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Daily Archive : Wednesday February 27, 2013

News

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    Forest View School holding St. Baldrick’s fundraiser

    Forest View Alternative School will sponsor its fourth annual “St. Baldrick’s Day” fundraiser at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, March 21, at Forest View Educational Center, 2121 S. Goebbert Road, Arlington Heights.

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    If you haven’t had a chance to drop in on the popular Chick-fil-A restaurant in Batavia, don’t make the mistake of going on Sunday. It’s closed.

    Please note: Chick-fil-A is closed on Sunday

    Batavia school district officials should have made a better choice when spending the taxpayer's dime, Dave Heun says.

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    Japanese exchange students look at McDonald’s Happy Meal toys with Elk Grove student council members during the 2002 student exchange.

    Elk Grove High School Japanese exchange program celebrates 25 years

    Elk Grove High School’s annual Japanese Exchange Program has reached the quarter-century mark with the March 8-22 visit of 10 exchange students and two faculty members from its Japanese sister high schools, Ashikodai and Ashitandai. In June, Elk Grove orchestra director Bill Baar, cello instructor Gail Baar and nine host students will travel to Ashikaga, Japan, for the second half of the program.

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    Ice House Mall holds model search and baby contest

    The Ice House Mall & Village Shops will host its 4th annual Sunburst Model Search and Baby Contest on 11 a.m. Saturday, March 9. Contestants may range from infant to 27 years of age. Entry forms are available at mall stores.

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    Dist. 62 Foundation raises $17,000 to help schools

    What creative classroom activities can $17,000 fund? Des Plaines Elementary District 62 teachers have until Aug. 30 to answer that question and obtain mini-grants from the District 62 Foundation. The foundation raised about $17,000 during its annual dinner and fundraiser Feb. 22 at Café la Cave in Des Plaines.

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    Streamwood salesman wins $1 million in lottery

    A Streamwood salesman was awarded with a $1 million check Wednesday at the gas station where he bought his winning Illinois Lottery ticket earlier this month. Larry Szpajer decided to try a different route Feb. 6 while making his usual metal distribution sales calls. While driving through Lake Villa, he stopped to buy a Powerball ticket at the Citgo at 400 E. Grand Ave. The first five numbers of...

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    Police searched an area in Round Lake Park near Campbell Airport for information related to Joseph “Joey” Frase of Grayslake after volunteers found his body deep in brush.

    Cops: Grayslake man confused before freezing to death

    A police investigation has found a 20-year-old Grayslake likely became confused in a subdivision and walked the wrong way before freezing to death at a small airport last month. Authorities also said foul play was not involved in the death of Joseph "Joey" Frase.

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    Police arrest 11 men involved in DuPage heroin conspiracy

    Police have arrested 11 men from West Chicago, Warrenville, Geneva, Naperville and Chicago who were involved in a DuPage County heroin conspiracy. The two-month long drug conspiracy investigation was conducted by members of the DuPage County Sheriff Office’s multi-jurisdictional Tactical Narcotics Team, the Sheriff’s SR-22 Unit, the West Chicago Police Department, the Woodridge Police Department...

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    Hazel Walker, center, with, from left to right, Chief Eric Guenther, her father, Donald Walker, her mother, Hazel Walker, and Chief Tim Sashko.

    Mundelein student honored for saving man’s life

    A Mundelein student’s decision to not just pass by a man in trouble saved the stranger’s life, according to village officials. Hazel Walker was on her way home from Mundelein High School on Jan. 28 when she noticed a man with his face down in a puddle of muddy water. She dragged the man from the water, turned him over on his back and called 911.

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    Woman admits defrauding state grant program

    A former executive of the Chicago chapter of the National Black Nurses Association has pleaded guilty to mail fraud and money laundering. The charges against 62-year-old Margaret Davis stems from a federal grand jury inquiry into how state money was handed out to dozens of groups, some of which were linked to former state Sen. Rickey Hendon.

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    A drawing provided by Inspiration Mars shows an artist’s conception of a spacecraft envisioned by the private group, which wants to send a married couple on a mission to fly close to the red planet and zip back home, beginning in 2018.

    Tycoon wants to send married couple on Mars flyby

    It will be a stripped-down mission when it comes to automation and complexity, meaning the couple will have to fix things on the fly like TV’s MacGyver and do more piloting than on NASA vehicles, said chief medical officer Jonathan Clark.

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    Booking photo of Mario Rainone of Addison after he was charged with a Lincolnshire burglary. Rainone now faces at least 15 more years in prison due to a federal firearms charge.

    Addison man convicted of federal gun charge

    An Addison man who is considered an armed career criminal under federal law faces a minimum of 15 years in prison after being convicted Wednesday by a federal jury of being a felon in possession of a firearm, according to authorities. Mario J. Rainone, 58, remains in federal custody pending his sentencing, which is scheduled for June 5.

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    State Rep. Elaine Nekritz, a Northbrook Democrat, speaks to reporters on pension legislation during a news conference Wednesday outside the House chambers at the Capitol in Springfield.

    Pension bill would reduce benefits, create 401(k) for new teachers

    Illinois House Republican Leader Tom Cross, Democratic Rep. Elaine Nekritz of Northbrook and a handful of suburban lawmakers pitched a new plan Wednesday to cut the state’s pension costs. Specific pension cuts will be the subject of test votes today in the Illinois House.

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    Fox Valley police reports
    Artemio Dimas-Vargas, 26, of Elgin, was arrested and charged with driving under the influence, driving without a valid license, no insurance, speeding and driving on the shoulder after a traffic stop at 2:33 a.m. Sunday at South Gilbert Street and Route 25 near South Elgin, according to a sheriff’s report.

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    Robin Kelly celebrates her special primary election win for Illinois' 2nd Congressional District, once held by Jesse Jackson Jr., over Debbie Halvorson, and Anthony Beale Tuesday in Matteson. After a primary campaign dominated by gun control and economic woes, voters chose Kelly, the likely replacement for Jesse Jackson Jr. Tuesday, three months after his legal troubles and battle with depression forced the son of the civil rights leader to resign from Congress.

    Anti-gun Democrat a shoo-in to replace Jackson Jr.

    The newly elected Democratic nominee to replace disgraced former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. vowed to become a leader in the fight for federal gun control and directly challenged the National Rifle Association in her victory speech. But it remains to be seen whether Robin Kelly's primary win Tuesday in the Chicago-area district will affect the national debate.

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    Walter Depner

    Charges upgraded against driver who killed family in 1999 crash

    McHenry County prosecutors upgraded charges Wednesday against a Mount Prospect man suspected of driving under the influence while on parole for killing four members of a Crystal Lake family while driving drunk in 1999. Walter J. Depner, 61, now faces felony charges of aggravated driving under the influence and driving while license revoked stemming from his arrest Sunday near Lakemoor. If found...

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    Tuesday’s dismal voter turnout wasted tax dollars, officials say

    Voter turnout Tuesday night was among the worst area clerks have seen in recent memory. Just about every county saw less than 15 percent of the registered voters for contests on the ballot cast a vote. In some counties, like Kane, the turnout was so bad County Clerk Jack Cunningham went as far as to call the election a waste of tax dollars. Turnout in Kane County was less than 3 percent.

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    Marty Moylan

    Moylan's tougher hazing penalty wins committee backing

    Recent hazing scandals at Maine West and Hoffman Estates high schools have prompted one state official to call for a tougher penalty for school officials and employees who fail to report hazing. State Rep. Marty Molyan's plan was approved 15-0 by a House committee Wednesday, sending the proposal to the full House for further debate.

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    Democratic Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth, of Hoffman Estates, has offered to cut her own pay in the event of a sequester.

    Duckworth will cut own pay if sequester happens

    U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth, of Hoffman Estates, plans to take a pay cut of 8.4 percent if automatic spending cuts go into effect Friday, as they will if Congress fails to reach a plan to deal with the country's deficit.

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    Mount Prospect District 57 balancing state mandates, local pressures

    Like many school districts, Mount Prospect Elementary District 57 reviews its long-term strategic plan each year and amends it to reflect new economic realities, education trends and laws that might affect district operations. This year, there are more than the usual number of such issues on the horizon, district officials say.

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    New contract for District 50 teachers, support staff

    Teachers and support staff now officially have a new contract at Woodland Elementary District 50 in Gurnee. District 50 board members approved the deal at a meeting Tuesday night. Members of the Woodland branch of the Lake County Federation of Teachers union ratified the contract in late December.

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    Joanne Smith of Elburn will be the new principal of Batavia High School.

    New Batavia High School principal selected

    A new principal has been picked for Batavia High School, to take over in July when current principal Lisa Hichens assumes her duties as the district's superintendent.

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    Associated Press/March 13, 2012 Gary Mead, executive associate director for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Enforcement and Removal Operations, speaks to reporters by a soccer field at a new civil detention facility for low-risk detainees in Karnes City, Texas. Mead, the senior Homeland Security Department official in charge of arresting and deporting illegal immigrants, announced his retirement the same day the agency said hundreds of people facing deportation had been released from immigration jails.

    DHS official retires after immigrants are freed

    The senior Homeland Security Department official in charge of arresting and deporting illegal immigrants announced his retirement the same day the agency said that hundreds of people facing deportation had been released from immigration jails due to looming budget cuts.

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    Students enter the “White House” as a life-size Abraham Lincoln replica stands outside at Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, Ill. Illinois wants to attract more international tourists and is harnessing the recent popularity of Lincoln.

    State looking to lure international visitors with “Lincoln”

    Illinois has spent money in the United Kingdom and Germany on ads playing in theaters before the Oscar-winning movie “Lincoln” and partnered with a federally funded travel group that promotes the United States abroad in an effort to attract more international tourists to the state.

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    Director/choreographer Rachel Rockwell makes her Goodman Theatre debut with a revival of the musical “Brigadoon” as part of the company’s 2013-2014 season.

    Goodman unveils ‘dream’ season

    Goodman Theatre announces its 2013-2014 season featuring the world premiere of Rebecca Gilman's latest, the Chicago premiere of the Broadway hit "Venus in Fur" a revival of "Brigadoon" directed by Rachel Rockwell and the world premiere of the Goodman-commissioned "Smokefall" by Noah Haidle.

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    Elgin man charged with molesting young girl

    A Cook County judge set bond Wednesday at $100,000 for a 28-year-old Elgin man charged with molesting a girl. Procoro Berruquin reportedly called a relative of the girl to apologize, authorities said.

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    Buffalo Grove may hike water reconnection fees

    Buffalo Grove may be upping the fees for reinstating customers who have had their water shut off by the village. Village trustees at a committee of the whole meeting this week discussed increasing the reconnection fee from $25 to $50, and creating a $100 fee for after-hours reconnection.

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    Black holes in galaxies rotate really fast, study finds

    There’s a new spin on supermassive black holes: They’re incredibly fast, astronomers say. They calculated its spin at close to the speed of light — 670 million mph.

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    Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Deputy member of the SWAT team gears up to enter the shooting scene Tuesday.

    Two police officers killed in California; suspect dead

    A quiet seaside community in California known for its surfing and liberal attitudes erupted in violence when two detectives were shot and killed while trying to question a sex crime suspect who later died in a police shootout.

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    Associated Press/April 16, 2008 John Freshwater, center, addresses a crowd on Mount Vernon’s public square in Mount Vernon, Ohio.

    Ohio court spars with lawyers in school Bible case

    A lawyer for the school board that dismissed John Freshwater in 2011 said he waved a Bible at his students, handed out religious pamphlets and espoused creationism in his evolution lessons.

