Daily Archive : Thursday December 26, 2013


    Flora Kaindl, resident of The Crossings in Geneva, painted two murals for the community room of the senior living condo complex. Both took about six months. One mural is of landmark buildings in the Tri Cities/Fox Valley area. The other is a triptych of the Chicago skyline, with fellow residents adding touches to the flower, sailboats and skyscrapers.

    ‘Talk of the Town’ finishes first decade

    Dave Heun looks back on the people of the Tri-Cities area from 2013, the year that marked his 10th anniversary writing a column for the Daily Herald.

    Mary Layco

    Stevenson High School mourns veteran math teacher

    Mary Layco, who taught mathematics at Stevenson High School for more than 35 years, died Thursday, Dec. 26, 10 days after becoming ill during one of her classes. “Mary was our longest-serving teacher, and has aptly been described as the heart and soul of the Mathematics Division,” Superintendent Eric Twadell said.

    D Hangout Bar and Grill at 550 S. McLean Blvd., Elgin, will open Jan. 3, pending final health and building inspections, said owner Mike Deol of Streamwood, a former professional wrestler.

    Ex-pro wrestler to open sports bar in Elgin

    The former Streets of Chicago in Elgin is set to reopen as D Hangout Bar and Grill next week, but plans for a piano bar in the lower level are still up in the air. The eatery at 550 S. McLean Blvd. was approval to operate as a sports bar and grill on the first floor, which was updated with new flooring, paint and granite bar countertops, along with about 30 flat screen TVs, said owner Mike Deol...


    Car fire spreads to Inverness home

    An SUV that was on fire crashed into a house Thursday night in Inverness, causing flames to spread to the structure and leaving it temporarily uninhabitable, authorities said.


    Sprinkler system puts out Glendale Hts. fire

    An apartment sprinkler system extinguished a cooking fire Thursday afternoon in Glendale Heights and likely helped save two dogs, authorities said. Firefighters were called to a three-story apartment building on the 1800 block of Somerset Drive at 3:05 p.m. and found that the in-unit sprinkler system effectively put out the fire, according to the Bloomingdale Fire Protection District.

    Jonelle Bailey, left, superintendent of recreation for Salt Creek Rural Park District, and Joan Scovic, marketing coordinator of Palatine Park District, were honored by a statewide parks personnel association.

    Palatine-area park employees win awards

    The Illinois Park and Recreation Association recently awarded Jonelle Bailey, superintendent of recreation at Salt Creek Rural Park District, the Diversity Section’s Rising Star Award, and Joan Scovic, marketing coordinator for Palatine Park District, the Communication and Marketing Section’s Professional of the Year Award.

    Ed Currie holds three Carolina Reaper peppers, in Fort Mill, S.C. Last month, The Guinness Book of World Records decided Currieís peppers were the hottest on Earth, ending a more than four-year drive to prove no one grows a more scorching chili.

    World’s hottest pepper is grown in South Carolina

    Ed Currie holds one of his world-record Carolina Reaper peppers by the stem, which looks like the tail of a scorpion. On the other end is the bumpy, oily, fire-engine red fruit with a punch of heat nearly as potent as most pepper sprays used by police. It’s hot enough to leave even the most seasoned spicy food aficionado crimson-faced, flushed with sweat, trying not to lose his lunch.

    This booking photo released by the Harris County sherrif’s office shows Conrad Barrett after he was arrested for DWI in 2003. Barrett, now 27, was arrested Thursday on federal hate crimes charges in connection with a “knockout game”-style attack.

    ‘Knockout game’ attack leads to hate crime charge

    HOUSTON — A white Houston-area man was arrested Thursday on federal hate crimes charges after he was accused of shooting video of himself sucker-punching a 79-year-old black man in a “knockout game”-style attack.Conrad Alvin Barrett, 27, made a brief appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Frances Stacy, who scheduled a detention hearing for the Katy man on Friday.


    Tri-Cities police reports
    Ashley R. Kaptur, 25, of Glendale Heights, was charged Dec. 15 with retail theft at Costco, 221 Randall Road, according to a police report.

    Jill Ghantous kisses her daughter, Briana Ghantous, 6, at the Wingate Hotel in Grand Blanc Township, Mich. The Ghantous family lost power on Sunday at their home in Swartz Creek due to ice storms that have left about 40,000 people in Genesee County without power.

    Maine, Michigan still await full power after ice storm

    Some homes and businesses from Maine to Michigan and into Canada that have been without electricity since last weekend’s ice may not get their power back for another day — or longer. Utilities in Michigan reported 105,000 customers without power Thursday morning, while those in Maine reported more than 36,000 and Canada more than 101,000.

    Rockie Lee Douglas

    Police investigating if carjacking suspect was in Libertyville, fled officers

    Libertyville police say they are investigating whether they nearly had carjacking suspect Rockie Lee Douglas less than 24 hours after he is alleged to have stolen three cars in the Chicago area and caused a crash that led to a boy’s death. Douglas, 34, of Beach Park, was being held without bond Thursday in the Milwaukee County jail.


    Quinn signs foreclosure protection law

    Gov. Pat Quinn has signed legislation to prevent lenders from selling a home if the homeowner is applying for federal mortgage assistance. The measure takes effect immediately.


    Pregnant teen dies, but baby survives shooting

    South suburban authorities say someone shot and killed a 17-year-old pregnant girl on Christmas Day — but that her baby survived.


    Legislation would stiffen `knockout game’ penalties

    An Illinois state lawmaker wants to stiffen penalties for people playing the so-called knockout game that involves random attacks on people.


    Flags lowered in honor of slain investigator

    Flags were lowered to half-staff around Illinois in honor of an off-duty Cook County sheriff’s investigator who was killed while trying to stop an armed robbery outside a family Christmas party in Bellwood.


    Chicago teen charged after decapitated body found

    Police say they’ve charged a Chicago teenager with murder in the death of a 41-year-old man whose body was found decapitated inside an apartment on Christmas.


    Driver facing charges in death of son

    A Texan is being held on $250,000 bond in Chicago after investigators say he didn’t notice his son had been thrown through a car’s back window during a wreck on a busy interstate.


    $42.5 million approved for Chicago’s Circle Interchange

    Gov. Pat Quinn announced Thursday that he has released $42.5 million for the ongoing Circle Interchange project. The total cost of the four-year project is $475 million.

    A bridle path crosses Route 62 near Bateman Road from the Cook County Forest Preserve in Barrington Hills. The body of a 37-year-old Wauconda man was found in the area Christmas Day. Foul play is not suspected.

    Foul play not suspected in forest preserve death

    Foul play is not suspected in the death of a 37-year-old Wauconda man whose body was found in a forest preserve near Barrington Hills on Christmas Day, according to Cook County sheriff’s police. The man was confirmed to be the same as one who went missing Monday after last being seen at a Carpentersville bar.

    This image made from video released anonymously to reporters in Pakistan, including the Associated Press on Thursday, which is consistent with other AP reporting, shows Warren Weinstein, a 72-year-old American development worker who was kidnapped in Pakistan by al-Qaida more than two years ago, appealing to President Obama to negotiate his release. The video of Weinstein was the first since two videos released in September 2012.

    American abducted in Pakistan calls for U.S. help

    ISLAMABAD — A 72-year-old American development worker who was kidnapped in Pakistan by al-Qaida more than two years ago appealed to President Obama in a video released Thursday to negotiate his release, saying he feels “totally abandoned and forgotten.”

    People watch a TV news program on Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s war shrine visit, at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea, Thursday. Abe paid his respects Thursday at a shrine honoring Japan’s war dead in a move that drew sharp rebukes from both China and South Korea who warned that the visit celebrates his country’s militaristic past and heightens concerns that Japan may veer back in that direction.

    Japanese PM visits war shrine, angering neighbors

    TOKYO — Prime Minister Shinzo Abe paid his respects at a shrine honoring Japan’s war dead in an unexpected visit Thursday that drew sharp rebukes from China and South Korea, who warned that the move celebrates his country’s militaristic past and could further sour relations.

    Three-year-old Mason Freed and his dad, Jordan, of Mundelein shovel the sidewalk after overnight snows blanketed the area. Mason was happy to help after getting a new Bears hat and a small-size snow shovel recently.

    Lake County residents find fun in blanket of snow

    About 2 inches of snow blanketed the Lake County area overnight creating a beautiful white wonderland and excellent conditions for local sledding hills on Thursday.


    Recycling extravaganza in Highland Park

    The city of Highland Park is hosting a recycling event from 8 a.m. to noon, Saturday, Jan. 4, at the firearms training center, 1180 Half Day Road.


    Auditions for Schaumburg Youth Choir Jan. 20-21

    The newly formed Schaumburg Youth Choir will hold auditions for high school and college students Monday, Jan. 20 and Tuesday, Jan. 21 at Schaumburg’s Prairie Center for the Arts, 201 Schaumburg Court in Schaumburg. The fee to participate in the choir for the spring season is $150.


    Oakton to offer food equipment repair training

    Oakton Community College has partnered with an online firm to offer students training in the commercial food equipment repair technology field.


    Carpentersville’s volunteer of year wants just a smile in return

    For nearly 20 years, Ken Pozehl has helped paint the homes of seniors and veterans to making sure needy kids have a Christmas gift. And what does he ask in return? “All we want out of this is a smile. Make them happy for a day and you’d be surprised,” said Pozehl, a maintenance mechanic at a Carpentersville chemical plant. For his efforts, Pozehl was named Carpentersville's volunteer of the year.

    The mother of a 21-year-old Orland Park man critically injured in a Dec. 18 house fire in Naperville says her son went back into the burning building to try to save the owners, Tom and Jan Lambert, for whom he was working as a caregiver. Allen Belaguas remained unconscious Thursday at Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood.

    Fire victim ‘came back to save the couple’

    Allen Belaguas had been saving for nursing school, working as an in-home caregiver for several months, but only in the home of Jan and Tom Lambert of Naperville for about a week when fire broke out. The couple never made it out of the house, but by all accounts, Belaguas, the 21-year-old man hired to care for them, did everything he could to try to save them.

