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Farm show gets big hand from volunteers

HENNING – Danville resident Kenneth Kuhn, who was born and raised on a farm in Nebraska, is looking forward to checking out the harvesting machinery at this year's Farm Progress Show.

That is, if he can find the time.

Kuhn, along with about 120 others from Emmanuel Lutheran, Trinity Lutheran and Bethel Lutheran churches in Danville and Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Hoopeston, expects to be busy flipping hamburgers and sliding hotdogs onto buns in one of the show's numerous food tents.

Farm show all about progress

HENNING – Within a few months, farmland north of Henning has been transformed from fields of corn to a city of tents. People are zipping around on ATVs, polishing tractors, hanging banners and installing an 85-foot-tall pole topped with a 15,000-pound Kinzie grain cart.

The Super Bowl of farm shows sure has come a long way since its debut 50 years ago.

Parkland center helping students succeed

CHAMPAIGN – Linda Moore steers students who enter Parkland College with academic deficiencies down the right track for future classroom success.

Moore and other counselors, teachers and tutors work with new Parkland students who can't pass college-entry-level assessment tests – typically in reading, writing or mathematics – to correct their deficiencies, support their adjustment to college life and help solve personal problems that might interfere with work they do in the classroom.

Tractorcade takes special guests to show

HENNING – A parade of more than 200 antique tractors led by WGN farm broadcaster Max Armstrong and a Melvin teen-ager badly injured in an accident set the pace Saturday for the 2003 Farm Progress Show next week.

It wasn't a very fast pace – the old tractors don't cover ground very quickly, and the 15-mile trip took three hours – but it was just the right pace for the opening event for the 50th Farm Progress Show which will open Tuesday and continues Wednesday and Thursday.

For some, second chance at career choice is teaching

Randy Bost was enjoying a steady career in sales for a waste recycling company in Auburn, Ala., which he described as quite fun. But he knew it wasn't his ideal job, so Bost switched to teaching at age 41.

"I knew I was going to fulfill that dream one day," the first-grade Robeson Elementary School teacher said with a drawl. "This is for me. It's what I wanted to do."

An unsolved mystery weighs heavy

CHAMPAIGN – Two years after the death of their mother, the children of Linda L. Smith are haunted with questions.

Officially, the manner of death for the 59-year-old Champaign woman remains "undetermined."

Piland blasts Democrats on county board

URBANA – The Champaign County Board this week defeated a budget amendment that would have allowed Champaign County State's Attorney John Piland to expand his office's domestic violence prosecutions and services.

Piland on Friday criticized the nine county board Democrats who voted against the budget amendment, saying they had no justifiable reason for their vote. The vote in favor of the $47,927 budget amendment was 17 to 9, with 18 votes required for passage.

Liberal or not, C-U still is no Berkeley, Calif.

BERKELEY, Calif. – Urbana progressives might, in their wilder moments, view their city as the Berkeley of the Midwest.

But Robert Berdahl, chancellor at the University of California at Berkeley who spent seven years at the University of Illinois during the late 1980s and early 1990s, has lived and worked in both Berkeley and Champaign-Urbana.

Charges against shelter reviewed

DANVILLE – Danville police are still investigating whether a male director of a recently-opened homeless shelter for teen-age mothers sexually abused a client.

In the meantime, the executive director of the Open Door of Hope House of Refuge said she will petition the city to amend the facility's special-use zoning permit to increase the minimum age of the clientele.

Listening in to save lives

URBANA – Urbana firefighters this week learned how to use a new, high-tech rescue tool that will help them find somebody in a collapsed building.

Fire Chief Rex Mundt said the Urbana department already had the training and equipment to rescue people in collapsed trenches or buildings or other confined spaces. Urbana recently received a "LifeDetector," a sophisticated listening device that helps rescue crews pinpoint the locations of any people trapped in such rubble, he said.