St. Joseph group still collecting names of those in armed forces

ST. JOSEPH — The SJO Service Members organization is still honoring men and women serving in the armed forces.

Organization founder James Wasson said the group is still working to collect names of service members and honor them with a sign hung in their hometown.

Woman writes book on her ' murderer' — cancer

CHAMPAIGN — Every three months, Jennifer Smith undergoes a new scan that will give her an update on a disease she calls her "own murderer."

She's talked to her 6-year-old son about death, written her own obituary and made arrangements for her ashes.

50-year-old Parkland grad: 'Don't let anything get in your way'

CHAMPAIGN — Standing in front of the "A Wing" building at Parkland College in 2009, Paulette Johnson grabbed the door handle, then dropped her hand.

She grasped it again, and her hand fell a second time.

This went on for about 10 minutes, she recalled.

"I said to myself, 'Paula, if you're going to do this, there's no backing out. There's just going to be completion.'

Mother, daughter show gratitude for MDA

CHAMPAIGN — The Muscular Dystrophy Association has been there for Vicki Wilborn and her daughter, Carri, so mother and daughter continue to give back.

For the seventh time, they'll be holding their annual MDA benefit car show called Crusin' Towards Cures for Campers next month, and they're seeking entrants and sponsors, said Wilborn of Urbana.

Longtime Champaign officer recalls colleague's death

CHAMPAIGN — As a lieutenant on the midnight shift Nov. 25, 1967, J.O. Jones didn't recognize the voice on the police radio.

"A voice came on and said, 'You got trouble out on West Church. You better get out here.' Everybody was trying to figure out who was talking on the radio," said the retired Champaign police chief.

Westville to honor graduates

WESTVILLE — A radiologist who introduced nuclear medicine to central Illinois, a real estate developer and entrepreneur, and an astrophysicist who pioneered a new technique to detect far-away supernovae are the first inductees to Westville High School's Wall of Fame.

Decal to mark officer's death

CHAMPAIGN — It's been 100 years since the Champaign Police Department lost the first of its two sworn officers who have died in the line of duty.

To mark the July 6, 1913, murder of Officer Thomas Dodsworth, the department's squad cars will be decked with decals with his name, badge number, the date he died and the phrases "End of Watch" and "We Never Forget."

Getting Personal: Ellen Schmidt

Each week, we offer an email Q&A with a local personality. Today, Paul Wood chats with Ellen Schmidt of Champaign, who helps keep the money rolling in for athletic programs at the University of Illinois. Her team raises money for the IFUND to provide more than 500 student-athletes with exceptional educational and athletic opportunities.

Graduating Army veteran made a mark

CHAMPAIGN — Mat Jasieniecki readily admits that after he graduated from high school, he partied a bit too much, and after a while his grandparents told him to shape up.

Veterans to pick up high school diplomas after decades

DANVILLE — After watching the images of young American troops fighting in South Vietnam on TV each night, Jack Crawley decided to join the U.S. Marine Corps so he could fight alongside them. Never mind that he was only 18 and still a senior at Danville High School.

"I felt it was my obligation to go," said Crawley, who was set to graduate in 1966.