Danville woman's son held as suspect in her death

DANVILLE — When Ethel Gibbs didn't come to church on Sunday, her cousin Carol Danbury knew something was wrong.

Mrs. Gibbs, 84, never missed services at First Baptist Church, 1211 N. Vermilion St., Danville.

Getting Personal: Morgan Powell

Getting Personal is an email Q&A with a local personality. Here, News-Gazette staff writer Melissa Merli chats with Morgan Powell, 73, a composer/trombonist (combonist/tromposer, he jokes) and a professor emeritus of composition at the University of Illinois. Getting Personal appears first in print., in Sunday editions of The News-Gazette.

Studio Visit: Tom Brewer

Melissa Merli visits with Tom Brewer, owner of Griggs Street Pottery in Urbana. Studio Visit appears first in print, in Sunday editions of The News-Gazette.

Q: When did you buy the Griggs Street Pottery here in Urbana?

A: Two years ago this December.

Q: Do you plan to move here?

Area Habitat ReStores to close over holidays for mini makeovers

The Habitat ReStore in Danville will close over the holidays, starting Friday, so that volunteers can give the store a mini makeover. Meanwhile the Champaign ReStore closed today and will reopen Jan. 4 after undergoing a similar interior facelift.

WITS giveaway lets mom make her mentally disabled son's Christmas

DANVILLE — Gloria Vance couldn't hold back tears Wednesday when her son Albert got his first computer.

"I'm so happy for him," said Vance, 78, who calls Albert, 42, her "shining light."

Organizer returns to help Paxton holiday giveaway

PAXTON — When Sally Marshall moved to Ohio with her husband, Chad, last spring, she knew she would be back in Paxton for the holidays. As the organizer of the local Project Bright Star toy and clothing giveaway each Christmas, the lifelong Paxton resident had to see the program continue.

Army specialist back in Urbana briefly after year in Afghanistan

SAVOY — The first thing Army Spc. Trevor Byers did after arriving home for Christmas following a tour of duty in Afghanistan was to head to a local store to buy a cellphone.

"I needed something to call my fiancee and friends," said Byers, 25, of Urbana. "I had a cellphone in Afghanistan, but none of those phones work here in the United States."

Veteran first to benefit from new effort to fight homelessness

CHAMPAIGN — Vern Chounard is moving into a home of his own with everything he owns in the world:

A sleeping bag and blankets, a CD player, a bible, a ragged pair of tennis shoes and the clothes on his back.

Spirit of the season: Curves club raising funds for projects

CHAMPAIGN — Curves of Champaign South and Savoy is raising money this month to benefit Marines serving in Afghanistan as well as the Center for Women in Transition in Champaign.

Tips for caregivers at holiday time

CHAMPAIGN — There's holiday stress, and then there's holiday stress for people who are family caregivers.

One out of four households includes someone taking on the care of an older family member or friend, according to the Illinois Department on Aging.