    BRIAN HILL/bhill@dailyherald.com, 2009 Most towns in Kane County offer free Christmas tree recycling in early January.

    How to get rid of that Christmas tree in the Fox Valley

    Christmas is over, meaning about 35 million Americans who purchased real trees for the holidays are now watching their investment transform into a large toothpick. Here are local options for recycling your tree.


    Calif. schools prepare for transgender rights law

    SAN FRANCISCO — With a law that spells out the rights of transgender students in grades K-12 set to take effect in California, school districts are reviewing locker room layouts, scheduling sensitivity training for coaches, assessing who will sleep where during overnight field trips and reconsidering senior portrait dress codes.

    Sons of an Iraqi killed man, Karim Nasim, react during his funeral in the Shiite holy city of Najaf, 100 miles south of Baghdad, Iraq, Thursday. Nasim was killed in a bombing at a vegetable market in Baghdad on Wednesday. According to U.N. estimates, more than 8,000 people have been killed since the start of the year.

    U.S. sends Hellfire missiles to Iraq to fight al-Qaida

    BAGHDAD — The U.S. has sent Hellfire air-to-ground missiles to Iraq’s air forces, which is using them in an ongoing campaign against the country’s branch of al-Qaida, officials in Washington and Baghdad said Thursday.Two Iraqi intelligence officers and a military officer said that 75 Hellfires arrived on Dec. 19 and more will be shipped in the future.


    Utah will ask U.S. Supreme Court to block gay marriage order

    Utah is preparing to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to block a ruling by a federal judge in Salt Lake City that declared the state’s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional, the Utah attorney general’s office said.

    Associated Press Double hand transplant recipient Lindsay Aronson Ess works on her dexterity during a physical therapy session in Richmond, Va. Sure your liver or kidney could save someone’s life. But would you donate your hands, or your face?

    Hand, face transplants to face new government oversight

    Sure your liver or kidney could save someone’s life. But would you donate your hands, or your face? Signing up to become an organ donor may get more complicated than just checking a box on your driver’s license. The government is preparing to regulate the new field of hand and face transplants like it does standard organ transplants.

    Modifications to the Lake County solid waste and recycling ordinance that take effect Jan. 1 make it mandatory for haulers in the unincorporated area to provide recycling service to those homes that don’t now get it.

    Recycling coming to unincorporated Lake County

    Changes to the solid waste and recycling ordinance effective Jan. 1 require haulers to make recycling avaialble to every household in unincorporated Lake County. "It's requiring you to use the service," said Walter Willis, executive director of the Solid Waste Agency of Lake County.

    Monsignor William Lynn, a Roman Catholic church official who has been jailed for more than a year for his handling of priest sex-abuse complaints, had his conviction reversed and was ordered released Thursday. In dismissing the landmark criminal case, a three-judge Superior Court panel unanimously rejected prosecutors’ arguments that Monsignor Lynn, the first U.S. church official ever charged or convicted for the handling of clergy-abuse complaints, supervised the welfare of any particular child.

    Pa. court reverses monsignor’s conviction over sex abuse

    A Roman Catholic church official who has been jailed for more than a year for his handling of priest sex-abuse complaints had his landmark conviction reversed and was ordered released Thursday. A three-judge Superior Court panel unanimously rejected prosecution arguments that Monsignor William Lynn, the first U.S. church official ever charged or convicted for the handling of clergy-abuse...

    Egyptians on Tuesday attend the funeral of a dozen police officers and a civilian killed from an explosion at a police headquarters, in the Nile Delta city of Mansoura, 110 kilometers (70 miles) north of Cairo, Egypt. Egypt’s security authorities warned Thursday that their forces will take an even tougher line on protests by the Muslim Brotherhood.

    Muslim Brotherhood leaders could now face death in Egypt

    CAIRO — Egypt’s security authorities launched a sweep of arrests of Muslim Brotherhood members on Thursday and warned that holding a leadership post in the group could now be grounds for the death penalty after it was officially declared a terrorist organization, stepping up the government’s confrontation with its top political nemesis.


    Northwest suburban police blotter

    A Des Plaines man was arrested Dec. 22 at Jewel/Osco in Arlington Heights and charged with battery and retail theft. Reports said a security agent said he saw the man hide three packs of cigarettes and two bottles of vodka in a plastic bag and put two 12-packs of beer in a shopping cart, then push the cart out of the store without paying. The agent said he was pushed in the chest. He wrestled the...

    The shadow of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is cast on a wall Nov. 15 as she speaks at the Community Health and Social Services Center in Detroit. A month after President Barack Obama announced people could keep insurance policies slated for cancellation under the federal health overhaul, the reversal has gotten a mixed response from insurers, state regulators and consumers.

    Reversal on Obamacare cancellations gets mixed response

    RALEIGH, N.C. — A month after President Barack Obama announced people could keep insurance policies slated for cancellation under the federal health overhaul, the reversal has gotten a mixed response from insurers, state regulators and consumers.


    Obamacare policy notifications and current status, by state

    Bethany Donaldson of Elgin races down the hill with her dog, Mandie, a golden doodle, while sledding Thursday at Wing Park in Elgin.

    Warmer weather brings out the sledders in Elgin

    Higher temperatures and a slight dusting of snow combined to help fill the sledding hills Thursday at Wing Park in Elgin. Families, kids and a few dogs were seen taking a ride down the short hill at the north end of the park. Complete with his Santa hat that he has worn every day for the past month — and a rather large grin — 6-year-old Christian Tiesberg of Englewood, Colo., took a few tumbles...

    Bernice Gliege, former principal in District 25, recently had a fund to help children in need named after her.

    District 25 names fund for former principal

    Arlington Heights Elementary District 25 has started a new fund in honor of a former principal Bernice Gliege that will collect money to help children in need. The district’s news release said it was “very fitting that Bernice, as an advocate for the disabled, a pioneer for women in education, and a proponent of reaching new heights with a love for helping others through the world of education,...

    A Starbucks store on Northwest Highway in Mount Prospect is moving into the former home of a Caribou Coffee, also on Northwest Highway, and bringing Subway, its next-door neighbor, with it.

    Starbucks, Subway moving to new Mt. Prospect location

    Caribou Coffee, formerly at the corner of Northwest Highway and Emerson Street in Mount Prospect, is gone and much lamented by many. However, by the end of January, a familiar name in coffee is expected to open up in the vacant space.


    Obama signs bipartisan budget deal easing cuts

    HONOLULU — President Barack Obama has signed a bipartisan budget bill easing automatic spending cuts over two years, marking a modest end to a challenging year for the White House and Congress.


    Man struck, killed by freight train in Wheeling Christmas night

    A 35-year-old man was struck and killed by a freight train passing through Wheeling on Christmas night. A CN freight train was headed north from Chicago toward Wisconsin when it hit a pedestrian around 8:30 p.m., said Patrick Waldron, company spokesman.

    Madison Kozlowski, 10, of Aurora and Logan Hubble, 8, of Sugar Grove practice dribbling through and around their legs during the start of a three-day basketball camp in Sugar Grove on Thursday, December 26. The park district camp, run by All Stars Sports Instruction, included basic mechanics with concentrations on shooting, ball handling and passing.

    Sugar Grove basketball camp helps kids hone basketball skills over the holidays

    Sugar Grove Park District holds three day basketball camp helping kids refresh their skills and learn new techniques over the holiday weekend.


    Carpentersville girl who took fatal fall off truck identified

    The DuPage County coroner has identified a Carpentersville woman who died when she fell off the back of a truck.


    What I’ll do when I win the lottery

    Our Ken Potts dreams about winning the lottery and how it would and would not change his life.

    The exhibit includes dresses worn by Sally Field, who played Marry Todd Lincoln, as well as a vignette of the first lady's bedroom set. There's also items used on the set for Lincoln's office.

    'Lincoln' movie exhibit opens in Illinois Jan. 17

    Costumes, furniture and other props used in Steven Spielberg's 2012 film “Lincoln” are set to go on display in Springfield next month. The items will be featured in an exhibit that opens Jan. 17 at Union Station, across the street from the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.

    VAC volunteers with over 500 hours receiving the President Gold Pin with letter from President Obama, left to right, Bernard J. Voit, Richard Moy, Stan Villarreal, Mike Kozar, Tom Marciciak, Bob Cloud, Arlene Lolly, Nicholas Konz, Al Lynch, Norm Arnswald and Richard Johnson.

    Veterans honored for volunteered hours

    The Veterans Assistance Commission of Lake County recently recognized Lake County military veterans for 132,090 hours of volunteer service to the Lovell Federal Health Care Center and their communities during an event at the Dover Straits restaurant in Mundelein.Assistant Supt.. and Medal of Honor recipient Al Lynch presented the top five veteran posts with the Johnny Allen Award named for long...

    Robert Stack of Arlington Heights addresses about 50 recruits from Great Lakes Naval Base during a Christmas event at Christian Liberty Academy in Arlington Heights Wednesday morning. Stack lost his son, Marine Lance Cpl. James Bray Stack, in Afghanistan in 2010.

    Academy, fallen Marine's family host Navy recruits for Christmas

    A warm meal. A huge thank you. And a sharing of the Gospel. That's what a group of 50 recruits from Great Lakes Naval Station, some far away from their families, received for Christmas at Christian Liberty Academy in Arlington Heights. The group was welcomed by the family of Marine Lance Cpl. James Bray Stack, who was killed in Afghanistan in 2010. “We're just so glad that they are here...


    Tour the Lake County Discovery Museum

    Bring your young child along for a guided tour of the Lake County Discovery Museum on Feb. 5.


    Lake County residents urged to recycle holiday trees

    Lake County residents have options to recycle their real, undecorated Christmas trees, including eight Lake County forest preserves where trees will be chipped and the mulch used throughout the township and forest preserve system.

    Yasser Arafat

    Russia: Arafat’s death not caused by radiation

    A Russian probe into the death of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat has found no trace of radioactive poisoning — a finding that comes after a French probe found traces of the radioactive isotope polonium and a Swiss investigation said the timeframe of his illness and death was consistent with that of polonium poisoning.

