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Farewell

... to Donald Roth of Morton, longtime co-chairman of the Illinois Mennonite Relief Sale that has called Bloomington-Normal home for many years.

Roth, 83, died Dec. 22, leaving a long list of civic and church participation, belying his natural inclination toward modesty. But the Relief Sale, a massive annual undertaking, was his gift.

He'd been chairman since 1970, overseeing hundreds of vendors, thousands of visitors and millions of dollars raised for relief efforts across the world.

Congratulations

... to IWU physics professor Gabe Spalding and 2012 graduate Patrick Dahl for their work on an acoustic tractor beam project that was named one of the Top 10 Breakthroughs of the Year by Physics World magazine.

The project allows cadaver tissue to have the same physical reaction as living tissue, so scientists can effectively test medical treatments.

Congratulations, Part 2

... to Illinois State and Illinois Wesleyan universities for their inclusion in the Kiplinger Personal Finance "100 Best Values" rankings in their respective divisions.

IWU and Eureka College also were named to the Presidents' Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll that recognizes "exemplary community service programs" and community partnerships.

A good sign

... Consolidated elections usually draw a lot of names to the spring ballot because there are a lot of open seats, but this year's filing period was especially popular.

Contested races already have shaped up for, among others, the Normal Public Library board, Heartland Community College board of trustees, Unit 5 school board and the Ward 4 council seat in Bloomington.

Good work!

... Congratulations to The Salvation Army Red Kettle campaign that exceeded its $230,000 goal on the last day of bell ringing on Dec. 24.

The kettle campaign, which depends on donations between Thanksgiving and Christmas, helps fund numerous agency programs. 

Final totals for the campaign, including counter-top kettles and mailed donations, will be available in January.

Welcome back

... to the bald eagle that makes its way annually to Miller Park Zoo. It was spotted by a jogger (eagle-eyed, natch) on Dec. 27 and quickly drew the interest of the community.

It's believed the eagle visits the zoo's eagles during his visits that have been recorded for several years now.

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