Lots of music this week, from the Pygmalion festival to the Marching Illini to the Bob Dylan/Carl Perkins song, "Champaign, Illinois." Also, will The Ribeye ever open again?

Questions about the number of traffic tickets written in Champaign County, Illinois athletics Hall of Famer Bob Richards, a new ice cream shop in Champaign, a possible new apartment building in Campustown, who Pond Street is named for, HD radio, Allegiant airplanes at Willard Airport and wildflowers in Thomasboro.

Topics include the number of UI students actually on campus this fall, Broadway shows at the SFC, more fast food in Campustown, labor shortages affect UI football games, construction on University Avenue, another movie starlet from central Illinois and the unusual color of Urbana fire trucks.

Road construction, COVID statistics, restaurant openings and reopenings, Urbana's Labor Day parade, Champaign's Prairie Farm, a very heavy statue in a Champaign backyard, a longtime Hollywood starlet who was born in Champaign and a wartime fundraiser for the Brits.

Queries about a huge house in Champaign, security cameras on campus, a Champaign Police retirement, the Peacemaker Project 703, August humidity, another fast food place, a solar farm in Urbana, Littyville, the I-74/I-57 flyover, upcoming shredding events and that lovely lot on Van Doren Street in Champaign.

Bike paths, parks, ponds, interstate interchanges, emergency phones on campus, brick streets, COVID, July heat, the "ring of poles" in rural Champaign County, cicadas, a new Champaign schools administrator and much, much more.

A new bar with a theme catering to dog lovers, Six Hound Saloon, will open in Champaign later this year or early next year.

It's good news week: the Champaign Post Office parking lot is going to get repaired, Li'l Porgy's should reopen by the end of August and the guardians of the Barnhart Prairie may have figured out away around vandalism problems.

Updates this week on a couple of downtown Champaign bar/restaurant staples, a Japanese restaurant in Urbana, the story behind an unusual sign in rural Champaign County, the history of I-72 construction, a slight policy change at the University of Illinois Police Department and unusual street addresses in Champaign.

New life for an old school building in Champaign, concern about dead and dying birds in Indiana but not Illinois, no zoo for C-U, wind farm doing fine, stoplights on Curtis Road, a water leak in south Champaign, an unusually wet June and no to traffic cameras in Campustown.

Happy Reopening Day, Illinois! Let's celebrate with answers about a grain elevator in Savoy, more Campustown apartments, algae in Crystal Lake and an unusual sidewalk vent on the University of Illinois campus.

Early closings at some restaurants, Panda Express reopening, Crane Alley reopens, dogs sitting on motorists' laps, library landscaping,  Garwood Home history, the cost of the Champaign high schools' graduation ceremony stage and school bus drivers.

Geese issues in Champaign, tall grass in Champaign, yard signs in Champaign, a new business site in Champaign and the history of the Big Boy Bottling Company in Champaign. You get the drift ...

Remembering Campustown flooding, a spectacular old railroad trestle in Vermilion County is getting new life, a former Channel 3 anchorman has a new job, the local weather radio station should be back on the air by the end of the month and there's a good reason for recent repairs to Green Street in Urbana.

Topics include: a coal mine near downtown Urbana, the future of the Iron Post, official Fighting Illini colors, Illini Hall, freeway vs. interstate, Champaign Central athletic fields, a shift at the International Prep Academy, possible changes at Leverett Road & U.S. 45 and maybe another strip club in Urbana.

Things are looking good for the Champaign County Fair, the reopening of Li'l Porgy's, tours of the Solon House, a campus Sycamore that someone was concerned about and the market for assistant basketball coaches.

Questions about the man who planted more than 6,000 trees in Champaign-Urbana, a solar array on the grounds of the Landscape Recycling Center, fires at the Illinois Fire Institute, the upcoming Cicada show, the future of the Urbana Sweet Corn Festival and all those baseballs used during a typical MLB game.

Business-related questions about the Black Dog Smoke and Ale House, Brothers Bar & Grill, Sweet Basil Cafe, Las Palmas Mexican Grill, Ko-Fusion and the former PNC Bank parking lot.

Morsels in the Mailbag: Fireworks on the Fourth, the COVID moratorium on traffic enforcement has ended, pear trees that are pretty but invasive, Crane Alley reopening plans, a baseball game between Champaign and Paxton 154 years ago and more.

Shipping containers and pools in Urbana; hiking trails in Champaign County; county board members who fear for their safety; and plenty of hotel talk, including what became of the McClurg in Urbana.

This week's bag is almost as big as the waiting list for a COVID shot. Questions about the oldest inn in Champaign-Urbana, new owners for several local mobile home parks, a frightening murder case 41 years ago, Dr. Robert Parker, interstate lane markings, the Silver Bullet, popcorn at concession stands, care for COVID long-haulers and a couple voting-related issues.

