Daily Archive : Thursday July 18, 2013


    An example of a new Wheaton Warrenville Unit District 200 report card for first-grade math.

    District 200 unveils new elementary school report card

    Parents of elementary school students in Wheaton Warrenville District 200 will need to become acquainted with three new letters in the alphabet soup that has a report card. Beginning in August, the district’s 13 elementary schools will move to a standards-based grading system to evaluate students’ math skills.


    Waubonsee enrollment continuing to climb

    Waubonsee Community College is bucking the trend in enrollment, reporting an increase in students in three recent periods. Summer 2012 enrollment was 7,801, up 7.3 percent over summer 2011; fall 2012 was 12,380, up 2.6 percent; and spring 2013 was 12,266, up 3.7 percent.

    Independence Grove Forest Preserve near Libertyville remains closed due to a bomb threat. Authorities said the park will not reopen until an investigation is completed.

    After threat, Independence Grove to stay closed Friday

    Independence Grove Forest Preserve near Libertyville is expected to remain closed Friday as the investigation continues into a bomb threat that has shut down activities this week, authorities said. The U.S. Postal Investigation Service said no explosive device had been found as of Thursday afternoon, and no arrests have been made, but persons of interest have been interviewed.


    School-closing hearing enters 3rd day

    Chicago Public Schools lawyers will continue to call witnesses in the third day of a hearing to help a federal judge decide whether to halt the closure of about 50 public schools. Public schools attorneys will get into the heart of their presentation Thursday. They called their first witness Wednesday after plaintiffs finished their own presentation in U.S. District Court.

    Kathy Kelly of Hoffman Estates, left, gave Rosan Acosta the bike she bought a year ago but barely used. Acosta lost her bike to an arsonist this week.

    Homeless Arlington Hts. woman given new bike, other help

    Rosan Acosta is back on wheels, after a Hoffman Estates woman donated a virtually new bike she wasn't using, to the homeless Arlington Hts. woman who lost all her belongings in an arson fire this week. What's more, offers of help have been pouring in. “I'm a single mom and a lot of people have helped me over the years, so I wanted to do something,” Kathy Kelly said.

    In this image released by NBC, parents of Trayvon Martin, Sybrina Fulton, second left, and Tracy Martin, second right, appear on the “Today” show with Fulton’s other son, Jahvaris Fulton, left, and co-host Matt Lauer in New York.

    Trayvon Martin’s parents shocked by verdict

    Trayvon Martin’s parents made appearances on network morning shows Thursday, saying they are still shocked that jurors acquitted George Zimmerman in the 2012 shooting death of their 17-year-old son. On NBC’s “Today” show, Sybrina Fulton questioned whether jurors looked at the shooting from her son’s point of view.

    The Detroit skyline rises behind the Monument to Joe Louis, also known as “The Fist,” Thursday. State-appointed emergency manager Kevyn Orr asked a federal judge permission to place Detroit into Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection.

    Once-mighty Motor City files for bankruptcy

    Once the very symbol of American industrial might, Detroit became the biggest U.S. city to file for bankruptcy Thursday, its finances ravaged and its neighborhoods hollowed out by a long, slow decline in population and auto manufacturing.

    Former Grayslake police officer Conrad Gutraj hopes to have his pension's annual cost-of-living increase doubled thanks to a loophole in state law.

    Grayslake pension board takes fight to Supreme Court

    The Grayslake Police Pension Fund board will take its fight to keep a former police officer from receiving two annual cost-of-living increases allowed under a pension law loophole to the Illinois Supreme Court. The former officer, Conrad Gutraj, stands to make $500,000 more from his pension over 20 years if the ruling is upheld.

    The sun has been beating down on most of the suburbs all day, perhaps interrupted by a thunderstorm that offered only temporary relief.

    Storms fade away, but bring a little relief

    Storms brought a little relief Thursday for the steamy Chicago area, but a heat advisory remains in effect through Friday evening before cooler weather arrives for the weekend. Earlier Thursday afternoon a line of storms swept through Kane and DuPage counties. A severe thunderstorm hit Sugar Grove at 3:39 p.m. with wind gusts of 69 mph. The storm moved east over Aurora, North Aurora and Batavia,...

    In this image from video made available by NASA, Italian astronaut Luca Parmitano, right, describes the water in his helmet during Tuesday’s spacewalk. He could not hear or speak by the time he re-entered the space station because of the big globs of water in his helmet and elsewhere in his suit.

    Astronaut with flooded helmet felt like goldfish

    Two days after his helmet flooded during a spacewalk, astronaut Luca Parmitano relived the experience Thursday, describing how water kept trickling into his helmet until big globs covered his eyes, then his nose. It was hard to see, he said, and he could not hear.

    David Hatyina

    No change in sentence for Bartlett man in fatal Chain O' Lakes boating crash

    A judge has denied the request of a Bartlett man to reduce the 10-year prison sentence he received for killing a Libertyville boy in a drug- and alcohol-related boating crash on the Chain O' Lakes. Kane County Judge Clint Hull refused to reconsider the sentence given to David Hatyina, 51, in June.

    Brad O’Halloran

    Metra to call special session

    You know things are bad when the Metra meets - in July. Traditionally, the agency's board of directors takes a summer siesta between June and August but the implosion over ex-CEO Alex Clifford's contract means drastic measures.

    President Barack Obama walks off the stage to greet people in the audience after speaking about the Affordable Care Act during an event at the White House on Thursday. Obama argued his Affordable Care Act is holding insurance companies accountable and putting money back into the pockets of consumers.

    Obama extols health care law amid public doubts

    Facing public doubts and embarrassing setbacks to his signature health care law, President Barack Obama stepped forward Thursday to extol the program’s benefits, emphasizing that some Americans already are receiving insurance rebates and lower premiums.

    One of the first “diverging diamond” interchanges in the state will be built at Route 59 and I-88 in Naperville as part of a two-year nearly $90 million project to reconstruct a 3.5-mile stretch of the road between Ferry Road on the north and Aurora Avenue/New York Street on the south.

    ‘Diverging diamond’ coming to Route 59 and I-88

    Three lanes of traffic in both directions and one of the first “diverging diamond” interchanges in the state are coming to a 3.5-mile stretch of Route 59 in Naperville beginning this fall. “The final product is going to make a huge impact on our north/south movement,” Naperville spokeswoman Linda LaCloche said.

    A four-story parking garage will be built at Harper College in Palatine.

    Harper to break ground on four-story parking garage

    Parking — specifically the lack of convenient spaces — has been a long-standing grievance of many Harper College students, so one of the many construction projects on the Palatine community college’s horizon will address just that. Trustees this week approved construction contracts to build a $14 million parking garage on the east side of campus.


    Elgin OKs contracts with firefighters, clerical workers

    The city of Elgin recently finalized two union contracts with its employees, one of them in arbitration, but will be starting the process all over again in the fall. The city’s contract with Elgin International Association of Firefighters Union Local 439 was settled in early July by an arbitrator, Elgin Fire Lt. Vince Rychtanek said. The city council approved last week a new, five-year contract...


    Fox Valley police reports
    Christopher Mcgaha, 21, of Round Lake Beach, was arrested at about 2:30 a.m. Wednesday in the 1200 block of Kingman Court, Elgin, and charged with theft, burglary and possession of a controlled substance, according to a police report. Police were called about a vehicle being burglarized, and found Mcgaha in a nearby garage.

    This is one of two Dodge Ram compressed natural gas trucks, which the Algonquin Public Works Department uses for hauling and transportation. Both trucks, bought in February, have saved 456 gallons of gas, officials said. They replaced two 2001 Ford pickup trucks that ran on diesel fuel.

