Urbana council to decide on signs at auto park

URBANA – The Urbana City Council will consider Monday an agreement to allow the new O'Brien Auto Mall facility under construction to have two larger free-standing signs.

The auto park facility is nearing completion at the northwest corner of Interstate 74 and North Cunningham Avenue.

Students find magic at career fair

URBANA – Recruiters and information providers who attended Urbana High School's annual career day didn't need magic to attract students to their tables.

But it certainly didn't hurt.

Bill in U.S. House challenges NCAA rule

WASHINGTON – A House bill introduced Thursday would allow the University of Illinois to sue the NCAA and seek damages for lost revenue if barred from hosting a championship game.

The legislation proposes to limit the NCAA's ability to apply sanctions on colleges or universities because of team name, symbol, emblem or mascot, according to a news release issued by one of the bill's sponsors, U.S. Rep. Tim Johnson, R-Urbana.

Durbin urges cities to enact smoking bans

CHAMPAIGN – The question of whether to ban smoking in public places in Champaign and Urbana will resurface again this month.

And U.S. Sen Richard Durbin, D-Ill., is weighing in on the issue.

Police obtain arrest warrant for suspect

CHAMPAIGN – Champaign police are looking for a Chicago area man believed to be responsible for the murder of a man in Champaign last month.

Champaign police Lt. Joe Gallo said police obtained an arrest warrant Thursday for Robert Dashawn McCollum, 21, believed to be from Dolton, charging him with the April 20 first-degree murder of Charles E. Woodson II, 28, also of Dolton.

Lawmakers pass budget, forward it to governor

SPRINGFIELD – Although four Hispanic state senators initially balked at voting for the new state budget, the Democrats eventually passed the spending plan and sent it to the governor's desk before adjourning for the summer on Thursday.

The four lawmakers' votes were crucial because Republicans refused to support the plan, which was crafted behind closed doors by House Speaker Michael Madigan, Senate President Emil Jones and Gov. Rod Blagojevich, all Chicago Democrats.

Soldiers return to area today following duty in Iraq

URBANA – Bryan Abbott is a tough guy who had two Humvees shot out from under him, and won a medal for saving a soldier's life while under fire, but he was all tears today.

The Ivesdale man is a medic in the 2nd Battalion, 130th infantry's headquarters company, and when his wife Brenda met him at the Urbana Army National Guard Armory, they sobbed in each other's arms, silently, eyes shut, for a few minutes after his unit returned from Iraq at 11 a.m.

Illinois includes four possible sites in bid

SPRINGFIELD – When the FutureGen Industrial Alliance opens bids today for the $1 billion "coal plant of the future" project, Tuscola, Mattoon and two other Illinois sites will be among them, the governor's office confirmed on Wednesday.

The News-Gazette first reported the news on Tuesday, but the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity had refused to confirm or deny it at that time.

Engineering, education deans named

URBANA – The University of Illinois has picked two scholars to head its engineering and education schools.

Ilesanmi Adesida, who has been interim dean of the UI College of Engineering, was named dean of that college. Mary Kalantzis, a professor of education and former dean at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia, was named dean of the UI College of Education.

Moving away from sweet stuff

A lot has changed since 1908, when Pepsi's official slogan declared its soda "Delicious and Healthful."

On Wednesday, Pepsi, Coca-Cola and Cadbury Schweppes agreed to limit soda sales in public schools out of concern for the health of the nation's children.

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