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PAXTON – Before Bob Pence died, he knew exactly how he wanted to be buried – with jazz playing in the background.
So when Mr. Pence died on Jan. 11 at the age of 74, Royce Baier of Ford-Baier Funeral Home in Paxton geared up for a New Orleans-style funeral, complete with a Dixieland band and horse-drawn hearse.
GEORGETOWN – Terry O'Toole tries to sleep to escape the memories of a Jan. 5 mobile home fire in Westville that killed two boys and severely burned their mother.
But when he closes his eyes, he sees the flames. Then he hears the screams.
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.
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 – 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 – 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.
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.
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 – 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."
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.