Nominations sought for 3 major awards

CHAMPAIGN — Organizers of the countywide celebration of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. are collecting nominations for honoring a Champaign County individual or organization demonstrating a deep commitment to the betterment of the community.

Business and professional briefs, Oct. 20, 2013

New jobs

Simon joins Whitsitt & Associates. Christy Simon has joined Whitsitt & Associates, Champaign, as a commercial real estate appraiser.

She completed educational requirements through the Appraisal Institute and has an associate appraiser's license in Illinois.

Simon was previously in the education field for eight years.

The re-education of Rantoul

RANTOUL — Chanute Air Force Base was the source of many things in Rantoul: Revenue, population, wonderment and its identity.

And as long as Chanute was open, the village's schools benefitted.

The base meant a steady stream of school-age children. And along with them, federal money, because the two local school districts could not tax government-owned property.

Getting Personal: Lou DiBello

Each week, we offer an email Q&A with a local personality. Today, Paul Wood chats with 49-year-old Urbana resident Lou DiBello, a professional guitarist for the band ESP and The Live Jukebox Show. He also is a guitar instructor and an all-around guitar repair/consultation guy at Corson Music Guitar Store in Urbana.

Studio Visit: Hilary Valentine

Studio Visit is a Q&A with a local artist. Here, The News-Gazette's Melissa Merli chats with musician Hilary Kaye Valentine, 54, of Champaign.

Q: How long have you played the mountain dulcimer?

A: About 10 years.

Q: What got you started?

Reluctant Townie: Guest columnist — Dog at the keyboard

Hey there, East Central Illinois (or random person who stumbled upon this article via an interconnected web portal), I am writing to inform you that I am currently occupied with an attention-draining life scenario: My 2-year-old has begun doing WWE turnbuckle leaps off the couch and onto my lap/laptop/torso/face/floor any time I look at my computer screen.

Alumni flock to Atwood-Hammond for final game

ATWOOD — Although there was a high school football game on the Atwood-Hammond High School field Friday night, the evening felt more like an all-school reunion, as hundreds of alumni from the 1940s to the present showed up to see gridiron action on the Rajah home field for the last time.

Time to join Master Gardeners program

"No occupation is so delightful to me as the culture of the earth, and no culture comparable to that of the garden ... but though an old man, I am but a young gardener."

Thomas Jefferson had innumerable interests and responsibilities well beyond the garden, yet he remained tied to his plot of land throughout his life, as the above quote reveals.

Storage units an interesting investment for purchasers

A few tidbits to get you caught up on collecting news:

— Some storage units have become the main attractions on television. I am sure the laws are different in every state, but basically it comes down to the fact that if you do not pay your rent, it is the storage space owner's right to achieve reimbursement by selling the contents.

Area native uses pageant as 'distraction' from cancer

People react to a diagnosis of cancer in varying ways. For Atwood-Hammond High School and University of Illinois graduate Kristina Anderson, it prompted her to enter the Miss Arizona USA pageant, which is scheduled for Nov. 30-Dec. 1 in Mesa, Ariz.