Weekend picks: Laugh along with Marina Franklin By Scott C. Morgan & Laura Milbrath Stewart MCC to host information night on new engineering partnership with U of I Submitted by McHenry County College Italian banks hit by concerns over bad loans By COLLEEN BARRY Syrian troops push ahead in offensive, take another village By KARIN LAUB Northwest suburban police blotter By Freida Gad Local sales of $1 million homes rose 8 percent in 2015 Jobs report helps ease concerns a recession might be nearing By CHRISTOPHER S. RUGABER John Scofield goes back to the future on Grammy-nominated CD By CHARLES J. GANS Donations sought to repair vandalism at Jewish cemetery The Associated Press Former U of Illinois athletic director received fast payout The Associated Press