Singer/songwriter/pianist will visit the Clark Bar

CHAMPAIGN — Singer/songwriter/pianist Elaine Romanelli, a nationally touring independent solo artist, will perform at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Clark Bar, 207 W. Clark St. The cover charge will be $5.

Choir will be in area this week

On its Midwest tour, the Hinds Community College Choir of Utica, Miss., will make stops this week in Rantoul and Urbana.

Traveling with 50 or so voices and directed by Bobby Cooper, the choir will perform a variety of music including sacred, contemporary and show tunes. It features the Jubilee Singers, the men's chorus that toured Italy as a guest of Music Celebrations International.

Writer gives readers a new, likable sleuth

"Show Me the Murder" by Carolyn Mulford is appropriately named: It's a murder mystery that takes place in the Show Me State, Missouri.

Mulford is a native Missourian who has traveled the world as a member of the Peace Corps before settling back in her home state and writing fiction.

Learn more about the papal election process

With the recent events in Vatican history, I was curious about the process for the selection of the pope. Fortunately, the Champaign Public Library came through with several titles addressing the papacy and the system of election of the pontiff. As you've heard on the news, this is the first time that a pope has retired from duties since Celestine V in 1294.

C-U Haiku

Jeans, fresh from dryer,

speak truth, time to hit the gym.

Good bye chocolate.

— Kathryn Fair, Champaign

Ted Kooser: American life in poetry March 10, 2013

I've recently published a children's book about a man who is so fussy about his yard that he loses his home, so I was immediately taken by this fine poem by Lynne Sharon Schwartz about a similar man. We all enjoy writing that confirms what we've privately observed about the world. Schwartz lives in New York City.

Cement Backyard

My father had our yard cemented over.

Two-day garage sale scheduled

URBANA — Eclectic, the artists' sales cooperative in downtown Urbana, will have another garage sale Friday and Saturday to raise money to help alleviate cash-flow problems.

"Because of the success of the last one, members feel it would be smarter to have another garage sale than try to organize a new fundraising event," Eclectic owner Susan Pryde said via email.

Veteran author making local stop

CHAMPAIGN — Bestselling author Kimberla Lawson Roby, creator of the popular Reverend Curtis Black series, will visit Champaign to talk about her life as a writer and introduce her newest book, "The Perfect Marriage."

The free event is at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Douglass Branch of the Champaign Public Library, 504 E. Grove St.

Two stories that made a strong impression last year

This week, the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, a worldwide organization for children's book creators, announced the winners of its annual Golden Kite awards. Two picture books were selected as the best of 2012.

A January getaway to the land of sandstone


As a self-inflicted birthday gift, I traveled to the photo-friendly environs of Moab, Utah, during the last week of January. As the town's promotional website aptly puts it, "Moab will surround you with the warmth and hospitality of a small resort town at the center of some of the most stunning red rock landscapes on Earth."