For the retirees, March 27-April 3, 2016

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.

Studio Visit: Angelo Ray Martinez

Angelo Ray Martinez, 35, of Champaign a third-year master's of fine arts degree candidate at the University of Illinois, recently chatted with The News-Gazette's Melissa Merli.

So you were born in Boulder, Colo.?

Reluctant Townie: Easter oddities: Peeps and plastic grass

Happy Easter to you, East Central Illinois and surrounding Internets.

I hope the Easter Bunny broke and entered and hid some hard-boiled eggs around your domicile in places you will not discover until a persistent, foul odor prompts a thorough spring cleaning in a few weeks.

But if you'd oblige me, I'd like to remove the Easter Bunny from the conversation for a few minutes.

John Roska: When you can see your 'permanent record'

Q: I'm a high school student. Can I see my school record, without my parents' consent?

A: Schools must let all students, regardless of age, see their "permanent record" upon request. Parental consent isn't required.

Letter from Birdland: Fun day checking out sights in Chicago

Spring has already come to Birdland. The grass is greening up, and daffodils are blooming.

The velvety buds of maple give just the lightest blush of red to the still-leafless branches.

Lilacs are pushing out their bright, green leaves, and the blossoms will soon follow.

The ornamental quince has tiny buds, like rose-colored capers, dotting the bush.

Animal neglect cases 'disheartening'

URBANA — Michelle Carr saw more than her share of animal suffering in her 16 years as a humane investigator and animal control officer based in Champaign County.

But the worst call she ever had to work — last summer in Urbana, where a pit bull puppy was stuffed in a 300-degree oven and left to die — was her breaking point.

Main Street/Hoopeston: A resilient bunch

HOOPESTON — Someday, the marquee lights will be coming back on at the Lorraine Theater, an effort that may cost more than $500,000 but would light up this town that has had its share of setbacks.

"We probably have roughly $160,000 in it already," says Jim Richards, a leader in the effort. "People have been very generous."

Don Follis: Easter tells us that all people are deeply loved

As I reflected on the events of Holy Week, the gravity of the events that lead to Good Friday and the crucifixion of Jesus was heightened as I read a new book by Dr. Ruth A. Tucker — "Black and White Bible, Black and Blue Wife — My Story of Finding Hope after Domestic Abuse" (Zondervan, 2016).

Getting Personal: Donna Greene

Getting Personal is a Q&A with a local personality. Here, 62-year-old Champaign resident Donna Greene, who has been with Busey Wealth Management for almost 23 years as a senior managing director and certified financial planner, chats with The News-Gazette's Paul Wood.

Ted Kooser: An American Life in Poetry, March 27, 2016

By Ted Kooser/U.S. Poet Laureate, 2004-06

When I was a boy, because of the song, I thought there really was an Easter parade, but the Easters came and went without one. But here's a glimpse of just a little piece of a parade by Kim Dower, who lives in Los Angeles. Her forthcoming book is "Last Train to the Missing Planet," Red Hen Press, 2016.