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Daily Archive : Monday December 30, 2013

News

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    Woman beaten to death in home

    Police in Country Club Hills have a suspect in custody in the fatal bludgeoning of a 42-year-old woman in her home.

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    Dawn Patrol: Aurora woman still in hospital; Des Plaines woman missing

    Aurora woman remains hospitalized after crash that killed brother; Elgin police investigate shots fired outside house party; Des Plaines woman missing in Indiana floodwaters; Teen who died in Oak Brook accident remembered as 'giving'; Chilling finish to Bears' season

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    Bears quarterback Jay Cutler walks off the field after losing to the Green Bay Packers 33-28 on Sunday at Soldier Field.

    Weekend in Review: Woman missing in Indiana; Marshall: Cutler will be back
    What you may have missed over the weekend: Des Plaines woman missing in Indiana floodwaters; drivers must change phone habits starting Jan. 1; customers reminisce about Dominick's; Aurora woman hospitalized in crash that killed brother;l Barrington-area fire split to begin; Island Lake's legal bills shrinking; anti-religion sign vandalized in Arlington Heights; Bears fall to Packers and lose shot...

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    Boat stickers could become costlier in Island Lake

    Boating on Island Lake’s namesake could become more expensive for local residents and visitors. Lake management committee member Liz Nelson proposed increasing the cost as a way to boost revenue for the village. “I don’t know why we can’t charge more,” Nelson said.

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    Search fails to locate missing former Des Plaines woman

    A second day of searching for a former Des Plaines woman who went missing in an swollen Indiana river Sunday morning was suspended again due to darkness Monday evening. Authorities say it will resume at daybreak Tuesday. Kathryn McGill, 31, was a passenger in a small pickup truck driven by her 35-year-old husband, Adam, when floodwaters swept it off Highway 257 in southwestern Indiana about 7:45...

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    The annual practice of letting these tax breaks expire is a symptom a divided, dysfunctional Congress that struggles to pass routine legislation, said Rep. John Lewis, a senior Democrat on the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee, said of Congress’ annual practice of letting tax breaks expire then reinstating most of them later in the year, “It’s not fair, it’s very hard, it’s very difficult for a business person, a company, to plan, not just for the short term but to do long-term planning.”

    Congress letting 55 tax breaks expire at year end

    In an almost annual ritual, Congress is letting a package of 55 popular tax breaks expire at the end of the year, creating uncertainty — once again — for millions of individuals and businesses. Why? Because almost every year, Congress eventually renews them, retroactively, so taxpayers can claim them by the time they file their tax returns.

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    An adult bald eagle soars over the Fox River in South Elgin, clutching a fish in its talons for lunch, as a juvenile follows close behind. Temperatures in the single digits didn’t mean much to the majestic birds, which found their food in the open water near the dam in South Elgin.

    Snow to bring in the new year in the suburbs

    Weather forecasters are calling for a snowy start to the new year as anywhere from two to four inches could fall on the suburbs Tuesday night into Wednesday morning. Snow is expected to start falling Tuesday afternoon and end sometime Wednesday night.

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    Band to perform in Wauconda:

    The Chicago Brass Band will perform Jan. 16 at Wauconda High School. The show will begin at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10 each.

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    Ryan Lange

    Bloomingdale man accused of child porn

    A 28-year-old Bloomingdale man is facing four felony counts of child pornography following an extensive undercover investigation, Wheaton police announced Monday. Ryan E. Lange was arrested and charged on Dec. 20, police said in a news release.

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    Scholarship applications available:

    The Round Lake Area Chamber of Commerce annual scholarship applications are available for graduating senior students living in the municipal limits of the Round Lake area and Hainesville.

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    Learn about seafood’s future:

    Learn what’s being done for seafood sustainability, as Reid Bogert, coordinator of Great Lakes and Sustainability at the Shedd Aquarium, comes to the Lake County Audubon Society meeting at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 6, Libertyville village hall, 118 W. Cook St.

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    Brett Ledbetter

    Fox Valley police reports
    Deborah Siegel, 56, of Elgin, was charged with felony retail theft at 10:52 p.m. Friday at Meijer, 815 S. Randall Road, according to a police report.

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    Visit forest district website:

    Find out which Lake County forest preserves are open for sledding and other activities online at lcfpd.org.

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    Tri-Cities police reports
    Mary E. Cantu, 43, of Aurora, was charged Sunday with possession of a stolen or altered vehicle registration, title, sticker or license plates, according to a North Aurora police report.

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    Heriberto J. Varela

    Men accused of Mt. Prospect burglary

    Mount Prospect police charged two teenagers with residential burglary after they forced open the front door of an occupied home Saturday afternoon, authorities said Monday.

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    Police arrest 3rd suspect in pregnant girl’s death

    A third suspect in the Christmas Day fatal shooting of a pregnant teenager in the South suburbs has turned himself in to police.

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    Barry Miller

    New director named to Illinois torture commission

    A former federal prosecutor who most recently has worked as a Harvard University attorney has been picked to lead an Illinois commission investigating allegations of torture by Chicago police officers, the commission said Monday.

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    Applications for concealed carry permits will be available beginning Sunday on the Illinois State Police website, www.isp.state.il.us.

    State police say they’re ready for concealed carry

    Illinois State Police next week will begin taking applications from residents who want to carry concealed weapons, and as many as 400,000 are expected to be submitted in the first year, officials said Monday.

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    Illinois will end 2013 with $7.6 billion in unpaid bills, a 15 percent reduction from a year earlier, officials said Monday.

    Illinois’ past-due bills fall to $7.6 billion

    Illinois will end 2013 with $7.6 billion in unpaid bills, a 15 percent reduction from a year earlier, officials said Monday.

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    Vernon Hills officials are considering remodeling police headquarters at 754 Lakeview Parkway, which was built in 1992. Work there and on an adjoining building at 740 Lakeview Parkway would cost an estimated $3.6 million.

    Vernon Hills police station remodel estimated at $3.5 million

    Police facilities in Vernon Hills could get a big makeover in 2014. About a quarter of the space is empty, underused or outdated and the village board will consider a potential $3.6 million makeover. "It was beautiful when it was designed but over the years things have changed, our needs have changed," said Chief Mark Fleischhauer.

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    Ciena Gilday admires a cardinal flower growing in the new rain garden habitat outside Montessori Children’s House of North Barrington. The project recently was awarded The Barrington Area Conservation Trusts Conservation@School award.

    North Barrington School honored for conservation efforts

    The Barrington Area Conservation Trust is showing people how to incorporate native plant species into the landscaping of their own homes, schools and businesses. Montessori Children’s House of North Barrington recently became the first school in the Barrington area to receive the trust’s Conservation@School award for applying the principles of native-species restoration and sustainability to its...

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    Mike Quiroz

    DuPage sheriff candidate survives ballot challenge

    DuPage County Sheriff John Zaruba will have to campaign to earn re-election now that a county electoral board decision keeps his Democratic opponent in the race. An effort was made to remove Mike Quiroz, who is a retired DuPage sheriff’s deputy, from the March 18 primary ballot before he could face Zaruba during next fall’s general election. But the county electoral board has decided to keep...

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    The CTA says more than 900,000 bus rides and 21,000 rail rides from Oct. 1 to Dec. 19 were free “because Ventra fare readers were not functioning correctly.”

