Daily Archive : Saturday March 29, 2014



    Man killed in two-vehicle crash near Mundelein

    A Mundelein man has died from injuries he suffered in a two-vehicle crash on Midlothian Road, authorities said. Brian Martin, 49, was taken to Advocate Condell Medical Center where he was pronounced dead shortly after 5 p.m., Lake County coroner officials said.

    Ron Bellenger of Holland, Mich., looks over items on display at the Chicagoland National Civil War and Military Extravaganza at the DuPage County Fairgrounds. A Middleton oil painting of Gen. Ulysses S. Grant stands next to the third pattern of the Confederate national flag.

    Wheaton Civil War show caters to collectors, historians

    Hundreds of collectors and Civil War enthusiasts, some dressed in complete gear from the era, visited the 2014 Chicagoland National Civil War and Military Extravaganza in Wheaton Saturday. "Everybody's got their own particular taste. The key is knowing what you're buying," said Mike Huberty, a Hanover Park collector.

    Pastor Mike Metzger, right, of First Bible Baptist Church, leads a moment of prayer at the start of the Greece Town Board meeting in Greece, N.Y.

    New York town awaits ruling on moment of prayer

    A ruling could come any day now on whether the town violated the Constitution with its opening prayers because nearly every one in an 11-year span was overtly Christian. This month’s was no exception — a Baptist minister delivering a head-bowed, eyes-closed, 40-second invocation.

    Former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko delivers a speech Saturday during the Batkivshchyna (Fatherland) party congress in Kiev, Ukraine.

    Klitschko backs billionaire for Ukraine presidency

    Klitschko told his UDAR party that he plans to run for mayor of Ukraine’s capital city, Kiev, paving the way for current presidential favorite, businessman Petro Poroshenko, in the May 25 vote.

    courtesy of Milka Overton Damage to equipment as a result of the March 24 Blue Line crash at O’Hare Station was significant.

    O’Hare service opening Sunday on Blue Line

    The CTA's Blue Line O'Hare Station will reopen around 2 p.m. Sunday. Service between O'Hare and Rosemont has been closed since a eight-car train crashed into an escalator early in the morning March 24.

    Washington Air National Guardsmen methodically make their way through the mud and wreckage Friday left behind by last Saturday’s mudslide near Oso, Wash.

    Number of missing from mudslide drops to 30

    Officials previously set the number of missing people at 90, but said they expected that figure to drop dramatically as they worked to find people and cross-referenced a list that included partial reports and duplicates.The confirmed death toll rose by one, to 18, Jason Biermann, program manager at the Snohomish County Department of Emergency Management, said at a Saturday evening briefing.

    A member of the media photographs the skull Wednesday of one of the skeletons found by construction workers under central London’s Charterhouse Square.

    London skeletons reveal secrets of the Black Death

    This week, Don Walker, an osteologist with the Museum of London, outlined the biography of one man whose ancient bones were found by construction workers under London’s Charterhouse Square: He was breast-fed as a baby, moved to London from another part of England, had bad tooth decay in childhood, grew up to work as a laborer, and died in early adulthood from the bubonic plague that...


    Utah boy finds American Indian remains in backyard

    A 14-year-old boy digging a trout pond in the backyard of his father’s Salt Lake City home stumbled across a surprise: the remains of an American Indian who lived about 1,000 years ago.


    Man does C-section on dead porcupine, saves baby

    A Maine man in search of a valuable mineral cut open a dead porcupine on the side of the road and unexpectedly pulled out its baby.

    Marina Beltran, left, zips up the jacket of her son Antonio before he takes part in an early morning running program at his elementary school in Chula Vista, Calif. Amid alarming national statistics showing an epidemic in childhood obesity, hundreds of thousands of students across the country are being weighed and measured.

    Schools increasingly check students for obesity

    Amid the nation’s childhood obesity epidemic, schools in nearly a quarter of all states record body mass index scores, measuring hundreds of thousands of students.


    Elgin man dies after electrocution

    The death of a 33-year-old Elgin man who was electrocuted while he was working on a microwave in his home has been ruled an accident, according to the Cook County medical examiner's office. An autopsy Saturday showed Leslaw Pawlica died of low-voltage electrocution.

    A dilapidated Philippine Navy ship LT 57 (Sierra Madre) with Philippine troops deployed on board is anchored Saturdsy off Second Thomas Shoal in the South China Sea. An hour from the shoal, the Chinese coast guard ship closed in on the Philippines supply vessel and twice crossed its bow.

    Philippine supply ship evades Chinese blockade

    A Philippine government ship slipped past a Chinese coast guard blockade Saturday and brought food and fresh troops to a marooned navy ship used as a base by Filipino troops to bolster the country’s territorial claims in the disputed South China Sea.The incident was witnessed by journalists who were invited by the Philippines military to accompany the resupply mission.

    Custom Furniture on Route 25 in St. Charles is closing because owner Dick Pakan is retiring. “The Unknown Soldier,” which sits out front, was made by his father with trees from the property in 1976. He is for sale if someone is interested. The head alone weighs 500 pounds, Pakan said.

    Elburn firefighters open pizza joint in Geneva

    Dave Heun talks to the general manager of Firehouse Pizza and Grill, one of Geneva's newest establishments. Elburn firefighters Michael and Christine Huneke are the owners.


    Police investigating suspicious death of Aurora woman

    Aurora police are investigating the suspicious death of a 33-year-old woman found dead on the city's far east side, authorities said. Police are focusing their investigation on a 35-year-old Aurora man who is in custody and had a previous relationship with the woman, authorities said.

    Anna Moeller

    Elgin councilwoman Anna Moeller selected to fill Farnham’s seat

    Democratic leaders have selected Elgin Councilwoman Anna Moeller to fill the Illinois House seat left vacant by the resignation of Keith Farnam. Moeller will be officially sworn in Sunday, officials said. Kane County Republican leaders said Moeller’s selection “opens the door” for a GOP victory in November.

    Kaneland 302 Superintendent Jeff Schuler

    Will lawmakers extend moratorium on virtual charter schools?

    A statewide moratorium on allowing virtual charter schools is set to expire Tuesday unless lawmakers decide to extend it. The Illinois State Charter School Commission has issued a report to the state legislature about virtual charter schools, recommending an extension of the moratorium through Dec. 31, 2016, to allow the development of guidelines.

    Sen. Mark Kirk, right, meets Saturday with Colleen Keefe of Mount Prospect and Wheeling High School, and Ryan Goldsher of Northbrook and Glenbard West High School, to discuss issues facing teens at the Arlington Heights Memorial Library.

    Kirk vows to help end cyber bullying

    Sen. Mark Kirk said he will launch a public service video, and make a Top 10 list of the most dangerous apps that lead to cyberbullying. He met Saturday with about 20 high school students who talked about how the dangerous practice is rising. “My colleagues, who are 50 plus, have no idea what Yik Yak or Snap Chat are, and we have to make them aware of their dangers,” Kirk said.

    Randy Suchy

    Court upholds dismissal of Geneva dam drowning lawsuit

    An appellate court panel upheld a lower court's dismissal of a lawsuit filed by the family of a Naperville man who drowned saviing his girlfriend's 12-year-old son from the Geneva dam along the Fox River in August 2011. Relatives of Randy Suchy argued the city and park district were negligent but the courts ruled they had immunity under law and didn't have to warn people of the open and obvious...

    Former Defense Secretary James Schlesinger

    Notable deaths last week

    Prisoner of war Jeremiah Denton, former Defense Secretary James R. Schlesinger and Buffalo Bills owner Ralph Wilson among the deaths of note this past week.

