District hopes to buy land for new park

CHAMPAIGN – Champaign Park District officials hope to close today on the purchase of 18 acres in the Boulder Ridge subdivision where a city park is planned.

The park district board voted Monday night to authorize park district Executive Director Bobbie Herakovich to buy the property from GAM Properties LLC, the developer of Boulder Ridge.

Ex-attorney gets 33-month prison term

URBANA – A former Champaign man who practiced law locally for 30 years was sentenced Monday to 33 months in federal prison for stealing several hundred thousand dollars from an Urbana-based health care plan.

Gary Sudeth, who pleaded guilty to a single count of mail fraud in January, will have to report to prison July 21. He also will have to repay Health Alliance Medical Plans $611,512.

Parents put federal act to the test

CHAMPAIGN – A handful of concerned parents is forming a task force to look more closely at No Child Left Behind and how the federal act is affecting the Champaign school district.

Some of those parents say they are worried that hands-on, project-based learning is being sacrificed to prepare students for testing that will determine if they are learning the basic concepts mandated by state standards, and if schools and the district are making sufficient progress according to No Child Left Behind.

Astronaut set to launch for first time in nearly 6 years

DANVILLE – It's been nearly six years since NASA astronaut Joe Tanner launched into space, but August may end the wait.

Tanner, 56, is slated to take off with the rest of his crew in August from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on the space shuttle Atlantis. In the meantime, he's on standby as part of a rescue mission team if needed during the July mission of the Discovery shuttle.

Early decision makes Bily Urbana's top cop

URBANA – Mike Bily wanted to be a cop ever since he was in high school at Gibson City.

Now, he's the top cop in Urbana.

Bily, 45, said he grew up on a farm in the Gibson City area. He played football in high school and had a desire to become a police officer in the mid-1970s.

UI grad co-writes book on Microsoft's research effort

You might call something like the graphical Web browser, which ignited the Internet revolution after researchers at the University of Illinois popularized it in the 1990s, a one in a million idea.

Or one in 1,300 in China.

Sons award their dad long-awaited diploma

SPRINGFIELD – Like thousands of area high school graduates, Robert McKibben recently accepted his diploma with pride. He just took a longer and more dangerous route than most.

McKibben, who turned 81 on Friday, left high school early to fight for his country, as did many of the 987,000 Illinoisans who served in World War II.

It's your business: Antiques store open for business in Atwood

A new antiques store has opened in Atwood.

Owners Shirley and Wayne Schable have set up shop at 57 E. U.S. 36 in Atwood, under the name Atwood Antiques & Home Store.

Union wants action taken on Tuscola principal

TUSCOLA – The Tuscola Education Association, which represents teachers in the Tuscola school district, filed a complaint on May 12 with the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board alleging that the district has been taking part in unfair labor practices.

According to a copy of the complaint obtained by The News-Gazette, school district representatives, including Tuscola High School Principal Kyle Ransom, allegedly have been interfering with, restraining and coercing union representatives since April 25, in violation of the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Act.

Largest drug court class set to graduate

URBANA – It took Jeanine Wright a little longer than her teachers had hoped, but on Monday she will graduate from one of the toughest schools in the world – Champaign County's drug court.

Wright, 30, of Urbana is among seven – the largest class ever– to have completed the program designed to get people whose crimes are linked to their drug addiction back on the straight and narrow.

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