Most people have weird notions about military bands, say Shawn and Darden Purcell. They think of John Philip Sousa and marching music, and bass drums and bugles.
Shawn, a guitarist, and Darden, a jazz vocalist, will tell you their experiences with the U.S. Air Force bands were quite different.
CHAMPAIGN – Lt. Scott Swan, the point man in the city's effort to clean up the Garden Hills neighborhood, isn't your traditional tough-guy cop.
The 46-year-old Champaign police officer is imposing enough, at 6-1 and 240 pounds, to fill the role (though he says he wouldn't mind getting down to 190 pounds). But as he puts it, "I've got kind eyes" and an attitude that makes him want to help most people.
Professionals who see David Gray and Alyssa Marx's aerial and acrobatic acts can't believe the couple can do what they do.
Area residents will get a chance to see Gray, a 1997 alumnus of Champaign Centennial High School, and Marx, a native of San Francisco, when they perform for the first time in Champaign at the Chester Street Bar around 12:30 a.m. Sunday and Monday.
URBANA – Champaign County taxpayers who shell out $6 million to support mental health and disability services each year owe a small debt to Bill Conlin.
Conlin for years evaluated programs funded by the Champaign County Mental Health Board and then did the same for its sister agency, the three-year-old Developmental Disabilities Board.
FISHER – Alzheimer's disease had begun to cloud and confuse the mind of a petite little woman named Laverne Hinton Grieser when she was in her 70s.
And as the disease took away Laverne's independence, her husband, Delmar, needed help. First a grown daughter moved home. Later they had to move Laverne into an Alzheimer's unit at a nursing home in Clinton, Ind., not far over the state line from Paris.
ARTHUR – The moments preceding the start of the Miss Moultrie-Douglas pageants are a flurry of activity: little boys jostling each other, young women dressing in a cloud of hairspray and nervous chatters.
There are trophies to arrange, microphones to check and contestants to direct on two sticky summer nights when judges choose the next Little Miss, Little Mister, Junior Miss and Miss Moultrie-Douglas. But in the midst of it all, pageant director Sandy Hoke is calm and efficient, even when forced to move the pageant into Arthur's high school gym because of heavy rains.
DANVILLE – The first word that came to the minds of many people who worked closely with former Danville Police Chief Bob Dietzen is "honest."
"We worked together for 16 years," said former mayor Bob Jones. "He took his job extremely seriously and was an honest, conscientious person. You could bank on what he said."
CHAMPAIGN – If only you could hug through a camera, Army Spc. Greg Regan would have been surrounded by arms.
But even without the hugs, the 20-year-old soldier – stationed in Iraq in C Company, First Battalion, Second Stryker Cavalry Regiment – could see the love of his family, more than a dozen of them, sitting across the room from him, several thousand miles away.
URBANA – For the last week, Jenine Ellison has been sitting on the right-of-way outside a north Urbana house from which she was evicted late last month.
On Wednesday morning, the 42-year-old woman was sitting atop a plastic storage container that had a few items in it, including bars of soap. Wearing a jacket and a scarf on her head, she had a couple of blankets wrapped around her. Near her were a couple of backpacks and a bag of garbage.
Staff members for U.S. Sen. Barack Obama will host office hours from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. July 18 at the Tuscola Public Library, 112 E. Sale St., Tuscola.
Constituents seeking assistance from Obama's office or who wish to express an opinion to the senator are encouraged to attend. For information, call Kathy Harrington at 492-5089.