Daily Archive : Monday January 6, 2014


    Jeanie Plomin and her dog, Ashley, brave the subfreezing temperatures for a bathroom break outside Plomin's home in Mount Prospect. “I stay in as much as possible,” Plomin said.

    Keep pets inside; watch for 'hidden dangers' in snow

    Sometimes the best winter safety tips can be the easiest for both people and pets. “Stay indoors,” was the refrain for people throughout a day of subzero temperatures Monday, and “keep pets indoors” was the main piece of advice suburban veterinarians and animal shelter operators had for owners trying to their keep dogs and cats healthy.


    Cold keeps several school districts closed for a second day

    Several suburban school districts canceled classes for a second day this week because of the extreme cold. Temperatures are expected to remain below zero this morning, before “warming” up to a high of about 10 degrees by mid-afternoon. Wind chills will remain dangerously cold, approaching minus-35 degrees at times.

    An outbound Metra gets lost in the blowing snow as a man walks to the Arlington Heights train station in subfreezing temperatures Monday morning.

    Metra warns of issues for morning commute

    Suburban commuters should prepare themselves for delays and canceled trains on the way to work this morning with Metra already announcing a reduced schedule on the BNSF Line. A treacherous combination of frigid temperatures and ice caused accidents, frozen switches, equipment failures and unexpected messups on numerous routes Monday morning.

    Tova Hagler, 10, left, reads through the names of the planets with her brother, Yaakov, 5, as they walk through the Scales of the Universe exhibit at the Rose Center for Earth and Space at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. Pluto was considered a planet from 1930 to 2006, but is now classified as a trans-Neptunian object.

    New rules mean Pluto is no longer a planet

    A young patron at the Vernon Area Library in Lincolnshire asked, “Why did Pluto not become a planet?”


    Northwest suburban homeless organization seeks volunteers

    From someone with a strong back who can hoist bags of laundry and deliver them to be cleaned, to people to help raise funds, to people to collect or enter data, to anyone who can staff weekly shelters or provide food to them, Journeys/The Road Home needs all kinds of volunteers. "For the first time in a long time we are out really actively recruiting volunteers that are the heart of our...

    YMCAs are closed because of the cold.

    YMCA closes 30 facilities because of cold

    All YMCA programs and offices that don’t deal with housing will be closed through 1 p.m. Tuesday because of the cold weather, agency officials announced.That amounts to roughly 30 YMCA of Metro Chicago facilities that closed throughout Chicago and the collar counties, including gyms, membership centers and early childhood centers.


    Des Plaines to start talks on new waste hauler contract

    Des Plaines officials will negotiate a new contract with the city’s current waste hauler, just months before that firm’s long-term deal is due to expire. Trash collection is one of the largest contracts the city of Des Plaines handles, and for the last seven years, Mount Prospect-based Republic Services has had the responsibility of picking up trash for an estimated 15,500 residential customers...


    Residents express concerns about Wheaton College dorm plans

    New student residences for Wheaton College are on track to be built on the southeast corner of Harrison and Irving avenues despite disapproval from some neighbors, including a city councilman who lives nearby. The college is proposing the construction of five new dorms, including two buildings housing 12 students each that will face Irving Avenue and look like single-family homes from the...


    New owners will demolish second building at former Nokia site

    Arlington Heights officials on Monday approved a plan to demolish a large building on the former Nokia Siemens property at the north end of the village as the new owners look to redesign the campus and make it more appealing to prospective tenants.


    Hospitals not seeing many injuries related to cold

    People throughout the suburbs largely got the message to stay inside Monday, as most local hospitals were not reporting life-threatening injuries related to the weather.


    Batavia Community Garden gets 1-year lease

    The Batavia Community Garden received permission to garden another year on a 1-acre plot in the downtown. But aldermen reiterated that they want the garden, which raises produce for charity, to find another location, on tax-exempt land, so that governments could again receive property taxes off the site.


    Fires damage two Aurora homes

    A homeowner attempting to thaw out pipes and a dryer fire caused two small fires Monday night in Aurora.


    Power restored in Aurora

    Workers have restored power to the remaining homes in Aurora affected by a power outage Monday. City spokesman Dan Ferrelli said all customers had power by 5:30 p.m. ComEd officials said a widespread outage affecting as many as 24,000 customers was reported just after 12:30 p.m. Monday and crews were dispatched.Between 12:30 and 3:30 p.m., power was restored to nearly 20,000 customers, including...

    Karen Loiacono of Arlington Heights braves the cold Monday as she waits for a Metra train.

    Suburbs get through deep freeze with ingenuity, patience

    Few things other than extreme weather test humanity’s ingenuity and patience equally. Besides the cold, Monday’s arctic blast brought challenges, triumphs and even some recollections of the more frigid days of yore. Throughout the suburbs, folks bundled up and carried on.

    Sen. Dan Coats, an Indiana Republican, left, and Sen. Chris Coons, a Delaware Democrat, arrive at the Capitol for a procedural vote on a bill that would extend unemployment benefits, in Washington, Monday. Benefits expired for many long-term unemployed Americans on Dec. 28 after lawmakers did not extend the program as part of a bipartisan budget agreement.

    Unemployment bill first up in Senate for 2014

    The Senate plunged into an election-year session Monday that promises to be long on political maneuvering and less so on accomplishment, beginning with a slow-motion struggle over legislation to renew lapsed jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed.

    Heather, left, and Jax Collins joined hundreds of other same-sex couples descending on county clerk offices around the state of Utah including the Salt Lake County office to request marriage licenses in this Dec. 22, 2013, file photo. But the Supreme Court on Monday put same-sex marriages on hold in Utah, at least while a federal appeals court more fully considers the issue.

    Supreme Court puts Utah same-sex marriage on hold

    The Supreme Court on Monday put same-sex marriages on hold in Utah, at least while a federal appeals court more fully considers the issue. The court issued a brief order blocking any new same-sex unions in the state.

