Pet products fetching big bucks

LOS ANGELES — Joanna Rein knew there was a way to prevent her rambunctious Labrador-collie mix from tracking in mud, water and drool from the soggy outdoors.

"The kids thought it was funny. They'd chase the dog," said Rein, of Larchmont, N.Y. "I'd run behind them all with towels. Buddy thought it was a game."

Cisco couple cementing memories of barn

For Larry and Ellen Coon, it's not a matter of if their barn collapses. It's when.

"Whenever the roof's gone, which is not terribly long from now, we'll probably tear it down," Larry said.

"You've been saying that for years," his wife commented.

For the retirees, July 5-12, 2015

For information about services available to older adults, contact Karen Graves, director of the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) and Helen Mary Stevick Senior Citizens Center, 48 E. Main St., Champaign, IL 61820, phone 359-6500.

RSVP and the Stevick Senior Center are administered by Family Service of Champaign County.

Letter from Birdland: It takes a team effort to turn the ship around

In Birdland, we've had good soaking rains almost every day. Normally, that's welcome this time of year, but today's clear skies and sunshine are more welcome.

Maybe these mild dancing breezes will take up some of the moisture that lies in the fields and the gardens.

All is green and blooming though, and today the humidity is low and the air is sweet.

Getting Personal: Rudy Frasca

Getting Personal is a Q&A with a local personality. Today, 84-year-old Champaign resident Rudy Frasca, who was the grand marshal in Saturday's Champaign County Freedom Celebration Parade, chats with The News-Gazette's Paul Wood.

Don Follis: Opening the doorway to inner peace

Thirty years ago in the back of a coffee shop where I hung out with my coffee, Bible and journal at 6 a.m., I developed an unexpected relationship with a construction worker nearing retirement. While I'm not sure he ever knew it, he got me thinking about my own emotional well-being in ways that I have been exploring ever since.

John Roska: How does bankruptcy work?

Q: How many court dates will there be if I file for bankruptcy? What happens at those court dates? What can I expect at those court dates? What are the steps?

A: In a routine "Chapter 7" bankruptcy, there's only one appearance, for the "meeting of creditors." They're held lots of different places, so it's not necessarily a "court" date.

Reluctant Townie: Happy holiday: Freedom to answer mail

Happy hangover, America! Hope you found time yesterday to blow some stuff up real good while wearing your American flag T-shirt with the cut-off sleeves and matching booty shorts. Don't worry about what everybody else says — it's totally you.

Alaska: Beauty on land and sea

By Edwina and Arthur Finet/For The News-Gazette

A cruise to Alaska in May might not seem like the ideal vacation. But, according to the guidebooks and advice from friends, it is.

Environmental Almanac: Facts about a fascinating creature

Some people love rabbits. "Soooo cute!!! More bunnies please" was the response from one friend when I posted a rabbit picture online recently.

More people, perhaps, have mixed feelings about them.

"Love bunnies, but baby just ate a large butterfly milkweed I bought a few days ago," added another friend.