ALLENTOWN — What’s Flag Day without flags?Oddly empty in the hamlet of Allentown, at least in the morning. The burg, which long had

Luciano: What's Flag Day without flags? Tiny town skips tradition, then changes mind and celebrates Old Glory

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I just got an unexpected Christmas present: my first senior discount. Woo-hoo!

Luciano: With a senior discount, it's like Christmas year-round

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Of all the accolades out there for Prince, I’d like to thank him most for saving pop music. Let me rephrase that. He didn’t save it forever. But he saved it for me, and postponed its death, by offering distinct, listenable pop songs at a very bleak time for the Top 40.

Luciano: Thanks, Prince, for saving pop music

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A per-mile driving tax? Make it go farther. Days ago, Senate President John Cullerton proposed a tax of 1.5 cents a mile for Illinois drivers.

Luciano: A per-mile tax on Illinois motorists? Here are more great ideas for pay-as-you-go taxes

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As a dying wish, Wilma Schubert wants you to buy her dolls — all 7,000 of them.

Luciano: Peoria widow's dying wish is to sell her massive doll collection for charity

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When Vivian Todden marks each birthday, a great many others should celebrate, as well.

Luciano: Peoria teacher's life-saving act has had a ripple effect for decades

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The more I read about Mike Donlin, the more he seems like the Forrest Gump of old-time baseball.

Luciano: Peorian Mike Donlin unintentionally helped Cubs win 1908 World Series

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Merle Haggard first got my attention under a surprise shower of beer suds and broken glass.

Luciano: Raw honesty was the appealing hallmark of country music outlaw Merle Haggard

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For Mike Donlin, hitting a baseball was easy. Most everything else in life was hard.

Luciano: Mike Donlin's little-known story of baseball fame and debauchery started in Peoria

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Rod Pauli felt like Chicken Little as soon as he slid behind the wheel of his car, parked in a Downtown city spot Wednesday morning.

Luciano: Lamppost topples onto parked car and startled passenger in Downtown Peoria

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To heck with the calendar! Spring in Peoria began at 10:23 a.m. Monday. That’s when I arrived at the Ice Cream Shack, seven minutes ahead of opening time on its first day of the season, and snagged the first cone of the year. Woot!

Luciano: The Ice Cream Shack marks the sweet, but unofficial, start of spring in Peoria

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EAST PEORIA — In a campaign season rife with humdrum yard signs, the Dennis Murdy residence makes a conspicuous political statement.

Luciano: East Peoria man's yard signs displaying 'feelings on the Muslims' create a stir

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Raymond Haines wants to find his dog. That shouldn’t be hard. The dog is dead, and Haines knows where it’s buried. Well, sort of. The

Luciano: Buddy works to rescue final resting place for beloved pets in Peoria

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Jelly Bean, the macaw who shared the late Gary Sandberg’s penchant for riding motorcycles, chomping pizzas and upstaging the Peoria City Council, has died. She was 19.

Luciano: Late Peoria council member Gary Sandberg's sidekick, a macaw named Jelly Bean, dies at 19

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Before submitting my pick, I asked readers to help me brainstorm by naming favorites. Many stressed songwriting (Bob Dylan’s “Highway 61 Revisited”), influence (The Band, “Greatest Hits”) and hit singles (Bon Jovi, “Slippery When Wet”).

Luciano: And the favorite all-time album is ...

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BARTONVILLE — As owner of Peoria Speedway, Jason Plumer is used to seeing cars zoom around a track. But in the winter? Sure, at the hottest cold-weather race course around: Speedville Slot Car Racing, which Plumer recently opened. The cars run on electricity, but the business is fueled by competition and nostalgia.

Luciano: Racing fans can get their fix at slot car venue in Bartonville

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I didn’t plan to answer the question, which came in an email from an unfamiliar address. But then I took a peek at previous answers. I was riveted to immediately spot “Strangers in the Night,” released in 1979 by the British rock group UFO — which, hands down, was my favorite album as a teen. I was astounded that anyone remembered it, let alone named it as a favorite.

Luciano: 'What is your favorite album of all time?'

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You know those nasty, pesky Asian carp? Time to sic the dogs on 'em. Send the cats, too. Plus any other pets with teeth.

Luciano: A bite-sized weapon in the fight against Asian carp

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Dr. William Tyree’s wise and caring classroom demeanor magnetized students, including an undergrad named Harry who later immortalized the quiet professor in a Hollywood blockbuster.

Luciano: Mild-mannered philosophy professor left an indelible impression on his students, including Harrison Ford

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Like many boys growing up in the 1970s, Curley “Boo” Johnson marveled at Meadowlark Lemon and the rest of the Harlem Globetrotters.

Luciano: Curley 'Boo' Johnson recalls Meadowlark Lemon's visits to Peoria

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I’m dreaming of a gray Christmas?

Luciano: Christmas in Peoria was as cherished 100 years ago as it is today

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Once again, the future of the Madison Theater looks like a cliffhanger. The old developer is out, but a new hero might ride into town. What’s next in this nail-biter? Stay tuned!

Luciano: Another new hope arises for Madison Theater

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CANTON — What’s in a name? For a Canton couple, a whimsical mix of business savvy and holiday cheer.

Luciano: For the Snowman family, raising reindeer is a natural fit

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Somehow, in an ideal funny-pages dimension that goes on forever, Burl and Joy Penny would continue to enjoy snack cakes and TV movies while plotting their next mind-numbing adventure in search of endless discount-store sales and cut-rate buffets.

Luciano: Lincoln's Julie Larson is saying goodbye to 'The Dinette Set'

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Booming sales of Jumer's cinnamon rolls coming through for St. Jude; Efforts continue to honor Jimmy Binkley in West Peoria and keep his Christmas party tradition alive.

Luciano: Sharing some sweet gestures as holiday season approaches

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