    Algonquin saving fuel, money with natural gas trucks

    Algonquin’s two trucks running on compressed natural gas have saved the village 456 gallons of gas since they joined the village’s fleet earlier this year, officials said. The village purchased the trucks in February, replacing two pickup trucks that ran on diesel fuel.


    Civil War attire on display:

    The Lakes Region Historical Society will present an exhibition of Ladies Attire of the Civil War from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, July 20 and 27 at the Meeting House, 977 Main St., Antioch.

    The Charlestowne Mall in St. Charles is up for sale and in a potential state of transition. City officials, however, don’t believe they need an economic development director to see the city through that process.

    St. Charles in no rush to find economic development ‘rainmaker’

    The man in charge of economic development in St. Charles will retire at the end of this month, and Mayor Ray Rogina is in no rush to fill the vacancy. He believes the city already has a team in place that can handle anyone wanting to do business with the city.


    Route 45 resurfacing:

    Motorists should expect delays as resurfacing on Route 45 (Olde Half Day Road) from Route 83 to Route 21 in Mundelein, Lincolnshire, Vernon Hills and Indian Creek gets under way.


    Route 120 resurfacing in Grayslake:

    Weather permitting, a resurfacing project on Route 120 from Seymour Avenue to east of Ivanhoe Road in Grayslake will begin Monday, July 22.

    Edwin Hernandez

    Gang member resentenced for fatal Mundelein attack

    A Mundelein man initially sentenced to 80 years behind bars for firebombing a home that killed a 12-year-old boy in 2009 was resentenced to 59 years in prison Thursday. A state appellate court found Edwin Hernandez could only serve a maximum 60 years in prison for murder, and not the extended 80 years to life that he was given previously.


    Miller Road to close for 90 days:

    Miller Road will be closed to through traffic from Route 59 to Route 12 in North Barrington beginning at 6 a.m. Monday, July 22, for 90 calendar days.

    Bernard “Barney” Medina, far left, is pictured here with the first fire truck of the Pingree Grove & Countryside Fire Protection District, which he helped found as an all-volunteer operation with his brother-in-law John J. Schmitz in 1947.

    Pingree Grove fire dept. founders both die at 91

    Two brothers-in-law who were instrumental in the founding of the Pingree Grove & Countryside Fire Protection District died recently, both at the age of 91. John J. Schmitz and Bernard “Barney” Medina served in World War II, and started the fire protection district as an all-volunteer operation in 1947.

    Emily Thompson, 12, of St. Charles, and the 4-H Primrose Clovers gives Clover a soothing scratch on her neck as they wait to show Thursday in the Jersey Junior Yearling Class Champion event at the Kane County Fair. It was Thompson’s second year showing for 4-H group, which is based at Primrose Farm Park in St. Charles.

    The heat is on at Kane County Fair

    Day 2 of the Kane County Fair brought 90-degree temperatures and high humidity. More of the same is expected Friday, along with more animal judging and bull riding at night.


    Tri-Cities police reports
    Someone stole $750 worth of items from Royal Tool and Machine, 1209 Paramount Parkway, it was reported to Batavia police at 6:46 p.m. Wednesday. The report log did not specify what was stolen.

    Christina Janeway of D&J Amusements sets up the Mini-Basketball game Thursday in preparation for Des Plaines Summer Fling in downtown Des Plaines. The three-day festival kicks off Friday.

    Des Plaines ready for its Summer Fling

    Final preparations for this year’s Des Plaines Summer Fling took place Thursday as the three-day festival highlighted by live music, food, arts and crafts and carnival rides and games gets under way Friday. The fest takes place on Ellinwood Street between River Road and Lee Street in the city’s downtown. Hours are 6 to 11 p.m. Friday; 3 to 11 p.m. Saturday; and 3 to 10 p.m. Sunday.

    Landon Brittain

    DuPage charges man in Woodridge carjacking

    A DuPage County judge set bail Thursday at $1 million for a former nuclear power plant worker who authorities say fled to Venezuela after he and a colleague carjacked a woman in Woodridge. Landon Brittain, 31, formerly of Joliet, faces charges of aggravated vehicular hijacking, vehicular hijacking and obstructing justice. His co-defendant, Michael Buhrman, went missing in September but was...


    Torah Academy eyes move to Duman JCC

    The Torah Academy in Buffalo Grove is looking to move to the Jacob Duman JCC, at Woodland Commons.

    Anthony Cechini

    Fox Lake man told to stop contacting victim’s family

    A Fox Lake man was warned by a Lake County judge to stop trying to contact family members of a crash victim or he would wind up back behind bars. Anthony Cechini, 24, was told by Judge Daniel Shanes his $250,000 bail would be forfeited if he continues to send Facebook friend requests to the family members of David Letchinger, who died in a crash Cechini is accused of causing last year in Fox Lake.


    Rivers Casino donation buys SMART Boards for Des Plaines school

    Rivers Casino in Des Plaines recently donated $20,000 to Our Lady of Destiny Catholic School in Des Plaines, which was used to purchase seven SMART Boards and equipment necessary to operate them for second through seventh-grade classrooms.

    Charles Fleming

    Man guilty of 2011 Elgin pizza parlor holdup faces life term

    A 47-year-old Chicago man was convicted this week of armed robbery, aggravated kidnapping and armed violence for a holdup of a Little Ceasar's in Elgin in October 2011. Charles Fleming, formerly of Elgin, faces mandatory life in prison when sentenced Sept. 25 because this conviction marks his third Class X felony offense.

    Jose Azevedo, with Osman Construction Corporation, wipes his face Tuesday after building a short cement wall at a construction site for a PNC Bank Green Branch on Arlington Heights Road near Rand Road in Arlington Heights.

    How hot is it? It’s so hot out that ...

    It's too hot to do anything fun outside, so let's have a contest that will keep you inside. We want suburban residents to finish the phrase, “It’s so hot out that ...” The winner receives a $50 gift certificate to Sweet Baby Ray's in Elk Grove.


    Elgin man, Buffalo Grove woman killed in motorcycle crash

    A 32-year-old Elgin man and a 23-year-old woman from Buffalo Grove, riding together on a motorcycle, were killed Monday when the bike slammed into the back of a semitrailer truck on Interstate 80 near Southwest suburban Mokena, an Illinois State Police official said Thursday. Todd William Tracy-Zarebski, of Elgin, and Eve Kolgovaite, of Buffalo Grove, were pronounced dead at the scene by...

    Warrenville police officer Teresa McBride, right, and Mayor David Brummel meet Wednesday to mark the start of the city's fledgling police bike patrol program. McBride will spend several hours a week patrolling parks, paths and other hard-to-reach places in Warrenville.

    Police bike patrols return to Warrenville

    Warrenville is putting police officers back on bicycles for the first time in nearly a decade with the goal of increasing visibility and improving connections with the community.The city launched the fledgling program Wednesday afternoon when officer Teresa McBride, who has significant experience with such patrols, took her inaugural ride with Mayor David Brummel near city hall.


    Buffalo Grove woman faces child endangerment charge

    A Buffalo Grove woman has been charged with endangering the health of a 4-year-old child after leaving him unaccompanied in a car for 30 minutes while she shopped, police said. Zhao Yan, 41, of the 700 block of Weidner Road, was arrested about 2:30 p.m. July 14 in a store lot in the 900 block of North Elmhurst Road, Mount Prospect. The temperature at the time was 85 degrees, according to police...

    First lady Michelle Obama is in her hometown of Chicago to visit an education and employment program for underserved students. Obama and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel are expected to stop at Urban Alliance Chicago on Thursday.

    First lady highlights visit Chicago job program

    First lady Michelle Obama is telling high school graduates in her hometown of Chicago about her experiences growing up on the city's South Side to boost a career training program run by Mayor Rahm Emanuel's wife. Obama spoke Thursday to dozens of teens with Urban Alliance. It's a nonprofit group that helps students from disadvantaged backgrounds with vocational training.

