Get up-close look at the stars at CUAS event

The Champaign-Urbana Astronomical Society's monthly observatory open house uses its 16-inch telescope to observe planets, star clusters and the moon.

The open house takes place from 9 to 11 p.m. Saturday at 926 County Road 700E, Champaign.

Area history, July 31, 2014

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

In 1914: A strike of 50,000 engineers and firemen on 98 railroads operating west of Chicago has been set for Aug. 7. President Woodrow Wilson has made plans to appeal to the patriotism of the managers and employees in an effort to avert a strike.

American Legion mural drawing praise

DANVILLE — It's still a few days away from being finished.

But a colorful mural of a military honor guard being painted on the front of the American Legion Post 210 building, at 201 Prospect Place, is already drawing lots of "oohs" and "aahs."

Soprano heading home for operetta

WATSEKA — After singing the role of Norma Desmond in the musical "Sunset Boulevard" in Cleveland, soprano Helen Todd will switch gears.

She'll drive eight hours to her hometown of Watseka to sing the role of Rosalinde in the Sugar Creek Opera production of "Die Fledermaus" on Saturday.

Novel approach ahead for cancer patient

VILLA GROVE — It was Tom Ryan's smile and kid-at-heart personality that first drew his wife, Staci, when they met at a New Year's Eve party 12 years ago.

Through four struggles with cancer, Tom has remained the same fun-loving guy she loves, Staci says, and even the fifth cancer diagnosis he got recently hasn't dimmed his positive attitude.

Going head over heels

CHAMPAIGN — Danville native Dick Van Dyke made an indelible impression as the magical, mystical chimney sweep Bert in the 1964 movie "Mary Poppins."

His tall and lanky frame seemed just right for the role.

And so is Marc Wilson's.

Top of the Morning, July 31, 2014

For nearly 15 years at Champaign's Market Place Mall, Mary File made others smile.

Today, it's payback.

The 82-year-old Tolono woman will be honored at the spot she helped make so popular: the carousel. She'd like to be still operating it, but persistent health problems caused her to retire earlier this month.

Area history, July 30, 2014

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

Military charity getting $1 million from Jimmy John's

A roundup of business news

CHAMPAIGN — Jimmy John's Gourmet Sandwiches will make a $1 million donation to the Folds of Honor Foundation, the Champaign-based company announced Tuesday.

Everyone in town still OK with Jimmy John? Let Tom know here