Secondary Feature

The lovely Crenshaw Mansion was the perfect cover for unspeakable slave-trading activity. Photo courtesy of Kenneth Dwain Harrelson.

The Devil’s web:

Panting, he scurried through the brush, his tattered clothes and bloody feet ­evidence of the harrowing journey he’d endured since escaping days earlier. As the sound of men’s voices and baying hounds grew louder, he knew he’d soon be captured, and the brutal whippings on his already scarred and bloodied back would resume. Such was the fate of many runaway ...Read More


No regrets greenhouses

By Kristen Hannum Like many luxuries once reserved for royalty or the wealthy, greenhouses have come to the middle class. They’ll never be as widespread as indoor plumbing, but as the cost of greenhouses has come down, more gardeners want one for themselves. Karen Higgins bought an 8-by-14-foot greenhouse ­several years ago as a necessity— her neighbors include voracious herds ...Read More


Eat real and move more

When was the last time your family sat down to eat dinner together? I’m not talking about opening the bag from your favorite fast food restaurant, but actually preparing a meal at home. As lives have become busier, cooking skills have declined. Many parents feel they lack the time and skills to cook a nutritious meal their children will eat, ...Read More


Efficient water heating technology options

By Thomas Kirk Water heating is the second largest use of energy in homes, accounting for approximately 14 to 18 percent of residential energy consumption. In addition to wrapping water heaters and pipes in insulation, there are many technologies in this market to help lower energy consump­tion and save consumers money. These tech­nologies include heat pump water heaters (HPWH) and ...Read More

PupDog Bakery has a very popular peanut butter bar coated in carob with a yogurt drizzle.

Bakery business is going to the dogs

There’s nothing quite like being greeted with joy as you return home after a long day at work. Feeling the love from having someone so happy to see you just lifts the ­spirits, and that wagging tail says it all! That’s right, I’m talking about the four-legged companion that is rightfully referred to as man’s best friend. Research has shown ...Read More


Classroom Empowerment grants receive high marks from teachers

All too often, the news we hear about school finances isn’t good. Budgets have been cut to the bone, and teachers must spend a portion of their hard-earned money on supplies for their classrooms. But here’s good news for a change. Help has come to many Illinois classrooms through Touchstone Energy® Classroom Empowerment grants. The grant program, created in 2006 ...Read More


Living securely in a Facebook world

By Dan Gerard Charles Caleb Colton once said, “Imitation is the ­sincerest form of flattery.” However, when it pertains to your digital identity, I would have to disagree. We live in a digital world consisting of Facebook, Twitter, Google Places, online banking, digital ­versions of credit cards, and cell phones that do all this and more. Today, more than ever, ...Read More


In-floor electric heating options

Dear Jim: I often feel chilly in my home, especially during the winter months. I know electric resistance heating can be expensive to use, but I really like the idea of in-floor heating. Does it only work with tile flooring, or can it be used under carpet? What types are available? - Ron A. Dear Ron: You’re absolutely right. Electric ...Read More


Make your holidays greener

While the holidays are festive and fun, they can take a toll on the ­environment. All that shopping, decoration, food ­preparation and travel adds up to more carbon emissions and more waste. But there are ways to ­minimize our impact and still celebrate the season in grand style. For starters, buy fewer gifts. Homemade, personal gifts are always appreciated as ...Read More


The legend of the Christmas tree

The custom of a Christmas tree, ­undecorated, is believed to have begun in Germany, in the first half of the 700s. The earliest story tells how British monk and missionary, St. Boniface, was preaching a sermon on the Nativity to a tribe of Germanic Druids ­outside the town of Geismar. To convince the town’s people that the oak tree was ...Read More