Getting Personal: Bill Pickett

Each week, we offer an email Q&A with a local personality. Here, Melissa Merli chats with 62-year-old Danville resident Bill Pickett, who has covered Vermilion County news for 45 years. He is the news director for Neuhoff Media radio stations WDNL, WDAN and K-Rock in Danville.

Letter from Birdland: Windy City trip a cool experience

Dear Birdland,

I hope you are well and drying out from all those rainstorms. I'm in Millennium Park in downtown Chicago, and it's a lovely day up here. Seventy-three degrees with just a slight haze in the sky.

I took the train up last night to meet my dear friend, Emily, who usually lives in Georgia but is in town for a conference.

Reluctant Townie: 25 things to do in Walmart ... with your gun

On Tuesday, Illinois became the last state in the country to allow its citizens to carry concealed firearms. This move came after an appeals court ruled that Illinois' concealed-carry ban was unconstitutional and gave a July 9 deadline to implement the necessary changes in law.

13th PechaKucha night set

URBANA — Creative types will talk Saturday night about their passions during the 13th PechaKucha Night C-U, hosted by the Champaign-Urbana Design Organization and Krannert Center for the Performing Arts.

The event starts at 8:20 p.m., with doors opening at 7:30, at Krannert, 500 S. Goodwin Ave., U.

Admission is free.

Don Follis: Pastors — well, most of us — need same challenges

"Choose your friends wisely," I said to a pastor this week, encouraging him to let more people into his circle. "But choose them." I told him, "If you attempt to lead alone you'll isolate yourself. You might get hurt by being transparent but at least you'll be real."

During my first year of being a pastor an older pastor told me that pastors can have few friends.

For the retirees July 14, 2013

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.

University of Illinois student grateful for his journey to belief

By Xing Zhuo

"Do you believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God?" Elder Wei-Laung Hu asked.

"Yes, I do." Kaiwen Man answered.

"Do you accept Jesus as your savior and lord in life?"

"Yes, I do."

"Will you follow Jesus our lord as His loyal disciple?"

"Yes, I will."

VA MOVE! program highlights healthy lifestyles

By Beth Peralta

Sloppy Joe sandwiches. Egg skillet for breakfast.These items are not usually what we think are "healthy foods." However, for veterans in the MOVE! Weight Management Program at VA Illiana Health Care System (VAIHCS), healthier versions of the above are the star attractions in several upcoming cooking classes.

Gearhead of the Week: Verne Williams

Driver's license

Name: Verne Williams

Age: 64

Residence: Rossville

Occupation: retired intelligence officer, U.S. Department of Homeland Security

How long I've been a gearhead: since age 18

The vehicles I wish I never sold: A 1969 Plymouth GTX and a '69 Plymouth Roadrunner

Business and professional briefs July 14, 2013

New jobs

Perry promoted to vice president. Jana Perry has been promoted to vice president of Medicare and individual services for Health Alliance, Urbana.

Her role is to help grow both the Health Alliance Medicare and My Health Alliance individual lines of business in terms of geography, membership and offerings.