    In this Tuesday, June 12, 2012 photo Stephen Rakes receives a handshake outside federal court in Boston.

    Potential Bulger witness found dead

    A man who was on the witness list for the racketeering trial of reputed mobster James “Whitey” Bulger and had been a vocal critic of the reputed gangster was found dead, authorities said Thursday. The body of Stephen Rakes was found Wednesday afternoon in Lincoln, Mass., with no obvious signs of trauma, the Middlesex District Attorney's Office said.


    State to spend $50.2 million for Route 59 work in Naperville

    The state will provide more than $50.2 million for a two-phase construction project along Route 59 in Naperville, the governor’s office announced Thursday.


    Dragon Boat fest returns to Lake Arlington

    The Walgreens Chicago International Dragon Boat Festival returns to Lake Arlington in Arlington Heights on Saturday, July 27. The event is a high-spirited celebration of culture, sport and community that features the ancient Chinese sport that has been gaining popularity in North America over the past 20 years and has become the world’s fastest growing water sport.

    Gianna Greco, left, and Olivia Messerges, both 10-year-olds from Hoffman Estates, have spent time this summer creating blank cards as part of Operation Write Home. The cards are sent to military personnel overseas, who then can use them to write to their families back home.

    Hoffman Estates girls create cards for military personnel

    While many kids their age are keeping busy this summer with sport camps, trips to the pool and sleepovers, two 10-year-old classmates from Hoffman Estates are spending multiple hours each week giving to others. Gianna Greco and Olivia Messerges are busy contributing blank, handmade cards to Operation Write Home, a national effort that sends the cards to military personnel who then use them to...

    Unidentified guests and hospital workers prepare to cut a large birthday cake for Nelson Mandela inside the gates of the Mediclinic Heart Hospital where former South African President Nelson Mandela is being treated. South Africa celebrated Nelson Mandela’s 95th birthday on Thursday, a milestone capped by news that the former president’s health was improving after fears that he was close to death during ongoing hospital treatment.

    Mandela ‘steadily improving’ on 95th birthday

    South Africa celebrated Nelson Mandela’s 95th birthday with acts of charity on Thursday, a milestone capped by news that the former president’s health was improving after fears that he was close to death during ongoing hospital treatment. “He continues to respond positively to treatment and we are encouraged by the progress he is making,” President Jacob Zuma said.

    This photo made from a surveillance camera on May 12, 2013, shows a person resembling Dr. Anthony Garcia making a purchase at a Casey’s General Store in Council Bluffs, Iowa, which is just east of Omaha. Garcia has been arrested on suspicion of killing four people in Omaha, Neb., with ties to the Creighton medical school in two separate attacks five years apart.

    Police trace gun to doctor accused in Neb. deaths

    Police say an Indiana doctor accused in the killing of four people in Omaha stabbed each of his victims in the right side of the neck, according to a court documents unsealed Thursday. The affidavit also says parts of a handgun found at the scene of two of the slayings match the model of weapon that Dr. Anthony Garcia bought just two months before those deaths.

    Smoke pours into the sky from the Mountain Fire near Idyllwild, Calif., Wednesday, July 17, 2013. Large parts of the Southern California communities of Idyllwild and Fern Valley were under evacuation orders.

    6,000 still evacuated as S. Cal wildfire surges

    A Southern California wildfire that forced 6,000 people to flee was more than 35 square miles in size Thursday as fingers of flame swept along mountain ridges above Palm Springs, authorities said. The fire, which has destroyed at least six houses and mobile homes, gained thousands of acres and was only 15 percent contained Thursday morning, U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman Norma Bailey said.

    Beverly Hills police officers follow protesters during a demonstration in reaction to the acquittal of neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman on Wednesday, July 17, 2013, in Beverly Hills, Calif.

    Zimmerman protest leads to 17 arrests in Calif.

    Protests over George Zimmerman’s acquittal have led to 17 arrests in Southern California and criminal charges against three people in Oakland.

    Army Pfc. Bradley Manning, right, is escorted into a courthouse at Fort Meade, Md., Thursday, July 18, 2013, before a court martial hearing. A military judge refused Thursday to dismiss the most serious charge against Manning, the Army private who gave reams of classified information to the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks.

    Judge won’t dismiss serious charge in Manning case

    A military judge refused Thursday to dismiss the most serious charge against Bradley Manning, the Army private who gave reams of classified information to the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks. The charge of aiding the enemy that Manning faces is punishable by up to life in prison without parole.

    Abortion rights advocates march down Congress Ave. to protest recent legislation that could shut down all but five abortion clinics and restrict abortion rights throughout the state in Austin, Texas on Monday, July 15, 2013.

    Gov. Perry signs sweeping abortion restrictions

    Texas Gov. Rick Perry signed sweeping new abortion restrictions on Thursday that could shutter most of the clinics in the state. More than 100 Republican lawmakers attended the signing ceremony with a small band of protesters outside dressed in black and holding a sign that read, “Shame.” The legislation had sparked weeks of protests at the state Capitol.

    Heroin overdose deaths are happening at a record pace in DuPage County this year, averaging nearly one heroin overdose death per day this month, the coroner said.

    Coroner: DuPage seeing heroin deaths at record pace

    DuPage County is averaging nearly one heroin overdose death per day this month, putting it on pace for a record-setting number of heroin deaths this year, Coroner Richard Jorgensen said Wednesday.


    Balancing all our ‘wants’ can be a tricky thing

    Our Ken Potts says balancing all our "wants" can be a tricky -- and sometimes nearly impossible -- thing.


    Ticks can lead to dangerous Bobcat disease in cats

    The Buddy Foundation does not just advocate an “inside only” policy for its felines, but rather makes it a requirement. Mostly for the newest fatal Bobcat disease, which is caused by ticks.

    Firefighters battle an early morning blaze Monday, July 15, 2013, that destroyed at least five buildings in the small Whiteside County community of Prophetstown. The blaze began in a downtown restaurant around 2 a.m. and spread to at least five nearby buildings.

    Boys charged with felonies after Prophetstown fire

    Two boys are facing a series of felony charges after authorities say they set a fire that destroyed a swath of historic downtown Prophetstown.The 12- and 16-year-old brothers are charged with arson and criminal damage in Whiteside County juvenile court. Monday’s fire destroyed eight buildings and damaged two others in the small northwestern Illinois community. The two are visiting their father...

    The view of downtown North Aurora from across the Fox River is blocked by trees and underbrush, diminishing its appeal.

    N. Aurora knows Fox River’s endless possibilities

    North Aurora officials, like those in towns to the north and south, dream of leveraging their proximity to the Fox River to improve the town's economy and society. Once upon a time, North Aurora had a $25.25 million dream for its downtown and riverfront. But work is limited by geography, vegetation and money.


    Can Barrington, fire district create an automatic-aid agreement?

    The village of Barrington and Barrington Countryside Fire Protection District are breaking up, but can they still be friends? Village officials are proposing an automatic-aid agreement with the fire district, which will begin running its own independent fire department Jan. 1 for its 48-square-mile jurisdiction.


    ‘Sound of Music’ hits all the high notes at Paramount

    One of the most popular, endearing musicals in the world, “The Sound of Music," hits the stage for four shows Friday through Sunday, as the Fox Valley Park District’s Summer Stage program showcases a cast of 115 performers from age 6 to adult at the Paramount Theatre, Aurora.

    As Britain’s Prince William and his wife, Kate, await the birth of their first child — and the next heir to the English throne — some are convinced the royal due date has already passed, even though the Palace has not given an exact date.

    Where’s that royal baby? Is Kate overdue?

