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All News Content

Legislation to boost jobs introduced

SPRINGFIELD – Back in November, the city of Champaign learned that a Japanese auto parts plant it had hoped would locate there had opted instead for Indiana because that state had offered better incentives.

The plant, NTK Precision Axle Corp., was expected to generate 83 jobs with a payroll of $3.3 million by 2007.

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.

It's Your Business: Taco Bell opening new Champaign restaurant

A new Taco Bell restaurant is coming to Champaign.

The franchise group that operates the four other Taco Bell locations in Champaign-Urbana has leased the property where Schlotzsky's Deli used to be, at 1707 S. Neil St.

Longer TIF urged by staff

CHAMPAIGN – City officials want to introduce legislation in Springfield to extend the life of the city's downtown tax increment financing district for another 12 years.

And, if an agreement can be reached with other taxing bodies, the city is promising to share each year some of the money the downtown district generates.

Krauss adds to Grammy collection

LOS ANGELES – Alison Krauss may need more shelf space.

Krauss, a Champaign native, won three Grammy awards on Sunday night, one for singing with James Taylor and the other two for recordings of her live performances.

Lego lessons learned

Tony Grift is developing a tractor that stops itself from rolling over, a sensor-festooned spray rig that "sees" where fertilizer is needed and a variety of other types of robotic equipment aimed at farming.

"Nobody really likes this whole automated farm idea," the University of Illinois agricultural and biological engineering professor said recently. "But I think it's going to happen. Robots are the future of agriculture."

Dem pushes health care overhaul

MATTOON – Imagine no health insurance deductibles on your paycheck, no co-pays, no premiums, no doctor bills at all.

David Gill can. That's why he's running for Congress.

A place to call home

CHAMPAIGN – With six kids between them, and another on the way, Cynthia and Jamie Bigham were desperate for more room – and a place of their own.

So they were delighted with their new four-bedroom home on Ash Street in Champaign, built with lots of sweat equity and help from the local Habitat for Humanity affiliate.

Rantoul wants to go to the movies

RANTOUL– The Freeman family used to go together to see movies at Rantoul's downtown Wings theater every weekend.

But in February 2000, Chicago-based Kerasotes Theatres shut down the two-screen theater and converted it into a storage building.

Grievance procedures questioned

CHAMPAIGN – Charles Vogel looks back at the last few months and can't quite believe where life has taken him.

The trim, 48-year-old former boxer dislocated his hip while unloading trucks at work last year. Doctors told him he had torn several tendons and needed therapy. Unable to work, he was fired from his job, lost his apartment when his savings ran out, and wound up staying at the TIMES Center in downtown Champaign.