Grad workers, officials begin contract talks

URBANA – After he turned 25, David Morris had to strike out on his own to find health insurance.

No longer covered under his father's health care plan, the University of Illinois graduate student turned to the UI for coverage.

District considers adding nonvoting UI student

CHAMPAIGN – The MTD is looking into adding a nonvoting University of Illinois student board member, acknowledging that student fees constitute about $3 million a year.

The Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District gets the student fees, $38 a semester, plus other University of Illinois funding, which is matched by the state. Students, faculty and staff then pay no fare for riding MTD buses.

Small school shows off big brains

Maybe the girls from Home Hi did make a minor spectacle of themselves at the regional Science Olympiad competition.

"We were screaming," said Sissela Rosenstock-Murav, a seventh-grader at the middle school in Urbana. "We were trying to keep our cool. But we really couldn't."

5 men charged in credit union robbery

RANTOUL – Two of the five men accused of robbing a Rantoul credit union at gunpoint Monday admitted their roles after their arrests and implicated the others, according to federal court records.

Charged Tuesday with armed robbery of the Community Plus Federal Credit Union, 526 E. Champaign Ave., were: Ahshun T. Collins, 26; Clinton Williams, 33; Rory Tucker, 20; Brad O. Williams, 27; and Bobby L.Riley, 19. Magistrate Judge David Bernthal ruled there was probable cause to go forward to a federal grand jury with the charges and ordered their detention.

Finalists meet with teachers, parents

CHAMPAIGN – All three finalists for the principal's job at Kenwood Elementary School have connections to Champaign-Urbana.

Parents and teachers heard from the three candidates and asked them questions at a public forum at the school Tuesday night. The school board is expected to vote on a recommendation for the job at its May 8 meeting.

Part of Fourth Street will honor activist Johnson

CHAMPAIGN – A crowd of more than 30 supporters of the late community activist John Lee Johnson helped persuade the Champaign City Council to name part of Fourth Street to honor him.

The council voted 9-0 Tuesday night in study session to name Fourth Street between University and Bradley avenues as honorary John Lee Johnson Boulevard. Brown street signs with the honorary name will go up along the 13-block stretch. A formal city council vote will come within a few weeks.

On with the show

CHAMPAIGN – The sold-out Roger Ebert's Overlooked Film Festival opens this evening at the Virginia Theatre, giving 1,500 or so moviegoers a cinematic trip through the critic's psyche.

The event that, to culture vultures, is what Dee Brown is to Illinois basketball opens with the screening of "My Fair Lady" and closes Sunday with another musical, "U-Carmen e-Khayelitsha," shot in South Africa.

City has an extra $5 million to spend in '06-'07

CHAMPAIGN – This is the kind of problem city officials could get used to.

Top Champaign officials laid out the outlines of the proposed fiscal 2006-07 budget Tuesday afternoon, and the big surprise is that the city has an extra $5 million to spend for the budget year beginning July 1.

Five men in custody following robbery of Rantoul credit union

RANTOUL – Rantoul police arrested five men Monday afternoon in the armed robbery of a Rantoul credit union, following a chase that led officers through a town park where baseball and softball games were being played.

Rantoul police Sgt. Jeff Wooten said police believe one more man who was not caught may have been involved in the holdup of the Community Plus Federal Credit Union, 526 E. Champaign Ave., which is across the street from Rantoul Township High School.

Some residents don't want to see Dr. Howard School demolished

CHAMPAIGN – Climb up and down a few levels of stairs and head back to the far corner of the basement in Dr. Howard Elementary School and you'll find the reading recovery classrooms.

The enrichment courses are taught in a second-floor hallway.

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