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URBANA – During his first run at politics in 1995, state Sen. Mike Frerichs kept seeing the same guy at nearly every event on the campaign trail.
Having just moved back to Champaign County, Frerichs didn't know who it was but assumed he was another candidate.
ARCOLA – Cpl. Allen Roberts' minister called him a hero who defended little children and was dedicated to justice.
His best friend described him as a kind person who always wanted to help people.
Paul Karlstrom, then 21 and in his third year of accounting studies at the University of Illinois, remembers being shaken after the Japanese bombed the U.S. Navy Base at Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, plunging the country into World War II.
Nearly everyone was, and no wonder. The headlines in the Chicago Tribune and other newspapers were grim in the weeks after the attack.
ARCOLA – A procession bringing home the body of Cpl. Allen Roberts turned into a solemnly patriotic parade Wednesday morning in downtown Arcola.
Crowds lined Arcola's Main Street in a show of thanks for the service of Cpl. Roberts. The Marine grew up in nearby Kemp and graduated from Arcola High School in 2004. He died last week in a Humvee accident near Al Asad, Iraq.
ARCOLA – Those who knew Cpl. Allen Roberts remember him in many different ways: a jokester, a hard worker, a good son, good man, good Marine.
"He could drive you nuts, but he was just loveable," said his mother, Jaye Roberts of Kemp, an unincorporated village just east of Arcola.
MAHOMET – She has been working as the executive director of the Mahomet Area Youth Club for less than a month, but already, New York native Mary Vita Rosmarino gets choked up thinking about the nonprofit organization and the children it serves.
"The day they offered me the job, I was both thrilled and very nervous," Rosmarino said. "This is a great organization because people do care about it. The kids care about it; the staff cares about it; the board of directors cares about it; the community cares about this club. You're taking care of something very precious."
DANVILLE – A downed power line around 1:30 p.m. Sunday left about 550 Ameren customers in north Danville without power.
"We know that there is a broken pole and wires are down, which caused the roads to be blocked to protect the workmen as well as the public," said Ameren spokesman Leigh Morris. "It will take a while to restore power, but they are working on it. Sometimes we can get some people back on line rather quickly when we can get power from another source. I don't know the exact details, and the linemen are a little busy now."
DANVILLE – When her husband was deployed to Iraq in April 2005, Tricia Dyal wanted to find a way to comfort her two young daughters, who were ill and missing their father.
Dyal – formerly of Danville, now of Stafford, Va. – called on an aunt back home to help her make both girls a unique doll from a full-length photograph of her husband, Justin, a major in the Marines.
ARCOLA – Flags in Arcola and Douglas County were lowered this morning in remembrance of Marine Allen Roberts, who died in Iraq.
The Department of Defense hadn't released the details of Roberts' death this morning, but those who remember Mr. Roberts said he was a caring, helpful man who took his military duties seriously. Mr. Roberts was a 2004 Arcola High School graduate.
Editor's note: This is the second in an occasional series about Angela Simpson, a first-year teacher, and her first-grade class at Yankee Ridge Elementary School in Urbana. The first story profiled Simpson's first day of school. The first quarter of the school year has just ended, and The News-Gazette checks in on Simpson's – and the class' – progress.