    Barry Soskin at his Article II Range in Lombard. Suburban instructors are seeing a spike in demand for training sessions required to get a concealed carry license in Illinois.

    Concealed carry training slows as application process begins

    Suburban instructors have seen a huge demand for training required to legally carry concealed handguns in public, sometimes leading to difficulty scheduling training times at local shooting ranges. The Illinois State Police began taking applications for concealed carry permits Sunday. The new law requires 16 hours of safety training before a person can apply to get a license.


    Tri-Cities police reports
    Veronica M. Salinas, 32, of Aurora, was charged with retail theft at 5:26 p.m. Saturday, according to a police report. She is accused of stealing $36 worth of items from Menards, 300 N. Randall Road.


    Judge: Chicago’s ban on gun sales unconstitutional

    A federal judge has ruled a Chicago ordinance banning the sale of firearms within the city limits is unconstitutional. Judge Edmond E. Chang issued his ruling Monday in a lawsuit by the Illinois Association of Firearms Retailers and three Chicago residents challenging the ordinance.

    In this June 13, 2012, photo an Asian carp, jolted by an electric current from a research boat, jumps from the Illinois River near Havana, Ill., during a study on the fish’s population. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released a report Monday years in the making, about options for keeping Asian carp from invading the Great Lakes. The report focuses on the Chicago Area Waterway System and its network of rivers and canals that provide a direct link between Lake Michigan and the Mississippi River.

    Army Corps releases report on asian carp

    A federal agency sent Congress a list of alternatives Monday for shielding the Great Lakes from an invasion by Asian carp that could devastate native fish, including construction projects in Chicago waterways that could cost more than $18 billion and take 25 years to complete.

    Jen Kallieris and her 5-year-old daughter, Dorothy, roller skate Monday inside Just for Fun Roller Rink in Mundelein.

    Forgetting the cold for a few hours

    Kids and parents got a chance to temporarily forget how cold it was outside Monday, as they skated to music while a disco ball illuminate+d the floor at Just for Fun Roller Rink in Mundelein. The rink had special hours Monday to accommodate kids and families whose schools were canceled.


    Tickets available for Arlington Hts. chamber dinner

    Tickets are available for the Arlington Heights Chamber of Commerce’s 67th annual Installation and Awards Dinner, to be held 5:30-9:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 23 at European Crystal Banquet Hall, 519 W. Algonquin Road.


    Prospect Hts. fire increases staffing due to weather

    The Prospect Heights Fire District has increased its on-duty staff, allowing it to respond to an incident without the immediate need for assistance from other neighboring communities, the agency announced. The increased staffing, which went into effect at 6 p.m. Saturday and comes in response to the brutal winter weather, ensures an extra ambulance is available and that the fire district’s water...

    The White Castle on Randall Road in Batavia has closed after 12 years in business.

    White Castle closes in Batavia

    No sliders, for now, in Batavia. The White Castle on Randall Road closed suddenly last week, it's iconic white building shining in the darkness of late night no more.

    Many suburban libraries closed Monday because of the cold. The Wauconda Area Library notified its patrons with their electronic sign along Main Street.

    Cold leaves suburban libraries facing tough choice whether to open
    Public libraries often are refuges from extreme weather during the winter and summer months. But not Monday. The frigid temperatures prompted many suburban libraries to shut down for the day. Others operated as usual, saying it was their civic duty to remain open.

    Cristiano Bassani, owner of the new Big Chef Burgers in Schaumburg, with the restaurant’s Spicy Burger. The restaurant opens Tuesday at 1602 E. Algonquin Road.

    Big Chef Burgers opens Tuesday in Schaumburg

    Tuesday sees the opening of Schaumburg’s first new restaurant of 2014 — Big Chef Burgers at 1602 E. Algonquin Road. The “Big Chef” is 6-foot 6-inch, Italian-born Cristiano Bassani, who became executive chef for Carlucci Restaurant in Downers Grove in 2004 and remains owner of the BaPi Italian Restaurant in Arlington Heights, which he opened in 2005.

    Lake Zurich High School marching band members, shown here playing at a November football game, are expected to all be back Tuesday.

    Some Lake Zurich band members delayed in Madrid

    Weather problems in the States forced some members of Lake Zurich High School's marching band to stay in Madrid longer than planned after performing in a prestigious parade there on Sunday. One group of band members got off the ground and back home on Monday.


    Radon kits available

    The Lake County Health Department is encouraging residents to check the radon levels of their homes or apartments in January or during cold weather months and is making test kits available for $10.


    Wauconda meeting canceled

    Due to the continued cold weather, Wauconda officials have canceled the village board meeting scheduled for Tuesday.


    Northwest suburban police blotter

    Thieves stole a snowplow for a skid-steer between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. Dec. 12 out of a business lot at 914 S. Arthur Ave. in Arlington Heights. Value was estimated at $5,000.


    Naperville Municipal Band performs ‘Winter Winds’

    The Naperville Municipal Band presents its next concert, “Winter Winds in Illinois,” at 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 9, in the Naperville Central High School auditorium at 440 W. Aurora Ave., Naperville.


    Cold-related closures bring ironic twists in Naperville

    Classes have been canceled because of extreme cold just four months after one school district canceled them for extreme heat. Frigid temperatures caused one library to close early on the first day it was set to begin extended hours. And it’s so cold, even ice skating or sledding is a bad idea.

    Nathan C. Lake

    Hampshire man accepts plea deal in sexual abuse case

    A 22-year-old Hampshire man, who was arrested in June on charges he sexually abused a 16-year-old girl from St. Charles, pleaded guilty Friday to reduced charges and was sentenced to three years of probation. Nathan Lake spent 171 days in jail while his case was pending and must pay a $2,600 fine. He was set to have a jury trial Monday.


