Labor of love

Once upon a time, farmer and grill-maker extraordinaire Chris Engelbrecht considered his family farmstead bulldozer bait.

The two-story house, barn and other buildings had become rundown. Weed trees had overtaken the property 4 miles west of Paxton.

Its appearance was so forlorn, neighbors were asking Engelbrecht what he planned to do with the property.

Letter from Birdland: Grape harvest finally arrives

In Birdland, summer seems to be back, bringing its humidity after weeks of uncharacteristic coolness.

I talked to Chandra in Seattle a few weeks ago, who said it had been 91 for weeks, and I teased him that we had stolen his weather. My oldest loves the rainforest, but he does miss our thunderstorms.

Metal work factors in to grill master's livelihood

PAXTON — Metal work is not just a hobby for Chris Engelbrecht.

About a half-mile southeast of his newly renovated family farmstead, he and employees make wood-fired grills and cookers.

For the retirees, Sept. 3-10, 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.

Another Fletcher in the fold

The Fletcher family had already supplied the Illini with three top baseball players before Preslie Fletcher graduated from Oakwood High School.

She's a University of Illinois freshman who had trouble deciding between diving and cheerleading at the University of Illinois.

UI cheerleaders: Ready to make some noise

Illini cheerleading coach Stephanie Record answers 10 questions from staff writer Paul Wood about her squad. 

1. How many people try out for the Illini squad and how many can you accept?

Complex issue

DANVILLE — Annette Brown is sitting outside her apartment at the Fair Oaks housing complex with her 2-year-old, waiting for her oldest daughter to get home from school.

"It ain't bad," Brown says of living in the 65-year-old row house-style public housing complex in Danville.

Getting Personal: Parham Parastaran

Getting Personal is a Q&A with a local personality. Here, 44-year-old Champaign resident Parham Parastaran, the owner of Car-X Tire and Auto, chats with The News-Gazette's Melissa Merli. Parastaran, who also hosts the annual Car-X Crazy K, is married with three daughters. He's in the process of finishing a book and publishing it in late spring 2016.

Area history, Sept. 6, 2015

Today is Sunday, Sept. 6, 2015. Here are news reports from this date 100, 50 and 15 years ago: