Meadowbrook has 2 beavers, and they've been busy

URBANA – Along the Wandell Sculpture Garden trail at Meadowbrook Park is a special attraction, installed by nature's architect, the beaver.

The beaver dams on McCullough Creek are small but impressive. The first (upstream) is 35 feet across and about 6 feet wide. The water now, after all the rain, is 4 feet lower below the dam. The second, smaller dam is about 50 yards downstream. It is about 9 feet across and creates a 2-foot water level difference. Recent rains have left a good deal of standing and streaming water where it had been dry land two weeks ago.

UI trustees' breakfasts private -- and law says that's OK

The members of the University of Illinois Board of Trustees have a tradition of meeting for breakfast and sometimes dinner when they hold their meetings every other month. The meals are not open to the public, and they're not on any agenda.

But they're not in violation of the state's Open Meetings Act because they are social functions, often with entertainment by students, and the Illinois attorney general's office says that social gatherings are expressly not to be considered as public meetings.

Three sons are following Marine father's lead

William "Dan" Swinney was living in Rantoul with his uncle, selling cars, and didn't feel like his life was going anywhere, so one morning, he made a decision.

Swinney decided to join the Marines.

Woodwork supply, tool store ready to carve new niche

CHAMPAIGN – Woodworkers, wait no more.

The new CU Woodshop Supply store, which had been expected to open earlier this fall, is slated to open to the public on Friday.

The store, at 1401 Parkland Court in northwest Champaign, will carry power tools, professional-grade hand tools, assorted hardware and domestic and imported hardwoods, said Dennis Coleman, a woodworking enthusiast who is one of the store's backers.

Getting Personal: Pygmalion founder/producer Seth Fein

What time do you typically get up? What do you do the first hour of the morning?

Usually somewhere between 7:30 and 9 a.m. depending on my wife's schedule. The first hour of the morning is dedicated to spending some quiet time with her, letting the dog out, feeding her and the cats, and yes – checking e-mails. Coffee, too. Coffee is important.

Documentary to pay tribute to 'Red' Grange

CHICAGO – On Thanksgiving, football fans will not only be able to watch a number of games, but they'll also be able to view a new program about football legend Harold "Red" Grange.

The Big Ten Network will pay tribute to Grange in the documentary "Larger Than Life: The Red Grange Story," about his life and the making of the statue of Grange that now stands on the west side of Memorial Stadium in Champaign.

Turkey tales, and other tragedies turned comic

The News-Gazette asked readers to share their humorous stories about Thanksgiving gatherings and they didn't let us down. It doesn't take much imagination to picture these scenes in your head.

A good friend always says, "Life is only as good as the stories you can tell."

These people, obviously, are leading good lives and we thank them for taking the time to share their stories with the rest of us.

Area update

Unit 7 board approves property tax abatement

TOLONO – The school board has approved using a property tax abatement for the district.

Easton-Bell Sports reports decline in sales, income for quarter

RANTOUL – Easton-Bell Sports reported net income of $6.29 million for the quarter that ended Oct. 3, down slightly from $6.34 million for the comparable quarter a year ago.

But net sales for the quarter were $180.4 million, down about 11 percent from $203.4 million for the same quarter in 2008.

Burglary nets 25-year prison term

URBANA – A Momence man with a long history of burglary has been sentenced to 25 years in prison for his latest break-in.

Champaign County Judge Tom Difanis imposed the sentence Friday on Shawn Moody, 37.