PAXTON – When Pat and Donna DeMuth were growing up in the Ford County town of Paxton, neither could wait until she graduated and left for college.
"We had a countdown," Pat DeMuth said.
CHAMPAIGN – With the new year, penalties for abusing disabled parking spaces will increase enormously.
To dramatize the new law, five secretary of state police squad cars circled the Market Place Mall's parking lot looking for misuse of disabled parking placards and spaces. The secretary of state's office issues the placards.
PAXTON – Charlotte Hampton said she was shocked when she looked out her kitchen window a few weeks ago and saw a stray white pit bull attack and kill a pet rabbit in her neighbor's back yard.
"I went to the window because I heard some barking, and I saw a dog scratching at the rabbit cage," Hampton said. "The dog soon got into the cage and killed the rabbit."
URBANA – On a subfreezing night when they could have watched holiday specials on television, they came from as far as Bloomington and Springfield to see what they could do to improve access to their own children.
About 40 people turned out at a meeting Dec. 6 in Urbana to hear the executive director of the American Coalition for Fathers and Children talk about ways to get the Illinois legislature and the Champaign County judiciary to consider shared parenting.
URBANA – Seth Fein has 22 years of experience in the music business.
Which is a lot, considering he's 26 years old.
CHAMPAIGN – The road from Ho Chi Minh City to Champaign-Urbana has not been an easy one for Vinh Nguyen and his family.
He left friends and a good job as an engineer in Vietnam three years ago to follow his father to the United States as a political refugee. Now Vinh, his wife, Dieu, and their three daughters share a two-bedroom trailer at Shadowwood Homes with his father and brother. He's working 12-hour shifts as an operator at Advanced Filtration Systems and still getting used to the bland (by comparison) American food.
CHAMPAIGN – One of Nina Rubel's favorite words was "marvelous." She thought the people she wrote about were marvelous, and after reading her stories, you tended to think they were marvelous, too.
Mrs. Rubel died Thursday, 15 years after her first cancer diagnosis, upbeat and thoughtful of others until the end, friends say.
CHAMPAIGN – For community members who can't afford food or gifts during the holidays, this Saturday's events at Restoration Urban Ministries could be a blessing.
Starting at 10 a.m. and running until about noon, people can pick up a free box of food and a gift or two at the ministries' main building at 1213 Parkland Court. The twice-yearly event, usually attended by 200 to 250 families, is designed to help low-income people from around the county get through the holidays on a full stomach, said Executive Director Ervin T. Williams.
CHAMPAIGN – Haven't heard enough of your favorite Christmas carol yet? Need to hear "Jingle Bells" one more time?
You've got until Friday at midnight to call Dial-A-Carol and request what you want to hear.
PAXTON – The football field at Paxton-Buckley-Loda High School will now be called the Jerry Zimmerman Field at I-57 Stadium in memory of the former beloved coach and teacher.
Mr. Zimmerman died Nov. 12 at the age of 64. He had been at Paxton High School and then Paxton-Buckley-Loda from 1963 until he retired in 1999, teaching and coaching and serving as athletic director.