Daily Archive : Wednesday March 5, 2014

News

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    Northbrook family accused of $7 million shoplifting spree

    A father, mother and daughter from Northbrook stole $7 million in merchandise during a decadelong shoplifting spree — traveling to stores nationwide and targeting dolls, toys, cosmetics and other valuables — according to a federal complaint released Wednesday.

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    Animals graze Wednesday on the Hampshire property where eight animals owned by Elgin resident Stacy Fiebelkorn were found dead Monday, according to police.

    10 dead animals found on 2 Kane County farms

    An Elgin woman was charged with animal cruelty after Kane County authorities discovered a dead pony, chickens, goats and a donkey in her care, and dozens of other animals sick from lack of food, care and water. “I broke down Monday night when I got home” after seeing the condition of the animals, Kane animal control director Robert Sauceda said.

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    Firefighters work the scene of a blaze Wednesday on the 700 block of Whalom Lane in Schaumburg. The fire severely damaged the garages and residences above, but no one was injured.

    Townhouse fire displaces Schaumburg families

    A fire that started in a Schaumburg garage Wednesday night displaced two families in a three-unit townhouse building. A passer-by noticed a car on fire within a garage on the 700 block of Whalom and called firefighters about 7:20 p.m., Schaumburg Batallion Chief Rick Anderson said. No one was injured.

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    Several fire departments work on a fire at First Street in Batavia late Wednesday night.

    Batavia foundry burns in big blaze late at night

    Firefighters from multiple departments were battling an extra-alarm blaze overnight in an industrial building in Batavia. Flames could be seen shooting from the roof of the 100-by-75-foot foundry near Mallory Avenue and First Street. The building appears to be Master Craft, a foundry on the 100 block of Mallory Avenue

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    Gun owners rallied at the Illinois Capitol Wednesday, asking lawmakers to loosen concealed carry rules.

    Gun owners march on state Capitol, want to 'liberalize' concealed carry

    The same week Illinois gun owners are getting in the mail their first licenses to carry a handgun in public, advocates are demanding lawmakers loosen the restrictions on where they can do so. “It's designed to fail,” said McHenry County Sportsman Association member Mark Gampl, 54, of McHenry. “You get the right to carry in approved areas, none of which are high-crime...

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    Clockwise from top left, Bill Brady, Kirk Dillard, Dan Rutherford and Bruce Rauner are seeking the Republican nomination for governor.

    Governor candidates debate unions' role

    A major union's endorsement became a central focus of a debate between the Republican candidates for Illinois governor on Wednesday, prompting questions about the contenders' GOP credentials, accusations of “selling out” taxpayers and pointed exchanges over the role of organized labor in the state's politics.

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    Mark Oelerich

    Attorney trying to suppress Mundelein man’s statement

    A defense attorney is trying to suppress police statements made by a Mundelein man facing a first-degree murder charge for what authorities say was an intentional crash that killed a Round Lake Beach woman. Elliot Pinsel filed the motion in Lake County court Wednesday to suppress statements Mark Oelerich, 23, made to police after the Nov. 24, 2012 crash that killed Araceli Villasenor, 25.

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    Dryer blamed for St. Charles townhouse fire

    Firefighters believe a clothes dryer sparked a townhouse fire Wednesday night on the 800 block of Pheasant Trail in St. Charles. According to a news release, St. Charles firefighters responded to a resident’s 911 call to find a blaze in a second-floor utility room.

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    This satellite image shows the ice cover on the Great Lakes.

    Snow, ice cover will boost Great Lakes levels

    Federal officials say this winter’s deep freeze and heavy snowfall will help nudge Great Lakes water levels closer to normal over the next six months.

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    Randy Dunn will become the next president of Southern Illinois University.

    Youngstown State allows leader to head to SIU

    Youngstown State University has voided the contract of its current president, allowing the man to become president of Southern Illinois University. In a statement late Wednesday, Youngstown State announced Randy Dunn will vacate the university’s presidency on March 21 and will have 30 days to move out of the presidential residence.

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    Gov. Pat Quinn, left, announces $45 million in Illinois-funded relief for local governments recovering from the deadly November tornadoes during a news conference Wednesday outside of Tractor Supply Co. in downstate Washington. Joining the governor were Washington Mayor Gary Manier, center, and East Peoria Mayor Dave Mingus.

    After FEMA denial, Quinn turns to state tornado aid

    After the denial of federal disaster assistance, Gov. Pat Quinn announced the state will be making $45 million available to help local governments recover from November’s deadly tornadoes.

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    College Board President David Coleman on Wednesday announced updates for the SAT college entrance exam, the first since 2005, needed to make the exam a College Board a better representative of what students study in high school and the skills they need to succeed in college and afterward.

    New SAT: The essay portion is to become optional

    Essay optional. No penalties for wrong answers. The SAT college entrance exam is undergoing sweeping revisions. Changes in the annual test that millions of students take will also do away with some vocabulary words such as “prevaricator” and “sagacious” in favor of words more commonly used in school and on the job.

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    After her water supply pipe froze, the city of Elgin supplied Alice May with free water by extending a garden hose from her neighbor’s house. Similar incidents have taken place at 44 businesses and homes from Jan. 6 through March 1.

    City pipes freeze, buildings get water via hoses in Elgin

    This winter’s deep freeze mostly has meant a lot of discomfort and plenty of complaining, but for some in Elgin it’s been a much bigger deal. Portions of city water pipes under roadways have frozen, resulting in water service being interrupted at 44 businesses and homes from Jan. 6 to March 1, according to records provided by Elgin Water Director Kyla Jacobsen.

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    A person holds a mock Oscar statue as Pope Francis tours St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican prior to the start of his weekly general audience. The pontiff says he finds the hype that is increasingly surrounding him “offensive.”

    Pope defensive on sex abuse as commission lags

    Pope Francis is coming under increasing criticism that he simply doesn’t get it on sex abuse. Three months after the Vatican announced a commission of experts to study best practices on protecting children, no action has been taken, no members appointed, no statute outlining the commission’s scope approved.

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    Tim Allen

    Winfield trustee in hot water over Roosevelt Road email

    Winfield trustees are expected to decide on Thursday night whether one of their own engaged in misconduct by sending an email asking local school board members to weigh in on how Roosevelt Road should be developed.

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    Secretary of State John Kerry, second left, shakes hands with France’s President Francois Hollande prior to a meeting on the Ukraine crisis at the Elysee Palace in Paris on Wednesday. Top diplomats from the West and Russia trying to find an end to the crisis in Ukraine gathered in Paris on Wednesday.

    Russia, West try to hammer out Ukraine diplomacy

    The United States and Western diplomats failed to bring Russian and Ukrainian foreign ministers together Wednesday for face-to-face talks on the confrontation in Crimea, even as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry voiced optimism that an exit strategy was possible. “I’d rather be where we are today than where we were yesterday,” he said.

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    Lake Zurich Purple Plunge:

    American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life of Lake Zurich hosts the Purple Plunge on March 15 at 9 a.m. at Breezewalk Park and Beach, where participants can wade in or take the full plunge into the water of Lake Zurich for charity.

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    Antioch Community Garden:

    Plots are available in the Antioch Community Garden, Depot and Orchard streets across from Antioch Elementary School.

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    Trustee sought for Round Lake Area Library:

    The Round Lake Area Library is seeking applications to fill one open trustee position. The library board meets the fourth Wednesday of each month and is responsible for approving the library’s budget, raising funds to provide library services to the community, and setting library policies.

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    First-year Northwestern University medical student Jared Worthington, left, poses for a photo with his “Alzheimer’s buddy,” retired physician Dan Winship in Chicago. The two are part of a program pairing doctors-to-be with dementia patients, pioneered at Northwestern and adopted at a handful of other medical schools.

    Alzheimer’s estimated to be No. 3 killer disease in U.S.
    Alzheimer’s, known mostly for the memory loss and confusion it causes, may be the nation’s third-most deadly killer, according to a study that suggests many more Americans die from the disease than is known. As many as a half-million people in the U.S. are killed by Alzheimer’s each year, or about five times more than the 83,494 now cited on death certificates, the research...

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    Oscar Pistorius sits in the dock in court on the third day of his trial at the high court in Pretoria, South Africa, Wednesday. Pistorius is charged with murder for the shooting death of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, on Valentine’s Day in 2013.

    Pistorius’ character questioned over gun incident

    A month before he fatally shot his girlfriend, Oscar Pistorius cajoled a friend into taking the blame when a gun was accidentally fired under the Johannesburg restaurant table where he and other friends were sitting, according to testimony Wednesday in the double-amputee runner's murder trial. "'Just say it was you. I don't want any tension around me,'" witness Kevin Lerena remembered Pistorius...

