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A preschool of many flavors

CHAMPAIGN – The lunches at Marujita's Small World School aren't your typical preschool fare – chicken enchiladas, red beans and rice, seafood paella.

"I don't give them corn dogs or hot dogs," Crisalida Thomassie, owner and director of the English-Spanish preschool at 1305 S. Mattis Ave., C, said with a laugh.


New threat to Illinois trees: Ash borer beetle

By the early 1970s, after Dutch elm disease had mostly finished its decades-long run in Champaign-Urbana, less than 50 of the more than 14,000 elms in the community were left standing.

Some residents, sometimes tearfully, still recall street sides, parks and other green spaces, once shaded by stately elms, reduced to fields of dead stumps.


UI international program 'suffering, still alive'

Paruch Suksod, 23, has been at the University of Illinois since January, but his road to being an American college student is just beginning.

Born in Thailand, Suksod spent the past eight months brushing up on his English skills before beginning as a full-time student this fall.


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.


Local jury convicts 21-year-old of shooting

URBANA – A Champaign County jury on Friday convicted a Champaign man of shooting a man during a mugging last December, even though he said his friend fired the shots.

The jury took 20 minutes to find Clint King, 21, who listed an address in the 1500 block of Comanche Drive, guilty of aggravated battery with a firearm for shooting Brandon Lee in the arm on Dec. 18 while Lee was walking in the 100 block of South First Street in Champaign.


Area hospitals, airport have emergency power reserves

URBANA – Local hospitals and Willard Airport all have electrical power backup plans, as required by law.

Generators would kick in within seconds after a blackout at Carle Foundation Hospital and Provena Covenant Medical Center, both in Urbana, and Provena United Samaritans Medical Center in Danville.


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.


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.


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.