John Roska: You can't go to jail for owing money

Q: After a judgment was entered against me in a small-claims case, I got a paper that says I must come to court to provide information about my finances. In big letters, it says I can be arrested and go to jail. Is that true? I thought there were no more debtor's prisons.

After husband's death, wife steps in as teen's mentor

URBANA — After his mentor, Steve Shoemaker, was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer in 2015, Warren Montgomery went into denial.

The Urbana High School senior thought Mr. Shoemaker, whom he had known since he was in fourth grade, was so strong he'd pull through.

Wired In: Christopher Barth

Each week, staff writer Paul Wood spotlights a high-tech difference-maker. This week, meet CHRISTOPHER BARTH, who recently won the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers' Region 4 Outstanding Student for 2016. He is working toward a Ph.D. in the Power and Energy Systems Group at the University of Illinois.

Tom Kacich: Hearing lacks Chicago presence

The setting was an Illinois Senate hearing on a big gambling expansion bill that calls for six more casinos in the state, including the first one for the city of Chicago. Proceeds from the Chicago casino's earnings, which would easily be in the hundreds of millions a year, would be earmarked for the city's police and fire pension funds.

The Reluctant Townie: Donald Trump and the portal of truth

The White House shook just before dawn. Steve Bannon felt the tremor from inside his coffin; the sheer force of the vibrations were enough to disturb the blanket of soil from his native land that covered him. He awoke suddenly. This wasn't an earthquake; this was something else.

Don Follis: Asking great questions key to knowing people

If you want to know what someone is thinking, ask great questions. The greatest questions start with "what." "What happened?" "What was the highlight of your day?" "What was the hardest part of your day?" "What do you really want?"

Two area communities racing to 10,000

On the wall of Bob McCleary's office at the Savoy Municipal Building hangs a photo of the village president with his family in front of the fireplace at their home.

Mounted on that fireplace is an old road sign a friend secured for him.

It reads: SAVOY 1500.

Top of the Morning, Jan. 29, 2017

Sandra Mason, whose popular "In The Garden" column debuted in The News-Gazette on Jan. 2, 1993, will write for the final time this Saturday. The state Master Gardener coordinator leaves big — and sometimes muddy — shoes to fill.

Do you realize you're more popular than Loren Tate?

Now that is hard to believe, but gardening does have a fan club of its own.

Area history, Jan. 29, 2017

Today is Sunday, Jan. 29, 2017. Here are local news reports from 100, 50 and 15 years ago:

Bob Swisher: The cast-iron elephant in the room

It is referred to as vintage and rare by Worthopedia, an internet resource. The cast-iron elephant I'm talking about was produced in 1960 by the Hamilton Foundry and Machine Co., a pioneer in the iron-casting business.