Dear Mom and Dad...

We asked six area kids to write home after their first week of college:

Zakkori Johnson, a Champaign Central grad, is majoring in criminal justice at Michigan State University.

Dear friends and family,

Getting Personal: Austin McCann

Getting Personal is a Q&A with a local personality. Here, 28-year-old Urbana resident Austin McCann, the general manager of the Art Theater Co-op in downtown Champaign, chats with The News-Gazette's Melissa Merli.

So ... what's new with you?

'A wider landscape'

Singer, songwriter and guitarist Rosanne Cash, 59, was born in Memphis, the eldest daughter of country music legend Johnny Cash and his first wife, Vivian Liberto. She has recorded 15 albums, including two that were certified gold — "Seven Year Ache" (1981) and "King's Record Shop" ('87). Twenty-one of her songs were Top 40 country singles; 11 climbed to the No. 1 spot.

The Big 10 with Jeff D'Alessio, Sept. 7, 2014

With $63,046,692 worth of grants awarded in July alone, you never know where you're going to find a University of Illinois researcher these days. This week, we asked 10 of them to tell us about the most interesting corner of the world where their work has taken them.


Ant ecologist

For the retirees, Sept. 7-14, 2014

For information about services available to older adults, contact Karen Bodnar, director of the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) and Helen Mary Stevick Senior Citizens Center, 48 E. Main St., Champaign, IL 61820, phone 359-6500.

RSVP and the Stevick Senior Center are administered by Family Services of Champaign County.

Top of the Morning, Sept. 7, 2014

Parham Parastaran could tell Crazy K stories for as long as it'd take someone to complete his 5K obstacle course at the Champaign County Fairgrounds. But the man behind next Saturday's popular fundraiser stops in his tracks when Team Danny is the topic.

"An inspiration," he said. "It made me feel great helping be a part of something so much bigger."

State honors Mahomet-Seymour Junior High custodian

MAHOMET — School custodians typically work behind the scenes. But this fall, Mahomet-Seymour Junior High head custodian Don Rogers is in the spotlight.

Rogers is the recipient of a "Those Who Excel" award from the Illinois State Board of Education, selected for the honor after a nomination by MSJH administrators.

Salute to veterans: An officer and an artilleryman

Draftee rose in rank, was hurt by shrapnel twice in same leg

Arlan McPherson thought his Army service was nearly over and he was returning to his job at a Champaign bank — and then World War II interfered with his plans.

A few months in, it's 'part of the routine'

CHAMPAIGN — Six-plus months after issuing that historic first license, signing up same-sex couples to be married has become "just become a normal part of the routine" for Gordy Hulten.

"And I think that was the intent of the law," the Champaign County Clerk said.

Area history, Sept. 6, 2014

Today is Saturday, Sept. 6, 2014. Here are news reports from this date 100, 50 and 15 years ago: