Former Piatt County circuit clerk gets jail sentence for DUI

MONTICELLO – The former circuit clerk of Piatt County was sentenced Tuesday to 300 days in the Piatt County Jail for driving under the influence of alcohol.

The sentence was the second that Gary Bickel, 65, of Monticello had received for a drunken driving incident that occurred on April 1, 2005, just east of the courthouse where Bickel had worked as the keeper of the court records for more than 20 years. He resigned his political office in August 2005.

Dental assess program founder leaves for job in Wisconsin

URBANA – Lisa Bell, an Urbana dental hygienist who founded a groundbreaking dental access program for needy children, has accepted a state job in Madison, Wis.

Her program, Central Illinois Dental Education and Services, will continue under new leadership, according to Claudia Lennhoff, a board member with the organization.

Charity track meet to honor toddler

DANVILLE – When Steve Luke heard that 2 1/2-year-old Reagan Williams was shaken to death last July, he wanted to do something to help.

After all, he knew the toddler's grandfather, Greg Williams, from when they were kids and from working together at Danville High School, where Williams taught English.

Tax swap plan sponsor opts to postpone committee vote

SPRINGFIELD – The sponsor of a tax swap plan to reform education funding decided to delay a committee vote on his legislation after an initial debate on Tuesday.

"There were too many questions outstanding," said state Rep. David Miller, D-Chicago, who hopes to schedule another hearing soon.

Work on road reconstruction set for summer

DANVILLE – Anna Blacketer has worked at Big Boy Restaurant on Lynch Road since it opened more than a dozen years ago.

The Georgetown resident takes Interstate 74 to work but often travels Lynch Road into Danville to drop off coworkers or go shopping.

Vermilion County farmers urged to review notices

DANVILLE – The Vermilion County Farm Bureau is encouraging farmland owners throughout the county to review the farmland assessment notices recently mailed to landowners.

A state-mandated change in determining the tax value of farmland has changed the equalized assessed values of farmland throughout the county.

Catlin bridge project costs to increase

CATLIN – Construction costs for the Webster Street bridge renovation will be higher than expected, Mayor Fred Rinehart said Tuesday, but he is hopeful work will begin next month.

Village officials hope to renovate the narrow, 200-foot-long, two-lane Webster Street bridge by doubling its width and raising it, as well as adding a sidewalk along the west side of the bridge, realigning the intersection of Northview Drive and Webster Street to eliminate a jog in the road, and regrading and widening the approaches between Wayne and Northview drives.

Chairman reports finance resource director job open

DANVILLE – Vermilion County will soon be searching for a new financial officer now that the position is vacant.

Vermilion County Board Chairman Jim McMahon confirmed Monday night that the finance resource director's position in the county board office is vacant as of Monday. That position has been held by Tina Cravens.

Students exceeded goals in '05-'06

LUDLOW – Ludlow Grade School exceeded adequate yearly progress standards in reading and math during the 2005-06 school year based on ISAT test scores.

That accomplishment came a year after failing to meet state standards. It had marked the first time the school had not met state requirements in those areas.

Money sought to finish EMA building

DANVILLE – About $290,000 in federal grants has been spent buying and renovating two buildings for the Vermilion County Emergency Management Agency's new headquarters, but county officials say more local money is needed to finish renovating one of the buildings.

Vermilion County Board Chairman Jim McMahon said during Monday night's county property committee meeting that the county must dedicate some of its own building and maintenance crew to finish the project or hire outside labor.

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