Chicago Sun-Times Latest news from the Chicago Sun-Times Online en-us (Editor) Newspapers Chicago Sun-Times 84 34 30 Copyright 2014 <![CDATA[ Family documents step-by-step development of monarch butterfly ]]> Lead story image

It’s one thing to read about the progression of a monarch from a caterpillar to a newly dry butterfly in science class. It’s quite another to watch it in your own home, as Paul Bleers and his kids did in the southwest suburbs. And they recorded the steps along the way the best they could. I thought I did a pretty good job of connecting my kids with the natural world through chasing frogs, watching hummingbirds and goldfinches, raising a menagerie of pets, fishing and hiking. But what the Bleers family did is something special, something worth sharing. During the … ]]> Fri, 19 Sep 2014 23:27:33 -0500 <![CDATA[ Willie Young’s sack celebrations reel in responses ]]> Lead story image

In his second sack dance Sunday, it looked as though Bears defensive end Willie Young was working a Culprit Worm or wacky-rigged Senko on an inside weed line for largemouth bass or jigging an Erie Darter through rock crevices on the Chicago lakefront for smallmouth bass. That was my interpretation, anyway. His fishing sack dances must be art because others had other reads. The first dance was straightforward: He was reeling in a fish. In art, though, everybody has their own take. Alsip bass pro Ed Bohn messaged: ‘‘Must have been a short strike because Willie didn’t reel much.’’ Bohn … ]]> Wed, 17 Sep 2014 02:22:43 -0500 <![CDATA[ 09/17: Midwest Fishing Report 09/17: Fish of the Week ]]> Lead story image

Midwest fishing report SHORELINE SALMON: CHICAGO: As Fish of the Week shows, some clean kings being caught, especially at harbor mouths (Montrose) and on South Side. WAUKEGAN: As Salmon Unlimted derby showed, some kings on shore. Salmon Stop: Some browns and steelhead, too. INDIANA: Fisheries biologist Ben  Dickinson: ‘‘Not as thick as the steelhead, but there are fishable numbers in Trail Creek [and] a few in Little Cal.’’ Mik-Lurch: A few from shore and boat at the Hole-in-the-Wall. Boaters did best with Moonshine spoons. Casters are using Lucky Crafts, K.O. Wobblers or chartreuse Frenzys. SOUTHWEST MICHIGAN: Tackle Haven: A few … ]]> Tue, 16 Sep 2014 19:49:01 -0500 <![CDATA[ NASCAR at Chicagoland: Risky pass nets big reward for Brad Keselowski ]]> Lead story image

The cars in front of him were two-wide — very wide. Wide enough, anyway, to leave open a spot in the middle. Brad Keselowski had to make a decision. The lure? The biggest was to win, and automatically get in to the next round of the ­NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase. Keselowski went for it, and split the middle between Kyle Larson and Kevin Harvick. The pass ­provided the wildest of many wild moments in the closing laps of the 400 on Sunday at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet. Keselowski went into the day as the top-ranking of the 16 drivers … ]]> Sun, 14 Sep 2014 22:03:57 -0500 <![CDATA[ Tony Stewart stays under the radar in Joliet ]]>

He came quietly. He left quietly. During the 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on Sunday, Tony Stewart was as inconspicuous on track as off, gaining little and losing little in starting 22nd and finishing 18th. The race was expected to be the last for Stewart before findings in an investigation are revealed late this week regarding the Aug. 9 incident at a sprint-car race in which Stewart’s car struck and killed Kevin Ward Jr. Stewart was given one of the loudest prerace ovations by the crowd, including race fan Mike Carpenter of Tinley Park. “I’m glad he’s back,” Carpenter said. … ]]> Sun, 14 Sep 2014 22:01:43 -0500 <![CDATA[ Kayak fishing is where it’s heading ]]> Lead story image

The Chinook that sticks with Nick Doumel was the third one he landed last Saturday kayak fishing at Manitowoc, Wisconsin. ‘‘It went ballistic,’’ Doumel said. ‘‘Teddy Wozny hit me on the radio and asked if I had a tarpon on. It was two minutes of aerial acrobatics.’’ Then it settled down to battling the 36-inch king in. Three kings is what Doumel needed. He won the third event in the inaugural Great Lakes Kayak Fishing Series. It was also enough to come from 47 inches back and in fourth to take the overall title with 142.75 total inches. Scoring in … ]]> Sun, 14 Sep 2014 02:32:27 -0500 <![CDATA[ ‘Character’ track in Joliet opens NASCAR’s Chase ]]> Lead story image

