Suspects sought in two separate campus-area robberies

CHAMPAIGN – Police are investigating a campus street robbery and an attempted robbery at a Champaign business.

Champaign police were sent to the A-1 Grocery, 904 N. Fourth St., C, at 9:07 p.m. Monday on a report of a robbery there, according to police spokeswoman Rene Dunn.

Law change could affect relationship of Carle clinic, hospital

URBANA – A change in federal law taking effect next year could prompt Carle Foundation Hospital and Carle Clinic to become what many patients already think they are – one large organization under a common owner.

The for-profit clinic and not-for-profit hospital, long under separate ownership, disclosed Wednesday that they will begin discussions about their relationship to comply with changes in the nearly two-decade-old Stark Laws that will have a major impact on dealings between physicians and hospitals throughout the country starting Oct. 1, 2009.

Peer Ambassadors cancels Sept. 25 town-hall meeting

CHAMPAIGN – A town-hall meeting set for Sept. 25 to discuss issues affecting youth in the criminal justice system has been cancelled.

The meeting had been organized by the Peer Ambassadors, a program of the Mental Health Center of Champaign County. A release from the center Tuesday said that, because of the significant cuts in state funding to social services that the mental health center and other agencies are dealing with, the center wants the community to focus on those.

Champaign 18-year-old accused of sexually abusing 2 girls

URBANA – A Champaign teenager is accused of sexually abusing two younger girls.

Matthew Coleman, 18, who listed an address in the 1700 block of West John Street, was arraigned on three counts of aggravated criminal sexual assault and two counts of criminal sexual assault.

Champaign man pleads innocent to sexual abuse

URBANA – A Champaign man is accused of sexual abuse of a teenage girl.

Todd Kelly, 57, who listed an address in the 4800 block of Windsor Road, Champaign, pleaded innocent Tuesday to a Class 1 felony charge of aggravated criminal sexual abuse. Champaign attorney Walter Ding appeared and entered the plea on Kelly's behalf.

Effort to improve homes' energy efficiency gets under way

This winter will be the first for Tony and Lynn Knowles in their own home, and they're not sure what kind of power bills to expect.

They're not waiting until temperatures drop to find out. With help from a government weatherization program, the Rantoul family is making energy-efficiency improvements to save fuel – and money.

The Home Weatherization Program, coordinated by the Champaign County Regional Planning Commission, helps income-eligible households raise the energy efficiency of their homes. That might include weather-stripping, insulation for attics and walls, repairs for drafty windows and doors, or even a new fuel-efficient furnace.

Food bank's challenge: Dine on $25 a week

URBANA – Forget the chicken dinner circuit. State Sen. Mike Frerichs plans to be eating a lot of PB&J next week.

He's taking part in a challenge from the Eastern Illinois Foodbank to get by on $25 worth of food for the week – the same amount given to the average person receiving government food stamps.

Ministry, Danville schools team to help fight bullying

DANVILLE – The teasing begins on the school bus, then continues at school.

Kassidy Baird said two boys seek her out and call her names. They make fun of her name, her looks. Sometimes, they poke her. Sometimes, they make noises when she speaks in class.

It always makes her feel bad.

"Sometimes, it makes me not want to come to school," said Kassidy, a shy, soft-spoken seventh-grader at South View Middle School.

Kassidy usually tries to ignore the bullying.

But school officials want her to take a different approach.

This year, they have teamed up with New Life Ministries in Danville to teach middle school and elementary students how to recognize bullying and give them the tools to know what to do if it happens to them or their classmates.

Carryover funds keep GCMS finances in black

GIBSON CITY – The Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley school district's budget envisions even more deficit spending for the upcoming fiscal year than projected last month, but Superintendent Chuck Aubry told the school board Monday that the district remains fiscally sound.

The district's overall finances remain in the black because of carryover funds. However, those funds are being spent down as the district annually spends more than it receives. The budget passed Monday night shows the district's total fund balances are expected to decrease from $7.765 million to $7.111 million.

Villa Grove school board OKs $5.8 million budget

VILLA GROVE – The Villa Grove school board approved an estimated $5.8 million budget for fiscal year 2009 at its meeting Monday evening.

Superintendent Steve Poznic said the budget was unbalanced, but there is no need for a deficit reduction plan at this time.