    Power outage 99% fixed along Bluff City Boulevard in Elgin

    A power outage Monday morning in Elgin that affected about 800 homes has been fixed, according to ComEd. The outage was a result of a downed line due to extreme cold.

    Bao Bao, the four and a half month old giant panda, makes her public debut at an indoor habitat at the National Zoo in Washington Monday. Bao Bao, who now weighs 16.9 pounds, was born to the zoo’s female giant panda Mei Xiang and male giant panda Tian Tian.

    National Zoo prepares panda cub for debut in D.C.

    Bao Bao, the giant panda cub at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo, is getting used to seeing fans outside her panda house enclosure as she prepares for her public debut this month. The cub had a tryout Monday in front of the media.

    Braving the cold as she waits for the Metra train is Karen Loiacono of Arlington Heights who says she is glad she just bought her new hat even though people were making fun of it.

    Images: Dangerous cold hits the suburbs
    With temperatures hitting -18 degrees and windchills going down to -40 degrees, most of our suburban schools were closed and people were advised to stay indoors since travel on the area roads was dangerous.

    The Chicago skyline sits as a backdrop as fog drifts across Monroe Harbor with temperatures well below zero and wind chills down to 40 to 50 below Monday in Chicago. A whirlpool of frigid, dense air known as a “polar vortex” descended Monday into much of the U.S.

    Subzero ‘polar vortex’ pushes frigid air across US

    Frigid, dense air swirled across much of the U.S. on Monday, forcing some cities and their residents into hibernation while others layered up and carried on despite a dangerous cold that broke decades-old records.


    District 203 to review new materials to help teach literacy

    School board members in Naperville Unit District 203 soon will be hearing about $1.3 million worth of new resources educators are proposing the district begin using next year to help implement Common Core standards. Administrators are scheduled to make a presentation during the board’s meeting at 7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 6, about the books and other resources they would like to buy to teach reading,...

    Mourners pray over the flag-draped coffin of Iraqi soldier Layth Ahmed, who was killed during the clashes in Ramadi, during his funeral procession in the Shiite holy city of Najaf, 100 miles south of Baghdad, Iraq, Monday,

    Iraq PM urges people of Fallujah to expel al-Qaida

    Iraq’s prime minister urged residents and tribes of Fallujah to “expel” al-Qaida militants from the Sunni-dominated city to avoid an all-out battle — remarks that may signal an imminent military move to retake the former insurgent stronghold.

    Liz Cheney, daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, is quitting the Wyoming’s Republican Senate primary, abandoning her effort to unseat incumbent Sen. Mike Enzi.

    Liz Cheney quitting bid to unseat Wyoming’s Enzi

    Liz Cheney, daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, on Monday abruptly abandoned her effort to unseat Republican incumbent Sen. Mike Enzi of Wyoming. Cheney cited “serious health issues” that “have recently arisen in our family” as the reason for her decision.


    No DUIs in South Barrington during holidays

    South Barrington police are reporting that holiday motorists, at least the ones passing through the village, apparently got the message about not drinking and driving this season. During an aggressive crackdown on drunk drivers from Dec. 20 through Jan. 5, village police did not have to charge anyone with the crime.

    Joining Pokey, left, are two new bison, Becky in the middle and Drew on the right, which arrived at Lords Park in Elgin from Brookfield Zoo. Pokey was put down earlier this year once her health declined after she fell into a mud hole. She was 23.

    Critter stories of 2013
    Animals are newsmakers, too, and the year 2013 saw plenty of critters making headlines in the Fox Valley. Here are some of the top animal stories of the year.

    DuPage County Board Chairman Dan Cronin created the DuPage Green Government Council in August 2013.

    Summit focuses on making DuPage a ‘Cool County’

    The DuPage Green Government Council and The Conservation Foundation will play host to the 2014 DuPage Energy Summit, “Making DuPage a ‘Cool County: A Plan for Energy and Economic Stability,’” from noon to 5 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 23, at Hotel Arista, along Route 59 near I-88 in Naperville.


    Hearing on Stevenson request to leave SEDOL postponed

    Because of the weather, the Lake County regional board of education has postponed a discussion scheduled for tonight about whether Stevenson High School should be allowed to leave the Special Education District of Lake County and provide its own educational services for all students with disabilities. The meeting has been rescheduled to 7 p.m. Jan. 13 at the University Center, 1200 University...

    Fox Valley Park District’s Winter Stage production of “Shrek the Musical” opens Jan. 10 at the Prisco Center in Aurora.

    ‘Shrek the Musical’ coming to Fox Valley Park District

    “Shrek the Musical,” Fox Valley Park District’s Winter Stage production, steps into the spotlight Jan. 10, 11 and 12 at the Prisco Community Center, 150 W. Illinois Ave., Aurora.

    Visitors can see what it was like to harvest ice in the 1890s during a series of demonstrations later this month at Kline Creek Farm in West Chicago.

    Chilly times during Kline Creek Ice Harvest

    Just in case you haven’t seen enough ice and snow this week, the DuPage Forest Preserve District will play host to an old-fashioned Ice Harvest from 1 to 4 p.m. Jan. 23, 25, 26 and 30 at Kline Creek Farm, 1N600 County Farm Road, West Chicago.

    Amy Keller-Friedman

    West Chicago babysitter sentenced in decade-old abuse case

    A former West Chicago woman was sentenced Monday to 30 days in jail and two years of probation on charges she sexually assaulted a child she once cared for.

    Adam R. Bileck

    Trial date set for man charged in crash that sparked townhouse fire

    A Wisconsin man accused of being intoxicated when he crashed his SUV into a Hainesville townhouse, sparking a massive fire, will go on trial next month. Adam R. Bileck, 32, of Kenosha, Wis., could be sentenced up to six years in prison if found guilty of aggravated driving under the influence after a trial set to begin Feb. 24.

