Women's shelter wants to be a lot busier

CHAMPAIGN – This may sound like good news: an emergency shelter for homeless women hasn't had much business this winter.

But volunteers say they know there are women on the streets, so they're trying to spread the word about Austin's Place, an overnight shelter at First United Methodist Church in downtown Champaign.

Jan. 24 prayer service to celebrate 'sanctity of life'

DANVILLE – The Women's Care Clinic will hold a Sanctity of Life Community Prayer Service at 6 p.m. Jan. 24 at the New Life Christian Center, 2105 N. Bowman Ave.

The service will include music, a client testimony, and an inspirational message about the gift of life, as well as an update on the services provided at the clinic.

Arthur's community meals focus on food, fellowship

ARTHUR – It was a bitter cold January night, with a snowstorm forecast to begin later in the evening.

But mothers and children, retirees, congregation members and others braved the cold to come to the Arthur United Methodist Church for a meal.

The kitchen at the church was buzzing with activity by midafternoon.

Volunteers wearing aprons and visors were spooning pudding into bowls, pouring lemonade and pulling stacks of plates from cabinets. Five large pots of green beans sat on the stovetop, and large warming pans held slices of pork tenderloin, mashed potatoes and gravy.

A pink plastic tablecloth was unrolled over tables that were soon covered with bowls of lettuce salad, fruit salad and desserts.

People began to fill the basement, as they have every Wednesday for nearly a year.

Big Sister, Little Brother a success story of program

When Winn Stewart and Dylan Hall were matched through Big Brothers Big Sisters of Champaign County in 1999, they were a little wary of each other.

Hall would tell Stewart that he wanted a Big Brother instead of a Big Sister.

Metaphysics group offering alcohol-free New Year's Eve

URBANA – If you don't want to spend New Year's Eve in a bar, there is an option for you besides The Chorale's annual "C-U at the Virginia" concert at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Virginia Theatre in downtown Champaign.

The School of Metaphysics in Urbana will usher in the New Year on Thursday evening at the Red Herring Restaurant with a non-alcoholic evening that will honor different religions and cultures.

Caroling group has performed for almost 50 years

URBANA – Most caroling groups sing on the doorstep, take a little money and then go away. That's not the way the Temperley Singers do it.

Following prearranged schedules, they enter the homes of friends and colleagues to sing, traveling at a brisk pace to perform at three places an evening. At each, after singing, they socialize and fortify themselves with refreshments before moving on to the next gig.

Woman collects Nativity scenes as testament to faith

RANTOUL – Setting up Christmas decorations can take awhile, but few invest more time in it than Zelma Neal of Rantoul.

Neal estimates it would take about three days to set up all the Nativity scenes that she owns.

'Christmas Carol' to be presented in radio show

URBANA – WILL Radio will return to the old-fashioned days of radio today by broadcasting Nick Schneider's adaptation of "A Christmas Carol" twice, both on AM and FM.

The radio adaptation will air at 10:06 a.m. on WILL AM 580 and at noon at WILL FM 90.9. The show runs about 80 minutes.

98-year-old's crocheting leads Tree of Warmth efforts

The Champaign County YMCA's Tree of Warmth is stocked with hats, scarves, gloves, mittens and similar items.

They'll be donated to schools, local charities and "wherever there's a need," said Donna Wright, the YMCA's membership director.

Paxton native dedicated to work as missionary pilot

PAXTON – Jeremiah Diedrich didn't have to wonder what he would do with his life when he was growing up. He set his sights on a career at the tender age of 4.

Diedrich, now 28, watched a film on the 1956 deaths of missionary pilot Nate Saint and four other missionaries who were killed by a native tribe in Ecuador and decided that he, too, wanted to be a missionary pilot.

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