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Daily Archive : Wednesday March 13, 2013

News

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    This is the ensemble cast for Streamwood High School’s production of “Les Miserables” at last week’s dress rehearsal. The elaborate set design was made by master builder Joe Thomas and engineer Pete Ryan.

    Streamwood High School presents ‘Les Miserables’

    Streamwood High School for its spring musical this weekend and next will be performing the challenging production of "Les Misérables." Producer Barb Thomas says students and parent and community supporters of the theater program have risen to the challenge. "It's turning out to be a very good show."

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    Chickens, now banned, once common in Arlington Hts.

    There is some speculation that Arlington Heights rejects the idea of chickens now because residents are afraid they will slip back onto the list of hick towns surrounding the metropolis. Others contend that owning a few chickens to keep breakfasts as nutritious as they used to be is not hick. It's "hip."

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    Jeffrey Kellenberger

    Dist. 301 candidates focus on sports, kindergarten, transparency

    Five candidates are running for three open seats on the Burlington Central Unit District 301 board. The lone incumbent, Jeff Gorman, will be challenged by retired District 301 teacher Maggie Perry; Rick Pryor, co-founder of the Burlington Blast Girls Basketball League; real estate broker Jeffrey Kellenberger and retired construction superintendent Duane Schmitt.

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    Police cracking down on drivers for St. Patrick’s Day

    As they have for other holidays, multiple police departments in the Northwest suburbs are putting a traffic campaign into action this weekend to crack down on seat belt use and drunk driving. The campaign will take place Thursday through Sunday in several Northwest suburbs, including Barrington, Elk Grove Village, Arlington Heights, Wheeling, Bartlett, Palatine and Prospect Heights.

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    Scott Richmond

    S. Elgin challengers: Bad location picked for Water’s Edge
    While the three incumbents running for seats on the South Elgin village board voted in favor of a new development downtown, the two challengers say the board made the wrong decisions. They object to the downtown location for Water's Edge, a 50-unit apartment building for low-income and disabled people.

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    Most Naperville council candidates oppose ward systems

    Nine of the 11 Naperville City Council candidates running for four two-year terms oppose the election district system the city is preparing to switch to in 2015. Also on the April 9 ballot, however, is a referendum aimed at reversing the results of a November 2010 referendum question in which more than 28,000 residents voted to establish a ward-based system by 2015.

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    Paola La Rocca celebrates Wednesday after hearing on the speakers at the Metropolitan Cathedral that Buenos Aires’ Archbishop Jorge Bergoglio was chosen as Pope in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

    Crowds turn out to celebrate new pope

    Argentines thronged Buenos Aires's cathedral in central Plaza de Mayo square, where some knelt to pray and others wept for joy, after Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio was named the first non-European pope in over 1,200 years.

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    A sign with Facebook's “Like” logo is posted at Facebook headquarters near the office for the company's User Operations Safety Team in Menlo Park, Calif.

    Netflix integrates with Facebook in U.S.

    Netflix Chief Executive Officer Reed Hastings lobbied Congress to change U.S. law and put his alliance with Facebook into full effect. With about $5 billion in long-term content obligations, he is counting on the social component to increase word-of-mouth about Netflix's growing digital library and build loyalty to the $7.99-a-month subscription service.

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    Marieke Penterman, owner of Holland's Family Cheese in Thorp, Wis., celebrates winning first place in the U.S. Cheese Championship Contest on Wednesday at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis.

    Wisconsin Gouda named nation's top cheese

    Marieke Penterman of Holland's Family Cheese in Thorp, Wis., won the U.S. Championship Cheese Contest in Green Bay Wednesday with her Marieke Mature Gouda. First runner-up was Tarentaise, a semihard alpine cheese made by Spring Brook Farm/Farms For City Kids Foundation in Reading, Vt.

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    Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno of Lemont, Sen. Matt Murphy of Palatine and other Republicans argued Wednesday that suburban schools don't get a “free lunch” when it comes to state funding.

    Two competing pension plans get state panel OK

    An Illinois Senate committee approved two competing pension reform plans Wednesday. But without agreement favoring either one, there's still doubt that after years of talks lawmakers will be ready to send legislation to Gov. Pat Quinn anytime soon.

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    Sam Yingling

    State anti-heroin plan gets early approval

    A suburban lawmaker's proposal to address the state's heroin problem cleared a hurdle Wednesday when it was approved by an Illinois House committee. State Rep. Sam Yingling, a Round Lake Beach Democrat, told the House panel about heroin's increasing prevalence in the suburbs and proposed a task force on the issue.

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    The Rev. John Trout, pastor of St. Joseph Catholic Church in Libertyville, expresses his joy in the selection of the first South American pontiff Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina.

    Local religious leaders, faithful see Pope as heart of humility

    The historic choice of a pope from South America, the choice of his new name and his initial demeanor of humility Wednesday speak volumes for the future, suburban Catholics say. "He is representing the voice of the people," said the Rev. John Trout of St. Joseph Catholic Church in Libertyville.

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    House Speaker Michael Madigan

    Gay marriage 12 votes short, Madigan says

    A proposal to make Illinois the 10th state to allow gay marriage will face a "very difficult" reception in the Illinois House, Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan said Wednesday as advocates vowed to continue pushing for the legislation.

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    Environmental group members show support inside the Capitol rotunda in an effort to pressure lawmakers for a two-year moratorium on hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as fracking, at the Illinois State Capitol Tuesday.

    Fracking foes hope Madigan can sway lawmakers

    Illinois' powerful House speaker said Wednesday that he supports a moratorium on high-volume oil and gas drilling, weighing in on the issue one day before a House committee is scheduled to consider competing bills involving the practice. It was unclear how much sway that Speaker Michael Madigan, a Chicago Democrat, would have over lawmakers' decisions, especially since more than 50 House members...

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    Asian carp, jolted by an electric current from a research boat, jump from the Illinois River near Havana, Ill.

    Anglers hunt Asian carp spreading in Kentucky lakes

    Anglers are on the hunt in western Kentucky for a pesky fish whose exploding population has infested lakes and tributaries all along the Mississippi River. The fast-breeding Asian carp is the target. State Fish and Wildlife officials say the non-native fish is gobbling up food supplies and starving out other more favorable species like crappie and bass.

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    Executive producer Rob Thomas and Kristen Bell will get to make a movie version of “Veronica Mars” after raising more than $2 million in a day in a fundraising effort.

    ‘Veronica Mars’ film online fundraiser meets goal

    "Veronica Mars" fans just bought themselves a big-screen version of the cult favorite TV series. A crowd-sourcing campaign to raise $2 million for the project on the Kickstarter website hit its goal in less than a day. "Veronica Mars" creator Rob Thomas started the effort Wednesday with help from series star Kristen Bell. More than 33,000 contributors had pledged $2.1 million and counting as of...

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    Dist. 15 parents prefer early dismissal to late start

    Although a vote won't take place until next month, signs point to the Palatine Township Elementary District 15 board backing parents' wishes over those of the teachers on next year's start and dismissal times. That means most of the roughly 12,000 students would end their week 45 minutes early every Friday to allow for professional development time among the district's 830 teachers. "It's clear...

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    Pope Francis speaks from the central balcony of St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Wednesday.

    Argentina’s Jorge Mario Bergoglio: a pope of firsts

    From "the end of the earth," the Catholic Church found a surprising new leader, a pioneer pope from Argentina who took the name Francis, a pastor rather than a manager to resurrect a church and faith in crisis: Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio , the archbishop of Buenos Aires, the first pontiff from the New World.

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    A Catholic nun sings as people gather Wednesday outside the Metropolitan Cathedral in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, who chose the name Pope Francis, is the first pope ever from the Americas.

    ‘Francis’ name choice reflects commitment to the poor

    Simply by taking a new name — one no pope has ever used — Bergoglio might be sending a message that change is on the way for the church. There is a strong tradition in the church of taking names of previous popes. John Paul I, in 1978, broke with tradition when he combined the names of men who preceded him as bishop of Rome.

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    Batavia hopefuls discuss power plant investment

    What to do about Batavia's investment in a downstate coal-fired electrical plant was one of the topics alderman candidates were asked, at a business-oriented forum put on by the Batavia Chamber of Commerce.

