Bloomington plane crash victim 'was really good at being a friend'

CHAMPAIGN — Andy Butler thrived on sports and relationships with friends — many, many friends who are mourning the loss of the fun-loving 40-year-old Champaign native who was one of seven who died Monday night in a plane crash east of Bloomington.

Notes-Worthy: Bill Demkov

Terry Brown of CU Bands and Fans talks with Bill Demkov, local live sound engineer, recording engineer, producer, original artist and musician. Demkov plays bass in area band Planeless Pilots, which performs all original music

'Show them how to work by example'

Honor roll: We'll introduce you to this year's big C-U Schools Foundation award winners leading up to next weekend's ceremony:

When: 6 p.m. on April 11

Where: Hilton Garden Inn, Champaign

Top of the morning, April 9, 2015

— Last call to submit information for publication in our annual Summer Fun Guide, which comes out May 10. This is a free-of-charge, popular supplement that we've been producing annually since 1991. If your event takes place between May 11 and Sept. 30 of this year, tell us about it via email ( or post it to our online calendar at

Neighbors: Recognizing accomplishments in our communities

Local royalty

Staci Disney-Walker of Oakwood was crowned America's Ultimate Classic Miss by the America's Ultimate Queen pageant system.

Disney-Walker qualified by winning the Illinois' Ultimate Classic Miss title in November. During three days of competition, Disney-Walker won the Pet and Me Photo Competition and was named America's Ultimate Face.

Younger Generation: Celebrating the achievements of young adults

Meat judging contest

A team of 4-H members from Morgan County claimed the top county awards at the 2015 State 4-H Meats Judging Contest on March 7 at the Meats Lab on the University of Illinois campus. During the contest, youth had to provide quality grading scores for beef, lamb and pork carcasses, as well as various cuts of meat.

Meg Makes: If you love something, learn to make it yourself

It seems a little crazy to make your own sausage, but I enjoy varying degrees of sausage-making for several reasons.

It fits perfectly into my philosophy for made-from-scratch food: It often tastes as good as or better than the store-bought equivalent, and you can control the ingredients, and therefore, the nutritional implications.

Illinois Ancestors: Genealogist offers grants for worthy projects

Noted genealogical researcher and author, Megan Smolenyak, has been awarding grants for genealogy-related projects for almost 15 years. (Next month, May 2015, will mark her 15th year.) Initially called Honoring Our Ancestors, but more recently named after her mother, Seton Shields, her grants have totaled 182.

Area history, April 8, 2015

Today is Wednesday, April 8, 2015. Here are news reports from this date 100, 50 and 15 years ago:

Top of the Morning, April 8, 2015

An Election Day pick-me-up, courtesy WDWS/WHMS reporter Michael Kiser

In August, they ran side-by-side at Memorial Stadium. In January, they huddled at President Obama's State of the Union address.