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Daily Archive : Saturday December 7, 2013

News

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    Hoffman Estates Redhawks advance in Orlando

    The Hoffman Estates Redhawks will move on to the second round of the Pop Warner Junior Midget Division playoffs Tuesday after shutting out the Loveland Titans of Colorado 28-0 Saturday afternoon in Orlando. The Redhawks will take on the Northeast Pride of Arizona in Tuesday's game beginning at 12:15 p.m.

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    Marvin L. Jones Jr., a Hazel Crest man charged in armed robbery at Mt. Prospect Sprint store.

    Suspect charged in Mount Prospect robbery

    A Hazel Crest man has been charged in Tuesday night's armed robbery at Sprint wireless store in Mount Prospect. Police said Marvin L. Jones Jr., 25, of the 16000 block of Anthony Street, was arrested Friday.

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    Zoe Meadows, 14, of Lombard preforms in the window of Deer Fina during Lombard's Jinglebell Jubilee on Saturday. The festival features activities throughout downtown.

    Lombard celebrates Jinglebell Jubillee

    Note to Grinches, Scrooges and anybody else with a heart two sizes too small or inclined to say stuff like “bah, humbug” at this time of year: You might want to bypass Lombard for the next couple of weeks.

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    Sarah Schiltz of Carpentersville tries to find her children's ornaments on the Immanuel Lutheran Christmas tree during the Dickens in Dundee festival at Grafelman Park Saturday in West Dundee.

    Dickens in Dundee doesn't disappoint

    Christmas music filled the cold December air as Santa was heard checking for his reindeer near the petting zoo during the 26th Dickens in Dundee festival Saturday. Visitors could make a gingerbread house, stop by Santa's Workshop and the petting zoo, and enjoy the reading of “A Christmas Carol.”

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    An estimated 1,000-car road rally in tribute to the “Fast & Furious” actor Paul Walker made its way from Arlington Heights to Interstate 90 heading toward Chicago, according to Prospect Heights police.

    Suburban car convoy honors ‘Fast & Furious’ star Paul Walker

    Prospect Heights police Saturday received assistance from Arlington Heights and Mount Prospect officers in the taming of an estimated 1,000-car road rally in tribute to the late “Fast & Furious” actor Paul Walker. The House of Music & Entertainment (H.O.M.E.) at 1227 N. Rand Road had been selected as the starting point for the Chicago-bound rally, though police were not informed as early as...

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    Jeff Zilke, a Palatine resident and a teacher at Sundling Junior High, warms up by dancing before the Rotary Santa Run on Saturday in Arlington Heights.

    1,600 Santas hit the streets in Arlington Hts.

    Battling single-digit temperatures, some 1,600 runners dressed in Santa suits trotted through the streets of downtown Arlington Heights as part of the Rotary Santa Run.

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    First time volunteer Julie Besson of Antioch, left, serves up cranberry and rolls Saturday as the VFW in Antioch hosted 350 sailors from Great Lakes and 50 veterans from Lovell and Hines hospitals for a full Christmas dinner .

    Great Lakes sailors, veterans get holiday treat

    Christmas dinner and all the fixin’s were on the menu Saturday for some 400 current and former members of the military, courtesy of the Lake County Tavern Owners Association and the Antioch VFW.

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    Mike Fox, district chief with the North Maine Fire Protection District, gives a high-five to Neko Rias, 4, of Chicago, being carried by Jim Utinans, of the Des Plaines Fire Department, through a Gauntlet of Honor made up of police officers and fire department personnel at the entrance to Santa’s Winter Wonderland Saturday at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont.

    Operation North Pole a day to remember for sick kids

    A very special Metra train spreading a whole lot of holiday cheer — think jolly firemen, impish elves and a rambunctious Mrs. Santa — carried more than 60 children and families on a one-of-a-kind ride Saturday morning from Des Plaines to Crystal Lake and back. The children, all of whom suffer from terminal or life-threatening illnesses, laughed and squealed.

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    The 5K racers fight frigid weather during the TriCity Family Services' fifth annual Snowflake Shuffle Saturday in Geneva.

    Frigid but festive 5K in Geneva

    TriCity Family Services hosted its fifth annual Snowflake Shuffle on Saturday morning in Geneva. The Youth Mile and 5K races started and ended at the Mill Creek Clubhouse. Many runners donned festive attire, and Santa was scheduled to make an appearance.

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    Aaron, left, and Nora Basilio of Wauconda visit with Santa on Saturday at Wauconda's Holiday Walk on Main Street.

    Wauconda takes a walk on the holiday side

    A horse-drawn sleigh, a scavenger hunt and a gingerbread-decorating contest Saturday were among the highlights of Wauconda's annual Holiday Walk on Main Street.

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    Scientists taught two groups of male mice to fear odors by zapping their feet with an electric shock every time they blew scented air into their cages. The experimental group became afraid of cherry blossoms with a hint of almond, and the control group feared alcohol. The experimental groups’ offspring also feared cherry blossom smells from birth.

    Study finds mice DNA passes learned fear through generations

    A newborn mouse pup, seemingly innocent to the workings of the world, may actually harbor generations’ worth of information passed down by its ancestors.

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    Britain’s Prince Harry, right, during training near Novo, Antarctica, ahead of an Antarctic charity race.

    Harry’s South Pole race curtailed; trek goes on

    Organizers of an Antarctic charity race involving Prince Harry said Saturday they are suspending its competitive element because of harsh conditions, but plan to continue the journey to the South Pole.

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    St. Charles Mayor Ray Rogina, right, shares a laugh with songwriter Jim Masters during the city’s tree-lighting ceremony Nov. 29. Masters performed “In St. Charles,” the city’s official song that he wrote.

    Let’s not revisit Christmas Eve 1983, OK?

    Dave Heun is hoping the cold weather takes a hiatus in time for the Christmas holiday.

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    An Egyptian woman supporter of ousted President Mohammed Morsi shows her hand inscribed with the word “freedom,” from inside the defendants’ cage in a courtroom Saturday in Alexandria, Egypt.

    Egypt court cuts sentences on women activists

    “This is God-given,” Ola Alaa, an 18-year-old medical student who was initially sentenced to 11 years, said by telephone after reaching her home in the coastal city of Alexandria. “I think (the authorities) wanted to calm things down,” she said.

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    Judy Rodgers, the chef at Zuni Cafe in San Francisco, Calif.

    Notable deaths last week

    Former South African president Nelson Mandela leads the list of notable deaths this week, and movie fans lost 'Fast & Furious' star Paul Walker in a tragic accident.

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    Items that have been collected for disaster relief for the Washington tornado victims sit at the bottom of a 20-foot Christmas tree Friday at Shodeen headquarters in Geneva. They will be delivered to the Washington area on Wednesday.

    Geneva collection for tornado victims ends Monday

    Geneva is still collecting items to donate to victims of the tornado that struck Washington, Ill., last month. “I never thought something like that could actually happen until I saw it with my own eyes. It was extremely emotional and I instantly knew we needed to do something to show our support to the town,” Batavia student Erin Bayram said.

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    About 40 people turned out to listen to speakers at the MyCancellation.com town-hall meeting Saturday at College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn. Panelists answered questions from people whose health insurance policies were canceled by the Affordable Care Act and those who had other concerns about the new health care law.

    Health care panel discusses consequences of Obamacare

    A few dozen people turned out Saturday afternoon to share their concerns with the health care overhaul known as Obamacare and find out what the future might hold for them in terms of insurance costs and coverage. The forum was held at College of DuPage.

