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Five at 5: Everyone's Irish on St. Patrick's' Day and 4 other stories to see

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Everyone's Irish on St. Patrick's Day, and the celebrations have special meaning for families who trace their ancestry to the Emerald Isle.

Four other stories you should see are are Millikin will celebrate University Commons next week, Decatur City Council to consider Gleason contract, Wrigley Field will be ready for opener and President Trump's influence will be felt in Illinois primary.

'Everyone's Irish today': Decatur residents celebrate roots

Therese Bell traveled to Ireland from her Decatur home to see the green, rolling hills of the Irish landscape and scenery. She did have one other goal in mind: research her family and find her grandmother’s birth certificate.

Like many of those with Irish roots, Bell, 87, takes pride in her lineage, no matter how green it appears. “I’m three-quarter Irish and one-quarter German,” she said.

Bell is in good company. Ten percent of the U.S. population — 32.3 million people — claimed Irish ancestry in 2016, according to the most recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Read the full story here.

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Millikin to celebrate University Commons next week

Millikin University opened the University Commons building in August after months of fundraising and construction, and at the time, President Patrick White hoped the students would use and enjoy the building.

They have — beyond his wildest dreams.

Now it's time for a celebration of its place on campus and in Decatur.

“We had a bit of a celebration" in August, White said. “But what we wanted to do with this week is celebrate the Commons, what the Commons is meaning for us and what it could mean for the community and how it's working."

Read the full story here.

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Decatur city council to consider Gleason contract

City council members will vote Monday on a two-year contract renewal for City Manager Tim Gleason, who started on the job three years ago this month. It offers a 6 percent raise for the city manager, making his new salary $176,507 starting March 23.

"I feel like we got a bargain with him, with all he brings to the table," Mayor Julie Moore Wolfe said Thursday. "He's got expertise in a lot of areas. The Bloomington city manager left last year, and he went to Joliet for $215,000 (in yearly salary)."

Read the full story here.

Wrigley will be ready; sights set on All-Star Game

Despite the tons of machinery parked on the playing surface and main concourse now, Wrigley Field will be ready for the Cubs' home opener April 9.

But fans hoping for an All-Star Game, perhaps as soon as 2020, might want to temper their optimism despite a formal bid the team and the City of Chicago has submitted to Major League Baseball.

"We've made a prediction on what the ballpark will look like in 2020," Cubs business president Crane Kenney said to beat writers Thursday in Mesa.

Read the full story here.

President Trump looms large in Illinois primary

President Donald Trump isn't on Tuesday's ballot, but as the final weekend of the Illinois primary campaign arrives, his persona looms large.

As University of Illinois political scientist Christopher Mooney puts it: "There's a Trump aspect to everything in American politics at this moment."

For Republicans, it's a question of whether the enthusiasm that gave Trump more than 2 million votes and victories in 91 of the state's 102 counties in 2016 (despite an overall loss to Hillary Clinton here) will manifest itself in the primary for governor.

Read the full story here.


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