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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
URBANA – The canopy above the door still says "Cuisine francaise," but soon the former site of Chef Jean-Louis will have a new name: Crane Alley.
By summer's end, Scott Glassman hopes to bring "upscale casual" dining to the restaurant at 115 W. Main St. Under his formula, folks will be able to play pool and eat steak and swordfish under the same roof.
CHARLESTON – Environmentalists will get $400,000 to help improve the Embarras River system, and to educate people about its diversity and fragility.
The grant was given to the Embarras River Management Association as part of the 2003 agriculture appropriations bill, and will be administered through the Natural Resources Conservation Service.
URBANA – More than a dozen people marched in an informational picket in front of McKinley Health Center Monday to protest a contract proposal by the University of Illinois for a newly organized group of employees.
Officials with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees say the UI is not bargaining in good faith with its medical radiographers at McKinley Health Center.
CHAMPAIGN – Three health care bills that recently passed the U.S. House are the most significant health care legislation to be approved in the past 25 years and could help millions gain health insurance and prescription drug coverage, according to U.S. Rep. Timothy Johnson, R-Urbana.
Johnson spoke briefly this morning to a gathering of small business owners and local health care officials at the Champaign County Alliance office in Champaign.
URBANA – Thwarted last month by a Champaign County Board committee in his efforts to reclassify a job position, Champaign County Clerk Mark Shelden has decided to go around the county board.
He's creating an entirely new position, technology specialist, and he has invited the employee whose job would have been reclassified to apply for the new position.