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All News Content

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.

Johnson praises health care bills

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.

County clerk will bypass board on personnel issue

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.

New laws affect Illinois companies

CHARLESTON – The engineering supervisor for one of Mattoon's largest employers says a change in the state's tax laws could hurt his company.

R.R. Donnelley Engineering Supervisor Matt Greuel said his company has depended on its ability to purchase and use the latest printing equipment.

Environmentalists to receive grant

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.

Picket held to protest UI contract proposal

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.

It's Your Business: Premier Sound & Design moving to new home

The old Rex TV & Appliance space at 1104 N. Prospect Ave., C, will become the new and larger home of Premier Sound & Design.

The store will move in about 90 days from its current address at 2821 W. Kirby Ave., C. One of the owners, Rick Stone, said he and co-owner Andy Kurtz bought the building and will be remodeling it.

Rossville-Alvin mulls school reorganization

ROSSVILLE – Rossville-Alvin school board members hope a consultant on school district reorganization can answer some of their questions about a cooperative high school and help the board determine its next step as it seeks to merge with another school district.

Consultant William Phillips works with school districts in reorganizing and will attend a special meeting of the Rossville-Alvin school board at 7 tonight in the Rossville-Alvin Grade School library. He will make a presentation to board members and then answer questions.

Forum on Lincoln Square scheduled

URBANA – A public forum on the past, present and future of Lincoln Square Mall will be held at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the food square in the mall.

Urbana Alderwoman Laura Huth said two University of Illinois graduate students will conduct the meeting, which will give some history about the mall and solicit ideas about what its future might be.

Retiring regional chief's efforts praised

RANTOUL – When Marty Barrett started his job as regional school superintendent, he had to rebuild the Rantoul office's reputation and finances.

Today, when he retires, Barrett looks back at troubled times now past and a promising future for the Champaign-Ford Regional Office of Education, a training and service resource for 17 school districts in a 1,500-square-mile area. Barrett says he's proudest of the partnerships he has formed with other agencies and programs to deliver those services, especially to troubled youngsters at odds with the system.