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    Earthquake rattles central Oklahoma

    The shaking is increasingly commonplace in the state, so after the initial surprise, customers at a central Oklahoma restaurant returned their attention to an in-state college football rivalry game.

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    Google co-founder Sergey Brin demonstrates the company’s computerized glasses, which feature a thumbnail-size transparent video display on a lens in front of the user’s right eye.

    Illinois could bar drivers from using Google Glass

    Google’s new computerized glasses aren’t on sale to the general public yet, but the devices already have lawmakers in Illinois and several other states concerned that they’ll become the latest deadly distraction for drivers.

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    Miranda K. Barbour is led into District Judge Ben Apfelbaum’s office Tuesday in Sunbury, Pa.

    Police say newlyweds killed man from Craigslist

    Miranda Barbour was charged Wednesday. She initially denied knowing LaFerrara, but her story evolved as investigators gathered evidence, including the discovery that the last call received by the victim’s cellphone was made from her number, according to a police affidavit.

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    Emily Whitehead is checked by pediatric oncologist, Dr. Stephan A. Grupp, at the hospital.

    Gene therapy scores big wins against blood cancers

    Cancer was so advanced in 8-year-old Emily Whitehead of Philipsburg, Pa., that doctors said her major organs would fail within days. She was the first child given the gene therapy and shows no sign of cancer today, nearly two years later.

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    The sun rises Saturday over the hills south of the Yellowstone River in Billings, Mont. as the temperatures hover around 20 degrees below zero.

    State-by-state look at frigid blast

    A large swath of the U.S. is experiencing frigid temperatures, sleet, snow and ice. Several deaths have been reported, most a result of treacherous driving conditions. More than a thousand flights have been canceled, numerous football and basketball games postponed and holiday celebrations — including tree lightings and parades — curtailed.

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    This Jan. 17, 2013, photo provided by Paul Libera shows him with the sign he raised in his yard in Webster, N.Y., a few weeks after a gunman shot and killed two firefighters in the town and after the Dec. 14, 2012, massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. His idea was to get people to reconsider old attitudes about guns, but many people were angered by the sign in an area with an active and vocal community of gun owners.

    A year after Newtown, rift over guns deepens

    In the moment, Newtown’s children became our own. Staring at photographs of their freckled faces, hair tucked into barrettes and baseball caps, a country divided by politics, geography, race, class and belief was united in mourning. And as their deaths confronted Americans with vexing questions about guns and violence, there were calls to turn that shared grief into a collective search for...

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    Anne and Ethan Baumfeld of Barrington and their children, Harper and Perry, ride the merry-go-round Saturday at ChristKindlFest in downtown Barrington.

    Barrington brings first ChristKindlFest to town

    Barrington held its first ChristKindlFest on Saturday in the BMO Harris parking lot, 201 S. Grove St. The German-themed festival included a market, reindeer rides, family games, live music, delicious food, and a Glogfest featuring German and craft brews. The event continues from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.

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    Internally displaced people gather Saturday in the Don Bosco Center outside Bangui, Central African Republic, fearing reprisal attacks from the Muslim ex-rebels who control the territory.

    France increases its deployment in African nation

    Bloodshed was rife on Thursday, hours before a U.N. vote paved the way for a greater French and African presence to be deployed.On Saturday, some Bangui residents ventured outside for the first in time in days only to bury their dead. French armored personnel carriers and troops from the regional African peacekeeping mission roared at high speed down Bangui’s roads, as families carrying palm...

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    U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, center, is greeted Saturday by military personnel after arriving at International Security Assistance Force Headquarters (ISAF) in Kabul, Afghanistan.

    Afghan military reassures Hagel on unsigned security deal

    President Hamid Karzai tentatively has endorsed the agreement and a council of tribal elders, the Loya Jirga, has said it should be signed by Jan. 1, as the U.S. has demanded.Karzai says he wants his successor to decide after Afghanistan’s April elections, and has stood his ground in the face of unrelenting pressure from diplomatic and defense officials.

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    Is there really a worker shortage in STEM fields?

    President Barack Obama announced during his first term that he wanted the U.S. to recruit 100,000 new STEM teachers over the next 10 years and have colleges and universities graduate an additional 1 million students in STEM majors. But there is considerable debate on whether there are enough jobs for all the STEM-educated students.

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    U.S. tourist Merrill Newman sits in a car after arriving at Beijing airport Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013 after being released by North Korea. North Korea deported Newman who was detained for more than a month, apparently ending the saga of his return to the North six decades after he advised South Korean guerrillas still loathed by Pyongyang.

    North Korea deports US tourist and Korean War vet

    North Korea on Saturday freed an 85-year-old U.S. veteran of the Korean War after a weekslong detention, ending the saga of Merrill Newman's attempt to visit the North as a tourist six decades after he oversaw a group of South Korean wartime guerrillas still loathed by Pyongyang.

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    A mourner signs the book of condolences at the iconic Regina Mundi church, which became one of the focal points of the anti-apartheid struggle, in Soweto, Johannesburg, South Africa Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013. South Africa is readying itself for the arrival of a flood of world leaders for the funeral and memorial services for former president Nelson Mandela as thousands of mourners continue to flock to sites around the country to pay homage to the freedom struggle icon.

    Nelson Mandela family: 'We have lost a great man'

    In their first statement since his death, Nelson Mandela's family says they've "lost a great man, a son of the soil." Lt. Gen. Temba Templeton Matanzima, a spokesman for the Mandela family, read the statement to journalists Saturday in Johannesburg.

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    U.S. President Barack Obama turns from the podium after speaking in the briefing room of the White House in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 5, 2013, about the death of Nelson Mandela. Obama says the world has lost an influential, courageous and 'profoundly good' man with the death of anti-apartheid icon Mandela.

    Obama, Bush, Clinton to travel to South Africa

    At least three American presidents will travel to South Africa to attend memorial services for anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela, who died Thursday at age 95. The White House said Friday that President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama would travel to South Africa next week to pay their respects. They will be joined on Air Force One by former President George W. Bush and wife Laura...

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    How cold was it here? A frozen fountain at Chandler's Cove tells the tale at South Lake Union, Friday, Dec. 6, 2013, in Seattle. A big chunk of the U.S. is getting a blast of frigid temperatures, sleet, snow and ice.

    Snow, sleet, ice hits large swath of US

    Millions hunkered down for icy conditions expected to last through the weekend from Texas to Ohio to Tennessee as the cold snap that covered much of the nation knocked out power and made roads treacherous Saturday. Face-stinging sleet, thick snow and blustery winds led to slick road conditions, school closures and event cancellations as the wintry blast dropped temperatures to freezing and below...

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    Senators talk up benefits of Illiana Expressway

    U.S. Sens. Mark Kirk of Illinois and Dan Coats of Indiana are talking up the benefits of the proposed Illiana Expressway. The 47-mile tollway would connect Interstate 65 in northwest Indiana with I-55 south of Chicago.

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    Lawmaker seeks to reduce plane noise by airports

    A lawmaker from Illinois has introduced a bill that aims to reduce noise in residential areas near airports. U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley says the Silent Skies Act would require aviation companies to phase in quieter planes faster than they're doing. All commercial airplanes would have to comply with stricter standards by 2035.

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    Ill. wind turbine damage blamed on strong storms

    The company that operates an eastern Illinois wind-energy farm where two blades recently broke off a turbine near a school says last month's severe storms may be to blame.

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    Illinois marking 72nd anniversary of Pearl Harbor

    Illinois is marking the 72nd anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor that killed 1,177 people and brought the United States into World War II.