    Early blasts of snow, ice and below-zero temperatures haven’t stopped a surprising number of Chicago cyclists from spinning through the slush this winter, thanks in part to a city so serious about accommodating them that it deploys mini-snow plows to clear bike lanes.

    As Chicago cycling grows, so does bike tax temptation

    Early blasts of snow, ice and below-zero temperatures haven’t stopped a surprising number of Chicago cyclists from spinning through the slush this winter, thanks in part to a city so serious about accommodating them that it deploys mini-snow plows to clear bike lanes.

    A school bus lies on its side as police officials investigate the crash scene at Route 173 and N. Kilbourne Road near Wadsworth on April 5.

    Top 10 Lake County stories of 2013

    From flooding to crime to a battle over election power, 2013 featured a variety of stories that made big news in Lake County. Some involved controversial issues that stretched out over months before being resolved, while others were single instances that quickly caught the attention of readers. All helped shaped the county in the past year.


    Dawn Patrol: Beach Park man accused in 3 carjackings

    A Beach Park man is arrested in a Milwaukee drive-through, accused of three carjackings throughout the area. Missing Wisconsin woman is found in Wheaton. Community Christmas dinners at Lazarus House in St. Charles, Frisbie Center in Des Plaines.


    In memoriam
    In Memorium: DuPage County said goodbye in 2013 to many residents who made a difference.

    Wherever they’re spending the holiday, most Americans prefer the company of family. Asked with whom they want to be when the clock strikes midnight, 83 percent name a family member.

    Poll: Americans hopeful for a better year in 2014

    Ready to ring in the new year, Americans look ahead with optimism, according to a new AP-Times Square New Year’s Eve poll. Their ratings of the year gone by? Less than glowing. On the whole, Americans rate their own experience in 2013 more positively than negatively, but when asked to assess the year for the United States or the world at large, things turn sour.

    Thai anti-government protesters enter a sport stadium during a clash with riot policemen in Bangkok, Thailand, Thursday.

    Thai election body urges delay in polls amid clash

    Thailand’s election commission on Thursday called for upcoming polls to be delayed as street battles between security forces and protesters seeking to disrupt the ballot killed a police officer and injured nearly 100 people, dealing fresh blows to the beleaguered government.


    Man suspected in parents’ deaths back in Indiana

    A northwestern Indiana man who’s a suspect in his parents’ slayings has been returned to Indiana as authorities prepare to file charges in that case. Thirty-four-year-old Thomas J. Snow was recently extradited to Indiana from Minnesota, where he was arrested as a fugitive in October.

    Dunbar Elementary School Principal Carlynda Coleman watches second-grade students fill in charts tracking their progress in East St. louis, Ill.

    Students use charts to track growth

    Second-grader Kiera Williams colored all 10 rectangles on a bar graph purple to indicate she got 100 percent on a recent assessment for reading at Dunbar Elementary School. Teacher Devon Bruce asked Kiera and her classmates to reflect on their score and why they did well or not.


    Peoria police search for leads in fatal shooting

    Peoria detectives say there are few leads in their investigation into a fatal shooting of a 29-year-old man earlier this week. The (Peoria) Journal-Star reports Sonny T. Ford died after he was shot multiple times around 3:30 Tuesday morning. His death was the city’s 19th homicide victim of 2013.


    Purdue’s Daniels condemns group over boycott move

    Purdue University President Mitch Daniels is joining other university presidents in condemning a decision by the American Studies Association to endorse a boycott of Israeli universities. Daniels tells the Journal & Courier the boycott would be a clear violation of academic freedom. Daniels says he doesn’t believe Purdue has any institutional relationship with the association.


    UW-Madison lab may help bring WWII soldier home

    The DNA lab at the University of Wisconsin may help bring the final member of a World War II unit home. Twenty-eight-year-old Pfc. Lawrence Gordon, from Canada, was killed during fighting in Normandy, France in 1944.

    President Barack Obama, left, stops and turns to respond to Ju Hong who heckled him about anti-deportation policies at the Betty Ann Ong Chinese Recreation Center in San Francisco on Monday, Nov. 25, 2013. Obama stopped his speech about immigration reform to let Hong, who was located directly behind Obama, speak and to respond to his questions. South Koreans were delighted when Obama asked the young Korean heckler to stay, rather than ordering him removed. “I wish we had that kind of president who listens to the opinions of the minority,” says Kim Jin-hwan, a 32-year-old baker from Seoul. “I was very jealous.”

    America in 2013: Impressions from around the world

    How have events of the past year — namely the U.S. government shutdown, the NSA spying eruption and the conflict in Syria — helped shape the world’s view of America? Associated Press reporters asked that question of people across the world.

    A protester wearing a U.S. flag over his mouth demonstrates with others in Sao Paulo, Brazil on Thursday, July 18, 2013 against their government’s rejection of the asylum application of U.S. citizen Edward Snowden who leaked top-secret documents about sweeping U.S. surveillance programs. Former U.S. secretary of state Madeleine Albright once dubbed the United States “the indispensable nation.” But the world watched America stumble through a string of crises in 2013.

    A bumpy 2013 erodes America’s ‘superpower’ status

    To many around the world, it made little sense: The world’s most powerful government, so mired in dysfunction that it couldn’t operate. The world’s defender of individual freedoms, accused of spying on its citizens and friends. But as the world watched America shamble through a string of crises in 2013, the notion of the U.S. as an unflappable leader began to seem ever more quaint.

    This Jan. 2009 file photo shows film critic and author Roger Ebert, recipient of the Honorary Life Member Award, at the Directors Guild of America Awards in Los Angeles. Ebert, the most famous and most popular film reviewer of his time, died April 4, 2013. He was 70.

    Final goodbye: Roll call of some who died in 2013

    Both were mold-breaking former heads of state who reshaped their own countries and the world. Nelson Mandela, revered for his efforts to end apartheid in South Africa, and Margaret Thatcher, the “Iron Lady” who imposed her will on Britain's politics and economy, were among notables who died in 2013. We also lost Roger Ebert, who was America's most popular film critic. Here is a roll...

    Suburban Standouts from 2013 included, clockwise from top left, Breanna Bogucki of Cary, Kevin Bickner of Wauconda, Wilbur You of Aurora, Megan Bozek of Buffalo Grove, and Cassidy Williams of Downers Grove.

    A look back at some of our most amazing Suburban Standouts

    This year we profiled dozens of young people in the suburbs who are inspiring us all through their hard work, commitment and talents. Today, we take a look back at a handful of our amazing Suburban Standouts -- from Wauconda, Cary, Buffalo Grove, Naperville and Downers Grove -- and catch you up on what they're up to now.

    Karen Black and Jack Nicholson at the 1970 premiere of “Five Easy Pieces” in New York.

    Chicago area loses its own icons in 2013
    Writers, actors, ball players, radio icons, political leaders and more - in 2013 the region lost some famous people who were part of the Chicago area family. Here is a final look.

    In this May 5, 1977 file photo, David Frost speaks at a news conference about the telecast of the Nixon-Frost interview in Beverly Hills, Calif. Frost, a veteran broadcaster who won fame around the world for his interview with former President Richard Nixon, died Aug. 31, 2013. He was 74.

    Images: Notable deaths in 2013

    Nelson Mandela, Margaret Thatcher and Roger Ebert were among the list of notable deaths for 2013. Here is a gallery of those we bade farewell to in 2013.


    Northern Illinois quarterback Jordan Lynch throws a pass against Utah State during the first half of the Poinsettia Bowl on Thursday in San Diego.

    No win for NIU, no milestone for Lynch

    Brian Suite intercepted Jordan Lynch's pass and recovered a fumble by the Heisman Trophy finalist to help Utah State beat No. 24 Northern Illinois 21-14 on Thursday night in the Poinsettia Bowl. Besides the two turnovers, Lynch was held to just 39 yards rushing, keeping him from becoming keeping him from becoming the first major college player to rush for 2,000 yards and pass for 2,000 yards in the same season.


    Thursday’s girls basketball scoreboard
    Here are the results from Thursday's varsity girls basketball results as reported to the Daily Herald.


    Thursday’s boys basketball scoreboard
    Here are the results from Thursday's varsity boys basketball results as reported to the Daily Herald.

    Images from the Bartlett vs. Prospect girls basketball game during the 31st Annual Charger Classic Dundee-Crown High School Girls Basketball Tournament Thursday December 26, 2013 in Carpentersville.

    Images: Prospect vs. Bartlett girls basketball
    The Prospect Knights played the Bartlett Hawks in the Dundee-Crown High School Charger Classic Girls Basketball Tournament Thursday, Dec. 26, 2013, in Carpentersville.


    Collins, Maine West advance at D-C

    Maine West’s all-time leading scorer Brittany Collins showed why she has earned that milestone as the senior collected a game-high 32 points with 12 rebounds to help lead the Warriors to a 50-46 victory in the opening round of the 31st annual Dundee-Crown Charger Classic Girls Tournament. It was Collins’ fourth game of the season with 30 or more points and the Saint Xavier recruit has a double-double in early every game this season.


    Impressive victory for Lakes

    There’s an old adage in basketball that a team that presses doesn’t like to be pressed. It’s kind of like getting a dose of your own medicine, and not liking it so much. Lakes put that theory to the test Thursday night against Johnsburg at the Jacobs holiday tournament, and now fully endorses it. The Eagles watched some earlier tournament games and saw Johnsburg pressing its way to offensive explosions that hit 80-plus points. But when Lakes turned the tables and hit Johnsburg with some pressure, Johnsburg seemed stymied, and Lakes wound up coasting to a 65-51 victory.


    Naperville Central stands tall against Vernon Hills

    The problem with draping your defense around Naperville Central 6-foot-6 senior Nick Czarnowski is that seniors Ryan Antony and Matt Bennett are out on the perimeter ready to riddle you and sophomores Emmanuel Rugumba and Matthew Meier are primed off the bench to disrupt you defensively. That’s exactly what Vernon Hills faced last night in the second round of the Wheeling Wildcat Hardwood Classic, and they couldn’t control all those variables as Naperville Central advanced to Friday’s semifinals at 8:15 against tall and talented Fremd. The Redhawks’ 62-45 victory wasn’t easy by any means though, so don’t let the final score deceive you. It was still a single-digit lead after three quarters and the lead had changed hands 10 times to that point.