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    Richard Flynn

    Algonquin candidates talk red light cameras

    If Algonquin trustee hopeful Richard Flynn had his way, he would eliminate all three of the red light cameras in the village. Flynn, a newcomer to village politics is seeking one of three trustee seats, along with incumbents Robert Smith, Jerry Glogowski and Brian Dianis.

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    Pope Francis waves to the crowd Wednesday from the central balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican.

    Pope Francis’ life hasn’t always been simple

    On the streets in Buenos Aires, the stories about the cardinal who would become the first pope from the Americas often include a very ordinary backdrop: The city bus during rush hour. While the new pontiff is not without some political baggage, including questions over his role during a military dictatorship in Argentina in the 1970s, the selection of the 76-year-old Bergoglio reflected a series...

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    Gov. Pat Quinn says Illinois should be the nation’s leader in keeping the concealed carry ban in place.

    Quinn wants appeal of concealed carry ruling

    Gov. Pat Quinn said Wednesday that he wants the Illinois attorney general to appeal a federal court ruling that the state's last-in-the-nation concealed carry ban is unconstitutional, a move that would take it before the U.S. Supreme Court. But Attorney General Lisa Madigan said she prefers to wait and see whether lawmakers craft a new law this spring that would allow the concealed carry of...

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    William Beavers

    Jury seated, gag order imposed in Beavers’ trial

    A judge on Wednesday imposed a gag order on attorneys in the tax-evasion trial of a powerful Chicago Democrat after a defense lawyer claimed jury selection was "rigged" because no black men were in the 50-person pool from which jurors were selected. Opening statements at Cook County Commissioner William Beavers' trial were set for Thursday after the jury was selected Wednesday

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    Choosing a papal name

    Every time a new pontiff is chosen in a conclave, a senior cardinal goes up to him and asks: “And by what name do you want to be called?”The question is popped immediately, while all electors are still locked in the Sistine chapel. So the winner had better have done his homework and already picked a name.

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    More local reaction to selection of Pope Francis

    More religious leaders and faithful around the suburbs share their thoughts on the selection of Pope Francis from Argentina.

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    The DuPage County Forest Preserve District plans to compile a list of historic structures on district land, including the Baker House near West Chicago.

    DuPage forest preserve takes new look at old structures

    Before making any changes to the DuPage County Forest Preserve District's long-standing policy on historic structures,commissioners want to know how much of an investment the district already has made in preserving the past.

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    Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, right, accompanied by FBI Director Robert Mueller, testifies on Capitol Hill Tuesday before the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on worldwide threats. Clapper delivered the U.S. intelligence community’s overview of global threats posed by terrorism, cyber attacks, weapons of mass destruction, the months-long civil war in Syria and the unsettled situation in post-Arab Spring nations.

    Researchers find German-made spyware across globe

    A Canadian research center said Wednesday that it had identified 25 different countries that host servers linked to FinFisher, a Trojan horse program which can dodge anti-virus protections to steal data, log keystrokes, eavesdrop on Skype calls, and turn microphones and webcams into live surveillance devices.

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    The story slowly unfolded as world watched

    It took 12 minutes for a text to be delivered after the first appearance of white smoke. Fortunately for reporters, it was relatively clear that white smoke was streaming from the Sistine Chapel chimney upon Pope Francis' election. It enabled broadcast networks to quickly and authoritatively break into regular programming. Earlier, there was much discussion on CNN about how the smoke could...

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    Dancenter North to offer poms clinic

    Dancenter North will offer a special poms clinic on April 14 and 21, from 1 to 3 p.m., at their studio at 540 North Milwaukee Ave. in downtown Libertyville.

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    Lake County sample ballot available

    Lake County registered voters may now preview their official ballot for the April 9 Consolidated Election at LakeVoterPower.info using the "What is on My Ballot?" link.

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    TLC Pregnancy Services representatives say the organization will resume offering free ultrasounds this week in its mobile facility.

    Court order allows group to resume pregnancy services in Elgin

    A federal judge issues a restraining order Wednesday against the City of Elgin, allowing TLC Pregnancy Services to offer free ultrasound screenings in its mobile facility in the parking lot of ht eEvangelical Church of Elgin adn J.B.'s Pub, which are several blocks from Elgin's Larkin High School and the community college.

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    Some, including a DuPage County Forest Preserve commissioner, don’t want the district advertising on the Internet when it’s trying to find people to adopt horses from the Danada Equestrian Center.

    Forest preserve may revise Danada horse adoption policy

    Amid worries that five horses set to retire from Danada Equestrian Center could end up in the hands of unscrupulous owners, DuPage Forest Preserve commissioners are considering whether to revise the district's horse adoption policy. The district is giving Danada volunteers until the end of the month to submit applications to adopt five horses, or officials will advertise adoption on the Internet.

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    David Szalonek

    Algonquin teen guilty but mentally ill in dad’s death

    An Algonquin teen pleaded guilty but mentally ill Wednesday to shooting and killing his father in February 2010. David Szalonek, who was 16 when he killed his father, was sentenced to 18 years for second-degree murder and will serve about half of that sentence under state law.

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    Ex-NIU police officer pleads not guilty to rape

    Former NIU police officer Andrew Rifkin entered the plea Wednesday and asked the court to note previous court rulings, including one that found NIU police intentionally withheld evidence favorable to him.

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    Carol Stream firefighters are trying to determine what sparked a blaze Wednesday morning that caused extensive damage to a house on the 400 block of N. Blackhawk Drive.

    Fire causes extensive damage to Carol Stream house

    A fire caused extensive damage to a Carol Stream house Wednesday, but no one was hurt, officials said. Firefighters responded shortly before 10 a.m. to the two-story structure on the 400 block of N. Blackhawk Drive. The fire appeared to have started toward the rear of the home before spreading through a wall and into the attic, said Administrative Chief Perry Johnson of the Carol Stream Fire...

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    Daily Herald File Photo It’s déjà vu for road warriors with construction on the Jane Addams.

    Construction revs up on Jane Addams

    Just repeat short-term pain for long-term gain as you crawl along in construction traffic on the Jane Addams Tollway this spring and summer. The tollway is commencing a major redo of the Addams that means more lanes and a faster commute, or so planners promise.

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    Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi speaks Wednesday during a news conference in Orlando, Fla. Florida’s lieutenant governor resigned and nearly 60 other people were charged in a widening scandal of a purported veterans charity.

    Florida Lt. Gov. resigns; 57 charged in scandal

    Florida's lieutenant governor resigned and nearly 60 other people were charged in a scandal involving a purported veterans charity that authorities said Wednesday was a front for a $300 million gambling operation.

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    Kane Co. wants piece of Prairie Parkway cash

    Kane County Board members don't like the near-dead Prairie Parkway project, but they do like its money. There are still some $51 million of federal funds, going back to 2005, for the Prairie Parkway project floating around. When the parkway project faced a lawsuit, IDOT dedicated that $51 million to a segment of Rt. 47 that still qualified as meeting part of the goals of the Prairie Parkway. Kane...

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    Thursday is the deadline for entries to the Daily Herald's Winter Photo Contest.

    Deadline Thursday for our Winter Photo Contest

    It's not too late to enter the Daily Herald's Winter Photo Contest. But it's gettng close. The submission deadline is midnight Thursday and voting begins at midnight Friday. There are two trips to Wisconsin's Abbey Resort available, one for the winning photo and one for a randomly drawn voter.

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    Kate Fry, currently co-starring in Writers' Theatre's “The Letters,” reunites with “Letters” director Kimberly Senior for Writers' 2014 production of Ibsen's “Hedda Gabler.”

    Premieres make up most of Writers' Theatre's upcoming season

    Writers' Theatre in Glencoe announces a 2013-2014 season comprised of world and regional premieres and a revival of Henrik Ibsen's "Hedda Gabler" starring Kate Fry.

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    Associated Press/Sept. 19, 2102 A linear accelerator used to treat cancer at a hospital in Johnstown, Pa. Women treated with radiation for breast cancer are more likely to develop heart problems later, even with the lower doses used today, troubling new research suggests.

    Study: Radiation for breast cancer can harm hearts

    Women treated with radiation for breast cancer are more likely to develop heart problems later, even with the lower doses used today, troubling new research suggests. The risk comes from any amount of radiation, starts five years after treatment and lasts for decades, doctors found.

