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Daily Archive : Monday December 16, 2013

News

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    St. James Farm opens for winter visitors
    For the first time since the site’s opening, the DuPage County Forest Preserve District invites visitors to explore St. James Farm Forest Preserve in Warrenville in winter.

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    That tacky holiday sweater can save you money. Shoppers who come in wearing one this Sunday, Dec. 22, at Chico’s in Geneva Commons will receive a discount.

    Great gift ideas for last-minute shoppers

    If you’re shopping for last-minute gifts, you may want to stop at Chico’s in Geneva Commons if you love ugly sweaters - or you’re a teacher. This week, the store is offering discounts for different people on different days as Christmas approaches.

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    Brian and Angela Larsen stand in front of their prize-winning Elburn display.

    Elburn couple take top prize in 'Light Fight'

    An Elburn couple and a team of their close friends who created a million-light Christmas display won the $50,000 grand prize Monday evening in ABC 7's “The Great Christmas Light Fight.” Brian Larsen says he has big plans for the prize money. “I'm going to use it and pay someone to take it all down,” he said, with a big laugh.

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    Rosa Linda Lopez of West Chicago smiles Monday as she looks at some of the food she received from the Metropolitan Family Services DuPage Center in Wheaton. Miller-Coors donated 150 bags of food to the center, each filled with a frozen turkey, stuffing, six cans of vegetables, a five-pound bag of potatoes, gravy and a pie.

    Wheaton center distributes 150 bags of food to DuPage County families

    Each bag contained just enough for one family holiday meal, but those picking up food Monday at the Metropolitan Family Services DuPage Center were beyond happy to know they'll have full stomachs on Christmas. This was the second year Miller-Coors purchased food to be distributed to families at the Wheaton center.

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    Celebrity hairstylist Sallie Ciganovich, who goes by the name Sallie Nicole, grew up in Naperville and attended Pivot Point International beauty school.

    Naperville native now hair stylist to the stars

    TV and movie hair stylist Sallie Ciganovich, a Naperville native, has had many famous people in her chair over the years, including Sarah Silverman, Seth Rogen, Dennis Quaid and Garcelle Beauvais. hat makes her privy to lots of celebrity gossip. "I hear everything,” she jokes, refusing to dish dirt on anyone because "I'd like to keep working." Her discretion, along with her artistic hair...

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    Fire districts reach deal on Inverness coverage

    The Barrington Countryside and Palatine Rural fire protection districts have reached a deal in their long-stalled negotiations toward an automatic-aid agreement for the west side of Inverness. Barrington Countryside trustees Monday unanimously approved the pending agreement that would have Palatine Rural automatically respond to that area of their jurisdiction, which is closer to Palatine Rural's...

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    Signs announcing 50 percent off hang all over suburban Dominick's stores, as the chain's going-out-of-business sale is under way.

    Bargain hunters empty the shelves at suburban Dominick's

    Crowds picked through what was left of the inventory at suburban Dominick's stores Monday, as the soon-to-close chain offered 50 percent off most products and 30 percent off alcohol. "I figured this was the time to stock up,” said shopper Amy Belmonte, of Arlington Heights, whose cart brimmed with everything from wine to cat food.

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    Police tactical officers were on the scene during a standoff in Arlington Heights Thursday night that began, authorities said, when a Niles man shot a police officer responding to a report of a domestic disturbance. The man, Eric M. Anderson, was later shot and killed by police.

    Man: ‘I already shot a cop. I’m not afraid to shoot her’

    Moments after shooting an Arlington Heights police officer and leaving him critically wounded Thursday night, a Niles man phoned a 911 dispatcher, telling him he was in a basement with his estranged girlfriend and would shoot anyone who tried to enter, according to recordings obtained Monday by the Daily Herald. “I already shot a cop. I’m not afraid to shoot her,” Eric M.

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    Wheeling cuts required storm water storage for developer

    The Wheeling Village Board Monday approved a reduction in the amount of compensatory storm water storage a developer will need for property along Lake Cook Road. Not long ago sales Prairie Park had high-profile financial woes, but Monday Mark Smith told the board current sales mean the project could be out of inventory unless new development starts within three months.

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    Wheaton city council approves slight decrease in tax levy

    The Wheaton City Council unanimously approved the 2013 property tax levy Monday night. The total tax levy amounts to nearly $22.2 million, with about $15.7 million going toward general purposes and about $6.5 million levied for the debt service. That amount is a decrease of $100,000, or about 0.5 percent, from the prior year tax levy.

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    Carol Stream park district begins discussion on director search

    The Carol Stream Park District kicked off its discussion on finding a new executive director at Monday’s board of commissioners meeting, the first of many give-and-takes expected. A committee of the whole meeting was set for Jan. 6 to discuss the process of hiring a replacement for long-time director Arnie Biondo, who was named executive director of the DuPage County Forest Preserve District last...

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    Judge: Fired Des Plaines cop doesn’t have to be rehired

    A former Des Plaines police officer fired for using excessive force against detainees doesn’t have to be rehired, a Cook County judge has ruled. John Bueno, a 10-year veteran of the police department, was terminated in March 2012, following an internal city investigation that found he violated the city’s policy for use of force, failed to disclose his use of force, and lied about it during the...

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    Mixologist Bradley Gertz of Eddie Merlot’s Lincolnshire restaurant prepares the Berry White Martini during the Daily Herald’s Best Martini in the ’Burbs Challenge at the At The Post Sports Bar & OTB in Elk Grove Village on Monday night.

    Daily Herald hosts martini masters in Elk Grove

    A dozen suburban restaurants and bars competed in the Daily Herald's Martini Challenge event at Elk Grove Village's At The Post. Gail Fardman of Black Steer Charhouse of Elk Grove won the event.

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    A car is plugged into the first car charging station offered by the city of St. Charles Monday at the First Street garage.

    City will pick up the tab for people to charge their vehicles

    The city of St. Charles unveils its first car charging station at the First Street garage. The charger, on the fourth floor of the parking garage, will allow residents the ability to charge their electric vehicles free for up to two hours. The technology also includes an app that would help users monitor station availability.

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    Elgin bridges reopen after train stalls

    A stalled train currently blocks all three downtown Elgin bridges, Elgin police said. The train, about two miles long, has pushed commuters to the only two bridges open to east and west travel — Route 20 and I-90.

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    Woman, would-be savior rescued from Bolingbrook pond

    A Bolingbrook woman whose vehicle broke through the ice of retention pond and a good smaritan who attempted to help her both remain in stable condition at a nearby hospital after emergency responders rescued them Monday night, police said.

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    Brandon Hinojosa, 2, of Lake Zurich, and his mother Brandy, right, look for a gift Monday among the hundreds purchased by Advocate hospital cafeteria worker Jessie Tendayi. This is the fourth year Tendayi has purchased gifts for pediatric patients. She gave out hundreds Monday to children at Advocate Children’s Hospital in Park Ridge.

    Toys for Advocate Children’s Hospital patients

    Jessie Tendayi spends her days working in the cafeteria at Advocate Trinity Hospital on Chicago’s South Side. But in her off-time, she’s busy being Santa’s helper, purchasing hundreds of toys throughout the year with her own money, to benefit some of Advocate’s youngest patients at Christmastime.

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    Visitors photograph the Old Faithful geyser at Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming. Hundreds of small earthquakes at Yellowstone National Park in recent weeks have been an unsettling reminder for some people that underneath the park’s famous geysers and majestic scenery lurks one of the world’s biggest volcanoes.

    Study: Yellowstone magma much bigger than thought

    The hot molten rock beneath Yellowstone National Park is 2 ½ times larger than previously estimated, meaning the park’s supervolcano has the potential to erupt with a force about 2,000 times the size of Mount St. Helens, according to a new study.

