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URBANA – The 2003 wheat harvest has set records, and farmers and crop watchers wonder if those unprecedented yields will set the pace for corn and soybean harvest action.
In fact, corn and soybeans seem to be shaping up well, but historically, there's little connection among harvest outcomes of the three crops, says Emerson Nafziger, a University of Illinois crop scientist. He's been watching the wheat crop carefully this year and describes harvest results as a "European" crop outcome because yields far exceeded typical U.S. averages.
CHAMPAIGN – Proposed money-saving cutbacks in Parkland College services and activities have put administration and support staff union members at odds.
About 40 members of the Professional Support Staff Association attended the board meeting Thursday night to air their objections to suggested plans to close the college's theater, planetarium and art gallery during the summer, possibly as soon as next summer.
CLINTON – A Canadian man faces federal charges accusing him of taking money from a Clinton woman who had been duped into thinking she had won a million dollars in a Canadian lottery, according to federal prosecutors.
U.S. Attorney Jan Paul Miller announced that Joseph Baroud, 37, a Canadian citizen who listed a New York, N.Y., address, was indicted by a federal grand jury Wednesday on a charge of interstate transportation of stolen money. If convicted, Baroud faces up to 10 years in federal prison.
ARCOLA – Despite what the parents of a missing Arcola woman characterize as a threat to keep them quiet, they continue to seek help from the public through reporters in locating their daughter.
At a news conference in Arcola on Wednesday, Rickey Ferguson of Arcola said he and his wife Annette remain committed to keeping information about their daughter, Gwendalyn Marie Maxedon, in the public eye.
People with a strong attachment to their pets also tend to have an affinity for nature, although they don't necessarily act on the latter with "conservation behavior," such as recycling or driving a fuel-efficient vehicle, a University of Illinois study indicates.
"I think that the data that I have point to that," UI Professor Joanne Vining, who conducted the study, said recently. "It's sort of the first step in demonstrating that this effect may exist."
CHAMPAIGN – Longtime Champaign library employee Essie Harris has been appointed manager of the Douglass Branch Library, capping a difficult and divisive episode that pitted Douglass patrons against the library board over the firing of the previous branch manager.
In another administrative decision, Mary Bissey has been appointed assistant director for the main library, filling the position left by the retiring Cecilia Gaines.
DANVILLE – Danville police on Wednesday morning named Gary Myers as a suspect in the beating deaths of his parents. He is the only suspect at this time, they said.
"Through the investigations conducted by Danville detectives, and in cooperation with the Illinois State Police and Champaign County authorities, the focus was narrowed within the last 24 hours," Danville police detective Larry Thomason said.
SPRINGFIELD – A new state law signed by Gov. Rod Blagojevich is designed to strengthen the AMBER Alert system that was used to find a missing 14-year-old Urbana girl this May.
Tyeeste Jones, who disappeared while taking out the trash, was safely located in Chicago just few days after the Urbana Police Department issued a statewide AMBER Alert for her.
URBANA – The University of Illinois will be able to meet government reporting requirements for international students by the Friday deadline.
UI officials have been working this year to establish electronic records for more than 4,500 foreign students. The records report information now required by the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, an organization within the Department of Homeland Security with responsibilities including those of the former Immigration and Naturalization Service.
SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Public Health confirmed Wednesday that a dead blue jay found July 25 in Champaign has tested positive for West Nile virus, a disease that infected 900 Illinoisans last year, resulting in 66 deaths.
Most people infected with the virus show no symptoms, but some may develop a mild fever or headache three to 15 days after being bitten by a mosquito carrying the West Nile virus.