Secondary Feature

Traveling with grandchildren

I  became a grandmother January 12, 2015 when Ainsley Hazel Moore arrived. One of my dreams for this sweet little girl is for her to enjoy the excitement and adventure of travel like I do and I think she has a pretty good start. She visited eight states her first year! As a travel writer, […]

Humble and kind

Hardworking, honest, passionate, generous, positive, present, a role model, friends, family and faith. These are all words from the top-10 list Amy Smith used to describe her father Jon Lang, the 2016 Illinois Country Living Father of the Year and Rock Energy Cooperative member. “I’m flattered by this, but the biggest honor for me was […]

Chocolate runs in their blood

You can feel a nostalgic ambience as you step into the doors of Lagomarcino’s and see the long glass cases of brightly colored candies and a multitude of hand dipped chocolates. Look a bit further and the handcrafted dark mahogany wood of the original back bar, with its shelves of soda and sundae glasses, and […]

Filling the holes in memories

By Meredith Bollinger History is important. Through time it has taught us ­lessons and embedded momentous occasions deep within our memories. However, we still take for granted what the past means to us through our local or personal histories. Generally speaking, we can remember what toys we used to play with, what clothes we used […]

Questions and answers about your social security

By Becky Whitlow, Social Security District Manager, Springfield The answers to many of your social security questions may be only a mouse click away. Go to to learn how to replace a card, find a retirement ­calculator, apply for benefits, change your address or set up direct deposit for your benefits. Here are a […]

Mapping out a unique retirement mission

Grandma’s jigsaw puzzle of the United States – one that identified every state of the union – apparently made quite an impression on little Gene Alexander. He fondly recalls working his grandmother’s puzzle even as a child of four or five. “I loved to put that thing together,” he remembers. “I knew all of my […]

Ten vegetables with the best payback

If you’re going to take a shot at growing your own dinner this year, a good place to start is by picking the crops that offer the best return on your investment. Experienced gardeners quickly learn that some types of home-grown vegetables work out better than others. Choices such as onions and peppers, for example, […]

2016 Sweet Wedding Cake Trends

It’s no secret wedding cake traditions have changed over time. In the 1950s, wedding cakes typically had three to four stacked tiers connected by columns or pillars for extra height. During that era, cakes were often displayed under a floral decorative arch. Forget the thought of using the smooth, polished appearance of fondant. Instead, mountainous piles of intricate […]

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner toured the Abbott Power Plant in November to learn about the carbon capture research underway at the University of Illinois. Foreground L-R: Barbara Wilson, U of I Interim Chancellor; Kevin O’Brien, Director, Illinois Sustainable Technology Center; and Governor Rauner.

Cutting carbon from coal plants

The difficulty the world’s nations displayed recently in Paris in making firm commitments to cut greenhouse gas emissions underlined the fact that there will not be one solution to global warming. There will be as many as we can think of. At the December COP21 Summit in Paris, promises to reduce carbon dioxide releases from […]

Prairie State Power Plant

Setting high expectations

Thanksgiving week marked my first anniversary as Chief Executive Officer of the Prairie State Energy Campus. My personal philosophy and the philosophy I use to lead the Prairie State team is simple: I want the place where I live, work and worship to be better tomorrow than it is today. Success in my job is […]