    Ventra cost CTA $1.2 million in free rides

    Chicago transit officials say problems with the new Ventra fare system have cost it $1.2 million in free rides.The Chicago Transit Authority made the announcement on Monday. The CTA says it will pursue reimbursement from Ventra’s vendor, Cubic Transportation Systems Inc. CTA spokesman Brian Steele says Cubic has “indicated they will reimburse” the CTA.

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    State financials will be included in tax returns

    State Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka says Illinois residents will get a breakdown of state spending in income tax returns received in 2014. In a statement, Topinka says there shouldn’t be a mystery when it comes to public dollars in the state.

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    Prairie Ridge students develop snow day app

    Do you want a way to predict when a “snow day” will occur? Three suburban teenagers have created a phone app that helps do just that, and it’s been getting some buzz.

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    Charles Amrich

    Island Lake officials to talk pension hole on Jan. 16

    Island Lake officials are trying to fix a large police pension shortfall. With a $389,000 hole in their police pension fund, officials will hold a special meeting next 7:30 p.m. Jan. 16 at village hall, 3720 Greenleaf Ave., to discuss potential solutions.

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    A goat grazes on grass at the northeast corner of O’Hare International Airport in Chicago last August.

    Llamas, goats to graze at O’Hare again in spring

    Goats, sheep, llamas and burros that helped clear vegetation around O’Hare International Airport this year are coming back in the spring. The barnyard band helped maintain landscaping at up to 120 acres on four sites at O’Hare.

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    Roskam, Truax, Cross headline Palatine GOP event

    U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam, U.S. Senate candidate Doug Truax and Illinois Treasurer candidate Tom Cross will be among the guests Saturday, Jan. 4 when the Palatine Township Republican Organization (PTRO) holds its regular monthly meeting. The meeting takes place at 9 a.m. at the PTRO office, 839 N. Quentin Road in Palatine.

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    Soheni Dutta, 6, of Buffalo Grove, right, blows bubbles with other children during the New Year's Noon Celebration on Monday at the Vernon Area Public Library in Lincolnshire. About 40 children joined their parents making hats and noise makers, singing songs and dancing until the countdown began for the new year.

    Kids celebrate New Year's Noon at Vernon Area Public Library

    The Vernon Area Public Library hosted a New Year's Noon Celebration in Lincolnshire for families and children. About 40 children joined their parents on Monday to make hats and noise makers, sing songs and dance until the countdown began for the new year.

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    These limited edition bobbleheads of U.S. Supreme Court justices are the work of law professor Ross Davies, who has been creating them for the past ten years. When finished, they arrive unannounced on the real justices’ desks, and fans will go to some lengths to get one.

    Bobbleheads honor Supreme Court justices

    The limited edition bobbleheads of U.S. Supreme Court justices are the work of law professor Ross Davies, who has been creating them for the past 10 years. When finished, they arrive unannounced on the real justices' desks, secreted there by unnamed confederates. And fans will go to some lengths to get one.

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    Billy Dickerson

    Island Lake cop honored

    Island Lake police officer Billy Dickerson received a local Life Saving Award last week for saving the life of a teenager on Dec. 2.

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    No injuries in Aurora house fire, damage estimated at $50,000

    About $50,000 in damage was caused from a fire that erupted at an Aurora house Sunday night. Fire department officials said the blaze, which investigators found to be accidental, occurred in a home on the 2600 block of Red Hawk Ridge Drive on Aurora’s east side. No injuries were reported to the house’s occupants or to firefighters.

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    Carol Stream family displaced by fire

    Authorities are trying to determine the cause of a Sunday night fire in Carol Stream that left a family displaced. Deputy Chief Robert Hoff said the blaze was on the main floor of the house. “It looks like it might have started in the kitchen area and extended throughout the first floor,” he said.

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    DuPage County Board Chairman Dan Cronin, left, says there are several issues DuPage expects to tackle in 2014, including the debate over how much money from sales taxes the suburbs should receive for public transit.

    Cronin: Consolidation, public transit key issues for DuPage in 2014

    Eliminating unnecessary units of local government, finding a cost-effective way to battle mosquitoes and seeking more money for public transit are some of the key issues DuPage County officials expect to face in 2014, county board Chairman Dan Cronin says.

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    Barrington Relay For Life kickoff party Jan. 16

    Relay For Life of Barrington will host a kickoff party for their 2014 campaign at 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 16 at Francesca’s Famiglia Restaurant, 100 East Station St. in Barrington. The event, which will feature light food, dessert and a cash bar, will serve to launch this year’s Relay, which is an annual fundraiser for the American Cancer Society. The 2014 Relay will take place at 6 p.m. June 6 at...

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    Cook County launching efforts to register 17-year-old voters

    Beginning Wednesday, most Illinois 17-year-olds will be eligible to register and vote in a primary election — a first in our state’s history, Cook County Clerk David Orr said Monday. “This expansion of voter registration will allow more young people to participate than ever before,” Orr said.

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    From left, Andy Konopka, Debbie Rohrwasser, Ramona and Rich Tyack founded Palatine Assisting Through Hope, a grass-roots organization that helps families in need find everything from winter clothing to job counseling. The group has grown rapidly since its creation in 2006.

    Palatine volunteers find PATH to helping suburban families in need

    It promises to be a good New Year for hundreds of Palatine area families, thanks to a grass-roots organization called Palatine Assisting Through Hope, or PATH. The group’s Annual Day of Giving, which took place in late November in a donated storefront in Palatine, drew 970 people in need of winter clothing and outerwear for children.

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    The Reaper drone, now known as a Global Hawk, is seen at Edwards Air Force Base in California. The Federal Aviation Administration announced six states on Monday that will develop test sites for drones, a critical next step for the march of the unmanned aircraft into U.S. skies.

    Feds announce test sites for drone aircraft

    The Federal Aviation Administration announced six states on Monday that will develop test sites for drones, a critical next step for the march of the unmanned aircraft into U.S. skies. Alaska, Nevada, New York, North Dakota, Texas and Virginia will host the research sites, providing diverse climates, geography and air traffic environments, FAA Administrator Michael Huerta said.

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    A policeman stands guard Monday as flowers are placed at the Volgograd main railway station in Volgograd, Russia. A bomb blast tore through a trolley bus in the city of Volgograd on Monday morning, killing at least 10 people a day after a suicide bombing that killed at least 17 at the city’s main railway station. Volgograd is about 400 miles northeast of Sochi, where the Olympics are to be held.

    Russian bombings kill 31, raise Olympic fears

    Two suicide bombings in as many days have raised concerns that separatist militants have begun a terrorist campaign in Russia that could stretch into the Winter Olympics in February. Russian authorities and the International Olympic Committee insisted the site of the games, protected by layers of security, is completely safe.

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    Participants needed for Waukegan’s ‘Polar Bear Plunge’ on New Year’s Day

    Start the New Year off by supporting individuals with a disability by registering for the Polar Bear Plunge into Lake Michigan on New Year’s morning.

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    March 14: The successor to the resigning Pope Benedict XVI turned out to be the first pope from the Americas and the first to take the name Francis, after the saint known for helping the poor.

    Images: Our top front pages of 2013

    The suburbs suffered terrible spring floods. Bombs go off as the Boston Marathon finishes. The suspects in the bombing are chased in a frantic manhunt, and then they’re caught. And a Texas factory suffers a deadly explosion. That was just one week in 2013’s Daily Herald front-page news. Have a look at these and other front pages.

