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Daily Archive : Wednesday December 4, 2013

News

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    Christine Amario charts some information in the nursing lab classroom, part of the career-science-and math-oriented curriculum at Wheeling High School.

    Was STEM a success? Wheeling High say yes

    Wheeling High School and its innovative math-and-science-based STEM approach to education have drawn praise far and wide. Despite that, its standardized test scores remain flat. Educators say that hardly makes the program a failure. Compared to similar schools with similar numbers of at-risk students, WHS is a success, they say.

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    West Dundee raises tax levy, citing police, fire pensions

    Pointing to an anticipated increase in pensions for both police officers and firefighters, West Dundee officials raised their property tax levy by 4.95 percent Monday. The increase would generate $3.32 million for the village, which amounts to an increase of $156,695 over last year’s levy, according to records from the village.

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    Northwest suburban police blotter

    An employee at Portillo’s, 506 W. Dundee Road, Arlington Heights, was struck by a BB-gun pellet Nov. 30. Pellets also shattered a south side window and dented a 2009 Chevrolet Cobalt on the front passenger’s-side fender. The employee was not seriously injured.

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    Rep. Elaine Nekritz, a Northbrook Democrat, speaks Tuesday during Illinois House debate over pension cuts. The bill passed both the House and the Senate and Gov. Pat Quinn says he’ll sign it.

    How Illinois’ pension deal got done

    State lawmakers’ differences of opinion over what to do about Illinois’ $100 billion in pension debt dragged on for years, with new proposals often giving them different reasons to disagree. But when Democratic and Republican leaders struck a deal for the first time the day before Thanksgiving, it was off to the races. Here's how the deal unfolded.

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    Martin Bashir

    Bashir leaves MSNBC over Palin flap

    His resignation, effective immediately, was accepted by MSNBC president Phil Griffin, who in a statement thanked him “for three great years” with the network.

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    A 6,000-square-foot outdoor tent at the Fountain Blue Banquets & Conference Center in Des Plaines will be taken down now that the banquet hall’s owners have decided to withdraw an application with the city that sought to keep the tent.

    Des Plaines’ Fountain Blue nixes tent request

    Almost three weeks since seeking permission to keep a controversial outdoor banquet tent, the owner of the Fountain Blue in Des Plaines has withdrawn his request after determining it wouldn’t be “worthwhile financially or practically.” That means the 6,000-square-foot Lions Gate Pavilion tent that has sat on the banquet hall’s property at 2300 Mannheim Road for three years will have to come down.

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    This image released Wednesday shows a piece of machinery that is part of the cargo of the stolen truck hauling medical equipment with extremely dangerous radioactive material, north of Mexico City. The cargo truck was stolen from a gas station and the radioactive content in it later recovered.

    Stolen cobalt-60 found abandoned in Mexico

    A missing shipment of radioactive cobalt-60 was found Wednesday near where the stolen truck transporting the material was abandoned in central Mexico, the country’s nuclear safety director said. The highly radioactive material had been removed from its container, officials said, and one predicted that anyone involved in opening the box could be in grave danger of dying within days.

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    Gerald "Chic" Anderson, who was the athletic director at Palatine High School from 1969 to 1988, died Wednesday at age 84.

    Palatine High sports legend ‘Chic’ Anderson dies

    For more than 30 years, Gerald J. “Chic” Anderson was one of the pioneers clearing the way for athletic excellence during the booming growth period for Palatine Township District 211. And before he retired in 1988, Anderson had built a solid foundation at Palatine High School that still thrives today. Anderson, who died Wednesday at home at age 84 after a 20-year battle with Parkinson’s disease,...

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    The Kane County morgue is a repurposed facility that dates back to the days when the government center was a monastery. Coroner Rob Russell wants to build a new morgue.

    Kane freezer failure spawns call for new morgue

    Kane County Board Chairman Chris Lauzen expressed grief Wednesday about the black eye the county took when a freezer in the coroner's office failed on Thanksgiving. The accompanying partial meltdown of the bodies inside made headlines in print, radio and TV. Lauzen said there should be a full inventory of the facility needs in Coroner Rob Russell's office, and he pointed out Russell has had a...

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    Vanessa Mejia

    Palatine teens plead guilty to robbing ex-friend

    Two Palatine teenagers pleaded guilty to robbing the home of a former friend in April. Cook County Judge Kay Hanlon sentenced Vanessa Mejia, 17, and Sendi Ocampo, 18, to four years in prison, with a recommendation for boot camp in exchange for their pleas.

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    Mary Harts tries to keep warm as she walks in Denver on Tuesday. A wintry storm pushing through the Rockies and Midwest is bringing bitterly cold temperatures and treacherous driving conditions.

    Nearly week of frigid temperatures for West

    The jet stream hunkered to the south Wednesday, promising to bring nearly a week of temperatures that could dip to 20-below or worse in the northern midsection of the country, and forcing much of the rest of the nation to deal with unexpectedly cool temperatures.

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    Lake in the Hills affordable housing plan moves forward

    Developers proposing a 60-unit apartment complex on the south side of Harvest Gate in Lake in the Hills expect to break ground on the project this spring. The roughly $19 million affordable housing development, called Villas of Lake in the Hills, includes eight two-story buildings and a community building on nearly five acres across from Lincoln Prairie Elementary School. Plans include 132...

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    Former Schaumburg officer pleads guilty to misconduct

    Former Schaumburg police officer Bryan Woodyard pleaded guilty to official misconduct this week and was sentenced to 18 months probation. The 7-year veteran was charged after he failed to turn in a handgun surrendered to the police department last April.

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    President Barack Obama said Wednesday that growing income disparity in the United States is the “defining challenge or our time” and Washington must confront it.

    Obama: Income inequality a defining challenge

    President Barack Obama prodded Congress to raise wages and secure the social safety net as he issued an overarching appeal Wednesday to correct economic inequalities that he said make it harder for a child to escape poverty. “That should offend all of us,” he declared. “We are a better country than this.”

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    Mundelein Police Academy to hold spaghetti dinner fundraiser

    The Mundelein Police Academy Alumni Association hosts its fifth annual spaghetti dinner fundraiser on Friday, Dec. 6, from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at the Mundelein Police Department, 221 North Lake St.

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    Mundelein High to host dance show

    Mundelein High School will host a winter Orchesis show Dec. 16. The performance will begin at 7 p.m. in the school auditorium, 1350 W. Hawley St

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    JoAnn Washington-Murry, 60, of East Hazelcrest has spent almost 20 years as a child welfare specialist. She had planned to retire in about five years, but now she isn’t sure.

    State workers, retirees worry about pension changes

    Teachers, welfare specialists and other public employees in Illinois are nervous about pension changes that lawmakers approved Tuesday in an attempt to resolve the state’s worst-in-the-nation pension crisis.

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    Grayslake Christmas open house:

    The Grayslake Historical Society hosts a Christmas open house, with a visit from Santa, refreshments and a holiday choir concert from 2 to 4 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 8, at the Grayslake Heritage Center and Historical Society Museum, 164 Hawley St., Grayslake.

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    ‘Fill the Truck’ toy drive at Walmart Saturday

    Walmart and The Salvation Army host a “Fill the Truck” toy drive in Lake County on Saturday, Dec. 7.