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    New Levee 37 pumps prevent flooding in Mt. Prospect

    The major rainfall and snow melt of last weekend provided the first test for the pumps installed last year at Levee 37 along the Des Plaines River, Mount Prospect Public Works Director Sean Dorsey told the Mount Prospect Village Board's committee of the whole Tuesday.

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    Joliet diocese to make clergy-abuse records public

    Personnel files of more than a dozen former Diocese of Joliet priests considered sex offenders will be released as part of a settlement between the northern Illinois diocese and a man who sued over molestation he endured as a boy.

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    President Barack Obama speaks to Republican lawmakers at the GOP House Issues Conference in Baltimore in January 2010. Wednesday, for the first time since, he met with House Republican lawmakers at the Capitol.

    Roskam, Obama exchange less jovial in Capitol meeting

    President Barack Obama heads to Capitol Hill Wednesday to try to find common ground on the deficit with the House GOP. Among those he spoke with is his former Illinois state Senate colleague, Chief Deputy Whip Peter Roskam of Wheaton. Roskam is the second suburban lawmaker the president has reached out to this week as part of his "charm offensive."

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    Members of Service Employees International Union Local 73 hold a rally on the University of Illinois Quad as their strike continues Wednesday in Urbana.

    Striking workers, U of I to meet with mediator

    A federal mediator says in an email obtained by The Associated Press that the union representing striking University of Illinois employees and the school have agreed to meet. The strike by almost 800 food- and building-service workers entered its third and what is scheduled to be final day Wednesday.

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    Teachers strike ends after 9 school days in Dixon

    The Dixon Education Association and school board reached an agreement on a four-year contract early Wednesday, and students have returned to class.

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    School holds memorial for 4 teens killed in crash

    Wilmington High School held an all-school memorial Wednesday for four students who died when their car skidded off a bridge into an icy creek. The coroner identified the victims as 14-year-old Matthew Bailey, 15-year-old Cody Carter, 17-year-old Cheyenne Fender and 15-year-old Micalah Sembach.

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    Dist. 54 website honored for transparency

    Schaumburg Township Elementary District 54's website has won a Sunny Award from the editors of Sunshine Review. The award honors the most transparent government websites in the nation.

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    Pope Francis waves to the crowd from the central balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican, Wednesday, March 13, 2013. Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, who chose the name of Francis is the 266th pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church.

    Images: Pope Francis
    Images of Pope Francis and his first audience after election at Vatican City. Buenos Aires' Archbishop Jorge Bergoglio was chosen as Pope and took the name Francis. Bergoglio is the first pope ever from the Americas and the first from outside Europe in more than a millennium.

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    Jeff Epstein, 18, of Buffalo Grove and Lake Zurich resident Carly Rubin, 16, see a need for a teen dance club in southern Lake County. They’ll have a trial run for their club idea, Infinity, at the American Legion hall in Lake Zurich starting at 9 p.m. Friday.

    Teens ready to gauge market for Lake Zurich dance club

    Two teenagers are about to learn if a market really exists for a dance club in Lake Zurich geared toward the younger set. Lake Zurich resident Carly Rubin and Jeff Epstein of Buffalo Grove are collaborating on a sneak peek for Infinity. The trial run for the nonalcoholic club — open for patrons 16 to 20 years old — will be from 9 p.m. Friday to 1 a.m. Saturday at the American Legion...

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    Boreas, an injured boreal owl, sits Wednesday on a handlers hand at the Raptor Center on the St. Paul campus of the University of Minnesota.

    Tough winter forces owls south in hunt for food

    It's been a tough winter for owls in parts of North America, and the evidence is turning up on roadsides, at bird feeders and at a wildlife rehab center in Minnesota.

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    Pope Francis speaks from the central balcony Wednesday of St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican.

    South Americans overjoyed at first Latin American pope

    Latin Americans reacted with joy, bursting into tears and cheers on Wednesday at news that an Argentine cardinal has become the first pope from the hemisphere.

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    Des Plaines mayoral candidate Mark Walsten

    Walsten’s vision for Des Plaines mix of progress, preserving history

    Of the three mayoral hopefuls vying to lead a city of roughly 60,000 people, Mark Walsten sees himself as having a different vision for Des Plaines — one that preserves some of the old, while embracing innovation and growth. "I want this city to advance. I want it to be vibrant," he said.

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    Ron Drake, left, and Thomas Hayes, center, and Mark Hellner, right, are candidates for Arlington Heights village president.

    Why suburban mayoral races are so crowded

    While some might say serving as a suburban mayor might be more work than it's worth, it's clear that interest is high, with 28 out of 59 seats in suburban Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake and McHenry counties contested. Twelve of those races feature three or more candidates. Roselle and St. Charles each have four. “All the issues you read about on the national level are alive and well on the local...

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    2012 Rose Queen Katie Ruby’s reign comes to an end Friday when the 2013 Rose Queen Scholarship Pageant crowns a new winner from among nine hopefuls.

    Rose Queen to be crowned Friday in Roselle

    For the first time in more than two decades, the Rose Queen will be crowned under the auspices of new organizers, who are bringing a few changes to the Roselle pageant that's a 54-year tradition for high school girls seeking scholarship money and the chance to serve as a fixture at events promoting the village.

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    Bartlett village president candidate Patricia Kelly

    Bartlett candidate says she’ll ‘get things done’

    Patricia Kelly describes herself as a hardworking, nonconfrontational leader who will roll her sleeves up and "get things done." That's one reason why she is running for Bartlett village president this spring. "If I feel very strongly about something I will take action," the 60-year-old trustee said. "I don't want to just sit back and wait."

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    Northwest suburban police blotter

    A 26-year-old Mundelein man was arrested around 12:30 p.m. March 3 on Frontage Road at North Rand Road in Palatine and charged with possession of drug paraphernalia, resisting a peace officer, DUI, violation of bail bond, driving while license suspended, no insurance and traffic violations.

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    Obama says American pope would be effective

    President Barack Obama is rejecting the notion that an American pope would be too closely aligned with the U.S. government. Obama says the Catholic bishops in the U.S. "don't seem to be taking orders from me." And he says an American pope would preside just as effectively as a leader of the Catholic church from any other country.

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    Trial to begin in Ohio school football rape case

    STEUBENVILLE, Ohio — Television news trucks are lined up outside an eastern Ohio courthouse for the trial of two high school football players charged with raping a 16-year-old West Virginia girl.

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    Dave Carlin

    Faculty endorsements an issue in COD trustee race

    The impact of contentious negotiations last year over a new faculty contract at the College of DuPage continues to reverberate at the Glen Ellyn-based school, and is now playing a part in the upcoming election for board of trustees. The Friends for Education COD Faculty Association political action committee is endorsing two candidates — Ed Agustin and Frank Flores, Jr. — to fill two...

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    The case involving U.S. Air Force shows Lt. Gen. Craig Franklin, who dismissed charges against a lieutenant colonel convicted of sexual assault, will be reviewed at the top levels of the Pentagon. Franklin’s decision is fueling support for legislation that would prevent commanding officers from overturning rulings made by judges and juries at courts-martial proceedings.

    Groups urge changes in courts-martial procedures

    An Air Force general's decision to reverse a guilty verdict in a sexual assault case is fueling support for legislation that would prevent commanding officers from overturning rulings made by judges and juries at courts-martial proceedings. Anu Bhagwati of the Service Women's Action Network told a Senate subcommittee Wednesday that court-martial cases should be left in the hands of "trained,...

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    Michael “Chad” Boysen. An alert Oregon seaside motel employee helped police capture Boysen, who is suspected of killing his grandparents after they picked him up from prison and hosted a welcome home party for him.

    Suspect in death of grandparents caught in Oregon

    An alert Oregon seaside motel employee helped police capture a Washington state man suspected of killing his grandparents after they picked him up from prison and hosted a welcome home party for him.

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    Defense lawyers, Julia Gatto, left, and, Robert Baum, hold a news briefing on Tuesday, March 12, 2013 in New York. A federal jury convicted their client, New York City police officer Gilberto Valle, of charges he plotted to kidnap and cook women to dine on their “girl meat.” Valle, 28, faces up to life in prison when he is sentenced on June 19. With the conviction, he loses his job as a police officer.