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    MCC board set to approve $3-per-credit-hour tuition hike

    McHenry County College trustees are poised to approve Thursday a $3-per-credit-hour tuition increase. The cost will go from $99 per credit hour to $102.

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    A test pond at Aberdeen Proving Ground in Aberdeen, Md.

    Navy probes deaths of two divers

    A spokesman for the Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland says the deaths of two Navy divers at a test pond are not believed to be connected to a death late last month at the site.

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    Sean M. Mayer

    Round Lake Park police: Man offers to shovel drive, later burglarizes house

    Round Lake Park police say a man who offered to shovel a woman's driveway in his neighborhood last week wanted more than the minimal fee he charged. Police said Sean M. Mayer, 20, of the 500 block of Arbor Drive in the village, has been charged with residential burglary.

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    Now that the Carol Stream village board has rejected plans to alter existing signs at the Town Center, park district officials say they are going to be adding signs of their own near the new recreation center.

    Carol Stream Park District to pursue own signs

    The Carol Stream Park District is developing signs to put near its new recreation center after the village board said it didn’t want to share costs to alter existing signage on site. Parks officials will meet with Williams Architects early next week to discuss the design for possibly two signs — a large one in front of the building that fronts Gary Avenue, and a smaller one near the Lies Road...

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    Island Lake club to be honored:

    The Island Lake Woman’s Club will be honored at Thursday’s village board meeting for its 70 years of philanthropic service.

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    Waukegan park permits:

    The Waukegan Park District is offering park use permits to accommodate groups for outdoor get-togethers at park district facilities.

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    SHS choral concert:

    Stevenson High School will host a winter choral concert at 7:30 p.m. Thursday in the performing arts center at the Lincolnshire campus, Two Stevenson Drive.

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    Tri-Cities police reports
    Erik D. Turner, 20, of Romeoville, was arrested and charged with possession of alcohol by a minor at 11:02 p.m. Saturday after he yelled at deputies at North Rosedale and Illinois avenues near Aurora, according to a sheriff’s report.

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    Know your ducks:

    Waterfowl will be the topic of the Lake County Audubon Society meeting, 7:30 p.m., Monday, March 4, at the Libertyville village hall, 118 W. Cook Ave.

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    Lawmakers, vet groups panning Pentagon’s new medal

    The military’s new medal for cyber warriors should get a demotion, according to veterans groups and lawmakers who say it shouldn’t outrank such revered honors as the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart.

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    About 50 workers picket Wednesday outside the main entrance to the Port of Vancouver, in Vancouver, Wash.

    West Coast terminal locks out longshoremen

    A Pacific Northwest grain terminal owner imposed a lockout on longshoremen Wednesday after saying an “independent former FBI investigator” determined a union leader sabotaged company equipment at the height of contentious labor problems in December.

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    Study finds pregnancy nausea drug won’t harm fetus

    The new study of more than 600,000 pregnancies in Denmark found no evidence of major birth-related problems, so women should not be afraid to use Zofran if they need it, said Dr. Iffath Hoskins, a high-risk pregnancy specialist at NYU Langone Medical Center and a spokeswoman for the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

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    STEVE LUNDY/slundy@dailyherald.com, 2010 State Rep. Carol Sente, a Vernon Hills Democrat, has proposed limiting tackling practice for players high school-age and younger.

    Lawmakers talk tackling ban

    State Rep. Carol Sente, a Vernon Hills Democrat, said she'll likely loosen her proposed restriction that would limit young football players to just one day of tackling practice a week. But others at an Illinois House committee said it should be an Illinois High School Association matter, not a state law.

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    185,000 spyware images sent of customers to Aaron’s computers

    Spyware installed on computers leased from furniture renter Aaron’s Inc. secretly sent 185,000 emails containing sensitive information — including pictures of nude children and people having sex — back to the company’s corporate computers, according to court documents filed Wednesday in a class-action lawsuit.

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    Debra Denison, 47

    Cops: Grandma shot self, young grandsons

    A woman who picked up her two young grandsons from daycare and was supposed to bring them home so the 2-year-old could open his birthday presents instead drove them to a neighboring town and shot and killed the children and herself, state police and family members said.

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    This undated photo released by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department shows Tineesha Lashun Howard and Ammar Harris. Howard has been identified as a “person of interest” for being in the vehicle driven by Harris during a shooting that resulted in a fiery crash that left three dead last week.

    Vegas murder suspect brags online

    Las Vegas triple murder suspect Ammar Harris has a smirk on his face in a ninety-second YouTube video that shows him flashing a thick stack of $100 bills.

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    The new 22-acre Craftsbury Preserve lies just south of the Rice family’s Craftsbury Farm at the southeast corner of Cuba and North Hart roads in Cuba Township.

    Barrington-area farmland donated, will remain open space

    A Barrington-area family has donated 22 acres of their parents’ former farmland to Citizens For Conservation for restoration into a marsh surrounded by meadows, prairies and savannas. The farm site is at the southeast corner of Cuba and North Hart roads in Cuba Township, north of Northwest Highway.

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    Timothy Veit

    Former Des Plaines cop accused of fraud pleads not guilty

    Retired Des Plaines police commander Timothy Veit, who is accused of padding overtime hours in reports which led to the department’s misuse of federal funds, pleaded not guilty to the charge in federal court Wednesday morning, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office said. Veit, 55, of Mount Prospect, is charged with making false statements in federal reports that led to the Des Plaines Police...

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    Senate rejects Quinn’s SIU board appointments

    The Illinois Senate hasn’t provided a single vote in favor of three appointments by Gov. Pat Quinn to the Southern Illinois University board of trustees. The Democratic-controlled Senate voted 0-23 with 32 “present” votes on Quinn’s request to name Sandra Cook of Collinsville, Melvin Terrell of Chicago and Lee Milner of Springfield.

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    Chicago archdiocese to eliminate 75 jobs

    The Archdiocese of Chicago says it’s cutting 75 jobs and closing or consolidating five schools. Cardinal Francis George made the announcement Wednesday in a letter on the Roman Catholic archdiocese’s website.

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    Bob Berlin

    Gang-awareness seminar for parents planned in Naperville

    Parents can get educated about street gangs -- and learn how to spot signs their children may be involved -- at a free seminar Monday in Naperville, officials said. The gang-awareness seminar hosted by DuPage County State's Attorney Bob Berlin is set for 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the LindenOaks at Edward Hospital Outpatient Center, 1335 N. Mill St.

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    Oakbrook Terrace Historical Society Director Bob Shanahan says he’s pleased the city plans to sell a Sears Homart home to the society and is open to providing funds to help maintain the house for the first few years of its operation.

    Oakbrook Terrace Sears Homart home avoids wrecking ball

    A notable Sears Roebuck Homart kit home has avoided a date with the wrecking ball thanks to a tentative agreement between the Oakbrook Terrace City Council and the community’s fledgling historical society. The council agreed Tuesday to sell the building to the society for a nominal fee and to consider paying $500 a month toward the operation and maintenance of the house for at least two years.

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    Deb Daly

    U-46 students raise $10,000 for teacher who’s had several strokes

    When Deb Daly taught Natalie Judkins how to organize a successful fundraiser she could never have imagined the Larkin High School graduate would later use those skills to collect more than $10,000 for her former teacher. Daly suffered five strokes between September and January. She is recovering now at Rush-Copley Medical Center in Aurora. Knowing Daly’s medical bills were mounting, Judkins...

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    House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of Calif.,speaks during a rally Wednesday outside the Supreme Court in Washington.

    Justices voice skepticism of voting rights law

    The court’s liberals and conservatives engaged in a sometimes tense back-and-forth over whether there is an ongoing need in 2013 for the part of the voting rights law that requires states with a history of discrimination, mainly in the Deep South, to get approval before making changes in the way elections are held.

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    David W. McArdle

    Island Lake officials seek to dismiss McArdle as secondary attorney

    In a recent letter to Island Lake officials, attorney David McArdle insisted neither he nor his law firm serve the village in any capacity — even though they do under the terms of a 2011 settlement. With McArdle's statement in hand, the village board on Thursday will vote to terminate its deal with the firm.

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    Fox Lake trustee candidates give ideas for the future should they be elected

    Building a new hotel, creating more youth amenities and more community involvement by residents are among the ideas candidates vying for three open Fox Lake trustee seats said they would like push if elected April 9. Seven candidates, including three incumbents, are on the ballot.

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    Oscar Tilford, 11, of Round Lake, shovels the driveway of his grandparents in Mundelein as area residents and businesses dig out Wednesday after a snowstorm pounded Lake County yesterday. Round Lake schools were closed for a snow day.

    ER doc warns of injuries from shoveling heavy snow

    The worst may be over with this latest winter snowstorm, but the likelihood of injuries from shoveling is still high, says Troy Foster, attending emergency room physician at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge. “The first and probably most common are back injuries whenever you are shoveling snow, especially when you are not a frequent exerciser,” he said.

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    District 41 mum on teacher contract agreement

    The Glen Ellyn District 41 school board and union representing teachers throughout the district have agreed to a new four-year contract. The board unanimously approved the agreement Monday, though neither side will discuss details of the pact.

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    Hostess Brands Wonder breads are displayed at a grocery store in Santa Clara, Calif.

    Hostess sale of Wonder bread nears completion

    A person familiar with the situation says a bid by Flowers Foods to buy Wonder and several other bread brands from bankrupt Hostess was met with no competing offers.

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    Receiving forgiveness makes you feel refreshed

    We can become depressed and lifeless when we allow sin and guilt to overtake our souls. By receiving Jesus Christ’s forgiveness, a time of refreshment will start to fall on us and cleanse us like the beauty of a fresh snowfall, columnist Annettee Budzban says.

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    Laura Russman, a junior at Aurora University, is the recipient of Naper Settlement’s inaugural Powell Museum Studies internship.

    College junior works as an intern at Naper Settlement

    Laura Russman, a junior at Aurora University, is the recipient of Naper Settlement's first Powell Musueum Studies Internship and is spending 16 weeks gaining practical museum training experience.

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    Fog shrouds work crews repairing down power lines Wednesday at 8 mile and Five points, in Southfield, Mich. The storm that hit the nation’s midsection dropped at least 7 inches of snow on parts of Michigan and created dangerous driving conditions.

    Colorado kids stranded at school overnight by snow

    A snowstorm moving across the Midwest forced about 60 students to spend the night at their Colorado school when a state highway was closed due to dangerous conditions that left some drivers stranded in their cars, as winter weather continued to cause problems for a wide swath of the country.

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    U.S. secretary of state John Kerry, left, is greeted Wednesday by French Minister of Foreign Affairs Laurent Fabius at the Foreign Ministry in Paris. Paris is the third leg of Kerry’s first official overseas trip, a hectic nine-day dash through Europe and the Middle East.

    Kerry, in France, looks at next steps on Syria

    New U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has held his first official meeting with France’s leadership amid increasing efforts by both countries to bolster Syria’s opposition. Kerry met Wednesday with French President Francois Hollande in Paris, chatting in French on the front steps of the Elysee Palace.

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    Notre Dame Glee Club in Barrington March 8

    The University of Notre Dame’s 70-voice men’s Glee Club will be sharing their repertoire of classical, spiritual, folk and barbershop tunes at 8 p.m. Friday, March 8 at St. Anne Catholic Church, 120 N. Ela St. in Barrington.

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    District 21 restructures debt

    Wheeling Township Elementary District 21 has restructured its current long-term debt, reducing the tax extensions for debt service by more than $8.5 million over the next five levies starting in 2012, the district says.

