12 stories of Christmas: Nun traded fisticuffs for happy habit

CHAMPAIGN — Sister Maryann Schaefer was dressed modestly in a simple gray habit and fleece vest, hands folded on her lap. Though the short, gray-haired nun now has a reputation around St. John's Catholic Newman Center for being especially kind and affectionate toward others, she once used her hands to hurt.

My Amish Home: Lots of bright spots amid the dreariness

"And the angel said unto them: Fear not, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David — a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. Glory to God in the highest, and on Earth, peace, goodwill toward men." Luke 2:10-11, 14

Tom Kacich: Hays' band to open Rauner's inauguration

Isn't it enough for state Rep. Chad Hays, R-Catlin, to be one of just 118 members of the Illinois House of Representatives?

Now, the sometimes rock 'n' roll star is going to play at next month's inaugural concert with his band, the Boat Drink Caucus, which will open for headliners Toby Keith and Buddy Guy.

12 stories of Christmas: Couple dedicated to helping homeless

CHAMPAIGN — There was a time when Barb and Dan Davies wondered what people without homes do for food and shelter.

They’ve long since not only seen for themselves, but have hit the streets of Champaign-Urbana every week, working to ease some of the miseries of homeless people sleeping outside in all weather and lining up for blankets, socks and sack lunches.

Dad ensures daughter's lyrics find a voice after her death

MONTICELLO — Lee Schofield was going through his daughter's laptop last May after she had died, and discovered some haunting lyrics that 18-year-old musician Chelsea Jean Schofield had composed.

She wrote a song that you'll never hear, written at a time when you held her dear.

12 Stories of Christmas: Danville woman keeps her 'kids' well fed

DANVILLE — This time of year, Rose Gates always packs extras in her kids' lunches, like candy canes and chocolates, and doubles up on some main items.

She has more than 180 kids.

They're technically not hers, — at 80, her children are well out of school — but Gates cares about these kids as if they were.

Top of the Morning, Dec. 22, 2014: From the archives

Years ago, when one of my sons was playing grade-school basketball, I happened to see another dad spending halftime reading The News-Gazette.

This made me happy.

I was seated behind and to the side of this other dad, so I was able to watch his eyes and see what he was spending time on.

Stories with photos drew more of his time than stories without photos.

The Big 10 with Jeff D'Alessio, Dec. 21, 2014

What's the kindest, most selfless act you witnessed in 2014? That's the question for today's panel.


Eastern Illinois Foodbank

Ask 'Mimi' Dec. 21, 2014

How is the new Community Supported Art program started by 40 North 88 West going?

As of Wednesday, only one of the 25 shares available had not yet been purchased. Each share was $300; each shareholder will receive works of art by nine local artists.

For the retirees, Dec. 21-28, 2014

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.