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URBANA– Francisco Gonzalez has made enough bad decisions to last two lifetimes. He's looking to get his life back on track through his desire for drawing, which got him into trouble in the first place.
At 6 feet tall and weighing 230 pounds, he resembles a linebacker – more likely to tackle an unsuspecting receiver running across the middle of the field than to sketch someone a shirt full of cartoon characters.
The phone companies aren't kidding when they say "additional charges may apply."
Add up the various charges and taxes on land-line and wireless phone bills and you can end up with a phone bill higher than the advertised cost. In the case of a sample bill provided by AT&T, the bill's total was 40 percent higher than the price of the local service plan.
CHAMPAIGN – For 30-some years, St. Mary's Road was an unofficial line of demarcation between the University of Illinois campus and farmland to the south.
Even if it was UI land on the south, it was still agrarian, spotted with farms, barns, sheeps, pigs, horses and cattle, and close enough for city kids to ride their bikes over and investigate the rural life in their back yard.
SPRINGFIELD – While waiting for his car one night outside a fund-raiser about a decade ago, Champaign native-turned-Chicago roofing contractor Christopher G. Kelly met a gregarious young state lawmaker.
"He just came up and introduced himself," Kelly said.
SULLIVAN – A jury has found Moultrie County Board member William Wade Baumgartner guilty of perjury for signing election papers for the county board while living in Champaign.
The jury of seven men and four women returned a guilty verdict following four hours of deliberation on Thursday.
ST. JOSEPH – A "really very odd incident" resulted in a fire that caused $60,000 in damage and injured a St. Joseph man.
According to Russell Chism, assistant chief of the St. Joseph-Stanton Fire Protection District, firefighters were called to 2260 Wesley Court at 10 a.m. Friday. They found a house with "smoke throughout the residence," Chism said.
DANVILLE – An Oakwood man was arraigned on murder charges Friday in Vermilion County Circuit Court in the death of his girlfriend's daughter.
Andrew R. Drollinger, 19, of the 200 block of Barbara Drive, was charged with four counts of first-degree murder in the death of 10-month-old Macey Duewer, the daughter of Jessica Shields of St. Joseph.
CHAMPAIGN – The Champaign City Council can't seem to get away from the alcohol issue.
At a Jan. 13 study session, the council rejected a proposed three-year moratorium on the number of downtown bars in a controversial 5-4 vote. The council then also instructed staff to draw up a liquor ordinance amendment that would set no cap at all on the number of package liquor licenses. The current limit is 29.
HARRODSBURG, Ky. – The case of a former Champaign police officer accused of plotting to kill a woman and her family in Kentucky has been pushed back pending completion of a competence evaluation.
At a hearing Tuesday in Mercer County Circuit Court, the defense attorneys for Kevin Crum asked that a status hearing be continued while Crum completes a competency evaluation, according to Commonwealth Attorney Richie Bottoms, who is prosecuting the case.
GEORGETOWN – It has taken more than three years from start to finish, but a retired Georgetown-Ridge Farm High School bookkeeper has seen her dream come true.
Janie Galyen has written her first novel, "Palmetto Summer," a mystery-romance, published by the online company Publish America.