Daily Archive : Thursday January 2, 2014


    Eddie's Restaurant and Lounge in Arlington Heights hosted “Jeopardy” watching parties in honor of hometown son Jerry Slowik.

    Arlington Heights “Jeopardy” champ wins $120,000

    Jerry Slowik came in third Thursday on “Jeopardy,” but the 28-year-old from Arlington Heights still took home more than $122,000 from his five wins on the television game show. He said his winnings will be enough to help him accomplish his goal of moving out of his parents' home. “I'm happy with how I did. I could have gone for a longer run, but I don't have any regrets,”...

    Jeff Swanson

    Dispute over gear as Barrington fire service splits

    The Barrington Fire Department and Barrington Countryside Fire Protection District went their separate ways as scheduled New Year's Day — but not without some last-minute miscommunications. Even though the 48-square-mile fire district received 19 firefighters laid off by the village of Barrington at the stroke of midnight, those firefighters weren't allowed to bring their individually...

    Brian Larsen of Elburn who recently won a reality show for his Christmas lights display was originally planning on taking down his lights this week. Instead, he's decided to extend the light show through this Sunday.

    TV champ Elburn light show extended through Sunday

    Brian Larsen hasn't seen a huge influx of people coming to watch the Christmas light display at his Elburn home since he and his family won $50,000 on an ABC reality TV show last month. He blames it on the weather, and is extending the display through Sunday.

    Michelle Kottke of South Cook Street in downtown Barrington shovels with the help of her dog, Harlee. “I’m shoveling by hand, the old-fashioned way,” Kottke said. “This is the sixth time in 24 hours that I’ve shoveled.”

    Snow’s moving out, bitter cold moving in

    Now that the snow is behind us, the National Weather Service predicts a deep freeze should move in by Monday. As for the past three days, suburban officials talk about the nearly nonstop hard work by their crews clearing snow off roadways and other issues.

    Joe Dugo of J.D. Enterprises clears snow from the parking lot of an Arlington Heights hotel Thursday afternoon.

    Snowplow driver misses sleep but enjoys the job

    If snowplow driver Joe Dugo of J.D. Enterprises had a choice between eight inches of snow falling overnight or over the course of two days, he’d prefer it all at once. That way, he can make one visit to each client, then go home and sleep. No such luck with this storm. By 2 p.m. Thursday, his company already had plowed the parking lot of one Arlington Heights hotel five times.

    Secretary of State John Kerry, left, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shake hands before a meeting at the prime minister’s office in Jerusalem Thursday. Kerry arrived in Israel to broker Mideast peace talks that are entering a difficult phase aimed at reaching a two-state solution between the Israelis and Palestinians.

    Kerry: Mideast peace still possible despite rifts

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blasted his Palestinian partner in peace-making efforts on Thursday, accusing him of embracing terrorists “as heroes,” harsh words that clouded the start of Secretary of State John Kerry’s tenth trip to the region to negotiate a peace deal he claims is “not mission impossible.”

    Passengers from the trapped Russian vessel MV Akademik Shokalskiy, seen at right, prepare to board a Chinese helicopter in the Antarctic Thursday. All 52 passengers from the research ship that has been trapped in Antarctic ice were airlifted to safety after weather conditions finally cleared enough for the operation.

    Passengers rescued off ship stuck in Antarctic ice

    All 52 passengers rescued after being trapped for more than a week on an icebound Russian research ship in the Antarctic were aboard an Australian icebreaker slowly cracking through heavy sea ice Friday toward open water after their dramatic rescue by a Chinese helicopter.

    Ambrosio Medrano

    Prosecutors want lengthy sentence for ex-alderman

    Federal prosecutors say a former Chicago alderman should be sentenced to nearly two decades in prison for scheming to pay bribes in return for medical contracts and receiving kickbacks.

    Snow sticks to Nikko’s fur and sweater as the 10-year-old Havanese dog plays in the snow with his owner, Laurie Edwards, at rear, outside their house in Erie, Pa., Thursday. A winter storm promising significant snowfall, strong winds and frigid air bore down Thursday on the Northeast.

    Strong winter storm pushes into the Northeast

    A storm expected to bring more than a foot of snow, stiff winds and punishing cold pushed into the Northeast on Thursday, extending Christmas break for some students while posing the first test for New York’s new mayor and perhaps the last challenge for Boston’s outgoing one.

    Dr. T. Colin Campbell, a professor of biochemistry at Cornell University, is among the experts featured in the documentary “Forks Over Knives” that will be shown Jan. 9 in Elgin.

    Elgin ‘Feast-ival’ focuses on films about food

    Just in time to make good on that “get healthy” New Year’s resolution, a new food-themed documentary film festival kicks off next week in Elgin. The goal of the Elgin Food Film Feast-ival is to get people thinking about all things food, ranging from good nutrition to where it all comes from, said Shared Harvest Elgin Food Cooperative president Carol Rauschenberger, also an Elgin councilwoman.

    ASSOCIATED PRESS Female recruits are seen at the Marine Corps Training Depot on Parris Island, S.C. More than half of female Marines in boot camp can’t do three pull-ups, the minimum standard that was supposed to take effect with the new year.

    Marines delay female fitness plan after half fail

    More than half of female Marines in boot camp can’t do three pullups, the minimum standard that was supposed to take effect with the new year, prompting the Marine Corps to delay the requirement, part of the process of equalizing physical standards to integrate women into combat jobs. The delay rekindled sharp debate in the military on the question of whether women have the physical strength for...


    Tri-Cities police reports
    Tri blotter

    The National Security Agency is racing to build a computer that could break nearly every kind of encryption used to protect banking, medical, business and government records around the world.

    NSA researches quantum computing to crack most encryption

    The National Security Agency is racing to build a computer that could break nearly every kind of encryption used to protect banking, medical, business and government records around the world. According to documents provided by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden the effort is to build a machine exponentially faster than classical computers.