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    Crystal Lake man's snowmobile breaks through Wis. ice

    A Crystal Lake man is being treated for hypothermia after his snowmobile fell through the ice on a lake in northern Wisconsin.

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    Police: Baby Jesus figures removed from displays

    Authorities say another baby Jesus figure has disappeared in Batavia. Batavia police say one was stolen from a Nativity scene in a front yard a few days before Christmas.

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    Policeman and firefighters search for victims of a train accident at Kothacheruvu, about 155 kilometers north of Bangalore, India.

    Fire on express train in India kills at least 15

    Officials say a fire broke out on an express train in southern India and killed at least 15 passengers. A spokesman for the railways, C.S. Gupta, said 67 passengers were in the train car when the fire started Saturday morning.

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    Audit finds China’s local government debt soaring

    A new audit report says China’s local government debt has soared 70 percent over the past three years and warns local leaders to take steps to control the rapid increase. The report Monday follows warnings rising debt could endanger China’s economic growth. Communist Party leaders have pledged to make getting debts under control an official priority.

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    A woman holds a child wrapped in a blanket as she stands on a street in Naples, Italy, Sunday.

    Quake in southern Italy rattles Naples area

    An earthquake has rattled much of southern Italy, sending frightened people into the streets of Naples and in towns in the countryside. Italy’s National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology said Sunday’s quake at 6:08 p.m. (1708 GMT) had a magnitude of 4.9 and struck some 6.5 miles underground. Its epicenter was northeast of Naples between the towns of Caserta and Benevento.

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    This Oct. 3, 2013 photo shows a general view of Korydallos Judicial Prison, west of Athens. As Greece struggles through a dramatic economic meltdown, prison populations are surging even as funds for guards and facilities are shrinking, a toxic mix that police and justice officials warn could explode in violence at any time.

    Greek prison system collapsing

    More than 30 men were crammed inside, locked up day and night for weeks or months at a time. Without enough bunks, many slept on the floor. The air was thick with cigarette smoke and the reek of the one shared toilet inside the cell. But what might come as the biggest surprise about this prison was its location: In Greece, squarely in Europe.

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    Preliminary figures show the number of deer hunted in Illinois is down this year. Citing preliminary Illinois Department of Natural Resources figures, Sauk Valley Media reports fewer deer were hunted during the seven-day firearm season which took place in November and December.

    Number of Illinois deer hunted down from 2012
    Preliminary figures show the number of deer hunted in Illinois is down this year. Citing preliminary Illinois Department of Natural Resources figures, Sauk Valley Media reports fewer deer were hunted during the seven-day firearm season which took place in November and December.

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    Police: Woman arrested with loaded gun at Midway
    A suburban Chicago woman faces charges after allegedly trying to bring a loaded handgun into Midway International Airport. Twenty-five-year-old Josephine Coleman of Country Club Hills was charged with boarding an aircraft with a weapon. She was ordered held Sunday in lieu of $25,000.

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    Illinois State Police said Sunday they have eliminated their backlog of tens of thousands of applications for gun owner identification cards — helping to clear their decks as they prepare for an expected influx of requests for concealed carry permits.

    Official: Backlog of gun ID applications cleared

    Illinois State Police said Sunday they have eliminated their backlog of tens of thousands of applications for gun owner identification cards — helping to clear their decks as they prepare for an expected influx of requests for concealed carry permits. Just months ago, nearly 50,000 Firearm Owner Identification card applications were still awaiting approval, raising doubts that state police could...

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    Congressmen walk down the steps of the House of Representatives as they work throughout the night on a spending bill, on Capitol Hill in Washington.

    Hispanics, women make a strong showing in Congress

    More Hispanics and women serve in Congress than ever, but the number of veterans in the legislature has continued to steadily decline, according to a demographic profile from the Congressional Research Service.

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    In this Monday, April 15, 2013 file photo, Bill Iffrig, 78, lies on the ground as police officers react to a second explosion at the finish line of the Boston Marathon in Boston. Iffrig, of Lake Stevens, Wash., was running his third Boston Marathon and near the finish line when he was knocked down by one of the two bomb blasts.

    Images: Associated Press Photos of the Year
    From the Boston Marathon bombing to Colorado flooding to a new Pope, these are the best photos of the year from the Associated Press

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    Jim Turner watches as Frank Engel, right on the windmill, and Bill Chidester work on installing a windmill at the top of a 25-foot tower at Turner's farm in Garden Prairie.

    Images: Best 2013 photos Kane/DuPage/McHenry counties
    The Daily Herald's best images of 2013 from the photographers in our Kane, McHenry and DuPage County bureaus.

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    Allison Barton of Elk Grove Village crawls in mud during the Eat Dirt Mud Run at Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington in September.

    Images: Best 2013 photos Cook/Lake counties
    The Daily Herald's best images of 2013 from the photographers in our Cook and Lake County bureaus.

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    Railway crossings continue to be a hazard for pedestrians and cars ignoring lowered gates and bells.

    2013 sees spike in train vs. car, pedestrian collisions

    Just before Christmas, three separate train vs. pedestrian or car collisions occurred on a single day in the suburbs. And, the data from January 2013 through September shows a surge in crashes compared to the same time in 2012. “People just take trains for granted. It's part of the landscape,” says Union Pacific's Harry Stewart said, adding that nonchalance can be deadly.

Sports

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    Brandon Saad, who scored the only goal, and rookie Antti Raanta, who recorded his first NHL shutout, celebrate the Blackhawks’ 1-0 win over the Kings at the United Center on Monday night.

    Hawks give even better than they get

    The Blackhawks upped their own physical play behind guys like Bryan Bickell and Andrew Shaw (game-high 9 hits), rode an early goal from Brandon Saad, and then relied on red-hot rookie goalie Antti Raanta to eke out an impressive 1-0 victory over the Kings Monday at the united Center.

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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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    Denver Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas catches a 63-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Peyton Manning during the second quarter of Sunday’s game in Oakland. With this TD, the Broncos surpassed the 2007 New England Patriots for the most points scored in a season.

    Broncos hope to avoid déjà vu in playoffs

    The Broncos stormed into the playoffs last year as the No. 1 seed in the AFC, riding an 11-game winning streak and promptly lost to Baltimore in double-overtime. "We let that opportunity slip last year and guys are definitely on high alert not to let that happen again this year,” Broncos safety David Bruton said Monday. “We’ve still got that bad taste in our mouths.”

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    Stevenson's Sophia Way shoots over Barrington's Megan Talbot in the 31st Charger Classic at Dundee-Crown on Monday.

    Richardson, Stevenson edge Barrington in OT

    Stevenson coach Tom Dineen was recently named the school's girls golf head coach. Patriots guard Ashley Richardson is actually considering playing the sport next fall. The freshman showed she can already tee off at the free throw line. Richardson made 2 free throws with 49 seconds left in regulation to give Stevenson a 56-55 lead and then made the 2 free throws with 10.6 seconds left in overtime to seal the Patriots' 65-61 victory over Barrington for fifth place Monday night in the Charger Classic at Dundee-Crown.

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    Maine W. falls, BG wins in D-C finales

    Maine West dropped its last game at Dundee-Crown 65-49 to Rockton Hononegah, while Buffalo Grove picked up a 61-42 win over the host Chargers on Monday.

