Rutherford testing waters for run for state treasurer

PONTIAC – State Sen. Dan Rutherford, R-Pontiac, is one step closer to announcing for another statewide campaign.

Rutherford, whose Senate district includes parts of Champaign and Iroquois counties and all of Ford County, announced that he has formed an exploratory committee to run for state treasurer in 2010. The current treasurer, Alexi Giannoulias, has an exploratory committee for a possible run for the U.S. Senate seat now held by Roland Burris.

Sidney sewer work hinges on federal aid

SIDNEY – If no federal economic recovery package funds come Sidney's way, the village will drop its plans for a sanitary sewer system.

That was the promise that village President John Finn made publicly Monday. The assurance came after complaints from residents Robert Galbreath and Fred Werts that the village board had moved forward with plans for the sewer system without having a referendum on the issue.

'Beyond the Chief' signs vandalized

URBANA – Three signs that were part of the "Beyond the Chief" exhibit on the University of Illinois campus were vandalized between Monday evening and Tuesday afternoon.

UI Professor Robert Warrior said the damaged signs, on the 1200 block of West Nevada Street, Urbana, portrayed the Potawatomi, Meskwaki and Sac American Indian tribes.

City Center work added to Monticello budget

MONTICELLO – Renovation work on City Center will continue after the Monticello City Council agreed to add the project to the 2010 budget during a study session Monday.

City Center is a former furniture warehouse across from City Hall that the city bought to convert to a multiuse building.

Urbana school board OKs community liaison post

URBANA – The Urbana school board Tuesday night approved hiring someone to help the district reach out to people in the community who aren't involved with the schools.

The community liaison will be responsible for surveying residents about school improvement and climate issues, and seeking out people who are not now communicating with the district.

27-year-old man robbed of cash while walking in alley

URBANA – An Urbana man was robbed of an undisclosed amount of cash early Monday.

An Urbana police report said the 27-year-old man was walking in an alley in the 700 block of Walnut Street just before 6 a.m. when a person approached him, implied that he or she had a weapon and demanded money.

Negotiations continue with subdivision developer

TOLONO – A subdivision developer could be reimbursed anywhere from nothing to $1.7 million from the village, depending on how negotiations proceed.

Dan Noel of Great Plaines Land Development has requested a tax increment financing district agreement for the third phase of his Kinderwood South subdivision. The village reimbursed him for expenses on the first two phases, but no agreement has been reached on the already-completed third phase.

Tax OK'd to fund ambulance service in Villa Grove

VILLA GROVE – Voters gave their approval Tuesday to a 1 percent sales tax to support the city's ambulance service.

This is the third time city officials have proposed a sales tax to support the ambulance. The ballot proposal passed by a substantial margin – 424 to 163.

Squash those cockroach analogies on campaign trail

Rep. Julie Hamos has gotten further in politics than I ever would have, but even a political novice would know that she'd better lose one part of the stump speech she used on Champaign County Democrats on Sunday night.

It's the part where she talks about "my famous cockroach theory," which has to do with using masses of constituents to apply political pressure.

Health insurance reform measure on way to state Senate

CHAMPAIGN – Health insurance reform may be on the way in Illinois, and it can't come too soon for the AARP.

The national organization for people 50 and older is challenging Illinois senators to follow the example of the state House, which on Friday passed an AARP-backed reform bill called the Health Insurance Consumer Protection Act.