    Rich Bennett

    No ruling yet on Mundelein jewelry store refunds based on snow total

    A Mundelein jewelry store owner was still awaiting a ruling Thursday on whether enough snow fell to trigger $151,000 in rebates to customers as part of a promotion.

    The Kane County Coroner’s office unveiled a new logo Thursday designed to create better understanding of the office’s mission.

    Kane Co. coroner unveils new logo to boost office’s image

    Citing it as a tool to inform the public about the duties of his office, Kane County Coroner Rob Russell unveiled a new logo Thursday. The design was not vetted by the county board or chairman.

    Algonquin leaders are calling on the public to help them clear hydrants buried in snow, like this one on Corporate Parkway, west of Randall Road.

    Algonquin wants your help keeping hydrants clear

    Algonquin leaders are calling on the public to help them keep the village’s fire hydrants safe and visible for the firefighters. The village launched its Adopt-A-Hydrant program earlier this week. “We have over 2,200 hydrants in town and when we get snow covers like this last storm, it’s very hard to get around to clearing the hydrants just by the quantity,” said Andy Warmus, the village’s...

    Kevin Gorman

    4 years in prison for Elgin burglary, highway chase to Wisconsin

    A 30-year-old Streamwood man was sentenced to four years in prison after admitting to his role in a May burglary of a Sam’s Club in Elgin that led to a two-hour police chase that ended in Wisconsin. Kevin D. Gorman, of the 1200 block of Lincoln Court, pleaded guilty this week to felony burglary in exchange for prosecutors dropping other charges.

    Retro Fitness, a chain of gyms founded in 2006 in the northeast part of the country, is opening its first Illinois location Jan. 15 in Carol Stream.

    Fitness chain opening first Illinois gym in Carol Stream

    Virtual exercise classes, on demand. A cardio movie theater. Area workout warriors primed to pump iron and burn a few calories are about to get a new place to realize their New Year’s resolutions. New Jersey-based Retro Fitness, a chain that touts a high-energy workout experience at an affordable cost, is opening its first Illinois facility this month at 608 E. North Ave. in Carol Stream.

    State Supreme Court Justice Thomas L. Kilbride took in $1.47 million from the Democratic Party of Illinois for his 2010 re-election campaign.

    Justices took donations from groups tied to pension law

    The potential arbiters of Illinois’ pension-reform law have collected nearly $3 million in campaign contributions during the past 13 years from groups that support both sides of the issue, according to a published report.


    More retired workers sue over new pension law

    Two groups of retired state employees on Thursday became the latest organizations to pursue a court challenge of a new plan to eliminate Illinois’ $100 billion public pension shortfall.

    Republican venture capitalist Bruce Rauner

    Rauner adds $4 million to campaign fund

    Republican candidate for Illinois governor Bruce Rauner says he raised more than $4 million for his campaign during the final three months of 2013. The tally includes $1 million that the wealthy businessman contributed to his own campaign.


    Sierra Club seeks review of pollution waiver

    An environmental group filed an appeal Thursday of an Illinois board’s decision granting Dynegy Inc. more time to install pollution controls at five coal-fired power plants, calling it a “dangerous precedent.”

    Ty Warner

    Beanie Babies creator asks for probation

    The billionaire creator of Beanie Babies, who pleaded guilty to tax evasion, pointed to an unhappy childhood and his charity work as reasons he should be spared a prison sentence. H. Ty Warner, of Oak Brook, faces up to five years in prison when he is sentenced later this month.

    John H. Reardon

    Des Plaines man charged with stabbing father

    Des Plaines police have charged a 20-year-old man with aggravated domestic battery, saying he is accused of stabbing his 62-year-old father after the two had been drinking and then fighting on New Year’s Eve.


    Foreman sets retirement date:

    Lake County Judge Fred Foreman, who announced his retirement last month but set no specific date, on Thursday said leave the bench Jan. 20.


    How will economy fare in 2014?:

    The 7th annual Economic Forecast Lake County will be held from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 17 at the University Center, 1200 University Center Drive, Grayslake.


    Gallery hosts chili cook-off:

    Dandelion Gallery, an artist cooperative in Waukegan, hosts a benefit chili cook-off to fund art scholarships for Waukegan High School seniors on Saturday, Jan. 11, from 4 to 7 p.m.


    Curb-to-curb bus service available:

    Fremont Township residents now have access to curb to curb dial a ride bus service to anywhere in Antioch, Avon, Fremont, Grant, Lake Villa, and Wauconda townships.

    Courtesy of Cook County Clerk’s office Cook County Clerk David Orr marries Ricca Rivera and Fernando Chaidez of Chicago, the first couple wed in the county in 2014.

    Love melts winter woes for year’s first newlyweds

    Ricca Rivera and Fernando Chaidez began their wedding day by arising at 4:30 a.m., pushing their snow-covered car out of a Chicago parking spot and battling a blizzard to get to the Cook County Clerk’s Office. The effort was worth it for the Chicago couple, who were wed Thursday by Clerk David Orr and received gifts for being Cook County’s first marriage of 2014.

    Chickadee in Pine Tree in Countryside

    Images: Reader Submitted Snow Photos
    The first big snow of the new year buried parts of the suburbs. Here are some of the snow photos submitted by our readers.


    Fire strikes Bensenville strip mall

    A fire Thursday morning at a Bensenville strip mall forced the closure of Irving Park Road between Church Street and Route 83, authorities said. The Bensenville Fire District was called to the scene about 5:20 a.m. in the 700 block of West Irving Park Road. The blaze affected the Bensenville Plaza strip mall containing Lety’s Unisex hair salon and Panaderia Dorcas bakery, among other stores.

    Daniel Swan

    Two Lake County men charged with selling fake Hydrocodone pills

    Two Lake County men have been charged with trying to sell fake Hydrocodone pills to an undercover police officer on Dec. 30. Thomas Brown, 20, of Lake Villa and Daniel Swan, 22, of Fox Lake, have been charged with various counts of trying to sell the pills.

