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.

From Russia with love

URBANA — As a member of the University of Illinois Alumni Association, Craig Sutter first visited Russia on an association tour, in 2006.

There, in Moscow and St. Petersburg, he fell in love with the Russian people, finding them closed at first but then warm-hearted and generous.

Studio Visit: Randy Salman

Studio Visit is a Q&A with a local artist. Here, Randy Salman, 64, of Champaign and Greencastle, Ind., a musician and a professor of music at DePauw University, chats with The News-Gazette's Melissa Merli.

What do you teach at DePauw?

Getting Personal: Claude Shelby

Getting Personal is a Q&A with a local personality. Here, 84-year-old Champaign resident Claude Shelby, the senior pastor at Salem Baptist Church, chats with The News-Gazette's Paul Wood.

What's the biggest thing in your life right now?

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.

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.

Oregon's sisters act

By Allen Hartter

You won't hear a choir of nuns singing, but you will enjoy striking scenery in the eastern foothills of the Cascade Mountain Range. Sisters, Ore., is 140 miles southeast of Portland and is named for the Three Sisters Mountains (North, Middle and South), which are easily visible 15 to 20 miles to the west.

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.

Knocked for a loop, he's fighting back

MONTICELLO — In the summer of 2001, Chris Corrie took his oldest son on a week-long fishing trip to central Canada.

Each day, they hopped into their rental boat, followed some friends who had gone up with them to a new location on beautiful Lake of the Woods and fished for walleye.

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?"