Crews prepping for snow

Public works crews are preparing for winter weather headed this way.

Winter weather advisory issued

The National Weather Service has issued a winter weather advisory for Coles, Edgar and Shelby counties in effect from 6 p.m. Thursday to 6 p.m. Friday.

Durbin praises Gifford for resolve to rebuild

GIFFORD — Sen. Dick Durbin told Gifford residents on Tuesday that he has been impressed by their determination to rebuild their community following the Nov. 17 tornado.

"God bless you, and I'm glad that no one lost their life," Durbin said. "Injuries were at least manageable for some, and folks are pulling together to get this community back."

November: Your basic below-average month

CHAMPAIGN — November's weather was below average in both temperatures and precipitation, according to the Illinois State Water Survey at the University of Illinois.

November was colder, drier than normal in C-U

This past month in Champaign-Urbana was colder and drier than average.

In Gifford, Thanksgiving is a feast of plenty

GIFFORD — Less than two weeks after a tornado lifted the home of Vicki and Jack Russell off its foundation with them inside, the Gifford couple sat down to an abundant Thanksgiving feast in Vicki's onetime home church.

Being at this dinner, provided by Gifford United Methodist Church and a host of volunteers, "means the world to me," she said.

Gifford's community building sound but needs fixes

GIFFORD — Gifford's social center appears to have survived the Nov. 17 tornado, although it's going to need repair.

A structural engineer on Wednesday morning looked over what is known as the German Fall Festival community building and found that it is sound, said members of the board of the not-for-profit corporation that operates the facility.

Steps can help when rebuilding after disaster

CHAMPAIGN — People who suddenly find themselves without a home — such as the tornado victims in Gifford — may find the rebuilding process takes longer than expected, a veteran contractor said.

Jody Wesley, president of USPRO/United Services in Mahomet, has spent 34 years doing restoration work following disasters.

Stevick Foundation will match $25,000 in gifts

CHAMPAIGN — The owners of The News-Gazette and WDWS Inc. have pledged up to $25,000 to match gifts to the Community Foundation of East Central Illinois intended to help the community of Gifford.

The nonprofit Marajen Stevick Foundation owns the newpaper and the radio stations, as well The Rantoul Press and several other community newspapers.

Gifford basketball players get back on the court

GIFFORD — The Gifford Grade School Eagles got back into the gymnasium on Friday for their first basketball practices after the storm.

John Frerichs, one of the three eighth-grade players, said it felt good to take a break from the abnormal.