All News Content

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.


Dredging plan raises concern of rivers group

GIFFORD – A statewide river conservation group is expressing concern about plans to dredge 5 miles of the Spoon River, saying the move could harm fish spawning grounds that are helping to restore the fish population in the Salt Fork River.

But a commissioner for the Spoon River Drainage District said the dredging work is needed to maintain adequate farm drainage. The commissioner said the drainage district board intends to talk with officials of the conservation group, the Prairie Rivers Network, to see if the two sides can reach a mutual understanding.


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.


Luecking's last day nears

   CHAMPAIGN ? Jim Luecking tried to retire once before, but this time it looks official.

Friday will be his last day as chief of the Champaign Police Department.


Disparity seen in graduation rates in area

CHAMPAIGN – Class of 2003 statistics are in, and some schools are celebrating success at keeping youngsters in school, on task and headed for graduation.

And some schools aren't.

Champaign Central High School Principal Don Hansen said he doesn't have copies of the numbers submitted annually to the Illinois State Board of Education detailing senior class demographics because his registrar sent them electronically and left for a vacation.


Future of UI college uncertain

URBANA – A yearlong search for a new dean for the University of Illinois College of Communications has been called off, and a committee will assess the college this summer and make recommendations for its future – leading some to wonder if it has a future.

Provost Richard Herman announced the actions in a letter to the college's faculty dated May 22, which indicated concerns about the ability of the departments in the college to work together.


Freedom School celebrates social action, reading

CHAMPAIGN – Summer mornings are anything but quiet at Champaign's Columbia Center.

Teachers dance, clap, sing and shout. Students join in, belting out every kind of song from rap to Quincy Jones' version of Handel's "Hallelujah Chorus."


It's Your Business: Grapevine Boutique to open in Sunnycrest Mall

Carol Davis-Hargest says she knows how hard it is for women who aren't skinny to find nice dresses and suits at stores in Champaign-Urbana. So, she's opening her own boutique at Sunnycrest Mall in Urbana that will fill that need for women sizes 14 and up.

Her shop, to be called The Grapevine Boutique, will open in late August or early September, she said.


Many welcome Urban League partnership with child care center

CHAMPAIGN – As a single mom with irregular work hours and six small children, Karen Fancher used to spend an hour hauling them to three different child care centers.

Then her boss told her about the Community Day Care School at the corner of Neil Street and Bradley Avenue in Champaign, which has evening and weekend hours, as well as subsidized programs to help low-income parents meet expenses.


A developing interest in St. Joe

ST. JOSEPH – When developer Ralph Woodard first moved to St. Joseph more than a half-century ago, it didn't take him long to notice that the town, for all its quaint charm, could stand a few more houses.

So he set out to provide what would have to come first – a new subdivision with building lots for sale. And he hasn't stopped since.