Illinois Ancestors: Derry-Londonderry research made easier

Brian Mitchell has written over a dozen books pertaining to genealogical research in Ireland. His latest book, "Tracing Derry-Londonderry Roots," provides details for anyone researching a family history in the city and county of Londonderry (also known as Derry) in the nine major record sources in the 18th, 19th, and early 20th centuries. These are:

Area history, Oct. 8, 2014

In 1914, rumors were rampant in Tolono following the exhumation and examination of the body of Mrs. Scott Stone, who died in a fire at her rural Tolono home last month. Fire Marshal Bogardus told a Gazette reporter that Scott Stone, who was the only family member to survive the fire, was extremely nervous during the four-day visit of the fire marshal to Tolono.

Ebola fears stymie Monticello alum's mission to Sierra Leone

MONTICELLO — Fears about the Ebola virus short-circuited Kayla Freemon's efforts to teach for the Peace Corps in Sierra Leone, but she hopes to try again.

"I'm still pretty committed to the Peace Corps," said Freemon, a 2010 graduate of Monticello High School who earned her criminal justice degree from Loyola University last December.

For 42 years, Champaign firefighter never left the front lines

CHAMPAIGN — Lon Pitcher comes from a long line of firefighters, and even after 42 years on the job, his love for it has never faded.

"I can almost remember every call," the 64-year-old Pitcher said on the eve of a "walkout" ceremony held Friday at the Champaign Fire Department to honor him for his long years of service.

Area history, Oct. 7, 2014

In 1914, the body of Mrs. J. Scott Stone, which was buried in Ash Grove Cemetery northwest of Tolono, was exhumed this afternoon. The grave of the woman, who perished with her four children when their home was burned, was opened at the request of the state fire marshal's office. It is alleged that Mrs.

Urbana firefighter didn't plan on this career but is glad she wound up here

URBANA — It wasn't her lifelong desire to be a firefighter, but Ashlee Vercler is sure she is where she's supposed to be.

After three years as an Urbana firefighter, the 35-year-old single mom is shedding some of the green she came in with and can hold her own at a fire, a wreck or the station kitchen.

Area history, Oct. 6, 2014

In 1914, the new Champaign High School building will open tomorrow and school will start immediately. With the opening of the new school, a new era will be marked in the history of the local school, which has a present aim of an enrollment of 1,000 pupils. At noon today, 600 students had registered, 329 girls and 271 boys.

For the retirees, Oct. 5-12, 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 Service of Champaign County.

Cornelison sings national anthem loud and proud

Twenty thousand screaming hockey fans do their best to drown out Jim Cornelison at the United Center. He can pick out a note now and then to know he's on track singing the national anthem.

Letter from Birdland: Fall: A mixture of work and laziness

In Birdland, the sky is a crystalline blue, and the morning is cool and mild. Michael has been trimming trees. Yesterday, I wanted him for something, and couldn't find him. I called through the house, walked around in the yard and then went back to my desk.