Douglas County shooting suspects faces at least 20 charges

TUSCOLA – Both men charged in connection with the shooting of a Douglas County sheriff's deputy could spend the rest of their lives behind bars if they are convicted.

Douglas County State's Attorney Kevin Nolan said attempted murder of a police officer charge carries a mandatory sentence of 20 to 80 years in prison.

Police officer's sexual assault case gets special prosecutor

DANVILLE – The appellate prosecutor's office has taken over the case of a former Belgium police officer accused of using his position to sexually assault several women.

Vermilion County State's Attorney Frank Young handed over David Lewis' case on Tuesday, after Circuit Judge Claudia Anderson granted a motion by Lewis' attorney asking for a special prosecutor.

First defendent pleads guilty to drug charges

CLINTON – The first defendant in a series of drug arrests by Illinois State Police Task Force 6 has been convicted in DeWitt County Court this week.

Amanda C. Nelson, 22, who gave her most recent address as 1011 N. Melvin St. in Gibson City, has pleaded guilty to one count of criminal drug conspiracy and two counts of juvenile pimping. The plea agreement was negotiated by Illinois Assistant Attorney General Matthew Hoppock.

Stopgap budget advances

SPRINGFIELD – Legislation to keep state government running through the end of July passed the Illinois House on Wednesday night.

"I think all of us agree that it is important that we keep state government open," said state Rep. Gary Hannig, D-Litchfield, the sponsor of the one-month, emergency budget legislation.

DACC trustees OK adding medical coding program

DANVILLE – Starting in the fall, Danville Area Community College will offer a one-year certificate program that will train people to work in the growing field of medical coding and claims processing.

DACC trustees on Tuesday unanimously approved a health information technology coding certificate program. Now, college officials will send the curriculum to the Illinois Community College Board for approval.

Friend of the homeless stepping down

CHAMPAIGN – Jumping rope with a 3-year-old isn't exactly in her job description, but Kathy Ouellette doesn't mind.

In fact, the longtime director of the Center for Women in Transition values her time with clients much more than her official duties running the shelter for homeless women and children.

Liquor proposals get cold reception from Champaign council

CHAMPAIGN – A series of proposals to prohibit some bar practices were, for the most part, defeated by the city council Tuesday night.

The council rejected proposed liquor license amendments that would have clearly defined what constitutes an individual drink, would have prohibited the sale of bottles of wine or hard liquor to individuals at bars, and would have cracked down on private parties at bars that offer reduced alcohol prices.

Police seek man who stole electronics from Wal-Mart

URBANA – Police in Urbana are seeking help in identifying a man who stole more than $2,500 in electronic items from the Wal-Mart Supercenter there.

According to Urbana police Investigator David Smysor, a man entered the Urbana Wal-Mart, 100 S. High Cross Road, about 11:30 a.m. June 15.

Police break up drug ring

ARCOLA – Police arrested a dozen people and seized about $400,000 worth of cocaine in breaking up a drug ring based in Arcola.

"Hopefully, it will cause some disruption of this group that has been causing us problems in Arcola," said Sgt. Mark Peyton, supervisor of the East Central Illinois Task Force, a multiagency drug unit based in Tuscola.

Curtis plan urges slow, quality effort on project

CHAMPAIGN – A tentative master plan for the Curtis Road interchange area advises the city to take its time developing the 640-acre corridor and to demand high-quality projects.

"It's important for us to recognize the opportunity is substantial," said Lee Brown, president of Teska & Associates of Evanston, which is helping the city develop the master plan. "The area we're talking about is significant. We shouldn't expect it to develop in the next two to three years. It will take a very long time."