Fisher Fair queen named

Kirsten Blackford, 21, of Champaign is the new queen of the 2013 Fisher Fair pageant.

The former rural Rankin resident, a graduate of Paxton-Buckley-Loda High School, was crowned Tuesday night by 2012 queen Taylor Franzen.

She is a daughter of Jeff Blackford and Rhonda Blackford-Sorenson.

Illinois Ancestors: Civil War commemoration continues

As we continue to commemorate the sesquicentennial of the Civil War it seems appropriate to be reminded of some of the events of that war.

My Amish Home: Counting blessings during a busy summer

"When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee. When thou walkest through fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. For I am the Lord thy God." Isaiah 43:2-3

Are We There Yet: A piercing dilemma

Signs that our children have entered the tween/teen years: dinner conversations include talk of piercings and tattoos.

So far it’s just curiosity. The idea of more needles poking into their skin doesn’t appeal to them. But it’s clear that pierced ears are on our horizon.

Getting Personal: Jill Rannebarger

Each week, we offer an email Q&A with a local personality. Today, Melissa Merli chats with birthday girl Jill Rannebarger, 55, of Champaign. She works at the University of Illinois National Soybean Research Laboratory and is the event chairwoman for Relay For Life of Champaign County.

Never give up: The constant message at Restoration Urban Ministries

By Candice Norwood

Reluctant Townie: Welcome to the dirty 30s, old man

If you were curious to know what I did for my 30th birthday last week, I would be happy to tell you, although you may find the answer disappointing.

On my birthday, I took three naps. Presumably one for each decade I survived. In between the naps, I had a picnic, watched a couple of episodes of "Curious George" and pulled my groin. The latter two items are completely unrelated.

Letter from Birdland: Activity in gardens starting to pick up

In Birdland, we had another afternoon thunderstorm that lured me into my cozy bed for a nap. Falling asleep to the crashing of thunder and rain on the windows is comforting, despite the drama in the sky.

Urbana firm finds success providing design services

URBANA — Bryan Wilcox and Mercedes Mane started The Product Manufactory nearly two years ago, expecting to provide a workshop that businesses could use as needed.

But it soon became clear that businesses were more interested in The Product Manufactory's people and their array of skills, Wilcox said.

Life Remembered: Assembly Hall project chief recalled as good leader

CHAMPAIGN — It's somehow fitting that the last act of one of Champaign-Urbana's greatest builders and engineers was to throw a huge party.

More than 100 people were gathered at Dick Foley's house for a family reunion Saturday afternoon when the news came that their 87-year-old patriarch had died.