    By the time you’re reading this, the Duchess of Cambridge could be in labor. Or it could be a matter of hours. Or days. Or weeks. As Britain’s Prince William and his wife, Kate, await the birth of their first child — and the future heir to the English throne — some are convinced the royal due date has already passed, even though Buckingham Palace has not given an exact date.

    Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, embraces his wife Yulia at a court in Kirov, Russia Thursday, July 18, 2013. Alexei Navalny, one of the Russian opposition’s leading figures, was convicted of embezzlement Thursday and sentenced to five years in prison.

    Russian opposition leader sentenced to 5 years

    Alexei Navalny, one of the Russian opposition’s leading figures, was convicted of embezzlement Thursday and sentenced to five years in prison. Navalny and his supporters claimed the case was politically driven to try to shut down the vehement Kremlin critic and intimidate his supporters.

    An Indian woman sits beside a child who fell sick after eating a free school lunch, at a hospital in Patna, India, Thursday, July 18, 2013. Indian officials say at least 23 children have died after eating a free school lunch that was tainted with insecticide. India’s midday meal scheme is one of the world’s biggest school nutrition programs, covering some 120 million schoolchildren.

    Cooks recount horror of Indian school lunch deaths

    Soon after they served the daily free lunch they had prepared for dozens of children at a rural Indian school, the two cooks realized something was very wrong. The students started fainting. Within hours, they began dying. By Thursday afternoon, 23 children between the ages of 5 and 12 had died from eating food laced with insecticide and many others had fallen ill.


    Naperville approves Smart 911 contract

    Naperville will begin a five-yea,r $155,000 contract with Rave Wireless, Inc. to provide Smart 911 technology, which allows residents to enter medical information in a database so first responders can access it if an emergency occurs.

    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry visits the Zaatari refugee camp in Mafraq, Jordan, Thursday, July 18, 2013. Angry Syrian refugees urged Kerry on Thursday to do more to help opponents of President Bashar Assad’s government, venting frustration at perceived inaction on their behalf.

    Syrian refugees urge Kerry, U.S. to take action

    Angry Syrian refugees urged U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Thursday to do more to help opponents of President Bashar Assad’s government, venting frustration at perceived inaction on their behalf.


    Railroad crossing work in West Chicago

    West Chicago’s Washington Street crossing will be closed from Friday, July 26, through Aug. 5 as crews from the Canadian National Railway perform scheduled maintenance at the site, city officials said.

    New Glen Ellyn Elementary District 41 Superintendent Paul Gordon says his primary educational mission is to prepare students as 21st-century learners.

    Quick learning curve for new District 41 superintendent

    School doesn't start until Aug. 26 for students in Glen Ellyn Elementary District 41, but the learning process has already begun for the district's new superintendent, who says he's been doing a lot of listening since arriving in town to bring himself up to speed on issues. Paul Gordon took over day-to-day operations of District 41 on July 1 following the retirement of Ann Riebock.


    Waubonsee full-time faculty get raises in new contract

    Waubonsee Community College full-time faculty will receive pay raises of 4 percent in the first year of a new contract approved Wednesday. But they will start paying part of their individual health-insurance premium.

    Independence Grove Forest Preserve near Libertyville remained closed yesterday due to a bomb scare Tuesday. Rangers said the park will not reopen until a complete investigation of the threat is completed.

    Dawn Patrol: Independence Grove still closed; new Cook County gun laws

    Bomb threat keeps Libertyville forest preserve closed; Cook County bans guns sales to people under 21; Tom Cross won't run for Illinois attorney general; fire strips Arlington Heights homeless woman of last remaining belongings; the Kane County Fair continues.


    Missing toddler found dead in Wisconsin

    BALSAM LAKE, Wis. — The search for a missing western Wisconsin toddler is over. Polk County sheriff’s officials say 2-year-old Isaiah Theis was found dead by a law enforcement officer just after 10 p.m. Wednesday. No further details were released by the sheriff’s department.

    Schaumburg Interim Police Chief Ken Bouche said no big budget cuts and therefore no cuts in staff are expected as a result of his firm's recommendations for the police department.

    Interim chief: No Schaumburg police jobs at risk

    The implementation of a consultant's 55 recommendations for the Schaumburg Police Department should take some time but will not require significant budgetary changes or further personnel changes within the department, officials say. “There's no one whose head is on the chopping block at this moment,” said Interim Police Chief Ken Bouche, who's also COO at the consulting firm that...

    Often dismissed in this country as a lesser musical instrument, the accordion played by Stas Venglevski of Milwaukee is a very complex reed instrument used in a variety of genres around the globe.

    Not the same old song and dance on these accordions

    Even when the headliner is the 2010 winner of "Lithuania's Got Talent," this week's 73rd Annual Accordion Competition and Festival in Lisle must work to make people take the accordion seriously. “I don’t care if you played standing on your head like Mozart. There’s just too much musical bigotry against the instrument,” says Joseph Natoli, the contemporary avant-garde composer from Ohio whose...

    Matt Tretter of Glen Ellyn with a plaster mold of his late daughter’s hand, part of a program at Chicago Comer Children’s Hospital. This will be the final year Tretter will hold his Caitlin’s Cause fundraising event.

    Glen Ellyn dad plans one more fundraiser

    For the 10th and final year, Matt Tretter will hold a fundraising event in memory of his late daughter, Caitlin, who died in 1999. Proceeds will go to the University of Chicago Medicine Comer's Children's Hospital.


    Elena Delle Donne has provided the spark for the Sky all season and fans voted for her more than any other WNBA player during the all-star balloting process.

    Delle Donne sets all-star vote record

    Elena Delle Donne and Epiphanny Prince of the Sky were both voted all-star starters. But voters paid particular attention to Delle Donne. She's done nothing but impress over the first few months of her professional career, and WNBA fans have noticed. They voted for her more than any other player, and on Thursday the league announced that with 35,646 votes Delle Donne will lead the Eastern Conference squad.


    Abbott, Bandits win 1-0

    The Chicago Bandits improved their record to 18-6 with a 1-0 victory over the visiting Akron Racers (10-15).Monica Abbott (10-1) and Rachel Fico (2-3) faced off in the circle, both pitching complete games. Abbott led the way with 8 strikeouts to extend the Bandits’ first-place lead to 1½ games over the USSSA Pride.The Racers started the game with a single by Taylor Schlopy, but she was left stranded as the Bandits ended the inning with a putout by shortstop Tammy Williams to Alisa Goler.The Bandits put together 3 hits in the second, led off by Alisa Goler and Tammy Williams back-to-back singles. Amber Patton’s bunt advanced the runners, and Vicky Galindo picked up her 10th RBI after beating out the throw at first and scoring the Bandits’ run.


    Searing performance powers Barrington

    It was difficult to determine which was hotter; the bats for the Barrington Legion team or the weather. The bats made a strong case as Barrington pounded of 16 hits to melt host Lake Zurich 18-2 in 5 innings in the title game of the Lake County American Legion tournament.

    St. Charles East’s Mike Boehmer held Geneva to one run in five innings to earn the win Thursday.

    St. Charles East makes history with state double

    Thanks to a couple long lightning delays, it took over three hours for St. Charles East and Geneva to finish its regional championship game Thursday in St. Charles. It took much less time for lightning to strike twice for the Saints. The Saints scored once in the second and four times in both the third and fourth innings, punching their ticket to the Phil Lawler summer state tournament with a convincing 9-1 win over the Vikings.


    Manski’s the man as Libertyville tops Carmel

    Libertyville star Evan Skoug joked that even he didn’t know who Ben Manski was before catching the incoming junior lefty for the first time in Thursday’s regional final against Carmel Catholic. Skoug knows now. Perhaps so does Jim Hendry, as well. The former Cubs general manager was a spectator during host Libertyville’s 5-2 win that earned the defending Class 4A state runner-up Wildcats a berth in the Elite Eight of the Phil Lawler summer state tournament.


