Robberies send parolee back to pen

URBANA – A Springfield man who robbed two central Illinois banks while on parole for the same crime is headed back to prison for almost 17 years.

Stephen D. Wacaser, 57, a once highly regarded prep basketball analyst, pleaded guilty Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Urbana before Judge Michael McCuskey to robbing the Regions Bank in Decatur on Oct. 19 and the Illini Bank in Sherman on Oct. 20. He also admitted he violated his parole by committing the robberies.

Champaign tower to be much shorter than original design

CHAMPAIGN – Development of a planned 20-story tower adjacent to the city's tallest building at Green and Fourth streets will continue, but the tower will be less than half as tall as the original design.

There still is no fixed timeline for the construction of a Roland Realty-owned apartment complex at 311 E. Green St. But when it does go up, it will contain, in its eight stories, fewer bedrooms and less parking.

Man charged with selling drugs

URBANA – A Charleston man indicted by a statewide grand jury for alleged drug sales in Champaign County is due to be back in court Feb. 2.

Patrick M. Stroud, 43, was arraigned Wednesday in Champaign County Circuit Court on an indictment returned in November charging him with unlawful criminal drug conspiracy and attempted possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance.

Urbana school officials decide position isn't crucial right now

URBANA – The Urbana school board has eliminated a position it created in April for a community engagement employee.

The part-time community engagement position was intended to help the district reach out to people who aren't now involved with the schools. The position was never posted or filled.

Urbana High School initiatives earn praise

URBANA – The Urbana High School sophomore was failing English.

He had the ability to do well, but he didn't turn in assignments. A group of teachers talked about how to get him back on track and came up with a plan that allowed him to make up the work for partial credit.

Within six weeks, the boy had raised his English grade to a C.

Bible study group giving out hams for the holidays

CHAMPAIGN – A group of women who set out to provide Thanksgiving turkeys for needy families raised enough to feed more than 500 people with all the fixings – and a Christmas ham to boot.

On Wednesday, 550 people received a free ham from Salt and Light Ministries, courtesy of a Mahomet Bible study group that spearheaded a fundraising drive earlier this fall.

Danville Toys for Tots program gives away smiles

DANVILLE – Volunteers at the Toys for Tots distribution Wednesday got plenty of exercise as they made their many rounds with the family members who had qualified for assistance.

Oakwood school board OKs tax levy

OAKWOOD – School board members approved the district's 2009 levy Wednesday, which will entail a slight increase in the tax rate.

Superintendent Keven Forney is budgeting on $3,659,400 in estimated funds to be allocated to the district.

Urbana couple, out on bond, are once again in jail

URBANA – An Urbana man and his girlfriend, out on bond in drug cases, have been arrested again.

Cornelius Campbell, 25, and Talisha Davidson, 22, who both listed an address in the 1600 block of Wiley Drive, were charged Wednesday with possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance.

Danville school board OKs salary boosts, stipends

DANVILLE – Danville school board members on Wednesday approved salaries for 14 administrators and 11 non-union salaried employees for the 2009-10 year, which include small raises or stipends.