Area history, Dec. 21, 2015

In 1915, Champaign schools will recess for the Christmas holiday on Thursday evening, Dec. 23, and will resume on Jan. 3. Many teachers are making plans for visits and various festivities. Among the high school teachers, Miss Goodman plans to go to Lexington, Va. and Washington, D.C.

Traveling the Great River Road

By Debra L. Karplus

The Great River Road National Scenic Byway is a long north-south highway along the Mississippi River that goes through 10 states, including Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi and Louisiana.

For the retirees, Dec. 20-27, 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.

Getting Personal: Dawn M. Blackman Sr.

Getting Personal is a Q&A with a local personality. Here, 63-year-old Champaign resident Dawn M. Blackman Sr., an associate minister at the Champaign Church of the Brethren, chats with The News-Gazette's Melissa Merli. Blackman also is the steward of the Randolph Street Community Garden and a part-time package handler at FedEx Ground.

Letter from Birdland: Our canines have a tendency to explore

Birdland has dropped away for a time, and it seems as if there is nothing in the world but grading papers. How did the semester slip away so fast, leaving so much work in its wake?

But I can't sit at the computer forever. The dogs need a walk, so I take a mid-day break and grab the leashes.

Reluctant Townie: A force awakened: 10 years and counting

Ten years ago, in a galaxy far, far away ...

There was a kid named Ryan who carried a notebook around east Urbana and spent his evenings writing in clear view of the front window at The Office Bar and Grill.

Area history, Dec. 20, 2015

In 1915, Miss Helen Wilson, a prominent young Homer woman and a school teacher at Oakwood, died this morning at her home after suffering for two weeks with typhoid fever.

Studio Visit: Jim Dobbs

Studio Visit is a Q&A with a local artist. Here, Jim Dobbs, 59, of Champaign, an actor, acting coach, musician and music teacher recently chatted with The News-Gazette's Melissa Merli.

I didn't know you played and taught guitar.

Business listings, Dec. 20, 2015

These applications for assumed business names were filed recently with the Champaign County clerk's office:

Hiatt Woodworking, 112 E. University Ave., Apt. 202, C, Aaron Hiatt, same address.

Pancho Moore, 2419 Maplewood Drive, C, Lloyd Gwin, same address.

Paul's Appliances, 110 N. Kentucky Ave., Rantoul, Richard Meuser, 348 Illinois Drive, Rantoul.

The bucks stop here

It turns out that deer love animal crackers in a major way.

Dr. Cliff Shipley, a professor at the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine, keeps about 80 deer, mule deer and elk on 15 acres near Homer Lake.

"Here you go, 404," he tells a hungry deer, and the others gather around to get the crackers from a bulk-sized plastic container.