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Daily Archive : Tuesday December 24, 2013

News

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    Matt Burgess, of Champaign, enjoys the day with his Geneva family, as he measures rice and helps assemble food packets for hungry kids in Haiti and Cambodia.

    A socially conscious Christmas Eve in the suburbs

    Instead of spending Christmas Eve shopping, more than 300 people across the suburbs volunteered to pack food for hungry children at the Feed My Starving Children facilities in Aurora, Schaumburg and Libertyville. “We know that our kids are never hungry," said Judy Burgess of Geneva. "We want other children to have that kind of feeling."

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    Associated Press/provided by NASA Astronauts Rick Mastracchio, top, and Michael Hopkins work Tuesday to repair an external cooling line on the International Space Station.

    Astronauts complete rare Christmas Eve spacewalk

    Space station astronauts repaired a crippled cooling system during a rare Christmas Eve spacewalk Tuesday, braving a “mini blizzard” of noxious ammonia as they popped in a new pump.It was the second spacewalk in four days for U.S. astronauts Rick Mastracchio and Michael Hopkins, and only the second Christmas Eve spacewalk ever.NASA ordered up the spacewalks to revive a critical cooling loop at...

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    A microscope set to 10-times magnification shows a marijuana leaf covered with mold.

    University to test pot for contaminants

    A number of labs around the country are testing marijuana for contaminants using different methods, many of which have been around for decades and used to test other plants, including food crops, for harmful substances.The health effects of marijuana tainted with mold, pesticides and other contaminants aren’t clear, said Mason Tvert, a Colorado-based spokesman for the Marijuana Policy Project in...

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    About 1,500 people gather Monday to celebrate marriage equality after a federal judge declined to stay his ruling that legalized same-sex marriage in Utah, at Washington Square just outside of the Salt Lake City and County Building.

    Federal court: No halt to gay marriages in Utah

    A federal appeals court ruled Tuesday that gay marriages can continue in Utah, denying a request from the state to halt same-sex weddings that have been occurring at a rapid rate since last week.The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ rejection of Utah’s request for an emergency stay marks yet another legal setback for the state. The same federal judge who ruled that Utah’s same-sex marriage ban...

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    Dede Logan, of Oakland, adds red stars Monday to a poster in support of Jahi McMath in front of Children’s Hospital Oakland in Oakland, Calif.

    Judge: Teen can be taken off life support

    “It’s Christmas Eve, there is still time for a miracle,” said Omari Sealey, the girl’s uncle. He said the family would discuss and decide later whether to appeal or to allow Children’s Hospital of Oakland to remove the girl from a ventilator. “Prayers are more important than ever before,” Sealey said. “Because the clock is ticking.”

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    Dave Dora, a lineman from Grand Haven Board of Light and Power, works Monday on connecting fallen wires on Macon Avenue in Lansing, Mich.

    Holiday power outages challenge Christmas cheer

    The National Weather Service said more snow was expected to move into the Northern High Plains and Central Rockies on Tuesday before rolling into the Great Lakes and Midwest by Wednesday morning.The nationwide death toll from the storm reached at least 14 on Tuesday, when a 50-year-old man in Knox, Maine, was overcome by carbon monoxide fumes from a generator.

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    The sign outside Cornerstone Baptist Church displays its message to drivers in Farmington Hills, Mich. Darrin Lee credits the slogans on his sign for helping his flock grow.

    Church signs roll the dice getting hip with quips

    When Darrin Lee launched his suburban Detroit church six years ago, he had just 11 members, a rickety old building and a plywood board marquee. The sign was replaced, thanks to a benefactor’s $5,000 donation, with a roadside one Lee now uses for slogans he credits for helping his Cornerstone Baptist Church flock grow to more than 100.“I think that sign added life to this church, saying, ‘Hey,...

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    Juan Palese, a marijuana grower, shows his crop Wednesday outside of Montevideo, Uruguay.

    Uruguay president signs marijuana law

    A spokesman for President Jose Mujica of Uruguay says the leader has quietly signed into law the government’s plan to create a regulated, legal market for marijuana.

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    Des Plaines payday loan store robbed

    A armed man robbed a payday loan store in Des Plaines Tuesday. An unknown person brandishing a handgun walked into the Check into Cash store at about 11:55 a.m. on the 700 block of West Golf Road in Des Plaines, according to a written statement from police.

