Empty downtown? Check the Arcola football field

ARCOLA — Roll into Arcola on a Friday night and you'll see an abandoned downtown decked out in Purple Riders gear.

Businesses are closed, people aren't out on the street and lights are out. If it weren't for the shine of big dome lights off in the distance and the roar of a pumped-up crowd, you'd think the place was deserted.

Area history, Oct. 31, 2014

Today is Friday, Oct. 31, 2014. Here are news reports from this date 100, 50 and 15 years ago:

This day in history: Oct. 31, 2014

Today is Friday, Oct. 31, the 304th day of 2014. There are 61 days left in the year. This is Halloween.

Today's Highlight in History:

Top of the Morning, Oct. 31, 2014

Want to save some money on your Christie Clinic Illinois Marathon entry fee? Might want to jog over to your computer today and sign up.

The current fees for the April 23-25 races go up by $5 at midnight today.

My family of procrastinators will probably wait until April, when the fees go up $20 per race.

Tim Cook: 'I'm proud to be gay'


NEW YORK (AP) — Apple CEO Tim Cook says he's proud to be gay.

Army mom, home from Afghanistan, pays second-grade daughter surprise visit

RANTOUL — Ashley Williams held back tears as she hid behind an outhouse at Hardy's Reindeer Ranch, waiting to surprise her 8-year-old daughter, Destiny.

The 28-year-old Williams, a U.S. Army Reserves specialist, had just returned to the U.S. from a nine-month deployment in Afghanistan. But her daughter didn't know that — yet.

Area history, Oct. 30, 2014

Today is Thursday, Oct. 30, 2014. Here are news reports from this date 100, 50 and 15 years ago:

Jim Dey: Centennial senior keeps eye on master goal

CHAMPAIGN — Sonnet Henderson is, in many ways, a typical teenage girl. She likes playing and listening to music, riding horses and being a member of her lacrosse team.

At the same time, not many high school seniors can claim to have "been reading (French philosopher Jean-Paul) Sartre since I was a freshman" or aspire to be a chess grand master.

Notes-Worthy: Bassist George Gekas of the Revivalists

This week, bassist George Gekas talks with Paul Wood about his band, the Revivalists. You can check out the band at, then can catch them live at 9 p.m. Nov. 6 at the Canopy Club, 708 S. Goodwin Ave., U. 

Scaring people a family affair

RANTOUL — What is it in our nature that we pay to be frightened, to have grisly things jump out at us, loud noises unsettle us, strange sights creep us out?

You'd think we'd pay NOT to have that happen.

If some guy jumped out at me in my house, I'm not sure whether I'd punch him or just go with the heart attack.