I Hotel, electric vehicles, Huber's, Duncan Road, University Avenue, soap operas, hospital helicopters, former nursing homes, attendance at UI spring sports ... this week's 'Bag is stuffed.

Nice changes coming to the University of Illinois Arboretum, how various bridge projects around C-U are coming along, the biggest and smallest schools in the NCAA tournament, jobs losses last year during the COVID shutdown, restaurant history at Market Place and what was at the Apple Dumpling before the Apple Dumpling.

A damaged interstate overpass west of St. Joseph, bike lanes on St. Mary's Road, improvements to Goodwin Avenue south of Florida Avenue, plans for a new Champaign County jail, Illinois Tollway payments, excess parking spaces at Parkland College, glass in bike lanes plus much, much more.

There's a broad variety of questions in this week's mailbag, much like the variety of crops that will be grown this year at The Atkins Group's Clearview Farm.

A look back at a JFK visit to C-U in 1957, what happens to COVID-related biohazardous waste, a large "tin cup" alongside the road to Sidney, the Menards-owned property in Urbana, soliciting at Market Place and whether the recently approved criminal justice reform legislation is problematic.

Area pandhandlers, Mahomet vs. Savoy, a record cold February, what's next after Limbaugh, Urbana bigwigs from the class of 1960, the Eating Illini, plans for Memorial Stadium's centennial, cannabis tax revenue and much, much more.

Commencement ceremonies at the University of Illinois, the reopening of a local restaurant, a new solar technology being applied at the Sidney Lu Mechanical Engineering Building at the UI, renewable energy sources at the university and Kofi Cockburn's slam dunks.


Details on a nearly 100-year-old commercial spot near Urbana High School, status of Baxter's, a hazardous household waste collection day is on the calendar, The Venue in downtown Champaign, a damaged bridge on I-74 in Mahomet, hunting for crow, plans for South Mattis Avenue in Champaign.

'Prairie Mountain' in Champaign, a big drop in police calls, a regular cargo flight over Champaign County, a dilapidated building in Tuscola, a mistaken street sign, the whereabouts of the Illinois football equipment truck, a cemetery refurbishment and much more.

Local tributes to the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., busiest C-U intersections, Champaign County deaths, Danville Gardens Too, Hickory River, deer in Meadowbrook Park, Mattis Avenue bridges, Rep. Rodney Davis' Facebook page, Stone Creek paths and much, much more.

Overcast weather, new ice-making equipment in Danville, O'Charley's gift cards, parking spaces at the Old Farm Shops, stop sign at the railroad tracks on Cardinal Road and noises made by trains and planes in Savoy. Plus much, much more.

A new life for the iconic "Carmon's" sign in Champaign, railroad cars all over White Heath, why Carle isn't Morris hospital, a book drive for prisoners, taste of Champaign-Urbana tap water and much, much more.

Updates pick-and-cut Christmas trees, IHSA tournaments in C-U, rumors of a Hy-Vee, restaurant, downtown huts and a very cool story about the little notch in the generally straight borderline between Vermilion and Edgar counties. Plus much, much more.

More on illegal parking in Campustown, the origin of Five Points, much-valued IDOT bicycle route maps, the darkened dome of Foellinger Auditorium and a suggestion that Illinois basketball should go back to Kenney Gym or Huff Hall.

Lots of history in this week's mailbag including the beautifully restored Solon House in Champaign, the beloved Wheats Steak House in Urbana, a totem pole in Homer and an addition to the venerable Red Lion in Campustown.

Mysterious lights in the sky, notorious heists from the UI Library, how the $24.3 million project at Champaign's International Prep Academy could be financed, what's going on at an old grocery store near downtown Urbana, mask-wearing college athletes, what happened to the snow ... and much, much more.

The charming story of the origin of the lighted Christmas trees in Champaign's Greencroft neighborhood, details about the new security fence around Danville's VA medical center, a lament about partisan politics in Champaign County, sad news about car seat safety checks, no news yet about the former Savoy 16 theaters and more information about the historic course of the Boneyard Creek. Plus, What is the proper term for residents of Champaign and Urbana?

We'll tell you about the basketball courts at Yankee Ridge School, the smell of skunk, what UI beef cattle are munching on this fall, COVID hospitalization figures around Illinois, abandoned gas stations, Lincoln Square's history and the first Kmart in Champaign.

We dismiss a 40-year local legend, go back to 1855 when Urbana tried to annex Champaign, find out about several local construction and redevelopment projects, explain the reason the intersection of Windsor & First is the way it is, explain KFC's paint job and hear from the newly elected Champaign County recorder.

Streetlights in Urbana, the outlet mall in Tuscola, new housing in Champaign, flashing yellow turn signal in Mahomet, a B-17 over Champaign, recycling cosmetics, donating winter clothing and the loss of in-person Greyhound ticket sales at the Illinois Terminal.

The mailbag staff got around this week, answering questions about Champaign, Urbana, Rantoul, Danville, Tuscola and even a restaurant chain in Texas.