March 2004

March 2004

Illini NCAA tourney madness hits a fever pitch

When a few dozen elementary school children start cheering, principal Chuck Lowell said the gym at St. John's Lutheran School in Champaign sounds like the Assembly Hall.

Last Friday, groups of kindergarten through eighth-graders watched Illinois' Big Ten basketball tournament game in the gym. They made quite a ruckus as the Illini beat Indiana.

Arizona too tough

Katie O''Connell hit a home run off Arizona All-American Alicia Hollowell, but the top-ranked Wildcats were too much, downing Illinois 4-1 Wednesday at the KIAKlassic in Fullerton, Calif.

IP says improvements have been made

CHAMPAIGN – Whether or not you knew it was missing, the old Illinois Power is back and making its Champaign-Urbana customers a lot happier these days, IP officials claim.

"We're the old IP again," said Barbara Beck, the company's senior director of regional operations.

Virgil safely in place

CHAMPAIGN – The next time Morris Virgil runs with the ball, there''s a good chance a quarterback will be chasing him.

The Illinois junior has made a permanent move from running back to safety. That means interceptions instead of handoffs. Passes broken up instead of catches.

Voters support further funding to Blue Ridge

FARMER CITY – Voters on Tuesday approved a referendum proposal for Blue Ridge schools that increased the education fund tax rate by $1.10.

And supporters of the schools celebrated at Farmer City's Victory Christian Center, where they waited for results Tuesday from DeWitt, McLean and Piatt counties. The district's schools are at Farmer City, Bellflower and Mansfield.

Asmussen: It''s time for Mr. Wrong to get it right

Who to pick? Who to pick? Who to pick? - - The first 42 years of my life, it has been pretty easy.

Made the right choice on my wife, a sports fan who doesn''t complain about the satellite dish. Got the right house, a two-minute drive from work and Memorial Stadium. Didn''t go wrong on our cars, the required minivan and a mini-SUV.

Illinois knows teams are brought together in crisis

CHAMPAIGN – With a full roster at full strength, Murray State still might come up empty against Illinois.

The No. 5 seed Illini are bigger, deeper and more highly regarded headed into Friday''s first-round NCAA tournament game against the 12th-seeded Racers.

Ludlow approves proposal for increase in tax rates

LUDLOW – School officials facing tough choices about the future of this tiny Champaign County district got a new lease on life Tuesday when voters approved their referendum proposal to increase taxes.

"We're going back to work tomorrow because we have jobs and a future," said Superintendent Lyle Rigdon, who wore a tie printed with apples and schoolhouses while he watched results come in with other district representatives at the Champaign County's Brookens Administrative Center in Urbana.

Piland wins primary battle

URBANA – Champaign County State's Attorney John Piland, a two-term incumbent Republican, beat back a primary challenge Tuesday from Urbana attorney Bruce Ratcliffe.

Piland won the GOP primary, 54 percent to 46 percent.

Johnson thinks his wrestlers will shine in St. Louis

ST. LOUIS – He has a contract extension and a happy athletic director. All that is fine and good. But what Mark Johnson really wants is a trophy from this weekend''s NCAA wrestling meet.

It''s one of two missing pieces of hardware for Johnson, who also craves winning the Big Ten meet.