November 2007

November 2007

Fake checks can lead to real trouble

URBANA – With an increase in the number of counterfeit checks appearing at local banks and businesses, authorities warn that people who try to cash them could be in trouble with their banks and with the law.

Champaign police Detective Pat Kelly said his department has seen a spike in counterfeit checks being passed.

Judge allows jury to hear about other charges against White

URBANA – The jury that will hear allegations that Jon White molested students while he was a teacher in Urbana will also hear that he is accused of similar activity in McLean County.

Champaign County Judge Harry Clem Tuesday said the jury may hear about predatory criminal sexual assault and aggravated criminal sexual abuse charges lodged against the former Thomas Paine Elementary teacher, stemming from when he was a teacher in Normal in 2004 and 2005.

Clark's sentencing hearing delayed again

DANVILLE – A hearing to determine the length of Keon Clark's prison sentence has been postponed until next month.

Clark, 32, of Danville, was scheduled for a hearing Monday in Vermilion County Circuit Court to decide whether he will serve his Vermilion County and Champaign County prison sentences at the same time or consecutively. That means Clark could serve either two-and-a-half years or five years in the Department of Corrections.

FutureGen backers schedule rally

ARCOLA – Area residents can show their support for bringing FutureGen to Illinois, as well as see a demonstration of how the proposed power plant would work, at a rally Sunday in Arcola.

Political and business leaders, scientists, and residents from both Illinois finalists, Tuscola and Mattoon, will gather at Arcola High School at 1:30 p.m.

Four Danville houses to be featured on tour of homes

DANVILLE – Melinda Skaggs has been decorating for a few weeks to get ready for the 2007 American Diabetes Association Holiday Tour of Homes.

The tour, from 2 to 6 p.m. Sunday, features four homes in the Danville area.

Westville mayor proposes utility aid program

WESTVILLE – Village officials overwhelmingly voted in favor of looking into the creation of a program that would help needy residents pay their water and gas bills.

Mayor Jeff Slavik introduced the "Heart of Westville" idea – which he said he modeled on similar utility programs – as a way village residents could help other citizens with bills in times of need, such as having a baby or death in the family or losing a job.

Unit 4 panel to get ball rolling on long-range planning

CHAMPAIGN – A group of community leaders will begin the work of long-range planning for the Champaign school district's building and educational needs when it meets Wednesday night.

The "vision committee" will meet for the first time at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Beckman Institute, 405 N. Mathews Ave., U., on the University of Illinois campus. The meeting is open to the public, but seating is limited.

Secretary of State services will be offered on UI campus

University of Illinois students, faculty and staff will be able to renew drivers licenses, purchase specialty license plates and complete related tasks without leaving campus Wednesday.

A mobile Secretary of State's office will be open from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Illini Union, third floor north.

First-year teacher finds out things don't always go as planned

Editor's note: This is the second in an occasional series about Angela Simpson, a first-year teacher, and her first-grade class at Yankee Ridge Elementary School in Urbana. The first story profiled Simpson's first day of school. The first quarter of the school year has just ended, and The News-Gazette checks in on Simpson's – and the class' – progress.

Police make shooting arrest

CHAMPAIGN – Police arrested a Champaign man for shooting his ex-girlfriend in Champaign on Monday night.

Markele Powell, 23, whose last known address was in the 1100 block of North Sixth Street, was arrested for aggravated battery and attempted murder, according to Champaign police Lt. Joe Gallo.