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Two Urbana teaching jobs among possible cuts

URBANA – Sharply divided school board members added one teacher's job to their list of potential cuts Tuesday, and at least one more job is on the line.

Board President Joyce Hudson didn't attend the meeting because she was sick, but she watched the action on cable television, phoned staff members to communicate her opinions on issues, and when the vote on teachers' jobs and several other issues stalled at 3-3, Hudson came in to tip the balance in favor of those cuts.

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.

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.

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.

Police 'cover-up' alleged

CHAMPAIGN – A Champaign woman believes that officials are involved in a "cover-up" of mistreatment by Champaign police officers in their investigation of what was broadcast by dispatchers as a "robbery just occurred."

"The system is so crooked and evil," Debra Williams, 37, said. "They did a lot of cover-up."

Williams said she feels her rights and those of her son, Rashad, and nephew, Anthony Thomas, were violated that night. She said she prays that no one else is subjected to such treatment.

It's Your Business: New collision center set to open in Champaign

A new auto collision repair business called Blue Star Collision Centers is set to open in Champaign - March 8.

It will be located at 2001 Kankakee Drive, behind the Wal-Mart and Sam's Club stores.