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Police expect more arrests in murder case

CHAMPAIGN – Two Champaign men have now been charged with fatally strangling a Champaign woman, but police say their investigation is continuing.

"Two people are in custody, and we hope to make more arrests," Champaign Police Chief R.T. Finney said Wednesday.

Guilty plea in attempted murder

URBANA – A Champaign man who admitted he wanted his wife dead so he could carry on his life with a lover pleaded guilty Tuesday to attempted murder.

Jason Broadstone, 31, who listed an address on Leichner Drive, faces a maximum of 15 years in prison for the Class X felony when sentenced next month by Champaign County Judge Heidi Ladd.

Bill would require sprinklers in dorms

SPRINGFIELD – Legislation recently introduced in the General Assembly aims to make dormitory dwellers safer by requiring the state's private and public colleges and universities to put sprinklers in all campus residential buildings.

"Student housing on campus is not as safe as parents think it is," said state Rep. Danny Burke, D-Chicago, the sponsor of HB 4361. "Only 35 percent of dormitories have a fire sprinkler system, and anyone who has ever visited a dormitory knows how these buildings breed fire hazards. Hundreds of young adults are crammed together, sometimes three or four people to one room. Students are burning candles and have a computer, TV, VCR, DVD, stereo, phone and toaster oven all plugged into one outlet. This is an accident waiting to happen."

Urbana Park District board hires new executive director

URBANA – The Urbana Park District board has hired a Lafayette, Ind., woman as its new executive director.

The park board voted unanimously Tuesday night to hire Vicki Mayes as the district's new executive director. Mayes, who said she was "a little bit over 50" years of age, will start March 15 at a salary of $76,000 annually, including a $4,000 car allowance.

2nd man arrested in death of woman

CHAMPAIGN – A second man has been arrested by Champaign police for the murder of an elderly Champaign woman.

Police spokeswoman Joan Walls said Ramone Dashon Roebuck, whose last known address was in the 1100 block of North Fifth Street, was arrested at his home on a warrant about 4:15 p.m. Tuesday. Judge Jeffrey Ford issued the warrant for first-degree murder charges and set the bond on the warrant at $500,000, she said.

Climbing accident kills UI student

NEW ZEALAND – A mountain climbing accident has claimed a star in the University of Illinois math department.

Adrian Iordache, a fourth-year doctoral student from Romania, died Feb. 5 after falling from Mount Cook, New Zealand's highest peak.

Righter seeks to set timeline for executions

SPRINGFIELD – Recalling the brutal 2001 rape and murder of 21-year-old Eastern Illinois University student Shannon McNamara, state Sen. Dale Righter, R-Mattoon, on Monday moved to expedite the final steps toward execution of her convicted killer and others sent to death row.

Anthony Mertz, 27, formerly of Rossville, who was sentenced to death last February for McNamara's murder in Coles County, is one of only two inmates on death row. He was sentenced a month after former Gov. George Ryan commuted the sentences of all prisoners awaiting execution.

Brothers will share Indian heritage

CHAMPAIGN – Several years ago at a flea market in New Mexico, the wind kept stealing Phyllis Bodnar's hat. Ben Yellowhorse, a Navajo silversmith, kept retrieving it for her.

As a result, he met Bodnar's husband, Peter, now a retired professor of art at the University of Illinois. The two hit it off. A couple of weeks later, after returning to Urbana, Bodnar called Yellowhorse and asked him to make jewelry for him.

Opera house to aikido

URBANA – Decades before the martial art aikido was created, an opera house was created above a harness shop in the Busey Block of West Main Street.

Now aikido practitioners have restored the opera hall into a dojo, or practice room, above the Cinema Art Gallery. Even before it was fully restored in November, the Central Illinois Aikikai began offering classes on practice mats beneath the immaculately restored tin ceiling, now a flawless white.

Coach's supporters confront school board

CHAMPAIGN – Firefighters, community members and teachers packed the Champaign schools' boardroom Monday to confront administrators about the firing of a popular Franklin Middle School coach.

But they got little satisfaction. After listening impassively to comments about the firing last week of part-time coach Todd Anderson, who was reinstated last weekend for the remainder of the season, board members adjourned into an executive session, with attorneys, that lasted for about 80 minutes.