Ask 'Mimi,' April 12, 2015

Who will succeed Henson Keys as chair of the UI Department of Theatre acting program when he retires this spring?

The university selected stage-combat expert Robin McFarquhar (above). Henson, who filled the position for 16 years, will stick around here for a year or so and then likely move to Chicago. He wants to pursue his acting career full time.

Reluctant Townie: 2 vs. 3: Independent child sounding off

The main difference between a 2-year-old and a 3-year-old is that the 2-year-old will throw a hysterical, screaming fit in the footwear department at Kohl's, while the 3-year-old will turn around, without prompt, and tell her 8-months-pregnant mother, "Pretty soon, I'm gonna be big and I'm not going to need you any more."

Where's James Ponsoldt going after his film screens at Eberfest? Take a guess.

James Ponsoldt never met Roger Ebert, but while he's here at the Roger Ebert Film Festival to show his film about native genius David Foster Wallace, he's going to pay the late critic a fitting tribute.

"I'm going to Steak 'n Shake after the screening," said the director.

Getting Personal: Carlo and Peggy Anzelmo

Getting Personal is a Q&A with a local personality. Here, Carlo Anzelmo, 82, and his wife, Peggy, 76, chat with The News-Gazette's Melissa Merli. Carlo retired from the food industry 20 years ago, and Peggy retired from the Champaign Public Library in 2008.

Tom Kacich: Gerard talks election, future

Got a question for Tom? Ask it here

Don Gerard's re-election campaign already was on the ropes, but the big turnout generated by the $144 million Champaign schools bond issue delivered an early knockout punch to his mayoral hopes.

Top of the morning, April 12, 2015

I'm used to seeing Vashoune Russell in his role as Urbana High's animated varsity basketball coach, pacing and yelling and cajoling. So imagine my surprise when I saw him at this weekend's Boneyard Arts Festival, gently showing off his collection of photographs in downtown Champaign.

"I'm usually the angry guy on the sidelines," he said. "This is showing another side of me."

Head south to Osage Farm later this month

Want to spend some time in the country now that spring is finally here and winter really seems to be gone?

Area history, April 11, 2015

Today is Saturday, April 11, 2015. Here are news reports from this date 100, 50 and 15 years ago:

2 UI profs awarded Guggenheim fellowships

Two University of Illinois faculty members have won prestigious Guggenheim fellowships for "prior achievement and exceptional promise."

The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation awarded 2015 fellowships to Wendy K. Tam Cho, a professor of political science and of statistics, and Philip W. Phillips, a professor of physics.