Champaign County Salvation Army strikes gold for fifth year in a row

CHAMPAIGN – For the fifth year in a row, the Champaign County Salvation Army fished something special from a donation kettle.

A donor pushed an Austrian 4 ducat gold coin into the slot in the kettle stationed at the County Market on Kirby Avenue and Duncan Road on Monday, sometime between noon and 8 p.m., said Kettle and Volunteer Coordinator Melanie Hall. The coin is valued at $335.

Old National Bancorp to buy 65 Charter One branches

DANVILLE – Old National Bancorp, which has offices in Danville and Tilton, has agreed to acquire 65 Charter One branches in Indiana from Citizens Financial Group of Providence, R.I.

The acquisition gives Evansville, Ind.-based Old National the third largest branch network in Indiana. It's the largest bank based in Indiana.

Group urges shoppers to watch out for unsafe toys

CHAMPAIGN – A consumer watchdog group has a message for all would-be Santas this year: Buyer beware.

Hazardous toys still remain on store shelves across the country despite new laws to protect children and overhaul the federal Consumer Product Safety Commission, the Illinois Public Interest Research Group says.

Man critically injured in I-74 crash

ST. JOSEPH – A Minnesota man was critically injured in an accident on Interstate 74 Monday afternoon that led to two other accidents.

Illinois State Police at Pesotum said Erling C. Albin, 77, of Hanley Falls, Minn., was driving a sport utility vehicle east on 74, just west of St. Joseph, at 12:06 p.m. when his vehicle drifted left and hit a guard rail. It then rolled several times, coming to rest upright.

Carle Clinic lays off 21 employees to cut expenses

URBANA – Carle Clinic laid off 21 employees Monday, citing a need to cut staff expenses.

The affected employees were primarily in "manager-level" and support-service positions, according to a statement from the clinic. No employees providing hands-on patient care were affected, the statement added.

Video shows UI librarians' quest to settle the West in 1908

A timid, hair-wrapped-in-a-bun, pince-nez-wearing spinster.

Is that the image you have of a librarian from 100 years ago?

Try this one on instead:

Gun-toting, horseback-riding, walk-2-miles-to-work-in-a-blizzard type of woman.

Those were the kind of librarians who settled the West.

Around the turn of the 20th century, graduates of the University of Illinois Graduate School of Library and Information Science (then called the Illinois Library School) headed to places like Texas, North Dakota, Idaho and Oregon.

Mission: to bring culture to the West.

Panel had busy year working out new foundation's basics

CHAMPAIGN – Members of the Marajen Stevick Foundation's governance committee say they've had a busy year hammering out basics of the new foundation.

Greg Cozad said members spent the initial months learning how a "Type 1 Supporting Organization" such as the Stevick Foundation works in conjunction with supported foundations – in this case, the University of Illinois Foundation and the Community Foundation of East Central Illinois.

News-Gazette owner turning dividends into charitable help

CHAMPAIGN – The foundation that owns The News-Gazette Inc. has begun making charitable contributions of dividends paid out by the newspaper.

The Marajen Stevick Foundation has distributed $190,000 to the University of Illinois Foundation for journalism-related projects and set aside an additional $50,000 for a potential project on campus.

It's Your Business: Chicken, fish to star at new restaurant

A new carryout restaurant called Big JJ Fish & Chicken will open in the former location of Seaboat at 1114 N. Market St., C.

The owner, Hisham "John" Rosoul, looks for it to open before the end of the month.

Community Foundation looking for ways to help with its share

CHAMPAIGN – The Community Foundation of East Central Illinois is entertaining ideas about the best ways to spend $205,000.

That's how much the foundation has been given by the Marajen Stevick Foundation to improve the lives of seniors, promote reading and writing in the schools and improve the appearance of Champaign-Urbana.