Danville Republican interested in challenging Frerichs

DANVILLE – An organizer with the East Central Illinois Tea Party group said he's willing to challenge state Sen. Mike Frerichs, D-Champaign, in next year's 52nd District Senate race.

Al Reynolds, 64, of Danville, said Wednesday he's interested in becoming the Republican candidate in the district that includes most of both Champaign and Vermilion counties, including the cities of Champaign, Urbana and Danville. Republican leaders have been rebuffed in several attempts to persuade others to run for the two-year term.

Hundreds mourn Champaign teen's death

Hundreds gathered Wednesday to mourn a 15-year-old who was killed in a scuffle with Champaign police.

Teen involved in fight released into mother's custody

URBANA – A 15-year-old Champaign male accused of injuring Police Chief R.T. Finney in a struggle Friday was released Tuesday to the custody of his mother.

Champaign County Judge Heidi Ladd told the youth, "Obviously, I want you to succeed, and I think it's appropriate to be released to your parent's custody."

The teen, who appeared in court Tuesday to be short and thin, faces a juvenile Class 4 felony charge of aggravated resisting a peace officer, which could carry a maximum juvenile prison sentence of three years. Possible penalties also include probation or conditional discharge.

Gibson City veterans memorial receives state award

GIBSON CITY - The Drummer Creek Veterans Memorial on Gibson City's west side has received a 2009 Governor's Home Town Award.

The veterans memorial is near Illinois 9, at the southeast corner of Drummer Cemetery on Gibson City's west side. It was dedicated on Veterans Day last year.

The memorial cost $125,000 and was paid for entirely with donations.

Kirk takes state treasurer to task over Bright Start

CHAMPAIGN – Republican U.S. Senate candidate Mark Kirk used a college-savings proposal he is sponsoring in Congress to skewer state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, a Democratic Senate candidate, for big financial losses in Illinois' Bright Start college-savings program.

But he admitted Tuesday that his proposal for a 401(k)-type college savings program was proposed two years ago, has no Democratic co-sponsors and is stuck in the House Ways and Means Committee.

Group's efforts putting emphasis on writing

URBANA – Just a generation ago, many folks in most professions seldom wrote a sentence after they graduated from high school.

How things have changed.

"Now it doesn't matter what you do, if you're a 21st-century person, you're on a keyboard," said Kent Williamson, executive director of the National Council of Teachers of English, based in Urbana.

To recognize and celebrate that, the council, along with 18 partners nationwide, established the National Day on Writing, which will fall on Oct. 20 every year.

Elm Street to be closed today for sewer-line repairs

CHAMPAIGN – A portion of Elm Street in Champaign will be closed today for three days for sewer line repairs.

Work crews from Duce Construction Company will be repairing a sanitary sewer line in the 200 block of South Elm Street from 7 a.m. Wednesday through 4:30 p.m. Friday.

Recession's effects catching up with Urbana's budget

URBANA – City officials say it took a little longer for the recession to hit Urbana, but the economy now poses problems for the city government.

Consequently, department heads are looking at possible budget cuts of up to 10 percent, and the city council may look at new or increased fines and fees.

Identity of officer in Champaign teen shooting released

CHAMPAIGN – Police have identified the police officer involved in the incident in which a 15-year-old boy was fatally wounded on Friday.

And this isn't the first time the officer was involved in an incident that resulted in a death.

Ford County's new budget is $272,155 in the red

PAXTON – Ford County Board members have approved a fiscal 2010 budget with a significant deficit – not for the first time and probably not the last time, according to officials.

The budget projects a deficit of $272,155 in the county's general fund, according to Ford County Treasurer Nancy Krumwiede. For the past two years, income has barely exceeded expenses.