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    Kyung Ho Song

    Fugitive in Bartlett fatal crash extradited from South Korea

    A former Schaumburg man accused of causing a fatal 1996 car crash in Bartlett while driving drunk was extradited Wednesday from South Korea, where he fled 16 years ago. Kyung Ho Song, 75, appeared before Cook County Judge Bridget Hughes, who ordered him held without bond following a hearing at the Rolling Meadows courthouse.

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    Union head says Dist. 57 teachers happy with contract

    The head of the teachers union in Mount Prospect Elementary District 57 said Wednesday that union members feel a new sense of optimism in the wake of recent contract negotiations. “Teachers feel like we have more of a voice in the district now,” said Michelle Walsh, president of the Mount Prospect Education Association. “And I think our relationship with the central district...

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    Chicago aldermen want sick pay for all employees

    Several Chicago aldermen are proposing an ordinance that would require employers in the city to provide paid sick days for their workers.

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    Pet stores in Chicago now must obtain their animals from shelters or humane adoption centers.

    Chicago forbids pet shops from using puppy mills

    Operators of so-called puppy mills can no longer do business in Chicago. On Wednesday the city council passed an ordinance that requires pet stores to acquire dogs, cats and rabbits from shelters and humane adoption centers. It forbids them from obtaining animals from for-profit breeders.

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    Bill for sickened students will top $70,000

    Medical bills for more than 60 students sickened by an odor from a northern Illinois landfill will cost Waste Management more than $70,000.

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    Father Peter Sarnicki, right, puts ashes on St. Margaret Mary Catholic School teacher Rachel Urbaszewski.

    Suburbs celebrate Ash Wednesday as Lent begins
    From churches to train stations, suburban Catholics celebrated the beginning of Lent on Wednesday. Lent is the traditional 40-day period of fasting, prayer and alms-giving before Easter.

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    Dora Christensen, owner of Epona Dressage, a Maple Park horse farm, has dropped her lawsuit against her neighbor, according to court records.

    Horse farm owner drops lawsuit over neighbor’s noise

    The owner of a Maple Park horse farm has dropped her lawsuit against her neighbor - for now. Dora Christensen, owner of Epona Dressage, voluntarily dismissed her lawsuit against Donald Cinkus, who she accused of purposefully damaging her business by erecting a motocross track on his land and sounding a large air horn to scare horses. The lawsuit was dismissed without prejudice, meaning it can be...

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    John Barbini

    Wauconda trustee calls for public-comment rules

    Angered by an audience member’s outburst at a recent board meeting, Wauconda Trustee John Barbini is calling for rules governing public comments at future sessions.

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    Kane County GOP requests Goel’s withdrawal

    The Kane County Republican Central Committee Wednesday added its voice to that of Cook County Republican Chairman Aaron Del Mar in calling for 8th Congressional District GOP candidate Manju Goel to withdraw from the March 18 primary against opponent Larry Kaifesh. The requests are based on the SuperPAC Indian Americans For Freedom setting up a deceptive website and social media accounts meant to...

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    New power provider selected by Vernon Hills and six other towns

    Vernon Hills and six other suburbs have opted for a new power provider as the initial two-year electric aggregation contract nears an end. However, savings aren't expected to be as great as in years past.

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    The Rev. Robert Braband leads the Ash Wednesday service at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Lombard as Christians begin Lent, a season of repentance and reflection before the celebration of Jesus’ rising from the dead on Easter.

    Ashes mark Christians for beginning of Lent

    Christians across the area and around the world marked the beginning of Lent by attending Ash Wednesday services to receive a visible reminder of their human mortality in the shape of a cross made out of ashes.

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    Jim Wales

    Lake in the Hills seeks new police chief from within

    Lake in the Hills village leaders are looking to select a new police chief from within the police department by month end. Officials have interviewed internal candidates to fill the post after Director of Police and Public Safety Jim Wales retires at the end of April. “I’m looking for leadership and progressive thinking, and (someone with) professionalism,” Village President...

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    Student, 16, charged with making bomb threat at Bartlett High School

    A 16-year-old female student has been charged with making a bomb threat to Bartlett High School, authorities said. Bartlett police searched the high school Wednesday morning, but determined there was no credible threat to students and staff. The threat was left on a staff member’s voice mail, police said.

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    Mount Prospect residents can expect a significant amount of road work in town this summer as village trustees Tuesday approved a $8.3 million street resurfacing program that encompasses nearly 19 miles of roadway. Nearly two-thirds of that work is backlog that built up as the village cut back on work to save money in recent years.

    Mount Prospect OKs $8.3 million road program

    Mount Prospect residents should expect to see a significant makeover of their roads this summer. The village board on Tuesday approved a $8.3 million bid from Arrow Road Construction of Mount Prospect for the 2014 street resurfacing program. This year’s program will cover nearly 19 miles of village roadways, including 12 miles of backlog created as the village cut costs in recent years.

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    Streamwood fire department to hold citizen’s academy

    The Streamwood Fire Department is taking applications for its citizen’s fire academy, an eight-week course that gives students the ins and outs on firefighting. Residents can learn about how firefighter-paramedics provide emergency medical treatment, process hazardous materials and extricate drivers from cars.

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    Naperville has loosened its prohibition on body piercing and tattoo businesses to allow the new Claire’s shop in downtown to provide ear-piercing services as it does at its more than 3,000 other locations. The city’s ordinance no longer applies to ear piercing anywhere in Naperville.

    Naperville to allow ear piercing

    The Naperville ordinance that prohibits body piercing and tattooing got a bit looser Tuesday night. The definition of body piercing no longer includes ear piercing, so the new Claire’s jewelry and accessories shop that opened last fall in downtown Naperville can begin piercing ears. “We believe that an exception for ear piercing in this case preserves the city’s interest in...

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    Keith Matune and Ron Sandack are competing for the Republican party’s nomination in the race for 81st state House District.

    Arrests, honesty at issue in 81st House race

    Campaign advertisements in the 81st state House race continue to question the honesty of candidate Keith Matune, who is challenging incumbent state Rep. Ron Sandack in a bitter race for the Republican party’s nomination. One campaign mailer questions Matune’s honesty in saying on the Daily Herald’s candidate questionnaire he has never “been arrested for or convicted of...

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    The Rev. M.E. Eccles of St. Martin’s Episcopal Church in Des Plaines provides “ashes to go” Wednesday to Ola Arogundade of Wheeling at the Des Plaines Metra train station.

    Commuters receive ashes-to-go at Des Plaines station

    Some commuters hustling and bustling to get to their trains in Des Plaines Wednesday morning stopped for a moment to pause and pray, while receiving “ashes to go.” The Rev. M.E. Eccles of St. Martin’s Episcopal Church in Des Plaines, dressed in her clerical vestments, marked the foreheads of the faithful with ashes — the Christian tradition on Ash Wednesday.

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    Pope Francis leaves after celebrating the Ash Wednesday mass at the Santa Sabina Basilica in Rome.

    Images: Ash Wednesday Around the World
    Images of Ash Wednesday around the world and the beginning of the forty-day Lenten season, a time when Christians commit to acts of penitence and prayer in preparation for Easter Sunday.

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    Dr. Jennifer Shu is one of the presenters at this weekend’s Healthy Children Conference & Expo in Rosemont.

    ‘Healthy Children’ expo debuts in Rosemont this weekend

    Credible information on children’s health can be difficult to find online. But it will be easy to find this weekend, when the Elk Grove Village-based American Academy of Pediatrics hosts its first Healthy Children Conference & Expo Saturday and Sunday, March 8 and 9, in Rosemont.

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    Roger Steingraber served during the Korean War then returned to the suburbs where he went on to have a long and successful career coaching high school basketball at Hersey, Buffalo Grove and Rolling Meadows high schools. His 1974 Hersey team, led by future NBA player Dave Corzine, was the first Mid-Suburban League team to advance to the Elite Eight.

    Hersey High's first basketball coach dies

    Hersey High School's first basketball coach, whose 1974 squad was the first Mid-Suburban League team to advance to the Elite Eight, has died. Robert Steingraber's team went on to lose its first game in Champaign that year. “He helped everyone in the area break through and set the foundation for Hersey to return there in '85 and '95,” said Don Rowley, who coached the freshmen team...

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    Rev. Bill Nesbit of St. Charles Episcopal Church administers ashes to a commuter in front of their impromptu sign at the Geneva Metra station on Ash Wednesday.

