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All News Content

12-year-old's suicide at Pavilion investigated

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.

Two more birds found dead of West Nile

The Illinois Department of Public Health reported this week that dead birds found in Piatt and Douglas counties have tested positive for the West Nile virus.

Tammy Leonard, a spokeswoman for the Illinois Department of Public Health, said a dead crow found in Monticello on Aug. 4 and a dead blue jay in Murdock on Aug. 13 both tested positive for the West Nile virus.

UI infected by viruses

University of Illinois student Alyshia Hicks said she logs onto her computer every day and didn't know about the recent computer viruses rocking home, business and college computers nationwide. The senior in biology is one of the lucky ones.

About 1,000 UI computers out of more than 45,000 on campus were affected by several viruses, including the W32.Blaster worm and the Sobig.F virus, which has been declared the fastest e-mail outbreak ever. MessageLabs Inc., which scans e-mail for viruses, said that within 24 hours, it had scanned more than 1 million copies of the "F" variant of the "Sobig" virus.

UI football great receives club's stamp of approval

CHAMPAIGN – Just in time for football season, the Champaign-Urbana Stamp Club is selling a "first-day cover" featuring University of Illinois legend Red Grange.

"A first-day cover is an envelope with a stamp that's canceled on the first day of a stamp's issue at some post offices," said Louise Toft, president of the Champaign-Urbana Stamp Club. "The U.S. Postal Service has announced a Red Grange stamp, and the club is preparing envelopes that have an additional illustration on the left-hand side.

Basketball game incident yields mixed verdicts

URBANA – A Champaign County jury Thursday returned a mixed bag of verdicts against two Champaign women charged with aggravated battery and resisting and obstructing police stemming from a spirited Urbana High School basketball game more than a year ago.

Latasha Cain, 23, and Chandra Gill, 28, University of Illinois students and roommates, were arrested as a result of their conduct at a Jan. 25, 2002, game against Decatur MacArthur that the Urbana team tied with a three-point shot in the last few seconds of the game.

Referendum for election panel

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.

Urbana Fire Department gets new division chief

URBANA – The director of Arrow Medical Services and Airlife for the past seven years is quitting that position to become a division chief with the Urbana Fire Department.

Mick Humer, 40, of Tolono will start his new job Sept. 8 as one of the fire department's four division chiefs at a salary of $60,000.

Man gets life sentence for 1999 murder

DANVILLE – Contrary to his vocal outbursts of frustration in previous court appearances, convicted murderer Joshua Kruger broke down during his sentencing hearing Wednesday, professing innocence and making apologies moments before Circuit Judge Thomas J. Fahey called him a threat to society and sentenced him to life in prison.

"Substantial incarceration is necessary to protect the public; anything else would be inconsistent with the ends of justice," said Fahey, adding that Kruger's 82-year-old victim, Peter Godels, was in his home, in bed reading, the night Kruger and his accomplice, Henry Graham, invaded his house and beat him to death in July 1999.

Two teens arraigned on murder charges

URBANA – Two teen-agers accused of beating a Champaign man to death face a minimum of 20 years in prison, if convicted of murder charges.

Michael Johnny Ray Cooper, 17, who listed an address in the 1400 block of Briarcliff Drive, Urbana, and Willie D. Barry, 16, who listed an address in the 600 block of Glen Burnie Drive, Champaign, both were arraigned Wednesday on adult charges of first-degree murder. Each faces five counts of murder in the slaying of Fred McNeal, 44, of Champaign.

Sweetcorn Festival has new activities

URBANA – The Marshall Tucker Band, a classic country-rock group that began in 1972 by opening shows for the Allman Brothers, will headline the musical acts Saturday evening at the 28th annual Sweetcorn Festival in Urbana.

The Marshall Tucker Band is scheduled to perform at 8:30 p.m., while blues artist Lonnie Brooks of Chicago will perform the night before at 8 p.m. More than a dozen local and regional groups will perform on five stages throughout the festival, which will open at 5 p.m. Friday and reopen at 11 a.m. Saturday.