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Coach spins tough exit into 'learning tool'

STANFORD – It was an appropriate end to an eighth-grade championship basketball game that was tight all the way through two overtimes.

A Franklin Middle School player fouled, a Morton Junior High School player made two free throws to move ahead two points and, with two seconds on the clock, Franklin player Verdell Jones III pulled off a perfect Hail Mary shot, hurling the ball 80 feet into the basket to clinch the championship.

Strong finish to marathon study

David Sherwood has been a marathon runner outside the lab – it's about the only time you would have seen his name in the paper over the years; professionally he has kept a low profile – so why not in the lab as well?

The University of Illinois molecular and integrative physiology professor, who has spent 30 years studying a single hormone integral to the birth process, traces the start of the race to his boyhood on a farm in Wisconsin.

Urbana man found guilty of murder

URBANA – A 19-year-old Urbana man could spend the rest of his life in prison following his conviction Friday for first-degree murder.

Because the six-man, six-woman jury found that Lamonte Dixon Jr. personally fired the gun that killed Teri Clark last spring, he faces penalties ranging from 45 to 85 years in prison. He'll have to serve 100 percent of whatever sentence he receives.

Area police teaming up

Local police departments announced a new partnership Friday for officers to receive training on dealing with people who suffer from mental illnesses.

The Champaign, Rantoul, University of Illinois and Urbana Police departments have joined forces to create the East Central Illinois Crisis Intervention Team. Funded by an Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board $100,000 grant, the Crisis Intervention Team will provide response by trained officers for mentally ill persons who may be in a crisis.

Foundry damages reduced

URBANA – A Champaign County judge Friday let stand her earlier ruling that reduced the amount of punitive damages that 36 neighbors of Alloy Engineering and Casting are to receive.

In September, a Champaign County jury ruled that the 63-year-old foundry at 1700 W. Washington St., C, should have to pay $1.08 million in damages to 36 of 80 plaintiffs who had filed suit against the plant alleging that emissions from the plant were damaging property and diminishing the quality of life for neighbors.

Trams on council agenda

CHAMPAIGN – The Champaign City Council will be asked Tuesday night to endorse a fixed-guideway or tram system for improving Champaign-Urbana's mass transit system.

But at least two council members say they have some doubts about pursuing such a project. The estimated cost is $178 million, and 20 percent to 30 percent of that would come from local sources.

Candidate: Budget gives short shrift to UI needs

Deborah Frank Feinen, the Republican running to replace state Rep. Naomi Jakobsson, D-Urbana, in the House this fall, is not happy with the governor's budget proposal, which cuts state funding to the University of Illinois and a number of higher education grants.

The governor's budget shows higher education funding increasing but does so by including the tuition and income fund and other university-held funds, including research money and endowments. The amount of state funds the UI is slated to get in the year beginning July 1 is actually $14 million less than this year, a 2 percent cut.

Mental health services for kids get attention

One in 10 Illinois children suffers from severe depression or other serious mental health problems. Yet only a fifth of them get the services they need.

Statistics like those prompted the state to form a new panel to develop a comprehensive mental health plan for children ages birth to 18.

UI group will check for artifacts in Savoy

SAVOY – Savoy is enlisting the help of the University of Illinois anthropology department to check for American Indian artifacts before it proceeds with its new 50.7-acre park.

Instructors, students and graduates from the UI's public service archaeology program, which is part of the anthropology department, will be bringing their digging tools this spring to farmland south of Church Street and east of the Canadian National Railroad tracks. The archaeological survey will cost the village about $600.

Carle hospital will face review on tax status

URBANA – While a recent decision by the state to revoke Provena Covenant Medical Center's property tax-exempt status reverberates nationally, Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana will undergo similar scrutiny.

Carle Foundation and Cunningham Township officials said Thursday that the main block of Carle Foundation Hospital, the complex of buildings located north of University Avenue, will be reassessed next month by the Cunningham Township assessor's office. The entire block of property will then be placed on the tax rolls, including portions of the buildings used by the hospital, which is currently property-tax exempt.