... to Xavier Higgins, Andrew Hursey, Jordyn Blythe and the late Lorenzo Marshall, who have been named winners of the Martin Luther King Jr. Awards from the town of Normal and city of Bloomingotn.
They will be honored and the annual MLK event Jan. 20.
... to Ryder Gilbert, the first baby born in 2018 in McLean County. Ryder arrived at 5:24 a.m. Jan. 1 at Advocate BroMenn Medical Center. He is the son of Kate-Lynn Gilbert of Pekin. The first baby born in 2018 at OSf HealthCare St. Joseph Medical Center was Ariyah Allen, who arrived at 11:24 a.m. Her mother is Tiara Davis, Bloomington.
... to us! Home of a new H&M fashion retailer at Eastland Mall and an improved Hobby Lobby at Shoppes of College Hills, along with other new stores expected in the new year. Bloomington-Normal and greater McLean County are great places to live, work and shop; we're oh so glad national retailers are realizing that.
... to those who leave their pets out in the cold, or otherwise abuse them.
In recent weeks, we've learned of a man accused of killing two dogs and dumping their bodies along a country road; a woman accused of leaving her dog outside so long that its ears and tail froze; and two people from Missouri who dragged a cat behind a car and then posted the video as a way to raise money for pizza.
If you no longer can care for your animals or simply no longer want them, give them to a shelter group that can re-home them. If you don't know where to start, call a local humane society, a vet's office, or city hall.
... if Gov. Rauner wants to learn about veterans' homes by staying in one, perhaps everyone running for governor should contemplate doing something similar. Cairo and East St. Louis could benefit from the attention; so could various state prisons, mental health facilities, specialized schools, and several Chicago neighborhoods torn by gun violence.
Come to think of it, most of Illinois could benefit from some up-close attention by state leaders.
... to Herbert Ueckert of Sarasota, Fla., for donating a huge collection of circus memorabilia and artifacts to Illinois State University's Circus and Allied Arts Collection.
The Twin Cities have a storied history with circuses and their performers, once serving as a winter home for many traveling troupes. ISU's Gamma Phi Circus, one of two collegiate circuses in the country, is due in large part to that connection.
... to the many people in Central Illinois who have stepped up to help neighbors, strangers and others having difficulty during the recent cold spell. Whether it was sharing money to buy pipe wrap, providing ideas via Facebook, offering a battery jump in a parking lot or anything else, it's good to know we've got each others' backs.