Champaign schools' consent decree comes to an end

CHAMPAIGN – Calling it a monumental day for the Champaign school district, board President Dave Tomlinson and other board members ended the district's consent decree case Wednesday night when they voted to approve a settlement agreement in the case.

To bring the case to an end, the school district agreed to adopt several policies regarding opening and closing schools, special-education referrals, and support for students in alternative programs.

Pilot lands safely after plane hits power line

BROADLANDS – A crop-dusting plane knocked down a power line Thursday, but the pilot was able to fly the plane to Rantoul and land safely, according to Champaign County Sheriff's Lt. Allen Jones.

Sewer line repair closes part of Pine Street in Champaign

CHAMPAIGN — The city of Champaign reports that an unexpected sanitary sewer line repair has closed the 500 block of South Pine Street until 4:30 p.m. Friday. Local traffic will continue to have access to driveways. Additionally, street parking will be restricted along South Pine Street in the vicinity of Arlington Court.

Residents starting petition to get Wal-Mart in Tuscola

TUSCOLA – Three Tuscola residents are mounting a petition drive to bring a Wal-Mart to this Douglas County community.

Todd Wathen said he, his brother Mark Wathen and Barbara Chapman are circulating petitions in hopes of getting the signatures of half the town's 4,448 residents.

Employee charged in theft from Urbana Holiday Inn

URBANA – An employee of the Urbana Holiday Inn has been charged with stealing money from the hotel.

Champaign County Judge Richard Klaus allowed Esther Leach, 26, who listed an address in the 300 block of West High Street, Urbana, to remain free on her own recognizance until she is tried on a felony theft charge.

Danville schools staff to start school year without contract

DANVILLE – Danville schools teachers and other staff will start the 2009-10 school year without a new contract.

Negotiation teams for the school district and Danville Education Association could not reach a tentative deal Wednesday after the last of three lengthy negotiation sessions held over the past two weeks.

Danville man charged with DUI in accident where child hit

DANVILLE – A Danville man has been charged with aggravated DUI and driving the wrong way on a one-way street after a pickup truck struck a child at about 6 p.m. Monday in the 900 block of Hazel Street. Lilburn E. Hajny, 76, of Danville was taken into custody after Danville police responded to a vehicle-pedestrian accident and found the child lying in the street.

The child sustained head injuries and was transported by Medix Ambulance to Provena United Samaritans Medical Center in Danville, then airlifted to Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana. As of Wednesday afternoon, the 4-year-old boy had been upgraded to fair from critical condition at the hospital.

Witness's absence leads to dismissal of felony charges

URBANA – A Champaign County prosecutor Wednesday dismissed serious felony charges against a Rantoul man accused of entering a home where teens were baby-sitting and hitting a boy there.

Assistant State's Attorney Duke Harris said the one teen in the house who he believed could identify Terron Lyons, 36, who listed an address in the 400 block of North Sheldon Street, did not show up at the courthouse Wednesday. Lyons' jury trial on Class X charges of home invasion and armed robbery was to have commenced Wednesday before Judge Tom Difanis.

WILL switches up management positions

URBANA – Illinois Public Media, which oversees WILL, has reorganized its management, with Kate Dobrovolny being named station manager for WILL radio and television and Jay Pearce being named director of created content.

Mark Leonard, the general manager of Illinois Public Media, said the changes will help the stations operate with a smaller staff, necessary as a result of reductions in state funding and the effects of a bad economy.

UI Alumni Association official says ex-governors chilly

When George Ryan and Rod Blagojevich governed the state, the University of Illinois Alumni Association extended its hand "to offer ourselves as a resource," for selecting university trustees. But the administrations apparently did not reach out to the association, according to one alumnus.

The alumni association used to have a good relationship with the governor's office in the slating of members for the UI Board of Trustees, said Tom Livingston, a member of the association's executive committee. But for the last two administrations, that relationship was "lights out," Livingston, also a former Chief Illiniwek, testified Wednesday before the state commission looking into claims that trustees, politicians and donors may have pressured admission of some applicants to the University of Illinois.