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State leader discusses more cuts in Tuscola stop

TUSCOLA – Gov. Rod Blagojevich vowed once more to make cuts in a "bloated" budget in the Douglas County Republican stronghold here Tuesday.

The governor spoke briefly about finding further cuts in state jobs in order to balance the budget.

Residents voice cat complaints

CHAMPAIGN – Jerry Laughlin thinks cats are popular pets for two-income families in his southwest Champaign neighborhood.

He can identify homes where cats live by looking for garage doors that are left just slightly open, a few inches off the ground, allowing cats to leave and enter at will while their owners are away at work.

King addition still on hold

URBANA – School officials had hoped construction on a four-classroom addition north of King School's elementary wing would be done by the time classes start in August.

Instead, with school fast approaching, the project hasn't even started. It's on hold, waiting for Gov. Rod Blagojevich to release approved funds so the district can build the addition and move some teachers now meeting with children in converted storage closets into real classrooms.

Court rules Champaign man should get new trial

CHICAGO – A federal appeals court has concluded that a Champaign man convicted in 1994 of murdering his wife deserves a new trial in state court.

In a decision issued earlier this month, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit agreed with U.S. District Judge Michael McCuskey that James Ward had not knowingly and voluntarily waived his right to testify at his August 1996 trial in Champaign County Circuit Court. That was the sole issue on appeal in the federal court.

Man dies from explosion injuries

SPRINGFIELD – One of two Rantoul men injured in an explosion in Interstate Research Park in Champaign almost two weeks ago has died.

Sangamon County Coroner Susan Boone said today that Larry Jean, 25, died at 7:24 p.m. Monday at the burn unit of Memorial Medical Center in Springfield. He died from burns over 70 percent of his body, she said. An autopsy will be performed and an inquest conducted at a later date.

Development in Urbana district halted

URBANA – Changes are coming to Urbana's West Green Street and Elm Street corridor between campus and downtown.

But not for the next 120 days.

The Urbana City Council, responding to a petition request from neighborhood residents, voted unanimously Monday night to declare a 120-day moratorium on new development within the city's mixed-office-residential district, which takes in most of West Green and Elm streets. The moratorium will expire Nov. 21.

DACC instructor gets national honor

DANVILLE – It's rare that two recipients of the Association of Community College Trustees "Instructor of the Year" award would teach at the same college, and even more rare for two to be in the same academic department.

But at Danville Area Community College, Lori Garrett and John Hoagland not only share the prestigious national award, they also share the same office.

Job-hunting help will be offered at open house

CHAMPAIGN – Whether you're looking for a job or not, you might pick up helpful information at the Illinois Employment & Training Center's open house on Wednesday.

The center, at 1307 N. Mattis Ave., C, has scheduled a full day of activities to help people find a job and to explain what kinds of assistance the center can give.

Shelter project gets boost

CHAMPAIGN – Tough economic times temporarily sidelined plans to expand the Center for Women in Transition, but a new $50,000 grant has the project back on track.

The transitional housing program for homeless women originally hoped to complete a new residential and educational center in early 2002, but groundbreaking was postponed until last fall when costs ran higher than expected.

Local office develops defense technologies

CHAMPAIGN – The Champaign office of Science Applications International Corp. works on projects ranging from radar modeling to 3-D visualization to remote sensing.

The office, at 1901 S. First St. in the University of Illinois Research Park, employs 67 people and has a direct payroll of about $10 million, said Dennis Andersh, vice president and operations manager for SAIC/Demaco.