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.
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 – 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.
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.
Debbie Dowd Clinebell's eighth-grade science students would probably run ? fast ? in the opposite direction if they heard their teacher talking.
"We're ... ready to go back to class and we've still got two months of summer left," Clinebell gushed recently.
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 – 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.
CHAMPAIGN – Von Young Jr. has a simple philosophy in law enforcement: Treat everyone with respect.
It has worked well for him in more than 20 years of law en-forcement. He's continuing that approach in his new job as po-lice chief at Parkland College.
CHAMPAIGN – Can jazz greats like Duke Ellington and Charlie Parker inspire youngsters to pick up books in the summer?
Cassiette West-Williams and her colleagues say they can, and they tested that theory this month at the Douglass Branch Library with classrooms of youngsters willing to be part of their experiment.
When Louise Smith of Urbana was buying a pair of jeans at the Factory Stores at Tuscola outlet mall last week, she was taking advantage of a tax increment financing district, but didn't realize it.
"I just came to get a good deal on some clothes," Smith said. "I didn't even know it was in a tax district."