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All News Content

Budget plan may cause pension problems

SPRINGFIELD – The heads of the state retirement systems testified Wednesday that they are already being forced to sell off investment assets to cover the pension checks they owe this year, and that the situation would worsen dramatically under Gov. Rod Blagojevich's proposed budget.

The governor seeks to reduce the state's contribution to the systems by $860 million over the next four years.

Speeders may be on film soon

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois State Police could install radar-equipped cameras to catch speeding motorists in Illinois highway construction zones, under legislation a House committee approved unanimously Tuesday.

Bob Crane, highway worker from Roselle, said he was constantly having to jump out of the way of cars while at work until he was hit last year by a car going 50 mph.

'He made it when it counted'

CHAMPAIGN – Verdell Jones III's coach, Todd Anderson, watched his protege try to repeat his now-famous 80-foot shot on national television today.

Verdell missed several shots on ABC's "Good Morning America," but that didn't diminish Anderson's pride.

Microsoft exec's college tour makes stop at UI

College dropouts don't often get rousing applause when they enter a room. But not many college dropouts are called an "iconic figure" by University of Illinois President James Stukel.

That was the case at 7 p.m. Tuesday when Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates walked across the Foellinger Auditorium stage, as he prepared to speak about the evolution of computers and the next wave of breakthroughs.

Morning-after pill measure advances

SPRINGFIELD – Women would be able to obtain the morning-after pill in Illinois without a prescription, under legislation advanced by a House committee Tuesday.

The pill, which is essentially a double dose of birth control pills, reduces the chance of pregnancy by up to 89 percent if taken within 72 hours of unprotected intercourse, so quick access is crucial, said state Rep. Sara Feigenholtz, D-Chicago.

Champaign won't back tram

CHAMPAIGN – Champaign City Council members said Tuesday night they've been listening to their constituents, and that those constituents want no part of a proposed $178 million fixed guideway or tram system.

So council members voted 7-2 to ignore the recommendation of city staff and to reject a proposal to endorse a fixed guideway system as the locally preferred alternative for improving the local mass transit system.

Central Illinois Bank's parent announces losses for 2003

CHAMPAIGN – It's tough times for CIB Marine Bancshares, the parent company of Central Illinois Bank.

The Pewaukee, Wis.-based company sent a letter to shareholders Friday announcing its president's retirement, a loss for the year 2003 and the likelihood that banking regulators will restrict more of its operations.

Delta releases fares for new Willard flights

CHAMPAIGN – Passengers can fly from Champaign-Urbana to Cincinnati and back for $156, under introductory rates announced Monday by Delta Air Lines.

The airline plans to offer three Delta Connection flights a day between Champaign-Urbana and Cincinnati beginning May 14.

5 face charges for having methamphetamine parts

URBANA – Champaign police arrested five people Sunday for possession of methamphetamine components after security staff at two discount stores called officers about suspected drug activity.

All were charged Monday in Champaign County Circuit Court with unlawful possession of methamphetamine manufacturing chemicals, a Class 2 felony carrying penalties ranging from probation to three to seven years in prison.

Savoy park funds not part of governor's proposed cuts

SAVOY– While Gov. Rod Blagojevich has proposed pulling the plug on $30 million of funding for the purchase of land for new parks, money for a new park in Savoy hasn't been affected.

Last week, the governor proposed a one-year "holiday" on the Illinois Department of Natural Resources' open lands program, which provides money to preserve open lands and pay for new parks and playgrounds.