Letter from Birdland: Warmer days can't come soon enough

In Birdland, we are in the grip of ice. The white snow and the blue sky give a silvery look to the morning. A pair of cardinals takes turns hopping from branch to branch outside my window.

Reluctant Townie: Juan Pablo the man who will rule them all

While the Polar Vortex took a road trip south Monday, bringing with it frigid temperatures and wind chill factors as low as minus 45 degrees, many a living room in America was being thawed by the scorching hot sex appeal of ABC's newest Bachelor, Juan Pablo.

Business and professional briefs, Jan. 12, 2014

New jobs

Sales and catering director named. Lisa Gengelbach has been named director of sales and catering at Eastland Suites Hotel and Conference Center, Urbana.

She has 11 years of experience in the hospitality field. She was also an entrepreneur who owned and successfully operated her own restaurant, the Park Place Cafe in Cissna Park.

Top of the morning, Jan. 12, 2014

Val Hohman won't be in Russia in time for next month's Sochi Olympics. The assistant professor of theatre at Illinois and author of "Russian Culture and Theatrical Performance in America" is headed that way in April after receiving a Fulbright to work with a theatre group in Ekaterinburg. It will be her third trip to Russia, which makes her a smart choice to serve as our Olympic tour guide.

You're never too old for tech savvy

URBANA — These iPad users may not care much for Twitter or Snapchat, but give them a Walgreen's app, and they're all over it.

Retirees at Clark-Lindsey Village were treated to an "iPad how to" seminar Friday afternoon, courtesy of Busey's tech experts.

Top of the morning, Jan. 11, 2014

Not long ago, a fox trotted down my street in Champaign. From our front window, my kids and dog seemed happy to see it. The nervous, city-dwelling parents? Not so much. As it turns out — and you'll read about it in Sunday's News-Gazette — studies show we shouldn't be surprised to see a fox hangin' in an urban setting. It's happening more and more, Rob Kanter writes.

Life Remembered: Greenough 'a towering figure in neuroscience'

Throughout your life, your brain literally changes based on everything you learn and experience.

That concept, known as "plasticity," underlies our basic assumptions about learning, memory, early childhood education, even stroke recovery. But it wasn't always accepted.

Area history, Jan. 10, 2014

On Jan. 10:

In 1914, Loren Eldridge, night clerk at the Columbian Hotel in Urbana, was held up by two men, one of whom had a revolver. For their trouble, the robbers got away with $7.40 from the hotel cash register. The robbery is the first of its kind in Urbana and has created considerable excitement.

Top of the morning, Jan. 10, 2014

We are all about accountability at The News-Gazette. On Sunday, Bob Asmussen predicted 10 categories in The People’s Choice Awards. How did he do? He picked four of 10 correctly. One of his misses was in the Favorite Movie Actor category. Robert Downey Jr.

Weather brings detour to travel video plan

CHAMPAIGN — This week's snow, ice and cold has cost Champaign its chance to be featured in a Trailways video chronicling a young filmmaker's journey by bus to Nashville.

Nick Catania had chosen Champaign as one of six stops he'd make while traveling from New Paltz, N.Y., to the American Bus Association convention in Nashville.