    Braving the cold as she waits for the Metra train is Karen Loiacono of Arlington Heights who says she is glad she just bought her new hat even though people were making fun of it.

    Dangerously cold temperatures hit the suburbs

    The second half of a brutal one-two punch of winter weather lands this morning as dangerously cold conditions that experts describe as “life-threatening” grip the suburbs. The high temperature for the Chicago Metropolitan area is predicted to be about 8 to 12 degrees below zero, with the temperature expected to fall as low as 15 degrees below on Monday night.


    Cary Park District abates portion of tax levy

    The Cary Park District is abating a portion of the tax levy for 2014.

    Elmhurst Symphony Orchestra Music Director Stephen Alltop leads two performances this month of Igor Stravinsky’s “A Soldier’s Tale.”

    Elmhurst Symphony to perform “A Soldier’s Tale” in two concerts

    Music fans will have two chances this month to hear and see The Elmhurst Symphony Orchestra and First Folio Theater perform together for the first time.

    New Schaumburg Police Chief James Lamkin, who came to the village after 10 years as the head of St. Charles' police force, talks about his role and his plans for the department.

    New Schaumburg police chief seeks to inspire

    New Schaumburg Police chief James Lamkin discusses what role he thinks the police force plays in the community and some of his future plans for the department. Lamkin took over as chief late last month.


    Hoffman Estates named Code Enforcement Agency of the Year

    Hoffman Estates' Code Enforcement Division has been chosen by the Illinois Association of Code Enforcement as the 2013 Code Enforcement Agency of the Year, recognizing it for many aspects of its work, including having all of its inspectors certified.


    Simple tips to survive the bitter cold

    OK, so Midwesterners have seen cold weather before. But a medical expert from Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital shares a few tips to stay safe. “One of the most important things can do in weather like this is to limit the amount of time you are exposed to the elements,” says Dr. Melinda Einfalt.


    Barrington cancels village board meeting because of cold

    sBarrington officials have canceled tonight’s scheduled village board committee-of-the-whole meeting because of the frigid weather. There was no immediate word on when the meeting, which was to begin at 6 p.m. at village hall, might be rescheduled.


    Libertyville Sunrise Rotary hosts annual fundraiser

    The Libertyville Sunrise Rotary will host its annual winter fundraiser Saturday, Feb. 1, at the Midlane resort, 4555 W. Yorkhouse Road, Wadsworth. Doors open at 6 p.m. with a cash bar, followed by dinner at 7 p.m.

    Frederick School sixth-graders Sami Neuzil, left, and Lyndsey Bassett are part of the Rebecca Caudill Young Readers Book Award celebration. Later, librarian Robert Depke had his hair cut by Shear Genius stylist Eileen Falson, with help by students who read all 20 books on the list.

    Rebecca Caudill time at Grayslake’s Frederick School

    Some Grayslake Elementary District 46 students again are participating in the Rebecca Caudill Young Readers Book Award program.

    Former Olympic figure skater David Santee talks with Sarah Johnson of Park Ridge during his skating camp at the Oakton Ice Arena in Park Ridge.

    Area figure skater has new role at 2014 Olympics

    Renowned figure skater David Santee has been an athlete, a broadcaster and a torch runner for the Olympic games, but for the 2014 Sochi games he's got a new job - video operator for the international panel of ice skating judges. “I’m so excited,” Santee said last week at the Oakton Ice Arena in Park Ridge, where he coaches private students and is the skating director. “I’ll be in the middle of...

    Sri Lanka’s foreign minister Gamini Peiris, left, with his Palestinian counterpart Riad al-Malki during a joint press conference in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Monday. Portraits of the late Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat, left, and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, right, are seen in a banner at top.

    Palestinians express reservations on Kerry’s ideas

    A Palestinian official says the Palestinians have reservations about some of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s ideas for the outlines of a peace deal with Israel, particularly on the future of Jerusalem. Kerry left Monday after meetings with Israeli and Palestinian leaders. He is to present a U.S. proposal for a peace framework and is expected back in the region next week.

    The 13-year-old California girl declared brain dead after a tonsillectomy has been taken out of Children’s Hospital of Oakland, her family’s attorney said late Sunday. Jahi McMath left the hospital in a private ambulance shortly before 8 p.m. Sunday, Christopher Dolan told The Associated Press.

    Lawyer: Brain dead girl moved from Calif. hospital

    The 13-year-old California girl declared brain dead after a tonsillectomy has been taken out of Children’s Hospital of Oakland, her family’s attorney said late Sunday. Jahi McMath left the hospital in a private ambulance shortly before 8 p.m. Sunday, Christopher Dolan told The Associated Press.

    Nicholas Simmons disappeared from his parents’ house in a small upstate New York town on New Year’s Day, leaving behind his wallet, cellphone and everything else.

    Man reunited with family after AP photo published

    Nicholas Simmons disappeared from his parents’ house in a small upstate New York town on New Year’s Day, leaving behind his wallet, cellphone and everything else. Four days later, an Associated Press photographer, looking for a way to illustrate unusually cold weather, snapped his picture as he warmed himself on a steam grate a few blocks from the U.S. Capitol.


    Ohio boy, 9, breaks through pond ice and drowns
    Authorities say a 9-year-old boy drowned when he fell through the ice on a pond in southwestern Ohio. The boy's sister also fell through the ice on the pond in Clermont County east of Cincinnati on Sunday, but she was rescued and is expected to recover.

    House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Va., left, arrives for a meeting with House Republicans on Capitol Hill in Washington. Congress returns to work on Jan. 6, 2014, with election-year politics certain to shape an already limited agenda.

    Fed chair, unemployment on tap as Congress returns

    Back to work on Monday, Congress faces a hefty list of unfinished business and a politically driven agenda in an election year that will determine control of the House and Senate. President Barack Obama's nomination of Janet Yellen to head the Federal Reserve and a three-month extension of benefits for the long-term unemployed are first up in Senate, with votes scheduled Monday night.


