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CHAMPAIGN – After a two-hour special meeting Thursday, Champaign school board members named a new batch of school principals, including principals of two of the three district middle schools.
Stephen Lucas was named principal of Edison Middle School. Lucas, a member of the University of Illinois education faculty and middle-school expert, and Champaign native Richard Patton, a special-education teacher in Alaska, held a public forum last week to talk to Edison parents.
CHAMPAIGN – An 84-year-old Champaign woman apparently murdered in her home Tuesday had the tragic distinction of being a victim once before in that same home in one of the worst crime sprees in Champaign-Urbana history.
Helen Melchi was believed to be the first victim in 1981 of serial rapist Dallas Richmond, an Urbana man convicted of home invasion and rape against three women – two in Urbana and one in Champaign.
RANTOUL – The village of Rantoul has agreed to pay a $4,446 settlement to the state for burning down a former Chanute Air Force Base building that contained asbestos.
The payment should bring an end to nearly two years of expensive problems brought on by the decision to use the old building for firefighter training.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
URBANA – Provena Covenant Medical Center says it is reviewing all its overdue patient accounts that are coming up for legal action, to see if the patients involved ever applied for the hospital's charity care program.
Hospital officials say Provena Covenant has also changed its policy, so that a charity care application can now be made and considered after an account is sent to a collection agency. The review of all accounts with the potential for legal action was ordered by the hospital's new chief executive officer, Mark Wiener, after it was discovered that a Provena Covenant patient taken to court over delinquent bills would have qualified for charity care, the hospital announced this morning.