Late for class? How about an excuse from the governor?

If you're going to have an excuse for missing class, you might as well go big.

UI junior Will Goff knew he was cutting it close with his 2:15 p.m. History of Media class Thursday afternoon when he was asked to attend a 1:45 p.m. press conference at the Illini Union with Gov. Pat Quinn.

Fluid Event Center a work in progress

April 19, 1997 is the date this column first appeared in The News-Gazette. That means two weeks from now, I will have finished 18 years of writing the column and will start what is the last year of my teens.

Top of the Morning, April 5, 2014

Hard to top Chicago-based Nick Lynch as the headliner for today's World's Largest Softball Tailgate outside Eichelberger Field. The 31-year-old singer can entertain a crowd, knows his sports and won't get lost on the way to the ballpark.

"My aunt (Jennifer) played golf at Illinois," he said. "I followed her around a lot."

Gifford trying to find buses for D.C. after company goes out of business

GIFFORD — They booked hotel rooms, reserved a charter bus and finalized an ambitious itinerary to the National Mall, Arlington National Cemetery, Mount Vernon and other classic Washington, D.C. sights.

Area history, April 4, 2014

Today is Friday, April 4, 2014. News reports from this date 100, 50 and 15 years ago:

In 1914: With a crash heard for blocks, the lower floor of J.E. Webster and Co.'s poultry house on East University Avenue in Champaign collapsed at an early hour today. No one was in the building at the time. The accident was caused by excavations being made to increase basement space.

Saturday benefit to remember Danville woman slain in December

Sharon Pierce can't think about her niece, Jamie, without tearing up.

"She was an exceptional person," the Tilton woman said of Jamie Yanders Sternberger. "She always put everybody before her, and she would do whatever she could to help anybody."

Danville honors teachers

Since 2001, the Danville Public School Foundation has bestowed the David L. Fields Excellence in Teaching Awards to an "outstanding" teacher from the primary, intermediate, middle school and high school levels.

Direct from the conductor

The University of Illinois School of Music this week announced the hiring of choral conductor Andrew Megill.

Megill leads several notable vocal ensembles, including the Montreal Symphony Orchestra Chorus, the Carmel Bach Festival Chorale and Fuma Sacra, a chamber choir specializing in early music.

Top of the Morning, April 4, 2014

You have to give the folks at CBS and Turner Sports credit for being creative with coverage of the Final Four. Sure, they will present traditional coverage on TBS with Jim Nantz, Greg Anthony and Steve Kerr on the call. But in an effort to provide fans a more local flavor on the broadcasts, there will also be team-specific coverage on truTV and TNT.

Wiegand proud of 'legacy of excellence'

CHAMPAIGN — Unit 4 Superintendent Judy Wiegand said she is proud of what she calls the district's "legacy of excellence" and optimistic about its future.

Wiegand presented her state of the district address to parents and community members Thursday at South Side Elementary School.