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    Revolutionary music in Grayslake

    Take a journey back in time as the Callipygian Players present “A Revolutionary’s Music” at 4 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 12 at the Byron Colby Barn, 1561 Jones Point Road, Grayslake. The performance will feature selections from Thomas Jefferson’s sizable music collection. Jefferson was a man of cultured taste and an amateur violinist quite familiar with the latest European art and music.

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    Spencer Slate, garbed as Santa Claus, dives with yellowtail snapper and an angelfish Tuesday in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary off Key Largo, Fla.

    Five things to know about tracking Santa’s journey

    Here are five things to know about the holiday tradition called NORAD Tracks Santa:

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    First-class stamps to cost 49 cents as of Jan. 26

    Bulk mail, periodicals and package service rates will rise 6 percent, a decision that drew immediate consternation from the mail industry. Its groups have opposed any price increase beyond the current 1.7 percent rate of inflation, saying charities using mass mailings and bookstores competing with online retailer Amazon would be among those who suffer. Greeting card companies also have criticized...

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    More than 1,000 volunteers clad in Santa Claus costumes throw their hats in the air as they gather to deliver gifts for the poor in downtown Seoul, South Korea, Tuesday, Dec. 24, 2013.

    Images: Christmas Eve around the globe
    Image from around the world as people begin to celebrate Christmas across the globe.

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    Northbrook woman charged with battery to infant

    Mount Prospect police have arrested a Northbrook after an infant who had been in her care was brought into Advocate Lutheran General Hospital on Monday with head injuries.

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    Bill Madole

    In memoriam 2013: Reflecting on those who died in Lake County
    In 2013, we said goodbye to several notable Lake County residents, who left indelible marks on their communities through impressive accomplishments and dedicated community service.

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    Jason Elders

    Firefighter charged in fight works for W. Dundee, Carpentersville

    A firefighter accused of punching a woman in the face during a Christmas party over the weekend by St. Charles, works part-time for both the Carpentersville and the West Dundee fire departments, officials confirmed Tuesday. West Dundee officials have since removed Jason S. Elders, 39, of St. Charles, from duty while an internal probe awaits him in Carpentersville.

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    Michael Thomasson poses in the basement of his suburban Buffalo home, where he stores his collection of video games.

    Man’s 10,607 video games secure Guinness title

    Along with the games, he has the devices to play them on, not only the Xboxes and PlayStations but obscure ones like the Casio Loopy, the only game system specifically geared toward girls, which came out in Japan in 1995, and the Pippin, a dud released by Apple the same year.

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    Gambling on Island Lake agenda

    Island Lake trustees will once again discuss video gambling when they gather Thursday night. The meeting is set for 7:30 p.m. at village hall, 3720 Greenleaf Ave. Divided on the issue, the board has resisted calls from some business owners to legalize the installation of gambling machines in town.

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    Lake County “Hikin’ Tykes” set for Jan. 14

    The “Hikin’ Tykes” program, an outdoor hike for toddlers, will be held 9:30-10:45 a.m. Jan. 14 at the Greenbelt Cultural Center near North Chicago.

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    Gurnee police distribute money from Turkey Trot

    Gurnee police announced Monday they have distributed proceeds from the 20th annual Jon Callaghan Memorial Turkey Trot. This year’s Thanksgiving Day 5k run and walk had about 745 registered participants, netting $16,850 for four local organizations.

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    Sunti Pichetchaiyakul of Bigfork, Mont., works in his studio on a wax sculpture of Jesus Christ based on the Shroud of Turin. The finished bronze is displayed at Sunti World Art Gallery in Bigfork. For two thousand years, he has been worshipped and adored. Multitudes look to him each day. And yet nobody really knows the face of Jesus.

    The race of Jesus: Unknown, yet powerful

    For two thousand years, he has been worshipped and adored. Multitudes look to him each day. And yet nobody really knows the face of Jesus. That has not stopped humanity’s imagination, or its yearning to draw Jesus as close as possible. So when this Christmas season brought a torrent of debate over whether Jesus was a white man, it struck a sacred nerve.

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    In this family photo released by Melody Russell and provided by the Tampa Police, 5-year-old Marcus Russell holds Honey, the family’s 12-week-old Shih Tzu. Police say burglars broke into Melody Russell’s home, stole her two children’s gifts from under the tree and snatched the family’s puppy.

    Grinch steals puppy, Fla. family’s presents

    This “Grinch” was a mean one. Police say burglars broke into a Florida woman’s home, stole her two children’s gifts from under the tree and snatched the family’s puppy.

