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Two decades later, Homer teachers' strike still sore subject

Twenty years ago, the town of Homer in southeastern Champaign County suffered a devastating blow, a severe disruption for every man, woman and child living within the confines of the village and surrounding school district. Some say the town hasn't fully recovered to this day.

It wasn't a tornado, a flood or a raging fire.


For kindergartners, it's catch as catch c-a-n

CHAMPAIGN – The kindergarten students at Garden Hills Elementary School were learning two new words at the beginning of a recent week of school.

The children clapped their hands as they recited the letters to spell "can" and "take," practiced drawing the shape of each letter in the air with their fingers, and found the new words in a story their teacher was reading.


Culver recruit taking job in Texas

CHAMPAIGN – Ecomet Burley has been chosen to be superintendent of a Texas school district.

The La Marque, Texas, school board chose Burley in a Thursday night meeting. Under Texas law, the district now has 21 days to negotiate a contract with him.


Three-year Hoopeston contract unanimously approved

HOOPESTON – Hoopeston teachers are working under a new three-year contract that will give them a 3.9 percent salary increase each year.

Hoopeston Area school board members unanimously approved the agreement during their regular meeting on Thursday.


Assistant superintendent sole finalist for Texas job

CHAMPAIGN – A top Champaign school district administrator is a finalist for a superintendent job in Texas.

Assistant Superintendent Ecomet Burley is the sole finalist for superintendent of the La Marque Independent School District, near Galveston. The La Marque school board is scheduled to discuss the position and name a superintendent at a meeting tonight


Parkland President Exley stable after having heart attack

CHAMPAIGN – Parkland College President Robert Exley had a heart attack Wednesday during a fundraising basketball game and is hospitalized in intensive care.

In an update today on his condition, Nancy Willamon, his assistant, said he remains in intensive care today but will likely be moved out Friday and dismissed from the hospital Saturday.


Students make signs, hit streets to urge people to vote

CHAMPAIGN – Just in case you haven't seen the ads, you've overlooked the yard signs or you've been in a news blackout, some Centennial High School seniors were reminding folks about today's election.

Seniors in Greg Stock's American government class spent part of their class periods Monday at the corner of Mattis Avenue and John Street, holding posters to encourage passing motorists to vote.


Champaign school buildings to get buzzer systems

CHAMPAIGN – Visitors to Edison Middle School must now use a buzzer system to get in, and office staff are able to see who is at the school's main entrance before allowing them into the building.

All the district's school buildings are scheduled to have such a system in place in the next three weeks.


Unity Junior High students collecting items for soldiers

TOLONO – The social studies classes that April Puckett teaches at Unity Junior High start the day with the Pledge of Allegiance and discussions of the war in Iraq.

But the seventh- and eighth-graders will soon have a more personal connection to members of the military serving in the Middle East. The students are holding a drive to collect holiday items for soldiers.


Teens, teachers taking steps to instill better road habits

Grant Bennett's seen too many deaths related to driving accidents, and he's not going to take it anymore.

The Unity High School junior, along with staff and other students at the Tolono school, are starting a program that will apply peer pressure to get teens and other drivers to act safer on the road.