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CHAMPAIGN – Last year, proud Parkland College diesel power students put the final touches on their revamped red pulling tractor, Extra Credit, just in time for the fair season.
This year, they've added a green tractor they call Teacher's Pet to their power arsenal, and they're encouraging healthy debates about the merits of each.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Tim Johnson, R-Urbana, will be holding a series of town meetings in the 15th District during the August congressional recess.
Congress is scheduled to adjourn Friday.
SPRINGFIELD – Gov. Rod Blagojevich is assembling a team to advise him on farms and farm families and to help the state's agriculture industry remain competitive.
"The well-being of our farmers and rural communities is vitally important to Illinois' economy," Blagojevich said. "Despite urban development, about 80 percent of Illinois' land – or 28 million acres – still is devoted to production agriculture. And our 78,000 farms provide the foundation for a multibillion-dollar industry that employs nearly one of every four Illinois workers."
Police and state's attorneys will soon have some new weapons in the war against the explosive growth of methamphetamine manufacturers in East Central Illinois.
Gov. Rod Blagojevich signed the two new meth-related bills into law this week.
URBANA – Chuck Hartke looked right at home in Champaign County Fair livestock barns Tuesday, handing out prizes, evaluating animals and sharing news and views with farmers in the crowd.
In fact, the state's new director of agriculture knows livestock and farming firsthand. Back home at Teutopolis, his family grows corn, soybeans and wheat, and his son, Christopher, raises hogs. The family also keeps a few sheep around, mostly for convenience.
URBANA – Gov. Rod Blagojevich was at the University of Illinois Tuesday to sign two bills he said would help parents put their children through college and keep universities accountable to taxpayers.
Blagojevich signed the so-called truth-in-tuition bill and another measure requiring line-item budgeting for state universities at the Illini Union, in a room filled with politicians, university administrators and high school students. Blagojevich's wife Patti, a UI alumnus, their 6-year-old daughter Amy and their infant daughter Annie were also with him.
URBANA – Champaign County could take in an extra $363,000 in fees by charging the actual cost of services at the sheriff's and county clerk's offices, a study says.
But while Champaign County Sheriff Dan Walsh is amenable to raising many of his office's fees to come close to covering actual costs, County Clerk Mark Shelden said he will oppose raising all but one of the fees his office charges.
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.
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.
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.