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    Libertyville man says he was beaten in suit against Advocate Condell

    A Libertyville man who claims he was injured when he was beaten by security guards and chemically restrained by a nurse at Advocate Condell Medical Center as he tried to check himself out is seeking punitive damages of more than $3 million.

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    Rep. Chris Van Hollen, the ranking Democrat of the House Budget Committee said he signed off on the $6 billion increase for new federal employees hired beginning in January after Obama assured him he would propose no new retirement benefit cuts in next year’s budget.

    Congress targets fed workers’ pensions for savings

    Top lawmakers have found easy prey in their hunt for savings for Congress’ budget deal: Federal workers’ retirement programs, which are notably generous compared to the norm in private industry. Most federal civilian employees hired beginning in January will contribute 4.4 percent of their pay to their pension plans under the bipartisan budget agreement.

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    The U.S. Olympic Committee is charging $14 a pair for the blue gloves that have the word “Go” embroidered in red on one mitten and “USA” on the other. The pair is also labeled with a tag on the inside which says the gloves are “Made in China.”

    U.S. fundraising mittens made in China

    The outside of the mittens say “Go USA.” The insides say “Made in China.” Less than two years after being criticized for having the U.S. Olympic team’s uniforms made in China, the U.S. Olympic Committee has another wardrobe malfunction on its hands. The red-white-and-blue mittens it’s selling to raise funds for winter athletes were produced in China.

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    Kane County Board District 17 member Deb Allan will remain on the March Democratic primary ballot. Her petition had been challenged.

    Kane board member Allan survives election petition challenge

    Kane County board member Deb Allan gets to stay on the March primary ballot, as a county electoral board overruled an objection to her nominating petitions Monday.

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    Dr. Mientus to head medical society

    Dr. Thomas F. Mientus was elected president of the Lake County Medical Society at the group’s annual meeting Dec. 3, at the Deer Path Inn, Lake Forest.

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    Little League registration in Libertyville

    Libertyville Little League’s 2014 spring and summer registration is opened Monday on a new website, www.LibertyvilleBaseball.org.

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    ArtFest at Stevenson High

    The work of Stevenson High School students in visual arts classes will be displayed today and Wednesday at the Lincolnshire school as part of Winter ArtFest.

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    Duckworth: Signing up for insurance took 8 hours

    U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth, a Hoffman Estates Democrat, said she’s happy with the health insurance plan she bought through the federal exchange but said she felt the same technological pain as a lot of people trying to do the same.

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    Menards revises Vernon Hills plan in response to questions from officials and neighbors

    Menards has revised a plan for a new store Vernon Hills to consolidate a stand-alone warehouse into the main building. The changes come in response to concerns from village officials and neighbors. "Overall, it is a better plan than what we first saw," said John Kalmar, assistant village manager

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    Cardinal George marks 50th year in priesthood

    Francis Cardinal George, Archbishop of Chicago, will be the main celebrant at a Mass Wednesday, Dec. 18 celebrating his Golden Jubilee, the 50th anniversary of his ordination as a priest, church officials said Monday. The Mass will begin at 2:30 p.m. at Holy Name Cathedral, State and Superior Streets in Chicago.

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    The owner of a house on West Wilson Street in Batavia calls for the Batavia school district to ask for less property taxes, instead of more. The school board will vote on the matter Tuesday night.

    Batavia school board bracing for crowd at tax meeting

    The Batavia school board is preparing to hear from a large crowd Tuesday when it votes on a property-tax levy with a proposed 13 percent increase. A website called lowerthelevy.com has been encouraging the board to keep the levy the same as last year's, which would shift more of the tax on to the outlet mall in Aurora. Its property taxes are finally available to the district after being locked up...

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    More disappointing news about multivitamins: About a third of Americans pop these pills but they don’t seem to protect our aging brains, or guard against heart disease.

    Do vitamins block disease? Some disappointing news

    There’s more disappointing news about multivitamins: Two major studies found popping the pills didn’t protect aging men’s brains or help heart attack survivors. Millions of Americans spend billions of dollars on vitamin combinations, presumably to boost their health and fill gaps in their diets. But while people who don’t eat enough of certain nutrients may be urged to get them in pill form, the...

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    Dawn Ultra antibacterial soap is seen here. The Food and Drug Administration said Monday there is no evidence antibacterial chemicals used in liquid soaps and washes help prevent the spread of germs, and there is some evidence they may pose health risks.

    FDA: Anti-bacterial soaps may not curb bacteria

    After more than 40 years of study, the federal government said Monday it has no evidence that the anti-bacterial chemicals used in countless common soaps and washes help prevent the spread of germs, and it is reviewing research suggesting they may pose health risks.

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    Frederick School is part of Grayslake Elementary District 46. School board members have agreed to raise next year’s tax levy.

    Grayslake District 46 increasing property tax levy

    Grayslake Elementary District 46 taxpayers are expected to receive a higher bill to fund the school system’s needs next year. Board members have agreed to seek the maximum amount of money next year through what’s called a tax levy.

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    Cook County forest preserve permits available Jan. 2

    The Forest Preserves of Cook County will begin selling 2014 picnic permits online and in-person beginning at 8 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 2. In-person sales will take place from 8 a.m. — 4 p.m. at the district’s general headquarters, 536 N. Harlem Ave., River Forest.

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    Ruth Hogan, left, and her daughter, Renee Evans, co-owners of Paradise Jewelry & Treasures in Fox Lake, look over the six gingerbread houses on display in their store. Monday was the final day to vote for the 7th annual Fox Lake Area Chamber of Commerce & Industry gingerbread house contest.

    Fox Lake Gingerbread House contest

    Monday was the final day to view and vote for entries in the 7th annual Gingerbread House contest in Fox Lake. The Fox Lake Area Chamber of Commerce & Industry hosted this annual contest with around 50 houses entered.

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    Cook County Clerk David Orr

    Cook County waives same-sex marriage deadline for terminal illness

    Cook County Clerk David Orr announced Monday that he will issue marriage license to same sex couples facing a life-threatening illness who may not live until June 1, 2014 when marriage equality takes effect in Illinois.

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    Fox Valley police reports
    A 14-year-old boy from Lake in the Hills was arrested Friday at Jacobs High School, in the 2600 block of Bunker Hill Drive, and charged with possession of marijuana, according to a police report.

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    Barrington fire district buys water tanker for new department

    Barrington Countryside Fire Protection District trustees have approved the purchase of a new water tanker vehicle that will improve the district’s ability to deliver water to areas of its jurisdiction that do not have fire hydrants, officials announced. The 3,000-gallon tanker recently arrived at district headquarters and will begin service Jan. 1, when the district launches operations...

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    Barrington Hills school principal on paid leave

    The principal of Countryside Elementary School in Barrington Hills is on temporary paid leave because of what Barrington Unit District 220 officials call an internal matter. Kimberly Foster-Thomas’ administrative leave was mutually agreed to as the best way for both she and the district to resolve the confidential personnel matter, district spokesman Jeff Arnett said.

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    Public hearing in Mundelein

    The Mundelein village board will hold a public hearing Monday regarding an $8 million restoration and widening of Hawley Street and the need for the town to forcibly acquire land along the roadway.

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    Time's running out in the Daily Herald's holiday lights contest. Cast your vote at dailyherald.com/contests/holidaylights.

    Last chance to vote for the best holiday lights

    Today's the last day to vote in the Daily Herald's holiday lights contest. You could win a Toro snowblower.

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    District 73 considers year-end contribution to help erase retirement plan deficit

    Hawthorn Elementary District 73 is considering an additional payment of $500,000 to help erase a $4 million unfunded liability to the Illlinois Municipal Retirement Fund. "We want to get rid of that obligation," said Superintendent Nick Brown.

