Signs of appreciation

DANVILLE — Mike Harper doesn't mind people shouting and honking at him while he works.

That's because it's all from people expressing their appreciation for his latest creation, a mural honoring local first responders — firefighters, police and emergency personnel.

Mural at Tommy Stewart Field honors both Champaign high schools

CHAMPAIGN — Centennial and Central may be big-time high school football rivals, but that doesn't mean they can't play nice when it comes to sharing a field.

Top of the morning, Aug. 11, 2015

#Twitterverse, meet Chad Benedict.

Benedict, the head boys basketball coach and physical education teacher at Mahomet-Seymour High School, joined Twitter — where you'll find him as @CoachCBenedict — "a year or year-and-a-half ago."

Those Who Served: Sidney man started near Iran, wound up in D.C.

SIDNEY — Back when Jimmy Carter was president, Doug Robinson had newly enlisted in the Navy, and was on a ship 3 miles off the coast of Iran.

Area history, Aug. 10, 2015

In 1915, Champaign's Orpheum Theatre opened for the 1915-16 season with the production "Within the Law." Large audiences attended both performances. Manager Sipe told the audience that about $20,000 had spent since the previous season ended several weeks before. The money went toward scenery, costumes and stage furniture, and much of it was spent with Champaign firms.

Studio Visit: Jacob Bernard

Studio Visit is a Q&A with a local artist. Here, a chat with Jacob Bernard, 16, of Urbana, a production intern at Urbana Public Television and a musician. The home-schooled teen recently chatted with The News-Gazette's Melissa Merli.

The Reluctant Townie: Mr. Fix-It becomes Mr. Gave-It-His-Best-Shot

Chronic readers of my column — or more specifically, anyone who read my column last week — will know that I recently attempted to repair the air conditioning in my house using only the resources of YouTube, Amazon Prime and my bare wit (whatever that measures out to).

Central Illinois Business' 40 under 40

Meet the Woman of the Year and the Man of the Year, selected by Central Illinois Business Magazine as part of its eighth annual Forty Under 40 Awards.

The awards recognize the achievements, leadership, innovation, experience and community involvement of young professionals.

Ask 'Mimi,' Aug. 9, 2015

Whatever happened to Andy Warfel?

The wildly talented Champaign County native is living in Portland, Ore., but spends half of his time in New York City. He's working as director of ideation and visualization for what he called a fantastic live events company called ProductionGlue (

Margo Dill: Finding true intimacy requires introspection

If you read one book this year, choose "Scary Close" by Donald Miller. Miller is a non-fiction writer best known for his bestsellers "Blue Like Jazz" and "A Million Miles in a Thousand Years." In "Scary Close," he shares how he learned to stop acting through his life and start connecting with people, and how this lesson changed his entire existence for the better.