Habitat to dedicate home for Danville veteran

DANVILLE — Over the past few months, friends and relatives of a local Navy veteran who was paralyzed from a motorcycle accident have come together at a construction site at 921 Chandler St. to help build a Habitat for Humanity house for him.

On Sunday, they will gather there again to see Habitat officials dedicate the handicap-accessible home and turn over the key to its owner.

Life Remembered: Jack Waters 'a man of purpose and intensity'

RANTOUL — Jack Waters and Jack Jones had a lot in common.

They had the same first name, were in the same class in school, grew up a block apart, saw Europe together, spent long tenures serving on the Rantoul Fire Department, ran their own businesses and continued to call Rantoul their home all their lives.

Jones remained friends with him until Mr. Waters' death Dec. 6 at age 83.

Fund drive by UI student in wake of Connecticut school almost a fourth of the way to goal

URBANA — A University of Illinois student is almost a fourth of the way toward his goal of raising $50,000 to give to those affected by last week's shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn.

Organization honors moms from Champaign, Paxton

CHAMPAIGN — A national organization has named a Champaign woman as the state's Mother of Achievement and a Paxton woman as the state's Mother of the Year.

American Mothers Inc., an interfaith, non-political, non-profit organization dedicated to recognizing mothers for their work with their community, announced this week that Gail Rost is this year's Mother of Achievement for Illinois.

Sadorus museum crammed full of maritime history with models, texts, much more

Charles Lozar grew up in a landlocked Chicago suburb and lives in Champaign, far from any sea, ocean or sizeable lake.

But he's a compendium of knowledge about maritime history. In fact, he's devoted to and obsessed with it.

You can see that as soon as you enter his National Museum of Ship Models and Sea History in Sadorus, 15 miles south of Champaign-Urbana.

Tom Kacich's exclusive interview with Santa Claus

I was able to interview Mr. Santa Claus, noted philanthropist, philosopher and all-around good guy during a brief coffee break he took recently. Here are excerpts from that interview:

Vigil held in Champaign for shooting victims; schools prepare for students' return to classes

CHAMPAIGN — As students return to class Monday following last week's deadly shooting at a Connecticut elementary school, Champaign officials say they are reviewing their evacuation and safety plans with school staffs and taking their roles very seriously.

Business and professional briefs Dec. 16, 2012

New jobs

Bergner's names store manager. Michael Ujcich has been appointed store manager of Bergner's at Market Place Mall, Champaign.

He previously worked for Belk Department Stores as store manager in Myrtle Beach, S.C., from 2003 until this year.

For the retirees Dec. 16, 2012

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.

Reluctant Townie: We're about to open a big can of fiscal cliff

Where the can originated from, nobody knew. Some believed it had always been there, planted in the middle of that cliff-side road for some unlucky passerby to stumble into its trap. Others hypothesized that it was the litter of some ancient astronaut who had traveled the road long before mankind.