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Two men killed in a rural crash

TOLONO – Two men were killed in a two-vehicle collision southeast of Tolono on Friday morning.

Champaign County sheriff's Lt. Charles Deakin said the collision happened at the intersection of county roads 600 North and 1200 East, also known as South First Street extended, at 6:28 a.m.

Man arrested for illegal chemical hauling

URBANA – A Fithian man faces charges of illegal hauling of a farm chemical that's also used for making methamphetamine.

Todd Mitchell, 44, was charged by Champaign County prosecutors Thursday with a Class 4 felony of illegal transportation of anhydrous ammonia. Mitchell is due to return to court Aug. 14 with a private attorney after he was denied the appointment of a public defender. His bond was set at $10,000 and recognizance also was denied.

Midwest outage is a possibility

CHAMPAIGN – A University of Illinois professor says major rolling blackouts like the one that struck the Northeast on Thursday could strike in the Midwest, but representatives from two area electric companies say they aren't so sure about that.

Tom Overbye, professor of electrical and computer engineering at UI, said Illinois is part of the same electrical grid that left as many as 50 million people without electricity on Thursday afternoon.

Area legislators propose axing new sewer fee

Two area legislators have introduced a bill that would eliminate the new sanitary sewer permit fees that the state initiated this summer.

Area cities, villages and sanitary districts are paying between $7,500 and $85,000 to the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency for National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permits to discharge treated water from sanitary systems into waterways.

Republican Day at fair experiences low turnout

At a decidedly low-key and sparsely attended Republican Day at the Illinois State Fair on Thursday, party leaders insisted that the Republicans were unified and energized.

"We're onward and upward, and as I always say, trunks up, we're moving forward," said Republican Party Chairwoman and Illinois State Treasurer Judy Baar Topinka, referencing the party's elephant mascot.

Flying in for the farm show

When the first Farm Progress Show was held in Vermilion County in 1953, Danville resident Bob Finley helped park cars. When the show returns this year, he and other members of the International Flying Farmers will help park planes at the Vermilion County airport.

"I'm always interested in meeting the fellow fliers," said Finley, a semiretired farmer and pilot who was recently named the Flying Farmers organization's 2003 Man of the Year.

UI has abundance of new resident advisers this year

Richard Nazur, 19, spent last year adjusting to being a University of Illinois freshman from out of state.

He left Miami for East Central Illinois and ended up – of all places – in Florida Avenue Residence Hall, but found it hard to meet people and make new friends.

Inquest: Teen driver in crash had been drinking

   URBANA ? A Paxton teen-ager who was driving a car that crashed in the rural Gifford area last month ? resulting in her death, as well as that of a friend ? had apparently been drinking that evening, according to evidence at a coroner's inquest Thursday.

   The coroner's jury ruled that the deaths of both Lindsey Frette, 16, of 610 Cambridge Drive, Paxton, and Elissa McClure, 15, of 309 E. State St., Paxton, both were ruled homicidal deaths.

County prepared for West Nile virus

At this time in 2002, Illinois was well on its way to reporting more positive West Nile virus human cases than any other state. So far the summer has been quiet for Champaign County, and health officials want to keep it that way.

State agency representatives said Champaign County is well-prepared for surveillance because it uses resources from the Illinois State Natural History Survey entomology department, the University of Illinois and its public health department. The county failed to receive any of a round of grants awarded by the Illinois Department of Public Health on Wednesday, but funding still remains a possibility.

Dem foresees election board

URBANA – The chairwoman of the Champaign County Board expressed confidence Wednesday that board Democrats will take a preliminary vote next week to create a countywide election commission that would strip election duties from County Clerk Mark Shelden's office.

Patricia Avery, D-Champaign, said she believes she has the 14 board votes necessary to create an election commission to oversee county elections. She also said she believes she has a solid majority to put a proposal on the ballot to eliminate the county recorder's office and have those duties assumed by the county clerk.