UI Extension horticulture educator honored with award

CHAMPAIGN — Sandra Mason, a University of Illinois Extension horticulture educator, was honored with the 2014 Individual Excellence in Extension Award at the University of Illinois Extension Conference in November for her dedication to volunteer program development, innovative communication strategies and decades-long commitment to the community.

Nominations due Feb. 1 for 2015 PBL Alumni Hall of Fame inductees

PAXTON — The Paxton-Buckley-Loda Hall of Fame selection committee is accepting nominations for the PBL Alumni Hall of Fame induction class for 2015. 

Seeing is believing: The real Mr. and Mrs. Claus

Somewhere along the line, the kids watching Paxton’s annual Christmas parade noticed something amiss: When Santa Claus came riding down Market Street on his sleigh, there was no Mrs. Claus to be seen.

Lucille Symmonds celebrating 90th birthday Nov. 16

PAXTON — The children of Lucille Symmonds of Paxton are hosting a celebration in honor of their mother’s 90th birthday. 

The party will take place at Paxton’s First Lutheran Church on Sunday, Nov. 16, from 2 to 4 p.m.

Area residents form Central Illinois Pink Heals Chapter

PAXTON — The members of the Central Illinois Pink Heals Chapter have all been impacted by cancer.

For Mike and Vanessa Tongate of Roberts, it was learning that Vanessa had been diagnosed with colon cancer, just as they were preparing to leave for their honeymoon in 2006. And it was the daily struggle that followed over the next three years — until she became cancer free in 2009.

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.

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