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ALLERTON – There's an oasis of green plants and craft items with a touch of Scotland thrown in for good measure at a little shop called the Potting Shed in the heart of Allerton – not the park but the tiny town of 200 southeast of Champaign-Urbana.
But you might need to look twice to find this gem of a store.
RANTOUL – An exposition for people 50 and older is scheduled Oct. 13 at the Rantoul Township High School cafetorium.
The first 50 & Over Expo will feature music, a fashion show, a tai chi demonstration, health screenings, flu shots and seminars. Nearly 40 area businesses will be participating, and dozens of door prizes will be awarded.
CHAMPAIGN – Filmmaker Eleni Vlachos of Durham, N.C., will bring her feature documentary, "Seeing Through The Fence: A Documentary About Food," to the University YMCA for a screening at 7 p.m. Tuesday.
The event is sponsored by Students Improving the Lives of Animals.
New Orleans resident Kimberly Rivers Roberts wanted to leave town before Hurricane Katrina hit. She tried, to no avail, to find a rental car.
She, her husband and neighbors in the 9th Ward who could not afford to escape rode out the storm, with Roberts shooting the ordeal with a video camera.
"I believe Jesus the Lord will see me through this," she said in a voiceover as she shot her 9th Ward neighborhood when the hurricane first hit. "Whenever the Lord allows it, I'll be able to tell this story."
Two weeks later at a Red Cross shelter in Alexandria, La., Roberts and her husband, Scott, entered the camera frame of documentary filmmakers Carl Deal Jr. and Tia Lessin. The two eventually got to know Kimberly and Scott and to tell, to great effect, their story in "Trouble the Water," the documentary that incorporates Kimberly's compelling and horrifying footage.
URBANA – When their daughter was asked to take a role in a recent production at Krannert Center, Brent and Tammi O'Neill had no clue as to what kind of opportunity she was receiving.
"We never thought it would end up so amazing for her," Tammi said.
Caroline, a third-grader at Next Generation School, not only played a key character in The Builders Association's "Continuous City"; she will also travel with the new show, which had its world premiere last month at Krannert – a financial and technical supporter of the project.
URBANA – Jimmy Carter, the only original active member of the Grammy Award-winning gospel group Blind Boys of Alabama, won't tell his age.
"I just say I'm past 50," he says slyly.
His years beg to be guessed, though, considering that the Blind Boys formed in 1939, at the Alabama Institute for the Negro Blind in Talledega. The original members sang together in a choir and then a glee club at the school before forming the Blind Boys and hitting the road in 1944.
"We've been going ever since," Carter said.
URBANA – The Krannert Center Student Association will continue its tradition of presenting an interactive murder mystery party with "The Pink Lace Diamond" on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday evenings.
The mystery focuses on a Prince Regent Hotel maid's discovery of a murder and the twists that follow. A detective discovers an infamous jewel, the pink lace diamond, on one of the hotel's guests. During the investigation, all the hotel guests must help to solve the mystery behind the murder and the diamond's discovery.
URBANA – Three University of Illinois alumni who are published authors will be part of the Writers Come Home presentation taking place on Friday in connection with UI homecoming festivities.
Beginning at 4 p.m. Friday in the Alice Campbell Alumni Center, 601 S. Lincoln Ave., U, they will talk about their books. Afterward, they will sign copies and mingle with guests at an hors d'oeuvres reception featuring piano music by Rick Murphy, music director at University High School in Urbana.
CHAMPAIGN – To help with the stress of deployment, families of National Guard soldiers and reservists will get free memberships at the Champaign County YMCA.
The center is part of the new Armed Services YMCA and Department of Defense Outreach Initiative, which pays all the costs.
URBANA – Urbana students got down to Mozart on Wednesday morning.
They shook their shoulders to Duke Ellington, nodded their heads in time to a Cuban conga.
Packed in to the Prairie Elementary School gym, the students got a preview of the Harlem quartet, a nationally known string quartet playing with the Sphinx Chamber Orchestra at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts tonight at 7:30.