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    Pension fight could create deeper fiscal hole

    With the fight over solving Illinois’ worst-in-the-nation pension shortfall now headed to the courts, the financially troubled state faces a grim possibility: The plan could be tossed, and Illinois could wind up in an even deeper fiscal hole than the one it’s in now.

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    In this photo taken on Sunday, Metro North Railroad engineer William Rockefeller is wheeled on a stretcher away from the area where the commuter train he was operating derailed in the Bronx borough of New York. Was he a victim of “highway hypnosis”?

    Derailment highlights risk of ‘highway hypnosis’

    The man driving the commuter train that went off the rails this week in New York City, killing four passengers, experienced a momentary loss of awareness as he zooming down the rails, according to his lawyer and union representative, who called the episode a “nod,” a “daze” or “highway hypnosis.”

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    100 Percent Foundation Co-director Frank Davis with some of the toys his organization has gathered this holiday season.

    Annual toy drive still in need of donations

    One of the largest toy drives in the Chicago area, which delivers 6,000 toys to 60 locations across the city and suburbs, is in need. “We’re down,” says Frank Davis of Prospect Heights. “It’s already December and donations are way down.” He and his father-in-law, Jim Harney, are not out, however. They have faced adversity before — and recovered even stronger.

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    A horse walks along a fence line in a fog-shrouded field in rural Elgin Wednesday, where temperatures hit the mid-50s. Thursday’s forecast calls for clearer skies but high temperatures about 20 degrees cooler, according to AccuWeather.

    50-degree weather could be gone awhile

    Temperatures in the 50s will be a thing of the past come Thursday. The weekend will feel more like December weather.

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    Volunteer Larry Moe of Elk Grove Village packs potatoes into food boxes Wednesday, part of an effort to prepare more than 10,000 Christmas Christmas food boxes containing fresh potatoes, corn, green beans, cranberry sauce, yams, gravy and stuffing at the Salvation Army’s Disaster Services Headquarters in Elk Grove Village.

    Salvation Army volunteers pack up holiday cheer

    Volunteers at the Salvation Army’s Disaster Services Headquarters in Elk Grove Village put in the hard work this week to make the holiday season easier to enjoy for thousands of needy families and individuals in the Chicago area. Starting Monday and wrapping up Wednesday, the group of more than 200 volunteers packaged more than 10,000 Christmas food boxes containing fresh potatoes, corn, green...

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    Mt. Prospect OKs tax, fee hikes to fund street repairs

    Beginning next year, drivers filling up in Mount Prospect will be putting in their two cents to help rebuild the village’s roads. Mount Prospect trustees this week approved a 2-cent per gallon hike in the village’s motor fuel tax as part of a five-year financial program created to address a 13.3-mile backlog in street repairs and fully fund future road maintenance.

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    Tri-Cities police reports
    Shane M. Seuscher, 21, of Elburn, was charged with public urination Sunday, according to a police report. An officer on patrol spotted Seuscher urinating while standing in the St. Charles Municipal Center parking lot.

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    LongHorn Steakhouse coming to Vernon Hills

    Another new restaurant is planned for Vernon Hills. LongHorn Steakhouse has received preliminary approval to proceed with a plan to build a 242-seat facility on Route 60, once occupied by Wolf Camera. That building would be demolished and a new one built.

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    Members of the Naperville Central High School Redhawks football team pose during an assembly Wednesday with the Class 8A state championship trophy they won by beating Loyola 13-10 on Saturday in DeKalb. This is the school’s second football championship and its first since 1999.

    Naperville’s champ Redhawks learn value of hard work

    Members of the Naperville Central High School football team don’t really know what to do with themselves now that the season is over and their goal of winning a state championship achieved. But on Wednesday afternoon, they celebrated as the grand finale of an all-school recognition assembly for fall athletics and activities. “I’ve been saying since August, this is a special group of guys,” Head...

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    Coroner: Missing Gurnee woman committed suicide

    A woman who was reported missing from her Gurnee home committed suicide, according to the Lake County coroner’s office. Officials said the body of Anne Stroll, 64, was found in the area of the 32000 block of North Milwaukee Avenue near Libertyville at 2 p.m. Tuesday.

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    Three firefighters suffered minor injuries Tuesday night while battling a two-alarm fire that caused severe damage to a house in the Steeple Run neighborhood near Naperville. Authorities said the blaze started in the basement and spread rapidly all the way to the attic.

    3 firefighters hurt battling house fire near Naperville

    Three firefighters suffered minor injuries while battling a two-alarm fire that severely damaged a large house in the Steeple Run neighborhood near Naperville.

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    Streamwood robbery getaway driver gets 11 years

    A Streamwood teenager pleaded guilty to the March 3, 2012, armed robbery of a gas station at Schaumburg Road and Route 59 in Streamwood. Patryk Karaluch, 19, drove the getaway car in the robbery and was sentenced to 11 years in prison.

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    Hoffman Estates man sentenced to prison for videotaping minor

    A Hoffman Estates man pleaded guilty Wednesday to using a cellphone to videotape under the skirt of an 8-year-old girl. Juan Lara-Ramirez, 30, was sentenced to two years in prison in exchange for his plea to the class 3 felony.

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    Antioch again considers Lake Michigan water options

    Antioch again will be looking for the best way to bring Lake Michigan water to residents. Village Administrator James Keim said he will be seeking requests for qualifications from consultants to determine the potential source and cost of bringing the valued resource to village taps. “We don’t have any real urgency. We have an abundant supply but we have to look for the future.”

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    Naperville fire Chief Mark Puknaitis recognizes several nurses, a park district police officer and a Navy reservist for helping save the life of Steve Sloma of Geneva, far right, who went into sudden cardiac arrest around Mile 6 of the half marathon during the inaugural Edward Hospital Naperville Marathon on Nov. 10. Those recognized Tuesday include Yousef Ahmed, Stephanie Chang, Merri Lazenby, Traci Iarrobino and Michael Kurinec.

    Geneva man ‘grateful’ to rescuers at Naperville race

    Steve Sloma’s memory of running a half marathon in Naperville last month goes something like this: He signed up for the 13.1-mile race in the inaugural Edward Hospital Naperville Marathon, confident he could go the distance after running a handful of half marathons in the past. All was going well until somewhere around Mile 6, when he felt lightheaded. “I had enough awareness that I knew...

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    Fox Valley police reports
    Andrew Konstantaras, 25, of McHenry, was charged last week with manufacturing/delivery of marijuana, a felony; and marijuana possession and possession of drug paraphernalia, both misdemeanors, according to a police report.

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    First lady Michelle Obama greets children during a holiday celebration showing the holiday decorations at the White House on Wednesday. $PHOTOCREDIT_ON$ASSOCIATED PRESS $PHOTOCREDIT_OFF$

    Michelle Obama unveils White House Christmas decor
    Michelle Obama is giving military families a first look at the White House Christmas decorations. Family dog Bo, the star of past Obama White House holiday displays, had to share the spotlight with his little sister, Sunny. Two life-sized replicas of the Portuguese water dogs made of satin ribbons are one of the first things an expected 70,000 White House visitors will see this month.

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    Emmanuel Sanchez

    Police: Man sexually assaulted, strangled and kicked woman

    A 21-year-old Elgin man is accused of kicking a woman in the stomach, pulling her hair and sexually assaulting her, according to Elgin police and court records. Emmanuel Sanchez was being held on $1 million bail and faces up to 30 years in prison if convicted.

