CHAMPAIGN – In a stunning about-face Friday that infuriated an already angry black community, Champaign school officials advised board members to stick with the Boulder Ridge site they picked Monday for a new northwest Champaign school.
Backlash was immediate. Activist Imani Bazzell said the black community will almost certainly turn to its attorneys and a court monitor to ask for legal sanctions, including an extension of the costly consent decree that's due to expire in the 2008-09 school year.
CHAMPAIGN – The original Dr. Howard School sits on Park Avenue, a brick street lined with stately trees and century-old homes.
Circa 1910, it blends nicely with the old neighborhood. But some of the school's later additions aren't nearly so picturesque – notably an ill-conceived walkway connecting a 1950s-era addition to the east.
GIBSON CITY – Bonnie Arends says her whole world came crashing down on her on Jan. 17, 2003.
That's the morning when her twin sons, Greg and Steve, both seniors at Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley High School, were riding a silver Oldsmobile on Illinois 54 outside of town when the car suddenly left the road and struck a utility pole.
CHAMPAIGN – School officials have proposed a compromise to address concerns of the black community – replacing and enlarging Washington School instead of building in Boulder Ridge.
The board will hold a special meeting at 6:30 p.m. Friday at district headquarters, 703 S. New St., to consider that and any other options that might emerge.
CHAMPAIGN – Emotions ran high at a meeting Wednesday between school officials who are trying to find a location for a new north side school and black community leaders who don't accept the site the district chose.
During the 2-hour meeting, community members lashed out at school officials, questioning their commitment to their legal agreement to equalize education for white and black children. Lawyers and officials clashed, confrontations quickly quelled by committee head William Trent, a University of Illinois education official who guides the committee's discussions.
CHAMPAIGN – Two leaders of the black community are criticizing the site for a proposed new school in northwest Champaign.
"It is so far out and so unacceptable," said Tracy Parsons, head of the Champaign County Urbana League. "I drove out there myself to see it. I think it presents a dilemma to those of us who want to support the school referendum. It's important because work needs to be done in the schools. But that location is unacceptable, and there's no way we can support that."
CHAMPAIGN – If Kathryn Jeffery were Parkland's president, the college would market not just its high tech, but its "high touch."
The last of five Parkland presidential candidates to address its staff, Jeffery stressed the caring and counseling a community college can give its students.
URBANA – An assistant track coach at University High School is accused of molesting two girls since last fall.
Yuri Ermakov, 23, who listed an address in the 1000 block of East Colorado Avenue, Urbana, was arraigned Monday on two separate counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse.
CHAMPAIGN – Gordon G. Burns Jr. learned the value of work from a hammer, nails and his dad.
Born into a family with five kids and somewhat less than modest means, Burns started helping his father in his carpentry business at age 12, and hasn't stopped working since.
CHAMPAIGN – A site selected for a new school north of University Avenue meets one consent decree criterion – it's north.
But, fulfilling the fears of vigilant members of the black community who keep a close eye on equity issues, it's also on the edge of a new subdivision likely to have a primarily white population, which means black student busing will still be the rule rather than the exception.