    The major benefits of President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul took effect Wednesday, the first day of 2014. By Thursday, the first business day of the new insurance system, it became clear that snags in the rollout of the Affordable Care Act still remained.

    Health law uncertainty meets reality in Illinois

    The new year brought relief to some Illinois patients newly insured under the nation’s health care law. Others still weren’t sure whether they were covered, despite their best efforts to navigate the often-balky new system.

    Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington Oct. 30, 2013. President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul now faces its most personal test: How will it work as people seek care under its new mandates?

    Relief, confusion as new health benefits begin

    After a troubled rollout, President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul now faces its most personal test: How will it work as people seek care under its new mandates?

    Shelagh Collins talks about Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett before she goes to a job search appointment on Monday in Forest Hills, Pa., a suburb of Pittsburgh. Collins gets by on occasional secretarial temp work and unemployment compensation checks, but she can’t afford specialized treatment for her various health conditions that limit her ability to do certain jobs.

    Study finds Medicaid expansion drove up ER visits

    A new study has found that people enrolled recently in Medicaid went to the emergency room 40 percent more frequently than others, often seeking help for conditions that could be treated less expensively in a doctor’s office or an urgent care clinic.

    Kevin Pokorny of West Lake Street in downtown Barrington works on clearing snow from neighbors' driveways and sidewalksThursday morning.

    Images: Thursday Snow
    Snow continued to pile up in Cook and Lake Counties on Thursday. Well over a foot of snow will cover the ground before its over with lesser amounts in DuPage and Kane Counties.

    Sergio Garcia, who is living in the United States illegally but who graduated from law school and passed the state bar exam, can begin practicing law despite his immigration status.

    California grants law license to immigrant

    The California Supreme Court granted a law license on Thursday to a man living in the United States illegally who graduated from law school and passed the state bar exam. The decision means Sergio Garcia can begin practicing law despite his immigration status.

    John Lobaito

    Mundelein overhauls municipal website

    Mundelein starts 2014 with a freshly overhauled village website. Still located at mundelein.org, the site features improved online bill payment options, shopping and restaurant directories, a photo tour of the village, business development information and other amenities.

    A book of personal White House family photos was mistakenly sent to a Wadsworth woman, who says she's making sure the Christmas gift finds its way to the rightful recipient.

    Obama gift mistakenly find its way to Lake County home

    A book of personal White House family photos was mistakenly sent to a Wadsworth woman, who says she's making sure the Christmas gift finds its way to the rightful recipient. Alane Church tells NBC's “Today” show she was surprised to find the “beautiful, personal” book shoved in the bottom of a damaged box of packages her family opened at their home on New Year's Day.


    Changees announced in NCTV newsroom

    Naperville Community Television, Channel 17 is making some changes to its newsroom, officials announced Thursday. After being a part of Naperville News 17 since its inception, anchor and producer Jen Hannon is leaving the news team to become the station’s community engagement director responsible for the station’s community education initiative, community programming and marketing.

    Taylor Calderone, left, and Zoe Roechner rehearse a scene from the comedy “Somebody/Nobody” that opens Jan. 16 at Naperville’s North Central College.

    ‘Somebody/Nobody’ takes stage at North Central

    Students at Naperville’s North Central College will perform the comedy “Somebody/Nobody” four times from Jan. 16 through 19 in the college’s Madden Theater at the Fine Arts Center, 171 E. Chicago Ave.

    Naperville’s downtown Nichols Library will offer extended Sunday hours beginning Jan. 5 and continuing through May 18, officials said this week. The extended hours then will resume Sept. 7.

    Naperville’s Nichols Library extends Sunday hours

    Patrons at Naperville’s downtown Nichols Library will have more time to use and enjoy the facility beginning Jan. 5 when its Sunday hours of operation are expanded to 1 to 9 p.m. Officials opted to keep the library at 200 W. Jefferson Ave. open four hours longer (Sunday operating hours used to be 1 to 5 p.m.) after a three-month test that began last March to measure the potential demand.


    Northwest suburban police blotter

    Thieves used a Northwest Community Hospital account between July 6 and Nov. 30 to purchase eight cellphones and used the phones for services. Value was estimated at $2,800, Arlington Heights police said.


    Try some time travel in Arlington Heights

    Visitors to the Arlington Heights Historical Museum’s website can travel back in time to check out the village’s downtown as it was in the late 19th century with the click of a mouse. The site, ahmuseum.org, now offers an interactive map in its Kids Connect section that shows photographs and offers details about the downtown and its buildings as they stood about 125 years ago. The map also lets...

    Work has begun to construct a larger parking lot at Willowbrook Wildlife Center in Glen Ellyn. The nearly $1.7 million project is expected to be completed in the spring.

    Lengthy to-do list for DuPage Forest Preserve District

    DuPage County Forest Preserve officials have compiled a long list of projects for the district to tackle in 2014, including creating wetlands, improving habitats and repairing historic buildings. “This is my last year and I wanted to make certain that all these various projects the board is looking to do are on the list,” said forest preserve President D. “Dewey” Pierotti, Jr., who is retiring...

    Al Larson

    Mayor offers preview of Schaumburg’s 2014

    Nearly every year Schaumburg experiences changes of the significance most other suburbs wait decades for. And every January, Mayor Al Larson headlines the Schaumburg Business Association’s monthly Good Morning Schaumburg breakfast to give attendees an early peek at what lies ahead.

    Ryan Courtney shovels Wednesday outside of Go! Calendars Games and Toys at The Arboretum in South Barrington.

    It just keeps snowing; up to 8 more inches expected

    Snow continues to fall and forecasters say some northern Illinois communities could get another eight inches of fluffy lake effect snow. The National Weather Service in Romeoville says Thursday's lake effect snow could extend as far west as Joliet. Chicago is expected to get another 4 to 6 inches, although small pockets could receive up to eight inches..