    New York cop convicted in cannibalism plot

    Defense lawyers say all Internet users should worry that their online words can end up in federal court after a jury concluded that a New York police officer's plans to kidnap, kill and eat young women he knew were more than Internet chatter. At the end of one of the most unusual federal trials ever, a jury agreed Tuesday with the government that 28-year-old Gilberto Valle wasn't just fantasizing...

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    UN, Jordan to tackle crime in Syrian refugee camp

    The U.N. refugee chief says his agency is working with Jordan to bolster security at a camp for Syrian refugees where reports of drug trafficking, prostitution and other crimes have emerged.

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    Syria troops, rebels clash in northern Damascus

    Syrian government troops fought fierce battles with rebels on Wednesday for control of key neighborhoods in the north of Damascus, President Bashar Assad's seat of power, residents and activists said. Also in the Syrian capital, a European Union staff member was killed in a rocket attack in an opposition stronghold south of the capital, the EU said.

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    Florida lt. gov quits; tied to firm under investigation

    Florida Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll announced her resignation Wednesday, a day after she was questioned by authorities investigating an Internet cafe company that she once represented with her PR firm.

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    Egypt: Morsi’s government appeals vote suspension

    A government legal agency representing Egypt's Islamist President Mohammed Morsi appealed on Wednesday the court-ordered suspension of a controversial parliamentary election, a judicial official said. The appeal comes after an earlier pledge by Morsi's office not to challenge the verdict.

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    EU representative killed in rocket attack in Syria

    A European Union staff member has been killed in a rocket attack near Damascus, the Syrian capital, the EU announced Wednesday.

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    Dawn Patrol: Reward in Elgin murder; zoo’s bison dies

    Award announced in recent Elgin murder. Po-Key the Elgin zoo bison euthanized. Elk Grove man seeks vacated drug conviction involving Schaumburg cop. State board begs lawmakers for more funding. CLC rejects tuition hike. McHenry County coroner expected to release info on teen death. New Arlington Heights restaurant sparks hope for revitalization. Rose says he's not ready to return.

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    Black smoke emerges from the chimney on the Sistine Chapel as cardinals voted on the second day of the conclave to elect a pope in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Wednesday.

    Black smoke from Sistine Chapel: No pope yet

    Cardinals remained divided over who should be pope on Wednesday after three rounds of voting, an indication of disagreements about the direction of the Catholic church following the upheaval unleashed by Pope Benedict XVI's surprise resignation. In the second day of the conclave, thick black smoke billowed from the chimney of the Sistine Chapel, prompting sighs of disappointment from the...

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    Five hurt in Batavia crash on Fabyan Pkwy.

    Five people were injured, including one seriously, in a Wednesday morning crash on Fabyan Parkway and Kingsland Drive in Batavia.

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    Mitch Seavey became the oldest winner and a two-time Iditarod champion when he drove his dog team under the burled arch in Nome on Tuesday evening, March 12, 2013. He sits with his two lead dogs, Tanner, left and Taurus, right.

    53-year-old musher becomes oldest Iditarod champ

    A 53-year-old former champion has won the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race to become the oldest winner of Alaska's grueling test of endurance. Mitch Seavey and 10 dogs crossed the Nome finish line to cheering crowds at 10:39 p.m. Alaska time Tuesday. "This is for all of the gentlemen of a certain age," he said.

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    Contributions to the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund, 2002-2011

    Taxpayers' pension fund contributions up 172% in 10 years

    Pension obligations for local government employees cost Illinois taxpayers $500 million more than it did 10 years ago. The state's 3,000-plus municipalities, counties, libraries, park districts, townships and other local agencies that pay into the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund spent $800,804,253 in 2011 to cover retirement benefits for 175,844 employees. That's up 172 percent.

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    This image provided by the U.S. Coast Guard shows a pipeline burning after a collision near Bayou Perot 30 miles south of New Orleans, Tuesday March 12, 2012. The pipeline fire that was ignited when the pipe was hit by a tug boat pushing an oil barge burned into the early morning hours Wednesday in a bayou south of New Orleans.

    Fire burns after tug, barge hit La. gas pipeline

    A fire that ignited when a gas pipeline was hit by a tug boat pushing an oil barge burned into the morning hours Wednesday in a bayou south of New Orleans amid reports that oil had leaked into the water. There was still liquid petroleum gas in the 19-mile pipeline and authorities were waiting for it to burn out, Coast Guard Petty Officer Alex Washington said.

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    South Korean President Park Geun-hye salutes during a joint commission ceremony of 5,780 new officers of Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines. The body that controls North Korea’s military is dismissing the South Korea’s new president with a sexist comment about the “venomous swish” of her skirt.

    N. Korea criticizes female S. Korea president’s ‘swish of skirt’

    North Korea's first public, senior-level mention of South Korea's first female president ended up being a sexist crack. The body that controls North Korea's military complained Wednesday about the "venomous swish" of her skirt. But despite that swipe, and a continuing torrent of rhetoric from Pyongyang, President Park Geun-hye is sticking by her campaign vow to reach out to North Korea's young...

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    Black smoke emerges from the chimney on the Sistine Chapel as cardinals voted on the second day of the conclave to elect a pope. Black smoke indicating that no pope was elected was made by adding cartridges containing potassium perchlorate, anthracene (a component of coal tar), and sulfur to the burned ballots.

    Ingredients of papal conclave smoke signals

    The Vatican is revealing what the smoke signals emerging from the Sistine Chapel chimney are made of, after the stir caused by how much more distinct the black smoke in this conclave has been compared to the past. The black smoke indicating a pope had not been elected was made by adding cartridges containing potassium perchlorate, anthracene (a component of coal tar), and sulfur to the burned...

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    Former NBA star Dennis Rodman walks down a street near St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican, Wednesday, March 13, 2013. Rodman is in Rome to promote the papal candidacy of Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana.

    Dennis Rodman backs black papal candidate in PR stunt

    After raising eyebrows by going to North Korea, former U.S. basketball star Dennis Rodman is continuing his bizarre global tour by visiting Rome — purportedly to help Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana become the first black pope.

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    In this Oct. 14, 1978 file photo, cardinals stand in prayer inside the Sistine Chapel after they entered the conclave area for electing the successor of late John Paul I. The papal conclave is steeped in mystery — and the church likes it that way.

    Papal conclave goes to heart of Catholic mystery

    The papal conclave is steeped in mystery — and the church likes it that way. Elaborate ritual and veils of secrecy, after all, are fundamental to the papal mystique, seen as the glue that binds worshipers in faith. But in this conclave, the church appears to be making some concessions to the instant clarity expected in the Internet era.

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    Brandie Roberts, owner of Monsters Ink Tattoos and Piercings, applies touch-up work to a tattoo for her husband, Shane, at her shop in Galesburg.

    Tattoo artist gets her own shop

    Brandie Roberts is a colorful woman, used to getting lots of ink. The owner of Monsters Ink, 714 E. Main St., has opened her own business while serving as an inspiration to those who know her as she battles breast cancer. Roberts opened the business Feb. 1. "It's hard to believe this used to be a cycle shop," her husband, Shane, said. There were still places on the floor where oil stains could be...

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    The U.S. Army parachute team, the Golden Knights.

    Cuts ground 2 performers in Chicago air show
    One of Chicago's summer events highlights, the Air and Water Show, will lose two of its star attractions this year because of federal budget cuts.

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    The Wisconsin state Legislature is expected to consider another bill legalizing the sale of unpasteurized milk in Wisconsin, legislation that could have Gov. Scott Walker’s support if it contains safeguards for consumers’ health.

    Wisc. legislature to consider another raw milk bill

    The state Legislature is expected to consider another bill legalizing the sale of unpasteurized milk in Wisconsin, legislation that could have Gov. Scott Walker's support if it contains safeguards for consumers' health.

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    Wis. historical site plans tea party

    Lewis Carroll fans will get a chance to live out the Mad Hatter's tea party at a Wisconsin historical site next month. Old World Wisconsin has scheduled the party for April 27. The itinerary includes finger foods, games and crafts. Participants are encouraged to dress up like characters in Carroll's "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland." Tickets are $15 per person.