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    West Dundee, fire department ink inaugural employment agreement

    The seven unionized members of the West Dundee Fire Department have inked a first-ever, three-year contract with the village that guarantees them 2 percent raises, additional pay to maintain certifications and other perks, Fire Chief Randy Freise said Friday.

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    Vacant land on the south side of Route 120 in Lakemoor is being purchased as the site of a proposed municipal complex.

    Route 120 site planned for Lakemoor municipal campus

    Lakemoor has taken a big step toward a municipal campus by authorizing a contract to purchase 3.2 acres for $640,000. "Route 120 is the corridor that runs through the village and we want a presence on that street," said Matt Dabrowski, director of community and economic development.

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    Kane forest district to buy land from Pingree Grove

    The pending land deal between the Kane County Forest Preserve District and Pingree Grove has changed. The village has decided to keep part of the Harrison property that it originally offered the district. Instead, the district will purchase 42 acres for about $570,000.

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    Lyle Hancock of Wheeling and Joe Triolo of Waukegan were among the survivors honored Friday in Des Plaines during a ceremony commemorating the 72nd anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.

    So few Pearl Harbor survivors left; 3 honored in Des Plaines

    Some estimates suggest there’s only about 1,000 Pearl Harbor survivors still living, which makes Friday's ceremony in Des Plaines, which honored three suburban men who lived through the attack, even more poignant. “We can’t let current and future generations forget,” said Bob Miller, who organized the commemoration ceremony Friday in Des Plaines.

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    Hampshire resident Jeffery Lawnicki, pictured with his beagle, Daisy, garnered the most online votes in last year’s decorating contest.

    Bar set high in holiday lights contest

    A few strands of multicolored bulbs and scattered reindeer just won’t cut it in the Daily Herald’s annual holiday lights competition. The best entries go all out, with synchronized music, animatronic figures and laser shows. Here's a look back of some recent winners.

Sports

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    Saturday’s wrestling scoreboard
    Here are the varsity boys wrestling results from Saturday as reported to the Daily Herald.

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

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

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

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    Saturday’s boys swimming scoreboard
    Here are varsity boys swimming results from Saturday's meets, as reported to the Daily Herald.

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

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    Andersen scores 26 in Aurora Christian’s win

    Aurora Christian opened Suburban Christian Conference play Saturday with a 48-37 win over Marian Central Catholic (6-2, 2-1).

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    Geneva rallies behind Navigator’s 41

    Behind a career-high 41 points by junior forward Nate Navigato, Geneva (6-1) made up a 13-point third-quarter deficit to beat Bloomington 65-61 at the Champaign Centennial Shootout held at the University of Illinois’ State Farm Center, formerly Assembly Hall. “It might be one the best comebacks I’ve seen from a Geneva team since I’ve been here,” said Vikings coach Phil Ralston after the nonconference win brought his career record up to 202 victories.

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    The Bulls’ Taj Gibson puts some defensive pressure on Andre Drummond of the Pistons on Saturday at the United Center.

    Shorthanded Bulls hit the wall

    The Bulls lost Luol Deng to an Achilles injiury, then shot the ball horribly in a 92-75 loss to Detroit on Saturday. The Pistons snapped a 14-game losing streak in the regular season at the United Center, dating back to 2006.

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    Huntley holds off Barrington in battle of unbeatens

    Getting the ball to the go-to player in the right place in a crucial time is not always easy. And Huntley kept its patience when it didn’t happen immediately in a tie game with visiting Barrington in Saturday night’s nonconference girls basketball battle of unbeatens. A screen by senior Sam Andrews set up her sophomore sister Ali down near the basket. Bethany Zornow’s entry pass was timed perfectly so there was no time for extra defensive help to arrive. And 25 seconds after a timeout, the 6-foot-2 Ali Andrews’ short turnaround with 1:11 to play put the Red Raiders ahead to stay during an 8-point run that sent them to a 50-48 victory.

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    Conant stays hot, tops Viator

    Conant’s girls basketball team won for the fourth time in five games as the Cougars posted a 53-35 nonconference win over visiting St. Viator on Saturday afternoon in Hoffman Estates.

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    Balliu, Tomasiewicz lead Lakes win

    Jake Balliu scored 11 points, Michal Tomasiewicz added 10 and Lakes’ boys basketball team edged Grayslake North 47-42 Saturday night to earn its first win of the season.

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    Antioch wraps up busy start with victory at Kaneland

    Few girls basketball teams have been busier than Antioch to start the season. Playing their ninth game in 16 days, the Sequoits defeated host Kaneland 58-46 Saturday to snap a two-game losing streak and earn what coach Tim Borries called a “well-earned day off.” Antioch, which improved to 7-3, won six games during the stretch.

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    Matthews joins the effort as Stevenson handles Mundelein

    Johnson was one of four players in double figures, helping lead Stevenson past Mundelein 90-55 in the Pats’ North Suburban Lake Division opener on Saturday night in Lincolnshire. Jalen Brunson led the Patriots with 26 points, 9 rebounds and 4 steals. Johnson and Matt Morrissey each chipped in with 13 points, and Morrissey also pulled down 9 rebounds. Freshman Justin Smith contributed 10 points off the bench.

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    St. Edward tops Aurora Christian to win Wilkie Classic

    With nearly every starter on both sides in heavy foul trouble, St. Edward came out on top Saturday night in what amounted to a game of last man standing over Aurora Christian. The Green Wave used the foul line and a strong fourth quarter to extend its season-opening streak to 8-0 to top the host Eagles 53-46 and capture the Burney Wilkie Classic holiday tournament title in the process.

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    More training needed for Metea Valley

    Metea Valley coach Bob Vozza praised his team’s effort and intensity after Saturday night’s 66-60 loss at East Aurora.

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    Irvin, Young start with decisive win over Meadows

    Whitney Young coach Corry Irvin came back to her alma mater on Saturday afternoon for the Mac Irvin Diabetes Classic.Her Dolphins opened their season against nationally-ranked Rolling Meadows team (7-0) which was ranked No. 1 in the Chicago area by one publication.“She (Irvin) wanted us to make sure we represented her well at her high school and start our the season out right,” said Dolphins 6-foot-5 forward Khaalia Hillsman (8 points, 13 rebounds), a Texas A & M recruit. “She didn’t want to lose in her hometown where she was a Hall of Fame player (Elgin Sports Hall of Fame).”The Dolphins did not let their coach down, running past the Mustangs 54-40.

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    Florida State’s Jameis Winston (5) leaps over Duke’s Bryon Fields (14) for a touchdown during the Atlantic Coast Conference Championship Saturday in Charlotte, N.C.

    No. 1 FSU routs No. 20 Duke 45-7 for ACC title

    Duke’s first trip to the ACC championship game was a dud. The No. 20 Blue Devils couldn’t stop Heisman Trophy contender Jameis Winston and couldn’t do much when it counted against Florida State’s tough defense in a 45-7 loss Saturday night that snapped their eight-game winning streak. Winston threw for three touchdowns and ran for another to give the Seminoles (13-0) their second straight league title.

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    Bulls forward Carlos Boozer (5) looks for an opening against Detroit Pistons forward Greg Monroe during Saturday’s game. The Bulls lost to the Pistons, 92-75.

    Short-handed Bulls lose to Pistons, 92-75

    Brandon Jennings scored 33 points to lead the Detroit Pistons to a 92-75 win over the short-handed Chicago Bulls on Saturday night. Kyle Singler added 12 points for Detroit (10-10), and Andre Drummond had eight points and 14 rebounds.