    Libertyville’s Rosie Lynch, right, drives on Grayslake North’s Brittany Thibeaux on Thursday at Mundelein High School.

    Lieberman gives Vernon Hills a lift

    The top-seeded Vernon Hills girls basketball team needed a spark after a sluggish first quarter in its contest against Prairie Ridge at the Mundelein Holiday Classic. They got that spark and plenty more from junior guard Haley Lieberman. Her 3-pointer off the bench to start the third quarter ignited a 13-2 run that gave the Cougars the lead for good en route to a 58-42 win over the Wolves Thursday afternoon. Vernon Hills (11-3) will face Grayslake North, a 48-37 winner over Libertyville, in the tournament’s first semifinal at 6:30 p.m. Friday. Prairie Ridge (9-5) will face Libertyville at 3:30 pm.


    St. Francis takes a step forward

    Despite leading at halftime Thursday, senior guard Zach Prociuk and his St. Francis boys basketball teammates felt they had more offense in them than their 23 points.


    Glenbard South makes it hard for Hersey to win

    Seeded No. 1 at Wheaton North’s Bill Neibch Falcon Classic, Hersey is on a path toward its fifth tournament championship. Glenbard South made the path as rocky as it could before falling 58-53 in Thursday’s last quarterfinal.


    Marmion can’t solve Belvidere’s zone

    After a promising start against Belvidere’s man-to-man defense, Marmion’s offense went stagnant when the Bucs switched to a 2-3 zone in the second quarter. The Cadets connected on just 1 of 18 attempts from 3-point range and were outrebounded 43-28 as Belvidere pulled away for a 60-43 victory Thursday night in the semifinals of Chuck Dayton Holiday Tournament in DeKalb.


    Metea Valley upends Aurora Central

    Aurora Central Catholic could not come back from a very slow start in a 56-42 loss to Metea Valley on Thursday at the Oswego East Tournament.


    Batavia falls short in Elgin quarters

    Despite a poor shooting night, Batavia found itself well within striking distance of Wendell Phillips in the fourth quarter on Thursday night during a quarterfinal matchup at the Elgin Holiday Tournament. However, the Bulldogs could not generate the timely defensive stops they needed and fell 53-46. The loss denies Batavia a Final Four appearance and will instead head to the loser’s bracket where it will play Walther Christian.


    Rolling Meadows prevails over Neuqua Valley

    The more experienced, highly regarded Rolling Meadows team may have prevailed, but Neuqua Valley showed again that the sky may just be the limit for some of its young players.


    Warren opens with Pontiac win; Grayslake C. falls downstate

    Eric Gillespie scored 28 points, Adrian Deere added 22, and Warren’s boys basketball team opened the Pontiac Holiday Tournament with a 66-52 win over Plainfield North on Thursday night.


    McAuley hands Burlington C. first loss

    A little stage fright, some early missed shots and way too much Elizabeth Nye sent the Burlington Central girls basketball team to its first loss of the season Thursday night.Playing in the Charger Classic at Dundee-Crown for the first time, the Rockets fell behind Mother McAuley 22-7 midway through the second quarter and could never recover in a 57-41 loss in the opening round of the 31st annual tournament in Carpentersville.


    Lake Zurich gets a ‘W’ at Mundelein

    Abby Pirron scored 16 points, Elly Daleske added 13, and Lake Zurich’s girls basketball team defeated Hoffman Estates 43-32 Thursday morning in Mundelein’s Holiday Classic.


    Girls basketball/Fox Valley roundup

    Cary-Grove 59, Lake Park 47: Katie Barker scored 28 points to lead the Trojans (10-5) to a win at the Mundelein tournament.Larkin 51, Plainfield North 37: Victoria Patterson had 18 points and Alyssa McGhee added 15 to lead Larkin (3-9) to a win in the consolation bracket of the Oswego East tournament.Streamwood 59, Highland Park 40: Hannah McGlone scored 26 points and Holly Foret added 16 for the Sabres (4-7) at the Mundelein tournament. Kiana Jeremiah added 10 points for Streamwood.South Elgin 63, Oak Park-River Forest 45: Nadia Yang had 15 points and Kennede Miller added 13 for the Storm (8-5) at the Montini tournament. Anna Tracy contributed 12 points for South Elgin.St. Edward 53, Reed-Custer 26: Katie Swanson had 15 points and Clarissa Ramos added 9 to lead the Green Wave (8-4) to a win in the first round of the Lisle Holiday Cage Classic.Hampshire 43, Walther Christian 20: Emma Benoit scored 11 points, Sara Finn had 9 and Nikki Dumoulin added 8 as Hampshire (6-4) won its opening round game at the Lisle Holiday Cage Classic.Willowbrook 75, Elgin 31: Alisha Panthier had 11 points to lead Elgin (4-7) at the Wheaton North tournament.Schaumburg 50, Jacobs 34: Alyssa Lach led Jacobs (2-11) with 8 points in this loss at Wheaton North.

    Marc Trestman talks things over with Jay Cutler and Josh McCown in the season opener at Soldier Field. Cutler and the Bears play Green Bay at Soldier Field on Sunday with the division title at stake.

    Cutler has simple reason for his struggles vs. Pack

    As a member of the Bears, quarterback Jay Cutler is 1-7 against the Packers with a passer rating of 54.1, but he's running a more productive offense this year than he has in the past four years.

    Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is taking off the hoodie and putting on the helmet for Sunday’s NFC North matchup with the Bears.

    For the finale, Bears get to face Rodgers

    The Bears will get the Packers' best -- their best quarterback -- in Sunday's showdown for the NFC North title and a playoiff berth. Former league MVP Aaron Rodgers returns for the Packers after missing the previous seven games with a fractured collar bone. That's bad news for a Bears defense that has struggled against much lesser talent.

    Even Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau might have been wondering what was up with those uniforms worn by his team in its Christmas Day victory over the Brooklyn Nets.

    Spellman’s Scorecard: Time for some dressing down of NBA, NHL

    Why mess with success? Why on two of the biggest days of the their respective regular seasons would the Bulls and Blackhawks opt to wear alternate jerseys in lieu of their iconic ones? In a word: marketing.

    Bob Diaco won’t be on the sideline as defensive coordinator when Notre Dame plays Rutgers in the Pinstripe Bowl. Diaco’s now the head coach for UConn.

    Notre Dame prepares with interim coordinators

    The goal for Mike Denbrock and Kerry Cooks as interim coordinators for No. 25 Notre Dame has been to make the Fighting Irish players feel as if nothing had changed as they prepared for the Pinstripe Bowl against Rutgers. “The weeks of preparation have been great,” quarterback Tommy Rees said. “Smoother than you probably anticipate when you lose your coordinator."

    St. Charles North defends Bloomington on Thursday at the Pontiac Holiday Tournament.

    St. Charles North holds off Bloomington

    It was a 7-point spurt the St. Charles North boys basketball needed to thwart the near-second-half lead Bloomington enjoyed.


    Neuqua Valley keeps winning streak going

    Neuqua Valley has put together a nice run lately, and it continued during Thursday’s opening game in the East Aurora Holiday Tournament as the Wildcats ran all over Hubbard 75-33.


    Montini claims tough victory against Fremd

    Montini girls basketball coach Jason Nichols is seldom quiet on the sidelines, and often his comments are directed at junior guard Kelsey Bogdan.


    Wheaton North can’t stop Downers North momentum

    Wheaton North found out first hand Thursday how much Downers Grove North has improved just since last season.

    Michigan State linebacker Max Bullough has been suspended by the team and won’t play in the Rose Bowl. He finished the season with 76 tackles, including 9½ for a loss.

    Michigan St. linebacker suspended for Rose Bowl

    Michigan State has suspended senior linebacker Max Bullough for violating a team rule, making him ineligible to play in the Rose Bowl.


    Elk Grove takes — and keeps — control

    Elk Grove snapped a two-game losing streak and also put a end to its recent second-half blues at the 40th annual Jack Tosh Tournament at York High School on Thursday night. The Grenadiers never trailed in defeating Timothy Christian 58-38 in first-round action. The win will pit Elk Grove against Palatine at 7:30 p.m. Friday; the winner will take on either St. Patrick or Highland Park.

    Pittsburgh defensive back Jason Hendricks holds up a wrestling championship belt after the Panthers defeated Bowling Green 30-27 in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl on Thursday in Detroit.

    Pitt tops Bowling Green in Pizza Bowl

    James Conner rushed for 229 yards — breaking a Pittsburgh bowl record held by Tony Dorsett — and Chris Blewitt kicked a tiebreaking field goal with 1:17 remaining, lifting the Panthers to a 30-27 win over Bowling Green on Thursday night in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl.


    Huntley no match for Marian Catholic

    Going into Thursday night’s matchup against the reigning Class 4A state champion, Huntley’s girls basketball team knew that it would have a fight on its hands and the shots would have to fall in its favor. Unfortunately for the Red Raiders, they only made 9 baskets for 28 points, falling to Marian Catholic 50-28 in the quarterfinals of the 5th Annual Montini Christmas Tournament.


    Parker, Schaumburg advance at York

    Brendan Parker finished with a team-best 18 points to help Schaumburg advance in the winner’s bracket with a 57-48 victory over Brother Rice in the first round of Jack Tosh tournament play at York on Thursday.


    Jacobs wins again, reaches semifinals

    It has certainly been a work in progress for the Jacobs boys basketball team under first-year head coach Jimmy Roberts. But the Golden Eagles’ rookie coach is happy with the way his team performed during pool play of the Hinkle Holiday Classic hosted by Jacobs. Jacobs (5-3) finished 3-0 in pool play with an easy 78-58 win over Tilden Thursday night.