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    Sophia Chen-de Vries

    Dist. 220 candidates debate balancing of budget

    An independent auditor has said Barrington Unit School District 220 has balanced its budget for 17 consecutive years. But some running for the school board are challenging that claim. “Do the revenues equal the expenditures?” Jerry Keaton said. “No they don't.” “We are not deficit spending. I don't know where that came from," Penny Kazmier said.

Sports

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    Naperville Central’s Dennis Chase performs his floor exercise routine, during a boys gymnastics meet at Glenbard East High School.

    Naperville Central picks it up

    The Naperville Central boys gymnastics team knows it will usually receive very good scores in all six events from junior Dom Delgrosso and talented freshman Ryan Durkin.

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

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    Wednesday’s girls soccer scoreboard
    High school results from Wednesday's varsity girls soccer games, as reported to the Daily Herald.

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    Wednesday’s girls water polo scoreboard
    High school results from Wednesday's varsity girls water polo matches, as reported to the Daily Herald.

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    Wednesday’s badminton scoreboard
    High school results from wednesday's varsity girls badminton meets, as reported to the Daily Herald.

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

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

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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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    MSL East victories for Prospect, Elk Grove

    Host Prospect held Buffalo Grove scoreless through three quarters in a 6-1 victory in Mid-Suburban East girls water polo Wednesday.Kallie Shields led the way with 3 goals for the Knights and Lauren Broz made 13 saves in goal.Sara Morosan had BG’s goal.Elk Grove 16, Vernon Hills 2: Alexa Zajack had 3 goals and Dominika Struk, Jackie Hirschauer, Angelica Ford and Kathryn Noonan had 2 each as the host Grenadiers rolled in nonconference play.

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    Dundee-Crown’s RJ Schmidt leaps 37 feet, 7 inches in the triple jump preliminaries Wednesday at the Fox Valley Conference indoor meet at Dundee-Crown.

    Huntley 2nd at FVC indoor meet

    For Huntley boys track coach Jim Rolando, it was a good way to end the indoor season. With 3 second place finishes and 2 thirds, the Red Raiders finished a solid second with 86.5 points at Wednesday's Fox Valley Conference Indoor Track and Field Invitational held at Dundee-Crown High School in Carpentersville. Crystal Lake Central grabbed top honors with a score of 103.5 points.

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    Warren’s Kyle Kennedy will pitch for North Park next spring.

    Join the klub: Kyle Kennedy follows family’s campus baseball tradition

    With Warren senior Kyle Kennedy committing to play baseball for North Park, Jim and Karen Kennedy will have all three of their strong-armed, athletic sons playing collegiate baseball next year. Sean, a junior, and Ryan, a sophomore, both pitch for Valpo.

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    Palatine’s Matt Cullum competes on the still rings during Wednesday’s boys gymnastics triangular meet at Schaumburg.

    Healthy Mauk helps Conant serve notice

    A year ago, Conant's Joey Mauk was just happy to be out for the gymnastics team. Mauk was coming off a serious injury to his right shoulder, where he tore more than half of his rotator cuff. Mauk returned late in the season last year, but it wasn't enough as Conant just missed qualifying for the state meet. This year, Mauk and Conant have their sights set on big goals. Both got huge starts Wednesday at Fremd where Mauk competed in five events for the first time in three years to help Conant post the second-best team score this year with a 147.10.

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    Big thrills in the Big Ten?

    Indiana is standing tall again.Michigan and Michigan State are right there with the Hoosiers, and Ohio State and Wisconsin aren’t exactly backing down from anyone, either.The Big Ten tournament starts today, and it’s not hard to see why Spartans coach Tom Izzo declared it one of the best ever. And by best ever, he didn’t just mean best Big Ten tournament.“We’re looking forward to one of the great conference tournaments of all time, if you ask me,” Izzo said. “When you look at the ranked teams and the teams that aren’t ranked and everyone else, it should be a heck of a Big Ten tournament in Chicago.”The league is tops in the Sagarin ratings and boasts five teams ranked in the Top 25, including four in the top 10.One of those top 10 teams — No. 6 Michigan — didn’t even get one of the four first-round byes. Instead, the Wolverines face Penn State on Thursday after falling a point short of sharing the conference championship with a 72-71 loss to Indiana on Sunday.They need to regroup and figure out a way to get past the Nittany Lions, a team that rallied from 15 down in the second half to beat Michigan a few weeks ago.Besides Penn State, Michigan might also need to get by Wisconsin and Indiana to reach the Big Ten tournament title game. Those three teams have combined to hand the Wolverines (25-6) four of their six losses, and No. 22 Wisconsin (21-10) is lurking in the second round on Friday after taking the fourth seed.No. 3 Indiana (26-5), the top seed after winning its first outright conference title conference championship in two decades, will face the Illinois-Minnesota winner. No. 10 Ohio State (23-7), the second seed, gets Purdue or Nebraska, while eighth-ranked and third-seeded Michigan State (24-7) awaits Iowa or Northwestern.“Michigan’s playing for a share for a title. Unfortunately, they slide out. Now, they have to play on the first day. It just shows you how deep this league is, how good this league is,” Penn State coach Patrick Chambers said. “The top four teams get that bye, which is critical, and I know Michigan wanted that. But it’s pretty amazing how tough this conference has been.”Standing at the top right now is Indiana after a long climb, and winning the conference tournament would be another notch for a program knocked to the ground not too long ago. It’s something the Hoosiers haven’t done since the Big Ten started holding a tourney back in 1998.“You just told me something that I didn’t know,” coach Tom Crean said. “That’s how little concerned we are about the negatives, what hasn’t happened. It’s really not anything we’ll reflect on.”

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    Hawks ready to hit the reset button

    Jonathan Toews claims to know nothing of the Sports Illustrated cover jinx. But coach Joel Quenneville does."I thought that why we got beat," Quenneville joked.The Blackhawks are on the magazine's cover this week with the story extolling their 24-game point streak and crediting them for bringing people back to the sport following the lockout."I saw the cover and it's pretty cool," Toews said. "It's definitely high praise for our team after what was a tough time for our sport a few months ago."

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    Wolves fall in overtime to Griffins

    Chicago Wolves game report:GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Nicklas Jensen's power-play goal late in the third period sent the Chicago Wolves into overtime, but Grand Rapids scored 18 seconds into the extra session to earn a 3-2 win in an AHL Midwest Division showdown Wednesday night at Van Andel Arena.Jensen and center Jordan Schroeder scored goals for the Wolves (29-19-5-4), who lost to the Griffins for the fourth time this season.Wolves goaltender Matt Climie (16-17-3) blocked 21 shots.

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    Harper baseball team ready to break the ice

    Despite the lingering snow, the Harper baseball team is scheduled to get warm in time for a season opener against visiting Prairie State College at 2:30 p.m. Thursday.

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    Bartlett graduate Elizabeth Kay is enjoying a strong start to the softball season at Illinois State.

    Local trio headed to Division III Final Four

    Three former Daily Herald all-area girls basketball standouts are playing in the Final Four. South Elgin alum Cortney Kumerow, Bartlett graduate Lisa Palmer and Crystal Lake South product Katie Burton are members of the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater women's basketball team that will play in the NCAA Division III Final Four this weekend at Hope College in Holland, Mich. All three players had key roles in Whitewater advancing to the national semifinals.

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    Andrea Renner is keeping her hockey season alive with the Chicago Young Americans after a successful high school season with the co-op Barrington Fillies.

    Doubly delightful season for Renner

    Andrea Renner had quite a memorable 2012-2013 hockey season — a double delight, really. For starters, Renner skated for the Chicago Young Americans (CYA) U14 girls team that won the state championship, sweeping the Chicago Fury in the best-of-three series, winning both games by shutout. Renner even tallied the game-winner in game two on March 9, on a slapshot. CYA is now in the regional tournament this weekend in Wisconsin, where it will battle the St. Louis Lady Blues and the Madison Capitols. Renner also was the assistant captain, though only a freshman, for the co-op Barrington Fillies, comprised of players from South Elgin, Prospect, Lake Zurich, Wauconda, Barrington and her own school, St. Viator.

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    Bill Carmody doesn’t have enough victories or a high enough profile to stay on as Northwestern basketball coach.

    Carmody’s time should be up at Northwestern

    Northwestern administrators have to fire basketball coach Bill Carmody. Why? To demonstrate that they care about how the Wildcats do in this sport and that they believe the program can do better.

