Marcus Jackson

Gold Star 500 memorial riders feel the burn — and that’s the point

URBANA — About halfway through their 500-mile ride from Cairo to the northwest suburbs of Chicago, the 34 riders participating in the Gold Star 500 placed their bikes against the walls of the Illinois National Guard Armory on Friday.

Most of them ditched their shoes, too, for relief on another unseasonably warm day.

Sports aside, restaurateur lives on the front lines

RANTOUL — Eight years ago, when he was selecting sport management as his major at the University of Illinois, Patrick Wampler figured by September of 2017 he might be on the fast track to rising up the ranks in the front officer of the Chicago Bears or, better yet, his beloved Cubs.

“A coach or a general manager or something involving sports,” Wampler said.

Crimestoppers honor Rantoul native Comtois

SAVOY — Growing up in Rantoul, Tony Comtois had the police called on him a few times. In recent years, the police have been calling the 52-year-old to tap into his expertise and experience in dealing with the homeless population in Champaign County.

Training for the worst to happen

CHAMPAIGN — The hope is that law enforcement officials in Champaign County rarely, if ever, have to respond to situations involving an active shooter or hostage-takers.

Radio station general manager goes to Israel so often they think he'a a citizen

FISHER — He has so many Israel stamps on his passport that the customs agents there almost always ask Mark Burns if he’s a citizen.

And his accompanying blood donor card — showing eight donations in the country — does nothing to offer clarity.

“They’re intrigued. They wonder: Why this tourist is donating blood there?” Burns said. “I leave that in there intentionally.”

Woman's work saved calves' lives

RANTOUL — For Jan Allen, last week’s highway accident that put nearly 100 feeder calves in jeopardy was nothing new.

It was the fourth mishap involving animals in the last year that Rantoul Foods’ livestock-procurement manager responded to.

“Just like any other emergency, if it had been a bus, you look around, check to see if the driver is OK, and any passengers,” Allen said.

Thomasboro: Named for young Englishman who settled in area

THOMASBORO — Thomasboro was once known as “Tomtown,” nicknamed such by its 60 residents in 1863.

“It’s very possible that someone still calls it that, but I don’t think it is,” longtime Thomasboro resident Jim Richardson said.

Held at gunpoint, brothers live to tell their story

MAHOMET — Along with his older brother Jim, Will DuVall had just been held hostage at gunpoint Monday in a vacant apartment by a man on the run from law enforcement. And in an effort to save his brother’s life and his own, Will offered the man wielding the shotgun his 1997 Ford Ranger as a means to get away.

Former Rantoul resident happy to help University of Illinois

CHICAGO — Growing up in Rantoul, John Giuliani’s family had Illinois season tickets. He was always a big fan.

And once he became an extraordinary success in his professional life as the CEO of ValueClick, the Illinois graduate knew he wanted to give back monetarily to his alma mater and favorite team.

Football: Bulldogs bottle up Eagles

MAHOMET — Before the season started, Mahomet-Seymour football head coach Keith Pogue was concerned about his team’s lack of experience. The Bulldogs were returning three starters from a team that went 8-2 and shared the Corn Belt Conference title.

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