Rantoul

Rantoul

Rantoul man taps into past, makes syrup

Don't be surprised if Al Varney and Mrs. Butterworth know each other on a first-name basis.

A Vermont native, Varney grew up tapping maple trees the way many central Illinois residents grew up tasseling corn and baling hay.

It was a way to make some cash.

Now 86, the Rantoul man still keeps his hand in making maple syrup, but on a far smaller scale.

Prairie North 2013 Disaster Drill

More than 15 local and state agencies took part in the first day of a three-day emergency response exercise April 11 to 13 called Prairie North 2013.They were at the  empty Abbott Acres apartment complex in Rantoul on Thursday, April 11, 2013.The agencies included local fire and police departments, area hospital and ambulance services, and Illinois emergency agencies.

Rantoul hosting exercises for area emergency units

RANTOUL — The village will be teeming with state and area emergency response agencies beginning Thursday and ending Saturday as they participate in a domestic emergency response exercise.

Rantoul Fire Chief Ken Waters said hundreds of emergency personnel will be on hand during all or part of the three days. Among those participating will be the Illinois National Guard.

Update: Severe thunderstorm watch issued for the area

UPDATED 11:40 p.m. Wednesday

The National Weather Service has canceled a severe thunderstorm warning for southern Champaign County, eastern Douglas County, northern Edgar County and southern Vermilion County and another one for northeastern Champaign County.

Smith defeats Williams for Rantoul mayor

RANTOUL — The village of Rantoul will have a new mayor.

Voters on Tuesday tapped challenger Chuck Smith for the village's top post over incumbent Neal Williams, who was running for his fourth term. Smith pulled in 120 more votes than Williams, winning 881-761.

A jubilant Smith said he felt like he was "walking on a cloud" after final election figures were released.

Champaign County election results April 9, 2013

Results from contested races in Champaign County:

√ indicates apparent winner.

Champaign County United Way short of goal by 9 percent

CHAMPAIGN — Contributions to the United Way of Champaign County are running behind, with less than three months left to meet the agency’s $3.3 million goal.

As of Tuesday, the United Way had raised a bit over $3.03 million, about 9 percent behind where fundraising was at this time last year, says United Way President and CEO Sue Grey.

Life Remembered: Shields 'respected and a real gentleman'

Colleagues remember Lyle Shields as a gentleman who was easy to work with on the Champaign County Board.

Mr. Shields, who died Friday at the age of 89, served on the Champaign County Board for 41 years, including 10 years (1986-1996) as its chairman.

County nursing home census dips

URBANA — The average daily census at the Champaign County Nursing Home dropped to its lowest level in more than three years last month, but the facility's manager said he did not believe it was because of reports of an increase in deaths there over the winter.

Relay for Life of Champaign County surfing for fundraisers

CHAMPAIGN — There's no place to go surfing around here, except on the Web.

But you may be seeing surfboards at some local businesses for the next couple of months.

It's part of an American Cancer Society fundraiser for the upcoming Relay for Life of Champaign County, for which this year's theme is Surfing for a Cure.

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