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    A preacher pray’s during final dawn mass on Christmas eve at Palo Cathedral church in Palo, Leyte province in central Philippine, Wednesday, Dec. 25, 2013. The Christmas eve mass took place in the area devastated by the Nov. 8 typhoon Haiyan’s ferocious winds and the tsunami-like storm surge.

    In typhoon’s wake, Christmas infused with tragedy

    Christmas lights blink in a handful of restaurants in Tacloban, but at nightfall, much of this city flattened by Typhoon Haiyan slips into darkness. The Nov. 8 typhoon killed more than 6,100 people in the eastern Philippines, displaced at least 4 million others and left its most gruesome mark on Tacloban, a city of 240,000 that will need years to recover.

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    National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden will speak directly to Britain in a televised Christmas message, stressing the importance of privacy and urging an end to government surveillance.

    Snowden to address Brits in Christmas program

    National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden will speak directly to Britain in a televised Christmas message, stressing the importance of privacy and urging an end to government surveillance. Snowden will be delivering the annual “Alternative Christmas Message” on Wednesday for Britain’s Channel 4, in a slot typically reserved for provocative or offbeat addresses.

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    The government’s revamped health care website was put to its biggest test yet as a record-breaking surge of Americans rushed to beat Tuesday’s extended deadline for signing up for coverage.

    Health care site put to the test as deadline nears

    The government’s revamped health care website was put to its biggest test yet as a record-breaking surge of Americans rushed to beat Tuesday’s extended deadline for signing up for coverage. After a disastrous, glitch-plagued rollout in October, HealthCare.gov, the website where people in 36 states can shop for insurance, received nearly 2 million visits Monday and handled the traffic well.

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    Hoffman Estates to recycle resident electronics

    The Village of Hoffman Estates is hosting a residents-only electronics recycling event, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 11, at 2601 Pratum Ave., the old fire station at Pratum Avenue and Prairie Stone Parkway in western Hoffman Estates.

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    Brenda Murphy

    Dist. 62 board president honored

    Des Plaines Elementary District 62 Board President Brenda Murphy has been named the 2013 Thomas Lay Burroughs Award recipient by the Illinois State Board of Education.

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    Moylan office hours in Elk Grove

    State Rep. Marty Moylan will hold satellite constituent service office hours in January in Elk Grove Village, where residents can come with questions or opinions on state issues.

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    Woman dies after fall from truck

    A 19-year-old woman who was part of a snow and ice removal crew died Monday after she fell off the work truck and into the street at 22nd Street and Clearwater Drive in Oak Brook.

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    Elk Grove Village is paying Entertainment Management Group $310,000 to manage and operate its 2014 summer concert series, which will feature five concerts over the course of five consecutive Tuesdays.

    Elk Grove hires promoter for 2014 summer concert series

    Elk Grove Village is hiring a private concert promoter to manage and operate its summer concert series, which village officials say is their biggest lineup yet. The village will pay Entertainment Management Group $310,000 to cover the cost of performer fees for the five concerts, as well as payment for staging and lighting costs.

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    Daily Herald employees sing “Hark! The (Daily) Herald Sings” in a Christmas video to our readers.

    Happy holidays from the Daily Herald

    The Daily Herald team decided to share the holiday spirit with you in song. Some of the lyrics may seem a bit lighthearted, but the message of service and community commitment is heartfelt. We apologize in advance for our singing voices (we are print journalists for a reason). We hope our carol conveys our best wishes for a bright holiday season and our deepest thanks for being a part of our...

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    Pancho Claus, Rudy Martinez, right, visits with students at Knowlton Elementary School, in San Antonio. Pancho Claus, a Tex-Mex Santa borne from the Chicano civil rights movement in the late 1970s and early 1980s, is now an adored Christmas fixture in many Texas cities.

    Pancho Claus: A Tex-Mex Santa from the South Pole

    He usually has black hair and a black beard, sometimes just a mustache. Like Santa, he wears a hat — though often it’s a sombrero. He dons a serape or a poncho and, in one case, a red and black zoot suit. And he makes his grand entrance on lowriders or Harleys or led by a pack of burros instead of eight reindeer. Meet Pancho Claus, the Tex-Mex Santa.

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    East Dundee is considering a special census at Gardiner Place, above, and River Haven Place in order to receive more money from the state. Village officials say these two areas, which opened this year, are the only parts of the village that have seen any growth.

