Area history, Feb. 24, 2014

Today is Monday, Feb. 24, 2014. News reports from this date 100, 50 and 15 years ago:

A look back at Sochi, from an expert

Before Sochi was the center of the world for the past couple weeks, it was a focus of research for Diane Koenker, University of Illinois history chairwoman and professor. In her book, "Club Red: Vacation Travel and the Soviet Dream," she explores vacation and tourism in a country with some dark aspects to its history.

Top of the Morning, Feb. 24, 2014: From the archives

Digital photography is a wonderful thing. Push the shutter and you immediately know if you got the photo you wanted. And if you didn't, shoot again.

Letter from Birdland: Old-fashioned winter's tale

By the time you read this, we should be past the worst of it. But as of this writing, Birdland is still in the deep freeze. The snow squeaks and crunches underfoot, and the roads are polished and glazed.

Getting Personal: Ed Scharlau

Each week, we offer a Q&A with a local personality. Here, a chat with 69-year-old Urbana resident Ed Scharlau, who started working at Busey Bank in 1964 as a part-time teller when he was a student at the University of Illinois. He became president in 1975 and continues to enjoy working at Busey as vice chairman.

So ... what's new with you?

Questions and answers on same-sex marriage law

Gay rights activist Randy Hannig was in Champaign recently to answer the public’s questions about Illinois’ same-sex marriage law. Here are the three most common questions posed to Equality Illinois officials during their statewide blitz:

Where do we get a marriage license, and how much does it cost?

Reluctant Townie: Still achin' and breakin' after all these years

In a move that no one anticipated — because chaos theory states we cannot predict the outcome of a complex system such as what Billy Ray Cyrus will do when rent's on the line — last week the world welcomed the release of a hip-hop sequel to Billy Ray Cyrus' 1992 chart topper/toe tapper/boot stomper "Achy Breaky Heart."

Business calendar, Feb. 23, 2014

Wednesday, Feb. 26

Equal rites: Same-sex marriage in Illinois nears legality

The church and reception venue have been booked.

The save-the-date cards have been mailed.

And deposits to the caterer and wedding cake designer have been made.

For the retirees, Feb. 23, 2014

For information about services available to older adults, contact Karen Bodnar, 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 Services of Champaign County.