Indiana man charged with having Ecstasy for sale

URBANA – An Indiana man accused of having drugs at a campus bar is due back in court this week with an attorney.

Steven Smitka, 25, of Chesterton, Ind., was charged Friday in Champaign County Circuit Court with unlawful possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance.

Hooray for Dollywood -- and the Smoky Mountains

If you're looking for a vacation to please the whole family, Pigeon Forge, Tenn., is the place to go. My family received a heapin', helpin' of southern hospitality on our recent visit to this charming and friendly area of the Great Smoky Mountains region in eastern Tennessee.

Pigeon Forge is home to Dolly Parton and her well-known theme park, Dollywood. The amusement park is nestled in the foothills and shade trees of the Smoky Mountains, but don't let the country charm fool you. They have their fair share of thrill rides to choose from.

Exchange of gunfire sends Shelbyville man to hospital

MATTOON – A Shelbyville man who exchanged gunfire with Mattoon police early Saturday was taken to a Coles County hospital.

A release from the Mattoon Police Department said officers were called to 1817 S. Ninth St., Mattoon, at 4:43 a.m. by a woman who needed help. While on the way, they were told that a man in the apartment, Matthew D. Thomas, 26, wanted to kill himself.

Washington Street residents want flooding fixed faster

CHAMPAIGN – Interim solutions to persistent flooding problems in Champaign may be possible, according to city officials, but residents particularly plagued by heavy rains this year are getting tired of waiting.

More than 60 people from the Washington Street watersheds attended a meeting Thursday night and sounded a common refrain.

Safe Routes project aims to educate students, drivers

The young woman on the cell phone didn't even slow down as she passed Bottenfield Elementary School, even though the crossing guard was already in the middle of Prospect Avenue.

She drove past the school, easily going faster than 20 mph, said Bottenfield parent Leeann Stack, who watched the woman continue her conversation as she drove past the crossing guard last week.

Longtime pageant organizer took it to national level

HOOPESTON – For more than 30 years, Delores Crabtree has been a major organizer of the National Sweetcorn Festival's Sweetheart Pageant, a local event that has grown into a training ground for Miss America hopefuls from across the nation.

'Extreme' exposure paying dividends for Champaign charity

CHAMPAIGN – Donation bins overflow, shelves are stocked with food, the place is definitely spiffier – and the line of people needing help is longer than ever.

That's what a little extreme TV exposure can do.

Champaign-based Volition staying on target with games

CHAMPAIGN – Video-game sales have dropped dramatically this year, and Champaign-based Volition Inc. isn't immune to the falloff.

From March through July, industry sales were down every month compared with the same month last year, the Los Angeles Times reported, citing sales data from market research firm The NPD Group. July sales were down 29 percent from a year ago.

State revenues continue trend of drop from 2008 figures

SPRINGFIELD – Illinois continued its downcast revenue picture in August, according to figures from the Legislature's Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability, with non-federal fees and taxes off by more than 10 percent.

The personal income tax, traditionally the state's No. 1 revenue source, was off 8.4 percent from last year. The sales tax, usually the second-greatest revenue source, brought in 11.5 percent less revenue than last year.

Grad students to rally on Quad, march at UI

URBANA – Graduate assistants are paid less at the University of Illinois than at Big Ten equals, the Graduate Employees' Organization said Friday.

From 12:30 to 1 p.m. Sept. 9, the group will rally on the Quad, and march to the Levis Faculty Center, where presenters will give speeches before negotiations with the UI at 1 p.m..