Top of the Morning, Nov. 30, 2014

Lisa Gaye Dixon, a UI theater prof who grew up in Champaign, currently is wowing audiences in her role as the Ghost of Christmas Present in "A Christmas Carol" at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago.

What's her secret?

"Lots of laughter," she said. "And the recognition of the great joy and possibility of this time of year."

'Everyday house' or showplace? You can decide - for a food bank donation

To Robert Grossman, his downtown Champaign penthouse apartment is just an "everyday house." "But everyone else thinks it's great," he said. If you want to see yourself stop by between 3 and 5 p.m. today. Grossman, owner of Grossman & Associates, a software development firm, will open it to the public.

'Excitement in the air': A chat with the incoming UI president

So we know Timothy Killeen is a rocket scientist and has a long higher education resume.

But did you know that the future University of Illinois president played soccer and rugby in Wales, is a classical guitarist and art aficionado, and was once a Michigan football fan?

Area foster parents chosen for national ad campaign

DANVILLE — Five years ago, Floyd and Raenell Crenshaw's five-bedroom house was on the verge of becoming an empty nest.

Today, it's anything but empty.

The Crenshaws, who both grew up in large families, believed they still had more to give, so they made the decision in 2009 to become foster parents.

CASA could use more volunteers to advocate for children

URBANA — Looking to do something to promote peace on Earth and good will toward men? The people who represent abused and neglected children in the Champaign County court system could use a hand.

Area history, Nov. 29, 2014

In 1914: Urbana is voting today on a proposition to issue $40,000 in bonds to take the place of the city's floating indebtedness. Very little interest is taken and a light turnout is expected.

Top of the Morning, Nov. 29, 2014

On what could be the final weekend of Illinois football, we put the spotlight on a former Illini who went on to big things after hanging up the helmet. The Varsity I Association honored Stu Levenick earlier this season, presenting the longtime Caterpillar exec with its prestigious Achievement Award.

Area history, Nov. 28, 2014

Today is Friday, Nov. 28, 2014. Here are news reports from this date 100, 50 and 15 years ago:

In 1914: Cass Clifford of Champaign has resigned his position as assistant state treasurer and will resume his position with the First National Bank. At the time he left the institution to go to Springfield, he was a teller.

Paying it forward

CHAMPAIGN — If Alyssa Kluth had her way, every child who wants to learn to dance would get the opportunity.

And, they would be able to do it for free.

That's why the St. Thomas More junior recently started donating her time and energy to ensure that happens for at least one child this year.

Gone, but not forgotten

DANVILLE — Two years ago, Tammy Williams lost one of her closest friends and co-workers, an Army veteran.