... to Lindsey Jensen, an English teacher at Dwight Township High School, who is the Illinois' 2018 Teacher of the Year.
Jensen was honored at the Those Who Excel banquet held recently at the Marriott Hotel and Conference Center in uptown Normal and hosted by the State Board of Education. She has been teaching at Dwight for 10 years, and was one of 10 Illinois teachers up for the award.
State Superintendent of Education Tony Smith said students leave Jensen's "classroom with an expanded understanding of their own potential."
... and continued good luck to the six Pantagraph area high school football teams still in the hunt for a state championship.
Another round of games will be played Saturday, so let's cheer on Normal Community, Normal West, Central Catholic, GCMS, El Paso-Gridley and Tri Valley high schools.
Good luck to the players and coaches — and to the students, families and fans who will be in the stands on Saturday.
... to the folks at Books to Benefit, whose primary mission is to raise money for literacy programs, such as STAR Adult Literacy, through the sale of used books.
The group also finds the right "home" for vintage books it comes across. Mary Ryder, a retired literature professor at Illinois State University, turns sleuth in those cases.
One such book was an 1862 edition of "The Manual of the Bayonet" signed by "Captain Reynolds" of the 83rd Regiment in Illinois, mustered at Galesburg. It was written by George McClellan, who would become a leading Union general during the Civil War.
Ryder was able to find family members from the Galesburg area, allowing her to return the book to them.
... to the Normal Fire Department, which last weekend dedicated the town's new fire station at 606 S. Main St.
About 150 people stopped by an open house to check out the new digs that take up 25,000 square feet and cost $4 million. There are a lot of cool features, like a state-of-the-art weight room, but traditional amenities, too, like a fire pole.
Chief Mick Humer told the crowd the department and town "worked on this for a very long time and our firefighters will work, train and live here for the next 50 years. It isn’t just a big garage with an office attached. It’s our home.”
... that open enrollment for signing up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act is underway.
McLean County health care providers say while there may be fewer plan options and premiums are increasing, people still should be able to find coverage through the exchange for people who aren't insured through their jobs.
Enrollment ends Dec. 15.