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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.

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.

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."

In search of a new president

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.

Blaze leaves town 'a war zone'

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.

Urbana schools considering possible cuts

URBANA – School district board members Saturday sat down to do some serious calculations about budget cuts that must be made to put the district back in the black.

Now on the table: the possibility that two or even three teachers' positions might be cut. Those teachers' jobs would be eliminated at Yankee Ridge, Prairie and Wiley schools, saving up to about $105,000, said Superintendent Gene Amberg, who outlined options for board members, who all attended the three-hour session, and for about 25 people in the audience.

Downtown chief has full plate

CHAMPAIGN – When the Champaign Downtown Association formed in 1995, parking – specifically the fastidious enforcement of it – was the unifying and motivating theme.

Among the early successes of the organization was getting the city to agree to stop enforcing parking meters during the holiday season.

Exercise tones up mind, too

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?"