Men hope to snag world record for duck call

DANVILLE — Local hunter Mark Hillery says water fowl hunting is starting to get bigger in Vermilion County.

Evidently, so are the duck calls — possibly world record big.

Abe waiting for his close-up — with you — on campus

URBANA — Alma Mater may still be on hiatus, but University of Illinois students have a new campus photo op with a pretty well-known historical figure.

A life-size bronze sculpture of Abraham Lincoln was installed last week outside the Alice Campbell Alumni Center on, appropriately, Lincoln Avenue in Urbana.

Music Q&A: James Mark Maxey

Q: Who are the members of your band? Any new ones?

A: James Mark Maxey, and I have different folks playing with me at any given time ... I refer to them as Steel Sharpens Steel.

I play solo often using my performance tracks from my album. Some of the folks who played on my album were out of Reba McEntire's band.

Urbana woman wins $250,000 in Illinois Lottery

An Urbana woman is a quarter of a million dollars richer after purchasing a winning lottery ticket in the city.

Deeshawn Merriweather-Bragg won $250,000 when she scratched off her Emerald Green 7s ticket.  Merriweather-Bragg said she plans to use the money to help her five kids and five grandkids, pay bills and buy a house.

Proceeds will help pay for late singer's funeral expenses

CHAMPAIGN — The Prairie Crossroads Blues Society and other groups will host a fundraiser Sunday to raise money to help pay for singer Carolyn Johnson's funeral expenses.

Illinois Ancestors: Genealogy at a Glance series expands

Genealogical Publishing Company's Genealogy at a Glance series now includes Nancy Hendrickson's "Civil War Genealogy Research" and is especially appropriate as America commemorates that war's sesquicentennial.

My Amish Life: Some late-summer laughs on a muggy day

"Judge not, and ye shall not be judged; condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned; forgive, and ye shall be forgiven. Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again." Luke 6:37,38

Family plans reunion near Oakwood

The 103rd Hanner-Ward family reunion is set for Aug. 18 at the Hanner homestead southeast of Oakwood.

A basket dinner will be served at noon.

For more information, email Gene and Shirley Pierson at

Studio Visit: Jameel Bridgewater

Studio visit is a Q&A with a local artist. Here, Melissa Merli chats with Jameel Bridgewater.

Q: Are you going into your sophomore year at Columbia College in Chicago? What are you studying?

A: Yes. I'm majoring in graphic design, and hopefully I'll have a minor in public relations.

Q: How are you doing up there?

Getting Personal: Duane Dust

The News-Gazette's Melissa Merli chats with Duane Dust, 58, of Philo, a veterinarian, part owner of and medical director at VCA Heritage Animal Hospital in Savoy, and a former member of the board of directors of the Champaign County Humane Society.

What time do you typically get up? What do you do the first hour of the morning?