and vegetarians, on average, consume fewer calories and weigh less than their carnivorous counterparts.


    Real challenge is with the mentally unstable
    An Arlington Heights letter to the editor: These laws may make us all feel better, but they won't have any real impact on the crazed, suicidal, mass killers. We need to deal with the issues of unbalanced people and angry people to really solve the problem.


    Stand on principles, Mr. Boehner
    A West Chicago letter to the editor: Dear John Boehner: My demographic profile is so freakish it should simultaneously lift your heart, and worry you. I am a naturalized citizen, an Asian-American, a union member, and a federal employee. I should be allied with the Democrats.


    Time to celebrate our commonalities
    A Villa Park letter to the editor: Perhaps I am not the only one out there that has noticed a need for politicians, whether they are from either side of the aisle to use new words. In our current political arena, rarely do I hear and read such words as integrity, determination, resiliency, hard work, ethics and honesty. Frequently we, as well as our children, hear words such as victimization, political correctness, power, volatility and the wonderful word of debt.


    Missed opportunity in Campton Hills
    A Batavia letter to the editor: I'm writing out of anger. It started because of what I read regarding the treatment center that could have opened in Campton Hills. Many of the people cheering that it wasn't going to happen are the same people that have fed the stigma regarding anything related to addiction.


    Misuse of gun stats does a disservice
    A Lake in the Hills letter to the editor: A Jan. 27 letter is a new low in the fear-mongering agenda of gun-rights advocates. The citations of gun control measures and consequent genocides prove nothing. It has merely shown a correlation and a weak one at that not causality.


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