500 tickets remain for Sedaris' lecture at Virginia

CHAMPAIGN – About 500 tickets remain for "An Evening with David Sedaris," his comedy lecture/book signing Friday at the Virginia Theatre in Champaign.

Tickets are $55, $47.50 and $42.50. Sales have been good, with the Virginia having sold 1,000 so far, Jameel Jones, manager of the theater, said earlier this week.

Marshal feels honored, even though it rained on her parade

URBANA – A painter, a firefighter and a pilot in training, this year's homecoming parade marshal has seen a lot in 23 years, including two tours in Iraq.

Staff Sgt. Katherine Maglia of the Illinois Air National Guard was to oversee the soggy proceedings Friday, but had only a reception to shine at, after the non-stop drizzle canceled the parade itself.

Ghost-hunting group giving tours of Fischer Theatre

DANVILLE – After Kathy Langellier's first introduction to the Fischer Theatre, she knew she wanted to come back with her group, the Illiana Paranormal Society, to do some real investigation.

According to Langellier and her group, as well as members of the Midnight Ghost Hunter Investigators out of Kentland, Ind., there is still a lot of activity in the building.

3 Lincoln-related exhibits set to open in Bement

BEMENT – Two new "Looking for Lincoln" exhibits and a Lincoln-related photographic exhibit are coming to the Bryant Cottage State Historic Site this weekend.

Site manager Marilyn Ayers said two Lincoln wayside exhibits will be unveiled and dedicated during a ceremony at 12:30 p.m. Friday at the historic site, located at 146 E. Wilson St., Bement.

Volunteer's $1.5 million bequest surprises VA hospital

DANVILLE – John P. Wright was a volunteer extraordinaire with the Veterans Affairs Illiana Health Care System. Before his death in March 2008 at age 74, he had logged 49,668 hours at the facility over nearly 40 years.

More volunteers sought for 2009 Festival of Trees

DANVILLE – The 2009 Provena United Samaritans Medical Center Foundation Festival of Trees is looking for more volunteers.

In its 13th year, the festival annually uses more than 1,400 people. This year's event is from Nov. 14 through 18 at the David S. Palmer Arena, 100 W. Main St., Danville.

Champaign County gets $9 million grant to help kids

Five years after losing out because of a state clerical error, Champaign County has won a $9 million federal grant to overhaul services for troubled youths.

The six-year grant will fund an ambitious program to coordinate and improve help for children and teens with serious emotional problems, and give families a much bigger say in their treatment.

The money comes from the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, or SAMHSA.

Loyal clients keep area Realtor's name among best

CHAMPAIGN – Kay Bird is not a Pop Tart.

She is a Realtor with 31 years experience.

"A Pop Tart real estate agent is one who gets a call from someone who saw a 'For Sale' sign, says, 'I can be there in half an hour;' and jumps in the car to go," Bird says.

When you become successful, you don't need to be on call on 30 minutes' notice.

One of world's best drummers teaching in Champaign-Urbana

CHAMPAIGN – Bolokade Conde was only 2 years old when his mother realized he would be a drummer – mainly because of the way he pounded on her shoulders as she carried him on her back.

Conde, who grew up in a village in the Sankaran region of Guinea, Africa, remembered that he also always asked her to take him to wherever people were drumming.

Leal Elementary opens time capsule from 1981

URBANA – Remember tetherball? The hostage crisis in Iran? Record players? Mimeographs?

They were all a part of the world for Leal Elementary School students in 1981, when they buried a time capsule as part of the celebration of the school's 125th anniversary.

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