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    Semifinal berth warms North Central

    The North Central College football team walked off the field at Bethel University feeling a numbness comprised of equal parts frostbite and euphoria Saturday, fighting its way past subzero temperatures and a sturdy opponent to post a 41-17 victory over the Royals in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Division III playoffs at Royal Stadium.

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    Northern Illinois wide receiver Juwan Brescacin (11) reaches for a 14-yard reception for a touchdown during the first quarter of the Mid-American Conference championship game in Detroit on Friday. NIU lost to Bowling Green 47-27.

    Thanks NIU for a remarkable run

    Never did I think I'd see NIU go on a 24-3 run and reach the Orange Bowl, while becoming relevant on the national college football stage. Not in my lifetime. Thanks, NIU, for the memories.

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    Barons bounce back to beat Wolves

    The Chicago Wolves scored twice in the third period to take the lead, but Oklahoma City answered with 4 goals in the final six minutes to seize a 5-2 victory Saturday night at Allstate Arena. Sergey Andronov and Pat Cannone netted the goals for the Wolves (10-10-0-2), who lost despite outshooting the Barons 41-23.

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    Libertyville catches Glenbrook S. at the wrong time

    Glenbrook South’s girls basketball team started slowly this season, as the Titans they lost all five of their games in Schaumburg’s Thanksgiving tournament. They’re turning it around, however, and Libertyville was the victim Saturday. Glenbrook South won its second game in a row, defeating visiting Libertyville 51-34 in nonconference action.

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    Soph McCurdy steps up for Burlington Central

    The Burlington Central boys basketball team overcame a cold-shooting first quarter and eventually turned on the heat to defeat Hampshire 64-51 Saturday on Pack the Place Night in Hampshire. Rockets’ sophomore Luke McCurdy led all scorers with 20 points.

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    Larkin’s Christian Negron slams the ball against Morgan Park in the first half Saturday in Elgin.

    Images: Morgan Park Academy vs. Larkin boys basketball
    Larkin hosted Morgan Park in a boys basketball matchup Saturday night in Elgin.

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    St. Charles N. too strong for St. Charles E.

    If you are a basketball player from St. Charles, where else better to be on your 18th birthday than in the middle of a St. Charles North-St. Charles East game? That’s where Erik Miller found himself Saturday night on his 18th birthday. Miller got just what he wanted, a 68-58 win for his North Stars in a game he chipped in 14 points, 6 rebounds and some of the physical play in a game St. Charles North dominated the backboards, 50-28.

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    Girls basketball/Fox Valley roundup

    Westminster Christian 65, Harvest Christian 33: Westminster Christian’s depth and experience was too much for Harvest Christian Saturday in a Northeastern Athletics Conference girls basketball game between the west Elgin neighbors played at Harvest Christian’s Mitchell Swaback Athletic Center.Claire Speweik had a huge game for the Warriors with 16 points, 21 rebounds and 4 steals and Maddie Versluys added 19 points and 11 rebounds as Westminster (7-1, 3-0) broke open a close game early to come away with a 65-33 win.Ten of the 11 Warriors who played in the game scored as Westminster turned an 11-8 lead after one quarter into a 30-19 advantage by halftime before outscoring the Lions (2-2, 1-1) 35-14 in the second half.“I’m spoiled because I have depth,” said Westminster coach Ken Flickinger. “We can go pretty far down the bench. The players that aren’t starting are getting ready mentally to come into the game and play really well. The one area I’m really pleased with has been our bench play. It has dramatically improved. They’re playing a big role for us.”McKaila Hays added 9 points and 4 assists to the win, while Liz Meschewski had 8 points and 4 steals.But it was Speweik who led the way on this day for the Warriors.“Claire had a big game today,” Flickinger said. “I think she had a double-double in the first half. She’s played really well. McKaila Hays is having a really good year for us.”Kylee Knox had 17 points, 7 rebounds and 5 steals to lead Harvest. Alex Rayappa added 11 points, Rachel Oostdyk had 8 rebounds and Morgan Lockwood 6 rebounds.“We lost to a good team here today,” said Lions’ coach Kelly Friestad. “But I thought today, even though we got beat pretty bad, we came out strong and we were right with them there in that first quarter. I think that was huge for us to see that we can play with a good team. It’ll be fun to see where we’re at in another month.”CL South 59, CL Central 41: Gaby De Jesus scored a career-high 13 points to go along with 6 assists and 3 steals to lead the Gators to an 18-point win on Night of Hoops in Crystal Lake.“I got some good shots and was able to make them,” said DeJesus. “I want to do anything to help the team win.”De Jesus made all 4 shots she took in the third quarter for 8 points as the Gators (5-4) outscored Central 18-7. The Gators extended a 29-24 lead at halftime to 47-31 after three quarters.“She hit some tear -droppers in the lane and took good shots,” said South coach Kyle McCaughn of DeJesus. “She always does a good job of running the offense at the point. Tonight she added some offense.”Rachel Rasmussen added 15 points for the Gators, 10 in the first quarter. Sara Mickow scored 11 and Kianna Clark tallied 7 off the bench.Kelsey Schmitt paced the Tigers with 14 points.‘South is a handful to play for 32 minutes,” said Central coach Paul Lichtenheld. “They are well-coached. Their coaching staff does a phenomenal job of using their strengths to their advantage while ignoring their weaknesses.”Bartlett 66, West Chicago 40: Bartlett (4-4, 1-0) was victorious in its first Upstate Eight Valley game of the season. Ally Giampapa led the Hawks with 24 points and 5 steals. Liz Arco added 10 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals and 4 blocks. Kaitlin Brohan had 6 points and 6 assists, while Lauren Janczak added 9 points and 4 assists to the Bartlett attack.Wheeling 51, Jacobs 37: The Golden Eagles (2-6) took a nonconference loss Saturday. Glenita Williams finished with 12 points and Carly Sidor added 9 points. Batavia 64, Elgin 36: The Maroons (3-3, 0-1) were led by Maggie Powers with 19 points in this UEC River loss.

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    Deng latest victim of injury bug

    Bulls forward Luol Deng missed Saturday's game against Detroit with a calf injury. In his place, coach Tom Thibodeau started Taj Gibson, usually a power forward, at small forward.

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    Auburn wide receiver Sammie Coates (18) celebrates after the second half of the Southeastern Conference NCAA football championship game against the Missouri Saturday in Atlanta. Auburn won 59-42.

    No. 5 Missouri overwhelmed by No. 3 Auburn, 59-42

    Missouri proved it’s SEC worthy in only its second year in the league. The Tigers just weren’t ready for Auburn’s up-tempo running game, and that was a devastating realization with the Southeastern Conference championship on the line.

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    Brian Urlacher runs down Martellus Bennett when Bennett was on the Cowboys in 2010.

    Opinions differ for 3 Bears facing former team

    Tight end Martellus Bennett, defensive tackle Jeremiah Ratliff and special teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis all were Cowboys before they joined the Bears this year. Monday night's matchup against their former team means something different to all of them.

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    Wheaton North holds off Glenbard South

    Wheaton North led wire to wire in Saturday’s win over visiting Glenbard South, but it was apparent throughout that no lead was going to be safe against the battling Raiders.

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    Trestman reached out to Ditka right away

    Mike Ditka will have his number retired at halftime of Monday night's game. Despite the giant shadow Ditka still casts over Bears football, first-year head coach Marc Trestman warmly welcomed "Da Coach" when he was hired.