    Mike Mitlevic, left, of Fox Lake and Rob Jones of Long Lake, play video gambling games at J's Sports Bar in Fox Lake. Village officials said the first year of video gambling generated more than $93,000 for the village.

    Suburbs near Wisconsin cash in on video gambling

    Fox Lake collected more than $93,000 in video gambling revenue in the first year the machines operated, according to figures released by the state. The village ranks among the top two in the suburbs. “I feel like we hit the jackpot. It's really been a boon for us,” Mayor Donnie Schmit said. One expert said Fox Lake is one of several communities that may be benefitting from their...


    Tips for knowing when to get involved

    Knowing when to get involved in helping others solve their problems can be a tricky thing. Our Ken Potts suggests seven questions we should ask ourselves first.


    Snow: Extreme cold to follow on tail of snowstorm
    Commuters will need to exercise caution if they travel in Cook and Lake counties today, based on a National Weather Service warning.

    This wolf was shot in JoDaviess County near Wisconsin in 2010 by an Elgin man. Illinois’ once-thriving wolf population was hunted, trapped and poisoned to extinction by the 1860s. But since the first confirmed sighting in the state in more than a century in 2002, wolf sightings have gone from rare to regular — to as many as five over the last three years.

    Illinois preps for wolf population possibility

    Illinois’ own once-thriving wolves were hunted to extinction by the 1860s. But since the first confirmed sighting in the state in 150 years, in 2002, wolf sightings have gone from rare to regular — with at least five in the last three years.


    Dawn Patrol: New Year’s babies; Kane going to Olympics

    Meet 2014’s first babies; snow could pay off for these customers; a piece of Elgin history comes home; Barrington bands in London; Kaner going to the Olympics; Stevenson grad makes women’s Olympic squad



    Former Bulls assistant Adams returns to UC

    The Boston Celtics have plenty of unfamiliar faces in uniform this season, but the Bulls were reunited with an old friend Thursday. It marked the first game back in Chicago for former Bulls assistant Ron Adams, who is now working with Brad Stevens in Boston.

    Bulls center Joakim Noah drives against Celtics forward Brandon Bass during the second half Thursday night. Noah finished 1 assist short of a triple-double.

    Dunleavy’s anger gets Bulls fired up

    While Joakim Noah narrowly missed a triple-double, Mike Dunleavy's technical foul-fueled flurry helped lift the Bulls to a 94-82 victory over Boston on Thursday at the United Center. Noah missed a triple-double by 1 assist, while the Bulls won for the fourth time in the last six games.

    The Islanders’ Kyle Okposo shoots the puck past Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford as Patrick Sharp watches in overtime Thursday night. It was Crawford’s first start since missing 10 games with a groin injury.

    Was Olympic snub behind Isles’ win over Hawks?

    On Wednesday the Islanders's Kyle Okposo was snubbed by the United States Olympic team despite this season trailing only Patrick Kane in points by an American-born player. Then Thursday he was robbed time after time by Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford. But in the end Okposo had the last laugh by scoring the winning goal 58 seconds into overtime as the New York defeated the Hawks 3-2 at Nassau Coliseum.

    Bears quarterback Jay Cutler, handing off to running back Matt Forte during Sunday's season-ending loss to Green Bay, is a big piece of the team's championship goals.

    Shortest path to top for Bears includes Cutler

    After the signing of Jay Cutler, the Bears will spend the off-season putting enough pieces in place to give the Bears a mediocre defense that doesn't have to be great in order to support an offense that was eighth in the NFL in 2013. If the Bears can do that, they will be in a position this year to think about winning the NFC.

    Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah applauds his teammates during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Boston Celtics, Thursday, Jan. 2, 2014, in Chicago. The Bulls won 94-82. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

    Noah leads Bulls to 94-82 win over Celtics

    Joakim Noah had 17 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists to help the Bulls beat the Boston Celtics 94-82 on Thursday night. Carlos Boozer added 16 points, Luol Deng 14, Taj Gibson 12, Mike Dunleavy 11 and Jimmy Butler 10 as the balanced Bulls snapped a two-game skid at home. They have two remaining on a four-game homestand.

    New York Islanders' Thomas Vanek, front right, shoots the puck past Chicago Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford (50) as Blackhawks' Michal Handzus, back left, tries to defend in the second period of an NHL hockey game on Thursday, Jan. 2, 2014, in Uniondale, N.Y. (AP Photo/Kathy Kmonicek)

    Hawks can’t complete comeback against Islanders

    One day after Kyle Okposo was left off the U.S. Olympic team, the New York Islanders forward added another clip to his highlight reel. Okposo scored 58 seconds into overtime to lift the Islanders to a 3-2 victory over the Blackhawks on Thursday night after they blew a two-goal lead to the Stanley Cup champions.


    Eastern Illionois falls to Eastern Kentucky 100-81

    Glen Cosey scored 34 points and shot 10 of 12 from beyond the arc Thursday, setting a new school record for 3-pointers, as Eastern Kentucky beat Eastern Illinois 100-81 in an Ohio Valley Conference contest.Cosey scored six treys in the first half and smashed the school record of seven 3-pointers. His 10 3-pointers ties an Ohio Valley conference record.


    Southern Illinois falls to No. 8 Wichita State

    Fred VanVleet had 17 points, seven assists and two steals and No. 8 Wichita State remained unbeaten behind 62 percent shooting, opening Missouri Valley Conference play with an 82-67 victory over Southern Illinois on Thursday night.

    Wisconsin's Josh Gasser (21) looks to the basket as Northwestern center Alex Olah (22) and guard Drew Crawford, left, defend during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Evanston, Ill., on Thursday, Jan. 2, 2014. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

    No. 4 Wisconsin cruises past Northwestern 76-49

    Freshman reserve Nigel Hayes had a career-high 19 points and No. 4 Wisconsin remained unbeaten with an easy 76-49 victory over Northwestern in their Big Ten opener Thursday night.Hayes went 8 for 12 from the field and had six rebounds while showing a nice combination of power and finesse. The prize recruit is averaging 15.3 points in his last three games.