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    Vintage holiday memorabilia, including “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” and “Frosty the Snowman” themed items, will be on display at the McHenry County Historical Society Museum in Union. The museum will have an open house from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7.

    Exhibit offers a peek into Christmases past

    The McHenry County Historical Society will host a “Christmas on Main Street” featuring storefront window display items from the 1940s through the 1960s. The free open house runs from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7, at the Society’s museum at 6422 Main St., Union.

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    Jill Blanchard

    Blanchard to chair MLK dinner in Hoffman Estates

    Jill Blanchard, the new president of the SPAR Group Inc., an international supplier of retail merchandising and other marketing services, will head the 13th annual celebration of the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to be held Jan. 17, 2014 at the Northwest Chicago Marriott Hotel in Hoffman Estates. Hosted by the Illinois Commission on Diversity and Human Relations, the dinner will mark the...

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    Alexander J. Story

    Authorities: Antioch couple was selling “Molly”

    An Antioch couple charged with selling "Molly" faces 50 years in prison if found guilty of possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver. Alexander Story, 24, and his wife, McKenzie Story, 23, pleaded not guilty to the charges in Lake County court early Wednesday.They are due to go to trial on March 31.

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    Hoffman Estates police host “Shop with a Cop”

    The Hoffman Estates Police Charitable Foundation (HEPCF) will sponsor its 14th annual “Shop with a Cop” holiday event Dec. 14 to help provide gifts to needy young people in the community and their families. Members of the Hoffman Estates Police Department will be paired with one of 50 needy children, who each will be allowed to spend about $125 at Target for gifts.

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    Josie Barton, 7, left, records audio into an iPad for an iMovie project with classmate Marin Peale, 7, in their multi-grade first and second grade class at Jamestown Elementary School in Arlington, Va.

    Broadband in schools gets boost from tech gurus

    The effort to get high-speed broadband in every school is getting a boost from the philanthropy of two technology gurus — Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg and Microsoft Corp. co-founder Bill Gates.

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    Libertyville High School junior Mark Boynton receives a box from Alexandria El Ghatit as they work in a human food chain Wednesday morning to load trucks with boxes of canned goods for Libertyville Township food pantry. The student council collected canned goods, paper goods and toiletries and monetary donations for the food pantry and other organizations.

    Libertyville High School students help area charities

    Twenty Libertyville High School student council members and teachers spent Wednesday morning forming a human food chain as they moved hundreds of boxes person-to-person from storage areas inside the building to Libertyville Township trucks.

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    In this photo provided by the Newtown Bee, Connecticut State Police lead a line of children from the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. on Friday, Dec. 14, 2012 after a shooting at the school.

    Newtown 911 dispatcher urged callers to take cover
    Recordings of 911 calls from the Newtown school shooting are being released, days after a state prosecutor dropped his fight to continue withholding them despite an order to provide them to The Associated Press.

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    Naperville removes 2 downtown parking spots to ease congestion

    While many in Naperville say the downtown area needs additional parking, council members voted Tuesday night to remove two parking spaces on Washington Street south of Benton Avenue. Several council members said the spaces on the west side of Washington are problematic because they force all southbound traffic to merge into one lane north of Van Buren Avenue, which causes congestion.

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    Algonquin-Lake in the Hills firefighters raising money for kids’ coats

    The firefighters in the Algonquin-Lake in the Hills Fire Protection District invite you to help them secure new, American-made winter coats for needy, at-risk children. They have joined forces with Operation Warm, a national non-profit foundation whose mission is finding new coats for children.

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    Buffalo Grove approves levy, balanced budget up next

    Buffalo Grove trustees on Monday approved a tax levy for next year only $51,000 higher than this year’s levy, part of a proposed $63.1 million balanced budget the village board is expected to pass later this month. The budget, which trustees will vote on after a public hearing Dec. 16, calls for 218 full-time and 79 part-time/seasonal positions, bringing the village under 300 workers for the...

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    Following Lisle’s Santa Parade on Saturday, Santa and Mrs. Claus will be on hand at Once Upon a Christmas to hear children’s wishes.

    Santa and Mrs. Claus highlight weekend of holiday festivities

    The winning combination of having both Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus talk to little boys and girls is what distinguishes a visit to Once Upon a Christmas in Lisle. “Both I and Mrs. Claus always look forward to coming to Once Upon a Christmas because we can take all the time that is needed for each child or groups of children,” Santa Claus said.

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    Focus on God’s perfect gift, instead of a perfect holiday

    Columnist Annettee Budzban shares one of her favorite Christmas memories.

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    Prairie Crossing Charter School is near Byron Colby Barn in a subdivision by the same name in Grayslake. The school seeks another five-year renewal of its state charter.

    Public forum today on Prairie Crossing renewal

    State education officials will host a hearing Wednesday night regarding a renewal necessary for the continued operation of Prairie Crossing Charter School in Grayslake. Executive Director Geoff Deigan told the Daily Herald Tuesday he expects the commission to issue a final decision in the renewal in early spring.

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    Chicago starts new domestic violence task force

    Several agencies in Chicago are banding together to address domestic violence in the city. Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez announced the inter-governmental task force on Tuesday. It also will include efforts from Chicago police and the Department of Family and Support Services.

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    Seventh-graders Stephanie Rivas, right, Julia Sulicka and Anna Lee are among the Carl Sandburg Middle School students buying toys and clothing at Target in Mundelein on Tuesday for a needy family. The school’s Community Service Club raised $333 to help the family for the holidays.

    Sandburg students help needy family for the holidays

    Twenty-one students from Carl Sandburg Middle School spent an afternoon shopping in Target on Route 60 in Mundelein to help a needy family from Fremont Township. The school’s Community Service Club raised $333 through bake sales and other events to help the children.

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    Antioch residents are invited Wednesday to share ideas on what the village should be in the future.

    Antioch seeks public input on vision for community

    Antioch residents are invited Wednesday to share ideas on community assets and how they best can be utilized. The information will help shape a vision for the future. "The most important thing is we give the community a chance to be heard," said Cheryl Henning, who heads an ad hoc committee that has been working on the plan.

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    Onyango Obama, President Barack Obama’s Kenyan-born uncle, arrives at U.S. Immigration Court for a deportation hearing Tuesday.

    Obama’s Kenyan-born uncle allowed to remain in U.S.
    President Barack Obama’s Kenyan-born uncle, who ignored a deportation order more than two decades ago, on Tuesday was granted permission to stay in the United States. Judge Leonard Shapiro made the decision after Onyango Obama, 69, testified that he had lived in the U.S. for 50 years, been a hard worker, paid income tax and been arrested only once.

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    Illinois begins license exams for immigrants

    Illinois is beginning to let immigrants apply for a driver’s license if they’re living in the U.S. illegally. Appointments began Tuesday for people hoping to take the driver’s license test, which is offered at two sites in Chicago and Springfield.

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    1 of 2 women arrested in disappearance released

    One of two women arrested in the disappearance of a man in Fond du Lac County has been released from jail. WLUK-TV reports the Fond du Lac County Clerk of Courts Office says the woman was released at the request of the district attorney’s office. She had been held on $50,000 bond.

