Ameren pleased with gas plant site investigation

CHAMPAIGN – Contamination from a former manufactured gas plant at Fifth and Hill streets has spread off site in all four directions, but generally by less than 100 feet and only 150 feet at its furthest point, according to AmerenIP.

Ameren officials said they were pleased with the findings of their latest site investigation report, which came after they drilled 45 new soil borings around and on the 3.5-acre site this past April and May. Results showed that the contamination has not spread far and most of it is at least three feet underground, where the public is less likely to be exposed through inhalation of dust or direct contact with soil, said Brian Martin, an Ameren consulting environmental scientist.

Champaign woman's program earns national award

RANTOUL – The woman who founded a pioneering program that brings together adoptive children and senior citizens in a single community on the former Chanute Air Force Base will be recognized with a national award today.

Teresa Heinz Kerry, wife of former presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., announced that Brenda Kraus Eheart of Champaign is the 2008 recipient of the Heinz Award for the Human Condition, presented by the Heinz Family Foundation.

Stopping By: Good sleep, wealth of history at Pestoum inn

PESOTUM – I was greeted at the front door of Sweet Dreams Bed and Breakfast Inn by proprietor Cheryl Smitley. Her friendly greeting set the tone for my visit with her and Fred, her husband of 31 years. However, I was not prepared for the beautiful elegance of the home they showed me.

The Smitleys say they fell in love with the original woodwork and fine craftsmanship when they first saw the 1902 Victorian-style home at 300 East Adams Street in Pesotum.

Derailment blocks Champaign traffic on State Street

CHAMPAIGN – Traffic was expected to be blocked on State Street for most of the day after a train derailment Monday morning.


Meeting set Tuesday on plan to reform state disabilities system

CHAMPAIGN – Like other young people, Annie Niswander had big plans after high school: Get a job, maybe go to college, find an apartment.

Niswander has Down syndrome but already had worked at a grocery store and other jobs, supported by a job coach with Mahomet-Seymour's special education system.

Police seek information on mobile home fires

Champaign County Crimestoppers and the Champaign County Sheriff's Office this week are seeking information on two recent mobile-home fires that appear to be arson.

The fires occurred at the Woodland Acres mobile home park, 2200 E. University Ave., U, during the early morning hours of Aug. 19 and Sept. 2.

Champaign County lawyers offering People's Law School this fall

CHAMPAIGN – Ever wondered about starting your own business, whether you need to put your money in a trust for your kids, how the Family Medical Leave Act works or how to get disability from Social Security?

Champaign County lawyers will address all those topics and more in plain language in a series of sessions called the People's Law School being offered on Wednesdays this fall at the Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation, 302 N. First St., C.

Michigan couple hurt in rollover

URBANA – A Michigan couple was treated and released from Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana after they were involved in a rollover accident on Interstate 57 on Sunday afternoon.

Minnie Ruby Adams, 76, and J.B. Adams, 81, of Grand Rapids, Mich., were driving north on Interstate 57 about 5 miles south of the Monticello Road exit at 2:49 p.m. when their car left the road, went into and through the east ditch and rolled over, according to state police.

Street robberies investigated

A 17-year-old Urbana man reported that a group of strangers beat him and stole his iPod music player, cell phone and wallet in the 1500 block of East Washington Street about 7:20 p.m. Saturday, according to Urbana police Sgt. Dan Morgan.

The victim told police he was walking on Washington Street when confronted by a group of seven to eight young men, who chased him when he tried to run away.

Immigration issues leave wounds open

BUCKLEY – Last week Dave Dettmering reluctantly recalled a tragic and life-changing event: the crash caused by an alleged drunken driver that claimed the life of his father, Marvin Dettmering, one year ago.