Area man charged in burglary, gun cases

URBANA – A Champaign man has been charged with firing a gun at a car last week and an unrelated residential burglary.

Champaign County Judge John Kennedy set bond for Perry Hampton, 19, who listed an address in the 100 block of East Roper Street, at $200,000 on both cases after he appeared in court Wednesday.

Sixth DUI nets man 13-year sentence

URBANA – An Urbana man convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol for the sixth time in 20 years was sentenced Wednesday to 13 years in prison.

Champaign County Rich Klaus had to sentence John Graham, 57, who listed an address in the first block of Northwood Drive, to between four and 15 years because of his record. Probation was not an option.

United Way names Jones as next president

CHAMPAIGN – The United Way of Champaign County Board selected Lyn Jones today as its next president and chief executive officer.

Jones, of Champaign, senior director of development and public affairs at the University of Illinois Library, will leave that position and assume the United Way post effective April 30.

Overruns to force Champaign school district to make cuts

CHAMPAIGN – The Champaign school district is looking for ways to cut expenses this year, to balance areas where it is spending more than budgeted.

Gene Logas, the district's chief financial officer, said the district is spending more than expected on special education placements, on legal fees related to its consent decree and on workers' compensation cases. It needs to find $500,000 to $600,000 in other areas to make up for those costs.

Different electricity rate relief bills proposed

SPRINGFIELD – A House committee of the whole meeting that stretched past 2 a.m. Wednesday was all talk, but some electricity rate relief action is definitely on the way. The big question is, will any of the measures make it to the governor's desk?

The House electric utility oversight committee was poised to approve legislation this morning that would return rates to last year's levels and force Ameren and Commonwealth Edison to refund the difference plus interest. Among its backers are state Rep. Naomi Jakobsson, D-Urbana, and state Rep. Chapin Rose, R-Mahomet.

UI hands out eight awards for entrepreneurship

URBANA – Six individuals, an organization and an event were recognized for their contributions to entrepreneurship at the second annual Innovation Celebration awards presentation Wednesday in Urbana.

The presentation, held at the Alice Campbell Alumni Center on the University of Illinois campus, was sponsored by the UI, the Academy for Entrepreneurial Leadership and the Champaign County Economic Development Corp.

Jury acquits Champaign man of sex charges

URBANA – It took a Champaign County jury less than an hour to acquit a Champaign man of charges that he had sex with a runaway teen.

Darrell Powers, 54, who listed an address in the 100 block of West Washington Street, had been charged with criminal sexual assault and aggravated criminal sexual abuse in connection with a Dec. 20 incident involving a 15-year-old girl who had left the Cunningham Children's Home on foot in search of drugs.

Forest preserve officials toss out idea for dog park

MAHOMET – Squirrels, hide your nuts. Birdies, find a higher branch. Dogs could be coming – unleashed at that – to five acres of Lake of the Woods Park.

Champaign County Forest Preserve District Executive Director Jerry Pagac said Wednesday that the district is tossing out the idea to see if anybody responds.

Shareholders on both sides approve bank merger

CHAMPAIGN – As expected, shareholders of First Busey Corp. and Main Street Trust Inc. on Wednesday separately voted to approve a merger of the two bank holding companies.

The merger is expected to take place in the second quarter of this year, but it still needs approval from the Federal Reserve and the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.

Urbana gas station's future uncertain after fire

URBANA – Owners are undecided about the future of an Urbana gas station following a fire last week.

Dorothy Collins said she and her husband, Chuck, have not made any decision on the station at 108 W. University Ave., U.

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