    St. Charles church provides 'Ashes to Go' at Metra station

    St. Charles Espiscopal Church offers 'Ashes to Go' at the Geneva train station on Ash Wednesday.

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    Goodwill: $2,500 found in donated Illinois clothes

    A southwestern Illinois Goodwill store is trying to sort out whether $2,500 found in a donation pile was accidentally left or a gift. The Belleville News-Democrat reports that the money turned up Monday in donated clothing at the thrift store in Glen Carbon.

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    Illinois lawmakers have mixed thoughts on a proposal that’d allow communities around the state to install speed cameras, which are only allowed in Chicago.

    Illinois lawmakers have mixed reviews of speed cameras

    Illinois lawmakers have mixed thoughts on a proposal that’d allow communities around the state to install speed cameras, which are only allowed in Chicago. The Springfield bureau of Lee Enterprises newspapers reports the measure by Collinsville Democrat Rep. Jay Hoffman is generating discussion among legislators.

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    Sudden changes make waiting worth the while

    Are you still waiting days, months, and years for change in your life? Do you feel like your prayers for a healing, mate, or a promotion have fallen upon deaf ears? Sometimes when we’ve been struggling in an area for a long time, we want to give up, but don't. Sudden change can come at any time.

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    Stevenson student invited to paint apples for community project

    Stevenson High School will be participate in the Apples Around Town project in Lincolnshire this spring.

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    After a hike to teach visitors how to distinguish maples from other hardwood species, naturalist Valerie Blaine drills a hole in an adult maple tree to put a tap in it to collect sap during a maple sugaring demonstration in St. Charles. The Forest Preserve District of Kane County will hold its annual Maple Sugaring Days Saturday and Sunday, March 15-16.

    Maple sugaring heralds spring’s arrival

    The best things in life are worth waiting for. Spring, for example. The initiation of spring for many folks is maple sugaring. Both spring and maple sugaring are a long time coming this year. But they are coming.

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    Colleges work to smooth transfer path

    With a variety of offerings, programs and services, community colleges strive to meet all the educational needs of their local communities. One of the most well-known programs of institutions like Waubonsee is the transfer degree option for students looking to transfer to a four-year college or university.

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    Get ready for St. Paddy’s Day

    It’s almost time to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in East Dundee. The annual Thom McNamee Memorial St. Patrick’s Day Parade will step off at 11 a.m. Saturday, March 15, at Rosie O’Hare’s Pub on Water Street, before marchers head to Bandito Barney’s on North River Street. The grandstand will be held at Barrington Avenue and River Street.

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    Northwest suburban police blotter

    A woman got her cellphone back after confronting the thief, Rolling Meadows police said. A woman stole a wallet and cellphone out of a customer’s purse hanging on a chair in Starbucks, 1414 Golf Road. A witness alerted the victim, who chased the woman and a companion. They entered an SUV driven by a male accomplice, but the victim stood in front of the vehicle and confronted them. The...

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    Jose Gutierrez, 20, is a member of the Elgin Police Explorer program and works part-time as a parking control officer. He wants to become a police officer, but current rules say he can’t qualify for hiring until he has a bachelor’s degree.

    Elgin police board rejects hiring changes

    When Jose Gutierrez, 20, of Elgin gets his associate degree from Elgin Community College, the Police Explorer member will be the perfect candidate to become a police officer in Elgin — with the added bonus of adding diversity to the department, police officials said. However, current hiring criteria don’t allow him to qualify, and the city’s Board of Fire and Police...

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    In response to Russia’s takeover of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said the U.S. was stepping up joint aviation training with Polish forces. The Pentagon also is increasing American participation in NATO’s air policing mission in its Baltic countries, he said.

    US taking steps to help NATO allies in Europe

    The Obama administration took steps Wednesday to support the defenses of U.S. allies in Europe in response to Russia’s takeover of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula. Testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said the U.S. was stepping up joint aviation training with Polish forces. The Pentagon also is increasing American participation in...

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    Jeri Atleson, left, and David Stolman, right, are candidates in the race for Lake County Treasurer in the 2014 GOP primary.

    Stolman, Atleson raising more cash for Lake County treasurer’s GOP primary race

    Republican Lake County Treasurer candidate Jeri Atleson has continued to get financial support from prominent conservative donors, state records indicate.

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    A four-month-old baby gorilla at Brookfield Zoo now has a name after the public cast thousands of votes.

    4-month-old gorilla named at Brookfield Zoo

    A four-month-old baby gorilla at Brookfield Zoo now has a name after the public cast thousands of votes. The zoo asked for public input for two weeks, and 70,000 votes later they’ve gone with the name “Nora.”

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    Mundelein resident Jose Ruiz clears his driveway along Bristol Court with a snowblower Wednesday morning after an overnight snowstorm swept through Lake County. A winter weather advisory remains in effect for the suburbs until noon today.

    Fresh snow made morning commute a nightmare

    Snow covered roads are making this morning’s commute a tough one. Multiple accidents have been reported across the suburbs, and commute times are more than double and triple in some areas. A winter weather advisory remains in effect for the suburbs until noon today.

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    Wheeling sharing TIF surplus with school districts

    Wheeling has declared a surplus in its South Milwaukee Tax Increment Financing district, which means one-time payments totaling $2.5 million will go to local governments. Wheeling Township Elementary District 21 will receive $1.1 million; Northwest Suburban High School District 214 will get $562,369; and the village of Wheeling will get $275,375.

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    Clockwise from top left, Bill Brady, Kirk Dillard, Dan Rutherford and Bruce Rauner are seeking the Republican nomination for governor.

    Dillard gets AFSCME endorsement

    State Sen. Kirk Dillard today won the backing of the state’s largest state employees’ union, giving him a trifecta of endorsements from Illinois’ most powerful public sector unions. The endorsement from the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees comes days after Dillard was backed by the Illinois Federation of teachers and weeks after the Illinois...

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    Four Naperville capital projects to get extra review

    Naperville City Council members on Tuesday night approved a $300 million capital improvements plan for the next five years, but one council member asked for some projects to receive extra scrutiny. City Manager Doug Krieger said the projects — construction of a compressed natural gas fueling station, installation of an automated water meter reading system, installation of LED bulbs in...

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    Kloey Trujillo, 5, plays with her sister Gabi, 3, at their home outside Walnut. Kloey has been diagnosed with a rare disease called Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal Infections.

    Illinois family struggles with rare disorder

    Jaclyn and Thomas Trujillo's daughter, Kloey, loved school, playing with other children, and participating in a variety of activities. Then, for no apparent reason, everything in the extremely intelligent 5-year-old's once-safe world suddenly changed.

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    The closely watched sex assault trial for Army Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair is finally set, but it will unfold with lingering questions about the accuser’s credibility and without the prosecutor who led the case for nearly two years.

    Army sex trial begins as prosecutor pushed aside

    The closely watched sex assault trial for an Army general is finally set, but it will unfold with lingering questions about the accuser’s credibility and without the prosecutor who led the case for nearly two years. The prosecutor, Lt. Col. William Helixon, had urged that the most serious charges against Brig. Gen. Jeffrey A. Sinclair be dropped because they rely solely on the...

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    Greg Abbott talks to supporters after winning the primary election Tuesday night, March 4, 2014 in San Antonio, Texas. Abbott clinched the Republican nomination for governor and Democrat Wendy Davis locked up her party’s selection, thereby making official a showdown poised to become a record-shattering arm’s race of fundraising in a Texas gubernatorial election.

    Texas primary leaves Tea Party influence unsettled

    The first primary in what Republicans hope is a triumphant election year sent a message that U.S. Sen Ted Cruz and the Tea Party still wield considerable influence in one of the nation’s most conservative states. But to find out exactly how much, Texans will have to wait.

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    This photo taken in late 2011 and released by University of Aberdeen, shows a hadal sailfish that was caught in a trap at a depth of 7,000 meters in the Kermadec Trench near New Zealand. Scientists say the sailfish are providing new insights into how deep fish can survive.

    How deep can a fish go? Scientists may have answer

    They may look like guts stuffed in cellophane, but five fish hauled up from near-record depths off the coast of New Zealand are providing scientists with new insights into how deep fish can survive. In a paper published this week, scientists describe catching translucent hadal snailfish at a depth of 4.3 miles. By measuring levels of a compound in the fish that helps offset the effects of...

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    $3.5 million gift for drug research to Notre Dame
    A foundation from Tulsa, Okla., has donated $3.5 million to the University of Notre Dame that will be combined with a previous gift valued at $6.5 million to endow a research center for drug discovery and development in the school’s college of science.

