Jim Rossow

Jim Rossow

Top of the Morning, Nov. 8, 2014

The word: miscellaneous.

The place: an eighth-grade spelling bee in the Chicago suburbs.

The result: A case of misspelling misery.

"Everyone has a spelling bee failure story to tell," Lois Hoyer said, "and that's mine: miscellaneous."

Top of the Morning, Nov. 6, 2014

In recent discussions about plans for a new Champaign Central High School, I heard backlash about the emphasis put on building new athletic facilities.

So I thought I'd pass along a story — definitely different town, clearly different priorities — that moved on the wires Wednesday.

Let's talk Illini basketball

Beat writer Marcus Jackson had plenty on his plate for today's 12:30 p.m. chat.

Read the transcript here

Top of the Morning, Nov. 5, 2014

Cole Berry will play in a mighty important football game Saturday when his St. Joseph-Ogden Spartans take on the Unity Rockets in what is our area's biggest rivalry.

But on Tuesday, something else had the senior noticeably excited.

He voted.

"I can't wait until I do it and it actually counts," he said.

Top of the Morning, Nov. 2, 2014

Tom Kacich voted Saturday morning.

In the good ol' days, our veteran columnist waited until Election Day to make his picks. It was a Kacich tradition to head to the voting booth as a family and then celebrate together at dinner, usually at Minneci's in Champaign.

"After that, I'd go in to work," he said.

Well, his three kids got older. And his job got trickier.

Top of the Morning, Nov. 1, 2014

I thought this job kept me busy.

Then I got ahold of CELINDA DAVIS (right), the superstar student from Knox College in Galseburg who today will be honored as a Student Laureate in Springfield. The Uni High grad is the area's only Student Laureate, presented to extraordinary seniors from each of the state's four-year colleges and universities.

Top of the Morning, Oct. 30, 2014

As a teacher at Champaign's READY alternative school, ALLISON IMIG always is trying to "keep my kids motivated." Wednesday's visit by RONNIE FIELDS, organized by Imig, did the trick.

Chat today: SFC floor, secret scrimmage and more

Get your questions into basketball beat writer Marcus Jackson, who's weekly chat starts at 12:30 p.m.

Submit them here

Top of the Morning, Oct. 29, 2014

In Thursday's e3, film critic Chuck Koplinski reviews a flick made for Halloween: "Ouija." While scary, it doesn't make Chuck's Horror Hall of Fame. Here are three that do:

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)

Top of the Morning, Oct. 28, 2014

Some online notes:

— On Monday, we introduced our "2014 Election Coverage" icon at news-gazette.com.