Top of the morning, Sept. 1, 2015

As we close in on a record 5.1 million page views for August — up from 3,866,592 in 2014 — at, an update on our two most recent social media additions:

Top of the morning, Aug. 31, 2015

If a picture is worth a thousand words, some of you put together a novel last week — all about beauty.

You may recall I referred to an online Washington Post map that used 1999 USDA data to rank U.S. counties by "natural beauty." Champaign County was dead last in Illinois, and not far from the bottom of the entire national barrel.

Area history, Aug. 31, 2015

In 1915, a number of colored girls from the northeast part of Champaign organized a baseball team recently and, attired in bloomers, they have become almost as efficient at the national sport as their men opponents. Yesterday afternoon a game was played with the Champaign Models, the crack colored team of the city. The men nosed out a 10-8 win.

WWII: 'You just weren't meant to leave this world'

SAVOY — When 93-year-old Leo Clennon wears his "World War II veteran" cap, strangers often approach him to say thanks for his service.

"It makes you kind of proud but you don't go boasting about it," he said.

It was 70 years ago when the Philo native and Savoy resident received the wound that earned him a Purple Heart. Clennon served for three years and four days.

Officer who found child honored at Homer event

HOMER — Chad Beasley knew he was going to be grand marshal of Homer's Krazee Days parade Saturday.

He didn't know there was an award for heroism also awaiting him.

In June, Beasley, a Champaign County sheriff's deputy, discovered a 6-month-old baby, missing for more than half a day, in a muddy bean field. The baby was face down in mud, and coyote tracks were nearby.

Tom Kacich: Stevick a promoter of self, C-U and UI

The News-Gazette traces its history to 1852 with the publication of the first edition of the Urbana Union.

Don Follis: Whatever comes our way, this is not the end of our story

Holy cow, my dad could work. He worked all week, and then on Saturdays he swept and mopped floors and washed and vacuumed his cars. If someone asked him if he was retired, he would say, "What? Of course not." When he was 80 I heard him say to someone, "I work 40 hours a week. A man has to pull his weight in this old world."

Studio Visit: Kemal Nance

Studio Visit is a Q&A with a local artist. Here, Kemal Nance, a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Illinois in African-American studies and a lecturer for Dance at Illinois, chats with The News-Gazette's Melissa Merli.

Are you teaching this semester?

Letter from Birdland: On the lookout for Monarchs

It's refreshingly cool in Birdland, and we have flung the windows open. It feels more like October than August, and that's all right with me.

Ask 'Mimi,' Aug. 30, 2015

Whatever happened to drummer Michael Powers, who was being treated for colon cancer last year?