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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.
CHAMPAIGN – Millions of people who wear contact lenses have a brand new legal right some may never have known they were missing – the right to buy their lenses wherever they choose.
Under a federal law that took effect Wednesday, eye care professionals, such as optometrists and ophthalmologists, must release contact lenses prescriptions to their patients after the fitting process has been completed.
CHAMPAIGN – School administrators Saturday resolved a controversy that's caused a storm in the district – and the community – by reinstating Franklin Middle School basketball coach Todd Anderson.
They announced that Anderson will be allowed to coach his seventh- and eighth-grade teams until the season ends, but they also announced that he will then resign from his job as coach there.
URBANA – John Gadau was ecstatic when he heard Nancy Cantor had resigned. To Steve Kaufman, it was "a death in the family."
The only thing these two men have in common is an intense interest in Chief Illiniwek: Gadau bought billboards calling for Cantor's ouster and the Chief's retention; Kaufman has worked tirelessly to attack the Chief as a racist mascot.
CHAMPAIGN – A Franklin Middle School basketball coach fired after a confrontation with the Champaign superintendent's son says support from parents and the community has been "overwhelming."
The Champaign school board meets at 7 p.m. Monday at the Mellon Building, 703 S. New St., C, and district spokeswoman Beth Shepperd said public comment on the Franklin events is expected.
DANVILLE – A local taxicab company's license has been revoked after its owner was found guilty of six city ordinance violations.
Mayor Scott Eisenhauer ordered Winter Bruce of Fetch Um Transportation, 708 N. Vermilion St., to surrender his business license and permits to the city by noon Monday and to cease all operations by or before that time.
CHAMPAIGN – A preliminary study to look at what it would take for Champaign and Urbana to implement a municipal electric system may be put on hold, as the cities wait to see whether St. Louis-based Ameren will improve service and upgrade the local electric infrastructure.
Ameren announced earlier this week that it will spend $2.3 billion to acquire Illinois Power's distribution centers from Dynegy, as well as Dynegy's 20 percent stake in a Joppa coal mine.
University of Illinois researchers have revealed nature's method of making a potent antibiotic, a process which scientists have been trying to reproduce since the late 1980s.
The discovery by UI chemistry Professor Wilfred van der Donk and colleagues could lead to making powerful new antibiotics the natural way. That's important in an age when growing antibiotic resistance is a concern in medicine and other fields, and when the threat of terrorist attacks with biological weapons looms, heightening the need for new antibiotics.
SPRINGFIELD – The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign was happy to see its $52 million Lincoln Hall renovation project listed as a top priority in the Illinois Board of Higher Education's budget proposal this week, but the overall outlook for the state's universities and community colleges was a little more bleak.
The board's proposed budget for the year beginning July 1 represents "a careful, realistic way of thinking" in light of the state's current fiscal crisis, said executive director Dan LaVista.
SPRINGFIELD – Scholarships for Illinois' top high school graduates may be the latest casualties of the state's budget crisis.
The Illinois Student Assistance Commission and the Illinois Board of Higher Education are recommending that the state eliminate funding for the Merit Recognition Scholarship program for the year beginning July 1.