What's in a name? Virginia Theater

During tours of the Virginia Theater in downtown Champaign, director Steven Bentz gets to the point where it's time to reveal how the building's name came to be. A big "Ahhh" usually follows.

"Sometimes they forget to ask and it becomes this odd thing of 'Why do we have this theater named Virginia in the middle of Illinois?' " Bentz said.

Meet the Fields Award winners

They're a data and instructional facilitator at Cannon Elementary, a fifth-grade teacher at Edison Elementary, an eighth-grade cross-categorical teacher at North Ridge Middle School and a behavior interventionist at Danville High.

Area history, April 8, 2016

Today is Friday, April 8, 2016. Here are news reports from this date 100, 50 and 15 years ago:

Religion calendar, April 8-15, 2016

To submit items for this calendar, visit and click "Add an event" under the miniature calendar on the page. You must be logged in, then fill in the appropriate fields and submit.

Deadline is noon Tuesday before Friday publication.


Life Remembered: Jones was 'competitive in a lovely way'

CHAMPAIGN — Even after health forced her to give up the game she cherished, lady links legend Mary Jones continued to sport in life the same grit and grace that led her to numerous golf championships.

"She always had a smile, no matter how badly she felt. Even in the nursing home. She didn't want to be there but wasn't fussing about it," said her son, John Jones.

John Frayne: A fitting tribute to an outstanding teacher

Professor Reid Alexander, who taught piano at the University of Illinois School of Music for 37 years, was scheduled to give a recital on March 30 in Krannert's Foellinger Great Hall. But, sadly, Alexander died last November, so Jo Ellen DeVilbiss, Alexander's wife, decided to use the open date for a concert in his memory.

Area update: UI named a 2015 Tree Campus USA

URBANA — The Arbor Day Foundation on Thursday named the UI as a 2015 Tree Campus USA winner.

The award recognizes the university's commitment to effective urban forest management. The foundation has been honoring colleges and universities this way since 2008.

'It's a really big deal'

URBANA — In December, when most others on campus were cramming for finals and counting down to winter break, Kristina Kenyon was using whatever spare time she had to prepare for Mom's Weekend.

Top of the morning, April 8, 2016

One of the area's top slow-pitch softball teams for the better part of two decades will be inducted into the Illinois Amateur Softball Association Hall of Fame on Saturday night.

Schools chief assures parents after altercation between students

TOLONO — Superintendent Andy Larson wants to assure Unity Junior High students’ parents that their children are safe at the school.

There was an altercation involving two students as they were getting off of the bus Wednesday morning at the school.