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    Hunters kill 7 percent fewer Wisconsin deer

    Wisconsin wildlife officials say hunters killed 7 percent fewer deer during the 2013 nine-day gun season than last year. The Department of Natural Resources released preliminary data Tuesday that shows hunters killed 226,582 deer, down from 243,739 deer last year.

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    Police probe man's death in Mascoutah
    MASCOUTAH, Ill. — Police are investigating the death of a southwestern Illinois man whose body was found on his living room floor, while his housemate was relaxing on a nearby couch.

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    Report: States more lax than feds on judge rules
    Associated PressWASHINGTON — All 50 states and the District of Columbia have more lax financial disclosure rules for their high court justices than the disclosure requirements for federal judges, according to an analysis from a watchdog group.Illinis is only one of a dozen states that posts at least some of the financial disclosure information online for public view.

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    Inmates’ flu-like symptoms prompts Illinois prison lockdown

    INA — The state’s Department of Corrections has locked down the Big Muddy River Correctional Center in Ina after dozens of inmates started to show flu-like symptoms.The (Carbondale) Southern Illinoisan reports that the department says the Level 1 lockdown means that no visitors are allowed at the facility and no inmates will be transferred.

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    Rod Blagojevich

    More papers filed in voluminous Blagojevich appeal

    Rod Blagojevich’s lawyers laid out a final set of arguments in writing before they step before appellate judges next week to argue that the imprisoned ex-governor deserves a new trial. The 33-page filing with the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals repeats arguments made before, including that trial Judge James Zagel displayed bias against Blagojevich. The brief was posted late Monday.

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    Judges in Chicago question Wisconsin abortion law

    An appellate court on Tuesday questioned a lawyer for the state of Wisconsin about why lawmakers singled out abortion clinics in requiring their doctors to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals, as judges heard arguments about the hotly debated law.

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    Suspicious letter at gov office had baby powder

    State officials say a “suspicious letter” that caused an evacuation at Gov. Pat Quinn’s constituent services office in Springfield contained baby powder. Gov. Pat Quinn spokesman Grant Klinzman says everyone returned to the office Tuesday afternoon.

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    Report: Failings in death of Chicago firefighter

    A report by federal investigators has concluded that poor communication contributed to the death of a veteran Chicago firefighter last year. Capt. Herbert Johnson, 54, suffered burns and died of inhalation injuries while helping battle a fire at a two-flat apartment house on the South Side in November 2012.

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    Boomers host free milk and cookies Dec. 20

    The Frontier League champion Schaumburg Boomers will hold their third annual free milk and cookies event from 3 to 5 p.m. Friday, Dec. 20 at Boomers Stadium, 1999 S. Springinsguth Road in Schaumburg. Attendees will have the opportunity to take pictures with Santa Claus and team mascot Coop, enjoy some free milk and cookies, and help put the finishing touches on the Boomers Christmas tree.

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    Geoffrey Maher, left, Marc Jolley and Debbi Dennison bring the lighter side of the holidays to life in Vex Theatre Company’s “Twist-a-Carol IV: Dr. Whoville.”

    ‘Twist-a-Carol’ offers holiday stress relief in Elgin

    For everyone who gets stressed by holiday shopping, bored of addressing cards, or driven crazy by Christmas music, Vex Theatre Company's "Twist-a-Carol" offers a chance to blow off steam while poking fun at traditions. "We find a way to make fun of (the holidays) in a creative way," said Cathleen Ann, a Vex cofounder.

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    Dawn Patrol: Body found in Gurnee woman search; pension fight

    Body found off Milwaukee Avenue in Libertyville during search for missing Gurnee woman. Pension reform goes to governor; suburban teachers unions vow fight. Lawmakers don't vote on legislation to help Arlington. Nor on bill to give Office Depot tax incentives to stay in Naperville.

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    Rolling Meadows approves firefighter contract

    The Rolling Meadows City Council approved a new contract with the city’s firefighters’ union Monday on a 4-3 vote. “I believe this contract falls within the circle of what I consider acceptable,” said Mayor Tom Rooney. The firefighters' pay schedule gets no raise this year and 2 percent each of the next two years.

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    St. Charles schools surveying parent satisfaction

    St. Charles Unit District 303 will unveil its new community satisfaction survey next week. The school board uses the survey to help develop policy and goals for the next school year.

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    Chicago Bear Kyle Long signs a football for a fan at a charity bowling event in Buffalo Grove Tuesday night.

    Former, current Bears bowl with fans for charity

    Students from several suburban schools got a chance to play against Chicago Bears players past and present during a fundraiser in Buffalo Grove on Tuesday night.

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    Carpentersville, firefighters working on differences

    Carpentersville leaders and the union that represents its full-time firefighters are continuing to work through their differences. Tuesday night in closed session, the board discussed some of the staffing issues the union has raised that are tied to its recent contract, but came to no resolution on how to resolve them, Village President Ed Ritter said.

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    Dist. 220 debates changes to school year calendar

    As Barrington Unit District 220 prepares for a decision on moving first-semester finals to before winter break, the sanctity of the Columbus Day holiday has replaced the first day of school as the most discussed issue. Chief Communications Officer Jeff Arnett reported that the change of Columbus Day from a day off to an attendance day was the biggest point of conversation by both the calendar...

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    UN: 250,000 besieged in Syria, beyond reach of aid

    An estimated 250,000 people in besieged communities in Syria remain beyond the reach of aid, the U.N, humanitarian chief said Tuesday in a closed-door Security Council briefing that one member called “chilling.”Deep divisions in the council have kept it from taking more action on the 2 ½-year-old civil war that activists say has killed more than 120,000 people.

Sports

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    Paul Konerko's coming back for one more season on the South Side — a decision Mike Imrem says doesn't make any sense.

    Sox re-signing Konerko a colossal mistake

    The separation of sports and sentimentality always is a good policy. The White Sox are violating it by bringing back Paul Konerko for the 2014 season at age 38.

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

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

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

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

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    St. Viator wins, but loses Fabbri to injury

    With Wednesday’s night 52-25 triumph over visiting Gordon Tech behind it, St. Viator’s girls basketball team now faces Conant, Buffalo Grove and Prospect in three of its next four games. “We’re diving into the Mid-Suburban League,” said Lions coach Christina Jost, who starred in the MSL as an all-area guard for Buffalo Grove. “We’ll see how we match up. It’s a tough conference.” The Lions suffered a tough loss early in the second quarter at the Cahill Gymnasium. With 6:58 left, all-area guard Erin Fabbri was trying to reach for a loose ball when she went down to the floor in pain. Jost said the senior standout, who had scored back-to-back layups to give Viator an 8-7 lead with two minutes left in the first quarter, was taken to the hospital for X-rays during the game. It was learned late Wednesday night that Fabbri suffered a broken ankle. She will see an orthopedic doctor today and get a better idea of her prognosis.

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    Borcia powers another Libertyville win

    Few basketball players are hotter than Libertyville junior center Joe Borcia, and the Wildcats are doing well themselves. Borcia scored a game-high 24 points Wednesday night, as Libertyville remained undefeated by beating visiting Warren 55-35 in a North Suburban Lake Division opener. Borcia is averaging 21.8 points per game for the 5-0 Wildcats.

