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Area Update

Gifford Grade School has good news on tax rates

GIFFORD – While tax levy increases are the norm in most other area school districts, that is not the case in the Gifford Grade School district.

Unemployment rate leveling off in some area counties

The unemployment rate, on the rise for much of this year, finally seems to be leveling off in many – but not all – counties of East Central Illilnois.

Champaign, Vermilion and five other counties in East Central Illinois saw very little change in the unemployment rate in November.

Money woes not limited to Vermilion health agency

DANVILLE – The same state cash-flow problems that have county officials worrying about the future of the Vermilion County Health Department also have local social-service agencies in a serious state of concern, scaling back services and planning for deeper cuts programs and services and cuts in personnel if the situation doesn't change.

Area Update

Farmer City Council approves fairgrounds deal

FARMER CITY – City council members have taken action to end a four-year debate on whether to approve a land swap involving the city-owned fairgrounds for a park plus development property owned by the Farmer City Fair Association.

Tax levy for Villa Grove schools rises 8.2 percent

VILLA GROVE – The Villa Grove school district is submitting a tax levy request of $2,663,513, an increase of 8.2 percent from last year's levy.

Superintendent Steve Poznic told board members the increase is an effort to offset budget concerns over the continued lack of state funding payments.

1956 grad selected for Danville High's Wall of Fame

DANVILLE – Whenever Dr. Ronald Gillum returns to Danville High School, his alma mater, he enjoys looking at the Wall of Fame.

On his next visit, the 1956 graduate will see his picture among the members including the likes of Oscar-winning actor Gene Hackman, Tostan founder Molly Melching and retired Superintendent David Fields.

Area Update

Judge allows ex-clerk to use public defender

WATSEKA – Judge William Schmidt ruled that former Iroquois County Clerk Mark Henrichs will be allowed to be represented by a public defender while he pursues an appeal of his felony convictions.

School bus driver brightens holidays for kids on route

URBANA – Dottie Norman is keeping her own naughty and nice lists.

On them are the names of the 13 children who ride her bus to their Urbana schools. Norman is playing Santa for the kids, and today she'll deliver presents to them as she drops them off.

Area Update

Paxton council: Municipal airport to remain open

PAXTON – In a city hall packed with airport supporters, the Paxton City Council voted 8-3 not to close the city's airport next year.

Georgetown soldier killed in Afghanistan laid to rest

GEORGETOWN – A fallen soldier from Georgetown, who was laid to rest on Monday, has been awarded the Purple Heart and Bronze Star posthumously.

Maj. Gen. James Hodge, military surface deployment and distribution commander at Scott Air Force Base, presented the Purple Heart and Bronze Star medals to Sgt. Kenneth Nichols' wife, Lexi, at his memorial service in Georgetown.