    Lyndsey Bassett, 14, left, of Hainesville is dressed as Snow White and her sister Lily, 10, is dressed as Princess Sofia as they great visitors to the Round Lake Area Park District booth Saturday during the Springfest Expo 2014, held by the Lindenhurst-Lake Villa Chamber of Commerce at Lakes Community High School.

    Gifts, giveaways at Springfest Expo in Lake Villa

    The Lindenhurst-Lake Villa Chamber of Commerce’s 11th annual Springfest Expo featured more than 100 businesses and a host of activities Saturday at Lakes Community High School in Lake Villa.

    A Toyota Corolla, which veered from Palatine Road and came to a rest in about 3 feet of water in a wetlands, is towed from the scene in Barrington Hills Saturday. The female driver and a 3-year-old girl were not injured.

    Woman, child OK after car veers into Barrington Hills pond

    A woman and a 3-year-old child were rescued Saturday after the driver avoided a deer on Palatine Road and veered into a nearby pond in Barrington Hills. The woman and child were uninjured, as was the deer.

    Royal Australian Air Force Flight Lt. Russell Adams speaks to media at Pearce Airbase Saturday, March 29, in Perth, Australia. Five search aircraft yesterday spotted possible debris in the new search area for flight MH370 west of Perth. The Malaysian airliner disappeared on March 8 with 239 passengers and crew on board and is suspected to have crashed into the southern Indian Ocean.

    Ships pluck debris from missing jet search area

    A day after the search for the Malaysian jetliner shifted to a new area of the Indian Ocean, ships on Saturday plucked objects from the sea to determine whether they were related to the missing jet. None was confirmed to be from the plane, leaving searchers with no sign of the jet three weeks after it disappeared.

    Tyler Bouchard, 9, right, of Carpentersville and other kids take a look as naturalist Josh Libman points out a type of frog during a program called “Fabulous Frogs” on Saturday, March 29, at Burnidge Forest Preserve in Elgin. Due to the cold temperatures, frogs were still dormant.

    ‘Fabulous Frogs’ still in hiding in Elgin

    On a normal spring day, visitors to the Burnidge Forest Preserve in Elgin would hear the mating chirps and croaks of the frogs, but due to the extreme weather this winter and spring, they are still dormant and buried under the mud. Nonetehless, a group of about 20 adults and children were bundled up for the blustery March day, prepared to learn all about frogs.

    Cuba’s President Raul Castro, left, Cuba’s Vice President Miguel Diaz-Canel, center, and First Vice-President of the Council of State Jose Ramon Machado Ventura, right, applaud Saturday during an extraordinary session at the National Assembly in a vote that overhauls the foreign investment law in Havana.

    Cuban lawmakers OK key foreign investment law

    Some details of the legislation emerged in official media in recent days. Among other things, it would cut taxes on profits by about half, to 15 percent, and make companies exempt from paying taxes for the first eight years of operation.

    Matthew Weinert, 4, of Hanover Park, tosses a rubber chicken towards a basketball hoop at the Kids at Hope Community Resource Fair at Hanover Park’s Community Center Gym on Saturday.

    Kids enjoy Hanover Park resource fair

    Hanover Park held a Kids at Hope Community Resource Fair Saturday at the Hanover Park Park District Community Center, 1919 Walnut Ave. Kids at Hope is a Phoenix-based nonprofit group modeled on a “belief system that all children are capable of success,” Hanover Park Mayor Rodney Craig said.

    Lebanese army soldiers search civilians at a checkpoint for the entrance of Arsal, a Sunni Muslim town near the Syrian border in eastern Lebanon.

    Car bomb targets Lebanon army near Syria border

    Saturday’s incident, according to an Associated Press count. Attacks against the army are seen as shocking in Lebanon, where the military is viewed as the sole institution that represents, and unifies, the country’s squabbling sects. Despite hard-line Sunni anger against the army, Sunnis make up at least one-third of all military personnel.

    A car passes between Crimea’s Tatars recent and long-standing squatter settlements, foreground, in the village Lozovoye-2, not far from Simferopol, Crimea.

    Crimea’s Tatars condemn annexation, seek autonomy

    “Recently, all decisions (by Russia) have been based on the presupposed right of every nation to self-determination,” said Refat Chubarov, the leader of the Crimean Tatar governing body. “One must now conclude that the Crimean Tatar people also have that right.”


    FedEx worker wounded in Chicago shooting

    A FedEx employee making deliveries has been shot and wounded in Chicago. Police say the 48-year-old woman was not the intended target of Friday night’s shooting in the Oakland neighborhood on the city’s South Side.

    In this photo taken on Wednesday, March 5, children play outside a mosque in the besieged town of Boda, Central African Republic. There is only one neighborhood in Boda where Muslims are safe from the bullets and machetes of Christian militia fighters. Those who venture out have been killed, their throats slit or their cars showered in gunfire. The town is home to one of the largest Muslim communities left in Central African Republic, though their plight is mirrored throughout the country. The about 4,000 Muslims who remain here are suffering in isolation and say they just want to leave for good after months of being targeted by the militiamen.

    Central African Republic grenade attack kills 9 people

    United Nations officials are condemning an attack on a funeral in Central African Republic that killed at least nine people including several children. Manuel Fontaine, the regional director for the U.N. children’s agency, says that civilians in Bangui are “under siege” and under threat from daily attacks.


    Kerry cancels US return en route from Mideast

    Halfway home from Saudi Arabia, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has abruptly changed course and will stay in Europe for talks on the Ukraine crisis.

    Slovak Prime Minister and presidential candidate Robert Fico speaks to journalists after casting his ballot in the second round of the presidential elections in Velke Dvorany, West Slovakia, Saturday, March 29.

    Slovakians vote for a new president in runoff

    Slovakians are casting ballots in a presidential runoff that pits the country’s popular prime minister against a businessman-turned-philanthropist. Prime Minister Robert Fico and Andrej Kiska made it into the runoff after leading the first round on March 15.

    Afghan special forces rush as Taliban militants attacked the main Afghan election commission’s headquarters on the outskirts of Kabul, Afghanistan, firing on the compound with rocket-propelled grenades and heavy machine guns from a house outside its perimeter wall, Saturday, March 29. Dozens of employees and other people who had been inside the Independent Election Commission compound took cover in the basement, and no casualties were reported. But two warehouses were hit and set on fire, witnesses said.

    Militants in standoff killed, Afghan official says
    An Afghan interior ministry official says five militants who attacked the election commission headquarters in Kabul with rocket propelled grenades and machine guns have been killed, ending a four-hour standoff. Deputy Interior Minister Mohammed Ayub Salangi says two policemen were injured in the attack Saturday, March 29.

    A car sits overturned on a highway in the Carbon Canyon area of Brea, Calif., Friday night, March 28, after hitting a rock slide caused by an earthquake. The people inside the car sustained minor injuries. A magnitude-5.1 earthquake centered in the area near Los Angeles caused no major damage but jittered nerves throughout the region as dozens of aftershocks struck into the night.

    Magnitude-5.1 earthquake shakes Los Angeles

    A magnitude-5.1 earthquake centered near Los Angeles caused no major damage but jittered nerves throughout the region as dozens of aftershocks struck into the night.

    Dental screenings are among the services done at the annual Kids 1st Health Fair. The event, scheduled for Aug, 6, will shift its focus.

    Lake County to shift kids health fair focus

    The Kids 1st Health Fair, which has operated for decades as a one-day annual roster of free services, may take a different approach after this year. A planning committee says it wants to transition from a health fair approach to other means to ensure families get a consistent and accessible "medical home."

    Public access television host Jerry Markbreit of Skokie, left, runs some dialogue with guest Mike Lieber, center, of Wilmette, before taping the program “Talking Sports” at the Comcast studio facility in Skokie.

