Man arrested after standoff had BB gun

URBANA – An Urbana man who held police at bay for hours Thursday with what turned out to be a BB gun will be back in court next week.

Assistant Public Defender Dave Appleman told Judge John Kennedy on Friday that he had concerns about Reginald Thurston's fitness to stand trial and asked for a continuance so an attorney could visit with him early next week. Kennedy continued the case to Tuesday.

Thurston, 57, a resident of Steer Place at 1202 E. Harding Drive, was charged with two counts of aggravated battery for striking two police officers Thursday.

UI-Springfield unions agree to furloughs

SPRINGFIELD – The University of Illinois' smallest campus has reached agreement with five of its seven civil service unions to take furloughs or other unpaid leave.

At the Urbana campus, unionized workers are exempt from furloughs, and there's no likelihood of that changing.

"We haven't asked them to" take furloughs, said Robin Kaler, the chief spokeswoman for the Urbana campus. She said she didn't predict any change in the near future.

Work to begin Monday on Illinois 130

PARIS – The Illinois Department of Transportation has announced that, weather permitting, work will begin Monday on Illinois 130 in northern Douglas and southern Champaign counties.

The project includes 9.1 miles of pavement patching, milling and resurfacing of Illinois 130 from the north city limits of Villa Grove to Madison Street in Philo.

Across-road culverts, side road and entrance culverts will be replaced. New ditches will also be constructed to improve drainage. New storm sewer, curb and gutter will be constructed in Philo.

Worden-Martin shuffling dealerships

Worden-Martin Inc. will change the location of some of its dealerships Monday as the result of growth in its Ford Motor Co. and Subaru businesses.

The Ford-Lincoln-Mercury dealership will adopt the name "Ford City" and remain at its 300 Carriage Center location off South Neil Street in Champaign.

But sales of Ford trucks and some sport-utility vehicles will move nearby to their own Ford Truck Center building at the northwest corner of Neil Street and Devonshire Drive.

Oakwood man was unofficial heart and soul of the fair

OAKWOOD – Herbie. He was always just Herbie.

"I was always amazed, you could go anywhere, even away from here and people would know Herbie," said Rick White of his friend and fellow Vermilion County Fair Board member. "I never heard somebody speak bad about him either."

Harold "Herbie" Hadden lost his long fight with cancer this past week.

He was involved with the fair board for 42 years, 12 as the board president.

I-74 bridge work will slow traffic through spring

ST. JOSEPH – Drivers on Interstate 74 can expect to slow down west of St. Joseph and northeast of Fithian for the next three months for bridge repairs.

Illinois Department of Transportation Construction Field Engineer George Davis said contractors will be adding support to four bridges to prevent erosion damage.

Two of the affected bridges carry I-74 over Salt Fork Creek west of St. Joseph. The other two carry I-74 over Stony Creek northeast of Fithian.

White Horse Inn calling it quits again

CHAMPAIGN – Tonight's the last call at the White Horse Inn.

The venerable Campustown watering hole is closing today after a year-and-a-half resurrection.

Aidas Mattis, one of the partners in the bar and restaurant, said several factors – "mainly financial" – figured in the decision to close.

"You can tell just talking to (beer) distributors how bad off everyone is," Mattis said. "Students rely on their parents to get money to live on, and when the money isn't there, then it gets even worse."

Fire rekindles at home in Hoopeston

HOOPESTON — Firefighters have been called back to a home in Hoopeston where a fire rekindled.

Firefighters from Hoopeston, Rossville, Rankin and Wellington responded to an early morning fire Friday at 1101 block of South Second Avenue in Hoopeston.

Ambulances were also called to the scene at that time, but there are no reports of injuries.

At 3 p.m., firefighters were sent back on the scene after the fire rekindled, according to the Hoopeston Police Department.

CU Tweetup at Jupiters at The Crossing

The News-Gazette hosted another Tweetup at Jupiters at the Crossing on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2010.

Danville school district proposes cutting 82.5 jobs, $300,000 in other cuts

DANVILLE — The Danville school district is proposing to eliminate 82 ½ positions and $300,000 in other expenses in the upcoming fiscal year due to the state’s financial crisis.

Administrators said they’re devastated to have to lay off so many employees. But they said the nearly $5.25 million in proposed staff cuts is needed to ensure the viability of all of the district’s non-grant-funded programs and its financial soundness as it heads into a new year of uncertainty in state funding.