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    Paul Michna/pmichna@dailyherald.com ¬ Collin Roy,left,of Wheaton Academy and Jason Pisarski of St. Francis go for a loose ball during game action Wednesday.

    Looking back at the best of the basketball season

    As the high school boys basketball season enters its final week, one important question remains — can anyone stop Simeon from capturing its fourth consecutive Class 4A state championship this weekend in Peoria? West Aurora, which suffered a 60-47 loss to the 3-time defending state champions in the finals of the Pontiac Holiday Tournament back in late December, found itself one half away from another crack at the top-ranked Wolverines until a 17-0 third-quarter run by Proviso East in Tuesday night's Hinsdale Central supersectional ended the Blackhawks' season. Proviso East's 62-52 come-from-beind win sets up a rematch of last year's 4A state title game — won by Simeon in an instant classic, 50-48. It has been 5 years since the last non-Chicago Public League team captured the 4A state title — Richards in 2008. Here is my personal recap of the 2012-13 boys/girls basketball season:

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    Top-notch soccer for a good cause

    It worked so well the first time, they're doing it again. The girls soccer teams from Neuqua Valley, Naperville Central, Waubonsie Valley and Naperville North will play March 20 in a doubleheader that doubles as an event to raise awareness of breast cancer.

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    Kaylyn Zierke

    Bartlett’s Zierke out for season

    The Bartlett softball team this season will be without one of its top players from the Hawks' 32-9 Class 4A state runner-up team of 2012. Senior catcher Kaylyn Zierke, who is signed with Division I Temple, had shoulder surgery March 6 to repair a tear in her labrum. Her rehab time will be roughly six months.

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    After being recalled from Rockford, Jimmy Hayes will get a chance to play on the line with Patrick Kane and Dave Bolland.

    Coach Q finds it’s not easy to replace Sharp

    It's not easy replacing Patrick Sharp. Just ask Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville. Sharp has missed the last two games with a sprained left shoulder and the Hawks have lost both of them. Jimmy Hayes, recalled from Rockford on Tuesday, skated at left wing in practice Wednesday with Dave Bolland and Patrick Kane. He's the latest to fill Sharp's spot. "He's earned the opportunity to get a spot like that and play with a couple nice players," Quenneville said.

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    Tight end Martellus Bennett (left) and offensive tackle Jermon Bushrod are introduced at the Walter Payton Center in Lake Forest on Wednesday.

    New additions two big plusses for Bears

    The Bears are convinced they'll get a lot more than a reliable protector for Jay Cutler's blind side and a dangerous weapon in the passing game from their high-profile free-agent additions."We've got two quality guys; two guys that are ascending at their work at this stage of their lives," coach Marc Trestman said of left tackle Jermon Bushrod and tight end Martellus Bennett. "We got our team better."

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    NASCAR reinstates driver Jeremy Clements

    NASCAR has reinstated Jeremy Clements following completion of stipulations set after the driver made insensitive remarks in an interview.

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    Fans cast shadows against a wall in the outfield before the start a spring training exhibition baseball game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Minnesota Twins, Monday, March 11, 2013, in Port Charlotte, Fla. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

    Want tix? Spring training crowds down this year

    All over Florida and Arizona, teams are paying the price. Spring training attendance is off and several things are to blame, aside from pricey tickets — early start, cold weather and lineups depleted by injured stars and players dispatched to the World Baseball Classic.

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    Reggie Bush speaks at a news conference after agreeing to a four-year deal with the Detroit Lions NFL football team, Wednesday, March 13, 2013 in Detroit. (AP Photo/Detroit News, John T. Greilick) DETROIT FREE PRESS OUT; HUFFINGTON POST OUT

    Lions land free agent RB Bush

    Reggie Bush was introduced Wednesday as the Detroit Lions most high-profile free agent signing so far this offseason, with the Lions hoping he can give a boost to an offense that already includes Johnson and quarterback Matthew Stafford.

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    FILE - In this Jan. 20, 2013, file photo, New England Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker (83) runs out of the tackle of Baltimore Ravens free safety Ed Reed (20) during the first half of the AFC championship NFL football game in Foxborough, Mass. All 32 teams are under the $123 million salary cap, but how much teams want to wheel and deal is unclear. Those available include Ed Reed and Dashon Goldson and Welker. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum, File)

    Broncos, Welker agree to 2-year deal

    The Denver Broncos have found a new target for Peyton Manning, agreeing to a two-year deal with Pro Bowl receiver Wes Welker.

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    They’re called conservation officers for a reason

    An Arkansas man will serve two years in federal prison for making threats against Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency officers following his arrest for boating under the influence in 2010.

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    Comstock photos With spring approaching, it's time for anglers to starting preparing for some fly fishing.

    Nothing like bluegills on the fly for a spring jolt

    Planning an early spring adventure in pursuit of flyrod bluegills is one way to hasten the season's arrival.

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    Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall (15) congratulates teammate Kellen Davis after Davis caught a touchdown pass against Carolina at Soldier Field. The Bears cut Davis on Wednesday.

    Bears clear cash by cutting Davis, Spaeth, Toeaina

    Tight end Kellen Davis was cut by the Bears Wednesday morning, saving the team $2.5 million under the salary cap. The Bears cleared more room under the salary cap a few hours later by cutting backup tight end Matt Spaeth and defensive tackle Matt Toeaina. Davis and Spaeth became expendable after unrestricted free agent Martellus Bennett signed with the Bears for $20 million over four years.

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    Mike North video: $40 million dollar man

     Mike North thinks fans were duped into thinking Peyton Manning's injury was worse than it was. He just passed a physical guaranteeing him $40 million dollars.  How bad was his neck injury really?

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    Conant, Palatine win in MSL West

    Conant produced a 12-5 victory at Barrington, and Palatine topped Fremd 9-5 in Mid-Suburban West boys water polo Tuesday.

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    Dobrowski, Wheeling edge Prospect

    The last four Mid-Suburban East girls water polo championships have been won by either Prospect or Wheeling, and that was reflected by the intensity of Tuesday’s divisional opener at Wheeling. Prospect worked hard for an early advantage, surprising the Wildcats with a 4-1 scoring edge in the first period. But the defending divisional champs ultimately were able to pull out a 9-8 win in regulation.

Business

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    A new Aldi discount grocery store is opening in two weeks in the Mount Prospect Plaza shopping center. The planned opening will occur one day after an existing Aldi at 730 E. Rand Road is scheduled to close.

    Aldi store moves to a new location in Mt. Prospect

    A new and updated Aldi grocery store will open at 1000 Mount Prospect Plaza in Mount Prospect on Thursday, March 28. The store will replace an existing Mount Prospect Aldi store on Rand Road. The new location will feature a new design that includes higher ceilings and improved natural lighting.

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    Customers look at Samsung Electronics Co. smartphones Tuesday at a China Mobile Ltd. store in Beijing.

    Souped-up Samsung Galaxy promises more pressure on IPhone

    Samsung Electronics Co. is making its biggest run yet at the iPhone's U.S. loyalists, unveiling the new Galaxy S4 a few blocks from Apple Inc.'s flagship store in New York and broadcasting the event live in Times Square.

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    Attorney General Lisa Madigan announced Tuesday that Illinois has joined 37 other states and the District of Columbia in the $7 million settlement.

    Illinois joins multistate settlement with Google

    Illinois will receive about $362,000 from a multistate settlement with Google over its collection of emails, passwords and other sensitive information transmitted on unprotected wireless networks. Attorney General Lisa Madigan announced Tuesday that Illinois has joined 37 other states and the District of Columbia in the $7 million settlement.

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    Bloomberg News file photo Women carry Aerosoles shopping bags in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, D.C. Americans spent at the fastest pace in five months in February, boosting retail spending 1.1 percent compared with January, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday.

    Dow notches ninth gain in a row

    The Dow's last nine-day winning streak was logged in May 1996. In November of the same year, in the early days of the technology boom, it gained for 10 straight days. Stocks overcame an early loss Wednesday, having edged lower at the start of the trading day despite an unexpectedly strong increase in U.S. consumer spending last month.

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    The front window of a branch of McDonald’s in London.

    McDonald’s to roll out yolk-free Egg McMuffin

    The world's biggest hamburger chain says the "Egg White Delight" will be made with a whole grain muffin, Canadian bacon and white cheddar cheese. It will be available nationally April 22 and clock in at 250 calories, compared with 300 calories for a regular Egg McMuffin.

