Hands off: Drivers must change phone habits in New Year
A new law taking effect Jan. 1 dictates hands-free use of cellphones. Even dialing a number can fall into the new category of distracted driving offenses, which carry fines starting at $75. "We're not going to be out hammering people Jan. 1 with tickets," said Bill Holmer, Glen Ellyn deputy police chief. "We know we have that as an enforcement tool, but we're going to look to educate drivers on the law as often as we can." Full story.
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Customers reminisce as Dominick's closes for last time
The shelves were bare and the stores mostly empty -- save for employees performing the final cleanup Saturday as suburban Dominick's stores closed for good. Employees lamented the loss of relationships with fellow workers and customers. "This is my life," said Dori Havel of Hanover Park, an employee at a Schaumburg Dominick's. Full story.
Pizza is Long Grove businessman's passion
When a retired Long Grove business executive discovered his favorite "date night" pizza place was in danger of closing, he and his wife swooped in and found new careers as restauranteurs. Now, Jim Stoeker figures he's eaten pizza almost every one of the past 2,400 days. Full story.
True test of Barrington area fire split to begin
Ready or not, as six months of intensive preparations come to and end the real test of the Barrington Countryside Fire Protection District's independence will come Jan. 1. That's the day the Countryside district formally separates from the Barrington Fire Department. Full story.
Anti-religion sign vandalized in Arlington Hts.
A sign on display in an Arlington Heights park that expresses views against religion has been vandalized, according to authorities. Police said the sign was reported vandalized on Dec. 24. It is believed someone kicked the sign sometime between 4 p.m. on Dec. 20 and 5:30 p.m. on Dec. 22, causing an tear near the center. Full story.
Under Amrich, Island Lake's legal bills are shrinking
When Charles Amrich was elected Island Lake's mayor earlier this year, he promised to reduce the small village's staggeringly high legal bills. A Daily Herald analysis shows he's accomplished that task. Full story.
Aurora woman hospitalized in crash that killed brother
A 24-year-old Aurora woman remained hospitalized in critical condition Sunday with injuries suffered two days earlier in a crash that claimed the life of her brother. Janella Harrell was injured and Jarred X. Harrell, 21, also of Aurora, killed in the head-on collision that occurred about 6:34 p.m. on Route 30 near Fifth Street in Oswego. The siblings were driving home from nearby Plano, where they had just watched a younger brother play for Aurora Christian High School's basketball team in a holiday tournament. Full story.
Naperville man dies in Wisconsin accident
A Naperville man is believed to have died of exposure after crawling out of a truck that broke through an icy lake in northwestern Wisconsin. The Washburn County Sheriff's Office identifies the man as 30-year-old Edward Steinhardt. Full story.
Algonquin, Carpentersville score grant for river improvements
Algonquin and Carpentersville have secured a grant aimed at enhancing recreational opportunities along the Fox River, which runs through both villages. "It was great to have a willing partner who has similar goals and we can work together to try to make the river more of a regional draw," said Ben Mason, Algonquin's senior planner. "The stretch from Algonquin to Carpentersville is four miles, so that's a very good stretch." Full story.
Demolition worker dies at Vernon Hills mall
A man working as part of a demolition crew died hours after he was hit by falling concrete from a facade at Westfield Hawthorn shopping center in Vernon Hills, authorities said. Lake County Coroner Thomas Rudd said Patrick J. O'Reilly, 25, of Palos Park, died from multiple crush injuries Friday morning at Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville. Full story.
Lutheran General finds, stops source of rare bacteria
Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge is asking patients who had a specific procedure earlier this year to be screened for a potential infection that's highly resistant to antibiotics. It's assuring the general public that the procedure has now been made completely safe. Full story.
Shots fired at Elgin house party
Detectives from the Elgin Police Department's Gang Crimes Unit are investigating reports of gunshots fired early Sunday morning on the 1000 block of Congdon Avenue. Officers responding to several reports of gunfire about 12:19 a.m. were told that people were seen running into a residence following the sounds of shots, according to police. Officers were able to locate several spent shell casings in the driveway of the residence, police said. Full story.
Des Plaines woman missing in Indiana floodwaters
A search is underway for a Des Plaines woman missing in flood waters on Highway 257 in Indiana. Kathryn McGill, 31, was a passenger in a vehicle being driven by her husband Adam McGill, 35, when their vehicle was swept off the roadway in floodwaters Sunday morning on Highway 257 near the Pike County and Daviess County line. Haywood said Sunday evening that Adam McGill was rescued and the search for Kathryn McGill has been temporarily halted but is expected to resume Monday morning. Full story.
Mother remembers Carpentersville teen killed in Oak Brook accident
Jody Siers said she is still in shock after her 19-year-old daughter died in a work accident last week, but she is finding comfort in the gift of life her oldest child gave to a stranger. Shortly after she died Monday, Stephanie Siers' heart was donated to a local 63-year-old woman, Jody said. "Somebody got a really awesome Christmas gift," Jody said, adding that her daughter's kidneys and other tissues were also donated through the Gift of Hope organ and tissue donation network. "That is keeping me strong because I know my daughter is still living on." Full story.
World & Nation
Two bombings rock Russia. Full story.
Federal health market surpasses 1 million signups. Full story.
Health law's key tests in 2014. Full story.
Retirement crisis looms across the world. Full story.
Boy Scouts open ranks to openly gay youth Jan. 1. Full story.
Economists: States should rethink big tax breaks for companies. Full story.
New study sheds light on meat, mummies in ancient tombs. Full story.
AP's top 10 movies of the year. Full story.
'Hobbit,' 'Frozen' lead last box office of 2013. Full story.
Chilling finish to Bears' season. Full story.
Just when are the Bears going to solve Packers riddle? Full story.
Marshall says Cutler will be back next season. Full story.
Forte wanted much more this season. Full story.
Saad's Olympic dreams fade, but Sharp's soar. Full story.
Hawks' Kane stymied in shootouts. Full story.
Bulls, Butler still long way from full strength. Full story,