On Oct. 23, we spotted a pickup truck with large flags driving in Campustown. One was a desecrated American flag, cut in half and attached to a Confederate flag. The truck also had a black flag. It appeared to have the word “amendment” on it.

Legendary columnist Mike Royko understood the inner workings of the Chicago Democratic Machine better than any before him and probably any who will come after. Royko knew that in Chicago, the Machine did political favors of all kinds, “from million-dollar tax breaks to allowing someone to sl…

When was the last time you did something for the very first time? As baby experiences “firsts” everyday … first time to roll over, to sit up, to crawl, to take a step. But what about the rest of us?

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I grew up convinced that my older brother, Jim, hated me. For as far back as I could remember, he had heaped scorn and ridicule upon me. His favorite method was sarcasm, and he was really good at it. I was the butt of many jokes and the victim of nicknames that were in no way kind.

From 1997 to 2017, almost 400,000 people died from an opioid overdose nationally. The number of opioid-induced deaths in 2017 alone was six times higher than 1999. That year, drug overdoses killed a record-breaking 72,300 Americans, more than the yearly death tolls from HIV, car crashes and …

Dark eyes squinted out from his swarthy complexion, and he looked angry. But he didn’t see well. Omar was born with cataracts 14 years ago and struggled to see my face. I would soon learn that the vision his eyes failed him was sharpened by his heart and soul.

In early June of 1994, my wife, along with our German exchange student, Laura Koepke, drove a friend and me to the airport to head out for the 50th anniversary of the Allied landing on the Normandy beaches during World War II. Laura had spent the previous 10 months with us, attended the scho…

I’m a retired English teacher. I know that language use changes, but I still react a little to hear “I laid down for a nap” or “between she and I.” Yet speakers I’ve heard using those include fellow English teachers, college professors and distinguished TV reporters.

Growing up, my first exposure to pets was the nondescript dog Spot, white with black markings, and his buddy, Puff, the orange marmalade cat, in the Dick and Jane primer reading series of the 1950s.

With the state’s unemployment rate hovering around 4 percent, many area businesses are finding it harder and harder to hire skilled workers they need to compete and grow. This is particularly true in health care, manufacturing and other important industries to the area.

Some 40 years ago, I came across “Scared Straight” (1978), a controversial program to steer young people away from prisons that was directed and produced by Arnold Shapiro, who won an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature in 1979.

Recently, my wife, Julie, and I drove north from our home in Champaign with the intention of spending two days enjoying the company of friends in Wisconsin, followed by three days of leisurely biking on the Root River State Trail in Minnesota.

It’s been nearly five years since my caregiving role to my sweet papa ended and just short of a year since retiring from the best of positions at the finest of companies. It feels like identity theft two times over. Good grief, I say. Whatever am I to do now?

It’s not uncommon for a community our size to have several major educational projects under way. New schools and new additions are necessary and important to give children the best start possible. Recently, I thought back over my own early school experiences and the moments that have stayed …

I like flying. But I especially enjoy train travel. I’ve lived my entire adult life in Champaign-Urbana, always within earshot of the railways. In fact, I’m distracted from my writing right now as I hear the whistle of the northbound Amtrak, running a few minutes late, according to my clock.