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    Joseph C. Wozniak

    DuPage to review candidates’ right to stay on primary ballot

    Joseph C. Wozniak, a forest preserve commission candidate in DuPage County, soon could learn whether his name will remain on the March primary ballot. The county’s electoral board on Monday afternoon is expected to begin the process of determining whether Wozniak of Naperville and two other candidates seeking countywide seats have valid nomination papers.

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    Marmion Academy science experiment lawsuit settled

    A lawsuit filed by a former Marmion Academy student seeking damages after he said he was injured during a science experiment has been dismissed after both sides reached a confidential settlement. Zachary Bennett, of Aurora, sought damages after he slipped and fell during a May 2010 experiment.

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    Naperville police warn of scams

    Naperville police are warning residents about several phone and email scams in which victims are threatened with arrest or fines if they do not provide credit card information.

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    Harlem Globetrotter Shane “Scooter” Christensen teaches a trick to Rosemont Elementary School fifth grader Landon Kruppa and second grader Bobi Duler during an appearance at the school Monday morning. Christensen and fellow Globetrotter Alex “Moose” Weeks also taught students about bullying and tools they can use to prevent it.

    Globetrotters show off skills, teach anti-bullying lesson at Rosemont school

    Harlem Globetrotters Shane “Scooter” Christensen and Alex “Moose” Weeks showed off their basketball talents, and shared important lessons about bullying, to a packed house of students and educators Monday morning at Rosemont Elementary School in Rosemont. More than 250 students between the ages of 6 and 12 listened as the duo discussed the “ABCs of Bullying...

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    Jonathan Jimenez

    Three plead not guilty in fatal West Chicago stabbing

    Three reputed gang members charged with the late November stabbing death of a Wheaton man pleaded innocent Monday to all charges against them, including first-degree murder.

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    Snow could affect afternoon commute

    Accuweather.com says conditions are right for the area to get a brief period of heavy snow this afternoon after 3 p.m. The fast-moving system could bring as much as two inches of snow in a two-to-three hour period.

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    This is the National Security Agency campus in Fort Meade, Md. A federal judge said Monday the NSA’s bulk collection of phone records violates the Constitution’s ban on unreasonable searches.

    NSA phone record collection ruled unconstitutional

    A federal judge ruled Monday that the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of phone records violates the Constitution’s ban on unreasonable searches, but put his decision on hold pending a near-certain government appeal.

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    Wood Dale to sponsor forum on dangers of heroin

    Wood Dale police Chief Greg Vesta has school-aged children. And he says he and every other parent should be concerned about the dangers of heroin and its increasing hold in DuPage County. The Wood Dale Police Department, along with DuPage County Coroner Richard Jorgensen, will sponsor a community forum on the dangers of heroin in the community at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Wood Dale Junior High, 655 N.

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    The Rev. Frank Schaefer, a United Methodist clergyman convicted of breaking church law for officiating at his son’s same-sex wedding, said Monday he plans to defy a church order to surrender his credentials for performing the wedding.

    Pa. pastor won’t quit voluntarily over gay wedding

    A United Methodist minister in Pennsylvania plans to defy a church order to surrender his credentials for performing a same-sex wedding. The Rev. Frank Schaefer said Monday that he cannot uphold the church’s Book of Discipline because he finds it discriminatory.

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    Thamsanqa Jantjie, the bogus sign language interpreter at last week’s Nelson Mandela memorial service, speaks at his home in Bramfischerville, South Africa. Jantjie was among a group of people who accosted two men found with a stolen television and burned them to death by setting fire to tires placed around their necks, one of the interpreter’s cousins and three of his friends told The Associated Press on Dec. 16.

    Relative: Mandela signer in group that burned men

    The bogus sign language interpreter at last week’s Nelson Mandela memorial service was among a group of people who accosted two men found with a stolen television and burned them to death by setting fire to tires placed around their necks, one of the interpreter’s cousins and three of his friends told The Associated Press Monday.

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    Dist. 214 seeks input on future projects

    Northwest Suburban High School District 214 is asking the community to help decide how it should spend some money available for capital projects.

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    This is the singles’ section, where men have separate entrances and seating areas from women, at a Starbucks cafe in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. Segregation of the sexes in Saudi Arabia extends beyond campuses and into nearly every aspect of daily activity.

    Freedoms for Saudi university girls end at gates

    Within their female-only campuses, women at Saudi Arabia’s universities let loose. Trendy sneakers, colorful tops, a myriad of hairstyles. In their bags, the textbooks vary, but one item is mandatory: a floor-length black abaya robe that each must cover herself with when she steps through the university gates back to the outside world of the kingdom.

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    Same-sex marriage licenses issued to terminally ill

    Cook County Clerk David Orr will begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples who face life-threatening illness, following Monday’s federal court decision.

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    Lt. Andrew Larson talks about proper placement of smoke alarms, as volunteers prepare to help assure that there are working devices in the homes of senior citizens who signed up for the program.

    ‘Katie Project’ a fire-safety model begins in Arlington Hts.

    Six weeks after a deadly fire in Arlington Hts. took the lives of three women, an initiative to promote fire safety has taken flight. Named in memory of a 7-year-old Palatine girl who died in a house fire nearly 40 years ago, The Katie Project sends volunteers into the homes of elderly residents to make sure the smoke detectors are working, and change out the batteries or the detectors themselves...

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    Tactical police assemble outside a building at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass., Monday, Dec. 16, 2013. Four buildings on campus were evacuated after campus police received an unconfirmed report that explosives may have been placed inside, interrupting final exams.

    All-clear at 3 of 4 evacuated Harvard buildings

    Harvard University has reopened a third building that was evacuated because of a report of possible explosives on campus. Students have been told that they may return to the classroom building. Harvard Yard has also re-opened. Two other buildings, a dorm and another classroom building, reopened earlier. A fourth building, the school's Science Center, remains closed.

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    Courtesy of Prairie Crossing Batches of homemade cookies decorated and ready to be delivered to last year’s Prairie Crossing Cookie Walk.

    Prairie Crossing hosts cookie walk, bake sale Dec. 22

    For anyone looking for a creative, last-minute holiday gift, check out the 18th Annual Prairie Crossing Cookie Walk and Bake Sale. On Sunday, Dec. 22, from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Byron Colby Barn in Grayslake. All proceeds go to charity.

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    U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan

    U.S. education secretary to make Chicago stop

    U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan is set to visit Chicago with a stop at a city school. Duncan will visit Benito Juarez Community Academy on Monday and participate in a discussion with staff from the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics.

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    The University of Illinois is preparing to go smoke-free. The state’s flagship campus in Champaign-Urbana will ban smoking starting Jan. 1.

    U of Illinois smoking ban takes effect in January

    The University of Illinois is preparing to go smoke-free. The (Champaign) News-Gazette reports the state’s flagship campus in Champaign-Urbana will ban smoking starting Jan. 1. That’s not sitting well with some tailgaters who say they want to light up.

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    Lost in blowing Wisconsin snow, brother rescued

    A man lost in the blowing snow on Lake Winnebago was rescued with the help of a Department of Natural Resources airplane. Two men were riding their snowmobiles across the lake Sunday afternoon and lost their way in the wind-whipped snow. When one of the men reached shore he realized his 33-year-old brother wasn’t with him.

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    Man bites driver in Wisconsin who refused to play chauffer

    Madison police say a man got into another person’s car and bit the driver when he refused to play chauffer. A police statement says the 23-year-old entered the car around 11 p.m. Saturday. He made no threats and showed no weapon, but told the driver to take him wherever he wanted to go.