    Loons edge Cougars 3-2

    Kane Count Cougars game report:


    Arlington Oaks too close to call

    With six of the seven sophomore fillies entered in Saturday’s Grade III Arlington Oaks listed owning morning-line odds of 6-1 or less, it’s safe to say the $150,000 race over 9 furlongs figures to be a contentious affair.

    cubscards_1sp062302chiJS Photo146391 Starks Cook dit 02-617 A St. Louis Cardinals fan takes a picture of the Wrigley Field marquee Sunday night before the game against the Chicago Cubs. St. Louis pitcher Darryl Kile died in his sleep Friday in a Chicago hotel room. He was to start Sunday night's game. The cubs honnored him by displaying his name and number on the marquee all day Sunday.

    Wrigley renovation plan clears another hurdle

    The Cubs’ planned $500 million renovation of Wrigley Field has won the approval of another city commission and the support of the local alderman — all but assuring that the project will go forward.

    White Sox right fielder Alex Rios is a prime candidate to be gone before the July 31 trade deadline.

    It figures to be trading times for White Sox

    The White Sox open the second half of the season against the Braves at U.S. Cellular Field. As the Sox try climbing out of last place in the AL Central, general manager Rick Hahn figures to make even more trades in advance of the July 31 nonwaiver deadline.

    Cubs manager Dale Sveum thinks Cubs core players Anthony Rizzo, left, and Starlin Castro “are ready to really produce in the second half.”

    Sveum takes optimistic view of Cubs’ second half

    The Cubs begin the unofficial second half of the season this weekend in Colorado. Manager Dale Sveum says he sees several reasons for optimism, including the starting rotation and improved play by Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo.


    Cubs moves: Lake called up; Bogusevic to DL

    The Cubs are expected to call up infielder-outfielder Junior Lake in time for Friday's series opener at Colorado. They're also expected to place outfielder Brian Bogusevic on the disabled list after Bogusevic reinjured his hamstring over the weekend.


    Cowboys DT Brent retires, charged in fatal crash

    Dallas Cowboys defensive tackle Josh Brent retired from football at the age of 25 on Thursday, saying “doing the right things in life” is more important as he prepares to defend himself against a manslaughter charge in the drunken-driving crash that killed a teammate.

    Dutch cycling fans cheers as Sep Vanmarcke of Belgium passes curve number 7, also known as the Dutch curve during the eighteenth stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 172.5 kilometers (107.8 miles) with start in Gap and finish in Alpe-d'Huez, France, Thursday July 18, 2013. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

    Finally, France tastes victory at its 100th Tour

    After five grueling hours of riding, as he strained and sweated to victory in an eye-popping Tour de France stage with crowds that turned cycling’s most famous climb into a huge and raucous high-mountain party, Christophe Riblon didn’t want it to stop. Winning a Tour stage is always special.Becoming the first French stage winner at the 100th Tour was doubly special.


    With win, Sky now in first place

    The culture is changing around the Chicago Sky and rookie Elena Delle Donne is a big reason why.Delle Donne scored 23 points and the Sky routed the New York Liberty 75-55 in a matinee game on Thursday. She’s leading the team in scoring, averaging 19 points, and has helped Chicago take over sole possession of first place in the Eastern Conference.

    Zach Johnson plays a shot off the 6th tee Thursday during the first round of the British Open at Muirfield, Scotland.

    Zach Johnson handles the brown links of Muirfield

    A blue sky and a gentle breeze usually means ripe scoring conditions at the British Open. Just not on the brown links of Muirfield. Zach Johnson handled it better than anyone Thursday. Helped along by a 45-foot eagle putt and only one bogey despite trouble lurking around every pot bunker, Johnson had a 5-under 66 for a one-shot lead, the first time he's been atop the leaderboard at any major since he rallied to win the Masters six years ago.


    Mike North video: LeBron James to the Lakers?

    LeBron James to the Lakers? ESPN bloggers are claiming LeBron James and Carmello Anthony will be sought by the LA Lakers. Well if they can claim that, then Mike North says the Chicago Bulls are going after both players too. North asks can this claim be considered tampering? For more, see www.northtonorth.com. Listen to Mike on Foxsportsradio.com, XM channel 169, or your iHeart application Sat 6 p.m.-9 p.m. and Sun 9 p.m. to midnight. Look for Mike on WIND on Tuesday at 7:45 a.m. and on Fridays at 5:50 p.m. Listen to Mike's podcasts at foxsportsradio.com/podcast/mikenorth.xml


    ESPY Awards list

    LOS ANGELES — Winners at the 21st annual ESPY Awards presented Wednesday:Male Athlete: LeBron James, Miami HeatFemale Athlete: Serena WilliamsTeam: Miami HeatCoach-Manager: Rick Pitino, Louisville CardinalsBreakthrough Athlete: Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco 49ersGame: Miami Heat vs. San Antonio Spurs, Game 6, NBA finalsRecord-breaking Performance: Michael PhelpsChampionship Performance: LeBron James, Miami HeatPlay: Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina footballMoment: Jack Hoffman touchdown at Nebraska spring gameUpset: No. 15 seed Florida Gulf Coast beats No. 2 seed Georgetown in NCAA tournament Comeback: Adrian Peterson, Minnesota VikingsMale College Athlete: Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M quarterbackFemale College Athlete: Brittney Griner, Baylor basketballMale Action Sport Athlete: Nyjah Huston, skateboardingFemale Action Sport Athlete: Stephanie Gilmore, surfingBaseball Player: Miguel Cabrera, Detroit TigersNBA Player: LeBron James, Miami HeatWNBA Player: Candace Parker, Los Angeles Sparks NFL Player: Adrian Peterson, Minnesota VikingsNHL Player: Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh PenguinsMLS Player: Thierry Henry, New York Red BullsBowler: Pete WeberDriver: Ryan Hunter-ReayFighter: Floyd MayweatherMale Golfer: Tiger WoodsFemale Golfer: Stacey LewisJockey: Joel RosarioMale Tennis Player: Novak DjokovicFemale Tennis Player: Serena WilliamsInternational athlete: Usain BoltMale Olympian: Michael PhelpsFemale Olympian: Missy FranklinMale Athlete with a Disability: Jeremy Campbell, pentathlonFemale Athlete with a Disability: Jessica Long, swimmingCollege Athletic Program: North Carolina women’s athletics and UCLA men’s athleticsArthur Ashe Courage Award: Robin RobertsJimmy V ESPY for Perserverance: Dick and Rick Hoyt


    Job seekers did not have a good month in June, as Illionis’ unemployment figures inched upward.

    Illinois unemployment up slightly in June

    The unemployment rate in Illinois increased slightly in June while manufacturers and local governments cut more jobs than they added. The Illinois Department of Employment Security said Thursday that unemployment increased to 9.2 percent last month.

    U.S. stocks rose, sending benchmark indexes to records, as earnings from Morgan Stanley and UnitedHealth Group Inc. beat estimates and jobless claims fell amid testimony from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke.

    Earnings gains drive stocks higher on Wall Street

    Earnings gains at major U.S. companies and encouraging economic news pushed U.S. stocks to record levels Thursday. A drop in claims for unemployment benefits signaled a healthier economy and encouraged investors to buy stocks.

    Internal Revenue Service acting head Daniel Werfel testifies before the House Small Business Committee regarding the IRS’ targeting of conservative political groups on Capitol Hill Wednesday>

    IRS watchdog ‘disturbed’ agency withheld documents

    The investigator who wrote a scathing report about the Internal Revenue Service targeting tea party groups says he is “disturbed” the agency withheld newly-released documents showing progressive groups may also have been singled out for additional scrutiny.


