Strawberry fields forever

That first bite makes the taste buds tingle from the juicy, ripe, red berries to the tender, slightly-sweet cake and the luscious whipped cream; it’s a tower of heavenly delight! Strawberry shortcake – is there anything better? It’s a great way to kick off grilling season and usher in summer, and there is that feeling […]

Phil Carson speaking while standing behind a podium

Phil Carson:

In a room of some 6,000 meeting attendees you can hear a pin drop. Every eye is on the man at the podium. There’s something captivating about his message delivery. His preparation, knowledge of the topic and sincerity clearly demonstrate that he is worthy of your attention. Phil Carson’s experience as a farmer, pastor and […]

John Boos & Company

By Jerry McDonald What do Bobby Flay, Kate Middleton (aka The Princess of Wales) and your Food Network obsessed neighbor have in common? Yes, they are all human, but let’s cut it a little finer than that. They all use cutting boards from John Boos & Company, a small manufacturing firm in Effingham, Ill. Today, […]

pieces of coal

Power from the earth

With the flick of a fingertip, we brighten a room by flipping on a light switch. Feeling a sudden chill, we bump the thermostat and instantly our furnace responds with warm air. We even charge our computers, phones and – in some cases – our automobiles by plugging them into electrical outlets in our office, […]

The Spirit of Christmas

Down the hill we go I had started a new job in September, 1976, and while there was a Christmas tree in the recreation area for the residents, there didn’t appear to be one in the administrative offices. Since my dad had a farm, he always kept an eye out for the perfect tree for […]

That Hometown Spirit

Americans love having lots of options. We flock to buffets, subscribe to more television channels than we can ever watch, and are overwhelmed by the choices presented at the local coffee shop. We also enjoy a huge array of plays and ways to do our shopping, too. It used to be that we did all […]

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 […]