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    Lake Zurich handles its issues, then cruises past Mundelein

    Issues with ball control in the first 20 minutes kept Lake Zurich from taking control of its North Suburban Lake boys basketball opener with visiting Mundelein on Wednesday night. Then came an eight-minute turnaround where the Bears went from nearly being in a tie game to cruising to an 83-51 victory.

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    Justin Pierce of Glenbard West takes one to the net while Barrett Benson of Hinsdale South attempts to block during the Glenbard West at Hinsdale South boys basketball game Wednesday.

    Glenbard West measures up against Hinsdale South

    A considerable size disadvantage didn't faze Glenbard West during its trip to Hinsdale South on Wednesday night. The Hilltoppers, behind a methodical half-court offense, timely 3-point shooting and strong defense against the Hornets' tallest player, led for 29 of the 32 minutes en route to a 67-48 victory in a West Suburban Conference crossover boys basketball game.

  •  
    Carmel's Billy Kirby, left, tries to pass around Vernon Hills' Robby Nardini on Wednesday night at Carmel Catholic.

    George, Carmel shoot past Vernon Hills

    The long jump shot, which complements his inside play, is something Carmel Catholic senior Jack George has had in his repertoire since he was little. Not that he was ever little. “I pride myself on being a versatile player who can play inside and out,” the 6-foot-10 George said. In a showdown with fellow unbeaten Vernon Hills on Wednesday night, Carmel could be thankful for its veteran center knocking down a couple of long baseline shots as well as another medium-range jumper. That's because Cougars junior center Lem Turner was wielding his long arms and wreaking havoc in the paint. In the end, host Carmel hit enough shots over Turner and knocked down enough free throws when Vernon Hills got close to pull out a 56-50 nonconference win.

  •  

    St. Edward moves to 6-0

    The St. Edward boys basketball team ran its record to 6-0 for the season with a comeback win over Montini, 59-52, Wednesday night at the Aurora Christian Classic.

  •  

    Cashaw carries Stevenson past Prospect

    Connor Cashaw had 16 points in the first quarter, and Stevenson managed to stay ahead of visiting Prospect 70-56 on Wednesday in nonconference play.

  •  
    Joliet Catholic’s Luke Mander and Colton Kolowski swarm and swipe at Aurora Christian’s Zach Singer as he goes up for the basket in the second quarter on Wednesday, December 4.

    Hot shooting lifts Aurora Christian past JCA

    Aurora Christian and Joliet Catholic didn’t make every shot they took in their matchup Wednesday on the second night of the Eagles’ third annual Burney Wilkie Classic. It only seemed that way. The Hilltoppers were on fire much of the night, finishing with 13 3-pointers and an even 50 percent shooting from the field — and still couldn’t keep up with the even hotter Eagles in Aurora Christian’s 77-65 victory.

  •  

    Geneva looking for an encore

    Geneva may have surprised the state with its fifth-place finish (145.225) last February in the IHSA finals. The Vikings don’t plan on being a once-in-a-decade team though, and they showed that on Wednesday in their Upstate Eight Conference debut, disposing U-46 co-op, 137.35-127.65 at Geneva’s Mack Olson gym.

  •  

    Streaking Harper makes it seven straight wins

    Having started the season with one kind of streak, the Harper College men’s basketball team was happy to extend another kind Wednesday. After dropping its first three contests early this season, the Hawks have surged to seven straight wins following an 81-64 victory over Olivet Nazarene’s JV team at the Sports and Wellness Center in Palatine. Kevin Walsh (St. Viator) led the way for Harper with 22 points, and Brad Reibel (Prospect) had 11.

  •  

    NC State beats Northwestern 69-48

    T.J. Warren scored 22 points to help North Carolina State beat Northwestern 69-48 on Wednesday night in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. Ralston Turner added 13 points for the Wolfpack (5-2), who led nearly all night and by as many as 23 points after halftime. N.C. State shot 46 percent to win its third straight overall, while the win against Northwestern (4-5) stopped a five-game losing streak in the annual interconference matchup.

  •  
    Bears fans are hoping the Lions play like the turkeys they sometimes can in the team’s remaining four games.

    Secret weapon holds key to Bears’ playoff chances

    The Lions are capable of handing the NFC North title to the Bears, but it's debatable whether Marc Trestman's team is good enough to accept the gift.

  •  
    Hersey’s Anne Johnson shows perfect form on the uneven bars at Hoffman Estates on Wednesday.

    Girls gymnastics: Scouting Northwest

    Here's a look at the upcoming girls gymnastics season from the perspective of teams in the Mid-Suburban League plus Leyden and Maine West.

  •  
    Joliet Catholic’s Luke Mander and Colton Kolowski swarm and swipe at Aurora Christian’s Zach Singer.

    Images: Joliet Catholic vs. Aurora Christian boys basketball
    Aurora Christian hosted Joliet Catholic in boys basketball Wednesday, December 4, 2013.

  •  
    Michaela Robert of Naperville North performs her uneven parallel bars routine at sectional girls gymnastics at Hinsdale Central High School on Monday.

    Scouting DuPage County girls gymnastics

    Previewing girls gymnastics teams in DuPage County.

  •  
    Glenbard West at Hinsdale South boys basketball

    Images: Glenbard West at Hinsdale South boys basketball
    Hinsdale South hosted Glenbard West Wednesday, Dec. 4 for boys basketball.

  •  
    This check by Stars defenseman Brenden Dillon against Andrew Shaw in the third period of Tuesday’s 4-3 loss will keep the Blackhawks center out of action today in Minnesota against the Wild.

    Banged-up Hawks need better start vs. Wild

    The Blackhawks, fresh off their circus road trip in which they won six of seven games, didn’t play badly on Tuesday against Dallas, but they didn’t really get their legs under them until the second period in a 4-3 loss to the Stars. The Hawks. however, came out of the game even more banged up, losing Andrew Shaw in the final minute when he took a hard check behind the net. Shaw didn’t accompany the team to Minnesota for Thursday’s game against the Wild and neither did center Michal Handzus (sickness).

  •  

    Teague gets quick reprieve from D-League

    Marquis Teague was back at the Berto Center on Wednesday following an aborted attempt to send him on a D-League assignment to the Iowa Express. He missed a chance to get some extended playing time, due to an injury to PG Mike James.

  •  

    Bulls reeling, but stranger things have happened against Heat

    Miami's first visit to Chicago this season won't be as momentous as originally expected. But the Bulls always seem to have a chance against the Heat, winning three times in the past two seasons without Derrick Rose.

  •  
    Carmel’s Billy Kirby, left, tries to pass around Vernon Hills’ Robby Nardini.

    Images: Carmel vs. Vernon Hills boys basketball
    The Carmel Corsairs hosted the Vernon Hills Cougars for boys varsity basketball action on Wednesday, Dec. 4 in Mundelein.

  •  

    UEC season set to tip off

    Drama does not take long to build in the Upstate Eight Conference, which begins play tonight with some interesting storylines. At South Elgin, the Storm (2-2) welcome back former coach Chaz Taft, who last spring was hired to fill the vacant coaching position at Waubonsie Valley (1-2).

  •  
    Paul Konerko has agreed to a one-year deal with the White Sox for the 2014 season, team officials announced Wednesday.

