SPRINGFIELD – East Central Illinois was very good to Gov. Rod Blagojevich this summer.
In campaign finance disclosure documents released Thursday evening, the Friends of Blagojevich campaign committee reported $215,330 in contributions in the first six months of this year, $50,000 of which came from Champaign-area contributors during June.
DANVILLE – The last few months, Danville resident Julie Gilpatrick would drive through downtown, where workers were building the new Temple Plaza.
She could see them laying a brick wall and pouring a concrete floor, but she could not see what she was most curious about – a much-talked about centerpiece that was being kept hidden behind a plywood screen.
CHAMPAIGN – Champaign-Urbana posted a No. 10 ranking for quality of life in a new survey of U.S. cities by Expansion Management Magazine.
The survey ranked 329 metropolitan statistical areas in six categories: level of education spending and attainment; health care cost and availability; quality of life; logistics and transportation infrastructure; labor market quality and quantity, including accessibility to higher education; and business climate, including taxation and regulatory matters.
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.