A legendary opportunity

DANVILLE — On Friday night, local singer Willie "Sweet Willie" Johnson was thrilled just to sing for The Contours with Joe Billingslea, an original member of the Motown act famous for "Do You Love Me."

"To be honest, just to sing in front of The Contours would be a great privilege to me," said Johnson, who got that chance Friday night.

Top of the Morning, Oct. 11, 2014

I had not heard of Silent Sunday before taking in my daughter's soccer match last weekend in Normal.

But having experienced the peace and calm that came with it — coaches and spectators are to zip it while play is going on, leaving the talking to the players — I'll admit I'm a big fan. Turns out I'm not alone.

"The referees love Silent Sunday," Kevin Love said.

Area history, Oct. 10, 2014

In 1914, pavement work on the north end of Neil Street will begin Monday morning as pavement work on University Avenue in downtown Champaign is being completed.

Monticello Hall of Fame inductee key in NASA's safety strategies

MONTICELLO — When the space shuttle Columbia disintegrated during re-entry, claiming the lives of seven astronauts in 2003, NASA turned to Larry Dalton and his team to help keep future missions safe.

That's Larry Dalton, Monticello High School Class of '63.

Rossville teen firefighters put to test in baptism by tire fire

ROSSVILLE — Fifteen-year-old Josh Brown and his 17-year-old sister, Jenna, were both in a deep sleep when their mom rushed into their rooms at 6 a.m., telling them to get up "right now."

They weren't late for school. They had to go fight a fire.

Just One Question: Illinois gubernatorial candidates

If you could ask one question of Pat Quinn and Bruce Rauner, what would it be?

On the eve of tonight's gubernatorial debate, we threw that one out to University of Illinois deans and department heads.

Andreas Cangellaris

Homer fire chief turned automotive expertise into career as community stalwart

HOMER — When he was the age that many kids are when they dream of riding in a fire truck and putting out fires, Don Happ dreamed of getting under the hood of a car.

"I just liked working on cars — fast cars," said Happ, who in his teens found a 1972 Oldsmobile 442 near Broadlands, bought it for $300 and spent the next four years restoring it from top to bottom.

Area history, Oct. 9, 2014

In 1914, rain this afternoon failed to prevent the laying of the cornerstone of the new addition to the chemistry building at the University of Illinois. The program was carried out in the Armory, and the exercises were well-attended. The company then repaired to the site of the new building and the cornerstone was set in place by President E.J. James.

Neighbors: Recognizing accomplishments in our communities

Fire instructor honored

Steve Williams, longtime field instructor for the University of Illinois Fire Service Institute, was honored at the seventh annual St. Louis & Metropolitan Firefighters' Appreciation Ball. Firefighters Weekend of St. Louis hosted the black-tie gala event in September.