Chief portrayer had hoped common sense would win

CHAMPAIGN – Wednesday's performance at halftime of the men's basketball game won't look any different.

Dan Maloney, the University of Illinois student who portrays Chief Illiniwek, won't use the occasion of the Chief's last dance to make a statement, even though some have urged him to do so.

Profiling the candidates

In a Feb. 27 primary, Champaign voters will narrow a field of nine candidates for the three contested at-large city council seats. Voters will be asked to choose three candidates; the six top vote-getters advance to the April 17 consolidated election.

The News-Gazette submitted questions on several city issues to the candidates, and eight of nine responded. Freddie Gordon, 109 E. Church St., did not respond.

Primary candidates include incumbents Thomas A. "Tom" Bruno and Giraldo Rosales, council appointee Deborah Frank Feinen and challengers Bill Glithero, Patricia Avery, Karen B. Foster, Annette B. Williams, Michael Henley and Gordon.

UI students help revive foreign language program

CHAMPAIGN – "Mi barba tiene tres pelos. Tres pelos tiene mi barba. (My beard has three hairs)," sang Karen Trower, as she made exaggerated gestures, touching her chin and her hair, along with a group of second-grade students at Westview Elementary School.

"Si no tuviera tres pelos, pues no siera una barba. (If it didn't have three hairs, it wouldn't be a beard)," they sang.

The earlier the better on foreign languages

CHAMPAIGN – As an international flight attendant, Elizabeth Dickerson knows how useful speaking a second language can be. Many of her co-workers speak multiple languages.

Unfortunately, she doesn't. She's learned a few words and sometimes resorts to pantomime to communicate with passengers.

Teachers bringing study to the table

CHAMPAIGN – Foreign language teachers would like to see the Champaign school district restore an exploratory language course and add another year of language instruction at the middle school level.

Their long-term goals include initiatives at the high school level, such as adding heritage classes for students able to speak a second language but who need to improve their grammar and writing skills; and, ultimately, adding foreign language classes at the elementary level.

Accidents pile up after newest layer of snow

The fresh snow that blanketed Central Illinois early Saturday, accompanied by winds, had area police and highway crews scrambling.

"There are a lot of cars in the ditches," Master Sgt. Kevin Riddle of the state police post at Pesotum said Saturday. "They find themselves on a dry stretch and think it's okay to get back up to speed and then they come to a spot where there's snow blowing across and they can't get slowed back down."

Now they're cookin'

DANVILLE – O'Leary's Pub owner Tim Farrell is eagerly awaiting the opening of a new, state-of-the-art kitchen, but it's not going into his restaurant.

The 900-square-foot facility is being built at Danville Area Community College's Bremer Conference Center. It will serve as not only the facility's kitchen but also as a hands-on laboratory for students taking food service classes.

Water restored to half of village of Roberts

ROBERTS – About half of the residents of Roberts have water again after having been without for about two days.

Roberts Mayor Rick Flessner said Saturday that workers found one leak in the water system, but he thinks there may be more. A leak-detection service from St. Louis was expected this morning. He hopes water to the entire town of 400 in northern Ford County would be back on by this evening.

Future of trucking company in limbo

CHAMPAIGN – Company officials are deliberating the future of Champaign trucking company JAT Transportation.

JAT, which has been based in the former Southland distribution facility, could be "rolled into" Pittsburgh-based trucking company R&R Express, an official of JAT's parent company said last week.

Main Street, Busey plan shareholder votes Feb. 28

CHAMPAIGN – Shareholders of First Busey Corp. and Main Street Trust Inc. will meet Feb. 28 in separate gatherings to vote on the proposed merger of the two bank holding companies.

Main Street shareholders will gather at the Champaign Country Club at 2:30 p.m. to consider the merger, and First Busey shareholders will meet at the same place 90 minutes later.

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