    East Dundee considering special census

    In hopes of capturing the money that comes with new growth, East Dundee leaders are looking into ordering a special census at a pair of new developments. Officials estimate that between 325 and 350 people live at both the Gardiner Place and River Haven subdivisions, which were completed this year. At $136 a head from the state, that would translate into between $44,200 and $47,600 in annual...

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    Lake Zurich residents currently get their drinking water from deep wells, but village officials are considering a ballot measure next year asking voters whether they would support issuing $43 million in bonds to pay for a pipeline running Lake Michigan water to the town. The other option, officials say, is $16.5 million in upgrades to the current water system.

    Getting Lake Michigan water could cost Lake Zurich $43 million

    Preliminary estimates show it could cost $43 million to bring Lake Michigan drinking water to Lake Zurich, where officials say more discussion is needed before deciding whether to attempt to move from deep wells. “We have to get to a point where we trust the numbers on both sides,” Mayor Thomas Poynton said. “We’ve got a lot more digging to do.”

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    Traffic moves along Route 45 at Grass Lake Road in Millburn. The proposed Lake County 2040 Transportation Plan includes a proposal to widen Route 45 for the Millburn bypass.

    Suggestions for road, transit and nonmotorized travel part of proposed 2040 plan

    Besides road projects, Lake County's proposed 2040 Transportation Plan includes suggestions for transit and non-motorized improvements. Public comment is being acccepted until Dec. 31. “Our first obligation is to make what we have work better,” said Bruce Christensen, principal planner and project manager for the Lake County Division of Transportation. “We’re very heavily invested in...

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    Santa has a chat with Sri Rose Richardson, 2, of Elmhurst about her Christmas wish list at Yorktown Center in Lombard.

    What do kids want for Christmas? They tell us

    “This is my sister Sophia, and she has been the best sister ever!” Logan Brown, 8, of Glen Ellyn tells the man in the red suit. Sophia looks at her twin brother and jokes, “He has been naughty!” Then the pair gets down to business, telling Santa Claus what they'd like to find under the tree on Christmas morning.

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    Santa Claus receives assistance Monday from volunteer Brandon Suerth, 9, of Prospect Heights as they load Christmas gifts into an ambulance for delivery to local families in need.

    Santa joins Prospect Hts. police, fire on special deliveries

    Santa Claus made special deliveries of toys and clothing to children in Prospect Heights aboard an ambulance as part of an annual event organized by the city’s firefighters and police officers. “It puts smiles on the faces of all the children when Santa makes the family delivery,” said Kathy Nowicki, Prospect Heights Park District executive director.

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    Mary Lou Wehrli

    DuPage panel allows Wehrli to stay on forest ballot

    Mary Lou Wehrli’s campaign to become the next president of the DuPage County Forest Preserve District is moving forward after a failed attempt to have her kicked off the March primary ballot. The county electoral board on Monday determined that Wehrli, a Naperville Republican, has more than enough valid signatures to remain on the March 18 ballot.

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    Dawn Patrol: 4,600 pounds of sheet metal traps worker

    Carmel students volunteering in Washington. No medical marijuana in Dist. 214. Pile of sheet metal falls on Libertyville worker. Error costs DuPage Forest Preserve candidate a spot. Palatine man sent to prison for kicking teen. Carol Stream man with murder conviction busted. Blackhawks beat the Devils. Defense, Rodgers could be missing from Sunday’s game.

Sports

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    In this Nov. 24 photo, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers stretches his arm during warm ups before an NFL football game against the Minnesota Vikings in Green Bay, Wis. But whether the franchise quarterback will be cleared from a left collarbone injury in time to play Sunday against the Bears is still in question.

    Packers hoping to make quick call on QB Rodgers

    When the Green Bay Packers take the field for practice on Thursday, they will know whether quarterback Aaron Rodgers is going to start Sunday’s NFC North showdown at the Chicago Bears. There was no word Tuesday on the most scrutinized collarbone in Wisconsin. “Obviously I want to be out there. I know what’s at stake. This is an important week for us," Rodgers said.

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    In this Dec. 7 file photo, Florida State’s Jameis Winston (5) leaps over Duke’s Bryon Fields (14) for a touchdown in the second half of the Atlantic Coast Conference Championship NCAA football game in Charlotte, N.C. The Associated Press on Tuesday named Winston its player of the year.