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    Neuqua Valley’s Piotrowski gets aggressive

    Josh Piotrowski came into a rivalry game with a previous personal scoring best that barely reached double figures. But the Neuqua Valley senior had a breakout performance Saturday evening against Waubonsie Valley in the schools’ Upstate Eight Valley boys basketball game. Piotrowski scored a game-high 24 points to lead three Wildcats in double digits as Neuqua Valley rarely trailed in its 64-45 victory over the Warriors in Naperville.

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    Robert ready to lead Naperville N.

    Michaela Robert made an impression from the very beginning of her time with the gymnastics team at Naperville North, advancing to state her first two years in high school.

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    California dreaming: Benet beats out-of-state team

    Benet coach Gene Heidkamp didn’t know what to expect from Redondo Union (Calif.) going into the Chicago Elite Classic, so he told his team to just play its game. That’s what the Redwings did to defeat the Sea Hawks 55-46 on Saturday at UIC Pavilion.

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    Boys basketball/Fox Valley roundup

    Elgin Academy 62, St. Martin de Porres 30: The Hilltoppers (2-2) were led by Jumel Julien, who finished with 16 points, including 3 3-pointers, and 5 rebounds. Dietrich Robinson was right behind with 15 points, 2 steals and 2 rebounds. Ryan Vero had 6 points and 4 steals, while Spencer Schael had 6 points and 4 rebounds.West Chicago 66, Bartlett 58: The Hawks (5-1, 0-1) suffered their first loss of the season in their Upstate Eight Valley opener. Ryan DiCanio led Bartlett with 19 points. Kevin Wantroba and Justin Busch finished with 13 points apiece for Bartlett.Westminster Christian 68, Stillman Valley 60: The Warriors (4-2) were victorious in nonconference action Saturday with the help of Sam Carani’s 36 points, including his 4 3-pointers and an 8-for-11 performance from the free-throw line. Dillon Rejman scored 11 points for Westminster.

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    Fremd turns away Stephani, Wheeling

    Wheeling senior Jeremy Stephani made five 3-pointers and finished with a game-high 27 points — and even that wasn’t enough to stop Fremd. The Vikings remain perfect this season, improving to 6-0 with a 55-37 victory over the visiting Wildcats in a Mid-Suburban League boys basketball crossover on Saturday. Fremd senior guard Riley Glassmann had a team-best 20 points — his third game of 20 or more points this season — and Matt Ochoa and Ben Carlson each had 10 points for the Vikings.

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    Melillo, Carmel tough one out against Benet

    Carmel Catholic’s little-but-tough Sam Melillo found herself in a tough spot Saturday. She lay on the basketball court shaken and woozy after getting knocked in the head as a result of a collision with a Benet Academy player. After several minutes, the 5-foot-1 backup point guard was helped to the sideline and missed the remaining 5:15 of the East Suburban Catholic Conference opener in Mundelein. “I ran into her shoulder,” Melillo said. “It wasn’t on purpose. It was just a physical play.” Carmel found itself in a tough spot, too. The Corsairs were in the midst of squandering a 10-point fourth-quarter advantage when Melillo crashed to the floor. But they outscored the visiting Redwings 6-2 down the stretch to pull out a 49-46 win.

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    Crystal Lake S. outlasts Crystal Lake C.

    Talk about a momentum changer. In a blink of an eye — actually 3 minutes, 38 seconds — Crystal Lake South turned a 2-point deficit into a 14-point lead. A 16-0 run in the third quarter propelled the Gators to a 77-65 win over Crystal Lake Central in Fox Valley Conference crossover action at South Saturday night. The game was part of the sister schools’ Night of Hoops.

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    Lake Park shows well again in Cougar Classic

    Lake Park's boys bowling team lived up to its strong tradition of performances with a runner-up effort Saturday in the Cougard Classic at Brunswick Zone Vernon Hills.

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    Burlington Central downs Hampshire

    When expectations every night are high, and you’re well aware of your talent level, complacency may be the one thing you have to guard against most. Just ask the Burlington Central girls basketball team.The Rockets bolted out to a 29-14 lead on Hampshire at halftime Saturday night, extended it to 44-24 by the end of the third quarter, and then had what may have been their least productive fourth quarter of the season. But they came away with a 47-36 nonconference win on Pack the Place Night at Hampshire and to their coach, Mark Smith, the bottom line is the win.

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    Glenbard North High School´s Jon Marmolejo pins West Aurora´s Anthony Decarlo in the 126-pound weight class, at the DuPage Valley Conference wrestling tournament. ¬

    Scouting DuPage County wrestling

    Previewing DuPage County wrestling teams.

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    Prospect’s Megan Schmit competes on the vault at the Rolling Meadows Al Galatte Invitational on Saturday.

    Super sophs Johnston, Hasanov superb at Galatte

    Last year, Rolling Meadow’s Kelly Johnston and Barrington’s Abby Hasanov exploded onto the scene by finishing 3-4 in the all-around at the Mid-Suburban League meet. The two sophomores picked up where they left off on Saturday at the 33rd annual Al Galatte Invite hosted by Rolling Meadows.

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    St. Edward makes quick work of Rosary

    It is never a good omen for a basketball team when it has a single defensive rebound in the opening quarter. But then again, St. Edward did not have very many misses Saturday afternoon against Rosary in Aurora. The Green Wave scored 15 of the first 17 points in the Suburban Christian Conference girls game and never looked back in its 58-30 victory.

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    Two tough stretches do in Huntley

    Two rough patches cost the Huntley boys basketball team in a 65-54 loss to Bogan at the Mac Irvin Diabetes Classic at Larkin Saturday afternoon. Huntley (2-3) took a 22-19 lead when Zach Gorney split his free throws with 5:45 left in the second quarter, but the Bengals (4-1) closed the half on a 17-2 run to take a 12-point halftime lead.

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    Shooting touch settles it for Schaumburg

    Schaumburg went outside to get back inside and post a 63-50 over Rolling Meadows on Saturday in a Mid-Suburban League boys basketball crossover game in Schaumburg. “I thought our kids responded well after a tough last-second-shot loss last night,” Schaumburg coach Matt Walsh said. “Our kids played real hard."

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    Jeff Samardzija, who will be a free agent after the 2015 season, could be a player that GM Theo Epstein looks to deal at some point.

    Cubs’ Epstein says he’ll keep long view in mind

    The Cubs may or may not make a deal during this week's winter meetings in Orlando, Fla. But it's important to remember that the meetings represent just one stop in a long off-season road for all major-league baseball teams.

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    The White Sox haven’t made any impact signings since inking Jose Abreu to a six-year, $68 million deal on Oct. 29. But that doesn’t mean GM Rick Hahn is going to make a move just because some people might be getting somewhat impatient. “We cannot force moves,” Hahn said.

    White Sox GM Hahn vows to stay patient

    The White Sox were busy last week, signing Paul Konerko, Tyler Flowers and Ronald Belisario to one-year contracts. But based on last season's 99 losses and dreadful offensive showing, Sox GM Rick Hahn still has a lot of work to do.

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    Blackhawks left wing Jeremy Morin, left, and right wing Kris Versteeg celebrate Versteeg’s goal during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Anaheim Ducks, Friday, Dec. 6, 2013, in Chicago.

    Versteeg excited to face former Florida mates

    There are no hard feelings between Kris Versteeg and the Florida Panthers. In fact, if anything Panthers general manager Dale Tallon did Versteeg a favor when he traded the veteran forward back to the Blackhawks on Nov. 14 in exchange for winger Jimmy Hayes and defenseman Dylan Olsen.

