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Curator, staff make mansion a welcome place

SPRINGFIELD – As curator and director of the Illinois Executive Mansion, Dave Bourland's job includes everything from selecting and restoring artwork to planning weddings and hosting ambassadors.

"I'm a part of just about every event here," he said. "There are very few things that go on here that I'm not involved in."


Care-package coordinator receives honor

THOMASBORO – Ask Ruby Splittstoesser what she would do if she won the lottery, and she wouldn't blink before telling you she would spend it on troops overseas.

Many people might give a similar answer, but it's not difficult to believe Splittstoesser. She spends a great deal of her time and money on care packages for members of the military.


Benefit in Danville will help with medical bills

DANVILLE – A benefit for the family of Jenna Rose McMillin will be from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday in the Oneighty Building at the New Life Christian Center, 2105 N. Bowman Ave., Danville.

The event will celebrate the life of the 9-year-old Danville girl, who died Sept. 29 after a long battle with leukemia.


New Humane Society executive director gave up law for pets

Mary Tiefenbrunn's first career: stage manager. Second career: lawyer.

Third career: breaks her heart every day, but so worth it.

Tiefenbrunn, who took over as executive director of the Champaign County Humane Society in early September, oversees an organization that tries to find new homes for a seemingly endless supply of animals somebody didn't want.


Woman wants to start support group for those struggling to breathe

FAIRLAND – Every day, Wanda Rollings wakes up feeling like she's trapped under water.

And she wonders, is there anybody else out there who's struggling to breathe for the same reason she is? Anybody who wants to talk about it?


UI senior wins TV game but misses on grand prize

CHAMPAIGN – As the sole intern last spring at a John Deere plant in the small town of Horicon, Wis., University of Illinois senior Carolyn Ratcliffe found her entertainment choices limited.

"Every day I would go home from work and watch 'Jeopardy' and 'Wheel of Fortune,' " the 21-year-old mechanical engineering major said.


Group honors Danville optometrist for his work in community

DANVILLE – Dr. Ron Serfoss got a pleasant surprise when Danville Noon Rotary President Amy Henkelman came to see him at his office recently.

"When I heard Amy was here, I thought she was going to tell me if I didn't start coming to meetings, I was going to have to drop my Rotary membership," Serfoss, 64, said with a laugh.


Group sending Christmas packages to soldiers

CHAMPAIGN – Thinking of sending a Christmas gift to a soldier in Iraq or Afghanistan? Lori Stewart suggests a gift card instead.

OK, maybe there's no Abercrombie or Gap at the Baghdad mall, but today's soldiers are the first in history to have ready access to the Internet.


No big changes planned for local lottery winner

CHAMPAIGN – Suppose you won $13.5 million in the Illinois Lottery. What would you buy?

For Steven Workman of Champaign, it was a golf bag.


Po' Boys owner was reliable source of food, advice

CHAMPAIGN – Arnold Yarber was "Arnie" to football coaches, millionaires, scores of Champaign and Illini athletes, and untold thousands who loved his grandmother's barbeque recipe – hold the tomato sauce.

He'd wanted to be a chiropractor, and worked a number of jobs for the state and the University of Illinois, but most people knew him as the owner of Po' Boys, a restaurant on the north edge of downtown Champaign that had a cult following for more than half a century.