The track is another year older, the format brand new. To hear Matt Kenseth tell it, if you never have bought a ticket to watch NASCAR Sprint Cup cars run at Chicagoland Speedway, this would be a great time to give it a try. “Honestly, it’s a really fun track right now,” said Kenseth, the defending race winner of the 400. “It’s kind of like Kansas was before they paved it. “When these tracks start to get older and get some bumps and some character, in my opinion that’s what makes the best racing and it’s the most fun … ]]> Fri, 12 Sep 2014 00:10:33 -0500 <![CDATA[ Joel Slabe aiming for Bassmaster tourneys ]]> Lead story image

It’s no surprise that Joel Slabe caught one of the early shoreline Chinook on Sunday night at Burnham Harbor. Or that he caught one of the biggest largemouth bass from the Chicago lakefront this summer when he biked on a Friday night to Burnham in August. “Nobody asks where Joel is; they ask where he’s fishing,’’ his father, Jerry Slabe, said. Indications came early. “He started fishing by himself when he was about 4,’’ Jerry said. With that, he launched into a story of the youngest of his four sons as a youngster. In late winter, a patch of water … ]]> Tue, 09 Sep 2014 21:20:30 -0500 <![CDATA[ 9/10: Midwest Fishing Report & Fish of the Week ]]> Lead story image

MIDWEST FISHING REPORT LAKEFRONT SALMON: CHICAGO: Stacey Greene, Park Bait: Good run Monday and Tuesday, best mouth of Montrose. Steve Palmisano, Henry’s: “Good fish, nice and silvery.’’ It’s mostly spoons, mouth of most harbors. WAUKEGAN: Lori Ralph, Salmon Stop: Good bite started Friday; mostly on spoons. NW IND.: Mike Starcevich, Mik-Lurch: Pablo Lebron caught 12 in the last week, 4 of 7 Monday night, around East Chicago; John Nowacki caught big ones at the Ditch on Monday. SE WIS.: Arden Katz: Saturday night was excellent at Milwaukee, Sunday slowed; best was anything with a rattle. Harborside: Better around Pike Creek … ]]> Tue, 09 Sep 2014 21:20:30 -0500 <![CDATA[ Keith Bechtol, Kristen Heckert race to victories in Chicago Half Marathon ]]> Lead story image

You didn’t have to be an ­astrophysicist to tell conditions were nearly perfect Sunday morning for the start of the 18th Chicago Half Marathon on the South Side. But apparently it helped, at least for Keith Bechtol. The astrophysicist at the University of Chicago won the men’s side in 1 hour, 6 minutes, 52 seconds. Jeff Jonatis was second, 50 seconds back. Kristen Heckert, a Plainfield South math teacher and coach from Bolingbrook, won the women’s race in 1:17:35. Pamela Staton was second (1:20:45). “Fantastic: Not much wind and right around 60 ­degrees,’’ Bechtol said. “Beautiful,’’ Heckert said. “I don’t … ]]> Sun, 07 Sep 2014 20:50:05 -0500 <![CDATA[ Illinois wildland crew will go far for a fire ]]> Lead story image

My concern with wildland fires would be, well, the fire. ‘‘There are 100 ways to hurt yourself in a fire, but burning is not one of them,’’ regional forester Tom Gargrave said. ‘‘It’s falling down the hill or cracking an ankle, things like that. The places we were at were so remote that you could not even get helicoptered out [if injured].’’ When fires started out west, calls came for eastern fire-fighting crews. Illinois was ready. In August, a 20-person crew went for a couple weeks. Illinois’ wildland fire crew, valued for high-grade sawyers and firefighters, is the work of … ]]> Sun, 07 Sep 2014 02:33:24 -0500 <![CDATA[ Opening day of dove-hunting season also commemorates death of last passenger pigeon ]]> Lead story image

Two dozen mourning doves erupted from the stubble of a recently disced vegetable field as we stepped off Monday for the opening day of dove hunting. My neighbor Norm Koster and I just laughed. Such are the vagaries of hunting. It was a typical Sept. 1 dove opener, summery enough that we lugged extra water bottles and hunted in jean shorts, earth-tone T-shirts and camo baseball caps. In one major way, however, it was different. Monday also marked the 100th anniversary of the death of Martha, the last passenger pigeon, in the Cincinnati Zoo. Passenger pigeons once numbered in the … ]]> Tue, 02 Sep 2014 21:32:06 -0500 <![CDATA[ 9/3: Midwest Fishing Report & Fish of the Week ]]> Lead story image