    Library may survey Carol Stream residents on land sale

    Before the Carol Stream Library board decides whether to proceed with the sale of its Kuhn Road property, officials say they'll seek public input. The board is planning a variety of ways to gauge the public pulse, including holding a town-hall meeting, posting a survey on the library website, and perhaps sending a direct mail survey to homes.

    The Koch Nitrogen Company in Enid, Okla., plans to add a new fertilizer production plant at this facility, part of a wave of new fertilizer plant construction and expansion being proposed across the United States.

    Fertilizer industry grows despite safety concerns

    New of expanded fertilizer plants are being proposed across the nation, driven by booming demand for corn and newly abundant supplies of natural gas, a major component in fertilizer production. The plants promise thousands of jobs, and most of them would go in small, rural towns where economic development isn’t easy.

    Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke testifies before the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee on Capitol Hill Thursday.

    Bernanke: Congress could do more to help economy

    During his second appearance before lawmakers this week,Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said Thursday that Congress could do more to help the U.S. economy this year but instead has focused on reducing the federal deficit.


    Dover Corp in Downer's Grove reports 9 percent 2Q revenue increase

    Dover Corp. in Downers Grove reported revenue for the second quarter of 2013 of $2.2 billion, a 9 percent increase over the same period last year. The revenue increase was driven by organic growth of 5 percent, an increase of 4 percent from acquisitions, and a minor impact from foreign exchange, the diversified global manufacturer said in a release.


    United Way of Central Kane County appoints board members

    The United Way of Central Kane County appointed two new board members and elected new leadership during its annual board of director’s meeting. Scott Wood was re-elected as board president as well as Ed Brooks, vice president of campaign. Tom Shaw was elected as secretary and Mark Mooney as vice president of finance.


    Oak Brook’s Krusinski Construction begins Medefil Inc.

    Oak Brook’s Krusinski Construction Company began construction for Medefil Inc.’s new manufacturing facility in Glendale Heights. Medefil is a manufacturer of injectable prefilled medication in syringes. The company provides solutions to help improve the productivity, safety, and effectiveness of patient care.


    Chicago’s Builders Association names executive director

    The Executive Committee of the Builders Association in Chicago welcomes Dan McLaughlin as the new executive director. McLaughlin comes to the Builders Association after 21 years as the executive director of the Plumbing Contractors Association Of Chicago.


    Schaumburg’s Assurance named to largest U.S. brokers list

    Schaumburg-based independent insurance brokerage Assurance has been named Number 47 on the list of “100 Largest Brokers of U.S. Business” by Business Insurance magazine. The top 50 honor comes largely as a result of the 13.3 percent organic growth Assurance experienced in 2012, which marked the 5th straight year of double digit growth for the organization.

    U.K. air accident investigators are recommending that all Honeywell emergency transmitters should be temporarily disabled on Boeing 787s following a fire last week at London’s Heathrow Airport.

    UK investigators: Disable locator beacon on 787s

    U.K. air accident investigators are recommending that all Honeywell emergency transmitters should be temporarily disabled on Boeing 787s following a fire last week at London’s Heathrow Airport.The Air Accidents Investigation Branch said Thursday that the greatest damage to the parked Ethiopian Airlines Dreamliner occurred in the vicinity of the aircraft’s emergency locator transmitter.


    Bugaboo waits for royal baby boost on Kate’s pram choice

    As the world awaits news of the birth of the child of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, all eyes are on Amsterdam-based stroller manufacturer Bugaboo. When the royal couple go out for a walk with their first child, due any day now, their choice of pram will be an implicit endorsement triggering a fanfare of publicity money can’t buy.

    Sen. Tom Harkin, the Iowa Democrat who chairs the Senate’s Education Committee, returns to the chamber at the Capitol. Senators are ready to offer students a better deal on their college loans this fall, but future classes could see higher interest rates.

    Senators ready to restore lower college loan rates

    Senators are ready to offer students a better deal on their college loans this fall, but future classes could see higher interest rates. The Senate could vote as early as Thursday on a bipartisan compromise that heads off a costly increase for returning students.

    Former Metra CEO Alex Clifford testifies before the Regional Transit Authority board in Chicago, Wednesday

    Ousted Metra CEO describes rough Illinois politics

    A former California transit executive tapped to clean up Chicago’s scandal-tarnished Metra commuter rail agency said Wednesday he was pushed out barely two years into the job for doing exactly that and resisting pressure from some of Illinois’ most powerful politicians.Alex Clifford was allowed to speak publicly for the first time Wednesday about his lucrative buyout, which critics have called hush money and a waste of taxpayer funds.

    Uber, the San Francisco startup known for letting people order private drivers in sleek black cars using a smartphone app, is offering an ice cream-on-demand service — for one day only — in more than three dozen cities around the world, including Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, London, Singapore and Rome.

    Ice cream truck by smartphone coming to Chicago

    Don’t scream for ice cream. Just pick up your smartphone. Uber, the San Francisco startup known for letting people order private drivers in sleek black cars using a smartphone app, is offering an ice cream-on-demand service — for one day only — in more than three dozen cities around the world, including Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, London, Singapore and Rome. Friday’s stunt, an expansion of last year’s ice cream promotion, comes in the midst of a sticky heat wave in New York City and elsewhere.


    Moody’s downgrades Chicago’s debt rating

    Moody’s Investors Service is downgrading its debt rating for Chicago because of the city’s “very large and growing” pension liability. The agency said late Wednesday it’s lowering its rating of the nation’s third-largest city from Aa3 to A3.


    Federal Reserve supervisor pleads guilty to theft

    A former supervisor at Chicago’s Federal Reserve Bank pleaded guilty Wednesday to stealing confidential computer files. The offense is considered a misdemeanor. Brian McCarthy was a senior credit analyst in the bank’s statistical and financial reporting department from 2009-10. In 2011, he was named supervisor.


    Quinn signs law helping minority-owned businesses

    Gov. Pat Quinn says a new law helping minority-owned business compete for state work will broaden participation in public works projects. The Democrat signed a law Wednesday that allows businesses owned by women who are also racial minorities to be certified as both “female-owned” and “minority-owned.”


    44 community groups to tout insurance marketplace
    Gov. Pat Quinn says $27 million in federal funds will be distributed to 44 community organizations that will help educate the public and push enrollment in the Illinois Health Insurance Marketplace. The marketplace is a requirement of the Affordable Care Act.

Life & Entertainment

    The deadline to enter the 2013 Cook of the Week Challenge is July 24.

    Deadline looming for Cook of the Week Challenge

    Food Editor Deborah Pankey wonders why you haven't entered the Cook of the Week Challenge yet. Now in its third year, the contest challenges home cooks from around the suburbs to come up with recipes using ingredients in a mystery basket. The cooks face off one-on-one in a series of recipe challenges (think NCAA Sweet-16 format); their recipes are evaluated by a panel of judges until we whittle the field to four.

    “Feelin' Pretty” Bratz dolls are shown at the American International Toy Fair in New York.

    Barbie fights for her life

    As far as catfights go, this is a doozy. Barbie, long the reigning queen in the doll world, has suddenly been thrust into the battle of her life. But Barbie's competitors look nothing like the blue-eyed, blond-haired, long-legged fashion icon. And they don't have the same baggage and old standards of beauty either.

    Kevin Spacey plays U.S. congressman Frank Underwood in the Netflix original series, “House of Cards.” The political intrigue saga received a best drama series nomination Thursday. It’s the first top Emmy nod for a program delivered online, not on TV.

    Internet shows its muscle by making Emmy history

    The Emmy Awards are television’s biggest celebration of itself, but this year’s ceremony will face an intruder: “House of Cards,” the first online series to nab a top nomination with its best drama series. Netflix’s triumph on Thursday, which includes nods for its revival of “Arrested Development,” is putting a further squeeze on the broadcast networks.

