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  • District 57 students take on multiple charitable efforts for holidays Dec 22, 2014 1:01 AM
    The four schools of Mount Prospect School District 57 have taken on at least 10 projects in recent weeks to help those in need. “Our students, families and staff have really made a difference in the community this holiday season,” says Elaine Aumiller, superintendent of schools.

     
  • Believe Project: $100 to help out-of-work neighbor caring for loved one Dec 22, 2014 5:30 AM
    The daily winner of $100 through the Believe Project is Karen Noxon of Lindenhurst, who would like to help out a man down the street who has been out of work for five years and is now a full-time caretaker.

     
  • Pope issues blistering critique of Vatican bureaucrats Dec 22, 2014 9:03 AM
    Pope Francis issued a blistering critique Monday of the Vatican bureaucracy that serves him, denouncing how some people lust for power at all costs, live hypocritical double lives and suffer from “spiritual Alzheimer’s” that has made them forget they’re supposed to be joyful men of God. Francis’ Christmas greeting to the cardinals, bishops and priests who run the Holy See was no joyful exchange of holiday good wishes. Rather, it was a sobering catalog of 15 sins of the Curia that Francis said he hoped would be atoned for and cured in the New Year.

     
  • $1,200 gold coin donated to Salvation Army in Lake County Dec 23, 2014 7:09 AM
    A gold coin donated to The Salvation Army this past weekend makes 13 such coins netted this holiday season by the charity in Lake County. The one-ounce fine gold coin, valued at approximately $1,200, was dropped into a Salvation Army red kettle at a Jewel-Osco store at 885 East Belvidere Road in Grayslake, said Whitney Lewis, media relations manager for The Salvation Army’s metropolitan division.

     
  • Culinary adventures: Seasoned cook gives a salt block a try Dec 22, 2014 6:20 AM
    Penny Kazmier goes shopping for faucets and discovers salt block cooking instead. Salt blocks retain heat as well as an iron skillet and also can be used to chill foods or as a serving dish. The shape is not limited to blocks; you can also find salt formed into cups and bowls, perfect for cocktails and guacamole.

     
  • A trio of ideas for holiday pork tenderloin Dec 22, 2014 6:01 AM
    The holidays are stressful enough, never mind if you feel the need to reinvent your dinner repertoire every time someone new pops over. Our idea was simple — pick a cut of meat that is easy to have on hand, simple to prepare for both small groups and crowds, and yet versatile enough to pair with multiple flavors. Our choice? Pork tenderloin.

     
  • Where does the fat go when you lose it? Dec 22, 2014 5:45 AM
    You’ve lost a pound of fat. Congrats, that’s not easy to do during the holidays. But where exactly does it go when you manage to get rid of it?

     
  • No need to worry about thumb-sucking in infants Dec 22, 2014 5:45 AM
    Q: I’m pregnant with my first child. Do you have any advice about whether or not to give my baby a pacifier? Also, is it OK if my baby sucks her thumb?

     
  • Your health: Holiday foods can be hazardous to pets Dec 22, 2014 5:45 AM
    Holiday dinners are meant for sharing — but not everything on your table is safe for your pet. While a taste of lean turkey or fresh vegetables is fine for your little buddies, some foods and beverages are definitely off limits for them.

     
  • Holidays are the perfect time to check on grandma’s health Dec 22, 2014 5:45 AM
    Sitting around the table at the holidays is an opportunity to take stock of the cognitive health of your elderly relatives, said Robert Stern, professor of neurology and director of the Boston University Alzheimer’s Disease Centers Clinical Core.

     
  • 1939 Ford custom truck completed just in time Dec 22, 2014 6:00 AM
    The story of Dawn and Fred Castro’s custom 1939 Ford cab-over-engine truck begins with Dawn’s dad, Jim DeMars of Elmhurst. “He saw a feature on a similar truck in a magazine in 2004,” Dawn said. “He set out to re-create everything he saw.”

     
  • Waukegan Public Library Plans Dec. 30 LifeSource Blood Dec 23, 2014 8:10 AM
    While everyone is making their plans for New Year’s Eve, the Waukegan Public Library is hoping that area residents will finish the year with a good deed by donating blood from 10:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. in the Bradbury Room at its library at 128 North County Street, Waukegan.