    Mayor Emanuel names new deputy chief of staff

    Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has named a new deputy chief of staff who's well-known for his work in the president's office and on the campaigns of various Illinois Democrats. Ken Bennett also will serve as director of the mayor's office of public engagement. Emanuel says the dual roles will allow Bennett to serve as a direct link between city government and its neighborhoods and community leaders.


    Dawn Patrol: Brutal cold moves in; rescued dogs travel to Elk Grove

    'Life-threatening' cold sets in; Fire causes $450,000 damage to St. Charles building; Rescued dogs travel from Kentucky to Elk Grove; 49ers send Green Bay packin'; Elmhurst museum celebrates Carl Sandburg's 136th birthday

    Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford misses the winning goal scored by San Jose Sharks’ Joe Pavelski during a shootout Sunday in an NHL hockey game in Chicago. San Jose won 3-2.

    Weekend in Review: Charges in stabbing; Students ready for college?
    What you may have missed over the weekend: The snow hasn't stopped and now it's bringing sub zero temperatures with it; CBS reporter charged with DUI; Mundelein jeweler unlikely to give snow refunds; Lake County doctor preps for Sochi Games gig; Palatine man charged in roommate's stabbing; Packers out of the running for Super Bowl; and Hawks can't seem to win a shootout and fall to Sharks.

    A task force empowered by Gov. Pat Quinn is expected to recommend how to reform transit in 2014. The debate will ensue in the wake of allegations of political interference in transit agencies by House Speaker Michael Madigan, background, left, and other lawmakers.

    Experts predict: BoltBus, transit reform, airlines wars on tap for 2014

    What's going to happen in 2014 in transportation land? Transportation writer Marni Pyke tells you, thanks to some prescient experts. Plus, readers opine on Route 53 and it's just a month until the Chicago Auto Show.

    Police officials investigate the murder of Diane VanDycke-Kephart, 61, near Antioch in March.

    Lake County murders rise to 14 in 2013, but numbers down overall

    Fourteen murders were committed in Lake County in 2013, a 40 percent rise from the previous year, authorities said. Lake County officials said the increase is disturbing, but the figure remains far below the high-water mark of 25 murders recorded in each of 1982 and 1994. “While there is a spike upward in 2013, we have seen a decrease in overall murders in the past 20 years,” Lake...

    Nick Gore, 29, of Bartlett, said he used heroin for nearly 11 months until he quit in February 2012. Now he visits area schools and talks to students about the dangers of the drug. Gore is expected to assist a public awareness campaign that DuPage County is launching.

    DuPage responding to record number of heroin deaths

    DuPage County ended 2013 with a record number of heroin deaths. Law enforcement and county officials are hoping to avoid a repeat of those numbers by stepping up efforts to educate young people about the dangers of the highly addictive drug. The county will spend $100,000 to launch a public awareness campaign. And local police departments will host school rallies and community forums.


    Bulls All-Star forward Luol Deng has been traded to Cleveland.

    Bulls trade Luol Deng to Cleveland

    The Bulls traded All-Star forward Luol Deng to the Cleveland Cavaliers late Monday night for center Andrew Bynum and draft picks. The Bulls will almost certainly waive Bynum immediately, because the often-injured center's contract is not fully guaranteed this season.

    Bulls forward Luol Deng has been traded to Cleveland.

    Bulls trade Deng for draft picks, Bynum

    The Bulls traded All-Star forward Luol Deng late Monday night to the Cleveland Cavaliers for three future draft picks and center Andrew Bynum.Just days after suspending Bynum in his only season with the team, the Cavaliers were able to unload the center before having to guarantee his contract — and got back an All-Star the last two seasons in return.Cavaliers general manager Chris Grant called Deng “a tremendous defensive player that can impact the game on both ends of the court” in announcing the trade.

    Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher gets a hug after the NCAA BCS National Championship college football game against Auburn Monday, Jan. 6, 2014, in Pasadena, Calif. Florida State won 34-31.

    Florida State wins BCS title

    Jameis Winston threw a 2-yard touchdown pass to Kelvin Benjamin with 13 seconds left and No. 1 Florida State beat No. 2 Auburn 34-31 to win the last BCS national championship game on Monday night. Winston struggled much of the night but was near perfect when the Seminoles (14-0) needed it most, going 6 for 7 for 77 yards on the game-winning 80-yard drive. A pass interference penalty on Auburn’s Chris Davis gave Florida State a first-and-goal at the 2 and on the next play Winston hit his big receiver for the touchdown.

    Jeff Hornacek has his Phoenix Suns rolling at 20-12 in his first season as an NBA head coach. Hornacek’s Suns face the Bulls on Tuesday night at the United Center.

    Suns showing Bulls that it can be done

    Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau has been talking about how anything can happen this season, with or without Derrick Rose. Tuesday's opponent, Phoenix, is a prime example of that. Widely expected to be a top lottery contender, the Suns instead sport a 20-12 record.


    Bulls’ Boozer expects to be back soon

    Carlos Boozer expects to be back from a sore knee later this week. He missed his first game of the season on Saturday. Meanwhile, the Bulls didn't let Monday's cold weather prevent them from getting back to work.


    Bulls game day
    Bulls vs. Phoenix Suns at the United Center, 7 p.m. TuesdayTV: WGNRadio: ESPN 1000-AMUpdate: It turns out Phoenix (20-12) had more in the tank this year than playing for a high draft pick. The Suns have won 11 of their last 14 games and were No. 7 in the West as of Monday morning. PG Goran Dragic is the top scorer at 18.8 ppg. Former Clippers guard Eric Bledsoe is averaging 18.0 ppg but has missed the past two games with a sore knee and probably won’t play against the Bulls. SF Gerald Green (13.4 ppg), Markieff Morris (12.2) and Channing Frye (11.4), back after a year off with a heart condition, round out the leading scorers.Next: Milwaukee Bucks at the Bradley Center, 7:30 p.m. Friday — Mike McGraw

    Auburn’s Gus Malzahn took a successful high school coaching career all the way to Monday night’s BCS Championship Game against Florida State.