    Seminoles QB Winston named AP player of the year

    Florida State’s redshirt freshman quarterbac Jameis Winston is The Associated Press national player of the year, adding to his cadre of postseason accolades. He’s this year’s Heisman Trophy winner, the Walter Camp national player of the year, the Davey O’Brien quarterback of the year and the Atlantic Coast Conference player of the year.

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    Ian Poulter of England make look perplexed here during the the final round of the British Open Championship at Muirfield, Scotland, but he finished in a tie for third. He also scored big with two quotes in Bob Frisk's annual sports quotes column.

    Bob Frisk on the year’s best quotes in sports

    Bob Frisk is back with another annual installment of the year's best quotes in sports. Sit back, relax and see if family and friends agree with your favorite quote from this latest collection. There's always something to make you laugh.

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    Following Sunday’s 54-11 Philadelphia victory, Bears quarterback Jay Cutler, right, meets with Nick Foles, his Eagles counterpart. Foles has turned out to be quite a find for the Eagles as a third-round draft pick in 2012.

    Yes, there are ways to find an NFL quarterback

    One school of thought is the Bears must re-sign Jay Cutler because there aren't any options at quarterback to replace him. However, there often are if a team is smart enough to discover them.

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    It’s no surprise to the Blackhawks that Kris Versteeg, here trying to get a shot on Devils goalie Cory Schneider, has fit right in with the team a month after his return.

    Versteeg feeling right at home again with Hawks

    Though he was away for a handful of years, the return of Kris Versteeg to the Blackhawks has been a success, both on and off the ice.

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    New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi is a man of faith and commitment, and he gives all credit for that to his parents.

    For Girardi, now every day is Christmas

    Joe Girardi wasn’t a born leader, destined to win three World Series rings as a player and another as a manager. He was raised to be one by parents who believed in family, work ethic, love and God, parents that Girardi misses dearly.

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    Bulls game day
    Bulls vs. Brooklyn Nets at the Barclays Center, 11 a.m. WednesdayTV/Radio: WGN, ESPN / ESPN 1000-AMUpdate: Brooklyn (9-18) won three in a row after getting PG Deron Williams back from injury but has now dropped three in a row. C Brook Lopez is expected to be out for the year with a broken foot. That leaves SG Joe Johnson (16.5 ppg) as the leading scorer, followed by Paul Pierce (12.6) and Williams (12.5). Kevin Garnett is averaging just 6.7 points and 7.1 rebounds in 22 minutes per game.Next: Dallas Mavericks at the United Center, 7 p.m. Saturday — Mike McGraw

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    Carlos Boozer and the Bulls will shoot for Christmas Day victory over the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday. It’s the opener of a five-game holiday gift from the NBA.

    Bulls-Nets tips off big day for NBA

    Before the season, Bulls-Brooklyn seemed to be an intriguing matchup on Christmas Day. Now with Derrick Rose out with another kne injury and the Nets playing like an overpaid mess, this one almost seems like the NBA's gag gift for America.

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    Bulls’ Butler: I just need a new right foot

    Jimmy Butler was back on the practice floor the past two days and plans to play against Brooklyn on Wednesday. But he doesn’t seem completely happy with the status of his two injuries.

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    Quarterback Jay Cutler and the Bears look to scramble their way into the playoffs with a victory Sunday over the Green Bay Packers.

    Packers always a challenge for Cutler, Bears

    A loss Sunday means no playoffs for the Bears and would lead some to consider coach Marc Trestman's first season a failure. But, even after a blowout loss, the Bears can salvage their season with a victory over the Packers.

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    Carlos Sainz Jr. of Elgin, shown here competing in the 2013 Illinois Open Championship at Cantigny. survived Q-school to earn a spot on the Web.com Tour.

    Local golfers earn spots on Web.com Tour

    The Chicago area will have three new players competing on a major pro golf tour in 2014. Carlos Sainz Jr. of Elgin, Andy Pope of Glen Ellyn and Vince India of Deerfield recently advanced through the rigorous Web.com Tour qualifying school.

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    Marengo setbacks for Grant, Wauconda

    Jumping out to a quick, 9-0 lead Monday, the Grant boys basketball team was on a familiar pace. But Woodstock found a way to throw the Bulldogs in reverse and slow them down. Way down. Woodstock dealt the normally high-scoring Bulldogs a 52-47 loss in the Marengo Holiday Tournament, and the tournament hosts topped Wauconda 50-44.