MIDWEST FISHING REPORT LAKEFRONT SALMON: SE WIS.: Harborside: It begins for shore fishermen and boaters around Kenosha and Pike Creek. NW INDIANA: Boaters catching some in close at Burns Ditch. Mik-Lurch: A couple from shore at the Hole-in-the-Wall. CHICAGO/WAUKEGAN/SW MICH.: Waiting AREA LAKES: Johnny “Sunshine’’ Pajak: Higher water around DuPage concentrated largemouth close to shore along the weed lines, throw Spooks evenings. Bait Shanty, Algonquin: Largemouth and some crappie decent at Three Oaks. Ken “Husker’’ O’Malley, Water Werks Fishing Team: Largemouth are shallow, cast crankbaits or 41/2-inch Senkos parallel along shorelines; overcast mornings best. AREA RIVERS: FOX: Bait Shanty: Rains … ]]> Tue, 02 Sep 2014 21:32:06 -0500 <![CDATA[ Figuring out a weigh with a massive grass carp ]]> Lead story image

Julio Columbo Roldan caught the Illinois record grass carp last Sunday. Or not. Here’s the scene with Roldan, a hard-core fisherman from Chicago’s Belmont-Cragin neighborhood and a member of the Humboldt Park Fishing Society: ‘‘I don’t know squat about grass carp,’’ he said. ‘‘Ask me about muskie, bass, black crappie, white crappie — that I know.’’ On Sunday, he was fishing with his oldest son, Giovanni Sr., from Logan Square, and his grandson Giovanni Jr. at a buddy’s condo complex in Warrenville. ‘‘You remember how hot Sunday was — hotter than a witch’s kitchen,’’ Roldan said. The men caught smaller … ]]> Sun, 31 Aug 2014 02:31:54 -0500 <![CDATA[ Dove hunting around the corner ]]> Lead story image

It’s time to divine sunflower heads and count doves on wires. With opening day for dove hunting on Monday — Labor Day — the fields will be packed. This year comes with season changes. In Illinois, the two seasons are Sept. 1-Nov. 14, which eliminated the gap before the small-game seasons, and Dec. 26-Jan. 9. ‘‘We hope this late season will provide a little more opportunity for those willing to brave the weather,’’ emailed Stan McTaggart, the agriculture and grassland-wildlife program manager for the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. In Indiana, three seasons were made: Sept. 1-Oct. 19, Nov. 1-9 … ]]> Tue, 26 Aug 2014 20:50:43 -0500 <![CDATA[ 08/27: Midwest Fishing Report & Fish of the Week ]]> Lead story image

MIDWEST FISHING REPORT LAKEFRONT SALMON: CHICAGO/WAUKEGAN: Waiting. INDIANA: Before rains blew out streams, a few big kings (and browns) came in. SOUTHEAST WISCONSIN: Harborside: Chinook being seen in Kenosha Harbor. SOUTHWEST MICHIGAN: Tackle Haven: A few kings came in. AREA LAKES: Ken ‘‘Husker’’ O’Malley, Water Werks Fishing Team: Floating Rapalas or small creature baits taking bass shallow early. AREA RIVERS: DES PLAINES: Marcus Benesch: River is high, but pike are going on Colorado-bladed spinner baits and large Husky Jerks. ILLINOIS: Tine on the Water Outdoors: Catfish on cutbait are best. River is high, stained. KANKAKEE: Norm Minas: River high and … ]]> Tue, 26 Aug 2014 20:50:43 -0500 <![CDATA[ Sam Becker, 13, keeps the muskies coming ]]> Lead story image

For those unacquainted with muskie fishing, casting a Medusa swimbait is like heaving a small cement block into the water and reeling it in all day. Keep that in mind in this story about 13-year-old Sam Becker, who started his first year at Lincoln-Way Central last week, and his muskie accomplishments the last two years. ‘‘I don’t show any mercy,’’ father Richard Becker, 44, said with a laugh when I asked why his oldest son was heaving such heavy baits around. ‘‘He doesn’t quit. He can go for hours without any action, and he is still like it is the … ]]> Sun, 24 Aug 2014 02:33:40 -0500 <![CDATA[ Chicago Marathon: 2013 race generated more than quarter-billion dollars ]]>

Beth Bracco remembers the early days, some 18 years ago, of Blue Plate Catering’s connection with the Chicago Marathon. ‘‘That first year, it was coffee out of paper boxes,’’ said Bracco, vice president of business development. ‘‘As the marathon has grown, our company has grown. Our employees look forward to it each year.’’ One of Blue Plate’s warehouse guys even started a company ­running club. The Bank of America Chicago Marathon has sprawled into the core of Chicago sports and civic life. The economic impact of the 2013 marathon generated more than a quarter-billion dollars for the first time. Don … ]]> Fri, 22 Aug 2014 02:35:59 -0500