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    Man dies after falling outside home in Joliet

    Police in the Chicago suburb of Joliet say they believe a man froze to death after falling outside his home. The Joliet Herald-News reports the man’s body was found Sunday morning in his backyard. Joliet Police Lt. Kevin LaBolle says authorities weren’t releasing the man’s name or age, but say he was elderly and lived alone. He said the man remained outside overnight.

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    New prescribing rules take effect for Indiana doctors

    New state rules for prescribing painkillers have taken effect for Indiana’s doctors as part of an effort to curb prescription drug abuse that’s caused a rise in fatal overdoses. The new requirements that took effect Sunday for physicians and osteopathic physicians don’t bar them from prescribing opioid pain relievers such as oxycodone and hydrocodone.

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    Indiana vying for Boeing airplane facility

    Gov. Mike Pence says state economic development officials have talked to Boeing Co. about building its planned airplane manufacturing and assembly facility in Indiana. “We have had contact with them and discussions, but I won’t comment further on those,” Pence told The Times of Munster. “I will tell you, every opportunity that we are given to tell Indiana’s story and make the case for Indiana —...

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    Schaumburg library’s reading program has books for all interests

    Ah, the Midwest winter, with its cold winds and snowy skies. Many people have favorite ways to enjoy - or cope with - this frosty season. And for scores of you, that means cozying up with a good book or relaxing with a movie.

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    Elk Grove High School senior Peter Pendowski competes at the District 214 Honors Orchestra Concerto/Aria Competition Finals.

    Elk Grove student named District 214 Concerto/Aria Competition winner

    After an evening of stellar performances by six finalists in Township High School District 214’s annual Honors Orchestra Concerto/Aria Competition Finals Recital, Elk Grove High School senior Peter Pendowski has been named this year’s winner.

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    The future of the RTA and other transit agencies could be up for grabs in 2014. A task force appointed by Gov. Pat Quinn to reform transit is expected to issue recommendations shaking up the status quo to the General Assembly early next year.

    Severance agreements cost RTA $276,000 over three years

    While much has been made of Metra's severance agreement with its former CEO, the RTA approved $276,000 in such packages of their own over the last three years. These coincide with a significant turnover at the agency, which has been in the midst of a leadership transition and a new, more activist agenda.

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    Mount Prospect considers e-cigarettes ban for minors

    A state law prohibiting the sale of electronic cigarettes to minors goes into effect Jan. 1. Mount Prospect, however, is entertaining the possibility of a local ordinance that goes a step further by also outlawing their possession by those under 18. Village board members discussed the issue during a recent update from the police department on how new state laws will impact local law enforcement.

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    Round Lake Park Police Chief George Filenko says the seemingly low number of Firearm Owner's Identification cards issued to addresses in his village doesn't take into account illegal guns, such as this modified AK-47 assault rifle that's being held in police storage.

    Do more gun permits mean more guns?

    Round Lake Park would seem to have hardly any guns in town compared to the similarly sized village of Itasca, based on town-by-town Illinois Firearm Owners Identification candholder records. Yet, those statistics don't show the true picture, experts say. “We do believe that we have a substantial illegal gun problem within Round Lake Park specifically attributed to the underground sales of...

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    Dawn Patrol: Oak Brook armed robbery; Police officer still recovering

    Oak Brook police investigate armed robbery at jewelry store. Arlington Heights police officer remains in hospital. Naperville filmgoers see different take on immigration. Lego fans flock to Cantigny for holiday train show. ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ star Peter O’Toole dies at age 81. Cutler rewards Trestman, Bears with win. Toews leads Blackhawks over Kings.

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    Crime data lacking when it comes to guns

    Despite the seemingly ever-present debate over gun-control laws, little data exists on the prevalence of crimes committed by people using guns.

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    Chicago Bears wide receiver Earl Bennett celebrates after catching a four-yard touchdown pass against the Cleveland Browns in the fourth quarter of an NFL football game Sunday in Cleveland.

    Weekend in Review: Guns in the suburbs; Cutler, Bears still in playoff hunt
    What you may have missed over the weekend: Data paints imperfect picture of gun ownership in suburbs; Kane County keeping DUI patrols; WWII vet an art institution at Harper; Elburn couple compete tonight on holiday lights reality TV show; Oak Brook jewelry story robbed; Arlington Hts. officer still hospitalized after shooting; Blackhawks beat the Kings; and Cutler returns with win over Browns.

Sports

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    Hoffman Estates hitting high notes

    The Hoffman Estates girls bowling team has been flying high this season. But according to senior Sarah Wille, the best is yet to come. “We’re looking to break some records,” said Wille. Wille and her teammates have already bowled a 3,097 series this year, the best score in the Mid-Suburban League by 200 pins and the Hawks’ top mark in three years. At Monday night’s MSL meet at Arlington Lanes, Hoffman Estates kept rolling by defeating Hersey 7-2 to cement its hold on first place in the conference.

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

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

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    Ravens’ Tucker does Bears big favor

    The 8-6 Bears are all alone in first place in the NFC North after the Lions lost 18-16 to the Ravens on Monday night on a final-minute, 61-yard field goal by Justin Tucker. The loss dropped the Lions to third place at 7-7, as they also trail the 7-6-1 Packers.

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    Browns safety T.J. Ward recovers a fumble by Bears tight end Martellus Bennett before returning the ball 51 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter Sunday. Bears coach Marc Trestman said his team must turnovers and penalties, if not addressed, could cost his team a spot in the playoffs.

    Bears know there’s still room for improvement

    Bears coach Marc Trestman congratulated his players after their 38-31 victory over the Browns on Sunday. But then he told them they'd need to play better if they hope to win the NFC North and advance to the playoffs.

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    The Bulls’ Luol Deng gets past Magic guard Victor Oladipo as he goes in for a layup during the second half Monday night at the United Center.

    Bulls battle back but can’t complete job

    The Bulls again had trouble scoring and fell behind the Orlando Magic by 17 points in the third quarter. Some tough defense down the stretch provided a chance to pull even, but a missed layup by Luol Deng doomed the Bulls to an 83-82 loss on Monday at the United Center.

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    Wauconda tips Woodstock North

    Ben Carlson had 13 points and 10 rebounds and led four players in double figures as Wauconda slipped by Woodstock North 49-47 on Monday in boys basketball.

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    Montini Catholic’s Niles Sykes celebrates a sack against Joliet Catholic quarterback Nick Morrison.

    Notre Dame part of Sykes’ business plan

    Nile Sykes had been collecting Division I football scholarship offers since his sophomore year. But when Notre Dame came through with one in October, the senior linebacker didn’t take long to decide.

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    Fruendt nets career-high 37

    Batavia senior Liza Fruendt continued her red-hot season Monday night at the Oswego Hoops for Troops Tournament with a career-high 37 points in a 76-53 win over Proviso East.

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    Everything works for Naperville N. in blowout win

    Naperville North hasn’t had much opportunity to practice at this early stage of the season, so first-year coach Jason Dycus has used his team’s game experience as a chance for improvement.

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    Warren’s Kylie Nedelka (4) and Lake Zurich’s Elly Daleske eye the ball during Monday night’s basketball game in Gurnee.

    Leinart, Warren stop Lake Zurich

    A young Lake Zurich girls basketball team stayed close to Warren before falling 48-43 on Monday in North Suburban Lake play.

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    Jered Cortez of Glenbard North defeats Larry Early of Oak Park River Forest during a 3A 120-pound semifinal bout at the 2012 IHSA wrestling state finals in Champaign.

    Cortez keeping Glenbard North’s winning tradition going

    Glenbard North has had a wrestling pedigree in the large-school division few schools can duplicate.

