Reluctant Townie: Listening for 2015's Song of the Summer

We're almost to the end of July, and 2015 has yet to present us with an official, definitive Song of the Summer — and it's running out of time.

Without a Song of the Summer, I will have no point of reference around which to log the events of my life from May to August of 2015. Will 2015 be a lost year?

Don Follis: Redrawing our map when life does not go our way

During the sermon on Sunday, July 12, at the First Presbyterian Church in Champaign, I thought about how my grandmother redrew her map at age 64. It was 1964. My grandfather suddenly died and my grandmother moved in with our family of 7. She stayed until she died in 1991.

Getting Personal: Mark Shelden

Getting Personal is a Q&A with a local personality. Here, 51-year-old Urbana resident Mark Shelden chats with The News-Gazette's Paul Wood. The former Champaign County clerk is working on political and technology projects for people around the state.

Top of the morning, July 19, 2015

A week from today, Cunningham Children's Home will celebrate 120 years of service by welcoming back alumni of all ages.

That includes 89-year-old Don Pittman of Loda, who owns a never-to-be-broken record: Youngest to milk a cow at Cunningham.

"I was 7," he said, "and they did away with the cows shortly after I left. So it's my record."

'He was just a fun-loving guy'

DANVILLE — The sudden death of Decatur Mayor Mike McElroy reverberated across the state Friday — including Danville, where the 63-year-old had been a businessman and community volunteer for nearly 20 years before moving back home.

Area history, July 18, 2015

Today is Saturday, July 18, 2015. Here are news reports from this date 100, 50 and 15 years ago:

In 1915: The life of William Freese of Ogden was saved yesterday when his body was rescued from the lake at Homer Park. Physicians worked on the man for 45 minutes before he gained consciousness. The rescue and subsequent revival was witnessed by nearly 700 people at the park.

Attend meeting and weigh in on paver issue

Champaign resident Bill May, the county's public service coordinator, has storage space on Kerr Avenue in Urbana that's filled with equipment for lawn care.

His public service workers keep small county cemeteries mowed and clean. He has done this for years. Small towns that can't afford to keep cemeteries mowed really appreciate this service.

Lawyers get together on behalf of colleague

URBANA — Local lawyers are planning to gather at Bunny's Tavern in downtown Urbana tonight to raise money to help one of their colleagues who's fallen on hard times.

Champaign lawyer Mark Lipton said he organized the fundraiser to help 75-year-old lawyer Marvin Gerstein raise enough money to pay major expenses, including property taxes, insurance and house repairs.

Top of the morning, July 18, 2015

There's a good chance you'll hear Brad LaPayne's 1970 Pirsch firetruck before you see it at the Champaign Fire Department's 150th birthday bash Sunday.

"It's never had a muffler, so it makes a racket," the retired Champaign firefighter said. "When the Harley-Davidson guys go by, I always laugh. 'I've got something louder than that.' "

Cultivating a garden of artistry

URBANA — Cynthia Haymon-Coleman is sick and tired of being "beaten up" by all the bad news of late.

She addressed it head-on by co-founding with her husband, Barrington, Le Jardin Community Arts Festival.