URBANA – In a year when Americans were asked to help victims of natural disasters around the world and at home, University of Illinois employees raised a record amount of money for charity.
They gave $1.17 million through the fall semester Campus Charitable Fund Drive – just over its $1.1 million goal – to break the previous record of $1.15 million set in 2001.
SPRINGFIELD – As high heating bills continue to roll in, state and federal officials seek more money for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program.
LIHEAP helps struggling families pay their heating bills by making payments to utility companies on their behalf, helping to reconnect heat that has been cut off, and in some cases, supplementing rent when heat is included in that payment.
URBANA – The tumor removed last week from community activist John Lee Johnson may be the second-largest of its kind.
Carle trauma surgeon Dr. James Gregory, who led the two surgeries last week, said he has searched the medical literature and it appears that only one soft-tissue liposarcoma was ever removed that was larger than the 37-pound tumor.
CHAMPAIGN – Anonymous testing for HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, remains available in the area despite the state's new requirement that medical providers and public health agencies begin reporting HIV-positive cases by name.
The change to name-based reporting took effect with the start of the new year, but it applies only to testing done on a "confidential" basis, public health officials say.
URBANA – Moments after an Urbana drug dealer was escorted from a Champaign County courtroom Wednesday to begin serving his prison term, his mother was right behind him.
Judge Thomas Difanis held Linda Rowry, 45, of Chicago in direct criminal contempt of court for jumping up after her son's guilty plea was completed and loudly unleashing a string of invectives against his lawyer. Difanis sentenced her to five days in the county jail.
DANVILLE – A Danville Public Works crew on Wednesday began cleaning up one of the city's largest illegal junkyards, but not before police threw the property owner in jail.
Jeffery Hamer, who owns a dilapidated house at 332 Harmon Ave. and two adjacent lots to the south, was arrested for disorderly conduct and resisting a police officer after refusing orders to go inside the house or leave the property Wednesday morning.
CHAMPAIGN – The year is new, your resolve is strong, and you're determined to lose weight. Or kick smoking. Or be a better parent.
Maybe you could use a little help. Whether your plan is to adopt a healthier lifestyle or cope with a more serious problem, there's probably a support group out there for you.
CHAMPAIGN – In a move that could signal a willingness by the Champaign City Council to ease Campustown parking requirements, the council gave unanimous approval Tuesday to a plan to redevelop the old Burnham hospital site with a 259-unit apartment project and grocery.
Despite protests from some developers, the council left intact a staff recommendation that the 18-story apartment building need have 200 below-grade parking spaces – significantly fewer than the 455 normally required by the city for such a project.
RANTOUL – The village of Rantoul and the Air Force are $80 million apart over the cost to clean up the former Chanute Air Force Base.
In addition, it appears the village is back to square one in its efforts to acquire ownership of the Rantoul airport from the federal government.
CHAMPAIGN – Tanya Parker is putting her passion for Champaign-Urbana and its black communities to paper.
With its first issue out Dec. 15, Parker started Habari Connection, a monthly newsletter that aims to start a dialogue about urban issues. "Habari" is Swahili for "What's up?" or "What's the news?" Parker said.