Area history, Nov. 30, 2015

In 1915, Thomas Blackburn, a Kentucky lad, was picked up near the Illinois Central tracks by a Champaign police officer, half dead from cold and exposure. A short time before being taken into custody, Blackburn was liberated from the ice chamber of a refrigerator car in which he had been a prisoner for more than 24 hours. He had boarded the car in Memphis.

Richard J. Leskosky: A fun evening with a comedic legend

In October, John Cleese and Eric Idle toured in a sit-down talk show, "John Cleese & Eric Idle: Together Again At Last ... For The Very First Time," with half of their 22 shows in Florida so that, they claimed, they could score a free vacation, as England is so dreary in October.

Wired In: Brian Jurczyk

Staff writer Paul Wood spotlights a high-tech difference maker. This week, meet Brian Jurczyk, 42, president of Starfire, which makes everything from neutron generators to plasma sources and thin film systems with a wide variety of applications.

The team

Top of the morning, Nov. 30, 2015: From the archives

Funny how some things play out.

Consider the Virginia Theatre marquee.

Five years ago today, it was front-page news that members of the Champaign Park Board were starting to make decisions on the design of a new marquee for the historic theater in downtown Champaign.

Just two weeks earlier, the 1940s-era marquee had been removed from the building.

Those Who Served: For St. Joseph vet, WWII 'not something I can talk about'

ST. JOSEPH — Bruce Voges enlisted in the Navy in 1944 at the age of 17, landed Marines from a small craft on Iwo Jima and Okinawa, witnessed atom-bomb testing and, at the age of 74, brought a restored LST home from Greece.

Voges, 89, served on a Landing Ship Tank, a 328-foot-long vessel designed to take troops, vehicles and cargo directly onto the shore.

Don Follis: First Sunday of Advent starts at the very end of time

On this First Sunday of Advent we start at the end — the very end. The gospel reading for this Sunday is from Luke chapter 21 where Jesus is teaching on the temple precincts in Jerusalem. He tells his disciples what to expect in the future, both the near and distant future.

C-U haiku, Nov. 29, 2015

Edited by Lee Gurga/For The News-Gazette

Frost brushes ginkgo,

and underneath the tree lie

a thousand gold coins

— Lynne Proctor Sancken, Tolono

Reluctant Townie: The legend of the Thanksgiving Troll

On Halloween morning, my 4-year-old suggested we put up Christmas decorations in the front yard.

"I wish every day was a holiday," she sighed as wistfully as a preschooler can possibly manage. "I want it to be Christmas right now."

For the retirees, Nov. 29-Dec. 6, 2015

For information about services available to older adults, contact Karen Graves, director of the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) and Helen Mary Stevick Senior Citizens Center, 48 E. Main St., Champaign, IL 61820, phone 359-6500.

RSVP and the Stevick Senior Center are administered by Family Service of Champaign County.