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Symposium speakers map route from profits to peril

CHAMPAIGN – A system that promised "unimaginable personal wealth" to investment bankers has left the world "teetering on the brink of what may be a severe recession," a U.S. bankruptcy judge says.

Speaking at the University of Illinois College of Law on Friday, Judge Thomas Perkins of Peoria said nonbank lenders, investment bankers and credit rating agencies are all to blame for the mortgage mess that resulted in a global credit crunch.

Champaign County Court roundup

URBANA – In Champaign County criminal cases recently resolved with guilty pleas:

– Christopher Ladage, 36, of Tuscola, was sentenced to four years in prison and fined $170 after pleading guilty to possession of a controlled substance. He admitted that on July 8 in Champaign, he possessed a crack pipe that contained cocaine.

High school redistricting on agenda for Champaign

CHAMPAIGN – At the start of this school year, a number of classes at Centennial High School had more than 30 students, and some had closer to 40. The school's staff had to make adjustments to reduce class size, and the district increased Centennial's building budget.

Now, the Champaign school board will begin taking a look at high school redistricting, to balance the enrollments at Centennial and Central high schools.

Owner says he'll sell Urbana house to preservation group

URBANA – A Normal man whose rental home at 508 W. Elm St., U, was declared a local landmark this week despite his opposition now says he'll sell the home to a preservationist group.

Julian Gorski said Friday he's signed a contract to sell the 119-year-old Queen-Anne style home to the Urbana Development Group, a not-for-profit company that is working to acquire older rental homes in west Urbana for reconversion into single-family homes.

Prison terms in store in drug case, 2 counterfeiting cases

URBANA – A Danville man was sentenced Friday to federal prison in a drug case and two men were sentenced in separate counterfeit cases.

U.S. Judge Michael McCuskey sentenced Quonie L. Barney, 36, of Danville to 17 1/2 years in prison for possession with intent to distribute more than 5 grams of crack cocaine and illegal possession of a gun by a felon.

Area teachers get refresher on drivers' education

CHAMPAIGN – Josh Landon had never seen the "seat-belt convincer" demonstrated before. And when the drivers'-education teacher at Crescent-Iroquois High School strapped himself in and rolled down an incline to an abrupt stop, he was surprised at the impact.

"It's pretty intense for 5 miles per hour," Landon said. "It's definitely a bigger shock than what I was expecting."

News-Gazette Student Services Center dedicated at UI

The University of Illinois College of Media celebrated the opening of its renovated Student Services Center on Friday afternoon.

The college remodeled the basement of Gregory Hall, 810 S. Wright St., U, to provide new space for student advising and career placement services.

Champaign County auditor says worker gave contract to son

URBANA – Champaign County will look into its nepotism policy after the county auditor alleged nepotism in contract work at the Brookens Center.

Champaign County Auditor Tony Fabri said Friday he is blocking payment to B & R Contracting of Villa Grove, which lists an address on Sycamore Street, for work on a remodeling project at Brookens, the county's headquarters.

Urbana council to discuss new property-tax levy

URBANA – The city's maximum property-tax levy for taxes payable next summer will be $7.6 million – an 8.9 percent increase compared with this year.

But the city comptroller says the final levy is likely to be smaller, and that homeowners can expect a 2.9 percent increase in city property taxes.

Champaign seeing increase in burglaries

CHAMPAIGN – In the wake of several recent burglaries in Champaign, police are reminding citizens to protect their property and report any suspicious activity.