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CHAMPAIGN – Venita Hubbard was a talented teacher, passionate about her profession and warm and caring toward her students – someone with a "teacher's heart," said her principal at Garden Hills Elementary School, Cheryl O'Leary.
The school's staff and students were grieving Mrs. Hubbard on Monday after she was killed in an accident on her way to school.
CHAMPAIGN – Illinois Department of Transportation crews had been at work throughout Sunday night and Monday morning clearing snow, putting down salt and monitoring road conditions.
Transportation officials can't say when they last salted Bloomington Road before icy pavement caused an accident that killed a 32-year-old Champaign woman, Venita Hubbard. But in high winds and blowing snow, they generally suspend salting to avoid ice building up on the road, said Howard Furnish, a service technician with the transportation department's district office in Paris.
As if returning to work on a Monday after a holiday wasn't hard enough, Mother Nature threw in some wet snow to spice things up.
"For no more snow than we've got, it's a mess," said Tracy Wingler, Champaign County's maintenance supervisor. "Our county highways overnight started drifting. Wind is out of the north-northwest, and it's catching the east-west and north-south roads."
Due to work on the outdoor warning sirens in Champaign, Urbana, Savoy and on the University of Illinois campus, there will be no monthly testing of the sirens for December or January.
The regular tests, which are scheduled for the first Tuesday of each month, will not be conducted on Dec. 2 or Jan. 9, according to Champaign County Emergency Management Agency Director Bill Keller.
CHAMPAIGN – Jane Tock lives on South Highland Street in Champaign, in a brick-and-stone home just a little west of Prospect Avenue.
Her street has just the slightest rise – almost imperceptible – to the north of her house. But when it snows, she often can't make it up the incline in her car.
So Tock wasn't pleased Wednesday to hear that the city has announced plans to stop salting most residential streets this winter in an effort to cut costs.
DANVILLE – The weekly yard-waste collection program ends next week, but the city has set two special pickup periods for trees and other waste generated by holiday activities.
The last day for the city's regular weekly collection will be Dec. 5, but the yard-waste recycling facility will continue to accept dropped-off materials.
SAVOY – Friday night's camp-out was a cold one for Pastor James McClarey.
The 48-year-old leader of Savoy United Methodist Church planned to spend 12 hours sleeping outdoors as a way to experience firsthand what many of the area's homeless do – outside without a home.
"I know we can't really duplicate what it really feels like to be homeless, but I thought, you know, let's try to enter into the experience," McClarey said.
RANTOUL – Low-income residents in this city will still be able to get help paying utility bills after the closure of the Urban League of Champaign County.
Last week, the organization closed its doors after 45 years of service to the area.
From Robin Kearton, artistic director of Community Center for the Arts:
Crane Alley, on the north side of Main Street in downtown Urbana, just east of the Cinema Gallery, 120 W. Main, is hosting the city's largest collection of intentionally placed leaves. This display is at your disposal for dragging feet, breathing fabulous fall smells and generally having fun.
DANVILLE – East Central Illinois Community Action Agency will conduct a power blitz between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday at the David S. Palmer Arena, 100 W. Main St.
The event offers income-eligible customers one-time payment assistance with their power bill.