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    Schaumburg gets loan to clean up developable site

    A $400,000 loan from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency is expected to remove any question marks from the marketing and development of a 54-acre site the village of Schaumburg owns in its largely industrial southwest corner. The loan is part of an agreement with the IEPA that Schaumburg trustees approved Tuesday for the environmental cleanup of the Murzyn-Anderson property at the...

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    Illinois parolee gets 4 years for double stabbing

    EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. (AP) — A parolee originally charged with attempted murder in the southwestern Illinois stabbings of two brothers has been sentenced to four years in prison after pleading guilty to aggravated battery.The (Alton) Telegraph reports that Lavonte Brownlee entered the plea after prosecutors agreed to drop the more serious counts.

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    Disabled woman dies in Mount Vernon house fire

    MOUNT VERNON, Ill. — Investigators say an overloaded electrical extension cord sparked a southern Illinois house fire that killed a 63-year-old disabled woman who was trapped inside.Mount Vernon Fire Chief Jim Brown says Donna Romano’s body was found Tuesday morning in the living room of her single-story, wood-framed home.

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    Death of 2nd Menard inmate under investigation

    CHESTER, Ill. — Authorities in southern Illinois’ Randolph County are investigating the second suspicious death of an inmate at the maximum-security Menard Correctional Center in two months.

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    Ex-director of Orpheum Theatre charged with abuse

    GALESBURG, Ill. — The former director of the Orpheum Theatre in Galesburg has been charged with sexually abusing a 16-year-old boy who was seeking a role in a theater production.Joshua Damewood of Monmouth is accused of pressuring the boy into performing a sex act on the theater’s stage last October.

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    Police say alcohol a factor in Northwestern death

    After a months-long investigation, police say they believe alcohol played a role in the death of a Northwestern University student whose body was found in a harbor near the school’s suburban Chicago campus. Evanston police say tests showed 18-year-old Harsha Maddula’s blood-alcohol content was one and a half times the legal limit. They determined his death was accidental.

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    Appeal denied for ex-Mayor Daley’s patronage chief

    An appeals court in Chicago has refused to overturn the corruption conviction of former Chicago Mayor Richard Daley’s onetime patronage chief.The 7th U.S. Court of Appeals on Wednesday denied Robert Sorich’s request to toss his 2006 conviction for helping to rig the city’s hiring system to favor the politically well-connected. Sorich completed his nearly four-year sentence in 2010.

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    University of Illinois beefs up police for drinking event

    CHAMPAIGN — Authorities say there will be 115 extra police officers on the University of Illinois campus Friday for the annual Unofficial St. Patrick’s Day.

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    Pope Benedict XVI greets pilgrims Wednesday in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican for the final time before retiring. Waving to tens of thousands of people who have gathered to bid him farewell, Benedict was driven around the square in an open-sided vehicle, surrounded by bodyguards. At one point he stopped to kiss a baby handed up to him by his secretary.

    Pope recalls ‘joy’ of papacy, and difficulties

    Pope Benedict XVI basked in an emotional sendoff Wednesday from a massive crowd at his final general audience in St. Peter’s Square, recalling moments of “joy and light” during his papacy but also times of difficulty when “it seemed like the Lord was sleeping.” An estimated 150,000 people, many toting banners saying “Grazie!” (“Thank you!”), jammed the piazza to bid Benedict farewell and hear his...

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    Chuck Hagel is expected to be sworn in as secretary of defense Wednesday and is likely to address the staff in his first day as defense secretary.

    Hagel takes helm at Pentagon after bitter fight

    Chuck Hagel takes charge at the Defense Department with deep budget cuts looming and Republican opponents still doubtful that he’s up to the job. Hagel is expected to be sworn in Wednesday and is likely to address the staff in his first day as defense secretary. The bitter, seven-week fight over his nomination ended Tuesday as a deeply divided Senate voted 58-41 to confirm him.

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    Senators clash over need to ban assault weapons

    Recent mass shootings like the massacre of first-graders and staffers at a Connecticut elementary school and the increasing deadliness of assault weapons makes a ban on those firearms more urgent than ever, the Senate author of a proposal to prohibit them said Wednesday.

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    House chairman opposes universal background checks

    The Republican chairman of the House Judiciary Committee said Wednesday he opposes universal background checks on gun sales and doesn’t foresee such a measure being part of gun legislation in the House. Requiring background checks on all gun sales is a top priority of the Obama administration in the wake of the Newtown, Conn., school shooting, and has appeared to be emerging in the Senate as a...

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    Richard Anderson

    College of Lake County considering tuition and fee increases

    College of Lake County is proposing another boost in student tuition and fees starting in the fall semester. Under the plan, CLC would enact a $3-per-credit-hour hike for in-district tuition and fees, elevating it to $115 beginning with fall classes. CLC had a $109 credit-hour charge for tuition and fees when the fall semester began in 2011.

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    Pope Benedict XVI greets pilgrims in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013 for the final time before retiring, waving to tens of thousands of people who have gathered to bid him farewell Benedict was driven around the square in an open-sided vehicle, surrounded by bodyguards. At one point he stopped to kiss a baby handed up to him by his secretary.

    Images: Pope Benedict XVI’s final public appearance
    Wednesday marked Pope Benedict XVI's last general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican. Benedict XVI basked in an emotional sendoff, recalling moments of "joy and light" during his papacy but also times of great difficulty. He also thanked his flock for respecting his decision to retire.

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    Voters who go to the polls April 9 in Wheaton Warrenville Unit District 200 will be asked to decider the fate of the Jefferson Early Childhood Center.

    Voters to decide future of Jefferson Early Childhood Center

    Dan Wagner says his son received a wonderful education at Jefferson Early Childhood Center in Wheaton, but the physical facility made things far more challenging than they needed to be. “The facility itself is taking away from the education experience of children,” he says. Wheaton Warrenville Unit District 200 will ask voters April 9 to approve borrowing $17.6 million to build a new Jefferson.

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    Possible updates to the Batavia High School athletic fields may result in the school's arboretum being cut down. Some were gifts when the school opened in the mid-1960s. New plantings throughout the campus could be rededicated, according to Patrick Browne, the school district's building and grounds director.

    Artificial turf, more fields proposed for Batavia High

    Artificial turf on the Batavia High School football ffield? Could be, under a concept presented to the school board Tuesday for revamping the school's fields. And it calls for holding all practices and games on the high school campus, instead of spreading some out to elementary schools and the middle school, or getting land from Mooseheart, as was once proposed.

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    The Wildcat cheerleaders at Round Lake Middle School made fleece blankets that they donated to the Staben Center and Staben House, both in Waukegan.

    Round Lake Middle School cheer squad’s hard work pays off

    Round Lake Middle School’s cheerleaders put in a lot of preparation to advance their skills, which was was evident during the Wildcats’ boys basketball games and in their competition season.

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    Riggers stabilize the basket on the crate containing the bronze statue of Rosa Parks Friday as it is delivered to the U.S. Capitol’s Memorial Door by a crane.

    Rosa Parks statue set to be unveiled at Capitol

    Rosa Parks is famous for her 1955 refusal to give up her seat on a city bus in Alabama to a white man, but there’s plenty about the rest of her experiences that she deliberately withheld from her family. Parks’ descendants now have a chance to be first-hand witnesses as their late matriarch makes more history, this time becoming the first black woman to be honored with a full-length statue in the...

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    University of Illinois hosts Evers’ widow at celebration

    URBANA — The University of Illinois will mark the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation with a speech by the widow of Medgar Evers.Civil rights activist Myrlie Evers will speak Wednesday night at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts on the Urbana-Champaign campus.

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    Federal judge dismisses suit against Indiana jail

    VALAPARAISO, Ind. (AP) — A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit that accused the Porter County Jail of exposing inmates to “inhumane conditions.”U.S. District Court Judge Theresa Springmann in Fort Wayne ordered the case dismissed this week after a previous order mailed to the inmate who sued the northern Indiana jail was returned as undeliverable.

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    Indiana man, 20, convicted in ex-girlfriend’s killing

    VALPARAISO, Ind. — A northern Indiana jury has convicted a man in his ex-girlfriend’s fatal shooting following a nearly monthlong trial.The Porter County jury found 20-year-old Dustin McCowan of Wheeler guilty of murder late Tuesday night in the September 2011 killing of 19-year-old Amanda Bach.

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    Wisconsin Republicans propose 2 sales tax holidays
    Republicans propose 2 sales tax holidaysMADISON, Wis. — Republican lawmakers are proposing a pair of sales tax holidays in Wisconsin in August and November.Rep. Chad Weininger of Green Bay and Sen. Rick Gudex of Fond du Lac circulated a bill this week seeking co-sponsors of the measure that would waive sales taxes two weekends of the year.

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    Historic Illinois site’s popular horse to be honored

    PETERSBURG, Ill. — Lincoln’s New Salem State Historic Site is honoring one of its most popular residents: A Horse named Bay.The Illinois Historic Preservation Agency has announced the horse that died in December after living and working at the site for nearly a quarter century will be honored with a memorial service on Saturday.

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    UW-Madison celebrates conservationist Aldo Leopold

    MADISON, Wis. — The University of Wisconsin-Madison is celebrating conservationist Aldo Leopold this weekend.

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    Winter storm making travel hazardous in southeastern Wisconsin

    MILWAUKEE — Sheriff’s officials in at least one Wisconsin county were advising motorists to stay off the roads as a winter storm made travel dangerous and closed schools in eastern Wisconsin. Milwaukee, Kenosha, Racine Unified and Sheboygan school districts were among those canceling classes Wednesday as snow continued to fall.

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    Wiscosin Senate set to vote on mining bill

    MADISON, Wis. — The state Senate is poised to vote on a Republican bill that would rework Wisconsin’s mining regulations.The Senate is scheduled to take up the proposal during a floor session Wednesday morning. Republicans control the chamber, making passage all but certain.

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    Chicago donor creates new biomedical science prize

    Chicago philanthropist Ann Lurie has established a new prize for researchers who are early in their careers and whose findings have advanced basic biomedical science.The first Lurie Prize in Biomedical Sciencesgoes to Ruslan Medzhitov of Yale University School of Medicine. The Foundation for the National Institutes of Health announced the winner Tuesday.

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    Ex-commodities broker sentenced in Chicago

    A one-time Chicago commodities broker has been sentenced to four years in prison for defrauding a half-dozen people out of around $2.5 million. Their losses totaled some $1.3 million.A Tuesday news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office says Joshua T.J. Russo was also ordered by a federal judge to pay nearly $1.2 million in restitution.

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    U.S. Missile Defense Agency chief speaking at Purdue

    WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — A Navy admiral who recently took over the Pentagon’s U.S. Missile Defense Agency will give a talk at Purdue University next week.

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    Pence set to sign bill delaying new farmland taxes

    New calculations for property taxes on Indiana farmland will be delayed for a year under legislation that Gov. Mike Pence is set to sign in law. Pence’s office says he plans to sign the bill Wednesday, making it the first new law he approves. It gained final legislative approval last week.

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    Dawn Patrol: Snow tapers; gay marriage, local primary results

    Storm that created chaos yesterday tapers. Palatine Township supervisor out after primary. Gay marriage clears another hurdle. Shaw tops Elgin’s city council race. Bugg leads Aurora Ward 9 primary. Waukegan city clerk wins mayoral primary. Homeless man found not guilty by reason of insanity. Hockey teams gunning for Blackhawks. Bulls lose to Cavs.