    FILE - In this Dec. 22, 2013 file photo, Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith (11) is sacked by Indianapolis Colts outside linebacker Bjoern Werner (92) during the first half of an NFL football game at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo. Chiefs tackle Donald Stephenson (79) tries to block on the play. Two weeks ago, the Colts held Jamaal Charles in check and the Chiefs offense off the field in a 23-7 victory. Now, Indianapolis will try to do it all over again _ this time on its home turf Saturday in the wild-card round of the playoffs. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel, File)

    All 12 NFL playoff teams have flaws to fix

    Twelve contenders, all with issues that could make them pretenders.To win the first outdoor Super Bowl in a cold-weather city, each team in the NFL playoffs has a flaw it must conquer. A depleted defense in Denver. A sputtering offense in Seattle. And plenty more elsewhere.

    In this Oct. 30, 2011, photo, Minnesota Vikings' Chris Kluwe punts to the Carolina Panthers during an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C. Kluwe, who is no longer with the Vikings, says the team's special teams coordinator, Mike Priefer, made anti-gay comments while Kluwe was with the team. (AP Photo/Bob Leverone)

    Ex-Vikings punter: Coach made anti-gay remarks

    Minnesota Vikings special teams coordinator Mike Priefer says he “vehemently denies” allegations made by former punter Chris Kluwe that Priefer made anti-gay remarks during team meetings.

    Missouri head football coach Gary Pinkel speaks to the media during a news conference Thursday in Irving, Texas. Missouri will play Oklahoma State in the Cotton Bowl on Friday.

    Mizzou familiar with Cotton Bowl foe

    When they were Big 12 rivals, Oklahoma State won the last three games again Mizzou, including a 45-24 victory in Columbia in 2011 when Tigers quarterback James Franklin threw three interceptions.

    Auburn running back Corey Grant, right, runs with the ball behind wide receiver Ricardo Louis during practice Thursday for Monday’s national title game against Florida State. The Tigers ran on 70.7 percent of their plays this season.

    Auburn’s flexible offense tough to pigeonhole

    Auburn coach Gus Malzahn has won at every stop with an offense he adapts to fit the personnel instead of the other way around. The No. 2 Tigers (12-1) effectively switched styles four games into this season.

    Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler has signed a 7-year deal to stay with the Bears, GM Phil Emery announced Thursday.

    Bears sign Cutler to 7-year deal

    Just four days after a last-minute loss to the Green Bay Packers kept them out of the playoffs for the sixth time in seven years, the Bears re-signed, arguably, their three highest-priority free agents. Quarterback Jay Cutler agreed to a seven-year deal, which reportedly could be worth up to $126 million and includes at least $50 million in guaranteed money. Cornerback Tim Jennings, a 2012 Pro Bowler, and left guard Matt Slauson also signed on for four more years.

    Linebacker Kyler Elsworth, left, celebrates with quarterback Connor Cook after Michigan State defeated Stanford 24-20 in the Rose Bowl on Wednesday night. Elsworth is a senior, but Cook will be back next season as a junior.

    National title the next goal at Michigan State

    Michigan State wrapped up the Rose Bowl in fitting fashion — with brute force on defense. Now the Spartans have only one real goal left: Can they win the national championship? “That’s our plan,” coach Mark Dantonio said. “You have to dream big.”

    Cincinnati quarterback Andy Dalton throws a pass against the Baltimore Ravens in the first half of last week’s game. The Bengals finished in the top 10 in offense and defense this season for the first time since 1989.

    Bengals have turned into model of NFL stability

    While coaches and quarterbacks come and go in other places, Cincinnati is an example of how patience can succeed. The AFC North champions have gotten to the playoffs for the third year in a row.

    Green Bay linebacker Nate Palmer bundles up before last week’s game against the Bears at Soldier Field. Temperatures will be in the single digits and dropping when the San Francisco 49ers and Packers kick off Sunday afternoon.

    Big chill could freeze 49ers, Packers in wild card

    Cold hands and a hard football make for tough catches on chilly winter afternoons at Lambeau Field. But the arctic front expected to push through Wisconsin in time for this weekend’s NFC wild-card game promises to bring conditions considered frigid even for the famous home of the “frozen tundra.”

    The White Sox have agreed to a one-year deal worth $3.75 million for left-handed reliever Scott Downs, a 12-year veteran.

    White Sox close the deal with Downs

    In need of a potential closer candidate and bullpen depth, the Chicago White Sox on Thursday finally completed their deal with left-handed reliever Scott Downs and agreed to terms on a one-year, $4-million contract. According to the White Sox, Downs will receive $3.75 million in 2014, while the White Sox hold a $4.25-million option for 2015 with a $250,000 buyout. News of the pending deal was first reported on Dec. 19.

    In this Dec. 9, 2012, photo, Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith smiles before the Bears' NFL football game against the Minnesota Vikings in Minneapolis. A person familiar with the negotiations says former Bears coach Smith has reached an agreement to coach the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Speaking to The Associated Press on Wednesday night, Jan. 1, 2014, on the condition of anonymity because an official announcement hasn't been made, the person also says former Minnesota Vikings coach Leslie Frazier will be the Buccaneers' defensive coordinator. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

    Lovie Smith to coach Bucs, Frazier to be D coordinator

    Former Bears coach Lovie Smith is set to take on the challenge of rebuilding the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.Two people familiar with Smith’s plans said Wednesday night that the coach has reached an agreemen. One of the people also said that former Minnesota Vikings coach Leslie Frazier will be the Bucs’ defensive coordinator.

    Russia's Georgi Busarov, center, vies with Quentin Shore, left, and Ryan Hartman, right, of the USA during their World Junior Hockey Championships quarter final in Malmo, Sweden on Thursday. West Dundee and Blackhawks prospect Hartman scored, but the U.S. still fell to Russia 5-3.

