Meningitis shot: It's not mandatory, but vaccine is a necessary precaution

SPRINGFIELD – When Lisa Mazzocco starts college at the University of Illinois this fall, she'll have registered for classes, moved into her dorm room, bought books.

She'll also have been vaccinated against meningitis.

Last day of school

CHAMPAIGN – Kenwood Elementary School Principal Patricia Lewis said an emotional goodbye to her students on the last day of school Friday.

It wasn't just goodbye for the summer. It was Lewis' last day with the Champaign school district, where she has spent her entire 33-year career.

Smoking vote likely Monday

URBANA – The death knell for indoor public smoking in Champaign-Urbana could come Monday night, when the Urbana City Council is expected to follow Champaign in enacting a comprehensive smoking ban.

The Urbana council voted 6-1 in committee in favor of a comprehensive smoking ban on May 22. Interviews with three aldermen show that their positions haven't changed, despite stepped up lobbying by bar owners, smokers and smoking rights' advocates.

$43,070 in grants awarded to fund 31 C-U projects

The Champaign Urbana Schools Foundation awarded a record amount of money to Champaign and Urbana schools to fund 31 projects.

The grants, totaling $43,070, range in size and scope. The smallest gives $350 to Robeson Elementary School in Champaign to provide computer-assisted activities to help students with organization.

Audit cites mega-agency problems

SPRINGFIELD – A state audit of the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation reported a host of problems Thursday, ranging from a failure to meet the agency's own deadlines for investigating professional disciplinary cases to inconsistent policies and inefficient procedures.

About 10 percent of the state's 12 million residents are licensed through the agency, which is a combination of the former departments of financial regulation, insurance and financial institutions and the former Office of Banks and Real Estate.

Teen admits role in death of officer

URBANA – C.J. Tucker nodded and occasionally said that he understood what he was doing Thursday morning as he admitted his role in the brutal killing of a Parkland College police officer last summer.

Tucker, 16, is the youngest of the trio accused of the bludgeoning and stabbing death of Peter McLaughlin, 45, at his Urbana home on Aug. 4, 2005,

Union pickets blast final offer of negotiators

URBANA – Nurses, library workers and other employees at the University of Illinois staged an informational picket Thursday protesting what they call a "union-busting" final offer from UI negotiators.

About 400 members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 698 have been working without a contract since last August, when their last agreement expired. The two sides have had nine negotiating sessions since then.

Air Force has 616-acre gift

RANTOUL – Air Force officials offered the village of Rantoul a surprise gift on Thursday.

But Village Administrator David Johnston said the village isn't ready to accept it.

Attorney to look at legality of ordinance

Urbana attorney Steve Beckett said Thursday he has been hired by a local bar owner to look into the legality of the ordinance banning smoking in most public places in Champaign.

"I've done some work for a particular bar owner," he said. "I'm obviously looking at passage of the anti-smoking ordinance and its validity and enforceability."

Owners of vicious dogs put on short leash

SPRINGFIELD – Owners of dangerous or vicious dogs now face tougher penalties if their pets attack, under a bill Gov. Rod Blagojevich signed into law on Wednesday.

"Dogs can make great companions, but if they're not trained well or restrained, some dogs can also pose serious threats – especially to children," Blagojevich stated in a written release. "We've seen too many people seriously injured by dogs whose owners allow them to act more like wild predators than pets."

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