Getting Personal with architect Neil Strack

A chat with Neil Strack, managing senior architect foro the Champaign office of Architectural Expressions.

What time do you typically get up? What do you do the first hour of the morning?

I do not use an alarm clock. I generally start the day between 6:30 and 7 a.m. During the first hour, I usually finish things that I should have completed the evening before. I enjoy a leisurely breakfast and read the Chicago Tribune newspaper. (I still consider The News-Gazette my evening newspaper).

Volunteers sought to assist senior citizens

DANVILLE – Faith in Action is in need of volunteers to assist area senior citizens with chores, transportation and other duties to help seniors maintain their independence.

The program will offer an orientation session for people willing to help.

Sessions will be at the Faith in Action office in First Presbyterian Church, 100 N. Franklin St., at the following times:

– 1:30 to 3 p.m. Wednesday.

– 10 to 11:30 a.m. Feb. 24.

– 1:30 to 3 p.m. March 3.

Raffle to put winner in the green, at wheel

DANVILLE – With the snow piling up outside, it's difficult to imagine planting flowers or landscaping a yard, but the members of Keep Vermilion County Beautiful are working now to raise money for their annual grants awarded each year to help individuals and groups beautify the county with flowers, plants and other landscaping projects.

This is the fourth year that the volunteer organization will be selling raffle tickets for a chance at various "green" prizes.

Hearing on poverty set for Monday in Danville

DANVILLE – The East Central Illinois Community Action Agency will host an "Elimination of Poverty Public Hearing" from 6 to 9 p.m. Monday in Room 150 at the David S. Palmer Arena, 100 W. Main St.

Dwight Lucas, chief executive officer of the local agency, was appointed to the Illinois Commission on the Elimination of Poverty in 2009. It is developing a poverty elimination strategy to cut the number of people living in extreme poverty in half by 2015.

Local man thrilled about tentative deal to buy Rams

ST. LOUIS – Champaign-Urbana businessman Shahid Khan is "excited to begin" the process of gaining approval to buy the St. Louis Rams' National Football League team.

"As a long time Rams fan and supporter of the city of St. Louis, I am thrilled to have the opportunity to be considered by the NFL," said Khan, who owns the Urbana-based auto parts manufacturer Flex-N-Gate.

Khan has a tentative agreement to buy a 60 percent stake in the St. Louis football team, according to announcements Thursday.

Childhood poverty on rise

URBANA – Stephanie Record sees firsthand the effects of families in financial crisis.

The bare cupboards and empty refrigerators.

The mother who needs a warm place for her baby to sleep when the power has been turned off.

Record, executive director of the Crisis Nursery, and several other leaders from local social service organizations are seeing increasing numbers of people seeking help. And they expect those numbers to keep growing in the next few years.

Ageism held Vermilion County sheriff's deputy back, lawsuit says

DANVILLE – A defense attorney claims that age had nothing to do with Vermilion County Sheriff Pat Hartshorn's decision not to promote longtime Deputy Rick Barnes, who has filed an age discrimination lawsuit in federal court against the sheriff, the department and Vermilion County.

Attorney Michael Condon with Hervas, Condon and Bersani in Itasca is representing the defendants and said Barnes, 49, was not promoted because he wouldn't agree to work all three shifts, which is a requirement for a sergeant's position.

Vermilion County Rape Crisis Center taking initiative to stay afloat

TILTON – Vermilion County Rape Crisis Center staff and supporters have decided to take a proactive stance to keep its programs functioning.

While normally the crisis center would receive the majority of its general revenue through the Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault, the coalition's state funding was first cut back and now isn't being received in a timely manner. It has tried to fill in the state pass-through allocations with federal stimulus funds.

PBL grad coming home for speech about flying cars

Chamber to host Terrafugia exec at annual meeting

Paxton-Buckley-Loda graduate Samuel Schweighart will be the featured speaker at the annual meeting of the Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce on Feb. 18 at Lakeview Country Club in Loda.

Schweighart is vice president for engineering of Terrafugia, a company he co-founded with several fellow students from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Terrafugia's goal is to provide innovative solutions to the challenges facing personal aviation.

Champaign man to be inducted in state Aviation Hall of Fame

CHAMPAIGN – An area man who died in 2003 will be inducted this spring into the Illinois Aviation Hall of Fame.

Hall of Fame President Walt Kessler announced this weekend that the late Rick Weinberg of Champaign will be inducted into the hall of fame.

Mr. Weinberg died on Aug. 7, 2003.

He developed the aviation curriculum for the University of Illinois Flight School, held the position of chief flight instructor and served as chief pilot for the University of Illinois Institute of Aviation's Professional Pilots Division.