Rob Kanter: Beavers again common in the Prairie State

On a recent walk at River Bend Forest Preserve, someone I met on the trail asked if I knew a good place in Illinois to see beavers. After a moment's thought, I answered, "Anywhere," because there are unmistakable signs of them in so many places.

Reluctant Townie: The legend of the Thanksgiving Troll

On Halloween morning, my 4-year-old suggested we put up Christmas decorations in the front yard.

"I wish every day was a holiday," she sighed as wistfully as a preschooler can possibly manage. "I want it to be Christmas right now."

Don Follis: First Sunday of Advent starts at the very end of time

On this First Sunday of Advent we start at the end — the very end. The gospel reading for this Sunday is from Luke chapter 21 where Jesus is teaching on the temple precincts in Jerusalem. He tells his disciples what to expect in the future, both the near and distant future.

Getting Personal: Amanda Bossard

Getting Personal is a Q&A with a local personality. Today, 23-year-old Champaign resident Amanda Bossard chats with The News-Gazette's Paul Wood. Bossard is the Champaign bureau chief for WAND-TV.

What is most interesting to you right now?

John Roska: Divorce law changing in Illinois

Q: I heard that the divorce law will change so there will only be one ground for divorce. Is that true?

A: Yes. Starting Jan. 1, 2016, the only grounds for divorce in Illinois will be irreconcilable difference. No more mental cruelty, or any of the other old grounds.

Pet Talk: Unpleasant surprises

By SARAH NETHERTON/University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine

If your indoor dog is among the one in five that leaves unpleasant surprises for you to find, don't despair. Your veterinarian can help you determine the cause and a solution for house soiling — urinating, defecating, or both, in inappropriate locations.

A Norwegian pilgrimage to remember

By Sandra Bauman Santas

Olav Haraldsson was born in 995, and in 1007, at the age of 12, he went on a Viking expedition.

In 1014, he was baptized in Rouen, France. He returned to Norway in 1015, was elected king and introduced Christianity to that country.

Letter from Birdland: Cold weather is changing the landscape

In Birdland, the sun has dipped below the horizon. The earth is dark, and the trees in the yard stand in a stark silhouette against the sky, which is still bright and streaked with color in the west — yellow and fuchsia and a deep turquoise.

For the retirees, Nov. 29-Dec. 6, 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.

The story behind the Gordyville antique show

It has been almost 12 years since Gordon Hannigan asked me to come to Gifford for breakfast. I had been asked by other people to be an active part of a new antiques-only show at Gordyville, and I told all of those people no. At that point in our lives, we had been in three shows, all under our direction.