Finishing touches

CHAMPAIGN — The University of Illinois' newest residence hall — Wassaja, in Ikenberry Commons — features a rec room with a ping-pong table, a first-floor laundry facility capable of alerting your smart phone on the status of your load and a music room outfitted with a piano and sound-muffling lights.

To Your Health: A few ideas for spicing up summer salads

When the sun shines hot and the temperature rises, it is not just the pool or sitting in front of a fan that can keep us cool. In summer, we can cool down with the recipes we make.

Throughout July, the "Healthy Eats and Repeat" blog through University of Illinois Extension is featuring a different summer salad, complete with recipe and a quick how-to video. (Simply search us online.)

A 'Dreamgirls' come true

URBANA — Nathaniel Banks always wanted to produce the musical "Dreamgirls," believing it would be a good draw for the local community.

He was right.

Already, there are waiting lists for each of the three "Dreamgirls" shows in early August at Krannert Center.

Spotlight on Service, July 26, 2016

A look at area do-gooders. This week: Atwood American Legion

About the club

Commander: Jerry Clough.

Origin: The club was founded in 1918.

Meets: 7:30 p.m. on the third Thursday of the month at the Legion Hall on Missouri Street in Atwood.

Did you know: The late Bill Wireman was a member of Post 770 for 70 years.

Area history, July 26, 2016

Today is Tuesday, July 26, 2016. Here are news reports from this date 100, 50 and 15 years ago:

In 1916: The first federal apportionment for hard roads is about to be announced and it will include $228,800 for Illinois. Overall the government plans on spending $150 million on good roads over the next five years.

This day in history, July 26, 2016

Today is Tuesday, July 26, the 208th day of 2016.

There are 158 days left in the year.

Today's highlight:

On July 26, 1775, the Continental Congress established a post office and appointed Benjamin Franklin its postmaster-general.

On this date:

Top of the morning, July 26, 2016

Notes from the newsroom:

— Online editor Mike Howie's long run at The News-Gazette ends Friday. That means Monday's "Where Am I?," Howie's weekly video quiz at, was the final installment in a series we introduced in May 2015. The video that solicited the most guesses? A short clip from downtown Farmer City in late May.

Playing organ put Vietnam veteran in danger

SAVOY — Musician Richard Hertel played the organ at two chapels in Vietnam during the war, which meant driving in a jeep with a couple of other guys and their M-16s for their only protection, or flying in a helicopter.

His most memorable trip: the pilot was "short," about to go home, and he gave Hertel and the chaplain a copter thrill ride.

Area history, July 25, 2016

In 1916, Champaign will have an elegant boulevard, if plans now being pushed by the university bureau of the chamber of commerce materialize.

This day in history, July 25, 2016

Today is Monday, July 25, the 207th day of 2016. There are 159 days left in the year.

Today's highlight: