They came. They studied. They stayed.

URBANA – In 1964, the Illini football team faced off against the University of Washington Huskies in the Rose Bowl.

The north side of the University of Illinois campus (where the Beckman Institute is now located) was largely green space.

National Guard soldier pleads guilty to theft

URBANA – A Vermilion County man who served with the National Guard in Iraq pleaded guilty to theft of more than $30,000 in military property.

Patrick S. Fitzsimmons, 39, of Potomac, pleaded guilty to the federal charge Thursday at U.S. District Court in Urbana. Central Illinois District Chief Judge Michael McCuskey will sentence Fitzsimmons on Jan. 25.

Rain washes out UI pep rally; parade still on

CHAMPAIGN – Rain has washed out tonight's University of Illinois homecoming pep rally, but the parade is still scheduled to begin at 6 p.m., according to UI officials.

The parade will begin at the corner of Sixth Street and Lorado Taft Drive in Champaign at 6 p.m.

Rantoul schools make strides on state tests

RANTOUL – Looking at past state assessment scores, Bill Trankina and Rantoul City Schools officials saw clear trends – and they didn't like what they saw.

They made changes in reading programs, staff training and schools' populations. They offered incentives for good performance and added social services staff members. They test students more often so they know who needs help.

Urbana clearing up phone problems

URBANA – At a recent city council meeting, Alderwoman Lynne Barnes, a Carle executive, was attempting to attend via telephone. But the telephone connection, for whatever reason, wasn't working.

At least twice at the Oct. 15 meeting, Barnes' line was cut off. She tried calling back a few more times, but every time another alderman spoke, Barnes' line would disconnect.

Authorities keeping watch on sex offenders

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Corrections is keeping an especially close eye on sex offenders this Halloween as part of Operation Safe Spirits.

The operation, now in its third year, involves teaming up with local law enforcement officials to conduct spot checks and make face-to-face contact with the state's 1,100 paroled sex offenders in the days leading up to Halloween.

Two men injured avoiding deer on I-74

OAKWOOD – Two men were injured when a car swerved to avoid a deer carcass on Interstate 74 this morning.

Master Sgt. Rory Steidl of District 10, Pesotum, said motorists should be aware of deer on or near the highways.

Students get living history lesson

DANVILLE – After reading Holocaust survivor Marion Blumenthal Lazan's memoir "Four Perfect Pebbles," a Danville High School student had to ask: Can you still picture the horrors of the Nazi concentration camps every day?

"I do not dwell on it," said Lazan, who shared the story of her family's imprisonment and survival with students Thursday.

Two women accused of employee theft

URBANA – Two women are accused in separate cases of stealing from former employers.

Crystal M. Smith, 23, formerly of Urbana but who listed a current address in Mulberry, Ariz., was arraigned Wednesday on a charge of felony theft.

Fewer parking problems expected for UI game

URBANA – Although another sellout is expected for the University of Illinois football game Saturday, fewer problems with parking are expected than last week.

"We have a good team and we anticipate large crowds," said Kent Brown, assistant athletic director.