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As chef Alisa DeMarco rolled the dough for a peach crostata for the first Dinner at the Farm at Prairie Fruits Farm and Creamery, she said the food would be just half of the experience.
She, along with farm owners Leslie Cooperband and Wes Jarrell, wanted their guests to also enjoy the peacefulness of the land and the diversity of the farm, the sunset and each other.
Except for the sun that bore down on diners until it dipped closer to the horizon the evening of Aug. 16, the experience, with a five-course meal of local and mostly organically grown food, with the emphasis on fresh, was convivial, delightful and memorable.
DANVILLE – After three years as a part-time employee in the archives and reference section of the Danville Public Library, Jacqueline Woodard-Smith saw a need. She asked if she could do something about it.
"I do a lot of searches for people in the reference and genealogical sections of the library and came across an elderly relative of mine in a census," Woodard-Smith said. "I am doing genealogy for my own family and was happy for the find, but it got me to thinking about the history of African-Americans in Danville."
RANTOUL – Sometimes the finest treasures of all are the ones under your nose.
I had visited the Chanute Air Museum in Rantoul hundreds of times over the past 13 years and thought I knew a lot about its collection.
OAKWOOD – The Oakwood Public Library will hold interactive classes for parents and preschool-age children.
Classes begin at 6 p.m. Sept. 2 and 10:30 a.m. Sept. 3 at the library, 110 E. Finley St. Sessions last 45 minutes. Children must be 2 to 5 years old.
DANVILLE – Court Appointed Special Advocates of Vermilion County will begin a new set of training classes Oct. 1 at its office at 101 W. North St.
The class will meet from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Wednesdays in October to prepare volunteers to represent abused and neglected children going through the court system.
CHAMPAIGN – Ron Dewar, a tenor saxophonist who was a star in John Garvey's University of Illinois Jazz Band in the '60s and '70s, will return to town next week to play three gigs at Cafe Luna.
Dewar, who now lives in Downers Grove, has toured and recorded with the likes of Elvis Presley, Clark Terry, Sarah Vaughan and Louie Bellson. In the 1970s, he was the leader of the traditional-jazz band The Memphis Nighthawks, which recorded "Jazz Lips" and "Live at the Stabilizer."
Last summer, singer Dena Vermette of Champaign had the good fortune to meet actor George Clooney in the lobby of a small hotel at Lake Maggiore, Italy.
They struck up a conversation which quickly turned to jazz. Clooney mentioned that in the late 1960s his father, a jazz buff, had frequented New York clubs where he heard a blind pianist whom he preferred over the legendary jazz pianist George Shearing, who also is blind.
Clooney couldn't remember the pianist's name.
"Donnie Heitler?" Vermette asked.
"That's it," the actor replied.
Vermette, a jazz-turned-cabaret singer, also favors Heitler, with whom she has performed.
URBANA – A free event featuring World War II music and information on the effects of the "Great War" on the University of Illinois campus will take place at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Alice Campbell Alumni Center, 601 S. Lincoln Ave, U.
After the United States entered World War II, the UI campus was transformed. Enrollment sharply declined, and women took on new positions of leadership, while many male students went off to fight. New courses were added to support the war effort, and the Navy and Army offered training courses that brought thousands of soldiers to campus.
CARLOCK – Something more than solace lured me through the small town of Carlock to two cemeteries on its north side.
Sure, the two small parcels, less than a quarter mile from each other on opposite sides of the rural road, have the same peaceful characteristics of any other rural cemetery.
Shannon Scott likes to hunt ghosts.
More specifically, he and his co-workers help others try to find other-worldly visitants.
For someone deeply interested in the paranormal, he is living in perhaps the perfect community. The Southern city of Savannah, Ga., with its many four-story antebellum homes, is known for its connection to the spirit world.