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    Associated Press file photo First lady Michelle Obama waves as she walks in the Inaugural Parade after the ceremonial swearing-in for the 57th Presidential Inauguration on Capitol Hill in Washington.

    Officials expand pursuit of hackers who took credit reports

    he pursuit of hackers who audaciously stole and published credit reports for Michelle Obama, the attorney general, FBI director and other U.S. politicians and celebrities crisscrossed continents and included a San Francisco-based Internet company, Cloudflare, The Associated Press has learned.

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    Addus HomeCare’s 4Q revenues up 9 percent

    Addus HomeCare Corp., a provider of home-based social and medical services, reported fourth quarter revenues increased 9.4 percent as demand in the home health care industry remained strong

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    Mondelez declares dividend, announces stock buyback
    Mondelez International, the global snacks company spun off from Kraft Foods last year, declared its quarterly dividend and aurthorized a stock buyback of up to 40 million shares.

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    SigmaTron reports 11 percent revenue loss in 3Q
    Electronics manufacturer SigmaTron International reported revenues were down 11 percent in the third quarter due to slowing economic conditions.

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    House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., right, pauses during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday.

    GOP stakes out budget differences with Obama

    House Republicans are staking out stark differences with Democrats as they prepare to meet with President Barack Obama for talks over the budget impasse, while Obama is conceding that a political accommodation may be impossible. On the one hand, many Republicans are applauding Obama's concerted effort to mend ties with Congress. On the other hand, neither side is backing down from entrenched positions.

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    Dollar gets lift from strong retail sales report

    The dollar is rising against other major currencies following an unexpectedly strong increase in U.S. retail sales last month. Americans spent at the fastest pace in five months in February, lifting retail sales 1.1 percent, despite higher payroll taxes.

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    U.S. businesses boost restocking 1 percent

    U.S. companies increased their restocking in January from December, an encouraging signal that they expect consumers will spend more this year and help the economy grow faster. The Commerce Department says business stockpiles grew 1 percent in January, up from 0.3 percent growth in December. Total business sales fell 0.3 percent in January after a slight 0.1 percent rise in December.

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    Condé Nast is expanding Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour’s role. She has been named the company’s artistic director.

    Wintour charged with Conde Nast ‘creative vision’

    Conde Nast is expanding the role of Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour. She has been named the company's artistic director. Wintour's new duties include developing an overall "creative vision" for Conde Nast, which has a portfolio of 18 consumer magazines, including The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, Glamour, Allure and GQ.

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    A draft copy of the 21-page of a Health and Human Services Department form proposed for use to apply for low-cost insurance from Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program .

    Applying for Obama health care plan not easy

    Applying for benefits under President Barack Obama's health care overhaul could be as daunting as doing your taxes. The government's draft application runs 15 pages for a three-person family. An outline of the online version has 21 steps, some with additional questions.

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    Nissan recalls 5 models for air bag problem

    Nissan is recalling five of its 2013 models in the U.S. because a faulty sensor can permanently turn off the front-seat passenger air bag. The recall covers the Altima midsize car, as well as the Leaf electric car, Pathfinder SUV and the Sentra compact. Also covered is the Infiniti JX35 SUV.

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    Higher oil prices drive up US import costs

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Prices paid by U.S. importers rose in February for the second straight month, pushed up by higher oil prices. The Labor Department says import prices rose 1.1 percent in February after a 0.6 percent gain the previous month. Fuel imports jumped 4.9 percent. Excluding fuel, import prices were flat. Low import costs have helped hold down U.S. inflation. Even with the last two months of increases in oil costs, import prices have fallen 0.3 percent in the 12 months ending in February. They haven't recorded a year-over-year increase since last April.Export prices rose 0.8 percent in February from January, pushed up by higher prices for agricultural goods. In the past year, export prices have increased 1.5 percent, led by a 13.4 percent jump in farm goods.

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    European Commissioner for Transport Siim Kallas speaks during a media conference at EU headquarters in Brussels on Wednesday. The European Union is considering beefed up measures for stranded passengers to get compensation and find quicker ways to get home.

    EU seeks better passenger rights

    The European Union is considering beefed up measures for stranded passengers to get compensation and find quicker ways to get home. EU Transport Commissioner Siim Kallas said Wednesday that a new package with improved measures would also boost carriers from the 27 member nations in global competition since consumers would be drawn to companies offering the best conditions.

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    Marty Grossman shops for a hat at Lodge’s store on in Albany, N.Y. Americans spent at the fastest pace in five months in February, boosting retail spending 1.1 percent compared with January.

    U.S. retail sales up solid 1.1 percent in February

    Americans spent at the fastest pace in five months in February, boosting retail spending 1.1 percent compared with January. About half the jump reflected higher gas prices, but even excluding gas purchases, retail sales rose 0.6 percent. The report Wednesday from the Commerce Department showed that Americans kept spending last month despite higher Social Security taxes that took effect this year. The retail sales report is the government's first look each month at consumer spending, which drives about 70 percent of economic activity.

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    Google will pay a $7 million fine to settle a multistate investigation into a snoopy software program that enabled the Internet search leader to intercept emails, passwords and other sensitive information sent several years ago over unprotected wireless networks in neighborhoods across the world.

    Google pays $7M fine to settle Wi-Fi privacy case

    Google will pay a $7 million fine to settle a multistate investigation into a snoopy software program that enabled the Internet search leader to intercept emails, passwords and other sensitive information sent several years ago over unprotected wireless networks in neighborhoods across the world. The agreement announced Tuesday covers 38 states and the District of Columbia, part of the area where households and local merchants unwittingly had some of their communications on Wi-Fi networks snatched by Google Inc. from early 2008 until the spring 0f 2010.

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    World stocks down on bleak UK factory production

    World stock markets ran out of steam Wednesday after a sharp drop in Britain's industrial production and a warning from the head of Germany's central bank that the euro debt crisis isn't over. Bundesbank President Jens Weidmann said Tuesday that the European Union needs to move ahead with reforms to keep troubles in the banking system from dragging down government finances.

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    President of the German Central Bank Jens Weidmann arrives for the annual press conference at the headquarters of the German Central Bank in Frankfurt, central Germany, Tuesday,

    Eurozone industrial production dips 0.4 pct

    Official figures show that industrial production across the 17 European Union countries that use the euro fell by 0.4 percent in January.

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    Oil up for 5th day as traders await U.S. supply data

    Oil prices rose for a fifth straight trading session Wednesday despite expectations a report on weekly U.S. crude stocks will show ample inventories. Benchmark oil for April delivery was up 31 cents to $92.85 per barrel at late afternoon Bangkok time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contact rose 48 cents to finish at $92.54 per barrel on the Nymex on Tuesday.

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    House to vote on bill preventing welfare waivers

    The House is taking up a politically charged bill that would block the Obama administration from waiving any work requirements in the 1996 welfare reform law. House Republicans are using the bill to renew a political fight that started during the presidential campaign. They say President Barack Obama is trying to gut work requirements in the law — a claim that is disputed by administration officials.

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    Rep. Ryan Wilcox, R-Ogden, raises his hand on the floor of the Utah House of Representatives Tuesday.

    Utah lawmakers keep ‘Zion curtains’ in place

    A measure that would have scaled back one of Utah's offbeat liquor laws died in the state Legislature on Tuesday. Lawmakers killed a proposal that would remove barriers in Utah restaurants that shield patrons from seeing servers mix and pour drinks. The Senate replaced the repeal with other minor liquor regulations in a preliminary vote of 24-2.

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    Documents filed Tuesday disclosed Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt will get the biggest award at $6 million to supplement his estimated fortune of $8 billion.

    Google paying bonuses totaling $15M to 4 top execs

    Google is paying nearly $15 million in bonuses to four of the Internet search company's top executives for their performances last year. Documents filed Tuesday disclosed Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt will get the biggest award at $6 million to supplement his estimated fortune of $8 billion. Schmidt served as Google Inc.'s CEO for a decade until he turned over the job to company co-founder Larry Page nearly two years ago. Most of Schmidt's wealth is tied up in Google's stock.

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    President Barack Obama acknowledges House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio while speaking to reporters in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, as he hosted a meeting of the bipartisan, bicameral leadership of Congress to discuss the deficit and economy.

