Suspect charged in cab holdups

URBANA – A Champaign man who admitted holding up two cab drivers this week to get money to buy cocaine is due back in court in July.

Champaign County Assistant State's Attorney Steve Ziegler said Charles McKinney, 34, who listed an address in the 900 block of West Beardsley Avenue, Champaign, was charged with two counts of armed robbery with a knife. The first alleges he robbed an Orange Taxi driver about 1 a.m. Wednesday near Washington and Randolph streets in Champaign. The second accuses him of robbing a Yellow Checker cab driver about 1 a.m. Friday on State Street in Champaign.

Man arraigned on unlawful possession count

URBANA – A Champaign man found to be in possession of crack cocaine is scheduled to be back in court July 8.

Everett Townsend, 29, of the 1200 block of Carver Drive, was arraigned on a charge of unlawful possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance.

Local man charged with home invasion

URBANA – An Urbana man has been charged with home invasion and other crimes for forcing his way into the home of a former girlfriend earlier this week.

Charles Adams, 36, of the 500 block of East Illinois Street, was charged with home invasion, criminal trespass to residence and criminal damage to property in connection with events that occurred April 21 on Gurth Drive in Urbana.

Downtown Danville hires an executive director

DANVILLE – Downtown Danville Inc. officials said Friday that Dana Schaumburg has been hired as executive director of the organization.

Phearn Butler, president of the DDI board, said Schaumburg will start May 5.

Troop comes to the rescue with oxygen mask for pets

CHAMPAIGN – Dogs, cats, snakes. Even iguanas.

Champaign Fire Department Squad 171 will now be equipped to rescue family pets.

Researchers chart papaya gene map

Not many papaya trees in the fields around Champaign-Urbana to be sure, but a University of Illinois professor was in the middle of the event when scientists unveiled a landmark draft of the papaya's gene map this week.

The papaya genome already is revealing new information about angiosperms – or flowering plants, a category that goes far beyond the melonlike tropical fruit rich in vitamins A and C – and the gene map should be a font of knowledge particularly as it relates to sex determination in those plants, UI Professor Ray Ming said.

Urbana High teens not shaken up by ceiling mishap

URBANA – For students performing in the Urbana High School musical, "All Shook Up," the show must go on – even if their performance space is shut down.

Sometime before school Friday, part of the ceiling fell in the high school auditorium, where the students planned to open their show next Thursday.

Governor's medal honors slain Douglas County deputy

SPRINGFIELD – Fallen Douglas County Chief Deputy Tommy "T.K." Martin will be awarded the governor's Medal of Honor next month.

Mr. Martin, who died last year after being shot during a Douglas County crime spree, is being honored with 27 other officers who performed heroically in the line of duty. It's the highest honor issued by the state.

Event helps youths perfect life skills

URBANA – Imagine shaving with your eyes closed. Or putting on lipstick while wearing binoculars. The results probably wouldn't be pretty.

But, with practice, they could be perfect.

Post-prom events are meant to keep kids safe, sober

Area high school students have spent months preparing for prom.

They've purchased glittering dresses and rented stately tuxedos, scheduled pictures and booked dinner reservations.

But they're not the only ones making big plans. At many area schools, parent groups have banded together to host huge post-prom parties.