    Boys basketball/Fox Valley roundup

    St. Edward 56, Westmont 47: DaVontae Elam scored 23 points to lead St. Edward (11-1) to a win in the first round of the IC/Westmont tournament. Nick Duffy added 11 points and John Butzow had 10 for the Green Wave.Hampshire 99, Belvidere North 91: Matthew Bridges led five Hampshire players in double figures with 25 points as the Whip-Purs (4-8) won for the first time at the Chuck Dayton Tournament in DeKalb. Trey Schramm added 18 points for Hampshire, while Drew Doran had 16 and Austin Spaeth and Ryan Cork 14 each.Burlington Central 66, Somonauk 46: Reed Hunnicutt had 17 points and Brett Rau added 14 for the Rockets (8-2) at the Plano Christmas Classic.Cary-Grove 50, Crystal Lake Central 34: Cary-Grove outscored the Tigers 17-6 in the third quarter to turn a 1-point halftime lead into a 38-26 advantage through three quarters of this pool play victory at the Hinkle Holiday Classic at Jacobs. Junior guard Jason Gregoire led the Trojans with 22 points, including a pair of 3-pointers, and senior guard Tyler Szydlo scored 15 points for Cary-Grove, which won consecutive games for the first time this season to finish 2-1 in pool play. Wheeling 63, Streamwood 48: The Sabres stayed within 3 points of the Hardwood Classic hosts for a half, but they were outscored 34-22 in the second half of this consolation bracket game. Junior forward Max Draper (6-foot-4) scored a game-high 15 points for junior forward Cole Segar scored 10 points and guard Jacob Siewert added 9 points for Streamwood (1-9), which next faces Chicago Alcott on Friday at 10:30 a.m.


    (No heading)
    NoticeTo report scores:Coaches, please report all scores to the Daily Herald Lake County office by emailing prepsports@dailyherald.com, faxing results to (847) 680-0189, or calling our sports hotline at (847) 573-2765.When faxing results, please make sure that results are legible, and include names and statistics for all teams involved.Boys basketball Thursday’s results State Farm Holiday ClassicAt IWU Shirk Center, Bloomington ROCK ISLAND 58, GRAYSLAKE CENTRAL 52Grayslake Central — Mudd 2 3-4 7, Reed 4 0-0 10, Benko 2 0-0 4, Anderson 5 3-3 15, Lennartz 6 0-1 12, Beckman 2 0-0 4. Totals 21 6-8 52.Rock Island — Carr 0 2-4 2, Hall 6 0-0 15, Sigel 1 0-0 3, J. Jones 0 2-2 2, Dixon 3 1-1 7, Shorter 8 3-6 20, Hicks 0 2-2 2, D. Jones 2 0-0 4,McDuffy 1 1-1 3. Totals 21 11-16 58.Grayslake Central 9 11 19 13 —52Rock Island 17 11 10 20 —583-point baskets: GC” Reed 2, Andersons: RI: Hall 3, Sigel, Shorter.At Jacobs Holiday Tournamentlakes 65, johnsburg 51Johnsburg — Dixon 4 13-14 24, Stillwell 2 2-3 6, Shelton 2 2-2 6, Ridout 1 0-0 3, Stefka 1 0-0 2, Nusser 1 0-0 3, Meland 0 0-0 0, Franzen 0 0-0 0, Tylkowski 1 1-2 3, Lobermeier 1 0-1 2, Kreassig 1 0-1 2, Kinney 0 0-0 0. Totals 14 18-23 51. Lakes — Sage 10 1-2 22, Balliu 0 0-0 0, Haviland 1 1-1 3, Hudson 5 4-4 14, Tomasiewicz 6 0-0 12, Mercure 0 3-4 3, Jennrich 0 0-0 0, Milostan 1 1-1 3, Ronayne 0 0-1 0, Clarke 0 0-0 0, Meyer 0 0-0 0, Kincaid 3 0-0 6, J. Monson 1 0-0 2, K. Munson 0 0-0 0. Totals 27 10-13 65.Johnsburg 7 10 16 18 —51Lakes 13 24 20 8 —65 3-point baskets: John: Dixon 3, Nusser, Ridout; Lks: Sage.Fouled out: None.carmel 56, rockford jefferson 47Carmel — Duff 7 2-2 19, George 6 6-9 18, Barr 3 2-2 8, Kirby 2 2-3 6, Poyser 1 1-2 3, Bowen 1 0-0 2, Czaplicki 0 0-0 0, Belser-Bailey 0 0-0 0, Kelly 0 0-0 0. Totals 20 13-18 56.Rockford Jefferson — Moore 5 0-1 13, Johnson 1 0-0 2, Brown 4 0-0 9, Rogers 3 0-0 9, Ellis 3 0-0 6, Hunter 0 0-0 0, Upshaw 0 0-0 0, Young 3 0-0 8, Roberson 0 0-0 0. Totals 19 0-1 47.Carmel 8 14 19 15 —56Rockford Jefferson 15 5 13 14 —473-point baskets: Car: Duff 3; RJ: Moore 3, Rogers 3, Young 2, Brown.Fouled out: None.Visitor — . Totals .Home — . Totals .Visitor x x x x —xxHome x x x x —xx3-point baskets: .Fouled out: .Visitor — . Totals .Home — . Totals .Visitor x x x x —xxHome x x x x —xx3-point baskets: .Fouled out: .(1 OT)Visitor — . Totals .Home — . Totals .Visitor x x x x x — xxHome x x x x x — xx3-point baskets: .Fouled out: .(2 OT)Visitor — . Totals .Home — . Totals .Visitor x x x x x x—xxHome x x x x x x—xx3-point baskets: .Fouled out: .Girls basketball Thursday’s results Dundee-Crown Charger ClassicSTEVENSON 68, MAINE SOUTH 46Stevenson — Way 7 5-6 23, Fajardo 2 2-2 7, Buford 2 0-0 5, Burke 1 4-4 6, Richardson 5 2-2 14, Despinich 3 0-0 9, Ekenberg 0 0-0 0, Wicklund 0 0-0 0, Morgan 1 0-0 3, Merrick 1 0-0 2. Totals 22 13-14 68.Maine South — Anderson 4 2-2 13, McGuire 0 3-4 3, Schoneman 3 0-0 6, Fagenholz 4 0-0 11, Kons 2 0-2 6, Skoronski 0 0-0 0, Roberts 0 0-0 0, Miles 1 0-0 3, Spuria 2 0-0 4, Bobek 0 0-0 0, Colletti 0 0-0 0, Gaffney 0 0-0 0. Totals 16 5-8 46.Stevenson 20 10 16 22 —68Maine South 12 14 8 12 —463-point baskets: Stev: Way 4, Despinich 3, Richardson 2, Fajardo, Morgan; MS: Anderson 3, Fagenholz 3, Kons 2, Miles.Fouled out: none.Lisle ClassicANTIOCH 59, WESTMONT 23Antioch — P. Gallimore 4 2-2 12, Johnson 2 0-0 4, Keyes 2 0-2 4, Bohn 0 0-0 0, As. Reiser 3 0-0 6, Am. Reiser 8 1-4 17, Kristen 1 0-0 2, Duehr 5 0-0 10, Zogran 1 0-0 1, Murillo 0 0-0 0, Gantz 0 0-0 0, Gallimore E. 0 1-2 1, Megan 0 0-0 0. Totals 26-4-10 59.Westmont — Prete 1 0-0 2, LEchelt 1 0-0 2, Casper 2 0-0 5, O’Malley 0 0-0 0, Carter 0 0-0 0, May 0 0-0 0, Kurt 0 0-0 0, Carlson 7 0-0 14, Vandercar 0 0-0 0. Totals 11 0-0 23.Antioch 24 11 13 11 —59Westmont 8 6 6 3 —23

    While he has missed 7 of the last 10 games for the Bulls, Luol Deng remains a focal point of NBA trade rumors. There doesn't appear to be a deal that fits the needs of the Bulls, however.

    Deng’s future with Bulls difficult to predict

    Luol Deng is averaging a career-high 19.6 points this season, which makes his future with the Bulls even more uncertain. A trade is unlikely, so Deng's value as free agent next summer will determine whether or not he leaves after 10 seasons with the Bulls.


    Palatine win streak hits 3

    Little by little, the Palatine boys basketball team is gaining a winning identity. Thursday night’s 53-48 win over a rugged McHenry team helped solidify it. The Pirates’ three-game win streak now has them at 5-5 for the season. The victory also pits them against Elk Grove in second-round championship bracket play Friday in the 40th annual Jack Tosh Tournament at York High School in Elmhurst.

    Fremd guard Riley Glassmann, center, fights for the ball against Niles North guard Danillo Ranger on Thursday at the Wheeling Hardwood Classic.

    Fremd nixes Niles North

    Fremd put together its best half of basketball Thursday, and that was more than enough to advance to Friday’s night semifinal in the 36th Annual Wildcat Hardwood Classic at Wheeling. Unbeaten Fremd won its 11th straight game, a 56-40 decision over Niles North (8-3). It put the game away in the first half with a suffocating defensive effort. Only once has a team scored more than 40 points against Fremd, and that goes back to the third game of the season.


    St. Viator gets it all going

    St. Viator put together a dominant first half and then coasted to a 66-47 victory over Deerfield on Thursday in the quarterfinals of the Wheeling Hardwood Classic. The Lions (10-1) raced out to 30-5 lead in the first half to earn a trip to the semifinals and a rematch with Prospect, the only team to defeat them this year.


    Warren thrives at the line; Carmel wins at the buzzer

    Warren’s girls basketball team delivered under pressure, going 10-for-12 (83 percent) at the free throw line in the final quarter on Thursday night and handing Grayslake Central its first loss in the Blue Devil Tournament with a 42-37 victory in Gurnee. Carmel, meanwhile, got a late 3-pointer from Cassidy Kloss to top edge Deerfield 53-51.

    Ashley Williams of West Aurora attempts to block Nina Scaramella of Lyons during the West Aurora at Wheaton North girls basketball tournament game Thursday.

    West Aurora can’t buy a basket

    West Aurora’s hopes of reaching the semifinals of the Bill Neibch Holiday Girls Basketball Tournament hit a roadblock in the form of Lyons Township Thursday night. The fourth-seeded Blackhawks (10-2) attempted 18 more shots from the field than the fifth-seeded Lions (7-4) and committed 3 fewer turnovers but still left the gym on the short end of a 56-47 quarterfinal decision at Wheaton North.