    Hartman scores, but U.S. falls to Russia in world hockey juniors

    Russia beat the United States 5-3 in the world junior hockey quarterfinals Thursday, rallying to take lead on Nakita Zadorov’s two power-play goals.


    Mike North Video: Which NFL teams will win this weekend
    Mike North picks his winners for the NFL matchups this weekend.

    Bears quarterback Jay Cutler walks off the field after the Sunday's 33-28 loss to Green Bay.

    If Cutler isn't elite, no reason for Bears to pay him elite money

    Scotty Bowman adheres to a hockey principle that Phil Emery might want to consider applying to football. Unless Emery believes Jay Cutler is one of the top three, four or five quartebacks in the NFL, the Bears should concentrate on rebuilding other areas and replace an expensive Jay Cutler with someone else they can win with.


    Bulls game day
    Bulls vs. Boston Celtics at the United Center, 7 p.m. ThursdayTV: Comcast SportsNetRadio: ESPN 1000-AMUpdate: The Celtics (13-18) have stayed competitive, despite trading away Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, and while Rajon Rondo recovers from a torn ACL. SF Jeff Green is the top scorer at 15.9 ppg, followed by PG Avery Bradley (13.8 ppg), SG Jordan Crawford (13.6) and PF Jared Sullinger (13.5). Boston ranks fifth in the league in points allowed at 96.8.Next: Atlanta Hawks at the United Center, 7 p.m. Saturday — Mike McGraw


    Bill Murray shovels the sidewalk in front of his wife’s Vision Care Center on Prospect Avenue in Mount Prospect on Thursday morning.

    Some suburban business hit by storm, while others take advantage of it

    Some restaurants may have seen a slow start to the New Year, but other businesses have seen a lot of activity due to the snow over the holiday. Bartel’s Auto Clinic in Carol Stream, Oswego and Plainfield, has seen a massive jump in calls for help by stranded motorists, said customer service Manager MaryAnn Hogan. “We’ve been getting a lot of tows coming in for repair,” Hogan said.

    This is Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel. Snapchat, the disappearing-message service, said it assessing the situation after a security breach that allowed hackers to collect the usernames and phone numbers of millions of its users.

    Snapchat suffers security breach

    Snapchat, the disappearing-message service popular with young people, has been quiet following a security breach that allowed hackers to collect the usernames and phone numbers of some 4.6 million of its users. Company spokeswoman Mary Ritti said Thursday that the company is assessing the situation, but did not have further comment.

    Stocks declined Thursday, with the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index starting the year lower for the first time since 2008, after benchmark indexes posted the biggest annual rallies in more than 15 years.

    After year of stock records, a weak start to 2014

    Investors may already feel a little nostalgic for 2013. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index began the New Year with its worst performance in three weeks as energy and technology companies pulled down the stock market.

    Jim Oberweis

    Should car dealers be allowed to open on Sundays?

    Jack Zimmerman thinks his employees need and deserve Sundays off and, as owner of Zimmerman Ford in St. Charles, he backs a decades-old state law prohibiting car sales on Sundays. But state Sen. Jim Oberweis, a Sugar Grove Republican, has filed legislation to allow car dealers to open on Sundays, saying the state shouldn't regulate such things.

    H. Ty Warner, the billionaire creator of Beanie Baby plush toys, asked a judge to give him probation, not prison, for evading taxes on secret Swiss accounts that held as much as $107 million.

    Beanie Baby billionaire seeks to avoid jail for tax evasion

    H. Ty Warner, the billionaire creator of Beanie Baby plush toys, asked a judge to give him probation, not prison, for evading taxes on secret Swiss accounts that held as much as $107 million. Warner, 69, faces 46 months to 57 months in prison under nonbinding guidelines when he’s sentenced Jan. 14 in Chicago.

    Ultra Foods is opening its newest store at 1241 N. Rand Road in Prospect Heights.

    Ultra Foods to open Tuesday in Prospect Hts.

    After a wait of about nine years, Prospect Heights is getting a grocery store to replace the former Dominick’s at 1241 N. Rand Road. Ultra Foods will open in that spot at 8 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 7, after spending what city officials said was about $13 million to remodel the 87,000-square-foot store. “Ultra is a class operation, and this store will be a showcase,” Mayor Nick Helmer said.

    Doug Marsh, TimePilot CEO at left, and Mike Hanlon, TimePilot design director, hold the TimePilot Extreme, the basis for the company’s Kickstarter Project called Extreme Blue. They co-founded the company in 2001.

    Batavia’s TimePilot plans on Bluetooth version of workers time clock

    A Batavia-based global business aims to change the way schedules are collected on how workers clock in and out daily from their jobs. TimePilot Corp. has made time clocks for companies worldwide, including Tanna Farms Golf Course and Settler’s Hill Golf Course, both in Geneva; Optimum Granite & Marble in South Elgin; and DePaul University Theatre in Chicago, among others.

    Richard Mattos, 59, looks for jobs at a state-run employment center in Salem, Ore.

    Weekly U.S. unemployment benefit claims fall to 339,000

    The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits dipped 2,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 339,000, evidence that layoffs are low and hiring will likely remain steady. The Labor Department says the less volatile four-week average rose 8,500 to 357,250.

    A sophisticated, real-world study confirms that dialing, texting or reaching for a cellphone while driving raises the risk of a crash or near-miss, especially for younger drivers. But the research also produced a surprise: Simply talking on the phone did not prove dangerous, as it has in other studies.

    Texting, dialing while driving raises crash risk

    A sophisticated, real-world study confirms that dialing, texting or reaching for a cellphone while driving raises the risk of a crash or near-miss, especially for younger drivers. But the research also produced a surprise: Simply talking on the phone did not prove dangerous, as it has in other studies.

