Apartment fee rebuffed by Champaign council

CHAMPAIGN – City council rejection Tuesday of a proposed $12-per-apartment rental registration fee means that it's likely that city inspectors will be able to inspect the common area of apartments only once every five years.

Council members rejected a proposal from city staff that the city implement a $12-per-unit annual rental registration fee. That fee would have generated $158,000 annually and enabled the city to hire an additional inspector and move to a three-year inspection cycle.

Monticello council OKs projects, appointments

MONTICELLO – The Monticello City Council agreed Monday to complete the Grandview cul-de-sac project started last year.

The project is estimated to cost $50,000, of which $17,000 will go to W.E. Excavating. The city expects work to begin next week.

Man's third trial begins

URBANA – A Champaign woman broke down on the stand Tuesday afternoon as she described how a neighbor inappropriately touched her in her home in 2004.

The third trial of Patrick Thompson, 39, whose last known address was in the 1800 block of Winchester Drive, Champaign, on charges of home invasion and criminal sexual abuse began Monday before Champaign County Judge Harry Clem.

Former UI football players serving sentences

URBANA – Former University of Illinois football teammates Joseph Ellis and Derrick McPhearson have been reunited at the Champaign County Jail.

Ellis, 21, formerly of Savoy and most recently of Baltimore, pleaded guilty Tuesday before Judge Tom Difanis to one count of felony theft for stealing a laptop computer from an apartment in the 300 block of East Armory Avenue in Champaign on March 2, 2007.

Name to change to Wendl's amid other changes

URBANA – Now that the off-track betting parlor has moved out, The Brickhouse in Urbana plans to change its name to Wendl's – a variation on the TK Wendl's name it used until 2005.

General Manager Chris Corres said the north side of the establishment at 1901 S. High Cross Road will be renovated for a dance floor and banquet hall that will accommodate 100 to 200 people, while the south side will remain a restaurant and bar. Corres said the renovations will probably take until late June to complete.

Rantoul board moves to flatten slope in airport's runway

RANTOUL – A pilot landing on the north-south runway of the Rantoul airport encountered a surprise in June 2005. The runway suddenly sloped upward. The man's plane immediately went airborne once again, and the pilot had to make a quick maneuver to complete a safe landing.

Three years later the slope remains on the runways.

Moultrie-Douglas fair to continue with promise of funding

ARTHUR – The Moultrie-Douglas County Fair will go on as scheduled this summer now that the Moultrie-Douglas counties University of Illinois Extension unit has received word it will be getting its state funding.

Moultrie-Douglas Extension Director Cheri Burcham said discontinuing the fair was under consideration if the state didn't come through with $125,000 appropriated for the unit by the Illinois General Assembly.

Homer building placement rules to be reviewed

HOMER – The Homer Village Board is considering amending current zoning ordinances that require that buildings be set back 85 feet from the center of the road, which is about 20 to 25 feet from the sidewalk.

Mayor David Lucas said the setback is reasonable for most residential properties, but the oldest commercial buildings downtown – built right up to the sidewalk – do not comply.

Study: Fairchild is best corridor

DANVILLE – Even at $41 million, Fairchild Street is still the best alternative for a train-free ride from the east side of the city to the west, according to a preliminary study.

City officials hosted a two-hour open house Tuesday night on results from a three-part study that analyzed four corridors for uninterrupted traffic flow across town. The city council's public works committee was also given an update on the study.

Westville board approves erosion-prevention plans

WESTVILLE – Village officials voted Tuesday to move forward with plans to repair and prevent future erosion along a drainage ditch on the north side of Moses Avenue, north of Zamberletti Park.

In March, inspectors from the Army Corps of Engineers investigated a complaint about erosion in the ditch. According to Mayor Jeff Slavik, village officials apparently authorized a cleaning and deepening of the ditch in 2002 without receiving a permit from the Army Corps of Engineers.