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CHAMPAIGN – Jeff Johnson doesn't just talk.
Johnson, a minister and host of BET's "The Cousin Jeff Chronicles," spoke at an Urban League affiliate conference about the gap between the generation raised during the civil rights era and what he called the "hip-hop generation."
CHAMPAIGN – The Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District is considering putting beepers or strobe lights on buses in an effort to increase safety.
The C-U MTD board discussed adding the devices in the wake of a recent fatality involving an MTD bus on campus.
URBANA – An Urbana National Guard soldier was severely injured by a roadside bomb in Iraq, but is undergoing reconstructive surgery and in good spirits.
Champaign attorney Sheryl Fitzjarrald, mother of Garrett Anderson's wife, Sam, just came back from visiting Anderson, who lost his right arm and suffered a broken jaw when the bomb exploded.
Latino voting power is swelling in America. Still, even though two Latinos have been named to local government positions for the first time, don't expect a surge here yet.
According to Census Bureau projections, by 2050, one out of every four Americans will be Latinos – more than 100 million. The fastest-growing ethnicity in Americas, Latinos are surpassing blacks as the nation's largest minority group.
TOLONO – Sherry Cripps can't go to sleep unless she has paper and pencil on her nightstand. Most nights, she doesn't sleep well anyway. Her mind races to recall items consumed by fire at her home on May 6.
And when an item comes to mind, she dares not let a second pass before recording it. That's because she has exactly one year from the date the fire destroyed almost all her family's possessions to recall them and file claims with her insurance company in order to be compensated.
URBANA – An Urbana woman who brought aid to out-of-work teachers after Hurricane Katrina says the nation needs to open its eyes to endemic poverty in Mississippi and Louisiana.
Urbana High School social worker and teachers union president Grace Mitchell spent four days in New Orleans, Jackson, Miss., and Baton Rouge, La., delivering money collected for out-of-work educators in those two states and viewing the destruction done by the storm, especially to the schools.
SPRINGFIELD – The state and federal dollars set aside for Illinois' Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program will go a little farther this year, thanks to concessions made by major utility companies.
At the state's request, Ameren, Nicor Gas, Peoples' Energy and Commonwealth Edison have agreed to waive reconnection costs and suspend deposit requirements for LIHEAP customers. Those costs can add $400 or more to a heating bill, according to Gov. Rod Blagojevich's office.
The Old Timer has gone up to that Gobbler's Knob in the sky.
Robert Kent McConkey, better-known as The Old Timer on two area radio stations, smoked his last cigarette and played his last tune Tuesday. He was 70 and had been in failing health.
Illinois had a State Geological Survey as early as 1851, but by 1875, legislators decided it was no longer needed.
Pretty much every county had been looked at and state officials figured there wasn't much more to learn about the state's geology.
URBANA – The Brickhouse bar and restaurant in east Urbana will become the new home to off-track betting later this month.
Champaign Off-Track Betting, 2002 W. Springfield Ave., C, will close its doors Oct. 16 and reopen at the Brickhouse, formerly known as TK Wendl's, on Oct. 20 or 21, said Bill Welbes, operations manager.