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  • Beethoven themed concert: Dec 25, 2014 5:33 PM
    Acclaimed musicians Pablo Mahave-Veglia and Seth Carlin perform at 4 p.m. Sun., Jan. 4 at the Byron Colby Barn, 1561 Jones Point Road in Grayslake.

  • Domestic violence at forefront of NFL in 2014 Dec 25, 2014 7:33 AM
    With virtually every revelation about domestic abuse committed by Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson and other players, the NFL and its commissioner, Roger Goodell, made a new misstep that sent out a clear, repeating message: They were in over their heads. That, in short, summed up the biggest headlines of 2014 for America’s favorite sport.

  • Streaming release of ‘Interview’ test for industry Dec 25, 2014 6:05 PM
    Sony’s “The Interview” has been a hacking target, a punchline and a political lightning rod. Now, with its release online at the same time it debuts in theaters, it has a new role: a test for a new kind of movie release. “The Interview” stars Seth Rogen and James Franco as journalists tasked by the CIA with killing North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Its Christmas Day release was canceled by Sony after threats of violence by hackers linked to North Korea. But after an outcry, the release was reinstated in some independent theaters and now, through a few online video services.

  • Cupich, Jackson address jail inmates Dec 25, 2014 7:17 PM
    Chicago’s new archbishop and the city’s best-known civil rights leader each delivered Christmas messages of hope to inmates at one of the nation’s largest jails Thursday, stressing that having the right focus could help them turn their lives around.

  • Pope wishes Christmas hope and peace for Mideast Dec 25, 2014 8:58 AM
    Pope Francis focused his concern on those weeping in the world this Christmas, singling out refugees, hostages and others suffering in the Middle East, Africa and Ukraine as he prayed for hope and peace Thursday. Anguish for children who are victims of violence, including in the recent terrorist attack on a Pakistani military school, tempered the pontiff’s traditional Christmas Day message, which he delivered from the central balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica. Tens of thousands of Romans and tourists crowded into St. Peter’s Square to hear Francis deliver the “Urbi et Orbi” message. (Latin for “to the city and to the world.”) “Truly there are so many tears this Christmas,” Francis said after noting all the pain and suffering in the world. The pope lamented that there were vast numbers of children who are ‘’made objects of trade and trafficking” or forced to become soldiers. Francis began his review of the world’s troubled places by recalling the persecution of ancient Christian communities in Iraq and Syria, along with those from other ethnic and religious groups. ‘’May Christmas bring them hope,” he said. Referring to refugees and exiles, he prayed: ‘’May indifference be changed into the necessary humanitarian help to overcome the rigors of winter.” The pope also thanked those courageously helping people infected with Ebola in Africa. He prayed, too, that those in affluent countries, who are ‘’immersed in worldliness and indifference,” will experience a softening of heart.

  • Small kitchen fire at Wildfire in Lincolnshire Dec 25, 2014 7:49 PM
    No one was injured but many Christmas dinner plans were altered by a small kitchen fire at Wildfire Steaks, Chops & Seafood restaurant in Lincolnshire at around 1:30 p.m. Thursday. Greg Nemeth, a manager at Wildfire, said the restaurant wasn’t able to reopen after the fire, which fire officials said was partially extinguished by the sprinkler system.

  • Elgin firefighter — ahem, Santa — surprises kids at Advocate Sherman Dec 25, 2014 6:50 PM
    Elgin firefighters make it a tradition each year to play Santa to any children who happen to be in Advocate Sherman Hospital over the holiday. But Santa makes an unusual entrance -- on the ladder of a fire truck. “The thing that we never know until Christmas morning is how many kids, or if there are even going to be any kids,” Assistant Fire Chief Tim Maroder said. “We always say if we don’t do this, it’s a good thing."

