April 2008

Local teams compete with rest of state in Science Olympiad

URBANA – Hundreds of teenagers invaded the University of Illinois campus on Saturday, filling classrooms, laboratories and green spaces with robot-building, glider-launching and, above all, massive amounts of excitement about all things science.

The teenagers came from around Illinois to compete in the Illinois Science Olympiad state tournament, but three groups didn't have to travel far. Teams from Centennial High School, Franklin Middle School and St. Matthew Catholic School, all in Champaign, advanced past the regional competitions to try their skills against some of the state's best student scientists.


'Unofficial' crackdown adds to hefty caseload

More than 70 cases involving local liquor license violations in Champaign County, including alleged underage drinking, will be heard when the Illinois Liquor Control Commission convenes this week.

State liquor officials in March issued citations on a variety of violations by more than 30 liquor license holders in Champaign County, spokeswoman Katherine Ridgeway said. Normally, the commission makes about 100 inspections a year in Champaign County, she said.


Road improvement will make getting to school quicker – and safer

TOLONO – Since Unity High School opened nearly 50 years ago, motorists have been able to reach the school only by driving through town and then driving another mile and a half north and east or else driving around a rural section of farmland.

Access to U.S. 45 is blocked by the Illinois Central (now Canadian National) Railroad tracks west of the high school.


Police department's mechanic still enjoys job 29 years into it

Jeff Nicoson, 48, has been a mechanic with the Danville Police Department for nearly 29 years. He oversees a fleet of about 45 police vehicles and regularly repairs the 18 cars on active patrol.

Nicoson rotates each one through a bumper-to-bumper inspection schedule. The active patrol cars each average between 700 and 1,100 miles a week. Occasionally, Nicoson has to don biohazard gear to clean out vomit, blood or urine from the back seat of a patrol car. He is also on call 24 hours a day.


Extra-alarm fire hurts only property

URBANA – Fire lit up the night above Woodstone Apartments on Saturday, where smoke pouring from a roof brought a small fleet of fire trucks and emergency personnel to the 900 block of South Lierman Avenue in Urbana.

The fire "looks like it started up on the roof," said Fire Chief Mike Dilley at about 9:15 p.m., just as the fire was put out. He said no one was injured.


Draft drop turns out OK for Mendenhall

CHICAGO – Talk about surprises.

That former Illini Rashard Mendenhall was still on the board after 22 picks in the first round of Saturday's NFL draft was a shock to some who picked him to go as high as ninth.


Zook: 'We're not there yet'

College football beat writer Bob Asmussen's Q&A with Ron Zook:


Tate: Clock ticking on stadium renovation job

CHAMPAIGN – The giant Hunt Construction Group took on a complex, tricky task in tackling Memorial Stadium.

In fact, the Indianapolis corporation might have no more difficult assignment in a variety of construction projects amounting to roughly $5 billion.


Hudson's gutty effort not enough as UI takes a beating

CHAMPAIGN – Kyle Hudson's right ankle might not be 100 percent, but it isn't affecting Job Number 1 for the Illinois leadoff hitter.

On Saturday, Hudson came to the plate six times during a Big Ten doubleheader against Penn State at Illinois Field. Six times, the Illini center fielder reached base.


Recruiting calendar

April is a hot month for college basketball recruiting. Programs are unable to talk to prospective student-athletes during the quiet periods of May and June, but July is the busiest month for coaches, who fly across the country to scout as many prospects as possible as recruits play in several national AAU tournaments. A look at the recruiting year: