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Five-man band lets music do the talking

CHAMPAIGN – "The Flintstones Theme" has probably never before been played at the University YMCA's Know Your Universities series, whose topics rarely lend themselves to cartoons.

New York jazzman Cecil Bridgewater changed all that Tuesday with a beboppy rendition of the animation theme, as well as "Take the A Train," in which his five-man band rivaled Duke Ellington's.

Health center can't keep up with demand

CHAMPAIGN – For more than two years, the growing medical needs of low-income and uninsured people have been steadily gaining on what Frances Nelson Health Center in Champaign has to offer.

About a month ago, the clinic could no longer keep up. It started a waiting list for new patients, and those on it now number about 200, said Frances Nelson's site director, Andrea Goldberg.

Urbana council gives final OK for Wal-Mart

URBANA – With little fanfare or controversy, the Urbana City Council gave final approval Monday night to a Wal-Mart Supercenter project at the southeast corner of U.S. 150 and Illinois 130.

Aldermen unanimously approved a final plat for the first phase of the project, which will include a roughly 200,000-square-foot supercenter and an accompanying gas station on 27 acres.

Area man selected for development post

SPRINGFIELD – Gov. Rod Blagojevich on Monday put Vermilion County Board Chairman Todd Lee in charge of implementing his "Opportunity Returns" economic development plan for East Central Illinois.

The plan for Champaign, Vermilion, Piatt, Douglas, Ford and Iroquois counties is slated to be next in the governor's series of 10 regionally targeted job growth initiatives, but a date for the announcement has not yet been set, said Blagojevich spokesman Andrew Ross. Plans for six other regions have already been released.

Danville teen-ager critical after stabbing

DANVILLE – A Danville teen-ager is clinging to life in an Urbana hospital after being stabbed in a disagreement with another teen early Sunday morning in Vermilion County.

Vermilion County Sheriff Pat Hartshorn said Dustin Pruitt, 18, of Danville, was stabbed early Sunday morning near the boat ramp at Lake Vermilion.

Dredging fight will go to trial

URBANA – The stalled Salt Fork River dredging project that has pitted environmental activists against farmers will be going to trial later this month.

Judge Michael Jones set the trial for 9 a.m. March 17 in Champaign County Circuit Court.

Rantoul police purchase 6 Tasers

RANTOUL – Rantoul police Officer Shane Cook says he wishes he had a Taser a few weeks ago when he responded to a call about a domestic dispute.

When Cook tried to break up a fight between a husband and a wife, the husband ran off and jumped through an apartment window. Cook had to chase the man and physically put him down in a parking lot before he could make an arrest.

Group helps give homeless a voice

CHAMPAIGN – Homeless men and women who have complaints about agencies set up to serve them may get help from a new advocacy group.

The Council of Service Providers to the Homeless created the panel last week, responding to complaints about "in-house" grievance policies and other issues at Champaign's TIMES Center.

Fire a financial blow to Rossville

ROSSVILLE – A fire that destroyed a block of businesses in Rossville's downtown over the weekend will have a significant impact on the village and the local school district, both of which are facing a critical time.

"For 25 years, we've been known as an antique collectors business district," Mayor Terry Prillaman said, adding the sales tax loss will be devastating. "That side of the street was the primary side for a majority of the antiques."

Language studies at Jefferson likely will be reduced

CHAMPAIGN – Jefferson Middle School's expanded language program likely will be reduced next year to mirror language curriculum at other Champaign middle schools.

The change is part of the district's attempt to align curriculum at all schools, especially at middle schools, which are the next step in a school assignment plan linked to equity issues being monitored in federal court.