    A project to build a private bullet train from Southern California to the Las Vegas Strip is in jeopardy.

    Buy-America snag stalls Vegas high-speed rail plan

    The U.S. Department of Transportation has suspended its review of a $5.5 billion loan request that is essential for building a private bullet train between a Southern California desert community and the Las Vegas Strip, leaving the future of the project in jeopardy. The Obama administration has been eager to develop new high-speed rail corridors across the U.S., and former Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood had publicly blessed the proposed train, known as XpressWest. But the project stalled in part because of a snag over federal rules that call for the line to be constructed and run with American-made materials.

    Carlos Creek winery owner Robert Johnson tests 2002 cabernet in Alexandria, Minn. Minnesota’s wine industry is no longer a novelty for a state known for its frosty climate and presently boasts over 100 vineyards and 34 wineries.

    Frosty Minnesota’s wine industry faces challenges

    Minnesota’s wine industry faces challenges to keep growing now that the novelty of wine produced in such a frosty climate is wearing off, a new study says. The North Star State’s wine industry contributed $59 million to the state’s economy and supported 3,250 employees in 2011 alone, according to a University of Minnesota Extension study. And that’s for an industry that barely existed before the introduction of cold-hardy grapes in the late 1990s.

    Sarah (Mary-Louise Parker), Frank (Bruce Willis), center, and Marvin (John Malkovich) demonstrate their fashion flair as covert agents in the disappointing action comedy "Red 2."

    'Red 2' bigger, dumber than original

    The first “Red” came on as a pleasantly witty, irreverent and blackly comic spy thriller seemingly targeted to the AARP demographic. Dean Parisot takes over “Red 2” and turns it into a bloated, exploded adventure that wants to be bigger, noisier and cartoonier than the original. In short, something that the original box office smash was not.

    Val Warner, of ABC 7’s “Windy City LIVE,” will co-host “The View” Tuesday, July 23.

    Val Warner to co-host ‘The View’ Tuesday

    Val Warner, co-host of ABC7’s "Windy City LIVE,” is getting a chance to sit at the big talk show table. Warner was invited to co-host the national daytime talk show, “The View” Tuesday.

    Jim Carter was nominated for an Emmy Award for best supporting actor in a drama series for his role as Mr. Carson in “Downton Abbey.”

    List of Emmy Award nominations in major categories

    Nominees in major categories for the 2013 Emmy Awards announced Thursday by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Drama Series: “Breaking Bad,” AMC; “Downton Abbey,” PBS; “Game of Thrones,” HBO; “Homeland,” Showtime; “House of Cards,” Netflix; “Mad Men,” AMC.Comedy Series: “The Big Bang Theory,” CBS; “Girls,” HBO; “Louie,” FX Networks; “Modern Family,” ABC; “30 Rock,” NBC; “Veep,” HBO.Miniseries or Made-for-TV Movie: “American Horror Story: Asylum,” FX Networks; “Behind the Candelabra,” HBO; “The Bible,” HISTORY; “Phil Spector,” HBO; “Political Animals,” USA; “Top of the Lake,” Sundance Channel.Actor, Drama Series: Bryan Cranston, “Breaking Bad,” AMC; Hugh Bonneville, “Downton Abbey,” PBS; Damian Lewis, “Homeland,” Showtime; Kevin Spacey, “House of Cards,” Netflix; Jon Hamm, “Mad Men,” AMC; Jeff Daniels, “The Newsroom,” HBO. Actress, Drama Series: Vera Farmiga, “Bates Motel,” A&E; Michelle Dockery, “Downton Abbey,” PBS; Claire Danes, “Homeland,” Showtime; Robin Wright, “House of Cards,” Netflix; Elisabeth Moss, “Mad Men,” AMC; Connie Britton, “Nashville,” ABC; Kerry Washington, “Scandal,” ABC.Supporting Actor, Drama Series: Bobby Cannavale, “Boardwalk Empire,” HBO; Jonathan Banks, “Breaking Bad,” AMC; Aaron Paul, “Breaking Bad,” AMC; Jim Carter, “Downton Abbey,” PBS; Peter Dinklage, “Game of Thrones,” HBO; Mandy Patinkin, “Homeland,” Showtime. Supporting Actress, Drama Series: Anna Gunn, “Breaking Bad,” AMC; Maggie Smith, “Downton Abbey,” PBS; Emilia Clarke, “Game of Thrones,” HBO; Christine Baranski, “The Good Wife,” CBS; Morena Baccarin, “Homeland,” Showtime; Christina Hendricks, “Mad Men,” AMC.Actor, Comedy Series: Jason Bateman, “Arrested Development,” Netflix; Jim Parsons, “The Big Bang Theory,” CBS; Matt LeBlanc, “Episodes,” Showtime; Don Cheadle, “House of Lies,” Showtime; Louis C.K., “Louie,” FX Networks; Alec Baldwin, “30 Rock,” NBC. Actress, Comedy Series: Laura Dern, “Enlightened,” HBO; Lena Dunham, “Girls,” HBO; Edie Falco, “Nurse Jackie,” Showtime; Amy Poehler, “Parks and Recreation,” NBC; Tina Fey, “30 Rock,” NBC; Julia Louis-Dreyfus, “Veep,” HBO. Supporting Actor, Comedy Series: Adam Driver, “Girls,” HBO; Jesse Tyler Ferguson, “Modern Family,” ABC; Ed O’Neill, “Modern Family,” ABC; Ty Burrell, “Modern Family,” ABC; Bill Hader, “Saturday Night Live,” NBC; Tony Hale, “Veep,” HBO.Supporting Actress, Comedy Series: Mayim Bialik, “The Big Bang Theory,” CBS; Jane Lynch, “Glee,” FOX; Sofia Vergara, “Modern Family,” ABC; Julie Bowen, “Modern Family,” ABC; Merritt Wever, “Nurse Jackie,” Showtime; Jane Krakowski, “30 Rock,” NBC; Anna Chlumsky, “Veep,” HBO.Actor, Miniseries or Movie: Michael Douglas, “Behind the Candelabra,” HBO; Matt Damon, “Behind the Candelabra,” HBO; Toby Jones, “The Girl,” HBO; Benedict Cumberbatch, “Parade’s End,” HBO; Al Pacino, “Phil Spector,” HBO. Actress, Miniseries or Movie: Jessica Lange, “American Horror Story: Asylum,” FX Networks; Laura Linney, “The Big C: Hereafter,” Showtime; Helen Mirren, “Phil Spector,” HBO; Sigourney Weaver, “Political Animals,” USA; Elisabeth Moss, “Top of the Lake,” Sundance Channel. Supporting Actor, Miniseries or Movie: James Cromwell, “American Horror Story: Asylum,” FX Networks; Zachary Quinto, “American Horror Story: Asylum,” FX Networks; Scott Bakula, “Behind the Candelabra,” HBO; John Benjamin Hickey, “The Big C: Hereafter,” Showtime; Peter Mullan, “Top of the Lake,” Sundance Channel.Supporting Actress, Miniseries or Movie: Sarah Paulson, “American Horror Story: Asylum,” FX Networks; Imelda Staunton, “The Girl,” HBO; Ellen Burstyn, “Political Animals,” USA; Charlotte Rampling, “Restless,” Sundance Channel; Alfre Woodard, “Steel Magnolias,” Lifetime. Reality Program: “Antiques Roadshow,” PBS; “Deadliest Catch,” Discovery Channel; “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives,” Food Network; “MythBusters,” Discovery Channel; “Shark Tank,” ABC; “Undercover Boss,” CBS.

    Wheaton native Emily Casey plays Marnie in the Jackalope Theatre Company’s “The Casuals.”

