Outwitted by a thermostat

With all the shoveling, back pain and creative driving we’ve endured in recent days, I thought I’d offer some tried-and-true homeowner advice to help you get through the rest of the winter.

Today’s installment is a step-by-step guide for what (not) to do when your furnace stops working on the coldest day of the year. Just in case, you know, that were to ever happen.

Spotlight on Service, March 3, 2015

A weekly look at area do-gooders. This week: Exchange club of Urbana

About the club

President: JoAnn Smith

Origin: Chartered in 1926

Meets: Every Thursday from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Clark-Lindsey Village in Urbana

Future Five: Entertainment for the week ahead


These aren't your parents' yearbooks

High school yearbooks used to be collections of photos and text that sat there on the page — but now they have to jump right out at you.

At $50 or more, the yearbook is big business at area high schools like Centennial, where adviser Lindsay Green says nearly the entire cost goes to production.

At Urbana High School, the Rosemary's in the same situation.

For the retirees, March 1-8, 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.

Reluctant Townie: Snow, emails still piling up

Well, hello March. Good to see you again. I hope that you have come to kick winter out of the party — it drank too much and vomited on the guests' coats and someone needs to order it an Uber.

It goes without saying, but this winter has been definitively "the worst." I've spent more time shoveling snow this year than I've spent not shoveling snow.

Environmental Almanac: Get out soon to find first flower of spring

People who go looking for beauty in the woodlands of East Central Illinois consider April to be a high point of the year. That's when showy beauties like Virginia bluebells carpet the woodland floor. But if you wait until then to get out, you're already a month late for the emergence of the first flower of spring.

Letter from Birdland: Unveiling the cracks in egg definitions

Last week, I opened the Birdland mailbag and wrote about the letters I found. I promised to tell you more about some articles a reader sent from Mother Earth News about a project comparing commercially produced eggs and those from pastured poultry.

Getting Personal: Bob Osiek

Getting Personal is a Q&A with a local personality. Today, 67-year-old Champaign resident Bob Osiek chats with The News-Gazette's Paul Wood. Osiek, Joe Donahue and Pedro Heller are celebrating the 40th year of the Esquire Lounge, a successful bar and restaurant in downtown Champaign. They also have branched out into other areas over the years.