Jim Rossow

Centennial grad hospitalized after Rhode Island circus accident

Samantha Pitard, a Centennial High School graduate in her second year with Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey, remains hospitalized in Rhode Island, two days after an accident during a hair-hanging stunt injured her and other performers.

Top of the Morning, May 6, 2014

When she asked her daughter what she'd like for her fifth birthday, Tracy Grotrian figured it'd be a stuffed animal or doll or maybe a board game.

Anything but I want to milk a cow.

"Kids come up with the craziest ideas," Tracy said.

But Kiera Grotrian, a Mahomet preschooler, was serious.

Top of the Morning, May 4, 2014

Today at the corner of High Cross Road and U.S. 150 in Urbana, the Champaign County Design and Conservation Foundation will mark its 50th anniversary by planting five trees — one for each decade — at the western trailhead of the Kickapoo Trail.

Of the thousands of trees planted with the help of the CCDC, these rank up there.

Top of the Morning, May 3, 2014

The lineup for 2015 Ebertfest won't be announced until at least February. But if the film festival organizers want to stick with the 25th anniversary approach that worked so well last week — it drew Spike Lee and Oliver Stone to town — there are plenty of options. Among the 1990 hits: "GoodFellas," "The Hunt For Red October," "Pretty Woman," "Home Alone" and "Days of Thunder."

Juice, Beckman to sing

Friday is Illini Day at Wrigley Field as the Cubs host the rival St. Louis Cardinals (1:20 p.m., Fox Sports Midwest, Comcast SportsNet). Here’s the skinny: 

Illinois draws Miami in ACC/Big Ten Challenge

The Illini will travel to Miami for the 2014 ACC/Big Ten Challenge. The game is Dec. 2.

The teams last met in the 2013 NCAA tournament, the Hurricanes winning 63-59 in Austin, Texas.

It marks the second consecutive Challenge — and third in four years — that Illinois is being sent away from State Farm Center.

The teams are 1-1 all-time.

Other matchups:

Dec. 1

Top of the Morning, May 1, 2014

What Mel Kiper is to the NFL draft, Andy Miller is to mushroom hunting. A mycologist with the Illinois Natural History Survey at the UI, he knows morels like nobody's business:

1. What are the ideal conditions to hunt mushrooms?

Taser poll results

On Tuesday, we presented the case for and against the use of Tasers by police in Urbana:



Top of the Morning, April 30, 2014

She's been a pizza maker, den mother, music booster, school teacher, museum curator, swim instructor, church treasurer and book sorter.

Take a bow, Nancy Dolan. Then take a break.

"I think I'll just keep going on," she said. "Although I'd like to go to Alaska one day."

Nancy, 74, isn't the vacationing type. At least not yet.

Top of the Morning, April 29, 2014

Most in the overflow crowd at Monday's Champaign Rotary Club luncheon didn't know exactly what was on the agenda. So imagine their surprise when Champaign Mayor Don Gerard showed up with a proclamation honoring the hundreds of volunteers who planted trees in tornado-ravaged Gifford earlier this month.

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