Reluctant Townie: Set for takeoff: Best practices for drones

The Federal Aviation Administration estimates that more than 1 million drones were sold during the 2015 holiday season. If, like me, you were one of the million who became a proud owner and operator of an unmanned aerial vehicle, you may have questions about what your rights and responsibilities are as a drone pilot.

Arctic expedition exhibition

URBANA — The Crocker Land Arctic Expedition of 1913-17, now the subject of a fascinating exhibition at the Spurlock Museum, would make good fodder for an adventure writer.

Area history, Jan. 3, 2016

In 1916, residents of the twin cities and other communities in Champaign County met yesterday at the University Auditorium and organized the Champaign County Vigilance Committee. The object of the group is to rid the communities of the illicit sellers of liquor and the keepers of vice dens.

Champaign toddler who appears in national Shriners ads getting first surgery

CHAMPAIGN — Look at that smile.

It's no wonder the folks at Shriners Hospitals for Children chose 3-year-old Champaign tot Ava Diehl to star as their video poster child.

"One person posted that, after seeing Ava's face, who wouldn't want to give to Shriners?" said her dad, Blake Diehl.

Q&A: Urbana mayor takes stock of 2015

As usual, property-tax revenue dominated the conversation when Mayor Laurel Prussing reflected on Urbana's 2015. With an appellate court decision in its lawsuit against Carle possibly coming any day, the city's fortunes could be changing.

Area history, Jan. 2, 2016

In 1916, Champaign put down more than four miles of new pavements in 1915 and Urbana did almost as much. Champaign also laid more than seven miles of sidewalks, there being nearly five miles in one contract: the Southeast Champaign Concrete Sidewalk system. About two miles of concrete walks was built in Urbana.

City of Champaign employees donate more than $75,000 to charity

CHAMPAIGN — Though Ben LeRoy mostly rides his bike around town now, he used to ride the bus regularly and knows the value of an MTD pass. For many in the community, a bus pass can be a lifeline, taking people to work and the store for just $84 a year.

"I know how much it added to my life," said LeRoy, an associate planner for the city of Champaign.

Ex-funeral director charged with forging death certificate signatures

TUSCOLA — The former director of a Newman funeral home is scheduled to be in court next week to face criminal charges that he electronically forged another funeral director's name to death certificates.

Woman's story led to inquiries against funeral home director

NEWMAN — It has been eight months, but Kelly Sego is still reeling from the way a former funeral home director handled her mother's services, including not having her body cremated in time for her visitation.

Sego's complaint to state authorities about Andrew Appleby led to investigations that have resulted in criminal charges of forgery against him.

Area history, Jan. 1, 2016

In 1916, Champaign and Urbana set a new record for building and public improvements in 1915 with more than $2.35 million spent. One big Champaign building — the Inman Hotel — was completed during the year. Several others — including the Illinois, Lincoln and Robeson buildings — began construction.