    In YouTube era, public access TV still on the air in suburbs

    You Tube. Facebook. Instagram. Three reasons out of many why you might expect public access television to have gone the way of the 8-track. But public access is still going strong, even with Comcast consolidating its production facilities in Mount Prospect. “You can just do your own thing,” Jerry Markbreit said. “We can talk about whatever interests us in the world of sports. We...


    Batavia plans fun for Earth Hour Saturday night

    Batavia has a two-hour celebration planned for Earth Hour Saturday night. The annual observance is meant to raise awareness about the environmental health of the planet. In Batavia, you can get a massage, have a portrait taken, view the stars, do yoga by candlelight and more.


    Our Redeemer’s Church in Schaumburg turning 50

    Our Redeemer’s United Methodist Church will be celebrating its 50th anniversary throughout the next six months, beginning with a return appearance by its founding senior pastor to deliver the sermon on Palm Sunday, April 13. Rev. Wayne McArthur will be the first in a series of monthly appearances by most of the church’s former senior pastors, leading up to the half-century...

    Surgical residents along surgical residents among with experienced surgeons train on a mannequin at the Surgical Simulation and Training Laboratory in the Department of Surgery at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. The operating room of the future is being tested in an ongoing experiment aimed at breaking down barriers that bog down care through open communication and better use of technology.

    Los Angeles doctors practice speeding up trauma care

    Before the car-wreck victim reached the emergency room, doctors, residents and nurses at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center knew what to expect by glancing at their smartphones. This was not just another day in the hospital. It was a laboratory billed as the “OR of the future,” an ongoing experiment aimed at breaking down barriers that bog down care through open communication, better use...

    Songs of Illinois’ state bird, the cardinal, herald the coming of spring.

    On pelicans, pests and leaves: Answers to some recently asked questions

    From birds to oak trees and beetles, anything goes in the FAQ department here at the Forest Preserve District of Kane County nature center. Finding answers to questions is one of the most fun parts of being a naturalist. Here naturalist Valerie Blaine offers answers to some of the questions recently asked.


    Prospect Hts. police add security cameras in Piper Lane area

    Prospect Heights has installed 15 security cameras in the area that is the city’s highest volume source of police calls, city officials announced Friday. The city is inviting property owners to tie into its system. “This collaborative community effort exemplifies our commitment to address the concerns of the community while enhancing the safety of our residents and police...


    Indiana gives South Shore expansion $4 million boost

    The South Shore commuter rail line is getting $4 million that will help extend service to the Lake County town of Dyer.



    Van Vlierbergen breaks meet record in 800

    Even after her race was over at the Illinois Prep Top Times meet at the Shirk Center on the campus of Illinois Wesleyan University, the full meaning wasn’t quite sinking in. The 800-meter run for Jacobs junior Lauren Van Vlierbergen was just that good.


    Dandy 200 highlights Duncan’s day

    Any celebration that St. Charles East senior Jordan Duncan was about to have was cut short by a moment Duncan and the Saints track team won’t soon forget. In the final heat of the 200-meter dash at the Illinois Prep Top Times meet at Illinois Wesleyan University and the Shirk Center, Duncan ran what he would later call “the best race of his life.”


    Count it as a Stevenson win over Elk Grove

    Saturday’s game between Elk Grove and Stevenson could have been coined the ‘countdown’ game of the Barrington softball quad. Grenadiers coach Ken Grams went into the contest needing just 1 win to reach 800 for his career while Patriots skipper Larry Friedrichs stood just 4 away from 500. Throw in Barrington Hall of Fame coach Perry Peterson, who was coaching on the opposite diamond against Mundelein, and you had three Hall of Fame coaches with a combined 1,954 wins. The successful trio of coaches watched their teams battle the cold weather conditions to provide nearly five hours of entertaining softball at the Fields of Dreams. Just before darkness had settled in, the Pats gave Friedrichs, an Elk Grove grad, his first win of his 26th season with a 11-7 victory over his alma mater.

    Wisconsin players celebrate after they won their regional final NCAA college basketball tournament game against Arizona, Saturday in Anaheim, Calif.

    Wisconsin in Final Four after 64-63 OT win

    ANAHEIM, Calif. — Frank Kaminsky carried Wisconsin to the Final Four with 28 points, including six in overtime, as the Badgers defeated Arizona 64-63 in a physical West Region final Saturday night. Kaminsky had 11 rebounds and scored from all over, including three 3 pointers, for the No. 2 seed Badgers (30-7). It’s Wisconsin’s first Final Four appearance since 2000, and first for 69-year-old coach Bo Ryan, who earned his 704th career victory.Nick Johnson had the ball with a chance to win, but he missed a shot that came just after the buzzer for Arizona (33-5), the top-seeded team that has yet to win a West Region final in Anaheim in four tries. Johnson led the Wildcats with 16 points, and Aaron Gordon had 18 rebounds in the relentlessly physical game.Johnson stood with his hands on his hips, staring straight ahead, while Kaminsky and the rest of the Badgers rushed to celebrate.Traevon Jackson added 10 points for the Badgers, and Kaminsky was chosen as most outstanding player of the West Region.Kaleb Tarczewski scored 12 points and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson had 10 points for the Wildcats, who were trying to get coach Sean Miller to the Final Four for his first time. Instead, Miller was sent to the sidelines on the same day his younger brother Archie’s Dayton Flyers lost to Florida in the South Region final.The first 40 minutes were a back-and-forth struggle between the only 1-2 seeds remaining in the regionals, with neither team leading by more than three points over the final 12:09 of regulation.Overtime was even more dramatic, with Arizona having an answer for just about everything Wisconsin did.Ben Brust hit a 3-pointer to put the Badgers up at the start of the extra session; Gordon answered with a 3 to tie it up again at 57. Kaminsky scored inside and Gordon dunked at the other end for another tie.Kaminsky’s jumper and a free throw by Josh Gasser gave Wisconsin a 62-59 lead. Tarczewski’s two free throws and Jordin Mayes’ tip-in drew the Wildcats to 64-63 with 58 seconds left.T. J. McConnell’s jumper missed, but Arizona got the offensive rebound and found Johnson, who missed and got called for the push-off on Gasser with 3 seconds left.Wisconsin inbounded on the baseline, but turned the ball over in a play reviewed by the referees.That set up the final play, with Pac-12 player of the year Johnson unable to bail out the Wildcats.

    Mundelein’s David Everding blocks a spike by Larkin’s Dan Horist at Hoffman Estates on Saturday.

    Mundelein takes third at Hoffman Estates

    Sam Nelson, Roman Tkachuk and David Everding led the way as Mundelein’s boys volleyball team opened the season by finishing third in the Hoffman Estates invitational.

    Elk Grove’s Allie Peters gets a pat on the helmet from teammates after hitting a home run against Mundelein at the Fields of Dreams on Saturday in Barrington.

    Berry good effort for Elk Grove’s Peters

    Mary Peters whipped up a winning batter for her little softball batter. Fueled by her mom’s blueberry pancakes, 5-foot-1 senior Allie Peters belted 2 homers and knocked in 6 runs to power Elk Grove to a season-opening, 15-1 win over Mundelein in five innings at the Fields of Dreams on a sunny but cold Saturday in Barrington.


    Fire rally for 2-2 tie at DC United

    Quincy Amarikwa’s goal in the 82nd minute lifted the Chicago Fire into a soggy 2-2 draw against D.C. United on Saturday. Playing through a steady rain at RFK Stadium, United (0-2-1) extended its club-record winless streak in league play to 15 games dating to the 2013 season. It’s the fifth-longest streak in MLS history. Jhon Kennedy Hurtado scored in the 27th minute for Chicago (0-1-3), which has ties in each of its last three matches after a season-opening loss.

