... to all law enforcement, social media mavens, and good samaritans  who helped secure the safe return of a Bloomington woman who went missing Christmas Eve.

A police officer said social media "shares" reached 800,000 people, which made for an incredibly large search group across Central Illinois.

Everyone is grateful the woman was found (and returned) home safe and sound.


... to the family of Alda Nauman Kleen of Minonk, who died Christmas Day. With her late husband, "Baldy," the couple portrayed Santa and Mrs. Claus for 30 years, bringing joy to an untold number of children.


... to the Broom family of Effingham, which donated a priceless Lincoln heirloom (hairloom?) to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.

The tiny ring belonged to Tad Lincoln, son of Abe and Mary, and was made of hair from Tad's pony.  The museum said the ring is the first to commemorate one of the Lincoln family's pets.

Tad had given the ring as a gift to the wife of a Union officer. The officer later died and the woman remarried; the Brooms are her descendants.


... as the flu continues to make its unwelcome rounds in Central Illinois, remember to follow personal hygiene practices to prevent further spread of illness.

If you're sick, stay home until you are better. Cough into your sleeve, use tissues or a handkerchief to blow your nose, and wash your hands frequently or use a liquid sanitizer. Stay away from the elderly and the very young, who are more prone to illness.

And if you haven't already gotten a flu shot, get one. It won't keep you from getting the flu, but it will help prevent a more serious case.


... to the man who lives to make rhymes,

because Webster's should sound like chimes.

His story is cool,

He hires no fools;

And English lovers said it's about time.


... to Funks Grove Nature Center, which understands the outdoors isn't just for warm weather months.

Workers at the center, located south of Bloomington, have many outdoor activities during the winter months, including a recent wilderness camp that put "outdoor" front and center during the current cold snap.


... and thanks to all who have to work outdoors, despite cold temperatures to make our lives more pleasant: utility workers; police, firefighters and rescue workers; truckers, farmers and tow drivers; shovelers, snowplowers and snowblower operators; contractors, plumbers, electricians and cable workers; furnace fixers and chimney sweeps; mail carriers; newspaper carriers; store delivery workers; and more.

Whoever you are, whatever you do, thanks.


... to the people behind the Young Hearts for Life test, a free screening for school students to determine if they have heart defects or problems. 


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