CHAMPAIGN — When a tornado destroyed the family farmhouse outside Gifford last month, Nicole Swinney feared there would be no Christmas for her 11-year-old twins at the Rantoul rental they now call home.
Little did she know that a secret Santa had already added Evan and Emma's names to a special list.
ALAN CLENDENNING, Associated Press
JON GAMBRELL, Associated Press
JULIE PACE, Associated Press
Here is a transcript, provided by the White House, of remarks by President Obama at the memorial service in Johannesburg, South Africa, for Nelson Mandela.
The day after the Nov. 17 tornado ripped through Champaign and Vermilion counties, several farmers stopped by Armstrong Township High School.
They asked if they might get some help from the student FFA group to clean up debris strewn around the fields outside Gifford. Principal Darren Loschen and his staff quickly agreed.
Area schools have raised more than $20,000 and delivered truckloads of supplies for tornado victims in Gifford and Washington. Here’s how they did it:
URBANA — If you were trying to sum up what kind of person Michael Pollock is, you probably could not do better than the way he once described himself.
"I'm an Urbana kind of guy," he told Urbana school officials about 10 years ago when he'd finished earning his teaching certificate later in life and stopped in to inquire about jobs.
One of my favorite experiences in Mr. Pollock's class was while we were going over our Revolutionary War unit. We walked into class and sat down while he took his attendance, then he stood in the middle of the class and held up a folded note that he said was left in one of his previous classes. It was a love note that was sent to "BabyLove," which was written on the front in cursive.
CHAMPAIGN — Continuity was the overriding theme Monday night as Champaign Park District board members selected longtime recreation director Joe DeLuce as the agency's next executive director.
He'll take over control of the park district beginning Jan. 1. Retiring director Bobbie Herakovich announced earlier this year that her last day would be Dec. 31 after 12 years in charge.
CHAMPAIGN — After a deployment to Afghanistan, Lt. Col. Yvette Lane-Rose returns to civilian life Tuesday as an assistant school principal.
The first and second questions she's bound to get from students?
"If I killed somebody," she said. The answer: "No, ma'am."
Or, "Did you see a dead body? No, ma'am."
BRETT ZONGKER, Associated Press