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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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
When Art Kramer tells college students about studying the effects of exercise on the brains of older folks, the reaction is sometimes on the order of: "People over 58? What do I care?"
Kramer has a simple response: "Do you plan on getting older?"
URBANA – Even knowing what he knows now, Stan Ikenberry said that if it was 1979 again, he happily would accept the job as president of the University of Illinois.
"It's tough, demanding, but it's one of the most marvelous leadership roles there are. ... I would do it again without hesitation," Ikenberry told trustees earlier this month.
ROSSVILLE – As construction crews began pulling down the charred remains of historic buildings in the heart of downtown Rossville Saturday, Ralph Larkin tried to salvage what remained of the barber shop he ran for nearly 15 years.
"There isn't much left," Larkin said, as he and others loaded some chairs, a cabinet, a set of clippers and a few other items into the back of a truck.