Jim Rossow

Jim Rossow

Top of the morning, Dec. 1, 2015

Online updates

— On Saturday, about the time Illinois announced the hiring of Bill Cubit as its football coach, we crossed the 50 million pageview mark for the year, online editor Mike Howie reports. In all of 2014, we had 42,265,997 pageviews.

Top of the morning, Nov. 29, 2015

It's a big week for Illinois basketball, which returns to a renovated State Farm Center on Wednesday.

It's also a big week for how we cover Illinois basketball, as beat writer Marcus Jackson transitions out of Sports and onto A-1 as our community reporter. Staff writer Scott Richey will take his place after Wednesday's game against Notre Dame.

Top of the morning, Nov. 28, 2015

They always stand out in a crowd, even one as delirious as Black Friday at Market Place Mall.

It's been the case for about a decade, since lifetime friends Joy Lou Walker and Carol Young and their kids decided to mix shenanigans with shopping over the holidays.

"We like to shop," Joy Lou said, "and we like being together."

Top of the morning, Nov. 26, 2015

The fourth-graders at Robeson Elementary in Champaign are pleased as punch that classmate Savindi Devmal is so good at art.

The 10-year-old won Illinois American Water's "Imagine a Day Without Water" contest — open to kids in grades 3-5 in IAW's service area — with the clever painting here. Savindi's reward: her name in the newspaper and, even better, $100 for her class.

Top of the morning, Nov. 25, 2015

The Virginia Theatre has an 8-year-old third-grader to thank for getting its holiday train display up and running.

While attending last weekend's showing of "The Snow Queen," Rowan Fisher noticed the Bachmann setup on the mezzanine level needed serious help. Fake snow was out of place, cars were in the wrong order and the engine kept derailing.

Top of the morning, Nov. 24, 2015

Our high school audience continues to grow.

That was made clear again in the last week on Twitter (@ngpreps surpassed 3,000 followers), at our website (check out Nos. 1-2 on the Sports Stories list, below) and in our newsroom. On Sunday, more than 240 high school student-athletes visited us for studio portraits that will appear soon at news-gazette.com and in our Sports section.

Top of the morning, Nov. 22, 2015

There will be more local flavor at Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade than just the Marching Illini.

Champaign's C.J. Sizemore — a Colonel Sanders lookalike — will be atop the KFC float, a move that surely will help NBC's ratings.

"I have 25 first-cousins," he said, "and I'm sure they'll all be tuned in. I have a lot of friends in Champaign interested as well."

Top of the morning, Nov. 21, 2015

Members of the operations and planning department at the Champaign Park District, who do their best work outside, will be out of their element this morning.

They’ll be in a kitchen.

Top of the morning, Nov. 19, 2015

Few area communities do the holidays like Gibson City. 

Top of the morning, Nov. 18, 2015

The fan favorites at Unity High football games don't wear shoulder pads, get sore real easy and do their best work 100 yards away from the field.

"I guess we're popular," 65-year-old Damian Donberger said. "Not many schools do what we do."