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    Timothy Christian’s Connor VanderBrug looks to pass around Waubonsie Valley’s Jack Cordes during the Jack Tosh Holiday Classic at York High School Monday.

    Waubonsie Valley defense grinds out third straight victory

    It would have been tough to confuse Waubonsie Valley’s offense with a thing of beauty. The Warriors’ defense turned out to be the pageant winner Monday night. Their boys basketball team advanced to the consolation championship game at York’s 40th Annual Jack Tosh Holiday Classic with a teeth-pulling 36-25 victory over Timothy Christian in Elmhurst. Bouncing back from a tough first-round loss to Gordon Tech, the Warriors’ third straight win earns them a noon game against Kenwood on Tuesday.

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    Kaneland closes with win

    Kaneland took ninth place at the Plano Christmas Class with a 45-40 victory over Dixon on Monday.

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    Geneva withstands Tomcats’ run, takes title at East Aurora

    Geneva coach Phil Ralston wanted to see what his player were made of. The answer came when the Vikings turned back the host school’s best shot to win the 48th annual East Aurora Holiday Tournament.

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    New Trier’s Isabella Bosco knocks the ball from Prospect’s Taylor Will Monday in the championship game of the 31st Annual Charger Classic at Dundee-Crown on Monday.

    New Trier tops Prospect for Charger Classic crown

    New Trier’s girls basketball features a lot of scoring weapons. That’s one of the reasons the top-seeded Trevians came in to the Dundee-Crown Charger Classic undefeated. Coach Teri Rodgers’ squad retained that perfect mark, going 4-0 with a 54-35 victory over Prospect in the championship game on Monday night in Carpentersville.

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    Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau shouts during the second half of Monday night’s victory over the Memphis Grizzlies. Earlier Monday, Thibodeau attending his father’s funeral.

    Butler delivers for coach, Bulls

    Jimmy Butler has been struggling with a turf toe injury, but turned in a season-high 26 points as the Bulls pulled off a 95-91 victory at Memphis on Monday. Coach Tom Thibodeau was on the sideline after attending his father's funeral in Connecticut in the afternoon. “I think it's something my father would have wanted,” Thibodeau told reporters. “And our family, once I saw that they were good, I felt good about (the decision to coach Monday).”

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    Neuqua Valley moves on from loss

    Neuqua Valley made up for the disappointment of Saturday’s loss at the 48th annual East Aurora Holiday Tournament by drubbing Prosser in the third-place game.

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    St. Edward walks away with tourney triumph

    With first-place medals dangling from their necks Monday, the St. Edward boys basketball players quickly organized themselves in two rows following their 63-53 victory over Evergreen Park so parents and friends could photograph them with the championship trophy of the IC Catholic Prep/Westmont Christmas Tournament. It was St. Edward’s third tournament championship of the season’s first half, so they all knew the drill.

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    Corey Crawford

    Crawford ‘feels great’

    Corey Crawford was back on the ice with his teammates Monday morning for the first time since suffering a lower body injury earlier this month, and the reviews of his performance were all positive.

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    Aurora Christian tops Burlington Central for 3rd

    Jonathan Harrell left the Aurora Christian locker room Monday with the third-place trophy from the Plano Christmas Tournament in one hand and his gym bag in the other. Inside that gym bag was a reminder of the pain he’s been through the last few days — and also some examples of how he’s making it through.

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    New England Patriots running back Shane Vereen, center, celebrates his touchdown against the Buffalo Bills with Danny Amendola and James Develin in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s game in Foxborough, Mass.

    Belichick studies Pats’ possible playoff opponents

    Bill Belichick doesn’t have much time to rest during the Patriots’ bye. He’ll study ways to improve his own team and beat three potential playoff opponents. Just as he’s done so many times before.

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    San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh, right, talks with quarterback Colin Kaepernick prior to a play during the first half of Sunday’s road game against the Arizona Cardinals. The 49ers will be back on the road for their first-round playoff game.

    49ers must hit the road for playoffs this season

    The San Francisco 49ers have acknowledged for months that the road back to the Super Bowl to chase a sixth championship would be a daunting one. Now, they have to hit the road, literally — a different path than San Francisco had the past two seasons as NFC West champions with a first-round bye and hosting home games.

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    Kansas City Chiefs reserve running back Knile Davis jumps in the end zone as he scores a touchdown against the Chargers during the first half of Sunday’s game in San Diego.

    Rested Chiefs turn attention to playoffs

    The Chiefs didn’t take any chances in a regular-season finale that had no bearing on their playoff situation, resting virtually all of their starters Sunday. Now, it appears the Chiefs will be near full strength for the first time in weeks when they visit the Indianapolis Colts for an AFC wild-card playoff game on Saturday.

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    Saints tight end Jimmy Graham is tackled by Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Leonard Johnson in the first half of Sunday’s game in New Orleans.

    Saints say experience, talent trump seeding

    The New Orleans Saints aren’t too keen on playing the underdog role in the playoffs. They’ve had too much success over most of the past half-decade to see themselves that way, even if they needed until the final day of the regular season to wrap up the last playoff seed in the NFC.

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    Carolina Panthers running back DeAngelo Williams gains yards against the Falcons during the second half of Sunday’s game in Atlanta.

    Panthers hoping to get healthy with bye week

    Along with capturing the NFC South division championship Sunday, the Carolina Panthers wrapped up a first-round bye in the playoffs. That’s huge for a team in dire need of getting star receiver Steve Smith and two other key role players back on the field.

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    San Diego kicker Nick Novak celebrates his winning field goal with teammate Ladarius Green on Sunday at home. The Chargers defeated the Kansas City Chiefs in overtime to claim a playoff berth.

    Win vs. KC like a microcosm of Chargers’ season

    In a microcosm of their season, the San Diego Chargers came on strong late — and got some huge breaks — to beat Kansas City’s second string and slide into the AFC’s final playoff spot. But the Chargers aren’t going to apologize.

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    Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson greets fans as he leaves the field after the team beat the St. Louis Rams on Sunday in Seattle.

    Seattle may get Harvin back for postseason

    Already with home-field advantage in the NFC playoffs, the Seattle Seahawks might be getting another addition just in time for a postseason run: Percy Harvin.

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    Stevenson’s Connor Cashaw, here getting a high-five during sectional play at Waukegan last season, had 30 points Monday to help the Patriots earn a spot in Tuesday’s Proviso West championship game.

    Stevenson plays on at Proviso

    Stevenson ran away with an 85-71 victory over St. Joseph to advance into the championship game of Proviso’s 36-team tournament, billed as America’s largest high school basketball holiday tournament. The Patriots, who improve to 12-0, will face Morgan Park at 4 p.m. Tuesday. Morgan Park defeated Bogan (61-47) in Monday’s other semifinal.

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    Philadelphia Eagles tight end Brent Celek leaves the field after Sunday’s win over the Dallas Cowboys in Arlington, Texas.

    Eagles complete remarkable turnaround, look ahead

    By the time they reached the locker room after winning the NFC East title and completing a worst-to-first journey under rookie coach Chip Kelly, the Philadelphia Eagles already were thinking ahead to their playoff opponent. They’ll have plenty of time to reflect on their accomplishments later.