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    Wisconsin woman charged with abandoning dog which died
    A woman is charged in Sheboygan County with leaving her dog to die in her foreclosed home. A mortgage company employee checking the house in Cascade found the 8-year-old Beagle-mix frozen on a pet bed inside Kimberly Fidlin’s former house.

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    Quinn to visit tornado-hit towns after FEMA denial

    Gov. Pat Quinn is set to visit several Illinois communities hit that were by deadly tornadoes after federal officials denied the state’s appeal for disaster assistance. Quinn’s public schedule says he’ll visit Washington, Brookport and Belleville Wednesday and that he’ll have an announcement on state relief.

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    Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk talks with reporters during an interview with the Associated Press in Kiev, Ukraine, Wednesday, March 5, 2014. Yatsenyuk said Wednesday that embattled Crimea must remain part of Ukraine, but may be granted more local powers.

    Ukraine premier: Crimea will remain in Ukraine

    Ukraine’s new prime minister said Wednesday that embattled Crimea must remain part of Ukraine, but may be granted more local powers. In his first interview since taking office last week, Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk told The Associated Press that a special task force should be established “to consider what kind of additional autonomy the Crimean Republic could get.” Since...

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    A Russian soldier guards a pier where two Ukrainian naval vessels are moored, in Sevastopol, Ukraine, on Wednesday, March 5, 2014. Ukraine’s new prime minister said Wednesday that embattled Crimea must remain part of Ukraine, but may be granted more local powers.

    Analysts: Russia unlikely to pull back in Crimea

    Russia is unlikely to pull back its military forces in Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula, analysts and former Obama administration officials say, forcing the United States and Europe into a more limited strategy of trying to prevent President Vladimir Putin from making advances elsewhere in the former Soviet republic. It’s an unsettling scenario for President Barack Obama, who is under...

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    Clockwise from top left, Bill Brady, Kirk Dillard, Dan Rutherford and Bruce Rauner are seeking the Republican nomination for governor in 2014.

    'No clear winner' in governor debate, experts say

    Despite some pointed questions and critical remarks, there was no knockout punch in Tuesday's televised candidate forum featuring the four Republicans running for governor, experts said. “There was no clear winner,” said Sharon Alter, professor emeritus of history and political science at Harper College. “Nobody made any mistakes.”

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    Online auction begins for 14,000 unclaimed pieces

    The Illinois state treasurer’s office will offer more than 14,000 pieces of unclaimed property for sale in an upcoming auction. Treasurer Dan Rutherford said Tuesday items being auctioned include a diamond and aquamarine engagement-and-wedding-ring set, gold charm necklaces and a 1947 Mexican peso.

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    DuPage PADS volunteers open overnight shelters each night, providing an average of 160 beds October to April and 80 beds May to September for the homeless in DuPage County.

    Taste of Hope to benefit DuPage PADS

    On Thursday, March 6, more than 25 area chefs will come together to support DuPage PADS’ mission with A Taste of Hope. The evening offers a sampling of favorite dishes paired with wines as well as music and a live auction -- all with an eye toward eliminating homelessness in DuPage County.

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    Overnight and morning snow slows traffic on Randall Road this morning.

    Dawn Patrol: Attorney general favors same-sex marriage statewide now

    Illinois Attorney General supports immediate same-sex marriage. Republican candidates for governor back death penalty. Kane County lawman cleared in shooting death. Northbrook rabbi who headed Lubavitch-Chabad of Illinois dies. Carpentersville firefighters grow more upset. Fire damages Hoffman Estates home. Party chair asks 8th congressional candidate to withdraw. Blackhawks fall to Avalanche.

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    Lake Michigan sun rise on the beach at Gilson Park in Willmette.

    Obama budget seeks cuts in Great Lakes program

    President Barack Obama’s 2015 budget requests the least spending yet on a Great Lakes cleanup program his administration has championed, but an official said Tuesday the cutback does not signal eroding support for the cause.

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    Shark fins available for sale at $480 and $495 a pound at a store in Chinatown in San Francisco.

    4 Chicago businesses cited for selling shark fin products

    The Illinois Department of Natural Resources says four northern Illinois businesses have been cited for violating state law by selling products containing shark fins. The companies received a total of 20 citations last Friday.

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    Illinois health officials say most antibiotics prescribed in hospitals and nursing homes are unnecessary and their overuse has led to an increase in deadly superbugs.

    Illinois officials link antibiotics misuse, superbugs

    Illinois health officials say most antibiotics prescribed in hospitals and nursing homes are unnecessary and their overuse has led to an increase in deadly superbugs. The Illinois Department of Public Health says up to 50 percent of antibiotics prescribed at hospitals are not needed or are otherwise inappropriate. At long-term care facilities the figure jumps to 75 percent.

  •  
    Jan Schakowsky

    Illinois reps. seek federal investigation into petcoke
    Three Illinois congressmen, including 9th district Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, have signed a letter asking for a federal investigation into the handling and potential health effects of petroleum coke. The 9th district includes parts of Arlington Heights, Mount Prospect, Prospect Heights and Northbrook.

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    Wauconda Area Library patron Cara Silverman, with her children Mackenzie and Mason, said she is excited about proposed renovations in the children's department.

    Wauconda library set for $1.75 million renovation

    Already celebrating the Wauconda Area Library's 75th anniversary this year, staffers and patrons are eagerly anticipating a $1.75 million renovation that will include more quiet study rooms, a larger teen area, a new video-game area and interactive displays in the children's department. “Library usage has changed from what it was when this building was designed almost 20 years ago,”...

Sports

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    The cold truth: Still plenty of opportunity in Illinois

    Illinois is missing an opportunity to market its many great fishing locales, especially in a year when northerly states will have delayed start to the season.

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    Mark Konkle of Metea Valley and Naperville Central’s Nick Czarnowski battle during the Metea Valley vs. Naperville Central Class 4A Naperville Central regional semifinals boys basketball game Wednesday.

    Naperville Central goes big to get big win

    Naperville Central’s nightmare struck Metea Valley.Taking full advantage of their two-headed post monster of Patrick Maloney and Nick Czarnowski, the Redhawks had little trouble advancing to the Class 4A Naperville Central regional final with Wednesday’s 74-49 victory over the Mustangs.

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    The Bears' Devin Hester gets a hand after picking up big yardage on punt return against Minnesota Vikings in the second half at Soldier Field in Chicago on Sunday, November 14.

    Hester says Bears will not re-sign him

    Record-setting returner Devin Hester said Wednesday he will not be back with the Bears next season. “From my knowledge, I know that Chicago wants to go a different route with me,” Hester told the NFL Network. “All I can say is thanks to the fans for their support. They've always been great to me. Always been loyal. I couldn't have played for a better city than those guys. At the end of my career, I do want to retire as a member of the Bears.”

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    Bulls center Joakim Noah reacts after a play during the second half Wednesday night, when he had another triple-double in the victory over the Pistons 105-94.

    Noah again leads the way for Bulls

    Joakim Noah collected his second triple-double in three games and the Bulls used a strong fourth quarter to put away the Detroit Pistons 105-94 on Wednesday at the Palace of Auburn Hills. D.J. Augustin led the Bulls with 26 points.

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    St. Charles East’s AJ Washington yells at his classmates as he dunks in the second half against St. Charles North Wednesday in the regional game at St. Charles North.

    St. Charles East shoots down St. Charles North

    St. Charles East’s basketball team entered the St. Charles North gym as a confident bunch Wednesday night. The third-seeded Saints (18-11) crossed the river on the return trip home with a little more conviction following their convincing 65-50 victory over the second-seeded North Stars (16-10) in the Class 4A regional semifinals.

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    Marmion takes care of St. Francis

    Marmion junior Jordan Glasgow said he usually doesn’t try to contribute offensively. He might want to reconsider.

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    New Fire coach Frank Yallop is changing the culture around the team, and the players are all for it.

    Fire players like Yallop’s new culture

    Since Frank Yallop took over as coach and director of soccer, the Fire has moved slowly but purposefully. Yallop set a course and stuck to it, never trying to do too much too soon. He seems to have won over his longest-tenured players. “We have a different mentality with Frank,” said veteran Fire left back Gonzalo Segares, “and I think that was mainly what we were trying to accomplish this preseason, get used to how he wanted us to play.”

