CHAMPAIGN – Last Christmas, 650 families received free toys and food through The Salvation Army's annual holiday giveaway.
This year, amid tough economic times, 950 families have signed up – almost a 50 percent increase.
"It's huge," said Salvation Army envoy Mike Fuqua.
TILTON – It's too early to tell what's going to happen to former workers at Tilton's General Motors Central Foundry plant, according to a local union official.
Ed Barney is president of United Auto Workers Local 579 and still a General Motors employee. His job is working with retirees and others receiving health care and pension benefits through the company. He's seen a lot, but is expecting more.
URBANA – Three Chicago men are accused of using illegally altered credit cards, and a local investigator warns that the high-tech crime is a growing threat.
Arraigned Wednesday on charges of possession of altered credit cards were Sherrell Wayne, 31; Shaun Johnson, 29; and MiquelTharpe, 31, all of Chicago. Tharp also is charged with two counts of burglary and Wayne faces one burglary count. The burglary charges allege Tharpe and Wayne entered businesses with intent to commit felonies.
CHAMPAIGN - Police suspect a diabetic episode caused a driver to drive onto the sidewalk at One Main in downtown Champaign.
URBANA – A Champaign County jury Wednesday agreed with two psychologists that Eric T. Smith is likely to commit more sex acts if he is released into society.
After deliberating an hour, the jury found Smith, 44, formerly of Champaign, sexually violent. Judge Richard Klaus then held a perfunctory hearing to order that Smith be held by the Department of Human Services, at its locked facility in Rushville, until he no longer suffers from the mental disorder that makes him likely to offend again.
URBANA – A Champaign man is due back in court in February on charges accusing him of threatening a woman with a shotgun.
Brian Partlow, 19, who listed an address in the 200 block of East Roper Street, Champaign, was arraigned and pleaded innocent Monday to charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and aggravated use of a weapon.
URBANA – A Champaign County jury Wednesday agreed with two psychologists that Eric T. Smith is likely to commit more sex acts if he is released back into society.
After deliberating an hour, the jury found Smith, 44, formerly of Champaign, sexually violent.
SIDNEY – Champaign County sheriff's deputies believe a fire that destroyed a vacant home early Monday was intentionally set.
BONDVILLE – Champaign County sheriff's deputies are investigating burglaries at a storage facility in Bondville.
Sgt. Dan Coile said after midnight Saturday, someone broke into an undetermined number of units at Bright Ideas Storage, 4400 W. Springfield Ave. One renter reported a Fender bass guitar and amplifier, an electric tuner and a jewelry box, worth a total of $4,250, stolen. A second renter reported snow ski equipment was stolen.
CHAMPAIGN – Power was restored to about 400 households before 9 p.m. Tuesday after about a five-hour outage.
An equipment failure left the residents without electricity since about 3:30 Tuesday, said Ameren spokesman Leigh Morris. The outages were near Campbell Drive, he said, which is north of Interstate 74 and just east of Mattis Avenue. That's located in the 61821 ZIP code, where more than 15,000 households have Ameren power.