    West Aurora dominates Joliet West

    West Aurora made one of its prototypical boys basketball runs against Joliet West Thursday night. The Blackhawks, holding the Tigers to single-digit production in the opening two quarters, stun Joliet West with the last 13 points of first half. Emerging junior star Roland Griffin then scored the first 5 points of the third quarter. By the time Joliet West ended a seven-minute-plus scoring drought, the Blackhawks’ rout was in full cycle.


    Top-seed New Trier routs St. Charles North

    St. Charles North girls basketball coach Sean Masoncup would have liked it much better had his team played the entire game like it played the second half Thursday. But the North Stars fell behind top-seeded New Trier 18-0 and could never recover in a 72-44 loss in the opening round of the 31st annual Charger Classic at Dundee-Crown in Carpentersville.


    Geneva starts fast, blows out Oak Lawn

    The Upstate Eight River Division hasn’t been kind to Geneva in the early going this season, but holiday tournaments seem to put the Vikings in a nice comfort zone.


    Loberg shines again in Geneva’s win

    It’s not ordinary for a player to start the season on the JV team, get called up to varsity, then lead her team in scoring her first four games. Grace Loberg is not your ordinary player.


    Balanced Aurora Central gets 1st win

    Five Aurora Central Catholic players scored in double figures and the Chargers picked up their first win of the year Thursday, beating Milwaukee North 81-77 at the East Aurora Holiday Tournament.


    Egekeze’s 32 pace Huntley

    When Huntley is playing suffocating defense and senior star Amanze Egekeze is hitting from inside and outside, the Red Raiders are difficult to even contain. That was the case on Thursday as Huntley beat FW Parker 60-39 in the consolation quarterfinals at the Elgin Holiday Tournament. Huntley advances to play Corliss in the consolation semifinals on Friday. Egekeze was able to establish himself early, scoring 11 of his game-high 32 points in the first quarter.

    Images from the Lisle vs. Latin School girls basketball game on Thursday, Dec. 26, 2013.

    Images: Lisle vs. Latin School girls basketball
    Lisle played Latin School in girls basketball action during the Lisle Cage Classic holiday tournament on Thursday.


    Crystal Lake South nips Bartlett

    Caleb Johnson wasn’t the first option on the play that put the Crystal Lake South boys basketball up for good Thursday. The senior turned out to be the right option. Johnson hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key with 1:29 remaining to break a 41-41 tie and help the Gators to a 46-43 victory over Bartlett at the Hinkle Holiday Classic at Jacobs.

    Fremd guard Riley Glassman, center, fights for the ball against Niles North guard Danillo Ranger on Thursday at the Wheeling Hardwood Classic.

    Images: Fremd vs. Niles North boys basketball
    Fremd played Niles North at the Wheeling Hardwood Classic boys basketball tournament on Thursday, Dec. 26, 2013.


    Batavia battles but can’t top unbeaten Trinity

    Batavia got a taste of postseason basketball in December on Thursday in the quarterfinals of the Montini Christmas Tournament. The Bulldogs found themselves in that pressure-packed type of back-and-forth game from the opening tip to the final buzzer, one in which every possession matters against an undefeated Trinity team.

    Dundee-Crown’s Cordero Parson knocks the ball from Elgin’s Desmond Douglas Thursday in the quarterfinal game of the Elgin Holiday Tournament.

    Fast start puts Elgin in semifinals

    Elgin couldn’t have asked for a better start to its game against Dundee-Crown on Thursday at its own holiday tournament inside Chesbrough Field House. Hoping to come out with the right intensity, the Maroons implemented a zone press defense, helping set the tone from the get-go during a 56-37 win. The Maroons advance to the semifinals for the third year in a row where they will face Harlan at 6:45 p.m. Friday. The Chargers will face Rockford East in a 12:15 p.m. consolation game.

    Images from the West Aurora vs. Wheaton North girls basketball game on Thursday, Dec. 26, 2013.

    Images: West Aurora vs. Wheaton North girls basketball
    West Aurora played Wheaton North in girls basketball action during the annual Bill Neibch Falcon Holiday Classic on Thursday Dec. 26, 2013 in Wheaton.

    Elgin’s Desmond Sanders and Mike Hanneman defend Dundee-Crown’s Kiwaun Seals Thursday in the quarterfinal game of the Elgin Holiday Tournament.

    Images: Elgin vs. Dundee-Crown boys basketball
    The Elgin Maroons played the Dundee-Crown Chargers in the 39th Annual Elgin Boys Holiday Basketball Tournament quarterfinal game Thursday, Dec. 26, 2013.

    Images from the Metea Valley vs. Naperville North boys basketball game on Thursday, Dec. 26, 2013.

    Images: Metea Valley vs. Naperville North boys basketball
    Metea Valley played Naperville North in the 40th annual Jack Tosh Holiday Classic basketball tournament at York High School on Thursday.


    Thomas, Prospect finish off Glenbrook South

    A flexible finish from Prospect’s Danny Thomas helped contort the Knights into the semifinals of the Wheeling Hardwood Classic. Thomas took a feed from teammate Bobby Frasco at the top of the key with 5 seconds to play, then weaved past two Glenbrook South defenders and laid the ball into the basket with 2.2 seconds left to lift his team to a 52-51 decision in championship quarterfinal play Thursday.

    Prospect’s Catherine Sherwood drives to the hoop as Bartlett’s Kaitlin Brohan (15) applies pressure during the 31st annual Charger Classic on Thursday at Dundee-Crown.

    Wills power Prospect past Bartlett

    With less than 1:25 in the fourth quarter showing on the scoreboard, Bartlett had possession of the basketball and led Prospect 33-30 in an opening-round game of the Dundee Crown Charger Classic on Thursday afternoon. That’s when the Knights showed what their defense is all about and came up with a dramatic 38-33 triumph to advance to Friday’s quarterfinal against Stevenson at 5 p.m. Bartlett will face Maine South in the consolation bracket at 9:30 a.m.

    Images from the Libertyville vs. Grayslake North girls basketball in Mundelein on Thursday, Dec. 26.

    Images: Libertyville vs. Grayslake North girls basketball
    The Libertyville wildcats played the Grayslake North Knights in girls basketball action at the Mundelein tournament on Thursday, Dec. 26.


    Way has her say as Stevenson handles Maine S.

    In the season of giving, Sophia Way might have been giving too much. Of herself. So Stevenson coach Tom Dineen had a talk with his veteran junior before the Patriots’ game against Mundelein last week. “She’s been trying to do a little too much,” Dineen said. “I told her, ‘Just go play. Have fun. It’s high school basketball.’ She was trying to be the assistant coach, the cheerleader, the team mom, the captain.” In Stevenson’s first contest in Dundee-Crown’s Charger Classic since 2006, Way was the game’s leading scorer and best player on the floor. The sweet-shooting guard dropped in 13 of her 23 points in the opening quarter, as the Patriots bolted to an early lead and never trailed, pulling away for a 68-46 win over Maine South on Thursday.


    South Elgin tops Prairie Ridge in OT

    South Elgin senior guard Matt McClure threw water on a hot shooter, then scored the final 5 points in overtime to seal a 69-65 victory over Prairie Ridge at the Hinkle Holiday Classic at Jacobs Thursday morning. Prairie Ridge senior Michael Bradshaw helped the Wolves erase a 9-point, fourth-quarter deficit by connecting on four 3-pointers in 5 attempts. The Wolves had a chance to to take a late lead at the free-throw line in regulation. However, trailing 60-59, Bradshaw missed the front end of the bonus and with 20 seconds left and 6-foot-3 senior forward Ryan Gilbert managed only to split a pair with 12.3 seconds to play, leaving the contest knotted 60-60.

    Shaun White flies off a jump during the World Cup U.S. Grand Prix snowboarding qualifications Dec. 19 in Frisco, Colo.

    Video shows off Shaun White's new halfpipe trick

    Shaun White's adding a new twist for Sochi. Well, half a twist, really. On a video posted to a sponsor's YouTube site Thursday, White shows the world the trick he's been working on for the upcoming Olympics. It's a frontside double-cork 1440, which resembles his Double McTwist 1260 but adds another half revolution of twist inside the two head-over-heels flips.

    Rutgers players sings the school alma mater, “On the Banks of the Old Raritan,” after beating South Florida on Dec. 7 in Piscataway, N.J.

    Rutgers has one game left before joining Big Ten

    Rutgers couldn’t ask for a much better way to springboard into the Big Ten Conference next season than facing Notre Dame in the Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium.

    Chicago speedskater Shani Davis has won two Olympic gold medals, but he isn’t guaranteed a spot on the U.S. team.

    Everyone starting from scratch at U.S. speedskating trials

    It doesn’t matter if you’re two-time gold medalist Shani Davis or an obscure long shot — you have to earn your way onto the American speedskating team that will be in Sochi.

    Wisconsin’s Jared Abbrederis runs with a reception during a game against Purdue in Madison, Wis. From scout team quarterback to indispensable senior receiver, Abbrederis has set a new standard for walk-ons at No. 19 Wisconsin.

    Abbrederis going out on top for No. 19 Wisconsin

    Jared Abbrederis’ exemplary college career at Wisconsin is about to come to an end. It features a record of hard work and deceptive quickness that helped produce a new standard at a program already known for producing quality walk-on players.

    Bobby Bowden

    Bowden’s grandson killed in crash

    Former Florida State football coach Bobby Bowden’s grandson was one of two men killed when their car flipped into a small ditch off a central Florida road, officials said Thursday.


    Larkin tops Barrington to reach Jacobs semifinals

    Larkin boys basketball coach Deryn Carter was willing to take chances with less-seasoned personnel in Thursday morning’s 60-49 win over Barrington in the name of gaining experience. With a bid to the semifinals of the Hinkle Holiday Classic at Jacobs sewn up before the Royals took the floor for the final game of pool play, Larkin (12-1) started its usual lineup, including guards Kendale McCullum and Derrick Streety. But Carter entrusted a 19-point lead with six minutes to play mostly to reserves playing alongside 6-foot-5 freshman starting forward Christian Negron.

