Top of the morning, Aug. 31, 2015

If a picture is worth a thousand words, some of you put together a novel last week — all about beauty.

You may recall I referred to an online Washington Post map that used 1999 USDA data to rank U.S. counties by "natural beauty." Champaign County was dead last in Illinois, and not far from the bottom of the entire national barrel.

This day in history, Aug. 31, 2015

Today is Monday, August 31, the 243rd day of 2015. There are 122 days left in the year.

Today's highlight in history:

On August 31, 1965, the U.S. House of Representatives joined the Senate in voting to establish the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

On this date:

WWII: 'You just weren't meant to leave this world'

SAVOY — When 93-year-old Leo Clennon wears his "World War II veteran" cap, strangers often approach him to say thanks for his service.

"It makes you kind of proud but you don't go boasting about it," he said.

It was 70 years ago when the Philo native and Savoy resident received the wound that earned him a Purple Heart. Clennon served for three years and four days.

Area history, Aug. 31, 2015

In 1915, a number of colored girls from the northeast part of Champaign organized a baseball team recently and, attired in bloomers, they have become almost as efficient at the national sport as their men opponents. Yesterday afternoon a game was played with the Champaign Models, the crack colored team of the city. The men nosed out a 10-8 win.

Officer who found child honored at Homer event

HOMER — Chad Beasley knew he was going to be grand marshal of Homer's Krazee Days parade Saturday.

He didn't know there was an award for heroism also awaiting him.

In June, Beasley, a Champaign County sheriff's deputy, discovered a 6-month-old baby, missing for more than half a day, in a muddy bean field. The baby was face down in mud, and coyote tracks were nearby.

Tom Kacich: Stevick a promoter of self, C-U and UI

The News-Gazette traces its history to 1852 with the publication of the first edition of the Urbana Union.

Area history, Aug. 30, 2015

Today is Sunday, Aug. 30, 2015. Here are news reports from this date 100, 50 and 15 years ago:

Studio Visit: Kemal Nance

Studio Visit is a Q&A with a local artist. Here, Kemal Nance, a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Illinois in African-American studies and a lecturer for Dance at Illinois, chats with The News-Gazette's Melissa Merli.

Are you teaching this semester?

Fielding questions

The Champaign County Farm Bureau Young Ag Leaders hosted three speakers with expertise on everything from weather to aerial photography to longterm financial planning. Here's more courtesy staff writer Paul Wood:

1. Chance of early frost nothing to worry about

Don Follis: Whatever comes our way, this is not the end of our story

Holy cow, my dad could work. He worked all week, and then on Saturdays he swept and mopped floors and washed and vacuumed his cars. If someone asked him if he was retired, he would say, "What? Of course not." When he was 80 I heard him say to someone, "I work 40 hours a week. A man has to pull his weight in this old world."