Studio Visit: Angelo Ray Martinez

Angelo Ray Martinez, 35, of Champaign a third-year master's of fine arts degree candidate at the University of Illinois, recently chatted with The News-Gazette's Melissa Merli.

So you were born in Boulder, Colo.?

Top of the morning, March 27, 2016

More than three years after the tragic death of her NFL son, Stacey Jackson continues to do good things in his name.

"What keeps me going," she said, "is knowing that one day I'm going to see my son again and it's going to be wonderful. I believe in a higher power."

Life Remembered: 'A lot of heavy hearts'

MAHOMET — You don't forget those dimples.

Reflecting on the "goofy" and "ornery" fifth-grader who grew into a "sweet" and "personable" young man, Kari Calcagno smiled when reminiscing about Matthew Prather, an 18-year-old Mahomet-Seymour High School senior who passed away Thursday.

Offers, but no sale yet, on Amishland building

TUSCOLA — For sale: A big red barn next to an outlet mall.

Price tag: A cool $3.5 million.

Interested? Over the months it's been on the market, the Red Barn Buffet & Shoppes property has entertained some lookers, but it remains up for grabs, according to Champaign Realtor Alex Ruggieri.

Area history, March 26, 2016

Today is Saturday, March 26, 2016. Here are news reports from this date 100, 50 and 15 years ago:

In 1916: The steel for the frame of the fourth and fifth stories of the new Robeson building has arrived and is being hauled to the building site in downtown Champaign. The erection of the frame of the basement and the first three stories is almost completed.

Celebrating 19 years of writing this column

As of today, I have been writing this column for 19 years.

When I first started, John Beck, who was the executive editor of the paper at the time, said he would run three articles every other Saturday and see how the public reacted.

Unit 4 aide sues over demotion

CHAMPAIGN — A Champaign school district teacher's aide has filed a lawsuit in federal court alleging that Unit 4 officials demoted him in retaliation for a discrimination complaint he filed that was later settled.

Colleges sending out MAP grant estimates

Illinois college students are getting award letters about their state financial aid grants for 2016-17 — even though the program hasn't been funded for this school year yet.

The Illinois Student Assistance Commission is banking on some type of appropriation to come through before next fall — or at least ensuring that it's prepared when and if the money starts flowing.

Top of the morning, March 26, 2016

Things you should know about Brandon Ngai, a UI sophomore who knows as much about polar orbit as he does the pommel horse (he was named to the Big Ten's winter Academic All-Conference team earlier this week):

With fantastic grades and a challenging major (aerospace engineering), the kid deserves a press conference with the new AD — one Josh Whitman might actually enjoy.

Updated: Mahomet-Seymour student dies of apparent natural causes

New 6:23 p.m. Friday:

Services have been set for Matthew Prather, according to Mahomet-Seymour football coach Keith Pogue.