Good morning, troops. It's Tuesday, Jan. 31.
It's one day after the Pentagon confirmed the death of a Navy SEAL from the Peoria area, William "Ryan" Owens. He was killed last weekend while on a raid in Yemen against al-Qaida.
Owens, 36, was a 1998 graduate of Illinois Valley Central High School in Chillicothe. Read more about him here, courtesy of Journal Star military-affairs reporter Andy Kravetz.
It's become local legend in some circles that Peoria is the "Center of the Universe," because so many people from around here seem to make national and international news. That has become a point of pride in this community.
Owens might be a foremost example of that pride, but all told, it would be better expressed under different circumstances.
Nick in the Morning didn't know Owens, but we know people who did. From all accounts, he was among the best and brightest. You don't become a Navy SEAL if you aren't.
Owens' death certainly brings the worldwide fight against terrorism to our doorsteps. It's a reminder, trite as it might sound, that freedom can cost the ultimate price. Owens paid it, not just for Peorians but all his fellow Americans.
For that, the COTU should be forever grateful. And forever mindful of fellow Armed Forces members from this area and elsewhere who are picking up Owens' torch.
• In another, more pleasant COTU example, we note the regular return of former Peoria radio personality John Williams to one of the Midwest's aural powerhouses.
According to media reporter par excellence Robert Feder, Williams will be playing host to a show from 1-3 p.m. Mondays through Fridays on WGN-AM (720) in Chicago, effective March 13.
Williams has been a semi-regular presence on WGN for about 20 years.
Most recently, Williams had been host of a weekend show on WGN despite residing in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. For the past seven years, he has been host of an afternoon show on WCCO-AM (830), the Twin Cities' equivalent of WGN.
A Joliet-area native, Williams spent most of the 1980s and early 1990s at WMBD-AM (1470) in Peoria, where in later years he was host of that station's morning show.
Back then, WMBD radio and television shared a facility on North University Street. In the mid-1980s, Nick in the Morning was an intern at WMBD-TV and remembers seeing Williams in the hallways, preparing for his nighttime "Topic" radio show.
"I got my start, really, in Peoria at WMBD Radio," Williams posted in 2014 on his Facebook page. "I was doing the morning show there, trying to be the Wally Phillips — or Bob Collins — of central Illinois."
Phillips and Collins were hosts of the highly rated WGN morning show. Eventually, Williams was host of that show, too.
• The song heard on the way to work today is joyous (or at least the video appears to be). But in light of the Ryan Owens death, it might also be a bit poignant.