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    Lyons trips up Hoffman Estates

    By the slimmest of margins, Hoffman Estates’ boys basketball season came to an end on Wednesday night at Addison Trail.The ninth-seeded Hawks fell 71-70 to No. 8 seed Lyons in a Class 4A regional semifinal.Lyons’ Harrison Niego got the winning bucket at the buzzer and scored the Lions’ final four points.Lyons will meet the top seed in the Bartlett sectional, York, in Friday’s 7 p.m. championship game.Other Class 4A regional title matchups in the area include, all with 7 p.m. tip-offs:• St. Viator vs. Zion-Benton at Rolling Meadows.• Lake Zurich vs. Fremd at Hersey.• Loyola vs. Maine West at Maine West.• Morton vs. Conant at Morton.• Proviso East vs. Riverside-Brookfield at Elk Grove.• Lake Park vs. Glenbard North at Leyden• Lake Forest vs. Highland Park at Libertyville• Stevenson vs. Warren at McHenryIn Class 3A, host Grayslake Central meets North Chicago and Carmel faces Vernon Hills at Ridgewood.In Class 3A action Wednesday, Wheaton Academy’s only lead against Burlington Central was at 45-44. Fortunately for the Warriors, that was the final score.Christian Smith made a floater with 17 seconds left and Gordon Behr blocked Duncan Ozburn’s last-ditch attempt as the Warriors gutted out a victory in the semifinals of the Class 3A Genoa-Kingston regional.The Warriors (20-8) face Sycamore for the title on Friday.Smith’s coach and father, Pete Froedden, has been trying to discourage him from shooting the floater, but instinct took over.“I’ve been trying to break a habit of it,” said Smith. “But it was a tough situation. I just wanted to get a shot off and give us our best chance, and if I missed to get a rebound for someone else.”

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    Palatine’s Matt Ulrich, left, defends a shot by St. Viator’s Mark Falotico during Wednesday’s regional semifinal at Rolling Meadows.

    St. Viator gets past feisty Palatine

    St. Viator smartly took care of Palatine, 59-44, on Wednesday night in the Class 4A regional semifinals at Rolling Meadows. The Lions (22-5) meet Zion-Benton Friday at 7 p.m. for the regional title.

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    Neuqua Valley’s Connor Raridon works to get clear of a shot against Plainfield North during the boys basketball Class 4A West Aurora regional semifinal game Wednesday, March 5.

    Neuqua falters down the stretch

    Neuqua Valley appeared comfortably on its way to a 14th consecutive boys basketball regional final Wednesday night in Aurora. Leading Plainfield North by 13 points with less than six minutes remaining, the Wildcats were on the wrong side of a stunning comeback. Jake Nowak snared a loose ball off a desperation airball 3-pointer while out of bounds and had the presence of mind to throw a blind pass. The ball landed in the hands of teammate Cody Conway, who arched a 4-foot shot from the left baseline as time expired at the Class 4A West Aurora semifinal. The ball hit the east and west sides of the rim, only to nestle in to give the Tigers a wildly improbable 48-46 victory.

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    Geneva fends off Plainfield East’s comeback

    As much time as Geneva spent A) in the lead, and B) at the foul line during Wednesday night’s Class 4A Plainfield East regional semifinal, it sure helps to be as good at making free throws as the Vikings are.

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    Images from the St. Viator vs. Palatine boys regional basketball game at Rolling Meadows on Wednesday, March 5, 2014.

    Images: St. Viator vs. Palatine boys basketball
    St. Viator vs. Palatine boys basketball at Class 4A Rolling Meadows regional semifinal action on Wednesday, March 5.

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    Bears defensive lineman Jeremiah Ratliff (96) helps bring down Packers running back Eddie Lacy in the 2013 season finale.

    Ratliff return boosts Bears’ defense

    The Bears re-signed four-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Jeremiah Ratliff to a two-year contract on Wednesday, keeping him off the free-agent market that opens next Tuesday.

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    Wheaton Academy’s Chris Johnson (4) greets teammates including Gordon Behr (24) on the court after their win over Burlington Central in the Class 3A regional at Genoa-Kingston High School in Genoa on Wednesday.

    Wheaton Academy pulls out a win

    Wheaton Academy’s only lead against Burlington Central was at 45-44. Fortunately for the Warriors, that was the final score. Christian Smith made a floater with 17 seconds left and Gordon Behr blocked Duncan Ozburn’s last-ditch attempt as the Warriors gutted out a victory in the semifinals of the Class 3A Genoa-Kingston regional Wednesday night.

  •  
    Deryn Carter

    Tough as it was, Carter's decision was the right one

    Wednesday should have been one of those feel good days at Larkin High School. The Royals' boys basketball team should have been getting high-fives from classmates, then gone off to practice to get ready for Friday's regional championship game. Instead, it was uniform turn-in day.

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    Burlington Central’s Wheaton Academy’s Chris Johnson greets teammates including Gordon Behr on the court after their win over Burlington Central.

    Images: Burlington Central vs. Wheaton Academy boys basketball
    Burlington Central fell 45-44 to Wheaton Academy in the Class 3A Genoa-Kingston regional semifinal Wednesday night in Genoa.

  •  
    With the loss of top line right wing Marian Hossa to an upper body injury and the Hawks in a funk where they’ve lost three of the last four, the time is right to shake things up.

    Good time for Q to mix up Hawks lines

    With the loss of top-line right wing Marian Hossa to an upper-body injury and the Blackhawks in a funk where they’ve lost three of the last four, the time is right to shake things up.

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    Images from the St. Charles East vs. St. Charles North boys basketball game Wednesday, March 5, 2014.

    Images: St. Charles East vs. St. Charles North boys basketball
    St. Charles East and St. Charles North squared off in boys regional basketball action Wednesday night.

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    Metea Valley vs. Naperville Central at Class 4A Naperville Central regional semifinals boys basketball action Wednesday, March 5.

    Images: Metea Valley vs. Naperville Central boys basketball
    Metea Valley fell 74-49 to Naperville Central at the Class 4A Naperville Central regional semifinals boys basketball game Wednesday, March 5.

  •  
    So for those fans wanting Ryan Kesler or Thomas Vanek or Matt Moulson, defenseman David Rundblad and center Peter Regin (shooting above) will have to do.

    No new moves as Hawks happy with team

    The NHL trade deadline came and went Wednesday with the Blackhawks standing pat. “We weren’t looking to do anything,” said Hawks general manager Stan Bowman. “We made our big move earlier when we got Kris Versteeg and we’ve made some other minor moves in between."

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    Chicago Bulls forward Carlos Boozer (5) shoots over Detroit Pistons forward Greg Monroe during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Auburn Hills, Mich., Wednesday, March 5, 2014. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

    Noah, Augustin lead Bulls over Pistons 105-94

    D.J. Augustin scored 26 points off the bench and Joakim Noah had a triple-double as the Bulls beat the Detroit Pistons 105-94 on Wednesday night. Noah finished with 10 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists for his sixth career triple-double, including two in the last three games and three in the last month. Taj Gibson added 22 points off the bench, while Jimmy Butler had 18 points and 12 rebounds in Chicago's fifth win in six games.

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    Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman is happy with his roster as it gets ready to defend its Stanley Cup victory.

    Post-deadline, Blackhawks’ Bowman likes his team

    Being up against the cap meant little chance of the Blackhawks making a huge move Wednesday unless a major player was dealt off the roster, and there was no chance of that happening since the Hawks love their team as is.

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    Neuqua Valley’s Demond George drives around down court past Plainfield North’s Trevor Stumpe.

    Images: Neuqua Valley vs. Plainfield North boys basketball
    Neuqua Valley vs. Plainfield North boys basketball at Class 4A West Aurora regional semifinal action at West Aurora High School Wednesday, March 5.

  •  
    Matt Lindstrom

    Bullpen situation getting scary for Sox

    It's still relatively early in spring training, but injuries and absences are taking a toll on the White Sox' bullpen, which already has a different look following trades that erased Matt Thornton, Jesse Crain and Addison Reed.

  •  
    Samantha Pryor

    Burlington Central’s Pryor second team all-state

    Burlington Central sophomore forward Samantha Pryor has been selected second team all-state for Class 3A girls basketball by the Associated Press.

  •  
    James Russell has pitched in 151 reglar-season games the past two seasons and figures to be a staple in the Cubs bullpen once again this season.

    Wright, Russell head Cubs relief corps

    The Cubs' middle-relief situation last year was not so much a revolving door but a wildly spinning door. Management hopes that settles down this year. The Cubs have added lefty Wesley Wright to take some of the load off James Russell, and they may have a closer of the future in Pedro Strop.

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    NCAA, conferences sued over scholarship value

    Former West Virginia football player Shawne Alston sued the NCAA and five major conferences Wednesday, saying they violated antitrust laws by agreeing to cap the value of an athletic scholarship at less than the actual cost of attending school.