    Penn State head coach Bill O’ Brien leads his team onto the field at Beaver Stadium for a Sept. 7 game against Eastern Michigan in State College, Pa. The Nittany Lions have had two years of modified success under O’Brien.

    Two years later, scandal still divides Penn State

    Some two years after Jerry Sandusky’s name and stomach-turning deeds exploded in the headlines like a thunderclap, the reverberations ripple across the Penn State campus and community. Most townspeople, many alumni, faculty and students, and especially Paterno’s family still chafe over the injustice of a university’s reputation dragged through the mud, and a coach’s legacy of wins and good deeds discarded.

    Michigan freshman quarterback Shane Morris will make his first collegiate start in Saturday’s Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl.

    Freshman QB to start of Michigan in bowl game

    Michigan freshman quarterback Shane Morris will start in place of Devin Gardner in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl. Gardner sustained a turf toe injury in the Wolverines’ final regular-season game against Ohio State and showed up in Arizona wearing a protective boot.

    Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers will return to start Sunday’s game for the NFC North title against the Bears.

    Packers QB Aaron Rodgers to start Bears game

    Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers will return to start Sunday’s game for the NFC North title against the Bears. Coach Mike McCarthy announced Thursday that Rodgers will be back after missing seven games because of a left collarbone injury. “We’re preparing for the Chicago Bears with Aaron Rodgers as our starting quarterback,” McCarthy said.

    The Bulls have sent guard Marquis Teague to the NBA's D-League to get more playing time while Kirk Hinrich and D.J. Augustin hold down the point-guard position.

    Bulls send Teague to D-League for work

    The Bulls assigned guard Marquis Teague to the D-League's Iowa Energy on Thursday. They tried this on Dec. 3, but had to recall Teague before he'd participated in a practice or game because of an injury to backup guard Mike James.

    In this May 22, 1946 file photo, St. Louis Cardinals’ Stan Musial bats against the Philadelphia Phillies during a baseball game at Shibe Park in Philadelphia. Musial, one of baseball’s greatest hitters and a Hall of Famer with the Cardinals for more than two decades, died Saturday, Jan 19, 2013. He was 92.

    Losses in sports in 2013: Musial, Weaver, Griffith

    Stan Musial and Earl Weaver, men of disparate times and temperaments, died in 2013. The deaths of the two Hall of Famers, in an odd alignment of baseball’s planets, came hours apart on Jan. 19. Musial — Stan the Man, “baseball’s perfect knight,” as a statue inscription reads — was 92 when he died at home in suburban St. Louis. Weaver, the Baltimore Orioles’ longtime manager, was 82 and on a Caribbean cruise. They underscored a year of losses in sports.


    The cloud will be used more for data storage that will help various devices.

    Experts' 2014 tech predictions: high-tech shopping, life in the cloud

    We're poised for a new year and more tech advances that will help you to shop and work smarter, store more data on the cloud and see chips become more of your personal lifestyle. Here's a rundown of how local experts see the hot new technology coming in 2014.

    An Amazon.com employee stocks a shelf at an Amazon.com Fulfillment Center on “Cyber Monday.” Shoppers waited until the last possible minute to buy presents this year, even online. The late surge sent holiday retail sales up 3.5 percent, which ultimately was good news for retailers but caught shippers UPS and FedEx unprepared.

    Online shopping grows, catching companies off guard

    Americans waited until the last minute to buy holiday gifts, but retailers weren’t prepared for the spike. The late surge caught companies off guard. UPS and FedEx failed to deliver some packages by Christmas due to a combination of poor weather and overloaded systems, leaving some unhappy holiday shoppers.

    Companies including Google and the Huffington Post are trying everything from deploying moderators to forcing people to use their real names in order to restore civil discourse on online comment threads.

    Bye bye, bile? Websites try to nix nasty comments

    NEW YORK — Mix blatant bigotry with poor spelling. Add a dash of ALL CAPS. Top it off with a violent threat. And there you have it: A recipe for the worst of online comments, scourge of the Internet.Blame anonymity, blame politicians, blame human nature. But a growing number of websites are reining in the Wild West of online commentary. Companies including Google and the Huffington Post are trying everything from deploying moderators to forcing people to use their real names in order to restore civil discourse. Some sites, such as Popular Science, are banning comments altogether.The efforts put sites in a delicate position. User comments add a lively, fresh feel to videos, stories and music. And, of course, the longer visitors stay to read the posts, and the more they come back, the more a site can charge for advertising.What websites don’t want is the kind of off-putting nastiness that spewed forth under a recent CNN.com article about the Affordable Care Act.“If it were up to me, you progressive libs destroying this country would be hanging from the gallows for treason. People are awakening though. If I were you, I’d be very afraid,” wrote someone using the name “JBlaze.”YouTube, which is owned by Google, has long been home to some of the Internet’s most juvenile and grammatically incorrect comments. The site caused a stir last month when it began requiring people to log into Google Plus to write a comment. Besides herding users to Google’s unified network, the company says the move is designed to raise the level of discourse in the conversations that play out under YouTube videos.One such video, a Cheerios commercial featuring an interracial family, met with such a barrage of racist responses on YouTube in May that General Mills shut down comments on it altogether.“Starting this week, when you’re watching a video on YouTube, you’ll see comments sorted by people you care about first,” wrote YouTube product manager Nundu Janakiram and principal engineer Yonatan Zunger in a blog post announcing the changes. “If you post videos on your channel, you also have more tools to moderate welcome and unwelcome conversations. This way, YouTube comments will become conversations that matter to you.”Anonymity has always been a major appeal of online life. Two decades ago, The New Yorker magazine ran a cartoon with a dog sitting in front of a computer, one paw on the keyboard. The caption read: “On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog.” At its best, anonymity allows people to speak freely without repercussions. It allows whistle blowers and protesters to espouse unpopular opinions. At its worst, it allows people to spout off without repercussions. It gives trolls and bullies license to pick arguments, threaten and abuse.But anonymity has been eroding in recent years. On the Internet, many people may know not only your name, but also your latest musings, the songs you’ve listened to, your job history, who your friends are and even the brand of soap you prefer.“It’s not so much that our offline lives are going online, it’s that our offline and online lives are more integrated,” says Mark Lashley, a professor of communications at La Salle University in Philadelphia. Facebook, which requires people to use their real names, played a big part in the seismic shift.“The way the Web was developed, it was unique in that the avatar and the handle were always these things people used to go by. It did develop into a Wild West situation,” he says, adding that it’s no surprise that Google and other companies are going this route. “As more people go online and we put more of our lives online, we should be held accountable for things we say.”

    The S&P 500 reached another record high Thursday on the news of fewer jobless claims in the U.S.

    Jobless-claims report fuels new record-high market finish

    U.S. stocks climbed, extending an all-time high for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, as a drop in jobless claims fueled optimism in the economy.The S&P 500 rose 0.5 percent to 1,842 at 4 p.m. in New York. U.S. markets were closed yesterday for the Christmas holiday.“The stock market is energized by the stronger macro trends that we’re seeing,” Jim Russell, who helps oversee $112 billion as a senior equity strategist for U.S. Bank Wealth Management, said by phone. “The fundamentals are filling in for a market that has been primarily Fed-driven. We think that is a healthy and sustainable development that has some momentum into 2014.”U.S. benchmark indexes reached all-time highs in a shortened session on Dec. 24 as data on durable goods and new- home sales beat forecasts. The S&P 500 has gained 29 percent in 2013, poised for its biggest annual jump since 1997.Jobless claims declined by 42,000 to 338,000 in the week ended Dec. 21, a Labor Department report showed today in Washington. The median forecast of 42 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for a drop to 345,000. Continuing claims rose.The year-end holidays make it difficult to adjust for fluctuations in applications for jobless benefits, a Labor Department official said as the figures were released.Bond BuyingThe Federal Reserve, which has made employment creation a determinant factor of its monetary stimulus, on Dec. 18 said it will reduce the pace of bond buying amid faster-than-estimated economic growth. Three rounds of stimulus have sent the S&P 500 up 172 percent from a 12-year low in 2009.“We are still seeing a bit of window dressing,” Stephane Ekolo, a strategist at Market Securities in London, said by phone. “The U.S. is doing better, the recovery is there. We’ve been playing the tapering news for some time, but the market has come to terms with the fact that it is a minor withdrawal of stimulus, and that in any case it means the economy is doing better. It is a good sign.”U.S. equities also gained as Japan’s Topix index closed at its highest level since 2008 on speculation the central bank will press ahead with stimulus. The gauge has rallied 49 percent this year, the most among 24 major developed markets tracked by Bloomberg, as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and the Bank of Japan took steps to end 15 years of deflation.--With assistance from Alexis Xydias in London. Editors: Jeff Sutherland, Cecile VannucciTo contact the reporter on this story: Nick Taborek in New York at ntaborekbloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Cecile Vannucci at cvannucci1bloomberg.net; Lynn Thomasson at lthomassonbloomberg.net

    File photo McDonald’s headquarters in Oakbrook.

    McDonald’s closes employee website amid criticism

    McDonald’s Corp. has shut down a website intended to provide employees with work and life guidance after it generated negative publicity for the fast-food company.The McResource program has been criticized for creating unrealistic budgets and offering advice that was out of touch with its workers’ pay. The website, which was run by an outside company, also reportedly discouraged workers from eating fast food. The Oak Brook-based company said Thursday that it is having its vendor take down the website. “Between links to irrelevant or outdated information, along with outside groups taking elements out of context, this created unwarranted scrutiny and inappropriate commentary,” the company said in a statement. Earlier this year, media and labor groups criticized the website for content including sample budgets for employees that were based on holding two jobs and included no costs for heating, as well as suggestions on what to tip a personal fitness trainer or au pair. One critic, the “Low Pay is Not Okay” campaign, was one of the groups behind strikes and rallies by fast-food workers and labor organizers earlier this month that demanded better pay. While efforts vary by state, organizers are hoping to build public support to raise the federal minimum wage of $7.25, or about $15,000 a year for full-time work. And in an embarrassing moment for McDonald’s, the world’s largest hamburger chain, CNBC reported last week that the McResource website discouraged eating fast food as part of its tips for healthy living. While it has shut down the website, McDonald’s said it plans to continue an internal telephone help line through which the majority of its employees access its work-life help resources.

