12 stories of Christmas 2015: Gift means hundreds will get special tricycles

DANVILLE — At least 240 children throughout the country are getting a shiny, red trike this holiday season thanks to a Danville area man's Christmas wish.

They're not your typical three-wheelers. They're therapeutic tricycles, called Amtrykes, that are specifically designed for children with disabilities.

Top of the morning, Dec. 16, 2015

Someone has planted an evergreen Christmas tree by the walk bridge over the Canadian National Railroad tracks in Paxton and named it "Clayton's tree."

Area history, Dec. 15, 2015

Today is Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2015. Here are news reports from this date 100, 50 and 15 years ago:

The long view of politics

After a half-century of working to hold local governments accountable and standing up for women's rights, four members of the Champaign County League of Women Voters will join its exclusive 50-year-member club at a wine and cheese social today at Milo's Restaurant. Staff writer Nicole Lafond caught up with the honorees for a few questions.

Wise named to curriculum panel for new Urbana med school

The committee created to build a curriculum for the new Carle Illinois College of Medicine will include Carle physicians, University of Illinois professors — and the former Urbana chancellor.

Phyllis Wise, who was the driving force behind the new medical school before her abrupt resignation last August, is one of 18 people on the Core Curriculum Group.

Spotlight on Service, Dec. 15, 2015

A look at area do-gooders. This week: Women's Community Friendship Club of Champaign-Urbana

About the club

President: Rae Ann Climpson

12 stories of Christmas 2015: Creative procrastination

Art Coop co-owner Knut Bauer starts to worry around late November every year: Will enough area artists bring in their donated works for Art Coop's $50 Art Show?

But as business partner Susan Smith says, it's human nature to procrastinate.

Most of the artists who give to the annual benefit for the Humane Society of Champaign County tend to drop off their works at the last minute.

Top of the morning, Dec. 15, 2015

The joy of speaking to classes like Pam Furrer's at Urbana Middle School is meeting kids like Micah Aikens. He's 14, in eighth grade and wants to be a writer.

I told him on Monday I'd save him a spot at The News-Gazette once he finishes school.

He said he'd like to start with a tour of our newsroom. Not a problem.

Ebertfest 2015 retrospective online now

CHAMPAIGN — The latest Shatterglass Studios' mini-documentary on Ebertfest is live and online, thanks to Indiewire.

Indiewire posted the "featurette" Monday. Most of the 13-minute documentary was shot at the 17th annual Ebertfest in April 2015 but includes footage from earlier Roger Ebert's Film Festivals, including of Roger Ebert, who died in 2013.

12 stories of Christmas 2015: The power of PJs

CHAMPAIGN — Tonia Kirby has never underestimated the power of a warm pair of pajamas.

"We want our kids to be fed. We want them to have warm coats and gloves. But we also want them to be warm in their beds at night when they're sleeping," says the Robeson Elementary School teacher. "If they don't get a good night's sleep, they're not going to be able to perform at school."