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    Loyola holds off Illinois-Chicago 73-70

    Milton Doyle scored 18 points as Loyola held on for a 73-70 victory over Illinois-Chicago Saturday.Christian Thomas contributed 14 points.

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    Barrington, Wheeling win invites

    Barrington took top honors in the four-team meet it hosted Saturday, while Wheeling edged Elk Grove to win the relay meet hosted by Maine East.

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    St. Charles North’s Morgan Rosencrants tangles with St. Charles East’s Hannah Nowling Saturday.

    Images: St. Charles East vs. St. Charles North girls basketball
    St. Charles North hosted St. Charles East in a girls basketball rivalry matchup Saturday night in St. Charles.

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    Grant gaining momentum

    It was a banner weekend for the Grant wrestling team, as the Bulldogs put the finishing touches on a perfect 4-0 record by sweeping their own triple-dual meet in Fox Lake Saturday. Grant (5-0) opened the day with a 41-21 victory over fellow North Suburban Conference squad Stevenson before an impressive 37-21 victory over Barrington (6-2) in the second round. The Bulldogs closed out the day with a 51-15 nonconference victory over Waukegan as 113-pound senior Nick Koch (8-2) went 3-0 Saturday to help lead Grant’s impressive performance.

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    Leyden’s Hall claims a third Valhalla victory

    Arlington Lanes was packed to capacity Saturday, as all 40 alleys were taken by the 20 varsity and 20 JV teams competing in the Valhalla Invitational. And as usual, things went like clockwork at the Fremd-hosted tournament. The top six individual bowlers posted averages over 200, led by Leyden senior Reba Hall, who won the individual tourney crown with a 231.33 average. Oswego took home the team title. Hall, who was been a star bowler for the Eagles since her freshman year and has placed ninth and third at the state tourney the last two seasons, rolled top games of 236 and 235. She’s excelled every season at Valhalla, winning the invite 3 of 4 years.

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    Andress helps Conant complete perfect day at Addison Trail

    Conant saved its best for last. Dan Andress earned a hard-fought 6-4 decision over Stephen Hayden in the final bout of the day to edge host Addison Trail 33-28 and finish a perfect 3-0 effort Saturday afternoon in Addison. The Cougars bested state ranked Notre Dame 36-27 in its opener, then walloped Glenbrook North 84-0, setting the stage for what proved to be a thriller with the feel of something much bigger than an early dual.

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    Images from the Neuqua Valley vs. Waubonsie Valley girls basketball game on Saturday, Dec. 7.

    Images: Neuqua Valley vs. Waubonsie Valley girls basketball
    Nequa Valley hosted Waubonsie Valley for girls basketball action on Saturday, Dec. 7.

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    A soccer fan wearing a hat with portraits of former president Nelson Mandela, sings and dances Saturday in Johannesburg, South Africa.

    Celebrating Mandela: South African sports goes on

    While mourning the loss of the nation’s beloved father figure, South Africa has decided that sports — so central to the country’s new unity — will go on over the next days as a proud celebration of Nelson Mandela’s inspiring legacy.

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    Wisconsin’s Josh Gasser looks to pass against Marquette’s Todd Mayo during the second half of Saturday’s game in Madison.

    No. 8 Wisconsin holds off Marquette

    Sam Dekker had 20 points and 10 rebounds, and No. 8 Wisconsin withstood a late Marquette rally for a 70-64 victory Saturday that snapped its two-game losing streak in the intrastate rivalry.

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    Associated Press Eastern Michigan’s Karringtonn Ward gets a shot off over Purdue’s Jay Simpson in the first half of Saturday’s game in West Lafayette, Ind.

    Purdue outlasts Eastern Michigan 69-64

    Bryson Scott made his first career start and had 16 points and five assists to lead the Purdue Boilermakers to a 69-64 victory over the Eastern Michigan Eagles on Saturday.

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    Rice players douse head coach David Baliff after the Owls defeated Marshall 41-24 in the Conference USA championship game Saturday at Rice Stadium in Houston.

    Rice wins Conference USA title

    Rice clinched its first outright conference title since 1957, running over Marshall 41-24 in the Conference USA Championship Game Saturday. The Owls (10-3) relied on their bruising ground attack to subdue the Herd (9-4).

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    Notre Dame quarterback Tommy Rees and rest of the Fighting Irish will play in the Pinstripe Bowl later this month.

    Notre Dame accepts Pinstripe Bowl invitation

    Notre Dame has officially accepted an invitation to the Pinstripe Bowl on Dec. 28. The Irish (8-4) will be making their fourth straight bowl appearance and will play an American Athletic Conference opponent. Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said the Irish were looking forward to returning to Yankee Stadium, where the Irish beat Army 27-3 in 2010.

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    Oklahoma wide receiver Jaz Reynolds celebrates with fans after a 34-24 win over Oklahoma State on Saturday in Stillwater.

    Oklahoma win shakes up BCS picture

    Blake Bell threw a 7-yard touchdown pass to Jalen Saunders with 19 seconds remaining to help No. 18 Oklahoma spoil rival Oklahoma State’s Big 12 championship and BCS bowl game hopes with a 33-24 win on Saturday.

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    The United States’ Elana Meyers, front, and Aja Evans celebrate after a women’s World Cup bobsled race Friday in Park City, Utah.

    U.S. women sweep bobsled medals

    The United States swept the podium in a women’s bobsled World Cup race on Saturday, with the team of Elana Meyers and Chicago's Aja Evans winning a gold medal for the second straight day.

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    Michigan forward Glenn Robinson III dunks at the buzzer to end the first half of Saturday’s home game against Houston Baptist.

    No. 22 Michigan doubles up on Houston Baptist

    No. 22 Michigan overwhelmed Houston Baptist 107-53 on Saturday, reaching its highest point total in over 15 years. Nik Stauskas scored 17 of his 25 points in the first half, when the Wolverines were nearly flawless on the offensive end.

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    Shani Davis of Chicago finished third in the 1,000-meter race at the final World Cup speedskating event before the Sochi Olympics.

    Chicagoan third at speedskating World Cup

    South Korea’s Mo Tae-bum won the men’s 1,000-meter race at the final World Cup speedskating event before the Sochi Olympics, while Chicago native Shani Davis finished third.

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    Vernon Hills shoots past Round Lake

    At the end of the third quarter Friday night, the public address announcer at Round Lake reminded fans that, indeed, it was the end of only the third quarter. Because Vernon Hills had put up 70 points by then, it almost seemed like it could have been the end of the game. The Cougars, hot from 3-point range from start to finish, kept scoring at a torrid pace in the fourth quarter en route to an 88-66 victory over Round Lake in the North Suburban Conference Prairie Division opener for both teams.

Business

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    As the new Fox television series “Almost Human” suggests, in the near future we might seek robots that give us combat-ready protection and a warm embrace at day's end. The show, which follows the exploits of human police officer John Kennex (Karl Urban) and his android partner Dorian (Michael Ealy), imagines a world of human-robot cooperation that consistently questions whether it is the humans or the machines that exercise a moral advantage.

    Is our fear of robots dissipating?

    Fear and loathing of robots is a trope of long standing in science fiction, but if popular culture is any guide, fear and loathing might be giving way to grudging acceptance — not surprising, given our growing enthusiasm for and use of robots in everyday life. As the new Fox television series “Almost Human” suggests, in the near future we might seek robots that give us combat-ready protection and a warm embrace at day's end.

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    A protester sits under an umbrella Saturday in front of riot police outside the Mexican Senate building in Mexico City.

