CHAMPAIGN – Even as its test scores have improved more than at any time in its brief history, Champaign's Stratton Elementary is the only school in East Central Illinois to appear on the State Board of Education's watch list.
The school, which opened in 1998, is one of nearly 600 schools in the state to appear on that list, and state officials say that means districts where the named schools are located must give students a chance to switch to better performing schools in the district.
URBANA – A new kind of radiation therapy that gives cancer patients a better chance of survival and reduces side effects is now being offered at both Urbana hospitals.
Carle Foundation Hospital and Provena Covenant Medical Center have both added "Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy," which improves cure rates by delivering more powerful, precisely-targeted doses of radiation to a tumor while sparing the healthy tissue around it.
URBANA – Cookie Monster, Ernie, Bert and other "Sesame Street" characters this year will step up their low-key campaign to improve youngsters' reading skills.
And that new emphasis will help the 17 teachers and representatives of area agencies who met at WILL's University of Illinois studios Wednesday teach the children, parents and guardians they serve how to work together to prepare students to master skills they need to succeed in school, said Holly Downs, coordinator of WILL's Ready to Learn program.
URBANA – An elderly Urbana woman was apparently defrauded in another example of a lottery or sweepstakes scam, according to Urbana police.
The 84-year-old woman, who lives at the Clark Lindsey Village, received a phone call Monday from a man who convinced her that she had won second prize in a sweepstakes, according to Urbana police Lt. Michael Metzler.
SPRINGFIELD – Gov. Rod Blagojevich recently thawed a $6 million grant to the University of Illinois to help move the Illinois Natural History Survey into more spacious facilities at the UI Research Park.
The survey, which is part of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, has been seeking relief from its cramped quarters on the UI campus for more than a decade now, said Chief David Thomas.
For the first time, agencies in the region have been awarded state grant money to help preschool children prepare for school – a mission that historically has been left to school districts in Illinois.
In Champaign County, Provena Behavioral Health's Mental Health Center was awarded a $135,000 grant and the Champaign County Regional Planning Commission was awarded a $90,000 grant.
RANTOUL – A 59-year-old Michigan man died following a sky-dive Wednesday at the World Free Fall Convention when his parachute malfunctioned.
Champaign County Deputy Coroner Duane Northrup said the man was pronounced dead at 6:09 p.m. near the north end of a runway at the Rantoul airport. The man's name was being withheld pending notification of his family.
URBANA – As a mysterious respiratory illness strikes U.S. soldiers in Iraq and Kuwait, their families are asking the Army to talk openly about the threat.
The Army is sending two teams of medical investigators to the Mideast and to a German medical base this week to check soldiers and tissue samples for a disease they have labeled as pneumonia.
URBANA – A new fee hike is in store for water users, builders, developers or all three.
The Urbana & Champaign Sanitary District is seeking approval from its board to boost its fees to pay for the extension of sewer mains to open up thousands of acres to new development south and west of Champaign.
SPRINGFIELD – State Sen. Rick Winkel, R-Champaign, resisted political pressure during his last campaign to give up the $24,500 in donations he had taken over the years from former Gov. George Ryan's campaign fund.
"I am going to wait and see what the prosecutors and the courts do," he said at the time. "If the George Ryan campaign is found guilty as charged, then my campaign committee will donate a sum to charity equal to the amount that it received."