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Teachers, district close to deal

URBANA – Administrators today confirmed that a tentative agreement for teachers' contracts is in reach.

"About 1 a.m., all the elements fell into place," said Superintendent Gene Amberg today. "But we have some work to do today to make sure all items are in place. We have a tentative agreement on concepts, language and money, and we have to make sure they're all in line."

Later last call under proposal

CHAMPAIGN – The last call for drinks at bars and taverns could soon be extended in Champaign, and Urbana council members say their city might quickly follow suit if Champaign acts.

The Champaign City Council will consider at its meeting next Tuesday a proposal to extend alcohol sales from the current 1 a.m. cutoff to 2 a.m., or even 2:30 a.m.

Mars set to circle 'close' to Earth

If you're planning to travel to Mars, right now would be a good time to get your tickets and shots. The red planet will be at its closest to Earth in nearly 60,000 years in late August.

The planets will be a mere 35 million miles apart.

Nursing home plans to appeal $15,000 fine

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Public Health on Friday fined the Champaign County Nursing Home $15,000 for two alleged violations stemming from incidents that occurred last year, but the nursing home has requested hearings to appeal both.

The 243-bed facility does not have to pay the fine until a final decision is made on the appeals, Illinois Department of Public Health spokeswoman Tammy Leonard said.

Students from Japan visit UI to sharpen their language skills

Julian Elias' University of Illinois summer school class at Lincoln Hall looks ordinary at first glance.

Not on second glance. Students might be watching parts of an episode of "Friends," or listening attentively to the tune "If I Had a Million Dollars."

UI research puts senior citizens on exercise regimens

Older people feel better when they exercise, even moderately, and a series of University of Illinois studies may be showing one good reason why.

Exercise, besides conferring numerous benefits such as improved cardiovascular and muscular fitness, may be beefing up the body's immune system, which tends to decline as we age.

Man resentenced to 4-year prison term

URBANA – Brady Smith, a former probation officer and middle school dean convicted of trying to get a child to perform a sex act, was resentenced to prison Monday.

Smith, 47, of Urbana, was convicted at a bench trial on Nov. 13, 2001, of indecent solicitation of a child for attempting to get a 14-year-old boy to have sex with him on May 20, 2001. He was originally sentenced to three years of probation.

Meeting with communications faculty planned

URBANA – Provost Richard Herman plans to meet with the College of Communications faculty within the next couple of weeks to discuss the issues raised in an evaluation of the college.

Herman appointed a committee in May to assess the college and make recommendations for its future, after calling off a dean search for the college.

UI communications dean asked to step down

URBANA – The College of Communications dean has been asked to step down, just as the college is undergoing an evaluation to determine its future.

Kim Rotzoll was asked to resign as dean after meeting with Provost Richard Herman Saturday afternoon.

Grant supports high-tech lessons

URBANA – Urbana Middle School teachers knew they wouldn't have a lot of extra money to support high-tech lesson plans, so they looked for alternative funding sources.

The Champaign-Urbana Schools Foundation stepped in, granting four teachers at the school $3,379 to support a science program to help eighth-graders learn lessons about many different aspects of science and technology by building towers from toothpicks and knocking them down.