Presentation on aliens scheduled for Nov. 2 at Staerkel Planetarium

CHAMPAIGN — How likely is it that aliens have visited Earth? Join University of Illinois physicist Kevin Pitts for a discussion of the possibilities in the next William M. Staerkel Planetarium "World of Science" lecture.

His presentation, "The Physics of UFOs," will be given at 7 p.m. Nov. 2 at the planetarium at Parkland College.

Letter from Birdland: Beware of the species 'Canis gluttonus'

This morning, Ursula ate my sandwiches. Yes, she did. I try to be careful about leaving my dog alone with sandwiches, but these were in my lunch bag and pushed to the back of the counter.

I left the room for only a moment to grab my backpack, and when I came back, I saw an apple rolling across the floor. What's that doing there? I wondered.

Between the stacks: Award-winning author releases a moving collection of short stories

While reading is a great way to spend time year round, I do think there is an extra bit of pleasure to be had in reading during the fall months.

Military news: Jensen, Alvarado finish training

Navy Seaman Rudolph C. Jensen, son of Kenneth E. Jensen of Fisher, recently completed U.S. Navy basic training at Recruit Training Command, Great Lakes. Jensen is a 2001 graduate of Fisher High School. He is a 2011 graduate of DePaul University, Chicago.

Local writer hits high note in debut novel

Just before Halloween, I thought it only fitting to tell you about a wonderfully written and fun — albeit somewhat scary — new novel by local author Scott A. Lerner.

"Cocaine Zombies" is a paranormal thriller set in Champaign-Urbana; after reading it, you might find yourself looking at your neighbors in a whole new way.

Champaign artist getting national attention

CHAMPAIGN — Champaign ceramics artist Michael Schwegmann has been invited to exhibit his new line of sculpture at the Sculptural Objects, Functional Art + Design Fair (SOFA) on Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Navy Pier in Chicago.

Reluctant Townie: Some Halloween horror film selections

Halloween is my favorite time of year. I will take any excuse I can get to eat handfuls of candy, dress up like a superhero and toilet-paper my neighbor's house. But even more than the haunted houses, campfire stories and college girls wearing their underwear outdoors, I appreciate the barrage of horror programming that the holiday brings to our televisions.

For the retirees

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.

As a 'stage manager' of medical theater, he's ... scary good

CHAMPAIGN — When Jim Rowland dressed as a green-faced witch with a hooked nose and protruding chin for a Halloween office party last year, he didn't wear a mask he'd purchased.

He created the horrifying visage himself, using two prosthetic devices that he glued onto his face and silicone rubber to hide the seams. He covered that with a ghoulish shade of Ben Nye creme makeup.

Trick-or-treat hours set for area towns

Communities around the area have set their hours for trick-or-treating on Halloween night, Wednesday, Oct. 31.

Those hours are:

4 to 6 p.m.