CHAMPAIGN – The news this summer about Stratton School students' academic achievement was excellent – dramatically improved standardized test scores.
But Stratton students need to repeat that test score success one more year to take the school off the state's academic watch list.
CHAMPAIGN – Gail Glende Rost still has to get psyched up to make "cold calls" contacting potential contributors to the cause.
But even though fund raising doesn't come naturally, it's not hard for Rost to get excited about her job, helping teachers find new ways to improve learning for children in Champaign and Urbana. She believes education is the key to the community's future, and she spends her days creating opportunities for teachers.
Traditional notions of farmers tilling the soil in the pastoral countryside notwithstanding, agriculture competes with construction and mining where deaths on the job are concerned.
The three routinely fill the top spots on the workplace fatality list every year, and they log death rates six times the average for other industries.
Melvin – Ask Steve Arends about his John Deere tractor and his eyes widen and a grin breaks across his face. He's looking forward to the Farm Progress Show.
That might not seem so unusual for an aspiring farmer, but it is for this 18-year-old. Not so many months ago, he couldn't smile. He couldn't eat, talk, walk or get a joke.
URBANA – By Tuesday, Urbana could join Champaign in allowing bars to serve alcohol until 2 a.m.
The Urbana City Council will hold a special meeting at 7:30 p.m. Monday specifically to consider extending its bar serving hours from 1 a.m. to 2 a.m.
CHAMPAIGN – The death of a 12-year-old Bloomington boy who tried to hang himself at The Pavilion has prompted an investigation into whether there was neglect on the part of caregivers at the Champaign psychiatric hospital.
Jill Manuel, deputy director for communications with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, said the agency is investigating circumstances surrounding the death of Ronald Hamilton, a patient in the hospital portion of the Pavilion when he attempted to hang himself on Aug. 11.
Tony Kresl, 25, doesn't consider himself the typical "cutesy" second-grade teacher who enjoys working with glitter on art projects. He actually looks more like a former college defensive tackle.
But even rarer than being a male elementary school teacher is that Kresl has stayed put at his job. He is entering his fourth year at Champaign's Dr. Howard Elementary, where he received his start in teaching. Trends show most teachers rarely remain in the same school or school district for more than a couple of years.
URBANA – Champaign County government's vacation buyback policy, which allows county employees to cash in unused vacation hours, could be coming to an end.
The Champaign County Board's Policy, Personnel and Procedures Committee voted earlier this week to drop the program for non-union employees, effective with the start of the county's new fiscal year, on Dec. 1. Employees would also not be allowed to cash in unused personal leave.
Playing a computer game will never be quite the same for Becky Pinckheard.
"Every time I look at a game from now on I'm going to go, 'Think how much trouble those people had to go through,'" the ninth-grader from Roscoe said at the University of Illinois on Friday.
URBANA – Champaign County voters will probably get to have a say on whether there should be a county election commission.
Following a highly emotional debate, the Champaign County Board voted 14-13 Thursday against creating a county election commission, with Democrats Louis Smith of Rantoul, Steve Beckett of rural Urbana and Tom Betz of Urbana joining 11 Republicans in defeating the proposal.