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    Burlington Central rolls over Harvard

    Burlington Central 77, Harvard 30: Sam Pryor had 16 points and Shelby Holt added 13 as the Rockets rolled to another Big Northern East win. Becca Gerke added 12 points and Katleen Ratzek added 11, including 3 3-pointers for Central (9-0, 3-0).

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    South Elgin falls to Downers South

    Downers Grove South 70, South Elgin 52: Matthew Smith scored 16 points to lead South Elgin in this nonconference loss Monday. Tyler Hankins had 9 points and Matt McClure added 8 for the Storm (3-5).

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    Jones likely candidate to be White Sox closer

    Now that Addison Reed has been traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks, hard-throwing Nate Jones shapes up as the favorite to take over as the White Sox' closer.

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    Mike James, a veteran guard who played in seven games for the Bulls this season, was released by the team on Monday. The Bulls added guard D.J. Augustin to the roster last Friday.

    Bulls release veteran Mike James

    The Bulls released veteran guard Mike James on Monday. He became expendable when the team added guard D.J. Augustin last Friday.

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    Bulls point guard Marquis Teague (25) runs into Orlando Magic point guard Jameer Nelson (14) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Chicago on Monday, Dec. 16, 2013.

    Magic beat Bulls 83-82

    Arron Afflalo scored 23 points and the Orlando Magic got double-doubles from Glen Davis and Nikola Vucevic in an 83-82 victory over the slumping Bulls on Monday night at United Center.Davis had 14 points and 11 rebounds despite playing with a sore left shoulder, powering Orlando to a 54-45 edge on the glass in just its second win in the last 10 games. Vucevic finished with 10 points and 11 boards.The Bulls had a chance to win despite shooting 34.6 percent from the field during another terrible offensive performance. Trailing 81-79 with 6.8 seconds left, Joakim Noah made a terrific bounce pass to a streaking Luol Deng, but he missed the easy layup.Davis grabbed the rebound and made two foul shots to give the Magic a four-point lead that proved crucial when Mike Dunleavy made a 3-pointer from half court as time expired.Deng had 26 points and eight rebounds for Chicago, which has dropped five of six. D.J. Augustin and Dunleavy had 14 points apiece, and Noah finished with 13 points and eight rebounds.Jameer Nelson had 14 points and seven assists for Orlando, which had lost its last five games against Chicago.The Magic appeared to be on their way to an easy victory when Vucevic and Afflalo made consecutive jumpers to make it 63-46 with 5:17 left in the third. Afflalo had 13 points in the period.But the Bulls started to pick up their play at the end of the quarter. Augustin, Dunleavy and Deng each made a 3-pointer during a 13-2 run that trimmed Orlando’s lead to 65-59 with 58.1 seconds left, capped by an emphatic two-handed jam by Taj Gibson over Vucevic.The Bulls played without point guard Kirk Hinrich for the second straight game due to back stiffness. Coach Tom Thibodeau said he hopes Hinrich will be able to return soon.Marquis Teague replaced Hinrich in the starting lineup, but Chicago’s offense looked much better when Augustin was on the court. Augustin, who signed with the Bulls on Friday and started the second half, had eight assists in 37 minutes, while Teague was scoreless in 11 minutes.The Magic put together a 15-0 run in the first quarter and led 43-35 at the break. Rookie Victor Oladipo, who played his college ball at Indiana and got a warm ovation when he was introduced with the starting lineup, scored the final basket of the first half on a driving layup with 12 seconds left.Davis injured his shoulder in the fourth quarter of Orlando’s 101-98 loss at Oklahoma City on Sunday. He was a game-time decision against the Bulls, but he made two big jumpers in the final period while playing 33 minutes.

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    Jensen enjoys double duty with Batavia football, basketball

    As a married father of two young children, Kevin Jensen is a busy guy on a regular basis.

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    Burlington Central chalks up easy win

    By early in the second half, Rockford Christian had used all 13 players on its roster. None of them could stop Reed Hunnicutt. The Burlington Central senior had 12 points by halftime and the Rockets led 35-8. In fact, the only one who could stop Hunnicutt was Brett Porto. The Central coach gave Hunnicutt and the other starters the night off shortly after halftime. Even without them, the Rockets were well on their way to taming the Royal Lions, 57-34, in the Big Northern East boys basketball opener for both teams in Rockford Monday night.

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    Batavia’s Liza Fruendt (5) shoots and scores in front of Geneva’s Sidney Santos (32) during Friday’s game in Batavia.

    Batavia’s Fruendt closing in on Issel’s record

    Katie Issel, the niece of NBA Hall of Famer and one of the all-time Batavia greats Dan Issel, holds the Batavia girls basketball record with 1,593 career points. Current Batavia senior Liza Fruendt has that record squarely in her sights. Fruendt entered the season with 1,155 points. Heading into Monday’s game against Proviso East at the Oswego Hoops for Troops Tournament, Fruendt had scored 205 points in Batavia’s first 9 games — a 22.8 scoring average that gives her 1,360 in her career.

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    Alyssa Konkel of the U-46 co-op team practices in Hanover Park Monday.

    U-46 co-op team is strong in numbers

    One of the more unique high-school sporting arrangements can be found at the Gymkhana gymnastics facility in Hanover Park. That’s the practice home of the Elgin Area School District U-46 girls gymnastics team — a co-op program open to all five district high schools. This year the team features some 30 athletes from Bartlett, South Elgin, Streamwood and Elgin. Larkin has no gymnasts on the team. The majority of this year’s team is comprised of South Elgin and Bartlett gymnasts.

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    The White Sox have added 22-year-old third baseman Matt Davidson, above, to their roster after trading closer Addison Reed to the Arizona Diamondbacks on Monday.

    White Sox trade Reed for young third baseman

    General manager Rick Hahn continued to overhaul the White Sox' roster on Monday, acquiring third baseman Matt Davidson from the Diamondbacks in exchange for closer Addison Reed. In Davidson, the White Sox are getting a promising young (22 years old) talent. The 6-foot-2, 225-pounder spent most of last season with Class AAA Reno.

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    Bears coach Marc Trestman’s off-season plan to have players learn more about each other seems to be working, especially for quarterback Jay Cutler.

    Trestman’s off-season plan working wonders for Cutler

    It sounds as if Jay Cutler is starting to get it, and maybe even growing up a bit in the process. How much it matters, or how long it lasts, remains to be seen, but being a better and happier teammate can’t hurt the Bears.

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    Blackhawks game day

    Blackhawks game dayBlackhawks vs. Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena, 7 p.m.TV: Comcast SportsNetRadio: WGN-AM 720The skinny: The Hawks return where they suffered their worst loss of the season, 7-2 to the Predators on Nov. 17. That’s the same night they lost goalie Nikolai Khabibulin to a leg injury. Bryan Bickell was activated off injured reserve Monday and Jeremy Morin was returned to Rockford. Antti Raanta makes his fifth straight start, likely against former Hawks farmhand Carter Hutton.Next: Vancouver Canucks at the United Center, 7 p.m. Friday.— Tim Sassone

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    The Bears confirmed Monday that Charles Tillman, who has been rehabbing a torn triceps, will not return this season, but it's possible that linebacker Lance Briggs could play Sunday against Philadelphia.

    Tillman done, but Bears expect Briggs to return

    Bears two-time Pro Bowl cornerback Charles Tillman will not play again this season, including any possible playoff games. The team had hoped Tillman would recover from a torn triceps in time to contribute in the postseason, but he has not progressed enough in his recovery to make that possible. Seven-time Pro Bowl linebacker Lance Briggs will practice this week, and coach Marc Trestman is optimistic he can play Sunday.

