Minnesota students spend spring break helping Gifford

GIFFORD — Another wave of volunteer help arrived in tornado-battered Gifford Monday morning, brought in by bus from Northfield, Minn.

Area history, March 24, 2014

Today is Monday, March 24, 2014. News reports from this date 100, 50 and 15 years ago:

In 1914, the new "pick up" street sweeper for Champaign was unloaded from a rail car today. A representative of the Baker Manufacturing Co. of Springfield will demonstrate the machine tomorrow. Also, word was received that the city's new Peerless auto fire truck will arrive in Champaign this week.

Top of the Morning, March 24, 2014: From the archives

Mike Hopkins has the best aerial photo of Champaign-Urbana, but he had an advantage very few others do — he was shooting from the International Space Station.

A few years ago, when Google unveiled higher-resolution satellite imagery in its maps, it was kind of stunning to look at my car in the driveway from miles above the planet.

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.

Studio Visit: Debra Richtmeyer

Studio Visit is a Q&A with a local artist. Here, a chat with Debra Richtmeyer. A professor of saxophone at the University of Illinois School of Music, she co-organized and co-hosted the North American Saxophone Alliance biennial conference that ended Saturday on campus.

Q: When did you start playing saxophone?

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.

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.

Area history, March 23, 2014

Today is Sunday, March 23, 2014. News reports from 100, 50 and 15 years ago on this date:

Reluctant Townie: Tangling with a toddler

For the past week, everyone in my house has been sick with the flu. Or the cold. Or the upper respiratory infection. Or some unholy combination thereof. Each day seems to bring a new set of symptoms. We consulted a doctor midweek and were met with a definitive shrug of the shoulders. Dr. Gregory House is, unfortunately, not in my provider network.

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.