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Wiccans get out of building contract

HOOPESTON – When Hoopeston resident Faye Troxel went to Bible study Wednesday morning, the conversation drifted to a topic that has captured people's attention the last few weeks: whether a Wiccan school is coming to town.

"It's my understanding that it's still coming," Troxel said. "I feel that they just said they're not coming to calm the storms, and they intend to come anyway. ... We're just praying for God to intervene. I don't want it to come to Hoopeston. I don't know of any Christian churches that want it to come."


Champaign explosion injures 2

CHAMPAIGN – Investigators are theorizing that magnesium dust may have played a role in the explosion that injured two people in Interstate Research Park on Wednesday afternoon.

The explosion occurred shortly before 3:30 p.m. at the Wayne H. Choe Technology Center, 1401 Interstate Drive. Two construction workers doing cleanup work there were taken by ambulance to Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana for treatment. Their identities were not disclosed.


Yellow to orange: What changes?

SPRINGFIELD – The federal homeland security advisory alert level was raised from yellow to orange three times in the last year, but there is still frustration among some local governments as to how to respond to those changes.

A recent study by the National League of Cities found that nearly a third of cities weren't sure what to do when the threat level increased to orange on Feb. 3 and wanted more guidance from the federal government. In a conference call with the Council of State Governments Wednesday, Matt Bettenhausen, director for state coordination at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, said the threat system is meant only to provide broad guidelines. Local governments and private industries can adapt those based on their own needs and infrastructure, he said.


Business association leader leaving post

URBANA – The woman who has headed the Urbana Business Association for the past three years has resigned, effective Sept. 1, to accept a new position with the Urban League of Champaign County.

Laurie Bonnett, 42, said she accepted the job last Thursday as director of fund development with the Urban League. She intends to stay on in her current position, as executive director of the Urbana Business Association, through the Aug. 22-23 Sweet Corn Festival in Urbana, the association's major fund-raiser for the year.


Federal do-not-call registry popular so far in Illinois

SPRINGFIELD – By Tuesday, more than 1 million people in Illinois had signed up for the federal do-not-call list, letting telemarketers know they've had enough.

Melissa Mertz, spokeswoman for Attorney General Lisa Madigan, said 1.1 million people had signed up by noon Tuesday, mostly through the toll-free phone number.


Unfamiliarity, inexperience cited in canoe tragedy

DANVILLE – A fatal canoeing accident in Vermilion County on Monday should remind people on river trips or any boating experience to take certain precautions, especially when the boaters are not familiar with an area, according to a local official.

Dallas Bowman, Illinois conservation police officer, said the biggest problem with Monday's canoeing accident was the canoeists' unfamiliarity with the area.


Donation helps Champaign child read

   CHAMPAIGN ? In many ways, Kody Patterson is just like any other 7-year-old. He plays T-ball and basketball, devours books and cartoons and loves to dance ? especially to hip-hop.

   Most people, his mother says, can't believe he's legally blind.


Fisher Fair still thrives

FISHER – Twenty-eight years ago, Rick Roesch showed up at the front gate of the Fisher Fair and asked what he could do to help out as a volunteer.

Little did Roesch know that he would spend more than a quarter of a century organizing and planning the fair.


Canoes capsize; woman killed

DANVILLE – A river trip turned fatal Monday afternoon when four friends in two canoes went over a small dam on the Vermilion River, capsizing their canoes and plunging them into the swift, churning water.

One of the four Champaign-Urbana women managed to get out on her own. Emergency personnel rescued two more using ropes, but the fourth canoeist, 24-year-old Naperville native Sandi Barnett, was pulled under by the current before rescuers could get to the scene, according to the Vermilion County coroner's office.


Methadone clinic contract will be canceled

URBANA – Missed deadlines and other problems have led the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District to drop its plans to have a not-for-profit company, The Harm Reduction Resource, operate a methadone maintenance clinic in Urbana.

Instead, a new not-for-profit firm, headed by Dr. John Peterson of Urbana, will spearhead efforts to gain regulatory approval for the clinic and eventually operate it.