    Higher calling maybe by staying at high school level?

    Auburn's Gus Malzahn's success could pave a path for more high school football coaches to graduate into the college ranks. Hopefully, though, the best among them will choose to continue making more important contributions on the prep level.

    Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook is hoping to be getting more high-fives from his teammates after Team Canada’s Olympic roster is announced Tuesday.

    Blackhawks’ Seabrook deserves a spot on Team Canada

    Brent Seabrook says he will spend Tuesday morning like everyone else, waiting to hear if he made the Canadian Olympic team. Seabrook shouldn’t be made to sweat it out. He deserves to be on Team Canada for the upcoming Olympic games in Sochi, Russia. But by most accounts Seabrook is on the bubble when he should be considered a lock to make the team along with teammates Jonathan Toews and Duncan Keith.

    Bears defensive end Shea McClellin pressures Saints quarterback Drew Brees during the Bears’ 26-18 loss at Soldier Field in October.

    Bears’ McClellin remains one big question mark

    Bears defensive end Shea McClellin is a lightning rod for comments and criticisms as a former first-round draft choice. There have been numerous questions about where to play McClellin and how to use him, ever since he was selected 19th overall in 2012. So far there are no definitive answers.


    Mike North video: BCS title game prediction
    Mike North looks at the national championship game between Auburn and Florida State and gives his prediction.

    Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn, left, and Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher pose with The Coaches’ Trophy during a news conference for the NCAA BCS National Championship college football game Sunday, Jan. 5, 2014, in Newport Beach, Calif. Florida State plays Auburn on Monday, Jan. 6, 2014.

    Last BCS title game tonight

    Before the Bowl Championship Series is replaced next year by a playoff, No. 1 Florida State and No. 2 Auburn will meet in its last title game tonight at the Rose Bowl. The Seminoles (13-0) ripped through their schedule on the way to Pasadena, winning each game by at least 14 points behind Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston. “I still think our best game is out there,” Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher said Sunday. “I’m looking forward to playing it on Monday night, and our kids are looking forward to the challenge.”

    Addison native Alexa Scimeca and her pairs figure skating partner, Chris Knierim, shown here at the 2013 Prudential U.S. Figure Skating Championships, hope to earn a spot on the U.S. Olympic team this weekend.

    Addison figure skater’s Olympic hopes hinge on weekend performances

    For the past 14 years, 21-year-old Alexa Scimeca has clung to a grueling training schedule to achieve her dream of representing her country in the Winter Olympics. The Addison native’s goal has never been more within reach than it will be this weekend. She and her partner, Chris Knierim, will attempt to earn their way onto the U.S. Olympic Figure Skating Team and a trip to Sochi, Russia.


    A Metra train plows its way through the blowing snow as it zips on by the Arlington Heights train station in subfreezing temperatures on Monday morning. Many suburban companies allowed employees to work from home Monday.

    Suburban businesses respond to cold with telecommuting, days off

    While some companies allowed employees to work from home, others were open for business as usual, despite the record sub-zerio temperatures. Heavy snow days often provide a clear choice, but frigid temperatures result in more difficult decisions and sparked early morning meetings among some executives to develop a game plan for the day.


    W. Dundee hires consultant to secure larger retailers

    West Dundee hired a retail consultant Monday, a move that jump-starts its efforts to identify and secure potential retailers throughout the village, officials said. “It brings somebody else into the mix — this just adds to our team,” Village President Chris Nelson said.

    The Senate on Monday approved Janet Yellen, as Federal Reserve Board chairman, the first woman to serve in that role. She is a backer of the central bank’s recent efforts to spur the economy with low interest rates and massive bond purchases.

    Senate confirm Yellen to lead Federal Reserve

    The Senate confirmed Janet Yellen on Monday as the first woman to lead the Federal Reserve, elevating an advocate of fighting unemployment and a backer of the central bank’s efforts to spur the economy with low interest rates and massive bond purchases.

    Men’s Wearhouse is raising its offer for Jos. A. Bank Clothiers to about $1.61 billion and taking the bid directly to its rival’s shareholders. It also plans to nominate two people to the Jos. A. Bank board.

    Men’s Wearhouse boosts bid for Jos. A. Bank

    Despite rebuked overtures on both sides, The Men’s Wearhouse and Jos. A. Bank could wind up together for better or worse. The courtship to combine the two men’s clothing companies has dragged on for months, with each chain having their offer to acquire the other rebuffed. And the saga to combine the two rivals took another turn on Monday.

    U.S. stocks fell for a third day Monday, the longest stretch of declines to start a year for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index since 2005, after slower-than-forecast growth in service industries.

    A weak start to 2014 continues for stock market

    The Standard & Poor’s 500 index notched its worst start to a year in almost a decade Monday, closing lower for the third straight trading day. Although the declines for stocks in the New Year have been modest, the direction has been consistently down.

    Machinists union members and supporters chant at a rally asking members to vote against a proposed contract Thursday, Jan. 2, in Seattle. Under pressure from national union leaders, machinists in Washington state took a late-night vote Friday that defied their local union bosses by narrowly approving a new labor contract that secures a coveted plane project for the Seattle area but moves workers away from pensions.

    Boeing 787 deliveries beat goal last year

    Chicago-based Boeing delivered 65 of its 787s last year, even though deliveries were halted for a four months because of battery problems. Boeing was able to step up the pace once deliveries resumed in May, and it handed over 25 of the jets during the final quarter of last year.

    The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is scheduled to release a long-anticipated study Monday listing options for shielding the Great Lakes from an attack by ravenous Asian carp.