     
  • How to avoid fires during the holidays Dec 21, 2014 7:29 AM
    Take note: Behind the twinkle, sparkle and dazzle of the holidays, safety hazards lurk. Every year, U.S. fire departments respond to about 230 home fires started from Christmas trees, according to a National Fire Protection Association study. And Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day rank as the peak days for kitchen fires. Lorraine Carli, vice president of outreach and advocacy for the NFPA, said that although Christmas tree fires are not common, they can be deadly. Even hanging decorations can pose a risk that lead to injuries and emergency room visits, she said. Being aware of common safety measures during this busy and stressful time of year is key, Carli said, whether it’s the simple act of unplugging your tree lights or keeping an eye on your stove while cooking a big meal. “It’s really, really important just to be vigilant this time of year,” Carli said. Here are tips from the NFPA and Pepco electric company to make sure you have a safe holiday. Fires Cooking is the No. 1 home fire hazard, according to the NFPA, and December is the peak time for candle fires; these often occur in the bedroom, after people fall asleep. “Fires are a risk in the kitchen year-round, but we’re even more distracted by entertaining guests and family this time of year,” Carli said. • Stay in the kitchen when cooking and always keep an eye on the stove, oven or grill. • Keep oven mitts, dish towels and other flammable items away from heating elements and open flames. • Keep an eye on candles and fireplace fires, and be sure to extinguish them before going to bed or leaving the house. • Have your chimney cleaned annually. After a fire, dispose of ashes in a metal container, away from flammable material. • Keep children at least three feet away from fireplaces. • Check your smoke detectors. “This is a given,” Carli said. “They should be checked once a month.” Lighting Holiday lighting poses the risk of overdrawing power and creating a fire hazard, Pepco’s Sean Kelly said. This is especially true of older lights. “Stringing more than three strands of Christmas lights together, especially older ones, and connecting them to a single electric outlet can cause overheating,” Kelly said. “The circuit breaker trips in order to protect the circuit from overheating and causing damage or an electrical fire.” Older strands are more likely to overheat regardless, Kelly said, because they require more electricity. Another hazard? Some types of older bulbs can crack but stay lighted, exposing the heated wire, Kelly said. • Inspect your lights before hanging them. If they look worn (frayed wires, loose or cracked bulbs), don’t hesitate to replace them. Switch to LEDs, which are more energy-efficient and burn cooler than conventional incandescents. • If you’re stringing lights outside, make sure they are for outdoor use. • Do not attach more than three strings of lights together. • Always unplug your lights and decorations before going to bed or leaving the house. Christmas trees • Water your tree daily; dried-out trees are a greater fire hazard than trees that are properly watered. • Keep trees at least three feet away from fireplaces, candles, heating vents or lights. • Don’t use candles to decorate your tree.

     
  • Pope’s role in Cuba deal fractures Cuban-American flock Dec 21, 2014 12:06 PM
    The key role Pope Francis played encouraging talks between Presidents Barack Obama and Raul Castro left fractures among his flock in South Florida, where many older Roman Catholics equate the Castro brothers with the devil.

     
  • Egg Roulade Stuffed with Proscuitto, Spinach and Roasted Red Pepper Dec 21, 2014 6:45 AM
    Egg roulade makes for a merry Christmas breakfast.

     
  • 3 tips to help use remaining health account funds Dec 21, 2014 7:21 AM
    December is the final month for many people with employer-sponsored health coverage to spend the remaining balance in their health care flexible spending account. But these accounts come with a big catch: Often you have to use the balance before the plan year ends or you lose it.

     
  • Alcohol calorie counts to be on menus by next year Dec 21, 2014 7:12 AM
    Don’t want to be confronted with the number of calories in that margarita or craft beer? Then avoid the menu and order at the bar. New menu labeling rules from the Food and Drug Administration will require chain restaurants with 20 or more outlets to list the amount of calories in alcoholic drinks.

     
  • American sweetens premium flier awards to fend off Delta, United Dec 21, 2014 7:45 AM
    American Airlines Group Inc. is sweetening frequent-flier awards for passengers buying the most-expensive tickets to fend off loyalty program changes made by its competitors.

     
  • Gift buyers getting more selfish; 10% of presents returned Dec 21, 2014 7:29 AM
    In the coming weeks, millions of people will buy gifts for loved ones. Which is great -- except that tons of those people will make the same glaring mistake, and buy the wrong gift. Roughly 10 percent of gifts are returned each year -- and the percentage of unwanted gifts is surely higher given that nice people may not want to return presents.

     
  • Holiday office parties: so very merry — and awkward Dec 21, 2014 7:00 AM
    It is time, once again, to celebrate the holidays with our friends and loved ones. And co-workers. Please don't forget the co-workers. It's not enough to spend five days a week with your dear colleagues; you must put in a few extra off-hours of chitchat and merry-making for good show.

     
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