Sandra Mason: The battle against borers

If a tree dies from borers, is it dying from boredom? Unlikely, considering the eventful lives of trees.

Since our 2016 spring produced plenty of rain, it's easy to forget that trees can still be recovering from the drought of 2012 and late summer drought of 2013. Add a severe winter in 2013-14, and trees endure many events.

'I have the least amount of brain cells of anybody in this school'

As area 12th-graders wrap up their high school careers, we'll highlight graduates with unique stories to tell. Email ideas to education reporter Nicole Lafond at

Bob Swisher: Vermilion County business makes unique furniture

Almost smack dab in the middle of Forest Glen Preserve near Georgetown is a small building called Pine Ridge Studio, which is the home of handmade furniture and home decor.

This studio is owned by artisans Dean and Dawn Dawson. The nearby area is also their home.

Top of the morning, May 21, 2016

I figured Brad Allen would be a nervous wreck today.

Principal at Tuscola High, he has a graduation ceremony to run. Father of a senior softball slugger, Karli, he has a regional championship game to sweat out.

But Allen said he's worry-free. An office staff like no other makes commencement a breeze. "I just have to show up and talk," he said.

Tom's #Mailbag, May 20, 2016

Got a question for Tom? Ask it here

There's something for everyone in this week's mailbag, particularly if you drive Leverett Road. After 2 1/2 years in business, the mailbag answers its first two Leverett Road questions in one week.

Area update: McCleary won't seek re-election in Savoy

SAVOY — Longtime Savoy Village President Robert McCleary has announced he will not run for re-election in the 2017 term.

McCleary has held that position for 27 years. Before being elected in 1989, was served a village trustee for two years.

Electronics recycling event Saturday

CHAMPAIGN — For Champaign County residents wanting to get rid of that old TV set, Saturday's the day to do it.

The free electronic recycling event — hosted by Champaign County and the cities of Champaign, Urbana and Savoy — runs from 8 a.m. to noon at Parkland College. A fall event will also be held, on Oct. 15.

New owners ahead for Ott's

RANTOUL — Many of the dishes will remain, and so will many of the familiar faces. But the popular Ott's Drive-In will soon have new owners.

Tony Grilo of Thomasboro said he and his wife, Ashley, will buy the business at 400 N. Century Blvd.

Meeting 'all sorts of needs' one at a time

RANTOUL — In Karen Kelly's 28 years working at the Community Service Center of Northern Champaign County, she has seen thousands of people walk into the agency needing food from the pantry — just one of the many services offered there.

But she remembers one man specifically, because he still drops by to thank them for their help.

Area history, May 20, 2016

Today is Friday, May 20, 2016. Here are news reports from this date 100, 50 and 15 years ago:

In 1916: Amateur theatricals and a dinner next Thursday will open the coming season at the Champaign Country Club. Thursday also will be the start of a weekend golf tournament. A free-for-all match will be included for the record 18 holes.