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All News Content

United Way donation revives key programs

CHAMPAIGN – An additional $50,000 from the United Way of Champaign County will revive several programs for the elderly and developmentally disabled, but a senior transportation service is still looking for support.

The United Way announced this week that it will distribute $26,000 more to Family Service of Champaign County and $24,000 to Developmental Services Center for programs that help seniors and those with disabilities remain independent.

Fireworks in East Central Illinois

Below is a list of fireworks planned for the Fourth of July:

Murder case shakes woman's neigborhood

CHAMPAIGN – The neighbors are nervous on Hickory Street after a woman was murdered Tuesday night.

Helen Melchi, 84, of 1301 N. Hickory St., was found by Champaign police on an 8:45 p.m. Tuesday welfare check call. The death is being treated as a homicide, but otherwise the police and coroner's office are saying nothing.

County board to consider offering early retirement

URBANA – Champaign County Board members will consider whether to offer early retirement to county employees at the board's July 24 meeting, a decision that could possibly lead to a slimming of the county work force and have long-term ramifications for the county's budget picture.

At a county board study session in mid-June, 10 board members said they would support offering early retirement, six were opposed and the remainder were undecided, abstained or were absent.

Come Fourth to events

   The nation's independence will be celebrated this weekend in a host of fashions and locations across East Central Illinois. Residents can choose from among the most modern of coordinated fireworks and music shows to nonamplified, electricity-free historical presentations.

   The most elaborate celebration will be Friday's Champaign County Freedom Celebration.

Assistance for students gets smaller

CHAMPAIGN – Parkland College's burgeoning student population will get a little less help from the state this year.

But Jack Lyons, Parkland's director of financial aid, said the college is using creative funding alternatives to help cover the shortfall in Illinois Monetary Award Program grants to help cover students' expenses.

Resentencing hearing to be continued later

URBANA – The resentencing hearing for a former Champaign middle school dean convicted of indecent solicitation of a child was unable to be completed Wednesday because he was hospitalized.

Brady Smith, 47, of Urbana, however, authorized his attorney by phone to go ahead with the prosecution's witnesses against him.

Candidates for Senate seat share backgrounds

CHAMPAIGN – As a young boy on the South Side of Chicago, John Cox used to dress up like the president at the time, John F. Kennedy.

But in his run for a primary win in the Senate, Cox has left JFK far behind, and wants to be known as the conservative Republican in the field.

Willard lands money for improvements

SAVOY – Willard Airport will see improvements to its taxiways and an access road when two rehabilitation projects get under way.

The Federal Aviation Administration recently released money for a $1.65 million maintenance project for resurfacing taxiways and the main commercial runway. The airport also will be improving an access road used for general aviation traffic.

Wiccan group halts plans after Hoopeston meeting

HOOPESTON – Citing an atmosphere of intolerance, and fear for their safety, Wiccan leaders said they are abandoning their dream of opening a school that teaches the alternative religion in Hoopeston.

"I basically felt this was the Salem trials of the 21st century," Ed Hubbard said, referring to Tuesday's Hoopeston City Council meeting.