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    Grant falls to Loyola in OT

    Maggie Nick scored 22 points, and Loyola’s girls basketball team outscored Grant 7-4 in overtime to capture a 53-50 win in Monday’s final game at Mundelein on Day 1 of the Mundelein Mustang Holiday Classic.

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    Ashley McKee of the U-46 co-op gymnastics team works on the vault during practice in Hanover Park Monday.

    Images: Daily Herald prep photos of the week
    The Daily Herald Prep Photos of the Week gallery includes the best high school sports images by our photographers featuring boys basketball, wrestling, gymnastics, swimming and girls basketball.

Business

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    Robert McCormick, 23, whose car is not big enough for a 60-inch HDTV he purchased from a Kmart store, talks on the phone while waiting for his father-in-law to bring his pickup truck Thursday in Anaheim, Calif. The Commerce Department released the report on durable goods for November on Tuesday.

    Durable goods orders jump 3.5 pct. in November

    The surge in orders for durable goods, which are products expected to last at least three years, was the latest evidence of a rebound in manufacturing. The gains will likely provide support for the economy into 2014.

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    A customer signs his credit card receipt at a Target store in Tallahassee, Fla. The U.S. is the juiciest target for hackers hunting credit card information and experts say incidents like the recent data theft at Target’s stores will get worse before they get better.

    Target seen losing customer loyalty

    Target said Dec. 19 that security for the cards may have been breached between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15 as they made purchases in stores. While the chain said it had identified and resolved the issue, the compromise occurred during the most important period of the year for retailers and with shoppers already showing reluctance to spend. The retailer today said it’s aware of “limited incidents” of fake communications claiming to be from Target, prompting it to set up the dedicated breach communication site.

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    Traders Robert Oswald, left, and Fred DeMarco work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange last Thursday.

    Markets give investors a holiday lift

    The Dow Jones industrial average rose 62.94 points, or 0.4 percent, to 16,357.55. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 5.33 points, or 0.3 percent, to 1,833.32 and the Nasdaq composite rose 6.51 points, or 0.2 percent, to 4,155.42.

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    On the day before Christmas, retailers turned shoppers’ attention to the day after the holiday. Amazon.com already is offering “after Christmas” deals of up to 70 percent off clothes and 60 percent off some electronics.

    After Christmas begins before the holiday

    It’s beginning to look a lot like ... the day after Christmas? On the day before Christmas, retailers turned shoppers’ attention to the day after the holiday. Amazon.com already is offering “after Christmas” deals of up to 70 percent off clothes and 60 percent off some electronics.

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    A “For Sale” sign stands in the yard of a single family home in Denver, Colorado, U.S.

    U.S. sales of new homes slipped 2.1 percent in Nov.

    Sales of new homes slipped slightly in November after a big surge the previous month. The figures add to evidence that the housing market may be struggling to sustain the pace of its recovery. Sales dipped 2.1 percent in November to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 464,000, the Commerce Department said Tuesday.

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    Balsam woolly adelgid, an insect that destroys wild fir trees, was first discovered in 1957 on Mount Mitchell, N.C.

    Despair over ‘the bug that ate Christmas’

    In West Virginia’s scenic Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge, with its gently sloping mountains and emerald acres of timber, Mike Powell relishes the perks of his job as a caretaker of the land: the sounds of a gurgling stream and the fresh pine scent of evergreens. But one sight deeply troubles him — the haggard look of the valley’s fabled Christmas trees.

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    Congress, courts and the press can help curb excesses of the National Security Agency says Tarek El-Ghazawi, director of the High Performance Computing Lab at George Washington University’s campus in Ashburn, Va. El-Ghazawi does not see similar protections against overreach by private companies.

    Americans uneasy about surveillance; use snooping tools

    Amid this year’s revelations about the federal government’s vast apparatus for tracking the movements and communications of people worldwide, Americans are uneasy with the extent of surveillance yet often use snooping tools in their own lives, a Washington Post poll has found. The sweet spot between liberty and security has been hard to pinpoint ever since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington.

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    Secret handshakes greet frat brothers as Wall Street women trail

    As students vie for 2014 internships in an industry where 22-year-olds can make more than $100,000 a year, interviews with three dozen fraternity members showed a network whose Wall Street alumni guide resumes to the tops of stacks, reveal interview questions with recommended answers, offer applicants secret mottoes and support chapters facing crackdowns.