    The Cubs’ Starlin Castro fields a ground out hit by the Arizona Diamondbacks’ Eric Chavez during Saturday’s exhibition spring training game in Phoenix. The Cubs won 9-8.

    Castro back for spring finale, Cubs beat D’backs

    Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro returned from a hamstring injury Saturday and played his first spring training game since March 2 in Chicago’s 9-8 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks. Castro went 0 for 2 with a walk and looked fine running out a grounder in the first inning. The game was the exhibition finale for both clubs before their season openers Monday.


    Blackhawks, Penguins both struggling

    The Blackhawks and the Penguins are looking a lot alike lately. Both have lost star players recently — Patrick Kane for the Hawks and Evgeni Malkin of the Pens — each, coincidently, going down during games against St. Louis. But the most striking similarity between the two clubs is the doldrums they’ve been in since returning from the Olympic break.


    Blackhawks game day
    Blackhawks stories, graphics and photos

    Buffalo Grove’s Kelli Zickert, center, battles Lake Park’s Casey Harris, right, during girls soccer action in Roselle.

    Buffalo Grove zaps Lake Park

    The Buffalo Grove girls soccer team continued to show why it’s one of the best teams in the state by taking down Lake Park in an 8-0 blowout at Lake Park on Saturday. The Bison (3-0) scored four goals in each half and were led by senior Kelli Zickert, who had 5 goals and an assist in the match.


    Glenbard West’s Graham Top Times 3,200 champ

    Only someone dedicated to running a perfect race could find a flaw in a 3,200-meter race she won by 23.48 seconds. That someone is Glenbard West sophomore Lindsey Graham, whose 10:44.98 clocking in the Illinois Top Times meet on Illinois Wesleyan University’s 200-meter indoor track Saturday outdistanced the field but not her expectations.

    Cubs manager Rick Renteria doesn’t care about low expectations for 2014 from outside the organization. “I think you should reach for the stars,” Renteria said.

    Cubs’ Renteria upbeat ... and thankful

    New Cubs manager Rick Renteria was upbeat all throughout spring training. He insists he'll stay that way once the regular season starts, beginning with Monday's opener in Pittsburgh. The man who goes by "Ricky" also says he's thankful for getting his first big-league managerial job.

    Larkin’s Rudy Hernandez, left, and Victor Vyleta block a shot by Mundelein’s Sam Nelson at Hoffman Estates on Saturday.

    Streamwood has a winning day

    Streamwood’s boys volleyball team continued its hot start to the season Saturday by going 3-1 for the day and winning the Silver Division of the Plainfield North Invite.

    Chris Sale will be on the mound for the White Sox on Monday when they open their season against the Twins at U.S. Cellular Field.

    White Sox’ Sale has big fan in Kershaw

    Clayton Kershaw is widely regarded as the best starting pitcher in baseball. The Dodgers' ace is a big fan of Chris Sale, the White Sox' top starter and fellow left-hander. Kershaw said Sale's changeup sets him apart from most other pitchers.

    Florida center Patric Young (4) shoots against Dayton forward/center Jalen Robinson (12) during the first half in a regional final game at the NCAA college basketball tournament Saturday in Memphis, Tenn.

    Florida first to Final Four, beat Dayton 62-52

    MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Florida Gators are first yet again this season.Scottie Wilbekin scored 14 of his 23 points in the first half, and Florida became the first team to advance to the Final Four with a 62-52 win Saturday night over the 11th-seeded Dayton Flyers in the South Region final.The Gators reached their fifth Final Four after losing at this point in each of the past three NCAA tournaments. This time, they came in as the country’s top-ranked team and the overall No. 1 seed. Florida won its 30th straight game and improved to 36-2, topping the 35 wins by the 2007 national championship squad.Patric Young scored 12 points, and Michael Frazier II added 10 for Florida. The Gators will play either UConn or Michigan State in Arlington, Texas, in the national semifinal.Dyshawn Pierre led the Flyers (26-11) with 18 points. Devin Oliver added 12 points.Dayton came in trying to become only the fourth 11 seed to advance to the Final Four. The Flyers had upset Ohio State and Syracuse in reaching their first regional final since 1984. They missed their second Final Four and first since 1967 with Florida holding them to their lowest scoring game this season. The Flyers outshot Florida 39.6 percent (19 of 48) to 37.5 percent (18 of 48), but the Gators outrebounded them 37-26. They also had a massive edge at the free throw line (21 of 28) compared to Dayton (6 of 8). Florida finished the first half on a 15-1 run to take the lead for good, going up 38-24. The Flyers opened the second half with two quick 3s to pull within eight, only to watch the Gators push their lead to 17 with 11:35 left on a layup by Young. The Flyers kept coming but couldn’t get closer than eight in the second half, the last at 58-50 as the Gators went cold down the stretch, once missing five shots on one possession. Dayton missed chances to cut the lead as Oliver missed a 3-pointer with 2:07 left, then Scoochie Smith threw it away trying to pass out to Matt Kavanaugh. Then Wilbekin ended the Gators’ scoring drought at 4:39 with a pair of free throws, and he hit four of six at the line to finish the game.Dayton took over the FedExForum so thoroughly that the Gators were booed when they came out for warm-ups and pre-game introductions. Archie Miller tried to use his deep bench, using 10 Flyers trying to wear out the Gators with sheer numbers. Florida coach Billy Donovan nearly matched Dayton by going nine deep himself. The Gators went cold for nearly 6 minutes between a dunk by Casey Prather with 11:55 left and a baseline drive by Frazier with 6:00 to go. The Flyers scored eight straight when Scoochie Smith’s 3 gave them their first lead of the game at 21-19 with 6:58 remaining. Kendall Pollard’s layup tied up Florida for the last time at 23, then Dorian Finney-Smith hit a free throw with 4:22 left putting the Gators ahead to stay. As Florida went on its run, Dayton missed its final five shots. Finney-Smith grabbed a rebound of a missed 3 by Frazier and threw the ball back out so the Gators could finish the half by taking the last shot. Wilbekin then beat the buzzer with a 3-pointer that helped quiet the Flyers’ faithful for the first time all day.

    Texas A&M’s Courtney Walker (33) tries to drive past DePaul’s Brittany Hrynko (12) and Jessica January, left, during the first half of a regional semifinal in the NCAA women’s college basketball tournament Saturday in Lincoln, Neb.

    DePaul women fall to Texas A&M 84-65

    LINCOLN, Neb. — Courtney Walker scored 25 points, and Texas A&M beat DePaul 84-65 on Saturday night to advance to the regional finals of the NCAA women’s tournament.The Aggies (27-8) led by 14 points at halftime and turned back two DePaul runs to move to a Monday night game against defending national champion Connecticut, which beat BYU 70-51 in its semifinal. Courtney Williams had 14 of her 15 points in the second half for Texas A&M.DePaul (29-7) shot 40 percent, 28 percent in the first half, and struggled defensively against the physical Aggies. Jasmine Penny had 16 of her 24 points in the second half and Megan Rogowski added 14 points for the Blue Demons.Texas A&M shot 60 percent and has won each of its three tournament games by at least 15 points.Karla Gilbert and Jordan Jones had 11 points apiece and Tori Scott added 10 for the Aggies.Walker scored 13 points over a nine-minute stretch of the first half when the Aggies’ lead grew from seven to 13 points. The Aggies led by 22 in the second half when Walker went the bench with three fouls, and DePaul went on an 11-2 run to close to 57-44.Texas A&M got its lead back to 17 points, but the Blue Demons pulled to 10 with 6 minutes left. The Aggies then used a 12-2 spurt to make it a 20-point game again.The Aggies are in the Elite Eight for the third time since 2008 and first since they won the national title in 2011.DePaul had won nine in a row. The Blue Demons were in the tournament for the 12th straight year and in the Sweet 16 for the third time. They had beaten Oklahoma 104-100 and second-seeded Duke 74-65 in the first two rounds and came into the game averaging 84 points for the season. Their 65 points matched their season low.DePaul, which shot 45 percent while making a combined 25 3-pointers in its first two games, was 4 of 20 from long distance.Walker scored eight points in a 10-2 run that put the Aggies in control in the first half. Her jumper made it 34-21, and the Aggies led 38-24 at the break.