    Analysis: ‘Grand bargain’ a tough sell in Congress

    For all the talk of a presidential "charm offensive" and possible thaw in partisanship, ample signs show that Congress is far from reaching a "grand bargain" to shrink the deficit. The Senate's top Republican, standing just outside the Capitol room where President Barack Obama was meeting with Democratic senators Tuesday, said he will push for trims to Medicare and Social Security without yielding another dollar in new tax revenues.

  •  
    Dell has rejected a request from a shareholder rights group seeking to review the internal information that led to a proposed $24.4 billion sale of the struggling personal computer maker.

    Dell rejects request for info leading to buyout

    Dell has rejected a request from a shareholder rights group seeking to review the internal information that led to a proposed $24.4 billion sale of the struggling personal computer maker.In a letter Tuesday, a Dell lawyer told the Shareholder Forum that it hadn't met the legal standard needed to gain access to confidential assessments that swayed the decision-making process of the company's board.

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    A Filipino girl watches at a makeshift water station in suburban Pasay, south of Manila, Philippines. Ninety-one percent of people living in Asia have improved access to clean water, a remarkable achievement over the last two decades in the world’s most populous region.

    In Asia, wealth buys access to clean water

    Ninety-one percent of people living in Asia have improved access to clean water, a remarkable achievement over the last two decades in the world's most populous region. But its richest countries and wealthiest citizens likely have better water supplies and governments better prepared for natural disasters. The assessments made by the Asian Development Bank in a study published Wednesday say countries in the region could be disproportionally affected by the potential impact of climate change if they did not rethink how they manage their water resources.

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    Riverwoods-based Discover Financial Services says it will begin offering home equity loans beginning in the second half of this year, the latest move by the company to push further into direct banking.

    Discover to begin offering home equity loans

    Riverwoods-based Discover Financial Services says it will begin offering home equity loans beginning in the second half of this year, the latest move by the company to push further into direct banking.Senior executives for the company laid out plans for the new home loan program Tuesday at an investor briefing.Discover plans to make fixed-rate home equity loans between $25,000 and $100,000 to homeowners, Carlos Minetti, executive vice president of consumer banking and operations at Discover, said at the briefing.

Life & Entertainment

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    16 Candles plays hits from the 1980s on Friday, March 15, at Durty Nellie's in Palatine.

    Weekend picks: Go retro with 16 Candles at Durty Nellie's

    Get ready to dance when 16 Candles brings the hits of the 1980s to Durty Nellie's in Palatine Friday. It's all pets all the time this weekend at The Chicagoland Family Pet Expo at Arlington Park. What better way to spend the Ides of March than seeing the Ides of March at Viper Alley in Lincolnshire Friday? Monster trucks intermingle with magic tricks this weekend at Lucas Oil Monster Truck Nationals' “Monsters and Magic Tour” at Sears Centre.

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    Beer-batter and a piquant mustard sauce makes these pan-fried oysters a hit for St. Patrick’s Day or any day that ends in ‘y.’

    Beer-battered oysters escape the deep-fryer

    In honor of St. Patrick's Day Sara Moulton packed four Irish ingredients into one tasty little appetizer — oysters, cabbage, Guinness stout and Colman's Mustard. What’s that? The skeptics among you are claiming that fully half of those ingredients — the oysters and Colman’s — are ringers? Not so.

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    A variety of well known Irish beers, including one dyed green, are available at Claddagh Irish Pub.

    Suburban Irish pubs cook up St. Patrick's Day plans

    Spring greenery may still be a ways off, but you can dispel those winter blues by donning some green of your own and celebrating St. Patrick's Day. You don't need Irish blood to drop by a suburban Irish pub this weekend for live music, dancing, traditional eats and plenty of green beer.

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    Actor and former Screen Actors Guild President Ed Asner has been hospitalized with exhaustion in Indiana.

    Actor Ed Asner treated for exhaustion in Ind.

    Ed Asner's publicist says the 83-year-old actor, who has been touring the country performing a one-man show for more than three years, has been hospitalized with exhaustion. Publicist Charles Sherman tells The Associated Press that Asner was taken off stage at the Marquette Pavilion in Gary, Ind., on Tuesday night.

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    “The Storyteller” by Jodi Picoult

    Picoult’s ‘Storyteller’ is structural failure

    In "The Storyteller," Jodi Picoult breaks her fairly routine formula to a degree, and fails, badly. The novel is about Sage Singer, a young woman from a Jewish background who becomes friends with Josef, an older German man in town. Soon, Josef asks Sage to help him die, a fate he says he deserves because he was a Nazi officer. Unfortunately there are too many coincidences and too many unnecessary twists that distract from the book.

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    Director Steven Spielberg waves to the media as he leaves Indian Industrialist Anil Ambani’s office in Mumbai, India.

    Steven Spielberg mingles with Bollywood stars in India

    Movie director Steven Spielberg says he chooses his work based on emotion, not business. The multiple Oscar-winning American director told Indian actor Amitabh Bachchan in a television interview aired Tuesday that he chooses to work only on films that call out to him.

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    Besides showbiz, Eva Longoria’s passions include philanthropy and politics. She’s committed to encouraging Latin women to further their education and start entrepreneur programs. She also has founded Eva’s Heroes, which is dedicated to children with special needs.

    Eva Longoria keeping busy post-‘Desperate Housewives’

    Eva Longoria hasn't slowed down since "Desperate Housewives" signed off after eight seasons last year. In fact, the actress says the word "lazy" isn't in her vocabulary. "There are days when I relax but it won't be a full day. It usually means I'm gonna clean out my closet. That's relaxing for me. Or I'm gonna cook a full meal for my family and friends," Longoria, who will be 38 on Friday, said in a recent interview.

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    Guinness stout and brewed coffee turn brownies into a gooey St. Patrick's Day treat.

    Stir it up: Get your Irish on with stout brownie

    It seems right, somehow, to celebrate the Americanized version of St. Patrick's Day with something actually Irish, so get your Guinness on. Feel free to drink it plain (as in "a pint of plain") or in combination with other alcohol. A Black and Tan is Guinness and a lager or ale; a Black Velvet is Guinness mixed with Champagne; a Black Fog is Guinness and raspberry liqueur; and a Hairball is Guinness, hard cider and Irish whiskey. Or, if the sharp, tangy brew is not your drink, you can cook with it.

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    Frugal living: Tips for freezing turkey, cereal

    Can you freeze cereal? Sara Noel answers that and other reader questions in her Frugal Living column.

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    Gnocchi is pronounced nyawk-kee. Say it like you have a stuffy nose.

    From the Food Editor: Going green isn’t just for the Irish

    Learn about food policy, urban farming, cheese making and more at the Good Food Festival March 14 to 16 in Chicago. Deborah Pankey also gives a pat on the back to culinary teams from Elgin High School and the Technology Center of DuPage for their winning performances at the Illinois Restaurant Association's student culinary and restaurant management competitions.

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    Peacock's Vegetarian Delight contains boldly flavored items that appeal to omnivores as well.

    Vibrant, value-priced Indian cuisine entices diners at Peacock in Vernon Hills

    Fans of Indian food would not go wrong by visiting, or revisiting, the venerable 22-year-old Peacock Indian Restaurant, which does a commendable job of executing its extensive menu. The restaurant's unobtrusive location in Vernon Hills is worth seeking out for its value-priced food that can transport diners with good imaginations to India. In addition to its vast luncheon buffet, Peacock offers a large a la carte menu at both lunch and dinner.

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    Guinness stout and brewed coffee turn brownies into a gooey St. Patrick’s Day treat.

    Guinness Molten Brownie
    Guinness Molten Brownie

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    Guinness-battered oyster get a quick dip in hot oil before being served with mustard sauce.

    ‘Fried’ Guinness Battered Oysters with Mustard Pickle Sauce
    'Fried' Guinness-Battered Oysters with Mustard Pickle Sauce

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    Good wine: Spanish wine washes away winter blues

    If your menus have the late winter doldrums, wine can give them a fun and easy pick-me-up — after all, wine didn't get to be one of the planet's longest-enjoyed beverages by being boring and difficult. A well-chosen wine, a few new ingredients and a name change will transform your everyday recipes into an international culinary adventure.

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