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Were it not for the spectators sporting sandals and shorts and shooting pictures with digital cameras, it would be easy to believe it's the latter half of the 19th century, not 2011, as 20 men dressed in Civil War uniforms perform a flag ceremony at Lincoln's Tomb on a summer evening.


When a group of sailing enthusiasts got together in 1934 and conceived the idea of establishing a yacht club on Lake Springfield, it might have seemed a bit premature, considering there was no Lake Springfield at the time.



As conductor of the Sangamon Valley Youth Symphony, Richard Haglund has plenty of opportunities to speak to young people about careers in music.

He tells them to find another career. He tells them this as persuasively as he can. The ones left after he is done may just have a career.



You can't talk about Michael Burlingame without talking about Abraham Lincoln. And you could argue that you can't talk authoritatively about Lincoln without talking about Michael Burlingame.



Statistically, the only places more dangerous than Ciudad Juarez, Mexico are actual declared war zones.



For a kid, there's probably no worse place to be on Christmas than the hospital. As if being sick isn't bad enough, you're away from home, home-cooked meals, and worse, you're away from Santa. How will he find you if you're not home? 


It seems like a simple enough question: "So, where do you consider home?"

The answer gets complicated when you have a demanding job that puts you on the road most weeks bouncing between Washington, Chicago and Springfield.

Lee Malany of Springfield has seen a world of destruction and despair in the past 10 years. But he's also witnessed the resiliency of the human spirit when confronted with situations that the average American couldn't possibly fathom or think of overcoming.

You see someone on TV, and you think you know them, right?

There are very few singers who cause a rush of emotion just with the singing of the national anthem. Oh, they can impress a crowd blasting, "And the rockets red glare" at an octave range so high that dogs cringe - but it doesn't bring the flood of feelings that comes when the singer really believes in the lyrics.

Any distance runner will tell you that running a good race more often than not requires a good start. Interesting that a guy like Bill Moredock would choose to start his days with a pretty good run. It's just two miles or so, not a great distance, but it's certainly no sprint.


There's no place like home - a haven of comfort, security and familiarity. While the Hope Institute for Children and Families has been providing a home to children with developmental disabilities for more than 50 years, the nonprofit is preparing to break barriers by creating a child-centered medical home at Noll Medical Pavilion. With health-care reform in the news, Brian Allen, vice president of Healthcare Partnerships at Noll Medical Pavilion and retired president/CEO of the Mental Health Centers of Central Illinois, believes that now, more than ever, the medical home model and approach are needed.

Jeff Fafoglia was one of the thousands of people who learned about life under the sea from famed French explorer Jacques Cousteau. Fascinated by the diversity of the aquatic world, Fafoglia took scuba diving lessons after high school and he was hooked.

Think of John Stremsterfer as the man in the middle of a stream who builds a bridge to either side. On one side are the people who have money to give and on the other are individuals and organizations in need of money - Stremsterfer brings them together.

In Washington, D.C., on Jan. 20, 1961, America's youngest and only Catholic president inspired a generation with powerful words that cut through the bitter winds of the day and on through the winds of time. John Fitzgerald Kennedy was 43 years old when he placed his hand on his family Bible standing before Chief Justice Earl Warren and the nation. He took the oath of office beneath the dramatic backdrop of the columns of the East Portico of the U.S. Capitol and faced west toward the rest of the country when he began his speech.

If you knew the loving and secure and chaotic house I grew up in, you would marvel at the pristine condition of this artifact from my school days. With all that my parents were faced with trying to feed and clothe all of us, saving our school photos was probably not high on their list of priorities. Groceries and the power bill, the proverbial wolf at the door, that's the stuff that would have kept Frank and Shirley Moody up at night in the fall of 1972.

On the court and on the field they are in command, they shuffle their players in and out; they wrack their brains about strategy and scoring. They teach discipline, stress sportsmanship and personal integrity, and they spend a lot of time molding the youth of America.

They are coaches.

For the first time since it was formed 53 years ago, the Sons and Daughters of Erin chose both an Irish "Man of the Year" and an Irish "Woman of the Year" at the annual banquet.


Settle back and read a tale of the Irish. It may include a wee bit of blarney, but then what tale doesn't? If it seems like the list of Irish names in the Springfield phone book is quite long, it's because early census information indicates a high incidence of Irish heads of household here.

That started as an interim position as chief executive officer of the Girl Scouts of Lincoln Land turned into a 13-year second career. But then again, Sue Clark is not a person who does anything half heartedly.

The premise behind healing gardens at medical facilities is that there is nothing more hopeful than nature. Hope is what those trying to heal, those battling a frightening illness, those undergoing days and days of treatment, seek.


St. John's Hospital and Memorial Medical Center use nearly 1,000 volunteers to help keep their institutions running.


It's the holidays.

Time to get out the bows, beribbon everything that's not moving, get out the candles, start shopping for the right Kwanzaa-colored items, break out the menorah and go to town decorating.

Tailgating at high school football games is all about food, family and fun, but it's also about school spirit, the game and bragging rights.

Sometimes it's about the team but if the team's not doing so well - it's about who's got the best tailgating spread.  

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