    Captain Konerko returning to White Sox in 2014
    Cleared by the White Sox last month to return in 2014 in a more limited role if he wanted, Konerko on Wednesday finally made that decision — he’s coming back. The White Sox and their 37-year-old captain agreed to a one-year, $2.5 million contract, and team officials expect Konerko to platoon as a designated hitter and help mentor new first baseman Jose Abreu of Cuba.

  •  

    South Elgin working hard to improve

    What the South Elgin boys’ swimming team lacks in experience, it makes up for in desire. “If the boys continue to work as hard as they are, they are going to see some great time drops as the season progresses,” said South Elgin coach Tim O’Grady.

  •  
    Whitney Young girls basketball coach and Larkin graduate Corry Irvin will bring her perennial state power to her alma mater Saturday to play Rolling Meadows, the No. 1 team in the Daily Herald Top 20, in the Mac Irvin Classic.

    Larkin homecoming for Young’s Irvin

    Whitney Young girls basketball coach Corry Irvin has never been one to shy away from competition. Annually, she schedules her team to play the toughest nonconference competition possible, both within Illinois and on trips the Dolphins take out of state. On Saturday, Irvin will bring her team home — to her home, that is.

  •  

    Boys basketball season opens with a bang

    This is supposed to be a column about the opening week of the high school basketball season. However, I’d be remiss if I didn’t offer congratulations to Batavia’s newly crowned Class 6A state football champions. Job well done, Bulldogs. As for the basketball...

  •  
    Sean Mogan

    The inbox is bursting with college achievers

    Last week we said there were athletic college achievers to come. We weren’t kidding ...

  •  

    Enough with the delays — here are my favorite spots

    There are dozens of great places to fish, and picking one over another usually amounts to personal preference. With that in mind, here are Mike Jackson's favorite places to wet a line.

  •  

    10th annual Elgin-Bartlett remembrance meet Friday

    The 10th annual Elgin-Bartlett Remembrance Wrestling Meet will be held Friday at Elgin’s Chesbrough Field House at 7 p.m. The Upstate Eight Conference dual meet is held in remembrance of former Elgin wrestlers Jeff Mirabella and Devon Cotie, along with former Elgin teachers and coaches Gary Everett and Irv Johnston. Coach Johnston passed away last winter and this year, Elgin will be dedicating its new varsity mat in his name.

  •  
    Khalen Young, 14, of Hoffman Estates holds the Hoffman Estates Junior Midget team regional championship trophy while seated with Clevontae Jackson, left, and JJ Daniels as the team waits to find out what team they will be facing in the Pop Warner finals in Orlando.

    Hoffman Estates Redhawk team going to national Pop Warner playoffs

    A Pop Warner football team in Hoffman Estates has earned its way to the national championships in Orlando this weekend — making them the first team from the Hoffman Estates Redhawks program in seven years to advance. The Junior Midget team, made up of seventh and eighth graders from Hoffman Estates, Schaumburg and Bartlett, learned Tuesday they will be playing the Titans from Loveland, Colo., in what ESPN announcers predicted will be the “game of the day.”

  •  
    Rolling Meadows' Alexis Glasgow, middle, splits Fremd defenders Grace Tworek, left, and Bryana Hopkins under the basket during Tuesday's game.

    Rolling Meadows turns away Fremd

    After one quarter of action between highly-regarded state contenders, the battle was on in Palatine on Tuesday night. Mid-Suburban League girls basketball powers Rolling Meadows and Fremd were tied at 15-15. But the nationally-ranked Mustangs flexed their muscles in the next two periods, leading by as many as 18 points, and took a 58-43 lead into the final quarter. Then they took Fremd's best punch before surviving, 71-68, in a rematch of last year's MSL title game and sectional championship.

  •  

    Mike North Video: Nick Saban outcoached himself
    Alabama head coach Nick Saban made a costly blunder going for a field goal with an inexperienced kicker. Next time he shouldn't let his ego get in the way.

  •  

    Hersey still perfect; Barrington tops BG

    Junior Annie Korff (17 points), senior Morgan Harris (16 points), senior Renee Poulos (12) and freshman Claire Gritt (11) led Hersey’s girls basketball team in a 70-40 victory at Palatine on Tuesday night in a Mid-Suburban League crossover.

Business

  •  

    Medline inks distributor deal with USPI

    United Surgical Partners International, a provider of surgical services for the local community and a leader in the ambulatory surgery center and short-stay hospital industry, has selected Medline Industries. as its preferred distribution partner for medical and surgical supplies.

  •  
    Palatine will enter into negotiations with a Rockford-based real estate firm that hopes to buy and redevelop the former Menards site at 1775 N. Rand Road. The village bought the property in 2008 after Menards closed. It has been used since mostly for flea markets.

    Palatine and developer will negotiate for Menard’s property

    The Palatine village council this week authorized Village Manager Reid Ottesen to begin negotiating a contract with a Rockford-based real estate firm hoping to redevelop the former Menards site on Rand Road. First Rockford Group is proposing a deal to purchase the property at 1775 N. Rand Road for $3 million initially, plus another $3 million from revenue generated by the new businesses it develops there.

  •  

    Carpentersville replaces vehicle stickers with sales tax hike

    Carpentersville leaders eliminated the village's vehicle sticker program Tuesday and replaced it with a one-half percent hike in the sales tax, a raise that retires in three years. The increase brings Carpentersville's sales tax to 9 percent, which officials won't begin collecting until July 1, 2014. Locally, that figure ties Carpentersville with most of East Dundee, which charges the same tax in 95 percent of its village.

  •  
    U.S. stocks fell a fourth day, the longest slump in 10 weeks for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, as investors weighed economic data for clues on the timing of Federal Reserve stimulus cuts amid optimism over a budget deal.

    Stocks struggle as investors weigh economic news

    The stock market continued its sluggish start to the month on Wednesday. Stocks fell as investors weighed conflicting economic reports and assessed the outlook for the Federal Reserve’s economic stimulus program.

  •  
    Deerfield-based Walgreen Co. says revenue from its established stores rose 3.2 percent last month compared to November 2012.

    Key Walgreen metric climbs 3.2 percent in November

    Deerfield-basedWalgreen Co.’s revenue from established stores rose 3.2 percent last month compared to November 2012, when a wave of generic drugs hurt the top-line of the nation’s largest drugstore chain.

  •  

    Sears shares fall after Lampert’s firm cuts stake

    Sears Holding Corp. shares fell Wednesday after CEO Eddie Lampert’s hedge fund disclosed that it distributed the retailers’ stock as payment to investors who wanted out of the fund this year. The move, in turn, reduced Lampert’s stake in the department store chain. Shares of Sears fell $4.87, nearly 9 percent, to $50.73 by early afternoon. The company’s shares are up 34 percent for 2013 as of Tuesday’s close.

  •  

    Sysmex America appoints new CFO

    Lincolnshire-baed Sysmex America announced Alex Garini has been named Chief Financial Officer.Garini, formerly with Siemens Healthcare, reports directly to John Kershaw, president and CEO of Sysmex America.

  •  

    SGK names new chief information officer

    Des Plaines-based SGK, formerly Schawk Inc., has appointed Robert Border as chief information officer. “Bob has significant experience in aligning IT-enabled business transformation initiatives and delivering technology solutions.