    Senate proposal: Open Mexico oil to private firms

    The proposal, which gets official committee consideration on Sunday, could allow contracts for profit- and production-sharing, as well as licenses, in which companies pay royalties and taxes to the Mexican government for the right to explore and drill. Pemex would get first consideration for licenses.

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    Weird new social-media trend: being nice

    First it was Jimmy Kimmel declaring his love for Jimmy Fallon. Then it was the Yankees being nice to the Red Sox, which was almost unfathomable, yet also understandable and gracious in the wake of the Boston bombings. But now it’s getting out of hand: Arch-rival corporate brands are being nice to each other with no discernible provocation whatsoever.

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    Trying to find a video game gift for the holidays? Price and platform can help you decide.

    Video games: Pros and cons for 2013 holiday gift-giving

    What's good and what's bad with today's top holiday video game gift options, including Grant Theft Auto V, Call of Duty and Forza Motorsport 5.

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    In this undated photo released by Activision, two robots, Boom Jet and Magna Charge, switch body parts in “Skylanders Swap Force.”

    Video game gifts for kids

    Need help picking out a video game gift for kids? One of Nintendo’s most beloved properties, Pokemon is back with some tweaks in its latest versions,Mario and Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games stands out as being a good family game And one of the most popular franchises out there, Skylanders is back with a twist.

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    App reviews: Makr, RoadNinja

    If you’re not one of those folks on board with e-holiday cards but want to take advantage of some of the perks technology can afford you, consider Makr.

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    Emanuel Jumatate, from Chicago, hugs his new Xbox One after he purchased it at a Best Buy in Evanston. Microsoft is billing the Xbox One, which includes an updated Kinect motion sensor, as an all-in-one entertainment system rather than just a gaming console.

    Review: Xbox One nearly a set-top box replacement

    The Xbox One won’t quite replace your TV set-top box, but it comes awfully close. The latest game console from Microsoft takes a big leap toward being the main entertainment hub in your living room. It gives you a program guide for browsing what’s on TV and what’s highlighted in apps such as Netflix and Amazon. You can listen to music and view photos stored on Microsoft’s SkyDrive service. You can make Skype video calls. And yeah, you can even play games.

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    This undated image provided by Dell shows the Dell Inc.’s Inspiron 14 7000, The laptop starts at $850.

    Gift Guide: Plenty of laptops, even on budgets

    There’s no shortage of laptop computers to pick from this holiday season, even for shoppers on tight budgets. A Chromebook optimized to run Google’s Internet services can be bought for as little as $200, while a few hundred dollars more gets you a laptop that’s not so dependent on having a continuous online connection. This gift guide covers budget and mid-priced laptops with starting prices of less than $1,000.

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    The Moto G fell short in its camera, battery life and inability to access faster, 4G LTE cellular networks.

    Review: Moto G isn’t the best, but decent for $179

    You’re not getting the best or the latest technology with Motorola’s $179 Moto G smartphone. What you do get is a great price for something close. Motorola bills the Moto G as the phone for the rest of us — the ones who can’t afford $500 to $700 for a high-end smartphone.

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    An Apple staff introduces a Macbook Pro computer to a customer at a newly-opened Apple Store in Wangfujing shopping district in Beijing. Apple Inc.’s MacBook Pro, high-resolution, 13-inch version starts at $1,299.

    Gift Guide: Lots of high-end laptops to pick from

    Whether you’re looking for something thin and light, or want a tablet that performs like a laptop, there’s plenty to choose from if you’re willing to spend a bit more for a high-end laptop computer. This gift guide covers laptops with starting prices of more than $1,000.

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    Excessively foggy windows may be heat issue

    Q. I have an issue in which, more often than not, the windows fog up when I have the heat on low to medium, with vents set to recirculate air. This doesn’t happen right away, but usually after the fan has been on for awhile. I’m curious as to what causes this to happen and how do I stop it.

Life & Entertainment

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    Puppeteer Blair Thomas will headline in the Footlik Theater at Oakton Community College in Des Plaines.

    Weekend picks: Puppeteer Blair Thomas tells stories

    Blair Thomas brings his puppets and marionettes to Oakton Community College for a trio of stories in "Hard Headed Heart." Support Lambs Farm by making some purchases at the Holiday Lights Gift & Craft Fair at Arlington International Racecourse. And take your pick of comedians Eliot Chang and Steve Rannazzisi, playing at Zanies this weekend.

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    Ava Martin zips over an alligator lagoon at The St. Augustine Alligator Farm in St. Augustine, Fla. At 120 years old, it’s one of Florida’s oldest tourist attractions, and it is the only zoo in the world that displays all 23 crocodilian species, including the nearly extinct Philippine crocodile.

    St. Augustine attraction zips over alligators

    I was slowly crossing a swinging log bridge when I paused, sensing the alligator 12 feet below was staring at me. I was grateful to be strapped in a harness. The bridge was part of a 49-station obstacle course that includes 10 zip lines at the St. Augustine Alligator Farm. It takes visitors over crocodiles, lemurs, giant tortoises, vultures and, of course, lots of alligators.

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    Holly Maniatty, left, an American Sign Language interpreter, signs during a performance by a contestant in the the Royal Majesty Drag Show and Competition in Portland, Maine. The 33-year-old has become an Internet sensation for the energetic way she uses dance moves, body language and American Sign Language to bring musical performances alive for those who can’t hear.

    Sign language interpreter’s moves a hit in concert

    Holly Maniatty creates music — for the deaf. Teaming American Sign Language with dance moves and body language, she brings musical performances alive for those who can’t hear. Her clients are a who’s who of rock, pop and hip-hop: Bruce Springsteen, Eminem, Mumford and Sons, Jay-Z, Billy Joel, Marilyn Manson, U2, Beastie Boys and Wu-Tang Clan, to name a few.

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    Associated Press/The Weinstein Company Idris Elba, center, plays Nelson Mandela in the film, “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.”

    Mandela film shifts from tribute to eulogy

    With the passing of Nelson Mandela, the sweeping biopic “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom” transforms in the midst of its theatrical release from a living tribute to a big-screen eulogy.

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    The Minions play bigger roles in the new comedy sequel "Despicable Me 2."

    DVD previews: ‘Despicable Me 2,’ ‘Fast & Furious 6’
    The Minions are back in "Despicable Me 2," coming to DVD Tuesday. Other movies coming to DVD include "Fast & Furious 6" and Joseph Gordon-Levitt's "Don Jon."

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    A model wears a creation for Max Mara women’s Spring-Summer 2014 collection, part of the Milan Fashion Week, unveiled in Milan, Italy. Orchid is growing on us: A version of the purple hue is Pantone Inc.’s color of the year for 2014.

    Growing trend for 2014: Orchid as top color

    Orchid is growing on us: A version of the purple hue is Pantone Inc.’s color of the year for 2014. Officially known as Radiant Orchid, the tropical shade is a color-wheel contrast to green, said Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, but it’s not the red that would have been a more obvious choice. “It’s a little different, it’s a little off the beaten path, and it’s not a primary color. It’s an invitation to innovation."

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    People finish the sentence “Before I die . . .” on a large blackboard in Providence, R.I. Since 2011, 400 such walls have gone up in the United States as well as in 60 other countries. The global phenomenon has oversized blackboards, painted on buildings and freestanding displays that invite those passing by to complete the sentence.

    Public art project elicits the profound, profane

    It is public art made of private wishes. In a phenomenon spreading across the globe, oversized blackboards, painted on buildings and freestanding displays, invite passers-by to complete the sentence: “Before I die I want to ...”