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    A Nook GlowLight, top, a Kindle Paperwhite, right, and a Kobo Aura. E-readers are cheaper than full-fledged tablets.

    Gift Guide: E-readers do less, but no distractions

    Until I tried one, I never understood the appeal of e-book readers, given that tablets can do much more. The e-reader’s ease and comfort became apparent as I raced to finish the second “Hunger Games” book before the movie came out. I blew through several pages on a Kobo Aura while waiting for a sandwich in Cupertino, Calif., and a connecting flight in Charlotte, N.C. The Aura, like the Kindle Paperwhite and the Nook GlowLight, was just the right size to hold while waiting in the aisle for passengers in front of me to stow their luggage.

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    This image provided by Target shows the Threshold Faux Fur Throw in Brown. From faux fur coats to ‘vegan leather’ accents, faux fur gifts are trending, in 2013.

    Vegan leather, faux fur are hot holiday gifts

    Finding a knockoff version of the fur you want under the Christmas tree would ordinarily be a disappointment. Not this year. Faux is the new black this season for holiday gifts. But this isn’t the “pleather” of the 1980s — that cheap, plastic-looking material made popular by Michael Jackson during his “Thriller” days.

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    A computer screen displays Bitcoin currency exchange rates for the British pound on an internet website in London, U.K.

    Bitcoin more speculative investment than currency, study finds
    Inspired by the virtual currency’s fivefold gain against the dollar in November, David Yermack of the Stern School of Business at New York University probed its historical trading behavior to see if it behaves like a traditional sovereign currency. His conclusion, contained in a paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, is that it “does not behave like a currency at all” and has hallmarks similar to some Internet stocks that collapsed in the 1990s.

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    The original district governors of the Federal Reserve System are pictured here: Front row, from left, E. R. Francher, Cleveland, District 4; George J. Seay, Richmond, District. 5; Joseph A. McCord, Atlanta, District 6; Theodore Wold, Minneapolis, District 9; Charles M. Sawyer, Topeka, District 10. Back Row: Charles J. Rhoads, Philadelphia, District 3; Oscar Wells, Houston, District 11; Alfred L. Aiken, Boston, District 1; Benjamin Strong, New York, District 2; Archibald Kains, San Francisco, District 12.

    How the Federal Reserve was created

    A century ago this week, Congress passed the Federal Reserve Act, creating a central bank for a nation that was only beginning its economic ascendance. This is the story of how it came to be, from a nearly catastrophic financial panic to secret meetings of plutocrats on the Georgia coast to the pitched battle in the halls of Congress, excerpted from “The Alchemists: Three Central Bankers and a World on Fire.”

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    Twenty-two percent of all annual online giving now occurs on Dec. 30 and 31, and with 1.1 million charities to choose from, it’s not easy to decide where all that money should go.

    A guide to holiday donations

    Twenty-two percent of all annual online giving now occurs on Dec. 30 and 31, and with 1.1 million charities to choose from, it’s not easy to decide where all that money should go. Here's a guide on charitable donations.

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    A stagnant plan to redevelop the northeast corner of Golf and Arlington Heights roads in Arlington Heights could find new life if the village can successfully extend tax increment financing district on the site. Among the possibilities mentioned for the 35-acre parcel is construction of a SuperTarget store.

    Arlington Heights looks to extend Golf Road TIF, revive redevelopment plan

    A stagnant plan to redevelop the northeast corner of Arlington Heights and Golf roads with a new Target store may have new life next year if Arlington Heights can secure a 12-year extension for a tax increment financing district encompassing the site. "There’s no agreement in place, but by early next year we hope to get this extension through and have a willing developer on board,” Mayor Tom Hayes said.

Life & Entertainment

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    Kirs’s Kisses
    Kris' Kisses: Laverne Hall

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    Walter Mitty (director Ben Stiller) tracks down reclusive Life magazine photographer Sean O'Connell (Sean Penn) in “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.”

    Unwitty 'Mitty' misses point of Thurber's fantasies

    James Thurber's seminal 1939 short story “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” posed that a rich imagination and daydreams were enshrined as indispensable survival tools for modern henpecked man. In Ben Stiller's botched comedy, fantasies are merely crutches rendered irrelevant by self-actualization. Few things in this comedy make any internal sense, especially Stiller's heroic title character.

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    Wickets' burger competition features a lean turkey burger and a loaded up sinful burger.

