Jim Rossow

Jim Rossow

Top of the morning, May 5, 2016

Brad Diel does heavy lifting for United Way of Champaign County.

Especially today.

He's charged with getting some 200 handbags from Church Street to Pear Tree Estate in time for tonight's popular and purposeful fundraiser, Power of the Purse. "He transports them in a large trailer hitched to his pickup truck," fellow staff member Becca Guyette said. "True story."

Top of the morning, May 4, 2016

On Wednesdays, we spotlight community do-gooders in our 'Neighbors' section. Something to get you there.

There's much to like about the new viewing deck behind the right field fence at Champaign Central's baseball field.

The view's fantastic, admission's free and anyone's welcome.

"Even Centennial fans can view the game from up there," Dan Swartz said.

Top of the Morning, May 3, 2016

Careful on your morning drive as today is the seventh Bike to Work Day in Champaign-Urbana.

Jeff Yockey, executive director of Champaign County Bikes, reports that in years past as many as 20 percent of the participants were biking to their job for the first time.

Top of the morning, May 1, 2016

Bill Ziegler retired from farming in 2014.

Yeah, right.

"He hung it up officially but he's out there more than ever," his wife, Virginia, said. "You can't take the farm out of the boy."

You can find 79-year-old Bill in the fields at 5:30 a.m. most days. Last week, he helped son Scott and grandson Jake finish planting corn on the family's 234-acre farm north of Urbana.

Top of the morning, April 30, 2016

Allie Hill will be easy to spot today.

She's the bald, 22-year-old with a smile on her face.

"I'm going to be proud of my bald head," Allie said before Friday night's mass shaving during the Illini's baseball game at Illinois Field, "but I'm a bit scared of my head burning, so I've stocked up on baseball caps."

Top of the Morning, April 28, 2016

Just like Roger Ebert’s statue in front of the Virginia Theatre, Joni Gruelle Wannamaker is sure a bronze tribute to Raggedy Ann and Andy will draw picture-taking crowds to downtown Arcola.

Granddaughter of the rag dolls’ creator, Arcola-born Johnny Gruelle, Wanamaker is all for a plan that calls for a statue of Raggedy Ann and Andy sitting on a bench just off Oak Street.

Top of the morning, April 27, 2016

The iconic WILL radio booth that sits at the top row of Huff Hall's west balcony is on the way out.

When construction crews replace the gym's 2,814 upper deck wooden seats in the coming weeks, they'll also dismantle the cramped quarters that were once used by broadcasters covering Illinois basketball games.

"A historic spot," UI sports information director Kent Brown said.

Top of the morning, April 26, 2016

A tribute to Prince appeared over the weekend on the side of an electrical box north of The News-Gazette, someone going to a lot of work — and a lot of glue — to honor the late musician.

Top of the morning, April 24, 2016

Chemotherapy treatments have kept Dr. Michael Hammer from sitting at the piano — but not thinking about it.

"I can still imagine myself playing," he said. "It's all in my head."

Top of the morning, April 23, 2016

All she wanted to do was rest her tired legs before heading to catch a flight out of McCarran International Airport on Wednesday.

"There's nowhere to sit in Las Vegas other than a bar or a slot machine," lifelong Danville resident and popular hairstylist Mary Randall said. "I picked a slot machine."

Good decision.