    Huntley shuts out Elk Grove

    Huntley goalkeeper Jessica Galason didn’t have a lot to do for much of Saturday afternoon’s contest against Elk Grove. The senior made back-to-back saves in a matter of a couple seconds late in the game to preserve a two-goal lead. The Red Raiders’ Samantha Bessey added another goal a minute and a half later to help Huntley to a 3-0 victory over the Grenadiers.

    The Cubs’ Starlin Castro made only his third Cactus League appearance and first since the opening week of the exhibition season Saturday against the Diamondbacks in Phoenix. Castro was 0-for-2 with a walk.

    Park Ridge native Schlitter earns roster spot

    It's been a long road back for Park Ridge resident Brian Schlitter. On Saturday, the Cubs announced that Schlitter had made the team with the final bullpen spot. The Cubs are down to their 25-man roster to begin the regular season.

    West Aurora’s Mariyah Zeitz leaps to receive the ball in front of Geneva’s Megan Fitz in the first half in Aurora on Saturday, March 29.

    Geneva blanks West Aurora

    Even strong teams need time to settle into matches, and there were early moments when Geneva’s play looked a bit disjointed on Saturday at West Aurora. But once the Vikings found their collective stride, they found some passing patterns, scored a variety of goals and finished their third straight shutout in a 4-0 nonconference victory.

    Connecticut’s Breanna Stewart (30) tries to keep the ball in bounds during the second half against BYU in a regional semifinal in the NCAA women’s college basketball tournament Saturday in Lincoln, Neb. Connecticut won 70-51.

    Unbeaten UConn turns back BYU’s upset bid, 70-51

    LINCOLN, Neb. — UConn faced its first test of the NCAA tournament and responded with another double-digit win.Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis had 19 points to lead four Connecticut players in double figures, and the defending national champion Huskies shook off BYU early in the second half to win 70-51 in the NCAA women’s regional semifinals Saturday.The Huskies (37-0), winners of 43 straight, need a win over Texas A&M or DePaul on Monday night to reach the Final Four for the seventh straight year.UConn season scoring leaders Breanna Stewart and Bria Hartley overcame slow starts, with Stewart having 12 of her 16 in the second half and Hartley all 12 of hers after halftime. She keyed Connecticut’s run that broke the game open. Moriah Jefferson added 11 for UConn.Kim Beeston led the Cougars (28-7) with 16 points, and Morgan Bailey added 14. Jennifer Hamson had nine points to go with 13 rebounds and six blocked shots.Mosqueda-Lewis and Stefanie Dolson each grabbed 13 rebounds.The Cougars, who came to Lincoln off wins in 12 of 13 games, joined 2013 Kansas and 1996 San Francisco as the only No. 12 seeds to make it to the regional semifinals. They were trying to become the lowest seed to reach the Elite Eight since a No. 11 Gonzaga did it in 2011.Until early in the second half it looked like they had a chance to do it — against the dominant program of this era, no less.UConn won the only previous meetings of the programs, in 2007 and 2008, by 46 and 49 points.BYU showed no sign of being intimidated against the Huskies’ cast of stars. The proof? UConn was down 35-34 with 17:34 left — the latest it has trailed this season — after Lexi Eaton hit three straight baskets to open the second half.Hartley’s 3-pointer, the first after nine straight misses from distance by UConn, started a 13-2 run that put the Huskies in control. Mosqueda-Lewis made a 3-pointer, then stole the ball on the other end and threw a baseball pass that Hartley laid in. The Huskies kept their transition game going when Jefferson delivered a long pass to Hartley for another layup that stretched it to 47-37.Beeston scored 13 points with three high-arcing 3-pointers in the first half as the Cougars put the Pinnacle Bank Arena crowd on upset alert, and she hit a fourth midway through the second half to make it a six-point game.That’s as close as the Cougars would come to doing the unthinkable.UConn trailed for the first time in the tournament, 3-2, when Bailey made the first of her three 3-pointers just over a minute after tipoff. The Cougars led by as many as six, 27-21, on a Beeston jumper before UConn came back late in the half.Mosqueda-Lewis scored five straight points and Stewart made her first basket to put the Huskies up by a point, but Kylie Maeda’s jumper in the lane made it 29-28 BYU with 35 seconds left.Kiah Stokes’ go-ahead basket on the other end kept UConn from trailing at half for the first time since its loss to Notre Dame 44 games ago.

    Notre Dame forward Natalie Achonwa (11) blocks a shot by Oklahoma State guard Tiffany Bias (3) as guard Jewell Loyd, at rear, helps to defend during the second half of a regional semifinal in the NCAA college basketball tournament at the Purcell Pavilion in South Bend, Ind., Saturday.

    Achonwa, Notre Dame dominate Oklahoma St. 89-72

    Natalie Achonwa and Notre Dame put a quick end to Oklahoma State’s hopes of winning its first NCAA Tournament semifinal regional game. Achonwa got the Fighting Irish going early and never let up as she finished with 23 and Jewell Loyd added 20 to lead the Fighting Irish to an 89-72 victory over the Cowgirls on Saturday, matching Oklahoma State’s second biggest loss of the season.


    Frustration, frozen ground just keep lingering

    Watching this winter progress, it became increasingly and painfully obvious there would be a late start to outdoor spring sports. But even this is, well, it’s just gotten a bit ridiculous, has it not? Not since 2009 has the start of a baseball/softball/soccer season been delayed like the hold we currently have on this spring season.


    Rutgers not concerned about move to the Big Ten

    PISCATAWAY, N.J. — Other than it being the first practice in pads and the first open to the general public, Rutgers’ spring workout Saturday had all the appearances of any other previously held at the birthplace of college football.Athletic director Julie Hermann talked to a couple of big boosters near one end zone. About 30 recruits and their families watched from the sideline as coach Kyle Flood put the team through some drills and little live action. The roughly 300 fans cheered the big plays.Nothing exciting, except the big picture.In a little more than five months, Rutgers will join the Big Ten Conference. The team that couldn’t win a title in either the Big East Conference or the American Athletic Conference in a transition year in 2013 now will be facing the likes of Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State and Wisconsin on a weekly basis.The benefit is the expected financial windfall of roughly of $15 million to $20,000 annually.The negative is obvious. Many of the local pundits are predicting years of hard times as the new doormats of the Big Ten.Rutgers defensive lineman Darius Hamilton, whose father, Keith, played for the New York Giants, is excited about the new opportunity.“At the end of the day, business is business,” Hamilton said after practice. “This is business. We are just out here working hard and trying to get better and be the best team we can be.”Rutgers struggled last season, posting a 6-7 record in a season where the defense — especially the secondary — was poor and the offense started quick and then struggled when Gary Nova went in the tank. Chas Dodd finished the season and the Scarlet surprised the experts playing very well in a 29-16 loss to Notre Dame in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl.Flood has to decide on a quarterback over the next few months. Nova is back for his senior season and will be challenged mostly likely by redshirt freshman Chris Laviano. Philip Nelson, who transferred from Minnesota after starting 16 games over the past two seasons, will be eligible for 2015.The defense has to be shored up and he needs to get his running backs healthy. Paul James and Savon Huggins are limited. He also wants to see more consistency. Flood admits the going to the Big Ten will force Rutgers to get more depth.“We have always, in the last nine seasons, played competitive football in the leagues we’ve been in,” Flood said. “There were good football teams in all those leagues and I think in the postseason that has played out. The challenge of this league is the week after week physicality of the league. To me that is going to be the challenge for us as a football team. It don’t necessarily change the way you recruit, but as we go though it we’re going to have to be conscious of it.”Flood had a conversation with Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly at the Pinstripe Bowl about the physical nature of playing Big Ten teams and he was advised to make sure he had enough linemen.Rutgers will return its offensive line and it has two of the four starters on the defensive line.Right guard Chris Muller of Perkiomenville, Pa., was recruited by Penn State and a couple of other Big Ten schools. A lot of his buddies attend Big Ten schools, so he knows the talent level.“I feel Rutgers is just as competitive as any of them,” Muller said. “I play against Darius (Hamilton) every day in practice and he is one of the best in the country.”Most of the Rutgers players said it’s too early to be concerned about the new league. They have work to do over the next couple of months. What happens on the field will answer the questions.