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    Discount grocer Aldi to open eighth Lake County store in Antioch

    Discount grocer Aldi will open its eighth location in Lake County with the grand opening Thursday of a new store on Route 173 and Deep Lake Road. The store features a new look of higher ceilings and other features.

Sports

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    Waubonsie Valley played Metea Valley Wednesday night for Class 4A boys basketball regional semifinals at Oswego East.

    Images: Waubonsie Valley vs. Metea Valley, boys basketball
    Waubonsie Valley won in OT 51-48 over Metea Valley Wednesday night in Class 4A boys basketball regional semifinal action at Oswego East High School.

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    Wednesday’s boys gymnastics scoreboard
    High school results from Wednesday's varsity boys gymnastics meets, as reported to the Daily Herald.

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

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    COD eliminates Harper in Region IV tourney

    It was rivalry week for the Harper men’s basketball teams — for the fourth time this season. The No. 4-seeded Hawks were due to meet longtime rival College of DuPage, the No. 5 seed in the NJCAA Region IV tournament. The series went in favor of the Chaparrals 3-1, as COD earned a 79-69 victory Wednesday in a first-round matchup. The Chaps (13-18) advance to Saturday’s 6 p.m. semifinal against top-seeded Joliet Junior College.

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    Waubonsie Valley celebrates after defeating Metea Valley 51-48 in overtime Wednesday night during Class 4A boys basketball regional semifinals at Oswego East.

    Waubonsie Valley answers Metea Valley in OT

    As the game was seemingly slipping away from Waubonsie Valley, the way Jared Brownridge began attacking the hoop he looked plumb mad. “I was just mad like, ‘Man, I want to get back in this game, I want to win this game so bad.’ Because we had lost the first game in the first round of the regionals the last three years I’ve been here, and I didn’t want it to happen again,” he said. It didn’t. As Warriors coach Steve Weemer said, “We got the monkey off our back” with a 51-48 overtime win over rival Metea Valley on Wednesday in a Class 4A Oswego East regional semifinal. The Warriors advance to Friday’s regional final against No. 3 seed Neuqua Valley.

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    Schaumburg teams up for OT win against Morton

    Schaumburg coach Matt Walsh will always emphasize that his squad wins as a team and loses as a team.Wednesday night at the Glenbard North Class 4A regional semifinal, nothing could have been further than the truth The Saxons weathered the storm falling behind 43-32 with 7: 22 to go in regulation and were forced into overtime before beating Morton 63-59.

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    Fremd turns the table, rallies by Palatine

    When Palatine and Fremd last met on the first day of February, the Pirates turned an early double-digit deficit into a key Mid-Suburban West victory. On Wednesday night in the Class 4A Deerfield regional semifinal, it was the Vikings’ turn to flip the script. After Roosevelt Smart, Greg Grana and Chris Macahon lit up the scoreboard for No. 10 Palatine in the first quarter, No. 7 Fremd turned up the defense in the final three quarters to overcome a 12-point deficit and win going away 52-40. The Vikings advance to the regional final on Friday and will play No. 2 Zion-Benton, a 61-48 winner over No. 15 Deerfield.

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    Time to get the fishing lines ready

    The latest blast of snow is the perfect opportunity to stay inside and get fresh line on all the fishing outfits you plan to use this season.

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    St. Charles North’s Justin Stanko (above) contests a shot by St. Charles East’s David Mason Wednesday while St. Charles North’s Jake Ludwig, left, and Erik Miller celebrate their win, below.

    St. Charles North wins the one that counts

    St. Charles North’s basketball team will gladly take its season split with cross-town rival St. Charles East. After dropping 2 of 3 regular-season games to the Saints, the North Stars (18-10) earned a postseason victory in their all-important fourth meeting of the 2012-13 campaign Wednesday night. Senior Quinten Payne scored a game-high 26 points while 6-6 senior forward Justin Stanko added a double-double with 13 points, 10 rebounds and 4 blocked shots during the North Stars’ convincing 69-53 win over the Saints (15-12) in the Class 4A South Elgin regional semifinals.

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    Jacobs head coach Jim Hinkle reacts near the end of his team’s 50-45 win over Dundee-Crown in the Class 4A Jacobs Class 4A regional semifinal Wednesday. The win puts the Golden Eagles and the retiring Hinkle into Friday’s championship game against Crystal Lake Central.

    Jacobs trips up Dundee-Crown

    Jacobs boys basketball coach Jim Hinkle said it was just a semifinal game, but with his career on the line, the fist pumps he provided with 46 seconds left in the game told the story. After No. 2 seed Dundee-Crown came close to erasing a 17-point third quarter deficit, the foul to Chrishawn Orange concluded matters for the 71-year-old coach and his team, and he just couldn’t contain himself any longer. Hinkle managed his way around the bench as Orange went to the free throw line, pumping his fists emphatically,a statement to signal No. 3 Jacobs’ 50-45 Class 4A semifinal win Wednesday night over the Chargers in Algonquin.

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    Aurora Central stuns Wheaton Academy

    Nate Drye did not hesitate when deciding to roll the dice. “I didn’t want to play overtime,” the Aurora Central Catholic boys basketball coach said. “We had come too far to go into overtime.” Anthony Andujar made his mentor look like a genius. The ACC senior guard drained a 3-pointer — his first field goal of the game — with three seconds remaining to give the Chargers a 1-point lead over top-seeded Wheaton Academy Wednesday night of the Class 3A IMSA regional semifinal in Aurora.

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    Carmel keeps regional title hope alive

    The number 13 certainly was a number that came up a few times on Wednesday night in Norridge. In this case, it sure seemed lucky. Carmel Catholic’s boys basketball team is in pursuit of history. The last time the Corsairs won a regional final was 21 years ago. But Carmel has a shot at a regional championship this season, as the sixth-seeded Corsairs bounced No. 11 Johnsburg 57-41 in a Class 3A Ridgewood regional semifinal on Wednesday night.

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    Memorable finish for McFarlin, Wauconda

    Brandon McFarlin’s rare start lasted all of a dozen seconds. The memory of his only basket of the game will last his lifetime. “The one game I don’t play (a lot),” a smiling McFarlin said, “and that happens.” “That” for Wauconda’s senior forward happened to be the game-winning layup that not only beat the buzzer but also Vernon Hills. Wauconda’s dramatic, 52-50 win in Wednesday night’s Class 3A regional semifinal at Vernon Hills lifted the seventh-seeded Bulldogs into Friday’s 7:30 p.m. championship game against No. 2 Lakes, which was a 72-54 winner over No. 15 Grayslake Central in the evening’s first semifinal.

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    Larkin’s Quantice Hunter shoots over Elgin’s Isaiah Butler in the first quarter of the Class 4A regional semifinal at South Elgin on Wednesday.

    Larkin blows past Elgin

    The three Larkin practices prior to Wednesday’s Class 4A regional semifinal showdown against rival Elgin more closely resembled preseason tryouts than postseason preparation. At a time when most boys basketball programs are conserving energy and protecting against injuries in hopes of a deep playoff run, Larkin coach Deryn Carter and staff turned the Royals loose — on each other — in an attempt to awaken their inner beasts after two stinging losses against Neuqua Valley. The result was a convincing 74-52 victory in the 21st postseason game played between the city of Elgin’s public high schools. Top seeded Larkin bolted to a 24-11 advantage through one quarter and ballooned its lead as high as 34 points early in the fourth quarter to complete a 4-game season sweep of No. 4 Elgin at South Elgin High School.

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    Conant’s Joey Ranallo, left, attempts to steal the ball from Hoffman Estates’ Jimmy Ward during Wednesday’s Class 4A regional quarterfinal at Hoffman Estates.

    Conant keeps calm, carries on

    Conant is focused on one thing going into Thursday’s Class 4A regional semifinal at Hoffman Estates against Riverside-Brookfield: playing better than it did in Wednesday’s 73-39 quarterfinal win over the host Hawks. In a game that got a little sloppy (36 total turnovers), a little scrappy (a scuffle and an ejection) and a little messy (47 fouls, 2 technicals and a rare double-foul), the Cougars managed to keep their focus and their shooting eye to carry them to the victory, their third over the Hawks this season.

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    Shot blocking all about positioning

    xShot blocking never has been more prevalent in the NHL than it is today. The Blackhawks have three of the best shot blockers in defensemen Niklas Hjalmarsson, Brent Seabrook and Johnny Oduya, and goalie Corey Crawford is thankful whenever any of them gets in the way of a puck.

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    Arogundade, St. Viator solve Highland Park

    Against the zone, Ore Arogundade was in a zone. The St. Viator junior guard is used to seeing man-to-man defenses during the course of the regular season. That’s what most teams in the East Suburban Catholic Conference play. But on Wednesday in Class 4A regional action at Warren, Arogundade made a living at finding the gaps and holes in Highland Park’s zone defense, to the tune of a game-high 28 points. Two of Arogundade’s teammates also scored in double-figures as St. Viator notched a 67-56 victory over Highland Park and “zoned in” on Friday’s regional championship game. The third-seeded Lions (19-8) will face the winner of tonight’s clash between No. 6 Warren and No. 11 Barrington.

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    Mundelein’s Chino Ebube, left, drives on Lake Zurich’s Mike Travlos during Class 4A regional semifinal play Wednesday at Lake Zurich.

    Mundelein revs it at Lake Zurich

    All season, Mundelein has been like that expensive sports car in the garage that always needed one more part to get into gear. On Wednesday at the Lake Zurich regional, the Mustangs had all those parts working in synch, and they were gunning their engines and running fast and wild as they blew past the host Bears 66-46 to earn a berth in Friday’s finals. Mundelein (17-13), which was seeded No. 5, will meet No. 4 seed Lake Forest for the regional title.

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    Neuqua Valley pulls away from Oswego East

    Neuqua Valley coach Todd Sutton wasn’t sure how his team pulled away in the second half of Wednesday’s Class 4A regional against host Oswego East.

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    West Aurora adjusts, knocks out Downers Grove South

    A lesson learned previously was crucial to West Aurora prevailing 67-59 over Downers Grove South on Wednesday night in a Class 4A Wheaton Warrenville South regional semifinal. The Blackhawks, seeded fourth in the Bolingbrok sectional, are consistently one of the Daily Herald area’s top teams and opponents are hungry for a win over them. So West Aurora knows that when it’s game time, especially in the playoffs, they best be prepared. “We have to be ready to play. We know everyone is coming at West Aurora,” said junior Jontrel Walker, who led his team (21-6) with 23 points.

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    Glenbard North hosted Oak Park Wednesday night for Class 4a regional semifinal boys basketball.

    Images: Oak Park-River Forest vs. Glenbard North, boys basketball
    Glenbard North hosted and lost 61-55 to Oak Park-River Forest Wednesday night for Class 4A regional semifinal boys basketball action.

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    Eventually, Lakes shakes Grayslake Central

    Second-seeded Lakes had a hard time breaking free from No. 15 Grayslake Central on Wednesday night at the Class 3A Vernon Hills regional. But when all was said and done, the Eagles pulled away from the pesky Rams en route to a 72-54 victory in the semifinals. Lakes (23-6) will face Wauconda in the championship game Friday night at 7:30 p.m. Grayslake Central closed out the season with a 5-23 record.

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    No. 2 Winnebago ousts Aurora Christian in sectionals

    At the Class 2A Byron sectional semifinal boys basketball game on Wednesday, Aurora Christian met the buzzsaw that is Winnebago. The No. 2 ranked team in Class 2A, Winnebago beat the Eagles 69-51 to improve its record to 30-0. Point guard Jacoby Posley led the Indians with 19 points and overall Winnebago his 14 three-point baskets.

