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All News Content

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.

Subdivision opens doors

TOLONO – With a new developer at the helm and construction of the first houses under way, the new Deerpath Subdivision in Tolono is being prepared for its first public showing on a grand scale.

From noon to 5 p.m. Oct. 18 and 19, eight to 10 houses in various stages of construction will be open for tours.

Punch ballots again for '04 votes

URBANA – Vermilion County Clerk Lynn Foster says that the punch-card system of voting is "not a good system." In particular, she said she notices that whenever she handles punch-card ballots, she invariably finds loose chads left behind, making her question the accuracy of vote counts.

"Are these chads loosened by the voters, or are these ballots fragile enough that chads fall out on their own?" she asked.

County board votes to raise variety of fees

URBANA – With little discussion, the Champaign County Board voted Thursday to approve increases in a variety of court fees and fees levied for copies of documents from the county clerk's office.

All told, the increases approved will generate an additional $756,000 for the county in fiscal 2004, which begins Dec. 1. They come on top of $226,000 in other fee increases approved earlier this year for the sheriff's office and for parking.

College fair gives students chance to 'window shop'

CHAMPAIGN – Area high school students can shop for the right college at the upcoming Illinois College Exposition on Wednesday at Parkland College.

About 70 different colleges and universities, ranging in size from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana and other major state universities to tiny Berry College at Mount Berry, Ga., will be represented at the event from 6 to 8 p.m. at Parkland's gymnasium.

Interim department head at UI selected

URBANA – Howard Maclay, a former University of Illinois director of the Institute of Communications Research, has been named interim head of the department of advertising, effective immediately.

The selection, made by Interim College of Communications Dean Ronald Yates, is a move to stabilize a department that has been rocked by criticism. This week a committee that was appointed to evaluate the UI's College of Communications described the advertising department as "imploding" and recommended disbanding the department and making it an area of specialization.