    Report expected on shielding Great Lakes from carp

    The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is scheduled to release a long-anticipated study Monday listing options for shielding the Great Lakes from an attack by ravenous Asian carp. The corps has spent years examining ways to block aquatic pathways that invasive species could use to migrate between the lakes and the Mississippi River basin.

    Dawn Drury is the owner of Just Your Art Creativity Center in Mundelein.

    Art studio thriving in Mundelein

    Just Your Art Creativity Center is a unique art studio that opened before most of the other “byob” painting shops around. We have evening classes, day classes, private instruction, summer art camp and open mic/ open paint evenings.

    This photo provided by NVIDIA shows a 310-foot ìcrop circleî in a California barley field that mystified locals this week was explained Sunday Jan. 6, 2014: it was a publicity stunt by Nvidia Corp., a maker of chips for PCs and smartphones. T

    Nvidia promotes new chip with crop circle

    A 310-foot “crop circle” in a California barley field that mystified locals this week was explained Sunday: it was a publicity stunt by Nvidia Corp., a maker of chips for PCs and smartphones. The crop circle near Chualar, Calif., contained a stylized image of a computer chip and the number “192” in Braille.

    Boeing Co. will be able to develop new versions of its best-selling jets without the threat of production-halting strikes after its largest union accepted a contract extension through 2024.

    Boeing dodges risk as labor peace to 2024 spans two jets’ debuts

    Boeing Co. will be able to develop new versions of its best-selling jets without the threat of production-halting strikes after its largest union accepted a contract extension through 2024. The decade of labor peace at the planemaker’s Seattle hub lowers development risk for the 777X and 737 Max, the heart of Boeing’s commercial jet lineup.


    New Year a time to show entrepreneurial flair

    With virtually the entire year before us — the proverbial blank canvas — what entrepreneurial initiatives shall we undertake? What will we let our creative impulses do this year that will make our businesses better?

    COURTESY OF ADVOCATE GOOD SAMARITAN HOSPITAL Dr. James Cole Jr., assistant medical director of trauma at Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove.

    Military surgeon works here, while serving our country

    Kukec's People features James Cole Jr. who followed in his father’s footsteps to become a doctor and later traded in the high-tech operating rooms for tours of duty in a tent with a Marine Corps reconnaissance unit, the U.S. Special Operations Command and even a Navy Reserve Seal team with assignments in 14 countries. He is now on another temporary leave of absence as assistant medical director of trauma at Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove to serve again in Afghanistan.

Life & Entertainment


    NBC’s ‘Saturday Night Live’ hires a black woman

    NBC’s comic institution “Saturday Night Live,” criticized recently for a lack of diversity, said on Monday that it was adding a black woman to its repertory cast when new episodes start again later this month. Sasheer Zamata, a recent University of Virginia graduate who has worked with the New York Upright Citizens Brigade comedy troupe, will join for the Jan. 18 episode, for which Drake is the host and the musical guest.

    Start things off with Barbakoa's guacamole trio.

    Barbakoa's lively menu, decor add excitement to Butterfield Road

    Jerry Kleiner's Nuevo Latin hot spot Barbakoa is a welcome departure for the neighborhood, following the same vibrant, eclectic decorative theme as its Chicago siblings Carnivale and Redlight. Thanks to the fact that chef Dudley Nieto (Zocalo, Zapatista, Adobo Grill, et. al) is in the kitchen, the food is every bit as lively.


    Tips for surviving massive flight cancelations

    A wave of snowstorms and bitter cold temperatures have caused headaches for hundreds of thousands of fliers whose flights have been canceled. In the past three days, more than 8,000 flights in the United States have been canceled, according to flight tracking site FlightAware.com. On Monday alone, 1 out of every 10 domestic flights never took off. Here are a few things you can do to improve your odds of flying.

    The Eurythmics — Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart — performed onstage in 2000 at the Rock at the Ring music festival in Nuerburg, Germany. The band is reuniting to pay tribute to the Beatles for “The Night That Changed America: A Grammy Salute To The Beatles.” The event will tape at the Los Angeles Convention Center on Jan. 27, a day after the Grammy Awards.

    Sweet dream: Eurythmics uniting at Beatles tribute

    The Eurythmics are reuniting — to pay tribute to the Beatles. The Recording Academy announced Monday that Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart will perform as a duo for “The Night That Changed America: A Grammy Salute To The Beatles.” The event will be taped at the Los Angeles Convention Center on Jan. 27, a day after the Grammy Awards.

    Customers eat lunch in the main dining room at Joe's Stone Crab restaurant in Miami Beach, Fla. The restaurant has been family-owned from the start when it opened in 1913 as a mom-and-pop fish house. Today, it's a must-stop spot where wearing a bib over fine-dining attire is the norm.

    100 Restaurants Over 100: Book profiles restaurants in the century club

    Conventional wisdom has it that many restaurants never make it to their first birthday, never mind their 100th. So it's a little shocking just how many have done not only that, but have thrived well beyond 100 years. Fascination with what sets these culinary centenarians apart is what prompted Rick Browne to dig into American restaurant history, collecting the stories of some of the nation's oldest eateries.


    Take preventive steps to avoid recurrence of bursitis

    Q: I have knee bursitis. What is bursitis? What can I do to relieve my discomfort?


    Exploring alternate ways to treat bacterial bowel infection

    There is an old saying “fight fire with fire.” In medical terms, this means that you treat an illness with something similar to what caused the illness in the first place. There is probably nothing more appropriate for this phrase than the treatment of a bacterial bowel infection by using somebody else’s feces. This is called fecal transplantation.

    The Everly Brothers, Don and Phil, performing on stage in 1964. Phil Everly, who with his brother Don formed an influential harmony duo that touched the hearts and sparked the imaginations of rock ‘n’ roll singers for decades, died Friday.

