Jim Rossow

Jim Rossow

Top of the Morning, Aug. 31, 2016

To reach Tom Kacich, click here

They’re close friends who root for different teams.

That worries Tom Costello ahead of Thursday’s surgery in St. Louis, where he is to receive Tom Kacich’s kidney.

Top of the Morning, Aug. 30, 2016

No longer the No. 1 party school in the country, Illinois still stayed in the Top 5 for the fifth consecutive year.

Princeton Review’s 2017 edition of “The Best 381 Colleges” — released Monday — named Big Ten rival Wisconsin as the top party school. The UI checked in at No. 3 behind West Virginia.

Top of the morning, Aug. 28, 2016

Gladys Kephart's room at Windsor of Savoy isn't anywhere near Apartment 108. Yet she often makes the long walk in the hopes of hearing beautiful music coming from behind the door in the southwest corner of the retirement village.

"I'll stand there and listen to him play," she said. "It's wonderful."

Top of the Morning, Aug. 27, 2016

In this year’s Answer Book — which published last Sunday and still is available at our downtown offices — we spotlighted one veteran from 50 area towns. Here’s more on Gifford’s hero, Ray Buck.

To celebrate his 89th birthday, Ray Buck went for a ride.

About 1,800 feet in the air.

“What a view,” the Army veteran said. “Loved seeing all the area from so far up in the air.”

Top of the Morning, Aug. 25, 2016

The start of high school football is a big deal in our newsroom. Some reminders:

— On Friday, we’ll publish our 20-page special section with information on 34 area teams, our preseason Nifty 50 and coaches’ polls for every area conference.

Top of the Morning, Aug. 24, 2016

There’s not a bigger Chicago fan than Steve Kelly, who has made the band’s music part of his popular radio show — “SportsTalk” — on WDWS 1400-AM.

Top of the Morning, Aug. 23, 2016

On Saturday night, Urbana’s Susan Jepsen won the 1966 Ford Mustang that was raffled off at Parkland Foundation’s 50th Anniversary Gala. The next day, she took it out for a spin.

Susan and husband Kent tooled down Illinois 130 and celebrated with ice cream at Sidney’s Dairy Barn.

“A beautiful day to do it,” Susan Jepsen said.

Top of the Morning, Aug. 21, 2016

Paul Wood has covered many beats for The News-Gazette since arriving in 1981.

But our veteran staff writer is quick to admit none has been as satisfying as his “Those Who Served” series that we introduced about two years — and 100 interviews — ago.

Each week, Wood profiles an area veteran, often getting them to tell part of their tale on video at news-gazette.com.

Top of the Morning, Aug. 20, 2016

In Monday’s News-Gazette, you’ll see pictures from the University of Illinois’ chaotic Quad Day (noon to 4 p.m. Sunday), where student organizations of all shapes and sizes strut their stuff. I asked Benjamin Khachaturian, president of the Illini Drone Club, if he could deliver that day’s newspaper to my doorstep by — what else? — one of his drones.

Top of the Morning, Aug. 18, 2016

I asked Sarah Tufte what she remembered most about her summer as an exchange student in France.

“It was fattening,” she said. “A lot of bread and chocolate.”

Tufte had just graduated from Champaign Central High School in ‘81 when she went overseas for six weeks she’ll never forget. Today, the Champaign woman and her family are on the receiving end.