Jim Rossow

Jim Rossow

Top of the Morning, March 28, 2015

The University of Illinois Black Chorus prepared for Sunday's performance alongside Foreigner much like the Illini's basketball team ahead of a Big Ten game.

"We watched tape," Ollie Watts Davis, the group's conductor, said. "(Foreigner) sent us video of other choirs singing with them, and we studied those."

Top of the Morning, March 26, 2015

With a new P.A. announcer on the way for UI men's basketball games next season (sports, B-3), I reached out to an old pro for advice. Jim Sheppard, 66, worked the mic at UI basketball and football games for 22 years, phrases like "That's a Three!" striking a chord with fans.

Still living in the area, he'd be interested in returning to his role. "They know my resume," he said.

Jim Sheppard: I'm interested

For 22 years, Jim Sheppard served as the Illini's popular P.A. announcer at basketball games,  phrases like "Deeeeee for Threeeeee!" resonating with the Assembly Hall crowds.

Top of the Morning, March 25, 2015

It takes something as serious as heart surgery for Ken Gunji to miss his club's weekly meeting (that's why he was absent last August).

So there was no worry among Champaign Rotary members that Ken would be a no-show for the big surprise party thrown for him Monday.

"No one had to ask me because they knew I'd be there," Ken said.

Top of the morning, March 24, 2015

Drive time to St. Joseph-Ogden was longer than usual for Jared Aden on National Ag Day.

That's because the high school junior took the family tractor to school.

"My pickup truck goes a little faster," he said.

Top of the Morning, March 22, 2015

The Great Hall at Krannert this is not.

But for the musicians who gather here to strum on their ukuleles each Wednesday night, the barren hallway inside Urbana's Lincoln Square Mall is the ideal setting; plenty of elbow room, few distractions and no admission charge.

"Sometimes little kids will come by and sing along," Jenny Applequist said.

Top of the Morning, March 19, 2015

Spring officially arrives Friday, which means ....

... duck if you're around the Catlin Grade School playground at 1:35 that afternoon.

Call-in show: 'This has been an embarrassment'

It wasn't pretty after Tuesday's loss at Alabama.

Chris is Champaign summed it up best when he phoned in with 'This has been an embarrassment ... it's been a real frustrating year ... that's your job to get your players up.'

Other callers demanded a coaching change: 'Go after Gregg Marshall!'

Top of the Morning, March 18, 2015

— On Saturday, the IHSA will announce the winning bid to host its four-class boys' basketball finals.

Expect a decision around 2 p.m. and a news conference later that day so as not to interfere with the Class 3A or 4A games in Peoria.

Top of the Morning, March 17, 2015

It might be too late to get in shape for the seventh Christie Clinic Illinois Marathon. But it's not too late to register for the nine-event late-April showcase that'll wind up at Memorial Stadium.

"Today is your lucky day," co-director Jan Seeley said.