First time's the charm for Tuscola graduate

CHAMPAIGN — Rachael Brewer had never run a marathon, but the 2009 Tuscola graduate knew exactly what to expect as she came through Champaign Country Club and onto Hessel Boulevard for the race's final mile around 10 minutes ahead of the nearest women.

For former chimesmaster Sue Wood, it was 'a labor of love'

One of the first songs Sue Wood played on the Altgeld Chimes back in 1971 is still one of her favorites: "The Ash Grove."

The Welsh folk tune has been set to many different lyrics, including the Christian hymns "Let All Things Now Living" and "Sent Forth By God's Blessing."

Area history, April 23, 2017

Today is Sunday, April 23, 2017. Here are local news reports from 100, 50 and 15 years ago:

Top of the Morning, April 23, 2017

On June 19, 1945, Omer Benn received his pilot's wings at a ceremony in Pensacola, Fla.

At the same location 72 years later, the highly decorated Champaign veteran pinned those very same wings on his granddaughter's Coast Guard uniform.

How cool is that?

This day in history, April 23, 2017

Today is Sunday, April 23, the 113th day of 2017. There are 252 days left in the year.

Today's highlight:

On April 23, 1789, President-elect George Washington and his wife, Martha, moved into the first executive mansion, the Franklin House, in New York.

On this date:

Ebertfest: TV icon's filmmaker son impressed by audience

CHAMPAIGN — Standing on the corner of Park and Randolph streets downtown on Friday, Ben Lear sought out a passer-by and asked to have his photo taken sitting alongside the Roger Ebert sculpture in front of the Virginia Theatre.

The son of Norman Lear, one of the most influential television writers and producers of all time, just had to get his photo taken with the Ebert statue.

To honor a friend, Mahomet teens decided to give

MAHOMET — After her friend and Mahomet-Seymour classmate Madeleine McNulty died suddenly earlier this year, Catherine Tandy began looking for a way to channel her grief into something positive.

"I was thinking, 'I just can't stay sad forever. I need something I can do to honor her,'" Tandy said.

Weekend Planner: Don't worry; you can touch

In a fantasy camp for young bulldozer and fire truck fans, kids get fire hats and can climb on tractors at the annual Touch a Truck event (3 to 5 p.m. Sunday at Savoy Recreation Center, 402 W. Graham Drive). Here's more, courtesy of staff writer Paul Wood:

Top of the Morning, April 22, 2017

A month from today is the grand opening of the Bruce Hannon Levee Trail just west of Monticello. But why wait?

At last weekend's workday at the Land Conservation Foundation's Sangamon River Corridor Reserve, the scenery was stunning.

This day in history, April 22, 2017

Today is Saturday, April 22, the 112th day of 2017. There are 253 days left in the year.

Today's highlight:

On April 22, 1864, Congress authorized the use of the phrase "In God We Trust" on U.S. coins.

On this date:

In 1889, the Oklahoma Land Rush began at noon as thousands of homesteaders staked claims.