    Wheaton native stars as stressed secretary in ‘The Casuals’

    Actress Emily Casey’s latest role is packed with pressure. The Wheaton native plays Marnie, the secretary of fictional former military radio host Richard Hughes (Ed Dzialo), in Jackalope Theatre Company’s “The Casuals.” In the play, currently at Chicago’s Storefront Theater, Marnie and Hughes must keep government secrets under wraps while he faces added pressure from his personal life. Casey said Marnie’s stressful job is “like doing surgery” because her character conducts top secret interviews with Hughes and tries to resolve tense situations.

    In “Only God Forgives,” a tough Ryan Gosling plays a drug dealer hiding out in Bangkok with a seriously messed up brother.

    'Only God Forgives' an exercise in sleaze done tastefully

    Dann reviews three movies, including Ryan Gosling's “Only God Forgives,” a bloody revenge tale verging on a David Lynchian nightmare that mashes trashy sensational exploitation with tasteful art house pretense. He also reviews the horror anthology “V/H/S/2” and the “found-footage” crime drama “Evidence.” Readers supply their own favorite alien invasion movies.

    In this publicity photo provided by Chris H. Olsen, the Landscape Designer, Olsen, of Little Rock, Ark., created a decorative wall out of empty wine bottles by threading them onto metal poles inserted into a wooden frame. Olsen shares outdoor decorating ideas in his book "Chris H. Olsen's Five Seasons" (Leisure Arts, 2011). (AP Photo/Chris H. Olsen, Janet Warlick/Camera Work)

    Big art for outdoor living

    Even a small slice of the big outdoors can call for big art. WWith some do-it-yourself ingenuity, creating artwork for an outdoor living space needn’t be costly or complicated. In a few summer hours, you can make a piece, large or not-so-large, that packs a visual wallop.

    Glencoe native Lili Taylor portrays a mom fighting for her family in the supernatural thriller “The Conjuring.”

    Old-school 'The Conjuring' possesses supernatural scares

    James Wan's old-school haunted house tale works like a combination of “The Exorcist” and “The Amityville Horror” filtered through the SyFy channel's “Ghost Hunters” reality TV series. This allegedly true story takes place in 1971 at a secluded farm house with a history of suicide and murder, plus a bit of demonic possession. The owners reach out to two married professional ghost hunters who view it as their calling to debunk phony claims of supernatural terrorism.

    LiveWire formed about 1½ years ago, and performs a repertoire of songs by rock and pop artists. The band includes bassist Alexandra “Alex” Cappelli, 10, of Geneva; lead vocalist Nikko Viejon, 8, of North Aurora; drummer Cohen Bessler, 10, of St. Charles; and guitarist Danny Cappelli, 8, of Geneva.

    Suburban kids love rockin’ the stage

    Its members may only be 8 and 10 years old, but LiveWire already is winning praise from the music industry. The band, whose members hail from Geneva, St. Charles and North Aurora, already have performed at several well-known venues and festivals, including Hard Rock Cafes in Chicago and Memphis, The National Underground in Nashville, and the North by Northeast music festival in Toronto.

    Imogene (Kristen Wiig), left, and her mother Zelda (Annette Bening) share a cautious moment in the comic drama "Girl Most Likely."

    Kristen flips her Wiig in dismal ‘Girl Most Likely’

    Nothing in “Girl Most Likely” feels genuine or spontaneous. This comically dramatic indie picture employs a parade of strained and strangely quirky characters who occasionally strike comic notes in sheer defiance of this hampered material. Kristen Wiig’s gifts for comic timing and hilarious deadpan reactions can’t blunt the film’s capacity for irritating audiences with screaming metaphors.


    Night life events: Retro Bistro honors Tour with yellow jersey drink

    In honor of the Tour de France, Retro Bistro in Mount Prospect created the yellow jersey cocktail — French L’Orange Grey Goose over ice with a splash of French Sparkling Mandarin Orangina. The yellow jersey is available for $8 through Sunday, July 21.

    Oscar (Michael B. Jordan) shares a moment with his daughter Tatiana (Ariana Neal) in “Fruitvale Station.”

    Strong performance drives tragic ‘Fruitvale Station’

    “Fruitvale Station” is more than the dramatization of an obituary. It’s about empathy. In recounting (and slightly fictionalizing) the final day of 22-year-old Oscar Grant’s life, first-time writer-director Ryan Coogler has made a film that piles small daily gestures — and a final, heartbreakingly tragic one — into an inspiring reminder about basic human decency.

    Cats walk along beams in the inside of a home in San Diego Calif. Bob Walker and Frances Mooney moved into the house in 1986 and started converting it into a human-sized cat condo with 140 feet of elevated highway, tunnels, ramps, a spiral staircase, rest areas and scenic vistas.

    High life over for felines in famous ‘Cats’ House’

    They enjoyed the high life for years. Now eight cats accustomed to the creature comforts of a house that features an elevated feline freeway have not only been brought down to Earth, but squeezed into a 30-foot motorhome with the family Chihuahua. Gus, Sam, Dave, Stella, Lili, Eddie, Zander, Willow and Sadie the Chihuahua are biding their time in the motorhome, which is parked in the driveway of the San Diego home known for a quarter century as “The Cats’ House.” Bob Walker and Frances Mooney have sold the house.


    Alex Clifford

    Editorial: Time for something new at Metra, RTA

    The leadership structure at Metra and RTA is so political and intertwined, it’s hard to avoid creating a breeding ground for corruption. Change is in order, a Daily Herald editorial says, including closely examining a proposal to get rid of the RTA.


    No hidden agenda in our approach to controversy

    Columnist Jim Slusher: For those who somehow see us spreading one message online and another in print, there may be some confusion about our approach to controversy with our news stories.


    Seek the truths shown by climate science
    A Arlington Heights letter to the editor: Since the news media do such a poor job of covering climate change, I feel compelled to respond to misinformation on the subject whenever I see it. In a recent letter to the editor, Bob Lowth argues that the rise in temperature over the last century is within the realm of normal variables. In fact, though the increase may seem small, it represents an extraordinarily rapid rate of change compared to changes in the previous 10,000 years.


    What cable customers really want
    A Libertyville letter to the editor: OK, cable guys, listen up: Enough already with the lame ads. What your customers really want is an a la carte choice


    Assault rifles wrong target against crime
    A letter to the editor:


    Ban on assault guns won’t make us safer
    An Arlington Heights letter to the editor: If you want us to be safer, how about if you support something that might really make us safer? Politicians waste a lot of time and hot air on assault weapons to deflect our attention from the fact that they are doing nothing to make us safer.


    Evidence overwhelming on climate change
    A Des Plaines letter to the editor: The science is solid. Climate change is real and is a serious problem. We know how to combat it. But fighting it is difficult enough without also having to fight against an avalanche of misinformation.


    Jackson should focus on Chicago killings
    An Elk Grove Village letter to the editor: Jesse Jackson should press for civil rights violations against the gangs in Chicago that kill over 500 people each year. To press the federal government to go after one man (Mr. Zimmerman) who was found innocent in a court of law does not makes as much sense as going after the hundreds of shooters that have killed over a thousand children and teens in the past four years.


    Another view of Kellogg-Briand pact
    A Glen Ellyn letter to the editor: In a recent letter, Frank Goetz sought to alert the public to the importance of the Kellogg-Briand pact in making war a crime. Unfortunately, Mr. Goetz made a number of errors in his recitation.


    At least know what fireworks are about
    A Carpentersville letter to the editor: Boy am I glad the Fourth of July is over. I thought that fireworks were illegal in Illinois. In my neighborhood people started shooting off fireworks two weeks ahead of the celebration. They on the Fourth they really let loose.


    The road to bedlam

    Columnist Kathleen Parker: As soon as passions cool, assuming we let them, the discussion that needs to take place surrounds a question: What was George Zimmerman doing walking around his neighborhood armed and loaded? In what world is this normal behavior?


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