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    Blackhawks left wing Brandon Saad celebrates his goal against the Los Angeles Kings during the first period Monday at the United Center.

    Raanta, Saad lead Blackhawks past Kings 1-0

    Antti Raanta made 26 saves in his first NHL shutout and Brandon Saad scored as the Chicago Blackhawks beat Los Angeles 1-0 on Monday night and sent the Kings to their first three-game losing streak in a year. With Blackhawks No. 1 goalie Corey Crawford nearing a return from a lower-body injury, Raanta improved to 10-1-3 while bouncing back from one of his worst performances.

  •  
    The Bulls’ Jimmy Butler drives past the Grizzlies’ Tony Allen in the first half of Monday’s game in Memphis, Tenn.

    Butler scores 26 as Bulls down Grizzlies 95-91

    Jimmy Butler scored 14 of his 26 points in the third quarter, Carlos Boozer added 21 points and 10 rebounds, and the Chicago Bulls defeated the Memphis Grizzlies 95-91 on Monday night. Butler shot 6 for 10 from the field, including 2 of 3 on 3-pointers, and 12 of 14 at the foul line in a team-high 41 minutes.

  •  

    Antioch defeats Wheaton Academy

    Monday’s Lisle Holiday Cage Classic third-place game was a relief for Antioch. There was little relief for Wheaton Academy.

  •  
    Images from the championship game of the Charger Classic girls basketball tournament between Prospect and New Trier Monday, December 30, 2013.

    Images: Prospect vs. New Trier girls basketball
    Prospect takes on New Trier in the championship game of the Charger Classic girls basketball tournament at Dundee-Crown High School in Carpentersville.

  •  
    Barrington’s Angie Kirchoff tries to block a shot by Stevenson’s Sophia Way.

    Images: Barrington vs. Stevenson girls basketball
    Stevenson takes on Barrington at the Charger Classic girls basketball tournament at Dundee-Crown High School in Carpentersville.

  •  
    Oregon’s Derrick Malone returns an interception for a touchdown against Texas during the second half of the Alamo Bowl on Monday in San Antonio.

    Oregon crushes Texas in Alamo Bowl

    Quarterback Marcus Mariota had 386 total yards and No. 10 Oregon returned two interceptions for touchdowns, spoiling Texas coach Mack Brown’s farewell with a runaway 30-7 victory in the Alamo Bowl on Monday night. The BCS-snubbed Ducks (11-2) dominated throughout even though their famously high-powered offense scored just one touchdown, when Josh Huff turned a short pass from Mariota into a spectacular 16-yard sprint to the end zone.

  •  
    Images from the Waubonsie Valley vs. Timothy Christian boys basketball game on Monday, Dec. 30, 2013.

    Images: Waubonsie Valley vs. Timothy Christian boys basketball
    Waubonsie Valley played Timothy Christian in boys basketball action at the Jack Tosh Holiday Classic at York High School in Elmhurst on Monday.

  •  

    Strus, Stagg subdue Palatine

    Palatine was hoping to finish with a flourish when it took on Stagg in the Jack Tosh Holiday Tournament at York on Monday evening. It was not to be, as the Chargers opened the game by hitting their first four shots to lead 9-0. Stagg opened a 15-2 lead before settling for a 20-7 advantage at the end of the quarter. The Chargers went on to sink the Pirates 65-43.

  •  
    Naperville Central’s Hannah Swarm makes a leaping attempt to save the ball from going out of bounds Monday during the Dundee-Crown Charger Classic girls basketball tournament.

    St. Charles North pleased with split at Dundee-Crown

    Finishing with a 2-2 record in the 31st annual Charger Classic at Dundee-Crown doesn’t sound like much on the surface. Dig a little deeper, however, and splitting 4 tournament games is a big deal for St. Charles North’s girls basketball team.

  •  
    Burlington Central’s Sam Pryor reaches for a rebound against Maine South.

    Images: Burlington Central vs. Maine South girls basketball
    Burlington Central takes on Maine South on the final day of the Charger Classic girls basketball tournament at Dundee-Crown High School in Carpentersville.

  •  
    Bears coach Marc Trestman often answers questions after games by saying he’ll know more tomorrow. Mike Imrem says, “OK, coach, tell us tomorrow what you know — but tell us today what you think.”

    Trestman easy to like but difficult to love

    Marc Trestman is likable but will have trouble becoming loveable around here even if he wins big. After observing him for a season the impression is that he isn't edgy enough for local tastes. Even if a Chicago coach or manager has to apologize occasionally, he still should be just a little more irritable and gruff than Trestman has been, Mike Imrem says.

  •  
    Quarterback Jay Cutler and veteran center Roberto Garza are free agents whose future with the Bears will be determined in the off-season.

    Where does high-octane Bears offense go from here

    After failing to make the playoffs, members of the Bears' offense can at least take some solace in their record-setting season. The next challenge for the front office to keep as many of the key players together, so they can continue to improve. The 2013 offense gained more total yards, more passing yards, more first downs, scored more passing touchdowns and completed a higher percentage of passes than any other in team history.

  •  
    The future of cornerback Charles Tillman, who finished the season on injured reserve, with the Bears may depend on whether he would consider a move to safety.

    Change in the air, on field for Bears

    The Bears you saw Sunday will not be the Bears of 2014. They have dozens of free agents at a time when they must make significant changes to the defense and special teams. One player who might be on his way out is cornerback Charles Tillman.

  •  
    Buffalo Bills wide receiver T.J. Graham can’t make a fourth-down catch in front of New England Patriots linebacker Dane Fletcher in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s game in Foxborough, Mass.

    Bills still a work in progress

    Buffalo Bills president Russ Brandon opened 2013 vowing to transform what he called the franchise’s “tarnished” reputation. On Monday, Brandon closed the year with the job still incomplete.

  •  
    Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett greets members of the Philadelphia Eagles after Sunday’s game in Arlington, Texas. The Eagles won 24-22.

    Jones says Garrett will be back

    Jerry Jones has another long offseason to ponder what the Dallas owner called “unthinkable” — three straight season-ending losses that left the Cowboys at 8-8 and out of the playoffs. Here are his quick takes: Jason Garrett will return, Tony Romo’s back is going to be fine and another shuffling of the defensive coaching staff could be coming.

  •  
    Head coach Tom Coughlin says the New York Giants “have a lot of unfinished business.”

    Proud Giants sticking with Coughlin after 7-9 year

    Tom Coughlin is going to get another chance to make the New York Giants a champion again. Giants co-owner John Mara told the 67-year-old Coughlin on Monday morning that he wants him to return for an 11th season.

  •  
    Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown tries to break through a tackle by Cleveland Browns defensive back Julian Posey in the third quarter of Sunday’s game in Pittsburgh.

    Steelers humbled but optimistic after 8-8 finish

    The Pittsburgh Steelers have seven long months to think about what exactly happened in 2013. Are they closer to the team that looked lost and overmatched at times during a 2-6 start? Or are they closer to the one that went 6-2 over the final eight weeks?

  •  
    New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan has a laugh on the sideline before Sunday’s game against the Miami Dolphins.

    No playoffs, but good vibes and more Rex for Jets

    John Idzik handed the game ball to a teary Rex Ryan as the New York Jets players cheered wildly. Then, the general manager shouted above them, making a declaration that said it all for the franchise. “This is our coach!” Idzik yelled. “This is our coach!”