    Phil Mickelson reacts as he misses an eagle putt on the 14th hole during the third round of the Texas Open golf tournament, Saturday in San Antonio. Mickelson withdrew from the tournament with a pulled muscle.

    Mickelson withdraws from Texas Open with injury

    SAN ANTONIO — Phil Mickelson withdrew from the Texas Open after 10 holes in the third round Saturday because of a pulled muscle in his right side.“I pulled a muscle on my downswing trying to hit it hard on the first hole (the 10th of the round),” Mickelson said a statement. “It just killed and it wouldn’t subside for 10 or 12 seconds.“I’m going back to San Diego (for) a couple of days and have a doctor look at it, but there’s really not much you can do for a pulled muscle. I hope I’ll be OK to play the Shell in Houston, but I just don’t know.”Mickelson is entered in the Houston Open next week, the last tournament before the Masters.Lefty was 1-over par in the round and 4 over overall when the three-time Masters champion was taken off the course in a cart. His caddie, Jim Mackay, said Mickelson felt a twinge on his opening tee shot and that the pain wasn’t going away.“It’s definitely not his back,” Mackay said. “It’s his right side. The thing he had been talking about is how good his back had been feeling here. He’ll definitely play Houston, if he can.”It’s the second time this year Mickelson has withdrawn in the middle of a tournament. He pulled out at Torrey Pines after making the cut because of a back injury.On Friday, Mickelson made the cut on the number, following an opening 77 with a 77 at TPC San Antonio. He blasted out of a greenside water hazard to 5 feet to set up a birdie on the final hole.

    Baylor players celebrate after they defeated Kentucky 90-72 in a regional semifinal at the NCAA college basketball tournament at the Purcell Pavilion in South Bend, Ind., Saturday.

    Kentucky women end season with loss to Baylor

    Another season for Kentucky ended in disappointment. Coach Matthew Mitchell took most of the blame for the Wildcats failure to compete with Baylor in a 90-72 loss on Saturday in the Sweet 16. “We had a really tough time, and it looked like we were ill prepared and that’s squarely on my shoulders,” he said.

    Serena Williams, of the United States, hugs the the trophy as she poses for photos after defeating Li Na, of China, in the women’s final 7-5, 6-1 at the Sony Open Tennis tournament in Key Biscayne, Fla., Saturday.

    Serena Williams beats Li Na for Sony Open title

    KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. — Serena Williams won a record seventh Key Biscayne title Saturday when she overcame a slow start and a set point to beat Li Na 7-5, 6-1 at the Sony Open.Williams surpassed the tournament record of six titles she shared with Andre Agassi. But on a muggy spring afternoon, the No. 1-ranked Williams looked sluggish at the outset and served poorly, and she was broken twice to fall behind 5-2. “At that moment I felt like I had nothing to lose,” Williams said. “I just was able to relax. Whenever I relax, I enjoy myself.”Li held a set point serving at 5-4, but Williams erased it with a backhand winner.Williams needed another 21 minutes to pull out the set. The final game of the set went to deuce six times, but she finally won it with a booming backhand that Li couldn’t handle.Williams ran to her chair with a satisfied scream, her left fist leading the way. She dominated from there, sweeping the final five games, and closed out the victory with a service winner.After a succession of happy hops, she was twirling, waving, laughing and mugging for the camera — a familiar ritual from a familiar champion.“I think we’re going to have to rename this tournament,” former top-five player Mary Joe Fernandez said during the trophy ceremony.It’s a commentary on the yawning gap between Williams and the rest of the women’s tour that she won in straight sets against the No. 2-ranked player while playing less than her best. She made only 44 percent of her first serves and converted just five of 17 break-point chances.Even so, Williams extended her winning streak against top-10 opponents to 15 matches.The world’s top-ranked players will also meet in the men’s final Sunday, when No. 1 Rafael Nadal tries for his first Key Biscayne title against No. 2 Novak Djokovic, a three-time champion.Williams lives 90 minutes up I-95 from Key Biscayne and considers it her home event. She said the fans provided a boost when she fell behind.“It was like, ‘Oh my gosh, if I can just hang in here and just try to enjoy myself,”’ she said. “Honestly the crowd pulled me through. I heard some fans go, ‘Go Serena.”’ Williams has played in the tournament 14 times and also won the title in 2002-04, 2007-08 and 2013. Her earlier finals victories came against Maria Sharapova, Jelena Jankovic, Justine Henin, Elena Dementieva and Jennifer Capriati twice. She also lost finals to her sister Venus in 1999 and to Victoria Azarenka in 2009.Li, who won the Australian Open in January, was at the top of her game for most of the first set. Even so, she couldn’t close it out.“Only one mistake: I think I should go party last night,” Li said with a smile.Williams committed six unforced errors in the opening game, and it took her 16 minutes to win a game. She double-faulted to fall behind 5-2, and the comeback came slowly from there.The first set lasted 73 minutes, longer than many of Williams’ matches.


    President Barack Obama signs the health care bill in the East Room of the White House in Washington.

    Health law legacy eludes Obama

    Obama’s overhaul needs major work of its own if it is to go down in history as a legacy achievement like Medicare or Social Security. Major elements of the Affordable Care Act face an uncertain future.

    People attend the American College of Cardiology’s conference Saturday in Washington.

    Studies find new drugs greatly lower cholesterol

    Several companies are developing these drugs, which are aimed at 70 million Americans and millions more worldwide who have high LDL or “bad” cholesterol, a major risk for heart disease.

    General Motors Co. 2014 Chevrolet Cruze vehicles sit on the lot Friday at a dealership in Southfield, Mich.

    GM recalls Cruze compacts to fix front axle shafts

    General Motors is recalling 172,000 Chevrolet Cruze compact cars because the right front axle shaft can fracture and separate while being driven.

    Joe Hinrichs, Ford president of The Americas, right, talks with Jimmy Settles, UAW vice president, while standing next to the new 2.7 Liter Eco-Boost engine for the 2015 F-150 during an unveiling Friday at the Lima Ford Engine Plant in Lima, Ohio. Ford says it will invest $500 million and add 300 jobs at its engine plant in northwestern Ohio so that it can begin making a new V-6 engine.

    United Auto Workers membership grows slightly

    Annual dues collected by the UAW, the union’s main source of income, have fallen more than 40 percent from 2006 to 2013. However, the drop appears to have stabilized this year, as total dues in 2013 were $115.1 million, up slightly from $115 million in 2012.

    The new HTC One M8 is demonstrated, Tuesday, March 25, 2014 in New York. HTC is updating its flagship HTC One smartphone by giving it a larger screen, better software and a camera that’s easier to use.

    HTC updates One phone, aims to raise awareness

    HTC is updating its flagship HTC One smartphone by giving it a larger screen, better software and a camera that’s easier to use. The original HTC One received good reviews and was named the best smartphone of 2013 but has failed to translate that glowing praise into sales.