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    Samardzijia struggles for Cubs in loss to Rockies

    Jeff Samardzija struggled with his command at times in a three-inning outing Wednesday in a Colorado Rockies split-squad’s 7-5 victory over the Cubs on Wednesday.The Cubs’ possible opening-day starter gave up two straight singles then, after a sacrifice bunt, hit a batter and walked the next in a rocky two-run third inning. In three innings, he gave up three runs and four hits.

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    Padres rough up Sale in spring training outing
    Nick Hundley hit a three-run homer off White Sox ace Chris Sale in the first inning Wednesday and the San Diego Padres defeated the Sox 8-0.Sale gave up six runs on six hits and a walk in 2⅔ innings.

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    Canadian Olympic women's team goalie Shannon Szabados practices with the Edmonton Oilers NHL hockey team in Edmonton, Alberta, Wednesday, March 5, 2014. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Jason Franson)

    Olympic women’s goalie practices with Oilers

    Olympic champion women’s goalie Shannon Szabados took the ice with the Edmonton Oilers at practice Wednesday.The Team Canada goalie filled in at practice for the National Hockey League while the Oilers waited for Viktor Fasth to arrive after a trade with Anaheim.

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    George LeClaire/gleclaire@dailyherald.com  Chicago Bears punter Adam Podlesh looks at the scoreboard late in the fourth quarter on Sunday at Soldier Field in Chicago.

    Bears release veteran punter Adam Podlesh

    The seven-year veteran was 33rd in the league with a gross average of 40.6 yards, the lowest of his career. Podlesh was also 29th with a net average of 37.9 yards, his lowest in six years. In his first two seasons with the Bears, Podlesh established the franchise record for net punting average in 2011 (40.4 yards), and his 39.4-yard average in 2012 was second best in team history.

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    Mike North video: Thibs best Bulls coach ever
    The way the Tom Thibodeau-led Chicago Bulls are playing right now, Mike North believes they could beat the Indiana Pacers and take a run at the Miami Heat in the playoffs.

Business

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    U.S. stocks were little changed Wednesday, after the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index had risen the most this year a day earlier, as investors assessed the Ukraine crisis and weaker-than-estimated data on payrolls and services.

    Stocks settle down after big swings on Ukraine

    Calm returned to the stock market Wednesday after two days of volatile trading. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index traded within a range of about five points, or about a quarter of a percentage point for the whole day, before ending a fraction lower. Investors weighed a tepid hiring survey, some strong company earnings and falling oil prices.

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    Arthur J. Gallagher, a large international insurance company, will move to this building at 2850 W. Golf Road in the Rolling Meadows Corporate Center, Rolling Meadows officials said.

    Rolling Meadows expects Gallagher to return to city

    Arthur J. Gallagher, a large international insurance company, is expected to move back to the Meadows Corporate Center in Rolling Meadows, city officials said.The company has agreed to purchase 2850 W. Golf Road, one of the two town that were known as the Gould Center when they were built 40 years ago, they said. Gallagher, which has been called the fourth largest insurance broker in the world, rented there before moving to Itasca in 1991.

  •  

    GM’s China sales gain 20% in February on demand for Wuling vans

    General Motors Co., which sells more vehicles in China than anywhere else, said deliveries gained 20 percent last month, led by sales of its Wuling microvans.China sales increased to 257,770 units in February from 215,070 a year earlier, the Detroit-based company said in a statement today. Sales of Wuling microvans, which account for about half of GM’s deliveries in the country, rose 32 percent and Cadillac sales surged 91 percent.GM, which lost its title as China’s largest foreign automaker to Volkswagen AG in 2013, may increase sales 10 percent to about 3.5 million units in the country this year, GM China President Matthew Tsien said last month. The automaker plans to introduce 19 new or refreshed models in the nation in 2014, as it invests $11 billion through 2016 to boost its products and output capacity.Sales of GM’s Chevrolet brand slid 0.1 percent to 46,347 units. Of the 19 models to hit showrooms this year, six will be Chevrolets, Tsien said.Cadillac saw the biggest growth in deliveries. GM aims to boost Cadillac sales in China to more than 100,000 vehicles by the end of next year from 50,000 last year. The luxury brand’s sales rose 67 percent in China in 2013.

  •  
    Under pressure from gun control advocates, Facebook agreed Wednesday to delete posts from users selling illegal guns or offering weapons for sale without background checks.

    Facebook to delete posts for illegal gun sales

    Under pressure from gun control advocates, Facebook agreed Wednesday to delete posts from users selling illegal guns or offering weapons for sale without background checks. A similar policy will be applied to Instagram, the company’s photo-sharing network, Facebook said. The measures will be put into effect over the next few weeks and will apply worldwide at Facebook, which claims 1.3 billion active users.

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    Deerfield-based Walgreen Co. said Wednesday that a key sales figure rose last month, boosted by stronger growth at its pharmacies and an increase in the number of flu shots it administered.

    Pharmacy growth boosts Walgreen key sales figure
    Deerfield-based Walgreen Co. said Wednesday that a key sales figure rose last month, boosted by stronger growth at its pharmacies and an increase in the number of flu shots it administered. The drugstore operator said sales at stores open at least a year rose 4.5 percent in February from the same month a year ago.

  •  
    The World Health Organization says your daily sugar intake should be just 5 percent of your total calories half of what the agency previously recommended, according to new draft guidelines published Wednesday March 5, 2014.

    WHO: 5 percent of calories should be from sugar

    Just try sugarcoating this: The World Health Organization says your daily sugar intake should be just 5 percent of your total calories — half of what the agency previously recommended, according to new draft guidelines published Wednesday. After a review of about 9,000 studies, WHO’s expert panel says dropping sugar intake to that level will combat obesity and cavities. That includes sugars added to foods and those present in honey, syrups and fruit juices, but not those occurring naturally in fruits.

  •  

    Former IRS official refuses to testify at hearing

    The former Internal Revenue Service official at the heart of the agency’s Tea Party scandal once again refused to answer questions at a congressional hearing Wednesday that quickly devolved into political bickering between Democrats and Republicans.

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    Republicans are dismissing President Barack Obama’s new $3.9 trillion budget as nothing more than a Democratic manifesto for this fall’s congressional campaigns, but the fiscal plan is taking hits from another quarter too — anti-deficit groups.

    GOP, deficit hawks pan Obama’s $3.9T budget

    Republicans are dismissing President Barack Obama’s new $3.9 trillion budget as nothing more than a Democratic manifesto for this fall’s congressional campaigns, but the fiscal plan is taking hits from another quarter too — anti-deficit groups. Obama on Tuesday sent lawmakers a 2015 budget top-heavy with provisions that have little chance of becoming law. They included $1 trillion in tax increases — mostly on the rich and corporations — and a collection of populist but mostly modest spending boosts for consumer protection, climate change research and improved technology in schools.

  •  
    A bank specializing in bitcoins says it has closed after computer hackers robbed its digital currency.

    Bitcoin bank closes after high-tech heist

    A bank specializing in bitcoins says it has closed after computer hackers robbed its digital currency. The closure of the Flexcoin bank comes just a week after the collapse of Mt. Gox, a major bitcoin exchange.Mt. Gox also linked its demise to an electronic heist.

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    There was a time when gamblers tried to keep their trips to Las Vegas a secret. Now, visitors want loyalty points from mainstream hotel chains for the days they spend holed up in Strip casinos.

    Las Vegas casinos partner with hotel chains

    There was a time when gamblers tried to keep their trips to Las Vegas a secret. Now, visitors want loyalty points from mainstream hotel chains for the days they spend holed up in Strip casinos. Casino corporations MGM Resorts International and Caesars Entertainment Corp. have both announced loyalty

  •  

    Court weighs securities fraud class-action cases

    The Supreme Court is considering whether to abandon a quarter-century of precedent and make it tougher for investors to band together to sue corporations for securities fraud.

  •  
    Less than two years after Congress approved a landmark bill to overhaul the federal flood insurance program, lawmakers are poised to undo many of the changes after homeowners in flood-prone areas complained about sharp increases in premiums.

    2 years later, Congress poised to undo flood law

    Less than two years after Congress approved a landmark bill to overhaul the federal flood insurance program, lawmakers are poised to undo many of the changes after homeowners in flood-prone areas complained about sharp increases in premiums.

Life & Entertainment

  •  
    RE/MAX Suburban realtor Leslie Radzin at her Arlington Heights office.

    Suburban housing market heats up

    The suburban Chicago real estate market has done a total flip in recent years, said Leslie Radzin, a broker with RE/MAX Suburban in Arlington Heights.

