Fire destroys nine garages at Urbana apartments

URBANA – A fire that destroyed a bank of garages at an Urbana apartment complex Saturday afternoon left several hundred thousand dollars' worth of damage in its wake.

Firefighters were called to the Fairlawn Village apartment complex in the 400 block of East Hollywood between Fairlawn and Michigan avenues east of Vine Street about 3:45 p.m.

Man gets 9 years in jail for burglarizing pawn shop

URBANA – The following criminal cases were resolved recently in Champaign County Circuit Court:

Displaced by fire, law firm remains without quarters

CHAMPAIGN – Guy Hall said he feels a bit like the cobbler in the proverb whose children had holes in their shoes while his customers had wonderful footwear.

For the last year, he and his partners have been trying to focus first on the needs of the clients of their firm and secondly on finding a new space.

New UI trustees chairman didn't exactly have write stuff

One thing is pretty clear. There's no way Christopher Kennedy could have been appointed to the University of Illinois board of trustees based solely on the application he submitted to Gov. Pat Quinn.

Politics – and the cachet of the Kennedy name and the fundraising connections it presents – had to have been a much bigger factor because Kennedy's application is so painfully weak.

Champaign police group members defend its usefulness

CHAMPAIGN – Members of a group who have been working with Champaign police to improve community relations say that now, with emotions stirred by a fatal shooting, is not the time for their resignations or dissolution as a group, contrary to some calls for that.

Some city council meetings have been packed after the Oct. 9 fatal shooting of 15-year-old Kiwane Carrington. Many of the speakers have criticized the city's handling of the incident.

Police, firefighters take to gridiron in fundraiser game

CHAMPAIGN – Champaign police Detective Joe Johnston was smarting Saturday night from the drubbing that his team of police officers took from firefighters on the football field earlier in the day.

"Chief Finney did say I'm done. I've lost my defensive coordinator job and I'm going to midnights," joked Johnston, who sported a houndstooth hat in the style of Bear Bryant and chomped a cigar for his role as coach of the police officers.

Stopped Neil Street drivers getting eyeful of eyesore

CHAMPAIGN – If there's anything that makes the sight of a gaping, fenced-off hole on a prime downtown corner even more unfortunate, it's having one lane of traffic closed just north of the same corner, a city official says.

"Those are unfortunate combinations of things because people have longer to sit there, and they ponder the hole in the ground while they sit there," said Craig Rost, deputy city manager for development.

One year after fire, Metropolitan site is still a mess

CHAMPAIGN – For 130 years, the magnificent Metropolitan Building stood at the corner of Church and Neil streets. For the last year, it's been a pond-filled hole in the ground, and there's no suggestion of a plan right now to replace it.

"We're stuck at this point," co-owner George Grubb said Thursday. "If we do finally build something, I promise it will be something this city is proud of."

Local author promoting finale of four-part book series

URBANA – Around the area, you may see Elizabeth Hoyt writing her latest historical romance novel in a bookstore or coffee shop.

Hoyt, who has nine published books, is promoting the final book in her four-book soldier series, "To Desire a Devil." The third book of the series, "To Beguile a Beast," reached The New York Times' best-seller list in May.

C-U native experiencing early success in Hollywood

CHAMPAIGN – Picture the ultimate Champaign-Urbana homecoming visit:

– Native son buys his grandmother new flat-screen television. While he's installing it, he appears on screen.

– Same returnee takes his grandfather, who used to work the gates, to the Illinois-Michigan football game. Illini win.