PAXTON – Natalie Johnson was a beautiful 11-year-old girl with "out-of-this-world potential and a personality you'd love to put in a bottle and sell for big bucks," her church's pastor said at her funeral Saturday.
"Natalie Johnson just didn't show up for things; she made every place she was at just a little better," the Rev. Craig Pinley said. "She was pretty quiet by nature, but her ability to make others feel good was extraordinary.
CHAMPAIGN – The Champaign Public Library is among the top 4 percent of busiest and best libraries in the country.
Library Journal magazine, the oldest publication covering the library field, ranks libraries based on service per capita: the number of checkouts, library visits, program attendance and public Internet use. The index compares the ratings by budget range and then assigns top libraries in each category a rating of three to five stars, based on their overall score.
PAXTON – The Evangelical Covenant Church of Paxton has rescheduled its Christmas Bazaar, formerly known as the Lucia Fest, for Dec. 12, so it will not conflict with Natalie Johnson's funeral.
The event will run from 9 a.m. to noon at the church.
URBANA – A fund to help students from China attend the University of Illinois' Graduate School of Library and Information Science has been established in honor of a student who died in a car crash last month.
Yingbo Zhou, 26, was the first student taking part in the graduate school's 1+1 program, which brings library students from Zhejiang University in China to the UI.
DANVILLE – A simple online request posted by a Danville attorney and a friend hundreds of miles away has, in just three days, generated a stack of more than 500 gifts for Vermilion County foster children.
"I can't even tell you how amazed I am about what's going on here," said attorney John Halloran, who, with the help of his friend, Genevieve Dempre of New Orleans, put together a Christmas wish list for foster kids and got it posted Sunday night on Fark.com, a news-aggregating and social-networking news Web site, and on Facebook, a social-networking site.
GEORGETOWN – Family and friends remembered Kenneth Nichols as an energetic man who loved to play football and ride his Harley-Davidson motorcycle, but loved his family and country even more.
DANVILLE – The Center for Children's Services' Cafe on the Lawn program will host its fifth annual Christmas bazaar from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday at the center, 702 N. Logan Ave.
The bazaar will feature a luncheon from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. serving Cafe on the Lawn's Signature Salad, Holiday Chicken Bake and Pumpkin Spiced Cake. Cost is $8 per person and tickets will be available at the door.
CHAMPAIGN – WDWS radio personality Stevie Jay will broadcast live from Panera Bread, 1765 W. Kirby Ave., C, from 7 to 9 a.m. Thursday to raise money for the Developmental Services Center's Tree of Hope campaign.
He is scheduled to interview Chris and Stephanie Oates, the 2009 Tree of Hope family representatives, along with DSC Chief Executive Officer Dale Morrissey.
DANVILLE – It's not uncommon to hear Schlarman High School students speaking French and Spanish, the foreign languages taught there.
HOOPESTON – Hoopeston Area residents can pay off their fines at the Hoopeston Public Library and help a good cause through the annual Food for Fines drive beginning today.
During December, the library will accept canned goods, nonperishable food items and household paper products. Each package is equivalent to $1 toward the fines.