Champaign school board OKs first step in renovation of 3 buildings

CHAMPAIGN — The Champaign school board on Monday night took the first steps in the renovation and modernization of three aging buildings.

Pulitzer Prize-winning author to speak Thursday at Spurlock Museum

URBANA — Pulitzer Prize-winning author Viet Thanh Nguyen will speak at 1 p.m. Thursday in the Knight Auditorium at the Spurlock Museum, 600 S. Gregory St., U.

Nguyen's talk, part of the University Library's 27th annual Mortenson Distinguished Lecture Series, is titled "Enduring Wars in Transpacific Memories." His book, which won a Pulitzer in 2016, was titled "The Sympathizer."

Branson show performing at Danville High to benefit music programs

DANVILLE — The Branson, Mo., production of "Forever Young" will give a performance later this month at Danville High School to benefit its choral music programs.

11 area students named Chancellor's Scholars at UI

CHAMPAIGN — Eleven area students, including seven from Champaign, were named Chancellor's Scholars in the Campus Honors Program at the University of Illinois this fall.

They are among 140 freshmen and sophomores chosen for their academic excellence and leadership potential, according to the UI.

Today's Special: UI's Allen Hall gets cafeteria with kosher meals

URBANA — A University of Illinois residence hall now has a cafeteria that serves kosher meals.

Rabbi Dovid Tiechtel, director of Illini Chabad, said that the cafeteria opened Aug. 29 on the lower level at Allen Hall, 1005 W. Gregory Drive, U.

Studio Visit: Adriane 'Binky' Donley

Staff writer Melissa Merli recently chatted with Adriane 'Binky' Donley, 42, of Champaign, the properties director at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts who created the "Transformation Takes Flight" installation of butterflies that was in the Champaign Public Library lobby from April through Sept. 2.

Getting Personal: Gene Cossey

Each week, we offer a Q&A with a local personality. Today, 48-year-old Champaign resident Gene Cossey, the executive director of Willard Airport, chats with staff writer Paul Wood about triathlons, scuba diving and motorcycle riding.

You grew up all over the place — Arizona, California, Oregon. How did that happen?

Block 'I' tower meant to lift Marching Illini to new heights

CHAMPAIGN — A giant Block "I" will soon be visible for blocks around the Marching Illini practice field near First Street and Gregory Drive.

After years of planning, the UI will break ground today on a new tower for Director Barry Houser and his assistants to observe and direct the members of the band during rehearsals.

UI researchers testing insecticides' effectiveness on Zika-carrying mosquitoes

CHAMPAIGN — Researchers at the Illinois Natural History Survey are testing insecticides to find out how effective they are at killing mosquitoes that can spread the dreaded Zika virus.

Urbana awards art grant to Parkland professor for student projects

URBANA — A Parkland College faculty member has received an Urbana Arts Grants Program grant to help high school and college students create art for local display.