    Facebook is giving more details about its effort to connect remote parts of the world to the Internet — and it involves drones, lasers and satellites.

    Facebook launches lab to bring Internet everywhere

    Facebook is giving more details about its effort to connect remote parts of the world to the Internet — and it involves drones, lasers and satellites.


    Intel buys fitness tracker maker Basis

    Chipmaker Intel has bought Basis Science, the startup behind the popular fitness tracker by the same name, for an undisclosed sum.

    Patrick Tannous, left, and Dan Klein hold samples of their products at their Rosemont facility.

    Suburban entrepreneurs build tea business from the leaf up

    Patrick Tannous and Dan Klein, both 25 of Arlington Heights, founded Tiesta Tea in 2010 while still in college. Now the loose leaf tea is sold in more than 3,500 restaurants and grocery stores across the country. “It shows that if you put your all into something, believe in it, and go after it every day, you can make it happen,” Tannous said.


    Your secret is not safe online

    There’s a lot of news about Whisper, Secret and other anonymous social networks lately. The real secret about all of these apps, though, is that they’re nothing new. What’s more -- and you probably could have guessed this part -- they’re not even secret.

    The A-CHESS app, developed for recovering alcoholics, includes a panic button and sounds an alert when they get too close to taverns. The app is being commercially developed and is not yet available.

    Study: Smartphone app helps alcoholics stay sober

    A smartphone app for recovering alcoholics that includes a panic button and sounds an alert when they get too close to taverns helped keep some on the wagon, researchers who developed the tool found. The sober app studied joins a host of others that serve as electronic shoulder angels, featuring a variety of options for trying to prevent alcoholics and drug addicts from relapsing.

    At a time when Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are pushing people to put forward their most polished, put-together selves, a new class of mobile applications aims for a bit more honesty.

    Whispers, secrets and lies? Anonymity apps rise

    At a time when Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are pushing people to put forward their most polished, put-together selves, a new class of mobile applications aims for a bit more honesty. Among the latest is Secret, created by two former Google engineers who were looking for a way to let people deliver genuine feedback to co-workers.

    Created four years ago by a person or group using the name Satoshi Nakamoto, bitcoin is a virtual currency that can be used to buy and sell a broad range of items — from cupcakes to electronics to illegal narcotics.

    Buffett skwered for doubting bitcoin

    Silicon Valley venture capitalist Marc Andreessen is mocking Warren Buffett for the stock market sage’s criticisms of bitcoin, a virtual currency. Buffett, who has built a $64 billion fortune through his control of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., has dismissed bitcoin as a fad in recent interviews.

    HTC is updating its flagship HTC One smartphone by giving it a larger screen, better software and a camera that’s easier to use.

    Review: Updated HTC One phone worth considering

    The HTC One might be the best smartphone you never heard of. The phone won critical acclaim last year, yet it barely made a dent in the marketplace. It’s overshadowed by Apple’s iPhones and Samsung’s Galaxy line of smartphones. Good thing HTC Corp. doesn’t understand defeat.

    The planning app Klutch is designed to take the back and forth out of scheduling by making it immediate, easy and fluid so you can spend more time hanging out and less time planning to hang out.

    App review: Klutch

    Setting up plans is never an easy thing when you have to wade through screens and screens of emails or text messages to figure out who’s in and who’s out. The planning app Klutch is designed to take the back and forth out of scheduling by making it immediate, easy and fluid so you can spend more time hanging out and less time planning to hang out. Organizers can propose a variety of plans and keep a running total of votes from other friends who download the app — and there’s a chat function, as well, just in case you want to hash out the details. The app can automatically add events to your calendar, and it even gives you the option to use the mapping app of your choice — Apple Maps or Google Maps — if you have a strong preference. Free, for iOS.

    The Windows Phone 8 is not the same as Windows 8, the operating system for tablets, laptops and desktops.

    Review: Windows Phone innovations show promise

    In the market for smartphones, Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8 system is barely there. It’s dwarfed by Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android systems in both attention and sales. But over the past few months, I have come to appreciate many of the software’s innovations, which rivals would be wise to consider.

    Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg

    Living in Twitter’s shadow is virtual reality for Facebook stock

    As Facebook Inc. dominates the news again today with another acquisition, it raises the question: will deals like this be enough to help the stock finally start beating rival Twitter Inc.?Twitter has rallied 84 percent since it went public in November, almost triple Facebook’s 32 percent gain over the same time through yesterday. Both have dwarfed the less-than 10 percent gain in the Russell 1000 Technology Index. While Facebook has performed better this year, it still doesn’t beat Twitter if you start the chart when it went public in May 2012. The shares are up 71 percent since then.The herds of Wall Street analysts who cover the stocks are clearly on Team Facebook. The world’s largest social network is rated the equivalent of buy at 41, or 80 percent, of the firms that cover the stock, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The rest rate it the equivalent of hold and there are no sells. Twitter analysts stack up more bearishly: 15 sells, or 47 percent, with 11 holds and only six buys.The average analyst price estimate calls for a 13 percent gain in Facebook in 12 months from yesterday’s close, almost twice that of Twitter.While Twitter has yet to turn a profit, estimates for its sales growth help explain why it’s winning the share-price race: an 86 percent increase is projected in 2014 compared with a 44 percent forecast for Facebook.Those predictions don’t account for big acquisitions focused on growth further into the future like the one announced by Facebook after markets closed yesterday.Playing OffenseReaction to the $2 billion purchase of Oculus VR Inc., which makes virtual-reality goggles, centers on the theme that Facebook has turned to offense. Previously, it used acquisitions to defend against competition for eyeballs by spending on messaging startup WhatsApp Inc. and the Instagram Inc. service for sharing pictures of lunch.(Note to traders: Oculus VR is a closely-held company so don’t confuse it with Oculus Innovative Sciences Inc., which jumped as much as 15 percent, or Oculus VisionTech Inc., which was surged as much as 155 percent today amid confusion over exactly what Facebook was buying.)Since its IPO in 2012, Facebook has completed or announced more than 40 acquisitions valued at a total of more than $21 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. And its underperformance has improved since the end of 2013, when Twitter’s stock was up as much as 182 percent as of Dec. 26.Twitter has been more conservative with its checkbook: a $36 million purchase of 900 patents from International Business Machines Corp. is the only announced deal since it went public.‘Something Viable’Andrew Zamfotis at EVA Dimensions has a buy rating on Facebook and a sell on Twitter. Acquisitions are part of his rationale. He looks at companies’ ability to generate EVA, or economic value added, which is profit after taking into account capital that has to be invested to earn it. Despite all the acquisitions, Facebook’s EVA growth is “extraordinarily high.”“The company could have hired dozens of engineers and taken them a few years to create something viable,” he said in an e-mail. “Perhaps Oculus accomplishes this sooner and allows them to bring something to market faster than they could have otherwise.”While the deal for Oculus is a “long shot with an eye- popping valuation,” according to Cantor Fitzgerald, analysts led by Youssef Squali “we remain impressed with management’s intense focus on trying to position Facebook for the next computing platform.”

    Iconeme Ltd., founded in November by partners Jonathan Berlin and Adrian Coe, will unveil the technologically enhanced dummies, which can transmit information about the clothes on display direct to mobile devices.

    Shop windows go digital as dummies get smarter to boost sales

    Three years after fashion retailers started outfitting mannequins with cameras to monitor shoppers, a London-based startup has devised models that can talk to customers — via their smartphones. Iconeme Ltd., founded in November by partners Jonathan Berlin and Adrian Coe, will unveil the technologically enhanced dummies, which can transmit information about the clothes on display direct to mobile devices.

Life & Entertainment

    Leslie Mann, left, and Cameron Diaz, star in the upcoming film “The Other Woman.”

