Humanitarian award winner 'got hooked' on treating refugees

URBANA — Omar Al-Heeti went into medicine, he says, to help people. Having completed his residency in internal medicine at the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2014, Al-Heeti was well on his way to fulfilling that goal when an opportunity to go above and beyond presented itself.

Cissna Park grad among movie winners

CHAMPAIGN — After discovering he'd won a Student Academy Award for his short animated film, Carter Boyce experienced an array of emotions.

"At first, I jumped up and down and a couple minutes later I was shedding tears," he said. "It's the most pride I've ever had in anything I've done.

'A bright spark of joy and kindness'

CHAMPAIGN — Rachel Storm has been in social work long enough to know that sometimes the serious, emotional issues can bog you down.

But she can always count on her friend and colleague, DoMonique Arnold, to rescue her from a rut.

Labor Day parade: A show of unity


URBANA — There was no shortage of American flags, honking horns and candy littering the streets during Monday's Champaign County Labor Day parade.

Area history, Sept. 6, 2016

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

In 1916, the mammoth new smokestack at the Urbana and Champaign power house is now at its full height — 275 feet above ground. The entire stack has been painted white.

Those Who Served: UI student wore many hats as Army Ranger medic in Afghanistan

URBANA — In five deployments to Afghanistan, Staff Sgt. Brent Blackwell was a medic for an elite unit, the Army Rangers, who "surgically went after the bad guys."

As a Ranger himself, Blackwell, 27, took on dangerous infantry duties while not serving as a medic. He was part of a group with specific targets rather than routine patrols or IED checks.

Area history, Sept. 5, 2016

Today is Monday, Sept. 5, 2016. Here are news reports from this date 100, 50 and 15 years ago:

In 1916, Urbana schools will open Monday, Sept. 11. This year's buildings include Urbana High School, and Thornburn, Webber, Leal, Lincoln, J.W. Hays and No. 4 elementary schools.

Area history, Sept. 4, 2016

Today is Sunday, Sept. 4, 2016. Here are news reports from this date 100, 50 and 15 years ago:

The Reluctant Townie: Thoughts of a summer's passing

It is with a heavy heart that I concede the end of the summer to you, wary reader. While the autumnal equinox doesn't ring its official death knell until Sept. 22, only the most delusional of fools could convince themselves summer extends one minute past Aug. 31, much less into Labor Day.

Getting Personal: Beckie Kane

Each week, we offer a Q&A with a local personality. Today, 26-year-old Champaign resident Beckie Kane, the marketing and private event director at Big Grove Tavern in downtown Champaign, chats with The News-Gazette's Paul Wood.

How did you get into this business?