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All People Content

Danville unveils plans for cultural celebration center

DANVILLE – A plan to permanently celebrate Danville's own civil rights leaders was unveiled Monday to the nearly 350 people who came to celebrate the pioneer of civil rights – Martin Luther King Jr.

A service Monday at St. James United Methodist Church culminated a weekend of events, including a banquet and a march, hosted by the Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Committee. During his opening remarks, Mayor Scott Eisenhauer revealed the proposal to build a cultural celebration center at Carver Park on East Williams Street, which will house a collection of articles, memorabilia and video.

Area families worried, but many approve of larger deployment

President Bush's plan to send 21,500 more troops to Iraq has struck right to the heart of several area soldiers and their families.

Kay Pierce of Rantoul said she wept while she watched the president's televised speech Wednesday night.

Rantoul teen already has joined National Guard with college plans

RANTOUL – When Sarita Taylor arrived at Rantoul Township High School as a freshman, she decided to leave behind her past attitude problems.

But her freshman year was rocky. She had emergency surgery, missed a month of school and had to struggle to get her grades up to her own standards. She wore only black. She struggled to find common ground with her classmates.

Danville soldier earns Bronze Star for heroism in Iraq

DANVILLE – It wasn't until weeks later, recovering in a U.S. hospital, that Dann Hufford realized his actions in Iraq could be considered heroic.

"I had no idea what I had really done," said the 22-year-old Danville native, whose actions in an ambush in Baghdad, Iraq, saved his own life and those of four other U.S. servicemen.

Medical relief trip a mother, son adventure

DANVILLE – When Dena Sawka returns to Honduras on a medical mission next month, she won't just be taking along suitcases of vitamins, medicine and dental supplies.

She will be taking along her 17-year-old son.

'Chef Ra' enjoyed the high life

Lots of people knew James Wilson Jr., whether they knew him as Jimmy Wilson, Urbana's three-sport star; Rasta James, the reggae promoter; H. Rap Wilson, the radical; or Chef Ra, the High Times food columnist.

"If you're from Urbana and you don't know him, you don't get out much," said Maarten De Witte, an old friend who usually called him Jim.

Urbana man remembers Ford's 1976 visit

URBANA – Roger Grace of Urbana says he'll never forget the day President Gerald Ford visited his family's home in Somer Township north of Urbana in March 1976.

"He was a pretty friendly person, very down to earth," Grace said. "He was very personable and open, and he made everybody feel at ease."

Mother seeks memorial where son died

DANVILLE – The mother of a teen killed in April at a city parking garage asked aldermen to consider erecting a memorial at the garage for her son.

Charles Christopher Gaston, 17, of Danville died April 5 from head injuries when a stairwell collapsed at the city's Walnut Street parking garage, 22 N. Walnut St.

Mahomet couple surprised by premature birth

MAHOMET – Considering that she'd had a trouble-free pregnancy for her first two trimesters, Lori Moore was surprised when she suddenly started feeling abdominal pains in the sixth month.

The next surprise for Lori and her husband, Shannon, of Mahomet: Their baby son, Will, arrived three months early – too tiny to leave the hospital and with severe breathing problems for the first two months of his life.

First sober Christmas together greatest present of all

Lynsi Donnelly sat on a couch between her mother and her mother's boyfriend playing with a cell phone.

A Christmas tree, trimmed neatly with lights and baubles, stood next to the living room's front window in the Hegeler home. Carefully wrapped presents lined the walls along the side, some stacked underneath.