  •  

    Four Chicago Sun-Times photographers to be rehired

    The union representing the Chicago Sun-Times photographers who lost their jobs when the entire photography staff was fired this year says the paper’s publisher has agreed to rehire four of them. Chicago Newspaper Guild executive director Craig Rosenbaum also says the agreement is related to a three-year collective bargaining agreement between five newspapers and the Sun-Times Media group.

  •  

    Audit: former city official didn’t defraud Chicago

    An audit of a former state treasurer in Ohio facing money laundering, wire fraud and other charges has concluded that he did not engage in similar illegal activities while he was Chicago’s comptroller. The Chicago Sun-Times reports that after analyzing nearly 3 million records and conducting 31 interviews for the city, a law firm and an accounting firm found no evidence of wrongdoing by Amer Ahmad while he worked for Chicago.

  •  

    Illinois Central Railroad cited for violations

    Illinois Central Railroad Co. has been cited by the U.S. Department of Labor for a number of safety violations and faces more than $110,000 in fines. The department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration says it began an inspection after observing workers not wearing necessary safety gear while demolishing a Chicago bridge coated with lead-based paint.

  •  

    Key Indiana panel OKs proposed Illiana Expressway

    A key regional planning group has given its OK to the proposed Illiana Expressway linking northwestern Indiana and Chicago’s south suburbs. The (Munster) Times and the Post-Tribune report the transportation policy committee of the Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission voted 18-8 with one abstention Tuesday to add the proposed $1.3 billion, 47-mile toll road to its master plan.

  •  

    Jobless aid available for those hit by Illinois tornados

    Illinois’ Department of Employment Security says people who lost jobs as a direct consequence of the Nov. 17 tornadoes and high winds could qualify for federal unemployment aid. That option arose after President Barack Obama recently designated parts of the state disaster areas.

Life & Entertainment

  •  
    Parkers' Restaurant and Bar offers specialty cocktails like the St. Germain, made with St. Germain, sparkling wine and lime juice.

    Night life events: Parkers adds 3 cocktails to menu

    Parkers' Restaurant and Bar in Downers Grove boasts three new specialty cocktails: the St. Germain cocktail, Caitlin's Peachy Dreamin' of the Beachy cocktail and the By the Seat of Your Pants drink.

  •  
    Members of the rock band, Plain White T's, which performs on the bill of Miracle on State Street at the Chicago Theatre on Friday, Dec. 6.

    Weekend picks: Plain White T's, Backstreet Boys headline Miracle concert

    The Plain White T's, Backstreet Boys and Colbie Caillat headline the Miracle on State Street concert at the Chicago Theatre Friday night. Also, Don McLean and Judy Collins team up at the Arcada Theatre. And take your pick of comedians Eliot Chang and Steve Rannazzisi, playing at Zanies this weekend.

  •  
    Universal Pictures has shut down production on “Fast & Furious 7” following the death of its star Paul Walker.

    Autopsy: Actor died from impact, fire in crash

    “Fast & Furious” star Paul Walker was killed by impact and fire in a crash that occurred while he was a passenger in a Porsche driven by his friend, according to an autopsy released Wednesday.Walker died Saturday when the high-performance car smashed into a light pole and tree, then exploded in flames.

  •  
    No-bake Cranberry Coconut Bites

    No-bake Cranberry Coconut Bites
    No-bake Cranberry Coconut Bites

  •  
    The dough for Stawberry Pistachio Icebox Cookies is easily prepped ahead of time.

    Holiday cookies draw on fruity inspiration

    Associated Press recipe developers looked toward fruit for inspiration when coming up with ideas for their annual holiday cookie package. Strawberry Pistachio Icebox Cookies and No-bake Cranberry Coconut Bites are just a couple of the delicious ideas they share today.

  •  

    Social skills practice eases anxiety for children with autism

    According to the organization Autism Speaks, Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is the fastest-growing developmental disability in the United States. There is a wide range in how children are affected and the level at which they can function, but one commonality is that they may have difficulty with social interaction.

  •  
    December is a popular month for sparkling wine.

    Bubbly for the holidays — and any old day

    Bubbly has become so identified with celebrations rather than daily drinking that in this country, the vast majority of sparkling wine is bought and drunk in December. Yet, you don't need a major celebration to enjoy a glass of this fizzy treat.

  •  
    Christian Slater

    Christian Slater marries girlfriend in Florida

    Christian Slater has married his girlfriend in an impromptu ceremony. Slater’s spokeswoman says the 44-year-old actor wed his girlfriend of three years, Brittany Lopez, on Monday at the courthouse in Coral Gables, Fla.

  •  

    Dad will miss these small annoyances

    My four kids have turned out OK. They have their strengths, their weaknesses, their quirks. They are at times hilarious, kindhearted, mean-spirited or just weird. They are always loved, even when they are temporarily hated.

  •  
    Brownies dress up for the holiday dessert table with raspberry, peppermint and bacony fillings.

    Bourbon Bacon Caramel Brownie Bites
    Holiday Brownie Buffet: Bourbon Bacon Caramel

  •  
    Brownie bites topped with mousse and garnished with raspberries and crushed candy canes are a welcome addition to any holiday treat table.

    Peppermint Mousse Brownie Bites
    Holiday Brownie Buffet: Peppermint Mousse

  •  
    Wrapping shrimp around a nugget of sausage is a clever trick and the proteins bake into the perfect appetizer or hors d’oeuvres for a holiday party.

    Italian Surf and Turf with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce
    :Italian Surf and Turf with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

  •  
    Wrapping shrimp around a nugget of sausage is a clever trick and the proteins bake into the perfect appetizer or hors d’oeuvres for a holiday party.

    Pair shrimp, sausage for easy holiday party food

    Sara Moulton's Italian take on surf and turf — will comes to your holiday party food rescue. It is ridiculously easy to make (especially if you use jarred roasted red peppers) and involves just seven ingredients (not counting salt and pepper).

  •  
    Sweet-and-Salty Kitchen Sink Cookies

    Sweet-and-Salty Kitchen Sink Cookies
    Sweet-and-Salty Kitchen Sink Cookies

  •  
    Stawberry Pistachio Icebox Cookies

    Strawberry Pistachio Icebox Cookies
    Strawberry Pistachio Icebox Cookies

  •  
    Apple Orange Spice Drops

    Apple Orange Spice Drops
    Apple Orange Spice Drops

  •  
    Honey Apricot Tassies

    Honeyed Apricot Tassies
    Honey Apricot Tassies

  •  
    AP Mango marshmallow bars.

    Mango Marshmallow Bars
    Mango Marshmallow Bars

  •  

    Dining events: Sullivan’s offers up lunch combo ‘Mixer’

    Sullivan’s Steakhouse intriduces new lunch menu items; TL’s in Bartlett whips up a new chocolatey, minty holiday dessert wonton; Jason’s Deli’s charitable water.

  •  
    Grilled lamb chops take on an Asian flare at Spice Restaurant and Lounge in Gurnee.

    Gurnee's Spice fuses American pub grub, Indian flavors

    Its location inside the Holiday Inn Gurnee Convention Center makes Spice a tad hard to find. But for those looking for a welcome break from the chain restaurants that dot the area, Spice offers a unique mix of American pub grub and Indian fare.

  •  

    Handling the holidays after a loss

    For families who are facing significant loss, the holidays can feel especially painful and overwhelming. Memories of our loved ones have a way of attaching themselves to music, movies, smells, foods and traditions, and if you have lost a family member, a friend or even a pet, it’s easy to feel bombarded this time of the year with emotions.

