Witness recalls King's speech

In 1963, a 19-year-old George Mitchell had been to civil rights demonstrations before, but he had a sense that this one was different.

"The scene there was one of a sea of people," Mitchell said. "There were good intentions with the thought of being loyal citizens, but with the need to be a part of the entire American experience."

'Duck Dynasty' cast member to appear at GCMS game

GIBSON CITY — Reality television star "Mountain Man," one of the regulars on the smash series "Duck Dynasty," will make an appearance at Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley High School on Sept. 13, as the host Falcons take on the LeRoy High School Panthers in football.

Getting Personal: Patricia Avery

Each week, we offer an email Q&A with a local personality. Today, Melissa Merli chats with 58-year-old Champaign resident Patricia Avery, the executive director of the CU Area Project, a not-for-profit organization that seeks to reduce and prevent juvenile delinquency, and the president/CEO of the Champaign County branch of the NAACP.

Fisher teacher spent summer on science

FISHER — There's been little time for sitting beside the pool, reading a science book and sipping pina coladas for Isaac Stewart the past few months.

In the summertime when the weather is fine, the Fisher High School science teacher has been about as busy as he is during the school year.

Maybe busier.

Studio Visit: Shirley Meyer Blankenship

Studio visit is a Q&A with a local artist. Here, Melissa Merli visits with Shirley Meyer Blankenship of Champaign, a musician, composer and actress.

Q: I read that you were the first woman to receive a doctorate of musical arts degree in music composition from the University of Illinois. When did that happen?

Mortenson reflects on one year anniversary at fire service institute

As he approaches his one year anniversary on the job, the head of the Illinois Fire Service Institute in Champaign said his focus continues to be prodiving hands-on training.

That's according to retired Marine Corps Coronel Royal Mortenson, who took the head job at the fire institute last September.

Family reunion scheduled

The Fisher-Griswold family reunion is set for noon Sept. 7 at the Yoder's Kitchen restaurant in Arthur.

For more information, contact Patricia Fisher Heit at 578-3102 or via email at

John Roska: Canceled debt may have income-tax effect

Q: I settled a credit card debt by agreeing to pay a lump sum for less than the full amount I owe. The credit card company then said they'd issue a tax form for canceled debt, and that I'd have to report the unpaid debt as income on my taxes. Why? Is there any way around it?

Reluctant Townie: Lessons I learned from my garden

In a further development in my slow but certain decline into elderlypersonhood, this summer I tended to a garden on my back porch.

Business and professional briefs

New jobs

Danville hospital adds to staff. Dr. Kamatchi Ondiveerappan has joined the medical staff of Presence United Samaritans Medical Center, Danville.

He is board-certified in internal medicine and has experience in private practice and emergency medicine in several southern Illinois communities.