Developmental Services Center is done cutting - for now

CHAMPAIGN – Developmental Services Center has shelved plans for more staffing cuts, at least for now.

The Champaign-based agency that provides services and housing for people with developmental disabilities was forced to cut 14 full-time and nine part-time staff members last month due to state funding cuts.

4 Vermilion health care workers to get jobs back

DANVILLE – Four Vermilion County Health Department workers who were laid off in mid-July are returning to their jobs after the state restored $145,000 in funding for the department's Healthy Families Illinois program.

Effective July 1, local funding for the program had been cut by the state by 75 percent, forcing the health department to eliminate four assessment and support workers.

Danville charity firing up grill to host 8th free dinner

DANVILLE – Danville Foodstock will host its eighth free dinner in Tilton on Sunday.

The dinner will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Tilton public use building, adjacent to the Tilton ball park complex, 501 N. Mayfield St. Doors will open at 11 a.m.

New construction below par throughout area this year

CHAMPAIGN – It's probably no big surprise, given the national recession, but records show that new construction in Champaign and Urbana is down substantially for the first seven months of 2009.


New housing starts in both cities are also weak, with Champaign seeing just 44 new single-family home permits being issued so far this year and Urbana 24.

The situation is similar in Danville, where there have been three housing starts this year (down from nine in 2008) and the value of all new construction is $10.1 million, down from 2008 year-end totals of $22.3 million.

Environmentally friendly bucket truck debuted in Champaign

CHAMPAIGN – Of course a city government would think about putting a "green" truck in its forestry division.

A hybrid bucket truck will be assigned to the division, said Elizabeth Hannan, administrative services manager for the city of Champaign.

Rep. Bill Black asks for appointment as a UI trustee

DANVILLE – State Rep. Bill Black, R-Danville, a veteran state lawmaker and master's degree recipient from the University of Illinois, said he wants to serve on the embattled UI Board of Trustees.

Firefighter arrested for arson to colleague's vehicle

CHAMPAIGN — A Champaign firefighter has been arrested for setting fire to vehicles belonging to herself and a colleague earlier this month.

Champaign Fire Chief Doug Forsman was planning a news conference for Thursday afternoon to announce the arrest of Monica Hall, 50, of Mahomet for arson.

Lawmaker Black asks to be picked to UI board

DANVILLE – Veteran state Rep. Bill Black, R-Danville, said Thursday that he asked Gov. Pat Quinn to appoint him to the University of Illinois Board of Trustees. There are at least three vacancies in the board, and Quinn has asked all of the trustees to step down in the wake of an investigation into admissions abuses at the UI.

"I've written to the governor, told him I spent 10 years as an administrator at Danville Area Community College, taught at the community college, I'm on the (House) higher ed committee, I earned my master's at the university, I know where the campus is, and I sure would love to serve on the board if the governor would honor me with that appointment," Black said.

Man charged again with being armed habitual criminal

URBANA – A Champaign man accused of having cannabis for sale while armed has been charged with being an armed habitual criminal, the second time this year he's had that charge lodged against him in Champaign County.

If convicted, Lorenzo Johnson, 33, who listed an address in the 1500 block of South Mattis Avenue, could face six to 30 years in prison.

Blood at crime scene leads to Champaign man's arrest

URBANA – A Champaign man's blood left behind at a burglary scene has led to his arrest.

Ricky Butler, 46, who listed an address in the 500 block of West Beardsley Avenue, Champaign, was charged Thursday with three counts of burglary for breaking into businesses in Champaign and Savoy.