Couple opening new steakhouse in Urbana

URBANA – Longtime area restaurant owners Johnny and Cheryl Lee plan to open a steakhouse at the former Ned Kelly's site in Urbana later this month.

To be called The Timbers, the restaurant will serve steaks, chops, ribs and seafood, Johnny Lee said.

University would get more aid than was expected

SPRINGFIELD – The governor's proposed budget boosts state university funding by 1.9 percent, more than the 1.5 percent the Illinois Board of Higher Education asked for, but far less than the schools initially requested.

Although the University of Illinois asked for an 8 percent increase, UI President B. Joseph White seemed happy with a quarter of that, about $11 million more than the UI received for this year.

Area residents intrigued by proposals

DANVILLE – Barbara Reasor and her husband, Steven, have enough monthly income to pay bills but not enough for health insurance.

Reasor works in Danville for the East Central Illinois Community Action Agency, which offers employee health insurance. But if Reasor has more money taken out of her paycheck for health insurance, she won't have enough to pay bills.

Blagojevich's ideas are met with caution

SPRINGFIELD – Local lawmakers reacted warily on Wednesday to the governor's proposed spending plan, and predicted an intense budget debate this spring.

"Today's remarks from the governor were just the beginning of a long process of compiling a final state budget, and I am committed to my responsibility as a legislator of asking tough questions over the next few months," said state Rep. Naomi Jakobsson, D-Urbana.

Governor's tax proposal scares business

CHAMPAIGN – A Champaign businessman says he may abandon his plans to expand locally if the state adopts a gross receipts tax.

William Boulanger, the founder of Obiter Research, said the tax would easily overshadow incentives he's been given for a $4 million facility now under construction in Champaign's Apollo industrial subdivision.

Authorities warn against possible scam in area

ST. JOSEPH – Champaign County sheriff's deputies are urging people to be cautious about whom they let into their homes.

Sgt. Dan Coile said about 10 a.m. Tuesday, a man came to the door of a 92-year-old woman's home on South Seventh Street in St. Joseph claiming to be a lawn-care business employee.

Owner to close units to make fixes

URBANA – Two of the three apartment buildings at 1507 E. Washington St., U, which the city was threatening to condemn for multiple code violations, will be temporarily closed within the next few days, the landlord says.

Gabriel Omo Osagie, owner of Gabe's Place Apartments, said he decided to close down two of the three buildings at the troubled complex following a wave of vandalism that left commons areas with broken windows and doors, disconnected fire alarms and little to no lighting.

Guilty plea may net man 15 years in meth case

DANVILLE – A 39-year-old Danville man who was arrested last November following a methamphetamine investigation by the Illinois State Police could spend up to 15 years behind bars.

Robert P. Hempel Jr. was scheduled to stand trial on Monday on drug and explosives charges.

Danville City Council approves 3-year police contract

DANVILLE – City officials approved a three-year contract with police officers Tuesday that includes a one-year wage freeze.

The vote followed months of meetings between representatives of both the Danville City Council and the Danville Policemen's Benevolent and Protective Association No. 11, including one with an arbitrator.

Three accused of selling drugs

RANTOUL – A Rantoul woman, a Chicago woman and a Calumet City man are accused of selling drugs near Rantoul Township High School.

Arraigned Monday were:

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