Making holiday spirits bright

One of the great sub-plots in the classic holiday movie “Christmas Vacation” features leading character Clark Griswold’s tireless pursuit of the ultimate Christmas light display. Countless hours on the roof coupled with dozens of extension cords and thousands of bulbs all are part of his struggles to finish decorating his suburban Chicago home. He could have saved himself much of ...Read More

Stephens picks up a small parade as he walks through a town in support of  WWP.

The Color Purple

“If you’re gonna step out of that tank and walk into that house where you know you might be blown up, you gotta be tough, you gotta be strong, you gotta be ready-top of your game. When you go from that to literally not being able to brush your own teeth the next day, that’s a pretty long psychological fall. ...Read More


A fiber runs through it

One hundred years ago the telephone and the light bulb were state-of-the-art. They were also virtually non-existent in rural America. Seventy-five years ago cooperatives finally provided a solution to that problem. Today, state-of-the-art means having a high-speed broadband connection. Smart is everywhere. Smart phones, smart cars, smart tractors, smart factories, smart office buildings, smart homes, smart appliances and of course ...Read More


Growing A Business The American Way

As a child, there’s nothing quite like biting into a big slice of ice cold watermelon on a hot summer day and feeling that juice dribble down your chin. It’s sweet, juicy, satisfying and downright delightful! It’s a part of childhood. From the ripe old age of eight, Sarah Frey-Talley of Keenes helped her mother deliver watermelon and cantaloupe during the summer, ...Read More


Back to School

It is August and the countdown has begun. All across Illinois, students are participating in the traditional back-to-school preparations: new clothes, shopping for supplies and returning to the habit of getting up early. In just a few weeks, they will be attending elementary schools, middle schools, high schools and for some, colleges and universities. While the attendees at many of ...Read More


Off the Beaten Path

The first thing I noticed when I walked in the door was the table of older folks, one who wore bibbed overalls perusing a newspaper, but not missing a beat in the conversation happening over cups of coffee. They were “regulars” – you could tell by the comfort they had with each other, and with the waitress as she refilled ...Read More


Selling classic cars country style

There’s nothing quite like a classic car; the pungent smell of aged leather or vinyl, the roar of the engine, its solid construction and the way the sun reflects off its mirror-polished chrome, something not seen on cars today. Whether your muse is a sporty and powerful 1970 Corvette LT-1, a collector’s dream 1956 Bentley Mark VI with all its ...Read More

iPhone Old State Capital

The Smartphone Road Trip

I love road trips. In fact, I travel for a living. For the past two decades, I’ve made a living as a professional writer and photographer, traveling back roads in search of great stories to tell. Planning each trip demands time and effort, so I’m always searching for the latest technology that will make me more productive and efficient. Even ...Read More


Making the Past Present

Among the smoke and din of the cannon fire, the rattle of musketry, men in Union blue advance, leaning into the gunfire from the gray-clad men behind the stonewall as if they were walking into a strong wind. As some pitch forward or slump, struck by enemy fire, their comrades step over them, closing ranks. On command, they halt, aim ...Read More


Keeping your family healthy

The foods you eat can make you sick or heal you. They can keep you young or age you. Of the top causes of death and disability in the United States, the majority can be escalated or discouraged by different foods, from cancer to heart disease to diabetes to Alzheimer’s disease. In the United States, it’s common knowledge that obesity ...Read More