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All News Content

Urbana alumni reach out

URBANA – For years, loosely organized Urbana High School alumni have quietly raised money for extras, like the school's all-weather track– a project the district couldn't afford.

Now, leaders are kicking fund-raising efforts into high gear, looking for more members and trying to put the alumni association on stable, permanent financial footing.

United Way campaign under way

DANVILLE – The United Way of Danville Area campaign officially got off to a quiet start Wednesday, and team leaders picked up their packets Thursday to begin working toward a goal of raising $880,000 – down from $935,000 last year.

The Danville agency has begun a new process this year of setting its goal using money received in the prior campaign as a starting point.

Movie magic may return to LeRoy

LeROY – David Kraft was so happy with how the remodeling of the Art Theatre in Champaign turned out, he went out and bought another old movie palace.

Kraft, an Urbana resident who owns the Art Theatre building in downtown Champaign, along with a number of apartments in Champaign-Urbana, is buying the Princess Theatre in downtown LeRoy. But he isn't facing a mere remodeling of the Princess. Instead, it will be a major renovation that could take up to a year. However, Kraft is hoping to get the theater in shape within six to nine months.

Mourning loss

CLINTON – A pastor of the family that lost three children in a drowning at Clinton Lake said family members expressed their gratitude to the emergency personnel who tried to save the children.

The Rev. Billy Bell of the Clinton Assembly of God Church on Friday said no words can express the grief the Hamm family experienced when Christopher Hamm, 6, Austin Brown, 3, and Kyleigh Hamm, 23 months, all of Clinton, drowned in a car that went into the lake Tuesday night.

Couple gives $1.5 million for UI project

URBANA – A Champaign couple is donating $1.5 million toward a new University of Illinois alumni center to be built on the east side of campus.

UI Alumni Association President and CEO Loren Taylor announced the gift from Jack and Marjorie Richmond on Thursday. The Richmonds made the gift in honor of Jack Richmond's parents, the late Arthur and Mildred Richmond.

Status hearing on Salt Fork project delayed

URBANA – A hearing on a petition for authority to dredge and clear-cut a 21-mile stretch of the Salt Fork from St. Joseph to Rantoul has been delayed until November at the request of the petitioners.

Jeff Tock, attorney for the Upper Salt Fork Drainage District, said district commissioners want more time to review their engineering recommendations and "potentially" modify the scope of the project.

Community reacts to children's deaths

CLINTON – Thursday was a sad day at Douglas Elementary School, according to Clinton Assistant Superintendent of Schools Jeff Holmes.

Two of three children who drowned earlier this week at Clinton Lake were enrolled at the school.

Board pulls plug on leave, vacation buybacks

URBANA – The Champaign County Board has pulled the plug on the county's generous vacation and leave buyback policy for nonunion employees.

In a voice vote, the Champaign County Board voted Thursday night to end the policy effective Nov. 30, the end of the county's fiscal year, for its nonunion employees. Eliminating buyback is also on the negotiating table in contract talks with 11 different bargaining units that represent unionized county employees.

Judge says part of act is invalid

URBANA – A Champaign County judge has declared a portion of the state's sex offender registration act unconstitutional.

It will now be up to the Illinois Supreme Court to decide whether Judge Tom Difanis' rationale is sound.

United Way leader hired for county

CHAMPAIGN – Tammy Lemke has been chosen as the new director of the United Way of Champaign County.

Lemke has been the organization's chief financial officer since April 2002, and takes over from Bill Kitson, who left in June to take a job with the United Way of Greater Milwaukee.