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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.


DNA database slowly growing

SPRINGFIELD – The business of trying to keep track of felons in Illinois by cataloging their genetic material is plugging along, slowly but surely.

Last Aug. 22, then-Gov. George Ryan signed a law requiring any person convicted of a felony to submit a sample of blood, hair or saliva to the Illinois State Police so their DNA could be extracted, a profile developed and the information entered into a database.


New pork plant touted for cleanliness

RANTOUL – Company, state and local officials agree that Meadowbrook Farms' new $25 million pork processing plant will be a clean operation.

In fact, they all say the worst-case scenario for the plant – the failure of a sewage pretreatment operation – would only result in higher utility bills for the farmer co-op that owns the plant.


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.


Answering call of the wild

CATLIN – Brooke Parks can't remember a time in her life when she didn't want to be surrounded by animals.

Visitors to her home are treated to a miniature zoo with five different types of pets, from lizards and hermit crabs to man's best friend. She also started volunteering at the Vermilion County Animal Shelter before her 10th birthday. Brooke lives by the motto that age is nothing but a number.


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.


Official: Delay Rantoul TIF

RANTOUL – Rantoul Township Supervisor James Rusk says the village needs to slow down its efforts to create a second tax increment financing district.

"I've got some concerns about how quickly we're moving on this thing," Rusk said. "I think we need to have more public input before a decision is made."


Pesotum considering water change

PESOTUM – Pesotum residents could soon be drinking the same water that Champaign residents drink.

Members of the Pesotum Village Board have begun talks with Illinois-American Water over the possibility of having that private company provide water to the community.


C-U lacks inspection program for balconies

CHAMPAIGN – Twenty-four-year-old Bobbie Seppelt, a University of Illinois graduate student, has lived in five different apartments during her college years, four of them with balconies.

She frankly admits that her current fourth-floor balcony at 408 E. Healey St., C, makes her nervous. She doesn't spend a lot of time on it.


Carle salutes 10 of its nurses

URBANA – A teen-ager was dying in Carle Foundation Hospital's Intensive Care Unit as his devastated family stood by. An 8-year-old was stranded at Carle with her family on Christmas Eve.

Other patients faced death and illness at the hospital without family members, but they weren't alone. Amy Rushing brought one man his favorite pie. Joanne Heck helped a dying woman maintain her dignity. Jennifer Danford found a way to fulfill a man's wish to be baptized. Sue Gelvin held a woman's hand so she wouldn't be alone.