    Don Everly receives ‘special spiritual message’

    The infighting and hard feelings between the Everly Brothers were well-known, but surviving brother Don felt he had a special moment with his brother Phil before Phil’s passing Friday — even if the two weren’t together at the time.

    The website DoYogaWithMe.com offers hundreds of streaming videos for those who want to do yoga at home.

    Your health: Find yoga videos online

    Yoga’s health benefits are widely extolled. But it can be awkward for a beginner to get started, especially someone wary of appearing in public in a yoga tank and leggings, The Washington Post reports.Even experienced practitioners sometimes have problems making it to a scheduled class. One option: DoYogaWithMe.com, The Washington Post suggests.This Canadian website, founded by yoga instructor David Procyshyn, offers hundreds of streaming videos, each about an hour long.

    Yin Yang Pilates & Yoga studio in Lake Zurich has donated more than $4,000 to purchase malaria nets.

    Lake Zurich Pilates studio donates malaria nets

    Since Laura Cappelletti opened the doors to Yin Yang Pilates & Yoga in 2008, she has donated money to purchase malaria nets in Africa every time a client has purchased a private package of Pilates sessions.

    In this file photo released by the United Nations African Union Mission in Darfur, sick women and children wait to be treated at a hospital in El Sereif village, North Darfur, Sudan. Global efforts to curb malaria are stalling after a drop in funds to buy bed nets, according to a recent report from the World Health Organization.

    Fight against malaria slows, fewer nets given out

    Global efforts to curb malaria are stalling after a drop in funds to buy bed nets, according to the latest report from the World Health Organization. For the second year in a row, WHO noted a dramatic decline in the number of bed nets given out to protect people from the mosquitoes that spread malaria. In 2010, 145 million bed nets were distributed; that fell to 92 million in 2011 and 70 million last year.


    How pros stay healthy in the cold-and-flu season

    Along with doctors and child-care providers, fitness trainers are on the front lines of flu and common cold exposure. Early mornings, sneezing clients and grimy gym environments are just a few of the culprits. In other words, fitness trainers who stay healthy this season can probably teach us a thing or two. Here’s their advice.

    1966 Ford Fairlane 500

    1966 a good year for owner of Ford Fairlane 500

    It was in the spring of 1966 that Dennis Roxworthy of Elgin fell head over heels in four-wheeled love. Then 23, he first laid eyes on Ford’s newly redesigned midsize offering, the Fairlane 500. Two short weeks later the young man went out to acquire one for himself. His first true love, his late wife Connie, provided additional encouragement.

    Former special forces operative Gabriel Vaughn (Josh Holloway) uses brawn and his computer-enhanced brain to solve crimes in the new CBS drama “Intelligence.”

    Josh Holloway returns to TV in ‘Intelligence’

    “Intelligence,” premiering Tuesday, Jan. 7, on CBS, looks at the new gray area where man meets machine. "Lost" star Josh Holloway plays former Special Forces operative Gabriel Vaughn, who has a supercomputer microchip in his brain yet still maintains his humanity.



    A political circus ready to launch

    Columnist Kathleen Parker: If you happen to be one of those who enjoy politics as a blood sport, 2014’s midterm election promises to be a carnival of gore. And that’s just in the Republican Party.


    Health care plans have hidden traps
    A Mount Prospect letter to the editor: They do not tell you that this insurance “credit” will be tacked onto your income the following year. That alone adds $6,000 to my income and thus jeopardizes my Social Security payments.


    Let’s hear details on term limits plan
    An Antioch letter to the editor: A candidate for the Republican nomination for governor of Illinois is making an advertising slam of the inability of Gov. Quinn to pursue the concept of term limits for our elected officials in Illinois. But he does not make any statements as to how he would intend to accomplish this well-regarded concept.


    Kane County taxpayers simply tapped out
    A South Elgin letter to the editor: Kane County homeowners are going to be asked again to fund, via a new tax, a good cause, providing tax dollars to disabled residents, to allow them, greater access to existing social services, services which are already funded by taxpayers.


    Still plenty of room for debate on ACA
    A St. Charles letter to the editor: On Dec. 26, Kim Savage wrote on the virtues of health care law. She stated now that the issues facing the ACA website are resolved, she hopes public debate can go beyond the manufactured hysteria about the law. Here are a couple of facts that are not manufactured:


    Parents should learn about DXM abuse
    A Libertyville letter to the editor:Emergency room clinicians should be vigilant in suspecting DXM recreational abuse, and parents should be aware of the availability and ease of abuse of these over the counter medications.


    A Chicago landmark in disrepair
    A Niles letter to the editor: What is happening to the iconic Marshall Field clocks? Has anyone noticed how they have deteriorated since Macy’s has come to State Street? The numbers are faded and almost unreadable.


    Cartoon showed unfair view of NRA
    A Rolling Meadows letter to the editor: The framers of our Constitution specifically included the Second Amendment to protect the citizenry against a tyrannical government. One wonders if we are not approaching that today, judging by the government’s disregard for the Constitution.


    Look at who is pushing most against pensions
    A Rolling Meadows letter to the editor: How very convenient for the billionaire hedge fund operators who wrecked the private pensions in the first place and now want to destroy public pensions as well.


    Private-sector workers get the raw deal
    An Arlington Heights letter to the editor: The heavy burden they carry of a couple of percentage points over the individual Social Security tax rate — which does not include the employer portion, provides them the opportunity to retire at the age of 55 with an income that is a minimum of three or four times higher than the lucky private sector individuals will receive from Social Security when they reach 67 or whatever age they extend it to in the future.


    Madigan’s summary of pension law worthless
    A Schaumburg letter to the editor: The members of the Illinois General Assembly were allowed by the leadership less than a full day to read and understand the new 325-page pension law. The law is now available online and so jam-packed with legalese that it seems almost unreadable.


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