  •  
    Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill kneels on the sideline after throwing a fourth-quarter interception on Sunday at home against the Jets.

    Collapse ensures another idle January for Dolphins

    Cleaning out his locker Monday, Miami Dolphins receiver Mike Wallace briefly examined a pair of gloves and took a whiff before tossing them in the trash. The aroma of the Dolphins’ late-season collapse will linger, however.

  •  
    St. Louis Rams head coach Jeff Fisher, center, believes his team is “closing the gap” in the NFC West.

    Once again, for Rams it’s wait till next year

    The Rams (7-9) were eliminated from postseason contention two weeks ago, but many felt their time to contend was coming. Defensive end Chris Long says the youngest team in the NFL needs to grow up and prove it on game day.

  •  
    A season after winning the Super Bowl, the Baltimore Ravens finished 8-8 under head coach John Harbaugh.

    Ravens clear out lockers earlier than usual

    The Baltimore Ravens went from Super to mediocre in 2013, finishing 8-8 following an offseason in which the NFL champions shuffled the roster because of salary-cap concerns. In the months ahead, general manager Ozzie Newsome will resume the rebuilding process for a more conventional reason: to improve a flawed team that missed the playoffs.

  •  
    Tennessee safety Michael Griffin celebrates after intercepting a pass against the Houston Texans to seal a 16-10 win for the Titans on Sunday in Nashville.

    Titans coach’s challenge now keeping his job

    Mike Munchak believes the Titans are close to finishing a rebuilding project and turning this franchise into a playoff team once again. Now he must convince Tennessee’s new president and CEO Tommy Smith that he’s still the best man as head coach.

  •  
    Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan is sacked by Carolina Panthers guard Nate Chandler during the first half of Sunday’s game in Atlanta.

    Falcons fire offensive, defensive line coaches

    Coach Mike Smith took his first steps to help the Atlanta Falcons return to NFL relevance, firing defensive line coach Ray Hamilton and offensive line coaches Pat Hill and Paul Dunn on Monday night. One day after ending a 4-12 season, Smith said the team must get tougher to win the line of scrimmage on both sides of the line.

  •  
    Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Andre Roberts celebrates his touchdown against the San Francisco 49ers during the second half of Sunday’s game in Glendale, Ariz.

    Cardinals’ 10-6 season builds confidence, momentum

    A 10-6 record wasn’t good enough to get the Arizona Cardinals into the playoffs. It did, however, generate a locker room bursting with confidence after one season under coach Bruce Arians.

  •  
    Tennessee Titans cornerback Jason McCourty, left, breaks up a pass intended for Houston Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s game in Nashville, Tenn.

    Houston’s horrid season gives Texans No. 1 pick

    The Houston Texans thought they would be preparing for a deep run in the playoffs. Instead as the new year approaches, they’re looking for a new coach and have the No. 1 pick in the draft after a stunning collapse cost coach Gary Kubiak his job and left them with the NFL’s worst record.

  •  
    Jacksonville’s Maurice Jones-Drew is tackled by the Colts’ Josh McNary during the second half of Sunday’s game in Indianapolis. His eighth season with the Jaguars might have been his last.

    MJD wants to ‘see it through’ with Jaguars

    Running back Maurice Jones-Drew wants to stick around for the next phase of Jacksonville’s rebuilding project. Just not at a discounted rate. Jones-Drew made it clear Monday that his future with the franchise will be a fiscal decision.

  •  
    Oakland Raiders head coach Dennis Allen stands on the sideline during the fourth quarter of Sunday’s home game against the Denver Broncos.

    Raiders coach expects to return

    Dennis Allen met with the Oakland Raiders players as a team and individually and talked about his vision for turning the franchise around after a second straight four-win season. Even with no official word yet from owner Mark Davis, Allen is sure acting like a coach who will be back in Oakland for a third season.

  •  
    Burlington Central’s Sam Pryor reaches for a rebound against Maine South Monday in the consolation championship of the 31st Annual Charger Classic Girls Basketball Tournament at Dundee-Crown High School in Carpentersville.

    Burlington Central denied consolation title

    The end result may not have been what the Burlington Central girls basketball team was shooting for, but the overall mission was most definitely accomplished. Playing in the Charger Classic Christmas Tournament at Dundee-Crown for the first time, the Rockets battled but fell short Monday, losing the consolation championship game to 2012 tournament champion Maine South 44-38.

  •  
    Detroit Lions head coach Jim Schwartz looks on from the sideline Sunday during the first half against the Minnesota Vikings. The Lions fired Schwartz Monday.

    Lions fire Schwartz after 5 seasons

    Jim Schwartz was hired to turn around the Detroit Lions, and he did it for three seasons. But he failed to keep the Lions going in the right direction the next two years — and it cost him his job.

  •  
    Illinois’ Rayvonte Rice leads the team in scoring and is second in the conference at 18.2 points a game.

    Illinois heads into Big Ten play with Indiana test

    The Illini (11-2) open Big Ten play Tuesday against Indiana (10-3), which lost to all three teams on its schedule that could have provided resume-building wins. Illinois, though, has a couple of nice wins — over then-No. 23 Missouri and at UNLV. And head coach Jon Groce, though heavily reliant on his five experienced starters, says his young players used the early schedule to develop.

  •  
    The Tampa Bay Buccaneers fired head coach Greg Schiano on Monday.

    Bucs fire coach, GM

    Greg Schiano, the embattled Bucs coach, was fired Monday after two losing years extended the franchise’s playoff drought to six seasons. General manager Mark Dominik was also ousted.

  •  
    Associated Press Mississippi quarterback Bo Wallace scrambles past Georgia Tech defensive end Jeremiah Attaochu in the second quarter of the Music City Bowl on Monday in Nashville, Tenn.

    Ole Miss beats Georgia Tech in Music City Bowl

    Bo Wallace ran for two touchdowns and threw for another score and Mississippi beat Georgia Tech 25-17 Monday in the Music City Bowl for the Rebels’ second straight bowl victory under coach Hugh Freeze. Ole Miss (8-5) now has won six straight bowls and 10 of the last 11 in making up for the lone loss in that stretch in the 2000 Music City Bowl.

  •  
    Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds runs upfield past Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders defensive end Raynard Felton in the first half of the Armed Forces Bowl on Monday in Fort Worth, Texas.

    Navy wins Armed Forces Bowl

    Keenan Reynolds ran for 86 yards with two more touchdowns and Navy won for only the second time its last seven bowl games, beating Middle Tennessee State 24-6 in the Armed Forces Bowl on Monday. Already with the NCAA record for touchdowns rushing by a quarterback, Reynolds upped his total to 31 to match Colorado State running back Kapri Bibbs, also a sophomore, for the national lead this season.

  •  
    Michael Schumacher fell and struck a rock Sunday while skiing during a family vacation. He’s been placed in a medically induced coma.

    Doctors give no prognosis for Schumacher

    Doctors offered a grim assessment of Michael Schumacher’s head injuries Monday, providing no prognosis for the Formula One driving great after his skiing accident in the French Alps.

  •  
    Tim Tebow will appear on “SEC Nation,” a pregame show that will travel to a different campus each week after the SEC channel launches in August.

    Tebow joins SEC Network, still pursuing NFL

    The Heisman Trophy winner has been hired as a college football analyst for the new SEC Network in a return to his Florida glory days, but he still hopes to play quarterback in the NFL.