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    Conant’s Joey Ranallo, left, attempts to steal the ball from Hoffman Estates’ Jimmy Ward.

    Images: Conant vs. Hoffman Estates, boys basketball
    The Hoffman Estates High School boys basketball team hosted and lost 73-39 to the Conant High School boys on Wednesday, February 27th.

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    Benet works quickly for win

    Benet might not have won Wednesday’s regional game in the first 200 seconds, but the Redwings sure did let Plainfield North know it might be in for a long night.

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    Orr wears down Glenbard South

    At halftime of Wednesday’s Class 3A Glenbard South regional semifinal, the host team’s locker room was buzzing. “It was probably the most enthusiastic locker room we’ve had all year,” Raiders coach Wade Hardtke said. “The kids had some confidence going, they were having fun. It was one of those where we almost didn’t want to come in here, we wanted to keep it going.” No. 15 seed Glenbard South (9-18) had led No. 1-seeded Orr (25-3), ranked second in Class 3A by the Associated Press, most of the second quarter and at halftime trailed by just a point. It didn’t last, however, with the visitors from Chicago grinding out a 57-42 victory in Glen Ellyn. Orr will play the winner of tonight’s semifinal between Montini and Nazareth.

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    St. Charles North’s Jake Ludwig, left, and Erik Miller celebrate their win.

    Images: St. Charles East vs. St. Charles North, boys basketball
    St. Charles North won 69-53 over St. Charles East Wednesday night in a Class 4A regional boys basketball game in South Elgin.

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    Stevenson takes Grayslake North’s best shot

    Stevenson turned up the heat at the end of the second and third quarters in Wednesday’s Prospect regional semifinal boys basketball game. Those critical runs provided the cushion the top-seeded Patriots needed to survive a 74-67 victory against No. 15 Grayslake North.

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    DePaul forward Cleveland Melvin, center, battles for a rebound with center Derrell Robertson Jr., left, and Louisville center Gorgui Dieng, of Senegal, during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Rosemont, Ill., on Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013. Louisville won 79-58. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

    No. 10 Louisville holds off DePaul 79-58

    Russ Smith scored 17 points, Peyton Siva had 16 and No. 10 Louisville beat DePaul 79-58 on Wednesday night for its fourth consecutive victory.

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    Defense carries St. Francis past Kaneland

    St. Francis boys basketball coach Bob Ward is realistic when it comes to the Spartans’ limitations. “We know we’re not a 70-plus (point) potential scoring team,” Ward said Wednesday night after the nightcap of the IMSA Class 3A regional with third-seeded Kaneland. But St. Francis lived to play another day after its defense carried the squad past the Knights 43-32 in Aurora.

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    Larkin’s Hannibal Marshall hugs teammates after the game.

    Images: Larkin vs. Elgin, boys basketball
    Larkin won 74-52 over Elgin Wednesday night in a Class 4A regional boys basketball game in South Elgin.

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    Rockford East ousts Huntley

    By the time Huntley found its stroke from 3-point range, it was too late. Rockford East ended the Red Raiders’ season with a 53-43 victory in the semifinals of the Class 4A Rockford East regional.

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    Lake Zurich’s Ryan Roach. left, and Mundelein’s Dylan Delaquila dive on the floor for a loose ball.

    Images: Mundelein vs. Lake Zurich, boys basketball
    The Mundelein Mustangs won 66-46 over the Lake Zurich Bears in the Class 4A regional semifinal boys basketball game on Wednesday, Feb. 27 in Lake Zurich.

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    Chicago Cubs' Brooks Raley delivers a pitch against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the first inning of an exhibition spring training baseball game, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013, in Mesa, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York)

    Castro day-to-day with hamstring tightness

    Starlin Castro left in the bottom of the fourth inning after pulling up on a ground ball to shortstop Wednesday during an 11-7 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

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    Jacobs’ head coach Jim Hinkle pumps his fist near the end of the game.

    Images: Jacobs vs. Dundee-Crown, boys basketball
    Jacobs and retiring head coach Jim Hinkle won 50-45 over D300 rival Dundee-Crown Wednesday night in a Class 4A regional boys basketball game in Algonquin.

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    Downey, Boudreaux help Lake Forest stop Hersey

    Hersey had no answer for the 1-2 punch of Lake Forest’s Sam Downey and Evan Boudreaux as the Huskies were bounced from the Class 4A postseason with a 69-45 regional semifinal loss Wednesday at Lake Zurich. “They are both really good and very long,” Hersey coach Steve Messer said. “I felt that we were a step late on the boards. We needed wing help, and it just wasn’t there.” Lake Forest will meet Mundelein, a 66-46 winner over Lake Zurich, in Friday’s regional final.

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    Glenbard West gets to play another day

    While many people spent Tuesday’s playoff snow day stuck at home, a bunch of Glenbard West’s boys basketball players went to a local fitness center to shoot some hoops. The Hilltoppers couldn’t stand the thought of even a day without basketball. That desire showed on Wednesday as Glenbard West ousted Addison Trail 59-48 in the Class 4A Hoffman Estates regional quarterfinals.

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    Crystal Lake C. does in Crystal Lake S. in 2nd half

    Trailing top-seeded Crystal Lake Central 24-21 at halftime fifth-seeded Crystal Lake South’s bid for an upset seemed a possibility. Central extinguished any of those hopes in the third quarter. The top seeded Tigers outscored the Gators 25-6 in the third quarter and cruised to a 69-49 win in semifinal action of the Class 4A Jacobs boys basketball regional Wednesday night. Central will play No. 3 seed Jacobs for the title Friday at 7:30 p.m. The Golden Eagles knocked off second-seeded Dundee-Crown 50-45 in Wednesday’s second semifinal. Friday’s winner advances to next week’s DeKalb sectional to play the winner of the Hononegah regional.

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    Red-hot Oswego blitzes Batavia with 91 points

    Batavia senior Zach Strittmatter said he knew No. 1 Oswego was going to be good. This good? A 14-0 lead, 91 points, 14 3-pointers, 11 players scoring, 7 of them hitting a 3, 59-percent shooting good? Yep, that good. Oswego put an end to Batavia’s season Wednesday and an end to the career of three-year starters Strittmatter and Mike Rueffer, scoring the first 14 points of the game, taking leads of 28-5 after the first quarter and 51-23 at halftime on its way to a 91-51 victory that left the Bulldogs tipping their hats duly impressed.

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    Viktor Stalberg, middle, celebrates with Andrew Shaw, left, and Patrick Kane after scoring a goal in the Blackhawks’ record-breaking victory over San Jose.

    Blackhawks’ third line blends skill, grit

    Not even Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville knew he’s be getting this much from the third line of Andrew Shaw, Bryan Bickell and Viktor Stalberg. Thrown together after the lockout ended, the three Hawks have combined for 11 goals, 12 assists and are a combined plus-11. They’ve been the Hawks’ best line on some nights through the first 19 games for a team that has yet to lose in regulation (16-0-3).

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    Doug Collins pulled four of his five starters in the third quarter of his team’s loss to Orlando on Tuesday. “Three of the guys weren’t even sweating when we started the game,” Collins said.

    Sixers’ Collins as fiery as ever

    Philadelphia coach Doug Collins questioned his team's effort after Tuesday's home loss to Orlando. So the Bulls will have a partner in frustration when the Sixers visit the United Center on Thursday.

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    Tyler Crater

    Crater scores 1,000th as Hampshire tops Burlington C.

    Hampshire boys basketball coach Bob Barnett just figured Whip-Purs’ senior Tyler Crater needed a breather. Not for long, though. With the outcome of Wednesday night’s Class 3A regional semifinal against host Burlington Central pretty much decided, the only drama that remained midway through the fourth quarter was whether or not Crater would get his 1,000th career point or have to wait until Friday’s championship game. The 6-foot-3 Whips’ forward stood at 998 career points and had missed three straight shots at 1,000 when Barnett decided to pull Crater out of the game with 3:09 to play. But after a Hampshire timeout, Barnett put Crater back in the game and on the ensuing inbounds play, Crater broke free underneath and made the layup to give him 13 points for the game and an even 1,000 for his three-year varsity career. More important to the Whip-Purs, though, was a 49-31 win over the Rockets, Hampshire’s first regional win in three years.

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    Maybe not even Derrick Rose has any concrete idea of when he will return to the Bulls, who have gone 4-8 in February with one game to go.

    Still no telling when Rose will return to Bulls

    Thursday marks the 10-month anniversary of Rose’s torn ACL and the same opponent, Philadelphia, will be back at the United Center. Rose's shoe company worked hard to hype "The Return," but there is still no indication when will trot out of the tunnel for real.

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    Chicago White Sox center fielder Alejandro de Aza can't catch a double hit by San Francisco Giants' Cole Gillespie during the second inning of a spring training baseball game, Monday, Feb. 25, 2013, in Scottsdale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York)

    Hope is De Aza provides spark for Sox

    Alejandro De Aza finally got a chance to play every day last season, and the center fielder/leadoff man was productive. But if De Aza hits a wall this season or suffers another injury, top prospects like Jarde Mitchell and Keenyn Walker are waiting in the wings.

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    Penn State upsets No. 4 Michigan 84-78

    Jermaine Marshall scored 25 points and Penn State upset No. 4 Michigan 84-78 on Wednesday night for its first Big Ten victory in more than a year.

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    Sky honors Downers Grove South

    The Chicago Sky has selected Downers Grove South as its high school girls basketball team of the week.

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    Chicago Cubs' David DeJesus hits a single against the Houston Astros during the eighth inning of a baseball game in Chicago, Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2012. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

    It’s dependable DeJesus for now in center for Cubs

    David DeJesus will open the season in center field for the Cubs this year. But if certain players pan out, the team could have an exciting outfield for years to come. Brett Jackson has made changes to his swing, and last year's No. 1 draft pick, Albert Almora, will be displaying his wares for the Kane County Cougars.

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    FILE - In this Sept. 26, 2010 file photo, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Alex Smith (11) gestures during the first half of an NFL football game against the Kansas City Chiefs in Kansas City, Mo. Smith is headed to Kansas City, the first major acquisition by the Chiefs since Andy Reid took over as coach. A person with knowledge of the trade told The Associated Press on Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013, that the Chiefs have agreed to deal for the 2005 top overall draft pick who lost his starting quarterback job in San Francisco to Colin Kaepernick last season. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the trade does not become official until March 12, when the NFL's new business year begins. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

    AP Source: 49ers to send Smith to KC

    Alex Smith is headed to Kansas City, the first major acquisition by the Chiefs since Andy Reid took over as coach.A person with knowledge of the trade told The Associated Press on Wednesday that the Chiefs have agreed to deal for the 2005 top overall draft pick who lost his starting quarterback job in San Francisco to Colin Kaepernick last season.

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    Minnesota's Austin Hollins dunks in the closing minute of their 77-73 win over Indiana in an NCAA college basketball game, Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Tom Olmscheid)

    Top-ranked teams keep falling in crazy season

    The top spot in The Associated Press Top 25 is the last place any team wants to be this season. When Indiana lost at Minnesota on Tuesday night, it was the seventh time this season that a No. 1 team has been defeated. That’s the highest number since 2009-10, according to STATS. And this season isn’t over yet.

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    Steve Lundy/slundy@dailyherald.com ¬ Chicago Bears tackle J'Marcus Webb walks to the bench with offensive coordinator Mike Tice following during the Bears 23-6 win over the St. Louis Rams Sunday at Soldier Field in Chicago.