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    Judson announces hall of fame class

    Six individuals and one team will be honored on Friday, January 24th when the Judson University Athletic Hall of Fame holds its 12th annual induction ceremony.Amy Brendlinger Vlastelica, Bob Dilliard, Leslie Ferguson, Kristin Lundquist DeBoer, Jack Mathias and Lee Paul will bring to 62 the number of former Judson athletes who have been enshrined into the Hall of Fame since its inception in 2003.Additionally, the 1983-84 men’s basketball team will be recognized. This is the third year a team has been honored by the Hall of Fame.And, the Hall of Fame will also recognize Richard Besancon for his contributions to Judson athletics.AMY BRENDLINGER VLASTELICAA 2003 graduate, Brendlinger Vlastelica is being inducted for softball. She ranks in the Top Ten in six different career statistical categories, including being second in innings pitched (504 2/3) and wins (40), as well as third in strikeouts (228). Her senior season she was all-conference as well as NCCAA all-region.BOB DILLIARDDilliard is being inducted for men’s basketball. A 1970 graduate, he scored 1,123 career points. His 22.5 per game average and his 11.9 per game rebound average rank third on Judson’s all-time career list.Six individuals and one team will be honored on Friday, January 24th when the Judson University Athletic Hall of Fame holds its 12th annual induction ceremony.LESLIE FERGUSONA 2001 Judson graduate, Ferguson is being inducted for women’s soccer. A four-time letter winner, she is the Eagles’ all-time leader in assists (35) and ranks second all-time in points (137) and goals (51). She helped the team to a 5th place finish at the NCCAA National Tournament her sophomore year and an 8th place finish her junior year.KRISTIN LUNDQUIST DEBOERLundquist DeBoer, a 2002 graduate, is being inducted for women’s basketball. She is the program’s all-time leader in 3-point field goals made (230) and attempted (619) and she ranks in the Top Ten in three other categories. She scored 1,008 career points. A three-time letter winner, she was a two-time all-conference selection and was NCCAA All-Region in 2001-02. She helped Judson each the NAIA Sweet 16 in 2001 and 2002.JACK MATHIASAttending Judson from 1972-75, Mathias will be inducted for baseball. A four-time letter winner, he ranks 3rd with 19 career home runs and 7th in career batting average (. 366). He was also a two-time letter winner in soccer.LEE PAULA four-time letter winner in men’s soccer Paul attended Judson from 1998-2002. He led the Eagles to the program’s first two appearances at the NAIA National Tournament in 2001 and 2002, as well as the NCCAA National Championship in 2001, a 2nd place finish at the NCCAA National Tournament in 1998 and a 5th place finish in 1999. He was a third-team NAIA all-American in 2002. He was named the NCCAA National Tournament Most Valuable Player in 2002 and was CCAC Player of the Year. He ranks 1st in career goals scored with 96 and 2nd in points with 228. A special note about Paul: He now lives in Egypt, but does plan to attend the induction ceremony.ŸThe 1983-84 men’s basketball team has the most wins in program history with a 24-7 record. The team finished third at the NCCAA National Tournament under the leadership of Coach Sam Harris. Celebrating its 20th anniversary, members of this team will be recognized at the Hall of Fame ceremony.ŸRichard Besancon is a pioneer of the Judson athletic program. He helped start the Judson men’s basketball program and has been a consistent supporter of the athletic department for many years.For further information on Judson athletics, log on to judsoneagles.com. 

  •  
    Former Prospect quarterback Miles Osei excelled at wide receiver and on special teams for Illinois in his final season of college football.

    Osei wraps up a special senior season at Illinois

    Wheeling football coach Brent Pearlman was hardly surprised when he heard Miles Osei earned the ‘Outstanding Special Teams Player’ award for Illinois’ football. In his senior season, Osei converted full time from quarterback to a wide receiver and special teams specialist for the Illini this fall.

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    Lacrosse will not be IHSA sport in 2014

    The Illinois High School Association board of directors met for their regularly scheduled meeting at the IHSA office in Bloomington on Monday, where the board heard an update on entries into the boys and girls lacrosse state series. The IHSA will not proceed with a boys and girls lacrosse state series in the spring of 2014, as the entry numbers required to begin a state series were not met.

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    Rowland’s on a roll at Towson

    Going into this season, Melanie Rowland’s most memorable experience at Towson University was winning the Colonial Athletic Association championships last year. Now a senior, the former Vernon Hills standout hopes to close her career with a few more magical memories.Rowland recently finished 19th place in the 200-yard butterfly with a best untapered time of 1:58.65 at the USA Swimming/AT&T Winter national swimming championships at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.

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    The Chicago Blackhawks have activated Bryan Bickell from injured reserve. Bickell has been out with a knee injury.

    Blackhawks activate Bickell, reassign Morin

    After being sidelined with an injured left knee since Nov. 18, when he slid into the net at Colorado, the Chicago Blackhawks have activated forward Bryan Bickell from injured reserve, team officials announced Monday.

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    Mike North video: Are we supposed to be thrilled with Cutler’s performance?
    Bears quarterback Jay Cutler played well enough to win on Sunday against the Cleveland Browns, but it wasn't impressive. How can the NFL player of the week, Josh McCown, be benched the following week?

Business

  •  
    The Mega Millions jackpot soared to $586 million on Monday amid a frenzy of ticket purchases, a jump that pushed the prize closer to the $656 million U.S. record set last year.

    Mega Millions jackpot climbs to $586 million

    The Mega Millions jackpot inched toward a U.S. lottery record Monday as it soared to $586 million amid a frenzy of ticket purchases, raising the possibility that the prize could pass the once-unthinkable $1 billion mark by Christmas Eve should nobody win before then.

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    A woman talks to a salesperson in front of an advertisement for iPhones at Apple’s retail store in Beijing Monday. Apple Inc. might have a chance to pep up cooling iPhone sales in China if it finally can reach a deal with the world’s biggest phone carrier.

    Possible China deal could pep up iPhone sales

    Apple Inc. might have a chance to pep up cooling iPhone sales in China if it finally can reach a deal with the world’s biggest phone carrier. Once China’s must-have gadget, the iPhone has seen its explosive popularity squeezed as the market filled with lower-priced rivals from Samsung to ambitious local brands.

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    U.S. stocks rose, after equities posted the biggest weekly drop since August, as investors watched data to gauge the outlook for stimulus before a two-day Federal Reserve meeting that starts Tuesday.

    U.S. stocks rise on signs of stronger economy

    Stocks soared after two down weeks, as investors warmed up to the idea that the economy is getting better. Monday’s gains, driven by two corporate deals and more positive economic news, suggested that investors are focused more on good news and less on when it means the Fed will end quantitative easing.

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    Kansas-based F&H Acquisition Corp., which owns the Fox & Hound and Champps sports bar and restaurant chains, has filed for bankruptcy.

    Fox & Hound, Champps parent company files for bankruptcy

    F&H Acquisition Corp., which owns the Fox & Hound and Champps sports bar and restaurant chains, filed for bankruptcy Monday, citing a slump in sales as a result of the U.S. economic downturn. F&H, based in Wichita, Kan., operates about 101 sports bars and casual family-dining restaurants in 27 states, including Champps restaurants in Schaumburg, Lincolnshire and Lombard, and Fox & Hound pubs in Arlington Heights, Schaumburg, Carol Stream and Aurora.

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    A trader wearing “Happy New Year” glasses works on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange in New York. According to an Associated Press-GfK poll released Monday, Americans don’t expect another gangbuster year for the stock market.

