Jim Rossow

Jim Rossow

Top of the morning, Nov. 10, 2015

Crowned champion at "Dancing With The CU Stars," businessman Scott Miller isn't quitting his day job.

"I think I'm going to stick to dancing at weddings and parties — no bigger competitions," said Miller, who teamed with dancing pro Riley Strathman to win Friday's popular fundraiser in Champaign. "I'd like to retire on top, like John Elway."

Thomas fired

CHAMPAIGN — Illinois fired athletic director Mike Thomas on Monday, ending his four-plus year tenure leading an athletic department marred by a series of off-the-field incidents in the last six months.

Top of the morning, Nov. 8, 2015

Betty McClurg would like to think she became leader of Brookdale Urbana's crochet club because of her ability and experience with a hook.

But she knows better.

"At a residents' meeting, they asked 'Who can knit?' " the 94-year-old retired nurse said. "I held up my hand after nobody else did."

Top of the morning, Nov. 7, 2015

Good thing Father Angel Sierra lined up a sub to preach tonight.

I'm not sure he'll have much energy left after traveling the state to cheer on three Douglas County high school football teams.

"It's important that I be there for the young people in our church," Sierra said.

Top of the morning, Nov. 5, 2015

I asked Scott Miller what he'll be thinking as he takes the stage at Friday's "Dancing With The CU Stars."

"I hope I don't throw up."

"I hope I don't drop my partner."

"I hope I don't actually break a leg."

"I hope somebody hits the fire alarm and I don't actually have to dance in front of 500 people."

Finally, the truth spilled out.

Top of the morning, Nov. 4, 2015

Anyone who knows Frank and Pat Krasnowski can't be surprised that the Tolono couple scored a free trip to "Country Music's Biggest Night."

"I win a lot," Pat said Tuesday from her hotel in Nashville, Tenn. "This one ranks pretty high. I love country music."

Top of the morning, Nov. 3, 2015

News-Gazette publisher John Reed begins a regular run on Jim Turpin's "A Penny For Your Thoughts" at 10 a.m. Friday.

Reed will join Turpin every other Friday on the popular WDWS 1400-AM call-in show. To participate, dial 217-356-9397.

If you can't listen live, we'll post the podcast by noon Fridays at news-gazette.com.

Online audience

Top of the morning, Nov. 1, 2015

It's not just the basketball players who are excited to return to a renovated State Farm Center.

Tom Plackett, in his 26th year working at the arena, is so full of adrenaline he might just be able to touch the rim on Re-Opening Night. What was the reaction of the 58-year-old Paxton High grad when he snuck a peek a few weeks ago?

"Oh, my!" he said. "It's not the same building."

Top of the morning, Oct. 31, 2015

To celebrate his 63rd birthday, Champaign's Raymond Gwin was taken to dinner at Denny's by family members. But the bigger treat came during Tuesday's night on the town: Watching his daughter perform for a World Series audience of 40,320 fans at Kauffman Stadium and 14.9 million more on TV.

Top of the morning, Oct. 29, 2015

Of all the trick-or-treat hours listed in today's e3 — 77 area towns — three caught my eye:

SULLIVAN (Friday & Saturday)

I'm tempted to pack my kids in the minivan and head to Moultrie County, where there are two — yep, two — nights of trick-or-treating. It's been that way for years.