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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.