Arlington Heights cook in the finale of “Chopped”

This is Good News Sunday, a collection of some of the more optimistic and inspiring stories recently published by the Daily Herald:

Arlington Heights chef Grace Goudie advanced to the season finale of “Chopped” after winning Tuesday night’s episode of the culinary competition.

Goudie is the head chef of the popular breakfast, lunch and brunch restaurant Scratchboard Kitchen at 5 W. Campbell St. She won $ 10,000 in Tuesday’s episode and will compete for $ 25,000 more in the final.

“Being a woman in this world is not easy. People walk into the restaurant and look up and down and ask ‘where is my boss?'” Goudie said in his introduction to Tuesday’s show. “I’m the boss.”

Goudie and the other chefs competed in a special “Casino Royale” tournament where they could “re-roll” delivered ingredients into a random ingredient using dice.

The season finale of “Chopped” will air on February 1 on the Food Network.

“I look forward to applying what I learned today,” Goudie said.

For the full story, click here.


When the Beanie Baby craze swept through the 1990s, Becky Phillips was one of the Naperville mothers in the epicenter.  She shares her memories in the new HBO Max documentary "Beanie Mania."

When the Beanie Baby craze swept through the 1990s, Becky Phillips was one of the Naperville mothers in the epicenter. She shares her memories in the new HBO Max documentary “Beanie Mania”.
– Brian Hill | Staff photographer

Do you remember ‘Beanie Mania’? These women in a dead end in Naperville made it happen

A fun neighborhood in Naperville was the epicenter of the Beanie Babies craze of the 1990s, where the lovable 5 stuffed animals generated $ 1.4 billion in worldwide sales to toy maker Ty Warner of Oak Brook.

“It started here on our dead end,” says Becky Phillips, who teamed up with then-neighbor Becky Estenssoro to ignite the Beanie Babies craze. The two Beckys went from collectors to retailers, publishers, writers and worldwide authorities on everything to do with Beanie Babies.

“We were five who had a complete collection of Beanie Babies, only five,” recalls Phillips, noting that she, Estenssoro, Mary Beth Sobolewski, Dr. Paula Benchik-Abrinko and her sister Peggy Gallagher were influencers before there was such a thing.

“It was basically a group of soccer moms – so-called at the time – who mainly lived in Naperville,” director Yemisi Brookes told Entertainment Weekly about a story about her “Beanie Mania” documentary now airing on HBO Max . “If you look at the phenomenon in detail, without these women, it is unlikely that the phenomenon would have reached the height it did.”

Two decades later, it remains a source of pride for Phillips, a former middle school teacher of language arts and current real estate agent who still lives on the block where she and Estenssoro first caught the Beanie wave.

For the full story, click here.


In this March 29, 1967, archive photo, heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali, center left, and Dr.  Martin Luther King to journalists.  Illinois will celebrate the legacy of both men on Monday, January 17th.

In this March 29, 1967, archive photo, heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali, center left, and Dr. Martin Luther King to journalists. Illinois will celebrate the legacy of both men on Monday, January 17th.
– Associated Press File Photo

Illinois to celebrate Muhammad Ali Day with MLK on January 17th

Many suburban communities will mark yet another Martin Luther King Jr. Day with memories and festivities on Monday, January 17th.

But this year, Illinois residents will celebrate yet another champion of civil justice on the same day. January 17, 2022 marks the first celebration of Muhammad Ali Day in Illinois.

The Illinois Muslim Civic Coalition, which fought to get Muhammad Ali Day recognized across the country, will host a virtual and personal dialogue from 1pm to 2pm on Monday about Ali and King’s models of hope, courage and conviction through extreme challenges.

Pastor Jesse Jackson will hold opening remarks. Maryum Ali, daughter of Muhammad Ali, is a special guest. Speakers include: Aisha el-Amin, University of Illinois Chicago Associated Vice Chancellor for Equity and Affiliation; Donald Lassere, president of the Chicago History Museum and former president of the Muhammad Ali Museum in Louisville, Kentucky; and coalition leaders Dilara Sayeed and Maaria Mozaffar.

To register, you must register at forms.gle/YcfXsChRPjqfX5RAA. For information, email Info@ILMuslimCivicCoalition.org.

For the full story, click here.


Suburban birds saw many rare species in 2021, including this limpkin, which required birders to rent canoes at Chain O 'Lakes State Park in Lake County.

Suburban birds saw many rare species in 2021, including this limpkin, which required birders to rent canoes at Chain O ‘Lakes State Park in Lake County.
– Lent by Nat Carmichael

Years of bird watching: 2021 brought more rare sightings and new conservation laws

The area’s birdwatchers will remember 2021 for at least a dozen remarkable sightings, including two headstrong hummingbirds and a lost flycatcher. The Chasers among us enjoyed ample opportunity to see “birds of life” that rarely visit the region.

In other respects, too, it was a newsworthy year.

The Biden administration stood up for our feathered friends by restoring the protection of the 1918 Migratory Bird Treaty Act, the most important bird protection law ever passed. The Interior Ministry, under former President Donald Trump, had seriously weakened the government’s power to enforce it.

• In Illinois, Governor JB Pritzker signed the “Bird-Safe Buildings Act,” which requires the use of bird-friendly construction techniques for all new construction or renovation of state-owned buildings. The law aims to protect birds from collisions during their migration journeys.

For the full story, click here.

• Good News Sunday takes place every weekend. Please visit dailyherald.com/newsletters to sign up for our great newsletter on Sunday.

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