Relief funds collecting, giving money

GIFFORD — More than $66,000 has been distributed to homeowners and businesses affected by the Nov. 17 tornado that struck Gifford and surrounding communities, even as money continues to flow into various relief funds.

Memorial to Mandela planned at UI

The public is invited to a memorial celebrating the life of Nelson Rolihlala Mandela, the anti-apartheid leader, former South African president and Nobel Peace Prize winner, at 4 p.m. Thursday at the University YMCA, 1001 S. Wright St., C.

The University of Illinois Center for African Studies is organizing the event.

Holiday toy store up and running again

URBANA — In the barnlike structure behind Ron and Joy Meyer's home are thousands of colorful toys, cleaned up and meticulously displayed on shelves.

There's Teddy Ruxpin, Fisher-Price Chatter Phones, stuffed animals, dinosaurs, farm toys, Hot Wheels cars, children's books, Christmas trees ... and a separate display room of Barbie dolls and accessories.

Donor incentives boosted for Ebert sculpture

Drive is already 20 percent along toward $122,500 goal

CHAMPAIGN — People who give more toward the creation and installation of a lifesize bronze sculpture of Roger Ebert in downtown Champaign will get a little more in return.

The organizers of the fundraising campaign have increased the incentives for donations of $1,000 or more:

UI professor recalls children's letters to Mandela

The day after Nelson Mandela died, Teresa Ann Barnes was thinking about two "Happy Birthday" letters, written by a 9- and 10-year-old.

"Children have a way of seeing through the nonsense to the heart of the matter," the University of Illinois professor said Friday.

Mourning Mandela, praising his legacy

Nelson Mandela's death will be mourned from Cape Town to Champaign-Urbana. Six area admirers shared their memories with The News-Gazette:


Head of the Department of African American Studies at the University of Illinois

Clark: 'It's going to be a lot better'

DANVILLE — Keon Clark's most recent drunk-driving conviction, stemming from an Aug. 4 accident in Danville, sent him back to the Illinois penitentiary on Wednesday.

But shortly before he was sentenced to 8 years in prison on that charge and a weapons charge in a 2012 case, the former NBA player said the accident, just a block from his home, was also a wake-up call.

Departing Champaign fire chief shares thoughts on career, department

Champaign County emergency dispatchers will call Champaign Fire Chief Doug Forsman's name for the last time today (Thursday, Dec. 5) as he ends a 50-year career in fire service.

When Forsman was 5 years old he told his father, a fireman himself, that he thought he'd be a fire chief when he grew up.

Many happy returns for 'Nutcracker'

Ballet is an annual tradition for local families — and one of several chances to get your holiday music fix

It's that time of the year, when a young girl, fairies, armed mice, waltzing flowers, life-sized dolls and of course the nut-cracking prince come to life at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts.

Riding the storm out: REO helps tornado recovery

Champaign-Urbana's favorite classic rockers will be back in the neighborhood tonight (Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2013) for a good cause.