    Jona Caldwell joins a long line of job seekers outside the Ferguson Community Center in Cordova, Tenn.

    Weekly U.S. jobless claims drop 42,000 to 338,000

    The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits dropped by 42,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 338,000, the biggest drop since November 2012. But economists say the figures from late November and December are warped by seasonal volatility around the Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s holidays.


    Itasca’s Eaglewood completes $1.2 million facilities renovation
    Eaglewood Resort & Spa in Itasca has recently completed a $1.2 million renovation, the resort’s parent company announced. Houston-based Benchmark Hospitality International said the makeover encompassed Eaglewood’s conference center’s meeting rooms and common areas, and included new carpeting, wall vinyl, draperies & sheers, upholstery and furnishings.


    Chicago’s Tribune Company acquires Gracenote music firm from Sony

    Tribune Company announced it will purchase music technology and metadata company Gracenote from Sony Corporation of America for about $170 million.


    Gallagher acquires McIntyre Risk Management

    Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. of Itasca said it has acquired McIntyre Risk Management LLC in Cherry Hill, N.J. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. Established in 2002, McIntyre Risk Management (McIntyre) is a retail insurance broker providing retail commercial property/casualty and risk management insurance products and services for their upper middle-market U.S. and international clients.

    Northwestern Illinois officials want to team up with their Iowa counterparts to woo a Boeing plant that could bring more than 8,500 jobs to the Quad Cities.

    Quad Cities officials eye Boeing factory bid

    Northwestern Illinois officials want to team up with their Iowa counterparts to woo a Boeing plant that could bring more than 8,500 jobs to the Quad Cities. The (Moline) Dispatch reports the Bi-State Regional Commission sent a letter to the governors of Iowa and Illinois asking them to promote a regional bid for the multi-billion assembly plant.

    Retailers are shortening the amount of time customers have to return items.

    Consumer advocates: Don’t dawdle returning gifts
    Heading to the store to return a Christmas gift? Better not wait. That’s according to the Better Business Bureau of Chicago and Northern Illinois. The consumer advocacy group says some retailers are shortening the amount of time customers have to return items. The group says most of the changes impact electronics and appliances.

Life & Entertainment


    In love, heart should trump wealth

    Maybe I am just naive, but love should be judged on a person’s heart, not their wallet. Am I wrong?

    At a recent meeting of the Cindy Bandle Young Critics at Goodman Theatre, suburban high school students Nina Wilson, left, Ariel Majewski, center and Maya St. Clair discuss colorblind casting.

    Theater program teaches young women to think critically

    “Where are all the female critics?” The question that came up more than seven years ago as part of a panel discussion sponsored by the Association for Women Journalists inspired more than a debate. It inspired action -- and a program that teaches young women in the city and suburbs to write and think critically.

    Get a group of friends together to usher in 2014 at a new suburban bar or restaurant.

    New bars, restaurants gear up for first New Year's

    No matter what kind of year it's been for you, 2013 is ending and there's no better way to break with the past than going somewhere new to celebrate. Whether you're looking for a nice dinner, a place where you can celebrate with the kids or a party that will last all night, you can welcome 2014 at one of these new suburban bars or restaurants come Tuesday night.

    Malay spiced sea bass rests on a bed of curried cauliflower and potato purée at e+o Food and Drink at Randhurst Village in Mount Prospect.

    Restaurant critics share their standouts from 2013

    If the average Joe eats out 4.7 times a week (according to the gospel of Zagat), then you have to figure restaurant critics eat out even more than that. From grabbing a chicken wrap from the drive-through (yes, we sometimes do that), to settling into a booth at a neighborhood pub, to putting on our finest for a romantic evening out, those of us who write the weekly dining reviews for Time out! have visited hundreds of restaurants over the past 52 weeks. Here are those places that stand out most in our minds.

    In this May 7, 2012 file photo, chef Charlie Trotter poses with a glass of champagne and his medal for Humanitarian of the Year during the James Beard Foundation Awards in New York. The award-winning chef died in November, a year after closing his eponymous Chicago restaurant that is credited with elevating the city’s cuisine and providing a training ground for some of the nation’s other best chefs.

    2013 food news: Bidding adieu to Charlie Trotter and trans fats

    It wasn’t Paula Deen’s career implosion. Nor the rise and fall of the Cronut. It wasn’t even the Sriracha apocalypse. This year’s most significant food moment was more seismic, an event 125 years in the making. For 2013 was the first time in a long time that the food world had something new to say about Thanksgiving.

    Max Von Sydow as Father Merrin poses in the iconic scene from William Friedkin's "The Exorcist," inspired by "Citizen Kane" cinematographer Gregg Toland, a native of Charleston, Ill., just like Dann Gire.

    'Exorcist': The scary movie that opened the eyes of a future film critic

    Dann has a special affection for “The Exorcist” with its spinning heads, projectile pea-soup hurling, crucifix abuse and tinkling on the living room carpet. He thought of films as simple entertainment vehicles, disposable weekend activities to talk about on Monday mornings and forget about. He saw within “The Exorcist” the possibility of art, symbolism, style, craft, and something magical.


    Night life events: Get in the game at Old Towne Pub
    See all your favorite teams this weekend at Old Towne Pub in Geneva. Watch the Chicago Blackhawks take on the St. Louis Blues Saturday. Drink specials include $5.50 Captain Morgan cocktails and $3.50 Bud Light and Budweiser tall boys. On Sunday, the Chicago Bears take on the Green Bay Packers for the NFC North title.

    This 1962 file photo shows Ian Lancaster Fleming, the best-selling British author and creator of a fiction character known as secret agent, James Bond. British doctors who carefully read Ian Flemingís series of James Bond novels say the celebrated spy regularly drank more than four times the recommended limit of alcohol per week. Their research was published in the light-hearted Christmas edition of the journal BMJ.

    Shaken not stirred: Did 007 have alcoholic tremor?

    He may have a license to kill, but is he sober enough to shoot? British doctors who carefully read Ian Fleming’s series of James Bond novels say the celebrated spy regularly drank more than four times the recommended limit of alcohol per week. Their research was published in the light-hearted Christmas edition of the medical journal BMJ.

    In this Oct. 24, 2013 file photo, Drake performs during his “Would You Like A Tour” show in Toronto. Sometimes a song hits you at the right time and place in life, becomes a part of the soundtrack for your list of moments. Drake’s “Started from the Bottom” is one of these songs.

    AP music writers’ top 5 songs of the year

    Drake, Kayne, Dawes and Solange offered up some amazing singles in 2013. Associated Press music writers Chris Talbott and Mesfin Fekadu pick their top five songs of the year.

    Shawn Owens, Knott County tourism director, rides an all-terrain vehicle at the Mine Made Adventure Park in Leburn, Ky. The ATV park was built on a former coal mine and local officials hope the park can generate tourism dollars for the small Appalachian county.

    ATV park breathes life into old Appalachian mine

    An eastern Kentucky county hit hard in recent years by the region’s dwindling coal industry has built a tourist attraction on the remains of an old Appalachian mine. Now the mining site, renamed the Mine Made Adventure Park, is buzzing with the sound of two-stroke engines as all-terrain vehicle, dirt bike and horseback riders dot the wide-open landscape, bringing with them the potential for a tourism boost to the economy.

    With some 40 restaurants across the world, from Madrid to Miami, and including Tanta in Chicago, chef Gaston Acurio is undoubtedly the face of Peruvian cuisine. His flagship restaurant, Astrid&Gaston, was ranked 14 on this year's World's 50 Best Restaurants.

    Peruvian chef talks cuisine, future of food

    He has been called the unofficial ambassador of Peruvian cuisine, but chef Gaston Acurio prefers to share that title with his fellow countrymen. “For us as Peruvians, we feel that we represent the culture all over the world,” he said. “For us, it's the opportunity to promote our food, our culture, our image.” Modesty aside, Acurio is undoubtedly the face of Peruvian cuisine. He has some 40 restaurants across the world, from Madrid to Miami, and including Tanta in Chicago's River North neighborhood.

    Zion native Bill Blagg will perform feats of magic and illusion during his show Saturday in Aurora.

    Magician Bill Blagg to wow the crowd at the Paramount Saturday

    Bill Blagg's magic and illusion act these days includes a Hoverboard zooming across the stage — a far cry from his start making quarters disappear as a kid growing up in Zion. The star of “The Magic of Bill Blagg” plays the Paramount Theatre in Aurora Saturday.



    Redistricting reform: Stop the not-so-silent killer of democracy in Illinois

    A Daily Herald editorial says we have the opportunity in 2014 to fundamentally change how Illinois government works and we must not let it pass.


    I know it’s only words in print but I like it

    Columnist Jim Slusher: I come today, in the midst of the holiday-dulled news cycle, simply in praise of reading.


    Time to say yes

    Columnists Steven and Cokie Rorberts: Finally, the grown-ups have taken back control of Capitol Hill. The question now is whether they can keep it. The passage of a modest bipartisan budget plan shows that Congress can occasionally function on a reasonably effective level. That’s a low bar, of course. But for the last few years, lawmakers have failed to meet even a minimum standard of competence.


    Look to virtues of health care law
    A Darien letter to the editor: Now that the issues facing the Affordable Care Act’s website are resolved, I’m hoping our public debate can gop beyond the manufactured hysteria about the law and take a serious look at how it is benefiting health care in this country.


    Politicians forgetting about the veterans
    A Mundelein letter to the editor: Just a note to all state and federal politicians: There is an important bloc of voters that you all forget about — veterans. We put on the uniform of this country to serve this country, and what do we get for it? Nothing!


    More access to FOID card data adds risk
    An Arlington Heights letter to the editor: The case for local police having access to the FOID card database appears weak. Over and over, news reports of domestic disturbances in which firearms are involved indicate that the individual creating the problem did not have a FOID card. In view of that, it would seem foolish for police on the scene to assume there are no firearms present just because there is no record of a FOID card holder at the address.


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