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News

Annual turkey drop scheduled for Thanksgiving Day

DANVILLE – For 12 years, local hot-air-balloon enthusiasts have taken to the air, weather permitting, on Thanksgiving Day for the Les Nessman Memorial Turkey Drop.

The Danville Balloon Group event begins at 6:45 a.m. Thursday with a pilot briefing in the parking lot at Turtle Run Golf Club and Banquet Center, 332 E. Liberty Lane.

Gas leak forces evacuations in Urbana

URBANA – Urbana Fire Chief Mike Dilley said about 30 people were evacuated from their homes as a result of a gas leak late Sunday afternoon.

Dilley said emergency personnel were called to 700 Gregory Place at about 4 p.m. Sunday after people reported detecting an unusual odor.

Help sought solving burglary, attempted sexual assault

CHAMPAIGN – Champaign police need help solving a burglary and attempted sexual assault that occurred earlier this month.

A woman living in the 300 block of West Birch Street reported that on Saturday, Nov. 7, about 9:30 p.m., a man climbed through an open window into her apartment. He asked the woman where she kept her money, and after searching for it, tried to sexually assault her.

Crime report

In crimes reported recently to area police:

Group raising funds to send cargo trailer of aid to Congo

URBANA – A group of area residents who immigrated here from Africa have spent the last several months gathering donations of medical equipment and supplies for three hospitals in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

They've packed a 40-foot-long cargo trailer with 36 hospital beds and a variety of donated items, including face masks, crutches, blankets, catheters, adult diapers, surgical gloves, thermometers and surgical tables.

DACC to weigh making culinary arts certificate program

DANVILLE – Georgetown-Ridge Farm High School senior Shawn Prunkard was excited to learn he could take culinary arts courses through Danville Area Community College's College Express program.

He was even more excited to hear that college officials are planning to expand the four-course, 12-credit hour program into a 10-course, 30-credit hour certificate program.

Champaign officials to examine programs, issues, options

The closing of a Champaign motel that had been home to many low-income renters, threatened closings of social service organizations and a current lack of any alternative for a men's winter emergency shelter all point to the complex and growing problems with homeless and affordable housing, officials say.

A Champaign City Council study session on homelessness is set for 7 p.m. Tuesday at the council chambers, 102 N. Neil St.

Homeless problem escalates as available shelters shrink

About the Knight Project series

These reports are part of a joint project of The News-Gazette and the University of Illinois Department of Journalism in an ongoing examination of poverty and its related issues in Champaign County.

The project is funded by the Marajen Stevick Foundation, a News-Gazette community foundation; a matching grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, a journalism foundation based in Miami; and contributions from the UI.

Some homeless men in Champaign-Urbana might be left out in the cold this winter if organizers are unable to revamp an overflow shelter that rotated among area churches in past years.

The TIMES Center, a transitional housing facility for homeless men at 70 E. Washington St., C, previously ran the overflow shelter. Men who needed refuge would show up at the center to go through a screening process and were then taken to a church where they stayed the night. But after five years, the center no longer will offer the service this winter.

UI Research Park: Investment and returns

CHAMPAIGN – The gleaming new buildings at the University of Illinois Research Park have generated upward of $3.2 million in property tax revenue for Champaign, its schools and other taxing districts.

On the flip side: The university, state and local governments have sunk $47 million into the park and related developments since its inception in 2000, according to a News-Gazette analysis.

Evacuated residents return to homes following gas leak

URBANA – Urbana Fire Chief Mike Dilley said about 30 people were evacuated from their homes as a result of a gas leak late Sunday afternoon.

Dilley said emergency personnel were called to 700 Gregory Place at about 4 p.m. Sunday after people reported detecting an unusual odor.