    Dining events: Wickets' epic burger battle

    A burger battle brews at Wickets Bar and Grill. Between Jan. 1 and Jan. 15, try the healthy resolution burger, a lean turkey burger with fresh sprouts, avocado served with a green salad, for $10; or the anti-resolution burger, 10-ounces slathered with cheddar cheese, crispy bacon and hot chili served with cheese fries, for $11.50. Vote on Wickets' Facebook page.

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    Erika Bennett, a kennel attendant/animal control officer at OC Animal Care, holds up a puppy for brothers Ryan Wartenberg, left, and Jason Wartenberg, as they look into adopting a pet at the shelter in Orange Calif. Some shelters around the country are ramping up for Christmas Day deliveries of new family pets, a move applauded by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, whose new study supports seasonal adoptions.

    Study backs pets as presents, but holdouts remain

    Giving a puppy or a kitten to the pet lover on your list is a gift idea animal activists have long warned people to avoid. But a national animal welfare group says the fears of pets being rejected or returned are unfounded. Some shelters around the country are ramping up for Christmas Day deliveries of new family pets, a move applauded by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, whose new study supports seasonal adoptions. But some shelter leaders maintain that adoptions are better left for after the holiday rush.

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    “Sons of Anarchy” was as gory, complex and absorbing as ever, populated with characters who were brutish, bloodthirsty and yet somehow commanded our respect and affection.

    'Bad' went out with bang and 'Anarchy' reigned in 2013

    Even after all these years, TV in 2013 continued to surprise us. So, it's no surprise that it's difficult, perhaps even a fool's mission, to isolate the Top 10 (well, actually 11) programs from the rest that aired during 2013. From "Downton Abbey" to "Breaking Bad" to "House of Cards" to "Sons of Anarchy," here are Associated Press writer Frazier Moore's picks.

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    Susan Fischer of Arlington Heights, right, talks with her doctors Dr. Ravi Kalhan, left, and Dr. Malcolm DeCamp, middle. “Susan was the ideal candidate for lung volume reduction surgery,” Kalhan says.

    Arlington Heights woman benefits from new lung surgery

    Every time Susan Fischer sees someone lugging around an oxygen container, she wants to pull them aside and tell them, “It can get better.” This Arlington Heights woman who suffers from severe emphysema was able to dance at her son's wedding after undergoing a surgical procedure that removes up to 35 percent of a person's lung.

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    Elizabeth plays a major part in one of the best games of the year: “BioShock Infinite.”

    AP critics pick the year’s best video games

    “BioShock Infinite” tops two AP reviewers lists of the 10 best video games of 2013. A breathtaking journey to a kingdom in the clouds, “Infinite” is equally as wondrous as it is thought-provoking. A first-person shooter that philosophizes about such topics as racism, nationalism, religion and fate shouldn’t work, but this imaginative piece of fiction does on every level.

Discuss

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    Roy and Georgette Frank greet guests as they arrive at the Hearts Of Valor Ball.

    Editorial: Inspiration is catching — pass it on

    As the Daily Herald Editorial Board reflects back on 2013, the editors found joy in revisiting the people profiled in "Caring in action," the monthly series dedicated to people and their passionate causes.

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    Taking on the Latino barriers in Hollywood

    Columnist Ruben Navarrette: Given what he does for a living, it is no surprise that Rick Najera’s memoir about being a Latino breaking down barriers in Hollywood reads like a good movie.

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    Mideast peace will bring about love
    An Arlington Heights letter to the editor: Peace, the Prince of Peace, is a person. He is who we all want to be, peacemakers. Most agree that the two-state solution is the key to peace: two flags, two nations united under God, conceived and established through peace, with peace and in peace, with liberty and justice for all. But, we want more than peace. We want love.

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    Are we listening to concerns of animals?
    A Deer Park letter to the editor: When I was a child, my mother told me that Christmas Eve is the one night in the year when, if we listen with our souls, we can hear animals talk to us. I wonder what they will say.

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    Is the ‘hammer’ all we can trust?
    A Carol Stream letter to the editor: The Daily Herald ran an AP article, “In God we trust, maybe, but not each other.” Reportedly, sociologists are alarmed because of the consequences this pervasive lack of trust will have.

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    Thanks for your support of ECC
    An Elgin letter to the editor: Thank you. Those two words are heard often this time of year as family and friends gather to celebrate the past year and prepare for a new one. As president of Elgin Community College, I am happy to report our year was filled with moments worth celebrating...

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