  •  

    Adduci, St. Charles East outrun Lipp, Libertyville

    On an afternoon of careers bests, Dom Adduci and St. Charles East bettered Jack Lipp and his Libertyville basketball teammates. Libertyville coach Scott Bogumil likened the Saints’ style of play to “Loyola Marymount” after witnessing Aducci torch his Wildcats for 36 points. Scoring 23 or more points in three of the four quarters at the Proviso West Holiday Tournament Monday in Hillside, the Saints advanced to the consolation championship with their 88-77 victory. St. Charles East (9-5) faces celebrated Public League program Westinghouse at 11:30 a.m. today.

  •  
    Images from the Naperville Central vs. St. Charles North girls basketball game Monday, December 30, 2013.

    Images: Naperville Central vs. St. Charles North girls basketball
    Naperville Central and St. Charles North met up on the final day of the Charger Classic girls basketball tournament at Dundee-Crown High School in Carpentersville.

  •  

    Mike North Video: NFL regular season is over; Black Monday firings begin
    Black Monday in the NFL comes with several coaches losing their jobs. The Vikings let Leslie Frazier go while the Redskins fired Mike Shanahan. Much to the consternation of the Cleveland players, coach Rob Chudzinski was ousted.

  •  
    Minnesota Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier, center, watches from the sidelines Sunday during the second half against the Detroit Lions in Minneapolis. The Vikings fired Frazier Monday morning.

    Minnesota Vikings fire coach Leslie Frazier

    The Minnesota Vikings fired coach Leslie Frazier on Monday morning, one year after they made the playoffs and one day after they finished a 5-10-1 season. After going 10-6 in 2012, the Vikings regressed this year, done in by a leaky defense and an ongoing inability to find stability at quarterback. Frazier finished 21-33-1 in three-plus seasons.

  •  
    Former Washington Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan delivers a statement Monday after he was fired at Redskins Park, in Ashburn, Va. Shanahan was fired after a morning meeting with owner Dan Snyder and general manager Bruce Allen.

    Washington fires coach Shanahan after 3-13 season

    Mike Shanahan’s plan to restore order, professionalism and consistent success to Washington disintegrated quickly in 2013, costing him his job Monday a day after the team finished a 3-13 season. Shanahan was fired after a morning meeting with owner Dan Snyder and general manager Bruce Allen at the team's headquarters, a formality expected for several weeks as the losses mounted and tension rose among Shanahan, Snyder and franchise player Robert Griffin III.

Business

  •  
    The Crown III underground coal mine near Farmersville, Ill., ceased operations on Dec. 19, costing nearly 200 workers their jobs. Many of the miners now are weighing what to do next, ranging from options that include retiring to moving elsewhere to find work in another mine in the coal-rich state.

    Holiday shutdown unsettles coal miners

    Just days before Christmas, Jeremy Jones was out of work — along with nearly 200 of his co-workers at a central Illinois coal mine. The timing was made even worse when they learned that the basic health insurance they expected through next year also was gone.

  •  
    Stocks were little changed Monday, after the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index reached an all-time high last week and headed toward its biggest annual gain since 1997.

    Stocks barely budge in quiet end-of-year trading

    The stock market ended a quiet Monday mostly where it began as investors shut their books for what has been an extraordinary year on Wall Street. The Dow Jones industrial average moved less than 30 points the entire day, the narrowest range for the index since February 2007.

  •  
    LED bulbs, top, use 70 percent to 80 percent less power than incandescent light bulbs, below.

    Home electricity use in US falling to 2001 levels

    The average amount of electricity consumed in U.S. homes has fallen to levels last seen more than a decade ago, back when the smartest device in people’s pockets was a Palm pilot and anyone talking about a tablet was probably an archaeologist or a preacher.

  •  
    Oreo and Ritz cracker maker Mondelez is selling its Snackwell’s cookies and snacks business

    Mondelez sells Snackwell’s brand; no terms

    Oreo and Ritz cracker maker Mondelez is selling its Snackwell’s cookies and snacks business to Back to Nature Foods, a company controlled by private equity firm Brynwood Partners.

  •  
    Our life expectancy in the United States has gone up, but our life expectancy is growing a lot more slowly than that of other countries.

    The U.S. ranks 26th for life expectancy, right behind Slovenia

    Back in the 1970s, Americans typically lived longer than people in other countries. Not anymore: A new report out from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development shows that the United States' life expectancy is now one year behind the international average, lower than Canada and Germany and more akin to the Czech Republic and Poland.

  •  

    Harry Potter stamp riles Postal Service panel, traditional stamp

    For more than half a century, a committee of cultural heavyweights has met behind closed doors, its deliberations kept secret, weighing the faces and images of Americana worthy of gracing U.S. postage stamps. While its rulings have been advisory, they long carried the weight of writ. On Tuesday, the U.S. Postal Service is scheduled to release 20 postage stamps honoring Harry Potter, and officials at the cash-strapped agency hope the images, drawn straight from the Warner Bros. movies, will be the biggest blockbuster since the Elvis Presley stamp 20 years ago.

  •  
    Gov. Pat Quinn won't say what he thinks should happen when an income tax increase is set to expire in January 2015.

    Quinn sets priorities for 2014

    Gov. Pat Quinn won't say what he thinks should happen when an income tax increase is set to expire in January 2015. Quinn tells The Associated Press it'll have to be dealt with in the coming year. Quinn also says he supports a graduated income tax which is based on people's ability to pay.

  •  
    Rosemary Cabelo uses a computer at a public library to access the Affordable Health Care Act website in San Antonio. The Obama administration says following a December surge, more than 1.1 million people have now enrolled for health insurance through the federal governmentís improved website.

    Federal health care sign-ups pass 1 million mark

    The government's rehabilitated health insurance website has seen a December surge in customer sign-ups, pushing enrollment past the 1 million mark, the Obama administration says. Combined with numbers for state-run markets, that should put total enrollment in the new private insurance plans under President Barack Obama's health law at about 2 million people through the end of the year, independent experts said.

  •  
    Dong Linhua, 59, works at his workshop in Shanghai. “I heard that the authorities might postpone the age of the retirement, but I sure hope not, since I've already worked for almost 42 years,” says Dong.

    The world braces for retirement crisis

    A global retirement crisis is bearing down on workers of all ages. Spawned years before the Great Recession and the 2008 financial meltdown, the crisis was significantly worsened by those twin traumas. It will play out for decades, and its consequences will be far-reaching.

  •  
    Naomi Samuels

    Love for kids leads to long-time profession helping them

    Kukec's People features Naomi Samuels, who has turned a love for children ito a career serving them. She is the new director of the Northwest Family Center in Buffalo Grove.

  •  
    Ahmad Khan

    Organico Vitamins growing strong in Naperville

    An interview with Ahmad Khan, owner of Organico Vitamins in Naperville.The business is a result of Khan's vision to have a central place where consumers can find America's premier brands with great one on one personal service. Selection and everyday value pricing are other key elements of Organico Vitamins.

  •  

    Haven’t started your 2014 planning? That’s OK: Start now

    Haven’t started your 2014 planning? That’s OK: Start now. Small Business Columnist Jim Kendall gives some tips.

