Area history, Jan. 17, 2016

Today is Sunday, Jan. 17, 2016. Here are news reports from this date 100, 50 and 15 years ago:

Don Follis: Do your homework when choosing a pastor

I have served as a reference for pastors many times. When I get a call checking references, the conversations usually are pretty straightforward. "How long have you known him?" "What are his strengths?" "What is his flat side?" "Do you have any hesitations we should know about?"

Rob Kanter: Some wild memories from 2015

As you know, I take great pleasure in observing wildlife, whether I'm out for the specific purpose of doing that or I'm just going from one place to another in the course of a normal day.

As you also know, I enjoy looking into questions that arise from my observations and sharing my findings with others.

Today's Special: Escobar's planning to finish strong in final year

CHAMPAIGN — The folks running Escobar's Restaurant on East Columbia Avenue knew that 2016 would be their final year of operation, though they weren't sure how or when they would inform the public about the decision.

Letter from Birdland: Beginning another stint in Kentucky

I said goodbye to Birdland and hello to Kentucky on Friday. Michael drove me down and dropped me off, so I am on my own here.

My husband spends quite a little time in the car, so to drive with me for five hours and then turn around to drive back home was a sacrifice, and I appreciate it.

Champaign school board's changing faces

CHAMPAIGN — Sue Grey took a job with the United Way.

Scott MacAdam cited heart-related health issues.

Kristine Chalifoux wanted to spend more time being a mom.

John Bambenek had a business to run.

Reluctant Townie: If I won the lottery: A jackpot well spent

By the time you read this, we will definitively know if I have won the $1.5 billion Powerball lottery. Provided that I did, you can consider this my last communique.

I would like to take this time to outline my plans as a Powerball billionaire and what the citizens of Earth can expect from me in the upcoming days and weeks.

The Big 10 with Jeff D'Alessio, Jan. 17, 2016

With curl-up-with-a-good-book-under-the-covers weather officially here, we asked our panel of bookworms: What's your must-read recommendation among recent releases?

For the retirees, Jan. 17-24, 2016

For information about services available to older adults, contact Karen Graves, 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 Service of Champaign County.

The red gem

DANVILLE — After being re-assembled more than a decade ago at its new home at Kennekuk County Park, the Laury Barn has settled into its new role.

Once located along the North Fork of the Vermilion River as a gristmill and later converted to a dairy barn, the big red barn is now used for wedding receptions, dances and other events.