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Paxton soldier makes surprise return home

RANTOUL — Ashley Williams held back tears as she hid behind an outhouse at the Hardy’s Reindeer Ranch, waiting to surprise her 8-year-old daughter, Destiny.

The 28-year-old Williams, a U.S. Army Reserves specialist, had just returned to the U.S. from a nine-month deployment in Afghanistan. But her daughter didn’t know that — yet.


Paxton man starts charity to help cancer-stricken kids

PAXTON — Fifteen years later, Dale Puls still remembers Sarah. The girl was 6 years old, suffering from cancer, when Puls organized a benefit in Piper City that raised $800 to help her in the fight of her life.

Puls didn’t know the girl personally. But that wasn’t important.


Local wounded warrior: 'It was definitely the challenge of a lifetime'

LODA — Since 2007, when a roadside bomb exploded in Iraq and left Derek Whitaker with a severe right leg injury, the 36-year-old Loda man has lived with constant pain in his surgically repaired ligament.

He can’t run. Activities most people take for granted are an everday struggle.


Ex-Paxton resident fighting for his life; benefit set for Oct. 18

ROSSVILLE — A former Paxton man who rarely got sick is in the fight of his life.

David Lackey of Rossville has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

His family has scheduled a benefit for him from 3-11 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 18, at Hubbard Trail Country Club, rural Hoopeston. A golf tournament will precede the fundraiser at 9 a.m.


PBL vs. GCMS football 2014; Pink Heals fundraiser

GCMS spoiled PBL's homecoming with a 22-16 victory Friday. Prior to the game, a non-profit organization called Pink Heals stopped by Zimmerman Field with a pink firetruck, giving away $2,000 each to PBL students Caitlynn Riblet and Jordan Reynolds, each of whom were diagnosed with cancer over the past year, and 2-year-old Mason Whitaker, who was diagnosed with leukemia.


PBL Hall of Fame inductees share stories, offer advice to students

PAXTON – When he was a business teacher in the spring of 2013, Paxton-Buckley-Loda High School Principal Travis Duley proposed the idea of having a hall of fame for former students of PBL, Paxton and Buckley-Loda High School.


Sam Schweighart: Flying car could be on market by 2016

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Sam Schweighart says nothing could keep him from attending Thursday’s induction ceremony for the inaugural Paxton-Buckley-Loda High School Hall of Fame class.

Hopefully, his airplane departs from Washington, D.C., and arrives on time in the Paxton area for the 7 p.m. event at his alma mater.

If not, he may have to find alternative transportation.


Frank Drendel: From 'C' student to CEO of $4 billion firm

PAXTON — Frank Drendel was an average student at Paxton High School. Going to college and earning a degree wasn’t that important.

Luckily, Paxton Mustangs football coach Pat Zukowski saw something in the young man. Zukowski persuaded Drendel, a standout on the football field, to continue his playing days, and studies, at Northern Illinois University.


Georgiana Johnson celebrating 90th birthday Sunday in Gibson City

GIBSON CITY — Georgiana Johnson of Gibson City is celebrating her 90th birthday from 2-4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 14, at the First Presbyterian Church, 401 N. Church St., Gibson City.

She was born Sept. 18, 1924, in rural Gibson City, a daughter of Alva and Daisy Hansen Osman.


Danish teen: 'Everything's bigger' in the U.S.

GIBSON CITY — Anton Sorensen is spending the next year in a town of 3,400 people — just a fraction of the population of his hometown of Aalborg, Denmark — but, for some reason, everything seems bigger.


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