    Cameron Diaz talks new film, Paltrow breakup

    If you count yourself among those who’ve never been cheated on, Cameron Diaz has these words of wisdom: It will happen, or it’s already happened and you just don’t know it. The actress gave her perspective on relationships as she and Leslie Mann promoted their new comedy, “The Other Woman,” at CinemaCon, the annual convention of movie exhibitors.

    John Coltrane’s Selmer Mark VI tenor saxophone, one of three principal saxophones Coltrane played, is joining the jazz collection at the Smithsonian.

    Coltrane’s sax joins Smithsonian jazz collection

    One of John Coltrane’s tenor saxophones is joining the jazz collection at the Smithsonian. Coltrane’s son, musician Ravi Coltrane, donated one of his father’s three principal tenor saxophones to the National Museum of American History on Wednesday.

    Many herbs, like Rosemary, are attractive to look at as well as to taste. You can use them as a garnish or fragrant centerpiece on the dining room table.

    Gourmet herbs: tasty, attractive and easy to grow

    Culinary herbs are enjoying a revival thanks to new varieties, stronger flavors, health concerns and more discerning palates. Their low cost, attractiveness and easy-to-grow attributes are making them popular, too. “Herbs can add a lot of flavor to cooked dishes and lead to reductions in fat, salt and cholesterol,” said horticulturist Gary Gao.

    Kourtney Kardashian started with baby girls’ designs for the Kardashian Kids Collection.

    Kourtney Kardashian talks up new kids line

    It’s no secret the Kardashian family loves fashion. And now they have launched a clothing line at Babies R Us stores called Kardashian Kids. If you have a baby boy, though, you’re out of luck. The line is just for baby girls up to 24 months. “I think girls’ (clothing) was easier for me to wrap my head around,” said Kourtney Kardashian.

    “Bubbles,” a full-blown bubble extravaganza that’s good clean fun for the whole family, runs from April 1-30 at the Chicago Children’s Museum.

    On the road: ‘Bubbles’ go pop at Chicago Children’s Museum

    The little spring breakers can get wet, silly and messy at Chicago Children's Museum's new "Bubbles" extravaganza through the month of April. It’s four days of wango tango classes and milongas (social dances) at the Rosemont Hilton during the 2014 Chicago Mini Tango Festival April 10-14.


    Book notes: Meet ‘First Son’ author in Lincolnshire
    Author Keith Koeneman discusses and signs copies of his book "First Son: The Biography of Richard M. Daley" at 7 p.m. Monday, March 31, at the Vernon Area Public Library District in Lincolnshire.

    Elton John performing in concert during his Diving Board Tour 2013 at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. Elton John released the 40th anniversary edition of his 1973 album, “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road,” on his 67th birthday.

    ‘Yellow Brick Road’ for young acts on John album

    How’s this for your 67th birthday? Elton John celebrated his on Tuesday with the release of the 40th-anniversary edition of his classic album “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.” The new four-disc edition features covers of John hits including “Bennie and the Jets” by R&B star Miguel and “Candle in the Wind” from singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran.

    TV personalities Joan Rivers, left, and daughter Melissa Rivers at the 2013 Matrix New York Women in Communications Awards in New York. Rivers, who for more than a half-century has turned her life inside out for comedy, is starting her fourth season doing it for the reality show she shares with her daughter, Melissa. “Joan & Melissa: Joan Knows Best?” airs Saturdays at 10 p.m. on WEtv.

    No lazy Rivers: ‘Joan & Melissa’ return to action

    Joan Rivers, who for more than a half-century has turned her life inside out for comedy, is starting her fourth season doing just that for the reality show she shares with her daughter, Melissa. “Joan & Melissa: Joan Knows Best?” finds Joan making a sex tape. Attending a lacrosse game where Melissa picks a fight with her teenage son’s coach. Consoling Melissa after her boyfriend is caught in a compromising position. She also mourns the death of her beloved dog, Max, then stages a splendiferous funeral that includes a chorus, an avant-garde poet and a male ballerina in a tutu.

    Keanu Reeves stars in “47 Ronin,” out Tuesday on DVD.

    DVD previews: ‘47 Ronin,’ ‘Anchorman 2’

    "47 Ronin" battle supernatural beasts, while Ron Burgundy takes on the graveyard shift at a 24/7 news station in "Anchorman 2." Both films head to DVD April 1.

    Christian rap artist Lecrae is on the bill for the Winter Jam 2014 Tour Spectacular at the Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates on Saturday, March 29.

    Weekend picks: Christian artists to raise up Sears Centre

    Newsboys, Lecrae, Colton Dixon and other Christian music stars are on the bill for the Winter Jam 2014 Tour Spectacular, which plays Saturday at the Sears Centre Arena. This year's International Vintage Poster Fair carries the theme of Ideas and Innovation: A Century of Vintage Posters this weekend at the Chicago Cultural Center. Switch off the lights to conserve energy and enjoy family activities in the dark at the sixth annual Earth Hour celebration at the Eastside Community Center in Batavia.

    A study of more than 3.5 million Americans finds that married people are less likely than singles, divorced or widowed folks to suffer any type of heart or blood vessel problem.

    Study: Married folks have fewer heart problems

    Love can sometimes break a heart but marriage seems to do it a lot of good. A study of more than 3.5 million Americans finds that married people are less likely than singles, divorced or widowed folks to suffer any type of heart or blood vessel problem. This was true at any age, for women as well as for men, and regardless of other heart disease risk factors they had such as high cholesterol or diabetes, researchers found.


    Snowbirds leave condos chilly

    Q. Many of our unit owners in our condominium association spend winters in Florida or Arizona. Each unit is served by its own HVAC system, and a lot of these snowbirds turn the heat off in their unit while away.



    The Soapbox
    With all that's wrong in the world, Daily Herald editors are able to look at the bright side on some local issues.


    Too much revealed about cockpit controls
    A Schaumburg letter to the editor: Before 9/11, 19 foreign terrorists entered this country just to learn to fly a plane — not to take off or land, just to man controls while in flight. Today, after blanket coverage of the most publicized aircraft incident in history, 50 million people, even the most inept, should know how to, likewise, fly a wide body commercial jet plane.


    The problem with Illinois is Madigan
    A letter to the editor: [No Paragraph Style]Newsx BTO body copyVoters select candidates we feel will represent our ideas. No voter (I know) feels any candidate’s ability includes thinking for me. Our current elected officials have negatively impacted the morale of teachers and have the other dedicated public employees in their sight. The poor make $7.25, and our leaders continue to vote as if our nation of immigrants ceased with their generation. Millionaires are listening to threats, and the mass exodus from Illinois continues.


    We should revisit abortion rulings
    A Schaumburg letter to the editor: I read this morning that Judge Susan Webber Wright has struck down as unconstitutional an Arkansas law prohibiting abortion citing previous legal opinions regarding fetus viability Isn’t it possible that previous courts have erred in their decisions?


    State shouldn’t fund Naperville park
    An Aurora letter to the editor: The proposed new park by Naperville’s Riverwalk and North Central College is a great idea, from Thursday, March 27 issue. However, asking our bankrupt state to contribute $1.1 million to help build it is not.


    Way to go, Nanci Koschman
    An Elmhurst letter to the editor: Society and the city of Chicago owe Nanci Koschman a big hug for her refusing to fold to the scalawag Daley Administration. For years she held on to nothing but her son David’s memory — and a legal team that stood by her.


    Writer’s views on wages, voting illogical
    A South Barrington letter to the editor: In an essay on March 4, Mr. Prescott states the obvious: “No one railing against the minimum wage is working for the minimum wage.” Well, of course not. The real issue is the government interfering in the business owner/worker relationship.


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