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All News Content

Cottage getting a lift

BEMENT – No, Abraham Lincoln did not sleep here.

But the future president did set foot inside Bryant Cottage in 1858 to talk to his rival, Stephen Douglas, about scheduling a series of personal debates that would start a trend that continues today, said Marilyn Ayers, overseer of the tiny Bement historical site that's about to be lifted, literally, for major foundation renovations.

Family of plaintiff recalls historic ruling

URBANA – She remembers the tiring seven-block walk to catch the bus that took her another 2 miles to a segregated all-black school. She remembers tears freezing on her cheeks as she waited in the cold to take her place inside an overcrowded bus.

And she remembers her mild-mannered father, Oliver Brown, taking her by the hand and walking with her into Sumner Elementary School, an all-white school in Topeka, Kan., in September 1950. And she remembers being turned away when school officials refused to enroll her there.

Parents troubled by school proposal

CHAMPAIGN – Parents and teachers say they're worried about several components of Champaign's new middle school programming plan.

Chief among them: curtailed foreign language instruction at one middle school, possibilities that could exist for creating "tracks" and conflicts in proposed scheduling that could make it difficult for some students to take music and other electives.

State audit criticizes college pension system

SPRINGFIELD – The State Universities Retirement System should have noticed sooner when Chicago City Colleges was six months behind in submitting required employer contributions, Auditor General William Holland reported Thursday.

Because of a software error on its part, the community college had stopped making the payments in question in January 2003, but SURS did not notice until June 2003, a new state audit said.

Threat over Chief a surprise

URBANA – University of Illinois officials, from the president on down, said Thursday they had no knowledge of Senate President Emil Jones threatening to withhold state funding if the trustees don't vote to retire Chief Illiniwek.

"It's not something that's been communicated to us," said spokesman Thomas Hardy.

Jury set to decide on fate of two teens

URBANA – A Champaign County jury was to decide today if punches that two teens rained down on a Champaign man last August amount to murder.

Attorneys for Willie Barry, 17, of Champaign, and Michael Cooper, 18, of Urbana, are expected to argue that their clients had no intention of killing Fredrick "Freddie" McNeal or even causing him great bodily harm when they hit him.

Those for, against Chief state cases to trustees

URBANA – Hundreds of people crowded into the University of Illinois trustees' meeting at the Illini Union this morning to lobby for and against Chief Illiniwek.

No vote was scheduled on the issue today.

Speakers for the most part offered familiar arguments. They, like the crowd of about 250 to 300, were about evenly divided on each side of the issue.

Panel studies Vermilion River dams, safety

DANVILLE – A special advisory committee on Tuesday began discussing what the city should do to improve safety at two deadly lowhead dams on the Vermilion River near downtown Danville, and it learned it may get some help along the way.

Mayor Scott Eisenhauer told the committee that University of Illinois Professor Marcelo Garcia has asked whether some of his advanced civil engineering students could take on one of the dams as a class project. "They would study the dam," Eisenhauer said referring to the dam east of Memorial Bridge on South Gilbert Street, "look at the options, determine which one might be feasible and present a recommendation."

Middle school revamp may cost over $1.5 million

CHAMPAIGN – Realigning Champaign's middle school curriculum will cost more than $1.5 million, according to details released at a public meeting Wednesday.

Unit 4 administrators outlined plans for the changes, which will align specific elementary schools with each of the three district middle schools, and they also proposed changing the starting and ending times at the schools so day lengths at all three are the same.

Buffer strips get solid reviews in UI study

When a community grows in the Midwest, especially in East Central Illinois, chances are that the expansion will involve farmland.

Trouble is, urban residents moving into the countryside and farms don't always make compatible neighbors.