For the retirees, Nov. 23-30, 2014

For information about services available to older adults, contact Karen Bodnar, 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: Pulling off the perfect Black Friday heist

In the near future, when the Have-nots get robbed of their last bits of pocket change by the remaining Mega Corporations, Black Friday insanity will reach its peak and then begin to fade from American zeitgeist. That day will mark a turning point for mankind, as it enters the dawn of a new, hopeful era of human history.

Don Follis: Your gratitude can raise happiness level

This Thanksgiving week is the one week of the year that I am most apt to think about Sonja Lyubomirsky's thoughtful book "The How of Happiness" (Penguin Press, 2008). Lyubomirsky, a psychology professor at the University of California at Riverside, has spent more than 20 years devoting her research to exploring what makes people happy.

Getting Personal: Joe Stovall

Getting Personal is a Q&A with a local personality. Here, 50-year-old Champaign resident Joe Anderson Stovall chats with The News-Gazette's Paul Wood. Stovall, an insurance agent, is well-known for his service to the community through local agencies.

Where were you born?

Letter from Birdland: Warm memories

In Birdland, winter has come a little early with a light dusting of snow and drinking water frozen in the coop. Time to plug in the lights and the heated base for water.

The night comes earlier and earlier and soon I may have to stop riding my bike or stop going to late afternoon meetings.

Arctic Adventure: Northernmost point in mainland Europe

By Andy Hudson

Last summer, my family (including children ages 10, 6 and 3) took our first overseas trip to visit my high school exchange student and his family in Turku, Finland.

Will you or won't you shop early?

Thanksgiving comes but once a year, but before the day is even finished, many of us have moved on to Christmas.

The pilgrims would turn over in their graves.

Pet Talk: Emergency plans should cover pets

By Sarah Netherton/University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine

Natural disasters can strike at any time, so it is essential to have a plan in place to be ready. According to Yvette Johnson-Walker, a veterinarian and epidemiologist at the UI College of Veterinary Medicine in Urbana, emergency preparedness plans should cover the animals, as well as the people in a home.

Prizes up for bid at Festival of Trees

All his exes live in Texas, but one of George Strait's guitars lives in Champaign, where the signed instrument will be one of the prizes of the 19th annual Festival of Trees.

Some sage advice for your garden

"When young sow wild oats, but when old, grow sage." — H.J. Byron.

The herb sage has long been associated with increasing mental capacity, immortality and longevity. It's also associated with Thanksgiving stuffing. So why is it when I eat too much stuffing, I wonder why I wasn't smart enough not to eat so much stuffing?