  •  
    Singer Frankie Avalon will headline on Monday, May 19, and Tuesday, May 20, at the Drury Lane Theatre in Oakbrook Terrace.

    Frankie Avalon coming to Oakbrook Terrace
    Reservations are now being taken for two Frankie Avalon concerts at the Drury Lane Theatre in Oakbrook Terrace. Avalon will headline at 1:30 p.m. Monday, May 19, and Tuesday, May 20.

  •  
    WHO NEEDS SOIL: A new trend that’s just getting started is tillandsia, an air plant that needs no soil to grow, but absorbs water from the air or rain. Its spiky appearance creates a unique look and contrast with other plants.

    Floral designer shares latest trends

    Want to give your floral arrangements the pizzaz that only seems to come from a professional’s hand? World-renowned floral designer Deborah De La Flor will reveal new trends and share other tips for creating unforgettable florals at the Chicago Flower & Garden Show.

  •  
    A scene from the CNN documentary, “Chicagoland.” The 8-episode series will debut on Thursday, March 6 at 9 p.m. on CNN.

    'Chicagoland': An unscripted saga of city life

    When President Barack Obama spoke out last week against the crime, violence and poverty that ensnares young men of color in epidemic numbers, he might have been voicing a promo for “Chicagoland,” the docuseries debuting Thursday on CNN. There are outrages aplenty in “Chicagoland,” but the series isn't a finger-wagging jeremiad, nor is it an unrelieved bummer to watch. While often disturbing, it is also hope-inspiring, and never less than dramatically addictive.

  •  

    Soaking seeds helps speed germination

    Q. I have heard that soaking seeds helps them germinate quicker. Is this true?

  •  
    First-year Northwestern University medical student Jared Worthington, left, eats lunch with his “Alzheimer’s buddy,” retired physician Dan Winship in Chicago. The two are part of a “buddy” program pairing doctors-to-be with dementia patients, pioneered at Northwestern and adopted at a handful of other medical schools.

    Alzheimer’s buddy program pairs patients, students

    At age 80, retired Chicago physician and educator Dan Winship is getting a bittersweet last chance to teach about medicine — only this time he’s the subject. In the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, Winship is giving a young medical student a close-up look at a devastating illness affecting millions of patients worldwide. The two are part of a “buddy” program pairing doctors-to-be with dementia patients, pioneered at Northwestern University and adopted at a handful of other medical schools.

  •  
    “Beautiful Life” is the first studio album in five years from Dianne Reeves.

    Dianne Reeves mixes jazz, soul on new CD

    On her first studio album in five years, four-time Grammy winner Dianne Reeves comes back strong with a genre-crossing collection of 12 love-themed songs on which she infuses her impressive jazz stylings with a healthy dose of soul. Reeves gets a major assist from producer Terri Lyne Carrington, who skillfully mixes and matches several dozen musicians — including rising stars Esperanza Spalding, Robert Glasper and Gregory Porter — to provide a distinctive multilayered backdrop with a rich palette of instrumental colors for each track.

  •  
    Conan O’Brien announced he’s hosting this year’s MTV Movie Awards. The annual movie celebration that honors winners with popcorn-shaped trophies is scheduled for April 13, 2014 at the Nokia Theatre in downtown Los Angeles.

    Conan O’Brien to host MTV Movie Awards

    Conan O’Brien will be serving up buckets of golden popcorn. O’Brien announced Tuesday on his TBS talk show “Conan” that he’s hosting this year’s MTV Movie Awards. The annual movie celebration that honors winners with popcorn-shaped trophies is scheduled for April 13 at the Nokia Theatre in downtown Los Angeles.

  •  

    Beyonce’s father granted cut in child support

    A judge approved a substantial cut in the amount of child support that Beyonce Knowles’ father must pay because his income dropped after his superstar daughter fired him as her manager. The payments are for a son Knowles fathered while he was still married to Beyonce’s mother.

  •  
    Yolanda Tolentino-Reyes competes in the first women’s division of the annual Napa Valley Grapegrowers’ pruning competition Feb. 20 at Beringer Vineyards’ Gamble Ranch in Yountville, Calif. Pruning is an important part of vine husbandry that focuses the new growth on vines and helps determine what the next harvest will look like. Different techniques are used for different grapes and climates, and skill is as important as speed.

    Female vineyard workers sharp in Napa contest

    Every year for the last 12 years the vineyard workers of the Napa Valley have gathered in the soft light of a mid-winter morning, shears at the ready, game faces on, each eager to prove he’s the best man on the job. But this year, there was something a little different about the Napa Valley Grapegrowers’ pruning competition in Yountville. Some of the contestants lining up to hack and slash at the overgrown vines were women.

  •  
    Enjoy the looming basketball madness nearly guilt free with this healthier take on hot, cheesy artichoke spinach dip.

    A healthier spin on hot spinch-artichoke dip

    Is there a chip dip in the world that isn’t wonderful? No matter what the flavor, at heart most are tubs of sour cream or melted cheese. Few foods are more satisfying. Of course, most dips also are notoriously heavy with fat and calories. Indeed, that’s why we love them. Still, I figured there must be ways to lighten them up while retaining their luxurious texture.

  •  
    Enjoy the looming basketball madness nearly guilt free with this healthier take on hot artichoke spinach dip.

    Hot and Spicy Artichoke Spinach Dip
    Hot and Spicy Artichoke and Spinach Dip

  •  
    John Travolta has apologized to Tony Award winner Idina Menzel for mangling the pronunciation of her name during the Oscars telecast Sunday.

    John Travolta apologizes to Idina Menzel for flub

    John Travolta has apologized to Tony Award winner Idina Menzel for mangling the pronunciation of her name during the Oscars telecast, saying he’d been “beating myself up” over it. On Sunday night’s Academy Awards show, Travolta took the stage and introduced Menzel, but he seemed to say “Adele Dazeem” instead. An estimated 43 million people were watching, and social media has been mocking him relentlessly ever since, especially since he attended rehearsals.

  •  
    Last year visitors walking along the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C., were able to enjoy the cherry blossom trees in full bloom on April 10. Washington’s famous cherry blossom trees are expected to bring the first sure sign of spring between April 8 and 12, when they’re predicted to reach peak bloom.

    D.C. cherry blossoms predicted to bloom April 8-12

    Despite the long, snowy winter in the Mid-Atlantic region, Washington’s famous cherry blossom trees are expected to bring the first sure sign of spring between April 8-12, when they’re predicted to reach peak bloom, the National Park Service said Tuesday. The weather in March will be the most critical factor for the trees’ blooming period, said James Perry, chief of resource management for the National Park Service. “Relax and let Mother Nature take her course,” he said.

  •  
    Kings of Leon — Jared Followill, left, Caleb Followill, Nathan Followill and Matthew Followill — headline the United Center on Saturday, March 8.

    Music notes: Choose from Kings, Straits and Dragons this week

    Some of the original members of Dire Straits have regrouped as the Straits. See them in action Friday at the Arcada in St. Charles. Pop-rock band Imagine Dragons will hit the suburbs next week for a performance at the Allstate Arena. Southern-rock heroes Kings of Leon, meanwhile, will take the stage this weekend at the United Center.

  •  
    “Missing in Action” is the first studio album in 25 years from Missing Persons.

    Dale Bozzio helms a new Missing Persons album

    With its first studio album in 25 years, Missing Persons featuring Dale Bozzio could have started slow, mindful of the time that’s passed. But why bother when the energy is vibrant, the spirit willing and Bozzio — the lone original member of the newly reformed band — bursting to show there’s energy comparable to the 1980s-era original incarnation that released “Walking in L.A.,” “Words” and “Destination Unknown.”

  •  
    Bryan Cranston portrays President Lyndon B. Johnson during a performance of “All the Way.” Cranston plays Johnson during his first year in office following the assassination of John F. Kennedy and explores both his fight for re-election and the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

    Bryan Cranston plays another ‘complicated man’

    Bryan Cranston doesn’t need to chase paychecks anymore. His salary for “Breaking Bad” wasn’t exactly at drug kingpin levels, but he’s secure. So now what? Cranston’s making his Broadway debut in a role far from Walter White — playing former President Lyndon B. Johnson in “All the Way.” Cranston plays Johnson during his first year in office following the assassination of John F. Kennedy and explores both his fight for re-election and the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

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    Spring break in Asia? Consider Thailand’s beaches

    A trip sampling the diversity of Southeast Asian destinations can take you from the sleek modernity of Singapore to the ancient temples of Cambodia’s Angkor Wat. And then there are the beaches of Thailand: relaxing, beautiful, and for the adventurous spring-breaker, a lot more exotic than Miami. Thai beaches offer gorgeous stretches of sand, water sports, nearby outdoor activities, and cheap food and drink.