    Poll: Americans see end of stock surge

    Americans aren’t expecting another bang-up year for the stock market, according to a new Associated Press-GfK poll. Of the people polled, 40 percent think the market will stabilize where it is now by the end of 2014, with 39 percent predicting that it will drop, but not crash. Only 14 percent believe the market will rise and 5 percent think it will crash.

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    conciergeauctions.com Michael Jordan’s 56,000-square foot home in Highland Park is set for auction.

    Jordan’s Highland Park estate up for auction

    HIGHLAND PARK — Michael Jordan’s 56,000-square foot home in suburban Chicago is up for auction.Concierge Auctions says the sale will take place Monday. The company runs the sales of high-end real estate and features Jordan’s Highland Park home north of Chicago on its website. The former Chicago Bulls star’s home has nine bedrooms, 15 full bathrooms, a pool pavilion and a regulation-size indoor basketball court. It also features what’s been described as a “gentleman’s retreat” complete with a library, full wet bar and the original doors from the Playboy Mansion in Chicago. It all sits on more than seven acres of land.Jordan’s home was originally listed at $29 million in early 2012.Jordan now owns the Charlotte Bobcats.

  •  
    Jan Baumgartner

    Elburn photographer creates 3-D studio for holidays

    Jan Baumgartner, a photographer from the unincorporated Elburn area, didn’t want to do typical portraits, especially for the holidays. She wanted to make the studio experience memorable. So she made it 3-D.Baumgartner, who founded her business in 2009, said she built the holiday-themed studio set in her home that includes artificial snow, trees and a model train.

  •  

    Next year could bring higher business tax bills

    Next year could bring higher business tax bills, according to experts that Small Business Columnist Jim Kendall talks with.

  •  
    Matt Murphy

    Fusion92 grows in Arlington Heights
    The owner of Fusion92 talks about his full service ad agency with a focus on digital marketing and innovation.

  •  
    Associated Press Director James Cameron

    Cameron sees epic in 'Avatar' films

    New Zealand — James Cameron says his vision for his three “Avatar” sequels is to create a family epic in the mold of “The Godfather” that will introduce viewers to new cultures and go underwater on his fictional moon Pandora. The director announced Monday he will be filming the sequels in New Zealand, where he shot the triple Academy Award-winning original.

  •  

    AIG selling aircraft leasing unit in $5.4B deal

    AIG is selling aircraft leasing business International Lease Finance Corp. to AerCap in a cash-and-stock deal valued at approximately $5.4 billion.The transaction includes $3 billion in cash and about 97.6 million shares of AerCap Holdings NV. American International Group Inc. said Monday that this is the last major sale of one of its non-core assets.

Life & Entertainment

  •  
    Tomatoes are tender plants, susceptible to damage from frost. Like most warm-season crops, they can be started indoors or protected by such season-extending tools as cold frames, row covers or hoops until the threat of frigid weather has passed. Wait until soils have warmed to at least 55 or 60 degrees before transplanting.

    How early is too early to plant?

    “Plant early and you’ll plant often” is an old saying containing more than a kernel of caution. Timing is everything in gardening. Start too soon and you’ll lose your crop to lingering spring frosts. Too late and you’ll gamble with winterkill before you can harvest. So when is the right time to put plants in the ground?

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    Chain of events leads from high cholesterol to heart attack

    Q: Can you explain how high cholesterol causes a heart attack or stroke?

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    Chicago Film Critics named Chiwetel Ejiofor, left, best actor of 2013 for his searing portrait of a kidnapped free man in Steve McQueen's “12 Years A Slave,” which won best picture. Best supporting actor nominee Michael Fassbender is at right.

    Chicago film critics name '12 Years a Slave' 2013's best movie

    The Chicago Film Critics Association Monday night named Steve McQueen's “12 Years a Slave” best picture of 2013. The historical drama — based on the memoir of a free black man kidnapped and sold into slavery in the pre-Civil War South — won best director for McQueen, best actor for Chiwetel Ejiofor, best adapted screenplay for John Ridley, and best supporting actress for newcomer Lupita Nyong'o.

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    What, exactly, is your ‘best self’?

    You often talk about a “best self” and the ways people should either live that themselves or permit others to do so. I can guess what a best self might be, but I wonder what your workaday definition is?

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    Using a handful of “base” foods, like asparagus and goat cheese, you can create an assortment of easy party foods.

    30 easy eats for fuss-free holiday entertaining

    Fantasizing about throwing a big holiday bash but fearful you’ll spend the whole party — or worse, the whole week — in the kitchen prepping? We’ve assembled an easy mix-and-match approach to holiday entertaining. An hour or so of prep and you’ll have enough nibbles to feed a crowd in high style.

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    Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper, Jeremy Renner, Christian Bale and Jennifer Lawrence star in “American Hustle,” which received 13 nominations for the Broadcast Film Critics Association’s 19th Annual Critics’ Choice Movie Awards, airing Jan. 16 on the CW network.

    ‘12 Years,’ ‘Hustle’ Critics’ Choice Movie noms

    Steve McQueen’s “12 Years a Slave” and David O. Russell’s “American Hustle” lead the 19th annual Critics’ Choice Movie Awards nominees with 13 bids each. Both films are nominated for best picture, actor, supporting actor and actress, acting ensemble, director, editing, costume design and makeup.

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    Lifestyle choices affect health care costs

    The greatest impacts on healthcare costs are determined by your lifestyle choices. According to Dr. Michael Roizen, unless we change our lifestyles we are destined to have a very different medical system than the one we currently have. Significant changes in our food, exercise and stress levels are needed to avoid rationing and limited medical care. Although many believe that the American health care system is the best in the world, in actuality we rank at the bottom of all of the technologically advanced countries.

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    Beyoncé during her “Mrs. Carter Show World Tour 2013” at the American Airlines Center in Dallas.

    Beyoncé reaches new heights on 5th album

    Beyoncé is a beast. Her fifth self-titled album, released in surprise form late last week, is a collection of songs that highlight Beyonce’s evolution as a woman and artist. It’s her strongest and most cohesive album to date. What’s most appealing about “Beyoncé” is that it shows — in the sound and method of release — how she isn’t conforming to mainstream and commercial standards: The songs, while some will find success as singles, play like a unified assembly.

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    Christina Applegate reprises her role as Veronica Corningstone in “Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues.”

    The ladies of 'Anchorman 2' show Ron who's boss

    In the eyes of legendary newscaster Ron Burgundy, arguably Will Ferrell's most memorable character, this is a man's world. But in “Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues,” it wouldn't be anything without a few saucy newsroom girls. The sequel to Paramount's “Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy” not only reunites Ferrell with Steve Carell, Paul Rudd and David Koechner, but Christina Applegate is back too — and she has reinforcements. Reprising her role as anchorwoman Veronica Corningstone, Applegate returns with additional leading ladies: Kristen Wiig and Meagan Good.

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    Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman), left, and a dwarf (John Callen) go into action in Peter Jackson's fifth J.R.R. Tolkein-based adventure “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.” The second installment of the “Hobbit” franchise brought in more than $73 million in its first weekend of release.

    'Hobbit' sequel scares up $73.7 million at box office

    “Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” was No. 1 at the weekend box office with $73.7 million, besting last weekend's No. 1 film, Disney's animated fable “Frozen.” M“Frozen” earned $22.2 million in its third weekend, bringing its impressive overall domestic ticket total to nearly $164.4 million. Despite its first place position, “Hobbit” fell short of topping its prequel's debut. “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” which opened this same weekend last year, gained $84.6 million.

  •  
    Fire tape surrounds the aftermath of the fire at the House of Soul at Detroit’s Heidelberg Project. There have been at least eight fires since early May, leading to questions about who might be targeting the installation and why they want to burn it down. Founder and artistic director Tyree Guyton and his compatriots vow to carry on, make more art and overcome the assault on his vision, yet worry threatens the whimsy as the fires snuff out building after building.

