Kathy Harriss with Governor Walker and other beauty queen competitors.

More than just a crown

Under the heat of bright lights, several women in stunning formal gowns with perfectly coifed hair stand on stage, nervously holding hands. One can almost taste the anticipation as a booming voice announces, “And the winner is …” Then there’s that pause when every pageant finalist holds her breath until a name, hopefully hers, is […]


Painting the Town

By Jerry McDonald Turn onto Archer Avenue in Marshall, a town of approximately 4,000 and the county seat of Clark County, and you are welcomed by a brightly-colored mural featuring a farmer and the words “Agriculture” and “Marshall, Illinois.” A block or so up the street, as you glance to the right, a huge “Harlow’s […]


Orchards full of memories

The arrival of beautiful foliage, crisp evenings and sipping hot cocoa by the fire are just a few of the simple pleasures the autumn season offers. Each fall, my husband and children eagerly wait for me to announce it’s time to take a daytrip to the orchard. All four of us pile into the family […]

Ashley, left, and guide Lindsey Cook complete the final leg of the Leon’s World’s Triathlon in Hammond, Ind.

Running her own race

It’s all a matter of perception. Sight is something most of us take for granted, but what if it was stripped away? Would you languish or excel? What if you never had sight to begin with? Twenty-year old Ashley Eisenmenger, the oldest of triplets born to Amy and Matt Eisenmenger of Tolono, entered the world […]


Get your kicks on Route 66

The now legendary Route 66 was established in 1926 as the federal government began to establish a numbered road system. In reality, it was a collection of state roads bundled together, renamed, then over the course of the next 60 years, rerouted and upgraded and eventually rendered obsolete by interstates. It was the preferred route […]


Love is the mane thing

A sunbeam illuminates an elderly woman’s snow-white hair. Sound asleep in her wheelchair, her tiny frame lists to one side. A cheerful nurse in brightly colored scrubs leans over and whispers in her ear, “Guess who’s here?” The 107-year-old woman’s eyes fly open, bright with anticipation, and she sits up in her chair. The clip-clop of […]

Soldier and Camel

Born to Serve

Kim Leftwich is on a mission. He is a tall, silver haired man who has a no-nonsense but friendly demeanor. His leadership character is evident, and it is not surprising when you learn he spent 25 years in the military and retired an Air Force Lt. Colonel. He also worked for Illinois Power and is […]


Mission Possible

The excitement was thick as they gathered in the dark in anticipation of what was to come. An ever-strengthening roar went through the crowd as hands were thrown in the air in triumphant jubilation. The switch had been pulled, and suddenly light broke the darkness! After years of living in darkness, new possibilities were on […]


Grow old with me, the best is yet to be.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. – […]

Doctor and Lady in Wheelchair

Is the doctor in?

Many of the ingredients of rural life that make country living so appealing — things like wide open spaces, sparse populations and simple living — often can work against us when it comes time to seek medical care. It’s a paradox of rural life. We like “being away from it all,” but unfortunately that also […]