Mentoring helps unify students

DANVILLE – If St. Paul's eighth-grader Joe Cahill felt a little nervous taking over teacher Laura Hensgen's computer class on Tuesday afternoon, you'd never know it.

When third-graders filed in to the Catholic elementary school's computer lab, Joe wasted no time directing them to their workstations and helping them open a software program. Then he administered a keyboarding test, calling out letters with authority.

Bronze Star awarded to fallen Fisher soldier

CHAMPAIGN – A fallen soldier from Fisher has been awarded the Bronze Star, one of the highest honors awarded in the military.

Funeral services for Pfc. Danny Lee Kimme, who grew up mostly in Arkansas, were Saturday in North Little Rock, and the medals were awarded to his family, including his widow Corinne, an Urbana native, said uncle Dennis Kimme, the family's spokesman.

Future of FutureGen in doubt

MATTOON – The proposed $1.8 billion FutureGen clean coal power plant scheduled to be built in Mattoon may not be built after all and politicians are claiming it's a victim of partisan politics.

U.S. Rep. Tim Johnson said Tuesday that Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman told much of the Illinois Congressional delegation Tuesday morning that the Department of Energy plans to disband the FutureGen Alliance and move into a different direction, according to a spokesman for Rep. Johnson.

Council backs Philo Road improvements

URBANA – South Philo Road between Florida and Colorado avenues will likely be getting a $700,000 makeover later this summer.

Council members, in a voice vote, approved a beautification plan drawn up by a consultant, Schreiber/Anderson Associates of Madison, Wis., for giving a 1,250-foot stretch of the road a new look.

Villa Grove OKs own ordinance against smoking

VILLA GROVE – Villa Grove has decided to keep the money from smoking violations at home.

Villa Grove passed its own ordinance Monday banning smoking in public places, in an effort to override the state smoking ban, which took effect at the beginning of the year, and keep the fine money at home rather than have it distributed among the County Health Agency and the state.

4 residents rescued through window

CHAMPAIGN – Investigation is continuing today to determine the cause of a fire in a Champaign apartment building.

Champaign fire Division Chief Tim Wild said the fire at the Bay Harbor Apartments at 1503 Kiler Drive was reported at 9:36 p.m. Monday. Fire crews first arrived within minutes, he said.

Legislator sponsors bill for education

An area congressman is throwing his support behind a bill that creates partnerships between rural schools and colleges and employers.

U.S. Rep. Tim Johnson, R-Urbana, announced recently he was a co-sponsor of the College and University Rural Education Act (HR 4139).

13-year-old to graduate from high school in May

URBANA – Kelsey Caetano-Anolles isn't feeling well.

Her mom, Gloria, feels her forehead. It's because you didn't bundle up like I told you to, she chides.

Local ministers urge students to work hard in school

CHAMPAIGN – The Rev. Charles Nash was standing at a table full of boys in the Central High School cafeteria Monday, struggling to be heard over the din.

Nash talked about college, what the students need to focus on in high school, and what happens to those who don't take education seriously. The boys laughed and joked with each other. But they listened too.

Gibson City street work to begin May 1

GIBSON CITY – Work is now scheduled to begin May 1 to widen and resurface five blocks of Melvin Street, a project town leaders have wanted to do for more than 40 years.

Melvin Street is considered an arterial street, according to City Superintendent Randy Stauffer. It is used by traffic to the municipal pool, park and ball diamond, Scout cabin, elementary and middle schools and the hospital.