  •  
    Frank Darabont, left, with Bix Barnaba, directs a shot during the production of “Mob City.” The drama series from the writer-director Darabont debuts Wednesday, Dec. 4, for a three-week run.

    ‘Mob City’ brings Frank Darabont back to series TV

    At first glance, it appears that Frank Darabont has shifted gears big time from “The Walking Dead” to TNT’s new drama series “Mob City,” debuting Wednesday, lurching from grisly zombies to the dolled-up danger of film noir. But the writer-director doesn’t see it that way. Just as horror and sci-fi movies enthralled him as a young TV watcher, so did the classic midcentury noir of “Double Indemnity” and “Sunset Boulevard.” Darabont says that while the artifice of genre films is appealing, what matters is a story’s honesty.

  •  
    Festive and easy-to-make brownie bites add sparkle to holiday treat tables.

    Easy brownie bites add sparkle to holiday treat table

    Holiday baking means cookies. Lots of cookies of various styles, shapes and sparkles. At least that's what I thought before my life became a carnival. It's not that I don't like to bake, but I no longer have the time to pull all my favorites from the recipe box, clip new recipes and spend the weekends leading up to Christmas elbow deep in flour and butter.

  •  
    This “gun site” is where the bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima was assembled. The iconic areas scattered in and around the modern day Los Alamos National Laboratory are being proposed as sites for a new national park commemorating the Manhattan Project.

    Los Alamos working to create national park

    Tucked away in one of northern New Mexico’s pristine mountain canyons is an old log cabin that was the birthplace not of a famous person, but a top-secret mission that forever changed the world. Pond Cabin, along with a nearby small and stark building where the second person died while developing the nuclear bomb, are among a number of structures scattered in and around the modern day Los Alamos National Laboratory that are being proposed as sites for a new national park commemorating the Manhattan Project.

  •  
    The butterfly bush is a pollinator-attracting, low-maintenance shrub that once established can tolerate weather extremes and gardener neglect.

    Novice gardeners: Try these bulletproof plants

    Gardening is a forgiving pursuit. Get it wrong one year and you can start fresh again the next, wiser, with lessons learned. Study up between planting seasons. Scan the seed catalogs for bulletproof plants that anyone with the blackest of thumbs can grow. “Start small,” said Claire Watson, Wave brand manager for Ball Horticultural Co. in West Chicago.

  •  
    Kids who want to help their parents get ready for a holiday party can put together these cheesy mini quiches. This is a very easy-to-follow recipe.

    Party Bites
    Party Bites: Jerome Gabriel

  •  
    Kids who want to help their parents get ready for holiday parties can put together these cheesy mini quiches. This is a very easy-to-follow recipe.

    Easy mini quiche recipe lets kids help prepare for your holiday party

    Quiche is pretty much just eggs and anything else you want to put in it, like cheese or bacon, ham, broccoli, cheese. So when my mom asked for helped getting ready for a holiday party, I said I'd make the mini quiches.

  •  
    Jake Owen’s fourth album is “Days of Gold.”

    Owen struggles to define self at the party

    Since his first album in 2006, Jake Owens has struggled to separate himself from the deluge of good-time male rockers to emerge in country music in recent years. His fourth album, “Days of Gold,” continues his streak of inconsistency, blending effective slice-of-life songs with generic tunes about partying and drinking.

  •  

    Keeping it simple for the holidays a smart thing to do

    When I told my extroverted 15-year-old daughter that we were going to be having a simple, quiet Christmas at home, she said that sounded terrible. She wants the house full of relatives, kids running all over the place, lots of food, music and noise, late nights of movie watching and late mornings of sleeping in.

  •  
    Peanut Butter Brownie Cups

    Peanut Butter Cup Brownies
    Peanut Butter Brownie Cups

  •  
    IfOnly.com is a website where you can buy encounters with stars in the culinary, sports and entertainment world, with part of the proceeds going to charity.

    IfOnly.com grants unique experiences for charity

    Sure, you could buy that flat-screen TV. But wouldn’t it be a bit more exciting to have a private dinner cooked for you by celebrated chef Tyler Florence? San Francisco tech entrepreneur Trevor Traina certainly thinks so, which is why he’s launched IfOnly.com, a website where you can buy encounters with stars in the culinary, sports and entertainment world, with part of the proceeds going to charity. The recently launched site has already seen more than $500,000 in donations to charity.

  •  
    The new “Futurama” box set includes all 124 episodes, plus four feature-length adventures.

    10 video releases to give for the holidays

    Tired of staring at your Christmas tree or flickering menorah — or at legions of rival shoppers at the mall? Here are 10 home-video releases to give or get this holiday season. All are available online (to spare you another shopping expedition) and are typically available for less than the suggested list price.

  •  

    Talk-it-out works better than timeout

    Many parents use timeouts to deal with undesirable behavior in children younger than 5. Sounds simple, right? Too bad experts say it doesn't really work.

  •  

    When traveling with gifts, think small, convenient

    If you will be traveling over the holidays and plan to fly somewhere for your gift exchange, these tips can help get your gifts there with the least possible hassle.

Discuss

  •  

    Editorial: ‘Divorcing’ fire districts need time to find common ground

    A Daily Herald editorial says the the breakup of two rural fire districts is posing complex challenges that need to be addressed without delay.

  •  

    The Hillary alternative

    Columnist Richard Cohen: A recent issue of the New Republic had Elizabeth Warren on the cover with the headline “Hillary’s Nightmare?” It was one of a spate of such stories, all of them saying that the Democratic Party was moving to the left (and away from Hillary Clinton and yes, Barack Obama) to which I, in uncharacteristic silence, vowed a solemn, “Oh, no, not again.” Warren, like the old saying about second marriages, could well be the triumph of hope over experience.

  •  

    Older drivers and rules of the road
    A Round Lake letter to the editor: It’s about time the authorities did something about older drivers. For too long they have caused havoc as they hog the right lane, stick to the speed limits and stop at stop signs.

  •  

    Still waiting for responsible gun laws
    A Libertyville letter to the editor: I am getting fed up how quickly concern for mass-murder victims fades with time.

  •  

    Baldwin has a promise to keep
    A Mundelein letter to the editor: Several years ago, Alec Baldwin received wide press coverage when he vowed to move to Canada if George Bush was elected president. Bush won, but unfortunately Baldwin remains in the United States.

  •  

    All benefit from paying taxes for schools
    A Mount Prospect letter to the editor: I take issue with a recent letter suggesting that since they don’t use the schools, seniors shouldn’t have to pay full taxes to support them. If you draw this reasoning to its logical extension, perhaps my taxes shouldn’t go toward paying for the senior center since I don’t use it.

  •  

    A questionable model for Obama?
    A Schaumburg letter to the editor: The recent article regarding the pushback on the Iran nuclear test treaty stated that President Obama wanted to give diplomacy a chance to work. I wonder if he has ever studied the success Neville Chamberlain had with diplomacy.

  •  

    President overstepping limits of his office
    A Palatine letter to the editor: What part of Article II, Section 3, of the Constitution, which states, “he shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed,” doesn’t President Obama understand? On Nov. 14 he issued his fix for the very broken Affordable Care Act, suspending the enforcement of the law for a year.

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