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Primal Quest race tests ability to handle harsh conditions

Why would anyone want to race 548 miles in Montana with only eight hours of sleep? Read on; the answer may surprise you.

Primal Quest is the world's most difficult human-endurance competition, an expedition-style adventure race in which teams of four people use only human-powered means to move throughout the course. This can mean traveling by foot, mountain bike, kayak, river board or ropes.


Stopping By: Funk Prairie Home offers 'jaw-dropping' tour

SHIRLEY – Looking for a place to visit that truly offers something for everybody? Then you're going to love this find in nearby McLean County – the Funk Prairie Home and museums at rural Shirley, southwest of Bloomington.

If you are interested in beautiful homes and furnishings, period herb gardens or formal flower gardens, local, state or national history, farming, early inventions, rock collecting, Indian artifacts, farm-drawn vehicles and implements – or the development of Funks G Hybrid seed corn – you should definitely consider "stopping by" this site.


Central Illinois native makes education in Sudan her mission

ARTHUR – Anita Henderlight will leave this week for her sixth trip to Sudan, where she works with a nonprofit organization that is establishing schools and recruiting students in south Sudan.

The way she tells it, the Taylorville native was an unlikely candidate to travel to rural Africa. She liked the comforts of her life in America.


Two shows opening Friday at UI's I space gallery in Chicago

CHICAGO – Two new exhibitions will be on view from Friday through Oct. 4 at I space, the Chicago gallery of the University of Illinois.

An opening reception will take place from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday at the gallery, 230 W. Superior St., Chicago.


Stopping By: Finding hidden treasures at Chanute Air Museum

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.


Carlock's early residents took partisanship to the grave

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.


Stopping By: Walnut Point State Park worth it just for food

OAKLAND – Nestled under a canopy of trees, right on the edge of Shady Bay at Walnut Point Lake, sits the Walnut Point Cafe, where you can satisfy just about any craving for homemade comfort food. Ice cream is a big seller here, as are the cobblers and the hot fudge brownie sundaes.

But it's the hot foods, heaped high on the plates, that get the regulars stopping by each week. Co-owners Kathy and Rick Strange have been running the Walnut Point Concessions within Walnut Point State Park for eight years.


Mansfield teacher to share experiences in Asia with students

MANSFIELD – Meghan James, sixth-grade teacher at Mansfield Elementary, experienced a trip of a lifetime to Asia this summer and plans to share it all with her students this fall.

Janes and 23 other educators traveled to South Korea and Japan for three weeks. They toured temples and museums, witnessed government protests, observed in Korean and Japanese schools, rode crowded subways and even tasted a McDonald's Oreo McFlurry – Japanese style.


Stopping by: Mahomet botanical gardens a treat for senses

MAHOMET – Tucked behind the Early American Museum at Lake of the Woods Preserve are 10 acres of beautiful gardens with hundreds of flowers, trees, shrubs and plants.

The Mabery Gelvin Botanical Gardens are full of walking paths, blooming flowers and gardening discoveries.


Mahomet-Seymour, Western grad begins Peace Corps journey

Sitting on an Air France plane July 9, preparing to fly overseas for the first time in her life, Mary Scott yelled over the voices of 47 fellow Peace Corps volunteers traveling to Africa.

"I just graduated from college, and nothing is holding me back," said Scott, a Mahomet-Seymour High School graduate before going to Western Illinois University. "I love the idea of foreign travel, of foreign countries and of foreign languages."