    Prosecutor drops drug case against Bears’ Webb

    A prosecutor said Wednesday he will not pursue marijuana possession charges against Chicago Bears offensive lineman J’Marcus Webb, who was charged after a traffic stop in southern Illinois over the weekend.

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    Gillaspie HRs as White Sox beat Rangers 8-4

    Newly acquired Conor Gillaspie homered off Collin Balester in the sixth inning, helping the White Sox beat Texas 8-4 Wednesday and drop the Rangers to 0-5 in spring training.

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    Hibbert, Lee suspended after Warriors-Pacers fight

    Pacers center Roy Hibbert and Warriors forward David Lee have each been suspended a game without pay for starting an altercation during their game that drifted into the stands.

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    Bears offensive tackle J'Marcus Webb was arrested Sunday night in downstate Pulaski, Ill., on marijuana charges.

    Bears tackle Webb arrested on pot charges

    As if the Bears didn't have enough problems on an offensive line that has allowed a whopping 149 sacks over the last three seasons, starting left tackle J'Marcus Webb was arrested Sunday night for possession of a controlled substance (cannabis, less than 2.5 ounces) and paraphernalia and speeding. Webb, 24, was arrested in downstate Pulaski County and was released Monday after posting $500 of his $5,000 bail.

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    Bryan Glover

    Goforth a good fit for ESCC Hall

    Benet athletic director Gary Goforth ran down a long list of Redwings athletes and coaches who, one day, will be inducted into the East Suburban Catholic Conference Hall of Fame.

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    Charles Reynard.

    Poetry workshop ‘Writing from the Soul’ March 9

    14.93- with two photos-page 3The Northwest Cultural Council announces a Second Saturday Poetry Workshop to be held from 9 a.m.-noon on Saturday, March 9, led by Judith Valente and Charles Reynard. Saturday’s topic will be “Writing from the Soul.”

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    Fire acquires Toronto forward for draft pick

    The Chicago Fire has acquired forward Quincy Amarikwa from Toronto FC in exchange for a first-round selection in the 2014 MLS Supplemental Draft, club officials announced Wednesday. marikwa will be available for selection by Fire head coach Frank Klopas for the Fire’s MLS Opening match against the LA Galaxy at The Home Depot Center at 4 p.m. Sunday.

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    Red Stars single-game tickets go on sale

    Single-game tickets will go on sale at 10 a.m. Thursday for Chicago Red Stars home games for the National Women’s Soccer League season, team officials have announced. The Red Stars are members of the eight-team NWSL, organized and administered by the U.S. Soccer Federation, that will begin play in this April.

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    Cubs to sell single-game tickets March 8

    The Chicago Cubs have announced the details for purchasing single-game tickets for the 2013 season, with the Wrigley Field box office opening on March 8 for on-site sales.

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    Gays, sports will coexist just fine soon enough

    Relax, everybody. Some day openly gay men will be on teams in mainstream sports and everybody will survive just fine.

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    Mike North video: No TV Spells Disaster

    Mike North's satellite dish has snow on it and doesn't work. It's supposed to be heated , but it doesn't do the job. A night without TV is disastrous in his world.

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    The Blackhawks' Niklas Hjalmarsson (4) and Jonathan Toews (19) keep Oilers center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins from getting a shot on goalie Ray Emery during the third period Monday night at the United Center. The Blackhawks won 3-2 in overtime.

    Blackhawks' defensive approach impressive

    The Blackhawks are the best defensive team in hockey, and from a responsibility standpoint throughout the roster, so far this season no team is close. The commitment is extremely unselfish and extremely impressive. It could take them a very long way.

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    UIC sweeps season series with Wright State
    Daniel Barnes scored 13 points and pulled down nine rebounds Tuesday night, helping Illinois-Chicago sweep its season series against Wright State with a 60-55 victory.

Business

  •  
    A shopper drags her purchases past a line of customers waiting to pay at a J.C. Penney store, in Las Vegas.

    Penney posts 4th straight big loss

    During the fourth quarter that ended Feb. 2, Penney’s revenue at stores opened at least a year — a figure the retail industry uses to measure of a store’s health — dropped 31.7 percent.

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    Jack Lew, President Obama’s choice to be treasury secretary, center, talks with N.Y. Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer, left, and former New Mexico Sen. Pete Domenici.

    Senate confirms Lew as Treasury secretary

    The Senate confirmed Jacob Lew to be Treasury secretary on Wednesday. The Senate voted 71-26 to support the nomination. Lew, 57, had most recently served as Obama’s chief of staff.

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    Cattle feed Tuesday in a snow covered pasture near Lecompton, Kansas. Farmers welcome the snow over moisture-starved soil.

    Shipping back as Mississippi River rises, but drought continues

    Mississippi River shippers say they’re returning to handling full loads because the drought-ravaged waterway has benefited from winter storms and aggressive rock-clearing.

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    A trader works on the floor Wednesday at the New York Stock Exchange in New York.

    Stocks surge; Dow nears record

    The Dow has surged 290 points in the past two days, erasing its drop of 216 points Monday when inconclusive results from an election in Italy renewed worries that Europe’s fiscal crisis could flare up again.“The market psychology has clearly shifted. It’s no longer sell the rally, it’s buy the dips,” said Dan Veru, chief investment officer of Palisade Capital Management. “The economic data continues to be strong.”

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    Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka speaks with Barrington Township Supervisor Gene Dawson before the luncheon.

    Topinka warns local mayors, businesses about Illinois financial issues

    State Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka shared a depressing view of Illinois' fiscal issues with government and small business leaders in the Northwest suburbs Wednesday. And although the news wasn’t good, several local leaders said they were glad to hear Topinka’s realistic outlook on the state’s growing financial problems. “I’m the voice of doom and gloom for the state of Illinois because I have to pay the bills,” Topinka said.

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    Komatsu plans layoffs in Peoria

    Japanese construction-equipment maker plans to start laying off workers at its plant in Peoria. A statement from the company didn’t specify how many of the 575 employees would lose their jobs or exactly when.

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    Apple CEO promises investors ‘great stuff’ to come

    Apple CEO Tim Cook sought to assure shareholders Wednesday that the company is working on some “great stuff” that may help reverse a sharp decline in its stock price. True to Apple’s secretive nature, Cook didn’t provide any further product details during the company’s annual shareholders meeting Wednesday.

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    Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke testifies Wednesday on Capitol Hill in Washington before the House Financial Services Committee hearing on: Monetary Policy and the state of the Economy.

    Bernanke defends Fed’s low-interest-rate policies

    Facing criticism from Republican lawmakers, Chairman Ben Bernanke stood behind the Federal Reserve’s low-interest-rate policies Wednesday and sought to reassure Congress that the central bank has a handle on the risks. In his second day of testimony on Capitol Hill, Bernanke told members of the House Financial Services Committee that the bond purchases are needed to help boost a still-weak economy.

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    Target’s fiscal fourth-quarter net income dipped 2 percent as it dealt with intense competition during the crucial holiday season. But its adjusted results beat analysts’ estimates and it forecast first-quarter earnings above Wall Street’s view.

    Target’s adjusted 4Q profit beats Street view

    Target’s Neiman Marcus collaboration did not turn out to be a holiday gift to the retailer. The No. 2 discount chain reported fiscal fourth-quarter net income dipped 2 percent as it dealt with intense competition during the crucial holiday season. Still, the company’s forecast for 2013 indicated it may beat many analysts’ expectations.

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    Budweiser maker AB InBev reports lower Q4 profit

    Anheuser-Busch InBev NV, the world’s largest brewer, said Wednesday that profit fell 4.9 percent in the fourth quarter due to higher financing costs, and it forecast weak first quarter sales volumes in the United States and Brazil. The maker of Budweiser, Bud Light, Stella Artois and Beck’s said net profit was $1.76 billion ((euro) 1.35 billion), down from $1.85 billion in the same period a year ago.

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    Airbus parent EADS sees Q4 earnings halve

    Airbus parent company EADS NV posted a 47 percent drop in fourth-quarter net profit Wednesday after taking costly charges at its helicopter and defense electronics divisions. The aerospace giant recorded a (euro) 325 million ($425 million) net profit in the October-December period, down from the previous year’s (euro) 612 million. But for the full year, its net earnings were up 19 percent at (euro) 1.23 billion from (euro) 1.03 billion in 2011.

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    Lamar McKay, former president of BP America and current chief executive of BP’s Upstream unit, leaves federal court Tuesday after testifying in New Orleans. McKay, who was president of BP America at the time of the Deepwater Horizon disaster, became the first BP executive to testify at the federal trial intended to identify the causes of BP’s Macondo well blowout and assign percentages of blame to the companies involved.

    Judge watches videotape of ex-BP CEO’s testimony

    The judge in the Gulf of Mexico oil spill trial has watched videotaped testimony from former BP chief executive Tony Hayward. Hayward was head of the London-based oil giant in 2010 when there was an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig. Eleven workers were killed and millions of gallons of oil spilled into the Gulf.

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    House chairman sees possible immigrant citizenship

    A key Republican House chairman said Wednesday he sees the need to bring illegal immigrants already in this country into legal status, and perhaps allow some of them to eventually obtain citizenship — suggesting new potential common ground with a bipartisan group seeking to overhaul the nation’s immigration policy.

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    Trader William Lawrence works Tuesday on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Futures are rising as Chairman Ben Bernanke heads to Capitol Hill to explain what the Federal Reserve will do to accelerate the economic recovery.

    Indexes rise on retail gains, home sale surge

    Stocks rose on Wall Street Wednesday, boosted by gains for discount retailers, after Dollar Tree posted strong earnings. More evidence that the housing market is recovering also gave stocks a lift. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 81 points, or 0.6 percent, to 13,980 as of 10:46 a.m. EST. The Standard and Poor’s 500 gained 9 points, or 0.6 percent, to 1,505. The Nasdaq composite rose 18.7 points, or 0.6 percent, to 3,147.

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    Orders for U.S. factory goods that signal business investment plans jumped in January by the most in more than a year, suggesting companies are confident about their business prospects. The Commerce Department said Wednesday that orders for so-called core capital goods, which include industrial machinery, construction equipment and computers, rose 6.3 percent in January from December. A sharp fall in demand for commercial aircraft caused overall durable goods orders to drop 5.2 percent, the first decline since August.

    Orders jump for key U.S. long-lasting factory goods

    WASHINGTON — Orders for U.S. factory goods that signal business investment plans jumped last month by the most in more than a year, suggesting companies are confident about their business prospects. The Commerce Department said Wednesday that orders for so-called core capital goods, which include industrial machinery, construction equipment and computers, rose 6.3 percent in January from December. A sharp fall in demand for commercial aircraft caused overall durable goods orders to drop 5.2 percent, the first decline since August. Orders for commercial aircraft are volatile from month to month and can cause large swings in the overall figure. Boeing reported orders for only two planes in January, down from 183 in December. Orders for defense equipment also plummeted by the most in more than 12 years. Durable goods are items expected to last at least three years.The increase in core capital goods suggests companies are willing to expand their production capacities despite worries that automatic government spending cuts will slow the economy in the coming months. “The fact remains that capital spending appears to be holding up very well,” Dan Greenhaus, chief global strategist at BTIG, a brokerage firm. “In fact, it appears to be accelerating.”Still, the jump in orders wasn’t broad-based and occurred mostly in machinery and manufactured metal products. Orders for computers and communications equipment both fell and orders for autos and auto parts were unchanged.And even with the increase, orders have mostly just recovered last year’s losses. Total core capital goods orders reached $67.7 billion in January, just above December 2011’s level.Several economists warned that orders were likely to fall in the coming months after such a big gain. “We don’t expect businesses suddenly to throw caution to the wind,” Paul Ashworth, an economist at Capital Economics, said in a note to clients.About $85 billion in spending cuts are scheduled to kick in Friday and there is little sign that the White House and Congress will reach a deal to avoid them. Defense Department officials may have slowed purchases in January in anticipation of the cutbacks. Business investment plans have held up in recent months despite the uncertainty surrounding tax and spending policies. Core capital goods orders dipped 0.3 percent in December but posted strong gains of 3.3 percent in November and 3 percent in October.The report suggests U.S. manufacturing is strengthening. The Institute for Supply Management said earlier this month that factory activity grew in January at the fastest pace in nine months. Measures of new orders and hiring both rose.But industrial production fell in January after two months of increases, the Federal Reserve said. Much of the decline reflected a big drop in auto production that was likely temporary. The auto industry is coming off its best year for sales in five years. Sales continue to rise, so production will likely rebound in February.

