Meg Makes: Chili cook-off spawned many favorites

I recently had the pleasure of judging a chili cook-off at Prairie Winds of Urbana, an assisted-living community.

I can absolutely get into the spirit of competition when it comes to cooking, but it was nice not to feel nervous. Instead, I enjoyed a wonderful variety of chili with two fellow judges: Urbana police Chief Patrick Connolly and Prairie Winds owner Paul Tatman.

Research focuses on women and 'silent killer'

CHAMPAIGN — Dr. Jennifer Ash knows a potentially deadly ballooning in part of the body's largest artery is way more common in men than it is in women. She also knows this condition, called an abdominal aortic aneurysm, has tended to be more fatal in women.

Don't wait till next year, Cubs fans

DANVILLE — Bidders at Friday's 17th annual Peer Court auction have a chance to fly high over Vermilion County, take a cooking lesson with a local culinary legend or be an honorary coach of the Illini volleyball team for a day.

They also have a chance to win a fully restored vintage refrigerator that's sure to be the envy of every Chicago Cubs fan.

Teacher of the week: Steven Lowe

On Wednesdays, we'll spotlight a difference-making area educator. To nominate a teacher, tweet to education reporter @Nicole_Lafond with the hashtag #TeacherOfTheWeek.

This week...

Parkland College releases dean's list

Parkland College congratulates approximately 885 students who have been named to the school's Dean's List for fall semester 2015, including the following from the Champaign area. Students must earn a minimum grade point average of 3.5 on a 4.0 grade scale for the semester in which they are being honored or achieve a 3.5 cumulative GPA for 12 or more hours in the academic year.

My Amish Home: Around town with a bunch of guests

"Thy mercy, O Lord, is in the heavens, and thy faithfulness reacheth unto the clouds. Thy righteousness is like the great mountains; thy judgements are a great deep: O Lord, thou preservest man and beast. How excellent is thy loving kindness, O God! Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings." Psalm 36:5-7

Top of the morning, Feb. 3, 2016

On Wednesdays, we celebrate milestones of all kinds. Something to get you there:

Rosemary Moorman was kind enough to send in her five-generation family picture taken at a Christmas celebration at the Wyndham in Urbana.

My request of the 85-year-old from Tolono: Make sure to mail in the six-generation portrait, too.

Barbie (finally) gets a body makeover

My daughter’s social studies teacher — an obviously brilliant former journalist — asks his students to take turns preparing newscasts for the class.

The kids peruse headlines in the newspaper or on the web and give a brief report, to expand their knowledge of the world.

Area history, Feb. 2, 2016

Today is Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2016. Here are news reports from this date 100, 50 and 15 years ago:

Psychologist hails ban on gay conversion therapy

SPRINGFIELD — The state's recent ban on practicing gay conversion therapy on minors has a local LGBT advocate praising the new legislation and calling it a victory for young people across Illinois.