    Arson engulfs art at Detroit’s Heidelberg Project

    On Detroit’s Heidelberg Street, where a local artist turned the shell of a crime-ridden neighborhood into an interactive public art project, visitors coming to see offbeat display are noticing something that’s not part of the quirky exhibition: Yellow fire tape. There have been at least eight fires since early May — the latest last Sunday — leading to questions about who might be targeting the installation known as the Heidelberg Project, and why they want to burn it down. Founder and artistic director Tyree Guyton and his compatriots vow to carry on, make more art and overcome the assault on his vision, yet worry threatens the whimsy as the fires snuff out building after building.

  •  
    Italian actress Isabella Rossellini, 61, has transformed her 40-odd “Green Porno” short films into an hourlong stage show.

    Isabella Rossellini cheers diversity in new show

    Isabella Rossellini is very popular these days with her show that sounds like it should be dull. After all, it’s a scientific theater piece about animals. “It’s also about sex,” says Rossellini, laughing. Rossellini, 61, has transformed her 40-odd “Green Porno” short films into an hour-long stage show. The show is structured like a lecture that goes a bit looney — Rossellini’s podium will house various puppets and tricks — she makes three costume changes and some of her short films will be broadcast on a screen. It’s all grounded in hard science — Rossellini is earning a master’s in animal behavior and conservation at Hunter College.

  •  
    It’s that time of year: holiday music time. And with holiday music comes all the strange and twisted things we sometimes think we’re hearing. Mondegreens, the moniker for misheard words in song, aren’t restricted to holiday standards, of course, but the old-timey language of some seems to serve as a botched-lyric magnet.

    6 geezers laying? Holidays bring on song botches

    Milk and spiders? Nine lazy Hansons? Sleep in heavenly peas? It’s that time of year: holiday music time. And with holiday music comes all the strange and twisted things we sometimes think we’re hearing. Mondegreens, the moniker for misheard words in song, aren’t restricted to holiday standards, of course, but the old-timey language of some seems to serve as a botched-lyric magnet.

  •  
    “Frosty the Snowman,” illustrated by Wade Zahares, includes a three-track CD that includes a song by Kenny Loggins.

    For gifters: Kid picture books with snowy themes

    Brrrr. It’s time for all good children, at least those in chilly territory, to curl up with a good book featuring snow. Picture books abound showing off the white stuff. Here’s eight to get you started or pass on to gifters.

  •  
    Finding a holiday gift for a person with Alzheimer’s disease can be challenging.

    Your health: Gifts for those with Alzheimer’s
    Best Alzheimer’s Products, based in Third Lake, offers hundreds of innovative and stage-appropriate products and gifts for those with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.

  •  
    Scott Botts, a Marine Corps veteran from Oneida, Tenn., is seen at Boulder Crest Retreat in Bluemont, Va. The retreat serves wounded military service personnel and veterans.

    Virginia sanctuary helps veterans heal

    The holidays can be a stressful time for veterans. “Just from my own personal experience in the military, holidays are a lonely time,” said Ken Falke, a retired bomb disposal expert with the Navy. Boulder Crest Retreat for Wounded Warriors is the nation’s first rural retreat devoted specifically to caring for physically and psychologically wounded service members and veterans. “Getting away to a nice place like Boulder Crest and celebrating your family holiday for free," said Falke. "That’s a pretty powerful thing.”

  •  
    For “Michael Buble’s 3rd Annual Christmas Special,” the singer is joined by special guest Cookie Monster.

    Buble shares holiday special with Mariah, Mary and a beloved Monster

    Michael Buble, the smooth singer with the Rat Pack sensibility, has a contagious love of Christmas. He’s sharing that again in NBC’s “Michael Buble’s 3rd Annual Christmas Special” on Wednesday, Dec. 18, with Mary J. Blige, Mariah Carey and Cookie Monster. “It has now become a tradition, and NBC and I are happily married, and I will keep doing this,” Buble says.

  •  
    1966 Chevrolet C-10 Custom

    Truck given 1966 Chevy C-10 Custom more roads to roam

    Doug Evans and Gary Gehrke of Des Plaines searched high and low for a suitable project truck to refurbish as a father/son project. Two years were spent scouring for just the right hauler until they found their Chevrolet C10 Custom pickup.

Discuss

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    ACA is program that helps, not harms
    Gene Lyons’ Nov. 26 column on the Affordable Care Act really hit it on the head. I just keep wondering about all those who continually write into this forum attacking the ACA. The same people keep it up, over and over.Where were those opinions after G.W. Bush started a war based on lies? Or the manipulation of our financial laws by Wall Street and the Big Banks that caused our economy to almost collapse? Gee, G.W. sent our young men off to die. Dropped bombs on tens of thousands innocent civilians in Iraq. All the while never telling the American people how we were going to pay for it. He was at the helm when Wall Street and the Big Banks made a mockery of our financial system. When our Congress did away with the Glass-Stegal Act, which was there to provide protection for the consumer from greed. So much for that. I guess that wasn’t enough for all of you too write in about.Yet there are so many of you hammering on Obama for health care reform. Really?Yes, there have been problems with the ACA rollout, but come on. It doesn’t even compare to the issues above that have been forced onto the American public. Bedsides, the ACA is meant to help. Those who keep going on and on about the cost? Well we are putting out our newest aircraft carrier, and it is only 70 percent done and $2 billion over budget! Yeah, but we have no money for health care.It seems that you far righties are watching way too much Fox News. There’s nary a positive word that comes out of those people. I just keep wondering why anyone would let their opinion be manipulated by an Australian emigrant like Rupert Murdoch.Edward TobolikRoselle

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    Costly Obamacare needs to be repealed
    An Arlington Heights letter to the editor: When are Americans going to stop buying into President Obama’s lies? He lied about Americans keeping their doctors and their insurance. Millions have lost their insurance while countless others are seeing their premiums skyrocket. Affordable? No way!

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    Fundamental changes going too far
    A Palatine letter to the editor: “We are fundamentally going to change America.” Supporters cheered when they heard President-elect Obama say those words. Little did a lot of people know what he meant by them. I did, and now we are seeing what he meant.

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    Northwest Festival Orchestra deserving of more support
    Letter to the editor: Deborah J. Gross of Mount Prospect is delighted by the Northwest Festival Orchestra, but disappointed "that this fine orchestra is not better supported by corporate sponsors, nor its performances better attended by the public."

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    Village should not be funding concerts
    Letter to the editor: The village of Elk Grove should be in the business of providing necessary services, and leave the concert promotion to the park district, argues Sheila Barrett

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    Loss of Dominick’s stores means trouble
    Letter to the editor: Christina Termini of Conant High School says the closing of all the area's Dominick's stores is a blow to employees and shoppers alike.

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    Moylan vote ‘on the right side of history’
    Letter to the editor: State Rep. Marty Moylan is "on the right side of history" with his vote to support marriage equality, write Daniel Wayne Dorman of Des Plaines. "This is about treating all people equally under the law and it is long overdue," he writes.

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    It’s time for this fight to be over
    Letter to the editor: Paul Petricca of Arlington Hts. writes that now that the debate between The Orchard church and its neighbors is over, it's time for the protest signs to come down.

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    Start times not ideal for teenage students
    Letter to the editor: Leanne Frawley, a senior at Conant High School, says schools should pay more attention to studies that show teenagers are naturally disposed to stay up late and sleep late, when they are determining class start times.

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    The case for lights at Duchon Field
    A Glen Ellyn letter to the editor: The topic of the viability and necessity of turf and lights on Duchon Field at Glenbard West has been subject to much debate and received many complaints over the past few years.

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