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    A measure of the number of Americans who signed contracts to buy homes rose in January from December to the highest level in more than 2 ½ years. The increase suggests sales of previously occupied homes will continue rising in the coming months.

    U.S. pending home sales rise to highest since 2010

    A measure of the number of Americans who signed contracts to buy homes rose in January from December to the highest level in more than 2 ½ years. The increase suggests sales of previously occupied homes will continue rising in the coming months. “Housing market activity appears to have ended 2012 on a positive note and is off to a strong start in 2013,” Cooper Howes, U.S. economist at Barclays Capital, said in a note to clients.

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    The Capitol plaza is seen as automatic spending cuts are set to take effect on March 1.

    Obama, top lawmakers to meet Friday on budget cuts

    President Barack Obama will meet Friday with the top leaders in the House and Senate to discuss what to do about automatic cuts to the federal budget. The meeting, revealed Tuesday by White House and congressional aides, is set to take place hours after the $85 billion in across-the-board cuts will have officially kicked in.

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    Report: Spending cuts could force runway closures

    Automatic spending cuts could force some of the nation’s busiest airports to close runways, causing widespread flight delays and cancellations, the union representing air traffic controllers said Wednesday.

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    House Democrat to offer bill ending automatic cuts

    Rep. Adam Smith, a Washington Democrat, said legislation he will introduce Wednesday would make a modest contribution to deficit reduction by trimming $167 billion in national security spending and $153 billion in domestic spending over the next eight years, beginning in 2014.

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    House Speaker John Boehner, an Ohio Republican, wraps up a news conference Tuesday on Capitol Hill in Washington. Boehner and GOP leaders challenged President Obama and the Senate to avoid the automatic spending cuts set to take effect in four days. The scheduled cuts in defense spending, unemployment benefits and other programs could slow an already struggling economy.

    Wary of crises, Americans tune out budget cut talk

    Two days before $85 billion in cuts are set to hit federal programs with all the precision of a wrecking ball, there are no signs that the White House and Republicans in Congress are even negotiating. Both sides appear quietly resigned to the prospect that this is one bullet we just may not dodge. Still, for all the grim predictions, Americans seem to be flipping the channel to something a little less, well, boring. They wonder, haven’t we been here before?

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    Unions aim to soften impact of cuts on federal workers

    WASHINGTON — Federal employee labor unions are trying to soften the blow for more than 1 million government workers who may be forced to take unpaid time off if mandatory budget cuts kick in this week.Union leaders have been working furiously to persuade agency managers to make other cuts that won’t affect employee paychecks. But if agencies do insist on furloughs, unions say they can bargain over when they take place and other terms that could help workers in financial trouble.“We plan to exercise those rights,” said Jacqueline Simon, public policy director at the American Federation of Government Employees, which represents over 650,000 workers.More than half of the nation’s 2.1 million government workers may be required to take furloughs if automatic budget cuts, known as the sequester, take effect and agencies are forced to trim budgets. Agencies also may impose hiring freezes, release temporary employees or decline to renew contract workers.The Defense Department has said it expects to furlough 800,000 civilian workers for 22 days each, spread across more than five months, which would mean a 20 percent pay cut over that period. The Pentagon also plans to lay off as many as 46,000 temporary and contract employees.Other federal agencies are likely to furlough several hundred thousand more workers, according to a memo last month from the Office of Management and Budget.Unions can’t stop furloughs, but they can ask to examine the agency’s budget documents and make managers show there is no other way to make the cuts without furloughs.“Our position is that the Department of Defense and every other agency actually has a lot more discretion than they’re letting on and that furloughs are entirely unnecessary,” Simon said. “There’s certainly plenty of low-paid federal employees for whom a 20 percent pay cut means they will not be able to pay their bills.”Besides receiving no pay, a worker on furlough would not accumulate vacation time and would receive a smaller match for their government retirement account. The worker’s annual salary also would be lower when calculating pension benefits.“The impact is going to be devastating, not just on the employees who are serving unpaid furlough days, but on the American public, who depend on the services these employees provide,” said Colleen Kelly, president of the National Treasury Employees Union, which represents about 150,000 workers at 31 federal agencies.So far, Kelly’s union has received only one official notice of intent to furlough workers. That came from U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which plans to furlough all 60,000 employees for up to 14 days if the sequestration goes into effect. Kelly said other agencies are looking at furloughs but have not yet specified the cuts.“We’ve reached out to agencies in an effort to work with them to find ways to cut spending so that the cuts don’t come on the backs of employees on furlough days,” she said.The general expectation is that employees would serve one furlough day per two-week pay period. But the union can bargain on behalf of employees who may want to serve all the days together or delay them until later in the year for personal or financial reasons.Negotiations can also resolve whether workers can swap furlough days with other employees, or whether some workers can volunteer to serve more furlough days so others don’t have to. There also may be work deadlines to consider, since some workers remain accountable to complete projects even if they cannot be at work.The federal Office of Personnel Management, which issues guidance on how agencies carry out furloughs, declined a request for comment. But in a memo to agencies, OPM states that government officials have duty to bargain “over any negotiable impact and implementation proposals” the union may submit regarding furloughs.

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    A TV cameraman films an electronic stock board flashing Nikkei 225 index Tuesday at a securities firm in Tokyo. Asian stock markets fell Tuesday amid anxiety about impending U.S. government spending cuts and the uncertain outcome of Italy’s general election.

    Markets steady following Italian election fallout

    Markets steadied Wednesday as the immediate fallout from the inconclusive Italian elections faded and investors breathed a sigh of relief that the U.S. Federal Reserve does not appear to be changing its cheap money policy any time soon. “After a fraught couple of days, markets are looking a little more relaxed,” said Mike McCudden, head of derivatives at Interactive Investor.

  •  
    President Barack Obama gestures Tuesday as he speaks about automatic defense budget cuts during a visit to Newport News Shipbuilding, a division of Huntington Ingalls Industries in Newport News, Va. Obama is pulling out all the stops to warn just what could happen if automatic budget cuts kick in. Americans are reacting with a collective yawn.

    How to fix US debt without hurting fragile economy

    The cuts in defense spending, unemployment benefits and other programs could slow an already struggling economy. And they would leave unaddressed the biggest long-term threats to the government’s finances — rising bills for Medicare and Social Security. Economists say there’s a better way. Shrinking the federal debt doesn’t have to mean either hurting the economy now or ignoring the spending burdens of the future.

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    Italy pays more to borrow after election turmoil

    Italy saw its borrowing costs jump in a pair of bond auctions Wednesday after an inconclusive election that has raised fears Europe’s government debt crisis will flare up again. The country sold (euro) 4 billion ($5.2 billion) in 10-year bonds at a yield of 4.83 percent, way up from 4.17 percent last month.

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    Portugal seizes 87 tons of beef with horse meat

    Portuguese authorities say they have seized 79 metric tons (87 U.S. tons) of beef products containing traces of horse meat in recent days and opened criminal proceedings against five local companies. Horse meat has recently been found mixed into beef dishes sold across Europe, including in frozen supermarket meals. It has also been found in meals served at restaurants, schools and hospitals.

Life & Entertainment

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    The sixth annual Race and Performance Expo was held last weekend at Pheasant Run Resort in St. Charles.

    Pheasant Run car expo celebrates raw power

    Assembling a high-performance vehicle can be a daunting task for area novices and experts alike. Those seeking inspiration and guidance have a great local event to turn to, the Race and Performance Expo. The three-day trade show, which just completed its sixth year, took place last weekend at the Pheasant Run Resort in St. Charles.

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    Legendary jazz performer Ramsey Lewis performs at the Tivoli Theatre in Downers Grove on Friday, March 1.

    Weekend picks: Get in tune with Ramsey Lewis at the Tivoli

    Catch Grammy Award-winning jazz great Ramsey Lewis and his Electric Band Friday at the Tivoli Theatre in Downers Grove. Performers Melissa Giattino and Ron DeStefano pay tribute to famous song-and-dance couples like Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers in “Two on Tap” Friday at the Metropolis Performing Arts Centre in Arlington Heights. Stand-up comic and actor Tommy Davidson headlines the Chicago Improv in Schaumburg this weekend.

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    Sweet Apple Chicken Curry has a pleasant balance of textures and flavors.

    Dinner in 35 minutes: Sweet Apple Chicken Curry

    What Sweet Apple Curry lacks in authenticity (no toasting or grinding of spices) it makes up for in a pleasant balance of textures and flavors. Don’t worry about cutting the recipe in half if you have fewer mouths to feed. Leftovers would make a nice filling for empanadas or a potpie, and they freeze well.

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    “Old Yellow Moon” by Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell

    A welcome return for Harris, Crowell

    “Old Yellow Moon” is a reunion album of sorts that explores musical paths Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell first traveled on their initial recordings in the mid-1970s. Then as now, Harris and Crowell excelled at bringing a fresh perspective to covers of classic country tunes.

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    In the background, chef/owner Cliff Ostrowski prepares fruit sushi rolls for dessert; his eel sushi rolls are in the foreground.

    Vernon Hills' Silk Asian Tavern weaves Oriental cuisines seamlessly

    Fans of Asian cuisine can take an armchair trip to the Orient while visiting Silk Asian Tavern in Vernon Hills. New co-owners and executive chefs Cliff Ostrowski and Bo Wungwattana last fall redesigned and reconcepted the restaurant at 4 E. Phillip Road in the building that formerly housed Silk Mandarin. “We felt there was a need to bring a downtown experience to a suburban restaurant,” Ostrowski said.

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    Pianist Van Cliburn, who in 1958, at 23, won the first Tchaikovsky International Piano Competition held in Moscow, has died at the age of 78.

    Van Cliburn, American classical pianist, dies

    Van Cliburn, the internationally celebrated pianist whose triumph at a 1958 Moscow competition helped thaw the Cold War and launched a spectacular career that made him the rare classical musician to enjoy rock star status, has died. He was 78. Cliburn died early Wednesday at his Fort Worth home surrounded by loved ones following a battle with bone cancer,

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    Don't call him a celebrity chef. Eddie Huang, shown at his restaurant Baohaus in New York, also is the author of a biting new memoir, "Fresh Off the Boat."

    Blogger, chef, writer, thinker? Huang hates labels

    Sure, Eddie Huang has gained some fame through his tiny restaurant, Baohaus, which first opened on the Lower East Side in 2009, but he doesn't see himself as mainly a chef or restaurateur, he explains. Among other things, he's an author, a blogger, an essayist, the star and host of a Web series, a sometime standup comic, a streetwear aficionado, and also a food-world provocateur who's taken aim at successful chef-entrepreneurs like David Chang and Marcus Samuelsson, for starters.

