Reluctant Townie: Talking to your spouse about 'Magic Mike'

Happy Independence Day, America. Undoubtedly, some of you will be celebrating the holiday in a darkened theater, cheering on Channing Tatum as he gains independence from his jockey shorts.

The sequel to "Magic Mike" is upon us, and the gyrating shockwaves are reverberating through romantic relationships across the country.

Party while you paint

CHAMPAIGN — A few months ago, art teacher Mandy Danowitz had a few friends over to paint (a picture, not the walls) while sipping wine.

"It was such a blast — that was the genesis of it. I thought I could really do something with this," she said.

4th of July regulars

CHAMPAIGN — Everything's good for Captain Rat and the Blind Rivets, the Champaign band that is a regular at Fourth of July celebrations here. They'll play at 7 p.m. on the main stage outside Memorial Stadium.

Look back: Highlights from Melissa Merli on the week that was

Entertaining Sunday

The Big 10 with Jeff D'Alessio, June 28, 2015

If you have a furry friend in your home, here's a friendly reminder that fireworks will soon fill the sky. So, we asked 10 pet owners: What else drives your dog bonkers?


Champaign author

Area history, June 28, 2015

In 1915, Joseph Clark, who was arrested shortly after 3 p.m. Saturday on a drunk charge, was found dead upon a bunk in the city jail that same evening. Clark is survived by his wife, to whom he had been married for nearly 20 years, and by three children. He was 53 and employed as a laborer.

Letter from Birdland: Let's talk turkey

Birdland is a place for dreaming, whether those dreams come true or not.

For the retirees, June 28-July 5, 2015

For information about services available to older adults, contact Karen Graves, director of the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) and Helen Mary Stevick Senior Citizens Center, 48 E. Main St., Champaign, IL 61820, phone 359-6500.

RSVP and the Stevick Senior Center are administered by Family Service of Champaign County.

Better late than never

CHAMPAIGN — About 40 teen-aged boys — and one girl — are playing basketball late on a Friday night in the gym at Stratton Elementary.

There's intense competition in the Midnight League, but no fights — and definitely no bad language.

Cuss words get you 10 push-ups.

Studio Visit: Joe, Joey and Dan Wachtel

Urbana resident Joe Wachtel, 47, a former K-12 music teacher, recently finished his Ph.D. in music education at the University of Illinois. He and his sons, Joey, 18, who will be a freshman at Millikin University, and Dan, 16, who will be an Urbana High sophomore, perform together at Market at the Square in Urbana on Saturday mornings.