Not yet time to give freedom to George Ryan

George Ryan has suffered a great deal since his conviction and imprisonment on federal corruption charges. But before the rest of his 6 1/2-year sentence is commuted, he needs to express remorse and responsibility for his wrongdoing, something the famously stubborn Ryan has so far declined to do.

It's not easy to to feel sorry for George Ryan, even though the former governor has been in federal prison for more than a year, has been publicly humiliated, has lost what would have been a generous government pension and has only minimal weekly personal contact with his wife and other loved ones.

A perfect weekend for championship football

Welcome to Champaign-Urbana, high school football fans. We hope you and your team enjoy your stay.

From East St. Louis to Geneva and from DuQuoin to Park Ridge, high school sports fans from all over Illinois are headed for the University of Illinois Memorial Stadium this weekend for a megadose of championship football.

One tradition that should never end

For 36 years Urbana High School students and their adult friends and relatives have provided a hearty Thanksgiving dinner to international students at the University of Illinois, to those without a family to spend the holiday with and to the homeless. This evening's dinner – served from 5 to 7 p.m. – is No. 37.

For 36 years dozens of Urbana High School students have gone to school on Thanksgiving Day and learned a valuable lesson about their community and themselves. The lesson continues today with the 37th annual Urbana High School Student Senate Thanksgiving dinner.

All our blessings

Even in difficult times like these – still at war, still in fear of another terrorist attack, facing uncertain economic difficulties and many other challenges – the United States of America remains a great, giving nation.

Three government reports Wednesday delivered more bad news: jobless claims continue to climb, factory orders were down precipitously and consumer spending – long hailed as the real driver of the American economic engine – dropped 1 percent. Add to that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and concerns about another terrorist attack, the environment, health care and the infrastructure, and there are a host of reasons for Americans to be pessimistic.

If you plan to fry your turkey Thursday, remember the risks

Turkey fryers are a popular alternative way to prepare a holiday dinner, but experts warn there are some hazards.

In recent years, deep-fried turkeys have become a staple at the Thanksgiving dinner table, but deep-frying can be very dangerous and poses a fire risk, according to Illinois State Fire Marshal David B. Foreman.

Champaign schools progressing on racial equity

Robert Peterkin, who has been monitoring the Champaign school district's progress on racial equity issues for 10 years, seemed to suggest last week that the district soon may be able to close the book on a federal court consent decree that has cost the district millions of dollars.

In town last week for one of his quarterly meetings with Champaign school officials and representatives of the plaintiffs in a federal court consent decree case, Harvard University educational policy and administration Professor Robert Peterkin said that the school district "has certainly made improvements in just about every area" covered by the consent decree.

Closing Lincoln sites is counterproductive

Only in Illinois would the state government celebrate the 200th anniversary of the birth of Abraham Lincoln by closing several state-operated historic sites with ties to the 16th president. Congratulations and thanks to the people of Bement and Piatt County for stepping up to keep the Bryant Cottage open in the face of severe state budget cuts.

The Bryant Cottage, which is said to be the place where Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas met to plan their series of debates 150 years ago, will remain open after all, state officials announced last week.

Ex-Pesotum resident, teacher takes second in Ironman race

When Sandy Meneley asked her doctor if there was any reason she couldn't compete in an Ironman competition, he thought she was crazy. But he couldn't give her any medical reason not to.

Nine months later, the 61-year-old athlete finished second in her age group at the Ford Ironman Florida competition in Panama City, Fla., on Nov. 1.

Governor's secrecy claim rejected by court

Gov. Blagojevich can't refuse to comply with the state's Freedom of Information Act just to avoid unflattering publicity.

With his friends, political advisers and campaign fundraisers coming under increased scrutiny from federal prosecutors, bad news arrives with regularity at the doorstep of Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

Campustown keeps growing

The rest of the economy may be limping along but there always seems to be a demand for more housing near the University of Illinois campus.

As long as the University of Illinois' Urbana campus enrollment continues to grow – it was up to 41,495 this year, about 500 more than last year – there's going to be an increased demand for everything in Campustown, including housing. That's why although single-family and apartment housing has slowed virtually everywhere else, developers recently announced that another high-rise apartment building worth at least $18 million is being planned for the Green Street corridor in Champaign.