'CSI: Champaign' a different show for local cop


CHAMPAIGN – Bruce Ramseyer is a crime scene investigator for the Champaign Police Department. He doesn't wear leather pants or solve anything in 44 minutes, and that's not all that's different for a real-life crime scene investigator, compared with the made-for-television variety.

This week Ramseyer sat down with a News-Gazette reporter at his crime lab to talk about his life, solving crimes and how real life CSIs are different from the TV CSIs.

Poor health blamed for organist's absence from Ebertfest

CHAMPAIGN – The Mighty Wurlitzer organ at the Virginia Theatre has been silent during Roger Ebert's Film Festival this week.

Organist Warren York, who has performed between screenings at past festivals, is in declining health and resting at home, according to Chaz Ebert, emcee of her husband's festival, and Jameel Jones, manager of the Virginia.

Danville High school club part of effort to help feed the hungry

DANVILLE – The Danville Area Food Pantry's shelves could be a little fuller next week, thanks to some area students.

'American Idol,' nonprofit make young girl's dreams come true

CHAMPAIGN – Every Tuesday and Wednesday night, 10-year-old Elena Vinton's eyes are glued to the television set, watching her favorite singers perform on "American Idol."

Earlier this month, Elena got an even better view of the show: tickets to see the show in person with her family.

VA volunteers saluted as 'people in action'

DANVILLE – Celebrating People in Action is the National Volunteer Week theme April 19 through 25. The Veterans Affairs Illiana Healthcare System recognized some of its volunteers Thursday with a special dinner and entertainment by its staff.

The woman who is a person in action a minimum of two days each week at the VA is Gloria Nelson, who has accumulated 54 years and 29,607 volunteer hours. That's an average of about 10½ hours each week, since 1955. Nelson was recognized with several other volunteers for reaching various plateaus of volunteer hours Thursday.

Volunteers to honor Virginia Tech victim with service

CHAMPAIGN – Champaign-Urbana residents are invited to join with the Champaign Rotary Club and the Interact club at Champaign Centennial High School to participate Saturday in the second annual Austin Cloyd Day of Service.

Miss Cloyd grew up in Champaign and was one of 32 victims of the April 16, 2007, shootings at Virginia Tech University, where she was a student.

'My Winnipeg' a portrait of both city, filmmaker

CHAMPAIGN – Anyone wanting to get in touch with childhood memories might want to get in touch with Canadian director Guy Maddin.

His "My Winnipeg," shown Thursday afternoon at the 11th annual Roger Ebert's Film Festival at the Virginia Theatre, deeply accesses the creative energies and sensory experiences of childhood, said Time Out Chicago magazine editor/film critic Hank Sartin. He appeared onstage after the screening with Maddin and "Chop Shop" director Ramin Bahrani.

Urbana honors Ebert with plaque by childhood home

URBANA – Michael and Jackie Esteves stood in front of their home late Wednesday morning, sipping mimosas and, with friends and family, celebrating a special occasion.

Observing them were 100 or so people, most of them strangers to the Esteveses, milling about in the street.

"It's very surreal and very strange to wake up and know people are staring at your house," said Michael, a bass guitarist for the Brat Pack and other groups. "I'm used to being on stage, but it's still kind of weird."

Oakland grad hurt in Iraq getting new house in Mahomet

MAHOMET – Sgt. Cameron Crouch wants to come home from the war, and part of that homecoming process is getting a home built.

The Army sergeant, 22, is still being hospitalized in Texas for injuries he sustained in Iraq. He was in town Tuesday to look at some land in Mahomet, meet with family from Oakland and speak to volunteers who will help build him and his fiancee a wheelchair-accessible new house.

UI scholar's 'Art in Conversation' talk set tonight

URBANA – Culture critic Jabari Asim, scholar-in-residence at the University of Illinois Department of Journalism and the UI's African American Studies program, will give an "Art in Conversation" talk at 5:15 p.m. today at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts.

Earlier this month, Asim was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in creative arts. The fellowships are cash grants intended to free up time for those in mid-career. There are no conditions on how the money is spent.