Life & Entertainment

  •  
    University of Colorado, Boulder, student Karlie Johansen collects a saliva sample from 3-year-old Anders Todd, as part of a study of sleep patterns in young children.

    Why your toddler won’t sleep: Body clock may be to blame

    When youngsters continually struggle to fall asleep at night, new research suggests maybe their body clock doesn’t match their bedtime.

  •  
    In this Nov. 29, 2012 file photo, rock band Bon Jovi, from left, Richie Sambora, David Bryan, Jon Bon Jovi and Tico Torres pose for a portrait, in the Brooklyn Borough of New York. The New Jersey band had the top-grossing tour in 2013 despite some bumps including drummer Tico Torres’ two surgeries and the absense of guitarist Richie Sambora.

    Bon Jovi has year’s top-grossing global tour

    Bon Jovi not only has the year’s top tour, but the rock band has achieved a career high. The New Jersey-based act’s worldwide tour grossed $259.5 million this year, topping Pollstar’s annual top 20 list and setting a record for the band itself despite the fact that guitarist Richie Sambora quit the tour after the first leg.

  •  
    Ryan Chiaverini

    ABC 7 to count down from Rosemont
    MB Financial Park at Rosemont will serve as one of the sites for ABC 7's (WLS-TV) live broadcast of "Countdown Chicago 2014," beginning at 11:08 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 31.

  •  

    If you get invited to a chickenpox party, decline

    Facebook has 15 chickenpox party groups organized by geographical region, and if you can't get to one in person, you can always ask to be sent a lollipop with an infected child's spit on it. Perhaps these parents go this route because they're distrustful of the vaccine or they think that inoculating against chickenpox is dumb.

  •  
    Warner Bros.' "Gravity" has earned $254 million domestically. Hollywood is expected to have a banner year as box office totals are projected to peak at just under $11 billion, bringing in more theater revenue in 2013 than ever before.

    Hollywood poised for best-ever box-office year

    Despite a string of summertime flops, Hollywood is expected to have a banner year at the domestic box office, coming in just shy of $11 billion, the largest annual take ever. But because of higher ticket prices, actual attendance at North American theaters remained flat after a decade of decline. With the current domestic box-office tally nearly 1 percent ahead of last year at this time, 2013 could surpass 2012's overall haul of $10.8 billion by more than $100 million, according to box-office tracker Rentrak.

  •  
    For New Year’s Eve noshing try roasted shrimp cocktail, pineapple chicken lettuce wraps, and Elvis phyllo cups.

    Ditch a formal dinner and do apps this New Year’s

    Don't want to put together a formal dinner party for NYE? We assembled an easy menu that recasts some classic appetizers in fresh ways. Start off with a roasted take on the traditional shrimp cocktail. Make it funky by serving the shrimp and roasted grape tomatoes in individual spoons. We also have a quick and east pineapple chicken salad that’s served in lettuce wraps.

  •  
    Coconut cashew salad with apricots and seared curry rubbed tuna with mango tahini rice draws on the flavors of the Caribbean, Southeast Asia and Europe for a global New Year’s Eve dinner.

    Three global-inspired courses for New Year’s Eve dinner

    For this global take on a festive New Year’s Eve dinner, we created a mash-up that draws on the flavors of the Caribbean, Southeast Asia and Europe. We start with a simple green salad, but dress it with a blend of coconut milk and sherry vinegar, then stud it with dried apricots and cashews.

  •  
    Singer Britney Spears speaks to the crowd at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino before the debut of her Las Vegas residency “Britney: Piece of Me” in Las Vegas. Spears began her two-year residency at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino Friday, just in time to catch the town’s massive New Year’s Eve crowds.

    Britney Spears begins long-term Las Vegas gig

    Las Vegas is getting its newest pop fixture. Britney Spears begins her two-year residency at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino on Friday, just in time to catch the town’s massive New Year’s Eve crowds.

  •  
    Did you go through a breakup this holiday season? You’re not alone.

    Your health: ‘Tis the season to break up
    If you find yourself unexpectedly single this week, then you are not alone; evidence culled from Facebook status updates finds that the term “We broke up because …” is more popular in the two weeks prior to the Christmas holidays than any other time of the year.

  •  
    Avoid common mistakes when launching your exercise program for the new year.

    Five common exercise mistakes to avoid

    Thinking of hitting the gym in search of a healthier body in January? If your workouts include strength training, and they should, don't make these common mistakes that many times cause unnecessary injury and hinder results.

  •  
    Larissa Niec, a PCIT therapist and psychology professor at Central Michigan University, practices coaching a mother and son at a university clinic.

    How to tame an out-of-control kid

    An emerging psychological treatment for out-of-control preschoolers called Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) has been slowly making its way into clinics across the country after years of randomized trials that have won it recognition as one of the most effective treatments for young children prone to frequent and destructive meltdowns.

  •  
    The Winter Meltdown IHSA Cheerleading & Dance Competition comes to the Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates on Saturday, Jan. 4. The team from Conant High School performs at a previous edition of the IHSA State Competitive Cheerleading Finals.

    Best bets: Cheerleaders bring it on at Winter Meltdown

    See which of 75 Illinois cheering and dance squads come out on top at the Winter Meltdown IHSA Cheerleading & Dance Competition Saturday at the Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates. Comedian April Marie, a famed finalist of “Last Comic Standing,” performs this weekend at Zanies in Rosemont and Chicago. Fortunate Sons, a Creedence Clearwater Revival tribute act, performs Saturday at Pheasant Run Resort in St. Charles.

  •  
    Singer Bruno Mars says he's all set for his Super Bowl halftime performance and he's trying not to worry too much about the cold. The Super Bowl will be played at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey on Feb 2.

    Singing in the cold: Bruno preps for Super Bowl

    Everyone is in Bruno Mars' ear about one thing when it comes to performing the Super Bowl halftime show: How will you deal with the freezing cold? “Everyone's putting the fear in god in me like there's going to be a blizzard,” Mars said in a phone interview this month from Los Angeles, asking about the weather conditions in the New York-New Jersey area for his “research.” “I know it's going to be cold, and I just got to face it,” he said. The 28-year-old pop crooner will hit the stage for the Super Bowl at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. The singer, whose hits range from “Grenade” to “Locked Out of Heaven,” typically performs with a full band where he sings, dances and strums the guitar onstage.

Discuss

  •  

    From Antioch to South Elgin, we pick our favorite letters of 2013

    From a Palatine man's poignant essay on quality of life as he faced death to a South Elgin couple's thank you to their good Samaritans, three Daily Herald opinion page editors pick their favorite letters of 2013.

  •  

    Grateful for all the donations to pantry
    Letter to the editor: The Wheeling Township Food Pantry set a record this Thanksgiving, by giving out 266 baskets to needy families and individuals in the area, said Supervisor Michael Schroeder.

  •  

    Airport can be bigger cash cow for Wheeling
    Letter to the editor: Stephen Neff of Wheeling asks Wheeling Village President Dean Argiris to investigate charging nonbased aircraft landing fees when they land at Chicago Executive Airport. "We could easily be adding several hundred thousand dollars annually," he writes.

  •  

    School districts in alternate universes
    Letter to the editor: Gerry Shacter of Buffalo Grove complains that educator salaries are more and more out of step with the community, and says administrators have to do a better job negotiating. "The next time you negotiate, keep in mind that my family is at the table too," he writes.

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