All News Content

All News Content

County vacation buyback grows

URBANA – The cost of Champaign County government's vacation buyback program is growing substantially.

The June payment to county employees of $139,005 represented a nearly 40 percent increase compared to a year ago. The payout for employees cashing in unused vacation and leave time was so large that it depleted the buyback line item in the county's budget, forcing the board to approve a $27,000 budget amendment this past week.

Helping on the home front

CHAMPAIGN – Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn says making donations to a relief fund established to help people serving in the military and their families is a great way to show patriotism.

"If you want to do something specific to help the troops and their families, please consider sending a donation to the Illinois Military Family Relief Fund," Quinn said. "All donations are tax deductible, and every penny goes to the families of Illinois National Guard members and reservists who have been called to active duty."

Dust suspected in recent blast

CHAMPAIGN – Two men hurt in Wednesday`s explosion at the Interstate Research Park in Champaign have been transferred to a hospital in Springfield.

Two employees for Huls Construction Co. of Gifford were moved Thursday from Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana to the regional burn unit at Memorial Medical Center, 800 N. Rutledge St., Springfield.

Tilling field of history

PENFIELD – Every tractor at Historic Farm Days has its story, and the century-old Hart-Parr Number 3's tale is lengthy and well-documented.

By contrast, the 1904 Hart-Parr tractor that followed it in a parade Friday at Penfield show headquarters has belonged to the same Indiana family for its entire 99-year life, much of which was spent in a hedgerow until family members pulled it out of the underbrush 40 years ago and worked on it until it ran again.

More, smaller grants planned

SPRINGFIELD – More of Illinois' neediest college students will receive grants through the state's Monetary Award Program this school year, but the grants will be smaller than in years past, according to the Illinois Student Assistance Commission.

MAP grant amounts were cut by 5 percent last year, and the Illinois Student Assistance Commission recently decided to cut them again this year by 10 percent.

Warehouse company growing in Champaign

CHAMPAIGN – Arnold Logistics, a Pennsylvania-based warehousing company, is expanding its operation in Champaign thanks to growing business from a key customer, ACH Food Companies, formerly AC Humko.

Arnold Logistics began operations in Champaign with seven employees last November and is now running around the clock with 60 people. Most of the new hires were added in the past few months, according to Stan Schrader, vice president of business development.

UI official: Budget cuts affecting tuition

URBANA – The University of Illinois has seen the effects of the poor economy in cuts to its state budget for the last two years.

The UI had a mid-year rescission in fiscal year 2002, a $74 million budget cut in fiscal year 2003 and another rescission that year. And its budget for the current fiscal year was cut by $58 million.

Meeting addresses problems at Franklin

CHAMPAIGN – Franklin Magnet Middle School parents met Thursday to discuss problems at the middle school, ask what the new administration is going to do about them, and find out how they can help.

Sandy Powell took over the principal's job last month from Mel Crafter, who resigned after a year. She told parents that high expectations, extensive communications, physical changes in the school itself and other factors will contribute to turning around the climate there.

Greek event takes on new name this year

CHAMPAIGN – Some changes are planned for an annual informal summer gathering of University of Illinois fraternity and sorority alumni.

The "Greek Reunion," which has occurred each year for at least 20 years, drew up to 10,000 people at its peak, but attendance has declined in recent years.

Flooding precautions pay off

The last time this much water fell this fast on Champaign-Urbana, it was free-swim time in Campustown.

Two days of storms on Aug. 11-12, 1993, dumped 6.88 inches of rain on parts of the city, sending the Boneyard Creek out of its banks, flooding basements across the city and creating the usual "lake" at Fourth and Green streets.