Clergy Corner, Sept. 8, 2017

This just in from the Public Religion Research Institute: Only 43 percent of Americans now identify as white and Christian (down from 81 percent in 1976) while the country's non-Christian religions still represent less than one in 10 Americans combined (Jewish Americans make up 2 percent of the public; Muslims, Buddhists and Hindus represent only 1 percent each).

Arcola's 'Telephone Man' gets new title: Broom corn festival grand marshal

ARCOLA — People know Ralph Hughes as "the Telephone Man," and that's no exaggeration.

He climbed telephones poles in his long career in the industry and has one in his backyard. It is literally covered with phones of every year and model.

The Arcola Broom Corn Festival is this weekend, and today, Hughes will be honored at the 3 p.m. Grand Marshal Reception at Arcola Center.

#TheMJs, Sept. 8, 2017

On Fridays, staff writer Marcus Jackson (@MarcusJ_NG) provides a glance at the best Twitter has to offer.


Area history, Sept. 8, 2017

Today is Friday, Sept. 8, 2017. Here are local news reports from 100, 50 and 15 years ago:

Entertainment listings, Sept. 7-14, 2017


This weekend


What:Dancing, food, native crafts and jewelry, corn maze, children's activities, and a chance to visit the bison herd.

When: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sept. 9 and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 10.

Top of the Morning, Sept. 7, 2017

Bement's do-it-all is trying her hand at something new this week: speech writing.

As part of Bement High School's Hall of Fame weekend, NANCY ARD will address the kids in school on Friday morning and alumni on Saturday night. It'd be easier if she didn't have to deliver separate speeches.

Area history, Sept. 7, 2017

Today is Thursday, Sept. 7, 2017. Here are local news reports from 100, 50 and 15 years ago:

Meg Makes: Contest-worthy ribs from Paxton festival's organizer

Last fall, I had the pleasure of serving as one of many judges for the annual Paxton Swine 'N' Dine BBQ Cook-Off and Festival.

The festival is an incredibly fun early fall activity — the air smells great, the atmosphere is fun, and there's tons of live music.

My Amish Home: Coming up just short at charity auction

"Thy testimonies are wonderful; therefore doth my soul keep them. The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple. I opened my mouth and panted, for I longed for thy commandments. Look thou upon me, and be merciful unto me, as thou usest to do unto those that love thy name." Psalm 119:129-132

Top of the Morning, Sept. 6, 2017

Urbana native CHIP MARTEL is one of the world's best bridge players. He has a Wikipedia page to prove it.

But card-playing wasn't his first choice as a kid.

Mom "was quite happy when my hobby switched from making fireworks to playing bridge," he said.

Smart move.