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... to Tremont Grade School, on its recent selection as a National Blue Ribbon School.

It's among 300 public schools across the country chosen for the honor.

Tremont High School received the designation in 2006.

The Tazewell County school has 46 staff members and 359 students in grades K-4. The award recognizes overall academic performance or progress in closing achievement gaps.

The award is given by the U.S. Department of Education.


... to Ashley Farmer, an assistant professor of criminal justice at Illinois State University, who is working with a University of Georgia professor to determine best practices for keeping pets safe during a disaster.

We've seen all too often how pets are overlooked, lost or abandoned (intentionally or otherwise) during and after hurricanes and other disasters. Many abandoned pets from Hurricane Katrina ended up finding permanent homes in Illinois.

Humans plan in advance for disasters all the time: finding a meeting space after a tornado, buying a second-story ladder in case of fire, stashing a list of medications and first aid supplies, keeping a phone charger in the car. But we can overlook our pets, or find ourselves unable to bring them with us during an emergency.

The work of Ashley Farmer, and others like her, is an important step to keep our treasured family members safe.


... to Majors Dan and Laura Leisher, new corps officers leading The Salvation Army of McLean County.

The Leishers most recently were assigned to Grand Rapids, Mich., and have a long history with The Salvation Army. The Bloomington-based agency helps about 5,000 people each year with 21 full- and part-time employees and numerous volunteers.

Dan Leisher told The Pantagraph they want to "celebrate the continue the successes" of Salvation Army in McLean County while identifying unmet community needs and determining whether the agency can help to meet them.

Please welcome the Leishers to our community.


... to buyers and sellers of homes in Bloomington-Normal, who raised sales of existing homes in August by more than 2 percent. A total of 345 existing homes sold in August for an average price of $175,294. Sales of new homes also inched up slightly, though the average price dropped.

John Armstrong, president of the Bloomington-Normal Association of Realtors, said 2018 "has the possibility of being a record year for the Bloomington-Normal housing market."

That's great news for everyone.


... and happy homecoming to all of our college and high school students and alumni, who are making September and October cheery with parades, football games, dances and other events designed to celebrate their schools.

Illinois State University's homecoming parade steps off at 10 a.m. Saturday in uptown.

Hip hip hooray!


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