High school students learn by helping at nursing home

DANVILLE — Sam Simonson doesn't hesitate giving an answer about how often he looks forward to visiting Vermilion Manor Nursing Home.

"Every day," says the junior at Catlin High School, who spends a couple hours five days a week visiting and helping residents and staff at the county-owned nursing home on Catlin-Tilton Road.

St. Thomas More cheerleaders to help at Capital One Bowl

CHAMPAIGN — Cheerleaders from the High School of St. Thomas More are en route to their first bowl game — a Florida trip powered by flamingos.

In this case, pink ones. When submarine sandwich magnate Jimmy John Liautaud comes home to Champaign to his Armory Avenue manse, he'll find a couple dozen of them, and a note that says "You've been flocked."

Months after fire next door, JR's Lounge back in business

VILLA GROVE — It took more than four months, but a Villa Grove bar and restaurant is back in business after suffering smoke and water damage from an August fire.

JR's Lounge reopened this week at 18 S. Main St., to the delight of customers who frequented the place for 29 years.

A life remembered: UI law professor 'turned it up to 11 on everything'

CHAMPAIGN — Friends and colleagues of Larry Ribstein say they'll remember him as a first-rate legal scholar and original thinker who enjoyed debate and was an expert in business law.

They also recall him as a generous person who was a gifted photographer and an authority on movies and the law.

Danville woman's son held as suspect in her death

DANVILLE — When Ethel Gibbs didn't come to church on Sunday, her cousin Carol Danbury knew something was wrong.

Mrs. Gibbs, 84, never missed services at First Baptist Church, 1211 N. Vermilion St., Danville.

Studio Visit: Tom Brewer

Melissa Merli visits with Tom Brewer, owner of Griggs Street Pottery in Urbana. Studio Visit appears first in print, in Sunday editions of The News-Gazette.

Q: When did you buy the Griggs Street Pottery here in Urbana?

A: Two years ago this December.

Q: Do you plan to move here?

Getting Personal: Morgan Powell

Getting Personal is an email Q&A with a local personality. Here, News-Gazette staff writer Melissa Merli chats with Morgan Powell, 73, a composer/trombonist (combonist/tromposer, he jokes) and a professor emeritus of composition at the University of Illinois. Getting Personal appears first in print., in Sunday editions of The News-Gazette.

Area Habitat ReStores to close over holidays for mini makeovers

The Habitat ReStore in Danville will close over the holidays, starting Friday, so that volunteers can give the store a mini makeover. Meanwhile the Champaign ReStore closed today and will reopen Jan. 4 after undergoing a similar interior facelift.

WITS giveaway lets mom make her mentally disabled son's Christmas

DANVILLE — Gloria Vance couldn't hold back tears Wednesday when her son Albert got his first computer.

"I'm so happy for him," said Vance, 78, who calls Albert, 42, her "shining light."

Organizer returns to help Paxton holiday giveaway

PAXTON — When Sally Marshall moved to Ohio with her husband, Chad, last spring, she knew she would be back in Paxton for the holidays. As the organizer of the local Project Bright Star toy and clothing giveaway each Christmas, the lifelong Paxton resident had to see the program continue.