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    “Arturo and the Navidad Birds” by Anne Broyles, illustrated by KE Lewis, translation by Gust Soanish (Pelican Publishing Co. 2013), $16.99, 32 pages.

    Holiday spirit at heart of book on family Christmas traditions

    Every Christmas, your family does something they do every year. It's a tradition, and it's never broken.

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    More on insulation and R-values

    Q. I recently read your story about insulating an attic room and you mentioned using materials with a high R-value. Can you tell me what the various R-values are for the different materials available?

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    Woven upholstery adds warmth to outdoor spaces used during the fall and winter months, especially styles which included a wood blend. Not only will the wool hold warmth in cold months, it will also keep cool during the summer.

    Simple steps to a home both cozy, cost-efficient

    As temperatures drop and daylight is in shorter supply, we fight back: We crank up the heat in our homes and turn on lights earlier and earlier. And yet we also want to keep our heating and electric bills as low as we can. Can you keep your home warm and inviting all winter while still conserving energy?

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    Which rules govern single-family home associations?

    Q. I live in an association of single-family homes. Our governing documents (declaration, bylaws, rules) refer to the Illinois Condominium Property Act. Is it necessary for our board to amend the instruments to reflect that we are now governed by the Common Interest Community Association Act, and not the Illinois Condominium Property Act?

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    Guests look out over a wildlife-filled savanna on Wild Africa Trek at Disney´s Animal Kingdom, which is part of Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

    There’s a wealth of freebies at Disney resorts

    Disney World advertises itself as “The Happiest Place On Earth.” It can also be one of the most expensive places on earth. But wherever you go — even to Disney World — the key to making a family vacation affordable is to do the free stuff.

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    Letters often scream ‘Go see an attorney, now’

    I try to say “see a lawyer” not more than once per column. But recent mail is full of questions from people who need just that advice, so to start clearing out a backlog, here’s a sample of what came in this week:

Discuss

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    The Soapbox

    Daily Herald editors offer their quick thoughts on grocery stores, medical saviors and underage liquor sales, among other topics.

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    Education problem is too much coddling
    A Mettawa letter to the editor: The Guest View on Nov. 21 from Harry Bateman, executive director of the Illinois Board of Higher Education, makes a case for the need for “educated and skilled” citizens to fill available jobs in Illinois. I believe that while education is important, it is not what is lacking.

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    Herald hiding news damaging to Obama?
    An Elk Grove Village letter to the editor: On Dec. 3 you printed another damaging story that a third of the people who have struggled through the website mess to actually sign up for Obamacare may not be covered after all because of more screw-ups by the Obama team. But you hide this devastating revelation on Page 7 instead of putting it on Page 1.

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    Bicyclists continue to ignore stop signs
    A Palatine letter to the editor: This is in response to the Nov. 24 letter, “Driver, bikers must learn to coexist.” The writer does not mention the fact that bikers blow through stop signs and red lights, and most do not signal when turning.

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    Remember all that Pearl Harbor started
    A Hoffman Estates letter to the editor: We remember Pearl Harbor today because soon they will be gone and then this day, “Pearl Harbor,” will be but a two word notation on someone’s desk icon.

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    Beware of reckless reform for U.S. patents
    A La Grange letter to the editor: It’s hard to imagine a world where innovation is not protected. Pending patent legislation percolating in Congress threatens patents and the business culture they nurture.

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    Iran deal better than saber-rattling
    An Elgin letter to the editor: President Obama’s negotiation to limit Iran’s nuclear capability is a significant step forward. It’s better than futile saber-rattling and offers a potential halt to 20 percent uranium enrichment and further development at the Arak plutonium reactor.

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    Obamacare woes deeper than website
    Gene Lyons’ Nov. 26 column titled “Fix the website and ACA will shine” is filled with half-truths and false innuendos. For openers, the $600 million website is not the ACA’s major problem. It pales in comparison to the disaster that is just starting to unfold. Over 9 million individuals are losing their current health insurance and they will soon be joined by an estimated 40 million employees of small companies that will terminate their medical benefit plans.These problems will be compounded when young adults decide to pay a fine instead of signing up for a high-deductible policy they won’t be able to use. They will also avoid putting their personal information on a website that has major security problems.The third shoe to fall will be the IPAB board, an all-powerful group whose function is to dramatically cut Medicare. The board will not answer to Congress and is referred to as a “death panel” because its work can only lead to rationed care. Please read Section 3403 of the Act and draw your own conclusions.Lastly, Mr. Lyons implies Republicans are against health care reform and good things in the ACA like portability and the elimination of pre-existing conditions. House Republicans have passed several bills that include these positive steps as well as important fixes that are not a part of Obamacare. The latter include big cost-cutting ideas like tort reform, shopping for insurance across state lines and medical savings accounts.Congress must completely overhaul the ACA; stripping out its terrible features and replacing them with the many good reform ideas that have been proposed by both sides of the aisle.Dick StackHuntley

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    Snakes don’t deserve unsavory reputation
    A Wheaton letter to the editor: As one of the volunteer snake monitors at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, I’ve gotten my fair share of snake questions, and from this, I must conclude that most of us share a complete ignorance of the suborder Serpentes.

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    Overreaction at Bartlett High School
    Overreaction at Bartlett High SchoolThe Nov. 26 article about the Bartlett High School teacher who was put on leave after criticizing choices the school implemented in their grading system led me to question the reach and power that administrators have over the teachers and students.English teacher Gary Lorber was practicing free speech by voicing his opinion on the subject, and the school did not approve of this, albeit he could have gone about the situation a bit more tactfully resulting in not as big of a backlash.One of the problems that the school had with Lorber was the letter he sent to parents, saying if they disagreed they should let the administrators know. There is nothing wrong with this. Lorber tells the parents that changes are happening in the school that they send their children to, and is giving them an opportunity to voice their disagreement if they choose.He gives them an opportunity to practice their First Amendment right to freedom of speech, which he has been practicing. To take Lorber out of teaching for a day is an overreaction, when the administrators simply could have discussed the situation with him without impacting his classes and his students.Angela BonokollieGlen Ellyn

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    Same-sex marriage hardly ‘oppressive’
    Same-sex marriage hardly ‘oppressive’In a Nov. 22 letter to the editor, Walt Sivertsen of Grayslake criticized Illinois lawmakers after they “jumped on the bandwagon” of same-sex marriage. A decision, he claims, that will infringe upon the freedom of those who don’t support the “sin” of homosexuality. Sivertsen implores us to look to Massachusetts to see the “oppressive society” that same-sex marriage has created.I took it upon myself to research our friends in the Northeast because Sivertsen failed to provide adequate statistics to back up his claims. What I found was a September 2013 survey from Public Policy Polling which indicates that 85 percent of Massachusetts residents say that gay marriage has either had a positive effect or no effect on their lives. This is a pretty surprising statistic for such an “oppressive” society, and maybe that’s because gay marriage isn’t all that bad.Marriage equality is not a radical, fringe idea held only by a small percentage of Americans. Like it or not, gay couples are earning the same legal protections as their heterosexual counterparts.Opponents of same-sex marriage love to throw around the idea of “redefining” marriage as an institution but had we not “redefined” marriage in 1967, marriage would still only be for people of the same race. Had we not redefined the right to vote, women wouldn’t be welcome at our polls.It’s not redefinition — it’s progress. And without progress we wouldn’t be where we are today.The world is changing— Illinois is changing — and If you don’t want to change with it then you’re more than welcome to stay behind on the wrong side of history.Christine PallonGlen Ellyn

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