Those Who Served: From combat to UI's calm

Sitting in his office at the University of Illinois, Jason Sakowski looks comfortable, helping veterans with benefits issues.

The calm is a far cry from the years the Marine staff sergeant, now in the National Guard, spent in dangerous service abroad.

Sakowski, 35, was deployed for two tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan.

Salute to '16: En garde, working world

CHICAGO — His mother, a local lawyer, went there. His father, a UI agricultural economics professor, went there.

And as an added bonus for Ellyn and David Bullock's son, Charlie, his all-time favorite author — Nobel and Pulitzer prize winner Saul Bellow — also happened to be a University of Chicago graduate, sealing the deal for the 2012 Urbana Uni High grad.

Area history, May 7, 2016

Today is Saturday, May 7, 2016. Here are news reports from this date 100, 50 and 15 years ago:

Area history, May 6, 2016

Today is Friday, May 6, 2016. Here are news reports from this date 100, 50 and 15 years ago:

Tom's #Mailbag, May 6, 2016

Got a question for Tom? Ask it here

Just a week behind Arbor Day we have a mailbag question about trees — trees that unfortunately are gone.

What's in a name? Boat Drunks

If you're a Jimmy Buffett fan, you'll get it. But for you non-Parrotheads out there, listen up.

The band known as the Boat Drunks came about their name as an homage to Buffett's 1979 song "Boat Drinks" — not as an adjective for the seven-member ensemble.

That's not to say the group hasn't been inebriated on a boat (more on that later).

SURS director leaves for new job

CHAMPAIGN — The executive director of the State Universities Retirement System is leaving after just one year, to take a new job in Pennsylvania.

AutoTown changes hands

CHAMPAIGN — Ben Dyer grew up with a love for cars, and now he's going to become the owner of a place that sells dozens of them a month.

Today, Dyer is set to take over as the full owner of Bob Simpson's AutoTown, a Champaign used car dealership where he's worked since May 2007, and in recent years become part-owner.

Religion calendar, May 6-13, 2016

To submit items for this calendar, visit and click "Add an event" under the miniature calendar on the page. You must be logged in, then fill in the appropriate fields and submit.

Deadline is noon Tuesday before Friday publication.


Salute to '16: Ryan Schonert

Over the next two weeks, we'll introduce you to some of the most distinguished members of the Class of 2016.