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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Champaign County Board member Deborah Frank Feinen is announcing today that she will challenge Rep. Naomi Jakobsson, D-Urbana, for her seat in the Illinois House.
Republican Feinen enters the race after former Rep. Tom Berns, R-Urbana, announced he would not attempt to regain the seat he narrowly lost to Jakobsson in 2002.
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.
CHAMPAIGN – Look out, Las Vegas ... this toddlin' town can rock until the crack of 2:30 a.m., 365 days a year, effective immediately.
But city council members don't expect Champaign to become a Sodom of the plains.
URBANA – Union negotiators Tuesday reluctantly recommended ratifying a one-year teachers' contract, admitting that it's no "dream contract."
After lengthy discussion about the offer's shortcomings, 297 union members attending the late afternoon meeting voted to approve the contract, which offers average pay increases of 3.5 percent. Urbana Education Association President Deb Tuttle declined to reveal the number of members who voted against the contract but she said approval was "overwhelming."