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    Jamaican Me Blue will lift your spirits during this cold winter.

    From the Food Editor: Tropical tastes in a glass help melt winter blues

    Deborah Pankey is dreaming of sandy beaches and palm trees, but she'll have to settle for a fruity, umbrella-emblazoned drink on her snowy deck. Celebrity mixologist Kim Haasarud has two books and more than 200 tropical drinks and party shots for Deb to try. That should keep her busy until, say, April 1.

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    “The Chase” by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg is a fast-paced follow-up to “The Heist.”

    O’Hare & Fox are on the case in ‘The Chase’

    Janet Evanovich, author of the popular Stephanie Plum series, and Lee Goldberg, who has written several novels and TV shows, return with a follow-up to their popular adventure “The Heist.” The action never stops in “The Chase,” and a humorous tone keeps everything moving at a fun clip. FBI agent Kate O’Hare had been trying to capture master con artist Nicolas Fox for quite some time. When she succeeds, her bosses unveil a plan to use Fox and his connections to bring down even bigger criminals.

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    Whole-wheat pastry flour wins out when making pancakes from scratch.

    Scratch Pancakes
    Scratch Pancakes

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    The new 16,000-acre luxury property called Streamsong has edgy modern architecture and two public golf courses and is located on what was once a phosphate mine.

    New golf resort is out of the ordinary for Florida

    What do you do with 15 million cubic yards of sand? If you’re Mosaic, one of the world’s largest phosphate companies, you build two award-winning golf courses. And a spa. And an edgy, modern hotel. In the middle of central Florida, far from any theme park or beach. Streamsong Resort opened its golf courses and clubhouse in late 2012, and last month, it unveiled its 216-room lodge. It’s located in the tiny community of Bowling Green, which is closer in DNA to cattle ranches than Disney.

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    Whole wheat pastry flour proved the winner for Nevin Martell’s rustic, yet fluffy Scratch Pancakes.

    New flour, homemade syrups add up to pancake perfection

    His dad's pancakes were just an excuse for Nevin Martell to drown his plate in maple syrup (the real deal, not the fake stuff in the aunt-shaped bottle). Wanting to re-create that Saturday morning tradition for his own son, Nevin tested several flours before he found the perfect one for flapjacks. He shares some syrup recipes, too.

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    Spiced Piloncillo Syrup adds a sophisticated note to from-scratch pancakes.

    Spiced Piloncillo Syrup
    Spiced Piloncillo Syrup

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    Blueberry Agave Syrup adds a splash of summer to your stack of homemade flapjacks.

    Blueberry Agave Syrup
    Blueberry Agave Syrup

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    Take your morning pancake routine to the next level with Coffee Maple Syrup.

    Coffee Maple Syrup
    Coffee Maple Syrup

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    North Avenue Charhouse in St. Charles serves dinner seven days a week.

    Dining events: Charhouse joins St. Charles scene
    North Avenue Charhouse opens in St. Charles with NY strip and lobster specials; Rev Burger brings healthy fast-food fare to Carol Stream; Chicago Prime Italian takes over the Rosebud location in Schaumburg.

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    RE/MAX Suburban realtor Leslie Radzin at her Arlington Heights office.

    Suburban housing market heats up

    The suburban Chicago real estate market has done a total flip in recent years, said Leslie Radzin, a broker with RE/MAX Suburban in Arlington Heights.

Discuss

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    Editorial: Transit task force on right track about pay

    A Daily Herald editorial says preliminary recommendations from a public transit task force ethics committee make sense and could help improve the public's confidence in these agencies.

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    Losing his head in Crimea

    Columnist Richard Cohen: By taking one stupid step after another, Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin has managed to let much of Ukraine slip from the Russian orbit — to which, if the Ukrainians have anything to say about, it will never return. Putin can pound his chest all he wants, but the sound emitted is just plain tinny.

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    The Tea Party hangover

    Columnist Michael Gerson: The evidence accumulates that the Republican Party is sobering up — cotton-mouthed and slightly disoriented — from its recent ideological bender.

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    Struck by Slusher’s sparkling phrases
    A Villa Park letter to the editor: Congratulations to Jim Slusher for his excellent column on Feb. 20, “What grows when zealousness and tolerance coexist.” I was particularly struck by some of his sparkling phrases. For example:

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    Campaign finance reform is in order
    A Wheaton letter to the editor: We Americans should not value the accumulation of wealth above justice, democracy and the good of the country. We need to decide on the values that matter most to us and then actively promote them.

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    Well-trained workers improve construction
    An Aurora letter to the editor: In a recent Daily Herald article, select members from the Kane County Board argue contractor training programs don’t lead to a better work product. My group knows that it does.In the article, the Illinois Association of Park Districts says HB 924 “would impose standards that many small businesses may be unable to satisfy.”

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    Respect for life would make communities safer
    A Huntley letter to the editor: Since we took God out of our schools and made abortions legal, violence and shootings have increased dramatically. Maybe it’s time to put God back into the schools and stop trying to remove him from every area of our lives. For starters, post the Ten Commandments in every classroom of our schools and teach children to observe them. One of them says, “Thou shalt not kill.”

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    Taxpayers would be on the hook for Brainerd losses
    A Libertyville letter to the editor: The Daily Herald published an article recently about the ITSANObrainerd.com group’s request to place a sign on the Brainerd building that opposed the referendum. The article quoted the mayor, who said, “The village doesn’t have the legal authority to allow another sign because it doesn’t control the property rights.” In other words, because the village has sublet the property to Brainerd Community Center Inc., the village does not control the property.

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    Teachers get better deal than other retirees
    A Rolling Meadows letter to the editor: Our Social Security COLA was 1.5 percent because this was the cost of inflation. This should be a standard that should be followed by federal and state agencies.

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    Make a ‘living wage’ something really livable
    A Mount Prospect letter to the editor: Don’t we want people who work hard to get ahead in life? Buy a house? Put the kids through college? Of course we do. That’s why Illinois should raise the minimum wage to what I call The American Wage, $50 an hour. If enacted, it will add a much-needed boost to GDP of over $100 billion in the first year alone.

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    Rauner has money but lacks experience
    A Hoffman Estates letter to the editor: In his Feb. 22 letter, Sean Morrison compared the attacks by fellow Republicans against Bruce Rauner to “fragging,” the practice of assassinating the leader of one’s own military unit by attacking him with a fragmentation grenade. It is indeed an apt analogy, though not for the reasons Mr. Morrison claims.

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    He’s taken money away from criminals
    A Crystal Lake letter to the editor: Let’s take the money out of the drug dealers and criminal pockets, not the taxpayers. Bill Prim, Republican candidate for McHenry County Sheriff has done it.

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    Very personal reason to oppose DUI plan
    A Batavia letter to the editor: I read with concern that local lawmakers won preliminary approval to reinstate the licenses of those who have four DUIs on their record. There may be a few who when receiving their license, would comply with the restrictions, but many in this group have a chronic issue with alcohol and other drugs and would again be a menace to society.

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    Saving Brainerd has many benefits
    A Libertyville letter to the editor: The March 18 Brainerd referendum is a double win opportunity for Libertyville.

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    Hit Chicago back over high water fees
    A Mount Prospect letter to the editor: I read the other week an article in which Elk Grove Village Mayor Craig Johnson was discussing the high price of Chicago water and looking at options. It’s a shame that all the mayors didn’t do something a long time ago when Mayor Rahm Emanuel slapped all the suburbs in the face with having to pay for Chicago water infrastructure.

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    Candidate ready to serve all Lake County
    A Mundelein letter to the editor: I just got home from a debate between the candidates for Lake County Board, Dist. 10. It was an interesting exchange.

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    Don’t cripple town to save building
    A Libertyville letter to the editor: If we truly need a performing arts venue, then build a better one new. It will serve the purpose better, and cost much less than rehabbing a dead structure.

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    Nuns victims of Obama oppression
    A West Dundee letter to the editor: Illinois has long been known as the home of the Great Emancipator. But now it can claim a second more nefarious title: the home of the Great Prevaricator.

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    Citizens need to take the initiative
    A Wheaton letter to the editor: I read with great interest the “Our View” piece on the Opinion page of the Feb. 9 Daily Herald. It states that “a spate of referendums to amend the state constitution have been promoted to change the way business is done in Illinois.”

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