  • Great Lakes recruits treated to Christmas in Arlington Heights Dec 25, 2014 9:09 PM
    Early Christmas morning, Alexxis Garcia was handed a stranger’s cellphone. She said a quick “Thank you,” punched in the security code and immediately dialed her family in Houston, Texas. Garcia and about 50 other recruits from Great Lakes Naval Base in North Chicago enjoyed a warm meal, a day of relaxation and time to connect with their families while being hosted at Christian Liberty Academy in Arlington Heights.

  • The Royal family sends message on Christmas Day Dec 25, 2014 8:58 AM
    Queen Elizabeth II will use her traditional Christmas broadcast to call for international reconciliation and to praise medical workers fighting Ebola in Africa.

  • Jackson Hole ski resort looks to bring in families Dec 25, 2014 6:01 AM
    For decades, Jackson Hole’s reputation for its abundance of expert terrain — and relatively little else — preceded it. It was a place most attractive to hard-core, expert-level skiers. Yet, steadily, a resort once synonymous with the “steep and deep” has become increasingly attractive to families, regardless of their abilities on the slopes.

  • Our picks for some of the year's best performances Dec 25, 2014 5:00 AM
    The best of the movies of 2014 are celebrated with a run-down of the actor and actress of the year and other notable honors, as selected by our film critic, Dann Gire.

  • 'Zero Motivation' jumps around a lot for a military comedy Dec 25, 2014 5:00 AM
    Talya Lavie's military comedy “Zero Motivation” has been aptly described as “Private Benjamin” meets “M*A*S*H*” meets “Office Space,” and that's a fair description of the subject and style the Israeli filmmaker employs in her third feature, a crazy, lumpy mix of feminism, supernatural possession, attempted military rape, friendship and brainless bureaucracy.

  • ABC 7 to broadcast “Countdown Chicago 2015” Dec 25, 2014 5:36 PM
    ABC 7 will continue its 24-year tradition of hosting a live, local brodcast of New Year's Eve parties, "Countdown Chicago 2015!"

  • Believe Project: $100 to help a lonely man smile on Christmas day Dec 25, 2014 7:30 AM
    The Daily winner of $100 through the Believe Project is Debbie Rosenbach of Elmhurst, who would like to see a lonely man smile on Christmas Day.

  • Ice bucket, Brazil elections popular on Facebook Dec 25, 2014 6:00 AM
    Day after day, Facebook captures our best and worst moments, from the birth of a new baby to heated political spats. So what got discussed the most in 2014? The Ice Bucket Challenge and the death of Robin Williams, to name a few.

  • Lazarus House Christmas dinner a community affair Dec 25, 2014 5:27 PM
    More than 100 people gathered to share a meal, friendly conversation and holiday spirit, at Lazarus House’s annual community dinner on Christmas afternoon in St. Charles.

  • ‘Dragon Age’ tops AP critics’ best games of 2014 Dec 25, 2014 6:47 AM
    The Associated Press takes a look at the top 10 video games of 2014, including “Dragon Age: Inquisition,” “Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft,” "Valiant Hearts: The Great War,” amd “South Park: The Stick of Truth.”

  • Webster’s new words of year include ‘culture’ Dec 25, 2014 6:00 AM
    A nation, a workplace, an ethnicity, a passion, an outsized personality. The people who comprise these things, who fawn or rail against them, are behind Merriam-Webster’s 2014 word of the year: culture.

  • NFL domestic violence, LeBron top sports stories of year Dec 25, 2014 7:33 AM
    The NFL’s troubles with domestic violence were selected the sports story of the year in an annual vote conducted by The Associated Press. Ninety-four ballots were submitted from U.S. editors and news directors. Voters were asked to rank the top 10 sports stories of the year, with the first-place story receiving 10 points, the second-place story nine points and so on.

  • The Merry Makers spread holiday cheer in Vernon Hills Dec 24, 2014 6:09 PM
    Christmas Eve was the final day for the Merry Makers to spread their holiday cheer at Westfield Hawthorn Mall in Vernon Hills.

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