    Jack Murphy, left, 20, celebrates after wining a game of pong while tailgating before the start of an NCAA college football game between Miami and Virginia Tech, in Miami Gardens, Fla. It may be the hottest tailgate party at the University of Miami's homecoming game, but the 100-yard stretch of free pizza and party tents set up by Generation Opportunity, a national conservative organization, is also a carefully crafted strategy aimed at getting students to opt out of President Barack Obama's controversial new health law.

    Marketing efforts to uninsured youth ramp up

    The so-called “young invincibles” are so important to the success of the Affordable Care Act that supporters and detractors are spending millions to reach them with racy ads, social media campaigns and celebrity endorsements. The president is even (gasp) asking their mothers to help convince them to sign up for insurance.

    A line waits outside the Cannabis Club on Main Street in downtown Breckenridge, Colo., for an 8 a.m. opening of the store, Wednesday.

    Legal weed sales bring long lines to Colorado

    Long lines and blustery winter weather greeted Colorado marijuana shoppers testing the nation's first legal recreational pot shops Wednesday. It was hard to tell from talking to the shoppers, however, that they had waited hours in snow and frigid wind.

    Puget Sound-area political leaders, from left, former Snohomish County Executive Bob Drewel, Kent Mayor Suzette Cooke, Snohomish County Executive John Lovick, Everett Mayor Ray Stephanson, Renton Mayor Denis Law and Port of Everett Commissioner Troy McClelland, smile at a news conference where they urged Boeing Machinists to vote in favor of a contract offer to build the new 777X Monday in Everett, Wash.

    Machinists chief once called pensions ‘sacred’

    The national union chief who has forced a vote on a pension-freezing Boeing contract proposal once called those retirement plans sacred and derided alternatives as risky. In statements during the past few years, Tom Buffenbarger has advised union members about the importance of protecting defined-benefit pensions.

    Macy’s and Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia have reached a settlement agreement related to a breach-of-contract lawsuit involving J.C. Penney.

    Macy’s, Martha Stewart Living reach settlement

    Macy’s and Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia have reached a settlement agreement related to a breach-of-contract lawsuit involving J.C. Penney. Macy’s Inc. and Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc. each said Thursday that the settlement terms are confidential and not material to their businesses.

    The price of Fiat shares is soaring after the Italian automaker announced it had clinched a deal to acquire the rest of Chrysler, with no plans for a capital increase.

    Fiat stock soars after deal for rest of Chrysler

    The price of Fiat shares is soaring after the Italian automaker announced it had clinched a deal to acquire the rest of Chrysler, with no plans for a capital increase.The share price on the Milan exchange soared 12 percent Thursday, having been up by as much as 15.8 percent earlier in the day.

Life & Entertainment

    Elizabeth Mitchell went from the mystery of “Lost” to the post-apocalyptic action of “Revolution,” airing Wednesdays on NBC.

    Where are the 'Lost' castaways now?

    Before he was hired to lead the new CBS thriller “Intelligence,” premiering at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Josh Holloway turned heads for six years as troubled hero Sawyer on ABC's “Lost.” The landmark mystery series with the controversial ending was jampacked with charismatic, talented actors. So where can you see them now?

    The Lennon Sisters (now a trio featuring original members Kathy and Janet with their younger sister, Mimi) are set to perform two matinees at the Drury Lane Theatre in Oakbrook Terrace on Monday and Tuesday, Feb. 10 and 11.

    Lennon Sisters plan two matinee shows

    The Lennon Sisters are set to perform at Drury Lane Theatre in Oakbrook Terrace on Monday and Tuesday, Feb. 10 and 11.

    “People were enjoying a beautiful day on the Boardwalk at John’s Pass in Madeira Beach, Fla.,” says Doris Krandel of Palatine.

    (No heading)
    Your time photo


    Theater events: Start 2014 laughing with Steve Cochran

    WGN personality Steve Cochran headlines the Metropolis Performing Arts Centre and Lifeline Theatre hosts its annual Fillet of Solo festival this week in Chicago-area theater.

    Jase Robertson, Missy Robertson, Willie Robertson and Korie Robertson in the episode “Let’s Go Hunting, Deer” from A&E’s “Duck Dynasty.” Willie Robertson had only kind words for the A&E network and New Year’s wishes for the nation in an appearance Tuesday night on Fox News’s “All-American New Year” special.

    ‘Duck’ son Robertson makes nice in Fox interview

    “Duck Dynasty” star Willie Robertson chose not to quack back. In one of his first chances to comment on the dust-up surrounding his outspoken father and co-star Phil Robertson, the younger Robertson had only kind words for the A&E network and New Year’s wishes for the nation in an appearance Tuesday night on Fox News’s “All-American New Year” special.

    “The Big Bang Theory” star Kaley Cuoco wed tennis pro Ryan Sweeting in a New Year’s Eve ceremony in California, her rep confirms.

    ‘Big Bang Theory’ star Kaley Cuoco gets married

    “The Big Bang Theory” star Kaley Cuoco is starting off 2014 as a Mrs. Cuoco’s representative, Melissa Kates, says the actress wed tennis pro Ryan Sweeting in a New Year’s Eve ceremony at a ranch in Santa Susana, Calif.


    Dining events: Geneva’s Bien Trucha expands menu to a toda madre

    To accommodate more diners, starting in January Mexican restaurant Bien Trucha in Geneva plans to make its entire food and drink menu available next door at its sister restaurant, a toda madre. Plus, Emmett’s Brewing Company serves up a beer dinner in Palatine.

    Sasha Sinnott holds her dog, a 2-year-old dachshund mix, Sugarplum, after a chalking at the PetSmart in Culver City, Calif. Sugarplum went into the salon as a reddish-blonde dachshund mix and came out with pink and green ears, a rainbow tail and a bow in her fur.

    Groomers are dazzling up dogs with bling, bows

    Sugarplum went into the salon as a reddish-blonde dachshund mix and came out with pink and green ears, a rainbow tail and a bow in her fur. “It’s like having a little unicorn creature,” said Sasha Sinnott, an attorney from Pasadena who was nearly giddy about her dog’s makeover. For some dog owners, simple bathing and combing is not enough. So they pay groomers to turn fur into an artist’s canvas, where vibrant sweeps of chalk and paint transform pooches into fantasy fur balls that draw both compliments and strange looks.

