Life Remembered: St. Malachy priest had impact

RANTOUL – The Rev. Michael J. Bies was only assigned to St. Malachy Catholic Church in Rantoul for a short time, but he made a big impact, said one person who knew him.

The Rev. Bies died last week of cancer, at the rectory of St. Paul Catholic Church, Odell. He was 54.

C-U gets 4.4 inches of snow; roads are slippery

Almost all highways in Illinois have either patches of ice and snow or are covered, according to the Illinois Department of Transportation.

Champaign-Urbana got 4.4 inches of snow on Friday, according to the National Weather Service. Three inches fell at Danville and at Mattoon.

SURS change will affect only new hires

Only new hires at the University of Illinois will be affected by a new law that will eventually save the state money by lowering payouts and eliminating double-dipping.

The Pension Code changes that affect the State Universities Retirement System become effective Jan. 1.

If you are a current SURS participant, the act does not affect you.

Bement schoolchildren help decorate governor's mansion

BEMENT – Among the festive Christmas trees inside the Executive Mansion in Springfield is a homespun variety adorned with paper hearts, pine cones and Victorian fans.

The ornaments were all hand-made by 31 young artists from Bement Elementary School, who got an unexpected field trip to Springfield to see their handiwork last week.

Parkland student charged with financial crimes

URBANA – A Parkland College student accused of opening bank accounts with bad checks and making withdrawals could face a mandatory prison term if convicted.

Meet the 'Griswolds' of Mahomet

MAHOMET – It began as a few lights on the shrubs and the light pole 30 years ago.

"It just started growing from there," said Dixie Schoonover.

Now the holiday display at the Timberview Drive home of Dixie and her husband George has about 80,000 lights that cover the home's roof, trees, bushes, windows and even part of the neighbor's yard.

Reports of crime

In crimes reported to area police:


– 900 block of Meijer Drive: Wallet, driver's license, identification items and a credit card reported missing Tuesday.

– 1600 block of Rion Drive: 1998 Chevy truck with a German shepherd left in the back stolen Tuesday.

Champaign County jobless rate drops, but most others in area rise

Champaign County's unemployment rate dropped in November, but rates for most other counties in East Central Illinois went up.

Champaign County's rate dropped to 8.3 percent in November, down from 8.5 percent in October, according to the Illinois Department of Employment Security.

Community project continues holiday tradition

PAXTON – The need to help others "hit home" when Sally Warnick lost her job as office manager at Concrete Technology Inc. in the spring of 2009.

Primary in Danville mayor race: $50,000 to eliminate one candidate

DANVILLE – With five candidates in the race for Danville mayor, a February primary is necessary.

But it will cost taxpayers $50,000-$60,000 and narrow the field by just one candidate, heading into the April 5 consolidated election, according to Barbara Dreher, director of the Danville Election Commission.