For the retirees, March 23-30, 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.

John Roska: In an NCAA pool? Yep, you're breaking the law

Q: Are NCAA basketball pools that pay off illegal?

A: They're illegal, even if semi-respectable. Just as with speeding, the fact that "everybody does it" isn't a defense if you're prosecuted for gambling.

Celebration Company puts on 'quirky' Durang comedy

URBANA — The Celebration Company at the Station Theatre is one of the first amateur theater companies in the country to put on Christopher Durang's new comedy "Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike."

To do it justice, the community theater has brought out some of its old guard and some of its new guard for the play, which opens Thursday evening.

House with a Nobel past

URBANA — The MRI wasn't the only thing that Paul Lauterbur invented. The Nobel Prize-winner came up with the basic design for his house north of Urbana.

It's an unusual one, a tri-level beauty partly sided with stone veneer and nestled onto the side — not top — of a hill in Holcomb Woods, a mile or so south of the better-known Brownfield Woods.

Letter from Birdland: I'm dreaming about bushels of ripe fruit

It is mud time in Birdland. Or it was until this morning, when the temperatures dipped down below freezing again, and the mud became solid. The wind blows in from the east, which is unusual here, and it's bitterly cold.

Top of the Morning, March 23, 2014

One of my favorite parts of each day's A-2 is Tom Kacich's area history roundup.

Area history, March 22, 2014

Today is Saturday, March 22, 2014. News reports from this date 100, 50 and 15 years ago:

In 1914, all plans are in readiness for a homecoming reception for former Congressman William McKinley of Champaign, who later this week will returning from his trip around the world.

Community school brings lessons on history, character, future

CHAMPAIGN — Young African-Americans are learning about their history, their character development and their future through a new community school.

Education is what Community Saturday School founder Amira M. Davis tells her young charges helped bring Africans out of slavery, and what will empower them in the future.

Check out the Clinton Antique Mall

I must admit I slipped up and have not mentioned the Clinton Antique Mall at the intersection of Illinois Routes 51 and 54 for quite some time.

Top of the morning, March 22, 2014

For spring break tips, we turned to longtime travel and tour consultant Donica Halcom. The owner of Destinations with Donica in Savoy took her first flight in 1975 and has been helping others navigate their way ever since.