    Comedians Louis C.K., left, and Jerry Seinfeld share a laugh during Seinfeld’s new web series talk show “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.” The series launched on the Crackle digital network in 2012, and its third season cranks up Thursday, Jan. 2, with Seinfeld joining Louis C.K. for a cup of joe after a zany ride on a clown-car-scale 1959 Fiat Jolly.

    More cars, coffee on Seinfeld’s Web talk show

    Jerry Seinfeld loves cars. He’s fond of coffee. And, of course, he’s a comedian who loves to talk comedy. But the inspiration for his online talk show on Crackle, “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” (wherein he and a fellow comedian crack wise while powered by a car and caffeine), was inspired by an episode of his eponymous 1990s sitcom. In that memorable episode, Jerry’s sad-sack pal, George, decided success might await him if he lived his failed life in the opposite manner. “That,” recalls Seinfeld in a recent interview, “gave me the idea to create a talk show that was the opposite of the typical show."

    Caprese skewers with tomatoes, mozzarella and basil on skewers are served up at Queenshead, a restaurant in the emerging, funky Grand Central District of St. Petersburg, Fla.

    Go for the food: Fun eats in St. Petersburg, Fla.

    A typical St. Petersburg itinerary might include seeing the Dali Museum, having a drink at the storied Vinoy hotel and checking out nearby beaches. As in any good-sized city, the downtown and waterfront areas have plenty of restaurant options, from seafood and Italian to Asian and Mexican. But in St. Pete’s emerging Grand Central District, a funkier, somewhat less grown-up array of eateries is bubbling up. Here, amid a dozen antique and thrift shops, just beyond Haslam’s enormous book emporium, you’ll find bars and cafes with unique themes. The clientele ranges from hipsters and tattooed 20-somethings to middle-aged couples and groups of friends out for a fun evening.

    Restoration Hardware Baby & Child’s Weller and Mason play table offers a modern take on a traditional kids’ play table. While offering functional storage and ample room to get creative, the non-juvenile styles appeal to contemporary families who want the recreational spaces to blend with the rest of the family home.

    Right at home: Cool but kid-friendly playrooms

    Outfitting a play space for children might consist of nothing more than setting up a few old furniture pieces, plastic storage bins and the extra TV. But some parents want the play space to reflect their design aesthetic. Does the rest of the home read more Eero Saarinen than Superman? More Verner Panton than Pokemon? Is the vibe less Nickelodeon, more George Nelson? If so, you’ll want to try balancing kid-friendly with cool.

    Ireneusz Czop stars as Chicago man who returns to his Polish homeland and uncovers a terrible town secret in the Polish drama “Aftermath.”

    Wartime horror paves way to Polish mystery in ‘Aftermath’

    In the Polish drama “Aftermath,” Jan Duszynski’s nerve-jangling score combines with Pawel Edelman’s haunting, misty, impeccably composed widescreen nocturnal scenes to create the impression we could be watching another “Evil Dead” horror sequel. Not quite. The horror-film tone turns out to be unnecessary. “Aftermath” has something far scarier in store than demonic possession: human nature.

    These ears of sweet-tasting, bicolor corn were grown from seed in containers inside a hobby greenhouse near Langley, Wash. The Burpee’s “On Deck” corn matured in a little more than two months.

    Climate of change ahead for gardening

    While many gardeners scan the newly arrived seed catalogs to plan their next growing season, the industry’s visionaries are pouring talent and resources into products and ideas they hope will be sown in years to come. Evolutionary biology is just one aspect of flora development; plant resiliency, landscape design and education also are part of the creative mix. So what are the prospects for gardening in the year 2020 and beyond? Some responses from the long-term thinkers.

    Young Roddy McDowall sits besides a future collie star in "Lassie Come Home," one of many canine movies in Dann & Raymond's salute to the great dog movies.

    Dann & Raymond’s winning ‘Woofers’

    Dann Gire discusses his 10 best movie list with a dissatisfied reader, reveals the year’s biggest box office losers, and previews Dann & Raymond's next movie club topic, "Hollywood Woofers: Dogs in the Movies."



    Editorial: A satisfying truce ends airport battle

    Wheeling Village President Dean Argiris and Prospect Heights Mayor Nick Helmer deserve congratulations for their deal to end years of bickering between the two towns over the Chicago Executive Airport, a Daily Herald editorial says.


    Editorial: Safety, responsibility get boost in new laws

    A Daily Herald editorial says the new law banning hand-held cellphone use by drivers is one of several that should boost safety in the coming year.


    The tale of one city

    Columnist Donna Brazile: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” So goes the first sentence in “A Tale of Two Cities.” It applies to us now. Except, 2013 was the tale of two old dysfunctional political parties in one city, Washington, D.C.


    Residents need a say in mapping process
    A Bloomingdale letter to the editor: It has come to our attention that an amendment is to be put on the ballot to put political mapping in the hands of the voters. Good idea? Yes, it is about time we have a direct effect on the mapping process.


    Balanced reporting on health care needed
    A Barrington Hills letter to the editor: The article in your Dec. 16 edition, “Sticker shock for health insurance buyers,” is an example of the type of reporting that’s only reinforcing confusion and misunderstanding relative to our health care problems in the U.S. In fact, it makes it sound like we can have all the health care we need and want without paying for it.


    Educated community benefits all residents
    A Rolling Meadows letter to the editor: This letter is in response to Harold Knudsen (Your Views, Nov. 23). He stated in his letter he would like to place the cost of schools on those who use them.


    IRS can’t collect health care ‘tax’
    A Wayne letter to the editor: Here is a little known fact about the Affordable Care Act — if you fail to obtain health insurance and, as a result, are assessed the “tax” (penalty) on your tax return, the IRS has no authority to collect this “tax.”


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