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    Bindi Irwin will star in the film “Return to Nim’s Island,” premiering on the Hallmark Channel.

    Hallmark Channel launches family movie showcase

    The Hallmark Channel is making a new Friday night home for family movies. The channel announced Wednesday that it will launch the showcase Friday, March 15, with the debut of “Return to Nim’s Island,” starring Bindi Irwin, the 14-year-old daughter of the late Steve Irwin, the Australian crocodile hunter who hosted a popular show on Animal Planet.

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    Ask the Nutritionist: Look to dark greens, orange veggies for vitamin A

    You could get all the vitamin A you need without vegetables at all. But carotenoid compounds — beta-carotene, alpha-carotene and beta-cryptoxanthin — found in dark green and orange vegetables are important for more than making vitamin A in the body.

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    “Ain't No Mountain High Enough: A Tribute to Hitsville U.S.A.” by Michael Bolton

    Bolton's Motown tribute CD a bit of a bore

    Michael Bolton's new 10-track Motown tribute album seems to copy and paste original orchestrations in a less than stellar manner.

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    The Stone Temple Pilots — Dean Deleo, left, Eric Kretz, Robert Deleo and Scott Weiland — “have officially terminated Scott Weiland,” the band’s publicist said Wednesday. No other information was provided.

    Stone Temple Pilots fire singer Scott Weiland

    The Stone Temple Pilots have fired singer Scott Weiland. In a one-sentence news release Wednesday, publicist Kymm Britton said: “Stone Temple Pilots have announced they have officially terminated Scott Weiland.” No other information was provided.

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    Catherine's Spicy Chicken Soup is the most highly rated chicken soup on AllRecipes.com.

    Chicken soup might be just what the doctor ordered

    According to the folks at AllRecipes.com, the number of people searching for chicken soup recipes increases almost porportionally to the number of reported flu cases. When the flu season began in October, there were 356,000 page views for chicken soup; by the end of January, when the flu season peaked, this number increased 20 percent to 446,262 page views.

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    Sweet Apple Chicken Curry has a pleasant balance of textures and flavors.

    Sweet Apple Chicken Curry
    Sweet Apple Chicken Curry

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    Catherine’s Spicy Chicken Soup has been pinned 2 million times by Pinterest members.

    Catherine’s Spicy Chicken Soup
    Catherine's Spicy Chicken Soup

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    Create healthy habits in your kids

    If eating healthier and getting more exercise topes your to-do list, consider these worthwhile goals for the whole family. “Not only is it extremely important for kids to get all the vitamins, nutrients and physical activity they need to stay healthy, but habits formed early in life — both good and bad — can last a lifetime,” says Dr. Thomas McInerny, president of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

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    Mary Ross explores Pinots from Oregon’s Willamette Valley

    Mary Ross talks about Oregon’s Willamette Valley, once a pristine agricultural enclave recognized for dahlia, grass and berry farms. Nowadays, the Willamette is a pristine agricultural enclave recognized as a world-class wine growing region and engine of American economy. The vintners not only cope with a mercurial climate, they crow. “That is why we came here. You can only make great Pinot Noir in a marginal climate. Vintage variation is a part of the reality.”

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    Siblings Natalie and Elliot Bergman are the driving force behind acclaimed indie band Wilde Belle.

    As Wild Belle, Barrington siblings’ worldly sound creating buzz

    Listen to the music of acclaimed new band Wild Belle — infectious pop featuring prominent doses of jazz, reggae and African rhythms — and you probably wouldn’t guess that the band’s roots are in the Northwest suburbs. Siblings Elliot and Natalie Bergman spent part of their formative years in Barrington. “Music was a big part of our family and our house growing up,” Elliot said. The band's debut album, "Isles," is out on March 12.

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    “Eighty Days: Nellie Bly and Elizabeth Bisland’s History-Making Race Around the World” by Matthew Goodman

    Book chronicles journalists’ history-making race

    Americans have always loved a good race. In his book “Eighty Days,” Matthew Goodman tells the story of two pioneering female journalists who raced each other 28,000 miles around the globe in 1889. One woman went east. The other went west. For more than two months, readers followed the women as they battled storms, snow and delays until one got back to New York City first.

  •  
    This sandwich plus a drink plus dessert equals $9 at Artisan Table during lunch.

    Dining events: Artisan lunch for $9!

    Get a total lunch experience for $9 at Artisan Table at the Chicago Marriott Naperville. Menu items include the Hoisin burger, Naperphil cheese steak, Tuscan panini and the Artisan salad. Choose from an array of Artisan beverages and for dessert enjoy a signature honey shortbread cookie made with honey from the hotel's rooftop beehive.

Discuss

  •  

    Editorial: An eye on the future of suburban housing

    A Daily Herald editorial says suburban towns are wise to plan development that includes a strong mix of affordable housing.

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    The Fed’s not-so-golden rule

    RICHMOND, Va. — A display case in the lobby of the Federal Reserve Bank here might express humility. The case holds a 99.9 percent pure gold bar weighing 401.75 troy ounces. Minted in 1952, when the price of gold was $35 an ounce, the bar was worth about $14,000. In 1978, when this bank acquired the bar, the average price of gold was $193.40 an ounce and the bar was worth about $78,000. Today, with gold selling for around $1,600 an ounce, it is worth about $642,800. If the Federal Reserve’s primary mission is to preserve the currency as a store of value, displaying the gold bar is an almost droll declaration: “Mission unaccomplished.”Today the Fed’s second mission is to maximize employment, and Chairman Ben Bernanke construes the dual mandate as a single capacious assignment — “promoting a healthy economy.” But the Fed’s hubris ignores the fact that it anticipated neither the Great Depression that began in 1929 nor the Great Recession that began five years ago. The Fed failed to cure the former, and today’s unprecedentedly anemic recovery — approximately 3 million fewer people are working than were five years ago — has failed to cure the latter: If the workforce participation rate were as high as it was when Barack Obama was first inaugurated, the unemployment rate would be 10.8 percent.Jeffrey M. Lacker has become the Fed’s resident dissenter. As a voting member of the Federal Open Market Committee, Lacker, president of the regional bank here, has cast one-third of the dissents recorded during Bernanke’s seven years as chairman. Lacker, who has dissented at more than half the policy meetings where he has been a voting member, has done so in the name of institutional humility. When he told The New York Times, “We’re at the limits of our understanding of how monetary policy affects the economy,” he was too polite. We are increasingly understanding the deleterious effects — political as well as economic — of very low interest rates for a very long time. While Lacker says “a vigorous monetary policy response can be necessary at times to prevent a contraction from becoming a deflationary spiral,” the Fed continues its vigorous pursuit of growth through cheap credit more than four years after the moment of crisis. Bernanke says “using monetary policy to try to influence the political debate on the budget would be highly inappropriate” and “it is important to keep politics out of monetary policy decisions.” But monetary decisions powerfully and predictably influence political debates. Will Rogers said, “Be thankful we’re not getting all the government we’re paying for.” Today we are not paying for all the government we are getting, and the political class benefiting from this practice should be thankful for the Fed’s low interest rate policy, which makes running deficits inexpensive. In addition to making big government cheap, this causes a flight of investors from interest-paying assets into equities — the rising stock market primarily benefits the wealthy — and commodities, rather than job-creating investments. Fed policy, which has failed so far, can also fail by succeeding. If strong economic growth begins, interest rates will rise substantially, and the cost of debt service will cause the deficit to explode. The Fed’s policy regarding the safety net it weaves beneath large — “systemically important” — financial institutions deemed too big to fail is called “constructive ambiguity.” Lacker believes the policy is not constructive because it is not really ambiguous. Although bailing out too-big-to-fail firms is discretionary, market participants “draw inferences for future policy from our past actions.” Ambiguity, he says, breeds expectations that the Fed will act as rescuer, and these expectations are incentives for risk-taking that can compel the Fed to act. “Constructive ambiguity,” says Lacker, “became increasingly hopeless in the face of accumulating instances of intervention.”

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    When doing nothing is a policy

    Columnist Richard Cohen: In the movie "Lawrence of Arabia," the attempt to unite the Arabs comes apart in Damascus. Lawrence bangs on his desk with the butt of his gun to bring the assembly to order, but to no avail. Chaos erupts. Now something similar is happening in Syria.

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    Editorial goes in wrong moral direction
    An Arlington Heights letter to the editor: The family, being the basic building block of society, subsists on marriage of men and women who procreate, rear and support their progeny. This may be the ideal situation, but we must always try to achieve it.

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    Loch Lomond does not need curbs, gutters
    A Mundelein letter to the editor: I fail to understand why the people of Loch Lomond cannot have the roads repaired without having curbs and gutters.

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    Stickers could verify insurance coverage
    An Aarlington Heights letter to the editor: In Illinois we are required to have a license plate and some counties require city/village stickers, so why not a sticker to prove insurance coverage? For the price we already pay for car insurance, couldn't we be given a sticker? Why do we have to wait until we are hit to find out the driver had no insurance?

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    Harper program shows high schools’ failings
    A Mount Prospect letter to the editor: The Harper College and feeder high school success touted in your Feb. 15 editorial raises more questions than it answers. Where are the changes to curriculum, teaching and counseling at Districts 214, 211 and 220? Are the local high schools now conceding their teaching responsibilities to a junior college?

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    Look for changes in songs, movies
    An Arlington Heights letter to the editor: Just imagine all the love songs and romantic movies waiting to be made when we enact gay marriage.

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    Selective Service an unneeded relic
    A Palatine letter to the editor: The military has stated many times that they don't want a draft. So what should be done? Congress and President Obama should simply finish Nixon's job and put an end to the Selective Service Administration and with it the millions of dollars that our government wastes each year on this unneeded program.

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    Cook County’s use tax is entirely bogus
    Letter to the editor: "Has anyone else in Cook County been slapped with the Non-Retailer Use Tax?" asks Jesse Szach of Schaumburg, who tells the story of the $175 tax he was forced to pay on a used motorcycle he bought in 2012.

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    He has a strategy for avoiding tickets
    Letter to the editor: John Billis has a foolproof strategy for avoiding traffic camera tickets; he won't turn right on red at any intersections that have them. "People behind you will honk their horns and swear, but stand your ground and do not turn until the light changes," he writes.

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    Code department needs overhaul
    Code department needs overhaulI was encouraged that Jason Dusenberry, a candidate for a 2-year Elgin City Council seat, has as a plank in his platform that addresses the city’s code department. Citizens have paid the price for unrealistic schemes to transform Elgin into Winnetka-on-the-Fox, so it is refreshing that someone proposes to address a grass-roots problem that directly affects the lives of Elginites and about which something realistically might be done.My experience with the code department, on multiple occasions, is that it is dysfunctional, inconsistent, biased and unjust. Some years ago the city paid a $500,000 settlement related to actions of the code department and yet no lasting reform has taken place.It’s time that the code department be thoroughly examined and restructured.Kenneth W. BetzElgin

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    Sequestration only way to cut waste
    A West Dundee letter to the editor: Because Congress cannot agree on a deficit reduction plan, sequestration or automatic spending cuts will go into effect on March 1.

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    Gay marriage foes not closed-minded
    A St. Charles letter to the editor: In your “Our View” column Feb. 17, the Herald hopes for “open-minded Republican support” of the gay marriage bill. My definition of open-minded is not merely if someone agrees with me. Do you suggest that opposition to the bill automatically makes one close-minded?

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