Monticello board considering security cameras

The Monticello school board discussed installing security cameras at the Monticello high and middle schools, based upon a recent safety audit, at their meeting Wednesday night.

"The purpose is to improve overall security on campus. It will not stop major violent events but it will deter some incidents," Superintendent Vic Zimmerman said. "It will provide an extra set of eyes and an increased perception of security for the community and students."

Plastipak expanding in Europe

CHAMPAIGN – Plastipak Packaging is increasing its presence in Europe with the acquisition of two corporations in Italy.

The Plymouth, Mich.-based company, which operates a plant in Champaign, acquired full equity interests in Europe Preforme and Preforme Sud in a deal that closed Feb. 29. Those corporations have facilities in the Italian cities of Verbania and Anagni.

Paxton school district looking for extra space

PAXTON – The Paxton-Buckley-Loda school district has begun looking at solutions to future classroom space issues.

Superintendent Cliff Mc-Clure told the board that a committee feels the best resolution to possible future learning space issues would be to convert the band room at Eastlawn Grade School into two new classrooms.

IDOT plans to widen stretch of Illinois 130

PHILO – Just over 9 miles of a state highway will be widened to improve its quality and life expectancy and to make it safer, Illinois Department of Transportation officials have announced.

At a public informational meeting, IDOT officials explained their plans to resurface Illinois 130 from Madison Street in Philo to the north corporate limits of Villa Grove. In rural areas, the pavement will be widened 2 feet on each side to provide a 12-foot travel lane and a 3-foot paved safety shoulder in each direction.

Westview beefs up security after incident

CHAMPAIGN – Westview Elementary School has made some changes in security, in the wake of an attempted abduction at the school last week.

The school's front doors are now locked during the after-school program, which runs from 2:10 to 6 p.m. Anyone coming to the school must ring a doorbell at the front door.

Rantoul school districts raise concerns on TIF district

RANTOUL – Representatives from Rantoul's two school districts expressed concern over the creation of a second tax increment financing district in the community.

And a school board member warned that establishing the district could force Rantoul City Schools to ask the voters to approve a property tax increase.

Principal at Central will retire

p>CHAMPAIGN – After nearly 30 years in the Champaign school district, the best memories for Bill Freyman aren't the big events. They're the hundreds of small, personal moments he's witnessed.

"The things kids do that make you sit back and chuckle," he said.

Iraq war protest held on campus

URBANA – Local anti-war activists marked America's fifth year in Iraq on Thursday with speeches on the Quad, a march through Campustown and a "die-in."

About 35 marchers gathered on Anniversary Plaza south of the Illini Union just before noon, strode past the Alma Mater to Green Street, turned west to Fifth Street and came back on John, then took a turn around the University of Illinois quadrangle.

Judge, not jury, will decide ex-officer's fate

DANVILLE – When former Belgium police officer David Lewis is retried on charges of official misconduct and criminal sexual abuse today, the case will be heard by a judge, not a jury.

Jury selection was scheduled to begin Thursday afternoon. But that morning, Lewis' attorney, Mark Christoff, said his client wanted to waive his right to a jury trial and have a bench trial instead.

Two bills would restrict fly ash

OAKWOOD – Two bills moving through the state Legislature would ensure that potentially harmful fly ash cannot be dumped near the homes of citizens, like Joanne and Lewis Osterbur of rural Oakwood, without the homeowners ever knowing.

"I'm glad someone is paying attention. It's about time. All these years we've been fighting," said Joanne Osterbur, whose house is near a large ravine filled with more than 380,000 tons of fly ash.